Letter Re: Physical Gold Versus Electronic Gold

Dear Mr. Rawles:
You are clearly (and presciently) on the record as recommending the purchase of precious metals, ahead of the current inflationary cycle. Congratulations on that excellent macro call. But I believe you also recommend holding the physical commodity rather than synthetic ownership through an exchange traded fund/note. This makes less sense to me.

As an economic hedge against fiat currency deflation, synthetic gold has lower transaction costs since you don’t have to pay for the transport of the gold, the retail broker markup, or the non-gold coinage aspects of value that are embedded into Krugerrand, Maple Leaf, and American Eagle. Gold Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) like the iShares Comex Trust typically charge a modest expense ratio of 0.4% per year to pay for storage and other fund costs, and gold ETFs are backed dollar-for-dollar by physical gold. Synthetic gold can be instantaneously bought and sold, … Continue reading

Letter Re: Can I Burn Home Heating Oil or Kerosene in a Diesel Engine?

Your article today about diesel vehicles still providing long term cost savings was quite interesting. The question I have, and perhaps [shared by] some of your readers is this: is home heating oil and kerosene acceptable fuel for a diesel engine? – Thanks, – Jim G.

JWR Replies: Home heating oil burns fine in any diesel engine, but in may countries it is not legal to do so in a vehicle that is driven on public roads. This is a “road tax” issue. Aside for a red dye additive, the formulation of home heating oil is almost identical to the diesel that was made before the recent advent of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (ULSD). The only significant difference between the two is the Federal standard on ash content.

Kerosene is a different matter. Kerosene has insufficient lubricity to be used just by itself in a diesel engine. I … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

From reader RBS: Buffett sees “long, deep” U.S. recession

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Mike W. sent us a link to a piece written by one of my heroes, Dr. Walter E. Williams: False prophets of doom–Environmentalists would prefer that we forget these predictions

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I was doing some web surfing, and a stumbled into a great collection of photos of Swiss bunkers.

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While the Novovirus threat is subsiding with warmer weather, Rourke sent us an article about a new threat, a bacteria called C-diff: Gut superbug causing more illnesses, deaths

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

“Unfortunately, solving our economic problems is not a simple matter of passing a law to reestablish gold or any other commodity as money. It was not the politicians, but rather the electorate that demanded the abandonment of the gold standard and the establishment of a credit-money standard. In a nation run by majority rule, unless you can convince individuals to abandon the use of government as a sword of theft, gold or any other commodity will never last as the basis for money. A gold standard is not the cause of a stable economy, it is the result of a stable economy; it is not the solution to our problem, but will be one of the consequences when a solution is found. We had a gold standard in the U.S. for over 150 years, yet it didn’t prevent our current economic debacle. Establish it again, and it will be abandoned … Continue reading

Note from JWR:

The high bid in the SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction. is now at $650. This big auction is for any of you that are gun enthusiasts. It includes 17 items: A four day “gray” transferable Front Sight course certificate, which was kindly donated by Naish Piazza of Front Sight (worth up to $2,000), a $200 gift certificate from Choate Machine and Tool Company (the makers of excellent fiberglass stocks, folding stocks, and shotgun magazine extensions), $450+ worth of full capacity magazines from my personal collection including five scarce original Ruger-made 20 round Mini-14 magazines and five scarce 20 round Beretta M92 magazines, and an autographed copy of the book Boston’s Gun Bible.” The total value of this 17 item auction lot is $2,700! (See the SurvivalBlog Benefit Auction page for details on exactly what is included.) Note: Because this auction includes full capacity magazines, no bids … Continue reading

Some Preparations that You Might Have Overlooked, by Tim G.

Some of the things I will mention might have been covered before, but it never hurts to mention them again. Some readers might have missed them.

I can tell you from experience that people will tease you about your preparations, but when something happens they will come calling. My own brother borrowed my new-in-box chainsaw and my [12 VDC] jump starting [battery pack] to light up the area so that he could saw in hours of darkness. I told him to keep the jump pack charged. Several months later I got the chainsaw and jump pack back. The saw will not start and the battery is dead in the jump pack. I just held my tongue. They are only possessions. But it goes to show how stuff loaned out gets treated.

I did have a real cool setup until about six years ago when a water leak turned into a … Continue reading

Lady Liberty Liberty Has a Hollow Core

The best known symbol of the United States is the Statue of Liberty. It was a gift from the people of France, with a framework designed by Gustave Eiffel. (Yes, the same gent that designed the Eiffel Tower.) Eiffel’s Liberty statue armature design was clever, and made the statue an amazingly lightweight for a structure that towers 151 feet tall. Rather than a traditional solid masonry statue, Lady Liberty is built on a hollow framework to which copper sheets are attached. I have recently come to realize that the Statue of Liberty is a fitting symbol for the United States in this new century. We are now a hollow nation.

In the past 30 years our manufacturing infrastructure has been gutted. Countless industries have moved their manufacturing offshore. Political commentator Patrick J. Buchanan summed it up well in a 2003 article for The American Conservative:

“Across … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

Reader RBS found us this: Five Foods That Are Cheaper to Grow

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RBS also found this in a Hawaiian newspaper: Gasoline thieves cutting fuel lines

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Red Cross warns of food riots over soaring prices. (A hat tip to Bill in Ohio.)

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“I Told You So” Department: Washington Mutual – One of the Nations Largest Banks Having Trouble. (We mentioned potential margin call problems at WaMu, back on March 16th.) There are bank runs coming.

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“Cowboy” found this article that ties in with the recent letter on Treet brand canned meat: Sales of Spam rise as consumers trim food costs

Note from JWR:

The following is another article for Round 16 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The writer of the best non-fiction article will win two valuable four day “gray” transferable Front Sight course certificates. (Worth up to $4,000!) Second prize is a copy of my “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course, generously donated by Jake Stafford of Arbogast Publishing. Round 16 ends on May 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entries. Remember that articles that relate practical “how to” skills for survival will have an advantage in the judging.

Considerations for Raising Chickens After TEOTWAWKI, by Gospel Guy

Successfully raising chickens after TEOTWAWKI has a few important differences from raising chickens during normal conditions in the developed world. Changes in the availability of feed, day old chicks, and increased pressure from predators and thieves are the most likely factors to precipitate failure for many people who think they understand chickens, but are not prepared for these challenges. This article addresses the adjustments that must be made to successfully raise chickens after TEOTWAWKI.

Sustained reproduction of the flock should be the primary focus of the survivalist who wishes to ensure a supply of eggs and meat into the future. In order to maintain reproduction the flock must have a nutrient rich high protein diet. Under current conditions in the developed world obtaining an adequate diet for your flock is as simple as a visit to a trusted feed mill. However the survivalist needs … Continue reading

Odds ‘n Sods:

Paul from Kentucky sent this: Pioneers show Americans how to live “off-grid”

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John in Ohio flagged this: Diesels [Still] Equal Savings. The article didn’t mention the price differential between road-taxed diesel and “off road ” diesel. Currently, off-road (dyed) diesel sells for about 50 cents less per gallon than the road-taxed variety. That makes a big difference for those of us that store diesel for tractors and diesel generators.

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I spotted this article linked at Drudge: US home prices drop at sharpest rate in 20 years. I predict this downward spiral will continue for at least four years.

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SurvivalBlog reader “Tanker” noticed that the US Federal Reserve is continuing to increase the size of its now ongoing Term Auction Facility (TAF) liquidity-pumping frenzy. Check out the figure at the bottom … Continue reading

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation then by deflation, the banks and the corporations will grow up around them, will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs." – Thomas Jefferson, from the debate on the recharter of the Bank Bill, (1809)

America’s Frontier Counties–One Man’s “Frontier” is Another Man’s Suburbia

In 1890, the US Census Bureau made its pronouncement that America’s western “frontier” was closed.

One television program that the Memsahib really enjoys re-watching now and again is the PBS series Frontier House. That led to a discussion of when the frontier officially closed. While researching that, I stumbled into the National Center for Frontier Communities web site. They have a very loose “by consensus” definition of what defines a “frontier” county. This map shows the absurdity of their definition. I suspect that they made the definition loose, so that participants can qualify for government grants. If you look at the Year 2000 US Census data, it is a far better gauge of who actually lives in truly remote rural counties. For example, in California, only 2% of the population lives in frontier counties, but in Wyoming the figure is 73.9%.

The … Continue reading

Letter Re: An Oil Extraction Press that Could Prove Useful at Retreats

Though this PDF starts out explaining how to make “briquettes” for cooking fuel, it eventually shows a crude oil extraction press. This could be a handy tool for supplementing one’s diet with vegetable and nut oils and also for making biodiesel (or for use in a Straight Vegetable Oil powered engine). Regards, – Hawaiian K.