Day 85: 2020 Pandemic. Suspension of Disbelief

As a fiction writer, we often discuss “suspension of disbelief”. What that means is getting the reader so caught up in the story, that they don’t stop and go: “Wait! That’s not real.”

As we see General Mattis finally weighing in on matters, it’s another day requiring suspension of disbelief in listening to the president’s narrative. As he does with almost all people who formerly worked for him, Trump immediately took to Twitter to denigrate General Mattis. Which requires one to not believe all the speeches, tweets, and other times Trump praised the man. Those weren’t true, apparently. We’re to believe this narrative.  

Trump always claims to bring in the best people and then calls them the worst people afterward. There’s a disconnect there somewhere. Both cannot be true. It’s sad to watch the suspension of disbelief among his supporters as they defend his narrative with lies, distortions and inevitable “what about”; as if someone else were president RIGHT NOW. Because RIGHT NOW is the issue.

What’s also requiring suspension of disbelief is the outright lies Trump tells on a daily basis. Lies that are so easily proved wrong. Lies he doesn’t need to tell; but he must, or else the fragile world around his ego would crumble.

Trump is so ignorant he doesn’t even know he’s a traitor. I’m thinking some of his supporters are smarter. I wonder how they feel siding with that? I learned a lot about U.S. Grant writing my Duty, Honor, Country books. Two things struck me about him early in his life: first, that he freed the only slave that his wife brought into the marriage, even though he was destitute at the time. Two, is that he viewed the Mexican War as imperialistic and evil. And three, because I’m a fan of Spinal Tap (awesome band!), the statement at the very top about traitors and patriots. I’ve been saying it for a couple of years now and I stand by it. Supporting Trump is not supporting to Constitution or the United States. It’s that simple.

BTW: D-Day (Time Patrol) is free today and through 6 June.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 83: 2020 Pandemic. The Normalization of the Abnormal Leads Us Down A Very Dangerous Path

For over three years we’ve been subjected a nonstop barrage of “alternate facts”. In essence, an alternate reality as envisioned in the mind of the president and echoed by his sycophants. Every time it doesn’t seem it can get worse, it does. The strange thing is that none of what he does is secret. He’s not playing three-dimensional chess. He’s barely playing checkers. He puts out there what he’s going to do.

With the recent protests, the president wants to deploy our military in our cities. This, in essence, would be martial law as this country has not seen since the Civil War. He’s going to do it. How do I know that? Because he’s said he wants to. He does what he says. His latest pronouncement does have the caveat that governors have to invite the federal troops in; I’m sure a handful will, but the majority won’t.

He’s now lashing out an organization that doesn’t exist as an organization: Antifa. It has no organization, but is rather an ideology. It is extreme left wing while we have many more white supremacist right wing activists which riddle our police forces and military. Trump does this with little evidence to back up his assertions, but that’s the norm for this administration. Blatant lies are no longer considered odd. In fact, the truth would be startling.

We’ve become used to it and therein lies our supreme danger. We’ve become used to a daily death toll in the hundreds, if not thousands, from COVID-19; and we face a huge second wave, exacerbated by states opening when not ready and these riots. With zero coordinated federal response. We’re into June and you still can’t get an N-95 mask; even front-line health workers are having a hard time getting them. This is such a basic thing that should have been taken care of months ago.

I’ve always known humans can adapt, both good and bad.

We are now heading down the bad path. We’re not far away from mass arrests. We already have concentration camps at the borders. You can call them something else, but that’s what they are. While they were initially protested, now we’re used to them. We’re used to families being separated. Because they’re “others”. It’s always “others” until its you.

I remember in the Special Forces Qualification Course when we studied the French Resistance. The most startling thing was how few French actually were part of the Resistance. The vast majority of people go along with things, even when they get really bad, such as shipping neighbors off to concentration camps because of their religion. It happened.

How far will Americans continue down this dark path?

I watched Trump have hundreds of police and military move peaceful protestors yesterday so he could get a photo op in front of a church holding a bible. An utterly disgusting move and image. It came because he was incensed about articles showing that he hid in the White House the night before. And therein lies the only good news. Trump is incapable of planning beyond the next news cycle. He reacts. He is a pathetic, scared bully. His actions and lack of them has caused much death and misery and will cause much more. His supporters won’t admit they were wrong. They’d rather the country burn down and fall apart than accept the obvious reality of who and what he is and what he does and says. Can they see reality?

Once more: How far will Americans continue down this dark path?

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The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 82: 2020 Pandemic. How To Prepare for and Deal with Civil Unrest, Crowds and Riots

A free slideshow that seems needed given current events:

Inevitable we will be in a crowd. Whether its a sporting event, a movie theater, a concert or something else. There is also the possibility we might get caught up in civil unrest or a riot. Do you know how to be prepared? What to do? How to react? How to protect yourself?

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 81: 2020 Pandemic. There Has Been Blood. There Will Be More

The usual lines are being drawn: for and against protests. The difference this time is that we have a president actively inciting violence. It’s all he has. He doesn’t think beyond the next news cycle. He loves chaos and when we need calm leadership, his instinct is to throw gasoline on the chaos.

When he was elected, I told my wife he would surround himself with incompetence and graft in his cabinet. Why? So those people would deflect attention from his own incompetence and graft. And it has worked for over three years now.

This is about race; our original sin as a country was incorporating slavery into the Constitution. A single amendment can’t change what runs through the document. From the electoral college to the second amendment, slavery still reeks in it.

It also about wealth inequality. When our president has a fund raiser planned where a single seat costs half a million dollars, how much voice does the average person have?

It is going to get worse. Those who remember Kent State know what’s coming. Scared people with live rounds will eventually fire them. On top of that, this president praised armed rioters in state capitols as good people who need to be listened to. Seriously?

And the president also likes that these riots deflect attention from over 100,00 deaths. The number, of course, is undercounted. There still is no Federal plan on testing, on anything to do with it. He literally said he doesn’t take responsibility. A stunning statement. But he also was on tape saying he sexually assaults women and people still voted for him. So.

I’ve been attacked by people who label me and suppose they know every position I have simply because I speak out against a man who wouldn’t be allowed, as an eight year old, to say and do what he does on the school playground.

There are people whose instinct on seeing someone hurt and killed to feel empathy. And those who feel the person deserved it. That is the dividing line. Where does each American stand?

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 79: 2020 Pandemic. Did Any Business Have a Pandemic Plan? Did the Military?

As we watch major industries such as the airlines implode, I wonder how many had a plan for a pandemic? After seeing the utter debacle of the USS Roosevelt, I was scratching my head wondering if the Navy had any contingency plan for biological warfare, particularly regarding its most important and powerful element, the aircraft carrier?

It’s as if everyone was taken by surprise. I did my first slideshow on How To Prepare For And Survive The Inevitable Pandemic around twenty years ago. I incorporated pandemic preparation and survival into the very first draft of The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide years ago. I linked it with biological warfare which has been used throughout the ages. Pandemics have existed as long as mankind has. I’m not saying that to boast; I read The Hot Zone years ago researching Z: Final Countdown (free right now BTW), and I also took some history courses at West Point. We also trained for biological and chemical warfare in the army. Doesn’t the military do that anymore? I’m embarrassed for our senior military leadership, but this had been a long time coming. We celebrate these generals while ignoring the fact they haven’t won a war in decades. I was disgusted to see Petraeus speaking on the Grant History Channel special, given his crimes. He isn’t fit to talk about Ulysses S. Grant; he should be in Leavenworth. If he’d been an E-7 and done what he did, he would be.

Previous administrations from both parties acknowledged the threat of a pandemic. Yet this administration seemed to go out of its way to denigrate any preparation. And three years in, has kept blaming the previous one for its own failures. I’m truly wondering if any major business had a contingency plan for a pandemic, especially those most threatened, such as airlines, cruise lines, major league sports, movie theaters, etcetera? If anyone is aware of one, please let me know.

I’d told my son years ago that an easy way to knock out a 4-billion-dollar aircraft carrier was a flock of drones spreading plutonium over the deck. Turns out it is even easier to honey-trap a single sailor with a contagion. Lots of bang for little investment, pun intended. But seriously, DOD? No plans? We know the previous administration handed the current one a pandemic a plan, which was ignored. An organization which was disbanded. When that was pointed out, the latest press secretary trotted out some binders which supposedly contained their “much better” plans; but where were those binders in the first months? Has anyone seen said “much better” plan? Because, this many months in, I have yet to see any coherent Federal response.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I wonder if businesses, the government, the military and individuals have contingency plans for all the other inevitable things? Massive California or Cascadia earthquake? Gonna happen. The inevitable nuclear explosion via terrorism, most likely in a container in a port city? Gonna happen. Another Bhopal level chemical disaster (Texas has laws where the local responders can’t even be told what’s being stored in some of those place!!!!)? Gonna happen.

All I can say is that each of us needs to prepare as best we can. Because given our government’s utter failure to deal with this, I wouldn’t count on them for anything else. And it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 77: 2020 Pandemic. 100,000 Officially; and its way undercounting the true toll

The official death toll passed 100,000 in the United States today. We know its vastly under-counting in many ways. For example, pneumonia deaths in Florida this past month were recorded at five times the rate they were a year ago. The same is true all across the country. A number of dead, who were not tested, don’t get tested and added to the list. They’re just written off.

A number of states are suppressing their counts for various reasons, none of them valid. Mainly political.

We still have no coordinated Federal response on any aspect of this and we won’t have one under this administration. This is criminal. Frankly, it’s murder.

Yesterday I watched the ball fields where I’d been taking Gus and Scout, crowded with kids and their parents practicing for the first time. Not a mask in sight. Yet, I also just spotted a buried article in the local news that three workers at a local Krogers had tested positive. A week ago. Yet the “official” count from the state for our county has remained flat. Something’s not adding up.

It’s going to get bad. Very bad, in June. The craziness of this past holiday weekend is going to light fires in a lot of places.

There are other things going on that will add to the disruption. A mentally ill president is on top of that list. He takes no responsibility and has delegated responsibility to the states but fails to support them and in many cases, publicly incites revolt against the governors. This is unprecedented in our history. It has also killed people and will kill many more.

Things will never go back to normal. It’s very likely COVID-19 will become endemic. Those who are protesting masks and restrictions are in for a rude surprise.

We’ve also learned we had an Al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist attack here in the States last year that killed Americans. Surprisingly, all the Benghazi screamers have been amazingly silent about it. It was perpetrated by a Saudi military officer, yet we also know our president and sec. of state have fast-tracked arms to that same country.

I’m picking up a bad vibe. People are getting short-tempered. Trump cultists are digging in deeper because, like him, they cannot ever admit they are wrong. No matter how many have died. What we cannot do is allow that minority of people to sway us into becoming what we are not. The majority of people are decent, caring human beings. But it is too easy to let that vocal minority gain too much sway.

We are better than this. And we are on our own. We must take care of ourselves, our loved ones and each other.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 76: 2020 Pandemic. Food For Survival—how to prepare, post I

I went to the grocery store last week for our bi-monthly resupply. It seemed to me that some shelves were barer than before. Meat was almost all gone but the pasta, soups and cereals were pretty well picked over. We know the meat supply is disrupted because of outbreaks in the processing plants.

Overall, the ripple effect is just starting in the food supply chain. Also, the second wave of the pandemic, and there is always a second wave, is just beginning. The stunning images from Memorial Day weekend show how misinformation and lack of leadership endangers lives. Many people think the worst is past with over 100,000 dead. The strange thing is that two months ago those same people were mocking predictions of 100,000 dead. People came to this blog and insulted me for posting those predictions from those folks called scientists. Now they’re believing lockdown is over. I do think we have to relax lockdown but going to the beach, a bar, the pool, having parties is just plain stupid and not rebooting the economy.

Regardless, let’s discuss food and what you need to be prepared for.

Every time I go into the grocery store, I’m amazed at the amount and variety of food. Actually, I’m like the guy at the end of Hurt Locker, staring at all the various types of cereal in utter confusion. When the checkout person asks me if I found everything, I tell them “No, and my wife will let me know when I get home.”

Having gone without food for eight days during survival training and parachuted in with all the food (and ammunition and other gear) I was going to have for the next 30 days on an operation, I am very aware of the importance of food.

I’m also aware of how quickly the food in stores will go bad and rot within a few days with no power or being replaced. Most people have several days to a week’s worth of food on hand in the refrigerator and pantry. If the power goes off, start on the food in the freezer first, then the refrigerator, as those will be good for only about three days.

In most situations after water, our next most urgent requirement is food. Actually, most people’s minds turn to food before they think of water, even though the latter is more critical.

How much food do you have stored in your house?

What is the shelf life?

Emergency food should be outside the normal rotation of food you use daily, except as you need to rotate the stored food to keep from spoilage. This emergency food should be stored in a different location than your normal food supply. Keep track of expiration dates on a calendar.

The easiest way to decide what food to get is to store the non-perishable food you normally eat, keeping in mind expiration dates. This requires you to have a rotation plan. Do not put your rotation plan on your iCal or other electronic device. It must be a manual plan. In fact, back up all information you will need in a survival situation that is currently on an electronic platform on a manual platform.

If you don’t want to invest a lot of time into this, there are numerous companies that make and sell bulk packets of long-lasting food supplies (25 years in many cases). These sites even have survival food spreadsheets where you can calculate what you need. While this might not be the ‘hard-core’ survivalist way, it’s a smart way. The upfront investment is worth the long-term comfort of mind. I have several of these buckets of food.

This is an important area. I believe you can do things the hard way or the easy way. Survival is hard. Preparing for it doesn’t need to be. Experts have done much of the preparation for you; you just have to use them. However, I’ve also learned not to go cheap on certain life-saving items.

Finally, after being sold out for months, the Mountain House bucket is available once more for sale. These meals are made by the same company that made the LRRP meals we loved in Special Operations. They take hot water to prepare and you can actually eat them out of the packets, so no dishes to wash. I also take these when I got camping.

In the next post, we’ll discuss emergency rations and other food items.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 73: 2020 Pandemic. The Lack of Empathy Is What Dismays Me

ARLINGTON, VA – MAY 27: Mary McHugh mourns her dead fiance Sgt. James Regan at “Section 60” of the Arlington National Cemetery May 27, 2007. Regan, an American Special Forces soldier, was killed by an IED explosion in Iraq in February of this year, and this was the first time McHugh had visited the grave since the funeral. Section 60, the newest portion of the vast national cemetery on the outskirts of Washington D.C, contains hundreds of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Family members of slain American soldiers have flown in from across the country for Memorial Day. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Mary McHugh

Humans beings once crowded men, women and children, including newborns, into gas chambers by the hundreds and killed them. Again and again and again. That is a fact. It happened. Those humans who did that were not from another species or a breed apart. Human history is full of people who have done, and are doing, similar things.

Our country is badly divided. Social media rages with arguments, most of them a waste of time. I despair of the lack of logic involved, but the thing that truly depresses and scares me is the lack of empathy among a segment of our population.

I saw it after every mass shooting. The gun control argument would rage, but what struck me was that not a single time, and I followed a lot of it, did I see a vocal “pro-gun” person make their 2A argument while also acknowledging the heartbreak and loss for the victims and their families. I’m sure some did, but I didn’t see it. It was as if expressing sympathy would negate their stance. Or, they simply can’t express sympathy for strangers. I’m not picking on gun owners. And yes, most aren’t raging and do have empathy. But those who were most vocal were the least empathetic. I’m citing an example which is now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

We have people in the streets protesting prudent health protocols as infringing on their “constitutional rights”. I watch selfish people go into stores not wearing masks. Going to bars in the evening. Crowding onto beaches. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

We have a president who is golfing today as we crest 100,000 dead. Of course, before he was president, he mocked the man before him for golfing too much. He doubts that the numbers are that high. He rejects any negativity as nasty and rude. He has never once, in his entire life, admitted he was wrong about a single thing. That’s a severe mental illness and its killing people. Right now. And a third of the country still supports him, vehemently.

We have no coordinated federal response in any manner, at any level, to this pandemic. The Senate took off for the weekend after doing—nothing. Well, McConnell did jam through some of his unqualified judges. It ignored a bill passed by the House. After all, now we have to start thinking about the deficit. Not when a tax break for the rich was enacted. Not when money has been given to corporations without accountability or requirements to keep workers on. In fact, the Senate’s priority has been to make sure those corporations are protected from legal action from the families of those who are forced to work in this pandemic. Apparently, it’s serious enough for that, but not to actually help people.

We have an entire segment of our population, led by the president, that revels in childish insults and irresponsible behavior. They feel nothing for those suffering. They care nothing for the deaths of strangers.

And that is our reality this Memorial Day weekend as people wave the flag and are supposed to remember our fallen warriors. I wonder what those people without empathy feel about it? They wave the flag, but do they feel the pain? The scarier thing to accept is that some people simply can’t feel the pain.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 71: 2020 Pandemic. The elite are prepared for society to collapse. Are you?

The helicopter flies over you, carrying them to the airport; but not the part where you have to go through security and take your shoes off and now have your temperature taken. They go to the other side where all the sleek jets are parked. Their pilot awaits and they fly off to their tens of thousands of acres compound in Montana where they have supplies stocked to last decades, their own personal physician (with their own ventilator and other key medical supplies including plenty of PPE). Their private security personnel guard the gates which are out of sight of the main house; often by many miles.

They’re prepared.

Are you?

Sound like a scary future scenario? It’s already happened. The super-rich left New York City as COVID-19 made landfall. They went to their second, or third, or fourth homes. Whichever they thought best. I assure you that small airports in place such as Kalispell, MT, are packed with private jets right now.

Other super-rich have bought condos in former ballistic missile silos, where the smallest one goes for $1.5 million for 900 square feet. If you desire more Daniel Boone elbow room you can spring for $4.5 million for 3,600 square feet. Get an entire floor in the silo. Which also has a gym, a movie theater and many more amenities.

In these posts, I’ve talked about the economic fallout from COVID-19 being as serious, if not more, than the actual virus. We still haven’t felt the true effect of massive unemployment and the disruption of the supply chain. But there are ripples. How many bare shelves in your local grocery? Not just toilet paper any more, but also many meat products. Are canned soups picked over? Cereals? Frozen meals? On the flip side though, there should be plenty of fresh vegetables for those who live outside large cities as those are usually grown and procured locally.

In Special Forces we’ve seen first-hand what a collapsed society looks like and it can happen fast. Various deployments, including some already forgotten such as Yugoslavia. Remember Yugoslavia hosted the Olympics in 1984. By 1991 it was in the midst of a brutal civil war. There were massacres; neighbors killing neighbors. Americans don’t think it can happen here? We’re closer to it than we’ve been since a little event called the Civil War, that killed over 700,000 Americans.

If people are pissed because they can’t go to their favorite bar, imagine how they will act when they can’t feed their family?

Are you prepared?

You don’t have to be rich to prepare. In fact, some of the things they’re spending millions on are rather stupid, such as the silo condo. The poor man’s ultimate survival guide? Find the nearest survivalist and take their stuff. Yeah, yeah, they think they can guard it. Obviously, they’ve never pulled security at a remote firebase. And if they’re paying guards, how long before the guards realize who the unnecessary people are and how worthless money has become?

Are you prepared?

It’s never too late. In fact, look at recent events: dams collapsing in Michigan. Tornadoes in Tennessee. Hurricane season looms. Earthquakes are rattling here and there. Wildfires?

The first step of preparation is low cost and simple and smart. Do an Area Study. Look at yourself, your team and how well prepared you aren’t. And are. Then your local area. Threats. Assets. I guarantee most of those rich people in their compounds haven’t done an Area Study. They’ve overlooked key things.

Because while the rich are different than you and I, they’re still subject to the same human fragilities.

More to come, including the all-important: when to bug out? We’re not there, but we have to know the signs. Where to bug out to?

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Day 69: 2020 Pandemic. Water Sources in Nature, Part IV

Warning! Purify any water that you are not positive is drinkable.

Rainwater collected in clean containers is usually safe for drinking. This is the quickest and most effective way to gather potable water.

Lakes, ponds, swamps, springs, streams. Must be purified regardless of how clear and clean it looks. This is especially true if it is anywhere near human settlements.

Underground water: Muddy ground indicates a water supply. You can filter the muddy water or dig down about a foot and gather what collects. It still must be purified.

Snow and ice: Are as pure as the water from which they came, this is particularly true for ice. Do not eat snow or ice without melting first, as doing so will reduce your core body temperature and actually lead to dehydration more than hydration. If you carry a water container in freezing temperatures, remember that it will freeze. Keep your ready source of water inside your coat so remains liquid.

Green bamboo thickets are a source of fresh water. Water from green bamboo is clear and odorless. To get the water, bend a green bamboo stalk, tie it down, and cut off the top. The water will drip freely during the night and collect. Old, cracked bamboo may contain water. Bamboo is a lot more common than you realize. When you did your Area Study, this is something you should have looked for: all the sources of water that you might not have considered before.

Morning dew can provide water. Use an absorbent cloth (this is one case where cotton isn’t rotten) or a handful of long grass and wick up moisture that has condensed. You can also tie rags or tufts of fine grass around your ankles and walk through dew-covered grass before sunrise. As the cloth, rags or grass tufts absorb the dew, wring the water into a container. Repeat the process until you have a supply of water or until the dew is gone. This water is considered potable (unless you collect it off of poison ivy or recently fertilized/sprayed grass, etc.)

Banana/plantain trees: Cut down the tree, leaving a stump about a foot high. Scoop out the center, leaving a bowl shaped hollow. Water from the roots will come and being to fill the hollow. The first several fillings will be bitter, but then it was become more palatable. This can supply water for up to four days. If you are going to re-use, cover it to keep insects and bugs out.

Tropical vines: Cut a notch as high as you can reach. Do not drink if it is sticky, milky or bitter-tasting.

Coconuts: The milk from unripe (green) coconuts. The milk from mature coconuts contains a laxative.

Using animals to locate water:

Since we’re mammals, using other mammals is common sense. Most mammals in nature will seek out water at dawn or dusk. Following game trails can lead you to water.

Melting ice and snow: Both are water in different forms. If you have a choice, melt ice as it produces greater volume than snow. If you are melting snow, keep adding and pressing the snow down or else you will get a cavity at the bottom of your pan or can. Sea ice is the same as sea water and not drinkable.

The Green Beret Pocket-Sized Survival Guide (same as above, minus the preparation part in order to be smaller in print)

The Green Beret Preparation and Survival Guide. Also in Kindle Unlimited.

Hey– my first 9 Area 51 books are only .99 this month. If you’re interested in seeing the entire history of mankind rewritten, check them out. Now what happened– but WHY things happened.