Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What ARE Preppers

Just because it comes up a lot, I think I will say what I think preppers are.


Preppers are people who are aware that things can turn bad quickly and think it is responsible behavior to do something about it.

Preppers are usually not as concerned with why things are the way they are but rather try to take action to make riding out possible storms easier.

I live in the metro Atlanta area and remember quite well how we had very little gas and food after hurricane Katrina. I never want to be caught without those basic needs again.

One of the easiest things a person can do is get a few 5 gallon buckets and put some whole wheat berries in it along with a good water filter.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Now We Have Some Land

So, my brothers ( all 3 of them ) my dad and myself, have put a contract on some land ( 10 acres ) a few months ago. It is in the far west part of Georgia, is mostly pasture with a wet weather creek that runs like a river in the winter.

We are not financing with a bank, but rather with the owners. They are awesome people and MUCH easier to work with.

SO

I called up the local government to see what I needed to do to get some electricity out there. The main guy was not in and the little girl on the phone had the default answer "YOU NEED TO PERMIT THAT" or "YOU CAN'T DO THAT" for almost every single question I had.

Why is it that the government thinks that "us idiots" that produce enough to pay THEM and still survive after the complet theft of 50% of our money think we are incapable of handling our own lives?

THOUGHTS

This land is going to take a little while to get some trees / bushes / bamboo up on to keep the prying eyes of the county off our backs. If you are looking for your bug-out location, try to find something they cannot just drive by and see what you are doing.... even with binoculars.

Networks Are A Blessing And Curse For Parents And Governments


PARANOIA IS YOUR FRIEND ( or watch your kids like a hawk )



I am that dad that does not let my little girl have a cell phone, which is funny since I have been working with communications for almost 20 years. Thinking that I may have gone a little over the top, I broke down and let my wife get one for my oldest for her 13th birthday. That was on a friday.

Long story short, by monday, she had lost her phone and I had removed her from public school. You see, she had been on facebook for a while, but we monitored that. The cell phone, she could text and remove the texts before we saw them. She now had the freedom to communicate. Problem was, she does not have the experience to know how dangerous that can be or the skepticism that recognizes when a bad person is about to harm you.

That was quite a while ago, and after months of "I hate you", "you have ruined my life", etc, things are now much better. My kid is back to being my kid and not the victim of peer pressure.

NETWORKS ENHANCE FREEDOM


On the other hand, the same thing that can harm an naive little girl, makes things that are bigger than a single person possible.

Governments like the internet when they can use it to keep an eye on the people using it. Governments hate it when people do things they don't like. Just like parents.

The big difference is that you are not a naive child. The government wants to treat you like one regardless of your education, but you are not. Your brain is every bit as good as those of the people who think they deserve to rule over you.

Use your brain to think. Use the internet to get those thoughts in front of other people. If you believe in something, tell people about it. If you see the government doing things you are against, tell people about that. If you don't, the collective will. Mob rules is not a good thing, it is a mob.

Intelligent people communicating is how things get better, let us make them better.

What should we do about Japan...

As the world watches Nuclear meltdowns in Japan, Americans are already rushing to their aid.  And once again we are bailing someone else out.  We are spending money which we do not have to bail out yet another country.  I am heartbroken to see our strong ally pummeled by the one-two-three combination punch of a devastating earthquake followed by an even more devastating tsunami and now a completely disastrous nuclear meltdown.  I was there less than three months ago with my daughters.  It is a fantastic place and the Japanese people are awesome.  But we the American tax payers should not bail them out.  We must remember that the money that is being spent in the ongoing (and escalating) relief effort is money that we do not have.  We are taking from those who are not old enough to vote.  We are suffocating our own children with every dollar of foreign aid that we spend as a nation.  

I can hear the backlash of the bleeding hearts who would say that this is cruel and heartless.  I need to clarify that I am all for providing aid to the Japanese in this time of need - but not on the backs of the American tax payer or future American tax payers.  Americans are generous and we always come to the aid of those in need.  However let each man choose what he is capable of giving based on his own financial situation.  When the President just automatically commits American resources to every natural disaster that happens around the world he commits future generations to bondage without any end in sight.  Natural disasters are unbounded.  There is no limit to the number of disasters that could or may occur around the world each year.  But the American tax payers are definitely bounded.  There is a limit to how much we can earn and how much of a burden each man can bear.  So it must be the choice of each man individually to decide how much he can give to our friends the Japanese.  And give we should - as much as we can..   individually.  We are enslaved by debt.  Each child that is born today has tens of thousands of dollars of debt when they take their first breath.   This current trajectory is unsustainable and we need to reverse this trend.  

Instead of committing tax payer dollars to this, why couldn't the President have simply said "our ally is in need and I urge all who can to give according to your ability and as your heart compels you."  The money would flow instantly and without the bureaucrats in government taking their cut off the top.  Charity is the way to deal with this.  Charity is far more efficient and we the people decide what is worthy of our charity - not a president who considers his constituents too stupid to think for themselves.  We see the need in Japan and we can and will respond without the so called "leadership " that Washington shoves down our throats.  

That's how I see it.

Preventing Mortgage Slavery


Almost everyone who lives in a traditional house that is not renting, has a mortgage on their home. This mortgage is a contract between the person who signed it and the lending institution that effectively says: "YOU ARE NO LONGER FREE TO DO WHAT YOU WANT. YOU MUST WORK TO PAY ME EVERY MONTH FOR THE NEXT 30 YEARS".

In Walden by Henry David Thoreau, the mortgage was a well established concept in America well before the American Civil War. Thoreau details how insane this is in the first chapter called Economy. He talks about how the "Civilized White Man" is a slave to his home while even the lowest among the "Savage American Indians" owned their own home.

Thoreau wrote that the native peoples were much more free than those "civilized" people from europe. The main function of the shelter was to manage heat, not to show off for the Jones family. When things were better in a different part of the country, or the things they needed to survive moved somewhere else, they could pack up their home and move in hours.

A drive for freedom mixed with current technology can allow people to have a shelter that is better than the "town people" Thoreau was talking about while the expenses would be lower than the "savages" paid.

If a person(s) is willing to "delay gratification", they could buy or put up a temporary structure that would be quite comfortable and then start building the home of their dreams that was paid for and cost orders of magnitude less than the traditional route.

For a typical $100,000 mortgage over 30 years, a person is going to actually pay $193,255.78 at 5% interest over 30 years at $536.82 per month. In addition, if that same person is taxed at a rate of 25%, you can add another $48,313.95 to that for a grand total of $241,569.73. The government and the banks really like people mortgage their homes because combined, they make well over twice what they home costs. 

In addition, it has been estimated that around 40% of the original $100,000 cost of the home exists so the government can "protect" you from things like shoddy workmanship. Not that shoddy workmanship is good, it is not. On the other hand, should safety really cost 40%?

If that same person were to lease a small piece of land and put a small YURT or EARTHBAG SHELTER, they could pay for the actual home in less than a year and then for land the next.

If you are a person with a family in tow, things may be a little more complex, but with the right attitude and vision, freedom is still available. People may think you are crazy, but then again, how crazy is it to give more to the government and banks than to the people who built your home.

As a side benefit, if you can use second hand materials or materials from the land in combination with your own labor or that of friends, you get the side benefit of having a home that you do not have to pay INCOME TAX on because you did not earn money in order to pay for it.

The Incredible Bread Machine






TOM SMITH AND HIS INCREDIBLE BREAD MACHINE
by R.W. Grant

This is a legend of success and plunder
And a man, Tom Smith, 
Who squelched world hunger.
Now Smith, an inventor, has specialized in toys.
So, people were surprised
When the found that he instead
Of making toys, was BAKING BREAD!

The way to make bread he'd conceived
Cost less than people could believe.
And not just make it!  This device
Could, in addition, wrap and slice!
The price per loaf, one loaf or many:
The miniscule sum of under a penny.

Can you image what this meant?
Can you comprehend the consequent?
The first time yet the world well fed!
And all because of Tom Smith's bread.

A citation from the President
For Smith's amazing bread.
This and other honors too
Were heaped upon his head.

But isn't it a wondrous thing
How quickly fame is flown?
Smith the hero of today - 
Tomorrow, scarcely known.

Yes, the fickle years passed by:
Smith was a millionaire,
But Smith himself was now forgot - 
Though bread was everywhere.
People, asked from where it cam,
Would very seldom know.
They would simply eat and ask,
"Was not it always so?

However, Smith cared not a bit,
For millions ate his bread,
And "Everything is find," thought he,
"I am rich and they are fed!"

Everything was fine, he thought?
He reckoned not with fate.

Note the sequence of events
Starting on the date
On which the business tax went up.
Then, to a slight extent,
The price on every loaf rose too:
Up to one full cent!

"What's going on? the public cried, 
"He's guilty  of pure plunder.
He has no right to get so rich
On other people's hunger!"

(A prize cartoon depicted Smith
With fat and drooping jowls
Snatching bread from hungry babes
Indifferent to their howls!)

Well, since the Public does come first,
It could not be denied
That in matters such as this,
The Public must decide.
So, antitrust now took a hand.
Of course, it was appalled
At what it found was going on.
The "Bread trust," it was called.

Now this was getting serious,
So Smith felt that he must
Have a friendly interview
With the men in antitrust.
So, hat in hand, he went to them.

They'd surely been misled;
No rule of law had he defied.
But the their lawyer said:
"The rule of law, in complex times,
Has proved itself deficient.
We much prefer the rule of men!
It's vastly more efficient.
Now, let me state the present rules,"
The lawyer then went on,
"These very simple guidelines
You can rely upon"
You're gouging on you prices if
You charge more than the rest.
But it's unfair competition
If you think you can charge less.

"A second point that we would make
To help avoid confusion:
Don't try to charge the same amount:
That would be collusion!
You must compete. But not too much
For if you do, you see,
Then the market would be yours
And that's monopoly!"

Price too high?  Or price too low?
Now, which charge did they make?
Well, they weren't loath to charging both
With Public Good at stake!

In fact, the went on better
They charged "monopoly!"
No muss, no fuss, oh woe is us,
Egad, they charged all three!

"Five years in jail," then the judge then said
"You're lucky it's not worse.
Robber Barons must be taught
Society Comes First!

Now, bread is baked by government.
And as might be expected,
Everything is well controlled:
The public well protected.

True, loaves cost a dollar each.
But our leaders do their best.
The selling price is half a cent.
(Taxes pay the rest!)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Why Economists Are Wrong So Often

Very few economists predict what will happen in the future correctly. Why is this "science" so unscientific? Some of the reasons include:
  • Errors in theory
  • Errors in calculations
  • Missing data
  • Faulty data
  • The wrong goals
The last is one of the most important of the bunch which I will tackle last. The first three are self explanatory so I will cover the last two.

Faulty Data

Most economists are used to thinking in the currency they use every day. The problem comes in basic assumptions about money.

Imagine this: X = 2 and X * 2 = 4

But what if X continued to move around and became 3 before you could finish punching the numbers into your calculator. You would be wrong most of the time. Only by accident would you be correct.

Our dollar is constantly moving around in value and constantly trending downwards in value. It looses about 10 - 30 % every decade. Sometimes it looses 10% in a single year as it did in 1971. 

If economists would translate theories to a weight in gold, they would have much better accuracy and could compare value at a more constant rate over larger chunks of time. Gold is not immune to people tampering with the free market value but it is much more stable than the pieces of paper we are forced to use.

The Wrong Goals

The biggest problem for me in economics are the underlying assumptions from the bean counters about what "good" is. The prevailing assumption amongst them is that "sustained growth of production" is the holy grail and is what the people at the central banks ( including the Federal Reserve ) should be trying to achieve with "monetary policy" which is done by monkeying around with our "flexible currency".

The theory goes something like this... the more efficient we get at making TV sets, the faster we will make them and that will drive down the labor cost which will lower the price.... which makes the product affordable by more people who then buy them improving their quality of life.

This assumes that having a TV set is an improvement in your "quality of life". Having more junk and debt to get that junk is not an improvement. The TV is just another way to advertise stuff that will kill you.... it says "sit here... look at all the cool stuff you need... eat this and that junk... sue someone if you are not happy..." on and on...

Quality of life should not be measured in how much junk you have.

We should not work in order to get more junk, but rather to find out what makes us happy... and then we should do that. A person should work every bit as hard to keep excess production out of the hands of those that want to sit around and think of new laws the producers should follow... keep the food you produce out of their hands and they will have to work to eat... giving them much less time to pass stupid laws.

Economics is about efficiency, but leaves out the most important thing about production which is not "can we" produce more, but "should we" produce so much that the vast majority no longer need to eat "by the sweat of their brow"... we do them no service by enabling them to sit and eat pure fat and have no physical exercise.

Peoples bodies were meant to move. Make it possible for them to choose not to work and they will... and that will be the death of them.