Category Archives: News & Editorial

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Venezuela: Shortages and hyper inflation… How it looks on Main Street

news-desk[1]A. Venezuela Enforces Fingerprint Registry to Buy Groceries: What to Do Before Rationing Starts in America 2 April 2014, SHTFplan.com, by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper, http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/venezuela-enforces-fingerprint-registry-to-buy-groceries-what-to-do-before-rationing-starts-in-america-04022014

Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/venezuela-enforces-fingerprint-registry-to-buy-groceries-what-to-do-before-rationing-starts-in-america_04022014

Editor’s Note: In recent weeks the country of Venezuela has implemented everything from price controls to rationing in an effort to control the hyperinflation that has gripped the nation. All attempts at controlling demand and ‘hoarding’ have thus far failed, prompting government officials to issue directives requiring biometric verification for the purchase of foodstuffs. What’s happening in Venezuela is a clear example of how government first causes the problem, often leading to panic, and then points the blame at everyone but themselves. Officials claim that unscrupulous merchants (who have been forced to sell goods at prices lower than they have acquired them) and the hoarding of food by individuals is to blame for the shortages.

The solution, of course, is more government, and in this case that means registration of fingerprints and other personal data in exchange for permission to purchase food. Be assured that the same plans are in place right here in the USA. In fact, we already have an electronic mechanism of exchange in the form of Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) cards. Should the worst happen and the US dollar crashes at some point in the future, those who failed to prepare (or, hoard as the government would suggest) are destined to forced registrations at their local post office or other government entity. Daisy Luther of The Organic Prepper explains what’s happening right now in Venezuela, how a similar situation could unfold in the USA, and what you can do to prepare in advance.

For those looking to implement a frugal and highly effective strategy in advance of food shortages or currency crisis we suggest taking a look at Daisy’s book The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months.

Venesuela1(Pictured: Amateur photo: Venezuelans line up for miles in an effort to acquire food during hyperinflationary food shortages – March 2014)

.Venezuela Enforces Fingerprint Registry to Buy Groceries: What to Do Before Rationing Starts in America
By Daisy Luther

What if you were forced to “register” in order to buy groceries?  And what if, through that registration, the food you bought could be tracked and quantities could be limited?

That’s exactly the plan in Venezuela right now.  The AP reports that in an effort to crack down on “hoarding” that ID cards will be issued to families.  These will have to be presented before foodstuffs can be purchased.

President Nicolas Maduro’s administration says the cards to track families’ purchases will foil people who stock up on groceries at subsidized prices and then illegally resell them for several times the amount…

Registration began Tuesday at more than 100 government-run supermarkets across the country. Working-class shoppers who sometimes endure hours-long lines at government-run stores to buy groceries at steeply reduced prices are welcoming the plan.

“The rich people have things all hoarded away, and they pull the strings,” said Juan Rodriguez, who waited two hours to enter the government-run Abastos Bicentenario supermarket near downtown Caracas on Monday, and then waited another three hours to check out.

Checkout workers at Abastos Bicentenario were taking down customers’ cellphone numbers Monday, to ensure they couldn’t return for eight days. Shoppers said employees also banned purchases by minors, to stop parents from using their children to engage in hoarding, which the government calls “nervous buying.”

Rodriguez supports both measures.

“People who go shopping every day hurt us all,” he said, drawing approving nods from the friends he made over the course of his afternoon slowly snaking through the aisles with his oversized cart.

Reflecting Maduro’s increasingly militarized discourse against opponents he accuses of waging “economic war,” the government is calling the new program the “system of secure supply.”

Patrons will register with their fingerprints, and the new ID card will be linked to a computer system that monitors purchases. On Tuesday, Food Minister Felix Osorio said the process was off to a smooth start. He says the system will sound an alarm when it detects suspicious purchasing patterns, barring people from buying the same goods every day. But he also says the cards will be voluntary, with incentives like discounts and entry into raffles for homes and cars.

Expressionless men with rifles patrolled the warehouse-size supermarket Monday as shoppers hurried by, focusing on grabbing meat and pantry items before they were gone.

Last year in Venezuela, it became a crime to “hoard” food, and the country’s Attorney General called upon prosecutors to crack down on “hoarders” by imprisoning them for the “crime”.

Some people may read this and think to themselves, “Why on earth do I care about what happens in Venezuela?” You’d better care, because this is our future.

Already the Obama administration has moved the pieces into place on the board to be able to appropriate supplies from anyone, at any time.  Mac Slavo of SHTFplan warns: It should be clear from the laws that are already in effect that the government has given itself a legal pretext for confiscating anything they so choose in the midst of an emergency.

Should an emergency befall the United States, the military, national guard, and local police operating under orders from the Department of Homeland Security will have carte blanche to do as they please.

In a widespread emergency where supply lines have been threatened and millions of Americans are without essential resources because they failed to prepare, the government will swoop in an attempt to take complete control.

They will enter our homes and search them without a warrant. They will confiscate contraband. And they will take any ‘excessive resources’ that you may have accumulated. This includes food, toiletries, precious metals and anything else emergency planners and officials deem to be a scarce material.

Just think how much easier it would be to do so if every purchase you make is tracked and documented for future reference.

How Much of a Footprint Are You Leaving?
Now, think about those “loyalty cards” that every grocery store in North America promotes when you go through the checkout. Have you noticed how much more those are being pushed lately? Could there be a nefarious purpose to that?  I doubt the person at the cash register thinks twice about it – if these actually are data collection tools, it is something put in place by people far higher up the food chain (pun intended) than the staff of your local supermarket.

I strongly recommend you think twice about collecting “points” – the discounts may not be worth it if it means that your stock-up purchases are in some database, easily accessible to the NSA.  If you feel it is imperative to have one of those cards, consider using a pseudonym and false address.  You really don’t want to provide an inventory of your stockpile to the government. Some cards, like the one from Target, for example, even take it a step further and link to your credit card or debit account.  I can’t even wrap my brain around giving out that type of information to the person who rings up my paper towels and garbage bags.

To take this even further, if you haven’t been convinced yet that you need to begin producing your own food by gardening and raising micro-livestock, this should solidify the importance of not being totally dependent on “the system” for what you eat. Looking at the drought conditions across America’s farmland, is it a stretch of the imagination to think we could soon be facing rationing like that which is currently happening in Venezuela?  As the middle class gasps its last breath here in America, we may soon be faced with a situation where only the wealthy can afford to avoid rationing.  By becoming independent from the purveyors of food, you can assure that your family will not go hungry at the whims of a government who really doesn’t care.

Plan of Action
Here are a few things that you can do to pre-empt feeling the effects of a system like the one in Venezuela before such a change occurs on our own soil. Start now to leave less of a footprint for the government to follow.

  1. Plant a garden.
  2. Grow food indoors in sunny windows.
  3. Consider an aquaponics set-up in a spare room.
  4. Raise chickens and meat rabbits.
  5. Stock up NOW on long-term staples like grains and beans, before limits are instituted.
  6. Buy heirloom seeds – lots and lots of seeds.
  7. Practice careful OPSEC (OPerational SECurity) when making large purchases.
  8. Store long term food supplies in more than one location. That way if you lose some of your supplies to thugs (government or other varieties), you still have supplies to fall back on.
  9. Learn to preserve food.
  10. Stock up of preservation supplies like lids, jars, etc.
  11. Do NOT use so-called “loyalty cards” or memberships to make large purchases.
  12. When ordering large quantities of supplies, consider having them mailed to some place other than your home.
  13. Use cash or prepaid VISA cards purchased with cash to make large purchases.
  14. Don’t tell others about your supplies and purchases.
  15. Teach your children not to discuss things like food pantries and preparedness.
  16. Don’t store your supplies out in the open for anyone who comes into your home to see. Stash your 5 gallon pails away in closets, under beds, or in the basement.
  17. Disengage from the system by purchasing from small local farmers.
  18. Use the barter system whenever possible.  When money was tight and I lived in a place where I couldn’t grow much food, I worked on a farm harvesting vegetables in exchange for produce that I could preserve for my family.
  19. Change the way you eat – go with a local, in-season menu that is far more difficult to track than grocery-store purchased items.
  20. Learn to forage. Even in the city, you might be surprised at how many things can be found growing in your own back yard or falling off of the trees in a local park.  My children and I picked up one small bag of walnuts a day at a little park down the street one year, resulting in almost 15 pounds of shelled nuts by the time we were through.

Whatever your plan, don’t delay. We need only to read the many articles predicting a food shortage this year due to poor weather conditions to see the writing on the wall. You must become responsible for your family’s sustenance if you don’t want to suffer at the hands of those in power. I have no intention of standing in line for hours with my “ID card”, only to be allowed to purchase a small amount of highly inflated food.

[Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.

Daisy Luther is the author of The Pantry Primer: How to Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca

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B. Price controls and scarcity force Venezuelans to turn to the black market for milk and toilet paper
16 Apr 2015, by Girish Gupta in Caracas
Pasted from: http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/apr/16/venezuela-economy-black-market-milk-and-toilet-paper

From those struggling to meet inflated prices for everyday goods, to lawyers turned pasta smugglers, the street economy flourishes under President Maduro

Venesuela vendorWith supermarket shelves empty, buhoneros (street peddlers) hustling everything from coffee to
shampoo are an increasingly common sight across Venezuela’s slums.  Photograph: Girish Gupta

In Petare, a giant slum overlooking Caracas from the east, hustlers known as buhoneros sell their goods at a busy intersection. “I’ve got milk, toilet paper, coffee, soap…” said 30-year-old Carmen Rodríguez, pointing to her wares by the side of a road busy with honking motorbikes, cars and buses. “Of course they cost more than the government say they should. We have to queue up to get them or buy them from someone who has done. We’re helping people get the basics.”

Yet, many of the poor simply can’t afford Rodríguez’s basics. In a raw and arguably necessary display of capitalism, she sells them for far more than the government’s legally required “fair prices”. It is ironically because of those government-imposed fair prices that the goods often aren’t available at supermarkets at fair prices as it’s simply not profitable to import them. This is thanks to economic policies dating back more than a decade.

Rodríguez sells each of her products for around 100 bolívares. At the black market currency exchange rate, that’s just 30 pence or so. But at that same exchange rate, the minimum wage in Venezuela is around £15 a month.

Venesuela2 queueA queue for a supermarket in Caracas. Photograph: Girish Gupta

“I can’t live like this, earning the minimum wage. It’s not enough at all,” said Araceli Belaez, 40, lining up for groceries at a supermarket in the Caracas slum of Catia.

Johan Elizandre is a fruit-seller in 23 de enero, a slum on the other side of Caracas. It overlooks the presidential palace and its walls are adorned with murals of leftist heroes such as Che Guevara, Karl Marx and former Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez. “A kilo of meat costs me 600 bolívares” said Elizandre, who earns 7,000 bolívares a month, around £20 when measured at the black market exchange rate – far more than the minimum wage. “I have sons, aged five and seven. I’d rather give them the food and not eat so much myself.”

Of course my goods cost more than the government say they should. We’re helping people get the basics

The scenes at Petare’s intersection, 23 de enero’s streets and Catia’s supermarkets are manifestations of an economy in tatters: one in which people buy milk, toilet paper and shampoo at inflated prices because supermarkets, with long queues outside, are near empty; in which engineers and lawyers smuggle pasta and petrol across borders to earn many times more than they would carrying out their profession; and in which surgeons complain that people are dying on the operating table because they cannot import medicines and equipment.

Venesuela3 queueThere will not be much left in the supermarket for people at the back of this queue Photograph: Girish Gupta

President Nicolás Maduro’s approval ratings are currently in the mid-20s. Annual inflation is at nearly 70% – which doesn’t include goods prices with the hefty premiums charged by the buhoneros like Rodríguez. The currency has fallen some 30% against the US dollar this year on the black market. And the murder rate is one of the world’s worst.

In 2003, Maduro’s predecessor Chávez enacted strict currency controls, pegging the bolívar to the US dollar. The aim was to reduce inflation and curb capital flight though neither has been achieved. Price controls, currency controls and the lack of dollars the government provides mean that importers no longer have the incentive to bring in goods. A thousand bolívares would have bought £30 on the black market when Maduro was elected to power in March 2013; it now buys less than £3. In the meantime, prices have risen rapidly while wages have not kept up.

On the country’s border with Colombia at San Antonio, engineer Jesús Arias, 33, has given up on his profession and smuggles petrol across the border. One of the country’s most costly price controls means that filling an entire tank costs just a couple of cents, converted at black market rates. Over the border, petrol sells for hundreds of times more. “Here petrol is practically a free gift,” Arias said. “A litre of mineral water costs more than a litre of gas.”

Children walk across the bridge to Colombia with Coca-Cola bottles filled with petrolThe subsidy costs the government around $12bn (£8bn) a year and Maduro is very clear that it needs to end – though that would be politically disastrous. Arias fills his 50-litre tank for just a few pence; a few hundred metres across the bridge in Cúcuta, Colombia, he can sell that for around £15. “Doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers we’re all doing it,” he said. “Here on the border, I can earn in three or four days what I earn as a professional in a month.” Children walk across the bridge with Coca-Cola bottles filled with petrol.

Maduro blames the problems on an “economic war” being waged against his government, with help from Washington. He blames smugglers, hoarders and street vendors for causing the problems rather than being a consequence of them.

Venesuela cash- barterPeople are leaving their jobs as they can make more as a black-market vendor. Photograph: Girish Gupta

Last year, the government tried to ban websites which publish the black market exchange rate, leading one blogger to liken the manoeuvre to banning the sale of thermometers to crack down on cold weather.

Yet, the black market, while imperfect, is offering an escape valve for the economy, a means for the poor by whatever means to obtain goods they would otherwise have to do without. “Repressing the black market rate, smuggling or trading is going to deteriorate the economic picture even further,” said Alberto Ramos, a senior analyst at Goldman Sachs in New York. “It will lead to even high inflation and higher levels of goods’ scarcity. The unofficial foreign exchange market and smuggling are to a large extent economic escape valves.”

(News & Editorial/ Venezuela: shortages and hyper inflation. How it looks on Main Street)

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Yes, there’s “climate change”, its cooling

A. Sunspots 2015: Year of the decline
4 Jan 2015, Posted by azleader
Pasted from: https://informthepundits.wordpress.com/2015/01/04/sunspots-2015-year-of-the-decline/

Cooling1 sun Giant solar flare on October 27, 2014. Credit/NASA SDO spacecraft

Solar maximum has passed. What climate effects will come next?
Austin, January 4, 2015 – Solar maximum activity peaked in April 2014 at an exceptionally low 81.9 spots/day. Waning solar activity in 2015 will begin the long, inexorably journey towards solar minimum over the next half decade or so.

If solar physicists are correct, solar activity could be very low for several decades to come. How that will affect climate change is anyone’s guess, but low sunspot activity has already been identified by the United Nation’s International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as one of the main causes for the 15+ year “hiatus” from atmospheric global warming.

cooling2 progressionSolar max arrived in April 2014. Credit/Steve Davidson-SILSO data, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Brussels

The Royal Observatory of Belgium released December’s official monthly international sunspot numbers on January 1, 2015. Sunspots increased again in December, but the 13-month smoothed sunspot number that defines solar maximum declined for the 2nd month in a row. Given that solar maximum is a 13-month running average, no one knows maximum has been reached until at least seven months after the fact.

What does the downturn in solar activity mean for earth’s long-term climate change? One legitimate comparison of the current situation on the sun is to a cold period on earth called the Dalton Minimum. It happened 200 years ago.

cooling3 daltonCurrent solar activity is similar to the Dalton Minimum. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

There were three declining solar cycles leading into the Dalton Minimum, just like now. The third exceptionally weak cycle had a rare higher secondary peak than its first when the Dalton was reached, just like now.

That cycle was followed by a decline to zero spots. The period of zero spots lasted nearly two years before another weak cycle occurred. The match to current activity isn’t exact, but it’s eerily similar. There is modern supporting evidence that the sun will have an exceptionally weak cycle next time, just like the Dalton.

cooling umbralSunspots are becoming harder to see and weaker. Credit/Dr. Leif Svalgaard Research Page

Umbral intensity is a measure of how black the center of the average sunspot is compared to its surroundings. An intensity of 1 means the sunspot is invisible. Sunspots have been fading away since the late 1990s. In the last 3-4 years, though, the fading has leveled off.

Umbral magnetic field is a measure of the strength of the average sunspot, measured in Gauss. The lower the number, the weaker the sunspot. Strong magnetic fields are what cause giant solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) that dramatically affect earth. Sunspots cannot form with a field strength below 1,500 Gauss. In the last 3-4 years the decline in magnetic field strength has leveled off, too.

When this data was first published in 2011 it caused quite a stir among solar physicists. Some predicted sunspots would totally disappear after the current cycle ended. It doesn’t look like that will be the case after all. It looks like the next cycle, Cycle 25, will be another weak one, just like during the Dalton Minimum.

Reliable global temperature data does not extend further back than about 1850, fifty years after the Dalton. However, anecdotal evidence suggests there were very cold winter temperatures in the northern hemisphere during that time period.

The current sunspot cycle most closely matches Cycle 12, which peaked in 1883. That one is within reliable global temperature records.

cooling monthly smoothedThe current solar cycle is best matched to Cycle 12. Credit/Steve Davidson using SILSO data

Both Cycle 12 and the current cycle have a rare secondary peak higher than the first. That has got to mean something.

According to IPCC data, the period of the 1880s to the early 1900s was characterized by a general decline in earth’s global atmospheric temperature.

 cooling trend1880-1910 cooling trend corresponds to low sunspot activity. Source/IPCC AR5 Report

Cycle 12 and the two cycles following it were exceptionally weak cycles leading into the early 1900s. It corresponded to declining global temperatures. Coincidence? Not likely.

Conclusions
Solar sunspot maximum was reached in April of 2014. That did not become known until recently because solar max is computed as a 13-month running average. You can’t know it has been reached until at least seven months after the fact. There have been two months of decline since then, so it is reasonably certain the maximum was finally reached. As it is, it was over two years later than originally predicted.

If the current cycle follows past solar behavior then 2015 will see a steep decline in solar activity as it progresses toward solar minimum in the next five years or so.
The current cycle (Cycle 24) has strong similarities to both the Dalton Minimum and Cycle 12 that peaked in 1883. Both time periods are associated with cold earth temperatures. Cycle 12 is more meaningful because it is supported by current United Nations IPCC data.
That being the case, it’s time to start thinking about breaking out the cold weather gear.
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B. New Ice Age to Begin in 2014
23 Feb 2012, IceAgeNow.info, By Robert
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2012/02/ice-age-2014/

“Forecasters predict that a new ice age will begin soon,” says this article on russia-ic.com.

“Habibullo Abdusamatov, a scientist from the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences considers that the sharp drop in temperature will start on the Earth in 2014. “According to the scientist, our planet began to “get cold” in the 1990s. The new ice age will last at least two centuries, with its peak in 2055. “It is interesting, that the same date was chosen by the supporters of the theory of global warming. “The expected decrease in temperature may … become the fifth over the past nine centuries, reports Hydrometeorological Center of Russia. Experts call this phenomenon the “little ice age”, it was observed in the XII, XV, XVII, XIX centuries. This cyclicity makes the theory of upcoming cold weather in XXI century look like truth.” http://russia-ic.com/news/show/13717#.T0Q3Ms7rk9C Thanks to Thomas McHart, Stephanie Relfe for this link

Habibullo Abdussamatov is not just “a scientist.” Dr Habibullo Abdussamatov, astrophysicist, is head of the Russian segment of the International Space Station, and head of Space Research of the Sun Sector at the Pulkovo Observatory of the Russian Academy of Sciences. I
’m inclined to take his forecasts seriously.
I’ve met Dr Abdussamatov, and posted other articles about him here: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/
And here: http://iceagenow.info/2011/11/russian-scientists-predict-100-years-cooling/

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C. New Little Ice Age ‘to Begin in 2014′
20 May 2010,IceAgeNow.info, by Bob
Pasted from: http://iceagenow.info/2010/05/new-little-ice-age-to-begin-in-2014/

cooling Habibullo AbdussamatovRussian scientist to alarmists: ‘Sun heats Earth!’ 20 May 10 – CHICAGO – Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in St. Petersburg, Russia, predicts that a new “Little Ice Age” could begin in just four years.
I sat just ten feet away from Abdussamatov as he made this startling assertion at the Heartland Institute’s 4th International Conference on Climate Change in Chicago just two days ago.
Jerome R. Corsi from World Net Daily covered the proceedings exceedingly well, and I am quoting or paraphrasing him extensively here.
In a two-part video recorded at the conference by WND (link below), Abdussamatov explains that average annual sun activity has experienced an accelerated decrease since the 1990s.

Habibullo Abdussamatov Head of the Russian-Ukrainian project “Astrometria” on the Russian segment of the International Space Station, Abdussamatov’s theory is that “long-term variations in the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth are the main and principal reasons driving and defining the whole mechanism of climatic changes from the global warmings to the Little Ice Ages to the big glacial periods.”

In his speech, Abdussamatov took on advocates of the theory of man-caused warming who want to curtail our use of hydrocarbon fuels. He contended, instead, that a reasonable way to combat coming cooling trends would be “to maintain economic growth in order to adapt to the upcoming new Little Ice Age in the middle of the 21st century.”

Sun’s activity determines temperatures
Abdussamatov argues that total sun irradiance, or TSI, is the primary factor responsible for causing climate variations on Earth, not carbon dioxide.

Carbon dioxide is “not guilty,” says Abdussamatov. “As for what lies ahead in the coming decades, it is not catastrophic warming, but a global, and very prolonged temperature drop.”

Abdussamatov pointed to the English astronomer Walter Maunder, who noticed that sunspots had been generally absent from 1645 to 1715. That period coincided with the middle and coldest part of the Little Ice Age (see article D, below), which began around 1650 and extended through 1850.

“There is now an unavoidable advance toward a global decrease, a deep temperature drop comparable to the Maunder minimum,” he wrote. “Already there are signs of the future deep temperature drop.”

“The observed global warming of the climate of the Earth is not caused by the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gasses, but by extraordinarily high solar intensity that extended over virtually the entire past century.” “Future decrease in global temperature will occur even if anthropogenic ejection of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere rises to record levels.

“The implementation of the Kyoto Protocol aimed to rescue the planet from the greenhouse effect should be put off at least 150 years.”

I have the utmost respect for the courageous scientists who presented at this convention.

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D. The Little Ice Age in Europe
Scott A. Mandia, Professor – Physical Sciences, S.C.C.C., Selden, NY
Excerpts pasted from: http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/lia/little_ice_age.html

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating effect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Agriculture
Lamb (1966) points out that the growing season changed by 15 to 20 percent between the warmest and coldest times of the millennium. That is enough to affect almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to use the full-season warm climatic periods. During the coldest times of the LIA, England’s growing season was shortened by one to two months compared to present day values. The availability of varieties of seed today that can withstand extreme cold or warmth, wetness or dryness, was not available in the past. Therefore, climate changes had a much greater impact on agricultural output in the past.

Fig. 16 and 17 show the price of wheat and rye, respectively, in various European countries during the LIA.

cooling wheat pricesFigure 16: Prices of wheat expressed in Dutch guilders per 100 kg. in various countries vs. time. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

Western Europe experienced a general cooling of the climate between the years 1150 and 1460 and a very cold climate between 1560 and 1850 that brought dire consequences to its peoples. The colder weather impacted agriculture, health, economics, social strife, emigration, and even art and literature. Increased glaciation and storms also had a devastating affect on those that lived near glaciers and the sea.

Impact on Health
The cooler climate during the LIA had a huge impact on the health of Europeans. As mentioned earlier, dearth and famine killed millions and poor nutrition decreased the stature of the Vikings in Greenland and Iceland.

Cool, wet summers led to outbreaks of an illness called St. Anthony’s Fire. Whole villages would suffer convulsions, hallucinations, gangrenous rotting of the extremities, and even death. Grain, if stored in cool, damp conditions, may develop a fungus known as ergot blight and also may ferment just enough to produce a drug similar to LSD. (In fact, some historians claim that the Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria was the result of ergot blight.)

Malnutrition led to a weakened immunity to a variety of illnesses. In England, malnutrition aggravated an influenza epidemic of 1557-8 in which whole families died. In fact, during most of the 1550’s deaths outnumbered births (Lamb, 1995.) The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) was hastened by malnutrition all over Europe.

One might not expect a typically tropical disease such as malaria to be found during the LIA, but Reiter (2000) has shown that it was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. The English word for malaria was ague, a term that remained in common usage until the nineteenth century. Geoffrey Chaucer (1342-1400) wrote in the Nun’s Priest Tale:

You are so very choleric of complexion. Beware the mounting sun and all dejection, Nor get yourself with sudden humours hot; For if you do, I dare well lay a groat That you shall have the tertian fever’s pain, Or some ague that may well be your bane.

In sixteenth century England, many marshlands were notorious for their ague-stricken populations. William Shakespeare (1564-1616) mentioned ague in eight of his plays. Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) died of ague in September 1658, which was one of the coldest years of the LIA.

Five indigenous species of mosquito are capable of transmitting malaria in England where they prefer the brackish water along river estuaries. The anaerobic bacterial flora of saline mud produces a strong sulfur odor that was widely believed to be the cause of agues in salt marsh areas (i.e. Shakespeare’s “unwholesome fens.”) The term malaria comes from the Italian term “mala aria” meaning “bad air.”

Impact on Economics
In addition to increasing grain prices and lower wine production, there were many examples of economic impact by the dramatic cooling of the climate. Due to famine, storms, and growth of glaciers ,many farmsteads were destroyed, which resulted in less tax revenues collected due to decreased value of the properties (Lamb, 1995.)

Cod fishing greatly decreased, especially for the Scottish fisherman, as the cod moved farther south. The cod fishery at the Faeroe Islands began to fail around 1615 and failed altogether for thirty years between 1675 and 1704 (Lamb, 1995.) In the Hohe Tauern mountains of the Austrian Alps, advancing glaciers closed the gold mines of the Archbishop of Salzburg who was one of the wealthiest dukes in the empire. The succession of two or three bad summers where the miners could not rely on work in the mines caused them to find employment elsewhere, which resulted in an abrupt end to the mining operations (Bryson, 1977.)

Not all of the economic impact was bad. The fertile fishing grounds of the present day Newfoundland Banks were thought to have been found by fisherman in the late 1400’s who were looking for the fish stocks that had deserted their former grounds as the result of the movement of colder waters from the north (Lamb, 1995.)

English fisherman benefited by the southern movement of herring normally found in the waters off Norway. This increase in deep-sea fishing helped to build the maritime population and strength of the country (Lamb, 1995.) The failure of crops in Norway between 1680 and 1720 was a prime reason for the great growth of merchant shipping there. Coastal farmers whose crops failed turned to selling their timber and to constructing ships in order to transport these timbers themselves (Lamb, 1995.)

Social Unrest
Conditions during the LIA led to many cases of social unrest. The winter of 1709 killed many people in France. Conditions were so bad, a priest in Angers, in west-central France, wrote: “The cold began on January 6, 1709, and lasted in all its rigor until the twenty-fourth. The crops that had been sewn were all completely destroyed…. Most of the hens had died of cold, as had the beasts in the stables. When any poultry did survive the cold, their combs were seen to freeze and fall off. Many birds, ducks, partidges, woodcock, and blackbirds died and were found on the roads and on the thick ice and frequent snow. Oaks, ashes, and other valley trees split with cold. Two thirds of the vines died…. No grape harvest was gathered at all in Anjou…. I myself did not get enough wine from my vineyard to fill a nutshell.” (Ladurie, 1971) In March the poor rioted in several cities to keep the merchants from selling what little wheat they had left.

The winter of 1739-40 was also a bad one. After that there was no spring and only a damp, cool summer which spoiled the wheat harvest. The poor rebelled and the governor of Liège told the rich to “fire into the middle of them. That’s the only way to disperse this riffraff, who want nothing but bread and loot.” (Ladurie, 1971)

Lamb (1995) reports the occurrence of cattle raids on the Lowlanders by Highlanders who were stressed by the deteriorating climate. In 1436, King James I of Scotland was murdered while hunting on the edge of the Highland region near Perth. The clan warfare grew so bad that it was decided that no place north of Edinburgh Castle was safe for the king so Edinburgh became the capital of the country.

In England, the effect of starvation and the poor condition of the country encouraged men to enlist during the War of the Roses (1455-1485.) As tillable land was converted to other uses such as sheep rearing, the landlords who organized the conversions became the focus of many hostilities.

One group in particular suffered from the poor conditions – people thought to be witches (Behringer, 1999.) Weather-making was thought to be among the traditional abilities of witches and during the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries many saw a great witch conspiracy. Extensive witch hunts took place during the most severe years of the LIA, as people looked for scapegoats to blame for their suffering.

One of history’s most notorious quotes might have been due in part to a rare extremely warm period during the LIA. In northern France in 1788, after an unusually bad winter, May, June, and July were excessively hot, which caused the grain to shrivel. On July 13, just at harvest time, a severe hailstorm (which typically occurs when there is very cold air aloft) destroyed what little crops were left. From that bad harvest of 1788 came the bread riots of 1789 which led to Marie Antoinette’s alleged remark “Let them eat cake,” and the storming of the Bastille.

Art and Literature
Writers and artists were also influenced by the great change in climate. In 1816, “the year without a summer,” many Europeans spent their summers around the fire. Mary Shelley was inspired to write Frankenstein, and Polidori, The Vampire. Both authors, together with Byron and Percy Shelley, were in Switzerland, near Lake Geneva where Byron said “We will each write a ghost story.” Percy Shelley also referred to a glacier in his poem “Mont Blanc” when he wrote “…and wall impregnable of beaming ice. The race of man flies far in dread; his work and dwelling vanish…”

Neuberger (1970) studied more than 12,000 paintings in 41 art museums in the United States and eight European countries to test his hypothesis that paintings would accurately reveal the climate record. These paintings covered the period from 1400 to 1967. He categorized the blueness of the sky into a three-step scale consisting of pale blue, medium blue, and deep blue. Cloudiness was estimated according to the U.S. airways code: clear (less than 10 percent coverage), scattered (10 to 50 percent), broken (60 to 90 percent), and overcast (more than 90 percent cloud coverage.) In addition, the types of clouds were observed according to four families: high, middle, low, and convective (vertically-developed) clouds. Neuberger separated his data into three epochs. According to the data in Fig. 19 below, during the second epoch when the LIA was at its peak, cloudiness and darkness prevailed.

cooling sky paintingsFigure 19: Epochal changes in various painting features. (Source: Neuberger, 1970)

Neuberger suggests that the similarities between the second and third epochs have more to do with a stylistic change in the third epoch to impressionism which produced hazy atmospheres and also to an increase in industrial pollution.

Frequency of Storms
Fig. 20 shows the number of reported severe sea floods per century in the North Sea region.

cooling severe sea floodsFigure 20: Number of reported sea floods per century in the North Sea region. (Source: Lamb, 1995)

During the LIA, there was a high frequency of storms. As the cooler air began to move southward, the polar jet stream strengthened and followed, which directed a higher number of storms into the region. At least four sea floods of the Dutch and German coasts in the thirteenth century were reported to have caused the loss of around 100,000 lives. Sea level was likely increased by the long-term ice melt during the MWP which compounded the flooding. Storms that caused greater than 100,000 deaths were also reported in 1421, 1446, and 1570. Additionally, large hailstorms that wiped out farmland and killed great numbers of livestock occurred over much of Europe due to the very cold air aloft during the warmer months. Due to severe erosion of coastline and high winds, great sand storms developed which destroyed farmlands and reshaped coastal land regions.

(News & Editorial/ Yes there’s “climate change”, it cooling)

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The Tragedy of the Commons

(News & Editorial/The Tragedy of the Commons)

What & who we are
(Excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_sapiens)
“Humans are bipedal primates belonging to the species Homo sapiens (Latin: “wise man” or “knowing man”) in Hominidae, the great ape family. They are the only surviving members of the genus Homo. Humans have a highly developed brain, capable of abstract reasoning, language, introspection, and problem solving. This mental capability, combined with an erect body carriage that frees the arms for manipulating objects, has allowed humans to make far greater use of tools than any other species.

Like most higher primates, humans are social by nature. However, humans are uniquely adept at utilizing systems of communication for self-expression, the exchange of ideas, and organization.

Humans create complex social structures composed of many cooperating and competing groups, from families to nations.

Social interactions between humans have established an extremely wide variety of values, social norms, and rituals, which together form the basis of human society.
Humans have a marked appreciation for beauty and aesthetics which, combined with the human desire for self-expression, has led to cultural innovations such as art, literature and music.

Humans are noted for their desire to understand and influence their environment, seeking to explain and manipulate natural phenomena through science, philosophy, mythology and religion. This natural curiosity has led to the development of advanced tools and skills, which are passed down culturally; humans are the only species known to build fires, cook their food, clothe themselves, and use numerous other technologies…”

“In humans, behavioral innovations are usually passed down culturally from one generation to the next through social learning. For many, the existence of culture in humans is the key adaptation that sets us apart from animals.” However,

Humanity’s Archille’s Heel:
“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” – Dr. Albert Bartlett, physicist.
All species expand as much as resources allow and predators, parasites, and physical conditions permit. When a species is introduced into a new habitat with abundant resources that accumulated before its arrival, the population expands rapidly until all the resources are used up.”  – David Price, Energy and Human Evolution 

.The tragedy of the commons
Pasted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons
The tragedy of the commons is a dilemma arising from the situation in which multiple individuals, acting independently and rationally consulting their own self-interest, will ultimately deplete a shared limited resource, even when it is clear that it is not in anyone’s long-term interest for this to happen. This dilemma was first described, in modern times, in an influential article titled “The Tragedy of the Commons,” written by ecologist Garrett Hardin and first published in the journal Science in 1968.

Central to Hardin’s article is an example (See a similar cartoon below in this post. Mr Larry] of a hypothetical and simplified situation based on medieval land tenure in Europe, of herders sharing a common parcel of land, on which they are each entitled to let their cows graze. In Hardin’s example, it is in each herder’s interest to put the next (and succeeding) cows he acquires onto the land, even if the quality of the common is damaged for all as a result, through overgrazing. The herder receives all of the benefits from an additional cow, while the damage to the common is shared by the entire group. If all herders make this individually rational economic decision, the common will be depleted or even destroyed, to the detriment of all.

[The behavior of ‘Self interest vs. The Commons’ is a  common flaw in Man’s mental abilities and has been with us for thousands of years, if not since our dawn. You can see it today during the recent financial crisis where banks, whom during good times privatized their profits and in bad times spread their losses to the public.]

Thucydides (ca. 460 BC-ca. 395 BC) stated: “They devote a very small fraction of time to the consideration of any public object, most of it to the prosecution of their own objects. Meanwhile each fancies that no harm will come to his neglect, that it is the business of somebody else to look after this or that for him; and so, by the same notion being entertained by all separately, the common cause imperceptibly decays.”

Aristotle (384-322 BC) similarly argued against common goods of the polis (city-state)  of Athens: “That all persons call the same thing mine in the sense in which each does so may be a fine thing, but it is impracticable; or if the words are taken in the other sense, such a unity in no way conduces to harmony. And there is another objection to the proposal. For that which is common to the greatest number has the least care bestowed upon it. Every one thinks chiefly of his own, hardly at all of the common interest; and only when he is himself concerned as an individual. For besides other considerations, everybody is more inclined to neglect the duty which he expects another to fulfill; as in families many attendants are often less useful than a few.”

Psychologist Dennis Fox used a number, what is now termed “Dunbar’s number”, to take a new look at the tragedy of the commons. In a 1985 paper titled “Psychology, Ideology, Utopia, & the Commons”, he stated “Edney also argued that long-term solutions will require, among a number of other approaches, breaking down commons into smaller segments. He reviewed experimental data showing that cooperative behavior is indeed more common in smaller groups. After estimating that “the upper limit for a simple, self-contained, sustaining, well-functioning commons  may be as low as 150 people”.
[If Fox is right and Dunbar’s number for cooperative behavior in a Commons is around 150, then our global political subdivisions of nation, state and county, municipality, are wholly wrong for long term human sustainability. When was the last time you found any personal democratic power in a group of about 150, or of any larger size. Casting our votes on election day really has little to do, ever, about The Commons which we all inhabit. Mr. Larry]

Cartoon illustrating The Tragedy of the Commons
From http://www.garretthardinsociety.org/info/cartoon_commons1.html

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The Tragedy of the Commons, becomes a problem of Exponential Growth
<http://www.webpotential.com/ambiente/exponential_growth.htm&gt;

In America, growth is seen as American as the flag and apple pie. But there is trouble in paradise. The flag that flies for growth is a noose and the apple pie of expansion is laced with cyanide. But it’s not just America that has this unhealthy relationship with growth it’s the majority of the world and its economies. As our populations, economies, and resource use grow exponentially, so do our environmental problems and the potential for collapse of the earth’s ability to sustain human life. Growth as we know it cannot continue.

As the primary proponent of growth worldwide, business must adjust to the reality of the problems created by growth. Because our current systems of business rely upon continuous growth and development they can not survive in their current form. As Paul Hawken writes in, The Ecology of Commerce, “Just as internal contradictions brought down the Marxist and socialist economies, so do a different set of social and biological forces signal our own possible demise. Those forces can no longer be ignored or put aside”. The internal contradictions that Hawken is speaking of are creation of waste, unsustainable uses of resources, environmental degradation, a disparity of wealth, and a plethora of other unsustainable business practices.

The most important foundation of all of these problems is exponential growth in human population and resource use. Hawken states, “The problems to be faced are vast and complex, but come down to this: 5.5 billion people are breeding exponentially [the population is 7 billion now, the article pasted here was written a few years ago. Mr. Larry]. The process of fulfilling their wants and needs is stripping the earth of its biotic capacity to produce life; a climactic bust of consumption by a single species is overwhelming the skies, earth, waters, and fauna”. Hawken relates this to business practices by showing that business relies on and creates unsustainable growth. Hawken seeks to answer, as did the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) Task Force on Environment, “What kind of jobs will be possible in a world of depleted resources, poisoned water and foul air, a world where ozone depletion and greenhouse warming make it difficult even to survive.”.

What exactly is exponential growth, and is exponential growth in population and resource use really unsustainable? Much of the public and by many of our policy makers do not understand exponential growth. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding has not keep exponential population growth and resource use from becoming a problem.
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The possible origin of chess shows a striking example of exponential growth.
Legend has it that chess was invented by a mathematician who asked a king for what seemed to the king like a small price for the game. He asked that the king pay him in wheat. He asked the king to place 1 piece of wheat on the first square of the board, two on the second and that he continue to double the grains of wheat for all the squares on the board. The king agreed to pay the price, but it’s quite impossible that he held up his end of the bargain.
The amount of wheat needed is enormous. With 64 squares on a chessboard, the king needed 263 grains of wheat to pay the mathematician. This is roughly 400 times the 1990 worldwide harvest of wheat, and could be more wheat than has been harvested in the history of humanity! This is exponential growth. The king was probably thinking of linear growth, where the number of grains would grow by one for each square, when he made the deal. Linear growth would give 2048 grains of wheat in total. Enough grain for a few meals perhaps, but nothing compared to the amount of wheat harvested in human history.

Many things other than that cunning mathematician’s grains of wheat grow exponentially. Human population, resource use, and the waste that accompany them are growing exponentially. While many types of resource use are growing at over 5% per year, the human population is growing at about 1.6%. 1.6% does not seem too like an unacceptable rate of growth to many. In economic terms 1.6% growth is downright horrendous. The Japanese declare their economy is in recession if it grows less than 3% per year.
Although 1.6% does not seem like much to some of the kings and economists of the world, applied to human population it can yield huge numbers. While it took 2 million years for us to reach a population of 1 billion, we will add another billion to the earth’s population in just the next 11 years. If we calculate 1.6% growth out another 600 years, we find that there would be one person for each square yard of the dry land surface of earth, and in 1800 years the mass of humans would exceed the mass of the earth. Clearly human population growth will stop. But it’s not just our population that is growing, it’s also our use of natural resources.

Most types of resource use are growing faster than population. Although many associate growth in resource use with population growth, growth in resource use can also be independent of population growth. Resource use can grow even without population growth, although the reverse is hard to imagine. An example of what exponential growth means in resources can be seen with US coal reserves.
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Coal is the US’s most abundant fossil fuel.
In 1991 the US Department of Energy reported that at current rate of use US coal reserves could last almost 500 years. But the caveat here is current rate of use. Between 1971 and 1991 the use of coal grew 2.86%. With this rate of growth US coal could last about 94 years if we could use it all, but more likely 72 years of coal would be.
[That means we could be out of coal by 2063 (1971+72 years), just 30 years after the decline from current Peak Oil has greatly reduced gasoline consuming private automobiles. Mr. Larry. See also the 4dtraveler Post: (News& Editorial/ Exponential Growth)

The lack of understanding of how long coal could last, comes from people’s lack of knowledge of exponential growth. In 1978, Time Magazine reported that there is “enough coal to meet the country’s energy needs for centuries, no matter how much energy consumption may grow. This is clearly untrue. If we look just at the amount of electrical energy the country uses and its historical growth over the last 40 years, we see that coal could meet that need for just 36 years. Remember, coal is our most abundant fossil fuel. This utter lack of understanding of the results of exponential growth isn’t limited to Time — it’s pervasive in our government, media, and general public.

Coal is just one example of the larger issues surrounding resource use. No one knows if we’ll be able to discover enough resources to maintain our level of growth, or if the social, human, and environmental costs of using these resources will be too high to use them if they are found. If one understands the way exponential growth works it becomes clear, as it is to most that study the issue, that population and resource use growth cannot continue. The manner in which these will stop is unknown. We seem to have two basic choices: we can decide how to stop the growth of population and resources use, or we can let nature do it for us.

Petroleum is another example of the larger issues…
http://nymoral.blogspot.com/2009/12/greatest-shortcoming-of-human-race.html
In 1974, Dr Hubbert predicted that the peak of world oil would occur around 1995, so let’s see what’s happened. We have to go to the geology literature and ask the literature,
“What do you think is the total amount of oil we will ever find on this earth?”
The consensus figure in the literature is 2000 billion barrels. Now, that’s quite uncertain, plus or minus maybe 40 or 50%.
That would mean the peak is this year (2004). If I assume there is 50% more than the consensus figure, the peak moves back to 2019. If I assume there’s twice as much as the consensus figure, the peak moves back to 2030.

So no matter how you cut it, in your life expectancy, you are going to see the peak of world oil production. And you’ve got to ask yourself, what is life going to be like when we have a declining world production of petroleum, and we have a growing world population, and we have a growing world per capita demand for oil. Think about it.

[The problem of Mankind dealing with exponential growth leads back to the Tragedy of the Commons. In order to satisfy the needs and appetites of an exponentially growing population, exponential consumption is required, unless we each incrementally accept less and less.
We seek to satisfy our needs, and appetites individually, and on a family scale, meanwhile, considering any resultant problems as being the responsibility of The Commons.
Human beings will not search for, much less reach a consensus on how to equally share the responsibility of The Commons, in a multi-national environment; it’s our Human Nature to continue with new civilizations, with booms and busts.
Unfortunately, the petroleum, coal and commodity fed boom of the 20th Century will lead to a quite stellar bust in the 21st Century. Mr. Larry]

A few words of wisdom
•  “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” – Dr. Albert Bartlett, physicist.
•  Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor, on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?” – Dr. Albert Bartlett, physicist.
•  Bartlett’s law will result in the exhaustion of petrochemical resources due to the exponential growth of the world population in line with the Malthusian Growth Model. – Dr. Albert Bartlett, physicist.
•  “The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to emotionally comprehend the exponential function.”- Edward Teller, American nuclear physicist, known as “the father of the hydrogen bomb.”
•  “Anyone who believes exponential growth can go on forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist.” – Kenneth Boulding, economist, system scientist, educator, author, poet.
•  Thomas Jefferson, in a 1787 letter to Peter Carr, made a profound observation about human nature that only now is being verified by neuroscience and behavioral genetics studies. “Man is”, Jefferson wrote, “a social animal and is endowed with a sense of right and wrong. If one would State a moral case to a ploughman and a professor … the former would decide it well, and often better than the latter, because he has not been led astray by artificial rules.”

Haiti and the Dominican Republic – comparing potential futures

[Photograph below: The border between Haiti (left) and the Dominican Republic (right) on the Caribbean island, Hispaniola. Policies that  led to deforestation practices in Haiti vs. the Dominican Republic, show that decision making, can and does make a difference in the condition of The Commons.

Centuries of man-made deforestation have reduced forest cover to about 2%  in Haiti, and 21% in the Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic constructed, dams to generate hydroelectric power. They launched a crash program to spare forest from being  use for fuel, by instead importing propane and liquefied natural gas. Haiti’s poverty forced its people to remain dependent on forest-derived charcoal from fuel, thereby accelerating the destruction of its last remaining forests.
Dominicans like the Haitians, have experienced a great deal of corruption and instability, but since 1970 the country has maintained the transition of power through peaceful elections. The continuity of the Dominican government made possible a set of economic reforms in 1990 that led to a decade of steady growth.
In the Dominican Republic, average life expectancy is nearly 74 years, in Haiti, it’s 61 years. [Photograph at right, farm community in the Dominican Republic.]

Haiti provides a dim image of an overpopulated, degraded world, where material things are scarce, where The Commons were ignored until it was too late.

What has come to Haiti in the 200 years, since her colonial days, pre 1804?
The Haitian environment has become a severely degraded ecosystem; her wildlife habitats have been destroyed or seriously damaged, with 25 to 30 watersheds largely degraded or altered. Because most of the trees have being cut, there is increased soil erosion and flood damage from storms, crop losses are greater.

 The countryside is already barely able to provide minimal living standards for the people. Those who lose their entire crop often end up living in a shanty in Port-au-Prince.
About three in four Haitians (73%) say there have been times in the past year when they or their families have gone hungry. Globally, only Africans in Chad (76%), Malawi (76%), and Niger (74%) are as likely to say they experienced food deprivation.
A majority of Haitians (57%) say there have been times in the past year when they did not have enough money to provide adequate shelter for themselves.
In Haiti, chronic political instability and corruption have combined with poverty, illiteracy, and racial discrimination to pose insurmountable barriers to modernization.
Meanwhile, Haitians are far more likely than Dominicans to say they’ve been assaulted in the past year. A full 30% of Haitians say they have been assaulted or mugged in the past 12 months, nearly three times the percentage of Dominicans who say the same (11%). In fact, among residents of more than 100 countries surveyed worldwide, only Burundians in central Africa (33%) are more likely than Haitians to say they’ve been attacked in the past year. [Photograph at right, farming community in Haiti.]

 Much of the rest on the planet could experience conditions somewhat similar to Haiti – 100 years from 2012. Considering that  petroleum and coal resources will  have been fully exploited and reduced to exhaustion within about 50 years (but 50 before that hypothetical 100 years has passed). Considering that other easily mined natural resources that we use in our civilization, will have  similarly been mostly extracted, it simply defies explanation where the energy will come from. If we do manage to overcome the energy challenge with a technological tour de force, starting immediately, where will the mines and minerals,  revitalized carbon depleted farm soil, restocked global fisheries, below ground  recharged water aquifers, and new surface fresh water resources come from?

All these problems are of course ‘in the future’ meaning… it’s going to ultimately be someone else’s responsibility…  [smile to yourself and think,  The Commons]. From your family’s view, the reality of peak oil is arriving now, along with increasing costs from food, medical care, college expenses… add your observations to the list. However, as a society, we’re seeing a decay in public infrastructure; diminishing economic returns; a long term continuing increase in social subsidies, income disparity, sub inflationary wage increases; no interest gained from our savings; political unrest is spreading at home and abroad.
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This then, is the coming of the Tragedy of the Commons.

Mr. Larry

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EMP: A pie in the sky concept?

(News & Editorial/ EMP: A pie in the sky concept?)

A.  Report: China building EMP weapons for use against U.S. carriers
Pasted from: http://www.china-defense-mashup.com/report-china-building-emp-weapons-for-use-against-us-carriers.html
2011-07-24 (China Military News cited from http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/jul/21/beijing-develops-radiation-weapons/”>Washington Times and written by Bill Gertz) — China’s military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday.

Time bomb jpgPortions of a National Ground Intelligence Center study on the lethal effects of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and high-powered microwave (HPM) weapons revealed that the arms are part of China’s so-called “assassin’s mace” arsenal – weapons that allow a technologically inferior China to defeat U.S. military forces.

EMP weapons mimic the gamma-ray pulse caused by a nuclear blast that knocks out all electronics, including computers and automobiles, over wide areas. The phenomenon was discovered in 1962 after an aboveground nuclear test in the Pacific disabled electronics in Hawaii.

The declassified intelligence report, obtained by the private National Security Archive, provides details on China’s EMP weapons and plans for their use. Annual Pentagon reports on China’s military in the past made only passing references to the arms.

“For use against Taiwan, China could detonate at a much lower altitude (30 to 40 kilometers) … to confine the EMP effects to Taiwan and its immediate vicinity and minimize damage to electronics on the mainland,” the report said.

The report, produced in 2005 and once labeled “secret,” stated that Chinese military writings have discussed building low-yield EMP warheads, but “it is not known whether [the Chinese] have actually done so.”

The report said that in addition to EMP weapons, “any low-yield strategic nuclear warhead (or tactical nuclear warheads) could be used with similar effects.”

“The DF-21 medium-range ballistic missile has been mentioned as a platform for the EMP attack against Taiwan,” the report said.

According to the report, China’s electronic weapons are part of what are called “trump card” or “assassin’s mace” weapons that “are based on new technology that has been developed in high secrecy.”

“Trump card would be applicable if the Chinese have developed new low-yield, possibly enhanced, EMP warheads, while assassin’s mace would apply if older warheads are employed,” the report said.

According to the report, China conducted EMP tests on mice, rats, rabbits, dogs and monkeys that produced eye, brain, bone marrow and other organ injuries. It stated that “it is clear the real purpose of the Chinese medical experiments is to learn the potential human effects of exposure to powerful EMP and [high-powered microwave] radiation.”

The tests did not appear designed for “anti-personnel [radio frequency] weapons” because of the limited amounts of radiation used.

However, the report said another explanation is that the Chinese tests may have been research “intended primarily for torturing prisoners,” or the tests may have been conducted to determine safety or shielding standards for military personnel or weapons.

The medical research also appeared useful for China’s military in making sure that EMP weapons used against Taiwan and “any vulnerable U.S. [aircraft carrier] would not push the U.S. across the nuclear-response threshold,” the report said.

[And where else might EMP weapons be use, besides the US Fleet in Asia, our government and military think Washington might become a target, see below. Mr. Larry]

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B.  The Missile Defense Spectator
The Silent Threat
21 Dec 2012, spectator.org, Peter Hannaford
Pasted from: http://spectator.org/articles/34752/silent-threat

emp2 first view

Riots over the Middle East and South Asia get everyone’s attention, but a clear and present danger to the United States homeland exists that virtually no one is talking about and for which we have no defense: missile attack.
A Russian military officials says the recent covert visit of one of their submarines to the Gulf of Mexico proves that they could, without difficulty, launch a missile high over the U.S. that could trigger the explosion of an Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP) bomb that would shut down virtually all electrical and electronic activity in a large swath of the nation. There would be no radiation, no deaths — “only” economic paralysis and chaos.
Add Iran and North Korea to the list of potential launchers of such a weapon.

While we have worked for months to develop missile defense capabilities in Europe to protect against a possible Iranian attack there, we have only tested such systems from bases in California and Alaska. Nothing is ready to deploy and given the threat of “sequestration” of large amounts of defense funds, that situation is unlikely to change.
While Congress and the Administration stew and stall over the sequestration issue, the danger is both clear and present and there is something we can do to protect the U.S. homeland from such attacks. It is called the Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netter Sensor. That mouthful is shortened to JLENS.

The Army developed JLENS to detect, identify, track and engage multiple hostile targets, including low-flying cruise missiles, as well as those launched from submarines and merchant vessels. The threat is that such attacks might involve EMP, chemical or biological weapons.
JLENS is deceptively simple, consisting of two lighter-than-air ships that lift to 10,000 feet (or more) both a fire-control and surveillance radar from where they detect potentially hostile targets at ranges of more than 200 miles. It gives field commanders considerable advance warning of threats. The system was tested successfully last April at the Utah Test and Training Range, destroying a simulated hostile cruise missile with a Patriot missile.

Development of JLENS has involved an investment of $2 billion so far. The next step is to answer requests from combat commands for this system by testing it again in the field to fine-tune it. Congress appropriated $40.3 million for such a test; however, before it could be conducted, the Department of Defense asked Congress to allow these funds to be reprogrammed for other purposes, presumably including budget balancing in the face of sequestration.

Since its creation in the 1950s, the Committee on the Present Danger has focused on the changing nature of threats to the United States. With the potential threat to the U.S. homeland increasing daily, the Committee has written to the Secretary of Defense to urge him to withdraw the request to reprogram the funds so that development of JLENS can proceed. Its cost, in the greater scheme of things, is low when measured against the nature and growth of the threat to our homeland.

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C.  A Fleet of Blimps Will Soon Serve as a Missile Shield Over Washington
24 Jul 2013, Gizmodo.com, by Adam Clark Estes
Pasted from: http://gizmodo.com/a-fleet-of-blimps-will-soon-serve-as-a-missile-shield-o-885030187

emp2 JLENS blimp

A still-chilling consequence of post-9/11 America is that we remain all too aware of the fact that we could be attacked at any moment. And so with worst case scenarios in mind, the military is constantly upgrading our defense systems in increasingly creative ways. Washington DC is next in line. It’s getting blimps.

To call Raytheon’s JLENS system mere blimps, though, is doing the defense contractor a disservice. These house-sized flying spy fortresses can identify threats on the ground that even the most powerful land-based radar would miss. They can spot and track incoming cruise missiles, mine-laying ships, armed drones, or anything incoming from hundreds of miles away in 360-degrees and react in real-time. Perhaps most impressively, the JLENS system can stay in the air watching over a base or a city for up to 30 days, all day and all night, without needing to be resupplied or refueled. Obviously, this is preferable to the very expensive fleet of five spy plans that it would take to do the same work that the JLENS does with less than half the manpower.

emp2 JLENS system

Sometime in 2014, the Defense Department will deploy a pair of JLENS blimps over the Washington DC to watch over the nation’s capital. At 74-meters long, the aircraft aren’t exactly Goodyear blimp-sized, but they’re not inconspicuous either. The JLENS system is made up of two aerostats: One equipped with a fire control radar that provides targeting data and the other with a surveillance radar that can see in all directions. Floating at 10,000 feet above the ground, the JLENS system will also be able to see all the way out to the Atlantic Ocean.

The JLENS system is already on its way to the Washington DC area after having finished a successful test out in Utah. With over 100 soldiers trained on the system, the Army ran early user testing in a number of different complex scenarios. The next step is to transport the whole outfit to the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland where it will undergo an operational evaluation and eventually enter into active duty, so to speak.

It’s unclear exactly when the JLENS system should take flight, but it’s hard to see the downside in the arrangement until then. When all said and done, the Defense Department will be spending up to 700 percent less on the JLENS system than on spy planes, and will ostensibly get better protection. And who knows? They might be able to pitch in some aerial photography for Redskins games.

[OK, so Washington DC has JLENS system protection, what about the rest of us? The following article discusses what personal-social-utility systems you normally depend on to live, that will be affected by an EMP strike on the USA, form the not protected northeast coast, southeast coast,  Gulf coast, or entire west coast. An EEMP attack along any of these coasts would take out power almost half way across the country in a huge circle from the near space nuclear explosion. You won’t see it, you won’t hear it, the power will simply be gone. Mr Larry]

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D.  Rolling to a stop and living in the dark
28 May 2013, P.R.E.P. Personal Readiness Education Programs,  by PREP
Pasted from: http://readygoprep.com/website/rolling-to-a-stop-and-living-in-the-dark/

Recently I saw some controversy about the book “One Second After” by William R. Forstchen. The opinion was that too many people were treating the book as gospel with respect to their prepping for a long-term power outage.EMP2 book

The book details an Electro-magnetic Pulse attack on the United States by an unknown entity. Actually none of the characters knows exactly why the power went out, but everything operated by electricity to include all vehicles and generators just stopped working. In the blink of an eye, everything rolled to a stop, including life, as we knew it.
This is not a book review

Although I regularly recommend the book as a primer to anyone curious or on the fence about prepping. The story does a great job of revealing how people may react when the lights go out, transportation stops, food disappears, medical supplies run out and help isn’t coming.  Is it an extreme example? Maybe, maybe not, depends who you ask. But it is an emotional page-turner that might just draw you in and have you cursing, crying and cheering throughout. Either way, you may find yourself asking some questions about your level of preparedness. And that is a good thing.

So where is the controversy? It’s in our freedom to prepare anyway we wish.  Prepping already gets a bad rap in general by the population at large.  It’s been open season by TV and media for a while now. So why do we in the prepperverse feel the need to down on each other. Without pointing fingers, a couple of the biggest names in survival have criticized those who prefer to be self-reliant in a world without power.

There is every reason to be prepared for a long power outage. First, let’s define what long term may mean to you. An EMP is considered a high impact low frequency event. NASA had a page on its website that warned about the US East coast possibly being without power for 4-7 years after an EMP or severe solar weather event. That page has since been pulled but interestingly; they still have the urban survival page placeholder in the employee area of the site. But aside from an apocalyptic event, let’s consider events that have actually happened? Hurricanes Andrew or Katrina, Sendai Provence Japan after the 2011 earthquake and subsequent tsunami and nuclear meltdown. There was no power for months in affected areas. These are just a couple of actual examples of a time when 72 hours of supplies wasn’t even close to enough.

If the event is large enough, there may be nowhere to actually go. How about a possible earthquake on the New Madrid fault line that severs critical cross-country infrastructure? Is someone going to flip a breaker and shazaam, we have lights? No, it doesn’t work that way.

As our colleagues stated, there will always be someone to turn the power back on. But how long would a repair take after the grid is catastrophically damaged by Mother nature, physical attack or cyber terrorism?

Electricity is arguably the easiest area of survival to adjust to a life without. We have survived without power as a species until only recently. With that being said, it would be a major adjustment in our way of life until the lights come back on. Take a moment to reflect on how electricity has changed our world and how things would be when all the machines stop working.

In this world where everyone has an opinion and a website, you need to do what you must to extend your survival and comfort in times of crisis. Don’t be swayed by those who speak the loudest but haven’t actually lived what they preach. There may come a day when you are sitting in the dark, cursing, and can’t even tweet @ them that they were wrong and you regret listening to them.

EMP2 power out

So what can you do to mitigate the effects of a life without power?
We at P.R.E.P have taken the less than glamorous approach of actually attempting to identify threats to our safety and survival by performing a hazard analysis in all the areas we feel are important to our everyday life.  One of those areas is electricity.

Take out some paper and ask yourself some questions. Once you have considered the potential problems of living without power, devise some solutions to lessen the impact of such an existence.

Think about short and long-term periods at home, and then consider the impacts of distant places without power to really get a feel for what conditions you may be forced to endure.”

There are seven main areas of survival. How could a power outage affect you in a survival situation? What other problems can you identify?

 Food:

  • Transportation from farmer through the food processing/delivery chain.
  • Refrigeration and preservation
  • Cooking and preparation
  • Will you be able to produce, preserve and prepare foods for safe consumption?

Water:

  • Municipal water systems inoperable
  • Sewers inoperable
  • Fire hydrants/extinguishing may not be available
  • Water quality, not safe to drink without treatment
  • Will you have water for the many needs of survival? Drinking, hygiene, medical, laundry, sanitation of surfaces, flushing, irrigation, animals?

Shelter:

  • Lighting, (candles are a major cause of house fires after a hurricane or power outage)
  • Appliances
  • Warmth
  • Cooling
  • Electric tools
  • Farm housing and animal care
  • Will your physical location be affected? Maintenance?

Safety / Health:

  • Medical machines
  • Drinking/hygiene/medical water quality concerns
  • Sanitation, cleaning/sewage
  • Medical supplies,  pharmaceuticals
  • Access to care
  • Night visibility
  • What medical capabilities will be affected? Short/Long term?
  • Will you need medications?

Security:

  • Security systems may be down
  • Outdoor lighting inoperable
  • Automated systems offline
  • Will the outage affect your physical security plan?

Communication:

  • Computer systems down
  • Communication systems down.  Ham, CB, data, voice, video
  • How will you communicate locally/distantly?

Energy:

  • Fuel may be unavailable for power generation and transportation at all levels
  • Nuclear power offline without cooling systems, even offline, the rods need to be cooled or they will meltdown
  • Grid may be down for extended period without replacement transformers. Power is needed to manufacture  transformers. Some types take months to make and transport
  • Did the event damage your alternate energy equipment or plans?

In this case we will add transportation because it affects all the other areas of survival in some way. If there were an outage that disabled our mechanical way to move great distances, it would effectively shut down the economy on a grand scale, especially in this globalized and interconnected world.

 The Moral of the story:  Feel free to prepare as you see fit. Don’t let others make you feel foolish for thinking outside the box and having a contingency plan. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for help, this is all uncharted territory for a modern society.

Before leaving this post…You should know, it’s not just Washington DC that may be threatened, but our fleet, our allies, the lower 48. If enemy and potential enemy nations are planning to use their nuclear weapons specifically for an EMP attack,  1st World nations are not safe, continent wide destruction of electronic infrastructure could lead to 90% death rate within a year.

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Life in modern times … without a compass

(News & Editorial/ Life in modern times … without a compass)

ModTimes GW[George Washington addressing the Constitutional Convention]

 A.  The Long And Winding Road By George And Paul!
10 September 2013, Gold-Eagle.com, article contributed by Roxanne Lewis
Pasted from: http://www.gold-eagle.com/article/long-and-winding-road-george-and-paul1

“The Long and Winding Road” to collapse has never, in the history of our world, ever been so aggressively traveled but in the past 4 years since “Q-Infinity and Beyond” was started. Those whom have studied history recognize that the only protection is real money, gold and silver.

 George Washington’s farewell address warned American’s to:
•   Keep taxes and government spending low.  
Instead we tolerate the counterfeiting of our currency and blank check writing which is bankrupting us forever.

•   Balance your Federal Budget and avoid States debt.
Instead we are $13 Trillion in debt and the Federal accounting “cooked books” is likely $84 Trillion in actual debt.  Blue states across the nation are over the brink of bankruptcy and more soon will follow.

•   Beware of political parties that will separate the constituency.  
Today our officials aim is to serve them while paying bribes to political cronies and supporters. They only allow corporations to compete in crony capitalism in exchange for enormous donations which ensure their reelection and political aspirations with our hard earned money.

 •   Do not weaken  your all powerful U.S. Constitution and Amendments, they protect you!
Instead we have a President and cohorts like Chief Justice Holder who personally refuse to implement the laws of the land by not prosecuting the banksters, allowing spying, enacting decrees and signing orders which destroy our sovereignty.

 •   Avoid alliances & foreign military entanglements.
We police and fight for nations who are members of the International Monetary Fund in exchange for their promises to use the dollar as the reserve currency for trade. There are 10 percent of members that fail to regularly participate by using the IMF’s credit usage fees.  It is not known if the countries of Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, North Korea, Sudan and Miramar have signed IMF’s Article 8, Section 234 agreement.  Article 8’s enforceability is highly questionable when being interpreted whether broadly or narrowly when applied to the exchange control regulations.  Simply put, when the price of oil surges it creates too much credit on oil producing countries books, and since oil is denominated in US dollars that are constantly being devalued through QE oil producing nation’s purchasing power is eroded unless they maintain higher prices.

 •   Don’t let differences divide the Union.
Instead they have pitted us brother against brother and father against son, Democrat against Republican, Black against White, Atheist against Christian and Muslims against all.  The all powerful .001% elitist is the master manipulator and the true enemy!

 •   Maintain your religion, the basis of morality for your family.  It will support your freedoms 
Instead we have left God out of our lives and immorality rules the masses throughout right theft, abortion and murder.

We have not adhered to any of our fore father’s words of wisdom and guidance.  If only, like the prodigal son, our leaders would admit their mistakes and return home to the protections they willingly abandoned? Unfortunately our leaders will not admit their errors nor take responsibility even when all can see that collapse is imminent.  Our chosen leaders are a mere reflection of ourselves, their constituency. If we truly look inside we would see that we have all failed our father’s directions and will, “suffer immense pain and surely death.”  The world, in many eyes today, has never looked more desperate, lost and tumultuous.

The middle class has been systematically impoverished and our children’s futures are being destroyed through the accumulation of gigantic mountains of debt in their names.  A group is fomenting the rooting out of our religious establishments, overturning our existing governments and forcing the masses into servitude so they can rule the world with uncontrollable power.   

Today the U.S. debt is some 350% of our GDP while Britain and Japan’s debt is over 500% of their GDP.  As the economy worsens, the interest on this debt doubles.  How we will reckon with it is the unknown but for now the answer is to but print.

We were handed the keys to the greatest economic machine in the history of our planet and we have allowed one organization the Federal Reserve to destroy it.  A few already know it but as our youth attempt to join the work force they are going to realize that their futures have been destroyed, many of them are going to totally lose hope and give in to despair just as the inner cities populace lost hope in the past.

The United States once had the greatest middle class in the history of the world, but now it is being murdered.  This is causing a tremendous amount of anger and frustration to build in this nation.  When the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes our government will leap to their preparations as they recognize what will likely be unleashed by their citizenry.  As our economy continues to crumble desperate people will do desperate things. Crime will greatly increase as people do what they feel they must do in order to survive.   

Most don’t understand that these problems have taken decades to develop and just want the situation fixed.  Ron Paul predicted 13 years ago what is happening today. The bought media wouldn’t back him as a viable candidate and dismissed him from the 2012 elections.  Now he has his own TV show on which he even reports that he owns gold and silver and no bonds.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zGDisyWkIBM

Our current leaders are literally throwing gasoline on a fire that has escalated to a full blown firestorm.  They either have no idea what they are doing or are they complicit in the demise?  Our Congress currently has the lowest approval rating in our history and they have been on vacation for 2 months.    Americans are simply hoping that things will go back to the way that they used to be. Unfortunately, the great economic collapse is coming is not going to be averted.  Get ready while you still can!  Time is running out.

Speculation as to how present day events will unravel engulf us and fuels gossip that consumes the airwaves.  Many seek a sign, something that will portend our rapidly approaching fate.  The Middle East, and easily enough the entire world can see, may be the touchstone that sparks the next war

History always follows the same story line:  Depression followed by currency wars, trade wars and world wars. 

How have citizens attempted to retain their wealth and minimize their suffering throughout history? They converted their holdings to gold and silver.  The COMEX and the LBMA are far too short to deliver on all the paper they has been leased and sold.  How much longer will you wait to protect your family?

B.  Remember This About Life In Our Modern World
20 December 2012, Modern Survival Blog, by Ken (MSB)
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/

ModTimes man

We have taller buildings but shorter tempers, wider Freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not always better things.

We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships.

These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

Remember… spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember… say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember… to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember… to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. A kiss and an embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Remember… to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Remember… give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

Believe it or not, this was apparently written by George Carlin, and very appropriate words as we struggle with modern survival.

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C.  George Carlin’s “Modern Man” Rap
21 May 2011, OpenCulture.com, Lyrics via MetroSpiritual
Pasted from: http://www.openculture.com/2011/05/george_carlin_the_modern_man_in_three_minutes.html

YouTubeSee George Carlin perform his “rap”, “I’m a modern man”, at –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=nNtRO3IrGg4

Forty years after George Carlin first stopped by The Tonight Show (1966), he made one of his last appearances, delivering a rap/poem that’s classic Carlin, a hypnotic riff on modern life and society. The lyrics appear right below.

” I’m a modern man,
A man for the millennium,
Digital and smoke free.
A diversified multicultural postmodern deconstructionist,
Politically anatomically and ecologically incorrect.
I’ve been uplinked and downloaded.
I’ve been inputted and outsourced.
I know the upside of downsizing.
I know the downside of upgrading.
I’m a high tech lowlife.
A cutting edge state-of-the-art bicoastal multitasker,
And I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond. (The rest after the jump…)
I’m new wave but I’m old school,
And my inner child is outward bound.
I’m a hot wired heat seeking warm hearted cool customer,
Voice activated and biodegradable.
I interface from a database,
And my database is in cyberspace,
So I’m interactive,
I’m hyperactive,
And from time-to-time,
I’m radioactive.
Behind the eight ball,
Ahead of the curve,
Riding the wave,
Dodging a bullet,
Pushing the envelope.
I’m on point,
On task,
On message,
And off drugs.
I got no need for coke and speed,
I got no urge to binge and purge.
I’m in the moment,
On the edge,
Over the top,
But under the radar.
A high concept,
Low profile,
Medium range ballistic missionary.
A street-wise smart bomb.
A top gun bottom feeder.
I wear power ties,
I tell power lies,
I take power naps,
I run victory laps.
I’m a totally ongoing bigfoot slam dunk rainmaker with a proactive outreach.
A raging workaholic.
A working ragaholic.
Out of rehab,
And in denial.
I got a personal trainer,
A personal shopper,
A personal assistant,
And a personal agenda.
You can’t shut me up,
You can’t dumb me down.
‘Cause I’m tireless,
And I’m wireless.
I’m an alpha male on beta blockers.
I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever.
Laid back but fashion forward.
Up front,
Down home,
Low rent,
High maintenance.
Super size,
Long lasting,
High definition,
Fast acting,
Oven ready,
And built to last.
I’m a hands on,
Foot loose,
Knee jerk,
Head case.
Prematurely post traumatic,
And I have a love child who sends me hate mail.
But I’m feeling,
I’m caring,
I’m healing,
I’m sharing.
A supportive bonding nurturing primary care giver.
My output is down,
But my income is up.
I take a short position on the long bond,
And my revenue stream has its own cash flow.
I read junk mail,
I eat junk food,
I buy junk bonds,
I watch trash sports.
I’m gender specific,
Capital intensive,
User friendly,
And lactose intolerant.
I like rough sex.
I like rough sex.
I like tough love.
I use the f word in my email,
And the software on my hard drive is hard core, no soft porn.
I bought a microwave at a mini mall.
I bought a mini van in a mega store.
I eat fast food in the slow lane.
I’m toll free,
Bite sized,
Ready to wear,
And I come in all sizes.
A fully equipped,
Factory authorized,
Hospital tested,
Clinically proven,
Scientifically formulated medical miracle.
I’ve been pre-washed,
Pre-cooked,
Pre-heated,
Pre-screened,
Pre-approved,
Pre-packaged,
Post-dated,
Freeze-dried,
Double-wrapped,
Vacuum-packed,
And I have an unlimited broadband capacity.
I’m a rude dude,
But I’m the real deal.
Lean and mean.
Cocked, locked and ready to rock.
Rough tough and hard to bluff.
I take it slow.
I go with the flow.
I ride with the tide.
I got glide in my stride.
Drivin’ and movin’,
Sailin’ and spinnin’,
Jivin’ and groovin’,
Wailin’ and winnin’.
I don’t snooze,
So I don’t lose.
I keep the pedal to the metal,
And the rubber on the road.
I party hearty,
And lunch time is crunch time.
I’m hanging in,
There ain’t no doubt.
And I’m hanging tough,
Over and out.”

ModTimes affluence morality

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Cash is King, at least at first

(News & Editorial/Cash is King, at least at first)

A.  Top 10 Preparedness Reasons to Carry Cash
17 August 2012, Prepography.com, by Andrew J. Jackson
Pasted from: http://prepography.com/top-10-reasons-to-carry-cash/

stack of 20s

Our world is so digitized and automated that a lot of folks have stopped carrying cash.  Think about it…when you’re checking out at the grocery or hardware store…how many people in front of you whip out a piece of plastic to pay for their purchases.  Some days it seems like the era of the good old American greenback is over (we’ll leave the discussion of real money versus fiat currency for another day).  You can now even make some payments at the checkout counter with your cell phone.    As attractive as the idea of going cash free is to me…after all my wife knows where I keep my wallet…I refuse to stop carrying cash for the following reasons:

  1. Purchasing Privacy: I’m just old fashioned enough that I want to keep my business to myself.  I know it’s becoming an outdated notion in this overly digitized world full of instant electronic over-sharing, but that’s how I feel.  Read my article The Top 10 Reasons to Be a Stealth Prepper for more information on why      privacy is so important.
  2. Service Interruptions:  There have been a number of credit/debit system service interruptions over the last few years including at least one that lasted several weeks.  When traveling I make it a point to carry enough cash to get home without any help from plastic.  Make sure that you can get yourself home if a computer glitch or cyber attack shuts down your plastic
  3. Cash is King! Cash Discounts… by offering cash you can often strike a better deal when making purchases.  I use this technique all the time when dealing with tradesmen and contractors.
  4. Cash Only Establishments:  There are also places where cash is the only option like garage sales (good for purchasing inexpensive preps and may not take checks) and restaurants in smaller towns (I still see the ‘no out of town checks’ signs as I travel the back roads).
  5. Rise of the Underground Economy:  Increasing taxes and regulations are driving more and more commerce underground (a variation of what Arthur Laffer      discussed with his Laffer Curve…to be discussed in a future article).  I can foresee the possibility that in order to purchase certain good or services in the future you can only do so with cash as whole segments of the economy potentially go underground.
  6. Bank Runs:  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) have largely put a stop to individual bank runs, but as  I learned the hard way if the regulators take over your bank (happens after hours on a Friday) then you might not have physical or digital access to your money for a couple of days.  The whole government insurance of individual deposits is starting to look like the fox guarding the hen house as our elected official spend us into the poor  house…if a bank run happens it’ll be big…and you’ll need more cash than you are carrying in your wallet. What will a bank run look like in the 21st Century… I think it will look like long lines at the ATM and even longer lines at the stores trying to stock up before the credit/debit system gets shut down.
  7. Reduce Temptation:  If you have issues exercising discipline in your use of credit than transitioning to cash only transactions may help you reduce the temptation to overspend…to make sure that you have money left over for your preps and prep education (prepucation).
  8. Change is Good: Coins that is… some vending machines and the good old fashioned payphone (if you can still find one) might only take change.  I remember many times when I was thankful the I had the coins to get a drink from the vending machine at a highway rest area because there was nothing else open that late…the same could hold true if there’s a cell phone service interruption following a computer glitch, cyber attack or natural disaster.
  9. You’re not getting any interest on it now anyway.  Depending on how much cash you decide to carry this may or may not be an issue…but it’s not like you’re earning any interest on that money anyway.
  10. I might get robbed!  Bear with me a minute on this one.  If I’m robbed I would rather hand over a few hundred dollars in cash than my wallet.  If I lose my wallet I must cancel all my debit and credit  cards, I must contact the state to report a stolen driver’s license and concealed carry license and I must worry about my military identification getting into the hands someone who has demonstrated that he/she doesn’t honor the compact that we’ve made to become a civilized society.       Additionally, with my wallet the thief has my address which would make it easier for him to victimize me again.  If the thief doesn’t have a  firearm the money will be flying up into the air so that he can focus on it as I run the other way.  Last thing…before the comments start…yes I am armed but if I have the choice between losing a few hundred dollars  or spending the next three years of my life in courtrooms defending myself for shooting someone who society would be better off without anyway…I’m glad to lose the money and make a police report.

How much cash to carry is a personal decision based on your financial resources, your spending habits, your responsibilities and your travel habits…just remember to do so and keep that emergency cash in a separate part of your wallet if you’re tempted to spend it on everyday items.

[At first you’ll want and need cash, then there will occur rapid inflation, during which you won’t want dollars and neither will anyone else. Mr. Larry]

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B.  When The Dollar Is No Longer A Reserve Currency
19 Aug 2013, ModernSurvivalBlog.com, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from:  http://modernsurvivalblog.com/the-economy/when-the-dollar-is-no-longer-a-reserve-currency/#more-10929

cash king

I believe the U.S. is in the midst of a major currency collapse, and a huge change in our normal way of life.
The following is a list of startling notes that I wrote, as well as statements credited to Stansberry Research while I watched a video related to their newsletter back in 2011.

The scary thing is… nothing has changed since I wrote this, and it has actually gotten much worse!
Please take the time to read this and comprehend what will happen when the dollar is no longer the world’s reserve currency…

One MSB reader recently commented…
“There are a number of financial counselors predicting the demise of the dollar as the world’s basis of currency exchange. It seems that a number of people are aware that China, Japan, Russia, France are making definite moves in that direction. Brazil and Argentina as well a Cuba are all in the same camp. When will Washington and Wall Street wake up?”

He is absolutely correct. It is well known to those who follow what is happening, that the dollar is on the way out of world reserve status. To answer his question… Washington and Wall Street will not wake up. They will ride this horse until it drops dead…

The government has been borrowing so much money, that soon, we will not be able to afford even the interest on the loans.
Income tax receipts are roughly $900 billion a year.
Corporate taxes are roughly $200 billion annually.
Our current annual deficits are nearly $1.3 trillion, meaning we’re spending $900 billion + $200 billion + $1.3 trillion = $2.4 trillion.

Even if you doubled tax revenue, we would still be running a deficit!
Even if all U.S. citizens were taxed 100% of their income, it would still not be enough to balance the Federal budget! Tax increases will not even make the smallest dent on the true size of our debt.

There is not a single credible plan, by any political party, to merely end our annual deficits, never mind actually paying back our debts.
Here’s the kicker… the costs of maintaining our debts are about to skyrocket.

For years, the Federal Reserve has been keeping interest rates very low, to almost zero, and as a result, the interest rate at which the U.S. government borrows money from the Federal Reserve is an incredibly low level. This won’t last forever.
How much interest? Right now we’re paying about 15% of federal tax receipts (about $200 billion a year). If the government had to spend a ‘real’ market-based rate of interest, say 6%, it would cost $840 billion a year on interest (76% of tax receipts), just for what we owe right now, today.
We are trapped. The main-stream-media does not want you to know how precarious our government’s finances really are.

A debt default would be inevitable if not for one anomaly, the thing that has saved the U.S. so far, that is, the country’s ability to simply print more money. The U.S. is the only debtor in the world who can legally print U.S. dollars, and the dollar is the world’s reserve currency.

So, that sounds pretty good, just print more money, what is there to worry about?
The U.S. is the only country in the world that doesn’t have to pay for its imports or its debts in a foreign currency.
Example: A German wants to buy oil from Saudi Arabia – the German cannot pay for the oil in German marks (or Euro’s) because the oil is priced in dollars. You have to buy dollars first, then buy your oil.

The U.S. has been able to consume as much as we want without worrying about acquiring the money to pay for it, because U.S. dollars are accepted everywhere around the world.
As our creditors continue to figure out what’s happening (printing more and more dollars), we’re going to have very BIG problems. The creditors will either begin to refuse payment in dollars, or they will greatly discount the value of these new dollars. It’s already happening.

Most Americans have no clue what the repercussions are of losing the status of world currency.
Yes it can happen here. In fact, the exchange value of the U.S. dollar has fallen about 13% since June 2010. Its rate of decline is accelerating.
As the U.S. dollar continues to lose its position as the world’s currency, gas, oil, and other commodities will continue to skyrocket. Almost everything we consume will immediately get more expensive. It’s happening right now. Everything is getting more expensive.

The government says that there is no inflation. How is that even possible? They actually believe that the American public is going to believe them?
It’s only going to get worse, because we can NOT stop printing because we can’t actually afford our existing debts. No one wants you to know this. No one. That’s why, despite the obvious inflation going on all around the world, the Fed continues to say there’s no inflation at all. The government is radically devaluing the dollar and totally lying to everyone about what is really happening.

The Chinese are getting out of the dollar as fast as they can via strategic commodities.
With less demand for the dollar around the globe, interest rates will skyrocket.
Instead of getting a mortgage at today’s low rates of 5%, it may soon cost you 8% or 10% or 15%.
Stock prices will likely plummet by at least 40% in a matter of weeks as a result of this event in the currency markets.
When the U.S. dollar loses its spot as the world’s reserve currency, the brutal downturn will be about 10-times worse than the mortgage crisis of 2008.

When everyone is trying to get rid of their dollars, the government is printing more and more to pay debts, the crisis will reach epic proportions.
In the past 100 years this type of debt crisis has reared its ugly head in Germany, Russia, Austria, Poland, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, the Ukraine, Japan, and China.

Here’s the thing that most people don’t realize… The U.S. government can only continue printing dollars as long as the dollar remains the world’s reserve currency.
Reported by Robert Fisk (veteran Middle East reporter), last fall, China, Japan, Russia, and France got together for a secret meeting… without the U.S. being present or even knowing about the meeting. It was reported that Gulf Arabs are plotting to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese Yen, Chinese Yuan, the euro, gold, and a new unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, and Qatar.

In February (2011), the IMF has proposed replacing the U.S. dollar with something called ‘Special Drawing Rights’, or SDRs. SDRs will be able to be converted into any currency, based on a weighted basket of international currencies.

The IMF also proposed creating SDR-denominated bonds, which could reduce central banks’ dependence on U.S. Treasuries. They also suggested that certain assets, such as oil and gold, which are traded in U.S. dollars, could be priced using SDRs. (This is a HUGE step to replace the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency)

Russian and China have made an agreement to settle all debts between them in each other’s currencies without first transferring to dollars.
The U.S. dollar has remained the world’s reserve currency for more than 50 years. It seems as though its days are numbered. Don’t remain in denial.

Be Prepared:

  • Start to consider what will happen around you when this currency crisis unfolds.
  • Plan to have six months of food, medical supplies, and access to water.
  • Have a place you can go to if you need to get out due to rioting or unrest.
  • Do not count on the government to save you if all he$$ breaks loose. The government will be too concerned about saving itself.
  • Examine where your current assets or investments are.
  • Consider investing or purchasing hard assets, or food , private land.
  • Learn how to garden some of your own food.
  • Examine your security and add where it needs adding.
  • The more self sufficient that you can become, the better you will get through the crisis.

.

C.  Top 10 Reasons to be a Stealth Preppercash person in crowd
15 July 2012, Prepography.com, by Andrew J. Jackson
Pasted from: http://prepography.com/top-10-reasons-to-be-a-stealth-prepper/

[You want to be “just another person in the crowd”. Live it, look it, be it; with readiness. Mr. Larry]

Being a ‘Stealth Prepper’ means keeping your preparations to yourself and practicing what we call OPSEC (Operational Security) in the military.  The journey towards self-reliance and preparedness for life’s unexpected situations is exciting…you will want to celebrate your successes and discuss how to rectify your failures with like-minded people…don’t do it until you put a lot of thought into who you’re talking with, who they’ll tell and so on.  Here are the Top 10 Reasons to be a Stealth Prepper:

  1. The words “I won’t tell anyone” are almost always a lie, even if said with proper intentions at the time.  Keep your preparations to yourself.
  2. You can’t afford to buy enough for ‘everybody.’
  3. You don’t have enough space  to store for ‘everybody.’
  4. You will be ridiculed in good times by those well meaning people in your life that think nothing bad can ever happen to them… or that the authorities will always protect them from danger…in other words the sheeple.
  5. You and your family could be in danger from thieves even in good times if it’s known that you keep cash, precious metals or other items of value including firearms… just in case.
  6. You might attract the tinfoil hat wearing crowd.  If you want to broach the subject of preparedness with someone you want it to be on your terms with the people you chose.
  7. You could be inundated by requests for ‘assistance’ in hard times that will have you weighing the well being of your family against that of strangers, acquaintances and friends.
  8. You may find yourself having to take in more extended family than you planned… which could dramatically reduce the amount of time that your preparations will last.
  9. You and your family could be targeted in very hard times by desperate strangers, acquaintances, friends and even extended family members.
  10. You and your family could be targeted in very hard times by well meaning public servants enforcing ‘anti-hording’ ordinances for the ‘greater good.’

The best time to decide to become a Stealth Prepper is before you get started…the next best time now!

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Is an EMP – nuclear attack on the USA imminent?

(News & Editorial/ Is an EMP – nuclear attack on the USA  imminent?)

A.  Report: “Intelligence Says There Will Be An Attack on American Soil”
8 April 2013, SHTFpnan.com, by Mac Slavo
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/report-intelligence-says-there-will-be-an-attack-on-american-soil_04082013

Carrington power linesTensions on the Korean Peninsula are heating up, with rhetoric from the North Koreans suggesting that an attack of some kind is being planned. This isn’t the first time the North Koreans have made threats against western powers and their southern neighbor, but the level of American response is unprecedented. The United States and our allies have re-positioned Naval battle groups, deployed Aegis missile defense systems, and a host of other technology to counter-act any potential threat.

Military analysts have already warned about the possibility of North Korea exploding a high altitude nuclear device high above the continental United States using a “Super EMP” weapon capable of disabling the power grid in the lower 48 states. The North Korean space launch vehicle, a ‘weather’ satellite put into space in December of 2012 and carrying an unknown payload, will be passing over the geographic heart of the United States on April 10th. Curiously, the 10th is the same day that North Korean officials warned they would no longer be able to provide protection for foreign embassy officials in Pyongyang.

Moreover, the North Koreans are said to have mobilized some of their long-range missiles, and communications intercepted by Western intelligence agencies reportedly indicate that a planned launch of their KN-08 intercontinental ballistic missile is imminent.

The situation has become so serious that the Japanese military was given the order to shoot down any missile launched from the North, no matter if it is a test.

Reports that China has mobilized tens of thousands of troops on their border with North Korea and has put their military on its highest alert level also don’t bode well for peaceful resolution. The Chinese seem to be positioning their military to either counter North Korea’s military, turn back refugees who  may attempt to escape to China should war break out, or, as has been suggested by some analysts, to aid the North Koreans should Allied ground forces invade.

Mainstream news coverage indicates that something is about to go down.

And, slowly but surely, reports from military personnel and contractors on military bases are starting to leak, and some of them indicate that the United States is preparing for serious confrontation.

They are gearing up for something big via Steve Quayle:
I just spoke with a close associate who has been working for the last three years at Barksdale Air Force Base, on various construction projects… This man is just a guy…a construction worker…been there all his life…salt of the earth kind of guy. In his words…”I am just a working man…doing the best I can do.”

Tonight, he called to let me know that the security and activity at Barksdale has been stepped up in his words, “by 300%”.

I asked as many questions as I felt that I could and took notes so that I could simply use his quotes to accurately report what he has stated.

“We were working on a scheduled job in the munitions dump area…building new blast walls, when AF personnel came in and told us we had to leave right now. We asked if were being given a “work stoppage order.” They replied “Get out now.” and escorted us out. “More like they rushed us out.”

On April 1, AF Chief of Staff and a bunch of other DoD dignitaries flew in to Barksdale. Those coming on the base usually have a sidearm and maybe a rifle, but since the 1st, “dignitaries are also wearing flak jackets.”

“They are gearing up for something big.”

“They are bringing in serious junk.”

“Moving in warheads…I was working in an area where cruise missiles are brought in, put together, armed, and shipped out.”

His exact words were, “They are shipping some serious s*** over there.”

(Here I tried to ascertain whether these were going on ships or planes.)

He replied that “they are going everywhere.”

He also stated that “they dropped a bunch dummy bombs on some islands off the coast of North Korea”..(I just read a confirmation of that from an intelligence newsletter, and confirmed by WND an hour ago.)

I asked him if Chinese officers were still on base. He replied that he had not been working in the area in which he first saw them, for the last three weeks, but he did say this…

“The Chinese and the Russians are here…let me put it this way…everybody in the UN plus a few more are in here. (U.S.)”

He heard and directly quoted one officer referring to the testing of anti-ballistic missile defense system, “We are going to see a real test, now.” He then said that he heard “Intelligence says there will be an attack on American soil.”

He then stated that these defense missile systems were ” being shipped to several bases.
(Full article located at:   http://www.stevequayle.com/index.php?s=33&d=339

Our sources report that military personnel at the largest Army base in the country have been instructed by military leaders to have their bags packed in the event that the situation goes hot. Troops have reportedly been told to have their financial affairs and family matters in order. Likewise, in the United Kingdom, some personnel have been asked to be prepared to deploy, as well as several who were deployed (location unknown) without warning over the course of the last week.

All signs point to a military confrontation.

Whether North Korea will start this, or whether Western allies are finally going to preemptively initiate regime change in the North is anyone’s guess.

There is also the possibility of a ‘false-flag’ event designed to completely upend the global economic and political paradigms, a scenario recently suggested by Kurt Nimmo of Infowars.com:
“The Federal Reserve plan to crash the economy and make room for world government and an authoritarian globalist economic and accompanying police state control system will necessitate a sufficient prerequisite – and that prerequisite may very well be a new war on the Korean peninsula.

Economic depressions are highly scripted affairs and the banksters use them to initiate big wars – not only because wars are remarkably profitable for the military-industrial complex, but because they serve as an ideal tool for wealth consolidation and fire sales held in their aftermath. Big wars are also exploited to enforce rigid discipline on the masses. It gives the plebs an excuse to accept grinding poverty and servitude.”

To even consider the possibility of global war, or a large-scale attack on the continental United States, is a difficult notion for many to stomach.

However, members of elite banking conglomerates, the military industrial complex, and political power structures stand to benefit greatly should a war break out.

There are Trillions of dollars at play.

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”
……….Smedley D. Butler, United States Marine Corps Major General, Two Time Medal of Honor Recipient

Though we hope that this is nothing more than posturing by North Korea and/or the United States, crazy things have happened throughout history, with some of history’s most horrific events stemming from seemingly unimportant or impossible-to-occur scenarios.

This is an alert and a recap for those concerned with the possibility that things could take a turn for the worse overnight.

Be vigilant. Be prepared.

B.  Suspect Super-EMP Orbit Over United States
April 8, 2013, ModernSurvivalBlog.com, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/emp-electro-magnetic-pulse/suspect-super-emp-orbit-over-united-states/#more-26858

emp sattelite track

Given the recent nuclear threats from North Korea directed at the United States, the satellite orbital map shown above indicates the track of the KMS 3-2 “satellite” this week from Apr 8 – Apr 16, which coincidentally just so happens to orbit along the eastern half of the U.S.

Some believe or suspect that this “satellite” may actually be a Super-EMP nuclear device

No one knows for sure of course, but people like Dr. Peter Vincent Pry with credentials from the USAF Weapons Laboratory believes that North Korea indeed may have the capability or may even posses Super-EMP nuclear weapons. See article at: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/emp-electro-magnetic-pulse/north-korea-super-emp-weapon/

On December 12, 2012, the Kwangmyongsong 3-2 (KMS 3-2) was launched into space on a polar orbit, and is said to be an “Earth observation satellite”. The satellite was not placed perfectly and is evidently tumbling every 17 seconds while it orbits the earth. From an EMP nuclear weapon perspective, the tumbling is apparently irrelevant.

The altitude of orbit is approximately 500 km, or about 300 miles, the perfect altitude for EMP detonation for maximum range and damage. Coincidence?

If U.S. ‘officials’ knew or suspected this, do you think they would tell us? I think not.

It is pure speculation regarding the North Korean satellite being a Super-EMP weapon, and some may believe it to be conspiracy to even mention the possibility… but it is incumbent upon us to be aware of the possibilities and to assess (and to prepare according to corresponding risk assessment) instead of being completely ignorant or in denial.

I have captured the orbital elements and base map of this week’s position of KMS 3-2 from the real-time satellite tracking website, n2yo.com, and added the dates and visualization of detonation. Coincidentally, as most of the U.S. population is east of the Mississippi River, optimal damage (from an EMP on this orbit) would theoretically occur anywhere from mid to late week or into next week.

Again, this is hypothetical, but if you are concerned at all, read the Super-EMP article regarding North Korea which may shed some light on the possibilities. Article available at: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/emp-electro-magnetic-pulse/north-korea-super-emp-weapon/

…thought you might be interested to be aware of this.

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