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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

America Under A Threat, Worse Than Katrina or The Asian Tsunami

                Protecting America from Itself

   What If A Natural Event Worse Than Katrina, or Worse Than The Tsunami That Hit Southeast Asia Hit America.  What If A Man Made Event Worse Than 9/11 Were To Happen To America.  Read On Cause It Could

       What would happen if the people found out the government had been warned of just such an event.  Even more important, what if the government had been informed how to significantly reduce the human loss and suffering in such an event and did nothing.  Well that is exactly the case today.  Not only could the damage be minimized to a major degree it could create new jobs in the course of implementing the solutions to reduce the cost in lost life and suffering.

       America is at risk of exactly that scenario.  We are at risk of literally being torn in two as a nation.  In could happen in a way that most Americans do not realize.  Most know we are in an economic crisis. Many also know we have serious problems in the job and housing markets.  America’s infrastructure is in dire need of repair and upgrading.  On top of all that, there is an energy crisis facing America.  What many do not realize is that there are solutions to many of these problems. If those threats are not bad enough we also face the possibility of a physical disaster of unimaginable dimensions. A situation, which if it happened in the right season, would place the entire eastern half of the United States at risk of starvation.

       Most people have heard stories of the Big One.  Most think of California when they hear the phrase.  However there is another area of America just as prone to earthquakes. It is also possibly at much greater risk than California.  Especially if you look at the history of the area.  It was the site of the largest and most violent earthquake in American history. The quakes happened between December 16, 1811 and  February 7, 1812.  There were four major quakes during the period estimated to be between 7.2 and 8.1 in magnitude. It is an area known as the New Madrid fault zone.  The fault lies in the area where Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky and Illinois come together along the Mississippi River. Land displacement was so intense that supposedly the Mississippi River flowed backwards. A new lake was formed which is called Reelfoot Lake in what is now Tennessee. The earthquake was felt strongly over an area of over 50,000 square miles and moderately over an area of almost 3 million square miles.  This compares to an area of 6200 square miles of moderate shaking from the Great San Francisco earthquake.  Reportedly chimneys fell as far away as Maine, sidewalks cracked in Washington, D.C., Church bells rang in Boston, Massachusetts and Toronto, Ontario, Canada.   The damage was so severe the Governor of the Louisiana Territory, later renamed the Missouri Territory, George Lewis of Lewis and Clark fame requested federal relief for the New Madrid residents.

     There is another situation that may play into the magnitude of the quake if it comes. Almost everyone has heard of an event called a pole shift.  That is a situation in which the magnetic poles switch from the North Pole to the South Pole.  Anyone who has ever played with a couple magnets knows that when you try to push the like poles of two magnets together they will repel each other.  One or both will quickly shift apart unless restrained. The reason I mention this is that the earth is experiencing significant polar changes.  While many scientists agree pole shifts happen and have happened in the past.  What they do not agree on is exactly what happens when the event occurs.

      Why mention this at all.  Most everybody has heard of the prediction on the Mayan Calendar and the end of the world as we know it in December 2012.  We now know that turned out to be a Y2K type event.  Well I came across some interesting facts which are rather disturbing.  The north magnetic pole at the turn of the century was moving but at a minor rate of just 4 to 5 kilometers per year.  However over the last twenty years or so the pole shift has accelerated considerably to almost 50 kilometers per year.  Scientists have not figured out why yet.  Knowing what happens on a smaller scale, my question is could it happen the same way on a grander scale?  If it can or does it could make for a major problem.  The line at which a straight line would project from the North Pole to the South Pole goes virtually right down the Mississippi River.  Points on a compass are measured east and west of that imaginary line. If you are in the eastern United States the needle on a compass will be pointing left of true north.  If you are in the western United States the needle will point to the right of true north.  So could the earth turn upside down?  The Bible says it will.  The Bible also said that the depths of the deep (ocean) are broken up, long before mankind had a way of knowing or verifying the matter.  When you put all these facts together the rest of what I have to say becomes much more significant.

       So what is the significance of all this.  First let me explain my qualifications to make the statements I am about to make.  I spent thirteen years in the military.  Ten years of it working in military logistical support and twenty years as an over the road trucker.  During that time I hauled produce, poultry and other meat products.  My military experience taught me to be on the lookout for, what if, scenarios.  Looking for and trying to anticipate and minimize the unforeseen things that can happen to interrupt supplies.  Also I am a bit of a history buff.  My home is in the area affected by the New Madrid Fault.  So several things together caused me to come to the conclusions I am about to explain.  Being married to an X-migrant worker for almost forty years I have seen the produce industry from several sides.  As a business owner (trucking) I had opportunity on many occasions to talk to other business owners.  I watched a man who had years of experience at farming, fail when he tried to enter the produce business.  A big part of the reason for his failure was the high cost of energy to heat the greenhouses.  They hired Mexicans, but many of the Mexican families no longer follow the crops.  They are getting out of the fields. In my wife's family all thirteen kids left the fields. Three went to college, four went into factories and some work in other administrative type jobs.

       Getting back on subject if an earthquake of the magnitude of the 1811-12 ones were to hit the same area today it could destroy many of the bridges across the Mississippi River.  So what is the problem with that?  Well if I have counted right there are twenty nine bridges across the Mississippi River between Minneapolis and New Orleans.  Of these twelve are interstate bridges.  The rest are older two lane bridges.  Having crossed many of them I question their ability to survive a major earthquake.  They are so narrow two trucks passing on the bridge usually costs one vehicle or the other one of its mirrors. You either hit each other’s mirrors in the middle, or smack the passenger side on the bridge structure.  It happened to me three times over twenty years.  After a while I learned to fold my mirrors in alongside the truck body before crossing those bridges.    

    Seven of the interstate bridges and over half of the old two lane bridges are in the New Madrid earthquake zone.  They could be expected to suffer major damage in the event of an earthquake.  Living as we do today in the era of terrorist bombers it made me wonder what would happen if a team as determined as the 9/11 terrorists and as well thought out.   Decided they wanted to literally cut America in half.  It could be done with not that many truckloads of farm fertilizer rigged into bombs. Remember Oklahoma City?  That was a fertilizer bomb.  It was only about two tons of explosives.  Imagine the effect of say fifteen to twenty tons.  Suddenly the eastern half of the United States can’t receive its daily rations of produce, meat and poultry to name just a few things. It would totally disrupt the American economy to say the least.  Maybe I had too much time to think as a truck driver, but so do terrorists.  The 9/11 bombing did not happen overnight.  They planned it for years.  Taking the time to train the pilots go through dress rehearsals and plan every detail.  Well semi-tractor trailers are much easier to get than an airplane and do not require a lot of training to drive.  Thousands of them are stolen every year along with their cargo.  A combined and coordinated attack would be devastating.  However there is a way to diffuse both America and make a major step towards energy independence in the process.      

     In the event of an earthquake disaster many of the power plants in the area are considered at risk.  There are ten major power plants within a fifty mile drive of my home. Many of my friends and associates make a living hauling coal to power plants.  From the Mississippi River and east there are hundreds of power plants I am sure.  Not all will be in danger of destruction by the earthquake.  In fact the power plants may be a means of saving America in case of such a situation.  The problem is the solution has to be put in place far in advance of the crisis situation.  The technology is already available and simply needs to applied to the power plants.  Regulations may need to be changed.  That should be a minor problem though.  If the government keeps on its present path we will be in a Depression that makes the Great Depression look like a cake walk. That is another topic though.

      At present most of the produce that goes to markets on the east coast and New England states, especially in the off seasons up north, comes out of Florida, California and Mexico.   All of these suppliers are thousands of miles from the markets they are serving.  It does not have to be that way.  The hundreds of power plants all through the Midwest and North Eastern states could be upgraded.  They all have abundant supplies of energy that they burn to generate power.  The "heat" goes up the chimney and is wasted.  To power companies the heat is simply a byproduct.   With very slight modification the plants could capture much of that energy and use it to heat greenhouses built in proximity to their power plants.  Going even farther aquaculture could be developed to raise fish for local markets.  This helps in several ways. First thousands of trucks do not need to run clear across America just to deliver some produce.  Each truck running from California to say New York City burns between 500 and 600 gallons per truck going one way. It uses the same amount going back.  You multiply that times the thousands of trucks that are making the trip and you are talking millions and millions if not billions of gallons annually.  It is an amazing experience to see. Every Sunday night hundreds of thousands of trucks from all across the country converge on the major routes leading into New York City and New England.  All of them have the goal of being on the East Coast at between six and eight AM.  The tempo starts building in early afternoon, by midnight it is over three hundred miles of bumper to bumper big trucks filling both lanes and moving as fast as traffic will allow.  In the company I started out with we called it “Sunday Night On the Pike” and believe me it is an experience.  The only thing worse is leaving Florida on the last day of the Christmas and New Year holiday and heading north.  It is bumper to bumper twenty four hours a day from Miami to Boston.  Somehow I managed to do that three times over twenty years and it is something to definitely try and avoid.  I did it once in rain.  It turned to ice about D.C. and a blizzard by the time I got up into northern Pennsylvania.  I will never forget that trip.

       There are hundreds of intermediate markets that need serviced also.  Look at a map.  All those cities represent people that need to eat.  Building thousands of greenhouses across the country shortens the supply lines and creates local jobs.  The technology is available and the engineering modifications required are minimal.  The energy and cost savings to America would be immense.  It would make a major stride in moving toward energy independence.  It would create jobs upgrading the plants, jobs building and maintaining the greenhouses, jobs for workers to grow the plants, pack and ship them to local markets.  It will take good management and eventually the power plants would see a return on their investment.  The key is to keep the energy cost low so it is economically feasible. Another benefit is that it would lessen the wear and tear on America's highways,      

      If anyone is interested I have several more of these brilliant ideas on my blog.  It is   If you would care to check them out or read some of my other outside the box ideas.   This idea has been sent to the Obama Administration two times since he took office and also to several Congressmen.   Either they do not care.  Or they are too busy arguing with each other to read their mail.             

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