Monthly Archives: July 2012

Representation Without Taxation: The Coming Tax Revolt

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

Taxation has always been a way for governments to raise money and control the population. In a truly free society, the people volunteer or donate the necessary funds to provide for the communities needs. There is no need to forcibly extract money from citizens to accomplish those goals that the citizens deem necessary. This forced extraction of wealth always leads to graft, corruption and more poverty.

When someone takes money from their own pocket and gives it to someone in need, it is a noble thing, but when someone else takes money from your pocket and gives it to those that they think are deserving, it is a despicable act that must be challenged.

There are times when people need help to get back on their feet and society has already provided the means to help these people.
The first source of help comes from family and friends. These are the people closest to you that want to see you succeed and are willing to help even if it means some personal deprivation for them.
The second source is your church or religious organization. These people see it as their moral obligation to assist their congregation when they are in need.
The third source is the charity organizations that are found nationwide. These people take pride in helping those that have been unable to get the needed help from the first two groups and they regularly seek donations from the general population to render this assistance.
These sources have in the past provided the help the average person needed to correct their situation and this gave these organizations an incredible amount of power with the population. Over the years the government at all levels have done everything possible to harness this power from these organizations for their own machinations while attempting to destroy these sources of self help and replace them with tax money. There has been a war against family, churches and charity organizations for years to usurp this power and control it for political purposes.

When someone can arbitrarily decide what you should pay, it eventually devolves into a corrupt racket that is used as force to keep people in line. Today, the working class spends almost 5 months of their time and labor every year to provide for others through enforced taxation. This is not an exercise in nobility but theft in its purist form. One segment of society is forcibly taking from another segment in order to have an easier lifestyle. At some point in the future this will end. It will end because the working class is being taxed into poverty and at some point will decide not to continue working to support others.

Many will argue that taxes are necessary to build infrastructure for the masses. In a free society, the government presents the potential need to the people with the potential cost and the people decide whether it is worth the cost they must pay. Current government operates by taxing and then deciding what to spend the collected money on, in many cases wasting it on questionable projects that provide no benefit to the masses. Much of this money goes to selected groups in the form of grants, subsidies or benefits. Almost half of the people in the U.S. pay no taxes and most of these people pay little or no property tax because they own little or nothing. To someone that pays no property tax, it makes no difference to them if the tax rate is doubled or tripled on property just as long as they continue to receive their benefits. These people do not suffer the same as property owners who must produce more just to keep what they have.

State and local governments are spending more and collecting less in taxes which is putting them in a precarious situation. They must either spend less or tax more and the voting public is in large part receiving benefits that they do not want to decrease. The only option for politicians is to raise property taxes on land owners to make up the difference. At a time when property values are dropping and should provide some relief to taxpayers, governments are raising taxes to make up the shortfall. If a land owner fails to pay their taxes the government will simply take the property and sell it for taxes and the new owner will pay the new tax rates. It makes no difference to the government who owns the land as long as they pay for the government largesse.

At the national level an even more sinister plan is taking root. When the federal government gets to the end of its rope it will add more by seizing all retirement accounts which amount to trillions of dollars. These accounts will be converted into government annuities held in U.S. Treasury bonds. If the U.S Dollar crashes, these will become worthless and the taxpayers will lose their retirement savings. There is also talk that when these annuities are paid out, those that have more than their fair share of savings will have some of their annuity redistributed to the less fortunate. For those that think this will never happen, a recess hearing was held by Senate Democrats in October 2010 to discuss this very issue.

At some point there will be a tax revolt of epic proportions and it will likely start with the farming community. Farms can generate a high dollar volume of products but most of that money is eaten away by operating expenses which can be very high. Most farmers are left with just enough to provide a modest lifestyle for their family. Many of these farmers are working land handed down to them by their family. Farming is not something you go into to get rich, it is a lifestyle choice. These family farmers can accept losing their land because they failed at farming but they will not accept losing it as a result of inflated taxes just to keep the government solvent a little while longer. When this revolt finally comes it will likely be bloody because the only thing that government will respond to is force. The takers in society have been bleeding the producers for too long and it will soon come to an end, most likely in a violent way. Those receiving the government largesse will fight to keep it and those paying for it will fight to stop it. It is bound to happen. It always does at some point. Corruption and failure is guaranteed. It is the epitaph of all corrupt governments in history.

Our forefathers made one mistake. What they should have fought for was representation without taxation. –Fletcher Knebel, historian


The Agflation Storm Is About To Strike

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

Corn and soybeans contribute to almost everything we eat and the sudden rise in the price of these items will filter down into price increases of just about everything. Corn prices are expected to get as high as $12.50 per bushel and soybeans could go to $20.00 or higher. Some commodity specialists have even suggested that soybeans could be the new silver.

Corn and soybean meal are staples in animal feed and the rising prices and drought conditions are forcing farmers and ranchers to sell off their herds for slaughter. This will cause a glut in the market over the short term and you may see lower meat prices as a result but this will only be temporary. By next year the prices of meat will rise as the supply of livestock reaches multi decade lows. Supply and demand will push prices higher as a result.

Larry Pope, chief executive of Smithfield Foods has recently given a dire warning. “Beef is simply going to be too expensive to eat. Pork is not going to be too far behind. Chicken is catching up fast.” He also stated that government regulations are going to make things even worse. Almost 40% of the U.S corn crop goes to make ethanol fuel. Pope said, “Its almost a government- mandated disaster here, which is distressing”. He warned that meat prices will rise by “significant double digits“.

It is good to be optimistic and hopeful but those feelings need to be tempered with some reality. Prices are going to go much higher in the future and for those that are already living near the edge of food insecurity, it is only smart to plan ahead and store up some food items you know you will need in the future. If you buy now and eat it later when the price is higher, that is the same as making interest on your investment and that interest is immediate and non taxable.

If you have the means to store away some extra meat products it will be worth your time and money. If you plan to keep this extra in the freezer you need to have a backup power supply for it that will last at least several days so that any power disruptions will not cause the loss of your food. For those that are considering buying a freezer to store meats in, I strongly suggest you look at propane freezers as an option. They are more expensive but will continue to operate even when the power is out and unlike using a backup power supply, you don’t need to be there to insure power is maintained. If power should go out while you are away, the propane unit will continue to operate as normal, preserving your supplies.

As stated in earlier articles, the benefit of having a propane supply will enable you to power generators, stoves and heating units as well as the refrigeration unit. A large propane tank or two can enable you to go without power from the grid for weeks or months with the proper equipment so it is definitely something to think about. For those that cannot afford to go this route it might be more economical to buy some canning equipment and can some meat from the store as the price drops in the near future. This will provide you with the meat supply you need without having to worry about refrigeration.

It is in this type of environment that you should consider having a few acres of land and some livestock to help provide for your family. Having a garden, a small flock of chickens, some geese and ducks, a breeding pair of hogs and a small field of corn to provide feed for them would go a long way to offsetting the high price of food that we are inevitably going to see on a recurring basis in the future.

One of the dangers in the near future is the fact that over 48 million people in this country depend on food assistance payments from the government. As the price of food goes up, it is unlikely that those payments will keep up with the food cost and families will find themselves getting fewer groceries every week until they find they can no longer buy enough food to prevent starvation. Even those with a weekly paycheck may soon find themselves in dire straits when confronted with higher prices. In an extreme circumstance, where food supplies are very tight, certain foods may not be available at any price.

For those that do not already have a well stocked pantry, I implore you to begin buying food staples now while you can. Even if you only have $5.00 per week to put toward staples like flour, cornmeal, beans, rice, pasta, canned vegetables and powdered milk, over the course of several weeks you can build up a supply that will act as a buffer when prices finally overtake your buying power. The warning sirens have sounded. Those that fail to heed the warnings will have no one to blame in the future but themselves.

Could The U.S. Government Dissolve Itself?

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

It is the belief in many circles that at some point in the future the U.S. government will suspend the U.S. Constitution under a declaration of Martial Law. If they do that, under what authority will they continue to rule over the U.S.

After our victory in the American Revolution, These United States formed a loose confederation and conducted their business as individual states both internally and externally. This resulted in many difficulties in every day life for the newly independent states. To better coordinate the needs of the states they consolidated some of their power into a central government that would oversee the larger issues while allowing the individual states to conduct their own business as they saw fit. The document signed by the states giving the Federal Government its powers was the U.S. Constitution. This document also provided the authority to establish a standing army and to coin money.

The interesting thing is, if the U.S. Constitution is no longer in effect for whatever reason, where would the Federal Government and the U.S. Military get the authority to do anything on American soil? Technically, the Federal Government only owns the area known as the District of Columbia. All federal laws originate with the U.S. Constitution, so a suspended U.S. Constitution means all federal laws are also null and void. With no constitution, there would be no legal authority backing the U.S. Dollar.

With no active constitution, the Federal Government and U.S. Military would be operating similar to an organized criminal element by rule of force and nothing more. Under that scenario, whoever has the most force gets to make the rules.

The moment the Feds decide to suspend the U.S. Constitution the individual states would once again become independent nations of their own and any intervention by the former Federal Government or military could be seen as an invasion by a foreign power and the states would have the right to defend themselves by any means necessary.

By suspending the U.S. Constitution, the government would be dissolving its authority to exist along with that of the U.S. Military. Once it is suspended it can only be legally reactivated by a constitutional convention of the states. Dare we hope the U.S. Government is stupid enough to do something like this?

In a situation like this, the moral and legal authority of the states should prevail but it will only happen with the support of the people. The government can only do what the people allow it to do and nothing more. The sad fact is, if this should happen most people would continue to do whatever the Federal Government says without question and that is what the Feds would be hoping. If the population were to suddenly question the power of the government, they would suddenly lose a great deal of their power over the population.

It has been said that on 9/11 COG protocol was enacted thus overriding the U.S. Constitution. A declaration of emergency is supposed to be reviewed by Congress every 6 months to decide whether to cancel the emergency declaration or extend it another 6 months. In the 11 years since 9/11, Congress has not met a single time to review this declaration which has been renewed every year by Bush and Obama alike. This may be why President Obama has been able to sidestep Congress on numerous occasions without intervention by Congress.

There are those in the Federal Government that want to do away with the constitution but remain in an authoritarian position and this is where a potential revolution could result. While many would bow to the Feds there are many who would understand the significance of the situation and prepare to fight for their rights. War is the continuation of politics by other means. When all else fails, hopefully the people of the U.S. will apply the necessary political pressure at the appropriate pressure points to resolve the issues of the day.

Consider this. If the U.S. had a national referendum and a majority of the states voted to abolish the Federal Government, would it suddenly cease to have any jurisdiction over the states and go gentle into that good night, or would they fight the citizens with everything they have to remain in power? Only an educated populace can preserve and protect the liberty we enjoy.

“The great questions of the day will be decided, not by speeches and majority votes … but by blood and iron.”
– Bismark

“ This country, with its institutions, belongs to the people who inhabit it. Whenever they shall grow weary of the existing government, they can exercise their constitutional right of amending it, or the revolutionary right to dismember or overthrow it.”
– Abraham Lincoln

May You Live In Interesting Times

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

There is an old Chinese curse that states ” May you live in interesting times “. Let’s see where we are.

The government is becoming more hostile every day and on the verge of turning into a dictatorship.

The crops are drying up in many parts of the country.

The gulf will take decades to recover from the BP oil spill.

The Federal Reserve is destroying our currency.

Our production capability and jobs are going overseas.

The U.S. is trying to pick a fight with anyone it thinks it can beat, which are mainly the little third world nations, and victory still isn’t guaranteed.

The reactors in Japan are spewing radiation all over the world and into the ocean.

The economy is in the tank and no one can find a decent job.

Almost 50 million Americans need food stamps in order to feed themselves.

You cannot get on a plane without getting molested by the government.

You cannot film a cop without getting arrested.

We need cheap energy but the government won’t let us drill.

You cannot drink raw milk but processed foods with lots of sugar and salt are almost becoming mandatory.

GMO crops are destroying our heritage seeds and causing health problems in most who eat them.

You cannot grow food in your yard without government employees destroying it.

The government wants to take away your guns.

Thousands of people are homeless at a time when homes are being destroyed just to get rid of them.

You have no free speech in certain areas.

The government can now force you to buy things you don’t want.

The sun may be preparing to initiate widespread damage to our electronic infrastructure.

Long dormant volcanoes are waking up.

Earthquakes are increasing worldwide.

Our fresh water supplies are drying up.

The government is setting up a total surveillance grid to watch you 24/7.

You are no longer safe in your own home, even from the cops.

You cannot believe anything a politician tells you, even more so than usual.

Our cities are decaying and the population is getting more violent.

The main stream media is nothing more than a propaganda organ for the government.

Our moral values have all but vanished.

Religion is under attack worldwide, especially Christianity.

It is now a crime to store food and prepare for disasters.

If you are an illegal alien or Muslim extremist you are protected by law but if you believe in defending the constitution you are a potential terrorist.

Over 50% of the population thinks the government will take care of them if a major disaster happens.

Many Americans are now living in a pre-revolutionary state of mind.

Is it getting interesting yet?

Only Hard Assets Will Save You

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American dream Lost

Those that place their faith in the government or in the paper assets they own will probably not survive financially over the next several years. Historical events are about to overtake the human race and few are prepared to handle it. Those that ignore the warning signs and pretend everything will work out as always will be left destitute and broken with no way to care for their family or themselves. For many this will be a death sentence they failed to take seriously.

When everything around you is falling apart, it is imperative that you have 5 items to get you through. Water, food, shelter, clothing and security are the only things that matter on a daily basis when civilization is failing and society is going mad. The only thing you need to worry about when civilization crumbles is how do you get to the other side where things get better?

Only those that have hard assets and know how to use them will weather the storm. Fully owned assets, most of which are portable, will give you the ability to protect your family from the devastation as it rolls across the countryside destroying everything that took decades to build. When the destruction is over, only those that were prepared will have the ability to move forward and start the rebuilding process. This will require knowledge and equipment that will reestablish production and commerce and begin the wealth creation anew.

Only hard assets are real wealth. Anything held in paper or electronic form are nothing but illusions that will soon disappear taking the hopes and dreams of civilization with them. When this happens it will be too late to redirect your resources to more productive means.

The purchase of tools and equipment are only one aspect of your hard assets. The storage and maintenance of food products and livestock are an integral part of your ability to ride out the storm. The drought conditions that are now taking hold may be just the beginning of a longer trend that will devastate the planet and cause untold suffering. It is normal to have a major crop loss from time to time but what if the trend we now see forming causes multiyear crop losses? The food supplies of the planet are not sufficient to feed everyone for very long without the replacement of annual crops.

With the global commerce we now enjoy, products go to the highest bidder. With massive food losses only those with wealth in the form of hard assets will find themselves in a position to successfully bid for food products. Those with gold and silver will be in a good position but those with the capability to produce a commodity that is in demand will be in an even better position.

The production of water, food and clothing will always be in demand and those that have those items will have the ability to make some very good deals in the future and increase their wealth substantially. The production of tools and machinery will also be valuable after a recovery begins. For those in an urban environment, the aquisition of equipment and livestock may not be feasible so the diversification into precious metals may be the best avenue for excess wealth after food and clothing supplies are satisfied.

When the final bubble bursts, all of the checks from the feds to the entitlement class will stop, creating riots nationwide as the takers seek out the dwindling resources. The nation will be plunged into a depression unlike anything imaginable. Until all of the bad debt has been washed out of the system, no real recovery will be able to commence. The problem then is the fact that we no longer have the production capability to restart a recovery. This is the problem that could see this nation mired in a third world economy for decades to come. There are no easy answers and no quick solutions to get us out of this. Only years of hard work will fix this problem. The question remains, will the people of this nation be willing to do the hard work necessary to rebuild the nation and its economy?

Off Grid Refrigeration

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The Crux Event

One of the hardest things to go without when going off grid is refrigeration. Most other operations can be replaced by manual means but keeping food cold or frozen in hot weather is a unique need in modern times. In times past the need for refrigeration was limited because most food was prepared fresh every day and very little was kept for several days due in part to the lack of mechanical cooling. The fast paced lifestyle many now live have led people to depend on frozen or refrigerated food due to the modern day work habits leaving little time for home preparation of food. In times past most women worked in the home all day, so daily preparation of food was a natural occurance. With most women working outside of the home nowadays, the fast preparation of food dominates most kitchens. Even for those that do a lot of cooking from scratch everyday, the use of frozen foods is very convenient.

The ability to raise your own meat, butcher it, and save it for later use on a moments notice has been nothing less than revolutionary in the kitchen. While freezing is not the only way to save foods, it is much easier than other methods for many foods. The biggest problem with frozen foods is the need to keep it frozen at all times. When the power goes out many people lose the contents of their freezers because of lack of electricity. Even after this happens several times most people continue to use the same means to keep their food refrigerated and never give thought to using a different method that would save them that loss and provide them with frozen food and ice no matter how long the power was off.

The use of propane refrigeration is a step above compressor driven units for several reasons. Many absorption refrigeration units can run on 12v, 120v and propane power. A refrigerator that can run on all three, such as the units found in RVs or camper trailers, can give you an edge when the power goes out. You could run it on 120v for normal operations and if the power fails you can switch over to 12v battery power or to a propane tank outside your home. Absorption units are powered by heat so as long as you have a heat source they will continue to cool. Another great thing about these units is the fact that unlike compressor units that have many moving parts that can break or wear out, an absorption unit has no moving parts in the cooling unit.

Absorption freezers use mostly propane, except for a few of the very small units, so having a propane freezer and a large tank can provide you with continuous refrigeration no matter what the weather does to the power lines. With no need for electricity, propane is a natural fit for off grid living. It can be expensive to fill the tank but the minimal amount of infrastructure you need compared to electricity can offset the expense. A bonus when using propane is the fact that you can use the same tank to power a generator, fuel a stove, heat your home, provide light and provide hot water. It is the best all around fuel source for off grid that you can get. Your propane appliances will continue to run when electrical systems may be disabled. The only problem with propane is the fact that you cannot produce it yourself.

A possible replacement for propane in a catastrophic situation would be the use of bio-gas that you can produce yourself. A digester that can produce bio-gas from livestock manure is fairly simple to build and can enable someone with livestock to produce small amounts of gas to provide fuel for refrigeration and possibly cooking. This is a sustainable solution to off grid power that requires minimal equipment.

Another alternative fuel would be wood gas. This is a good all around fuel that you can produce yourself that operates similar to propane. It can be used for many different items such as generators, lighting, refrigeration and even running an automobile. In days past, town gas was produced from coal and provided lighting and cooking gas prior to the advent of natural gas and propane. To run an absorption refrigerator on wood gas would take some experimentation to get the proper adjustments but it can provide you with a non-electric option in a long term catastrophic situation.

A different type of fuel to run an absorption refrigerator is kerosene. Some kerosene units are available today and use a 2.5 gal. tank that will run for about 10 days on a fill. They use a burner found on some types of Aladdin lamps to provide a heat source. With some experimentation it might be possible to run it on alcohol that you produce yourself. This would give you another option in a long term non-electric situation. About 100 gallons of fuel would last you about a year and kerosene will store for up to 10 years giving you plenty of time to use a large supply.

What if something happens to the power grid and electronics and they never return and you don’t have a propane refrigerator or freezer? How would you provide refrigeration even in a limited way? The answer might be an icy ball cooling unit. These units were first produced in the 1920s and are about as simple a cooling unit as you can possibly make. They are filled with ammonia and water and are charged by heating them over a small fire. The unit is removed from the fire and allowed to cool. When it cools enough for the ammonia to begin recombining with the water you place the coolant end inside a chest that contains your food. The unit will cool for about 24 hours then you repeat the process. The factory units that were sold even had a hollow space in the cooling ball that would allow you to freeze a tray of ice. These units require some labor and time every day but they can be homemade and can provide you with refrigeration when nothing else is available.

One other cooling system that operates similar to an icy ball uses Zeolite which is non toxic. Zeolite is used in the self cooling beer kegs that you can now get. A self cooling beer keg will keep 20L of beer at 41 degrees for 12 hours and can be recharged by heating it up. Water is kept in one chamber and Zeolite powder in another. When a valve is opened between them the water vapor which forms in the vacuum migrates to the Zeolite and as it gets absorbed it causes the water to cool in the other chamber. This would be a good project to make at home from scratch and is much safer than an ammonia system.

A simpler cooling device is a watertight metal container that is loaded with items to be refrigerated and lowering it into a shallow well until the bottom few inches of the container is in the well water. The water will keep the food items at the same temperature as the water which stays about 55 degrees year round.

A simple cooling device used in third world countries is the pot in a pot. The bottom few inches of a clay pot is covered with sand then a smaller clay pot is set inside the first one. The area between the two pots are filled with sand to the top. Water is poured into the sand until it is completely saturated then food is placed in the inner pot and a lid is placed on it. Evaporation will cause the inner pot to remain cooler than the outside air helping to preserve the food.

Hopefully this information will provide you with some ideas to think about if the situation prevents the use of compressor driven refrigeration in the future.

25 Must Have Items for Building A Homestead

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

When starting a self sufficient homestead, there are many things to consider. It’s not an easy thing to do especially if you are starting from scratch with few resources. The fewer resources you have the more basic your approach will have to be. You may have to start out simple such as building a home from cob, logs or rammed earth. Everything you do may end up being labor intensive but inexpensive which is the way you want it starting out. Your sweat equity will replace a big bank roll. Keeping out of debt and building up slowly will help you get ahead much faster and give you a sense of pride in what you have accomplished. To start out in the most basic way will require certain items to allow you to care for yourself. This is a list for someone starting from scratch. Your location and abilities will dictate the items that will work best for you and some substitutions may be necessary but most of these things will be required at a minimum.

1) Weapon for hunting and self defense – This is a multipurpose item that no one should be without. It can put food on the table and save your life in extreme circumstances. Several types of weapons for different circumstances would be very useful.
2) Land – In order to be self sufficient you must have land to produce the things you need. Depending on the amount and types of items you wish to produce, your acreage may be as small as ½ an acre or as large as several dozen acres with a wood lot.
3) Open pollinated seeds for vegetables and grain – In a truly self sufficient situation, the ability to produce crops year after year is essential. This will also provide you with a product you can sell or trade in the form of food or seeds. The addition of flax and cotton seed will allow you to produce raw materials for clothing as well.
4) Basic gardening tools – Items such as a shovel, hoe, rake, pick and broad fork can allow a person to plant small plots with a minimal amount of tools and expense.
5) Water filter – A good water filter will help keep your family healthy especially if your water source is above ground.
6) Hand operated grain mill – This will allow you to process your own grains into a more edible form. A good mill that can process herbs, grains and nuts will provide you with food staples and possibly even a product to sell.
7) Wood cook stove – This will provide cooking and heating capability and the ability to provide your own fuel from local sources.
8) Oil Lamps – These are the most basic lighting source you can have and the ability to make your own lamp fuel will make you truly independent.
9) Quality knives for butchering – An inexpensive set of knives may work just fine for normal kitchen preparation but for processing homegrown meat you need durable knives that can handle the stress and maintain a sharp edge.
10) Cast iron cookware – This is something that can last you a lifetime and provide you with tasty meals. It can be more cost effective over a long period compared to the lightweight cookware many now buy, especially the kind with non-stick coatings.
11) Pressure cookers for canning and cooking – Pressure cookers are necessary to can some items and also enable you to cook some meals much faster helping you to conserve fuel. It can also make some cuts of meat much more tender such as older chickens.
12) Canning jars – These would allow you to preserve some of the harvest for later use and provide you with a reusable storage medium that can last for decades. A supply of at least 10 cases of quart jars per person is a good average to start with but individual needs may vary from person to person.
13) Reusable canning lids – In a situation where it is difficult to buy replacement lids, reusable lids can provide you with the ability to can fresh foods every year for 30 or more years with a small initial purchase of lids and extra gaskets. These would also make good trading items in a serious long term situation.
14) Ethanol still – This can provide you with alcohol to drink, use as an antiseptic or as a fuel for lamps or internal combustion engines. It provides an excellent product to sell or trade.
15) Charcoal foundry – This is a useful item on a homestead and can be nothing more than a metal 5 gallon bucket with fireclay lining and a crucible that can melt a few pounds of scrap metal. It can provide you with the means to make simple tools and hardware items such as nails and hinges. This can provide you with a good product to sell or trade.
16) Sewing kit – This should include supplies to repair or construct clothing and may include a manual sewing machine and tools to sew canvas and leather. The more supplies you have the better. This can be a useful skill to sell or trade.
17) Wood cutting tools – A good ax, wood cutting saw, wedges and a splitting maul are essential for building a homestead from scratch and for providing fuel for cooking and heating. If you plan to move logs, a good chain and skidder tongs would also be very useful.
18) Basic carpenters tool kit – A good set of carpentry tools will allow you to build just about anything out of wood that you might need. A kit containing a saw, claw hammer, half hatchet, coping saw, wood chisels, tin snips, chalk line, 25’ tape measure, 300’ tape measure, level, manual drill and set of bits, brace and bits, block plane, draw plane, tri-square, miter box and saw, staple gun, utility knife and extra blades, plumb bob and string and a set of wood files will give you good capabilities.
19) Salt – This is an item that many may forget. The human body needs salt to function properly. Many of the canned foods we now buy contain lots of salt but when you process your own foods it is something you will need to add. You will need salt for cooking and preserving meats. How much you need will depend on how much preserving you do but if you are storing salt for future use you can never have too much meaning hundreds of pounds would not be overdoing it.
20) Bee hives – This is an item many may not think about but it offers many advantages to a storage plan. Honey is a good substitute for sugar and you can make it in your own back yard. It can be used for cooking recipes, as a syrup and is a good antibacterial when used on wounds. Bees wax will also provide you with material for candles.
21) Fire starting capability – Fire is something that would be difficult to do without. We use it for cooking, light and heating. Having a supply of butane lighters, matches or flint and steel would give you the ability to create fire when you need it.
22) Medical supplies – On a self sufficient homestead you may be in a location or in a situation where you don’t have access to a doctor or professional help. In the event you have a mishap you will need the ability to care for yourself or a family member. Your medical supplies will reflect your ability and will increase over time with your knowledge but there are some basic items you should start with. Iodine, band aids, roll gauze, gauze pads, tape, trauma pads, blood stopper, antibiotic ointment, ace bandage, burn cream, splint, tourniquet, aspirin, calamine lotion, butterfly closures, cotton balls, oil of cloves, emergency dental kit, EMT shears, thermometer, razor blades, alcohol pads, alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, Epson salts. Honey, apple cider vinegar and garlic provide healing capabilities for many illnesses and are good to keep around the house also.
23) Aluminum screen wire – This is an item that is difficult if not impossible for a homesteader to make himself. It can be used primarily for screens in the home to allow for airflow while keeping out bugs. It can also be used for sifting and constructing faraday cages.
24) Good reference library – This is something everyone should have regardless of where they live. Knowledge is the first step to doing anything. Books that detail emergency medical procedures, growing plants, veterinary skills, cooking, herbal remedies, construction techniques using locally available materials, making cloth and clothing, butchering and preserving meat and dozens of other titles you may determine useful give you a distinct edge when you are thrown back on your own resources.
25) A good attitude and lots of determination – No matter how well you are prepared, things don’t always go as planned. During a long term situation you will be faced with many obstacles on a daily basis. The only way to prevail is to maintain a positive attitude and never give up. When something doesn’t work don’t get upset and quit, you must be able to take a deep breath and try something else.

Electronic Armageddon: The Carrington Event Then and Now

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The Crux Event

In 1859, an event unlike anything experienced before by modern man, occurred. A massive Coronal Mass Ejection occurred on the sun sending vast quantities of solar particles on a collision course with Earth. The result of this collision caused severe disruptions with the only major electrical equipment then in existence, the telegraph system. Magnetic observatories recorded disturbances in the Earths magnetic field that were literally off the scale.

Auroras were seen as far south as the Caribbean, gold miners in the Rocky Mountains were awakened by a light so bright they thought it was morning and those in the northeast could read news papers by the light.

Telegraph systems throughout Europe and North America failed and in some cases shocked telegraph operators. Telegraph lines threw sparks, paper in some telegraph offices caught fire and some lines continued to send messages even after the battery power had been removed from the line. The electrical effects were severe but the lack of electrical devices in use at this time allowed society to continue as normal and this disturbance was viewed as nothing more than a curiosity.

Scientists believe events of this size can occur every 500 years and events of a lesser but still destructive magnitude can happen several times per century. Scientists are getting better at predicting space weather but mother nature often times ignores our best forecasting and throws us a curve.

What would happen if a storm of this magnitude were to strike the Earth today? The biggest worry we have is the power grid. Satellites would be affected preventing most communications and financial transactions but if the grid goes down due to transformer blowouts, it could be a long time before we get it back up. The larger transformers 500+ KV in size cost millions of dollars and take 1 to 3 years to get even in normal times. Very few of these are kept in supply and the loss of dozens or hundreds at one time could be a disaster as only a small number are made every year and none are currently made in the U.S.

If many of these large transformers went down, it would take down our high tech society with it. Many of our cars and computers and appliances would probably still work, but how would we run them without power? How would we pump water to cities and pump fuel so trucks and trains could deliver food and medicine? How would our medical system operate without the high tech gadgets we depend on to keep people alive and diagnose them? How would we communicate and conduct financial business without our computers? Yes, we have backup generators but how long will they last before they run out of fuel that we can no longer process, pump and deliver?

This is the nightmare scenario we need to address before it happens. Currently we can detect CMEs about 20 hours before they reach Earth. The current plan is to notify power companies of the danger so they can shut down parts of the grid and protect the transformers before they get burnt out. It’s a plan but I feel the need to ask, is this really the best plan we can come up with? What happens if mother nature throws us a curve and we don’t have time to power down the transformers? A report from the EMP commission stated that it would cost about $60 to $100 million to protect the 300 largest transformers that power the grid and an additional $400 to $600 million to protect an additional 3,000 transformers but our leaders don’t think that would be the best use for our money. A NASA report indicates that within 90 seconds of a Carrington Event reaching Earth, the 300 largest transformers in the U.S. would go down and recovery would take 4 to 10 years and some estimates place the death toll in the tens of millions of people.

If the grid goes down civilized society as it is will disintegrate rapidly due to the lax moral standards we now have as a society. The pictures of Japanese citizens patiently waiting in line to get supplies after the 2011 tsunami is a stark difference from what you could expect in the U.S. As with many potential problems, if the government would only discuss it in public and offer the public some simple preparedness tips and discuss how we as a nation would repair the damage, the public knowledge would help mitigate the damage and aid in recovery operations. Unfortunately, that’s not how we do things in the 21st century.

So how do we know how bad it was in 1859 if we didn’t have electronic devices back then to measure it?

To be maximally geoeffective , ie: to drive a magnetic storm, a CME must
(1) be launched from near the center of the sun onto a trajectory that will cause it to impact Earths magnetic field,
(2) be fast (1000 km/sec + ) and massive, thus producing large kenetic energy and
(3) have a strong magnetic field where orientation is opposite that of Earth.

Solar Energetic Particle events dominated by shock-accelerated particles traveling near the speed of light are channeled along geomagnetic field lines into the upper atmosphere above the poles where they can initiate ozone depleting chemistry in the middle atmosphere. Nitrates produced by SEP bombardment settle out of the atmosphere within weeks and are preserved in polar ice, allowing the magnitude of the SEP to be estimated many years later. This is how we can estimate the magnitude of the Carrington Event and apply it to modern technology.

Some scientists fear that the solar maximum that will peak in 2013 will spawn another CME similar to the Carrington Event causing catastrophic results on Earth. The recent uptick in solar storms may give some credence to our newfound concerns. The problem with a solar event as opposed to a manmade event is the possibility that we could be hit multiple times over the course of months before it diminishes. This could make recovery efforts many times more difficult. It is possible for individuals to prepare for an event like this to limit the hardships but this is something that must be done well in advance. The problem is that the vast majority will not prepare and they will cause this disaster to become a catastrophe if it happens. Those that are not prepared to live through a situation like this face a life threatening situation. Those that are prepared, face the danger posed by the unprepared.

The preparations that you make for this situation are similar to many other disasters and will require similar items and planning. For someone just starting out, a review of two previous articles, Your Plan is The Primary Prep on 21 May and Prepping for the Financially Challenged on 6 March, will give you some things to consider. One thing everyone needs to keep in mind is that an event of this magnitude will necessitate a plan that spans multiple years in order to get through it. As I always stress, knowledge is the most important thing to have in a disaster and everyone needs to develop a plan that will work best for them. If the grid goes down besides not being able to travel or communicate, banking records could be frozen or destroyed taking your electronic money along with it. In this situation, the only money you may have access to is what you have on hand in cash and even then you may be limited as to what you will be able to buy. The only safe position is to already have supplies on hand. For this type of disaster, there is no such thing as being prepared too early or having too many supplies.

One final item that you need to plan for is the potential for a nuclear incident following a grid down event. The loss of power to maintain coolant can result in a meltdown of reactor fuel and the more serious problem of spent fuel coolant ponds going dry igniting radioactive fires. In this situation you have two choices, evacuate or shelter in place. Evacuation would be difficult at best and sheltering in place would present its own problems. An uncontrolled radioactive fire can spew radiation for decades so each person would need to evaluate the hazard to their location and plan accordingly. A modern day Carrington Event would be nothing short of Armageddon for the people of this planet.

The Illness That Consumes America

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

It has destroyed families and caused the downfall of many businesses. It has crept into our bedrooms, into our doctors offices, and into our schools. It has killed children and soldiers alike. It waits in dark alleys for any hapless victim that chances to pass by unaware of the danger. It crawls into our souls and takes root in our mind, sending rational thought to oblivion and growing into a cankerous sore that eats away at our humanity.

It puts its mark on us in innumerable ways and destroys our happiness at every turn. No one is immune to it. Only those that make the utmost effort are able to keep it at bay. It stalks us in our every waking moment and seeks the total and irrevocable destruction of everything we hold dear. Its goal is to tear families apart, destroy hope and eviscerate any possible future that produces prosperity. It seeks to erase all traces of our individuality and clone everyone into a hoard of thoughtless trolls.

This illness is insidious in its nature and once it finds a victim, it is difficult to root out and destroy without killing the victim in the process. It is a communicable disease that can infect a person who is miles away from the host. It makes the new host feel good while visiting destruction on those around them. It gives false hope and aspirations to those it touches. It grows into a sense of need and entitlement and offers the host a sense that they can do no wrong and they are always right.

This illness has many names and symptoms but it can always be summed up in one word, Evil. It sometimes appears as abortion, graft, murder, theft, abuse, embezzlement, rape, lies, totalitarianism, materialism or envy. It hides behind words like fairness, equality and necessity. This illness has only one goal and that is to destroy. It consumes goodness and understanding and cooperation and produces a waste product of hopelessness, misery, death and despair that requires an ever increasing supply of fuel. This disease only exists to destroy until there is nothing left to consume and then it dies out.

The only cure for this insatiable bug is goodness in its purest form. It is exemplified in phrases such as turn the other cheek, do unto others and love thy neighbor but sometimes these cures are not enough. When the illness that is evil is deeply embedded and runs rampant through a majority of the population the only cure is another form of evil that is held on a leash by the hand of goodness. It is the type of steel textured cure that revolutions are forged from.

Evil prevails when good men fail to act. Good men are reluctant to unleash the most potent cure at their disposal because they know the deadly toll it will take before the illness is cured. Good men try to cure the disease with the least destructive cure they can but when all else fails they will invoke their last line of defense. For America, the good men have tried most of the cures at their disposal and only a few are left and very little time remains to regain our moral health. The most potent cure will be used if things continue as they are but the question is, will the cure come in time? Our moral health can only be regained when the evil that infects America is removed in total. It may not be long before the good men of conscience utilize that final cure of last resort and announce its deployment. And make no mistake, this will be a battle of good versus evil, and only one will survive to rule America.

The West Line and Americas Fading Glory

By: Tom Chatham – Author of The American Dream Lost

The west line is a theory that the commercial shipping center of the world has slowly moved westward over the course of centuries. This line, by chance or some hidden economic force, has slowly moved for 5,000 years. It started in Lebanon about 3,000 BC, moving in small steps to Rhodes, Crete, the Greek mainland, Rome and Northern Italy. About 1,000 years ago a large step brought NW Europe to the forefront making Antwerp/Amsterdam, London and the Eastern Coast of North America the leading centers of trade. In the 20th century a giant step moved the center of trade into the Pacific and Japan, South Korea and China became the new centers of growth and commercial shipping.

Each step along the west line became a struggle as the old centers declined and the new centers emerged. This long term perspective on the world of maritime trade demonstrates the dynamics of the ever changing environment that we live in. It is a continuing process that civilizations must adapt to in order to accept their new place in international commerce.

It is never easy for a person or a country to suddenly realize they are no longer the best at what they do or the leader of an industry. The U.S. set new standards in industry and commerce and attained goals never before thought possible. Just as an aged person soon realizes they have reached their moment of retirement, so to must a nation realize they have moved into their fall and winter seasons.

The U.S. moved into its’ fall season in the later 20th century and now we are approaching our winter season. It is not necessarily the end but it will require Americans to accept their new reality and adapt to their changing world. If the west line is any indicator then we must accept the fact that we will not regain our previous world status again for many centuries. We must adapt as others before us have adapted and learn how to make the best of our situation.

In the coming decades India seems to be the next stop for the west line. It appears to be a natural function that we are helpless to stop. It is progress. As countries in the Mediterranean and Europe have adapted to their smaller, slower economies and loss of trade, so must the U.S. adapt. We need to discover a new balance that will work for us that we can live with. The west line is perhaps a lesson from nature to teach nations humility. We have had our day in the sun, now it is our time to learn to live in the shade of others. That may not set well with many but that is how the west line works.