American Civil Unrest is Starting on Schedule

We have been warning that 2014 is the beginning of a new cycle that will see a highly unusual convergence between our domestic (civil unrest & revolution) data and our international war model. Both converge for the first time since the 1700s when there were US and French Revolutions and the fall of monarchy. This was the topic at our Cycle of War Conference (see also special report).

Image: Bundy Standoff (Infowars).

The civil unrest will develop first outside the USA and turn up more aggressively in the USA after 2015.75. Nonetheless, it still begins in 2014 for the USA as well. We are starting to see this in the West where memories of previous events still linger deep wounds from 1992.

The confrontation in Nevada between Cliven Bundy and the Bureau of Land Management, whose Director was Sen. Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) former senior adviser, has turned into an issue of important cycle unrest. The government wants the land and demands Bundy gets his cattle off of the land his family has worked for over 140 years in order to make way for solar panel power stations. This dispute between a Nevada rancher and federal rangers over alleged illegal cattle grazing erupted into an Old West-style showdown on the open range this week, even prompting self-proclaimed members of militia groups from across the country to join the rancher in fighting what they say is U.S. “tyranny.”

This is a brewing resentment of federal government that goes back to Ruby Ridge, which was the site of a deadly confrontation and siege in northern Idaho in 1992 between Randy Weaver, his family and his friend Kevin Harris, and agents of the United States Marshals Service (USMS) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). It resulted in the death of Weaver’s son Sammy, his wife Vicki, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Francis Degan. The Feds simply shot his unarmed family dead and it was alleged they even shot his son in the back. This is indeed the continued militarization of the police in America. The corruption was so bad in Ukraine that when someone saw the police, they trembled in fear. In the US, this trend is also underway and demonstrated by this video where the police began shooting at a minivan driven by a woman with children in the car over a traffic violation.

Is the US or the World Coming to an End?

By: Paul Craig Roberts

2014 is shaping up as a year of reckoning for the United States.

Image: White House (Wiki Commons).

Two pressures are building on the US dollar. One pressure comes from the Federal Reserve’s declining ability to rig the price of gold as Western gold supplies shrivel and market knowledge of the Fed’s illegal price rigging spreads. The evidence of massive amounts of naked shorts being dumped into the paper gold futures market at times of day when trading is thin is unequivocal. It has become obvious that the price of gold is being rigged in the futures market in order to protect the dollar’s value from QE.

The other pressure arises from the Obama regime’s foolish threats of sanctions on Russia. Other countries are no longer willing to tolerate Washington’s abuse of the world dollar standard. Washington uses the dollar-based international payments system to inflict damage on the economies of countries that resist Washington’s political hegemony.

Russia and China have had enough. As I have reported and as Peter Koenig reports here http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38165.htm Russia and China are disconnecting their international trade from the dollar. Henceforth, Russia will conduct its trade, including the sale of oil and natural gas to Europe, in rubles and in the currencies of its BRICS partners.

This means a big drop in the demand for US dollars and a corresponding drop in the dollar’s exchange value.

As John Williams (shadowstats.com) has made clear, the US economy has not recovered from the downturn in 2008 and has weakened further. The vast majority of the US population is hard pressed from the lack of income growth for years. As the US is now an import-dependent economy, a drop in the dollar’s value will raise US prices and push living standards lower.

All evidence points to US economic failure in 2014, and that is the conclusion of John Williams’ April 9 report.

This year could also see the breakup of NATO and even the EU. Washington’s reckless coup in Ukraine and threat of sanctions against Russia have pushed its NATO puppet states onto dangerous ground. Washington misjudged the reaction in Ukraine to its overthrow of the elected democratic government and imposition of a stooge government. Crimea quickly departed Ukraine and rejoined Russia. Other former Russian territories in Ukraine might soon follow. Protesters in Lugansk, Donetsk, and Kharkov are demanding their own referendums. Protesters have declared the Donetsk People’s Republic and Kharkov People’s Republic. Washington’s stooge government in Kiev has threatened to put the protests down with violence. http://rt.com/news/eastern-ukraine-violence-threats-405/ Washington claims that the protests are organized by Russia, but no one believes Washington, not even its Ukrainian stooges.

Russian news reports have identified US mercenaries among the Kiev force that has been sent to put down the separatists in eastern Ukraine. A member of the right-wing, neo-Nazi Fatherland Party in the Kiev parliament has called for shooting the protesters dead.

Violence against the protesters is likely to bring in the Russian Army and result in the return to Russia of its former territories in Eastern Ukraine that were attached to Ukraine by the Soviet Communist Party.

With Washington out on a limb issuing threats hand over fist, Washington is pushing Europe into two highly undesirable confrontations. Europeans do not want a war with Russia over Washington’s coup in Kiev, and Europeans understand that any real sanctions on Russia, if observed, would do far more damage to Europeans. Within the EU, growing economic inequality among the countries, high unemployment, and stringent economic austerity imposed on poorer members have produced enormous strains. Europeans are in no mood to bear the brunt of a Washington-orchestrated conflict with Russia. While Washington presents Europe with war and sacrifice, Russia and China offer trade and friendship. Washington will do its best to keep European politicians bought-and-paid-for and in line with Washington’s policies, but the downside for Europe of going along with Washington is now much larger.

Across many fronts, Washington is emerging in the world’s eye as duplicitous, untrustworthy, and totally corrupt. A Securities and Exchange Commission prosecuting attorney, James Kidney used the occasion of his retirement to reveal that higher ups had squelched his prosecutions of Goldman Sachs and other “banks too big to fail,” because his SEC bosses were not focused on justice but “on getting high-paying jobs after their government service” by protecting the banks from prosecution for their illegal actions. http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/04/09/65578/

The US Agency for International Development has been caught trying to use social media to overthrow the government of Cuba. http://rt.com/news/cuba-usaid-senate-zunzuneo-241/

This audacious recklessness comes on top of Washington’s overthrow of the Ukrainian government, the NSA spying scandal, Seymour Hersh’s investigative report that the Sarin gas attack in Syria was a false flag event arranged by NATO member Turkey in order to justify a US military attack on Syria, Washington’s forcing down Bolivian President Evo Morales’ presidential plane to be searched, Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the misuse of the Libyan no-fly resolution for military attack, and on and on. Essentially, Washington has so badly damaged other countries’ confidence in the judgment and integrity of the US government that the world has lost its belief in US leadership. Washington is reduced to threats and bribes and increasingly presents as a bully.

The self-inflicted hammer blows to Washington’s credibility have taken a toll. The most serious blow of all is the dawning realization everywhere that Washington’s crackpot conspiracy theory of 9/11 is false. Large numbers of independent experts as well as more than one hundred first responders have contradicted every aspect of Washington’s absurd conspiracy theory. No aware person believes that a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, operating without help from any intelligence agency, outwitted the entire National Security State, not only all 16 US intelligence agencies but also all intelligence agencies of NATO and Israel as well.

Nothing worked on 9/11. Airport security failed four times in one hour, more failures in one hour than have occurred during the other 116,232 hours of the 21st century combined. For the first time in history the US Air Force could not get interceptor fighters off the ground and into the sky. For the first time in history Air Traffic Control lost airliners for up to one hour and did not report it. For the first time in history low temperature, short-lived, fires on a few floors caused massive steel structures to weaken and collapse. For the first time in history 3 skyscrapers fell at essentially free fall acceleration without the benefit of controlled demolition removing resistance from below.

Two-thirds of Americans fell for this crackpot story. The left-wing fell for it, because they saw the story as the oppressed striking back at America’s evil empire. The right-wing fell for the story, because they saw it as the demonized Muslims striking out at American goodness. President George W. Bush expressed the right-wing view very well: “They hate us for our freedom and democracy.”

But no one else believed it, least of all the Italians. Italians had been informed some years previously about government false flag events when their President revealed the truth about secret Operation Gladio. Operation Gladio was an operation run by the CIA and Italian intelligence during the second half of the 20th century to set off bombs that would kill European women and children in order to blame communists and, thereby, erode support for European communist parties.

Italians were among the first to make video presentations challenging Washington’s crackpot story of 9/11. The ultimate of this challenge is the 1 hour and 45 minute film, “Zero.” You can watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QU961SGps8g&feature=youtu.be

Zero was produced as a film investigating 9/ll by the Italian company Telemaco. Many prominent people appear in the film along with independent experts. Together, they disprove every assertion made by the US government regarding its explanation of 9/11.

The film was shown to the European parliament.

It is impossible for anyone who watches this film to believe one word of the official explanation of 9/11.

The conclusion is increasingly difficult to avoid that elements of the US government blew up three New York skyscrapers in order to destroy Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah and to launch the US on the neoconservatives agenda of US world hegemony.

China and Russia protested but accepted Libya’s destruction even though it was to their own detriment. But Iran became a red line. Washington was blocked, so Washington decided to cause major problems for Russia in Ukraine in order to distract Russia from Washington’s agenda elsewhere.

China has been uncertain about the trade-offs between its trade surpluses with the US and Washington’s growing encirclement of China with naval and air bases. China has come to the conclusion that China has the same enemy as Russia has–Washington.

One of two things is likely: Either the US dollar will be abandoned and collapse in value, thus ending Washington’s superpower status and Washington’s threat to world peace, or Washington will lead its puppets into military conflict with Russia and China. The outcome of such a war would be far more devastating than the collapse of the US dollar.

Washington: Stop constitutionalizing every issue

By: Damon Linker

When all else fails, Democrats and Republicans use the courts to block programs they don’t like. Call it the other nuclear option.
Politicians might love the Constitution a little too much.
Politicians might love the Constitution a little too much. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
Not to sound like one of those mealy-mouthed, inside-the-beltway, thumb-sucking, all-too-precious pundits who pine for the so-called good-old-days of collegial bipartisan compromise — but sometimes those folks have a point.

You needn’t be president of the Bob Dole fan club or prone to swooning at the mere mention of Tip O’Neill to lament the increasing dysfunction of American political culture.

It’s pointless to try and affix blame. Yes, the Republicans have taken obstructionism to a whole new level during the Obama years. Then again, it was Democrats who first “borked” a Supreme Court nominee — the deed that arguably jump-started the take-no-prisoners approach to ideological conflict.

But neither side would be able to throw as many wrenches into the works without the unusually large number of veto points in our political system. There’s the presidential veto of legislation, of course, but also several mechanisms in the Senate, including the much-reviled filibuster. And when a party manages to maintain close to complete unanimity — as the GOP has done ever since President Obama took office — all it takes is a bare majority in the House to prevent any legislation from passing. Hell, in a fit of well-disciplined pique that majority can even shut down the government and drive it to default on its debts.

If you’re happy with a particular example of obstruction, you’ll see it as an expression of our magnificent system’s ingenious checks and balances in action. If you’re on the losing side, you’ll call it gridlock. As for me, I’d prefer to see our elected representatives governing — which means reaching compromises about policy — and not gaming the system to ensure that nothing at all gets done.

And that bring me to one veto point in particular: the tendency of politicians to constitutionalize questions of policy.

Let me provide a rough and ready example: Republicans don’t like ObamaCare. One way of expressing that dislike is to work legislatively (meaning: democratically) for its repeal or reform. The GOP has been doing this, of course.

But there’s also another approach, which involves raising constitutional objections to the law in both rhetoric and lawsuits. At the level of rhetoric, the constitutional objection amounts to asserting that the law is fundamentally illegitimate because it violates the foundational rules of the American political system in some way. When it comes to filing suits, the constitutional objection identifies this violation and asks a court to overturn part or all of the law through an act of extra-democratic judicial fiat.

Now, in principle there is nothing wrong with this process. It’s simply the institution of judicial review itself, which has been an element of the American political system since Marbury v. Madison (1803). Today it plays an important role in every constitutional democracy in the world. All such systems need some form of judicial oversight to uphold and apply the rules of the political game to what is done by the players within the game.

The only problem is that the institution of judicial review creates a second-order level of politics with much higher stakes. It’s a trump card that promises in one single judicial act to eliminate laws that one party dislikes, vitiating the need for any kind of compromise and removing the incentive to build legislative majorities to accomplish similarly sweeping goals through more democratic means.

All of this makes constitutionalization the true, permanently available “nuclear option” in our politics.

It’s a huge temptation in our ideologically polarized times — and enormously corrosive of our civic culture when overused. Given the way Americans venerate the Constitution, the mere accusation that the other side has done something unconstitutional seems to impugn motives and cast aspersions, with implicit charges of un-Americanism always lurking in the background.

When the dispute is real, a constitutional appeal is perfectly justified. This covers many examples, including historic, landmark cases surrounding race, abortion, gay marriage, and the Affordable Care Act (old and new).

We see a more pernicious example when Republicans throw around charges of Obama being an “imperial president” who regularly transgresses the constitutional limits of his office. The same can be said about radical libertarian efforts to get the Supreme Court (or at least more than one justice) to overturn roughly eight decades of jurisprudence surrounding the Commerce Clause, which could instantly upend the welfare state from top to bottom, giving these partisans a victory they would never win at the ballot box.

What’s the solution? There is none, at least beyond attempting to shame our fellow citizens into holding back from raising ordinary policy disputes to a constitutional level. There’s an old-fashioned concept that philosophers once used to describe such civic restraint: prudence.

The Communist States of America

By:  Matt Barber

 freespeech

A preferred ploy of left-wing change agents is to ridicule critics when they point out the undeniable parallels between the goals of today’s “progressive” movement, to include the Democratic Party in general, and the goals of the early, and very much still alive, communist movement.

If, for instance, one mentions the historical fact that nearly every adult who, at any time, was in any position of influence over a young, soon-to-be-radicalized Barry Soetoro was an avowed communist, to include his own parents, then one is immediately mocked and dismissed as a neo-McCarthyite hack pining for the bygone days of the Red Scare. This is an evasive, ad hominem strategy employed by those who are caught, for lack of a better word, red-handed.

To all this I say, if the jackboot fits, wear it. If it quacks like a commie and goose-steps like a commie, then a commie it is.

There are multiple layers within “progressivism’s” pseudo-utopian, truly dystopian Marxist philosophy. The left’s lust for redistributionist statism is well-known. Less understood, however, is the “progressive” rush toward cultural Marxism.

Cultural Marxism entails, among other things, that secularist aspect of left-wing statist ideology that seeks, within society, to supplant traditional values, norms and mores with postmodern moral relativism. Cultural Marxists endeavor to scrub America of her Judeo-Christian, constitutional-republican founding principles, and take, instead, a secular-statist Sharpie to our beloved U.S. Constitution.

Historian and U.S. military affairs expert William S. Lind describes cultural Marxism as “a branch of western Marxism, different from the Marxism-Leninism of the old Soviet Union. It is commonly known as ‘multiculturalism’ or, less formally, Political Correctness. From its beginning, the promoters of cultural Marxism have known they could be more effective if they concealed the Marxist nature of their work, hence the use of terms such as ‘multiculturalism.’”

Pastor, attorney and Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Scott Lively is globally admired by liberty-loving traditionalists. Conversely, he’s universally reviled by cultural Marxists. He drills down a bit deeper: “Cultural Marxism is a variation of the Marxist strategy to build a utopian socialist order on the ashes of Christian civilization, but through subversion of the moral culture, especially the elimination of the natural family, rather than solely through destruction of capitalism.”

True though this may be, the ideological seeds of contemporary cultural Marxism nonetheless sprout from deep within the dead soil of historical communism. It is not economic redistributionism alone through which “progressives” seek to both “fundamentally transform America” and otherwise conquer the world, but, rather, and perhaps primarily, it is also through victory over the pejoratively tagged “social issues” (i.e., the sanctity of marriage, natural human sexuality and morality, ending the abortion holocaust, religious liberty, the Second Amendment and the like).

This is neither speculative nor hyperbolic. Both the historical record and the U.S. Congressional Record bear out this sinister reality. Regrettably, today’s “low-information voters” as Rush Limbaugh calls them – to include the useful idiots within the GOP’s “moderate” and libertarian wings – are simply too lazy, shortsighted or both to learn the facts.

“Surrender on the ‘social issues’!” demands the GOP’s cultural Marxist-enabling kamikazes.

In 1963, U.S. Rep. A.S. Herlong Jr., D-Fla., read into the Congressional Record a list of “Current Communist Goals” as enumerated by Dr. Cleon Skousen in “The Naked Communist,” penned in 1958. I encourage you to read the whole list, but for now let’s focus on those goals that most closely align with the seditious agenda of America’s “progressive” movement. It’s actually most of them. Though Herlong was a Democrat, the list reads like today’s Democratic Party Platform.

How far has fallen the party of the jackass:

  • Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
  • Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist [or, today, Islamic] affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
  • Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist [or Islamic] domination.
  • Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
  • Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces.
  • Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
  • Do away with all loyalty oaths.
  • Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
  • Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
  • Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers’ associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
  • Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policymaking positions.
  • Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
  • Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. (An American Communist cell was told to “eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms.”)
  • Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship” and a violation of free speech and free press.
  • Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
  • Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as “normal, natural, healthy.”
  • Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a “religious crutch.”
  • Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principal of “separation of church and state.”
  • Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
  • Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the “common man.”
  • Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the “big picture.”
  • Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture – education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
  • Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
  • Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
  • Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].
  • Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
  • Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
  • Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use [“]united force[“] to solve economic, political or social problems.
  • Internationalize the Panama Canal.
  • Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

If achieving these specific communist goals was the final “progressive” step toward the larger goal of securing communist governance in America, then, tragically, “progressives” have realized that larger goal.

Look around. We are no longer the United States of America. We have become The Communist States of America.

Which means, for those who love liberty, revolution is once again at hand.

Forget Russia. America Has a Raft of More Pressing Problems.

It’s time we stopped fighting Cold War demons and dealt with real catastrophes here at home
"To be strong abroad, America must first be strong at home."
“To be strong abroad, America must first be strong at home.” (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)
Vladimir Putin once called the collapse of the Soviet Union the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. He clearly wants to put the Soviet Union back together, in some form, and stick it to America whenever and wherever he can. We must do whatever it takes to stop him. (I worked in Russia for many years, am a student of the Cold War era and know how this guy thinks — I met him many years before his rise to international fame.)

But is Russia really America’s No. 1 geopolitical foe, a claim Mitt Romney made in 2012, and which countless conservatives have recently latched onto? More specifically, is Russia really the foe America should be most focused on?

While the threat posed by Russia to the post-Cold War era is undeniable, I think the greatest threats to America’s security are homegrown.

Abraham Lincoln said our greatest foe is America itself: “America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.”

So set aside foreign threats for a second. Let’s focus on these domestic threats.

The debt. We’re up to our eyeballs in red ink: $17 trillion and counting. The interest alone this year will cost us $233 billion. That’s 40 percent of the 2014 budget deficit. And it gets worse: the debt is expected to grow to $21 trillion over the next decade.

Our incompetent leaders. Many of our “leaders” in Washington can’t acknowledge, much less cooperate on, the most critical issues we face. These obstinate hyper-partisans are a bigger threat to our future than Vladimir Putin can ever be.

The reality gap. Millions of Americans live in ideological cocoons; they’re so sure of themselves, so rigid in their beliefs, that they can’t deal with others who may be even the slightest bit disagreeable. We blame politicians for not being able to cooperate — but face it: We have trouble doing it ourselves.

Economic stagnation. Median wages in this country peaked way back in 1999. Housing peaked way back in 2006. Job growth is anemic.

Lack of skills. Half of all the jobs in America today “are at high risk of being automated by 2024.” To keep up, we have to focus more on STEM skills: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. Too bad we’re letting other nations kick our behind. In a 2009 survey, American kids ranked 14th out of 34 countries in reading, 17th in science, and 25th in math. Where are the jobs, you ask? They’re going to the smart kids in other countries, that’s where.

Brain drain. Thousands of students from around the world come here to study at America’s great universities. In the past, they’d stay here, start companies, and help power America’s economic engine. Now they’re increasingly going home — where they often find greater opportunities — and compete against us. This has to stop.

Poverty. Forty-seven million people rely on food stamps. Thirty-eight million households have nothing saved for retirement. Some 1.2 million children are homeless. An estimated 58,000 veterans live on the streets each night.These facts are a national disgrace. America’s massive, grinding poverty is eating away at our strength. What kind of a “superpower” allows a million children to fend for themselves on the street?

There’s much more. We don’t have enough water. We’ve cut spending on medical research while millions die each year from cancer, heart disease, and other killers. We’re whistling in the graveyard while cyberattacks mount. And climate change threatens our species and planet. On and on and on.

To be strong abroad, to defeat threats from the likes of Putin, America must first be strong at home. I fear we’re failing.

Government Agency: If 9 Substations Are Destroyed, The Power Grid Could Be Down For 18 Months

What would you do if the Internet or the power grid went down for over a year?  Our key infrastructure, including the Internet and the power grid, is far more vulnerable than most people would dare to imagine.

Image: Power Grid (Wiki Commons).

These days, most people simply take for granted that the lights will always be on and that the Internet will always function properly.  But what if all that changed someday in the blink of an eye?  According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, all it would take to plunge the entire nation into darkness for more than a year would be to knock out a transformer manufacturer and just 9 of our 55,000 electrical substations on a really hot summer day.  The reality of the matter is that our power grid is in desperate need of updating, and there is very little or no physical security at most of these substations.  If terrorists, or saboteurs, or special operations forces wanted to take down our power grid, it would not be very difficult.  And as you will read about later in this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.

When I read the following statement from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s latest report, I was absolutely floored…

“Destroy nine interconnection substations and a transformer manufacturer and the entire United States grid would be down for at least 18 months, probably longer.”

Wow.

What would you do without power for 18 months?

FERC studied what it would take to collapse the entire electrical grid from coast to coast.  What they found was quite unsettling

In its modeling, FERC studied what would happen if various combinations of substations were crippled in the three electrical systems that serve the contiguous U.S. The agency concluded the systems could go darkif as few as nine locations were knocked out: four in the East, three in the West and two in Texas, people with knowledge of the analysis said.

The actual number of locations that would have to be knocked out to spawn a massive blackout would vary depending on available generation resources, energy demand, which is highest on hot days, and other factors, experts said. Because it is difficult to build new transmission routes, existing big substations are becoming more crucial to handling electricity.

So what would life look like without any power for a long period of time?  The following list comes from one of my previous articles

-There would be no heat for your home.

-Water would no longer be pumped into most homes.

-Your computer would not work.

-There would be no Internet.

-Your phones would not work.

-There would be no television.

-There would be no radio.

-ATM machines would be shut down.

-There would be no banking.

-Your debit cards and credit cards would not work.

-Without electricity, gas stations would not be functioning.

-Most people would be unable to do their jobs without electricity and employment would collapse.

-Commerce would be brought to a standstill.

-Hospitals would not be able to function.

-You would quickly start running out of medicine.

-All refrigeration would shut down and frozen foods in our homes and supermarkets would start to go bad.

If you want to get an idea of how quickly society would descend into chaos, just watch the documentary “American Blackout” some time.  It will chill you to your bones.

The truth is that we live in an unprecedented time.  We have become extremely dependent on technology, and that technology could be stripped away from us in an instant.

Right now, our power grid is exceedingly vulnerable, and all the experts know this, but very little is being done to actually protect it

“The power grid, built over many decades in a benign environment, now faces a range of threats it was never designed to survive,” said Paul Stockton, a former assistant secretary of defense and president of risk-assessment firm Cloud Peak Analytics. “That’s got to be the focus going forward.”

If a group of agents working for a foreign government or a terrorist organization wanted to bring us to our knees, they could do it.

In fact, there have actually been recent attacks on some of our power stations.  Here is just one example

The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Smith reports that a former Federal Energy Regulatory Commission chairman is acknowledging for the first time that a group of snipers shot up a Silicon Valley substation for 19 minutes last year, knocking out 17 transformers before slipping away into the night.

The attack was “the most significant incident of domestic terrorism involving the grid that has ever occurred” in the U.S., Jon Wellinghoff, who was chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission at the time, told Smith.

Have you heard about that attack before now?

Most Americans have not.

But it should have been big news.

At the scene, authorities found “more than 100 fingerprint-free shell casings“, and little piles of rocks “that appeared to have been left by an advance scout to tell the attackers where to get the best shots.”

So what happens someday when the bad guys decide to conduct a coordinated attack against our power grid with heavy weapons?

It could happen.

In addition, as I mentioned at the top of this article, the Internet is extremely vulnerable as well.

For example, did you know that authorities are so freaked out about the security of the Internet that they have given “the keys to the Internet” to a very small group of individuals that meet four times per year?

It’s true.  The following is from a recent story posted by the Guardian

The keyholders have been meeting four times a year, twice on the east coast of the US and twice here on the west, since 2010. Gaining access to their inner sanctum isn’t easy, but last month I was invited along to watch the ceremony and meet some of the keyholders – a select group of security experts from around the world. All have long backgrounds in internet security and work for various international institutions. They were chosen for their geographical spread as well as their experience – no one country is allowed to have too many keyholders. They travel to the ceremony at their own, or their employer’s, expense.

What these men and women control is the system at the heart of the web: the domain name system, or DNS. This is the internet’s version of a telephone directory – a series of registers linking web addresses to a series of numbers, called IP addresses. Without these addresses, you would need to know a long sequence of numbers for every site you wanted to visit. To get to the Guardian, for instance, you’d have to enter “77.91.251.10″ instead of theguardian.com.

If the system that controls those IP addresses gets hijacked or damaged, we would definitely need someone to press the “reset button” on the Internet.

Sadly, the hackers always seem to be several steps ahead of the authorities.  In fact, according to one recent report, breaches of U.S. government computer networks go undetected 40 percent of the time

A new report by Sen. Tom Coburn (R., Okla.) detailswidespread cybersecurity breaches in the federal government, despite billions in spending to secure the nation’s most sensitive information.

The report, released on Tuesday, found thatapproximately 40 percent of breaches go undetected, and highlighted “serious vulnerabilities in the government’s efforts to protect its own civilian computers and networks.”

“In the past few years, we have seen significant breaches in cybersecurity which could affect critical U.S. infrastructure,” the report said. “Data on the nation’s weakest dams, including those which could kill Americans if they failed, were stolen by a malicious intruder. Nuclear plants’ confidential cybersecurity plans have been left unprotected. Blueprints for the technology undergirding the New York Stock Exchange were exposed to hackers.”

Yikes.

And things are not much better when it comes to cybersecurity in the private sector either.  According to Symantec, there was a 42 percent increase in cyberattacks against businesses in the United States last year.  And according to a recent report in the Telegraph, our major banks are being hit with cyberattacks “every minute of every day”…

Every minute, of every hour, of every day, a major financial institution is under attack.

Threats range from teenagers in their bedrooms engaging in adolescent “hacktivism”, to sophisticated criminal gangs and state-sponsored terrorists attempting everything from extortion to industrial espionage. Though the details of these crimes remain scant, cyber security experts are clear that behind-the-scenes online attacks have already had far reaching consequences for banks and the financial markets.

Up until now, attacks on our infrastructure have not caused any significant interruptions in our lifestyles.

But at some point that will change.

Are you prepared for that to happen?

We live at a time when our world is becoming increasingly unstable.  In the years ahead it is quite likely that we will see massive economic problems, major natural disasters, serious terror attacks and war.  Any one of those could cause substantial disruptions in the way that we live.

At this point, even NASA is warning that “civilization could collapse”…

A new study sponsored by Nasa’s Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution.

Noting that warnings of ‘collapse’ are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that “the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history.” Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to “precipitous collapse – often lasting centuries – have been quite common.”