"The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse." -- James Madison - (1751-1836)

"We are fast approaching the stage of the ultimate inversion: the stage where the government is free to do anything it pleases, while the citizens may act only by permission; which is the stage of the darkest periods of human history, the stage of rule by brute force. " :
Ayn Rand in "The Nature of Government"

"Throughout history there have been tyrants and murderers. And for a while they seem invincible, but always they fall. Always."-Mahatma Gandhi

Science may have found a cure for most evils; but it has found no remedy for the worst of them all -- the apathy of human beings: Helen Keller

The notion that a radical is one who hates his country is naive and usually idiotic. He is , more likely, one who likes his country more than the rest of us, and is thus more disturbed than the rest of us when he sees it debauched. He is not a bad citizen turning to crime ; he is a good citizen driven to despair.--H.L Mencken

"When even one American-who has done nothing wrong-is forced by fear to shut his mind and close his mouth-then all Americans are in peril" Harry S. Truman

"The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and particularly to deny him the judgment of his peers, is in the highest degree odious and is the foundation of all totalitarian government whether Nazi or Communist."- Winston Churchill, Nov. 21, 1943

"When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing - when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors - when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you - when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice - you may know that your society is doomed: Ayn Rand - (1905-1982) Author - Source: Atlas Shrugged, Francisco's "Money Speech"

"Loss of freedom seldom happens overnight. Oppression doesn't stand on the doorstep with toothbrush moustache and swastika armband -- it creeps up insidiously...step by step, and all of a sudden the unfortunate citizen realizes that it is gone." ~ Baron Lane

U.S. Constitution - R.I.P.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

A Sampling of the Latest Economic News

These are some of the stories, referred to in my previous post, that have confirmed in my mind that the precautions my family has taken against hard economic times are warranted.

Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing. Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

At a Costco Warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., yesterday, shoppers grew frustrated and occasionally uttered expletives as they searched in vain for the large sacks of rice they usually buy.

"Where's the rice?" an engineer from Palo Alto, Calif., Yajun Liu, said. "You should be able to buy something like rice. This is ridiculous."

The bustling store in the heart of Silicon Valley usually sells four or five varieties of rice to a clientele largely of Asian immigrants, but only about half a pallet of Indian-grown Basmati rice was left in stock. A 20-pound bag was selling for $15.99.

Rice Rationing Spreads as Far as Israel

PALO ALTO, Calif. — Rationing of rice by retail stores has spread as far as Israel since The New York Sun reported on the phenomenon in Northern California last week.

The Blue Square and Supersol supermarket chains have begun limiting purchases of rice, Israeli newspapers said yesterday. Supersol is restricting each customer to "three bags per type of grain product," the Jerusalem Post reported.

Meanwhile, Asian grocery stores seem to be joining their larger wholesale-style competitors in curbing purchases. A supermarket chain which caters to Chinese Americans, 99 Ranch, is imposing two-bag-per-customer limits on most of its 20-pound and 50-pound sacks of rice, according to signs at its store in Cupertino, Calif. That store and others in the chain were selling rice without limitation a week ago.

Last week, Sam's Club announced it was limiting customers to four bags of imported Jasmine, Basmati, and long grain white rice. Costco had imposed such limits earlier, though they were not widely known until the Sun's report.

Trade associations for rice farmers and processors in America contend there is no shortage here, though prices for the grain have risen two to three times in recent months.

Load Up the Pantry-from the Wall St. Journal

I don't want to alarm anybody, but maybe it's time for Americans to start stockpiling food.

No, this is not a drill.

You've seen the TV footage of food riots in parts of the developing world. Yes, they're a long way away from the U.S. But most foodstuffs operate in a global market. When the cost of wheat soars in Asia, it will do the same here.

Reality: Food prices are already rising here much faster than the returns you are likely to get from keeping your money in a bank or money-market fund. And there are very good reasons to believe prices on the shelves are about to start rising a lot faster.

"Load up the pantry," says Manu Daftary, one of Wall Street's top investors and the manager of the Quaker Strategic Growth mutual fund. "I think prices are going higher. People are too complacent. They think it isn't going to happen here. But I don't know how the food companies can absorb higher costs."


A fast-unfolding food shortage is engulfing the entire world, driving food prices to record highs. Over the past half-century grain prices have spiked from time to time because of weather-related events, such as the 1972 Soviet crop failure that led to a doubling of world wheat, rice, and corn prices. The situation today is entirely different, however. The current doubling of grain prices is trend-driven, the cumulative effect of some trends that are accelerating growth in demand and other trends that are slowing the growth in supply.

The world has not experienced anything quite like this before. In the face of rising food prices and spreading hunger, the social order is beginning to break down in some countries.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Start of a New Way of Life

The previous post was written the day before we left NY...but I had no time to publish it amid the insanity. It was indeed insanity, packing up three separate households, moving the few possessions we decided to keep into storage, then loading our purchased for the trip motor home with...get ready for this folks....my sister, myself, six children, ten dogs...my three Great Danes and one smaller mixed breed, and my sister's six Great Danes, my four cats, a pair of cockatiels left in our possession when my mother passed, and my son's turtle. Not to mention a large assortment of school books, clothing for everyone, and food for people and animals, and assorted other items. We were loaded to the gills. Two more family members followed in a car, just as loaded, with my brother's two Greyhounds and a large trunk strapped to the roof. Well, we made it anyway, but what a trip it was.

We landed five days later in our new desert home, and it is beautiful. No more snow and we all had a great tan by the end of February. The views are incredible no matter in which direction one looks. My view as I have my morning coffee is of a stunning mountain range in the distance that turns pink in the light of the sunrise. Quite a change from the view had in NY, the row of cookie cutter houses across the street, the side of my neighbors house, or our little tiny grassy yard.

Of course, our land here is completely undeveloped, so I have been out of touch for a while as we waited to have Internet access installed. No regrets...we all love it here, and judging from the latest headlines about spiraling food prices and rationing all over the world...right here in the US even...$120 a barrel oil prices, and the threatened collapse and multiple bailouts of many large financial institutions, and so many others, it seems we have made our move towards self sufficiency at just the right time.

The Militarization of Our Police