Economy…youre doing it wrong

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Weather here is pleasant for February, we have plenty of food in the house, theres bright sunlight to keep moods high. Just the sort of combination to lull someone into a sense of complacency before getting kicked in the nads by reality. Moral of the story: don’t let your guard down.

Honestly, I’ve been lax lately. I need to do some grocery shopping/hoarding. I need to get seeds started for this years gardening adventure. I need to load up some practice and plinking ammo. All sortsa things I need to do and its just seductively easy to not do them and goof off. Staying focussed is always a trick.


I try to keep politics outta this blog, I really do. But, good grief, is there anyone who thinks that this ’stimulus’ package, which seems to have enough pork to practically squeal, is a good idea? If your business (or business sector) needs a ‘bailout’ then perhaps your business or industry has outlived its natural life and should be left to thrive or fail on its own merit. Do you suppose that a hundred years ago the Municipal Gaslamp Lighters Local 101 demanded .gov bail out for the gaslamp lighters industry because otherwise those newfangled electric streetlights would wipe out their ‘too big to fail’ industry? Evolve or die.

Regardless, the amount of money being bandied about is so mind bogglingly huge that its truly incomprehensible. We can relate to a thousand dollars. We can kinda relate to a million dollars. A billion? Thats almost the same as elevnteenjillion in terms of being able to relate to the number. A trillion? Thats a million people with a million dollars each. Or, put another way, if that Jesus guy spent a million bucks everyday since his birth he’d still have another 700 years of spending in front of him. If you have a 75 year life span, you’d have to spend around $35 million a day, every day. I can’t spend that kinda money every single day, but then again Im not a Democrat.

I was going to say that this seems like re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic but its more like blowing holes in the good parts of the hull to let out all the water that came into the ship through the damaged part of the hull.

This cannot end well. How could it? Perhaps theres some sort of economic law or theory that Im unaware of that will actually make all this work and bring back ‘Morning in America’ but I just can’t see how. So…I say prepare for the epic fail.

Mags, growing things, linkage

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Annnnnnnnd…25 32-rd Uzi magazines later, we’re pretty much done with Uzi magazine supplies. A few spare parts and a threaded barrel are pretty much all that we need to round it off and put this baby away for Der Tag.


Its about that time of the year to start seedlings indoors here in Montana. Don’t blink or you might miss our growing season. I’ve been looking at seeds at this place for a few months. I just noticed they have a little survivalist seed package that is carefully devoid of any survivalist impressions.

I like to cook (actually, I hate cooking..I love eating) and I dream about having everything I need for my own salsa and pasta sauces growing right out in my yard. So I’ll be trying to do tomatoes, chilis, basil, oregano, cilantro, and a few other plants. In a perfect world I’ll be canning a couple dozen pints of tomato sauce and salsa later this year.

Perhaps this year I’ll photoblog the development of the greenery as it comes up.

Here’s a link to making seed-starting pots from newspaper. Mighty clever, and deliciously frugal.


A few links to websites and blogs Ive been perusing lately:

Hip Chick Digs – Blog of urban food raising

$5 Dinners – Just what it sounds like

How To Cook Like Your Grandmother

And now Im hungry……..

Uzi does it

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

The more I watch the faltering and hemming of the new administration, the less faith I have that they can actually do anything to change what’s going on. One thing about developing an interest in being prepared – it usually makes you far less confident the abilities of organizations (governments or ‘public services’) to actually make a beneficial difference.


Apparently, even I am not immune to the “must buy a black gun while I can!” hysteria sweeping the nation. In a fit of less-than-clearheadedness I talked myself into buying this:

See, I’ve been wanting a 9mm carbine for quite a while now. My choices were, by and large, limited to the AR, Uzi, HK, Marlin, KelTec, Feather, and a few other esoteric ones. My criteria was pretty simple – I wanted something that was durable, reliable, had tons of parts and mag support, could be made compact for travel, and an excellent reputation overall. The AR platforms would have been great but even broken in half it won’t stow in my Tactical Tailor bag. Same for the HK94 with its non-removable barrel (not planning on SBR’ing anything at the moment). The Marlin is a fine gun but again the compactness issue and the non-standard mags were a problem (really, who even uses S&W 9mms these days?) The Feather has the compactness and mag issues going for it but, like the KelTec, its a bit lightly constructed for my tastes. That left, pretty much, the Uzi.

Now, I’ve been wanting one for a while. Instead of thinking about wanting one, I should have thought about why I wanted one. Succinctly, what does it do that my Glock 17 with a 33-rd mag does not do? The only answer I can come up with is that by virtue of its shoulder stock and 16″ barrel it is more accurate at longer ranges. However, at that point an M4 or AK would be just as useful. So, really, unless you have the 10″ barrrel and/or the full-auto capability, there just isnt a compelling reason to get the Uzi. Unfortunately, that kind of logic didnt enter into the equation until a day or two later when the buyers remorse kicked in.

I made, in my opinion, a good deal on it. It comes in the box with all the standard goodies and is in excellent condition. These things havent been imported in almost twenty years and this one is like new. It also came with a genuine OEM .22 LR conversion kit with 3-20 rd. mags.

So, yeah, its a sweetheart and in six-months it’ll be worth twice what I paid for it. But…it really was a dumb purchase. What would have been a smart purchase? More Glocks (never enough handguns), another PTR-91 (never too many rifles), a few thousand rounds of ammo, couple cases of primers, a few kegs of powder, etc, etc. Really, the last thing I should have bought was a 9mm Uzi. So…Imma gonna sell it.

Moral of the story: even the level-headed can get swept up in the moment by a ‘gun Ive always wanted’.

Economic rambling

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Being President is, in a few ways, much like being a survivalist. For this discussion, Im going to focus on one particular way in that the two are similar. Being President requires an enormous amount of expertise on a myriad of diverse topics. We can agree on that, yes? Knowledge of economics, foreign relations, geography, various cultures, historical precedence, international law, labor relations, etc, etc. It really is a rather lengthy list. Same thing for survivalists…ideally, we want to know as much as we can and be practically experts in food preservation, cooking, medicine, tactics, carpentry, electronics, plumbing, animal husbandry, farming, gardening, self-defense, auto repair, personal finance, etc, etc.

Both people, Presidents and survivalists, quite likely, are never going to master every single one of these disciplines that they need to know, even though it would be desperately useful if they could. So…what is the next recourse? You surround yourself, or make available to you, people who are experts. You have foreign policy experts, economic experts, etc. When its decision making time you pick their brains because they are the expert that you cannot be.

Same applies for survivalists. In this case, its the economy. I know a tiny bit about economics. Very tiny. I can have a grasp of fundamentals and maybe even connect the names to the policies, but thats about as far as it goes. What I do have, however, are friends who are far more savvy on the subject and whom I trust to give me good information. (The problem with bringing in an outside expert is always that you never know if theyre right or not…after all, how would you know? Youre not the expert, right? Solution? More than one expert.) So in the course of my day-to-day interactions I’ll say “What do you think about [economic headline]” and then listen carefully to the answer.

In addition to close friends who are knowledgeable on this subject I can also observe what goes on around me and scan the internet for more information. I may not understand why all the business are boarded up and the job centers are full of unemployed people, but I can certainly use that to gauge that, indeed, ’something is up’.

My opinion, which I freely admit is worth exactly what you paid for it today, is that things are, as they say, doubleplus ungood.

Our .gov is manufacturing money on a scale that is literally unprecedented in the history of this country. You know how we’ve been tsk-tsk’ing over the antics in Zimbabwe where they have something like 89.7 sextillion (1021) percent inflation? Our .gov is doing the same thing, just not on as blatantly a wholesale basis. As I understand it, its pretty simple: more money means that money is worth less. When one piece of green paper equals a loaf of bread, suddenly doubling the amount of green paper means each piece is now worth half a loaf of bread. (Or, if you prefer, a loaf of bread is now worth two pieces of green paper instead of one.) Thats inflation – an increase in the amount of money in circulation.

So, in the last couple months, our .gov has been creating more of this stuff at an amazing rate. According to economic theory that means that as they keep making more of it, each piece of it is worth less and less. When .gov says theyre going to spend a trillion bucks on ‘infrastructure’ and ‘creating jobs’ where does that money come from? You think you can raise a trillion dollars in taxes during a time like this? Nah…you simply create the trillion dollars with the stroke of a few keys and the support of the political establishment.

Thats all great, but whats that got to do with the price of tea in China? (or ammo in WalMart?)

It means that inflation is a real likelihood. The kind of inflation where the $600-every-two-weeks that used to pay your mortgage and groceries will now only pay your mortgage. It means that the $5000 you scrimped to save because that would cover you for a couple months of unemployment will now only cover you for a couple of weeks. It means that you are working 40 hours, getting the same money, and that money buys less than it used to…you are, in effect, taking a pay cut.

Now, lets couple this with you losing your job. You’ve been nervous about that so you’ve stuck $5000 in the bank. Yeah it only draws 1.1% interest, and with inflation running several times that you actually lose money by having it in the bank, but you feel safer knowing that when you log in to your online banking theres that magic “$5000″ staring back at you from the balance line. One day the boss tells you not to bother taking off your coat…plant is closed, heres a weeks salary and good luck. Youre concerned but not panicked…you’ve got $5000 in cash if you need it. But…milk moved up twenty cents a half gallon. Gas is up twentyfive cents a gallon. Utilities are up also. And wasn’t ground beef and chicken cheaper last month? Suddenly that $5000 umbrella is covering less and less. Your dollar is buying less and less…and you don’t have nearly enough dollars.

Two thoughts on this subject:

First, this is the scenario that seems to favor the ‘precious metals’ (PM) devotees. Thats right…you can’t eat gold, you can’t burn it as fuel, and it won’t grow into food. Therefore it is worthless, say the detractors. And, if you were living amongst the bushmen of the Calahari, they would be, mostly, correct. But, we arent talking about living in the Mad Max world. We’re talking about living in the world that comes right before the total collapse of society. The world of hyperinflation, wheelbarrows of cash, economic desperation moves, IMF emergency meetings and market turmoil. When you have lost your job and that $5000 in the bank will only buy you the safety that previously cost $3500, well, thats when that PM starts looking mighty good. If I could afford it, I’d have a nice little stack of gold and silver in the safe. As an investment? No. As a way to buy the things I need when the green paper in my pocket becomes worth less and less.

Secondly, after being reminded about it over at TSLRF, Im reading ‘The Alpha Strategy’ by Pugsley. (Free online). Part of what is advocated in the book is something I’ve been saying all along – stock up while things are relatively cheap and available. You know those guys that have 200 rolls of toilet paper in their basement? The case of 50 toothbrushes? The 55-gallon drum of laundry detergent? Theyre following that game plan whether they know it or not. You know that youre going to use ‘x’. You know ‘x’ will cost more later. ‘x’ will keep indefinitely in storage. Therefor, wouldnt it make sense to buy as much ‘x’ as you think you’ll need while you can still get it affordably? (Odds are youre doing it right now with ‘high capacity’ rifle magazines.)

I’m the most self-deprecating paranoid survivalist you’ll ever meet. I’ve no illusions about my ability to understand, much less forecast, the maelstrom that currently is swirling around our economy. Maybe I’m just one of the millions of people who get caught up in media-driven hysteria and fear and things just aren’t really as bad as they seem. Maybe Im a lemming who parrots the media and is easily manipulated. So…I won’t tell you “Hey, we’re in deep doggy doo…here’s what you need to do”. Instead I will respectfully urge you to take, say, an hour and do some investigating online. You dont even have to get out of your chair. Get a cup of coffee, turn off the radio, and open your mind. Go do as much research as you can on what the results are of this uncharted territory that we’re in regarding this sudden generation of ‘money’. Check out what has happened historically when someone fires up the printing press and starts running the stuff off in the figures we’ve been told. Check out what inflation will do to the ‘buying power’ of what you have socked away ‘for emergencies’. Play ‘what if?’ and put yourself into various scenarios. If you do that and you are convinced that youre going to be okay, then Im happy for you. I hope youre right. Maybe you’ll decide that perhaps a bit of caution is called for ‘just in case’. Maybe you’ll spend this weekend buying blue barrels and filling them with wheat and rice. But I urge you to find out for yourself. I think that we’re heading for some interesting times and I think that if you look at the information thats out there you’ll agree.

New scope

Originally published at Notes from the bunker…. You can comment here or there.

Technically, its not a gun show acquisition since I picked it up the day after the show. I stopped in at one of the better gun stores in town and since the GunPimp was busy with a customer I wandered around. No AR’s, a hlaf dozen PTR-91’s (which shows how foolish the crowds are…they should snap those babies up!), and my eye drifted over to the optics. Hey! Is that….? It looks like….! Why, yes it is! An IOR M2.

Who could resist? Not I. He had it for $299, we agreed to $275. This baby has illuminated reitcle, bullet drop compensator and takes abuse like a trailerpark housewife. I have the 10×56 IOR mounted on my dear CZ550 .308 and I have been quite pleased with these scopes. Outstanding values. Nothing fancy about ‘em. Theyre not military scopes that someone tries to pretty up to appeal to the sporting market. These things make no bones about themselves – they are military/tactical scopes through and through.

I’ll be dropping this on one of my flattop 20″ Bushies as soon as i figure out mounting options.

Ok, I *did* get something at the Kalispell show but I feel tremendously guilty about it. I might post about it in a few days. We’ll see. Don’t ask, i won’t tell you. It is, however, cool.