Issue # 69 February 16, 2003
NOTICE: All contents © 2003 by George A. Ure, MBA except other authors as noted. This document is intended for the sole use of subscribers and may not be transmitted, reproduced, or in other way used without the written prior express consent of the author. This publication is by subscription: $50/year for web browser accessed delivery to a password protected site or $150/year delivered by personalized email in HTML.. Please pass along a copy to your friends and suggest that they subscribe. To subscribe, send a check to: Guru Press, 1355 West Palmetto Road, #281, Boca Raton, FL 33486-3383. You may also subscribe using PayPal. Your username and password are both your email address, in all lower case to access the protected web site, so don't forget to include it! Address comments and correspondence to: email@example.com. Read the disclaimer: http://www.urbansurvival.com/disclaim.htm This report is based on sources believed reliable and makes no specific investment advice. Before you invest in anything, seek professional advice and remember, you can only spend it once, unless you are a member of the Fed, in which case you can spend it as fast as you can print it.
Paranoid or Prepared?
I found myself asking that very question on Saturday morning this week. It had been a typically very productive week at the office, Elaine & I had a pleasant Valentine's Day dinner at a local eatery on Friday night, and despite what should be the idyllic life of debt-free middle age, I woke Saturday with my mind racing. There was a lot of shopping to do!
My first stop was the local gas station. "If there's going to be a time to bug out of an urban area, and if this is it, I should probably have a car that is kept full to the brim with fuel, because we won't be able to gas up once "something" happens," went my logic.
The second stop was the local supermarket (Publix) where I shoveled nearly $200 of goods into the freshly fueled auto. The shopping list? Designed so that in the likely event that nothing happens, we'd have lots of items on hand that we'd use anyway.
The first item was 10 gallons of drinking water, which I found in 2 1/2 gallon jugs ($1.87 each).
Next came a 1 gallon jug of good old-fashioned Clorox bleach - good for disinfecting.
A stash of flashlight and radio batteries came next.
A trip down the soups aisle let me pack up some Spam, some Chef Boyardee, and an assortment of Campbell's chunky soups.
20 pounds of rice went in the truck.
5 pounds of pasta followed.
I didn't want Elaine to know I was preparing a "bug out vehicle", so I bought a cheap ($7) aluminum stock pot. We'd want something to cook in, for sure.
A 24-pack of toilet paper was next on the list, followed by 200' of heavy duty aluminum foil.
Two can openers.
Two butane lighters. More reliable in high humidity and when wet, and useful for lighting the BBQ at the house.
Two boxes of Folgers Singles (decaf).
An assortment of supermarket MRE equivalents, like "Pasta Anytime" and a few others.
A bit mess of disposable plastic plates and cups.
In the medicines aisle, I picked up 300 aspirin, some Neosporin, and a hundred Benadryl pills, good for allergic reactions of all sorts, and the main ingredient in ComPoz, the sleeping aid.
I also picked up some bacon, pork chops, and some ground sirloin, which I'd bring in the house.
Interestingly, even though it was barely 8 AM, I was not the only one doing the same thing. There was another fellow who apparently had the same idea. When I returned home, I made mental note of the gas-fire Coleman stove, and yes, there was still a dozen canisters of fuel. In the car, a map gives us many bug-out options, and I bookmarked the Florida Pilot's Association pages dealing with weather at http://www.floridapilot.com/ps_weather.htm and I added a jet stream chart to my "favorites" bar, too, just in case something gets into the atmosphere: http://virga.sfsu.edu/gif/jetsat_00.gif.
I surreptitiously looked in the closets and made a note of where the right clothes could be had quickly, and stashed a couple of grocery bags nearby for easy "instant packing" .
In my office I did connected the antennas off the solid-state radio, made sure the 2-meter hand held was in the charger, and finished repair of an old Hallicrafters HT-44 single sideband transmitter that has been making me crazy for a few weeks. I've always had a fondness for tube type radio gear, not only because it's EMP resistant compared with solid-state gear, but because it just sounds better. Something to do with "headroom," an engineering notion that you can exceed a tube's limits now and then without it breaking, but there's no margin of forgiveness on transistors and IC's.
Now let's pause for a moment, and ask if this behavior sounds a little paranoid.
I stopped for a few minutes and asked what was driving me to take such precautions on a perfectly good, sunny, Florida morning.
I received an email from a reader this week that supposedly was an interview given by one of OBL's top commanders to a European media. In this interview, the fellow made the claim that al Qaida had a total of seven nuclear weapons stashed in the U.S., with five coming from Russian T-3 missiles (carrying the 100 kt RD-107 warheads) and another two that were from Iran, if I recall the email correctly. The gist of the interview was that the militants had already placed the weapons in the U.S. prior to the 9/11 attack, and they were just waiting for an excuse to use them. Now, while that's probably an Urban Legend, or something that was made up by someone who's highly creative in a sick sort of way, there is also a chance that it's true. These guys have been laying for us for a long time.
As I write this on Sunday morning, a report on the BBC has caught my eye: The newest OBL tape references the western "Crusaders", lending more credence to the notion I wrote about a month after 9/11, that this really is the Islamic version of the Crusades and Spanish Inquisition, rolled up into one. According to the BBC report:
"The message denounces US President George Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as "crusaders trying to destroy the Islamic nation".
US policy is aimed at the creation of a "Greater Israel" in the region, the message says.
This would include inside its borders "large parts of Iraq and Egypt along with Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and the whole of Palestine, as well as part of the land of the holy mosques (Saudi Arabia)," the message said. " http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/2768397.stm
Well, I had just about excused myself from feeling marginally paranoid when Elaine walked into my office. "You remember last year, you sent me a list of old microwave tower sites that are for sale about the country?" she asked. "Yes, I do, and in fact I'd be pleased to find it for you, if you would like," I volunteered. I went out to her computer and pointed her at the American Tower web site at http://www.americantower.com/mainweb/SitesForSale.asp . "You know, I've been thinking it might be interesting to pick up one of those sites for us," she explained.
I had to admit it wasn't a bad idea. Elaine's been working on a book she's writing, set in the near future, and it has something to do with Mexico and immigration, but I can't tell you more about the plot. But let's just say it's good and I'll let you know when it comes out.
Between her researches on the book, and listening to the non-stop "get ready for anything" warnings and code red this week, she too was simply reacting to the news. I ordered some potassium iodide, a one month supply for Elaine & I from http://www.areyouprepared.com/potassium_iodide_iosat.html as the old supply was left on the boat from my Y2K preparation drill.
It's thanks in part to Y2K that a few serious researchers have looked at the problem of sorting out preparedness from paranoia. Psi Chi, the national honor society of psychology has a tantalizing abstract of a paper by David D. Luxton and Alan Swinkes:
"The present study examined how self-esteem, locus of control, and interpersonal trust would predict Y2K-related behaviors and attitudes, including perceptions of the severity of the potential problem and steps taken to prepare for possible disruptions. Participants completed Rosenberg's (1965) Self-Esteem Scale, Levenson's (1981) Internality, Powerful Others, and Chance Scales, and Rotter's (1967) Interpersonal Trust Scale. Participants also responded to 30 Y2K-related items developed specifically for this study, and identified Y2K-preparatory items they had purchased. The results revealed that chance and interpersonal trust predicted both future behaviors and social fear, whereas sex and interpersonal trust predicted personal concerns about Y2K-related disruptions. The present research offers insight into how people perceive uncertainty as well as how they act when faced with a pressing uncertainty." http://www.psichi.org/pubs/article.asp?article_id=8
The abstract, however fascinating, didn't help me reach a conclusion about whether my preparations were paranoid or preventative. I mean, after all, hadn't Tom Ridge hisself told us to "stock up"? The U.S. News report Friday said that federal employees were being told to bring 24 hours of food and drink, along with a change of clothes with them when they come to work next. While that last bit hasn't hit the national press yet, it's enough to make me stew a bit longer.
Maybe ordering the potassium iodide pills was a bit over the top. Maybe I would have been better served by purchasing a half gallon of good scotch. After all, when you read all the scotch tasting reviews, they all speak of iodine...and I couple of shots of scotch (neat thank yoiu, spring water if you have it) would be a damn sight better than popping a pill. Go look at all the iodine references at http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:COBJKYIcIbQC:www.alcoholreviews.com/SPIRITS/bowmore.html+%2Biodine+%2Bscotch&hl=en&ie=UTF-8 and you'll see what I mean. I've got to wonder if iodized salt would have ever been invested if more people didn't enjoy a dram of peaty scotch each evening...
Speaking of things Scottish, a little later on today, Elaine & I will likely venture out for round on the local links, and you can be sure that I'll be thinking about not staring toward Ft. Lauderdale on the one in a million chance that a nuclear something could interrupt my waggle on the 5th tee.
Before we take off, I'm again reminded of something, in a little snippet from Switzerland's news and information platform site:
"Iran's Revolutionary Guards have renewed a death threat against the British author, Salman Rushdie, on the anniversary of the original fatwa. The elite military group said the decree to take Rushdie's life was irrevocable. The original death threat was issued by the former Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989 for alleged blasphemy in Rushdie's novel, The Satanic Verses. In 1998 the Iranian government said it would not support the fatwa but was unable to rescind it on technical grounds."
If you haven't read the book, the Amazon web site offers this summary:
"Just before dawn one winter's morning, a hijacked jetliner explodes above the English Channel. Through the falling debris, two men-Gibreel Farishta, the biggest movie star in India, and Saladin Chamcha, an expatriate returning from his first visit to Bombay in fifteen years-plummet from the sky. Washing up on the snow-covered sands of an English beach, they proceed through a series of metamorphoses, dreams and revelations." http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0312270828/qid=1045402980/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/102-1470158-0852133?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
I haven't had time to read Rushdie's book, and although it would no doubt provide insight into the Islamic mind, I'll probably read Daniel Pipes' book "The Rushdie Affair" because it deals with the whole spectrum, of fallout from the book. As one Amazon reveiwer summed it up:
"Here is one example: the title of Rushdie's book. Pipes explains that while in English "the Satanic verses" is a plain ordinary phrase that refers to an embaraasing event in Islamic history, this phrase is not used in Arabic. Most Muslims won't recognize the event by that designation; Muslims call it something quite different. But when "verses" is translated into Arabic the word used refers specifically to Quranic verses. So the title is translated roughly as "The Satanic Verses of the Quran" or "The Satanic Quran".
Don't assume from this that Pipes if profferring an apologetic. He is not; this book is critical of "fundamentalist Islam". But Pipes is careful to explain how such Muslims think and react. " http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1559720255/qid=1045402980/sr=8-2/ref=sr_8_2/102-1470158-0852133?v=glance&s=books&n=507846
But even the summary of the Rushdie affair will have to wait. I have more pressing items to attend to. Like picking up some scotch because it will be a while before the potassium iodide shows up. Maybe it won't really help, but in moderation, it can't hurt too much, depending on how the water hazards treat me today.
On to the charts!
"Write when you get rich!