Thursday, June 29, 2006

Our Complacent Comfort Zone

Americans are once again settling back into that well-insulated nest of self-awareness we are so renowned for.

It's been "forever" since we've been effectively attacked on our own soil, and since our military forces have taken the fight to the aggressors' stomping grounds, it seems we no longer have anything to fear back in the good old USA.

Well, maybe other than just an occasional dose of mother nature ...

Yes, we're back into hurricane season, but Katrina last year wasn't so bad, was it?

We all saw the recent reports suggesting Southern California's San Andreas fault may be in position now for a cataclysmic snap-back that would dwarf other modern era quakes. But that's been looming over SoCal heads for so long now, it's mostly urban legend, isn't it? Just more of the same blah-blah-blah.

Oh, and we can't deny there's that rather ominous background buzz about a potential flu pandemic that could kill off more people around the world in a year or two than all history's wars combined. But other than that ...

Heck, one thing we've got under control is the economy. It's down to a science for those Greenspan/Bernanke types, so THAT variable of uncertainty is passe ... even though admittedly, more and more economists are alarmed about key indicators that suggest a major correction is around the corner if not a global economic collapse. Bottom line is, U.S. stock markets still offer rosy opportunities for short-term investment gains, so things can't be too bad out there, right?

There IS some interesting public discourse out there about illegal immigration, peak oil, Iranian and North Korean nuclear weaponry, and the like these days, and the subsequent seasonal political posturing taking place that makes for compelling election campaigning. So along with our ever-more finely tuned/chemically engineered athletic-cycle productions coming to us in High Definition and Surround Sound to keep us mildly entertained, America is back to normal.

Comfortably Numb

America's security blanket is of course woven from the finest pure fibers spun in our media industries.

Knowledge and information ... or manufactured ambivalence and disinformation ... in this age of competitive abundance of versions of the truth, it leaves all of us at some point wiping the spittle from our chins after periodically coming-to, when the microwave timer reminds us that we can always ingest a little more convenience and satisfaction.

The fact of the matter is, throughout our nation's history, our people have always shown that we do not have the stomach for major, long-term initiatives that require ongoing sacrifice. Yes, we certainly do step up to the plate and we'll get inspired to kick some butt when required, but after a few years of putting off our collective tendency toward complete self-indulgence, we lose interest ... and by golly, that time has come again, hasn't it?

That, more than anything else these days, does have me wondering what is in the wind. The smoke and alarming scents that were recently so easy to discern seem to have become nothing more than the environmental norm.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.net

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Kim Jong-il Needs Attention from Time to Time

So once again, it seems for the moment, North Korea has taken center position on the global threat matrix.

A couple of excerpts from worthwhile BBC informational pieces follow (recommend reading them in full) ...


Tracking N Korea's missile intent
by Rob Watson Defence and security correspondent, BBC News

Like most things about North Korea, little is known for certain about the Taepodong 2 missile.
But there is no doubt North Korea does have a very long standing and pretty sophisticated missile programme.

In 1998, before it began observing a moratorium on tests, North Korea launched a Taepodong 1 missile which passed over northern Japan and surprised Western intelligence agencies by the use of three stages in the missile's propulsion system.


What is striking about the Taepodong 2 is that it could well be North Korea's first genuine intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) - a missile with a range of more than 5,500km (3,400 miles).

Just how far it might be able to travel and with what weight and type of warhead and level of accuracy is uncertain. But it has been suggested it could have a range up to 15,000km.

That would put Alaska or Hawaii within its reach and even the continental US if a lighter warhead were used.

(More ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5103394.stm )


Profile: Kim Jong-il

The little that is known about Kim Jong-il, North Korea's leader, conjures up a caricature of a diminutive playboy, a comic picture at odds with his brutal regime.

Diplomats and escaped dissidents talk of a vain, paranoid, cognac-guzzling hypochondriac.

He is said to wear platform shoes and favour a bouffant hairstyle in order to appear taller than his 5 feet 3 inches.
But analysts are undecided whether his eccentricities mask the cunning mind of a master manipulator or betray an irrational madman.

I know I'm an object of criticism in the world, but if I am being talked about, I must be doing the right things
Kim Jong-il Mr Kim may well encourage the myth-making surrounding him precisely in order to keep the Western world guessing. North Korea has little to bargain with, and ignorance breeds fear.

Film buff

The analysis of him as a mercurial fantasist is certainly beguiling.

He is said to have a library of 20,000 Hollywood movies and to have even written a book on the cinema. He even went so far as to engineer the kidnapping, in 1978, of a South Korean film director and his girlfriend.
This taste for the exotic apparently extends to gastronomy.

Konstantin Pulikovsky, a Russian emissary who travelled with Mr Kim by train across Russia in reported that the North Korean leader had live lobsters air-lifted to the train every day which he ate with silver chopsticks.
The two men shared champagne with a bevy of female companions of "utmost beauty and intelligence", according to Mr Pulikovsky.

Mr Kim also has a reputation as a drinker. He was seen draining 10 glasses of wine during his 2000 summit with the South Korean President Kim Dae-jung and is known to have a taste for Hennessy VSOP cognac.

Strategist

As head of North Korea's special forces for much of the 70s and 80s, he has been linked by defectors to international terrorist activities, including the 1986 bombing of a Korean Airlines jet in which 115 people died.

(More ... http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1907197.stm )



Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Calm Before the Storm

The year's first hurricanes are doubtlessly germinating in the tropics at this point ... perhaps as yet little more than a breathy wisp off the edge of the proverbial butterfly's wing.

But have no doubt, the bell has sounded and the folks on the Gulf Coast and on the Atlantic seaboard have to be alert for the next killer storm warnings, wherever they may need to be issued.

You Know the Drill

The household storm-preparation drill remains the same, but the big-picture stakes continue to increase every year.

Unabated urban development inflates the potential for disaster all up and down the coasts. It also clogs escape paths for residents if they need to take flight. Meanwhile, insurance companies continue to amend their homeowners policies to minimize company potential for catastrophic loss ... and to of course increase the exposure of their policyholders to disaster.

There are many things beyond one's control in this situation. We can bemoan the fates of nature; the moves of city planners, government regulators and emergency management bureaucracies; and the ethics and motivations of corporate insurers. But it does still all come down to what is it YOU are doing to optimize your household's position in the struggle to overcome.

Your Options

Moving away from the danger is out of the question for most.

Building hurricane-proof homes and/or shelters are also unrealistic for most.

What does that leave? A need for a well-thought-out plan of action, that's what. Have on hand plenty of provisions that are portable and ready to move inland. By now, you should know well what you ought to be ready to take with you--the media has done a fine job of educating us on how to bug-out effectively. The key is, are you actually ready to throw it all in the car and move quickly? Yes, quickly--if at all possible, you want to be ahead of the surge--the flood of evacuees.

Initially, many will linger to see if indeed the hurricane track will change or if the storm will be downgraded. Others will simply wrestle with the decision to leave their homes till it is almost too late.

If you are ahead of the curve, you know what you will do to board-up, having the materials already on hand. You know what you will take with you, where you are going to go, and what routes are possible. And most importantly, you will have made up your mind to be decisive and not second-guess yourself if you want to avoid the gridlock and emergency-shelter shortage you will encounter with any delay in your reactions.

Take Advantage of the Opportunity

Now, before the storm appears on your horizon, is the time to do the prep work and to think it all through logically, calmly. Being prepared leaves you only that final decision to take action ... potentially life-saving action.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com

Friday, June 02, 2006

The Montague Paratrooper Folding Bike


I just listed the ultimate prepper bike in my store--the Montague Paratrooper--developed in conjunction with DARPA for the military, and only recently made available in the civilian marketplace.

The bike comes in either an 18 inch or 20 inch frame. The one you want is based on your height--see the bottom of the listing. I could go on and on about this bike, but I suggest if you are interested, you have a look at the listing and do more research. This bike was designed and built to be dropped out of airplanes on a man's back, to be unfolded and to be ridden away in 30 seconds. Yep--tough and lite!

See my listing: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7246333712&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMESE%3AIT&rd=1

Needless to say, a very nice preparedness / "bug-out" option to have.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastle.com