The Ten Plagues That Are Hitting America Right Now

10 PlaguesWhy are so many plagues hitting the United States all of a sudden?  Yes, one can always point out bad stuff that is happening somewhere in the country, but right now we are facing a nightmarish combination of crippling drought, devastating wildfires, disastrous viruses, dying crops and superbugs that scientists don’t know how to kill.  And as you will see, we even have a plague of flies down in Mississippi.  So what in the world is going on?  Is this just a case of bad luck, or is something else happening?  At the conclusion of this article, please feel free to tell me what you think.  The following are ten plagues that are hitting America right now…

#1 The Plague Of Flies In The Upper Mississippi River Valley

This is perhaps the least dangerous plague, but it is also one of the most interesting.  Just recently, a plague of flies was so thick in the upper Mississippi River valley that it showed up on radar

The mayflies were detectable on radar around 845 pm and reports in the towns and cities began rolling in of the swarming and piles of mayflies. Numerous videos and pictures were circulating on social media, some of which are posted below as well.

The radar detected the flies about 845 pm, emanating from the river (the source) with echo values similar to that of light-moderate rain (35-40 dBZ). With a general south-to-north wind flow above the surface, the mayflies quickly moved north once in the air. As the flies dispersed moving north-northeast, they also gained altitude with some of the echo being detected as far north as Black River Falls and as high as 2500 feet above ground.

By late evening, mayflies were swarming in La Crosse, La Crescent, Stoddard and points up and down the river. While the emergence of mayflies from their river bottom mud dwelling can occur at various times through the warm season depending on the species, this particular emergence was that of the larger black/brown Bilineata species.

Here is one photo of the flies that was posted by the federal government…

Plague Of Flies In Mississippi - Government Photo Public Domain

#2 The Chikungunya Virus

As I wrote about the other day, down in Florida health officials have discovered the very first confirmed cases of the chikungunya virus to be transmitted locally.  In other words, it is now being passed to people that have not even traveled out of the country.

An epidemic of the virus has already been declared down in Puerto Rico, and authorities are deeply concerned about the possibility of one up here as well.

Already, cases of the virus have been reported in 30 different states and the total number of cases in the U.S. is more than five times higher than in any other recent year.

If you live in an area that has a lot of mosquitos, you might want to be very, very careful right about now because this is a virus that is exceedingly painful

With illness onset, the person develops high fever, chills, and joint pain, followed in some by a rash on the trunk, limbs and face lasting 3-4 days. Muscle and joint pain last about one week. Joint pain is often severe and in some people lasts longer, up to several months.

#3 The Wildfires Out West

The massive wildfires in Washington, Oregon and western Canada have spread clouds of smoke over vast areas of the northwest United States in recent days.  The following excerpt comes from a recent CNN report

Wildfires spanning almost 170,000 acres are driving hundreds of people from their homes in Washington state and across the border in Canada, officials said.

Washington authorities say the fires surged overnight to 168,713 acres in the state. The flames have encroached on towns.

Janet Pearce of the Washington state Department of Natural Resources said the four fires had not been contained as of Friday morning. An estimated 80 homes were destroyed and cell phone service was knocked out.

#4 The Drought In California

The nightmarish multi-year drought in the state of California just continues to get even worse.

This week it was reported that 81 percent of California is now experiencing “extreme drought” or worse.

Three months ago, that number was just 68 percent.

And we are being told that downtown Los Angeles is now the driest that it has been since rain records began in 1877.

For much, much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “20 Signs The Epic Drought In The Western United States Is Starting To Become Apocalyptic“.

#5 The Virus That Has Killed Millions Of Our Pigs

A horrific pig virus known as porcine epidemic diarrhea came over from China a little over a year ago.

Since then, it has killed about 7 million pigs, and approximately 100,000 more are dying each week.

#6 Citrus Greening

Have you ever heard of citrus greening disease?

Perhaps not, but it has gotten so bad down in Florida that experts are now saying that the entire citrus industry in the state “could be destroyed”

“It’s horrible — it’s a disaster,” says Fred Gmitter, a professor of horticulture science at the University of Florida Citrus Research and Education Center.

It might be time to kiss your OJ goodbye, unless science steps in to save the day.

At least 70% of Florida’s citrus trees are already infected by the disease, known as citrus greening, huanglongbing, or occasionally just with an ominous “it,” as in “It’s here.”

Florida’s citrus crop this year is the lowest it’s been in 30 years, and agricultural authorities have continued to lower their production estimates. Orange-juice prices are up nearly 20% this year alone and will continue to rise. The disease was a major factor in the lime shortage that made the price of a box of Persian limes jump from $18 to $85 last December. Prices could jump higher for oranges. Researchers and growers say that if a cure isn’t found, the entire $9 billion Florida citrus industry could be destroyed.

#7 Bananas Going Extinct?

You bananas are not safe either.

According to CNBC, the TR4 fungus is spreading so rapidly that it could eventually totally wipe out the variety of bananas that we find in our grocery stores today…

Banana lovers take note: The world’s supply of the fruit is under attack from a fungus strain that could wipe out the popular variety that Americans eat.

“It’s a very serious situation,” said Randy Ploetz, a professor of plant pathology at the University of Florida who in 1989 originally discovered a strain of Panama disease, called TR4, that may be growing into a serious threat to U.S. supplies of the fruit and Latin American producers.

“There’s nothing at this point that really keeps the fungus from spreading,” he said in an interview with CNBC.

While there are nearly 1,000 varieties of bananas, the most popular is the Cavendish, which accounts for 45 percent of the fruit’s global crop—and the one Americans mostly find in their supermarkets.

#8 The Number Of Earthquakes Is Increasing

For a long time, scientists tried to deny that the number of earthquakes is increasing.

But now, the USGS is finally admitting that the number of big earthquakes has doubled

If you think there have been more earthquakes than usual this year, you’re right. A new study finds there were more than twice as many big earthquakes in the first quarter of 2014 as compared with the average since 1979.

“We have recently experienced a period that has had one of the highest rates of great earthquakes ever recorded,” said lead study author Tom Parsons, a research geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Menlo Park, California.

Fortunately, most of the earthquakes in the U.S. so far this year have been relatively small or have been in isolated areas.

But they have been popping up in very unusual areas (such as Oklahoma), and as seismic activity along the Ring of Fire continues to increase, it is probably only a matter of time before one of our major cities gets hit with a major tragedy.

#9 Superbugs

Thanks at least in part to the massive overuse of antibiotics, a new generation of superbugs is arising.  Scientists have no way to kill these superbugs, and according to experts they are finding their way “into healthcare facilities nationwide”

Drug-resistant superbug infections have reached near-epidemic levels across U.S. hospitals, with an alarming 500% increase now documented in a study just published in the August issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology (the journal of the Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America).

Lead author of the study, Dr. Joshua Thaden, warned “This dangerous bacteria is finding its way into healthcare facilities nationwide… A CRE epidemic is fast approaching… Even this marked increase likely underestimates the true scope of the problem given variations in hospital surveillance practices.”

The study also found that an astonishing 94 percent of CRE infections were caused by healthcare activities or hospital procedures.

#10 Fukushima

The Fukushima nuclear disaster is the gift that just keeps on giving.

Hundreds of tons of radioactive water are being released into the Pacific on a continual basis, and this could potentially affect our oceans and our food chain for generations to come.

But it is a “slow motion disaster” that is already “old news”, so most Americans don’t think about it anymore.  But the truth is that there is a lot of evidence that it should be taken very seriously in this country.  For much more on this, please see this article.

In Japan, of course, things are even worse.

In fact, one Japanese doctor that was working in Tokyo says that radiation sickness is rampant in that city

Since December 2011, I have conducted thyroid ultrasound examinations, thyroid function tests, general blood tests and biochemical tests on about 2000 people, mostly families in the Tokyo metropolitan area expressing concerns on the effects of radiation. I have observed that white blood cells, especially neutrophils, are decreasing among children under the age of 10. There are cases of significant decline in the number of neutrophils in 0-1 year-olds born after the earthquake (<1000). In both cases, conditions tend to improve by moving to Western Japan (Neutrophils 0–>4500). Patients report nosebleed, hair loss, lack of energy, subcutaneous bleeding, visible urinary hemorrhage, skin inflammations, coughs and various other non-specific symptoms.

And this Japanese doctor believes that things are so dire that he says that the entire city of Tokyo should be evacuated…

Residents of Tokyo are unfortunately not in the position to pity the affected regions of Tohoku because they are victims themselves. Time is running short. I took an earlier step forward and evacuated to the west. My fellow doctors of medicine, I am waiting for you here. And to the people in Eastern Japan still hesitating, all my support goes to facilitating and enabling your evacuation, relocation, or a temporary relief in Western Japan.

Just like with Chernobyl, this radioactive material is going to silently make people sick and kill people all over globe for years to come, and most of them will never have any idea what is really happening to them.

So what do you think about all of this?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

original article: The Ten Plagues That Are Hitting America Right Now

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How to Find Shelter from the Coming Storms

ws_Coming_Storm_1920x1200Although this is was written as financial advice, this is great prepper advice too.

Some basic suggestions for those who are seeking shelter from the coming storms of global financial crisis and recession.

Reader Andy recently wrote: “I look forward to your blog each day but am still waiting for your ideas for surviving the coming crisis.” Andy reports that he and his wife have small government and private pensions, are debt-free and have simplified their lifestyle to survive the eventual depreciation of their pensions. They currently split their time between a low-cost site in North America and Mexico. They are considering moving with the goal of establishing roots in a small community of life-minded people.

Though I have covered my own ideas in detail in my various books (Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation, An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times, Why Things Are Falling Apart and What We Can Do About It and Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy, I am happy to toss a few basic strategies into the ring for your consideration.

Let’s start by applauding Andy for getting so much right.

1. Don’t count on pensions maintaining their current purchasing power as the promises issued in previous eras are not sustainable going forward. I’ve addressed the reasons for this ad nauseam, but we can summarize the whole mess in four basic points:

A. Demographics. Two workers cannot support one retiree’s pensions and healthcare costs (skyrocketing everywhere as costly treatments expand along with the cohort of Baby Boomer retirees). The U.S. is already at a ratio of two full-time workers to one retiree, and this is during a “recovery.” the ratio in some European nations is heading toward 1.5-to-1 and the next global financial meltdown hasn’t even begun.

B. The exhaustion of the debt-based consumption model. The only way you can sustain a debt-based model of ever-expanding consumption is to drop interest rates to zero. But alas, lenders go broke at 0%, so either the system implodes as debtors default or lenders go bankrupt. Take your pick, the end-game of financial crisis and collapse is the same in either case.

C. Printing money out of thin air does not increase wealth, it only increases claims on existing wealth. An honest government will eventually default on its unsustainable promises; a dishonest government (the default setting everywhere) will print money to fund the promises until its currency loses purchasing power as a result of either inflation or some other flavor of currency crisis.

In other words, the dishonest government will still issue pension checks for $2,000 a month but a cup of coffee will cost $500–if anyone will take the currency at all.

D. Pensions funds are assuming absurdly unrealistic returns on their investments. Many large public pension plans are assuming long-term yields of 7.5% even as the yield on “safe” government bonds has declined to 3% or 4%. As a result, the pension fund managers have taken on staggering amounts of systemic risk as they reach for higher yields.

When the whole rotten house of cards (shadow banking, subprime everything, etc.) collapses in a stinking heap, the yields will be negative. As John Hussman has noted, asset bubbles simply bring forward all the returns from future years. Once the bubble pops, yields are substandard/negative for years or even decades.

Pension funds that earn negative yields for a few years will soon burn through their remaining capital paying out unrealistic pensions.

2. Lowering the cost of one’s lifestyle. It’s much easier to cut expenses than it is to earn more money or squeeze more yield out of capital.

3. Establishing roots in a community of like-minded people. Though it’s rarely mentioned in a culture obsessed with financial security, day-to-day security is based more on community than on central-state-issued cash–though this is often lost on those who have surrendered all sense of community in their dependency on the state.

The core of community is reciprocity: before you take, you first have to give or share. Free-riders are soon identified and shunned.

My suggestions are derived from this week’s entries on the inevitable popping of credit bubbles, the unenviable role of tax donkeys in funding corrupt state Castes and the Great Game of Elites acquiring essential resources with unlimited credit issued by central banks, leaving the 99% debt-serfs and/or tax donkeys with neither the income nor the credit to compete with Elites for real resources.

4. Lessen your dependence on anything that requires debt and assets bubbles for its survival. Whatever depends on expanding debt and asset bubbles for its survival will go away when credit/asset bubbles pop, which they always do, despite adamant claims that “this time it’s different.” It never is.

5. Control as many real resources as you can. These include water rights, energy-producing or conserving assets (solar arrays, geothermal heating/cooling systems, etc.), farmland, orchards and gardens, rental housing, and tools that you know how to use to make/repair essential assets such as transport, housing, equipment, etc.

6. It’s easier to conserve/not use something than it is to acquire it or pay for it. As resources rise in price, those who consume little will be far less impacted than those whose lifestyles requires massive consumption of gasoline, heating oil, electricity, water, etc. It’s as simple as this: don’t waste food, or anything else.

7. The easiest way to conserve energy and time is to live close to your work and to essential services/transport hubs. Those who reside in liveable city neighborhoods and towns with public transport and multiple modes of transport who can walk/bike to work, farmers markets, cafes, etc. will need far less fossil fuel than those commuting to everything via vehicle.

8. If you can’t find work/establish a livelihood, move to a locale with a better infrastructure of opportunity. I explain this in Get a Job, Build a Real Career and Defy a Bewildering Economy, but John Kenneth Galbraith made much the same point in his 1979 book The Nature of Mass Poverty.

9. If you buy property, do so in a state with Prop 13-type limits on property tax increases. We have no choice about being tax donkeys, but choose a state where income and consumption (i.e. sales tax) are taxed rather than property tax. You can choose to earn less and buy less, but you can’t choose not to pay rising property taxes.

10. Be useful to others. That way, they’ll want you around and will welcome your presence. There are unlimited ways to be helpful/useful.

11. Trust the network, not the state or corporation. Centralized systems such as the government and global corporations are either bankrupt and don’t yet know it or are bankrupt and are well aware of it but loathe to let the rest of the world catch on.

12. Be trustworthy. Don’t be morally corrupt or work for corrupt/self-serving institutions. Many initially idealistic people think they can retain their integrity while working for morally bankrupt, self-serving bureaucracies, agencies and corporations; they are all eventually brought down to the level of the institution.

Lagniappe suggestion: lead by example. “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others; it is the only means.” Albert Einstein

original article: A Reader Asks: How to Find Shelter from the Coming Storms?

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The Fourth Branch Of Government

constitution-burningSome commentary from Accept The Challenge blog

On the way in to my precious metals store, I was listening to my go-to radio station.  They had a guy they call, “Tim The Lawyer“.  He’s the big-shot lawyer at an outfit called the Pacific Legal Foundation.  This guy and the Foundation are awesome.
They fight for Constitutional rights.  What a concept, right?
They were talking about how government has gotten away from us.  How we elect congress critters, Senators, presidents and the like, and it does nothing.  Even when we run ‘em outta town on a rail, nothing changes.
We just saw the majority leader in the House get bounced from Congress.  Never happened before in the history of the US.
Big woop.  Nothing will change.

 

Why?
Because the elected officials are no longer the government.  The government is now the bureaucracy.  The three branches of government are now four.  And the fourth – the various agencies, departments, bureaus and commissions – actually run the show.
They’re unelected, yet they are the ones who make us jump through hoops like trained chimps.  Congress abrogates its duties by passing vague laws that essentially say, “Get this broad goal accomplished,” and the agencies write the rules, regulations and penalties – not Congress.
Often – very often – they grant themselves extraordinary powers.

Last week the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, through the power of Dodd-Frank, passed a rule giving the agency unprecedented power to shut down businesses, no matter what the reason, at any time it wishes through a cease-and-desist order. Further, the rule puts businesses at the mercy of the CFPB and they cannot go back into operation until government approval or a court ruling is made over an issue.

So, if you’re a business that is not favored by the current administration, you can be shut down without so much as a chance to plead your case beforehand.
Guilty until proven innocent.

We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission.
–Ayn Rand

The IRS scandal – which will go fully unpunished IMO – is just the latest, nausiating example.
Did you see that new head bastard on the TV in front of some committee? His arrogance – his utter contempt for we citizens and the rule of law – was palpable.
He was basically telling Congress and all of America, “We can do whatever the hell we want, and you can’t do dick about it.”

And he’s right.  Congress can hold hearings.  They can puff their chests, and harumph, harumph, harumph all they want, but nothing will change.  A couple of slapped wrists and all will be forgotten.
The game is fixed, and it ain’t in your favor.  Worse yet, the fixers are in positions where they can’t lose their job.  Hell, they’ll probably get a bonus.

My favorite sage of the Interwebs – Ol’ Remus in his weekly Woodpile Report – has long been a proponent of not voting because of its futility.
By voting, you’re legitimizing, “the system”.  All the politicians care about is being able to stand in front of a display of flags and bunting, and a politically correct selection of diversely skin-toned folks, and say that millions of people voted for them, democracy is alive, and the American system is sound.
Strike up the band and drop the balloons.  On to the next fund raiser.
“But, but, but… Chief, if we don’t vote we’re letting the other side get in office.”  Don’t you understand?  There is no, “other side”.
Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin.  They just have different special interest groups to whom they cater.  And by ‘cater’ I mean taking your money and giving it to others.
What it all comes down to is our never-ending willingness to forgo freedom and liberty for safety.  At least the perception of safety.
You can protest all you want, as long as it’s in the designated Free Speech Zone.
You can drink all the soda you want, as long as it’s in a cup no larger than 16 ounces.
You can travel all you want, as long as you first submit to government sanctioned fondling.
You can buy all of the milk and cheese you want, as long as it’s been properly altered for safety by government approved methods.
You can have as much money as you want, as long as you don’t try to take it out of the country without their permission.
You can choose any doctor you want…. oh wait, there are no more doctors.  Never mind.  They all quit.
How’s all that hopin’ and dreamin’ workin’ out for ya?

Most Americans have the view that, “Well, it’s not as good as it used to be, but it’s still better than most other countries.”
It’s that attitude that got us here.  A shit sandwich is still a shit sandwich, even when served on a toasted sesame seed bun.
“Chief, that’s all well and fine.  Yep, everything sucks.  What do we do about it?”  My wife asked me that question this morning (she calls me ‘Honey’, not ‘Chief’, though…).
We wait and we prepare.
We cannot change the course of this train.  It’s going where it’s going, and nothing we can do will alter its path.  Understand that.  The inertia of the bureaucracy is too massive.  The makeup of the 537 elected federal politicians is irrelevant, so don’t waste your time participating.
We can only wait for the train to plunge off the bridge.
We know from historic fact that every socialist, centrally planned society has eventually failed.  Without exception.  Their ‘business model’ fails because human nature collides with idyllic fantasy.
The fantasy is that everyone has a job, we all get paid the same “living wage”, and we’ll all work for the common good.  Kumbaya, dumbass.
It’s that last part that causes the ultimate failure.  The nature of humans is to exert the least amount of effort for the greatest reward.  Under the socialist model, people soon recognize that they will receive the same amount of benefit from society regardless of their effort.
Work your ass off, you get paid.  Don’t do squat, you also get paid.
Guess which option people choose.
Eventually, the system crashes because there’s no one left to pay the bills.  No one is working, no one is producing, so ‘the system’ isn’t able to pay all the slackers.
The free food, free health care, free housing, free education all disappear.
Boom-boom, out go the lights.
We see what’s coming, so we prepare.  Those of us with initiative and drive, work to build and secure assets to use after the crash.
Again, history has taught us that after things crash, opportunities blossom.  Big time.
So we buy and bury gold and silver.  And I literally mean bury it.  They can’t confiscate it if they don’t know you have it.
We buy and bury guns and ammo.  There will come a time when we’ll need to defend our persons and property from criminals – elected and otherwise.
We buy and bury tools and supplies.  You can’t take advantage of the coming opportunities with your good looks alone!
We acquire skills and knowledge to feed, house and clothe ourselves.  The monolith won’t go down easily, and times will get worse before they get better.  We know this, and will be prepared for this dark period.

source: The Fourth Branch Of Government

 

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One More Step Closer To Hyperinflation

weimar-mutilatedWe are one more step closer to hyperinflation…

A little over a month ago, when Russia announced the much anticipated “Holy Grail” energy deal with China, some were disappointed that despite this symbolic agreement meant to break the petrodollar’s stranglehold on the rest of the world, neither Russia nor China announced payment terms to be in anything but dollars. This changed rather dramatically overnight when in a little noticed statement, Gazprom’s CFO Andrey Kruglov uttered the magic words:

  • GAZPROM READY TO SETTLE CHINA CONTRACTS IN YUAN OR RUBLES: CFO

 

In other words just as the US may or may not be preparing to export crude – a step which would weaken the dollar’s reserve status as traditional US oil trading partners will need to find other import customers who pay in non-USD currencies – the world’s two other superpowers are preparing to respond. And once the bilateral trade in Rubles or Renminbi is established, the rest of the energy world will piggyback.

full article: Gazprom Ready To Drop Dollar, Settle China Contracts In Yuan Or Rubles

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Unpredictable Violence

Low Probability/High Impact Events

In our Emergency Preparedness course, we talk about disaster events that are very unlikely to happen, but if they do occur, the consequences can be devastating.

An extreme example would be a meteor screaming out of the heavens and landing on your house.  There is little you can to to prevent it, It’s very unlikely to happen, but would be horrible should it occur.

There are a number of events that are much more likely to occur – although still unlikely – yet most people give them almost no thought. Like the meteor example above, there may be little we can do to stop the disaster from happening, but there ARE things we can do to minimize the negative impact.

Do you remember the rioting in LA after the first Rodney King verdict?  It was essentially spontaneous.  As soon as the verdict was known, the lid came off, and the violence escalated.  If you were in the wrong place when it started, you were in immediate, life-threatening danger.

Staying out of LA on the day a verdict was to be presented would have been a prudent decision.  You have no idea how it will turn out, and some people might not like it.
The same goes with Super Bowl winners, NBA Championships and World Series final games.  People get crazy when big events happen, and that craziness often leads to violence.

Don’t tempt fate.  Stay away.

But what if you’re caught totally off-guard and find yourself in the middle of a threatening situation?  Here are some ideas:

Assume the police are overwhelmed.  At the very minimum, it will take several minutes for them to arrive.  A lot of bad things can happen in 5 minutes.  You are now 100% responsible for your own well-being until they arrive, or until you can get to a safer location.

If you’re in a car, stay in it and lock all doors and windows.  Drive out of the area as quickly as possible.  If your tires are slashed, don’t stop.  Drive on the rims if need be.  Escape and evasion are your priorities.  Exit the car, and you’re likely to become a victim.

If you’re on the street, get inside as quickly as possible.  If you’re able, pick an office building before you pick a retail store, as stores are more likely to be targeted by looters.  Move to the back of the building if possible.  Try not to go to upper floors – if a fire is started, you may be trapped.

Arm yourself.  If you have a firearm, defensive spray or stunning device, have it ready and prepare yourself mentally to use it in self-defense.  If these aren’t accessible, grab whatever is available.

ALWAYS look for a chance to get to safety.

Never let your guard down.

source: Unpredictable Violence – Accept The Challenge

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