Bread and Circuses Only Work When there’s Enough Bread to go Around

funny how a tactic developed more than a thousand years ago still works today. It must be human nature to be easily distracted at the expense of long-term problems.

The Roman Poet Juvenal coined the phrase “bread and circuses” to complain that the citizenry were distracted by cheap food and entertainment and no longer did their civic duty. Roman Emperors would feed the populace a steady diet of gladiators and other violent entertainment to distract their citizenry from the worsening state of the empire. You could argue that this was a contributing factor in the fall of the Roman Empire.

For years, politicians in the United States have used the same tactic, offering voters freebies so they would vote in their self-interest rather than for the interest of their country. Largely employed by the Democrats to attract under-educated and poorly informed populaces, the results can be seen in Democrat-run cities from Baltimore and Los Angeles with high poverty rates, poorly run inner-city schools, burned out building, high drug use, rampant homelessness, gang problems, and rising murder rates.

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It’s Time for the Pendulum to Swing Back to the Middle

You can always count on a pendulum to eventually swing back, but the problems start when it goes too far.

I am a firm believer that many things in life and in the natural world go through cycles, usually swinging from one extreme to the other.

Sometimes those swings are very slow and take thousands or even hundreds of thousands of years. For example, scientists estimate that there have been at least a dozen periods in the past million years in which glaciers covered much of the globe. The most recent, which we know simply as “the ice age,” peaked some 18,000 years ago and ended less than 12,000 years ago. Eventually, there will be another ice age, we don’t know when and we won’t be alive to see it, but some temperature variation is to be expected as the pendulum swings from one extreme to another.

Sometimes these swings take place over every generation. Think about style and fashion, where trends seem to repeat themselves, or at least elements, every 20 to 30 years. (I’m just hoping those big shoulder pads from the 1980s don’t come back.)

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My First Experience at Forging Yields a Rough Knife

I had a fun day forging, but the results of my first time at an anvil left something to be desired. Still, it was a good lesson.

The Bible verse Joel 3:10 says, “Beat your plowshares into swords and your pruning hooks into spears: let the weak say, I am strong.”

I spent a morning last week beating a lawnmower blade into a rough knife shape. After three hours of forging and grinding, I have much greater respect for anyone who can fashion a decent blade from a hunk of raw metal. I’m also pretty certain that while I might be able to fashion a pruning hook into a spear, I could not beat a plowshare into a sword.

Forging is much harder than it looks on all those TV shows and YouTube videos.

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It’s Official: Inflation is Setting Records

New data was released today showing that inflation continued to grow, even outstripping expectations. Food, gasoline and cars prices are all rising

When COVID-19 first started out, we covered it almost every day. These days, I feel I am covering inflation every day. That may be a reflection how serious it is. While the coronavirus threatened our health, Inflation threats our wallets, and in the end it will probably impact more people than the virus itself.

Today’s news is worth covering, as new government figures show inflation is growing at 5 percent, the fastest rate since 2008. Core inflation, which is when you remove the volatile food and energy categories, grew 3.8 percent, the fastest in three decades. All across the CPI data, categories set records for growth.

According to the Wall Street Journal, restaurants like Chipotle, Shake Shack, and Cracker barrel are raising their prices. For those that don’t eat out, companies that supply food and household goods are also raising prices. We’re talking big brands that dominate grocery store aisles, like Campbell Soup, Unilever, and General Mills.

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Inflation, War, COVID-19, and Other Dangers Lie Ahead

Our hopes of getting back to the pre-COVID normal seem pretty dismal, but there have always been reasons to prepare.

We addressed inflation as recently as two days ago, but in their article “The perfect storm making everything you need more expensive” CNN sums up their reasons for rising prices thusly:

“Companies are furiously trying to restock inventories following last year’s global recession, straining supply chains already reeling from the pandemic to breaking point. A shortage of shipping containers and bottlenecks at ports have made matters worse and increased the cost of moving products around the world. Throw in accidents, cyberattacks, extreme weather and the huge disruption caused by the desperate hunt for cleaner sources of energy, and you have a perfect storm.”

No mention of the money supply’s explosive growth, but CNN admits that the pursuit of green energy is a contributing factor. While the word “inflation” does not appear until the sixth paragraph, they admit that “inflation is back and it’s widespread.”

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New Technology for Building the Dystopian Future

My idea of hell is a world of chat bots and automated systems where you can never get to a real human being on the line.

Today, we have companies like Twitter and Facebook determining who gets to say what, deciding about what qualifies as “fact” and what is not, and determining what news most young Americans see daily. If that is not enough of a dystopian nightmare, let’s look at what the future holds.

Three technologies are in the midst of development and rollout that will change the world, starting with the U.S. and other first world countries. They are Artificial intelligence, 5G and the Internet of Things (IoT). While each one seems like a great idea on its own, it’s the combination of all three that leads to potential problems.

While 5G may allow autonomous vehicles to talk to each other on a crowded highway, and will allow you to stream live events from the comfort of your car while it drives itself, it will also allow the collection of greater amounts of data on you. This data will be collected not only by your car and your phone or tablet, but by every Interne connected device in your house. This data is far too much to be analyzed by humans, so artificial intelligence will mine the data, using it to not only to send you personalized advertisement, but to predict your future actions.

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One Hive Down, Two to Go; Plus Cyberattacks on Essential Services

After a clandestine meeting in which I slipped a woman a wad of $20s and she handed me a small, carefully built wooden box, I was the proud owner of some bees.

The first bee hive is up and running. I picked it up early Thursday and brought it home, dodging raindrops. I waited until about 11 a.m. and installed them in their new hive quickly and easily.

Funny thing: By the time I got my jacket and veil on and marched out at the bee yard, my hive tool had fallen out of my back pocket. There I am with the nuc open and no way to pull out a frame. I unfolded my trusty pocket knife and used it to separate the frames and pry them out.

I don’t recommend prying with a folding knife any more than I recommend digging with it, but it held up well. Good knives, like good tools, are worth every penny.

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First Oil, Now Meat. What Will Cyber Criminals Hit Next?

Do you have meat in your freezer? Company responsible for 23 percent of meat processing in the U.S. knocked of line and halts production because of ransomware attack.

This weekend’s ransomware attack on meat processor JBS is another example of why it pays to be prepared. If JBS can’t get back online, the production of beef, pork and chicken will suffer, possibly leading to empty shelves and spiking prices.

Unlike gasoline, which degrades over time, storing some extra beef or chicken is easy for anyone with a freezer, a pressure canner or even some spare shelf space.

I’m lower than I like on bacon, but otherwise our meat storage levels are good. Besides frozen meat, we have a good stock of canned meat products. I even have freeze-dried pork chops and steak, although I am saving those until the end of the world as we know it.

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How to Prepare for the Destruction of our Economy and the Collapse of our Society

How do you prepare for the coming collapse of our society? What do we need besides food, water and shelter?

If we are truly on a downward spiral, witnessing the death of a democratic republic, the destruction of our economy, the erosion of our constitutional rights and the eventual collapse of our country, how should we prepare?

Let’s work backwards by taking a close look at what could kill you and working backwards to prevent it.

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Time to Buy an 80-percent Receiver and Build a Ghost Gun

Gun sales are soaring. Ammo is in short supply. The Democrats want to ban your guns. The ATF wants to increase regulation. Sounds like its time to buy a gun,

I wasn’t sure if I should discuss this publicly given the radical anti-gun slant in Washington, but then I figured that since I filled out the paperwork to buy a silencer, I’m probably on their target list already. So here it goes:

I bought a Polymer 80 kit to build a pistol that is compatible with Glock parts. 

Doesn’t sound that dangerous or dastardly does it?  A shame I have to think twice before talking about it.

For any of you who are not in the know, the Polymer 80 is an 80-percent kit that I can use to make a so-called “ghost gun” in the privacy or my workshop with common hand tools.  The gun grabbers are so haunted by the idea of people building their own guns that the BATFE is looking for ways to make them illegal or to require them to be given serial numbers, thereby removing their “ghostiness.”  (As if criminals, most of who use and obtain their guns illegally, follow the laws.)

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