Inflation

The other day Kevin made a post about the inflated price of reloading ammunition.

Today I was looking at the price of Ammonium Nitrate which is the principle ingredient in Boomerite.

In 2005 I paid $0.14/pound.

In 2007 I paid $0.50/pound.

In 2012 I paid $0.99/pound (see also the pictures of it here).

Today it costs $1.06/pound.

The price of freedom supplies keeps going up.

Update: As requested by Paul Koning I have expressed it in ounces of gold per ton of AN:

  • 2005: 0.655
  • 2007: 1.525
  • 2012: 1.169
  • 2014: 1.669

Quote of the day—Doug Huffman

We were horrified, and rightly so, at Adolf Hitler’s solution to the problem. But we haven’t got a solution to the problem either.

Doug Huffman
August 16, 2014
[No. No any sort of mythical “Jewish problem.” The problem Doug was talking about was what to do with those people that are “unfit” to support themselves because they are too stupid, crazy, or lazy. In our society we are on track for an Idiocracy type “solution”.

Doug and I talked late into the night on this and other somewhat related topics.

The problem as I see it is that our ethics are appropriate for a tribe but they don’t scale to a population of a million people let along a population of 300+ million. When we see someone, children in particular, hungry or in need of care we help them even if they will never be able (or choose) to support themselves.

In a tribe of a 100 to 200 people everyone know everyone else and the peer pressure significantly reduces the freeloader problem. As soon as there is anonymity freeloaders become an essentially unsolvable problem. And with large numbers of people combined with a society in possession of advanced technology in the essentials of life it now becomes possible to support those that cannot support themselves as well as those who chose not support themselves.

And with that support of those who cannot and choose not to support themselves we end up, literally, breeding more of them. We are scared, perhaps even justifiably horrified, of the risks of the government assuming the power to mandate some people not be allowed to reproduce or to raise their children the way they see fit.

I see horrific outcomes in either of the two “solutions”.

There is at least one other potential solution. It is, as I see it, the least unpleasant of the available alternatives and as you might expect, the least likely path for our society to take.

That potential solution is for our Federal government to stay within it Constitutional bounds. If the individual states or counties or cities wanted to experiment with government welfare or “free healthcare” then those experiments could have run their course over the last 200+ years.

What I expect would have happened is with enough of these type of experiments being run that people would realize there are some people that we just have to let “nature take its course” with. We would have a lot fewer freeloaders. We would have a constant, but small, set of tragic cases of people that could not support themselves and could not convince family and/or friends to support them.

There would be heart wrenching cases and people would organize charities (Shriners, Elks Club, Eagles Club, Salvation Army, etc.). to help those for whom help was appropriate. The decision to help or “let nature take its course” would be done in more of a “tribe environment” for which our ethics were “designed” for.

I don’t see how our society can get from where we are now to the “least bad of the available options” without a lot of pain, suffering, and death. It’s like trying to solve a global optimization problem when the slopes of the sides of current local optimum are steep and high.

Nature is “going to take it’s course” with us. All of us. I’m certain many, perhaps even a large percentage of, people will survive the big “challenges” ahead. But I cannot predict if those challenges will send our descendants to the stone ages  or to a Star Trek universe. But one way or another this ethical problem will “resolve” itself if we don’t resolve it.

Nature is testing it’s own “solutions” right now. Ebola, economic instability, and even the immigration issue are in beta test now. They may not be released soon or even ever if people do the right thing. But if we don’t then full production of something awful is coming soon.—Joe]

Halbig vs Burwell

The DC Court of Appeals handed down it’s decision in Halbig vs Burwell, an ObamaCare challenge. The crux of the challenge is that the law, as written, says that people on exchanges established by a state can get the subsidies, people using the Federal exchange established by Uncle Sam cannot. This was done (they said at the time) as an incentive to encourage states to set up their own exchanges, and it was estimated that only a small number of knuckledragging states would fail to do so (so screw them)… (OK, so the last part was my words for their actions).

But when 34 states failed to set up their own exchange, it caused a problem. Millions of people don’t want to have their promised subsidies “taken away.” So, the HHS said “well, it really means any exchange, including the Federal one.” The DC Court of Appeals just said “No, state means state.” And, as an added bonus, just a few days ago the HHS itself said that in the ACA, “State” means “State,” not “state and/or territories.” A bit more than a week ago, Obama’s law professor said it would likely turn out this way.

This is potentially a nuclear bomb in the heart of the law. Next stop, en banc review on the (packed?) court, or the Supreme Court. Only downside is finding out how the Rs will manage to shoot themselves in the foot with this news (with the media’s willing help, of course.)

UPDATE: the 4th Circuit just ruled the other way on the same thing. Wow, that was timely.

Another good analysis.

Another one from Forbes. If upheld, it would cancel the subsidies, AND the tax for not buying insurance (i.e., kill the mandate).

Electronic Marques

Interesting idea. The US Constitution authorizes operations against pirates. Article 1,Section 8, Clause 10 “To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations;”

It also covers issuing letters of Marque and Reprisal, Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 “To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;”

Why not do the suddenly obvious and issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal to private corporations to go after international electronic pirates, foreign agents who are attacking our corporations and infrastructure electronically? Makes sense to me.

Quote of the day—smileycreek

Food, water, shelter, and basic medical care are all basic human requirements that should never be withheld in a civilized society.

smileycreek
July 2, 2014
Comment to Income Inequality: A Desperate Situation With Real Solutions
[In smileycreek’s universe a “civilized society” is one where the government takes from each according to his ability, and gives to each according to his need.

I’m reading about just such a place in The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (Volume One) and The Gulag Archipelago, Volume 2: An Experiment in Literary Investigation, 1918-1956. Tens of millions of people were murdered in an attempt to create such a society and it failed. And that is just one of many attempts that all ended in deaths of hundreds of thousands and in the case of the USSR tens of millions.

Even just this one sentence in smileycreek’s comment reveals the distortion required to believe lie of communism. The lie of communism is that people with no incentive to produce all they are able to will do so anyway. Who would willingly become a provider of “food, water, shelter, or basic medical care” if they could be forced to give it up without compensation by anyone?

The big distortion here is that is if I refuse to give my food, shelter, or (if I were a medical provider) my services to another unless I am compensated is considered “withholding”. That’s a warped definition. Yet that is also the basis of the current uproar about the SCOTUS ruling in the Hobby Lobby case. Nothing has been withheld. But the sound bite is better if it is phrased that way.

Communist like smileycreek can only win by lying. And they have lots of practice at it. It’s how government murder millions of innocent people.

Today people that openly support the beliefs of the Nazis are rightly hounded into silence and oblivion. Yet support for the beliefs of Communists is considered by nearly half of our country’s population to be the mark of decency, righteous, and “civilized society”. But the Communists of the 20th Century proved the Nazis were pikers in the game of governments murdering innocent people.

Perhaps that is the key to understanding those who advocate Communism and yet hate Nazism. To them the Nazis weren’t ruthless enough.--Joe]

Anti gun-rights Microsoft?

From the firearm blog.

This would help explain the trend toward cloud storage and toward not really owning, but renting your software. It appears that Adobe, for another example, now only provides the latest version of Photoshop as a monthly subscription service, so you’re not the owner, but the tenant, and they the property manager.

If you don’t have exclusive control of your software, user files, or your contact lists, etc., it could all be pulled out from under you, or used for other purposes via remote control by other people, at a whim. Same as your bank account now, by the way. The Endarkenment proceeds apace.

When insanity works, but not the way you expect

Sometimes insanity works… but not the way you expect.

Consider the Napoleonic Wars. Men in orderly rank and file marching into battle with rifle and musket, to face volley fire from opposing rank and file of uniforms. Were the men marching insane? Would not a soldier’s chance of surviving be greatly increased by running away from the line of men firing at his formation? Undoubtedly, yes, it would. Would his own formation have a marginally lower chance of winning if he were to do so? Yes, again. If the man next to him ran away, would he increase his personal chances of survival, too? While decreasing, a bit more, the chance of failure for their side? Yes, absolutely, to both. It is crazy to stand and fight, if you can increase your chance of survival by running away. But if enough people on your side choose to run and survive that fight, you also doom your side to total defeat, and being hunted down by the victors and having your land, property, and women taken, because they were collectively crazy enough to stand and fight. It’s a fine line between disciplined and insane. Continue reading

Productivism

I sometimes read or hear of people complaining our society is plagued by (spit, spit) consumerism. This always sounded like some sort of epithet but didn’t really have much meaning to me. It was just a word that every “right thinking” person knew was a “bad thing”.

It wasn’t until I read this article that things started to jell in my mind. It was this paragraph that really connected with me:

Humans are not merely consumers. Every consumer is also a producer as well, and production is how we have improved our standards of living from the dawn of man till today. Every luxury, every great invention, every work of art, every modern convenience that we enjoy was the product of a mind – in some cases, of more than one. It then stands to reason that the more minds there are, the more innovations we will have as well. A reductio ad absudum reveals the obvious truth that a cure for cancer is more likely to emerge from a society of a billion people than from one of only a handful of individuals.

The problem I have with people that whine about consumerism is that they are only looking at one side of the picture. In order for consumers to exist there must be producers. In a free market there tends to be more production capacity than consumer capacity. And that excess capacity makes things more affordable and available to everyone.

Production and market competition yields tremendous benefits to society. Extended lifespans and higher quality of life are just the most obvious. Entertainment via Netflix, MTV, professional sports, and concerts might be considered frivolous and a waste but it is an improvement in the quality of life that is a result of our being able to produce more than what we need for survival. It is our excess production capacity that makes it possible to earn our food and shelter in fewer hours per week than it would have 1000 years ago. Back then a similar amount of effort, unless you were royalty, nobility, or politically connected, would have yielded death by malnutrition, disease, or exposure.

Yes, there must be physical limits to human growth on a single planet. But we don’t yet know what those limits are on this planet. The barriers to interplanetary travel and exo-planetary living are high. But from a simple available energy balance sheet (do the arithmetic on how many Joules of sunlight energy fall on a 40 acre field on a summer day, then extrapolate to the vastness of interplanetary space) it doesn’t seem farfetched to claim that human expansion beyond this planet is feasible.

Continued improvements in the human condition depend on increased production. In a free market producers must always produce goods desired by the consumers. Some of the products will seem frivolous but the net result has always been progress in improving the lives of people and more productivity per person. Moving society toward greater productivity will yield far greater benefits than discouraging consumption. Just look at the benefits of increased productivity of the last 1000 years.

When you hear someone use the word “consumerism” in a disparaging way demand they look at the requirements for it’s existence and consequences of it. And that is “productivism” and vast improvements in the human condition. Demand they tell you what they have against increases in productivity and improved quality of life.

Quote of the day—Ludwig von Mises

The welfare of the nation takes precedence over the selfishness of the individuals … was the fundamental principle of Nazi economic management. But as people are too dull and too vicious to comply with this rule, it is the task of government to enforce it.

Ludwig von Mises
1949
Human Action: A Treatise on Economics (4 Volume Set)
[For more context see here.

“Dull and vicious.” That is what they think of you if you do not place the welfare of the nation above that of your own. When people tell you this today inform them there have been a lot of people in agreement with them. It was the fundamental principle of Nazi economic management.—Joe]

I’ve stopped getting it

I got it earlier. It made sense earlier. It was predictable. In the fall of ’08 when a certain someone was promising to Fundamentally Transform America, and Spread The Wealth Around, it made sense that people began buying guns and ammo in huge quantities, bracing for a new round of restrictions or worse.

That was six years ago. That’s longer than the time between the attack on Pearl Harbor and the A-bombing of Nagasaki, with all the design, procurement, tooling, production and logistics efforts involved in fighting and winning a highly mechanized, all-out war over most of the planet.

So why is there still almost no powder or 10 mm bullets on the shelves?

Yes, I’m venting, and yes I’m sitting on the sidelines complaining while doing nothing about it.

Quote of the day—Michael Snyder

Did you know that the number of Americans getting benefits from the federal government each month exceeds the number of full-time workers in the private sector by more than 60 million?  In other words, the number of people that are taking money out of the system is far greater than the number of people that are putting money into the system.  And did you know that nearly 70 percent of all of the money that the federal government spends goes toward entitlement and welfare programs?  When it comes to the transfer of wealth, nobody does it on a grander scale than the U.S. government.  Most of what the government does involves taking money from some people and giving it to other people.  In fact, at this point that is the primary function of the federal government.

Michael Snyder
April 17, 2014
18 Stats That Prove That Government Dependence Has Reached Epidemic Levels
[That’s an almost unbelievable number. But after paying my taxes last week it certainly seems plausible because they sure took a lot of money from me this year.

I can’t help but think the end is near.—Joe]

Psalm of the Progressive

Obama is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Government maketh me to lie down in green pastures: case-workers leadeth me beside the still waters.

Government restoreth my self-esteem: bureaucracy leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for its name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no tea-bagger: for government art with me; government’s rod and staff they comfort me.

Government preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: government anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely welfare checks and subsidies shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in public housing for ever.

(OK, now I feel kinda icky)

Others could do better with the wording, but you get the point.

Quote of the day—Anonymous Conservative

The real engine which powers this hidden force is actually our world’s reality, so the force is almost useless to Leftists. Until reality can be replaced with fantasy in the real world, Leftists can do no more to stop our wielding of this weapon than they can do to stop gravity. They are helpless before us, and ply their political strategies only with our willing acquiescence to their evil and our passive acceptance of their fantasy.

The day major Conservative strategists grasp the force at work in the graph above, from the macro-level effects down to the effect on dopamine receptor gene transcription within neurons, is the day our battle ends, and our species begins a stratospheric ascent to levels of technological and societal advancement that we can only dream of.

Anonymous Conservative
January 16, 2014
The Forces Exerted By r and K-Selection Effects Mold the Ideological Inclinations of Societies – How Resource Availability Determines Destiny
[It’s a pleasant thought but I’m not convinced of this conclusion even though I’m mostly convinced of many of the less specific conclusions made in his other blog posts and his book. I have a lot more to read in his book but what I have read resonates well with me.—Joe]

Update: I asked a question in the comments to his post:

If resource depletion causes a strong shift to K-selected behavioral traits then why doesn’t this always happen in other countries? It appears to me that they frequently turn communist.

Two days after my question he came back with a 2200 word response.

Another quote of the day – Thomas Jefferson

“Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add ‘within the limits of the law’, because law is often but the tyrant’s will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.”

“No man has a natural right to commit aggression on the equal rights of another, and this is all from which the laws ought to restrain him.” [Thomas Jefferson to Francis Gilmer, 1816]

There have been volumes written about it, but that’s all that needs to said on the subject of liberty. Truth requires few words.

I’ve heard all of the “Yeah but…” arguments, so don’t bother. Those all come from people who see themselves as would-be social engineers (obstructionists).

Gumming up the works

In reference to Obamacare President Obama said:

A lot of Republicans seem to believe that if they can gum up the works and make this law fail, they’ll somehow be sticking it to me.

What advocates for Obamacare and statists in general don’t seem to understand is that you cannot expect anything but people attempting to “gum up the works” under these situations. Anytime there exists a desired product or service and willing buyers those products and services will naturally, without any coercion, be exchanged for money or barter from the buyers.

Government is coercion. It is applying force. The “force of law” is a common phrase for a reason. Laws and government in some circumstances can help. It’s difficult to argue that using the force of government to enforce contracts entered into by willing parties is anything other than “a good thing”.

But on the other end of the spectrum when the force of government is used to require people purchase a product they did not want, supply a product below cost, outlaw products desired by the market, or sell only products wanted by only a few then things are different. In these instances, all present with Obamacare, government itself created obstacles to the free exchange of product and money. No one should expect the majority of people to embrace it. If it was something people wanted then they would have willingly done it before being forced to by the government. If the force of government is required before something will happen then government is “gumming up the works” of what people naturally want to do. And one should not be surprised when people expend effort in attempting to avoid or eliminate the obstacles placed in their path by government.

For Obama to complain that people opposing Obamacare are “gumming up the works” should be a defining example of the classic meaning of chutzpah.

More from Churchill

Though he wasn’t born here, he obviously was an American;

“Some people regard private enterprise as a predatory tiger to be shot. Others look on it as a cow they can milk. Not enough people see it as a healthy horse, pulling a sturdy wagon.”

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“If you’re going through hell, keep going.”

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“Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

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“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

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“I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly”

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“A joke is a very serious thing.”

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From brainyquote.com

The British Parliament of course hated him, or so it is said.

Full faith and credit…

…in a gang of thieves.

You know all those crazy, wild-eyed loons living in trailer parks who’ve been warning us about the Federal Reserve? Yeah; what a bunch of maroons (cough cough).

And no; your safe deposit box isn’t really all that secure either. Not anymore. There’s already talk of reaching into people’s bank accounts on a large scale and taking some of it, they’ve already set up the “infrastructure” to do that, and it’s already been done at least once as a trial balloon.

The Progressives (Democrats and Republicans) have already spent your money, you understand (and your children’s money and their children’s money). Now it’s CYA time for the perpetrators.

If you never understood why government types are so terrified of the concept of an armed populace that they’re willing to make complete asses of themselves and risk prosecution for depriving citizens of a constitutionally protected right, maybe you begin to understand a little bit better. It’s not that they’re all that stupid, necessarily– They’re fucking terrified at the prospect of their chickens coming home to roost. Criminals fear armed victims more than anything else. They’re already starting to act like the cornered predators they are, and a cornered predator is a very dangerous thing indeed.

The setup, the pitch, and… WHACK!

Home run!

“The nationalized preschool promoters, led by feckless bureaucrats who piled mounds of debt onto our children with endless Keynesian pipe dreams, claim that new multibillion-dollar “investments” in public education will “benefit the economy.” But ultimately, it’s not about the money or improved academic outcomes for Fed Ed. The increasing federal encroachment into our children’s lives at younger and younger ages is about control. These clunkers don’t need more time and authority over our families. They need a permanent recess.”

I was just telling my daughter on the way in this morning that you need to look past the authoritarians’ rationalizations, dismiss them out of hand, and look instead at their behavior and results over time. Then you see the disease for what it is. Malkin is exactly right; they need a permanent recess.