Category Archives: Security and survival

A brain scientist has a stroke and discovers something vitally important to all of us

Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one.

In the process, she discovered a different reality, one that offers hope for a troubled world.

What will it take to persuade us that nuclear power is NOT a safe option?

How many nuclear catastrophes, how many more radiation deaths, how many more cases of cancer, how much more territory made unlivable ? Investigative reporter Greg Palast know what he’s talking about, Please pay attention. –t.h.g.

TOKYO ELECTRIC TO BUILD US NUCLEAR PLANTS
The no-BS info on Japan’s disastrous nuclear operators

by Greg Palast
New York – March 14, 2011

I need to speak to you, not as a reporter, but in my former capacity as lead investigator in several government nuclear plant fraud and racketeering investigations.

I don’t know the law in Japan, so I can’t tell you if Tokyo Electric Power Co (TEPCO) can plead insanity to the homicides about to happen.

But what will Obama plead?  The Administration, just months ago, asked Congress to provide a $4 billion loan guarantee for two new nuclear reactors to be built and operated on the Gulf Coast of Texas — by Tokyo Electric Power and local partners.  As if the Gulf hasn’t suffered enough.

Here are the facts about Tokyo Electric and the industry you haven’t heard on CNN:

The failure of emergency systems at Japan’s nuclear plants comes as no surprise to those of us who have worked in the field.

Nuclear plants the world over must be certified for what is called “SQ” or “Seismic Qualification.”  That is, the owners swear that all components are designed for the maximum conceivable shaking event, be it from an earthquake or an exploding Christmas card from Al Qaeda.

The most inexpensive way to meet your SQ is to lie.  The industry does it all the time. The government team I worked with caught them once, in 1988, at the Shoreham plant in New York.  Correcting the SQ problem at Shoreham would have cost a cool billion, so engineers were told to change the tests from ‘failed’ to ‘passed.’

The company that put in the false safety report?  Stone & Webster, now the nuclear unit of Shaw Construction which will work with Tokyo Electric to build the Texas plant, Lord help us.

There’s more.

Last night I heard CNN reporters repeat the official line that the tsunami disabled the pumps needed to cool the reactors, implying that water unexpectedly got into the diesel generators that run the pumps.

These safety back-up systems are the ‘EDGs’ in nuke-speak: Emergency Diesel Generators.  That they didn’t work in an emergency is like a fire department telling us they couldn’t save a building because “it was on fire.”

What dim bulbs designed this system?  One of the reactors dancing with death at Fukushima Station 1 was built by Toshiba.  Toshiba was also an architect of the emergency diesel system.

Now be afraid. Obama’s $4 billion bail-out-in-the-making is called the South Texas Project.  It’s been sold as a red-white-and-blue way to make power domestically with a reactor from Westinghouse, a great American brand.  However, the reactor will be made substantially in Japan by the company that bought the US brand name, Westinghouse — Toshiba.

I once had a Toshiba computer.  I only had to send it in once for warranty work.  However, it’s kind of hard to mail back a reactor with the warranty slip inside the box if the fuel rods are melted and sinking halfway to the earth’s core.

TEPCO and Toshiba don’t know what my son learned in 8th grade science class: tsunamis follow Pacific Rim earthquakes. So these companies are real stupid, eh?  Maybe.  More likely is that the diesels and related systems wouldn’t have worked on a fine, dry afternoon.

Back in the day, when we checked the emergency back-up diesels in America, a mind-blowing number flunked.  At the New York nuke, for example, the builders swore under oath that their three diesel engines were ready for an emergency. They’d been tested.  The tests were faked, the diesels run for just a short time at low speed.  When the diesels were put through a real test under emergency-like conditions, the crankshaft on the first one snapped in about an hour, then the second and third.  We nicknamed the diesels, “Snap, Crackle and Pop.”

(Note:  Moments after I wrote that sentence, word came that two of three diesels failed at the Tokai Station as well.)

In the US, we supposedly fixed our diesels after much complaining by the industry. But in Japan, no one tells Tokyo Electric to do anything the Emperor of Electricity doesn’t want to do.

I get lots of confidential notes from nuclear industry insiders.  One engineer, a big name in the field, is especially concerned that Obama waved the come-hither check to Toshiba and Tokyo Electric to lure them to America.  The US has a long history of whistleblowers willing to put themselves on the line to save the public. In our racketeering case in New York, the government only found out about the seismic test fraud because two courageous engineers, Gordon Dick and John Daly, gave our team the documentary evidence.

In Japan, it’s simply not done.  The culture does not allow the salary-men, who work all their their lives for one company, to drop the dime.

Not that US law is a wondrous shield:  both engineers in the New York case were fired and blacklisted by the industry.  Nevertheless, the government (local, state, federal) brought civil racketeering charges against the builders. The jury didn’t buy the corporation’s excuses and, in the end, the plant was, thankfully, dismantled.

Am I on some kind of xenophobic anti-Nippon crusade?  No.  In fact, I’m far more frightened by the American operators in the South Texas nuclear project, especially Shaw. Stone & Webster, now the Shaw nuclear division, was also the firm that conspired to fake the EDG tests in New York. (The company’s other exploits have been exposed by their former consultant, John Perkins, in his book, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man.)
If the planet wants to shiver, consider this:  Toshiba and Shaw have recently signed a deal to become world-wide partners in the construction of nuclear stations.

The other characters involved at the South Texas Plant that Obama is backing should also give you the willies.  But as I’m in the middle of investigating the American partners, I’ll save that for another day.

So, if we turned to America’s own nuclear contractors, would we be safe?  Well, two of the melting Japanese reactors, including the one whose building blew sky high, were built by General Electric of the Good Old US of A.

After Texas, you’re next.  The Obama Administration is planning a total of $56 billion in loans for nuclear reactors all over America.

And now, the homicides:

CNN is only interested in body counts, how many workers burnt by radiation, swept away or lost in the explosion.  These plants are now releasing radioactive steam into the atmosphere. Be skeptical about the statements that the “levels are not dangerous.”  These are the same people who said these meltdowns could never happen.  Over years, not days, there may be a thousand people, two thousand, ten thousand who will suffer from cancers induced by this radiation.

In my New York investigation, I had the unhappy job of totaling up post-meltdown “morbidity” rates for the county government.   It would be irresponsible for me to estimate the number of cancer deaths that will occur from these releases without further information; but it is just plain criminal for the Tokyo Electric shoguns to say that these releases are not dangerous.  Indeed, the fact that residents near the Japanese nuclear plants were not issued iodine pills to keep at the ready shows TEPCO doesn’t care who lives and who dies whether in Japan or the USA. The carcinogenic isotopes that are released at Fukushima are already floating to Seattle with effects we simply cannot measure.

Heaven help us. Because Obama won’t.

***

Big Brother is looking through you

This article in the Christian Science Monitor should have us all up-in-arms.  In the name of security, the government is radiating Americans without our knowledge. What ever happened to search warrants and probable cause. The Bill of Rights and the rest of the Constitution are in tatters. — t.h.g.

‘Feds radiating Americans’? Mobile X-ray vans hit US streets

How to defuse the population bomb

Here is another TED video in which Hans Rosling “explains why ending poverty – over the coming decades – is crucial to stop population growth. Only by raising the living standards of the poorest, in an environmentally-friendly way, will population growth stop at 9 billion people in 2050.”

Crowd Accelerated Innovation

I’ve been giving a great deal of thought to how humans might achieve the levels of sharing, cooperation, and organization that are needed to address the global mega-crisis that threatens civilization and our very survival as a species.

It is evident that web-based video is developing to the point where it can become a revolutionary force in communications and information sharing. This TED lecture highlights what it is doing right now to enhance creativity and realize the potential of group intelligence.  This is only one aspect of the power of the crowd when it has the necessary information, motivation, and common purpose.   — t.h.g.

It’s time to bend the curve

This TED talk describes the many things that are growing exponentially and how they threaten our survival, and describes some actual shifts that are being made to bend the curves toward a new paradigm of living on planet Earth.

Small farmers about to become extinct under pending legislation

The agribusiness juggernaut marches on as its minions in Congress push through new legislation to disable small farmers and put all food production into the hands of corporate behemoths. Watch this 3 minute video. – t.h.g.

Summer Newsletter (2010)

12 August 2010

Ubiquitous Northwest blackberries

O.L.D.

No, you haven’t missed anything; this IS the first newsletter I’ve sent out since April. Old Lazy Dog would happily spend all his time reading novels, watching movies, playing computer games, drinking beer with friends, wandering around, visiting family, and lazing around on beaches. I do a bit of that, but that’s not what life is all about or what the times require. There’s still a lot of work that needs to be done.

The Great Unraveling

No one likes to talk about, much less hear about, things that they consider “bad” or unpleasant. Gloom-and- doomer is a term that is often applied to someone who tries to give warning about some impending challenge. I say challenge instead of disaster because disaster is a judgmental term and the quality of our experience depends a lot on how we view it and our willingness to let go and accept what life brings us. Granted, some things are hard to bear and there are many things that I hope I never have to experience, but… Well, you get the picture.

What I’m leading up to with all that is the financial and economic “weather report.” I think I’ve gained some understanding of these things over the years, and I consider myself fairly well informed about the changing circumstances which leads me to conclude that we are now in the early stages of what I’m calling The Great Unraveling. When I wrote my first book, Money and Debt: a Solution to the Global Crisis, twenty years ago, I reported that our modern monetary system creates money on the basis of debt to which an interest/usury burden is attached, and that the compound growth of debt would eventually exceed the capacity of the real economy to bear it.

If you want to get a more detailed picture of this you can watch one of the many presentations I’ve given about it during the past few years. You’ll find several on my blog, Beyondmoney.net. The most recent presentations which I gave last month are not yet available, but there are several from last year. You might start with the one I did in Seattle last November (The direct link is http://vimeo.com/7490027).

I would also suggest that you pay attention to other sources whose knowledge and insights I respect. Among these are Ilargi and Stoneleigh of The Automatic Earth, http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/. Stoneleigh (a.k.a. Nicole M. Foss) gave a presentation in the UK in June which Aaron Wissner has made available at http://localfuture.org/stoneleigh.htm. I strongly recommend that everyone take the time to listen to it. I think the picture Stoneleigh paints is quite accurate and her short-range predictions are almost certainly correct. If there is one thing I might take issue with, it is what might be expected to happen over the longer term. There are numerous factors that are converging to reshape our world. What has so far been lacking is a process by which the various perspectives can be adequately combined to discover likely scenarios and formulate effective responses.

One thing seems certain to me; civilization is at a point of historical singularity. While there are similarities with past situations (like the Great Depression), it would be a mistake to think that things will play out as they did before. I’ve been talking lately about the emergence of The Butterfly Economy, and if the metaphor is anywhere near the mark, it seems worthwhile to study the way the metamorphic process works in nature. In my view, the old Caterpillar Economy is finished, done, kaput. It is disintegrating beneath our feet. The basic question now is “how do we channel the resources of the disintegrating caterpillar economy in ways that will support the emergence of the new Butterfly Economy.” I gave a talk on this subject just two weeks ago in Portland. No, I don’t have all the answers, and my talk just barely scratched the surface, but I am pretty confident about the direction we need to take.

The bottom line for me at this point is the urgent necessity for action to restore resilience to our communities by learning to share, cooperate, and organize as never before. We need to spend locally, save locally, and invest locally. We need to apply our dollar resources to projects that:

  • Make the local community more self-reliant.
  • Provide greater local security in food, energy, housing, water and other necessities of life.
  • Improve the overall quality of life.
  • Protect our savings against inflation of the dollar.

Along these lines, alternative financial consultant, Susan Boskey asked me a few weeks ago to write something about investing for her newsletter. The short article I wrote titled, Investing in Uncertain Times, expresses my ideas about our current situation, and my advice about how to better use our resources in this time of transition. I’ve posted it on my blog at http://beyondmoney.net/2010/08/03/investing-in-uncertain-times/.

And, of course, we need to reduce our dependence upon banks and conventional money by organizing private exchange systems that can be networked together to provide an interest-free and inflation-free means of payment, while making credit reliably available to local productive enterprises.

Northwest Tour, July 23 – August 4

The Portland presentation I alluded to above was part of a tour of the Northwest. When I was invited a few months ago to go to southern Oregon to meet with local exchange advocates, we agreed that late July would be a possible timeframe. I put the word out to my network and it developed into a two week tour with the following itinerary:

1. A public lecture in Medford on The End of Money and the Future of Civilization,

2. A workshop in Ashland to assist the southern Oregon group in advancing to the next stages of their project,

3. A public lecture in Eugene similar to the one I gave in Medford,

4. A public lecture in Portland titled, The Butterfly Economy: How communities are building a new world from the bottom up. In Portland I also consulted with the Xchange Stewards group, which I have been advising since last year. The Butterfly Economy lecture covered a broader scope than the others and included advice on how people might allocate their spare cash to promote local energy and food security in ways that can also provide a hedge against inflation.

5. A Cashless Exchange Colloquium in Seattle that brought together individuals and groups that are either operating or planning exchange systems in Oregon, Washington, or BC.

BALLE conference and Eastern Tour

Toward the end of May I travelled east for about three weeks to visit family and to participate in the annual BALLE (Business Alliance for Local Living Economies) conference which was this year held in Charleston, SC. I was on a panel with Derek Huntington of Sonoma GoLocal and Jenny Kassan of the Katevich Law Group in Berkeley. Jenny has created a dialog group called Cutting Edge Capital Raising. It is billed as the place to talk about capital raising for small community businesses. It is open to all who wish to participate and you can sign up at http://cuttingedgecap.ning.com/.

Localized small-scale Production of Ethanol Fuel

An unexpected outcome of the BALLE experience was a meeting with Christapher Cogswell who is an associate of David Blume in a startup company, Blume Distillation, LLC, that will manufacture small-scale ethanol production units. I had, up until then, not regarded ethanol to be a viable alternative to gasoline as a motor fuel but after Christapher explained the many advantages of small-scale localized production, I came to realize that communities might gain a great deal from producing their own ethanol for fuel.

Subsequent correspondence led to David Blume’s visiting Tucson and his presentation at the downtown library on July 19. David is the author of the book, Alcohol Can Be a Gas!, a massive book that provides a wealth of information on all aspects of ethanol fuel production and use. The localized approach has the potential to solve virtually all the problems associated with our addiction to petroleum. That’s a bold statement, but David is able to back it up with hard facts and an amazing knowledge of permaculture, history and the politics of technology.

Dave’s talk was inspiring and informative. (Be sure to view his videos at http://www.permaculture.com/).

At that event a number of people expressed interest in pursuing the possibilities of ethanol fuel for enhancing local energy security, so now there is on ongoing discussion about it. I’m enthusiastic about a local ethanol production project because it fits in with my ideas about community economic development and resilience. We need to invest our local resources in local value creation, not in competing with other communities to attract outside interests that are more interested in exploiting rather than improving our community.

Viewed in a broader context, a local ethanol production facility might be created by a local investment cooperative or LLC that would aggregate small amounts of savings and investment capital to establish enterprises that produce food, electricity, affordable housing, and other necessities. Besides his encyclopedic knowledge of the technical aspects of alcohol fuel, Blume has lots of knowledge on how to properly organize an LLC to produce it.

What’s next?

I’m honored to have been invited to participate in the International Commons Conference, which is being jointly organized by the Heinrich Boell Foundation (http://www.boell.de/foundation/about-us.html) and the Commons Strategies Group, to be held in Berlin on November 1 and 2. According to the Foundation website

The Heinrich Böll Foundation is part of the Green political movement that has developed worldwide as a response to the traditional politics of socialism, liberalism, and conservatism. Our main tenets are ecology and sustainability, democracy and human rights, self-determination and justice. We Are a Green Think Tank and an International Policy Network.

This will be my first visit to the Continent since 2005 and I am pleased to be returning in connection with such a worthy effort.

Let us be thankful to be living in these exciting times.

Thomas

Thomas H. Greco, Jr.
PO Box 42663, Tucson, AZ 85733, USA
Website: http://reinventingmoney.com
Blog-Beyond Money: http://beyondmoney.net
Blog-Tom’s News and Views: https://tomazgreco.wordpress.com
Photo Gallery: http://picasaweb.google.com/tomazhg
Skype/Twitter: tomazgreco

Security and Survival

I don’t like to think about it either, but in conditions of instability and disintegration, it is only prudent to give some thought to possible scenarios and acquire some basic knowledge that you may need.

I am very impressed with the quality of the advice provided on the Survival Podcast. This latest episode addresses the topic of  Security During a Breakdown.

Here’s a description from the website:

We are going to look at a bit of a darker subject today.  We are going to discuss security and not security on a day to day basis against say robbers, thugs and general low life.  We are going to discuss secruity and security planning for large scale and long term break downs.  Today’s show was prompted by Episodes 1 and 2 of season two of Discovery Channel’s show “The Colony”.  I have watch thus far in disbelief at how little attention the people on that show have paid to security and how little they understand the threat and honestly survival as a whole.

Today’s show won’t be totally based on The Colony, it will simply use it as a jumping off point so even if you haven’t or don’t plan on watching it today’s show should be a good one for you.  Security is one of the five primary components of survival and the one that is most overlooked, often not an issue but the one that when needed can get you killed in a milisecond.

Join me today as we discuss…

  • The five primary components of survival
    • Food
    • Water
    • Shelter
    • Fire
    • Security
  • Understanding the threat to your safety
  • Consideration about where you “make your stand”
  • Six methods of attack mitigation
    • Appease
    • Impede
    • Repel
    • Evade
    • Misdirect
    • Terminate
  • Identifying the weak spots
  • The lesson of 300 – Funnel an enemy to counter large numbers
  • How and why guns change the entire equation on both sides
  • The importance and difference between security “protocols” and “procedures”
  • Splitting up resources – no central storage points
  • Developing and deploying decoy resources
  • Developing timberlines and evac plans

I highly recommend it. A little bit of forethought can make a big difference in the quality of your life, in any situation. — t.h.g.