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The Cloward-Priven strategy is working.

Remember these points:
1. “Nothing in politics happens by chance”. — President Franklin Roosevelt
2. “Strategy is something that happens to you while you are looking the other way”. — President Franklin Roosevelt.
3. The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” –Secretary of State Henry Kissinger

The Cloward–Piven strategy is a political strategy outlined in 1966 by American sociologists and political activists Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven that called for overloading the U.S. public welfare system in order to precipitate a crisis that would lead to a replacement of the welfare system with a national system of “a guaranteed annual income and thus an end to poverty”.

Cloward-Piven Paradise Now?

August 1, 2011, American Thinker, By Jeannie DeAngelis
<http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/08/cloward-piven_paradise_now.html>
“Combine class warfare, demonizing the rich, getting as many people onto the welfare rolls as possible, and pushing the economic system to collapse and you have a flawless formula for Cloward-Piven 2.0 — and a vehicle that ensures Obama remains in power. Cloward-Piven is a much talked-about strategy proposed in the mid-1960’s by two Columbia University sociology professors named Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. The Cloward-Piven approach was sometimes referred to as the “crisis strategy,” which they believed were a means to “end poverty.” The premise of the Cloward-Piven collective/anti-capitalist gospel decried “individual mobility and achievement,” celebrated organized labor, fostered the principle that “if each finally found himself in the same relative economic relationship to his fellows … all were infinitely better off.” The duo taught that if you flooded the welfare rolls and bankrupted the cities and ultimately the nation, it would foster economic collapse, which would lead to political turmoil so severe that socialism would be accepted as a fix to an out-of-control set of circumstances. The idea was that if people were starving and the only way to eat was to accept government cheese, rather than starve, the masses would agree to what they would otherwise reject. In essence, for the socialist-minded, the Cloward-Piven strategy is a simple formula that makes perfect sense; the radical husband-and-wife team had Saul Alinsky as their muse, and they went on to teach his social action principles to a cadre of socialist-leaning community organizers, one of whom was Barack Obama. As the debt crisis continues to worsen, President Obama stands idly by an inferno with his arms crossed, shaking his head, and doing nothing other than kinking the fire hose and closing the spigot. Spectator Obama is complaining that the structure of the American economy is engulfed in flames while accusing the Congress, which is trying desperately to douse the fire, of doing nothing about the problem. Although speculative, if the Cloward-Piven strategy is the basis of the left’s game plan, spearheaded by Alinsky devotee Barack Obama, it certainly explains the President’s inaction and detached attitude.

The greatest nation in the history of the world is teetering on the brink of a catastrophic economic crisis. America was pushed to this point by a rapidly-expanding national debt and a stressed-out entitlement system; in the center of this crisis is the President, who insists on expanding it even further, all in the name “fairness” and “social justice.” As a default date nears and the President threatens seniors that there’s a chance they may not receive their Social Security checks, it has been revealed that the federal government disperses a stunning 80 million checks a month, which means that about a third of the US adult population could be receiving some sort of entitlement. Since the 1960’s when Cloward-Piven presented a socialistic guideline to usher in the type of evenhandedness Obama lauds, America’s entitlement rolls have swelled from eight million to 80 million. If the nation’s ability to disperse handouts were ever disrupted, it’s not hard to see how chaos would erupt should an angry army of millions demand what Cloward-Piven called “the right to income.” Couple the threat of dried-up funds for food stamps, Social Security, unemployment benefits and the like with the Obama administration’s vigorous campaign to turn a tiny upper class of big earners into the enemy, and you have the Cloward-Piven recipe for anarchy and complete collapse. If the worst happened, Saul Alinsky’s biggest fan, whose poll numbers continue to plummet, could use mayhem in the streets to remain firmly ensconced in the White House. Alinsky taught his students a basic principle that community organizer Barack Obama learned well: “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” Fiscal disintegration coupled with lawlessness would deliver the type of Cloward-Piven/Saul Alinsky trifecta that progressives have worked toward and waited decades for…”

The Cloward/Piven Strategy of Economic Recovery
February 7, 2009, American Thinker, By Nancy Coppock http://www.americanthinker.com/2009/02/the_clowardpiven_strategy_of_e.html
“Using borrowed money for a band-aid bailout of the economy should seem backwards to most people. However, it likely is a planned strategy to promote radical change. Those naively believing that President Obama is simply rewarding his far-left base, and will then move to the political center, must wise up.

The assumption that Obama will need the nation to prosper in order to protect the 2010 mid-term election incorrectly assumes that he esteems free market capitalism. He does not. Rather than win through superior ideas and policies, the Democrat plan for success in the mid-term elections is to win by destroying political opposition. Obama adheres to the Saul Alinksy Rules for Radicals method of politics, which teaches the dark art of destroying political adversaries. However, that text reveals only one front in the radical left’s war against America. The Cloward/Piven Strategy is another method employed by the radical Left to create and manage crisis. This strategy explains Rahm Emanuel’s ominous statement, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” The Cloward/Piven Strategy is named after Columbia University sociologists Richard Andrew Cloward and Frances Fox Piven. Their goal is to overthrow capitalism by overwhelming the government bureaucracy with entitlement demands. The created crisis provides the impetus to bring about radical political change. According to Discover the Networks.org:  Rather than placating the poor with government hand-outs, wrote Cloward and Piven, activists should work to sabotage and destroy the welfare system; the collapse of the welfare state would ignite a political and financial crisis that would rock the nation…[ Making an already weak economy even worse is the intent of the Cloward/Piven Strategy. It is imperative that we view the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan’s spending on items like food stamps, jobless benefits, and health care through this end goal. This strategy explains why the Democrat plan to “stimulate” the economy involves massive deficit spending projects. It includes billions for ACORN and its subgroups such as SHOP and the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Expanding the S-Chip Program through deficit spending in a supposed effort to “save the children” only makes a faltering economy worse. If Congress were to allow a robust economy, parents would be able to provide for their children themselves by earning and keeping more of their own money. Democrats, quick to not waste a crisis, would consider that a lost opportunity…”

Can it be? When you’re in a hurry to get somewhere socio-economically and the combination of Welfare, Food stamps, Medicare, and Social Security aren’t getting you there fast enough, you must additionally provide  welfare subsidies for the automobile industry, for the some of the worlds largest Financial Banks and even guarantee the solvency of foreign countries.

The Debt Walkers Strike Back
The Automatic Earth, 2 Dec 2011, by Ilargi
http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/
“It’s very simple, but maybe that’s the problem. For all I know it’s just too simple for people to see.

There’s a group of people, and it’s tempting to call them the 1%, but they’re not really, since there’s politicians in there too who have no shot at even aspiring to be part of the 1%, and media pundits and economists and what have you, who all together try to save the existing financial system at all cost. A cost that they don’t bear: that cost is being paid for by the 99%.

Theirs is just one particular view, one particular idea, of what it takes to get out of the crisis we’re in. Nothing more, nothing less: just one idea. But one that prevails over any alternatives to such a radical extent that, from an objective point of view, it can’t but boggle the mind.

“If we don’t save the banks and the financial system at large, there’ll be Armageddon to pay”. That’s the endlessly repeated prevailing line.
However, if we keep on spending ever more trillions to prevent Armageddon from arriving, surely we must invite it, by the very act of doing exactly that, to at some point come knocking on the back door. After all, you can’t spend more and more, and then some, without ever being served with the bill for doing so.

So we’ve had all these rescue missions over the past 5 years. Behemoth-sized amounts of taxpayer money and future taxpayer money have been poured into our economies in this alleged attempt to try to save them.

Now, take a step back and tell me what you see. I’ll tell you what I see: a financial system that is in worse shape than ever before during those 5 years. At least half of Europe is flat broke, most banks have lost 50%-80% of their market value, Bank of America, a major bailout

recipient, is fast on its way to becoming a penny stock, China sees shrinkage wherever it looks and Japan is rumored to be awkwardly close to the chopping block.

Evidently, something’s not working the way it’s supposed to.
And here is why: it is becoming clearer by the day that saving the banks is not the same as saving the people, upon whom increasing austerity is unleashed to pay for … saving the banks.

We have a choice to make: either we save the banks, or we save our societies. Which are falling apart as we speak on account of the costs of saving an already deeply bankrupt financial system.

But we’re not even starting to discuss that choice. All choices and decisions are being made -for us- in a one-dimensional vacuum theater by a small group of people who, to a (wo)man, flatly deny that such a choice needs to be made or even exists. Because making that choice doesn’t fit their purposes and careers and fortunes and ego’s.

Merkel, Blankfein, Sarkozy, Jamie Dimon, Obama, David Cameron, Mario Draghi and Timothy Geithner, they are all servants of the existing financial system, of the existing banks, which are broke but try to hide that from us. At our debilitating expense.

Yes, they’ve been able to stave off the inevitable until now. But that has only been possible because they have virtually unlimited access to your money, to the wallets of the 99%.

We should grow up and make these decisions ourselves, instead of letting a group of morally severely challenged suits with very vested interests make them for us any longer.

They’re leading us straight into Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell. And last I heard, that’s definitely not a place to raise your kids.”

We intuitively know what the executives of the bailed out Financial Institutuions must feel. After costing the American people 10s if not 100s of billion$ of dollars and trillion$ in derivitive guarantees,  they reward themselves with 100,000$ if not million$ in payday bonuses. While they did not share in their largess during times of plenty, yet we were forced to pay their debt.

How do the people toward the lower end of the economic spectrum feel?
As a ‘retired person’ living in a retirement community, I see a lot of elderly folks and have heard a lot of hardship stories.
At present, if you are looking toward retirement there is nowhere to put your savings. Money is not safe due to inflation. Banks are not safe. Funds, stocks, bonds…
If you buy gold & silver bullion or US Mint bullion coins, for protection from inflation, and safety from bank and debt collapse, you will be fined with a huge tax. The Federal Government does not want your money placed in bullion since they have no access to using those funds. They don’t want you to have freedom in your old age, they want you on welfare-where you are controlled by the threat of loss.

Everyone sees the national ‘news’ media and interprets the sound bites into the management of their own unique circumstance. What are people at the real grass-roots learning and what are their community social-economic expectations? Don’t laugh at what follows, it is the result of what was discussed in the article above.
Is the Cloward–Piven strategy working yet? Yes, and we’re far along on the road to what Ilargi refers to as ‘Dante’s Ninth Circle of Hell’. When the ‘system’ finally breaks, it won’t be paradise, but conditions may make our new minimalistic Socialistic Government subsistence checks  look like it.

Mother of 15 Kids: “Somebody Needs to Pay; Somebody Needs to Be Held Accountable”
A woman with 15 kids (and no spouse) complains that people around aren’t doing enough to help her – even though her rent, food and furniture have all been covered by good Samaritans and the government. You have to see this to believe it!
“Somebody needs to be held accountable, and they need to pay,” she said.
Um, maybe that someone should be you?

Paste the following YouTube link in your browser.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bavou_SEj1E

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Professor Cornel West: Battle For Entitlements Will Be “Fought In the Streets”
December 5th, 2011, SHTFplan.com, by Mac Slavo  
With the economy on its last leg, poverty stricken Americans at record highs and mass movements against greed and interventionist government policies already organizing in major American cities, Princeton professor Cornel West predicts that the battle for entitlements will be fought in the streets.
[Image at right Professor Cornel West and President Barack Obama.]

“Some of this is going to be fought in the streets. Civil disobedience does make a difference. Because corporate greed now is an issue everybody’s got to talk about. Wealth equality – everybody’s must talk about because of the Occupy movement.” [What did we read in the articles above about the Coward-Priven startegy?- Mr Larry]

[Video link to Professor West’s interview. http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/professor-cornel-west-battle-for-entitlements-will-be-fought-in-the-streets_12052011  ]

Civil disobedience will only work until the people realize nothing has been done – and that nothing can or will be done. When they finally understand that politicians, bureaucrats and corporate interests have completely destroyed their way of life, then we can fully expect violent confrontations and mid-east style, potentially armed, riots in the streets of America.   This isn’t going away. In fact, the frustration, anger and desperation will continue to build pressure. Whether its the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street, or other third-party protests, the momentum is gaining speed and strength.   When the powder keg finally blows all bets are off. We can only hope for civil disobedience. But considering what we saw happen in the mid-east, where many were protesting exactly the same circumstances – an out of control government, rising food prices and impoverishment of the working class, among other things – we should be preparing, as trend forecaster Gerald Celente has so oft predicted, for the people who have lost everything, and have nothing left to lose, to completely lose it.   The government is certainly preparing for this eventuality, because in many circles they know civil unrest is a foregone conclusion.

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Instances of Corrupt Leadership?

A.  How The Corrupt Establishment Is Selling Moral Bankruptcy To America
14 Aug 2013, SHTFplan.com, by Brandon Smith
Pasted from: http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/how-the-corrupt-establishment-is-selling-moral-bankruptcy-to-america_08142013
the devil in the worksMorality is a highly misunderstood component of human nature. Some people believe they can create moral guidelines from thin air based on their personal biases and prejudices. Some people believe that morality comes from the force of bureaucracy and government law. Still, others believe that there is no such thing; that morality is a facade created by men in order to better grease the wheels of society.

All of these world views discount the powerful scientific and psychological evidence surrounding Natural Law — the laws that human beings form internally due to inherent conscience regardless of environmental circumstances. When a person finally grasps inborn morality, the whole of the world comes into focus. The reality is that we are not born “good” or “evil.” Rather, we are all born with the capacity for good AND evil, and this internal battle stays with us until the end of our days.

Every waking moment we are given a choice, a test of our free will, to be ruled by desire and fear, or to do what we know at our very core is right. When a man silences his inner voice, the results can be terrible for him and those around him. When an entire culture silences its inner voice, the results can be catastrophic. Such a shift in the moral compass of a society rarely takes place in a vacuum. There is always a false shepherd, a corrupt leadership that seeks to rule. Rulership, though, is difficult in the face of an awake population that respects integrity and honor. Therefore criminals must follow these specific steps in order to take power:

Pretend To Be Righteous: They must first sell the public on the idea that they hold the exact same values of natural law as everyone else. The public must at first believe that the criminal leaders are pure in their motives and have the best interests of the nation at heart, even if they secretly do not.

Pretend To Be Patriotic: Despots often proclaim an untarnished love of their homeland and the values that it was founded upon. However, what they really seek is to become a living symbol of the homeland. They insist first that they are the embodiment of the national legacy, and then they attempt to change that national legacy entirely. A corrupt government uses the ideals of a society to acquire a foothold, and when they have gained sufficient control, they dictate to that society a new set of ideals that are totally contrary to the original.

Offer To “Fix” The Economy: Tyrants do not like it when the citizens under them are self sufficient or economically independent. They will use whatever methods are at their disposal including subversive legislation, fiat currency creation, corporate monopoly and even engineered financial collapse in order to remove the public’s ability to function autonomously. They will begin this process under the guise that the current less-controlled and less-centralized system is “not safe enough,” and that they have a better way to ensure prosperity.

Offer To Lend A Hand: Once the population has been removed from its own survival imperative and is for the most part helpless, the criminal leadership moves in and offers to “help” using taxation and money creation, slowly siphoning the wealth from the middle class and raising prices through inflation. Eventually, everyone will be “equal”; equally poor that is. In the end, the whole nation will see the rulership as indispensable, for without them, the economy would no longer exist and tragedy would ensue.

Create External Fear: Once in place, the criminal leadership then conjures an enemy for the people, or multiple enemies for the people. The goal here is to create a catalyst for mass fear. When the majority of people are afraid of an external threat, they will embrace the establishment as a vital safeguard. When a society becomes convinced that it cannot take care of itself economically, little coaxing is required to convince them that they are also not competent enough to take care of their own defense. The government not only becomes caregiver and nanny, but also bodyguard.  At this point, the establishment has free reign to dissolve long cherished liberties while the masses are distracted by a mysterious threat hiding somewhere over the horizon.

Create Internal Fear: They move the threat from over the horizon, right to the public’s front door, or even within their own home. The enemy is no longer a foreigner. Now, the enemy is the average looking guy two houses over, or an outspoken friend, or even a dissenting family member. The enemy is all around them, according to the establishment. The public is sold on the idea that the sacrifice needed in order to combat such a pervasive “threat” is necessarily high.

Sell The People On The Virtues Of Moral Relativism: Now that the populace is willing to forgo certain liberties for the sake of security, they have been softened up enough for reprogramming to begin. The establishment will tell the people that the principles they used to hold so dear are actually weaknesses that make them vulnerable to the enemy. In order to defeat an enemy so monstrous, they claim, we must become monstrous ourselves. We must be willing to do ANYTHING, no matter how vile or contrary to natural law, in order to win.

Honesty must be replaced with deceit. Dissent must be replaced with silence. Peace must be replaced with violence. The independent should be treated with suspicion. The outspoken treated with contempt. Women and children are no longer people to be protected, but targets to be eliminated. The innocent dead become collateral damage. The innocent living become informants to be tortured and exploited. Good men are labeled cowards because they refuse to “do what needs to be done,” while evil men are labeled heroes for having the “strength of will” to abandon their conscience.

Thus, the criminal leadership makes once honorable citizens accomplices in the crime. The more disgusting the crime, the more apt the people will be to defend it and the system in general, simply because they have been inducted into the dark ceremony of moral ambiguity.

The actions of the state become the actions of all society. A single minded collectivist culture is born, one in which every person is a small piece of the greater machine. And, that which the machine is guilty of, every man is guilty of. Therefore, it becomes the ultimate and absurd purpose of each person within the system to DENY the crime, deny the guilt, and make certain that the machine continues to function for generations to come.

Though we have already passed though most of the above stages, Americans are still not yet quite indoctrinated into the realm of moral relativism. This, though, is swiftly changing.

The Current Sales Pitch Just take a look at the attitude of the Obama Administration and the mainstream media towards Edward Snowden and his recent asylum approved by Russia.

The White House, rather than admitting wrongdoing in its support for the NSA’s mass surveillance of American citizens without warrant, or even attempting to terrorist3 news mediadeny the existence of the PRISM program, is now instead trying to promote NSA spying as essential to our well being while wagging a finger of shame at Snowden and the Russian government for damaging their domestic spy network. Obama has lamented on Russia’s stance, stating that their thinking is “backwards.”

Did I miss something here? I’m no fan of the Russian oligarchy, but shouldn’t Obama and most of the NSA (let alone every other Federal alphabet agency) be sitting in a dark hole somewhere awaiting trial for violating the Constitution on almost every level? Yet, we are instead supposed to despise Snowden for exposing the crime they committed and distrust any country that happens to give him shelter?

Due to public outcry, Obama has attempted to pacify critics by announcing plans to make NSA mass surveillance “more transparent”. First, I would like to point out that he did NOT offer to end NSA spying on Americans without warrant, which is what a President with any ounce of integrity would have done. Second, Obama’s calls for more transparency have come at the exact same time as the NSA announces its plans to remove 90 percent of its systems administrators to make sure another “Snowden incident” does not occur.

Finally, when the public called for an investigation into the NSA and the Director of National Intelligence in the handling of the Snowden affair and the PRISM program, the White House appointed none other than James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, as part of the team that would “investigate” any wrongdoing.  The Obama Administration insists that Clapper, a documented liar who told Congress that the NSA was not involved in mass domestic spying, was not going to “head” the panel of investigators, even though a White House memo specifically named Clapper as the man who would form the so-called “independent group”.  The White House still admits that Clapper will be involved in the process.

So, just to reiterate, the people who perpetrated the criminal act of warrant-less surveillance on hundreds of millions of Americans, and who were caught red-handed lying about it, are now appointed to investigate their own crime.

Does this sound like a government that plans on becoming “more transparent”?

Ask yourself, would Obama have called for ANY transparency over the NSA whatsoever if Snowden had never come forward? Of course not! The exposure of the crime has led to lies and empty placation, nothing more.

In the meantime, numerous other political miscreants have hit the media trail, campaigning for the NSA as well as other surveillance methods, bellowing to the rafters over the absolute necessity of domestic spy programs. Fifteen years ago, the government would have tried to sweep all of this under the rug. Today, they want to acclimate us to the inevitability of the crime, stating that we had better get used to it.

Their position? That Snowden’s whistle blowing put America at risk. My questions is, how? How did Snowden’s exposure of an unConstitutional and at bottom illegal surveillance program used against hundreds of millions of innocent Americans do our country harm? Is it the position of the White House that the truth is dangerous, and deceit is safety?

I suspect this is the case considering the recent treatment of military whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has been accused by some to have “aided Al Qaeda’s recruiting efforts” through his actions.  How did Manning do this? By releasing information, including battlefield videos, that were hidden from the public containing proof of U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Perhaps I’m just a traditionalist and not hip to modern diplomatic strategy, but I would think that if you don’t want to be blamed for war crimes, then you probably shouldn’t commit war crimes. And, if you don’t want the enemy to gain new recruits, you should probably avoid killing innocent civilians and pissing off their families (there is also ample evidence suggesting that the CIA has done FAR more deliberate recruiting for Al Qaeda than Bradley Manning could have ever accomplished on accident). Just a thought.

So, to keep track – U.S. government funds and trains Al Qaeda, but is the good guy. U.S. government commits war crimes, but is the good guy. U.S. government hides the truth from the American people, but is the good guy. Bradley Manning exposes war crimes, and is the bad guy. Moral relativism at its finest. Moving on…

The shift towards moral bankruptcy is being implemented in the financial world as well. Investors, hedge funds, and major banks now surge into the stock market every time the private Federal Reserve hints that it may continue fiat stimulus. When bad news hits the mainstream feeds, people playing the Dow casino actually cheer with glee exactly because bad economic news means more QE from the Fed. They know that the Fed is artificially propping up the markets. The Fed openly admits that it does this. And, they know that our fiscal system is hanging by a thin thread. And you know what, very few of them care.

The Fed created the collapse with easy money and manipulated interest rates, and now, some people cheer them as the heroes of the U.S. financial structure.

The American narrative is quickly changing. There has long been criminality and degeneracy within our government (Democrat and Republican) and the corporate cartels surrounding it, but I believe what we are witnessing today is the final step in the metamorphosis that is totalitarianism. The last stage accelerates when the average citizen is not just complicit in the deeds of devils, but when he becomes a devil himself. When Americans froth and stomp in excitement for the carnival of death, and treat the truth as poison, then the transformation will be complete.
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B. Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World
3 Dec 2013, juancole.com, By Juan Cole
Pasted from: http://www.juancole.com/2013/12/corrupt-country-world.html

Those ratings that castigate Afghanistan and some other poor countries as hopelessly “corrupt” always imply that the United States is not corrupt.

VOA reports:
While it is true that you don’t typically have to bribe your postman to deliver the mail in the US, in many key ways America’s political and financial practices make it in absolute terms far more corrupt than the usual global South suspects. After all, the US economy is worth over $16 trillion a year, so in our corruption a lot more money changes hands.

  1. Instead of having short, publicly-funded political campaigns with limited and/or free advertising (as a number of Western European countries do), the US has long political campaigns in which candidates are dunned big bucks for advertising. They are therefore forced to spend much of their time fundraising, which is to say, seeking bribes. All American politicians are basically on the take, though many are honorable people. They are forced into it by the system. House Majority leader John Boehner has actually just handed out cash on the floor of the House from the tobacco industry to other representatives.

When French President Nicolas Sarkozy was defeated in 2012, soon thereafter French police actually went into his private residence searching for an alleged $50,000 in illicit campaign contributions from the L’Oreale heiress. I thought to myself, seriously? $50,000 in a presidential campaign? Our presidential campaigns cost a billion dollars each! $50,000 is a rounding error, not a basis for police action. Why, George W. Bush took millions from arms manufacturers and then ginned up a war for them, and the police haven’t been anywhere near his house.

American politicians don’t represent “the people.” With a few honorable exceptions, they represent the the 1%. American democracy is being corrupted out of existence.

  1. That politicians can be bribed to reduce regulation of industries like banking (what is called “regulatory capture”) means that they will be so bribed. Billions were spent and 3,000 lobbyists employed by bankers to remove cumbersome rules in the zeroes. Thus, political corruption enabled financial corruption (in some cases legalizing it!) Without regulations and government auditing, the finance sector went wild and engaged in corrupt practices that caused the 2008 crash. Too bad the poor Afghans can’t just legislate their corruption out of existence by regularizing it, the way Wall street did.
  2. That the chief villains of the 2008 meltdown (from which 90% of Americans have not recovered) have not been prosecuted is itself a form of corruption.
  3. The US military budget is bloated and enormous, bigger than the military budgets of the next twelve major states. What isn’t usually realized is that perhaps half of it is spent on outsourced services, not on the military. It is corporate welfare on a cosmic scale. I’ve seen with my own eyes how officers in the military get out and then form companies to sell things to their former colleagues still on the inside.
  4. The US has a vast gulag of 2.2 million prisoners in jail and penitentiary. There is an increasing tendency for prisons to be privatized, and this tendency is corrupting the system. It is wrong for people to profit from putting and keeping human beings behind bars. This troubling trend is made all the more troubling by the move to give extra-long sentences for minor crimes, to deny parole and to imprison people for life for eg., three small thefts.
  5. The rich are well placed to bribe our politicians to reduce taxes on the rich. This and other government policies has produced a situation where 400 American billionaires are worth $2 trillion, as much as the bottom 150 million Americans. That kind of wealth inequality hasn’t been seen in the US since the age of the robber barons in the nineteenth century. Both eras are marked by extreme corruption.
  6. The National Security Agency’s domestic spying is a form of corruption in itself, and lends itself to corruption. With some 4 million government employees and private contractors engaged in this surveillance, it is highly unlikely that various forms of insider trading and other corrupt practices are not being committed. If you knew who Warren Buffett and George Soros were calling every day, that alone could make you a killing. The American political class wouldn’t be defending this indefensible invasion of citizens’ privacy so vigorously if someone somewhere weren’t making money on it.
  7. As for insider trading, it turns out Congress undid much of the law it hastily passed forbidding members, rather belatedly, to engage in insider trading (buying and selling stock based on their privileged knowledge of future government policy). That this practice only became an issue recently is another sign of how corrupt the system is.
  8. Asset forfeiture in the ‘drug war’ is corrupting police departments and the judiciary.
  9. Money and corruption have seeped so far into our media system that people can with a straight face assert that scientists aren’t sure human carbon emissions are causing global warming. Fox Cable News is among the more corrupt institutions in American society, purveying outright lies for the benefit of the billionaire class. The US is so corrupt that it is resisting the obvious urgency to slash carbon production. Even our relatively progressive president talks about exploiting all sources of energy, as though hydrocarbons were just as valuable as green energy and as though hydrocarbons weren’t poisoning the earth.

Even Qatar, its economy based on natural gas, freely admits the challenge of human-induced climate change. American politicians like Jim Inhofe are openly ridiculed when they travel to Europe for their know-nothingism on climate.

So don’t tell the Philippines or the other victims of American corruption how corrupt they are for taking a few petty bribes. Americans are not seen as corrupt because we only deal in the big denominations. Steal $2 trillion and you aren’t corrupt, you’re respectable.

(News & Editorial/ Instances of Corrupt Leadership?)

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The Human Ponzi Scheme

Study the following two images. Realize that they are telling you what you already know, that there is a hierarchy in the affairs of men. Not only a hierarchy in the roles we fill but within the functions of the organizations and symbols that cohesively move a large collection of people. The personal pyramid of values and cherished symbols within your life do not translate to the same visions held by our  overseers.

 scale pyramid1

and similarly, but updated 3500 years,

scale pyramid2

 Scale Matters
11 January 2013, The AutomaticEarth.com,  by Nichole Foss
Pasted from: http://theautomaticearth.com/Finance/scale-matters.html

Scale matters. When it changes, other things change as a function of it, often in unpredictable ways. Emergent properties are system characteristics that come into existence as a result of small and simple units of organization being combined to form large and complex multi-unit organizational structures. One can know everything there is to know about the original simple units and yet be unable to predict the characteristics of the larger system that emerges as many units come together to interact as a larger whole.

For instance, knowing everything about an individual cell sheds no light on the behaviour of a sophisticated multicellular organism. At a higher level of organization, knowing everything about an organism does not predict crowd behaviour, the functioning of an ecosystem, the organization of stratified societies, or the dynamics of geopolitics as societies interact with one another. The complex whole is always far more than just the sum of its parts.

Human social organization is particularly flexible when it comes to changes in scale. It can function in a myriad forms – from simple, generalist tribal associations, where everyone knows everyone else and interactions are grounded in established personal relationships, to the most complex, specialized and hierarchical imperial civilizations, where emergent connections and institutional structures must inevitably transcend the personal.

Where human societies find themselves along that continuum will depend on many local factors, including the nature, extent, accessibility and storability of the resource base over time, as well as the potential for leveraging human labour, historically using animals. Energy, and particularly energy returned on energy invested (ie the potential to control substantial energy surpluses) is critical. The greater the extent to which substantial, storable resource surpluses can be amassed and centrally controlled, the more likely a complex hierarchical organizational structure is to emerge. Where surpluses are small, resources cannot be stored, human efforts cannot be leveraged, or key resources are less subject to control, much smaller scale, simpler and more horizontally structured groups would be expected instead.

Forms of organization based on agriculture are inherently both expansionist and catabolic. Existing ecosystems are destroyed to make way for patches of monocrop, rapidly converting the productive potential of the land into human biomass at the expense of biodiversity and soil fertility. Many hands are needed to work the land, so many children are produced, but as they grow up, more land must be cultivated every generation, because the existing land cannot accommodate the rapidly rising number of mouths to feed. Carrying capacity is, however, limited.

This in-built need to expand, sometimes to the scale of an imperium in the search for new territory, means that the process is grounded in ponzi dynamics. Expansion stops when no new territories can be subsumed, and contraction will follow as the society consumes its internal natural capital. Previous agricultural societies have left desert in their wake when that natural capital has been exhausted.

Limits to growth are not a new phenomenon, nor is collapse when expansion is no longer possible. The difference this time is that we are approaching hard limits at a global scale, there is nowhere left to expand to, modernity has greatly increased the scope and the rate of our catabolic potential, and therefore the collapse will be the most widespread human civilization has faced.

Some societies are more despotic than others. Elite control over resources, distribution of surpluses, or monolithic infrastructure, such as major dams, confers power and strengthens hierarchy. Where surpluses are substantial, controllable and storable, and can support a large percentage of the population not required to work the land directly, a great deal of societal differentiation and complexity may develop, with a substantial gap between haves and have nots. The haves are typically part of the rentier economy, or otherwise in a position to cream off the surpluses from the labour of lower social strata.

The degree of general freedom probably depends on the extent to which it is in the interests of the powerful. If it is more profitable for the elite to grant economic freedom, and then reap a large share of the proceeds, than to control society directly from the centre, then freedom is far more likely. When circumstances change, however, that may no longer be the case. Relative freedom is associated with economic boom times, when there is an explosion of economic activity to feed off. When boom turns to bust, and there is little economic activity for a prolonged period, direct control of what if left is likely to be of greater appeal. As we stand on the verge of a very substantial economic contraction, this is a major concern. Freedom is addictive, and taking it away has consequences for the fabric of society.

In our own modern situation, the freedom enjoyed in first world countries is arguably both a direct and an indirect a result of the enormous energy surplus we have benefited from. Energy surplus has allowed us to substitute energy slaves directly for the forced labour that has been a prevalent feature of so many previous societies, and it has allowed us to intensify complexity in order to create many opportunities for innovation and advantage. It has also enabled an increase of scale to the global level, so that hard work for low pay, and unpleasant externalities, could be off-shored while retaining the benefits in the first world, albeit very unevenly distributed within it.

The size of the global energy surplus is likely to fall very substantially in the coming years. This will inevitably have a major impact on global socioeconomic dynamics, as it will undermine the ability to maintain both the scale and degree of complexity of the global economy. The expansion of effective organizational scale on the way up is a relatively smooth progression of intensification and developing complexity, but the same cannot be said for its contraction. As we scaled up we built structural dependencies on the range of affordable inputs available to us, on the physical infrastructure we built to exploit them, on the trading relationships formed through comparative advantage, and on the large scale institutional framework to manage it all. Scaling down will mean huge dislocation as these dependencies must give way. There is simply no smooth, managed way to achieve this.

A foundational ingredient in determining effective organizational scale is trust – the glue holding societies together. At small scale, trust is personal, and group acceptance is limited to those who are known well enough to be trusted. For societies to scale up, trust must transcend the personal and be grounded instead in an institutional framework governing interactions between individuals, between the people and different polities, between different layers of governance (municipal, provincial, regional, national), and between states on the international stage.

This institutional framework takes time to scale up and relies on public trust for its political legitimacy. That trust depends on the general perception that the function of the governing institutions serves the public good, and that the rules are sufficiently transparent and predictably applied to all. This is the definition of the rule of law. Of course the ideal does not exist, but better and worse approximations do at each scale in question.

Over time, the trust horizon has waxed and waned in tandem with large cycles of socioeconomic advance and retreat. Trust builds during expansionary times, conferring political legitimacy on larger scale forms of organization. Trust takes a long time to build, however, and much less time to destroy. The retreat of the trust horizon in contractionary times can be very rapid, and as trust is withdrawn from governing institutions, so is political legitimacy. This process is already underway, as a litany of abuses of public trust previously obscured by expansion is coming to light. Contraction will rapidly lift the veil from far more trust-destroying scandals than almost anyone anticipates.

Even at the peak of expansion, international scale institutions struggled to achieve popular legitimacy, due to the obvious democratic deficit, lack of transparency, lack of accountability and insensitivity to local concerns. Even under the most favourable circumstances, true internationalism appears to be a bridge too far from a trust perspective. For this reason, world government and a global currency were never a realistic prospect, as much as some may have craved and others dreaded them. Even a transnational European single currency has suffered from a fatal disparity between the national level of primary loyalty and the international level of currency governance, and as such has no future.

As the circumstances supporting economic globalization and attempts at global governance evaporate, and the process goes into reverse, smaller and smaller scale governance structures are likely to join international institutions as stranded assets from a trust perspective – beyond the trust horizon – and lose legitimacy as a result. International structures are likely to fade away, or be torn apart by strife between disparate members who no longer see themselves are part of a larger whole. The socioeconomic impact of the latter process, for which Europe is the prime example, is likely to be enormous. For a time this may strengthen national institutions, but this is likely to be temporary as they too are subject to being undermined by the withdrawal of trust.

Where people no longer internalize and follow rules, because they no longer see those rules as in the general interest, existing national institutions would have to devote far more energy to surveillance and compliance enforcement. The difference in effort required is very significant, and that effort further alienates the governed population in a socially polarizing downward spiral of positive feedback. It also renders governance far less effective. The form of the institutional framework may still appear outwardly the same, but the function can be both undermined from below and overwhelmed from within by an obsession with enforcement until it ceases to be meaningful. This shift is already well underway.

As contraction picks up momentum, the combination, on the one hand, of a desire to control remaining resources and the benefits from remaining economic activity, and on the other the loss of trust and compliance, and consequent movement towards enforcement, is likely to lead to far more authoritarian forms of government in many places. While central control can occasionally facilitate useful responses to crisis, such as rationing of scarce resources, the power is far more likely to be abused for the benefit of the few, as has so often been the case throughout history.

It is within this general context that society will have to function, although considerable path-dependent local variation can be expected. Trust has a very long way to withdraw, especially in places where some form of totalitarianism develops, as this malignant form of governance actively undermines trust among the populace for the purpose of maintaining control through fear. Even in luckier locations, trust is likely to contract enough to undermine the efficacy of any institution beyond municipal scale, and possibly smaller.

Contractions as large as the one ahead lead to a major trust bottleneck through which society must pass before any kind of recovery can begin to get traction, but the narrowness of that bottleneck will vary considerably between societies. Societies with well developed, close-knit communities are likely to find that far more trust survives, and that in turn will mitigate the impact of contraction and hasten the recovery that will involve rebuilding trust from the bottom up.

Given that trust is a major determinant of effective organizational scale, and that the trust horizon is set to contract substantially, the scale at which it makes most sense to work will be much smaller and more local than previously. The future will, eventually, be one of decentralization by necessity. The odds of making a positive impact at smaller scale will be substantially higher, particularly if the actions undertaken are predicated upon a simpler society rather than based on current complex systems. It makes sense to focus scarce resources – money, energy, materials, effort, emotional intensity – where they can achieve the most. An understanding of scale and its determinants is critical in this regard.

It is interesting to look at the role of money in relation to trust and societal scale. Very small and simple societies grounded in personal relationships can function on a gift basis, as the high level of trust in a small number of well-known others is enough to mean that keeping track of favours done for one another is not necessary. Favours may simply be performed when necessary and reciprocity taken for granted. Resources may be ‘owned’ by the group, or made generally available to the group, rather than owned privately and subject to specific exchange.

Scaling up from this point requires interacting with people less well known, where there is less faith that favours done will be reciprocated, so that keeping track becomes necessary. Larger societies are more likely to be hierarchical, with resources privately owned. Exchange of goods or services would then require some form of relative value quantification. It could be decided that everyone’s time is of equivalent worth and therefore that, at the simplest level of value accounting, keeping track of hours contributed would be sufficient. Further scaling up would require greater sophistication in both time and resource accounting. Money is the value abstraction that evolves to perform this function, hence the development of a monetary economy is an emergent property of scale. The paradox of money is that even as it allows trust to scale up beyond the personal, its use is fundamentally a measure of distrust in reliable interpersonal reciprocity.

scale fractal wavesAs scaling up continues, along with increasing socioeconomic differentiation, it becomes necessary to interact constantly with completely unknown individuals. For this to function, the necessary trust must vest in the institutional framework itself, in the abstract representation of value that becomes a store of value in its own right in addition to being a medium of exchange, and in the complex web of rules by which it operates in large scale societies. These rules grow progressively more complex with expanding societal scale and increasing complexity, as the nature of money itself becomes increasingly abstract and derivative.

Money in the form of precious metals was replaced by promissory notes based on precious metals, then promissory notes backed by faith alone, virtual representations of promissory notes, promises to repay promissory notes, or bets on the abstract price movements (denominated in promissory notes) of underlying assets, which could themselves by abstract. Trust in the value of these abstractions in turn gives them value, and each extension of monetary equivalence creates the foundation of confidence for the next step.

The initial physical monetary commodity would have been chosen to be relatively scarce and not creatable, facilitating central control over a limited money supply. However, when an expansionary dynamic is underway, and a larger money supply is called for in order to lubricate the engine of a growing economy, a rapidly expanding supply of increasingly abstract monetary equivalents may serve that need, at the cost of the loss of any semblance of control over the supply of what is accepted as constituting money. In other words, inflationary times are grounded in an exponentially exploding supply of human promises, backed by assets that are increasingly over-pledged as collateral even as their price is bid up by the expanding purchasing power granted by confidence in promises to repay. This is another self-reinforcing dynamic.

Our history has experienced many credit-fuelled cycles of expansion, going back to antiquity. Positive feedback spirals continue, relatively smoothly, until they can no longer do so. A limit is reached, and there is typically a rapidly spreading realization that the pile of human promises is very heavily under-collateralized. The trust which had conferred value in abstract promises dissipates very quickly, taking the erstwhile value with it.

The credit which had gained monetary equivalence during the expansion is deprived of it, and the resulting abrupt contraction of the effective money supply becomes a major factor in a positive feedback loop in the deflationary direction – the collapse of the money supply removes the lubricant from the engine of the economy, the fall in purchasing power undermines asset prices and promises consequently become even less well collateralized, driving further contraction.

The last thirty years have seen the latest incarnation of a major expansion cycle, reaching unprecedented heights in terms of trust in the value of abstractions as the exponential growth of the shadow banking system has overwhelmed official monetary channels and control mechanisms. We are now on the verge of the implosion that will inevitably follow as trust evaporates and virtual value disappears. The contraction will proceed until the small amount of remaining credit/debt is acceptably collateralized to the few remaining creditors.

At that point we can begin to rebuild trust in a new monetary system, and by extension a new form of societal organization. It will likely be one with a strong emphasis on central monetary supply control, with little or no scope for the monetization of expansionary promises. The successive ‘financial innovations’ that built the bubble will be outlawed, as similar phenomena have been before in the aftermath of collapse. Unfortunately, the controls do not last, and a new generation will eventually make similar mistakes once the experience of boom and bust passes once again from living memory.

While there is nothing we can do to prevent the bubble from bursting, or the contraction of the trust horizon that will inevitably occur, we can attempt to cushion the blow and limit the extent of contraction. Understanding the critical role of trust, how to nurture it, how it determines effective organizational scale, and therefore what scale to operate at at what time will allow us to maximize the effectiveness of our actions. In terms of rebuilding a monetary system, it will be necessary in many places to operate at a profoundly local level initially, with the reintroduction of the simplest forms of trust extension above a gift economy – keeping track of hours traded in a time banking process, and local currencies operating within the trust horizon. It will be necessary to build community interconnections actively in order to establish, maintain and increase the necessary trust.

If the process succeeds in halting and reversing the contraction of the trust horizon in places, then new monetary arrangements can be scaled up in those locations when necessary. There will be no need to do so rapidly, as the artificial demand stimulation of the bubble years will have disappeared, inevitably leaving much less economic activity during a period of economic depression, and therefore much less demand for a large money supply to lubricate the engine of the economy.

Governance arrangements operating at a scale in line with local monetary provision will be necessary, and can expect to be more effective than larger institutions substantially beyond the trust horizon. The latter, where they still exist and can exercise power at a distance, are most likely to make it more difficult for society to be able to function rather than less, as they can be expected to resist the decentralization that could allow localities to establish resilience.

Operating at a local scale to build local supply chains and resilience is far more compatible with the human psyche. At times when social organization has expanded to the point where it dwarfs individual actions, and may control them either directly or indirectly, individuals are disempowered by scale. Many feel they have no control over the critical factors of their own lives, which often leads to psychological disturbances such as depression, at present widely addressed with medication. Increasing scale can reduce both empowerment and civic engagement, as it fosters the perception that one can achieve nothing through individual action.

The increasing complexity that accompanies scaling up also occupies time, money and individual energies, leaving little in the way of personal resources to contribute to the public sphere. Of course for the few in positions of control, scale translates into leveraging power, which can effectively become a drug in its own right, but for the masses it is much less conducive to functioning effectively and meaningfully. For a while the masses can be bought off with bread and circuses, and, for some, with aspirations to achieving a position of power and leverage themselves.

This only works while it remains possible to supply sufficient bread and circuses, and while people still believe that higher aspirations may be realistic. Expansions do shake up up established orders enough to open doors for a few to exploit the new niches that open up with increasing complexity, but in the latter stages of expansion, the social strata typically reform and solidify again, so that upward mobility becomes harder or impossible. The combination creates a dangerous situation, where financial implosion and social explosion can happen in a simultaneous dislocation.

The shift to operating at a local scale, over the longer term at least (once the dust has settled), can be expected to improve the balance between individuals and society, albeit at the cost of living in a much simpler, lower energy and less resource intensive manner. The implications of this shift are huge. Almost every aspect of our lives will change profoundly. We can expect the transition to be traumatic, as the dislocation of major contractions has always been. What large scale and extreme complexity have given us only appear to be normal, as they have persisted for much or all of our lifetimes. In fact we stand at the peak of an unprecedentedly abnormal period in human history – the largest in a long series of financial bubbles, thanks to the hydrocarbons that allowed it to develop over decades.

Things look good at the peak of a bubble, as if we could extrapolate past trends forward indefinitely and reach even higher heights. However, the trend is changing as the enabling circumstances are crumbling, and the bubble is already bursting as a result. Our task now is to navigate a changing reality. We cannot change the waves of expansion and contraction, as their scale is beyond human control, but we can learn to surf.”

scale me & all ya'll

(News & Editorial/Our Human Ponzi scheme)

 

 

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What’s a solar flare?

Aug. 16, 2011, Geek.com, by Jennifer Bergen
www.geek.com/articles/geek-cetera/whats-a-solar-flare-nasa-explains-20110816/

There has been a lot of talk about solar flares the past few weeks. For those of you who are not space nerds, the term solar flare may be unfamiliar to you. It sounds like a terrifying phenomenon that would send giant balls of fire hurling down to earth, but that’s not necessarily the case. NASA has created a handy video putting solar flares into terms anyone can understand and eliminating the paranoia that a ball of fire will rain down on Earth and end all life as we know it.

So, what the heck is a solar flare? NASA says that flares are basically explosions on the surface of the Sun that can last minutes to hours in length. Flares are the result of powerful magnetic fields in and around the sun reconnecting. For the most part, these connections usually happen around active regions where there’s a strong magnetic field. These regions are most often seen as sun spots. Every 11 years, the sun reaches its maximum activity and the solar flares become bigger and more common.

Flares are classified in a similar way to the Richter scale for earthquakes where each letter represents a ten-fold increase in energy output. The smallest flares are B-class, then C, then M, and the largest are classified as X-class. Each letter has a scale of one to nine, so an X9 is an extremely powerful flare, whereas a B1 is not much to write home about. Also an X-class flare is 10 times an M and 100 times a C. Since X9 is technically the largest classification, flares can go above an X9.

Just last week we saw an X6.9-class flare, but the most powerful flare ever to be recorded happened in 2003 and was so powerful that it overloaded the sensors that were measuring it, making it an out-of-category event that had never been seen or experienced before, an X45. The flare wasn’t directly pointed at Earth, but there were some pretty awesome Northern Lights seen a few days later.

A powerful solar flare, like the 2003 flare, can create long-lasting radiation storms. This can harm satellites and can also give anyone flying in a plane near the poles a small dose of radiation. X-flares can also cause worldwide blackouts and can create global transmission problems.

NASA and NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, monitor the Sun and can now see the Sun from every side and from many different wavelengths. This allows scientists to predict space weather events like flares and then warn governments and companies in advance if a solar flare’s radiation may be likely to affect the country.

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The Escalation Ladder to War & Situational Awareness

(Survival Manual/2. Social Issues/Escalation Ladder & Situational Awareness)

A.  The Escalation Ladder to War
Conflicts are an integral part of human life. They are inevitable but also dynamic in their nature.
Escalation is the phenomenon of something getting more intense step by step, for example a quarrel, or, notably, a war between nations possessing weapon s of mass destruction.

The Escalation Ladder discussed below was a version created by Herman Kahn.
Herman Kahn was a strategic theorist who was cited as being the father of scenario planning during ‘The Cold War’ (1945-1990), he was also founder of the Hudson Institute think tank.  Mr. Kahn eventually developed a 44 rung Escalation ladder with fine nuances between the escalation rungs.

The 16 rung model discussed below has ‘lower resolution’, but gives a good idea how important an international conflict has become and how rapidly it is evolving.
This knowledge could give you days, weeks or longer to finalize emergency preparations.

By tracking and timing the model, you could, for example, buy an extra $100 worth of groceries, long-term freeze-dried and dehydrated food with every increase in escalation beginning at Rung 6, then put an additional $200 into other supplies with each increase, starting at Rung 8.
In this way you’d have an extra $1,000 in long-term food storage and another $1,000-$1,200 in other equipment: tent, 22LR rifle, propane stove, propane heater and spare tanks, candles, Porta-Pottie, etc. should an All Out War occur with an enemy who has civilization busting weapons.
The book  that I took the following table from was not  referenced-credited when it was copied into my journals during the mid 1980s, my pardon to the author. Books by Herman Kahn can be found at Amazon.com.

Awareness is a life style. You have to think about the unthinkable, keep it in the back of your mind at all times. Know your wildlife, your plants, the habits of predators (2 or 4 legged, crime laden neighborhoods, aggressive or questionable individuals or groups, spokesmen economists-popular politicians-talking head news media) and watch for changes in and from the normal. If the normal changes without obvious reason, something is wrong. Always assume that change will have a bad outcome for you. If you’re mistaken then you can feel good about being prepared and about good fortune. If you are right, you are prepared to survive.

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The Escalation Ladder

Rung Response
1. Sub crisis Disagreement
2. Crisis
3. Political, Diplomatic & Economic Gestures
4. Show of Force
5. Modest Mobilization
6. Acts of Violence
7. Limited Military Confrontation
8. Intense Crisis
9. Limited Evacuation
10. Super Ready Status
11. Controlled Local War
12. Spectacular Show of Force
13. Limited, Non Local War
14. Complete Evacuation
15. All Out War
16. Aftermath

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The Progression of Events

Rung 1- Sub crisis Disagreement
Opposing sides have a disagreement in opinion, they may still be polite; however, the possibility of escalation is introduced.

Rung 2 – Crisis
Features:
a)  Vague or implicit threats are made
b)  You may expect explicit announcements or speeches.
c)  There are officially inspired newspaper stories.
d)  The press may have angry outbursts against the other side.
e)  There is speculation regarding possible military measures.
* Current issues must be solved or there will be further escalation.

Rung 3 – Political, Diplomatic & Economic Gestures
Herein occur actions which may not only hurt economically, but also politically, in as much as they can lead to popular dissatisfaction with the government.
a)  Recall your ambassador
b)  Refuse negotiations on other issues.
c)  Make overtures to the other side’s enemies.
d)  Denounce a treaty.
e)  Make a legal or economic reprisal.
f)  Start a violent publicity campaign.
g)  Increase conspicuous military maneuvers.
h)  Encourage “spontaneous” public demonstrations.

Rung 4 – Show of Force
Make it clear that violence IS NOT unthinkable. Move ships and aircraft around, mobilize the reserves, carry out provocative exercises. This step begins mobilizing one’s own resources.
a)  Indirect show of force: Increase the draft call, test fire missiles, conduct maneuvers.
b)  Direct show of force: Mass troops in a certain area, move ships to a certain area.
* As the public becomes involved, “punish the enemy” cries will be louder than before.

Rung 5 – Modest Mobilization
This phase normally begins with the cancellation of leaves and discharges in the military service. This is accompanied by any of the following measures:
a)  Public and official statements.
b)  Failure to phase out obsolete equipment.
c)  Cancellation of previous cuts in arms expenditures.
d)  A modest increase in the budget.
e)  Increased conscription.
f)  Possible preparation in rural areas to receive evacuees.

Rung 6 – Acts of Violence
Incidents are manufactured which are designed to harass, violate, discredit, frighten, confuse, harm, or weaken the enemy. For example:
a)  Enemy nationals are arrested.
b)  Embassies are stoned or raided.
c)  Bombs may be dropped by unauthorized or anonymous planes, there might be ‘over flights’.d)  Terrorism, kidnapping and assassination of important persons.
e)  Paramilitary actions.
f)  Soldiers on the border may be shot at.
g)  There is an increase in intelligence and reconnaissance.

Rung 7 – Limited Military Confrontation
As pressures continue to build, it may become necessary to demonstrate that limited war or all out war is becoming thinkable. At this stage look for:
a)  Every possible piece of equipment and unit is put into a ready status.
b)  Combat alert status.
c)  Limited war forces are deployed.
d) The consequences of a thermonuclear war are stressed to the other side, along with indications that no alternative exists unless “they” come to their senses.
* Due to the fact that SAC (Strategic Air Command) is on permanent alert, this is a range rung on the escalation ladder.

Rung 8 – Intense Crisis
By this time, decision makers are no longer offering choices to the enemy, they are announcing, “back down or we will go to war’. The main elements of this rung are ultimatums and unplanned evacuations.
a) There may be military actions involving divisions or larger forces.
b) This rung is achieved when, due to fear, 20% of the population leave a major city in the USA.

Rung 9 – Limited Evacuation
Either or both opponents may carry through a partial, official evacuation. This would meet great resistance from the population. Decision makers are not likely to be paying politics at this time and may feel they have a stronger hand if most of the population is relatively safe.
At this stage, the public has little to say.

Rung 10 – Super Ready Status
In effect, this rung offers the enemy a choice: 1) Compromise, 2) continue the current dangerous crisis or, 3) immediately escalate to “all out war”.
It involves dangerous and costly actions, i.e.,
a)  Causing a high false alarm rate in the enemies warning and alert system.
b)  There may be limited destruction and violence designed to degrade his defensive capability so he will be less able to counter attack, after he is “surprise attacked”.

Rung 11 – Controlled Local War
The military may be employed on a scale of the Korean War, but it is limited to conventional weapons. Tactical nuclear weapons may be used-less to destroy military forces, as to show the opponent that unless he backs down, more will follow. pressures associated with the “First Use” on nuclear weapons:
a)  It could lead to uncontrolled disarmament later.
b)  Many non nuclear nations may suddenly go for their own nuclear weapons stockpiles.
c)  It sets a precedent, which would make escalation into an “all out war”, more likely from a future Limited War.

Rung 12 – Spectacular Show of Force
This rung involves the actual use of major weapons, whether or not their objective is to kill. The weapon may be used to punish the enemy for a previous or immediately intended act. A nuclear device detonated over enemy territory says in effect: “Halt or I’ll shoot!”

Rung 13 – Limited, Non Local War
At this point, major weapons start to be used against “sanitary” military targets:
a)  Ships at sea,
b)  Isolated military bases
c) Expensive industrial installations, especially ones with a semi military character.

Rung 14 – Complete Evacuation
On the verge of, or actually in a war. If possible, both sides are likely to evacuate their cities, leaving only 5-10% of the population operating essential facilities.
Martial law is declared and some rights under the Constitution are suspended. The state of affairs on this rung, are expected to cause enormous political, social, economic and psychological problems.

Rung 15 – All Out War
This does not necessarily refer to the “spasm” war, where each side strikes indiscriminately against each other’s cities and military bases. There is the potential for a rational, controlled nuclear war, where military actions are accomplished by threats, promises and controlled destruction, i.e.,
a) Care may be taken to avoid civilian targets, or by using low yield weapons against SAC bases which are associated with cities.
b) Early in the war, either side could easily back down after a limited response and feel that its opponent did not get away scot-free.
c) After 10-20 hours, the war could, however, degenerate into a “city busting” phase.

Rung 16 – Aftermath
The aftermath could include increased cooperation or increased competition, it could lead to real stability or to an accelerated arms race.
De-escalation could occur from any Rung, measures often include;
a) Reversal of a previous escalation move.
b) Settling another dispute.
c) Freeing prisoners.
d) Conciliatory statements, etc.
* Decisions are made from a national or international point of view even if it means that local considerations are inadequately considered.
——————————————— cut here ———————————————
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B.  Global Trends 2025 – Future is nuclear war and famine – US intelligence
March 29, 2008, 1913Intel, by Matt
<http://www.1913intel.com/2008/03/29/the-coming-nuclear-war-in-2012/&gt;
“The use of nuclear weapons will grow increasingly likely by 2025, US intelligence warned in a report on global trends that forecasts a tense, unstable world shadowed by war. “The world of the near future will be subject to an increased likelihood of conflict over scarce resources, including food and water, and will be haunted by the persistence of rogue states and terrorist groups with greater access to nuclear weapons,” said the report. “Widening gaps in birth rates and wealth-to-poverty ratios, and the uneven impact of climate change, could further exacerbate tensions.” Called Global Trends 2025 – a Transformed World, the 121-page report was produced by the National Intelligence Council, a body of analysts from across the US intelligence community. Officials said it was being briefed to the incoming administration of president-elect Barack Obama. A year in the making, the report does not take into account the recent global financial crisis. “In one sense, a bad sense, the pace of change that we are looking at in 2025 occurred more rapidly than we had anticipated,” said Thomas Fingar, deputy director of National Intelligence. One overarching conclusion of the report is that “the unipolar world is over, (or) certainly will be by 2025,” Mr Fingar said. But with the “rise of the rest,” managing crises and avoiding conflicts will be more difficult, particularly with an antiquated post-World War II international system. “The potential for conflict will be different then and in some ways greater than it has been for a very long time,” Mr Fingar said.”

See Nuclear Target maps for potential targets in your state, (go to the website and select your state from the list):
<http://www.ki4u.com/nuclearsurvival/list.htm&gt;
Once there is any use of nuclear weapons, it will be like giving permission for anyone to use them.

Table: Who has nuclear weapons and approximately how many?

Nuclear warheads
No. of war heads, 20095 Inter-contin-ental missiles Short range missiles Bombs Sub-marines/
non-strategic
In reserve/ awaiting disman tlement Total Now Total In 2000
China 121 55 176 400
France 60 240 300 350
India 75 0
Israel 200 0
North Korea 2 0
Pakistan 90 0
Russia 1355 576 856 2050 8150 12987 21000
UK 192 192 185
US 550 1152 500 500 6700 9552 10577

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The table above is from: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2009/sep/06/nuclear-weapons-world-us-north-korea-russia-iran&gt;
Remember, it would only take 2- 3 appropriately spaced, near orbital altitude nuclear explosions above the USA to create the EMP for a long-term knock out essentially the entire North American power grid (most of Canada, all the USA and norther Mexico).
.

C.  Situational Awareness
http://captaindaveinc.com/guide/chapter-4-beyond-the-basics/situational-awareness/
Part of developing a survival mindset is being aware of your situation. The military developed a set of color codes which Col. Jeff Cooper (a respected firearms trainer and originator of modern pistol fighting techniques) adapted for personal “street” survival by those who carry a firearm. (If this seems familiar it is because Homeland Security adopted a version of this Color Code.) Captain Dave has adapted and modified the original to pertain to survival in the broader sense.

‘Condition White’
An individual in Condition White is totally unaware that the world is an unpredictable (at best) place and that they could be put in danger by a man-made or natural disaster with little or no warning. They suffer from the misguided belief that the government will protect them and keep them safe. When disaster strikes, they are surprised, angry that it could happen to them, and totally unprepared. Most of the populace is in Condition White until they see the hurricane warnings on TV or the evacuation siren goes off.

‘Condition Yellow’
An individual in Condition Yellow has accepted responsibility for his or her personal survival. They have admitted that the veneer of civilization can be wiped away, catapulting us back to an era where our modern conveniences don’t work. They realize that the police cannot protect them before a crime has been committed. They realize that while mankind can harness some of nature’s powers, and predict some of her behavior, but it cannot stand against her fury. They may have even done something about it, or they may be preparing to. This is the beginning stage for survivalism, and people reaching it can either proceed to Condition Orange or shrug their shoulders and slip back into Condition White.

This individual has started making preparations to protect themselves and their loved ones from potential disasters. They monitor the news for weather-related danger or potential civil unrest. By reading this far into Captain Dave’s Survival Guide, you are probably in condition Yellow.

‘Condition Orange’
You are in Condition Orange when you realize a dangerous event is on the horizon and looming closer. It could be a hurricane heading towards you, an impending snow storm or a gang of youths crossing the street on a course ready to intercept you. In condition Orange, you are preparing to survive an impending situation. This could mean filling improvised water tanks or bringing extra fire wood into the house to dry. It could be loading the car in preparation to evacuate or hanging hurricane shutters.
(Note, in some emergencies — like an earthquake or terrorist bombing — you may go straight from Condition Yellow to Condition Red or Black.)

‘Condition Red’
You are in a survival situation and the dangerous event is there NOW. This means the bullets are flying, the water is rising, the wind is howling, the electricity is out, or the snow is piling up. You’re most important priority is to ride out the moment, to survive the immediate event. This probably means taking shelter or running or, depending on the situation, fighting back. Condition Red can last only a few minutes in an earthquake or Tornado, or it can last for weeks or months in an epidemic.

‘Condition Black’
Condition Black is after the catastrophic event, but before the situation has returned to normalcy. You still are depending on your survival stash and skills to survive, but the danger is longer term, not immediate.

Here are examples of condition black that could last a few days: The earthquake that is over, but you can’t return to your home. Or the river has crested, but it will be days before you can return home and longer before you are cleaned out. Or the riots have died down, but you dare not leave your house or neighborhood. Or the snow has stopped but the electricity has not been restored, and it will be a few days before the plows dig you out. The terrorists have struck but there is a hold on all travel.

Depending on the emergency, Condition Black may last a few months or even years. For example, imagine if 25% of the world’s population has died in a terrible pandemic and our government has declared martial law. Power and other utilities are intermittent and food delivers have stopped. Or, a nuclear exchange in the Middle East has spread fallout across the globe and caused oil prices to quadruple. Or, the U.S. is at war with China over Taiwan and all commerce between the two countries has stopped.

See also the 4dtraveler posts:
(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/ Nuclear EMP)
(Survival Manual/1. Disaster/Long Term Power Outage)
(Survival Manual/2.Social Issues/Marshal Law)
(Survival Manual/2.Social Issues/Prep with Cash & Equivalents) (Survival manual/3. Food & Water/Develop a survival food list)

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Filed under Survival Manual, __2. Social Issues

The best of hard times – 1

(Survival manual/9. Additions/The best of hard times -1)

Who was looking for hard times, yet there they were: stories from Somali, Pakistan, and Sarajevo.
(Image below: 2011 Somalia refugee camp.)

1.   Somali man recalls horrors of fleeing famine
29 July 2011, Associated Press, By MALKHADIR M. MUHUMED
“DADAAB, Kenya (AP) — When al-Qaida-linked militants learned that Ahmedhashim Mawlid Abdi and his family were planning to flee Somalia’s famine, they threw the 40-year-old father of seven in jail for two days.
Over the next 17 days, as they made their escape, a gang of gunmen robbed them of the little food they had, Abdi’s pregnant wife was raped in front of him, and his 7-year-old son died of starvation and disease. They were even attacked by a lion.
When they finally made it to the Dagahaley refugee camp in neighboring Kenya, their struggles were far from over. Food rations in the overcrowded camp are “just enough to survive on,” Abdi said. And the future is uncertain.
As Somalia’s famine unfolds in the middle of a war zone, some 2.2 million people are in peril in an area controlled by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab that is inaccessible to aid groups.
In an extended interview conducted in Somali with The Associated Press, Abdi describes the drought-ravaged region he and his family escaped and the plight facing him and tens of thousands of other refugees in camps in Kenya and Ethiopia.
Q: What your life was like in Somalia?
A: We were nomads and lived off our sheep and goats and cows. During the rainy seasons we drank their milk, and during the dry seasons we sold some of them and used the money to buy food, milk and sugar from the local market. We were also farmers.
Conditions have changed. Several seasons passed without enough rain. It is God’s act, not human’s. The current drought in Somalia has affected us in every possible way. It affected our animals and farms and our lives. The ongoing conflict in our country has also added to our problems. When two elephants fight, it’s the grass that suffers.
Q: What did you do after you lost all your animals and the rains still did not come?
A: We fled to the nearest town, Afmadow. We have a Somali saying that goes: A town has many ways to give you a new lease on life. But Afmadow was in a completely different situation when we arrived. It was in the hands of al-Shabab. The militants harassed anyone they believed was opposed to them. I did odd jobs, like fetching firewood from the bush and building houses. But when the going got tough, I decided to flee with six children. I left two more children — a 4-year-old girl and a 20-year-old — with relatives.
Q: Did al-Shabab prevent you from fleeing the country?
A: Yes. We sneaked out in the middle of the night and headed to an area far away from our actual direction so the militants couldn’t trace us. They put me in jail for 48 hours after they suspected me of leaving the town to head to Kenya.
Their logic is: Kenya is a Christian country and if you go there, you’re a Christian. I was released after local elders intervened. They kicked and slapped me on the face. They even dragged me like a corpse. They said to me: ‘You are an apostate,’ a word that angered me very much.
Q: Tell me about the perils you faced?
A: We faced hunger, thirst, danger and exhaustion. It took us 17 days to arrive here (at Dagahaley refugee camp). One night a lion almost ate me before I scared it away with my flashlight. Along the way, I carried my 5-year-old daughter on my back and 10 kilograms of rice. My wife also carried a 2-year-old daughter on her back. She was four months pregnant. Luckily, we found relatives on the way and they relieved us of the goods by allowing us to offload them on the donkey-pulled cart.
Q: What was the worst thing that happened?
A: The worst experience we faced was when gunmen ambushed. The gang robbed us of the little food we had with us and raped our women in front of us as if they wanted us to witness their horrors. The gang was made up of 15 gunmen and we were five families. They raped all the five women. While some men raped the women, others kept watch over them. That ordeal was the worst I have ever faced in my life. I once thought of looking for ways to get a gun to take revenge.
Only three days after that I lost my 7-year-old boy to hunger, exhaustion and disease. He came down with a severe fever and cold but got no treatment. He died at night as we rested. His mother cried a lot, but I accepted God’s will. I didn’t cry.
Q: How do you see your life as a refugee here?
A: The refugee life is not easy. What I found here is different from what I was thinking of before I came here. I thought a refugee’s life in Kenya was like a paradise. I thought that there will be plenty of food. But the rations we receive are just an amount on which we can survive. Not a satisfactory one, but in fact better than the destitution in Somalia.
Q: How do you see your future now?
A: I have high hopes that things will improve. No condition is permanent. I believe in God and pray that he improves my life. I’m hopeful that my children will also get a proper education and help me in the future.
Q: Are you thinking of returning to Somalia at any time soon?
A: Yes, if — and only if — it becomes safe. I will return to Somalia only if a full peace dominates there. It is my country and the country of my father and grandfathers. But if it remains as it is now, I will go to any other place where I can find peace.
Q: What is your advice to other Somalis still in the country?
A: I say to them: Believe in God and pray a lot to save you from the problems you’re currently facing. No place is better than your home country.
Q: Any word for the international community?
A: The world should take the Somali problem seriously. It was dragging on and on without any solutions. The world should help Somalis. They have suffered enough.”

 2.  Pakistan Floods of summer 2010
(Image at right: a small area of flooded Pakistan)
“Flood Disaster May Require Largest Aid Effort in Modern History,
Friday, August 20, 2010, ClimateWire, By NATHANIAL GRONEWOLD
UNITED NATIONS — One of the largest humanitarian relief efforts ever attempted is now mobilizing to help Pakistan cope with what its government and U.N. agencies are calling the worst natural disaster in modern memory.
Experts say initial assessments show the scale of damage and human suffering left by torrential monsoon rains over the past three weeks dwarfs the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, 2005 Kashmir earthquake, 2008 Cyclone Nargis disaster in Burma, and Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti — combined.
“These are the worst monsoon floods in living memory.”
Top U.N. and Pakistani government officials are now clearly pointing to climate change as the principal culprit.

Estimated losses are immense.
Aid coordinators in Islamabad say between 15 million and 20 million people have been hit, losing their homes, livelihoods or access to basic needs like sanitation, health care, food and potable water.
Officials say about 800,000 to 900,000 homes have been destroyed or made unlivable. The government believes 4.6 million have been left homeless in just two provinces, Punjab and Sindh.
Areas in the country’s north and northwest have been hardest hit, especially Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where several communities have been cut off from the outside world after floodwaters washed out key bridges. About 70 percent of bridges and roads have been destroyed here, officials report. Pakistan’s government says little transportation infrastructure remains in the Swat valley, the scene of intense fighting between the army and Islamic insurgents in 2009.
More than 17 million acres [26,562 square miles, or a square 515 miles by 515 miles on each side. -Mr Larry] of farmland was inundated, Qureshi said. U.N. officials figure that more than 200,000 head of livestock have been killed in the flooding. And the nation’s cotton crop, an important source of export earnings, has largely been wiped out after 1 million acres of the crop was lost to floods in Punjab.
The flood disaster could also exacerbate global food prices, in particular wheat. The government of Pakistan says the season’s harvest is pretty much gone and 1 million metric tons of wheat that was sitting in storage is now gone . Droughts in Russia, Australia and Canada had already sent wheat prices soaring in recent weeks.
Officials are so far refusing to estimate what a larger recovery effort will cost once immediate needs are met, but all agree that the price tag will be tremendous.

A.  A Spirit Of Survival Amid Devastating Pakistan Floods
August 5, 2010, NPR, by Julie McCarthy
<http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128994533>
The flooding that left a trail of destruction in northwestern Pakistan is now sweeping south through the Punjab, destroying crops and threatening more lives. But even in the face of calamity, there is also the spirit of survival.
Nearly 155,000 homes in the northwest alone have been damaged or simply swept away in a stunning show of nature’s force. As the floodwaters recede, many villagers have been forced to claw through mud to retrieve what is left of their belongings.
Siraj Begum managed to survive Pakistan’s deadliest floods on record. Her entire village of Mohib Banda was submerged, and she found shelter in a school crammed with 200 families.

There are harrowing tales of loss and of people marching through neck-deep, snake-filled waters with babies and bundles balanced on their heads, but the story of one woman embodies what so many have endured.
Siraj Begum managed to escape the rising water that submerged her entire village of Mohib Banda. The mother of eight found shelter in a private school crammed with 200 families in the town of Pabbi in the hard-hit district of Nowshera. As she describes how she survived, swarms of her grandchildren press in to listen as if it were a campfire ghost story.

The water started coming around 9 or 10 a.m., just as her family was having breakfast, Siraj explains in her native Pashtun. Before long, it had reached the ceiling, so she ran up to the roof. She stayed there for three days, along with six or seven members of her family, waiting for help.
We cry and laugh both. But we laugh because God saved us from death.
An army helicopter buzzed past them day after day but — it sounds almost comical — Siraj says that their fortunes changed only after they figured out how to flag it down.
“Someone told us, ‘You have to wave your sheet and your shawls at the chopper,’ and when we did, they finally dropped some water, juice and biscuits,” she says.

At a time when thousands are directing anger at the government’s failure to reach them in their hour of need, Siraj blames herself for not being plucked to safety earlier. She may have lost everything, but not her self-deprecation — or her wit.
“The reason we were rescued so late,” she laughs, “is because I was waving and using hand signals that the pilot just didn’t understand.”

Despite the widespread fury at the government shared by many in the flood-affected areas, Siraj seems philosophical.
“We cry and laugh both. But we laugh because God saved us from death,” she says.
But there is also fire within this white-haired, toothless grandmother. She joined a protest that blocked the main road in a bid to get the government to clear her village, where she says the stench of dead animals was choking.
“All the cattle and livestock in our village have been killed in the flood, all hens and roosters are dead,” she says. “But the carcasses are now being removed because we protested.”

In the school where Siraj and her family have found refuge, women wash their clothes on the floor, and doctors tend to countless cases of skin infection. She inhabits a single classroom with 25 other people in conditions she could not have imagined even a week ago.
“We can’t sleep here,” she says. “How can you sleep without bedding or quilts? We just lie on the floor, up all night.”
But when the morning comes, amid the calamity around her, Siraj is more likely than not to find something to cheer her. She will need it — more rains are forecast.”

B.  Pakistan floods, one year on: One man’s story of survival
‘redr’, UK, 26 July 2011
<http://www.redr.org.uk/en/Newsroom/Latest_News.cfm/pakistan-floods-one-year-on-one-mans-story-of-survival>
“One year after devastating flooding hit Pakistan, affecting nearly 20 million people, killing nearly 2000 and causing economic losses of £3.5bn, RedR’s Nic Scarborough travelled to Pakistan to find out how RedR trained aid workers are helping communities to rebuild their lives. Here, he talks to one man, Shamshad, about his experiences of the past twelve months.

Shamshad is 48, but I guess he looks a bit older with his grey hair and beard; that and the long summers in Charsadda’s forty plus degree heat. He’s softly spoken, calm and has that kind of look that says he’s been around, endured times, been patient, lived with his lot.
He owns four acres of land and tractor. Right now he’s growing sugar cane. It’s about five feet high and pretty dense. It’ll be ready in September. Until then he’ll be going up and down the irrigation channels he’s made through his field, scooping up a watery-mud and dropping it into the crop’s edges to give it a bit of moisture and keep it on track.
Shamshad wears the Pakistani national dress. It’s a tunic-style shirt worn with loose trousers, all in an off-white shade. His youngest son is a quiet four year old. He too wears the national dress and at prayer time he stands at his dad’s side, copying him, movement by movement. Like father like son, they offer their prayers together.
Anyone of faith would think those prayers were answered this time last year, when Shamshad and his family spent four days on top of a little mud island, barely peaking above the 18ft floodwaters.

Stranded in the floodwaters
When the floodwaters struck – without warning – Shamshad and his son were offering Friday prayers then too. When they came out of the mosque there was water already running at their feet. It wasn’t the first flood Shamshad seen. He knew what he had to do.
The mosque is a mile or so from his house. In just twenty minutes, the floodwaters went from ankle height to head height. He picked up his children, whatever belongings he could manage and, helping his own mother and father too, ran towards a small mud rise, or hill, behind his village.
Standing on the mud rise is like standing on the roof of a large bungalow. Several thousand villagers were crowded onto two of these whilst waves washed around them, every splash hammering against the soft, fragile elevation.
Rain pelted down on them; it was still monsoon season after all. They were literally on an island. The tops of trees poked through the muddy waters at different intervals. The sun was unrelenting. And for days they perched there, marooned, like refugees in an overcrowded dingy in a storm.
“We managed to get a ten kilogram bag of dried sugarcane juice,” says Shamshad. “We ate small bits of it for two days and crushed small pieces for the children and placed it in their mouths. There was nothing else available. We took the floodwater in a pot and when the mud settled we slowly and gradually took the water from the top to drink. We drank that floodwater for two days. We were thinking of nothing, except praying to God.”

 Getting back on his feet
After two long days, a helicopter arrived with food packages. A few kilometres away the government began blasting breaks in the raised motorway between Peshawar and Islamabad. The motorway had been acting like a damn, backing up the floodwaters behind it. When the breaks in the road were made the water began to recede. After two days Shamshad and his family were able to get down from the mud rise.
“When men returned to their houses, a lot of them were demolished or destroyed completely. The ones that were intact were not in a condition to live in,” says Shamshad. From here on they started their recovery.
“It was Ramadan and an organisation called SABAWOON came to our village and gave us 5,000 rupees. They had a store in Charsadda from where we could get food. They also provided us with some tools and wheelbarrows which we could use to start clearing the mud and cleaning our houses,” he adds.
Other local organisations like National Rural Support Programme (NRSP) and Foundation for Rural Development (FRD) began responding to the crisis by helping people to rebuild their houses with cash for work programmes.

Rising from the debris
It’s now a year later and approximately 50% of homes have been rebuilt. Around Shamshad’s villages cement is being mixed, bricks are being laid and houses are rising up from the debris. Infrastructure is also coming back; roads damaged by the floodwaters are being replaced.
For now, Shamshad is living in his brother’s house but knows that things will continue to improve. “With the support of these organisations I will soon be able to build a room for my family,” he says. “And I can do some labour to get some money to rebuild my house.”

3.  The Siege of Sarajevo, 1992-1996
The Siege of Sarajevo is the longest siege of a capital city in the history of modern warfare. Serb forces besieged Sarajevo, the capital city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, from 5 April 1992 to 29 February 1996 during the Bosnian War.
The Serbs encircled Sarajevo with a siege force of 18,000 stationed in the surrounding hills, from which they assaulted the city with weapons that included artillery, mortars, tanks, anti-aircraft guns, heavy machine-guns, multiple rocket launchers, rocket-launched aircraft bombs, and sniper rifles. The Bosnian government defence forces inside the besieged city were poorly equipped and unable to break the siege.
It is estimated that nearly 10,000 people were killed or went missing in the city, including over 1,500 children. An additional 56,000 people were wounded, including nearly 15,000 children. The 1991 census indicates that before the siege the city and its surrounding areas had a population of 525,980. There are estimates that prior to the siege the population in the city proper was 435,000. The current estimates of the number of persons living in Sarajevo range between 300,000 and 380,000 residents.

Advice from a Sarajevo War Survivor:
“Experiencing horrible things that can happen in a war – death of parents and friends, hunger and malnutrition, endless freezing cold, fear, sniper attacks.
1. Stockpiling helps. But you never know how long trouble will last, so locate near renewable food sources.
2. Living near a well with a manual pump is like being in Eden.
3. After awhile, even gold can lose its luster.  But there is no luxury in war quite like toilet paper.  Its surplus value is greater than gold’s.
4. If you had to go without one utility, lose electricity – it’s the easiest to do without (unless you’re in a very nice climate with no need for heat.)
5. Canned foods are awesome, especially if their contents are tasty without heating.  One of the best things to stockpile is canned gravy – it makes a lot of the dry unappetizing things you find to eat in war somewhat edible.  Only needs enough heat to “warm”, not to cook. It’s cheap too, especially if you buy it in bulk.
6. Bring some books – escapist ones like romance or mysteries become more valuable as the war continues.  Sure, it’s great to have a lot of survival guides, but you’ll figure most of that out on your own anyway – trust me, you’ll have a lot of time on your hands.
7. The feeling that you’re human can fade pretty fast.  I can’t tell you how many people I knew who would have traded a much needed meal for just a little bit of toothpaste, rouge, soap or cologne.  Not much point in fighting if you have to lose your humanity.  These things are morale-builders like nothing else.
8. Slow burning candles and matches, matches, matches”

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H7N9 avain flu, mutating

(News & Editorial/H7N9 avian flu, mutating)

A rhyme was used in 1918 to help people remember local mandates that compelled the wearing of face masks in public:
“Obey the laws
And wear the gauze
Protect your jaws
From septic paws”

H7N9 avain fluH7N9 Avian Influenza virus

A. The Elusive H7N9 Virus: Chinese Researchers Predict Future Pandemic
18 Jun 2013, Science20.com, by Jennifer Wong
Excerpt pasted from: http://www.science20.com/quotsciencequotstruck_bookworm/elusive_h7n9_virus_chinese_researchers_predict_future_pandemic-115063

Since February 2013, China experienced an outbreak of the novel H7N9 avian flu, causing 131 cases of infection, and a death toll of 39. This particular H7N9 strain is considered to be one of the most worrisome pathogens since the H5N1 pandemic in 1997; a reputation based on the virus’ ability to spread easily across species and to infect humans. According to the May 23, 2013 Science paper published by the Joint Influenza Research Centre (State Key Laboratory of Emerging Infectious Diseases, Shantou PR, China), Drs. Y. Guan and Y. Shu reported that H7N9 infects the upper respiratory tract of ferrets and pigs, and spreads via direct contact, suggesting that the rapid surge of H7N9 infections are likely caused by human’s direct contact with infected birds.

The source of the H7N9 virus is quite elusive, mainly because birds carrying the H7N9 virus appear to be unharmed by the infection. This is quite unlike the H5N1 outbreak in 1997, where H5N1-infected birds can succumb to the infection, and that the presence of dead ducks and poultry often indicates the presence of the H5N1 virus.

The Elusive Origin of H7N9
To solve the puzzle of H7N9’s origin, a group of scientists lead by Dr. Kwok Yung Yuen (University of Hong Kong) discovered that H7N9 virus was derived from two origins of ducks, a study the was published in the June 1, 2013 issue of the Lancet. The conclusion was based on the sequencing the hemagglutinin (H7) and neuraminidase (N9) viral genes in human patients that were infected with H7N9 (throat swabs, Zhejiang, China), and extensive analysis to determine whether similar H7 and N9 sequences can be found in duck and poultry samples from the Asian wet markets. Using this approach, Yuen reported that the H7 sequence found in domestic ducks in Zhejiang, and the N9 sequence found in wild ducks in Korea, were the closest match to the respective H7 and N9 protein sequences in H7N9-infected patients in Zhejiang. Yuen further highlighted that in contrast to the H7 proteins from domestic ducks, the H7 proteins in H7N9-infected patients carry several amino-acid mutations including the Gln226Leu, Gly186Val substitutions (associated with their ability to infect humans) and PB2 Asp701Asn mutation (associated with mammalian adaptation).

Further extrapolating the origin of H7N9 from an influenza sequence database (Global Initiative on Sharing Avian Influenza Data (GISAID) database), Dr. George Gao at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Beijing) demonstrated that the H7 gene is likely to have evolved from wild migratory ducks in Asia. Gao further found the H7N9 virus also shares internal genes that are similar to what is found in two lineages of H9N2 poultry influenza virus. In his report published in the June 1, 2013 issue of the Lancet, Gao further concluded that the H7N9 in humans is an evolutionary product that is likely created by multiple gene reassortment events between influenza viruses from at least four different migratory ducks and poultry lineages. According to Gao, H7N9 virus transmission and mutations in birds, and potentially in intermediate animals, should be watched closely to minimize the chances of a future pandemic.

The Ease of H7N9 Mutations and Human-Adaptation Points to the Possibility of a Future Pandemic
As quickly as the H7N9 outbreak emerged in China, the virus seemed to have rapidly disappeared, with no further cases of H7N9 infections since the end of May 2013. But whether the virus would reappear, and whether there might be a future pandemic, are crucial questions to which scientists can only surmise. According to Dr. Michael Gardam (Director of infection prevention and Control at University Health Network, Toronto General Hospital), a global pandemic is really triggered by human-to-human transmission.  “As long as it’s just in birds and hopping to humans on occasion, you’re going to get the same epidemiology that you have now. If [H7N9] can efficiently transfer from human to human, you’ll have a pandemic”, says Gardam. “Influenza is ‘very sloppy’ when it replicates itself – it’s always making mistakes. It could make a ‘good mistake’ for the virus and alter itself to make it easier to spread from person to person. It could also recombine with other viruses, picking up components, of say H3N1 or H1N1, making it easier for humans to contract,” Gardam further explains.

Despite the temporary absence of H7N9 infection in China, scientists are still concerned that the H7N9 viruses in asymptomatic birds could continue to evolve to give rise to viruses capable of human-to-human transmission. Indeed, this is exactly happened to the deadly H5N1 since its outbreak in 1997. According to the 2005 study published in the Journal of Virology, the World Health Organization reported that while the certain H5N1 strains can cause fatality in ducks, there are strains that remain asymptomatic in ducks, and contribute to the continual spread and evolution of the H5N1 strains in wild ducks and waterfowl in 10 Asian countries throughout late 2003 and early 2005 H5N1 in 10 Asian countries. The result was 53 human fatalities in Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and the death and slaughter of more than 150 million birds. A similar study published in 2005 in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests the possibility of human-to-human transmission of H5N1 in 2004-2005, specifically in house-hold clusters in Vietnam. Whether history would repeat itself in the evolution of H7N9 virus is a possibility that can have serious and immediate impact on public health.

The melting pot of influenza viruses carried in ducks and poultry is very likely the place where H7N9 might mutate by “picking up” viral components from other avian influenza strains. However, scientists are aware that H7N9 can just as likely to mutate in mammals and humans that are coinfected with H7N9 and other influenza strains. Indeed, a recent paper published in the June 15th issue of The Lancet reported a case of human coinfection, where a boy from Jiangsu, China was found to be infected by both the H7N9 and H3N2. According to Dr. Yefei Zhu and colleagues (who authored the paper), “the dual infections are a potential source of reassortment between human and avian viral strains, which could raise the risk of human-to-human transmission”.

Further concerning scientists is the relative ease of H7N9 in breaking the barrier to achieving human-to-human transmission, and acquiring resistance to antiviral drugs. In the two recent Cell papers (June 20, 2013) published by Dr. Ram Sasisekharan at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sasisekharan reported that H7N9 and H5N1 require merely a single amino acid mutation in the hemagglutinin to dramatically enhance their ability to infect humans, and possibly enhance human-to-human transmission. In another study by Dr. Zhenghong Yuan at the Key Lab of Medical Molecular Virology (Shanghai Medical College of Fudan University), a single amino acid mutation (Arg292Lys mutation) in the neuramindase gene of H7N9 contributed to its ability to resist with oseltamivir (Tamiflu, Roche). The study, published in the May 28th online issue of The Lancet, was based on 14 human cases of H7N9 infection in Shanghai, China.

Indeed, the evidence so far indicates that the risk of a future H7N9 pandemic is very real. Yet despite scientist’s efforts in keeping track of the virus, there is really nothing scientists can do to stop a pandemic. According to Gardam, “If H7N9 is able to transmit from person to person, there really isn’t anything realistically that you can do, it’s just going to spread. I’ve likened it to a tidal wave – it’s about surfing the tidal wave than trying to stop the tidal wave.” Gardam further suggests that the most realistic strategy to “ride the tidal wave” is to take hygienic precautions to limit human-bird interactions, and to develop drugs and vaccines against the H7N9 virus.

Less than two months later…..

 B.  First probable person to person transmission of new bird flu virus in China
6  August 2013, ScienceCodex.com, Source: BMJ-British Medical Journal
Pasted from: http://www.sciencecodex.com/first_probable_person_to_person_transmission_of_new_bird_flu_virus_in_china-117111

The first report of probable person to person transmission of the new avian influenza A (H7N9) virus in Eastern China is published on bmj.com today.

The findings provide the strongest evidence yet of H7N9 transmission between humans, but the authors stress that its ability to transmit itself is “limited and non-sustainable.”

Avian influenza A (H7N9) virus was recently identified in Eastern China. As of 30 June 2013, 133 cases have been reported, resulting in 43 deaths.

Most cases appear to have visited live poultry markets or had close contact with live poultry 7-10 days before illness onset. Currently no definite evidence indicates sustained human-to-human transmission of the H7N9 virus.

The study reports a family cluster of two patients (father and daughter) with H7N9 virus infection in Eastern China in March 2013.

The first (index) patient – a 60 year old man – regularly visited a live poultry market and became ill five to six days after his last exposure to poultry. He was admitted to hospital on 11 March.

When his symptoms became worse, he was transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) on 15 March. He was transferred to another ICU on March 18 and died of multi-organ failure on 4 May.

The second patient, his healthy 32 year old daughter, had no known exposure to live poultry before becoming sick. However, she provided direct and unprotected bedside care for her father in the hospital before his admission to intensive care.

She developed symptoms six days after her last contact with her father and was admitted to hospital on 24 March. She was transferred to the ICU on 28 March and died of multi-organ failure on 24 April.

Two almost genetically identical virus strains were isolated from each patient, suggesting transmission from father to daughter.

Forty-three close contacts of both cases were interviewed by public health officials and tested for influenza virus. Of these, one (a son in law who helped care for the father) had mild illness, but all contacts tested negative for H7N9 infection.

Environmental samples from poultry cages, water at two local poultry markets, and swans from the residential area, were also tested. One strain was isolated but was genetically different to the two strains isolated from the patients.

The researchers acknowledge some study limitations, but say that the most likely explanation for this family cluster of two cases with H7N9 infection is that the virus “transmitted directly from the index patient to his daughter.” But they stress that “the virus has not gained the ability to transmit itself sustained from person to person efficiently.”

They believe that the most likely source of infection for the index case was the live poultry market, and conclude: “To our best knowledge, this is the first report of probable transmissibility of the novel virus person to person with detailed epidemiological, clinical, and virological data. Our findings reinforce that the novel virus possesses the potential for pandemic spread.”

So does this imply that H7N9 has come one step closer towards adapting fully to humans, ask James Rudge and Richard Coker from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, based in Bangkok, in an accompanying editorial?

Probably not, they say. Limited transmission between humans “is not surprising, and does not necessarily indicate that the virus is on course to develop sustained transmission among humans.”

Nevertheless, they point to several traits of H7N9 are of particular concern, and conclude that, while this study might not suggest that H7N9 is any closer to delivering the next pandemic, “it does provide a timely reminder of the need to remain extremely vigilant: the threat posed by H7N9 has by no means passed.”

The authors also summarise their findings in a video abstract. Dr Zhou says that the reason for carrying out this study was because there was “no definite evidence to show that the novel virus can transmit person-to-person”, plus she and her co-authors wanted to find out whether the novel avian influenza virus possesses the capability to transmit person-to-person. She concludes that “the infection of the daughter is likely to have resulted from her father during unprotected exposure” and suggest that the virus possesses the ability to transmit person-to-person in this cluster. She does add however that the infection was “limited and non-sustainable as there is no outbreak following the two cases”.
Source: BMJ-British Medical Journal

Now,  6 months later… 

C.  H7N9 Virus: One Of The Most Lethal We Have Seen So Far
30 January 2014, ModernSurvivalBlog.com, by Ken Jorgustin
Pasted from: http://modernsurvivalblog.com/pandemic/h7n9-virus-one-of-the-most-lethal-we-have-seen-so-far/#more-32197

UPDATE: A very deadly (bird flu) Avian Influenza ‘A’ virus (H7N9) — first reported in China during March 2013 — is now being confirmed to have ‘limited’ interhuman infection.

Beijing confirmed for the first time that H7N9 bird flu has spread from person to person.
 While Chinese government controlled media has made it difficult to understand the full impact that is underway, and while some reports downplay the potential of a human-to-human pandemic outbreak of the killer virus, there are new reports which are alarming…
•   “…more human H7N9 infections and deaths have been reported in several provinces.”
“(Shanghai)…has reported eight human H7N9 infections in January, four of whom died, including one doctor.”
•   “It deserves high attention when the infection cases increase by dozens or hundreds of times.”
•   “There is no evidence of regular inter-human transmission,” “there has been no evidence for consistent human-to-human infection, but limited, single human-to-human transmission cases cannot be ruled out.”
– (China) xinhuanet.com Jan. 27, 2014 “China goes on high H7N9 bird flu alert”

•   The fact that officials in China are using phrases such as “no evidence of ‘regular’ inter-human transmission” implies that it is indeed occurring. To what extent is subject to interpretation.
•   They are saying that it is not ‘consistent’, but again this implies that it is indeed occurring.
•   They say human-to-human transmission is ‘limited’, but this implies that it is occurring…

During the spring of 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 132 human H7N9 infections, with 44 deaths. One out of three people died from it.

The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese national newspaper, recently reported Jan. 29, 2014, that there have been 260 people infected with 71 casualties (27% mortality).

They also said,
“Already this year, 111 infection cases have been confirmed in China – 22 fatalities.”
…in just one month!

In another Xinhua report from Shenyang China on Jan. 28, “A man from northeast China’s Liaoning Province was detained by police after he allegedly spread rumors about H7N9 bird flu on the Internet,” …apparently indicating the degree to which the Chinese government is attempting to suppress related information.

Headlines from China in just the past 2 days include the following…
1.  Chinese family of three infected with H7N9
2.  Bird flu costs China’s farmers 20 bln
3.  HK confirmed latest fatal case of human infected with H7N9
4.  Live poultry markets should close if H7N9 detected
5.  China reports 8 new human H7N9 cases
6.  Experts call for detailed H7N9 rules
7.  HK confirms H7N9 bird flu, to cull about 20,000 poultry
8.  China Focus: China goes on high H7N9 bird flu alert
9.  19 H7N9 deaths in China
10.  12 H7N9 deaths in Chinese province
11.  China reports 6 new human H7N9 cases
12.  China steps up bird flu monitoring at customs
13.  China reports 3 new human H7N9 cases
14.  Five more cases of bird flu reported on Saturday in China
15.  China’s Zhejiang reports 3 new H7N9 cases
16.  China reports 10 new H7N9 human cases
17.  Resurgent bird flu epidemic pains poultry industry
18.  Hangzhou halts live poultry trading; Shanghai reports deaths
19.  China’s health authorities on alert against H7N9

 Last year, the outbreak decreased during the warmer summer months, but the virus is now picking up again…

More recently, the frequency of reports of human infection with H7N9 has increased; since the beginning of October, WHO and China have reported more new H7N9 cases in China per month relative to previous months.
Epidemiological investigations are ongoing for some of the more recent cases, and the CDC says “…currently no evidence has been found that indicates sustained human-to-human transmission is occurring.”

However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified H7N9 as…
“…an unusually dangerous virus for humans.”
“This is definitely one of the most lethal influenza viruses that we’ve seen so far.”
Source: Keiji Fukuda, WHO’s assistant director-general for health – news conference in Beijing (CNN)

Even during 2013, s study group headed by one of the world’s leading experts on avian flu reported that several instances of human-to-human infection are suspected.

Their efforts revealed the H7N9 virus’s ability to infect and replicate suggests H7N9 viruses have the potential to become a worldwide threat to human health.
•  “H7N9 viruses have several features typically associated with human influenza viruses and therefore possess pandemic potential and need to be monitored closely,”
•   “If H7N9 viruses acquire the ability to transmit efficiently from person to person, a worldwide outbreak is almost certain since humans lack protective immune responses to these types of viruses,”
Source: Yoshihiro Kawaoka of UW-Madison and the University of Tokyo

 According to the World Health Organization, symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath, which may progress to severe pneumonia. The virus can also overload the immune system, causing blood poisoning and organ failure.

In an article in The New England Journal of Medicine, doctors reported that most of the H7N9 patients had died of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or multiorgan failure.

 While there is no major outbreak at this time, the situation warrants your attention. If and when the alarm sounds, there will be little or no time to prepare without risking exposure. The time to prepare is (as always) …now.

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