2018 Mid-Term Election Cycle

Shockingly, it’s election season again… and I’m excited!

Why?

Because the Democrats keep pissing in their own wading pool.

For the longest time, well, pretty much since November 9, 2016 when the world awoke to find a President-elect Trump instead of Shillary standing victorious, we have been constantly inundated with the Democratic Party’s shrill temper tantrum. See if you can follow along with some highlights from the last two years… (My commentary is italicized).

  • From day 1, Trump was ‘deemed’ an illegitimate President. Why? Because he didn’t win the popular vote. I’m pretty sure that’s not how presidential elections work in this country. In fact, I’m pretty sure a Presidential election is actually fifty little elections in one. But hey, since the left doesn’t like the outcome, by all means, let’s abolish the Electoral College (for clarity, that’s sarcasm). Incidentally, the popular vote was the exact reason that the Electoral College was created by the Founding Fathers in the first place. Why? Because the ‘popular vote’ is, at its core, the very definition of mob rule.

  • Also prior to the inauguration, forces within the FBI, DOJ, and the intelligence industry colluded to remove a duly elected President of the United States. The plan included many tentacles, but whose sole intent was to garner an investigation of the President for collusion and obstruction so impeachment proceedings could begin when the Democrats retook Congress after the mid-terms. History says that’s what happens in mid-terms. (This has been referred to as the ‘insurance policy’ noted in several text message between a former FBI employee and a DOJ lawyer.) This investigation, they say, is winding down. Does it strike any one as more than a mere coincidence that the conclusion of the investigation seems to be timed to coincide with the mid-term election? Why go through all of this? Well, you might notice a theme here, but it’s because they didn’t agree with the results of the election.

  • During the inauguration, protesters destroyed parts of our nation’s capital. Apparently, they didn’t agree with the election results either.

  • On day 2, literally, the country was subjected to crass and foul-mouthed feminists and entertainers with ‘Pussy Hats’, labia collars, and f-bomb laden shirts and banners taking part in the Women’s March. I know several of the women who attended and to say that their typical daily personal demeanor changed would be an understatement. Militancy won’t win arguments or score points with me. All it gets you with me is a one-way ticket off my social media island. So far, I’ve booted a brother, mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and several co-workers. Interestingly, they all are from different political persuasions, but they were all booted for the same reason, intolerance. Specifically, the inability to hear or allow debate with someone espousing an opposing viewpoint. Moreover, in case you were wondering, that is the very definition of bigotry.

  • When intimidation and destruction didn’t work, the left turned to the Title of Nobility Clause of the Constitution, specifically Article 1, Section 9, Clause 8. The ‘Emoluments Clause,’ as it is commonly referred to, is where the founders attempted to prohibit foreign influence on elected officials and discourage a nobility class from forming. The Emoluments Clause is pretty much a catchall and a fairly sound idea. However, I don’t think they (the founders) ever envisioned international business empires on the scale and magnitude that exists today. This outrage campaign lasted about a month while the President, who was unwilling to shut down a worldwide multi-million (or billion?) dollar business enterprise and brand outright while he ran the country, worked through the legal ramifications for divesting himself of his holdings while President.

  • Then the left went to their impeachment argument. This outrage campaign is a near constant tantrum given the likes of Congresswoman Maxine Waters and others. However, it seems to ebb and flow as a headline in the daily news cycles due to the short attention span of American media as it bounces from one outrage campaign to the next. If it’s a slow news week, this one seems to be the go-to standard.

  • Then there was net neutrality, North Korea, Stormy,  trade tariffs, moving the embassy in Israel, revoking the Iran deal, re-negotiating NAFTA, Paris Climate Accords, enforcing immigration laws, and, and, and, but, but, but… until you get to present day and the successful nomination and confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh as Associate Justice to the Supreme Court of the United States.

It is this latest outrage campaign surrounding the SCOTUS nomination, but more specifically, the courts as a cumulative whole, which I find myself thinking about now.

As I see it, the Democrats have a record of 1 and 2 when it comes to smear tactics against a Republican nominate for Supreme Court Associate Justice. They succeeded in smearing Judge Bork to the point that the man’s last name is used as a verb when pundits say ‘Borking a nominee’. The left failed however with Judge’s Thomas and Kavanaugh. Strangely, there was little opposition to Judge’s Gorsuch, Roberts and Alito. Gorsuch, a Trump nominee, passed a Senate by a 54-45 vote. An equally reviled Republican President, George W. Bush, was successful in nominating Roberts (77-22 vote) and Alito (58-42 vote).

However, the lengths to which the left went against Judge Kavanaugh didn’t lead to the promise land of a liberal majority seated on the bench for the highest court in the land. The left also wasn’t successful in its attempt to re-ignite an assortment of progressive movements. What is was successful in accomplishing was angering and appalling independents and Republicans alike… and a few of their own on the left.

Any political cachet the left held going into the 2018 mid-term election cycle has since evaporated. Democrat Senators in red states (states that Trump won in 2016) have seen their minimal polling leads evaporate. This means the Senate is lost to them. In fact, Republicans are likely to increase their majority. Democrats running for the House of Representatives have seen similar returns. This means the House is likely lost to them as well. They’ll likely pick up seats but not enough to put the gavel back in, God forbid, Nancy Pelosi’s hand.

So let’s review… because the left over played their hand AND, in no small part, because the right finally grew a spine and stood up to and refused to yield to the barrage of negative attacks on a nominee and themselves, they have effectively turned a ‘blue wave’ into a red ripple. Both houses of Congress will remain in Republican hands as will the Executive branch of government. You heard it here first folks!

But why did the left go this far this time? They hadn’t tried this scorched earth approach since 1991 with the Clarence Thomas hearings, so what gives?

Well, some will say it is multi-faceted. It’s ‘resist Trump’, and the ‘#MeToo’ movement, or it’s a new ‘Believe Survivors’ movement or it’s the age old fight of Roe v. Wade… and on and on it goes. To me though, all of those facets boil down to one thing.

The left needs the courts on their side like my daughters needed their blankies.

Why? Why do they need the courts?

Because the left has been historically inept at passing progressive legislation. They need the courts in order to legislate the laws they were unsuccessfully able to pass through the Congress or through the fifty state houses into existence. Period.

The left may be many things detrimental to our country, but the one thing they are not is entirely devoid of calculating, manipulative, and, dare I say, reasoned thought. They see a conservative majority on the SCOTUS in much the same way that an independent nation state views a hostile act of naked aggression. A conservative majority on the court anywhere in America, whether it be the Circuit Court, the Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court, isn’t safe from the anarchistic wrath of the left.

Again, I ask why…

The reason the left goes to the mattresses for court appointees is because of the simple reason that the appointments are for life!

Interestingly enough, I started this blog post several days ago, but I happened to come across an article this morning. I’ve included three excerpts that help to sum up the left’s tactics. These excerpts are from the October 10, 2018 article in The Daily Signal titled How Justice Kavanaugh Will Change the Supreme Court by Hans von Spakovsky’.

Excerpt #1

Much has been said about the unfair and downright nasty tactics used by some Democratic senators and their allies during Kavanaugh’s confirmation battle. But the reason they resorted to these tactics is because the federal courts have become so important in their quest to change America into their version of a progressive utopia.

For many decades, liberals have been using the federal courts to implement the changes they have been unable to achieve through Congress and state legislatures. When they cannot convince voters and legislators, they have resorted to federal judges to ignore the law and ignore the Constitution and implement their social policies by judicial fiat.

Excerpt #2

Democrats still have four solid liberal justices on the court who are likely to vote the way liberals want them to on most issues, particularly “social justice” issues like abortion, racial preferences, gay marriage, and campaign finance. From their perspective, there is only one politically acceptable view on those issues.

Excerpt #3

Even though Kennedy often voted against what liberals wanted the court to do, he voted with them often enough that they continued to see the federal courts—and in particular, the Supreme Court—as their substitute venue for implementing the social policy they could not achieve through the democratic process. With Kavanaugh, that substitute venue will likely disappear.

That, in turn, could diminish the power of the Supreme Court over the political, social, and cultural affairs of the nation. And that would be a good thing.

The Supreme Court was never envisioned by our Founders as the final arbiter and decision-maker on all affairs, foreign and domestic. It is the court’s extension of its power into areas where it should not be exercising power that has played a large role in turning the confirmation of its justices into a rancorous political campaign that diminishes the court and damages the pursuit of justice in the federal courts."

So there you have it folks… with every successful lifetime judicial appointment the Trump administration makes, the closer and closer you are to living in the country your Founding Fathers envisioned.

Socialism by Any Name is Still Crap

Anyone who has ever read an accurate and unbiased history book knows that all of these ‘ism’ forms of government control and regulation are crap. Personally, I find talk of socialism and communism within the United States government to be a personal affront to not only the veteran’s within my family but every veteran that ever fought defending our freedoms and our way of life.

To be clear, the ‘ism’ forms of government and regulation I am referring to are socialism, fascism, and communism. These three terms are in the news all the time nowadays for a variety of reasons, usually incorrectly attributed to someone or something associated with the current POTUS.

To me, democracies, republics, and democratic republics that employ a capitalistic form of commerce, as noted throughout the annals of history, is the only form of economics and commerce that allows its citizens to succeed or fail based on their own merit. Basically, it calls ‘balls and strikes’ and stays out of the way.

And just so we’re clear, and you know where I’m coming from, when I see hipsters and millennials thinking they’re hip and cool by wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt or spouting anarchy and socialism for all, it takes everything in me not to pistol whip and accost the little dumb asses.

IMG_6490.JPG

Just for shits and giggles, here’s a website that’ll clue you in to this little Marxist dipshit, Che Guevara:

Che Guevara - Wikipedia

5 Reasons Why Che’s Not Cool

Now that I’ve gotten Che outta the way, I do want to say that, to me, it’s not surprising in the least that every time our government (you know, that omnipotent bastard in D.C.) expands and gets involved, everything goes to hell in a hand basket.

Don’t believe me?

Look at the two most recent forays by our government into the private industry; health insurance and college student loans. Game, set, match… so don’t even bother arguing. And do yourself a favor before you fill up my inbox with inaccurate vitriol… read a book.

Now, so that everyone is on the same page, a quick search and reading (skimming) of a dictionary provided these definitions:

  • Communism: a political and economic system in which the major productive resources in a society—such as mines, factories, and farms—are owned by the public or the state, and wealth is divided among citizens equally or according to individual need. 

  • Socialism: a political and economic theory of social organization that advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole. 

  • Fascism: a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism. 

  • Democracy: a system of government by the whole population or all the eligible members of a state, typically through elected representatives. 

  • Republic: a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch. 

  • Democratic Republic: a form of government operating on principles adopted from a republic and a democracy. Rather than being a cross between two entirely separate systems, democratic republics function on principles shared by both republics and democracies. 

  • Capitalism: an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. 

Today though… today I found myself more hopeful that people are finally getting the message that our grandparents knew from the start… communism, fascism, socialism… these things suck. I say I’m more hopeful because, you see, today I came across an article from The Daily Signal discussing Venezuela and this country’s latest attempt at a newer, better form of socialism.

Guess what folks, socialism by any name is still crap. Here’s a link to the article (below) so you can read for yourself how the latest dictator to employ this form of government is living the high life while everyone else either flees or starves.

If you meet someone who has fled that shit hole of a country and received asylum here in the United States because of this lunatic, go out of your way to give them a helping hand. They’ve earned it just for surviving sheer stupidity.

Some Are More Equal Than Others in Socialist Venezuela

Feet... You Only Have Two

I was reminded last night that it is vitally important to take care of your feet. If any of you have been in the military, you know what I'm talking about. Even my favorite pair of fictional soldiers in Lt. Dan and Forrest Gump were concerned about feet.

Look, it's pretty basic here. You stick with me, you learn from the guys who been in country awhile, you'll be right. There is one item of G.I. gear that can be the difference between a live grunt and a dead grunt. Socks, cushion, sole, O.D. green. Try and keep your feet dry when we're out humpin'. I want you boys to remember to change your socks wherever we stop. The Mekong will eat a grunt's feet right off his legs.

I wanted to insert a YouTube clip instead of the quote, but the scene had some blasphemous language and I don't have the ability to edit the video.

I'm bringing up feet and last night because while I was doing some yard work over at the in-laws and I was wearing some open toed shoes. Bad idea. Long story short, I was putting away the thatcher I had just finished using to pull behind the tractor and, as I stepped over the hitch arm, I managed to slice a chunk off of my big toe.

Big Toe Mishap.JPG

It isn't the worst injury I've receive to my feet, but that little piece of missing skin will drop the most masculine of men if anything bangs into it! You've never known water droplets cascading over your feet in the shower to double you over... but lemme tell ya, you get creative about position in the shower stall after the first drop of soapy water hits even a minor wound like this.

Now that I've receive this "injury", I feel better for having written words in Part V that speak of the need to take of your feet. With all of the He-Man characters found in other dystopian books and movies, I've never read or seen where the topic of the care and maintenance of your feet was so paramount. I've only seen it referenced in movies like Forrest Gump and others where there are military scenes.

I'm a trend setter I guess.

Moral of the story, unless you're headed to the beach or the pool, wear the right shoes!

Ministry Series - Brave New Technology

The wife, who seems to be perpetually concerned for my spiritual well-being, forwarded me an email she received from her cousins church where they were announcing a new ministry series. Needless to say, she had me at "dystopian".

Here's what the email said:


In the 20th century, two popular dystopian novels were written: 1984 (by George Orwell) and Brave New World (by Aldous Huxley). Neil Postman, in the foreword to his book Amusing Ourselves to Death, said the following about these books:
 
What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture….In 1984, Huxley added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we hate will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we love will ruin us.
 
Postman notes that American culture has become much more like Brave New World than 1984, and perhaps he is right. There is currently a narrative in our society of what human flourishing looks like, and increasingly it resembles the dysfunction described in Brave New World. In contrast, the Scriptures paint a narrative of what human flourishing looks like, and it is in direct opposition to the current view. In this series, we will take a fresh look at our society’s narrative of human flourishing and critique it in light of what Jesus and the Scriptures say.

Join us this Sunday as Pastor Nick Carruthers begins our series, Brave New World. 


Technology presents us with quite the conundrum to be sure, just like the lead-in to the series stipulates. However, in addition to the evils noted in the email, technology also presents us with a global reach, or connectivity, which, in the hands of good and responsible people, can restore faith, bring joy and prosperity, lead to acts of kindness, and allow people to find forgiveness (among a whole host of other positive outcomes). 

If you think this is a series that you and your family might be interested in listening to, because with technology comes the ability to hear positive messaging from afar, you can access the recorded sermons here: Linworth Road Church.

Social Media and Website Information

For anyone that has read my books, Tweets, and assorted Facebook posts and "Likes", you pretty much know where I stand on the topics of government, defense, immigration, politics, rule of law, the Second Amendment, Pillary Clinton, Barry Obummer, and their assorted cronies as well as a litany of additional subjects. That being said, I have deleted both the Facebook and Twitter apps from my phone. My accounts are still active and I'll be notified of specific activity in certain circumstances, but I will no longer be directly posting within these leftist vehicles. I will still maintain a presence so I can reach my fans and readers until such time as alternative platforms become more viable and available (there are a few that I am looking in to).

All future activity will come directly from my website moving forward. I'll still check my social media pages from time to time via PC, but I refuse to be beholden to these train wrecks of liberal progressivism directly on my phone. Frankly, I was just getting too pissed off at the sheer volume of lunacy at 6:00 am... so I'm voting them off the island so to speak.

On a different, but related topic, I have been updating both the Useful Resources - Books and Useful Resources - Websites pages on my website. There is a lot of new information on both pages that could potentially help you expand your knowledge base. Look for future updates to many of the website's pages. It was never my intention to make this site static and it seems the leftist buffoonery has provided me with an impetus to get off my ass.

Updates to new content will be noted in the blog along with everything else I have to say or comment on.

In Liberty,

Dave Kershner

Libraries

My library has been on my mind a lot lately. Mostly because I finally put up some shelves and unpacked all of my books and resources after moving out during the remodel last year. However, as I was installing and cutting the shelves, I reflected on the origins of my library and why having a library is so important.

When I first started on this journey, I was reading anything I could get my hands on. My neighbor enthusiastically fed me books and recommendations. When my wife gets on me about my, oh, let's call it selective hoarding, I tell her, 'Blame Brian! It's his fault!' I've read dozens upon dozens of authors and I have my favorites, but one of the first that cultivated my thirst for knowledge was James Wesley Rawles (JWR). If you go to the JWR website, SurvivalBlog, and do some digging, you'll find his "List of Lists" spreadsheet that you can download. In that spreadsheet is a tab labeled "Book List".

In preparation for this post, I decided to review it again to see how I'm doing, comparatively speaking.  All in all, I'm doing pretty good, I think. His spreadsheet has non-fiction, fiction, movies, magazines, and recommendations for youth/teen readers. Sticking to his book recommendations, he's got about 175 annotations for recommendations. On my Resources/Useful Resources - Books page, I've listed about 125. But, when he wrote up that spreadsheet, technology wasn't what it is today so I also have smart phone apps noted as well. However, all of these apps are supported, or supplemented, by a physical book.

 A library is a personal and subjective thing. If you review my books list, you'll see that some have absolutely nothing to do with self-sufficiency or, dare I say, preparedness. Some are just for pleasure reading, some are cookbooks I like, and that's the point of my library. Don't get me wrong, the newly installed library shelves are teeming with books, articles, and printed what not that deal exclusively with all manner of knowledge based learning as it relates to homesteading, herbs, water, root cellars, tactics, etc. These books and resources easily comprise 95% of my library. The works that I've included that don't deal with these topics, or many other preparedness leaning subject matters, are there to break the monotony and drudgery should the Schumer begin.

One thing I would like to point out as you begin, or continue, building your own personal library is that of physical versus electronic versions.

If the Schumer does arrive, wouldn't a precious resource like electricity be better served elsewhere as opposed to trying to keep your Kindle, tablet, or smartphone charged so you can access your library?

I can see the logic in wanting to put all of your resources on a flash drive. It small, portable, light weight, and fits in your pocket. However, it also dependent on electricity to power the computer in order to access the files and that is something you might not be able to count on. To me, personally, I cannot recommend highly enough that your library be almost exclusively comprised of physical copies of your resources (or at a minimum there is duplicity between the physical and the electronic). Yes, the physical resources will be heavy and a complete pain in the rump if you have to move all of them, and you'll have to be highly selective if you have to relocate in a hurry, but at least you gave yourself that option by having hard copies of your resources instead of a paperweight you used to call a phone.

Origins of Uncle Sam

Everyday I get an email from "Bill Bennett's American Patriot's Daily Almanac". Within each is a series of interesting historical factoids about something that happened in the United States. On July 6th, I read along as the email noted the origins of the iconic Uncle Sam caricature and the term. I was completely unaware of the history surrounding not only the image but of also the phrase Uncle Sam. So I thought I'd share what they wrote.


Uncle Sam

People all over the world recognize Uncle Sam – the tall, white-haired gentleman dressed in red, white, and blue – as a symbol of the United States. Where did this old fellow with the top hat come from?

No one knows for sure, but tradition says he first showed up during the War of 1812. Businessman Samuel Wilson of Troy, New York, who was known to friends as Uncle Sam, supplied the Army with beef in barrels. The barrels were labeled “U.S.” to show they belonged to the United States government. Somewhere along the way, it is said, folks began to joke that the “U.S.” stood for Uncle Sam, and a national symbol was born.

Uncle Sam’s stars-and-stripes costume originated in political cartoons of the nineteenth century. The best-known image first appeared on July 6, 1916, during World War I, on the cover of Leslie’s Weekly magazine with the title “What Are You Doing for Preparedness?” The artist, James Montgomery Flagg, based his portrait of Uncle Sam on his own likeness to save the cost of hiring a model. The picture was so popular, the U.S. government eventually turned it into the famous recruiting poster of Uncle Sam declaring, “I Want You.”


I did some Internet sleuthing and finally found the image the email is referencing. It's ironic that the original phrase associated with the image of 'Uncle Sam' isn't "I want YOU", but rather "What are YOU doing for Preparedness". Here is the original Uncle Sam image for you to enjoy!

Origins of Uncle Sam.jpg

Post Modern Currency Exchange

I went to lunch with a friend of mine the other day and we had a pretty wide-ranging discussion. We hadn’t eaten together in a while so this type of conversation is typical. He is a trusted confidant of mine and knows all about, and encourages, my proclivities even though he and his wife may not be fully on-board with ALL of my various interests. But he’s curious and sometimes that’s enough. We’ll be working together on a nice robust garden at his new home come spring… If his wife and I have anything to say about it that is.

First, it started out as a discussion regarding food. We talked about the garden they wanted and then I told him a quick story about how I’d stumbled across 72-hour kits for $12 a piece so I bought the max allowed (4) for the family. I do this from time to time as I encounter online deals or flash sales. Typically, a 72-hour food kit runs north of $20 apiece so I thought it was a good deal and jumped at it. Then I mentioned how my wife wasn’t fully on-board and has expressed dismay on several occasions with my purchases. I shrugged and said, “She’ll thank me one day.” Then the next several minutes was spent trying to figure out just how much food I had and how long it would last my family of four. In the end, I determined that I haven’t reached my personal goal, but I’m getting there.

Eventually, the topic turned toward PM (precious metals) purchases and my thoughts on some form of currency exchange between varying types of PM’s like gold, silver, platinum, copper, and diamonds. Curious, my friend also wanted to understand why I valued one approach over another and why I focused more on one type of commodity over others. Sounds cryptic and vague, but what follows was basically my response.

Collectibles vs Junk vs Bars

First things first, let me define how I’m using each of these terms.

  • Collectibles: As I explained to my friend, to me, the concept of ‘collectibles’ generally refers to coins that are more valuable for their age and rarity than they are for their weight in any particular metal. Examples would be Proof Silver Eagles, Morgan Silver Dollars, Uncirculated Gold Eagles, American Platinum Eagles, etc.
  • Junk: Coinage that was minted before 1965 is generally referred to as a ‘junk’ coin. These coins actually contained silver and the silver content varied from either 90%, 40%, and 35% depending on the year and the coin in question (nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, dollar).
  • Bars: You can go onto any PM website and purchase gold and silver bars from as small as 1g ($50) to 1 oz ($1275) to 1 kilo ($40,000) for gold and 1g ($3) to 1 kilo ($550) to 100 oz ($1700) to 5000g ($2950) for silver. There are a lot of other sizes/weights to choose from, but you get the point.

The important thing to remember is the weight of the bar or coin when it comes to exchanges. For example, a standard U.S. nickel is 5g, the dime is 2.268g, a quarter is 5.670g, a half dollar is 11.340g, and in an odd twist, according to the U.S. Mint, a one-dollar coin is 8.1g which is actually lighter than the half dollar, but it’s smaller in circumference so go figure.

Now let’s discuss these three concepts.

Factors to Consider for All Scenarios & Discussions: Silver on the open market today is about $16.00 per ounce. 1 ounce is the same as 28.3495 grams. These are important numbers. Take note as the prices of silver, gold, etc. change daily.

Collectibles

Based on our conversation, I got the distinct impression that my friend was considering the purchase of, or was already in possession of, an array of collectible coins. Coin collecting is a fun and engrossing hobby, to be sure, but I am skeptical of its post-Schumer usefulness. I’ll explain why in a minute. Now, if you’re keeping a weather eye on the horizon, you might be able to kill two birds with one stone with each purchase. With that being said, let’s look at an example.

1921 Morgan Silver Dollar

Factors: The Morgan Silver Dollar is one of the most famous U.S. silver coins ever minted. It was produced by the U.S. Mint from 1878 to 1904, and then again in 1921. It is highly popular with coin collectors and precious metals investors. There were 86,730,000 total coins minted and each coin is comprised of .7734 troy ounces of 90 percent fine silver.

The first thing we have to do is deal with this troy ounce business. A standard ounce to grams conversion is 1 oz = 28.3495 grams. Troy ounces are a little meatier in that 1 troy ounce = 31.1035 grams. Almost 3 g more than a standard ounce to gram conversion. As a result, 1 troy ounce is equal to 1.09714 standard ounces. Therefore, .7734 troy ounces equals 0.85 standard ounces (or 24.05 g).

Now that you’re thoroughly confused, let’s see how much it’s worth.

Cost Analysis: The face value of the coin is $1… hence the name ‘silver dollar’. However, the age of the coin coupled with its relative rarity and lack of current circulation means you can purchase a 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar from a dealer for about $20.00 per coin online. Not bad. It’s worth $19 more than its face value. Now it’s time for the tricky math…

The Morgan Silver Dollar is 0.85 ounces (or 29.09709g) and is comprised of 90% silver. So that would be 29.09709g  x  0.90% which is equal to 28.187381g of silver. Since silver is trading for $16.00 an ounce, based on weight alone, we already know that the collectible value will be greater than the silver content value, but let’s follow this on through to its conclusion. 28.187381g of silver  /  $16.00 per ounce equals $1.64 (rounded up because there were a lot of numbers after the decimal).

Collectibles Conclusions

In today’s modern world, when there’s been no Schumer hitting the fan, collectibles are a good hedge as they tend to retain their value. However, in a post-Schumer world, in my opinion, you’d be hard pressed to get any more value out of the coin than its weight in silver content. However, if you happened across another collector in a post-Schumer world, after all of the hemming and hawing over collectible value, you’d most likely get more than the $1.64 that its silver content would fetch. I’m a bit of a realist/pessimist so I am not confident that there would be coin collectors just out and about looking for bargains on these types of coins. Therefore, in the end, you’re more likely to get the silver content value of the coin and nothing more.

Junk Coins and Percentages of Silver Contained Therein

As I stated previously, a U.S. quarter, regardless of the year minted or it’s presumed silver content, weighs 5.670g. Well, technically I didn’t have all of that ancillary detail about percentages or mint year, but who’s counting. Regardless, despite the year or the silver content percentage, the weight of the quarter is constant at 5.670g. However, if you consider the percentages of silver contained in each coin, the value associated with each coin changes drastically.

You should be aware that many online retailers will sell bags of 90% silver coins for about $1200 even though the face value of the coins listed is only $100. This is because they are selling it based on the coins overall silver content (e.g. weight).

Just for shits and giggles, let’s review the U.S. quarter as an example.

Now, if you have a junk quarter minted before 1965, it could be worth any of the following values based on its silver content (Note: As far as I can tell, only dimes and nickels were ever minted in less than 90% silver content. Below is just an example IF quarters were minted in varying degrees of silver content):

90% Silver

Math: If the quarter is 90% silver, then the total weight of silver in a 90% quarter is 5.670g  x  0.90% which equals 5.103g of silver. Not bad. Now if you take 5.103g of silver and divide it by $16.00 an ounce, (5.103g  /  $16.00) the silver in a 90% quarter is worth about $0.32. The quarter is worth more in silver content than its face value.

40% Silver

Math: If the quarter is 40% silver, then the total weight of silver in a 40% quarter is 5.670g  x. 0.40% which equals 2.268g. This is the exact weight of U.S. dime. Now take the 2.268g of silver and divide it by $16.00 an ounce (2.268g  /  $16.00), you get a 40% coin worth $0.14. The quarter is worth more in face value than it is in silver content.

35% Silver

Math: If the quarter is 35% silver, then the total weight of silver in a 35% quarter is 5.670g  x. 0.35% which equals 1.9845g. Now take the 1.9845g of silver and divide it by $16.00 an ounce (1.9845g  /  $16.00), you get a 35% coin worth $0.12. The quarter is worth more than double in face value than it is in silver content.

Junk Coin Conclusions

If you have junk coinage, it is my assertion that in a post-Schumer world, no one is going to bother with the percentage values of the coin. They are going to go strictly by the mint year. Therefore, if it is a pre-1965 coin, you’re set. People are inherently lazy and most everyone will work off of the assumption and the math that a U.S minted pre-1965 quarter is the equivalent of 5g of 99.9999% pure silver. Whether or not you choose to hedge your bets on the stupidity of others and purchase/collect only 35% silver coins (most likely nickels since they seem to be the only coins containing 35% silver) is entirely up to you. It is a viable strategy, just not very ethical.

Bars

Many online retailers sell gold and silver bars that are as small as 1g to as large as a kilo, sometimes even larger. You can buy a 1g silver bar for about $3.80, but the price goes down depending on quantity for most online retailers. Conversely, a 1g gold bar is about $50.00, but it too sees a price reduction based on quantity.

Math: Retailers value 1g of silver at $2.80, depending on quantity, but an ounce is selling for $16.00 on the open market. Are you being taken advantage of? Let’s see… 1g  /  $16.00 equals about $0.0625 per gram. If I did the math right, that’s about a 450% markup. Ouch. Unfortunately, this is what you’re going to find anywhere you choose to shop when you are purchasing 1g and 5g bars. Prices re-enter our atmosphere when you buy silver bars by the ounce. These bars are as low as $16.50 an ounce (depending on quantity) which is more in line with the $16.00 per ounce open market value. Gold is just insane, not just because of pricing, but also because of availability in a post-Schumer world.

Bars Conclusions

Unless you are dealing in 1oz bars of silver or greater, you are being taken advantage of from a mark-up perspective. However, that being said, 1g and 5g bars would be more easily traded and divisible.

Overall Conclusions for Collectibles vs Junk vs Bars

Personally, I prefer 1g, 5g, and 1oz bars over collectibles and junk coins for a variety of reasons.

  1. I know they are 99.9999% pure silver and their value cannot be questioned.
  2. They are more affordable than gold.
  3. They will be more easily traded/exchanged and change provided.
  4. Silver (collectibles, junk, and bars) will most likely be more plentiful than gold.
  5. Potential conversion rates for goods and services will be more easily made with silver.

For additional information regarding currency options after a collapse, please navigate to my Resources/Research Downloads page and review the “02/16/2016 – Currency Options After a Collapse” file.

We never did get around to discussing the nuances between what the equivalent values of say 1g of gold is worth compared to ‘X’ ounces of silver. Maybe next lunch.

Inherited Family Silver

After our discussion regarding collectibles vs junk vs bars concluded, the next topic of discussion turned toward silver that had been inherited. When my dad was in the Navy, it was tradition for the Junior Officers (and wives) to present the Senior Officers with some sort of post-cruise gift. Apparently, back in the 1950’s-70’s, that gift was typically something in silver. The oldest stuff is pure silver while the later 1970’s era gifts was merely silver plated. Regardless, I have a bunch of it. I’ve got a week of vacation coming up so I think I’ll get it all loaded up and take it down the street to the local jeweler that trades (buys and sells) in this stuff and see how much I’ve got, it’s content (pure vs plated), and how much its’s all worth. That’ll be interesting.

Garlic Scapes

Identifying a Garlic Scape

Maybe you grow your own garlic, maybe you don't. I do and if you do too, but maybe you're not all that experienced with garlic, you may have noticed these 1/4" to 3/8" thick curly-cue stems/buds protruding from your garlic plants. Fear not... this is normal. This is called the garlic scape. Here's what it looks like:

 Image from GetGarlic.com

Image from GetGarlic.com

Unfortunately, it wasn't until I'd harvested and processed all of the scapes that I had the thought to write about it on the website. Sooo, I pilfered the above image from the Internet. Anyhoo, a scape protrudes from the garlic plant/leaves and generally reaches a length of about 18"-24". You'll know it's the scape when it forms the distinctive curly-cue.

The scape will generally appear and reach full length about a month or two before the garlic bulb is ready to be harvested. You can harvest and eat the flowering bulb, but it doesn't contain as much flavor and aroma as the scape stem itself. I just cut the bulb off, but that's me. In terms of the scape, you can cook with it just like a garlic clove as it contains the same flavor as the cloves... Here's what you do...

Processing a Scape

Cut the scape off just above the last of the garlic leaves, remove the bulb, then cut it up as fine as possible (mince) like chives. You'll notice that the texture is harder than that of the clove. Now, take the minced up pieces and toss them all in to a food processor or mini Cuisinart. Chop the scape up in the food processor until it's pulverized or ultra minced. You do not want to liquify it. Once it's reduce to super tiny pieces, place a quarter teaspoon into each of the blocks of an ice cube tray. Then fill each block/cube with olive oil and freeze. 

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After just a few hours, the olive oil will cloud over and freeze.

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Let the olive oil scape cubes freeze for a day or two and then remove the individual cubes and bag them. Make sure to label them accordingly. This will free up the ice cube trays for basil in olive oil or rosemary in olive oil. Trust me, these will prove to be handy little cubes of deliciousness in the middle of winter and you'll be glad you saved these herbs in olive oil. 

Government Reform Plan

I have been following the government reform plan for some time now and I'm actually impressed with some of the ideas coming from Mick Mulvaney in recent weeks. For those of you that maybe don't know, Mr. Mulvaney was hired by President Trump to be the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, or OMB. In that position, he was given the Reagan-esque task of proposing solutions to make the existing federal bureaucracy smaller and more efficient. Which I think are excellent ideas on both fronts.

For over a year, the OMB and Director Mulvaney conducted extensive reviews of all of the disparate federal departments and agencies. Now they are beginning to propose possible solutions to streamline and make government more efficient. If the changes are enacted, it will lead to the betterment of the United States as a whole. So far, I am encouraged.

Currently, the OMB has proposed the merging of the Department of Education and the Department of Labor into a new federal agency called the Department of Education and Workforce. The reasoning behind this proposal was also just a simplistic... both agencies are geared toward getting individuals ready for the workforce. Keeping them separate just creates redundancy and confusion as neither department really knows what the other is doing.

Recently though, Mr. Mulvaney gave an update to the President and his cabinet which was televised on Fox Business. He provided several analogies which shock the system not so much because of their content but rather with their simplicity in explanation.

For example, a salmon swimming in the ocean is handled by the Department of Commerce. Once the salmon enters a fresh water stream to head towards its spawning grounds, it is regulated by the Department of the Interior. If the salmon encounters a ladder used to aid its journey around an obstacle, it falls under the Army Corps of Engineers. That is crazy!

Mr. Mulvaney had other examples of government inefficiencies as well... there's the hotdog, the chicken, egg, or omelet conundrum, and the cheese pizza. He also discussed the movement of certain functions to different agencies for the same simple reason, efficiency. 

Here's the video from YouTube:

Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney breaks down the White House government reform plan.