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Is It Fear-Mongering… or the Truth? with Brian Brawdy – Episode 115

If you were told that there is only a 3-day supply of food available to your grocery store at any given time and that any disruption in that food supply chain could be a calamity, what would you think? To listen to the mainstream media and societal reaction, you’d think someone just yelled “Fire” in a crowded room. To them, people who sound the alarm are “fear mongerers” and “delusional” and people to be laughed at. National Geographic has a television show geared to showing preppers as idiotic extremists. They want to devalue the message by showing us in less than favorable light.

Off The Grid Radio
Ep 115
Released: August 9, 2012

Bill:      Welcome back to another exciting episode of Off the Grid News, the radio version. I’m Bill Heid. I’m your host and I’m here with my good friend Brian Brawdy. Brian, welcome back.

Brian:   Thank you Bill. It’s great to see you as always. I thought… Honestly, we’ll get to it here in a bit. I thought a ton about you last week and I’ll tell you why.

Bill:      Why?

Brian:   Well look, here’s the question I have for you. I should start off with more of a question and even though you’re doing the interview let me just grab this one from you. Every time I look at the news of late, whether it’s the drought, it’s the power outages, it’s solar flares, it’s—any of those things—I always think back to one of the terms that I heard way back when, when people would reference some of the work you and I did together and it was the “f” term—fear-mongering.

Bill:      Yes?

Brian:   So my question for you this morning—when does fear mongering…? I mean what’s the shelf life? How does fear mongering grow into being factually based? Because good golly—the stuff you told me two years ago—a short two years ago—less than 700 days ago, it’s all starting to materialize. All you have to do is go online. Check out the news. Look at what’s happened in the food supplies. Look at what’s happened to electrical supplies in terms of the grid. Look what’s happened to our water supplies being compromised because of natural disasters. When do you finally get to go “Hey, Colbert—guess I wasn’t fear-mongering a whole lot now, was I?”

Bill:      Well here’s what we’ve always been saying. We’ve never… Brian, we’ve never really said, “We know that this will happen, X.”  In other words, “There is a day in 2011 that will be the biggest day of history” or something. We’ve never really said that though there could be those days. Who the heck knows? What we can say is because of just in time inventories and because of the sort of thin way—the highly margined way—not only that we do our finances and we know about derivatives and we know about the libel rates and all these—very thinly margined world that we live in. We know that that’s true—not just in those economic terms but it’s also true in everyday areas of our life. We started out years ago talking about the fact that there is only a couple days of food in the supply chain as it moves through the stores, as it’s on its way to the stores and so forth and so that’s not really fear mongering. It’s just to say that it would only take a slight disruption to create some trouble. That’s all we’re saying.

And then the trouble that it’s going to create could be unknown because we don’t know what that would look like and we think about sort of this idea of cascading events, when this domino hits this one—our old friend Hank Brock—when this one hits this one, this one hits… And so that just the uncertainty of that makes you think, “Well, should I take some of this back home? Should I continue to leverage my own life and continue to outsource everything or should I take baby steps towards maybe getting some of my on life back? Should I grow my own food? Should I generate my own power? Should I do some of those things?”

And I think that’s all we’ve ever really said but you’re absolutely correct. Here we are in the summer of 2012. The weather is hot. We’ve got the electric companies even saying—about like the one in Texas we were just reading a story—Jeremy pointed out here that… We were just reading a story that they’re going to start issuing alerts because the grid is so tight that even… And these are their words. They’re not my words. They’re their words. Even the smallest little interruption is going to mess with the grid and cause rolling brownouts or blackouts.

Brian:   Well, that’s why I thought of you. A couple weeks back I was in Chicago where I live. The beginning of the much now reported land hurricane that went through and eventually knocked out power to millions of folks—I mean millions of folks on the east coast. I know you read about it and you have friends in the area where they had lost their power for more than a week. You know what the first thing is I did?

Bill:      Went into your tool bag. You’re like Batman. You got the utility belt out and you saw what you had. You looked around for the resources that you had…

Brian:   Minus the smarts, the strength, the nice black suit. Other than that I’m just like Batman.

Bill:      You’re just like Batman.

Brian:   I’m just like him. That’s very close—very close.

Bill:      Christian Bale. You’re…

Brian:   Oh no, no. Michael Keaton beat me out. Originally I was in competition for Michael Keaton when he was…

Bill:      Do you ever look in the mirror—and I know this is crazy but we’re not going to say—do you ever look in the mirror—full length mirror—and say, “You know, I’m more like Michael Keaton than I am Christian Bale?

Brian:   Yeah. I did that right in the break, to be honest with you. “Golly, Brian.”

Bill:      It’s a good thing we put that full length mirror there.

Brian:   It’s a good thing I’m 6’4” though because I “handle it well.”  It’s like when you’re in a place that’s got dry heat. “Well it’s a very dry heat, Brian.”  Well, I’m 6’4” so I handle it well. What did I do? I went right to two of my favorite pieces of gear. Honest to goodness I went right to my PowerHub and my PowerSource when everyone else, Bill, is running around panicked.

Bill:      Your neighbors? How did you neighbors…? Was it…? Were the lights out, right?

Brian:   The lights were out and I should also tell you that my neighbors knew to come to me. They were like “Hey Brian, my husband’s at work. Would you mind if I charge my cell phone?”  I go “No. Kim, of course. Come on in. Give me your cell phone. How are the kids? Are your iPads charged? Do you have something to preoccupy them while Reuben’s at work?”

Bill:      Like a rainy night in Guatemala? Remember the guest we had a long time ago and everyone sort of knows who’s got stuff and so they come. You can be of benefit to your community.

Brian:   Absolutely. And I thought of you and that story about the rainy night in Guatemala because I had two neighbors come. I didn’t have 35 people knocking on the door in the middle of the night. But I used my PowerHub. I was able to rig it up to my water pump. I had lights. We slept with fans. And we’re talking 98-99 degrees after the winds blew through so I had everything going. I had the small refrigerator. But what it really gave me, Bill—the ability with the PowerHub and the PowerSource—was it allowed me, when everything else was abnormal around me—because the gas station was out of power, no one could get to the ATMs, no one could get to the fuel, grocery stores started running out because there was no power to keep food refrigerated there—when everything else was abnormal around me the PowerHub and the PowerSource let me keep some normalcy.

Bill:      You got a little bit of your life back.

Brian:   Got a little but I never lost it, my friend, to be honest with you. The winds were blowing and my wife goes “Oh, those are bad winds” and I go “I just saw a possum get blown over in the driveway.”  I go “Yeah. I think those winds could leave a mark.”  She goes “Oh, don’t say that. Don’t even say the word bl—“ and honest to goodness, like 30 seconds later the lights flickered three times and we were out for three days but I had my PowerHub, thanks to you, and the PowerSource and I didn’t miss a beat, my friend.

Bill:      Well that’s a great way to… I mean look, but you were in a little better position because you’re kind of looking for… You and I talk about it so often. You’re almost… Part of you can’t… You can’t wait for some little trouble like that to…so part of you… You have to act annoyed when your wife’s around that we’ve lost your power but part of you is sort of impishly saying, “Oh, now I get to use my stuff.”

Brian:   Oh yeah, because it’s bling for me. It’s my… It’s like I’ve been buried in an avalanche, why I kayaked when the mosquitos were the most horrific in the everglades or why I hike across Death Valley when it’s 145 degrees. So there’s a little bit of that but I will tell you that, for me, that would have probably whittled away in the opening couple of hours because of my wife and kids and neighbors that all turn to me to go “What are we going to do? What are we going to do?”  And you don’t think about it, Bill, but just… For a lot of folks your water is brought into your home by electricity, right? Some people go “Well your power was out. Your water should have been good.”  Yeah, my water was good in the well, 100 feet below the basement. So I still needed electricity. I’d like to get the water up the well. “Oh, well I don’t know what you’re complaining about. You’ve got gas.”  Yeah, but I have electric blowers that move the gas around, right?

So I don’t think folks… I think we’re so dependent on the grid. We’re so dependent on outside sources, right? You flick a light switch. You don’t even know how the electricity works in your home, for some folks. You flick the light switch. Power comes on. I think we’re so dependent on that, Bill, and I know you’re going to highlight some of these stories now that are really scaring me for other folks but what happens when you’re in the hottest summer on record and everyone goes “Hey, I think I’ll just turn on my air conditioner”? What happens when that final person flicks the switch and there is a cascading effect? One person in Houston Texas flicks the switch and it takes out the Lonestar State. It takes the grid off the map.


Bill:      Well that’s certainly one of the articles that we were looking at before we came on is… That was an article in Austin talking about just how tight it is on line and what would happen if just something slightly… some variable came through and changed it just a little bit—they would be off. But what I was thinking as you were talking—you’re not the only person asking this question about “What would happen if…?”  Former House speaker Gingrich wrote an article that’s really getting a lot of traction passed around on the internet and here’s a mainline politician—you can’t get any more mainline than Newt—saying, “What would happen if the power stayed off for weeks or a month? What would you do?”  So he’s saying the exact same thing so it’s not…

You started this out by talking about this idea of fear mongering. I don’t think he’s fear mongering by saying that anymore than we have been the last few years just by positing these questions—“What would you do?”  We were maybe a little bit early into the game and so the first… The pioneers get arrows in their backs, right? So he’s not going to get any arrows now because it’s just become a common thing where people start to talk about “Well what would you do if…?”  That’s common parlance in our culture now. It wasn’t 2007, I don’t think. It was… There was a small group of people. Call them survivalists. Call them self-reliance guys—whatever you want to say—that were always interested in that. A lot of Mormons have always been interested in becoming self-reliant. It’s part of their theological beliefs. And so there’s always… There’s been a remnant of people that were interested in sort of self-sufficiency. There always has been.

But in terms of mainstream—mainstream politicians—saying, “This grid’s in trouble…” And Gingrich goes deeper in the article. I think you read the article as well too. He goes deeper within the article saying more about storms. Yeah, storms could come over. Look what just happened. A storm can come in and it took them all this time—I think they were a week out there on the east coast, as you said. But what about other things that could happen? And he was one of the guys that’s interested in this EMP thing. He’s very interested in national security and knowing the vulnerabilities. So the government has this interesting problem and that is they don’t want to scare you but yet they want to scare you. They have to scare you by telling you the truth but they don’t want to freak you out. So…

And I can relate to the problem. What do you do when you have to tell somebody the truth but you don’t want them to panic? And I concur that that’s the way it is. When I think just publishing articles like this is a beginning, a starting point to educate people and he… He’s making reference to a guy that we had on this show before—John Camperman—who talked about “What would happen if an EMP hit? What would happen?”  And boy, John was… John is hardly a fear-monger but he’s saying the same things that we’ve been saying and he was on the show and said, “You know, it’s going to take a long time to get this… If you get an EMP attack it’s going to take a long time to get this thing back up and running because all your transformers are made in Germany or China or in other places and the turnaround time is years.”

Brian:   Yeah, it’s not going to be like the turnaround time for the Olympic athletes’ uniforms from Calvin Klein. Apparently they got those in time but when arguably your largest—although no one ever admits to it anymore but let’s not call them an enemy—but your largest competitor on the planet is China, they’re going to redefine the term “slow boat from China” when it comes time to help us get our transformers back up and running should there be a natural attack on them.

Bill:      Without a doubt. I mean the Chinese people would just… They would get their own grid back up first…

Brian:   Who could blame them? Who could blame them?

Bill:      You can’t really blame them for that—before they would make transformers for us. So Gingrich is starting to talk about this. Others are talking about it. And one way, as you said, to get off the grid is to start generating your own power. I think that’s a good first step and people need to know—for those that don’t have solar backup—people need to know that this is not a nuclear power plant. It doesn’t run your whole house the way that your AC does. AC is really a blessing in some sense in that you can just plug anything you want. You don’t have to… You don’t really realize it until you get…

Brian:   The bill.

Bill:      …a bill next month and it’s $700. I don’t know about your bill. Our electric bill has probably… They can’t raise the electrical rates here where we live but what they can do is start giving you different types of fees so they’ve begun to… Our electrical company has fees for everything now and so they have, in effect, almost doubled their rates just by changing the fee structure about how you receive your power. So it’s… There are pressures on our society and at the same time you have President Obama really—and Joe Biden—really, in effect, warring against the coal industry and we had talked before about the fact that our coal industry supplies so much of the power that this country has and so you’ve got politicians really trying to figure out “How can we shut an entire industry down?” and I think maybe their shtick is that it’s polluting the air or this or that. But do you remember when President Obama was a Senator and he said something to the effect of “If I have my way… If I could do this electric rates would triple”?

Brian:   Yep.

Bill:      A lot of people have made a lot of hay with that phrase but here we are. If this gentleman gets elected—gentleman?—if this guy gets elected we’re going to have his wish, I think, in the second four years. You’re going to have electric rates tripling because he will, in effect, shut the coal industry down and… Man, I would think—we’re segueing a little bit but I want to get your opinion—I would think that… It seems like such a fiasco—what’s happened so far with his presidency—that more people would sort of say, “No, we don’t want this to continue,” let alone letting a guy kind of in his second term go at us full throttle. Why is it a dead heat, do you think?

Brian:   I think it’s because people in the mainstream media don’t tell the story the way you do, which is why I dig your show. People in the mainstream media… If it were up to me, I like the idea of letting someone be President for a month, right? Start the clock. Everything President Obama, everything President Bush, everything President Clinton—pick your President—everything they want to do is implemented instantly and at the end of the 30 days you’re telling the truth—you see what it is. You want to shut down the coal plants, President Obama? I’ve got an idea.

Pull the plug tomorrow and after one month of people not having electricity, people not having air conditioning, people not being able to save their refrigerated or frozen foods—let it go for one month. Let’s see your vision. You want change. You’re going to move forward. Well move forward right now. Congress will step out of your way. For one month let’s have the world as you see it. He’d never get a second month because I think the mainstream media doesn’t report… They go “Okay, let’s be done with coal fire plants.”  What’s that going to take the unemployment rate to? 40%? What’s it going to do to electric bills?

Bill:      It might take it back up because the country would be dark. This is Keynesian economics, right? Think of how many flashlights would have to be built if you let… The flashlight industry would grow like crazy. And so think of all the jobs that we could create by flipping America into total darkness. Flashlights—everybody could start a flashlight company.

Brian:   Until they run out—you’ve got to…

Bill:      And then the batteries that have to make the flashlights.

Brian:   Yeah, that need the coal. Well, can I tell you a quick little story about being in Vale Colorado—an argument I got into?

Bill:      Sure.

Brian:   A guy—a city official—putting his hands on his hips—“Oh well, you know, Bry, we run all electric cars here now in Vale so we’re not…” emissions and this and that. And I had one simple question—“Where do you get your electricity from to charge these vehicles?”

Bill:      Probably a different state.

Brian:   Blank state. Yeah, but that’s the point. They go “Oh great. Yeah, it’s all electric cars.”  Where did you get that electricity from? “Oh well…” Coal plant, right? You’ve got to get the electricity from somewhere. And I think, Bill, one of the things you’ve been teaching me over the years. Everyone wants something for nothing. We’re all guilty of it. Hey, if you can go into a place and get a deal on this or that… But I think the benefit of listening to your show and the benefit of the work that you do to educate your listeners is that the government doesn’t want you panicked. They’re going to leak a little bit of the truth but for people like you, you take that panic and go “Look. You need a plan. Nothing to be panicked about.”  That’s why when I watched the possum blown—and he wasn’t blown sideways—he was actually blown head over tail… Have you ever seen a possum…? And it doesn’t play possum when it’s being blown. Those were 95 mile an hour winds, Bill, that were clocked.

Bill:      That’ll blow a possum.

Brian:   That’ll blow a possum. Do you know what I mean? But when you lose your power what are you going to do? And if you have a plan let the possum tumble all he wants. I knew I was ready. I knew right where I was going to flip the switch. I knew where my Eliminator was. I used my Eliminator. I used my HD… my PowerPack 600. You laugh but because of the 12 volt little connection there that’s what I used to recharge my flashlight. But I used the stuff that I left plugged into the garage, right? So it was fully charged throughout. It was like my backup—three days—blew fans, LED lights, everything else that I had set up. I’m living large.

Bill:      Yeah. And all you’ve got to do is throw the panels out there and you continue to charge. It could be Newt Gingrich’s questions answered in some sense because you can continue to live—maybe not exactly the same life—but for the most part. Who needs the plasma on TV, right? Who needs to…?

Brian:   You raise a valid point, Bill. I mean I grew up without air conditioning. I know you did.

Bill:      As did I. Yeah.

Brian:   So when people say, “Oh, what would I do if I don’t have…?”  What’s Jeremy got there, like an 85 inch color plasma monitor to edit this whole show? Do you think we could pull this off if he didn’t have the Jumbotron to look at and go “All right. It’s time to go to commercial”? You know what I mean? I think we can all adjust a little bit but I had to adjust very little because of the gear that I picked up from Solutions From Science, truth be told. It’s not a commercial. I’m just telling you what I did. The Eliminator, the PowerPack 600, the PowerSource and the PowerHub… Now I have a PowerHub Plus—just interest of full disclosure—so I have four batteries that come with my PowerHub so I’ve got the whole shooting match. Didn’t worry at all. Didn’t worry at all.

Bill:      Yeah. And that’s… I guess that, at the end of the day, is what you’re trying to accomplish is you want to be able to be in a situation where you don’t have to worry because that’s one of the things that we’ve been talking about so often on the show is worry and what that does to people and how they react. If you’re not ready for something… That’s why I think that people really want to take action. The government ought to be saying, “You should take action on this” and if you go to the FEMA sites people they do tell you to take action.

Brian:   Sure they do.

Bill:      So on hand tells… says, “Don’t panic” and the other says, “Panic.”  But if you take action, if you’re ready then certainly you can be… have that state of mind of peace but you can also reassure your family…

Brian:   Sure. Very important.

Bill:      …your neighbors, your friends, people around you that might need a little bit of support who are tempted to say, “Well wait a second. What’s going to happen? What’s going to happen next?”  And you’re kind of there to be a support structure for them.

Brian:   And Bill, as you know, this started from me—our friendship—what was the precursor? What eventually led me to come here to Thomson Illinois and to meet you and start hanging out with you?

Bill:      My uncle Mike found you on the internet.

Brian:   On the internet but…

Bill:      With your Lance camper as a rogue camper, someone willing and wanting to go live in the desert and in that sense I thought, “Wow. I wonder if he’d be interested in what we have to say.”

Brian:   And I was terribly and it was all born out of my time in Hurricane Katrina. As you know—maybe our listeners don’t—but I was a reporter for CBS and I was sent to cover the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the line that I take from that is that when you can’t call anybody else, can you call on yourself? The number of people, Bill, that I interviewed that thought someone was going to ride in on a white horse and save them—government agencies, outside agencies—whatever… I tell people now if you’re waiting for the government to ride in on a white horse you’ve backed the wrong pony. Not that there is anything nefarious about it. Not that the government—I’m hoping that the government has a good heart and would try to help—there’s just too many of us. And as I saw the aftermath, when the grid was just absolutely destroyed in and around New Orleans and all the way to Gulfport Mississippi and the like, you’re on your own. You’re on your own.

Bill:      Well let’s talk about something that’s interesting that you just said. It sort of provoked a thought. All of these things—whether they’re cities, whether they’re your home, whether they’re communities, whether it’s our power grid—in effect, they’re all systems. Our government—they’re all systems, right? And systems are designed to carry a load—a stated load—and when the load gets overloaded then the system comes unglued, unraveled, unplugged—whatever language it is that you want to use. The system starts to break down.

And our government simply is not equipped and financed to help everybody. It can help small groups of people. That’s why we have 911 and we have all those things here. But if the going gets tough, being at Katrina or other places where there has been disasters, no one is going to… Don’t plan on someone getting to you. That’s why you have to plan on getting to someone. Flip it around and say if you’re prepared for a situation then you can be helpful in one of these unpluggings, in one of these de-leveragings—whatever language it is that you want to talk about. And I think that’s something that we’ve always advocated as we’ve talked is once you get yourself, your own house in order—like Dostoyevsky used to say—“Want a better world? Clean up your garage.”

Brian:   Clean up your garage. Yeah.

Bill:      Want a better world? Get enough food for the first 72 hours. Want a better world? Get a water filter. Want a better world? And so you begin to get your own house in order. Then once you’ve got that then you move… It’s [inaudible 0:23:47.7] sovereignty, in a sense, in that once you get that you can move out into the next realm and be assistance. And then I think that’s what makes life good and life fulfilling is “Can you help your neighbor somehow?”  But you can’t help him if you’re stuck…

Brian:   If you’re part of the problem.

Bill:      If you fell into the well or got kicked in the head by a giant donkey, right? You just… You can’t help your neighbor if that’s your status in life.

Brian:   As I’ve said countless times you’ve got to own your yard. Now for me it was a metaphor in sports where I said in any given time I’m standing in about a square yard of turf. Right Bill? You’re an athlete. You know that. So whether it’s football, it’s soccer—if it’s baseball and you’re a pitcher—you own that yard that the mound is on. Nobody comes in it. Nobody controls your fate other than you. You own your yard. And then when I met you and I started more down the roads of survival and emergency preparedness and the like it’s still owning your yard. You have to have a plan. When all else fails and you can’t call on the power grid, can you call on yourself? When all else fails and you can’t call on the grocery store attendant, can you call on yourself?

Look at the stories of the number of paramedics—911 went down—no power there. You go to the phone—“Hey, my mom’s having a heart attack.”  Couldn’t get to 911 operators. Some areas of the country from New York to DC for 72 hours, Bill, 911 centers were off the grid. You want to talk about off the grid? So you don’t know how to do the most basic amount of first aid, you don’t know how to find water, you don’t know how to prepare—you mentioned 72 hours of food—you don’t know how to prepare food, you don’t know how to get… Suppose you have relatives that need medication that needs to be refrigerated. Who are you going to call? Better call Ghostbusters because no one at 911 is picking up your call. And not bad people, Bill—as you know—you know what I mean? Not bad people. There’s just no way for the calls to connect. So what are you going to do?

Bill:      Well you know what’s interesting is we had Jan Ross and Dave Young here this last week and then we were talking about Haiti. And I don’t know if you remember the story about the reverse osmosis system and the fact that the PowerHub was able to keep 300-some people alive. Everyone else got cholera and died and the folks that lived were the folks that had drinking water that wasn’t poisoned, infected—whatever you want to call it. But what he said is—just as important as that—he said, “In Haiti, because of the ensuing chaos that also happened after the earthquake, one of the things that kept…” Now Dave is a military guy. He’s a lieutenant. So he understands logistics. He understands a lot better.

But in the ensuing chaos that happened in Haiti one of the things he said—communications—he said, “You have no idea how important it was just for us to be able to do logistics with the kids, the orphans, whatever and the fact that we were moving around and we had to say, ‘How much food do we need?’  And if you can’t communicate you’re done.”  So for them it was a lifesaving thing, not just because of the reverse osmosis thing but because of the ability to recharge cell phones and to keep the communication lines open. A huge deal for them.

Brian:   And I’ll tell you another part of that story that I remember vividly, Bill, and I’ll tie it into Hurricane Katrina very quickly. I interviewed a guy that had been robbed of his generator. Running a gas generator. Somebody came through, came around the gate in the backyard, put a shotgun to his chest, said, “Generator’s mine.”  Talked to Dave Young from Haiti. He said, “The beauty of the PowerHub—it didn’t make any noise.”  Nobody knew… It was stealth.

Bill:      Stealth operation.

Brian:   Nobody knew because remember, he also said in that same interview that they had to be careful when they prepared food. They had to watch the wind because…

Bill:      Nothing made an impression on me like that story that he told about food.

Brian:   Yep.

Bill:      The fact that those—at the orphanage—they could not even prepare food because if the gangs smelled the food they would come in there with machetes and kill everybody and take their food.

Brian:   Isn’t that amazing? So the benefit of having the PowerHub there was that it didn’t generate any noise. There was nothing. And honest to goodness, I interviewed the guy. He said, “Yep. Gangs came through. Stole my generator.”  Right? We expect people to help each other in emergency situations and I found more times, unfortunately, that that’s not always the case. When people panic they forget about the common bond. They forget that we’re all one big family and they don’t look at life the same way. So the benefit of the PowerHub was it didn’t make any noise. Nobody knew it was there. No one knew he was able to get communications. No one knew that he was able to do the reverse osmosis with the water filter and all that. They didn’t know because it’s quiet. There’s no smell, no noise, no vibration.

Bill:      Another thing that Dave said—fitting right into your comments, Brian, and what I can appreciate—he just said this again last week. He said it the first time we met him. But I think there is the sense in which Americans would like to think that Haitians—starving Haitians—are a different species than starving Americans. So… Not because of the color of their skin or anything like that but just because they’re at a different place—so there’s just an abstraction. And so he would almost laugh at the idea that hungry Americans would never come at you with a machete.

Well let me tell you something—a human being is a human being is a human being. And you may have a better class of people in Haiti. I don’t know. You don’t know until the tail of the tape. You don’t know until the crisis passes which country, which people dealt with it better. But to assume that people in this country wouldn’t come at you with a machete if they were hungry—this is what I think Newt Gingrich is alluding to and he’s careful with his language but what he’s alluding to… Camperman came out and said it more boldly and baldly to us in just saying, “Look. Sewer and water breaks down if you get a big EMP… No air conditioning in your high-rise—all these things—food distribution systems disrupted. The human being turns into an animal.”

Brian:   And that’s our common denominator, Bill.

Bill:      This is the guy that spoke in front of the Congress and he told Congress that and so it’s… Again, sounds like a little bit of saying, “Well these bad things could happen” and sure enough, bad things could happen but what’s always sort of got me is it doesn’t take very much when you’re… As highly marginalized as we are, when the civilization, the thread of it is veneer thin, and if there is a disruption there and systems—what we’ve been talking about today is systems—when they break down what can you expect? And the answer is you can expect the unexpected. Gerald Celente said something about “when people lose everything, they lose it.”

Brian:   They do. I can tell you as an ex-New York cop and from his neck of the woods as well, that’s absolutely true. And in a day and age now where the new norm is abnormal…  The new norm, Bill—as you know, is uncertainty. That’s the only thing we can be certain about is that our future is uncertain. So if you don’t have a plan—that famous adage left over from the outdoor industry—if you panic you perish. So if you have a plan, if you go “Okay great. I’m listening to Bill and Brian. What am I going to do if I don’t have water? What am I going to do if I don’t have power? What am I going to do if I can’t run over to Jewel or Publix or Piggly Wiggly” I think is one I saw on my journeys—pick your favorite grocery store wherever you’re listening. People listen all over the world. Pick your favorite grocery store. Imagine that you pull into the parking lot, Bill, of the grocery store and it’s being looted. Now people are going to listen and go “Bill…” I can see Jeremy’s lines lighting up right now. Somebody’s probably calling in. “Stop having Brian on the show. People don’t loot stores.”  Oh no? If you’re around, check out The Wire today where a group of 38 people did a flash mob…

Bill:      I thought it was 300. I was…

Brian:   I’m sorry. I’m trying to pull it up now. “Oh no, people don’t riot.”  This was in Albertsons—380 people—flash mob. Guess what? Guess what they left with? They came with the idea of a flash mob. Guess what they left with? Everything on the shelves.

Bill:      They left with all the stuff.

Brian:   They left with all the bling—all the stuff. “Oh Bill. Don’t have Brian on anymore. He’s always talking about how horrible…” Yeah, let me just Google “flash mobs” for you, Bill. “Oh, he’s always talking about how horrible people are.”  Oh please. Yeah, no one would do that. So what’s it going to be in a crisis? What’s it going to do when you’re…?

Bill:      That’s on a good day.

Brian:   That’s on a good day.

Bill:      A good day. 300 people went into Wal-Mart and took as much stuff as they could.

Brian:   [inaudible 0:32:20.0]

Bill:      Well no, I think there were a couple of these deals that happened. Not to mention people are eating each other every day in the news. I know Drudge has picked up on this idea that it’s somehow become fashionable for people to eat each other again. Now that was… Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, even in northern Europe when people were eating each other and maybe cannibals in some of the South Sea islands a little more recent than that but lets say “hundreds of years ago” to give everybody a little bit of the benefit of the doubt. I mean Brian, why are we eating each other? Do you have any idea why we’re eating each other?

Brian:   I think it’s bath salts, right? Is it bath salts?

Bill:      That’s a symptom. I mean I think that ultimately… You don’t just take bath salts and eat someone. There’s something…

Brian:   Yeah, there’s something about those bath salts. If you…

Bill:      Something terribly wrong with things the way they are. You have…

Brian:   Yeah. It’s 11:00 in the morning. You take a break. You have a tablespoon of bath salts. You’re normal at 11:00. By 12:00 you’re a cannibal. Whatever is in that bath salts—that’s the next thing we’ve got to find because that’s life altering.

Bill:      Do you think people are watching this on TV like all the vampire shows and all of this and there is kind of a morbid sense of what our humanity is all about—making it easier for people to turn that way?

Brian:   Not only do I think there is that morbid sense. I think you’re absolutely right Bill. I think that… My definition of evil has always been amnesia. We forget that we’re connected. We forget that we’re each other’s keeper so that ultimately, people are eating each other. Here’s one here—12 teens do a flash mob in an Albertsons—I think Albertsons is a grocery store—storming the aisles, picking up produce and everything else. I think that amnesia that we’re all connected, that we are our brother’s keeper, that we’re all… If you want to go all Higgs boson on our listeners we can talk about—proven just not too long ago, before this show was recorded—that there is a field now. There is a wave, yes? And that we’re all connected. All matter in the universe is of the same wave. And I think when people start eating each other and some of the depravity that you see, it’s an amnesia. You forget that you’re not eating another person—you’re killing yourself. I mean we’re all part of a big family.

Bill:      Can we issue a stern warning here? When you’re eating your neighbor you are also eating yourself.

Brian:   Everyone will laugh. Jeremy’s laughing at me now but it’s…

Bill:      Was I stern enough?

Brian:   Yes. I would say you are also being a particle physicist. At the quantum level I and the father are one, yes?

Bill:      So stop it.

Brian:   I’m with you.

Bill:      Stop eating people.

Brian:   Yeah. Stop eating people. But in the same breath would you think you’d have to tell people “Store up on heirloom seeds”?

Bill:      You wouldn’t…

Brian:   Get a backup to a power grid…

Bill:      You’re fear mongering. You’re fear mongering now. I was looking at the Colorado River—different chat room—we’re moving along.

Brian:   I thought you were going to turn off Bill’s internet while we were doing these. That was… I guess it was hard to tell where Bill takes a…

Bill:      Brian says, “You’re not supposed to drink the bong water.”  Here is what’s really interesting is… Here is what I think is fascinating and I just looked up Colorado River and the beauty of the internet is you can have a story and be commenting and talking about a story just within a split second.

Brian:   Right.

Bill:      But let’s say you made an assumption about the Colorado River or the Mississippi River always being there. So your assumption in life is “It’s always going to be there. Things are always going to be there.”  Right now, not too far from us Brian, if we looked out on the Mississippi River, barges are running aground because there is no water and the river is getting so low that you can’t move barge traffic up and down “The Old Man,” the “big, big river,” as Chevy Chase would say in that movie. So what happens is they have to take lighter and lighter loads to finally where they can’t move stuff. And what’s moving up and down this river? Coal, grain, all the things. And so also it’s true in the Colorado. Now people might say, “Well, the mayor of the town or someone in Colorado—one of those towns—can say, ‘Look. We’ve got all this electricity.’”  Well, you have some hydroelectric dams but what happens when the river stops flowing through the dam and your…

Brian:   When the river doesn’t run through it—that will be the new movie.

Bill:      That’ll be…

Brian:   The River Don’t Run Through It.

Bill:      Yeah, The River Don’t Run Through It. And so the power stops, slows down—whatever it is—but it causes this disruption that could create the first event, sort of an electric black swan, to use that language, and then the next power grid has to keep up or jump in and help but it can’t because it’s bordering with Texas and it’s 100 degrees that day. It tries to. It can’t. It starts to fall and we start to experience these rolling brownouts or blackouts where they try to portion out the electrical abilities of the power companies to meet the power demand. Here we broke a record yesterday in the Midwest of power demand—more power demanded than at any time in history. People need their air conditioning on, especially older folks where health conditions and so forth.

So you’ve got two lines that aren’t converging very well. You’ve got an attempt to shut the coal industry down, the power generation industry down and then you’ve got an increase in demand at the same time you see a mitigation against supply. That formula is always disastrous. So we can basically say the same thing we’ve always been saying. We don’t know when. Who could know? It’s not my pay grade, right? Who could know when this is going to happen but I can say with some degree of certainty is there is going to be some crazy disruptions before this whole thing is over—this year, next year, whatever—it could be tomorrow. I don’t know. But it could be a while but we’re pushing at the wrong ends. We’re cutting supply at the same time our demand is increasing.

Brian:   And in addition to that we’re increasing the demand for personal responsibility. I’ve got to be honest with you Bill, with—as you know—two young children and a wife, I don’t want them to look at me and go “Hey, wait a minute. Food’s gone. Water’s off. Power’s out. Toilets haven’t flushed in a week” and look at me like I’m the one that says, “Don’t worry about it. Everything will be okay. I’ll protect you. I’m this. I’m that.”  In an emergency situation—because as you alluded to earlier—I kind of get a little excited about it. I’ve survived in these places all over the world. I’ve done this. I’ve done that. So if you’re not going to listen to this message for yourself listen for your family. Because ultimately, if you brought kids here on this earth, you’re responsible.

What’s it going to be like in that emergency situation when you can’t feed them, there’s no clean water, you can’t flush the toilet? So for me… Would I buy a PowerHub or would…? I’ll just put it this way. Would I buy a piece of emergency gear if it were just me? Probably not. I’ve survived Death Valley—145 degrees—schlepping my stuff across it. So I know what I’ve got to do to get water, to do this and that. Would I buy an A or a B? I don’t know. But when you’re a family and you’re responsible, it’s not that you should do it. You’re required to do it. You’re responsible for your family and your immediate… I have a neighbor—husband and wife—91 and 92 years old. I watch out for them.

Bill:      Starting to feel a little responsible for them as well.

Brian:   I feel responsible for them. Who wouldn’t, for goodness sake? You know what I mean? But you get a knock at the door last week and she’s bringing down—at 92 years old—she’s bringing down a think of raspberries that she picked. So like you tell me about… You have to have a system of people that work together in an emergency—they help each other. But if you’re not going to do it for yourself think of the people that you’re responsible for. I’m not going to look at my 12-year-old son and tell him I have no water for him. I’m not going to… And my eight year old daughter come up to me crying because the lights are off and she’s scared or we could run a fan or she couldn’t eat. That’s what we’re talking about.

We’re talking about—not personally responsible for yourself—look, you don’t want to prepare for yourself then survive with whatever cards you’re dealt. But when you have a family, when you have people counting on you—you can’t count on someone else. My son doesn’t want to hear “Oh sorry Parker. The grid went down and the federal government isn’t going to be able to bring us bags of ice and the local store is out of food and as a matter of fact I’ve got a bag of Twinkies, which I don’t know how I found because they stopped making Twinkies a while ago, but that’s what we’ve got to eat for a week.”  I’m not saying that to my son. So if you listeners are out there then at least take some sense of responsibility.

Bill:      Some baby steps.

Brian:   Yeah. Richard Dreyfuss and Bill Murray.

Bill:      Richard Dreyfuss.

Brian:   Yeah. Baby steps. You have a huge, beautiful family. You’re responsible for them. Am I wrong?

Bill:      No, you’re right. I mean I think about that all the time. I think about especially my grandkids—what… Well not only the short-term world that could ensue during a blackout but the long term world that I’m… that is their inheritance. I’m not really proud of that—of what they’re getting. They could be the recipients of… on some level of my faith and so forth but man, the culture that they’re inheriting is not the culture that I grew up in or that you grew up in and so there is that kind of thing. But yeah, I do really feel like there is a sense of responsibility that’s needed.

One of the things that I wanted to do is… Not too long ago we had a scratch and dent sale on our PowerHubs and of course we… Every time we do that, as you know, our… We usually sell them out right away because we’ve got a big email list and we have a lot of people just kind of sitting back in the waits. It’s amazing how many people… I think the most common thing about our listeners and the people that read Off the Grid News and so forth are the people that sit back in the weeds waiting for us to run a sale on something.

Brian:   Sure. Sure.

Bill:      So we had some scratch and dents that we got rid of and they went right away. And then we got a special buy and I think one of the things that I wanted to talk about with you and the things that… one of the reasons why we had you come back to help us is we bought 179 PowerHubs and we got them at a really good price and so we wanted to pass off that discount to the people that are kind of waiting on those—like I said—waiting in the wings and kind of sitting back.

Brian:   Cool.

Bill:      So we’re going to be offering this discount at a website called and the…

Brian:   Beat? Beat like…?

Bill:      B-E-A-T. Yeah.

Brian:   Beat the Blackouts.


Brian:   Okay.

Bill:      And we wanted to be able to give people some kind of value so we’re going to have you help us…

Brian:   We’ll do a video. Let’s do a video.

Bill:      Do a video on this and talk about… maybe talk about your experiences, what just happened to you in real life, what happened to speaker Gingrich and so forth and to give our listeners a little bit of a heads up on and I think one of the reasons why it will be a good value is we normally charge $3,997 for them but we’re going to be offering it at $3,400. It’s a brand new unit but we’re going to give them an Eliminator…

Brian:   Oh, I love the Eliminator.

Bill:      …at no charge.

Brian:   That’s the one with the wheels and the handle.

Bill:      That’s the wheel and the handle.

Brian:   Yeah. Another favorite because do you know how easy it is to jump your car with that? You wheel it right out to it, throw the jumper cables right on—fires right up. I love the Eliminator.

Bill:      And you can charge it… Some say—like Engineer Dave maybe—would say, “Hey, you can’t… You’re not supposed to be able to charge that with the PowerHub” but I charge mine all the time.

Brian:   I charge mine all the time.

Bill:      I charge my PowerPack with it too. So anyway, so much for engineers.

Brian:   Well that’s okay. Dave is the only one that, when he looks in that mirror… Dave and Newt Gingrich don’t fare as well against Michael Keaton as I do so we’ll let that go.

Bill:      Dave doesn’t look into a mirror. He looks into a…. What do they call it? An oscillating scope or something? He doesn’t look into a mirror. So anyway, then we’re also going to give them… Wait—we’re not done. We’re also going to give them a gift certificate—and this is kind of a cool thing—and it’s not a gift certificate. This is more of a coupon book, right Jeremy? It’s got $10,000 worth of different discounts on off the grid items.

Brian:   So it’s the off the grid coupon book, if I remember correctly, right? So you get to use…

Bill:      It’s $10,000 worth of stuff so…

Brian:   You use it the way you want.

Bill:      Use it the way you want and… If you max it out it could be worth $10,000. Otherwise it’s going to be worth less but it can still… You can still pay for your PowerHub if you make your purchases properly and you just watch how you spend money. So it’s very valuable that way. So $10,000 there and…

Brian:   We’re also going to give them food.

Bill:      We’re also going to give them one of our 72-hour kits. I think that’s about a $59-60 value so that they’ve got just enough to make sure that you can get you through a weekend or something if you have to.

Brian:   And the 72… You know why I like those 72—if can interrupt Bill? Rip them open, put the hot water in—all you need is hunger and a fork.

Bill:      It just takes hot water. Yeah.

Brian:   Hot water, hunger and a spoon and you’re ready to go.

Bill:      I’m glad you said that it takes hot water because we’re also going to include a stove in a can to try to heat the water up. So if you’ve got no power, we don’t think that using a PowerHub is a good way… heating water is a good way to use a PowerHub. We want to use it for fans. We want to use it for communications. We want to use it for lighting and some things like that. So if we want to heat things we have that stove in a can. So we’ve got a stove in a can we’re going to give people. That will heat it up.

But you also want to have good, clean water to heat up so we’re going to throw in one of our paratrooper water filters and allowing them to get the water—just in case you’ve got nothing—this is one of those little paratrooper ones, the one that can fit in the glove compartment and one can fit in your pocket if you want to take it hiking—whatever. And it’s got the same ceramic filter in it that the big, expensive water filters have so I really like it personally. It’s just something… a good thing to have around with you. So that’s something that we’re going to work on and we should, hopefully by the time this airs, we’ll have that…

Brian:   Great. We’ll do a video.

Bill:      People will do a video. People can go to for more information on it and we’ve got 179 of these. I don’t know how long it will take. Given… I guess our scratch and dent kind of happened at the same time that the power outages took place and so those got scarfed up…

Brian:   Right away.

Bill:      Exactly. So this is an equally fabulous value that I think people should take interest in. At least… If you’re interested in—I’m not trying to force you to buy anything—but if you’re interested in one, if you’ve always wanted one, if you can kind of see some of these things that we’ve been talking about, kind of see that out there on the landscape and get a read on the horizon and kind of see maybe “I’d like to take a first step towards getting off the grid, at generating my own supply of power” and I think the PowerHub is a good way to do that.

Brian:   The PowerHub has got two 150 watt mono-crystal solar panels and I think, Bill, just for our listeners, when you say “scratch and dent,” maybe little nicks or little dings—nothing wrong on the panels, nothing that would compromise the structural integrity, nothing that would compromise…

Bill:      Oh, the scratch and dents? Actually, that’s…

Brian:   Yeah, just like a little mark. It’s like a little…

Bill:      Scratch and dents that we sold before…

Brian:   Barely scratched.

Bill:      These are all brand new that we have now—this 179—but the scratch and dents that we sold before; no one’s taking a ball-pein hammer and beat them into the ground. They’re just… Sometimes what happens is the boxes get so smashed that we know that by the time we send them the second time—so by the time we get the stuff from our manufacturers and suppliers—by the time we get there it will look pretty ratty. So we feel like “Wow. That’s a tough box to send out knowing…”

Brian:   Well you never get a second chance to make a first impression if your box shows up all beat up.

Bill:      Well it’s hard enough when the trucking company’s the way it is and I’m not mad at the union guys or truck companies. I’m just saying that’s… Freight takes a hit when it travels and so that’s kind of what happens a little bit. But yeah, really good value on scratch and dents. Probably a better value on this. Everything’s brand spanking new. Everything…

Brian:   Well good.

Bill:      On the ones that we have now for the Beat the Blackout sale. But we only have 179 of them that we can get our hands on that we bought at this special price and we wanted to pass that price along because of all this stuff that we’ve just been discussing.

Brian:   And then Bill, if you totaled it all up—you said there was the PowerHub with the two solar panels. There was the Eliminator. I think you said there was the coupon book. There was the food, the stove and the can of water. What would you say the…? Like what would that total go for?

Bill:      I don’t have the calculator but it’s over $14,000.

Brian:   Over 14,000 bucks? Okay, and we’re going to…

Bill:      For $3,497 plus shipping.

Brian:   You know, as an outsider kind of looking in now, I have to tell you that… to the people listening to this, it is so worth it for the peace of mind and that it just happened to me and I’ve come… I was able to come through it unscathed. It’s really something I think people are “Oh wow. I’m getting a PowerHub for $3,900.”  No you’re not. You’re getting peace of mind. “Oh, I’m getting an Eliminator for $3,900.”  No you’re not. You’re getting peace of mind. You’re getting so that if your kids come to you and go “Hey Dad, the power is out. It’s been out for two days. All I want to do is play my Gameboy.”  You don’t think about it but when you have little ones, Bill, mitigating the stress that’s around them is in like my top five things to survive.

Bill:      It’s a pretty important thing.

Brian:   It really is because if they’re screaming and they’re afraid and they’re crying and they’re upset and they’re cranky because it’s hot and they’re bored I have to take my energies and direct them towards them and I’ve got a limited bandwidth of a guy my age. So it takes from me the ability to focus on more pressing things. The PowerSource, plugging it in, watching Parker sit there with the laptop—I didn’t have internet because the internet was knocked down—but he was able to play all of his laptop games. He was able to charge his… What are they called? Gameboys and…

Bill:      Gave him a little break for a while, especially given how hot it was outside. You can’t say, “Hey Parker, go play outside.”

Brian:   Make him play outside.

Bill:      100 degrees out.

Brian:   Yeah. Who are you, my mom? That was the way… When I was little that’s how I ended up with cancer—my mom making me play in the backyard.

Bill:      Give him a little 30 sunscreen and say, “Here  Go bale some hay.”

Brian:   Yeah, you’re lucky. I didn’t even get the sunscreen. They’re like “What are you whining about? Dinner is at six. See you later.”  It’s only 5:00 in the morning. “Get out. We couldn’t forget a babysitter today. You’re on your own.”

Bill:      To be honest with you… You know, Brian, today… I know we didn’t try to do this intentionally but today’s show would have been a good infomercial. Maybe we could just release this as an infomercial—you know these things on TV—because we really do… There’s a lot of things going on in the world and it kind of meshed up with what we’re trying to do with our sale and we’re trying to release our sale and get this buy because I think it’s a good value for people and I don’t have any numbers or anything for anybody to call yet. We’ve got this thing that we’re doing so check that out. But I think it’s a great value and I think that our time today was well spent and I want to say thanks to you for hanging with us.

Brian:   I was just going to say Bill, that it’s not… The reason that I don’t look at this as a sale is that—and maybe it’s because it’s fresh in my mind—but the impact that being off the grid allowed me, it’s just amazing. So you want to do it as an infomercial, run it any way you want as far as I’m concerned. It’s just…

Bill:      Well, you know what? To be candid…

Brian:   This isn’t a sale in my estimation. This is… I really use this. My family really had water and had fans and electricity and had everything else. I mean it’s… I don’t even like to use the word “sale.”  I’m kind of like… Do you know what I mean? It’s information.

Bill:      Yeah, “sale” had kind of a… It’s like sticky or something. But…

Brian:   Do yourself a favor.

Bill:      But I wanted to get you here to do the video for it mainly because…

Brian:   Done deal.

Bill:      …you just went through it all so how could anyone be more passionate…

Brian:   Done deal. Done deal.

Bill:      …about something that you just did?

Brian:   Yeah. And you’re going to buy lunch, right?

Bill:      I’m buying lunch.

Brian:   Okay, great. I’m in. I’m in.

Bill:      All right everybody. That’s all the time we have today. Brian and I are going to go have some lunch and then talk about doing some videos for the Beat the Blackout Sale. Thanks, as always, for listening to us. We know that your time is valuable. Thanks for being with us at Off the Grid News. I’m Bill Heid.

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