The Jeremiad

Mon, Oct 27, 2014 - 7:32am

Back in 1990 my wife and I took a three month trip to Mexico to help decide if we were really called to be missionaries, or merely had a burden to help people. The difference is critical. But while there, I recognized that Spanish speaking people had problems pronouncing my name Jerome. They don’t use the “J” sound in Spanish and the letter “E” is pronounced as a long “A” is in English, and there are no silent letters. So my friend there, a native, suggested I use a Spanish version of Jerome. He suggested Jeremiah or Geronimo (Spanish for Jerome, Goyaałé in Apache). Jeremiah was the prophet that dared to warn Jerusalem about a coming disaster. Well, I chose Jeremiah because it was biblical, and for several months was known as Jeremiah—or “Jeremias” in Español. We were not called to be missionaries, and ultimately satisfied our burden with annual trips delivering medical care to impoverished indigenous people in the Sierra Nevada mountains—ironically the same range where Geronimo found refuge.

But the other day I found myself saddled with the Jeremiah complex. This time it is not simply making my name easier to say. I have been posting short warnings on Facebook (a site which most of my family reads vigorously) about the economic situation. I started the day the “satan signal” appeared. I just thought that was very interesting and people might be curious and open to hear about FED manipulation and the PPT. Each time I begin preaching, I have certain relatives to tell me to stop being a gloom ‘n doomer. (I shouldn’t have had that beer before I sat down to write my last Facebook post). My mother says it makes her sad when I get negative. Other friends do not comment at all, but hit that “like” button each time I mention the weather, tell some outdoors hiking or camping story, or talk about something from my academic research. They like the professor, but not the economic forecaster.

Each time mom mentions my “negativity” about the future, she also reminds me of how well a family friend “Bruce” has done in investing and quotes something profound he says. This week it was this gem: “Stock market volatility is normal.” I like Bruce and he has done very well, but he profited on land speculation in Phoenix in during the boom years, then invested in large apartment complexes. He has done quite well. So that makes him an expert in all things financial, including stock markets. Well at least that is how mom tells it.

I think Jeremiah previously learned the lesson of Jonah. It’s even worse to NOT go tell the truth to someone. But he still found trouble for telling the truth—thrown into a cistern by the king. So I have to keep telling the truth, somehow, in a way that doesn’t come off as doomin ‘n gloomin. I’d like to stay out of the family cistern.

Jeremiah’s life and message has morphed into a speech genre known as the Jeremiad.

"I tell you the truth in Christ, and I lie not. Unless you repent, you will all be damned." --George Whitefield 1740

Its basic structure is to point out wrongdoing, declare it as an affront to justice, and warn of the disastrous consequences if we do not change. This genre of discourse is firmly fixed in the human psyche. Politician use it. Gold bugs use it. Many classic fairy tales and other cultural myths use this structure. Ayn Rand’s fine book was intended for this purpose. I count her as a modern Jeremiah. My mother even preached me her own Jeremiad, warning me that If I continue being negative, I’ll be unhappy and develop health problems.

The solution I see is to reverse the Jeremiad; instead of sin and punishment, speak of mercy and duty. We should thank the Almighty for his mercies—that we have time and insight into the economic problems, that we have a “gift” of low metal prices, lower real estate prices, falling costs on many items as well as cheaper labor to help build and outfit a safe location for future life. We should thank God and then recognize our duty to take action. This site has been a fabulous resource for discussing plans, hearing from people who are raising goats, chickens gardens, even quail, people building greenhouses, solar systems, generators, and other self-sufficiency devices. The forums are here, the expertise is here, a private messaging system is here (all free, I might add). And the regulars on this site are willing to share knowledge, links, and experiences.

You’re right mom, I shouldn’t be so negative, I should get more active. I should take the name of Geronimo and help my clan and friends to resist the evil invaders of our land and keep our way of life, rather than be defeated and relocated to FEMA camps to the reservations where we would depend on the government for our livelihood. Alas, that even in Geronimo’s day, many Apaches chose to support the US government against their own people, and many others sheepishly relocated to miserable reservations at the first request. Not enough followed that inspired leader.

But in this century, the future is not so grim. it is a small minority attempting to control overwhelming majority of the middle class. They must employ propaganda and lies to succeed. The impoverishment of America is also part of the plan—because those living on government largess will resist being weaned from their mama. So we still have a chance to win. Our pb stacking rights will impede government oppression; our right to free speech can keep us encouraged and linked together, perhaps even counter the propaganda barrage—if we can hold onto these rights.

Man of action or talk. Geronimo* was a man of action, Jeremiah a preacher who told the truth. As a professor, I talk too much AND DO TOO LITTLE. I could use more balance in my life. My prepping has been slow and tedious as I am pulled aside to do my job at the university. I have to get my home to a state of self-sufficiency more quickly during this gift of time. We are a year behind schedule now, and I again thank God for the gift of time. But I have to get my hiney in gear, stop spending so much time on Facebook and other blogs (that probably means this one too) and get to work.

As for facebook, I’ll quit writing scary economic warnings there as I have my Friday afternoon beer, and instead write stuff that offers a vision of hope, for those who have ears, and simply invite people to contact me privately if they have economic concerns. If I can be inspired by my namesake, then my actions could make a difference.

I stopped by a website of our old friend yesterday after hearing that he was railing against anyone who suggests that gold is worth owning. Gee, I felt like the guy on Monty Python that wandered into “Abuse” when he just went there for a good argument. Apparently, if you think owning metal is a good idea, and say so, you are a charlatan now, even though many there are gold owners. When I clicked back over to this site, I had to chuckle at Marchas’ dart board. (Edit: The other readers posting in the comments section were polite and fair with me.)

I have been shocked at the pounding the miners are taking. I keep cost averaging in with my retirement account, but this recent beatdown has taken JNUG to half its value of the last time gold touched 1180

I better stop writing and get outside to finish digging and installing the drainage line to collect rain water at the back of the house on this gift of fine, warm, sunny, morning weather.

Well, that’s my view as this morning. Chin up. Do something today that helps you sleep at night.

* Goyaałé (Geronimo is what the Mexicans called him) was a “war shaman” who led a small band of his people in resistance against the US and Mexican government, trying to preserve their freedom and life along the Arizona- Mexico border. They were never defeated, but finally negotiated an honorable surrender. The US broke their promise and shipped Goyaałé and his warriors as prisoners to Florida.

About the Author


Oct 27, 2014 - 7:39am

always love your posts

Doc, thank you!!!

Oct 27, 2014 - 7:44am


(Squib was first) back to the drawing board!

Oct 27, 2014 - 7:55am


Nice looking leg for a guy who walks through cactus most days.

Oct 27, 2014 - 8:05am

Something bad COULD happen

But it won't, because I have this plan. Also, I have a plan B, in case plan A fails. And I have plan C, which gives me time to come up with plan D, just in case plan B fails.

Yes, I live on half of what I make, just in case. I don't feel the loss of the fancy new car because I drive a disposable. If it costs more than X to fix it, I just get another disposable. No, I don't think it's weird at all. My wife, my kids they live the same way - we don't have a lot, but we don't need a lot. If I have to leave for a year to find work, they can live off what's saved up.

Meh. So long as they're safe and provided for, the rest is just details.

Oct 27, 2014 - 8:13am

China launches direct trade between yuan, Singapore dollar

• China on Monday announced direct trading between the renminbi and Singapore dollar beginning Tuesday.

• The announcement by CFETS extended the yuan's list of direct onshore trade to more major currencies

• The move is also expected to help Singapore in its bid to become a renminbi offshore center.

BEIJING, Oct. 27 (Xinhua) -- China on Monday announced direct trading between the renminbi and Singapore dollar beginning Tuesday, marking another step toward internationalizing the Chinese currency.

The announcement by China Foreign Exchange Trading System (CFETS) extended the yuan's list of direct onshore trade to more major currencies, including the U.S. dollar, the euro, British sterling, Japanese yen, Australian dollar, New Zealand dollar, Malaysian ringgit and Russian ruble.

The move aims to boost bilateral trade and investment, facilitate the use of the two currencies in trade and investment settlement and reduce exchange costs for market players, the CFETS said in a statement on its website.

The move is also expected to help Singapore in its bid to become a renminbi offshore center.

According to the arrangement, China's interbank foreign exchange market will kick off direct trading between the yuan and the Singapore dollar via spot, forward and swap contracts.

With direct trading of their currencies, China and Singapore will be less dependent on the U.S. dollar to settle bilateral trade and investment deals.

Oct 27, 2014 - 8:14am

Bank of China to win approval for yuan clearing in Australia

BEIJING/HONG KONG: Bank of China Ltd's Sydney branch is set to win regulatory approval to begin clearing trades in Chinese yuan, according to sources with direct knowledge of the issue, paving the way for Australia to become an offshore hub for the Chinese currency.

The sources said China's central bank will award the mandate to Bank of China, the country's fourth-largest bank by market capitalisation and the world's biggest player in cross-border yuan transactions.

Yuan clearing banks not only make cross-border yuan payments more timely and convenient, but increase the awareness of yuan usage among local companies and help yuan deposits to accumulate in a country.

Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) Deputy Governor Philip Lowe said in July that the central bank was working with the People's Bank of China (PBOC) on a memorandum of understanding that would allow a clearing bank to be selected this year.

Oct 27, 2014 - 8:19am

Indians prefer gold, mutual funds for investments

Indians love gold. But interestingly, mutual funds too are fast gaining popularity as an investment option. According to a report by ASSOCHAM, while gold continues to be a safe bet, Indians are also returning to the stock market for higher returns following a buoyancy in the equity market in the recent times.

"The middle class families are investing in gold as the reliable and stable bet while some of them are also returning to the riskier option of the stock market, enthused by a runaway rise in the equity market in the last one year, especially after formation of the new government at the centre," said DS Rawat, general secretary of the industry body.

The report revealed that considerable percentage of working women preferred investing in the stock market as well through mutual funds schemes like Systematic Investment Plans (SIP) for quicker returns.

According to the study, about 72% of the respondents preferred gold as an investing option followed by shares and mutual fund schemes in this festive season followed by extra earnings from bonuses. On the other hand, 62% of corporate seconded the equity markets for investment because there is an easy availability of advisory consultants who they can rely on for guidance.

"They are now focusing on investing in gold and stock markets rather than in traditional channels of investment like post offices, fixed deposit and PPF promoted by the government," added Rawat.

Nevertheless, Indian investors still practiced investing a portion of their funds in the traditional options as these assured safe returns.

Interestingly, analysts noted that while investment in gold may seem as a good option, it may lead to a riskier situation in the overall economy in the long run. "Gold imports rose by 450% in September which is actually worrying as this would add substantially to our import bills. Rising imports have caused concerns among the policy makers while the government is mulling import curbs again," noted Rawat.

Imagine if 72% of Americans preferred gold as an investing option.

Motley Fool
Oct 27, 2014 - 8:27am

Dr Jerome

Fwiw, I used to be quite pessimistic about the future, and I did find it depressing.

However my outlook has changed. I am very positive about the future, despite the fact that there will be a hard period of adjustment.

I now view the future as bright and full of promise. In fact, I think we are about to enter a 1000 year golden era.

Oct 27, 2014 - 8:31am

@Dr. J

Lol yes I read your back and forth on the other board and I was impressed by SOME of what Ophelia Balls had to say and I said SOME (Peacemaker of sorts).

Myself I don't like negativity and I tend to shy away from it as I don't like people getting hurt by ech other, as the old saying go's "They Know Not What They Do"

Anyway enjoyed your story Dr. J Have a Great Day and Keep Stacking

sierra skier
Oct 27, 2014 - 8:35am

It is a fine line to walk

It is a fine line to walk between sharing what we read and know with folks who refuse to remove their head from the sand. There are ways to get them thinking and bring their awareness about but you need to ge ginger about upsetting their world too much at a time.

So many friends scoff at information I presented that I have had to go about awakening folks with much more discretion. Some folks just do not wish to know about the bad things going on and desire to be blind.

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