Will Iran, Social Security, or the Electrical Grid Collapse First?
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Welcome to this week’s Survive The Coming Collapse newsletter, brought to you by Free Survival Cheat Sheets.com, a set of quick, actionable, and free preparedness and survival tips and tricks from the The Fastest Way To Prepare course.
Survival Diva here with ‘the rest of the story’ of immediate signs in the news telling us that we must prepare–FAST. It isn’t necessarily news any of us want to hear, but unless we know what’s headed our way, it’s difficult to prepare for the coming changes. Lately, many have stepped out from the shadows to brave telling the unvarnished truth of where the country is headed, and their friends and family have begun to prepare as a result.
Social Security & Financial Solvency Hangs in the Balance
For years many have warned that Social Security was being siphoned off. Now we have proof:
As quoted by Bruce Krasting in his article titled “Bernanke – My Goal is to Wreck Social Security” brucekrasting.com/bernanke-my-goal-is-to-wreck-social-security/
“Anyone who is 55 or older should be worried about this. Based on current law, all SS benefit payments must be cut by (approximately) 25% when the TF (social security Trust Fund) is exhausted. This will affect 72 million people. The economic consequences will be severe.”
Then on October 2, 2012, New York Times reporter Jonathan Weisman wrote an article titled “Senate leaders at work on plan to avoid ‘fiscal cliff’”
Here is an excerpt from the article:
“First, senators would come to an agreement on a deficit reduction target — likely to be around $4 trillion over 10 years — to be reached through revenue raised by an overhaul of the tax code, savings from changes to social programs like Medicare and Social Security, and cuts to federal programs. Once the framework is approved, lawmakers would vote on expedited instructions to relevant Congressional committees to draft the details over six months to a year.
Households could face average $3,500 tax hit if Congress can’t avoid ‘fiscal cliff’
“If those efforts failed, another plan would take effect, probably a close derivative of the proposal by President Obama’s fiscal commission led by Erskine B. Bowles, the Clinton White House chief of staff, and former Senator Alan K. Simpson of Wyoming, a Republican. Those recommendations included changes to Social Security, broad cuts in federal programs and actions that would lower tax rates over all but eliminate or pare enough deductions and credits to yield as much as $2 trillion in additional revenue.”
(David’s note: The current balance of the Social Security Trust Fund is roughly $0. The $2.6-$2.7 trillion that shows up as an asset on the Social Security balance sheet is an IOU from the General Fund. That is why, whenever there are looming government shutdowns due to budgetary debates, there’s always a threat that Social Security checks might not go out unless a budget is approved. If the Social Security Trust Fund was actually funded, Social Security checks would go out regardless of whether the budget was approved or not.)
Should Iran ever make good on its 2011 threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, not only could it bring war between the U.S. and Iran, it will increase the price of oil to levels we’ve never seen before, as the Strait of Hormuz is a main shipping route for US oil. Higher oil prices equate to higher, and possibly astronomical, food prices.
In March 2012, Time Business reporter Michael Schuman wrote on how rising oil prices impacts us in “How High Will Global Oil Prices Rise?” business.time.com/2012/03/20/how-high-will-global-oil-prices-rise/
The following is an excerpt:
“First, will we see a sharp disruption in oil supplies? Part of the spike in crude prices has been a reaction to growing tensions between the West and Iran, and the possibility that the conflict might escalate and cause a sudden curtailment of supply. Iran is one of the world’s major oil exporters, and if its crude suddenly stopped flowing, we could see a very destabilizing surge in global prices. Research firm Capital Economics figures that in the event of an all-out war that closes the Strait of Hormuz, through which 35% of the world’s seaborne oil is shipped, crude prices could double. Merely jitters about a supply disruption, Capital estimates, are probably responsible for about $10 of the recent increase in Brent prices.”
(David’s note: Iran’s economy, and national currency—the rial—is currently in a state of accelerating free fall. In fact, this week the rial was devalued 40%, 50%, or more, depending on when you read this! Prices are changing too fast for small merchants to risk buying any inventory. If this progresses as hyper inflationary situations normally do, food prices will quickly shoot through the roof, which will result in rioting. If that rioting is “helped along” by outside forces, it will likely end in extreme instability or an overthrow of Ahmadinejad, the Supreme Leader, Parliament, and/or the Guardian Counsel, depending on how each of them are able to deflect and direct blame for the current situation. Add this to the current escalating conflict with Israel, and it’s seeming more and more likely that something will soon erupt out of Iran.)
Get Ready For Electricity Costs to Spike
The Institute For Energy Resource posted the following: “Obama Energy Prices Are Working: Patriot Coal Goes Bankrupt” www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2012/07/16/obama-energy-policies-are-working-patriot-coal-goes-bankrupt/
We should pay close attention to how this will impact our household budget and the impact it has on the coal industry as mines are forced to shut down while thousands of coal workers are handed pink slips. Here are two excerpts:
“In 2008, Barack Obama explained his energy policy: “Under my plan of a cap-and-trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket. Even regardless of what I say about whether coal is good or bad.” He went on to explain, “So, if somebody wants to build a coal plant, they can – it’s just that it will bankrupt them.”
“Patriot Coal Company filed for bankruptcy on July 9, 2012 as coal prices have plummeted from reduced demand resulting from low natural gas prices and new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are several problems with President Obama’s desire to eliminate coal from our energy system. First, there will be no carbon dioxide savings because the developing world needs to burn coal to grow their economies. And, second, U.S. electricity prices will rise as natural gas price increases along with its demand and as utility companies pass along the cost of meeting EPA regulations. Thus, President Obama and his policies will make U.S. residents suffer from higher energy prices and less diversity of supply with no meaningful decrease in global carbon dioxide emissions. Since the U.S. has the largest supplies of coal in the world, these policies aim to take one of the principle engines of economic growth off the table for Americans.”
Just as alarming as the war on coal that takes away yet more of the countries’ infrastructure, is it leaves the U.S. vulnerable to the escalation of oil prices as our dependence on oil grows greater. Should the price of oil go up to levels many are warning about, or shipping routes be disrupted, how will we manage the exorbitant gas prices to commute to work or heat our homes or run factories?
(David’s note: Expensive energy is one of the factors driving US manufacturing jobs overseas. So, in addition to hurting family pocketbooks and making brownouts and blackouts more common, spiking electrical prices will have an additional end effect of increasing the unemployment rate in the manufacturing and manufacturing support sectors.)
Al-Qaeda Accused of Setting Europe-wide Wildfires
Back in June of 2011, David wrote, “This has been a dramatic year for wildfires so far. While some parts of the country are experiencing record flood levels, other parts of the country are in the middle of multi-year droughts that are making for violent and fast moving fires. Add to this the wildland/urban interface issues that pop up when densely developed suburbs are built in the middle of wildfire prone areas, and you end up with INCREDIBLY expensive disasters…both in terms of financial and human cost. These wildland/urban fires are blown out of proportion to a certain extent because of the fact that news media can get to them and get footage without having to leave the pavement or the comfort of their cars, but they are a big deal, none the less.
As more and more people who don’t have an awareness of appropriate wildfire prevention practices move into these wildland/urban interface areas, we’re likely to see an increasing number of “accidental” fires. I put “accidental” in quotes believe that the term negligent would be more appropriate than accidental in most cases.
Besides naturally caused fires, accidents, negligence, and arson, wildfires are an easy asymmetrical attack that insurgent forces can use against the US. Japan launched 9,300 balloon bombs against the US during World War II because they knew that they didn’t stand a chance against a country where nearly every farmer had guns, ammo, and hunting experience.
In addition, at least one Al Qaeda detainee has talked about a plot to set fires in national forests. Granted…the one I’m referring to was from 2003 and the “plot” that he shared was ridiculously cumbersome, had too many moving parts, and didn’t pass the “sniff” test of a legitimate plot in my opinion. It used incendiary devices with timers and counted on the instigators sneaking out of the country before they went off. A few dozen diesel fuel soaked hay bales near kindle-dry deadfall in a few states would do the same thing and has been a common topic of conversation among red card holders (fire professionals certified for wildfires) online and in person for years.
In addition to the HUGE commitment of talented human resources required to fight wildfires and the loss of structures, displaced homeowners, insurance claims, and ash can have regional and national effects. (2012 update…USAA and other home insurance companies have completely dropped coverage on houses with cedar shake roofs as a result of recent wildfires)
With the recent (2011) Arizona fires, there was a serious concern that the fire would reach high voltage electrical transmission lines that provide electricity across New Mexico and into Western Texas. Similar problems with the electrical grid happen on a local level almost yearly with wildfires in California. Electrical poles burn, power lines sag, resistance goes up, transformers blow up, and substations overheat. In some cases, the impact remains local. In other cases, the impact cascades across the grid effecting larger regions.
The point here is that people can be dramatically affected by wildfires, even if they’re hundreds of miles away and not downwind.”
Fast forward a year, and David’s warning about Al Qaeda using wildfires is playing out in Europe. According to The Telegraph, Al-Qaeda used this attack on Spain and Portugal. www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/9585098/Al-Qaeda-blamed-for-Europe-wide-forest-fires.html
Here is a short excerpt:
“One should note that setting fires to forests in the countries of the European Union is a new tendency in al-Qaeda’s strategy of a ‘thousand cuts’,” Alexander Bortnikov said, according to state news agency RIA Novosti, at a meeting of heads of security agencies.
This “death from a thousand cuts” strategy to take down the US is the same one suggested by the Communists in the 60s, and more recently by Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and China and we shouldn’t be surprised to see their targets, strategies, and methodologies overlap and build on one another.
***What’s David doing?***
While not “news”, I want to share with you what I’m doing in light of the increasing signs this year that a collapse, to one degree or another, is going to happen in the very near future.
To a large extent, we’re simply doubling down on the preparations that we’ve already made so that we can self support as a family/group/neighborhood as long as possible in a partial or complete collapse situation. Here is an example of some of the steps that we’ve been taking in the last few months..
As a few examples:
-We’ve weaned our kids off of television and have slashed all “screen time” to a fraction of what it was.
-We’re eating as much of our food as we can off of our own property or from sources as close to our home as possible.
-Even though we have a reliable source of fresh water, we have a year of water stored for us and are expanding that to where we have a year’s supply of water for our plants as well.
-We’ve switched from grid heat to fully sustainable wood heat and are in the process of setting up redundant off grid power—and doing all of the research and studying that goes along with such a change in lifestyle.
-We’re ALL shooting more…from me down to my 2 year old (who absolutely LOVES to have me hold and aim an airsoft rifle at balloons while he pulls the trigger and gets to see and hear them pop) and my wife and I are also training with knives, sticks, and empty hands tactics.
-We’re trying to figure out non-internet local businesses to start or invest in that will do well in a post-collapse society. We have looked at several, but haven’t found the perfect fit yet.
Lest you think we’ve got it all together, we’re humbled by people around us on a daily basis who have other areas of their life more squared away…including families who have home schooling figured out, people who are 100% off grid already, master gardeners who seem to LOVE working in their gardens rather than it being a chore, people who already have bees and livestock, hunters and fishermen who figure out how to make the time to fill their freezers, parents who have figured out how to volunteer for AWANAS, Royal Rangers, Scouts, etc. and stay sane, and many many more.
Why do I say this? Because the news snippets from last week and this week that we shared can be seen as a little overwhelming. Preparedness and becoming more self-reliant is a process…a journey, not a one-time sprint. Don’t feel overwhelmed at all that you want to do…just make a list of all the things you want to get accomplished and start picking one or two at a time off of the list to focus on and knock out. If you need help, check out FreeSurvivalCheatSheets.com for a set of quick punch-list items to knock out, including survival fire, shelter, water, food, security, and medical considerations that come directly from my FastestWayToPrepare.com course. More than 2,000 people, just like you, have gone through the cheat sheets since I released them last 7 short days ago and you should too.
This concludes ‘The rest of the story.’ Next week we’ll concentrate on the answers to what’s headed our way…Prepping! In the meantime, what’s your take on the threats to the economy, social security, oil prices, and our homeland’s fire safety? Can you see a day when we’ll look back fondly at $5.00 a gallon gas? Please comment below.
God bless and stay safe,
David Morris and Survival Diva
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