So How Would You Like Your Fascism? Secular or Religious?

May 24th 2018

A lot of people are puzzling over the fact that 80% of Christian evangelicals in America support the Trumpenfuhrer. After all, with his swindling, cheating, lying, whoring and corruption, isn’t he the very antithesis of the values that evangelicals claim as their own personal turf?

It reveals a dark and dirty facet of religiosity that most people either don’t notice or refuse to acknowledge: all fundamentalist religions are deeply authoritarian in nature, and they are attracted to any powerful political figure whose aims correlate with their own, or at least might work to their advantage.

Trump knows this because he is a student of Hitler’s “New World Order”, which is a collection of the German tyrant’s speeches and a how-to manual on how to manipulate diverse groups to his ends. He knows that Hitler got support before and even during the war from the Roman Catholic hierarchy, and widespread support from Lutherans and other German protestant groups. I

t’s not by mistake that the unofficial slogan of the German military, emblazoned on their uniform belt buckles, was “Got Mit Uns” (God is With Us). Hitler’s speeches are littered with religious invocations that were designed (successfully) to leave his religious followers dewy-eyed and damp with patriotic religious lust.

All religious fundamentalists are authoritarian. The ones that state that they have no formal religious hierarchy but instead answer directly to God tend to be more socially dangerous than the regular kind, because Bishops and Imans are human can can be swayed by social needs, but God is an obliging doormat who is willing to lend his name to any cause espoused by his followers, no matter how horrible.

The religions that are “non-authoritarian” often are the worst of all, since while they won’t officially interpret God’s will for their followers, they carefully “assist” followers in “understanding” the holy writings. And literalistic religions are the worst of all. You have to be an intellectual train wreck to be a bible literalist, with its contradictions, absurdities, and talking snakes, but utter belief is demanded, and as Voltaire acidly observed, “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” Got Mit Uns.

Theocracies are all authoritarian in nature, as political entities purporting to represent the will of God must be. Dissent is Blasphemy. There hasn’t been a theocracy in the history of the world that wasn’t an utterly shite place to live, and pay attention, you Dominionists: A “Handsmaid’s Tale” type of America would include most of you as Jesus fodder. You wouldn’t like it, no matter how god-struck you are right now.

Fascism itself is best defined as government by corporation. Mussolini, one of the original fascists, said that you might as well call fascists corporatists, because that was where they wanted the power to lie.

Anyone who thinks businessmen should be running the country is a fascist. Authoritarian corporatists have spent billions over the years trying to dress it up as conservatism or libertarianism, but it is, at its very foundation, fascist. When was the last time a “conservative” in America sided with American workers against their bosses? American consumers against corporations? Environmental or safety concerns ahead of corporate convenience?

People who look to business leaders expecting to find John Galt are far more likely to find, at best, the dodgey characters flogging questionable junk on late-night TV, and at worst Donald Trump.

Libertarians are great at assuming that all public servants are endlessly corrupt and inept, whereas businessmen are paragons of integrity and competence because Invisible Hand, but the fact is business is simply better at hiding stupidity and criminality. The Mueller probe will be shining a light on the vast corruption and cover up of the vaunted private sector, much of it revolving around the poster children for gangsterism, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. Both of whom, of course, are fascists.

Fascism has a bad name, and not just because people conflate it with Hitler (who, ironically, wasn’t much of a fascist). Like theocracies and for similar reasons, it tends to be authoritarian, because its goals and objectives not only don’t dovetail with the public good, but often are diametrically opposed.

So there’s two flavors of fascism: the one’s that hide their corruption behind God, and the ones who hide it behind lawyers. One purports to worship God, the other Economic Growth, but in the end, both the means and the ends conjoin, and so it’s not surprising to see Donald Trump appealing to Evangelicals: both worship the same thing: Power. And they will stop at nothing to do it.

Americans are glassy-eyed and supine from decades of propaganda, and despite all evidence, believe “business leaders” have their best interest at heart and should be running the country.

As Trump and his cartel implode, hopefully that delusion will die with them.

But don’t hold your breath.


Gone Trumpin’ — North Korea Played Trump Like a Trout

May 17th 2018

Even before Trump came along, America had a bad reputation about keeping their word in international agreements. There’s a long list of American toadies who sold out their countries to American interests and then got shafted anyway, ranging from the Shah to Ky to Saddam Hussein.

One lesson stood out: meet American demands to disarm, and get attacked anyway. It happened in Iraq, and it happened in Libya. The lesson was clear enough; acquisce, and get beaten up. Show a willingness to put up a fight, and the Americans will back off.

So it was never in the cards that the paranoid and secretive regime in Pyongyang would agree to American demands they give up their nuclear weapons. Even if they didn’t already regard America as the absolute evil in the world (an opinion formed, in certain measure, by American atrocities in the Korean war), they had the object lessons from other places.

And now, with Trump in charge, America is absolutely feckless, and totally bereft of any moral rudder. They reneged on the Paris agreement. They reneged on the Iran agreement. They reneged on multiple treaties, including SEATO and NAFTA.

If American couldn’t be trusted in the eyes of North Korea when they had an honest president (Carter) or at least one who would stay bought (Clinton), why would they throw away the one element of self-defence they possess dealing with Trump?

Trump had been crowing about his diplomatic triumphs, both imaginary and delusional, for several weeks, puffed up with grandeur of delusions fed by the Faux Noise machine, which promised Trump would surely win the Nobel Prize for all this. It was so ridiculous that if Kim was any better than Trump, he might have deflated Trump as an act of mercy, because Trump went beyond ridiculous.

Of course, Kim isn’t really in a good position to notice wild megalomania and paranoid self-aggrandizement. He may have considered Trump’s behavior to be normal.

But he deflated Trump, and made him look like a fool in a way even Trump couldn’t miss.

The denouement was triggered, in part, by joint South Korea/US military exercises, which Pyongyang interpreted as an affront and an expression of poor faith bargaining. The Pentagon may have argued that they couldn’t stop the exercises because red tape would have reared up and strangled them all (not seeing a downside here…) but even if it wasn’t meant as an insult, or at least a challenge, it was taken that way.

Trump reacted with typical good grace, promising Kim he would meet the same fate that Gaddafi did. That seems a good way to restore Kim’s trust: threaten to have him lynched and stuffed in a sewer pipe.

Ah, Trump. Always the charmer. That’s how he proposed to Melania, you know.

He then went on to offer the least convincing carrot-and-stick deal since Hitler assured Churchill he could keep his brandy and cigars: Kim “will get protections that will be very strong. He’d be in his country and running his country. His country would be very rich.”

Why, he would even be allowed to stay in office and rule the country, if you define “office” as “stuffed in a sewer pipe” and rule as “having your intestines set on fire and your testicles ripped off.”

I just can’t imagine how Kim would refuse a deal like that. Trump is very trustworthy, you know: he says, “You can believe me” all the time. He couldn’t say that if it wasn’t true.

Trump will probably have to back away in angry confusion. He’s already so weakened as President that if he ordered an attack on North Korea (almost certain to result in nuclear and conventional attack on South Korea that would kill tens of millions) the Pentagon might actually mutiny. There’s already been open talk in the military about defying some of the more capricious scenarios likely to occur under Trump.

Iran has to be watching this closely, both for signs a humiliated Trump might try to save face by lashing out at them, and for object lessens on how to manage Trump. He is not shrewd, he’s easily played, and all Iran needs to do is figure out a good point of leverage. What can they offer to stroke Trump’s ego, and how can they manage it to either continue to play him, or if to make him fall flat on his face, leave him baffled and helpless.

Hint: look to Qatar. Suddenly, they’re Trump’s best buddies again. And all it cost them was a $300 million investment in that enormous white elephant at 666 Park Place.

Time is on the side of Trump’s would-be targets: as more and more evidence of Trump’s criminal and possibly treasonous activities emerge, his residency in office appears shorter and shorter. Even Senate Republicans are showing a willingness to move against him at this point.

In the meantime, in North Korea, they’re probably planning a spectacular military parade (of the type Trump yearns for so tragically) to celebrate their stupendous victory over the evil Americans.

Not that it matters to the North Korean people: they have to applaud such displays every other day and twice on Sundays, and somehow, they still go hungry.

War Games — Bribery, Corruption, Land Grabs and Swindles, Oh My!

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

May 12th, 2018


I had been treating the whole Stormy Daniels thing as an amusing sideshow. Anyone who ever watched “The Sopranos” knew that Trump was just a real-life version of Tony Soprano, and knew that he spent a lot of this spare time banging porn stars, hookers, and any woman unlucky enough to catch his attention. I didn’t have any reason to want to contemplate Trump’s sex life (ewwww…) but after nearly thirty years of listening to Republican whining and hypocritical, pious moaning over Bill Clinton, it was fun watching these same proctors of public morality proclaim that Trumps self-whoring and harassing was Different, somehow.

Even better was seeing the despicable Evangelical movement implode over Trump. Franklin, son of Dead Billy, asserted that it was nobody’s business who Trump was banging, and finished off the little credibility that sanctimonious pack of Mrs Grundies possessed.

With Trump enjoying an approval rating from these Falangists who wish to assert Dominion over us once and for all of 80%, it marked the absolute end of the reputation of evangelical Christianity as any sort of ethical or moral force, to the delight of everyone sick of their pious mewlings and scared of their designs to take over the country.

Against the background of the Mueller investigation and the sheer vicious criminality of the Trump regime, it seemed like small beans. I thought the prime effect would be the self-destruction of the puritans.

Then Avenatti started talking about the ‘fees’ that were pouring into Michael Cohen’s shell company for explications from Cohen on how the mind of America’s first RICO-American president actually worked. That had to be pretty tawdry, but was not, in itself, particularly illegal. While the intent (‘pay to play) was illegal, the fiction behind the fees was not. So it didn’t take any of the entities named, such as AT&T long to admit that they had, in fact, paid such fees to Cohen. In AT&Ts case, they stated they paid roughly double what Michael Avenatti knew about.

The media was aghast; it was a major story they had entirely missed. They were, of course, presuming that because they hadn’t noticed it, it probably didn’t exist, and of course the GOP ratfuckers went right to work, triumphantly announcing that the Avenatti claims where riddled with errors, including payments made to another Michael Cohen altogether.

It was that which sealed Cohen’s fate; examination showed that while there were some errors on his list, Avenatti had an accuracy rate of some 97%. What was worse was that more and more payees were coming forward (remember, they faced no legal jeopardy for this) and the pay-for-play system Cohen had erected was even bigger than Avenatti had discovered.

The next question was, “Why hasn’t Mueller acted on this?” Leaving aside the issue of whether any actual laws were broken (in Citizens United States, bribery is basically legal) it came to light that several of the biggest donors had already been quietly interviewed by Mueller’s people several months ago. Mueller runs an incredibly tight ship, and nobody in the media was bright enough to realize that rather than asking Mueller’s people what they asked various donors, they should ask the donors themselves, since they were under no obligation not to discuss the questions and answers.

In most countries, Trump and Cohen would be facing massive criminal charges and decades in prison.

In the roiling sewer of capitalist America, it’s not clear that they broke any laws. Financially, America is a bit like Deadwood, where the only consequence to murder is to make sure the victim didn’t have any buddies who might come looking for you for killing him.

Meanwhile, Trump unilaterally reneged on the Iran agreement, and Israel promptly began strafing some of the remaining Arab population on the Golan Heights under the guise of “attacking Iran outposts”. Syria fired their own rockets, promoting howls that they had attacked Israeli territory.

They hit the Golan Heights, which is Syrian. For decades, Israeli land thieves, squatters calling themselves “settlers” had been infiltrating the occupied area (never referred to as such by Israel because occupation is illegal under UN treaty, although occupation is exactly what it is) and stealing land and displacing the residents. That Israel was attacked is a lie.

Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia wants to see Iran embroiled in a major war, but neither see any need to spend money and manpower themselves: they have a perfectly good puppet state, America, willing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars and uncountable lives to fight the war for them.

And Trump desperately needs a major war to save his presidency. The ginned-up war in Iraq got the undeserving Bush reelected, and even though thousands of Americans died and it has cost nearly a trillion dollars, Americans didn’t mind because the economy stayed stable and they weren’t rationed.

Iran is far more powerful than Saddam’s Iraq. And far far more powerful than Afghanistan, a third-world country that has had America locked in a hopeless, expensive struggle for 17 years now.

There’s also the fact that outside of the evangelical community and Wall Street, nobody likes or trusts Trump, and won’t go all glassy-eyed and patriotic when he starts waving the flag and getting Americans killed.

But it’s the only thing he has left to save his presidency.

Expect the most disastrous war in America’s history to ensue.

Nutzis in the Noos: NRA goes North, rest of world goes South

May 8th 2018

It’s official: the NRA picked former Marine and national disgrace Ollie North to be their next president. An admitted illegal arms dealer with a deep contempt for the law or any consequences, he’ll be a perfect match for that terrorist outfit. His first project will probably be continuing to convert rubles to Congressmen.

Naturally there was a mass shooting at nearly the same time in Brookeville, Maryland. No details beyond “multiple fatalities”. This sort of thing is the NRA version of fireworks. Of course there was a another mass shooting because freedumb.

Even as rumors swirl of Trump sympathizers engaging in rat-fucking of anyone involved with the Mueller investigation, the New Yorker broke a story of four women stepping forward to allege abusive and injurious actions against them when in relationships with Erich Schneiderman, state Attorney-General for the State of New York and head of state level (and pardon-exempt) complaints against Trump and his people that are pending.

Like a lot of other people, my initial reaction was this was this was just another GOP ratfucking, but after reading the article, I came away with the strong feeling that despite the lack of physical evidence, the complaints were quite probably true. At least two of the women are fairly well known liberal activists, and no friend to Trump. Their stories are very plausible.

Schneiderman apparently felt the same way, and resigned about an hour ago.

In other news: “If you are smuggling a child then we will prosecute you, and that child will be separated from you as required by law,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Monday at a law enforcement conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. “If you don’t like that, then don’t smuggle children over our border.”

Getting harder and harder to see any difference between Jeff Sessions and the Nazis. Yeah, go ahead, Beauregard; sue me.

German, Russia, the UK and France tag-teamed Trump, fighting like hell to get him to not break the agreement with Iran. Nothing good can come of that, and Trump is probably too stupid to realize that if he attacks Iran (which Netanyahu and Bolton want) he risks a wider war with Russia and China, both of whom have plans for influence and access to southern ports and an American attack would definitely threaten.

Speaking of Russia, Vladimir Putin was elected President of Russia, despite a poor showing amongst Russians who sit in middle counties park benches and inhale nerve gas, or blunder into bumbershoots with ricin tips, or like a little polonium in their tea. No doubt hundreds of journalists will launch themselves off fifth-storey balconies by way of celebrating.

He released a video which consists of a four minute continuous shot of him walking to work, where a surprise party awaited. “Six more years? For little old me? Oh, you guys!”

Rudy Guiliani, who unfortunately was not in the twin towers the day the planes hit, has done such a shambolic and chaotic job of defending Trump that even Trump is reportedly considering banning Guiliani from any more live TV appearances on his behalf. Bad move, Donnie: much safer getting between a momma grizzly and her cubs than between Rudy Guiliani and a TV camera.

Melania Trump launched her doomed crusade against cyberbullying. Normally this would be a good cause for a first lady to pursue, and Michelle Obama did. As did Laura Bush. Which would be fine, except they made a pamplet for it, this “Be Best” campaign, and it was pinched directly from one released early in the Obama administration with only the title, the intro, and an image of a cell phone updated to look like it was from this decade. Oops.

It came just as Sessions was saying he would cheerfully rip apart the families of unpapered immigrants, deporting the parents and sending the kids into America’s foster-care maw.

You know what, Jeff? I changed my mind. You aren’t really ‘like a Nazi’.

You are a Nazi.

But cheer up, Jeff. I see where Don Blankenship is leading in the polls in the West Virginia GOP primary for the Senate. Blankenship is a real piece of work. He’s out of jail, where he served a year for conspiracy to violate mandatory federal mine safety and health standards and conspiracy to impede federal mine safety officials. It resulted in the deaths of 29 miners.

The GOP had two other candidates, but apparently they weren’t big enough dirtbags to appeal to Republican voters. Not a single kiddy diddler or traitor amongst them. But someone who killed 29 people through greed and negligence? Well, it ain’t as good as Roy Moore or Paul Manafort, but it will have to do.

So Jeff, if you can get GOP voters to believe you are a Nazi, they’ll vote for you.

It annoys the grown-ups, you see.

Comics and Commies — When the jokes are serious and the serious are jokes

April 29th, 2014

First off, I watched Michelle Wolf’s performance at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and I wasn’t impressed. She shouted her lines, had no sense of timing, and in general reminded me of a nervous eighth grader giving a speech for the first time. As a result, a lot of lines that could have been funny fell flat. Not all of them, of course; and some hit home to judge from the howls from the far right and their lunatic leader.

Anyone who didn’t see it is going to be surprised to learn that she never did criticize Sarah Huckabee Sanders for her personal appearance. That’s a media meme started by Maggie Haberman, and Haberman is full of shit. Wolf compared Sanders to a character from “Handmaid’s Tale” but it had more to do with the dishonest and fascistic deportment of the character than how the character looked.

Wolf called Sanders a liar three times in a minute half, which neatly matches the number of lies per minute that Sanders often utters during her ‘press briefings’. It’s impossible to watch her and not think of Baghdad Bob, or Tokyo Rose, or Lord Haw Haw. She is a propagandist, a paid liar for a demented president, and that’s all she is. Indeed, some of the reporters on the cable stations who are flapping and twittering over how a comedian could be so mean have called Trump and Sanders liars on their own shows.

So why the faux outrage? Consider this quote from Wolf from the routine at the dinner:

“I think what no one in this room wants to admit is that Trump has helped all of you,” she added. “He couldn’t sell steaks or vodka or water or college or ties or Eric. But he has helped you. He’s helped you sell your papers and your books and your TV. You helped create this monster and now you’re profiting off of him. And if you’re going to profit off of Trump, you should at least give him some money because he doesn’t have any.”

She pointed out the incestuous relationship between Trump and the commercial media. He may be destroying the country, and may kill us all, but gawd, he is just so fucking PROFITABLE! For corporate stooges posing as reporters, he’s just too good to pass up. He’s their meal ticket, and all Wolf did was point that out.

So where was the Coward-in-chief during all this? Out in the boonies, whipping a pack of MAGAts into an anti-media frenzy, of course. One Gary Busey wannabee was screaming at reporters, calling them filthy degenerates after the rally. In the name of America, of course. Because screaming epithets at the free press is so all-American.

By the way, the latest ratings of countries by freedom of the press just came out. America was 45th. They were ahead of Russia and China (both south of 175) and North Korea.

Forty fifth. Land of the free, folks. Land of the free. Have you noticed you never hear patriots yelling about how great America is because it has freedom any more? Now it’s because America fights the most wars, or has the most billionaires, or has rock and roll. The explanations for what makes America great are getting increasingly idiotic as the people who actually made America great have died off and been replaced by Trumpkins.

Meanwhile, Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian ‘lawyer’ who met with Donald Trump Junior to discuss adopting orphans (an important source of protein for Trumps, one assumes) came out and said she was actually a government operative, which basically means she is a Russian spy. It was out of the blue. Trump’s lawyers (and the word ‘lawyer’ should be in quotes when discussing either Trump or Putin, since so many seem to be incompetent, spies, mob torpedoes, or all of the above) promptly told Mueller’s people they were blocking information about a mysterious call Don Junior got before that meeting. Mueller, no doubt, was wearing an expression identical to that of a child regarding the particular shape of the largest present under the Christmas tree. I’m guessing that between the self-immolation Trump performed during that lunatic call to Fox and Friends and that little tidbit of information, Mueller’s office is going to be even busier this week. I’m sure Mueller will make those poor orphans his top priority.

You heard about Trump being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, of course. Granted, anyone can be nominated, and past nominees include Rush Limbaugh and George W. Bush, which shows the bar can be set very low.

Trump is trying to take credit for the talks between the two Koreas, which mostly occurred despite him, rather than because of any diplomatic brilliance his people in Korea, which he doesn’t have, might have shown. Unless you count Mike Pompeo, who traveled as a private citizen and quite illegally to suggest to the two sides that they do what they were planning to do anyway.

Trump, of course, took credit for it, and his mindless followers adulated that this truly was a worshipful event, and Trump must be given the Nobel Peace Prize, the Steinbeck Award, a place on Mount Rushmore, and a baby’s arm, holding an apple. Republicans love that kind of shit; they’re a lot like the Communists during the Stalin era that way.

But then John Bolton lifted his porn ‘stache and said that the US was considering the “Libya option” with North Korea. That was a US incursion that overthrew the Ghaddafi regime (which was already toppling) and resulted in the lynching of Ghaddafi. It was quite nasty, as most lynchings are.

I don’t imagine Kim Jong Un was too amused to hear this, and he would be well within his rights if he made having Bolton hanged by his mustache a provision for the disarmament talks going forward. Of course, since he accidentally destroyed his nuclear testing facility, causing it to cave in, maybe he’ll just ignore John. It’s something the rest of us try to do, so he needn’t feel so alone.

Maybe Trump will send him some orphans and Michelle Wolf as sex slaves to make up for John’s little gaffe. Oh, and Rachel Maddow, because fake media.

It’s the all-American way, you know.

The Flare: Lights Out, Folks

The Flare

Lights Out, Folks

Bryan Zepp Jamieson

April 28th, 2018

In my fictional future universe that provides the background for my novels, I have an early 22nd century event that is referred to simply as “The Flare”. The sun emits a mighty burp, and emits a coronal mass ejection classified as X44, roughly one half the strength of which the sun is capable. This hits planet Earth squarely.

The northern lights are not only visible at the equator, but visible in daylight above 80 degrees north. This direct hit destroys vast amounts of the electronics, and immediately kills or incapacitate roughly ten million people, those unlucky to be using cybernetic implants at the time. The ensuing chaos and damage result in the Vast Depression, which lasts nearly a century. Combined with global warming and other misfortunes, by the 24th century only a billion people are alive, and they tell one another lurid tales of kitchen appliances going mad and killing their masters during the flare. On a more rational level, cybernetic technology is non-existent, and while computers still exist, society isn’t as reliant on them as before the Flare.

Not only is this something that can happen; it’s something that will happen. We had such a solar storm hit Earth in 1859, called the Carrington Event after Richard Christopher Carrington, one of two astronomers at the time to observe it. The entire telegraph system went down, and wires and batteries shorted, causing numerous fires. That storm was estimated at X42, about one quarter the size of the X44 monster from my story.

An X20 would be enough to wipe out half the world’s electrical system and most of the computers. The sun has had X20 bursts in 1972, 1989, 2000, 2003, 2006, and 2011. Fortunately, none of them hit Earth squarely.

It’s only a matter of time.

For now, we’re about as safe as we can hope for: we’re approaching a minimum on the 11 year solar cycle, during which big CMEs are less likely—not impossible, just less likely. And there is speculation that the sun is going into a “Maunder Minimum”, an extended period of solar peace that might last for the better part of a century. The last such was from 1645 to 1715. Some of the Climate denialists have been celebrating this, pretending that the half-a-degree centigrade drop in global irradiation will somehow obviate the greenhouse gas-propelled rise of 3-5 degrees presently forecast. Well, that’s why they are called denialists. But even with the twin minimums, the possibility remains. You’re ‘safer’ in much the same way that you are less likely to die in an auto accident at 60 miles an hour than you are in one at 90 miles an hour.

I know a fellow who is a watchdog for public safety, primarily fire (always a major concern here in the west), but also other natural and man-made disasters that might befall us, and he’s recently been trying to get some sort of government response plan set up for a possible electromagnetic pulse (EMP). He’s worried about the sun, of course, since CMEs can produce EMPs world-wide and do several trillion dollars in just a few seconds. It put the lights out over wide areas for hours in 1978 and 1989, and those were near misses by (relatively) moderate CMEs.

There’s a second thing that can put the lights out, and that’s human agency. Nuclear weapons can create EMPs, but only a millionth of what the sun can produce. The effects would be somewhat limited, and if you were the target of such a device, you probably wouldn’t have much time to enjoy the EMP before the hydrogen bomb exploding over your head resulted in an RUD, or Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly, of your body.

However, there is malign human agency that can put the lights out, for months or even years. I even mentioned it in a piece I wrote a few weeks ago during a period of higher-than-usual political tension: “If in the next few days, we have an electronic meltdown in which the Internet, power grid, and banking system all shut down, then it’s safe to assume that Vladimir Putin just declared—and probably won—World War III against the United States.

It’s rumored that several nuclear powers have nuclear weapons that can be set off in low Earth orbit, and while there would be no blast damage, the EMP could affect electronics over several hundred square kilometers. To that end, the Pentagon has “hardened” most of their communications, protecting them against such, and, it’s claimed, the Russians have war planes that actually use vacuum tubes, which are resistant to the damage an EMP can cause electronics.

Of far greater consequence is the possiblity that malign entities can hack and shut down computer systems, driving the electrical grid, banking records, nearly all communications and systems controlling dams, sewer system, traffic and hundreds of other vital infrastructure systems into an electronic brick wall, possibly destroying them.

It’s possible that World War Three won’t announce itself with bright blue nuclear flashes, or sudden outbreaks of smallpox in major cities, or horrific gases causing thousands to drop, convulsing, in the streets. No, it may be something as simple as a power black out. We often experience those, of course, and don’t think much of them unless they last more than an hour or so.

If you run into a buddy who lives “off the grid”–solar panels, Tesla batteries, satellite for his TV and computer, and he’s complaining his Internet is gone along with TV, then you might assume war has broken out.

In my story, the real damage comes in the months following the flare, when humanity is suddenly trying to feed and water itself with 19th century technology, only there’s five times as many people as that technology could support. And the money’s no good, because it was vaporized along with the computer systems. Only a few million die during the Flare; and virturally none who weren’t wearing electronic implants. But billions die in the six months following, in the chaos and shortages caused by the sudden collapse of our electronic systems.

That public safety fellow is right to be worried about EMPs and their close cousins, cyberattacks. Both can do untold damage, and may announce themselves with nothing more dramatic than your stereo suddenly stopping and your car engine dying.

There’s not a lot you can do to prevent either, but if you want to have something after the events, learn how to build a Faraday cage. They’re pretty simple, really. And consider getting off the grid as best as you can. If you are in a major city, get out. Take survivalist train, cache supplies somewhere you can get to without cars or other transportation. And best of luck.