Preparing for the Inevitable

As I begin this, the power to a couple of million people has been out for 6 days. Despite what will be said, this is not an anomaly but one in a more frequently occurring series of infrastructure breakdowns.

Add to that the undeniable fact that, whether caused by global warming or other possibly worse scenarios, more people’s lives are being negatively affected by both weather and disasters.

Now, keep in mind that the budgets of those organizations intended to respond to these events have been severely reduced because of loss of revenues related to fewer tax payers and substantially lower property values.

Factor in the impact of the pending banking collapse and the inevitable bank runs, and you have the recipe for some serious craziness.

One thing we haven’t had to contend with much in the past is the impact of a computer glitch on our lives. My favorite example occurred right here in San Diego on July 4th.

The long awaited, highly anticipated, state-of-the-art fireworks tribute to American independence is an event so spectacular that people drove hundreds of miles just for the “oohing” and the “aahing”, and the gut punching of dozens of thunderous explosions spread out over forty-five minutes.

Billed as the Big Bay Boom it is a fireworks lover’s heaven. The show itself was produced by the venerable century old firm, Garden City Fireworks, all the way from Millington, New Jersey.

No amateurs flickin’ bics in a trench somewhere. Four separate locations, including three barges brought into the bay itself, would serve as launch pads.

Because of the uniqueness of the site, this would be one of company’s biggest shows of the year and they do hundreds of them from coast to coast.

As darkness set in, people positioned themselves for what was to come.

And, then it began.

Oh, and it was magnificent! No one could recall ever seeing anything bigger or hearing anything louder. One observer described it as looking “as though a flaming planet were roaring right at us.”

It was an apt description. It had that Steppenwolf song “Born to Be Wild” lyric quality to it, “Fire all of our guns at once, explode into space.”

And then…. it was over. Done, fine, the end.

They had indeed fired all of their guns at once and the show was done in 15 seconds, pretty much guaranteeing some kind of Guinness record I would imagine.

Officials referred to the event as “premature ignition.”

But hey, it happens to all of us at one time or another, right?

The Big Bay Boom was just that, one big boom. Only a computer could do that.

But it got me wondering, if the best intentions of the best professionals with a century of experience can see their work undone so easily, what other unintended consequences are lurking in the dark recesses of computer code written by a possibly disgruntled programmer?

It reminds me of something my uncle once said. He and many of his generation viewed the world differently than mine because of World War II. “I don’t care how good they say German and Japanese cars are, I’ll never own one. Someday they’re all going to just stop at the exact same time and we’ll be done for.”

At the time, I thought he might have had a few too many Hamm’s, but now, I think he may have been on to something.

Soon they will be deploying drones, unmanned computer operated aircraft for use inside America. I’m sure nothing could ever go wrong.

Then there is the money problem.

The Euro experiment has derailed and governments are running out of money right here in the USA. The city of Stockton CA has filed for bankruptcy and San Bernardino is about to do the same. Scranton, Pennsylvania reduced all city employees to minimum wage. This will be coming soon to a town near you. Check your local listings for times.

Oh, and those state and municipal pension funds that everyone has been perpetually underfunding. What remains in these funds are the TBTF bankstas worthless loan pools secured by nothing.

Obviously, government at every level is dysfunctional for a host of reasons. As a result, we have to take greater responsibility for our own well-being.

Katrina is still the best argument for self-reliance. Oh, no! Here comes FEMA.

It is starting to remind me of the old Soviet Union where nothing worked the way it was supposed to, and there is good reason for that—both were failed attempts at centralization. Or, Globalization as this effort has been named. Or, New World Order as they used to call it. The end is one economy, one currency, open borders and one small group running it all…for the good of all Mankind. Democracy is out. Plutocracy is in. If you weren’t a big fan of totalitarianism or fascism, you’re really going to hate the New Plutocracy.

What we are witnessing is the byproduct of Centralization; the idea that one big giant entity run by one all-powerful bureaucracy is better than a bunch of much smaller entities run by local organizations.

Recently, I heard an economist say that Globalization was essential and unstoppable. But what the fuck do economists know? Free trade and lax borders have resulted in the expansion of poverty both domestically and internationally.

Sure it’s good for the one percent, and the evidence of that could not be more compelling. Whether you focus here or in Europe or Asia, the evidence of decline is everywhere.

Globalists hate it when you say what I am about to say. Things worked better back in the day. The jobs were local, the Government was local, and the schools were local. The markets weren’t super but they were adequate. Who needs a Guava from Guadalajara, anyway?

Almost any job paid enough to buy a modest house at an affordable payment.

If you needed customer service, you didn’t need to be routed to India.

I’ve heard all of the arguments about why I’m wrong and why we can’t seal ourselves off from the global movement. I’ve thought about it long and hard, and I think that is nonsense.

It defies my common sense and life experience.

Electricity came late to the rural areas surrounding the Mesabi Iron Range. A local coop was formed, the REA we called it, which stood for the Rural Electric Association. Power failures were more common, but they didn’t last very long. A couple of hours and the power was usually back up.

We are but one event away from chaos and I say to you, “be prepared”.

I am a reasonable man. I have been writing columns for more than thirty years and most of the last 7 or 8 years work can be found online. Everyone can see that I’m not some conspiracy theory loon or part of any group that advocates for anything other than constitutional rights.

People who know me seek my advice on a wide range of topics because they trust my judgment.

I’m not advocating that you should carve a bunker out of a mountainside but to be prepared to survive for thirty days if the water is out, the power is out, all means of communication are out and you cannot get out.

No supermarket, no ATM, and no fuel. Communication might be impossible and, at best, difficult. Even if the utility side is operational, the system would be stretched beyond its limits.

Plan a meet up place in advance or even two. Your own logistics will determine the best location for all of the members of your tribe.

I’m not a Doomsdayer, but I cannot see how we can avoid at least some sort of interruption in our daily lives.

Hope for the best and prepare for the worst. We are in uncharted waters here. History will reveal many of the things that we cannot see while events are unfolding. Don’t assume that it could never happen. We live in a world that is but one errant keystroke away from serious calamity.

Being prepared is about answering a few basic questions. How long should I prepare for? What will I need?

Water, food, first aid, fuel, and waste management are the basics

When it comes to provisions, I want to keep thirty days of food and water. If some sort of normalcy isn’t achieved by then, we are probably screwed anyway. Don’t forget your pets. Have extra food and water for them as well.

Experts suggest a gallon per person per day, but you can definitely get by on less. I also keep a few bottles of Gatorade which can be diluted with water for some extra nutrients while you hydrate

Our water comes through the mountains in a pipe. If an earthquake or a landslide were to damage the pipe, the county’s reservoirs would eventually run dry.

Locate a local water source in advance. In Southern California we have the Ocean, and not much else. But, you may be fortunate to live near a water reservoir or storage tank.

Getting access to that water can definitely extend your ability to survive a longer period.

You can survive weeks without food but only days without water.

Many people have set aside dried beans, pasta, and rice as their emergency store. But they require both water and fuel to prepare so I recommend that dried, unprepared foods make up only a small part of your “emergency” stash.

Same with having a freezer full of food.

You can stock up on freeze dried MRI type meals, but they are fairly expensive and you still need to rotate them over time which means eating them and replacing them.

Until you get around to doing that, at least plan ahead with what is at hand.

My choice for a survival stash is very different from my normal diet and is mostly canned food. I have white beans, black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, lima beans, corn, tomato sauce, jalapenos, canned tuna and salmon, low sodium spam, peaches, pears, apricots, peanut butter, and nuts.

As long as no emergency occurs, you’ll need to rotate your food. Expiration dates don’t mean a whole lot when it comes to canned food. A year or two probably doesn’t matter.

Every now and then when it’s late and I’m tired, I just pull something out and eat it.

Or, donate the food every few months and replace it all at once.

If you rely on prescription medication, you should probably try to keep an extra thirty-day supply. I know this can be hard to do with some insurance plans, but if you forget every now and then to take your medication, squirrel it away for an emergency or see if you can pay retail for an additional thirty-day supply.

Keep your vehicles full of gas, refill propane tanks promptly and consider the ease of an extra canister if you typically barbecue on a gas grill. When one runs out during that fabulous Tri-tip, you’ll have a full one at the ready and swapped out before the grill starts to cool.

The gas grill can be used to heat food.

If you have a fireplace, keep some firewood on hand.

Create an emergency money supply. Banks could be closed for weeks and ATMs may not function without power. If they do have power, they will quickly run out of money.

All paper money is fiat money with no actual value behind it, just the guarantee of a nation that cannot pay its bills. In times of chaos, people who have things you need might be reluctant to take fiat money.

Some coinage has actual value. Having some small denominations of gold and silver is a smart hedge against economic collapse. I’m not suggesting that you convert everything to gold bullion or silver. I have no idea what will happen during a global economic calamity.

The attitude toward precious metals could change. Then there is the issue of practicality. With an ounce of gold approaching $2,000, it would be like asking the corner store to make change for a two thousand dollar bill. Good luck!

The idea of an emergency money supply is to not be without it when you need it most. If the money is unspendable, it is the same as having none.

How much money depends on what you might want to accomplish. Having enough to get a long ways away is my goal, and to be able to use it to buy necessities for at least thirty days when I get there.

And, what if we just limp along, without any major event? You’ve lost nothing, and you are still prepared for anything.

George W. Mantor
The Real Estate Professor
Founder, American Foreclosure Resistance Movement