Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Japan Updates | Wednesday, March 16

‎"I realize this is a tough time to say "worse" - I'm not saying it to be upsetting. I'm saying it because I think it is frankly less upsetting to actually understand what's going on than it is to not understand." - Rachael Maddow


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Via Zerohedge: "A choppy futures session has seen some modest profit-taking in line with Nikkei trading, following news that all TEPKO personnel around Fukushima are to be evacuated due to abnormally high radiation levels. Keep an eye on the Japanese market for an indication of where we open tomorrow.  A somewhat bigger problem is that according to Bloomberg, which has now caught up to our radiation reporting by prefecture, the radiation in Ibaraki has reached 15,800 nanosieverts/hour at 11:40 am, which is 300 times normal. The spin: this is one third the amount of radiation in a chest X-ray. What is not mentioned is that an X-ray is exposure measured in one instant, whereas in this case the irradiation goes on for hour, after hour, after hour. And some other unpleasant news: NTT DOCOMO has announced it will limit up to 80% of voice calls in neighboring Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures, and up to 50% in Tokyo. Whether this is to conserve some mystical telephonic energy or to prevent the spread of panic is unclear. As this latest news is digested watch for the drift."


Click photo to enlarge for data
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Nuclear Plant Operator: Water in Pool Storing Spent Nuclear Fuel Rods May Be Boiling, an Ominous Sign for Release of Radioactivity
"A nuclear crisis at the quake-hit Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant deepened Tuesday as fresh explosions occurred at the site and its operator said water in a pool storing spent nuclear fuel rods may be boiling, an ominous sign for the release of high-level radioactive materials from the fuel.
Tokyo Electric Power Co. said the water level in the pool storing the spent fuel rods at its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant's No. 4 reactor may have dropped, exposing the rods.
The firm said it has not yet confirmed the current water level or water temperature in the pool and will try to pour water into the facility from Wednesday through holes that were created following an explosion earlier Tuesday in the walls of the building that houses the reactor.
Unless the spent fuel rods are cooled down, they could be damaged and emit radioactive substances."
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Open the map with Chrome to use the autotranslate functions, as the text is in Japanese.
Via Zerohedge:
If the following letter posted by the BBC Blog is indicative of prevailing popular mood in the Japanese capital now that the government has lost credibility (as Zero Hedge predicted on Saturday), Tokyo may soon be a ghost town.
Mikan in Tokyo writes: "There is a growing sense that the Japanese government is not telling us the true story.  On one end, there is the Japanese media that plays down the nuclear drama and focuses on human drama, and at the other, the foreign media is up-playing the nuclear disaster. In my company I heard at least half the essential staff is being sent to Hong Kong, Singapore or even Sydney.  I am preparing to leave Tokyo and/or Japan. So are many of my friends. There is a sense of deserting Tokyo as soon as possible."
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Surgeon General: Buying Iodide a "Precaution"

U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin was in the Bay Area touring a peninsula hospital.  NBC Bay Area reporter Damian Trujillo asked her about the run on tablets and Dr. Benjamin said although she wasn't aware of people stocking up, she did not think that would be an overreaction. She said it was right to be prepared."


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European Power Prices Surge as Germany Decides to Shut Reactors

European power prices rose, surging to their highest in more than two years in Germany, where the government decided to halt the country’s seven oldest nuclear reactors following explosions at an atomic plant in Japan.


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The Idiocy and Hubris of Engineers: Will GE Get Whacked for the Catastrophic Failure of its Nuke Plants in Fukushima?




Dave Lindorff: "In fact, the design of these facilities--a design which, it should be noted, was also used in 23 nuclear plants operating in the US ... appear to have included serious flaws, from a safety perspective."

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And one for the *facepalm* files:



"The president said facilities in the U.S. are closely monitored and built to withstand earthquakes, even though nothing’s failsafe. Proponents of nuclear power fear their efforts to win over the public to the safety of their industry have been dealt a tremendous blow by the disaster in Japan."

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More updates to come, but I must stress, when it comes to disasters of this magnitude - the 'official' word from industry or government should not be trusted.  Industry spins - science does not.  Well, unless you're scientist working for industry...or government.  Like, you know, BP?

Just sayin...

Preparedness | Personal Security


After viewing a streaming event in LA where Mr. Michael C. Ruppert was a guest speaker, I was struck by the three words that he told everyone to remember.  Prepare, prepare, prepare.

With the market's erratic behavior on top of the current disaster in Japan that unfolds hourly, it's time to address one of the main issues of preparedness when facing systemic industrial and economic collapse.  I will be addressing the current events in Japan but for now, I want to focus here at home as our media is focused on points east.  There are valuable lessons to be learned from Japan in how to prepare for other things happening under our noses in the US.

One thing that Mr. Ruppert stressed upon the crowd he addressed was what to expect in what will undoubtedly be called an 'economic tsunami'.  His concern is the rise in civil unrest that will occur when lack of basic resources becomes the next inconvenient truth America awakens to.  As oil prices continue to rise, we will see a decline of Western cognitive dissonance.  Whether you feel this is good or bad makes no difference to reality, but a very stark line will be drawn between needs and wants - then shock will set in.  Now if you think people fighting over televisions at Christmas was bad - it will be nothing compared to people fighting over loaves of bread.  Once store shelves become increasingly bare, whatever civilized behavior you may be accustomed to could take a dark turn down the road to Jerry Springerville.  The United States public at large is simply not as calmly enlightened as the Japanese public - especially when you consider the religious fervor and 'smile or die' optimism running roughshod over reason in this country.  Even as we see the worst unfold in Japan, we can learn valuable lessons in humanity through their calm example.

As much as I like to think that the best in people arises during times of great pressure - I must be a realist and therefore have concerns about public and personal safety.  I decided to seek out a knowledgeable friend to address some questions regarding personal security.  Mr. K.D. Wheeler is a 20 year veteran in the protective services industry, a former bail enforcement agent, private investigator, and former United States Marine.  His word is one I can trust as a friend and former serviceman who continues to uphold an oath to the constitution which remains unshakable.  He also shares my concerns and agreed to answer some questions.


Personal Security Q n A with Mr. K. D. Wheeler

First thing that comes to mind for me is home perimeter security.  Depending on how large the property is, what things should be kept in mind and is there specific gear/technology available that you would recommend for home security?

In our post 9/11 world there are many options for commercial and home perimeter security systems.  The technology being used ranges from motion & heat sensors to fiber optics.  I've only had experience with government facilities when it comes to perimeter security systems (microwave systems) and these are far too exotic and expensive for home use.  You can check in your area for what systems are available for home use.  It will be a system that will use motion/heat sensors in a horizontal field with a coverage area of 40-80 ft.  These can be used in a combination with security cameras and connected to your home PC or DVR.  The cost would range from moderate to very expensive depending on the bells and whistles and if you're using one of the many home security providers like, ADT, Brinks, etc.  If you are technically proficient, you can design and configure your own perimeter system using the same options mentioned before.  At this time there is nothing available on the market that I would recommend above all others.  It really comes down to what you are willing to spend.

In regards to personal security - there are many people who may be uncomfortable when it comes to talk about weapons.  Especially for women.  Education is key to comfort levels - are there books or seminars available that can help or is a 'hands on' education the best route?

Although firearm sales have tripled in the last few years, there are many people who are extremely uncomfortable with weapons.   There are books available on the subject, but I would recommend taking a training class when it comes to all firearms.  States that allow a concealed carry license also have a firearms safety class.  These are usually included with the concealed carry course, but most are stand alone classes that are provided by your state for a relatively small fee.  I would also recommend taking a close combat class.  Theory and class work are all fine and good.  Familiarity with your firearm is one thing, practical application is quite another. 

These classes are moderately expensive ranging from $250-$1000 and usually last for a few days to a week.  Courses will cover everything from positions, reloading under fire, situational awareness, low light shooting....all of the circumstances that one would encounter in the real world are covered in these courses.  There are many independent instructors available and the NRA has them as well.  There are also courses that are tailored for women.  Check to see if they are available in your area.  If you are contemplating purchasing a firearm, safety and proficient use of it are paramount.  Courses are available for hand guns as well as rifles.  Most accidental firearm shootings are because gun owners were unsafe with their weapon or panicked and shot a loved one.  Do not add to these statistics. 

Very good advice.  What types of personal protection do you recommend for those just contemplating home security?

Do a threat assessment on your personal safety.  Think of the areas you work and live in.  What types of crimes occur in those areas?  Do you live in an urban environment, suburbs or rural?  All of this and more comes into play when thinking of personal protection.  If you do decide to purchase a home security system, get what you pay for.  Home security systems are passive.  Meaning they only work when the bad guys have broken in.   The response will be an alarm and then your security provider calling you and/or emergency services.  Depending on what package you order, a security officer may respond as well.   The most practical personal protection is being aware of your environment.  Do not throw money at the problem, by purchasing a home security system, firearm, taser, mace or self defense class if you are not going to actually follow through and become proficient with it.  Most Americans live under the illusion of security.  They purchase a weapon, buy a security system or take a martial arts class for a short time, then become bored with it and drop it.  When a crime does occur or personal safety is at risk, most people panic and become a victim.  

Take all of this into consideration when it comes to personal security.  What are your concerns and needs?  You can start by programming your local precinct or police dept into your mobile phone as well as 911 (speed dial).  Do the same if you have a home phone.  Call 911 and when the operator answers tell them you are simply running an emergency check and want to verify that your name and home address is what the operator has listed on their display.  Insure all doors and windows are secured.  Invest in dead bolt locks.  Do a key count.  You would be surprised how many people have "extra" keys floating about and who has them.  When it comes to personal security I recommend the K.I.S.S. system...Keep It Simple Stupid.  Be aware, be alert.  Make a checklist of pros and cons before spending the money on a security system or purchasing a weapon.  

What kind of gear is necessary to stock up on in regards to maintaining or cleaning a weapon? Are their home alternatives to market products for maintenance that you can suggest?

If you have purchased a weapon you most likely have the equipment to maintain that weapon.  You will need a gun cleaner/lubricant/preservative and bore cleaning brushes.  Personally, I use Otis Technology Cleaning Kits.  It's a small cleaning kit that can be used for handguns, rifles and shotguns and has all of the equipment you will need to maintain your weapon and is very inexpensive.

Right now, inexpensive is good so we appreciate that advice.  Getting to the nitty gritty - when a person is faced with an intruder or threat - I know a million things go through a person's mind.  Having survived an attack several years ago; my first instinct was just to 'get the hell out'.  Is there really any kind of mental preparation or home training for that?

Another excellent question and no, there is no home course you can use.  Humans are higher functioning animals, but animals nonetheless.  When confronted with an intruder most people panic and become submissive.  It's instinctual, fight or flight response.  You have limited options.  If confronted and you can escape - run!  If it is personal property the intruder wants, throw it down and run, it can all be replaced.  Your life, however, cannot.  If the intruder wants to do you harm and you cannot escape - fight, scream, yell!  Make as much noise as possible, fight as hard as you can until you hurt your attacker and can then escape or disable your attacker until they are no longer a threat.  

This is not a movie or TV show.  You will not suddenly have Bruce Lee-like fighting ability or quick draw skill with a weapon.  If you have the option to escape, do so.  If you have no other choice,  then fight as if your life depended on it - it just might just depend on it.  Criminals count on your panic and fear.  Use any weapons you have at hand and run to the most public area around you.  It doesn't sound cool or brave, but it is the reality of the situation.  

I can agree that breathing is a better choice than cool or brave.  When it comes to weapons specifically, should choice of home defense be separate from say, hunting weapons?

Actually not at all.  A weapon is a weapon is a weapon.  If you have a firearm and are safe and proficient with it's use, use it.  I must put in this disclaimer that all firearms should be safe and  secure.  This means unloaded and placed in a gun safe or with a trigger lock.  Personally, I do not have children and I am proficient with weapons, so they are stored in a convenient area, loaded and ready for use.  If you have children at home or loved ones in your household that are unfamiliar with firearms, this should not be the case.  Safety, safety, SAFETY.

What's a good rule of thumb for stocking up on ammunition?

A case of the ammunition you use for your specific weapon should be more than enough.  Unless you are a survivalist or stocking up for an end of the world scenario a case of ammunition for range use is fine.  I would like to add that if you have a handgun, and it was purchased for personal protection, spend the money and buy jacketed hollow point (JHP) over ball ammunition (FMJ).  Ball ammunition is best used for range qualification and target practice, while hollow points will be your most effective choice to carry in your firearm.

Weapons may not be an option for everyone so I believe it is a good time to be physically fit.  Do you recommend any self-defense training courses that would be of benefit?

There are many self defense systems.  Each has its pros and cons and some are more esoteric than they are practical.  Each practitioner will sing the merits of their system.  That being said, if I had to pick a system, it would be Krav Maga.  My reason for this is that the system is built upon efficiency and brutality.  Again, K.I.S.S.: Keep It Simple Stupid.

Last question is a "what if" scenario:  If you had to pick up and leave with a moments notice and all you could take was one backpack, what 'must have' items would you have ready to go?

The must have items I would have in my backpack would be :

Water - Several bottles.
Food - Dried jerky, MRE's, Dried fruit and/or Trail Mix.
First Aid Kit
Medications if needed.  
Flashlight with batteries.
Hunting knife
Lighters and water proof matches.
Mobile phone and charger
Compass

All items should be packed in water proof storage (zip tight sandwich bags if nothing else) and your backpack can be packed ahead of time and ready in case of emergency.  Your backpack should be efficient and lightweight. The Marine in me suggests that you replenish your emergency backpack every 15-30 days (perishable food & water. Batteries every 90 days.)

My sincere thanks to K. D. Wheeler for sharing his expertise. If there are other questions regarding personal security that you would like to see answered, please feel free to ask them in the comment section below.  I will pass them along to Mr. Wheeler and update as time permits.  I have listed items (as well as links throughout) and research material below that will help you assess your personal security needs.  As a rule of thumb, it's best to have knowledge and tools and not need them than to need them and not have access to them at all.

Please remember to keep Japan and its people in your prayers. 



   

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Long Intermission Is Over / Reel Two


In my concerted efforts to keep people informed through my Facebook news feed, I have neglected this blog yet again for the day-to-day headlines from the catbird seat.  My apologies to readers, followers and my friends at Seismologik for my absence and my thanks to friends, writers and researchers who have helped me understand the current state of humanity's big picture to date.  I will be sharing their links on a new page this week.

Research has become manic with so much happening that it is difficult (again) to find the best jumping off point.  So think of this post as the 'coming attractions' trailers with information that you need.  I connected some dots in hopes that you'll err on the side of caution as I share more of the bigger picture.  This is done as much for my family as my friends and readers - as this conversation is loathe to happen as a family 'pow-wow' - which would be preferable to me personally, if it weren't for dynamics best left in the past.  However, this will have to do as none of us can now tarry looking backward.  More on this later along with resources on how to talk to loved ones about topics I touch upon below.  For the record, I will say that I now understand with great clarity, why my grandfather watched C-SPAN religiously, was a restless sleeper and drank a lot of beer when he tended his garden.

The information that I have gleaned from this last year's research, I've watched play out in world headlines but only now just beginning to see US headlines catch up the last couple of months.  Many of the things that have happened and are happening were predicted and many more are coming to pass.  That is what the 'art' of research provides - analysis of each article, each issue; a brush stroke in a larger picture.  I've trained myself (by reading, researching and learning from great teachers) how to recognize and side-step propaganda to get to the art of intelligence gathering.  It hasn't been easy - the cognitive dissonance is thick and the normalcy bias thicker still.  America is in dire need of a wake up call.

Internet is the last frontier of truly free speech and great education if used wisely.  Television news has rendered itself impotent and as informative as a billboard.  Edward R. Murrow's nightmare has come to pass and it's time for journalists to take up their moral duty to report the truth.  There is no 'winning the future' - but you can prepare for it if you're informed.

The Truth About the Economy

Everything you may (or may not) have seen, heard or viewed about the market disaster in 2008 is happening again.  Those responsible were never prosecuted and many were allowed to keep working...earning record bonuses...so, here we are again.  Only this time, it's much worse.  During the first Great Depression, oil was not as big a factor as it is today - simply because our current economy is literally driven by it.  You would be surprised how many things are made with petroleum.  Just know that goods and services go up when oil does and in an economy that hinges on this energy resource, it's a whole new ball game than my grandparents or perhaps your great-grandparents witnessed in 1929 and after.  Many things that are occurring now are the same signs that happened before the Depression...even the political speak.  We need to get over the 'recovery' cheer leading in this 'job creation' fantasy land built on false data before more people get hurt.
John Cassel - depression era illustration
Redefining prosperity

My choice of words or style of writing has been colorful at times - I think it's because I come from a long line of outspoken women.  My grandmothers, from both Kentucky and Virginia knew some very tough times and that makes for stronger character.  I'm blessed by a lot of lessons they shared - one of them is knowing not to step in shit when you can see it plain as day.  For me, it's the kind of wisdom worth its weight in gold.

Many great people have been raising the red flags of reason and trying to sound the alarms about the coming economic collapse and their work is much appreciated.  I'm talking about several dozen researchers, writers, analysts and professors.  I'm certain Glenn Beck cherry picks data from them to make money off this crises and hopes to come out as some perceived prophet.  (Far from it.  He's a despicable snake-oil salesman.)

Picking up the reason baton has been trying and tiring while still attempting to wrap my own brain around this epic leadership fail.  Even if you do not have money in the stock market - this effects you.  If our government took up the alarm, I might not feel the need to write this - but we all know that aside from a select few, most are not interested in doing the hard work that needs to be done.  "Quick and dirty" governing for criminal bank lobbyists continues unabated, so now the only scout's advice worth giving now is to remember "You don't have to outrun the bear - just be faster than the slowest camper."

Time to put your good sneakers on and grab some batons.  I hope you'll pass them along.

Create an intentional community - whether that is family, trusted friends or a whole neighborhood - circle the wagons, find your tribe.
Make sure there are collective skill sets like gardening, cooking, canning, animal husbandry, carpentry, sewing, medicinal arts, welding, appliance repair, food co-op, motorcycle/scooter and bicycle repair, etc.  Self-sufficient skills like these will be vital to get through this as well as the next 20 years. They will be high demand jobs later.  Bet on it because oil will not save us anymore.  More on that topic in future posts.  When there are problems, you prioritize by threat or time constraints.  One down.  Now is the time to have a pow-wow/town hall/family meeting regarding the next steps.  Do this soon and be prepared to move sooner.

Stock up on food and water.  Don't wait.  Start with a three month supply.
This is imperative.  The cost of gas will continue to rise, and food prices will go up with it.  Weather events are causing wheat and grain prices to go up as well.  Many of the riots began in the middle east due to rising food costs.  This is because countries are going broke - America is no different.  Other countries have already rejected the dollar, which means - they know we're broke too.  Government is too busy saving face so they can jockey for another political day at the races and mainstream media is the horse that's bought and paid for.  Charlie Sheen doesn't give a damn whether your local store shelves go bare after a market crash.  Whose the winner...?  Remember...it's not the slow camper.

Beat zombies* to the punch and stock up on essential supplies now like:
Rice, beans, peas, honey, sugar, salt, pepper, pasta, canned food/veg/sauces (check dates), peanut butter, dried fruit, canned salmon/sardines/tuna, canned milk or powdered - dairy cheeses, butter and breads can be frozen for later use - for baking, corn meal, flour, baking powder/soda (for other uses too), vinegar, cooking oil.  Meats can be frozen up to a certain time or dehydrated for longer.  A dehydrator will be  a good purchase now as well as a pressure cooker.  Other essentials: soap, candles, rubbing alcohol, first aid supplies, lighters/matches, extra toothbrushes, floss, eyeglasses, etc.

FYI: Chocolate is seeing a surge in price as well as coffee.  
Stock up if you're so inclined.

You can buy bottled water or use empty containers to fill up from the tap.  If you have a Brita pitcher or filtration system - all the better - save some money and avoid buying more plastic bottles to boot.  We'll get to the importance of catching rainwater for sustainability later, another skill that will come in handy so do some research on installing rainwater containment systems (solar/wind installation, too).

SEEDS.  You will want to grow your own vegetables - make sure they are heirloom/organic.  Plan and start planting this spring.  Much more on gardening in future posts (urban too)...as well as permaculture methods, which I am currently studying.  If your skill set, space or soil is an issue, get to know your local farmers and farm markets for local fresh produce.  Herbal gardens will be important for medicinal purposes in future.

* Yes, I said zombies...you might have seen them this Black Friday.  Just saying.

If you take medication that is vital to your health - stock up and buy in bulk if you can.
One thing you may not know about prescription drugs is that the capsule they are contained in is made from petroleum.  So not only will the cost of shipping your medication go up - there is a double-whammy in producing it as well.  Keep this in mind for your elderly family members or neighbors you may check on - offer to assist them if they need help picking up prescriptions.  If your doctor approved alternative therapies or dietary changes that will keep you off any prescription meds - I suggest you tell your doctor that you want to implement them now, under supervision, as opposed to later when this might not be feasible.  Much more on alternative therapies in future posts - I know many gifted people and plan to interview several about these topics soon.

If you have PHYSICAL silver or gold, do not sell it - hang on to it.
Right now, anything that you do not hold in your hand...you do not own.  If you swap tangible gold and silver for dollars - you might as well be swapping it for toilet paper, it will be of as much use soon enough.  More on this later - but don't sell your precious metals or gemstones.  Dollars should be spent on goods you will need to have now.  If you have stocks, the best advice I have heard is to turn your virtual assets to physical assets before they lose almost all their value.  More on currency in future posts.  There are several states already discussing optional currency and many cities embracing barter systems.  I'll be sharing a trending market news synopsis every week.


Crowd outside the Stock Exchange 1929, the biggest protests should be there now [UPDATE! BOOYAH!]
Transportation, heating, cooking
The less gas you use, the better - so motorcycles, scooters and bikes are good things to own.  Living in urban, densely populated areas could prove to be dangerous for this and many other reasons so if you have the option of being away from large cities - exercise that option.  Whatever vehicles you have, fill up and back up gas cans for emergencies stowed away.  If you own your home and can install a wood burning stove - do it.  Make sure it has a flat top for cooking.  Have wood and cutting supplies.  With oil costs going up, electricity costs will also so keep this in mind in case you lose power, you'll be prepared.  Adding extra insulation is a good investment now.  If you've ever thought about outfitting your home with wind/solar capabilities and off the grid - think no more and act on it.  That really will be the best home investment you can make now - not to mention for your family.

There are many more topics to cover and a vast array of resources online to read but these are the top issues I think should be addressed sooner than later as the time ticks on the inevitable market failure to come.  Be a good scout and prepare - even if this seems an impossible thing to discuss with your family, prepare anyway.  They will thank you later.

This is not the end of the world, just the beginning of a different one.  A big factor that we have on our side is technology.  Used wisely, the coming challenges could be quite an adventure in creativity and ingenuity.

We have a lot of work to do.  Don't trust insider beltway government to do it - their loyalties lie with financial criminals, not the American people.  In a race to arrogantly 'win the future' we cannot lose sight of the fact that it is not theirs to 'win'.  It is ours to protect from short-sighted greed and willful ignorance. But first and foremost - we need to be informed so that we may protect and prepare ourselves and our loved ones.  This will help to insure our collective strength to fight another day.


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