Saturday, 13 December 2014

10:21 – Kim and Mary are in Charlotte this morning, attending Jasmine’s graduation from UNC. I met Jas when she was nine. It seems like only three or four years ago, but it’s been twelve.

When I searched for local prepping groups, I came across this post. What a fine idea. Sign up with a group of people you don’t know and pay them lots of money to join their group. There are lots of groups like this out there. They’re usually organized by one guy or a small group of people who almost invariably have a military background and believe they’re qualified to run things. Essentially they’re a small group of chiefs looking for a bunch of volunteer Indians who are stupid enough to pay for the privilege of being dictated to by a self-proclaimed leader. At least they’re up-front about it.

We do not run our organization like a commune or home owners association —but more like a corporate or quasi-military organization. If you are looking for a pure democracy with extended deliberations and a vote on everything while progress is measured at a snail’s pace… pass us by.

Unless your goal is to submit unquestioningly to a dictatorial leader, run far away from groups like this. In fact, as our Founding Fathers understood well, it’s a mistake to put the military in charge of anything. A military operates properly only under absolute civilian control. When the military itself is in charge, things inevitably degenerate quickly into a dictatorship.

Not that I’m opposed to prepping groups. Far from it. I think a prepping group is essential, but the ideal group is one that is loosely organized and informal and made up of people who already know and trust each other. Family first, then friends and neighbors, then perhaps friends of friends. But the sine qua non is trust. I’d much rather have someone I know and trust, even if that person is completely unprepared, than someone I don’t know and trust, even if that person is prepared out the wazoo.


41 thoughts on “Saturday, 13 December 2014”

  1. ” Family first, then friends and neighbors, then perhaps friends of friends.”

    Agreed, and the ideal situation.

    However….lots of families and friends are scattered to the four corners of the Earth nowadays, for various reasons. Even when I was a kid growing up my grandparents and aunts and uncles were all 50-60 miles away in Massachusetts. The neighbors were virtually unknown to us in the places we moved to roughly every couple of years. This is not unusual, especially in the vast suburbs and exurbs, and hasn’t been since WWII.

    Currently we kinda know and are friendly/polite with our immediate neighbors on both sides and across the street and that’s it. The men are in my age bracket, one of them a fellow ‘Nam vet, but as to any of their other capabilities I have no idea, and they have none of mine. (we’ve only been here two years; it takes much longer than that to get to know people and build trust.)

    Meanwhile the rest of my family is still down in MA and will probably never leave; Mrs. OFD’s is scattered from 30 miles south of here down through upstate NY and then down to Virginia, all spread throughout and within Megalopolis and the belt of major cities.

    And this particular area is crawling with local, state and Fed law enforcement and military; I dunno if that’s gonna be a good thing or a bad thing. We have had only minimal contact with them so far.

    I hope to develop more friendly contacts at the gun range, Legion post, and church, but it’s slow going.

  2. I think out Founding Fathers had the right idea, the foundations of our country were first debated at the Tavern/Pub. Of course, though, instead just going home and sleeping it off they took action. That is what is missing today, ACTION.

  3. Yeah, it’s slow going, but I don’t know of a better alternative.

    As things stand, we have family/friends who range from totally unprepared to having guns/ammo but no food to having food but no guns/ammo, etc. So my solution is to buy extra food, extra guns/ammo, to have the ability to purify water indefinitely for 150 people, and so on.

    I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “Boy, if things get bad we’ll come to your place,” or “I already told [my wife] that if things get bad and I’m not here she should head over to your place”, etc. I know the common response among preppers is “don’t bother showing up here” but that’s just not who I am. What I do is encourage them to take steps for themselves, if only stocking up on canned goods, but I’m certainly not going to turn away family or friends if things get tough.

    As I told Barbara when we officially completed our one-year food supply, “Don’t think of this as a one-year supply of food for the two of us; think of it as a one-month supply for us and a couple dozen of our family and friends and neighbors.” Same deal on guns and ammo. I decided to standardize on the Marlin Model 60 in .22LR because even a person with no shooting experience can quickly learn to use it and despite the low opinion that many have of it as a defensive firearm, it’s pretty damned intimidating to be shot at with anything, including a .22 rifle.

    Also, we know some young people who simply can’t afford to buy a lot of food and guns, but whom I’d want to have in my corner if things get really tough. We can afford to buy some extra stuff, and they can’t. So the solution seems obvious, at least to me.

  4. Yes, they discussed a lot of stuff at the taverns and pubs because that’s where the most informal community people would gather regularly, esp. to hear the news. The other place that modern historians rarely discuss is the churches; countless sermons on one side or the other from their ministers.

    Today the conversations in the pubs and taverns are about sports and how Obummer is such a drag, etc., etc. And the church sermons are about social justice and how Jesus is your friend. And the music sucks rocks.

    Action won’t be taken until the Big Hurt kicks in good and hard. When folks don’t have the juice to run their weed whackers and innernet, the gas to run their jet-skis and giant SUVs, and the Safeway and Wallmutt shelves are bare. And by that time it will be too late.

  5. “Suppose you were and idiot and suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself.”
    –Mark Twain

  6. Permanently abolish the Senate and institute term limits for the House; purge lawyers and financial speculator types RUTHLESSLY. This needs to be done immediately.

  7. “Ruthlessly” worries me, unless you’re talking about that limerick that ends, “He hit a bump and rode on Ruthlessly.”

  8. DadCooks mentioned the Founders recently; here is arguably the most famous Founder:

    “I regret that I am now to die in the belief that the useless sacrifice of themselves by the generation of 1776, to acquire self-government and happiness to their country, is to be thrown away by the unwise and unworthy passions of their sons, and that my only consolation is to be, that I live not to weep over it.”

    http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/12/paul-rosenberg/decentralizing-the-failed-american-republic/

    Nice idea, but far too late now.

  9. Ruthlessly means guillotines. I do not condone this.

    Permanently abolish the Senate and institute term limits for the House

    Go back to the Senators are elected by the state legislatures. Definitely yes on term limits for House members and the federal judiciary.

    purge lawyers and financial speculator types RUTHLESSLY

    No, the USA citizens have free will. Plus, this methodology is part of what makes the USA so special. Did you know that the USA is the only country in the world with bankruptcy laws? Everywhere else, if your company fails then you go to debtors prison. The same with starting a company. No big deal in the USA, outside the USA you must have $50,000 or more, sometimes much more, in the bank. Makes starting a business very expensive.

    Do get rid of punitive lawsuit judgements. They are employed way too often and viewed as a jackpot for the winner (usually the lawyers).

  10. Some of the politicians and financial speculators and lawyers engaged in treasonous behavior and acts that not only endangered the lives and livelihoods of American citizens, but caused the deaths and destruction of same, and continue to do so.

    Guillotines would be the humane way to dispose of them before they do further damage, though I do not rule out true repentance and compensation of some sort.

    Incidentally, they would not show you the same mercy and compassion; you and I are eminently expendable in their eyes.

  11. OK, I will grant you George Soros. We ought to just grant the UK’s petition and hand him over to them. I suspect that they would open a special cell in the Tower just for him.

  12. Lynn McGuire says on 13 December 2014 at 14:47

    Did you know that the USA is the only country in the world with bankruptcy laws? Everywhere else, if your company fails then you go to debtors prison.

    Lynn, I’m sorry, but I’m not sure why you said this. I can’t see it’s relevance to anything, anyway, even if it weren’t patently untrue. However, it is of course false to fact.

    Perhaps some US businessmen indulge in wishful thinking, and are relieved in their false belief that they live in the best of all possible worlds. However, the Proprietary Limited Liability Companies of other English countries, whether the mother country, failed colonies such as the USA, or full Commonwealth nations such as Australia, New Zealand, and Canada; and the Société Anonyme or Sociedad Anónima of Latin countries, and Aktiengesellschaft (AG) of Germany certainly demonstrate that one can adopt a legal structure which limits financial liability, and that even if one is so ignorant or so small-scale as to fail to do this, the safety net of personal bankruptcy protects the principals from the horrors Mr McGuire imagines.

  13. The fact that your average Congresscritter increases his/her net worth by millions within a couple of years of taking office – this shows that corruption is currently part-and-parcel of Congress. So, I would agree with OFD on this: the guillotine for all corrupt politicians. At the moment, that would appear to be virtually all of them, but how do you prove it?

    On a totally different subject, did y’all read about the Greenpeace fiasco? In Peru there are these ancient desert drawings, the Nazca lines. Basically, there’s a multi-thousand-year-old crust on the desert. Back in the heyday of Peruvian native culture (1500 years or so ago), the natives cut this crust away to make some amazing patterns. Amazing, because you really can only appreciate them from the air.

    Anyhow, the whole area is off limits unless you have permission and follow some strict procedures. Just walking on the crust can break it, and it won’t repair itself for another thousand years. So Greenpeace gets this great idea to put up huge protest banner next to one of the drawings. Dozens of nitwits, tramping back and forth across the sand, with the inevitable consequences.

    Peru is pissed. Greenpeace says they’ll take any “reasonable” penalty, as decided by some neutral party. Funny, I didn’t know criminals got to pick their penalties. I hope Peru just throws the whole lot in jail and lets them rot – including the director, who is currently there, bowing and scraping and trying to save some face from this idiocy.

  14. So, if I invest in shares of Lloyds of London, an English company known for financial speculation, then if that entity loses money then they have further draw on my personal fortune to the point that I am bankrupt and my shares will be sold for any unmet draw and they can throw me in debtor’s prison?

    Whereas, if I invest in shares of General Electric, a USA company known for financial speculation amongst many others things, then if that entity loses money then they have no further draw on my personal fortune? I could have easily used AIG as the example also as a USA that went bankrupt several years ago and did not financially bankrupt its shareholders.

  15. Not sure what brings up Lloyd’s, but yes, that’s how they work. It used to be a point of pride to be a partner (they have some special term), and they reliably made their partners good money. In return, as part owner, you were fully financial liable, should the company suffer some disaster.

    Originally, it was just for the blue-blooded, very wealthy set, but eventually they spread it out to to upper middle class. Modern times, modern risks, things changed. I knew a UK dentist fairly well, who had basically invested and lost his savings to Lloyd’s, and was running a B&B to make ends meet (I stayed in his B&B).

  16. It’s the same in the UK as it is here. A partnership is jointly and severally liable for debts incurred by the partnership. That’s why I have an LLC.

  17. Greenpeace, a name that will live in infamy

    Excerpt: “If I were a national government, I’d be worried about the risk of further cultural terrorism. What will be Greenpeace’s next target? The Roman Colosseum? The Taj Mahal? The Mona Lisa? Clearly, they don’t believe in following society’s rules. I have no tolerance for “activists” who feel free to harm innocent and uninvolved third parties to promote their cause. (That extends, by the way, to “protesters” who block freeways in one city to protest abuses in another city. Qui habet aures audiat.) “

  18. “I have no tolerance for “activists” who feel free to harm innocent and uninvolved third parties to promote their cause.”

    Ditto. Nor for those activist nitwits who bring their young children to their demonstrations; I’ve always despised that, no matter what the cause or end of the political spectrum.

    “At the moment, that would appear to be virtually all of them, but how do you prove it?”

    Simple examination of their current assets and an audit of their financials. Waterboarding, if necessary, esp. for those who’ve had no problem with it being used on alleged terrorists. Truth drugs, threats, whatever. Get the information, try them in a court of law, find them guilty and so on.

    Those Peruvian desert markings were known to exist in the media and books many years ago; if memory serves, they were first discovered from the air. We don’t know a helluva lot about our forebears on this planet; Easter Island statues, Stonehenge, all those little cairns in the UK and Ireland in the middle of nowhere, stone ruins in coastal waters, the Pyramids and Sphinx, really ancient mummies in the western China desert wearing tartan clothing and with long reddish and/or blond hair and Celtic features, and those lines in Peru.

  19. I have no tolerance for “activists”

    You can put a period right there. In theory activists can be worthwhile human beings. In practice, the term has been co-opted to refer only to those who are not worthwhile human beings.

    (That extends, by the way, to “protesters” who block freeways in one city to protest abuses in another city. Qui habet aures audiat.)

    That would end immediately if you drove over some of them. Use a truck; an ordinary car would likely get bogged down and would certainly damage the lower trim, which is expensive to replace.

    If, for some reason, you don’t want to drive over the retards, just walk up and start pounding them with a hammer. If you don’t have a hammer, step on faces, hands, and groins. (Wear boots. Sneakers are too soft to do meaningful damage.)

    And I have a special treat for those protest scum who handcuff themselves together or to various fixtures, or who use those tubes with handles inside to held themselves together. That treat is more commonly known as the inmates of Cell Block 7. I figure I can get six of them out on a four-hour work release (that’s all I can fit in my van), give them each a tube of lube, and tell them to go to town. So to speak.

    With any of these solutions, the “lie in the middle of the road” and the “block entry to the nuclear facility” protests would likely be ended for years to come.

  20. Oh man, if I had an extra $999.99 laying around:
    http://www.virginiaedition.com/

    This is the complete edition of all of Robert Heinlein’s 46 works in bound leather.

    I have been having a friendly argument with Ryk Spoor over on usenet about the best of Heinlein’s works. He believes that “Double Star” is the best while I cannot choose between “Citizen of the Galaxy”, “The Star Beast” or “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”. How does one choose between five star books?

  21. I read a story about Lloyds several years ago. A lady in London had saved 5,000 pounds and bought a share in Lloyds. Lloyds was the main reinsurance for most of the Floridian insurance companies the next year when they had three hurricanes basically wipe the state off the map. The lady got a bill for 17,000 pounds from LLoyds and had to liquidate all of her assets along with borrowing money in order to pay the bill.

  22. Yeah, that can happen if you join a partnership. I’m not sure what your point is.

  23. I recall the sad, sad sob story about that poor pensioner woman. Boo-hoo, she didn’t read (or maybe read but didn’t understand) the terms of the agreement. Boo-hoo. Poor her. Cue the crocodile tears.

  24. I’m not sure what your point is.

    I was trying to illustrate the risk of doing business to one’s personal fortune between the USA and the rest of the world. I did not do a very good job apparently.

    Oh well. “goes back to playing spider solitaire instead doing what the wife wants me to do”

  25. Lynn, I think it’s not that your expository skills were off, it’s that your point was off. Yes, different places have different rules and different risks, but Lloyds does not exemplify them. As RBT said, it’s an unlimited partnership. Corporations in the US and the UK and Canada (and I think Australia) have much the same rules in terms of owners’ liability.

  26. In Lynn’s defense, the US is said to have the most debtor friendly bankruptcy laws in the world. It’s one of the reasons that we have more entrepreneurs in the US. While and LLC, PA, or corporation can shield you from liability from a business, most small businesses are started via home loans, credit cards, and family chipping in. Texas has pretty good debtor protections, with your house, car, tools of the trade, and most personal items protected from creditors.

  27. “… “goes back to playing spider solitaire instead doing what the wife wants me to do””

    For me it’s just regular solitaire on Windows 8. Mrs. OFD doesn’t get it how I can play that for hours, and ditto her 86-year-old mom on her iPad. I’ve played solitaire in one form or another since I was a little kid and my grandfather taught me how, with a regular deck of cards, must be 55 years now. He was born in 1894 and went off to the Great War at 23; I have a b&w snapshot of him with me and my beagle from that long ago, the WWI vet and the future ‘Nam vet.

    I generally agree with Mr. SteveF’s proposed methods for dealing with protesters and activists who block stuff, etc., but draw the line at what that campus cop lieutenant did last year with the pepper spray to defenseless sitting kids out in Kalifornia.

    A big Saturday night here at the OFD estate; Mrs. OFD thinks she’s coming down with sumthin, probably from the recent air and hotel travel, and I was just listening to the French classical station in Montreal and reading while they play classical Christmas music. I feel sorta like I was working out in the gym without stretching first and then expertly beat up by a couple of strong-arm thugs with hammers. This is from three days straight of shoveling snow and hauling stuff around the place here, up multiple flights of stairs. Not smaht.

  28. Solitaire bores me except for about once per year. I really like spider solitaire because it bites backs. I only win about 20 to 22% of the games so I am always trying to get my ratio up.

  29. Whenever one buys anything, one is ultimately thrown back on the old Latin aphorism of “caveat emptor” (let the buyer beware).

    I don’t know why this fixation on Lloyds of London.

    So far as I am aware, Lloyds of London is unique as a large organisation in that its structure, established by Acts of Parliament way back from the late 1600’s when Marine Mercantile insurance and reinsurance was being developed, is that of a supersized partnership, sharing both profit and loss. Like small two- or three-person partnerships, like a sole proprietorship, like an old-fashioned neighbourhood corner-shop or a family farm, it is NOT a Limited Liability Company. There is great potential for profit simply because one also assumes great possibility of loss. TANSTAAFL. Anyone who buys into it ignoring or not investigating the basic facts is a fool. Anyone who gambles what they can’t afford to lose is a fool. If you want into that market, but don’t want to assume that much risk of loss, then buy shares in an insurance company that’s a Pty Ltd Co. Of course, that means lesser possibility of profit as well, but that’s the way it works.

    All that fuss about a single entity that’s just a speck on the beach, surrounded by myriads of corporate entities that DO have limited liability – where the corporate entity erects a firewall between the capital subscribed to the firm, and the personal finances of the shareholders.

    ETA: Wow! Lotta posts since I started composing this one. And Lynn, your woman as per your post didn’t need to borrow money – she had the option of personal bankruptcy available to her. Of course, that would lose her lots as the possessions she wasn’t allowed to keep were sold off, but it MAY have saved her money. Lloyds couldn’t have reached through the firewall of personal bankruptcy to sell her kidneys.

  30. What doesn’t kill me … makes me go to bed in pain?

    Note that Nietzsche — er, Neechee? Nachos? Yah, that’s it. Note that Nachos wrote the “that which does not kill me” line while his brain was being rotted by syphilis… which eventually killed him. I’m not sure that anything he said in the last ten years of his life is worth reading or amounts to anything more than the babbling of a rotting brain.

  31. I haven’t read anything by that guy and have always been suspicious of him and his writings based on the characters since then who have extolled him as some kind of genius idol. To this day.

  32. Nietsche – haven’t read him since a high school philosophy course, but my memories put him in the same category as a lot of the other required reading of the day (“Night Flight”, “Death of a Salesman”), namely: let’s see if we can make these kids really depressed.

  33. “…let’s see if we can make these kids really depressed.”

    It also reflects the literary biases of the teachers; which is why we’ve seen the exact same syllabus used throughout high school and college courses over multiple generations; rarely anything published before the Glorious Sixties, though occasionally harking back to the 19th-C for Dickens and Eliot. And nowadays, of course, the harping, relentless focus is on whatever issues of ‘race, class and gender’ they can extract from their ‘interrogations of the text.’

  34. Yeah, and it gets worse all the time. It’s no wonder that so many parents are turning to home schooling.

  35. The more the merrier, and the sooner the behemoth State skool system is dismantled and tossed on the scrap heap forever, the better.

    At Rutgers over 20 years ago, the TA’s and “permanent” English department operatives had actually organized themselves into a “collective,” so it had already gone full-bore neo-Marxists by then. The readings assigned to our mostly freshman students, half of them “developmental” or “remedial” problems and the other half ESL, were almost exclusively of hard-left essayists, none published before the late 60s. One can imagine what it’s like nowadays.

    Same deal at the three other universities I studied and taught at in the late 80s and early 90s. There are perhaps a couple of dozen actually decent colleges in North Murka but that’s about it, and they’re dwindling, mostly due to costs and relentless State pressure.

    The Marxist-Leninists and Maoists didn’t defeat us on the usual fields of military battle; they did it via their “Long March” through our cultural institutions.

  36. Oh, I wouldn’t say they’ve defeated us just yet. In fact, once society deigns to notice them, we’ll stomp all over them. Perhaps I’m over-optimistic about the resilience of the free market and libertarian principles, but I think you’re extremely over-pessimistic. I haven’t gone progressive hunting yet because at this point they’re just annoying and easily ignorable. If they actually start to bother me or get in my way, then it’ll be time.

    I remember seeing a picture one time of a 200+ pound Old English Mastiff with a little yapper fanging the mastiff’s tail. Although he could have eaten the little yapper in one bite, the mastiff was ignoring the yapper as beneath his dignity. We’re the mastiff here, and the leftie/progressives are the little yapper.

  37. Put it another way. How many leftie/progressives do you know who even own a gun, let alone know how to use one?

  38. True, that; but the lefty-prog specialty is either taking over the machinery of the State or getting the State to do their work for them. They don’t need to know how use a firearm; they only need to take yours away and get the State to run your life for you as they see fit. Recall that only a handful of Bolsheviks grabbed power from the Mensheviks and thereafter ruled over 70 years of gulag nightmare and caused the imprisonment and death of many tens of millions. Recall also that Gerry Adams & Co. flat-out stated that they didn’t care what a popular vote in Ireland would do; they had a tiny cadre with the immediate firepower to take over the government. This didn’t pan out very well in 1916 nor again in more recent years, as they found the Brits to be extremely stubborn and short-sighted to the point of near-Apocalypse.

    Rather than a yippy little mutt snapping at the mastiff’s tail, the lefty-progs are a very nasty virus that’s been circulating since Rousseau and Robespierre and which can lay that mastiff out cold on the pavement.

    Consider how their world-view and ideas have captured several generations of children and adults now, across the board of culture and government. Because they got control of the education system first, a natural, as it was already in the control of the State, as in other totalitarian countries, and then the media. Some of us noted how they operated back during the SEA caper and then came back to see how our activities were documented in the State history books later. Surprise: mostly from the p.o.v. of the commies! Plus fifty pages on MLK and the “civil rights struggle” while Paul Revere and Robert E. Lee are expunged completely.

    This is straight from the old Soviet playbooks; rewrite history and air-brush people out of pictures. I hear this chit every time I talk to our kids and others from the younger generations; they have a whole Accepted Narrative of how things went over the course of history and How They Are Now, and if you disagree, you’re the nut and the ignoramus and fascist.

    Given this, and the sheer preponderance of illiteracy and innumeracy, I believe I have a right to be pessimistic.

  39. Despair is a sin according to Holy Mother Church, not just Reverend Pournelle. I kid, ’cause I love Jerry and his books and writings and have since the 1980s. I didn’t say I despaired, I just agreed with Dr. Bob that I’m very pessimistic. There is always Hope. For Change. And not that hopey-changey thang that Obummer spewed about a few years ago.

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