Monthly Archives: April 2015

Shopping During a Blackout: Yesterday and Today

By: Tom Chatham

There is much talk about the possibility of an EMP or CME that takes out the power grid causing chaos nationwide. Some have stated that having cash on hand is necessary to make some last minute shopping trips to top off supplies. That is a good idea but in today’s world how effective would that be?

In the early 80’s I worked in a small local grocery store after school like many kids in my generation. This store had two checkout lines of which only one was normally used except during rush hour when 5 or six people would be in line at once.

One Sunday morning the power went off for several hours. There were some people that made a usual stop at this store on Sunday mornings for their Sunday paper and to do some shopping. On this particular day they continued to come in as usual but we had no power.

My boss who was also the store owner did not want to lose the business so he improvised. He went to his office and brought back a small portable calculator that had a printer on top. He stood at the register and added up the items as the people came to the counter, they paid in cash as normal, he wrote down the total of the sale for his records, gave them a printed receipt from the calculator and they went on their way.

This was all possible for three reasons. We had a means to add up the items, the customers were able to pay in cash and the most important thing was that all of the items had a price stamped on them.

This sounds like a normal reaction to something like this but would it happen the same way today if the power went out?

Most of the people working at the registers would not be able to add up the items for sale if it were not for the computer doing all the work for them. Even if they wanted to sell items, practically all corporate owned stores use scanners to scan the prices. The days when items had the price stamped on them are long gone, at least as far as the major stores are concerned. This lack of prices would make it almost impossible for stores to sell items even if they wanted to. The cashiers have no idea what the prices are these days.

The other major factor is the ability to pay in cash. With the grid down and no POS terminals working, most people would have no way to pay for their goods. In the old days stores accepting credit cards had a manual machine they placed the card in along with a credit receipt and they would rack the press and imprint the receipt. The person would sign the slip and receive a copy of the credit transaction. The store would then send the credit receipt in to get their money. Unlike today, this antiquated system worked even if the power was off.

Today there is no manual fallback if the POS system does not work. This makes any longterm blackout a potential time bomb for any society that relies on immediate credit processing systems.

In the event of a blackout today, only small stores would likely have goods that are individually priced and a worker capable of adding the sale even if the person had some cash. These are the problems that modern society has created for itself. These are the things you need to keep in mind if you plan to shop after a blackout has occurred. You and your cash are only part of the equation. The store and its ability to sell during a blackout is on the other side of the equation.

Keeping these things in mind, it might be a good idea to scope out the local stores near you and assess their ability to sell during a blackout if the situation ever arises. Keeping some cash on hand for emergencies is always a good idea, just be aware of the limitations you may face in using that cash where you want to shop.

Advertisements

Surviving In A Collapsing Economy

By: Tom Chatham

The bulk of humanity living in the western world are used to a life of comfort and leisure. This has been made possible by the production of cheap goods and a debt based economy. When this system fails it will cause much discomfort and even death for some that are not able to adapt to the changing times.

The ways of the modern western world are to work and save during the early working years in order to retire during the less productive older years. The act of retirement is a relatively new phenomenon for the working class. Until the 20th century, the only people able to cease working and enjoy their elder years were the rich among us. This changed with mass production and massive debt creation.

In the 1930’s the poor in America were thrown a lifeline in the form of social security. This program was meant to prevent some of the hardship for those struggling to survive. This program was never meant to replace savings and provide for a comfortable retirement all by itself. Over the years the political gerrymandering of politicians seeking reelection have sold the people on the notion that social security is an all encompassing retirement plan they can expect until they die.

The expectation of this program is one of the Achilles heels of the American culture. Very few save for retirement and many can not afford to with the ever increasing prices they must pay for necessary items. Many have no hope for the future except for this underfunded and soon to be extinct Frankenstein monster. When the government can no longer provide this and other programs to people barely surviving today as it is, hardship that is unknown to most will fall upon them like a pile of bricks.

When this happens these people will have no where to turn to ensure they have the items to survive daily life. This is the socialist bomb that is about to explode and very few want to acknowledge it and prepare for the inevitable problems that will occur.

When this house of cards collapses it will require every person to have a plan to maintain some semblance of a standard of living. This will require individuals to have one of two options available to them. They will either need to have sufficient funds to care for themselves or have the ability to earn a living and produce the things they need for themselves in the aftermath of this event.

Having sufficient funds to live on will necessitate having a medium of exchange that will survive the destruction of paper wealth. This will mean wealth in the form of precious metals or other similar options that will retain their buying power over the long term.

Those that work for others and depend on a paycheck to buy the things they need will suffer when that job no longer exists and they can not find another. This is a situation that is prevalent today with upwards of 94 million people in America. These people are non-persons according to the government as none of them are considered unemployed. Ignoring this problem will not change things when the number reaches the tipping point where these people have no option but to prey on those that still have the ability to provide for their families. This is where the golden hoard becomes mobile and begins to move across the land reaping a deadly harvest.

The Deagel.com site shows the population of America dropping from 316 million in 2015 to approximately 69 million in 2025. This has been characterized as a mass exodus from the U.S. to other nations as the working and living environment becomes untenable in America and people relocate to more hospitable locations. This is one possible scenario that we may see in the future if Americans fail to plan for disruptions to the economy and have no way to take care of themselves.

In a nation like America with all of the natural resources that we have available to us, it need not come to that. The one thing that we lack today is the motivation to do something positive about our looming situation. The current inhabitants of America no longer have the moral fiber that was common in the 1930’s when we last went through something like this. That will have to change or some other factor will have to be utilized to stabilize the population in the future. A mass exodus out of the country is just such a factor.

For those that have the moral fiber to make a stand and provide for their family it will be a trying time and a dangerous one for many years. Those that have the will to work through the problems will need to have either funds or resources to get them through. Simply having several months of food and supplies will not be enough. It will take a plan that spans two or three decades that you can enact to provide the things you and your family will need.

Something this encompassing will require many resources and the know-how to use them. The amount of resources can be a stopping point for many due to lack of funds to acquire them now but that is all the more reason to make plans and work towards a goal that you can accomplish. Many of the resources you may need can likely be made from scratch that can provide you with the things you need and even something to sell. It is not that hard to build a spinning wheel and floor loom to make cloth from raw cotton or wool. It just takes time and patience. The old ways are not fast or efficient by today’s standards but they allow you to produce something from the raw materials you can obtain. This is just one example of how you need to think in the days ahead.

You need to utilize the time, funds and skills you can obtain now to construct a plan to deal with the future and overcome the problems. If you need to house your family it is now common to get a loan and be in debt for 30 years. In the future it may be necessary to provide that home with what you have on hand to build it. That may entail using a few hand tools that you have and the available natural resources around you. A home made from sod, cobblestone, adobe or logs can be utilized to provide the shelter you need. It may not be pretty or what you are used to but our forefathers utilized this type of construction as a stepping stone to better things.

When the economy as we know it fails, the only thing you can do is to return to an earlier point in time that depended on a simpler more functional system and utilize the available resources. When mechanized farming fails it may be necessary to return to less mechanized methods and cheaper alternatives to grow the food and fibers we need for survival. The thought of having to go backwards to get to the future is not pretty and will likely be difficult but sometimes that is the only way to move forward.

Surviving during a collapsing economy where systems we depend on cease to function requires individual actions to reduce the hardship that will ultimately overwhelm society and cause societal breakdown on most levels. Skills to lessen the hardships are critical to stabilization and recovery. These skills are the only way to utilize available resources to provide the necessities of society. The first things individuals strive to produce are food, shelter and clothing. These are the very basic things people need to survive over time. Later, other things such as security, medicine, communication and transportation become necessary to form a more cohesive community.

The skills to grow and store food, purify water, build shelter, make clothing, produce heat and light, produce energy to power machines, produce medicines and administer healthcare, harvest and move raw materials and communicate over long distances are skills necessary today and will continue to be vital in times of economic distress.

The skills and resources to provide these things are the foundation of a functional society. The lack of these things results in chaos and anarchy that prevents the construction of sustainable systems that a functional society needs to grow. The special skills needed to utilize available resources depends on the location of the person and the natural resources available for development. Because of this, different locations may develop along somewhat different lines but the destination is the same.

The need to know or learn these skills is necessary now while the social situation is stable enough to enable persons to plan and prepare for the hardships we will ultimately face as the economy fails due to fraud and mismanagement. Those with a lack of skills and resources will be a detracting factor on society as hardships increase and constitute an ever present danger for those with the resources to survive the times. These are the things that everyone must prepare for now while the system is still intact. There are no guarantees for tomorrow.

What’s Going On In The American Southwest?

By: Tom Chatham

The military special operations forces that are scheduled to conduct training this summer in the American southwest have many Americans up in arms. The worry is that this is training for operations against Americans in the future. That may be so but there are other possible explanations.

There are three that make the most sense.

– SOF are training for operations against patriotic Americans.
– SOF are training for operations in CONUS for a possible enemy invasion.
– SOF are training for operations against hostile groups on U.S. soil other than patriotic Americans.

There are two old sayings in the army. Train like you fight. Train what you fight. This makes it unlikely these operations are being conducted to train for overseas operations. Training to blend into U.S. cities will not help you to blend into Arab cities. To blend you must consider looks, language, clothing and local customs.

One thing to keep in mind about SOF is that these are some of the best trained forces we have. They are normally only used for high value targets or insurgent operations where they train the local fighters. That is because these men are few in number and cost a lot to train so they are not used for operations where they might get killed for dumb reasons. These men are some of the most patriotic people we have and they are not dumb. They know more than most people what is really going on in the world. Having said that, it is possible they are training to take out patriots but that is not likely. That is what DHS is training for.

The more likely options are the other two. It is possible they know the U.S. will face a threat from hostile forces on U.S. soil and are training for that contingency. If the U.S. is suddenly occupied by hostile forces who have infiltrated our borders or from sudden airborne operations, these are the forces that we would need the most to conduct guerrilla operations.

The recent revelations about gang members and potential Islamic terrorists being allowed into the U.S. by the current administration would lend credibility to the threat of infiltration. If these groups ever decided to start a war in the American SW, they would have the upper hand to some degree. Resupply across the Mexican border would make these operations sustainable. A Russian has recently stated they might supply Mexico with arms to reconquer lands taken from Mexico by the U.S. in 1848. There are also reports that Mexico has been buying a large amount of weapons from the U.S. lately. This would be retaliation for America sending arms to Ukraine. More likely they would arm the Mexican drug gangs to start trouble since they would be harder to locate and target. There have also been reports of Mexican drug gangs working with Islamic groups and receiving weapons from them.

The other scenario would involve enemy troops inserted into America being reinforced from the Mexican side of the border. If the Mexican government cannot deal with the drug gangs effectively they would not be in any position to resist a foreign power either.

The current administration may indeed be training for action against patriots since that is their anti-gun position to date. This may be their intention. The problem with that is that many in the military do not like the current administration. That makes it unlikely they could be counted on to act against Americans, at least for a large number of them. Also, I cannot see the current administration preparing to defend our country when they have left the border open.

I think the administration is going forward with the intent of going after patriots. The military may be doing the drills so as not to tip their hand as to their loyalties just yet. The military may be using the operations to prepare for the real threat. If SOF are indeed planning to go against patriots then that does not bode well for any possible guerrilla operations against the government in the future.

The Sept.15 end date suggests some connection to the predictions of economic collapse around that time period. An economic collapse would give quite a bit of cover to any invasion or hostile acts perpetrated on U.S. soil. The acts of sabotage on power sub-stations and communications in that region in the past year would suggest someone is planning to do something in the not to distant future.

There are many different factions at work in this country with many different ideas for causing disruptions in the future. Without information from deep inside these organizations it is difficult to see how things will play out in the future. One can only follow the actions on the ground and prepare for several possible scenarios that may come to pass.

At this point all we can do is watch the actions on the ground and prepare accordingly and not take anything for granted. The need for preparedness has never been so great in this country. Regardless of why the operations are happening one thing is for sure. Something very bad could happen in the future and anyone not prepared will be left helpless to the machinations of others.