Food: How much & where to store

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Food: How much & where to store)

RainManA. How much food do you need?
Emergency Management Division
Pasted from: http://www.emd.wa.gov/preparedness/WAEMD-Preparedness-PersonalPreparedness-EmergencyFoodSupply.shtml

The Canned Food Alliance recommends the minimum amount of food is two cans of food per person, per day and one gallon of water per person, per day.

For most disasters, we recommend a minimum of three days preparation. This should include a sufficient food supply and a minimum of one gallon of water per person per day.

A health crisis – like a pandemic flu – requires longer-term planning. There is a real possibility grocery stores will need to close to help prevent the spread of the disease.

The Washington Departments of Health and Emergency Management recommend preparing for these types of disaster for a minimum of one week. When you complete one week’s preparation – consider preparing for two weeks.

What should your emergency food supply include?
A variety of canned meats, canned fruits and vegetables, grains, canned milk products, ready-to-eat canned foods, and soup.

So, the next time you are at the grocery store, pick up two extra cans of food for your Emergency Food Supply.
Remember – the minimum amount of food is two cans of food per person, per day and one gallon of water per person, per day.

Some Suggestions:

foodwhere1.
foodwhere2

What size?
•  Regular-sized can = approximately 15 ounce can
•  Small sized can = approximately 8 ounce can
•  1 gallon = four – 1 liter/quart bottles
•  1 gallon = two – 2 liter/half gallon bottles

B. Where to Hide Your Food (And a Few Places Your Shouldn’t 29 Nov 2012, Posted by Ed Corcoran Pasted from: http://www.survivalandbeyond.net/where-to-hide-your-food-and-a-few-places-your-shouldnt/ Originally from; Places to Hide Food – 5x5Survival.com

foodwhere pantryQuick update: This article pertains to long-term stored food. Food that has an expiration under 3 years should be actively rotated in your day-to-day food preparation. The food that you hide away should have a shelf life of 10 years or longer.

There is a lot you can improvise when you are a knowledgeable, skilled prepper. Among what you cannot improvise is food, water, and firearms. As I have suggested in previous posts, a single person should store at least 3 months of food and a family should store at least one year’s worth of food. These are minimums. And I recommend that you continuously build up your food storage program until you reach three years of stored food.

Why three years of stored food? In the first year after the collapse, you need to lay low, hunker down, and try to remain unnoticed, until the mass die off occurs. You need a second year of food to survival through your first planting season. Your third year of food is a buffer for garden mistakes and drought. Or your third year of food will feed the family members who suddenly show up on your doorstep. Or you can donate your third year of food to charity after the collapse. Or swap some long-term stored food in exchange for fresh items, such as eggs or milk. Or you can barter food in exchange for goods and services. I can easily foresee paying someone in food to take overnight security watches.

Of the first year of stored food, I recommend that it consists of canned and dried food that your family commonly eats. This would include canned tuna, canned beans, canned fruits and vegetables, dried pastas, breakfast cereals, etc. It is important to rotate this food, so that none goes to waste. First in is first out. Stack the newer items towards the back and the older items towards the front of the shelves. This way you grab the oldest items first for your daily meal preparations.

The 2nd and 3rd year of stored food should be long-term stored food. This includes dehydrated food, freeze-dried food, and food buckets with grains and beans. The storage life of this type of food should be at least 10 years, otherwise put the food into your daily rotation.

So where do you store all that food? One to three years of long-term stored food takes some serious storage space. Take a tour of your home to find any dead space. Dead space is in the interior of your home which has no functional use.

 1. Here are some common dead spaces, which can store food:
a)
In your food pantry – When I look in people’s kitchen pantries, I often see non-food items. People will put extra pots, pans, and kitchen gadgets in their kitchen pantries. Or paper supplies. Clear out everything except food from your kitchen pantry. You can stack canned goods up to 3 deep and 3 high on the shelves in a pantry. Your first goal of a food storage program is to fill up your everyday kitchen pantry. Do not buy long-term stored foods, until after your kitchen pantry is filled with everyday foods. Beans and canned meat such as spam have long shelf lives, often up to 5 years. Canned salmon and sardines can have a 7 year shelf life. The key to filling your kitchen pantry is a rotation plan. Have a system that prevents you from eating the new items. One of your weekly tasks is to go into the kitchen pantry to find what is nearing expiration. Whatever is nearing expiration is your dinner tonight.
b) Under beds – this is a nice dark and cool space. Under beds are perfect for #10 cans. Buy a bed frame which can be elevated just a bit to accommodate boxes containing #10 cans. My daughter was told one of her friends that her daddy stores rice under her bed. Bad OPSEC on my part. I forgot to instruct my daughter to not talk about stored food.
c) Behind the head-board of your bed. Pull out your bed from the wall just far enough to store food buckets. Stack up food bucket to the height of the head-board, then throw a shamee or other covering on top of the buckets to make the space presentable.
d) Closets floor space – the space on the floor under need the coats and linens.
e) Closet shelf space – often there is dead space high above a closet shelf. You can stack boxes sometimes fairly high above the shelf. Test the shelf to see if it can support heavy weights.
f) Under desks – My home office desk has spare space for food buckets and boxes.
g) Under bathroom sinks – often the space is unused. Make sure any food stored under a sink is in water proof containers, in case of water over flow.
h) Under coffee table – some coffee tables have dead space underneath.
i) Garages – Only store food in a garage if cool enough in the summer. If your garage is shaded and does go above 75 degrees in the summer, then you can store some items in your garage. This is a good place for large bulk A galvanized steel garbage can will hold lots of grains and beans.
j) Under stairwells – Often under the staircase, there is dead space.
k) In an extra, unused bedroom – I have an extra bedroom, which serves as my home office. In the closet of my spare bedroom, it is stacked with lots of stored food. Behind my desk are food buckets. No guest are allowed into my home office (man cave), so I don’t give a darn about appearance.
l) Underneath a sofa with hide-away bed – often there is unused space there. Or unscrew the pull-out bed to give you lots of spare space.
m) In the basement – whether you have a finished or unfinished basement, block off a corner of the room to stack boxes.
n) In the laundry room – Due to humidity in the laundry room, make sure any items are waterproof sealed.
o) Behind couches – Due to the tilt of the back of a couch, there is often dead space at the rear bottom of a couch.
p) A mud room or utility room – If you have such a room and it is cool year round, this is perfect for stored food.

2.  At your bug-out location. If you have a cabin up in the mountains or a vacation home, store extra food there.

3.  Store food with other family members. If you are on good terms with a family member, agree to store food for each other as a back-up. Then if you need to retreat to that family member, some of your food is already there.

4.  Store food with good friends and neighbors. If a good, reliable friend or neighbor whom you trust, who also have extra storage space, then this might be an option.

5.  Store food with your survival group. One of your survival group members is likely to have extra storage space or a basement.

6.  Store food in a rental storage unit. This is a good option if you do not have close-by friend and neighbors. You should never keep all your supplies in just one location, in case your primary home is destroyed. If you do not have a bug-out retreat, the rent a storage unit within walking distance of your home (under 5 miles). Find a storage unit which is well shaded and does not get direct sunlight. You are looking for a cool place to store food. Some storage units get very hot in the summer. Heat is the enemy of stored food. If you can afford it, rent a temperature stabilized unit Some storage units specialize in storing wine or art, which must be temperature controlled. A temperature control unit is ideal, but more expensive. Also make sure the storage unit is accessible when there is a power outage. When you need the store food the most, there will likely be a power outage in your home town.

7.  Store food at work. If you own your own business or have a dedicated office which you can lock, then storing food at your place of business is perfect.

8.  Start a food storage program at your place of worship. Many places of worship have lots of unused basements and closets. If your place of worship has like-minded survivalist, then start a food storage program.

9.  Storage caches on your property. If you can build a proper storage cache to bury or hide on your property, this can be a place to store lots of food. Search youtube.com for southernprepper1, who has very good advice on this subject.

10. An underground shelter is an excellent option for food storage. If you live in a tornado area, then you should have a storm shelter. Store food under the benches or on shelf spaces in your storm shelter.

11.  If you have farmers in close proximity to your home, establish a direct food purchase relationship with the farmers. One of the best way to keep beef fresh is on the hoof, live and ready. You are storing future food in that direct farm relationship.

12.  Nuture the wildlife around your home. Perhaps set up a salt lick or feeding station for deer. Find locations around your home where there a lots of rabbits and squirrels. Have small animal traps and a 22 LR rifle for hunting small game.

13.  Obtain books that describe the wild foods in your region. Within a mile of your home, you can likely find dozens of wild foods. While this is not technically hiding your food, but perhaps you hide the wild food book. (I know this is a stretch on this topic. But hopefully you get the point.
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Where should you not store food:
1.
  Do not store food in the attic. The summer heat in the attic will likely cause any stored food to go bad.
2.  Do not store food in crawl space. Crawl spaces often take too much heat in the summer and susceptible to rodents.
3.  Do not bury food, even if in sealed, water proof containers. Ground water will eventually rot the containers. Or the containers can collapse under the weight of the earth. Or rodents or other animals will chew through. Or you will lose track of the location.
4.  Sheds and barns – Gets too hot in the summer and attracts rodents.
5.  Do not store any food near fuels and other chemicals. I do not store any food in the places where I store extra fuel.
6.  You not store extra food in your fat belly. If you are over-weight, you have a duty to your family to trim down. An obese person will live 6 years less, on average, than a person with normal body weight. Do not deprive your family of your love and presence in those last 6 years.
7.  At the Grocery store – Time and time again, the pattern is the same. An announcement of a pending large storm sends everyone scrambling the groceries stores. Groceries are then stripped bare within 24 hours. Then groceries stores are not replenished until long after the storm has gone. Do not rely on getting to the grocery store at the last minute. Instead at the last minute, I am testing the power generator, filling up the bath tubes with water, covering the windows, and perhaps topping off my fuel supplies. I can focus on preparing my home for a storm, because I already have enough food to last for months and years.

Food is so tremendously cheap in US and Canada, despite food inflation in the past three years. The story of Joseph in the Old Testament book of Genesis describes how he stored 7 years of grain in anticipation of a famine. The next Great Depression is likely to last 7 or more years. You have the opportunity now to store years of food for your family. When disaster strikes, the opportunity to prepare is gone. A mouthful of food to a starving person is worth more than all the gold in the world.

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Food prices rise without inflation

(News & Editorial/ Food prices rise without inflation)

A. It’s Happening Now: Famine is Coming To A City Near You
14 Feb 2014, TheDailySheeple.com, By Lizzie Bennett Underground Medic
Pasted from: http://www.thedailysheeple.com/plan-plant-and-survive-famine-is-coming-to-a-city-near-you_022014

foodprice crop

We watch the famines that roll by in foreign nations and most of us have a mixture of feelings. Sympathy at the suffering, anger at those nations rulers for not doing more…there’s a gamut of emotions particularly for the children who are powerless to do anything about it. What rarely crosses our minds though is ‘how would I cope?’. The reason this doesn’t enter our heads is that we live in lands of plenty, where food has always been available, and always will be…or will it?

Famine has many causes. War and civil strife, with populations always on the move is a major contributor in countries like Sudan. Itinerant populations don’t plant crops, there’s little point when you are constantly upping sticks and fleeing either from your own government or from one of the numerous militia groups that roam the country side.

Syria, a country wracked by civil war is another example of conflict leading to food shortages and history is littered with other examples where the cause, and the outcome are the same.

There are also numerous examples of famines caused not by war and conflict, but by heat and cold, by drought and flood and there is no reason at all that a weather related famine could not happen in the first world.

The weather is changing around the globe, not as a result of global warming in my opinion, but just as part of a cycle the Earth goes through.

On a personal level I believe the planet is actually cooling, more and more scientists are changing their mind about global warming, quite simply because the planet isn’t warming anymore.

A cooling planet will present problems we haven’t had to deal with before, growing zones will change, and with it the foods that we eat. More and more weather related incidents will prevent haulage from moving foods from the warehouses to the stores. The unprepared will be hungry, even if it is just for a few days until the latest storm passes.

What though if it doesn’t pass in a few days?

Here in the UK we have been warned that such is the level of groundwater that we will in parts, be flooded for months, and that’s if there’s no more rain.

Arable land lies under feet of water, tainted with salt from sea flooding in many places. Like the United States the UK works on a just in time delivery network, a network that isn’t working too well at the moment due to power cuts that prevents the computer systems from listing what needs to go where, even if it worked so many towns are cut off the trucks delivering the food can’t get through.

Now for a small country like the UK this is not insurmountable, boats float on water and nowhere is more than a couple of hundred miles away from somewhere the power is still on, so stuff can still be moved to where it’s needed. If however this was a truly national crisis, where for example the whole country had no power we are talking a different thing altogether. It would be chaos.

Now scale this up to a country the size of the United States. A country much, much bigger than the UK. The United States has an area of 3,790,000 square miles against 94,600 square miles for the UK.

To put it another way your country is just under 41 times bigger than my country.

Try to imagine the logistics of keeping the whole country fed if a proportion of it is in famine conditions. If it was the west of the US that was experiencing shortages due to drought, as California currently is, then the food supply for the whole country is reduced. What they do produce will most likely stay in the state to feed the people of California. Think of it like this, you wouldn’t grow a garden full of veggies then give them all away without saving enough for yourself first would you?  This will leave the US in a really odd situation where the parts of the country WITHOUT the weather issues end up being the parts of the country with reduced food on the shelves.

As we have seen with recent storms food goes very fast when people perceive there is a problem coming, and there is a problem coming, and it won’t be too long before it gets here.

The dictionary definition of the word famine is: fam·ine (făm′ĭn) noun
1. A drastic, wide-reaching food shortage.
2. A drastic shortage; a dearth.
3. Severe hunger; starvation.

So simply not being able to afford the food that is available would put people into a state of famine. As I said in ‘It Has Begun…’ , we are already on the road to food shortages and price hikes, we are already on the road to famine.

The most important thing you can do right now is plant food. Gardening as a hobby is rapidly going to become a thing of the past, gardening for survival is going to take it’s place. Don’t wait. Now’s the time. Plan, plant and survive because there’s a very good chance that famine is coming to a city near you.

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B.  Bread, Beef and Other Foods That Will Cost Way More Next Year
16 Dec 2013, Business.Time.com, by Martha C. White
Pasted from: http://business.time.com/2013/12/16/oh-god-no-bread-beef-and-other-foods-that-will-cost-way-more-next-year/

foorprice shelf

Tina Fineberg / Bloomberg / Getty Images

Got milk? You probably will next year — reports of $8-a-gallon milk are overblown, but there are some food items that will have you digging deeper in your pockets next year.

Beef: Where’s the beef, indeed? Beef prices have been on a tear lately, experts say, and it’s not likely to let up anytime soon. Corinne Alexander, an associate professor at Purdue University, tells trade publication Supermarket News that because of several factors, “beef prices are probably going to stay high for at least the next few years.

Market research firm the NPD Group says in a new report by restaurant industry analyst Bonnie Riggs that “expected price increases” for beef will create a headache for restaurant-goers, but it’s likely to hit consumers even harder. NPD Group vice president Harry Balzer says that while only about 30% of what we pay at restaurants reflects the costs of food, around 80% of our grocery bill is food costs.

Bread: Our daily bread might get more expensive next year, according to a USDA report update in October. “both wheat and wheat flour prices increased last month—wheat by 4.9 percent and wheat flour by 3.6 percent. These increases support the notion that inflation for bread and cereal prices in the supermarket will pick up in 2014,” the agency’s Economic Research Service says.

Cereal: The most important meal of the day could cost you a little more if your breakfast consists of digging into a bowl of flakes, puffs or o’s, according to that same USDA report.

Is It Time to Start Stockpiling Bacon?
See: http://business.time.com/2011/07/05/is-it-time-to-start-stockpiling-bacon/

Wild fish: According to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization, the price of wild-caught fish has come close to doubling between 1990 and last year, although the price of farmed fish hasn’t gone up nearly as much. The Economist blames overfishing for the fact that the amount of wild fish caught has barely budged in more than two decades, even as global demand for fish skyrockets. With more demand and limited supply, experts say there’s only one place for prices to go, and that’s up.

Chocolate: Sorry, chocoholics; your habit is about to get more expensive. CNBC says the cost of the raw ingredients that go into a chocolate bar climbed by 28% between the beginning of this year and October, and experts say prices are only going to climb higher, a combination of growing demand, unpredictable weather and political volatility in the world’s biggest cocoa-producing areas. Chocolate expert Angus Kennedy warns CNBC that consumers with a sweet tooth and the means to indulge it “are prepared to pay” nearly six-and-a-half bucks for a two-ounce chocolate bar.

How to Beat Rising Food Prices: Be Smart About When You Buy.
See: http://business.time.com/2012/08/17/how-to-beat-rising-food-prices-be-smart-about-when-you-buy/

There is some good news on the horizon when it comes to food prices, though: We won’t be seeing pigs fly in 2014. Earlier increases in bacon prices appear to be on the way to a reversal, as a 38% drop in corn prices made it cheaper for farmers to fatten up their pigs. “Pork-belly prices plunged 23 percent since the end of September, and hog futures will fall 14 percent next year,” Bloomberg reported yesterday.

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C. Steak to become a luxury item as food prices tipped to soar by as much as 6% in 2014
9 Dec 2013, Telegraph.co.uk, By Steve Hawkes, Consumer Affairs Editor
Pasted from: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/personalfinance/consumertips/household-bills/10504187/Steak-to-become-a-luxury-item-as-food-prices-tipped-to-soar-by-as-much-as-6-in-2014.html

New report forecasts that food prices will rise above inflation next year and for the rest of the decade as growing global demand and climate change hit the industry

Prestige claim that some restaurants are already switching beef for pork to save money and keep a lid on

Food prices will rise faster than inflation next year and for the rest of the decade, forcing restaurant chains and caterers to cut back on serving “luxuries” such as fillet steak and prawns, it was claimed last night.

foodprice butcher

Some big name chains are already switching to cheaper cuts of meat – such as pork shoulder – and serving up smaller portions of salmon to keep a lid on cost, according to a report by consultants Prestige Purchasing.

David Read, Prestige chief executive, told the Daily Telegraph that food prices could rise by as much as 6 per cent next year, but at the very least were likely to jump by another 3.8 per cent. He said Britain was in a new era where food prices would continue to soar because of growing global demand and the effects of climate change on harvest and higher commodity costs.

He said: “Last year we predicted 4.4 per cent for 2013 and we have seen food prices go up by around 4.2 per cent. Next year we think it will be around 3.8 per cent and that food prices will be above inflation for the foreseeable future.

“Restaurants and caterers are going to be innovative with food and ingredients and the way they deliver value on a plate in ways they have never been before. “There are going to be a lot more composite dishes, with say a smaller serving of salmon with salad and pulses.

“There will be more pork, more lamb instead of beef, more clams and mussels instead of prawns.” He added: “Prime cuts, fillet steak, sirloin steak, are going to be much more of a luxury item in the coming years.”

High food inflation has contributed to the unprecedented squeeze on Britons’ incomes. Fruit and vegetables soared in price by as much as 12 per cent earlier this year because of unprecedented fluctuations in the weather.

Prestige said it feared the price of wheat, grain and cereals could leap by 15 per cent next year, with rise expected to jump by 6 per cent because of smaller crop yields in Brazil and China. Cheese is expected to rise by as much as 5 per cent and beef by between 4 to 6 per cent following a 17 per cent rise this year.

A report in August revealed that pubs, hotels and restaurants had shrunk the size of beef burgers they were serving up to cope with rising costs. A study by Horizons, a foodservice consultants, added that the average sirloin steak was 8 per cent lighter than three years ago. At the time Horizons said inflationary pressure explained the re-emergence of the hot dog on menus, as they are “relatively cheap to produce”. A Government advisor in July warned that food prices could treble over the next 20 years because of the boom in the world’s population.

Professor Tim Benton, head of Global Food Security, said there could even be shortages in the UK as the emerging middle class in south-east Asia trigger a revolution in “food flows” such as the train in grain and soya around the world.

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D. How to Beat Rising Food Prices: Be Smart About When You Buy
17 Aug 2012, Business.Time.com, By Mark Di Vincenzo
Pasted from: http://business.time.com/2012/08/17/how-to-beat-rising-food-prices-be-smart-about-when-you-buy/

The severe drought in our nation’s breadbasket has a lot of people worried about rising food prices. That makes this a great time to know when to buy food — because knowing when to buy can save you a lot of money. Here are a few guidelines:

James Worrell / Getty Images

foodprive milk-fish-vegeMeat. Buy meat in the morning on weekdays, when you’re more likely to see “Manager’s Specials,” which often must be sold by noon that day. You’ll find discounts of 50 percent or more. Freeze what you won’t use right away.

Eggs. Most shoppers don’t know that grocery stores sometimes put eggs on sale when they’re approaching their expiration dates. For some food, expiration dates equate to the last day that food can be safely eaten. But eggs can be eaten three to five weeks after the expiration date, so buy them when you see them on sale and don’t worry about getting sick.

Prepared foods. If you like rotisserie chicken, sushi and other prepared foods, you know they’re expensive. Go to your grocery store about an hour before it closes, when many stores mark down prepared foods that can’t be sold the next day. Expect discounts of 40 percent or more.

Bread and baked goods. Shop in the late afternoon and evening, when some stores drop prices by 50 percent rather than throwing out this food at closing time. Bonus tip: More and more dollar stores sell brand-name bread for a half to a third of what you’ll find in grocery stores.

Frozen turkeys. Some grocers will lower the price of turkeys before Thanksgiving and Christmas to attract shoppers, but the best prices tend to be right after the holidays, when grocers are trying to get rid of unsold turkeys, which take up a lot of space in their frozen-food cases.

Produce. Buy fruits and vegetables when they’re in season. The flavors are at their peak, and the prices are usually lower then because they’re more plentiful and grocers don’t want to see them rot in the stores. The U.S. Department of Agriculture website lists the best times to buy in-season fruits and vegetables.
See:  https://snap.nal.usda.gov/nutrition-through-seasons/seasonal-produce

Coupons. Use them only for items you usually buy, and always use them for staples, such as ketchup, toilet paper, margarine and cereal. Bonus tip: Everyone knows that Sunday newspapers include lots of coupons, but the most serious coupon clippers know the first of the month is when many of the most serious coupon sites – coupons.com, redplum.com, thriftytiff.com and others – offer a new round of coupons.

Grocery shopping. Wednesday is the best day to go. Weekly sales at grocery stores almost always start on Wednesdays. If you shop then, you won’t have to worry about popular items selling out, and you won’t have to hunt for items because stores typically are well staffed to take care of larger crowds.

Bonus tip: To reduce impulse buying and save money, make a list and stick to it, shop once a week or less often and don’t take your kids.

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Socio-economic decay

(Survival manual/1. Disaster/Socio-economic decay)

Symp·tom: –noun: 1. any phenomenon or circumstance accompanying something and serving as evidence of it. 2. Pathology . a phenomenon that arises from and accompanies a particular disease or disorder and serves as an indication of it.)

 The sign at left is perversely interesting, offering us hope that somehow we can fight the inevitable coming changes by demonstrating or voting for ‘the right congressional or presidential leadership’. But suppose the discussion about national, social and economic decay isn’t about your wishes or my dreams, and isn’t even about America. Looking down from above, seeing the world and times passage from a bird’s-eye view, we might find that, we in the United States and the Western world, are more like a natural resource that has been harvested. “Global wealth” having developed and mined the US population and Japanese work ethic recently moved on to new, more profitable “natural resources”. They’ll develop China, India, and SE Asia, making a huge profit from the development and industrialization of those countries, from the production and sale of all the convenient and enjoyable things that made North America and Japan great — in our past heyday. Eventually, these countries will reach their growth climax and the moneyed powers will move again into fresh, undeveloped resources (populace’s), maybe to South and Central America, maybe Africa.
What remains behind (you, me, our neighborhoods, and cities) are of little consequence to those who control great wealth and develop personal and family power. The previous great nations will need to economically crash (become fallow fields for a few decades), while relearning how to live in relative poverty, while our income expectations are gradually reduced, until we become competitive and frugal again; meanwhile, our infrastructure must degenerate to a point that there is need and demand for a widespread structural over haul.
In maybe a hundred years, maybe 200, or even 400 years,  when the economic wheel has turned full circle, when we have developed true needs, our descendants will see their “Renaissance”.

Until then, your local and state leadership, even our federal elected government has little lasting control over the flux and flow of what is occurring on a global scale.

We can fight our wars for political-industrial-resource-economic positioning, but the money flow and the factories have already left. We are all use to the largess of our incomes and the good life to make the long-term personal and broad economic readjustments; we can however, pretend to bring change with social programs. We are too many people expecting and demanding to receive government subsidies; we have too many tax laws rewarding or punishing groups who are or are not friends of the current political establishment. We have a medical establishment relentlessly sued for every ‘malpractice’ (did you ever get sued for goofing up on your job? Why not?) At the same time, hospitals charge patients and their insurance companies $20+ for a gallon of distilled water, which cost 98 cents at the grocery store, and from which maybe only a pint of that water was used (by the paying patient).

Everyone knows that ‘things’ aren’t right, that someone should give up their advantage – as long as that someone isn’t you. In this manner of thought and action we’ll continue to overgraze the commons, until there is no commons for our combined good, by then all will suffer.
We, the Western nations, the Western Christian culture have simply reached the climax of our civilization, which will now slowly decay/decline. It’s not your fault, nor mine, it’s not the fault of our government, at any level.
It’s nature’s way.
Humans are wired for behavior that replays in rhyme, the same story, told again, and again, across the ages. What works is reused until it doesn’t work, the flow through system eventually breaks, the culture collapses  and social-economic-commodity factors move on to favor another area of the continent/globe.

What arises next will not be petrochemical based, it will not be what were use to today, the conversion will be similar to that which ushered out the ‘horse and buggy days’ of the late 1800s and brought us to the modern era of the 1920s– in the matter of  a few decades. Everything that needs to be done to get us from here, to there, will be done, just not in the order, timing, painlessness, or efficiency that we would prefer. There might occur a major dislocation along the way, something to speed along the conversion, something to reduce the population overburden…global currency collapse, a nuclear war, a few dozen global EMP pulses, a pandemic, a super volcanic eruption…

If for a few moments, we could open our eyes onto the that not so distant future, we’d find our descendants enjoying life’s happiness, as did ours in the centuries leading to us. They may not have iPads or SUVs, but where the sun shines, there is labor, love and  hope for the ‘morrow.
Time marches on.
The Earth abides.
Mr. Larry

A.  American Hellholes
Pasted: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/american-hellholes
The U.S. economy is dying and we are heading for the next Great Depression.  The talking heads in the mainstream media love to spin the economic numbers around and around and they love to make it sound like the economy is improving, but the truth is that it doesn’t take a genius to see what is happening to the U.S. economic system.  All over the nation many of our greatest cities are being slowly but surely transformed into post-apocalyptic wastelands.  All over the mid-Atlantic, all along the Gulf coast, all throughout the “rust belt” and all over the entire state of California cities that once had incredibly vibrant economies are being turned into rotting, post-industrial hellholes. In many U.S. cities, the “real” rate of unemployment is over 30 percent. There are some communities that will start depressing you almost the moment that you drive into them. It is almost as if all of the hope has been sucked right out of those communities.  If you live in one of those American hellholes you know what I am talking about.  Sadly, it is not just a few cities that are becoming hellholes.  This is happening in the east, in the west, in the north and in the south.  America is literally being transformed right in front of our eyes.

If you still live in an area of the United States that is prosperous, do not mock the cities that you are about to read about.  The cold, hard reality of the matter is that economic decline and economic despair are spreading rapidly and they will come to your area soon enough.  Right now we are still talking about
“American hellholes”, but if the long-term economic trends that are destroying this nation are not turned around eventually we will just be talking about one gigantic “American hellhole”.  In the end, no area of the country will completely escape the economic hell that is coming.

B.  So how do you know if your own city has become a hellhole?
Pasted from:  http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/you-know-that-your-city-has-become-a-hellhole-when

Well, a few potential “red flags” are posted below….
1.  You know that your city has become a hellhole when most of the street lights  get repossessed because of unpaid electric bills,
2.  when it announces that it will no longer prosecute domestic violence cases in order to save money.,
3.  when it simply stops sending out pension checks to retired workers,
4.  when it rips up asphalt roads and replaces them with gravel because gravel is cheaper to maintain,
5.  when it eliminates the entire public bus system,
6.  when nearly half of all the people living there can’t read,
7.  when one out of every ten homes sells for under $10,000,
8.  when you can literally buy a house for one dollar,
9.  when you have hundreds of people living in the tunnels underneath your streets,
10.  when three of your past five mayors have been sent to prison for corruption,
11.  when nearly  half of the public schools in the city get shut down because of a lack of money,
12.  when you have dozens of young people rampaging in the streets that are thirsty for revenge and that are armed with bats, pipes and guns,
13.  when it is considered to be one of the 10 most dangerous cities in the world,
14.  when thieves defecate in the back seat after they have broken into your car and taken your things,
15.  when prostitution and drug dealing are two of the only viable businesses that remain in the city,
16.  You know that your city has become a hellhole when the police chief announces that the police department will no longer respond to calls about burglary and identity  theft due to very deep budget cuts.

Let’s take a closer look at what is currently happening in some of the worst areas of the country….
Pasted from: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/american-hellholes

100.  Detroit, Michigan
In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 70 schools are being permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house for one dollar in the worst areas.

During the boom days of the 1950s, Detroit was a teeming metropolis of approximately 2 million people, but today the current population is less than half that.  The city of Detroit, once a shining example of middle class America, is now a rotting cesspool of economic decline and it actually saw its population decline by 25 percent during the decade that recently ended.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Detroit lost a resident every 22 minutes between the years of 2000 and 2010.

So why are people leaving Detroit so rapidly?
There simply are no jobs.

At the height of the economic downturn, the mayor of Detroit admitted that while the “official” unemployment rate in Detroit was about 27 percent, the “real” unemployment rate in his city was actually somewhere around 50 percent. Since there are not enough jobs, that also means that not enough tax money is coming in. Detroit is essentially insolvent at this point.

Detroit officials are trying to implement some austerity measures in a desperate attempt to get city finances under control. For example, the state of Michigan recently granted approval to a plan that would shut down nearly half of the public schools in Detroit.  Under the plan, 70 schools will be closed and 72 will continue operating. It has been estimated that the remaining public schools will have class sizes of up to 60 students.

Detroit Mayor Dave Bing also wants to cut off 20 percent of the entire city from police and trash services in order to save money. Essentially that would mean abandoning 20 percent of the city of Detroit to the gangs and to the homeless.

[Images above: Left: One of many vacant/abandoned neighborhoods, homes being  raised and lots returned returning to fields. Right: A single example of  the many abandoned industrial and retail buildings in Detroit.]

The mayor of Detroit has also discussed a plan in which authorities would bulldoze one-fourth of the city in order to save money on services.
So with all of this going on, is Detroit a pleasant place to live at this point? No way. Today, Detroit is considered to be the third most violent city in the United States. In fact, crime has gotten so bad and the citizens are so frustrated by the lack of police assistance that they have resorted to forming their own organizations to fight back.  One group, known as the “Detroit 300″, was formed after a 90-year-old woman on Detroit’s northwest side was brutally raped in August.

If you want to see what the future of America looks like, just take a few hours and go driving through Detroit some time.  But please only do this during the day. Do not do this at night.  Detroit is not a safe place anymore, and you cannot count on the police to help you in a timely manner.

Detroit was once one of the greatest cities in the world. But today it is an absolute hellhole.

99.  Camden, New Jersey
So is there any place in America that is worse than Detroit? Well, many would nominate Camden, New Jersey. Many years ago, Camden was actually thriving and prosperous.  But today the city of Camden is known as “the second most dangerous city in America”.

In a recent article entitled “City of Ruins”, Chris Hedges did an amazing job of documenting the horrific decline of Camden.  Hedges estimates that the real rate of unemployment in Camden is somewhere around 30 to 40 percent, and he makes it sound like nobody in their right mind would want to live there  now….

Camden is where those discarded as human refuse are dumped, along with the physical refuse of postindustrial America. A sprawling sewage treatment plant on forty acres of riverfront land processes 58 million gallons of wastewater a day for Camden County. The stench of sewage lingers in the streets. There is a huge trash-burning plant that releases noxious clouds, a prison, a massive cement plant and mountains of scrap metal feeding into a giant shredder. The city is scarred with several thousand decaying abandoned row houses; the skeletal remains of windowless brick factories and gutted gas stations; overgrown vacant lots filled with garbage and old tires; neglected, weed-filled cemeteries; and  boarded-up store fronts.

Gangs have stepped into the gaping void left by industry.  In Camden today, drugs and prostitution are two of the only viable businesses left – especially for those who cannot find employment anywhere else.  The following is how Hedges describes the current state of affairs….

There are perhaps a hundred open-air drug markets, most run by gangs like the Bloods, the Latin Kings, Los Nietos and MS-13. Knots of young men in black leather jackets and baggy sweatshirts sell weed and crack to clients, many of whom drive in from the suburbs. The drug trade is one of the city’s few thriving businesses.
A weapon, police say, is never more than a few feet away, usually stashed behind a trash can, in the grass or on a porch.

But before we all start judging Camden for being such a horrible place to live, it is important to realize that this is happening in communities from coast to coast.  All over the United States industries are leaving and deep social decay is setting in.

Even the criminals in Camden are struggling.  Things have gotten so bad in Camden, New Jersey that not even the drug dealers are spending their money anymore.

So where are the police? Unfortunately, there is very little money for police.  Authorities in Camden recently decided to lay off half of the city police force. So now the gangs and the drug dealers have more room to operate.

Sadly, this is not just happening in Camden.  It is happening all over New Jersey. Of 315 municipalities the New Jersey State Police union recently surveyed, more than half indicated that they were planning to lay off police officers. So why doesn’t the state government step in and help out?

Well, the state of New Jersey is in such bad shape that they still are facing a $10 billion budget deficit for this year even after cutting a billion dollars from the education budget and laying off thousands of teachers.

New Jersey also has $46 billion in unfunded pension liabilities and $65 billion in unfunded health care liabilities.  Nobody is quite sure how New Jersey is even going to come close to meeting those obligations. Meanwhile, cities like Camden are rotting a little bit more every single day.

98.  New Orleans, Louisiana
New Orleans had a struggling economy even before Hurricane Katrina struck back in 2005.  But that event changed everything.  It is now almost 6 years later and virtually the entire region is still a disaster zone. New Orleans permanently lost 29% of its population after Hurricane Katrina.  There are many areas of New Orleans that still look as if they have just been bombed.

21.5 percent of all houses in New Orleans, Louisiana are currently standing vacant.  Many of those homes will never be inhabited again.

What made things even worse for New Orleans (and for residents all along the Gulf coast) was the horrific BP oil spill last year.  The mainstream news does not talk about the oil spill much anymore, but those living in the area have to deal with the effects every single day.  Some of the industries in the Gulf region were really starting to recover from Hurricane Katrina but the BP oil spill put a stop to that. Before the oil spill, Louisiana produced more fish and seafood than anywhere in the United States except for Alaska.  But now the seafood industry has been absolutely devastated.  It has been estimated that the cost of the BP oil spill to the fishing industry in Louisiana alone could top 3 billion dollars. Some local shrimpers in the region are projecting that it will be about seven years before they can set to sea again.
New Orleans keeps trying to bounce back from all of these disasters, but times are tough down there.

Today, New Orleans is the 13th most violent city in America.  That is actually an improvement.  Before Katrina New Orleans had even more violent crime.
The truth is that other areas along the Gulf coast are doing a lot worse than New Orleans is doing.  A ton of big corporate money has flowed into New Orleans.  Officials are trying to clean up the city and make it a huge tourist destination once again. But in the surrounding areas things are not looking so bright.  There are areas along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the panhandle of Florida that are some of the most depressing places in the nation.

It is almost as if there are hundreds of thousands of people that time forgot.  In some rural areas along the Gulf coast the poverty is absolutely mind-blowing. There are very few jobs and there is very little hope.  Meanwhile, large numbers of people in the region continue to get sick from the toxic dispersants
used to clean up the oil spill.

Let us hope that we don’t see another major disaster in the Gulf of Mexico any time soon.  As it is, it is going to take decades for that region to fully recover.  There are a lot of really good people that live down there, and they deserve our prayers.

97. Vallejo, California (And Virtually The Rest Of The State Of California)
Almost the entire state of California is an economic disaster zone. Austerity measures are being implemented in city after city as tax revenues have nose-dived.
The following is an excerpt from a recent New York Times article that describes the brutal austerity that has been implemented in Vallejo, California….
“Vallejo is still in bankruptcy. The police force has shrunk from 153 officers to 92. Calls for any but the most serious crimes go unanswered. Residents who complain about prostitutes or vandals are told to fill out a form. Three of the city’s firehouses were closed. Last summer, a fire ravaged a house in one of the city’s better neighborhoods; one of the fire trucks came from another town, 15 miles away. Is this America’s future?”

In California, things don’t ‘look’ as bad as they do in the cities of the  older eastern and midwestern states, however, California is basically insolvent and are home to very large ethnic populations, many of whom are on government assistance.
[Image left: A middle class gated community. Sadly, that is what the future of America is going to look like.]

Public services are being slashed all over the nation due to budget crunches. Unless there is a major jobs recovery, the situation in California is going to continue to degenerate.  The truth is that the state of California needs millions and millions of new jobs just to get back to “normal”.  For example, near the end of last year it was reported that 24.3 percent of the residents of El Centro, California were unemployed.  Not only that, as of the end of last year the number of people unemployed in the state of  California was approximately equivalent to the entire populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

In Stockton, CA, with 43 police threatened to be laid off, a group of concerned residents formed an armed militia to patrol the city.
Businesses are closing in California at an astounding pace.  At one point last year it was reported that in the area around Sacramento, California there was one closed business for every six that were still open. As a result of all of this, home prices in many areas of California have completely fallen off a cliff.  For example, the average home in Merced, California has declined in value by 63 percent over the past four years. California also had more foreclosure filings that any other U.S. state in 2010.  The 546,669 total foreclosure filings during the year means that over 4 percent of all the housing units in the state of California received a foreclosure filing at some point during 2010.

Sadly, things don’t look like they are going to turn around in California any time soon.  Forbes recently compiled a list entitled “Cities Where The Economy May Get Worse”. Six of the top seven spots were held by cities in California.

California is becoming a very frightening place.  When you combine high unemployment with unchecked illegal immigration what you get is rampant poverty. Twenty percent of the residents of Los Angeles County are now receiving public aid of one form or another. In particular, the number of children that are considered to be in need of public assistance is truly scary. Incredibly, 60 percent of all the students attending California public schools now qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

Poverty and illegal immigration have also caused a tremendous health care crisis in the state.  The hordes of illegal aliens taking advantage of “free” medical care at hospital emergency rooms have caused dozens of hospitals across the state of California to completely shut down.  As a result, the state
of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

The bozos in Sacramento keep passing hundreds of new laws in an attempt to “fix” the state, but the truth is that for the poorest residents of the state all of those new laws don’t make a shred of difference.

The following is how Victor Davis Hansen[1] describes what he saw during his recent tour of the “forgotten areas of central California”….
“Many of the rural trailer-house compounds I saw appear to the naked eye no different from what I have seen in the Third World . There is a Caribbean look to the junked cars, electric wires crisscrossing between various outbuildings, plastic tarps substituting for replacement shingles, lean-tos cobbled together as auxiliary housing, pit bulls unleashed, and geese, goats, and chickens roaming around the yards. The public hears about all sorts of tough California regulations that stymie business – rigid zoning laws, strict building codes, constant inspections – but apparently none of that applies out here. Hansen also says that he observed that people in these areas are doing whatever they can to get by….At crossroads, peddlers in a counter-California economy sell almost anything. Here is what I noticed at an intersection on the west side last week: shovels, rakes, hoes, gas pumps, lawnmowers, edgers, blowers, jackets, gloves, and caps. The merchandise was all new. I doubt whether in high-tax California sales taxes or income taxes were paid on any of these stop-and-go transactions.
In two supermarkets 50 miles apart, I was the only one in line who did not pay with a social-service plastic card (gone are the days when “food stamps” were embarrassing bulky coupons).”

Are you frightened yet?
You know what they say – “as goes California, so goes the nation”.

What is happening in California now is eventually going to come to your area. Right now California is also having a huge problem with gangs.  Gang violence in America is getting totally out of control.
According to authorities, there are now over 1 million members of criminal gangs operating inside the country, and those gangs are responsible for up to 80% of the violent crimes committed in the U.S. each year. But instead of ramping up to fight crime and fight illegal immigration, police forces all over California are being cut back.

For example, because of extreme budget cuts and police layoffs, Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts has announced that there are a number of crimes that his department simply will no longer respond to due to a lack of resources.  The following is a partial list of the crimes that police officers in Oakland will no longer be responding to….

•  burglary
•  obtain money by false voucher
•  theft
•  fraudulent use of access cards
•  embezzlement
•  stolen license plate
•  grand theft
•  embezzlement by an employee
•  grand theft: dog
•  extortion
•  identity theft
•  attempted extortion
•  false information to peace officer
•  false personification of other
•  required to register as sex or arson offender
•  injure telephone/power line
•  dump waste or offensive matter
•  interfere with power line
•  loud music
•  unauthorized cable tv connection
•  possess forged notes
•  vandalism
•  pass fictitious check

Not that Oakland wasn’t already a mess before all this, but now how long do you think it will be before total chaos and anarchy reigns on the city streets? Today, Oakland is considered the 5th most violent city in the United States. Will it soon become the most violent?

But Oakland is not the only major California city that is facing these kinds of issues. Things have gotten so bad in Stockton, California that the police union put up a billboard with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”
Already the police force in Stockton has been stripped down to almost nothing. A while back, the Stockton Police Department dropped this bombshell….
“We absolutely do not have any narcotics officers, narcotics sergeants working any kind of investigative narcotics type cases at this point in time.” Do you think drug dealers will be flocking to Stockton after they hear that? California was once the envy of the world. Now it is becoming one gigantic hellhole.

During one recent 23 year period, the state of California built 23 prisons but just one university.
So is there any hope for California? No, unfortunately there is not.
In another article, I wrote about some of the reasons why millions of people have been leaving California for good….
“Meanwhile, the standard of living in California is going right into the toilet.  Housing values are plummeting.  Unemployment has risen above 20 percent in many areas of the state.  Crime and gang activity is on the rise even as police budgets are being hacked to the bone.  The health care system is an absolute disaster.  At this point California has the fewest emergency rooms per million people out of all 50 states.   While all of this has been going on, the state legislature in Sacramento has been very busy passing hundreds of new laws that are mostly about promoting one radical agenda or another.  The state government has become so radically anti-business that it is a wonder that any businesses have remained in the state.  It seems like the moving vans never stop as an endless parade of businesses and families leave California as quickly as they can.”

But this is not just a “California thing”.  The truth is that what is happening in California, in Detroit, in Camden and in hundreds of other communities is also going to happen where you live.

The U.S. economy is slowly dying. Only 66.8% of American men had a job last year.  That was the
lowest level that has ever been recorded in U.S. history.
People are getting desperate.  There are ten percent fewer middle class jobs than there were a decade ago and the competition for good jobs has become insane.  More than 44 million Americans are now on food stamps and that number grows every single month.  Millions more American families fall into poverty every single year.

It is time to face the truth about what is happening to America.  Our economy is not growing and becoming stronger.  Rather, the cold, hard reality of the matter is that our economy is very sick and it is dying.  The seemingly boundless prosperity that we have enjoyed for decade after decade is coming to an end.  Our communities are being transformed into absolute hellholes.

Those that are telling you that the U.S. economy will soon be better than ever are lying to you.
The U.S. economy is going to go down and it is going to go down hard.

One thing is painfully clear about the housing bubble bursting in Southern California and that is many of the 20 million residents never venture off their beaten path.  Hit the freeway to work, stay inside, clock out, and head back to your segmented area.  Variety is having lunch within a few minutes or miles from the hub.  You have to wonder how many people are blind o the economic destruction that is hitting from all corners like a financial tornado.  Foreclosures are raging and yet you have people gleefully acting as if real estate is heading back to the previous price levels.  Those days are gone.  If people would only venture out a few miles to see what is happening in their own backyard it would add a new level of perspective.
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C.  How The ‘Progressives’ Ruined The State
Tuesday, February 15, 2011, Good-Bye California, By Victor Davis Hansen
Pasted from: http://www.rense.com/general92/goodd.htm
“The last three weeks I have traveled about, taking the pulse of the more forgotten areas of central California. I wanted to witness, even if superficially, what is happening to a state that has the highest sales and income taxes, the most lavish entitlements, the near-worst public schools (based on federal test scores), and the largest number of illegal aliens in the nation, along with an overregulated private sector, a stagnant and shrinking manufacturing base, and an elite environmental ethos that restricts commerce and productivity without curbing consumption.

During this unscientific experiment, three times a week I rode a bike on a 20-mile trip over various rural roads in southwestern Fresno County . I also drove my car over to the coast to work, on various routes through towns like San Joaquin , Mendota, and Firebaugh. And near my home I have been driving, shopping, and touring by intent the rather segregated and impoverished areas of Caruthers, Fowler, Laton, Orange Cove, Parlier, and Selma . My own farmhouse is now in an area of abject poverty and almost no ethnic diversity; the closest elementary school (my alma mater, two miles away) is 94 percent Hispanic and 1 percent white, and well below federal testing norms in math and English.

Here are some general observations about what I saw (other than that the rural roads of California are fast turning into rubble, poorly maintained and reverting to what I remember seeing long ago in the rural South). First, remember that these areas are the ground zero, so to speak, of 20 years of illegal immigration. There has been a general depression in farming – to such an extent that the 20- to-100-acre tree and vine farmer, the erstwhile backbone of the old rural California , for all practical purposes has ceased to exist.

On the western side of the Central Valley , the effects of arbitrary cutoffs in federal irrigation water have idled tens of thousands of acres of prime agricultural land, leaving thousands unemployed.
Manufacturing plants in the towns in these areas – which used to make harvesters, hydraulic lifts, trailers, food-processing equipment – have largely shut down; their production has been shipped off overseas or south of the border. Agriculture itself – from almonds to raisins – has increasingly become
 corporatized and mechanized, cutting by half the number of farm workers needed.  So unemployment runs somewhere between 15 and 20 percent.

It is almost as if the more California regulates, the more it does not regulate. Its public employees prefer to go after misdemeanors in the upscale areas to justify our expensive oversight industry, while ignoring the felonies in the downtrodden areas, which are becoming feral and beyond the ability of any inspector to do anything but feel irrelevant. But in the regulators’ defense, where would one get the money to redo an ad hoc trailer park with a spider web of illegal bare wires?

Many of the rented-out rural shacks and stationary Winnebagos are on former small farms – the vineyards overgrown with weeds, or torn out with the ground lying fallow. I pass on the cultural consequences to communities from the loss of thousands of small farming families. I don’t think I can remember another time when so many acres in the eastern part of the valley have gone out of production, even though farm prices have recently rebounded. Apparently it is simply not worth the gamble of investing $7,000 to $10,000 an acre in a new orchard or vineyard. What an anomaly – with suddenly soaring farm prices, still we have thousands of acres in the world’s richest agricultural belt, with available water on the east side of the valley and plentiful labor, gone idle or in disuse. Is credit frozen? Are there simply no more farmers? Are the schools so bad as to scare away potential agricultural entrepreneurs? Or are we all terrified by the national debt and uncertain future?

California coastal elites may worry about the oxygen content of water available to a three-inch smelt in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, but they seem to have no interest in the epidemic dumping of trash, furniture, and often toxic substances throughout California ‘s rural hinterland. Yesterday, for example, I rode my bike by a stopped van just as the occupants tossed seven plastic bags of raw refuse onto the side of the road. I rode up near their bumper and said in my broken Spanish not to throw garbage onto the public road. But there were three of them, and one of me. So I was lucky to be sworn at only. I note in passing that I would not drive into Mexico and, as a guest, dare to pull over and throw seven bags of trash into the environment of my host.

In fact, trash piles are commonplace out here – composed of everything from half-empty paint cans and children’s plastic toys to diapers and moldy food. I have never seen a rural sheriff cite a litterer, or witnessed state EPA workers cleaning up these unauthorized wastelands. So I would suggest to Bay Area scientists that the environment is taking a much harder beating down here in central California than it is in the Delta. Perhaps before we cut off more irrigation water to the west side of the valley, we might invest some green dollars into cleaning up the unsightly and sometimes dangerous garbage that now litters the outskirts of our rural communities.

We hear about the tough small-business regulations that have driven residents out of the state, at the rate of 2,000 to 3,000 a week. But from my unscientific observations these past weeks, it seems rather easy to open a small business in California without any oversight at all, or at least what I might call a “counter business.” I counted eleven mobile hot-kitchen trucks that simply park by the side of the road, spread about some plastic chairs, pull down a tarp canopy, and, presto, become mini-restaurants. There are no “facilities” such as toilets or washrooms. But I do frequently see lard trails on the isolated roads I bike on, where trucks apparently have simply opened their draining tanks and sped on, leaving a slick of cooking fats and oils. Crows and ground squirrels love them; they can be seen from a distance mysteriously occupied in the middle of the road.

I did not see any relationship between the use of the (Social Service) cards and poverty as we once knew it: The electrical appurtenances owned by the user and the car into which the (welfare) groceries were loaded were indistinguishable from those of the upper middle class. By that I mean that most consumers drove late-model Camrys, Accords, or Tauruses, had iPhones, Bluetooths, or BlackBerries, and bought everything in the store with public-assistance credit. This seemed a world apart from the trailers I had just ridden by the day before. I don’t editorialize here on the logic or morality of any of this, but I note only that there are vast numbers of people who apparently are not working, are on public food assistance, and enjoy the technological veneer of the middle class. California has a consumer market surely, but often no apparent source of income. Does the $40 million a day supplement to unemployment benefits from Washington explain some of this?

Do diversity concerns, as in lack of diversity, work both ways? Over a hundred-mile stretch, when I stopped in San Joaquin for a bottled water, or drove through Orange Cove, or got gas in Parlier, or went to a corner market in southwestern Selma, my home town, I was the only non-Hispanic – there were no Asians, no blacks, no other whites. We may speak of the richness of “diversity,” but those who cherish that ideal simply have no idea that there are now countless inland communities that have become near-apartheid societies, where Spanish is the first language, the schools are not at all diverse, and the federal and state governments are either the main employers or at least the chief sources of income – whether through emergency rooms, rural health clinics, public schools, or social-service offices. An observer from Mars might conclude that our elites and masses have given up on the ideal of integration and assimilation, perhaps in the wake of the arrival of 11 to 15 million illegal aliens.

Again, I do not editorialize, but I note these vast transformations over the last 20 years that are the paradoxical wages of unchecked illegal immigration from Mexico, a vast expansion of California’s entitlements and taxes, the flight of the upper middle class out of state, the deliberate effort not to tap natural resources, the downsizing in manufacturing and agriculture, and the departure of whites, blacks, and Asians from many of these small towns to more racially diverse and upscale areas of
California.

Fresno ‘s California State University campus is embroiled in controversy over the student body president’s announcing that he is an illegal alien, with all the requisite protests in favor of the DREAM Act. I won’t comment on the legislation per se, but again only note the anomaly. I taught at CSUF for 21 years. I think it fair to say that the predominant theme of the Chicano and Latin American Studies program’s sizable curriculum was a fuzzy American culpability. By that I mean that students in those classes heard of the sins of America more often than its attractions.

In my home town, Mexican flag decals on car windows are far more common than their American counterparts. I note this because hundreds of students here illegally are now terrified of being deported to Mexico . I can understand that, given the chaos in Mexico and their own long residency in the United States . But here is what still confuses me: If one were to consider the classes that deal with Mexico at the university, or the visible displays of national chauvinism, then one might conclude that Mexico is a far more attractive and moral place than the United States. So there is a surreal nature to these protests: something like, “Please do not send me back to the culture I nostalgically praise; please let me stay in the culture that I ignore or deprecate.”  I think the DREAM Act protestors might have been far more successful in winning public opinion had they stopped blaming the U.S. for suggesting that they might have to leave at some point, and instead explained why, in fact, they want to stay. What it is about America that makes a youth of 21 go on a hunger strike or demonstrate to be allowed to remain in this country rather than return to the place of his birth?

I think I know the answer to this paradox. Missing entirely in the above description is the attitude of the host, which by any historical standard can only be termed “indifferent. ” California does not care whether one broke the law to arrive here or continues to break it by staying. It asks nothing of the illegal immigrant – no proficiency in English, no acquaintance with American history and values, no proof of income, no record of education or skills. It does provide all the public assistance that it can afford (and more that it borrows for), and apparently waives enforcement of most of California ‘s burdensome regulations and civic statutes that increasingly have plagued productive citizens to the point of driving them out.

How odd that we over regulate those who are citizens and have capital to the point of banishing them from the state, but do not regulate those who are aliens and without capital to the point of encouraging millions more to follow in their footsteps. How odd – to paraphrase what Critias once said of ancient Sparta – that California is at once both the nation’s most unfree and most free state, the most repressed and the wildest. Hundreds of thousands sense all that and vote accordingly with their feet, both into and out of California – and the result is a sort of social, cultural, economic, and political time-bomb, whose ticks are getting louder.”
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D.  Education: The Dumbing Of America
Call Me a Snob, but Really, We’re a Nation of Dunces
February 17, 2008, By Susan Jacoby
Pasted from: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article19382.htm
“The mind of this country, taught to aim at low objects, eats upon itself.” Ralph Waldo Emerson offered that observation in 1837, but his words echo with painful prescience in today’s very different United States. Americans are in serious intellectual trouble — in danger of losing our hard-won cultural capital to a virulent mixture of anti-intellectualism, anti-rationalism and low expectations.

This is the last subject that any candidate would dare raise on the long and winding road to the White House. It is almost impossible to talk about the manner in which public ignorance contributes to grave national problems without being labeled an “elitist,” one of the most powerful pejoratives that can be applied to anyone aspiring to high office. Instead, our politicians repeatedly assure Americans that they are just “folks,” a patronizing term that you will search for in vain in important presidential speeches before 1980. (Just imagine: “We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain . . . and that government of the folks, by the folks, for the folks, shall not perish from the earth.”) Such exaltations of ordinariness are among the distinguishing traits of anti-intellectualism in any era.

The classic work on this subject by Columbia University historian Richard Hofstadter, “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life,” was published in early 1963, between the anti-communist crusades of the McCarthy era and the social convulsions of the late 1960s.
Hofstadter saw American anti-intellectualism as a basically cyclical phenomenon that often manifested itself as the dark side of the country’s democratic impulses in religion and education. But today’s brand of anti-intellectualism is less a cycle than a flood. If Hofstadter (who died of leukemia in 1970 at age 54) had lived long enough to write a modern-day sequel, he would have found that our era of 24/7 infotainment has outstripped his most apocalyptic predictions about the future of American culture.

Dumbness, to paraphrase the late senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, has been steadily defined downward for several decades, by a combination of heretofore irresistible forces. These include the triumph of video culture over print culture (and by video, I mean every form of digital media, as well as older electronic ones); a disjunction between Americans’ rising level of formal education and their shaky grasp of basic geography, science and history; and the fusion of anti-rationalism with anti-intellectualism.

First and foremost among the vectors of the new anti-intellectualism is video. The decline of book, newspaper and magazine reading is by now an old story. The drop-off is most pronounced among the young, but it continues to accelerate and afflict Americans of all ages and education levels.

Reading has declined not only among the poorly educated, according to a report last year by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1982, 82 percent of college graduates read novels or poems for
pleasure; two decades later, only 67 percent did. And more than 40 percent of Americans under 44 did not read a single book — fiction or nonfiction — over the course of a year. The proportion of 17-year-olds who read nothing (unless required to do so for school) more than doubled between 1984 and 2004. This time period, of course, encompasses the rise of personal computers, Web surfing and video games.

Does all this matter? Technophiles pooh-pooh jeremiads about the end of print culture as the navel-gazing of (what else?) elitists. In his book “Everything Bad Is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture Is Actually Making Us Smarter,” the science writer Steven Johnson assures us that we have nothing to worry about. Sure, parents may see their “vibrant and active children gazing silently, mouths agape, at the screen.” But these zombie-like characteristics “are not signs of mental atrophy. They’re signs of focus.” Balderdash. The real question is what toddlers are screening out, not what they are focusing on, while they sit mesmerized by videos they have seen dozens of times.

Despite an aggressive marketing campaign aimed at encouraging babies as young as 6 months to watch videos, there is no evidence that focusing on a screen is anything but bad for infants and toddlers. In a study released last August, University of Washington researchers found that babies between 8 and 16 months recognized an average of six to eight fewer words for every hour spent watching videos.

I cannot prove that reading for hours in a treehouse (which is what I was doing when I was 13) creates more informed citizens than hammering away at a Microsoft Xbox or obsessing about Facebook profiles. But the inability to concentrate for long periods of time — as distinct from brief reading hits for information on the Web — seems to me intimately related to the inability of the public to remember even recent news events. It is not surprising, for example, that less has been heard from the presidential candidates about the Iraq war in the later stages of the primary campaign than in the earlier ones, simply because there have been fewer video reports of violence in Iraq. Candidates, like voters, emphasize the latest news, not necessarily the most important news.

No wonder negative political ads work. “With text, it is even easy to keep track of differing levels of authority behind different pieces of information,” the cultural critic Caleb Crain noted recently in the New Yorker. “A comparison of two video reports, on the other hand, is cumbersome. Forced to choose between conflicting stories on television, the viewer falls back on hunches, or on what he believed before he started watching.”

As video consumers become progressively more impatient with the process of acquiring information through written language, all politicians find themselves under great pressure to deliver their messages as quickly as possible — and quickness today is much quicker than it used to be. Harvard University’s Kiku Adatto found that between 1968 and 1988, the average sound bite on the news for a presidential candidate — featuring the candidate’s own voice — dropped from 42.3 seconds to 9.8 seconds. By 2000, according to another Harvard study, the daily candidate bite was down to just
7.8 seconds.

The shrinking public attention span fostered by video is closely tied to the second important anti-intellectual force in American culture: the erosion of general knowledge.

People accustomed to hearing their president explain complicated policy choices by snapping “I’m the decider” may find it almost impossible to imagine the pains that Franklin D. Roosevelt took, in the grim months after Pearl Harbor, to explain why U.S. armed forces were suffering one defeat after another in the Pacific. In February 1942, Roosevelt urged Americans to spread out a map during his radio
“fireside chat” so that they might better understand the geography of battle. In stores throughout the country, maps sold out; about 80 percent of American adults tuned in to hear the president. FDR had told his speechwriters that he was certain that if Americans understood the immensity of the distances over which supplies had to travel to the armed forces, “they can take any kind of bad news right on the chin.”

This is a portrait not only of a different presidency and president but also of a different country and citizenry, one that lacked access to satellite-enhanced Google maps but was far more receptive to learning and complexity than today’s public. According to a 2006 survey by National Geographic-Roper, nearly half of Americans between ages 18 and 24 do not think it necessary to know the location of other countries in which important news is being made. More than a third consider it “not at all important” to know a foreign language, and only 14 percent consider it “very important.”

That leads us to the third and final factor behind the new American dumbness: not lack of knowledge per se but arrogance about that lack of knowledge. The problem is not just the things we do not know (consider the one in five American adults who, according to the National Science Foundation, thinks the sun revolves around the Earth); it’s the alarming number of Americans who have smugly concluded that they do not need to know such things in the first place. Call this anti-rationalism — a syndrome that is particularly dangerous to our public institutions and discourse. Not knowing a foreign language or the location of an important country is a manifestation of ignorance; denying that such knowledge matters is pure anti-rationalism. The toxic brew of anti-rationalism and ignorance hurts discussions of U.S. public policy on topics from health care to taxation.

There is no quick cure for this epidemic  of arrogant anti-rationalism and anti-intellectualism; rote efforts to raise standardized test scores by stuffing students with specific answers to specific questions on specific tests will not do the job. Moreover, the people who exemplify the problem are usually oblivious to it. (“Hardly anyone believes himself to be against thought and culture,” Hofstadter noted.) It is past time for a serious national discussion about whether, as a nation, we truly value intellect and rationality. If this indeed turns out to be a “change election,” the low-level of discourse in a country with a mind taught to aim at low objects ought to be the first item on the change agenda.”
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E.  The Dumbing Down of America’s Colleges
April 1996, Phyllis Schlafly Report
Pasted from: http://www.ourcivilisation.com/dumb/dumb2.htm
“Finally, a prestigious group of college professors has come right out and said that the emperor (i.e., the Imperial University) has no clothes. Many have long suspected that college education has been dramatically dumbed down (like the public schools), but few have had the courage to say so.

The National Association of Scholars (NAS), the nation’s leading higher-education reform organization, has just published a devastating 65-page report on its investigation of the courses offered and required at 50 top undergraduate colleges and universities. The NAS used U.S. News & World Report’s annual listing of “America’s Best Colleges” (including both private and public). All figures cited below refer to those 50 elite institutions in the particular years chosen for comparison, 1914, 1939, 1964, and 1993.

The NAS concludes that students no longer learn the common core of knowledge once taken for granted as essential to a liberal-arts education. The universities have simply purged from the curriculum many of the required courses that formerly taught students the historical, cultural, political and scientific basics of our society.

The number of mandatory courses has been dramatically reduced from an average of 9.9 in 1914, to 7.3 in 1939, to 6.9 in 1964, and to 2.5 in 1993. The formerly universal requirement that students take a basic survey course in several important areas has virtually vanished.

Universities now offer very few courses that require prerequisites, which means that very few college courses now require any advance knowledge or preparation. In 1914, universities offered an average of only 23 courses per institution that did not require a prerequisite course; in 1964 the figure had risen to 127; today, the number is 582. Only 12 percent of universities now require a thesis or comprehensive examination to get a bachelor’s degree. As late as 1964, more than half of universities did.

The college year has been shortened by about one-fourth (leaving more time for spring break and other frivolities, but, of course, without any reduction in tuition price or professors’ salaries). In 1914, college classes were in session an average of 204 days a year; by 1939 the number had dropped to 195; in 1964, to 191; and today students and teachers are expected to show up in class only 156 days per academic year.

Maybe the reason why young people can’t write good English is that so few colleges teach writing any more. In 1914, nearly all universities had required courses in English composition; by 1964 the figure was 86 percent; today, it’s only 36 percent.

Ditto for math. In 1914, 82 percent of the universities had traditional mathematics requirements; by 1964 only 36 percent did; now, only 12 percent do. In 1914, 1939 and 1964, more than 70 percent of the institutions required at least one course in the natural sciences; that figure has now fallen to only 34 percent.

Maybe the reason why the federal guidelines on the teaching of American history turned out to be such a travesty was that most college graduates haven’t studied any history. In 1914, 90 percent of our elite colleges required history; in 1939 and 1964 more than 50 percent did; but now only one of the 50 schools has a required history course.

Literature courses were required at 75 percent of the institutions in 1914, and at 50 percent in 1939 and 1964. Today, not one of the “best” institutions has a literature requirement.

Meanwhile, the total number of courses offered at undergraduate institutions has increased by a factor of five since 1914, and has doubled since 1964, but that doesn’t mean more opportunities to become an educated citizen. The majority of these additional courses are on narrow and idiosyncratic subjects of interest to the professors but almost worthless to the students. The total includes such trendy
and trivial courses as Stanford’s “Gender and Science” (which purports to study science free from outdated male assumptions), and Georgetown’s “Unspeakable Lives: Gay and Lesbian Narratives.”

Here are some examples of courses given at Yale University for which students can receive college credit: “Gender and the Politics of Resistance: Feminism, Capitalism and the Third World.” “Gender and Technology.” “Feminist Perspectives on Literature.” “Lesbian and Gay Theater Performance.” “The Literature of AIDS.” “Contemporary Lesbian and Gay Arts and Culture.” “Constructing Lesbian Identities.” Such courses are just propaganda and entertainment masquerading as education.

The result is that our best colleges and universities no longer turn out graduates who have an elementary knowledge of our civilization and its heritage. They do not learn the basic facts of our country’s history, political and economic systems, philosophic traditions, and literary and artistic legacies.

Quite apart from the fraud of charging an exorbitant $100,000 for a devalued diploma is the fact that we are in danger of losing the national cohesion of a known and shared heritage which has sustained and nourished our unique institutions of freedom within a limited, constitutional government.

The New York Times quoted a critic of this NAS report as arguing that “the real agenda of higher education today is the concern with problem solving, critical thinking, communicating and learning how to value.”

But how are students going to engage in all those thoughtful processes when their knowledge is so pathetically limited and their composition and communication skills are almost non-existent?

In addition, there is the dumbing down inherent in giving courses that are not college courses at all, but are designed to teach students what they didn’t learn in high school. Sometimes these courses are called “remedial,” but the institutions prefer euphemisms such as “second tier” and “sub-freshman.” Such courses were unheard of prior to 1939, and only three institutions offered them in 1964. Today such non-college-level courses are offered in 70 percent of the elite universities, and most of them award college credit.

California state legislators recently discovered the high cost to the taxpayers of the remedial education courses given at the state universities. Last year, 60 percent of new students needed remedial help. California legislators assert that students have been the victims of consumer fraud perpetrated on them by the high schools that gave them high grades. The legislators want to send the invoice for the cost of the remedial courses to the high schools that deceived their students by giving them a 3.8 or higher grade-point average.

The 1996 Governors Education Summit at Palisades, New York, spent two days discussing “standards” for what students should learn in public schools. Longtime American Federation of Teachers president Al Shanker gave this concept a reality check. He said that when, as a teacher, he assigned homework to his class, the pupils invariably responded in chorus, “Does it count on our grade?” He pointed out the fact of human nature that standards aren’t going to make any difference if, no matter what students learn or don’t learn, they can still get admitted to nearly all U.S. colleges and universities.  The standards question in the public schools could be resolved if colleges and universities would abolish their remedial courses and admit only students capable of doing college work. But they won’t because of the easy flow of taxpayers’ money, which makes it so profitable for colleges and universities to admit all the students they can and then send the bill to the taxpayers.
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F. Infrastructure: America’s Crumbling Infrastructure
One of the key signs that we are in the early stages of an economic collapse and that we are heading towards another Great Depression is America’s crumbling infrastructure.  The truth is that our infrastructure is literally falling apart all around us.  Thousands of bridges are structurally deficient and there have already been some very high profile collapses.  Over 30 percent of the highways and roads in the United States are in very poor shape.  Aging sewer systems are leaking raw sewage all over the place.  The power grid is straining to keep up with the ever-increasing thirst of the American people for electricity.  There have already been some regional blackouts, and unless something is done quickly things promise to get even worse.  The truth is that a nation’s infrastructure says a lot about who they are.  So what does America’s infrastructure say about us?  It says that we are a rusting, crumbling, decaying leftover from a better, more prosperous time.

Consider the following facts about America’s infrastructure from the Pew Research Center
website…..
*  According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.
*  According to the Federal Highway Administration, approximately a third of America’s major roadways are in substandard condition – a significant factor in a third of the more than 43,000 traffic fatalities in the United States each year.
*  The Texas Transportation Institute estimates that traffic jams caused by insufficient infrastructure waste 4 billion hours of commuters’ time and nearly 3 billion gallons of gasoline a year.
*  The Association of State Dam Safety Officials has found that the number of dams in the United States that could fail has grown 134% since 1999 to 3,346, and more than 1,300 of those are considered “high-hazard” – meaning that their collapse would threaten lives.
*  More than a third of all dam failures or near failures since 1874 have happened in just the last decade.
*  According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, aging sewer systems spill an estimated 1.26 trillion gallons of untreated sewage every single year, resulting in an estimated 50.6 billion dollars in cleanup costs.

The following are some additional facts from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce….
*  A decaying transportation system costs our economy more than $78 billion annually in lost time and fuel.
*  The United States must invest $225 billion per year over the next 50 years to maintain and adequately enhance our surface transportation systems. Currently, we’re spending less than 40% of this amount.
*  U.S. transit systems earned a D+ rating from the American Society of Civil Engineers. Transit funding is declining even as transit use increases faster than any other mode of transportation – up 21% between 1993 and 2002.
*  Costs attributed to airline delays – due in large part to congestion and an antiquated air traffic control system – are expected to triple to $30 billion from 2000 to 2015.
*  By 2020, every major U.S. container port is projected to be handling at least double the volume it was designed to handle.
*  Throughout the United States, railroads are projected to need nearly $200 billion in investment over the next 20 years to accommodate freight increases.

Are you starting to get the picture??

America’s aging infrastructure cannot handle the number of people that we have now. With the population of the United States expected to hit 420 million by 2050, there are serious questions about how the national infrastructure is going to hold up under such a strain. Already the infrastructure in many areas of the United States is beginning to resemble that of a third world nation.

So can anything be done about America’s crumbling infrastructure? Of course. State and local governments can spend the money needed to fix and maintain our infrastructure. But that is not going to happen. Why? Because state and local governments are now facing unprecedented financial shortfalls. In fact, it is more likely that expenditures on infrastructure will actually be cut.

According to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, after two years cutting spending on schools, health care, and other public services, U.S. states are preparing to carve even deeper into funding for 2011.

Of course the U.S. government could step in with necessary infrastructure funding, but considering the state of the U.S. national debt, it seems unlikely that state and local governments will be able to count on much more help from the folks in Washington D.C.

So what does that mean? It means that America’s infrastructure will continue to rust, decay and fall to pieces.  Our grandparents and great-grandparents invested a lot of time, energy and money into building up this great nation, but now we are letting it rot right in front of our eyes.
What do you think that says about us?
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G.  Everything Is Falling Apart:  20 Facts That You Will Not Want To Read  If You Still Want To Feel Good About America’s Decaying Infrastructure
5 Jan 2011, TheEconomicCollapseBlog.com, by Michael Snyder
Pasted from: http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/everything-is-falling-apart-20-facts-that-you-will-not-want-to-read-if-you-still-want-to-feel-good-about-americas-decaying-infrastructure
If you haven’t noticed lately, America is literally falling apart all around us. Decaying infrastructure is everywhere. Our roads and bridges are crumbling and are full of holes.  Our rail system is ancient.  Our airports and runways have definitely seen their better days.  Aging sewer systems all over the country are leaking raw sewage all over the place.  The power grid is straining to keep up with the ever-increasing thirst of the American people for electricity.  Dams are failing at an unprecedented rate.  Virtually all of our ports are handling far more traffic than they were ever intended to handle.  Meanwhile, our national spending on infrastructure is way down.  Back during the 1950s and 1960s we were spending between 3 and 4 percent of our national GDP on infrastructure, but today we are spending less than 2.5 percent of our national GDP on it.  According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, we need to spend approximately $2.2 trillion on infrastructure repairs and upgrades just to bring our existing infrastructure up to “good condition”.

Does anyone have an extra $2.2 trillion to spare?

If you get the feeling that America is decaying as you drive around this great country of ours, it is not just your imagination.  It is literally happening.

You should not read the list of facts below if you want to keep feeling good about the condition of America’s infrastructure.  There really is no way to sugar-coat what is happening. Previous generations handed us the greatest national infrastructure that anyone in the world has ever seen and we have neglected it and have allowed it to badly deteriorate.

This first set of facts about America’s decaying infrastructure was compiled from a fact sheet entitled “The Case For U.S. Infrastructure Investment” by an organization called Building America’s Future….

#1   One-third of America’s major roads are in poor or mediocre condition.
#2   Traffic on more than half the miles of interstate highway exceeds 70 percent of capacity, and nearly 25 percent of the miles are strained at more than 95 percent of capacity.
#3   Americans waste 4.2 billion hours and 2.8 billion gallons fuel a year sitting in traffic – equal to nearly one full work week and three weeks’ worth of gas for every traveler.
#4   Over the next 30 years, our nation is expected to grow by 100 million and highway traffic will double again. Even if highway capacity grows no faster than in the last 25 years, Americans can expect to spend 160 hours – 4 work weeks – each year in traffic by 2035.
#5   Nearly a third of all highway fatalities are due to substandard road conditions, obsolete road designs, or roadside hazards.
#6   Over 4,095 dams are “unsafe” and have deficiencies that leave them more susceptible to failure, especially during large flood events or earthquakes.
#7   Rolling blackouts and inefficiencies in the U.S. electrical grid cost an estimated $80 billion a year
#8   By 2020, every major U.S. container port is projected to at least double the volume of cargo it was designed to handle. Some East Coast ports will triple in volume, and some West Coast ports will quadruple.
#9   Other countries are leapfrogging past us by investing in world-class ports. China is investing $6.9 billion; the port of Shanghai now has almost as much container capacity as all U.S. ports combined.
#10   By 2020, China plans to build 55,000 miles of highways, more than the total length of the U.S. interstate system.

The rest of these facts were compiled from various sources around the Internet.  The more research that you do into America’s decaying infrastructure the more depressing it becomes….

#11   According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 25 percent of America’s nearly 600,000 bridges need significant repairs or are burdened with more traffic than they were designed to carry.
#12   More than a third of all dam failures or near failures since 1874 have happened in just the last decade.
#13   All across the United States, conditions at many state parks, recreation areas and historic sites are deplorable at best. Some states have backlogs of repair projects that are now over a billion dollars long.  The following is a quote from a recent MSNBC article about these project backlogs….

More than a dozen states estimate that their backlogs are at least $100 million. Massachusetts and New York’s are at least $1 billion. Hawaii officials called park conditions “deplorable” in a December report asking for $50 million per year for five years to tackle a $240 million backlog that covers parks, trails and harbors.Over the past year, approximately 100 of New York’s state parks and historic sites have had to cut services and reduce hours.
#15   All over America, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain.  The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have transformed at least some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.
So why don’t our state and local governments just spend the money necessary to fix all of these problems? Well, they can’t spend the money because they are flat broke. Just consider some of the financial problems that state and local governments around the nation are facing right now….
#16   One town in Michigan is so incredibly broke that it is literally begging the state to allow them to declare bankruptcy.
#17   One Alabama town is in such financial turmoil that it has decided to simply quit paying pension benefits.
#18   In Georgia, the county of Clayton recently eliminated its entire public bus system in order to save 8 million dollars.
#19   Major cities such as Philadelphia, Baltimore and Sacramento are so desperate to save money that they have instituted “rolling brownouts” in which various city fire stations are shut down on a rotating basis throughout the week.
#20   Detroit Mayor Dave Bing has come up with a unique way to save money.  He wants to cut 20 percent of Detroit off from essential social services such as road repairs, police patrols, functioning street lights and garbage collection.

The truth is that there are dozens of cities across the United States that are on the brink of bankruptcy.  To see a bunch of high-profile examples of this, check out the following article from Business Insider: “16 US Cities Facing Bankruptcy If They Don’t Make Deep Cuts In 2011″. Google it.

But it just isn’t local governments that are in deep trouble right now.  In fact, there are quite a few state governments that are complete and total financial disaster zones at this point. According to 60 Minutes,  the state of Illinois is at least six months behind on their bill payments.  60 Minutes correspondent Steve Croft recently asked Illinois state Comptroller Dan Hynes how many people and organizations are waiting to be paid by the state, and this is how Hynes responded….
“It’s fair to say that there are tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands of people waiting to be paid by the state.”

Investors across the globe are watching all this and they are starting to panic. In fact, investors are now pulling money out of municipal bonds at a rate that is absolutely staggering. But if states get cut off from all the debt that they need to operate, things are going to get a lot worse very quickly. Already we are seeing all kinds of troubling signs.  For example, the state of Arizona recently decided to stop paying for many types of organ transplants for people enrolled in its Medicaid program.

Sadly, as much as our politicians try to “fix” our problems, things just only seem to keep getting worse.
One prominent illustration of this is our health care system. Our health care system is absolutely falling apart all around us.  Thanks to the new health care reform law, doctors are flocking out of the profession in droves.  According to an absolutely stunning new poll, 40 percent of all U.S. doctors plan to bail out of the profession over the next three years.

Our economy continues to fall apart as well.  The number of personal bankruptcies in the United States continues to set stunning new highs.  According to the American Bankruptcy Institute, more than 1.53 million Americans filed bankruptcy petitions in 2010.  This was up 9 percent from 1.41 million in 2009.

Not only that, but the housing crisis shows no signs of abating. 382,000 new foreclosures were initiated during the third quarter of 2010.  This was up 31.2 percent from the previous quarter and it was 3.7 percent higher than the third quarter of 2009.

The U.S. banking system is also falling apart.  In 2006, no U.S. banks failed.  In 2009, 140 U.S. banks failed.  So did things get better in 2010?  No.  In 2010, 157 U.S. banks failed. Jan- Oct 2011 another 76 banks failed.

Unemployment continues to remain at depressingly high levels, and in many areas of the country it is getting even worse.  According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate rose in two-thirds of America’s largest metro areas during November.Millions of Americans have become so disgusted with the job market that they have given up altogether.  The number of people who are so discouraged
that they have completely given up searching for work now stands at an all-time high.

So who is doing a booming business during these hard times?  Welfare agencies and food banks are.  During this economic downturn, millions of American families have found themselves going to a food bank for the very first time ever. It is getting harder and harder for average American families to feed themselves.  A recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center found that 29 percent of Americans say that it is hard to afford food, and 48 of Americans say that it is hard to afford their heating and electric bills.

So is there any hope for the future?  Well, our new college graduates are supposed to lead us into the future, but most of them are saddled with overwhelming amounts of student loan debt.  Those who graduated during 2009 had an average of $24,000 in student loan debt.  This represented a 6 percent increase from the previous year. Not only that, but these new college grads are not finding jobs.  According to the one recent report, the unemployment rate for recent college graduates was 8.7 percent in 2009.  This was up from 5.8 percent in 2008, and it was the highest unemployment rate ever recorded for college graduates between the ages of 20 to 24.

As if all of this was not bad enough, now the Baby Boomers are starting to reach retirement age.  Beginning January 1st, 2011, every single day more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will reach the age of 65.  That is going to keep happening every single day for the next 19 years.

So where in the world are we going to come up with all of the money to give them the retirement benefits that they are due? The truth is that we are flat broke as a nation and so America’s decaying infrastructure is going to continue to decay. We don’t have the money to repair what we already have, much less add desperately needed new infrastructure. But perhaps it is only fitting.  The decay of our roads and cities will match the deep social, moral and political decay that has already been going on in this country for decades.

So will the American people awaken soon enough to be able to recapture the legacy of greatness that previous generations tried to pass on to us? Unfortunately, the vast majority of our politicians are completely incompetent.
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What Is Outsourcing?
Once upon a time in America, virtually anyone with a high school education and the willingness to work hard could get a good job.  Fifty years ago a “good job” would enable someone to own a home, buy a car, take a couple of vacations a year and retire with a decent pension.
Unfortunately, those days are long gone.  Every single year the number of “good jobs” in the United States actually shrinks even as our population continues to grow.  Where in the world did all of those good jobs go?  Economists toss around terms such as “outsourcing” and “offshoring” to describe what is happening, but most ordinary Americans don’t really grasp what those terms mean.  So what is
outsourcing?  Well, it essentially means sending work somewhere else.  In the context of this article I will be using those terms to describe the thousands of manufacturing facilities and the millions of jobs that have been sent overseas.  Over the past several decades, the U.S. economy has become increasingly merged into the emerging “one world economy”.  Thanks to the WTO, NAFTA and a whole host of other “free trade” agreements, the internationalist dream of a truly “global marketplace” is closer than ever before.

[Images above. Left: Abandoned Firestone textile mill, Gastonia, NC.  Once considered the largest textile mill in the USA. Right: A majestic Methodist church crumbles in Gary IN. Gary, once a major industrial city. When the production jobs went overseas and factories closed, people moved away,  churches were abandoned.]

But for American workers, a “global marketplace” is really bad news.  In the United States, businesses are subject to a vast array of very complex laws, rules and regulations that make it very difficult to operate in this country.  That makes it very tempting for corporations to simply move out of the U.S. in order to avoid all of the hassle. In addition, the United States now has the highest corporate tax rate in the entire world.  This also provides great motivation for corporations to move operations outside of the country.

The biggest thing affecting American workers, however, is the fact that labor has now become a global commodity.  U.S. workers have now been merged into a global labor pool. Americans must now directly compete for jobs with hundreds of millions of desperate people willing to work for slave labor wages on the other side of the globe. So exactly how is an American worker supposed to compete with a highly motivated person on the other side of the planet that makes $1.50 an hour with essentially no benefits? Just think about it. If you were a big global corporation, would you want to hire American workers which would cost you 10 or 20 times more after everything is factored in? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why millions of jobs have been leaving the United States.

Corporations love to make more money.  Many of them will not hesitate for an instant to pay slave labor wages if they can get away with it.  The bottom line for most corporations is to maximize shareholder wealth. Slowly, but surely the number of good jobs in the United States is shrinking and those jobs are being sent to places where labor is cheaper.

According to the U.S. Commerce Department, U.S. multinational corporations added 2.4 million new jobs overseas during the first decade of this century.  But during that same time frame U.S. multinational corporations cut a total of 2.9 million jobs inside the United States. So where are all of our jobs going? They are going to places like China. The United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs per month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.
In addition, over 40,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have been closed permanently during the past decade.

What do you think is eventually going to happen if the U.S. economy continues to bleed jobs and factories so badly?

[Images above: Left: Packard Motors, Detroit. Right: One of the sixteen steel plants that closed in Youngstown, OH.]

As the U.S. has faltered, China has become an absolute economic powerhouse. Ten years ago, the U.S. economy was three times as large as the Chinese economy.  At the turn of the century the United States accounted for well over 20 percent of global GDP and China accounted for significantly less than 10 percent of global GDP.  But since that time our share of global GDP has been steadily declining and China’s share has been steadily rising. According to the IMF, China will pass the United States and will become the largest economy in the world in 2016. Should we all celebrate when that happens?
Should we all chant “We’re Number 2″? Our economy is falling to pieces and the competition for the few remaining good jobs has become super intense.

The average American family is having a really tough time right now.  Only 45.4% of Americans had a job during 2010.  The last time the employment level was that low was back in 1983. Not only that, only 66.8% of American men had a job last year.  That was the lowest level that has ever been recorded in all of U.S. history.

Just think about that. 33.2% of American men do not have jobs. And that figure is going to continue to rise unless something is done about these economic trends. Today, there are 10% fewer “middle class jobs” in the United States than there were a decade ago.  Tens of millions of Americans have been forced to take “whatever they can get”.  A lot of very hard-working people are basically working for peanuts at this point.  In fact, half of all American workers now earn $505 or less per week.

[Images: Some of our modern service workers: Left: Flipping hamburgers at a McDonald's fast food restaurant. Center: Wal-Mart 'greeter'. Right: ‘Office work’, telemarketers,  etc.]

Things have gotten so bad that tens of thousands of people showed up for the National Hiring Day that McDonald’s just held.  With the economy such a mess, flipping burgers or welcoming people to Wal-Mart are jobs that suddenly don’t look so bad.

Right now America is rapidly losing high paying jobs and they are being replaced by low paying jobs.  According to a recent report from the National Employment Law Project, higher wage industries accounted for 40 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months but only 14 percent of the job growth.
Lower wage industries accounted for just 23 percent of the job losses over the past 12 months and a whopping 49 percent of the job growth. Thanks to the emerging one world economy, the U.S. is “transitioning” from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. But it certainly doesn’t help that China is using every trick in the book to steal our industries.  China openly subsidizes domestic industries, they brazenly steal technology and they manipulate currency rates.

A recent article on Economy In Crisis described how the Chinese paper industry has been able to grow by threefold over the past decade while the U.S. paper industry has fallen apart….“From 2002 to 2009, the Chinese government poured $33.1 billion into what should be an unproductive industry. But, with the help of government subsidies, China was able to ride export-driven growth to become the world’s leading producer of paper products.” In the same time frame that China pumped $33 billion into its paper industry, U.S. employment in the industry fell 29 percent, from 557,000 workers to just 398,000.

So why should we be concerned about all of this?

Well, just open up your eyes.  As I have written about previously, our formerly great cities are being transformed into post-apocalyptic hellholes. In a comment to a recent article, Trucker Mark described what he has seen happen to the “rust belt” over the past several decades….
“I am a product of Detroit’s northwest suburbs and the Cleveland, OH area, where together I lived almost 2/3rds of my 54 years. As a 30-year semi driver, I am intimately familiar with large areas of the industrial Midwest, the Northeast, and even much of central and southern California, and everything in-between. I am also college-educated, in Urban Planning and Economics. What has happened to not just Detroit, but to virtually every city in the southern half of Lower Michigan and northern Ohio is mind-boggling.
When I was 18, it was quite common to head over to a car plant and get hired immediately into a middle-class job. At one time I had dozens of friends from school working at car plants, dozens more in other large factories, dozens more in major grocery warehousing and distribution, and me, I was a semi driver delivering to all of those places. Between 1979, when I started driving semis, and now, I must have seen 10s of thousands of factories across just the southern Great Lakes region close their doors. Some of them were small, and some of them employed 10,000 workers or more.

The former Packard plant from your photo closed in 1957, and at one time it employed 12,000 workers, and my roommate in 1982 in Birmingham, MI had been laid-off from the old Dodge Main plant in Hamtramck, which once employed over 20,000 workers, which closed in 1981. In 1970 just Chrysler had over 40 plants in the Detroit-area, and now there are just 11 left open. The Willow Run plant, which  at one time turned-out a brand-new B-29 bomber every 40 minutes, and employed 50,000 workers, is long dead too, as is the tank plant north of town too. Even fairly new car plants like Novi Assembly are closed, Pontiac’s ultra-modern robotic car assembly plant too. In Cleveland 100 or more huge old plants stand empty, car plants, steel mills, and machine tool builders, in Akron dozens of rubber plants are long gone, Sharon, Warren, and Youngstown have all lost huge numbers of industrial jobs, Canton and Massillon too, where the NFL started, have been reduced to mere shells of their former selves. Along with the plant closings have gone the hopes and dreams of many thousands of retail operators, restaurant owners, and thousands of other small businesses too. Hundreds of entire major shopping malls stand vacant, as seas of potholes consume local roads. The city of Hamtramck, MI a Detroit suburb of 40,000 people, is bankrupt and has had to lay off all but two employees, one of whom works part-time. The traffic lights are shut-off and stop signs now appear at those intersections instead, as the city can’t even pay its power bill. I could go on & on & on for days but I don’t have the time.

I haven’t driven a semi in almost 2 years as my eyesight has begun giving out early. My last 10 years in the industry was spent delivering fresh and frozen meat on a regular multi-stop route through the Chicago-area and throughout southern Michigan. Between 2001 and 2009, my boss lost 14 of 19 major weekly customers in Michigan to bankruptcy, including three major grocery chains, plus numerous
less-frequent customers. The Detroit News reported before Christmas of 2007 a 29% unemployment rate within the city limits of Detroit, with an estimated 44% of the total adult population not working, and another news story reported a 1 in 200 chance of selling a house across the entire metropolitan area, which still has 4 million people total. Since 2003, home prices within the city limits of Detroit have fallen by 90%, and today there are thousands of houses in move-in condition on the market there for $5K to $10K. The suburbs are not immune either.”

You know what?  Detroit and Cleveland used to be two of the greatest cities in the entire world. Today very few people would call them great.  They are just shells of their former glory. Sadly, this cruel economy is causing “ghost towns” to appear all across the United States.  There are quite a few counties across the nation that now have home vacancy rates of over 50%.

Another reader, Flubadub, also remembers how things used to be….
“I am also a product of that generation and remember well the opportunities that existed for anyone with even a high school diploma in those days. Just within a reasonable commute to where I grew up we had US Steel, 3M, General Motors Fisher Body, Nabisco, The Budd Co., Strick Trailer and others providing thousands of jobs that enabled you to provide a decent living for your family. There were also plenty of part time jobs to keep high school students busy enough to avoid the pratfalls of idle youth and afford the 28 cent/ gallon gas for their used cars. Most of it is gone now and I don’t blame the Mexicans or the Chinese for stealing it. I blame the greed of the globalists and their flunkies, the phony free trade advocates in office, who’ve spent the last twenty years giving it all away. Our jobs are being shipped overseas so that greedy corporate executives can pad their bonuses and our politicians are allowing them to get away with it.”

According to a new report from the AFL-CIO, the average CEO made 343 times more money than the average American did last year. Life is great if you are a CEO. Life is not so great if you are an average American worker trying to raise a family.

Another reader, ‘Itsjustme’, says that things are also quite depressing In New Jersey….
“I live in northern NJ in a suburb a very short ride from  NYC. Our region was hit very hard — we once had a very prosperous and booming industrial area; mixed use with many warehouses and commercial buildings, hi-rise and low-rise. The majority of companies that were in those buildings are gone. Long vacant; the signage is left and nobody is inside them.
One large commercial building with 15 floors now is home to 2 tenants: a law firm and a Korean shipping company.
It’s very sad what’s happened out here.
The only “companies” moving into these buildings are small change tenants that are usually Chinese or Middle Eastern; you’ll see them subletting out 2 or 3 offices in these buildings and they operate out of those offices. They’re mostly importers of apparel or soft goods. My guess is that they are there on very short-term  leases. This will not benefit our local and state economy. These groups usually send the money home.
If this is the shape of things to come, we can hang it up right now. No viable companies are moving into our area; if anything new is being built it is retail and service industry garbage, like crummy fast food chain restaurants. No livable wage jobs are entering our local economy.”

As I have written about previously, the standard of living of the middle class is being pushed down to third world levels.  We have been merged into a “global labor pool”, and what that means is that the standard of living of all workers all over the world is going to be slowly equalized over time.

Our politicians never told us that all of these “free trade” agreements would mean that soon we would be living like the rest of the world.

America used to be the greatest economic machine on the planet.  But now we are just another region of the one world economy that has workers that are too expensive to be useful. In the end, there is not some great mystery as to why we are experiencing economic decline as a nation. If millions of our jobs are being shipped overseas, it was basically inevitable that we were going to experience a housing crisis.
Without good jobs the American people simply cannot afford high mortgage payments.
Today we consume far more wealth as a nation than we produce.  We have tried to make up the difference by indulging in the greatest debt binge that the world has ever seen. We have lived like kings and queens, but our debt-fueled prosperity is not sustainable.  In fact, the collapse of our financial system is a lot closer than most people would like to believe.Things did not have to turn out like this, but we bought into the lies and the propaganda that our leaders were feeding us.
Now our economy lies in tatters and our children have no economic future.

[1] Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, the editor of Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome, and the author of The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern.

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Filed under __2. Social Issues

A dangerous timeline

(News & Editorial/ A dangerous timeline)

 A. What Are We Facing – A Perfect Storm – Looking at a Possible WHEN
13 Feb 2014, Prophezine.com, by Ray Gano
Excerpt pasted from: http://prophezine.com/index.php?option=com_acymailing&ctrl=archive&task=view&mailid=1028&key=93e6f7c11dfb848454a46899ef89f369&subid=7-36b82cb9b4eef1422446600954c6d706&tmpl=component

comentator2How Close Are We?
There are speculators out there that are saying this March we could begin to see the effects start to take place. Others say somewhere around June/July and others point to Sept/ Oct 2014.
All the economists who are voicing an opinion all agree that we are looking at 2014 as a beginning to a great depression.
All of them pretty much agree that it will be much worse than 2008 financial decline.
Other are saying that it will more than likely surpass the “great depression” of 1929.

Dates I am Hearing and Researching
March 4th 2014 – First date that I have herd is the March 4th 2014 date. This is the date Grady Means predicted back in 2012.
Grady says …
The doomsday clock will ring then because the U.S. economy may fully crash around that date, which will, in turn, bring down all world economies and all hope of any recovery for the foreseeable future — certainly over the course of most of our lifetimes.
Interest Rates will skyrocket, businesses will fail, unemployment will go to record levels, material and food shortages will be rampant, and there could be major social unrest.
Any wishful thinking that America is in a “recovery” and that “things are getting better” is an illusion.

SO… based on that, we have just over 2 weeks to prepare, shore up, stock up, etc.
Personally I think that is a little to soon in March.timeline store
Could it happen, oh yea it could. But I personally think that if March is the beginning, then possibly more in the middle.

 Mid to Late March (The Ides of March) – This is what I personally feel more comfortable with. Why? Primarily due to the lack of food producing and the winter storms that are wreaking havoc on the nation.

Panicked Shoppers Fight Over Food Amid ‘Snowpocalypse’
 Empty shelves in Atlanta merely foreshadow future mass panic in America
Atlanta residents ransacked neighborhood grocery stores in frantic preparation for their second major snowstorm of the year, waging fights over food items and leaving destruction and empty shelves in their wake, a stunning precursor to what will ensue once a major crisis impacts the US.
After three inches of snow shut the city down two weeks ago, causing major havoc and leaving miles of cars stranded on immobile roadways, the residents of Atlanta took heed and shopped early.
According to people who Tweeted photos of barren store shelves, residents went crazy over essentials like milk, bread, water and eggs, and in some cases “people were fighting. Yes fighting,” alleges one user.
Go to the article to see all the people tweeting empty shelves.

http://www.infowars.com/panicked-shoppers-fight-over-food-amid-snowpocalypse/

There are a lot of things that are going on that give me pause…
This “snowpocalypse” is putting the brakes on our nation. Transportation & shipping is being severely affected.
Even if trucks and transportation could keep up, the lack of food being produced that is on the market is severely down.
One of the main causes is droughts in California. The growing season in CA is what kick starts the entire food supply infrastructure. THERE IS NO FOOD… that means the infrastructure is not operating at full capacity. It is costing more to move the little amount of food that is in the supply system.
Because of the drought in CA food isn’t even being produced. This in turn is causing food prices to climb higher and higher.
What we will start to see is the law of “supply and demand” come into effect.
The little bit of food that is hitting the shelves will be at such a high price that people will be priced right out of being able to eat.
You may be asking “ What does this have to do with March?”
March is a peak point. It is the end of winter and April brings in the spring. It is Jan, Feb and March that are usually the worst when it comes to the effects of winter.
So much of our infrastructure is hammered in these three months.
So when we start hitting March, we have used up resources, energy, will power and we are doing all we can to push into April.
But because there has been such a strain on all our infrastructure systems, we may hit a point where one of these systems will just break down and stop dead.
Our nation is being held together by spit and toothpicks. We have so much fake money in the financial system that we are close to overdose.
ANY major burden that comes about could very well push everything over the edge.
This is why I look at March as being a major possibility that could cause a economic decline.
We are sitting at what is called “A Perfect Storm.”
We only need one major event to bring down the whole house of cards.

April 15th 2014 – the famous “Tax Day” Prior to the president pushing back tax requirement, I thought that this was going to be a day of reckoning. See when Ocare officially hits the tax records of paying Americans, it is still a “vapor” idea. Yes people have been starting to feel the effects, but when the IRS is finally given full authority to start collecting for Ocare? It will be devastating on the millions of people expecting tax returns and those just getting by who will have to pay fees or fines for Ocare.

When that day finally hits, the masses will be furious. They will finally understand how bad it is and most of middle and low income America will suffer significant financial loss.
But that isn’t going to happen this year. So we don’t have to worry about it do we.
But something else is taking place April 15th… the Blood Moon.
NOW… I am not one who is really following this and personally I think it is just happenstance that the blood moon fell on this date. I really do not think it means anything, but I just found it interesting.timeline drought
So interesting that if I spotted it, others have too and there might be enough there to cause it to be a catalyst for something to happen that will being the dominos to start to fall.

June / July – Coming out of spring, going into summer. Traditionally this is when we see some form of inflation take place every year. It is basics of supply and demand taking hold. Kids getting out of school, family vacations, and people pull their monies back to afford the costs to have the kids home and to do all these things.

Any food that was produced is starting to be harvested so stores at this time “SHOULD” have food. Now where they are going to get is what I have to question and will there be enough.
Right now most of our food we are consuming comes from outside the US. This is putting a pressures on these countries that will increase to cover our loss.

Food prices will shoot up even more during this time and we will probably be looking at approximately a 125% increase when you look at the cost of food from July 2012 to July 2014.
Just from Jan 2014 we will probably see a 50% increase in food costs.
Battling the heat of summer will also put a strain on the nation. Our power grid is not in the greatest of shape anymore.
In the beginning of Feb 2014 there was a terrorist attempt on a power station in San Jose CA that really woke up many in the industry. They realized how vulnerable the power grid is.
An attack on the power grid could be a catalyst, rising food prices and a lack of food on the shelves also be a catalyst. The buying power of the dollar being greatly diminished by summer could be the catalyst.
Again, our nation is sitting in front of “The Perfect Storm.”

September / October – This has always been the traditional time when most in the watchman arena believe that financial collapse would take place.
Why?
It has happened multiple times before. Historical demographics.

  • The Great Depression
  • Both black Mondays took place in October
  • The peak of the 1960 – 1961 financial recession
  • 2008 Financial collapse
  • 9-11 financial collapse took place. Reason most people did not know it is that the terrorist event overshadowed the financial downfall.

There are other indicators that have pointed to this span of time to bring about financial hardship.
So this is a period of time that many people look and kind of hold their breath thinking to themselves “well we dodged the bullet again.”

December 21 – 31 – This is one that I have always kept an eye on and the reason is that Argentina fell into their massive hyperinflation period Dec 21, 2001.
Another reason, if the powers that be would want to create a bank holiday, why not do it when most of America is on vacation between the holidays. The effects would be minimal relatively speaking. Many companies are closed for that week and most people are with family.
It is a great time to conduct a bank holiday. The effects which could get as bad as riots in the streets could also be somewhat averted due to the fact that people will not want to go out into the snow day after day protesting their government.
If the powers that be said that they would have the banks back online in seven days, most people would not want to to fight the weather and would rather stay home and watch all the football games.
This one is a personal speculation because it just seems logical to me.
Hey, if I was one of the powers that be, this is when I would bring down the economy.
IF we make it past Dec 2014, then basically repeat the above and the dates I believe something could happen.

SPECIAL NOTE Concerning 2015
April 15th 2015 - is when the IRS is suppose to start fining and collecting fees / payments for Obama care. As I mentioned this is going to throw a lot of people in to a financial turmoil because they will not get a return or as large of a return. They will owe or they will be fined. No matter what, odds are that you will be effected.
When this finally happens, it will upset most Americans and I could easily see riots as a result.

Sept 13th – 29 Elul – this is the last day of the sabbatical year. If you have read my book Israel – American and God’s Judgment, I believe that this will be a day of reckoning.
Two major events took place at the end of the sabbatical years, the 2008 economic decline and 9-11. Both of these I believe to be events that God allowed as warnings so that we would return to Him.
ALSO… Sept 28 2015 I believe is one of the last blood moons. Again, I do not think this has anything to do with it, I just find it interesting that we are having blood moons at critical times.
Maybe God is using the blood moons as well to get our attention in order to repent.

A Foreshadow of Things To Come – The Trucking Industries official Report
Several years ago, I was given a report from the US Trucking Industry which conducted a study of the effects if trucks were impeded or stopped in the US.

PZ NOTE – I have attached the report to this email.
The report was very eye opening and I have attached it in PDF to this article.
But two things that they did mention is a catastrophic economic event and a decline in fuel.
I share this because already we have a serious decline in the trucking industry due to the severe storms our nation has been facing.
Already you can see some of the things mention in the timeline below already taking place.
This is a wakeup call to what can come about.

Commercial truck traffic is vital to our nation’s economic prosperity and plays a significant role in mitigating adverse economic effects during a national or regional emergency. Our economy depends on trucks to deliver ten billion tons of virtually every commodity consumed—or nearly 70 percent of all freight transported annually in the U.S. In the U.S. alone, this accounts for $671 billion worth of goods transported by truck. Add $295 billion in truck trade with Canada and $195.6 billion in truck trade with Mexico and it becomes apparent that any disruption in truck traffic will lead to rapid economic instability.

The unimpeded flow of trucks is critical to the safety and well-being of all Americans. However, it is entirely possible that well-intended public officials may instinctively halt or severely restrict truck traffic in response to an incident of national or regional significance.

Recent history has shown us the consequences that result from a major disruption in truck travel. Immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, significant truck delays at the Canadian border crossings shut down several auto manufacturing plants in Michigan because just-in-time parts were not delivered. The economic cost to these companies was enormous. Following Hurricane Katrina, trucks loaded with emergency goods were rerouted, creating lengthy delays in delivering urgently needed supplies to the stricken area.

timeline unheaval

A Timeline Showing the Deterioration of Major Industries Following a Truck Stoppage
The first 24 hours
•  Delivery of medical supplies to the affected area will cease.
•  Hospitals will run out of basic supplies such as syringes and catheters within hours.  Radiopharmaceuticals will deteriorate and become unusable.
•  Service stations will begin to run out of fuel.
•  Manufacturers using just-in-time manufacturing will develop component shortages.
•  U.S. mail and other package delivery will cease.

Within one day
•  Food shortages will begin to develop.
•  Automobile fuel availability and delivery will dwindle, leading to sky- rocketing prices and long lines at the gas pumps.
•  Without manufacturing components and trucks for product delivery, assembly lines will shut down, putting thousands out of work.

Within two to three days
•  Food shortages will escalate, especially in the face of hoarding and consumer panic.
•  Supplies of essentials—such as bottled water, powdered milk, and canned meat—at major retailers will disappear.
•  ATMs will run out of cash and banks will be unable to process transactions.
•  Service stations will completely run out of fuel for autos and trucks.
•  Garbage will start piling up in urban and suburban areas.
•  Container ships will sit idle in ports and rail transport will be disrupted, eventually coming to a standstill.

Within a week
•  Automobile travel will cease due to the lack of fuel. Without autos and busses, many people will not be able to get to work, shop for groceries, or access medical care.
•  Hospitals will begin to exhaust oxygen supplies.

Within two weeks
•  The nation’s clean water supply will begin to run dry.

Within four weeks
•  The nation will exhaust its clean water supply and water will be safe for drinking only after boiling. As a result gastrointestinal illnesses will increase, further taxing an already weakened health care system.
This timeline presents only the primary effects of a freeze on truck travel. Secondary effects must be considered as well, such as inability to maintain telecommunications service, reduced law enforcement, increased crime, increased illness and injury, higher death rates, and likely, very civil unrest.
I am continuing to work on digging through all the data so I can help paint a clearer picture.
It is not a matter of “IF” it is a matter of “WHEN.”

 

 B.  After the Storm
After the Storm (Part 1 of 2)
InternationalMan.com, by Jeff  Thomas
Pasted from: http://www.internationalman.com/78-global-perspectives/789-after-the-storm-the-11-stages-of-the-crash

With all the study and thought that are required to make sense out of how the Great Unraveling will play out, we seldom take time to think of what it will be like on the other side. Those of us who are, by nature, long-term thinkers and/or optimistic, have a vague picture in mind of a rebirth of libertarian thinking, and a vibrant economy. However, we tend not to think too much more about these hopes than that, because we are caught up in the Great Unraveling itself – a very time-consuming topic.

The other day, an associate whom I like to think of as having a decent, if not holistic, view of the present depression, commented to me, “I wish we could just have the crash tomorrow and everything that goes with it, so that, next year, we can get back to normal.”

Oops … maybe his expectations are a bit more simplified than I thought. And, if others share his view, possibly the topic needs a bit of fleshing-out. While it may not be ready to be a prime topic of the ongoing conversation, possibly an outline of what may happen after all the fireworks have gone off would be in order.

Ten Years Down and Ten Years Up
Economic wizard (and favorite ‘Uncle’) Harry Schultz stated back in the early 2000′s that what he anticipated was “ten years down and ten years up.” At the time, many thought that his projection was extremely prolonged. I didn’t think so. People do commonly seem to take the view that, once the various crashes have taken place, we simply walk out into the sun, brush the dirt off the knees of our trousers, and, with a spring in our step, walk into the bright new day.

However, a depression is not at all like that. It is more like a town after a hurricane has hit. The storm may have been swift, but the recovery is not. Power lines are down. Roads are blocked. Homes and stores have been destroyed. Having personally been highly involved in the reconstruction of a small country after the devastation wrought by a category five hurricane, I can attest that, even if the population is hardworking and motivated (which they were), the task of rebuilding is monumental, and the time period required to achieve it is prolonged.

I see the period after the various crashes very differently from those who anticipate immediate recovery symptoms. This is not because I imagine myself a visionary; my view is based on history. If we look at the economic collapses of the past, (inclusive of their possible knock-on effects, such as hyperinflation and destruction of the currency), from the fall of the Roman Empire to Weimar Germany, to Argentina and Zimbabwe – take your pick – the pattern is extremely similar.

So, let’s have a look at that pattern and ask ourselves if the present situation might not play out much the same (except far worse and more prolonged, as the conditions that led to this particular depression have been more extreme). The various stages are likely to be a given, but the various factors within each stage are a bit more uncertain. In every major economic collapse, some combination of these factors takes place.

Also, consider that the stages themselves are like dominoes – they almost always fall in order. The reason? Details change in history, but human nature remains the same. The same knee-jerk reactions by people will repeat themselves over and over. (As an example, we are now experiencing a decline in exports from the First World. I believe that a repeat of the disastrous Smoot-Hawley Tariff of the 1930′s will be passed in America, which undoubtedly would trigger increased hardship for Americans.)

Stages of The Crash
The stages are laid out below. The first three have already occurred.

1  INITIAL CRASHES √
•  Crash of the residential property market
•  Crash of the commercial property market
•  Crash of the stock market

2  INITIAL KNOCK-ON EFFECTS OF CRASHES
•  Loss of homes
•  Loss of jobs
•  Inflation

3  IMMEDIATE ACTIONS BY GOVERNMENT 
•  Bailouts for select groups

•  Dramatic  increase of debt
•  Politicians going in the opposite direction of a real solution

The first knee-jerk reaction began immediately, with the Government attempting to “make the problem go away” as quickly as possible. Almost invariably, at this stage, the corrective strategy is hastily prepared and shortsighted, assuring further deterioration of the economy.

In this stage, the politicians on both sides fail to focus on a real solution. Instead, their primary focuses are, first, to avoid a painful real solution, and, second, to engage in finger-pointing, each political party blaming the other for the problem.

The problem worsens steadily until one of the next series of major dominoes falls. This is usually sudden and triggers the toppling of other dominoes.

4  SECOND WAVE OF CRASHES
•  Major crash in stock market
•  Currency plummets
•  Increased bankruptcies
•  Increased unemployment [occurring]

5  INTERNATIONAL TRADING PARTNERS REACT
•  Foreign countries refuse to accept more debt [in progress]
•  Foreign trade slows dramatically [the global Baltic Dry Index, BDIY is in decline]

At this point, the Government introduces dramatic change, such as ill-conceived protectionism, which backfires almost immediately.

6  GOVERNMENT INSTITUTES DESPERATE SELF-DESTRUCTIVE MEASURES
•  Defaults on debt
•  Restrictive tariffs on imports
•  Currency controls

7  ECONOMY REACTS IN LOCKSTEP TO GOVERNMENT ACTIONS
•  Hyperinflation – dramatic increase in food and fuel costs
•  Massive unemployment
•  Extensive foreclosures
•  Extensive bankruptcies
At this point, the dominoes are tumbling quickly, and a rapid unraveling of control is about to take place.

8  SYSTEMIC COLLAPSE
•  Bank closures
•  Extensive homelessness
•  Food and fuel shortages
•  Electric power becomes sporadic, blackouts common

As these factors unravel, the public mood turns to a combination of blind fear and anger.

9  SOCIAL COLLAPSE
•  Crime rises dramatically (particularly street crime)
•  Food riots
•  Tax revolts
•  Squatters’ rebellions

10  MARTIAL LAW
•  Creation of special army to address “domestic terrorism”
•  Random killings become commonplace

At first, the authorities focus mostly on violent subjugation and arrests; then, as prisons quickly become hopelessly overcrowded, camps become the norm. Soon, these too become unmanageable, particularly as a result of high cost of food and manpower. At that point, the solution turns to the killing of anyone who is suspected of a crime and, more frequently, anyone who is not submissive. (This will not resemble the Gestapo of the late 1930′s. It will be less organized and more chaotic.)

11  REVOLUTION
If revolution is to occur, it will happen at this point. Many people will feel that they have nothing to lose, and anger will be at its peak. If revolution does take place, it will not be an organized movement as such. It will be spontaneous, and breakouts will manifest themselves like popcorn popping, largely at random, with ever-increasing frequency. At some point, it may possibly evolve into something more organized.
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C. The Recovery
After the Storm (Part 2 of 2)
InternationalMan.com, by Jeff Thomas
Pasted from: https://www.internationalman.com/78-global-perspectives/792-the-recovery

By the time the breakdown of the global economic system has occurred, the currency, be it the US dollar or the Euro, will have collapsed. At this stage, will the country reach a Mad Max scenario (minus the leather outfits and interesting vehicles)? Not likely. Even if the breakdown is severe enough that roving marauders exist, human nature dictates that people in general will not devolve into a condition in which most of them drive around in a state of eternal warfare. The true nature of the majority of any people is primarily to eat, obtain shelter and protect their families.

Therefore, corrections invariably begin to appear from the ground up. New means of currency will spring up, and bartering is likely. (In the case of, say, Zimbabwe, the US dollar took over as the illegal default currency. However, such a luxury will not be available this time around, and paying for goods will require less predictable methods.) In the US, Utah has already passed legislation allowing gold to be used as currency, and nine other states have quickly followed. This is a positive sign, both in terms of foresight and in terms of states acting individually, possibly even in defiance of the central Government.

Although the Government is likely to try to retain controls on trade in commodities, a strong black market economy will appear, particularly with regard to food and fuel. Although it will be illegal, this will represent the first true beginning of a recovery.

Recovery Timeline
The timeline for recovery will, I believe, be as Uncle Harry predicts – about ten years. Why? Well, on the economic side, a debt-cleansing cycle normally takes about seven years and is characteristically deflationary. To truly return to prosperity, there is no escaping this stage of the recovery, and long-term payback does not a vibrant economy make. It is slow and grim, as is deflation. It does, however, help people to get accustomed to living frugally, saving, and eventually investing. In short, it creates a mindset which is conducive to sound economic principles, which, after the recovery, will be necessary to create a return to prosperity.

The nature of the recovery, however, will depend very much on the level of collapse that has occurred in the central governments. If they have survived largely intact, it is most likely that the recovery will be longer, as the Government is likely to, first, employ techniques that salve the population, but do not solve the problem, and, second, very possibly resume the goal of collectivism in general, possibly with the UN as the center of a One World Government with Agenda 21 as its general living plan.

If this were to take place, I think it likely that the First World would slide into a socialist slumber, possibly along the lines of East Germany in the communist era. If so, it could be many years before the rebirth of the First World, as, most assuredly, the Second and Third Worlds would not be sitting idly by. They would constitute the driving forces for commerce and development for an extended period, limiting the opportunities for the First World to reactivate itself.

However, the greater the degree of the collapse of the central governments, the greater the likelihood that the individual countries involved would come back sooner. I cannot emphasize this point too strongly.

Recovery in Europe
For Europe, this could conceivably be a return to individual countries as they were before the misguided concept of the EU reared its ugly head. (After all, the EU was created by the national leaders, for the national leaders, not for the benefit of their citizenries.)

Prior to the EU, Europe had been, for hundreds of years, a series of competing countries. If one drifted too far in the direction of oligarchy or socialism, it eventually collapsed and its people then de-camped to a great extent to the other European countries in search of work. Many sent their earnings home, which eventually led to the rebuilding of that country. In this manner, Europe enjoyed a fluid rebalancing that kept the continent, as a whole, very vital.

The EU has been constricting this organic structure, assuring that, when one went down, they all went down. It is conceivable that Europe will return to this natural format as it recovers from the depression – if Brussels has sufficiently exhausted its control.

Recovery in the USA
The same is possible in the US – a return to what the US was supposed to be in the first place – a confederation of small “states” (a word that, in the late eighteenth century, meant “country”). If this were to occur, the American states would have an exceptional opportunity for true progress. First, some states (like, say, Texas) that had been generally productive and supportive of business principles, would now be free of a federal government that took in its tax dollars and delivered them to nanny states such as Illinois or California. As a result, Texas would recover more quickly, while the nanny states would continue their decline.

With the Federal Government removed from its role as the collector and dispenser of wealth, in a short time, it would be clear to all, regardless of what political views they held, that the “working” states were doing much better than the “entitlement” states. The fifty states would have the opportunity to compare the various governmental experiments of their fellow states, each having the opportunity to borrow ideas from those that came up with the best ideas. In such an atmosphere, rhetoric tends to go out the window. The proof is in the pudding, and the best pudding would attract the most followers. Increasingly, the citizens of the entitlement states would try to move to the working states as they became converts to the clear examples of progress. A very healthy process.

The fifty states may possibly choose to remain separate; they may form a series of confederations (most likely based upon similarity of economic and political philosophies); or return to a United States. This will be, in large part, determined by whatever level of control the Federal Government continues to hold at the bottom of the depression, and how clever the Federal Government is in convincing the states that a central government is needed.

Again, I stress that the speed at which the First World recovers as a vibrant economic force will depend, in large part, upon the degree to which the central governments have retained or lost control. The more severe the collapse, the greater the likelihood of loss of control, and the better the future.
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D. Taking over: The governments proactive attempt to remain in control:
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION: Obama has signed 923 Executive Orders in 40 months!
Pasted from: http://usahitman.com/os923eo/

timeline exec order- EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
- EXECUTIVE ORDER 10995 allows the government to seize and control the communication media.
- EXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
- EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms….

How many Executive Orders will Obama sign during his Second Term that further remove constitutional rights, freedoms and liberties.

What did Congress do in those 40 months?

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Solar EMP: Lights Out

(Survival Manual/Prepper articles/Solar EMP: Lights Out)

A.  Near miss: Enormous solar blast could have devastated Earth in 2012
20 March 2014, RT.com
Pasted from: http://rt.com/usa/solar-blast-devastated-earth-2012-161/

EMP flareReuters/NASA

Citizens of Earth had no idea how close the planet was to getting slammed with a devastating solar flare back in July 2012, but scientists claim we only missed the damaging event by nine days.

As noted by Reuters, scientists found that a series of coronal mass ejections – powerful eruptions on the sun’s surface that send waves of magnetized plasma through the solar system – occurred last year sometime between July 22 and 23. The blasts traveled through Earth’ orbit, but narrowly missed colliding with the planet.

According to a new report published in the Nature Communications journal on Tuesday, if the solar eruptions occurred just nine days earlier, they would have likely hit Earth and caused a great deal of damage to the planet’s magnetic field. Fortunately for us, the Earth was on the other side of the sun by that point.

Scientists believe the blast would have equaled the might of the most powerful magnetic storm ever recorded: the Carrington event of 1859, which took down telegraph services around the world.

“Had it hit Earth, it probably would have been like the big one in 1859, but the effect today, with our modern technologies, would have been tremendous,” Janet Luhmann, part of the STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Observatory) team a University of California Berkley researcher, said to Reuters.

Specifically, a blast that powerful could bring down electrical grids, knock down satellites and GPS technology, and ultimately cost nations billions of dollars in damages. Considering modern society’s reliance on such technology to function, it would be extremely disruptive.

EMP sensorAFP photo/EPFL

Last year, a study produced with the Atmospheric and Environmental Research group found that a solar flare equivalent to Carrington could cost the world $2.6 trillion.

“An extreme space weather storm – a solar superstorm – is a low-probability, high-consequence event that poses severe threats to critical infrastructures of the modern society,” said Ying Liu, a physicist at China’s State Key Laboratory of Space Weather to Forbes.

“The cost of an extreme space weather event, if it hits Earth, could reach trillions of dollars with a potential recovery time of 4-10 years,” Liu added. “Therefore, it is paramount to the security and economic interest of the modern society to understand solar superstorms.”

Although flares occur every day during the sun’s solar maximum – a period in the sun’s cycle highlighted by increased solar activity – they are rarely as powerful as the one that struck Earth in 1859. Still, the amount of damage they can inflict means preparation is tough but necessary,

People keep saying that these are rare natural hazards, but they are happening in the Solar System even though we don’t always see them,” Luhmann told Forbes. “It’s like with earthquakes – it is hard to impress upon people the importance of preparing unless you suffer a magnitude 9 earthquake.”

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B.  What Would You Do If The Lights Went Out? American Power Grid Danger – 2014! EMP? Terrorists?

tv news3See the 37 minute news video with Judge Jeanine, at:
<https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=8zc10Wpqqk0&gt;

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Solar EMP: The threat

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Solar EMP: The threat)

A.  NASA Plans for Large Scale Failure, Power Grid is “Particularly Vulnerable to Bad Space Weather”
7 June 2010, SHTFPlan.com, by Mac Slavo
Pasted from: https://www.shtfplan.com/emergency-preparedness/nasa-plans-for-large-scale-failure-power-grid-is-particularly-vulnerable-to-bad-space-weather_06072010

empthreat sunFor many it’s either tin foil conspiracy theory or an action packed Hollywood Armageddon flick. For the National Aeronautics and Space Administration it’s a serious threat, with the potential to wipe out the technologically driven lives we’ve become so used to.

Our sun is approaching a period of high turbulence, referred to as the solar maximum, with many scientists suggesting a peak in activity around 2013. The cycle occurs every 11 years, and the next time around it is predicted to be one of the weakest in decades. However, some contrary opinions hold that the next solar maximum may be stronger than we expect, citing a 26,000 year galactic alignment cycle, scheduled to occur on or around 2012, eerily coinciding with the end of the Mayan calendar.

One organization that isn’t taking any chances is NASA. As the sun begins to awaken, scientists are keeping a close eye on space weather:

“The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we’re getting together to discuss.”

The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled “Severe Space Weather Events Societal and Economic Impacts.” It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

A 132-page NASA funded report titled Severe Space Weather Events Understanding Societal and Economic Impacts, suggests that the right magnitude storm could be devastating:

The problem begins with the electric power grid. “Electric power is modern society’s cornerstone technology on which virtually all other infrastructures and services depend,” the report notes. Yet it is particularly vulnerable to bad space weather. Ground currents induced during geomagnetic storms can actually melt the copper windings of transformers at the heart of many power distribution systems. Sprawling power lines act like antennas, picking up the currents and spreading the problem over a wide area. The most famous geomagnetic power outage happened during a space storm in March 1989 when six million people in Quebec lost power for 9 hours.

According to the report, power grids may be more vulnerable than ever. The problem is interconnectedness. In recent years, utilities have joined grids together to allow long-distance transmission of low-cost power to areas of sudden demand. On a hot summer day in California, for instance, people in Los Angeles might be running their air conditioners on power routed from Oregon. It makes economic sense, but not necessarily geomagnetic sense. Interconnectedness makes the system susceptible to wide-ranging “cascade failures.”

To estimate the scale of such a failure, report co-author John Kappenmann of the Metatech Corporation looked at the great geomagnetic storm of May 1921, which produced ground currents as much as ten times stronger than the 1989 Quebec storm, and modeled its effect on the modern power grid. He found more than 350 transformers at risk of permanent damage and 130 million people without power. The loss of electricity would ripple across the social infrastructure with “water distribution affected within several hours; perishable foods and medications lost in 12-24 hours; loss of heating/air conditioning, sewage disposal, phone service, fuel re-supply and so on.”

“The concept of interdependency,” the report notes, “is evident in the unavailability of water due to long-term outage of electric power–and the inability to restart an electric generator without water on site.”

empthreat power sys

What if the May 1921 superstorm occurred today? A US map of vulnerable transformers with areas of probable system collapse encircled.

The potential for major disruptions to our lives and our modern day just-in-time delivery systems could lead to total chaos in affected areas:

“A contemporary repetition of the Carrington Event would cause extensive social and economic disruptions,” the report warns. Power outages would be accompanied by radio blackouts and satellite malfunctions; telecommunications, GPS navigation, banking and finance, and transportation would all be affected. Some problems would correct themselves with the fading of the storm: radio and GPS transmissions could come back online fairly quickly. Other problems would be lasting: a burnt-out multi-ton transformer, for instance, can take weeks or months to repair. The total economic impact in the first year alone could reach $2 trillion, some 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina or, to use a timelier example, a few TARPs.

Had the report(s) come from a random SHTF Planning and Preparedness site, we could understand skepticism from the general public. But, since the warnings are coming from NASA, we suggest that citizens interested in preserving their well being, safety and security take note.

While the Quebec incident was a short-term, nine hour down-grid scenario, the US power grid is very much susceptible to a cascading, domino effect across our electrical infrastructures. As suggested by NASA, this would not be limited to your inability to watch television or turn on the lights, but could be much more widespread, affecting critical utility and transportation systems that deliver our food and fuel.
It is quite reasonable to suggest that any significant adverse solar weather event could lead to mass chaos across the entire country as people scramble to acquire necessities like food, water, medicine and secure shelter.

And if the response from our federal, state and local government officials is anything like Hurricane Katrina or the BP oil spill, an event of such magnitude may take weeks, perhaps months to mitigate.

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B.  9 Electric Power Grid Substations Will Bring It All Down
17 March 2014, ModernSurvivalBlog.com, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/systemic-risk/9-electric-power-grid-substations-will-bring-it-all-down/

empthreat usa

Attackers could bring down the entire power grid of the United States in just a few moves, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Federal analysis says sabotage of just nine key substations is sufficient for a broad power outage from New York to Los Angeles.

The U.S. could suffer a coast-to-coast blackout if saboteurs launch a coordinated attack and knock out just nine of the country’s 55,000 electric-transmission substations on a hot summer day while the systems are under a strained load, according to a previously unreported federal analysis.

The study’s results have been known for months to select people in federal agencies, Congress and the White House, but were reported publicly for the first time Wednesday (MAR-12). The WSJ did not publish a list of the 30 most critical substations identified by the FERC study.

The study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission concluded that coordinated attacks in each of the nation’s three separate electric systems could cause the entire power network to collapse, people familiar with the research said.

Electric substations are critical to the functionality of the electric grid. Their transformers boost the voltage to very high levels which enables efficient transmission across long distances. The levels are then brought back down to usable levels by similar transformers. On a hot summer day, with the grid operating at high capacity, FERC found that taking out the right amount of substations could lead to a national blackout lasting months.

One particularly troubling memo reviewed by the Journal described a scenario in which a highly-coordinated but relatively small scale attack could send the country into a long-term literal dark age. “Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer,” the memo said.

Informational Source: The Wall Street Journal
See at: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304020104579433670284061220
The fact that the mainstream media is reporting this, is itself ‘telling’.

If we were to experience an event as described here, tens of millions would perish in today’s modern ‘dependent’ society. Breaking out of our normalcy bias and preparing ones-self for such a catastrophe would be life altering, with a tremendous dedication of time and resources to adapt a fundamental change to how and where we live our lives.

tv news3See Fox news video story at:
http://foxnewsinsider.com/2014/03/13/rpt-small-scale-attack-us-power-grid-could-cause-nationwide-blackout

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Waves of Refugees, Part 2 of 2

(Survival Manual/ Prepper articles/ Waves of Refugees, Part 2 of 2)
Continued from: Waves of Refugees, Part 1 of 2

E.   Four Waves of Food and Shelter Seekers
23 Aug 2012, Code Green Prep, by David Spero
Pasted from: http://codegreenprep.com/2012/08/four-waves-of-food-and-shelter-seekers/

refugee2 crowd1

Shortly after some type of disaster that disrupts the normal flow of food and energy into your nearby towns, people will be forced to leave their residences and fan out into the countryside, foraging for food (and subsequently shelter too). That is obvious – if there is no food in the town/city, people can either stay where they are and die of thirst or starvation, or they can pro-actively start looking for food.

People will initially look for food on one of two different levels.
The first level is ‘looking for food nearby and returning back to one’s normal home to eat it and continue living’.
The second level is ‘abandoning one’s former residence and moving, as a refugee, towards wherever the possibility of ongoing survival may be greatest’.
A third and fourth type of food seeking will develop later into a crisis.

It is helpful to understand the differing types of contacts you’ll have, because each poses different challenges, problems, threats, and even opportunities, calling for different responses on your part.

And while we consider our four different waves to be more or less chronologically sequential, there will be some overlaps, with some people representing some waves either earlier than most others, or later than most others.

The First Wave

refugee2 hoarde march[The waves of refugees after TEOTWAWKI will be both heart-rending and dangerous.]

The first wave will start shortly after the social disruption occurs, initially as a trickle, and then successively greater and greater as more and more people run out of food and come to realize that the government won’t magically solve the problem that occurred.

It will only take a week or two before the first type of food-seeking necessarily ends, due to people running out of gas for their vehicles, and being reduced instead to only traveling and foraging as far as they can walk or bicycle (although, on flat terrain, fitter people could fairly easily cycle up to 50 miles out and then 50 miles back home again).

We predict that people in this ‘first wave’ won’t be very threatening, because they will be more in a hurry to cover as much ground as possible to find as much easy food as possible, rather than becoming fixated on specific potential targets. Plus, the ‘kill or be killed’ reality of tough survival won’t yet have fully penetrated, and the region will have patches of remaining lawfulness alongside areas of growing anarchy.

Furthermore, these people are primarily seeking food only, not shelter. They’ve not yet accepted that their city residences have become unviable and need to be abandoned.

Your tactic to resist problems from the first wave of food/shelter seekers will be to maintain a low profile, so most of such people pass you by, and to positively respond to people who do come visiting, encouraging them to go find easier targets/food sources elsewhere.

Of course, the further you are from the nearby towns and cities, the fewer the number of people who might stumble upon you. But you’ll never be 100% guaranteed to be safely far from such itinerant scavengers. Fortunately the danger they pose to your retreat at this early stage is low, so while your location choice will ideally not be right next to a freeway exit, a mere 10 miles from the city center, you don’t need to keep yourself hundreds of miles away from any and all population concentrations.

The Second Wave
As the first wave ends and is replaced by the second wave, people’s attitudes will be hardening, because their ability to travel far and wide is massively reduced. They have probably used up most of their emergency food stores, and now, limited primarily by their ability to walk, any source of food becomes one they must take full advantage of. They can no longer afford the luxury of leaving empty-handed, and their lack of mobility now reduces the number of places they can travel to in search of food. They have to make the best of every possible opportunity.

The grim reality of the ‘eat or be eaten’ concept will also be one which the survivors can no longer ignore.

refugee2 crowd2
If these people come across your retreat, they are likely to be a stronger and more determined adversary than people in the first wave (and people in the second wave could well be the same people who visited more peaceably in the first wave, too).

Fortunately, most of these people in the second wave will still be nomadic and itinerant. They’ll be traveling in the hope of finding a Shangri-La somewhere that is full of food, energy, and welcoming people keen to help them, and probably won’t yet be in the ‘looking for anywhere to settle’ mode that will come later. They might hope for overnight shelter, but they’re not yet looking for a place to settle – or, if they are, they’re probably not yet realistic enough to appreciate the value of your retreat.

People will start abandoning their homes anytime after only a very few days of the crisis commencing and once they start to accept that no magic solutions are forthcoming. This won’t only be due to the lack of food and lack of any future food supply, but may also be due to lack of water, lack of plumbing, and lack of energy in general. A high-rise apartment with no water, no working elevators, and no lights or heating/cooling will quickly become uninhabitable, food or not.

The second wave will probably diminish after three or so weeks, because by that point, people will have either left the city, or died, or created some sort of semi-stable ongoing basis of existence in the city.

Your strategy during this exodus stage is to be located somewhere reasonably far from the main routes people are likely to travel along. It is as important that you are off the likely refugee routes, whether you are 1 mile or 100 miles from the major population centers, because people will potentially be traveling long distances in their search for somewhere better to live.

People may fan out slightly from the main routes as they search for food en route, but they will generally follow the major arterial routes.

Major routes will tend to be well maintained highways, and generally we expect people will move to the coasts and south, rather than inland and to the north. People will, either by reason or instinct, seek out warm climates and water/ocean. The warm climate reduces their dependency on shelter and energy, and the ocean has the appeal of ‘free fish’ and also some type of instinctive deep-seated lure.

The Third Wave
The third wave will be refugees, the same as the second wave, but this time it will be people looking for somewhere to settle.

These will be people who are becoming more realistic in their expectations, and now rather than mindlessly going anywhere in the hope of finding (nonexistent) salvation, they are now looking for somewhere they can settle and survive for the medium or longer term.

refugee2 hoarde camp

Your appeal to these people is not just the food you have stored, but also your retreat as a whole, the under-way food cultivation, the energy creating resources you have, and everything else you have done to prepare yourselves for this future.

1) Some of these people will be seeking short-term easy solutions. They’ll want to rob you of your food, your shelter, and everything else you have. They have no concern for sustainability, they want to live for the moment, and when they’ve exhausted everything you have, they’ll move on to somewhere else.
2) Others of these people will be more realistic, but they’ll still want to displace you from your property and take it over.
3) There will also be a very few people who will be fair and honest and decent, and who will offer to work their way for and with you. They’ll offer their labor and their skills, in return for your shelter and assistance – probably as a ‘package deal’ for themselves and their other family members.
It would be good if you had a way of responding positively to such people, because they may prove to be valuable additions to your small community.

The Fourth Wave
The fourth wave is very different from the other three. It is longer lasting and more potentially impactful on your retreat and community.
Due to the importance of this fourth wave, we have devoted a separate article to it – below.

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F.  Preparing for the Fourth – and Deadliest – Wave of Refugees, Bandits, and other Problem Groups
Code Green Prep, by David Spero
Pasted from: http://codegreenprep.com/2012/08/preparing-for-the-fourth-and-deadliest-wave-of-refugees-bandits-and-other-problem-groups/

refugee2 horseman

A 13th century depiction of the red – second – horse and rider of the Apocalypse.
The biblical prophecy of the four horsemen is eerily similar to how we see the four waves of refugees after TEOTWAWKI.

No-one really knows what to expect after TSHTF in an extended Level 2 or 3 situation, but it seems universally agreed that the starving masses will be forced to flee their city dwellings and do whatever it takes to survive, wherever they can find the opportunity and ability to do so.

It is helpful to look at the types of people who will come out from the cities as a series of different waves, each with different characteristics. We’ve discussed the first three waves of refugees in this other article, and the good news is they will be relatively brief in duration and not necessarily ultimately threatening to the wellbeing of your own retreat community – indeed some people in the third wave could well become positive additions to your community.

In this part we wish to instead look at the last of these waves – the fourth wave. And rather like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, this is the most threatening and dangerous wave – not only by its nature, but also because it will be the longest lived of the four waves. (Christians will be impressed at how closely all four waves can be viewed as having characteristics similar to the four horsemen described in Revelations.)

The first two waves were fairly simple and easily understood. In the third wave, we saw how some members were threats but others could be valuable allies. There is a similar dichotomy to the fourth wave, but in a very different sense, and their duality is part of their danger.

Both will be organized groups, and both will probably already have their own shelter and possibly even other food sources. They probably don’t need your shelter, and they may not even need your food and other resources. But, taking advantage of a collapse of law and order, they want to take it simply because they can, and because all around them, other people and groups are acting similarly, just like the looter who takes items from stores in a city riot, even if they are things of no value – they just take them for nihilistic reasons.

Organized Lawless Gangs
The first of these groups will be organized lawless gangs, seeking to dominate and rule their new expanded territory. The might possibly seek ongoing tribute and ‘taxes’ from you in exchange for their ‘protection’.

refugee2 brigand training
Or maybe they’ll be less formal, and will simply be roaming around as an organized and maybe nomadic gang, taking and destroying as they go.

Gangs that seek to impose their own structure and what passes for their version of order may be groups you can negotiate with. But groups who are little more than anarchistic looters will not be people you can negotiate or create win-win outcomes with.

When encountering the former, you need to shift their perception of you from being a one-way source of goodies they can seize from you, to instead being a two-way trading source and resource they can benefit from. Maybe you can help them maintain some of their equipment. Maybe you have medical resources. Maybe you can trade with them – exchanging items they’ve plundered elsewhere and have no use for, and giving them in return food or other things they do need.

When encountering the latter, you are best advised to indicate to them that you are not an easy target, and any attempt to attack you would seriously weaken or destroy their own force, while leaving you relatively unharmed. With most of the rest of the entire continent lying helpless at their feet, encourage them to go after easier targets.

This encouragement is best done in a ‘face saving’ manner. If you challenge the gang leader’s authority, and the overall ‘machismo’ of the gang itself, they may have no social choice but to fight it out with you – and from their perspective, the lives of their junior gang members probably has much less value to the gang leaders than do the lives of your family and fellow community members to you.

We’re From the ‘Government’ and We’re Here to ‘Help’ You
The second of these groups may be more dangerous. They will claim to be semi-official government groups, seeking to impose their definition of emergency martial law on the region they have assumed control of.

Sometimes their intentions may be honorable and well-meaning (even if dysfunctional and dangerous to you in the process), other times they may be as corrupt and despotic as the outlaw gangs, but cleverly seeking to wrap up their dictatorial actions with an ill deserved veneer of assumed legality.

Unfortunately, whether honorable or not, it is almost a certainty that these self-appointed groups of enforcers will be primarily tasked with taking stuff from you – either to keep for themselves, or to give to the unprepared other people in the region who have empowered these people to act for their benefit.

refugee2 militia

They may attempt to claim special emergency powers that suspend all your normal legal protections and constitutionally guaranteed rights, and if they have been sufficiently clever and sophisticated, they’ll have compliant judges ready to issue court orders authorizing things that should never be authorized.

If you don’t like it, they’ll say, you can go appeal, all the way to the US Supreme Court if you wish – this being in a scenario where the Supreme Court may have ceased to exist, and even if it did, it would be close to impossible for you to go there, and may take years for you to get a case heard and resolved. Meantime, you will be told you must comply with what they tell you is a lawful order to surrender your food, to take in refugees, or in many other ways to destroy the viability of the retreat that you built, for yourself.

Some of the people in this fourth wave will be people you might choose to reluctantly ‘do business’ with. If they are realistic and don’t seek to ‘kill the goose that lays the golden eggs’ and understand that only if your are prosperous can they take a levy or share of your prosperity, then all you’ve done is substituted one form of previous law, order, and taxation for another. And whether the people imposing it on you are bona fide government officials, lawless gangsters, or ‘pretend’ government officials, the net result is the same, and you simply have to matter-of-factly strike the best win-win deal you can.

But if they ask too much, and leave you with too little, you have some real problems to face.

Even a True Democratic Elected Government May Abrogate Your Rights
In particular, you know that even in the ‘best’ of our 50 states, the massive majority of the population is not nearly as well prepared as you are. In the normal world, they might be wealthier than you and have more possessions, a fancier house, and who knows what else, but in the post-crisis world of a Level 2 or 3 event, their wealth and possessions become meaningless while yours become invaluable.

Any sort of democratic majority based government, especially one raised on the notion that the ‘wealthy’ are obliged to support the ‘poor’, and doubly especially where the lawmakers themselves are not prepared and are faced with their own pressing life or death challenges, won’t hesitate to urgently pass any needed laws to compel you to give everything you have to them.

This may well be unconstitutional and unlawful and illegal. But who are you going to complain to, when the local mayor, the local sheriff, and the local judge all turn up on your doorstep together, themselves all starving, and demanding by their joint powers that you give them all your food?

We don’t have easy answers to offer you about these ‘fourth wave’ attackers. But we can tell you that the fourth wave will be an ongoing thorn in your side, and you may find it increasingly difficult to tell between the ‘lawless gang’ fourth wave members and the ‘lawful posse’ fourth wave members.

Hiding from Fourth Wave Threats
A continuation of the article from above: http://codegreenprep.com/2012/08/preparing-for-the-fourth-and-deadliest-wave-of-refugees-bandits-and-other-problem-groups/

Many preppers feel that an important part of their overall defensive strategy is to keep as low a profile as possible; to obscure the existence of their retreat, so as to avoid being noticed – both before and after the onset of some type of societal collapse.

Obscuring yourself prior to social collapse is getting harder and harder with every passing year. The ‘information society’ is finding out more and more about us, and with the increasing tendency of government drones, spotting planes, and even satellites to survey vast areas of countryside, and to create extremely detailed ‘GIS’ databases of all the land and structures in a region, your retreat structure will surely be noticed and if not officially registered, sooner or later will cause the authorities to respond.

If you have an unauthorized structure that has not been permitted and which is not compliant with applicable zoning and health and other regulations and restrictions, you risk having it seized and destroyed. You also risk civil and possibly criminal penalties, and being labeled as another crazy group of survivalist/supremacists. You can imagine the headlines now – ‘Anti-government supremacists arrested, large weapons cache found on site’ and so on and so forth. Remember that what we consider prudent, and what is indeed truly lawful, can – and will – be portrayed as evidence of crazy extremism by the news media and the authorities.

refugee2 family prep

Because one of the fourth wave groups you may encounter will be some form of revived local government, it is inevitable that the ‘footprints’ you have created in developing your retreat will be uncovered. Local health department approvals for your septic system. Utility records for electricity or internet or cable services. And so on and so on. Indeed, one of the weaknesses of the generally sensible strategy of locating in an area with low population density is that you become more obvious by your presence than you would in a denser region.

You may delay your discovery, but you will not prevent it. You need to have a more viable plan to ensure the safety and security of your retreat – fortunately, we have some suggestions on this point to share.

Becoming Part of the Solution, Not Part of the Problem
Your key strategy is to position yourself, your retreat, and your community, so it can create ‘win-win’ relationships with organized ‘fourth wave’ groups.
One of the key things about this fourth wave threat is that it is longer term. Earlier waves of threats can be repulsed or ignored or in some other way worked around, but the fourth wave will be a longer term issue that must be resolved.

A confrontational approach risks failure on your part. And any type of exchange of hostilities can be much more damaging to you than to your opponents. Your opponents probably have either greater manpower to start with, and/or greater ability to recruit new members into their forces. They are willing to accept some risk to their rank and file ‘foot soldiers’.
But you have a finite community of friends, family, and colleagues. You can not dispassionately risk their lives in an encounter. Remember also that with a loss of the sophisticated healthcare facilities we enjoy at present, even minor wounds become life threatening, and even if the wounds can be treated and resolved, they risk depleting your precious limited supplies of antibiotics and other medical resources.

There may be times when you must respond to force with force yourself; where the potential outcome associated with giving in to a fourth wave group is worse than the potential outcome of repulsing their attack, and in such cases you must be resolute in your defense of your retreat and its community.
But in general, you want to position yourselves so that you can find ways to co-exist on a win-win basis with these fourth wave groups.
How would you do that? Please see our article on becoming part of the solution, rather than part of the problem, for a discussion on strategies to create win-win situations for you and the community you are close to.

Summary
After an initial period of grave social disruption, during which the first, second and third waves of refugees will occur, the rate of change will slow and some periods of semi-stable social arrangements will probably follow.
Invariably, regional leadership organizations will appear, and whether they are ostensibly benevolent or despotic, you need to position yourselves and your community so that it can co-exist on a win-win basis with these other (and possibly stronger) forces around it

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