Coping: The Bigger Problems of UrbanSurvival


That was sure a “bolt out of the blue.”

Had a call this week from a respected colleague who asked me about our “Seven Major Systems of Life.”  Those, in case you forgot, are food, shelter, communications, energy, environment, finance, and transportation

(Continues below)


While I can’t tell you who this colleague is, let’s say that he’s in a position to know about risks to the country’s future and his outlook is more grounded in non-financial, non-partisan political matters than most anyone I know.

I tried to get a little more out of him:  “Your  folks starting to serious up about some of the ideas behind prepping and such…maybe time to get it into the governmental ranks?

That’s the topic for Peoplenomics this weekend, but there is much thinking to do.

On a more contemporary note – for those of us who worry about things like am EMP or terror or cyber “grid hard down” condition, there is always the matter of backups to the Internet.

A Side Note about Internet vulnerability:  I mentioned some time back that my son has been doing some spare time testing of the  portable mesh network nodes.  People are buying them and setting them up around the country.

GoTenna is taking meshing on a social scale too:  Setting up the site so people with their mesh networking gear (which is independent of the internet, but still moves texts messages around among cell phone users) can put their sites on a map and hook in to the mesh community.

What’s interesting to me is how the texture of the survival/prepping mindset is spreading out.  From my source it became clear that it’s about to ‘cross the de voux’ into the realms of government at all levels. City, county, regional, state and it’s already in the FedGov portfolio with sites like

To be sure, ‘grid hard down’ seems unthinkable on a peaceful morning like this.  Why shouldn’t tomorrow be more or less just like yesterday?   But there are people getting the vision solidly that complacency is not acceptable now.  A few of such people plans to do something about it at a governance and policy level.

As my colleague explained  “Those of us looking at the problem know that if there is a single-city (like terrorism) event, there will be all kinds of response and help from FEMA and such.  But a big – larger than regional – ‘grid hard down’ that hits half the land mass of America?  You might have a long wait for a FEMA response…”

The term ‘grid hard down’ is an ugly.  The big ugly that prepping sites dance around.  In the parlance of the “people who think the unthinkable” though, a ‘ grid hard down’ would last more than a year.

Thing America is resilient?  Pardon moi…to a point?  Sure.  Past a threshold?  Not so much…

All this naturally leads to a subject matter worthy of more study:  Observe that the (self-serving, lying, inept, etc.) political class has looked after it’s own future – through continuity of government plans and programs.

Disgustingly, there little focus on the equivalent for us “regular old taxpayers types.”  “Continuity of Country” is not on the discussion list.

Back in the day,  America supported a vibrant Civil Defense program.  Far beyond “duck & cover.”  But when we hit the missile age and we all knew – or came to realize – that ICBM’s might not be defensible,   Even today.

Result?  Civil Defense faded into the background.

To find a Civil Defense shelter designed for a first strike in today’s world is a rare thing indeed.  If you did?  It’s almost certain there’d be no water worth drinking.  Cracker?

Looking at some of America’s potential adversaries we cannot help but notice that both Russia and China are quietly flanking us on the Continuity of Country level.

A December Pointe Belo report (“Blurred Lines: Military-Civil Fusion and the “Going Out” of China’s Defense Industry”) reveals some interesting ways that the Chinese have retooled certain aspects of modern capitalism into an integrated military-civilian model for tighter coordination of national strategic management.

For example, the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) has been engaging high levels of military-civilian fusion (MCF) and as the Pointe Belo executive summary notes (I hope they don’t mind the pointer to their work!):

“The PRC has had challenges implementing MCF-like policies in the past. However, Xi Jinping’s consolidation of power, along with a growing base of defense industrial stakeholders, appears to be leading to rapid adoption of MCF policy directives. This includes a growing number of former and current senior defense industrial cadre serving in prominent party and state posts. An interagency working group has also been established to coordinate MCF activities among stakeholders and oversee implementation of national MCF policies, priorities, and assessing successes.”

Wild-eyed “Free Traders” don’t have a policy response to this.  Just Follow The Money (FTM) they’ll argue.  But, sorry to report, greed is not a good strategic survival model.

MCF is not entirely different than Hitler’s re-militarization of Germany in the 1930’s, however that’s a longer discussion than breakfast chatter.

We continue to have concern about Asia because of numerous econometric studies suggesting a showdown between global economic paradigms is likely in the early 2020’s.  Compound interest, quantitative easing’s, resource depletion, knee of the oil price collapse: you name it – plenty of drivers are already in view.

On point Wikipedia passing lightly on Chinese Civil Defense might be honest OR deft misdirection:

“China continues to construct large public emergency shelters.[7] Not less than three large (maximum capacity of around 8000) shelters are to be completed in the Shanghai area by 2012, with more planned. The ironic completion date of late 2012 has been dismissed as coincidence, with the true intent claimed to be a response to the 2008 Sichuan earthquakes, “as a precaution against possible natural disasters.”[7]

A coincidence?  ViseGrips, please. At the Grand Policy level, China has a three thousand year head start on us.

Not that the threat is singular.  Off in the other direction we have Russian Civil Defense.  Few realize it, but the Ministry of Emergency Situations (EMERCOM) has 289,000 troops assigned to it.  When not “civil defending” they do other things like fire fighting (Russian forests are humongous) and humanitarian relief.  Need an AK, you say?

See the DIA’s  2017 Russia assessment – Russia remains a solid force to be reckoned with.

More interestingly, in a footnote to a Cicero Foundation report I found this footnote rather fascinating.  Because it hints that Russia is working on strengthen relations between its dominant church group while the US has gone running in almost exactly the opposite direction!

” In a recent article in the Voenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer, for instance, a military analyst called for “the spiritual mobilization” of the people, “to show the West that we have prepared the population for a war against us.” She called it a “civil defense with God’s help,” proposing to use the infrastructure of the Russian Orthodox Church, opening churches, monasteries, and schools in times of crisis and organizing in the parishes groups of up to 100 persons for civil defense. (Cf. Tatyana Gracheva,
“Kogda obyavlyat mobilizatsiyu,” Voenno-Promyshlennyy Kuryer, September 23, 2015).

This is footnote (11)  was found in  the paper “Russia’s Nuclear Threats and the Security of the Baltic States” (July 2016) from Cicero Foundation Director Marcel H. Van Herpen.  Good read – over here.

More on the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations on Wikipedia here, if you’re interested. think FEMA with uniformed troops.

Since the Cold War, American emphasis hasn’t been Civil Defense oriented.  It’s cast as out of date thinking.  Last fall in the after-election noise, the Minnesota Post referred to civil defense as “Government-sponsored doomsday prepping.”

We beg to differ.

But it’s a different kind of civil defense – because it’s a different world now.

It’s the ‘grid hard down’ lasting a year or longer and modeling how people in unsustainable cities will create a massive Rural Spillover.  That bothers the hell out of us.

How will we cope with it?  More this weekend on the Peoplenomics side but I wanted to mention it so if our content moves somewhat in the direction of spillover planning you’ll understand the context.

It’s not just EMP – or earthquakes – or pandemics – or terrorism – or cyber warfare – or computer viruses or…well, you see the problem:  My colleague suggests this is a very good time to remain mindful of the global strategic picture, including non-state actors and upstart regimes.

One of which will [likely] resolve this fall or in 2018:  North Korea.

Economic collapse and pension failures in America?  The list of worries that hold potential “hard down” results is long.

Sometimes the “hard down” is a result (after economic failure, for example) while at other times it’s the lead driver (as in the first-strike EMP case).

Either way, how the rural folks cope with urban spill…that comes into focus as the news – and largely forgotten aspect –  of what was once “civil defense.”

We anticipate this new view could support a new kind of U.S. military-civilian fusion for the foreseeable future.

And it won’t be without debate, since the U.S. is already seen as quite militaristic.  Further consideration of the Chinese MCF model, however, seems to be prudent and warranted.

Comment Policy

I’m starting to aggressively trash comments that aren’t directly responsive to our topics of discussion.  So if you posted a comment bashing Trump, or politicians of either party (or me personally, for that matter), your post is likely to be round-filed.

Also, with the exception of colleagues (Oilman2 is an example) no more than two posts per day.  But again, no off-topic crap.

Time is a valuable commodity and we’ll try to avoid wasting as much on useless (meaning: non-actionable) discussions.

Thanks for understanding and…

Write when you get rich,

27 thoughts on “Coping: The Bigger Problems of UrbanSurvival”

  1. The advice of ancient Chinese tactician Sun Tzu is heavily relied upon to this day by oriental military leaders. Sun Tzu stated that the intent of war is to win with as little sacrifice to one’s own forces and people as possible. Sun Tzu thus advised: ” In conflict, direct confrontation will lead to engagement and surprise will lead to victory. Those who are skilled in producing surprises will win. Such tacticians are as versatile as the changes in heaven and earth.”

    Note the last line . . . “as versatile as the changes in heaven and earth.” Somewhat prophetic advise for the wise military planner of our day (more on this below).

    Western military planners tend to think in terms of ‘force-on-force,’ and while the post-revolution Chinese built a formidable military capacity, they still adhere to Sun Tzu’s principles of deception and surprise as the key to achieving victory.

    Consider the N. Korea problem: why doesn’t China move to stop the reckless behavior of Kim Jong Un? He is a classic diplomatic wild card and, as such, a strategic asset which China can one day exploit. Perhaps, just maybe, China hopes to achieve some coveted element of strategic surprise through their proxy in Pyongyang. Maybe N. Korea’s aggression would be used as an excuse for quick and easy PRC gains in the S. China Sea? Or Beijing might encourage Kim Jong Un to covertly place an EMP device into orbit in the guise of a satellite launch, then detonate that device over N. America. Similarly Iran, using N. Korean missile launch technology, could possibly do the same over Israel, W. Europe of the Eastern U.S. This is the stuff that keeps operations planners and special forces commanders up at night.

    Also consider the scenario of the sun putting out a Carrington-level EMP. That alone could cause long-term havoc across large swaths of the globe. Earth would have hours to prepare for the worst. However, certain unscrupulous national leaders might try to take surprise strategic advantage of the looming, unavoidable global blackout by launching a debilitating pre-emptive strike against an adversary? The ensuing solar EMP, combined with the after-effects of a surprise attack, could cripple a targeted nation(s) or send it into complete ruin.

    Admittedly, it is difficult for compassionate, peace loving westerners to conceive of such horrific possibilities. The bottom line is to ‘be prepared’ for any and all contingencies. Chance are you won’t need to tap into a year’s supply of food and water or spin up your power generator with the 50 gallons of gasoline treated with Sta-Bil. But if the fecal matter ever hits the fan, those was planned for the worst will live to help their families survive and rebuild what is left of society. Aesop’s ‘Ant and the Grasshopper’ comes to mind.

    • Nicely stated. We apparently had a near miss with a potential Carrington event from the recent giant sunspot. It was earth facing for a while and then rotated away, and then apparently released a giant CME elsewhere. That could have been a real problem for us. We had another near miss back in 2012. It’s unrealistic to have no backup plans to deal with known natural events.

      Russia and China have had their versions of Civil Defense for decades. We seem to be the only superpower that relies on trust and fantasy to protect us from catastrophe. While I’m probably good for a year alone post EMP(if I can avoid the barbarian hordes), few others are, and they probably wouldn’t like my lifestyle either. Apparently President Trump has done something to begin hardening the grid, though this needs more discussion and action. Where I am I see no real backup for the internet at all, and the it has become essential to modern commerce. Again, I’m sure this can be hardened if the political and social will is there.

      I like and respect the Russian an Chinese people. It saddens me that a global war may happen yet again. I’m a bit pessimistic regarding avoiding this when we can’t get a few hundred “elected representatives” to put aside their differences and just do their jobs.

  2. Letting Civil Defense die off was a huge mistake. It let a direct link into government die off, further insulating the Feds and military from the populace. It removed a source of common, community bonding and purpose. Lastly, it disposed of common resources stored locally – hence the rise of FEMA.

    It is gone now – lamenting does nothing. What people should do, particularly rural folks, is get the mesh system up – because fiber optics are all centrally powered and amplified in cities. We can survive hot weather with fans – but those require solar cells, chargers and batteries. Just get yourself a solar charger and 12v battery as a start.

    It is now down to personal responsibility – if nothing else showed that, then hurricanes Rite and Katrina certainly did. Many of us are already setup, and now trying to get a little more luxurious to keep the A/C going and other grander visions.

    DIY – because there isn’t any government that will do it for you. What we saw in those two hurricanes is that local government is largely being used, under continuity of government umbrella, to only take care of local officials, not the general populace..

  3. Per your last section concerning comments that don’t praise the beliefs of thy lord Ure, being thrown in the round file, I have three abbreviated words for you George. WTF?

    You are a Trump apologist and you can bash democrats, our former President, liberals, but not you or Trump. It makes me wonder. Who is paying you? Are you on the Trump payroll?

    See how silly this sounds. Just a few days ago, in a pot induced paranoia fit, you thought I was a paid troll. Maybe YOU are. Here is some of the bashing you did today. Have fun in your one sided bubble world.

    ‘we sense the libsnlefts will go [further] nuts upon hearing “DOJ: Civil Rights Act does not protect sexual orientation.”

    ‘We have held that the president in exile role being played for a certain former president is not entirely implausible”

    “out here in fly-over Country since the election that the eight-year hangover of Obama”

    • Think what you will Jon, Obama armed the shit out of the FedGov, wrecked what was left of the border, allowed this silly Santuary City shit to be made up on his watch and bet you adore his healthcare bills.

      Sadly, I can’t remember the last time I toked-up, and I actually believe that sexual preference and changeovers IS a new business model.

      If it wasn’t, the pols wouldn’t stand for it, lol.

      Come to grips with reality! Immigration, sexual preference marketing, yada yada is not a real wealth generator. For that you gotta sweat, put seeds in the ground, weld, and write some elegant code the Chinese can’t reverse engineer.

      Look at the business models you stand for…they’re a joke.

    • Peoplenomics subscribers pay George. I for one support clearing out the “clutter” of certain posts to advance the discussion.

    • Jon, if I may offer my opinion, I believe your indignation is completely unwarranted. This is George’s privately run website, so his rules. Put another way, if you were a guest in someone’s home, and repeatedly insulted the host and his beliefs, how long would it be before you were told to leave? From my point of view, George has exercised a great deal of patience and restraint and been more than fair in dealing with you, your posts,and your tirades. And no, your right to free speech does not trump (no pun intended) his private property rights. You are free to set up your own site and post and blog your opinion all you care to.

      • But pray please do share its addy here… I just know we could get some comments coming YOUR way, lol…

      • Make stupid posts, draw stupid comments.

        That holds for the host of any site just the same as any commenters any board.

        Some here were supposedly trained journalists, but I thought that profession had (or use to anyway) a “just the facts” mentality.

        Or maybe following the old rule, no discussing religion or politics would be better…

    • The point is, government now has it’s foot in the door with health care. Once the government gets in, they are like those house guests that never leave.

      Look at what a bang up job they did with retirement aka social security. Medicare and Medicaid, us mail service, airport security, etc. Etc.

      Ronald Regan said it best in 9 words.

      At the link.

  4. American liberal press is driven by their unconscious mind to ignore(and mock) all the Aesop’s Fable of the Grasshopper and the Ants. From One Second After to Lights Out lot of experts are worried…and a lot of trip wires out there: Turkey, China, Russia, N Korea, Isis, Iran and Sun driven climate change.

    • I may re-subscribe when I see Bryce’s 2500 word daily monotonous monologues disappear (does he have to repeat everything ad nauseum like a 4 yr old?). Strung on sentences or is that ‘he’s strung out on something’?

      Take the 5th (wave, that is):
      this may not open for you, but the DATE for the crash is already happening..So much for your Ell Wave interpretation of Aug 21. Well we’ll see who’s right soon enough.

      • For now the Elliott waves are ship shape but in the future they are going to have problems so get ready for those problems ,which means you’re going to have to make a big adjustments,

        May all beings be lovingly fulfilled So Be It and remember thoughts have wings ,

        Have a nice day

      • We like Bryce, he doesn’t get ugly and nasty and insolent. He shares info we can learn from. Can you say the same?

  5. “And it won’t be without debate,” but what’s there to debate? I’m an old man now (also, this maybe may last post, perhaps). During 1945, and I was ‘in the thick of it,’ I had reason to believe that folks had finally learned their lessons. Did they??????????

  6. Damn. “Continuity of Country” vs. “Continuity of Government.” Another one of those “duh” moments courtesy of Ure. It reminds me of Eisenhower not being allowed to refer to the Military/Industrial/CONGRESSIONAL complex, as his farewell speech of January 17, 1961, originally intended. Too often I find I’ve fallen for the misdirection. Thanks for yet another reminder to keep leading the examined life. It’s what keeps me coming back to your site.

    And now, in regards to prepping, a tidbit I just discovered, in line with at least trying to get away from some of the misdirection:

    Drinking Water Database: Put in Your ZIP Code and Find Out What’s in Your Water

    Assurances aside, it makes me grateful, yet again, to be running my tap water through a Berkey.

  7. George,
    Kudos on your moderating of the comments. From the reaction to the rules I believe a bit of a history lesson. For the youngsters there was a network life before the internet (CBBS, Bitnet and interbit relay). Comment/discussion groups have around 30 years. Early on a pattern emerged. Groups there were unmoderated invariably devolved into flame wars (remember flame on flame off). A flame war was very entertaining to watch, a great time waster and the death nel for the list. What George does is not easy. George has to walk the line between shuffling discussion and flame wars. Keep in mind George does this for free. So if you don’t like the ball game you are free to take your ball a d go home.

    Concerning the outflow issue get a good map of your area, a compass (the kind you draw circles with), find a map of your closest SMSA. Using the scale on your map set the compass to 600 miles (est. distance car can go on a tank of gas). This will show the area of outflow impact. If there are several SMSAs in your region repeat. This will also show potential areas of overlapping impacts. In the outflow discussion the concept of carrying capacity is Importent.

    Malthus was right.

  8. Calling Millennial Caller; read the last 2 days articles and comments; more reasons to get up in the morning and keep living.

    Urban Survival IS BACK; new and improved. Yeah!

    • LOL! Thanks for “calling” me out! I appreciate it! I have been slowly changing my mindset on the future and figuring out how to work more with people and get a group together. Especially if a couple of my friends are going along somewhat begrudgingly! Thanks BC! I appreciate it!

      • Dang, if I was one of your friends, I’d be working hard to join with you on getting some land, then I would be excitedly going over plans to build a house, will it be a Cobb house, a tire house, an adobe house, a brick house, a dome home house, an out house (just kidding for now, just had to throw that in), a hobbit house, a wooden house, a container home, a tiny home, a van home, a yurt, a tree home, I mean the possibilities are endless and exciting! Bryce had a good link to funky homes, root cellars, etc., go back and click on it, it leads to wonderful little and big homes people have built all over the world that fit their pocketbook, their needs, and the land they live on.

        This prepping opportunity is real fun, I mean it is satifyingly fun, and it leads to all sorts of adventures, every single day, like gardens, and fruit and nut trees, and access points and figuring out where you want to be, high, low, in the woods, by the stream or river, in the mountains, etc. See, a whole new world will open up to you and your friends; and the thing is, as this site shows over and over, it leads to all these amazing abilities such as self educated (go to school, for specific training if you can or apprentice off of someone with the training) electrician, plumber, carpenter, cook, fence builder, gardener, mechanic, but most importantly one day a Husband and Dad. These are great times to learn and do more for yourself AND others. It is always about the others, but it has to start with the self. One of the Greatest Quotes on Earth: “To love your Neighbor as YOURSELF.” Starts with them, ends with you, starts with you, ends with them. Really amazing, isn’t it? Have fun!

  9. ” political class has looked after it’s own future – through continuity of government plans and programs.”

    years ago.. I had the opportunity to visit one of these deep shelters it was absolutely amazing. they actually have storage in them and move goods back and forth.. which is smart if you think about it.. a continuous rotation of stock. then a few years ago a friend that speaks on TED had me take a look at his farm.. we went there and right next door to it is one of these facilities.. the thing that amazed me was not only the size but the remoteness of the whole thing. as we were drinking our coffee and looking at it I mentioned.. well at least if anything happens your ok. all you have to do is figure out a way to get into it.. my theory is people build these bug out shelters etc.. yet some of them are hundreds if not thousands of miles away. well if we have a hard grid down scenario.. how will they get to them.. they are literally in the sticks.. the other thing is if the power companies had any brains at all.. they would not just build massive plants .. why not make smaller systems that all plug into the grid.. instead they put big wind farms big solar farms .. dam’s etc.. where the power has to travel long distances. if you made lets say a sixty foot solar tree that could provide a five hundred or thousand household power demand.. then if there is a hard grid down.. it won’t affect everyone.. a couple of weeks ago there was a solar flare.. class two.. what I noticed is that because there was a voltage fluctuation for about five hours my inverters shut down so they weren’t damaged.. which I found interesting.. Now to find a way to have the whole thing switch over if there is something major.. for the average person or community if something was to happen there will be stuff.. materials to rebuild for a few years.. that can be used.. if the skills aren’t there or the information isn’t there to be able to replace them then that is when it would be bad in my opinion.. now making solar trees would not only strengthen the grid but also make it harder to shut it down. unfortunately no one is thinking out side the box.. they see massive power plant push the power across the countryside.. raise rates.. wires the size of barrels etc.. oh well what communities need to do is list the skills of the community the hobbies.. what do you have in a neighborhood.. do they work at the power company the garbage etc.. are there a lot of hunting licenses sold.. how about construction.. get the list and you can rebuild.. try to do it yourself and you fail..

    • “Your folks starting to serious up about some of the ideas behind prepping and such…maybe time to get it into the governmental ranks?”
      What I find interesting about this is russia and china along with several other countries have done live drills with their citizens.

      back in the seventies.. we were all escorted into the bunkers for not a test but a real world situation.. the thing is.. this wasn’t ever known.. one of my bosses later told me that a senator had informed a friend of his family in New York the guy raced to get to his bunker.. only to find that he didn’t get anywhere close to it.. luckily the incident was a false situation and no one the wiser.. in the other countries.. they do frequent drills involving the people in america those drills are only done for the elite.. where in a real life situation you need the people. instead the US stockpiles goods for the aftermath.

  10. “Disgustingly, there little focus on the equivalent for us “regular old taxpayers types.”

    You’re falling into the “government should take care of me” mindset. Continuity of government exists primarily to assure nuclear response capability, but in the long term hard grid-down scenario government will be as ineffective as ever.

    It’s been said that such a scenario would set the country back the mid-1800s. But it’s worse than that; we don’t have the infrastructure of horses and horse drawn tools, and there aren’t a whole lot of people with relevant skills left for a pre-industrial world–and that assumes they survive the violence that will occur as people panic when they realize they are out of food and water…

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