REFUGE BY SAFECASTLE

There are two ways to sleep well at night ... be ignorant or be prepared.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Upcoming Moments of Truth Will Make Things Clearer

Occasionally, eventually, we are afforded clear recognition of the truth of a matter if we are patient enough.

But first we have to get through the garbage. The higher level of attention an issue is given today, the more it is obscured in smoke, spin, and political gobbledygook. Everyone has an angle, interest, or ulterior motive, and even reporters and commentators don't pretend objectivity anymore. We can guess at a matter's root causes and effects, but unless we are willing to personally dig and get our hands dirty, pure truth often escapes unsullied.

Big Picture

I'm talking about the big issues of the day. I mean the BIG issues.

Science and moral dogma regarding such things as abortion and stem cell harvesting are seemingly at odds. But are they? Regardless, we may never see the day those issues are satisfactorily clarified in the public domain.

What about the increasing visibility given to the "debate" on whether the holocaust really happened? As time passes, the intent of some to muddy these waters and attract believers gains momentum.

Motivations behind the war in Iraq define another public-opinion dichotomy. Was it supposed to be about WMDs and the war on terror or is it about oil?

Is the war on terror a righteous pursuit or is the U.S. overreacting and overreaching our moral authority in the world?

Are radical muslims who preach the annihilation of infidels the world over representative of the future of the Muslim faith? If not, where are the silent majority in this?

Are Christians to blame for many of the world's ills? If so, is retribution divine? Or is it about court-ordered reparations?

Does Iran want the bomb to destroy Israel and to destabilize the West? Whether or not they do, does the West have the moral and legal right to try to pre-empt that risk?

Can we find someone to take the blame for global warming and to thus pay the bills for trying to fix it? Or is it all a naturally occurring phenomenon?

Will mega-hurricanes become commonplace? Or will storms remain unpredictably dangerous as they always have been?

Are illegal immigrants the death of America or are they sustaining us?

Is communism a threat or a boon to our future?

Are China and Russia ultimately friends or foes to America?

The list could go on forever. Hey ... that's what sells newspapers and keeps advertisers' dollars rolling into the multitude of media outlets.

Sometimes Truth Emerges and Resolves All

When does an issue stop becoming an issue? When it somehow overcomes the surrounding alliances of self-interest and becomes self-evident ... when the truth of a matter becomes apparent to most everyone who is paying attention.

A few of those moments of truth are going to be occurring in the near future.

1. As a matter of fact, today, we may be experiencing one, IF the North Korean nuclear disarmament agreement proves to be the real thing. Suddenly, or gradually, as the case may be, we could see this threat removed from the global gameboard of fear.

2. Yesterday, there was a report that an internal EU memo concludes it is now too late to stop Iran from going nuclear. That is not to say that the crisis is averted or can be ignored. This issue will find resolution soon, one way or the other. Iran may yet follow North Korea's lead ... or it could all become a focal point of a large scale military conflict. We will likely find out by the end of the year.

3. The civil war taking place in Iraq between Muslim factions and promulgated by terrorists there will either be doused by the reinforced US forces, or it will become evident that we must abandon the country to its fate.

4. In the maybe-soon category, H5N1 may be showing itself for the danger or the dud that it really is. Give it another year, but if it remains a rarely human-infectious virus, the world should be largely prepared at that point for the worst it may yet dish out.

5. Also maybe soon, there will come a conjunction of events and realizations ... that will cause a large segment of the general population to embrace preparedness as an important, proactive measure in the face of risks that will become more up-close and personal. How this comes about exactly is truly a matter of conjecture, but there are so many risk factors that are simultaneously being elevated now that chances are growing we will be seeing at least one major event that will provide a stimulus for significant public reaction. Authorities will of course try to manipulate and spin the situation to try to manage public reaction, "for our own good." But many will see the truth of the matter and will respond en masse. For the record, that will NOT be the time to be prepping. Prepping is about being ahead of the curve.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Got masks?

Many thanks to Michael C. for forwarding this article below on to me.

In the U.K., where the Bird Flu has suddenly appeared, N95 masks are at a premium.

Last week, I received an inquiry from Singapore on 1000 cases of 3M N95 masks.

I mention this as fair warning, folks ... if you plan to be acquiring protective masks in the near future, wait no longer. Although there is not a shortage of masks in the U.S. at the moment, that could change in a heartbeat. This is what preparedness is about--being a bit ahead of the curve.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article1323547.ece

February 04, 2007
NHS staff face year-long wait for safety masks
David Cracknell Political Editor

MINISTERS are considering stockpiling face masks for NHS staff, carers and even the general public to protect them in the event of bird flu mutating into a form that spreads to humans.
Anyone caring for the elderly, people infected with the disease or showing symptoms would be supplied with the disposable masks first.

But, according to minutes from the latest planning meeting, it is “unlikely” that ordered stocks will be ready until next year.

The Department of Health may also decide to order enough for the entire population, as the French government has done.

However, the minutes of last month’s meeting record that “the [department] would not be recommending the use of masks by the general public” at present because of the “limited science base” suggesting they will prevent further infection.

At the meeting concern was raised that this decision could provoke a backlash. “[Our communications strategy] will need careful preparation and handling, especially in view of the likelihood of our French neigh-bours wearing protection in public,” the document says.

It adds: “Abroad, it is France who has adopted a policy the most radically different. By the middle of 2007 the French will have stockpiled surgical masks to provide for their symptomatic and well general population during a pandemic.”

The latest plans come after the government has already drawn up an extensive strategy to cope with a major outbreak of bird flu, including burying the dead in “plague pits” and widespread closure of schools.

A confidential Home Office report has acknowledged that families may have to wait for four months to bury their dead. The paper said it was “prudent” to predict that as many as 320,000 people could die from the H5N1 strain of the virus if it mutates to humans.

[snip]

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Saturday, February 03, 2007

"World Braced for Huge Surge in Bird Flu Cases"

Wow. It doesn't take much to start drumming up alarmist reports out there about bird flu now, does it? The red flag in this case is that H5N1 has appeared in the British Isles for the first time--on a turkey farm.

Of course, I have to imagine it will be the same in U.S. newspapers when H5N1 lands on our shores.

This article from the Guardian Unlimited in the U.K. is certainly worth reading, if for no other reason than to realize that we're actually likely approaching another huge surge in preparedness activity. A few more scary headlines like this will likely mean a few shortages and backlog issues on some items for all of us.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/birdflu/story/0,,2005605,00.html

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Thursday, February 01, 2007

U.S Issues Guidelines in Case of Flu Pandemic

Important to know and to prepare for ...

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/01/health/01cnd-flu.html?ei=5065&en=cdb820c97dd329e6&ex=1170997200&partner=MYWAY&pagewanted=print

US Issues Guidelines in Case of Flu Pandemic

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.

ATLANTA, Feb. 1 — Cities should close schools for up to three months in the event of a severe flu outbreak, ball games and movies should be canceled and working hours staggered so subways and buses are less crowded, the federal government advised today in issuing new pandemic flu guidelines to states and cities.

Health officials acknowledged that such measures would hugely disrupt public life, but they argued that these measure would buy the time needed to produce vaccines and would save lives because flu viruses attack in waves lasting about two months.

“We have to be prepared for a Category 5 pandemic,” said Dr. Martin Cetron, director of global migration and quarantine for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in releasing the guidelines. “It’s not easy. The only thing that’s harder is facing the consequences. That will be intolerable.”

In an innovation, the new guidelines are modeled on the five levels of hurricanes, but ranked by lethality instead of wind speed. Category 1, which assumes 90,000 Americans would die, is equivalent to a bad year for seasonal flu, Glen Nowak, a C.D.C. spokesman, said. (About 36,000 Americans die of flu in an average year.) Category 5, which assumes 1.8 million dead, is the equivalent of the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. (That flu killed about 2 percent of those infected; the H5N1 flu now circulating in Asia has killed more than 50 percent but is not easily transmitted.)

The new guidelines also advocate having sick people and all their families even apparently healthy members stay home for 7 to 10 days.

They advise against closing state borders or airports because crucial deliveries, including food, would stop. They did not offer guidance on wearing masks, but Dr. Cetron said the C.D.C. would issue advice on this soon.

The guidelines are only advisory, since authority for measures like closing schools rests with state and city officials; but many local officials had asked for guidance, Dr. Cetron said.
The federal government has taken primary responsibility for developing and stockpiling vaccines and antiviral drugs, as well as masks and some other supplies.

Today’s guidelines are partly based on a recent study of how 44 cities fared in the 1918 epidemic conducted jointly by the C.D.C. and the University of Michigan’s medical school. Historians and epidemiologists pored over hospital records and newspaper clippings, trying to determine what factors partly spared some cities and doomed others.

While a few tiny towns escaped the epidemic entirely by cutting off all contact with outside, most cities took less drastic measures. These included isolating the sick and quarantining homes and rooming houses, closing schools, churches, bars and other gathering places, canceling parades, ball games, theaters and other public events, staggering factory hours, barring door-to-door sales, discouraging the use of public transport and encouraging the use of face masks.

The most effective measure seemed to be moving early and quickly. For example, said Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian and one of the study’s leaders, Philadelphia, the worst-hit city, had nearly three times as many sick and dead per capita as St. Louis, which had was hit weeks later by the virus moving inland from the Eastern Seaboard and had time to react as soon as flu cases rose above averages.

“No matter how you set up the model,” Dr. Markel said, “the cities that acted earlier and with more layered protective measures fared better.”

Any pandemic is expected to move faster than a new vaccine can be produced; current experimental vaccines against H5N1 avian flu are in short supply and based on strains isolated in 2004 or 2005. Although the government is creating a $4 billion stockpile of the antiviral drug Tamiflu, it is only useful when taken within the first 48 hours, and Tamiflu-resistant flu strains have already been found in Vietnam and Egypt.

“No one’s arguing that by closing all the schools, you’re going to prevent the spread,” Dr. Markel added. “But if you can cut cases by 10 or 20 or 30 percent and it’s your family that’s spared, that’s a big deal.”

School closures can be very controversial, and picking the right moment is hard, because it must be done before cases soar.

Jeffrey Levi, executive director of the Trust for America’s Health, a health policy organization, noted that in poor city neighborhoods, 30 to 60 percent of all children get breakfasts or lunches crucial to their nutrition at school.

“What are you going to do about that?” he asked.

Dr. Markel said it might be possible to keep the cafeterias open and transport food to points where parents could pick it up, a move that would also keep cafeteria workers and bus drivers employed.

Several public health experts praised the C.D.C. guidelines, although there were some quibbles with aspects of them.

Dr. Michael T. Osterholm, director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, said he saw no point in fretting over exactly when to close schools, because his experience in meningitis outbreaks convinced him that terrified parents would keep their children at home anyway.

“I don’t think we’ll have to pull that trigger,” he said. “The hard part is going to be unpulling it. How do the principals know when schools should open again?”

Other experts pointed out that children out of school often behave in ways that are nearly as contagious. Youngsters are sent to day care centers, and teenagers gather in malls or at each others’ houses.

“We’ll be facing the same problem, but without the teaching,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “They might as well be in class.”

Also, he noted, many employed people cannot afford to stay at home and the financial stress from not working could increase domestic violence. And he said most states and cities lacked the money to carry out the suggested guidelines or to stage drills of them.

Dr. Cetron argued that caring for children in groups of six or fewer cut transmission risks. He also argued that parents would keep many children from gathering.

“My kids aren’t going to be going to the mall,” he said.

The historian John Barry, author of “The Great Influenza,” a history of the 1918 flu, questioned an idea underpinning the study’s conclusions. There is evidence, he said, that some cities with low sickness and death rates in 1918, including St. Louis and Cincinnati, were hit by a milder spring wave of the virus. That would have, in effect, inoculated their citizens against the more severe fall wave and might have been more important than their public health measures.

The guidelines did not suggest using the military to enforce quarantines, as President Bush said he might do when he first mentioned avian flu in 2005.

Dr. Levi said that using the National Guard to set up temporary clinics or move pharmaceutical supplies might make sense.

“But they’re not there,” he said. “The people who know how to run field hospitals are in Iraq.”

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Reagan's 'Star Wars' Soon to be Reality

This sure works for me ...

Reagan's 'Star Wars' Soon to be Reality
NewsMax.com Wires
Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Within a year, the U.S. missile defense system should be able to guard against enemy attacks, while testing new technologies, the deputy director of the U.S. Missile Defense Agency said on Monday.

The United States activated the ground-based system last summer when North Korea launched one long-range and six short-range missiles.

North Korea's intercontinental Taepodong 2 missile fell into the Sea of Japan shortly after launch but the short-range tests appeared successful, said Brig. Gen. Patrick O'Reilly, deputy director of the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency.

O'Reilly said there would be no formal announcement that the system was operational. He predicted the capability to defend against enemy missiles and to continue testing and development work would be achieved within a year.

[snip]

Read the entire article:
http://newsmax.com/archives/articles/2007/1/29/221022.shtml?s=lh

Not that this will be the peace of mind we all want out of a system like this, but it's a start!


Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Monday, January 29, 2007

"Will America and Israel Survive?"

A few days ago, I posted here some snippets from a talk Newt Gingrich gave in Israel. He was sounding like many of the "doomers" who I have come to know and love so well.

He has just posted an explanation of his position on the danger to America and Israel here:
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?print=yes&id=19181

It's more of the same ... common sense, straightforward facts that many just would rather avoid at all costs.

Newt's lead paragraph is compelling: "Edward Teller, the father of the American hydrogen bomb, once asked me something that I have never forgotten: 'How hard would you work for your family to survive after a nuclear war?' I said I would do anything. And he said, 'Wouldn't it be better to do it before there's a nuclear war?'"

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Newt Notes Looming Doom

Last year, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was on prime time television with an hour-long program bringing the danger of the bird flu into the hearts and minds of America. His program probably did help reach a good many folks and raise awareness of the still lingering naturally occurring biological threat.

Now, Newt has another cause to embrace and to impart to the unwary ... nuclear holocaust.

You have GOT to read this story on an Israeli site, "Israel Faces Nuclear Holocaust Warns Gingrich." It's not only Israel that is staring down the barrel of the gun, says Newt, but America as well.

"Israel is in the greatest danger it has been in since 1967. Prior to '67, many wondered if Israel would survive. After '67, Israel seemed military dominant, despite the '73 war. I would say we are (now) back to question of survival," Gingrich said.

He added that the United States could "lose two or three cities to nuclear weapons, or more than a million to biological weapons."

Gingrich added that in such a scenario, "freedom as we know it will disappear, and we will become a much grimmer, much more militarized, dictatorial society."

"Three nuclear weapons are a second Holocaust," Gingrich declared, adding: "People are greatly underestimating how dangerous the world is becoming. I'll repeat it, three nuclear weapons are a second Holocaust. Our enemies are quite explicit in their desire to destroy us. They say it publicly? We are sleepwalking through this process as though it's only a problem of communication," Gingrich said.


The article also quotes Newt this way:

"We don't have right language, goals, structure, or operating speed, to defeat our enemies. My hope is that being this candid and direct, I could open a dialogue that will force people to come to grips with how serious this is, how real it is, how much we are threatened. If that fails, at least we will be intellectually prepared for the correct results once we have lost one or more cities," Gingrich added.

He also said "citizens who do not wake up every morning and think about the possible catastrophic civilian casualties are deluding themselves."

Well that's a fine how-do-you-do, isn't it?


Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Litvinenko's Killer IDed from Airport Camera Video

This is just a bit apart from the normal fare I post in this blog, but I think this story IS or should be of interest to those who don't believe that Russia is our friend.

Great reporting on this story ...

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3-2556377,00.html


Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Prepare for the Unthinkable

Preparing for the possibility of disaster is logical in mathematical terms. If we can agree on defining "disaster" to include not only widespread catastrophe, but also such things as unexpected personal financial downturns, job loss, serious illness or injury, residential displacement, legal troubles, major disruptions and disconnections in one's immediate family, then obviously, the odds are very strong that having some resources set aside for rainy days can pay-off at some point for most people.

Even narrowing the definition to simply include unanticipated regional tragedies such as natural disaster damage, economic slides, or acts of war, then a strong case can still be made for carrying substantive on-site "insurance" against loss. We think nothing of shelling out thousands annually for financial insurance against long-shot calamities that may or may not have as much real impact as would getting flattened by "the big one." The pay-off of having the means to "dig oneself out" from the debris of disaster is often the difference between life and death.

Bottom line--crisis preparedness makes sense. Best estimates are that about 10% of American households put forth some effort to physically prepare for future difficulties.

What we are doing, when we set aside some long-term storage food, or we set up storm shelters or saferooms at home, or we prepare basic survival kits for our cars, is preparing for the unthinkable. At least we are recognizing that a few quick calculations and preemptive actions on our part can go a long way toward helping our odds of recovery should the worst happen.

Truly, even when we are doing these things that make sense to us on some internal level, we are not allowing ourselves to become TOO aware of what kind of misery we might be trying to forestall. To do so would be counterproductive and self-defeating. It would be too much information and too little congruity.

The Core Rationale is Emotional Vulnerability

Some make lists. They identify threat scenarios. They seek out experienced advice for how to attenuate risk. Systematically, these most diligent of preppers acquire the means and resources to put their minds at ease and to actually be well-situated for most potential disasters.

BUT, even these people, who take preparedness VERY seriously, do not spend much if any time fully trying to understand the pain and misery and emotional toll that comes with the worst events that they are preparing for.

Should they? No, of course not. But it's a crucial variable in the disaster-recovery situation that makes the case for preparedness all the more important. Physical, mental, and emotional shock and paralysis is normal and expected of survivors, post-catastrophe.

Folks emerging from a sudden disaster or those struggling through an ongoing, life-changing event are very often ill-equipped to think straight or to take positive action for themselves at that time. What that means is, they either are then totally dependent on the goodwill and competence of others, OR they are well-enough situated to be able to fall back on their prior introspection.

Figure the odds.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Saturday, January 20, 2007

JAN. 22 is the Last Day for the Current Mountain House Three-Case Buy

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The current buy requires your purchase by Monday, January 22.

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Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Clinton Aims to Reveal/Exploit Obama's Youthful Muslim Education in Madrassa

The Democrats are squaring off against each other already. Hillary Clinton is set to formally begin her candidacy for the Presidency, just as Barrack Hussein Obama has already.

Reports suggest that Clinton has been digging up dirt on Obama, since he may be her biggest challenger for the Democratic nomination. Her sleuths have found that Obama has been less than forthcoming about his years spent in Jakarta in a Madrassa, or Muslim seminary in Indonesia.

This should get very interesting.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

U.S. Intel: Bin Laden Plotting Attack on U.S. Bigger than 9/11

Am seeing reports again out there to the effect that Bin Laden's recent time of relative security in the boonies of Pakistan have allowed him to keep plotting a major attack or attacks in the U.S. that aim to dwarf the 9/11 attacks.

Outgoing Nat'l intelligence Director John Negroponte told the Senate Select Intelligence Committee on Jan. 11 that al Qaeda leadership has been communicating with underlings throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe. Negroponte indicated the planned attacks involve conventional explosives.

Al Qaeda is networking with seasoned operative groups now established in the West who are presumably focusing their terror objectives on aviation, energy, mass transit, and government buildings.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"It is 5 Minutes to Midnight"

The scientists who mind the Doomsday Clock - symbolizing the annihilation of civilization - have moved it two minutes closer to midnight, adding the threat of global warming for the first time to acute nuclear threats. This "progress" is the first movement of the hands since 2002, when the clock moved from 9 minutes to midnight to 7 minutes till.

Thus sayeth the watchers ...

http://www.thebulletin.org/minutes-to-midnight/timeline.html

IT IS 5 MINUTES TO MIDNIGHT
2007

The world stands at the brink of a second nuclear age. The United States and Russia remain ready to stage a nuclear attack within minutes, North Korea conducts a nuclear test, and many in the international community worry that Iran plans to acquire the Bomb. Climate change also presents a dire challenge to humanity. Damage to ecosystems is already taking place; flooding, destructive storms, increased drought, and polar ice melt are causing loss of life and property.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Monday, January 15, 2007

Nuclear Blast on "24" Causes Fallout for Fox?

Puhlease ... talk about the need for an increasingly robust nanny-state to more compassionately babysit and nurture our delicate mass-psyche.

Read this first, from ABC News: http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2795969&page=1

Go ahead, I'll wait.

OK. Now, I'm not a "24" fan. I watched a few episodes in the first season, mainly because my wife always tells me I look like Kiefer Sutherland. And I do really like good espionage-related entertainment when I'm in the mood. But the show never quite hit the mark for me.

Nonetheless, "24" is obviously is a hit with a lot of folks, and I guess the plots must twist the spin close enough to keeping the good guys on the real front lines looking like the heroes they are.

So, all the more power to Kiefer and company. Go Jack Bauer!

But why is someone now crying about this season's shows? .... because they are nuking L.A. on our very own widescreens? Is someone actually concerned about our collective ability to handle the fear we'll be immersed in as the result of watching must-see WMD TV in high def?

Hmmm ... ABC TV is the source of this article. Is it not just way too obvious that they might be screeching pitiably about their own inability to compete in the Nielsens in this time slot?

Of course.

But also, it is amazing that there are folks out there--"scholarly experts"--who are willing to be quoted to the effect that " ... the dramatic action in the show creates a dangerous climate in which the public loses some of its perspective on what's real and what's not."

And, "Fear has been used to paralyze people's intellects. If they can scare people, almost anything becomes possible. When people are afraid their brains shut off and it makes you confused and want easy solutions."

Then there is the P.C. angle that has to be given voice in this "debate" ... "Television shows like '24' also reinforce stereotypes about Arabs, he said, and in this episode connections are drawn between terrorism, Arabs and nuclear war. With the U.S. wrestling with Iran over its nuclear capabilities, these associations are dangerous."

Guess we just can't be trusted to manage our own emotions and opinions, can we? Or at least we must not be counted on to separate high-def imagery from our kitchen window's-view of the world.

The article mentions that the 1983 drama "The Day After" (aired by ABC!) showed the horror of life after a nuclear attack, and that in 2002, "The Sum of All Fears" was questioned by authorities who were apparently concerned about public fears so recent to the reality of 9/11.

Also, this year, it is pointed out that CBS has a series, "Jericho" that portrays life after nuclear war.

Here's the clincher: "'It fits into a mind set," Jhally said. "Iran is on the news about nuclear power, and now there is an American TV story on an Arab terrorist using nuclear power. It's dangerous because this present administration wants any excuse to attack an enemy. Fear is (the) main enemy in our political culture and we have to cut through the fear to see the world clearly, and then we can find solutions to make the world safe.'"

Sometimes you just have to wonder, don't you? I would hope that we all, in our feeble little minds, at least give it a little thought from time to time--that there ARE folks out there "watching out" for your best interests.

Bottom line, WE have the power to live well and prepare for any contingencies, IF we so choose.

Repeat after me: I am not afraid of network entertainment ... at least not to the point of soiling my pants and changing my vote.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Offer for a FREE Case of Mountain House Organic Fruit Ends Jan. 15

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

Sunday, January 07, 2007

What Are People Thinking Today?

Just thought I'd provide a little insight into the public mind today. In light of the report of the plan for Israel to nuke Iran's nuclear enrichment facilites, the topic of the world's attention is obvious.

How are people responding over the morning coffee? Well, it's not a time for panic by any means. However, our sites are taking unprecedented traffic today already. Especially our shelter site. We are being deluged with requests for brochures and for quotes on shelters.

Site traffic doesn't always translate into purchasing decisions, but if you are considering any major preparedness buys, take note ... it doesn't take much of a spike in demand before our industry's various product supply lines are strained and overwhelmed. We've seen it several times over the last several years, and customers have found themselves having to wait weeks or months for their orders--not exactly the thing you want to happen when you are trying to pocket a little peace of mind.

Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Israel Plan to Nuke Iran?

This morning, the hot news is the report that Israel has drawn up "secret" plans to nuke Iran's uranium enrichment facilities.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2535310,00.html

Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran
Uzi Mahnaimi, New York and Sarah Baxter, Washington

ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.

Israeli and American officials have met several times to consider military action. Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack.

[snip]

Escalating Half-a-Notch

I have to agree with the opinion that this is less news and more posturing--leaked for a purpose. That is not to say there is not a plan, nor that the strategy won't come to fruition. Israel is being backed into a corner and Iran is incessantly poking them with a radioactive stick.

This story brings the issue once again front and center in the public mind. It needs to be there and the international community must come up with an effective strategy to head off a burgeoning disaaster in the Middle East that could quickly engulf the world. We're not there yet, but if you stop and take notice, you'll catch a distinct whiff of smoke in the wind.


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

Join the Club, Order Any Mountain House Case CHEAP for Free Delivery in Two Weeks

Just want to point out that we have now listed all the available Mountain House emergency storage food cases on our buyers club sign-up site: www.safecastleroyal.com

Non-members can order at our regular prices and get FREE delivery within about two weeks at this point (if the Israel/Iran situation doesn't seriously spook a lot of people and create a demand surge as what happened last year at this time, post-Katrina).

However, Safecastle Royal members (simply sign-up for a $19 lifetime membership fee) can purchase those cases on that site, and use a coupon code to get a very serious discount on those foods.

Mountain House is THE premier emergency storage food, as well as the preferred outdoor adventure-expedition food in the world. The canned food is delicious, nutritious, and easy to store, with a 30-year shelf life.

It's some of the best piece of mind you can buy in a world that is increasingly uncertain.


Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Hurricane Center Chief Issues Final Warning

Glad to have ya', Max! ...

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-hurricane3jan03,0,3253020.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Hurricane center chief issues final warning
A departing Max Mayfield is convinced that the Southeast is inviting disaster.
By Carol J. Williams, Times Staff Writer
January 3, 2007

MIAMI — Frustrated with people and politicians who refuse to listen or learn, National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield ends his 34-year government career today in search of a new platform for getting out his unwelcome message: Hurricane Katrina was nothing compared with the big one yet to come.

Mayfield, 58, leaves his high-profile job with the National Weather Service more convinced than ever that U.S. residents of the Southeast are risking unprecedented tragedy by continuing to build vulnerable homes in the tropical storm zone and failing to plan escape routes.

He pointed to southern Florida's 7 million coastal residents. "We're eventually going to get a strong enough storm in a densely populated area to have a major disaster," he said. "I know people don't want to hear this, and I'm generally a very positive person, but we're setting ourselves up for this major disaster."

More than 1,300 deaths across the Gulf Coast were attributed to Hurricane Katrina, the worst human toll from a weather event in the United States since the 1920s. But Mayfield warns that 10 times as many fatalities could occur in what he sees as an inevitable strike by a huge storm during the current highly active hurricane cycle, which is expected to last another 10 to 20 years.

[snip]


Get Ready, Seriously ... www.safecastleroyal.com

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Don't Look Now, But H5N1 May Be Sneaking Up on Us

Of late, most of us have chosen to relegate the Bird Flu Pandemic threat to the bottom of the heap. If you think about it, this common reaction is a reminder of how delicate a job it is, if the media was to actually be doing a public service, walking the fine line--increasing awareness and avoiding the over-hype of potential imminent risks.

The fact is, the bird flu is creeping back into the picture, if you are paying attention. In Vietnam and Egypt in particular, there are current spikes in human fatalities. No, nothing to get too excited about here in America yet, but the point is, we cannot put this boogeyman to bed anytime soon.

This report should make you go "hmmm ..."

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=59855&nfid=rssfeeds

Human H5N1 Virus Replikin Count Overtakes That In H5N1 "Bird Flu"
Article Date: 02 January 2007

A common question asked at current scientific conferences is: "Where did bird flu go?"

The recent decrease in reported H5N1 human cases and bird outbreaks might indicate that the virus has become dormant. However, quantitative analysis by Replikins, Ltd. released yesterday of human H5N1 virus sequences in 2006 has found that the Replikin Count(TM) has significantly increased beyond all annual previous levels reported in chickens and humans. The Replikin Count(TM) determined by virus protein software analysis, provides an index of the capacity for virus rapid replication. The Replikin Count(TM) is defined as the number of replikin peptide sequences per 100 amino acids of virus protein, that is concentration, and is independent of the number of specimens examined.

Rather than declining, the Replikin Count(TM) in humans in 2006 has risen 35% over that in 2005, and outstripped the Count in all reported chicken H5N1 virus specimens, both with reference to the mean and the range, of the peptides in all human H5N1 virus specimens reported by the National Library of Medicine.

With the rise in Replikin Count(TM) in human H5N1, (3.7(+/-4.1) in 2005 to 5.0(+/-5.9) in 2006, p<0.001), the human Count exceeds that for H5N1 in chickens, which after rising from 2003, has been constant (3.2(+/-2.8) in 2005, and 3.2(+/-3.1) in 2006. The Replikin Count(TM) in H5N1 is now seen to have risen steadily, by a factor of 3.9 from the 1998 Replikin Count(TM) of 1.3(+/-0.4) in chickens to the Replikin Count(TM) in humans in 2006 of 5.0(+/- 5.9) (p<0.001). The Replikin Count in the 1918 H1N1 influenza pandemic was 7.0. The mortality rate in human H5N1 cases has also increased 2.3 times, from 26 percent in 1997-98 to approximately 60 percent in 2006.

The increase in Replikin Count(TM) could have provided early warning of the last three H5N1 bird outbreaks (2001-2006). It was also found to precede or was an early association of the three influenza human pandemics - 1918 (H1N1), 1957 (H2N2) and 1968 (H3N2), and the H5N1 outbreak in Hong Kong (1997) (see http://www.replikins.com for detailed data).

In contrast to H5N1, Replikin Count(TM) analyses of H3N2 influenza virus (the cause of the pandemic of 1968) has decreased (2.7(+/-0.6) in 2005 to 0.8(+/-1) in 2006, p<0.001). Such decreases have been associated with periods of relative viral quiescence.

"This rise in human H5N1 Replikin Count(TM) suggests that the replication rate of this virus in humans continues to increase. Humans may be becoming a preferred host for H5N1," according to Dr. Sam Bogoch, Chairman of Replikins, Ltd.

"The Replikin Count(TM) is specific to the virus strain, the host species, and the region, and can be used to indicate the threat level of a particular virus. We know of no other quantitative measures of particular peptide sequences of virus proteins, or of any other chemical constituent, which have this correlative and predictive value," he said.

In addition to FluForecast(R), Replikins, Ltd. has enlisted an international "Replikins Group" of several universities and research institutions to test the effect of its potential synthetic replikins vaccines and other products against these new targets related to rapid replication in H5N1 and other virus disorders.

Replikins, Ltd.
http://www.replikins.com/

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