According to a systems control expert for the city of Springfield, Illlinois, Russian hackers remotely destroyed a pump responsible for supplies thousands of homes in that city. While details are being kept quiet, the attack reportedly took place on November 8, and is being investigated by the FBI and DHS. What makes this particular attack worse is that it apparently gave the hackers control to the ‘master station’, according to a utilities adviser, Joe Weiss.
Weiss posted parts of a one-page report by the Illinois Statewide Terrorism and Intelligence Center, which says the hackers obtained access using login names and passwords taken during a hack on a US company which makes the software which controls machines in critical industrial facilities like water treatment plants, pumping stations, nuclear power stations and oil rigs.
A second hacker has already posted screen shots from another attack on systems in South Houston, Virginia running the same software. He claims it was only protect by a three-character password! I’ve no reason to not believe that claim because so many people are so careless with that sort of thing. In industrial applications such as this, the mistake is thinking a strong password isn’t needed because no one will ever get far enough into the system to try it.
Here is what takes the cake, the company that makes this extremely important software has no system of cyber forensics, which means they have no way of telling how many systems running their software are compromised. If you rely on municipal water, be sure you don’t have to during a t-plus event by storing significant amounts of water. People with deep wells (usually us rural folks) have some wiggle room with this one, but you don’t! Get some tough, portable water containers and get a little more peace of mind by being able to check one more thing off in your bug out book!
For those of us trying our best to keep our consumption of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) to a minimum, the fight just got more interesting! The Corn Refiners Association (CRA) is pushing the FDA to allow the industry to change the name to “corn sugar” because we’ve all caught on to how bad this stuff is. (NaturalNews:HFCS-Liver Damage)
Citizens for Health has started is Food Identify Theft campaign to raise awareness of this issue and to urge people to contact the FDA and reject the renaming. Democrat Senator Jon Testor has already sent a letter directly to the FDA commissioner asking her to deny the change stating that HFCS is a chemical blend that happens to taste sweet and not a sugar, and the body doesn’t even process it as a sugar.
Any product that has to change it’s name to stop consumers from seeking alternatives is a product you should probably not be consuming. It’s now a corporate fad to change the name of a dangerous, unpopular or otherwise “bad” product or company, instead of doing what it takes to actually correct the issue. (Blackwater became Xe, Phillip Morris became Altria, ValuJetbecame AirTran, WorldComm became MCI and then disappeared altogether when Verizon bought them, etc.)
According to the Bank Of Canada, starting with the new $100 bill, all current paper money will be replaced with a new polymer version which is longer lasting, harder to counterfeit and virtually tear-proof. Not much information is given on the anti-counterfeit measures of the new series, but they’re certainly colorful.
I’m not sure how using a different material is supposed to help, the currency, like that of the US, is still a fiat currency and virtually worthless. Still, I bet that with enough of them, you could shingle a retreat roof!
I don’t normally post a lot about policies and politics because they’re such hot-button topics that they end up in “flame wars” in the comments section, but this issue is so important that it’s one for which I’ll make an exception. When the “Farm Bill” was first envisioned, it was created to “address rock bottom prices (corn prices actually hit $0), national hunger, soil erosion, lack of credit and unfair export practices”, according to the Farm Aid website. Since those glory days food production has become an industry with only a handful of giant players, i.e. factory farms, leaving the remaining actual family farms to scrape by without the protection originally afforded within the farm bills.
In fact, in the 1996 Freedom to Farm Act enacted a system of direct payments to farmers to create a free market system, but it’s now a drain on our federal budget and has made it much tougher for the real family farmers to keep going and even tougher for new farmers to get into the business of growing food. Most of the money now ends up going to the few giant factory farms who are already earning record profits. I think it’s partly from manipulating commodity prices.
The illegal Congressional “Super Committee” has seen fit to keep most of the details of the latest Farm Bill a secret and is apprently just going to sign it without reading it. That worked out so well for the American people the last time Congress rubber-stamped legislation, didn’t it? (PATRIOT ACT)
So what does this mean for the average prepper? That depends on how you approach food in your preparations. If you prep like we do, you still buy fresh produce as part of your weekly intake of food, if we get a good deal on something, we can it or dehydrate it. Nothing packs as much nutrition, however, as fresh, raw, whole foods, so we’re always sure to eat plenty of them as we can through out the year. We grow some of our own, but by the rest from local small farmers. We make a point to go out and visit them to see how they raise and grow the food too, I call it a chance to “meet the meat.”
We also have purchased storable foods on hand, which are also part of our regular weekly food intake, not just tucked away for emergencies. That storable food is made from the commodities which are price controlled, in part, by the same system which has corrupted the Farm Bill. Pressuring your representatives in Congress to get there act together on this, as well as just about everything else it seems, is the only way to correct this horrible change which threatens small, family farms and rural communities.
It wouldn’t be so bad if the farms that actually needed the assistance were the ones getting it. The best advice I can offer is to offer none, but tell you what we’re doing. We’re contacting our reps and asking that they stop handing our tax money to giant corporations which don’t need nor deserve it. We’re also putting them on notice that our vote for them next election is based upon them representing their constituents and not big corporations. We also try to combat some of the food price fluctuations by purchasing storable foods in large quantities, usually no smaller than 6 month supplies.
How do you deal with fluctuating food prices?
So just how valuable are your preparations and skill building efforts? A freak snow storm knocked out power for millions of people in the north east in October. Almost a million are still without power! How many of them must rely on the state or federal government to provide for themselves and their families? Imagine the extra burden this put son an already battered economy. It’s no secret that mismanaged priorities and funds at all levels is responsible for this, but it’s now been made public that the EPA is trying to get it’s latest batch of regulations are aimed specifically at shutting down coal-burning power plants during a time of great need, without a coordinated effort to swap them with another power source. That means that an already over-burdened system of national power production is going to be pushed beyond the breaking point because the EPA wants to shut down as many of those power plants as possible.
I don’t like the idea of “dirty” coal being used to product power, it’s seems irresponsible for a 21st global leader like the US, but can the answer to balancing clean air and reliable power really be increasing brown-outs and black-outs across the nation? The EPA knows what it’s doing is the wrong way to conduct this reduction of air pollution because if it was all legit, they wouldn’t have to completely omit entire sections out of reports delivered to Congress when the full version has been circulated around the White House. To quote the omitted section, the EPA “is aware that concerns have been expressed by some, even in advance of this proposed rule, that this regulation may detrimentally impact the reliability of the electric grid.” The EPA then goes on to admit that what it calls “sources integral to reliable operation” [the targeted coal-fired power plants] may be forced to shut down, and that these retirements “could result in localized reliability problems.”
I’m not sure how it couldn’t since the system already experience pretty serious “localized reliability problems” without demanding more capacity from less sources! So this all begs the question to preppers reading this blog: Are your reliant on the power grid as your sole source of heat for cooking and warmth?
“is aware that concerns have been expressed by some, even in advance of this proposed rule, that this regulation may detrimentally impact the reliability of the electric grid.”