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30 November, 2011

Paper Money Is Not Wealth

Paper Money Is Not Wealth : Personal Liberty Digest™: "Have you ever seen “old people” hold and fondle their paper money? They count it, hide it under the mattress and bury it for safekeeping.

Remember my example of the power of inflation? I said that you could bury your paper money 40 miles deep in a sealed concrete vault, and it still could be inflated or devalued to nothing. There is no way to preserve your paper money. It is up to the money creators to not overprint.

Here’s how we are fooled: People equate fiat paper money like U.S. dollars with wealth. Only if paper money held its purchasing power could it be a store of value. Only then could you bury it and forget it...

... The U.S. dollar does rally from time to time, but the long-term trend is down. We must understand this in order to protect our savings and investments.

The only thing that the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve can do under any pretense is to debase the currency. They do this by printing money or massive devaluation. It is not a solution, only a delay.

It’s a cruel hoax! Debasing the currency cannot and will not bring prosperity. It will bring ruin. It always has. It can come only to final default.

Printing money plus big devaluation means default — maybe not suddenly, but default is guaranteed..."

Family Lost in the Woods On Christmas Tree Hunt Forced to Call 911 for Rescue

Family Lost On Christmas Tree Hunt Calls 911 - Denver News Story - KMGH Denver: "A family of four hunting for that perfect Christmas tree got lost in Jefferson County Sunday afternoon, called 911 and were escorted to safety after dark by the Alpine Rescue team, authorities said.

The family, a couple and their two children, ages 9 and 13, became lost in the backcountry near Highway 126 and Forest Service Road 550 in the Buffalo Creek area, said Jefferson County sheriff's spokeswoman Jacki Kelley..."

29 November, 2011

Scientists Create Man-Made Flu Virus That Could Potentially Wipe Out Millions If It Ever Escapes Research Lab

Scientists create man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out millions if it ever escapes research lab | Impact Lab: "A group of scientists is pushing to publish research about how they created a man-made flu virus that could potentially wipe out civilization.

The deadly virus is a genetically tweaked version of the H5N1 bird flu strain, but is far more infectious and could pass easily between millions of people at a time.

The research has caused a storm of controversy and divided scientists, with some saying it should never have been carried out.

The current strain of H5N1 has only killed 500 people and is not contagious enough to cause a global pandemic.

But their are fears the modified virus is so dangerous it could be used for bio-warfare, if it falls into the wrong hands.

Virologist Ron Fouchier of the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands lead a team of scientists who discovered that a mere five mutations to the avian virus was sufficient to make it spread far more easily..."

The 10 Most Shocking Videos from Black Friday 2011: Depicting America’s Greed

What has our civilization become?


The 10 Most Shocking Videos from Black Friday 2011: Depicting America’s Greed: "Black Friday seems to grow further out of control every year, and 2011 was no exception. Millions of Americans waited overnight to storm retailers’ gates and battle for limited deals across the nation. We’ve sorted through every video released so far to bring you the 10 most chaotic. Prepare yourself!..."

The Threat of Electromagnetic Pulse

The threat of electromagnetic pulse! by John Silveira Issue #132: "I like 'doomsday' scenarios — even ridiculous ones, such as the supposed Mayan calendar prophecy for 2012 or what had been Y2K doom-and-gloom leading up to the year 2000. Of course, there are some genuine doomsday threats to worry about, such as the possibility of another flu pandemic like the one of 1918-1919 or other pandemics health officials worry could be caused by drug resistant "superbugs" that could kill tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, worldwide.

There are also unlikely but plausible catastrophes I like to mull over, such as the eruption of one of the world's super volcanoes, the impacting of a large asteroid, or the onset of another glacial age, all of which are going to happen — eventually — and, if one of those happened now it could wipe out as much as 90 percent of humanity, and we're powerless to stop them.

But what if there was a well-documented, but preventable threat, that could bring this country to its knees and kill as many as a quarter of a billion Americans, yet we were doing nothing to prevent it. In fact there are fixes we could put in place now to lessen the consequences — but the media and our nation's leaders not only ignore it, Congress has even cut money from the budget that could provide the means to deal with it.

The threat is called electromagnetic pulse (EMP) and it could come about as the result of detonating one well-placed nuclear device high over the United States. In fact, it could happen even without a nuclear attack as a result of a naturally-occurring solar flare from our own sun..."

EPA Targets Families That Generate Heat Off The Grid Using Traditional Wood-Burning Stoves

EPA targets families that generate heat off the grid using traditional wood-burning stoves: "Traditional wood-burning stoves are still one of the most cost-efficient, sustainable, and renewable sources of energy production that families can use to heat their homes. But the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not a huge fan of them, as was evidenced by its recent decision to push those who use traditional models to convert to EPA-approved -- and oftentimes much more expensive -- alternative models.

Throughout history, civilizations have relied on the burning of wood to cook food, warm water, and heat places of dwelling. After all, trees are an abundant and renewable source of wood, which means that the costs associated with obtaining energy and heat from burning wood are minimal. This, of course, is why many cash-strapped folks today are turning to wood-burning stoves rather than their local utilities.

But the EPA is now expressing concern about the 80 percent-or-so of wood stove users that still rely on non-EPA approved models. Most of the wood stoves manufactured before 1990 do not contain the EPA's certification stamp of approval which, in the eyes of the agency, means they are an unnecessary contributor of excess environmental pollution..."

Think We've Got It Bad? Read About the British Expats Whose Lives Have Become a Nightmare in a Violent, Chaotic Greece

Think we've got it bad? Read about the British expats whose lives have become a nightmare in a violent, chaotic land | Mail Online: "Last month, I dropped off my two-year-old daughter Nicci Alise at her nursery during a downpour that lasted barely an hour. But this being Athens, that’s all it took for many of the shoddily maintained roads to flood. As I navigated the five-minute drive home, stinking bags of uncollected garbage sailed past in the torrents.

It could have been a scene from Slumdog Millionaire, except that I was driving past multi-million-euro mansions with gilded gates and cascading bougainvillea in one of Athens’s most affluent suburbs. The imagery was potent. Greece 2011: a country that has allowed itself to be capsized by its own accumulated waste.

It’s been barely a fortnight since new prime minister Lucas Papademos was parachuted in, and Greece’s so-called ‘national unity’ government has already devolved into a Mexican stand-off over the crucial signing of the eurozone rescue deal. But regardless of any new political scenario, Greece’s citizens still face years of brutal austerity when, even now, there are so many who haven’t been paid in months.

On that rainy day, the city’s refuse collectors were on strike, as they had been for the past fortnight, along with a good proportion of Greece’s labour force. We were in the grip of a 48-hour general strike. Airports, state schools and banks stopped working. They were joined by bakers, doctors, customs officials, taxi and bus drivers and even judges. Clothes shops and tax offices shut down, but the beggars who clog Athens’s road junctions cleaning windscreens were still hard at it.

Every night, my husband Dimitri and I log on with foreboding to the strike website that has the most reliable information on the next day’s industrial action. That’s right: we have chosen to live in a country where we must consult a website devoted solely to strikes. It is dawning on us that we must be crazy.

Six years ago we left London for Athens in a spirit of great optimism with our first child, Poppy Grace. It was a chance for Dimitri to reconnect with his Greek roots in the great Olive Belt.

Last month’s 48-hour paralysis was certainly the most severe I have witnessed. The day before, we all rushed out to stock up on milk, bread and petrol: siege preparations.

When rumours of another extended petrol station strike broke earlier that month, I queued for an hour to fill my tank. The last time it had happened, we had no petrol for more than a week.

Eighteen months ago, three people died – one of them a pregnant woman – when protesters torched the Marfin Egnatia bank in Syntagma Square, 300 yards from where my husband works for a small Greek investment bank. Like thousands that day, he had to fight his way home on foot through tear gas and flying rocks...

... A month ago, Dimitri once again braved the riots and tear gas, the piles of burning rubbish and Molotov cocktails to get home from the city’s beleaguered centre. But the mood of the people, he reported, had shifted and there was now an ugly undercurrent to these ritual protests that frightened him.

For the first time, protesters targeted one of the guard boxes outside Parliament House. Traditionally, these military sentinels have been revered by the Greeks as a symbol of the people. Last month, they burned a guard box too. Greece – her unemployment rate soaring at 16.5 per cent – now officially appears to be a country that is fragmenting..."

28 November, 2011

Black Friday Violence Worse Than Ever As American Consumers Fight Over Deals Like Crazed Animals

Black Friday Violence Worse Than Ever As American Consumers Fight Over Deals Like Crazed Animals: "We all knew that this was coming, didn't we? Each year Black Friday violence just seems to get worse and worse. What does it say about American consumers when they are willing to fight like crazed animals just to save a few bucks on cheap plastic crap made in China? Not that retailers are innocent in any of this. It certainly seems as though many of them purposely create wild situations on Black Friday where customers will rush like crazy people into their stores and nearly riot as they fight over discounted merchandise. The more Black Friday madness there is, the more of an "event" it becomes, and the higher the profits of the retailers go. This year there was more Black Friday hype than ever and there was also more Black Friday violence than ever. It is being projected that this year a record-setting 152 million Americans will go shopping between Thanksgiving and Sunday night. That may be good news for the big corporate retailers, but the shocking lack of character being displayed by American consumers all over the country this weekend is very bad news for the future of this nation..."

Gingrich Warns EMP Greatest Strategic Threat to U.S.

Gingrich warns EMP greatest strategic threat to U.S.: "... presidential candidate and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich announced a threat to U.S. national security that no other candidate has discussed and that commentators described as "out of the box" until they researched it for themselves.

The potential threat Gingrich referred to was an electromagnetic pulse, or EMP, attack that 'would literally destroy the country's capacity to function.' Gingrich pointed out that no one is talking about the potential for such an attack to cripple America's critical infrastructure.

Business Insider said that 'at first, we thought Gingrich had been playing too many video games, but after looking into it, it turns out EMP attacks are actually real and pretty damn scary'..."

Popular Mom-and-Pop Water Purification Business Shuttered by DEA's Meth-Hunting "Knotheads"

Popular Mom-and-pop water purification business shuttered by DEA's meth-hunting "knotheads" - Boing Boing: "... Bob Wallace, an 88-year-old chemist who started a very successful cottage business selling iodine crystals under the 'Polar Pure' brand new, used by hikers and disaster relief workers for water purification. Wallace has been put out of business by the Drug Enforcement Agency, who say they once busted a meth lab that was using Wallace's iodine in their process. The DEA says it's not their fault: 'If Mr. Wallace is no longer in business he has perhaps become part of that collateral damage, for it was not a result of DEA regulations, but rather the selfish actions of criminal opportunists. Individuals that readily sacrifice human lives for money'..."

23 November, 2011

8 Tips for Really Frugal Living

8 Tips for Really Frugal Living - SecondAct.com: "Jeff Yeager doesn't clip coupons -- surprising for a frugal living expert whose books on the subject have landed him on The Today Show.

Using coupons leads to unnecessary spending, and Yeager, author of The Ultimate Cheapskate's Road Map to True Riches and The Cheapskate Next Door, preaches spending a little and reusing a lot. Give him an orange rind and he'll use it to shine copper pots. Show him an empty toilet paper roll and some dryer lint, and he'll stuff one with the other for a homemade fire starter.

A pared-down lifestyle isn't solely about saving money. It's also about getting happy, he says. 'It's about choices. Every time you get your wallet out and decide what you're going to spend on, you're making a choice.'

To get into the frugal habit, Yeager suggests going a week without buying anything, what he calls a 'fiscal fast.' Pay bills that are due and buy prescription medication ahead of time. Otherwise, don't stockpile food or anything else. Fix meals from what's on hand. Stretch the gas in your tank by telecommuting, carpooling, biking, walking or taking public transportation. For fun, play board games or read a book. When the week's over, use any money you saved to pay down debts, or put it in savings, Yeager says..."

21 November, 2011

Building Your Own 20kW Hydroelectric Power Plant

Design News - News - Case Study: Building Your Own 20kW Hydroelectric Power Plant: "Microhydroelectric power is making a comeback in electricity generation for homes, farms, and small businesses. This trend is fueled by factors including favorable regulation, rising energy prices, and advances in automation. And do-it-yourselfers worldwide are diving in.

The only requirement to generate electricity is access to a stream with a two-foot drop in water level and two gallons of flow per minute. A hydroelectric system isn’t overly complicated, isn’t difficult to operate and maintain, has longevity, and is often more cost-effective than any other form of renewable power..."

Foreign Hackers Targeted U.S. Water Plant in Apparent Malicious Cyber Attack, Expert Says

"Foreign hackers targeted U.S. water plant in apparent malicious cyber attack, expert says - Checkpoint Washington - The Washington Post: Foreign hackers caused a pump at an Illinois water plant to fail last week, according to a preliminary state report. Experts said the cyber-attack, if confirmed, would be the first known to have damaged one of the systems that supply Americans with water, electricity and other essentials of modern life.

Companies and government agencies that rely on the Internet have for years been routine targets of hackers, but most incidents have resulted from attempts to steal information or interrupt the functioning of Web sites. The incident in Springfield, Ill., would mark a departure because it apparently caused physical destruction...

... News of the incident became public after Joe Weiss, an industry security expert, obtained a report dated Nov. 10 and collected by an Illinois state intelligence center that monitors security threats. The original source of the information was unknown and impossible to immediately verify.

The report, which Weiss read to The Washington Post, describes how a series of minor glitches with a water pump gradually escalated to the point where the pump motor was being turned on and off frequently. It soon burned out, according to the report..."

18 November, 2011

Tough Times: Life Inside the Hardest Hit County in the U.S.

Tough times: Life inside the hardest hit county in the U.S. - The Globe and Mail: "... Rowan County [North Carolina] is not the poorest in America, but it is among those that have experienced the most stunning loss during Barack Obama’s first term. Once a blue-collar county, Rowan has morphed into an unemployed one, where everything from federal stimulus money to state home loans to government retraining programs have failed to impede a deeper slide into poverty..."

17 November, 2011

Guess How Many Americans Don't Have Enough Saved To Cover A $1000 Emergency

Guess How Many Americans Don't Have Enough Saved To Cover A $1000 Emergency: "According to a recent study from The National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), 33 percent of Americans do not have a savings account of at least $1,000 or more to cover emergency expenses.

The NFCC study surveyed 1,010 Americans to determine how much money they had set aside in the event of a financial emergency that could cost around $1,000.

Of the respondents surveyed, 64 percent claimed to possess emergency funds..."

15 November, 2011

22 Signs That The Thin Veneer Of Civilization That We All Take For Granted Is Starting To Disappear

22 Signs That The Thin Veneer Of Civilization That We All Take For Granted Is Starting To Disappear: "In order for a society to function, there has to be a certain level of trust. Each day when we leave our homes, we take for granted that most people are not going to attack us for no reason, that there will only be isolated incidents of theft in our community and that rioting and violence are not going to erupt in the streets. Whether we realize it or not, we depend on the fact that the vast majority of the people around us are going to act in a civilized manner. Unfortunately, the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted is starting to disappear. When I was growing up, I was taught that challenging times reveal our true character. There are many that believe that the declining economy is causing a lot of the chaos that we are now witnessing, but perhaps what is going on is that these challenging economic times are simply revealing the character that has been there all along. For decades, a "false prosperity" that was fueled by unprecedented amounts of debt has masked a lot of the internal rot that has taken hold in America. But now that our prosperity is crumbling, our lack of values is becoming startlingly clear.

Greed, corruption and extreme self-centeredness have deeply infected our society. We see this on Wall Street and in Congress, and we see this among those that are trying to survive on the mean streets of our largest cities.

Our nation is breaking down on every level. If by some miracle we were able to fix our economy, that would mask our problems for a while, but it would not solve them.

Unfortunately, as I write about nearly every day, there are a whole host of indications that our economy is about to get even worse. When it does, millions of Americans will become even more desperate, and as we are now seeing all over this country, desperate people do desperate things..."

[Be sure to follow the link above to read the list. This article lays out the concepts I've been hoping to help people understand with this blog.]

14 November, 2011

The Truth about Violence : 3 Principles of Self-Defense

The Blog : The Truth about Violence : Sam Harris: "As a teenager, I once had an opportunity to fly in a police helicopter over a major American city. Naively, I thought the experience might be uneventful. Perhaps there would be no crime between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m. on a Saturday night. However, from the moment we were airborne, there was a fresh emergency every fifteen seconds: Shots fired… rape in progress… victim stabbed…It was a deluge. Of course, the impression this left on me was, in part, the result of a sampling bias: I was hearing nothing but incident reports from a city of 4 million people, most of whom would never encounter violence directly. (No one calls the police to say “Everything is still okay!”) Yet it was uncanny to discover the chaos that lurked at the margins of my daily routine. A few minutes from where I might otherwise have been eating dinner, rapes, robberies, and murders were in progress...

... In my experience, most people do not want to think about the reality of human violence. I have friends who sleep with their front doors unlocked and who would never consider receiving instruction in self-defense. For them, gun ownership seems like an ugly and uncivilized flirtation with paranoia. Happily, most of these people will never encounter violence in any form. And good luck will make their unconcern seem perfectly justified.

But here are the numbers: In 2010, there were 403.6 violent crimes per 100,000 persons in the United States. (The good news: This is an overall decrease of 13.4 percent from the level in 2001.) Thus, the average American has a 1 in 250 chance of being robbed, assaulted, raped, or murdered each year. Actually, the chance is probably greater than this, because we know that certain crimes, such as assault and rape, are underreported.

Of course, your risks vary depending on who you are and where you live. In Compton, one of the more dangerous parts of Los Angeles, your chances of experiencing violent crime in 2010 were 1 in 71; if you lived in Beverly Hills they were 1 in 458. Still, even in good neighborhoods, the likelihood of being attacked is hardly remote. In the comparative safety of Beverly Hills, assuming the crime rate stays constant, the probability that you will be robbed, assaulted, raped or murdered at some point over the next 30 years is 1 in 16. (The average risk in the U.S. is 1 in 9; in Compton it’s better than 1 in 3.) Again, these statistics surely paint too rosy a picture, because many crimes go unreported.

It may seem onerous to prepare yourself and your family to respond to violence, but not doing so is also a form of preparation. Failing to prepare is, generally speaking, preparing very well to do the wrong thing. Although most of us are good at recognizing danger, our instincts often lead us to behave in ways that increase our chances of being injured or killed once a threat emerges.

Why can’t civilized people like ourselves simply rely on the police? Well, look around you: Do you see a cop? Unless you happen to be a police officer yourself, or are married to one, you are very unlikely to be attacked in the presence of law enforcement. The role of the police is to respond in the aftermath of a crime and, with a little luck, to catch the person who committed it. If you are ever targeted by a violent predator, whether you and your family are injured or killed will depend on what you do in the first moments of the encounter.⁠ When it comes to survival, therefore, you are entirely on your own. Once you escape and are in a safe place, by all means call the police. But dialing 911 when an intruder has broken into your home is not a strategy for self-defense..."

11 November, 2011

U.S. Researchers and Pharmaceutical Companies Conducting Human Experimentation in Africa

People's Blog for the Constitution - US researchers and pharmaceutical companies conducting human experimentation in Africa: "A new policy brief faults prominent institutions and drug companies like Pfizer, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, and Population Council, for their involvement in unethical and illegal human experimentation in Africa.

The report is titled “Non-Consensual Research in Africa: The Outsourcing of Tuskegee” in reference to the illegal human experiment conducted in Tuskegee, Alabama, between 1932 and 1972 by the US Public Health Service. In that experiment, some 600 impoverished African-American men were observed in a study on the progression of untreated syphilis. Some of the men were intentionally infected with the disease and all of them were denied the cure. Regrettably, the report notes, no one was held accountable for this crime against humanity.

The new report details human experiments led by US researchers and drug companies on Africans who are typically undereducated, poor, and lack full understanding of their rights. The human subjects often are led to believe that they are receiving medical treatment from governmental health services or health ministries..."

Eugenics Past And Present, Driven By Race, Class, Economics Says Researcher

Nano Patents and Innovations: Eugenics Past And Present, Driven By Race, Class, Economics Says Researcher: "University of Cincinnati (UC) historian Wendy Kline will present her case study research on coercive birth control used as a form of eugenics. She will present that research at an international conference in Europe on Nov. 11.

Eugenics – the science of improving the human population via selective breeding or reproduction – is not a concept confined to past centuries and decades, nor to locales outside the United States.

That’s the finding of recent research by University of Cincinnati historian Wendy Kline, who will present a case study on the topic – a case study that examines the use of the controversial contraceptive injection, Depo-Provera, as a eugenic tool...

... It’s research that is particularly timely given that recent national news coverage has featured North Carolina’s current plans to compensate surviving victims of forced sterilizations that took place there from the 1920s to the 1970s..."

10 November, 2011

12 Mistakes That Welcome a Home Invasion

Activist Post: 12 Mistakes That Welcome a Home Invasion: "... If someone breaks in to your home -- be it a ranch in Eastern Texas, a cottage in Washington State, an apartment in the city, or a garden home in a planned community -- a break-in is a break-in and is therefore a violation of your most sacred space: your home.

With the shorter days of winter, as well as the holidays that are coming up, burglars and thieves are going to be on the lookout for homes that are easy targets.

The [authors] want to share 12 things people do to roll out the welcome mat and invite the bad guys to pay them a visit.

We also want to offer some suggestions of things you can do now to make your home less attractive to these uninvited visitors..."

08 November, 2011

Society's Thin Veneer - Tempers Flare Over Protracted Conn. Power Outages

News from The Associated Press: "Tempers are snapping as fast as the snow-laden branches that brought down power wires across the Northeast last weekend, with close to 300,000 Connecticut customers still in the dark and the state's biggest utility warning them not to threaten or harass repair crews.

Angry residents left without heat as temperatures drop to near freezing overnight have been lashing out at Connecticut Light & Power: accosting repair crews, making profane criticisms online and suing. In Simsbury, a hard-hit suburban town of about 25,000 residents, National Guard troops deployed to clear debris have been providing security outside a utility office building..."

07 November, 2011

More Earth Changes

We have talked here previously about the strange things that seem to be going on with the weather, climate, et cetera these days.  Among these seem to be a confluence of "unusual" earthquake activity.  Now, one can add Oklahoma to the list that includes Colorado and Virginia from just a few months ago.

We must understand, of course, that earthquakes in these areas are not unheard of, but what is unusual is that they suddenly seem to be occurring with a strange frequency unseen in recent times. Broadening our focus, one can also find a correlation with unusual quakes outside the U.S.: a Magnitude 6.6 quake hit in Indonesia not long ago uncomfortably close to the Lake Toba Super-Volcano; and, of course, who could ever forget the disastrous and tragic quake that struck Haiti in 2010, described as the strongest in 200 Years?

I could be crazy, but my instincts tell me something odd is happening, perhaps eventually culminating in an almost unthinkably horrendous future disaster.

I also find it interesting that this past weekend's quake in Oklahoma might have been predicted months ago.

World Population Hits 7 Billion

World population hits 7 billion – USATODAY.com: "This historic milestone is rekindling age-old debates over birth control, protecting natural resources and reducing consumption. It also has many wondering whether the Earth can support so many people.

About half were added just in the past 40 years, and 3 billion more are expected by 2100.

Global population has swelled in record time since 1987, when it hit 5 billion.

'Currently, world population is growing at the most rapid pace in history,' says Carl Haub, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau. 'In 1900, we were at 1.6 billion. In 99 years, we flipped the numbers to 6.1 billion.'..."

Native American Wisdom RE: Daylight Savings Time

In honor of the nonsense of this past weekend...

04 November, 2011


ol remus and the woodpile report: "Credible analysts say we've already taken the on-ramp to hyperinflation, that there's no real chance of escape, and all talk otherwise is but noise and fog. They point to facts which appear to be a good fit to past catastrophes. In a commonly cited example, the German mark of 1914 traded at 4.2 to the US dollar, but after the war there was an induced inflation, intended to be strictly back-office and therapeutic, which it was for a while.

'Prices in Germany temporarily stabilized and remained rock-steady during fifteen months in 1920 and 1921, and there was therefore no surface inflation at all, but at the same time the government began again to pump out deficit expenditure, business credit, and money at a renewed rate. Germany's money supply doubled again during this period of stable prices. It was this time, when Germany was sublimely unconscious of the fiscal monsters in its closet, which was undoubtedly the turning of the tide toward the inflationary smash.' -- Jens Parsson, Dying of Money, 1974, von Mises Institute

Eerily similar, aye? With huge deficits and uncollateralized credit, misallocation followed and inflation was set in motion, which then went off the rails and barreled sideways through the neighborhood. By November 1923, one US dollar would buy 4.2 trillion German marks. Prices doubled every two days. That's how it works when the money supply is increased irresponsibly. Inflation seems almost normal at first, although confidence in the currency takes a little hit. Then events cause confidence to slip noticeably, then alarmingly, then exponentially. The day comes when confidence drops to zero, when everybody wants what the currency may buy, but not the currency itself. When inflation takes a right-angle turn it earns a new name: hyperinflation. Said another way, hyperinflation is a matter of blundering into a critical mass, i.e., it's a non-obvious explosive with a nearly instantaneous ramp-up. In 1923 Germany it happened in mere weeks.

With our electronic banking and money exchanges, what took weeks in 1923 may now take days, perhaps hours, perhaps the second 64-bit computer architecture can't handle the numbers. When the currency becomes worthless and obviously so, when truckers and firemen and power plant operators understand they're working for nothing, the real economy collapses. Only then is the fullness of the debacle in plain sight, when there's nothing for sale at any amount of fiat, when only silver or gold or food is likely to be acceptable. It's just here deflation and inflation achieve identity, currency ceases to function, or as techno-economists would put it, the velocity of money approaches zero.* Thievery and barter take over. The benighted are understandably outraged and there's blood in the streets. Only future historians can say what follows..."

When Government Knows No Limitation: New DOJ Rules Allow More Intrusive Searches

When Government Knows No Limitation: New DOJ Rules Allow More Intrusive Searches - Big Government: "I was once told by someone involved in a federal investigation not to let any identified federal law enforcement officer into your house without: a) a warrant and b) your lawyer present. At the time, this notion seemed a bit less than cooperative. Shouldn’t law-abiding citizens be able to live their lives free from the fear that our own government would underhandedly manipulate our rights in their pursuit of an investigation? After all, the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution enumerates a limitation on the federal government, one that prevents “unreasonable search and seizure.” Today, this enumerated protection is being ignored by – of all institutions – the U.S. Justice Department, under the darkened shadow of Attorney General Eric Holder..."

In Central Park, Learning to Survive in the Wild

In Central Park, Learning to Survive in the Wild - NYTimes.com: "TWENTY feet away from the dogs and children playing on the grass, deep inside a Central Park thicket, the city almost disappears. A street lamp shines through the leafy canopy, and runners and cyclists race past, oblivious to a lean man huddled beneath the trees holding fire in his hands — a fire he created using a wooden bow drill.

Since childhood the man, Shane Hobel, 43, has been passionate about, and studying, wilderness survival with a variety of teachers, some of them American Indians. A former stuntman, he now teaches these skills through his Mountain Scout Survival School, in Central Park and in the Hudson Valley, in Garrison, N.Y.

Some of his students are those newly spooked by the swell of local hurricanes and floods, ill equipped for life without batteries and electricity. Some are outdoors enthusiasts and hikers. All are eager to learn the basics of how to find and filter water, how to build a fire, how to track wild animals and even trap them for food...

... Mr. Hobel’s students seek the specific, practical outdoors skills that some children learn in the scouts or at summer camp but are more difficult to acquire firsthand as adults outside military training..."

03 November, 2011

The Scary Side of Technology

The View From North Central Idaho - Hanging them with their own rope: "A biometric login for your computer is useful and very cool. A biometric database of 9 million Jews with pictures, fingerprints, name, date of birth, national identification number, and family members is a target.

From 1933 through the early 1940’s IBM made a lot of money helping the Germans collect, sort, and distribute that sort of data.

That target was hit and is now available for free download.

Think about the implications before you advocate for a National ID card or the mandating of ID in order to be functioning member of society. Giving up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety has known consequences..."


View From The Porch: Okay, that's an easy one...: "Nothing more clearly fails Joe Huffman's 'Jews In The Attic Test' [article quoted and linked above] than a comprehensive, mandatory list of Jews (or Presbyterians, or blacks, or gun owners, or left-handers, or...) who might potentially be found in attics.

Which is all a national biometric ID database is when you think about it.

'Oh,' comes the reply, 'We just have to keep it from falling into the wrong hands! After all, this is about national security, and the government only has the best intentions...'


I'm sorry, did I break your concentration? I didn't mean to do that. Please, continue, you were saying something about best intentions. What's the matter? Oh, you were finished! Well, allow me to retort:

1. If we can't keep h4x0rZ out of Predator drones and Chicoms out of our satellites, how are we going to keep $RANDOM_FUTURE_VILLAIN out of our comprehensive National Identity Theft Clearinghouse/Pogrom Database?

2. 'Keep it from falling into the wrong hands'? It's a government database! It's starting out in the wrong hands! I don't know if you were keeping track in the 20th Century, dude, but Governments out-pointed Nigerian 419 Scammers by several hundred million to zero on the big International Dead Guy Scoreboard.

I'd sooner trust Joseph M'bekebeke in a Lagos internet cafe with this information than I would a bunch of guys with snappy uniforms and lots of guns. At least if Joseph decides to use the information to find me and rough me up, he's got to come up with the scratch for airfare first."

How Hyperinflation Could Start in America

How Hyperinflation Could Start in America: "... the runaway inflation of Germany in the early 1920s is one of the worst cases in history, where, at its nadir, the monthly inflation rate reached 29,500 percent in October 1923. In post-World War II Greece, inflation peaked at 20.9 percent a month in October 1944, while in July 1946, inflation in Hungary hit 207 percent daily. In China, following the Second World War, inflation reached 2,178 percent in May 1949, equivalent to a daily rate of 11 percent.

In the mid-1970s, Chile suffered from an inflation rate of 746 percent annually, while Argentina’s inflation rate in 1989 hit 12,000 percent. Bolivia’s inflation between May and August 1985 hit 60,000 percent on an annual basis. Nicaragua’s inflation rate in 1987 exceeded 30,000 percent; Yugoslavia’s daily rate of inflation reached 64.6 percent between 1989 and 1994; and in perhaps the most famous hyperinflation of all time, the purchasing power of Zimbabwean dollars was virtually obliterated, with inflation reaching 416 quintillion percent annually.

German citizens related their stories of how they were impacted. Walter Levy, a German-born oil consultant in New York, commented,

'My father was a lawyer and he had taken out an insurance policy in 1903, and every month he had made the payments faithfully. It was a 20-year policy, and when it came due, he cashed it in and bought a single loaf of bread.'

A student at Freiburg University ordered a cup of coffee at a café. The price on the menu was 5,000 marks. He had two cups. When the bill came, it was for 14,000 marks. When he complained, he was told, 'If you want to save money, and you want two cups of coffee, you should order them both at the same time.'

A German factory worker described payday, which was every day:

'At 11:00 in the morning a siren sounded, and everybody gathered in the factory forecourt, where a five-ton lorry was drawn up loaded brimful with paper money. The chief cashier and his assistants climbed up on top. They read out our names and just threw out bundles of notes. As soon as you had caught one you made a dash for the nearest shop and bought just anything that was going.'...

... as explained by Charles Scaliger in The New American, for nearly 100 years prior to the Constitutional Convention in 1787, the infant [American] society suffered repeatedly from the disasters and aftereffects of government printing of paper money without commodity backing to pay its bills. Such printing, Scaliger noted, 'has the potential to damage severely the body politic. Hyperinflation in particular is usually accompanied by civil unrest, regime change, and dictatorship. Wherever it rears its ugly head, confidence in banks, money, and the economy as a whole is lost. Savings are wiped out as currencies lose value, and pauperized citizens revert to a barter economy.' Scaliger noted that all it takes is a 'trigger' to start the hyperinflationary process sufficient to cause 'not merely a currency correction but a calamitous collapse of the entire economy on a scale that would dwarf even the hyperinflation of the Revolutionary War.'...

... In a plausible scenario, Gonzalo Lira, writing for the Business Insider, proposed how a 'trigger' event could begin the unraveling in the United States. He suggested that

'one day — when nothing much is going on in the markets, but general nervousness is running like a low-grade fever — there will be a commodities burp. A slight but sudden rise in the price of a necessary commodity, such as oil.

This will jiggle [raise] Treasury yields as asset managers reduce their Treasury [holdings] and go into [oil] in order to catch a profit.

So Bernanke and the Fed will buy Treasuries in an effort to counteract the sell-off and maintain low yields.

The Fed’s buying will … encourage asset managers to dump even more Treasuries into the Fed’s waiting arms. Most likely … the selloff in Treasuries will be orderly …

However, the Fed will interpret this as a run on Treasuries … and buy up every Treasury in sight.

The TBTF (Too Big To Fail) banks, on seeing this run on Treasuries, will add to the panic by acting in their own best interests: They will be among the first to step off [sell their] Treasuries.

Here the panic phase of the event begins: asset managers — on seeing the massive Fed buy of Treasuries — will dump their own Treasuries en masse.

It will be a flash panic — much like the flash-crash of last May. The events I describe above will happen in a very short span of time — less than an hour, probably. But unlike the event in May, there will be no rebound.'

He concludes his plausible scenario:

'By the end of that terrible day, commodities of all stripes — precious and industrial metals, oil, foodstuffs — will shoot the moon. But it will not be because ordinary citizens have lost faith in the dollar (that will happen in the days and weeks ahead) — it will happen because once Treasuries are [no longer] the sure store of value, where are all those money managers supposed to stick all those dollars?

By the end of the day of this panic, commodities will have risen between 50% and 100%. By week’s end, we’re talking 150% to 250%. Of course, once commodities start to balloon, that’s when the ordinary citizens will get their first taste of hyperinflation. They’ll see it at the gas pumps.'

From there the scenario plays out as it has elsewhere: panic, food shortages, riots, martial law..."

How Close is Your Home to a Nuclear Plant?

"How close is your home to a nuclear plant?: "If a crisis at a nuclear reactor happened in the U.S., could you be living in a danger zone? In a 10-mile radius, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the air could be unsafe to breathe in the event of a major catastrophe. In 50 miles, food and water supplies may be unsafe..."

[Searches By Zipcode]

NOTE: Without revealing my exact location, I can tell you that the 3 closest plants to my homestead are 140, 165 and 183 miles away, respectively.  Of course, there is still wind-borne fallout to consider.

02 November, 2011

Rural Rebellion Brewing

Steven Greenhut: Rural rebellion brewing | county, rural, state - Opinion - The Orange County Register: "The nearly five-hour drive from the Sacramento area to Yreka, in Siskiyou County by the Oregon border, was a reminder not just of the immense size and beauty of California, but of the vast regional and cultural differences one finds within our 37-million-population state.

Sacramento is Government Central, a land of overly pensioned bureaucrats and restaurant discounts for state workers. But way up in the North State, one finds a small but hard-edged rural populace that views state and federal officials as the main obstacles to their quality of life.

Their latest battle is to stop destruction of four hydroelectric dams along the Klamath River – an action driven by environmentalists and the Obama administration. Most locals say the dam-busting will undermine their property rights and ruin the local farming and ranch economy, which is all that's left since environmental regulators destroyed the logging and mining industries...

... These rural folks, living in the shadow of the majestic Mount Shasta, believe that they are being driven away so that their communities can essentially go back to the wild, to conform to a modern environmentalist ethos that puts wildlands above humanity. As the locals told it during the Defend Rural America conference Oct. 22 at the Siskiyou Golden Fairgrounds, environmental officials are treading on their liberties, traipsing unannounced on their properties, confronting ranchers with guns drawn to enforce arcane regulatory rules and destroying their livelihoods in the process.

The evening's main event: a panel featuring eight county sheriffs (seven from California, one from Oregon) who billed themselves as 'Constitution sheriffs.' They vowed to stand up for the residents of their communities against what they say is an unconstitutional onslaught from regulators in Sacramento and Washington, D.C. In particular, they took issue with the federal government's misnamed Travel Management Plan, which actually is designed to shut down public travel in the forests.

Plumas County Sheriff Greg Hagwood related the stir he caused when he said he 'will not criminalize citizens for just accessing public lands.' Siskiyou County Sheriff Jon Lopey reminded the crowd that county sheriffs are sworn to uphold the Constitution 'against all enemies, foreign and domestic.' These are fighting words.

Sheriff Dean Wilson of Del Norte County said he was 'ignorant and naïve about the terrible condition our state was in.' He came to believe that people were being assaulted by their own government. 'I spent a good part of my life enforcing the penal code but not understanding my oath.' Wilson and other sheriffs said it is their role to defend the liberties of the people against any encroachments – even if those encroachments come from other branches of government.

As someone who has covered law-enforcement issues in urban Southern California, it's refreshing to hear peace officers enunciate the proper relationship between themselves and the people. Increasingly, law enforcement is based on an authoritarian model, whereby police have nearly unlimited power, and citizens must obey, period. It's rare to hear peace officers who are willing to stand up against more powerful arms of the government in service to their oath to their state and county and who affirm that their job is to protect their citizens' inherent rights. It's even rarer to hear sheriffs complain about the excessive use of force by fellow officers, which was a theme on the panel when referencing federal agents..."

Sheriff: Time For Citizens To Arm Themselves

Sheriff: Time For Citizens To Arm Themselves - Greenville News Story - WYFF Greenville: "The Spartanburg County Sheriff is known for speaking his mind, and at a news conference on Monday, he didn't hold back his anger and frustration after a woman was attacked in a park over the weekend.

Investigators said 46-year-old Walter Lance grabbed a woman who was walking her dog in Milliken Park on Sunday afternoon. They said Lance choked the woman, made her take off her clothing and tried to rape her. (Full Story)

Lance is in custody and was denied bond on Monday.

Sheriff Chuck Wright opened his news conference by saying, 'Our form of justice is not making it.'

He said, 'Carry a concealed weapon. That'll fix it.'

Wright said Lance had been charged numerous times with crimes against women, and other crimes such as resisting arrest and escape. Wright said Lance had been on probation for a federal gun charge.

He referred to Lance repeatedly as an 'animal,' and expressed his disgust about Lance's long record and the attack...

... He said he doesn't believe every person needs to be kept in jail, but he said, 'I don't think this animal deserves to be out in our society, walking alongside our women.'

Wright said, 'Liberals call me and tell me the chain-gang form of justice isn't working. Well, let me inform you, your form of justice isn't working either.'..."

2011's Incredible Weather Extremes

2011's Incredible Weather Extremes - weather.com: "When it comes to extremes in U.S. weather, there may be few years that can match the ferocity of 2011.

Snowstorms, tornadoes, flooding, exceptional drought, heat, and tropical cyclones. And that's only through the first nine months!..."

[Follow Link For Slideshow]

01 November, 2011

Geothermal Mapping Report Confirms Vast Coast-to-Coast Clean Energy Source

Please click on the link and read the article, then return here for my comments.

Okay, so here are my thoughts: This is very promising. However, as with the other supposed "miracle" energy discoveries of the recent past, there are issues.

As discussed in the link above, you have the problem of finding the capital required to build the infrastructure needed to exploit these energy reserves when we are already essentially out of money.

Secondly, we know from the situation with the Basel geothermal powerplant that pumping tons of water into the ground mixes with the rock/dirt and creates a slippery mud mixture that allows masses of rock to more easily slide along each other. So, more earthquakes. I imagine one way around this would be to lay down piping to contain the water throughout the cycle; which will, unfortunately, decrease the effectiveness of the whole process and make it even more expensive.

And that's just my knee-jerk reaction without doing any real research. Not saying we shouldn't explore it as a possibility, just that it may not be the "miracle fix" people seem to be thinking it is.


First Google.Org-funded geothermal mapping report<br />confirms vast coast-to-coast clean energy source - SMU: "New research from SMU’s Geothermal Laboratory, funded by a grant from Google.org, documents significant geothermal resources across the United States capable of producing more than three million megawatts of green power – 10 times the installed capacity of coal power plants today.

Sophisticated mapping produced from the research, viewable via Google Earth at www.google.org/egs, demonstrates that vast reserves of this green, renewable source of power generated from the Earth’s heat are realistically accessible using current technology.

The results of the new research, from SMU Hamilton Professor of Geophysics David Blackwell and Geothermal Lab Coordinator Maria Richards, confirm and refine locations for resources capable of supporting large-scale commercial geothermal energy production under a wide range of geologic conditions, including significant areas in the eastern two-thirds of the United States..."