I have attached an email thread between me, one of my best friends, and my girl friend. It gives insight into the challenges associated with breaking through the bias and fears that prevent humans from considering that the circumstances around their life will never change. It's important we get good at this if we want to help people we care about. Any thoughts or similar stories would be welcomed. Thanks!
From: BillSent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 8:41 AMTo: MikeSubject: RE: Latest from Chris Martenson
Just finished the Martenson “Trouble Brewing” article you forwarded. I certainly believe what he says is possible, and even probable. But, all the suggestions [financial, practical, and emotional] seem applicable to only the upper levels of our society. I can’t see American families living from week to week figuring out how to heat their homes or prepare safe water without funding. These suggestions on how to prepare your finances, set aside 3 months of bills, etc, are impossible tasks for the majority of Americans.
I’d like to see some conversations/suggestions aimed at the “majority” of civilians. I’d like to see a graph or comparison of expectations on how long the next crash will take to cure, and what the projection for life as we know it might be. What will happen to schools, hospitals, collecting garbage? Will such a strained society decide to eliminate the homeless and addicted to “save” themselves?
Do we need to plan on bringing multiple families together in one house to survive? If so, give advice on exactly how, etc. Will another depression set us off to war to capture what another country has that we want?
I want, need to hear a true leader arise who isn’t just a voice from the financial sector…who we know are liars and cheats.
Trying to be realistic here…not reactionary.
Maybe this topic might be our MKP topic tomorrow? Brainstorming is good.
From: Mike Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 10:36 AMTo: BillSubject: RE: Latest from Chris Martenson
As we have talked in the past, if you look at the math associated with sovereign, state, local, corporate and consumer debt in most industrial countries including the U.S. – coupled with the demographic shifts associated with aging populations, and throw in population growth and the peaking of resources, there is not going to be a “cure”. All of us are going to have to adapt. I encourage you to watch the video interview I sent you of Kyle Bass. A brilliant guy who pulls no punches with what the data says, and what he thinks it means.
I have a somewhat evolving perspective on what I think “the majority” of Americans should do. Our government and media have not educated our citizens. The government spent money and cut taxes for decades because it assured reelection. They made promises they could never keep. So, we the citizens are ultimately accountable for that. We allowed that. As such we must live with the consequences. We get the government we deserve, and we get the life that comes with holding our government accountable or not doing so.
To be fair, life is so complex, and what I really mean is “the system” has become so complex that it is essentially impossible for anyone to now hold “it” accountable. Government(s), lobbyists, media, banks, Wall Street with complex derivatives trading no one can understand or regulate, corporations, law enforcement, the defense industry, the clergy, medicine – all of it is so intertwined, inefficient and corrupted at this point that fixing “it” is beyond human capabilities. So, expecting “the people” to completely understand “it” is asking too much. But, there was a time when we could have put the brakes on what was evolving, and we didn’t. Now, like a run-away roller coaster we’re going to go along for the ride.
Agreed, there are too many poor and there is a quickly eroding middle class. What should they do? They are struggling now as it is. Well, this said, they do not struggle like the majority of humans on the our planet do. The poor in America look different than the poor in Africa, China, India and elsewhere.
The penetration of flat screen TV’s in American HH’s is probably in the 70% range. We all walk around with a cell phone. Most drive cars, and in many cases more car than they need or can afford. We are very much trained to be a consumer society. So, if we are in debt up to our eyebrows anyway, what really prevents anyone from going out and buying extra food? Or not making a another durable goods purchase, and instead putting away 1 month’s worth of cash as a start? What keeps us from going to the doctor, and asking for an extra 3 months of our prescription medicine? What keeps us from storing some extra gas cans, and buying some extra firewood? What stops us from buying a few one-ounce silver coins at $30 a pop?
If you are already spending more than you should, then making the decision to do these things is really more about awareness. Awareness about how most humans already live, and awareness about what is coming, and why it is coming. The sad truth is that most Americans do not understand the math (like 98% of us). Why? Because we choose not to be aware. I have talked to people who sense something is coming, but for the most part they resist considering “change” to their very core. They will not permit themselves to look around the corner. Some of us the ability to adapt to survive, but we don’t like the process of adapting. We will ignore the need to change until we have no choice. When the garbage stops getting picked up, and the police stop coming when you call, and you sit in the emergency room all day long to get seen and then are told to go home without seeing a doctor, it will eventually become too much to ignore.
This is already happening in many towns, especially in California. And the residents in those towns (those who are left) now completely get it. And they are adapting. But, if they had been aware earlier, perhaps they could have prepared better, and the hardship that they and their families now go through would have been diminished. If they looked beyond U.S. borders at how the majority of the world already lives, they would have better appreciated what is possible.
For me personally, I don’t have the answers for some of what you ask. No one could. I cannot completely understand or influence anything at that macro level, so I choose not to spend my energy thinking about how I would. What I can do as an individual, is talk to those I know, and encourage them to look at circumstances they would prefer not to. So, that perhaps they can do some simple things now that will better prepare themselves, and their families.
Much of what I read from Martenson and his kind suggest that ultimately, we will have to shift to smaller communities to thrive. Our food will not come from across the country or the World, it will more likely come from our own yards, town or county. We will police our own streets. We will look in on each other and perhaps move in with each other. We will need to reconnect with our neighbors in order to get through the challenges that are coming. Think of how families and neighbors behaved in the Great Depression. We will create communities that we can count on, and we will be accountable to them by contributing in some way, perhaps by learning a new skill or trade. Those who do not connect with friends and a wider community will struggle.
To me, if this turned out to be the case, I actually feel it might be a better way to live. So much of what we struggle with comes from people, places and events we cannot control. But, a smaller community in which we depend on each other has some attractiveness to me personally. And as you know, since purchasing some land and working on it, I have found a spiritual connection that I now know was missing in my life. Working on that land has allowed me to reconnect with nature and the Earth, and that has enrichened me in a way I did not anticipate.
And lastly, from an MKP perspective, I believe that we as men have a responsibility to anticipate potential threats to our families and friends, and not just sit and hope that life altering change will not materialize or make the choice to ignore what is happening in our world because to really look at it is unpleasant or even frightening. We have it in our DNA as men to be protectors. I think we should tap into that more, and on occasion, at least do some little things that help assure the people we love will have some protection if someday the banks don’t open.
From: BillSent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:04 PMTo: MikeSubject: RE: Latest from Chris Martenson
Mike…OK, I am negative. When the Great Depression hit, our world was not filled with as many greedy people. There were many fewer unsavory, short-term focused corporations. People lived in cities and towns close together, and they had a stronger work ethic than the entitled of today.
We don’t talk…we text and Email. There are more selfish and greedy members of our collective community than ever. These people will not reasonably give up or share what they think they own. They will arm themselves, and kill off imagined “no gooders” who have no place to live or any food left.
WE want immediate results. Taking aim and taking “it” away from others who are weaker is who we are now.
Part of what Martenson discusses speaks on emotional resiliency and how the lack of that can contribute to death/suicide. For people to grasp/understand/react in a positive, sharing way is not a realistic suggestion to me.
How about a survey on what percentage of Americans would want, and actively work to move to a world that you describe? I really don’t think anyone can sell that concept in the time we may have left to educate and motivate.
I personally can embrace the sharing/living together, growing food, etc. if need be but, I sure don’t want to proactively move there. I don’t think that that type of life will draw converts. They will fight and kill first.
I believe our very culture is on life support and that economics is but a column of many that are depleted and exhausted.
I simply don’t believe we can pull out of what our future is destined to be. After all, we DO deserve it. We all drank the cool aid. Many will choose to drink kool aid again until it is too late, and all that is left is to fight.
…at the close, there’s only so much bad news I can digest. I can’t save the world, my neighbor or my family. All I can do is adjust and educate them on adjusting. I think we all should stop pro-creating for a time. It is unfair to bring a child into this world right now.
From: Mike Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:56 PMTo: BillSubject: RE: Latest from Chris Martenson
Thought some on what you said. The Native Americans who lost their land to “less greedy” people might disagree with you. Humans have always had an element of greed in our wiring. All living organisms are in some way greedy. They will seek natural advantage in order to increase their likelihood of success. There are just more humans now than back then. And we have many forms of communication (e.g., TV, Print, Internet) so we are exposed to more greed. And I believe people have a work ethic as long as they need to work to succeed and survive. If I don’t need to work for 99 months because I am getting unemployment, my work ethic may look different than after those benefits run out. When you get to crunch time at 96 weeks, that job mowing lawns starts to look more attractive.
Society has different people. Some will take what others have by force and enjoy doing it, others will attempt to take what they want by force but may not have the skill to succeed, others are victims, others will share what they can, others will organize and lead, and still others who will have a vision and inspire. It has always been that way to some degree. The numbers of takers versus sharers ebbs and flows dependent on circumstances like culture, beliefs, social structure, and resources.
Exactly how this plays out is difficult to predict, but relative to what you and I have discussed, I am going to pick a narrative for myself. I choose to assume there will be a mix of people who come into my life – some bad, some neutral, and some good. In my narrative, I envision making it very apparent to bad people that they are much better off going elsewhere. I envision providing help and charity to the neutral people when I am able. I envision teaming, building friendships and enjoying life with good people.
The life forms that populated Earth when the asteroid hit did not get the opportunity to vote on whether they wanted to adapt. Most of the dinosaurs could not adapt. Many of the mammals did. Neither of them wanted to deal with what happened. Who cares if Americans would want to move to the world I described. They will not get the choice of things staying as they currently are. There is no selling of the population necessary. Change is going to force the issue.
And if our society truly is on “life support” as you state, then my question is, why not welcome change? Why not think about how you and your family might thrive in a world that operates differently? Sometimes, in order for something to be saved, it has to first be broken down. Think of the effect of radiation and chemo on my body when I had cancer. Think of your first day at the MKP weekend when you were told you could not have anything you brought with you. Not fun, but the outcome was transformational in a good way.
Relative to having babies. Imagine thousands of years ago, what a baby went through when he/she was born in a cave on a cold night. Imagine what it was like 300 years ago when he/she were born in a log cabin in the Northeast wilderness during winter. Babies have it pretty good in this country. And they’re beautiful! They’re us at our best.
From: MikeSent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 1:10 PMTo: JenSubject: FW: Latest from Chris Martenson
Thought you might like to read this thread with Bill.
Love you, Mike.
From: Jennifer Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 2:21 PM
Subject: RE: Latest from Chris Martenson
Oh my goodness Mike. So much going on here. First of all, poor Bill. So sad – although I am with him on the ‘only so much bad news I can digest’ though, it just breaks my heart to hear such pessimism.
Frankly, as you may have figured by now, the entire notion of the ‘crash course’ and what lies ahead for majority of us Americans is almost incomprehensible to me. As such, I would choose not to think about it at all. It’s a little like a war movie to me, I just can’t take the sadness. Fortunately for me, I have you to constantly remind me. So if I haven’t thanked you by now, let me do that now – Thank you – for not allowing me to live in a bubble. Let me also point out, that just because I don’t engage in deep conversation like ‘this’ with you about the subject matter, doesn’t mean that my wheels aren’t turning on the topic. I think about things like survival, a society without cash, needs vs. wants and the like. Like many other facets of my world, I move in baby steps, and you are light years ahead of me. I see how you pursue your blogs, adjust your investments, store supplies, bought guns for security and it –at times – can be a little unnerving for me. More so when we had just come back together after our break, much less now after being with you again. What does work for me is that you don’t push your beliefs and perspectives on me. You share with me your thoughts and concerns and leave me to draw my conclusions. You make suggestions, but you don’t force them on me.
I don’t so much fear the idea of society finding its way back to a simpler way of life, meaning, the world is unplugged, cash is not the determining factor of wealth, the natural resources we depend on to sustain this lifestyle are gone. I have the honor of having been underprivileged. To the extent that is depicted below? Of course not – but it isn’t outside of what I can envision in my head. When the slate is wiped clean by an economic downturn and all men become truly equal – I have the mindset and skills to thrive. I will be the one singing around the campfire while the pot of rabbit stew is cooking over it, and the rocks are being warmed for the bed!
I love you!
This thread touches a deep human core within me that I feel is common to us all.It generates hope within and exudes faith in the process of seeking the truth in all that we do .For the the longest time the happiness quest was the name of the game ,but principles being what they are -consequences have to follow. In my world this healing that has to come about will be what true living is all about. Even if I am not prepared for the challanges I will be enlightened by the change. The stuff (if you owned it )will soon be just that:stuff.But the people on the other hand will be the luxury of living. Bad guys and Good guys included. Thanks for your work!
Bill and Jennifer are like most of the people I know. They are good, intelligent people that are having trouble getting their arms around the situation we are facing. They look at the worlds problems as if they are looking through the plate glass of the lion exhibit at the zoo. To them, they are safe and the danger is not real. Only when the glass shatters and they realize they are now part of the exhibit will they truely believe that they need to act to save themselves.
One of the problems that we face in trying to help others to understand the situation is that over the last 40 or so years, people have been thinking less and less. Our species sometimes treats critical thinking as a form of labor that needs to be automated away. We have cars that manage emergency braking and traction on slippery roads so we don't have to think and build skills in those areas. We have television feeding us our opinions so we don't need to think for ourselves. We have fast food to take the tought out of what to do for dinner. We automate computer tasks so it takes no skill or knowledge to do what used to require subject matter knowledge.
The end result is that the average person now days does very little critical thinking. When faced with the situation that's before us, it seems incomprehensible. There's no analog to tell them what to think of the picture presented. People have learned that when something is important, the news will give it a catchy name with flashy graphics and set up a studio on site to broadcast 24 hour coverage. Our prediciment has not come with that yet, so it's perceived as unimportant or inflated.
We need to get people thinking again. It's the only way we stand a chance of avoiding some very serious problems.
I'm completely in your camp relative on your views. This said, I have to admit to a level of discomfort with having the same views, and then looking at people I love, and struggling not to be disappointed in them. How do you look at someone you love, and not let judgement about thier inability or unwillingness to think critically influence how you are feeling toward them?
And in my mind, it gets even more complicated. If someone is trying to prepare, and build a reliable community, how can they do so effectively when the people they are emotionally connected to, don't really get it, and might actually drain energy from the effort?
And if 98% of the population are in this category, where are the critical thinkers that would make an effective and reliable community? Perhaps you could manage friends and family who are marginally on-board during a crisis if you had a strong community of "critical thinkers" that you are connected to because of your similar perspectives. But, if you cannot find these people because they are few and far away, then what?
Poor Bill. Surrendered into hopelessness. I hope there's some chance that he will at some point "man up" and take action, but I don't know him and therefore have no insight into his character.
Huzzahs to Jen, who sounds equal parts scared, bewildered, and thankfully game for what may come. Warming stones for the bed? Talk about a resilient mindset! [grin]
I agree with what Tim so eloquently said above, with one wrinkle: we need critical thinkers in order to create the world that comes next, Dr. Chris' "world worth inheriting" -- because I think we are past the point where the current system can be saved.
One other thought: I am preparing myself such that I will be able to make gut-wrenching decisions and remain functional. For example, I have too many friends who have ignored my efforts at helping them understand the 3Es. If there is a serious crisis, at least a few would likely end up asking for help, i.e. some of our preps. My wife & I are not in a position to help others as yet. (As a matter of fact, in another few weeks we will need to expand our food storage as we will have a new housemate.). So I have to be ready to tell a friend NO, we can't give you any food, and not let the emotional fallout from that wreck my ability to function under difficult conditions. Needing to do this is directly a result of being surrounded by those like Bill. I don't like it one bit, but the alternative is even less attractive.
Thanks Mike for a thought-provoking thread! Viva, Sager
Dealing with folks you love, but that are in denial is difficult. I have not figured out a way to get through to them yet. I get the same argument all of the time in that nobody can afford to prep the way the need to prep. Yet, these same family members can afford to eat dinner out 3 or 4 nights a week. I can prep for myself, my immediate family and my mother who lives 5 doors away, but I cannot stock enough to take care of multiple other families. Yet, I know that in a crisis, these other families will come to me for help.
My brother believes we are heading for trouble as does my sister, yet neither is seriously doing anything to prepare. In my brother's case, his wife is not on board and balks at prepping. My sister makes a feeble attempt, but in the end, takes away from the effort. Each time I convince my mother to stock a little extra, she ends up giving to my sister who immediately consumes it. For instance, my mother buys a two pack of peanut butter and I tell her that it would be a good idea to store one of them in the pantry. The next day, my sister mentions that she is out of peanut butter and takes the extra one from my mother. Frustrating.
Everyone else seems to have the same 'They will not let that happen' philosophy. There is an uncertainty in their minds that will not allow them to embrace sacrifice yet. They look around and see that everyone else is still dancing, and ignore my plea to head to the lifeboats. My wife is not helpful in that her opinion is that if I'm right, and we are facing a crisis, then we should have fun now while we can. She is the toughest one for me to understand. The irresponsibility of that mentality boggles my mind. Our son's deserve our best efforts to get through the crisis, not willingly allowing us to succomb to it after a good vacation. The simple fact is that no matter what I've said, she can not bring herself to believe there even is a crisis at hand. She will not look at any information herself, but pretends to agree when I talk about the problems that lie ahead. I have no idea what to do in her case, but with the rest of the family, I'm trying to frame it as how we will meet this as a family. To do that, we will each need to contribute or we will meet the crisis alone.
If I can find a way to bring this crew around to begin prepping, I'll share it here. Until then, I need to go back to my perceived role as Chicken Little in our family.
They are good, intelligent people that are having trouble getting their arms around the situation we are facing. They look at the worlds problems as if they are looking through the plate glass of the lion exhibit at the zoo. To them, they are safe and the danger is not real. Only when the glass shatters and they realize they are now part of the exhibit will they truely believe that they need to act to save themselves.
Your entire post was excellent. I will be using your analogy I quoted above. I had a similar thought you might find helpful. “People raised in a Disneyland culture think the law of natural selection has been repealed.”
From your later post it is clear you have a very tough problem. Sounds like you are doing the best you can under the circumstances.
Poor Bill. Surrendered into hopelessness. I hope there's some chance that he will at some point "man up" and take action, but I don't know him and therefore have no insight into his character. Huzzahs to Jen, who sounds equal parts scared, bewildered, and thankfully game for what may come. Warming stones for the bed? Talk about a resilient mindset! [grin] I agree with what Tim so eloquently said above, with one wrinkle: we need critical thinkers in order to create the world that comes next, Dr. Chris' "world worth inheriting" -- because I think we are past the point where the current system can be saved. One other thought: I am preparing myself such that I will be able to make gut-wrenching decisions and remain functional. For example, I have too many friends who have ignored my efforts at helping them understand the 3Es. If there is a serious crisis, at least a few would likely end up asking for help, i.e. some of our preps. My wife & I are not in a position to help others as yet. (As a matter of fact, in another few weeks we will need to expand our food storage as we will have a new housemate.). So I have to be ready to tell a friend NO, we can't give you any food, and not let the emotional fallout from that wreck my ability to function under difficult conditions. Needing to do this is directly a result of being surrounded by those like Bill. I don't like it one bit, but the alternative is even less attractive. Thanks Mike for a thought-provoking thread! Viva, Sager
There are a lot of good points in your post but this one stands out, “I am preparing myself such that I will be able to make gut-wrenching decisions and remain functional.” I think this is the most important prep of all. Seen in this light, your recent set-back may actually be an advance. You are ahead of the crowd in your understanding.
Mike, excellent post - Hi.
How do you look at someone you love, and not let judgement about thier inability or unwillingness to think critically influence how you are feeling toward them?
How do you look at someone you love, and not let judgement about thier inability or unwillingness to think critically influence how you are feeling toward them?
I think you lead by example.
And, Tim? Store your mother's pantry items at your place, out of your sister's sight.
Can you imagine what it must've been like for Noah? I guess we all can. Building the lifeboat while everyone around us is carrying on like nothing has changed. I've been spiritually and mentally preparing myself the way Sager has - preparing to say "no." My wife and I expect that is going to be the hardest part as we have always been the sharing and giving kind. I'd rather be in a gunfight with zombies than have to watch hungry and lost people all around and not be able to do anything to help. Maybe contributing to and leading the rebuilding will be enough to satisfy our desires to "help." Gonna have to be.
You can share seeds and expertise. If a neighbor comes to my door for help, I have saved heirloom seeds for years - more than I needed, intentionally. So I have (not an exhaustive list) green bean and pepper and lima bean okra and other seeds to share, and I am going to grow peach trees from our peach pits...and the neighbors all have yards and dirt. Save seeds from stuff you buy in the store: green peppers, pumpkins, tomatoes and cukes are great in that regard. About 1/4 of all the hybrid seeds from groccery store produce will sprout. As CM member Full Moon suggested, buy dried beans in the supermarket aisle (or black oilseed sunflower seeds from the bird food aisle) and use them for seed. And read up on (and start) composting, which will not only solve a health problem with insects and rodents being attracted to rotting things if the trash is no longer picked up, but will fertilize these crops (up to an including "humanure" from healthy people). In my climate I can keep sweet potaotoes in the ground over the winter and they can be used for seed/slips next year; ditto on the peanuts. If you plant garlic from the store, each clove becomes a new plant. Have exrta ready.
Have plans on how to build a Kenyan bee bar hive, available on this site. Have the materials to build several.
You can suggest which local wild plants are edible, and which are poisonous - get a book on that, or read up at your library or online. I also have "pool shock" to share - a few grains of which will purify their water. If you've started growing mushrooms set antoher person up with their own little mushroom farm; If you've started raising rabbits or Tilapa, be ready to stock local ponds with fish orshare a few breeding pairs of rabbits. If you have chickens, breed a few more and share. If you have yeast, learn make sourdough bread, whcih keeps one batch of yeast baking bread for months or years.
In other words, you cannot feed them all, but hopefully you can teach them how to feed themselves.
You can share leadership. You can grow community. And you can hopefully help your neighbors, once you have grown that community, to deal with outsiders. This means knowing your neighbors. Get to know your neighors, especially ones that seem to "get it".
Do little things. They add up.
Great input - thanks.
Prepping, investing, educating yourself, and trying to build community is a tremendous endeavor for one individual. Frankly, I don't think one person can do it well. As such, there is part of me that feels like the people we love (and who love us), ought to want to help and cover our backs.
I love my woman, and my friend Bill. This said, if I am being completely honest, there is part of me wondering if it is better to say, "No" before a crisis. By that I mean, if one believes this is inevitable and likely to happen sooner than later, why maintain relationships that are not fully supportive of what we are trying to do? I get that marriage and family are differnet, but does it make sense to give the same energy to others when they really do not fully or even partially try to understand and support what you are doing? And what about a wife who would rather go on vacation than work to have some "insurance" for her sons if things go down hill? I think I would really struggle with that.
If you are willing to say "No" to someone in the future, then why not end your connection with someone(s) now, and use your limited time and emotional bandwidth to find new friends and relationships that "get it"? For me, I think the answer is a complicated mix of loyalty, fear of not having enough friends (both before and during a crisis), and perhaps ego that tells me I am smarter than they are, and I need to be patient (i.e., eventually I can slowly convince them). I'm not sure any of that is completely healthy.
I know this, I don't like pondering these things. As I said, altering ones lifestyle to be truly self-relient is complicated enough. Dealing with the relationship issues linked to the transition (and beyond) is at times quite frustrating and sad. Building the emotional strength and resolve to say, "No", either today or in the future is quite a heavy thought.
Posted in error.
Mike , Go about your business of preparing for the worst . Your friends and family that do not see the collapse coming will think you are a nut- case and steer clear ... moving on to find others with their own similar beliefs . When the time for them to see comes you will have printed off much how to papers and lists that you can hand to them and say .. read this I am helping those who really want to get serious about things otherwise I have no time . That leaves your door open for those that have skills that are really good to build your community . It is always best to teach by example and speak in a still small voice . Always be on the look out for things you can learn from others .. networking is the key .
You have a classic case of the red pill blues. It is not “completely healthy” in the sense that is causes inner turmoil. But it is a necessary step along the path you need to follow. You are certainly giving it serious and balanced thought. With enough effort you might even reach Sager’s level of enlightenment.
Old friendships have a depth and loyalty that new one’s can’t match for a long time, and time may be short. I’d try to add some more preps to cover them if possible. We need all the friends we can get. I would not marry someone who would obstruct the process.
Full moon, can you share some of those papers and lists? All I was gonna do was hand out advice and seeds.
I am always willing to help those that want to work toward self reliance ... not those that want a hand out . Example .. Last week I was allowed to go pick the fruit from three pear trees that were going to waste , I will make that family some pear honey . I will get all sorts of calls from elderly people that can no longer get out there for themselves . Today I am teaching how to can pears this will be traded for this person to take our family photo . I will do this again tomorrow to another gal for trade of water storage barrels . This kind of oppertunity just keeps coming up more and more as you build your network or community . Safewrite , what goes around comes around . Be giving .. be generous. Hope this helps you .
As I described in my novel "Patriots" , you should start your family preparedness stocking effort by first composing a List of Lists, then draft prioritized lists for each subject, on separate sheets of paper. (Or use our free spreadsheet if you are a techno-nerd like me.) Just be sure to print out a hard copy for use when the power grid goes down!) It is important to tailor your lists to suit your particular geography, climate, and population density as well as your peculiar needs and likes/dislikes. Someone setting up a retreat in a coastal area is likely to have a far different list than someone living in the Rockies.
Your List of Lists should include: (Sorry that this post is in outline form, but it would take a full length book to discus all of the following in great detail)
Food Storage List
Food Preparation List
First Aid /Minor Surgery List
Nuke Defense List
Biological Warfare Defense List
Hygiene List/Sanitation List
Tactical Living List
Survival Bookshelf List
Barter and Charity List
Food Storage List
Food Preparation List
First Aid /Minor Surgery List
Nuke Defense List
Biological Warfare Defense List
Hygiene List/Sanitation List
Tactical Living List
Survival Bookshelf List
Barter and Charity List
JWR’s Specific Recommendations For Developing Your Lists:
House downspout conversion sheet metal work and barrels. (BTW, this is another good reason to upgrade your retreat to a fireproof metal roof.)
Drawing water from open sources. Buy extra containers. Don’t buy big barrels, since five gallon food grade buckets are the largest size that most people can handle without back strain.
For transporting water if and when gas is too precious to waste, buy a couple of heavy duty two wheel garden carts--convert the wheels to foam filled "no flats" tires. (BTW, you will find lots of other uses for those carts around your retreat, such as hauling hay, firewood, manure, fertilizer, et cetera.)
Treating water. Buy plain Clorox hypochlorite bleach. A little goes a long way. Buy some extra half-gallon bottles for barter and charity. If you can afford it, buy a “Big Berkey” British Berkefeld ceramic water filter. (Available from Ready Made Resources and several other Internet vendors. Even if you have pure spring water at your retreat, you never know where you may end up, and a good filter could be a lifesaver.)
Food Storage List
Store the essentials, in quantity:
Salt: Salt is very important to store, both for preserving food and as a practical means to attract wild game. (It is noteworthy that in many locales, natural salt licks are off-limits to hunters, since hunting there is too easy and hence not considered sporting. That ought to tell you something.) I recommend that you store several times more salt than you think that you'll ever need.
Unless you literally live next to a salt lick or salt marsh, I cannot overemphasize the importance of storing salt. The Memsahib and I formerly lived in the Upper Clearwater River Valley in Idaho. In that region, deer and elk would walk many, many miles to get to natural salt licks where they would congregate in large numbers. Salt is cheap and plentiful now, but in the event of TEOTWAWKI it will be a scarce and valuable commodity in most inland regions. Salt also has a virtually unlimited shelf life. Do some research on natural salt deposits near your intended retreat. That could be quite valuable knowledge in the event of TEOTWAWKI.
Lay in a supply of 10 pounds of salt per member of your family. (This figure may sound high, but again it includes extra for attracting wild game.) The portion for cooking and table salt should be iodized.
Rice:I prefer brown rice, even though its storage life is shorter that that of white rice. The combined weight should be about 30 pounds per adult, per year. Storage life is +/- 8 years.
Wheat (or substitute grains, for celiacs): Grain storage is a crucial aspect of family preparedness. Grain will soon no longer be cheap or plentiful, so stock up! Buy 220 pounds per adult, per year. (Part of this can be in the form of pasta.) Storage life is 30+ years. Buy plenty for your family and your livestock. I also recommend buying plenty of extra for barter and charity. You'll soon be glad that you did.
I do not recommend storing flour, since it only keeps for two or three years. Whole wheat stores for 30+ years with 80% or more of its nutritional value. Buy whole grains and a hand wheat grinder.
Don't overlook the easiest preparation method of all: soaked wheat berries. By simply soaking whole wheat for 24 to 36 hours, it plumps and softens. When then heated, wheat berries make a nutritious breakfast cereal.
Corn: Whole corn stores much longer than cracked corn or corn meal. (Grind your own.) Get 50 pounds per adult, per year. The storage life of whole corn is 8 to 12 years, but cracked or ground corn stores only 18 to 36 months
Oats: Lay in a supply of 20 pounds per adult, per year. The storage life of oats is 3 to 7 years, depending on variety and packing method.
Fats and Oils: I recommend storing primarily olive oil (frozen, in plastic bottles), mayonnaise, canned butter, and peanut butter. The combined weight of these should be about 96 pounds per adult, per year. (Four gallons is about 24 pounds.) The canned products must be continuously rotated, or else donated to charity bi-annually. The frozen oil should be rotated or else donated to charity once every four years.
Powdered Milk: Buy the nonfat variety. Store about 20 pounds per adult, per year. For the longest storage life, it is best to buy nitrogen packed dry milk from a storage food vendor. That type has a 5+ year shelf life.
Canned Fruit and Vegetables: It is most economical (and good practice) to can your own. As long as you rotate continuously, you should lay in a two year supply per family member.
Canned Meats: Again, you must rotate continuously, and don’t store more than you would use in two years. I like the DAK brand canned hams.
Sugars: I prefer honey (except of course for infants), but depending on your taste, you will also want to lay in a supply of sugar, molasses, sorghum, maple syrup, and various jams and jellies. The combined weight of these should be about 50 pounds per adult, per year.
Other important items for your food storage:
- Canning lids and rings—buy plenty of extras for barter.
- Sulfur for drying fruit.
- Vinegar-Buy a couple of cases of one-gallon bottles.
- Baking soda.
- Food storage (freezer and vacuum) bags.
- Aluminum foil (Buy lots! 101 uses, including making improvised solar ovens.)
- Deer bags.
Food Preparation List
Having more people under your roof will necessitate having an oversize skillet and a huge stew pot. BTW, you will want to buy several huge kettles, because odds are you will have to heat water on your wood stove for bathing, dish washing, and clothes washing. You will also need even more kettles, barrels, and 5 or 6 gallon PVC buckets--for water hauling, rendering, soap making, and dying. They will also make great barter or charity items. (To quote my mentor Dr. Gary North: “Nails: buy a barrel of them. Barrels: Buy a barrel of them!”)
Don’t overlook skinning knives, gut-buckets, gambrels, and meat saws.
(Make a separate personal list for each family member and individual expected to arrive at your retreat.)
Prescription and nonprescription medications.
Keep dentistry up to date.
Any elective surgery that you've been postponing
Work off that gut.
Stay in shape.
Back strength and health—particularly important, given the heavy manual tasks required for self-sufficiency.
Educate yourself on survival topics, and practice them. For example, even if you don’t presently live at your retreat, you should plant a vegetable garden every year. It is better to learn through experience and make mistakes now, when the loss of crop is an annoyance rather than a crucial event.
“Comfort” items to help get through high stress times. (Books, games, CDs, chocolates, etc.)
First Aid /Minor Surgery List
When tailoring this list, consider your neighborhood going for many months without power, extensive use of open flames, and sentries standing picket shifts exposed in the elements. Then consider axes, chainsaws and tractors being wielded by newbies, and a greater likelihood of gunshot wounds. With all of this, add the possibility of no access to doctors or high tech medical diagnostic equipment. Put a strong emphasis on burn treatment first aid supplies. Don’t overlook do-it-yourself dentistry! (Oil of cloves, temporary filling kit, extraction tools, et cetera.) Buy a full minor surgery outfit (inexpensive Pakistani stainless steel instruments), even if you don’t know how to use them all yet. You may have to learn, or you will have the opportunity to put them in the hands of someone experienced who needs them.) This is going to be a big list!
Chem/Nuke Defense List
Dosimeter and rate meter, and charger, radiac meter (hand held Geiger counter), rolls of sheet plastic (for isolating airflow to air filter inlets and for covering window frames in the event that windows are broken due to blast effects), duct tape, HEPA filters (ands spares) for your shelter. Potassium iodate (KI) tablets to prevent thyroid damage.(See my recent post on that subject.) Outdoor shower rig for just outside your shelter entrance.
Biological Warfare Defense ListDisinfectants
Colloidal silver generator and spare supplies (distilled water and .999 fine silver rod.)
Natural antibiotics (Echinacea, Tea Tree oil, …)
One important item for your gardening list is the construction of a very tall deer-proof and rabbit-proof fence. Under current circumstances, a raid by deer on your garden is probably just an inconvenience. After the balloon goes up, it could mean the difference between eating well, and starvation.
Tools+ spares for barter/charity
Long-term storage non hybrid (open pollinated) seed. (Non-hybrid “heirloom” seed assortments tailors to different climate zones are available from The Ark Institute
Herbs: Get started with medicinal herbs such as aloe vera (for burns), echinacea (purple cone flower), valerian, et cetera.
Sacks of powdered lime for the outhouse. Buy plenty! TP in quantity (Stores well if kept dry and away from vermin and it is lightweight, but it is very bulky. This is a good item to store in the attic. See my novel about stocking up on used phone books for use as TP.
Soap in quantity (hand soap, dish soap, laundry soap, cleansers, etc.)
Bottled lye for soap making.
Toothpaste (or powder).
Fluoride rinse. (Unless you have health objections to the use of fluoride.)
Hoof rasp, hoof nippers, hoof pick, horse brushes, hand sheep shears, styptic, carding combs, goat milking stand, teat dip, udder wash, Bag Balm, elastrator and bands, SWOT fly repellent, nail clippers (various sizes), Copper-tox, leads, leashes, collars, halters, hay hooks, hay fork, manure shovel, feed buckets, bulk grain and C-O-B sweet feed (store in galvanized trash cans with tight fitting lids to keep the mice out), various tack and saddles, tack repair tools, et cetera. If your region has selenium deficient soil (ask your local Agricultural extension office) then be sure to get selenium-fortified salt blocks rather than plain white salt blocks--at least for those that you are going to set aside strictly for your livestock.
“Buckshot” Bruce Hemming has produced an excellent series of videos on trapping and making improvised traps. (He also sells traps and scents at very reasonable prices.)
Night vision gear, spares, maintenance, and battery charging
Salt. Post-TEOTWAWKI, don’t “go hunting.” That would be a waste of effort. Have the game come to you. Buy 20 or more salt blocks. They will also make very valuable barter items.
Sell your fly fishing gear (all but perhaps a few flies) and buy practical spin casting equipment.
Extra tackle may be useful for barter, but probably only in a very long term Crunch.
Buy some frog gigs if you have bullfrogs in your area. Buy some crawfish traps if you have crawfish in your area.
Learn how to rig trot lines and make fish traps for non-labor intensive fishing WTSHTF.
One proviso: In the event of a “grid down” situation, if you are the only family in the area with power, it could turn your house into a “come loot me” beacon at night. At the same time, your house lighting will ruin the night vision of your LP/OP pickets. Make plans and buy materials in advance for making blackout screens or fully opaque curtains for your windows.
When possible, buy nickel metal hydride batteries. (Unlike the older nickel cadmium technology, these have no adverse charge level “memory” effect.)
If your home has propane appliances, get a “tri-fuel” generator--with a carburetor that is selectable between gasoline, propane, and natural gas. If you heat your home with home heating oil, then get a diesel-burning generator. (And plan on getting at least one diesel burning pickup and/or tractor). In a pinch, you can run your diesel generator and diesel vehicles on home heating oil.
Kerosene lamps; plenty of extra wicks, mantles, and chimneys. (These will also make great barter items.)
Greater detail on do-it-yourself power will be included in my forthcoming blog posts.
Buy the biggest propane, home heating oil, gas, or diesel tanks that your local ordinances permit and that you can afford. Always keep them at least two-thirds full. For privacy concerns, ballistic impact concerns, and fire concerns, underground tanks are best if your local water table allows it. In any case, do not buy an aboveground fuel tank that would visible from any public road or navigable waterway. Buy plenty of extra fuel for barter. Don’t overlook buying plenty of kerosene. (For barter, you will want some in one or two gallon cans.) Stock up on firewood or coal. (See my previous blog posts.) Get the best quality chainsaw you can afford. I prefer Stihls and Husqvarnas. If you can afford it, buy two of the same model. Buy extra chains, critical spare parts, and plenty of two-cycle oil. (Two-cycle oil will be great for barter!) Get a pair of Kevlar chainsaw safety chaps. They are expensive but they might save yourself a trip to the emergency room. Always wear gloves, goggles, and ear-muffs. Wear a logger’s helmet when felling. Have someone who is well experienced teach you how to re-sharpen chains. BTW, don’t cut up your wood into rounds near any rocks or you will destroy a chain in a hurry.
Now that you have all of those flammables on hand (see the previous list) and the prospect of looters shooting tracer ammo or throwing Molotov cocktails at your house, think in terms of fire fighting from start to finish without the aid of a fire department. Even without looters to consider, you should be ready for uncontrolled brush or residential fires, as well as the greater fire risk associated with greenhorns who have just arrived at your retreat working with wood stoves and kerosene lamps!
Upgrade your retreat with a fireproof metal roof.
2” water line from your gravity-fed storage tank (to provide large water volume for firefighting)
Fire fighting rig with an adjustable stream/mist head.
Smoke and CO detectors.
Tactical Living List
Adjust your wardrobe buying toward sturdy earth-tone clothing. (Frequent your local thrift store and buy extras for retreat newcomers, charity, and barter.)
Dyes. Stock up on some boxes of green and brown cloth dye. Buy some extra for barter. With dye, you can turn most light colored clothes into semi-tactical clothing on short notice.
Two-inch wide burlap strip material in green and brown. This burlap is available in large spools from Gun Parts Corp. Even if you don’t have time now, stock up so that you can make camouflage ghillie suits post-TEOTWAWKI.
Save those wine corks! (Burned cork makes quick and cheap face camouflage.)
Cold weather and foul weather gear—buy plenty, since you will be doing more outdoor chores, hunting, and standing guard duty.
Don’t overlook ponchos and gaiters.
Synthetic double-bag (modular) sleeping bags for each person at the retreat, plus a couple of spares. The Wiggy’s brand Flexible Temperature Range Sleep System (FTRSS) made by Wiggy's of Grand Junction, Colorado is highly recommended.
Night vision gear + IR floodlights for your retreat house
Subdued flashlights and penlights.
Noise, light, and litter discipline. (More on this in future posts--or perhaps a reader would like to send a brief article on this subject)
Security-General: Locks, intrusion detection/alarm systems, exterior obstacles (fences, gates, 5/8” diameter (or larger) locking road cables, rosebush plantings, “decorative” ponds (moats), ballistic protection (personal and residential), anti-vehicular ditches/berms, anti-vehicular concrete “planter boxes”, razor wire, etc.) Starlight electronic light amplification scopes are critical tools for retreat security.
A Starlight scope (or goggles, or a monocular) literally amplifies low ambient light by up to 100,000 times, turning nighttime darkness into daylight--albeit a green and fuzzy view. Starlight light amplification technology was first developed during the Vietnam War. Late issue Third Generation (also called or “Third Gen” or “Gen 3”) starlight scopes can cost up to $3,500 each. Rebuilt first gen (early 1970s technology scopes can often be had for as little as $500. Russian-made monoculars (with lousy optics) can be had for under $100. One Russian model that uses a piezoelectric generator instead of batteries is the best of this low-cost breed. These are best used as backups (in case your expensive American made scopes fail. They should not be purchased for use as your primary night vision devices unless you are on a very restrictive budget. (They are better than nothing.) Buy the best starlight scopes, goggles, and monoculars you can afford. They may be life-savers! If you can afford to buy only one, make it a weapon sight such as an AN/PVS-4, with a Gen 2 (or better) tube. Make sure to specify that that the tube is new or “low hours”, has a high “line pair” count, and minimal scintillation. It is important to buy your Starlight gear from a reputable dealer. The market is crowded with rip-off artists and scammers. One dealer that I trust, is Al Glanze (spoken “Glan-zee”) who runs STANO Components, Inc. in Silver City, Nevada. Note: In a subsequent blog posts I will discuss the relationship and implications to IR illuminators and tritium sights.
Range cards and sector sketches.
If you live in the boonies, piece together nine of the USGS 15-minute maps, with your retreat property on the center map. Mount that map on an oversize map board. Draw in the property lines and owner names of all of your surrounding neighbor’s parcels (in pencil) in at least a five mile radius. (Get boundary line and current owner name info from your County Recorder’s office.) Study and memorize both the terrain and the neighbors’ names. Make a phone number/e-mail list that corresponds to all of the names marked on the map, plus city and county office contact numbers for quick reference and tack it up right next to the map board. Cover the whole map sheet with a sheet of heavy-duty acetate, so you can mark it up just like a military commander’s map board. (This may sound a bit “over the top”, but remember, you are planning for the worst case. It will also help you get to know your neighbors: When you are introduced by name to one of them when in town, you will be able to say, “Oh, don’t you live about two miles up the road between the Jones place and the Smith’s ranch?” They will be impressed, and you will seem like an instant “old timer.”
Security-Firearms ListGuns, ammunition, web gear, eye and ear protection, cleaning equipment, carrying cases, scopes, magazines, spare parts, gunsmithing tools, targets and target frames, et cetera. Each rifle and pistol should have at least six top quality (original military contract or original manufacturer) full capacity spare magazines. Note: Considerable detail on firearms and optics selection, training, use, and logistic support are covered in the SurvivalBlog archives and FAQs.
When selecting radios buy only models that will run on 12 volt DC power or rechargeable nickel metal hydride battery packs (that can be recharged from your retreat’s 12 VDC power system without having to use an inverter.)
As a secondary purchasing goal, buy spare radios of each type if you can afford them. Keep your spares in sealed metal boxes to protect them from EMP.
If you live in a far inland region, I recommend buying two or more 12 VDC marine band radios. These frequencies will probably not be monitored in your region, leaving you an essentially private band to use. (But never assume that any two-way radio communications are secure!)
Note: More detail on survival communications gear selection, training, use, security/cryptography measures, antennas, EMP protection, and logistical support will be covered in forthcoming blog posts.
Auto mechanics tools.
Bolt cutters--the indispensable “universal key.”
Emphasis on hand powered tools.
Hand or treadle powered grinding wheel.
Don’t forget to buy plenty of extra work gloves (in earth tone colors).
Systematically list the things that you use on a regular basis, or that you might need if the local hardware store were to ever disappear: wire of various gauges, duct tape, reinforced strapping tape, chain, nails, nuts and bolts, weather stripping, abrasives, twine, white glue, cyanoacrylate glue, et cetera.
You should probably have nearly every book on my Bookshelf page. For some, you will want to have two or three copies, such as Carla Emery’s "Encyclopedia of Country Living". This is because these books are so valuable and indispensable that you won’t want to risk lending out your only copy.
Barter and Charity List
For your barter list, acquire primarily items that are durable, non-perishable, and either in small packages or that are easily divisible. Concentrate on the items that other people are likely to overlook or have in short supply. Some of my favorites are ammunition. [The late] Jeff Cooper referred to it as “ballistic wampum.” WTSHTF, ammo will be worth nearly its weight in silver. Store all of your ammo in military surplus ammo cans (with seals that are still soft) and it will store for decades. Stick to common calibers, get plenty of .22 LR (most high velocity hollow points) plus at least ten boxes of the local favorite deer hunting cartridge, even if you don’t own a rifle chambered for this cartridge. (Ask your local sporting goods shop about their top selling chamberings). Also buy at least ten boxes of the local police department’s standard pistol cartridge, again even if you don’t own a pistol chambered for this cartridge.
Salt (Buy lots of cattle blocks and 1 pound canisters of iodized table salt.)
(Stores indefinitely if kept dry.)
Two cycle engine oil (for chain saw gas mixing. Gas may still be available after a collapse, but two-cycle oil will probably be like liquid gold!)
Diesel antibacterial additive.
50-pound sacks of lime (for outhouses).
1 oz. bottles of military rifle bore cleaner and Break Free (or similar) lubricant.
Waterproof dufflebags in earth tone colors (whitewater rafting "dry bags").
Semi-waterproof matches (from military rations.)
Military web gear (lots of folks will suddenly need pistol belts, holsters, magazine pouches, et cetera.)
Pre-1965 silver dimes.
1-gallon cans of kerosene.
Rolls of olive drab parachute cord.
Rolls of olive-drab duct tape.
Spools of monofilament fishing line.
Rolls of 10 mil "Visqueen", sheet plastic (for replacing windows, isolating airspaces for nuke scenarios, etc.)
I also respect the opinion of one gentleman with whom I've corresponded, who recommended the following:
Strike anywhere matches. (Dip the heads in paraffin to make them waterproof.)
Cooking spices. (Do a web search for reasonably priced bulk spices.)
Rope & string.
Candle wax and wicking.
Lastly, any supplies necessary for operating a home-based business. Some that you might consider are: leather crafting, small appliance repair, gun repair, locksmithing, et cetera. Every family should have at least one home-based business (preferably two!) that they can depend on in the event of an economic collapse.
Stock up on additional items to dispense to refugees as charity.
Maybe just get people to make simple preperation for winter then this will get them ready to take the next step ?
FullMoon - Thank you for posting that list. Excellent info to check my plans against. I did not have much salt in my preps.
On one hand, Full Moon, thank for the list - as a reminder. I have a spread sheet of needed preps that I made out of that Rawles book: a one page list per category. It's amazing how much we accomplished! But I need to take another look at that list.
On the other hand, I think this is too intimidating a list for my neighbors. Most of the ones who are aware are at the "save a few extra bags of beans and rice" stage. Some of them have further preps like a woodstove and fruit and nut trees. Many have recently started gadens, and one is raising rabbits. Another neighbor got goats, ne has hive and chickens, and within a mile we have more new goats, and someone with nmore land just started raising donkeys and milk cows. So people get it, or more and more of them do. I'll just keep pointing them here.
I'm with you Safewrite. The Rawles list is preparation nirvana, and I'm personally pleased I am not too far away from much of what is listed there, This said, I am usualy very happy if I can convince someone to buy some food for their basement, and stick a little cash in a dark corner of their home. Getting to that little victory is sometimes amazingly challenging.
I will say that positive feedback seems to help the cause. If you can get them to buy a little food, and then praise them for their smarts, you can see them start to think about next steps. It's like the move to food gives them comfort, and at that point, they realize that preparation actually isn't about fear, it's about self-resiiency, and that actually feels good.
This is a great article from Charles Hugh Smiths web site, "Of Two Minds". It gives some hope that perhaps more people are looking outside their bubble.
The Truth Is Going Global
October 21, 2011 (Mobile version)
A chance encounter with a night clerk in Paris offers insight into the power of truth and the World Wide Web.
Amidst the endless flood of propaganda ("there is no recession, Europe is about to fix all its problems in one fell swoop, a new Bull market is underway," etc.) a trend of long-term importance is emerging: the truth is going global.
By the "truth" I refer not to some eternal truth, but to an understanding that the financial model presented by the Status Quo as "reality" is in fact an illusion that serves the interests of those controlling massive concentrations of wealth and political power. Simply put, the present-day financial Status Quo is unsustainable, and it will devolve or collapse under its own weight of internal instabilities and lies.
There is no way to track how many people around the world are awakening to the understanding that everything that the mainstream media presents to them as financial reality is a distortion aimed at managing their perceptions and gaining their passive acceptance of the Status Quo as "good for you" or at least "permanent."
Thus all we have is anecdotal evidence of the sort I am going to present.
Earlier this week, I was standing in the cool pre-dawn darkness outside the small hotel that had been "home" for this visit to Paris, waiting for the airport shuttle. The night clerk of the hotel, a young man in his mid to late 20s, was kind enough to join me. (I will call him by his first initial, C.) C. was conversant in English, and spoke in a measured, friendly tone.
Just as a point of conversation, I asked about France's rugby team, which had been in the news for its win over Britain's team. He replied that he didn't follow sports much, and then he referred to ancient Rome's technique of using "bread and circuses" to distract its people.
Woah. Bread and circuses? This was not the response I expected. With a bit of encouragement, C. then went on to describe how "banksters" (his word) dominated the governments in both the U.S. and Europe, how the mass media was incapable of reporting the truth, and how people were blind to this manipulation of their opinion.
I asked him how he had learned all this, and he replied, "The Internet." He had learned all this from American websites and blogs.
With no further prompting from me, he went on to describe Roosevelt's confiscation of private gold in the 1930s, and how a plot of good land and house in the countryside might be the ultimate hedge when things fell apart. He suggested that gold would the basis of a new money, but only after the Elites had bought it up/made it illegal for commoners to own.
This young man did not know I was a writer/blogger; to him, I was just the brother of a regular customer of the hotel.
I asked if he had studied economics in university, and he said no, but a friend of his did, and that his friend was only learning how to indoctrinate the next generation of students with the Status Quo model.
Is C. a rarity or one of a growing number of young people around the world who "get it"? There is no way to know, but we do know this:
1. English is the international language that every educated person must learn
2. U.S.-based websites are available everywhere in the world except where they are actively blocked, i.e. China, etc.
What is truth and what is illusion? Ultimately, we organize the chaos around us into models that explain the behavior we observe. If the model no longer makes sense of the world we see, then eventually we abandon it for a model which does a better job of matching the reality we observe.
The Status Quo model of financial reality no longer makes sense of the real world, and so the Status Quo has been forced to manipulate our perception via statistical legerdemain, manipulated markets and coordinated "perception management" via the corporate media.
As I write this, the stock market appears to be breaking out to new highs on the "news" that Germany and France "agree" and that a complete "fix" of the Eurozone's multiple financial morasses is close at hand. The presumption is, of course, that maintaining the financial Status Quo will usher in a global Bull Market of epic proportions, with a global resurgence of confidence and prosperity to follow.
Truth or illusion? We know it is illusion being presented as truth. But if the audience believes the magic, then is it true? How many young people have gazed behind the curtain and seen through the trick? We don't know, but the number may well be rising faster than the Status Quo realizes.
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