My Blog List

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Facebook.... You're Fired!

I had one ear on the radio news yesterday, and I heard a phrase which always gets my blood pumping - "hate speech".  Not two seconds later, the radio belched another phrase which elicits a similar response - "protected category of people".  As is the norm, the two phrases were being used in the same story.

In this case, it was about Facebook, the "social media" company.  It seems some "protected category of people" had their panties in a wad about "hate speech" running amok on Facebook.

Have none of these spineless, worthless pieces of warm jello ever heard the phrase, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"?

Apparently Facebook has not.  So, in response to the wadded panties, they're working feverishly on a new Hate Speech policy.  The nuts and bolts of it are in a single sentence
 While there is no universally accepted definition of hate speech, as a platform we define the term to mean direct and serious attacks on any protected category of people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, disability or disease.
 How do you have a "direct and serious" attack with a keyboard unless someone is swinging it at your head?  And we're not talking about libel, we're talking about mean things being said about someone.

Seriously, grow a pair (metaphorically if it's physiologically impossible).

Still, I'm not firing Facebook (our precious metals store has a FB business page) because they're a bunch of simpering, politically correct bed-wetters.  It's because they're discriminatory in the application of their Hate Speech policy.

Against me.

You see, I am one of the people not included on the, "protected category of people" list.  I'm a White Heterosexual Male (I know.... ghastly, ain't it?).

As such, I can be verbally shit upon with impunity.  Hell, it's even encouraged in some circles.

And that's OK.  I'm a big boy.  If I don't like what someone from a protected class is saying to me, I can stop reading them.  If someone comes here and slithers under the incredibly low bar for discourse on this site, I can ban them.

I gots options.

I don't need the Facebook Polizisten to fight my battles for me.  But I will not be a part of a group that grants privileges and benefits to a chosen few in the group - especially when those benefits are not based upon merit or accomplishment, but upon the color of their skin, their gender or other "membership qualifications" over which they have no control.

I know, I know.  I live in a fantasy world.  Like, "not the color of his skin, but the content of his character," and "equal justice for all," will ever be the real law of our land.

Facebook has every right in the world to discriminate against or pander to any group they wish.  We, as individuals, can decide if their standards are complimentary to our standards.  If they are, we can join.  If they're not, we can look to find others we'd like to join.

Obviously, the rub is when government starts picking favorites.

We already see it in "Hate Crimes" - the opening act for the Thought Crimes Traveling Circus.  The protected classes are afforded additional protections - or more accurately, harsher penalties are imposed upon the unprotected classes.

If I'm beaten to death by a member of the protected class, and they're screaming at the top of their lungs, "Die!  You white, cracker, honkey mutha fucka!" as they crush my skull, no additional penalty will be applied.

If I am the one administering the beating, and "Chink", "Fag", "Spic" or "Nigga" is fairly whispered, I get bonus points added to my sentence.  God Bless America.

In both of these cases, aren't we both equally dead?  Does it matter if I'm beaten to death for my gold wedding ring or because of the color of my skin?

Not to me, and not to my grieving family.  Dead is dead.  It's the outcome, not the motivation that should matter in America.

Now, without so much as the assistance of a Ouija Board, I confidently predict that our government will capitulate like Canada and virtually all of Europe, and enact Hate Speech laws.  It will be illegal to say something offensive about a protected class or to one of its members.

The bleating masses will have been so programmed to believe that the protected class have no ability to protect or act for themselves that we need the Long Arm Of The Law to make things right.  To make things fair.

The first amendment will be warped and twisted and finally, interpreted correctly - it was written by misogynistic, slave owners dontcha know - to mean that free speech is allowed, as long as it's the right kind of free speech.

Wrap it up in a flag, and sell the hell out of it.  Yep.  God Bless America.  God.  Bless.  America.

Accept The Challenge

Clearly, in the grand scheme of things, me firing Facebook won't mean one damned thing to the success or failure of the company.

It's about principle.  I won't stay at a Harrah's because of their CCW rules. I won't eat at Pizza Hut for similar reasons (delivery drivers are forbidden from legally carrying guns).  I won't drink Miller Beer because of their financial support for Illegal Alien Immigration (the fact that Miller tastes like watered down donkey piss soaked in soiled boxers makes this one really easy).

And now I won't use Facebook because of their discriminatory practices.

We all have choices to make each day about what products and services we use.  We can, "Go along to get along" - don't make any waves.  But that's just not the way I'm built.  I'm a pig-headed SOB, especially if I think what you're doing is wrong.

I try to vote with my feet and my pocketbook, 'cause my voting in the booth has not been particularly successful, especially here in California! 

Do what's right.

Copyright 2013 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, May 28, 2013

Quasi-Collectible Bullion

Most folks buying bullion understand that they'll have to pay a premium when they're purchasing either gold or silver.  This premium can be different for two coins with identical precious metals content.

For instance, a gold American Eagle coin, will carry a higher premium than a gold Krugerrand, even though both of them contain exactly 1 ounce of pure gold.  Why?  Market demand says that Eagles are more valuable than Krugs.

Still, that difference in premium amount is usually less than 2% or 3%.  Not a real game changer.

There are a number of coins, though, that seem to defy gravity - and economics.

Take the Morgan Silver Dollar -

These coins were minted from 1878 until 1921.  Numismatic (collectible) specimens can be very expensive.  Virtually all of the ones minted at the Carson City mint - regardless of condition - fetch a nice collectors premium due to the low mintage's.  A number of key dates (1893-S in particular) can cost many thousands of dollars.

They are a very popular coin, but can be found in abundance.  Each coin contains 0.773 of an ounce of silver.  At today's spot price of $22.63, that means the coins contain $17.49 in silver.

Let's say that because of their popularity, bullion (non-collectible) versions were to command a premium similar to the American Silver Eagle - something in the range of $5 or $6 per ounce.

Doing the math (22.63 + 6 = $28.63 x 0.773 = $22.13) we see that each coin would sell for a bit over $22 a piece.

Good luck with that.

For some reason beyond my comprehension, these are selling for absolutely insane premiums.

If you go over to and go to their Morgan Silver dollar page [link] you can see the following prices (note:  These are for 100 coin sacks of bullion coins.  If you want to buy less than 100 coins, the premium is higher still!)

Just for comparison, here is a cull coin (barely able to distinguish features) -

And here is a Very Fine coin (these rate a 20 on a 1 to 70 scale, with 70 being a perfect coin) -

Nothing special to look at.  Yet you're paying a premium north of $18 per ounce.  Insane.

Another coin in this Irrational Exuberance Premium class is the $2 1/2 gold Indian -

Aside from one minting (the 1911-D), these coins are VERY available as bullion.  Several hundred thousand were produced each year of production.  They are kind of cool, in that their devices (the pictures on the coin) are imprinted INTO the coin, as opposed to how most coins have raised devices.

They contain roughly 1/8th of an ounce of gold (0.121 oz).  At a spot price of $1380 per ounce, they have $167 in gold.

A cleaned version (which absolutely removes any potential for the coin having collectible value) will set you back $272, and one in Extra Fine condition will set you back $322!

As I've discussed in the past, the smaller the coin, the higher the premium (more people can afford the cost of 1/10th of an ounce versus a full ounce).

Right now, an American Gold Eagle 1/10th ounce - the creme de la creme of modern gold coins - will cost you $161, or a premium of 16.7%.  The larger 1/8th ounce Indians mentioned above have premiums of 62.9% and 92.8%, respectively!

Accept The Challenge

There are many coins that fall into this "quasi-collectible" category.  Clearly, all bullion is not created equally.  As a rule of thumb, when something gets older, its perceived value rises.

If you're buying gold and silver as a hedge against future inflation, tread lightly here.  I can tell you that our shop - which does A LOT of business in numismatic coins - does not pay anywhere near these "market" rates for the two bullion-grade coins mentioned above.

Honestly, I don't know of any stores that do, other than those located in hoity-toity areas. 

If it is your belief that our economy is going to take a hit because of the actions of the Fed, and we're going to see ugly inflation, your dollars are much better spent buying bullion for the lowest premium you can find.

If you want to "roll the dice" a bit and pick up some of these types of coins, please do your research first.  Look up historical pricing in comparison to spot prices.

Also, from what I see in the news, the rich folks among us are paying crazy money for art and rare coins.  I just don't know if these not-bullion/not-numismatic coins are pricey enough for the rich folks to care about.

Lastly, during the last gold confiscation in 1933, collectible coins were exempted from confiscation.  If it were to happen again, and they played by the same rules, you might be wise to have some collectibles in your stash.

I prefer bulk buried in the back yard, but that's just me..... ;-)
Copyright 2013 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, May 20, 2013

A Very Obedient Lot

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.
--Ayn Rand

Here we go again.

The government is looking to make more of us criminals.  They want to lower the legal Blood Alcohol Content from 0.08% to 0.05% -
The National Transportation Safety Board made its recommendation last week: Lower the blood alcohol concentration level for drunken driving nationwide.

The government has been telegraphing their intentions for a while.  Like a veteran boxer, they've been softening us up with some strategically placed blows.  Specifically, a few years ago, they started with their, "Buzzed driving is drunk driving" Public Service Announcements.

I'll bet that's about the same time they noticed that drunk driving arrests were in a decline.

Getting the American public to at least consider the concept that any alcohol in your blood stream is bad while driving will just make getting the law passed that much easier.

If offering the carrot doesn't work, DC will just use the stick.  That's what they did back in the 1980's to get the current DUI laws in all 50 states:  Lower your DUI standards, or we'll withhold your federal highway funds.

Money talks, and all 50 states caved.

The DUI zealots have arguments that run along the lines of, "If only one person is saved by having these DUI laws, then it's worth it."

If you dare to question their position, they hit you with, "What if it's the life of YOUR child that's saved?"

Well, I dare.  Because they're morally, ethically and statistically wrong.  Extending their logic would mean that anything, anywhere that has the slightest chance of killing just one person must be banned and criminalized.

"No, no, no!", they'll say.  "Alcohol consumption is voluntary, as is the act of driving after a couple of drinks."

"Fine," I'll retort.  "Then let's ban driving all together.  Driving is voluntary.  More people are killed each year from car accidents than by just about any cause other than disease.  Stop the carnage!  Ban the car NOW!!!!"

I then lay it on thick.  "More than twice as many people are killed in car accidents than are murdered each year.  Twice as many!  It's an epidemic and a scourge to our society." [PDF link here, page 18]

"No, no, no!" they repeat.  "Don't be silly.  Cars are an important part of our society and economy.  Without cars, our society as we know it would come to a screeching halt.  No more people driving to work, no more soccer mom van pools, no more holiday get-togethers with the family, no more weekend trips to the beach, no more runs to the store for groceries.  It would be devastating to our economy!"

"Ah," I say, ala the spider to the fly, "There ARE lives you'll sacrifice for what YOU perceive to be a good cause.  Your cause happens to be money and leisurely pursuits, which I find repugnant and personally offensive."  (Hey, I gotta play along....).

"No, no, NO!" they'll squeal, spittle a-splatterin', frustrated by the bombardment of logic.  "Drunk driving is different.  Government has a duty to protect us.  We all know that driving drunk is bad.  We must be willing to give up some of our personal freedoms for a safer America."

It's usually about here that my head explodes like a balloon filled with pomegranate seeds.

[In through the nose, out through the mouth.]

Here in American, we're supposed to be governed by laws which protect the rights of the individual.  Really.

You can supposedly live your life any way you see fit, as long as your actions don't infringe upon the rights of another citizen.  It's a pretty simple concept.

We have a document in a glass case in Washington, DC that says so.  The first sentence even includes,
...and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity...
I'm not kidding.  Take a look.

We even went to war with some tyrants to secure these freedoms.  Another document which we used to declare our intent was chock full of this liberty and freedom stuff.  Seriously, it's all over the place.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,
The last part of that quote is important.  It's saying that we allow a government to protect our rights of freedom.  I've read the whole thing at least a couple of times, and there's not one mention of us consenting to allow our public servants to write laws that restrict those rights, unless we're at war or during times of insurrection.  And even then, they're treading on thin ice.

Yet, here we be.

Just like having face tattoos, or carrying a concealed pistol, or wearing baggy pants half way down your ass, driving with any alcohol in your blood stream makes you presumed guilty of some future crime.  You have not infringed upon the rights of another, nor have you manifest any indications that you have the intent to do so (such as swerving in the roadway).

You are found guilty for no reason other than having broken a law in which no victim is required.

We now have a society where it is considered "reasonable" to restrict your rights - almost without boundaries - where no victim exists, and no harm has come to anyone.
  • Restrict you from carrying a gun in public because a miniscule percentage of our population has used a gun while committing a crime in the past (and because most politicians are pussies).
  • Restrict (and report) the amount of cash you may deposit or withdraw from your personal checking account because criminals have dealt in cash in the past.
  • Restrict your ability to choose an airline to fly without being subjected to a fully body search because a handful of terrorists - 19 to be precise - have used planes as weapons in the past.
  • Restrict your ability to drive down the road unmolested by government agents manning check points because a nearly immeasurable percentage of the population has driven drunk in the past and taken the life of another citizen.  To call it, "statistically insignificant" would be assigning it grotesquely too much weight.
Government is able to do this because they are able to sell fear.  They do this very well.  Their livelihoods depend upon it.

Apparently, the cashflow from DUI arrests is drying up, so they need to lower the bar - yet again - to ensure a steady flow of fines into their coffers.

And DUI is a sweet deal.  For the state.  The vast majority of the 1.4 million Americans who are arrested for this each year only take up an hour or so of the officer's time.  Most get remanded to the custody of a family member, so they don't even impose a cost on the jail system.

But their pocketbook gets hammered.  To the tune of at least $10,000.  Fines, tickets, court costs, blah, blah, blah.  Ten grand.  For not infringing upon the rights of a single fellow citizen.

And if you try and invoke your fifth amendment protections against self-incrimination - by refusing a blood or breath test - the costs and penalties skyrocket.

Quite the racket, no?

No matter.  This too shall pass.  Into law.

There's too much money at stake, and too many Americans have no concept of personal freedom to question the motives of their public servants.  They expect to be told how to live, what to do and how to do it.  We're a very obedient lot.

Feel safer?


Copyright 2013 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, May 16, 2013

Some Good Ideas

A friend sent me an email with a bunch of photos demonstrating some damned good ideas.  I thought I'd share the ones I liked best...

Copyright 2013 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, May 12, 2013


A good friend of mine has a very similar business to my PM store.  His is located in Napa.

He, like many other businesses in Napa, employee young, out-of-work people to be sign wavers.  These kids (usually) twirl a sign around to get passing cars to notice the business.  My business employs a kid to do the same thing for our business.  It's very effective advertising.

The kid my buddy employs has some sort of disability.  He's been out of work for over 2 years.  One of the local "lend a hand" organizations in the area - Napa Valley Support Services - brought this kid to the attention of my friend, and he fit like a glove.

My friend's previous experience had been much like mine:  You hire someone for the job, which involves a LOT of physical activity, and although it pays more than 33% over minimum wage, you burn through people.  Quickly.

This kid was different.  He loved the job.  He was reliable, showed up on time, and worked his butt off.

Uhm, did you notice how the tense of that last sentence changed?  Yeah, my buddy had to let the kid go.  Because of a local sign ordinance.
Last February, the City Council announced plans to refocus code enforcement efforts on policing illegal signs, but the ordinance isn’t new, said city Planning Manager Ken MacNab. 
“Portable signs, including signs that are movable or moving, have been prohibited in the city’s ordinance for some time,” he noted. “The council has expressed an interest in bringing these signs into conformance and we are making a concerted effort to do that.”
Why?  What public cause is advanced by banning advertising by businesses that are paying your salary with their tax dollars?
Portable signage can be considered blight, MacNab said. “It’s important that signage not obstruct the views and sightlines of vehicles, and that signs not be placed in our sidewalks and obstruct pedestrians.”
Uh, what?  Blight?  Seriously?  All the signs and the wavers don't even come close to obstructing views and sightlines of cars, since the waivers are on the sidewalk.  And not one, single pedestrian had their path obstructed by the waiver.

So what now, cupcake?
“We understand that signs are a valuable tool for businesses, but we do have regulations,” MacNab said. “We believe that there are other ways for a business to reach its customer base.”
Roll that sour ball around in your mouth for a second.  This SOB who has likely never owned or even worked in private business in his adult life is making suggestions on how they should reach their customers?

In government-speak, he's saying, "We've got rules - they're the only way we can exert power.  We don't give a damned that the signs are a 'valuable tool for business'.  Do as we say, or pay the price, you capitalist piece of crap."

Board of Supervisors Meeting
Like lampreys, many in government - hell, MOST in government - are nothing more than a stomach with sharp teeth that clamp on to a viable food source.  They keep sucking and chewing until the host dies.

Then they go find another host.

It will be interesting to see how this turns out.  A number of the folks in the article, and a few who commented on the article said they're going to bring their complaints to the Supervisors and raise some hell.

It may not matter.  Rules is rules.

These lampreys don't seem to understand that not only is one of their citizens now unemployed as a direct result of their actions - no longer paying his own way and also paying for their salaries -  but that THEY will have to dig into their city coffers to pay for his upkeep.

I'm sure it makes sense in their twisted little sucker-fish brains.  They just don't seem able to grasp the concept that eventually, when all of the host fish are gone, they'll have to fend for themselves.

Now that's a fish fry I want to watch...

Copyright 2013 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, May 11, 2013

We Can Dream

I'm not quite sure how I missed seeing this video when it was originally released in February.

We can only dream of a real politician such as this....

I've never understood how the SCOTUS has been able to justify our gun laws.  2A is pretty unambiguous.  It says nothing about granting the feds or states the ability to reduce the scope of 2A, "well, except when this happens," or "if enough legislators currently in office think it's a good idea".

Nope, you can either repeal 2A or, as suggested, add another amendment to nullify it.  Those are your choices, not "death by a thousand cuts" as we've witnessed.

Yeah, how's that workin' out.....
Copyright 2013 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.