Thursday, June 30, 2011

Here's Someone Who Is Walking The Walk

Reader "Roger Dodger in Aussieland" is just about to leave (or maybe has left already) the USA for the other side of the Pacific.   Read what he has to say!

Hi Robert

Sorry for the late reply - it used to be that Mondays were lost due to catch-up, now its Mond, Tues, Wedn  lost to trying to keep up with everything. The problem is, you get older, things require more thought and actions get slower (or at least that's my excuse these days).

My neighbor oncologist is in research (working in pharma) and the angel investors have pulled in their horns. He had a 2nd interview and thought he nailed it but learned this Monday they would continue their search for a better candidate. His work is very specialized and I think he'll have to look in China for a job; so much of that pharma research has moved there but they still need advanced team leaders with knowledge like my neighbor has.

I've lived in several countries over 6 years and here's what I'd suggest to anyone in their early 20's, especially if they have just graduated from a 4 year college:
Go overseas (Asia, China or any country doing business with China, but not Europe/EU). If they have never filed with the IRS, continue. Once you have filed, they will continue looking for your yearly return. Women can usually work this to an advantage with maiden names, married names, then no names, especially if you live and work outside the US.
Marry a non-US citizen. Only 3-4 countries require their citizens to report/pay taxes on income made outside their home country; US is 1, the others are like Libya, N. Korea, and Cuba (something ridicules like this).
Live and work in Singapore, Hong Kong or Macau where the top top tax rate is 17% or 14% for Macau. Personal Capital Accumulation is needed to make risky investments where maybe 1 in 10 will pay off - that 1 in 10 is what's needed to make your life comfortable - but you can never make that investment if the state takes 60% of your earnings.
Use ALL of your relatives and friends that you can trust to be like a squirrel and store nuts (small bank accounts) in various parts of the world - $25k here, $50k there, etc. Amounts small enough, that if lost, won't make you cry. Accounts in HKG, SGP, Macau for non-US citizens require little documentation and perhaps only a 'chop' for Chinese friends/relatives.
If you marry a foreign national, make sure your children get that 2nd passport - vitally essential in the coming decades when Americans will be saddled with horrendous taxes.
And last, hold/store/own PM's outside the US. Private (non-bank) Safe Deposit boxes with small nuts.
If possible, several 2-4 acre micro farming ops (with enough water, either wells or rainfall) with chickens, pigs, goats, and vegetable farming in 2-3 countries that you can escape to (Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia are some low cost ideas).
Have a way to get out: cross borders and fly/bus/sail to the next safer place where you've stored a nut or two.
I've read some ZH posters that know a helluva lot more than I do on this subject - unfortunately a "trusted" site doesn't exist where we could exchange knowledge.
Of course, all this is hypothetical.

Having lived and studied overseas, the history of countries that have raped and pillaged their own people financially is widespread and well known; except to Americans. But that lesson is soon to be taught and learned I'm afraid.

This ticking time-bomb is atomic.
The numbers are irrefutable - $4-5 Trillion on bailouts/"govt investments" in the last 3 years, $15Trillion in debt ($60Trillion in debt if you add SS & Mcare/Mcaid - maybe $100Trillion), 44 million on food stamps, 22% unemployed (see John Williams ShadowStats.com) - these are numbers that can not be paid back in taxes alone; currency debasement must also be employed to offset the amount owed to creditors and delay the end of the empire. America will be impoverished by the 'Greek-style' austerity that is sure to come. We have paid for Social Security and health care but when the baby boomers go to cash in those IOU's, they'll be asked to pay again for those pre-paid benefits. EVERYONE should have savings to cover their retirement and healthcare costs OUTSIDE of SS & MC, with a built-in inflation factor of X (put your own number in).

Your first responsibility is your family, then your community, and then the State. But if the State or community takes more than what you need to take care of your family, it's time to abandon the State/community.

Feel free to use any of this but attribute it to some anonymous source (like Roger Dodger in Aussieland). My thoughts are patch-work and maybe you can better assemble them for a post. Again, it's all hypothetical.

One last point. I see your postings on ZH are 'couched conservatively' but a word to those who post more vociferously and have something to lose - see CPL remarks on http://www.zerohedge.com/article/anonymous-a99-opesr-rico-class-action-lawsuit-against-federal-reserve
Any comments on any blog are public - there is no such thing as anonymity on the web, in emails, or phone calls. Be careful of what you think 'Freedom of Speech' means.

I applaud you for trying to awaken the sleeping, with your blog and comments on ZH.
My best wishes to you and yours - I hope you fare well and that we'll see each other safely 'on the other side'

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New Note From Jonny Bahrain, Gold Confiscation

Update!  One of my readers liked an important piece of Jonny's analysis (via email):

AWESOME!!!!

Damn, I wish I could figure out how to post on your site.....

I think he's right about FEMA.  This organization has been built up
for a reason.  I'm so glad I'm not a US resident.  I hope I can manage
to stay that way.



Bright and alert reader "Jonny Bahrain" critiques some of FOFOA's analysis of confiscation of gold.

The only comment I have for the moment on the below is that confiscation would likely STOP RIGHT AWAY after 20 - 50 cops / IRS thugs were shot by homeowners...

I will study Jonny's analysis more and come back later.

Jonny's note:


After reading FOFOA’s Confiscation Anatomy Parts 1 & 2, I agree that in the long run a global exchange (with each country’s currency valued relative to the price of gold in that country) is a likely result of the USD losing its global reserve currency status. But whilst I find FOFOA’s reasoning persuasive I think they ignore the increasing fascist tendencies of the USG, the USG’s geo-strategic achievements to date and the effects of civil unrest that would likely occur from a collapse in the USD.

I can certainly think of motive for the USG wanting to confiscate private gold: namely the USG has reportedly loaned out most of its gold to banks (in order for them to sell and suppress the price) and only has IOU’s which it still books as physical bullion, so who knows how low its real reserves are. Also I read an interesting comment somewhere on the FOFOA blog that when all the bad bank debts have been transferred onto sovereign balance sheets then governments will allow Freegold to wipe out said debts: gold confiscation could be enacted to allow the USG to write off the national debt.

Anyway, I will now list FOFOA’s main arguments as headings and then give my comments under them:

Lots of privately held gold was sent out of the US before the previously announced 1933 confiscation deadline
The USG will not give a deadline or any indication any form of controls are about to be implemented, regardless if they wanted to confiscate gold or not. Capital/currency controls would be implemented suddenly and without warning in the name of stabilizing the country. If the USG was to introduce capital controls to prevent a further sudden decline in the USD why would they not include PM controls at the same time as well as restrictions on bank transfers and foreign exchange transfers? In fact, FOFOA states: “And third, it made gold ownership illegal in the US, a capital control move to prevent capital flow out of paper and into physical gold on the open market.” (My emphasis added)

The USG is unlikely to go after private investors; rather they would go after soft targets such as bullion banks
I agree it would be easier for the government to go after bullion banks but I see no reason why they would stop there. Thanks to recent international money laundering legislation there are much better records kept of people who have bought bullion – I know in the UK when you buy PM’s from bullion banks you have to send copies of your passport. Safe deposit boxes also require similar records to be kept. It would not be too difficult for the government to find out who bought PM’s on internet sites such as eBay.

FOFOA’s claim that just because ‘jackboots’ have never seized gold from people in the past means it  will never happen doesn’t really justify it enough in my view. The USG has become considerably more fascist since 1933 and its powers much more absolute. I notice FOFOA does not refer to any legislation that would prevent the USG from interfering with PM markets or attempt to justify the rights of the private citizen have strengthened since 1933. The answer for this is obvious: countless constitutional rights have been/continue to be revoked, especially following the introduction of the Patriot Act.

Confiscation would cause civil unrest
If the USD collapses and widespread civil unrest occur the USG would not have to worry about causing this after introducing PM confiscation laws/controls because it would have already happened prior!

At this point, I suggest anyone who does not know about Executive Orders and FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) should look them up as it would their job to deal with civil unrest once a State has declared a state of emergency and requested Federal assistance.

“FEMA was created in a series of Executive Orders. A Presidential Executive Order, whether Constitutional or not, becomes law simply by its publication in the Federal Registry. Congress is by-passed … Originally conceived in the Richard Nixon Administration, it was refined by President Jimmy Carter and given teeth in the Ronald Reagan and George Bush Administrations … This government organization has more power than the President of the United States or Congress: it has the power to suspend laws, move entire populations, arrest and detain citizens without a warrant and hold them without trial, it can seize property, food supplies, transportation systems, and can suspend the Constitution… FEMA has been given responsibility for many new disasters including (…) urban riots …. FEMA has even been given control of the State Defense Forces, a rag-tag, often considered neo-Nazi, civilian army that will substitute for the National Guard, if the Guard is called to duty overseas … under the FEMA plan there is no contingency by which Constitutional power is restored.

So if FEMA take charge to quell civil unrest the US could be locked down tighter than a Supermax prison and there is NOTHING anyone could do about it! I find Robert Mix’s parallel with the Nazis most poignant because the potential for pure dictatorial rule is apparent.

PM controls would ostracize the US and cause the USD to be shunned by the new global currency exchange
I agree if the USG implemented PM controls the new global exchange system would ostracize the USD, which would normally be associated with a drop in its purchasing power and the inability to use the currency on international markets. But the US has long been positioning its military in key geo-strategic areas and energy rich regions across the world. It also has numerous governments in these areas which rely on the USG’s patronage for their survival and who receive favourable trade links with the US. Governments that wish to avoid being toppled in CIA sponsored coups will likely continue to trade their natural resources with the USG regardless of the currency being shunned. For this reason I think the potential isolation of the US could be ameliorated by its strategic ties and alliances.

The USG will expose itself to claims for gold by BIS and other CB’s if it confiscated gold at a set USD value, or would face thousands of internal law suits if it confiscated gold without a dollar backing
I do not know enough about the central clearing function of the BIS and hence cannot argue against the remark that the BIS and CB’s will demand dollars for gold at prices from when the dollar was convertible to gold. My only response is that the USG would almost certainly be aware of this and would take it into account before choosing any course of action. I would also question how successful internal law suits would be given the USG’s increasing willingness to override the constitution and the rule of law, especially if FEMA take control of the country.

In closing, I am not saying the USG will definitely interfere with PM markets and I agree USG agents going door-to-door seizing people’s gold coins sounds like something out of a Hollywood movie; I only aim to demonstrate the USG has a greater capability to this today than in 1933, particularly given the likelihood of widespread civil unrest occurring following a USD collapse. Having said that I do not think you can totally rule out the possibility for PM controls/confiscation being implemented on the grounds of ‘they just can’t do that’ or ‘it didn’t work before’ or naively thinking the USG will interfere without thinking things through thoroughly. In short I believe the USG in 2011 is a much stronger and more sinister beast than it was in 1933. 

I Interrupt This Blog

to post the below link from a new Zero Hedge article on fundamentals of gold & silver:

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-screaming-fundamentals-owning-gold-and-silver

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Gold Below $1500 A Bargain I Used To Say

I started reading Zero Hedge about the same time I ran into FOFOA.  For a "long" time (a little over a year), I used to howl like a banshee (or would that be bleat like a sheep?) that gold was a BARGAIN at under $1500.  I wrote this over and over...  I believe I started writing that when gold was under $900.  I still wrote that as gold passed $1040 ("The India Put" -- that was India bought that 100 tonnes).  I wrote that as gold sailed into the $1200s and higher.

Gold just reached to an all time high of $1550 or so recently.  But, it has fallen back to around $1500, most of that $50 decline in two days of trading.

I have asked myself: Is gold still a bargain at $1500?

I answer yes.  Although a lot  of "easy money" has been made (although you would have to SELL that gold to get the "easy money"), I believe gold has LOTS of upside left.  NO WAY I am selling mine.

At this stage I am only going to be an incremental buyer: I will buy less oz than over the past three years or so, but I will buy as money comes in.  I had already attained my goal at end-2010 of having 10% of my net liquid wealth in PMs (75% - 80% of that in gold).

Buying gold has ALWAYS felt very expensive to me...  (that is a topic I will address later, the idea is still brewing).

Gold provides the single best diversification to anyone who has no or little gold.

I do not if gold is on the verge of a big price fall or not.  FOFOA's magnificent article "The Shoeshine Boy" explains what will likely happen if gold's paper price craters: the physical will disappear from the market.  Try and find gold at COMEX's paper price of $400...  You will not be able to, not even if you would pay $600 or even $1000.

NONE of our problems have been solved.  Money supply is going up all around the world.  Our leaders refuse to take the hard steps necessary to fix the financial system(s).

While maybe not a "bargain" (or as much of a bargain as it used to be) at $1500, it is still a "Buy".  I will be there with many of you, buying as the price of physical gold reaches ever higher.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Blogs and Websites of Possible Interest to my Readers -- Part 2

I have added two more blog that belong to readers.

thealchemyofmoney.blogspot.com
thetaildoesnotwagthedog.blogspot.com
grandfubar.com
aadivaahan.wordpress.com
libertyiswinning.blogspot.com  
winestopperstore.com
AllTheFederales.blogspot.com                    new!
www.thepersonaltrainerswife.com                new!


---

Blogs and websites that have been suggested by my readers:


General Financial News:

www.marketoracle.co.uk
jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com   <---(multiple times)
theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/


Gold blogs:

fofoa.blogspot.com (best analyst on gold IMO)
 
flowofvalue.blogspot.com (an analyst of FOFOA, FOA and Another)
24hgold.com (PM prices and articles)
kitco.com (PM prices and articles)
www.thebulliondesk.co.uk  (need the "www" to connect, UK site w/ prices & articles)
jsmineset.com
tfmetalsreport.blogspot.com (mainly for traders)
www.traderdannorcini.blogspot.com/
www.fgmr.com



Aggregaters:

zerohedge.com (like I have to tell YOU to go there?!)
dollarcollapse.com
globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com ("Mish")

thedailyreckoning.com
http://dont-tread-on.me/
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/
http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/

Survival:



survivalblog.com
shtfplan.com

ferfal.blogspot.com/
www.chrismartenson.com/

Special Interest:

londonbanker.blogspot.com/
www.jrdeputyaccountant.com/
thedailybell.com
www.nndb.com
caseyresearch.com
johnmauldin.com/frontlinethoughts
stratfor.com


Conspiracy:

https://wikispooks.com/ISGP/organisations/Pilgrims_Society02.htm
stevequayle.com/index1.htm
infowars.com




Leaving the USA -- Part 1

A thread at Zero Hedge yesterday had a few replies on a topic I have discussed with a few people before:

Leaving the USA if things get bad.

This is another large subject that I will address in more depth as time goes on.  I have already had discussions of this with three people, "virtual friends", from zerohedge.com.  We have a Gold / Exfiltration Discussion Group (which is just a grand way of saying we email each other items of interest on these two subjects).

Items up for later discussion include:

-- Under what conditions would you leave?  How bad would it have to be?
-- Where would you go?
-- How much money do you have, how realistic is for you to go to Switzerland?
-- Do you know the language and do you understand and accept the culture where you would go?
-- Have you even BEEN THERE before?  For how long?
-- Is your family on board with this idea?
-- What if you have to leave a LOT OF MONEY behind?

My answers for the moment:

-- VERY BAD here
-- Peru
-- Enough for Peru
-- Yes
-- Yes, spent lots of time there
-- Uhh...,
-- Uhh...,

So there!  I look forward to your comments and emails as we begin to explore this subject in the coming weeks.

I am going to guess that the next article will discuss specific countries!  I have had a lot of correspondence on what countries are good as well as NO GOOD.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Important Addendum Re Holding Gold

One problem with writing articles on the fly is that I may miss something important!

A very important consideration re how much gold you want to hold is whether or not you have children (or other heirs).

Gold is typically held by very strong hands, often for generations...  I can think of NO OTHER gift (other than parental love) more valuable for one's children than gold.

If you do not have children then owning gold is fine for wealth preservation.  But, as a reader pointed out to me some time ago, he will have no heirs, so it is silver for him.  He is holding silver both for the enhanced speculation as well as the easier spendability of silver in a TEOTWAWKI.  I'm perfectly OK with his logic.  No children / no heirs, silver is fine.  I assume in this paragraph that not only do you have no children and will have none later on.

But, if you have children, you should be thinking about what happens after you move on...  We have a daughter who will likely get all of ours when the time comes. Some, perhaps, when she marries.  Gifts to her as we get older.  Gold is easy and fun to give away!

More than one child?  Then you will need to buy more gold.  To give to them.  Or maybe even to grandchildren...

Being your own central bank will allow your children to be their own central banks.

Now THAT is a legacy!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How Much Gold Should You Hold?

Short answer: as much as you can!

---

One of my blog's readers today emailed me on how to go about buying gold quietly.  I passed along my suggestions (short answer: coin shop).  The question provided the spark for today's submission.

For everyone, it all depends.  Some of the factors include:

(1)  whether or not you own any now, and how much
(2)  your net liquid wealth
(3)  your being able to store it safely
(4)  the balance of investments you currently have
(5)  your assessments of the financial and investment landscape ahead
(6)  how much your spouse will let you buy     :-)
(7)  silver?

There are others, but let's go through these factors one at a time.  Re (1), you would have to be VERY POOR in my book not to own any gold.  Yes, yes, I understand gold is expensive.  Gold can be bought in tiny quantities though if you have little money.  I am not sure where, but you can buy in tiny quantities (I think you can actually get little 5 gram and even 1 gram wafers).  With persistence you can find some 1/10th oz Gold Eagles, I have given them away to nephews and nieces...  A 1/10th oz Gold Eagle will set you back some $175, almost anybody can come up with that.  There is not really a good excuse I can think of for almost everyone not to own at least some gold, even if it is not much.  And I could argue that the economy and the twisted financial system we have should push relatively poorer people INTO a gold position.

Re (2), measuring your gold value divided into your NET LIQUID WEALTH (not counting your house, car, etc., but also taking into account current liabilities) may be the key metric for most people.  Let's just make up something for illustration.  Let's say you have a stable job, no major financial problems now and you have $10,000 in the bank.  Many personal portfolio managers (mainstream ones even!) say it's OK to have 5% - 10% of your net liquid wealth in gold.  In this example, that would be $500 - $1000 in gold.  MANY of us, and MANY at Zero Hedge would say this amount could be quite a bit higher (more gold), and I would agree.  In this example, if you bought an oz of gold, that would work out to $1540 + $70 (say) premium (American Gold Eagle).  You would then have $1540 in gold out of your $10,000 net wealth or some 15%.  I am personally at around 12% of my net liquid wealth in the PMs, and gold is 75% of that (platinum, silver and palladium in declining order make up the balance).  I am comfortable, for now, with 12%.  That will probably go up in time though, as income arrives to me.

Re (3), I (and others) say if you do not have it in your physical possession, then you don't own it.  I keep my gold in 5 different places...  I would be OK with anyone holding SOME gold in a safety deposit box there at the bank, but I would probably urge most to hide most of your gold somewhere securely.  Refer back to my earlier article about hiding your gold.  Some of my readers came up with some great suggestions...

Factor (4) is related to (2).  Gold is the best diversification there is.  Diversification is important.  If you already have a farm, for example, there would be less pressure from me to tell you to buy gold.  A farm is a nice hard asset (also assumes you don't have burdensome taxes or mortgage on it and that it is somehow productive -- producing income).  A farm, however, is not liquid.  You still need gold even if you won a farm.  If ALL you have are paper investments (stocks, bonds, money market accounts, etc.), then you need to go out and buy some gold immediately!


Re (5)  If you believe that we are close to being royally screwed by the apparently reckless and precarious financial landscape before us, then you will sleep better owning MORE gold than if you are an optimist.  I am a pessimist, that is why I hold a large amount (relatively speaking) of gold.  But, I can be optimistic too!  Platinum is for optimists...


It is best to have your spouse on your side!  So re (6), my wife grudgingly accepts the facts that the banksters and .gov are lying to us, so she allows me to buy.  Also, every time we take a vacation somewhere, I balance that expenditure by beefing up my gold holdings.  In this way, I can at least keep adding to real savings even if we spend money...


(7) Silver...  (I was hoping by now to have a Guest Post by an expert on silver.  I will reach out to the three I know who know a lot about silver to write an article for me, I do not feel I can do silver proper justice)  I really prefer gold to silver, but do recognize that silver is also a wealth preservation mechanism too.  Silver is more volatile, and is used by industry.  The silver experts I "know" can probably make "fundamental" arguments about how few oz of silver there currently are.  If you LIKE silver well OK.  Maybe the best balance would be to own more $$$ value in gold, but to own more oz of silver.  Silver might be better spending money in a TEOTWAWKI as well.  But, gold will carry your wealth through it (assuming that there IS a world after TEOTWAWKI...).


Even mainstream personal money advisers say it's OK to have 5% - 10% in gold!  And yet how many people actually have that much?  There are only TWO people I know (other than myself) who have over 5% in PMs...


And as DoChenRollingBearing is fond of saying: as money comes in, I take a part of that dough and buy GOLD with it!  Sounds like pretty good advice to me...

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Only Trip to Europe I Ever Took That Really Sucked!

I am passing along this true story to gauge the level of my readers' interest in anecdotes from my own life.  If the "Reviews" are good, I will write some others.  If the Reviews are not good (please TELL ME) then I probably will NOT write any (or very few) more anecdotes like this.  I originally wrote this for a friend by email, she told me that she enjoyed this story very much, it made her laugh at a time when she needed some laughs...

---

The Only Trip to Europe I Ever Took That Really Sucked!



My wife has a wild & crazy friend (we'll call her N) who likes to travel.  Well, a friend of hers is a travel agent and said that she could get really cheap cruise tickets for a Mediterranean cruise in November, this was say 4 years ago when our daughter was studying in Aix-en-Provence.  The cruise was Barcelona - Nice - Livorno - Rome - Palermo and back to Barcelona, one week long.  N mentioned to my wife that HER mom wanted to go as well, and then I said to them that if they were going to go all the way to Europe that they really ought to see Paris as well (as N and her mom had never been there).  I then volunteered (mistake No. 1) to take them to Paris, and then escort them down to Barcelona and get them aboard the ship OK.  I would then spend the week in Spain or go visit our daughter in Aix or go to Portugal, whatever.  NO WAY was I going on a cruise with 3 women, NO WAY!  "I may be dumb, but I'm not stupid." (Old Texas saying)

We flew to Paris.  As my wife was still a Peruvian (mistake No. 2) she had an irregularity at the airport.  After much huffing & puffing (and a fine of 200 Euros), we got a 2 day extension for her to try and go to the Prefecture there in Paris to get it straightened out (else, BACK to the USA).  Well, France has an impenetrable bureaucracy, and we got NOTHING done the whole day we were there.  Keep in mind, that she and I had traveled to France a few times before, and were MARRIED (she also had her green card)!

Having gotten nowhere with the bureaucrats, we just said the hell with it and changed our to travel plans to Barcelona, my wife and I would go by train (to lessen the chance that a guy at the Airport would kick her out of Paris).  N and her mom (also named N, so it's "The Ns" now) would take the flight Paris - Barcelona as planned.  So, we touristed Paris a couple of days, oh, but my wife had her camera stolen (on the street while crossing) and my wife and N's mom got, uh, "baptized" by some birds there along the Champs Elysees (uh, are we starting to see anything ominous yet?).

OK, so it's departure day to go to Barcelona.  The Ns were kind of pissed off that we were abandoning them to fly unaccompanied, but what could we do?  We had a hotel reservation so that was OK.  The Ns arrived OK.

But, on the train, when we got to the France - Spain border, the train stopped.  Our passports were checked by France.  Moments later someone kicked open the railcar door and said "PASAPORTES!"  Holy Shi'ite!  May get into trouble here too...  I then took her Peruvian passport and put under my US one and hoped for the best.  Bureaucrats came by, barely glanced at our passports and moved along.

Whew, whew, whew!  Got to Barcelona without further incident.  We celebrated by having dinner.  And wondered who and when someone would catch her for being in Europe illegally...  

After dinner, I said that I was tired of hanging around women and went out to walk around and find a congenial bar for beer or two.  I was mostly down Las Ramblas there when I noticed dark things shooting out of a door, sort of like 00-buckshot coming out of a sawed off shotgun!  One of them was headed my way!  They were African hookers!  One of them planted herself right in front of me, and said (in English):  "Heeeyy, baby...?"  Oh God, the horror!  I was thinking what kind of germs is she carrying and hoping none of her DNA would somehow contaminate me...!  I said "No gracias!" turned 180 degrees back to our hotel, and just have my beer there...

Next day, N did not have her suitcase (it was lost on the nonstop Paris - Barcelona flight)...  And it was time to board the ship.  I got them on OK and was then a free spirit in Europe for a week!  I did Tai Chi that afternoon in a park.  The next day I went to their Geology Museum (starting to sound OK now, no?).  

And then the next day I decided I would travel to France to visit our daughter.  Barcelona has two train stations, the Estathion de Franthia (the France Station) and the Estathion Sans (where all the trains to Madrid go).  So that morning I told the cabbie to take me to Est. Franthia.  I get there to find out that the ONE train to France had left earlier that morning.  Uh, ningun otro a Francia hoy?  No, seƱor, hay que ir a la Estathion Sans para ir a Franthia...

OK, another cab I get to E. Sans.  I was hoping to get to (ideally) Aix or at least Marseille...  But, no the only place even close to Aix was a town called Montpelier.  I said, fine get me on that train!  So I took it to Montp. and arrived at night.  I called our daughter up and explained my situation, that I would have to figure how to get to Aix from there.

Next morning, I got to the station there.  There was a train leaving in 20 minutes to Aix!!!  But, the line was REALLY LONG at the machines and was not moving, so I thought, well I will just talk to the conductor as I get on the train and get it straightened out aboard.  So, I talked with someone in my REALLY BAD FRENCH who just waved me aboard.  I was not going to argue with someone did me a favor!

On board I found out I was on a TGV (those really fast trains)...  Extra $$$...  I had called her again and told her my plan.  So the train arrives to Aix..., but I saw NOTHING familiar (I had been to Aix before)!  I then asked the conductor how much I owed him........  He said "rien, greve!", well I knew what that meant!  But...  Shitsky!  What now?!  As I wandered, dazed and confused, who should appear but our darlin' lil daughter!  I asked her, where are we?  She said this was the Aix TGV station, she had managed to figure that out...

OK, we're good!  And I did not even have to pay for the train!  I hung out with her a bit, and wandered around Aix when she was in class.  I even payed back a favor from the parents of another student (who had taken their daughter and ours to dinner one time) by taking her friend to dinner with us as well.

In a couple of days it was time for me to go back to Barcelona to get my wife and The Ns.  But, the strike was still on, no trains...  Sux thinks I.  So EARLY in the AM I wake up and go to Aix's bus station to take a bus to Marseille and (presumably) another to Barc.  November in France is COLD for me!  But, OK, got to Marseille OK.  Now how do I get a bus to Barcelona?  After wandering around in the deep-freeze morning, I found a bus co. ticket window.  Bought passage to Barcelona OK.  Not having any idea if the bus had a bathroom (no) nor if they would stop from time to time for food and bathroom breaks, I just thought fcuk it and swallowed 2 codeines to STOP my system and ate and drank NOTHING to avoid problems en route...  The bus trip went OK although the 3 Arabs (one in front of me, two across the aisle) chattering in Arabic amongst themselves and their cellphones notched up the needle on my Paranoia and Stress Meter...  But, that night I arrived OK to Barcelona.

Next morning I went to Barcelona's airport where I was to meet them.  Whoops!  I was supposed to meet them at the dock, but since I was not there they figured that they had better get to the airport...  At this point, most of the trip was over so we decided just to all go back on the plane to Paris, come what may (re my wife's illegal status there).  Our plane arrived in Paris late at night, and it was COLD!   We asked the cabbie to take us to the hotel where we were before.  Ooops, no room at the inn!  Full!  So, I asked (groveled really, nothing like groveling before a Parisian...), please, please, please, please, please, please (etc.) help us!  And he did.  She & I got a very small room in the garette, as did The Ns...

Next day we went to Paris's airport.  I was actually kind of looking forward to seeing some French bureaucrat lose his temper and mark my wife's passport with a permanent Do Not Enter France Ever Again stamp or something, but they never even noticed anything wrong, not even with their computers...

Their cruise?  Turned out it SUCKED for them as well.  The cruise ship rocked a lot in the STORMY Mediterranean and that meant that N was VERY seasick the whole time, so bad that she spent most of the cruise in Sickbay...  N did not get her suitcase until Italy...  N's mom got bruised from being banged around by the rocking ship.  And it rained on most of their shore excursions, they lost their guide in a storm at Pompeii, etc.

So, THAT, my friend, was the only trip to Europe that ever sucked for me!  Very stressful and uncomfortable.  I got everything done, but, holy moly, at what a cost...  My nerves were frazzled not just in Europe but a couple of days after we got back.  I cannot say that it was a vacation!  Nor was it for my wife and her friends.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Bitcoins at fofoa.blogspot.com!

Without me even knowing this, Bitcoins have showed up at FOFOA's blog.  He has two articles and videos, a much better job than I have done.

Read all about it:

fofoa.blogspot.com

Gold Assignment: Finished

I have the pleasure to write to and receive emails from FOFOA himself from time to time (disclosure: I donate to him).  His material is not easy to grasp, but I find him to be compelling in his view on gold.

A few days ago, I had a question on the Euro for him.  "Another", FOA and FOFOA all believe that the Euro is a sound currency mostly because it is not built on a false premise of being somehow linked to gold (as the dollar WAS explicitly linked and still is "sort of" linked to gold).  With all of the problems in Greece and elsewhere in Europe, I asked him why the Euro was so great.  I then asked him that if the ECB starts BUYING gold, what would that mean?

He answered by giving me an assignment.  Namely to read the first half of this very long page (no, he wouldn't do that would he?  Make me read something long?):

http://www.usagold.com/goldtrail/archives/goldtrailone.html

The above is part of FOFOA's extensive archives of the writings of Another and FOA.  I had only done a cursory job of rooting around in the archives, although other commentators at his blog have suggested many times that it was worth the intellectual effort and time to do so...

I still do not have all of my questions about the Euro answered, but I do have a better understanding of the principles of its design and the philosophy of NOT linking it to gold in any way.  The ECB's gold is a Reserve Asset, it just sits there, it does not "back the Euro".  Every three months, the ECB issues its balance sheet, and the gold is marked to market, while our gold is marked to $42.22 / oz.

So, OK, I still wonder about the Euro with its problem PIIGS members and how it will weather the storms most of us see coming...

Nonetheless, I picked up two nice tidbits from my reading of FOA in the above link:

1)  The value of crude oil is MUCH higher than its price (in 2000), I would hazard a guess that is still correct today.

2)  FOA picked a bottom: $930.  This would be the bottom once things started to move fast (I believe most of you would agree that things are moving pretty fast now).  I will go to stockcharts.com ASAP to see how his prediction held up, but it looks very accurate from over 10 years ago...  Gold was about $300 then.

EDIT: I just looked at a 5 year chart on gold at Yahoo.  $930 was a very good call.

---

One last thing, this did not come from the link.  Gold has always seemed to be "very expensive" to me.  I always feel like I am paying a LOT for it.  Even the gold I bought at under $500 (wish I had bought more...).

Maybe that's part of the point...  Maybe it SHOULD be expensive.  Reader thoughts by comment or email very welcome on this notion.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

"Paper Food" ETFs

I was just over at zerohedge.com (where else?) and was reading the thread on the CME relaxing some margin requirements on gold as well as corn.  Along that thread, food inflation is mentioned.

Other than perhaps buying gold, there is an interesting little way we pikers can play food inflation.  These would be via the Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) now quite the hit on the stock exchanges.  There are hundreds of ETFs.  The ETF business is catering to almost every need in finance (except for cocaine and Ukrainian hookers, although maybe by now they have that those covered too).

The ETFs that cover the commodities mean that you do not have to deal with the intricacies of commodity brokers and futures trading.  Like stocks, you call your stockbroker up and tell him to buy 100 shares of the ETF you want.

I have not really kept up in the fast moving world of ETFs lately, but there are the three below ones that might be worth a look, "Paper Food" ETFs:

-- Ticker: DBA.   DBA is a a diversified holding of all sorts of traded food commodities.  It started out as 25% each of wheat/corn/soybeans/sugar but apparently has expanded to include various other commodities like coffee, orange juice and meats.

-- Ticker: JJG.  JJG is just grains, I do not know which grains nor what percentage is of the various grains.

-- Ticker: CORN.  CORN is just corn, a nice pure play.

Each of the above three is unleveraged (IIRC).  There ARE leveraged food ETFs, but before you buy ANY leveraged ETFs, please ask me about my unhappy experiences with them (SKF and FAZ particularly come to mind...).

Bottom Line:  You can play food inflation and keep up (on paper anyway) with the "Paper Food" ETFs.

Do your own diligence.

TEOTWAWKI -- Water Edition (and a PS on a "Faraday Cage")

One of the advantages of being in the Tinfoil Hat Brigade is that I can write articles about anything I care to!  Today I return to the large subject of The End Of The World As We Know It (TEOTWAWKI) and examine the important issue of securing water supplies in a "Bad TEOTWAWKI", where the grid goes down...

If the grid goes down, then it is almost sure that most water utilities will either immediately or soon thereafter be unable to supply water.  This would certainly present grave problems for those in most cities.

Those who have a live well on a farm would be in good shape here.  Those living next to (or very close to) relatively clean lake water or even creek water would be able to cope almost as well (see below re purification).

While the Mormons suggest having a one year supply of food on hand, what is their policy on water?  Storing a one year supply of drinking water seems unrealistic for almost everyone.  In our case (two of us here), that would be 730 gallons of water (6000 lbs) which would be 146 of those 5 gallon jugs from Home Depot...  146?  Where can you put all that?  You can't unless you have a barn or big basement.

If you cannot store that much, well, what is a good amount to store?  EVERYONE should store at least three days worth of water (I believe that is what our own dear government says, in case of storms and other disasters) per person.  The quantity I keep seeing is one gallon of drinking water per person per day (that is how I worked out the above numbers in storing one year's water for two people).  So how much water does Junior Blogger Robert have stored up?  Four gallons...  Once again I fail this part of Modern Survival Theory (MST).  I need to get some more...  At least it is easy (now).

Even if you have a lot more than the three days worth or even 10 days you will eventually run out.  You will need to have a workable supply.

If you live in a rainy enough part of the US you can get some from rain.  That seems to be insufficient to me however for urban / suburban dwellers.  You are at the mercy of the weather...  You would need good catchment systems as well as storage.  Nonetheless, every little bit would help.  Dwellers in the desert cities would have no help here.

Some water can be gotten in the early mornings from dew that collects at night.  You take some rags and go mop up what you can...  Sounds insufficient as well to me.  Do all that work for a glass or two of water...

Now we have to look at getting water from other sources.  And the issues that raises.

If you live close to a nearly clean lake or creek then you have a pretty good place to start.  Collect the water and bring it home.  But, any water from lakes and streams has a REAL PROBABILITY of being contaminated, whether by pollution or microbes.  In a TEOTWAWKI, getting sick is a life and death matter.  Drinking bad water is not an option.  If the water is not polluted (by chemicals), then the two ways I know of to clean the water is with a water filter and boiling the water.

I do not know, anything really, about the larger water filters you see advertised at survivalblog.com (etc.).  Apparently an issue with these filters is you need filter elements replaced after xxx gallons of water filtered.  If you buy such a filter, you should buy a LOT of filter elements (just like if you have a gun you should have LOTS of ammo).  I do not know if these water filters are capable of taking out chemical pollutants...

No filter means you have to boil the water (you have matches or lighters, right?).  Let your pot of water sit for awhile so that whatever suspended mud and crud settles to the bottom, then decant the water into a vessel for boiling.  Once you have brought the water to boiling, you don't need to boil it long (three minutes?).  Boiling the water will not remove most chemical pollutants (though it might remove chlorine, from the nearby swimming pool, check that someone please).

What if you are next to the ocean?  I remember reading an old survival manual that digging into the sand just above the high tide line and stopping just as you hit wet sand will yield you relatively fresh water.  Still, it seems that does not get you very much for the work that you have to do...  There are devices called "solar stills" that you can buy that evaporate the seawater where the fresh water then collects onto the plastic above and drips into a vessel.  Apparently you can get solar stills at boat & marine supply stores (I have heard that yachtsmen often have them in case they get stuck out on the water...).

If you live in the mountains, you probably have a better shot at getting water.  Mountains are often rainier than the lowlands around them, and there are lakes and springs around.  Plus, there may be snow that you can collect or allow to come down to you as run-off water in the Spring.

What if you are stuck in Phoenix or Salt Lake City (or even Los Angeles, which is a natural desert IIRC) when the grid goes down?  Robert is unable to offer you a solution...

Water.  You will live less than a week without water.  You can live two - five weeks without food...

PS

Some of you are likely wondering "When is this guy going to start writing about gold and precious metals?"  I will soon.

But, many who buy gold are also interested in survival topics.  I am OK with my holdings in PMs for now, and am dedicating time and resources to at least preparing in other ways, even if only minimally.  Recall the article I wrote in May re TEOTWAWKI.  It is a BIG subject.  To be prepared properly when TSHTF takes a lot of resources and time.

Just today I bought two empty 1 gallon steel paint cans.  Why?  Apparently they would serve well enough as "Faraday Cages" to protect small electronic gear from an EMP.  So, my little shortwave radio, my electronic scale and my fancy calculator that does statistics can all go inside and be protected should big bad Iran set off a nuke above the atmosphere causing a BIG BAD EMP that would wreck our electric grid (read One Second After by William Forstchen, now in paperback).  At least now I would be able to listen to news from around the world, be able to weigh gold & silver coins and calculate stuff.

I also picked up more booze for barter...

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Let's see what this does!

<div style="color: #000;"><br><table width="350" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" cellpadding="1" border="0" cellspacing="0" style="background-color: white; text-align: center;"><tr><td style="background-color: #0066B3; color: white; font: 16px/1.1 Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;">HowManyOfMe.com</td></tr><tr><td style="border: 1px solid black;"><table width="100%" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" cellpadding="0" border="0" cellspacing="0" style="background-color: white; text-align: center;"><tr><td width="120" style="padding-top: 2px;"><a href="http://howmanyofme.com" style="text-decoration: none;"><img src="http://extimg.howmanyofme.com/extimages/howmany-logo.png" alt="Logo" width="100" height="100" style="border: 1px black"></a></td><td><span style="font: 16px/1.1 Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; color: #000;">There are<br><img src="http://extimg.howmanyofme.com/autoimg/ZFCm8sZkNWzTSsDf7Mmdcw%2C%2C/count.png" alt="106"><br> people with <span id="hmpu">my name</span> in the U.S.A.</span><br></td></tr></table><a style="color: #0066B3; text-decoration: underline; font: bold 16px/1.8 Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;" href="http://howmanyofme.com">How many have your name?</a></td></tr></table><br></div>

Oh, OK it's a widget.  I just put it in my widget space just above.  There are 106 Robert Mixes in the USA!

The education of Robert Mix continues...

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Case for Visiting Peru -- Part 1

Reader "Bill who is also married to a Peruvian" was the source of the spark that got me to write this article on visiting Peru.

If you ask anyone who has ever spent time in Peru they will likely tell you that it is one of the most interesting countries in the world.  Peru and Mexico are rivals for their histories.  But, Peru has an awesome beauty, almost anywhere you go in  the country (other than Lima, which is not beautiful, but does have its pluses) that Mexico cannot even touch.

The subject of visiting Peru is actually a very large one.  I will sketch out some of it for you, and will return to Peru with more details on some of the country's wonders.  I promise to put in pretty pictures in the upcoming Peru articles.

I have been to Peru about 20 times now, most of those times on business (see my article on our bearing import company in early June: "Ameru Trading del Peru S.A."), but also to see other parts of the country.

It was in 1981 when I went to Peru for the first time, with two friends who I had gone to college with.  From the start of our trip I knew we had chosen well.  We stayed in very cheap places ($2.00 / person / night) and often traveled on buses to go from city to city, to save money...  It was also on that same trip where I met the girl who later would become my wife.  But, that is another story, for another time.

Peru is not as cheap now as it was then.  But, it is still relatively cheap compared to, say, Argentina.

The Andes of Peru are much bigger than the Rockies of the USA and Canada.  Winding through the mountains along their roads is unforgettable.  The altitudes can be impressive, twice now I have been on buses  crossing passes at 15,600' and 15,800'.  Those altitudes are higher than the summit of Mt. Whitney (California), the highest peak in the "lower 48" states.  Peru's tallest mountain (Huascaran) beats McKinley (Denali) by some 2000'.

The coast of Peru is mostly desert, much of it very barren.  In the south of Peru, the desert sands often make impressive sand dunes, like are seen in Saudi Arabia.

Over 50% of Peru is in the Amazon basin.  The "high jungle" (where the Andes gradually disappear into the rainforests) also is almost indescribably beautiful.  I remember being in the town of Tingo Maria in the 1980s (when Sendero Luminoso was threatening to turn Peru into a New Cambodia...) and seeing La Bella Durmiente (The Sleeping Beauty) mountain visible from the rooftop of the hotel.  The lowland jungle is also of interest, especially to those interested in natural wonder.

Oh!  And the food...  Ay que rico!  Mmm...  I gain weight every time I go to Peru!

My wife has a couple of friends in Denmark.  Last year they went to Peru (they are in their 60s but healthy), and had a great time.

---

The below two songs from Peru both feature some video as well.  As I am still having problems getting HTML to work right (perhaps one of my readers can show me the HTML anchor code for this, as the version at my TEOTWAWKI article in May does not work here, thanks!), just copy the links below and paste them into your browser.

Many of you will recognize the below melody that Simon & Garfunkel borrowed for one of their hits.  There are nice pictures of Peru.  The 3rd picture (Cuzco's main plaza I believe has the Inca flag to the upper left, it is the rainbow...).

http://youtu.be/M_gSydN_BYM

<a href="http://youtu.be/M_gSydN_BYM"/a>
<a href="http://youtu.be/M_gSydN_BYM"/</a>
<a href="http://youtu.be/watch?v=M_gSydN_BYM";>
<a href="http://youtu.be/M_gSydN_BYM";a>

Rats, what am doing wrong here?  I can't get any of the above 4 to work...

Another version of the song, in Quechua, very nice:

http://youtu.be/hchTdQVAig8

Another version, with CHET ATKINS playing guitar, WOW the guy was good!

http://youtu.be/fAIIhhNbjbg

The below song ("Ananau") was a hit in Peru some two - three years ago, and is sung in Quechua, the language of the Incas (and still a living language spoken by millions in Peru).  It is a wonderful song...  This was the song that was a hit when we took our daughter to Cuzco and Machu Picchu, and is where she acquired her first real pride in being Peruvian as well as American.

http://youtu.be/sZYpGocxxfo

Rocky R Sends an Article About Bitcoins

Rocky Racoon, of Zero Hedge fame, just sent along the below link and article on Bitcoins.  Thanks Rocky and thanks Grandfubar for kicking off this subject!

Anyone who gets into this enough and has experience SPENDING Bitcoins is very welcome to post or send me an email.

http://finance.yahoo.com/banking-budgeting/article/112907/bitcoin-triples-again-smartmoney


bitcoin-triples-again-smartmoney: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance

provided by
SMlogo
The online currency has minted off-line millionaires. But for how long?
The world's fastest-gaining currency has tripled in price again. Last week, SmartMoney reported that the Bitcoin had exploded from an exchange rate near zero to more than $10 in about a year, making it one of the top-returning assets of any kind. On Wednesday the currency topped $30.

If returns like those seem otherworldly, perhaps its because Bitcoin is a world unto itself. To recap, it's is a purely online currency with no intrinsic value; its worth is based solely on the willingness of holders and merchants to accept it in trade. In that respect, it's not so different from fiat currencies like the dollar or Euro, but whereas governments back such money, Bitcoins lack central control.

In another way, the appeal of the Bitcoin echoes the appeal of gold. Instead of a central bank, a computer algorithm dictates their supply. Today there are six million Bitcoins, a number that will grow at a steadily slowing rate until it approaches 21 million, but no more. As with gold, some see such limited supply as built-in protection against inflation that could result from runaway government budget deficits. Gold, of course, has been a store of value for thousands of years and has at least some industrial use, whereas Bitcoins are brand new and exist only on the Internet.

For some early adopters, Bitcoins have turned from a hobby into a windfall. MtGox.com, the main exchange for users swapping Bitcoins for dollars and other currencies, charges buyers and sellers a fee of 0.65% for its brokerage service. (The name stands for Magic the Gathering Online Exchange, but the Bitcoin dabbler who bought the domain didn't bother to change it.) As recently as a few months ago, the site generated just pennies a day in income. By Wednesday it was making more than $40,000 a day.

Mt. Gox, needless to say, is not a regulated exchange, so its pricing and liquidity data aren't subject to any review or verification. Mt. Gox didn't respond to an email request for comment. The site offers no customer service phone number.

The largest Bitcoin account holder -- who is, of course, anonymous -- has 297,000 units of the start-up currency, according to Donald Norman, a spokesman for the The Bitcoin Consultancy, which offers advisory services for institutions interested in Bitcoin transactions. At $31 per Bitcoin, that's equivalent to $9.2 million.Bitcoins are accepted by a limited number of merchants for services, such as website design, and some goods, such as music and clothes. The anonymous nature of the currency has also led to brazen use by drug dealers, including ones who hawk their merchandise on Silk Road, a website than can only be reached through a network that cloaks the identity of its owner. Lawmakers are not amused. "The only method of payment for these illegal purchases is an untraceable peer-to-peer currency known as Bitcoins," wrote Sens. Charles Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia this week in a letter to the U.S. Attorney General and the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Cash, Bitcoin advocates are quick to point out, is also an anonymous payment system used to buy drugs, and Norman says the focus on drugs is sensationalistic and misguided. "It would be sad if the growth of Bitcoin was stunted because of this criminal byproduct," he says. "Bitcoin is going to change the world in the same way the Internet did and make societies freer."

It's not clear that U.S. law enforcement agencies could regulate Bitcoins if they wanted to. The currency runs on software similar to the file-sharing software used to download music and movies, technology the entertainment industry has been trying unsuccessfully to quash for years. There's no headquarters, main server or central bank to visit, just a network of thousands of users. It's also not clear whether U.S. regulators would have jurisdiction over a global, virtual currency. Last week, a spokesman for the F.B.I. said he was unaware of Bitcoins and would check into the Bureau's position on them. Subsequent calls for comment have not been returned.
Readers tempted to bet on the Bitcoin should resist, not least because it's unclear whether it will have any enduring worth. Beyond what fans say are the currency's design advantages, its chief appeal at the moment is surely that it's soaring in value. As of now, today is the first day in more than a week that the currency didn't hit a new high. And when the gains stall, the fall that follows may be as breathtaking as the rise.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blogs and Websites of Possible Interest to my Readers

I am grateful to you dear readers for reading my blog and commenting and emailing me responses.  I would now like to offer you various blogs and websites that I read (some, obviously more than others).  I am dividing them for reasons you will see.

If I get any of these wrong, please let me know ASAP!

Known blogs of my readers:

thealchemyofmoney.blogspot.com
thetaildoesnotwagthedog.blogspot.com
grandfubar.com
aadivaahan.wordpress.com
libertyiswinning.blogspot.com  <--- just added!
winestopperstore.com  <--- just added, he has a blog along with his business too...

Gold blogs:

fofoa.blogspot.com (best analyst on gold IMO)
24hgold.com (PM prices and articles)
kitco.com (PM prices and articles)
jsmineset.com
tfmetalsreport.blogspot.com (mainly for traders)

Aggregaters:

zerohedge.com (like I have to tell YOU to go there?!)
dollarcollapse.com
globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot.com ("Mish")

Survival / TSHTF / TEOTWAWKI:

survivalblog.com
shtfplan.com

Of interest to Tinfoil Hat Brigade members and those curious about conspiracies:

stevequayle.com/index1.htm
infowars.com

---

I put out a call to my readers!

1)  If YOU have a blog or website, comment here or email it to me!
2)  Please send me your top one or two (not mentioned above) and I will get around to publishing them as well.

Jonny Bahrain Sends Us More

Reader Jonny Bahrain (in Bahrain) sends us the below reactions to gold, black markets, Fascist Thugs and comments:

In case anyone isn't already aware, Robert kindly posts on my behalf because the Blog website here is in Arabic - international VPNs are banned - and I cannot see how to register an account so bear with me until I find an Arabic speaker to assist me.

Robert: I've only read the Freegold article but I will endeavour to read more over the next few weeks. I agree that private gold could be used to recapitalize America but perhaps it's something the US government would prefer to handle it themselves (more below). But I will happily read the article - have you got a link?
Also I was really at a loss for ideas with what someone could do with their 'wealth' if they liquidated their gold holdings; I suggested land off the top of my head as I thought of the potential for self farming. Couldn't you live on the land and let someone else work it???

The: I guess you're right, if someone was to sell their gold it would probably be best to buy up things you think could be useful and being lucky enough that you were proved right. For instance, if energy will become prohibitively expensive - due to collapsing $ and/or peak oil - buying up lots of spare parts and opening a shop that and can repair/service bicycles might be a good business. This may be better outside the US as bicycles are already popular methods of transport in cities used by large numbers of commuters wanting to avoid unnecessary expenditure and to get some exercise (I have no idea about this in the US).

Salacious and Roberto: I don't doubt that a black market for PM's may arise and neither will the authorities when implementing any PM controls; in fact this will likely be preempted.

One question for you: what currently happens to goods seized as 'profits from criminal activitiy' in the US? I know in the UK if the police seizes cash, cars, or even houses from people that are convicted of criminal offences and it's deemed that those possessions were obtained from criminal activity, they get to hold auctions and keep the proceeds! If it's not already the case there is no reason this could not be implemented as I believe the withdrawal of many constitutional rights is done under the pretext of national security using a definition of terrorist acts that is almost synonymous with criminality.

So to me the difference between the current (illegal) marijuana market and potential illegal private gold market is that the government stands to make a huge financial gain if it seizes seizes say 10-20 oz of 'illegal' private gold holdings in a single raid - their only cost being the SWAT team. I believe that they burn the seized grass so their outcome is only a financial cost, namely the DEA's expenses. 

This brings me on to something else that interests me. It's fairly clear that the police in America has become militarised and I believe this trend will only accelerate in the years ahead. Furthermore I hold the view that conventional militaries will undergo significant restructuring, namely because: governments need to drastically cut spending; asymmetric warfare has already become the new modus operandi in foreign theatres, employed against hidden enemies wearing no uniforms and who hide among large civilian populations (see insurgents in Afghan, Iraq, Palestine etc); governments will have a much more unstable domestic security situation to deal with.

IMO the way the US (and other bankrupt Western governments) will deal with overseas battles of the future will likely be through highly effective and lower cost methods similar to those employed by their 'terrorist' enemies: 1) cyber-warfare; 2) utilising the 'cloak and dagger' tactics currently used by elite Special Forces teams, consisting of small, flexible, covert strike teams that can assassinate or capture people at low financial/casualty cost and high success rate supported by private armies like Blackwater. I propose this will leave large numbers of trained soldiers surplus to requirements and will result some competing to undergo additional training and thus remain with the overseas military, with the (probably large) remainder to be transferred to the domestic security apparatus to keep the peace at home or join the private military companies as mercenaries to support government(s) where needed. This vastly larger and more brutal domestic US domestic security force would be more than capable of putting a huge dent in a PM black market and raising much needed revenue for the government if that is what is wanted.

I appreciate the above proposition may seem highly speculative but it fits with my personal view that the once Land of the Free will (ironically) become the most fascist and least free country in the world within the next decade, followed very closely by others such as the UK.

<sigh>

Jonny Bahrain

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Suggestion to my Readers

Since there are some 130 readers who I do not even personally know, it can be hard for me to remember which Brian, David, Jonny and the most seen first names I hear from.

So, for those of you who email me, ESPECIALLY if you want your comments addressed or even published (as Jonny, latest article), please provide me an extra "handle".  Examples (completely made up):

Jonny Bahrain
David "El Oro"
Brian in Oz
Tom HTML
Robert Mix (no wait, that one's taken!)

etc.

That will allow me to remember who is who and reduce confusion.  Some of you I recognize and "know" from various emails back & forth (and / or conversations from ZH), but most of you I do not.  The little psychological trick above will help me remember you and lead to less confusion.

Also, if you have "Special Needs" (lol), like you want me to mention you under a pseudonym, please make it very specific how you want me to name you or mention you here.  Make it clear enough so that "even my grandmother could understand it".