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The Collapse

Oil

The price of oil one year ago today was $42 per barrel. As of today, oil is selling at $82.50, and is expected to hit $100 per barrel within the next three months. Oil hasn’t been over $100 a barrel since July of 2014.

Let’s go Brandon.

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The Collapse

More on Shortages

Winn Dixie, a southern grocery chain that is headquartered in Florida with stores in five southern states, is joining Publix in limiting the purchase of certain items. Items with purchase limits are:

  • Turkeys
  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • Canned pie filling
  • Jarred gravy
  • Cream cheese
  • Bacon
  • Canola and vegetable oil
  • Paper napkins
  • Disposable cups
  • Cutlery and plates
  • Toilet paper
  • Rolled sausage
  • Sports drinks
  • Refrigerated pet food
  • Canned cat food

The shortages are being blamed on a surge of post-recession spending by U.S. households flush with cash from stimulus checks, booming stock markets, and enlarged home equity along with supply chain issues. The key part of this is “flush with cash” because the government is putting too much cash into the economy: in other words, inflation.

People are taking that money and preparing for what they know is coming. Things continue to worsen.

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The Collapse

Medicare up 15%

The Biden administration recently announced a 15% increase in Medicare premiums. But hey, no mean tweets, so we have that going for us.

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Economy The Collapse

Inflation

While standing on the deck of a ship and it appears as though the level of the ocean is rising, this is an optical illusion. It is actually the ship that is sinking. Similarly, inflation isn’t an increase in prices. It’s a decrease in the value of your nation’s currency. For the US dollar, it’s value has decreased by 6.22 percent in the past 12 months.

Are you making 6 percent more than you were last year? I’m not. The problem is accelerating. In September 2021, the rate of inflation was 5.4 percent. In August, it was 5.3 percent.

If the rate of increase of inflation continues, and there is no reason to think that it won’t, November will see an inflation rate of 7.17 percent year over year. At this point, there is no sign that the rate of inflation stops in November.

The last time that the United States saw an inflation rate of more than 3.8 percent was in 1981, when the end of the Carter administration had the US suffering through 8.9 percent inflation. The year before, 1980, the rate was even higher- 12.5%. By that time, the Fed had increased the prime rate to a whopping 18%, to no avail.

At a 12.5% rate of inflation, prices double every 5 and a half years. The only thing that stopped the Carter caused inflation was a massive tax cut initiated by President Reagan. This tax cut reduced the highest marginal rate from 70 to 50 percent, then again to 28 percent. That isn’t going to happen any time soon, so…

The government will try to spin it. They will fudge the numbers by saying that increases in food and energy don’t count, as if no one is affected by paying $4.50 a gallon for gasoline. However, they won’t be able to hide the decline in purchasing power for much longer. If Biden’s the left’s stupid policies continue, the level of fuckery chicanery required for the Democrats to not get slaughtered in the midterms will be epic.

We are in for some very difficult times.

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The Collapse

Power

The BLM cofounder who used donation money to buy a handful of mansions? She has been appointed as an LA county commissioner.

“I plan on advocating for the full support of Black creatives across my beautiful ass city!”

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Rigging the vote The Collapse

How long?

At least a quarter of the nation thinks that elections are rigged. How long can a nation continue like this?

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The Collapse

The Corwin Amendment

This Amendment to the Constitution was passed by 2/3 of both houses of Congress in 1861. It is still technically an active, proposed Amendment. If it were to be passed by 3/4 of the state legislatures, it would become the latest Amendment to the Constitution, however unlikely that would be.

This Amendment, largely ignored by educators today, is the prime evidence that the northern states didn’t care about the slaves as much as they did the economic conditions created by it.

The Amendment was originally proposed by one of the Senators from New York, William H. Seward, and a Representative from Ohio, Thomas Corwin, both Republicans. The Amendment itself was reflective of what most citizens at the time thought about the issue of slavery:

No amendment of this Constitution, having for its object any interference within the States with the relations between their citizens and those described in second section of the first article of the Constitution as “all other persons”, shall originate with any State that does not recognize that relation within its own limits, or shall be valid without the assent of every one of the States composing the Union.

The Corwin Amendment

You see, most people in both the North and the South felt that slavery was an issue that was an internal matter for each state to control within its own borders.

The Amendment was passed in the house on February 28, 1861 by a vote of 133 to 65, just barely above the two-thirds threshold. The Senate voted on the Amendment on March 6, 1861, passing it with a vote of 24 to 12. Soon afterward, it was sent to the states for ratification.

On March 16, 1861, Lincoln a letter to all of the governors of the states, including states that had already seceded from the Union and formed their own confederate government. In that letter, he stated that while he personally opposed to slavery, Lincoln believed the Constitution supported it. Lincoln noted Congressional approval of the Corwin amendment and stated that he “had no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.” Lincoln followed the Republican platform from the Chicago convention. He believed that the major problem between the North and South was the inability to reach agreement with respect to the expansion of slavery. Lincoln did not believe that he had the power to eliminate slavery where it already existed.

Thus far, seven states have ratified the Amendment (two have since withdrawn that ratification). Those states are: Kentucky, Ohio, Rhode Island, Maryland, Illinois, and Virginia. It should be noted that Ohio withdrew its ratification in 1864, as did Maryland in 2014.

The point here is that five of the seven states that ratified this Amendment did not feel strongly enough about the abolition movement to deny a Constitutional Amendment that would have permanently secured slavery as an institution. If they were willing to do that, it is unlikely in my opinion that they were willing to go to war over it.

What the northern states WERE willing to go to war over was the profits that were being secured by having the southern states nearly completely fund the federal government, and keeping those same states as captive consumers of union manufactured goods. Protectionism at its most brutal.

The 3/5s compromise was quite useful in this regard. The south was importing African slaves as labor, but for electoral college purposes, they were only counted as 3/5 of a person. Meanwhile, the northern factories were importing the Irish as virtual slaves, counting them as full citizens for both EC and congressional representation purposes.

So the north wanted and NEEDED to keep the union together at all costs, or the economic and political fallout would have been devastating to the northern states. This is why the civil war resulted in even more power going to the Federal government, because the north was in complete control of that central government. It allowed the northern states to continue the economic control over the states for decades during the reconstruction period.

Lincoln finally decided to grab the power that presented itself. He seized power, and with the military at his back, he made himself into the dictator that so many who succumb to the power they inherit wind up becoming.

In many ways, the situation that was in place and that led to the civil war in 1861 is the same situation we see now. The major difference is that it is the cities who are taking advantage of the smaller towns and rural areas, but using the same tactics as were used in the antebellum union.

The following websites were used as references for this post, and can make for some interesting follow up reading:

The Corwin Amendment

Abraham Lincoln and the Corwin Amendment

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The Collapse

Lincoln

After my last post, a question was asked:

why did the southern states secede after Lincoln’s election but BEFORE he took office?

If it was all about taxes, then what did Lincoln do or say prior to the election that changed the situation so dramatically that the south had to leave before he took office? Why not wait until he actually enacted some outrageous law before seceding?

The answer is longer than a comment, as entire books have been written on the subject. Let’s see if I can do a decent job at summing up the situation. In order to understand the answer to that question, you have to understand the political and economic situation.

The political situation at the time was nothing like today. Instead of the states being largely powerless political subdivisions of a larger nation, the states were more like the nations in the EU. Strong states, relatively weak central government.

The nation was divided between an industrial north and an agricultural south. Most major shipping ports were in the north, with the exceptions of Savannah, Charleston, Mobile, New Orleans, Brunswick, Wilmington, Pensacola, and Fernandina.

To get the economic picture, imagine that you are a business owner in the South. Most southern residents were, as agriculture was the major driver of the southern economy. Since 1828, any manufactured good that you needed to buy to run that business came with a 45% import tariff if it was from Europe. So you have to buy your manufactured goods from the north at highly inflated prices. At the time, the only means of taxation available to the Federal government were tariffs, and the south was paying 75% of all tax revenues collected by the union.

In addition, everything that you wanted to export to other countries was taxed at such high rates that you couldn’t sell your goods in Europe, and you are instead forced to sell your products to the North at whatever price they wish to pay.

Since 1833, the Federal authorities have been using military force by pressing northern militia units into service as a standing army to enforce these repressive taxes. That army established forts in the major ports, and tax collectors took the money for these taxes at gunpoint with armed troops supporting them.

The Dred Scott decision came in 1857. This ruling ensured that no black person could be a citizen, whether free or slave. This to me is the most solid evidence that concern for slaves was not a driver for the war. Why would any person in the union go to war to free slaves when racism was so rampant that those who were freed could never be citizens?

Also in 1857, tax rates were lowered

In the midst of this, northern states were helping slaves escape and then freeing them as soon as they touched northern soil. The south saw this as a violation of Article IV, section 2 of the Constitution. They felt that the north was using economic power to control the courts and ignore the rights of southern states.

Irish, German, and Jewish immigrants sought new lives and economic opportunities in the US, mostly settling in the industrial north and working for nearly nothing. By 1860, nearly one out of every eight Americans had been born outside of the United States. This gave the northern states more electoral votes, more congressional representatives, and thus more power.

In 1860, as the election season was underway, Lincoln campaigned not on ending slavery, even though he was known to be an abolitionist. He campaigned on a promise to protect northern business interests. That meant more taxes.

Lincoln was morally opposed to slavery, stating years earlier that slavery was, “an unqualified evil to the negro, the white man, and the State,” but he knew that this view was not going to win him the presidency. During his campaign, Lincoln repeatedly stated that he had no intention to challenge slavery, but did advocate for the high import taxes which benefitted his sponsors in the North.

After all of that, Lincoln won just 40 percent of the popular vote, but won 180 electoral votes. This was due to the fact that the north had many more citizens than did the south (thanks to the 3/5 compromise) and dominated the south in the electoral college. The Southern vote was split between Breckenridge who won 72 electoral votes and Bell who won 39 electoral votes. 

The twelfth of the seventeen platforms of Lincoln’s campaign laid out the future of tariffs:

That, while providing revenue for the support of the general government by duties upon imports, sound policy requires such an adjustment of these imports as to encourage the development of the industrial interests of the whole country; and we commend that policy of national exchanges, which secures to the workingmen liberal wages, to agriculture remunerative prices, to mechanics and manufacturers an adequate reward for their skill, labor, and enterprise, and to the nation commercial prosperity and independence.

The southern states knew what was coming. They already saw the north freely violating more than one Article of the Constitution by ignoring Article IV, maintaining a standing Army, and laying an unapportioned tax. They felt that the deck was being stacked against them. They also knew that the Republicans would do all it could to prevent secession, so they felt that seceding before Lincoln took office was the best course of action. In fact, the third of the seventeen platforms opposed disunion.

Had the only (or even main) issue been slavery, the Corwin Amendment would have placated the south. Already passed by Congress, the Corwin Amendment would have been the Thirteenth Amendment and would have permanently put slavery into the Constitution. It was sent to the states for ratification, and of this Amendment, Lincoln had this to say:

I understand a proposed amendment to the Constitution—which amendment, however, I have not seen—has passed Congress, to the effect that the Federal Government shall never interfere with the domestic institutions of the States, including that of persons held to service … holding such a provision to now be implied constitutional law, I have no objection to its being made express and irrevocable.

While it is true that Lincoln and the Republican party were opposed to slavery, they knew that it was not a winning issue and were more concerned with defending the business interests of the north than they were of abolishing slavery.

Don’t think that employees of large businesses were in any way opposed to the idea of workers as slaves. Remember that working conditions then were poor, with a six day, seventy hour work week being common, with many employees being paid in scrip that could only be spent in the company store. Don’t think that the north actually cared about the black man- remember that blacks couldn’t ever become citizens, so this wasn’t about some altruistic search for equality.

Even Charles Dickens knew that the war between the states was more about money than it was about slavery:

The Northern onslaught upon slavery was no more than a piece of specious humbug designed to conceal its desire for economic control of the Southern states.

– Charles Dickens

I know this seems disjointed, but the issue was just as complicated and nuanced as politics today. I hate the way that our current history books have made it seem as though this was a simple, cut and dried issue.

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The Collapse

Picking a Fight

If you read the story below, you will see many similarities with our current situation:

For years, I have believed that taxes, not slavery, were the root cause of the War Between the States. Like the American Revolution, the Civil War was fought over taxation. Economic disputes between the North and South existed even before the Revolutionary War, and things got even worse with the Tariff of 1828.

The Tariff of 1828, which included very high duties on raw materials, raised the average tariff on imported goods to 45 percent. The Mid-Atlantic states were the biggest supporters of the new tariff. Southerners, who imported all of their industrial products, strongly opposed this tariff. They named the tariff the “Tariff of Abominations.” They blamed this tariff for their worsening economic conditions.

The tariff was nominally created to repay the debts incurred after the War of 1812. This wasn’t actually the case. By 1832 the national debt was paid and there was no reason for this tariff. What actually happened was that the tariff created a favorable situation for the North, who benefited greatly from such high taxes at the expense of the South. Since the Southern states didn’t produce manufactured goods, they were forced to buy those goods from either Europe or the Northern states. Since the South also needed to sell their agricultural goods in Europe, this created a situation where the Southern states were paying roughly 75% of all American taxes.

The Southern states just didn’t want to pay the tariffs, and began refusing to do so. (This idea of “State nullification” of Federal laws that states didn’t feel were constitutional was first advanced by Thomas Jefferson and James Madison.) The states, led by South Carolina, declared the tariff null and void, and simply refused to pay.

So in 1833, the “Force Bill” was passed, allowing the president to use whatever force he deemed necessary, including the military, to collect taxes owed by the Southern states. Along came Lincoln, who campaigned on a platform of putting the tariffs back in place so that his sponsors could again enjoy the profits that the protectionist scheme caused.

Then it came to pass that in 1861, a new tax was passed, the Morrill Tariff. This tariff was the highest tax in American history to that point, and taxed imports at over 45%, with imported iron products taxed at 50%. This forced the South to buy northern iron products from the North at whatever prices the North wanted to charge. Victorious Republicans cheered the heavy taxes that benefitted the Northern industrialists who had backed Lincoln’s campaign.

In response, furious Southern states drafted a new constitution of their own which included a ban on high import taxation. The South’s strategy was to offer low import taxes so that North American trade would migrate to the tax-friendly ports of the South that included Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans.

The North was willing to live with slavery in the South, but were not willing to make such a concession on taxes. The forts in Southern ports were staffed by troops of the northern Army to enforce tariffs and collect taxes.

The South announced that it no longer wanted to be a part of a union where they would be robbed in order to make northern businessmen wealthy. They seceded. The north still enforced the tariffs using military force.

Fort Sumter, which was located at the entrance to Charleston Harbor and filled with federal troops enforcing the collection of taxes by U.S. customs officers, was fired upon by frustrated southerners on April 12, 1861.

I see many parallels between that situation and this one. The cities of the US used to produce manufactured goods, while the rest of the country produced the food, water, energy, and other products. Manufacturing is gone, and the only thing made in the cities now is more of the dependent class.

Even now, they continue to demand things like the elimination of automobiles, which aren’t needed in the cities, but are essential to the rest of the nation. I’m sure that you can see many other parallels. I think that, like the War Between the States, the real motivator behind our current situation is that the powers that be see that our current economic situation has run its course. The Social Security Ponzi scheme is running out of money. Our national debt is spiraling out of control.

So this is where we are.

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The Collapse

First Rule of Prep Club

Don’t talk about Prep club. People who are preparing for the shortages are being called hoarders and are catching the blame for the shortages they are preparing for.