Economics is Easy

I’ve found some YouTube Videos that ‘splain it…
First up, how to make money with Union Membership:

How well does forced “redistribution” work?


The depth of most folks wisdom:

How about if we all do what the government does?  If it’s good for the collective, it must be just as good for each of us individually:

What Barak Obama needs to know:

Fantasy, meet History:

Thus my using the “Evil Bastard” leader in my discussions of Economics.  It doesn’t matter if you have a Communist, Socialist, Fascist, Capitalist, or any other ‘ist’ system.  Evil Bastards rise to the top and act in their own best interests.  The special genius of capitalism, to the extent it has one, is that we do not let that power fall into one set of hands; and we pit the Evil Bastards one against the other in competition.

Until some better way is found to constrain the drive for dominance and self importance of the Evil Bastards of the world, we are ill advised to try systems that have been tried many many times before, vested power in the hands a a centralized few, and inevitably ended badly.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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48 Responses to Economics is Easy

  1. omanuel says:

    Thank you, thank you, E.M. Smith! I will watch them all this evening.

    Selfishness and greed have almost destroyed society worldwide, E.M., and the current election may slip past without the problems being addressed.

    I encourage you and your readers to pose the best climate question for the 2012 presidential debate here:

    1. The New York Times Dot Earth:
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/

    2. Professor Curry’s Climate Etc :
    http://judithcurry.com/2012/10/08/whats-the-best-climate-question-to-debate/

    PS – I suggested two questions:

    1. Is Earth’s heat source a pulsar? [Nature 270, 159-160 (1977)]
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v270/n5633/abs/270159a0.html

    2. Is it stormy or stable? [National Geographic (July 2004); LPSC XXIX, 1041 (March 2001)]
    http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0407/feature1/index.html
    http://www.omatumr.com/lpsc.prn.pdf

    And then combined them into one:

    3. Does AGW advance the goals of a tyrannical one-world government by ignoring the force that extends from the powerful solar pulsar core out another 100 AU (astronomical unit = Earth to Sun distance) beyond our beautiful, water-covered, life-sustaining planet ? [“Voyager’s long good-bye – NASA probes find surprises at the edge of the Solar System,” Nature 489, 20-21 (2012)]
    http://www.nature.com/news/voyager-s-long-goodbye-1.11348

  2. Pascvaks says:

    Has anyone noticed that there seems to be a heck of a lot more “Evil Bastards” than there used to be? I can’t figure out if it’s because society has turned away from the Almighty (I saw something on Drudge this morning that “One-Third Of Adults Under 30 Have No Religious Affiliation” — I would have thought it was higher than that). Guess they turned to the Almighty Dollar; I have a feeling they’re in for a big shock soon and will be rediscovering and getting some old time religion. Maybe it has more to do with the climate? Beautiful weather, skimpy clothes, plenty of food, good health, no need to chop firewood, etc.? I have a feeling they’re in for another big shock soon in that department and will be rediscovering and getting some more of that old time religion. Peace and quiet, no need to do much but pay a few kids to protect us from the bad guys? Hummmm.. more change there too? Big China! Nice China! China like Little Americans! China no bite! China nice doggy! China sit! China roll-over! China work hard, make nice things for us! (One day China gonna’ stand up and tell little boys and girls in America something they not going to want to hear?) Has anyone noticed that there seems to be a heck of a lot more “Evil Bastards” and stupid idiots than there used to be?

  3. Pascvaks says:

    PS: Adversity makes people strong. Strong people make things happen, sometimes great things. Strong people have strong countries. In time people and countries grow old and weak. Observation/Question – Not saying the West has all gone Greek, Italian, or Spanish since 1989 and the fall of the Evil Empire, but I’m finding it more and more difficult to see the 1989 West in the 2012 West; has anyone ever read of a great civilization that ever came back and shot to new heights like a Dow Market Average ticker after it hit its peak and started to crumble. I mean, how do fat, privilaged, undereducated, weak kids who have never known adversity make good things happen (let’s not even talk about occassionaly making great things happen)? Was Obama/Biden a quirk of political happenstance, how about GM, Kaliforniastan, Chicago teachers, illegal immigrants, obamacare, deadlocked congresses, bankrupt cities, jailbird governors, etc., or were they and many other happenings the result of decay, rot, structural failure, lack of maintenance, and all that? Romney won’t be able to stop much from pulling us apart without a lot of help in the Senate and House, and those bozos aren’t going to do a damn thing unless the folks back home are screaming bloody murder. Of course we haven’t even mentioned the gihadist/islamists out to cut our throats, or the sissy EU mob who are waiting for US to pull their fat asses out of the fire again, and then there’s little old nice friendly happy helpful China. (I really do smell smoke;-)

  4. philjourdan says:

    #1 – The Abbott and Costello routine brought home a point I saw recently made. Somethings just do not translate into other languages!

    #2 – The Anime routine is pure liberalism. But that is evident when you talk to them. Just like Pol Pot’s Cambodia, all the liberals think they will be the new rulers once totalitarianism is enacted. But when the top cock gets the reigns, they are the first to go because they are the primary threat to the rule maker. Trotsky was probably a very loyal Leninist.

  5. Power Grab says:

    @ philjourdan re #2:

    Who got knocked off first in Cambodia? The opponents of the winner, or the foolish supporters of the winner?

  6. Power Grab says:

    @ Pascvaks:

    Yes, I have noticed there do seem to be more Evil Bastards than before. I am old enough to remember when the folks at the top of the food chain at least cultivated a persona of decency and integrity. They seemed to be trying to further the ideals embodied in the US Constitution. Now, they seem to be trying to further the ideals of the Underworld. The folks with the power seem to be trying really hard to turn otherwise decent people into criminals. I keep thinking they _want_ to drive ordinary people to the dark side; that is, make them do things that violate their morals, make them do things that leave them feeling guilty and empty and unable to stand up to temptation. Is that because they will then become their slaves?

    Heh – I have told my kid that, if it ever _seems_ like things have been financially tight for our family thus far, without our having broken any laws, it’s scary to even imagine how little disposable income we would have if we had to do things like pay lawyers, fines, high medical bills, high insurance, etc. due to legal infractions or hanging around with bad company. So don’t even think about going there!

  7. E.M.Smith says:


    Milton Freidman on collectivism and ‘inequality’….

  8. philjourdan says:

    Power Grab – The supporters. The opponents were defeated when Pol Pot came to power, so they were no longer a threat.

  9. Zeke says:

    Here is a video series my son and I have watched – and to my delight, of course the lad is brilliant – he said “I think Hayek is right.” (; :D

    It is very important to communicate basic ideas about economic freedom to your young children. What they hear from you, I think it is safe to assume, is all they will ever learn about the importance of self-motivated and self-organized economic activity and the freedom of the individual.

    Here is another series that can help explain some of the basics to the young ones.

  10. We are wetting our britches because the PRC (People’s Republic of China) is gaining power while the USA is losing it. One can gain some understanding of the reasons by watching the videos above, especially the ones featuring Milton Friedman.

    Economic miracles such as those we are witnessing today in the PRC depend on people who are prepared to work hard and rulers who will let them benefit from their efforts. The economy of the PRC would have collapsed decades ago but for a strange thing that happened in Xiaogang:
    http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/01/20/145360447/the-secret-document-that-transformed-china

    The miracles that blossomed from Xiaogang rest on shaky foundations because the “Party” still represses those who lack the right political connections. Businesses in China are still subject to arbitrary government siezure:

    “Yen Hongchang told us he started a couple businesses over the years, but the local communist party took them away once they became profitable. He also said that the new new factories springing up around Xiaogang these days are largely empty, and haven’t created many jobs.”

    If the USA has anything to fear from the PRC it is because we are de-motivating our wealth creators to an even greater extent than they are.

    Look out for the second part of the “Atlas Shrugged” movie which is intended to be a small “October Surprise”.
    http://www.gallopingcamel.info/Freedom.htm

  11. When I arrived in the USA in 1982 I was astounded to discover that individual freedoms here were far superior to what I was used to in England. There is a strong correlation between individual freedom, economic freedom and prosperity. If you do not believe me check out this link:
    http://www.heritage.org/index/default

    There are only a handful of “Free” economies in the world and it was a big shock to me when the USA dropped into the “Mostly Free” category in 2010. Since then the slide has accelerated so we have fallen to 10th place in the “Index of Economic Freedom” and our treasury bonds are no longer AAA rated.

    The leading “Free” economies are still to be found in Hong Kong and Singapore. What may raise a few eyebrows is that the USA has been overtaken by………..CHILE. The USA ranks 10th in economic freedom compared to Chile’s 7th place. Chile’s rise can be traced to (you guessed it) good government. For example, Chile has a government pension plan that is essentially a 403(b). If you are a Chilean your state pension is real money in an account with your name on it. Not a “Lock Box” containing a bunch of IOUs.

  12. Sera says:

    Economics may be easy, but lip reading is hard…

  13. Bulaman says:

    “You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving.The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.” ~~~~ Dr. Adrian Rogers, 1931

  14. David says:

    Are there more, Evil Bastards? Actually I think not. My thesis is not that power corrupts, but power REVEALS corruption. E.M. well stated…”The special genius of capitalism, to the extent it has one, is that we do not let that power fall into one set of hands; and we pit the Evil Bastards one against the other in competition.” Just as capitalism accepts an aspect of selfishness as inherent and not good or evil, it just exists, so likewise the desire for power is an inherent human quality. Selfishness and power are not necessairly bad, however they beome “bad” when they convince an individual or group that it is OK to walk over another, to force them to do what they think is correct to achieve their goal. This is “corruption” revealed, and why Jefferson called goverment a “necessary evil” The Hitlers and Stalin’s of the world were just as corrupt before they became national leaders. Likewise the current world crisis is not the result of more “evil bastards”, but the result of more “evil bastards” having power, and of the US forgetting the wisdom of the founding father’s.

    E.M further wrote…”Until some better way is found to constrain the drive for dominance and self importance of the Evil Bastards of the world, we are ill advised to try systems that have been tried many many times before, vested power in the hands a a centralized few, has inevitably ended badly” I.M.V; the “better way” is what used to be called wisdom, and a scientific study and social understanding of happiness. When the majority of individuals understand that their first responsability is to take care of themselves, and not be a burden, and their second opportunity/responsability is to contribute to society, be it family, neighbors, or humanity as a whole, then, with individual liberty, a happy society will result. Any scientific study of “happiness” , will reveal that the happiest people are self suffcient, and perform their work in the spirit of serving others. I have witnessed this in thousands of employees that I have hired over thirty five years.

    Our goverment programs give and give, expecting nothing in return, We have regressed from the protestand work ethic, to “I owe, I owe, it off to work I go”, to “I’m owed, I’m owed, its off to the government I go. This, in a nut shell, is what the occupy movement means to me, foolish people inviting themselves into servitude and slavery to the “evil bastards”

  15. adolfogiurfa says:

    Everything changes in the world with the exception of evil bastards´ names, and precisely that is the problem: There are no changes, no competition up there. One may expect some changes from time to time, just following the natural laws where everything gets birth, grows, gets older and dies. In order to avoid competition, which it is the basis of capitalism, “they” managed the disappearance of local “evil bastards” which may eventually grow enough to impede their total takeover of world´s assets, when they planned and applied everywhere “land reform/sustainability/environmental protection”…

  16. adolfogiurfa says:

    @gallopingcamel: Those institutions which administrate pension funds are called there AFP´s which means “Administration of pension funds”, the same work in Peru and they would solve the entitlements problem in the USA..
    But…as for Chile, it has fell prey of the “sustainability” scam predators (acting through NGO´s and UN) and it is about to have big problems in energy supply.

  17. gallopingcamel says:

    adolfogiurfa,
    The USA is still a great place if you have a job but it is not so great for retirees. Retirement is looming so I have checked out Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia. Currently I am leaning towards Llano Grande near the Medellin airport.

    Chile caught my attention when it shot up in the “Economic Freedom” rankings. I also plan to visit Ecuador and Peru.

    The top seven countries in the Heritage rankings are Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada and Chile. It is interesting to note that like Chile, Australia and New Zealand are afflicted with climate nuttiness.

  18. omanuel says:

    Capitalism is tightly linked with political freedom, as Zeke pointed out above.

    Our problem today is the USSR out-maneuvered Allied scientists and leaders of Allied nations at the negotiating table in 1945, convincing them to abandon three documents that acknowledged the Divine rights of American citizens, in order to save the world from nuclear annihilation by establishing the United Nations on 24 Oct 1945:

    a.) The 1776 Declaration of Independence
    _ http://www.ushistory.org/declaration/document/

    b.) The 1787 US Constitution, ratified in 1788
    _ http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/constitution_transcript.html

    c.) The 1789 US Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791
    _ http://www.ushistory.org/documents/amendments.htm

    Here’s the rest of the story of the sixty-seven year (2012 – 1945 = 67 yr) collapse of capitalism, constitutional government, religious freedom and integrity of government science:

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1369

  19. David says:

    regarding gallopingcamel says:
    11 October 2012 at 2:43 am
    =============================

    My only caution with retireing in another nation would be to question what will happen to ypur income if that nation decides the dollar is of little worth?

  20. adolfogiurfa says:

    @David: That is not a matter of decision of any government but of your federal reserve. Here in Peru the rate of exchange it was 3.50 per dollar, yesterday morning at the bank was at 2.52 per US dollar, and after QE3 chances are that it will worth nothing at all in a few months. You won´t get it or even feel it until it´s too late, because of all the entitlements as food stamps,etc.

  21. adolfogiurfa says:

    The “business” behind every “planned” economic collapse is to buy assets which before were in the hands of local people, for almost nothing, specially LAND PROPERTIES, the most valuable asset as the most valuable asset is FOOD.

  22. omanuel says:

    @gallopingcamel and David:

    Probably there is no way to escape the disaster ahead, no matter where you run.

    Almost the entire world is now governed by leaders like those that governed the old USSR. Economic collapse of Western currencies may well be part of their plan. It appears so.

    The good news is that RTG (reality, truth, God) will again prove to be all powerful, unyielding and victorious.

    The bad news is that SSS (sin, selfishness, self-centeredness) has always been the most powerful foe of RTG

    As mentioned above, our problem today is the USSR out-maneuvered Allied scientists and leaders of Allied nations at the negotiating table in 1945, convincing them to abandon constitutional limits on government in order to save the world from nuclear annihilation by establishing the United Nations on 24 Oct 1945

    The wrong side now has the upper hand in the age-old battle between God and Ego:

    See: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1292
    And: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1369

    With deep regrets,
    -Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  23. adolfogiurfa says:

    We, as the slaves of this Brave New World, the new “gammas” are supposed not to have any property at all but a rented cubicle at mega-cities, as planned by the Fabian Society:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabian_Society
    Though all this was engineered many years before the French Revolution, by the then lenders/bankers in Europe to achieve the control of assets, until then in the hands of local lords, the monarchy or the Church. This is what “land reform” is all about, among other ways & methods applied, including “socialism”, “communism”, “free enterprise”, “global markets”, “left and right” (both composed by obedient butlers, paid by the masters left overs),etc.

  24. adolfogiurfa says:

    @E.M.: So….”Economics is easy”: LAND; LAND and LAND, ….

  25. Pascvaks says:

    Thoughts –
    @ Power Grab says: “..Yes, I have noticed there do seem to be more Evil Bastards than before. I am old enough to remember when the folks at the top of the food chain at least cultivated a persona of decency and integrity…”
    Perhaps it’s more of a “Change of Rules = Change of Game” thing – when society changes the rules doesn’t everything change? “The Code” has sure changed and there does seem to be a lot more blood and guts on the playing field. As I recall, Caesar Augustus had similiar problems in the Empire way back when and he was out to put some honor and integrity back in the Roman psychie. Remember the fundamental game rules of personal and social conduct back in European North America in 1601? How about the USA of 1801? How about the USA of 2001? When someone changes the rules they sure change the game alright. You think anyone back in 1601 or 1801 had any problems defining ‘pornography’ and sending someone to the stocks or to jail for the commission thereof? Today we don’e even know what the meaning of “is” is.

    @OManuel – About the USSR out maneuvering the West after WWII, I think you’re giving much too much credit where little to none is due. When we shoot ourselves in the foot or head it is not the gun’s fault.

    @All – The easiest and surest way to get the West back on track, and saying their prayers, and acting like ‘rules’ and decency and integrity are important in everything they do, is to scare the livin’ hell out of them. (DING! DONG!) Excuse me. (he walks to the door, answers it, and returns in a moment) Well, I think are problems are just about solved, the Chinese want to run the world and make us –well, some of us– work for them, and the Jihadists want to kill us all and send us to hell; anyone have a preference for which offer we take? They’ve given us a little time to think it over;-)

  26. adolfogiurfa says:

    I wonder, at this point, that if we humans are affected by the cosmological environment, just because the last big change in social arrangement started in the 1600´s, under the circumstances of another Solar minimum, the Maunder. Perhaps this time there will be another “turn of the screw”, another turn of an evolving spiral movement, where we´ll pass through the same Z coordinates than in the last event, so we will turned around again to the same institutions, such as monarchy or feudalism, but in a new way. What do you think of this?, provided, as the new paradigmatic change, that of the electric universe or plasma universe, makes possible to think in such an interconnection with the cosmological environment.

  27. Zeke says:

    Power and electricity in abundance – and independent of Central Control – is the most important goal you can set for your life right now. The only price you will have to pay for Electric freedom is the release of paradigms taught to you by the experts and academics. Andrea Rossi is working on his hot cat, Randell Mills has patented BlackLight power, and Eric J Lerner is researching focus fusion devices.

    It is second only to your spiritual state in determining the quality, happiness and productivity of your life.

  28. Mark T says:

    Pascvaks: there are more because the only system that has a hope of keeping them in check is ignored by the world writ large. The evil bastards know this and steer our information towards feeding their continued dominance.

    Mark

  29. Mark T says:

    Adolfo: there is only one “turn” that society will ever see that helps and that requires an average intellectual capability that is thousands of years in the future.

    We simply are not smart enough to know better… yet.

    Mark

  30. M Simon says:

    The proliferation of bastards always happens under a prohibition regime. The trouble is that the last time we had one that was so difficult that everyone noticed was 80 years ago. Most of the people who lived through what happened are dead.

    “The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It’s possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government.” – William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995

    Prohibitions corrupt government.

  31. M Simon says:

    Ah yes. Electrical power. Rossi is smoke and mirrors. Mills is not producing power plants. And Lerner has a few technical difficulties to overcome. But people are ALWAYS looking for a savior. There are none. What we are stuck with is incremental advances in technology and muddling through. Now if only government would get out of the way.

  32. adolfogiurfa says:

    @M Simon: Do you know why the “White” House is white? :-)

  33. M Simon says:

    The sin is not pornography or greed or any of the multitude of sins mentioned here. The sin that is killing us is lifelessness. Who wants to change the world? Quitcherbitchin and do it.

    A relistening to Dylan’s “Desolation Row” might be instructive.

  34. M Simon says:

    adolf,

    Paint.

  35. adolfogiurfa says:

    It´s a joke currently heard down here.

  36. E.M.Smith says:

    @Sera:

    As I’m partially deaf, I depend on lipreading a little bit in some circumstances. (for about 30 years since my eardrums were blown out and surgically reconstructed… so it’s been long enough that I do it subconsciously).

    MOST of the time, it’s a fairly seamless ECC / reconstruction of the heard stream via visual cuing. Sometimes something “goes horridly wrong”…. and often it’s just “hilariously wrong”…. so in essence I live in a ‘bad lipreading world’ sometimes….

    While generally the “context correction” turns things like “Kill 90% of gems on contac” into “Kills 90% of germs on contact”. Sometimes there’s not enough context and the dropouts are too much to recover via syntax / vocabulary completion / lip shape / whatever…. So sometimes I hear things like “Krill nine purses on contract” ;-) Most of the time those are “obviously wrong” and I can ask for a ‘resend’ (NAK!) Sometimes they are ambiguous but suspect and I ask for a resend. (“Active listening skills” are your friend… “Can you expand on that?”…)

    But sometimes I get “uncorrectable and not suspect enough” that can lead to puzzlement…. Over the years I’ve gotten very good at the “ask them three times” to confirm things, just to be sure. So “Say again?” “OK, when do you want that done? On what terms?” “That was ‘do foo here’ and with what specifics, just to be sure”? Degree and depth of retransmission requests and the variety of them depends on the quality of the original message and how sure I am of the result, along with the consequences of a ‘bad transmission’… so “Scrub that machine” will likely get a couple of extra checks… and “I want a divorce” vs “I won the Tivos” will get several several extra extra checks, as neither one is likely nor ‘a small deal’…

    There used to be a comedian who was bilaterally deaf who’s whole act was based on ‘what deaf people actually hear’ vs what realty would be…. Loved his stuff. It does make for a humorous world, though. So when getting a coffee mocha and they ask “What kind of milk?” (that seems to not make sense the first time you hear it at Whole Foods coffee shop) and the brain turns it into “Wonk hind off ilk?” well… it can be fairly easily re-run to turn it into what was expected… though one wonders what ‘hind’ they were talking about and what my ‘ilk’ might be ;-) ( I know I can be wonky… so that doesn’t get questioned ;-)

    At any rate, I love those ‘bad lipreading’ videos simply because they ARE what happens with lip reading. Something like 60% of the information is NOT on the lips, so “Many such journeys are possible” (Startrek quote) and it mostly just helps on audio dropouts.

    @Adolfo:

    Still fixated on land, eh? It’s just dirt. I’d rather have a hydroponics greenhouse in a highrise than an acre of dirt… The Dutch have plans for highrise pig farms…

    Heck, I’d really rather have a decent sized ship than dirt. Then again, long family history of sailors… and I love to eat fish ;-)

    Paradigms change when people are suffering enough to toss off the old Evil Bastards in exchange for new ones. That often comes at cold times / grand minima. Simply put, hungry starving people stop paying alms to the Established Gods and Rulers as they have failed to provide… Expect to see the same this time (especially in heavily populated areas with poor ‘leverage’ over other food providing areas). Middle East, Europe, Asia. (Yes, it is related to land… but doesn’t have to be… except that people are not doing what it takes to grow food without land…)

    @Mark T:

    We’re getting stupider. Average brain size is LESS than for Cro Magnon. Much less than for Neanderthal. Civilization lets folks survive on less mental ability and brains cost a lot of energy to run, so species only evolve larger ones when there is lots of benefit to supporting it. At present, we’re headed the other way toward “energy conservation” via smaller brain size…

    It would be nice if we were going the other way… but we’re not. (FWIW, I think the population is bifurcating. Eventually we will be two different types…

    As we move that way, expect to see a social ‘revolution’ into more “ranchers” and “cattle”… and those in the “middle” being slowly stamped out by both ends… (nobody wants a smart troublesome cow / bull and stupid ranchers die out…)

    @M. Simon:

    I do what I can… ( Like that whole series looking at the guts of GIStemp and being on TV about it…) Oh, and a dozen other things like the C isotope ratio analysis and…

    IMHO one of THE best things we could do is legalize the personal growing of MJ and Coca. It would destroy the corrupting influence at the expense of those folks who are already being damaged by it (but would likely be LESS damaged if they had to ‘roll their own’…) Prohibition is one of those “sounds good and does bad” things that folks regularly fall for.

    IMHO, if “government would bet out of the way” we would already be energy independent. Only ONE exception: I’d put a tariff on non-North American oil landed in the USA such that the wholesale crude price was $80. (Price above that gets no tariff, price of $50 gets a $30 tariff). It costs nothing (as price is above that point) but insures investments in alternatives. Inside 5 years we’d have more domestic production than we could consume…

    @Zeke:

    One can only hope… but… “Hope is not a strategy. -E.M. Smith”…

    @Pascvaks:

    I’d assert that the history of Kings and Popes shows that we’ve always had LOTS of Evil Bastards. Frankly, I want more of them, not less. The “end game” of despotism is ONE Evil Bastard monopolizing all power. (Be it King, Emperor, Pope, or Mullah). I’d rather have many Evil Bastards fighting each other than a few crushing me… (having already crushed the lesser Evil Bastard Wannabes).

    IMHO, a careful reading of history shows that we were pretty much decent folks in the many thousands of years BC (that city in Latin America with no defensive provisions at all, the first city) and have slowly headed into ever worse since, up to about the Byzantines vs Islam. Then we started a slow crawl up to The Enlightenment ( a brief shining light) and have been drifting back down since ( Socialism in both Nazi and Communist forms, plus “Euro-Socialism-Lite” hyper regulation.) Time will tell if the downslide wins and we end up back at Byzantium vs Islam / China or if we can have a Returning Enlightenment…

    What I expect is a nuclear war on the “Middle East / Pakistan-India / Koreas” axis, highest probability wanders around, but right now I’d put it at M.E. first. OTOH, N. Korea says they can drop a nuke on MY head… (Time to move to Texas? ;-)

    I think that will be the start of The Change, if the collapse of the E.U. and US Debt Implosion don’t do it first… ( Which reminds me, I need to get back to that fiction story before events run ahead of it…. so much to do… but needed to make a more secure internet platform first… which I now have in ‘good enough’ form…)

    @OManuel:

    It is for that very reason that I encouraged my kids to pursue a religious path. I’m “sort of religious” (in that I’ve spent a heck of a lot of learning time on it and know it pretty well – in many forms of religion, not just Judeo-Christian-Islam forms – so I’m currently working on my Master of Druid degree among others…) but not “imbued with the Spirit”… too intellectual I think… At any rate, as an ‘inoculation’ against a lot of other crap to come, both were encouraged to follow their Mother into a more intense commitment.

    With that mind set, it doesn’t matter what happens around them, they are centered and anchored enough to come through intact.

    @Kevin B:

    Nice ;-)

    @Zeke:

    Also nice ;-)

    More in a moment… want to make a cup of tea… so I’ll be right back…

  37. M Simon says:

    Chief,

    I was about to look up Desolation Row but decided to give this thread one last look. Thanks!

  38. M Simon says:

    Here is what I’m up to these days. http://www.ecnmag.com/tags/Blogs/M-Simon/

  39. E.M.Smith says:

    @M. Simon:

    You’re welcome!

    @Pascvaks:

    Civilizations move in waves, so yes. sometimes the same “player” comes back from the edge. Germany had the Holy Roman Empire (and even earlier had invaded Rome a time or two). Then had that whole Nazi Empire thing… Now it’s building the E.U. Empire with Germany “First among equals”…

    Russia had the Czarist empire (and before that the Viking Rus) and later the Russian Empire of the USSR, now the Putin Empire.

    The robes and songs change, the players and plot stay the same, but with a different rhyme…

    @PhilJourdan:

    “All translation transforms”… part of what makes other languages fun is learning about your own…

    Very Good Point: Very Frequently in oppressive regimes, the “first supporters” become the first “national heroes”; posthumously of course… Like when Hitler did in his first closest supporters…
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Long_Knives

    @Power Grab:

    What I think you are observing is the drift from The Enlightenment to the Progressive Moral Relativism….

    Per the layers of laws: IMHO it’s simply a matter of wanting such a web of things that everyone is violating something at some time; then who gets arrested becomes a simple political decision of whom to investigate… At one time I figured I could be continuously in the commission of a felony were I not careful… (The “roomy” in college liked to smoke MJ and at the time possession of ANY amount was a felony, so simply getting one of his seeds in my ‘storage box’ would have me a felon until I cleaned out that box. Figured that out when packing at college one year and one of his seeds was in the bottom of the box I was given… )

    Also as I hung out with cops a lot, more than once was told “I can always find SOMETHING to bust someone for, if I need to.” As I studied more of “how to be a cop” I found that was ever more true. At one time (in the ’80s?) I published a list of common things found at the local hardware store that could be used to make a bomb. Why? Because they were wanting to make “possession of bomb making materials” a felony. In one stroke, EVERY hardware store owner would be a perpetual felon. Sulphur powder for mold / mildew. Charcoal briquets. Stump remover. Pipe and end caps. DIY Pipe Bomb. BTW, you can do the same thing with match heads and pipe / end caps; so any plumbing supply store with matches is also “possessing bomb making materials”… I could go on, (house, light candle, open gas line in other room, leave) but it makes me ill… ;-) So if you have a house with gas service or propane (or a propane BBQ) and any ignition source you have “bomb making materials”… Or if you have acetylene and coins or …

    @GallopingCamel:

    When I was a kid, I started a business. Zero “paperwork” and nobody bothered me. Made and sold costume jewelry. Today they bust kids with lemonade stands… At about 12 years old, we’d ride our bikes out to the ‘boonies’ and go shooting tin cans and stuff. Can you imagine what would hapen today with a 12 year old kid on a bike with a rifle?… We had nearly no violent crime, as every house had a gun behind the door… We didn’t even have working locks on the doors until I was in college. (Mom was then living alone, and times were changing… so on one tip home I installed door locks. I remember going to Disneyland at about 10? when Dad just hollered at the neighbor “Be gone about a week, keep an eye on the place. Coffee in the cupboard.” or some such.

    We’re not that nation any more.

    Chile lived under a despot for a generation and “learned”. It will be good until THAT generation (and maybe their kids) dies off. Then the cycle will repeat. It is a cycle., all that changes is the rate… USA has been on a very slow rate, hopefully we can grind it to a halt (and maybe back up a step or two…) but I doubt it. And… “Hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith”

    @Bulaman:

    Wonderful quote. I could only add to it that the Government in doing the transfer, no matter how noble the goal, always creams off a large chunk for OTHER undeserving – the bureaucrats…

    @David:

    Pretty much describes things correctly. Those “Leaders” are also all too willing to accept the role of “picking winners and losers” (or making more losers to keep them in power if the number falls too low…)

    To be free and successful, the first step is to be ruthlessly honest with yourself. About facts. About the nature of human nature. About what is actually subject to change, and what is simply aspirational and doomed to create more evil, not less, no matter the intent.

    BTW, you can do foreign exchange hedges to defend the value of your pension dollars…

    Personally, I’m attracted to some “back woods” parts of the USA. Panama and some other Latin places are interesting, but Latin countries have a remarkable history of instability, so keep the passport current… New Zealand was a great place when I visited. Other than that supervolcano risk and a welfare state risk and some AGW risk it’s well isolated from global insanity ;-)

  40. E.M.Smith says:

    @M Simon:

    Interesting stuff… Likely to be a day or two before I can do more than read the top page summaries. Graphene semiconductors, eh? Who knew ….

  41. p.g.sharrow says:

    You may also want to check out:
    http://www.extremetech.com/extreme/134910-nanocellulose-a-cheap-conductive-stronger-than-kevlar-wonder-material-made-from-wood-pulp
    Material made from wood may have many uses and can be created very cheaply. pg

  42. omanuel says:

    @E.M.Smith

    You were wise to encourage your kids to pursue a religious path. I was angry with dogmatic religionists, until I discovered their identical twins disguised as dogmatic consensus scientists.

    Now I see no conflict between science and religion, and I see no difference between reality, truth and God.

    I use RTG to represent reality, truth, God as the one indescribable, uncompromising foundation of both science and religion.

    Both teach that deceitful, selfish, would-be tyrants will lose in their battle to enslave mankind.

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1369

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G.Sharrow:

    Fascinating stuff…. Have to wonder though about that glowing praise for how safe it is as it’s just plant stuff… Lots of plant stuff is deadly. Microsized materials often have physical chemistry and biochemistry far different from bulk, and just about any nano sized particles are ‘not so good’ for things like lungs…

    Also wondering how water proof and termite proof it is ;-)

    Still, I could see a way to make interesting body armor out of it, I wonder what a lead bullet with a layer of this around it would do (perhaps lead, layer, copper plating jacket) as a very stiffened penetrator, could see making some interesting aviation parts (like wings) out of it, and the idea of printed circuits made from it has potential…

    Might be interesting to see what happens if you ‘absorb’ into it a KNO3 / sulphur mix ;-)

    As I think about it, making a bullet from a mass of this stuff, with heavy metal powder mixed into a matrix, ought to make an interesting “composite bullet”. Use, oh, powdered tungsten or even DU, mold it, plate with copper / gilding metal. Might need a sabot to avoid barrel wear. Still, ought to end up with a very strong very hard (body armor penetrating?) round that would burn readily (for the DU) and might have some interesting decomposition modes for other mixes (so the ‘evidence’ might dissolve in the body leaving a pile of metal dust…)

    I could also see an interesting use in “rapid structures” where a inflated structure could have a skin that ‘breaths’. So you inflate the core, then fill the skin interlayer with sludge and wait for it to dry. What’s left ought to be rather strong… Perhaps enough to be used in a “portable bridge” that just gets ‘inflated and dried’…

    Hmmm… the mind is wandering ;-)

    Tires with cord and belts made from it? (Temperature / flex behaviour limits?)

    Disposable sleeping bags with shredded paper filler and this stuff for the ‘skins’…

    Depending on how it breaks down in the body / when wet (perhaps with special coatings) potentially useful as suture material (retention sutures in particular need strength).

    Special Forces ropes that are very light and strong…. and look like fishing line or string…

    Might be interesting to make flower pots out of it (again depending on water / decomposition behaviour) and / or hydroponic media.

    Hmmm…. A “cellulose based bomb” was a plot device in a movie… so maybe a nice ‘no evidence’ bomb / missile / fire bomb. IFF the circuits and body et all can be made of the stuff, you just have batteries (hey, use Duracell and nobody would notice ;-) and not much else left over. (Blend some ‘accelerator’ into the stuff so it burns up on detonation) Heck, it’s transparent so even the optics ought to be possible…

    I think I better stop now…

  44. p.g.sharrow says:

    Man! how much of that old “Stump Blower” did you test? ;-) pg

  45. Chiefio,
    On arriving in the USA in 1982 I bought a house in Holland Township in New Jersey (the lowest property taxes in the entire state). My next door neighbor asked me to feed his cat while he was on vacation so I asked him for a key to his house. His reply: the door is not locked!

    Back then we all had way too much tomatos, zuchinis, egg plants etc. so it was standard practice to bag surplus veggies up and put them on a table at the side of the road. Folks would come by, pick up what they wanted and put the appropriate amount of loose change in an open box. One of our neighbors sold eggs at $0.25/dozen.

    Easy pickings for thieves? Maybe not. Some folks came knocking on doors with the idea of removing what they fancied if nobody was home. They were on their third house when they were arrested.

    For this camel just off the boat from the UK, all this was totally mind blowing.

  46. I took the whole family to see “Atlas Shrugged” part 2 this evening. It was pretty good but it ended with the appearance of John Galt so there is still one third of Ayn Rand’s book left. I guess that means that there will be a “part 3”.

    There was no sign of Ragnar Danneskjöld, which represents a good decision by the producers of the movie. A “Captain Nemo” character who can evade modern naval powers is unecessary to the theme and strains our ability to “suspend disbelief”.

    There were some nice touches such as folks who looked like the “Occupy Wall Street” crowd and government officials who bribe or blackmail with gusto.

  47. E.M.Smith says:

    @P.G.:

    About 8 ounces… NOT black powder… Enclosed space (concrete) walls. Details in person only.

    @GallopingCamel:

    In my home town, someone would likely have been met at the exit from the FIRST house with the muzzle of a gun…

    I had a rental house there for a while. The whole place is about 2 miles across, with a couple of extra miles of ‘lead in’ along the highway. When I’d drive up, the tenant would come meet me at the door, having been told of my car entering town by a local with a phone… One of the downsides of a small town You can’t spit without it being the topic of gossip for 2 days… So someone “unknown” or “unlikely to belong” bringing something out of a house? I’d give ’em about 2 minutes to “cops arrive” and / or “neighbor on porch with shotgun”… At least, ‘back in the day’…

    We had road side fruit stands too. Open box. Sometimes a sign like “$2 / bag for peaches” or whatever. Occasionally still see one. (Saw one down south of Gilroy a few months back). House in the background about 1/4 mile away with view of the box, though…

    The place isn’t completely shot to hell yet ;-)

    I left a bike on the driveway once for a couple of days. Never moved. Went away for a long weekend. Garage with tools and stuff in it. Hit the door close on the remote, but didn’t hang around to watch. “Something” was in the way, so the door closed, almost, then re-opened. Came back 3 days later to wide open garage (and figured it out…) with not a thing touched. I like my neighborhood ;-) Occasionally we’ve had times when things were not the best (and a similar garage door open had a box of cheap tools ‘go walkies’ right after the ‘poor gardeners’ did the house 2 doors down… and we were gone.) But most of the time it’s very comfortable…

    Atlas Shrugged sounds pretty good. I couldn’t finish the book, so been planning on the movie. Like completion, though, so likely will do it ‘all in one go’ on DVD when part 3 is out…

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