Some solutions to last week's fears
© by Barbara Anderson

The Salem News
Thursday, May 22, 2014


We should impart our courage, and not our despair, our health and ease, and not our disease, and take care that this does not spread by contagion.
— Henry David Thoreau

Part 2.

Sorry about last week, readers. Hope my list of scary things, from the national debt to antibiotic-resistant germs to the electromagnetic pulse that will wipe out modern civilization, didn’t keep anyone awake at night. I promised to share some solutions to them this week.

Debt, personal: As my dad taught me, never borrow for anything but essentials, like your home and maybe a car. If you run out of education money, borrow only what you feel confident you’ll have a job to pay back; otherwise drop out until you’ve saved up for another semester.

Debt, national: Support politicians who recognize debt as a threat to our economy and your loved ones’ futures, who pledge to cut the total debt and unfunded liabilities at all levels of government. Prepare for the serious cuts in services that will be unavoidable come the next 2008-like crisis, when everything that is too big to fail, fails.

Disease. Don’t overdo antibiotics: be sure to take the full amount when they are properly prescribed, but you really don’t need to wash your hands with them unless you have a cut. Democrat politicians should stop demonizing the drug companies who look for new treatments and carefully monitor companies that do research with tax dollars. Be aware that illegal immigration bypasses the vaccinations and medical exams required of people who come here legally — one reason pertussis and tuberculosis are becoming a concern again in the U.S.

Can’t find good news about the declining bat population: “The Forest Service estimates that the die-off from white-nose syndrome means that at least 2.4 million pounds of insects (1.1 million kg) will go uneaten and become a financial burden to farmers, possibly leading to crop damage or having other economic impact in New England. ... Comparisons have been raised to colony collapse disorder, another poorly understood phenomenon resulting in the abrupt disappearance of Western honey bee colonies” (Wikipedia).


However, I’ve read that the bee colony collapse is slowing, and honeybees could be on their way back: many beekeepers have been actively treating them for disease/parasites.

Serendipity. As I shopped at Whole Foods for Redwood Hill Farm yogurt from “Certified humane raised and handled” goats, I was offered a sample of “Green Bee Ginger Buzz all natural soda,” made in Maine from local honey instead of sugar by a new beekeeper who was concerned about the declining bee population. It’s quite refreshing and only 15 grams of sugar, compared to 36 in my Canada Dry cranberry ginger ale. Here’s the innovation for which America has always been known.

My concern about genetically modified foods (GMO) came from my partner, Chip, who thinks that Monsanto is trying to corner the seed market. This becomes part of the discussion about what the May National Geographic features as “The New Food Revolution.” Last week’s column noted world population growth to eight billion by 2034; National Geographic says there will be nine billion by 2050. It recommends a five-step program to feed them all.

1. Freeze agriculture’s footprint, avoid further deforestation.

2. Grow more on the farms we’ve got.

3. Use resources more efficiently.

4. Shift diets to less meat-intensive meals, curtail the use of food crops for biofuels.

5. Reduce waste.

I wonder if Soylent Green is considered genetically modified? It would certainly address #’s 3 and 5.

In the same National Geographic issue, there’s an article on dinosaurs living in “hot and swampy” southern Utah 75 million years ago. Remember when hot and swampy wasn’t our fault?


I hope the threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP) puts “global warming” in perspective. Here are some suggestions from Gregory S. McNeal, a professor specializing in law, public policy and international affairs, writing in Forbes.

“Believe it or not, Congress sought to address some of these questions when they established an EMP Commission in 2001, formally known as the Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse Attack. That Commission published reports in 2004 and 2008 with...

“Suggestions: First, focus efforts on prevention. This includes encouraging a global consensus of non-proliferation bolstered by ‘intelligence, interdiction, and deterrence to discourage EMP attack against the U.S. and its interests... focus the nation’s efforts on infrastructure hardening, response and recovery coordination, the hardening of space and defense systems, and perhaps most importantly, missile defense.’”

However, very few of the commission’s recommendations have been implemented, and McNeal continues: “Sadly, the Obama administration has taken a step in the wrong direction by cutting missile defense, a critical component in protecting against an EMP attack.”

William R. Forstchen has written a novel about life in America after such an attack, “a book already being discussed in the corridors of the Pentagon as a truly realistic look at a weapon and its awesome power to destroy the entire United States, literally within one second.” Truly scary reading, and I cried when a family had to shoot the faithful dog to feed a sick child. But Forstchen also has useful suggestions for survival. You might want to buy “One Second After.”

How’m I doin’, solution-wise? Here’s my best plan: We need to elect a president and Congress who take debt, EMPs and other scary issues seriously. Then, we can return to the spirit that made America the greatest country on earth, populated by problem-solvers who can deal with all the things that scare us.

The comments made and opinions expressed in her columns are those of Barbara Anderson
and do not necessarily reflect those of Citizens for Limited Taxation.

Barbara Anderson is executive director of Citizens for Limited Taxation. Her column appears weekly in the Salem News and other Eagle-Tribune newspapers.

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