Wassail, traveler, and welcome to The Gable Grey -- a place of retreat, of renewal, and of resistance: a tree-shaded refuge in Dark Times. Now pass the threshold, and rest from journeys! For a cold wind is blowing; and here, if you wish, you may hear tidings of the world without...

Friday, November 19, 2010

The Burden of Knowing

by Charles Hugh Smith

Knowing what lies ahead is a great emotional burden.

The knowledge that the present is unsustainable is, for many of us, a great emotional burden. It troubles our sleep, our minds, and our basic emotional well-being. Knowledge, like memory, cannot be erased at will, and thus it runs in the background of our lives, unseen by others but deeply troubling to the knower.
I am not alone in feeling this weight; correspondents and readers write me that they feel it, too.
Yet it is not just the knowledge that all this is based on cheap, abundant oil and a rapidly imploding financial system based on fraud and lies that burdens us; it is the mirror image of reality pressed upon us by the status quo: the Mainstream Media, the corrupt Savior State beholden to Power Elites and crony-capitalist, predatory monopoly-capital cartels and Global Corporate America (which conveniently enough owns the mainstream media).
One of the most chilling stories to emerge from China's Great Leap Forward in the late 1950s and early 60s--in which peasants were instructed to "make steel" by melting down their metal farming and cooking tools, leaving them to starve in countless millions--involves the artifices presented to Mao to cover up the grotesque consequences of his policies.
Communist party officials fearful of Mao's ire and losing their own perquisites arranged to have a specific route through the countryside planted thickly with rice. Five meters deep on each side of this road, rice was planted so closely that it appeared to be the very acme of abundance; the road was seemingly a thin ribbon of pavement cut through endless green abundance.
It was all artifice and lies. While the officials pointed out the phony bounty to Mao, tens of millions of peasants were starving to death. Behind the five meters of contrived abundance lay a barren landscape.
The American media and Savior State are busy planting their own five meters of apparent 
abundance and "growth" along every highway in the land. The vast majority of people--even people who should know better but who prefer not to know, and thus they studioudsly avoid peeking through the curtain of sham prosperity--accept that GDP growth means something positive is happening in their own lives, even as the visible evidence points to a mirror-image of this "growth" propaganda.
We know that all the contrivances of "modern life" are ultimately the result of one single condition: cheap, abundant oil. Everything--the plays on Broadway, the film industry, the iPods made in China for cheap, the endless Mcmansions in gated exurbs, the grain-fattened, fat-marbled beef, the "cheap" fast-food meals, the Savior State and its Global Empire--is all based on cheap, abundant oil. There is no substitute in the near term.
Every "solution" fails to hold up beyond the most cursory examination. Natural gas? Well, yes, but then all those "fracc'ed" wells the industry extols as the "solution" have a nasty habit of depleting rather quickly. There are an an estimated 254.4 million vehicles in the U.S.; would you care to guess the cost of converting them to natural gas?
Will "entrepreneurship" re-make the distribution system to enable fueling those tens of millions of vehicles with natural gas? At what cost, and to whom?
How about that "new discovery" of a 1 billion-barrel oil field in deep water? Does the MSM or Savior State propaganda ministry mention that 1 billion barrels is less than two months of U.S. consumption, or that it may take 5 years to extract the first drop, or that the costs of such deepwater drilling are so prohibitive that oil extracted will not be cheap?
How about that "endless" shale oil? How many MSM stories note that production tops out at 2 million barrels a day, a mere 10% of U.S. consumption--and the Canadians and Chinese have claims on much of that production?
Even a cursory read of this site, or others which peek through the thick green screen of State/corporate propaganda, reveals the multiple frauds at the very heart of American finance, governance, real estate and the stock market.
Yet most people don't want to know. They adamantly accept the mirror-image of reality presented by the media and State: that the economy is "growing" and fundamentally sound, even though the reality is the opposite; that "reform" will fix the core problems, even though the reforms are simulacra designed to give the appearance of reform; and that sickcare "reform" will lower costs even as the sickcare cartels increase their take of the economy every year.
This heavily promoted and contrived mirror-image disconnect between what we are told is true and what is actually true threatens us with a very draining madness. Some readers donate money to this site because they say that it provides some sort of landing in a sea of lies, propaganda, misinformation and misprepresentation--that in reading it they know they are not alone and that they are not crazy.
The unease and insecurity is very real. None of us know the future; we only know that the present is vastly unsustainable, and that if we as a nation and species rely on simulacra, artifice, lies, fraud and propaganda instead of reality, then the status quo will end very badly. Any sane person who knows this finds it worrisome.
Hence the rational desire to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. Yet many readers tell me they meet fierce resistance from those around them. I understand completely; I personally do not know a single person in my circle or neighborhood who has prepared for even a few days without the global supply chain--and I live in "earthquake country" where a massive earthquake is not a possibility, it is a certainty; the only missing bit of knowledge is "when."
As one correspondent put it recently, most people have more dog food on hand than they do food for themselves.
I don't advertise my own preparations, and I pass them off as "earthquake preparedness" as that strikes people as only slightly mad and paranoid rather than the full-blown madness of knowing the whole system is extremely vulnerable and precarious.
Very few people I know well have any savings to speak of either. I have repeatedly suggested that they sell--sell their second home, sell their office condo, sell anything and everything to reduce or eliminate their debt, but they persist in working themselves to death to pay the mortgages on their mini-real estate empire.
They all hope that the bubble will somehow magically reinflate, even though the possibility of that happening with 19 million vacant dwellings, rising interest rates and 5 million foreclosed homes in the pipeline is essentially zero.
Readers ask me for investment advice; I cannot offer any, because I am not qualified to do so, nor do I care to do so; the future is unknown to us all. I can only say that I don't trust the stock market or the propaganda, and so cash is King in my eyes, and whatever their drawbacks, gold and silver will not go to zero, while paper assets and even real estate can either go to near-zero or become a capital trap.
I don't have a "cure" for this MSM-Savior-State induced madness, or the emotional burdens of knowing it is all interlocking dependencies supported by webs of lies and fraud, and thus is it really is "different this time," but not in the way the shills, carnies and toadies think.
It does not have to turn out that badly; we could get by on much less. Half the energy in the nation is squandered, as is half the food produced from the fields. If you visit any orchard in the land post-harvest, ton after ton of fruit lays wasted on the ground, rotting, in row after row, acre after acre, state after state. The dumpsters are weighted down with the food we have thrown away, just as the air conditioners are running when nobody is even in the building. A staggering 5% of our electricity is wasted on zombie electronics on standby. The list of waste is almost endless.
I have carried water to a garden in 5-gallon buckets and gotten by on handfuls of beans and corn or brown rice, and been happy doing so. Life does not end when the exurbs no longer make sense and the Savior State checks stop coming. Our sense of reality has become so skewed, so riven with mirror images and marketing, that we have as a culture have lost touch with much more than "mere" reality.
It doesn't have to end badly, but it might. Power Elites desperate to maintain their perquisities have always found that fanning the winds of war distracts their citizenry from their own incompetence and greed.
So what is the solution? I don't know; nobody knows. We only know our own limitations, and what we can do, however modest it might be. We can turn off the TV, that is easily done and extremely helpful. We can also limit our time online, as that is just another firehose of information which quickly overloads our sense of identity and proportion.
There are feedback loops in every system. I know 2015 will not be like 2010, but I cannot know precisely how it will be different. I know 2020 will be very different from 2010 and 2015, but I don't know exactly how different; nobody else knows, either.
All that we can do is to realize the carefully planted screen is only thick and abundant along the specified route, and that we owe it to ourselves to peek through to the barren terrain beyond, and to base our decisions and identity on that reality.
We cannot convince our loved ones, friends, family and associates; in the odd moment, we can make a suggestion or leave a book for them to glance through. That is all we can do; the emotional burden we feel only gets heavier if we push too hard and create needless conflict. So all we can do is make our own preparations as responsible individuals, as autonomous beings seeking liberty, and act accordingly.
Prudence is a good screen. Having a bit of non-frozen food on hand is after all merely prudent, isn't it? And so are the rest: water filters, propane stoves, and so on. Camping equipment is good to have on hand; gardening is worthy exercise, and a nice hobby. Eliminating fast food and packaged food from one's diet is also merely prudent; why poision ourselves if we have any sort of choice at all?
Voting against every incumbent who has supported the bailouts of banking Elites, the fraudulent "reforms" and all the Savior State propaganda is also merely prudent; why reward liars and thieves if there is any other choice available?
Having savings is also prudent, as is eliminating debt. Limiting our exposure to the lies, marketing and madness of Corporate-State media is also prudent. So perhaps we can agree to be prudent, and perhaps others will accept it all as mere prudence.


"Hope for the best... prepare for the worst." 

Wassail.  -- C.

Haiku 5

Grasses cringe.  They wait
upon grey clouds to break the
November silence.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Haiku 4

Willow-leaves blaze.  The
embers fade and fall away
as the earth slumbers.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Haiku 3

Autumn winds sigh.  I
sit upon a stone and think.
Trees smile to themselves.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Haiku 1

Treetrunks rain-dark as
Africans swim upon a
greygreen autumn sea.


Friday, November 12, 2010


Over a year ago, I advised my reader(s) here at the Gable Grey to buy silver, if they were at all concerned about our fiat currency's rush to toilet paper status.  At the time, COMEX silver was around $13-14.  A year later, it has doubled in value, and is currently trading at $27-28/oz.  To toot my own horn:  told ya.

In my opinion, silver is still an incredible investment opportunity, after arable land, livestock, good tools, a well-stocked larder, and good clothes.  But don't take my word for it...

Silver: Still The Investment Of A Lifetime
Giordano Bruno

Silver is the common man's currency. It always has been, and it always will be. While gold holds its place in history as the great stabilizer of economies and the shield against hyperinflation, its shine and its safety should not distract us from its brother, silver, whose uses are numerous and whose value is often more attainable for those seeking a solid investment outside of precarious paper securities.
Gold's unprecedented upsurge in price the past year alone is now becoming the stuff of legend, and it is also something we at Neithercorp have been predicting for a while now:

The mainstream media attacks on precious metals were so extreme last year that they began to border on the bizarre. The "cult of fiat" was relentless in their attempts to slander gold investors and it seemed as though no matter how well the yellow stuff did, or how dismal the dollar's performance was, they would never get tired of the disinformation game. Fast forward a year later, however, and they have been utterly silenced. What a difference twelve short months can make...

As I write this, gold is holding after a spectacular drive at around $1390, which is in line with my prediction of $1350 to $1450 by winter 2010, and on track to meet my prediction of $1500 by the beginning of next year. We'll have to wait and see, but what seemed absolutely out of reach during this summer is now looking rather simple to achieve today. Of course, silver has been a bit harder to put a finger on, and there are many unfortunate reasons for this.

The silver market was wholly dominated for at least two decades by only a few corporate banks, but primarily through the infamous JP Morgan and the HSBC. Using coordinated naked short selling and massive amounts of capital, they have been able to knock silver down every time its value fell below a certain ratio to gold; usually 60:1. Only recently has that ratio moved slightly closer to the true wealth of silver. The historical average ranges between 16-33 ounces of silver for every ounce of gold.

These banks have also been issuing paper silver securities, usually in the form of ETF's, which have no REAL silver backing them. These securities give investors the illusion that there is too much silver on the market, and not enough buyers. This causes devaluation in the metal.

Gold has suffered from the same manipulation in the past, but the silver market is even more tightly controlled, at least, until this year...

In November of 2009, a metals trader in London by the name of Andrew Maguire contacted the CFTC with inside information that JP Morgan Chase Bank was deliberately interfering with the silver market on an enormous scale. He not only told the CFTC how the bankers were doing it, he PREDICTED when they would do it again! Maguire gave two days advanced warning that JP Morgan would attack silver on Feb 5, 2010. The market played out exactly as he said it would:

The bankers were now caught red handed. The market could only go up from there....

Indeed, silver is now holding at around $27 an ounce, up from less than $10 an ounce two years ago, closing in on a 300% gain. If you bought silver in 2008 as I did, then you've made out incredibly well in a very minimal time span. But what about people who were afraid to dive into the market back then, or who just weren't aware of silver as an investment at all? Have they missed out? Is the $30 mark as good as it gets? I believe that silver still has a long way to go before it peaks, and room yet for millions of new buyers who are in need of a safe haven against the imploding dollar but don't have the finances to purchase gold. Here's why...

Bank Fraud Exposure Hitting Mainstream
The Andrew Maguire incident was just the beginning and the event acted as a springboard. Both JP Morgan and HSBC are now under investigation for silver manipulation pending a lawsuit filed in New York. The suit accuses the banks of using their 85% commercial net short position in the silver market to control its value on the COMEX:

CFTC Commissioner Bart Chilton has announced his belief that there is, in fact, manipulation of the silver market. In his statement he said:
"I believe that there have been repeated attempts to influence prices in the silver markets. There have been fraudulent efforts to persuade and deviously control that price. Based on what I have been told by members of the public, and reviewed in publicly available documents, I believe violations to the Commodity Exchange Act (CEA) have taken place in silver markets and that any such violation of the law in this regard should be prosecuted."
This is an extremely rare admission by the CFTC, which has for many years ignored all complaints and evidence pointing to bank interference in precious metals.

The Department of Justice has also launched a parallel probe into criminal wrongdoing on the part of JP Morgan (though I doubt much good will come out of the DOJ):

The bottom line is that the corruption in silver trade has been brought into the light of day, which means banks will have to, at the very least, back away from their activities to a point, which will allow PM's to grow according to free market fundamentals, instead of global banking whims. This explains why silver has jumped to $27 an ounce so quickly, but it also signals the possibility of even greater gains in the near future, especially in light of QE2 and the weakening dollar.

Silver Supply Declining
Just as with gold, silver availability, from mining to inventories, is in decline. This would not be so much of a catalyst if demand remained at levels similar to a decade ago. That is not the case. Demand is skyrocketing.

In June, the U.S. Mint announced it had run out of silver bullion blanks for the production of coins like the American Eagle:
While COMEX silver inventories continue to decline because of constant customer withdrawals of physical bullion:
Mining in many areas is also beginning to fall, including in Peru, a major source of metals like copper, gold, and, of course, silver:
On top of all this, silver is used in the making of many industrial and consumer products, including electronics, photography, batteries, and engine components. This puts an extra strain on silver supplies that is not felt as prominently with gold. Meaning, the ability of silver to outperform gold in terms of demand and investment potential is very high.

Dollar On Its Last Leg
The private Federal Reserve has been injecting fiat into our financial system for quite some time. The acceleration in 2008 heralded a new stage, however, in the devaluation of the dollar. Contrary to popular belief, the bailouts and quantitative easing implemented that year never actually ended. The bailouts of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, for instance, have continued non-stop every quarter since the mortgage crisis unfolded. Without a full audit of the Fed's accounts, there is no way of telling how much money has been created out of thin air. We do know that it is enough to drive foreign investors and central banks out of the dollar and into gold and silver en masse:
The announcement of QE2 has compounded the precious metals issue (not because the Fed is creating more fiat, they were already doing that unhindered). No, it is because the Fed signaled to the world OPENLY that they were about to deliberately devalue the Greenback, instead of just doing it under the radar. They erased any delusions left in the investment world had that they would try to protect the stability of our currency. As a result, the dollar index has dropped like a rock into the recesses of some distant Grand Canyon, while PM's have spiked.

As gold climbs into the $1500 range, the effect on silver will be evident. Gold will be less and less attainable by average people with lower incomes, but these same people will still be exposed to dollar devaluation, and the need for a hedge against inflation; enter silver.

I believe silver will become the single most important investment of our age, filling the void in the wage gap gold leaves behind. As gold shoots into the stratosphere, it will be silver that people turn to most for smaller investment needs, which means much higher demand and much greater returns for those who are smart enough to buy now. $27 an ounce is incredibly affordable, especially when considering that the metal has the potential to reach $75-$100 an ounce in the next two years (and that is a conservative estimate).

There is little doubt that the dollar plunge will continue to drive people towards PM's. While Ben Bernanke and Timothy Geithner have both made claims pre-G20 that QE2 is not a move to devalue, the rest of the world is unconvinced. Reuters recently called the meeting in Seoul, Korea "G19 plus 1", as foreign nations become infuriated with the Federal Reserve's actions:
Even Alan Greenspan has come out in opposition to QE2, saying it is a dangerous act of devaluation:
Now, why is Greenspan of all people suddenly coming out against blasting the financial system with fiat? It's hard to say. We have written here often at Neithercorp about the deliberate destabilization of the American economy in order to remove the dollar as the world reserve currency and replace it with the IMF's Special Drawing Rights (the SDR). We have also written about the possibility that the IMF will attempt to insinuate itself into the U.S. system as a "savior", implementing supranational control over our fiscal infrastructure, just as it is trying to do in Ireland today:
It is perhaps possible that the Fed itself (the institution, not the people who run it) may one day be offered up to Americans as a sacrificial proxy to be torn down as the lone culprit of global collapse, only to then be replaced with the IMF (which is worse, because they don't even live in this country). In any case, the dollar is going for a ride into the backwaters of historical infamy, and it will take us all with it if we do not protect ourselves from its demise. Gold, and most especially silver, give us the power to do this.

The Return Of Real Money
While many people in the Liberty Movement are preparing diligently for the inevitable dollar plunge, some have still not delved into the world of PM's, either because they are afraid it will be too complicated, or because they feel it is unnecessary. Obviously, survival goods are absolutely imperative, along with a solid plan for keeping one's self and his family safe. However, the need for an alternative economic outlet to take the place of the failing dollar should not be overlooked, even by the average prepper. A system of barter is a tremendous starting point for such an alternative, but eventually, expanded trade also requires some form of currency. Preferably, one based on a tangible commodity that can't be recreated to infinity. Precious metals have fulfilled this role for thousands of years, outliving every fiat currency ever printed. Of these metals, silver was always the one most commonly used.

Beans and bullets aside, Americans need a way to protect their savings from what is coming, as well as a way to support a replacement market outside of elitist control. There is a reason why central banks across the globe are stocking up on PM's; because they know full well that the dollar's days are numbered, and they plan to capitalize on its death. If the banks are allowed to dominate the supply of PM's, simply because only a few people had the good sense to stock them while they were readily available, then our options for a free economy grow that much slimmer.

There will always be dips, corrections, and fluctuations in metals, and this should not deter us psychologically from their ultimate benefits. Every citizen of this country can and should purchase at least some insurance against hyperinflation and monetary catastrophe, and the most affordable insurance with the greatest potential today is physical silver, bar none.
You can contact Giordano Bruno at: giordano@neithercorp.us

I am no expert, but if anyone has questions about getting started in silver, I will be glad to answer, free of charge.  I urge anyone concerned with building and/or preserving true wealth to consider beginning an investment in silver today, before silver breaks out again, and heads toward $50 and beyond.  You can't eat silver, but it may ease your transition to the post-collapse world.

Wassail.  -- C.

EDIT:  Silver and other commodities are down across the board at the moment, dragged on by the other indecies, and as folks do some profit-taking.  BUY ON THE DIPS! -- C.

Whiles carried o'er the iron road,
We hurry by some fair abode;
The garden bright amidst the hay,
The yellow wain upon the way,
The dining men, the wind that sweeps
Light locks from off the sun-sweet heaps --
The gable grey, the hoary roof,
Here now -- and now so far aloof.
How sorely then we long to stay
And midst its sweetness wear the day,
And 'neath its changing shadows sit,
And feel ourselves a part of it.
Such rest, such stay, I strove to win
With these same leaves that lie herein.

-- William Morris, from
"The Roots of the Mountains"