Jewish Preppers?

Some people finding our website may be wondering what is a Prepper and why does it have a religious affiliation? Well the short answer is...A Prepper is the modern day survivalist. It's not (necessarily) a right-wing militiaman preparing for Armageddon in the boondocks of Montana. But better represented by a normal, educated, middle class individual perhaps living in the most urban of cities, preparing themselves physically and mentally for any upcoming disaster, natural or man-made. This could include anything from earthquakes to volcanic eruptions, social unrest to an act of terrorism. Preparations include: food supply, medical supply, weapons supply etc. and the knowledge and skills to use them. Of course, a Jewish Prepper is just a designation for a small niche of the Prepper Community that is of the Jewish Faith. We are non-profit and nonpartisan. Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sesame Street Nature Survival Guy

Although we are almost always serious on this blog, part of survival is keeping a good attitude, so some humor seems to be appropriate. Enjoy!

and last but not least...,95/

American Muslim Extremists: A Growing Threat to Jews (ADL)

American Muslim Extremists: A Growing Threat to Jews


Updated: June 28, 2010

An increasing number of American Muslim extremists have been involved in terrorist plots and conspiracies in the U.S. in which Jews or Jewish institutions have been targeted or been considered for attack since 9/11. Many other American Muslim extremists arrested or convicted of a wide range of terror-related charges have expressed similar hatred of Jews and Israel.

A recent example of this phenomenon is the American convert to Islam who attempted to bomb the federal courthouse in Springfield, Illinois. Michael Finton, who was arrested on September 23, 2009, allegedly told a law enforcement source of his desire to obtain military training and travel to Gaza to fight the Israelis on behalf of the Palestinians. In addition to stating his ambitions to join Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas or Islamic Jihad, Finton purported that an attack against the courthouse would force the U.S. government to curtail its financial support of Israel, and the "big bully behind Israel (the United States) would not be there anymore."

In another recent incident, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad shot two uniformed American soldiers - one of whom was killed - at a military recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Muhammad, an American convert to Islam arrested in June 2009, had "political and religious motives," according to Little Rock police. He reportedly searched for information about Jewish institutions on the Internet and used the Google Maps application to investigate these institutions, as well as a Baptist church, a day-care center, a post office and military recruiting centers in several different cities.

In an interview from prison the week following his arrest, Muhammad warned that "Muslims in this country and others elsewhere are going to attack [the U.S.] for doing those things they did," which he alleged include desecrating the Qur'an and killing Muslims.

The deadly shooting in Arkansas came two weeks after four other Muslim converts, three Americans and one Haitian, allegedly plotted to attack synagogues in the Bronx and to shoot down airplanes at a military base in Newburgh, New York. The men began surveillance of several synagogues and a Jewish Community Center in the Bronx in April 2009. "These were people who were eager to bring death to Jews," Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder said at a court hearing the day after the arrests.

The men reportedly converted to Islam while in prison, reminiscent of a similar plot to attack Jewish and military targets in Los Angeles in 2005.

The threat posed by American Muslim extremists has also extended overseas. In December 2009, U.S. citizen David Coleman Headley was charged for his alleged involvement in the November 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, which killed more than 170 people. In the years leading up to the attacks, Headley allegedly conducted extensive surveillance of the targeted locations, including the Mumbai headquarters of the Chabad Lubavitch movement. Indian news sources have reported that Headley posed as a Jew during a July 2008 visit to the Jewish center, in which six people were tortured and killed during the terrorist attacks four months later.

While Muslim extremists motivated by hatred of Jews and Israel have targeted Jews in the U.S. for many years, an alarming number of post-9/11 plots and conspiracies have involved or been led by American Muslim extremists. Well over 100 American Muslim extremists have been arrested on various terror-related charges since 9/11, ranging from bomb plots to providing material support to terrorists. More than half of them are U.S. born and about a third are converts to Islam.

Many of these American Muslim extremists are fueled by hatred of Jews, Israel and America, and have been influenced, to some degree, by the ideologies of extreme intolerance propagated by terrorist movements overseas.

In some cases they are exposed to jihadist materials on the Internet. In other cases, they are radicalized in their communities by a charismatic leader or recruiter. Several cases illustrate a desire to travel oversees to fight with terrorist groups or provide them with material support such as weapons or funding. Most, however, do not belong to any specific terrorist group or organization and seem to be motivated to commit violent or criminal acts by their own radical interpretations of Islam.

While most of the plots have been foiled by law enforcement, usually at the stage when these extremists need to get explosives, the Muslim extremist threat has become a significant and growing domestic terror threat.

Motivation: Hatred of Jews and Israel

American Muslim extremists fueled by hatred of Jews and Israel have planned a number of terrorist attacks within the United States. Foreign nationals motivated by a similar hatred have also planned attacks against Americans, both Jews and non-Jews alike.

In September 2009, for example, a Jordanian national attempted to detonate explosives at the 60-story Fountain Place building in Dallas, Texas. In prior conversations with an undercover agent, Hosam Maher Husein Smadi allegedly expressed his desire to attack the U.S., in part for its incursions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Smadi has also espoused a hatred of Israel and Jews, calling for the "destruction of the Jews" and seeking to kill the Jews as retribution for Israel's activities in Gaza.

The following sampling illustrates the degree to which American Muslim extremists have targeted or considered attacking Jews or Jewish institutions throughout the U.S. since 9/11, as well as the degree to which hatred of Jews and Israel has motivated those individuals involved in other terror-related activity.

2010 � New Jersey

Two men arrested in June 2010 for allegedly planning to kill American soldiers overseas, participated in rallies organized by Revolution Muslim (RM) and the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS), both New York-based anti-Semitic extremist groups. While it is unclear how closely linked the two men - Mohamed Mahmood Alessa and Carlos Eduardo Almonte - are to the groups, their alleged plan to travel to Somalia to fight with an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist group is consistent with RM ideology and advocacy. During an ITS protest against the Israeli Day Parade in New York in May 2010, Alessa led a chant with the anti-Jewish slogan, �Khaibar, Khaibar ya Yahud, jaish Muhammad sawfa ya�ud,� evoking the Quran�s account of a battle between the Prophet Muhammad and the Jews of the town of Khaibar, which resulted in the subjugation of the Jews of Arabia. In addition, Almonte posted a picture on his Facebook profile of himself at another anti-Israel rally in December 2008, attended by members of ITS and RM, where he is carrying a sign that reads, �Death to All (zionist) Juice.�

2010 � Ohio

An Ohio couple was charged with attempting to provide funds and vehicles for Hezbollah to use against Israel. According to the indictment, Hor and Amera Akl, who both hold dual American and Lebanese citizenship, researched and proposed at least ten different ways to send money and goods to Lebanon for Hezbollah to use �to target Israel.� One method involved shipping pickup trucks and other vehicles to Lebanon that would be used by Hezbollah to transport weapons and rockets to be fired at Israel. The couple was arrested in June, shortly after purchasing a vehicle and preparing to conceal funds inside it to send to Hezbollah.

2009 � Illinois

A U.S. citizen from Illinois who expressed anger at the United States for supporting Israel was arrested for attempting to bomb the federal courthouse in Springfield. According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint, Michael Finton told a law enforcement source of his desire to obtain military training and travel to Gaza to fight the Israelis on behalf of the Palestinians. Finton, who allegedly stated ambitions to join Palestinian terrorist organizations like Hamas or Islamic Jihad, projected that an attack on American soil would force the U.S. government to curtail its financial support of Israel, and the "big bully behind Israel (the United States) would not be there anymore."

2009 � North Carolina

Six American citizens from North Carolina and a permanent U.S. resident arrested for engaging in weapons training and conspiring to carry out "violent jihad" overseas may have been motivated by hatred of Israel. According to initial reports, the group raised money and trained for possible terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv, Israel. Several of the men returned to the U.S. from Tel Aviv in June 2007 after "having failed in their attempt to engage in violent jihad," according to the indictment. The Facebook profile of one of the suspects includes a quote that reads, "I am not going to give 1 inch of Palestine to the Jews."

2009 � Arkansas

Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, the American Muslim convert who shot two uniformed American soldiers - one of whom was killed - at a military recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas, reportedly searched for information about Jewish institutions on the Internet. He used the Google Maps application to investigate these Jewish institutions, as well as a Baptist church, a day-care center, a post office and other military recruiting centers in several different cities.

2009 � New York

Four Muslim converts, three American and one Haitian, were arrested for an alleged plot to attack two synagogues in the Bronx and to shoot down planes at a military base in Newburgh, New York. The men allegedly began surveillance of several synagogues and a Jewish Community Center in the Bronx in April 2009. "These were people who were eager to bring death to Jews," Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric Snyder said at a court hearing the day after the arrests.

2007 � New Jersey

Five Muslim immigrants, including one naturalized U.S. citizen, conspired to kill American soldiers at New Jersey's Fort Dix army base. "Anti-Zionist hatred is one of the reasons, if not the primary reason why they planned to attack Ft. Dix," according to court documents. The men were motivated by "their desire to 'avenge' the supposed crimes of Zionism," according to the Department of Justice. One of the men, Mohamad Ibrahim Shnewer, an American citizen who was born in Jordan, told an undercover informant that his first choice would have been to kill Jews in Israel, "I love to kill Jews. I tell you this, in all honesty, it is a dream of mine."

2007 � New York

A group of men plotted to attack John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), in part because they wanted to take revenge on the U.S. for its diplomatic relationship with Israel. The men, led by a naturalized U.S. citizen from Guyana named Russell Defreitas, planned to plant explosives and blow up the airport's major jet-fuel supply tanks and pipeline. Defreitas, who previously worked as a cargo handler at JFK, reportedly was motivated to carry out the plot after seeing missiles loaded onto a plane he believed was headed for Israel. Defreitas told an informant that "Muslims also incur the wrath of the world while Jews get a pass," and that he "wanted to do something to get those bastards," according to court documents. Defreitas also suggested targeting a nearby Jewish school or a predominately Jewish neighborhood. The men reportedly obtained satellite photographs of JFK via the Internet and conducted video and photo surveillance of the airport on several occasions in January 2007.

2006 � Illinois

Derrick Shareef, an American Muslim convert who planned to set off grenades in an Illinois shopping mall in 2006, also discussed attacking local government facilities as well as Jewish targets with an undercover informant. During secretly recorded conversations with the informant, Shareef said he found synagogues on MapQuest and planned to grab Jews and "shank one or two of them" as they entered the synagogue on a Saturday morning. "I probably would have eventually ended up just stabbing the [expletive] outta some Jews or something," Shareef told the informant. Shareef also said that he became interested in attacking Jews during the 2006 Lebanon war, according to court documents.

2006 � Washington

Naveed Afzal Haq, a U.S. citizen of Pakistani descent, shot and killed one woman and wounded five others at the Jewish Federation building in Seattle in July 2006. Haq, who allegedly forced his way through a security door by holding a gun to a 13-year-old girl's head, told Federation staff members that he was "a Muslim-American" who was "angry at Israel." During the assault, Haq said, "These are Jews and I'm tired of getting pushed around and our people getting pushed around by the situation in the Middle East," according to court records. Haq chose his target after searching on the Internet for Jewish organizations, according to Seattle police.

2005 � California

A group of California men planned attacks against Jewish institutions and U.S. military locations in Los Angeles during Yom Kippor in retaliation for the U.S. and Israeli governments' policies towards Muslims. The group planned to attack several synagogues, the Israeli consulate, the National Guard and U.S. military bases and recruiting offices. The men also gathered information via the Internet on El Al and planned to target the airline's ticket counter at Los Angeles International Airport. The leader of the group, Kevin James, converted to Islam in prison and urged other inmates to target the Jews and the U.S. and Israeli governments.

2005 � California

Hamid Hayat, a U.S. citizen from Lodi, California, attended terrorist training camps in Pakistan between 2000 and 2004. An undercover informant recorded Hayat talking about Daniel Pearl, a Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and murdered by Islamic extremists in 2002. "They killed him. So I'm pleased about that," Hayat said. "They cut him into pieces and sent him back. That was a good job they did. Now they can't send one Jewish person to Pakistan."

2004 � New York

James Elshafay, a U.S. citizen from Staten Island, New York, plotted to bomb New York's Herald Square subway station in 2004 with Shawar Matin Siraj, a Pakistani who entered the U.S. illegally in the late 1990s. In secretly recorded conversations by an undercover informant, Elshafay talked about his hatred of "Zionists" and his solidarity with the Palestinians, according to court documents. The men also watched jihadi videos at the bookstore where Siraj worked, and Siraj gave Elshafay books that claimed the Jews were conspiring to take over the world's economy.

2004 � Virginia

Ali al-Timimi, a U.S. citizen who frequently gave anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-Western lectures at the Dar al-Arqam mosque in Falls Church, Virginia, inspired a group of men dubbed the "Virginia Jihad Network" to attend terrorist training camps in Pakistan. In one such sermon, al-Timimi declared that the 2003 explosion of the Columbia space shuttle foreshadowed the ultimate destruction of the West and Israel, according to the indictment. American Muslim convert Randall Todd Royer, who was influenced by al-Timimi, set up an Internet newsletter for the Pakistan-based Islamic terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba while attending one of the training camps in Pakistan. Royer's newsletter contained several anti-Semitic sections, including an article entitled "Who is Ruling the USA Today" and a section on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

2003 � Virginia

Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, a U.S. citizen raised in Virginia, was extradited from Saudi Arabia to the United States after he told Saudi authorities that his "hatred of the United States for support of Israel against the Palestinian people" caused him to join Al Qaeda. While attending college in Saudi Arabia, Ali met with former Al Qaeda leader Zubayr Al Rimi between September 2002 and June 2003 to discuss plans to assassinate President George W. Bush. Ali also planned to hijack and destroy civilian airliners and researched nuclear power facilities in the U.S. at the behest of an Al Qaeda operative, according to the Department of Justice. After his arrest, U.S. authorities found audio tapes in Arabic at Ali's home in Virginia that promoted the killing of the Jews and a Muslim battle against Christians and Jews.

2002 � Florida

Shueyb Mossa Jokhan, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Trinidad, and Imran Mandhai, a Pakistani, plotted to bomb several targets in Southern Florida in 2002, including Jewish-owned businesses in Weston, the Israeli Consulate in Miami, Jewish community centers in Aventura and Broward County, electrical power stations in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, the National Guard Armory in Hollywood and Mount Rushmore. The men planned to set off a series of explosives that would cause massive power blackouts in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, which they hoped would result in lootings and chaos in Southern Florida. Jokhan and Mandhai also planned to demand the U.S. to stop sending aid to Israel, free Muslims from U.S. jails and change U.S. policy on the Middle East.

2002 � Los Angeles

Hesham Mohamed Hadayet, a U.S. permanent resident, opened fire on an El Al ticket counter at the Los Angeles International Airport on July 4, 2002. Hadayet, whose support for the Palestinian cause had reportedly become increasingly militant in years leading up to the attack, killed two Jewish Israelis at the El Al ticket counter and injured four others before being killed by an airline security officer. The FBI ruled the incident a terrorist attack related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

2002 � Washington

Earnest James Ujaama, an American Muslim convert who tried to establish a terrorist training camp in Bly, Oregon, made anti-Semitic speeches labeling the Jews as "the enemy." In the mid-1990s, Ujaama moved to London and attended Finsbury Park mosque, which was headed by radical Islamic cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri and frequented by Richard Reid, the so-called "shoe bomber," and Zacarias Moussaui. Ujaama, a computer technician, designed and maintained al-Masri's militant Islamic Web site. A video made prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks shows Ujaama giving a speech with al-Masri at the Finsbury Park mosque, stating: "There are many Muslims who have forgotten that the Jews and Christians are our enemies�.today the crusade is against Islam and they [sic] are led by the Jews because they are misguided�and so they are used in Israel's long awaited campaign to destroy Islam and to dominate the world."

2002 � New York

Sahim Alwan, from Lackawanna, New York, was one of six U.S. citizens that attended an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. After his arrest, authorities reportedly found several cassette tapes at Alwan's home that called for fighting against the "West" and referred to Presidents Clinton and Bush as "donkeys for the Jews to ride." Another member of the group, Mukhtar al-Bakri, had in his residence a cassette tape asking "Allah to give Jews and their enablers [U.S.] a black day," according to investigators.

2001 � Oregon

In October 2001, seven people dubbed the "Portland Seven" were charged with trying to aid the Taliban and other crimes. One member of the group, Patrice Lumumba Ford, a U.S. citizen, came to the attention of authorities after he sent a series of anti-Semitic emails to the mayor's office in Portland. Another member, Jeffrey Leon Battle, was recorded saying that he considered killing Jews at a synagogue or a Jewish school in Portland. According to court documents, Battle "discussed having considered, but ultimately rejected, committing terrorist acts in the U.S.-specifically, mass murder at a Jewish synagogue or school." Ahmed Ibrahim Bilal, a third member of the "Portland Seven", referred to Jews as "lampshades," a Holocaust reference, in recorded conversations.

Pre-9/11 Activity

Muslim extremists motivated by hatred of Jews and Israel have targeted Jews and Jewish institutions in the U.S. for many years. Unlike many post-9/11 plots and conspiracies, which have involved or been led by American Muslim extremists, the role of Americans in a majority of the plots prior to 9/11 was significantly smaller.

For example, in July 1997, Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer, a Palestinian living in the U.S. illegally, plotted to blow up a subway station in Brooklyn because he wanted to "kill as many Jews as possible." Police raiding Abu Mezer's apartment days before the planned attack found a fully-rigged pipe bomb, an unfinished bomb and a letter threatening to "burn the Jews." He chose the Atlantic Avenue station as his target because there are "a lot of Jews who ride that train." Abu Mezer later testified that he planned to send the letter to the FBI about the U.S.'s support for Israel. According to court documents, Abu Mezer stated that he was "taking the path of Jihad against Israel and the United States." Abu Mezer was sentenced to life in prison in 1999.

Many pre-911 incidents were partially motivated by anti-Semitism and planned or carried out primarily by foreign nationals. For example:

* In 1997, Ali Abu Kamal, a Palestinian, engaged in a shooting spree atop the Empire State Building, killing one person and injuring several others before killing himself. Kamal reportedly carried a note in his pocket indicating the attack was meant to vent his anger at the U.S. for using Israel as an "instrument" against the Palestinian people.

* In 1994, Rashid Baza, a Lebanese cab driver, opened fire at a van carrying 15 Hasidic students on the Brooklyn Bridge, killing a 16-year-old boy. After his arrest, authorities found anti-Jewish literature in his house.

* In 1993, a car bombing at Tower One of the World Trade Center in New York City killed six people and wounded more than 1,000 others. Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the attack, first planned to bomb Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but settled on the World Trade Center because "the majority of people who work in the World Trade Center are Jews," according to Abdul Rahman Yasin, a co-conspirator in the attack.

* In 1993, Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, an Egyptian cleric and alleged leader of the terrorist group Gama'a al-Islamiyya, led a plot to bomb five major landmarks in New York, including the United Nations Headquarters, the Lincoln Tunnel, the Holland Tunnel, the George Washington Bridge and the FBI office in New York. In addition, he plotted to attack New York's diamond district, an area largely populated by Jews, which according to one of his co-defendants would be like "hitting Israel itself."

* In 1993, a Pakistani national murdered two CIA employees and wounded three others near the entrance of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, alleging that the "government of the United States has caused enormous damage to Muslims in the Middle East by supporting Israel and imposing economic sanctions against Islamic countries."

Even the 9/11 attacks were motivated, in part, by anti-Semitism. Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers, and Ramzi Binalshibh, a key planner of the attacks, considered New York City the center of a global Jewish conspiracy. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the hijackings, had previously planned several attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets.

Although post-911 plots and conspiracies in the U.S. are increasingly led by or involve American Muslim extremists, the threat from foreign nationals in the U.S. remains. For example, Ahmed Hassan Al-Uqaily, an Iraqi, purchased machine guns and grenades from an undercover agent to target two Jewish facilities in the Nashville area in 2004. Al-Uqaily had expressed animosity toward Jews and identified two Jewish facilities that he knew about, according to his plea agreement.

Any effort to combat the domestic terrorist threat posed by Muslim extremism must take into account both the threat from foreign nationals as well as the growing participation of American citizens motivated by hatred of Jews, Israel and America.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thoughtful Food Storage: Fruit

Posted by thesurvivalmom on Jun 17, 2010

Guest post by Debbie Cee.

Feeding and storing food for six takes a fair amount of space and a lot of thought. Since four of us are still growing, nutrition is a top priority for me. I organize my food storage by food groups, with each group presenting different challenges. This post is about how I am handling fruit.
fruit Thoughtful Food Storage: Fruit

Fruit is important for its vitamin C, which our bodies cannot make, for its fiber and even for its sweet taste. Life seems a little easier with sweets, doesn’t it? Hand a piece of fruit or some raisins to a child, and you have a happy child. Jam on your toast is appreciated by all ages. Fruit can be both a treat and an energy boost. For all these reasons, I have a good sized stock of fruit.

You can store canned, frozen, dehydrated or freeze dried fruit, and then, of course, there is jam. I have ended up with a bit of each in my stores. Between having six to feed and having a growing cooking skill, I go for a variety of foods whenever possible.

I have a large shelf in my basement filled with canned fruit in fruit juice and applesauce. In my climate controlled basement in the Northeast, cans and jars are good for several years. Although I have to be space conscious, I’m willing to use cans and jars because the juice is also food. There is no wasted liquid; every bit is Vitamin C laden goodness.

I also have about twenty jars of homemade jam. We go to u-pick places and pick away. My kids have a huge amount of fun, and I get fresh picked fruit to work with. I have made strawberry, raspberry, blueberry and cherry jams so far. I consider jam a very good storage item. High calorie and sweet, mine is made within two days of getting picked. If I didn’t make it, I’d be buying jam from the stores, and paying a good amount of money to get jam with only fruit, sugar and pectin in it.

Making jam is surprisingly easy and lots of fun. You boil the fruit and sugar together, add a bit of pectin, and then pour it into jars. The jars get boiled in a water bath pot and there you are. All home canning supplies can be purchased in one quick trip to Wal-Mart. If you live near a u-pick place with good prices, look into it. Your jam will taste better than Smucker’s. My jam does, and I’ve only been making it for two years.

The fruit we pick also gets frozen and dehydrated. Freezers are great for storing food. Just remember to not count on them completely. If the power goes out, you will have to work at it to keep food frozen. I keep some old blankets near my freezer, just in case. Wrapping the freezer with blankets if the power goes out will give you more time before your food starts to thaw. A battery powered temperature alarm for your freezer is also money well spent. I got one from Cabella’s for about $15.
jam Thoughtful Food Storage: Fruit

Raisins, craisins, dates and prunes will store for a good six months unless packaged for longer-term storage. Check the expiration date to be sure you are buying fairly new product. A handful of these dried fruits will give you a good energy boost. They make a bowl of oatmeal even more delicious, and don’t forget, they are good in cookies.

I have some freeze dried fruit that I bought on sale, and some commercially dehydrated apples waiting to go into a bucket. Watch for sales on long-term storage foods. 10% off is a very good deal for freeze dried foods nowadays. Long term storage is very convenient in that you buy it, stash it in a corner and don’t have to worry about it again. I work much more on my weekly groceries and my medium range larder stores then I ever have to for long-term storage.

Having a variety of foods is always a good idea. I seldom have home dehydrated fruit around. It seems to disappear almost as quickly as I make it. If you don’t have children hovering over your dehydrator, go for it. Just remember the fruit is probably not good for more than six months. Use it in your medium range stores

Another source of fruit is home-grown. I planted two apple trees in our yard two years ago; I’m seeing small apples on them now. Fruit trees and berry bushes give you very good value for their price and the space they take. It used to be very common for yards to have fruit trees and berry bushes.

With all the choices for fruits, you can have an easy time picking what you like best. I strongly recommend not having just cans or just dehydrated or just freeze dried. Having both light weight and heavy fruit could make packing for a bug out situation much easier, for example. Having canned fruit as part of your rotating stocks could make a loss of income easier on your children if fresh fruit ever became too expensive. They will already be accustomed to canned fruit and not be stressing about new food items. An apple tree or strawberry patch in your yard is a little bit of self reliance out there, making you smile and feel powerful as it grows food for you.

This post sponsored by Ready Made Resources.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US

Published on Energy Bulletin (

Closing the 'Collapse Gap': the USSR was better prepared for collapse than the US
Published Mon, 12/04/2006 - 08:00
by Energy Bulletin

Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. I am not an expert or a scholar or an activist. I am more of an eye-witness. I watched the Soviet Union collapse, and I have tried to put my observations into a concise message. I will leave it up to you to decide just how urgent a message it is.

My talk tonight is about the lack of collapse-preparedness here in the United States. I will compare it with the situation in the Soviet Union, prior to its collapse. The rhetorical device I am going to use is the "Collapse Gap" – to go along with the Nuclear Gap, and the Space Gap, and various other superpower gaps that were fashionable during the Cold War.

Slide [2] The subject of economic collapse is generally a sad one. But I am an optimistic, cheerful sort of person, and I believe that, with a bit of preparation, such events can be taken in stride. As you can probably surmise, I am actually rather keen on observing economic collapses. Perhaps when I am really old, all collapses will start looking the same to me, but I am not at that point yet.

And this next one certainly has me intrigued. From what I've seen and read, it seems that there is a fair chance that the U.S. economy will collapse sometime within the foreseeable future. It also would seem that we won't be particularly well-prepared for it. As things stand, the U.S. economy is poised to perform something like a disappearing act. And so I am eager to put my observations of the Soviet collapse to good use.

Slide [3] I anticipate that some people will react rather badly to having their country compared to the USSR. I would like to assure you that the Soviet people would have reacted similarly, had the United States collapsed first. Feelings aside, here are two 20th century superpowers, who wanted more or less the same things – things like technological progress, economic growth, full employment, and world domination – but they disagreed about the methods. And they obtained similar results – each had a good run, intimidated the whole planet, and kept the other scared. Each eventually went bankrupt.

Slide [4] The USA and the USSR were evenly matched in many categories, but let me just mention four.

The Soviet manned space program is alive and well under Russian management, and now offers first-ever space charters. The Americans have been hitching rides on the Soyuz while their remaining spaceships sit in the shop.

The arms race has not produced a clear winner, and that is excellent news, because Mutual Assured Destruction remains in effect. Russia still has more nuclear warheads than the US, and has supersonic cruise missile technology that can penetrate any missile shield, especially a nonexistent one.

The Jails Race once showed the Soviets with a decisive lead, thanks to their innovative GULAG program. But they gradually fell behind, and in the end the Jails Race has been won by the Americans, with the highest percentage of people in jail ever.

The Hated Evil Empire Race is also finally being won by the Americans. It's easy now that they don't have anyone to compete against.

Slide [5] Continuing with our list of superpower similarities, many of the problems that sunk the Soviet Union are now endangering the United States as well. Such as a huge, well-equipped, very expensive military, with no clear mission, bogged down in fighting Muslim insurgents. Such as energy shortfalls linked to peaking oil production. Such as a persistently unfavorable trade balance, resulting in runaway foreign debt. Add to that a delusional self-image, an inflexible ideology, and an unresponsive political system.

Slide [6] An economic collapse is amazing to observe, and very interesting if described accurately and in detail. A general description tends to fall short of the mark, but let me try. An economic arrangement can continue for quite some time after it becomes untenable, through sheer inertia. But at some point a tide of broken promises and invalidated assumptions sweeps it all out to sea. One such untenable arrangement rests on the notion that it is possible to perpetually borrow more and more money from abroad, to pay for more and more energy imports, while the price of these imports continues to double every few years. Free money with which to buy energy equals free energy, and free energy does not occur in nature. This must therefore be a transient condition. When the flow of energy snaps back toward equilibrium, much of the US economy will be forced to shut down.

Slide [7] I've described what happened to Russia in some detail in one of my articles, which is available on I don't see why what happens to the United States should be entirely dissimilar, at least in general terms. The specifics will be different, and we will get to them in a moment. We should certainly expect shortages of fuel, food, medicine, and countless consumer items, outages of electricity, gas, and water, breakdowns in transportation systems and other infrastructure, hyperinflation, widespread shutdowns and mass layoffs, along with a lot of despair, confusion, violence, and lawlessness. We definitely should not expect any grand rescue plans, innovative technology programs, or miracles of social cohesion.

Slide [8] When faced with such developments, some people are quick to realize what it is they have to do to survive, and start doing these things, generally without anyone's permission. A sort of economy emerges, completely informal, and often semi-criminal. It revolves around liquidating, and recycling, the remains of the old economy. It is based on direct access to resources, and the threat of force, rather than ownership or legal authority. People who have a problem with this way of doing things, quickly find themselves out of the game.

These are the generalities. Now let's look at some specifics.

Slide [9] One important element of collapse-preparedness is making sure that you don't need a functioning economy to keep a roof over your head. In the Soviet Union, all housing belonged to the government, which made it available directly to the people. Since all housing was also built by the government, it was only built in places that the government could service using public transportation. After the collapse, almost everyone managed to keep their place.

In the United States, very few people own their place of residence free and clear, and even they need an income to pay real estate taxes. People without an income face homelessness. When the economy collapses, very few people will continue to have an income, so homelessness will become rampant. Add to that the car-dependent nature of most suburbs, and what you will get is mass migrations of homeless people toward city centers.

Slide [10] Soviet public transportation was more or less all there was, but there was plenty of it. There were also a few private cars, but so few that gasoline rationing and shortages were mostly inconsequential. All of this public infrastructure was designed to be almost infinitely maintainable, and continued to run even as the rest of the economy collapsed.

The population of the United States is almost entirely car-dependent, and relies on markets that control oil import, refining, and distribution. They also rely on continuous public investment in road construction and repair. The cars themselves require a steady stream of imported parts, and are not designed to last very long. When these intricately interconnected systems stop functioning, much of the population will find itself stranded.

Slide [11] Economic collapse affects public sector employment almost as much as private sector employment, eventually. Because government bureaucracies tend to be slow to act, they collapse more slowly. Also, because state-owned enterprises tend to be inefficient, and stockpile inventory, there is plenty of it left over, for the employees to take home, and use in barter. Most Soviet employment was in the public sector, and this gave people some time to think of what to do next.

Private enterprises tend to be much more efficient at many things. Such laying off their people, shutting their doors, and liquidating their assets. Since most employment in the United States is in the private sector, we should expect the transition to permanent unemployment to be quite abrupt for most people.

Slide [12] When confronting hardship, people usually fall back on their families for support. The Soviet Union experienced chronic housing shortages, which often resulted in three generations living together under one roof. This didn't make them happy, but at least they were used to each other. The usual expectation was that they would stick it out together, come what may.

In the United States, families tend to be atomized, spread out over several states. They sometimes have trouble tolerating each other when they come together for Thanksgiving, or Christmas, even during the best of times. They might find it difficult to get along, in bad times. There is already too much loneliness in this country, and I doubt that economic collapse will cure it.

Slide [13] To keep evil at bay, Americans require money. In an economic collapse, there is usually hyperinflation, which wipes out savings. There is also rampant unemployment, which wipes out incomes. The result is a population that is largely penniless.

In the Soviet Union, very little could be obtained for money. It was treated as tokens rather than as wealth, and was shared among friends. Many things – housing and transportation among them – were either free or almost free.

Slide [14] Soviet consumer products were always an object of derision – refrigerators that kept the house warm – and the food, and so on. You'd be lucky if you got one at all, and it would be up to you to make it work once you got it home. But once you got it to work, it would become a priceless family heirloom, handed down from generation to generation, sturdy, and almost infinitely maintainable.

In the United States, you often hear that something "is not worth fixing." This is enough to make a Russian see red. I once heard of an elderly Russian who became irate when a hardware store in Boston wouldn't sell him replacement bedsprings: "People are throwing away perfectly good mattresses, how am I supposed to fix them?"

Economic collapse tends to shut down both local production and imports, and so it is vitally important that anything you own wears out slowly, and that you can fix it yourself if it breaks. Soviet-made stuff generally wore incredibly hard. The Chinese-made stuff you can get around here – much less so.

Slide [15] The Soviet agricultural sector was notoriously inefficient. Many people grew and gathered their own food even in relatively prosperous times. There were food warehouses in every city, stocked according to a government allocation scheme. There were very few restaurants, and most families cooked and ate at home. Shopping was rather labor-intensive, and involved carrying heavy loads. Sometimes it resembled hunting – stalking that elusive piece of meat lurking behind some store counter. So the people were well-prepared for what came next.

In the United States, most people get their food from a supermarket, which is supplied from far away using refrigerated diesel trucks. Many people don't even bother to shop and just eat fast food. When people do cook, they rarely cook from scratch. This is all very unhealthy, and the effect on the nation's girth, is visible, clear across the parking lot. A lot of the people, who just waddle to and from their cars, seem unprepared for what comes next. If they suddenly had to start living like the Russians, they would blow out their knees.

Slide [16] The Soviet government threw resources at immunization programs, infectious disease control, and basic care. It directly operated a system of state-owned clinics, hospitals, and sanatoriums. People with fatal ailments or chronic conditions often had reason to complain, and had to pay for private care – if they had the money.

In the United States, medicine is for profit. People seems to think nothing of this fact. There are really very few fields of endeavor to which Americans would deny the profit motive. The problem is, once the economy is removed, so is the profit, along with the services it once helped to motivate.

Slide [17] The Soviet education system was generally quite excellent. It produced an overwhelmingly literate population and many great specialists. The education was free at all levels, but higher education sometimes paid a stipend, and often provided room and board. The educational system held together quite well after the economy collapsed. The problem was that the graduates had no jobs to look forward to upon graduation. Many of them lost their way.

The higher education system in the United States is good at many things – government and industrial research, team sports, vocational training... Primary and secondary education fails to achieve in 12 years what Soviet schools generally achieved in 8. The massive scale and expense of maintaining these institutions is likely to prove too much for the post-collapse environment. Illiteracy is already a problem in the United States, and we should expect it to get a lot worse.

Slide [18] The Soviet Union did not need to import energy. The production and distribution system faltered, but never collapsed. Price controls kept the lights on even as hyperinflation raged.

The term "market failure" seems to fit the energy situation in the United States. Free markets develop some pernicious characteristics when there are shortages of key commodities. During World War II, the United States government understood this, and successfully rationed many things, from gasoline to bicycle parts. But that was a long time ago. Since then, the inviolability of free markets has become an article of faith.

Slide [19] My conclusion is that the Soviet Union was much better-prepared for economic collapse than the United States is.

I have left out two important superpower asymmetries, because they don't have anything to do with collapse-preparedness. Some countries are simply luckier than others. But I will mention them, for the sake of completeness.

In terms of racial and ethnic composition, the United States resembles Yugoslavia more than it resembles Russia, so we shouldn't expect it to be as peaceful as Russia was, following the collapse. Ethnically mixed societies are fragile and have a tendency to explode.

In terms of religion, the Soviet Union was relatively free of apocalyptic doomsday cults. Very few people there wished for a planet-sized atomic fireball to herald the second coming of their savior. This was indeed a blessing.

Slide [20] One area in which I cannot discern any Collapse Gap is national politics. The ideologies may be different, but the blind adherence to them couldn't be more similar.

It is certainly more fun to watch two Capitalist parties go at each other than just having the one Communist party to vote for. The things they fight over in public are generally symbolic little tokens of social policy, chosen for ease of public posturing. The Communist party offered just one bitter pill. The two Capitalist parties offer a choice of two placebos. The latest innovation is the photo finish election, where each party buys 50% of the vote, and the result is pulled out of statistical noise, like a rabbit out of a hat.

The American way of dealing with dissent and with protest is certainly more advanced: why imprison dissidents when you can just let them shout into the wind to their heart's content?

The American approach to bookkeeping is more subtle and nuanced than the Soviet. Why make a state secret of some statistic, when you can just distort it, in obscure ways? Here's a simple example: inflation is "controlled" by substituting hamburger for steak, in order to minimize increases to Social Security payments.

Slide [21] Many people expend a lot of energy protesting against their irresponsible, unresponsive government. It seems like a terrible waste of time, considering how ineffectual their protests are. Is it enough of a consolation for them to be able to read about their efforts in the foreign press? I think that they would feel better if they tuned out the politicians, the way the politicians tune them out. It's as easy as turning off the television set. If they try it, they will probably observe that nothing about their lives has changed, nothing at all, except maybe their mood has improved. They might also find that they have more time and energy to devote to more important things.

Slide [22] I will now sketch out some approaches, realistic and otherwise, to closing the Collapse Gap. My little list of approaches might seem a bit glib, but keep in mind that this is a very difficult problem. In fact, it's important to keep in mind that not all problems have solutions. I can promise you that we will not solve this problem tonight. What I will try to do is to shed some light on it from several angles.

Slide [23] Many people rail against the unresponsiveness and irresponsibility of the government. They often say things like "What is needed is..." plus the name of some big, successful government project from the glorious past – the Marshall Plan, the Manhattan Project, the Apollo program. But there is nothing in the history books about a government preparing for collapse. Gorbachev's "Perestroika" is an example of a government trying to avert or delay collapse. It probably helped speed it along.

Slide [24] There are some things that I would like the government to take care of in preparation for collapse. I am particularly concerned about all the radioactive and toxic installations, stockpiles, and dumps. Future generations are unlikely to able to control them, especially if global warming puts them underwater. There is enough of this muck sitting around to kill off most of us. I am also worried about soldiers getting stranded overseas – abandoning one's soldiers is among the most shameful things a country can do. Overseas military bases should be dismantled, and the troops repatriated. I'd like to see the huge prison population whittled away in a controlled manner, ahead of time, instead of in a chaotic general amnesty. Lastly, I think that this farce with debts that will never be repaid, has gone on long enough. Wiping the slate clean will give society time to readjust. So, you see, I am not asking for any miracles. Although, if any of these things do get done, I would consider it a miracle.

Slide [25] A private sector solution is not impossible; just very, very unlikely. Certain Soviet state enterprises were basically states within states. They controlled what amounted to an entire economic system, and could go on even without the larger economy. They kept to this arrangement even after they were privatized. They drove Western management consultants mad, with their endless kindergartens, retirement homes, laundries, and free clinics. These weren't part of their core competency, you see. They needed to divest and to streamline their operations. The Western management gurus overlooked the most important thing: the core competency of these enterprises lay in their ability to survive economic collapse. Maybe the young geniuses at Google can wrap their heads around this one, but I doubt that their stockholders will.

Slide [26] It's important to understand that the Soviet Union achieved collapse-preparedness inadvertently, and not because of the success of some crash program. Economic collapse has a way of turning economic negatives into positives. The last thing we want is a perfectly functioning, growing, prosperous economy that suddenly collapses one day, and leaves everybody in the lurch. It is not necessary for us to embrace the tenets of command economy and central planning to match the Soviet lackluster performance in this area. We have our own methods, that are working almost as well. I call them "boondoggles." They are solutions to problems that cause more problems than they solve.

Just look around you, and you will see boondoggles sprouting up everywhere, in every field of endeavor: we have military boondoggles like Iraq, financial boondoggles like the doomed retirement system, medical boondoggles like private health insurance, legal boondoggles like the intellectual property system. The combined weight of all these boondoggles is slowly but surely pushing us all down. If it pushes us down far enough, then economic collapse, when it arrives, will be like falling out of a ground floor window. We just have to help this process along, or at least not interfere with it. So if somebody comes to you and says "I want to make a boondoggle that runs on hydrogen" – by all means encourage him! It's not as good as a boondoggle that burns money directly, but it's a step in the right direction.

Slide [27] Certain types of mainstream economic behavior are not prudent on a personal level, and are also counterproductive to bridging the Collapse Gap. Any behavior that might result in continued economic growth and prosperity is counterproductive: the higher you jump, the harder you land. It is traumatic to go from having a big retirement fund to having no retirement fund because of a market crash. It is also traumatic to go from a high income to little or no income. If, on top of that, you have kept yourself incredibly busy, and suddenly have nothing to do, then you will really be in rough shape.

Economic collapse is about the worst possible time for someone to suffer a nervous breakdown, yet this is what often happens. The people who are most at risk psychologically are successful middle-aged men. When their career is suddenly over, their savings are gone, and their property worthless, much of their sense of self-worth is gone as well. They tend to drink themselves to death and commit suicide in disproportionate numbers. Since they tend to be the most experienced and capable people, this is a staggering loss to society.

If the economy, and your place within it, is really important to you, you will be really hurt when it goes away. You can cultivate an attitude of studied indifference, but it has to be more than just a conceit. You have to develop the lifestyle and the habits and the physical stamina to back it up. It takes a lot of creativity and effort to put together a fulfilling existence on the margins of society. After the collapse, these margins may turn out to be some of the best places to live.

Slide [28] I hope that I didn't make it sound as if the Soviet collapse was a walk in the park, because it was really quite awful in many ways. The point that I do want to stress is that when this economy collapses, it is bound to be much worse. Another point I would like to stress is that collapse here is likely to be permanent. The factors that allowed Russia and the other former Soviet republics to recover are not present here.

In spite of all this, I believe that in every age and circumstance, people can sometimes find not just a means and a reason to survive, but enlightenment, fulfillment, and freedom. If we can find them even after the economy collapses, then why not start looking for them now?

Thank you.
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Monday, June 14, 2010

Undercurrent of Anti-Semetism in America

I cannot help but create this posting relating to current events which sheds some light on a deeply disturbing phenomenon in the United States. The undercurrent of anti-semitism that has been unleashed due to the recent Flotilla attack in Israel and the firing of Helen Thomas over a statement made to Rabbi David Nesenoff should not be overlooked. Here is some information for those that care. (what we do with it is the real question!)


Monday, June 7, 2010

NASA Warns Of Solar Storm; May Wreak Havoc On GPS, Air Travel, Power Grids

NASA Warns Of Solar Storm; May Wreak Havoc On GPS, Air Travel, Power Grids
(Monday, June 7th, 2010)

Earth and space are about to come into contact in a way that’s new to human history. To make preparations, authorities in Washington DC are holding a meeting: The Space Weather Enterprise Forum at the National Press Club on June 8th.

Richard Fisher, head of NASA’s Heliophysics Division, explains what it’s all about:

“The sun is waking up from a deep slumber, and in the next few years we expect to see much higher levels of solar activity. At the same time, our technological society has developed an unprecedented sensitivity to solar storms. The intersection of these two issues is what we’re getting together to discuss.”
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The National Academy of Sciences framed the problem two years ago in a landmark report entitled “Severe Space Weather Events—Societal and Economic Impacts.” It noted how people of the 21st-century rely on high-tech systems for the basics of daily life. Smart power grids, GPS navigation, air travel, financial services and emergency radio communications can all be knocked out by intense solar activity. A century-class solar storm, the Academy warned, could cause twenty times more economic damage than Hurricane Katrina.

Much of the damage can be mitigated if managers know a storm is coming. Putting satellites in ’safe mode’ and disconnecting transformers can protect these assets from damaging electrical surges. Preventative action, however, requires accurate forecasting—a job that has been assigned to NOAA.

“Space weather forecasting is still in its infancy, but we’re making rapid progress,” says Thomas Bogdan, director of NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Bogdan sees the collaboration between NASA and NOAA as key. “NASA’s fleet of heliophysics research spacecraft provides us with up-to-the-minute information about what’s happening on the sun. They are an important complement to our own GOES and POES satellites, which focus more on the near-Earth environment.”

Among dozens of NASA spacecraft, he notes three of special significance: STEREO, SDO and ACE.

STEREO (Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory) is a pair of spacecraft stationed on opposite sides of the sun with a combined view of 90% of the stellar surface. In the past, active sunspots could hide out on the sun’s farside, invisible from Earth, and then suddenly emerge over the limb spitting flares and CMEs. STEREO makes such surprise attacks impossible.

SDO (the Solar Dynamics Observatory) is the newest addition to NASA’s fleet. Just launched in February, it is able to photograph solar active regions with unprecedented spectral, temporal and spatial resolution. Researchers can now study eruptions in exquisite detail, raising hopes that they will learn how flares work and how to predict them. SDO also monitors the sun’s extreme UV output, which controls the response of Earth’s atmosphere to solar variability.

Bogdan’s favorite NASA satellite, however, is an old one: the Advanced Composition Explorer (ACE) launched in 1997. “Where would we be without it?” he wonders. ACE is a solar wind monitor. It sits upstream between the sun and Earth, detecting solar wind gusts, billion-ton CMEs, and radiation storms as much as 30 minutes before they hit our planet.

“ACE is our best early warning system,” says Bogdan. “It allows us to notify utility and satellite operators when a storm is about to hit.”

NASA spacecraft were not originally intended for operational forecasting—”but it turns out that our data have practical economic and civil uses,” notes Fisher. “This is a good example of space science supporting modern society.”

2010 marks the 4th year in a row that policymakers, researchers, legislators and reporters have gathered in Washington DC to share ideas about space weather. This year, forum organizers plan to sharpen the focus on critical infrastructure protection. The ultimate goal is to improve the nation’s ability to prepare, mitigate, and respond to potentially devastating space weather events.

“I believe we’re on the threshold of a new era in which space weather can be as influential in our daily lives as ordinary terrestrial weather.” Fisher concludes. “We take this very seriously indeed.”

For more information about the meeting, please visit the Space Weather Enterprise Forum home page at

(Source: NASA);+May+Wreak+Havoc+On+GPS,+Air+Travel,+Power+Grids.html