You're Gonna Go To South Carolina On That?!
This month's Commentary entries are from the road as Doug Riemer Escapes From Sedona on his motor scooter, relocating to Greenville, SC.
In Haiti, A Metaphor & More, Tom Brokaw's observations in his recent trip across America were noted. Brokaw followed the model of Jack Kerouac's 1951 novel, On The Road. Even earlier, was John Steinbeck's 1939 Grapes of Wrath, in which a Great Depression family flees the dustbowl Midwest for California. This Astrologer follows in his own way, perhaps a little more like Tom Wolfe's 1968 Electric Kool-aid Acid Test in the sense of an adventure in tranformation. In this second decade of the New Millennium, in the midst of the Millennium Contraction, the trip is via scooter and a Mac Latpop. But then, this Astrologer grew up in the 60s, listening to Bob Dylan's 1964,
I'm gonna get out of this town if I have to crawl out of here
Early on after arriving in Sedona, AZ in 1997, this Astrologer would always tell local clients, People come to Sedona to get what they need. And then they leave. Don't forget to leave! Well, nearly 13 years in Sedona is too long, the strong solar energy from the red rocks illuminates, but it also burns, like the Vedic Sun. He has tried to leave, however, in 2005 and again in 2007, but the red rocks are so beguiling, and the people so interesting... The unanswered question was, where to go? It wasn't until Sedona began collapsing on its own greed that economic necessity propelled him away. In recently counseling clients in the transformation required during the Millennium Contraction, he would use the analogy of a soldier on the front line, when the mortar rounds had targeted his foxhole -- its either die or find a new foxhole, even if that choice was not perfect, and perhaps just the first move of several.
When he said one day, I'm gonna get out of this town if I have to crawl out of here, it dawned on him that an old Sedona friend, who had the insight to leave in 2001, was in Greenville, SC, a place he had bicycled through in 1992. He liked Greenville for the obvious greenery, rolling hills at the tail of the Applicachians, the climate, the southern charm and a real economy. His phone call was quickly returned, Doug, my guides just told me an old friend from Sedona would be calling and coming here! I'm excited. Can you believe it's been 9 years?
That was in early March, but a really miserably cold/wet winter, and even worse business, delayed departing until April. Even then, it took a call to another old friend, who had escaped the previous year to Jerome, to take the first step, visiting there for a few weeks in mid March to finish provisioning and await better weather for the trip by scooter on April 4. Too, there was his other old Sedona friend (the Mayan Princess) who was in Guadalajara for two months and wasn't returning to Sedona until April 3. He couldn't leave without saying goodbye -- and also telling her one last time she had forgotten to leave Sedona. To be blessed with three such talented and beautiful lady friends, not to mention, honest, ethical and compassionate, well that speaks to this Astoloergy's good Moon (females) and also to the imperative we all to help one another in our transformations. The society of me, me, me is finally yielding to the authentic American we, we, we. Note the word imperative. This is not a choice, unless one believes remaining stuck in an outdated pattern is an option. Similarly, living without food or shelter is also an option.
Jerome -- A Remnant Of The First Gilded Age
Jerome is the old mining town south of Sedona where one of the greatest First Gilded Age robber barons made his fortune. William Clark, the copper king, pulled a billion dollars of copper out of the ground there in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Although only oil baron Rockefeller was richer, Clark cared not at all about philanthropy and is thereby largely forgotten, A contemporary wrote, "There is craft in his stereotyped smile and icicles in his handshake. He is about as magnetic as last year's bird's nest. The linked article is about his daughter, Huguette, amazingly still alive at 103, with no heirs and still vast estates. Clark certainly is the worst of the worst of those voracious empire builders, though certainly no worse than many Second Gilded Age robber barons still strutting their stuff and truly caring for no one or nothing excepting their own greed.
Bill Gates is the worst monopolist in history and truly just a faux philanthropist. Warren Buffet is kindly in only his grandfatherly demeanor. Don't you feel just a little annoyance that Gates and Buffet, each worth about $60,000,000,000, divided by 300,000,000 Americans works out to $2000 for each of us -- money they sucked out of the economy and stuffed in pockets? And of course there are the bankers, the most gilded Gods of all who live in the tower of Goldman Sachs. There's a certain irony here, for the boys at Sachs literally have sacked the country to enrich themselves -- and are still doing it! But enough, let Glenn Beck cry alligator tears for America, as his boss, Ruppert Murdoch, wallows in his $4 billion fortune.
Yet, they didn't speak unkindly, for even though Piaggio is an Italian scooter they thought was the French Peugeot, there is a fraternity of two-wheelers. This also speaks to the fundamental decency of most Americans, who really don't measure a person's value by his wealth, but by who he or she is.
As quaint and charming at Jerome is, it raises the specter of what may happen to many American communities after the Second Gilded Age.
On to Show Low
The weather was supposed to be nice Easter Sunday, the long-planned day to begin the Escape From Sedona. First was a final breakfast in Sedona with the Mayan Princess, who advised the move was a good one.
The weather was nice, for about the first ten miles. Then the wind began -- well better to get blown out of Sedona than to craw out. That wry humor turned slowly turned to frustration and tean discomfort, for the wind was head-on and from the right into Payson and getting stronger. That turn to due east put the wind more to the back, but it gusted higher and higher all the way to Show Low, 172 miles through the mountains.
Recall this tough eight month Mars transit through Cancer brings stormy weather until its end in late May, as predicted in the December 23, 2009 In-depth Celestial Wheel, U.S. And Global Economic Trends For 2010, ...fierce winter storms. Again, the most difficult interval will be March 5 to May 17. Too, there are other destructions in earthquakes, accidents and early tornados. (Of course, real estate woes continue as well.) This trip is truly going to be threading a needle.
How Americans Are Dealing With The Millennium Contraction
This trip is as much about shedding my Sedona skin as it is about witnessing how America is dealing wih the Millennium Contraction. So, before we get too far along in the travelogue, a couple of observations. It's provocative to mention that from Jerome to Strawberry to Payson to Show Low, everyone -- tourists and residents both ---said the exact same thing about Sedona -- too expensive. Nobody wanted to stay there overnight, have lunch, shop or buy real estate for a primary or vacation home. Well, there's no market for thegilded extravagances in Dubia either, nor it seems Las Vegas these days.
Another theme that arose was the shift to quality -- less is more. The old homilies, Waste not, want not, and Penny wise, pound foolish also come to mind. It chatting with travelers and merchants, there was a universal goal to economize, to not waste, to avoid cheap Chinese junk at Walmart, even as folks still jammed Walmart. The dichotomy here was to save money, you had to buy some things at Walmart. And the trick was to buy quality goods at Walmart's lower prices, avoiding both the cheaply made products and stuff that isn't really needed. Yet, there's another side, that many simply couldn't afford to avoid Walmart because they didn't have the money to shop at higher priced stores. There's certain humility and shame in this, like formerly self sustaining middle income folks also go a pawn shop to sell a gun, or a used car dealer to sell the extra car, heads down, hoping nobody recognizes them. And they justify these actions to themselves that they are just downsizing. The mental gymnastics become more difficult when the trip is to a payday lender, the food bank, thrift store or yard sale, or lunch at McDonald's for the dollar menu.
Click on the horn!
The Scooter Trip -- An Allegory
Dictionary.com defines allegory is a representation of an abstract or spiritual meaning through concrete or material forms figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another. This trip is an allegory, as explained in the above April 5 entry, ...it's an adventure in transformation. In this second decade of the New Millennium, in the midst of the Millennium Contraction, the trip is via scooter and a Mac Laptop.
Writing in third person has been a Celestial Wheel custom to maintain objectivity by depersonalizing;, but for this trip, that is really unnecessary, even silly and likely weirdly narcissistic. After all, this is my personal allegory, recorded so that readers can best relate the experiences to your own lives.
With that pretense out of the way, following is a brief but seriously important bit on Vedic Astrology. Then the allegorical travelogue continues.
(Publication, by the way, is to paid participants a small circle of friends who are been supportive during parts of the now 61 years in this incarnation. These Celestial Wheel Commentaries are not freely available to the public.)
Mars Keeps Roaring!
As explained in the December 12, 2009 In-depth Forecast, U.S. And Global Economic Trends For 2010, in 2009, weak placements of the big planets, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as poor ones for the impactive eclipse points*, made that year laborious and unrewarding. By the beginning of 2010, all four of these planets had shifted into favorable signs, empowering achievement this year. It was like your car badly needed a tune-up and new tires all through 2009. You were stuck on the side of the road. And when the tow the truck finally dragged the car to the repair shop at New years, you were able to progress on your own personal path.
(*In Vedic Astrology, the eclipse points are called Rahu and Ketu, the head and tail of a serpent. Only an Indian can truly grasp these Eastern symbols, as only New Englanders understand what Nor'easters means. For Westerners, consider that the eclipse points are the locations in which the Sun, earth and Moon line up. As the primary bodies in astrology, their alignment must signal a location of tremendous power and influence.)
If you consider world events and your own personal experiences, this prediction has proven correct, even as the Millennium Contraction inevitably advances -- pressurizing everyone economically to deleverage, downsize and reduce expenses. Yet it's also true, as explained in the 2010 forecast, that warrior Mars causes problems, through late May of this year, as it sits in its fallen sign of Cancer. This weak, and thereby nasty Mars, stimulates storms and all kinds of other ills.
Mars' projective energy has kept us all very busy as we harness the big planets' and the eclipse points' restored powers, but as this Mars is also discordant, even violent and destructive, it has also brought us further challenges to conquer. As Tom Brokaw explained in Haiti, A Metaphor & More, about his recent cross-country trip, The people that we talked to, and it was a wide spectrum of business people and working class people and ranchers and small town merchants.... they are so busy putting their lives in order now and finding ways to get out of economic downturn that we're in, that they don't have time for that (politics, national issues...).
Mars entered Cancer October 7, 2009 and due to a retrograde (backward) motion, stays there almost eight long months, until May 27, 2010. This is four times Mars' usual two months in a sign. The multiplied duration means that its pressures accumulate -- like a backpack gets heavier the longer you hike, the straps digging painfully into your shoulders and your back aching, more and more.
Well, we are over 6 months into this Mars grind -- so there's just another six weeks to bear with it. But, do keep in mind, that you both weary of Mars' aggressions, and that they continue to build up until the very end on May 27. Pace yourself. Use care in your activities. Know that in June, this long Mars storm will be over, and your personal ship will sail through calm waters with sunny skies. Fortunately, Mars does this rarely, perhaps not once a century, but truly as a first rate malefic, he causes great harms. Yet, as only through turmoil comes change, we can also welcome Mars pushing us out the door from the unsustainable comfort level of Second Gilded Age excesses.
This Mars situation has been described several times in The Celestial Wheel, but is a worthwhile to reinforce by repetition. Several significant Mars' harms affecting us personally, as well as all of society, were listed in the February 23 Celestial Wheel,
There are also earth crust events -- both earthquakes and volcanos. The January 9 Celestial Wheel explained this was due to Saturn's influence and correctly predicted an event January 12. That prediction turned out to be the specifically predicted volcano in Ecuador, and too, the Haiti earthquake hit that same day. Mars is the confirming karma that has brought and continues to stimulate earth crust events, for his position in Cancer is the sign of the home.
So, don't let Mars ruin your party. Advance through this year with focus and fortitude in own your personal transformation during this long term Millennium Contraction. Use the big planets' and eclipse points' favorable energies and Mars' stimulating influences to your advantage.
I would not have attempted this cross-country scooter ride relocating from Sedona, AZ to Greenville, SC in 2009. I waited until 2010 restored my power, and while the ride has been a little rough, for the weather and some other Mars' tribulations, the destination will be gained. My Mars' inspired weather experiences are discussed below. Other Mars' problems have been a crazy guy in the adjacent motel room blaring his TV at 2:30 in the morning Wednesday and a migraine. But, these are temporary issues that don't block the goal. You'll also see below other readers are experiencing Mars' ills as well. One important part of this is that Mars is courage, and in its fallen sign, it brings fear, which is a subjective, not objective factor. So, buck up and keep going -- carefully.
There are some things you can do to use up Mars' aggressive energies in productive, safe and peaceful ways. These can thereby replace, at least in part, his harms. Mars is agriculturalists -- so gardening is an excellent activity. Mars is also sex, exercise, sports and machinery/engineering. Love making, walking, yoga, athletics and repairing your car, or tuning up your bicycle are all good outlets for Mars energy that divert him from accidents and other discords. My scooter trip involves a lot of machinery considerations.
Tuesday Show Low, AZ to Quemado, NM 113 miles 285 miles so far!
It was so windy in Show Low Sunday afternoon when I arrived from Sedona, and the wind actually got worse on Monday, that I stayed at the motel a second night. Fortunately, as I do have some luck on my Vedic chart now, I found myself unexpectedly busy with client work. It was great to bring in a few dollars -- taking some money pressure off.
As described in the above April 5 entry, Show Low is a typically attractive Arizona small town -- wide smooth roads with a mix of old West and ubiquitous chain stores, like Ace Hardware. Too, there are upscale real estate developments, and here there's a bison theme -- though there were no bison to be seen!
It turns out that Show Low marked the eastern boundary of Arizona's real estate bubble. After the Thank you for visiting Show Low sign, I entered a time-warp where nothing had changed since about 1955. This is truly the old West. A few general stores and cafes appeared after along expanses of nothin. Once in a while I came into a small town with some crumbling buildings. The daily lunch special in Springerville was pork chops with mashed potatoes, canned string beans and doughy rolls -- all for $5. This was the 7000 to 8000 foot elevation Arizona/New Mexico Plateau, where cattle was king, but also queen and the rest of the royal court. Many young people had gone to cities, leaving stalwart ranchers, who considered Ronald Reagan an actor, loved Bonanza reruns and cared most about the weather.
One young waitress in Quemado has just come back from Spain,. The cattle ranchers wanted to know why she went, Cause I could, she said. Did she see any bull fights, No, they were out of season, like elk here in the spring, she said. Was she glad to be back home? Hell yes, she laughed, it's quiet here, and normal.
I did overhear an older lady on her cell phone at lunch in Springerville complaining she always had good credit and didn't know he had taken his used his tax money refund to pay off some of her bills. She was worried about that but not shaken. In Quemado, the cafe hostess was glad she paid only $2000 for her lot and $8000 for her trailer, cause she didn't have a mortgage and could run the gas furnace all winter -- not like those crazy greedy people in Show Low and Sedona who couldn't afford to heat their McMansions. She was worried though her health insurance went up $1,0000, but I didn't dare ask her if that was for the whole year.
These were towns like Tom Brokaw also described, And in the communities especially, there's a kind of coming together. How do we save this place? It's going to take the best efforts of all of us. So, that's very heartening. When I asked about the nasty stuff on the news, all the emotional tirades, they shook their heads, No, we don't watch that stuff, especially when it comes out of Washington DC and California. When California folks come through town, well they're all crazy you know. When I asked about me, me, me as opposed to we, we, we, they said, There's only one way to live, if you want to keep going, that is. We're all in this together.
I did tell a few of them that I did economic forecasting and believed it was gonna get worse before it got better. They agreed with that. I also explained all the feat and hate on the news, that they could also feel in their gut, was going to end in June. Everyone was very pleased to hear that -- even those I told I was doing Indian Astrology.
Wednesday Quemado, NM to Socorro, NM 108 miles 393 miles and still going!
It was really, really cold on that high desert plateau -- about 20 degrees in the morning, warming up to maybe 45 in the afternoon with the wind blowing and gusting. As you can see, I didn't go far that day, nor the next either.
The men in these towns looked like Clint Eastwood in High Plains Drifter, and I felt about as cold as Eastwood was when he came into town with snow on his horse and coast. No, I'm not fat -- I layered-up in a long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, sweater, another sweatshirt and jacket. I didn't mind at all the artery-clogging food, and in fact, really needed the heavy calories to keep warm! The ranchers certainly hadn't gotten fat from it either.
If you look closely, the sign says, It's Pie. It was Pie Town, so small it wasn't even on the Google map I had saved. When I came in, everyone at the counter turned to see who is was. They were pretty friendly after they learned I was from Arizona, not California, or Washington DC (Emphasis on DC, cause they had no quarrel with Washington State.). The pie wasn't cheap at $3.50 a slice, and coffee too was high at $1.50. But, I was grateful for a warm spot and hot food. Down the road in Magdalena's cafe, they asked me if I got overcharged for the pie in Pie Town, and they really laughed when I told them the price. Pie should be no more than $1.25 the waitress said, even for that fancy Pie Town pie spiced with pinon nuts.
There isn't a pie picture on the Pie Town web site, but there are some great images.
I liked these towns and the friendly people there. But then, I grew up in a farming town in New York's Finger Lakes and and still am a pretty good shot and can handle cold weather. They really liked my scooter and were impressed that I was going so far and got 75 MPG! The motel manager in Quemado actually had a scooter of her own she had bought on line. She proudly showed it to me where it was stored in a shed and was grateful when I told her how to order a new battery on line that would be better than the Walmart replacement that only lasted a year.
This picture was taken at Datil, where highway 60 and 12 intersect. Snow-capped mountains border the high desert plain, and over the horizon to the left, there's a pass down 2500 feet to Sorocco, NM. -- where it would warm up, and the winds would calm. I hunkered down and kept going to attain that lower elevation, where I knew the temperature would rise. I had ignored this high desert plateau April weather in my planning. The ranchers there were right to always watch the weather.
Readers Reply -- About My Trip
You're really finally leaving Sedona! I know you've been trying for a long time. Greenville, SC will be very good for you. P.F. AZ
woah. on a scooter. P.C. CA.
Good Luck on your trip. You are truly ad old 60's road warrior. B.R. AZ
Well - your not making too bad time! Keep the informative emails coming - drive safe - stay WARM (the Mad Max Moustache will help)... Please tell us you are wearing the wonderful yellow Fly helmet! Gotta protect those precious brains of yours! We miss you! J.T. AZ
Good for you - you finally made it out! Enjoy your new adventure. S.W. AZ
Wow, that certainly was an interesting article. Glad you are finally out of Sedona and on your way. I am honored to have been a small contributor to your escape from the old paradigm. Rock On!!! ;-) S.F. SC
HILARIOUS!!!!! love it. Thanks for sharing your journey.. and safe travels. can't wait to read your updates. S.K. GA
Amazing adventure your on scootering across the country. B.R CO
Readers Reply -- About Their Lives
Am very nervous about the move from my lovely 40 year old house... L.V. MD.
...everyone's angry and ***** even turned on me. B.E. AZ
I just got back from Dallas this evening, been negotiating with a builder and mortgage banker.
Click on the horn!
Thursday Socorro, NM to Roswell, NM 169 miles 562 miles total and really rolling now
Socorro, NM was indeed a lot warmer, and no wind either! This was a strange town, though. Any western charm was hidden by, or buried under, asphalt with overhanging franchise signs stacked from one end of town to another. Motels unabashedly advertised how bad business was with $29.95 rates. A motel worker, who claimed he was finishing his Ph.D. in electrical engineering, complained that the Civil War enactment last fall hadn't brought any business. A guest from Oklahoma was worried that Conoco moved their research facility out of his town, for although he was retired, he had lots of friends and family who had depended on Conoco, directly or indirectly.
Yet, the roads were still full of roaring SUVs, the stores seemed busy and people cheerful and friendly. It seemed like if they acted as if everything were fine. Well everything wasn't fine.
This was the town where, Other Mars' problems have been a crazy guy in the adjacent motel room blaring his TV at 2:30 in the morning Wednesday and a migraine. I was glad to pull out early before breakfast.
The road was straight and flat across still empty desert topography in an easy run to Roswell, NM, an oasis. Finally, finally ts was fun to scooter, and with smooth pavement, I was able to go 50 mph, sometimes even 60. Roswell is a nice town, I thought. The big military base has kept it healthy, and locals put up with all the alien stuff with humor. There is a military school in Roswell too. This was a real contrast with struggling Sorocco and shows the difference between a community supported by a stable employers. The warning sign, though, is government and education, not private enterprise, supported Roswell. While these may appear to be qualities we should seek in communities, the Millennium Contraction will inevitably bring cutbacks in these areas too.
While I don't buy into the Roswell alien stuff, when I pulled into town, my cell phone voice mail retrieval was suddenly blocked, and it took T-Mobile two days to restore the service.
Friday Roswell, NM to Crosbyton, TX 211 miles 773 miles to date -- Wow!
This was my second great scooter day. I didn't even mind (much) getting lost in Lubbock, TX, nor even the incomprehensible directions residents gave me in their sing-song Texas twang, Ah, to get to Wichita Falls, go down the road a while, turn left onto the loop, go to the right past the wind turbines and keep goin til you get their!.
Their world was just fine, although it also seemed they weren't exactly well informed.
When I asked about WiFi, they said, What's that? And when I said internet, they replied, Yeh, we got that -- but they didn't. I couldn't find a place to go on line until the motel, which was owned by East Indians, like most in small towns.
Saturday Crosbyton, TX to Wichita Falls, TX 172 miles 945 miles total
This was getting too, too easy, I thought, as I scootered across the flat Texas plain. With a client hosting me in Wichita Falls, TX, I had a set destination less than 200 miles away and just buzzed along through the still-desert landscape.
I asked the Texas Belle if she liked her car, named after a town in Arizona. Sure do, she replied as she waltzed into the store. Something seemed odd, though, and when she came out, I asked if she knew the connection between her van's name and the town, Sedona, Arizona. Nope, never heard of that, she said. I suggested she check it out on line and notice her van's color matched Sedona's famous red rocks. She relied, Yeh, we got internet!
I began to realize that in most places, the Millennium Contraction has caused people to worry, which made them think, which made them curious -- so they could find new ways to fix their lives. But not in West Texas. A point of conversation everywhere else, in West Texas, nobody even noticed my scooter, nor bothered to ask about it. The only way I could engage folks in conversation was to tell them that I just needed about 1 1/2 gallons, which was all from Texas oil -- that if I pumped any more, it would be that durn foreign oil. They liked hearing that a lot, except after a minute or two they thought about the 30 gallons they were pumping into their trucks. And, if I also told them I got 75 MPG, the smiles would fade and they would turn away to watch the dollars roll up on the gas pump display.
I felt, though, I hadn't made a lasting impression, just as that pretty gal in jodhpurs wasn't going to go on line to learn about Sedona, AZ.
I did get a reaction from two heavy-duty bikers when they gunned their engines at a gas station, sneering at my scooter. I asked, How far have you gone on those bikes? Bout 200 miles, one said, as he spit on the ground. I replied, 200 miles, that's all? I just topped 850 and haven't gotten my second wind, yet. Then, I beeped them
It was certainly nice to find good old American optimism was alive and well in Texas, and too, though a lot of people really were overweight, that at least some Texas girls kept themselves trim. Well, I thought, she wouldn't want to eat it didn't want to eat her way out of great jodhpurs.
One concern though was this optimism comes from complacency, and it's that resulting unquestioning that got us into this mess in the first place.
I've written this, and the previous Celestial Wheel posting from Wichita Falls, TX. I'll try to write a little about this town too, which prospers, like Roswell, fro a large military base and a university -- plus, of course, Texas oil, cattle and cotton. I actually have quite a lot to write about here, including my sponsoring client's rock-solid Texas practically about money.
Click on the horn!
First, Wichita Falls, TX - The Real Story!
Find out why the downtown core is abandoned, but the city thrives! Here's the deal on silver. The secret that makes Texas work -- cousins, well, not exactly. The railroad men and Warren Buffet. Why I left a bottle of burgundy in a Wichita Falls tornado basement.
But, go downtown, and you'll find the urban core is abandoned!
The picture on the left is from the 1950s and the one on the right is downtown today. Fifty years ago, downtown was bustling, and now, nobody's there. It's like the Twilight Zone! Nothing changed, except the people and cars are gone.
The Wichita Falls Wizard (more insights from him later!) explained that the opening of the first suburban shopping mall, plus a massive tornado following in the late seventies, plus convinced businesses and residents to leave downtown -- to create the suburban American dream
That's all true, but something else happened then that gave the Texas economy such a huge boost the city could afford to spread out -- the 1973 oil embargo. In 1972, the price of crude oil was about $3.00 per barrel. By the end of 1974, the price of oil had quadrupled to over $12.00. There are naturally other factors, but the only really other important one is that in 1971 President Nixon took the nation off the gold standard, ushering in an age of inflation that continued until the Millennium Contraction began.
With oil quadrupling in the price and inflation unleased, Wichita Falls could afford to abandon its urban core. Now, of course, the question is what will the city do as the Millennium Contraction sooner or later squeezes it, like most other places in America? Well, the urban core is still there, clean, neat, the brick and marble-faced buildings remain -- a time capsule from 1955.
Here's The Deal On Silver
A storm system in Texas was moving east, prompting me to scooter on, or get wet. I made it across the Mississippi River into Greenville and got a great hotel deal for two nights -- to catch up with this travelogue. So, I resume from yesterday.
A truly interesting corollary to this discussion about oil and taking the country off the silver and gold standard is that the December 2004 In-depth Forecast, The United States Through Its Planetary Cycles --Part II 1896 to Present stated,
Well, what's going on here? I'm getting confused. Median family income has moved down since 1979 (about the middle of the graph), but income per person has zoomed up? How can the country be getting poorer and richer at the same time? Is it a wealth shift to the rich? Or is it something else?
I was an economics major in college, did an essentially business graduate program at Cornell's hotel school, spent 25 years in business in Florida and having been doing Celestial Wheel economic forecasting since 2002. So, I should understand this, but I don't. What to do? Does anyone know what's been going on and what the end result will be?
Well, it turns out my client in Wichita Falls, TX is actually the Wichita Falls Wizard*. He would know! So, I asked him? His answer, Here's The Deal On Silver.
(*Sorry, no picture of the Wichita Falls Wizard is possible. You can't take a picture of a vampire, but not for the same reason. Film won't catch that mythological creature, but the Wizard won't be photographed for the bonafide concern the ghouls of finance would put out his lights if his identity were disclosed.)
When Nixon took the nation off the silver and gold standard in 1971, he created a fiat currency. Fiat is an authoritative decree, sanction, or order -- essentially a promise. in the form of a government demand. A fiat currency is on has value only because the government says it does because it claims the power of taxation if absolute and can pay for any excess. Nixon took our paper from being guaranteed by silver's real value and changed it into a promise, which has no real value. A promise is actually just a debt, which is called a note -- a promise to pay. Nixon changed our paper from being an asset to a debt. He took back all the silver certificates and silver coins and issued new fiat Federal Reserve Notes and coins that looked like silver but really were just sandwiches of metal that weren't worth anything.
Remember the famous Popeye quote by Wimpy?, I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. Well, the hamburger is real but Wimpy's promise is not real but just debt. Wimpy may or may not pay that debt back, for Wimpy's word may not be good. In fact, if Wimpy borrowed just one hamburger today, he would probably pay for it on Tuesday from his paycheck. But if he borrowed lots of hamburgers today -- well his pay couldn't cover it. Then, Wimp's hamburger promises wouldn't be worth much, if anything at all! In fact, if Wimpy were able to borrow a lot of hamburgers, he wouldn't be able to pay back anybody.
That, my boy, the Wizard said, a twinkle in his eye as only real wizards can do, is the problem! With the government able to print currency based on silver, it could print only as many dollars as it had in silver. The dollar, then, was worth an ounce of silver -- a silver dollar. And, if you wanted, you could take that silver dollar, and using its real value in silver, buy anything real, like a hamburger, anytime you wanted. With fiat currency, a debt based only on its promise, the government could print as many dollars as it wanted, and over the last three decades, it did that. The fiat dollar would inevitably goes from being worth a silver dollar to a wooden nickel. And, it's going that way, fast.
Look at the two dollar bills below. The first is before 1971 -- a silver certificate. It says that, right on the top. The second is the current dollar, actually a note from our central bank, The Federal Reserve. It says that, Federal Reserve Note, right on the top.
In Texas, we believe what things say, what they really are. We don't believe something is not what it is -- just cause somebody says it is. Here's why. In Texas, we have cattle, cotton and oil, real things people need that have always kept Texas going. These are what you call basics -- food, clothes and fuel. You can't live without em. They always have value. Cattle, cotton and oil have kept Texas going through the best and the worst, for a long time now. Our reality is based on that real experience. Even during the depths of the depression, Wichita Falls did okay because they were drilling a lot of oil wells, and those wells were pumping oil. The ranches had cattle and farmers tilled cotton fields. Sure, people didn't buy as much of those, but they had to buy some of them -- cause people must have food, clothes and fuel. They are like silver certificates, not wooden nickels. Wichita Falls is still doing okay and will always do okay. By the way, we also have a a bunch of wheat too.
Basically, Texans look at it this way: stocks can go to zero, banks can go to zero,the price of commodities is not going to zero or nothing will matter anyway, for then, everyone will starve to death.
Let me tell you what happened after Nixon took the silver out of the dollar. In 1971, you could buy a pound of ground beef, a loaf of bread and a gallon of gas, each for a little over 30 cents. You could buy all three of those for a dollar -- either with a silver certificate paper dollar or a silver dollar. Now, all of those three cost 3 dollars -- 10 times as much! Beef, bread and gas are all priced the same at 3 dollars. That happened because the government kept on printing more and more fiat dollars, and they did that because they could and because more dollars made the economy grow -- or seem too. That's what inflation is, and if you think about the meaning of the word, well, its a lot of hot air. Inflating a balloon doesn't make it bigger. It just looks bigger.
So, now, you gotta give a ten dollar bill for the beef, bread and gas -- or you can give one silver dollar! Whoa, I said. Notice I've been saying Whoa a lot. It's not just a Texas thing but my honest reaction to what I'm learning.
The Wichita Falls Wizard continued. If you think about it, everything else has gone up by ten times. In 1971, you could build a good house of less than thirty thousand, a good car for under three thousand or go to college for just over three thousand.
In 1971, silver ran about $1.50 and ounce. The silver spot price is now $18 an ounce. Why is that? Shouldn't silver be $10 an ounce -- so that your silver dollar buys a pound of beef, loaf of bread and gallon of gas? Well it isn't because the traders believe there's a lot more inflation coming up real fast.
You can buy now an American Silver Eagle one ounce coin for $20.79 from Kitco. Or, Kitco will sell you a 1 ounce silver bar for $18.99. There's a premium on coins because they are readily recognized. But nearly $2 is a lot extra to pay compared with silver bars, which are also easily bought and sold.
This is gonna hurt a lot of folks and really piss off the Chinese, who have gladly taken our dollars for all the cheap stuff we've bought from them. And, like when the U.S. sneezes, Mexico catches a cold -- well a worthless dollar crash will deflate the global balloon.
And that new currency is not gonna be worth even a wooden nickel. Our government is now selling bonds for about 1%, interest. But in Greece, which is in the same big trouble now that we'll be in in less than three years, well Greece is paying over 7% on their bonds. You don't have to take out a calculator to figure out how much interest we'll have to pay on our increasing national debt. Texas common sense tells you that we can't afford over 7 times what we're paying now -- just like if cattle feed goes up by 7 times. And, thanks, young fella, for thinking I'm a wizard, but in common sense Texas, there's a lot of us!
You should also know that gold certificates were used in larger denominations before FDR confiscated the gold in 1934 so he could afford his spending spree. So, Nixon didn't begin the currency degradation. It's like FDR cut out all the best cows for himself, and then later, Nixon drove the entire herd to Washington, DC. Of course, Texas wouldn't allow that, but Oklahoma and Kansas might!
You can learn a lot of this from this, Jim Sinclair's Mindset.