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Monday, July 3, 2017

leading indicator in the rearview mirror

note: DM, got your PayPal donation, very generous!.  Many thanks.  BP, the next day you sent the same amount!  Love ya both.
I’m beginning to think that all of us, even me, are not as clever as we think we are.  We struggle mightily to discern the vague future through the lies and propaganda, congratulate ourselves on a job well done after many years of intense study and effort, while the whole time we might have been looking in the rear view mirror rather than a crystal ball.  This should have been as obvious as the nose on our face, even if your nose is very blurry and more felt than seen, baring any mirrors nearby.  The government lies to us after reworking history ( as they would, say, fudge last quarters unemployment numbers ), the movie industry takes years to write and film and edit on current events.  The book industry takes something like six to nine months to publish AFTER the damn thing is written ( I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the Italian Doomers book on pre-sale.  $100?????!!!!! Kiss my ass, dude.  I hope that will drop quickly.  I don’t mind paying a little extra even if his blog is too alt energy centric and not worth much support, but I do what I can for my brother writers.  Kuntsler’s hippie book wasn’t all that good after a great start, nor is his blog which is just politics, but it was only $5 and it all went to him after Amazon’s minor cut so I was happy to do it.  But $100?  Hump him ).


So, here is my point.  As forecasters, which everyone has to be if they are a survivalist, we are always looking at news and views that are usually years out of date.  You can’t rely on newspapers to update you anymore as they went the way of the evening news.  All fluff, all propaganda, all info-tainment, all carefully cherry picked to avoid offending the elite.  This is of course not to say that you can’t see trends.  To give one example, I’m noticing that it won’t be long before the e-book industry is going to be in huge trouble.  My reasoning?  After talks with a fellow author who was seeing his cut on his Kindle Unlimited books going down on the same or higher book views, you could guess that far more books were entering as competition.  The same amount of KU subscribers chasing more books meant each read paid less ( if that month Amazon had $15 million to divide amongst one million books, but the next the same $15 million was divided amongst TWO million books, everyone got half the money, assuming no extra books could have been read in the same time period ).  Now, obviously, one item doesn’t make a trend, but then there followed another.  Female writers.  Don’t misunderstand me, a male or female are equally talented or not.  But fems write differently as their brains are wired differently.


Not that this means anything other than more gals are working as less guys are, thank you women’s lib and please enjoy being raped, burned and killed not necessarily in that order as foreign barbarians soon invade our land and no castrated males are available to do your fighting for you, and to grab more female market share you get more like writers.  Like hires like.  But the crap they are coming out with.  An alien invader is defeated by a time traveling sword and sorcery team and believe me, I’m only marginally engaged in hyperbole.  I thought Tor publishers was just going Total Retard FemiNazi when I see nine out of ten books by fems, but the independents and self-publishing is the same.  The end in publishing isn’t nigh because of fem writers, however, but because of those completely retarded genre mixtures.  Bad enough you now have ( sci-fi, western, spy ) romances, but now everything is being thrown in the blender.  Once you reach that point, desperate authors grasping for gimmicks, the industry is in decline.  Bad enough the crowd was so big first rate authors are jumping ship due to lack of sales, now whoever is left is churning out worse than National Enquirer pap.


Forecasting the direction of books isn’t that difficult.  You love to read, you are an early adopter type.  But since politics, economics and the like are in a virtual news blackout, how are you to discern most trends there?  We are left with little but extrapolation which has always been problematic ( seen any Jettson’s flying cars lately? ).  Worse, extrapolation from historic trends, far worse.  Look at all those economic blogs which are still using the Rational Investor paradigm.  The markets are rigged, and you still think individual traders will move the market?  Or worse, going by one century of trader history, like with The Elliot Wave.  Think perhaps growing oil supplies then and shrinking supplies now might effect the economy much?  And looking at under five centuries of trends misses the western colonization of the globe.  There was surplus the whole time, and that skews politics, economics, sociology, anthropology, philosophy, arts, every Gott Damn thing.


When you look at one of the modern era’s best historians ( look up “The Face Of Battle” ) treatment of the Civil War starting with the grade school truism of how the conflict was all about slavery, on the first page forcing you to think about abusing the book-a sin that will hurl you into Hell if I had anything to say about it ( except romances and textbooks, plus business guru self help guides, thou shalt not dog ear or write in! ), you begin to question the wisdom of everyone and everything.  My religious fervor for books took an irretrievable tumble that day, akin to a devout worshiper questioning God after being in the trenches a day after a battle with a hundred thousand casualties.  Even the best of the experts could be so full of offal their guidance became suspect.  All these folks you are relying on to forecast the future so you may pick and choose and decide for yourself are all looking in the rear view mirror, and sometimes out the side window which isn’t too useful.  Who the hell is looking out the damn windshield to see where we are going?


Humans are terrible looking to the future, and that is a survival trait.  A poorly planned one, as if those exist, another feature great for the species which sucks for the individual.  Worse, we are even more terrible looking at the past.  We are pretty good at social interaction, most of our brainpower devoted to the task of group dynamics.  Look at the pontifical absent minded professor.  His social skills are stunted so that his analytical talents might be developed in other pursuits.  So, looking to the past is clouded by the immediate needs of the group currently ( history rewritten to conform to PC ) and looking to the future from the past is almost worthless.  To see the future you go against the group ( we can’t run out of oil, we’ve always had plenty ), and going with the group has Team Survival traits.  Teamwork might suck in the corporate world, as that is code for “take one for the team”, but teamwork is how our species survives.  The best spear maker by himself is eaten by the lion, but a group using crappy spears will prevail.  And looking into the future works against teamwork.  Why?


As a species we have ALWAYS, and I mean ALWAYS ( note to Gore Warming writers ) denuded our environment.  It is a survival trait.  Fire was literally man’s best tool ever as it allowed foods to be cooked which transferred digestive calories to outside our bodies.  Fire is literally extra calories consumed.  Fire takes wood.  Eventually with growth wood starts to run out.  There could be a case for stating burnt wood returns to the environment more efficiently, but human procreation in most times is NOT in balance with the environment ( I leave out of the discussion for now the overpopulation as winning strategy argument ).  You think China chose dirty coal?  Well, sort of.  They chose to procreate, so they needed something to cook with ( the industrial burning of that coal was a roundabout way of importing foreign food ).  And a reminder for those Peak Coal Deniers, China was using coal for thousands of years ( okay, perhaps only one or one and a half thousand, I’m not positive of the start date, but one heck of a long time of use anyway ) and has no high BTU coal left, just dirty soft crap.  If doesn’t matter how many decades of coal you have left if it is all mostly useless for fuel.


Looking at the future means you are looking at your natural resource depletion and if you look logically you see the inevitability of resource depletion which is your demise.  Since resource depletion is a survival trait, NOT looking at the future closely is another one.  So denial is baked into the cake.  You are fighting everyone’s natural inclination to deny, and following the herd is also natural.  You are getting information biased by denial and you are fighting an uphill battle against group dynamics trying to stay in denial.  Even the Pretty Pony Prepper Pussies are in denial, soft selling the message of survival down to group consensus levels ( “oh, we need to be prepared.  For a natural disaster”.  Sure, that’s the way to face reality ).  How is a minor economic recession or a tornado even a realistic future forecast when overpopulation has been going on since the advent of artificial fertilizer a century ago?  Resource depletion is in our nature, as is refusing to see how that end game turns out.


So, ultimately, you pretty much need to know all your information is false, or severely dated due to the difficulty of looking forward without bias.  The result being, by the time you figure stuff out, it has already happened more likely than not.  You have a lot less time that you think, regarding any problem you are seeing.  You don’t have the same amount of time to respond to the problem as you did figuring it out.  For instance, despite all the early pioneer efforts by industry workers, Peak Oil didn’t even really take off until AFTER the global Peak Conventional Oil had occurred.  You could have read up on it prior to that but it wasn’t an acknowledged problem.  It was a non-problem, since in the past there was ethanol, fracking ( this stuff isn’t modern, the only modern part was the perception of affordability ) and the like.  And the extrapolated answer was hydrogen.  Why, those silly Peakers are worrying for nothing.  Nobody is going to acknowledge overpopulation until after the bodies start hitting the ground ( the 70’s concern over the issue WAS justified.  If the Green Revolution-better seeds but mostly more petroleum-hadn’t come along then to kick the can down the road things would have been a lot different ).  It is never a problem until the problem is already here.  Just remember that in your own internal dialog of denial and procrastination.


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  1. BTW, the absent-minded professor with no social skills is me :)

    Actually it isn't important at all if other people believe you're right or wrong. What matters is how serious will you be when you'll be saying "I messed this prep thing up." (we will all say that about something really important)

    The future cannot be anticipated, not only because there is secret technology yet to be unleashed at the worst moment (it exists). I's because when you look at history there's always at some point some freakish weather factor that destroys crops if not entire civilisations. You may have set yourself up for the worst but then freakish weather occurs and makes it even much, much worse.

    Nobody does as much as he can, that is a bold lie. The few that obsess all day along about preps are insane and thus they prep in the wrong direction, because they don't follow plans but are struck with madness.

    If survivalism is about preparing against other people hurting us, then it is a lot like war. Sometimes your enemy empales himself on your defenses (like the English during the Somme Offensive, although they themselves destroyed the Sudanese who were making the exact same mistake thirty years before), but most of the time people are going to work AROUND your strengths and focus on your weaknesses instead, because they're not good sport.

    Chances are you don't know your weaknesses yet or you can't assess them. A lot of us brainy guys are often vulnerable to women, for instance. Sometimes several times in a row (yes I'm looking at you :) )

    I find it interesting that we can't trust the news, be it Old Media or New Media. It makes the job actually easier, since we don't have to mind that anymore. If we read stuff we wrote back when we believed the news, in retrospect it all sounds corny and naive.

    It's much better to stick with the basics of prepping, and then spending some time off for quality of life, far away from these obnoxious TV drama queens.

    1. I "only" obsess over prepping for a professional eight hour work day. With perhaps a bit of overtime. And just a few sleepless hours. But since I'm obsessing over writing about it, I must be okay. Uh, right? :)

  2. When I was a kid in the early 70’s, my mother got us kids a Disney encyclopedia set. One edition dealt with future technologies. The general impression laid out in the book was that by the year 2000 we would all be living like the Jetson’s. They were off by quite a bit on that prediction. We might still see this at some point, but not everyone. I predict that the future will be like the parallel universe in the Australian TV series Spellbinder, where the elites will live good lives with such gadgets, and the masses will be living similar to medieval villagers.

    I gotta admit to having a soft spot for Kindle. Totally impractical, but I can expand my library digitally, without taking up any more space than my already larger than convenient library takes up in my limited living quarters. Not happy about the price increases though. $15 for a Kindle book is more than I paid for a physical book in most cases.

    I avoid all modern remakes of historical genres, such as westerns. The modern PC addled idiots writing this crap can’t help but to insert modern PC nonsense into them, that either would not have existed, or would have been highly unlikely for the time (Think that god awful Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman, or that ridiculous Young Riders series from the early 90’s).

    1. I'm simply astounded that the modern writers are going the way of movies and TV, total crap. The '70's contraction saw terrible paper, print and binding, but at least the writing, mostly, stayed professional. I don't mind paying a bit more for who I know is good, like Hunter with his new sniper book, but I won't repeat that $13 kindle price too often. That is pricing yourself out of the market. Understood, traditional press companies have no interest in e-books so don't care, but it is a shame they can't see how lack of returns of paper is such a good thing.

  3. Denial and procrastination allows for others to take the first major steps. Testing the waters like monkeys do (and getting eaten by the gators) so to speak. Once the pioneers make it you know you can too. If they get eaten by the gators or drown you find another sacrificial first pioneer out - by doing so you either feed the gators until they are too full to come after you when you have to cross, or have a bridge of former pioneers to walk on, or at least have some sort of guidance for when you HAVE to go yourself.
    That is what you are to me Jim - You are the gator scarred pioneer coughing out water on the far bank. Me, I am clutching a stick like I saw you doing half way over and getting used to the current swirling around my knees.
    "junk land" "bolt action" "water filter" "grains and beans".
    I still have a cubical warrior job, and am trying to get enough solar to keep the labor saving devices going, and otherwise re-creating a mostly 'normal' like life for the family on the off grid property. But I am mostly ready for the unemployment or other first stage of the disaster that is our civilization collapse to strike me. Lets see if I can avoid the gators and breathing in water on my way across.

    1. Just getting the family off grid is worth the time and investment. More grains or ammo is the city does you less good.

    2. Oh, I am in one of the rare cubicles, located *days* travel from the nearest city. 2k max population of the 'city' I live in.

  4. I think people have a tendency to get all bothered by the timing.

    We know that eventually there will be another economic downturn. They usually happen every 7-9 years or so. We know that there will be personal tragedies -- illness, unemployment, divorce, etc. There will also be natural disasters.

    We also know that people need food, water, and shelter.

    Given all this "for sure" stuff, it only makes sense to prep.

    What originally woke me up to economic collapse was my job.

    I worked at the Idaho Job Service in the early 1990's and part of my job was data entering applications for the employment side.

    I noticed a trend after inputting hundreds of applications. On their application people would list their last several jobs. In the 1970's, people (usually men) were making pretty good wages. Their next job in the early 1980's, they made less but still somewhat good money. By their next job, the wages were yet again lower. (And this is actual wages NOT adjusted for inflation so the real purchasing power was actually worse.)

    I saw this and by extending the trend line, it was not looking good. Now granted, my area was originally logging, ranching, and mining so those jobs were heading down excessively compared to city jobs. But the town also had a local college, large hospital, and some manufacturing. So my trend line was a little skewed but not by much toward the more pessimistic.

    But thank goodness it was skewed. Otherwise, I might not have paid attention.

    I also noticed people getting more and more credit cards and taking out bigger and bigger loans for things.

    Less earning power and more debt is not a good combination.

    This is what prompted me to jump ship and start my backwoods homestead.

    The trends I see now are: more automation, more immigration, more regulation, fewer good paying jobs, more pandering to special interest groups, more government handouts, more political division, lower wages/higher costs, health care cost are a disaster, government running out of money because of too many promises, etc. The trend line is not looking pretty.

    These basic trends can be seen by anyone. You don't need MSM to tell you. Just look at your friends, family and neighbors and what is happening in their lives. That's the nice things about trends -- if you open your eyes and quit listening (and watching) the magician, they are pretty obvious.

    My advice to folks -- don't over think things, look around you (I mean REALLY look), and go with your gut.

    Idaho Homesteader

    1. Yesterday I wrote about the same-going with your gut. Of course, I had to gay it all up with two bit words and over-analyzing. That is the bonus you get here.

  5. I read a Militia Porn Kindle Book recently. I *almost* stopped reading when the hero's family managed to survive not one, but two encounters with belt fed machine guns raining death on (of course EX-SF hero) and his family eldest child 16. But what really set me off is when the militia group he joins manages to down an Apache gunship. There was no character development, sure there were attempts but I couldn't GAF about a single one. Oh, before I forget, the bad guy was a Muslim who was in charge of the illigitimate government. There's a sequal but TBH I won't touch it with a barge pole.

    I'm struggling through the very same authors book on post SHTF civilian infantry tactics. I've gained *some* things I *may* find useful. The book is worth buying for non ex mil ppl if for nothing else but to get a rough idea.

    Fortunately for us though, even if the quality of work out there has decreased (it has in all areas), there are lots of great books out there. Even sticking with "the classics" we're drowning in choices

    1. I have to laugh when the Grammar Nazi's are after me, yet a $30 hardback New York published book has editing errors in it also. At least my errors are cheaper retail. I think an unpaid intern runs the thing through a shareware software program and calls it good. Quality on everything going down, indeed.


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