Home       Contact Us       Prepper Films       Prepper Books       Advertise       Support/Donate       Survival Seeds

28 December, 2009

We're Screwed!

We're Screwed! - ShadowStats.com founder John Williams explains the risk of hyperinflation. Worst-case scenario? Rioting in the streets and devolution to a bartering system.:

"Do you believe everything the government tells you? Economist and statistician John Williams sure doesn't. Williams, who has consulted for individuals and Fortune 500 companies, now uncovers the truth behind the U.S. government's economic numbers on his Web site at ShadowStats.com. Williams says, over the last several decades, the feds have been infusing their data with optimistic biases to make the economy seem far rosier than it really is. His site reruns the numbers using the original methodology. What he found was not good..."


Fragile U.S. Economy Under Increasing Stress from Escalating Afghanistan War

Fragile U.S. Economy Under Increasing Stress from Escalating Afghanistan War :: The Market Oracle :: Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting Free Website: "Sherwood Ross writes: If Iraq war spending helped plunge the U.S. economy into its worst slump since the Depression, what does President Obama think his escalation of the Afghan war will do it?

Besides forcing taxpayers to cough up fresh billions to enable the Pentagon to chase down a few hundred Taliban fighters, the Afghan war is liable to continue to inflate oil prices---and this means more than the ongoing swindle of motorists at the pump.

Higher oil prices also slow the global economy, causing our trading partners to buy fewer Made-in-USA goods, thus reducing demand for our products and leading to layoffs.

Spending money on war also siphons billions of dollars from truly productive uses..."


24 December, 2009

Happy Holidays!

I sincerely hope that, whatever your religious affiliations, you and your family have a wonderful holiday season!

I will be taking the next few days off from posting to observe the holiday and to try to shake this bout of whatever it is that has me feeling like something someone scraped off the bottom of their shoe.

Thank you!


23 December, 2009

Winter Storm Approaching [ AGAIN ]

My apologies for not getting today's articles up in the AM, as is my custom. I have been feeling a bit under the weather, and I was in no shape last night to do anything other than veg-out in front of the tube.

Once again, today we find ourselves prepping for winter weather. Today was the first day we got the Explorer dug out and off the hill from the previous storm, and now they're saying we're in for freezing rain/sleet for two straight days and then snow showers for three days after that. Only 2-4 inches, but on top of what we already have...

We have plenty of firewood, thankfully. Tomorrow in the AM we'll top off the kerosene tanks and make a cursory Wally World excursion, then hole up for a few more days.


Six Reasons Why Earth Won't Cope for Long

Six Reasons Why Earth Won't Cope for Long - The Irish Times - Thu, Dec 17, 2009: "... Hansen voiced publicly what environmental scientists and campaigners have murmured all year. A political fudge that ducks science is the likeliest outcome at Copenhagen. Earlier this week, for instance, EU fisheries ministers agreed a deal that pleased our Government and our fishermen. However, it does little to arrest the progressive annihilation of a common resource that, like our atmosphere, is owned by no one – and so exploited by all.

The world faces a dangerous convergence of environmental and resource crises, not all directly climate related. All, however, are increasingly difficult to resolve in a rapidly warming world. Taken together, they are not amenable to a business-as-usual political response..."

To get the full breakdown, read the original article linked above, but here is a list of the six crises discussed:

  1. Biodiversity
  2. Ocean acidification
  3. Population pressure
  4. Peak oil
  5. Peak food
  6. Peak water


What My Chihuahua Can Teach Us About Survival

M.D. Creekmore over at the Survivalist Blog ran an interesting article recently highlighting his little dog's overall approach as a survivalist.

I have written previously about our pets and my philosophy on the subject, so I can feel where he is coming from. Also, thanks for taking in the little stray - he/she would most likely be dead, if not for your kindness. :)

LINK: What My Chihuahua Can Teach Us About Survival.


The Coming Shortage Of All The World's Most Important Industrial Metals

The Coming Shortage Of All The World's Most Important Industrial Metals: "There's been a lot of dicussion lately about so-called peak gold.

But as gold's fans will tell you gold isn't a commodity, it's a form of money. Gold isn't actually intended to be used in anything.

But what about metals that are meant to be used in industrial purposes.

In an excellent presentation, Andre Diederen presents an argument that all of the world's important industrial metals are dwindling, and that despite increasing explortation budgets, our sources of them are becoming rare and more concentrated..."


22 December, 2009

Re: Re: "Winter Storm..."

It appears now we are done with snow, at least until the weekend. This would be good news, as they were previously calling for a second storm to hit Wednesday and snow steadily through Christmas. The only problem is that temperatures are not expected to rise much past the low, low 40s, even in the highs. Then, what little melting we can expect of the snow that is already on the ground, is to be followed by two days straight of freezing rain/sleet on Thursday and Friday, and then back to snow showers on Saturday. Honestly, the freezing rain is what I hate.

So, it looks like our Christmas holiday might be a lock-in this year, with the planned trip to visit family being postponed.


Use a Crock Pot to Make Homemade Candles

Use a Crock Pot to Make Homemade Candles - DIY - Lifehacker: "If you're looking for an easy way to make candles or a great homemade gift to give this holiday, this tutorial will show you how to use a crock pot to make candle-creation a snap.

If you've ever made candles before, you know what a pain dealing with the wax can be. The double-boiling, the pouring, and other be-careful-now steps led Sayward Rebhal, the woman behind home-centric blog Bonzai Aphrodite, to come up with a no-mess method using a crock pot.

The no-mess part comes from using the crock pot in place of a double boiler and constructing the entire candle in the crock pot itself. The trick is to shred your wax, fill the containers you'll be using for your candles, and then put them in the crock pot with just enough water to partially submerge the containers. After you leave it on a low heat for awhile, your wax will be perfectly melted and ready for you to add colors, scents, and the wick..."

Homemade Holidays: Crock Pot Candles by Bonzai Aphrodite.


Top 10 Predictions for 2010

National Inflation Association: The National Inflation Association's Top 10 Predictions for 2010 are, in brief, as follows:

  1. We will learn the 2009 holiday shopping season was a bust.
  2. We will see a major decline in the Dow/Gold ratio.
  3. We will see a sharp decline in the Gold/Silver ratio.
  4. The U.S. Dollar Index will see short-term bounce, then huge crash.
  5. Oil will rise back above $100 per barrel.
  6. There will be a move towards a Libertarian third-party.
  7. Peter Schiff and Rand Paul will both win Republican primaries and be elected to U.S. Senate.
  8. Large 'End the Fed' Protests.
  9. Major Food Shortages.
  10. Paul Volcker Resigns.

Click the link above to read the article in its entirety.


Big Banks Squeezing $$$ From The Hands Of The Unemployed

Consortiumnews.com: "While posting breathtaking profits in the last two quarters – Wells Fargo’s $3.2 billion, Citigroup’s $3 billion and Chase’s $2.7 billion – U.S. banks have figured out a way to squeeze some extra dollars from those who can least afford it, the unemployed."

Sure, it saves the states a lot of cash, but they're then able to charge interest on the transactions as well as other fees, effectively milking money from those who can least afford it.


James Howard Kunstler: Blue Christmas

Blue Christmas - Clusterfuck Nation: "... The infatuation with technology, and the disgusting cockiness that goes with it (so well-captured in Avatar), is but one facet of the psychosis gripping the nation -- and by that I mean the profound detachment from reality. We have no idea what is happening to us and, naturally, no idea of what we are going to do. I sat in a bar Friday evening with a financial reporter from a national newspaper, trying to explain the peak oil situation and what it implied for our economy. He had never heard it before. The relationship between energy resources and massive debt was new to him. (It also came up in conversation that he could not tell me what the Monroe Doctrine was about, despite a history degree from Yale.) There you have a nice snapshot of the mainstream media in this land.

This year, America can look for a nice lump of coal in its Christmas stocking. That lump will be called 'the recovery.' This recovery consists of a massive self-deception, made up of accounting tricks and falsified statistics, with a sugar-coating on top of sheer disbelief that the outcome could be anything but a particular happy ending -- namely, the continued levitation of the unsustainable..."

James Howard Kunstler is an author and among the leading voices in the charge to be prepared to change how we live as Peak Oil approaches. He is the author of The Long Emergency: Surviving the End of Oil, Climate Change, and Other Converging Catastrophes of the Twenty-First Century as well as the fiction novel World Made by Hand: A Novel.

For my part, I try to strike a balance between agreeing with his thoughts on Peak Oil, while thinking him a little naive for his 'sunshine and lollypops' pro-urban vision of the future and his self-professed unpreparedness.


21 December, 2009

13 Things a Man Should Keep in His Car

13 Things a Man Should Keep in His Car | The Art of Manliness: "When I was growing up, I noticed that my dad kept the trunk of his car well-stocked with supplies... And there were plenty of times when my dad was able to put his trunk equipment to work.

For example, about 20 years ago my dad was driving home to Oklahoma from New Mexico... a hellacious snow storm hit. It was a complete white out, so my dad had to pull over until things settled down.

But things didn’t settle down until a day later.

My dad had to spend the night in his car in the middle of nowhere while a blizzard roared outside. But because he had the forethought to prepare for situations like this, he was able to keep warm with some blankets and avoid ravaging hunger with some MREs

Many of you will be hitting the road this holiday season to visit family, so I consulted my dad, Tom McKay, and asked him what supplies he thinks every man should keep in his car. Here’s his suggested list. (NOTE FROM SIMPLE MAN: I have shortened the list into bullet format for brevity's sake. Please read the original article for some great suggestions on what each item can be used for and why you need them.)

1. Fully charged cell phone.
2. Jumper cables.
3. Flashlight.
4. Roadside flares/reflective triangle.
5. MREs.
6. Warm blankets.
7. Ice scraper.
8. First aid kit.
9. Bottled water.
10. Tow strap.
11. Folding shovel.
12. LifeHammer.
13. Portable air compressor."


20 December, 2009

Re: "Winter Storm..."

Our winter storm is still raging, though it seems to have finally slacked off a bit. It's supposed to continue this way throughout Sunday. Then, they're calling for another storm on Wednesday that is supposed to last straight through Christmas day.

If pressed, I would say we got a little over a foot at my homestead. It was very funny to watch our little Terrier/Chihuahua mix jump off the porch and completely disappear into a snow drift, though I don't think she enjoyed it as much as I did. :) The big dogs had little trouble, needless to say.

Nothing further to report with respect to other emergency preparedness issues. Power has given us no further problems.

Here are some more photos taken today around the property:

Here are some other photos taken by friends of mine here in the area:


H1N1 Influenza A - Swine Flu: 20 December Brief Update

Tamiflu Resistance Spike in US Raises Transparency Concerns: "Recombinomics Commentary 01:20
December 14, 2009

... three more cases of Tamiflu resistance in the US. This number matches the increases for each of the past 3 weeks and brings the total for the past 4 weeks to 16, which is much higher than previous weeks, which usually had 0 or 1 new cases. This recent spike in cases has also been reported by WHO and raises concerns that H274Y is efficiently transmitting. Moreover, recent deaths of patients with H274Y in the US (four of ten) and the Netherlands (four of eleven) have raised concerns that patients with H274Y also have D225G, which has been associated with fatal cases in the US, Ukraine, Norway, Brazil, and France. Moreover, patients with D225G coupled with H274Y have been reported in France and the United States..."


Receptor Binding Domain Changes in Texas: "Recombinomics Commentary 10:55
December 14, 2009

... Although H274Y has been detected recently in Texas, and the Texas sequences are the same sub-clade as multiple sequences from the Houston or Harris County area, there were no examples of H274Y in the 137 NA sequences, confirming that requirement of most isolates in the spring of Tamiflu exposure to select for a sub-clade circulating below detection limits.

Similarly, detection of receptor binding domain changes were also rare. In the spring there were examples of isolates with D225G in Texas and California, and in some cases the samples were mixtures, such as the vaccine target, California/7. However, only one of the 137 HA sequences, A/Texas/42291877/2009, had D225G (as a mixed signal). Similarly, only one sequence had D225N. A/Texas/43132503/2009 and three sequences had D225E (A/Texas/45061755/2009, A/Texas/45061670/2009, A/Texas/45034157/2009)..."


800,000 doses of kids' swine flu vaccine recalled: "Health officials are recalling hundreds of thousands of doses of swine flu vaccine after tests indicated they may not be potent enough to protect against the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified doctors about the recall Tuesday. The recall involves about 800,000 doses made by Sanofi Pasteur. The doses are pre-filled syringes intended for young children, ages 6 months to almost three years.

Health officials recommend children those ages get two doses, spaced about a month apart.

Health officials say it's not clear how many doses have already been given, but they don't think children need to be re-vaccinated. The lots passed potency tests when they were first shipped, but tests indicate the potency waned after."


Rapid H1N1 Evolution in Beijing Raises Concerns: "Recombinomics Commentary 13:25
December 15, 2009

The Beijing Institute for Microbiology and Epidemiology has released sequences from a recent isolates collected in Beijing. All eight were nasal swabs collected in November. Although MP and NS sequences were deposited for all eight samples, these sequences match the pandemic H1N1 consensus and therefore were not informative. However, NP sequences from five isolates had a number of polymorphic markers and all five sequences were virtually identical, These markers were found in other H1N1 sequences, but had a wide geographic distribution matching sequences from Texas, Spain, and China , as well as H5N1 or swine signaling extensive recombination...

... most striking were the three HA sequences which had a clustering of polymorphisms flanking the HA cleavage site. Several of these polymorphisms were non-synonymous and signaled rapid evolution of the HA gene.

Two of the non-synonymous polymorphisms (S131P and A337T) were in all three isolates (A/Beijing/718/2009. A/Beijing/720/2009, A/Beijing/721/2009). Three were in 720 and 721 (T314P, L322M, S327F). One was in 718 and 720 (S330Y). Unique changes were in 718 (A319T), 720 (L5R), 721 (T320S, G342E, Y354F).

The large number of changes, and the combinations of shared polymorphisms, suggest significant recombination and rapid evolution, which may be heralding a new wave..."


Silent Spread of Tamiflu Resistance in Texas: "Recombinomics Commentary 17:41
December 16, 2009

The recent reports by WHO and the CDC on the increased detection of H274Y in pandemic H1H1 has led to concerns that Tamiflu resistance is spreading and will become fixed, as happened to H274Y in seasonal flu. These concerns were increased by the recent report of transmission of H274Y to seven healthy students during a July train ride in Vietnam. Although these sequences have not been released sequences from some H1N1 isolates with H274Y have been made public, including sequences, A/Hong Kong/2369/2009, from a San Francisco traveler who was identified in Hong Kong as having H274Y even though she had no Tamiflu exposure. Recently released sequences by the CDC at GISAID included another isolate, A/Tennessee/17/2009 that also had H274Y as well as several additional polymorphisms that matched the Hong Kong isolate, including D225E..."

Utah demonstrates Hypermorphic Behaviour at HA 225: "A/Utah/42/2009 either demonstrates a profound series of lab errors or a population of sub-species that is essentially hypermorphic at 225. The original sample was taken from a 28F on 2009-07-24 who has been confirmed as a fatality.

rrT is the representation of the tri-nucleotide (codon) that encodes the amino acid value(s) found in the mixed peaks of the sequencing trace at amino acid position 225 in Utah42. 'R' is a nucleotide Ambiguity Code that represents a Purine. The Utah42 HA sequence carries the Purine Ambiguity Code at two adjacent nucleotide positions.

Adjacent mixed peaks are more than rare within PF11. We have not witnessed the event previously in any sequence that was not suggestive of lab error . . . until now. Significant selective pressure would have credence as a driver for this type of multiple mixed peak scenario. A genetic acquisition event of this type may be considered more probable at an antigenic position like 225 in the Receptor Binding Domain than at non-epitope..."


Man Kills Bobcat with Bare Hands During North Phoenix Attack

Someone explain to me what this lucky moron was doing in known bobcat country without a rifle?


Man Kills Bobcat with Bare Hands During North Phoenix Attack | ABC15.com: "After being attacked by a bobcat Monday afternoon, a local man reportedly protected himself and killed the cat with his bare hands...

... Just north of the Valley near Lake Pleasant, an Arizona Game and Fish official says Gruver was hooking up his trailer when he looked underneath and the bobcat attacked, knocking him on his back...

... To protect himself, Gruver reportedly held onto the cat until it died...

... The bobcat later tested positive for rabies..."


Fewer States Add Jobs as Recovery Sputters Along

Fewer States Add Jobs as Recovery Sputters Along - Yahoo! Finance: "In a reversal of earlier gains, more states lost jobs than added them in November, signaling that hiring is occurring only sporadically around the country.

Unemployment rates dropped in 36 states and the District of Columbia, but that trend appeared to reflect more people leaving the work force. Unemployed people who stop looking for jobs out of frustration aren't counted in the labor force.

Friday's Labor Department report underscored that employers have yet to ramp up hiring, and many Americans can't find work. The number of people jobless for at least six months rose last month to 5.9 million, according to a separate report released earlier this month. And the average length of unemployment exceeds 28 weeks, the longest on records dating to 1948..."


Greece Hit by Strikes as Debt Crisis Grows

Greece Hit by Strikes as Debt Crisis Grows | guardian.co.uk: "The financial turmoil engulfing Greece intensified today as thousands of workers backed by militant trade unions went on strike, and international confidence in the economy plummeted following a second downgrading of its creditworthiness in as many weeks.

In a sign of the mass resistance the socialist government can expect, Greeks took to the streets to protest at austerity measures that the EU deems crucial if the country is to avoid financial collapse.

Prime minister George Papandreou announced the spending cuts on Monday in an attempt to calm markets after ratings agency Fitch downgraded the country's debt..."


19 December, 2009

Re: "Winter Storm Approaching"

In response to yesterday's note about the impending winter storm that is now blowing full force, I received the following email:

"Dear simple man, Greetings! Read your first posting about the storm. We have it coming here soon and a second one next week. It is 9am and -4 in the back yard-Western Mass can be chilly.

Hope all goes well.

Take care of yourself.

Keep up the great work.

Best wishes.

Lawrence F. Roberge M.S.

For what it's worth, the storm has been even worse than originally advertised. Pretty quickly after the white stuff started falling, they amended their forecast of 8-10 inches and told folks in my immediate vicinity to expect 10-16 inches instead. We lost our cable in the middle of watching the 6 o'clock news, but not before they said we were getting up to an inch per hour in some places and the roads were terrible. People were stranded in ditches all over the place, and many schoolchildren were stuck on buses and still not home at that late hour.

We very nearly lost power but it managed to keep buzzing, thankfully negating the need to fire up the generator. It would have been a rather inconvenient evening otherwise, although we were as ready as anyone can be for such things. Even the rechargeable lanterns were all ready to go; candles ready as a backup for when they died. Instead, we spent the evening tending the fire in the wood stove, keeping the kitchen (on the far end of the house) toasty with a kerosene heater, playing XBox 360 and watching TV.

Below is a not-so-great-but-perfectly-adequate picture taken by opening my front door and snapping a shot of the immediate area right in front of it. It was the only way to get a decent shot without the camera flash/falling snow/street light combination causing the photo to come out as a blurry mess. Anyway, those tracks were made by us and our dogs.

And, here is a video from Youtube, showing conditions on Interstate 40 in Hickory, NC, just a few hours south of us:


Officials and Experts Warn of Crash-Induced Unrest

Officials and Experts Warn of Crash-Induced Unrest: "Numerous high-level officials and experts warn that the economic crisis could lead to unrest world-wide - even in developed countries:

  • Today, Moody's warned that future tax rises and spending cuts could trigger social unrest in a range of countries from the developing to the developed world, that in the coming years, evidence of social unrest and public tension may become just as important signs of whether a country will be able to adapt as traditional economic metrics, that a fiscal crisis remains a possibility for a leading economy, and that 2010 would be a “tumultuous year for sovereign debt issuers”.
  • The U.S. Army War College warned in 2008 November warned in a monograph [click on Policypointers’ pdf link to see the report] titled “Known Unknowns: Unconventional ‘Strategic Shocks’ in Defense Strategy Development” of crash-induced unrest:
    The military must be prepared, the document warned, for a “violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,” which could be provoked by “unforeseen economic collapse,” “purposeful domestic resistance,” “pervasive public health emergencies” or “loss of functioning political and legal order.” The “widespread civil violence,” the document said, “would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.” “An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home,” it went on. “Under the most extreme circumstances, this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance,” the document read.
  • Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair said:
    "The global economic crisis ... already looms as the most serious one in decades, if not in centuries ... Economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they are prolonged for a one- or two-year period," said Blair. "And instability can loosen the fragile hold that many developing countries have on law and order, which can spill out in dangerous ways into the international community."***

    "Statistical modeling shows that economic crises increase the risk of regime-threatening instability if they persist over a one-to-two-year period."***

    “The crisis has been ongoing for over a year, and economists are divided over whether and when we could hit bottom. Some even fear that the recession could further deepen and reach the level of the Great Depression. Of course, all of us recall the dramatic political consequences wrought by the economic turmoil of the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, the instability, and high levels of violent extremism.”

    Blair made it clear that - while unrest was currently only happening in Europe - he was worried this could happen within the United States.

    [See also this].
  • Former national security director Zbigniew Brzezinski warned "there’s going to be growing conflict between the classes and if people are unemployed and really hurting, hell, there could be even riots."
  • The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff warned the the financial crisis is the highest national security concern for the U.S., and warned that the fallout from the crisis could lead to of "greater instability".
Others warning of crash-induced unrest include:


How Will the World Feed Itself in 40 Years' Time?

How will the world feed itself in 40 years' time?: "The world is going to get hungrier this century, and on a scale that will make the famines of the 1980s look paltry. The maths are simple and devastating: in 40 years' time the global population will be 9.2 billion people – a third larger than it is now. But to feed us all, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization says, we will need to produce twice as much food.

That's because, despite the threats of this century, most developing countries will get richer. At present 350m households in the world live on $8,000 a year or more. That figure is projected to increase to 2.1bn by 2030. And the richer they are, the more wastefully people eat. Generally the poor eat vegetables, while the rich eat food that eats vegetables. Lots of it. To produce 1kg of beef takes 10kg of grass or soya-based feed. A farmed fish will have eaten three times its weight in wild fish. And the rate at which the richest consume these things is amazing: Americans consume 120kg of meat each per year; in the developing world they eat 28kg.

If the world develops as economists predict, it is hard to see how we can possibly meet these demands: environmentalists like to say that the 2050 population would require the resources of two earths to sustain it. No wonder the British government's chief scientific adviser John Beddington says: 'Food security represents a greater threat to mankind than climate change itself.'..."


Why Britain Faces a Bleak Future of Food Shortages

Why Britain faces a bleak future of food shortages: "Britain faces a 'perfect storm' of water shortage and lack of food, says the government's chief scientist, and climate change and crop and animal diseases will add to future woes. Science is now striving to find solutions

It was an ecological disaster that occurred on the other side of the planet. Yet the drought that devastated the Australian wheat harvest last year had consequences that shook the world. It sent food prices soaring in every nation. Wheat prices across the globe soared by 130%, while shopping bills in Britain leapt by 15%.

A year later and the cost of food today has still to fall to previous levels. More alarmingly, scientists are warning that far worse lies ahead. A 'perfect storm' of food shortages and water scarcity now threatens to unleash public unrest and conflict in the next 20 years, the government's chief scientist, Professor John Beddington, has warned..."


2010 Food Crisis

Market Skeptics: *****2010 Food Crisis for Dummies*****: "If you read any economic, financial, or political analysis for 2010 that doesn’t mention the food shortage looming next year, throw it in the trash, as it is worthless. There is overwhelming, undeniable evidence that the world will run out of food next year. When this happens, the resulting triple digit food inflation will lead panicking central banks around the world to dump their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and lower the cost of food imports, causing the collapse of the dollar, the treasury market, derivative markets, and the global financial system. The US will experience economic disintegration.

The 2010 Food Crisis Means Financial Armageddon

Over the last two years, the world has faced a series of unprecedented financial crises: the collapse of the housing market, the freezing of the credit markets, the failure of Wall Street brokerage firms (Bear Stearns/Lehman Brothers), the failure of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the failure of AIG, Iceland’s economic collapse, the bankruptcy of the major auto manufacturers (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler), etc… In the face of all these challenges, the demise of the dollar, derivative markets, and the modern international system of credit has been repeatedly forecasted and feared. However, all these doomsday scenarios have so far been proved false, and, despite tremendous chaos and losses, the global financial system has held together..."


Spring 2010 – A New Tipping Point of the Global Systemic Crisis

Spring 2010 – A new tipping point of the global systemic crisis: When the slip knot around public deficits is going to strangle Western states and their social security systems: "LEAP/E2020 believes that the global systemic crisis will experience a new tipping point from Spring 2010. Indeed, at that time, the public finances of the major Western countries are going to become unmanageable, as it will simultaneously become clear that new support measures for the economy are needed because of the failure of the various stimuli in 2009, and that the size of budget deficits preclude any significant new expenditures.

If this public deficit <> which governments gladly placed around their necks in 2009, refusing to make the financial system pay for mistakes is going to weigh heavily on all public expenditure, it is going to particularly affect the social security systems of the rich countries in always impoverishing the middle classes and the retired, and setting the poorest adrift..."


18 December, 2009

Winter Storm Approaching

As I write this, we are awaiting the approach of an imminent winter storm that is supposed to dump between 8 and 12 inches of snow on us. If it pans out, it'll be the first big snow we've had in some time. Needless to say, Thursday's activities around the old homestead were dominated by emergency preparedness-oriented tasks.

Thursday afternoon was spent stacking a truckload of black locust we had delivered to burn in our newly-installed wood stove. We've been periodically taking wood from our own property for a while now, but it is still awfully green and we wanted some nice seasoned firewood to burn since it is turning colder. We paid $75 for a truckload and the old boy cut us a deal because all he had was the black locust; he usually gets $85/load for it.

Later in the day, the generator was hauled out of the shed and given a once-over, just in case; we made the obligatory last-minute sheeple-esque grocery store run; and, topped-off our gas and kerosene tanks.

We're prepared. Are you?


Major Credit Agency Warns of 'Social Unrest’ As Sovereign Debt Spirals

Moody’s warns of 'social unrest’ as sovereign debt spirals - Telegraph: "Britain and other countries with fast-rising government debts must steel themselves for a year in which “social and political cohesiveness” is tested, Moody’s warned.

In a sombre report on the outlook for next year, the credit rating agency raised the prospect that future tax rises and spending cuts could trigger social unrest in a range of countries from the developing to the developed world.

It said that in the coming years, evidence of social unrest and public tension may become just as important signs of whether a country will be able to adapt as traditional economic metrics. Signalling that a fiscal crisis remains a possibility for a leading economy, it said that 2010 would be a “tumultuous year for sovereign debt issuers”.

It added that the sheer quantity of debt to be raised by Britain and other leading nations would increase the risk of investor fright.

Strikingly, however, it added that even if countries reached agreement on the depth of the cuts necessary to their budgets, they could face difficulties in carrying out the cuts..."


Are Americans a Broken People? Why We've Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression

Are Americans a Broken People? Why We've Stopped Fighting Back Against the Forces of Oppression | AlterNet: "A psychologist asks: Have consumerism, suburbanization and a malevolent corporate-government partnership so beaten us down that we no longer have the will to save ourselves?

Can people become so broken that truths of how they are being screwed do not "set them free" but instead further demoralize them? Has such a demoralization happened in the United States?

Do some totalitarians actually want us to hear how we have been screwed because they know that humiliating passivity in the face of obvious oppression will demoralize us even further?

What forces have created a demoralized, passive, dis-couraged U.S. population?

Can anything be done to turn this around?..."


Fastest Food Inflation Since Riots Means Milk Up 39%

Fastest Food Inflation Since Riots Means Milk Up 39% - Bloomberg.com: "Falling production in commodities from rice to milk is bad news for just about everyone...

Rice may surge 63 percent... on Philippine imports and a shortage in India... The U.S. government says nonfat dry milk may jump 39 percent next year, and JPMorgan Chase & Co. forecasts a 25 percent gain for sugar. Global food costs jumped 7 percent in November, the most since February 2008, four months before reaching a record, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

... A recovery from the worst recession since World War II would spur food demand and boost costs for buyers of commodities including milk processor Dean Foods Co. while increasing the number of hungry people that the UN says now exceeds 1 billion.

... For those who can’t afford to pay more for food, there’s the “painful” risk of hunger...

Expanding populations and higher incomes are boosting consumption in China and India..."


A World Crisis No Bailout Can Stop

A World Crisis No Bailout Can Stop | zero hedge: "... It was a year ago that the entire global financial system, spear headed by the USA, faced the real possibility of total meltdown, that is if you trust the motivational fear tactics employed former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson...

... Right now, the world is on edge. The citizens of the US, as well as the global public don’t really know who to trust to tell them the truth. They are on alert, consciously or subconsciously, and if they perceive even a small threat, the fight-or-flight system will be activated.

Some say that a year ago we faced economic disaster on a massive scale. In one year, governments around the world have printed money, and done little else, except to provide daily lip service and commentary. The contagion has been lying dormant and will become an epidemic.

No bailout will stop it..."


17 December, 2009

Poll Reveals Havoc of Unemployment on Workers and Family

The article linked below lays bare the traumas suffered by those who are trapped in a culture in decline when it finally goes into its inevitable death throes. Expect a greater number of random acts of violence as more and more individuals reach their personal breaking points; as well as more and more "Bread and Circuses"-type distractions to be put forth by those in charge who are desperately trying to hold on to the reins and guide the ensuing crash to as financially lucrative a landing for themselves as possible before abandoning ship.


Poll Reveals Havoc of Unemployment on Workers and Family - NYTimes.com: "More than half of the nation’s unemployed workers have borrowed money from friends or relatives since losing their jobs. An equal number have cut back on doctor visits or medical treatments because they are out of work.

Almost half have suffered from depression or anxiety. About 4 in 10 parents have noticed behavioral changes in their children that they attribute to their difficulties in finding work.

Joblessness has wreaked financial and emotional havoc on the lives of many of those out of work, according to a New York Times/CBS News poll of unemployed adults, causing major life changes, mental health issues and trouble maintaining even basic necessities.
The results of the poll, which surveyed 708 unemployed adults from Dec. 5 to Dec. 10 and has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points, help to lay bare the depth of the trauma experienced by millions across the country who are out of work as the jobless rate hovers at 10 percent and, in particular, as the ranks of the long-term unemployed soar..."


Airlines in Deeper Trouble than Forecast

Another signpost on the road to the demise of our current culture. Stick a fork in the airline industry, folks. If you have long-distance relatives you need to visit, I suggest you do so in the next few months. Air travel quite simply won't be an option for much longer past that window.

Don't get me wrong now. People will be flying for another century at least; it just won't be an option for Regular Joes like you and me. As oil production peaks and thus becomes more and more expensive with each passing day, air travel will pass into being strictly the domain of government entities and uber-huge corporations in the private sector.


Airlines in Deeper Trouble than Forecast - BusinessWeek: "Airline losses in 2010 will total $5.6 billion, 47 percent wider than an earlier forecast, as oil prices rise while carriers compete for passengers with lower fares, the International Air Transport Association said.

Projected losses for 2010 are about half the $11 billion deficit that IATA predicts for this year. Passenger demand, after a decline of 4.1 percent in 2009, may grow by 4.5 percent in 2010 as the industry rebounds from the recession, IATA General Director Giovanni Bisignani said today in Geneva.

'Fuel costs are rising and yields are a continuing disaster,' Bisignani said. Yields, or average fares, fell 12 percent in 2009 and will remain at depressed levels, he said.

The group had forecast in September that the industrywide loss in 2010 would be $3.8 billion..."


Obama Likely to Sign $1.1 Trillion Omnibus with 5,224 Earmarks, Taxpayer-Funded Abortions, Needle Exchange, White House Says

CNSNews.com - Obama Likely to Sign $1.1 Trillion Omnibus with 5,224 Earmarks, Taxpayer-Funded Abortions, Needle Exchange, White House Says: "President Barack Obama will likely sign the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending package passed by the Senate over the weekend containing more than 5,000 earmarks, a White House spokesman said Monday, stressing that the number of earmarks had dropped from the previous year’s spending bill.

Obama signed the 2009 omnibus bill last March. It contained 8,570 earmarks. He vowed then that the bill signing was simply wrapping up the previous year’s business – a “departure point” – and that things would change under his watch..."

Wanna see what change looks like?

This year's bill includes:

  • $400,000 for the restoration and renovation of the Ritz Theatre in Newburgh, N.Y.;
  • $1,000,000 for repairs, restoration, and modernization of a theatre and construction of an additional space at the Portsmouth Music Hall in New Hampshire;
  • $400,000 for construction and renovation for safety improvements at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden;
  • $350,000 for renovation of the Uptown Theatre in Philadelphia;
  • $250,000 for construction of the Monroe County Farmer’s Market in Kentucky;
  • $194,000 for completion of the historic restoration project at the Historic Slater Mill in Pawtucket, R.I.; and,
  • $150,000 for Safe Harbors of the Hudson, Inc., for renovation and build out of the Pregones Theatre, in the Bronx.
Hat tip to Creekmore over at the Survivalist Blog for turning me on to this bit of nonsense.


16 December, 2009

UK Man Jailed for Seriously Injuring Home Invader, Appealing 2 and 1/2 Year Prison Sentence

I don't care that the home invader was leaving and the victim and his brother chased after him; nor that they arguably *DID* use excessive force. As far as I am concerned, whatever happened happened as a direct result of this shitbag deciding to commit a violent crime, and if he managed to get himself hurt-- however seriously-- for his trouble then that is just an example of good ol' fashioned karma at work. The idea that the victim should be punished for turning the tables on his attacker is beyond ludicrous.

I suggest that all readers look into the laws in their state or municipality regarding the exercise of self-defense, so you will be fully aware of your rights.


BBC News - Jailed burglar attacker to appeal: "A Buckinghamshire businessman jailed for injuring a burglar who had attacked him and his family plans to appeal against his sentence, his lawyer said.

Munir Hussain, 53, returned to his High Wycombe home to find three intruders who tied him and his family up.

He managed to escape and chased one of the offenders, hitting him with a cricket bat, Reading Crown Court heard.

Hussain's solicitor said he planned to appeal against his 30-month sentence for grievous bodily harm with intent..."


California Aquifers Seen Rapidly Losing Water

California aquifers seen rapidly losing water | Reuters: "California's two main river basins and the aquifers beneath its agricultural heartland have lost nearly enough water since 2003 to fill Lake Mead, America's largest reservoir, new satellite data showed on Monday.

Depleted aquifers account for two-thirds of the loss measured, most of it attributed to increased groundwater pumping for irrigation of drought-parched farmland in California's fertile but arid Central Valley, scientists said.

The findings have major implications for the economy as the Central Valley is home to one-sixth of all irrigated U.S. cropland...

The Central Valley, stretching 500 miles from Bakersfield to Redding, has traditionally produced over half the U.S. harvest of fruits and vegetables. California as a whole ranks as the nation's No. 1 farm state in terms of crop value -- more than $36 billion a year.

Central Valley farms have increasingly tapped into aquifers during the past few years to help offset drastic cuts in their regular allocations of irrigation water pumped in by the state and federal government from farther north.

How much water remains in California's aquifers is unknown, but satellite studies show that groundwater is being used up faster than nature can restore it..."


Freedom of Speech Sure Was Nice While It Lasted

The newly-proposed regulations are aimed at fighting kiddie porn, but (much like the now-infamous Patriot Act in the U.S.) are worded in such a way as to have the capability of detrimentally affecting the lives of normal everyday citizens.

"The Government maintains the filter is not designed to curtail freedom of speech," according to the article, but even making such a statement is tantamount to a confession that such an abuse of individual rights would be quite possible.


Green light for internet filter plans - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation): "The Federal Government will introduce compulsory internet filtering to block overseas sites which contain criminal content, including child sex abuse and sexual violence.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy announced the changes today following a controversial trial to filter the internet which was conducted earlier this year.

Senator Conroy says some internet content is simply not suitable in a civilised society.

'It is important that all Australians, particularly young children, are protected from this material,' he said..."