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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Das Party At Work

Before I get going, I wanted to give you all a heads-up on a new site added to my Daily Read list:  Subsistence Pattern Food Garden [link].  It's a very interesting site that focus' on year 'round vegetable gardens.

Take a look.  It could come in handy...

I've been listening with one ear to all of the Republican's trashing each other.  Play nice, kids!

I've been hearing the most noise being directed towards one of the only Republican I could ever consider giving my vote:  Ron Paul.  He's a RINO - his views are really those of a libertarian.

He's always gotten short shrift from the conservative radio crowd.  They can't stand him because he doesn't toe the party line.  He believes in the Constitution.  He believes it is in place to limit the federal government.  He believes that if a power is not specifically granted to the federal government, any exercise of said power is unconstitutional.

Pretty radical, huh?

The talking-heads say he wants to legalize heroin and other dangerous drugs.  True, kinda.  He wants the FEDERAL government to get out of the unconstitutional prohibition business.  Unless a sale happened to cross state lines, the federal government has no constitutional standing.  If a STATE government wants to regulate dope, knock yourself out.

I ask anti-Paul folks if all drugs were re-legalized, would they start using them.  "Of course not!", they huff.  But there are too many weak-minded, weak-willed people out there that WOULD start using drugs.  And think about the children!

Basically, their stance is that they are strong and decent, but everyone else is weak and needs the government to wipe their ass.  Sounds a lot like when the Democrats want to regulate fast food, and salt, and fats, and cigarettes, and...  You get the idea.

Isn't it amazing that we were able to declare independence, fight the largest, most powerful country in the world - and win, invent and innovate at such a clip that the entire world benefited from our brains, grow the country from shore-to-shore, have the Industrial Revolution, and lots of other neat stuff, all while not being told what we could put into our own bodies.

Either we're extraordinarily gifted when we're high, or most people choose not to abuse drugs and alcohol.  Hmm, I wonder which one it is?

They say he wants to dismantle the military.  Eh, not really.  He wants it to only engage foreign entities when America is at risk.  He wants to reduce our "footprint" around the world.  Bases in South Korea and Europe come to mind.  I'd be hard pressed to argue for either of those.  Seems like those keep Koreans and Europeans safe, not Americans.  You know, the folks paying the bill.

I disagree with his stance on Iran and Israel, but fully support him about Iraq and Afghanistan, and the Peace Prizer's recent forays into Libya and the rest of the Middle East.

As soon as he moved ahead in the polls past Gingrich (or was it Romney) in Iowa, Das Party went to work. Cut the kook off at the knees.  He's spoutin' some dangerous stuff.

Their latest attack centers around some pretty damning newsletters that went out for a good number of years - under his name.

When I heard what was in these newsletters, I was shocked.  Not so much by what they said, but that they could be attributed to Ron Paul.  I have NEVER seen his lips move and say things even remotely associated with the beliefs espoused in the newsletters.

He immediately came out and disavowed knowing what was being written in them.  I dunno.  This seems a lot like Obama saying he attended Rev. Wright's church for 20 years and didn't know he was a racist and whack job.

Take a look at this posting [link].  It poses a lot of question I've got.
But the questions remain. If Ron Paul is so libertarian that he won't even police people who use his name, if his movement is filled with incompetents and opportunists, then what kind of a president would he make? Would he even check in to see if his ideas are being implemented? Who would he appoint to Cabinet positions?
I hope he comes out and addresses these types of questions in detail. Put this to bed and move on. His public service life has no tinge of this kind of stuff, so I hope he's able to give a convincing explanation.

On a positive note, that d-bag Gingrich has slammed the door shut on picking up any Paul supporters.
"I think Ron Paul's views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American."
--Newt Gingrich on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer
Doh!  Kinda stepped on your schwantz with that one, didn't ya Newt?  Those indecent Paul supporters vote.  In droves.

I'm sure the flip-flopping, damage control is already in the works...

Copyright 2011 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, December 26, 2011

Dustin' Off The Crystal Ball

I hope everyone had a great Christmas!

I cooked a turkey that we brought over to my sister-in-law's house, and I made sure I grabbed the carcass.  After roasting the bones, they're in the pot turning into a couple gallons of turkey stock.  Half will be Turkey and Rice soup for dinner tonight, and the rest of the plain stock will be canned and put up.

Prepping is a process, not a destination.  Always take advantage of excess "stuff" and put some away for later.

I'm a planner.  Always have been.  Like many folks, I use the end of the year to see how my actions of the past year have matched my planning - and my predictions.  I then judge my past performance, see what's out there in the future, and plan for the coming year(s).  It is critically important to adjust your planning as events around you change.  Keep your goals, adjust your tactics.

I'm not going to disclose my personal goals.  Quite honestly, there's nothing in it for me to do so.  In fact, doing so could potentially negatively affect my goals.  I will disclose some of the planning process and tactics I will be using.

It starts with asking, What do you think will happen in 2012, and more importantly, WHY?  How have things changed, and which of these changes can you use to your advantage?

It's easy to say the world will come to an end, or that daisy's will be sprouting up all over town.  But without some sort of logical or fact-based reasoning, you're just making a wild-ass guess.

It will be akin to Obama's "Hope" campaign gig.  Hope takes no effort.  You just click your ruby-slippered heels, and everything magically falls into place.

I think of the economy as a general ledger - you've got debits and credits, pluses and minuses.  The most difficult part is factoring in items that go against our individual pre-conceived notions.  I try very hard to really look at those things - giving them more time consideration than most other items.

For instance, I think that Bush's and Obama's various "stimulus" cash-injections into the economy have had, and will have, negligible positive effect on the economy.  Why?  Because they gave the money to the wrong groups.

They gave it to the banks and their ilk, who used the money to keep their companies afloat.  There were no strings attached that required the banks to lend the money.  In fact, new regulations prohibit the banks from lending to those other than high-FICO/D & B score customers.

Now, if they had taken that (plus or minus) $2 trillion, and literally cut checks to all Americans with a home mortgage, you could have killed two birds with one stone.  If the money could only be used to pay down their mortgage, the homeowners would have gotten a significant debt relief, the banks would have gotten their cash infusion, plus the "toxic assets" would have been significantly paid down, so that the asset value would more likely cover the outstanding loan balance.

Yes, it would have been an obscene redistribution of income, and it would have been a horrible idea.  But, it would have done more good that the option chosen by Bush and Obama.

That's past history, but I think it's indicative of how the government will proceed in the future.  They'll bail out the big banks, big continents, big businesses, big states.  The national debt will soar to pay for domestic programs, and Uncle Ben will simply print up extra dollars to buy US treasuries, and to give to Europe (via IMF or ECB).

In the short term, I think this debasing of the dollar will be offset by the crash of the euro.  The result will be a marginally stronger dollar, and lower priced commodities - gold, silver, oil, grains, sugar, etc.

What's important here, IMO, is that the national debt is long-term.  The stronger dollar - boosted not by positive actions in America, but by crappy things happening in Europe - is temporary.

For me, this is a "Buy Opportunity".  I'm running out of space for bulky food commodities, although some will still be purchased.  Mostly, it will be gold, silver and ammo.

The Feds are getting more bold in asserting their supremacy, and this trend will continue.  2011 saw the reaffirmation of the Patriot Act, and the Congressional passage of the NDAA - in which the federal government granted itself super-constitutional powers to essentially negate the Fifth amendment and the habeas corpus clause.

We've already seen their actions regarding food regulations.  Expect more "progress" on global warming and carbon taxing.  Ditto with oil exploration and other natural resources.  Their goal is to control all aspects of the economy.

They're usurping states powers, and this will also continue.  Things like regulating marijuana.  California and 16 other states allow citizens to get pot cards for medical purposes (wink wink).  Regardless of your feelings on pot, it IS a state issue as long as sales don't cross state lines.

No matter.  The feds are clamped down on this like a pitbull on a ham bone, and they ain't lettin' go.

The shooting will start.  Now, I've been saying this for the past 3 or 4 years, and I've not seen the kind of violence I had expected.  I am surprised that more political shooting haven't taken place, like the representative that was shot in Arizona.

That was done by a certifiable nut.  I think more "mainstream" folks might be nearing the edge, feeling they have nothing left to lose and will start shooting.

Hint:  Don't keep all of your guns and ammo in one spot.  'Nuff said.

The level of tension is clearly up, most recently with the appearance of the Occupy movement.  Maybe there won't be shooting just yet, but there will be increased violence.

BTW, we've been using this belief - that people are getting closer to the, "I've got nothing left to lose" outlook - to bolster security in our PM store.  Employee safety training, and an increase in firearms training will continue throughout the year.

The states and the feds have been using this, "lull in the action" to prepare.  The aforementioned changes in federal "law", the arming of local police departments with military-grade armored personnel carriers, pilot-less drones and tactical squads so heavily armed they could be deployed to Afghanistan.

They see an insurrection coming, and are getting ready.  You should, too.

I will continue to stay away from paper assets.  Stocks, bonds, etc., and continue holding and acquiring tangible assets - PMs, food, ammo and (an outside chance of) real property.  With the latter, I'm not sure the bottom has yet been hit, and I won't buy an asset in which I believe I'll take a loss.  I also haven't finalized a state in which to live.  I only know the states where I won't be living!

I'll be opening another business this coming year as well.  It will actually be a spin-off of my gun training/preparation business, but it will be portable.  Its success will not be dependent upon where I live.  Hopefully, it will be a source of supplemental income over the next few years, and morph into a substantial source in 5 years or so.  That's the plan!

As I alluded to earlier, I think the fed will keep printing up money.  This isn't all bad news to preppers.  It will have the effect of putting a band-aid on the economy, and will help keep it afloat for a little longer.

We'll see tax cuts - without spending cuts.  Continuation and expansion of social welfare programs.  Subsidies galore.  These will help keep some cash in people's hands, and keep the lid from blowing off in a mushroom cloud explosion.  As a nation, we'll, "get along," but we won't grow.

Use this lull to fortify your stores.  It's a window of opportunity that WILL close.

I'll be expanding my "getting back to basics" knowledge.  Particularly in the repair of equipment and in the medical realm.  My medical knowledge is barely a hair above first aid.  That needs to change.  I'll also have a renewed push toward preventative measures.  Better overall healthy living and regular check-ups while they're still readily available.

I want to increase my knowledge of tinctures and lotions made from readily available items you can find in nature.

I'm also working on my bartering/negotiating skills.  A while back, I told the story of getting a bunch of honey for silver dollars.  I've been negotiating some great deals on gold jewelry via Craigslist.  So far, all of the pieces I've bought have been for values well below spot prices.

It's more risky than how we buy jewelry in our store - using magnets, loupes and acids - but the experience I've gained over the last 14 months gives me a bit of an edge in identifying costume/fake jewelry.  I can't verify the purchase until I get home and test the jewelry, so the ride home is always a bit tense!

I want to expand this to garage sales.  We've got an employee who makes a killing buying stuff - from PMs to equipment - by hitting garage sales.  I just have to work it into my schedule as a "working day".

Accept The Challenge

Take what I've offered here.  Reject, modify or accept it.  Do more research.  Your OWN research.

State your goals - in writing.  Develop your plan and strategy, and execute it with your various tactics.  Remember:  a goal without action is nothing more than a wish.

Preppers don't wish, they DO!

Copyright 2011 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.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Going Galt In California

What follows is about business in California, but it is also happening to the nation as a whole.  If there is a more profitable physical location somewhere else, business will go there.  The sole obligation a company has is to its shareholders.  Not to its employees, its city, its state or its country.  A smart company will develop relationships with all of these entities to enhance its ability to make money for its shareholders.  When all else fails, you change the cast of characters with whom you build relationships.

Liberals:  Please challenge this statement so I'll have fodder for another post.

Businesses and individuals are leaving California in droves.  Their tax dollars are going with them.

One of the latest is a company headquartered in the Sacramento region, called Waste Connections.  Its headquarters, in the city of Folsom, is moving to Texas (well there's a shock... not).  They're moving for a number of reasons, but the primary cause of the relocation is that it's too expensive to do business in California.

The city will be losing 120 high-paying jobs, and the $80-$100 million the company spends in the area each year.  Rental cars, hotel rooms, accountants, restaurants.  Buh bye.

Click here [link] to listen to 4 minutes of an interview with the CEO after their announcement.  It's awesome and to the point.

The money quote is right at the end, and really tells the story of what's happening in this state.
"[California State Senator Darrell Steinberg] basically told me that business is a fungible commodity - it comes and it goes.  So, in this case, it's going"

--Waste Connections CEO Ron Mittlestaedt, locking the door and turning out the lights
This maggot Sen. Steinberg had a great comeback to the CEO [/sarcasm].  He noted that Waste Connections should be happy with the profitability they made here in California -
Senate Pro-Tem Darrell Steinberg pointed to Waste Connections’ profitability in California, with revenues up 38 percent in three years, according to the company’s annual report.
Steinberg is of the opinion that companies should be grateful for what California so graciously gives them.  Apparently, Waste Connections figures it could make more money for its shareholders in Texas, and not have to deal with the obscene regulatory climate we saddle on business.

Uprooting its entire corporate structure was deemed less painful and more profitable than staying in California.

'Going Galt' - the idea of productive individuals abandoning the status quo and setting up shop elsewhere - has manifest itself on the national stage when large companies move their manufacturing facilities to other countries.  Lower costs, lower regulation, higher profits.  No brainer.

Unions, politicians and Occupiers cry for, "living wages" for employees - many times making it the law.  Business respond by cutting jobs and/or moving to more fertile grounds.  This has been repeated over and over, but the politicians and unions don't get it.

The plot of Atlas Shrugged keeps replaying itself.  More "fairness" laws - we call it 'economic justice' - as we villainize the producers and encourage them to leave.  When you over-tax and over-regulate something - businesses and the jobs they create - you'll get less of it.

In that sense, the politicians, unions and Occupiers have been wildly successful.  Well done.

Accept The Challenge

California politicians like Steinberg will harp on companies like Waste Connections as wanting to harm the state.  Just a bunch of Tea Bagging, greedy, racist sons-of-bitches.  Companies bad, Caretaker government good.

Steinberg has this vision that California is this beautiful, pristine state.  In reality, it is a body riddled with cancer.  When you have cancer, you've got to cut out the tumor or you die.  It's really that simple.

The externally pristine body must be cut deeply to save it.  Band-aids and positive thinking have had their chance, and didn't work.  Time to don the scrubs and sharpen the scalpels.  The blood supply is running low, so you better get going quickly.

Either that, or as the businesses are doing, you leave, and the result is starvation.  You just have to hope you kill the tumor before you kill the body.

My guess is that California politicians will take the second option.  They'll keep up the happy talk, and find a few extra pints of blood - probably from DC.  It will keep us alive for a while, but the cancer will eventually eat us alive.

Copyright 2011 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.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Prettiest Horse In The Glue Factory

[I wish I could take credit for that title, but I got it from Stewart Varney on Fox Business.  Classic.]

The amount of disinformation - propaganda - that's out there is stunning.  We don't seem to always get, "the rest of the story" as Paul Harvey used to note.  The Unemployment rate, for instance.  Last week, it wonderfully, miraculously dropped down a half of a percentage point to 8.6%.  Woo Hoo!  We're on the road to salvation!

If you're like certain people - such as my mom, God bless her - you only watch the network news, and you only get the Happy Time version of the story.

Of course, the actual story is that 300,000 Americans fell off the lists to receive unemployment benefits - they'd reached their 99 weeks of payments.  In the eyes of the government, they're no longer considered unemployed.  Isn't that special?

The media tends to paint the picture along the lines of, "Well, at least we don't have riots like they've got in Europe."  They'll then show footage of Greek fire bombs being tossed, rocks being hurled at police officers, and the like.

"Whew, we dodged that one, huh?"

Another example is where Portugal is now the latest nation to steal nationalize the private pensions of their citizens.  Argentina was the leader in this regard, doing the act in 2008.  Hungary did it a few years later, and [I believe] France did a mini-swipe earlier this year.

"Hey, Our Guys In Congress are fighting like mad to keep Social Security intact, and only want to tax those rich bastards a little bit more.  What could be wrong with that?"

On behalf of the federal government, the message the media conveys is that compared to the rest of the world, we're looking OK.  What you need to remember is we're still in the glue factory, and soon, we're going to be turned into bottles of Elmer's.

When that happens, it won't be pretty.  And it will happen.

The owners of the glue factory, The Elites in DC and other world capitals, don't give a damn.  They're getting theirs.  They go into office with a normal net worth, and emerge out the other side as multi-millionaires.

What's important to them is to maintain control.  And to do so requires that they keep a lid on things as long as possible.

In the past month or so, a friend recently went to NYC.  She was blown away.  In no uncertain terms, she called it, "a police state".

She went to the 9/11 memorial.  To get in, she had to pass through a TSA-like security check.  Belt off, purse searched, the whole 9 yards.  Ringing the site were at least 100 armed police officers.  At least.  Everywhere you looked, you could see (for lack of a better term) guard towers.  Boxes on mobile platforms, presumably holding armed snipers.

Similar experience in Time Square and for the ferry going to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  What are they guarding or protecting against?  Terrorists?  Are they going to blow up the pool at the memorial?

I've written about all of these Bearcat armored personnel carriers ("More Nannyism Comin' Your Way") that cities and counties are picking up via grants from the federal government.  WTF? Who are they preparing to go to battle with?

You, perhaps?

Holy crap.  Seven days of food, guns and ammo, and they can "disappear" you?

93 out of 100 US Senators voted for the bill. They all voted en masse to abrogate the Constitution.

Side note:  Those of you who cling to the misguided belief that there's any difference between Democrats and Republican, take a look at the voting tallies.

The conservative media is now whining that this bill is no big deal.  Relax, ya big sissy.  If you're not a bad guy, you've got nothing to worry about.

To wit [link]-
The ACLU, Occupy San Francisco and other left wing groups are hysterically protesting that one of its provisions encroaches on civil liberties, and Obama has threatened to veto it. Section 1032 states that suspected terrorists related to al Qaeda and 911 shall be detained indefinitely by the military without a civilian trial until the end of authorized military hostilities.
Do me a favor:  Click the link to the above-cited article.  Inside of that article is another link to Section 1031 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Click it, and go down and read paragraph (e).

Now, go here [link to PDF file from the Government Printing Office].  This is a copy of the actual bill that was approved by the Senate.  In the search box, key in 1031 and read the text, including paragraph (e).  Notice the difference?

Here's what's missing from the conservative media version of the bill -
10 (e) AUTHORITIES.—Nothing in this section shall be
11 construed to affect existing law or authorities, relating to
12 the detention of United States citizens, lawful resident
13 aliens of the United States or any other persons who are
14 captured or arrested in the United States.
Well, isn't that special?  They conveniently left out the whole Snatch-and-Grab paragraph that relates to US citizens.  Hell, they didn't just leave it out, they actually falsified the information that they are presenting as fact.

The law of the land - the Constitution - is being undercut, and all of The Elites are getting on board to rubber stamp it.  As the numerous articles written on the subject have noted, this merely codifies what the Supreme Court has already said is A-OK. 

American citizens accused of being terrorists give up their Constitutional rights.  Not convicted Americans, accused Americans.

The Constitution spells out how it's supposed to work.  Article 1, Section 9 -
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion, the public safety may require it.
So, it appears as though The Elites in DC are going to use the "public safety" portion of the habeas corpus clause the same way they're using the commerce clause to force us to buy health care insurance, or control the crops we grow on our own property for our own use.  Rebellion will be defined as anything that goes counter to what The Elites prescribe.

Nice and tidy, huh?  The government merely needs to allege you're a terrorist, and you go away with no ability to have your day in court.

How's your view from the Glue Factory?

Accept The Challenge

The Elites are in the Bread and Circus' phase.  Keep us - The Ignorants - fat and happy by giving us free food, housing, schooling, clothing and a little spending money.  Keep us occupied by using your compliant Media to keep our pea brains amused - reality shows, video games, et al - while the very fabric of America is re-woven.

The money for the Bread will eventually run out and the real pain will begin.  The Elites will clamp down to maintain control.  Dissident voices will be silenced as, "Enemies of the State" and will simply disappear.

I think we're going to all fall into one of 4 categories:  Elites, Ignorants, Rebels or Sympathisers.

The Elites will be the equivalent of the old Politburo and their minions - the local "political officer" seen in China and the former Soviet Union.

The Ignorants will be the folks that, "go with the flow" and are generally supportive of the Elites.  They'll be Elite wannabe's.  They'll rat you out at the drop of a hat if they think it will get them more bread or an upgrade in social status.

The Rebels will actively resist the Elites.  They'll be underground - think "French Resistance" during World War II.

The Sympathizers will walk and talk like the Ignorants, but will be supportive of the Rebels.  They'll keep their head down, and supply the Rebels with intel and financial/material support.

Start thinking about which category you'll select.  All have risks, all have rewards.  Plan accordingly.

Copyright 2011 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, December 6, 2011

Survival Doc

Just a quick heads-up about a new site on my Daily Read list - The Survival Doctor [link].  The guy is an MD and has tons of survival medical techniques to be used when you can't get to professional medical personnel.

Videos, lots of pictures, broad array of topics.  Excellent stuff.

h/t Bug-out Survival

Copyright 2011 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.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Retention Holsters

A retention holster most likely saved at least one life this weekend.

I was teaching my First Steps Pistol Orientation class this weekend.  The facility I use has two classrooms, and is located in a full-service gun shop/firing range.  It's perfect for my purposes.

The class started at 11am.  The manager of the shop had an employee that wasn't able to get there at opening (10 am), so the manager was in the shop by himself.  All of the shop employees carry sidearms, open-carry.

For my class, the NRA requires that no live ammo be present in the classroom.  So, I'm in the back of the building, with 6 students, 7 pistols, and no ammo.

Around 11:30, a young guy walks in to the gun shop.  He says he wants to see about picking up a pepper spray for his girlfriend.  The pepper spray display is locked up, at the front of the shop.  It required the manager to come out from behind the counter to open the case.

As he was unlocking the case, the young man grabbed the manager's gun from behind.  Thankfully, he was using a Serpa Retention holster.

For those of you unfamiliar with what this is, it's a holster with a button on the side of the holster.  When you're gripping the gun, you run your index finger down the side of the holster, and it unlocks the gun, allowing you to remove it from the holster.  If you just try and pull out the gun, it stays put on the hip of the owner.

Anyways, as the guy is grabbing the gun, he slams the manager's head into the case, dazing him.  The manager was able to throw an elbow and spin around so he's facing the young guy.  The manager then pulled back and hammered the guy square in the face, dropping him to the ground.

As the manager cleared the cobwebs from his head, and went to draw his gun, the guy scampered out the door into a car with an accomplice.  As much as he wanted, no shots were fired as the threat had retreated.

There were a couple of guys in the shooting range when this happened, but they were as oblivious to what was happening as my class and I were.  Had the manager not been wearing the retention holster, he would have likely been shot in the back.

The bad guy would have had the run of the gun shop - the unimpeded ability to take as many guns as he wished.  And plenty of ammo.  If he got bold enough, he could have entered my classroom and done as he pleased.  The best-case result would have been acquiring another 7 handguns.

Accept The Challenge

If you're carrying open-carry, wear a retention holster.  Cops do this for very good reasons, you should as well.

While I personally prefer the Serpa's, one may not be made for your specific gun.  Consider a thumb break style -

There's a snap or velcro strap that goes over the rear of the gun.  This strap attachment is "broken" with your thumb while drawing the gun.

If you're carrying a gun on your hip (concealed or open), be very aware of allowing anyone to be behind you.  Your concealed handgun may not be as well concealed as you may think, and could become a target of bad guys.

Oh, and I will no longer be unarmed when teaching any of my classes.  I'll drop my NRA affiliation before unnecessarily placing my life at risk.

Copyright 2011 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, November 29, 2011

How Have We Strayed So Far?

The Judge rocks.  How could we have strayed so far from the Constitution?

If the Occupy Wall Street protests had stayed along these lines, they'd have had me out there with them. [Heads up: a little rough language]

I heard a quote from Colon Powell that turned my stomach. I guess this is what happens when warriors become politicians. It was along the lines of, "America was founded on compromise".

Really? Thumbing through my old, tattered American history book, I see that compromise didn't work. Our country was founded by the exact opposite of compromise - it was founded by war. Our founders took up arms because they wouldn't compromise their principles.

But that doesn't fit the current political climate, so you just change the facts to suit your ends.  Bastard.


Did you hear about the kid that the state of Ohio stole from his mom because she was teaching him a religion that was against state guidelines?  Yeah, they said that their guidelines require that any religion that teaches that individuals are in charge of their own body, that questioning authority is the ultimate sign of personal power, and that the ownership of property is the only true measure of freedom will result in a child with a warped outlook on life. For the safety and future well-being of the child, they had to act.  They had given the mother all kinds of time to change how she was raising the child, but to no avail.  He's now much better off as a ward of the state.

Oh, wait, my bad, they actually snatched up the kid because he was too fat [link], at least in the opinion of the state.  They piled on fat docs from the federal government and hoity-toity expert groups, and tore the kid away from his family.  He MAY have come down with diabetes.  Weight loss MIGHT help his sleep apnea.  Foster care MIGHT fix the problem.

As the HuffPo regurgitation of the AP article notes,
Roughly 2 million U.S. children are extremely obese – weighing significantly more than what's considered healthy.
So, 2 million families need to be looking over their shoulder waiting for the CPS workers with the big dog-catcher nets to pounce on their kids?

I was going to say that if they had tried that at my house, there would have been gunfire.  As I read the various articles and watched various videos, my guess is that this family was on the government dole, at least in part.  You take our money, you follow our rules.

Never mind.  Like the mother in the story, you're too stupid to understand what's best for you and your family.  The judgement of a bureaucrat is always superior to that of the individual, right?

And just because this lifts my spirits (no pun intended) when I get overloaded with this mess of a Nation.

Crank it....

Copyright 2011 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, November 28, 2011

Why You Need To Care About The EU

What seems like a million years ago - 2008 - I was an Executive Vice President for a small community bank in the SF Bay Area.  We were NOT on the Too Big To Fail list!

Our investment policy stated that we'd only buy investment securities from AAA rated companies, or from the Federal Government.  If there was an investment we wanted to put money into that didn't meet those criteria, we would buy insurance to protect us.

This insurance was called a Credit Default Swap (CDS).  We'd do research on the strength of the company issuing the CDSs to make sure that if our investment went bad, the "insurance company" had the financial strength to meet its obligations.

Something that is important to understand is that the companies that issue these CDSs have no interest or control in the securities they're insuring.  They simply create these policies out of thin air.  They are part of the greater derivatives market (a newly created financial instrument that is derived from another one).

They do research on the underlying securities (say, Mortgage Backed Securities) to determine the likelihood of there being a default on the security (like, for instance, if the people making the payments on the mortgages stop making payments).  If enough of the payment stream is disrupted, the insurance company must pay up.

Similarly, when companies issue bonds, these are essentially loans.  You give the company X dollars, and they give you a stream of payments to pay down the loan.  If the company goes teats-up, the stockholders take the first hit.  They're wiped out.  The bond holders are (usually) secured creditors.  The assets of the company are sold, and the bond holders get some of their money back.

If the bond holder doesn't get back all of his investment PLUS interest, AND he bought a CDS, the CDS issuers make up the difference.

So how does this relate to the European Union (EU)?  The short answer is, European countries and banks have issued a ton of bonds.  US banks have issued a ton of CDSs on those bonds.  If the Euro countries and banks crash, our biggest banks crash with them.

How can that be?  Surely, like a real insurance company, the banks that issued the CDSs held cash or other assets in reserve to cover losses, right?

Uhm, not so much -
Goldman Sachs and US banks have guaranteed perhaps one trillion dollars or more of European sovereign debt [Euro "treasuries" - .ed] by selling swaps or insurance against which they have not reserved. The fees the US banks received for guaranteeing the values of European sovereign debt instruments simply went into profits and executive bonuses. This, of course, is what ruined the American insurance giant, AIG, leading to the TARP bailout at US taxpayer expense and Goldman Sachs’ enormous profits.
So, if other EU countries follow the path of Greece, how are they going to fix this?  There are a couple of options, all of which are going to cost you.

The first option would be to let the EU and their banks crash, and for the US to simply back-stop our own banks.  TARP Part Two (or it is Part Three?).  Not very likely.

Another option would be for more pass-through funding like we did with the original TARP (the US gave money to US banks, who in turn laundered it and gave it to their EU counterparts).  Again, not too likely, as people in the financial press - puppets that they are - might actually ask the question about whether we're going to spend US tax dollars in EU banks, and the answer would be politically devastating.

The third option would be to use a third-party bag man to deliver the cash.  Oh, like maybe the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  We'll dump buckets-o-fiat-currency into the IMF, and they'll pass it off to the EU countries that are gasping for breath.

Along the same lines, the Federal Reserve may open up a big-assed line of credit for the European Central Bank (ECB) to keep things afloat.  Same thing as the IMF route, just using a different bag man.

Since we're not currently flush with excess cash to pay for all of this, Uncle Ben Bernanke will flip on his laptop, and just create the needed funds.  Expect lots of commas and zeroes in the number.

Also expect a further decline in the purchasing power of those green-backs you have in your wallet.

In totally unrelated news (snicker) sovereign nations went on a buying binge last quarter.  What were they buying?  It was that stuff Uncle Ben says isn't money.  Gold.
Total central-bank gold purchases in the third quarter more than doubled from the second quarter and were almost seven times higher than a year earlier as countries continued to diversify reserves, according to a World Gold Council report.

At 148.4 metric tons, gold buying among central banks was at the highest since the sector became a net buyer of the precious metal in the second quarter of 2009, according to the quarterly report.
Double the previous quarter, and seven-times the amount from the same quarter of a year ago.  There sure are a lot of stupid countries out there, huh?

Hell, even dictators are falling for it -
Amid wild celebrations, a first shipment of gold bars arrived home in Venezuela on Friday after President Hugo Chavez ordered almost all the country's foreign bullion reserves be repatriated from Western banks.

Excited crowds lined the roadside waving big Venezuelan flags and chanting "It's returned! It's returned!" as a convoy of soldiers and armored cars carried the ingots from Maiquetia airport to the central bank in Caracas.

Experts had cautioned that the operation, which will eventually transport more than 160 tonnes of gold bars worth more than $11 billion to the South American country, would be risky, slow and expensive.
So, good old Hugo doesn't trust the central banks to actually have his country's gold on-hand, so he wants it in his own greasy little paws.

Silly, silly boy.  Uncle Ben and all of the other "experts" are just laughing their asses off at all of these fools clamoring for physical gold.  Yuck, yuck, yuck...

Hey, brother... can ya spare a Kruggerand?

Copyright 2011 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, November 22, 2011

Deflation, Depression and Deception

If you've been watching the PM market over the past few days, you'll have seen that it's been a wild ride.  On Thursday of last week, gold dropped $50 an ounce.  Up $5 on Friday.  Down another $50 on Monday, and up $20 today (at this time).  Net:  Roughly a $75 drop since late last week.  Ouch.

With yesterday's drop, I wanted to find out what the hell might be causing this.  Most of the "expert articles" I read really didn't say anything.  Most were technical chart driven BS.

But one article caught my eye:  "Gold prices slaughtered as deflationary fears reign" [link].

I'm thinking, "Holy crap - we all know that deflation precedes depression, so here it finally comes".

The theory kind of goes like this:  Demand is so low that producers have to sell the products they've got stacked up in their warehouses - at almost any price.  Prices in general plummet as other businesses drop their prices to keep pace with their competitors.  Income at the producer companies also plummets, and they can't keep their doors open.

This is repeated all over the economy.  Because all of these companies are out of business, unemployment soars, causing the economy to further sour, as with fewer workers, there are fewer dollars being spent, and it turns into this horrible self-perpetuating mess that we call a "depression".

How does this affect the price of Precious Metals?  If you think prices are going to drop, you want to get out of commodities, and into cash.  Those dollars you hold now will be able to buy more commodities-per-dollar in the future.

As I noted earlier, all depressions have been preceded by deflation.

Uhm, well, not so much.  In fact, it looks like there may be little to no correlation between the two.  A couple of economists went back at least 100 years and studied the data from 16 countries (including the US) regarding deflation and depression.  They used actual raw data, not the sanitized "seasonally adjusted" crap we get fed.

One period they studied was the Great Depression.  From the Ludwig von Mises Institute [link] -
In other words, a one-percentage point reduction in inflation is associated with a .40 percentage point decline in real output growth during the Great Depression, although even during this episode the probability that there is no relationship between deflation and depression (the level of significance) exceeds 10 percent. In the jargon of statistical inference this means that the relationship between deflation and depression is not "statistically significant. (emphasis added)"
Whoa.  So it's actually more likely that deflation is an indication that a depression is NOT coming?  This hurts my head 'cause my brains are all scrambled.

Why oh why isn't this study - published in 2004 - more widely discussed?  If it's crap, get a couple of eggheads out there battling to the death.  Disprove the study and move on.

But what if it's true?  What would it mean if deflation wasn't this big-assed Boogie Man that would plunge us into another depression?

For one thing, it would mean that the "justification" the Federal Reserve Bank gives for pumping money into the economy to combat deflation would be baseless.  In fact, it would actually be harmful.

And, holy crap, one of the authors of the study actually WORKS FOR THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK!!  Well, he did at the time he co-authored the study.  I'm guessing that he might be bedding with Jimmy Hoffa right about now...

Accept The Challenge

The long and short of it is that deflation happens, but economies don't crater via this Domino Effect collapse.  History has proven that companies take their lumps, adjust their pricing and costs, and Git 'er done.  The strong companies survive, and the bad companies perish.... just like it's supposed to happen.

But back to PMs - if deflation is happening, should you get out of PMs and into cash?  I guess that depends on your economic outlook horizon.

If you're a Day Trader - speculating on what is going to happen over the near-term - you're going to have to break out your Ouiji board to get your answers.  I've got no clue if some sheikh in some sand country is going to fart in the face of some other sheikh, causing commodity markets to soar or crash.

I personally try to look out 3 to 5 years for the big picture trend.  I see a US government that conned the public into a "deal" whereby the debt limit was increased by $2 trillion in exchange for $1.2 trillion in cuts over 10 years.  That debt limit will be reached in under 12 months or so, and the cuts will likely never happen - Congress-critters are already talking about how to side-step the "mandate".

Nothing is going to change in this time frame.  We'll continue to spend more than we take in.  We'll either raise taxes, print more money, or both.  Probably both.

In theory, if the Eurozone craters, the euro dies, and the dollar soars - punishing commodity holders.  In reality, we'll be the Bail Out-er of Last Resort.  Our banks are tightly intertwined with their banks.  If they fail, ours fail, and Uncle Ben Bernanke will not let that happen.

Again, we'll print more money, debasing the dollar, pushing up the price of commodities.

Physical possession of commodities will be the only way to maintain your asset base.  I've only got so much room for beans and bullets, so PMs are my answer.

We'll continue to have these up and down blips on commodity prices.  When that sheikh gets gassy, we'll get a temporary rise or drop, but the overall trend will be upwards.

Now, go do YOUR homework to support or disprove these beliefs, the ACT accordingly.

Copyright 2011 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.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sweet Deal

I've got a long-time customer in our bullion shop - he's a silver buyer - that came in 2 months ago.  He had a box full of local, organic honey.  It seems that he's a beekeeper on the side, and wanted to know if anyone wanted to buy a pound or two.

It was a bit pricey - $7 a pound - but he ended up selling 8 pounds or so to me and some of my employees.  I mentioned that I usually buy my honey in bulk - twenty or thirty pounds at a time for my prep storage, or for when I make up a batch of mead (honey wine).

Fast forward to last week:  He pops in again and say he has a bunch of honey he can't sell in his regular 1- and 2-pound bottles, as it's not "commercially presentable".  It was crystallizing and appeared cloudy.  I know that all honey will eventually crystallize and simply heating it up brings it to the rich honey "look" once again.

He wanted to know if I'd like to buy some of this honey in bulk.  How much?  5 gallons at a pop - that's 60 pounds!  We did some negotiating, and we agreed on a price of $3.50 a pound ($210 total), plus he had to break it down into half gallon lots - 6 pounds each.

He then springs this on me:  Hey, you want to "trade" for silver?  Not "yes" but "HELL YES"!  He is currently acquiring Morgan silver dollars.  These are coins that were minted from 1878 to 1921 (with a big gap from 1904 to 1921), and they have 0.77 ounces of pure silver in each.

After some hemming and hawing, we agreed on a number:  8.  I got 60 pounds of raw, organic honey for eight bucks!  Now of course, the value of those eight dollars was considerably higher than eight pieces of green paper, or copper-clad quarters, dimes, halves or modern dollars.

Happy buyer, happy seller.

After we cut our deal, he brought up my mead making activities.  If he provided the honey, would I brew up a batch for him.  I told him that whatever I made, I'd keep half for my time and trouble, plus I'd purchase the proper yeast and provide the equipment.

Deal.  On Wednesday, he dropped off another 27 pounds of honey.  Fifteen pounds will be used for a sweet mead - actually a fruit mead (called a melomel), and twelve pounds will be used for a dry mead.  That will be a total of 10 gallons of mead - which takes a year to make and mellow.

To hold him over, I gave him two pints of my current stock - a Raspberry Melomel and an Orange Melomel.

Drink slowly, my friend.....

Different subject:  Regular commenter Joseph provided a link in a comment to the last post that I wanted to make sure everyone got a chance to see.  This site has a number of videos regarding the Credit Crisis.  Those that I've had a chance to view are very good.  They give a down-to-earth explanation of a number of complex subject.

Take a look here [link].

If you scroll up and down on the page, they've got videos on everything under the sun.  Seriously, a TON of information on everything from banking to art history.  Impressive collection of knowledge.

Copyright 2011 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, November 17, 2011

Are You This In Debt?

Crazy week.

From an article [link] sent my way from one of my brothers -
"Prior to the bursting of the credit bubble, the public was shocked to learn that our biggest investment banks were levered 30-to-1. When asset values fell, those banks were quickly wiped out. But now the Fed is holding many of the same types of assets and is levered 51-to-1! If the value of their portfolio were to fall by just 2%, the Fed itself would be wiped out."
And a friend of mine wanted to know why I was STILL buying gold and silver... LOL!

It's a short, very good article, covering derivatives and other "monopoly money" schemes - including Uncle Ben Bernanke's Quantitative Easing (sounds so mellow, no?).

Gotta go dig some more holes in the backyard...

Copyright 2011 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, November 7, 2011

Mens Rea and Other Bygone Concepts

At my gun class on Saturday, I was relating a story from my youth.  We were talking about California gun laws, and how they've been decimated by the state and local legislatures.

I was discussing how in the mid-1960's I remember going to this huge field in Concord, CA - later to be the site for Sun Valley Mall - with my grandfather.  He'd bring one of his dogs to run around and chase rabbits.  He always brought a little .22 rifle, and would take a shot or two at them if they were within range.

No big deal.

Fast forward:  I then told my students about a guy in Fairfield, CA - right around the corner from where I teach my classes - who got pulled over for having a shotgun in a rack in the back window of his truck.  He was arrested for some insane law - something to the effect of Inciting Panic.  Seriously.

Unloaded shotgun, in full compliance with California law, and he gets arrested because some pissant soiled himself.

You get arrested even when you follow the law.

There is a concept in American law called, Mens Rea - it's Latin for "guilty mind".  In short, it means you have to have criminal intent to be found guilty of a crime.

For instance, if you're driving down the road, someone runs in front of your car and you kill them, you're not guilty of murder.  You had no intention of killing them - a tragic set of circumstances came together and someone died.

Mens rea has a counterpart. Ignorantia juris non excusat. Ignorance of the law is no excuse.  The idea here is if the state held someone to account for breaking a law, all the person would have to say is, "Wow, I didn't know that law existed," and they'd get off with no punishment.

I think most people have historically been pretty OK with these two apparently competing legal precepts.  Through a number of ways, we are taught what is right and what is wrong.  As a kid, you're taught not to kill, not to beat someone up unless you're defending yourself ("You throw the first punch, and I'll throw the last"), not to steal or destroy the property of others.

As you grow older, you learn the concepts of sexual propriety and limits, you take lessons to learn how to drive and the accompanying laws.  By the time you're a legal adult, you're pretty well aware of the legal limits generally agreed upon by society.

The problem, now, is reasonableness.  The phrase, "Zero Tolerance" has crept into our lexicon.  It is rapidly upsetting the balance between mens rea and ignorantia juris non excusat.  We are replacing the context of an event with a rule book.

Many of our laws have mandatory minimum sentences. Break a rule, go to jail, buh bye.

As if that weren't enough, the proliferation of laws makes it virtually impossible to know what's legal and what's going to land you in prison.

From the Heritage Foundation -
  • Explosion of Federal Criminal Law: The number of criminal offenses in the U.S. Code increased from 3,000 in the early 1980s to 4,000 by 2000 to over 4,450 by 2008 [The Constitution lists 3 federal crimes for individuals:  treason, piracy and counterfeiting -.ed].
  • Criminalization by Bureaucrat: Scores of federal departments and agencies have created so many criminal offenses that the Congressional Research Service itself admitted that it was unable to even count all of the offenses. The service’s best estimate? “Tens of thousands.” In short, Congress’s own experts do not have a clear understanding of the size and scope of federal criminalization.
In a Nanny state like California, hundreds of new laws are passed each and every year.  It is not unlikely that an individual could be aware of every law - it is impossible.

One of my favorite, go-to quotes -
"Did you really think we want those laws observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them to be broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against... We're after power and we mean it... There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens? What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced or objectively interpreted – and you create a nation of law-breakers – and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Reardon, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

--Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged
[Isn't it amazing how spot-on Rand, Orwell and Huxley were in their writings?]

Accept The Challenge

We have the Patriot Act which allows the government to treat all citizens as though they are terrorists.  You are presumed guilty until proven innocent.

Same goes for DUI checkpoints.  Find yourself on the wrong road at the wrong time, and you'll be thrown in jail if you don't submit to an unconstitutional search.

Privacy laws - between you and the government - are virtually non-existent.  If you want privacy in your personal matters, you are assumed to be a criminal, because only criminals would want to hide something from Nanny.

We have RICO laws - originally designed to apprehend organized crime syndicates - applied to common citizens.... along with their convenient asset forfeiture laws.

We have insane "preservation" laws that charge fathers and sons with felonies [link] for looking for arrowheads.  Not taking any, just looking for them.  If they had been found guilty of the felonies (they pleaded down to "just" a misdemeanor), they would have lost a number of rights, including voting and firearms possession.  Mens rea is specifically excluded from the law - no criminal intent needed.

Gun laws?  ADA laws?  Food laws?  Don't even get me started.  We've all seen the videos of the "brave and heroic" USDA cops storming the businesses of raw milk purveyors.  We've read the stories of cities prohibiting personal gardens and chickens.

So, what to do?  You break the law.

You keep your head down - stay off the ridgeline - and you take your chances.  What else can you do?  It is impossible to know all of the laws.  If you want any semblance of freedom, you live by your own code of ethics and morality.

You can work to get politicians in place that think as you do, but for the big picture, it's a lost cause.  Stop waiting around, twiddling your thumbs waiting for sanity to return.  Live your life as you see fit.  Assume punitive actions by the state, so keep your forfeit-able assets widely disbursed.

At some time in the future, I think people will turn on our keepers.  I don't think it will be in my (expected) lifetime.  Too many sheeple who have forgotten (or have never known) what it was like to not have the government pre-approve your every move.

I hope I'm wrong.  I hope I get to see it.  And to participate.

Copyright 2011 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, November 2, 2011

Mind Your Own Business

Thirteen months ago, we opened our precious metals store.  We've been blessed in a number of ways, and have made a pretty good go of it so far.

A month after we opened, literally right next door to us (we share a common wall), a mailbox franchise opened.  They shut their doors Saturday night.

Same town.  Same location.  Same economy.

Totally different results.  Why the big difference?

I think part of it had to do with homework.  We put a great deal of time into researching the market and our competition.  I can't believe they did the same.

For instance, the space we took over and renovated was previously used by a .... mailbox franchise!  The space had been empty for 2 years before we took it over.  While we were doing our build-out, the new mailbox franchisee came by -before he had signed his lease - and we fairly screamed at him to not open his store, at least not in this location.

He didn't listen, and he dumped he and his wife's life savings into the shop.  Poof!  All gone...  It was horrible watching them move everything out.

So, what makes a successful business?  At the core, you must have a product or service that is wanted or needed in your market.  I know that sounds simplistic, but you've got to know your market.  The suntan lotion market is limited in Alaska when compared to Florida.

If you want to increase your odds of success, see if you can find a business that sells one of two things:  Money or vice - the two things for which there always seems to be a market. 

And there are plenty of options for a small business owner to make a couple of bucks selling either of them.

Money - check cashing, payday loans, pawn shops, bullion shops, "Cash for gold" shops.

Vice - smoke shops, liquor stores, and bars on the legal side.  The vice side also has the illegal side - pot and other drug sales, moonshiners, prostitution.  Somewhere in the middle of the road would be porn.

Obviously, the vice options will have a lot to do with your moral outlook on life.  I'm a die-hard libertarian - do whatever you'd like as long as you're not infringing on the rights of another, and everyone involved is a consenting adult - but I'd never get involved in the sex trade.  It's a personal line I won't cross.

That being said, Vice Sells.  Always has, always will.

Some other things to consider - 

Not seasonal - boom or bust seasons can be rough.  If this is going to be a second income stream, having a psycho month or quarter can put a strain on your regular job.

Consumable - if they don't have to come back for more, what you're selling had better have one hell of a profit margin with that first sale.  Gaining customers is expensive.  Leverage that investment as many times as you can.

Along those same lines, it can be something that is "hoardable" so people keep coming back even if they haven't fully consumed their previous purchase - like PMs, ammo, long-term food storage, alcohol.

With the firearms training, I "graduate" them to additional, successively advanced classes.

Unique or value-added - you could sell milk (not seasonal, consumable) but it is VERY readily available.  Too much competition.  In our precious metals shop, we sell an easily obtainable commodity - gold and silver.  You can get what we sell less expensively online.  We add value by providing immediate delivery, education, and annonymity.  The latter two are a big edge over online bullion sellers.

We also are fortunate that our primary competitor in town is an ass.  Seriously, he'd been the only game in town for so long, he forgot how to treat people.  Don't expect that kind of gift if you open a business, but take advantage of it if it's given to you.

Good profit margins -  You either want products you sell a ton of that have slim margins, or if it's few sales, you need big spreads.  The mailbox guy has slim margins, and slim sales.  Not the right combination...

Be laser focused - You need to obsess with success.  Half-assed effort usually ends up with half-assed results.  You have to know in your heart you're going to succeed. 

I don't know if you've heard of the book, "Think and Grow Rich", but I read it a million years ago.  There's a deal in it where you write down specifically how much money you're going to make, when you're going to have that money, and how you're going to earn it.  You then say your little "mantra" - out loud - a couple times a day.

Get the book, give it a try.  Seriously.  It focus' your mind on your goal.

Be nimble - Things change.  Just ask the old buggy whip industry.  When I started Bison, its primary focus was in doing risk management consluting to small businesses.  Securing data streams/storage, market change dynamics (crystal ballin'), emergency prepearedness. 


That morphed into business disaster recovery.  Nada, zip, zero.  That morphed into personal preps and armed self-defense.  Ding!  Ding!  Ding!  We have a winner!  It's now a reliable, supplimental stream of income.

You MUST adapt as things change.  Markets, micro/macro economies, government intrusions, personal tastes.  With the PM store, this surge to PMs will subside at some time.  I believe that either the economy will strengthen, or the goverment will make it more difficult to purchase and sell precious metals as a hedge against their policies.  I think the latter will happen first, so we're noodling through ways to adapt and to help our customers be successful.

Go forth and succeed!
Copyright 2011 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, October 24, 2011

Just An Angry Man

I've been angry lately.  More than normal.  I seem to have difficulty ignoring the almost constant flow of utter insanity that comes out of the various media outlets I follow.

I get pissed off when King Barry holds a press conference telling us how he's such a stud for killing Gadaffi in Libya.  Huh?  I thought we weren't there, it was NATO, blah, blah, blah.  Yet there he is, damned near carrying his, "Mission Accomplished" banner.

I get pissed off when the Main Stream Media fawns over the Occupy folks.  They excuse their filth, their law-breaking, their anarchy-driven message, their anti-Semitism.  We Tea Partiers followed the law, left our meeting places cleaner than we found them, and were simply demanding a return to Constitutional principals.  We're painted as out-of-touch haters, racists and elites.

I get pissed off when ass-hats like Russell Simmons and Warren Buffett act as champions to Tax The Rich, yet when cornered with the question, "Why don't you just write the government a bigger check?", they shine you on, and the press lets them get away with it.  Simmons was on Al Sharpton's radio program this past weekend, and said he wouldn't give more money to the government because they'll piss it away in the "War Machine".  No shit, Sherlock.  And on the Welfare Machine.  And the Regulatory Machine.  And the Protect Unions Machine.

Much of this, I can slough off.  Then there's stuff like this.

Here in Northern California is a city named Richmond.  It's an armpit.  It always has been, at least in my lifetime.  When you have to drive through Richmond, you do so quickly, with your windows up and doors locked.

Needless to say, they've got gang problems.  Want to hear their latest "idea" on how to cure the problem?

Pay them off.

Yep, if you're a gang member and you agree not to shoot anyone, you can sashay your ass down to City Hall and pick up an "atta boy!" check.

Let that settle into your brain:  If you're a criminal, we'll pay you not to commit a crime.

Someone want to tell me how you audit/verify that?  If they're still writing checks, that must mean that all gang crime is gone, right?  My BP shot up 40 point just thinking about that...

Anyways, it seems that the scheduling secretary messed up, and two rival gangs showed up for the payoffs at the same time.  Oops.  These criminals all got into a fist fight [link].   (I wonder if they still got their checks?)
Seven men from different parts of the city brawled in a third-floor suite that houses the city’s Office of Neighborhood Safety around 12:30 p.m. Friday, department director Devone Boggan said.

He said all of the men involved in the melee are enrolled in the office’s “Operation Peacemaker” fellowship and happened to show up at the office at Richmond’s Civic Center at the same time unexpectedly.
Operation Peacemaker?!  THAT got milk shooting out of my nose!  My version of Operation Peacemaker would be arming all citizens with the namesake single-action revolver...

If the insanity of this payoff program isn't enough, look at the response after this fight.  You MUST watch the video on the page above.  The SOB director is one of those smug bastards that riddle government.  He actually gave his staff instructions to NOT cooperate with police to identify the punks that destroyed tax-payer financed property.

They destroyed property, broke the rules for the program, left the scene of a crime, and the director of the program wants to turn a blind eye.

Why isn't he in jail for Obstruction of Justice?

You know what?  If I lived in Richmond, I could actually get behind a program that provided anger management, and other skills to gang members (run by a private charity, of course).  You can attend the classes for free, or even attend one-on-one counceling sessions.  But I sure as hell wouldn't set up the program to give these bangers money to pay for this stuff.  Does anyone actually believe they're going to spend the money on classes?  Really?

Hey, didya hear where the country's most affluent citizens now live?  No, it's not Richmond, but the idea is the same.  Washington, DC citizens are now richer than those in Silicon Valley [link] -
The report shows that the National Capital Region edged out Silicon Valley to become the most affluent U.S. metropolitan areas. The typical Washington metro household earned $84,523 in 2010, compared to a national median income of $50,046. Income in the D.C. area registered a 0.8 percent drop, but that didn’t faze government bureaucrats, who kept getting automatic raises. For federal workers, total compensation with benefits jumped 3 percent in 2010 to an incredible $126,369. A separate study showed that nationwide, inflation-adjusted median household income fell 6.7 percent between June 2009 and June 2011. Figures like this feed the perception that government personnel are no longer public servants but a self-serving, privileged class.
How'd you spend YOUR 3% raise?  You got one, right?

I just want to vomit.  You will make more money sucking off the public teat than going out and inventing something.  Creating something.  Manufacturing something.

How do you say, "Take us now, we're ready for the plucking," in Mandarin?

Filed under, "You're too stupid to know any better" -

These liberals who spout the, "Tax the rich" pablum drive me crazy.  Now, I'm not rich.  I'm not even close.  I don't even know any rich folks, but that's beside the point.

These liberals, like this idiot Paul Krugman,  refuse to tell the whole story when they get on their "Fair Share" bandwagon.  I think the rich would be happy as all hell to just pay their fair share.  What those like Krugman always leave out of their speel is this:

The top 1% earn 20% of all income in the US.  They PAY 38% of the taxes.  Basically, they pay DOUBLE their fair share.

Instead, this is what we hear [link] -
According to new estimates by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, one-fourth of those with incomes of more than $1 million a year pay income and payroll tax of 12.6 percent of their income or less, putting their tax burden below that of many in the middle class.
Most puddin' heads read that and want to riot in the streets. Economic Justice For All!!

What Krugman left out was the other 3/4 of those with incomes over $1m and their grotesque burden. Apparently, they need better accountants.

And, of course, he left out the fact that over 50% of Americans pay NO income tax whatsoever. Guess who's making up the difference. Look in the mirror...

More, "Too stupid..." stuff -

In 16 states around the country, it is legal to grow, possess and smoke "Medical Marijuana".  The federal government has no Constitutional power to limit intrastate commerce, or to restrict what people choose to put in their bodies, so the states can do as they wish in this regards.

LOL!  Sorry, I slipped into a fantasy sequence for a second there.

Anyways, the feds are flexing their muscles for their highly successful War On Drugs campaign (again, LOL).  They're cracking down on growers and dispensaries.  Big time [link] -
Across the Central District of California, which stretches from Santa Barbara to San Bernardino counties, many of the 38 clinics have closed because landlords, threatened with criminal charges or seizure of their assets, were given just 14 days to evict their clients, a period that expires Friday. Other districts in California gave pot dispensaries more time to comply.
These bastards drag out their tired old reasoning:  It's a gateway drug, it's bad for kids, it's a scourage on America, blah, blah, blah.

So what?  No one is forcing you to smoke pot.  I ask all Anti-Druggers the same question:  If pot/meth/coke/heroin were suddenly re-legalized, would you try it the next day?  Me neither.  I'm not stupid.  And the stupid people can already obtain whatever drugs they want, but they have to get them from illegal sources.

The real reason, of course, is that the War On Drugs is the Narco Cops Full Employment Act.  They'd have to give up all of their cool gear if pot were suddenly re-legalized.  The prison unions, as well, would suddenly find their members out of work if you had a sudden drop in inmates.  We just can't have that, now, can we?
Illegaly distilling your own alcohol is even more insane - if that's even possible.  You are not allowed to take a bunch of legal ingredients - water, sugar and yeast - combine them to make alcohol, which is also legal.  Then take that low-grade alcohol and distill it to make stronger alcohol - which is also legal to purchase, possess and consume.

You can go to the store and buy it, but you can't make it yourself.  The BS reasoning is that you're too stupid to make it right, and you'll end up blind or dead.  We all know the real reason - taxation.

Let the stupid people abuse drugs and alcohol, like they do right now.  Some will die, some will ruin their lives, some will see the error of their ways and straighten up.  The key is, you must let the people feel the consequences of their decisions.  No government bail-outs.

Regardless, our society will be more free, and better off.  We'll have smaller government, smaller jails, and examples to show children of, "That's what happens to you when you abuse drugs."

Win, win, win.  Unless you're a big government proponent with cool tactical gear.

Copyright 2011 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, October 17, 2011

Images of America

Coming to a town near you.  This happens to be in Sacramento, Ca -

Can someone again explain to me how a woman is supposed to protect herself against 3 young males unless she has a gun?  And how you're supposed to do that in a state where your ability to be granted permission to protect yourself is at the whim of an elected official?

Did you notice the real stud - the guy who threw the left-hook that put her down?  He had a work badge around his neck.  On one site, someone made note that it was an Apple, Inc., access badge (they've got a plant in close-by Elk Grove).

So, it's not like they were doing this for money.  It was sport.

Put those rabid dogs down.

I found this simple little line in a bigger article on the "Occupy" protests -
Five other people wearing masks were arrested as demonstrators marched through Manhattan to Times Square.
WTF?  How can you arrest people for wearing masks?  What might be the charge?  Flagrantly wearing a mask while exercising your First Amendment rights?

Was this mask-wearer arrested as well?

I'm pretty sure the motto - if not the expected "tone" -  of police departments is, "To Protect and Serve,"  not "Supress and Intimidate".

Hey, with Holloween coming up, NYC has got to be a fun place.  Venture outside with a scary mask, end up in the joint.  That's if you're able to navigate your way through the maze of checkpoints. 

Nice... if you like a police state.

More California insanity.  Did ya hear?  The youth drug epidemic has been solved.  We're banning gloves.  Really.

You've got to listen to this puddin' head.  THIS is the face of California politics.


No pix:  I'm liking Herman Cain alot.  My one concern is one of the "9's" in his 9-9-9 plan.  The one that establishes a national sales tax.

If those maggots in DC get the national sales tax, we be screwed.  Pelosi & Company will melt into a hot pool of Commie Love - and it would have been handed to them by someone who appears to be a decent guy. 

Any hope of keeping the Commerce Clause contained to its stated limits - sales between states and with other countries - will be forever lost.  The Clause has already been used and abused, and this would simply render it irrelevant.

If I haven't already pissed you off with my heartless callousness, this should put you over the edge.

I have this personality flaw:  I genuinely believe that I'm responsible for myself.  I know, I know, it's out of touch with today's times, but it is who I am.

I think this should apply to everyone.  If I make a mistake, it's up to me to fix it.  If I make a correct decision, I get to benefit from it.  It's simple.  Some might say simplistic, but I can live with that.

There are others that don't agree with me.  Most vote Democrat.  That's painting with a broad brush, but I've found it to be generally true.

It is their belief that we're all responsible for each other.  Shared sacrifice.  Economic/social/gender justice.

In short, socialism/communism.

I found this site [link] that has pictures of folks participating in the Occupy (fill in city name) protests (have you heard - they're not 'protesters' they're 'occupants' - LOL).  I was scanning the pix, and getting more and more pissed off as I proceeded. 

Take this one, for instance (click to enlarge) -

Here's some Tough Love from ol' Uncle Chief Instructor -
  1. You got a Masters in something for which there's no demand?  You DID do some sort of market survey before you went to school, right?  You didn't go get one of those unmarketable degrees like 'ethnic studies' or 'protest dogma' or 'gender studies' did you?  Ah, cupcake, you've been led down the liberal garden path.  Lots of jobs for accountants, sales, marketing and the like.  Ain't as sexy or as interesting while chattin' up your buds at a bong-fest, but it helps keep meat on your bones.
  2. Landmark research?  4.0 GPA?  LOL, BFD!  What can you DO to earn my business money?  It doesn't sound like you can DO anything (other than whine).
  3. Can't find a job?  Naw, WON'T find a job is more like it.  Craig's List is full of jobs.  Maybe not the one you had dreamed about as you closed your eyes and clicked your ruby-clad heels, but they're there.  Take one, today, build some marketable skills, build some contacts, and become an adult.
  4. $92K in loans for a degree that didn't provide you with skills the market demands?  Hmm, maybe you're too stupid to get a job.  YOU SPENT NEARLY $100,000 ON SOMETHING YOU LIKE BUT CAN'T SELL?!  Let that sink in, then go out and get any job you can land.  Today!  YOU can't be too picky.
  5. You want to do what you studied to do.... ain't that sweet.  I want to sit around the pool all day sipping Jack and Coke while I [REDACTED CONTENT].  Guess what, cupcake?  Ain't gonna happen as long as I want to provide for myself and my family.  Sucks, huh?
  6. Finally, contact Jesse Jackson, Jr.  He has proposed that the government pay all 15 million unemployed people $40,000 per year to do stuff we need.  Like cleaning up parks and stuff.  I'll bet if you asked really sweetly, he'd see if he could get your college debt eliminated as well.  The nice Democrats are like that.

  1. See above.
  2. 42 hours a week?  Let's see.... the last time I worked 42 hours a week was ...... NEVER!  Princess, would things be better if you could work, say, 20 hours a week and make a couple million a year?  I hope you've got a hell of a fastball, and a wicked slider.  Otherwise, get your ass out of your mom's basement and get another job.  Ask for some OT.  REDUCE your spending (THERE'S a radical concept, huh?).  Become self-reliant as soon as is possible.
  3. Hug and kiss your mom.

  1. Hey, at least you don't have $92k in college bills!
  2. OK, do this:  Take this nickel.  Hold it between your knees, only removing it when you need to pee or poo.  Viola!  No more babies!
  3. If you REALLY love that soon-to-be-baby, you'll give it up for adoption.  You can't take care of yourself, let alone another human being.  Both you and your baby will then have a chance to be positive, contributing members of society.
Copyright 2011 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, October 11, 2011

Funny How It All Came Together

I had mentioned in my last post that the Occupy Wall Street folks need to be focused.  They're trying to pattern themselves after the Tea Party movement, which is laser-focused:  Lower taxes and smaller government.

I saw 3 different "spokespersons" be asked the same question late last week, and they all had basically the same answer. "What are you trying to accomplish?  What are your goals?"  All three of them - San Francisco, DC and somewhere else basically said, "We don't know (WTF?!)  We've got a communications dude that will be figuring it out for us."

After the first one, I thought it was a joke.  Really?  You're out protesting, but you don't know why?  But it appeared as though it was the rule, and not the exception.

They appear to now have more focus - they hate banks and Wall Street - but there's no agenda or end-game.  Some commie type guy called a radio station Sunday night, and the host was giving him all the rope he needed to hang himself.

"So.  Let's say you're successful, and you're able to shut down, oh, Bank Of America.  How will your life be better?"  Queue crickets chirping.

After the bilge water between his ears caught an electrical signal, he went back into the pre-planned rant against the banks, their evil white executives, blah, blah, blah.

The hostess tossed him another question:  "If you're able to shut down B of A, what will you tell the hundreds of thousands of employees that will have lost their jobs?"  More crickets.  Then rage.

This REALLY pissed him off.  He went into this hyper-wired rant about how "the people" would start a bank that was fair and equitable, and not have any profit, and blah, blah, blah.  It sounded like he envisioned a commune credit union that did business out of a cash drawer picked up at Office Depot.

The hostess noted that that would require Congress to re-write all of the banking laws, including those just force fed to us by the Dodd-Frank banking reform - the same laws that cut some fees banks were charging, so they just made new fees, and that's what you're out here protesting?  He was unclear on the concept.

Then, the hostess just got plain cruel.  She questioned the role of government.  Big government.  "And really, shouldn't you protesters be hammering the government, and not the banks, since it was the government that made the decision to give the banks the bailouts?"

I believe I heard his head explode on air.  A good time was had by all.

Ooops.  It seems that some of this "spontaneous," grassroots, "of, by and for the people", protesting isn't quite so.  It seems that some of them are being paid to be there...

Hey, at least it's kinda, sorta helping with the unemployment problem, huh?  The Tea Party organizers are just cheap, I guess.

Funny how I missed this story on the network TV news shows.  I'm sure if there had been paid Tea Partiers it wouldn't have made the news either....

Did you hear what Governor Jerry "MoonBeam" Brown did here in California?  It's now illegal to get a tan, but if you're illegal, you can go to college.

Yep, if you're under 18, you can no longer go to a tanning salon.  The decision isn't up to you or your parents - the state knows best.  My guess is that going to the beach - unless you're in a burka - will soon be illegal as well.

But there is good news if you're here in California illegally:  You can now get government-paid financial support to go to college.  Isn't that special?  You're here breaking the law, so we heap benefits on you.

I sure am glad we're using up our state surplus on these high-minded programs.  We've got a surplus, right?

That festering piece of Brown shit (sorry, I'm pissed off) also signed a bill making open carry illegal,.

All for good reason, though -
"We view the open carrying of unloaded handguns as a threat to the safety of the communities we police and the safety of our officers," said David L. Maggard, Jr., president of the California Police Chiefs Association.
Really, Dave? You want to explain that one? How in God's Name could it be a threat to the community by someone carrying an UNLOADED GUN?  Of course, there's an exemption... for police officers.

We're their boss, right?  Not the other way around?  Yet they've got more rights (again) than we do.  Hmm.

Not to leave good enough alone, Brown also signed a bill requiring the state to keep records of long gun purchases.

The justification for that one?
In a message accompanying the signed bill, AB809 by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, Brown wrote, "Since the state already retains handgun purchaser information, I see no reason why the state should not also retain information pertaining to the sale of long guns."
Hey, we're already invading your privacy, why not do a little bit more, huh? What's the harm?

I think I've known in my heart that I would eventually be leaving this state.  I've worked very hard to come up with alternatives.  Many of the more rural areas are less restrictive with gun laws, and we could just move there.

What is not changing is the insanity in Sacramento.  This over-arching need to spend money we just don't have.  This insane belief that we must be "moral and compassionate" and turn a blind eye to laws that are mean to people that are here illegally, or whom choose to "make a living" by not working.

I called one of my brothers yesterday and said that my own personal "line in the sand" had been crossed.  The event was something I had witnessed a hundred times before, but this time, it was one of those "Perfect Storm" moments.  More newly legislated state spending, more newly legislated reduction in personal liberty, and witnessing the result of this mind-set.  It dawned on me that California will NEVER change.  Never.  I just won't play any more.

Death By A Thousand Cuts has finally bled me out.

The event I witnessed was three generations  of women buying receiving food.  On my dime.  Grandma, mom and sissy, each with their own cart, each in turn pulling out their various forms of government script.  Mom and sissy each had cell phones plastered to their heads.  All three were adorned in beautiful clothes, each had newly quaffed hair and spiffed up nails.

What none of them had was an ounce of shame.  There was no attempt to cast their eyes away from the glare they were getting from me.  To the contrary.  Their look was one of, "I'm entitled."

After they had bagged their bounty, they all proceeded to the section of the store where cigarettes and alcohol are sold.  I bagged up, and went to my car and waited.  Grandma and sissy cooled their heels at the curb while mom went and got the car.  A few minutes later, she pulled up in a late model SUV.  The hatch was popped, the bounty was secured, and off they went.

I felt the life drain from me.

I've lived my entire 52 years in California.  My entire family lives here.  I've worked hard to find a way to stay here to stay close - "Maybe I can move to XYZ county and it won't be quite so bad."

Well, it's just not going to work.  The political pandering will continue.  The welfare state will expand.  Personal liberty will be reduced.  I know all of this as fact.

This state has a terminal cancer.  No amount of chemo or surgery can help. The model we've built is one of parent and child.  The state, as the parent, is dying.  The children are being stuck with the hospital bill.  Some of the kids are furiously working to pay the bills.  Some of the kids are stealing the parent's meds.  More and more, kids like me recognize the parent is terminal, and withdraw.

We're sad.  We remember how lively and vibrant our parent used to be  We wonder if there was something we could have done differently.

But the parent has no chance of recovery.  Death in imminent.  We only hope it happens quickly.

Copyright 2011 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.