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Thursday, May 31, 2007

Weapons of Mass Destruction and Porous Borders

This recent hysterical and breathless 24/7 reporting by the media of a man being quarantined for having a rare but drug resistant form of Tuberculosis, makes me wonder why the media can't connect the dots or add two and two to equal four. While they are hyperventilating about the risks to the population of an infectious and incurable disease, and while the ACLU is attempting to get another man with this disease released from quarantine before he is no longer contagious, I consider the real risk of a terrorist organization using diseases as weapons of mass destruction.

Am I the only one?

Consider that 10 dedicated jihadists, who are more than willing to become martyrs to Allah, infect themselves with Smallpox or Bubonic Plague We know that reservoirs of these germs along with Bubonic Plague, Anthrax, and the 1918 Flu which for some reason we have kept in research facilities world wide, have disappeared. Is no one worried about this in the media?

How to wipe out 80% of the world's population in 5 easy steps
1. Become infected with Smallpox......praise Allah
2. Send your infected smurfs out on 10 different international flights with many connecting flights in large well populated airports. No one is checking this very well, as we know our borders internationally and in the US are meaningless.
3. Be sure to cough on people and touch as many things as you can so the laws of geometric progression in infection can take place. Use an aerosol spritzer if at all possible for mass effect.
4. Rent a hotel room at your final destination. New York, London, Singapore, Tokyo get it.
Touch and meet as many people as you can who will then pass the infection on to multiple other people and so on.
5. Die in obscurity or commit suicide before your symptons become obvious. That way no one can track the contagion back to you or your group.

Before long the the doctors and hospitals are swarming with sick people with a disease that many have never seen and to which we have no defenses. Millions upon millions of people will be infected and die. If you don't die in incredible pain, you will be horribly disfigured for the rest of your life.

Given the anemic and ineffectual response of the government to just one person with TB, can you imagine the incompetence when dealing with millions of people. We must dither and waste time deciding if we are violating civil rights by imposing quarantine or forcing medical treatment on those who have religious objections. Never mind that while the Governments, the ACLU, religious fanatics are fiddling, the world is dying. Link to a CDC scenario detailing the chaos and ineptitude it expects, just so you don't think I'm over reacting.

Global warming is a danger? Piffle!!! A tiny vial of smallpox or other disease germs cleverly hidden in a country the size of California......There is danger.

Just because we haven't found this tiny vial doesn't mean it doesn't exist. We know that they existed in laboratories and are now missing. I assure you that if I wanted to hide a weapon of mass destruction the size of a tube of lipstick in the Trinity Alps of California, no one would ever find it.

The liberal media is all athither about the mean evil bigots who want to have border security. They are also hyping the TB scare. They deny that there could be any danger from chemical and biological weapons known to exist and which may have fallen into the hands of jihadists. They just can't put the dots together, because the left leaning media is blinded by Bush hatred and blinded to anything else.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Contents of the Armegddon Pantry

As long as I'm on a doom and gloom kick, here are the contents of my Armageddon Pantry. When all hell breaks loose, at least I will have enough supplies to enjoy the ride to oblivion. This assumes that if all hell does break loose, it will do so fairly far from our rural location, leaving us stranded from supply lines for a while, or possibly a pandemic where we must stay isolated.

If all hell doesn't break loose, I don't have to go to the store for items that I need. Just trundle on out to the pump house and grab the ingredient I need. When I take something out of the pump house to use, I replace it with new. It is a good idea to keep rotating this stuff as food doesn't keep forever.


Can Goods:

The quantities are in case lots of most canned goods= 12 large cans or 24 small cans
2 canned tomatoes = 24 cans
2 tomato sauce
1 tomato paste
2 black olives
3 corn
1 creamed corn
2 green beans
1 kidney beans
1 garbanzo beans
1 pinto beans
1 peaches
1 pears
1 grapefruit sections
1 home canned pie cherries

In individual can amounts from at least 8 to 20 (I'm too busy to go take accurate inventory)

Albacore tuna
Chicken meat
Beef in cans
Beef stew
Chili with beans and meat
Vienna Sausages
Spam (lol)

MSC Food

Dried fruit (about 4 pounds of dried apricots, apples, pears, prunes.)
Craisins (2 large packages)
Wild Rice in retort cooked packages
Rice, brown, wild and white
Pinto Beans
Navy Beans
Split Peas
Soy Sauce
Peanut Butter (3 large)
Apricot Jam (2 large)
Brown Sugar
White Sugar
Vinegar (cider and balsamic)
Olive oil
Peanut oil
Hot chocolate mix
Chocolate chips
Coffee!!!! very important ....ground coffee 3 large cans
Dehydrated Buttermilk mix
Marie Callander Cornbread mix
Dried milk
Dehydrated onions
Case of Top Ramen
Lots of pasta
3 really large containers of Parmesan Cheese
4 pounds of kosher salt
Iodized salt
Barbeque sauces
Marinara and Alfredo Sauces in bottles
Lop Cheong sausages (Chinese dried sausages)
Dried Mushrooms
Nori (seaweed sheets)

Case of wine, several bottles of champagne, Scotch, Rum, Vodka and other spirits
Several cases of Snapple drinks
Grapefruit Juice
Orange Juice
Cranberry Juice
Bottled Green Tea
Lots of bottled water

Cat Food

More misc food things I can't recall right now.

Flour, Polenta, Cornmeal, Bisquick, Walnuts, Pecans and other nuts...I keep in my freezer to avoid weevils. The freezer contents are another story. Plus I have a kitchen full of spices, salt, pepper and other food stuffs. My husband says we can eat for a month out of the crap (his term) I have in the kitchen.


Rubbing Alcohol
Lots of Lamp Oil and extra wicks
Matches and Butane Lighters
Clothes Pins
Laundry Soap
Liquid hand soap and baby wipes
Twine and light rope
Paraffin blocks
Canning Jars with Lids
Paper plates, plastic utensils, paper napkins and plastic drinking glasses
Toilet paper and paper towels
Plastic drop cloths and table covers
Garbage bags
Plastic wrap and waxed paper
Amunition.... yes for the guns. If push came to shove, I would not be adverse to knocking off a deer, pheasant, goose or even one of the local cows of which there are hundreds.

Medical kit for grab and go. In addition to the extensive medical kit I have in my bathroom.
Batteries, Flashlight, Blanket, Plastic Tarp also for the grab and go. Hopefully we get to sit and stay put.

Decks of cards and poker chips (to go with the alcohol)
Scrabble and other games. Hey... If we are going to be stranded in our home, might as well have some fun.

Plus my husband has an entire shop filled with tools of all kinds, generator, gas cans, nails.... you name it..... he's got it.

It may sound like an excessive amount of pantry preparedness (probably it is), but it isn't at all unusual for my area which is quite rural and has bad winters. People tend to be more self sufficient and stock up than the people in cities. So when the crap hits the oscillating mechanism, if I don't have something, my neighbors down the road will. People also tend to share and help each other in rural areas. We hear the horrible stories of the Great Depression. What we don't hear is that the people who lived in the sticks, didn't have nearly the hardships that those in urban areas did. I pity the people in the cities who live from week to week, have nothing stored up and have no close friends or neighbors to lean on.

Anal? Yes. Being prepared? Priceless.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Serf City, Here We Come (Apologies to the Beach Boys)

With the stunningly bad immigration bill before us and the past decades of uninforced illegal immigration, it occurs to me that the American Dream if not dead is certainly in its death throes. The dream that a middle class citizen can improve their economic lot in life, advance, create a legacy to leave to their children and that their children will have a better life. Well..... unchecked illegal immigration has put the final nail into that coffin. As time goes by the middle class will slip further into poverty and marginal living circumstances. We are encouraging and creating a permanent class of have-not's. Serfs, if you will, who will provide the menial, low cost jobs for a small class of lucky "haves." A fuedal system of wealthy and a support group of undereducated peons who have little to no chance to rise above their circumstances.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out, but let me bring the macrocosmic train wreck that is occuring in our society and economy down to a one person example.

We have Joe Carpenter. He has built himself a nice middle class American Dream life in a mid sized city. Let's suppose Joe lives in Albequerque. Joe owns his own handyman business, maybe a small commercial shop from which to operate, has a ranch house in a modest subdivision, wife, couple of kids whom he hopes to send to college, several vehicles: one for work, one for his wife to ferry the kids to their after school activities. They like to take a vacation once a year for the family, Disneyland or camping in Yosimite. Something affordable that will create memories for his children.

Joe doesn't have any permanent employees but occasionally will contract a helper when his job is too big for one person to handle. Joe pays his quarterly IRS taxes, property taxes and sales taxes on his supplies. Makes sure his vehicles and home are insured and properly registered. As a self employed person, Joe buys a catastrophic health insurance policy to cover himself and family. He also carries liability and property insurance on his workshop and business. To protect his family, he also has a substantial life insurance policy. In addition to saving for college for his children, Joe tries to put some extra money aside for his well deserved retirement and hopes some day to have his son take over the business.

Joe is an upstanding citizen. Belongs to the Rotary, Chamber of Commerce, coaches Little League and does charity work to improve the local park where his children like to play. Joe's wife is an active member of the PTA and the Library Guild in addition to helping with school fund raising activites.

He charges a fair hourly rate in his geographic area of $35.00. Joe is making progress with a small overhead and also hopes to expand his business in the near future; get his license and employ a few full time construction workers.

We have Jose the illegal allien. Here is where we begin to destroy Joe's life and dreams. Joe is forced to compete for jobs with Jose, the illegal alien. (Before I am accused of racism, it could just as well be Pierre the illegal Canadian or Stefan the illegal Romanian or Muhammad the illegal Somalian. But let's use Jose because it equals Joe.)

Jose doesn't have to pay taxes, he works for cash. He doesn't buy insurance......for anything. Jose can apply for Medi-caid and other social welfare benefits. If Jose is injured on his job, he goes to the emergency room and recieves free medical care and prescriptions. Since his cars are not registered, they are also not insured. If Jose has a driver's license, he most likely bought it on the black market. Jose lives in a place where there are many other men like him who are sharing the costs. His family might still be back in the "home country" or (less frequently) if his family is here it consists of a larger extended family where everyone is working. Now there is nothing at all wrong with this. In fact this is how the Irish, the Italians and other immigrants of the past were able to work and integrate themselves into the society. While Jose might be active in his church, he isn't a contributing member to the local community as Joe and his wife are with their Rotary and civic commitments.

Because Jose, has none of the taxes, insurance or expenses that his competitor has, he can charge much less for the same jobs that Joe would charge. Instead of $35.00 per hour, Jose asks for $20....CASH. Joe loses out on many jobs because people are just cheap. Eventually, Joe cannot afford his shop and has to let that go and tells his part time people he can't hire them any more. He hopes they can find jobs, but knows it won't be at the pay scale that he has been able to give to them. Joe's family won't be able to afford a new car for several more years and he ceases contributions to his retirement and college funds.

You see where I'm going here, I hope.

Joe has to reduce his hourly rate in order to get jobs. He decided to charge $28.00 and work harder to make up the lost revenue. Futher paring down his lifestyle, Joe has to eliminate his health insurance and hope that nothing happens. Of course, when he does this, his insurance agent who also has a small business, loses the income from the premiums that Joe isn't paying any more. The two employees he was hoping to bring on permanently have vanished, up in smoke, just like the American Dream.

Skipping ahead, Joe is now working for cash "under the table", has cashed in his retirement plan, cashed in his life insurance, lost his home....oh and you can forget the kids' going to college. Mrs. Joe can no longer stay at home with the children and works for minimum wage at McDonalds. Soon Joe Jr. will be sixteen and will get a job after school to help out. Of course, he will have go give up his sports program. The youngest daughter at 12 is too young to work, so she just goes home after school and hangs out.

I suppose the good news is that Joe and his family now qualifies for food stamps and welfare.

As more and more 'Joe's' are sucked down, they give up. Why work and beat your head against the wall, when all you have to do is some menial jobs for cash and take the freebies that are paid for by.......who? If the middle class has disappeared into the permanent SERF class, where is the money going to come from. Where are the future builders, inventors, entrepeneurs, skilled labor classes going to come from? Since Jose and his family don't really plan to become part of the American culture because they are illegal aliens, they don't learn the language and who needs anything more than an elementary school education anyway.

The other sufferers here, besides Joe and his family, are the community. No more Rotary or Library Guild participation. The schools, Jose and his wife don't speak as much English so don't participate in the PTA. The insurance agent with the cancelled policies, the investment advisor who has no more business, the hardware store where Joe can't shop anymore, the auto dealer and manufacturer where Joe will not be buying new cars, the vaction spot where Joe used to go, the taxes that Joe used to pay....... so on and so on...... like a giant snowball going down hill, destroying the economy faster and faster, the American Dream is dead for the middle class.

Of course, there will still be people of means. The wealthy will still be with us, as will the poor. There will be fewer wealthy with much more concentrated wealth per capita, employing the Serf class at very affordable wages. The nanny, the gardener, the brick layer, Joe (our carpenter) all vying to see who can get the job at the lowest cash bid.

What will be missing is the vibrant middle class represented by Joe's extinct and enviable lifestyle. What will also be missing are all of the people Joe could have employed, the industries and businesses he contributed to which also employed others. What will be missing is the hope of a better today for ourselves and a brighter future for our children.

Serf city, here we come........

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Armageddon Pantry

Since the disasters of Katrina and recently the tornadoes in Kansas added to the worries about pandemics or terrorists attacks on major population areas, I have gotten serious about stocking up supplies for an emergency. The Dumbplumber calls it my Armageddon pantry. Actually this is something I have been serious about for some time and it gives me a really good excuse for my hoarding behavior. I must have learned this when I was a child: this need to have not one, not two but a dozen cans of corn, soup etc.

Well, a while back, we got a small preview of what the effects of a "disaster" would be. Ok, a very, very small preview. Our house wasn't destroyed, my cat can still come in and whine for her "TREAT" (a tablespoon of canned food), we still had running water and the natural gas to the Wolf Range was still functional. What happened was that for some inexplicable reason the electricity went off on a Sunday afternoon about 1:00. I was in the middle of a load of laundry, in the middle of typing up recipes into my Master Cook program and whamo......power outage. Fortunately I have a power back up on the computer so I shut it down. The Dumbplumber was taking a nap. No need to disturb him. I had full confidence that the power would be back on shortly, after all it was a beautiful sunny afternoon. So, what to do now? Grab a beer, a bowl of potato chips and my latest paperback and go sit on the deck in the sun and read…. naturally.

As the day wore on, DP woke up and there seemed to be no progress from PG&E. I decided to get some of the supplies from the Armageddon Pantry. Out come the oil lamps....hmmm I only have one more bottle of oil, better make a note. Out come the candles and candle holders....better buy some more candles, all I have are two green decorative candles. I had already made most of dinner so that wasn't too bad. But after about 8 hours of no power, I am beginning to worry about the food in the fridge getting hot and my half done laundry getting moldy. Wow, I think I'd better get some old fashioned clothes pins for the future disaster room.

So, the evening wore on. We had roasted chicken, macaroni salad, green salad and rhubarb crisp. Fortunately I had purchased an antique (OK only 1950's) rotary egg beater, so I was able to make whipped cream without electricity. Whew! averted that disaster. No television! Actually that was the best part of the whole experience. Whipping out the matches, which didn't work because they were too old....hmmm more notes to self, and then getting the butane lighter from the bbq, we lit the oil lanterns. Feeling like Abe Lincoln, we read our books by oil lamps sipping on a glass of wine. I said, "No wonder women did so much needlework, they were bored." The Dumbplumber said, "No wonder people had such large families."...So we went to bed. Suddenly, twelve hours after the outage, everything comes back on with a vengeance. Lights, washer, stereo and all electronic devices begin beeping. Life is back to normal.

In all seriousness, our little inconvenience was’t much, but it has reinforced the need to be prepared. What if this was not just an annoying 12 hour event, but a situation that would last for days or weeks? We are in a somewhat remote rural area. If anything happened (earthquake, terrorist attack, bird flu epidemic) it is highly likely that we would be cut off from supplies of food and other necessities. I am determined to beef up the disaster pantry. Plus it is pretty convenient to grab that extra jar of mayonnaise from the pump house instead of trundling off to the store.