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Buy this essay and others in Jim's new book Being Sovereign.

The Indomitus Report

12 October 2004
Happy Columbus Day!

Being Sovereign

    "Wretched and insensate people enamoured of your misery and blind to your interests, you suffer your property to be pillaged, your fields devastated, your houses stripped of their goods, and all this by one whom you have yourselves raised to power, and whose dignity you maintain with your lives! He who crushes you has but two eyes, but two hands, but one body. All that he has more than you comes from you. Yours are the many eyes that spy out your acts, the many hands that strike you, the many feet that trample you in the dust: all the power with which he injures you is your own. From indignities that the beasts themselves would not endure you can free yourselves by simply willing it. Resolve to serve no more, and you are free. Withdraw your support from the Colossus that crushes you, and it will crumble in the dust."
    - Étienne de la Boétie,
    Discours de la servitude volontaire, c. 1553

Most of the servitude we encounter is voluntary. That is, the servant or slave is voluntarily cooperating in his own subjugation or captivity. Most people are the primary agents of their own servitude.

There seems to be a fairly mixed bag of opinions, and it isn't always clear or consistent, but by tradition, most forms of tax in the USA are based on voluntary compliance. Unfortunately, most people are still in high school, or recent graduates, with the ignorance that attends all spawn of the public schools and many private schools, and are simply unaware that by signing their first 1040 form they are consenting that they are in fact taxpayers. Since they are motivated to get income tax refunds, having previously signed up for withholding without being aware of their alternatives, they tend to be eager to sign that 1040 and send it in, so they can get back the money the government has been holding from them.

People tend to comply with many of the systems which are designed to subvert their sovereignty and subjugate their independence. They allow "FICA" to take money from every paycheck, although the evidence that today's young adults would ever see any benefits from "Social Security" is extremely thin. Not only do the numbers not work for most economists, not only is the system financially untenable, but most young adults consider it more likely they will encounter extraterrestrials than ever get a dime from Social Security.

Nor is it merely financial mechanisms which people consent to and cooperate with. Nearly everyone who flies, it seems, with the exception of John Gilmore, shows photo identity papers and complies with illegal searches and seizures without defending their Fourth Amendment guaranteed liberty to be safe in their persons, possessions, and papers from unreasonable searches.

It may seem easy to sympathize with those who comply with their own subjugation. "Everyone is doing it." "Resistance is futile." "You will be assimilated."

It isn't your job as a sovereign to sympathize with those who support the enemies of your freedom. It is your function as a sovereign to stand up for your liberty, avoid being enslaved, and when necessary, demand respect for your sovereignty. Doing so may be challenging, it may be confronting, and it may be dangerous. Choose your battles wisely, and choose the time, the place, and the rules of engagement to ensure victory.

At the same time, understand that those who do comply, those who do subjugate themselves are necessarily enemies of your freedom. They are not trustworthy agents for your success. Don't share your plans with them, as they may tattle on you voluntarily or in an effort to escape vindictive behavior by their overseers. Don't count on them, hire them by traditional employment contracts, or work with them unless you have no other choice. Doing so endangers your sovereignty and limits your future prospects. And, what's more, can be annoying.

As a sovereign individual, you owe it to yourself to choose wisely. You'll enjoy your encounters with and your business dealings amongst other sovereigns far more than with self-selected peons. Gaining the respect of drudge workers isn't much of a challenge. Even if you don't hold a whip over them, such people tend to be submissive by nature. Instead, consider the value of winning the confidence and respect of other sovereigns, men and women who value ethical conduct, talent, and energy. These are your natural allies and your proper company.

Elitist? Not for an aristocracy of inheritance, but for an aristocracy of merit, yes. Thomas Jefferson pointed out that it was natural that people capable of accomplishment would seek each other out and work together. Nor do we suggest that only those who have had success are likely allies or sovereigns. Anyone may shrug off the chains that bind him, anyone may choose to be free. When someone is ready to free herself, she'll make her presence known. You'll naturally seek such people out wherever you go, since cooperation among equals is in your self interest.

Free Market Money

    "What would be a really good money? Not the least harm the immemorial and near universal government monopoly of the issue of money has done is that it has deprived us of the chance of experimentally finding out what kind of money would really serve us best. To the present day, money is that part of the market order that government has not allowed to find its most effective form and on which silly rulers and economists have most doctored about. Yet, it was not economists or statesmen who invented the market...and not the least reason for not having better money is that there has not been enough experimentation to lead to agreement about what kind would be desirable."
    - Professor FA Hayek,
    Speech to Visa International Conference,
    Athens, 14 September 1981,
    quoted in Blanchard's Golden Insights

The opportunity for developing better money is upon us. Doug Jackson and e-gold.com led the way in 1996. Bernard von NotHaus soon followed in 1998 with the LibertyDollar.org. Competitors e-Bullion.com from Jim & Pam Fayed, GoldMoney.com from James Turk, and Pecunix.com from Sidd Davis soon followed. These five major competitors were joined more recently by JP May's 1MDC.com which is an offshoot of e-gold with a number of enhancements. Meanwhile, Elon Musk developed PayPal, and we've seen the rise and fall of currencies like beenz, flooz, and DigiCash.

Moneybookers, Neteller, NetSpend, and many others have arrived. Some, such as OSGold have gone. The free market is at last at work on the subject of money and a number of competitors are developing new currencies with new features.

Based on the complaints we find at sites like PayPalWarning.com, the jury is in and PayPal is not a really good money. We think the development of paper and digital warehouse receipt money, together with traditional specie, is the direction in which entrepreneurs will find the best monetary systems and services. But, based on the lack of market penetration by anything other than fiat currencies and credit cards, it seems clear that widespread market acceptance of any free market money is still lacking.

Gold Mining

We put together the following table to help our readers follow the progress of our suggested stock picks. You'll recall in our last report we dwelled on the juniors, and neglected to include the one senior in our table. It makes all the difference.

Company Symbol C$ US$
s
Free Gold ITF 0.29 0.23
+C$0.01
Platinum Group PTM 1.00 0.825
-C$0.11
Newmont Mining NEM N/A 45.84
+2.54

The attentive reader who bought 1,000 shares of Newmont at $43.30 on 10 September 2004 when we first suggested this stock is now $2,540 wealthier. In addition, that reader should enjoy a dividend in early December of about 7.5 cents per share or $75. Newmont stock hasn't split since 1994, and dividends have not been entirely consistent, but the last two quarterly dividends were 7.5 cents per share.

Meanwhile PTM is off 11 cents and ITF is up a penny (Canadian). The reader who has purchased a thousand shares of each stock we've suggested is up 3.57% for ITF (31% annualized); off 9.91% for PTM (-86% annualized); up 16.67% for SPDV (144% annualized); and up 5.87% for NEM (76% annualized - recommended later than the others). Of course NEM dominates these gains since it has the largest cost basis. The astute reader is up about 5.9% or around 51% annualized. Not bad for a report costing $125 or so. Converted to US dollars, the net effect on the reader thus far in following all our suggestions is to be up $2,708.75.

We feel that PTM has been performing poorly compared to our other picks because in spite of our better judgement, we went with a stock that has significant asset holdings in South Africa. It seems the market is not so impressed with South Africa politics. As well, improvements in the commodities markets tend to improve the South African rand against the USA dollar. This exchange rate situation is not so good for companies that pay their costs in rand and gain their revenues in dollars, as typical mining companies often do. Unless we've missed something tremendous, we feel PTM is a dog with fleas at this point, and we suggest you cut your losses. We regret having made the suggestion to buy, and we now suggest you sell.

Free Market Money

The cat may be out of the bag. The recent decision by e-dinar.com to split its interests from e-gold.com comes with a heavy burden of news. Not for the first time we have learned of trouble redeeming bars of gold from e-gold's inventory. If, in fact, e-gold is not redeemable for gold, we are deeply concerned about its viability as an online currency. Unfortunately, e-gold is still an industry leader and bad news for e-gold would be bad for much of the industry.

We'd like to satisfy ourselves that e-gold is redeemable. The smallest bar in e-gold's inventory is a kilo bar worth roughly $14,000 at today's price. Unfortunately, we sincerely doubt that e-gold will be forthcoming with a procedure for redemption. Nothing would delight us more than to be proven wrong.

Space Frontier

    "The fatalism of the limits-to-growth alternative is reasonable only if one ignores all the resources beyond our atmosphere, resources thousands of times greater than we could ever obtain from...Earth. Earth is not humanity's prison, is not a closed and dwindling resource, but is in fact only part of a vast system rich in opportunities."
    - Gerard O'Neill, Congressional Hearings, 1978

For the last several weeks, a persistent motif in our discussions of the space frontier and of launch tech has been "rich guys love space." So, we thought we'd expand on that theme a bit and identify a few of the movers and shakers.

  • Paul Allen, co-founded Microsoft. Now backs Rutan's Mojave Aerospace team.

  • Walt Anderson. When we first met Walt he was running Mid-Atlantic Telecom which became a part of Frontier Communications which we think became part of Global Crossing. He was worth about $200 million by some estimates at the time his MirCorp offered to buy the space station Mir from Russia. NASA managed to thwart that purchase and had the Russian government destroy Mir. Walt continues to be interested in space. His Foundation for the Non-Governmental Development of Space and his support of groups like the Space Frontier Foundation are indicators here.

  • Jim Benson made a fortune in the computer industry, as we recall, before moving to the space industry. In fact, he started a trend among successful computer entrepreneurs going to work in the space biz to get things done. His SpaceDev "creates and sells affordable and innovative space products...to government and commercial enterprises." Their hybrid propulsion system is used by Rutan's SpaceShip One.

  • Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, now behind Blue Origin developing vehicles and technologies to enable an "enduring human presence in space."

  • Robert Bigelow, entrepreneur, owns Budget Suites of America, founded Bigelow Aerospace, plans to launch inflatable space structure, Genesis Pathfinder in 2005.

  • Richard Branson, international adventurer, British knight, music and airlines entrepreneur, pushing for "Virgin Galactic." Steve Kirsch, founder and former chairman of Infoseek. Donates to Mars Direct project.

  • John Carmack, software programmer behind "Doom," "Quake" and "Castle Wolfenstein." Armadillo Aerospace was one of the contenders for the Ansari X-Prize.

  • Elon Musk, co-founded PayPal, now founder and CEO of SpaceX.

  • Dennis Tito, entrepreneur, financier, flew to the Internationalist Socialist Space Station in April 2001 "paying nearly 20 million pounds" per the Economist 16 June 2004. Considering an investment in suborbital vehicle but balks at thought of American fedgov screwing up the regulatory oversight.

What do these men want? We suspect that they want what all wealthy people want: to continue to be wealthy and to expand their opportunities. Space, as has been pointed out by many authors before, offers the resources of the entire Solar System, enough wealth to make all the fortunes ever built on Earth dwindle in comparison.

We know some of these men. We suspect that among their other common traits of business success and an interest in space that they share a common frustration with NASA and its pace of "achievement." We really don't like the word "achievement" in connection with NASA, because in spite of a few new technologies and a gatekeeper role in space science, NASA has not accomplished much in comparison to its spectacular failures. Men used to walk on the Moon. They don't any longer, and it is entirely NASA's fault.

In coming weeks, we'll try to uncover the secrets of some of these high-dollar space entrepreneurs. We'll also bring you news of other space business enterprises as we encounter them.

Launch Technology

    "In 10 years, everyone will known that if they want to, they can go to orbit in their life. They will know that instead of just hope or dream."
    - Burt Rutan, on winning the Ansari X-Prize

It seems like old news at this point, but Burt Rutan's Mojave Aerospace team did win the Ansari X-Prize shortly after our last issue went to press. The other exciting news is that Peter Diamandis has announced the X-Prize Cup to provide prizes to teams in five categories: fastest turnaround from first launch to second landing; maximum passengers per launch; total passengers flown during the competition period; max altitude; fastest flight time. For 2005 or 2006, the cup competition would take place at White Sands Missile Range. Thereafter it is planned for New Mexico's Southwest Regional Spaceport north of Las Cruces.

Meanwhile, as we discussed in the last issue, Richard Branson has announced that he'll begin flying paying customers in 2007. He has a deal reportedly worth $25 million over 15 years to license the SpaceShipOne technology. Fares would start at $200,000. Talk show host David Letterman quips that the price should include quite a beverage cart.

One would presume these announcements of endless loads of vehicles flying with SpaceDev's propulsion units would be great for their stock. However, SPDV.OB seems to be falling back toward $1.50. Presumably their 8K filing of 5 October has something to do with this lackluster performance, but as it announces a $1.56 million contract win for the SpaceDev Streaker in a cost plus fixed fee contract from the Air Force to provide small launch vehicle capabilities, we remain baffled about the market's profit taking posture. Technical analysis shows a definite peak with a pretty "W" formation, if that means anything.

Truly, we've got no idea. We're subscribed to their newsletter. We've reviewed their financial statements. There doesn't seem to be any sense to this drop in share price. Our best guess is that someone with a significant position has taken some profits on the assumption that the giddy heights of last week won't soon be repeated.

New Country Developments

New Settlements Report is a new report by my old friend Dennis Feucht about his interest in new settlement projects. He discusses his motivations in the first issue, which just came out. As well, he gives a brief outline of information about some of the settlement and mission colonies in Belize as well as a description of some land which he's identified for a Cayo Sustainable Settlement near Cayo, Belize.

The report was free for the asking, so we've included an e-mail address for Dennis in the above quote. The full report runs to six pages and includes some excellent discussion of the motives which go into forming new settlements. The quote we selected for this section of The Indomitus Report reminds us very much of a line from The Pretenders which also appears in a work by Oscar Wilde, "We are all of us in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars."

Dennis should feel right at home with that quote, as he is an old friend from the space migration movement. Not all that long ago, we were both dedicated to the cause of "creating a spacefaring civilization to establish communities beyond the Earth." The recent work of Burt Rutan and the enthusiastic support from Branson and Bigelow suggest that our preferred destinations in space may not be that far out of reach. Meanwhile, I gather that Dennis is persuaded of the superior features of Panama for certain types of high technology venture he has in mind. So, we'll be looking for more details from Dennis on his Cayo Sustainable Settlement and regarding Panama.

Longevity

It appeals to the historic soul: we see it as an emblem of changelessness, a heritage from worlds too remote for our human intelligence to grasp, a tree which has inits keeping the secrets of the immeasurable past."
- Sir Albert Seward, 1938

Would you believe that one of the oldest living species of tree has remarkable medicinal properties? It is the Ginkgo biloba tree. Fossils of this tree and its leaves date back as much as 270 million years ago, placing it in roughly the Permian period of the Paleozoic era, before the "age of the dinosaurs." Yet it died out in north America about seven million years ago and in Europe about 2.5 million years ago. Fortunately, it survived in China where it grew to be prized as early as the 3rd Century BC.

The Ginkgo biloba tree is an amazing species. Four of these trees have been "atomic bombed" and are still alive. Perhaps the most famous of these was in the temple garden of Housenbou near Hiroshima Japan, about 1.1 kilometers from the epicenter of the blast of 6 August 1945. The temple was destroyed, but the tree survived and began to bud normally. Other trees of the species are believed to be up to 3,000 years old based on tree ring counts.

So it can survive a nuclear war, what can it do for you? Well, scientific studies indicate it can improve mental function; improve circulation to the brain, extremities, ear, eye, nose, and throat; increase the amount of oxygen and glucose supplied to the brain; counter the side effects of aging such as short-term memory loss, dizziness, tinnitus (ringing in the ear), depression, and vertigo. By increasing blood flow, Ginkgo biloba also increases the oxygen protection against stroke and transient ischemic attacks.

A double blind study using electro encephalography (EEG) showed that Gingko biloba increases alpha rhythm. Alpha rhythms are the brain rhthyms associated with mental alertness. The plant extract also decreases the theta rhythm which is associated with lack of attention. This study was conducted on elderly people who were showing signs of mental deterioration.

Gingko biloba also offers protection to the vascular system with strong anti-oxidant properties and free radical scavenging. Free radicals are basically ions which can damage cells in many ways. Finally, Gingko biloba seems to inhibit platelet aggregation, which can have a number of benefits. (Many strokes are caused by platelet aggregation or blood clots.) It seems to have no side effects, has been used in many long term studies, and shows no addiction from continued use. Elis J. Corey won the Nobel prize in chemistry in 1990 for his work in synthesizing the ginkgoide B compound.

Cultivated in China from at least the Tenth Century and in Japan from the 12th Century AD, the tree is prized for its "silver apricot" nuts as well as for its leaves and bark. It was brought to Europe about 1711 by Engelbert Kaempfer and in the late 18th to America. The nuts "eaten raw...destroy cancer," according to the "Great Herbal" of Li Shih-chen of 1578, which certainly seems to be a property worth exploring.

Its biological classification is plantae, tracheobionta, spermatophyta, ginkgophyta, ginkgoopsida, ginkgoales, ginkgoaceae, Ginkgo L. In other words, from division through genus it is by itself. Ginkgo biloba is the only living representative of its order. At first, the tree was considered a conifer, but it proves to be a link between fern-type trees and conifers. Also, it has two genders and "free-floating sperm" which fertilize the female trees to promote fruiting in mature trees.

Is it the tree of life? Perhaps we'll know more as further studies and tests of the compounds in its leaves and seeds...bear fruit. In the meantime, be advised that the seed covering contains urushiol, the chemical that makes poison ivy sufferers (three out of four humans) itch. Delightfully, the leaves contain a compound that helps alleviate urushiol poisoning.


Publication note: We have lost a few five-week-only subscribers, so we've changed directories and file name structure. Also, we were again delayed in releasing this issue. We hope it has proven worth the wait.
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Indomitus Industries heraldic achievement