Ask Lee Now: Answering Readers Questions

We love to hear from readers! Please email your question or comment to Independent Living editor Lee Bellinger ([email protected]).

Please include your name and home state. You may also reach us via postal mail (P.O. Box 1240; Clover, SC 29710-4240).

Back to the Cashless Society Warning You Should Know About

Dick H. writes: How long do we have before the gov’t mandates a cashless society? When
they do what will happen to those of us who have a large amount of cash on hand?

Also, you state in the June newsletter that some banks like JPMorgan Chase are refusing to take cash as payment for loans and mortgages. How can they do so when it states on every denomination of our paper money “this note is legal tender for all debts, public and private”?

Lee responds: The bureaucrats and corporatists behind the move to abolish the use of physical cash have a long-term perspective. They intend to reach their ultimate goal by gradually acclimating the public to using electronic payments for even the smallest of transactions. If you’ve flown on a major airline recently, you’ve probably heard an announcement that only credit or debit cards are accepted for purchases of drinks or snacks. It doesn’t matter that cash is still “legal tender.” If cash is an inconvenience – whether to corporations, banks, or the IRS – they can declare they won’t accept it.

Preventing private parties from doing business in cash will be a more difficult hurdle for the authorities. Ceasing to print cash and banning it from circulating would drive people into underground alternative currencies and barter instruments. The authorities don’t want to see that. For now, it’s still advisable to hoard some cash.

Thanks for Your Warning – It Has Wings Now

Barry O. writes: We are long-term subscribers of your Independent Living news and absolute bullion fanatics. Red Alert! Red Alert!

We are sharing with you what has happened to us and you may want to alert other subscribers so they do not suffer the apparent losses we have. Over the past 8 years we had successfully used online trading services…

Recently, we placed 2 significant orders with them totaling thirty-five thousand dollars, expecting fulfillment as usual. After more than 8 weeks without order fulfillment and exploring
the forums attached to the website, we discovered many customers are having the same experience with orders placed and no fulfillment nor ability to obtain information from the

We have opened cases against the company with the Texas Attorney General’s Office; the Federal Trade Commission; and the FBI Internet Crimes division. Earlier we had opened a case with the Texas Better Business Bureau to no avail…. For us personally, we are no longer going to risk an online trade with any party. This seems to be a pivotal turning point in the bullion market. It’s not all hands on deck, it’s “all hands on bars”. Whoever holds the bullion now will make the rules.

When the Mint Jumps Straight Into the Turbulence

Lee responds: As of this writing, Bullion Direct’s web site displays the following message: “Bullion Direct has experienced significant transactional delays.To avoid further inconvenience or other adverse consequences to our customers, Bullion Direct is suspending its operations as it attempts to resolve those issues.”

It’s surprising to see this company melt down after having been in business as a leading onlineprecious metals dealer for so many years. Perhaps poor planning/hedging for adverse market conditions is to blame; perhaps negligence or fraud is at work. We don’t know all the facts yet.

As spot gold and silver prices dipped toward new lows for the year in July, many dealers got hit with more orders than they could process. The U.S. Mint suspended sales of Silver Eagles. That led to retail shortages of Eagles and other popular coins as demand outstripped the ability of fabricators to produce supply.

But these challenging market conditions are no excuse for a dealer to give customers the shaft. Most reputable dealers are reporting only minor delays for order fulfillment of most products. It’s essential that you take a glance at online reviews on dealers before placing large orders with them. The hundreds of customer complaints on Bullion Direct registered with the Better Business Bureau and on various online forums in recent weeks served as a warning sign (though your latest order may have been placed before most of the complaints started rolling in).

As you suggest, whoever holds the physical metal is ultimately in control. If you want to be sure you are 100% in control of the precious metals you purchase, then buy from a local coin shop. Only buy what’s in current inventory. If you can walk out with your product immediately in hand, then you will eliminate counter-party risk.

What’s Going on With Chase Bank’s Silver Buying Spree?

J.T. writes: Why is Chase bank buying up silver by the billions [of dollars]?

Lee responds: Good question. JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup both took on enormous derivative positions in precious metals earlier this year. It’s not clear how much physical silver Chase actually owns or intends to own. Or why. Theories abound.

But what is clear is that the mega-banks have the ability to manipulate the market due to their concentrated derivative positions. Their already outsized positions exploded in the first half of the year. Perhaps they are making huge directional bets on price movements. Perhaps they are trying to prevent other traders from moving the market in one direction or the other.

In any event, Citi and Chase have together nearly cornered the market for gold and silver. The graphs make that clear.

Paul Craig Roberts and Dave Kranzler recently penned an article titled “Are Big Banks Using Derivatives to Suppress Bullion Prices?” They note that “the Federal Reserve’s agents, the bullion banks (principally JPMorgan Chase, HSBC, and Scotia) sell uncovered shorts (“naked shorts”) on the Comex (gold futures market) in order to drive down an otherwise rising price… More evidence of manipulation comes from the continuing fall in the prices of gold and silver as set in paper future markets, although demand for the physical metals continues to rise even to the point that the US Mint has run out of silver coins to sell.”

Yes, Become Fluent in the Ways of Junk Silver

Carol and David F. writes: A short while back you were providing information for your Independent Living subscribers to use in obtaining silver and/or gold. At that time we were not in a financial position to make that type of purchase. We are now able to do so and are looking for what is identified as ‘Junk Silver’.

We thought we had saved the ‘insert’ but have not been able to locate it. Would you please inform us where we can locate this type of information. We looked on the American Lantern Press web site without luck.

Thank you in advance for your kindness. We appreciate all you do for your readers.

Lee responds: “Junk silver” refers to dimes, quarters, and half dollars minted in 1964 or earlier. They are composed of 90% silver. These 90% silver coins are widely sought after as bullion or potential barter or collectible items. They can be obtained through most any coin dealer, though occasionally they are in short supply or carry elevated premiums when demand for them spikes.

Sure, Credit Unions Are Safer Than Banks, But….

Barbara P. writes: I am concerned what you have said about banking. Do you believe putting savings in a credit union is safer?

Lee responds: In general, yes, credit unions are safer than banks. Credit unions don’t deploy the extreme leverage or engage in the high-risk derivatives trading that many banks have ventured into. And unlike mega-banks, credit unions offer community-based, personalized service to members.

Mega-bank Wells Fargo was hit with a civil lawsuit in May over its aggressive sales tactics. According to the suit, Wells Fargo’s sales targets amount to a quota system that incentivizes branch managers and employees to open accounts for people regardless of whether they ask for them or need them. Some customers reportedly had fee-laden accounts and credit cards opened for them without their permission.

As USA Today (May 5, 2015) reported, “Wells Fargo has been pushing for the average customer to hold eight different accounts as part of its ‘going for gr-eight’ initiative. This has resulted in pressure on bankers to victimize consumers or face repercussions, including termination, for failing to meet sales quotas…”

The national mega-banks score poorly on customer service and privacy protection. So why do customers continue to hold accounts with them? The giant “too big to fail” banks don’t deserve your business. If you want honest, personalized customer service from people who know you, credit unions and local banks are your best bet.Not all credit unions and local banks have great customer service or are financially strong, but you should be able to find at least one in your area with a good reputation.

You Bet I Can Help!

James M. writes: Lee, I am a VERY LONG time subscriber. A few years ago, you advertised the Power Whisperer for about $1995. I didn’t have the money then, but started saving for it. By the time I saved enough cash to buy it, you have raised the price to like $3,108. Why such a drastic price increase in such a short time? My wife and I are 72 and 73 years old and only on social security with no other retirement benefits. I am unable to build a unit myself, not being handy with tools. Do you ever foresee these things being reduced in price in the future so that some of the less affluent can obtain one? Or can you direct me to any other affordable solar power unit that is effective? We live in the woods and hills of Arkansas.

Lee responds: On page 4 of this issue, I give you all the plans, specifications, and building instructions to make your very own home based solar generator power backup system. See page 4 and you get all the keys to my research and tactics. You and your friends can build it based on this information. You don’t have to buy from me! Use this service to make your own power backup system.

I want to drill down further. There is not a single “hard” product we offer that you can’t assemble and build for yourself. As a subscriber, you get free access to all the best research that went into the development of my product inventions. That goes for the PowerWhisperer Home Power Backup System and my advanced bug out bag (E-PACK) and the newly launched MED-E-PACK family hospital system too.

I’ve spent millions of dollars creating all these products and the fruits of all my findings are yours without reservation or hold-back by me.

Soon, I will introduce a covert emergency communication system that is designed for families who live in the same areas. It is an EMP-proof communications system with a 50 mile range and is totally portable and discreet. It is all encrypted communications in the event cell phones go down in a national emergency. When ECOM-CON comes to market, I will also show you how to build one of these advanced systems for your family, friends and neighbors too. That is my trademark, and I stand by it. Thank you for being an Independent Living subscriber.
– Lee

“Ask Lee Now” is presented for general educational purposes only. Because we don’t know enough about readers’ personal situations, the opinions expressed here
should not be construed as a recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument at any time. We will not be responsible for financial decisions that readers
make, and they should be made in consultation with their own advisers.