The Pivot Point

SUBHEAD: The Autumn Equinox is that pivot point between light and dark - summer is over and winter coming - but first the Fall.

By Juan Wilson on 21 September 2012 for Island Breath - (

Image above: A picture of Johnny Appleseed in "Pecos Bill and Other Tales" by Irwin Shapiro and Illustrated by Al Schmidt. (Golden Press, 1958). From (

On the political scene it is worth noting that even in the face of a continuing Great Recession Barrack Obama's popularity is rising against Mitt Ronmny's falling expectations. I do not think this is because people think Obama has "fixed" things, or that they expect him to. I think it is because Americans are beginning to feel that the ground has really shifted below their feet. A sense that we will never return to the heyday of cheap oil and hectic economic growth of the 1950's and 60's.

That acceptance has surprised the GOP strategists who are promising just such a renaissance. Their appeal to nostalgia, patriotism and religiosity isn't in line with the reality people are living now or expect in the future.

My sense is that there is only about three months of "normal" left for America. Some time shortly after the election things will begin changing in an accelerated manner. Plans you have now may not be achievable after a certain point. 

Winning the 2012 election will be a curse. So many cans have been kicked down the road, until after the election that many can foresee cracks and fissures appearing now and becoming runaway problems even before January 2013 when the budget sequestration, military spending reductions, deficit limitations, and Bush era tax cuts run out.

And don't forget to stir in the crisis of sovereign debt default in Europe and the hard economic landing China is going through. The bumpy ride through this Autumn will turn into some serious turbulence by Winter Solstice, so fasten your seat belts.

The fallout from the drought this summer in what was commonly called the "Breadbasket", or more accurately, the "GMO corn belt", has only begun to be felt. The rain has come too late. The US Deptartment of Agriculture has forecast national corn production at 10.8 billion bushels, which is down 13% from 2011.

Corn feed is so expensive, so cattle, pig and chicken growers are slaughtering earlier rather than later. Meat costs will come down for a short while and then soar.  What corn is left will go to American gas tanks and blood veins in the form of ethanol and high-fructose-corn-syrup. Those that can't afford it will have to fend for themselves - or starve.

The self-denial myth that global warming is not happening is just not believable anymore. Idiots like Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe  - who argues that his belief that global warming is a hoax is biblically inspired - are not gaining traction outside of a lunatic fringe.

Many climate scientists believe that places like Oklahoma that are the center of large land masses in the northern hemisphere will be the first and worst hit by chaotic climate crises. This autumn should be a series of high contrast surprises for those still in denial.

Keep your eyes tuned to news of the rich preparing for a storm. Recent moves by billionaires like Warren Buffet (2nd richest who has sold his too big to fail banking stocks for shares in Walmart), Larry Ellison (3rd richest American who bought the island of Lanai), George Soros (15th richest who recently quit managing other people's investments and bought $300 million in gold), would indicate they smell the smoke and are doing something about it.

Others billionaires, like the Koch Brothers (4th and 5th richest and exploiting carbon burning as fast as they can) and Sheldon Adelson (12th richest and building 36,000 casino hotel rooms in Spain) may smell the smoke but are doubling down on the bad behavior that has brought us to our knees.

You probably have read about the Department of Homeland Security buying many million rounds of assault weapon ammo, thousands of portable armored checkpoints and thousands of heavily armored military personnel carriers. If you haven't, google it and reset your expectations. Our police forces have been highly militarized in the last decade and their are plenty of "legal" abrogations of your individual freedoms that are enabled by county, state and federal executive orders.

Unfortunately, the terrorists won. Since 2001 our American constitutional guarantees and the rule of law are gone. Our advice is not to confront the loss of constitutional freedoms, but to avoid them. Fly under the radar and stay out of the crosshairs. Be careful as to where you make a point or take a stand.

What ever the course of action at the national and state level, assume you will be better off in the future if you rely less on anyone besides your family, friends, neighbors and community. Obviously, the less you're on the big grid that takes care of water, food, power and waste, the more independent you will be. To achieve even a small amount of this kind of resilience in these areas takes money, time, resources and education. If you have not done so, begin now!

You may be someone who is not tied down and already has slipped out of the system. Or you may be embedded now but foresee riding the currents of the times. I suspect if you are you are likely under thirty.

Even if you have no plans to restructure your life for a very different future I highly recommend you think out scenarios in your mind that place you in a good position to ride the wave as it comes and takes you to a new shore.

If you are older and tied to family, property and resources, you may find big changes in the future that challenge your old plans with new situations. My advice is to be generous as well as flexible.

In either case gather some resources you can carry to be of use to others, whether that be medical skills or a good set of wood working tools. We'll need them soon.

Back where I came from in New York, now is a time to harvest apples; the last fruit before the snow. The seeds go to ground in fall to reemerge in the Spring. As Winter begins the parent tree has already developed the buds that will flower in Spring to become next Autumn's fruit.

One of my favorite characters of American culture is Johnny Appleseed.

According to ( John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed) was born in Leominster, Massachusetts on September 26, 1774. John traveled ahead of the nation's immigrants and planted orchids before they arrived. He developed countless thousands of productive apple trees throughout the upper Midwest.

When selling his trees John would take a reasonable price in money, some cast-off clothing, a bit of food, or nothing at all depending on the situation of the buyer. He considered it was more important for a settler to plant a tree than to pay for it. He would never specify a date that payment was due as a given date might not be convenient to collect on or for the buyer to pay on. He never asked a person to pay a debt, for he reasoned that the customer knew that he or she owed the money, without being reminded of it.

Johnny Appleseed lived on foods provided by nature, and he never killed animals. Furthermore, he would rescue elderly horses that had been left to fend for themselves and would pay farmers to care for them. John Chapman died of pneumonia on March 18, 1845 and was buried near Ft. Wayne, Indiana.


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