Our Achilles Heel

In war, the best approach to take is to go after your enemy’s “Achilles Heel”.  In World War Two, Germany’s Achilles Heel was oil.  They had very limited fuel production, most of it being synthetic.  Once we started bombing their fuel production facilities, they couldn’t fly their planes or get very far with their Panzers.  For the Japanese, the Achilles Heel was imports.  So sinking their merchant fleet basically ended their weapons production, plus starved their population.  So when the next big war starts, it is only logical to assume that our enemies will attack our Achilles Heel.

The modern West has an Achilles Heel.  It’s blindingly obvious when it is pointed out.  Our entire society, our entire way of life is dependent on a single commodity; Electricity.  Without it, just about everything that we do comes screeching to a halt.

Electrical power generation is concentrated at a few sites.  The electrical grid itself is extremely vulnerable and is virtually unprotected.  On top of that, repairing any kind of major damage to the power distribution system takes a lot longer than we would like, even when the cause was just a major storm.  And this is only when the only damage is broken power lines.

Much worse is when a power plant itself is damaged.  The problem isn’t that it would take time to repair it, the problem is the scarcity of repair parts.  No one is really making generators or any of the equipment needed to replace major electrical systems.  This is because there is little ongoing demand for this stuff.  So if a lot if it is suddenly damaged, it could be quite a while until power is restored.

Our enemies know this.  There are sleeper cells of enemy agents in our country.  Our enemies would be pretty daft not to have them here.  And when the time comes, the electrical grid is probably their primary target.

When war breaks out, the government is not going to worry about your home not having power.  It is going to concentrate on restoring power to those systems necessary for the war.  Things like war industries and military bases.  Your TV or refrigerator not having power is way way down on the list of things for the government to fix under such circumstances.  And the vast majority of us will endure extreme personal hardship as a result.

What To Do

Recognize that we cannot always take electricity for granted.  And recognize how much we are dependent on it.  The realization of our personal dependency on electricity can help us to prepare for it not being there.

The most important need for electricity is not our smart phones.  It’s the refrigerator.  Most of us will have to deal with not having refrigeration for quite a while.  This means that we need to know how to feed ourselves without things that require a working fridge.

Next is communication.  We should have a portable radio; better yet, one that can be powered by a hand crank or solar power.  There aren’t going to be a lot of batteries available for very long.

Last is light.  We should have backups for light.  The best option is some kind of solar power collection and storage.  You don’t have to put giant panels on your roof, but have a solar collector that you can get for camping.  It’s not going to power your fridge or your big screen TV, but it will allow you to have light.

Expansion of Disease

Our western culture has in recent decades seen a literal explosion in the definition of disease.  This is due to the exponential expansion of the definition to include ever increasing “mental health” issues.  First it was the most adverse of mental conditions like insanity, schizophrenia, and so on.  Then alcoholism was also labeled a disease.  Now sexual deviancy is also getting labeled a “disease”.

Disease is literally a lesion of the cells.  This means that cells have physical damage.  That can be seen under a microscope.  So cancer is obviously a disease.  So is the damage cause by things like the flu virus or an infection or even a broken bone.

This dangerous expansion of the definition of disease started with serious mental health issues.  Granted, serious conditions like schizophrenia and other conditions such as depression do in fact seem to be diseases.  No one wants them, and such people do need serious professional medical care.  The problem was when we as a society moved from what are mental health issues into labeling lack of self control as a disease.

In our lives, we are constantly bombarded by temptations to do things that are wrong and bad.  It could be the temptation to steal something, or the temptation to say something mean, or the temptation to hurt someone.  We all know that doing these things is wrong.  But we still do them, hopefully only rarely, but we still do them.

Some give in to the temptation to do something REALLY bad.  Like kill someone else, or to do them immense physical and emotional harm, as in the case of sexual assault.  Committing murder or rape is not the symptom of a disease.  It is the act of someone who has CHOSEN to do those things, and who, justly deserves severe punishment.

Labeling failures at self control is to diminish the responsibility of the person who chose to give in to temptation.  Now some temptations may appear to be overwhelming, as is the case in addiction.  But even in these cases, the addiction was created by someone giving in to temptation and choosing to do something harmful.  Like drink too much, taking drugs, or start watching pornography.  As they engage in the bad behavior more and more, they do lose self control, the ability to stop themselves from giving in to temptation.  But this is NOT a disease.  A disease is something you have NO CHOICE about.  Drinking, taking drugs, watching pornography, or hurting someone is NOT a DISEASE.  It is making bad choices.

When we label choosing to do bad a disease, we tell the person who has done something bad that it is not their fault.  That they didn’t really have a choice.  They were evidently compelled to do the bad thing.  We know this is wrong.  No one is forced to do bad.  Only you control the muscles in your own body (and this includes the muscles that make words come out of your mouth).  And you are responsible for your actions.  Labeling bad action choices as a disease is to say that the bad actor bears no responsibility for what they have done.

When we start telling people that their bad choices are not their fault, and that they are not responsible, how do you think they are going to act?  They are just going to do worse things, and do them much more often.  After all, if they are not responsible, there are no consequences for their actions.

What To Do

Recognize that society as a whole is moving down this slippery slope of labeling things like addictions and lack of self control as some kind of “disease”.  Such things are not diseases.  They are choices.

We all have particular weaknesses.  For some it is alcohol.  For others it might be drugs.  For a lot of us, it’s food.  But no one and certainly no “disease” is forcing you to drink, take drugs, or overeat.

We must start by recognizing that we are responsible for our own actions, and that others are responsible for their actions.

We can gain and build self control through a number of methods.  One of the best for physical temptations is to regularly fast.  That means to go about a day without eating anything.  This is hard to do (and should only be done infrequently), but as you do it, you show your physical body that your mind is in control.  And you will gain the strength to handle physical temptations.

The Biggest Bubble of All

Ordos City, China – SCMP, Simon Song

I have often written about what gambling casinos world financial markets have become, as speculation becomes more and more rampant.  The stock market in the USA is certainly such a case.  But the biggest problem out there in not in the USA or Europe.  The biggest bubble of all is in China.  More money is at risk of evaporating overnight in China than anywhere else.  So here is what is going on that will impact each and every one of us here.

China has grown economically by leaps and bounds since the 1980’s.  The country moved from being desperately poor and backward to having a booming economy as the West collectively outsourced its manufacturing to Chinese factories.  China built more and more factories, and housing and other infrastructure with this income.  But in recent years, they have built past the demand.  They have built more housing and more stores and more of everything than people currently want to buy.  For years now, there are reports of ghost cities and ghost shopping malls in China.

What is going on is that their companies only know how to operate in an environment of rapid expansion.  So now they continue to build things they cannot sell.  And they have burned through their available credit to do so.  But they don’t want to stop being as “profitable” as they had been in the past.  So they continue to borrow money.

The root of the problem is how these overleveraged Chinese companies are borrowing the money.  They can no longer get funds directly from banks, as they are no longer credit worthy.  Plus, the banks don’t want to admit that what they have loaned them in the past is now a bad loan.  So the banks want to enable these companies to get money, as they can use part of the new funds to pay back something on the prior loans, so the bank loans will look like they are still good.

So the banks set up a system of selling an “investment” to common people who are unhappy with the paltry returns they can get from regular savings accounts.  These “investments” are called Wealth Management Products or WMPs for short.  The Chinese banks are telling people putting money into WMPs that they are guaranteed returns of 10-20% per year.  They don’t tell them where the money is actually going.  Not that the investors care.  They think that both the bank and the Chinese government are backing the WMPs, and therefore they are Risk Free.

The reality is that WMPs are a new fangled version of the Ponzi scheme.  The money is going to companies that have no way of paying it back.  The few people taking money out of WMPs is covered by the amount of money coming in.  And once more people want their money back than can be covered by new investors, the whole thing collapses.  The big problem is that currently there is nearly $20 TRILLION invested in Chinese WMPs.  And very soon, more people are going to want their money back than anyone can cover.

I recently alluded to the fact that when things go wrong, the Chinese Communist government will blame everyone but themselves.  This is when an Economic disaster will change into a World Wide Military disaster, as the world goes to war over who is to blame.

What to Do

There is nothing that we can do to fix the Chinese banking and investment systems.  Our own governments can do nothing to fix it.  The Chinese have created this problem on their own.  The West’s sole responsibility in all of this is that we probably showed them how to do it.

The point is that an Economic and then a Military disaster ARE going to happen.  We don’t know exactly when, but like the Titanic after it hit the iceberg, the ship IS going to go down.

So again, the time to prepare is now.  Get your life jackets, make a plan for the ship sinking, and how you and your family are going to survive.  If you don’t, you’ll be jumping into the ice water like just about everyone else.

The Tax Reform Obstacle

Almost everyone says that they want the Tax System in the United States fixed.  It is true that we don’t like doing all of the convoluted paperwork.  But the problem is that we don’t really want it fixed if it means that our favorite “tricks” disappear.  And by “tricks” I mean the methods that we personally use to lower our own taxes.

A lot is said about how Special Interest groups wield too much power.  They use their money to get special tax breaks and other privileges for their groups that are not available to the rest of us.  This is certainly true, and a massive problem.  But we as individuals do the same thing.  And by not being willing to let go, collectively, of the tax breaks that we get, we doom ourselves to never seeing true tax reform.

The home mortgage deduction is a good case in point.  We get to pay less in taxes when we pay interest on our home mortgage.  If we aren’t paying down a mortgage, we don’t get this deduction.  So people who either own their home debt free, but even more so, those that cannot afford a home, are paying MORE on their taxes as a result.  This means that the less wealthy are SUBSIDIZING the home purchases of the more affluent.  Of course, this tax deduction is defended by the Realtors (a special interest group), who want this deduction to stay, so that people have more incentive to buy a home.  But because we, collectively, don’t want this tax deduction to go away, it doesn’t.

No one is willing to give up the deductions that they have become used to.  Another is the deduction for state and local income taxes.  This deduction is currently under attack by the currently proposed tax reforms.  What this deduction does is force people in States/cities with lower local taxes to pay MORE on Federal taxes to subsidize the outrageous tax rates in the big cities and left leaning states.  Again, those getting a deduction are subsidized by those that don’t get it.

It applies to having large families as well.  Those with more children get to pay less in taxes thanks to the standard deductions given for dependents.  After all, it does cost a lot of money to have more children.  But why should others have to pay more to support the life and family choices of others.

One of the ways that the current complex tax code is rationalized is that those in power say they can use it to influence certain behaviors.  The behaviors that they say they want.  They might say, for example, they want incentives for people to own homes.  But then there are huge tax breaks for growing corn or sugar.  WHY?  Frankly, it’s not about incentivizing behavior, it is literally a way to buy votes, using money (subsidies) that come from you and I.

What to Do

The only way to get to true and lasting tax reform is with a Flat Tax.  Under such a system, there are no deductions, for anybody for anything or any purpose.  You are taxed on your gain, your profit, your “increase”.  This way, the ability of Special Interest Groups is severely curtailed.  This way, congress members and presidential candidates could not use our money to buy votes.

Frankly, a Flat Tax is the way God himself does it, according to the Bible.  He says to pay tithing, which is 10% of your gain.  Nowhere in the description of tithing does it say you get to pay less because you own a home or you have more kids.

If we want a better system, we have to acknowledge our own part in the mess.  We have to be willing to give up the few deductions that we have in order to get a better system.  And in the end we would ALL be better off.

WW III = Nuclear Armageddon?

Most people think that any outbreak of war between major nuclear powers (USA, Russia, and China) would almost immediately degenerate into a massive thermonuclear exchange, and that mankind would be wiped out, or near to it.  While this is indeed possible, it is not probable.  The reason is that any sane and rational person understands that you don’t get to enjoy your wealth, power, and status if you are living in a nuclear wasteland.  Even Joseph Stalin and Mao Zedong, two of the most evil and murderous power mad people that ever lived, and who had thermonuclear weapons, understood this.  Neither of them was willing to cross that line, even though their armies were engaged in shooting at us (either directly, as in Korea, or clandestinely, as in Vietnam).  Even Hitler, who could have put nerve gas into aerosol form and unleashed clouds of it over England from Submarines upwind in the Irish Sea, didn’t want to do that, as that would result in a response of the same thing happening to Germany.  The point is that no one seeking power actually wants the world to end.

When war starts, we will all be panicked that nuclear Armageddon is about to begin.  But it won’t.  The British were completely freaked out at the beginning of World War Two that the Nazis were going to drop gas bombs on London.  They never did.  Although both sides in that last major war carpet and fire bombed each other’s cities, they didn’t use the “weapons of mass destruction” of the time, poison and nerve gases.  We will have the same experience regarding ICBMs and Thermonuclear detonations over cities.

Nuclear weapons will probably be used in World War III, but I believe they will be limited to tactical nuclear weapons.  These are atomic bombs (much less powerful than thermonuclear hydrogen bombs) used to destroy enemy troop concentrations.  Such weapons would be used early on against targets that while militarily significant, are not inside major cities.  This would still be inconceivably bad.  But it won’t be the end of the world.

The one wrinkle with this is that crazy nut jobs, like Kim Jong-Un of North Korea, or the Ayatollahs in Iran, do not necessarily have the same thinking.  They may very well use nuclear weapons against major cities.  North Korea could very well nuke Seoul South Korea, a city of about 10 Million, with the atomic weapons they now have.  Iran could do the same against Saudi capitol, or against an Israeli city like Tel-Av iv.  My belief is that WW III happens well before these wackos have hydrogen bombs, but they will still do a lot of damage with what we have allowed them to acquire.

World War III will be the next level of escalation in modern warfare.  The first modern war was the American Civil War, the bloodshed in which was unfathomable while it was going on.  Close to 700,000 died (about 2% of total population).  The First and Second World War, which were very connected, were the next level.  About 40 million died in the First and another 60-70 million in the Second.  World War III could be another jump in the level of magnitude.  With the technology we now have, plus nukes, we could easily experience a war with Hundreds of Millions, if not Billions are killed, either directly by weapons, or indirectly through famine and disease.

Each and every time, war is predicted to be short, as no one thinks the armies or countries can deal with the advances in killing technology.  Or the cost, both in human and financial terms.  And then they do, and they get used to it, until one side or the other literally runs out of Soldiers.  Unfortunately for us all, this takes years, even with killing on an industrial scale.

What to Do

World War III will not be the end of the world.  There are now about 7.6 BILLION people in the world.  If a billion or two died in the course five to ten years, it would be a disaster of currently unimaginable proportions, the worst thing that has ever happened.  But it would NOT be the end of the world or even of society as we know it.

But what you do need to do is prepare for what is coming; prepare Physically, Materially, Financially, and Emotionally.

You also need to know what advice to give to your family regarding military service and what you should do if you are at an age where you might be called upon, whether you want to go or not.  Because if you are in the military age group (17 to 50), you ARE going to be involved.

Our “Most Trusted” People

Throughout all past ages, from the start of recorded history until just under a hundred years ago, almost every culture and every civilization has held a certain group of people in the lowest possible esteem.  I shouldn’t say the “lowest” as I am sure the criminal element and prostitutes were on the absolute bottom rung.  But the group I am alluding to was barely one level higher.  This would be those who act on stage, the entertainers, the actors and actresses.

The reason for the lowly reputation of entertainers was their collective loose morals.  Most societies viewed them with the same aversion they had for prostitutes.  It wasn’t just the blatant sexuality in very conservative environments.  They were also viewed as dishonest and masters at manipulation.  After all, they pretended to be someone else for a living.

This started to change in the late 19th century and the change was accelerated by the invention and then mass appeal of the movies in the early 20th century.  Entertainers became celebrities.  This has continued into our day.  It is now so reversed that entertainers and other celebrities, like star athletes, are now our societies “Most Trusted” people.

The bizarre thing is that the fundamental reasons they were viewed with disdain in the past, loose morals and destructive behavior (to themselves and/or towards others) hasn’t really changed.  Of course there are many fine people who are actors and actresses, but collectively, they have the same characteristics as in ancient times.  The same people drawn to this profession then are the same kind of people drawn to it today.

What is truly frightening is that most people are actually influenced by what these now “most trusted” people have to say.  About almost any topic.  Most people believe that they know these actors and actresses and that they are just like the characters that they play.  The reality is that the vast majority are under-educated, insulated from normal society, and elitist.  And they are NOT the people that they pretend to be on the movie screen.  They are, after all, ACTING.

What To Do

Don’t accept the word or opinions of someone just because they are famous.  Study issues for yourself and make up your own mind.

Don’t believe that someone has certain traits or talents or understanding just because they portray someone on the screen that has these attributes.  Understand there is a difference between “make-believe” and reality.

Consider the actual lives and accomplishments of those that you look up to.  Do they really deserve your trust?  Why then do we continue to put so much credence into what these people have to say?