Category Archives: Emergency Preparedness

Running on empty

I woke up this morning (8/3/2022) and decided to edit out all the preparedness portion of this post and stick to the politics.

This will be a politics blog post about gas prices. First, I apologize for making inexcusable factual errors about the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 and Build Back Better Act. Somehow, I forgot key details that Build Back Better got stalled in the Senate and that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 didn’t pass last week – Senator Manchin, who tanked the Build Back Better legislation, last week decided to support the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022. I apologize for getting my facts wrong and I will try to provide more links to the sources I use. The reality though is the Build Back Better Act was really the Great Reset in America push and the Inflation Reduction Act is a scaled back version of the Build Back Better Act.

Gas prices at the pump have been steadily dropping in America. Here’s a President Biden tweet from this morning and my quote retweet:

The link I added was to the WH fact sheet, released July 26, 2022. It’s become common practice for this administration to stealth edit documents, so anything they release to the public could get the “recession” treatment of being “redefined” or stealth edited without warning.

Here’s the second paragraph:

“The Administration is also announcing steps to repurchase oil for the SPR in future years, likely after FY2023, to help stabilize the market and encourage near-term supply. These actions will enable the Administration to continue the work of shoring up supply and bringing prices down.”

The third paragraph:

“Since the President authorized the historic release of one million barrels per day from the SPR earlier this spring, the Department of Energy has already sold more than 125 million barrels into the market, including nearly 70 million barrels that have already been delivered to purchasers and additional barrels planned to be delivered to customers in the weeks and months to come.”

The administration is releasing one million barrels per day, but the repurchase will “likely” be after 2023. This seems like a very poorly thought out and short-sighted plan.

So, the question to ask is why wouldn’t the Biden administration make resupplying the Strategic Petroleum Reserve quickly a top priority?

The White House explanation in that fact sheet explains a change of locking in a fixed price at the time of the contract of that oil as opposed to the current policy of the price paid being determined at the time of delivery being worked out.

The Biden administration is recklessly depleting the SPR at an unprecedented rate and level of over a million barrels a day and one can only wonder when they intend to stop.

While depleting the SPR with no resupply plan in place, the current WH plan is to stop the releases in October, according to this Blomberg piece, “The US Is Depleting Its Strategic Petroleum Reserve Faster Than It Looks,” from June 17, 2022 :

“If Washington sticks to its current pace, the reserve will shrink to a 40-year low of 358 million barrels by the end of October, when the releases are due to stop. A year ago, the SPR, located in four caverns in Texas and Louisiana, contained 621 million barrels. As the oil market looks today, it’s difficult to see how Washington can halt sales in October. Removing that additional supply would mean commercial inventories quickly deplete, putting upward pressure on oil prices.”

In the Bloomberg article, there’s an explanation of the two types of crude oil, medium-sour and light-sweet, and how most of the oil released so far has been medium-sour, which is what US refiners prefer, so it’s not just a matter of straight numbers of barrels in the SPR, it’s how many barrels of medium-sour crude are left, that will make it difficult for the Biden WH to continue to release oil from the SPR after October. That’s why President Biden made that trip to Saudi Arabia in July to try to work out an oil deal.

In a July 16, 2022, Reuters piece, Biden ends trip with U.S.-Saudi relations on the mend but few other wins, all the way down at paragraph 10, after going through all the media hype about the Biden fist bump with MBS, the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, who is alleged to have ordered the murder of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi:

“Biden came to Saudi Arabia hoping to convince the OPEC heavyweight to boost oil production, but the kingdom held firm on its strategy that it must operate within the framework of the OPEC+ alliance, which includes Russia, and not act unilaterally.”

The oil was the main reason for the trip, but Reuters gets to that at paragraph 10.

The news media in America, across the spectrum, like to divert attention to drama, and often the details are skipped in videos and TV news, but buried way down in print news articles. The news media know most people don’t read through news articles and as more and more print newspapers die and fewer and fewer people bother to read online news article, who knows, we may end up with news told in short videos or just some quick photos, with no deeper context.

Before I end this post, since this post is about Biden oil policy, it’s important to ask more questions about things you hear politicians say and new policies and legislation they propose. The Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is a top-tier piece of legislation Democrats and the Biden administration want to ram through quickly, before the November elections. The soaring price of oil was high on the minds of most Americans, who have been feeling the pinch at the gas pump. The problem is this act has nothing to do with reducing inflation. It’s about speeding up the green-energy transition, even though the infrastructure isn’t in place to support a green-energy transition.

An August 1, 2022 Forbes article, Will The $670 Billion Inflation Reduction Act Cut Soaring Costs?:

According to the Penn Wharton Budget Model (PWBM) there’s low confidence that the legislation will have any impact on inflation. PWBM is a nonpartisan, research-based organization at the University of Pennsylvania that creates economic analysis of public policy’s fiscal impact.”

The Inflation Reduction Act has $80 billion in spending for the IRS. At paragraph 8, in this Marketwatch article selling the Dem plan, The Inflation Reduction Act would send $80 billion to the IRS, but some tax experts wonder if it’s enough to help the backlogged agency, I found this line:

“More than half of the $80 billion will fund more audits and staff for tax code enforcement aimed at the well-off at a time when audit rates have been dropping over the years thanks to shrinking staff.”

In this July 28, 2022 Bloomberg piece, Biden Poised to Get Win on IRS Funding in Reconciliation Package, here’s this:

“The bill also includes hiring flexibility for the IRS, a nod to the agency’s recruiting challenges. It would allow the IRS to using an expedited hiring process, as well as higher rates of pay for a limited number of employees. The administration estimated last year that an $80 billion IRS funding increase could allow the agency to hire about 87,000 additional employees over a decade, doubling the size of its workforce.”

So, let’s add this together and keep in mind that the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 is really about speeding up the green energy transformation (the Great Reset in America project), then add together over half of the money slotted for the IRS will fund more audits and that the IRS will be able to double its workforce over a decade, hiring about 87,000 new employees.

Despite the smokescreen of IRS woe-is-me stories, I think carbon footprint laws, where individuals and businesses are taxed on their consumption of energy, are headed our way and this large increase in funding, doubling the number of IRS personnel, funding more audits and staff for tax code enforcement, are for the green transition. They’re investing all of this effort to fund green-energy, while kicking the can down the road on replenishing the Strategic Petroleum Reserve…

Priorities?

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Cats and conspiracies…

The economy is tanking, inflation is soaring and here’s a big CNN politics story today:

“As presidential cat, Willow Biden has privileges”

I kid you not.

Well, where to begin, first off, I’m going to try to shift away from commenting on social media content creators, because frankly, any criticisms are deemed “trolling” and from what I’ve seen across the board online, from professional journalists, politicians, and individual content creators, most people take any criticism as trolling and get up in arms. I figure if you walk into the public arena and post content, then if you face criticism, that’s part of entering the arena of public commentary. I don’t regret using that prepper channel as an example, because frankly talking about “be creative” in thinking about ways to defend your property and using the example of Ukrainian farmers poisoning cherries deserves criticism. This is America and we should be trying to find ways to pull our country together and help each other, since our inept government certainly won’t.

A frequent commenter on my blog mentioned that with how many right-wing people do get censored and have videos deleted, he found it interesting that video wasn’t banned. He wondered if that site was a law enforcement set-up, similar to what happened with the Gov. Whitmer kidnapping plot. I have no idea, but I will leave it at, if you’re giving advice to Americans on how to protect themselves and you’re talking about poisoning people as a creative example – I will never listen to your advice again. Period. I did check this morning to see if that video was still up and it is, but I won’t be clicking on that channel again. I think it’s a safe bet that federal law enforcement has some presence in the YouTube prepper community. And no one should ever consider poisoning people as a “creative” home defense idea. Seriously, this is insanity!

Among right-wing America there’s been a sea change with how reactionary many of them have become and I suspect a lot of it has to do with social media and the right-wing media space, selling paranoia and amplifying one conspiracy theory after another. Trump latched onto that and sold it too. This isn’t something new. I remember the Jade Helm conspiracy theories over a military training exercise in 2015. Another bizarre incident was there was an online generated confrontation in a TX town several years ago, where two groups of people showed up fighting mad at the other side, but the information spread online was all made up. (likely a hostile foreign information operation.) It was carried out sort of like scammers calling to tell you to send them money, to avoid the IRS coming after them, except they conned people with differing views into showing up to protest, pitting them against each other.

The belief that the government is trying to destroy the food supply is pretty widespread among the online right-wing sphere. It’s based on the belief that the Biden administration and Democrats are evil and want to destroy us. It jumped into high gear with a rash of food facility fires and the belief that there are just too many fires, so of course the only explanation is “they’re trying to destroy the food supply.” Of course, since the economic chaos in 2020, many businesses don’t have enough staff or have hired inexperienced staff and many types of food processing facilities are fraught with hazardous conditions, including fire hazards.

Same goes for the thousands of cattle dying in Kansas recently in the heat wave. The online right-wing buzz is the evil “they” killed the cattle… “trying to destroy our food supply,” again. Here’s a 2017 story from weather.com and I don’t recall right-wing online hysteria about this happening: “California Heat Wave Kills Thousands of Cattle and Overwhelms Dairy Industry.” Large numbers of cattle dying in heat waves isn’t something new. That 2017 report estimated 4,000-6,000 cattle died in that heat wave. It took me less than a minute to find information on other incidents of large numbers of cattle dying in heat waves, but I guess it’s easier to get online and ramble on and on spreading conspiracy theories that it must be an evil government plot rather than taking less than a minute to do a bit of checking into the subject.

Where I suspect the real government overreaches are going to occur is in trying to react to the escalating economic and food shortage crises, because the mass panic will start, chaos will escalate and the Biden administration has no federal plans and most states aren’t prepared. Democrats have moved to prodding big corporations to take actions to circumvent Republican resistance and also to shift blame, which we saw during the pandemic. It’s easier to say private corporations can set their own rules and stores have routinely placed limits on some purchases, like sales items. So, I expect more stores to start limiting amounts of various items customers can purchase as shortages worsen and for a lot of “data-sharing” efforts between big tech, big corporations and the federal government to monitor individual Americans purchases. Tracking Americans will move into high-gear is my guess. Now, that prospect I do find ominous, but then again I find so much of data-collection already taking place creepy and invasive.

Yesterday, I saw a news item about the Biden administration had been mulling sending Americans gas rebate cards to help ease their pain at the gas pumps, but that it’s unlikely to happen. CNN played words games in their report. Here’s paragraph 3:

“However, this is unlikely to happen in part because it would be difficult to administer and there would be no way to ensure the cards are only used for gas, the official said. Moreover, Congress would need to approve funding for such an emergency move and that would be challenging.”

The other part which was reported elsewhere was there is a chip shortage, so producing rebate cards is an even bigger problem than Congress. Today CNN Politics is reporting about Willow, the Biden’s cat… Priorities in their news reporting at CNN are quite something.

I will get to writing about my quotes notebook, but I’m going to take a break from blogging this weekend .

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A few afterthoughts, as usual

Update: I had to deal with a mess of cherry tomatoes and decided to try fermenting them – got that done and now, as usual some afterthoughts. My previous blog post is intended, not to pick on the prepper channel I mentioned, but to point out something for the former military guys to think about. What happens if things do get more chaotic, as is likely if as radical Dems have promised, a Summer of Rage, and if the continuing efforts to hunt down “white supremacists” and undesirables on the right continues? It’s a long road to 2024. This isn’t about picking on this particular prepper channel, but I’m pointing out the reality of the situation of relying on liberal-owned social media platforms for building both your own platform and even bigger than that a community.

If anyone was paying attention to how many people on the right got silenced for Covid “misinformation,” if they disagreed with the politicized claptrap coming from the “experts,” well, this situation is going to intensify. I, along with other way more prominent people, like Sen. Cotton, questioned the origins of the virus and among the liberal crowd on Twitter and some NeverTrump folks, you’d have thought a crime was committed to even raise the question. There’s a full-blown effort underway to silence people on the right. I pay for my small space online here and consider myself more a voice in the wilderness. And I will say what I think, as long as I have this space. YouTube has all sorts of rules and even just randomly removes videos. This has happened to people like Bret Weinstein and there was a full-blown effort to silence Dr. Robert Malone, not just preppers and people on the right.

Anyone old enough to remember the 90s, should be aware of how some right-wing terrorist acts led to the liberal media, the Clinton administration and the FBI to insist there were right-wing militias behind every tree. That liberal political and media culture still dominates media in America. When the alt-right” liberal media hysteria began, it coincided with a massive effort to paint Trump as some evil authoritarian. That effort continues to this day and will intensify, but it’s not just Trump who will be targeted – it’s anyone who gets in the way of the liberal messaging efforts. Conservative and right-wing people who use social media platforms should never forget they’re operating on a medium owned and controlled by liberals who hate them. That’s a glaring strategic vulnerability, but also the larger point is should we all just accept America is doomed and sit around preparing for surviving the collapse? I refuse to accept that mind-set.

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A viewpoint I completely reject

I’ve seen numerous homesteaders and preppers mention this channel, Pinball Perparedness, and give him rave reviews, but let’s just say I find so much of the former military peeps’ advice totally off-base and counter-productive toward moving America away from civil disorder and chaos. They take military strategy and tactics from other conflicts and try to apply it to a possible SHTF in America. Sorry, the first people to be silenced and obliterated from the popular social media public spaces will be preppers and homesteaders who offer advice like this:

The interesting thing about the online preppers really into guns, ammo and blabbing about civil war and SHTF is they have built their online forums using platforms owned and run by liberals. In fact, I suspect many of them rely on the income generated from their online social media influencing efforts to survive. That’s the most glaring strategic mistake ever – to rely on people who despise you and your views, to run your online business. Trump made this glaring mistake too – he relied on Twitter and facebook, platforms run by people who hated him and wanted him destroyed, then he had no plan for when they actually did ban him. It took over a year for Trump to get back on social media – Truth Social. If you think the liberal elites are out to silence you, then building your communications capability using their platforms is a huge risk.

Why on earth would anyone be talking about poisoning people, as something to think about? I’ve watched several of this man’s videos and I don’t agree with most of his military takes, but that happens a lot when I listen to men talk about military strategy and tactics – I take apart their plans and look at each part, then I think about what they say their goal is – we can call it a “mission,” but I prefer to think in terms of ends, ways and means.

First, America isn’t Ukraine, which was invaded by a foreign army and we certainly aren’t Iraq, where American strategic planning failures for the follow-on operations, after toppling Saddam Hussein, led to a full-blown insurgency developing. Our strategic planners chose to ignore the very real cultural divides between the West and the Muslim world. America had operated trying to maintain a small footprint in the Muslim world for many years, because of this cultural clash. They decided to embrace what I call catchphrase strategy, buying into slogans rather than sound strategic thinking. We were sold a “global war on terror” and “building democracy” in places, where none of the ingredients to building a functional democracy were present. Then when our military was facing a real SHTF situation dealing with the Islamic State, we had top generals wanting to turn the entire US military into embracing COIN, when US policy failures created the situation for that insurgency to develop and grow.

Second, rather than plan for everything falling apart, I prefer to devote my energies on finding ways to pull Americans together. I refuse to spend one bit of my energy planning for civil war – ZERO. I will devote every ounce of my energy toward finding ways to avert civil disorder, lawlessness, and God forbid, civil war. I will work as hard as I can to help as many people as I can and to try to pull Americans toward being kind to each other and being messengers of hope and offering a helping hand.

We are still the United States of America, even though most of us see the disturbing divides that have deepened due to the 24/7 spin information war blowing hot air onto every little spark of discord (real and imagined), as one incident after another goes viral and spreads across social media and news media.

Like I wrote in 2015 – “Brilliant geopolitics experts, almost to a man, say “that’s the way it’s always been  and I have seen nothing in history to indicate  it can ever change.” Of course, if you accept it can’t change, very few people will even bother trying to change it.” Sorry, no disrespect intended toward this man’s service or expertise, but I reject this way of thinking completely, because that’s why nothing ever changes.

I’m not a feminist and reject modern feminism as a leftist ideology meant to undermine and erode western democracies, but in the real world men and women think very differently. I prefer to use military strategic concepts, not guns and violence, toward avoiding a collapse of the system (civil war or anarchy). I believe we should be investing more energy into the oath we swore – to protect and defend The Constitution, rather than already giving up on America, as past the point of no return.

And for the record, I pay for my blog at WordPress and I have never monetized my blog. I have planned for years what happens if (when) efforts are made to silence me – long before Trump was even in the American political arena, because I lived through an effort in 1998.

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A short update to my last post

This morning I added this paragraph to my last post, because I wasn’t sure the point about leadership I was trying to make was clear:

“Each person trying hard to prepare, help others, and sharing useful preparedness information can be a leader too. We all can step forward and try to help and guide those who have no idea how to go about working on emergency preparedness.”

I’m very much a contrarian, not good at “going along to get along’ and I can ruffle people’s feathers a lot, so I’m often left thinking, later, like with my after-rant post the other day, “Perhaps, I could have toned that down or chosen my words better or explained what I meant better.” However there are dozens upon dozens of people, especially online who are great at public speaking, great at putting together interesting and useful how-to videos and conveying information and yes, there are people all over America, in every community like this. Each of those people could choose to be a leader (many already are doing just that) in helping maintain calm, order and help others learn how to be better prepared and learn important skills. These people could be leaders and small beacons of hope, within their own family, community and even online as this economic and food crisis worsens.

The truth though is everyone at some point has a leadership role in life, like every parent has a duty to teach, guide and lead within their family. When I mention my late husband, I’m not trying to make him sound perfect, only trying to share useful leadership skills he taught me, even though I prefer not to be the leader in a group. In fact, I have always preferred to work in small groups with people committed to the same mission or goal that I am committed to. I like working with like-minded people who get stuff done and I get very frustrated and impatient with lazy people on the team I’m on, people who brag constantly and produce little, or the person who creates unnecessary drama and conflict within the group. I hate “drama” and therefore, this is the truth, I have always preferred to work in a group of men rather than in groups of women (boy, that’s a controversial thing to say, but that’s how I feel). That said, nowadays with all the gender stuff that’s gone on for years, I’ve noticed so many young men who are into being drama queens too and plenty of young women, who have to wear the pants in their family, because they’re raising kids alone or have some deadbeat man in their life, so there is that.

Let’s just leave it at, I prefer to set a goal and then focus on getting it done. We can all work towards being more productive and more proactive in our lives, rather than waiting for someone else to do for us. All that “the sky is falling” drama that spreads like wildfire on social media isn’t going to help anyone – we need more people who can stay calm, offer practical and actionable information, and who can spread a bit of hope.

There’s lots of bad news and more bad things happening than I can keep track of with this growing global economic and food crisis and that’s the important thing to remember – it is global. No country can escape all the fall-out from these crises, even America. There’s also fall-out from the war in Ukraine and climate issues, like drought affecting this crisis. Of course, I’d argue President Biden’s actions in regards to fossil fuel are making things much worse, but truly there is no magic bullet – everyone in the world is going to be impacted. Wasting a lot of energy every day looking for a scapegoat for all the serious problems is a waste of time. Each of us can look around our homes or in the mirror and see a whole lot of areas for improvement. I like to put my energy toward changing the things I can control.

People already working on homesteading, emergency preparedness and frugal-living are already taking big steps toward being more self-reliant and they’ve got important lessons they’ve learned that they can share with others. There will be disagreements about which way to do this or that is the best way, but at this point taking any steps toward growing some of your own food, learning more skills, working on stocking up food and emergency supplies, building some community spirit is better than doing nothing.

Most of all we should all live in today, not in fear of some future catastrophes. The little daily joys are what life’s all about.

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Some after-rant thoughts

As usual after a rant, I think I should have clarified a bit more. I am not trying to diss the preppers who are giving constant shortage updates or videos of empty shelves, it’s just that for this type of effort to be effective at providing useful information requires a more organized local networking effort with it, I think. The one guy, who is doing “boots on the ground” reports is getting bombarded with emails, videos and information, that will be unsustainable on a larger volume level or a long-term effort. This is exactly what happens whenever the federal government tries to start some national hotline response. It’s the problem of few people at the national level trying to respond to thousands of people and provide them localized and personalized information. There are almost always noble intentions, but it becomes unsustainable at a national level or if it’s one person trying to sift through a massive amount of information that he or she is receiving.

I get it that many people on the right are defensive and still trying to prove there are really shortages and that inflation is a serious problem, when the White House is still lying about the economic disaster. Here’s a Fox News report with Bret Baier citing that Americans are paying $460 more a month than a year ago for goods and services:

This type of “boots on the ground” shortage information is something that can change within hours as stores receive and unload trucks or stock shelves and while the major grocery chain in-stock computer systems with their online shopping are riddled with problems, it’s still more reliable than random people reporting shortage problems at stores or video of empty shelves that someone sent in. That information becomes dated quickly.

Even the facebook local efforts and community bulletin board stuff I’ve seen often gets to be too much unverified information and comments to sift through. I can usually find the information I need faster just doing some searching on my own or making a few phone calls rather than reading through hundreds of comments.

This overload happens in all sorts of information-gathering and information-distribution efforts, in all sorts of organizations and situations and it often requires some filtering and verification processes to get to verifiable, useable and actionable information.

I didn’t intend to bash the guy trying to help share information. Oddly enough, I’ve put a lot of thought into this information “void” situation pondering when the spin information war finally reaches critical mass for at least the past 15 years and I’ve read a lot of stuff about information warfare, information operations and all sorts of topics pertaining to national emergencies.

Unfortunately, I think we’re close to that critical mass point with the information “void.” One of my main concerns was wondering how will it be possible to unite enough Americans and keep them working together in a crisis where all the information systems people rely on – the news, social media, elected leaders, our institutions are thoroughly corrupted and people don’t know who or what information they can trust and millions of Americans are conditioned to “reacting” instantly to things they see or hear on social media and flying into hysterical reactions. We are very close to this crisis point, as we’re facing an epic economic and food shortage crisis barreling toward us.

Along with a catastrophic economic crisis headed our way, this information “void” problem could leave us unable to unite and work together on anything. That’s been something I’ve thought about for years, long before Trump, red hats, Biden’s America, the pandemic or this economic crisis.

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A sensible food shortage prepper list

Here’s a short video by Sensible Prepper with 15 things you can do to prepare for food shortages:

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Those who live in ivory towers

Sorry, this turned into a long rant, but here it is. I watched this video this morning, after working in my container garden a couple hours. I’ve watched Doug and Stacy videos for quite a while, even though I have no desire to live off-grid and I live in a residential area with a backyard space to garden. I learn a lot from many of the online homesteaders, just like I learn a lot from online gardeners, preppers, frugal-living people, and needleworkers. Doug was trying to avoid the politics in this video and urging people to get up and start doing now, before the economic crisis worsens. He’s absolutely right. Here’s the video and then I’m going to make some comments about the politics:

In regards to the politics, while certainly I believe the Biden administration policies have been disastrous for the American economy and I also have believed since the Obama years, that there’s a multi-faceted culture war raging that encompasses not only hot button issues like race and gender politics, but also the climate change activism and world-wide economic changes. Among the far-left there’s been a belief in “collapsing the system” to force cultural, political, and economic transformation in America since probably as far back as the late 1960s-early 1970s.

None of the things President Obama talked about were new ideas among the radical left, even though American right-wing media became obsessed with generating hysteria, fear and plenty of idiotic Obama conspiracy theories (that birther crap was nuts – Obama’s mother was an American citizen, so that gave her child a right to American citizenship, wherever he was born). Many of these right-wing talkers’ millions of loyal groupies along with the right-wing pundit celebrity culture is as destructive as the Oprah/TV talk show culture was to American culture, where Americans were conditioned to airing all of their most private dirty laundry in public and betraying their closest family members on stage, all under the guise of sharing pain and family problems.

So right now, right-wing media and social media content creators gravitate toward hyping a lot of “news” that is little more than unsubstantiated innuendo and conspiracy theories, while other like-minded people in right-wing media and social media repeat all of this stuff without any independent verification whatsoever. It’s a vicious information cycle, where people add their own bits and takes to it, just like the game of telephone with kids sitting in a circle and whispering something to each other, around the circle. What the last kid hears is nothing like what the first kid whispered.

Absolutely, President Obama had a long history of supporting radical leftist ideologies and within his administration were many people I considered far-left kooks and a few were even hardline communists, but even more of them were mainly corrupt politicians. President Biden has many of the same people in his inner-circle and I don’t expect any changes in policy direction from this White House. They’re committed to the same fundamental transformation as I’ve heard blabbed about since the 1970s, although the latest iteration is the “great reset.” It’s the same radical leftist ideology repackaged with new lingo.

Trump and his administration also contained many corrupt charlatans, corrupt politicians and kooks too. Ditto that for the GOP. That’s why I don’t expect a Republican win this fall or in 2024 to create some miraculous change, unless enough Americans start facing the out-of-control corruption (and spending) in our politics and in our culture. That starts with ourselves – we’ve got to stop blaming other people for everything that’s going wrong and start becoming more committed to changing ourselves and working on improving our own lives.

What I want to talk about is thinking about how much of your energy and time you’re choosing to invest in things you can change and have the power to control in your own life vs. how much time and energy you’re choosing to invest in fear, panic, anger or rage at daily political hot air and online-fueled hysteria?

I see several prepper channels pop up in my YouTube feed, where they cover the political happenings several times a day, claiming they have inside sources, and I keep wondering how much time they have to work at their own preparedness efforts with their almost constant social media presence?

I don’t have time to read as much news, reports and follow the spin war garbage as I did when I spent many hours sitting beside my husband’s hospice bed every day and where my daily chores involved being inside the house almost all of the time, carrying a baby monitor with me, so I could hear him if he needed anything and to make sure he was okay. His 13-month hospice ordeal was horrific for him (it wasn’t a picnic for me either) – he was completely bed-bound. I had to help him sit up on days where he wasn’t strong enough to do that and other days it was turning him and using pillows to rotate his position every couple hours to avoid pressure sores. He was a very independent person and hated every minute being trapped in that bed, but he kept fighting to pull himself up to a sitting position by himself and he kept trying to eat to get stronger. I would have given up the fight within days, but he fought to the last moments.

I write a lot about the truth and here’s a home-truth for myself – I am not in good health and in many serious crisis situations the odds are stacked against me surviving. I have no delusions about being the last person standing in a crisis, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to sit around and do nothing to prepare or to try to better my odds. I have children and grandchildren. I want to make sure they survive.

I’ve been working on losing weight, working on trying to become more physically fit, but as I’ve mentioned before I’m an insulin-dependent diabetic with heart problems, which makes me very dependent on our medical supply chain and even my insulin has to be refrigerated. My doctor has lowered my insulin dosage twice since I started losing some weight and I am hoping I can continue on this path of losing weight, controlling my blood sugar, and lowering my reliance on insulin. Everyone can work a little bit at a time toward becoming more self-sustainable and self-reliant.

There are millions of people in America who have various medical needs and disabilities, which require a heavy dependence on our medical supply chain and modern technology. If you are reliant on medications or medical supplies, it’s prudent to try to increase the amount of medication and supplies you have on hand to create a buffer in case of shortages. Often, doctors, medical insurance and costs can limit how much medication you can have on hand.

There are probably even more Americans who live in delusion-land about the economic crisis that’s already beginning to impact America and who believe there’s not a serious economic “hurricane” headed our way. They’re like the people at the beach the day before a hurricane touches land, where the surf is getting choppy and rough, but hey the sun’s shining, so everything’s fine…

America likely won’t face the same levels of devastation as some countries like Sri Lanka or Turkey, where Sri Lanka has food riots and the Turkish economy is collapsing, but we’re not immune from having our self-indulgent consumer culture upended. America is a land with immense resources, even though we’ve outsourced so much of manufacturing and become reliant on cheap foreign imports. We might be able to avoid some of the horrific devastation many countries will be facing as this global economic crisis and food shortage crisis hit. However, the rainbows and sunshine, head-in-the-clouds folks will probably be in total panic mode when they realize they should have prepared and that the political leaders they trusted, were blowing smoke up their you know what

If you wonder how on earth anyone can still believe everything is going great and that we’re not headed toward a serious economic crisis, well, this came from the White House press secretary a few days ago:

Massive lay-offs, banking crises, more serious shortages, and in-your-face reality checks haven’t hit hard enough yet, where bold-faced, self-serving political lies like this coming from the White House, would be rejected by just about every American with a functioning brain-cell.

It’s not until more and more Americans take off the partisan political blinders and realize Washington and our political class (across the aisle) are the problem and not the solutions, that any meaningful political change will happen in America. It’s not a matter of “red” America or “blue” America winning, it’s about when the American people start talking to their neighbors, friends and each other and working together to survive the coming crises, that perhaps our country can start moving in another direction.

I hope more people can put aside anger, rage, reacting to media-generated hysteria and move toward trusting in ourselves, each other and in working hard every day to be stronger, better-prepared, more resilient. and most of all I hope we can all work hard on being more grateful for the many blessings living in America has afforded us. I hope we can be more gracious to each other, even the people who hold differing views.

How about each day find a few things in your own life and home that you can do to improve you and your family’s quality of life and to become more self-sustainable. Instead of spending hours enraged about the latest hysterical topic social media is buzzing about or about shortage situations all over America or trying to follow every empty store shelf report, perhaps put that energy toward something positive in your own life.

The reality is the shortage situation is likely to get worse and that means everyone will need to have a personal strategy – whether it’s adequate food storage to buffer the impact, growing more of their own food, or a localized information and food supply chain to deal with that. It doesn’t do me any good to get worked up about empty shelf videos of grocery stores in CA or all around America, when I live in GA. It also is wasted energy. I want to shop less often and make less trips to the store, not run around every day in a panic looking for this item or that item. My first thought when I realize I am out of an item is to think, “Do I have something else in my house that will work?”

My little container garden isn’t going to provide enough produce for me to live on, but this morning I picked more kale to dehydrate (third kale harvest from this kale) and I can probably get one more harvest from that before it bolts. I have more kale growing. I’ve picked enough cherry tomatoes for salads in the past couple weeks and frozen two quart-size bags. I’ve picked green beans twice from five grow bags with green beans – enough for meals, cucumbers, squash, onions and I’ve been dehydrating sweet basil and lemon basil this week. I intend to work on gardening year-round again (zone 8b that is possible) and planting more vegetables in my backyard space. I bought blueberry and blackberry bushes and I’ve got one raspberry. I bought a grape vine and strawberries. It’s a small start at gardening, but I’ll probably have enough cucumbers, bell peppers and cherry tomatoes to give some to neighbors. My squash looked great until the squash vine borers arrived and now it’s a battle. I replanted zucchini. I’ve been planning what I’m going to plant in late-July and August for fall vegetables.

I’d rather be working on things I can change, not spending days on end worrying or fuming about politics and things that I can’t change. More people are waking up to the reality of the economic hurricane heading our way, but assuredly there will be some fools (like liberal pundits on Twitter) still floundering about wondering why there aren’t minimum wage delivery people to cart their groceries to their front door in this crisis, like back in 2020, when their cushy jobs allowed them to work from home. In fact, many of the liberal elites might be waking up to realizing that they no longer have that cushy job at all. The reality of a serious economic and food shortage crisis is inescapable, even for those who live in ivory towers.

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Everything beyond the basics is gravy

This post is going to be about decision-making and personal responsibility, especially in difficult or “crisis” situations – without any sugar-coating.

The reality in America is people who live buried in personal debt is the norm and a whole lot of businesses have made a fortune perpetuating the belief that “building your credit score,” which is code for accumulating personal debt is sensible personal financial management and the ticket to prosperity. I have believed for a long, long time that is a total lie. It’s a road to being indebted to other people your entire life and it eats away at your hard-earned money, leaving millions of people worrying about how to make ends meet and struggling to figure out how to juggle debt payments.

I am not a financial adviser or an expert on personal finance, so this is strictly my opinion. It feels weird to even be writing about financial stuff and emergency preparedness, because when I started blogging I wrote about politics, foreign affairs, culture war stuff, and the constant spin information war, that’s creating non-stop chaos in our politics and fueling the culture war.

Of course, I’ve heard actual financial advisers talk about how to manage credit and debt responsibly, but a whole lot of people believe that if a credit card company tells them they “qualify” for a certain credit limit or even more deceptive is they offer you a higher credit limit, that is a sign you are great at managing money. You’re really just great at building up personal debt.

My late husband and I had completely different views on personal finance – he didn’t mind racking up consumer debt and he believed your credit score is some magical number to the good life. We had many disagreements about money-management over the years. There are lots of couples where there are differing financial management views. Here’s how I see it – personal debt means you owe someone else money for items you purchased. You don’t own anything you bought on credit- you owe money (and interest) on all those things you purchased on credit. You end up with a lot of stuff you don’t need, don’t use, you end up owing a lot of money, and you end up living beyond your means.

When my husband was placed on home hospice care in 2020, he was too ill to even discuss personal finance stuff, so I decided to pay off the credit cards and I paid off the mortgage early. I wanted to be debt-free. I’m glad I did that.

I expect that as more people become alarmed at the rapidly deteriorating economic situation, especially the cost of gas and the chaos in the retail supply chain, that more people will begin hurriedly stocking up (panic buying), spending money they don’t have (buying on credit) or can’t afford (pulling money from savings).

According to some surveys, many Americans don’t have enough to cover a $400 expense. Others will charge up more to try to maintain their same lifestyle or to try to make ends meet with the soaring inflation. The interest rates will go up and credit will tighten, which is going to leave millions of people financially decimated, especially people carrying high amounts of consumer debt.

The idea about preparedness that seems to take hold among many of the prepper people online (especially men) often sounds like they have role-playing visions of gun-wielding to survive in a post-apocalyptic world or they think they’re going to be the hero facing down the hordes of desperate people trying to steal their stuff. There seems to be a focus on pricey items from lots of guns, ammo, and a whole lot of expensive technology. None of those things is a bad thing to have stocked up, but prioritizing necessities is crucial and food, water, shelter, basic security are critical needs.

As more and more people, who never gave a single thought to “emergency preparedness” become alarmed at the economic crisis (and likely summer of civil unrest – as promised by far-left activists, while the DHS is warning mostly about far-right violence), the panic-buying will likely move into high gear.

The thing is when people who make impulsive (or careless) spending decisions ordinarily become panicked, they’re likely to rush around and make really bad spending decisions stocking up in a crisis. I worked in my local Walmart Supercenter for a number of years and it always amazed me to watch people rush around to buy emergency supplies as the hurricane warnings progressed from a week out to landfall. Most people flooded the store as the hurricane moved closer to land and often shoppers had no clue what items they really needed, but were just grabbing items, because other people were grabbing them.

I have always stocked up extra food and supplies, because I feel more peace of mind that way. As a teenager I babysat a lot and one experience stuck with me. I babysat for a couple with two small children, who then got divorced. After their split, the lady called and asked me to babysit for New Year’s Eve. She was going out with friends. Shortly after she left the two kids started saying how hungry they were. I was alarmed that there was only a bottle of Cold Duck in the refrigerator and a few packs of venison in the freezer. There was no milk or eggs, no canned goods, no flour, no bread or crackers, not even a jar of peanut butter.

I called my mother and told her the kids were hungry and there was no food in the house. My mother told me there had to be something and I told her I checked the fridge, freezer and all the cupboards. My mother brought food for the kids to eat and she was fuming about that lady going out when she didn’t have food in the house to feed her kids. That house operated differently when the couple was together – there was always food there. I never babysat for that lady again.

When I had kids I wanted to make sure I was never in the situation where my kids were looking at me and saying they were hungry and I had no food to feed them. It’s a terrible feeling to have a hungry child asking for something to eat and you have nothing to feed them. I felt alarm when I looked through that lady’s kitchen, because I was thinking, surely I could make some pancakes or something easy for them to eat, but there was nothing, except a bottle of Cold Duck and a few packs of frozen venison, which I had no idea how old that was.

Along with urging people to stock up on food and basic supplies, it’s important to urge people to pay off debt and to not charge up more. Charging up supplies to prepare for an economic crisis is insane, but I expect that’s exactly how a lot of people are stocking up. And there will be the many preppers online blaring warnings about this shortage or that dire event and they’ll be telling you that you need all these expensive items to be prepared.

I’ll keep repeating, staying calm and thinking through situations should be at the top of your survival skill-training – especially living in a world filled with so much news media and social media noise bombarding us daily. Even though it’s important to stock-up basics, that doesn’t mean you should rush out and stock up every time there’s some warning about another item that will be in short supply or the price is skyrocketing.

Now more than ever, it’s important to focus, by thinking about the “big picture” of your financial footing and budget vs. the “little picture” of the latest breathless “crisis warning.” I fell for this when I first started watching online prepper videos and began doubting how I had been preparing for emergencies my entire life. I bought a lot of “must-have” prepper things in 2020, but then I started thinking that many of the online preppers are basically just prepper gear salespeople and I stopped reacting and started taking more time to think about purchases.

The worst thing to do is to get in the habit of jumping in the car and running to the store, every time you hear a new warning about specific shortages items or empty shelf warnings. That is a panic reaction and it will leave you mentally-exhausted, plus you’ll be wasting a lot of gas and money. I am trying to limit my grocery store spending, because I have stocked up a lot and I make a list. Some people online act like they’re on a mission to give shortage updates and video of empty store shelves constantly, but that’s not really useful information unless you shop at those stores and know more details about the shortage situation at that particular store.

You still have time to do some price comparisons and also many of the bigger chain stores have online purchasing and either pick-up or delivery options, so you can check the out-of-stock situation at your particular store online before going on mad dashes based on the latest social media rumor mill or some person on social media claiming to have “inside sources.”

I don’t have any “inside sources” and rely on news media, where I don’t really have a lot of trust in their reporting either. I’ve been trying to look through my home, especially my food storage and shopping there first.

I actually expect a lot of overstock situations of non-food items and even the more expensive food items, as inflation climbs and hits people’s pocketbooks harder. Non-essential spending will decrease, as more and more of our budgets will have to go toward essential items. A lot of people will be selling all sorts of stuff as the economy worsens, so waiting to purchase non-essentials might lead to some real bargains. Yes, that sounds opportunistic, but that’s the reality – I was alive in the late 1970s.

We’re heading into a serious economic crisis, so everyone should be looking carefully at their own finances and trying to batten down the hatches for the coming economic “hurricane” as the JP Chase CEO referred to it the other day. I think it makes more sense to pay off as much debt as you can, as quickly as you can. Focus on the basics first – food and water, keeping a roof over your head, making sure you can heat/cool your home. Everything beyond the basics is gravy. That’s the truth.

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Look for goodness, even in bad times

This is a bit of a political post and then some more thoughts on dealing with people who might come asking for help. Here’s a financial interview from this morning:

More bad economic news and predictions here, so lots of people grumble about the high cost of food and gas, but they haven’t made lifestyles changes to try to position themselves better to weather a serious economic crisis.

Yesterday I saw this speech by JP Morgan Chase & Co, CEO Jamie Dimon from June 1st, where he says we’re facing an economic hurricane and we don’t know yet whether it will be a minor one or a superstorm Sandy or Andrew:

I’m here to tell you that even minor hurricanes can cause a lot of destruction and kill people, because by their nature hurricanes bring high winds, flooding and spawn tornados. In economic terms, even high inflation can wipe out many businesses or push families living with very limited means beyond being able to stay afloat.

The political question for Democrats will be whether they continue to cave to the far-left and the global zealots or some start pushing back against the green energy zealots’ war against American fossil fuel. However, at this point, it seems that any internal uprising in the Democratic Party against the far-left will be met with fierce resistance and seems unlikely to succeed.

Dangerous economic storm clouds aren’t in the distance, they’re moving in fast and I suspect President Biden and the green energy zealots aren’t likely to change course to steer America toward safer ground.

Everyone will end up having to face the reality of runaway inflation caused by soaring diesel fuel prices, shortages, and more shipping disruptions. The single best thing anyone can do, besides having extra food and water stored is to get your personal finances in order. Americans are even more financially unprepared for hard times then they are with being prepared with basic supplies for emergencies, so this will affect all of us, even people who did prepare.

I believe in being nice to people and trying to help people, but one thing I learned decades ago with doing volunteer work (trying to help people) is the people who ask for help constantly are predominantly the people who create financial chaos in their lives, don’t think ahead and live life without any goals or concerns for preparing for a rainy day.

My post about helping people the other day is how I feel. I try to help people, when I can.

Yes, I understand that people who aren’t prepared vastly outnumber people who do prepare and that means those who prepare will need to prioritize who they choose to help, how much they help and be aware of their own safety. What bothers me is sitting around wasting time dreaming up scenarios and wasting time and energy thinking about which family members or people you know will be leeches and which ones you’re not going to help. To me that energy and time could be better spent doing more to prepare and do positive things that need doing in my own home and life. I also don’t get angry at people who don’t heed my advice about preparedness. Anger gets me nowhere and it’s not going to motivate them to get busy on being more prepared or to listen to me.

I can find dozens of things that need to be done around my house every single day. I can also find dozens of things I could be working on to become better prepared and especially better organized. Worrying about who I’m going to help and what I’m going to say doesn’t require planning. I learned how to say, “No, I’m sorry I can’t help,” years ago. I’m selective with charities I donate money to. I am selective about handing out money to people collecting money for people they know who are in need. This doesn’t take planning for me – I just think about the situation and decide whether I choose to donate or not. It’s the same with people with sad luck stories – even family. I’ve got limits, just like I think most people do.

I also believe in self defense – enough said. It’s always a good idea to practice situational awareness and nowadays that requires getting your eyes unglued from electronic devices and paying attention to what’s going on around you. Years ago, as the cell phone addiction problem grew I said America could be taken over and millions of people would be totally unaware unless they saw something about it on their cell phones. Watching what’s going on around you is the single most important skill to develop, which can help you assess a situation and avoid danger. Most of this is just common sense everyday life stuff and not specific to emergency preparedness.

A skill I’ve had to work on and it’s taken me a lot more time to learn is how to be a better listener and not rush to judgment about people with problems. I’ve found many times that making small efforts to help people or encourage them often does more than lecturing people or preaching at them about what all I think they should have done or need to do now. Offering to help someone learn to do something or offering a helping hand up requires forming a relationship and trust. I’ve found that If I can find a bit of common ground, where I’m talking to someone, not down to them, it can often create a dramatic change, where we can find ways to work together.

On a brighter note, I’ve had lots of experiences where total strangers extended kindness and did nice things for me. It’s important to see goodness in the world and not focus solely on the doom and gloom – especially in very bad times. Don’t forget how to smile and find joy in life.

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