The Day The Lights Go Out And The Trucks Stop Running

Lights Out - Public DomainWhat would happen if some sort of major national emergency caused a massive transportation disruption that stopped trucks from running?  The next time you talk to a trucker, please thank them for their service, because without their hard work none of our lives would be possible.  In America today, very few of us live a truly independent lifestyle, and that means that we rely on the system to provide what we need.  Most of us take for granted that there will always be plenty of goods at Wal-Mart and at the grocery store whenever we need more “stuff”, and most of us never give a second thought to how all of that “stuff” gets there.  Well, the truth is that most of it is brought in by trucks, and if the trucks stopped running for some reason the entire country would devolve into chaos very rapidly.

Earlier today, I came across a quote from Alice Friedemann that detailed what we would be facing during a major national transportation disruption very nicely…

Within a week, in roughly this order, grocery stores would be out of dairy and other items that are delivered many times a day. And by the week, the shelves would be empty.

Hospitals, pharmacies, factories, and many other businesses also get several deliveries a day, and they’d be running out of stuff the first day.

And the second day, there’s be panic and hoarding. And restaurants, pharmacies would close. ATM’s would be out of money. Construction would stop. There’d be increasing layoffs. Increasing enormous amounts of trash not getting picked up, 685,000 tons a day. Service stations would be closed. Very few people would be working. And the livestock would start to be hungry from lack of feed deliveries.

Then within two weeks, clean water supplies would run out. Within four weeks to eight weeks, there wouldn’t be coal delivered to power plants and electricity would start shutting down. And when that happened, about a quarter of our pipelines use electricity, and so natural gas plants wouldn’t be fed natural gas and they’d start shutting down.

There is so much infrastructure that we take for granted that would suddenly become very vulnerable in this type of scenario.  There are countless numbers of workers out there that never get any glory that do the hard work of maintaining our nuclear power plants, our natural gas pipelines, our electrical grid, etc.  If they suddenly were not able to do their jobs, the consequences would be absolutely catastrophic.  The following comes from Tess Pennington

They rarely mention the dozens of nuclear power plants that litter the United States. If no one is there to operate them, how long before they melt down and bury millions of survivors under a radioactive cloud?

Then there are the 12,000 facilities around the country that store large quantities of toxic or flammable chemicals, and reside close to residential areas. 2,500 of these sites contain chemicals in quantities that, if a catastrophic accident were to occur, could affect 10,000 to 1 million people each. And let’s not forget the 2.5 million miles of oil and gas pipelines that can be found in every state. They suffer hundreds of leaks and ruptures every year, and are much more likely to explode when they aren’t maintained. That detail seems to be conveniently forgotten by post-apocalyptic films.

And finally, most post-apocalyptic movies will forget to mention what happens when there aren’t any functional fire departments. Aside from the obvious consequences, like whole neighborhoods routinely burning to the ground, who’s going to put out landfill fires that are occasionally radioactive?

For most Americans, a major national emergency of this magnitude may seem unimaginable right now.  But the truth is that it isn’t difficult to see how this kind of scenario could happen.  The Yellowstone supervolcano is becoming increasingly active, a single large asteroid could change all of our lives in a single moment, a crippling pandemic could bring normal life in America to a complete standstill, a terror attack involving weapons of mass destruction would spread panic and fear like wildfire, and a historic earthquake along the New Madrid fault, the Cascadia Subduction zone or any of the major faults in California could literally change the geography of our entire continent.

In addition, a massive EMP burst from a nuclear weapon or from the sun could fry our power grid and send us back into the stone age in a single moment.  This is something that I have written about extensively, and those that want to minimize this threat simply don’t know what they are talking about.

And an electromagnetic pulse is not even required to cause very serious problems with our electrical grid.  For instance, just consider what happened in Ukraine toward the end of last year

On December 23rd, 2015, the Prykarpattyaoblenergo power distribution station in Ukraine was hit by a carefully coordinated cyber-attack that was months in the making. The technicians lost control of their cursors as they watched hackers open breakers and take circuit after circuit offline, plunging 230,000 residents into darkness.

The hackers took backup power of the stations offline, plunging the electrical workers into darkness too, and worse yet, they even rewrote the low-level firmware that controls the electrical transformers. The attack had come after months of careful infiltration and planning by a dedicated team of elite cyber-warfare specialists and the result was devastating.

Even months later, technicians struggled to regain full capacity in the electrical grid due to the overwriting of firmware. With Ukrainian moves to nationalize power companies, it is possible that the powerful and Putin-connected Russian oligarchs who own large parts of Ukraine’s infrastructure were sending a message: we can shut down the system anytime we want.

The truth is that we are far more vulnerable than most of us would like to admit.

So what would you do if “normal life” suddenly came to an end and you no longer had access to food, water or power?

How would you and your family respond?

Hopefully you would continue to act in a civilized manner, but history has shown that many people would not.

Desperate people do desperate things, and it would only take a matter of days for some people to become violent

Before long, getting mugged or being a victim of some type of crime is as unpredictable and as common as a car accident. You’ll realize everyone in the neighborhood has now beefed up security on their homes. All your family, friends, and coworkers have experienced a mugging, carjacking, or worse.

You’ll have no choice but to accept this new way of life and count on basic safety measures (a form of passive denial) or further learn to defend yourself and remain in a constant state of alert (a very stressful state over time). It’s difficult emotionally, mentally, and physically to remain on high alert 24/7 for any length of time. Most people will revert to a form of passive denial until the next incident happens to them or a family member.

And even though things may seem relatively stable for the moment, concern about what is coming is one of the factors that has led an increasing number of Americans to arm themselves.  According to a brand new study from the Pew Research Center, 44 percent of all American homes now have a gun.  Just two years ago, a different study found that number was sitting at just 31 percent.

The way that we are living our lives right now will not last indefinitely.

At some point a major national emergency will strike, and when that day arrives we could suddenly be facing major power grid and transportation disruptions.

Are you prepared for that?

If not, you might want to do so while you still have time.

Which Items Will Disappear First During A Major National Emergency?

End Times Ruins Apocalypse - Public DomainOne day in the not too distant future, a major emergency will strike this nation, and that will set off a round of hoarding unlike anything we have ever seen before.  Just think about what happens when a big winter storm or a hurricane is about to hit one of our major cities – inevitably store shelves are stripped bare of bread, milk, snow shovels, etc.  Even though winter storms and hurricanes are just temporary hurdles to overcome, they still cause many people to go into panic mode.  So what is going to happen when we have a real crisis on our hands?

We can get some clues about which items will disappear first during a major national emergency by taking a look at where such a scenario is already playing out.  One recent survey found that over 80 percent of all basic foodstuffs are currently unavailable in Venezuela, and about half the country can no longer provide three meals a day for their families.  Thankfully, some stores still have a few things that they are able to offer, but other key items are completely gone.  The following comes from USA Today

Oh, there are some things to buy. Besides salt, there are fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy products but no milk, some cereal, lots of snacks and a few canned goods.

The only meat is sausages; there are three kinds of cheese. The only problem: A kilogram of each costs more than a fourth of our monthly minimum wage of 15,050 bolivars.

But basic foodstuffs – the things most Venezuelans want to eat  such as corn meal, wheat flour, pasta, rice, milk, eggs, sugar, coffee, chicken, mayonnaise, margarine, cooking oil and beef – are conspicuous by their absence. And there is no toilet paper, no sanitary napkins, no disposable baby diapers, no shampoo, no toothpaste, no hand soap and no deodorant.

Do you have plenty of the items in bold above stored up?

If not, you may want to stock up while you still can.

Venezuela was once the wealthiest nation in all of South America, but now lines for food often begin as early as three in the morning.  Some people have become so desperate that they are actually hunting cats, dogs and pigeons for food, and there are even a few very sick people that have been killing and eating zoo animals.

Someday similar things will happen in the United States and Europe too.

When that day arrives, will you be prepared?

One of the things that got my attention from the article quote above was the lack of milk.  My wife is always telling me that we should store up more dried milk, and I believe that she is right.

Just imagine not having any milk and not being able to get any more.

What would you do?

Another thing that really stood out to me in the article was the fact that there is a severe shortage of personal hygiene items.  Most people don’t really think of those as “prepper goods”, but the truth is that life will become very uncomfortable without them very rapidly.

What would you do if there was no more toilet paper?

And if you have a little one, how are you going to manage without any diapers?

In general, it is wise to always have an extra supply of just about everything that you use on a daily basis stored away somewhere in your home.  The generation that went through the Great Depression of the 1930s understood this concept very well, but most of us that are younger have had it so good for so long that we don’t even really grasp what a real crisis looks like.

Another thing that we are seeing happen right now in Venezuela is the rise of a barter economy

Many of my urban friends are now planting vegetables in their outdoor spaces – if they have any – or in pots. Another friend, who is a hairdresser, is charging clients food to do their hair. For a shampoo and dry, she charges a kilo of corn meal, saying that she doesn’t have time to stand in line like some of her clients.

As you prepare for what is ahead, you may want to consider stocking up on some items that would specifically be used for bartering in a crisis situation.

For example, you may not drink coffee, but there are millions upon millions of people that do.  In a crisis situation, there will be many that will be extremely desperate to get their hands on some coffee, and so any coffee that you store away now may become a very valuable asset.

We live in a world where one out of every eight people already goes to bed hungry each night, and where one out of every three children is underweight.  As global weather patterns become more extreme, as natural disasters continue to become more frequent and more intense, and as terror and war continue to spread, it is inevitable that the stress on the global food system is going to continue to grow.

Today you can waltz into Wal-Mart and buy giant cartloads of very inexpensive food, but it will not always be that way.

Unfortunately, more than half the country is currently living paycheck to paycheck, and most Americans do not have any emergency food stored up at all.

In addition to food and personal hygiene supplies, here are some other items that are likely to disappear very rapidly during a major national emergency…

-Flashlights

-Batteries

-Generators

-Propane

-Can Openers

-Water Filters

-Water Containers

-Anything Related To Self-Defense

-Axes

-Knives

-Sleeping Bags

-Tents

-First Aid Kits

-Matches

-Candles

-Firewood

-Shovels

-Bottled Water

-Warm Clothing

-Lanterns

-Portable Radios

So in addition to food and personal hygiene items, you may want to do an inventory of the items that I have listed above and see where you may have some holes in your preparation plans.

I understand that there will be some people that will read this article and think that all of us “preppers” are being just a tad ridiculous.

But when a major emergency strikes this nation and you haven’t done anything to prepare, you will dearly wish that you had bothered to take action while there was still time remaining to do so.

Petrogold: Are Russia And China Hoarding Gold Because They Plan To Kill The Petrodollar?

Petrogold: Are Russia And China Hoarding Gold Because They Plan To Kill The Petrodollar?Will oil soon be traded in a currency that is thousands of years old?  What would a “gold for oil” system mean for the petrodollar and the U.S. economy?  Are Russia and China hoarding massive amounts of gold because they plan to kill the petrodollar?  Since the 1970s, the U.S. dollar has been the currency that the international community has used to trade oil around the globe.  This has created an overwhelming demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt.  But what happens when the rest of the globe starts rejecting the increasingly unstable U.S. dollar and figures out that gold can be used as a currency in international trade?  The truth is that it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure that out.  Demand for the U.S. dollar and U.S. debt would fall off the map and there would be a rush into gold unlike anything we have ever seen before.  So are Russia and China accumulating unprecedented amounts of gold right now because they eventually plan to cut the legs out from under the petrodollar and they want to gobble up huge stockpiles of gold before the cat is out of the bag?  Of course they will never admit this publicly, but there are rumblings out there that this is exactly what is happening.

Not that you can really blame any nation that wants to get into gold right now.  News outlets all over the globe are telling us that we are in the midst of a “currency war” as central banks all over the planet race to devalue their currencies.

So why would anyone want to be in paper in such an environment?

And of course the Federal Reserve is one of the biggest offenders.  The Fed has been printing money like it is going out of style, and nobody at the Fed or in the U.S. government really seems too concerned that all of this money printing could be endangering the petrodollar.

But the truth is that the Fed is endangering the petrodollar.  Just read some foreign news stories about the U.S. dollar.  They mock us for our reckless money printing.

In the end, our recklessness will make it very easy for the rest of the world to ditch the U.S. dollar.

At some point, it will happen.  In fact, there are persistent rumors that Russia and China actually intend to make it happen.

Many believe that this is the reason both nations have been hoarding so much gold recently.

Just check out how much gold Russia has been accumulating.  The following is from a recent Bloomberg article

When Vladimir Putin says the U.S. is endangering the global economy by abusing its dollar monopoly, he’s not just talking. He’s betting on it.

Not only has Putin made Russia the world’s largest oil producer, he’s also made it the biggest gold buyer. His central bank has added 570 metric tons of the metal in the past decade, a quarter more than runner-up China, according to IMF data compiled by Bloomberg. The added gold is also almost triple the weight of the Statue of Liberty.

“The more gold a country has, the more sovereignty it will have if there’s a cataclysm with the dollar, the euro, the pound or any other reserve currency,” Evgeny Fedorov, a lawmaker for Putin’s United Russia party in the lower house of parliament, said in a telephone interview in Moscow.

And Russia’s gold hoarding appears to have accelerated last year.  According to one recent report, Russia added 3.2 million ounces of gold to their reserves in 2012 alone.

But of even greater concern is China.  Nobody really knows how much gold China has, because they do not tell us, but all indications point to the fact that Chinese gold hoarding has gone into overdrive.  The following is from a Zero Hedge article from a few months ago…

Because while earlier today we were wondering (rhetorically, of course) what China is doing with all that excess trade surplus if it is not recycling it back into Treasurys, now we once again find out that instead of purchasing US paper, Beijing continues to buy non-US gold, in the form of 68 tons in imports from Hong Kong in the month of June. The year to date total (6 months)? 383 tons. In other words, in half a year China, whose official total tally is still a massively underrepresented 1054 tons, has imported more gold than the official gold reserves of Portugal, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, the UK, and so on, and whose YTD imports alone make it the 14th largest holder of gold in the world. Realistically, by now China, which hasn’t provided an honest gold reserve holdings update to the IMF in years, most certainly has more gold than the IMF, and its 2814 tons, itself. Of course, the moment the PBOC does announce its official updated gold stash, a gold price in the mid-$1000 range will be a long gone memory.

As I wrote about the other day, nobody produces more gold than China does, and nobody imports more gold than China does.

Everyone agrees that China seems to have an insatiable appetite for gold, but nobody can agree on exactly how much gold they actually have.  One recent estimate put China’s gold reserves at more than 7,000 tons of gold, but it could even be much higher than that.  Nobody really knows.

So what are Russia and China up to?

Well, for a long time both nations have expressed displeasure with the fact that the U.S. dollar is the de facto currency of the world.  Leaders from both nations have suggested the possibility of adopting a new global reserve currency, but up to this point no real contenders have emerged to dethrone the U.S. dollar.

So for now, the U.S. dollar reigns supreme in international trade.  Sadly, even though most Americans greatly benefit from the petrodollar, most of them do not even know what it is.  For those that do not fully understand the petrodollar, the following is a good explanation of the petrodollar from a recent article by Christopher Doran

In a nutshell, any country that wants to purchase oil from an oil producing country has to do so in U.S. dollars. This is a long standing agreement within all oil exporting nations, aka OPEC, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The UK for example, cannot simply buy oil from Saudi Arabia by exchanging British pounds. Instead, the UK must exchange its pounds for U.S. dollars. The major exception at present is, of course, Iran.

This means that every country in the world that imports oil—which is the vast majority of the world’s nations—has to have immense quantities of dollars in reserve. These dollars of course are not hidden under the proverbial national mattress. They are invested. And because they are U.S. dollars, they are invested in U.S. Treasury bills and other interest bearing securities that can be easily converted to purchase dollar-priced commodities like oil. This is what has allowed the U.S. to run up trillions of dollars of debt: the rest of the world simply buys up that debt in the form of U.S. interest bearing securities.

And all of this has worked out very nicely for the United States.  It has created a massive demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. debt.

But what would happen if the rest of the world rejected the petrodollar system and adopted a “petrogold” system instead?

A recent article by Jim Willie discussed how a petrogold system might work…

The crux of the non-US$ trade vehicle devised as a USDollar alternative will be the Gold Trade Note. It will enable peer-to-peer payments to be completed from direct account transfers independent of currency, and most importantly, not done through the narrow pipes and channels controlled by the bankers with their omnipresent SWIFT code system among the world of banks. The Gold Trade Note will act much like a Letter of Credit, serve as a short-term bill, and maybe even push aside the near 0% short-term USTreasury Bills that litter the banking landscape. Any bond or bill earning almost no interest is veritable clutter. The zero bound USTreasurys open the door in a big way for replacement by a better vehicle. The new trade notes will involve posted gold as collateral, whose entire system for trade usage will bear a massive gold core that also will include silver and platinum, maybe other precious metals. The idea is to avoid the FOREX systems, to avoid the USDollar, and to avoid the banks as much as possible in a peer-to-peer system that can be executed between parties holding Blackberry devices or simple PC to complete the payments on transactions. If Gold is ignored by the corrupt bankers, then Gold will be the center of the new trade system and the solution in providing a globally accepted USDollar alternative.

And Russia and China would greatly benefit from a petrogold system.

Today, Russia is the number one oil exporter on the planet.

China is the number two consumer of oil in the world, and at this point they are actually importing more oil from Saudi Arabia than the United States is.

Does it make sense that they should remain locked into a system that forces them to use U.S. dollars for all of their oil transactions?

And now Russia even has the number one oil company in the world.  The following is from a recent article by Marin Katusa

Exxon Mobil is no longer the world’s number-one oil producer. As of yesterday, that title belongs to Putin Oil Corp – oh, whoops. I mean the title belongs to Rosneft, Russia’s state-controlled oil company.

Rosneft is buying TNK-BP, which is a vertically integrated oil company co-owned by British oil firm BP and a group of Russian billionaires known as AAR. One of the top-ten privately owned oil producers in the world, in 2010 TNK-BP churned out 1.74 million barrels of oil equivalent per day from its assets in Russia and Ukraine and processed almost half that amount through its refineries.

With TNK-BP in its hands, Rosneft will be in charge of more than 4 million barrels of oil production a day. And who is in charge of Rosneft? None other than Vladimir Putin, Russia’s resource-full president.

And Russian gas giant Gazprom supplies a huge percentage of the natural gas that Europe uses…

Gazprom, the Russian state gas company, already has Europe wrapped around its little finger. Russia supplies 34% of Europe’s gas needs, and when the under-construction South Stream pipeline starts operating, that percentage will increase. As if those developments weren’t enough, yesterday Gazprom offered the highest bid to obtain a stake in the massive Leviathan gas field off Israel’s coast.

Gazprom in control of Europe’s gas, Rosneft in control of its oil. A red hand stretching out from Russia to strangle the supremacy of the West and pave the way for a new world order– one with Russia at the helm.

Russia and China have a tremendous amount of leverage when it comes to energy.  What if they got together with a bunch of oil producing nations in the Middle East and decided to set up a system where oil is traded for gold?  Would not much of the rest of the world go along with such a system?

Of course if that happened the U.S. financial system would crash.  We would no longer be able to export our inflation to the rest of the globe and prices would rise dramatically.  Demand for U.S. government debt would go through the floor and interest rates on that debt and on everything else in our economy would skyrocket.  Economic activity would grind to a standstill and the financial markets would collapse.

And that would just be for starters.

Most Americans simply don’t understand that Russia and China have the power to collapse the U.S. economy by going to a gold for oil system.  All they have to do is pull the trigger.

The other day I wrote an article entitled “Show This To Anyone That Believes That ‘Things Are Getting Better’ In America” which discussed all of the reasons why the U.S. economy is already collapsing.  But as bad as things are now, this is nothing compared to what things will be like when the petrodollar dies.

So pay keen attention to anything in the news about Russia or China suggesting that oil should be traded for gold.  When Russia and China pull the trigger, things will get messy very quickly.

Gold

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