Odds ‘n Sods:

The latest murmurings from Wall Street and the Chicago Board of Trade are that the commodities markets have not nearly reached their peak. If anything, the traders say, we are in the opening stages of a secular bull market that will likely continue for several years. As I’ve stated on previous occasions, the second half of the Aughts will probably look a lot like the second half of the 1970s, with rising interest rates, consumer price inflation, international tensions, and galloping commodities prices.

   o o o

We just returned from a family trip down to California. (Which explains the brevity of today’s posts.) The trip was enlightening if not downright alarming. I was surprised to hear so many Spanish language radio stations–they are now scattered up and down the AM dial. Some of the city buses now carry advertising placards in Spanish. Immigrant day laborers cluster on street corners, hoping for work at construction sites. I have concluded that the illegal immigration problem needs to be resolved quickly and decisively. In my opinion, the United States needs: 1.) A stout fence and plenty of sensors, regardless of the cost, to make the southern border less porous 2.) Local police and sheriff’s departments empowered to arrest illegal aliens, and 3.) A larger staff for the Border Patrol. Without those measures, the gradual demographic of cultural and linguistic change will reach a tipping point in the border states and beyond. I should mention here that I am by no means a racist. Quite the contrary, I am an anti-racist. But I must concur with talk radio show host Michael Savage: “Borders, language, and culture” matter. They, in part, define a society. If those three underpinnings are not preserved, then we will wake up someday and find ourselves in someone else’s society

   o o o

A rare case of Bubonic Plague in California

   o o o

More revelations on Iran’s nuclear program

From the Deep Archives: JWR’s Comments on Silver and Gold

Note: I posted the following to the Usenet newsgroup “misc.survivalism” on July 17. 1997, in response to an ongoing thread about gold and silver. OBTW, at the time, gold was selling for around $320 per ounce, and silver was around $4.25 per ounce.

[LOTS deleted]
> Gold coins frequently are only some part gold – in actuality an
>alloy comprised of MOSTLY gold, but not always.  Different gold coins have
>different gold contents and it’s not always clear what percent.  For
>instance, did you know that the US RARELY minted a .999 pure gold coin?
>That’s why Kruggerands [sic] and Canadian Maples are more pricey – they are pure
>gold.  US Gold coins are usually a 90% alloy.

That is not correct.  American Eagles weigh around 1.1 ounce, and are .9167
fine. (22 karat.)  You still get a full ounce of gold for your money.  They are made
22 karat for durability. The .999 fine bullion coins are too soft for
general circulation.  They wear quickly.

> Q: Is my preference for small denomination silver over large denomination
> gold sound?
Yes, if you have all your other logistics (food, weapons/ammo/medical)
squared away FIRST.  

> Q: How much of this stuff should I buy?  As much as I can? Some percentage
> of my ability?
Again, after you get everything else squared away, then I’d recommend
putting roughly half of your savings in precious metals.

> Q: What should I do with this stuff in the mean time?  “Safe Deposit” , er,
> isn’t.  “Creative Burial?”
Bury it!

> Q: Silver is a private store (ie, the govt cannot confiscate and doesn’t
> even know I have it).  How can I keep it that way?  The company does not
> report sales to the IRS.  Hell, purchases of $1,000 or more do not even
> require the collection of taxes.
Bullion coins–even silver .999 –trade dollars”–may eventually be
subject to confiscation (Like the gold confiscation in 1933.)  I’d stick
with “junk” silver (pre-1965 U.S. circulated silver coins), and MS-60 or
higher U.S. numismatic gold pieces, preferably PCGS or NGC encapsulated

> Q: Basically, am I on the right track to preparation for economic crisis?
Only if you buy your “beans, bullets & band-aids” first.  I can’t
emphasize that enough!

Letter Re: Stocking up on Copper Tubing/Pipe

I have been following the metal’ and copper in particular, as it is a very necessary part of our modern existence.
One of the things I envision, is a shortage of copper tubing. I have been buying a little extra every time I go to the home store. Some of it I plan use for making a still– for making alcohol, other sizes are for my propane tanks and last but not least, I still have copper [water] pipes in my house that are going on 30 years old, so I have been buying some to replace that.
What is strange, is that copper tubing has almost doubled in prince in the last two years, and they say it’s because of China buying most of the worlds production for electronics and other stuff. Not sure, but I have been getting a good replacement stock of the tubing.
BTW there are several different grades of tubing and you need to be buying the K grade as it is thicker walled, and approved for propane. The M grade is not approved for propane, as it has thinner walls. The K grade bends easily without kinking, and the M grade will not bend [properly] at all. Most of the solder-on fittings are for the M grade and the compression type and flare fittings are for K tubing. – Mel

Odds ‘n Sods:

Cowabunga! Spot silver is over $14 per ounce, and gold is at $621. The shorts are heading for the hills! There may be some fright inducing pull-backs along the way, but I think that this bull market is just getting started. Consider any deep dips your best buying opportunities.

   o o o

Richard Kiyosaki on “The Coming Oil Crisis

   o o o

From the Second Amendment Foundation: More than seven months have passed since New Orleans residents were forcibly and illegally disarmed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and starting Monday, April 17, the City of New Orleans will be returning seized firearms to their rightful owners, thanks to legal action by the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and National Rifle Association (NRA). ‘We’ve learned from the police that starting Monday at 8 a.m., New Orleans gun owners can get their firearms back,” noted SAF founder Alan Gottlieb. “The city had been denying for more than five months that these guns were in possession. Only when SAF and the NRA filed a motion to have Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley held in contempt of court did city officials miraculously discover that more than a thousand seized firearms were being stored.”

   o o o

The folks at The Pre-1899 Specialist mentioned that their latest batch of 8 x57 pre-1899 Turkish contract Oberndorf Mauser rifles is by far the nicest that they’ve ever had. Recognizing their scarcity, one SurvivalBlog reader recently bought four of them. Since they were all made between 1894 and 1896, they are Federally exempt “antiques” –which means no paperwork required for delivery to most states. (No Form 4473 required!)

   o o o

Swiss America Trading quotes Frank Gaffney on the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Threat.

   o o o

“Reversion to the mean” bodes well for the price of gold . Less than a year ago, the price ratio of silver to gold was around 70-to-1. Currently, it is bucking the trend and is down to around 44-to-1. Assuming that prices will follow their tendency for the ratio to revert to the long term trend (“reversion to the mean”), that will equate to $980 per ounce gold, even if silver stays in the $14 range. (And I expect $20+ silver within another year.) Tempering this, there are those who contend that the silver/gold ratio will return to the classic 15-to-1 ratio. Why? Unlike gold, most industrial silver is not recovered after use, and eventually the supply of available silver will dwindle.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"We have counted the cost of this contest, and find nothing so dreadful as voluntary slavery. – Honor, justice, and humanity, forbid us tamely to surrender that freedom which we received from our gallant ancestors, and which our innocent posterity have a right to receive from us. We cannot endure the infamy and guilt of resigning succeeding generations to that wretchedness which inevitably awaits them, if we basely entail hereditary bondage upon them." – John Dickenson and Thomas Jefferson, Continental Congress, July 6, 1775, Declaration of Causes and Necessity for Taking Up Arms

Responding to the Ongoing Middle East Crisis

There are a great many imponderables that have surfaced with the current saber-rattling situation in the Middle East. But one thing is clear–the uncertainty is rippling through the commodities markets. I guess you’ve all seen the higher prices at the gas pump, and the precious metals are spiking. For example, see the charts at Kitco. (To get the big picture, click on the one year chart, down at the bottom of that web page.) Silver was over $13.50 per ounce yesterday afternoon!

What can you do?

1.) Pray for peace. Please pray for the survival of the people and nation of Israel.

2.) If you have any friends that live (or are stationed) in the Middle East, check and see it they have any Potassium Iodate (KI) on hand, to prevent thyroid damage if they are exposed to fallout. They should also have a fallout dosimeter, fallout rate meter, and a charger for both. Warn them about consuming fresh dairy products that are produced in any fallout area. Fallout probably won’t be much of issue here in the States unless the situation escalates into a full scale exchange. KI and fallout meters are available from a number of vendors including www.ReadyMadeResources.com , www.KI4U.com, and JRH Enterprises.

3.) Prepare for the global economic consequences of regional war in the Middle East. If you have a propane, gas, diesel, or heating oil tank, switch to more expensive “keep filled” contracts instead of waiting until your tanks get nearly empty for your re-fills. If you don’t already have large capacity vehicle and heating fuel storage tanks at your home/retreat, then invest in tanks and keep them full and stabilized. It will be better than money in the bank

4.) Diversify out of the U.S. Dollar. The dollar is already in trouble, and if the Islamic nations declare war on the dollar (since they most assuredly see the U.S. as an ally of Israel), they could both dump their dollar-denominated assets and start demanding payment for oil in Euros. (Part of the current crisis has been caused by Iran announcing a new oil bourse denominated in Euros.) Put your money in tangibles: productive farm land, precious metals, common caliber ammunition, extra guns, gold, and silver will be your best bets. Buy physical metals and hide them very well at home. Don’t buy silver or gold ETF shares, or leave your metals in a safe deposit box. In a severe economic crisis, who knows how government might over-react and attempt to seize precious metals assets.

5.) Take prudent food storage measures for your family, with the assumption that the economic impact of war in the Middle East could have far-reaching effects.

6.) Repeat step #1, daily.

Letter Re: A New Breed of Feral Dogs, by Buckshot

Mr. Rawles,

The most vital point, I think, of Buckshot’s piece is not that feral dogs will eat us all alive, but that [applying] current attitudes in future scenarios CAN GET YOU KILLED!
  You’d better get you mind wrapped around the hard decisions now the best you can.  Buckshot is exactly right: if you’re making decisions on the fly as a situation unfolds, you’re dog food.  The same goes for any, shall we say, less-than-polite social encounters with humans.  ARIES (Autonomic Response In Extreme Stress) is an acronym we used when I taught self-defense.  Most guys would pooh-pooh the idea because they were super-fit and could  kick you right in the face with ease.  They never got the idea of Spiritual Point of Origin, a concept that one attains when you’ve wrestled with all the moral-ethical dilemmas, as well as realizing one’s physical capabilities AND limitations.  The “dojo jock” never prepared for any real conflict; it’s all a game, but the minute things changed up, they end up getting the cr*p beat out of them.  When you are under stress, you will become much less coordinated, particularly in fine motor skills (read: sight acquisition, operating safety levers, firing-and moving maneuvers) unless they have been practiced to the point of neuro-muscular memory (i.e. second nature).  You WILL perform AS you have practiced, not just WHAT you have practiced.  Remember, practice DOES NOT make perfect; practice makes permanent what is practiced.  Now is the time to deal with the mental aspects of what you will need  to keep you and yours, safe and alive, not when the wolves (dog pack, murderous thugs) are at your door.  A perfect example is the horrific Manson Family murders: while testifying at their trials the women of Charlie’s lovely little clan complained bitterly how hard it was to kill Sharon Tate, that she pulled their hair and  kicked and pushed them away. She possessed the will to fight back, but apparently lacked either  the skill to fight effectively, or, more likely, the willingness to injure a fellow human being.  Students in self-defense classes get squeamish when the idea of eye-gouging or kicking to the trachea comes up, but in reality, if you’re not willing to do what it takes to win the fight, WHY ARE YOU IN A FIGHT? Better to surrender now, save yourself the beating, and pray that you will be rescued by some unforeseen circumstance.  Remember, suspect first, prospect later.  You are only paranoid if they’re not out to get you. – Bonehedz

Letter Re: Unintended Consequences of a Failure of Basic Services in a Disaster

When I was a river [rafting] guide we used toilets made of [military surplus wooden] rocket boxes.
The premise is to take a large Army rocket box (a toilet lid fits inside ) and use double lined plastic bags and plenty of powdered lime. Regular old lime for the disinfectant.
We would use on of these on extended wilderness rafting trips for 30 or 40 people.
Here’s how it works. Set up the rocket box and remove the large roll of heavy black plastic trash bags. Take TWO bags and double bag them and line the inside of the box.
Set the lid on top and ONLY put toilet paper and feces in the box. All urine goes on the ground. After doing your business  take a small scoop of lime and sprinkle enough of the powder to cover the waste. After finishing, remove the seat and place the lid back on but don’t seal it. The next person comes along, takes the lid off (which keeps the flies out ) and puts the toilet seat on and does the same.
When a bag is full, remove it from the box, and tie off and then put it inside another bag in case of leaks.
This gets put in the trash bags for later disposal. ONE rocket box can handle about 30 people for a weekend easily going through 2 to 4 bags every 2 or 3 days. We always brought two, one for women and one for men. Once ready to break camp, we removed the bag of dump, put the bucket of lime, the roll of trash bags and the lid inside the box and sealed the lid.
This was VERY effective and met the U.S. Forest Service “pack it in, pack it out” rule.
Lime is a VERY good thing to stockpile. In addition to keeping the oders down on feces, it can also keep the odor down on rotting bodies, as will 20 Mule Team Borax. I use that for raw tanning hides and have some that have NEVER been chemical tanned and ONLY had Borax and are now going on 10 years with no hair slippage or odor. These are deer hides that I have made into rugs. – Mel

Odds ‘n Sods:

Iran’s president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alternately threatens to annihilate or “liberate” Israel. With these tensions is it any wonder oil an precious metals are spiking?

   o o o

David Limbaugh comments on “Immigration Madness

   o o o

It looks as if the short squeeze that I predicted in the silver market is starting to unfold. Look for a substantial spike in the price of spot silver in the next two weeks, as the shorts panic to cover their positions. This spike may very well be followed by some profit taking, but who knows–the stair step pattern may persist.

Jim’s Quote of the Day:

"Iran has dropped its pretense of benign intent. It has used the passing time to disperse, diversify, conceal, and protect its nuclear centers. But [the U.S.] cannot prevent this through military means—unless it is willing to commit itself to all-out war. Realism about Iran starts with throwing out any plans to bomb." — James Fallows, The Atlantic.

Note from JWR:

The first letter posted today is a thought-provoking piece directed toward fellow Christians, but the issues that it raises might be of interest to those of you that are of other faiths and even those who are not religious. I often stress charity in my writings. As a Christian, I consider charity my duty, and I feel strongly convicted to have extra food and gardening seed on hand to dispense as charity in the event of a disaster. Even for those of you that are not religious, I still recommend the practice, since it demonstrates kindness, and kindness builds trust instead of distrust. When times get bad, you will want neighbors that you can trust.

Letter Re: Questions on Saving, Interest, and Preparation Versus Hoarding,

 I offer the following discussion (and answers, I hope) for Christians.
Proposition/assumptions: Good financial planning and even seeming ‘common sense’ dictates that we plan our income and expenditures wisely so as to have the ability to withstand a crisis.  This plan makes sense on an intuitive level, and also can be argued quite easily that as a Christian we have a duty to provide for the life and livelihood of our dependents; and that this provision includes saving money and goods for the event of hard times.  Or does it?
Our Christian duty is also unquestionably to be charitable and to avoid the sin of covetousness/greed.  First, some definitions:

Covet (verb: to covet): to wish, long, or crave for something, especially the property of another person
Greed: excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves (syn. Avarice: a more religious term, one of the Seven Deadly Sins)
Charity: (one of the Three Theological Virtues), meaning loving kindness towards others; it is held to be the ultimate perfection of the human spirit, because it is said to both glorify and reflect the nature of God. In its most extreme form charity can be self-sacrificial. Charity is one conventional English translation of the Greek term agapeAgape to the early Christians meant that inner bond of blessed union which united the individual with divinity, and mankind with their fellowmen. Till our eyes are fully opened, "there abideth faith, hope, and charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity" (1 Cor 13).  Charity is commonly understood to mean ‘giving to the needy’.
Reflections:  Is there gray area?  Where is it?  Is saving the necessary substantial sum for a child’s college education acceptable?  Is having six months living expenses in the bank acceptable?  Is a year’s worth of food storage acceptable?  Can I save for economic downturns without knowing with certainty that they will come?  Can I save for them knowing for certain that they WILL come, but not for certain that it will result in my inability to provide for my family?
What amount of saving is acceptable?  Where does it become ‘hoarding’?  Is the sin of greed more one of quantity, or one of attitude?
If any amount of saving is acceptable, how much?  Is it acceptable to save excluding  charity until the acceptable amount is reached?  Or are we obliged to give to charity while saving toward that amount?
It is generally accepted that Christians must lend without charging interest; but in what circumstances?  All without exception?  Toward family members?  To other Christians?  Can we earn interest on investments?  Is an interest-earning savings account acceptable? 
Can we earn interest in excess of the rate of inflation without sin?
Can we sell our home for a profit if we do not need a larger home to accommodate our own immediate needs? 
And some rhetorical questions, not meant to insult; but to add more facets for discussion: Does God always provide for his faithful?  Historically, have Christians been safe from starvation through economic hard times?   Is not saving and preparing for disaster a simple reality of living in the temporal world The Almighty has placed us into?  Is saving a function of ‘giving to Caesar’, which is considered acceptable as long as we also give to God? – C.P., MD

Letter Re: Survive or Prevail?

I wanted to share the following with you. It really made me stop and think. I just finished reading G. Gordon Liddy’s book “When I Was A Kid, This Was A Free Country.” It is a very good read. Chapter seven is titled “Survive Or Prevail,” and in it he makes an excellent point. Do we want to survive, or prevail? The dictionary says that “to survive” means merely “to continue to live or exist.” Yet the definition of “prevail” means “to overcome; to gain the victory or superiority; to gain the advantage; to have the upper hand, or the mastery; to win; to triumph; to be victorious.” Being a survivor and surviving a SHTF situation is not a bad thing, but we are capable of, and should try for much more. We may indeed end up just surviving, but as my Dad used to say: “Shoot for the stars and you might hit the moon. Shoot for the moon, and you might hit your foot.” We should all be aiming to be “prevailers.” – Gung-Ho

Letter Re: Copper Price Galloping

Dear Mr. Rawles,
I have wanted to write to you for a week or two with respect to an oddity.  An increasing number of sources are discussing the degree to which the base metal in the US penny is becoming more valuable than the penny itself.  This is odd, and www.coinflation.comis tracking it with alleged numerical precision.  If I get some spare time this week, I hope to write about the death of the penny in more detail. Best Regards, – K.A.D.

JWR Replies: Silver is about 45 times more bulky than gold, (As I’m writing this, gold is $605.10 per ounce, whereas silver is $13.28 per ounce.) Even still, I prefer investing in silver. It is bulky, but stilll marginally portable. However, in general, I cannot recommend investing in physical copper! It is far too bulky. As a base metal, copper is far too heavy and bulky to be practical as a tangible investment. Just $2,000 worth would be too heavy to carry in a car. Perhaps if you are a retiree that lives at your retreat year-round, and if you have no intention of moving for the rest of our retired life. For anyone else, I cannot recommend investing base metals. Since only pre-1982 U.S. pennies are all copper (the later ones are merely copper-flashed zinc tokens) unless copper skyrockets, it is hardly worth your time to sort pennies. (But you might get lucky and find a cache of prte-1982 penny rolls.)