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We the Sheep 
Must read essay for wannabe Pirates, if for no other reason than to remind you of what the alternative (remaining a sheep) requires.
The selling price is up $54 (18%) since I first bought these, two months ago. Note the $20 spread  on these bullion coins; buy on down days in an effort to cover it quickly.
'Retirement is coming up fast for the 76 million American Baby Boomers and they're not ready. Only one in five has even sat down to plan their retirement. Savings rates in the U.S. rank somewhere between 1 percent of income to a minus 1 percent or negative savings. Only 30 percent of American workers have 401K-type retirement plans provided by their company.' Many Boomers are already screwed; they just don't know it yet.
Why? They enjoy making it, they refuse to pay the 43% beer tax, and they love drinking excellent homebrew for about half the price of commercial swill. Brewing is also a useful skill that will come in handy in a crisis era'much like loading your own ammo'but you already do that, right?
At least for some female Pirates.
This is the proverbial ticking time bomb, but 'all is well!' Just ask Bush.
What does it know that you don't?
Yes, if it is a critical hands-on, face-to-face service job that cannot be outsourced or imported. Forget college; do your kid a favor by teaching them a useful trade instead. Barbers, plumbers, brewers, janitors, crane operators, and truck drivers should all survive globalization and the coming recession or depression.
'From Beijing to Dubai , there is a growing undercurrent of economic anti-Americanism. The irony of it all is truly extraordinary: The US has the greatest external deficit in the history of the world, and is now sending increasingly negative signals to two of its most generous providers of foreign capital -- China and the Middle East .'
'If I were looking for one factor here to signal the onset of some really serious problems, I would watch the dollar. If you start to see a sharp sell off, or if selling starts to pick up a little steam and begins to look a little bit like a panic, or if you start to hear talk of maybe an Asian country dumping a little extra in the way of dollars, it will be a sign of some really bad times to come.'
'The money Uncle Sam causes the Fed to print in payment for imported goods finds its way, through a winding route, into the US stock market. What if this process continues without stopping? Then all American corporations will eventually be majority-owned by foreign banks and governments. In effect, what the Fed is doing is keeping the American economy pumped up by the stealth sales of ownership interests in American corporations to foreign countries. It's a brave new world. Until reality sets in.'
'Politics is actually a lot of fun, if you observe it with a sense of humor and don't get your hopes up. After all, politicians are basically just like the rest of us, and they behave just the way you or I might behave if we had the power to jail or shoot our creditors. In a democracy, the creditors are called 'citizens' and the really gullible ones are called 'voters.' Look in the mirror and ask yourself ' honestly, now ' which category you fall into. Keep the number of your local suicide hotline at hand.' ~ Joseph Sobran
JCN: The Contrary Pirate
Successful Pirates, like successful farmers, are constant students of their environment; weather patterns are a large part of their environment. This is a daily task and it is not easy; it entails collecting and digesting information while studying the patterns and events of the past.
There are many people who are emotionally and financially motivated to keep you convinced that the seasons do not change and that tomorrow will be just like today. In other words, the winds will supposedly always blow from the same direction'the one that ensures that they will profit from you'so that they will not have to make adjustments in their beliefs or lifestyle choices.
Some examples to stimulate thought:
Why would a financial planner who sells stocks and equity funds suggest buying precious metals?
Why would a financial media outlet that is supported by Wall Street tell anyone to invest in something that Wall Street does not sell?
Why would the building industry, which needs to sell houses every day to make money, suggest that there is a real estate bubble?
Why would the pharmaceutical industry ever admit that it cannot cure what ails you?
Why would a politician admit that he couldn't protect you from all perils, real or imagined? You would never again vote for such a man.
Why would you ever believe what your eyes, ears, and gut all tell you is false?
Sheeple believe what they must believe, regardless of the facts. A Pirate is very often a contrarian; he believes what others may not yet believe, or what they refuse to believe. He moves to a geographic area or investment strategy that has all the advantages of low cost and high security before the sheeple know that the place exists or that market conditions have changed.
A Pirate will always be out of step with the sheeple and what passes for common knowledge. Of course, the beauty of this is that once the herd discovers (or is forced to admit) truths that he has already acted upon, the Pirate will be positioned to sell high whatever he bought low, before moving on to the next thing or place that seems out of touch with the current trend.
Important Rules for Pirates: recognize the irrefutable fact that nothing lasts forever, sheeple will believe what they must believe, most experts are specialists in isolated facts, history is cyclical, and graveyards are full of wise and irreplaceable men who left behind their accumulated knowledge for us to use, if we dare.