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The Energy Crisis During the Panic of 1873

Humans are not the only species to get viruses. A real energy crisis hit the United States that began in 1872 and expanded into 1873, which contributed to the Panic of 1873.  This was a flu virus they called distemper that shut down the US economy by infecting horses. It was in 1872 that the US economy was hit by influenza during the autumn which paralyzed the economy and social life. It was the 19th-century version of an energy crisis even before fossil fuels which these global warming fanatics want to return to. Instead of this influenza infecting people, it was a virus that spread among horses and mules. It began in Canada, and with free trade, it spread into the United States and then down into Central America.


Before fossil fuels, horses provided essential energy to build and operate cities. The steam engine led to the development of trains, but they were limited to long distances. Horses were the backbone of how cities operated just as cars today once filled the streets of major cities. But the equine flu made exposes just how important horses were to modern civilization. When horses became infected, they stopped working and it revealed just how dependent the entire economy was upon horsepower. The distemper, as they called it, spread infecting virtually every horse, and owners did not understand diseases back then and forced their horses to still work and they were dropping dead in the streets.

The influenza first appeared in Canada during late September in horses pastured outside of Toronto. The flu’s symptoms were cough and fever; ears drooping, they staggered and often dropped in the streets from exhaustion…

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Since 9/11, the Government’s Answer to Every Problem Has Been More Government

“A government big enough to give you everything you want is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.”—Anonymous

Have you noticed that the government’s answer to every problem is more government—at taxpayer expense—and less individual liberty?

The Great Depression. The World Wars. The 9/11 terror attacks. The COVID-19 pandemic.

Every crisis—manufactured or otherwise—since the nation’s early beginnings has become a make-work opportunity for the government to expand its reach and its power at taxpayer expense while limiting our freedoms at every turn.

Indeed, the history of the United States is a testament to the old adage that liberty decreases as government (and government bureaucracy) grows. To put it another way, as government expands, liberty contracts.

To the police state, this COVID-19 pandemic has been a huge boon, like winning the biggest jackpot in the lottery. Certainly, it will prove to be a windfall for those who profit from government expenditures and expansions.

Given the rate at which the government has been devising new ways to spend our money and establish itself as the “solution” to all of our worldly problems, this current crisis will most likely end up ushering in the largest expansion of government power since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

This is how the emergency state operates, after all.

From 9/11 to COVID-19, “we the people” have acted the part of the helpless, gullible victims desperately in need of the government to save us from whatever danger threatens. In turn, the government has been all too accommodating and eager while also expanding its power and authority in the so-called name of national security.

As chief correspondent Dan Balz asks for The Washington Post, “Government is everywhere now. Where does it go next?

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Covid-19: Phase 1 of the “Permanent Crisis”?

Covid-19: Phase 1 of the “Permanent Crisis”?

Let’s assume that the events of the last five months are neither random nor unexpected.

Let’s say they’re part of an ingenious plan to transform American democracy into a lockdown police state controlled by criminal elites and their puppet governors.

And let’s say the media’s role is to fan the flames of mass hysteria by sensationalizing every gory detail, every ominous prediction and every slightest uptick in the death toll in order to exert greater control over the population.

And let’s say the media used their power to craft a message of terror they’d repeat over and over again until finally, there was just one frightening storyline ringing-out from every soapbox and bullhorn, one group of governors from the same political party implementing the same destructive policies, and one small group of infectious disease experts –all incestuously related– issuing edicts in the form of “professional advice.”

Could such a thing happen in America?

What’s most astonishing about the Covid-19 operation is the manner in which the elected government was circumvented by public health experts (connected to a power-mad billionaire activist.) That was a stroke of genius. Most people regard the US as a fairly stable democracy and yet, the first sign of infection triggered the rapid transfer of power from the president to unelected “professionals” whose conflicts of interest are too vast to list.

Equally fascinating is the fact that the lockdowns were not the brainchild of Donald Trump but the mainly Democrat governors who shrugged-off any Constitutional limits to their power and arbitrarily ordered people to stay in their homes, wear masks and avoid close physical contact with other humans.

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The Cultural Preparation for Crisis

The Cultural Preparation for Crisis

Coronavirus is a foretaste of the future challenges to come. We have been offered a wake-up call with supermarkets having empty shelves and being forced to change the routine. We will need more resourcefulness, capacity for divergent thinking, and self-initiative in future events related to climate change and economic slowdown.

As it is too late to sign insurance once you had an accident, similarly, culture is something that we need to hone well in advance before we realize that we need it urgently.

What is culture? It is this invisible force in our heads. We do not see it but we see the results of it. And people from outside see it more clearly then the ones inhabited by it. The culture makes us interpret events in certain way and choose certain solutions. It makes us prioritize some activities over others. It influences our ideas about what to pursue to be happy even though it may lure us into wrong directions. It decides how we shape human relations. It makes us more prone to have certain ideas rather than others. For example, the focus on progress and technology rather than preventive health is part of the current culture.

We are shaped by the economic system we are part of. It generates and reinforces a culture that is adapted to its functioning.

In the times of new challenges, we need to develop a new culture to be able to survive. This is what Rebecca Solnit has observed about catastrophes such as a hurricane. Their way of being adapts spontaneously to the situation. We have it in our instincts.

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The One Skill That Will Help During ANY Crisis: Self-Reliance

The One Skill That Will Help During ANY Crisis: Self-Reliance

In the past several years, my family has been taking as many steps forward as possible when it comes to self-reliance. This is the one skill that will come in handy in every single imaginable crisis. 

The One Skill That Will Help During ANY Crisis: Self-Reliance

In the past several years, my family has been taking as many steps forward as possible when it comes to self-reliance. This is the one skill that will come in handy in every single imaginable crisis.

Other than not having an existence on this planet anymore, knowing how to rely on yourself and your skills will take you far when something goes wrong.  Learning, researching, and reading are all great ways to boost your knowledge about self-reliance, but I’ve found that the only way to improve, is to just do it. Jump in with two feet!

All of our properties, homes, climates, and family structures are different, so there is no one size fits all plan that I could give you and everyone would have immediate success with. Unfortunately, trial and error are how we became more self-reliant. Our first garden on this property was an abject failure.  I mean that with love and gratitude, however, because we learned what we had done wrong and how to correct it for future plantings. Our second garden was almost ruined because of a late frost in mid-June, however, once again, we were were grateful for that experience because we were able to scrounge up parts and build an almost free greenhouse from items we already had on hand. (It’s a collapsed horse shelter that didn’t survive the first snow here. We salvaged the metal and turned it into a greenhouse since we do not have horses.)

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Permaculture and Money – Part 1

Permaculture and Money – Part 1

Cash, conflict and crisis: How is money connected to limited and violent beliefs, and how can we transcend these beliefs?

Permaculture design is about finding ways in which parts of a system can harmonise together, creating regenerative patterns and structures which can help us to develop as part of an interconnected whole(1). We can use permaculture design not only to help us to change physical systems such as in gardening, but also with less visible social structures. One of the most universal and destructive of these ‘invisible structures’ can be seen as the globalised, competition-driven economy, and more specifically, the concept of money which upholds it.

Back in 1949, physicist Albert Einstein said “We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity is to survive” (2). Decades of environmental destruction, characterised by the perpetuation of a seeming disconnection between humans and nature, along with the current global “crisis” catalysed by people’s reaction to the Corona Virus, seem to show these words as more pertinent now than ever.

This article series will explore some ways in which money itself can be seen as the destructive element encouraging this disconnection. This part will look at some theories of how money, violence and psychology are closely inter-related, while subsequent parts will go into detail about alternative ways of using or relating to money, and some practical ways to achieve this in your own life.

Money & Mind

Many proponents of a moneyless society, such as Sacred Economics (3) author Charles Eisenstein and Moneyless Manifesto (4) author Mark Boyle, have theorised that money itself is perpetuating violent and destructive behaviour in human society (3, 4).  That is not to say that we should necessarily get rid of money, though there are many ideas for how we could do that (more about this in part 2).

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Fraying Food System May Be Our Next Crisis

Fraying Food System May Be Our Next Crisis

If you’re already overwhelmed with news of the pandemic and are coping with depression, read no further. However, if you’re a crisis responder by inclination or profession, you might start thinking food.

Experts who study what makes societies sustainable (or unsustainable) have been warning for decades that our modern food system is packed with ticking bombs. The ways we grow, process, package, and distribute food depend overwhelmingly on finite, depleting, and polluting fossil fuels. Industrial agriculture contributes to climate change, and results in soil erosion and salinization. Ammonia-based fertilizers create “dead zones” near river deltas while petrochemical pesticides and herbicides pollute air and water. Modern agriculture also contributes to deforestation and biodiversity loss. Monocrops—huge fields of genetically uniform corn and soybeans—are especially vulnerable to pests and diseases. Long supply chains make localities increasingly dependent on distant suppliers. The system tends to exploit low-wage workers. And food is often unequally distributed and even unhealthful, contributing to poor nutrition as well as diabetes and other diseases.

Whatever is unsustainable must, by definition, end at some point, and critics of our present food system say that a crisis is increasingly likely (just as public health professionals had long warned of the growing likelihood of a global pandemic).

And yet, year after year, decade after decade, crop yields have increased. The famine that ecologist Paul Ehrlich cautioned about in his 1968 book The Population Bomb never materialized. Indeed, our ability to feed an exponentially growing human population is frequently touted as a primary benefit of modern industrial agriculture and globalization.

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The Next Crisis: Food

The Next Crisis: Food

There’s a reason we’ve been urging folks to plant a garden

“Oh crap! Bermuda grass? In my garden space? The kind with underground runners that’s nearly impossible to eliminate except by digging up every single root and rhizome?”

For reasons I cannot fully explain I became absolutely inspired to “find a place” starting last September.

Today, my partner Evie and I are settling in to our new home. We closed on it on January 28th and it took a solid month to move things over from our former residence.

First things first, we set about correcting a decade’s worth of deferred maintenance. The furnace relay switch was quite dodgy, the gravel on the driveway was way past due for replenishment, the gutters leaked, and the apple trees were in desperate need of pruning.

Now that it’s April, I find myself every day — after my research and writing is done of course — out in the old garden space, digging new beds and turning over every square inch of the soil. Not because I want to, but because some misguided former owner thought planting Bermuda grass in the garden was a good idea.

This is the sort of grass that spreads to new horizons with meaty underground rhizomes that can spread ridiculously far from the parent plant. Arggh!

Oh, and the new chicken house, predator-proofed with hardware cloth on every possible entry point, had to be set up, too.

The list of needed improvements seem to stretch as far as the eye can see. An insurmountable pile of tasks that will be required to raise it to our high standards of creating a place of lasting beauty and abundance.

Right now? It’s a barely-dented tapestry of a thousand projects. You might be unimpressed if you took stock of all that we haven’t tackled yet.

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Planting Seeds in Crisis

Planting Seeds in Crisis

Food and seed sovereignty in uncertain times

As governments of more and more countries introduce various kinds of lockdowns (1) during the ongoing virus “pandemic” (1), we appear to be experiencing what many would say is an unprecedented global “crisis” (see for example 2). This article will explore the opportunities inherent in such a situation, in particular with regard to food and seed sovereignty and, ultimately, the sovereignty of our own lives.

What is crisis?

There are many theories about the origins of the Coronavirus and the curiously strong grip its presence has on media and governments worldwide (3, 4, 5). For example, that the virus was made possible by factory farming (3) or our current mistreatment of farm animals (4). Or the theory postulated right here on Permaculture News by Nirmala Nair that perhaps it could be “a symptom of dwindling microbial biota – a result of the past 50 years of accelerated industrial food production, processing and movement of food around the world?” (5)

Regardless of the actual origin, at any time, the influence of media and government propaganda is something to be aware of. This seems a particularly important moment to be aware of news and actions aimed at inducing emotions such as fear and panic, and to provide a counterpoint of calm, reflection on wider issues, and compassion.

With this in mind, let’s look at the etymology of the word ‘crisis’. Though often used in a negative context, we can see that the roots of this word come from the Greek for “decide, judge” (6). A time of crisis, therefore, can be seen as a time for making decisions – for becoming aware of the choices we face as a species and a planet and to decide on a course of action. Though decisions could be scary to some, this time can be seen as an opportunity for us to decide, individually and socially, how we actually wish to be living our lives.

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The New Normal: Cascading and Multilayered Crises

The New Normal: Cascading and Multilayered Crises

“The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.”

– Antonio Gramsci

The Pandemic & Public Health Crisis

On January 20th, 2020, the first confirmed case of COVID-19 infection took place in the United States. Since then, over 240,000 Americans have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, with over 6,000 dying as a result of the pandemic. The New York Times suggests that the actual numbers are likely 6-10 times higher than is being currently reported.

According to studies from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, and those who smoke, are at high-risk of severe illness or death if they contract the virus. Unfortunately, that’s a lot of Americans.

Several days ago, Dr. Anthony Fauci estimated that anywhere between 100,000-240,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by the end of August, and that’s if “we do everything perfectly,” as the good doctor put it. Since no one actually believes that the United States will conduct the response in a “perfect” manner, we can assume those numbers are low.

For the sake of discussion, let’s assume they’re correct. For some perspective, 116,708 Americans died in World War I (1914-1918). Roughly 416,800 Americans died in World War II (1941-1945). Over 40,000 Americans died in the Korean War (1950-1953). And 70,000 Americans died in the Vietnam War (1965-1975).

Perhaps we throw around large numbers too often, or maybe there’s simply no way to humanize 240,000 lives — regardless, we cannot allow the U.S. government to normalize gross numbers of fatalities, especially as a result of a completely preventable pandemic. Remember, this isn’t a ‘Natural Disaster’ — this is a ‘Man Made Disaster,’ and it should be treated as such. Yes, Trump is responsible, but he’s not the only one. In fact, individuals aren’t the problem. The entire Neoliberal Capitalist project is to blame.

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Rabobank: “There Will Be Attempts To Go Back To Normal After This Crisis, But It Will Be Impossible”

Rabobank: “There Will Be Attempts To Go Back To Normal After This Crisis, But It Will Be Impossible”

The Grand National-ists

The weekend’s world-famous UK horse race, the Grand National, was won by Potters Corner, trained in Wales and ridden by Jack Tudor, at 18-1. That’s a little unusual – but not as much as the fact that this was all a virtual race run on a computer because the actual Grand National was cancelled for the first time since WW2 due to COVID-19.

I mention this because there is a lot of Grand National-ism about at the moment due to this virus. After all, Germany accused (then apparently retracted, to far less attention) claims of ”piracy” as 200,000 face masks in Bangkok destined for it ended up in the US instead: this is normally called “gazumping” in the UK, and in healthier times is seen as perfectly natural – which says something about how we used to operate. The US is also refusing to send medical gear to Canada. Germany itself had of course previously refused to send ventilators and masks to Italy when asked, and France requisitioned private-sector stocks weeks ago. Meanwhile, China has placed strict controls on the export of personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, and virus test kits – which is a problem given it is still the world’s bulk producer – though the Czechs, Dutch, Spanish, and Turkish have all reportedly returned such gear for being faulty, and one news report alleges Pakistan received a shipment of masks clearly made of women’s underwear.

In terms of medicine, there is also a struggle to access virus testing chemical reagents – Israel has had to scale back its testing as Germany has nationalised one of the chemical producers and South Korea has been forced to close one of its plants due to the virus itself.

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After the crisis, what kind of world do we want? Post-apocalyptic novels hold lessons — and warnings

After the crisis, what kind of world do we want? Post-apocalyptic novels hold lessons — and warnings

‘Art gives me hope. Will we take those values, that hope, and use them to imagine a better collective future?’

Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee in the film adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road.(Dimension Films)

I had planned to write a totally different column this month. I had the idea, the books. I’d started doing the research. Due to COVID-19 forcing me and so many others to stay at home and inside, I had the time.

But, also due to COVID-19, I didn’t have the inclination to continue doing any of it. For over a week now I’ve felt paralyzed, as though I’ve been watching my friends and family members move through a slow motion horror movie. I imagine a lot of people have felt that way over the past few days, weeks and/or months, depending on how deep into this global pandemic they are. With each passing day it has become clearer that life as we’d once known it is ending before our very eyes. Each day I’ve scrolled mindlessly through social media, waiting for the latest news story that might give some sort of discernible shape to our increasingly uncertain collective future.

There have been daily news conferences and updates. There has been emergency legislation introduced and passed. There have been restrictions on how many people can gather in one place, which businesses are allowed to remain open, and how they must operate if they do. It’s suggested that everyone stay in their homes, provided they have homes; that if you do have to go outside, you remain a certain distance away from others.

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Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself


Customers waited in line at a Costco in Burbank last week to buy water and other supplies for fear that COVID-19 would spread and force people to stay indoors.
Image result for nothing to fear but fear itself coronavirus

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and of vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. And I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”- Franklin D. Roosevelt – March 4, 1933

Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke these words during his first inauguration at the depths of the Great Depression in 1933. The narrative taught in government schools is how FDR’s words invigorated the nation and inspired the people to show courage in the face of adversity. His terminology was that of a general leading his troops into battle.

What is not taught in government schools or proclaimed by the propaganda spewing fake news media were the dictatorial type actions taken by FDR over the next month after his “inspirational” speech. He was the first Democrat president to not let a crisis go to waste. The day after his inauguration, Roosevelt assembled a special session of Congress to declare a four-day bank holiday, and on March 9 signed the Emergency Banking Act.

What the American people should have feared was the government taking control of every aspect of their lives and threatening them with imprisonment if their dictums were not followed. On March 6, taking advantage of a wartime statute that had not been repealed, he issued Presidential Proclamation 2039 that forbade the hoarding ‘of gold or silver coin or bullion or currency’, under penalty of $10,000 and/or up to five to ten years imprisonment.”

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Spirits in the Material World


Image result for spirits in the material world

There is no political solution
To our troubled evolution
Have no faith in constitution
There is no bloody revolution 

The Police – Spirits in the Material World

As I was driving home from work last week, an almost forty-year-old song began emanating from my radio. I’ve always appreciated the music of The Police, but was never a huge fan. Spirits in the Material World was a relatively minor hit from their 1981 Ghost in the Machine multi-platinum album. I’ve probably heard it hundreds of times over the last four decades, but the lyrics struck me as particularly apropos at the end of a week where lunatic left-wing politicians staged a battle royale of ineptitude, invective, and idiotic solutions, in front of a perplexed public in a Vegas casino. Sting wrote the lyrics to this song in 1981 at the outset of the Reagan presidency. It is less than 3 minutes in length, but says much about humanity and the world we inhabit.

The interpretation of Sting’s (Gordon Sumner) lyrics depends upon your position in the generational kaleidoscope of history. As a boomer, Sting came of age during the 1960s and 70s. He was thirty years old in 1981 as the Second Turning (Awakening) was winding down and Reagan’s Morning in America was about to launch the Third Turning (Unraveling) in 1984.

His passionate idealism and search for spiritual solutions to the problems of the day had not been extinguished. The raging inflation of the 1970s had led to the worst recession since the Great Depression. The Cold War was at its coldest. Politicians had been discredited as criminal (Nixon) or incompetent (Carter). Sting and many others of his generation had lost faith in the political system. His viewpoint fit perfectly into the Strauss and Howe assessment of our last Awakening period (1964 – 1984).

Image result for awakening strauss and howe

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Brace For A Global Crisis In 2020

Brace For A Global Crisis In 2020

Falling stocks

The year 2020 could emerge as the start of the era of relative global chaos or major upheaval. It is the era we have been anticipating, as the impact of core population decline meets economic dislocation, and security and structural uncertainty.

Changes in the fundamental sociological framework of global society, due to the end of the population growth cycle – and with it the end of the economic growth cycle based on expanding market size – were beginning to become evident by the beginning of 2020. It was apparent that 2020 was likely to see a major evolution in this transformation.

The three “inevitable” trends which had been promoted in recent decades – the “inevitable” rise of the People’s Republic of China; the “inevitable” decline of the United States of America; and the “inevitable” consolidation of the European Union into a strategic superpower — had all, by 2020, retreated into the swamps of vainglory.

A broad-brush landscape view of 2020 must include at least the following:

The People’s Republic of China and the BRI Framework:

The Communist Party of China (CPC) should be expected to face unprecedented challenge in 2020-21, not only for its control of the economy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), but to its ability to project the PRC’s physical power in its immediate region, and across its suzerain empire, expressed through the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) network of states.

The PRC economy has been faltering for several years, and growth in gross domestic product (GDP) figures have only been sustained by artificial construction transactions, which are now becoming unsustainable. It is now estimated that the PRC was in actual economic decline at a time, which will lead to a faltering in its foreign investment and loan capacity to sustain the BRI program.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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