With all that is being written about the national economic collapse, people seem to be waiting for some huge event.
However, for many North Americans, the collapse is here. This isn’t relegated to only lower income neighborhoods. As an article from a Cincinnati new station stated, “Hunger doesn’t know a zip code.”
For many people who were formerly financially comfortable, the economic collapse has already happened in the form of a job loss, hours that have been cut back due to Obamacare requirements for employers, an exorbitant medical bill or other crushing debt, or simply an inflation rate that has outstripped your pay increases. Despite all of the warnings, many people are still going to be absolutely blindsided.
- Which utility can I live without?
- Should I walk away from my mortgage?
- Should I eat something so I can work harder or should I skip meals so my kids have food?
- Should I use the grocery money to take my child to the doctor or should I wait and hope he/she improves without medical intervention?
- Do I risk the IRS-enforced penalties by forgoing enrollment in Obamacare or should I skip that whole grocery shopping thing so I can pay the monthly premiums and enormous deductibles in order to stay in the government’s good graces?
These are the kind of decisions that people across the nation are grappling with every day.
I’m talking about good people, hardworking men and women who have always been employed and paid their bills. A personal financial crisis does not just strike those stereotypical “welfare queens” with the long manicured nails, Gucci knock-off purse, and a grocery cart full of EBT-funded lobster.
I’m talking about the person next door, who seems to have it all together. I’m talking about that quiet family that sits two rows in front of you at church. I’m talking about that two-income family with two children and a car in the driveway that takes them to work and school 5 days a week. I’m talking about people just like you and me.
What is a personal economic collapse?
A personal economic collapse is a little different than the major crises you see all over Europe right now, where huge segments of the population can’t feed their children or stay employed. It is a crisis that just hits your family due to a given set of circumstances. (In actuality North Americans are on the brink of the kind of collapse that is occurring in Europe, but because of easy access to credit and a buy-now, pay-later society, many of us still have the appearance of prosperity.)
Here are some signs that you may be in the midst of a personal economic collapse:
- You can only afford to pay the minimum payment on most of your bills.
- The same dollar amount you used to spend on groceries doesn’t buy enough food to feed your family for the week.
- You can’t afford to go to the doctor when you’re sick.
- You are taking dangerous steps to “stretch” needed medications because you can’t afford the prescriptions.
- Your utility bills are past due and your power is in danger of being cut off.
- You skip meals in order to save money or to have enough food for your kids.
- You’ve lost your job or had your hours cut.
- You have lost property due to foreclosure or repossession (such as your home or your vehicle).
Surviving the crisis
Times are tough but you can survive this.
1.) First you have to see exactly where you are.
It’s time for a brutally honest assessment of your finances. If you use your debit card or credit card for most expenditures, you’ll easily be able to see what you’re spending and bringing in.
Print off your bank account statements for the past 2 months. On a piece of paper, track where your money is going. List the following
- Car payments
- Vehicle operating expenses (fuel, repairs)
- Credit card and other debt payments
- Telephone/Cell phone
- Extracurricular activities for the kids
- Extracurricular activities for the adults
- Dining out
- School expenses
- Recreational spending
- Miscellaneous (anything that doesn’t fall into the above categories gets its own category or goes here)
Don’t say to yourself, “Well, I usually don’t spend $400 on clothing so that isn’t realistic.” If you spent it, then it’s realistic. You are averaging together two months, which should account for those less common expenses. Brutal honesty isn’t fun, but it’s vital for this exercise.
So . . . what do you see when you look at your piece of paper with your average monthly expenditures for the past two months? Are there any surprises? Did you actually realize how much you’ve been spending? Most of us will immediately see places that we can trim the budget. Those $1-$5 purchases can really add up. Reining them in may just allow you to take care of an important need that you thought you could not meet.
It can’t continue like this. The economy will not withstand it. Step one is to see where you can cut things out right now from the above expenditures. Can you reduce your grocery bill? Slash meals out? Budget more carefully for gift-giving and school clothes?
2.) Rethink necessities.
If your finances are out of control, the best possible reality check is a stark look at what necessities really are. It is not necessary to life to have an iPhone, a vehicle in both stalls of your two-car garage, or for your children to all have separate bedrooms. People in Southern and Eastern Europe right now will tell you, as they scramble for food, basic over-the-counter medications like aspirin, and shelter, that necessities are those things essential to life:
- Food (and the ability to cook it)
- Medicine and medical supplies
- Basic hygiene supplies
- Shelter (including sanitation, lights, heat)
- Simple tools
- Defense items
Absolutely everything above those basic necessities is a luxury.
So, by this definition, what luxuries do you have?
3.) Reduce your monthly output
Reduce your monthly payments by cutting frivolous expenses. Look at every single monthly payment that comes out of your bank account and slash relentlessly. Consider cutting the following:
- Cell phones
- Home phones
- Gym memberships
- Restaurant meals
- Unnecessary driving
- Entertainment such as trips to the movies, the skating rink, or the mall
4.) Waste not, want not.
We live in a disposable society. Food comes in throw-away containers. People replace things instead of repairing them. If you throw out more than a couple of bags of garbage each week, that’s a very good sign that you may be wasting resources.
Before throwing anything away, pause and think about how it might be able to be reused.
Food: Many times small amounts of leftovers can be recycled into a brand new meal. Meat bones can be used to make broth or stock. Small amounts of veggies or grains can be frozen and added to a future soup or casserole. Leftovers can be frozen in meal-sized portions to take to work for a brown-bag lunch. (Learn more about repurposing leftovers HERE.)
Clothing: Clothing that is torn or damaged can often be repaired with only rudimentary sewing skills. If it has been outgrown or cannot be repaired, often the fabric or yarn can be reused for other purposes, from cleaning rags to fashionable accessories like scarves and headbands, or home items like throw pillows, potholders or rag rugs. When all else fails, the fabric can be used for cleaning rags or patches to repair other items. Keep jars full of buttons, elastic, and other notions that can easily be removed before you throw a clothing item away or relegate it to the rag bag.
Electronics: Obviously, initially you should attempt to repair (or have repaired) electronic items that are not working. If this is not feasible, are there components of the item that can be reused, either now or in the future? What about hardware such as screws or fasteners?
Containers: Most food comes in a container of some sort. Before throwing the container away, consider whether or not it might be useful. Glass jars, plastic tubs, and plastic bags can often be reused to store food in your refrigerator or to contain food in brown bag lunches. Clean aluminum cans can hold all manner of items, from hardware and tools in a workshop to sewing and craft supplies. Use your imagination.
5.) Take control of your food budget.
The price of food is skyrocketing. Who hasn’t been to the grocery store recently and been shocked at the high price of that cart full of groceries or at the mysterious shrinking food packages that are the same price as yesterday’s larger ones?
Stockpile: Create a stockpile of nutritious, healthy staples at today’s prices to enjoy when the cost goes even higher tomorrow. (Learn how to create a frugal food stockpile HERE.)
Preserve: Learn to preserve food yourself when you come across a windfall. Pressure canning,waterbath canning, freezing, and dehydrating can allow you to take advantage of great sales or end-of-season scores.
Eat less: This suggestion isn’t for everyone, but many of us could stand to shed a few pounds. Perhaps now would be a good time to cut back a little and shrink both your waistline and your weekly food bill. Lots of people eat for the sheer entertainment of it or out of habit. Next time you’re watching TV, grab some mending or a crossword puzzle instead of a bag of potato chips. Dish out slightly smaller servings at dinnertime to leave enough to stretch the leftovers for a brown bag meal the next day.
Drink water: Skip the beverages and drink water instead. At less than $1 per gallon for purchased water you simply can’t beat the price. It’s better for you, also, than sugary drinks. If you are lucky enough to have well water or access to spring water, your drinks don’t have to cost you a penny.
Focus on nutrition instead of convenience: Buy the best quality of food you can, and skip the processed, nutritionless convenience foods.
Grow your own. In the summer, grow the biggest garden you can. In the winter, or if you are an apartment dweller, put some sprouts and greens in a sunny windowsill to add some fresh produce for pennies.
6.) Reduce your dependence on utilities.
Energy rates are skyrocketing. As the prices begin to rise, more and more people will be unable to pay their bills and eventually their power will be shut off. Check your bill each month and as prices increase, use less power. Try some of these ideas to reduce your reliance and drop your bills.
- Hand wash your clothing
- Hang clothes to dry
- Cook on a woodstove or outdoor grill
- Can foods to preserve them instead of relying on a large chest freezer
- Turn the heat down a few degrees and use non-grid methods to keep warm
- Use rain barrels to collect water
- Direct the gray water from your washing machines to reservoirs
- Turn off the lights and open the blinds
- Use solar lighting whenever possible
How do you intend to weather the storm?
There are bleak days ahead. Have you planned for this? What strategies do you intend to use to weather the financial crisis that is coming for all of us? What suggestions do you have for families who are undergoing their own economic collapses? Please post questions and ideas in the comments section below.
Source: The Organic Prepper
New York – Jeremy Hammond sat in New York’s Metropolitan Correctional Center last week in a small room reserved for visits from attorneys. He was wearing an oversized prison jumpsuit. The brown hair of the lanky 6-footer fell over his ears, and he had a wispy beard. He spoke with the intensity and clarity one would expect from one of the nation’s most important political prisoners.
On Friday the 28-year-old activist will appear for sentencing in the Southern District Court of New York in Manhattan. After having made a plea agreement, he faces the possibility of a 10-year sentence for hacking into the Texas-based private security firm Strategic Forecasting Inc., or Stratfor, which does work for the Homeland Security Department, the Marine Corps, the Defense Intelligence Agency and numerous corporations including Dow Chemical and Raytheon.
Four others involved in the hacking have been convicted in Britain, and they were sentenced to less time combined—the longest sentence was 32 months—than the potential 120-month sentence that lies before Hammond.
Hammond turned the pilfered information over to the website WikiLeaks and Rolling Stone and other publications. The 3 million email exchanges, once
Jeremy Hammond is shown in this March 5, 2012 booking photo from the Cook County Sheriff’s Department in Chicago
made public, exposed the private security firm’s infiltration, monitoring and surveillance of protesters and dissidents, especially in the Occupy movement, on behalf of corporations and the national security state. And, perhaps most important, the information provided chilling evidence that anti-terrorism laws are being routinely used by the federal government to criminalize nonviolent, democratic dissent and falsely link dissidents to international terrorist organizations. Hammond sought no financial gain. He got none.The email exchanges Hammond made public were entered as evidence in my lawsuitagainst President Barack Obama over Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Section 1021 permits the military to seize citizens who are deemed by the state to be terrorists, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely in military facilities. Alexa O’Brien, a content strategist and journalist who co-founded US Day of Rage, an organization created to reform the election process, was one of my co-plaintiffs. Stratfor officials attempted, we know because of the Hammond leaks, to falsely link her and her organization to Islamic radicals and websites as well as to jihadist ideology, putting her at risk of detention under the new law. Judge Katherine B. Forrest ruled, in part because of the leak, that we plaintiffs had a credible fear, and she nullified the law, a decision that an appellate court overturned when the Obama administration appealed it.
Freedom of the press and legal protection for those who expose government abuses and lies have been obliterated by the corporate state. The resulting self-exile of investigative journalists such as Glenn Greenwald, Jacob Appelbaum and Laura Poitras, along with the indictment of Barret Brown, illustrate this. All acts of resistance—including nonviolent protest—have been conflated by the corporate state with terrorism. The mainstream, commercial press has been emasculated through the Obama administration’s repeated use of the Espionage Act to charge and sentence traditional whistle-blowers. Governmental officials with a conscience are too frightened to reach out to mainstream reporters, knowing that the authorities’ wholesale capturing and storing of electronic forms of communication make them easily identifiable.
Elected officials and the courts no longer impose restraint or practice oversight. The last line of defense lies with those such as Hammond, Julian Assange, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning who are capable of burrowing into the records of the security and surveillance state and have the courage to pass them on to the public. But the price of resistance is high.
“In these times of secrecy and abuse of power there is only one solution—transparency,” wrote Sarah Harrison, the British journalist who accompanied Snowden to Russia and who also has gone into exile, in Berlin. “If our governments are so compromised that they will not tell us the truth, then we must step forward to grasp it. Provided with the unequivocal proof of primary source documents people can fight back. If our governments will not give this information to us, then we must take it for ourselves.”
“When whistleblowers come forward we need to fight for them, so others will be encouraged,” she went on. “When they are gagged, we must be their voice. When they are hunted, we must be their shield. When they are locked away, we must free them. Giving us the truth is not a crime. This is our data, our information, our history. We must fight to own it. Courage is contagious.”
Hammond knows this contagion. He was living at home in Chicago in 2010 under a 7-a.m.-to-7-p.m. curfew for a variety of acts of civil disobedience when Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning was arrested for giving WikiLeaks secret information about military war crimes and government lies. Hammond at the time was running social aid programs to feed the hungry and send books to prisoners. He had, like Manning, displayed a remarkable aptitude for science, math and computer languages at a young age. He hacked into the computers at a local Apple store at 16. He hacked into the computer science department’s website at the University of Illinois-Chicago as a freshman, a prank that saw the university refuse to allow him to return for his sophomore year. He was an early backer of “cyber-liberation” and in 2004 started an “electronic-disobedience journal” he named Hack This Zine. He called on hackers in a speech at the 2004 DefCon convention in Las Vegas to use their skills to disrupt that year’s Republican National Convention. He was, by the time of his 2012 arrest, one of the shadowy stars of the hacktivist underground, dominated by groups such as Anonymous and WikiLeaks in which anonymity, stringent security and frequent changes of aliases alone ensured success and survival. Manning’s courage prompted Hammond to his own act of cyber civil disobedience, although he knew his chances of being caught were high.
“I saw what Chelsea Manning did,” Hammond said when we spoke last Wednesday, seated at a metal table. “Through her hacking she became a contender, a world changer. She took tremendous risks to show the ugly truth about war. I asked myself, if she could make that risk shouldn’t I make that risk? Wasn’t it wrong to sit comfortably by, working on the websites of Food Not Bombs, while I had the skills to do something similar? I too could make a difference. It was her courage that prompted me to act.”
Hammond—who has black-inked tattoos on each forearm, one the open-source movement’s symbol known as the “glider” and the other the shi hexagram from the I Ching—is steeped in radical thought. As a teenager, he swiftly migrated politically from the liberal wing of the Democratic Party to the militancy of the Black Bloc anarchists. He was an avid reader in high school of material put out by CrimethInc, an anarchist collective that publishes anarchist literature and manifestos. He has molded himself after old radicals such as Alexander Berkman and Emma Goldman and black revolutionaries such as George Jackson, Elaine Brown and Assata Shakur, as well as members of the Weather Underground. He said that while he was in Chicago he made numerous trips to Waldheim Cemetery to visit the Haymarket Martyrs Monument, which honors four anarchists who were hanged in 1887 and others who took part in the labor wars. On the 16-foot-high granite monument are the final words of one of the condemned men, August Spies. It reads: “The day will come when our silence will be more powerful than the voice you are throttling today.” Emma Goldman is buried nearby.
Hammond became well known to the government for a variety of acts of civil disobedience over the last decade. These ranged from painting anti-war graffiti on Chicago walls to protesting at the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York to hacking into the right-wing website Protest Warrior, for which he was sentenced to two years in the Federal Correctional Institute at Greenville, Ill.
He said he is fighting as “an anarchist communist” against “centralized state authority” and “exploitative corporations.” His goal is to build “leaderless collectives based on free association, consensus, mutual aid, self-sufficiency and harmony with the environment.” It is essential, he said, that all of us work to cut our personal ties with capitalism and engage in “mass organizing of protests, strikes and boycotts.” Hacking and leaking, he said, are part of this resistance—“effective tools to reveal ugly truths of the system.”
Hammond spent months within the Occupy movement in Chicago. He embraced its “leaderless, non-hierarchical structures such as general assemblies and consensus, and occupying public spaces.” But he was highly critical of what he said were the “vague politics” in Occupy that allowed it to include followers of the libertarian Ron Paul, some in the tea party, as well as “reformist liberals and Democrats.” Hammond said he was not interested in any movement that “only wanted a ‘nicer’ form of capitalism and favored legal reforms, not revolution.” He remains rooted in the ethos of the Black Bloc.
“Being incarcerated has really opened my eyes to the reality of the criminal justice system,” he said, “that it is not a criminal justice system about public safety or rehabilitation, but reaping profits through mass incarceration. There are two kinds of justice—one for the rich and the powerful who get away with the big crimes, then for everyone else, especially people of color and the impoverished. There is no such thing as a fair trial. In over 80 percent of the cases people are pressured to plea out instead of exercising their right to trial, under the threat of lengthier sentences. I believe no satisfactory reforms are possible. We need to close all prisons and release everybody unconditionally.”
He said he hoped his act of resistance would encourage others, just as Manning’s courage had inspired him. He said activists should “know and accept the worst possible repercussion” before carrying out an action and should be “aware of mass counterintelligence/surveillance operations targeting our movements.” An informant posing as a comrade, Hector Xavier Monsegur, known online as “Sabu,” turned Hammond and his co-defendants in to the FBI. Monsegur stored data retrieved by Hammond on an external server in New York. This tenuous New York connection allowed the government to try Hammond in New York for hacking from his home in Chicago into a private security firm based in Texas. New York is the center of the government’s probes into cyber-warfare; it is where federal authorities apparently wanted Hammond to be investigated and charged.
Hammond said he will continue to resist from within prison. A series of minor infractions, as well as testing positive with other prisoners on his tier for marijuana that had been smuggled into the facility, has resulted in his losing social visits for the next two years and spending “time in the box [solitary confinement].” He is allowed to see journalists, but my request to interview him took two months to be approved. He said prison involves “a lot of boredom.” He plays chess, teaches guitar and helps other prisoners study for their GED. When I saw him, he was working on the statement, a personal manifesto, that he will read in court this week.
He insisted he did not see himself as different from prisoners, especially poor prisoners of color, who are in for common crimes, especially drug-related crimes. He said most inmates are political prisoners, caged unjustly by a system of totalitarian capitalism that has snuffed out basic opportunities for democratic dissent and economic survival.
“The majority of people in prison did what they had to do to survive,” he said. “Most were poor. They got caught up in the war on drugs, which is how you make money if you are poor. The real reason they get locked in prison for so long is so corporations can continue to make big profits. It is not about justice. I do not draw distinctions between us.”
“Jail is essentially enduring harassment and dehumanizing conditions with frequent lockdowns and shakedowns,” he said. “You have to constantly fight for respect from the guards, sometimes getting yourself thrown in the box. However, I will not change the way I live because I am locked up. I will continue to be defiant, agitating and organizing whenever possible.”
He said resistance must be a way of life. He intends to return to community organizing when he is released, although he said he will work to stay out of prison. “The truth,” he said, “will always come out.” He cautioned activists to be hyper-vigilant and aware that “one mistake can be permanent.” But he added, “Don’t let paranoia or fear deter you from activism. Do the down thing!”
Chris Hedges, whose column is published Mondays on Truthdig, has previously spent nearly two decades as a foreign correspondent in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans. He has reported from more than 50 countries and has worked for The Christian Science Monitor, National Public Radio, The Dallas Morning News and The New York Times, for which he was a foreign correspondent for 15 years.
Syria & America exchange messages as both peoples breathe more easily….for now…
Damascus — The morning following President Obama’s announcement he would not bomb Syria immediately, the streets of Damascus were packed with shoppers and employees heading to their jobs. Several reasons for this were mentioned by my friend, Eyman. Some Damascenes who had fled their homes last week had returned, and a palpable sense of at least temporary relief pervades much of this capital city. It is also the first of the month. In Syria, government and other employees have just received their monthly paychecks and need to stock up on food, particularly now, upon entering this most uncertain month.
Adding to the uncertainty are people’s plans for the immediate future. Many of those who fled and returned following Obama’s deferral to Congress, are planning to leave again before next weekend’s possible attack. Others, due to conditions for refugees they discovered in Lebanon, have decided to stay, essentially playing a game of Russian roulette with death as they await their fates in their beloved Syria.
At any rate, in Damascus this morning citizens can be seen scurrying to workplaces, feeling safe enough, at least for now, to go grocery shopping and do errands. Even the gunmen who man electronic ‘frisking” equipment just outside my hotel, and who search all wishing to enter, seem genuinely relieved, happy and unusually friendly, as do the army troops on downtown Damascus streets. Friends in Damascus, both in government and private citizens, talk of an “uncertain relief” since last Sunday night, though it is a relief combined with an awareness that a terrible event of some sort may be on the way. Still others, aware of what seems to be increasing opposition to military action amongst the American public, think the attack may be delayed again. Perhaps most surprisingly, local news outlets are reporting this morning on the results of a new poll showing that 60 percent of the Syrian people think the US will not attack at all. As for the Syrian government, it has been nearly mute internationally, not wanting to provoke the White House, while at the same time assuring the public here that Syria can face all challenges and that history and God are with its people.
The weather here has changed since my visit last month. While the days will stay oppressively hot for another month, the early mornings have turned cool with refreshing soft breezes. Doves and pigeons in the park opposite the National Museum on Beirut Street coo and enjoy the large green space next to the Four Seasons Hotel, the same hotel which the UN CW investigators just vacated as they prepare their report for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.
Given that an American attack, should one occur, may well open the gates of hell, this observer is constantly amazed by the mundane, everyday things one is still able to observe around here. For example, last Friday afternoon I watched transfixed from a park bench as two public works employees weeded a few errant dandelions and weeds that had dared invade a beautiful manicured garden-park in downtown Damascus. This struck me as a bit bizarre, given the then widely-held belief that a US missile blitz might light up Damascus that very evening. On the scale of things these days, I doubted that a few weeds sprouting in a city park were of great import. Or were they? Perhaps carrying out one’s individual duty and work assignment these days is a wholly interconnected part of the nation’s overall resistance to foreign invasions, and is congruent somehow to what seems to be a pervading attitude—of people wanting to carry on with, or at least simulate, their pre-crisis lives and routines, their accustomed simple pleasures. And so maybe weeding gardens in Damascus makes perfect sense these days.
A Palestinian family from Latakia refugee camp up north who had fled their homes last December, joining thousands who have come to Damascus seeking safety, were visiting with me this morning. When I asked how their beautiful three and five year old children were adjusting to the crisis atmosphere in their new surroundings, the mother replied, “When the bombing started over a year ago the children could not sleep well because they were frightened by the loud noise. But over time they got used to it and slept fine. But last night they could not sleep because there was no shelling and it was too quiet for them. So what are we to do”? And she laughed.
It is true that there was no shelling and bombing here in Damascus during the night of Sunday, September 1, which the lady was referring to. And this fact is significant. Informed sources report to this observer that the government decision not to bomb the suburbs including East Gouta, which normally occurs nightly, was taken at the highest level in order to send a reply message from Syria to America and personally to President Obama. The latter’s speech, just hours earlier in Washington, contained several messages for the leadership in Damascus. What the Syrian government was signaling, some claim, was its willingness to join Tehran, Moscow and Washington in finding a peaceful solution to Syria’s crisis, starting with Geneva II.
Meanwhile, the ever-rising cost of living for Syria’s population, due in large measure to the US-led economic sanctions, continues to devastate many families here. Those sanctions are designed by the US Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC), and they intentionally target Syria’s civilian population in an effort to get the population to break with its government, thereby facilitating the US goal of regime change in Syria and Iran. This observer, with two student friends, yesterday visited a government owned supermarket called “Marazaa Government Supermarket”—one of approximately one hundred government-operated grocery stores in central Damascus. We compared prices by also visiting the privately owned “Supermarket Day by Day” in the Sabah Bahar neighborhood, also in central Damascus, and found that government-owned grocery stores average 5-15 percent lower prices, depending upon the item. The private grocery chains tend to be frequented by those with more money and who might seek European products and a wider product selection. Government stores, on the other hand, sell only Syrian products.
Bread was being rationed last week in government bakeries. At least one such bakery exists in every neighborhood, and a citizen is currently allowed to purchase one plastic bag with 22 loaves per day. The government plastic bag weighs three kilos (roughly 6.5 pounds) and sells for 50 Syrian lire or a bit less than USD 25 cents. This quantity, I am advised by a super market store manager, normally feeds a family of at least three for one day given that the average bread staple consumption in Syria is three loaves per person per day. Normally, even during this 30 month crisis, a citizen could purchase as much as they desired from government stores, but the American attack threat has caused yet more market complications in Syria for the average citizens.
In private bakeries, severe inflation has hit, and just seven loaves of bread, which would feed two persons for one day, now costs 150 lire or approximately 75 cents. Despite the wide price differential (the government shops have not raised their prices since the regime of Hafez al-Assad), many people are shopping at the private shops because it can take five or more hours waiting in line at the government bread shops.
Before the onset of the conflict now raging in Syria, the price of eggs was 125 lira (about 25 cents) for 24 in a carton. Prior to the most recent crisis, the price was 500 lira (one us dollar) for two dozen eggs, and this morning in Damascus it is 700 lira.
In seeking to end this crisis, Syria is fortunate to have tough and resolute allies including Russia and Iran and, perhaps equally important, a skilled diplomatic corps and group of officials who have exhibited remarkable acumen and insight as well as nerves of steel—both during the crisis as a whole and especially over the past several days of brinkmanship. This observer has had the honor to meet with a few of them personally. These include Foreign Minister Walid Muallem and his Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad, Information Minister Omran Zoubi and his able staff, Presidential Adviser Dr. Bouthania Shaaban, and her dedicated office colleagues, and Parliament Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham.
In this observer’s view, many Syrians, perhaps a majority, do not believe that President Obama, Defense Secretary Hagel, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, or a growing number of members of Congress, and most importantly the American public, want war. Some here are thinking, wishfully perhaps, that without a strong Congressional vote in favor of the Obama request, the president will not order a criminal attack Syria’s civilian population, for if there is a US attack, that is assuredly what it will be.
Surprisingly perhaps, Obama is being praised by some for his courage in not caving to the neocons and Zionist lobby by ordering the US military to begin bombing promptly. As one Syrian journalist told this observer just hours ago, “Obama still has the opportunity to earn that Nobel Prize, which he received a few years back for I have no idea why, and secure his legacy as one of American’s great Presidents—if he has the courage and vision of the late Dr. Martin Luther King.”
Before ending a very long day with sleep, this observer invited the Palestinian family to dinner near my hotel as it was not apparent that they had been eating much recently. We talked about prospects for the Syrian Arab Republic, and Palestinian refugees, so many of whom have been internally and externally displaced as result of this maelstrom, and as I interacted with the wonderful children, I could not help becoming wistful as I contemplated the certainty that it is these children, and Syria’s poor, who are condemned, unless the American people prevent it, to suffer the brunt of this latest US adventure—condemned as their country becomes more divided, and a new batch of terrorist groups springs up like mushrooms after a summer rain.
Washington’s ill-considered criminal attack will aid and abet these largely Gulf financed militia and provide justification, in their minds for literally hundreds of often competing jihadist groups to spread carnage across Syria. The innocent in the USA and the West will also eventually suffer a severe pay back price as was the case on 9/11/2001 and a decade later on 9/11/2011. And on and on it goes.
This observers is frequently asked these days, as the bombs and rockets hit ever nearer, if the American people have the political and moral will to take to the streets, and to the offices of their Congressional representatives whose salaries they pay, and make history—a history that will revitalize our county and its claimed democracy. Each American, and all people of good will, have the power to do this service to humanity.
And they can do it in the coming days. If they fail, who do we blame but ourselves? Because when it comes down to it, it’s our country; it doesn’t belong to the politicians or the corporations or to those who pledge fealty to a foreign occupying power half a world away. It is our constitution, and if each of us doesn’t protect it we cede it to others to sully and use as they will.
Only a public relations genius would roll out a news channel in the domestic American TV market with the name Al Jazeera. Sparing no expense, this new leap into sober journalism has not been seen since the formation of regional news bureaus in the days when CNN was a serious network. The Current TV purchase, financed by the Qatar government, shows that money can buy glitz and glamour, when reporting from the trenches of global conflicts or personal tragedies. Notwithstanding, hiring known retreads or celebrity has-beens, the cast of characters that will present this new version of reality, needs to earn creditability for the public to overlook the image of the corporate logo.
RT suffers from the same baggage, when Russia Today broadcasts within the shadow of the Kremlin. Can these patron sponsors be trusted to provide objective information? Having Larry King do his stick on RT, while David Frost joins the Al Jazeera net, is supposed to soften the transition to a world viewpoint outside the American lamestream media.
Al Jazeera America has a comprehensive web site that show off the range of their mission. Undoubtedly, the targeted viewer is less concerned about the Middle East news than domestic reports. However, the added emphasis on international affairs is a sharp departure from the under reporting to the virtual black out from the pro-Zionist establishment media. Offering a choice, deemed a threat to the prevailing ”Bellum Americana” military-media, has never been a rating getter in the Neilson rankings.
The difference between aggressive advocacy and propaganda misinformation should be clear to the sophisticated observer. Nevertheless, no one can correctly assert that the American public is highly developed or attentive to the real significance of current events. The distinction that separates factual reporting and drawing a particular political conclusion is a gap that is usually determined by the respective ideology of the viewer.
This standard also applies to such venues as varied as Link TV to Glenn Beck’s Blaze. With the sale of Current TV to Al Jazeera America, the Young Turks now become a Muslim Nationalist. At least that will be the perception bias of the average television view, which in all probability will never turn on the channel to make up their mind about the accuracy in reports.
The rub comes when a peculiar autonomist viewpoint comes into conflict with the prevailing foreign policy of the NeoCon and DespotLib establishment. A red flag appears in The Daily Caller article, Media Matters still hearts Al-Jazeera.
“Media Matters for America doesn’t often find much time in its busy schedule of incessantly attacking Fox News to praise other news outlets, so it is noteworthy that it took a moment Wednesday to give a slobbering electronic kiss to Al-Jazeera.
“During its first day on the air, Al Jazeera America gave climate change nearly half as much coverage as network news programs did during the year 2012, all while avoiding common pitfalls like providing false balance to those that deny the science and leaving the crisis’ manmade origins ambiguous,” Media Matters’ Max Greenberg wrote of Al-Jazeera’s latest creation, which launched Tuesday.
“The fledgling network’s first climate report comprised the entirety of Tuesday’s edition of Inside Story, a half-hour news discussion program that promises to ‘take an in-depth look at the story behind the headlines.’ Indeed, the inaugural show featured a meaningful dialogue on — in guest Heidi Cullen’s words — ‘coming to terms with the fact that we’re all part of the problem … [and] the solution’ to manmade global warming, and discussed consequences like extreme weather and rising sea levels.”
“Bottom line: this was a great start,” Greenberg concluded.”
Was the editorial decision to cover the bogus climate change scam an intentional image builder to attract the bleeding heart NPR crowd, or just an effort to conceal the underlying political message that will be inserted into future reports? Maybe it was part of a payoff to Al Gore and part of the purchase agreement. Time will tell, but if the public never makes the attempt to review the Al Jazeera America news presentation, their present propaganda programming from network TV will just ignore an alternative voice.
Now take a close look at the RT style that has been on air for some time. Any channel that plays the Rawhide theme cannot be all bad. Well, if you never experience watching, you will not get the point. No link on this one, just ask Max Keiser. Yes, RT has a political link that reads Russian politics. Surely, the old Soviet Block would demand a tight rein on the herd if past practices were in play. Yet, what you actually get is a surprisingly fresh approach that covers events that directly applies to the policy-making landscape in the United States.
Watching one episode of Abby Martin on Breaking the Set makes you think you are reading a BREAKING ALL THE RULES column. Is that proof evident that RT is pure propaganda or is it true that the indoctrination you are constantly being fed from the pressitude media is the real newspeak?
Not everyone likes the editorial viewpoint from the tundra. The cold shoulder to a favorite “PC” cause is covered in The Washington Free Beacon article, Gay Reporter Kicked Off Kremlin Network After Protesting Anti-Gay Law.
“Reporter James Kirchick was kicked off the air of the RT network Wednesday after he refused to talk about Bradley Manning and instead spoke about the Russian government’s anti-gay laws.
RT, formerly Russia Today, is funded by the Russian government, which recently passed a sweeping law that bans the public discussion of gay rights and relationships in the presence of children.
As Kirchick continued to speak about the laws and the government’s funding of the network, one RT host insisted to Kirchick, “You have to come over here and see for yourself.”
“You have 24 hours a day to lie about America, I am going to tell the truth with my two minutes,” Kirkchick went on to say after RT hosts tried to cut him off.”
The sentiment ‘you have to watch to see what the coverage is all about’ holds true to the skeptics that think that international news is inadequate in interpreting American developments. For the Fox News warmongering Sean Hannity junkies to the Reverend Al Sharpton hate mongering racists on MSNBC, there is little room in their minds that allows for a different and challenging standpoint.
The Kirkchick incident may be an on air interview for a slot in the bootlicker “TC” media that has no room for moral values or traditional civilization.
Both Al Jazeera America and RT are challengers to the constant drumbeat from the pro-Israel monopoly. For this reason alone, they provide a valuable substitute from the half-truths to the downright lies. Designed to keep the globalist agenda on track, the electronic media pushes a visual, stylistic and emotional guilt trip. The pysops of mass population control is at the essence of the Totalitarian Collectivist culture.
Serious journalists are so rare on television that rational, judicious and responsible news seekers have abandoned the medium. Many display a mute TV broadcast while listening to talk radio. The influence of internet citizen journalism is gravely under attack because it is decentralized and independent of a “PC” editorial filter.
If government sponsorship for Al Jazeera America and RT were smart, they would spin off the managerial authority into a fully autonomous enterprise. State control of any media is Orwellian by nature.
Just cited in Studio Briefing, U.S. Propaganda Radio, TV Stations Now Allowed in America, seems to be meeting the competition from abroad.
“A recently passed law now permits radio and television broadcasts produced by Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the Middle East Broadcasting Networks to be carried by U.S. broadcasters. Previously they could only be viewed or heard abroad on the grounds that they represented American propaganda. A spokeswoman for the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees the government-funded outlets, has told Foreign Policy magazine that it is not fare to suggest that they merely broadcast programs that support U.S. policies. According to Lynne Weil, the outlets “don’t shy away from stories that don’t shed the best light on the United States.”
Isn’t it not nice and reassuring that the American brainwashing can be brought home for domestic consumption as if it wasn’t already all around us all the time. So what is the material difference between Al Jazeera America and RT broadcasting their variant of foreign policy from what the U.S. government does? Actually the imperial message in jingoistic disinformation out of the federal agencies and think tanks, are far less credible than the reporting by the international press.
However, most people avoid getting their news from written accounts. The trend for foreign interests acquiring or starting a television network on satellite or cable will accelerate. Only distribution over the internet will grow faster. Let’s hope the message will be worth viewing, since all news is a form of propaganda.
Lebanon offers Palestinians fleeing death in Syria Ramadan greetings: “Eid Mubarak, dear brothers and sisters! Yalla! Go back where you came from!”
The Syria/Lebanon border crossing at Masnaa…
On 8/5/13 this observer decided, quite on the spur of the moment, to take a three day break from Damascus the next morning and make a quick trip to Beirut to do some errands because offices would be closed starting at dawn for Eid al Fitr celebrations (a day later for Shia Muslims). The annual Eid al-Fitr, being the festival of the breaking of the month long Ramadan fast, which observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam. And by the way, this year has been undertaken, approximately 16 hours each day in inordinately hot weather in the Middle East.
Let me say from the start: I did not anticipate the delay into which I was about to run. In fact, I felt that with a little bit of luck—and by leaving Damascus by no later than six in the morning—I might even break my record of 205 minutes total from Sameriyeh bus station to my apartment in Dahiyeh, south Beirut.
Alas, it was not to happen. In fact, I ended up setting a record for my longest trip ever—a bit over eight hours for the usually much-quicker 88 km (55 mile) journey. It had not occurred to me that I would arrive at the new Lebanese border crossing building at Masnaa only to find not only was it swamped, but that it had been a scene of bedlam for the past 20 or more hours. There were Syrian and Palestinian refugees fleeing to Lebanon, plus hundreds of people traveling there for this year’s Eid el Fitra holiday.
I wasn’t the only one who miscalculated. Lebanon’s General Security, which oversees immigration facilities, apparently did so as well. When I got out of the car, the cross border processing center was surrounded by hundreds of travelers jostling and waiting. People were jammed and packed inside the building as well. Some shouted, waving their passports, trying to catch the eye of the overwhelmed but seriously under-numbered immigration officials behind their glass cages, while others were simply shocked, depressed by the mess they were in, and weak also from fasting.
Gape-mouthed, I stared at the steamy sweating assembly, and saw one of the supervisors (I know several of them from frequently crossing the border at Masnaa) and he immediately waved and summoned me to push my way through the massive crowd to his private office. When I finally made it, he immediately took my passport and told one of the clerks to stamp it. Suffering yet another lapse into sometimes weak character, I kept my mouth shut about why he was helping an American who just arrived before assisting his fellow Arabs who had been waiting, Allah only knows, for how long. I still feel some shame about this personal flaw and I know better than to jump a queue. But the General, sporting 4 gold stars on each of his two shoulder epaulets, did lecture me about what chaos he and his staff were in. A couple of security types held pistols above the travelers heads pointed at the ceiling as the crowd sometimes pressed sort of threateningly, against the counters and appeared that they might be about to storm them. Some immigration officers were scowling and shouting at people in the hall who were impatient to advance to the counters.
“You should write a story about what you saw here today Mr. Lamb. We need more staff! Look at my men! Have you ever seen anything like this?”
Frankly, I hadn’t. For sure the supervisors’ all male staff did indeed look utterly exhausted, even somewhat intimidated by the shouting throngs. But what I encountered next was even more disturbing. Grasping my stamped passport, I made my way out of the noisy, congested building, to the parking lot, and up to the door of our parked service-taxi. Here I found my two traveling companions, a middle-aged Palestinian couple from Yarmouk who I had just met at Samariyeh, taking their luggage out of the car. Why were they removing their luggage? I inquired of them, thinking perhaps we had to switch vehicles for some reason. The man put his hand on his heart and pointed toward Damascus. “Cham, (Damascus) we go Cham. Lebanon no!” he said as he flicked his chin upward.
I did not understand exactly what the problem was, but assumed his documents were not in order—but then suddenly I realized that that didn’t make sense because every Palestinian must go to the Interior Ministry in Damascus before leaving Syria, war or no war, and pay $5 to have their documents checked and to receive an exit visa. And on top of the $5 fee in Damascus, they have to pay a new, higher fee at the border crossing—of $11—which until last month was only half that amount. With little choice, we bade each other farewell. Alone now, I settled down to wait for my driver, who seemed to have lots of friends at Masnaa.
All at once, I noticed a lady dressed in full Hijab walking my way with a baby in her arms and with two small children, maybe three or four years old, clinging to her skirt. And I have to say: I will not forget this family for the rest of my life. The young mother looked as forlorn as ever I have seen someone. Her dust-covered cheeks were moistened and streaked by tears, her eyes red as she wept. The children were crying also, and kept saying “baba, baba.”
She was fleeing to Lebanon—after losing her husband and her home, although I did not learn all the details. But as with a couple of other Syrian refugees I have met, the poor dear did not have any relatives in Lebanon, and consequently planned, as have others in similar straits, to look for someone from her village in Palestine, hoping, praying, believing that such a person or persons would understand her plight and feel enough of a bond from the Nakba to help her.
But outrageously, immigration at Masnaa barred her from entering Lebanon, and didn’t even take the trouble to give her a reason. “Go back to Syria where you belong” she said the immigration clerk told her. “Ask UNWRA for help. They are responsible for you” she was told.
But no one from UNWRA was to be seen, nor was any other Palestinian NGO. I gave her the phone number of two friends in Damascus and the last of my Syrian and American money. It is still the case in Syria, due to American-led sanctions, that ATM’s and credit cards cannot be used. Consequently many westerners, like me, regularly arrive at Masnaa from Syria, pretty broke.
(photo: fplamb 8/6/13 at Masnas border crossing.. There appears to be an office of sorts of UNHCR at Masnaa. But it was closed for the Palestinian refugees from Syria desperately seeking help. Where were UNWRA, UNICEF, USAID, the Arab League, the IOIC, the 31 NGO’s in the USA and in Lebanon, as well as the European Union who claim to work for the wellbeing of the Palestinian refuges forced from their homes and into this unwelcoming land? Only God knows and she has been silent recently. This observer saw no sign of any, or even one of them.
This mother and her babies are dreams. What happened to them is an outrage, and who knows how many others met similar treatment on the Syrian-Lebanon border last week? On that day at any rate, 8/6/2013, it seemed very much that most Palestinians were being forced back into Syria.
Lebanese General Security officials need to get their stories straight. On 8/10/2013 a GS official denied any decision on the part of Lebanese authorities to prevent Palestinian refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria from entering Lebanon. In remarks to pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, the official, whose name was withheld, insisted, “The same measures are being applied on all the refugees (coming) to Lebanon from Syria whether they are Palestinians or Syrians.” General Security “is implementing the measures that were underway before the Syrian crisis started in terms of checking their documents and identification papers,” he added.
Speaking frankly, his statement is utter nonsense. This observer spent nearly two hours at the Masnaa crossing speaking with Palestinians who were prevented from entering Lebanon. At the same time, I heard of no Syrian refugees being turned back—nor, of course, should they have been.
Upon finally making it to Beirut, I emailed Amnesty International, UNHCR, and HRW among others. The GS’s spurious arguments that “their papers must not have been in order” insults ones intelligence.
It is well known, as noted above, that every Palestinian who wants to come to Lebanon or to leave Syria must first go to the Palestinian Refugees department of the Ministry of Interior in downtown Damascus and pay the aforementioned fee. Upon doing so, they are granted an exit permit. Every rejected Palestinian I spoke to that day at Masnaa showed me their permit from the Ministry of the Interior. In every single case their papers were in order.
Many Palestinian refugees, without any money left from their many travails, are forced to walk from the Masnaa border crossing near the Syrian/Lebanese to the Jilil Palestinian Refugee camp near Baalbec. (photo: flamb 8/6/13)
International humanitarian law requires that Lebanon abide by the principle of non-refoulement, a standard which prohibits sending refugees or asylum seekers back to places where their lives or freedom are threatened. On the day of 8/6/2013, this observer was an eyewitness to the government of Lebanon turning back scores of Palestinian refugees while remaining seemingly oblivious to the risks to their lives. Palestinian families were, and still may be, stranded at Masnaa because they have no funds to return to Syria and were barred from entering Lebanon.
If you are a no account, low life, over the hill American like this observer and have some defect in your documentation you will likely be OK at Masnaa and allowed in. Not to worry.
But, God forbid if you are a Palestinian refugee, for you currently risk being barred, even if your papers are complete. As I saw the young family starts the trek on foot back toward Damascus. I could not help thinking, what kind of Arabs are these who give preference to a citizen of a country that has brought this Arab region nearly unimaginable destruction, yet shut out their own brothers and sisters who are fleeing death?
Every Lebanese citizen and every political party, from the anti-Palestinian Lebanese Forces, to the claimed champions of Palestinians, including Hezbollah, should immediately insist that the Lebanese government rescind, without delay, its decision to bar Palestinians from Syria from entering Lebanon. And while they are at it, General Security should stop hounding and threatening with arrest Palestinian refugees from Syria, who came to Lebanon during the last nearly 29 months and who cannot come up with the $200 fee to extend their expired visas.
This would require less than an hour to accomplish, and once it is done, there is another task that this observer submits is urgently needed: for the Lebanese President and the Prime Minister to issue, toute de suite, an emergency decree granting the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon the elementary right to work and to own a home. If and when Parliament stops posturing politically and actually does some of the work for the Lebanese people that they are paid huge sums to carry out, it can take 90 minutes to enact these basic civil rights into law. And Lebanon will benefit enormously in terms of growth of economy which is taking a nose-dive resulting from the Syrian crisis and the now collapsed summer tourism.
It is true that the Lebanese government is struggling to meet the needs of the growing refugee population, but as Joe Stork, HRW deputy Middle East director and friend of the late American Journalist Janet Lee Stevens, has pointed out, shutting them out is no answer.
It is egregious and illegal for a country to deny safe haven to any refugee fleeing probable death. It is doubly egregious for Lebanon to bar devoted Muslims sanctuary during the Holy month of Ramadan.
People often ask where my ideas and where my knowledge comes from. When that happens, I chuckle a bit to myself because just like the person asking, my knowledge comes from a variety of sources: first hand experience, books, online forums and of course, Backdoor Survival readers. So you see, it is not that I am smarter or more clever than everyone else but rather that I have taken my passion for preparedness and made it an active part of my life.
That leads me to the topic for today’s article. Following my own article on Five Minute Prepping Projects, I asked readers to submit their own tips – namely something that we all can do to prep that takes 10 minutes or less. There were some really good suggestions and so I thought I would share some of them here so that everyone can learn from them.
THE BEST TEN MINUTE PREPPING TIPS FROM BACKDOOR SURVIVAL READERS
1. There are many times when trouble strikes and we have to deal with only what we have on our person and in our pockets. A BOB is a luxury that might not be with us when the unexpected comes along, so I like to make sure I have a minimum of things on me before I leave the house even for a trip to the grocery.
Here’s what I carry, you’ll have to adjust for your own needs:
1) A small pocket knife
2) A multi-tool
3) A cigarette lighter
4) A dozen Kleenex
6) A one quart Ziploc bag
7) A black sharpie
8) A small bottle of hand sanitizer
9) Wallet with emergency cash and id cards
10) Keys, with small flashlight on keychain
I can carry all of that in jeans or short pockets no problem, and its amazing how handy I find each of those items to be in day to day activities. In an emergency they could really make a difference.
2. The most important thing to have in a survival situation is water. The ten minute thing I did was to buy extensions for the gutter down spout. At the time I put them in I had a back yard above ground pool. Kids all gone now, pool gone, but I now have 10 55 gallon barrels.
3. Check your supplies and rotate them out as the expiration date comes due. Stock the foods you like, because if you don’t like a certain food, you won’t eat it.
4. I like to can water after using my canning jars in the winter. I then have good water if the electricity goes down and also if there is a drought in the summer, I will have water for canning.
5. My 10 minute prepping tip is to save all of your dryer lint in a zip food bag. Squeeze it down, roll it up and place it in your bug out kit.
6. My very first prepping project was getting a plastic tote box ready for myself for the vehicle.
I went by the list in the book “Survival Mom” so it is packed full with a little extra than a BOB. Then my very next priority was another box fixed up for my mother who is 86 years old. She still drives and either she or someone else will be able to help with this very good vehicle emergency box. Survival is a daily challenge in northern WI.
7. The every three month 10 minute prep activity I do religiously is rotate my prescription meds. I have two weeks in my purse, 3 days in my 72 hour kit, 3 days in my car kit, and 3 days in my comprehensive medical kit. If it takes you longer than ten minutes to do this, you need to practice knowing where all these items are stashed!
8. The 10 min DIY water distillery: Using two, one liter clear soda bottles. Put 1/4 inch holes in both caps, insert 1/4 inch clear tubing thru each cap and down into each bottle (about 5-7 feet of tubing). Secure each cap onto bottles. Fill one 3/4 with water you want to distill, bring tubing about 1/2 inch from top. place in sunlight. Bring the tubing to the bottom of other bottle and place it in shade.
As the sun heats up the water and the water goes into a gas, expanding and going into the bottle in shade, it cools down and turns back into water, filling the bottle in shade, with clear drinkable water. This can also be used to remove salt from saltwater. Place a black band of tape around the input bottle, making sure not to mix them up.
9. Rinse out used soda bottles and fill with water. Save them for when the water is turned off or long term storage.
10. Dip cotton balls in petroleum jelly and put in a baggie or small plastic container (recycle old pill bottles) for your bug out bag. These make great fire starters and they burn long and hot.
11. My 10 minute tip: pack a small ‘emergency’ kit for your purse/pocket that you carry every day. Items to include *could* be a small flashlight (some LED ones are very tiny & bright), a few bandages, a BIC-type lighter, pocket knife, safety pins, pencil/pen, small notebook/Post-It notepad, paperclip, a paracord ‘survival’ bracelet, printable pamphlet of survival ‘tips’ (several available on the internet). Visit your local Red Cross for preparedness tips for your area. Often they have TONS of FREE information specific to your location to help families prepare BEFORE a problem arises.
12. Take quick check of your food supply, once a storm catches you by surprise, it’s too late, and it only takes a few minutes to make a quick list of the basic canned goods that you need to replace, better safe than sorry!
13. We all probably think that our BOB has what we need in it and maybe it does. Take a quick look in it and see if there is some place to add a little easy redundancy, remembering that three is one and one is none. I took a Ziploc bag and put in it: a small candle, a pill vial with Vaseline in it, another pill vial stuffed with dryer lint, a disposable lighter and a magnifying glass. Easy to do and now I have several ways to start a fire in addition to the matches and the fire steel already in the bag without adding even a pound to the weight of the bag. I know there are a lot of other easy additions that can increase redundancy in all of our bags.
14. Never be without toilet paper. Put 4 rolls in 2 gallon Ziplocs and put 1 bag in each car, one in the garage, one under each sink in the house. That way, regardless of what disaster occurs – TP will be there.
15. Take ten minutes a day or even a week and learn how to use the things you have been accumulating for emergencies. This month I have been using the solar oven and rocket stove. Much easier to use the fifth time than the first.
16. Buy a large bottle of 5 to 10-percent iodine solution and transfer into those small, handy travel spray containers. Put one in each first aid kit in each bug-out bag. Besides being a disinfectant and medical treatment of cuts, a few drops per liter will purify water as well as keep thyroid function humming along in the absence of iodized salt.
17. Not a total of 10 minutes, but a great prep tip I have is to buy extra lumber, fasteners, nails, whenever you have a DIY project, and save the extra in your new “Mini-Lumberyard”!
18. Arrange to have a prepping partner call you randomly during the week and give you a surprise emergency drill of some kind. You have ten minutes to begin responding. Next week, return the favor.
19. Carry a small bottle of iodine and a small bottle of bleach with you in your bug out bag in the event you have to drink questionable water in your travels. Just add a bit to your canteen, shake it and let it be for a while and you are good to go. They have iodine pills but, take it from me being ex military; they taste bad but with this method it will do the job better and the water will not taste that bad.
20. Weigh your BOB. Put it on and carry it around the house. How long can you go without stopping? If it is too heavy which it is likely to be, here are a couple of things that you might consider doing: 1..Pack a half dozen of those freebie cloth satchels with handles in with the BOB. This way depending on how many people may be with you when you actually need to pack the BOB you can distribute the weight among everyone.
21. Make a list of the most important items to take with you if you are alone and safety pin that to the top of the BOB. In a real emergency you will not have time to think it through and you are likely to be too stressed to make the right choices. If alone, you must keep the weight down to a poundage that you can carry for long term.
22. I think my favorite quick prep is making a waterproof match container out of a mason jar. Glue a piece of sandpaper to the lid, fill the jar with stick matches, add a candle, tighten down the ring and there you have it. I’m sure the same could be done with a plastic jar if you’re worried about breakage but I like the decorative little mason jars spread around the house. I took the time to waterproof my matches but I don’t believe that’s necessary.
23. I take 10 minutes on Mondays to do a quick check of my food storage to make sure I add needed items to the grocery list. This keeps things pretty up-to-date for me.
24. Keep a running inventory of ammunition so you keep a good assortment on hand and track what you use. A little extra can be good for barter.
25. Most of us have items that use batteries. Flashlights, radios, etc. I have a laminated list of the items that I keep in my prep, with a section just for things that need to be rotated. Quarterly, I grab the rotation list and swap out old batteries for new. The batteries I take out of my prep kit are usually still good, so I put them into use in normal, everyday equipment. It takes almost no time, and makes sure I have good batteries everywhere I need them, not just my prep kit.
26. Every time I go to the grocery store, I add an extra $10 of items for my food storage.
27. Make a small fishing kit, cheap and easy. Take a small tin (preferably a round candy mint tin). Add fishing line, hooks, sinkers, small artificial bait and a couple of snubbers. (A snubber is a piece of surgical tubing with fishing line going down the center and clasps on each end to tie your fishing line to. You can pick this up at most any store that sells fishing gear).
If you need to use your fishing kit and do not have a breakdown or telescoping fishing pole you will probably be using a branch. A branch will not have the same flexibility as a fishing pole. Tie your fishing line to the end of your flexible branch (the length of line will be determined by your situation). Tie the other end to your snubber. On the other end of your snubber tie your leader (about 18″ to 24″ of fishing line) then tie on your hook. Add your sinker to the fishing line on the pole / branch side of the snubber about 12″ from the snubber. Add bait and you are set.
I have added the snubbers to my kit, because it acts like a shock absorber when you have a fish on the line. This has helped me to land the fish and not break off the hook or line due to not having the flexibility of a proper fishing pole.
28. I’ve been through two hurricanes here on the Gulf coast in recent years. Water, all you can reasonably store, is a must, along with some way to purify it if need be. I’ve carried a pocket knife for more years than I can remember, and in recent years I’ve started carrying a multi-tool. I always have a roll of toilet paper inside a zip-lock bag under the back seat of my truck. I also save dryer lint to use as tinder.
29. Gather up a few cans of veggies, fruits, and meats along with a jar of peanut butter. Store in your vehicle (under seat, in trunk) Throw in a “good” manual can opener or something strong enough to cut the lid in emergency. Can be eaten without heating or cooking.
30. Freeze and store milk in its container. I have been doing it for years with two pint semi-skimmed milk ones, full fat (cream) is not so good as the fat separates when defrosted. These have been handy already in extended power cuts as the freezer keeps cold, as does the fridge if you put a frozen one on the top shelf. It takes about twelve hours to defrost at 60F and the frozen milk lasts indefinitely in my experience, although I still rotate.
31. Get a caravan size chemical toilet and some Elsan Blue or Eco Green fluid as well for when there’s no sanitation or main water to flush the loo. This is one essential that is often overlooked.
32. You can fix up a go-bag a few moments at time by leaving it open in a place you will see it (I myself am an out-of-sight-out-of-mind person), say a corner of the kitchen, and dropping in the things you want to have at the ready. On laundry day, drop in clean socks and undies. On grocery day, buy a few easy to eat nibbles (that you like) – tuna in a pouch, nuts, dry fruit, plus a bottle of water and drop them in the bag. Make a list of other things you need to think about: first aid kit, flashlight, etc. As you go to the hardware store, purchase these things, drop them in the bag when you get home. This is your basic backpack which you can modify according to your needs (weather, for instance).
33. Place a pair of shoes, socks, work gloves, a whistle, and a light stick or flashlight with batteries under your bed for use during or after an emergency. Add to this a mobile phone to call for assistance, spare house and car keys in case you have to get out of the house from an upstairs window and need to get back inside to put out small fires safely with extinguishers you have placed at door exits. I also have a spare set of old clothes, shoes and a blanket packed in a suitcase in the caravan in the garden along with an emergency supply of bottled water and food in pull tab tins. A dry shed or outhouse would suffice for this no doubt.
34. Unless your home is 100% all electric, get a carbon monoxide alarm if you don’t already have one. And even then it’s not a bad idea as in an emergency you may want to use a propane device, and it’ll hopefully keep you from dying from the CO.
35. Stock up on calcium chloride ice melt. Get a 50# bag and fill the empty milk jugs with it. Keep one jug in each car.
36. Hurricane matches. Get a bunch. They aren’t cheap, but they’re the best.
37. GMRS/FRS radio. Regular CBs can become clogged with radio traffic. A good brand can also provide encryption so you can have private discussion with family. Depending on the make and model, it may come with frequencies that require a license. In emergencies I doubt the FCC will chase you down. And in regular times, I doubt they will chase you down if you’re not being obnoxious.
38. In addition to a flash drive, open a free “cloud” service account, many of which will give you 5-10 gigabytes of storage. An alternative to that would be to open up a new e-mail account, on Yahoo/Gmail/etc, and e-mail the documents to yourself. Unsure of what to make for a new username for an e-mail account? Take your first name + “documents” (i.e. “BillDocuments”), and use your last name as the password.
This way, if your house (and flash drive) are lost in a tornado/earthquake/fire/etc, you can still access those documents from, say, a public library computer.
39. Another tip along with freezing jugs with water to place in the freezer, is to fill a 2 liter bottle about 1/3 full. Freeze it upright, then lay it on its side. If you come home from vacation, and the water is frozen at the bottom (sideways) in the bottle then the power was off long enough that the food may have spoiled.
THE FINAL WORD
I have always maintained that Backdoor Survival readers are the most creative and resourceful folks on the internet when it comes to basic, common sense preparedness. No fear mongering types here – just ordinary folks doing their best to take care of themselves, their families and their comfort and safety, no matter what happens down the road.
I tip my hat to you.
Source: Gaye Levy | Backdoor Survival
In the years 2006 and 2007, the underlying stability of the global economy and the U.S. credit base in particular was experiencing intense scrutiny by alternative economic analysts. The mortgage-driven Xanadu that was the late 1990s and early 2000s seemed just too good to be true. Many of us pointed out that such a system, based on dubious debt instruments animated by the central banking voodoo of arbitrary fractional reserve lending and fiat cash creation, could not possibly survive for very long. A crash was coming, it was coming soon, and most of our society was either too stupid to recognize the problem or too frightened to accept the reality they knew was just over the horizon.
The Federal Reserve had cheated America out of an economic reset that was desperately needed. The 1980s had brought us utter destruction disguised as “globalization.” Our industrial center, the very heart of the American middle class that generated enormous wealth and decades of opportunity, had been dismantled and shipped overseas to the lowest bidder. It was then that the U.S. economy actually died; we just couldn’t see it. From that point forward, Americans were fully dependent on the charity of central bank money creation and international bank lending standards. The collapse that should have occurred in the 80s was delayed and thus made more volatile as the Fed artificially lowered interest rates and allowed trillions upon trillions of dollars in dubious loans to be generated. Free money abounded, and average citizens were suckered royally. Their greed was used against them, as they collateralized homes they could not afford to buy more crap they didn’t need. Of course, you know the rest of the story…
Today, credit markets remain frozen. Lending is nowhere near the levels reached in 2006. The housing market is showing signs of life; but that’s only because most home purchases are being made by banks, not regular people, for pennies on the dollar, as bankrupt properties are then reissued on the market for rent rather than for sale. If you are lucky, maybe one day you’ll get to borrow the keys to the house you used to own. And, millions of higher-paying full-time jobs have been lost and then replaced with lower-paying part-time-wage slavery positions. The image of American prosperity carries on, but it is nothing but a cruel farce; and anyone with any sense should question how long this false image can be given life before the truth dawns.
The novice will question why it is necessary to re-examine all of this information. Is it not widely known? Am I not simply preaching to the choir a message heard over and over again since the crash of 2008? Maybe – or maybe it is time for us to finally apply some foresight given our knowledge of the recent past.
Why did 2008 creep up on so many people? Weren’t there plenty of economists out there “preaching to the choir” at that time? Weren’t there plenty of signals? Weren’t there plenty of practical conclusions being made about the future? And yet, the world was left stunned.
The truth is, human beings have a nasty habit of ignoring the cold hard facts of the present in the hopes of using apathy as a magical elixir for future prosperity. They want to believe that disaster is a mindset, that it is a boogeyman under their bed that can be defeated through blind optimism. They refuse to accept that disaster is a tangible inevitability of life that pays no heed to our naïve, happy-go-lucky attitudes. The American people allowed themselves to be caught off guard in 2008, just as they are setting themselves up to be caught off guard again today.
Again, the reality is clear; the Federal Reserve has propped up equities and bonds using money created out of thin air — so much so that both markets have become totally reliant and disturbingly addicted to fiat injections. The distribution of this fiat threatens the continued dominance of the dollar as the world reserve currency and will invariably lead to currency collapse and hyperstagflation. This process is much more likely to climax in the near term given the accelerated rate of quantitiative easing within our system to date and the accelerated rate at which our primary lenders (namely China) are dumping the dollar in bilateral trade with each other. The endgame is obvious, but I still fear millions of people within this country and around the world will be shell-shocked once again by a renewed crash.
The argument is always the same: “Yeah, things might get dicey, but it won’t be as bad as all the doom-mongers claim, and probably not for many years.”
Similar statements were made by naysayers before the Great Depression and before the 2008 crash. So why are the skeptics wrong again this time around?
The Stimulus Fantasy
Let’s put this in the simplest terms possible: Stimulus is now the lifeblood of our economy. There is nothing else sustaining our nation. Period. Stimulus in the form of bailouts and QE are keeping the stock market and bonds afloat. This means that the continued existence of equities, and the continued existence of healthy treasuries, and thus the foundation of our currency, our general economy, and a functioning (or barely functioning) government, is completely dependent on the Fed continuing to print.
In recent weeks, the Fed hinted at possible intentions reduce or remove stimulus measures, which would effectively shut down the life-support machine and let the patient drown in his own fluids.
Day traders and common investors are not very bright, but they do understand well that no stimulus means no stock market and no bond market. In response, indexes have become erratic, shifting on the slightest rumor that the central bank might continue QE for a little longer. Pathetically, the Dow Jones now rallies upward whenever bad financial news hits the wire, as insane investment groups pour in money in the hopes that dismal economic developments might cause the Fed to extend the bailout bonanza.
In our modern nightmare era of hyper-centralized economy, one word or rumor from Ben Bernanke now determines whether stocks dramatically rise or fall. This is NOT the behavior of a healthy and vibrant fiscal system.
The anatomy of American finance and trade has been horribly mutilated; and clearly, such a monstrous creation cannot last. Stocks are supposed to perform based on the true profitability of individual businesses as well as the political and social health of the overall culture. The wild printing of paper money by private banking magnates is not a catalyst for a successful economy. Whether the Fed actually ends QE is ultimately irrelevant. No fiscal structure can survive when it abandons fundamentals for fantasy. Either QE continues, becoming less and less effective in staving off negative results in equities, inspiring a flight from the dollar leading to a crash, or QE ends, exposing the inevitability of negative results in equities, leading to a crash. If the Fed ends stimulus, the process of collapse will merely take place slightly faster than if stimulus remains.
But every historic economic crisis has a defining moment, a moment in which the tide turned overwhelmingly sour for a majority of the public. The question now becomes what, exactly, will trigger the avalanche?
Precious Metals Signal Secret Shift To Asia
As I have discussed in numerous articles over the years, China’s shift away from the U.S. consumer and the U.S. dollar is well under way. Over half of the world’s major economies now have bilateral trade agreements in place which remove the dollar as the world reserve currency in trade with China and the ASEAN economic bloc. China is issuing trillions in Yuan and Yuan denominated bonds around the globe, setting the stage for a higher Yuan valuation and allowing Chinese consumer markets to replace American consumer markets as the number one driver of manufacturing in export countries. At the same time, China has increased its purchases of precious metals exponentially to the point that the nation is now set to become the largest holder of gold and silver in the world in the next two years. This is clearly in preparation for a currency crisis event…
The buying spree in Asia seems to directly contradict the “paper market” value of metals in recent weeks. Demand for gold and silver has only increased throughout most of the world, even in light of Federal Reserve suggestions that QE might end. Manipulations within metals markets by the CME and JP Morgan explain half the story, but there may be another issue at work.
It is very possible that the COMEX is now essentially broken, and that gold and silver ETF’s (paper gold and silver) are decoupling from the street value of physical metals during the last gasp of a failing system. In the near term, I believe that premiums on physical coins and bars will skyrocket, even as the official market prices of those metals is held down. At the same time, China, Russia, and other countries heavily invested in gold may break from Western COMEX valuations completely using their own metals markets to establish their own prices.
As the dollar loses its world reserve status, the countries holding the most physical gold in their coffers stand to weather the storm most effectively, and because U.S. gold stores have never been officially audited, we have no idea if America has any reserve whatsoever.
Crushing Energy Prices Coming Soon?
While China continues a careful strategy of decoupling from the dollar and the U.S. consumer through bilateral agreements and trading blocks, another issue is arising: the issue of energy. I would like to note that despite globally diminishing oil demand caused by the 2008 credit collapse, gas prices have experienced little to no deflation. I would also like to note that after the Federal Reserve hinted at shutting down QE, oil was one of the few commodities that continued to rise.
This has not been caused by a lack of supply, as many American-based companies ramp up production. (I am aware of all the arguments behind peak oil. As soon as a peak oil proponent can show me an example of oil demand not being met because of a legitimate lack of supply, then I’ll be happy to consider that peak oil is the main cause of price increases.)
The fact is current regressive global demand and ample supply should have led to lower gas prices, not higher. If speculation was the cause, then price shifts within the oil market should have been far more volatile, with increases lasting weeks or perhaps months, but certainly not years. The only plausible explanation for this kind of commodity activity is a weakening of the currency it is directly tied to. The petrodollar is slowly but surely coming to an end.
I believe the next market exodus may be triggered by the weakening effects of stimulus (or the removal of stimulus altogether) along with extreme energy prices cause by steady inflation and a global political crisis in the near future.
China, being strangely and consistently prophetic when it comes to economic calamity, has recently established an astonishing oil trade deal with Russia, which plans to supply China with an alternative petroleum source for the next 25 years. (This news went almost completely unnoticed by the mainstream media.)
Now, keep in mind that in 2010, China and Russia signed an agreement completely removing the U.S. dollar in bilateral trade. The dollar has been the world reserve and the only currency used to purchase petroleum for decades. The Russia/China oil deal changes everything. It sets a trend toward the removal of the petrodollar function of the Greenback which ultimately destroys any credibility the currency has left. This news flies in the face of dollar proponents who consistently claim that the dollar’s ties to oil make it invincible. Apparently, there are some weaknesses in the armor.
Ongoing social unrest in Egypt has also made oil markets jumpy, being that the Suez Canal oversees the transfer of a significant portion of the world’s oil shipping. Clearly, there are two opposing factions within the country vying for power, and regardless of who is best suited to U.S. interests, the Egyptian people overall have no love for the West. There is a distinct chance of a shooting war, similar to Syria, in the coming months in Egypt.
Meanwhile, the engineered conflict in Syria continues to go exactly as I predicted in my article ‘The Terrible Future Of The Syrian War’.
Syria remains an explosive trigger point for regional war which will, in the end, draw in Iran and result in the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, which annually handles the shipping of about 20 percent of the world’s oil. All trends point toward higher gas prices over the horizon, and the U.S. economy is barely able to survive on the cost of energy we have today.
So Close They Can’t See It
Reduced stimulus combined with adversely high oils prices may very well be the tumbling boulders that bring down the mountain. We are close now. Beyond the undeniable economic factors, the very fabric of American government is crumbling. Corruption is openly rampant. Scandals are exposed daily. The establishment leadership is unapologetic and grows even more despotic with each truth that escapes into the open air. They are becoming MORE bold, not less bold, and those of us who seek transparency in all things, from politics, to economics, to surveillance, are being attacked as the source of the problem rather than the solution.
Collapse, from a historical perspective, seems to occur when the searchlights of the individual mind are dimmest, when the threat is the greatest, and when we are most comfortable in our ignorance. In 2008, the U.S. public was mostly oblivious to the danger, and they were painfully stung. Today, I hope that the liberty movement, the alternative media, and alternative economic analysts have created a window of opportunity by which millions of people can this time see the writing on the wall and prepare accordingly. At this point, there is no question that Americans have been warned. Whether or not they pay heed, is out of our hands.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
While the global elite construct underground bunkers, eat organic and hoard seeds in Arctic vaults; the global poor are being slowly starved thanks to high commodity prices and poisoned with genetically modified (GMO) food. Austerity measures aimed largely at the poor are being imposed on all the nations of the world. Weather events grow more deadly and brushfire wars more frequent. An AK-47 can be obtained for $49 in the markets of West Africa. The depopulation campaign of the inbred Illuminatibankers is accelerating.
In 1957 President Dwight Eisenhower, who later warned of a “military-industrial complex”, commissioned a panel of scientists to study the issue of overpopulation. The scientists put forth Alternatives I, II and III, advocating both the release of deadly viruses and perpetual warfare as means to decrease world population.
The first supposition dovetailed nicely with the pharmaceutical interests of the Rockefellers. According to Nexus magazine, the Rockefellers own one-half of the US pharmaceutical industry, which would reap billions developing medicines to “battle” the deadly viruses about to be released.
In 1969 the Senate Church Committee discovered that the US Defense Department (DOD) had requested a budget of tens of millions of taxpayer dollars for a program to speed development of new viruses which target and destroy the human immune system. DOD officials testified before Congress that they planned to produce, “a synthetic biological agent, an agent that does not naturally exist and for which no natural immunity could be acquired… Most important is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.” House Bill 5090 authorized the funds and MK-NAOMI was carried out at Fort Detrick, Maryland.
Out of this research came the AIDS virus which was targeted at “undesirable elements” of the population. The first AIDS viruses were administered through a massive smallpox vaccine campaign in central and southern Africa by the World Health Organization in 1977. A year later ads appeared in major US newspapers soliciting “promiscuous gay male volunteers” to take part in a Hepatitis B vaccine study. 
The program targeted male homosexuals age 20-40 in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, St. Louis and San Francisco. It was administered by the US Centers for Disease Control which, under its earlier incarnation as the US Public Health Department in Atlanta, oversaw the Tuskegee syphilis experiments on African American males. 
San Francisco has been a target of numerous CIA experiments, due to its high population of left-leaning and gay citizens, which the Illuminati views as “undesirables”. According to Dr. Eva Snead, San Francisco has one of the highest cancer rates in the country. For years, malathion – first developed by the Nazis – was sprayed over the city by helicopters from the CIA’s Evergreen Air, whose Arizona base is used, according to author William Cooper, as CIA transshipment point for Columbian cocaine. The mysterious Legionnaire’s Disease occurs often in San Francisco and the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control bad acid program was based there.
The intellectual force behind the introduction of AIDS was the Bilderberger Group, which became fixated on population control after WWII. Author Cooper says the Policy Committee of the Bilderbergers gave orders to DOD to introduce the AIDS virus. The Bilderbergers are close to the Club of Rome, which was founded on a Rockefeller estate near Bellagio, Italy and is backed by the same European Black Nobility who frequent Bilderberger meetings. A 1968 study by the Club of Rome advocated lowering the birth rate and increasing the death rate. Club founder Dr. Aurelio Peccei made a top-secret recommendation to introduce a microbe that would attack the auto-immune system, then develop a vaccine as a prophylactic for the global elite. 
One month after the 1968 Club of Rome meeting Paul Ehrlich published The Population Bomb. The book hints at a draconian depopulation plan in the works. On page seventeen Ehrlich writes, “The problem could have been avoided by population control…so that a ‘death rate solution’ did not have to occur.” A year later MK-NAOMI was born. Peccei himself authored the Club of Rome’s much-touted Global 2000 report, which President Jimmy Carter pushed on his BCCI shakedown cruise of Africa. Peccei wrote in the report, “Man is now vested with unprecedented, tremendous responsibilities and thrown into the role of moderator of life on the planet- including his own”.
The Bilderbergers were behind the Haig-Kissinger Depopulation Policy, a driving force at the State Department and administered by the National Security Council. Pressure is applied to Third World countries to reduce their populations. Those that do not comply see their US aid withheld or are subject to Pink Plan low-intensity war that targets civilians, especially women of child-bearing age. In Africa famine and brush-fire wars are encouraged. AK-47 rifles can be bought at West African markets for under $50. The same is true in the markets of Peshawar, Pakistan. In 1975, a year after attending a Club of Rome conference on the topic, Secretary of State Kissinger founded the Office of Population Affairs (OPA).
DOD officials testified before Congress that they planned to produce, “a synthetic biological agent, an agent that does not naturally exist and for which no natural immunity could be acquired… Most important is that it might be refractory to the immunological and therapeutic processes upon which we depend to maintain our relative freedom from infectious disease.”
Latin American OPA case officer Thomas Ferguson spilled the beans on OPA’s agenda when he stated, “There is a single theme behind all our work; we must reduce population levels. Either they do it our way, through nice clean methods or they will get the kind of mess that we have in El Salvador, or in Iran, or in Beirut…Once population is out of control it requires authoritarian government, even fascism, to reduce it…The professionals aren’t interested in reducing population for humanitarian reasons…Civil wars are somewhat drawn-out ways to reduce population. The quickest way to reduce population is through famine like in Africa. We go into a country and say, here is your goddamn development plan. Throw it out the window. Start looking at your population…if you don’t …then you’ll have an El Salvador or an Iran, or worse, a Cambodia”. 
Ferguson said of El Salvador, “To accomplish what the State Department deems adequate population control, the civil war (run by CIA) would have to be greatly expanded. You have to pull all the males into fighting and kill significant numbers of fertile, child-bearing age females. You are killing a small number of males and not enough fertile females to do the job…If the war went on 30-40 years, you might accomplish something. Unfortunately, we don’t have too many instances of this to study”.
Report from Iron Mountain
In 1961 Kennedy Administration officials McGeorge Bundy, Robert McNamara and Dean Rusk, all CFR and Bilderberger members, led a study group which looked into “the problem of peace”. The group met at Iron Mountain, a huge underground corporate nuclear shelter near Hudson, New York, where CFR think tank The Hudson Institute is located. The bunker contains redundant offices in case of nuclear attack for Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch/Shell and JP Morgan Chase.  A copy of the group discussions, known as Report from Iron Mountain, was leaked by a participant and published in 1967 by Dial Press.
The report’s authors saw war as necessary and desirable stating “War itself is the basic social system, within which other secondary modes of social organization conflict or conspire. (War is) the principal organizing force…the essential economic stabilizer of modern societies.” The group worried that through “ambiguous leadership” the “ruling administrative class” might lose its ability to “rationalize a desired war”, leading to the “actual disestablishment of military institutions”.
The report goes on to say, “…the war system cannot responsibly be allowed to disappear until…we know exactly what we plan to put in its place…The possibility of war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power…The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers. War has served as the last great safeguard against the elimination of necessary classes.”
Historian Howard Zinn described this conundrum when he wrote, “American capitalism needed international rivalry- and periodic war- to create an artificial community of interest between rich and poor, supplanting the genuine community of interest among the poor that showed itself in sporadic movements”.
The Iron Mountain gang was not the first to discover the virtues of war. In 1909 the trustees of the Andrew Carnegie Foundation for International Peace met to discuss pre-WWI American life. Many of the participants were members of Skull & Bones. They concluded, “There are no known means more efficient than war, assuming the objective is altering the life of an entire people…How do we involve the United States in a war?”
The Report from Iron Mountain goes on to propose a proper role for those of the lower classes, crediting military institutions with providing “antisocial elements with an acceptable role in the social structure. The younger and more dangerous of these hostile social groupings have been kept under control by the Selective Service System…A possible surrogate for the control of potential enemies of society is the reintroduction, in some form consistent with modern technology and political process, of slavery…The development of a sophisticated form of slavery may be an absolute prerequisite for social control in a world at peace.”
“…the war system cannot responsibly be allowed to disappear until… we know exactly what we plan to put in its place… The possibility of war provides the sense of external necessity without which no government can long remain in power… The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers. War has served as the last great safeguard against the elimination of necessary classes.” Report from Iron Mountain
The Iron Mountain goons, though thrilled by the idea of slavery, listed as other socioeconomic substitutions for war: a comprehensive social welfare program, a giant open-ended space program aimed at unreachable targets, a permanent arms inspection regime, an omnipresent global police and peacekeeping force, massive global environmental pollution which would require a large labor pool to clean up, socially-oriented blood sports and a comprehensive eugenics program. 
The Iraqi genocide fulfilled the dreams of the Club of Rome Zero Population Growth maniacs, while also providing a testing ground for two of the war substitutes proposed by the Iron Mountain fascists: an arms inspection regime and UN peacekeepers. Both concepts gained traction in the international community thanks to the Gulf War.
Let the Iraqi Genocide Begin
Estimates of Iraqi casualties during the Gulf War are sobering. Some organizations like Greenpeace put the death toll at near one million people. It was a war in which the media was denied access on a scale never before seen, so casualty figures vary greatly. According to Tony Murphy, a researcher at the International War Crimes Tribunal, the US attack on Iraq killed 125,000 civilians, while destroying 676 schools, 38 hospitals, 8 major hydroelectric dams, 11 power plants, 119 power substations and half the country’s telephone lines. The attacks occurred mostly at night when people were most vulnerable.
In the months following the war the death rate of Iraqi children under five tripled. Thirty-eight percent of these deaths were caused by diarrhea.  Victor Filatov, a Russian journalist reporting for Sovetskaya Rossiya from post-war Baghdad wrote, “What further bloodshed do these barbarians of the 20th century need? I thought the Americans had changed since Vietnam…but no, they never change. They remain true to themselves.”
According to former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, the US was found guilty of nineteen war crimes against Iraq before the International War Crimes Tribunal. The US dropped 88,000 tons of bombs on Iraq during the Gulf War and has rained down countless more bombs since. Many bombs were tipped with armor piercing depleted uranium (DU) warheads, which may account for chronic Iraqi health problems. Dr. Siegwart-Horst Gunther, a German physician who came to Iraq to help its people, became gravely ill when he handled just one cigar-sized fragment from a DU warhead. Dr. Gunther measured the tiny object’s radioactivity to be 11 microSv per hour, whereas an acceptable exposure is no more than 300 microSv per year.  Three hundred tons of DU ammunition was deployed during the war.
Many believe DU is responsible for Gulf War Syndrome, which has killed and permanently injured many US soldiers who fought in the Persian Gulf theater. Since 2000, nearly 11,000 US Gulf War veterans have died from Gulf War Syndrome, while the Pentagon continues to cover up this travesty.
Satanism & Psychotronic Warfare
The US also tested numerous top-secret high-tech weapons systems in the Gulf theatre, while utilizing some old low-frequency favorites. When Iraqi ground forces surrendered, many of them were in a state of delirium and lethargy that could have been induced by extremely low-frequency radio waves, which the US used as a weapon as early as the Vietnam conflict.
Yale University and CIA psychiatrist Dr. Jose Delgado studied mind control for the Company during the 1950’s as part of the MK-ULTRA program. Delgado determined, “Physical control of many brain functions is a demonstrated fact…it is even possible to create and follow intentions…By electronic stimulation of specific cerebral structures, movements can be induced by radio command…by remote control.”
According to a military document written by Colonel Paul Valley and Major Michael Aquino titled From PSYOP to Mindwar: The Psychology of Victory, the US Army used an operational weapons system “to map the minds of neutral and enemy individuals and then to change them in accordance with US national interests”. The technique was used to secure the surrender of 29,276 armed Viet Cong and North Vietnamese Army soldiers in 1967 and 1968. The US Navy was also heavily involved in “psychotronic” research.  Many US soldiers who served near the DMZ that divided North and South Vietnam claimed to see UFOs on a regular basis. The Pentagon Papers revealed that an electronic barrier was placed along the DMZ by the secretive JASON Society.
Major Michael Aquino was an Army psyops specialist in Vietnam, where his unit specialized in drug-inducement, brainwashing, virus injection, brain implants, hypnosis, and use of electromagnetic fields and extremely low-frequency radio waves. After Vietnam, Aquino moved to San Francisco and founded the Temple of Set. Set is the ancient Egyptian name for Lucifer. Aquino was now a senior US Military Intelligence official.  He’d been given a Top Secret security clearance on June, 9, 1981. Less than a month later an Army intelligence memo revealed that Aquino’s Temple of Set was an off-shoot of Anton La Vey’s Church of Satan, also headquartered in San Francisco. Two other Set members were Willie Browning and Dennis Mann. Both were Army Intelligence officers.
The Temple of Set was obsessed with military matters and political fascism. It was especially preoccupied with the Nazi Order of the Trapezoid. Aquino’s “official” job was history professor at Golden Gate College. The Temple recruited the same Hells Angels who Billy Mellon Hitchcock had used to dole out his bad CIA acid. Its members frequented prostitutes where they engaged in all manner of sadomasochistic activities.  Director of Army Counter-Intelligence Donald Press revealed that Dennis Mann was assigned to the 306 PSYOPS Battalion and that Aquino was assigned to a top secret program known as Presidio.
Presidio is also the name of a spooky complex in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which Mikhail Gorbachev reportedly frequented as the Soviet Union was falling apart. Was Aquino part of an operation to “map the mind” of the Soviet Union’s last leader and induce him into proposing both glasnost and perestroika, the two free market policies that ultimately led to the Soviet Union’s demise? Remember the curious mark which suddenly appeared on Gorbachev’s forehead? Was he implanted with some sort of microchip mind-control device to make him think “in accordance with US national interests”?
Such Orwellian technology is marketed on a regular basis throughout the world. International Healthline Corporation and others sell microchip implants in the US, Russia and Europe. The Humane Society has adopted a policy of micro-chipping all stray pets. The State of Hawaii requires that all pets be micro-chipped. Six thousand people in Sweden have accepted a microchip in their hand, which they use for all purchases. Trials are also underway in Japan. In July 2002, National Public Radio reported a similar trial beginning in Seattle. Later in 2002, after a rash of suspicious abductions of young girls, BBC reported that a British company plans to implant children with microchips so that their parents can monitor their whereabouts.
Dr. Carl Sanders, a highly acclaimed electronics engineer, revealed that a microchip project he launched to help people with severed spinal cords was taken over by Bill Colby’s Operation Phoenix in a series of meetings organized by Henry Kissinger. Sanders says the optimal spot for a microchip implant is just below the hairline on a person’s forehead, since the device can be recharged by changes in body temperatures, which are most pronounced there. Interestingly, this is the location of the pineal gland or Third Eye.
The 1986 Emigration Control Act grants the President the power to mandate any kind of ID he deems necessary.  Researchers at Southern California have developed a chip which mimics the hippocampus, the part of the brain that deals with memory. Pentagon officials are interested in using it in experiments to create a “super-soldier”.  Another microchip called Brain Gate is being implanted in paralyzed people. It allows them to control their environment by simply thinking. 
In Iraq, psychological warfare gave way to slow genocide. According to UNICEF, as of late 2001, 1.5 million Iraqi children had died as a result of sanctions, while one child in ten died before their first birthday. Thalassemia, anemia and diarrhea were the biggest killers and could have been prevented were it not for a chronic shortage of blood and medicine in Iraq due to the sanctions. UN Committee 661 served as arbiter of what constituted a “dual use” item and therefore banned for import into Iraq. As of 2001, over 1,600 Iraqi contracts with Western companies for medical equipment had been blocked by 661. 
Yale University and CIA psychiatrist Dr. Jose Delgado studied mind control for the Company during the 1950’s as part of the MK-ULTRA program. Delgado determined, “Physical control of many brain functions is a demonstrated fact…it is even possible to create and follow intentions…By electronic stimulation of specific cerebral structures, movements can be induced by radio command…by remote control.”
The Gulf War decimated Iraq’s sewer and water treatment systems. Iraqis were forced to drink polluted water, leading to numerous health problems. Iraq was not allowed to import chlorine to clean the water since 661 deemed it a potential chemical weapon. Electrical power was rationed in three-hour daily increments per household since the Iraqi government couldn’t get the parts it needed to fix its power plants after the US bombed its entire power grid. With the devaluation of the Iraqi dinar and the ban on the export of 2.4 million barrels of oil per day, the average Iraqi lived on $2.50 a month- enough to buy a pair of shoes. The only Iraqis not affected were the wealthy elite, who had long ago stashed their savings overseas in US dollars.
UNICEF estimates that 28% of Iraqi children no longer went to school. Before the war almost all children attended. Often families could only afford to send one child to school because of the cost of simple things like backpacks, shoes and notebooks. Rafah Salam Aziz, Director of Mansour Children’s Hospital, said parents were often forced to make similar decisions about their children’s lives. Aziz said, “Many times it’s easier for a family to let a baby die rather than let the whole family go hungry and get sick.”
In 1996 Clinton Defense Secretary William Perry announced a new military buildup in the Persian Gulf. Soon cruise missiles were again raining down on Baghdad. Many nations now grew weary of both US bombing and the sanctions regime, which was brutalizing the Iraqi people while strengthening the grip of Saddam Hussein. Russian President Boris Yeltsin, whose country signed a deal with Iraq to rebuild its shattered oil sector, said he was disturbed at the use of “extreme and radical force against the Arab world”. The Russian opposition offered a more scalding appraisal. Alexander Lebed stating angrily, “The US is like a strong master who spits on everybody.”
Turkey, Jordan and Syria all expressed unease over the new round of bombing. Even the Saudis, where Islamic fundamentalism was on the rise and two major bombings had occurred at US bases, now refused to allow the US to use its bases to bomb Iraq. Many countries, including France, began openly flaunting the UN embargo against Iraq in the late 1990’s.
Dennis Halliday, former Assistant Secretary of the UN who initially headed the UN Humanitarian Program to Iraq, resigned his post in protest. He said sanctions were demolishing the very class of Iraqi people who wanted to create a better government in the country. He was scornful of the UN Oil for Food Program under which the US received 70% of Iraqi oil. Halliday stated plainly, “We are guilty of committing genocide, through the Security Council, against Iraq.”
Halliday’s 1998 successor was Hans Van Sponeck, who watched as the UN unfurled the UNSCOM arms inspection regime, paid for by Iraqi oil sales. US inspector Scott Ritter confirmed Iraqi suspicions that UNSCOM was gathering intelligence for CIA and Mossad. UNSCOM was just the latest CIA tool. In 1996 the Iraqi government claimed international relief agencies, including the World Food Program, which claimed to be helping the Kurds, were actually CIA operatives attempting to destabilize the country.
In fact the CIA had spent more than $20 million in its support of the Iraqi National Congress, led by long-time CIA surrogate Jalal Talibani’s PKK Kurdish faction.  In January 1997 Iraq uncovered two Mossad spy rings in one month following the attempted assassination of Saddam Hussein’s son.  Hans Van Sponeck had seen enough. He too resigned in protest.
In early 1999 it was revealed that the US had used UNSCOM to plant electronic bugging devices in the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. Arms inspector Scott Ritter said the CIA was using UNSCOM to “provoke a crisis”. In December 1998 UNSCOM, faced with the embarrassing accusations of espionage, pulled out of Iraq. On December 15th the US launched a new round of bombing. Ritter says intelligence gathered by UNSCOM was used for targeting. UNSCOM spokesman David Kay resurfaced in 2003 calling for a US invasion of Iraq. He now worked for SAIC, which landed numerous Pentagon contracts to rebuild Iraq.
Dean Henderson is the author of four books: Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries, Stickin’ it to the Matrix and Das Kartell der Federal Reserve.To subscribe to Dean’s weekly blog, Left Hook, go to www.deanhenderson.wordpress.com
-  Behold a Pale Horse. William Cooper. Light Technology Press. Sedona, AZ. 1991. p.166
-  Robot’s Rebellion: The Story of the Spiritual Renaissance. David Icke. Gateway Books. Bath, UK. 1994. p.305
-  Cooper. p.166
-  Ibid
-  Rule by Secrecy: The Hidden History that Connects the Trilateral Commission, the Freemasons and the Great Pyramids. Jim Marrs. HarperCollins Publishers. New York. 2000. p.114
-  Ibid. 116
-  “Child Death Rate Jumps in Iraq”. AP. Great Falls Tribune. 9-24-92. p.8
-  “Depleted Uranium”. Siegwart-Horst Gunther. Covert Action Quarterly. Winter 2001. p.2
-  Cooper. p.369
-  Icke. p.221
-  Cooper. p.361
-  Icke. p.223
-  Inquirer. UK. 10-25-05
-  PhysOrg News. 11-1-95 www.physorg.com/news7746.html
-  “Greetings from Missile Street”. Free Speech TV. Boulder, CO. 12-23-01
-  “US Economic Sanctions Taking Very Human Toll in Iraq”. Great Falls Tribune. 9-13-92.
-  “Slamming Saddam”. Time. 9-16-96. p.31
-  “The Unfinished War”. CNN. 1-6-02
-  Evening Edition. National Public Radio. 9-10-96
-  BBC World News. 1-8-97
Source: Dean Henderson | VeteransToday
“Wherever private property disappears, man’s liberty is gone. Man is placed completely at the mercy of the state. Wherever private ownership is weakened, man’s liberty is weakened also. There is an essential relationship between liberty and property.” R. J. Rushdoony
The Heritage Foundation provides an excellent summary of property rights. They describe a rating of 100 this way: “Private property is guaranteed by the government. The court system enforces contracts efficiently and quickly. The justice system punishes those who unlawfully confiscate private property. There is no corruption or expropriation.” At 50, “The court system is inefficient and subject to delays. Corruption may be present, and the judiciary may be influenced by other branches of government. Expropriation is possible but rare.” At 0, “Private property is outlawed, and all property belongs to the state. People do not have the right to sue others and do not have access to the courts. Corruption is endemic.
In 1995 world property rights were rated at 56. In 2013 they are rated at 43, a reduction of over 20 percent. (See the graph in the Heritage Link below.)
Though freedom is tending down throughout the world it remains highest in Western nations and lowest in the Third World.
The Heritage link rates the United States of America tenth behind Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, and Denmark.
Click here for the Heritage Foundation Property Rights link.
The U. S. Government now owns over 50 percent of the nation’s land and the incremental incursion of United Nation’s Agenda 21 continues to add to the coffer. On Michael Shaw’s “Freedom Advocates”page he writes, “Agenda 21 seeks to transform America while eliminating the middle class. It plans to reach these goals on several fronts: by restructuring agriculture, creating broad wildlife corridors void of human activity, determining where and how people live, controlling human reproduction and human movement, constraining and controlling energy consumption and water use—in short, by eliminating private property.”
“The institution of private property makes possible three things essential to our liberty: It encourages productive activity, allowing us to turn our ideas into actions and to realize the benefits of those actions. It allows us to engage in voluntary trade with others, multiplying the benefits of individual action a thousand-fold. It enables us to safeguard and develop our resources responsibly and to secure peace and prosperity as a result. To appreciate the importance of private property in your own life, you need only to consider the significance of these two facts: Private property represents everything you obtain through productive effort or voluntary trade. Its essence is your right to determine its use”
The right to private property is being eroded in the United States and around the world. World government seeks to exert absolute control; treating people like herds of cattle to be used as labor on the world plantation. Like a bee hive the world will be filled with worker bees whose sole task is to provide an opulent leisure for the ruling class. National pride will give way to a multicultural social order with intermarriages blurring racial identities. Only the Nation of Israel will remain intact. Other nations and races are destined to become worker bees indistinguishable from one another. This is the plan. It is the logic behind the deliberate dumbing down of America and the massive push for multicultural integration. It is the impetus for the destruction of Christianity with its emphasis on the individual. The plan is diabolical, a direct download from Satan himself.
The snake of humanism is very prolific when it invades a society rationality disappears and as humans stray farther and farther from their Creator, foolishness grows with exponential rapidity.
We live with and have accepted an increasing number of social insanities: Our president who may be Constitutionally ineligible has been elected to a second term; our government has enslaved its citizens with a national debt of $16 trillion dollars which amounts to over $50 thousand per citizen; in direct defiance of the natural order we are training women to fight against men in defense of our nation and sanctioning homosexual marriage; the hallowed halls of our educational institutions have accepted the weakening results of multiculturalism as a desirable goal; our citizens have been convinced that relatively weak and militarily insignificant nations in the Arab world are a danger to us; with text book insanity Americans continue to participate in a political system that is progressively enslaving them; and while all this subterfuge goes on our government supports an international court that prosecutes crimes against humanity while they are the biggest perpetrator.
Most Americans harbor a lackadaisical confidence that things will improve. They ignore the world debt crisis and fail to consider that ultimately the lenders will call on the citizens of the United States to pay the debt their government has accumulated. Think of the austerity required for an American family of four to pay off a debt of $200,000.00. That figure is quickly rising as our politicians continue to use the public credit card. The debtor is a slave to the lender and the United States of America is a plantation populated by slaves whose willful ignorance allows them to go about their daily tasks as if all were well.
The One True God is at odds with the new world order; it seeks to tyrannize us while He seeks to free us through obedience to His Commandments. When God and His Law are forsaken despotism is inevitable. We were not created to govern ourselves and since we have failed to encode this truth we are experiencing the results of our failure.
Partisan politics warned us about the dictatorial nature of the Obama Administration but the erstwhile Bush cabal was equally malignant. Changing political partoes is useless. We have long ago lost control of our government and our opinions no longer matter. Congress persons and senators vote the will of the money powers and the money powers reward them with re-election.
In Boston and Watertown, Massachusetts local, state, and federal authorities deployed a frightening array of coordinated force to apprehend two young men they described as terrorists. Acting as judge and jury they violated the legal rights of the suspects and encroached on property rights by invading homes and restricting the movement of their occupants. The entire operation resembled aiming a howitzer at a house fly.
The citizens of the United States of America have been put on notice that neither they nor their properties can claim protections from the unrestrained power of those that rule them.
Several times I have written that Americans need to repent from theirs and their father’s wicked ways. This admonition has fallen on deaf ears and some have advised me that I should stop writing about it because it will never happen.
In a recent email from American Vision Dr. Joel McDurmon wrote that “a corrupt government is the product of a corrupt people”. He quoted H. L. Mencken, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what They want, and deserve to get it good and hard.” and went on to contend that God often punishes a wicked populace by exposing them to their own sins. “Thus do the politically deluded live in a denial which dismisses even God’s Word in favor of the assertion of human wisdom. So often do men shelter their pet political beliefs from even divine criticism. So often do men deny God’s Word to advance their own desires. So often do men rest on false assurances built on their own godless dreams. And just as often do societies weather and decay from the blights of human vanity.” Read here.
America and its people have supported illegal aggression and encouraged murderous wars. We have pride fully maintained our national superiority and encouraged the use of weapons of mass destruction. We have supported our government in the role of a deity and now, since we have granted it that role, it has begun reflecting it in action. We have winked at sin, dallied in its fringes, and taken an occasional bath. Dishonest measurements have been accepted for decades; our buildings are constructed with dishonest two-by-fours that are actually only one and a half by three and three quarters. Now even our Pound Cakes weigh only fourteen ounces. Dishonesty has permeated our culture! Our media uses lies, gross omissions, and misrepresentations in reporting the news and our government regularly distorts facts and figures. While all this defiance of God continues our churches disregard their proper function by seeking peace and respectability. Abortion is a horrendous sin but it is only one sin; our cancerous pride covers scores of others.
One of my nieces is married to a lawyer. He employs a logical mind that makes conversation interesting. He is a Democrat who supports Obama and believes he is doing a reasonably good job. His approach to life is pragmatic, he considers himself moral, and understands that there is room for disagreement. We did not set parameters for our talk but I believe he would agree with Democrat Harry Reid that government is inherently good and with Libertarian Jacob Hornberger that it should be constrained by natural law.
Natural law alone would never have created the freedom and order the United States of America has enjoyed. It was Christianity and the Laws God gave to Moses that buttressed a secular government and made our nation great. Though not always pronounced it was almost universally supported even by many whose personal beliefs were different. Pragmatism is a pagan procedure that allows compromise with evil and the end to justify the means. Freedom is always endangered by pragmatism.
Because we are no longer a righteous nation we are quickly losing our freedom. The longer we linger in secular humanism the greater the constraints. Private property was flagrantly invaded in Watertown, Massachusetts. When tyrants are successful in exercising inordinate power they will continue to do so.
We no longer have private property in America. The internet is devoid of privacy with everything subject to the prying eyes and ears of big brother. Private homes are no longer sanctuaries but can now be invaded by heavily armed, jack booted government troops who can kill with impunity. Public safety trumps individual rights leaving citizens without privacy or even the right to occupy of their own property.
Life is no longer restrained by absolutes. Power prevails and the full force of the United States military can be used to enforce the whims of those that wield it.
When we forsake God’s Law we subject ourselves to the whims of human power!
“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” (George Orwell)
“The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words…” .
Thought control is irreconcilable with the scientific method, which, since the 17th century, has hinged on the identification of natural and human realities, using systematic observation, measurement, experiment, formulation and testing of hypotheses in an endeavor to construct an accurate representation of the world. By definition, the scientific method, which along with humanism forms the basis for the Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, poses a challenge to attempts at thought control .
In an Orwellian world the science itself would be deemed to constitute a ‘thoughtcrime’ .
Currently much of the world is either denying, or not acting on, the ultimate warning science has ever issued to humanity, namely, that any major interference with the atmosphere-ocean-land carbon cycle threatens to erode the very life support system of the planet.
Prior to the Neolithic, some 10,000 years ago, and the development of Great River Valley civilizations, erratic climates severely hindered cultivation of crops, requiring our ancestors to rely on hunting and gathering. Since then the relatively stable world climate has permitted the development of agriculture and civilization. However, the release since 1750 of over 560 billion tons of carbon (Gt C), more than 40% of which accumulates in the atmosphere, at the unprecedented rate of 2 parts per million/year , signals the termination of stable climate, as manifested by the spate of extreme weather events .
As CO2 remains in the atmosphere for 1000 to 10,000 years, current emissions are condemning future generations to impossible conditions. 
Overlooking all that, the “powers to be” appear bent on business as usual, and have developed an Orwellian language that attempts to circumvent the scientific message. Rarely are the dominant terms used in the media questioned. An example of such terms which have direct and indirect implications for the future of the Earth’s atmosphere include: ‘sustainable growth’ – The notion of endless growth in populations, GDP and material goods, on a finite planet, has acquired religious overtones among economists and politicians. To date no government appears to have the courage to call for a reversal of this trend.
Government statements appear to take for granted a continuation of the basic social and economic structures, taking little account of the state of the world should the IPCC-projected trajectories toward 4 degrees Celsius increase in global temperatures continue.
Rational decisions depend on the knowledge of facts. As recorded in history, the cradle of democracy in ancient Greece was destroyed by the rise of the demagogues, distorting the factual basis on which any choices could be made by voters. Modern analogues, where people grow from cradle to grave watching commercial and political propaganda by privately-owned media and by governments, are obvious.
Between 1988 and 2011 the world spent between $1.0 and $1.6 trillion annually on the military, and $1.56 trillion in 2012 , mostly on remote conflicts, wrecking economies and killing millions. These astronomical amounts of money are now required for the defence of the human race and other species from extinction in a world 4 degrees Celsius warmer.
There are those who see through the Newspeak. Ian Dunlop, a former an international oil, gas and coal industry executive, states in his submission to the Senate committee on extreme weather events:
“Scenarios abound, setting out the implications of differing assumptions for the future of our children and grandchildren. All of which would be laudable were it not for the fact that the critical scenario, of accelerating climate change and resource scarcity, is deliberately ignored – apparently too scary for ‘political realism’ to contemplate. Which is a nonsense, for the whole idea of scenarios is to prepare for the real, and increasingly likely, risks and opportunities which we face.” 
However, attempts at suppression of the scientific evidence are growing.
In North Carolina a bill that could be introduced in the state General Assembly would prevent state agencies and local governments from planning for the higher seas that many scientists expect later this century as the climate warms, making it illegal to accurately measure that sea level rise. Instead, the bill requires that any state forecast for future sea-level rise be based on the historical rise of the last century .
In New Zealand, the climate-change-denier organisation, the New Zealand Climate Science Education Trust went to the High Court to challenge data published by the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere Research showing rising temperatures in New Zealand between 1909 and 2009. The judge threw out their claims, commenting “This Court should not seek to determine or resolve scientific questions demanding the evaluation of contentious expert opinion.” 
In Australia, which in 2010 became the world’s fourth-largest coal producer, after China, the United States, and India, and which exports roughly 70% of its coal production , climate change has become a sensitive political issue. The government has introduced a Carbon Tax which aims at a 5% reduction in carbon emissions, while at the same time the infrastructure is built for the export of over 1 billion tons of coal in the next few decades – almost 10% of the world’s annual fossil fuel consumption – which will all end up in the atmosphere.
Opposition by conservative parties to the Carbon Tax constitutes a mask for their denial of climate change. Attempts at either denying the science or belittling the consequences of carbon emissions are common, including by political leaders [11, 12, 13, 14]. Only rarely are the precautionary and risk management principles mentioned. Echoing Senator James Inhofe’s attempts to challenge climate science at the US Senate , some call for political-based inquiries into climate science  – unprecedented since Galileo.
Good planets are hard to come by.
 http://www.climatecentral.org/news/hansen-study-extreme-weather-tied-to-climate-change-14760/ ;
The Dow is at a record high and so are corporate profits – so why does it feel like most of the country is deeply suffering right now? Real household income is the lowest that it has been in a decade, poverty is absolutely soaring,47 million Americans are on food stamps and the middle class is being systematically destroyed. How can big corporations be doing so well while most American families are having such a hard time? Isn’t their wealth supposed to “trickle down” to the rest of us? Unfortunately, that is not how the real world works. Today, most big corporations are trying to minimize the number of “expensive” American workers on their payrolls as much as they can. If the big corporation that is employing you can figure out a way to replace you with a worker in China or with a robot, it will probably do it. Corporations are in existence to maximize wealth for their shareholders, and most of the time the largest corporations are dominated by the monopoly men of the global elite. Over the decades, the politicians that have their campaigns funded by these monopoly men have rigged the game so that the big corporations are able to easily dominate everything. But this was never what those that founded this country intended. America was supposed to be a place where the power of collectivist institutions would be greatly limited, and individuals and small businesses would be free to compete in a capitalist system that would reward anyone that had a good idea and that was willing to work hard. But today, our economy is completely and totally dominated by a massively bloated federal government and by absolutely gigantic predator corporations that are greatly favored by our massively bloated federal government. Our founders tried to warn us about the dangers of allowing government, banks and corporations to accumulate too much power, but we didn’t listen. Now they dominate everything, and the rest of us are fighting for table scraps.
In early America, most states had strict laws governing the size and scope of corporations. Individuals and small businesses thrived in such an environment, and the United States experienced a period of explosive economic growth. We showed the rest of the world that capitalism really works, and we eventually built the largest middle class that the world had ever seen.
But now we have replaced capitalism with something that I like to call “corporatism”. In many ways, it shares a lot of characteristics with communism, and that is why nations such as communist China have embraced it so readily. Under “corporatism”, monolithic predator corporations run around sucking up as much wealth and economic power as they possibly can. Most individuals and small businesses cannot compete and end up getting absorbed by the corporations. These mammoth collectivist institutions are in private hands rather than in government hands (as would be the case under a pure form of communism), but the results are pretty much the same either way. A tiny elite at the top gets almost all of the economic rewards.
There are some out there that would suggest that the answer to our problems is to move more in the direction of “socialism”, but to be honest that wouldn’t be the solution to anything. It would just change how the table scraps that the rest of us are getting are distributed.
If we truly wanted a return to prosperity, we need to dramatically shift the rules of the game so that they are tilted back in favor of individuals and small businesses. A much more pure form of capitalism would mean more wealth, less poverty and a more equitable distribution of the economic rewards in this country.
But it will never happen. Most of our politicians are married to the big corporations and the wealthy elitists that fund their campaigns. And most Americans are so uneducated that they believe that what we actually have today is “capitalism” and that the only alternative is to go “to the left” toward socialism.
Very few people out there are suggesting that we need to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations, but that is exactly what we need to do. We need to give individuals and small businesses room to breathe once again.
With each passing year, things get even worse. In fact, the founder of Subway Restaurants recently said that the environment for small businesses is so toxic in America today that he never would have been able to start Subway if he had to do it today.
For much more on how small business is being strangled to death in the United States, please see my previous article entitled “We Are Witnessing The Death Of Small Business In America“.
What I want to do now is to discuss some of the results that “corporatism” is producing in America.
First of all, we continue to see incomes go down even though we live in an inflationary economy.
As Time Magazine recently reported, personal incomes took a huge nosedive during the month of January…
Data released by the Commerce Department last week showed that personal income fell 3.6% in January, the biggest decline in 20 years. The drop was even bigger when taxes and inflation are taken into account. Real personal disposable income fell by 4%, the biggest monthly drop in half a century.
Real median US household income — that’s “real,” as in “adjusted for inflation” — was $50,054 in 2011, the most recent data available from the US Census Bureau. That’s 8% lower than the 2007 peak of $54,489.
Meanwhile, big corporations are absolutely raking in the cash. The following is from a recent New York Times article…
“So far in this recovery, corporations have captured an unusually high share of the income gains,” said Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “The U.S. corporate sector is in a lot better health than the overall economy. And until we get a full recovery in the labor market, this will persist.”
The result has been a golden age for corporate profits, especially among multinational giants that are also benefiting from faster growth in emerging economies like China and India.
Just check out the following chart. Corporate profits have absolutely exploded over the past decade…
Meanwhile, wages as a percentage of GDP continue to fall rapidly…
Most of the jobs being created in America today are “low wage” jobs. Tens of millions of Americans are working as hard as they can only to find that they can barely put food on the table and provide a roof over the heads of their children. The ranks of the “working poor” are exploding and the middle class continues to shrink.
Many of you that are reading this article are members of the working poor. You know what it is like to stare up at your ceiling at night wondering how you are going to pay the bills next month.
Today, most Americans are living very close to the edge financially. A recent article by NBC News staff writer Allison Linn shared some of their stories. The following is one example…
Crystal Dupont knows what it’s like to try to live on the federal minimum wage.
Dupont has no health insurance, so she hasn’t seen a doctor in two years. She’s behind on her car payments and has taken out pawn shop and payday loans to cover other monthly expenses. She eats beans and oatmeal when her food budget gets low.
When she got her tax refund recently, she used the money to get ahead on her light bill.
“I try to live within my means, but sometimes you just can’t,” said Dupont, 25. The Houston resident works 30 to 40 hours a week taking customer service calls, earning between $7.25 and $8 an hour. That came to about $15,000 last year.
It’s a wage she’s lived on for a while now, but just barely.
Sadly, the number of Americans that are “just barely” surviving continues to grow.
But if corporate profits are soaring to unprecedented heights, then who is getting all of those rewards?
The monopoly men of the global elite are.
Just check out the following video which does a great job of illustrating how corporatism has systematically funneled all of the economic rewards in our system to the very top…
Once again, I want to make it very clear that I am not advocating socialism as the answer in any way, shape or form. Socialism takes away the incentive to create wealth and it almost always results in almost all of the economic rewards going to a very tiny elite anyway.
As I said earlier, what we need is a return to a much more pure form of capitalism, but this is so foreign to the way that most people think that most people will not be able to grasp this.
It certainly would be possible to greatly reduce the power of the federal government and greatly reduce the power of the big corporations at the same time, but this is so “outside the box” for most people that they cannot even conceive of doing such a thing.
We need to create an environment where individuals and small businesses can thrive once again. But instead, most of us are content to continue “playing the game” and getting enslaved in even more debt.
For example, according to CNBC, auto loans just continue to get larger and continue to get stretched out for longer periods of time…
American car buyers, attracted by new models and cheap financing, are taking out bigger auto loans and stretching out the terms of those loans to a new record length.
New analysis from Experian Automotive shows the average new car loan in the fourth quarter of last year was $26,691 and stretched out over an average of 65 months. The length of the average loan is one month longer than the previous record set in the third quarter of last year.
What will they think of next?
Will we eventually have auto loans that get paid off over 10 years?
By the way, that is another way that the monopoly men of the global elite get all of our money. They enslave us to debt, and we spend year after year of our lives slaving away to make them even wealthier.
They are very smart. There is a reason why they have 32 TRILLION dollars stashed away in offshore tax havens. They know how to play the game, and they are very happy that most of the rest of us are asleep.
Fortunately, it appears that an increasing number of Americans are waking up.
For example, I wanted to share with you all an excerpt from a comment that one of my readers left on one of my recent articles…
In the past year, I’ve been slowly but surely waking up to the nonsense happening around me. There’s so many things I need to simply get off my chest, so excuse the length of this post. Recently in the past two years, I’ve gotten married and have been medically discharged from the Marines after being injured in Afghanistan. Being 23 years old and married, my goal is secure a secure a future for my family, but with the way things are going, I’m not exactly sure how much of a future we’re going to have in 50 years. I can’t explain it, but I’ve felt this need to change my attitude and motivations lately.
I started by turning off the garbage music, television and other mindless entertainment that seems to plague my generation. It was easier than it looked – I don’t miss most of it really. The next order of business was to educate myself on world news, so that’s what I did. Every day, like clockwork, I check all major mainstream news feeds (NBC, Fox, Abc, CNN, Reuters, BBC, etc.) as well as not-so-mainstream news sites – yours being one of them. It’s incredible how fast our world changes and the manner in which it changes. The local 10 o’clock doesn’t show anything but local news, sports, weather, lottery #’s and whatever else they decide to throw in. It’s a night and day difference once you start to actually research and see what’s happening all over the world. Look at the number of comments about a news story on the economy and then look at a celebrity story on the “news”….People are so blind, it truly amazes me. My friends, family and classmates at college seem to be under a spell of some sort. They’re distracted – and it’s contagious. Nobody I know gives a damn about global affairs/economics. They’re more interested in the newest iPhone, cars, shows, movies, and just about anything else you can think of. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with these things, but my friends/family/peers are CONSUMED by these distractions. When the election was taking place in 2012, every Tom, Dick and Harry on Facebook had an opinion and rant. After the circus ended however, everyone simply went back to posting about parties, kittens, Farmville etc. It’s a huge joke. For me, it’s little terrifying and exciting to see history unfolding in front of our eyes. This country of ours is going through big changes now that will most certainly affect our future, so I strive to adapt and prepare myself and my family. I’m looking at buying my first home this summer. Right now I live in an apartment right outside Philly and spend more money on rent than most pay for a mortgage. I need a house with a little land to raise chickens, grow fruits/vegetables, store canned food – and to be as independent from the system as I can. For my job, I wanted a skill/trade that people would always need, so I picked the funeral business. On the side, I work in construction and have been learning everything there is to know about building with my own two hands. I feel as though these old forgotten skills are going to be handy in a short while.
Hopefully we can get a lot more people to wake up and start breaking out of “the matrix” of control that is all around us.
Right now, the system is designed to continually funnel more money and more power to the very top of the pyramid. The global elite are becoming more dominant with each passing day. Unless something dramatic happens, at some point the American people will become so powerless that they won’t be able to do anything about it even if they wanted to.
The idea of a very tiny elite completely dominating all the rest of us goes against everything that America is supposed to stand for. In the end, it will result in absolute tyranny if it is not stopped.
Source: The Economic Collapse
Can Washington and Her Allies Stop Syria’s Reconciliation Efforts?
Damascus - This observer lost count more than a year ago of the sheer number of predictions by analysts and lobbyists that the “tipping point” signaling the Assad government’s collapse was a sure thing and would happen any time now. “It’s just a matter of days, not weeks” President Obama declared back in 2011.
Based on personal observations and interviews with a fair number of informed people who actually live in Syria, as opposed to the Zionist “think” tank-arm chair “expert” variety, this observer concedes that prognosticators are finally right.
In point of fact, I have concluded over the past few months that the long elusive “tipping point” in Syria has indeed been reached and the momentum has shifted decisively in this embattled.
But not the tipping point that the rebel promoters were hoping for, including the NATO countries.
But rather the momentum here has tipped in favor of the current regime due to its capacity to maintain a slowly rising level of popular support, and good relations with key foreign supporters during the current run up to next year’s Presidential election. Then, it will be up to the Syrian voters to decide who stays, goes, and/or joins in their next government.
I base my tentative conclusions, on among others, the following factors.
The Syrian population here is so tired, so exhausted and beaten down– the killing has gone on for so long, and the Syrian people, like Iranians and others I have observed, appear to exhibit a ( distinctly noticeable by this foreigner), profound and almost moral and religious bond with their countrymen and they personally feel acutely their country’s suffering. Such that people on the streets are very shocked and incredulous at what is going on and many in fact feel less strongly about either side in the conflict and just want the slaughter to end and for life to return to ‘normal’ even without deep revolutionary-across the board-changes for now.
Two days ago mortars hit the campus of Damascus University. By the grace of God there were no casualties-this time. But students report that on average about six mortars or explosive devices hit Damascus every week. While unreported in the media, the attack on Damascus University where the student body has pretty much stayed on the sidelines during the current crisis, is an example of the nerve shattering recognition here that rebels can more or less fire mortars or rockets at will into Damascus, from miles away. And these terrorist attacks are very difficult to stop and constitute an ever present danger for Damascenes. The relatively frequently used small US M252 81mm mortar that can be carried in a deep pocket or under a shirt when strapped, has a bit more than a one mile range (5700 meters). Larger ones can travel several miles when set at between 45 and 85 degrees to the ground according to military sources.
Also, according to students, about five days ago the Tishreen War Panorama Museum was hit with four or five rebel projectiles. The military museum was built to celebrate the October 1973 Yom Kippur War (“Tishreen” means “October” in Arabic), and this main tourist attraction is only two miles northeast of the Old City in Damascus.
One also experiences here an attitude that the Assad government is showing signs of learning some serious lessons about the direction that Syria must move in. While number estimates are difficult, increasing number of Syrians appears to believe that the current regime is the best solution- at least for now. For now, meaning, until next year’s election.
One also notices in Syria these days that people appear (maybe influenced a bit by the recent spring weather) somewhat more optimistic that things are getting “better”– warmer weather means less need for mazot (heating oil), people are car-pooling more to decrease dependence on limited benzene, some flour, which is not being produced here due to rebel burning fields, theft from supply warehouses and Turkish condoned destruction of a majority of manufacturing enterprises in Aleppo, that is still often difficult to find in appearing to a degree from bordering countries. . Plus many of the shortages–partly caused by the US-led sanctions- are for now somehow less severe due to the ingenuity of the Syrian people and Government in ameliorating the harsh conditions somewhat and are increasingly getting around the civilian targeting sanctions by employing some shrewd countermeasures.
This observer, along with others, has been critical of the Lebanese government for not doing more for the Syrian and Palestinian refugees forced into their country by the current crisis. While still a serious problem, there has finally developed a life-line of sorts operating from Lebanon into Syria. More consumer goods now move officially from the Masnaa Syrian-Lebanese border crossing where vehicles are checked, and much more food stuffs and essential goods arrive into Syria via many other routes between the two countries which ever since the French created Lebanon back in 1943 have been used for smuggling.
From before Choura to Majdal and Anjar, one comes across lines of massive fuel tankers as well as trucks loaded with Bekaa valley root vegetables like onions, potatoes, carrots, squash, radishes, wheat, barley, lentil, beets, zucchini, cabbage, cauliflower and beans of different varieties.
According to my driver, government’s regulations require that these life support large vehicles line up until 4 p.m. so as not to jam the narrow, windy, pot holed and frankly dangerous cliff hanging roads.
Even this observers favorite driver Ahmad, has become involved. No longer does he transport up to five passengers. Only me who rides“shotgun.” This is because he fills the trunk of his taxi and the back seat with about a dozen kilo tanks of pressured cooking gas. Ahmad pays $16 per filled tank in Lebanon and sells them in Syria for $50 each. I am not sure why he needs me to ride with him and why he give me a great price,but having an American board seems to help in some way with some of the checkpoints. Maybe the novelty distracts the soldiers somehow from his dangerous cargo and they decide to cut the driver some slack.
For about a decade, starting at about age seven, this observer would almost never miss a Saturday matinee at the Victory theater in Milwaukie, Oregon, I have known since that time that riding “shotgun” whether on a stage coach or covered wagon was not the best seat because you might catch an arrow from “wild Resistance Indians on the warpath” (for some reason) or a bullet from road bandits.
Things have not changed so much. Modernly, riding “shotgun” from Beirut to Damascus with a dozen tanks of pressured gas jammed into ones car invites instant immolation from a snipers bullet fired from some hill overlooking the main highway. Trying to make a joke, my driver reminds me from time to time that the US M24 specially adapted Remington 700 Sniper Weapon, some of which are in the hands of rebels around here, has a supposed range of more than two miles and one bullet into one tank and it’s all over fast for the both of us.
More seriously, regular views are expressed in Syria about the support levels for the current regime vs. support for the rebels. Admittedly based on nothing very scientific, this observer tends to agree with what he has been hearing from a cross section of the local population that the regime has the fairly strong backing of around 30% of the population. Less than half of that for the rebels. Syrian minorities, including Christians, Shi’a and Alawites , among others, seem to cast with the regime. For reasons that include that they are afraid of the wahabist/salafist/jihadist types and the breaking up of their country.
One teenager who I asked why she supports the current regime explained that the Assad regime is doing their best and despite the rising prices that her parents chronically complain about she is grateful on one thing the government has done. Waiting for me to ask what, she explained: “And that is that despite all the rising prices the government has not allowed the cost of telephone service to increase so I can chat with my friends just like before!” The kid has a point because during this crisis and all the rumors ricocheting around people are staying to contact with loved ones more than ever it seems.
A bit more than 50% do not seem to express firm support for either side and just want the killing to stop and for some sort of ‘normalcy’ to return. While at the same time expressing an opinion something like, “how did our country into this mess. Let the foreigners go home and we can deal with our problems ourselves.”
Tragically this plea does not appear to be acted on anytime soon from Washington DC, Paris, London or Brussels, given the new pledges this week of “non-lethal” aid to the rebels factions.
If ever there was such an intense series of expressed meaning and logic destroying non-sequiturs as the past few days it is hard to remember when. Faced with the tipping point moving away from the foreign forces and toward the Syrian government and majority population, the “Friends of Syria” has stretched beyond recognition the meaning of ordinary phrases like “defensive APC’s and electronic devices of several sorts,” a variety of non-lethal aid” “a number of advanced devices to help pinpoint the locations of the Syrian Arab Army troops”, and “weapons to protect the civilian population,” as well as “humanitarian sanctions” that exempt “food and medicines.” In fact all of the new Friends of Syria “breakthrough assistance” target Syria’s civilian population and all are lethal given the uses to which they are put.
History instructs us that as a result of American wars, from Vietnam to the Middle East-that it is the civilian population who will pay the price of the Obama administration’s just announced “humanitarian assistance” to selected civilians in Syria. This history is well known here in Syria who understand well US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s strange paradox this week wherein he expressed Washington’s desire to find means to speed up the political process which aims at ending the crisis in Syria, and at the same time its desire to back the armed wahabist/salafist/jihadist groups in the country.
This week’s US and European decisions to back Syria’s rebels with direct aid will only lead to more bloodshed and encourage “terrorism” in the war-torn country, according to two Sheiks from Syria’s largest tribe who held court recently during tea in the lobby of the Dama Rose Hotel here.
What Washington fears, according to a source at the same interlocutor from the Russian embassy who spoke with this observer for nearly two hours, is the confirmation that the Syrian opposition is ready to immediately enter into negotiations with the Syrian government without preconditions and that President Assad’s departure or even his future status will not be part of the process.
The Russians believe that the rebels are finally coming around to a more realistic approach after the recent achievements of the governments is gaining support from the population here and on both military and political levels. This is more than anathema to Washington and its allies. It is not less than catastrophic and will not be allowed despite NATO’s rhetoric to the contrary. Thus the new fake proposals.
The new “Non-lethal aid” has been designed to somehow reverse the “tipping point” chosen by a majority of the Syrian population over the past few months. These aggressive actions, rather than constituting neutral humanitarian aid given to the 11 major objective and neutral international NGO’s operating across Syria, and pressuring all sides to show up at the dialogue table, is certain to prolong the conflict as they condemn countless more Syrians to death.
Recently I was asked to give a presentation on the current state of the global economy to a local group of concerned citizens here in Northwest Montana. I was happy to oblige but when composing my bullet points I realized that, in truth, there were no legitimate economic numbers to examine anymore. You see, financial analysts have traditionally used multiple indicators of employment, profit, savings, credit, supply, and demand in their efforts to divine the often obscured facts of our financial system. The problem is, nearly every index we used in the past, every measure of capital flow and industry, is absolutely useless today.
We now live in an entirely fabricated fiscal environment. Every aspect of it is filtered, muddled, molded, and manipulated before our eyes ever get to study the stats. The metaphor may be overused, but our economic system has become an absolute “matrix”. All that we see and hear has been homogenized and all truth has been sterilized away. There is nothing to investigate anymore. It is like awaking in the middle of a vast and hallucinatory live action theater production, complete with performers, props, and sound effects, all designed to confuse us and do us harm. In the end, trying to make sense of the illusion is a waste of time. All we can do is look for the exits…
There is some tangible reality out there, but it is difficult to find, and there are few if any mainstream numbers to verify. One has to remember always that the fundamental world of money and trade revolves around real people and real circumstances. No matter how corrupt our economic system is, as long as there are human beings, there will always be supply and demand that cannot be hidden. We have to look past the “official numbers” and look at the roots of trade. Where has demand fallen? Where has supply diminished? Where are the tangible goods and needs and how have they changed?
Let’s first start with the mainstream version of our system, looking at each aspect of the economy that no longer represents the truth of our situation…
Employment, Savings, And Debt
Much of this information is old news to those of us in the Liberty Movement, who tracked the progress of the global collapse long before the general public even knew of its existence. However, it is useful to take a step back and look at the basic picture every once in a while.
According to numbers issued by the Department of Labor, weekly unemployment reports have dropped to a five year low, and the overall employment rate is holding at 7.9%. This would seem to be a vast improvement over the dreadful bloodletting in the system only a few years ago. Has the private Federal Reserve and the Obama Administration really done it? Have they turned back the tide on the greatest fiscal crisis the U.S. has seen since the Depression?
No. They haven’t.
They have only changed how the data is disseminated to the public. In order to understand how the employment statistics con is being engineered, it is important to understand the difference between “Adjusted” and “Unadjusted” numbers.
Labor Department data is “seasonally adjusted”, using a series of statistical assumptions including something called “Trend Cycle Analysis”. Trend Cycle Analysis is, basically, a sham, but a sham put together in a very complex and confusing manner. If you ask a mainstream economist what it is, you’ll likely get a three hour long dissertation filled with financial babble and very little concrete explanation. So let me break it down as simply as I can…
Imagine that you are going to estimate how much profit you plan to make in a particular month, but you don’t just consider your current pay rate and pop it into a calculator; you also throw in the possibility of a few pay raises, an inheritance from a grandma who might kick the bucket, and, your exaggerated expectations of the entire year’s profit on top of that. You may also take into account future bad weather, a mugging, a nuclear war….whatever. All hypothetical situations not based in reality. Basically, you decide that a particular trend in your income is inevitable, then, mold your statistical analysis around that assumption.
When your real profit numbers come in (the unadjusted numbers) and they do not meet your expectations, you simply change them according to what you believe SHOULD have happened. If you insist that your profits are going to go up for the year, and they go down for a couple months instead, you change the variables you use to calculate the statistical average so that the results match your expectations, assuming that it will all balance out in the end.
Now, this sounds utterly insane for the common person out there trying to make a living. If you ran your household this way, without accepting the cold hard unadjusted numbers in front of you, you’d find yourself broke and on the street in no time. Unfortunately this is EXACTLY how our government handles most financial data; by coming to a final conclusion before hand, and then forcing the numbers to fit that conclusion.
This is why in February of 2013, “adjusted” first week unemployment rate was reported at 366,000 – a 5000 person drop from the week before. A seeming improvement in the trend. But, unadjusted numbers came in at 386,176 – a 16,000 person spike from the week before. When one examines real unemployment numbers, he finds that the divergence between the adjusted and unadjusted statistics is growing larger with each passing quarter. That is to say, the contradiction is becoming so blatant between the hard numbers and the Labor Department’s fantasy numbers that one must question whether or not the government is lying to us outright about the state of the economy (hint – they are lying).
These same methods are used by the government to calculate progress in the housing market, disposable income, etc.
The claim of “recovery” in the jobs market simply doesn’t jive with other indicators, like 2012 Christmas retail, which had the worst showing since the crash in 2008 (and these are still mainstream numbers!):
Average household savings continue to scrape the bottom of the barrel, indicating that the public is not spending or withholding cash. They are simply broke:
The downturn in consumption and industry also seems to be supported by the Baltic Dry Index, a measure of global shipping and rates. The BDI has fallen to near historic lows THREE TIMES in the past year, which to my knowledge, has never happened before. In the past, the BDI has been a strong prophetic indicator of future market volatility. Usually, around a year after a severe decline in the index, a dangerous economic event takes place. The BDI made its first sharp drop to all time lows at the end of January 2012, exactly a year ago.
U.S. household debt was recently reported to have fallen to a 29 year low, but the ratio used by the Federal Reserve applies a statistic for disposable income that is derived from the Trend Cycle boondoggle method. While markets cheer, the truth is, the only reason household debt obligations have fallen at all is because bank lending and credit issuance remains frozen. Consumer debt falls when there is no money to borrow. In fact, the Federal Reserve actually pays large banks NOT to lend to the public; an activity which was exposed by Dennis Kucinich in 2009 on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. An activity that continued through 2012:
Keep in mind, one of the primary arguments the Federal Reserve used when promoting the bailout concept was that it would “free up credit markets” so that lending could pick up again and fuel a recovery, and yet, at the same time, they were paying banks to NOT lend.
Meanwhile, the supposed job recovery has produced an astonishing increase in welfare recipients in the U.S., including a record 46 million Americans on foodstamps (approximately 15% of our population):
If we are to apply any “trend” to our calculations on overall economic health, then we should include the extreme level of government handouts, and poverty levels which are now at all time highs. The facts are undeniable; the number of people who have much less than they did in 2008 has grown. How then could the U.S. be considered “in recovery”?
National Debt And The Fiat Lie
With the Dow Index hovering near highs of 14,000 our system truly looks to be on a rocket ship to pre-2008 money market bliss. In a mere five years we have returned to equity spikes that stagger the mind and the wallet. At least, that’s how it all appears…
What needs to be taken into account, though, is the amount of fiat money being created by the Federal Reserve, and how much of that printed pixie dust currency is fueling our magical flight to Neverland. Since 2008, our official national debt has increased from $10 trillion to $16.4 trillion, and some estimate $17 trillion to $18 trillion by the end of 2013 (unless, of course, a collapse occurs). Which means our national debt, which took decades to reach the $10 trillion mark, will have nearly doubled in only six years!
So, what has a doubling of our national debt in such a short span of time bought us? Well, credit markets remain frozen, property markets remain stagnant, poverty is at historic levels, welfare recipients are at epic highs, and consumer activity and GDP is back at 2008 lows. Where did all that printed money go? Where was it spent? To answer that question, we only need to find what area of the economy has seen the most positive (or fantastical) activity. What sector is seeing a massive boost while the rest tumbles?
I suggest that a large portion of QE1 through QE3 has gone to prop up the stock market, and nothing else. I suggest that American taxpayers are fronting the bill for the equities bonanza we see today. I suggest that the Dow is being used as a Red Herring to distract the populous for as long as possible while real assets are being snapped up and hoarded by international banks and foreign entities. I suggest that we are being leached dry and that the parasites are almost ready to move on…
When will it all end? Perhaps sooner than many people think. The decision by D.C. to delay talks on the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” until March may not be coincidence. Extensive cuts in federal spending are absolutely necessary and cannot be dismissed forever, but, because the last vestiges of our system that still operate do so through government money, such cuts will cause immediate damage to the economy, including possible default and dollar devaluation. Refusal to make cuts will result in credit downgrades, currency inflation, and a loss of the greenback’s world reserve status. There is no “right” way out of this quandary.
When this collapse is initiated, it would certainly behoove all parties involved, including central banks, international banks, and criminal politicians, to have a scapegoat handy for the citizenry to direct their rage at.
Event Horizon Economics
An “Event Horizon” in physics is a moment or singularity in spacetime at which a gravitational pull becomes so great that there is no way to escape it. It is a point of no return. I believe America’s economy has reached its own Event Horizon. Our system is now entirely fiat driven, with very little or no true economy left. Without constant injections from the Fed, and perpetually low interest rates, the country would implode tomorrow. This is not recovery. Actually, I’m not sure what to call it.
Today, independent economic analysts cannot look to the numbers to determine future trends. Most are fake, and the rest are ugly, and I’m not sure much else can be said in their regard. Instead, we must now look to events, rather than statistics, because our country has been maneuvered into a position of utmost frailty. Like an avalanche shelf waiting for that perfectly timed disturbance to trigger its roaring collapse. All that is needed is a macro-crisis, and it is no great feat for such a thing to be created in our tension filled global environment.
War in Syria and Iran leading to a tripling of energy prices. Sanctions and strife with North Korea leading to Chinese economic retribution. Conflict between China and Japan, again leading to Chinese economic warfare and perhaps real warfare. An opportune “cyber attack” which could be used as an excuse for a market crash and even an internet shutdown. A “political impasse” between Reps and Dems which leads to a default of U.S. credit. Any one of these catastrophes could easily occur (with a little nudge from some well placed people) and feed a wider global tragedy. The important thing to remember is that while this event will be blamed for the breakdown, it was international banks, the Federal Reserve, and elements of our own government that made the domino effect possible. They put the pieces in place. The act that knocks them over is secondary.
I have spent the past seven years writing about “potential” threats to our overall system, but these dangers were always just beyond our sight. Just around the corner. Today, it is as if the journey is over, and all those threats have materialized right before my eyes as real, and imminent. I am watching that which I warned of come to fruition, and this is certainly not a pleasant thing. What is valuable, though, is what we have all done in the Liberty Movement with the time that we had. From when I began writing for the movement until now, I have seen an overwhelming increase in public awareness. It may not be obvious to newer activists, but it is there all the same. While we still face disparaging odds, and millions upon millions of oblivious bystanders, there is, amidst these darker moments, a steadfast community of free men and women forming. I have full faith in the future. Much more so than I ever did before. Our economy may be detached from reality, but our endeavors as individuals will not be. Our resolve will be the great game changer. Not fiscal calamity.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
If there is one concept on Earth that has been the absolute bane of human existence (besides global elitism), it would have to be the concept of the “majority opinion”. The moment men began refusing to develop their own world views without first asking “What does everyone else think?”, they set themselves up for an endless future of failures. We are, of course, very social beings, and our natures drive us to seek those of like mind and spirit in what some might call a “tribal imperative”. However, this imperative to organize is often manipulated by those who understand the psychological mechanisms behind it. Oligarchs and tyrants abuse and exploit the inherent social natures of the people in order to fool them into abandoning their individuality for the sake of the group, or some abstract and dishonest ideal. When successful, the organization of a culture becomes bitter and twisted, changing from a tribe or a community of sovereign individuals, into a nightmare collective of soulless sheep.
Human beings desperately want to belong, but, they also desperately want to understand the environment around them. Often, the desire to belong and the desire to know the truth conflict. In some societies, in order to be accepted, one must give up on his search for truth and avoid eliciting the anger of others. This causes a severe mental and emotional disturbance within a population. In order to reconcile their conflicting needs within a system that does not nurture their quest for transparency, they tend to unconsciously cling to the “majority view” as if their very existence depends on it. The idea of the majority view or the “mainstream”, gives people the sense that they are a part of a group, and at the same time, gives them the illusion of being informed.
Their rationale is:
If most of the population believes something to be true, then, by “statistical law”, it most likely is true. Those who do not share in the majority opinion are therefore in opposition to statistical law; meaning they are behind the times, social deviants, or just plain crazy..
The problem is, history has shown that at pivotal moments in a society the “majority opinion” is usually WRONG. Any progress we do enjoy as a species is almost always due to the actions of tireless aware minorities, or even a lone man or woman who saw what the rest of us could not.
The greatest discoveries and truths have always been the product of individual thought and effort; numerous individuals working on parallel paths to generate new pieces of knowledge or more balanced and principled methods of living. There has never been such a thing as a collectivist realization, or a collectivist truth, and there never will be. Collectives do not think creatively or honestly. Their only concern is the survival of the system at all costs, and usually this requires a foundation of lies.
As a nation or culture edges towards collectivist tyranny, the battle-cry of the “majority opinion” will drown out all other reasonable voices. It has happened before, and unfortunately, it will happen again. In America today, I believe we are nearing the moment where the mass view becomes the only acceptable or legally sanctioned view. With the 2nd Amendment issue alone, the most common argument by anti-gun proponents is that “the majority opinion is on their side”. I’m here to point out that the “majority opinion” is, in fact, an illusion, and completely irrelevant. Here is why…
Most “Majorities” Are Fake Majorities
A recent poll on gun rights touted by Reuters stated that over 74% of the American public supported new and stricter gun laws including a ban on “automatic” (do they mean semi-automatic?) weapons:
Reuters pretends as if the poll is a sweeping vindication of anti-gun advocates, but what is the deeper story behind the poll? Reuters waits until the very last line of the article to mention that only 559 people participated, which hardly seems like a large enough pool to determine the overall position of the entire American public. Who were these people who were polled? Where were they polled? What questions were they asked and how were the questions posed? All of these factors can be manipulated during polling to produce a desired end result.
In April of 2012, a similar poll stated a somewhat similar case, but also relented that a “majority” of Americans supported most pro-gun positions, including conceal carry, and the need for civilians to intervene during a criminal event:
What the polls do not outline is the fact that many people are undecided on a number of details, and that there is no clear “majority” on any of them. Polling methods are indicative of the mainstream farce. In most cases, when a mass of people are presented as a “majority”, we do not know exactly how that conclusion was arrived at. Who decided these people were of the same mind and how?
Beyond this problem, those people who claim to be a part of the majority are sometimes ill informed and do not have all the facts at their disposal. If there is indeed such a thing as any majority, it could only be the majority of people who do not know what to think! So, instead of the gun issue, for instance, being a fight between a “majority” of anti-gun advocates versus a “minority” of pro-gun advocates, we are actually looking at a fight between two educated MINORITIES, pro-gun and anti-gun, pro-liberty and anti-liberty, with an uneducated and oblivious public in-between.
To gun control propagandists I would point out that being able to lie to the unaware and con them into parroting your talking points is not the same as “having the majority on your side”. There may be some utility to retaining an army of bleating sheep, but in the end what do sheep really do beyond bleat, except eat, sleep, watch, and wait to see which way the winds blow…?
In A Republic The Majority View Does Not Matter
America was established as a Republic, not a Democracy, and in a republic the natural and inborn rights of the people, as embodied in the U.S. Constitution, are not subject to the mood swings of the masses. Each individual has certain rights, including the right to firearms and self-defense, REGARDLESS of what the so-called mainstream believes. That is to say, even if 99.9% of all people decided tomorrow that the right to free speech should be abolished, this would still be unconstitutional. The .1% who retain the right to free speech are not required to adhere to such law.
The same rule applies to the 2nd Amendment and gun ownership. When shills for gun control like Pierce Morgan claim that the majority supports them, what they don’t seem to grasp in their collectivist fervor is that even if this were true, it is a meaningless sentiment. Our rights as Americans are not allowed to be held hostage by 51% of the population (or any other claimed percentage). This is not how a republic operates.
Regardless of what is decided in the near term on gun control, we as citizens, protected by the legal shield of the Bill of Rights and the Constitution, are not morally required to comply, even if the “majority” says we are. Mob rule is no rule.
The Majority Is Usually Wrong
As stated previously, the majority of people are generally ill-informed until the fight for a particular issue is long over. Only when the dust has settled do the masses take a side (usually the side of the winner). When the day finally arrives where we live within a system that nurtures free individual thought and our political leadership no longer seeks to manipulate the people in subversive fashion, then, perhaps, the situation will change. However, for now, the “majority” cannot be trusted to determine the course of the future for every single one of us. They are too open to exploitation, and too easy to sway.
While many see being a part of the mainstream as a safe method for remaining “in the know”, the opposite usually holds true. The mainstream is instead a place where people go so that they don’t have to think, and such an environment rarely finds its foundation standing firmly on truthful grounds.
If the majority was really a legitimate deciding factor in the course of history, then the first American Revolution would have never occurred in the first place. That fight was won by a minority of men and women who knew they were right in the face of a malicious world power structure supported by an ignorant subsection of the populous. Generations to come would be influenced by a small group of people who stood on honor and principle in the face of the tyranny of the “majority”.
Our True Enemy Is An Elitist Minority
Elite oligarchies are notorious for using the masses as a shield for their criminal behavior. Whenever an atrocity is committed, the elite claim it was for the “greater good”. That it was done in the name of “national security”. That the “majority” is in agreement with their methods. They do this in order to artificially inflate the size of the obstacle in our path and make us feel as though we stand against “the whole world”. They do this to make us imagine that we are too small to make a difference.
This tactic is also designed to redirect our energies away from the oligarchs and towards a nameless faceless mob of people who may or may not be aware that they are being used as cannon fodder.
As much as Liberty Movement proponents and 2nd Amendment guardians may despise the naïve prattle of the so-called “Left”, and the fact that their propaganda seems to be spreading like a malignant tumor across the country, from gun grabbing to socialized nanny government, we must remember that they are not who we are really at war with. They are merely spectators in the arena, and though their chanting against us might make us feel as though our opponent has won favor, in the end all will be decided by force of will between the two gladiators, and the bread and circuses will matter little.
The fight for liberty ultimately has nothing to do with awakening a “majority of people”. Rather, our goal should be to gather a tireless and courageous minority that can weather the coming storm. If we endure the crisis and remove the anti-liberty minority from the picture, the dumbfounded masses caught with their pants down from the very beginning will in the end simply follow along as they always do.
I have heard it argued recently that the gun control issue in particular is one of wider social implications. That pro-gun advocates are too “selfish” to see the big picture, and that we do not care about the safety of our nation as a whole. This is the collectivist methodology at work, utilizing the false “majority” as a tool for oppression. The fact is, Constitutionalists are the ONLY people in this country today that see the big picture, and the only people who are not thinking merely of themselves when it comes to the safety of our society. The average anti-gun socialist is acting not out of reason as they pretend, but out of fear. They want us to relinquish our rights so that they can retain the illusion of safety.
Behind this drive for a deluded sense of mainstream “compassion” and “compromise” is a concerted effort by the establishment to destroy the last barrier to overt centralization; the armed citizen. The language for this is already being carefully implanted:
We are a “fringe element”. We are “narcissists”. We are “barbarians”. We are clinging to the last vestiges of an archaic philosophy which no longer applies to our modern and “civilized” age. The vast “majority” is against us, and we should shut up, comply, abdicated the fight, and take our seat at the collectivist table while one still remains open to us.
Okay…so we’re barbarians. We’re not interested in a “seat at the table”. We are not interested in participating in the lie. We are not interested in playing a bit part in the grand faux theater of the “global community”. If the majority of Americans really do believe that the death of the Constitution is the best course for our culture, then the majority has gone clinically insane, or pathetically soft, and has abandoned all conscience. We will remain in our little “minority”, and we will put a stop to the progression of collectivized despotism without them, and they can do what they please in the meantime, as long as they stay out of our way.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
Barring Medicines In Syria…
But that was then and now its spring in Damascus, or so it feels to those of us used to New England Januarys. It’s nearly downright balmy here. Spring flowers are bursting out all over and the city parks are crowded with mothers pushing baby carriages, kids playing and young lovers cooing softly on the park benches. Park workers are raking the dead leaves and others trimming the palm trees and piling the branches neatly on flatbed trucks.
What “civil war”? What “crisis”? One is tempted to ask himself even though there continues to be intermittent “thuds” and a jet streaking overhead now and then en route apparently to one of the suburbs where clashes erupt intermittently.
It’s been a rough winter and perhaps we are just experiencing here a false spring. Yet one senses a palpable sigh of relief and even some optimism while talking to citizens, NGO staffers and some officials. It could be partly the wonderful weather but perhaps also a realization that a corner may have been turned, peace and security will be restored and the killing ended. Some refugees are to be seen returning to Damascus. Syrians and Palestinians from Lebanon — yet there are still traffic backups with cars piled high with personal belongings crossing over to Lebanon at the Masnaa border checkpoint. Meanwhile the Ministry of Interior in Damascus has pledged various forms of help to those who heed the governments call to “come back home to your people.”
Energized by the exhilarating park ambiance this observer decided to walk to UNESCO headquarters for an appointment. Plus it can be kind of tough at times to find a taxi these days.
Perhaps I should have remained in the park. Lord knows that this observer has experienced his share of irate women shouting at him over the years. Being raised by three older sisters and a no-nonsense German/Italian mother- all of them unmercifully wanting to correct my behavior was a mere harbinger of things to come. But, even with this “training”, I was ill prepared for what the lady at the UNESCO office here in central Damascus unleashed on me.
And I had not done the lady wrong.
Except, perhaps, that I happen to be an American and there is plenty of anger here among the Syrian public, the NGO’s, and increasingly the international legal community among others — not toward the American people but toward the US government — over the effects of its sanctions which are severely and illegally targeting the civilian population. At the same time they are directly contributing to prospects of irreparably damaging many of this millenary country’s historic sites.
According to archeological experts here, Syria, with its six UNESCO world heritage sites testifying to its deserved reputation as being one of the most archeologically well-preserved cradles of civilization, may soon to be the most wantonly destroyed in modern times (Iraq being the other). This frequently-predicted catastrophe is a result, not only of war in the usual sense, but war in its more subtle form of US-led sanctions aimed at political regime change.
Of particular concern to UNESCO, whose UN mandate includes registering and protecting World historical sites, is the preservation of the Ancient Cities of Damascus, Bosra, Palmyra, Aleppo, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’ at Salah El-Din, as well as the ancient villages of Northern Syria.
This week, the Syrian Directorate of Antiquities and Museums has released its detailed report of acts of vandalism and illegal excavations by armed groups and foreign thieves across Syria. The Directorate has documented violations against archeological sites and Syrian museums, as well the emerging phenomenon of artifact forgery. In Aleppo, the Antiquities division reported that al-Diriya caves in Samaan Mountain suffered from acts of sabotage, adding that “terrorists have looted the equipment of excavations, wooden columns and timbers.”
Also, this week, Human Rights Watch issued a report that Saudi-Qatar-US backed militants destroyed religious locations following a four-day investigation in the provinces of Latakia and Idlib. According to HRW, a Husseiniyah (a congregation hall for Shia commemoration ceremonies) was destroyed by the militants in Idlib, while two Christian churches were looted in Latakia. The Middle East director at the Human Rights Watch, Sarah Leah Whitson claimed that Syria “will lose its rich cultural and religious diversity if armed groups do not respect places of worship.”
Against this backdrop, it is not totally surprising that my UNESCO hostess, less than half a minute after I entered her office, literally threw at me a statement in French from Director Irina Bokova of the UNESCO HQ in Paris. It read:
“I am deeply distressed by the daily news about the escalation of damage to cultural heritage throughout Syria. We saw damage to the Citadel in July and the souks ten days ago, and the Umayyad Mosque, heart of the religious life of the city, one of the most beautiful mosques in the Muslim world, is being severely endangered. In Northern Syria, the region of the Ancient Villages inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2011 is heavily struck and it seems that the invaluable Saint-Simeon Byzantine complex might have been torched.”
Before I could finish reading, the lady exclaimed: “These testimonials from the past!…” raising her voice and glaring at me while pointing to the posters of Syrian historical sites on her wall, “the destruction of this heritage for which your sanctions are partly responsible. Your government is responsible today and will be tomorrow, for the whole of humanity.” When I was eventually able to get a word in sideways, I explained that I had come to her office precisely because I have been studying the immoral, illegal and “un-American” sanctions and that I was spending my time in Syria learning first-hand about the sanctions’ utter disregard for the humanitarian concerns of the Syrian people — in contravention to what one hears repeatedly from US officials.
When I added, I don’t know any Americans who would condone what the Congress and our government have been doing, if they knew the facts on the ground, she did calm down a bit and said she understood what I was saying and more or less agreed. She then mentioned a national poll conducted on 13 January by the Better World Campaign, an organization that works to support U.S.-U.N. relations, that showed that 83 percent of US citizens believe it is important that their country provide funding to UNESCO and want the US to lift its sanctioning of UNESCO and pay its withheld budget contribution, which accounts for 22% of the UN specialized agency’s budget.
“Let me tell you something!” she exclaimed and launched into describing the dire effects of the current US-led sanctions on UNESCO’s work in preserving and protecting historical sites. In her view, the American assault on UNESCO and its work began when UNESCO committed a sin in March of 2011 by admitting Palestine as a full member.
She explained: “For months our offices had been warned by Israeli officials and then Americans, that there would be a big price-tag were we to admit Palestine.” And there was. In October 2011, the U.S. cut off funding to UNESCO as payback for admitting Palestine as a member and in November 2012, the United States was one of nine member states out of 193 in the General Assembly who, on behalf of the Zionist occupiers of Palestine, tried to unsuccessfully bar Palestine from gaining non-member observer state status at the UN.
UNESCO and some other NGO staff here claim that much of the damage here could have been prevented if there was a lifting of the US 2011 cut-off of UNESCO’s budget. As a direct result, UNESCO cannot even replace more than 400 staffers who left from normal attrition or even hire “neighborhood watch,” local volunteer personnel, to coordinate the guarding by of many archeological sites around Syria.
Regarding the other layers of US-led sanctions targeting the civilian population here, a survey by NGO’s on the impact of the fake “medicine and foods” exemptions will soon be released. Its indictment of the US-led sanctions is severe. Contrary to Washington and NATO mythology, the “medicine and foods” exemptions do not exist in reality because suppliers of both fear being accused of violating the great number of sanction details. Washington and Brussels are acutely aware of this fact.
Among the data that will be presented in the soon-to-be released analysis, are cases of cancer patients who need weekly medicines but are now only able to receive them twice a month, with the expected dire consequences. The same obtains for many other long term care patients who need specific medicines, even as generic as penicillin, which are no longer available as they were before the US-led sanctions.
Just as I was preparing to leave her office, she softened a bit and asked this observer. “See here, I generally like Americans who we come in contact with here but how can you explain these sanctions — or those in Iraq or Afghanistan that have killed so many?”
I tried to explain that we have a culture clash in America that means that many Americans overwhelmingly support UNESCO and the work of all sixteen of the UN Specialized Agencies but we also have politicians like Arizona Senator John McCain and South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham who never saw a war they did not like. The former just returned from another visit to the region and apparently learned nothing except that he still wants a military solution.
The latter, who is known for his jokes on Capitol Hill that as a “true southerner” he never got over the American Civil War or what it did to American society, has repeatedly expressed his view of US “economic” sanctions by declaring recently, “Sanctions are good but they need to be tougher! Cut the bastards off at the knees.”
Senator Graham also noted his agreement with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright who made the repulsive statement that the deaths of 500,000 children in Iraq from a US “economic sanctions” regime that “exempted foods and medicine” but in reality was a starvation program “was worth the price.”
Ironically, it was the arch-nemesis of the Confederacy, Yankee General William Tecumseh Sherman, who might agree with Graham regarding sanctions against a civilian population. What has bothered Senator Graham since he first studied the Civil War in school, according to one Congressional source, is that the Yankee February 17, 1865 captured Graham’s state capital of Columbia, South Carolina. It was not pretty and most of the central city was destroyed. But the Yankee and the Confederate might just agree on targeting civilian populations with economic sanctions. Wrote Sherman, shortly before his March to the Sea which fatally cut the south in two:
“We are not fighting against enemy armies, but against an enemy people, young and old, rich and poor, and they must feel the iron hand of war in the same way as organized armies.”
I left the UNESCO office sort of crestfallen. Not because of the lady’s roughness with me, but rather because of the realization, yet once again, that our species quite simply does not learn much from history and apparently will repeat it until the end of times. May God protect the people, everywhere, from the politicians.
The scale and rate of modern climate change have been underestimated.
The release to date of a total of over 500 billion ton (GtC) of carbon through emissions, land clearing and fires, has raised CO2 levels to 397-400 ppm and near 470 ppm CO2-e [a value including methane] at a rate of ~2 ppm CO2 per year  (Figures 1 and 2). These developments are shifting the Earth’s climate toward Pliocene-like (5.2 – 2.6 million years-ago [Ma]; +2-3oC) conditions and possibly mid-Miocene-like (~16 Ma; +4oC) conditions , within a couple of centuries―a geological blink of an eye.
The current CO2 level generates amplifying feedbacks from the ice/water transformation and albedo loss, methane release from permafrost, methane clathrates and bogs, from droughts and loss of vegetation cover, from fires and from reduced CO2 sequestration by warming water.
With CO2 atmospheric residence times in the order of thousands to tens of thousands years , protracted reduction in emissions, either flowing from human decision or due to reduced economic activity in an environmentally stressed world, may no longer be sufficient to arrest the feedbacks.
Four of the large mass extinction events in the history of Earth (end-Devonian, Permian-Triassic, end-Triassic, K-T boundary) have been associated with rapid perturbations of the carbon, oxygen and sulphur cycles, on which the biosphere depends, at rates to which species could not adapt .
Since the 18th century, and in particular since about 1975, the Earth system has been shifting away from Holocene (10,000 years to the present) conditions, which allowed agriculture, previously not possible due to instabilities in the climate and extreme weather events. The shift is most clearly manifested by the loss of polar ice  (Figure 3). Sea level rises have been accelerating, with a total of more than 20 cm since 1880 and about 6 cm since 1990 ..
For temperature rise of 2.3oC, to which the climate is committed if sulphur aerosol emission discontinues (see Figure 1), sea levels would reach Pliocene like levels of 25+/-12 meters, with lag effects due to ice sheet hysteresis.
With global CO2-e levels at ~470 ppm, just under the upper stability limit of the Antarctic ice sheet, current rate of CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion, cement production, land clearing and fires of ~9.7 GtC in 2010  , global civilization is at a tipping point, facing the following alternatives:
- With carbon reserves sufficient to raise atmospheric CO2 levels to above 1000 ppm (Figure 4), continuing business-as-usual emissions can only result in advanced melting of the polar ice sheets, a corresponding rise of sea levels on the scale of meters to tens of meters and continental temperatures rendering agriculture unlikely.
- With atmospheric CO2 at ~400 ppm, abrupt decrease in carbon emissions may no longer be sufficient to prevent current feedbacks (melting of ice, methane release from permafrost, fires). Attempts to stabilize the climate would require global efforts at CO2 draw-down, using a range of methods including global reforestation, extensive biochar application, chemical CO2 sequestration (using sodium hydroxide, serpentine and new innovations) and burial of CO2 
As indicated in Table 1, the use of short-term solar radiation shields such as sulphur aerosols cannot be regarded as more than a band aid, with severe deleterious consequences in terms of ocean acidification and retardation of the monsoon and of precipitation over large parts of the Earth. Retardation of solar radiation through space sunshades is of limited residence time and would not prevent further acidification from ongoing carbon emission.
Dissemination of ocean iron filings aimed at increasing fertilization by plankton and algal blooms, or temperature exchange through vertical ocean pipe systems, are unlikely to be effective in transporting CO2 to relatively safe water depths.
By contrast to these methods, CO2 sequestration through fast track reforestation, soil carbon, biochar and possible chemical methods such as “sodium trees” and serpentine (combining Ca and Mg with CO2) (Figure 5) may be effective, provided these are applied on a global scale, requiring budgets on a scale of military spending (>$20 trillion since WWII).
Urgent efforts at innovation of new CO2 draw-down methods are essential. It is likely that a species which decoded the basic laws of nature, split the atom, placed a man on the moon and ventured into outer space should also be able to develop the methodology for fast sequestration of atmospheric CO2. The alternative, in terms of global heating, sea level rise, extreme weather events, and the destruction of the world’s food sources is unthinkable.
Good planets are hard to come by.
 IPCC AR4 http://www.ipcc.ch/ ; Global Carbon Project http://www.globalcarbonproject.org/ ; State of the planet declaration http://www.planetunderpressure2012.net/
 Zachos, 2001 cmbc.ucsd.edu/content/1/docs/zachos-2001.pdf; Beerling and Royer, 2011 http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v4/n7/fig_tab/ngeo1186_ft.html; PRISM USGS Pliocene Project http://geology.er.usgs.gov/eespteam/prism/
 Eby et al., 2008. geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/reprints/eby.2009.long_tail.pdf
 Keller, 2005; Glikson, 2005; Ward, 2007. http://www.amazon.com/Under-Green-Sky-Warming-Extinctions/dp/B002ECEGFC#reader_B002ECEGFC
 Loss of polar ice http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011GL046583.shtml
 CLIM 012 Assessment Nov 2012; http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/sea-level-rise-1/assessment, Rahmstorf et al., 2012, http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/7/4/044035/article.
 Raupach, 2011, www.science.org.au/natcoms/nc-ess/documents/ GEsymposium.pdf)
 Geo-engineering the Climate? A Southern Hemisphere perspective. AAS conference www.science.org.au/natcoms/nc-ess/documents/GEsymposium.pdf
Part A. Mean CO2 level from ice cores, Mouna Loa observatory and marine sites;
Part B (inset). Climate forcing 1880 – 2003 (Hansen et al., 2011) http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ha06510a.html . Aerosol forcing includes all aerosol effects, including indirect effects on clouds and snow albedo. GHGs include O3 and stratospheric H2O, in addition to well-mixed GHGs.
Relations between CO2 rise rates and mean global temperature rise rates during warming periods, including the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, Oligocene, Miocene, glacial terminations, Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles and the post-1750 period.
Greenland (a) and Antarctic (b) mass change deduced from gravitational field measurements by
Velicogna (2009) http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/ha05510d.html
CO2 emissions by fossil fuels (1 ppm CO2 ~ 2.12 GtC). Estimated reserves and potentially recoverable resources are from Energy Information Administration (2011) and the German Advisory Council on Climate Change (2011). From Hansen 2012 www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/…/20120130_CowardsPart2.pdf
A schematic representation of various geoengineering and carbon storage proposals.
Diagram by Kathleen Smith/LLNL