T Minus 2 Days and Counting...

This morning's scan of the news turned up an interesting, worrisome and thought provoking editorial piece on The American Dream dealing with what I'm referring to as the Baby Boomer's "Economic Shock and Awe campaign".

The author points to "16 Statistics About The Coming Retirement Crisis That Will Drop Your Jaw". Honestly, my jaw didn't drop one bit. It simply got tight as I found myself grinding my teeth in a sort of dread filled anticipation.

The beginning of this latest assault on our floundering economy and financial futures will begin on January 1st, 2011, just two days from now, as the first of the official "Baby Boomers" begin turning 65. Over the following 19 years, every day an average of more than 10,000 Boomers will follow suit by retiring and claiming their monthly social security checks. This is absolutely devastating news for a broken system that already, some 6 years ahead of recent estimates, gives more than it receives.

What's worse is that, due to the exportation of the US industrial base, especially over the last 20 years, a large majority of even fully employed Americans have been left struggling to make monthly bills. Add in the fact that borderline fraudulent, and occasionally outright criminal, marketing of credit products to Americans has left a large percentage with mountains of personal debt and you can start to see the bigger picture. According to this 2009 CNBC article, 23% of people surveyed that made over $100,000 per year were already living paycheck to paycheck. Obviously, those making less than $100,000 make up the majority of our increasingly impoverished nation. If people that somehow "floated to the top" are struggling that much, what does it say about those making $30,000 per year or less?

And it's only getting worse as price inflation continues, wages continue to drop and jobs continue to evaporate into the Chinese and Indian ether.

The CNBC article goes on to say that 36% of all people surveyed weren't contributing anything to retirement savings. In fact, 33% of all those surveyed didn't even contribute monthly to regular short-term savings accounts. That does not bode well for the typical Baby Boomer and his ability to survive in a state of retirement. Nor does it bode well for the rest of us.

Of those who actually DO have retirement savings, most have 401k plans...and the vast majority of those is invested in equities. We all remember that during the initial and subsequent downturns in the economy, along with the accompanying shocking "corrections" in the markets, there have been very significant losses for those with their money in a 401k. This wiped out a large percentage of the Baby Boomer safety net. Most 401k plans will never recover the losses incurred unless the markets surge to levels well above what we saw before the "crashes".

Do you expect such a bull market to come back any time soon? I sure don't. Certainly not in time to cover the Baby Boomer asses, at least.

And as for Baby Boomers with pensions - forget about it. The few that even have them are really in no better shape.

Pension plans are in serious danger of going completely belly-up all around. Article after article, since 2008, has turned up in the mainstream news about how severe the money problems are with these pensions. Back in January of this year, Forbes published this article on their website detailing some of the troubles facing the US in relation to debt. The article states, bluntly, that a figure of $3.2 trillion in shortfall for unfunded pension liability nationally is "a more accurate number" when compared to the US Government Accountability Office's estimate of $405 billion at that time.

So, obviously, a large chunk of the Baby Boomer population will soon be relying entirely on their monthly Social Security checks.

According to the article, Social Security had 16 payers for every receiver in 1950. For 2010, that number has decreased to around 3.3 payers per receiver. By 2025, the number is projected to fall to only 2 payers per receiver, though I would expect it to be lower. What that means is that each employed worker will be responsible for an average 50% of a retiree's monthly Social Security payment.

Just think about the burden that will place on an individual's income - if the average monthly Social Security payment was only a mere $600, we'd be talking about an average $300 per month being taken from each working person who, by all rights, would likely be unable to even make the bills before that $200 was taken from them. According to this Wikipedia page, the median income for 18+ workers in the US for 2005 was $25,149. That $300 per month would represent around 15% of their "pre-tax" income. When you consider all the other absurdities, such as the upcoming mandatory health care costs along with medicare/medicaid, state taxes, federal taxes, etc, that average "take-home pay" will likely fall well below today's poverty levels. And we certainly can't count on prices for necessities falling nor on wages increasing.

You see, many of the Baby Boomers in this country have looked at the numbers, heard all about how bad things are going to be, and they just rolled their eyes.

It's all just been too much for them to think about. They've busy just trying to take care of the important things like paying the electric, phone and cable bills. They've been worried about buying new cars and making sure they have health insurance so they can afford their blood pressure meds. They've been paying off their credit cards and trying to pay off mortgages.

They have had no time to worry about tomorrow and what kind of future their children and grandchildren will be facing, nor to worry about what they can do to change it.

And by not worrying about tomorrow, by simply living in the moment and letting the government, banks and big corporations completely run amok, they've essentially passed the financial responsibility for their continued living after age 65 to the next 2 generations - "Generation X" and, as I like to call us, "Generation Why the F***". Simultaneously, they let this country's economic engine fall into ruins and this nation's government become so corrupt that it, today, closely resembles the Beast of Revelations.

In pursuit of the "American Dream", they've turned future generations, of their own seed, into personal slave labor.

Did they somehow think this was a good idea?

The Economic Shock and Awe that we're about to experience, due to this outright negligence on the part of the Baby Boomer generation, is likely to cripple this nation in VERY short order. How long before we have tens of thousands of highly educated, and highly motivated, young people rioting in the streets over their lack of even menial job prospects and their inability to pay for even the most basic necessities?

My guess is not very long. Not very long at all.


Congratulations! You owe $44,886.57!

Catching this story off CNSNews.com this morning was a little unnerving, to put it mildly. I mean, we all know that the US government has saddled the public with staggering levels of debt that could never be payed off. But do you know what the actual numbers are?


That's as of December 22nd of this year...nearly 14 trillion dollars.

This, of course, is a new record in debt - a number so high it really doesn't make any sense to think about in our everyday lives. When you break it down to your individual share of the debt, however, it starts to become a little more clear.

You owe $44,886.57.

Ahh, sir? I don't have that kind of money. I live in a camper and drive an old beat-up pickup truck. I struggle to pull in enough to pay for a campsite to park on every month. And you say I owe how much again?

Keep in mind, that's your "equal share". The other 308,745,537 people in this country owe that much too. Even the unemployed ones. Even the ones who are currently losing their homes to foreclosure, can't afford an apartment and will soon be forced to live in a cardboard box.

And wait! That's not even the whole story!

The US Debt Clock, a "real time" breakdown of some pretty important numbers, shows us how much deeper this proverbial rabbit hole really goes.

When you look at the personal debt numbers, composed of such things as mortgages, car loans and credit card debts, the numbers are just as staggering. $16.199 trillion dollars, or $52,088 per citizen. I wonder if "we the people" should pay off our personal debts before we tackle the national...think the Chinese will wait?

And then there's that "US Total Debt" number which stands around $55.487 trillion dollars at 11am today. That breaks down to $178,415 per US citizen, or $680,593 per US family. And the clock shows only a meager $7,976 in savings per US family. Wow.

I wont even start on the "Unfunded Liabilities" number showing over a million dollars "owed" per taxpayer.

This is just another striking example of how badly the system is broken.

Fire up those printing presses Mr. Bernanke! I'll go get the helicopter!


The US Chart and the January 4 Solar Eclipse

Many people don't give much credence to astrology. Many of those that do only look at superficial sun signs. Many read a horoscope daily that tells them of all the good fortune they can have based on some loose and generally perverted form of true astrology.

Me, I give astrology its place in the grand scheme. Specifically, God put these planets and stars in particular arrangements and told us that we'd know the seasons according to their passage. Astrology, to me, is a grand cosmic clock in the sky.

And you can glean a lot of information from the timing of the seasons, especially when it comes to major events or changes in perception and consciousness.

In looking over the January 4, 2011 solar eclipse transits on the "US natal chart" (July 4, 1776 at 5:10pm, Philadelphia), I'm noticing some interesting patterns. Of course, I searched around the web to see what others have said, many of which use fixed stars and obscure asteroids in their readings. Some say "Ooooh - this is a good one!" while others rant about how "bad" the transits are.

There are no good or bad transits. They are merely markers on a calendar - what you do on a given day is up to you.

First thing I notice here, however, is the striking opposition between the placement of the eclipse in Capricorn to the US natal Sun in Cancer. This opposition marks a time of struggle between egos. Another possibility here is that the "great spotlight", i.e. the focus, perception and consciousness of the masses, will be divided between two camps: Capricorn being a material focus dealing with moneys, hard work and wealth; Cancer being a more fluid emotional, patriotic and "security of the home and hearth" type of focus.

Add to this opposition the placement of Saturn, generally thought to denote such things as rules, law and judges, making a return to conjunct the US natal Saturn in Libra, and you have the makings of a tense struggle of the opposing Sun energies trying to divide our focus with Saturn caught in the middle, forming what's called a t-square. A Saturn return is a difficult time to begin with, often associated with being forced to "take responsibility" and, in turn, become mature. Throughout US history, Saturn returns have marked difficulties such as the Civil War and The Panic of 1893, the worst depression to hit the US before the Great Depression in the 1930s.

This sounds like major court battles are brewing (Saturn in Libra), likely over problems with the US economy (Capricorn) and overbearing "homeland" security (Cancer). Overtones of screaming pressures from the masses for "someone" to take responsibility for the mess we find ourselves will appear on both fronts, and the two sides will have only the rule of law to guide them.

Another interesting and significant transit, that's been occurring since middle 2008, is the Neptune conjunction to the US natal Moon in Aquarius. The Moon placement in Aquarius generally is thought to signify the "melting pot" aspect of the US, with many cultures, ideologies and skin colors merging into one great nation of people. This placement also signifies a particular rebellious streak, and a person, or nation, with this placement will absolutely refuse to be told what to do.

But Neptune, often considered to cloak whatever it touches in a bank of "dreamy" fog, transiting here has been causing a lot of confusion, and even delusion, for this part of the US chart. In the summer of 2008, during the presidential election campaign, many Americans suddenly found themselves lost in a sea of smoke and mirrors, a trend that is only beginning to break with this eclipse and wont truly be over until December of 2012 (there's that date again). Between the eclipse and early summer, it will be as if we are seeing the world clearly for the first time in years, as Neptune moves out of the conjunction, only to return again, in a loose orb, around the summer solstice.

Lifting the fog of Neptune will shock this nation of independent free-thinkers after having spent years with the proverbial wool pulled over their eyes, and this eclipse marks the beginning of it. This is likely to be a time of a lot of anger toward media and government, large corporations and institutions.

Venus, often thought to sort of "bless" the place where it resides in a chart, is found in the US natal 12th House. This house is often associated with dreams and subconsciousness, and often fear itself, but in ancient times is was considered more of a wastebasket of placements...that anything present in this house would be flaccid and ineffectual. Venus here would thus lose all its ability to "brighten" the chart with benefic qualities, allowing only the tension present to make the front page. No helping hand will come from the skies.

Pluto, known for explosive, sudden destruction of "old ways", has been slowly transiting through Capricorn, opposite the US natal Jupiter in Cancer. This represents a time of fragility in relation to philosophy and religion. Old ways of thinking are being stripped away in sudden firestorms and media frenzies (Wikileaks certainly comes to mind) and those who try to hold on to those old ways are stripped away with them (Tea Party?). This trend will continue for some time, and will only be exacerbated by the eclipse. Eclipses mark the end of something old and the beginning of something new, and this is exactly what Pluto does best. In Capricorn, Pluto's focus is on institutions and corporations, economy and hard work. Opposing the US natal Jupiter in Cancer shows the plan is to destroy our false beliefs about home, family and security.

The result is the rebellious, angry replacement of our collective "Neptunian delusion" with ideas and systems that are both more realistic and more economical. We will be required to expend copious amounts of elbow grease as we hold on to constitutional principals and reject the failing systems we find ourselves suffering with today.

It's that or face the global power vacuum as corruption, at the highest levels of our largest institutions, is revealed and we do nothing about it.

So the stars are marking a very difficult period emerging for the US. It's not a "bad" period, but one full of challenges and tension. In fact, if we respond to the cosmic call to arms, this may be one of the most important and benefic periods in all of US history! For the three months leading into early spring, we the people become the masters of our nation's fate. What we do during this important time of court battles, revealed secrets and failing institutions will form the foundation of a new future for the US. The eclipse, acting as a delineation between seasons, will turn our focus to these issues and will not let us ignore them.

It's up to us what we do with the day, and this eclipse is marking the beginning of a new planting season. The real question is, will we the people get out of bed in time to sow the seeds of our own future?

And what seeds will we plant?


Downright Chilling

In the northern hemisphere, we just experienced a lovely lunar eclipse on the night of the winter solstice. Many of us, from North America and Europe to parts of Asia, are experiencing one of the coldest, most extreme winters in recorded history. In the southern hemisphere, however, it was the summer solstice.

What The Telegraph reports today should really give us all a chilly shock to the system. Australia, entering the height of summer now, has experienced a major WINTER storm. Yes, that's right. A WINTER STORM.

Apparently, it's not just the northern hemisphere going through such extreme temperature swings. Whatever is affecting our weather here in the northern hemisphere, causing the jet stream to go berserk, is apparently a global phenomenon. I think we may be in for some pretty nasty changes in short order.

Global Mean Temperature Anomaly Dec 1-20

You People Actually Scare Me

Christmas Day, 2009, the "underwear bomber" boarded flight 253 in Amsterdam, bound for Detroit. That part you seem to remember.

And that's why you are just passively sighing over the atrocities being performed hourly at every major airport in this country.

What you seem to have forgotten was this: the US State Department KNEW that Mutallab, the Nigerian who tried to blow up his underpants, was involved with al-Qaeda in Yemen. They purposely and consciously chose to NOT revoke his visa - they thought it might scare him off.

You've seem to have forgotten that intelligence agencies from the CIA and FBI to MI5 and the Israeli Mossad, all admitted that they KNEW that there were plans to blow up airliners with explosives hidden where the sun don't shine. They knew, for a fact, that these plans were coming out of the Yemen.

You seem to have forgotten that Mutallab's own father went directly to the CIA with his concerns about his son's terrorism associations and the MI5 also told the CIA directly about what kind of threat this man posed back in 2008.

And incredibly, you have forgotten that eyewitnesses actually watched Mutallab completely bypass security at the airport in Amsterdam. He didn't even have to show a passport! Does Kurt Haskell or the "sharply dressed man" ring any bells?

Come on people. What the hell is wrong with you? You've been completely fleeced AGAIN, and "they" didn't even have to try very hard.

I really don't get it - it's as if you enjoy being treated like criminals. It's as if you like the idea of becoming a slave to totalitarian government. Do you like the idea of being bombarded with cancer-causing radiation and felt up by poorly trained rent-a-cops? Does it make you "feel safe"?

I don't know what you've been drinking, people, but it sure isn't what I've been drinking. You people actually scare me.


A Rolling Stone Gathers No Moss?

I had never really thought about the meaning of the phrase "A rolling stone gathers no moss." On the latest cross-country jaunt, returning to Florida, I found myself contemplating this quite a bit. What was meant by "rolling stone" exactly? I'm reminded of those rocks in a desert somewhere that, due to wind patterns, appear to roll across the plains and flats. They aren't actually rolling forward of their own volition, but rather wind causes the sand to erode and the rock slowly "rolls forward". It's similar to when you stand on the beach and a wave breaks over your feet - as the water rushes back out to sea, it erodes the sand around your feet and you find yourself off-balance.

But these rocks "live" in extremely dry and windy locations. Moss tends not to grow in those locations as it is, so even the non-rolling stones of the area would "gather no moss". Obviously, that's not what was meant, but it's a start.

Where do stones regularly gather moss then? My thoughts go to the streams and brooks of childhood. Cool, clear water cutting through pine forest floors, replete with large rounded stones and giant boulders dropped by glaciers many thousands of years ago. There was certainly a lot of moss along those trout streams, making them slick and tricky to navigate. But I never really saw any of these stones "roll" on their own. It occurs to me, however, that the same process as the "rolling stones" of the desert undergo via wind erosion simply must happen within the turbulent streams of New Hampshire. As the water erodes the soil and sediment around the pebble or stone, the water's push against the stone becomes ever more difficult for the friction and gravity to withstand. Eventually, the stone will go tumbling downstream, settling in a new location where either the path is clogged with other stones and debris or the current subsides enough that the forces of gravity and friction can again take hold.

I like this idea. Not only does it bring to mind images of the beautiful rounded stones that massaged bare feet as I'd wade hip deep and cast my trout flies. It also brings to mind the idea of a great rushing current pushing us along toward some universal ocean, carrying sand and sediment over us, slowly eroding us until we've become round and our surfaces polished. To fight this constant current means being buried alive in the onslaught of sand and mud meant only to perfect us. And, if your head is above the proverbial water line, it means gathering moss.

So choosing to be like the "rolling stone" in the babbling brook that is life, "no moss" will be gathered. But what exactly is this moss? Is it material stuff? Is it emotional baggage? Of course it is. It's this and much more. The moss referred to here is composed of both good and bad things, like love and family, enemies and debts. It is all of the things we accumulate throughout life: savings accounts, family heirlooms, long time friendships or your favorite bench in the city park. Life, though, is constantly pushing us. Holding on to these things can be difficult in the rushing torrents of a spring flood. If we hold on too long, we can become buried and suffocated by the very things we hold on to.

So some of us just choose to "roll". We choose to let the current take us downstream, toward that mysterious unification where all the streams of life lead. On the way, we'll bump into many moss covered stones, making brief encounters with those who choose to hold on and stay put. Our journeys will often slow and even stop for a time as the current slacks during the dry months of the late summer. We'll often become tangled in the piles of debris during spring floods, or find ourselves washed up on the embankments after large, violent storms. But we always resume our journey to the sea. We always find our paths moving forward again.

And sometimes we find ourselves feeling envy for all that moss other stones have gathered. We dream of lives where we can settle in a small pool with a sandy bottom, gather moss and just take a break. Tumbling along with the current often seems more difficult than just staying put. But then the draw of the sea reminds us of why we choose to roll.

"A rolling stone gathers no moss," and this is a choice some of us have made.

So I'm back in Florida again. This is my 4th time here. Life, up to this point, has certainly been a wild ride. The journey to here has been rich and full of experience. I think, though, at this point, I'll stay put and rest for a while before the next storm carries me away again. It's good to catch your breath every now and then.


Confirming Suspicions - Assange is Just a Puppet

It's been hard to ignore all of the mainstream media coverage of the latest WikiLeaks. The rising chorus of "Assange is a terrorist" over the last week, however, should definitely give us pause. Over and over, Assange is been called a "criminal" and a "terrorist" by corporate giants and governments around the world. The newspapers, meanwhile, who were instrumental in publishing the leaks, from the New York Times to Der Speigel, have received no mainstream criticism for their role.

So, why are they so adamant on labeling the guy as "bad"?

Then this morning, after experiencing a debilitating internet outage yesterday, which continues intermittently today, I find that the charges brought against Assange in this supposed "rape" are, actually, that he didn't wear a CONDOM? Come on people. This is about as absurd as it gets. An international arrest warrant for not wearing a rubber.

These are fake charges brought against a shill, only to be dropped later after the mainstream media circus has had its fun...where have we seen THAT before?

Over the years, a clear pattern can be seen to emerge when you look at periods of time in which something serious was brewing under the surface. Be it Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson, Lacey Peterson, Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden, when someone's face is plastered all over the mainstream press, you can be SURE there's something "they" don't want us to see.

Does Assange KNOW he's being used as a distraction? Does he know that he's being used by the very same elitist fraudsters he's supposedly trying to expose? Of course he does. Otherwise, I'd expect that he'd have been a lot more outspoken when it comes to such ridiculous charges being brought to him by the industrialized world governments. He'd have taken up the offer of residency/asylum in Ecuador. And by now, considering how clear it's become in the last week, he'd have stated very publicly that government operatives have obviously been funneling him junk information and are trying to use him as a distraction from the truth.

The fact that nothing Assange has released, to date, is truly mind-blowing - that everything he has released was already "out there" on the internet and known to anyone with a brain and 5 minutes of free time every day - says to me that he's very aware of the role he's playing.

So aware, in fact, that he's probably smiling to himself at this very minute while thinking about how easy it was to pull the wool over so many eyes at once.


Washington and Wall Street are Shaking in their Boots!

A quick read of this Businessweek article reveals much about the mentality of today's outdated, out of touch "leaders". Viewed as a serious threat to their raping and pillaging, Ron Paul has become, again, the whipping post for the power's that be, or more appropriately, the powers that WERE and who still, for some reason, think ARE.

The article starts off with the story of retiring Senator Judd Gregg, the current chairman of the House Financial Service Committee’s Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology, handing out Ron Paul's End the Fed, at a central bank meeting in November. The book, which outlines a return to the gold standard, among other things, debuted on the New York Times non-fiction best seller list at #6 and ranked at least as high as #18 on the Amazon books best seller list. Gregg supposedly told those in attendance of the meeting that it'd be worth finding out what Ron Paul, next in line to take chairman of the subcommittee, has planned for them.

You see, they KNOW we're coming for them. They KNOW we've had enough of them inflating the middle class into poverty while lining the pockets of their elitist cronies. They KNOW we're looking to fix the mess they've made by, first and foremost, exposing them and their ilk for the sociopathic criminals they truly are.

This will lead to stripping the big government incumbents and the Federal Reserve fraudsters, the investment banksters and the too-big-to-fail corporate jackasses, of all their self-assumed power. Eventually, it will lead to the greatest accomplishment of modern times - a global revolution where the shadow government, illuminati freaks are imprisoned for their crimes against humanity.

Let's be clear here, I voted for Ron Paul in the 2008 Primary. I wanted this guy in. I can be quoted as saying then that "if Ron Paul doesn't win this thing, we wont achieve freedom again until there's blood in the streets."

Obviously, he didn't win. He didn't even win the republican nomination. What's followed has been a steady decline into tyrannical "Big Sis" government and a full-on Nazi-esque police state mentality. We have, at this point, no real chance of fighting this thing off without a true uprising of the people.

The "Tea Party" movement, which I have viewed with a heaping dose of skepticism since it was hijacked by those looking to make a fast buck, still does have the underlying spirit of the movement intact. The recent ousting of incumbent Democrats and neo-con Republicans has put the elitists on edge, and for good reason. Republicans and Democrats alike know that time is up and they have to start listening to their constituents. If they don't, they're not only done for politically, they risk a civil uprising or even a civil war.

So what are they doing about it? The same thing they always do! They're distracting everyone with more BS as they keep doing what they've been doing! But this time they're scared. They're scrambling to make things happen before it's too late. They know their smoke and mirrors tactics don't get them very far anymore, and pony shows have almost no effect on the people who have already woken up.

The incoming House Speaker, Republican John Boehner, has already been reported to be discussing ways to keep Ron Paul from becoming the chairman of the subcommittee...you know, to keep him from exposing the fraud and criminal activity of our elected leaders and the banksters. He's doing this secretly and quietly, trying to not raise any alarm bells. Too bad, Boehner - you're on candid camera now.

According to The Daily Paul, if they DO pass him over at the vote next week, the full House of Representatives will have to ratify the chairman's appointment. If that happens, the phone campaign will begin. Don't miss out on that one, should it arise.

What I need to say about all of this, however, is that EVEN IF Ron Paul gets the chairman seat for the subcommittee, the ball that is the complete lock down of the US population is already rolling. We have not only an uphill battle on our hands, in getting our freedoms back, but a battle in which we're heavily out-gunned and certainly out-numbered. For every one true patriot in this country, there are dozens of pathological thieves who want nothing more than their monthly "poor me" welfare checks and GMO foodstamps. These mindless zombies will do anything to protect their entitlements.

Those on the front-lines of this battle will be the first to go. They'll be locked up in FEMA camps and labeled "domestic terrorists".

We're coming into a time when things are going to get very scary in this country. VERY scary. All I can say is, it's about damned time.

RV Heating and Cooling, or How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Use a Multimeter

Look, I'm no tech wiz. I've learned along the way to do a bit of electrical and mechanical work myself, but when it comes right down to it, I'm usually afraid to even touch things like "complicated" heating and cooling systems. I mean, the little experience I have with things like replacing starters, water pumps or head gaskets in cars, or wiring up a new electrical outlet, new thermostat, etc - these things are small potatoes when you start thinking about the dangers of working with a live AC unit or something that burns propane. The dangers there are real - explosions, electrocutions, or worse.

In 2009, just as the New Hampshire winter was setting in, my furnace decided to quit on me. The thermostat said "turn on" but the furnace did nothing. I tore apart my couch, pulled the furnace out and started applying low amperage 12 volt to various things that looked like they should take it. Of course, this produced no results. I decided the blower motor must be dead and gave up. I spent a few months running an electric heater to keep warm and quickly found my pipes freezing up.

In December, I picked up and moved to Florida. Problem solved - don't actually need a furnace there.

While in Florida, however, my AC unit decided to quit on me just as the summer heat set in. Thankfully, a long-time family friend was staying in the same campground. He, having been an HVAC specialist a good portion of his life and even teaching classes at a college for it, knew a little something about what to look at and how to test it. He brought over his multimeter and started poking at things with what appeared to be little fear of electrocution. His determination was that the "running capacitor" was shot. I pulled it and ran down the street to get a new one but, after they tested it and said it was fine, I decided that rather than bother him to come over and keep testing for me, I'd get my own hands dirty and bought myself a multimeter.

Best tool investment I've ever made.

I tested this and that. After a few minutes of poking the probes at different terminals, I found that the problem was definitely BEFORE the capacitor, not in it. No voltage ever made it to the capacitor when the thermostat said "turn on". After scouring the internet for info on how an RV air conditioner works, I found myself probing the control board. Lo and Behold - it was a simple relay switch in the control board. $80 and 2 weeks later, I had a working AC again. Thank God as my interior temps were soaring to 100*F almost every day!

This taught me a valuable lesson - if you expect to have a shot at fixing things in your rig, you not only NEED a multimeter, you simply CAN'T be afraid to use it. A multimeter allows you to test for three things that will almost always narrow down the problem - voltage (both VAC and VDC), amperage and resistance (ohms). 9 times out of 10, simply testing for voltage at some connection point will tell you exactly where the problem is.

After moving here to Albuquerque, I knew I had to try to fix my furnace. Winter was coming and temps were already dropping to the upper 30s at night. Since I had found the problem with the AC and replaced a cheap part rather than the whole unit, my optimism was up and I was pretty sure I could find the problem. Firstly, let's outline the basics of how a standard RV heating system works so you can follow along.

1 - The Thermostat:
When the thermostat registers an interior temperature cooler than the requested temperature, it sends DC voltage to the furnace. When it registers warmer than the requested temperature, it stops sending that voltage. It's that simple.

2 - The Furnace On/Off Switch:
I'm not sure if all furnaces have this, but my Suburban does. Two wires come from the thermostat, and one goes through a simple on/off rocker switch. When off or malfunctioning, the voltage from the thermostat will go no further than this switch.

3 - The "Time Delay Relay" / aka "Klixon" Relay:
This relay controls the running of the blower motor itself, turning it on and off based on the DC voltage signal from the thermostat. It allows 12VDC to run from your main house battery/converter to the blower motor when the thermostat is sending a signal, then will actually wait a certain number of seconds before stopping that 12VDC when the thermostat has stopped sending voltage.

4 - The "Sail Switch":
This switch is mounted on the side of the blower motor, with a "sail" piece inside the blower motor itself. It simply monitors the operation of the blower motor. When the blower motor turns on and starts blowing air, the "sail" part of the switch gets blown in a certain direction and the switch turns on, allowing the voltage from the thermostat to flow to the control board. If the blower motor doesn't turn on, or isn't blowing the air strongly enough, the sail never gets pushed to the "on" position, preventing the burner from ever starting.

5 - The Control Board:
This is where all the rest of the magic happens - opening the "orifice" to allow propane into the burning chamber, ignition of that gas, overheat monitoring, etc. I wont go into details because, well, I don't know the details.

Very, VERY simple system, at least compared to what I expected. So how did I test mine?

Firstly, I made sure there was voltage coming from the thermostat. I turned on the heat so the thermostat would tell the furnace to turn on, then I took the multimeter and put the black/negative probe on the 12VDC ground wire and the red/positive probe on the wire coming from the thermostat. Yep - got voltage. That means the thermostat is fine and there's no break in the wire between it and the furnace. Next, I checked to see if the on/off switch was working correctly by doing the same thing, but putting the red/positive probe on the connection to the relay switch, which is the next connection point after the point I was testing. Yep - I got the same voltage there, so that's fine. Then I checked to see if there's 12VDC running to the relay. I put the positive probe on the relay terminal and registered a clean and steady 13.1VDC. When I checked to see if the 12VDC was coming out the opposite terminal, however, I got nothing. Looks like the relay's dead.

I ordered a new relay from the internet (less than $20) and installed it. Turned on the thermostat and on pops the motor. Good. Fixed everything for $20. A new furnace, which I was convinced I would have to buy back in New Hampshire, would have cost over $250.

Moral of the story? Buy a multimeter and learn how to use it, then learn about how RV heating and cooling systems work, especially the ones in your rig. They're much more simple than we realize, and they're often VERY easy, and very CHEAP, to repair.

Afterall, when you're RVing these days, you've gotta save EVERY PENNY you can.


This Really Pisses Me Off: Government Evicts Man from His Own Land

This was on Infowars.com today:

YouTube Link

Here's this man - this man is just trying to live his life the way he wants! He's in the middle of 38 acres of HIS OWN LAND, not bothering anyone or asking for anything!

It's NOBODY'S BUSINESS! Nobody else's business how he's living!

He's doing no harm, seems perfectly content and he's healthy. He's sound of mind. He just wants to be left alone to live his life the way he wants. What right does the town have to keep dragging him into court? To threaten him with eviction? Why aren't people, his neighbors, his friends, standing up for him?

Must everyone dictate how we live our lives?

Is it really even their business?

And how can it be even legal to throw a man off HIS OWN DAMNED LAND!?!?

Isn't there someone he can turn to to get help? To get these people off his back?

He's 72 years old - where's he going to go? What's next? A nursing home? Are they going to throw him into a nursing home? Are they going to declare him insane? Are they going to declare him unfit to make his own decisions?

This is JUST PLAIN WRONG and someone needs to help him.

Where does the government interference in our lives end? They are already dictating where and how we can live, what we can buy, and what jobs we're allowed to have. You can't even live on your OWN LAND in the middle of NOWHERE without government evicting you. They've gone WAY too far already. When will people wake up?

Trying to Tackle the Problem with the Jet Stream

I've been watching for weeks now as the jet stream breaks down, that "river of wind" that divides the cold air to the north from the warm air to the south (in the northern hemisphere anyway). If you don't know what a jet stream is, see the Wikipedia for some help before reading further.

Several weeks ago, I started noticing some really significant troughs developing in the jet stream. I mean, it's normal, especially this time of year, to see significant troughs suddenly develop along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains chain, but these were sudden and explosive. Being in Albuquerque, I had a front seat to the ensuing high winds and frigid temperatures associated with major troughs. Perhaps that's why I noticed the pattern emerging early on.

When a trough is developing in one part of the stream, to both the east and west of it the stream will curve opposite, forming ridges. Technically, the curvature of the jet stream, the troughs and ridges, are caused by Rossby Waves. That's, I'm sure, the case here, but something truly significant was occurring. The troughs were developing so deep and so rapidly that it seemed the ridge to the east wasn't able to develop fast enough and the whole system would appear to collapse. The jet stream would completely disconnect, as a ridge would move northward, heading for northern Canada, leaving the main jet stream behind. The trough would also appear to get cut-off and drift eastward as the jet stream flattened and reconnected in a simple west to east flow.

Odd enough on its own to see this happen multiple times over a couple weeks, but then a new pattern began to emerge. The troughs began digging even deeper as they developed, digging down as far as northern Mexico in a very narrow slice that seemed to defy logic. The troughs appeared to become more stable, also, as they held together long enough to travel all the way to the east coast, bringing 30s and 40s into central Florida. The major disconnect still occurred, but now off the east coast of the US and Canada. The ridge that developed would move backwards, westerly, into northern Canada and toward Hudson Bay as a new southern branch of the jet stream would form in the tropical Atlantic. At first, this southern branch would cut northward toward Britain, before regaining a semblance of normalcy over continental Europe.

About 3 weeks ago, strange storms began appearing in the GFS model forecast just off the east coast of the US, over the Gulf Stream. These storms would appear to develop before an advancing cold front as a trough made its way toward the east coast. The storm would begin as a small area of thunderstorms with a central low pressure area, much like you'd expect a subtropical cyclone to begin, but suddenly "bomb out" over 12-18 hours, becoming what appeared to be major baroclinic lows with high winds and heavy rainfall, on the *south side* of the jet stream.

The GFS would forecast the jet stream to detach, with a ridge moving northward over Greenland and drifting east toward Norway and a trough developing in the middle of the Atlantic digging southward to the coast of Africa.

These strange storms never materialized the way forecasted, but the jet stream pattern that emerged was right on the money. What followed was extreme cold for Europe as the jet stream dug through northern Africa and into the western Mediterranean. An article today on the effects of this extreme divergence of the normal jet stream pattern details temps dipping to 5*F in Poland, -4*F in Scotland and -11* in Moscow.

In the past week, another change to this pattern has emerged as the jet stream is now digging south past Hawaii, ridging over the western US, then digging a subtle trough toward Florida before B-lining straight across the Atlantic to western Africa. Check out these screenshots (24 hour intervals) from the GFS 250mb wind speed forecast from Stormsurf.

You'll note that the 00 "hindsight" shows the jet stream trough just east of Hawaii digging south toward the equator. A ridge cuts through northern California and east to the Great Lakes before another trough digs south in two branches, one reaching toward the Yucatan. The jet stream then follows a basically straight line heading through the Florida Straights to western Africa. You'll also notice the anomalous circle of high winds over Greenland - the weird cut-off ridge that keeps developing and drifts northward, then eastward toward Norway.

In the 24 hour forecast, you'll note a ridge beginning to migrate east into northern Canada as well as a sudden dig develop in the jet stream over the northern Caribbean, just north of Cuba and Haiti. There's also a shift of the pattern over Europe, with a ridge becoming defined from western Africa into Spain and a well-defined trough around Italy.

For the 48 hour forecast, the ridge developing toward northern Canada appears to cut-off from the main jet stream as a new "southern branch" appears to be developing over the Pacific, flowing west to east well south of Hawaii. In fact, you can almost make out a VERY southern branch of the jet stream developing and dipping south of the equator, off the coast of South America and cutting through Central America before reconnecting with the main jet stream in the Caribbean. By 72 hours, this pattern is more pronounced. A very zonal flow has developed across the southern US and the ridge in Canada has been completely cut off. You'll note that the cut-off ridge over Greenland reconnects with the main jet stream, as well, while a developing ridge over Europe becomes more pronounced.

By the 96 hour and 120 hour forecasts, however, a very pronounced trough is seen over the east coast of the US, the strange southern branch crossing the Pacific is bridging just north of Hawaii, and the now reconnected ridge over Greenland is migrating toward northern Europe. An area of high winds appears "stuck" off the coast of Florida as this massive ridge fully reconnects with the main jet stream, and by hour 144, the forecast shows that ridge beginning to disconnect again while a central branch of the jet stream forms a trough just off the coast of Africa and a southern branch develops digging south toward the equator over the Atlantic. The wind velocities off the east coast of Florida are at a peak, and at hour 168, the forecast shows the jet stream completely breaking down again with a major trough moving into western Africa.

Now, I know that's fairly boring to many, but what I'm seeing is a major issue developing as the winter season sets in for the northern hemisphere. Could this be caused by a Gulf Stream problem? It would sound good if we weren't seeing such a strange breakdown of normal jet stream patterns over the Pacific as well. Could this be caused by the strong La Nina in the Pacific? That would sound good if we saw a return to normal as the jet stream approached Europe. This appears to be a breakdown of the atmospheric dynamics themselves, as if something actually "broke" in the upper atmosphere and the traditional, rather stable division of hot and cold air along a zonal boundary is becoming more chaotic as a result.

This article from The Times in the UK details the recently confirmed discovery that the Gulf Stream and North Atlantic Drift are truly in danger of shutting down due to increases in melt water in the North Atlantic. Over the last 12 years, a 30% decrease in the cold water return flow has been measured. This, of course, could lead to a total breakdown of the thermohaline circulation. Remember "The Day After Tomorrow"? Yeah, that's what we're talking about here.

Earlier this fall, an article from the Russian Times warned about the coldest winter in 1,000 years for Europe. The article did claim the speed of the Gulf Stream has halved in the last couple of years, which isn't *entirely* true. From what I've gleaned from reading countless articles over the past months, it's being debated within scientific communities as to how much "slow down" has actually occurred in the Gulf Stream itself and, this even more hotly debated, how much of an effect it might have on the climate.

Needless to say, it's starting off as though they were right on the money with their prediction about it being the coldest in 1,000 years.

The problem is that it's not just the Atlantic, not just Europe, that's being affected here. As I said, the strange breakdown of the jet stream over the Pacific can't be explained by the Gulf Stream weakening on its own. What else is happening here? What are we missing?

And for a quick laugh, this article from The Telegraph actually blames "global warming" for a mysterious "blocking high" that has caused the jet stream to tweak out. I have to call BS as, not only is the same pattern developing over the Pacific but this "blocking high" the professor refers to in the article does not explain the troughs in the southern branch of the jet stream reaching nearly to the equator at times. That article is nothing but a puff-piece meant to put the minds of the masses at ease.


CIA "brain implants" under MK-ULTRA?

We'll start here today, with a wonderful article on The Raw Story about a 2009 lawsuit alleging the CIA implanted electrodes into the brains of active duty military, purportedly to "remote control" prescribed behaviors in the subjects.

From hallucinogens to hypnosis, sensory deprivation to sexual abuse, long-term isolation to now electrode implants, it certainly looks like the CIA was a busy place back in the 50s and 60s. The bulk of documentation for "Project MK-ULTRA" was supposedly destroyed in the early 70s by direction of the CIA Director, but many of the documents are still floating around, much of which are still under lock-and-key. It's likely the program continues, in some form, to this day - of course, we have no public proof of that.

As we know, in 1945, Operation Paperclip, aka Project Paperclip, was instituted to bring Nazi scientists into the US, effectively ensuring that German knowledge would be kept from the USSR. Many of the scientists under Paperclip were experts in mind control and behavior modification techniques, aka brainwashing, and their knowledge was later put to good use under MK-ULTRA. One common theory on the actual goals of MK-ULTRA was the "Manchurian Candidate", an "unwitting assassin" soldier who would be completely under their thumb and would carry out any order his handler gave. Another theory was that the program was designed to research and test effective torture and interrogation techniques.

Either way, it wasn't pretty. This lawsuit, of course, gives more credit to the "Manchurian Candidate" goal theory. You have to wonder how far they went with their research, and how successful they've been in reaching their goals.


DOT-P2P and US bails out EU?

After reviewing the rest of the news today, I have a few interesting articles to share.

We'll start off with this, a wonderfully fun video to watch:

YouTube link

Love getting those behind the scenes looks at what really goes in D.C. when "no one's looking".

Meanwhile, back on earth, in a push to keep big government out of our business, it looks like "anonymous" and the hackers of the world are working on a new project. The "DOT-P2P" project, a "decentralized open domain name system", is what I would have to say is the biggest push forward in years for online freedom and privacy. The recent seizure of domains by big government over supposed illegal copyright infringement or some such has shown how vulnerable we are to censorship on the web. The project, started only days ago, aims to create a decentralized system that relies on peer-to-peer networking technologies, including BitTorrent, to completely bypass ICANN and ISP DNS services. It will use a ".p2p" top-level domain, handled by an existing "community-based" DNS.

Not since TOR has a better idea been put forward in my opinion.

Read more about this at TorrentFreak, the openNIC project and the project's official pages at the dot-p2p.org.

In other news, be ready for a rocky ride in the next week. Not only is the Federal Reserve releasing some important information (namely, the names and other data of financial institutions and foreign central banks it has loaned money to as of late), but the US is evidently preparing to bail out the EU! If the euro were to plummet toward death, one can easily imagine a lot of money flowing into dollars, giving the dollar a big boost akin to a shot of anabolic steroids. However, if the US dollar is about to go flooding into Europe in an attempt to keep the euro from falling flat on its face, one can also imagine a move away from both euros AND dollars.

The question becomes, what direction does money move when both the euro and the dollar are considered worthless pieces of crap? My guess is gold.


I worked about 18 months doing loss prevention for a clothing store back in the north east. That's why this morning, this story caught my eye: Women accused of hiding merchandise in body fat. Now, I've watched people steal many times. I watched old women and young boys, teen-age girls and middle-age mothers, as they grabbed whatever caught their eye and shoved it into a bag or ran for the fitting rooms to rip tags off shirts and pants, then casually walk out of the store wearing high-price clothing they had no intention of ever paying for. Teen-age boys had the mentality of "smash and grab" engrained in them - they'd walk in, grab their item of choice and rip the tags off while running out the door, leaving gaping holes in the backs of their new gangsta shirts. I'd see them coming from a mile away, like a poorly camouflaged hunter pacing off his nervous energy before taking a shot. Old women, seasoned by years of experience, would skillfully pick up items and slide them into a bag, then calmly walk out the door, sometimes so quickly you could barely tell if you had actually seen it happen. The one thing I haven't seen is what these women did - concealing merchandise in rolls of body fat. That's definitely a new one in my book.

The whole loss prevention thing made me sick inside - who'd have thought so many people could steal? Who'd have thought it was so easy, so natural, and so common? In the loss prevention profession, there's a well known and typically unspoken truth - everyone, given the opportunity, is not only a potential thief, they're a LIKELY thief. It's the saddest realization I ever had.

Some would do it because they couldn't afford all the fabulousness they desired and would simply steal what they couldn't afford. Some would do it because they were "mentally ill" and just couldn't help themselves - getting that cheap thrill when they got away with stealing became addictive.

However, most did it simply because they could. After stopping someone with hundreds of dollars worth of merchandise shoved into a bag, we'd always bring them back to the office, sit them down and interview them. "Have you ever done this before?" and "When was the first time you stole?"

"Why did you steal these items today?"

More often than not, the thief had enough money in their wallet to buy the item stolen.

I remember coming home from that loss prevention job one night. I stopped at a gas station to grab a case of beer, a usual occurrence. A woman in line just in front of me was paying for, I think, gas and a drink. As the cashier was putting her money in the till and counting out the woman's change, the woman grabbed a candybar and shoved it into her purse. This was in full view of me, standing behind her, and not quick or skilled in the least. The cashier saw nothing, of course.

When I told the cashier, after the woman had left, that the she had stolen a candybar and that she should be watched the next time she comes in because "she *will* do it again, now that she's gotten away with it, and she'll likely steal something worth more than a candybar", the cashier told me very matter-of-fact that they "can't do anything about it anyway" - can't stop them, can't call the police...can't even ask if they'd like pay for the item.

I wish I was surprised by that revelation, but I wasn't.

It fully occurred to me, at some point along the way, that our society has broken down to the point where we literally serve the people who steal. Those who "have-not" but "do-want" are somehow treated as worthy of just taking. Even big government welfare, foodstamps, and housing programs provide more than enough to live on. In fact, they provide so much to those who don't work that it turns out to a better deal than working for many.

A 40hr/wk job at $7/hr works out to $280/wk before tax. After tax, monthly income is somewhere around or below $1,000, right? Let's assume that the apartment of choice costs $800/mo. That leaves less than $200/mo for food, gas, etc. Who can blame a person for quitting that job and getting on welfare? The apartment they'd live in would be free or at least cost them a lot less that $800/mo. They'd receive much more than $200/mo on foodstamps, so much more that it's common practice nationwide to sell your unused foodstamps for spending cash.

I've heard many stories, some of them first-hand accounts, of people doing this - quitting their job to go on welfare, and subsequently earn more for doing less. Many will even look for ways to "work under the table" to avoid losing their big government handouts.

What these people fail to realize is that the more they take in these handouts, the more is taken from the working stiff's paycheck. It's a snowball effect in that the more these welfare programs cost, the less worthwhile having a job becomes. Of course, monetary inflation is another huge factor in this. In order to ensure that the working stiff doesn't get too upset by the higher and higher dollar amounts coming out of his paycheck each month, the big government in charge of all this just prints up more money to pay for the higher costs of welfare. This way, the dollar amount might not change but the nation's "wealth pie" is being divided into smaller and smaller slices every day. Over time, your $10/hr job just doesn't pay for what it used to. You're eventually forced to realize that giving up your job and getting on the welfare bandwagon not only pays better but sounds like the best deal of the century.

It has become like this everywhere you look in our society. People who produce are not only taken for granted, they're taken for a ride. They're taken for a ride by those who produce nothing.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, one of the candidates, referring to the income tax, said that it was a terrible idea to punish people for working, for generating an income. If anything, people should be punished for SPENDING rather than saving, encouraging a more responsible and frugal mentality. He was advocating a move toward a sales tax system and away from the income tax. When you stop and think about what he said, that people are being punished for generating an income, you have to realize that he's right. The more you work, the more you produce and the more money you make, the more is taken away from you for income tax, entitlement programs and welfare. That just doesn't seem right, does it?

Anyway, I'll cut this short here as I still haven't finished scanning the news this morning and it's already after 2PM.

A final thought: Who can blame these people for stealing from stores when it's so engrained in our culture to just "take"? Who can really blame them?