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Tuesday, 3 September a.d. 2013 Browse the commentary archive

I hope y'all's holiday was pleasant. Please note that next week, from 9 September through 13 September 2013, I will be away vacationing with my family. From 6 September, this Friday, I will not be sending commentaries again until Monday, 16 September.

At the end of this commentary I've done something I've never done before: I've reprinted a short article by Joel Salatin. Once you read it, I believe you'll understand why.

Forward! September is a portentous month, since Angel Ferkel -- whoops, make that Merkel -- stands for re-election in Germany. Angela has been the heavy hand opening the tap for bailouts for the PIIGS, so this election offers the German people a chance to reject her policies. If she loses, markets will be roiled.

Remember this: when you build a house of cards, first make sure nobody in the room is hiding a ten horsepower leaf blower.

US stocks seem depressed about Bernard O'Bama's plan to embroil the US in yet another undeclared war. Last five days the Dow has bounced off 14,670 & the S&P500 off 1,627. If either breaks those levels, it will drop hard.

Dow today rose 23.65 (0.16%) to 14,833.96. S&P500 climbed 6.8 (0.42% to 1,639.77. For an idea where this puts them, the Dow's 20 DMA stands at 15,111 & the S&P500's at 1662.91. 50 DMAs at 15,239.61 & 1,661.53. Stocks need to climb above those moving averages to turn momentum skyward.

Dow in metals suffered again today. Dow in Silver fell an eye-bugging 3.62% or 22.82 oz to 608.40 oz. Dow in gold lost nearly 1% & ended at 10.506 oz. Both are trading back & forth across the long term downtrend line, and both might suffer here a sharp but brief upward correction. All the same, the trend has rolled over toward the earth's core.

Just how deep is Ben the Bloviator's trouble in Interest rates? Well, there's a downtrend line stretching back to 2007, and like a hatching egg, bond yields right now are pecking through that shell. Today the 10 year treasury note yield closed at 2.848, up 3.6%. A close above 3% will signal lift off, I believe.

US Dollar index has broken through that internal resistance around 82 & shot up, up, up above its 50 DMA. Upside down head & shoulders bottom targets 83.25 at least. Today rose 0.38% to 82.41.

But woe betide the yen & euro! Yen at last fell through that bottom channel line that had supported it since mid-May, gapping down widely through its 50 DMA (101.36) to close down 1.39% at 100.44 cents per Y100. No reason to expect it will stop before 96.41, the May low, and it might go to 80 cents/Y100 if the Japanese Nice Government Men have their way.

The Euro, remember, gapped down last week, and fell through its 20 & 50 DMAs. Today it touched but breached not its 200 dma ($1.3135). The forkéd double top in August spake not with forkéd tongue. Euro it breaches its 200 DMA, it could fall to $1.2755.

Over the weekend -- I mean Saturday-Sunday, silver & gold found a bottom near $1,380 & 2325c. Yesterday, a US holiday, was quiet but today they went rampaging. Silver bounced up 91.9 cents (3.9%) to close Comex at 2438.2c. Gold added $15.90 (1.1%) to $1,412.

Media attributed gold's boost to a strike in South African gold mines and safe haven buying spurred by US saber-rattling against Syria. If so, neither of those influences will last, as they seldom do, but the media always finds some excuse to blame any rise or fall on.

Technically, gold dropped down to support at $1,380 (recall how much trouble gold had penetrating that barrier) and silver to support at 2300c. Both on Friday had closed below the sharp uptrend lines, both jumped right back up to close slap on that line. Typically corrections follow an A-down, B-up, and C-down pattern, so you would expect this B-up to run out of steam in a day or two. But maybe Syria and South African strikes can keep that up for a few days.

All that aside, I remain persuaded that silver & gold bottomed on 27 June for the last low in the 2011-2013 correction. After this brief correction another strong upleg is coming that should take gold to $1,550 & silver toward 2700c. Then we'll see a correction of this rally up from June.

And all that was happening before Syria or strikes were making headlines. It will still be happening after those disappear from the headlines.

SUMMARY: You are watching a brief and short correction in an upward rally that has about $150 in gold and 260 cents in silver to run. Only closed below $1,320 and 2130c would gainsay that outlook.

Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Swope, Virginia is the godfather of natural and holistic farming. He has taught thousands through his books and speeches. When he speaks, I listen, because he never fills the air with empty words. Recently he wrote this piece, which I am re-printing with his permission in its entirety. It perfectly captures in one anecdote the parasitic and predatory character of the American corporate system. By the way, you can buy Joel's books at My favorite is, "Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal." -- F. Sanders

WHY do we need more farmers? What is the driving force behind USDA policy? In an infuriating epiphany I have yet to metabolize, I found out Wednesday in a private policy-generation meeting with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McCauliffe. I did and still do consider it a distinct honor for his staff to invite me as one of the 25 dignitaries in Virginia Agriculture for this think-tank session in Richmond.

It was a who's who of Virginia agriculture: Farm Bureau, Va. Agribusiness Council, Va. Forestry Association, Va. Poultry Federation, Va. Cattlemen's Association, deans from Virginia Tech and Virginia State"you get the picture. It was the first meeting of this kind I've ever attended that offered no water. The only thing to drink were soft drinks. Lunch was served in styrofoam clam shells"Lay's potato chips, sandwiches, potato salad and chocolate chip cookie. It didn't look very safe to me, so I didn't partake. But I'd have liked a drink of water. In another circumstance, I might eat this stuff, but with these folks, felt it important to make a point.

Why do they all assume nobody wants water, nobody cares about styrofoam, everybody wants potato chips and we all want industrial meat-like slabs on white bread?

But I digress. The big surprise occurred a few minutes into the meeting: US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack walked in. He was in Terry McCauliffe love-in mode. And here is what he told us: for the first time " 2012 " rural America lost population in real numbers"not as a percentage but in real numbers. It's down to 16 percent of total population.

I'm sitting there thinking he's going to say that number needs to go up so we have more people to love and steward the landscape. More people to care for earthworms. More people to grow food and fiber.

Are you ready for the shoe to drop? The epiphany? What could the US Secretary of Agriculture, at the highest strategic planning sessions of our land, be challenged by other leaders to change this figure, to get more people in rural America, to encourage farming and help more farms get started? What could be the driving reason to have more farmers? Why does he go to bed at night trying to figure out how to increase farmers? How does the President and other cabinet members view his role as the nation's farming czar?

What could be the most important contribution that increasing farmers could offer to the nation? Better food? Better soil development? Better care for animals? Better care for plants?

Are you ready? Here's his answer: although rural America only has 16 percent of the population, it gives 40 percent of the personnel to the military. Say what? You mean when it's all said and done, at the end of the day, the bottom line"you know all the clichés"the whole reason for increasing farms is to provide cannon fodder for American imperial might. He said rural kids grow up with a sense of wanting to give something back, and if we lose that value system, we'll lose our military might.

So folks, it all boils down to American military muscle. It's not about food, healing the land, stewarding precious soil and resources; it's all about making sure we keep a steady stream of youngsters going into the military. This puts an amazing twist on things. You see, I think we should have many more farmers, and have spent a lifetime trying to encourage, empower, and educate young people to go into farming. It never occurred to me that this agenda was the key to American military power.

Lest I be misread, I am not opposed to defending family. I am not opposed to fighting for sacred causes. I am violently opposed to non- sacred fighting and meddling in foreign countries, and building empires. The Romans already tried that and failed.

But to think that my agenda is key to building the American military"now that's a cause for pause. I will redouble my efforts to help folks remember why we need more farmers. It's not to provide cannon fodder for Wall Street imperialistic agendas. It's to grow food that nourishes, land that's aesthetically and aromatically sensually romantic, build soil, hydrate raped landscapes, and convert more solar energy into biomass than nature would in a static state.

I can think of many, many righteous and noble reasons to have more farms. Why couldn't he have mentioned any of these? Any?

No, the reason for more farms is to make sure we get people signing up at the recruitment office. That's the way he sees me as a farmer. Not a food producer. When the president and his cabinet have their private conflabs, they don't see farmers as food producers, as stewards of the landscape, as resource leveragers.

No, they view us as insurance for military muscle, for American empire building and soldier hubris. Is this outrageous? Do I have a right to be angry? Like me, this raw and bold show of the government's farming agenda should make us all feel betrayed, belittled, and our great nation besmirched.

Perhaps, just perhaps, really good farms don't feed this military personnel pipeline. I'd like to think our kind of farming has more righteous goals and sacred objectives. Vilsack did not separate good farmers from bad farmers. Since we have far more bad farmers than good ones, perhaps the statistic would not hold up if we had more farmers who viewed the earth as something to heal instead of hurt, as a partner to caress instead of rape.

That America's farms are viewed by our leaders as just another artery leading into military might is unspeakably demeaning and disheartening.

Tragically, I don't think this view would change with a different Democrat or Republican. It's entrenched in the establishment fraternity. Thomas Jefferson, that iconic and quintessential agrarian intellectual, said we should have a revolution about every half century just to keep the government on its toes. I'd say we're long overdue.

Now when you see those great presidentially appointed cabinet members talking, I just want you to think about how despicable it is that behind the facade, behind the hand shaking and white papers, in the private by- invitation-only inner circles of our country, movers and shakers know axiomatically that farms are really important to germinate more military personnel.

That no one in that room with Terry McCauliffe, none of those Virginia farm leaders, even blinked when he said that is still hard for me to grasp. They accepted it as truth, probably saying "Amen, brother" in their hearts. True patriots, indeed.

It'll take me awhile to get over this, and believe me, I intend to shout this from the housetops. I'll incorporate in as many public speeches as I can because I think it speaks to the heart of food and farming. It speaks to the heart of strength and security; which according to our leaders comes from the end of a gun, not from the alimentary canal of an earthworm. Here's to more healthy worms. [END Salatin Article]

Argentum et aurum comparanda sunt —
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— Franklin Sanders, The Moneychanger

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Market Snapshot See more charts and market data
3-Sep-13 Price Change % Change
Gold, $/oz 1,412.00 15.90 1.14%
Silver, $/oz 24.38 0.92 3.92%
Gold/Silver Ratio 57.912 -1.591 -2.67%
Silver/Gold Ratio 0.0173 0.0005 2.75%
Platinum 1,537.30 -17.70 -1.14%
Palladium 716.20 -8.30 -1.15%
S&P 500 1,639.77 6.80 0.42%
Dow 14,833.96 23.65 0.16%
Dow in GOLD $s 217.17 -2.12 -0.97%
Dow in GOLD oz 10.51 -0.10 -0.97%
Dow in SILVER oz 608.40 -22.82 -3.62%
US Dollar Index 83.33 0.04 0.05%
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SPOT GOLD: 1,412.10      
GOLD Fine Tr.Oz. BID ASK $/oz
American Eagle 1.00 1,444.58 1,457.99 1,457.99
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British sovereign 0.24 334.40 346.40 1,471.55
French 20 franc 0.19 263.64 270.64 1,449.59
Krugerrand 1.00 1,429.05 1,441.05 1,441.05
Maple Leaf 1.00 1,427.10 1,442.10 1,442.10
1/2 Maple Leaf 0.50 811.96 741.35 1,482.71
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Mexican 50 peso 1.21 1,690.51 1,703.51 1,412.88
.9999 bar 1.00 1,417.04 1,428.04 1,428.04
SPOT SILVER: 24.25      
SILVER Fine Tr.Oz. BID ASK $/oz
VG+ Morgan $B4 1905 0.77 25.50 28.00 36.60
VG+ Peace dollar 0.77 21.50 25.00 32.68
90% silver coin bags 0.72 17,982.25 18,482.25 25.85
US 40% silver 1/2s 0.30 6,962.00 7,112.00 24.11
100 oz .999 bar 100.00 2,435.00 2,500.00 25.00
10 oz .999 bar 10.00 243.50 250.00 25.00
1 oz .999 round 1.00 24.35 25.10 25.10
Am Eagle, 200 oz Min 1.00 25.50 27.25 27.25
SPOT PLATINUM: 1,537.30      
Plat. Platypus 1.00 1,547.30 1,577.30 1,577.30
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Warnings and Disclaimers

To avoid confusion, please remember that the comments above have a very short time horizon. Always invest with the primary trend. Gold's primary trend is up, targeting at least $3,130.00; silver's primary trend is up, targeting 16:1 gold/silver ratio or $195.66; stock's primary trend is down, targeting Dow under 2,900 and worth only one ounce of gold or 16 ounces of silver. US$ and US$-denominated assets, primary trend down; real estate bubble has burst, primary trend down.

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  • Do NOT use these commentaries to trade futures contracts. I don't intend them for that or write them with that short-term trading outlook. I write them for long-term investors in physical metals. Take them as entertainment, but not as a timing service for futures.
  • NOR do I recommend investing in gold or silver Exchange Trade Funds (ETFs). Those are NOT physical metal and I fear one day or another may go up in smoke. Unless you can breathe smoke, stay away. Call me paranoid, but the surviving rabbit is wary of traps.
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The US DOLLAR INDEX is the average exchange rate for the US dollar against the Euro, Yen, Pound sterling, Canadian Dollar, Swiss Franc, and Swedish Krona, weighted for each country's trade with the US. It gives a general measure of the US dollar's performance against all other currencies.

The DOW IN GOLD DOLLARS measures the Dow Jones Industrial Average in gold dollars (0.048375 troy oz. by law). The DiG$ depicts the Primary (20 year) Trend of stocks against gold. When the DiG$ is dropping, gold is gaining value against stocks in a trend that should last 15-20 years. The DiG$'s chart is identical to the Dow in ounces of gold, but gives us one unvarying measure all the way back to 1896. Because it shows the primary trend ("tide") of gold against stocks, for investors it is the single most important financial chart in the world today. Since its August 1999 high at G$925.42 (44.8 ounces), the DiG$ has trended down, targeting a G$80-G$20 (4-1 oz. of gold will buy the whole Dow).

The DOW IN SILVER OUNCES shows how many ounces of silver are needed to buy the entire Dow. The DiSoz is trending down with a target of under 36 ounces.

The GOLD/SILVER RATIO is the gold price divided by the silver price, and shows how many ounces of silver it takes to buy one ounce of gold. The Ratio shows us the Primary (20 year) Trend of gold's value against silver. When the Ratio's trend is dropping, silver is gaining value against gold. This trend targets a gold/silver ratio of 16 ounces of silver to one of gold within the next 5-10 years. That implies that silver will massively, vastly outperform gold before this bull market ends. When both metals are rallying, the ratio often (but not always) drops, confirming the rally.

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