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30 July, 2011

House Committee Passes Bill Requiring Your ISP to Spy on Every Click and Keystroke You Make Online and Retain Info for 12 Months

House Committee passes bill requiring your ISP to spy on every click and keystroke you make online and retain for 12 months – Boing Boing: "Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee voted 19-10 for H.R. 1981, a data-retention bill that will require your ISP to spy on everything you do online and save records of it for 12 months. California Rep Zoe Lofgren, one of the Democrats who opposed the bill, called it a 'data bank of every digital act by every American' that would 'let us find out where every single American visited Web sites.' Here’s commentary from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who’ve got a form for contacting your rep to ask her or him to kill this:

The data retention mandate in this bill would treat every Internet user like a criminal and threaten the online privacy and free speech rights of every American, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized. Requiring Internet companies to redesign and reconfigure their systems to facilitate government surveillance of Americans’ expressive activities is simply un-American. Such a scheme would be as objectionable to our Founders as the requiring of licenses for printing presses or the banning of anonymous pamphlets. Today’s vote is therefore very disappointing, but we are especially thankful to GOP Representatives Sensenbrenner, Issa and Chaffetz, who chose principle over party-line in opposing this dangerous tech mandate. We hope that bipartisan opposition will grow as the bill makes its way to the House floor and more lawmakers are educated about this anti-privacy, anti-free speech, anti-innovation proposal."


URGENT: Congress Pushing Broad New Internet Snooping Bill | Demand Progress: "'A direct assault on Internet users' is what the ACLU is calling it. Yesterday a U.S. House committee approved HR 1981, a broad new Internet snooping bill. They want to force Internet service providers to keep track of and retain their customers' information -- including your name, address, phone number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Demand Progress, and 25 other civil liberties and privacy groups have expressed... opposition to this legislation..."

What's Really In The Food? The A to Z of the Food Industry's Most Evil Ingredients

What's really in the food? The A to Z of the food industry's most evil ingredients: "Ever wonder what's really in the food sold at grocery stores around the world? People keep asking me, 'What ingredients should I avoid?' So I put together a short list that covers all the most toxic and disease-promoting ingredients in the food supply. These are the substances causing cancer, diabetes, heart disease and leading to tens of billions of dollars in unnecessary health care costs across America (and around the world).

If you want to stay healthy and out of the hospital, read ingredients labels and make sure you avoid all these ingredients..."

[Detailed List At Link Above]

29 July, 2011

Why I Advocate Preparedness (And No, It Isn't Because I Believe The End Of The World Is Around The Corner)

Anyone who has ever attempted to convince a friend or relative that they need to get prepared will, no doubt, understand exactly where I'm coming from in this article. As some of you are already aware, this blog automatically posts to my Facebook page -- my personal Facebook page, where folks who have found me as a result of reading this blog intermingle with my family and friends I've had for many years. I suppose that unusual dynamic is what ultimately inspired me to write on this subject.

By and large, my peeps are an understanding bunch. No one has ever outright told me off or ended their friendship with me over my beliefs, possibly because I don't really push them all that much. Other than my blog posts appearing on my wall and linking to the occasional media story, my Facebook page is not altogether unlike any other. Still, that is not to say that I have not gotten some grief over posting so-called "depressing" stuff all the time, but I don't hold that against them any more than I'm sure they hold it against me.

It was something that a dear friend said recently, however, that got me to thinking and set me on the path to writing this article. In short, we were talking on the phone and the conversation turned toward a friend of hers who had found me through her Facebook page and added me as a mutual friend. I've actually never met the lady, but I typically approve friend requests unless the person gives me a bad vibe. Anyway, apparently the lady had said something to my friend about deleting me because of all of the "depressing" things I post. Oh well. To each his (or her) own. But it did get me to thinking about why I believe the things I believe and what put me on this path.

First, to dispel a common misconception: I *DO NOT* believe that the end of the world is just around the corner. With all the hoopla regarding the supposed apocalypse looming in 2012, all alternative news sites and blogs seem to be getting unfairly lump together with tinfoil hat-wearing whack-jobs these days. So, for the record, let me just say that 2012 is B.S.!!!

My blog isn't about preparing for the end of the world, but rather the end of the world as we know it (a concept often described using the moniker "TEOTWAWKI"). The fact is that societies have a shelf life. Read your history, if you don't believe me: every great civilization in history has risen, flourished, slipped into decline and eventually collapsed, leading to a "dark age" or a period of anarchy and chaos until the next great civilization rises and imposes order. It is in order to survive that so-called "dark age" that I prepare. It has been theorized that all it would take for the thin veneer of polite, civilized society to utterly unravel would be for the power grid to fail, which will surely occur if we are ever again hit by a geomagnetic solar storm such as the one that hit in 1859 -- and, that we one day will be is all but a statistical certainty. Also, one should keep in mind that that is only one of the possible scenarios that could cause everything we know of to unravel before our eyes. There are many others, some of them even more worrisome.

But even if, by some unbelievable and unlikely stroke of fortune, such dire occurrences never again befall us, there are still plenty of reasons why one benefits from leading a preparedness-minded lifestyle. I'll talk about that a little more later.

Without allowing this article to devolve into one completely devoted to that horrific event, I will tell you that the true catalyst that made me understand the importance of personal and family preparedness was Hurricane Katrina. I was absolutely riveted and appalled, and it definitely woke me up to the dangers of complacency and what comes of people leaving their very survival solely in the hands of a bureaucratic behemoth like the federal government. It wasn't as though no one wanted to help; the government was simply incapable of doing so in an efficient and timely manner and it cost lives. The lucky ones were left to fester for days among rotting bodies with precious little food and water, waiting for help that seemed never to arrive; while the more unfortunate fell victim to roving gangs intent on rape and violence. Never could a person ask for a better example of what happens in a large-scale crisis when it seems as though there is no end in sight: some people become butchers, others the meat -- and all suffer universally.

It was, likewise, a very good lesson in what to expect from the government in such a situation. It took them what seemed like an endless string of days to get their act together and get a few trucks of water to arguably the largest building in the entire city (not exactly a difficult target to aim for), yet little time seems to have been wasted in deploying armed personnel from private security firms to forcibly remove people from their own property, confiscate supplies and firearms from law-abiding private citizens (in direct violation of their constitutional rights) and generally cause a ruckus and make a bad situation even worse. There were even reports of people who didn't want to leave their homes, because they weren't being allowed to take their pets with them... so these thugs just shot their pets dead right there in front of them. It's a good thing that I wasn't there. Most likely, I would have misbehaved and someone would've had to have shot me dead too.

Watching all of that play out live on CNN and reading even more detailed stuff about it in the following months (much of it eyewitness accounts reporting things that were not allowed to be broadcast over mainstream media), I made a vow to myself that I would never end up like one of those unfortunate people, and that is a vow I intend to keep.

However, even were I not worried about such things, I would still maintain that a prepared lifestyle is a worthwhile endeavor.

In today's economy, with people losing their jobs left and right and unable to find work, who would not benefit from having a few months worth of food and other necessities socked-away in a pantry or attic?

It seems like every winter there are more and more reports of people being stranded in their cars by blizzards. They are typically either rescued after several harrowing days of not knowing if they'd survive, or they decide that they have no choice but to try to walk and find help themselves, losing their lives as a result. How much easier to you think their plights may have been to endure had they had the foresight to keep a $30-$40 emergency survival kit in their car at all times?

How many perish every year in earthquakes, floods and other natural disasters for want of such cheaply and easily-obtained supplies?

So you see, it isn't all about preaching of the end of the world and prognosticating doom. Emergency preparedness and survival training to help one endure future threats should be thought of in the same way one thinks of homeowners and car insurance. You don't pay that monthly premium in the expectation that your house is going to burn down or you are going to wreck your car; you pay it so that, in case one of those eventualities comes to pass, you won't be left twisting in the wind.

The lifestyle and mindset that I advocate is truly no different.

Some letters I received in response to this can be read here.

The Dollar, Gold And The Quality Of Money

The Dollar, Gold And The Quality Of Money - Charles Kadlec - Community of Liberty - Forbes: "... With every headline, it is becoming increasingly apparent how much the governing class has overreached. Those who believe in government are simply running out of other people’s money. For example, President Obama’s call to reverse the tax break given to owners of corporate jets in his 2009 stimulus bill would supposedly raise $300 million a year in revenue, enough to cover less than two hours of current deficit spending. Even if the Federal government could tax 100% of personal income in excess of $250,000 a year, it would collect little more than half of the revenue needed to balance the budget.

These real world results mock the conventional wisdom that given the power to spend, borrow, tax and print money, elite public servants can manage the economy and protect the average individual against the vicissitudes of life. Instead, government itself has become a source of systemic risk, and a direct threat to our prosperity and liberty..."

Consolidation of Seed Companies Leading to Corporate Domination of World Food Supply

Consolidation of seed companies leading to corporate domination of world food supply: "Throughout the history of agriculture across the globe, farming has always been a diversified sector of the economy. Small, self-sustaining, family farms were the order of the day in most cultures. Even as small farms grew larger and more specialized over time, many of them still saved seeds or purchased them from other farmers, which kept control of farming in the hands of the people.

But today everything has changed, as large chemical and agribusiness firms have acquired or merged with seed companies and other agricultural input companies. They have successfully gained a foothold on genetically-modified (GM) crops with transgenic traits.

These primary factors and several others have facilitated a crescendo towards the global domination of agriculture by corporations, and thus the world's food supply..."

28 July, 2011

Report: China Building Electromagnetic Pulse Weapons for Use against U.S. Aircraft Carriers

Report: China building electromagnetic pulse weapons for use against U.S. carriers - Washington Times: "China's military is developing electromagnetic pulse weapons that Beijing plans to use against U.S. aircraft carriers in any future conflict over Taiwan, according to an intelligence report made public on Thursday.

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

EMP weapons mimic the gamma-ray pulse caused by a nuclear blast that knocks out all electronics, including computers and automobiles, over wide areas..."

27 July, 2011

Yet Another Letter RE: "Motorists Driving Less, But Gas Prices Keep Rising" *OR* THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT SHALE OIL

Once again, in order to follow Along fully with this conversation, you will need to read: first here, and then here.

Anonymous said: "Okay, have the states take over the oil companies and not the federal government. Do you really think Exxon should make 300 billion a year? Thats a lot of money and power, they could use that to take over the USA. Thta more money some most countries make.

So what you are writing is that oil shale and coal are too exspensive and we'll just run out of oil soon and be ready to pay $20 dollars a gallon for gasoline.

This is mis-information the crooked oil companies put out to justify their making billions in profits (which should be used to pay off the national dept.), why should a handful of people get all the money? Most of them aren't trust worthy, and to the rich, they never have enough money. They want the world with a fence around it!

They are laughing their asses off and lighting their $100 cigars with $100 bills! I wouldn't be surprised to find out that the newspapers and media are owned by the oil companies/Saudi arabia.

And what about oil sand-like what Canada has? I've read that there is enough oil there to supply all of North America for the next 100 to 200 years alone! And the "greens" are trying to stop more oil sand to open up in other locations across Canada. ( The "greens" also don't like coal powered power plants- they think everyone should have a windmill or solar power-but you still need factories to build these products.) Forget about other countries, keep the fuel here.

Also, most people don't realize this, but, the airline industry uses 50% of all fuel in the USA, not car drivers like the media says. Didn't anybody notice how fast fuel prices came down after 9/11? When no planes flew for 3 days? It sold for less that a dollar in some places!"


My Response: I won't speak to how much money it is okay for oil companies to make (because, truly, it isn't any of my business or yours). That wasn't the point of anything I said. I will say, however, that any form of collectivization is a bad thing, whether it is done by the federal government or the states. Truly, that's only my opinion though. Everybody has one. I also find it troubling that you would consider it okay to essentially hijack a company's earnings in order to pay off a debt that it had nothing to do with accruing. If you take out a loan and can't pay it back the bank doesn't repossess your neighbors car - your poor neighbor had nothing to do with your failure. Exxon didn't run up the national debt; an irresponsible government did. What you're talking about is dangerously close to communism.

The real "meat and potatoes" of what I had to say was in regards to the utter infeasibility of using shale rock or coal to completely (or even significantly) replace current petroleum inputs. I think the problem is that you're looking at this entire thing as we have always been taught to look at it in the past, but the problem with that is that the future is not going to look anything like the past... er... actually, it will: the future is going to look very much like the past - the distant, pre-industrial past, to be exact. You have it in your head that the idea that we are running out of oil was something that was put out there by the oil industry when, in truth, it is that industry that has done everything in its power to bend public attention away from that fact by touting all of the new technologies that are supposedly looming on the very edge of the horizon that will allow them to make more and more oil discoveries and extract a greater and greater percentage of that oil they have already found but cannot yet reach. The problem with that is that they have been saying that for quite a long time, meanwhile -- with every year that passes -- the petroleum sources we have at our disposal are drying up; each year, the industry must work harder and harder simply to get the same amount of oil out of the ground that they got the year before, and, as I stated in my previous article, most of it is not even of the quality that it once was.

Peak Oil Theory is not propaganda, but rather is based on solid science and not a small amount of simple logic. You seem loathe to agree with the point I laid out in my previous article that very clearly spelled-out the utter absurdity that shale and coal, with the far more labor-intensive processes required to convert them into petroleum equivalent liquids, would, in fact, accomplish anything but to raise gas prices, not lower them. This is simple logic. The more labor and resources you have to put into creating something, the more it is going to cost the consumer in the end. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you a bill of goods. Shale and coal are fine on a small scale, just like solar panels and wind turbines - but none of them will *EVER* yield us an EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) ratio even close to what petroleum gave us.

What you are espousing is political propaganda that has been fed to you by the exact opposite extreme of the so-called "greens" (as you called them). The "greens" want everybody on solar, wind and other renewable sources of energy, whereas the other extreme wants to exploit new sources of oil. Both are tied to extreme polar opposing political philosophies, and both are utterly deluded. This delusion manifests itself in the idea that there is going to be any way whatsoever for people to continue living the way they currently live in the future.

So you see, it isn't that I'm trying to say that people should just be okay with the idea of paying $20 per gallon for gas and not mind if the oil companies make a killing off of it. Put aside for a moment the facts that I've already laid-out to show that they won't really be making that much of a profit because the gasoline will cost so much for them to produce, I actually don't even think that those companies will still exist, at least not in the form that we see them now.

When gasoline reaches $20 per gallon (notice that I said "when," not "if"), travel as we now know it -- both overland and by air -- will largely be the domain of government entities and the very rich. People seem to have this misconception that Peak Oil represents us suddenly and completely running out of oil, when it is actually a simple understanding that, as oil becomes harder and harder to harvest and process, it will also become prohibitively expensive. If you live in the United States, like I do, say goodbye to things like coffee and bananas, unless you are willing to pay a hundred times more for them than you currently do. It will cost so much for them to be shipped overseas to your local grocery, that the price will be comparably high. Likewise, oranges will be quite a bit cheaper if you live in Florida or Georgia than if you happen to reside in the Northeast, because they won't need to be shipped as far.

Say goodbye to the current dynamic of living in the suburbs and driving 30-40 minutes to get to your job in the city. You will either find a job near where you live, or you won't have a career as we think of it. All throughout human history, setting aside the past century or so, people who lived in cities were those who worked jobs as we think of them today, not those who lived in the countryside. City dwellers worked for an employer and paid for food and other necessities with the coin that was paid to them in return for their labor; rural people worked the land and fed themselves thusly, and would often live their entire lives having never even been to the city. Even as recently as in the early twentieth century, we hear tales of people living out in the sticks and only venturing into town two or three times per year to acquire those things that they could not provide for themselves, such as salt.

There is only one thing that ever changed that dynamic: petroleum and the cheap, easily-accessible energy it represented. What most people fail to realize, however, is that this has simply been a blip in the long continuum of human understanding and it is about to come to an end.

My advice to all of you:

Learn to grow most of your own food, and learn everything you can about ways you might preserve it if you suddenly lost your freezer (human beings have been using root-cellaring and drying methods as well as salt to preserve foodstuffs for a far larger part of our history than we ever had refrigeration).

Acquire the ability to produce your own electricity on at least a small scale, or get used to living without it.

Locate a source of fresh, potable water near your home or, better yet, have a well drilled and install a holding tank and at least one solar panel, so that you do not find yourself at the mercy of the outdated shambles that is the national power grid. If you cannot accomplish either of those, a purchase a good-quality ceramic water filter and as many replacement filters as you can afford. Water-borne illnesses will claim the lives of many, mark my words.

Do not leave your life in the hands of electric or gas heating; install a wood-burning stove in your home, so that, come winter, you have at least the ability to attempt to provide for your own survival and comfort.

There are many other things that would be prudent for one to do to prepare themselves to live in a very different society than the one we currently live in (not the least of which would require gaining as much knowledge as possible about proper wound care and bush medicine), but those listed above will give you a good head start and ensure you will survive quite a bit longer than the average person.

Get ready, folks... you'll be terribly sorry if you don't.

26 July, 2011

500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy

charles hugh smith-500 Million Debt-Serfs: The European Union Is a Neo-Feudal Kleptocracy: "The banks of Europe are the new Feudal Manors and Masters. All Europeans now serve them as debt-serfs in one way or another.

If we knock down all the flimsy screens of artifice and obscuring complexity, what we see in Europe is a continent of debt-serfs, indentured to the banks under the whip of the European Union and its secular religion, the euro.

I know this isn't the pretty picture presented by the EU Overlords, of a prosperity built not just on debt, but on resolving the problem of debt with more debt, but it is the reality behind the eurozone's phony facade of economic 'freedom.'

What else can we call the stark domination of the big banks other than Neo-Feudalism? In one way or another, every one of the 27-member nations' citizens are indentured to the big international banks at risk in Europe, most of which are based in Europe..."

CyberGhost VPN Is a Free, Anonymous VPN that Protects Your Surfing from Prying Eyes

CyberGhost VPN Is a Free, Anonymous VPN that Protects Your Surfing from Prying Eyes: "Windows: CyberGhost VPN is a free utility that encrypts, anonymizes, and offshores your internet use when you're using public Wi-Fi at an airport or coffee shop, or you're worried someone on your network is running a tool like Firesheep to gather credentials.

The service is built for users who just want secure, private access when connected from public or untrusted networks. The app gives you an offshore IP address and connects you to an anonymizing server to mask your real IP address and location, and then encrypts all of the internet traffic between you and the VPN service. It may sound like overkill, but if you use public Wi-Fi networks on a regular basis, using a VPN is the best way to protect yourself..."

25 July, 2011

Heat Wave Safety Checklist from the Red Cross

Heat Wave Safety Checklist from the Red Cross: "It's excessively hot and unusually humid in the central and eastern parts of the US, and this heat wave can be very dangerous (the Red Cross says excessive heat has caused more deaths than all other weather events, including floods, in recent years). To make sure you and your loved ones stay safe, the Red Cross has published a heat wave safety checklist.

Much of the advice is common sense, like preparing for a heat wave by having a plan for potential power outages and where to go if you don't have air conditioning, as well as drinking plenty of water. It's useful, though, to have a checklist all in one place and know the signs and care for heat-related emergencies like heat cramps and heat exhaustion..."

Another Letter RE: "Motorists Driving Less, But Gas Prices Keep Rising" *OR* THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT SHALE OIL

In order to follow along with the originating conversation that this letter refers to, click here. As always, the letter first, then my response below.

"I see you have now added a "commodities report" box to your site. Thanks for doing that.

I might add that watching TV on the Nazis and WW2, that Germany didn't have any oil, so what they did was to use coal to make oil and gasoline. Interesting. Because Wyoming has enough coal deposits to fuel the USA , depending on whose figures you read, for up to 500 to 800 years!

Well, with modern advancements, I'm sure that some company could convert coal to oil/gasoline today better than Germany did in the 1940's, and probably cheaper too. (And just think of all the good, high paying jobs that would generate!)

And I read on several sites that the USGS has written reports that state there is more oil under North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming then there is in all of Saudi Arabia. But, the oil companies won't touch it for fear of driving oil prices down to $25 a barrel. They want to keep the price high so they can make tens of billions in profits. I say to hell with the oil companies, nationalize all of them and use the profits to bring down the national dept!

Why should Exxon make 300 billion a year? And give their CEO a 250 million dollar bonus. What does one do with that much money? The government could pay off some of the dept with that kind of money.

It's still the New York City speculators driving up the price of oil. I don't think they should be able to buy up contracts unless they can take delivery! They would drop those contracts like a hot potato then and oil would drop to 40 to 50 dollars a barrel.

Some gloom and doom sites have written and you've probably read them too, that gasoline could go to 15 to 20 dollars a gallon. If it did, could you afford to spend 300 to 500 dollars to fill up your car or pickup gas tank every week? How could people afford to go to work? Or why even bother.

In my area, the power company (electric), if you can believe this, burns OIL to produce electricty. And now our power bills are the highest ever! When i went to pay the last bill, there were more people waiting in line to see service reps about making some kind of payment plan (or I guess just have it shut off-in the hot summer time). And because they are making so much profit, they gave their CEO (said the newspaper) a 2 million dollar bonus! Can you believe that?!

What does he need that for? To pay for his country club membership? If they have this much in profits, use it to lower the bills, or better yet, let the city take it over and any profit generated can be used to pay for city services!"


My Response: Since you posted anonymously, I'm not sure if this communication is coming from the same anonymous individual who replied over the weekend or from another reader altogether, but I would advise anyone reading this now to definitely go back and read the previous discussion linked to at the top of this article. There is a lot of information in that previous post that I don't necessarily want to repeat. Rather, I will mostly be responding directly to the above letter in as close to a point-by-point method, as is possible in this type of medium.

Regarding using coal as a resource from which to extract petroleum equivalents, I will admit that there is quite a lot of promise evident there. Several plants have been and are currently being built to do exactly what you're talking about, and believe me it is big news in my coal-rich home state of West Virginia.

The problem with doing this on a full scale basis, as would be required in order to supply the kind of demand that you get into when talking about nationwide and worldwide energy usage, is that -- like the shale rock that is so abundant beneath North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana and Wyoming (it is not "oil" as you stated above, but rather solid rock with hydrocarbon chemicals embedded within it) -- coal is a solid, not a liquid that you can simply pump out of the ground, fill a barrel and ship off to a refinery.

As a matter of fact, even crude oil itself doesn't exactly work quite that easily nowadays. The popular public image of someone "striking oil" and a gusher of black liquid erupting into the sky to fall upon their elated heads like black rain is largely a thing of the past. Nearly all of our major oil fields are depleted to the point where, in order to get the oil out of the hole, millions of gallons of seawater first have to be pumped down into the well to flood it and bring the oil up, where they are then re-separated and the oil can be harvested. Most of this is not the deep black light sweet crude oil that all of us think of when images of petroleum come to mind; most of that is gone now, and what we are left with is by-and-large a heavier, gummier substance, more brown than black in color, and far, far more difficult and time-consuming to process. But, at least existing refineries have been modified so that they can process it into energy. These same refineries will be of no use whatsoever when it comes to refining coal or shale rock. An entire all-new infrastructure must needs be built to do what you are talking about - just where do you think the money is going to come from to do all that? I am at a loss to see how anyone could even imagine in their wildest dreams that this will lower gas prices.

In order for coal or shale rock to be converted to a liquid petroleum equivalent on the scale that would be required in order to meet just our energy demands here in the United States, much less the rest of the world, would require the energy industry to spend literally billions of dollars. They would have to build hundreds of brand new facilities; purchase large quantities of brand-new equipment (much of which is not even produced on a large scale right now, because all of these types of operations up to this point have been few and far between); and, train workers in entirely new processes they will have to follow just to do their jobs. Oh, and don't forget that rock doesn't travel down pipelines nearly as easily as liquid, so every bit of it is going to have to be put on trucks and driven cross country to the facilities where it is processed, some of which will likely be hundreds of miles from the places where the raw resources are harvested. So, that means you have to hire hundreds if not thousands of truckers to haul your rock up and down the interstates, deal with the Teamsters Union and it gets even better... every one of those trucks has to run on either gasoline or diesel fuel! Further energy must also be expended in great amounts once the raw resources arrive at the processing facilities; the rock must be superheated to very high temperatures in order to extract the petroleum equivalent hydrocarbons.

And yet you folks think this is going to make gas prices go down?! Not likely, my friends. Not likely.

In fact, I have my doubts (and I am not alone) that, taking all of the above into account, it would even end up being a profitable enterprise. There exists a concept, against which all of these kinds of arguments must needs be weighed, known as EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested). To put it succinctly, if harvesting an energy source costs you more energy than it produces, then it is a pointless venture that will actually leave you worse off in the end than if you had not bothered in the first place. Think about all that I have said above and weigh it all against that concept, and you will understand where I'm coming from.

Now, that is not to say that I disagree with you entirely. As of this moment, we are not yet deeply in the throes of a Peak Oil scenario (though I believe it is only a scant few years away), and so I agree with you that the current weirdness in oil and gas prices is a result of market manipulation that needs to be end yesterday, if not sooner. Everything above was, rather, directed toward all of the recent talk of coal and shale "oil" somehow representing a savior that will allow us all to continue driving gas guzzling SUVs and loafing on the couch watching "Dancing with the Stars" until the end of time. The truth is that the way we live today is the direct result of enjoying easy access to cheap energy, a state of affairs that has existed only for the past handful of decades and never before in all of human history, and is quickly coming to an end. It falls to us, therefore, to prepare ourselves for this coming, otherwise our civilization will simply not survive.

Also, I cannot agree with the idea you put forth regarding the government nationalizing the oil industry. The government in this country is far too large and overreaching as it is, little resembling anything close to what the Founding Fathers intended. Nationalized industries are a collectivist, left-wing concept, with which I do not hold. The United States of America was never meant to be a collectivist state, but rather a state built by and for individualists. Never forget that we are afforded the right to the "pursuit of happiness," not to a guarantee of happiness. As much as many people would like to turn the United States into a socialist state, I cling to the faith that the American populace would never allow this to occur. Honestly, to ever truly yield that small bit of faith would likely result in me never sleeping another peaceful night again.

Peak Oil - Are We Sleepwalking Into Disaster?

I must say that I could find very little to agree with in regards to the heavy progressivist leanings espoused by the author of this article, but it is clear that they have a very good understanding of the basics of what we will be faced with in a Peak Oil scenario. I will never agree with the idea that we should surrender even the tiniest bit more power over to government bureaucrats, but, that aside, I post the article here for your review and information.

Peak oil - are we sleepwalking into disaster? - Public Service Europe: "Like climate change, peak oil is often perceived by the more pessimistic analysts as one of those apocalyptic conundrums where we are already past the tipping point – meaning that any solutions human ingenuity can deliver will simply mitigate the worst-case scenario. Certainly, oil-field discoveries have been in sharp decline since the 1970s. And there is a consensus that peak oil has already been reached, at some point between 2004 and 2008. This does not bode well at a time when huge emerging nations like China and India are experiencing energy-hungry industrial revolutions. China's economic growth was 11 per cent last year and in India, it reached 9 per cent. Increased demand could soon outstrip depleted supplies.

But unlike climate change, politicians seem unwilling to encourage public debate about the ramifications of peak oil. There has been no shortage of government-commissioned reports into the problem, but most have been kept from public view – Britain and the US, for example, have maintained the cloak of secrecy by not publishing many findings. This could be because politicians are concerned that doom-laden messages - like the prediction that ordinary families will only be able to use their cars for emergencies within 10 years because of spiralling fuel prices – will cause panic and civil disobedience on the streets. Or, a more cynical view, might suggest that governments and oil companies are so deeply entwined – in some cases like Saudi Arabia and Iran they are, indeed, the very same thing and we all know about the intimate connections between BP and the political world here in the UK – that educating citizens on the need to move towards conservation and away from consumption would damage business and tax revenues and possibly, even, the foundations of capitalism itself..."

23 July, 2011

Letter RE: "Motorists Driving Less, But Gas Prices Keep Rising" *OR* THE REAL TRUTH ABOUT SHALE OIL

In response to our recent post "Motorists Driving Less, But Gas Prices Keep Rising," an anonymous reader had this to say:

"There is no shortage of oil. Did you hear on TV, that there is one trillion barrels of oil in the USA in oil shale rock! Even if they could only get out 10%, that would be 100 billion barrels of oil.

Its the out of control crooked New York City speculators driving up the price so that they can make 10's of millions of dollars for themselves in profits and live in 25 million dollar townhouses in New York City.

During WW2, they couldn't do this or else they would be put in jail, which I think they should be in now!

People have had to cut back on buying groceries so they can buy gas for their car.
People have had to cut back on buying their perscriptions so that they can buy gas.
How are folks suppose to pay rent, make a car payment, pay electric and gas bills, when these out of control crooked New York City speculators keep driving up the price of oil and gasoline?

I've read that they actually want to get the price of gasoline up to 6, 8 or even 10 dollars a gallon!

Could you then afford to pay out $200 a week for gasoline just to drive your car to work?

I believe thats when the SHTF and it all falls apart. Hey, didn't these New York City assholes do this back in 1929? (only it was the stock market back then)"

My Response: I agree with most of what you're saying here with regard to why prices are currently rising. After all, the article I linked to was mostly all about those types of economic reasons for oil and gas to be rising in price. But I feel that I would be remiss if I did not address some uncomfortable facts regarding shale oil that somehow never seem to make it into these types of discussions and could greatly affect all of us moving forward.

Actually, it is estimated that there may be as much as 1.8 trillion barrels of economically feasible oil equivalent in the U.S., according to this report. There is actually quite a bit more than that even, but the economical feasibility of extracting it is judged on many factors - to put it simply, deposits have to be a certain density/thickness before they're worth the trouble. Smaller deposits would result in a lesser EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) and would, therefore, actually result in gas prices going up as opposed to down. So, taking those numbers into account and going along with your 10% recoverability ratio (which, by the way, is a little high - a more realistic number using today's technology would be closer to 3%-5%), that gives us a net gain of 180 billion barrels of technically recoverable oil equivalent.

Sounds great, doesn't it? The problem arises when you dig deeper into the numbers to see just exactly how much oil we are truly talking about. According to the CIA World Factbook, the United States consumes 18,690,000 barrels of oil per day (2009 estimate); other more recent estimates place it at closer to 19,148,000 barrels/day - not far from a full 25% of total world consumption, if you can believe that (no wonder half the world despises us). So -- using your recoverability estimates which are too high, mind you -- that means the entire quantity of oil in the form of shale rock in the entire United States actually only represents enough petroleum to keep us afloat for approximately 9,631 days or just over 26 years; or, if we share with the rest of the world only 2,074 days/5.68 years. And again, that is with a recoverability ratio that, in reality, is at least twice, if not three times higher than what current technologies can consistently produce.

Every one involved with the petroleum industry always has an eye toward the future, talking about what new technologies are going to be able to do and new oil discoveries that they'll be able to make with those technologies; but we have to live in the real world, where you plan based on what you can do now, not what you hope you might be able to do tomorrow. The truth is that there is probably a wealth of energy potential beneath the earth's crust that exceeds everything we have ever seen before and, in truth, would probably provide us with all that we can ever hope to need. But what good does that do us if we are never able to make those discoveries, because we have used up all of the cheap, readily available energy needed to, not only make such discoveries, but, in truth, to even continue living the way we currently live?

Another important factor to consider is that the estimates above are based on current petroleum consumption, which is rising inexorably along with population growth and changes in people's living habits. EIA estimates forecast future consumption of 28.3 million barrels per day here in the United States as early as 2025. Lifestyles in places like China and India are changing; more and more people are driving cars than ever before and, with greater economic prosperity, meat is becoming more and more a part of the daily diet. What does meat have to do with it, you ask? Beef cattle are fed on grain, which is planted and harvested using modern methods for greater yield - modern methods that rely on cheap, abundant and readily-available sources of energy, namely petroleum. China's oil consumption has risen every year since 1990 to the tune of, if I remember correctly, around 7%; and, while their usage is still far below ours in the States, the two are expected to be more or less on par with one another some time in the 2020s. Rising consumption, when coupled with the fact that new discoveries are coming less and less frequently and most of the world's major oil fields (the sources of the light sweet crude oil that has formed the backbone of our entire world for the past century) are beginning to dry up, it is not hard to see that we are in the for some very interesting and troubling times ahead.

In the end, I imagine that they will eventually have to harvest even those deposits of shale that are not currently considered economically viable as other sources continue to wane. However, the assumption that the public has been fed -- namely that this will make gas prices lower than those we currently pay -- is, quite simply, a fallacy concocted for political reasons by the right-wing "Drill Baby Drill" crowd, in the same vein that the left-wing has been attempting to frighten the American populace into getting behind legislation to raise the debt ceiling by claiming that if this were not done people might not receive their Social Security checks; when, in reality, current outlays would not necessarily be affected.

Shale, after all, is rock. The reason why only a portion of it is considered economically feasible to recover is because it doesn't simply come out of the ground like liquid petroleum. Rather, it must be pulled out of the ground and hauled to another location where it is heated to extract the liquid oil from the stone. You have to consider all of the work that goes into that, including even down to paying the guys who drive the trucks, because all of that affects the overall EROEI (Energy Returned On Energy Invested) and, therefore, the price you pay at the pump. They are currently only processing those shale deposits that represent an EROEI high enough to keep gas prices at a reasonable, if altogether too high, level. It's when they start trying to process those deposits with a lesser EROEI (which, they will, because eventually that is all there's going to be left) that you will truly start to feel the pain at the pump. Also contributing to higher prices when that happens will be the fact that most of the petroleum infrastructure will have to be essentially rebuilt. There are only a few facilities capable of processing shale rock into oil, because it has thus far been such a small-scale operation. The vast majority of the oil industry infrastructure on planet Earth was built to process liquid crude oil, not rock. When the day comes that they must start processing more and more shale, most of the existing infrastructure will be useless and have to be replaced. These costs will either be passed on to consumers at the gas pump or paid for through an emergency government bailout, putting yet another nail in the coffin of the ruinous thing that was once the greatest economy in the world.

Another article you might find interesting, where I have done my best to shine the light on some of the fallacies being presented to the American people: Scientists Confirm U.S. Has World’s Biggest Oil Reserves


22 July, 2011

Getting Prepared for an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack or Severe Solar Storm

Getting Prepared for an Electromagnetic Pulse Attack or Severe Solar Storm | (◣_◢) NEWSBAD.COM: "... We now live in a world that is so completely immersed in advanced technology that we depend upon it for our very survival. Most of the actions that we depend upon for our everyday activities -- from flipping a switch to make the lights come on to obtaining all of our food supplies at a nearby supermarket -- are things that any individual from a century ago would consider magic.

Very few people in industrialized countries do work that is not directly assisted by electronic computers, although that computerized assistance is often quite invisible to the average person. Few people think about things such as the fact that whenever we buy some food item at a supermarket (and many others are buying the same item), the next time we go to that same supermarket, they still have about the same supplies that they had before. There are invisible infrastructures all around us that are made up of advanced technology. Most of us just take the magic for granted.

Few people stop to consider what would happen if, in an instant, the magic went away. If our advanced technology were suddenly and completely destroyed, how would we manage to survive? A nuclear EMP could make the magic go away. I hope it never happens, and I don't think that it is at all inevitable. It makes no sense, however, to be blind to the danger. It is both much less likely to happen -- and also less likely to have a catastrophic impact -- if, both as a civilization and as individuals, we are prepared for an attack on our advanced technology. A nuclear EMP would be a seemingly magical attack upon our advanced technology, the technological infrastructure upon which our lives depend.

Among all of the kinds of electromagnetic disturbances that can occur, though, it is important to keep things in perspective. It is possible that a nuclear EMP may never happen where you live. On the other hand, a severe solar storm that will destroy most of the world's power grids appears nearly inevitable at this point. Protection against the damage of a severe solar storm could be done easily and rather inexpensively by the electrical utilities; however it is not being done, and there is no sign that it will be done. A severe solar storm poses little threat to electronics, but would take down the most important power grids in the world for..."


1 Single Acre of Land, If Well Managed, Can Yield Self-Sufficiency

Start a 1-Acre, Self-Sufficient Homestead - Modern Homesteading - MOTHER EARTH NEWS: "1-Acre Farm With a Family Cow

Half of your land would be put down to grass, leaving half an acre arable (not allowing for the land on which the house and other buildings stand). The grass half could remain permanent pasture and never be plowed up at all, or you could plan crop rotations by plowing it up, say, every four years. If you do the latter, it is best done in strips of a quarter of the half-acre so that each year you’re planting a grass, clover and herb mixture on an eighth of your acre of land. This crop rotation will result in some freshly sown pasture every year, some 2-year-old field, some 3-year-old field and some 4-year-old field, resulting in more productive land...

Intensive Gardening

The remaining half of your homestead — the arable half — would be farmed as a highly intensive garden. It would be divided, ideally, into four plots, around which all the annual crops that you want to grow follow each other in a strict crop rotation.

An ideal crop rotation might go something like this:

— Grass (for four years)
— Plot 1: Potatoes
— Plot 2: Legumes (pea and bean family)
— Plot 3: Brassicas (cabbage family)
— Plot 4: Root vegetables (carrots, beets, and so on)
— Grass again (for four years)

Consider the advantages of this kind of crop rotation. A quarter of your arable land will be a newly plowed-up, 4-year-old field every year, with intensely fertile soil because of the stored-up fertility of all the grass, clover and herbs that have just been plowed-in to rot with four summers’ worth of cow manure. Because your cow will be in-wintered, on bought-in hay, and treading and dunging on bought-in straw, you will have an enormous quantity of marvelous muck and cow manure to put on your arable land. All of the crop residues that you cannot consume will help feed the cow, pigs or poultry, and I would be surprised if, after following this crop rotation and grazing management plan for a few years, you didn’t find that your acre of land had increased enormously in soil fertility, and that it was producing more food for humans than many a 10-acre farm run on ordinary commercial lines..."


Yarrow: Ancient Insect Repellent

Yarrow: Ancient Insect Repellent - First Ways: "If you plan on spending time outdoors this summer, then yarrow, Achillea millefolium, is a very useful herb to know about. As the title of this post suggests, you can make an alcohol extract of the upper parts of the yarrow plant — the leaves and flowers — and spray it as an insect repellent. (The recipe is one part herb per two parts liquid menstruum, which should be 50% alcohol).

Yarrow has other applications, too. If you’re out hiking and you cut yourself, applying the fresh leaves and flowers topically will stop bleeding and disinfect the area. If you pick the plant now, you can dry and powder it to have on hand for first aid later. And you can also brew a warming tea with the dried yarrow as a cold remedy. Herbalists say it’s good for sweating out a fever. If you make the tincture described above as an external insect repellent, you also could use it internally as an antibiotic to treat dysentery or urinary tract infections, according to herbalist Stephen Buhner..."


21 July, 2011

‪Ron Paul: America on the Road to Serfdom

‪Ron Paul: America on the Road to Serfdom‬‏ - YouTube


Alternative Markets, Barter Systems, and Local Co-ops are the Lifeboats That Will Save Us

Activist Post: Alternative Markets, Barter Systems, and Local Co-ops are the Lifeboats That Will Save Us: "... once th[e] anger at being lied to for so long subsides, then we must get on with the business of taking action to make the world more just and hopeful for our children. Many people will take to the streets to protest certain aspects of the current system. Others will do everything in their power to inform or warn their peers of the coming iceberg. Those are good and necessary functions, but they won't stop the Titanic from sinking.

It seems the broken system will continue to take on water despite the best efforts to affect change within it. That's why some are suggesting to jump ship now before they run out of lifeboats. By jump ship, I mean function outside of the system as much as possible. The faulty economic system is only propped up by our belief and support of it. When we operate outside of it using alternative markets, barter systems, local cooperatives, and competing currencies, we not only provide a lifeboat to many frightened passengers, but the paddles as well..."


20 July, 2011

Gold Isn’t Money? Bernanke Is A Lunatic

Bernanke: Gold Isn’t Money - July 13, 2011 - The New York Sun: "If one wanted to edit our summer of quarrels down to one exchange that encapsulates our national misunderstanding, we would commend that which took place [recently] between the chairman of the Federal Reserve governors, Ben Bernanke, and the chairman of the House Monetary Affairs subcommittee, Congressman Ron Paul. The exchange lasted five minutes, and one won’t find it flagged on the front pages of, say, the New York Times. But it was up in lights on the Drudge Report, which has mounted a picture of Mr. Bernanke under the headline “Bernanke: Gold Not Money,” and linked to a piece in Forbes..."


19 July, 2011

Return of the Gold Standard as World Order Unravels

Return of the Gold Standard as world order unravels - Telegraph: "On one side of the Atlantic, the eurozone debt crisis has spread to the countries that may be too big to save - Spain and Italy...

... On the other side, the recovery has sputtered out and the printing presses are being oiled again. Brinkmanship between the Congress and the White House over the US debt ceiling has compelled Moody's to warn of a 'very small but rising risk' that the world's paramount power may default within two weeks. 'The unthinkable is now thinkable,' said Ross Norman, director of thebulliondesk.com.

Fed chair Ben Bernanke confessed to Congress that growth has failed to gain traction..."


18 July, 2011

What An American Bank Run Would Look Like

What An American Bank Run Would Look Like | zero hedge: "... the truth is that nobody could possibly know or predict what a bank run would looks like in details suffice to say that it would have terminal and devastating results on the global economy. One needs only remember what happened when the Reserve Fund broke the buck and the $3 billion money market industry was at risk of unwinding... What we do, however, wish to demonstrate is the tenuous balance between physical money - yes, just like precious metals, there is actual 'physical money', better known as currency in circulation - and more abstract, confidence-based, 'electronic money.' Now when it comes to talking about systemic instability, pundits often enjoy bringing up the case of the $600 trillion... in synthetic derivatives, whose implosion would 'wipe out the world.' While that may indeed be the case (the memory of the CDS-precipitated AIG implosion is still all too fresh), since nobody really can comprehend the side effects of the collapse of global derivative system, which by some estimates is over $1 quadrillion when combining exchange and OTC based derivatives, it is largely based on pure conjecture. And... one doesn't even need to do get that high up in the pyramid of credit money. The truth is that should there be an American bank run, what would happen is the conversion of all electronic dollars into physical dollars, as retail Americans rush to empty their checking and savings accounts, exit their money markets, while institutional America converts all 'shadow' liabilities into hard dollar assets... The truth is that should there be a D-Day in the American banking system and there is a global scramble for physical paper (ignore gold) the conversion ratio for binary dollars into hard ones could be as high as 30 to 1. Which begs the question: should one apply a 90% discount when evaluating their electronic dollar exposure? ..."


15 July, 2011

... the Inevitability of Societal Chaos, How the Elites Will Try to Maintain Control

The Daily Bell - ... the Inevitability of Societal Chaos, How the Elites Will Try to Maintain Control – And How You Can Protect Your Wealth From Confiscation: "... People see the amount of money being thrown around on bailouts and wars. It can't be hidden anymore because it's available for anyone with a computer.

First they instituted central bank around the world and then they began to build their new world order, funding it by printing money-from-nothing. When the business cycle soured, they'd distract people with war. But again none of this is working so well now. It's a fairly brutal and even obvious system once you understand it...

... today, despite what I consider an awakening, we still have large number of people who don't understand what's going on and maybe never will. Some of them are barely capable of critical thought. But those who are aware are growing too and at a faster rate than ever before. What gets people's attention is when the economy is not working. And today there's nothing left to milk in the West. The cow is dry and the cream has been siphoned off – and it sure as heck isn't in my or your cup...

... John Q. Public is starting to understand that they have been the subject of a massive mind manipulation ever since they first walked through the doors of an American public school. It's like a warm bath. Even after you get out of school, you're subject to the same propaganda. The mainstream media is there to reinforce it as are the establishment historians. In the 20th century there was literally no respite. But in the 21st century the alternative has really come on strong. Sites like yours... are speaking truth to power. It's an entirely different kind of illumination and it's making a real difference..."


14 July, 2011

Mount Etna Eruption 'Knocks Clocks 15 Minutes Fast'

Mount Etna eruption closes airports and 'knocks clocks 15 minutes fast' | Mail Online: "An eruption by Mount Etna on the Italian island of Sicily left a nearby airport closed and ... locals turning up early for work...

... Bemused Sicilians, meanwhile, were quick to blame the volcano after thousands noticed that their clocks were running 15 minutes fast. The fast forward time keeping has affected a wide spectrum of digital clocks and watches - from computers through to alarm clocks.

It was spotted when large numbers of locals started turning up for work early, and a Facebook page was organised for those involved to compare notes...

... As well as Etna's volcanic activity, users have so far blamed aliens, poltergeists, solar explosions and electrical disturbances caused by underwater cables...

... The cause of the island-wide clock confusion remains unknown..."


13 July, 2011

Six Months After Tucson Shooting, White House Readies Gun Control Stance

"Never Let a Good Crisis Go To Waste" --Rahm Emanuel

See this for what it is, folks. The Right to Bear Arms is arguably the most important of all liberties, for it is that one which defends all the others.


Six Months After Tucson Shooting, White House Readies Gun Control Stance - FoxNews.com: "Friday marks six months since the Tucson shooting which severely injured Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the White House is now hinting it's prepared to add its own voice to the gun control dialogue that tragedy reignited..."


Northwest U.S. Sees 35% Infant Mortality Spike Post-Fukushima

Northwest sees 35% infant mortality spike post-Fukushima - KCPQ: "Physician Janette Sherman, M.D. and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano published a report Monday highlighting a 35% spike in northwest infant mortality after Japan's nuclear meltdown.

The report spotlighted data from the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report on infant mortality rates in eight northwest cities, including Seattle, in the 10 weeks after Fukushima's nuclear meltdown.

The average number of infant deaths for the region moved from an average of 9.25 in the four weeks before Fukushima' nuclear meltdown, to an average of 12.5 per week in the 10 weeks after. The change represents a 35% increase in the northwest's infant mortality rates.

In comparison, the average rates for the entire U.S. rose only 2.3%..."


High Levels of Radiation Detected in Northwest U.S. Rainwater

High levels of radiation detected in Northwest rainwater | KING5.com Seattle: "A Seattle nuclear watchdog group is accusing the federal government of failing to keep the public informed of radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

In the days following the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, the U.S. began monitoring radiation from Japan's leaking nuclear power plants.

Most of the public attention went to the air monitoring which showed little or no radiation coming our way. But things were different on the rain water side..."


New World Order - The End of Civilization‬‏

YouTube - ‪New World Order - The End of Civilization‬‏


12 July, 2011

Woman Faces Misdemeanor Charge for Vegetable Garden

Julie Bass of Oak Park Faces Misdemeanor Charge for Vegetable Garden: "'The price of organic food is kind of through the roof,' said Julie Bass.

So, why not grow your own? However, Bass' garden is a little unique because it's in her front yard...

... Bass' cool garden has landed her in hot water with the City of Oak Park. Code enforcement gave her a warning, then a ticket and now she's been charged with a misdemeanor..."


08 July, 2011

The Rise of the Barter Economy

The Rise of the Barter Economy - Truth is Treason: "Imagine a day when you go to buy a quart of milk, ask the price, and the cashier says, “that’ll be a tenth ounce silver.” As the US dollar’s decline accelerates, several efforts around the country are trying to make this vision a reality.

Historically, paying for items in silver or gold was actually quite common. We happen to live in an unusual time and place where generations have grown up trading exclusively in paper. While my parents still used dimes made of silver, we have now gone several decades with no precious metals in any of our official coinage. But this system of money by government fiat is unsustainable..."


New Car Engine Sends Shock Waves Through Auto Industry

A possible boon to help ward off the ever-looming specter of Peak Oil? One can only hope.


New Car Engine Sends Shock Waves Through Auto Industry : Discovery News: "Despite shifting into higher gear within the consumer's green conscience, hybrid vehicles are still tethered to the gas pump via a fuel-thirsty 100-year-old invention: the internal combustion engine.

However, researchers at Michigan State University have built a prototype gasoline engine that requires no transmission, crankshaft, pistons, valves, fuel compression, cooling systems or fluids. Their so-called Wave Disk Generator could greatly improve the efficiency of gas-electric hybrid automobiles and potentially decrease auto emissions up to 90 percent when compared with conventional combustion engines.

The engine has a rotor that's equipped with wave-like channels that trap and mix oxygen and fuel as the rotor spins. These central inlets are blocked off, building pressure within the chamber, causing a shock wave that ignites the compressed air and fuel to transmit energy.

The Wave Disk Generator uses 60 percent of its fuel for propulsion; standard car engines use just 15 percent. As a result, the generator is 3.5 times more fuel efficient than typical combustion engines.

Researchers estimate the new model could shave almost 1,000 pounds off a car's weight currently taken up by conventional engine systems..."


07 July, 2011

There is No First Amendment Without a Second Amendment

There is No First Amendment Without a Second Amendment: "... the first Americans won their independence from England with the force of arms.

It was, in fact, a British effort in 1775 to confiscate military arms they believed were stored in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts that sparked the war.

The Founding Fathers were so aware of the need for an armed citizenry that, after ensuring freedom of religion, speech, press and the right to peacefully assemble in the First Amendment, the Second guaranteed their right to bear arms.

Wherever authoritarian regimes were established in the last century, they took away this right and then proceeded to kill those deemed enemies of the state..."


The Essential Rules Of Liberty

The Essential Rules Of Liberty: "There is nothing worse in this world than an enslaved man who naively believes himself free, except, perhaps, trying to explain to that same man his predicament. You can lay truth after truth before his feet. You can qualify your every position with cold hard irrefutable data. You can plead and scream and raise veritable hell, but before he will ever listen, he must first become aware of his own dire circumstances. As long as he views himself as 'safe and secure', as long as he imagines his chains to be wings, he will see no reason to question the validity of the world around him, and he will certainly never invest himself into changing his own deluded destiny.

Unfortunately, there are many such men crawling and scraping about here in what was once a land graced with a self sufficient and independently minded public majority. The great lie that has been perpetuated in this country over the past several decades is that we can defer our responsibilities of vigilance and place our well being and our futures into the hands of others for the sake of 'collective efficiency', or leisure. We have been conditioned to live in a state of constant indifference, a society which prizes compromise over principle and steadfast resolve. Those who refuse to compromise that which is honorable for the sake of ease and comfort are indicted as “extremist” or even criminal. The idea of personal revolution is treated with discomfort, and all we claim to stand for becomes muddled in a fog of inaction and cynicism. As Americans, we have forgotten what it means to earn and protect our own freedoms. We have forgotten that in liberty, there are standards that must be defended..."


Yellowstone Visitor Killed By Grizzly Bear

I would not dare be caught out in the wild like these poor folks without means to defend myself. Hikers, back-packers and other would-be outdoor enthusiasts should always be aware of their surroundings; and, should either carry a weapon or stay the hell home.


Yellowstone Visitor Killed By Grizzly Bear - The Smoky Mountain Hiking Blog: "... A visitor to Yellowstone National Park is dead after an encounter with a grizzly bear Wednesday morning.

The incident occurred on the Wapiti Lake trail, which is located east of the Grand Loop Road south of Canyon Village.

The husband and wife couple had traveled about a mile and a half in on the trail Wednesday morning when they surprised a grizzly sow with cubs. In an apparent attempt to defend a perceived threat to her cubs, the bear attacked and fatally wounded the man. Another group of hikers nearby heard the victim’s wife crying out for help, and used a cell phone to call 911. Park rangers were summoned and quickly responded to the scene..."


06 July, 2011

Our Next Monetary System and the End of Freedom

And the Band Played On: Our next Monetary System and the End of Freedom: "Our current monetary system is destined to collapse, and the citizens of the United States won't get to choose what their next monetary system will look like. This new monetary system, which will be imposed on the people of the U.S., is likely to be a totalitarian system that results from acute shortages of essential resources. There are a couple of unconventional things that we as citizens can and must do to keep ourselves free from the entanglements of this new monetary system.

First of all, the arithmetic behind the collapse of our current monetary system is simple. $14 trillion in on-balance-sheet federal government debt, coupled with over $70 trillion in off-balance-sheet federal government liabilities and obligations, with nothing on the asset side of the government balance sheet other than a paper currency that has no tangible assets behind it and which is nothing more than an empty promise of future payment. There is no way for the federal government to come up with the full value of the $84 trillion that it will need to meet its financial obligations. It is as simple as that. The federal government will be forced to default -- explicitly or through the hyperinflation of its currency -- and either way leads to the destruction of the U.S. dollar and the collapse of our existing monetary system..."


U.N. Warns of Approaching "Major Planetary Catastrophe"

New industrial revolution needed to avert ‘planetary catastrophe’ – UN report: "Humanity is close to breaching the sustainability of Earth, and needs a technological revolution greater – and faster – than the industrial revolution to avoid 'a major planetary catastrophe,' according to a new United Nations report.

Major investments will be needed worldwide in the developing and scaling up of clean energy technologies, sustainable farming and forestry techniques, climate-proofing of infrastructure, and in technologies reducing non-biological degradable waste production, according to The World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation, published today by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)..."


India's Rural Poor Give Up On Power Grid, Go Solar

India's rural poor give up on power grid, go solar - Business - Nation - TheState.com: "Boommi Gowda used to fear the night. Her vision fogged by glaucoma, she could not see by just the dim glow of a kerosene lamp, so she avoided going outside where king cobras slithered freely and tigers carried off neighborhood dogs.

But things have changed at Gowda's home in the remote southern village of Nada. A solar-powered lamp pours white light across the front of the mud-walled hut she shares with her three grown children, a puppy and a newborn calf. Now she can now cook, tend to her livestock and get water from a nearby well at night...

... Across India, thousands of homes are receiving their first light through small companies and aid programs that are bypassing the central electricity grid to deliver solar panels to the rural poor. Those customers could provide the human energy that advocates of solar power have been looking for to fuel a boom in the next decade.

With 40 percent of India's rural households lacking electricity and nearly a third of its 30 million agricultural water pumps running on subsidized diesel, 'there is a huge market and a lot of potential,' said Santosh Kamath, executive director of consulting firm KPMG in India. 'Decentralized solar installations are going to take off in a very big way and will probably be larger than the grid-connected segment.'..."


05 July, 2011

The 4 Most Likely Ways You Can Die If the SHTF

The 4 Most Likely Ways You Can Die If the SHTF | Ready Nutrition: "The subject of survival in a long term disaster goes beyond having stockpiles of beans, bullets and band-aids. Those that do survive during a long term emergency will no doubt be tried and tested with a great many things. One of those trying scenarios is dealing with death.

Zombie attacks seem to be a prevalent theme for preppers to prepare for. In fact, the CDC has even posted a preparedness article on how to ward off zombie attacks. While I believe these zombies will likely take the form of substance abusers, mental patients, chronically ill or diseased, and desperate individuals whose basic needs have not been met, they will die out in the first few months of an onset of a major disaster, and there presence will rarely be an issue in a long term situation.

In reality, a majority of those that will die during a long-term disaster will be from illnesses brought on by acute respiratory infections due to cramped living conditions, poor water conditions (or lack of), or bacterial infections from wounds. If we survive a major disaster, America would become a third world country and the aftermath of such a scenario will be similar to those living in Africa, Ethiopia and India..."


Govt Forces Family Living Off-Grid, Growing Own Food On Own Land to Return to Society’s Rat Race or Face Penalty - Truth is Treason

Govt Forces Family Living Off-Grid, Growing Own Food On Own Land to Return to Society’s Rat Race or Face Penalty - Truth is Treason: "A family living an 'off-grid' lifestyle say they face prison unless they move from their own land in Willand (Britain) and return to an existence in the benefits trap.

Stig and Dinah Mason bought Muxbeare Orchard after a sudden windfall allowed them to quit their impoverished lives on a Hertfordshire council estate two years ago.

The Masons have transformed what they described as a derelict four-acre plot into a haven of self-sufficiency boasting a 400 sq m allotment, a polytunnel and greenhouses to grow fruit and vegetables, chickens for egg production and an orchard they have regenerated by planting around 14 new apple trees of various species.

The couple, who have two boys, aged eight and nine, say because they moved onto the site in order to work the land, Mid Devon District Council is turfing them off as officers do not consider them to be conserving an agricultural area.

They faced magistrates on March 31 when they were served with an injunction to leave within 28 days from June 1.

Dinah, 35, who spent a year with her husband clearing four-foot high nettles and thistles which engulfed the four-acre site, said: “How anybody can say the orchard was being conserved before is beyond my comprehension.”

Dinah works while Stig, 34, as well as making sure the children get to school on time, tends to the land on a daily basis where peas, potatoes, garlic, strawberries, raspberries and various produce have been growing since 2009..."


The Post-Apocalyptic Clownscape That Was Six Flags New Orleans

The Post-Apocalyptic Clownscape That Was Six Flags New Orleans - The Consumerist: "How long after civilization collapses will it take for our infrastructure to crumble into a rusting, weed-choked hellscape? With the help of some flooding, just a few years, if the current state of Six Flags New Orleans is any indication. Pump systems failed after Hurricane Katrina, leaving the site in up to seven feet of brackish water for about a month, corroding the rides and wrecking everything else. The park site is now property of the city of New Orleans after Six Flags declared it a total loss, collecting insurance and moving a few salvageable rides to other parks. The front gate is open, and the city already has enough problems and can't pay for 24-hour security. That means local teens and roving urban explorers have found their way in to show us all the carnage.

Love These Pics has an amazing collection of 75 photos..."


02 July, 2011

Get Ready to be Financially Conscripted

Get Ready to be Financially Conscripted: "A new financial policy initiative known by the label 'Financial Repression' may soon become our worst nightmare. ‘Repression’ rhymes with ‘depression’ which could be what we have to look forward to as rampant price inflation and permanently lower living standards take hold. Get ready to be conscripted into a citizen army assembled for the greater cause of saving the nation from being swamped by a tsunami of debt. Let me explain.

What is Financial Repression?

Financial Repression is a policy cocktail comprised of large doses of monetary inflation, commonly known as money creation far in excess of the growth in the economy, coupled with interest rates that are below the real rate of inflation. While that may not sound particularly scary, the policy is designed to cause asset and price inflation which is reflective of, and caused by, a devaluing dollar. A much lower standard of living is the inevitable outcome.

What’s the Purpose of Financial Repression?

The purpose of Financial Repression is to allow the US federal government to cope with its overwhelming accumulated debt and unfunded promises for future Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and employee pensions. It also prevents a proud nation from having to ‘restructure’ its debt as run-of-the-mill dead beat nations periodically are forced to do. Insolvency is just plain un-American for the world’s largest economy, the only remaining super power and the owner of the world’s reserve currency. To declare the equivalent of a private sector bankruptcy is just not in the cards.

In order to make Financial Repression work, the FED needs to keep a cap on nominal interest rates preferably at four percentage points below the real rate of price inflation. Aside from the highly negative impact of decimating the nest eggs of citizen-savers, it has the beneficial effect of inflating away debilitating, pesky and otherwise unmanageable financial obligations of the federal government.

Will Financial Repression Work?

A four percent interest rate below the real rate of inflation, compounded over ten years, reduces in half the ‘real’ value of payments to the government’s debt holders and entitlement recipients. Imagine what it does to the purchasing power of social security payments. Everyone gets the number of dollars promised, but they just don’t buy as much. Magical, isn’t it, especially if citizens think they are getting richer because their pay checks rise and their houses start to increase in price, thanks to inflation.

In the absence of large foreign buyers of US government debt, we the citizens will be conscripted to fill the gap, all for the greater good of the nation’s future. A captive audience of citizen-savers and investors are expected to be a compliant army of civic minded patriots herded into the role of federal bond buyers in order to save the nation for future generations of Americans. Of course we will be assisted by the FED with a rejuvenated and renamed QE3 program...designed to drive dollar devaluation and inflation.

How Will Financial Repression Work?

So how will this new and improved effort at national financial rejuvenation and restoration scheme work? A fixed percentage of all pools of capital - including savings, investments, pension and retirement funds of individuals and institutions - will be mandated to own Treasury bonds as a part of their savings and investment portfolios.

Will Financial Repression Be Voluntary?

As with all conscriptions involving a national crisis, this one will be anything but voluntary. Your personal 401k and IRA are likely to be conscripted to become part of this greater good. Bank assets, insurance company investments, university and other public institution endowments, pension funds and virtually all pools of money will be forced to join the cause of the greater good for America’s future.

How Can Financial Repression Be Avoided?

You could decide now to place some of your money in more friendly investments than US federal government bonds. Bill Gross, head of the nation’s largest bond fund, took exactly this decision a few months ago by unloading all of Pimco’s US government bonds. However, it is entirely probable that Pimco will find itself owning US Treasury paper once again.

If you decide to transfer some of your cash outside the country you should do it soon simply because ‘Capital Controls’ restricting the movement of money outside the US are likely to become increasingly problematic. Rules are already in place to restrict money laundering derived from illicit drugs or the movement of money which facilitates terrorism. Expect more restrictions under the guise of fighting drugs and terror when, in fact, it is designed to ensure there is a large and captive market for increasingly unmarketable Treasury debt.

When Will Financial Repression Begin?

When does this process get underway? As soon as possible, but given the inclination of politicians to present purely positive pictures prior to elections, one could reasonably conclude that it will not be implemented, or talked about publicly, until after the November 2012 election. Political leadership on this issue will remain invisible until electoral risk subsides or until there is absolutely no alternative to a rapidly burgeoning debt crisis.

What Will Cause Financial Repression to Commence?

Financial Repression will be imposed upon us when normal market demand for the massively growing quantities of US Treasury debt dries up. China, the biggest foreign customer for US government bonds, is developing a bad case of cold feet when it considers US Treasury bond ‘investments’. Instead they are mopping up the world’s natural resources from their pot of surplus dollars derived from burgeoning manufactured exports. The Japanese now need to cash in their Treasury debt to pay for tsunami damage, essentially dropping them to bit player status in the bond market. The Saudis and other mid-east oil Sheikdoms need their US petrodollars to buy protection and to insulate themselves from the unsettling consequences of the ‘Arab Spring.’

Why Financial Repression is Coming – to YOU

If foreign buyers with the deepest pockets are deserting the regular Treasury auction of bonds, notes and bills, who is available to pick up the slack? The existing official debt is $14.3 Trillion and the current year fiscal deficit is projected to add another $1.7 Trillion. Since much of the ‘old’ debt continues to mature, it too must find new purchasers.

These troubling realities leave US domestic buyers to do the heavy lifting of buying US government debt. Who might these US domestic buyers be? Think FED and its $100 Billion of magical digital dollars per month, or $600 Billion in total, over the past six months under the guise of Quantitative Easing, commonly known as QE2. While difficult to confirm, it would appear that the FED has bought approximately 70 percent of the debt during this period. What about the period immediately ahead now that the FED says it will stop the QE2 program?

Why Financial Repression is Unavoidable

US sovereign debt is VERY serious. It currently stands at $14 Trillion - the allowable ceiling. Moreover, the federal government is presently running an annual deficit of $1.7 Trillion with deficits of similar dimensions projected into future years. As such, Congress is now playing political games for voter consumption which will lead inevitably to raising this debt head room by a further $2 Trillion, thereby allowing current politicians to get re-elected in November 2012. Given the fact that 42 cents of every dollar spent by the federal government is borrowed money, not tax dollars, the debt ceiling is going to have to be lifted, year after year, by Billions of additional dollars.

That is not the worst of it, however. Projected future deficits are even more overwhelming in that promises to citizens for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other obligations for other services are mind numbing in scale. The worst part is that these promises are dramatically underfunded. Depending on whose numbers are used, what assumptions are made about future economic growth, inflation, rates of interest and similar considerations, unfunded future liabilities range from $60 Trillion to over $100 Trillion. Obviously, growth of the economy and massive tax increases are totally incapable of meeting the debt challenge.

What Can We Expect to Unfold in Years to Come?

Citizen taxpayers and benefit recipients should expect more and higher deficits forcing an ever growing mountain of debt. Current fifty year low interest rates are guaranteed to rise which will make servicing the humongous debt an insurmountable challenge. So what is going to happen?

The U.S. could declare “Banana Republic” style insolvency and embark upon debt restructuring, but that would be the ‘easy’ route out of the debt morass. The US is the world’s largest economy, the only remaining super power and owns the world’s reserve currency. Alpha nations like the US don’t declare the public sector equivalent of a private bankruptcy.

Instead, the US and other first world economies that are reaching similar zombie debt status, will adopt brutally tough austerity measures starting with painful reductions in social security and health care benefits. Tax increases should be expected too, as well as ever more digital dollar printing.

The end result of Financial Repression will be rampant price inflation and permanently lower living standards. Get ready to be conscripted into a citizen army assembled for the greater cause of saving the nation from being swamped by a tsunami of debt."

Arnold Bock is a frequent contributor to www.FinancialArticleSummariesToday.com, “A site for sore eyes and inquisitive minds”, and www.munKNEE.com, “It’s all about MONEY!”