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Friday, May 22, 2015

Buh-Bye Cash

 A good friend of mine sent me an email about the recent flurry of articles on line about the demise of cash in America.

Since I was pondering a post on the subject, I'm going to just post his question and my response for your perusal (with some slight editing), with some final thoughts at the end.

Caution:  I swear a bit.  Actually, a lot less than I expected!

Q:  What's your take on the latest "fad" of the internet doomsayers regarding the outlawing of cash?  Any substance to that theory of which you are aware?

A:  Buckle up - this is gonna be bumpy (and windy).

I've long held that this will eventually happen. When? That's the tough part. Back in my banking days, the fed started this program called Check 21. It's plan was to do away with checks. The rationale was that checks were hard and expensive to process, and by doing away with them, the world would be a better place. Hey, you can buy everything you want with a debit card, so no problem, right?

The real reason is the ability to track - and tax - transactions.

Well, they figured out that checks couldn't quite go away just yet. You had transactions between individuals that didn't fit the mold. For individuals, it's either cash or checks (or Paypal now). So, Check 21 digitized the checks. They are no longer processed as before. They get scanned, and an electronic file - critical data and an image of the check - now replace the paper checks. As a business, you scan the checks, then destroy them. When you as an individual deposit your check at the bank, they scan it, then destroy it. Hell, when I get my check from the gold store, I take a picture with my cell phone using my [bank name] app, then shred the check!

So now there's an electronic trail. Money transferred from one person to another (or to a biz) and that info can be gleaned in a second. No forensic accountants digging thru boxes of checks and statements. Efficient for the tax collectors.

And then there's cash. Big gaping hole. Every government on earth understands that the "off the books" economy is enormous. With cash, there's no way to track it. And if you can't track it, you can't tax it.

Look how the feds stepped on their collective dicks with medical marijuana (and now the legalized variety). To show how big and bad they were, they made federally insured banks (yes, that means all banks) drop the bank accounts of the growers and sellers because MJ was a federally illegal substance. What happened? The pot clubs dealt in all cash. Fucking buckets of it!

The feds soon realized their actions had nipped in the bud (sorry) a great tax source. All that cash went underground. Hmm, I wonder how much of that was declared on tax returns.....

So, the law was changed so that banks with branches in states with legalized MJ could now accept deposits from the growers and sellers. Amazing, huh? Did it out of the goodness of their hearts.

I'm sure you've heard that a number of Euro countries have begun to restrict the value of items you can buy with cash without being reported. France or Spain or one of the other socialist havens dropped the amount from 5000 euros to 1000 euros. Something like that. Soon enough, it will be zero. The rationale will be to fight terrorists or some such horseshit, but it will happen. We've already got our official $10k reporting threshold which effectively limits purchases to under that amount. Hell, it's why we don't do those transactions in the gold store - I don't want to do the reporting paperwork. No other reason.

I guarantee you, these lower limits will happen here as well. For person to person transactions, we will get to the point of needing something like ApplePay or Paypal. Rub two phones together and transfer funds. The technology exists, they just need to keep up the pressure to gain widespread acceptance. They'll use fear ("Only drug dealers, criminals and crooks need cash! You don't want to help criminals, do you?"). They'll throw in a dash of patriotism ("Oh, and terrorists, too.").

Our only saving grace may be that since it's (the money) electronic and not physical, hackers will fuck with it. Hard. Look at bitcoin. That shit is amazingly secure. Trust me on this. Banks dream about this level of encryption. And it gets hit on a semi-regular basis. That's good for the feds, in that, since it's not part of the banking system, if you get robbed, YOU'RE screwed, and don't get your money back like you would from an insured bank.

The next step will be a change the laws on what types of transactions that can't legally be done with cash. They'll include guns and ammo, gold and silver. It's all so they can track who has what and in what quantity. Everyone who owns any of those things will need to so some sort of inventory each year. For gold and silver, I think my store be prohibited from buying or selling for cash within 10 years. Probably have to report who I buy from in the very near future. Could be sooner, depending who gets elected. The amounts will start on the high side - say $5000 or so - and will eventually include everything.

In one of those Euro socialist countries, ALL of your precious metals must already be inventoried and registered with The State. If you transport it, even across the street, without first getting permission, it can be seized!

PMs and cash threaten their control. They don't like that.

When the gold/silver laws raise their ugly head, you'll have two choices: Sell it before the law is enacted, or bury it and wait for sanity to resurface. It's a de facto confiscation. Last time, it took from 1933 until 1974 before you could legal possess gold.

So, to answer your question: Yes.
We saw the attempt to put a squeeze on the sellers of goods when ObamaCare was introduced.  They had a provision that required a business to do a 1099 report for any aggregate purchase of $600 or more, regardless of the source or reason.

It looked good on paper, but once word got out, businesses screamed bloody murder.  1099's are used by the IRS to track when individuals are paid $600 or more a year for services rendered.

With the ObamaCare scheme, ANY purchase from ANYONE - business or personal - had to be reported if it exceeded the $600 threshold.  So, I would have to report when I paid our gas bill, our newspaper ads, our internet service.  If I had a new vendor that sold me $100 in goods, I'd have to first gather all of their business information in anticipation of exceeding the $600 at sometime during the year.  Every time with every vendor.

The burden on small businesses would have be devastating, and it got repealed.

What I see happening is that any kind of business such as my gold store - where people have something of value that they want to sell - we'll have to gather their Social Security Number and report anything we pay them.  What the IRS will do is cross-reference that information to the person's tax return, and see if they reported their gain (or loss).

If not, the IRS will come calling.

"Hey, Mr. Smith, we see you sold some gold to Bob's Coin Shop.  We also see that you didn't report the income you received on your tax return.  What?  You don't have the receipts from when you originally bought the gold, so you don't know your 'basis'?  Sucks to be you!  That means your entire sale is considered profit.  Pay your tax and your penalties.  Have a nice day!"

If cash has been effectively outlawed - and everything must be done via some sort of electronic device - even sales of precious metals between individuals will be recorded.  No, individuals would not likely categorize the transaction as "gold buy", but with a record of the transaction being available, the basis for asking questions is there.

The taxing authorities would now have information on garage sales, lemonade stands, every Craigslist transaction, ANYTHING you pay for with cash.  You'll have no secrecy and no privacy.  And that's the way they like it.

Like all tax schemes, if my predictions come to fruition, it will create a black market.  I believe that trading in gold and silver, in particular, will continue, but it will all be off-the-books, just like buying bread or car tires in the former Soviet Union went unrecorded.

Barter and trade will become much more commonplace.  Get used to it, comrades.

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Guns: Is THAT Premeditation?

Simultaneously Posted At

Anyone who owns a gun for self-defense has thought about the repercussions of having to use the gun to protect their life, or the life of another. I can think of few things that would be more of a emotional jolt than taking the life of another human being.

One of the things that would be worse would be my life being taken because I hadn't prepared for the situation.

We preppers plan. We look at the universe of events that could unfold, and we plan for them.

We put more time and effort into our preps for things we believe are more likely to happen, or which may have a significant, debilitating negative impact on our lives - regardless of the likelihood of the event coming to fruition.

Being killed by some random thug is high on the latter list. The places where I live and work aren't over-run with gun-toting, blood thirsty savages roaming the streets.

But dozens of people get mugged and murdered every day of every week here in America. It's a low probability event for you as an individual, but it's a real possibility.

So we plan. We prepare. We get ready.

We practice with our guns at the shooting range.

We buy memberships and insurance that will protect us if we shoot someone in self-defense.

We select ammunition that will most effectively stop the threat, and stop it quickly.

We learn advanced shooting techniques so we are more able to ensure we come out of the encounter alive.

Many people - the anti-gun crowd, much of government and most of the media in particular - will affix a special term to this kind of preparedness: Premeditation.

Why? Because they know it will scare many non-gun owners into thinking that anyone who uses a gun in self-defense is a cold-blooded killer. "Premeditated" is always coupled with "murder".

Let's first look at the definition of "premeditated" from Merriam-Webster online dictionary -
characterized by fully conscious willful intent and a measure of forethought and planning [premeditated murder]
The word-nerds even have it out for us! So, by definition, all prepping is premeditated. Especially when it comes to guns.

And that's a very good thing. We "gun nuts" genuinely want people to act responsibly with their guns. People are harmed when you do otherwise.

What follows is one video and links to two articles about guns - written by lawyers. In Texas.

"We Don't Dial 911"

The point about the signs influencing a jury is well-taken - especially in a "blue state" such as California, New York, etc.

My biggest problem is that you are advertising that you own guns. To me, it would be the same as posting a sign out front saying, "Don't bother robbing my house. My gold and silver are in a burglar-proof safe."

Not a single one of my neighbors knows I own a single gun - or own an ounce of silver. Publicizing your "stuff" is an invitation for trouble.

Carrying a "Statement Card"

A Statement Card is a card you carry around that gives you a "script" to follow if you're ever involved in a self-defense shooting. An excerpt from this article -
Q: I called my attorney here in Denver to ask him, and he said if the prosecutor ever found out I had contacted him before an incident, which I was doing at that moment, it could be interpreted as premeditation.

A: Great question. Having pre-printed cards to that effect do seem a little premeditated, in that each factual situation is different. These are certainly good and accurate things to say, but having them pre-printed on a card seems a little over the top. Additionally, the invocation of your rights should be made verbally in the case of an incident.
Let me be painfully clear: I do not care how "premeditated" it appears to anyone asking me questions about a self-defense shooting. SecondCall Defense has a "script" they suggest you use if you're involved in a shooting, regardless of how innocent you think you may be.

Unless you're a gun law attorney, call 911, follow the script, then call SecondCall Defense. Then prepare yourself to be arrested. You'll have bail money and an attorney in hours.

You may say the most innocent thing, and it can get you convicted. DO NOT risk your freedom (see "7 Shooting Incident Mistakes").

By the way, as the article notes, most police officers are instructed NOT to say anything for 72 hours after they are involved in a shooting. There's a reason for that. Follow their lead.

Does Your Ammo Choice Matter In Court?

Lots of concern out there about being in possession of ammo with, "greater stopping power". This gets back to the whole "premeditated" angle and the blood-thirsty image portrayed by the media and some prosecutors -
Based on comments in the blog, many Cheaper Than Dirt! readers who might be forced to defend themselves with a firearm worry about how the effectiveness of their ammunition may prejudice how they’re viewed by the courts.

Q: From a legal perspective, does it matter what ammunition I use in my handgun?

A: The short answer is, probably not. But for the purposes of this discussion, let me be very clear — we’re talking only about Texas law here. Unfortunately, not every state can be as reasonable as ours. Some ammo may or may not be legal for possession or use in other states, so be sure to check the local laws to make sure what you are carrying is legal.
The bottom line is, get the most effective ammo that is allowed in your state. If they don't allow effective ammo, move. Isn't your life worth that?

In all of my beginner and advanced pistol classes, I teach that you keep shooting until the threat has stopped. Then YOU MUST stop. Crappy ammo ends up with crappy results. And you may be harmed or dead if you're forced (or choose) to use ammo that will not stop your assailant.

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Cultural Silos: Death of the American Melting Pot

This picture I found on Twitter is what set me off -

Lack of Diversity and too much White Privilege - the twin scourges of America.

Gawd, I hate that word.  Diversity.  It's right down there with Empowered on my list of most-hated words.

Diversity has morphed from a word meaning assortment or distinctiveness, to meaning Affirmative Action and preferential treatment.

All are included in this diversity-fest - unless you're white.  Doubly so if you're also male.

Some committee - usually chaired by the august Director of Diversity (yes, this position now exists in almost all large corporations and in all public and private colleges and universities) determines the proper ratio of whites to non-whites, and sets forth the hiring (or enrollment) standard for the foreseeable future.

Hiring, not based upon the education, experience or qualifications of the individual, but upon the color of their skin.
I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. 
The very people who worship the words and perspective of Martin Luther King, Jr., soil his legacy with their actions.

They don't want equality of opportunity, they want equality of outcome.  That can never happen.  Never.  Outcome is based upon the effort of the individual, not by being given a seat at the "big kids" table.

If you don't earn something - be it your job or your college placement or your housing - you will usually fritter it away.  You didn't have to put forth the effort to get that job, so you don't put forth the effort to keep that job.

This whole diversity sham is closely associated with White Privilege.  You know, the mythical belief that whites get everything handed to them.  Click the heels of our sensible shoes and wish upon a star, and a job magically appears.

At its core is the constant propaganda that you're not successful because you're not white, and whites are only successful because they are white.  They dress it up, but that's the slop they're selling.

It's Victimhood 101.

How sad.  How sad for blacks, browns, tans and all of the other hues, that the liberal-promoted "system" doesn't think they have the ability to succeed on their own.  And most of them play right along.

No, not "play along".  They actively participate and promote this "self-segregation" pity-party ideology.

They don't want to join America - and assimilate as every race and nationality has done before them - they actively work to separate themselves from being American, as though race or country of origin somehow grants them special powers and reverence.

 The added benefit of the diversity and privilege crutch is, they've built themselves a nice strawman "oppressor".  When you fail, you've got someone to blame other than yourself and the effort (or lack thereof) you put forth.

I swear, I'll never get it.

I've been down before.  At one time, I was jobless and literally days from losing our house (into which all of our money had been dumped).  Me, my wife and our two babies - on the street.

What did I do?  I must have misplaced my White Privilege card, because as I remember it, I worked for a temp agency during the days and in a warehouse making $5 an hour at nights.   Oh, and I dug trenches and built forms for a buddy on weekends for a concrete business.  I spent my free time scouring the want ads and hounding friends until I found another job.

Ahh, the benefits of White Privilege!

Why this sense of entitlement?  Why this rejection of American values?  Why would you leave your country of origin, and then try to recreate it here?  It sucked, remember?  That's why you came here.

Since their numbers now outweigh that of blacks, I fear Hispanics will follow them down the rabbit hole of state dependency.  They are a big enough voting block to get the attention of the politicians that will promise them the moon in exchange for their votes.

I pray they will see what has happened to American blacks since Affirmative Action was put in place 50 years ago, and step back from the cliff.  I'm not hopeful, as saying 'No' to free stuff is difficult.

Black Americans are my biggest area of confusion.  Clearly, the opportunity is here.  Our president is black!  There is no bigger or more important job in the world.  He obviously figured out the path to success.

Why can't massive numbers of blacks figure it out as well?  Why can't they replicate the success an even smaller minority group - Asians -  have had in America?

Asians from around the world have come here, seen the brass ring that is The American Dream, and grabbed it.  Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, Indian, Pacific Islanders.

For God's Sake, the Vietnamese - the people that killed 50,000 Americans and who were generally despised when they came over as "Boat People" - are now one of the most successful demographics in America.  Not "non-white" demographics, ALL demographics.

There was just some young black high school kid on TV who was accepted by all 13 colleges where he applied, including all 8 Ivy League schools
"We are so proud of him," said his mother, Roseline Ekeh. "Hard work, dedication, prayer brought him to where he is today."

Born in Nigeria, Harold was eight years old when his parents brought the family to the United States.

"It was kind of difficult adjusting to the new environment and the new culture," he said. But he saw his parents working hard, "and I took their example and decided to apply myself."

He referenced that effort in his college essay, writing, "Like a tree, uprooted and replanted, I could have withered in a new country surrounded by people and languages I did not understand. Yet, I witnessed my parents persevere despite the potential to succumb. I faced my challenges with newfound zeal; I risked humiliation, spending my recesses talking to unfamiliar faces, ignoring their sarcastic remarks."
 His reasons for being successful jump out a bite you in the butt.

He has two parents who instilled in him a sense of dedication to task - perseverance.
He didn't use the excuse of being "different" (uncool, perhaps?) to hold him back.
He worked his ass off.
He was born in another country.

Very similar to the background of many Asian households.  And all of these attributes, aside from the country of origin, can be replicated by anyone in America.

People used to strive - hell, they used to die - to become an American.  You left "the homeland" and embraced the promise of America.  That melting pot where the cultures of the world became one great nation.

Sure, each big city had an Italian district, a "Little Puerto Rico" or a Japantown, but everyone was most proud about being an American.  You always remembered your heritage, but you embraced the new culture.

Now, we're Cuban-Americans, African-Americans, Asian-Americans and Mexican-Americans.  A country of special interest groups pandered to by politicians and race-baiters.  We base our pride not upon our own accomplishments, but upon the color of our skin or country of origin.

Two things, by the way - skin color and country of origin - over which we have no control. Yet they're encouraged to be proud of these things.  Why?

We've become a country of cultural silos - each with separate agendas and interests that just happen to share the same plot of dirt. 

They all preach collective ideology, yet actively cling to genetic segregation.  They protest for "economic justice" for all, but are unwilling to work to improve their economic status.  It's easier to fling "racist!" towards any who question their motives, and most of their targets cower under the onslaught.

The race-baiters and America-haters are winning.  When a country self-segregates, it eventually disintegrates.

History tells us this is not going to end well.

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Capital And Other Controls

 There are times I just want to scream.  I see overt, unconstitutional controls, I wave my arms in the air, and few seem to notice.  I realize, though, that it's just the old, "tree falling in the forest" deal.  No one hears it.  Or maybe they do, but they just don't give a damn.

Hey, they still have food, clothes, a roof over their head, maybe a couple of bucks in the bank or on their EBT card, and a car to get to work when work is available.

The wheels are coming off the cart, and no one cares, 'cause the cart is still moving, regardless of how wobbly and unsteady the ride.

Simply stated, government is nothing but control - sometimes for good, sometimes not.  We want government to control murderers and thieves, but not to control what drug or unpasteurized food others choose to put in their bodies.

Real freedom is the freedom of choice.  To act, speak, buy, sell, hoard or ingest as the individual chooses.  As long as that choice doesn't infringe on the rights of others, back the hell off.
The man who lets a leader prescribe his course is a wreck being towed to the scrap heap. - Ayn Rand
 Government doesn't see it that way.  They want control for the sake of control - it's the "service" they sell.  Personal freedom is in direct conflict with any form of government.  If you're free to act as you wish, you don't need government to control and regulate your actions and their outcomes.

If you don't need big government, well, they go out of business.  That is contrary to any economic or sociological model.  All "beings" want to grow and thrive.  Government is no different.

The go-to ploy - the marketing pitch - used to convince you of the need for government control is your safety.  And it works nearly every time.

Here is a perfect example:  The recent German passenger jet that played lawn dart with the French Aps.

It was a horrible event.  Horrible.  150 people are dead because of the apparent choice of the co-pilot to commandeer the plane and crash it.

In every single news outlet - right wing, left wing, TV, radio, print, online - it doesn't matter - everyone of them is calling for government "to do something".  These range from mandatory mental health checks of all pilots, to mandatory "two persons in cockpit at all times" to .... there are dozens and dozens of suggestions.

They're all "flingin' poo" to see what sticks.

Soon, we'll see the FAA testifying in Congress, and lots of Congresscritters harumph-harumphing, and promises of safety in the skies.

And we're then going to spend butt-loads of money to make you safer - or at least make you think you're safer -  and you'll gladly pay the bill.

Hey folks, the skies are about the safest place you can be.

Any guess how many planes and people are in the air, right this second?  8,000-13,000 planes holding half a million peopleEvery day, 8+ million people go airborne, with over 3.3 billion people flying every year (yeah, that's equivalent to about half of the world population).

Each day, over 100,000 planes take off and land around the world.  Over one hundred thousand flights a day.

What kind of death and destruction is wrought upon passengers each year?  Around the world between 500 and 1500 people die from plane crashes.  Not per day, but per year.  The two worst years (1972 and 1985) there were about 2300 deaths.  In the entire world!

We're going to spend tens of billions of dollars to save how many US citizens from the horrors of airline travel??!!  A couple of hundred, maybe?

Some perspective:  If there are 2300 deaths for every 3.3 billion fliers each year, that means you, as an individual, have a 1 in 1,435,000 chance of dying each time you fly.

Some other ways you might kill yourself (stuff lots of people do):

Driving in Car - 1 in 6,700
Dancing at A Party - 1 in 100,000
Bicycling - 1 in 140,845
Swimming - 1 in 1,000,000
Jogging and running - 1 in 1,000,000
Snow Skiing - 1 in 1,400,000
Flying - 1 in 1,435,000

OK?  You are 10 TIMES more likely to die while out on your bicycle than while flying.  So put on your big-boy bike shorts and stop whining.

The streets are running red with the blood of bicyclists!  Where is Congress on this devastating destroyer of lives?  Think of the children!

Do you wring your hands every time you jump on your Schwinn?  Well maybe you should, 'cause it's a death trap!

At least when compared to flying.

OK, back to my rant.  Statistics and logic can be so... dull.

Before I move on, keep one thing in mind:  There is nothing you can do to change what follows below.  It's done, and it's going to get worse.  Government ain't done growing.  Not for a second.

What you can do, is plan and act RIGHT THIS DAMNED MINUTE to minimize the impact.  That's the key.  Get out in front of what we know is going to happen.  Zig before they zag.

Capital Controls

There was a recent flurry of online articles about CTRs (Currency Transaction Reports).  Most people think/thought that if you took out $10,000 in cash from your bank account, you got flagged via a CTR.  These articles bleat that the dollar amount had dropped to $5000 or so.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but the number is much lower than that, and has been for a long time.  It's all about "out of pattern" withdrawals.  For instance, if you always do everything with your debit card, then out of the blue you ask for $1000 in 20's from your bank, TAG, you're it!  You've acted outside of your normal patterns.  Most likely, you triggered a SAR (Suspicious Activity Report).

Disturbing, huh?

Under the guise of safety and anti-terrorism, laws for all of this surveillance of your spending patterns were passed, and passed again and again.  And you thought it was A-OK.  "Lose a little freedom to keep 'Merica safe"

In the same vein, some Euro country (France?) just passed a law that you can't make cash payments in excess of 1000 euro (now equal to about $1070).

Next on the hit parade for controls will be precious metals - gold and silver primarily.  Right now, there are few restrictions on how and when you can buy and sell them.

I absolutely guarantee you that will be changing in the next few years.  Precious metals - like physical cash - are "off the books" assets.  If government doesn't know you have them, they certainly can't know how you're spending them.

More importantly, they can't seize them ('cause they don't know you own them) if they don't like something you're doing.

In that same Euro country, you now need permission to transport your precious metals inside the borders of the country!  Not crossing a border, but crossing the street.

See how that works?  If you own the gold, but bought it for cash, you must now declare your ownership.  If you don't, it's contraband, and can be legally seized.

Ain't it grand when you get to write, enforce and profit from the laws?

Bottom line:  If you can control the ways money can be used, you can control the holder of that money.  Good guys are guilty until proven innocent.

The Other Controls

We have Gun Control - where only good citizens are controlled - since bad guys don't obey the laws.  Your ability to defend yourself from ANY type of threat is chipped away.  The latest tactic with the attempted ban on "armor piercing" ammo reeks of the movie, Minority Report.  They seem to have the ability to know you're going to use your ammo for dirty deeds before you do.  Oh, and the ban WILL happen.  Mark my words.  Good guys are guilty until proven innocent.

We have Travel Controls, where you're presumed to be a terrorist - and treated as such - for no other reason than you want to travel on public transportation.  What started in the airports is now evident in train and bus stations, and even with roving "VIPR Squads" on the roadways.  Good guys are guilty until proven innocent.

We've got a couple of new-ish controls coming into play.  I say new-ish because they've been around for a while, but they're really working to get to the front of the line.

The first is Thought Control (for lack of a better term - if there's already a phrase for this, lemme know).  No, I'm not talking about some 3-letter agency beaming mind-control waves into your home or car.  It is our reaction to the knowledge that everything we're doing is being recorded somewhere.

The whole, "metadata" collection thing.

[For an absolutely fantastic article on the whole metadata gig - what it is and how it's actually a bigger threat to personal privacy than detailed data collection - see this article, NSA Doesn't Need to Spy On Your Calls To Learn Your Secrets, from Wired Magazine]

We all do things differently on the Internet and on phone calls because, "Someone might be listening."  You know you do it.  You don't key in a phrase on Google for how to build a bomb - even though you have no intentions of ever making a bomb.  Intellectual curiosity is gonna have to be put on hold.

You know that search will be saved forever, and if you should ever, EVER be arrested for anything, you just know they'll slap down a stack of papers on top of the interrogation room table and ask, "So.  Why would an innocent person ever do a search for how to make a bomb?"

"But, but, but...."

Because at sometime in the future, your private, innocent search or phone call might be unveiled for all the world to see, you change your behavior.  Your thoughts are not allowed to go, "down that road."  Your curiosity is left unsatisfied.  You comply through perceived threat.

They win again.

This last item seems to be coming to full bloom just as spring has sprung.  Speech Control - the idea that offensive, but non-threatening speech, must be muted.  What is most disturbing to me is that this movement towards censorship is flourishing in the very centers where freedom of thought and speech should be flourishing - our universities.

They are redefining what "threatening" means.  Historically, threatening speech meant that a reasonable person would believe that the verbal threat could become physical in nature.

"If I find out you were with my daughter, I'm going to kill you!" would be an example.  The legal term is "fighting words".

Now you're threatened if the words make you feel uncomfortable or "unsafe".
The offender was the free-speech advocate Wendy Kaminer, who had been arguing against the use of the euphemism “the n-word” when teaching American history or “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” In the uproar that followed, the Student Government Association wrote a letter declaring that “if Smith [College] is unsafe for one student, it is unsafe for all students.
Believe me when I say that no one actually feels unsafe when there are discussions on racism or  sexual assault (as was a major part of the article - read the whole thing - it's amazing).  No one is raping or beating anyone.

The sole purpose of "feeling safe" is to control what others say and to whom they say it.  It is used to silence debate and to give the outward appearance of solidarity.  If you can control what a person says, you can control their actions and their ability to progress and succeed in life.

Just ask the "climate deniers" how their careers are progressing.

Accept The Challenge

Capital Controls - hide some of your assets, with the understanding that you may never have the ability to spend them yourself.  Remember the gold confiscation scheme of 1933 (under the guise of Trading With The Enemy)?  I'm here to tell you that our elders understood that eventually, gold would be legal again.

In direct defiance of federal law and the treat of fines and imprisonment, they did not turn in their gold for worthless fiat currency.  How do I know this?  Because every day in my precious metals store, I buy and sell pre-1933 US gold.  It took until the 1970's for gold to be "legal" again.

Prepare to do the same for your grandkids or great grand kids.  Sanity eventually re-emerges.

Gun Control - hide some of your guns and ammo.  Statists understand that eventually, the people wake up, and push back against tyranny.  It happens every time.  The only time the challenge is successful is when force is applied.

Every dictator this world has seen has attempted - and most have succeeded - to disarm the people before applying the heavy screws.  Don't fall for the propaganda, and keep your mouth shut about the numbers and the location of your arms.

Travel Controls - seriously a tough one.  I haven't flown in an airplane in over 10 years.  I'll only do so for (literally) life and death reasons.  But I will be doing a good deal of travel by road in the coming years.

I need some help with that one (comments, please!).

Thought Control - Use TOR or a paid VPN service to help anonymize your internet traffic.  Use a search engine other than Google, Bing or Yahoo for your searches (I use StartPage - It submits a search to Google, so you get their power, but Google doesn't know YOU did the search).  Encrypt everything you've got, and use strong passphrases (see here for some great ideas).

I'm seriously considering getting a "non-smart phone" that is only used for calls.  My current device contains everything about everyone I know or with whom I have contact.  That means Google knows the information as well (it's an Android device).

Speech Control - I have fun with this one.  Since I now own my own businesses, I don't have to play the corporate Political Correctness game.  If someone says something stupid - and I believe they are saying it to control the conversation - I lay into them.

With glee.

Have I lost customers over this?  Oh hell yes.  A couple of years back, I had a gun class where (ironically) some anti-gun pablum was being slung, and I addressed it clear-eyed and forcefully.  I let them say their piece, and then tore them a new one with facts and logic.

They left the class (without a refund) and blasted me on a rating site with a bunch of lies.

Some others from the class saw the ratings and wrote their own - in my favor.  I surely lost some anti-gun future customers, but I made some long-term friends in trade.

I'll take that any day of the week!

The bottom line:  Stay alert, and be adaptive.  It's the only way we'll survive.

I'll leave you with this, which was written in 1969.  See any similarities to today, some 45+ years later? - 
[The hippies] were told that love - indiscriminate love for one's fellow man - is the highest virtue, and they obeyed. They were told that the merging of one's self with a herd, tribe, or community is the noblest way for a man to live, and they obeyed. There isn't a philosophical idea of today's establishment which they have not accepted, which they do not share. When they discovered this philosophy did not work, because in fact it cannot work, the hippies had neither the wit nor the courage to challenge it. They found, instead, an outlet for their impotent frustration by accusing their elders of hypocrisy, as if hypocrisy were the only obstacle to the realization of their dreams. And, left blindly, helplessly lobotomized in the face of an inexplicable reality that is not amenable to their feelings, they have no recourse but the shouting of obscenities at anything that frustrates their whims; at man, or at the rainy sky, indiscriminately, with no concept of the difference. It is typical of today's culture that the proponents of seething, raging hostility are taken as advocates of love.

--Ayn Rand, Apollo and Dionysus

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

I Don't Owe You Squat

Sorry for the hiatus.  Have a family member that had some serious surgery, and it has diverted my attention - considerably - from all other ventures.  Back on track... I believe!

I was working in my precious metals store earlier this week and the phone rang.  I was back in the office, and normally one of my employees would answer the phone.  Instead, I got a, "Hey boss, could you answer this call?"

I pick up the call, and it goes something like this:

Me:  Hi, how can I help you?

Them:  I want to speak to a supervisor.

M:  I'm the owner, what can I do for you?

T:  I want to lodge a complaint.  I called up yesterday, and got hung up on twice.  It was very rude.  I'm deaf and was just trying to get some information.

M:  OK, I'll see what I can do.  Tell me what happened.

T:  I am so pissed off.  I'm deaf and was trying to get some information.  I use a translator because I'm deaf, and your employee hung up on me twice.

M:  I understand that.  Tell me what happened.

T:  Well, I'm deaf, and I am just so insulted and pissed off that your employee hung up on me.  He was discriminating against me.

M:  (I can see where this is going).  I've heard you say that a number of times.  I'll take your information and speak with the employee who was on the floor yesterday.  Is there anything else I can do for you?

T:  Yes, I'm deaf and using a translator...

M:  Ma'am, I heard you.  I told you I'd speak with the employee.  Why did you call yesterday?  Let me see if I can answer that question.

T:  (Long pause).  Uhm, I wanted information about some Greek coins.

M:  Are they gold or silver?

T:  No.

M:  Well then, I'm not going to be able to help you.  We don't deal in ancient coins, and recent mintage Greek coins don't have much of a market here in the US, so we don't deal in them, either.  Does that answer your question?

T:  Well, I'm deaf, and pissed....

M:  Ma'am, what can I do for you now?

(This round-about went on for 10 minutes).

I finally get her off the phone, and the employee who was in the day before tells me what happened.  She called in, said she wanted information on some sort of paper money, not Greek coins.  When he told her we didn't do business in that type of currency, she said that actually, she wanted to conduct a survey about the TTY system.

TTY is a device - that is required on both ends of the "conversation" - that is used by deaf people to communicate using phone lines.  In my conversation with her, I could hear her "interpreter" whispering everything I said.  I'm guessing she was reading the whisperer's lips.

My employee told her we don't do surveys on the phone for anyone.  He kept telling her we didn't do surveys and was there any precious metals question he could answer.  She kept saying she just wanted to do the survey.

It resulted in the hang-up.  Twice.

I don't care if you're the Boy Scouts of America, the Mother Teresa Benevolent Society or some disabled person or organization.  Sorry, but I don't have the time to give you for your project, regardless of how worthy you believe it to be.

And that's the rub.  I am so sick and damned tired of people thinking they are owed something because they're "different".

Maybe they're deaf.  Or in a wheelchair.  Or black/Asian/Hispanic (non-white).  Or gender-questionable.  Or Muslim/Catholic/Protestant/Agnostic/Hindu.

Everyone has their own little niche in which to be a victim or oppressed or worthy, and they expect others to give their time and resources for their cause.

In my business setting, time is literally money.  If I or my employees take time away from buying or selling with a customer, or posting items on our Internet site, or shipping/receiving packages, I lose money.

This liberal/leftist/statist mind-set of knowing better than I on how to allocate my resources doesn't cut it.

"I just need a little bit of your time for this very worthy project."

Kiss my ass.  I'LL decide what I think are worthy projects.  I'LL decide where and when I spend my money.  I'LL decide where and when I give my time, because it's a finite resource.

Back to our deaf caller - She may have been born that way, or it may have occurred because of events out of her control.

Or, she may have gone to an AC/DC concert and blown out her own eardrums.

Honestly, I don't care.  She may indeed have a very worthy cause - in her eyes - but I allocate my limited resources as I see fit, and I won't be bullied or brow-beaten into giving some to her cause.

I don't have the ability to create money out of thin air like the federal government.  My money supply does indeed have a limit.


So, where does Chief send his money.  Glad you asked!

Most goes locally.  I'm a big believer in helping those in my community (so I won't go into details).

National charities are military veteran-focused.  It pisses me off to no end that we send men and women off to fight our battles, and the federal government then reneges on their promise to try and make them whole again when they come home broken (mentally or physically).

My latest foray has been with The Boot Campaign.  It's a newer charity.

Now, I normally only give to charities I've run through Charity Navigator to see how they spend their money.  Since The Boot Campaign is less than 7 years old, they aren't listed yet.  An employee of mine told me about it, and had some personal knowledge of their operations, so I gave.  YMMV.

Me and my Army boots

The other national charity I give to is Fisher House.  Every year, my morning radio station does a campaign for them, and they raise lots of money for this cause.

Why give to Fisher House, and not one of the others, such as Wounded Warrior Project?  Very simply, efficiency.

For every dollar you give to Fisher House, $0.95 goes to the helping vets and their families.  With Wounded Warrior, it's $0.57.  My personal threshold for costs other than "Program Expenses" is $0.15 or less.

Sorry, but I don't want over 40 cents of every dollar I donate going to commercials or administrative overhead.

See how that works?  As an individual, I can choose between options - discriminate - to make what I believe to be the best bang for my buck.

Gummint, and their statist lemmings, think they know best.  Hang up on their ass!

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Chokepoint: Coming To A Biz Near You

Have you heard of Operation Chokepoint?  No?  It's this consumer protection cocoon designed to make you safe and sound from all of the bad businesses in your life.

You know, like these -

  • Ammunition Sales
  • Cable Box De-scramblers
  • Coin Dealers
  • Credit Card Schemes
  • Credit Repair Services
  • Dating Services
  • Debt Consolidation Scams
  • Drug Paraphernalia
  • Escort Services
  • Firearms Sales
  • Fireworks Sales
  • Get Rich Products
  • Government Grants
  • Home-Based Charities
  • Life-Time Guarantees
  • Life-Time Memberships
  • Lottery Sales
  • Mailing Lists/Personal Info
  • Money Transfer Networks
  • On-line Gambling
  • Payday Loans
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Ponzi Schemes
  • Pornography
  • Pyramid-Type Sales
  • Racist Materials
  • Surveillance Equipment
  • Telemarketing
  • Tobacco Sales
  • Travel Clubs

Take a look at this video, and see where this bad boy is headed.  I'll wait....

For me - with the businesses I run - the coin dealers and gun-related businesses cause me some concern, obviously.  Back to those in a minute.

Look at some of these others.  Let's see, "Racist Materials".  I'm not a racist, you're probably not either, but isn't it my right to be one, and to buy or sell such materials?  You know, that whole First Amendment, "abridging the freedom of speech" prohibition on government?

Naw, shut 'em down!

Life-time memberships?  Like maybe an NRA Life Member, perhaps?  I'm guessing it wouldn't apply to the NAACP, or Democratic Socialists of America (note:  I'd posit that you can't get a lifetime membership to their youth program, the Young Democratic Socialists of America, 'cause, well, you will get old, right?).

The only one I agree with is the one on Ponzi schemes, but there's no way they're gonna shut down the Social Security Administration.  That's just crazy talk!

The ones that really matter are the ones that allow an individual to remain independent.  Money and guns being the key components.

What better way to force feed people to use electronic and approved forms of "cash" than to remove competing financial instruments?

Payday loans compete with banks.  Shut 'em down.  Precious metals allow you to hold a part of your personal assets "off the books".  How the hell can Nanny tax you or seize your assets if they don't know what you've got?!

With guns, well, even some of the dyed-in-the-wool liberals still believe the government can't simply ban guns, so you ban what makes them go bang, or the places you can buy them.

All better now.  Liberal nirvana is maintained.

As the video notes, the FDIC has issued statements saying they're backing off.  Yeah, right.

If you believe that, I've got Get Rich Government Grant Escort service to sell you.  ACT NOW and we'll throw in a tobacco store/fireworks shop (it's safe, we promise!).  BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE!   Call in the next 17 minutes, and you'll get a Homebased Pornography Dating Service at no extra charge!

Supplies are limited...

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Getting Rubbed The Wrong Way

Before I start with my frothy rant, watch this -

We hear from police officers asking us to not, "Paint all of the good cops with the same brush as the bad cops."  On its face, I agree 100%.

Most of the LEOs I've come in contact with are good, honorable and just individuals.  No doubt.  The VAST majority.

But I've also run into my share of turds - most shockingly when one was a witness in a drug case in which I was a juror ("Losing Trust and Respect").

I have no idea what punishment, if any, was meted out to that "officer", but I'm guessing it was little to none.  You or I would have been arrested for perjury and jailed.

That's part of "the rub" with what's going on with all of the Ferguson, NY City, Oakland and other protests going on around the country.  People are getting sick and tired of seeing the law broken by LEOs and them getting little more than a slap on the wrist.

One set of laws and punishment for them, another set for us.

Ferguson, in my opinion, was a 100% justified shooting.  I can say with certainty, that if I were in the same circumstances, I would have done the exact same thing the LEO did.  Actually, I would have likely shot him BEFORE he punched me.

While the trumped-up "racist shooting" meme was full of crap, the deep, deep mistrust of many LEOs is not.

More and more, it's not just minorities that feel this way.


The second part of "the rub" has to do with what was in the video.  How the Supreme Court is blatantly and egregiously, disregarding and discarding the Constitution.

For a second, remember the primary purpose of the Constitution:  To LIMIT the power of government over the citizenry.

In every example given in the video, the Supreme Court has granted LEOs across the entire country a valid, "legal" excuse for performing unconstitutional acts.

To reiterate, acts which would land non-LEOs in jail.

Now, many LEOs may say, "Well, just because we're allowed to do it doesn't mean we WILL do it."

Sure.  Just like we were told the paramilitary SWAT teams wouldn't be used for anything other than hostage and active shooter situations.

That's a pile of crap, and everyone knows it.  It's human nature to "push the envelope" - to go right up to the line of what's acceptable.

Well, the line's apparently been erased.  All nice and legal like.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:  All flavors of government had better get their shit together.  When you have crossed the line so far that regular, non-criminal, corn-fed, God-fearing, peace-loving Americans are saying you've gone too far, you've gone too far.

Look at the faces of those that are in these protests.

Retirees, Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen-Xers.  White, black, brown and tan.  Men, women and children.  Rich, poor and middle class.

Kinda looks like America, don't it?  That's a whole lot of pissed off people.

I just don't think this will end well...

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Gun Grabbers: THIS is why we have guns

I will just love to hear some feedback on this from the gun grabbers.

The situation:  Next door neighbor has spun out of control in the past.  The person who has been abused decides to set up a camera facing his front door just in case the crazed neighbor - once gain - kicks in his door.

Crazed neighbor spins out of control, and as you'll see, kicks in the door, WIELDING A MACHETE.

Thank God the guy in the apartment had the forethought to arm himself.  Otherwise, he and his girlfriend would have likely been HACKED TO DEATH.

I'm guessing that in the eyes of the gun grabbers, that would have been "acceptable losses" in their crusade to disarm all Americans.

I'm guessing the families of the two survivors have a different opinion.

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Gold's Wild Ride: Trend or Dead Cat Bounce?

 We're doing a lot of head-scratching - and fielding TONS of phone calls - in our precious metals shop over this recent surge in gold prices.  Since the close of business on January 2 (the first full day of trading this year), gold has surged $100 an ounce in a bit over two weeks (from $1172 on 1/2/15 to $1273 on 1/19/15).

On a percentage gain, silver has actually outperformed gold in this same time frame (8.6% for gold and 12.4% for silver).

Will it last?  Is this just a "dead cat bounce" and the market will crash again?  Are better days ahead for gold and silver?  Should I buy?  Should I sell?

I wish I knew.

The paper precious metals markets - shorts, longs, etc. - are wildly manipulated.  Last I saw, for every 1 ounce of physical silver, there were 92 paper contracts. 

In other words, if less than 1% of the paper contracts were held and demanded physical delivery, the silver commodity market would go up in a mushroom cloud.  The physical silver just isn't there to fill the contracts!

Here's what I do know - 

So what does this all mean? 

The governments of the world are on a tear to devalue their currencies, while at the same time, they are buying up gold like there's no tomorrow.

Their actions are screaming, "FIAT CURRENCY IS WORTHLESS!" and are buying the tangible assets.

Here in the US - at least for the time being - we've stopped our dollar-devaluing Quantitative Easing program, so the dollar should get stronger against the currencies of the world.  "Should" being the operative word.

Technically, that would force down the price of precious metals here in the US (since the dollar and precious metals generally go in opposite directions).

At least at this minute - despite all of these currency wars - the world seems to be regaining some sanity, with the price of precious metals going in the right direction, and getting closer to reflecting true market conditions (although it still has a LONG way to go, IMO).

So, I'll tell you what I've been telling my customers and callers:  I buy precious metals every month.  Some months, more than others.

I'm looking to buy some real estate in the medium-term future, and will definitely be selling some to finance the purchase.  As that time nears, I'll stick my finger in the wind, see which way it's blowing, and make my decision based upon the trends at the time.

If I personally needed cash within the next month, I'd probably be selling right now.  This recent upward trend may continue, but it may not.  I'd be banking the $100 per ounce jump we just got.  When you get greedy waiting for more "upside", you tend to get burned.

I am in PMs for the long haul. Market forces have always corrected manipulated markets in the past.  It will happen again.

I just don't know when.  No one does for sure.

Clear as mud, huh?

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Terrorists - Again - Didn't Get The Memo

 From the website of the French embassy in the US:
France has stringent regulations on firearms and ammunition. As a rule, firearms which have no legitimate sporting or recreational use are not permitted entry into France.
Yeah, how's that law working out for you?

Hmm.  Doesn't much look like a deer rifle or sporting clays shotgun.  Those little rascals broke French law!


This scenario could just have easily played out in a gun-restricted state like California, New York, Massachusetts, or Connecticut.

If a bad guy wants a gun, they'll get it.  Taking guns away from good citizens won't make them any safer, it just makes them more likely to end up dead.

Seriously, if you were a terrorist in America, where would you attack?  Just like with other criminals, you'd attack where you have the least likely chance of resistance.

These Islamic bastards knew with absolute certainty that not a single person in the offices of the magazine where they were attacking had a gun.  At worst, there may have been a knife for slicing their brie.

France, and its people, have chosen to make themselves vulnerable.  The states listed above - and a handful more - have done the same.

They willingly make themselves defenseless in the hopes that their "example" will somehow convince the bad guys that Guns Are Bad.  Gimme a hug!

So, what kind of example do you want to set?  One where the mindset of the populous is that of appeasement and helplessness, or one where bad guys get hit back hard.  Deadly hard.

Which do you think will keep you - and your whole community - safer?

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Copyright 2015 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.