Investing/Tangibles

SmartPrepper Mason Jar Kerosene Lamps

by Todd Walker

mason jar oil lamps

Pint and quart mason jars transformed into oil lamps.

Three years ago I read a Survival Blog article about a company selling brass plated burners, wicks, and globes that convert a standard canning jar into an oil lamp.

Dirt Road Girl and I had already planned a trip to the mountains that year when I discovered the North Carolina company was on the same road we were traveling.

We dropped in.

Southern Lamp and Supply is run by two brothers working out of an old metal building on the side of the road with wall to wall lamps, wicks, and other preparedness lighting needs. They don’t see many walk-in customers. Since we weren’t wearing UPS brown, the first bearded brother we saw asked if he could help us. We could tell he thought we were lost and looking for directions to a more exotic destination.

I assured him we weren’t lost and said we saw his lamps on Survival Blog.

“Ah, yes. We’ve been swamped with orders since we got mentioned there,” he said with a slight grin.

I asked if he had any left. He told us to wait over by the paper-cluttered counter top supporting a computer as he wound his way deep into the isles of his dusty storehouse.

He returned a few minutes later with a couple of boxes. He opened the box tops that had been folded shut.

“How many you folks want?”

We walked out with 10 mason jar cap burners, wicks included, extra wicks, and 10 hooded glass chimneys. My memory may not be that accurate, but I think we paid under $40 for everything. That was 3 years ago with no shipping.

Now you can make an emergency oil lamp in 5 minutes with a mint tin, cotton twine, and olive oil. They’re functional and, as DRG says, just so cute.

DiY olive oil lamp

DiY olive oil lamp

 

But for long-term use, you might want to have several sturdy, dependable, oil lamps available. We pick them up at yard sales when we find them.

We gave away mason jar burner lamps as gifts to family. The rest is in our emergency lighting supply cabinet.

What’s great about these lamps is their inexpensive and screw securely on mason jars. I just checked their website and the burners run three bucks and the glass chimneys cost $7.95 each.

This a great way to add emergency lighting to your preps. They’d also make great barter items.

SmartPrepper Tip: Stock up on kerosene and lamp oil before the herd strips store shelves bare. As always, if any open flame is forced into service in your home, use extra caution – especially with young children. Be sure to place lit lamps on a stable elevated surface.

Keep Doing the Stuff,

Todd

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Categories: Barter, DIY Preparedness Projects, Doing the Stuff, Frugal Preps, Investing/Tangibles, Preparedness | Tags: , , | 21 Comments

Anti-Fragile Strategies for SmartPreppers

by Todd

Is the term antifragile new to you?

Our modern world is built on fragile systems. Systems that get worse, not better, with the smallest of stressors. Technology is a wonderful and scary tool. Systems get hacked. Bugs cause chaos. And it all depend on our power grid.

Think about our ‘just in time’ food delivery system, transportation, municipal water, medicine, banks, and even our governmental system. All are delicately fragile.

The lights are on, gas is in the car, food in the fridge, and your baby is healthy. A small glitch or hiccup in ‘normal’ can disrupt your comfort level. When a regional natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy hits, our modern systems become worthless. God help us if disaster ever struck country or world-wide.

Living life is messy even in ‘normal’ conditions. That’s why the preparedness minded work to simplify systems and build redundancy. How do we know if our plan will hold up to the stress of what’s coming? It would be wise to create controlled stressors in normal times to gauge your anti-fragility before all hell breaks loose.

The Problem with Linear-Life-Thinking

Life is not linear. Doing the stuff to prepare and respond to life’s ups and downs will determine whether you survive, thrive, or die. Self-sufficiency never arrives by accident. It’s built through choices. We haven’t left the rat race entirely. Like the rest of you regular guys/gals, DRG and I still have to pay the bills.

Over a year ago, we experienced our own personal SHTF situation. Dirt Road Girl was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. As you might imagine, we were devastated. Suddenly, one thing mattered. Survival!

Due to DRG’s attitude,  prayers from family and friends, and a second opinion from a wise doctor, she’s bouncing back and taking full advantage of her second chance at life. She’s more than resilient. She’s becoming antifragile.

She’s a shining example of what ‘doing the stuff’ is all about. Her fighting spirit motivates me – stops my complaining – causes me to be more honest with myself – teaches me to laugh at life… and death – makes me embrace both my mortality and immortality.

Building an Antifragile Life

No shame in failure – try again – and fail again. Caroline Cooper used the term ‘antifragile’ in an email to me recently. What a great word! It comes from Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, a book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.

“Some things benefit from shocks; they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors and love adventure, risk, and uncertainty. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of the phenomenon, there is no word for the exact opposite of fragile. Let us call it antifragile. Antifragility is beyond resilience or robustness. The resilient resists shocks and stays the same; the antifragile gets better.” [Emphasis mine]

This is not a book review since I’ve not read his book yet. Anti-fragility is what I’ve been promoting on this blog without being aware of the term. (I’m ordering his book today).

How can becoming antifragile make our preparations and life better?

Let’s see, we live in a fragile system/world.  A SHTF event, personal or otherwise, will happen. It shakes us to our core. Our foundation is compromised. Paradigms are destroyed. What you thought would work doesn’t. The ‘plan’ and the ‘backup plan’ fail. The map you were told to follow leads you to a bridge to nowhere.

What do you do next?

The SmartPrepper builds anti-fragility. Strategies that gain from disorder and disaster.

Here are some antifragile strategies to get you thinking.

1.) Economics: Decrease your exposure in the fragile banking system as much as possible. A hundred years ago our Federal Reserve (private central bank) started a stupid system that can’t withstand shock. Our fractional reserve banking is too big to fail. Their rules don’t apply to the individual – you and me. If individuals make stupid mistakes, we get immediate results. Failure is a great teacher.

Antifragile Strategy: Invest in tangibles. Productive land, skills, natural health, quality tools, precious metals, and stuff you can’t make on your own.  Having the ability to produce potable water may be more valuable gold. You can’t drink gold.

2.) Community: We live in a global community whether we like it or not. Stuff happens in China and we feel it in main street America. Globalization means the problems we face are too big to understand and fix. Government leaders, no matter what their party affiliation, can’t solve problems for you and your family.

Antifragile Strategy: You are the answer for your problems. But you can’t do it alone. You need local community no matter how self-sufficient you’ve become. A bunker mentality will not save you.

Start by building antifragile systems and skills locally – produce real food (even with limited space), make your home a producer instead of a consumer (rain collection systems, alternative and sustainable energy, etc.), buy locally grown real food, and support local producers.

3.) Education: Let me be clear. ‘Education’ is not referring to school. Schools do one thing very well – schooling. Schools are the last places on earth to learn anti-fragility. Students are not allowed to explore their interests. There’s simply not enough time and the overseers can’t allow individualism to take root. Schools are just another too-big-to-fail, propped up government institution that is wildly successful at failure.

“Children do not need to be made to learn about the world or shown how. They want to, and they know how.” – John Holt

[And it won't happen through schooling - me]

Antifragile Strategy: Follow your interests! Homeschooling/unschooling allows your children to follow their passions. Just like any other investment, there are sacrifices that must be made to achieve the desired result.

John Taylor Gatto once said, “Genius is as common as the air we breath.” Schools are not structured to allow genius to be developed. If that’s true with kids in school, the same goes for you as a life learner. Keep learning. Avoid the cookie-cutter mentality of  factory schooling – for you and your children’s future. Build skills, then get educated.

4.) Take Risks and Keep Doing the Stuff: Anti-fragility places high value on doing over just thinking. Risk failure. Fail. Try it again. Get it right.

Is this stressful? Indeed! There are no shortcuts to becoming antifragile. There’s no ‘safe’ place. We want to insulate our children from danger. That’s noble to a certain point. But we’ve crossed over into dangerous territory when our protection is smothering. Helicopter parenting, if you will.

Taking risks is an American thing to do. That’s how we built this country. Maybe my view is tainted somewhat from teaching, but I see a growing number of kids that have had risk erased from their lives through government education and helicopter parenting. Free-range kids learn to deal with risks, survive stressors, and gain from their experience.

Antifragile Strategy: Now is the time to practice doing the stuff before an event forces you. I’m a huge proponent of testing gear, knowledge, attitude, and abilities. This alone will prepare you for those pesky unknown unknowns. Even doing the stuff now won’t guarantee success when it counts. But it will greatly increase the odds in your favor when disorder and volatility show up on your doorstep.

Self-imposed stressors help gauge your anti-fragility. Knowledge may weigh nothing, but until you start doing the stuff, your book knowledge won’t matter. There’s a big gap between reading a how-to on blacksmithing and actually hammering hot steel into a useful object.

Here’s some of the ways to start doing the antifragile stuff. Note: Doing this stuff is for healthy people who want to stress their system in a natural, healthy way.

Physical Stuff

  • Part of your plan may be to grab your Bug Out Bag and walk to a pre-determined location if need be. We do what we practice. At least once a week, sometimes more, DRG and I do our B.O.B. workout. That is, we strap on our fully loaded backpacks (72 hour go-bags) and hike around our town and neighborhood (about 3 or 4 miles). If you’ve got a B.O.B. laying in your closet that you’ve never carried, try it. You might find your hips and legs need more practice doing this stuff. We’re not sure if we’d ever need to bug out, but it’s comforting to know we could physically if we had to. [Tip: Don't go all Rambo on your outings. Blend in as much as possible. You're simply conditioning for your summer hiking trip.]
Bug Out Bag Monday workouts

B.O.B. Monday workout! Notice the SmartPrepper apparel :)

  • Stress your body. Anyone that’s hung out here knows that I’m not a fan of conventional workouts (repetitive, boring gym workouts). My plan involves lifting heavy things, moving slowly daily (walking), and sprinting (max effort) once a week. It’s not rocket science. Move in a way that builds functional fitness. If you’re interested in learning more, you can check the Brick House Workout here. Keep your body in a state of randomness.
  • Polar dip. That’s right. Taking a dip in a cold water stresses your system. I also take cold showers regularly in the hot months – and occasionally in the winter. There’s nothing like diving into the lake at the Dam Cabin in November, climbing out shivering, and warming up by the camp fire. Sound crazy? You may be surprised at the health benefits. I’m not suggesting you turn your hot water heater into a bar-b-que grill. Just test the cold water to see if it works for you.
  • Get grounded. Three years ago I removed the casts (running shoes) from my feet. Now I run in my birthday shoes. My students think I’m nuts. They wonder if I ever step in dog poop – their biggest concern. Barefoot running has taken the stress off my joints, improved my balance, and strengthened my feet and ankles. If you’re considering an unshod run, be smart and invest some time in research. Begin here. Even if you never run ‘naked’, loose the shoes and walk in your yard. Feel the grass/weeds between your toes. There are free health benefits to putting your sole on the ground (earthing).

Food Stuff

  • Intermittent Fasting:  IF has many benefits other than weight loss. Here’s a IF resource I’ve put together if you’re interested. Skipping meals may one not be optional one day.
  • Variety: Try new food. Shock you system with occasional wild foods and fermented food. Heck, just stop eating processed junk will send healthy shock waves through the Standard American’s Diet.
  • Eat the real stuff: Eating real food is now trendy and revolutionary. We call it organic. It’s really the nutrient dense foods that our grandparents cooked from scratch before our wonderful industrial food machine destroyed our eats. Buying (if you can’t grow your own) local naturally raised or organic plants and animals not only makes you healthy, it your community antifragile.

System Stuff

  • Water. Can’t do without this stuff. What’s your system for acquiring H2O? Depending on your city/county to deliver potable water after an event is fragile thinking. Build an antifragile system that improves your life.
  • Security. Dialing 911 is an option if your life is threatened. But know that you’re beholden to a response time that may be too late. Take your security into your own hands. ‘Nuff said.
  • Waste. Okay, this is a dirty subject, but… I don’t think many of us give it a second thought. When the Sh*t Hits The Fan, what do you do with the brown stuff? We take for granted that our toilet handle will always handle the job and paper work. If our fragile system fails, what’s your plan to eliminate your waste? Outhouse or 5 gallon bucket and a Sears and Roebuck catalog? You may want to look into some type of composting toilet. Just saying.
  • Networking. Building relationships with other antifragile people increases your chances of surviving stressors. You won’t need to just borrow a cup of milk from your nurse neighbor post-collapse, she’d be sewing up that gash in your foot from a glancing blow at the firewood shed. Neighboring and networking now is the antifragile thing to do to avoid the rush.

Alright, your turn. What systems and strategies do you recommend for anti-fragility? See you in the comments!

P.S.

However you got here, make yourself at home! You can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest if you’d like.

 

Categories: Investing/Tangibles, Natural Health, Preparedness, Real Food, SHTF | Tags: , , , | 20 Comments

5 Must Do’s Before the National Nipple Runs Dry

by Todd Walker

I hate labels. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life dodging bumper sticker nomenclature.

Prepping, survivalism, back to basics, resilience, self-reliance, sustainable, self-sufficient, homesteading, simple living, etc. all have a common philosophy: Taking responsibility for you own life. I wrote about chasing the simple life here. Sherpa Simple is…

Living in a way that is economical, sustainable, individualized, self-sufficient, comfortable, practical, resilient, and in harmony with nature and neighbors. It’s all about helping each other as we chase the simple life.

Weaning ourselves off the National Nipple requires time, energy, self-education, and force in some cases. And here’s the thing – the more we drink, the more we believe that the State udder will never stop flowing. We become addicted. Suckling becomes a basic right.

Buzzers Image Ana Ivanovic Nipple

This is what the National Nipple will do for you

“Once the government becomes the supplier of people’s needs, there is no limit to the needs that will be claimed as a basic right.”

– Lawrence Auster

Even if you’re thumping your chest with pride for never wrapping your proverbial lips around the golden udder, we’re all affected by the overwhelming dependency bred into our culture. The State is the great equalizer dispensing fairness for the collective good. This arrangement is not voluntary. It’s sustained by force. “Legitimate” force.

If you knew the day our National Nipple would run dry, wouldn’t you live differently. It’s not a matter of if, but when. And ‘when’ happens, there will be more than a bit of bawling and screaming. Everyone will fill the pain – your elderly parents on medicare and fixed incomes, your neighbor working in the public sector, all the public school teachers (and there are a lot of us), owners of stocks and bonds, retired veterans, everyone. I’m not even counting those totally dependent government for food, houses, and cell phones. The reset will happen.

How could it not. The truth behind the recovery propaganda should cause some of us to begin self-weaning. The feral Federal Reserve will continue the train wreck by printing more fiat paper. The productive class will continue to shrink. It’s becoming more and more difficult for middle class families to provide basic necessities, much less save for that rainy day.

Retirement looks further away by the minute. The elites keep sending their handlers back to the kitchen to cook more numbers to keep the herd happy. Does this make me vigilant and awake or a conspiracy theorist?

You decide. Search economic collapse for yourself. Here’s a small sampling to get you started:

•             Personal Incomes & The Decline Of The American Saver

•             Comparing the past to predict the future

•             A chart proving that the MSM is lying about unemployment

The picture painted is scary. As people come up for air while nursing on the National Nipple, there may be some that begin to wean themselves. For those of you already standing back from the feeding frenzy, you need to get into high gear with your preparedness plan.

You may think I’m hardnosed or uncaring by my next statement. I prefer a sudden reset over a long, drawn out collapse. I never liked tip-toeing into our cold lake. I found jumping in head-first to best for me. My body adapted to the shock of cold water better with total immersing. Let me clarify. I’d prefer no collapse at all. But that ain’t happening.

You only have power over people so long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power – he’s free again.  — Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The list of nations spiraling towards collapse is growing. What steps should Joe and Jane Average take now to build a hedge against financial Armageddon? This is not a step-by-step plan. It requires thought, creativity, and determination – no matter what your financial status. To answer the previous question, do what we know is the right thing to do. Simplify. Less is more. ‘Less’ dependence on the fragile systems of mono-crop corporate farming, fractional reserve banking, and our ‘sick’ care medical establishment.

Building resilience in these areas one step at a time will only increase your chances of survival. And may actually help you thrive.

While this list is not exhaustive, it points us in the right direction.

Food

Grow your own or buy from local farmers. Doing this will accomplish several things:

  • Strengthen your local food system. These producers live where you live. Small family owned and operated farms will contribute to your overall health and resilience in return.
  • Reconnect with your food and community. Build relationship with food producers that don’t live 2,000 miles from your house. Better to meet them now than after the balloon goes up.
  • Save resources. The amount of packaging material and fuel is drastically reduced by purchasing/bartering for groceries you can’t produce for yourself. Find farmers that practice sustainable growing practices.
  • Education. Many local farmers/producers are happy to help you learn how to grow your own. Plus, you’ll begin to know where your food comes from.
  • Food storage you’ll actually eat. When you preserve the harvest from you garden or local farmer’s market, you’re putting away food that you’ll actually enjoy eating and not some pre-packaged, processed items or MRE resembling food. Dehydrating, canning, and proper storage techniques will go a long way in supplying your family with stores of food for the long run.

Health Vigilante – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

  • 90% of what we eat is the cause of our chronic health conditions.
  • Be your own health vigilante. Take your health into your own hands. This past year taught DRG and me that modern medicine is run by pharmaceutical companies. There’s a chemical soup in pill form for everything.
  • Explore holistic health practices.
  • Eat nutrient dense foods. Avoid processed junk foods. I recommend the Primal Lifestyle. Your mileage may vary.
  • Regular exercise without being married to the gym. Develop a mindset of functional fitness. Lift heavy things, move slowly every day, and sprint (max capacity) once every 7 to 10 days.

Invest in assets and skills

  • By assets, I mean tangible items that hold value. Look up Alpha Strategy. That case of ammo you bought last year was a good investment after all. 
  • Focus on your strengths. You’ve got one or two skills that you’re very good at. Develop those even more. But don’t forget to add more resilience-adding skills to your toolbox.
  • Barter is becoming more important these days. It may one day be a crucial skill for acquiring basic necessities.
  • Learn permaculture. Hiding food in plain sight.

 Build Community

  • Most of us don’t live in a rural homestead self-sufficiently. We live mostly in urban and suburban neighborhoods. Your neighbors will play a huge part in your families ability to survive and thrive in coming days. I’ve written some thoughts on the importance of neighboring here
  • With proper planning and the existence of basic resources, your neighborhood is very defensible and livable in SHTF scenarios. More on this in a later post.

Housing – Living big in small places

  • Learning to live big in small places (locally) means re-educating ourselves on what resilience really means.
  • Simplifying your life gets rid of all the clutter. If you’re like me, that’s a hard thing to do. Letting go of things I’m going to do something with one day. It forces me to really evaluate what’s important. Prioritizing my stuff allows me more free time to focus on what’s really important.
  • Consider downsizing your home. We’ve downsized twice since the housing bubble popped. Talk about freeing up time!

I’m aware there are many more must do’s before the National Nipple runs dry. This is intended to spark a discussion on adding to our list. Please feel free to comment on the list and add your valuable insight. Or email me your thoughts via the contact tab at the top of my blog.

Follow me on Twitter for the latest on our journey to self-reliance, preparedness, and resilient living: @SurvivalSherpa

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Barter, Canning, Economic Collapse, Food Storage, Frugal Preps, Functional Fitness, Homeopathy, Homesteading, Investing/Tangibles, Permaculture, Preparedness | Tags: , , , | 10 Comments

Top 5 Resilience Resolutions with Homework Assignments for 2013

by Todd Walker

What a year!

Pic credit

January 12, 2012 is etched in our memory, hearts, family, and bodies. Fear in her voice was relayed as I held the phone. “They found a mass in my lung,” she said. Four days later it was official. Dirt Road Girl was diagnosed with cancer in her lung and brain. The past 12 months was like riding the Scream Machine for the first time – with no seat belt or safety bar to hold us in the roller coaster. The good news is that DRG has made amazing progress in her fight for life.

We prepare for the unknown unknowns as best we can. This is the time of the year people usually make resolutions as to what they are going to stop doing or start doing. Out with the bad habits and in with the new, good habits. I’m no longer a big fan of goal setting. I prefer a life theme. Goals have always been an act of implementation. Start – work – achieve – now what? Once the target is met, there is a great sense of accomplishment usually. However, in my experience, goal setting seems to be less effective than adopting a lifestyle theme. It’s an individual choice. YMMV.

With the approaching new year, I go into reflection mode and tweak my theme. What did I do right last year? How can I improve our life in the new year?

There’s so much doom and gloom in the main stream media: Fiscal cliff, school shootings, never-ending wars, unemployment, and talk of gun confiscation. DRG’s journey has taught me that we aren’t guaranteed today, tomorrow, or next year. We’ve always given lip service to that fact. But how do we start living it, practicing it, and owning it?

I hated homework in school. That’s why I don’t assign any to my students. “You’re a bad teacher, Mr. Walker!” Really? Homework is designed to take up valuable time that could be used by students to pursue something that really interests them. Following their interest is how they discover learning and not just studying to pass some silly state standardized test.

Here is my top 5 list of ways to prepare for the new year. I’m going to break my No-Homework rule and give each of you a simple assignment. By the way, it’s for a grade. Extra credit if you share it with someone else.

1.) Health

Diets are not sustainable. Most diets aren’t even healthy. Once the bathroom scale stops screaming for relief and the mirror smiles at your naked body, how do you maintain the new you?

This is a foundational theme for our family. I think it was Ben Franklin who was credited with saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is never more true than when it comes to our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. More and more evidence shows the link between our eating and health. You are what you eat. The S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) is recommended by the government food pyramid and most prepper experts. The strategy to store food for disasters and end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenarios is smart. If you’ve followed my blog at all, you already know my beef with SAD food storage.

The prepper community, like most Americans, bought the lie about high fat, low carb eating plans. I had a receipt for my purchase until three years ago. If simply surviving is you goal, spend your cash on all the SAD foods you can afford to cache. Just remember that pesky notion about being what we eat. Why not adopt a new theme – a natural, healthy, unconventional lifestyle – for the new year. 2013 may force us all to prepare like cavemen. Go ahead and get a jump on the herd.

Homework Assignment: Dust the chalk board erasers, forget everything you’ve been taught about “healthy diets,” and take a 30 day challenge (heck, just try it for 21 days) – and report back with your results.

  • Mark’s Daily Apple – Mark Sisson helps you follow the Primal Blueprint with help of “worker bees” and real community of primal lifestylers.
  • The Organic Prepper – Daisy Luther offers practical advice on healthy prepping and low-tech solutions. We’ve featured several of her articles here.
  • Bug Out Nutrition – A blog that applies the science of nutrition to survival.
  • Mercola.com – Dr. Joseph Mercola’s excellent natural health website.

2.) Learn Liberty. Free Your Mind. Take the red pill.

Homework Assignment: Your reading and viewing assignments are listed below:

  • Watch The Matrix. Rent it. Buy it. Watch it.
  • LewRockwell.com. Visit regularly.
  • Stop watching mainstream propaganda news for 30 days. I stopped 5 years ago. Ditched talk radio too. Here are a few of the alternative news sources I read regularly.
  1. LewRockwell.com
  2. Zero Hedge
  3. Eric Peters Auto
  4. Living Freedom
  5. Before It’s News – They publish my RSS feed under “Self-Sufficiency”

3.) Build Tribe. Even if the gun-grabbers don’t get their unconstitutional bill passed, I’ve made this a priority. I met a gentleman a week ago to buy a tool for DRG. We made the transaction and I noticed the welding machine on his truck. He builds safes and safe-rooms. He also builds some very cool steel targets for pistol and rifle practice. I’d like to buy the welding machine from him. But I’ll have to settle for a few targets. Once I try them out I’ll post a review. By meeting this stranger, we found we have a lot in common. We plan on eating lunch together soon.

Coming in contact with others that you’d like to build tribe with sometimes happens accidentally. Other times I initiate the contact. I’ve got a meeting with a fellow blogger next week to begin building tribe. I’ve followed his blog for a while now and like how he thinks. Don’t forget your neighbors.

Homework Assignment: Approach at least one person outside your immediate family about building mutual assistance, relationship, and tribe. Use common sense. Don’t ask the first stranger in line at the grocery store to be in your tribe.

4.) Build Resilience. Resilience is defined by Dictionary.com as:

1. the power or ability to return to the original form, position, etc., after being bent, compressed, or stretched; elasticity.
2. ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy.
I get the feeling in my gut that we will all be bent, compressed, and stretched in 2013. Not really a gut feeling. Reality is staring us in the face. I’m no financial wizard or mystic. I’m just a simply country boy at heart. Even simple folk like me can see the handwriting on the wall – even without watching the propaganda robots on TV.

Our plan to build resilience doesn’t just include our family’s needs. We understand that a resilient community (physical location) opens many avenues to preparedness. See building Tribe above. Every step we take this year to become more self-reliant builds more resilience. Will it be enough? Probably not. But we’re one step closer – plus, we enjoy the journey.

Pic credit

Practical Steps To Becoming Resilient

  • Contact local farmer’s markets, food co-ops, and farmers. Here’s a unique approach to buying locally – Locally Grown. It started about 12 years ago as the first online farmers market. Unlike other co-ops, buying clubs, or CSAs where everyone gets the same box of stuff (and you don’t know what you’re getting until you get it), with Locally Grown you get to order what you want, in the quantities that you want, from the farms that you want. If you don’t see a market close to you and you know one or more growers ready to sell their products, you can create your own new market! Also, try Eat Wild, or Local Harvest. Also, do a little cowpooling to help keep cost down.
  • Hone your skills and build your kits in these key areas:
  1. Potable Water. Have as many methods of making and storing potable water as possible. I’m not going into how-to details here. There’s plenty of info on the net and books on how to do this stuff. Dependent on “city water” (as Daddy calls it) leaves many high and dry when grid-down disasters strike. Even if you have “country well water”, it won’t pump itself out of the ground. You may be ahead of the game and have an alternative pumping method (hand pump, solar, hydroelectric, etc.). We own a Berkey filter for our home and portable MRS filter for our G.O.O.D. bags. Options are plentiful.
  2. Food. Eating happens. Store stuff you already eat. Most of us can’t or don’t know how to grow all our fruits and vegetables. But even a few patio tomato plants is one step towards building resilience. It may seem difficult to store nutrient-dense, healthy food, but it’s really not. Click here for my plan.
  3. Band Aids. The medical aspect of preparedness is overwhelming to me. Beyond basic first aid, I defer to others with real skills.
  4. Protection. This isn’t all about bullets. Guns are tools in my kit that have redundant purposes. The recent run on battle rifles and full capacity magazines shows the psyche of Americans. They’re securing their liberty with each ammo and gun purchase. This can’t escape notice of TPTB. The protection category also includes investing in tangibles that will only go up in value as the dollar crashes. Purchasing items now that will help you become a producer is a wise hedge against the unknowns.
  • Be A Connector. This dovetails with building community. For the non-introverts, this comes easy. The digital age has opened so many opportunities to network. No matter what you’re interested in, its easy to find like-minded people willing to do the stuff with you.

Homework Assignment: Locate one source of locally produced meat and vegetables available to you. Extra credit if you raise your own meat/protein/veggie.

5.) Build Barter Networks. You scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. With the economy in a tailspin, bartering has become more common. Many forums and websites have established local barter networks. When bartering, trade value for value. A hair cut wouldn’t be of any value to me, since I shave my head. But there might be a service the local barber has to offer that I need.

In my latest hard-copy edition of Backwoods Home Magazine, John Silveira wrote an article called, “Bartering for bad times.” Click here for the online version. He covers physical barter items such as food, seeds, silver and gold, ammo, garden tools, tobacco, booze, medical marijuana, coffee, water, and solar power. You don’t have a stockpile of these items to trade? Try trading your skills.

What skills/services can you offer to improve the quality of life for others who have stuff you need? I’m not a plumber by trade, but the skills my daddy taught me growing up are in demand now and will continue into the next Great Depression. Mr. Silveira recommends the following useful skills for trading value:

  • Barber
  • Poker
  • Repairing stuff
  • Gardening
  • Tutoring
  • Fuel for heating
  • Clothes: Making and Mending
  • Caregiver: Babies and Elderly

I really like what Alt-Market promotes and purses. Their mission is “to facilitate networking, local community action, and the exchange of knowledge and ideas. We promote decentralization, localism, and the de-globalization of human economic systems. We aim to work with and support local economies, markets, barter networks, and farmers cooperatives; and to promote alternative currencies and monetary systems.”

Homework Assignment: Transact one or more barter exchanges in the month of January.

This kind of free market trade is something that the Feds hate and want to control. Trading value for value voluntarily, between consenting parties is a skill we should all learn…sooner, than later.

What are you’re ideas for resilience in 2013?

Categories: 180 Mind Set Training, Barter, Economic Collapse, Investing/Tangibles, Primal/Paleo Lifestyle, Self-reliance, Survival | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Death of the Nickel: A Hoarding Strategy

Source: LewRockwell.com

Storing Nickels

by David Hathaway

Are you doing due diligence with nickels? As many LRC readers know, nickels are the only real “money” being distributed by the U.S. Government at this point in time. The value of the metal in a nickel equals the fiat value assigned to it by the state. This cannot be said about the currently produced pennies, dimes, quarters, or half dollars and certainly cannot be said about the paper money or the even more insidious and plentiful computer digit money that we are forced to use. Nickels are uniformly marked, impractical to counterfeit, and easily recognizable for their metallic content (75% copper, 25% nickel).

So, is it really that easy to get real money in exchange for the worthless stuff floating around? Yes, it still is. You walk into a bank, hand the teller a 20-dollar bill, and walk out with 10 rolls of nickels. There is no dealer markup. There is no sales tax. There are no shipping fees. There is no capital gains tax or value added tax. It almost seems impossible in this day and age. It soon will be impossible. We are temporarily in an era with nickels that is analogous to the pre-1965 silver coinage period. Coin composition is slated to changeduring the 2013 fiscal year. So, what are the issues that would preclude a person from taking advantage of the inevitable increase in the value of nickels when compared to the fiat dollar? Well, there is one small issue and one slightly bigger issue. The small issue is obtaining the nickels and the bigger issue is storage. Both issues can be resolved fairly easily for most people. First, let’s look at the smaller issue.

You don’t want to shoot yourself in the foot when obtaining nickels; not to mention your fellow hard-money brethren who are doing the same thing. Don’t go into a bank and make a grandiose gesture by asking to speak to the branch manager and discussing the bulk acquisition of $1000 or $10,000 worth of nickels. I have read articles where people proudly describe the incredulous looks they get from the bank employees and the follow-up questions administered by the bank staff from such an action. These articles usually include a description of how they schooled the bank employees about how the customer was hoarding nickels as a hedge against inflation. Don’t have this conversation with the bank. You don’t want to be the source of new bank policy restricting the acquisition of coinage. Some banks may charge a percentage for obtaining coins but, most still don’t. With nickels it is still so easy.

You need to have a systematic outlook. What you do is always lay down a 20 dollar bill and ask for 20 dollars in nickels. No more. That’s all. Make this fit into your lunch break at work, your commute, your exercise routine, or your shopping routine. You can go to one, two, or three banks fairly quickly. Don’t get the coins using your debit card or a check. Keep it to a simple hand-to-hand cash transaction. You don’t want multiple computer entries showing up on your bank account at different bank branches 10 minutes apart. It looks like you are doing something. Banks look for patterns and they will ask more questions. You aren’t doing anything wrong but, once again, you don’t want to make waves. You want to be able to continue getting your nickels. Giving out $20 in coins is no big deal to a major bank but, retailers that get coinage regularly usually do have to pay extra for the privilege. Small account holders and even non-account holders are usually given “small” amounts of pre-rolled coinage in exchange for paper currency as a courtesy at no charge. You want to be in the small customer “courtesy” realm on this issue. Being in a slightly bigger town is a plus but, not essential. If you happen to be on a lengthier shopping trip or road trip, you can get $20 worth of nickels ten times fairly quickly at ten different banks. Remember, you don’t want to be responsible for the issuance of new restrictive policies within your local banking world. Banks talk to each other. They go to conferences. If only a few guys in a town of a million people are trying to get large quantities of nickels on each transaction, the word will get out and policies will change.

You won’t believe how quickly you acquire nickels at this rate. You quickly get in and out of the bank since you are not doing account-related transactions. You get 400 nickels each time you hand over a 20-dollar bill. The transaction usually takes less than a minute. If you do this twice every day on your lunch break, you will have nickels coming out of your ears. Don’t try to do it at a quicker rate. You will end up causing problems.

The second issue, which is really the point of this article, is the storage of your nickels. One of the first rules for obtaining and storing metal as a hedge against inflation is to take possession of the metal yourself and to not trust someone else to store it for you. A warehouse receipt can be next to worthless in a hyperinflationary environment and is subject to the same type of mishandling that has been seen in metal futures, ETFs, and other paper forms of metal. Nickels do present a challenge for storage but, the challenge is not insurmountable.

Green military style ammo cans are a very tempting solution. They have one serious drawback. They look valuable. That wall of ammo cans in your basement really looks like a stash of something worth stealing. The larger size (generically called .50 caliber ammo cans) are too heavy when filled with nickels. The smaller size is easier to handle. They weigh about 35 pounds when filled. They hold about 88 rolls. Each roll contains $2 face value of nickels. So, you are preserving about $176 face value of nickels in one ammo can. To get up into multiple thousands of dollars, you will have quite a wall of ammo cans. They get harder and harder to conceal. They won’t fit in a floor safe or that hollow brick like your gold coins do.

So, what’s the answer? After years of experimenting, I have found the perfect solution. Home Depot sells pre-cut 24-inch sections of thick walled 4-inch black ABS pipe. They also sell the 4 inch ABS end caps and ABS cement. This combination makes a perfect long-term burial solution. The ABS cement causes a reaction to occur that is the chemical equivalent of welding the plastic end caps on by chemically softening, melting, and then permanently binding the adjoining surfaces of the two plastic pipe fittings together. PVC pipe also works. The nickels will last for decades in pristine condition underground when stored in these pipes.

I had an occasion to dig up 10 pipes recently containing a total of 560 pounds of nickels that had been buried for three years. The store bar-code stickers hadn’t even come off the pipes yet. The pipes with the caps glued on with the ABS cement still looked brand new. Each of these pipes holds 122 rolls of nickels on average. The pipes weigh about 56 pounds when finished. I have found that drilling a tiny hole with a small drill bit aids with pushing on the final cap since the glue makes the caps airtight and the air pressure makes it hard to push the second cap on. The air relief hole allows the cap to slide on easily before the cement binds the parts together permanently. The small hole can then be filled with ABS cement to make the pipe watertight. To get the nickels out, you will have to cut the pipe open with a saw.

After preparing multiple pipes, dig a trench. It will look like you are installing a water line or a sewage pipe. The 24″ X 4″ inch black pipes look like sections of sewer line. You can rent a trencher to make the process quicker and to reduce prying eyes. I have found that even sensitive metal detectors cannot detect the pipes when they are more than 12 inches deep. To be on the safe side, you can make your trench 18 to 24 inches deep. Even if they are buried less deep, they have the metal detector signature of a buried water pipe and won’t look like an attractive target to unearth.

I will address one more point since I hear this all the time. How do you cash in the nickels for the metal value? You don’t in the short run. This is not a buy and turn over proposition. You don’t have to worry about the legalities of melting coins. People don’t have to melt down pre-1965 silver coins to get the metal value. There will always be a market for the actual metal value in the coin. You don’t have to melt down gold coinage to get the metal value. Some day, when the effects of massive inflation are more evident, you will have your hedge against inflation and you will be able to sell your coins for their metallic value as you need to. In the case of nickels, they won’t have to be assayed. They are marked and it is obvious what they are. Their metallic content is common knowledge. There is no down side with nickels. If nothing else, you have gotten your money out of computer digits and you are holding it in tangible form for the coming banking crisis. It just so happens that you got full value for yours in incorruptible metal form with a picture of one of the less offensive presidents stamped on the side.

December 29, 2012

David Hathaway [send him mail] is a former supervisory DEA Agent who homeschools his nine children. He enjoys writing about the injustices of the state.

Categories: Barter, DIY Preparedness Projects, Economic Collapse, Investing/Tangibles, Preparedness | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

What The Silver Vigilantes Understand That You Probably Don’t (Arithmetic, Human Nature and other Stuff)

Source: Across The Street

by Mark McHugh

In Open Thread, Silver, stocks finance, Treasuries on Wednesday, December 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm

Sorry about the insulting headline, but every last shred of evidence I can find suggests that the most people remain utterly clueless about silver, despite the efforts of the silver vigilantes, led by Max Keiser and Mike Kreiger.  Their brilliantly simple plan (go get some physical silver) promises to topple the criminally insane fraud that has become US economy.  It doesn’t require politicians or regulators to lift a finger either, you simply take advantage of what is undoubtedly an artificially low price.  I can completely understand anyone who is skeptical of that last statement; I’m sure you’ve been burned before, but that doesn’t mean you should stop seeking truth.

Part 1. A little math.

I’m not sure when performing basic arithmetic made you a conspiracy theorist, but here we are.

The 2009 World’s population was about 6.8 Billion.  According to the Silver Institute, total silver supply in 2009 was 889 million ounces.  That means there was .13 ounces of silver produced for every human being on the planet.  That looks like this:

Yep, your fair share of Worldwide silver production is a little less than the silver content of two pre-1965 dimes.  That’s all.  A bargain at about four bucks when you consider the amazing properties of this element.  FYI: World oil production per capita is 190 gallons.

This….

…represents more than ten years of  worldwide silver mining production divided by 2009 population.  Less than $35, and hell of lot easier to transport than 7,600 quarts of Quaker State.  Please note that so-called “World production” includes government sales and scrap.  Government sales and “scrap” have accounted for more than 25% of  “World Silver Production” from 2000 to 2009.  I’m not sure I believe that one out of every four ounces of silver gets recycled, but understand that without that bonus production, demand exceeds supply by 37%.

Part 2. Who needs silver?

Just about everybody, it turns out.  Sadly, another way to get yourself labeled a conspiracy theorist is by reading government documents like the Constitution, or the Department of the Interior’s 2009 U.S. Geological Survey which states:

The physical properties of silver include ductility, electrical conductivity, malleability, and reflectivity. The demand for silver in industrial applications continues to increase and includes use of silver in bandages for wound care, batteries, brazing and soldering, in catalytic converters in automobiles, in cell phone covers to reduce the spread of bacteria, in clothing to minimize odor, electronics and circuit boards, electroplating, hardening bearings, inks, mirrors, solar cells, water purification, and wood treatment to resist mold. Silver was used for miniature antennas in Radio Frequency Identification Devices (RFIDs) that were used in casino chips, freeway toll transponders, gasoline speed purchase devices, passports, and on packages to keep track of inventory shipments. Mercury and silver, the main components of dental amalgam, are biocides and their use in amalgam inhibits recurrent decay.

 Yet you can actually find dunces out there claiming that digital cameras have made silver obsolete.  You should live so long…

Fun Fact:  Silver (not gold, copper or anything else) is the element with the highest electrical conductivity.

Part 3. People lie…..

“…I want to make it equally clear that this nation will maintain the dollar as good as gold, freely interchangeable with gold at $35 an ounce, the foundation-stone of the free world’s trade and payments system.”

John F. Kennedy, July 18, 1963

“That we stand ready to use our gold to meet our international obligations–down to the last bar of gold, if that be necessary–should be crystal clear to all.”

William McChesney Martin, Jr. (Federal Reserve Chairman) December 9, 1963

And…..

Lesson:  When someone says you can exchange paper for precious metals – make the swap before they change the rules.

Since the invention of paper, people have been writing bogus notes, and if there are two time-tested methods to become wealthy beyond your wildest dreams, they are:  1)Selling stuff that doesn’t exist and 2) Selling stuff you don’t actually own.  Unless you believe there has been a sudden outbreak of integrity in the banking industry, there’s no reason to believe these dynamics are not still in play, is there?  As recently as 2007, Morgan Stanley settled a class-action lawsuit with 22,000 clients who bought and paid storage on “phantom” silver (check out the Ted Butler article Money for Nothing).

At today’s prices, a million dollars in gold weighs less than fifty pounds, but a million dollars in silver weighs more than 2,300 pounds!  So ask yourself, how many rich people are storing their own silver?  How many hedge funds hold physical silver in their own storage facility?  Or have they entrusted the storage to the big banks?

JP Morgan is the custodian of the ishares Silver Trust (SLV), which now holds over 350 million ounces of silver, provides  sovereign and corporate investors with precious metals solutions (JP’s website), and is the largest short seller of silver in the history of the world.  Berkshire Asset Management’s  Eric Fry writes:

Based on some of the latest conjecture, Morgan’s short position totals a whopping 3.3 billion ounces. If, therefore, the buzz about J.P. Morgan and silver is even half true, the prestigious investment bank could be cruisin’ for bruisin’.

For perspective, 3.3 billion ounces is roughly equal to:

1) One third of all the world’s known silver deposits;

2) Two times the world’s approximate stockpiles of silver bullion;

3) Four times the annual mined supply of silver;

4) 30 times the inventory of silver at the COMEX.

If you can, forget about the conflict of interest, and ponder the enormity of the explosion.

 

Part 4. A little more math. 

Estimates of total silver production since the dawn of man range from 46 to 53 billion ounces (roughly 11x gold production), but unlike gold, we’ve used pretty much all of it (although squandered might be a better word).  It’s in our cemeteries (fillings) and scattered throughout our landfills.  There hasn’t been a significant surplus since 1990.  Ted Butler and others estimate that there is far less silver bullion in the world than gold bullion and they back up their case with numbers  that the paperbugs have never even bothered to refute.  So why does gold trade at more than 45 times the price of silver?  Because JP Morgan, the US government, and every other psuedo-capitalist parasite wants it that way.  But that’s a truth for another day.

Part 5. Other things you should know.

 The Treasury has sold 34 million one ounce American Eagles so far in 2010.  Those sales total less than one Billion dollars. Apple (AAPL) trades about that much every hour the market is open.  Meanwhile the Treasury has issued more than 1.5 Trillion in new debt (1,500 times more) in 2010.  Just for fun, let’s multiply 1500 by 34 million.  A transaction of that size would have equaled every last bit of silver ever discovered at $30 an ounce.    Yet you can actually find people who believe silver is the bubble.

Treasury doesn’t make it easy to buy silver.  They’ll sell you bills, bonds and notes directly online, but not precious metals at anything close to market price.   The mint only does business with  11 Authorized Purchasers (a list can be found here),  Why the lack of savvy?

China can blow up the COMEXs silver market in the blink of an eye, at any moment.  They can do it with their pocket change, as a goof.  And if we piss them off enough, they will.

Part 6. So what’s silver worth.

The short answer is: more.  If silver were priced based on its occurrence relative to gold, it would be over $125/oz.  If it were priced on its availability – somewhere around $2,000.  But if you are content to let the likes of Blythe Masters dictate the value based on truckloads of worthless paper promises, you can expect ultra-low prices until the whole thing blows up.  Of course at that point, we’ll be so busy killing each other for food no one will have time to say, “I told you so.”

The silver vigilantes just want you to re-learn what the phrases like, “cold, hard cash,”  and “payment in full” are supposed to mean.  There not asking you to sink everything you have into physical silver,  just a little.  Silver can’t be printed into oblivion, or stolen by a cyber attack.  Why wouldn’t you want to own some of your very own?

A paper dollar from 1960 is worth exactly the same as a paper dollar in 2010, but  four quarters from 1960 are worth more than $21.  Given the fiscal insanity of the US government, I can’t imagine the US dollar surviving another 50 years, but I’m quite sure that silver will still be useful.  Please consider getting some.

***

 

 

 

 

Update: All indications say this piece is the most widely read thing I’ve ever written.  I would like to thank everyone who helped make that possible especially Max Keiser, Steve Quayle and my friends at Zerohedge.  For the record: ANYONE (except seekingalpha.com – long story) is welcome to my original content here (which is like 99.9% of what’s here).  It would be nice if you mentioned me, but I won’t hunt you down if you don’t.

Some Personal Favorites:

M. C. Escher – Economist   (This graphic in particular)

Giant Leaps  – My best (and most ignored) work.

Tin Foil Hat America (the Eskimo Test) – provides insight into my madness

I can’t believe it’s no Capitalism! – graphic

Candy from Strangers – Who’s buying our debt? (I still don’t know)

“Shut-up And Eat Your Paint Chips, Kid” – Miseducating America (the ZH discussion  was great, and I love the Daily Bail’s graphic (not mine))

Understanding the National Debt (Sesame Street Edition) 

Hopefully there’s other wortwhile stuff here, but I think that’s all the shameless self-promotion any of us can stand.

Categories: Investing/Tangibles, Preparedness, Self-reliance, Silver | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Survival Sunday Roundup #8

In this edition of Survival Sunday Roundup, I can’t encourage folks enough to download, print, and implement Alpha Strategy. It’s not too late to start. Every tangible item you purchase now will only increase in value due to the Fed’s addiction to printing faith-based green backs. Here’s a sample of how to start.

Doing the stuff,

SS

—————-

Tangible investments … that lick your hand

Exclusive: Patrice Lewis explains strategy
for weathering expected collapse of dollar

Published: 03/26/2011 at 12:00 AM

author-image by Patrice LewisEmail | Archive

Patrice Lewis is a freelance writer whose latest book is “The Simplicity Primer: 365 Ideas for Making Life more Livable.” She is co-founder (with her husband) of a home woodcraft business. The Lewises live on 20 acres in north Idaho with their two homeschooled children, assorted livestock, and a shop that overflows into the house with depressing regularity. Visit her blog at www.rural-revolution.com.

This past week my husband and I had a wild hot date. It consisted of driving three hours north to a remote farm and buying a 5-month-old Jersey heifer, then driving three hours home again. Oooh yeah.

A Jersey is a cattle breed that gives rich, creamy milk. A heifer is a young unbred cow. A date is something my husband and I rarely experience.

The reason we bought this little girl is because our older Jersey is down to two out of four working quarters on her udder, and we’re not getting nearly as much milk as we’d like. We thought buying a young, healthy animal was a worthwhile investment.

Investment, you ask? Why would we “invest” in a heifer rather than stocks or treasuries?

It’s because we feel stocks and treasuries are worthless, and money isn’t far behind. But a heifer grows. Bred to our bull, she will give us calves we can breed, sell, or eat. She will produce abundant milk from which I can make butter and cheese and yogurt. She will have a productive life of about 15 years.

Not a bad investment after all.

And this is the tactic my husband and I have decided to take from now on. During the rare times we have surplus money, we are not putting it in the bank. We are buying tangibles such as heifers or building materials or fencing or canning jars or storable food or fruit trees.

Read the rest here

Shifting to Tangibles in an Age of Inflation

 Source: Survival Blog
by James Wesley Rawles

I’m often asked by my consulting clients why I put so much emphasis investing in tangibles rather than in traditional investments that are denominated in United States dollars. The problem with dollar-denominated investments is that they are vulnerable to inflation of the currency unit itself. The U.S. governments over-spending and deep indebtedness is bound to catch up with it someday. And when it does, inflation and economic ruin will be the result.

But there is protection from inflation. If the majority of you assets are in tangibles and they are in your immediate possession, then you will be insulated from the searing heat of mass inflation. And, in the event a total collapse of the dollar, many tangibles can be used in lieu of cash, for barter transactions.

Which tangibles? I recommend buying farm land, common caliber ammunition, guns, hand tools, good quality knives, silver bullion coins, and gold bullion coins.

To spell this out in greater detail, I recommend:

Read the rest here

Cash is Out, Bartering is King

Tess Pennington
Ready Nutrition
April 2012

 Reality tells us that we may soon be coming to a point in which cash is no longer king.  The economy has been drying up for years.  Over one million Americans filed their initial unemployment claim over the last month.  The dollars we bring home are buying less on every trip to the grocery store.

Few of us are completely self-sufficient.  There are always going to be a few things that we cannot make for ourselves.  If your personal preps are in order, consider investing your prep dollars in a new way: purchase barter items!

A lot of things that are inexpensive now will be invaluable later.  As the economy collapses even further, people will be focused on survival and the barter system will reignite.  Barter items will be far better than cash – you can’t eat a dollar!

What kind of items will be worth their weight in gold?  Check out this list for a few suggestions:

Read the rest here

Top Post-Collapse Barter Items And Trade Skills

Source: Alt-Market
Thursday, 09 June 2011 00:47 Brandon Smith

The concept of private barter and alternative economies has been so far removed from our daily existence here in America that the very idea of participating in commerce without the use of dollars or without the inclusion of corporate chains seems almost outlandish to many people. However, the fact remains that up until very recently (perhaps the last three to four decades) barter and independent trade was commonplace in this country. Without it, many families could not have survived.

Read the rest here

 

Pillaging is NOT Preparedness

Posted August 7, 2012 by Bprep4

I have often heard people respond to preparedness with the comment that they are going to pillage preppers stores.

Mad Max

Mad Max (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Let me elaborate a little more on this topic.

I understand this macho comment is a very narrow view of what is going to really happen if the SHTF as we know it and we really find ourselves in a Mad Max society.

I am sure I am not the only one who has heard this one. Trusted friends who say they are just going to rob and kill people who have set up a back up. This statement has me really looking at the reasoning behind this attitude.

Read the rest here

 

Categories: Barter, Economic Collapse, Investing/Tangibles, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival Sunday Roundup, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Warning: Get Your Money Out: “All Legal Bank Deposit Protections Are Now Officially Gone”

Snap out of funk!

Author: Mac Slavo
Views: Read by 10,108 people
Date: August 12th, 2012
Website: www.SHTFplan.com

Former money manager Ann Barnhardt, who in November of 2011 made the decision to cease operations of her brokerage firm and return funds to her customers citing “systemic” problems within the entire financial industry, has issued a new warning about the stability of US banks and the safety of individual deposit accounts.

The warning, stemming from a recent federal appeals court ruling surrounding customer funds lost during the 2007 collapse of Chicago futures broker Sentinel, indicates that individuals who lose deposited funds because a financial institution improperly manages that money, even if those funds are supposed to be “segregated” from other operations of the firm, are essentially left with no recourse if the firm goes belly-up. According to the court, a misallocation of those customer funds, “is not, on its own, sufficient to rule as a matter of law that Sentinel acted ‘with actual intent to hinder, delay, or defraud’ its customers.”

The implications of the ruling, according to Barnhardt, will affect the monies of all private individuals who have seen their deposit accounts wiped out in the collapse of firms like John Corzine’s MF Global and put all deposit account holders in the country at risk should their bank be faced with a financial windstorm:

The NFA in collusion with the banksters, government and judiciary have achieved their goal. The entire concept of “customer segregated funds” is officially, completely, legally dead.

Guys, it is OVER. I know that many of you are still cowering in normalcy bias, unable to deal with reality, unable to face the world as it is, but you have GOT to snap out of it. The marketplace is DESTROYED. You CANNOT be in these markets. All legal protections are now officially gone.

The federal appeals court ruled yesterday that not only does BNYM stay at the front of the line, but that using customer segregated funds as collateral is NOT a crime, and that co-mingling customer segregated funds with proprietary funds is NOT fraud.

What this means is that even if Jon Corzine is somehow dragged into court by private citizens, because you know damn good and well that the Justice Department will never, ever touch him, Corzine now has a legal precedent, likely from a bribed or otherwise coerced Federal Appeals Court, explicitly stating that an FCM can use customer deposits to pay its debts, and that the customers themselves are subjugated and have basically no legal right to their own monies, no matter what the law says, or what legal assurances, claims or guarantees are made to that customer about their funds held with an FCM or any other brokerage or depository institution. The “secured” party at the front of the line will always be the mega-bank who made the fraudulent loan using the stolen customer funds as collateral.

In other words, all customer funds in the United States are now the legal property of JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, BNYM, or whichever megabank is the counterparty on the loans the FCM or depository institution takes out in order to fund its mega-levered proprietary in-house trading desks.

Source: Ann Barnhardt via Steve Quayle

The ruling is specifically designed to protect large financial institutions that have (purposefully) mismanaged customer funds and used the hard-earned life savings of Americans to gamble on equities, commodities and bond markets. If those firms happen to make the wrong bet, as MF Global, Sentinel and a handful of others have recently done, depositors who have placed funds with the banks under the belief that their bank account is securely protected from trading liabilities are now completely exposed and liable for the incompetence and negligence of those who engage in market trading.

This latest ruling combined with recent actions by the Federal Reserve and other government regulators suggests a massive fraud has taken place and the financial system itself is under extreme strain with the potential to make the financial collapse of 2007/2008 look like just a training exercise.

In recent days, for example, it’s come to light that the government has secretly called on the country’s five major banks to prepare themselves for collapse by creating stress recovery plans to be used in the event of worst case scenarios.

A few weeks ago, the Federal Reserve also implemented a new policy for money market funds held by financial institutions. Per the new policy, money market funds, which account for some $2.7 trillion in deposits across the United States, can be frozen in the event of an emergency or financial panic. This means that if and when the system does go into a tailspin, at exactly the time people will want to pull their money out of their bank account, they will be restricted from doing so.

These latest actions by government regulators, judges and financial institutions point to one thing: that we have an unprecedented financial collapse in the making. If such a financial crisis comes to pass it is clear that the policies and procedures now in place will transfer the legally owned deposits and money market savings of individual Americans into the hands of the banks at which those funds are kept.

Get Your Money Out.

Consider alternate, collapse-centric investment strategies and what is money when the system as we know it falls apart.

 

Categories: Economic Collapse, Investing/Tangibles, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Most Often Forgotten Survival Preparations

This article was written by Brandon Smith and posted over at his site Alt-Market.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012 06:47 Brandon Smith

I think it’s safe to say with some conviction that in the year of 2012 the concept of survival prepping is NOT an alien one to most Americans.  When National Geographic decides there is a viable market for a prepper TV show (no matter how misrepresentative of true preppers it may be), when Walmart starts stocking shelves with long term emergency food storage kits, when survivalism in general becomes one of the few growing business markets in the midst of an otherwise disintegrating economy; you know that the methodology has gone “mainstream”.  There is a noticeable and expanding concern amongst Americans that we are, indeed, on the verge of something new and unfortunate.

Is it the big bad hoodoo of the soon to expire Mayan Calendar?  For a few, maybe, but for the majority of us, no.  That jazz is a carnival sideshow designed to make the prepping culture appear ridiculous.  We don’t need to believe in magical prophecies to know that there is a catastrophic road ahead; all we have to do is look at the stark realities of our current circumstances.  It does not take much awareness anymore to notice looming fiscal volatility, social unrest, the potential for unrestrained war, and the totalitarian boldness of our government.  I’ll take the wrath of Quetzalcoatl any day over the manure storm that is approaching us currently.

With some estimating a count of 3 million prepper families and growing in the U.S., the motto of “beans, bullets, and band-aids” is finding a home amongst legions.  However, being closely involved in the survivalist movement during the past six years and speaking with literally thousands of preppers, it has become clear to me that we still have a long journey ahead of us before we can claim true efficiency and mastery.

Sadly, having a stockpile of food, weapons, and some slick tactical gear is not enough to ensure a high likelihood of survival, at least not in any of the social collapses that have occurred in the past century around the world.  It’s a start, but only just…

There are a number of detrimental weakness to the survivalist movement and considerable holes in prepper knowledge that must be addressed now while we have the time and relative safety to do so.  The greatest threat to the common survivalist is not economic collapse, roving bandits, Blackwater mercenaries, or predator drones; those dangers are a piece of cake compared to the threat of an overblown ego, which will get a man killed faster than the most sophisticated smart bomb.  If we cannot accept that there is always more to learn, and room to improve, we have been defeated before we have begun.

The following is just a short list of the many areas in which there is obvious and acute inadequacy in the movement overall…

Secondary Retreat Locations

Never put all your eggs in one basket.  I hear a lot of tough talk from some survivalists who claim they would rather die than leave their property.  Of course, I suspect they will see the error in this brand of bravado when the legitimate chance of death actually arises.  There is no harm whatsoever in having a backup plan.  I’m not sure any survivalist who doesn’t is really a survivalist.  Stand your ground when necessary, but don’t let pure pride and stupidity prevent you from living to fight again another day.

Physical Fitness And Health

You may be the Tom Berenger-like master sniper of your particular county, but if you can’t run a hundred yards with your rifle rig without going into coronary thrombosis, then you aren’t going to live long during a collapse scenario.  Even those preppers who have age as an excuse…don’t really have an excuse.  I personally know survivalists and homesteaders in their 60’s and 70’s who could physically outmatch numerous other preppers of the same age or younger without much effort.  The difference?  They make a concerted effort to take care of their health.

Sometimes certain wise-cracks made by the insipid yuppies of our modern era against suvivalists are true, and we should take serious note when this occurs.  The primary insult being that many of us are far too fat to outrun or outfight a paper sack, let alone a determined opponent.  I have, to be honest, seen chest beating antics from more than a few clinically obese “preppers” that were truly embarrassing.  On the bright side, this does not have to be a permanent hindrance to our success.

The solution is simple:  Eat less.  Eat healthier.  Exercise more.

A person who has attained a high level of physical fitness has done more than prove his prowess.  He has also proven he has the will and the passion to pursue a directed goal and achieve it, regardless of difficulty.  This is where the adults are separated from the children in this world.  Are you willing to endure extreme difficulty to win something of legitimate value?  Do you have the self discipline to forgo certain luxuries and comforts to gain long term advantages?  Or, would you rather take the path of least resistance and certain doom?  Personal health is no joke for the survivalist.

Community Building And Networking

Organization is not the strongest suit of the survivalist movement for a number of reasons.  The first being that our paranoia completely impedes our ability to work with others.  Now, to be clear, it is not paranoia if they are really out to get you, and with multiple leaked documents like the MIAC Report, the Virginia Fusion Center Report, and the DHS reports on “right wing extremism”, it is not as if our concerns are unfounded.  However, the movement needs to realize that the primary object of labeling us as “extremists” and categorizing us as potential threats to national security is to create crippling fear.  Their main goal is to condition preppers to censor themselves, and to stifle their own organizational efforts.

Solid community, even open formation of community, is necessary for countless reasons.  The more we isolate ourselves from one another now, the more alone and vulnerable we will be tomorrow.  Calls for “OPSEC” should be embraced to a point, but they can also become an excuse for laziness and inaction.  No prepper who goes it alone during crisis is going to come out unscathed, if they come out alive at all.  This is the great forgotten lesson of survival, from the Depression and Weimar Germany, to Argentina and Bosnia; those persons and families who were isolated simply did not make it.  The wide spectrum of skill sets and supplies needed to establish a survival foundation are far too many for any single prepper to attain.

The logical fallacy that usually prevents survival networking is the argument that if you are a bigger group, you are a bigger target.  This thinking shows a lack of prioritization.  During a social or economic collapse, EVERYONE is a target.  National chaos does not make distinctions between those who never shared their survivalist tendencies and those who did.  The DHS might, but they are not the biggest threat to the common prepper.  The most dangerous environment for the prepper, no matter what the circumstances may be, is one in which he has no support.

If you do not have ample neighbors and friends on board with the prepper lifestyle, and who can be counted on in an emergency, then you are not ready, nor are your chances very good.  Period.

Barter Markets And Trade Skills

At Alt-Market we relentlessly promote the idea of decentralized trade markets because, to be frank, they are going to spring up one day soon whether the IRS, the DOJ, or the Federal Reserve likes it or not.  The crisis in the EU has proven my position on the inevitability of the barter dynamic conclusively.  These private trade networks are becoming the new foundation for countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain, and it should be noted that the financial instabilities in America far outweigh any of the problem in those places.  If we know that economic danger is on the horizon, and we know that barter markets will be the immediate result, then why not build them now, instead of waiting and scrambling after disaster strikes?

Any survivalist that does not know who he will be trading for essential supplies, and who does not know what skills he will use to garner those supplies, is in for a world of hurt.

Overlooked But Vital Items

There is a saying in the survival movement:  You’re never done prepping.  I absolutely agree.  Unless you are a millionaire with a highly organized brain, there will always be some other piece of equipment that you’ll discover you need down the line.  That said, there are some things every prepper should have, but many, from my observations, do not.  I have also heard every excuse imaginable and some unimaginable when such people are presented with the recommendation that they obtain these items, lack of money being the usual suspect.

Yes, many of us are broke, or feel broke, these days  Invariably, though, when most survivalists examine their financial situation carefully, they will discover a host of peripheral expenses that are unnecessary or outright extravagant.  I once had a would-be survivalist make the argument that he could not afford a year’s supply of food, then admit that he had just went on a Carnival Cruise to the Caribbean.  This is an extreme example, but it illustrates a common hang up.  Now is not the time for people to live beyond their means, or to shrug off their preps so that they can have a new La-Z-Boy, cable TV, an internet gaming account, a high priced vacation, a six day a week stockpile of beer (hey, cut back a day, guys!  Try it out and see how it fits) etc.  Times are changing, and they will definitely change without us if we are not careful.

There is always a way to get the preps you need, if you are motivated enough to make it happen.  Here are a few items that seem to escape from people’s lists:

Extra Survival Clothing:
Clothing is a real pain for a lot of survivalists because it is one prep that they must absolutely purchase doubles and triples of.  Good durable shoes, pants, even socks, can get expensive.  Base layer clothing like Smart Wool sometimes costs in the range of $100 or more for a single set.  Take the pain, bite the bullet, and get the absolute best clothing you can find in multiples.  It may have to last you quite a long time without replacement, especially the artificial fabrics.  Imagine having to wear the same vapor producing sweat drenched crusty duds day in and day out while sharing a retreat location with some less than amused buddies.  They may end up coming after you before the looters do.

Body Armor: This stuff is going to be at a premium in the near future.  I have already seen price spikes in good body armor in the days after the Aurora Theater shootings.  Why?  Because the fear is that the establishment will move to try to ban said gear in response, causing a rush to purchase.  That fear is not misplaced.  Plus, I would imagine a bullet to the gut, whether accidental or intentional, is not an event to celebrate with a rootbeer float.  Believe it or not, body armor rigs that include rifle plates are extremely sparse amongst preppers right now, and this simply can’t continue.

Gas Masks And Filters: Not long ago I wrote about the revolutions and rebellions that took place in Russia after the formation of the Soviet Union against the abuses of communism.  At that time, the more successful the rebellion, the more apt the Soviets were to dump chemical weapons over entire towns, mountains, and valleys, to erase the problem.  Never expect that a tyrannical government is going to fight fair.  In fact, expect that they won’t.  Even if you don’t foresee such an event taking place in the U.S., it is imperative that every person owns not just a gas mask, but extra filters as well.  Plan on dealing with multiple incidences in which your air will be unsafe to breath.

NBC Alert Items: How many preppers do you know with a Geiger Counter?  I know three, out of the hundreds I speak with regularly.  This is not a good sign.  If the Fukushima disaster has taught us anything, it is that radiological threats are not just relegated to the realm of nuclear bombs.  Every community should have several Geiger Counter devices handy, along with chemical warfare strips which change color when exposed to an offending airborne agent.  Remember the panic buying that ensued in Japan for these kinds of goods after the reactor meltdown?  Don’t overlook radioactivity.  Knowing what has been hit by concentrated fallout and what hasn’t is a tremendous advantage.

Thermal Countermeasures: A box of road flares, IR flashlights, and IR floodlights, should be in every survivalists home.  With the advent of predator drones armed with night vision and thermal vision, as well as numerous other nasty weapons platforms, the need for countermeasures that create false thermal signatures to confuse an attacker with this kind of technology is a must.

Extra First Aid Supplies: During a collapse, you become the hospital, and no amount of Obamacare is going to help you.  Almost every prepper has a first aid kit, but few have one that will really last through a prolonged crisis.  Collapse brings with it all kinds of injuries and sicknesses we never think of facing in our current atmosphere, with more frequency than I believe many would like to admit possible.  A sterile bandage may be as sought after and as rare as a warm shower in the near future, so stock an ample supply.

Solar Panels: I am astonished at how many preppers still do not have any solar power capability today.  It’s FREE off grid power, for god’s sake!  Pay the initial costs, and at least buy a system that is capable of charging and running batteries and essential electronics that will aid you in your survival.

Greenhouse: When discussing the idea of relocation, I sometimes hear the assertion that places like Montana are terrible for growing food (usually from people who have never lived in Montana).  In fact, a survival garden could be grown almost anywhere, regardless of region or climate, if you use the right methods.  One of the best methods is the use of a greenhouse, which many preppers do not have.  Set aside your preconceptions of what gardening is, and do what works.  Even in winter, some plants can be grown in a greenhouse environment to provide you and your family with precious vitamin rich food.  Just build it.

Raw Building Materials: Do you have a stockpile of lumber and nails?  What about raw iron and steel?  Sealants to repel pests and maintain your home?  Bags of concrete to reinforce a new addition?  Think about how much you will need to build after the final shoe drops.  Probably a lot more than you have ever built in your life…

No Room For Error

Time is running short, and if we are to succeed as a movement, we must be ready to hold a candle to ourselves, admit where we are lacking, and fix the problem while we have the luxury to do so.  Ultimately, the most important and most ignored aspect of prepping is our own mindset.  Do we have the correct sense of urgency, and are we acting on it?  Have we prepared ourselves psychologically for the difficulties ahead?  Are we ready to make sacrifices for survival and victory?  Will we have what it takes at our core to see this thing through?  At this very moment, many do not.  But, they have the potential to rise to the occasion.  The decision is theirs to make…

 

 

You can contact Brandon Smith atbrandon@alt-market.com

Categories: Barter, DIY Preparedness, Economic Collapse, equipment, Firearms, First Aid, Food Storage, Gardening, Gear, Homesteading, Investing/Tangibles, Preparedness, Self-reliance, SHTF, Survival Skills, TEOTWAWKI | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The War on Silver: “Silver never looked better”

Source: SilverSeek

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July 23, 2012 – 10:32am

It has taken more than 25 years for me to fully comprehend a conclusion that I never wanted to reach, namely, that there is an organized war against the price of silver that has come to include the US Government. I think the US Government involvement came into being almost accidently, but even if it was an accident of sorts, that does not diminish the serious nature of what must be described as illegal activity at the highest levels. I am conflicted between feelings of sadness and outrage.

Starting around 1985, I became convinced that the price of silver was being manipulated by collusive and concentrated short selling by certain commercial entities on the world’s leading precious metals commodity exchange, the COMEX. Having a background in futures trading going back to 1972, it dawned on me that the concentrated and orchestrated short selling was dominating and, therefore, manipulating the price of silver. The very first thing I did after this discovery was to petition the regulators at the CFTC and the COMEX to alert them to the existence of the most serious market crime possible. My petitions fell on deaf ears but I continued to petition them through the present. Since this was in the pre-Internet era, I was limited in convincing others of the silver manipulation due to distribution restrictions. Communication was very different 25 years ago.

Around 1996, I was exposed to the Internet for the first time and began to write in my spare time on that medium about the silver (and gold) manipulation. As a result, more observers came to appreciate the manipulation and took up the cause of exposing and terminating this serious market crime. Were it not for the Internet there would be no broad discussion of a silver or gold price manipulation, even to this day. Certainly, the discussion has led to multiple official inquiries into a silver manipulation by the CFTC over the past ten years. I am unaware of any investigation in any other market based upon wide public contacts to the agency. For sure, there are many who still reject the premise of a silver or gold manipulation; but at least there is a discussion about it now, thanks to the Internet.

So why did it take me so long to recognize a US government involvement in the decades-old silver manipulation? For one thing, I still don’t believe that the silver manipulation (which began in 1983) was a government creation from the get go. I know many believe the motive for the silver and gold manipulation is as a means for the US Government to help keep the dollar strong in currency markets. I don’t agree. Instead, I believe the origins of the manipulation can be traced to collusive and concentrated short selling for profit by large financial institutions, starting with Drexel Burnham, then on to AIG Trading, Bear Stearns and finally to JPMorgan. These were the firms at war with higher silver prices, which the US Government subsequently joined.

The war against silver is not between producers and consumers, as these vital market participants interact in every market, as they must. All commodity producers want strong and consistent demand for their products from financially-healthy consumers who will continue to buy. While all commodity producers desire the highest price possible for their production, no producer wishes harm to the buyers of that production. There is no war between the actual commodity producers and consumers; both interact continuously under the law of supply and demand.

The war has been waged against all silver market participants by a few well-connected financial firms and banks for the purpose of price control. This price control enables JPMorgan and others to capture profits on a variety of derivatives transactions, including COMEX futures and options contracts. This is exactly the same motive that caused Barclays to manipulate LIBOR; interest rates were manipulated for mostly short-term payoffs on derivatives contracts valued by the rates being manipulated. Likewise, JPMorgan and others manipulate the price of silver on the COMEX to capture short term profits on silver derivatives contracts.

An important characteristic of the war on silver is that it is centered in the world of derivatives, as opposed to the actual world of metal production and consumption. The main objective of JPMorgan and the other silver manipulators is to take as much money as possible away from those holding the counterparty and opposite derivatives positions. Nevertheless, all producers and holders of metal are harmed when derivatives manipulation causes silver prices to fall for no legitimate supply/demand explanation, as is a regular feature of the silver market. That’s because the size and intensity of trading in COMEX derivatives has grown to be much larger than the actual market for metal. In a very real sense, actual producers and holders of metal are innocent bystanders and victims of a private gun battle between opposing silver derivatives traders. Real producers and holders are being terrorized by a few derivatives traders, led by JPMorgan.

I suppose some might say that this is the silver big league and that there will always be winners and losers. I can understand that, but that implies a level playing field and no cheating. Quite simply, the game is rigged and JPMorgan and the others do nothing but cheat. The proof lies in the hugely concentrated short position held by JPMorgan ever since its takeover of Bear Stearns in March 2008. Throw in the crooked High Frequency Trading encouraged by the CME Group and you have all the ingredients necessary to prove manipulation and end the war on silver.

Yet the war on silver has persisted, despite the clear evidence that this market is manipulated. The reason it has persisted is because the federal agency whose primary mission is to prevent manipulation has decided to look the other way. I know that my discussions of market structure and concentration can get complicated and confusing to many, as much as I try to simplify it. But what I allege that is happening in silver is not over the heads of the CFTC. I take pains to explain it to them in their own terms and legal perspective and by using their own data. Because of those explanations, the CFTC has said it has been investigating for a silver manipulation for almost 4 years, but with no conclusion reached. By any standard, that’s way too long.

What finally convinced me that the CFTC is aligned with JPMorgan and the other silver manipulators on the COMEX rests on a few specific facts. One is that the agency has continued to ignore the glaring concentration on the short side of COMEX silver by JPMorgan and a few other traders. Concentration is not some term I dreamed up on a whim; it is the CFTC’s most important frontline defense against manipulation. That is why the agency publishes and monitors highly detailed concentration data every week for every regulated market in the Commitment of Traders Report (COT). The Commission doesn’t publish this data on my request; the concentration data are the most important feature of the COT. What the COT report has documented for years is that COMEX silver is the most concentrated major market of all on the short side. That the agency won’t address this fact is beyond troubling.

The second fact is the two unusual silver price events of 2011. In the first week of May 2011, the price of silver fell more than 30% and later, over a three-day period in September 2011, the price fell 35%. For a world commodity to fall that much in price within days is beyond unusual. It may be unprecedented, as I don’t recall many or any such price drops in my 40 year experience with markets. Certainly, for such a price decline to occur in the same commodity within six months is unthinkable. Further, all the circumstances surrounding these two price plunges in silver point to these being manipulative moves, as nothing occurred in the real world of silver supply and demand to account for them. These price drops were shocking in that world commodities don’t move like that for no reason.

I had been waiting for the CFTC to file enforcement charges against JPMorgan and the CME Group for these deliberate silver price smashes; or at the very least, for the agency to make special reference to these two unprecedented price declines. It would be impossible for any other world commodity under the Commission’s jurisdiction to fall 35% in days without the agency commenting on the price fall. Yet there has been no statement and no enforcement filing from the CFTC in silver. At some point, one must conclude that the CFTC does not intend to file charges or comment on what transpired in silver. By reaching that conclusion, one must also assign an alternative explanation for the agency’s lack of action. The most plausible is that the agency has thrown in with the likes of JPMorgan, the CME and the other silver crooks.

As I indicated previously, my best guess is that the CFTC was compromised in dealing appropriately with the silver manipulation by interference from the US Treasury Secretary who oversaw the takeover of Bear Stearns (and its giant silver and gold short positions) by JPMorgan. It now appears clear that JPMorgan extracted guarantees of future immunity for manipulation as a condition of the takeover. The Bear Stearns takeover gave JPMorgan a free “get out of jail” card from the US Treasury Dept for the continued silver manipulation. In the political pecking order, the CFTC is many rungs below the Treasury Dept. It was a deal structured that was not in the best interest of the American investing public

To recap to this point, there is a war on silver being waged by JPMorgan, the CME and others on the COMEX. This war necessarily includes innocent casualties throughout the world of real silver producers and holders, even though US commodity law strictly forbids such artificial price setting. Worst of all, it is now apparent that the prime market regulator and public protector, the CFTC, has thrown in with the crooks. This is so bad, on so many levels, that one must carefully consider the future investment merits of silver. Having already done so, please allow me to share my thoughts, especially in light of the ongoing wave of almost daily revelations of impropriety and probable criminal behavior on the part of the big banks. We certainly live in an unusual time.

Perhaps perversely, because of the ongoing silver manipulation and evidence that the CFTC may be complicit in illegal behavior, I believe the future price prospects for silver never looked better. Huh? Please hear me out. The continuing flow of news pointing to widespread wrongdoing by the big banks, including interest rate manipulation, increases the chance that silver has been manipulated. It appears to me that the punishment for institutional wrongdoing is quickly moving towards a criminal phase, which will likely include jail time. It would not surprise me if some regulators or self regulators were included in future criminal findings. Certainly, those swearing an oath to protect the public are not above the law. But how can I be positive about the future price prospects for silver in such an environment?

The simple fact is that silver has been manipulated for decades and that has not prevented it from climbing, at times more than any other commodity. The war on silver rages on, but it does so in starts and fits, with notable price advances having been recorded along the way. The silver war cannot be considered to be in its infancy. After all, I’ve petitioned the CFTC about it for more than 25 years, which is an extraordinarily long period for such a thing to exist. Like all widespread financial frauds, they become undone when a critical number of observers recognize the scam and adjust accordingly. Therefore, since the silver manipulation has been in place for so many years and is now more widely discussed because of the Internet, the odds favor it ending sooner, rather than later. I know that it feels like these crooks can pull it off forever, but common sense and historical experience suggest otherwise.

More importantly, this war on silver will eventually be decided on the physical level. Even though it is the derivatives world dictating (false) prices to the actual world of silver presently, it is impossible for that circumstance to exist indefinitely. Paper can overwhelm physical only as long as there is enough physical silver to go around. The point at which the current tight supply situation in silver slips into the slightest shortage, additional paper short sales won’t satisfy new buyers of physical silver. That’s not a theoretical discussion for silver any longer, as it had been prior to April 2011. For years, it was thought there would always be a sufficient amount of silver available, given the large world supplies thought to exist. But shortages were starting to come into place last year, which accounted for the run to near $50. Yes, the deliberate price smash on May 1, 2011 broke both the silver price and the budding shortage; but it could have easily gone the other way and if it did, we would now be looking (way) down at the $50 price mark. My point is that having come so close to a genuine silver shortage last year only increases the odds that a shortage will reemerge. The conditions that existed in the spring of 2011 are more likely to appear again than not.

While it is unfortunate not to have the CFTC as an ally in the fight against the silver manipulation, there never was any previous support from the agency. Instead, time after time, the Commission always sided with the big short silver manipulators. Undoubtedly, those past denials of a silver manipulation would create embarrassing questions about the agency’s historical competence if it were to admit to wrongdoing in silver now. Still, I admit to a particular disappointment in Chairman Gensler and Commissioner Chilton since they had offered so much hope through their public statements about manipulation, concentration, position limits and the need to protect the public.

The war on silver is real and ongoing. Because it has lasted so long, it may feel like a war without end. Because the war mongers appear so powerful and well-connected, it may feel like they are invincible. But feelings do not always project fact. The fact is that the silver manipulators have been in retreat. This can be seen in the overall rising price and the fact that previous silver short kingpins like Drexel, AIG and Bear Stearns have truly bit the dust. The recent news surrounding the current big silver short, JPMorgan, seems to project weakness and trouble, not invincibility. Since the CFTC never aided silver producers and investors in the past, there is no great loss in the agency continuing not to do its job.

If you are going to be in a war, I would think it is better to recognize that and react accordingly. That means immunizing yourself against the artificial pricing as much as possible. The best way to do that is by holding fully-paid silver positions and no margin. The worst way is by playing the very derivatives used to manipulate the price. This war is coming to an end and when it does, the wisdom of owning silver will become obvious. Lastly, it never hurts to let the regulators know what type of a job they are doing.

Ted Butler

July 18, 2012

Categories: Barter, Investing/Tangibles, Silver | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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