Monday, August 23, 2010

Calm Before the Storm?

Things seem to be too quiet out in the world right now, given what is going on. Could this period in time be the calm before the storm?

War between Israel and Iran/Syria/Hezbollah-Lebanon/Turkey has not erupted over the Bushehr nuclear plant in Iran, despite predictions that Israel's window of opportunity closed on August 21. The Obama administration has supposedly assured Israel that Iran would need 12 months to actually fuel and arm a nuke, but who actually believes anything that comes out of the Obama administration? All parties to this in the middle east are still preparing for the possibility of war. The only wild card in my mind is what our apostate president does or does not do. The announcement that peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians are imminent is nothing but a diversion.

The Fed has committed to another round of quantitative easing, or monetization of federal debt. That the Fed continues to play its last weapon against economic collapse tells me that they are only buying time until the collapse. They know it is coming, we know it is coming, they are only buying enough time for their friends on Wall Street to take their money and head for the exits.

The DJIA, Nasdaq, and S&P 500 have essentially been flat all summer long. The close today is right about where it was on June 10. Sure, there have been minor ups and downs, but there is not any real movement. Not that there would be "real" movement anyways, as I have read that the stock market is pretty much driven by high frequency trading at big investment banks and that individual investors and a lot of institutional investors have fled the market. And not that the stock market is a reliable indicator of the economy in general. It might be when it finally takes the big dump, but that will be when the big boys are taking their money and checking their passports, which will be too late for any preparedness measures.

Unemployment continues to be bad news. I read that big business is essentially refusing to add employees until consumers start spending again. In a nutshell, there is nothing left to spend. Small businesses are afraid to hire, even if they could, due to uncertainty over Obamacare provisions and uncertainty in the tax code. The "Bush tax cuts" are likely to expire and a tax-hungry collectivist/redistributionist central government is hungrily eyeing the only remaining productive consitituency without representation in the White House: small business owners. No small business owner in his right mind would add to the payroll now. Looks like 10%+ official unemployment may be with us for quite a while.

Food shortages are rumored to be on the horizon. The Russians will reportedly not have sufficient harvest to feed their people. The Ugandan wheat rust has not been reported on lately, but at last report there was no known immune wheat strain and the fungus was on the move. The U.S. has no strategic wheat reserve anymore. There have also been rumors of reduced wheat harvests in parts of the U.S. and South America, and of coming rice shortages in Asia. Add to this the unknown effects of the chemicals used in the GoM oil spill upon crops in the gulf states, and the natural and government-imposed droughts in California.

There are already reports of food inflation. Jim Rawles has added a new feature on SurvivalBlog to monitor inflation, and the anectdotal reports indicate a rise in food prices. Could be inflation, could be increasing scarcity, same effect to the consumer. GrandPappy, at, has kept track of inflation on food preps since early 2008, based on WalMart prices. He reports on a month-to-month basis.

Diversions are everywhere. The Obamas are on vacation number six. There may still be oil in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Gay marriage will be legal again in California. Muslims plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero. Charlie Rangel and Maxine Waters are crooks. Nancy Pelosi wants to investigate us. Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, and any number of celebrities have diarrhea of the mouth and constipation of the brain. Two of these are worth paying attention to, but should not distract us from our preparations.

I don't know if the end is near, a few months away, or years away. I don't even know if "the end" as in TEOTWAWKI will result in a Mad Max existence or just a permanently reduced standard of living. Will there be revolution or continued subservience to the central government? Don't know. M.D. Creekmore has a great debate going on regarding the meaning of TEOTWAWKI. The comments are closed, but run the gamut and are well worth reading for what others are thinking.

Despite all the signs of impending doom, there is a strange calm that pervades. If my father or grandfather were still alive, I would ask them how it felt in late summer 1939, or around Thanksgiving in 1941. Did they feel then as I do now? I wish I knew.

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