One Look at Venezuela Has Convinced Me to Keep Prepping

by: the Common Constitutionalist

Being a Prepper in the land of plenty sometimes seems like utter foolishness yet my kids and I do it anyway.

Now granted – we are not over-the-top, end of civilization Preppers who are preparing for a Zombie apocalypse. I just decided a few years ago to begin storing some things for emergencies. Every week I purchase one or two extra items and put them away.

It’s rather startling what you can amass by just doing that. At times it also comes in rather handy when you forget something at the grocery store. Simply pull it from your own stock and your good – but don’t forget to replace it. My family personally prides itself on never running out of anything, so when we have to pull something out of storage, the penalty is it must be replaced with at least two items.

So why do we do it? It’s because you never know. We aren’t prone to natural disasters in New England but we’ve had to utilize our supplies on more than one occasion due to snow storms and power outages.

And despite the rosy picture painted by our current administration, we should all be concerned with the poor shape of our economy. It won’t take too much to push it over the edge. If by some miracle we are able to contain $20 trillion in debt and almost a quarter of a quadrillion in unfunded liability, then fine – we’ll use it ourselves or give it away.

I’ve thought of giving up prepping, but when I see what is happening in places like the socialist/communist paradise of Venezuela, coupled with millions of our own citizens claiming that socialism would be good for America, I come to my senses. read more

My WND Weekly Exclusive

USA: TODAY’S WEIMAR REPUBLIC?

America is piling up debt like crazy. As of fiscal year 2013, our federal government was borrowing 46 cents of every dollar it spends, with seemingly no end in sight. Our national debt is almost $20 trillion, and unfunded liabilities are approaching a quarter of a quadrillion dollars. Unfortunately, or fortunately, there eventually will be an end. There has to be.

Article I, Section 10, of the Constitution: “No state shall emit bills of credit, make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts, coin money.” The Founding Fathers knew that irresponsible governments would print paper money, backed by nothing, overspend and devalue the currency, causing “inflation” and destroying the economy. But did we listen? Of course not.

In 1971, during the Nixon administration, we officially went off the gold standard and unpinned our paper money from anything of real or intrinsic value. George Santayana is quoted as saying, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Many question the brilliance of the founders who have warned us of virtually every major mistake our country has made, yet still we don’t heed them. read more

Golden Chocolate Bar

Being the Christmas season, sales of chocolate gold coins no doubt soared as parents filled their little ones’ stockings with edible treasure.

But wealthy individuals worried about what the New Year could bring are instead stocking up on gold chocolate bars.

Swiss refinery Valcambi has been selling its CombiBar to private investors in Switzerland, Austria and Germany who are worried about a return of Weimar Republic-style hyperinflation.

Gold chocolate bar: An employee divides a gold Combibar at a plant of gold refiner and bar manufacturer Valcambi in the southern Swiss town of Balern. Sales have soared amid economic uncertainty in Europe
An employee shows a 1 gram piece of a gold Combibar
 Gold chocolate bar: An employee divides a gold Combibar at a plant of gold refiner and bar manufacturer Valcambi in the southern Swiss town of Balern. Sales have soared amid economic uncertainty in Europe
Crisis currency: Swiss refinery Valcambi has been selling its CombiBar to private investors in Switzerland, Austria and Germany who are worried about a return of Weimar Republic-style hyperinflationCrisis currency: Swiss refinery Valcambi has been selling its CombiBar to private investors in Switzerland, Austria and Germany who are worried about a return of Weimar Republic-style hyperinflation

The size of a credit card, the 50g gold CombiBars are easily be broken into one gram pieces to be used as money in times of crisis.

Now the company wants to bring them to market in the U.S. and build up sales in India – the world’s largest consumer of gold, where it has long served as a parallel currency.

Investors worried that inflation and financial market turmoil will wipe out the value of their cash have poured money into gold over the past decade.

Prices have gained almost 500 per cent since 2001 – compared to a 12 per cent increase in MSCI’s world equity index, a benchmark for the value of the world’s business investments.

Sales of gold bars and coins were worth almost $77billion (£48billion) in 2011, up from just $3.5billion (£2.2billion) in 2002, according to data from the World Gold Council.

Stocking filler for the wealthy: The divisible gold bar has a purity of 99.9 percent, weighs 50 grams and also has predetermined breaking points which allow it to be easily separated into 1g pieces without any loss of materialStocking stuffer for the wealthy: The divisible gold bar has a purity of 99.9 percent, weighs 50 grams and also has predetermined breaking points which allow it to be easily separated into 1g pieces without any loss of material
Panic buying: Sales of gold bars and coins were worth almost $77billion (£48billion) in 2011, up from just $3.5billion (£2.2billion) in 2002, according to data from the World Gold CouncilPanic buying: Sales of gold bars and coins were worth almost $77billion (£48billion) in 2011, up from just $3.5billion (£2.2billion) in 2002, according to data from the World Gold Council

‘The rich are buying standard bars or have deposits of physical gold. People that have less money are buying up to 100 grams,’ said Michael Mesaric, CEO of Valcambi.

‘But for many people a pure investment product is no longer enough. They want to be able to do something with the precious metal.’

Mr Mesaric said the advantage of the CombiBar – dubbed a ‘chocolate bar’ because pieces can be easily broken off by hand – is that it is easily carried and is cheaper than buying 50 one gram bars.

‘The produce can also be used as an alternative method of payment,’ he said.

Gearing up for the Christmas rush: A Valcambi employee holds an unpressed gold CombibarGearing up for the Christmas rush: A Valcambi employee holds an unpressed gold Combibar
Punched metal: The bars' grooves and details are imprinted with a powerful pressPunched metal: The bars’ grooves and details are imprinted with a powerful press
Quality control: An employee checks a Combibar after it has been machined into the right shapeQuality control: An employee checks a Combibar after it has been machined into the right shape
Nearly ready to ship: The CombiBar is particularly popular among grandparents who want to give their grandchildren a strip of gold rather than a coin, says Andreas Habluetzel, of gold trading company DegussaNearly ready to ship: The CombiBar is particularly popular among grandparents who want to give their grandchildren a strip of gold rather than a coin, says Andreas Habluetzel, of gold trading company Degussa

Valcambi, a unit of U.S. mining giant Newmont, is building a sales network in India and plans to launch the CombiBar on the U.S. market next year. In Japan, it wants to focus on CombiBars made of platinum and palladium.

In Europe, demand is particularly strong among the Germans, still scarred by post-World War One hyperinflation, when money became all but worthless and it took a wheelbarrow full of notes to buy a loaf of bread.

‘Above all, it’s people aged between 40 and 70 that are investing in gold bars and coins,’ said Mr Mesaric. ‘They’ve heard tales from their parents about wars and crises devaluing money.’

The CombiBar is particularly popular among grandparents who want to give their grandchildren a strip of gold rather than a coin, said Andreas Habluetzel, head of the Swiss business of Degussa, a gold trading company.

‘Demand is rising every week,’ Mr Habluetzel said. ‘Particularly in Germany, people buying gold fear that the euro will break apart or that banks will run into problems.’

Doing a roaring trade: In Europe, demand is particularly strong among the GermansDoing a roaring trade: In Europe, demand is particularly strong among the Germans

Some fund managers, however, remain sceptical.

Stephan Mueller, who manages bank Julius Baer’s $6billion gold fund, said one problem with using gold as a method of payment is that people have to take its value on blind trust.

More conventional Christmas fare: Sales of chocolate gold coins are probably soaring as well...
More conventional Christmas fare: Sales of chocolate gold coins are probably soaring as well…

‘Gold is a useful store of value,’ Mr Mueller said. ‘However I doubt whether it will succeed as a method of payment.’

Nonetheless, as developments in the euro zone lurch from one crisis to another, demand for gold that can be sold in vending machines is also growing.

‘Sales rise according to the temperature of the crisis,’ said Thomas Geissler, whose firm Ex Oriente Lux operates 17 gold vending machines in Europe, the U.S. and the United Arab Emirates.

The machines saw record sales in 2010, one day after the then Deutsche Bank CEO Josef Ackermann raised doubts over whether Greece would be able to pay its debts.

Since the launch of the machines, which operate under the name ‘GOLD to go’, 50,000 customers have withdrawn more than 21million euros in gold. The average buyer is male, over 50 years old and well off.

‘Customers are hoarding gold mostly at home as a precaution against a crisis, just as their fathers and grandfathers did before them,’ Mr Geissler said.

If you wish to consider purchasing gold or silver Combibars you link to the Valcambi site here.
Attribution: Damien Gayle, Daily Mail

I Can’t Believe it’s not Butter

by: the Common Constitutionalist

The great Norwegian butter shortage! Yes, it’s true. Norway has a shortage of butter.

Stores in Norway are seeing long lines of people waiting to buy butter; a sight that Europe hasn’t seen since the fall of Communism.

The shortfall is estimated at between 500 to 1000 tons. That’s a lot of Butter.

Prices of a pack of butter, weighing around a half a kilo (500 grams), a little more than a pound, are being driven out of sight. Some online sellers are asking up to 350 Euros (about $465.00) for 1 pack.

Sheeesh! Can you say Weimar Republic revisited?

But why the shortage?

Some have blamed it on the unusually wet summer that drove yields down. Some others have said it is the new Norway. It’s citizens are opting for lower carb, higher fat diets, which has increased demand recently. They both sound like reasonable explanations on the surface, but we’re not about the surface.

Let’s take a closer look.

Norway is a socialist country. You know, like we aspire to be.

Currently, in America, there are too many butter producers to name. In Norway, there is effectively, ONE. That wouldn’t pose a problem, would it?

Tine Company is the producer of over 90% of all butter in Norway. The Norwegian government granted that monopoly to it. Remember, monopolies are bad unless the government says they’re not.

Evidently, Tine has done a pretty fair job of butter production until now. Maybe it’s that wet summer thing. Nope, that’s not it. Right next door is Sweden. They have butter out the wazoo and their summer was wetter than Norway’s.

Well, if Sweden has all that butter, perhaps Norway could just import it until they catch up? Unfortunately, tariffs are so high, that it makes imports virtually impossible. BUY NORWEGIAN! Look for the Norwegian label. Everybody sing!

This is how socialism works. First, the government takes control of production. Next, they pick a winner, say Tine. Then they tax the heck out of any foreign company trying to import to them. All the government has to do after that, is dictate how much the producer can make & what price it is to be sold.

Then they all just sit back & watch the experiment fail, as it always does.

With any luck, the people eventually figure out the great experiment isn’t working & they demand change. Well, they’re going to get it. Unfortunately it will only be temporary.

The government has decided to take drastic measures and has cut import tariffs by more than 80 percent until the end of March. It has also lifted milk quotas for domestic farmers that were in place to avoid overproduction in the market. Overproduction does not appear to be their problem. After that, everything goes back to the way it was, where centralized planners cannot react to fluctuations in the marketplace. By the way, Importers are not allowed to sell their products for less than the government dictates.

So that’s a lesson in socialism. Sounds great, eh?