Only one friend of mine has a “bug out” bag. We live overseas, and he's the cautious type. His bag is small, just an extra t-shirt, a couple of underwear and pairs of socks. Plus the essentials. Passport, dollars, baht, ringit Malaysia, chargers, a small tablet computer. Maybe a small, folding umbrella. I'd add a very light jacket, for emergencies. Like when you're wet, and sleeping outdoors, waiting for a bus, or a smuggler, or something. Keep the money in different pockets/ compartments, so that no one can ever see how much there is. I do not anticipate any need for emergency exits, not unless things take a sudden turn for the much worse. My friend is just the cautious type. He has always had a bug-out bag, and we, his friends, have teased him about it. I'm starting to think that it's a good idea though, at least for anyone who is young enough to walk as far as becomes necessary and smart enough to get across borders without losing their shirt. Not owning anything larger than a computer helps.
Disclaimer! Anyone who takes advice from me does so at their own peril. I am neither your lawyer, nor your confessor. I'm just wondering how much caution is prudent under our current circumstances. Call it risk evaluation. It seems that our world is now subject to a limitless range of dangerous possibilities. Things change overnight. I would say that a Zombie apocalypse is probably out of the question, but almost anything else is on the table.
I'm planning for some weird contingencies myself. At least for contingencies that would have been considered weird four or five years ago. I will be weathering whatever comes in place. Neither I nor my wife are capable of that much running around and that much rough living. I am, however, trying to make flexible contingency plans to meet situations that would have seemed impossible until very recently.
Things have certainly gotten weird in a short time. Every day now we are treated to spectacles of all kinds, political, social, biological, ecological, psychological, meteorological, and a long list of et ceteras. We've become numb, admit it, you're numb too. There's even a popular new saying, “it's the new normal!” We can no longer count on anything, and we're being told to learn to live with it. I should be fine, except for a slightly heightened anxiety level. I live in a country that has handled the COVID crisis very well, and that has handled more economic crises than most. We're lucky here. The weather is good; there's plenty of domestic food production; people tend to be cooperative. I feel bad for the people who are up against the hard times in America. That's my country, although it's been a long time since I lived there. Those hard-timers were already losing their balance before the last few years put everything on boil. The many people who were already standing at the bleeding edge of the void will now begin to spin off into space in increasing numbers. And that's in America! The Shining City on the Hill! The many folks that were famously one paycheck away from destitution. Well, welcome to destitution, y'all! And with barely a “fare thee well!” from our cold-hearted government. COVID and climate change and greed and corruption are pushing many entire countries over the edge. Imagine the poor wretches suffering on third world flood plains! The penniless refugees from wars, brutal criminal gangs, or dead, sun-blasted farmlands! The people whose bug-out bag contains only an ID card and a bottle of dirty water! I can imagine how they feel, but I don't like to think about it. The anger must be coming off of them in waves.
I would suggest that everyone in America make “flexible contingency plans to meet situations that would have seemed impossible until very recently.” May I remind you that we are living in the new normal. Oh? You feel safe? Property? Money in the bank? A salary, or a pension, or Social Security? Good insurance? Medicare? Well don't forget, all of those old-time measures of financial security rest entirely on the fiduciary responsibility of the scum that are now in charge of all of the institutions that should be insuring them. Politicians, bankers, “businessmen,” judges, congressmen. You trust that crowd? Think again. They've been robbing you for years, and they've got big plans to get the rest. There's a kleptocracy backed by a police state coming into focus right in front of our eyes and nobody seems to care, or even notice. People hear, “eliminate the payroll tax!” and they think, great! Trump is cutting my taxes! That's your Social Security, you idiots! Are you collecting Social Security now? That's your money that they're giving away to their friends! Do you rely on Medicare? They are saying out loud that they want to get rid of Social Security and Medicare. People should really learn to pay attention.
When I was young, I trusted that the people in charge, as crooked and self-serving as I believed them to be, were compelled by circumstance to allow the prosperity of the middle-class to continue. That was, after all, the basis of their own prosperity, being whatever they could skim off for themselves. We've seen how that worked out.
When I was thinking those things, there were about 220,000,000 people in America. There was a thriving middle-class. There were politicians that were capable of compromise on important issues. And as far as the rich went, one hundred million dollars was an almost unheard of amount of money. That was Rockefeller money. Most rich people had a lot less than that. Hell, $500,000 was “fuck-you” money. With that, you could buy a fabulous home, three good sized apartment buildings for income, and still have $200,000 in the bank. Things are a little different now. With 340,000,000 people, no middle class, thousands of billionaires, topping out at over 200 billion dollars for ONE GUY, one hundred million now being around the buy-in for “rich,” politicians that only want to keep their mouths firmly wrapped around the tits of the super-rich, and “fuck-you” money at about $50,000,000, I'd say that things have changed a lot.
Fella, they don't need you anymore! Forget security! You don't have anything that they can't steal in a heartbeat. And that's what they're planning to do. And that's what our stupid electorate is about to hand them. We hear talk about “Joe has this one sewed up,” and 63% of the voters think that Trump botched the COVID thing, and “bringing back better” or some damn slogan, but it's all premature. All of these tiresome jokes from comedy TV shows, all of this “get out the vote” talk, it just creates the illusion that the Democrats have a chance. People can't seem to wake up from the dream that Trump is the problem, and it'll all snap back to fine-and-dandy when he's gone. People can't seem to get it through their heads that the old institutions have lost their power to help us.
I've said it since the beginning: Trump is just the headache; the Republican party is the brain cancer that's killing us. Trump is a tool, and a dull tool at that, but he's done a great job of distracting us while those other gangsters have been moving all of the furniture out of the house. Trump was a God-send! The Republicans had been doing remarkably well, considering the bunch of stiffs they ran in every election after Reagan. Even the couple that managed to win, or steal, the presidency were unpopular. Trump really put some wind in their sails! He has enabled the Republicans to steal the keys to the kingdom. They'd love to have him back for another term, and who's going to stop them from stealing this election? The DNC? Government watchdogs? Sleepy Joe? UN observers? The House of Representatives? Trump-appointed judges? The (gasp!) Supreme Court? You? The Democrats have had four years to “get out the vote,” get people registered, set up transportation networks to get their voters to the now far-away polls, but they didn't lift a finger. Even if the Democrats managed to pull a win out of the fire, is there anyone so naive as to believe that that would change our political fortunes? The Republicans' creeping coup d'etat progressed nicely during the eight years of Clinton and another eight years of Obama. It will continue next year whatever the outcome of the election. Jeez-Louise, some days I wish the Army would take over. We'd probably be better off.
So yeah, my advice is to smell the coffee and plan for extreme danger. Don't just wait around to see what happens. The money power is getting out of dollars, driving up the prices of stocks and gold. Diversify, brothers and sisters. Look for the exits, and plan your escape. And vote, I suppose. Hold your nose and vote for Biden. That would at least delay the now inevitable downfall. No sense in rushing into a Gestapo dungeon by next summer. A vote for Biden might seem a bit sad, but a vote for Trump is a knife in your own neck.
In a few hundred years, I'll bet that the academics of the future will blame the Twenty-First Century collapse of civilization on climate change. That'll look like the smart money, the safe bet. They'll be wrong, though. It will have been due to stupidity and greed, in roughly equal measure.