2 Post-blizzard Texas Exposés from WSWS

‘Half of Texas without clean water as state and federal governments look the other way’, Chase Lawrence, Feb. 19, 2021  (w/permission, large excerpts)


waiting in line for propane in houston

“More than 14.6 million Texans, about half of the population of the state, remained under a boil-water advisory Friday, according to Texas Commission on Environmental Quality spokeswoman Tiffany Young. This encompasses more than 1,225 water supply systems and 63 percent of Texas counties following the record winter storm which hit the state last weekend.

In a press conference Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros stated that “we know that there are tens of thousands of leaks,” and that the Austin Fire Department responded to “thousands upon thousands of burst pipes.” In Houston, the fire department received almost 5,000 reports of burst pipes.

Texas Republican officials are currently in the process of trying to pin the blame on each other for the disaster. Governor Greg Abbott blamed the state’s grid operator, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), claiming that it told state officials five days before the blackouts that everything would be under control.

The “rolling blackouts,” which ERCOT claimed would be temporary, turned into multiple-day blackouts during freezing temperatures. The state government has done basically nothing to remedy the problem, with no systematic mobilization to bring utilities back and distribute food and water to millions of desperate Texans.

While people were left in the dark with many lacking water and heat, images of empty downtown office buildings with their lights on could be seen on social media in Austin, Houston, Dallas and other cities throughout the state. These are not areas that are largely populated or occupied for business, as most of the upper-middle class jobs that are in the city centers have gone remote as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Austin Energy officials have claimed that shutting down the vacant office buildings would cut off electricity to critical infrastructure and government buildings. Democratic Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner washed his hands of any blame Monday, tweeting, “ERCOT is the traffic manager of the electric grid which reports to the State. Neither the City nor the County controls or regulates ERCOT or the power generators. That is solely the responsibility of the State.

With empty office buildings remaining well-lit and heated, thousands of homeless people have been left in the bone-chilling cold. Some churches have allowed people to shelter inside, and the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center Dallas saw 800 people sheltered, according to Wayne Walker, a pastor and CEO of OurCalling. In Austin, officials said that 1,000 people are at shelters across the city, including the Palmer Event Center. Many more homeless are not in shelters and forced to suffer the cold, with those seeking shelter in non-profit and city-provided homeless shelters, which were already overcrowded, facing the deadly coronavirus.

One of the few measures taken by the Texas government, which has made a point of doing the least amount possible to help residents, was to open “warming” centers, many of which close at 9:00 p.m., forcing residents to return to freezing homes and apartments. On top of this, the warming centers themselves will likely serve as superspreader events for COVID-19 as social distancing and masking measures are extremely difficult to enforce.”  [longish snip]

“Illustrating the absolute contempt for the population held by both parties, the Biden administration sent an insulting 60 generators, 10,000 wool and 50,000 cotton blankets, 729,000 liters of water and 225,000 meals as of Thursday. This to a state where 14.6 million people are without water, 170,000 customers are still without power, and grocery stores across the state have empty shelves. The amount of water delivered would only satisfy around 200,000 people for one day.

The phrase “too little, too late” does not even begin to scratch the surface of the essentially non-existent and frankly ridiculous response by the administration hailed as “progressive” by the corporate media and pseudo-left.

Biden’s response is similar to the Bush administration’s response to Hurricane Katrina, which wreaked havoc in New Orleans and surrounding areas in 2005, during which the Republican administration ignored the suffering of hundreds of thousands of residents of Louisiana.

Biden has barely said anything, only stating on Friday that he will sign a “major” disaster declaration sometime soon and would perhaps visit the state in the middle of next week. As with the initial efforts, his disaster declaration likely entails little of significance to Texans.

In continuing the Trump administration’s herd immunity policy, which sacrificed thousands of lives per day in order to keep the stock market afloat and continue the production of profits for the financial oligarchy, the Biden administration, while posing as a friend to workers, will do as little as possible to respond to the catastrophe in Texas. This would be seen as siphoning billions of dollars away from Wall Street and the Pentagon.

Amid the unfolding disaster, Comstock Resources Inc., a shale driller in Texas and Louisiana whose majority shareholder is Jerry Jones, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Cowboys, is profiteering off of the crisis, increasing its prices upwards of 33,000 percent for each mBtu of natural gas.

While some natural gas producers have had a freeze because wells stopped working, Comstock is already ramping up production and charging $15 to as much as $179 per thousand cubic feet, as opposed to a last quarter average of $2.40 per thousand cubic feet. President and Chief Financial Officer Roland Burns stated Wednesday that “obviously, this week is like hitting the jackpot.”

Amazon has started price gouging as well, with bottles of water being sold online for as much as $25, or more than five times the normal price.”

Next: ‘Corporate profit, electricity deregulation and the disaster in Texas’, Patrick Martin, 17 February 2021  (w/permission, large excerpts)

“In a social disaster now entering its fourth day, as many as 4.5 million people have been hit by rolling blackouts or the complete shutoff of electricity in Texas. Millions have lost heat amidst winter storms that have sent temperatures plunging into single-digit Fahrenheit numbers (-13 C) as far south as Austin, the state capital. The blackout is the largest in US history caused by deliberate action of the power utilities.

As of Wednesday, according to the misnamed Electricity Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), the industry-dominated electricity distribution coordinator, 1.4 million people were without power in Houston, the state’s largest city, while one-fourth of residents in Dallas, the second-largest city, were similarly cut off. At least 21 deaths have been attributed to the combination of winter storms and power outages, with causes ranging from road accidents to house fires to people overcome by carbon monoxide.

The cause of the disaster is not any actual shortage in the production of electricity in the United States. On the contrary, the power supply is adequate and prices are comparatively stable. This social tragedy is the product of a series of decisions made by private corporations and public officials, all driven by a common concern: the maximization of capitalist profit.

Ten years ago, a mid-February deep freeze caused a power crisis in Texas. This prompted studies and multiple warnings of what might occur in the event of a similar or more far-reaching occurrence. The current crisis, occurring in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, is not a “natural” disaster, but the result of the deliberate and criminal refusal to heed those warnings.

A major factor is the decision of Texas state officials, adhering to Republican Party doctrine, to take no notice of climate change, despite a series of climate-induced disasters that have befallen the state—tornadoes, floods, droughts, wildfires. Above all, there was Hurricane Harvey, which spawned floods that devastated the Houston area in 2017, killing more than 100 people and causing damage estimated at $125 billion.” […]

“But there are other political and economic decisions that underlie the current crisis. Texas operates a state-wide power grid that is disconnected from the major national grids that cover the remaining 47 states of the contiguous US. The state government has chosen this policy in order to evade the authority of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which oversees power grids that cross state lines. The lack of a connection to neighboring states means that when the Texas system experiences a crisis, it cannot easily draw on external power supplies.

Such a crisis developed Sunday night as a savage midwinter cold front swept into the state. Sub-freezing temperatures knocked out nearly half of the state’s energy generating capacity.

While Texas politicians have focused on the fall in wind and solar generation, down about four gigawatts (million kilowatts), by far the biggest drop came in conventional gas-driven generation, which lost more than 30 gigawatts because the temperatures made it more difficult to pump natural gas out of underground storage tanks. Cooling water at some nuclear power plants froze. Even antiquated coal-fired plants were forced to close, as coal supplies froze to the ground.

The deep freeze drove up energy demand to nearly 70 gigawatts, as Texans sought to heat their homes. But the supply problems cut available electricity to less than 45 gigawatts. Prices on the spot market, the only means through which Texas utilities could draw additional power, rocketed from $22 a megawatt hour to $9,000 on Monday.

ERCOT instructed utilities not to pay the exorbitant short-term rate—which would drastically cut into their profits since many customers are paying longer-term fixed rates—and to impose rolling blackouts instead.

The shutdown of power plants that caused the power shortage was itself the result of the drive for profit. There is no technical obstacle to weatherizing power plants, whether gas-driven, nuclear or based on renewable resources like the sun, wind and water. Such plants operate even in Siberia, Canada and Alaska.

But the deregulation of Texas utilities meant that it was entirely up to corporate executives to decide whether to make the investments required to protect their operations from cold snaps that have become increasingly common in the last two decades. They declined to make such deductions from profit.

Moreover, Texas officials decided in the mid-1990s that they would no longer require utilities to set aside a certain proportion of capacity as a reserve against surges in demand. Elsewhere in North America, such supply buffers are maintained at 15 percent or more. But Texas had no backup plants to activate when the crisis hit.

Once the shutdowns began, all the inequities and injustices of American capitalism in 2021 were spotlighted. Working class and minority Texans live in substandard housing, without insulation against unexpected cold and without adequate heating capacity.” […]

“Few can match the Texas ruling elite and its political servants for blatant class prejudice. The mayor of Colorado City, a small town in west Texas, had to resign after a social media rant in which he denounced residents who expected local government do anything about the crisis. “I’m sick and tired of people looking for a damn handout,” he declared. “The City and County, along with power providers or any other service owes you NOTHING!” He continued with a tirade against “socialist government,” adding that the “strong will survive and the weak will [perish].”


This is not just the opinion of a backwoods reactionary. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who just concluded a four-year term in Washington as Trump’s secretary of energy, declared Wednesday, “Texans would be without electricity for longer than three days to keep the federal government out of their business.” This millionaire ignoramus is more than willing to fight to the last freezing child to keep Texas utilities unregulated.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott found time amidst the crisis to appear on the Sean Hannity program on Fox News and blame the crisis on solar and wind energy, although he admitted that these account for only 10 percent of the state’s output.

The truth is that Texas is the number one producer of electrical power in the United States, with nearly twice as much as any other state. Any shortfall is entirely due to the criminal mismanagement by the corporate elite and its political front-men like Abbott and Perry.”

I know a lot of C99 members live in Texas, and I know we're all pullin' for ya. Dunno when I might be back; we have an as-yet-unresolved family crisis afoot, and my aptop is in crisis, a well.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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earthling1's picture

for taking time out from your family crisis to keep all of us posted on the Texas tragedy.
I hope for the best for you.

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After six years, still getting robo-calls from Marriot Hotels.
They're like herpes.

wendy davis's picture

@earthling1

good wishes. our family crisis seems to be in a holding pattern for now, but it's hard to be unable to help save by listening and asking the right Qs. parenting never ends, as is said so often.

i did remember sending these RT.com titles to a c99% member the other day:

People turn off their power because they can’t afford it,’ Texas woman slapped with $11,000 electricity bill tells RT' and ‘Outage outrage: Texans see power bills as high as $17,000 [for a few weeks] after brutal storm pummels grid & leaves millions without electricity

gawd's blood. #GougingForFun&Profit!

at a bare minimum, all untilities and banks should be Socialized.

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mimi's picture

please. The content of your expose is just horrible.

Wishing all Texans a fairer government, decent and morally responsible private corporations who stop messing up the whole state. Pronto.

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"heh, as they say, if you don't dig the blues, you got a hole in your soul" - JS

wendy davis's picture

@mimi

i dunno what might be the best wish for Texas, to say the truth. i wonder, too, how many insurance companies will honor claims (for folks who had insurance)? and how many grifter/carpetbagger 'builders' will scam the populace as has happened following so many ruinous disasters? hurricanes, when the levies filed in new orleans, and so on...

i did remember this 2017 report following a hella lotta bridges and overpasses crashing, and this group reports every four years in march. wonder what it'l look like?

March 9, 2017,‘U.S. infrastructure gets D-plus grade in civil engineers' report card, again’,
, reuters

“The D+ grade from the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) is unchanged from its last report card in 2013, suggesting that only minor progress had been made in improving public works.
The ASCE estimated in a statement that the United States needed to invest $4.59 trillion by 2025 to bring its infrastructure to an adequate B- grade, a figure about $2 trillion higher than current funding levels.

but there's always money for war, Empire, and wall street.

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usefewersyllables's picture

@wendy davis

It's our last remaining export, after all.

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

mimi's picture

@usefewersyllables
... with the words of Chris Hedges book title: War is the force that gives us meaning.

Too bad wars destroy everybody and everything, there is no 'us' or anything meaningful left.

Self destruction at its finest...

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"heh, as they say, if you don't dig the blues, you got a hole in your soul" - JS

wendy davis's picture

@usefewersyllables

to be exporting Democracy™, although globally it's been voted the worst terrorist organization on the planet. now coupled with an ever-expanding NATO as a cover, it's crossed the Rubicon, i think.

“There was no corner of the known world where some interest was not alleged to be in danger or under actual attack. If the interests were not Roman, they were those of Rome's allies; and if Rome had no allies, then allies would be invented. When it was utterly impossible to contrive such an interest—why, then it was the national honor that had been insulted. The fight was always invested with an aura of legality. Rome was always being attacked by evil-minded neighbors, always fighting for a breathing space. The whole world was pervaded by a host of enemies, and it was manifestly Rome's duty to guard against their indubitably aggressive designs. They were enemies who only waited to fall on the Roman people.”

~ Joseph Schumpeter, 1951

‘Every single empire, in its official discourse, has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort.’

~Edward Said

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Considers this a warning to the rest of us. We are going to be all on our own as the empire fails. If anyone still harbors the idea our owners care about the American people they'd best think again.

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Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

@lizzyh7 The owners will actively work against the American people during times of crisis.

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wendy davis's picture

@MrWebster

do...and are. we're the Expendable Useless Eaters, even though it's by the fruits of labors that fund these inhumane projects: Taxation without representation!

you may be interested in this longish op-ed; she says it right, as usual:

The US loves to accuse other nations of being unable to cope in a crisis, but the chaos in Texas shows it can’t look after its own’, eva bartlett, RT.com, feb. 23 (a few excerpts)

The Texas Agriculture Commissioner warned of food shortages and “a food supply chain problem like we've never seen before.”

With the worst of the storm over, as of a few days ago over 14 million people still remained without a consistent supply of clean drinking water, and hundreds of thousands of Texans had no electricity.

Granted it was an unexpected winter storm in states that don't usually experience such extreme cold, but if the Texas power grid and the nation's emergency response were better, perhaps some of the deaths could have been avoided.

Venezuelan Government Was “Incompetent” When Similar Power Outages Occurred

Similarly, in March 2019, the lights went out across Venezuela, in an outage which the Venezuelan government accused the US of orchestrating by means of combined cyber, electromagnetic and physical attacks on the power grids.

Certainly, the second round of power outages which followed were indeed physical sabotage, with the main Guri Dam Hydroelectric Plant attacked, causing a fire at three transformers.

I got to Venezuela three days into the first outage, at a time when Western officials and media were accusing the Maduro government of incompetence, blaming it for the outages, and feigning concern for the same Venezuelans who were dying under Western sanctions.

Media were in chorus depicting scenes of chaos and food shortages. But, as I wrote at the time, wherever I walked and went, I found supermarkets supplied, and in Petare, a district known as the largest “slum” in Latin America, “I found vegetables, fruit, chicken and food basics sold wherever I went, from the main square to hillside barrio of 5 of July (5 Julio).”

I definitely did not see chaos. To the contrary, people waited patiently in lines for ATMs and communities helped one another."

the rest is here. i need to go make some toast. ; )

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wendy davis's picture

@lizzyh7

serf plights breeds cynicism, that's for certain. no medicare4all to help manage the covid crisis, but Joe did open up the ObombsDontCare exchanges to a new enrollment. ain't he a dandy? and as per one wsws exposé:

#PassTheBuckJoe!

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RantingRooster's picture

I think I might incur the wrath of the FEDS if I expressed what I'm thinking about all this and what do to with those responsible. Crazy

I mean all of them. This is a prime example of our "elected" officials violating the Texas Constitution, Art 12, sec. 2.

General laws shall be enacted providing for the creation of private corporations, and shall therein provide fully for the adequate protection of the public and of the individual stockholders.

How many times in the last 2 decades has this happened 3? 1989, 2011, 2014? Remember 1979? I sure do. How many god damn reports with all kinds of "recommendations" have been issued and f-king ignored? How many people froze to death? How much property damage?

But hey, life is hard and when it shits on you, well, tough shit, fuck off and die, seems to be the new Texan attitude. I mean they can't just come out and say die mother fuckers can they? Obviously in no uncertainly they clearly have! Sad

I say arrest them all. #LockThemUp! (lol)

What can we do? No one is "accountable" but now Abbott wants "more regulation" and wants the FEDs to bail out the electrical companies. (speculation on my part)

Where is the humanity? Capitalism has eaten it out of humans...

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C99, my refuge from an insane world. #ForceTheVote

wendy davis's picture

@RantingRooster

at least these assholes got half of it right:

General laws shall be enacted providing for the creation of private corporations, and shall therein provide fully for the adequate protection of the public and of the individual stockholders.

perhaps sheldon wolin had it right: we live in an Inverted Totalitarain Nation or "Democracy, Inc."

Inverted totalitarianism is different from classical forms of totalitarianism. It does not find its expression in a demagogue or charismatic leader but in the faceless anonymity of the corporate state. Our inverted totalitarianism pays outward fealty to the facade of electoral politics, the Constitution, civil liberties, freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary, and the iconography, traditions and language of American patriotism, but it has effectively seized all of the mechanisms of power to render the citizen impotent.

or as Buffy st. Marie would have it: Fealty to the Priests of the Golden Bull.

Where is the humanity? Capitalism has eaten it out of humans...

more are waking up, methinks. but vote for duopoly 'lesser evil' candidates.

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about the planet burning up?

Seriously, though - sounds like there is a lot of blame to go around, but this latest Texas experience does show preppers being right again - not to mention being warm, fed, with drinking water available - and enough guns and ammo to keep the hordes of less fortunate or less prudent in their planning at bay - should that become an issue.

Which is good for them, as far as it goes, but doesn't constitute a broad solution for society as a whole.

It does suggest some ways to go that might help in that regard, though.

One thing required is for people to accept that the person with primary responsibility for ensuring their survival is themself.

Now, that's a problem because in addition to constraints such as lack of money, physical limitations and such that the corporate and government authoritarian agenda is based on fostering dependence and a psychology of dependence has become ingrained and normalized to a disturbing degree.
.
Students rely on colleges to protect their safe spaces from bad thoughts - but then are unprepared to deal with contrary facts and opinions that reality will ultimately confront them with.

People depend on whatever the modern electronic based version of food stamps is to be able to buy prepackaged, processed food-like substances from your friendly global conglomerate - but are deprived of the resources and knowledge to produce any food of their own, or even do basic cooking from scratch. As a (leftie, as it happens) Texas philosopher of my acquaintance once put it: "People like that couldn't look at a goat and get hungry."

And much, much, etc.

So, what to do?

How about decentralize and organize? Increasing centralization can sometimes offer benefits, in the short term, anyway. But when centralized systems fail the effects are generally systemwide and the the failure catastrophic. Decentralized systems are more resilient.

There should be a legal framework for people to organize to prepare for emergencies of whatever nature - the assumption should be that the first line of response is *local*. In rural areas it is generally that way anyway, but making it more formalized and being legally sanctioned would allow it to be more effective.

Think organized militia with disaster response capabilities. Or localized FEMA with military capabilities. Whatever works for you.

Anyway, looks like there are some pretty glaring examples here of what *doesn't* work, that should narrow the policy options some going forward.

Good to see you make an appearance, Wendy.

Buena suerte, Tejanos y Tejanas.

Edit to say that decentralized production and storage of energy and food would be features of any really resilient system. THOUGHT that's what the Greens were supposed to be about - perhaps they were, back in the day...

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Jen's picture

@Blue Republic You can use an ebt card (food stamps) to buy food seeds and food producing plants. Most people don't though because you have to wait for the food and a lot of people that get food stamps need food now.

And even if they could wait for the seeds/plants to produce food, they may not have the space to grow it or they may not have the know-how to grow it.

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Is it great yet?

wendy davis's picture

@Blue Republic

but yes, you're kidding. but i will say that you sound a lot like our former Texican/cranky dystopian prepper neighbor who loves guns, but especially now that the hungry hordes come to his place to ransack it. now mind you, he has little food in his place, but on the other hand: mr. wd and i DO.

our cellar is stocked with bins of dried foods: beans of all sorts, lentils, shrooms, quinoa, rices, pastas, sealed #1 lb. bags of medicinal herbs and spices, and so on. this is (or was) mormon country, so i learned to pressure bottle food we'd grown to the tune of 700 qts a year, and have some commercial soups and broths i abeyance.

but what good is a life without collectivist sharing (i.e. socialism)? we tithe loads of food still, a leftover ritual from obomba's Terror Tuesdays days.

i will say that a c99 member called me the other day, and we'd spoken at length about 'growing your own' ventures, and i did bring up my objections as to what human require, but can't possibly grow in many climates, micro-nutrient depleted soils full of chemicals required to grown bill gates' Green Revolution GMOs, depleted and poisoned aquifers. and all.that.jazz.

processing oils,for instance. proteins as above; but never fear, Lord Gates has invested heavily in lab-grown meats and lab grown human breast milk, srly.

anyway, no hungry hordes will come here from town (pop. 1000?), but we'd gladly share, but advise 'leaving some for others'.

gotta scoot, RL chores calling me.

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Mike Adams - the controversial and much-censored founder of Natural News relocated to Texas from California a year or two ago. He has been an active advocate of prepping and warning of the vulnerabilities of infrastructure for many years.

So, having a chance to deal with a live SHTF situation provided a real Learning Opportunity, which he discusses in one of his podcasts.

(Natural News)
The “Texageddon” blackouts and near-collapse of all infrastructure (food, fuel, cell towers, power grid, water systems, emergency services, roads, etc.) taught us all some very difficult lessons in survival. We learned that the infrastructure is far more vulnerable than most people thought, and we saw with our own eyes that most people still refuse to prepare with extra food and water, even after a year of covid lockdowns that should have been a universal wake up call.

Here is his list of 15 "Lessons learned the hard way":

1. Survival is very physical. Expect to exert a lot of physical effort.
2. Culture matters. Don’t end up in a community without morals or ethics when it all hits the fan.
3. Convergence of two “black swan” disasters can wipe out your best plans, even if you have successfully prepped for any one (standalone) disaster.
4. Some of your preps will FAIL. It’s difficult to consider all possible scenarios, so count on failures striking without warning.
5. You need LAYERS of preparedness and “fall back” systems that are very low-tech and require nothing more than the laws of physics (gravity, chemistry, etc.).
6. No one is coming to help you. In many situations, no one can get to you even if they wanted to.
7. Containers (buckets, barrels) are extremely important. Have lots of pre-stored water and fuel at all times.
8. Bitcoin and crypto were all completely valueless and useless during the collapse, since they all rely on electricity. Gold, silver and cash worked fine, on the other hand.
9. You will likely experience injuries or mishaps due to new, unusual demands on your work activities. Practice safety and be prepared to deal with injuries yourself.
10. Having lots of spare parts for plumbing. Standardize your pipe sizes and accessories. I have standardized on 1″ PEX pipe and all its fittings because PEX is very easy to cut, shape and rework. Plus it’s far more resistant to bursting, compared to PVC.
11. Investment in food is always a good investment, as prices will continue to climb. No one ever said during an emergency, “Gee, I wish I had less food here.”
12. You can’t count on any government or institution or infrastructure to solve anything. Usually they just get in the way.
13. You MUST have good lights and many backup batteries, or you will be sitting in the dark. You’ll need a good headlamp (I use the PETZL Nao+) and some good 18650-battery flashlights such as Nitecore.
14. Guns and bullets are not needed in some survival scenarios, so balance your prepping. Don’t put all your money into ammo and fail to cover other important areas like emergency first aid.
15.Think about what are stores of energy: Wood, diesel, gasoline, propane, water elevation, etc. Survival is a lot about energy management.

Podcast here

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wendy davis's picture

@Blue Republic , although some made me chuckle. including this hella funny one:

2. Culture matters. Don’t end up in a community without morals or ethics when it all hits the fan.

he must be a handy fella, (plumbing parts, etc.) and have a hella lotta room for storage. most folks don't of course.

he's a mirror of the most terrifying words ever spoken:

Hello; I'm from the gummint, and I'm here to help!

thanks, blue republic.

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ovals49's picture

Natural disasters lead to decreased crime, increased charity

This point of view comports with my experience, and is a normal and healthy response to natural disasters, or other severe misfortunes. Those who are able sharing with those in need. This is a hallmark of civilized society.

The bunker defense mentality is short sighted. Seriously, how many individuals have the wherewithal and knowledge to make everything needed to survive long term? Defending a personal stash of food and water at the point of a gun may work for a while, but as soon as the bodies begin to pile up on the sidewalk it will become clear that there is something of value inside that will draw a hungry horde with even more guns.

Perhaps a Jeremiah Johnson could take to the woods and survive for many years in the wild, but for the vast majority of humans this is simply not a realistic possibility.

The reality of our situation is that we live in a devolving civilization on a planet well on its way to being uninhabitable. If there’s a solution to be found it will be found by a massive collaborative effort, not by more of the “rugged individualism” and imprudent stripping of natural resources that built this country and has brought us to the brink of global extinction.

We’re in this together, like it or not, and more of the same is no help at all.

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“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein

wendy davis's picture

@ovals49

and other studies have shown that it's the relatively poor who are the most charitable givers, as they know doing without only too well.

my axiom has long been: the best 'gifts' are the hardest to part with.

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wendy davis's picture

i'd been locked out of all my favorite sites for a couple days citing: security concerns, both on my ancient versions of firefox, as well as chrome "don't be evil" google.

i worked for a couple days to fix it, finally deleted my trial version of ESET as i was too clueless how to cause it to scan for lest than 11 hours... and poof! i was back in.

i bought a year's worth of (now on sale!)Total AV, and they urged me to download the Opera browser. i did, and worked at customizing it for a few hours...now i find i'll need to Uninstall it, as well.
long story, but it does not intferface with my Word documents to create internal hyperlinks as IE does.

back as i'm able.

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mhagle's picture

I'm in Texas and lived through it. Sunday through Wednesday temps are in the 70s and I am gardening. Makes it all seem surreal.

This is the letter I sent to family and friends . . . .

********
It's finally over. A week and a half of below freezing temps. Even got below zero here. Water was completely out for almost 5 days. This wasn't a hundred year event. It was a never before in recorded history event. For it to be this cold this long. There was a blizzard in the middle of it so we had snow drifts. I told Steve, now you have experienced winter. This is it. Although up north it could last for 6 months.

We came through it OK. From reading reports, we were lucky to live in Navarro County because our little rural electric co-op handled it well. We only had rolling blackouts and they were manageable. We were never cold. Plus we have a fireplace and plenty of wood and Steve has 3 small gas heaters in the house. As far as water we thought to drip some faucets and fill tubs with water in the bathtubs early. We had plenty of bottled water. In 2018, I washed and filled milk jugs with water for several months. About 20? I think there is only one left now. I will do that again! The goats had 2 heat lamps and 2 oil heaters. The chickens had a heat lamp too.

I had to let my greenhouse go though. Picked in tomatoes first and brought in sprouting seeds. Forgot my 3 fig trees but they look OK. It still warmed up during the day in there. Covered my onions, peas, potatoes, and rosemary. I'll uncover them tomorrow as it is still supposed to get to 32 tonight. Hope they made it!

Steve had one leaky faucet and one cracked toilet to replace. Our neighbor said he had quite a few leaks. All manageable.

I hope lessons are learned from this experience at the governmental level. They don't have a history of learning lessons though. I'm sure people will be more prepared. I read an encouraging story in the Texas Monthly magazine about people in a neighborhood in Houston who had increased their preparedness because the the hurricane. Several families had purchased expensive generators so they traded heat and food so everyone was OK.

Why did this happen? While in Texas, it doesn't seem that much hotter because it has always been hot. However, temps that have been as much as 40 degrees hotter in the arctic made the jet stream go crazy. It used to be this upper level wind current nicely circling the arctic. Now it goes everywhere and even has crossed the equator. The jet stream pulled the arctic air down to Texas in what is called a polar vortex. This could happen every year now. We just don't know.

Thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers. I am sending this report to a bunch of you.

Much love,

marilyn Smile

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Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

wendy davis's picture

@mhagle

sharing your letter, amiga! you really were prepared, and i'm so elated to hear how well you made out, considering. especially with having stored all those gallons of water to offset no water for five days!

here, the polar vortex was long called the canadian clipper, but with climate chaos and the shift of the jet stream, polar vortex sounds about right. i wonder if your sense is even close to right: that it may become the New Normal?

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usefewersyllables's picture

@wendy davis

there are going to be more of these unexpected weather occurrences, and worse, as anthropogenic climate change inevitably leads to increasing chaos in local weather patterns.

The jetstream is moving, the polar vortex is breaking down and moving, and the North Atlantic Gyre steering currents and temperatures are changing. Iceland's fisheries have had to change as the waters have warmed, for example.

I think the real wakeup call will be when the undersea methane hydrates/clathrates start to let go as things warm up- that's already starting to ramp up in the far northern waters, and affecting the Bering Sea. Heck, if La Soufrière in St. Vincent, Mount Pelée in Martinique, or Kick 'em Jenny in Grenada decide to go off for real, they could set off the deepwater clathrates in the Puerto Rico Trench and surprise the hell out of everyone who thinks they exist only in the arctic waters...

What used to be reliable isn't, anymore. Entropy is going to win here. Get ready for some "500-year" and "1000-year" weather occurrences as well. Those'll be doozies. Gonna be a bumpy ride, and all of us are in the crosshairs. But your mileage may vary.

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Twice bitten, permanently shy.

wendy davis's picture

@usefewersyllables

as well, and reckon that the 6th extinction is baked in already. deep adaptation needs to be now: grieve, prepare, however jeb and his allies see it.

i'd been going to this as a closing song; may i have two?

good night, all, thank you, and good luck to us all.

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