Barack Obama stands ready to defend you… against solar flares

From:,  by Jazz Shaw,  on Oct 17, 2016


The current issue of Mad Magazine has a clever, satirical list of things Barack Obama wants to accomplish during his final one hundred days in office. It includes agenda items like getting in a few rounds on golf courses where he would normally not be invited and mapping out the locations of fast food joints he wants to hit after his wife’s healthy eating garden is finally shut down. But not even the comic geniuses behind that piece saw this one coming. The President wants to get some plans in place to protect the planet against a devastating solar flare. (Engadget)

As President Barack Obama’s administration enters its final stages, he’s paying more attention to what’s going on way, way above us than expected. Just days after the president outlined his vision for landing humans on Mars by the 2030s, he issued an executive order calling for a plan that would help the country — and the systems that power it — cope with seriously bad space weather.

Now, fine: solar flares and geomagnetic storms probably haven’t disturbed your life too much so far. The thing is, they could, and our collectively deepening reliance on technology means these natural, regular events have the potential to do some serious damage.

“Space weather events, in the form of solar flares, solar energetic particles, and geomagnetic disturbances, occur regularly, some with measurable effects on critical infrastructure systems and technologies,” the order reads. “Extreme space weather events — those that could significantly degrade critical infrastructure — could disable large portions of the electrical power grid, resulting in cascading failures that would affect key services such as water supply, healthcare, and transportation.”

While this sounds like fodder for plenty of jokes, it’s a serious subject and I find myself wishing that Obama had gotten moving on it long before he was a lame duck. Yes, we have plenty of other irons in the fire right now and resources are limited, but the dangers posed by a coronal mass ejection (CME) are very real and could send modern societies like the United States reeling toward a modern version of the dark ages in a worst case scenario. Engadget correctly points us to the CME of 1859, known as the famous Carrington event. There wasn’t much in the way of modern technology back then, but the country’s nascent telegraph system went completely bonkers for weeks.

[T]elegraph systems worldwide went haywire. Spark discharges shocked telegraph operators and set the telegraph paper on fire. Even when telegraphers disconnected the batteries powering the lines, aurora-induced electric currents in the wires still allowed messages to be transmitted.

If you’re not relying on technology to survive, such an event would mostly just be a spectacular light show from northern lights that extended down to the equator, but for those of us living in the 21st century, it would be a disaster. Most of our satellites would be toast and massive power transformers around the country would be destroyed, leaving much of the nation without power for as much as five years while new ones were being constructed. We’re talking Walking Dead conditions.

There are plans out there to minimize the damage from such an event and reduce the resulting downtime, but they would all be hugely expensive and take time to implement. Getting people to sign on for such a price tag to prepare for an event which might not even happen in their lifetime is a tall order. But the fact remains that it could happen next week.

Will we actually do anything substantial on this front? Don’t hold your breath. In the meantime, keep the extra water, crackers and shotgun shells dry in your basement.


As regular readers of Pesky Truth know, I’ve been on the bandwagon for addressing this serious lapse in the country’s protection for years. It’s not that it’s imminent, we simply don’t know if we’ll be hit, or when. What makes this issue so serious is the potentially catastrophic effect of an EMP, regardless of its source, that makes it absolutely mandatory that we address it. 

According to the article, the president only mentions coronal mass ejections (CME) as a cause, but solar flares aren’t the only source – and, not even the most destructive one. I suspect that Obama doesn’t want to allude to the fact that our enemies can also produce those nasty EMP’s and send the United States back to the dark ages in the blink of an eye.


Our enemies, among them: Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea have already demonstrated the ability to create an EMP-enhanced nuclear weapon that could be exploded high above the U.S. sending massive EMP’s downward and frying much of our electronic control chips, not only plunging the country into darkness, but preventing communications or the ability to pump gasoline, water, or sewage. Most food stores only have a 2-3 day supply of food on hand and without resupply, shelves will be empty in less than a week. Trucks will be out of gasoline and diesel in a few days and resupply of foodstuffs and medicines will be impossible.

That’s not a pretty picture and it is well past time that our “leaders” move to harden many of our vulnerable control technologies and our major power grids.

Millions dead within a year is the title of a 4-part essay I wrote over two years ago and the title is not an exaggeration. If you’d like to know more about why this issue is so important, I invite you to click on the link and see for yourself why it’s critical that we fix the country’s vulnerability. 

The lives of MILLIONS of people are at stake.




Categories: General

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2 replies

  1. Surprise, surprise – he finally talks about something that could be a real problem instead of trying to shove more climate change in our faces, although that is where money has been spent instead of on this potential threat.

    His waiting until this near final hour to address it makes me think CW’s guess is spot on.


  2. Not only a great post but an important one as well, Garnet.

    I’m curious about the calculation of Barack Obama to wait until now to do anything about it. My guess is that he wants the credit for getting it started but didn’t want to divert any money from his pet projects to do it. He’ll let the next POTUS figure out how to pay for it and take the hit for the trade-offs that will have to be made. What an evil bastard.


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