Meanwhile, on the other side of the political aisle…

Meanwhile, on the other side of the political aisle… July 6, 2012

the right seems to be picking up on the notion that we are now a people who are so full of fear that our Ruling Class can use the weather to stampede us with fear. So while the “Weather Is Not Climate Except When it Is” crowd is shouting “Be afraid of climate change!!!” Newt Gingrich draws from the same well to alloy Climate Change[TM] with Terror[TM] in a one-two punch of fear manipulation.


It is the mark of the world to be cocksure where God says to be humble and to be filled with fear when God says to be at peace. Hence we celebrated a Day of National Pride with our Ruling Class blaring our need to be afraid.

Meanwhile, the ever-countercultural Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

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  • Kirt Higdon

    The terrorists with an EMP is something we’ve been told to fear for many years now – even back in the cold war era. The EMP allegedly shuts down anything that runs on electricity and makes it impossible to start it up again. Allegedly this once happened in Hawaii due to an atmospheric nuke test. But I don’t think it proved to be more than a minor short-term inconvenience. An EMP that could shut down the US government? If only!!!!

  • “An EMP that could shut down the US government? If only!!!!”

    Spoken like someone who doesn’t live anywhere near Washington, DC.

    • Kirt Higdon

      And who has never visited Mordor-on-the-Potomac and plans to avoid it at all costs.

      • And drawing nigh Kirt said: Wilt thou spare the wicked with the just? If there be fifty wicked men in the city, shall they survive withal? and wilt thou not destroy that place for the sake of the fifty wicked, if they be therein?

        • S. Murphy

          Llhe said was ‘shut down the US gov’t,’ not cut off the whole city.

          • S. Murphy

            All he said

            Anyway… I work for Uncle Sam, and I wouldn’t really mind if my email blew up and was gone for a couple months.

        • Kirt Higdon

          Much as I oppose the regime, I don’t advocate destroying any of them, just cutting off their power and hence their ability to harm the rest of the country and the world. And political and military power would seem to depend on electrical power. Lenin even pointed out that electrification was essential to the success of Communism in the Soviet Union. Cut off power to Obama and his nazguls, including the feminist sodomite pink Pentagon? I’ve no problem with that at all.

          • ‘feminist sodomite pink Pentagon?’

            You’ve been such a strong anti-war voice here, I never thought you were such an antiwoman homophobe, Kirt!


            • Kirt Higdon

              You’re kidding, right? But then I’ve been called “a f***ing piece of sh** French Jew” and (in Spanish) “the supreme satanic warlock of the Trevi-Andrade cult” by people who weren’t kidding, so sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference.

              • Yes, I’m kidding! Hence the smiley…

                I figured you were, too, with the over-the-top verbiage.

                ‘supreme satanic warlock of the Trevi-Andrade cult?’ WTH?

                • Kirt Higdon

                  I wasn’t kidding about the Pentagon, which now recruits “women warriors” for virtually all military specialties and officially celebrates gay pride. The “supreme satanic warlock etc….” was thrown at me by a Univision foro moderator who objected to my arguing that Mexican singer Gloria Trevi was innocent of the charges made against her. After she had been held in prison for almost 5 years without trial, a Mexican judge agreed with me and dismissed all the charges. Google her if you’re unfamiliar with the case.

  • Elaine S.

    I don’t think Newt was merely fearmongering in this case. He was pointing out a legitimate concern. An extreme solar storm similar to the “Carrington Event” that occurred in 1859 (and disrupted telegraph communications) could have similar effects. Being prepared for a failure or disruption of the electrical grid is just common sense.
    If anything, our government ought to be taking all the money it spends on the degrading “security theater” of the TSA, which actually protects no one, and putting it into strengthening of the electrical grid against natural AND man-made threats like this. The point is not that people should run around being scared of an attack, but that they should learn what they can do to minimize the damage if it happens.

    • Will

      And what should replace the TSA?

      • Qualis Rex

        Oh, pretty sure any de-loused simian able to wear a uniform could be trained quickly enough.

        • Will

          Really serious answer.

          • ivan_the_mad

            Oh noes! How dare humour appear on the internets!

    • Ted Seeber

      It happened back in 1998. I was on a business trip at the time- and my pager, my cell phone, and my credit card all stopped working just as we ran out of gas in the car. It wasn’t the end of the world. It was a minor inconvenience.

  • Mike in KC, MO

    The whole EMP thing is actually a big thing for Newt. He co-wrote a novel with William Forstchen on that very topic. Was an interesting concept.
    While I think hype for it is TOTALLY overblown, it is still a threat that, in our EXTREMELY hi-tech dependent world, we should think about a bit. If it really came down to it, if we were going to spend pornographic amounts of money on something, I’d rather it be hardening the energy grid rather than dumping it into failed narco states.

  • Qualis Rex

    Very well-thought points. I have a strong aversion to societies and people who’s modis operandi is to live in fear and bring others into it (especially hard to see children raised this way). Back to the other “not-so-creative” site in the blogosphere, they are always fear-mongering and hate-mongering to the point that one has to wonder if the “good news” has any effect on them at all. When they write articles such as “guns! buy lots and lots of guns!” or “time to secceed!” these are clear signs that there is no discussion, dialogue or hope…unless they truly do not believe this and are simply trying for a “ratings grab” like so many provocateurs on the radio do.

    Either way, purveying a “live in fear” lifestyle is certainly a lucrative business.

  • Chris

    Mark – What is this “aisle” you speak of?

    • Mark Shea

      A fictional pretence maintained by the duopoly to make you imagine you have a choice.

      • Qualis Rex

        ah, yes…the Republocrats

  • Andy

    From H L Menken probably a disreputable source: The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary. Disreputable or not this fear mongering has driven our politics for the past who knows how many years. However, in my own cynical fashion I think that Qualis Rex has it right – fear makes money for those who purvey it.

  • ivan_the_mad

    Thus providing the impetus for Newt’s moonbases. CAN’T EMP ATTACK ME ON THE MOOOOOOOOOOON!!!

  • Chris

    My front lawn is burnt out due to the drought here. But I’m telling everyone it’s merely a taste of what terrorists can do if they detonate a dirty bomb in my driveway.

    • Qualis Rex

      Or what illegals will do if they….oh, wait….bad analogy for a burnt out lawn.

  • Ted Seeber

    If I was a terrorist with fisionable materials, I’d put on a fireworks show upwind of New York City. Why mess with an actual explosion of mass destruction when you can give 11 million people lung cancer?

    • Well, there’s drama vs waiting time, though.

      • Ted Seeber

        Waiting time isn’t that much. 5 days after you did this *and escaped* people would be coughing up blood in the streets and the hospitals would be overcrowded. 10 days, and they’d have to start burying people.

        Radiation poison induced cancer is QUICK.

  • kenneth

    Newt would make a fine Scientologist, I’m thinking. With all the hoo-hah surrounding Cruise’s latest divorce and all of the embarrassing high-level defections, David Miscavige needs a man of Newt’s umm…….”vision.” Sea Org needs you Mr. Gingrich! Gold Base needs you! We, the miserable pre-clear engram-infested wogs of Teegeeack need you! 🙂

  • As someone who occasionally has to plan for these sorts of things, I assure you the problem is not made up. People will sometimes hype the dangers and distort where you should spend your infrastructure hardening dollars but I don’t think that anybody seriously believes that we shouldn’t improve the survivability of our infrastructure. Being at peace with the Lord does not mean one does not prepare for natural or man-made disasters.

    For a derecho, the hardening needed is to bury your power lines. Nothing orwellian here, plenty of communities have already done it. Above ground power lines are a cheap shortcut whose price is these increased power vulnerabilities and a derecho knocks a lot of those poles down.

    For a Carrington event, preparation is a lot more elaborate because the coronal mass ejection would induce currents that would fry a lot of components (most famously about 300 key transformers) that have a failure rate so low we don’t have the manufacturing capability to build them very fast. The National Academy of Science estimates that a Carrington event (1859) that happened today would lead to about 1 million in casualties and a 4-10 year recovery time. That sort of impact deserves some money being put aside to reduce recovery time and casualties. Again, no need to panic or be afraid. A reasonable prep regime of putting aside money to harden our electrical infrastructure is just good sense and requires no reductions in our liberties and absolutely zero moral compromises.

    • Andy

      And probably will put people to work. A win-win so the US won’t do it.

    • R. Howell

      Not so. Any danger warned about by someone I dislike is unreal.

    • Kirt Higdon

      Estimated casualties and recovery time are just for the US or for the entire world?

      • That would be just for the US according to the estimate. Many other countries don’t have to shift power as far as we do so they would likely recover more quickly.

  • beccolina

    Every time I hear about the massive power outages in the eastern part of the US, I wonder why, with all the brilliant engineers out there, we can’t design a power grid that is less vulnerable to the elements. The answer, of course, isn’t the engineers, it’s the money. Sorry, not profitable enough. Millions without power again.

    • Until the real estate people start tagging individual houses with the appropriate data so those with buried power lines get a pricing bonus, it’s not going to change. Once the metric enters into housing price calculations, the problem should take care of itself.

  • John

    There’s a well sourced study on EMP effects available online presented to Congress back in 2002 I believe. Basic gist is: EMP as a result of a nuke in orbit is real – every nuke blast produces EMP, but the effect is secondary to the fireball/blast/radiation effects… high altitude detonations wouldn’t produce the fireball/blast/radiation on the ground but would enhance the EMP thanks to our own atmosphere. So it’s a real possibility. Fortunately only about a dozen nations have ICBMs capable of heafting a nuke into orbit (US, Russia, UK, France, China, maybe Israel, India, Pakistan). As for effects on the grid….. as mentioned above the grid is vulnerable in key areas and is being hardened but it’ll be years before we can feel ‘safe’. Fact remains that we’re addicted to electricity and our entire way of life depends on it. The East Coast just went through 5+ days without power due to a storm… an EMP event (or a CME from the sun) would potentially affect the entire nation.

    Now mitigation for individuals and companies is trivially easy – any Boy Scout should know the basics: 1 week of easy to prepare food on hand, basic RV or camping gear, a generator and lots of fuel… think about $1,000 of ‘stuff’ total that the typical family of 4 or parish or school could easily budget for and acquire over a year or two.

    Every Hurricane and Derecho event we have results in people rushing out to buy generators etc. so eventually we’ll have enough prepared individuals to ride out the worst. But we’ll still need to be cautious because we live in “perilous estates” on a big ball floating in space held the palm of God’s hand….

    • I would extend the individual prep to add a question. If you trace out your power from the power plant to your house and it goes through one of those very large transformers that take forever to build and replace, you probably want to come up with somewhat more elaborate backup plans than normal. If your local area grid is getting power direct from local plants and whatever long-haul power wheeling is going on from your area out to somebody else, then you’re likely to be just fine.

      • Ted Seeber

        Another reason for distributism. If we all made our own solar power on our roofs or had windmills- we’d be a heck of a lot better off.

        • There may come a time when we’re able to do the big things that progress our civilization without baseload power available 24/7/365. That time is not now and it is not likely in the near future absent some out from left field progress in unconventional fusion. Unreliable power gets people killed all over the 3rd world. Relying on intermittent sources like solar/wind is going to hurt people. That you won’t be able to easily draw the line between your power choices and the marginal people who are pushed over the edge because of the lack of capital does not release you from responsibility.

  • John

    Yes, and then there’s this….if we get “EMP-ed” via a nuke, or a hundred…. as in “world war 3”, then chances are good we won’t be replacing those key nodes with foreign made ones anytime soon….

    If the grid fails because of a CME that devastates the northern Hemisphere but leaves the Southern intact (S.America, Austrailia, New Zealand), it’s likely we’d buy all the transformers on the market and/or machine them up ourselves overnight. But it’d still take months.

    Bottom line: it’s not crazy fear-mongering to consider a systemic crash of the grid. As this past week’s Derecho showed us, we are relatively vulnerable to simpe “mother nature” events that knock tens of millions into the dark with little warning.

    So…. in one sense it’s perfectly sane to “go green” with hyper-efficent appliances, alternatives to electric modes of cooking/heating/lighting…. to have a back up generator and 10+ gal. of gas stored securely outside… and a “neighborhood BBQ” plan in place to cook off all the hamburgers and steaks before they go bad.

    What’s not sane is to think we’re facing total Mad Max collapse. Even if we lost 100 cities to Chinese Mirv’ed warheads (at 1mt a pop), with a dozen EMP devices set off 2 minutes before the warheads arrived… we’d still not collapse into Mad Max, except in a few obvious places that are utterly dependent on the grid/bridges for resupply (cough, Long Island, Los Angeles, New Orleans cough).

    If we ever lost grid power for 2+ weeks in those places, most relatively ‘prepared’ people would run out of fuel and virtually every other police/fire/hospital system with diesel backups would also run out of fuel…. and then it’d be anarchy and mayhem. But by week 1 we’d know our goose is cooked. Absent massive national resupply efforts. If the entire world came to those places’ rescue ala Katrina, then those unique places would at most face about 1 week of anarchy.

    Given how many guns civilians have, even Mad Max anarchy wouldn’t last long.
    So….. for pennies on the dollar, over time, the average family, church, business, school, etc. could budget for and purchase the basics to cover a power-outage lasting 2 weeks or more, thus obviating the worst case scenarios above.

    • Ted Seeber

      I’m not real sure I’d have a problem with losing power for 2+ weeks, other than the fact that my eating habits would have to change. 2+years, that would be a problem, but by that time I’d have precured other sources of electricity.

      My standard is 24 months worth of food and one winter’s worth of backup fuel (firewood). I haven’t touched those stores, other than regular rotation to prevent freezerburn, in the past three years.