The Dependent

Based on this title, you may suspect the story is about a member of the free shit army who depends on the largess of taxpayers and our government stewards who feel they must continue to hand out free shit to people who are not working. But there is another kind of dependence that many people may not recognize.

On September 14th, 2008, as Lehmann was frantically trying to avoid bankruptcy, Hurricane Ike had moved inland across the US, bringing heavy rain and 70 mph winds to our home in Ohio. How ironic that the hurricane ripped across the nation as Lehmann was imploding? The power went out for a week. That night we lit candles, got out the Coleman stove and heated up canned food for dinner. The kids loved it, scurrying all around the house setting up candles, feeling like we were living primitively.

For the first time in my life, I got just a taste of a natural disaster. Our water came from a well, so our house was dry. Life got more and more primitive. The kids loved it for a while. Then some friends from another town that had their power back on invited us over for dinner and showers. We were lucky that the nearby town was across the state line was up and running within two days. Soon life was back to normal, but I realized how dependent I was on our system. And when our system was broken, our lives were radically affected.

What if, instead of that hurricane, the Lehmann collapse and a lack of TARP would have “cut the liquidity power” to the world financial system? A fictional, “what if” retelling of that week provides me with a bit of perspective.


I awoke on Sunday September 14th 2008 to stormy skies, expecting just another routine fall rainstorm. But, it was a rough one. On Monday morning, after it blew over, strange things began to happen. The banks did not open, all having “Holiday” signs in their windows. The ATM machines were out of order also. Hmmm… that is odd. Is this a holiday? Guess it can wait until tomorrow. That day at work seemed normal enough. The news had no stories about the banks being closed. So as I stopped by Walmart that afternoon after work, I saw “cash only” signs on their door. Good thing $40 was hiding in my wallet. So I picked up some cheese, milk, a box of Fruit Loops, and some special things for dinner. When I went to checkout, a lady unloading a huge cart filled with pizzas, ding-dongs, and two cases of Pepsi, yelled at the apologetic cashier, “Waachoo mean ya’ll isn’t takin no SNAP cards?”

“Ma’am, this is just a computer problem, I’m sure things will be back to normal tomorrow.” said the cashier.

The lady continued, “No! this is bullshit! My card always works!

The manager hurried over, followed by store security, and spoke to her in a low voice, the guard with his hand on his pistol, blocking her exit from the aisle with the cart. She mumbled more profanities and walked out, leaving the half empty cart.

I checked out and left, thinking I’d never seen and armed guard at Wal-Mart. A group of a dozen or so angry people congregated just outside the door, ranting at one another, including Pepsi Lady.

As I drove back home, out of town, I noticed fewer cars on the street than normal and lots of the town’s many restaurants closed. NPR radio mentioned that the stock markets had closed for the day…something about circuit breakers. At home, my wife and I turned on CNN to see what was going on. No news except the weather, baseball playoffs, and the latest Justin Bieber concert stampede. Gosh he’s a cute kid, but all those 5 year old girls singing along just doesn’t seem right.

After dinner, my wife said, “Honey, let’s go back into town and do our grocery shopping for the week. I mentioned that I was nearly out of cash and they were not taking cards. She went to the bedroom, opened her top dresser drawer and pulled a crisp Benjamin from beneath her underwear.

“What else you got in there?” I asked.

“You stay out of my drawers!” she replied.

“What? after I cooked you a nice dinner?” I replied incredulously. She rolled her eyes and said “Let’s go to Wal-Mart, Romeo.”

Back at the store, there was an even bigger crowd at the front door. We drove back to the tire center and entered there, snagged a loose cart and made our way over to the food aisle. The store was unusually vacant of customers. But our big shock came in the food aisles. Half the shelves were empty. Other shelves were a mess. All the beer was gone. Several people were headed up front with carts full of only frozen foods.

What’s going on?” I asked my wife. “There weren’t any snow warnings were there?

“No... this is September,” she reminded me. “Weird! Something’s going on.”

We picked through the leftovers and found most of what we wanted and bee-lined back to the tire center to check out there. On the way home my wife said, “Let’s get some gas.” Our favorite discount station had signs everywhere that said “Cash only” and the price had jumped up to $5.79 per gallon for regular. We put our last twenty in the tank. The attendant, Rob, moseyed out.

“Hey Rob, what the hell is going on?” I asked.

“Beats me?” he mumbled in his Kentucky drawl. “We got a fax from upstairs first thing this morning to jack up the price and to only accept cash. The cards just aren’t working. … And what’s more,” he continued, “they cancelled the morning delivery. At this rate, I’ll be sold out by noon tomorrow.” I just shook my head, paid him, and we drove home.

We turned on the news channel again to try to learn more. “Computer glitches all across the country.” led on two channels. Officials were assuring the reporters that all would be fixed within a day or so. We just looked at one another, shrugged, then watched an episode of Jericho.

The next few days were more of the same, except gas stations and food stores were actually closed. Restaurants continued closing one by one. The Interstate north of town was strangely vacant, only local traffic drove between the exits, nothing was coming our way from Dayton to the east or Indianapolis to the west. No trucks, only a few private cars.

The big local news on Wednesday came from Walmart. Someone smashed a truck through the doors and a crowd invaded the store, stripping it bare in minutes. Police arrived and chased all they could catch, arresting a dozen or so, but hundreds more fled in all directions pushing carts loaded with goods. By evening, empty carts littered neighborhoods within a mile of the store. We read the news online because the afternoon paper did not arrive.

On Wednesday evening, the president scheduled a national speech. We sat down to watch.

In recent weeks monetary speculators have been waging an all out war on the American dollar. The strength of a nation’s currency is based on the strength of that nation’s economy, and the American economy is by far the strongest economy in the world. Accordingly, I have directed the secretary of the treasury to take the action necessary to defend the dollar against the speculators.

Seems like I had heard these same words somewhere before. The president continued…

"The dedicated leaders of the department of the Treasury, at the FED and on Wall Street are working furiously on your behalf to counter the actions of rogue governments and speculations against our currency. We will weather this storm and have our banking system back to normal shortly. Until that time, I have temporarily asked the director of Homeland Security to deploy peace officers as needed to maintain order in our cities. The American people will not tolerate flash mobs, rioters, looters, or violence of any sort. Please stay in your homes, stay calm, and rest assured that the American people will emerge from this crisis stronger than ever. Thank you and goodnight."

My wife and I looked at each other. “How much more cash do you have stashed in that drawer?” I asked.

“That was it!” she said, looking me dead in the eye. “We have food for the week.”

“They’ve gotta have this fixed by then, I said, optimistically.

No school bus on Thursday morning, instead an email saying school was suspended temporarily and the kids’ assignments and tests would be available at the “Online Learning Environment.”  I got a email from my University employer stating that our classes were suspended also, and to come in for a meeting on Monday morning.

On Friday just after midnight, I got online and was able to access records to our bank account. It showed a balance of $236.78, but had a banner across the top that said online and card services were suspended temporarily, and the bank remained closed by order of the Department of the Treasury. I also noticed that my regular bi-weekly paycheck had NOT been deposited at midnight, as was customary. Now I am getting worried. Maybe Monday's big meeting has something to do with that?  Two car payments were due before the 24th and several other bills needed to be paid before the month was over, including our utility bill. And on the first of October, the whole budget cycle starts over. Suddenly an old Credence Clearwater Revival song popped into my head.

But our immediate need was greater. The kids were complaining that the fruit loops were gone and they didn’t like the stale instant oatmeal they found in the back of the pantry. My wife came in and notified me that she had been getting creative with meals, but that her creativity required “basic ingredients.” We were running out of food!  Wal-Mart was closed. The Farmers market down the road was closed. The discount store was closed. Our good friends five miles north offered some tomatoes. I drove right up.

Saturday night we ate sliced tomatoes on saltine crackers for dinner. The kids were not complaining.

Sunday morning they finished off the oatmeal before we got up.

We skipped lunch.

Sunday night we ate sliced tomatoes for dinner. The kids were not complaining.

Somebody needs to do something! Just open the banks and let us get our money out! Give me my paycheck! I already earned it and it’s wrong to hold it back. What the hell is the problem? What happens now? Stores are closed, stations are out of gas, my car is down to a quarter-tank, nothing is moving on the highways, nobody has any money. Nobody will sell me what I need anyway. Word from friends in town is that you gotta lock your doors and keep protection handy—lots of burglaries—stealing food. We locked our door that night for the first time in 7 years.

We don’t have any food. Somebody needs to do something!


Well, I suppose that TARP was something. QE is still that something. But we’ve seen diminishing returns on QE and the economy contracted severely in the first quarter of 2014 due to weather.

Weather, my Aristotelian arse!

I have an uncle whose life was saved by emergency heart surgery. I had a friend who passed away at age 40 from colon cancer after chemo failed to stop its advance. Tarp was the surgery. QE is the Chemo. My friend lost vitality first, lost his hair, and finally started saying goodbye to everyone. He left behind a wife and four boys, one with Down’s syndrome.

I am concerned for the future of the patient, and justifiably so. I am angry at those who propagate the lie of recovery, frustrated at those who believe them. I am exasperated at those who continue claiming that markets are trading on fundamentals, those who are expert enough to know better. And I am livid about leadership that continues to do nothing to begin the process of economic repair. Perhaps that leadership has other plans?

I hope the system does not collapse, that whoever is in charge, exercising their divine wisdom, will manage a reasonably smooth transition to a new money system without a banking collapse.

But, in spite of their wisdom, they did not do very well at avoiding 2008, they are rattling their sabers even now, and prudent nations are hoarding gold while they decouple their economies from the dollar. Where will that leave the United States and its satellites, all run by corrupt idiots?

Tick, tock.

And today, my wife and I are doing something for ourselves, doing our best to NOT be that helpless dependent, with no options, if our leaders fail or betray us.


metalsbyamile's picture

Stepping Up

Although my experiences are not as difficult,nor are they as dramatic,i relate totally.
Once upon a time i recall the country ATM's being O.O.S. My cash, mandatory in my world,was a soothing comfort as lines of shoppers in every kind of shop could no longer pay for what they had in their baskets.
I lectured continually that day against the evils of cards, no matter a visa, master card, debit, bank , what ever.

I have seen many health related tragedies in my life time. Personal responsibility, good nutrition, abstinence when imbibing drugs, cigarettes, over consumption of alcohol are mandatory in my view.
Good nutrition and plenty of exercise may sound trite yet it has tremendous benefits.

System crash. No, not the way many a whacked out stacker assumes or should i say presumes.
Usd , Euro, and the Yawn(sp) will survive.The reset will see these 3 rise and fall against each other.

Currency diversification? Effective also a survival technique.But too be in the wrong currency will cost you and yours dearly.My pf consists of Renimbi,Euro, and a touch of usd(mostly in pm securities).
Except for daily transactions in my local currency i would not dare hold any other fiat on the planet.

ArtL's picture

Thanks for the story.

It helped me re-thing my preparations for natural or man-made disasters and the need to be ready for what comes.

Hammer's picture


Defo not first coz I read the article word for word. nice job Dr. J - a colourful account of 2008. Sorry to say i remember the gas shocks of the 70s - now that was a laugh

Chris Hume return of the 70s : No Petrol at petrol station

A sign reading 'Sorry No Petrol' outside a service station during a petrol shortage on February 1978. Photograph: Pete Primarello/Getty Images

and this article some politician bangs on about 100 bucks being a pivotal point to further a green agenda..well guess what, it isn't 2011 anymore and we have 100 buck oil prices.

Drawing on research conducted for the previous government by Lord Stern, Huhne argued that a $100 a barrel price is the exact point at which the economics of climate change pivot so that it becomes cheaper for British consumers and businesses to invest in green technology than remain with the status quo.

He goes on (back in 2011),

He disclosed the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (Decc) economists have warned that if the oil price rise turns into a 1970s-style shock the cumulative loss to the UK economy would be worth £45bn over two years. Decc's economists made the calculation on the basis of oil prices rising from $80 a barrel last year to $160, according to Huhne.

At $102 a barrel, oil is at a two-and-a-half year high and there have been predictions that if the political turmoil spreads across the Gulf, the price will rise considerably more.

Dr Jerome's picture


I remember 9-11-2001 and the gas stations jacking gas up from 1.29 in the morning to 1.89 by afternoon. I waited 30 minutes at the station trying to fill up. Two military jets flew overhead, dragging a sonic boom behind them. We were stuck in traffic on a bridge and it shook at the sound. The next day I heard gas was $4 in Indianapolis.

Shit happens fast.

Hopefully, I am not describing July 21st, 2014. 

Good night all.

stackaloha's picture

Quite the tale Dr. J

I think this could be a great article to turn a family member of mine on to, thanks for that! 

"Tarp was the surgery. QE is the chemo." I thought the whole piece was extremely clever and well done but when I saw that statement it really struck my Truth Nerve so to speak. Thanks for the motivation

I Run Bartertown's picture

Thanks Dr.J

In all the talk of prepping, one tender topic gets overlooked. This will be a fatal error for many.

Few here are prepared for the most immediate and predictable threat in a SHTF scenario. All the things your college professor and your society have taught you will get you killed. I know, I know, you're don't hate anyone.

But is there anyone who HATES you? Yes. Most certainly there is. You don't believe me? I don't mind. TEOTWAWKI will be a naturally eugenic process. Afterward, everyone left will be the ones who already knew or learned quickly.

"Britons returning from the horrors of New Orleans have told how they feared for their lives as violent gangs ran out of control...They witnessed scenes of murder and looting, women were threatened with rape and racial tensions grew daily...Amid emotional scenes as they were reunited with their families, three girls wept as they recalled their experiences.

Jane Wheeldon, 20, a student from Carmarthen, South Wales, said: "We were the prime target. Guys would come up and stroke your back and your tummy and your bum to find any money you had on you. Everyone was staring and it was so intimidating.

"They said, 'white people are not welcome here'. Then the looting started and the gangs were smashing up the drinks and cigarette machines."

Mark's father John, 56, from Stanfordle-Hope in Essex, said: "The gangs looked on Gretchen as a typical American middle-class girl and they didn't like that at all. Mark had to really protect her because she was threatened with rape and violence."


"Valenti and her husband, two of very few white people in the almost exclusively black refugee camp, said she and other whites were threatened with murder on Thursday.

"They hated us. Four young black men told us the buses were going to come last night and pick up the elderly so they were going to kill us," she said, sobbing. "They were plotting to murder us and then they sent the buses away because we would all be killed if the buses came -- that's what the people in charge told us this morning."

Other survivors recounted horrific cases of sexual assault and murder."


Hammer's picture

Excellent read

If you have a few moments, click the link to read the rest of this - well thought out and written.

The Central Paradox of the 21st Century

Add to Reading List

Posted by Tom Streithorst on Jun 25th 2014, 4 Comments “Stop whining young people, you’ve never had it so good”. That’s the debate topic sponsored by The Spectator last week at the British Museum. On the one hand, the statement is insane and insulting.  60% of the unemployed are under 35, recent university graduates on average owe £45,000 for their education and more than a quarter live with their parents because they can’t afford the rent. Entry-level jobs are evaporating, and even internships require impressive resumes.   Most young university graduates with paying work are in jobs that could have been filled by high school graduates.

It’s not just Millennials.  Older workers have it tough too.  A friend of mine, over 50, a graduate from a top university, head of PR at a Wall Street firm took a voluntary redundancy a few years ago, confident his skills and talent would soon land him an equivalent job.  When no one hired him, he set himself up as a consultant but unfortunately, his phone didn’t ring.  Today, he is slicing bologna at his local deli. This is not an atypical tale.  In the modern world job security is a joke.

My father and grandfather had jobs for life.  They gave their youth to the corporation and in return the corporation took care of them until retirement.  Today, no one has a lifetime contract. Lean and mean firms hire freelancers and even staff have few guarantees.  You can be on top this year, unemployed the next.  No matter your age, no matter your skills, our work lives are evermore precarious.  It seems the typical career path is interning in your 20s, finally getting a paying job and rising up the ladder in your 30s, over the hill by 45.  Unless you are a premiership football player, the person who had your job ten years ago got paid more, worked less and had more fun than you do. Each generation of workers seems worse off than its predecessor.

erewenguy's picture

Get creative

Get creative when you hide your stack. You may need it later.

Green Lantern's picture

I don't know why everybody

I don't know why everybody makes a big deal about TARP.  So the gov. stole your money and gave it to AIG.  

The gov. has been bailing out the corporation for yonks. 

1. War is a bail out. Every time we go to war, it bails out the oil companies.  It just steals your money and gives it to them through military conquest. 

2.  Regulatory agencies are bail outs.  Let's see FDA ensures that nobody can compete with the pharmaceutical companies.  What small company has million and millions of dollars to send their data to FDA to get their drug approved.  Try bringing a toy to market.  You have to pay government lots of money to ensure the paint won't poison your kids, or swallow loose parts. is bailed out by government.  Did you know there is government money to ensure that amazon and record companies get all their money and the artist gets screwed? 

That's congress's job to ensure that the corporation who lines their pockets stay in business either by passing laws, going to war, or simply giving them money.   It's all one big bail out.  Free markets don't exist.  It's rigged so you can't compete.  

And one more type of bail out, Dr. Dave Janda.  Every time that somebody comes up with an idea that will inhibit the profits of the corporation.  Try to blow them up.  

Hammer's picture

I'll go check in the corners

I'll go check in the corners of the sofa right now yes

Green Lantern's picture

Re: Hide your stack

Just get a shovel and stick it in the ground.  Like the Egyptian Pharaoh's did.  

Pharaohs Gold found under a house in Egypt 5 April 2014

erewenguy's picture


I would suspect that is bogus, however, if it isn't, I need to check out my own crawlspace a bit better!

Watching that, I can viscerally understand a grave looter's smash and grab mentality. As much as I "think" I appreciate antiquities, relics that glimmer with gold would be high on the "bag it up" priority.

erewenguy's picture

My experience with a change in a fiat system

Years ago in my former life I traveled annually to various countries in Africa, many which used the West African CFA franc. Because of the regularity of my travels and the bite taken during currency conversion, I got in the habit of keeping a stack of CFA to carry on my next trip.

In 2004 a new series of notes were issued without my awareness.

On my subsequent trip, I brought my stack with me, only to find that it I could not spend it anywhere. Same country. Same people. Same businesses. All who had taken it eagerly, without question, not too long before, now just shrugged at it.

It is a strange and helpless feeling when something you relied upon in the past was exposed for what it really is.




ag1969's picture

re 7/20

DeaconBenjamin's picture

Germany proposes mediation -- Russia, France, Germany, Ukraine

No US participation. Jim Willie is right again. Germany to mediate Ukraine conflict as US warns Russia

Keg's picture

Lessons from Hugo

Great post Dr. J.

When Hugo hit our area it was an eye opener.  No one expected 100+ mph winds as far inland as we live.  The power went out about 2 AM and did not come on at our house for 11 days.  We are on a well but I had other ways of getting water.  We had plenty of food, candles, kerosene lamps, and batteries.  And ways to cook without electricity.  

When the sun came up I grabbed my chain saw and started clearing the way out of our neighborhood.  When people heard the saw they came out of their houses to help.  We ended up going from house to house pulling trees off of houses and putting tarps over holes in roofs.  If was good to see people pitch in and help each other.  But that started to wear off after 3-4 days.

My next door neighbor managed to score the last generator at a local tool store.  But he could not get any gas to run it.  I had 10 gallons that I gave him in return for letting me plug in my freezer a few hours a day.  

There were a number of lessons from this.  Most important you need to have your preps in place before a situation.  Expect the unexpected.  Keep gas tanks and cans full.  And Hugo was just a sample.  Within a few days most gas stations and grocery stores were up and running so it was nothing compared to what a complete grid collapse would be.  Linemen came from all over the southeast to help but transformers were in short supply.  In a widespread grid collapse there would be no help from other areas and forget getting enough transformers.

erewenguy's picture

wow. New chart pattern?

Not to be a heartless bastid, and I want to say this with the proper level of respect to a man with an illness, but that round trip might just qualify as a "FU and your throat cancer Jamie Dimon" chart pattern.

flyinkel's picture

Dr J

Tremendous writing, thank you!  Brought to mind a couple items.  Elderly are far more vulnerable in chaos.  Please remember to stock them up for "a rainy day" if they are MSM dependent and view all this as "crazy talk".  Especially they need a primary and back up water source. 

Even if they trust the US financial system implicitly they still grew up with and understand war shortages so point to all the warring in the world transpiring as a need for being prepared. 

They also remember those 70's gas lines.  Brief them to fill all gas tanks by 1/2 full and consider purchasing air tickets that are fully refundable, so you can bump their visit dates back as necessary until you would actually normally visit. If things head south they already have a flight out of any major city to stay with you.

Medicines, refills should be managed, would want a minimum 2 week supply at any given time, more is better.  Best is get them in shape now so they don't need high blood pressure/diabetes meds.

They are not as sharp as you are, don't expect them to be, instead be a beacon of light and strength for them.  Be well.

Blankone's picture

July 21

Dr J.... What significance does July 21 have.   I have not heard anything specific about that date...Thanks...

Turd Ferguson's picture

This is good stuff


From Koos. Seeking to clear up the old ABN AMRO story. From his perspective, they didn't "default" after all.

erewenguy's picture

strange AMN AMRO story

Wonder why it was not clarified earlier? April 1 2013 was just at the start of the gold massacre. Seems too coincidental.

erewenguy's picture


Copper is going to drag silver kicking and screaming whether it wants to go or not.

Dr Jerome's picture


According to secret numerologically coded messages by Christine Lagarde, July 20 is a significant day--a Sunday. the Steve Quayle interview above posted just above by ag1969 has some good commentary on it. Lagarde was announcing a currency reset with a 70% devaluation of the dollar.

I am not sure what to think. Seems that I could take some sensible steps that do not overly commit without going all in on a rumor.

But I sure don't want to be caught flat-footed if the IMF does something like that. We may convert our the "sacred savings account" that lets my wife sleep at night to gold and double check our food supply.

I don't expect a SHF scenario, but I'd hate to be told my fiat is now worth 70% less, having been warned, and having done nothing...

ag1969's picture

Who knows

As we covered yesterday, who the heck knows what to think, but to have the head of the IMF fraud begin a speech by talking about the magic of 7's and numerology is just so far out there, I can't help but think something is afoot.  However, we have all been through these imminent events over and over where nothing happens, and the status quo of theft by the bankers without facing justice just continues unabated.

Eventually, the day has to come where our way of life changes forever.  Most of us are here because we believe this change to be a mathematical certainty.

CopterDoc's picture

Life insurance

The cheapest term life insurance you will ever find:

Rice       5 gal     servings 399                 $57.95

Beans    5 gal     servings  518                 $72.95

55 Gal water combo kit 1 per person    $109.95

Kelly Kettle® Large Stainless Steel Base Camp Combo  


Whole life term rider:

Remington 870    wallmart  $400

Seriously I have spent quite a bit of time and money preparing purchasing freeze-dried  #10 tin cans the whole nine yards… I tell my friends this is the bare minimum. This setup is not pretty and fancy but you and your family can live on it for a while. The food has a 25 year shelf life the water 5 years. I hope I never need it but I sleep well at night having it. In 25 years I will laugh at myself and donate the food to a local Church or food bank.

Ugly thought of the day; who are the zombies in the apocalypse?

The people in your city/town that didn’t not prepare for their family….

achmachat's picture

who knew Lagarde was this much into me?

I was born on 07/07/77 and my car's licence plate is made of almost only sevens.

maybe she is trying to get in touch with me!?

edit: yes, I do accept birthday presents angel

ag1969's picture

well achmachat, lets do the maths

7+7+7+7=28  2+8=10 drop the zero = 1.  You're good there, and lucky you, because I am fairly convinced that Lagarde is a dude.yes

Bollocks's picture


and you'll be thirty-SEVEN?

Stay in.

Bollocks's picture

70% devaluation of the dollar?

No chance. It would spark instant rioting.

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