[Editor's Note: The essay you are about to read was written
in 1990 by 80 year old Jesse George Murray, a retired newspaperman, as a
letter to to his nephew, Charlie. Jesse had sent a copy of his letter to
a newspaper friend named Vern Whaley. When Whaley's daughter-in-law discovered
the letter among Vern's possessions after he died, she sent a copy of it
to a man named Bob who subsequently put it up on the internet in 2002. The
copy I received was sent courtesy of Slim Spurling <Acuvacset@aol.com
By Jesse George Murray
January 12, 2005
JESSE GEORGE MURRAY
ELK RANCH, ROUTE 5, BOX 226
EUREKA SPRINGS, ARK. 72632
Dear Vern [Whaley],
Here is something I wrote for a nephew. Right now, on the
eve of the greatest economic crash in world history, some of the ideas in
it might interest you.
When you were down here you asked why I thought of gold as
a "store of value." The easy answer is that an ounce of gold is
"real money" as distinct from pieces of green paper. An ounce
of gold has approximated the price of a fine suit of clothes, a thousand
years ago, a hundred years ago, thirty years ago, and today. People who
refuse paper money will always accept gold.
Never let yourself be confused by the numbers on the pieces
of paper. They can be changed at will by any bunch of politicians, acting
in concert. No politician can destroy a real store of value.Mind you, I
have never subscribed to the idea that I am smart and other men are stupid.
I try not to sell myself short, but I believe -- generally speaking -- the
other guy is just as smart as I am. I give the other guy credit for having
just about the same motivations.
With my profession as a writing man, I use that profession
wherever possible to increase my material wealth. Other men are professional
politicians. I expect them to use their profession wherever possible --
and legal -- increasing their own wealth.When I reached Chicago in 1930,
I landed on the Near North Side, in the 43d Ward. I grew to know the ward
committeeman, Mathias Bauler. I was a young reporter living in his area
and we cultivated each other. >From listening, I learned a bit about
politics and politicians.
In succeeding years, I learned that what was true in the 43d
Ward was true throughout Chicago. In 1937 I went to work on the Rocky Mountain
News in Denver. What I had learned of 43d Ward politics was equally true
out there.In 1938, I was working on the Toronto Star. I found that what
was true of American politics was equally true of the Canadians. In 1939,
I was sent to cover Washington and the Roosevelt White House for two years.
What was true in Chicago was true, I found, in Washington. Over the years
I found that what was true with one group of men -- newspapermen or politicians
-~ was equally true of others of the same groups, wherever found. I later
had a chance to confirm these observations in London, Paris, Vienna, and
Rome. In each place, beginning with Chicago, I made it my business to study
history as well as current events. It all checked out.
Forgive me if I go all around Robin Hood's barn in getting
to the subject of gold as a store of value. I have become accustomed to
writing at so much a word, and it is hard to break the habit.
Gold is what men buy when they want to lay a bit of wealth
aside for a rainy day. Gold is what men will sell if they see a chance to
turn a bit of a profit in doing so. Gold is what Midas acquired.In 1932,
Americans went to the polls. Under the usual propaganda campaign they elected
an international banker, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, President of the United
States.Too many persons have forgotten FDR's history. In l923-1926, he was
president of the bank which sold Deutsch marks and German bonds to a greedy
American public. It was a swindle. The D-marks and bonds were worthless.
Only FDR and his associates got rich out of the deal.Roosevelt was elected
in 1932, to be inaugurated March 4, 1933. Every thoughtful American could
see (as any thoughtful American can see today) that banks were insolvent
and were going broke every day.Three weeks before the inauguration, Bernard
Baruch, the wealthy stock exchange speculator, publicly stated:"The
condition of the country is the most serious in its history. Talk of inflation
retards business. Start talking about that and you will not have a nickel's
worth of gold in the Federal Reserve System."
By Feb. 19, 1933, gold withdrawals from banks increased from
five to fifteen million dollars a day. In two weeks, $114,000,000 in gold
was taken for export and $150,000,000 withdrawn to go into hiding. Roosevelt,
the international banker turned politician, did what his instincts and training
taught him to do: he used his profession legally to double his own wealth
and that of his friends. FDR decided to increase the price of an ounce of
gold from $20.16 to $35. He did not increase its value, just its price.
Having made his decision, he passed the word among his friends. Thousands
of insiders" are always privy in advance to a bonanza such as this.
The word is passed to family and political associates.Then the nine politicians
on the Supreme Court bench are informed. Then the leaders of both Houses
of Congress. Naturally, the cabinet members and the top bureaucrats in Government
A really tremendous swindle cannot be kept secret from everyone.
Leaders of the domestic banking fraternity -- Chase Manhattan,
or Chase National as it then was called; National City Bank, et al. And
leaders of the international merchant banking fraternity – Kuhn Loeb,
Dillon Read, Lazard Frères, Lehmann Brothers, the Rothschilds. The
word was passed to all the insiders: "This is the one you mortgage
the farm for. Turn everything you've got into gold and hold the physical
stuff for a week or so. When we raise its price you will double your money."
A few days later the deed was done. Everybody profited except
the ordinary Americans. The politicians laughed uproariously as they recounted
to each other how they once again had put over a swindle. The man whose
gold holdings had been worth 20 million dollars suddenly found them worth
thirty-five million. The man with 2 million was suddenly worth $3.5 million.
The man with 200 thousand was overnight able to count his fortune at 350
thousand dollars. People who know anything about wealth and its uses never
spend a dollar of capital. They invest at the highest interest rates they
can safely earn and live from year to year on the income from the capital.
The man who had been investing 20 million at 5 per cent, earning
a million dollars a year, now had $35 million invested at 5 per cent and
had earnings of $1,750,000 a year.Did the newspapers explain to readers
what this swindle was all about? Never. Owners, publishers, editors were
in on the scheme. The rest -- those with wit enough to understand it ~-
kept still about it. Did the Walter Cronkites of the world tell radio listeners
about it? Never. Reporters, writers, columnists, commentators are never
permitted to write or say anything their bosses do not want said or written.The
American people remained uninformed. And it was all 1egal.
I have gone into some detail on this because it discloses
a pattern which I have seen repeated time after time -- with variations
-- over the years. I was 23 at that time, and I am 80 today. Some think
me cynical about politicians. Not so. I am a realist. I have studied history.
I have observed current events in their unfolding. I would have to be stupid
to miss such broad patterns. I never, never, never trust a Government. Any
Government. My own Government or any other Government.
I recognize, as our American forefathers recognized 200 years
ago this month in Philadelphia, that any Government and every Government
is the enemy of the citizen, the force against which he must protect himself.I
am always astonished at how difficult the ordinary American finds it to
understand and live by this simple fact. Few Americans ever take twenty
minutes out of their lives to read our Constitution. Or the history of our
country. The Constitution of the United States, every single word of it,
is directed to one end -- and one end, only: to protect the ordinary citizen
from the Government. That's all it is, nothing more.
Any time one is tempted to put his faith in the Government
of the United States, let him go back and read -- one by one -- the treaties
signed by our Government with the American Indians. Any time one is tempted
to put faith in the Government's "promises to pay," let him go
back and take a look at every single bond issue ever put out by our Government.
The bond issues are all alike; I will go into detail about one! In 1940,
our Government urged us all to "buy war bonds." The Series E,
typical of the rest, cost $18.75. At maturity, ten years later, the Government
promised to pay the bondholder $25.
Now, here's the perfectly legal swindle coming into play.
In 1940, an excellent pair of good leather Thom McAn shoes
cost $3.30. So it took 6 1/2 pairs of shoes to buy a bond. Ten years later
that same pair of shoes cost $25. So to "buy a bond" cost 6 1/2
pairs of shoes. And at redemption time the buyer got back just one pair
of shoes. Is this difficult to understand? I don't know how it could be
made clearer or simpler. In ten years our Government cheated its trusting
citizens -- those who bought bonds -- out of 5 1/2 pairs of shoes. Inflation,
let us never forget, is not an impersonal force such as an earthquake, a
volcano, a tornado, a tidal wave. Inflation is a policy consciously adopted
-- or rejected -- by politicians in Government.
In our United States all power to accept or reject rests in
the hands of exactly 545 men and women: 435 in the House of Representatives,
100 in the Senate, nine on the Supreme Court, and the President. Can they
blame the Federal Reserve? No. By a simple majority vote, the Congress can
take over operations of the Federal Reserve. Just as Congress can raise
or lower the price of gold. Congress cannot raise or lower the value of
gold, just its price. They make a big thing out of the daily meeting in
the Rothschild bank at which the price of gold is determined for the day.
All well and good for speculators. It has little to do with the ordinary
people. Under our Constitution the Congress -- and the Congress alone --
> is the Government of the United States. This is the body which is the
principal enemy of the people. This is the enemy permitted (on1y by the
people's apathy) to vote inflation in or out. And it is the members of Congress
and they alone who line their pockets daily at the expense of the people
From time to time we hear, "but my Congressman is not
like that." Once they join this body of men and women they become co-
conspirators. If they don't steal, they won't snitch on those who do steal.
By the way, the word "Constitution" is not the magic word. The
magic words are those contained in the Constitution. That of the United
States begins with the words, "We, the People ..."
By contrast, the 1937 Constitution of the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics, which I have here at hand, "guarantees" that
the state will see that citizens have work, food, lodging, leisure. What
the Government can give or guarantee, the Government can take away. Given
the choice between these two Constitutions, I will take that of the United
States. The every line of our Constitution, as I said above, cautions the
people against the Government and seeks to protect the people from the Government.
Now, back to gold.
Every spokesman for our Government today tells all us ordinary
Americans that gold is not important in our scheme of things. All the mainstream
media (New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times)
tell us we would be silly to buy and hold any store of the yellow metal.
If the Government is in favor of each of us buying gold, get suspicious
at once. If the Government tells us not to buy gold, go out and acquire
all you can. That's Rule No. 1. If the major newspapers and television networks
assure you that everything is hunky-dory and that the physical possession
of gold only means you lose interest on other investments, go out and buy
gold. That's an extension of Rule No. 1. Go back and study what I've written
about Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his associates putting over their 1933
swindle on the American people. Nothing has changed. In 1949, just after
World War II, the U. S. Treasury boasted of holding 700 million ounces of
gold. In the early '80s, this figure had dropped to 250 million ounces.
Recently I saw an estimate that the Treasury now holds less than 50 million
ounces of gold. Where did it go? Was it good for the Treasury to have had
700 million ounces, or was that a very grave mistake? If it was good for
the Treasury to have 700 million ounces then, is it bad to have only 50
million ounces today? It seems to me those are pertinent questions. Until
1971, the U. S. Treasury had been losing gold to foreign countries, about
436 million ounces. Then President Richard M. Nixon said foreign governments
no longer would be able to change their dollars into gold.
So much for our Government's promises to pay.
In other words, in 1971 the Government of the United States
acknowledged to the world that it is bankrupt. The Government said that
its promise to redeem paper money with gold was an outright lie.When Roosevelt
changed the price of gold, there was a reason. He and his friends made a
bundle at the expense of ordinary people. When Nixon changes the price of
gold, there is a reason. He made a bundle.
Some writers, in their arrogance, call politicians "stupid."
Robert J. Ringer, in his 1983 book, "Looking Out for No. 1," wrote
of this period from 1950 to 1980: "The U. S. Government, in an incredible
display of stupidity, has seemingly found endless ways to squander its gold
As I said earlier, I never think of myself as smart and all
other men as stupid. When the politicians who are our Government act in
a way which one would characterize a “ stupid," I assume they
have an excellent reason for doing so. When the 545 men and women who comprise
the U. S. Government permit Treasury gold to end up in somebody else's pockets,
I have to believe that individually and collectively, they profited by that
act. Such men and women are not stupid. They line their pockets -- legally
-- whenever and wherever they can. Nobody ever heard of a needy politician!
You can bet there were kickbacks from bankers -- foreign and
domestic -- to the Congressmen and Senators and Associate Justices who looked
the other way while the gold was siphoned off Fort Knox, Kentucky. Maybe
you never heard of Fort Knox. That is a stronghold, built at the expenditure
of mi11ions, as a storage place for U. S. Treasury gold. And not so long
ago, either. Today it stands, an empty hulk, still guarded by soldiers on
the U. S. Army payroll. Nobody knows why; nobody asks. It's simply an empty
building so far as Congress -- or anybody else -- can learn. Two or three
times a few Congressmen have sought to get a physical audit of "the
gold" in Fort Knox. Each time they returned to Washington in frustration.
The custodians of Fort Knox are not about to permit Congressmen to know
whether there is any gold there -- and, if so, how much.
You might say, so much for the legend that Congress governs
the United States. You'd be wrong. The members of Congress have accepted
kickbacks from the bankers and now are not in a position to "expose"
the bankers. Remember what I told you about Chicago politics. When Mayor
Martin Kennelly learned that 81 cents of every dollar gambled at the Chez
Paree went for protection, to police and judges, he c1osed the place. He
"When the politicians are accepting that kind of money
to permit gambling, they are not in a position to investigate other types
Some members of Congress may refuse bribes, but if they are
adamant in their refusal to blow the whistle on their thieving fellow Members,
they find themselves powerless and frustrated.While on the subject of kickbacks
to Congressmen and Senators -- and Supreme Court justices -- let us not
forget the "foreign aid."
The annual reports of the U. S. Agency for International Development
disclose each year that Congress has voted 14 or 15 billion dollars as "aid"
to 105 different countries. Not a single one of those countries would ever
send a single dollar of aid to a single American family if starvation lay
upon our land. You can bet your own bottom dollar on that fact. Naturally,
the bankers encourage such "loans," which will never be repaid,
and such grants-in-aid which are not expected to be repaid. A banker creates
the money out of thin air, and whatever interest he collects on the money
is solid buying power, taken out of the hides of the taxpayers. Every dollar
of "foreign aid" voted by Congress has to be borrowed. That means
bankers create it with a stroke of the pen. But the interest has to be paid
each year in cash collected from American taxpayers. However, Congress has
the power to grant or withhold such "aid." And Congressmen, being
politicians, are going to use the power of their professional positions
to enrich themselves any way they can. This "foreign aid" is a
bottomless pool into which each of them dip. This 15 billion a year to 105
foreign countries has been going on for fifty years, since World War II.
If the American people are sufficiently apathetic to permit it, it will
go on for another 50 years.
(Of course, if the people wise up to this swindle, the Members
of Congress will have to dream up some other great scam.)
In the last 50 years the American Government has never collected
from the taxpayers enough money to pay its own operating expenses. So every
dollar of "foreign aid" has to be borrowed. The House Ways and
Means Committee every few years must dream up a new "tax reform package,"
further to loot the American people. Dan Rostenkowski, its chairman, is
popular with his fellow Congressmen. You can see why our forefathers, in
drawing up our Constitution, sought to protect the American people from
their own Government. Our forefathers could simply not protect the American
people against apathy. Figures on foreign aid are printed each year in newspapers.
The American people cannot say they didn't know about it. They just don't
give a damn. Even though they have to pay for every penny of it. When Congressmen
each year vote 15 billion dollars to 105 foreign countries, most of which
the Congressmen themselves never heard of before, they see it as a chance
once again to line their pockets. They can figure on kickbacks of at least
1 per cent on every dollar.
Jim Michener once told me that when his "Tales of the
South Pacific" reached Broadway as a musical, so many people had to
be cut in on it that he ended up with "only 1 per cent of it."
Then he added, philosophically, "One per cent of a hundred million
is not bad."
A 1 per cent kickback on 15 billion dollars amounts to $150,000,000.
That's $150 million a year. Every year for fifty years. No wonder the Congressmen
don't want to get away from that great foreign aid trough. Even divided
among 500 Capitol Hill scoundrels (all legal, of course!), $150,000,000
a year works out to $300,000 apiece. If any Congressmen tells you he isn't
getting his share, he can blame himself! They don't get to keep it all,
individually. As with any other graft, it has to be spread out down the
line. Hinky Dink Kenna and Bathhouse John Coughlin could not keep all the
kickbacks from Chicago's famed Everleigh Club: they had to spread it out
down the line.
Members of the House and Senate, associate justices of the
nation's highest court, are never stupid. They realized, shortly after WW
II, that they had a good thing in "foreign aid." They've kept
it up. Do apathetic Americans ever give a thought to what foreign aid does,
where it goes, who spends it and for what purpose? Or even to how each of
these 105 countries gets up to the foreign aid trough? To take the last
question first, each recipient country maintains a lobby in Washington.
The better their lobby, the more they get. The best lobby in Washington
is maintained by the State of Israel. The wheel that squeaks the loudest
gets the grease. Israel can really squeak loudly and keep squeaking till
everyone is brain-washed. The State of Israel, with its population of 4,024,000
(including Palestinians living within its borders) gets "foreign aid"
from the United States to the tune of $3,350,000,000 a year.
If the money went to the ordinary people of Israel, that would
work out to $832 for every man, woman, and child; $4,100 a year for every
family of five. Nearly $100 a week per family. For 50 years. Congress doesn't
vote that much to the average American family. But of course this foreign
aid money is not distributed to the ordinary people of Israel. It is collected
by the people's enemy -- their Government. Israeli politicians do not keep
it all. They have to spend some to maintain the Washington lobby to keep
it coming. Then they have to kick back about 1 per cent of the $3,350,000,000
each year to the 500-or-so men and women in the American Government who
are willing to loot their own people to make foreign aid possible. Israel
must spend some of it to maintain hundreds of spies, such as Jonathan Pollard
and his wife, to steal America's secrets so they can be sold for good hard
cash to America's enemies.
But we are interested here in the approximately 1 per cent
which comes back to Washington in the form of kickbacks to the venal 500.
You can do the arithmetic; it works out to about $57,000 a year apiece.
For that kind of money, most Congressmen feel they can take a little heat.
Maybe a great deal of heat. Particularly when they see what happened to
Senator Fulbright and others who spoke up. If you don't know about Fulbright,
read Congressman Findlay's book on the subject. Never assume members of
Congress are stupid. Venal, yes: The enemies of the people, yes. Determined
to keep their snouts in the public trough, yeah man! But stupid? Never.
What about newspapermen who might be expected to point up
these facts for their listeners or readers? Not a chance Those sharp enough
to be sent to Washington to cover doings of the national legislature are
either tipped off by their colleagues or quickly learn on their own to keep
their mouths shut. If they ever show a tendency to blow the whistle, their
bosses will quickly take away their forums: their columns or their TV shows.
Newspapermen, like everyone else, can be bought up by money, or friendships,
or jobs, or that most evil of all emotions: compassion. (The opposite of
compassion is justice.)
The professional politician lives by the dictum, "Every
man has his price." That price is not always money. Sometimes it is
loyalty to one's friends. Sometimes it is high living and trips abroad.
Sometimes it is a frequent breakfast at the White House. Sometimes for newspapermen
it is a place on the panel of "Meet the Press." Sometimes it is
"compassion" for what a newspaperman sees as a people who have
been oppressed for centuries, most recently by a German dictator named Adolf
Hitler and his cohorts. For whatever reason, those able to see the picture
generally keep still about it. (Until they are retired, as I am today.)
Newspapermen and television commentators can be brainwashed, just as can
their readers and listeners. They can close their eyes to facts spelled
out right in front of them. Sometimes they are stupid.
In such cases, like the rest of the American people, they
accept the surface facts -- or appearance of facts -- never looking behind
them. Simply never ask, "What does it mean?" or "What effect
does it have?" Many Congressmen and Senators, many newspapermen and
television commentators, accept "foreign aid" as a simple fact
of life. They have never known a time when it did not exist. They are unable
to conceive of a time when it might cease to exist. In this respect, it
is like the welfare state. Most newspapermen today have never known anything
else. They are unable to conceive of a time when local communities took
care of the blind and the disabled, when there was no minimum wage, when
every man wanted to earn a living.
Well, I've come a far way from what I started out to tell
you. Gold retains its value, no matter what the politicians do to the dollar.
Its drawback is that it earns no interest for the man who holds it. But
you have come into a good bit of money for which you are responsible. My
suggestion is that you look into the possibility of putting a part of this
money into gold, for the sake of your children. Your temptation is to put
all of it -- a small fortune -- into interest-bearing dollar instruments
such as Treasury bills or into stocks which have paid good dividends for
the last fifty years. Or to buy securities which seem to have an excellent
chance of appreciation; or into real estate which "will still be there"
when all paper values disappear. That's fine, so far as about three-fourths
of your fortune goes. But I suggest the other fourth might be laid aside
for the purchase of gold. Not gold stocks, but the metal itself.
My thought would be to avoid bullion bars, which can be readily
counterfeited and which would have to be assayed before you could sell them.
I would avoid numismatic coins. I would avoid jewelry. I would stick to
the plain old bullion coins, the American Eagles, the Canadian Maple Leafs,
the British Crowns, the Austrian Coronas, the South African Krugerrands.
Don't take my word for it. Look into it for yourself. But
don't take the word of any man who stands to profit or lose by your decision.
Don't trust your Government. Don't trust a newspaper publisher. If you decide
on gold as a store of value, no matter what Congress does to paper money
in future, recognize the fact that your Government is your enemy and will
seek to confiscate your gold in the future.
As it has done in the past. The man who will not learn from
history is doomed to repeat it.
So. If you decide to put a part of your fortune into gold,
take a few simple precautions. Buy in person, from a gold dealer, if you
have to drive to Chicago or Minneapolis or Des Moines to do so. They will
demand your name, your address, your social security number. Lie to them.
What you are seeking is anonymity, to protect yourself against the thieves
in your own Government, sometime in future. Do not park your car where the
merchant selling gold coins can check your license number. Use your head
to maintain your anonymity. When you have the gold -- and $50,000 worth
at today's prices can be readily stored in a cigar box -- plant it in a
hole in the ground. Don't trust the safety deposit box in your bank -- or
the banker. Wrap the stuff carefully in a dozen layers of plastic. Tell
no one what you have done. And this includes me. Don't tell your wife, your
mistress, your children. Don't boast to the fellows at work. Tell nobody.
But leave a written record, to be opened in case of your death, directing
your children how to lay their hands on the gold.
And with those kind words, I close this brief letter. My love,
MURRAY NAMED PRESS VETERAN OF THE YEAR
Former Chicago's American columnist and rewriteman George
Murray [since deceased], who at age 80 is still writing a provocative column
for the Arkansas Gazette, has been named Chicago Press Veteran of the year
for 1990. He will be honored at the Press Veterans' annual dinner dance
on Sunday, October 14, at Drury Lane's Martinique Restaurant in Oakbrock
A native of St. Louis, Murray left that city in 1930 to come
to Chicago, where he found a job on the Herald and Examiner as a picture
snatcher and cub reporter for $15 a week.When the Chicago Newspaper Guild
was started in 1935, Murray became chairman of the Hearst chapter, embracing
the Her-Ex and the American. He was fired on July 4, 1937, during an economy
wave.He then worked on various publications in Denver, Toronto, Evanston
and Chicago until 1948 when he was hired by the Army, with the rank and
pay of an officer, to edit the German-language Weiner Krier, the largest
newspaper in Austria. While in Vienna he also wrote a nine-volume history,
including "The History of Rehabilitation of Austria after Hitler."
Murray and his wife, Virginia, who was also in the Army, subsequently
switched to the State Department. While Murray remained at the U.S. Embassy
in Vienna, Virginia went on to other embassies in Belgrade, Brazil and Vietnam.
Murray returned to Chicago in 1953 and took a job as rewriteman on the American.
He soon had his own column.
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