Monthly Archives: May 2012

Use Technology as a Lever Not a Crutch

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

Technology has allowed modern man to make life faster, easier and more productive. Technology has many benefits for man but all too often man abuses the tools he has developed and he becomes a slave to them. Take the kitchen for example. Many people do not know how to cook from scratch anymore because they rely on prepackaged frozen foods that can be ready in a matter of minutes without a lot of preparation. Some people would be lost if their coffee was not made automatically and awaited their sleepy bodies in the morning. Some people use a microwave oven exclusively to prepare meals on a daily basis. Even worse, some people rely almost exclusively on fast food for their meals and keep nothing at home to feed their families.

Many young people do not know a time when they could not email, surf the web, text or call someone from anywhere at any time of day. It has become evident that many people, young and old alike would suffer from a type of withdrawal effect if their electronics were lost for even a day. Many people have replaced human contact with electronic correspondence which reduces their human relations skills and many children spend most of their free hours on the computer instead of playing outside with friends as past generations have done, Growing children have a lot of pent up energy and when they don’t release that energy through physical activity it can cause them to be hyperactive in places such as school where they are diagnosed with all kinds of “disorders” that never existed before. This has caused the present generation to be the most highly medicated people in our history.

Lack of regular contact with others can deprive us of skills to deal with everyday life and work through difficult situations. Our dependence on machines and electronics have left many in want of basic necessities when disasters or power outages occur. How many times have you seen people leave home and go to a motel when the power goes out? A snow storm hits and people cannot heat their homes, watch TV or cook food. A thunderstorm knocks out power and people are desperate to find air conditioning and water. I find it incredible that most people feel so important now that they have the need to be on the phone constantly, especially while driving. I can’t help but wonder how we ever made it out of the 1950’s without cell phones.

People have become slaves to the machines they made to make life easier and now cannot live without. People rely on GPS now instead of reading maps and because of that they can be a block away from their destination and not know it if their GPS goes out. The art of writhing letters has been replaced with text messages and symbols. When you realize you are one of these people what could you do to limit the effects of the loss of this technology on occasion?

Spend one afternoon a week and take a walk through the neighborhood, assuming the area is safe, to get to know the neighbors.

At least once a week, cook a meal from scratch and use a cooking source that won’t go out with the power.

Meet a friend occasionally for a cup of coffee and chat instead of using the computer or phone.

Make your kids go outside and play, without the electronic gadgets, or better yet, go outside and play with them.

Have an old fashioned family picnic or a cookout at a local park.

Play board games at home occasionally.

Avoid using your cell phone one day a week or cut out talking while driving all together.

Get a backup heat source such as wood or propane and store some water for a backup supply.

Send a card or write a letter instead of sending an email.

Plant a garden and can some of your own food during the summer.

If you are so dependent on technology that the temporary loss of it causes problems, you are too dependent on it. Using technology to leverage your time and energy is a good thing but it should not replace the human actions we have used for centuries. In the end, the old ways still work and they can help you slow down and enjoy life more rather than speeding through it.

U.S. Veterans : American Patriots and Cannon Fodder

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

On this Memorial Day we remember our veterans as always but how much does the average American really think about the sacrifices that have been made in their name. Many veterans are returning home with brain damage, missing limbs and sometimes in coffins, but does the average American even care? As Americans go about their daily lives they are consumed by iphones and facebook in this over pasteurized, homogenized and genetically modified world we now live in. They stare at TV screens in mindless repetition every day and are oblivious to all but their own lives.

The backlog of veteran claims is over 900,000 and they are now finding they have to fight to get benefits they were promised when they joined. Vets with arms and legs missing are having to fight for the disability compensation they should have. Billions of dollars are given to companies that go bankrupt only months later while the VA system implodes from the massive numbers of wounded from our wars of opportunity around the world. To our politicians, veterans are nothing more than cannon fodder to feed their lust for power and money. It was not that long ago that President Obama suggested that veterans should pay for their own health care. Veterans are being physically and financially destroyed because of their service to this country but that isn’t enough for these parasites in Washington.

The veterans are getting fed up with their treatment by those in power and that is one reason they are being labled as potential terrorists by this government. They no longer support the illegal actions of the government and military hierarchy. They are now a potential threat to the illegal actions of this government and that is why they are being ignored and marginalized. As the workhorse of American defense they are being sent to the glue factory once they are of no more use. These people volunteered to defend this nation fully knowing the dangers they faced and all they asked was to get paid and be cared for when injured, and this nation cannot even do that simple job anymore. When there is no one left to stand up for our values and defend our God given rights, the American people will have no one to blame but themselves. People need to remember that on Memorial Day.

Tom Chatham is a former Platoon Sergeant and Army Instructor who served in Iraq.

Dumb and Dumber

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

A new bit of news that comes from The Sunlight Foundation is very revealing of our current culture in this country. They have used the Flesch-Kincaid test to rate the grade level of speeches in this country. This test equates higher grade levels with longer words and longer sentences. They analized everything said on the floor of the House and the Senate for the past several years to rate the congress. Our current Congress collectively speaks with an average grade level of 10.6 which is down from 11.5 in 2005. The law makers still speak over the heads of most Americans who read at between an 8th and 9th grade level. To put this in perspective, the U.S. Constitution is written at a 17.8 grade level and the Declaration of Independence at a 15.1 grade level. The Gettysburg Address is an 11.2 and the MLK “I Have a Dream” speech a 9.4 level. They found 4 interesting things about Congress in this study.
1. Controlling for other factors, it is generally the most moderate members of both parties who speak at the highest grade levels, and the most extreme members who speak at the lowest grade levels. This pattern is most pronounced among freshmen and sophomore members.
2. Prior to 2005, Republicans on average spoke at a slightly higher grade level than Democrats. Since then, Democrats have spoken on average at a slightly higher grade level than Republicans.
3. Some of the decline in grade level since 2005 is because junior members speak at a lower grade level than senior members, and some of it is because senior members have simplified their speech patterns over time.
4. On average, the more words individual members speak on the floors of Congress, the simpler their speech tends to be.
The 2012 State of the Union was for the third year in a row at the 8th grade level coming in at 8.4 which is well below the 10.7 average for the previous 67 addresses. You can find more data on individual members of congress at The Sunlight Foundation.

So, what does all of this mean? Just a precursory observation would conclude that Americans are getting dumber by the year. We learn by reading and most Americans don’t read very much any more. Reading increases our vocabulary and the amount of data we have to solve problems. The less people read the less capable they are of solving complex problems. This affects how creative a person can be. This may be why older generations were able to do great things. They gained most of their knowledge from reading, not from xbox or TV.

When you look at this data is it any wonder why we no longer follow the Constitution? Most people are too stupid to understand what it means. We are destroying our country more every day so I guess it’s true what they say about stupid people doing stupid things. The best thing you can do for future generations is encourage your children to read as much as they can. It’s also been said that the most important thing that a farmer can raise is a set of children with a good work ethic and set of moral values. This may be the only thing that saves us in the future.

Your Plan is The Primary Prep

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

Only a small percentage of the population in this country is preparing for bad times or emergencies but that amounts to a few million people. Every person is living in a different place and in a different situation. Every person has a slightly different priority and a different amount of means to finance their preparations. Because of this not everyone has the exact same plan and the same plan will not work equally well for everyone. There are many common items and ideas that can benefit people across many different plans but your plan needs to be tailored to you and your situation. Many including myself have their wish list of future purchases but the most important thing you need first is a plan that relies on what you have and what you know at this point in time. If you sit down and list all of the possible emergencies that you are preparing to handle and make note of what you have on hand to deal with each one, you will be able to war game a plan that you can put into action right now at a moments notice with what you have. As an example I live on the east coast. If one of my scenarios involves a mega tsunami forcing me to leave and possibly lose my home and property, what would I do with my available resources? My plan might be to load my truck and small trailer with everything that I will need to take care of myself for at least the next year. I would list what I need to take starting with valuables such as important papers and currency. My next items would be food and cooking gear. Next would be clothing and camping gear. Then would come guns and ammo, household supplies, livestock and supplies, tools, kitchen supplies, food prep and storage, garden tools, books, electronics and furniture in that order. I won’t have room to carry all of these things but with a prioritized list I can pack until I have no more room and not have to waste time deciding what goes next. I would leave and head to a specific town in the mountains of Virginia and await the outcome of the event. If I were unable to return because the roads and bridges were destroyed along with all of the infrastructure my next move would be to find a small piece of property to buy. The sudden chaos of an event such as this would leave many refugees and they would be in a state of shock for a while after it happened. Once the shock wore off they would all be looking for new housing or property and this would force up the price very quickly so I would want to find property before this initial shock wore off. I would also need a hard shelter to live in so I would buy some lumber and construct a small shelter on my trailer that I could live in until something bigger could be built. This is just an example but it gives you an idea of what you need to consider. To sit down and make a plan such as this will not cost you anything but time and all you need is a pencil and paper to write it down. Even if you don’t have a lot of preps, a simple plan can be the difference between getting through a disaster with mild discomfort or suffering terribly because you didn’t know what to do and lost most of your resources because of it. As the head of a household it is your responsibility to care for your family no matter what the situation throws at you so it is irresponsible not to at least have a plan to care for your family. You can argue that you don’t have the money to buy supplies but there is no excuse for not having a written plan of action. By having a written plan you can identify the critical items that you should get first that will have the most benefit in an emergency. With a written plan for each type of emergency, you can identify the common items that are needed for a majority of situations. Having the knowledge of what to do when disaster strikes will help you remain calm and work through the situation with the least amount of difficulty. Remaining calm and knowing what to do will also help your family remain calm when they see that you have the situation under control. For want of a nail, a shoe was lost, and then the battle. Do not overlook your plan. It is the cheapest form of insurance you can get.

America is About to Be Taken Over!

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

Recent events are beginning to take shape and they look ominous for the USA. Many have no doubt heard about the Chinese Free Trade zones they are trying to set up in the US. They have been buying large tracts of land in several states and these would be built up into small Chinese cities. These cities would be largely self sufficient and populated by Chinese workers, which would do nothing for American unemployment numbers. These zones would also be largely outside of US laws and control allowing them to do many things we would not allow otherwise. They have also spent hundreds of millions on commercial and residential projects in the US.
The China National Offshore Oil Corporation and Sinopec Corporation, both which are wholly owned or controlled by the Chinese government, have been buying large stakes in US oil and gas lands. They recently bought a one third share in Chesapeake Energy Corps 800,000 acres of leased properties in Colorado and Wyoming. They have also purchased large shares in energy properties in Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas.
The Fed recently approved the purchase of an 80% stake in The Bank of East Asia U.S.A. in New York City by Chinas largest bank and two other Chinese firms. This bank has 13 branches in New York and California. The Fed also approved an application by Bank of China to set up a branch in Chicago and the Agricultural Bank of China Limited to establish a branch in New York City. The ability of the Chinese to buy U.S. banks doesn’t sound so bad until you add it to the next bit of recent news.
Wall Street banks have been secretly taking over U.S. firearms and ammo manufacturers and the worlds largest mercenary firms to include Dynacorp and Academi. Banks such as Citibank, BOA, Barclays and Deutsche Bank have provided huge funding to two private Wall St. equity firms , Cerberus and Veritas Equity which use umbrella companies such as Freedom Corp. which has engaged in stealth takeovers of manufacturers such as Remington, Cobbs, H&R, Marlin, Dakota and Bushmaster. They also seem to have large stakes in companies involved in the “Crowd Control Industry”.
DHS has ordered about 450 million rounds of ammo and there are stories that the Feds are preparing detention camps in the U.S. in preparation for a possible civil war. It’s no secret that law enforcement in this country have become very militarized and are preparing for something. That leaves the citizens to speculate on what may happen next. Consider this if you will.
If another financial crisis takes place in the U.S. that leaves the major banks in trouble, the Chinese are now in a position to step in and buy them at fire sale prices. Any assets that these banks own will then be under the control of the Chinese government. If a full blown collapse of the Dollar happens the Chinese will be in the position to offer us the use of the Yuan as a currency to help stabilize the situation. Given the option of starving or using Chinese money most Americans would use the money in a second. If the elites decide they want the SDR as a new currency and the Chinese own most of the large banks they could agree to funnel the SDRs through their banks with the condition that the Yuan is made part of the basket of currencies. This is something the Chinese have been pushing for a while.
The elite will do what they must to preserve their wealth. Anyone that knows the dollar is going to crash will convert their paper assets into hard assets before it happens. When you start to see people buy factories and railroads and raw materials on a large scale that is a good indicator that things are about to fall apart. It is not beyond the elites to make a deal with the Chinese to “facilitate” a takeover in exchange for access to the Yuan. Having access to a large supply of Yuan following a collapse of the Dollar would give the elites the ability to start their game anew in the U.S. Even if we went to the SDR, if the Yuan is included in the basket of currencies , access to Yuan would mean access to the SDR.
The Chinese have large new cities that stand empty as they await a new middle class to fill them. The Chinese need lots of raw materials to feed their growing population and their modern factories. China only needs to build up its’ middle class to replace the U.S. as a major market. With the BRICS countries increasing their market share in the world, the U.S. will continue to decline until we are just another third world nation to be strip mined and looted.
The recent news that J P Morgan has lost a lot of money lately has given rise to the prospect that the massive number of derivatives are about to collapse. If this happens many banks will go down and leave themselves ripe for Chinese picking. Even if the Chinese did not buy any large banks, a major bank collapse would make the Chinese banks the last solvent banks standing in the country. The politicians in this country only care about money and power and will work for whoever can give it to them. Most of them would have no trouble working for the Chinese and enforcing their will on Americans. It’s sad to say but that’s how it is. China wants our natural resources and will get them once we are reduced to a third world nation. A Chinese official recently said about Australia that they would have to decide who they are going to work with in the future, the U.S. or China, and it will likely be whoever is stronger. The U.S. is no longer its’ own master. It would only take one really bad crisis to lose everything we have. I hope I’m very wrong about this outcome but if not, it might be a good time to start learning Mandarin.

Update: The Chinese company Wanda has announced it will buy AMC, the second largest theater chain in the U.S.

Update 5/30/2012 – A recent article on examiner.com reports that china condemns U.S. gun ownership as a human rights violation.

Animal Farm of America

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

The story Animal Farm reads almost like a blueprint for modern America. The Farm animals ran off the farmer who built the farm in order to have their own better farm. You have a small group leading the larger group now that tells the masses exactly what they need to hear to keep producing while the leaders become convinced that they know what’s best for everyone. The elite are convinced they are better than the masses and use the fact that they have risen to the top as proof of that. These elites , many of whom worked their way up from the bottom , are now making laws and regulations that prevent anyone else from rising from the bottom. They change the rules as they go to suit themselves and their friends. They enjoy the finer things while forcing the rest to suffer from want of basic things.
They only keep the masses educated enough to do their jobs and follow orders. They use the masses to improve their own lives and positions and when the workers are no longer productive they send them to the glue factory. They sell them the big lie that all animals are equal while some are more equal than others. The animals are starting to wake up to this fact. The pigs are trying to get all that they can and live in the illusion that they control it all. Some of the animals are quietly beginning to stock up on hickory chips. If the pigs continue to increase their totalitarian rule, the animals are going to tire of it after a while and start smoking some hams.

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