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

The Indomitus Report

13 December 2004

Being Sovereign

    "To be human is to live by means of the artifacts that humans devise. To build a home and scorn a weapon is hypocrisy. It's also a good way to lose the home."
    - L. Neil Smith,
    The American Zone, 2001

Today is what the character Pogo in the famous comic strip by Walt Kelley used to call "Friday the 13th what come on a Monday." Perhaps Kelley was a follower of grail lore, or a Templar sympathizer. Certainly one of the more unpleasant events of a Friday the 13th took place on Friday 13 October 1307 when the King of France and the Pope conspired to have arrested some two to five thousand Knights Templar throughout France and much of Europe. Subsequently, nearly all these Knights were put to death by torture or hanging. Some say the tradition of wrapping a noose thirteen times to form the knot was begun on that day.

In the capture of the Knights Templar, various techniques were used to betray these men. In some instances, they were confronted with overwhelming numbers. In other instances, they were assaulted while asleep or bathing. Lack of adequate defense was invariably a part of their difficulty.

Pious motivations were used to explain the arrests, but the main factor seems to have been the desire by the king of France and the Pope to reduce their debts by eliminating their bankers. As in many other conflicts, money played a crucial role.

Defensive tools have come a long way in the time since. The invention of the revolver and semi-auto weapons have dramatically increased the rate of fire available to the individual. Developments in ammunition have provided for armor piercing, white phosphorus, and other advanced rounds. More recently, rocket propelled grenades have proven to be extremely effective in all types of terrain against helicopters, armored vehicles, and even advanced tanks.

Defensive tools may be thought of from the skin out. Just as we wear clothing to defend ourselves against the elements, we may wear body armor to defend ourselves against bullets or shrapnel. We carry knives for very close-in fighting, within three or four feet. Handguns are useful for defense against attackers who are from four feet to twenty or thirty feet distance. Also in this range, and out to perhaps twenty yards, shotguns are useful. For distances greater than five yards, rifles may be effective up to about half a mile or more.

Defending territory may require more advanced weapons, depending on the circumstances. Rocket propelled grenades typically self-destruct after traveling two kilometers. Fifty caliber sniper rifles are sometimes effective at distances of a mile. Mortars and other small artillery may be effective within a few kilometers. For confronting enemies at greater distances, land mines, heavy artillery, patrol boats, submarines, aircraft, and space-based systems have important roles.

Being sovereign encompasses all these tools and the strategies, tactics, and operations which go into their use. It includes command, control, communications, and information analysis, or C3IA where information analysis is often called "intelligence." Since communications are such an important element, we have in previous issues discussed some private communications techniques and technologies.

In coming weeks, we'll discuss all these aspects of being sovereign, from the skin out. Not only will we concern ourselves with talents and training, tools and techniques, but also with some of the companies which make these services and systems available. There may be a few investment opportunities to consider, as well.

Let's review briefly the lessons and objectives of this series of essays thus far. We've understood that each of us has as much freedom, as much power, as much rectitude to be sovereign as any other individual human. As Thomas Jefferson wrote, we are equally endowed by our Creator with inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and property. We are, thus, suited to take a separate and equal station with others. Indeed, we are entitled by the laws of nature and God to assume such a station. You have as much reason to be a monarch as Queen Elizabeth II or the Sultan of Brunei.

Much of the work is attitude. As Étienne de la Boétie taught us, if you resolve to serve no more, you are free. Then it is a question of what to do to preserve your freedom and make the most of it.

Before we even get as far out as your skin, you may wish to do some more work on your mind. Your attitude of self sovereignty may need to encompass an attitude of self-defense, an "if necessary killing to defend" attitude. If you have children, this attitude should come naturally. Anyone or anything that threatens your children with imminent harm should die. Right now. As Robert Heinlein once wrote, any culture that doesn't put women and children first won't survive very long.

One path toward enlightenment in this area is the study of martial arts. One of the earliest martial arts, kung fu was developed by Shaolin priests in China many hundreds of years ago. These Buddhist monks and their followers were persecuted by the emperor of China. So, they developed extremely adept methods of defending themselves, with weapons or without.

There is no doubt that rate of fire makes a huge difference in combat. Being able to defend yourself against not just one threat but many, and not just those you bring yourself into contact with, but those who are standing off some distance, is a huge advantage. Handguns are thus referred to as "the great equalizers." The mere presentation of a firearm is often enough to dissuade a would-be attacker.

However, within arm's length, handguns are not invariably effective. By tradition, one should move toward someone with a gun, away from someone with a knife. By closing the distance with a gun wielder, you bring yourself closer to your opponent, potentially throwing off his aim, distracting him, and putting yourself within range to do something lethal with your knife or fist or what have you. Closing the distance with a gun wielding person in full body armor makes sense if you have a stick or baton (or pike) and close to within the necessary distance to bludgeon your opponent to death. If you have a cloak or cape or towel, you can distract your opponent as you close, and give them a target that won't harm you if he ventilates it. Suppose they get a shot off before you would reach them. They might miss, they might hit your clothing but not you, and a moving target is harder to hit. All these factors argue for motion, and moving toward your gun wielding attacker rather than away.

You move away from someone with a knife because he cannot do much to you with the knife if you are not within arm's reach. Therefore, he would either chase after you or throw the knife at you. A well-thrown knife is a danger to you, no question. But it may be avoided, it may miss you entirely, and if your attacker throws his only knife at you, he is now disarmed. If he doesn't throw the knife, he has to chase you or abandon the attack. If he chases you, he may stumble, he may get tired and abandon the attack, or he might catch you. So, your odds are much better if you move away.

In martial arts training, including fencing, kung fu, and other techniques, you would learn various methods of moving forward and backward by shuffling. Doing so effectively would limit your likelihood of tripping. Being able to shuffle toward your opponent or away from your opponent with poise and confidence allows you flexibility. It increases your choices of position, which means you are more able to choose the exact moment and the exact location of battle. At any time that you are able to affect the timing, location, or rules for engagement of a given battle, you are more likely to win.

Winning in battle is not everything. Surviving is everything. He who fights and runs away may live to fight another day. Unless he gets shot in the back. Winning against a foe with greater numbers, better weapons, the advantage of surprise, or on the enemy's chosen ground may not be possible. Retreat and withdrawal have useful strategic purposes. Regrouping may be your best option.

If you can afford to hire an entourage of trained experts, great. May they serve you well. However, bear in mind that guards may be suborned, and you should be able to guard yourself from your guardians. The more you understand the work your guards do, the better you can make use of their services.

So far we've covered a few of the basic issues involved in combat, whether armed or unarmed, against an opponent with a knife or a gun. We haven't even gotten outside your skin, yet. So, let's start with an appraisal of body armor next week. In the mean time, practice your martial arts, or go find a martial arts instructor and get started.

Learn to be like the Shaolin priests, with skills for survival, rather than like the Templar knights, dancing upon the air. As Oscar Wilde noted in his "Ballad of Reading Gaol" - to dance to lutes, to dance to flutes, is wonderful and rare; but it is not fun like a hangéd one to dance upon the air.

Free Market Money

    "I believe in a radical free-market approach to monetary reform. The people must decide what money is and decide the value thereof. Thus, a free gold market for all peoples is of prime importance.

    "However, we must not stop there. Next, we will fight for the right to use gold contracts. Then, legal tender laws must be repealed. Government central banks and the International Monetary Fund must be abolished. In other words, all attempts by government to create fiat money or fiat international reserve units such as the SDR must be abandoned. When the statists control money, they control the lifeblood of the economy. It is thus made easy for petty bureaucrats and 'statesmen' to force the people (via confiscation by inflation) towards an ever extreme collectivism. If you doubt that government control over money leads to a 1984 slavery, look around you.

    "The odds against us are enormous, but ideas are ultimately more powerful than all mindless government brutality combined. We are all victims, thus, the potential exists for a radical intellectual revolution based on monetary laissez-faire. Will we quiver in the face of the world's arrogant and ignorant statist money managers?

    "The stakes are high. It is not simply a matter of gold verses fiat paper. It is a question of the very survival of individual liberty versus totalitarianism. But there is one immediate and indispensable reform that all who believe in a basic individual freedom, regardless of their specific monetary views, should be able to write on. This is for every country...to remove the prohibition on the right of private citizens to own, buy, sell, or make contracts in gold."
    - James U. Blanchard, III,
    16 March 1975

With the lifting of the prohibition in the People's Republic of China, most of the world's population is now able to own, buy, or sell gold. Those of you reading this newsletter are able to make contracts in gold. Any of you who paid by gold have already done so.

Half measures won't get it. Friedrich Hayek said it in The Denationalization of Money as the late Jim Blanchard says above. Free market money is the only rational monetary reform. We have come a long way since 1975.

By 1975 the price fixing of silver and the price fixing of gold were over. Today both gold and silver trade on markets around the globe and around the clock. There is certainly evidence that price manipulation has been a goal of various governments, but that goal has not been easy to achieve. Soon, it should be increasingly difficult and then impossible to control the precious metals commodity prices with "open market" operations. A free and fair market for gold and silver is a good goal which remains ahead of us in our free market money movement.

We seem to have the freedom to use gold contracts now. Since 1996, tens of millions of transactions have taken place with e-gold, e-Bullion, GoldMoney, Liberty Dollars, and Pecunix. It is now possible to denominate a bond or stock price in grams or ounces of gold. Online exchanges such as dBourse.com, LESE, and PVCSE allow for online trading and instant settlement of contracts priced in gold.

In the United States, the legal tender law presently appears to amount to an authority to put the words "this note is legal tender for all debts public and private" on the Federal Reserve Notes printed by the government for the benefit of the Federal Reserve banks. We should certainly be happier were that law repealed and a level playing field for each type of money available. The onerous provisions of various punishments for refusing "legal tender" which are familiar to readers of Andrew Dickson White's classic Fiat Money Inflation in France are not a part of the USA monetary system. You are free to refuse Federal Reserve Notes. You are free to accept gold or silver or Liberty Dollars or any specific online currency. Privately issued gift cards and gift certificates from stores or credit card companies presently circulate and are lawful.

Certainly the same freedom does not exist in all countries. Nor is the perception of the actual freedom to refuse Federal Reserve Notes widespread. In previous fiat money inflation episodes, legal tender laws have been approved and penalties have increased. There is considerable evidence that the United States is destroying its debt by destroying its currency, which typically means inflation or hyperinflation, so legal tender laws may be anticipated.

The abolition of central banks and of the International Monetary Fund (and while we are about the work, the World Bank) would seem to be appropriate measures, and most welcome. These are not efforts we would oppose. They are more appropriate to the citizens and denizens of the various countries where such central banks exist, as they reflect policies of the nation states of those countries.

In the United States, one of the leading groups advocating for the abolition of the central bank is the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the IRS, or NORFED.org. They are the same people behind the Liberty Dollar. Another organization which educates on this topic is FAME.org, the Foundation for the Advancement of Monetary Education. Many others write on this topic and circulate information about it to their members and subscribers.

Standing against the free market money movement are the banking cartel and their key ally, woeful ignorance about money. The banking cartel clings to major governments like a leech clings to its victim. The process is painless, yet horrifying. Just as the leech excretes an anesthetic and anticoagulant goo, the banking cartel provides services useful to the government. Government debt and inflation work to cripple economies, but while these effects are slower they are not as badly felt as during times of hyperinflation. Meanwhile, the leech sucks the life blood from its victim, becoming fat and pulsing with the beating of the victim's heart, until, sated, it drops off, only to be replaced by dozens of its siblings and offspring.

Bankers generally have a government-granted privileged position within the economy, creating money out of nothing by writing it into existence. The process of fractional reserve banking is highly regulated, not to discourage lending nor to encourage careful practices, but to encourage lending and limit the liability of bankers. So the feeding frenzy continues.

If you choose to pursue the abolition of central banks or the elimination of the International Monetary Fund, you should not expect much help from the victims. Very occasionally, a victim may see the blood sucking leech and be horrified, but the teeth are embedded, the anesthetic has been injected, the anticoagulant is doing its work, and the process of being bled is painless to the victim. Many of the victims will fight to preserve what they see as prosperity, what they view as a working system.

If they seem ignorant, perhaps enlightenment may be spread. But don't count on it. The bankers have worked long and diligently to spred a miasma of ignorance and misinformation. The public schools are designed to dumb down the population, misinform the masses on monetary matters, and support the process of separating fools from their money for generation after generation.

While government control over money certainly leads toward a 1984 style slavery it has not achieved the monotony that Orwell feared, nor the monolithic, world-spanning aspect vital to its final results. Rather, the world has become increasingly fragmented in the face of numerous attempts to impose totalitarian control. Empires are not yet impossible to build, but are impossible to sustain. The Twentieth Century saw the demise of British, French, Italian, German, and Soviet empires. The Twenty-first Century may yet see the demise of American and Chinese empires.

In the midst of the turmoil, it may be possible to remove some leeches before the victims expire from blood loss. Bankers, like leeches, are a sort of worm, and worms are a hearty form of life. A biologist once told us that if every living thing except worms and all non-living matter were removed from Earth, the overall shape of the planet, the continents, the hills and valleys, and even the outlines of many people and animals would be fully visible. Don't expect these worms to disappear just because you expose their bloodsucking ways.

Gold Mining

Last week we devoted many pages to the analysis of the stocks we were suggesting in various areas. So this week, we're updating you on their prices.

Here's how the stocks we presently suggest in this area look right now:

Company Symbol C$ US$
s
Almaden AMM.TO 1.71 -
-C$0.03
Free Gold ITF 0.37 0.276
+C$0.09
Luzon LZN.V 0.25 -
- C$0.04
Lumina LCC - 4.38
- 0.26
Newmont Mining NEM - 44.58
+1.28
Northgate NXG - 1.60
- 0.05
Silver Standard SSRI - 12.27
- 0.51
Vista VGZ.TO 4.81 -
- C$0.19

As expected, all the stocks are down. We suspect not only end of year tax loss selling but also the recent drop in the price of gold. Well, gold is back up, today, and seems destined to go higher. Yes, there is still time for gold to reach $480/oz before the end of this year. Stock prices may still fall back a bit, but you should look at this period of lower prices as an opportunity to buy in for your best advantage.

The exception seems to be Freegold which hasn't dropped against last week's price. They just announced some drill results from one of their projects up near Fairbanks which look quite good (over half an ounce per tonne along five feet on one drill intersection at Tolovana area of the Golden Summit project - see their press release for details).

Free Market Money

Gold and silver fell dramatically last week as the dollar finally stopped its avalanche for a brief respite. We don't see any prospect for the dollar to simply rise from here. So, we anticipate much higher gold and silver prices before year's end.

The two stocks we've suggested in this sector are PVH and MCG. Both are unchanged.

Space Frontier

    "Administrator O'Keefe has previously indicated to us that he is planning on leaving. He's someone the president believes has done a great job over at NASA."
    - Scott McClellan, 13 December 2004

Yeah, great job, Sean. Nice work on that shuttle Columbia business, about a year into your time as Administrator. We were all impressed with the way NASA ignored its engineers, again, and let the shuttle re-enter and burn up just as predicted. Oh, good work. The commission investigating the accident described NASA as an agency compromised by lax safety, with incompetent management. No wonder seven astronauts were turned into blackened crisps on your watch.

Tonight is the peak for the Geminid meteor shower. Look for the planet Saturn in the constellation Gemini, high over head at midnight. You should be able to see dozens of meteors from the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, possibly the remains of a comet from some time in the past.

The Air Force and Boeing have slipped the launch of the enormous Delta Four launch system. Apparently Boeing is getting hundreds of millions in Air Force money to prove the launch system with a test "Demo-Sat" that measures how the launch vehicle is performing. It seems likely that the Delta 4 will launch spy satellites for the Air Force now that the shuttle fleet seems unlikely to return to flight. And, who knows, maybe a few Air Force space-based weapons systems will also fly on the vehicle. Must be nice to have big subsidies from the Pentagon whenever one develops a new launch system.

Here's how things stand for the stock we suggested in this sector:

SpaceDev is at $1.80.

Launch Technology

    "We have two hopefuls at the negotiation table with us now."
    - Anatoli Perminov, Roscosmos chief,
    7 December 2004

Back in April 2001, Dennis Tito flew in space. The Russians launched him to the Internationalist Space Station. NASA, of course, objected. According to the Russian News & Information Agency "Novosti" the flight cost Tito US$20 million.

Next up was Mark Shuttleworth, a South African billionaire who flew in May 2002, paying about the same. Russian doctors banned American millionaire Gregory Olsen for health reasons. Sergei Polonsky, an affluent Russian entrepreneur age 32 was also not qualified for flight.

So, the Russians have two hopefuls now in negotiation and are planning to train them, we gather, starting in 2006 over a period of 500 days. We hope that represents man-days of training rather than actual calendar days, but with bureaucracies, you never know.

Meanwhile, there remains some doubt whether the Progress scheduled for launch next week is going to launch on time. The Internationalist Space Station may yet be abandoned. No way of knowing whether it would be available when the next batch of Russian tourists want to go. Then again, the Russians launched seven Salyut space stations and Mir between 1971 and 1986, along with half a dozen expansion modules for Mir. So if the ISS falls out of the sky, the Russians would likely put something in its place. Or maybe Robert Bigelow will have a hotel on orbit by then.

The USA Senate has approved a bill that would authorize the FAA to regulate space tourism launches. The law should be expected to be signed by Bush. No doubt there will be plenty of self-congratulation all around. In fact, the new law appears certain to throttle the industry with regulatory fervor at the first hint of trouble.

According to one analysis we read last week, had the new law been in place back in September 2004, the unexpected spinning of the SpaceShip One vehicle would have forced the FAA to interrupt the Mojave Aerospace team's X-Prize attempt. No word yet on what it may cost space tourism companies to comply with the FAA's regulatory authority under this new regimen.

One might hope the new requirements from the FAA would be less than what it costs to comply with their certification requirements for a new aircraft. Over the Summer, Burt Rutan was quoted as supposing it might cost as much as $200 million to certify the vehicle, which cost his team about $30 million from scratch to build. Wow.

New Country Developments

We thought it might be fun to figure out about how many countries there are in the world. We do agree with Ask.Yahoo that it depends on your criteria and definition of a country. We believe international law establishes three criteria which may be regarded as lower limits: territory, population, and control of the borders. Delightfully, this set of criteria makes for a much larger number of countries.

We don't especially like the CIA. They've been involved in many scandals and much aggravation has come from them. But, they do have a fairly useful World Fact Book. If you choose the location "The World" you get some interesting facts. For example:

    98 nations and other entities are islands that border no other countries, they include: American Samoa, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, The Bahamas, Bahrain, Baker Island, Barbados, Bassas da India, Bermuda, Bouvet Island, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Christmas Island, Clipperton Island, Cocos Islands, Comoros, Cook Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Cuba, Cyprus, Dominica, Europa Island, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Fiji, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Glorioso Islands, Greenland, Grenada, Guam, Guernsey, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Howland Island, Iceland, Jamaica, Jan Mayen, Japan, Jarvis Island, Jersey, Johnston Atoll, Juan de Nova Island, Kingman Reef, Kiribati, Madagascar, Maldives, Malta, Isle of Man, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritius, Mayotte, Federated States of Micronesia, Midway Islands, Montserrat, Nauru, Navassa Island, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Palau, Palmyra Atoll, Paracel Islands, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Puerto Rico, Reunion, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Seychelles, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Spratly Islands, Sri Lanka, Svalbard, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tromelin Island, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Vanuatu, Virgin Islands, Wake Island, Wallis and Futuna, Taiwan.

It makes us want to grab an atlas. Or this bit of info:

    43 nations and other areas are landlocked, these include: Afghanistan, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Czech Republic, Ethiopia, Holy See (Vatican City), Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malawi, Mali, Moldova, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Paraguay, Rwanda, San Marino, Slovakia, Swaziland, Switzerland, Tajikistan, The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Uzbekistan, West Bank, Zambia, Zimbabwe; two of these, Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan, are doubly landlocked."

We don't see at least one landlocked country that we think is probably doubly landlocked - if that means surrounded by other landlocked countries - and that one is the Sovereign Military Hospitaller Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta, which has territory in Vatican City, at their embassy there, and in no other place in the world. In fact, the CIA seems to have neglected to make any mention of the Knights of Malta as a country, more's the pity. One of their many "intelligence" failures, perhaps.

So, what are the countries, as far as the CIA is concerned? They list 198 countries and 67 dependencies for a total of 265 places (less oceans). Here are some of them:

Afghanistan, Akrotiri, Albania, Algeria, American Samoa, Andorra, Angola, Anguilla, Antarctica, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Aruba, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, The Bahamas, Bahrain, Baker Island, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bassas da India, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Bouvet Island, Brazil, British Indian Ocean Territory, British Virgin Islands, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burma, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Cayman Islands, Central African Republic, Chad, Chile, China, Christmas Island, Clipperton Island, Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Colombia, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Cook Islands, Coral Sea Islands, Costa Rica, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dhekelia, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Europa Island, Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), Faroe Islands, Fiji, Finland, France, French Guiana, French Polynesia, French Southern and Antarctic Lands, Gabon, The Gambia, Gaza Strip, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Gibraltar, Glorioso Islands, Greece, Greenland, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guam, Guatemala, Guernsey, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Heard Island and McDonald Islands, Holy See (Vatican City), Honduras, Hong Kong, Howland Island, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Jan Mayen, Japan, Jarvis Island, Jersey, Johnston Atoll, Jordan, Juan de Nova Island, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kingman Reef, Kiribati, North Korea, South Korea, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Isle of Man, Marshall Islands, Martinique, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mexico, Federated States of Micronesia, Midway Islands, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montserrat, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nauru, Navassa Island, Nepal, Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Niue, Norfolk Island, Northern Mariana Islands, Norway, Oman, Pacific Ocean, Pakistan, Palau, Palmyra Atoll, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paracel Islands, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Pitcairn Islands, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Qatar, Reunion, Romania, Russia, Rwanda, Saint Helena, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia,Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia and Montenegro, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Spain, Spratly Islands, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Svalbard, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tokelau, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tromelin Island, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Turks and Caicos Islands, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Vietnam, Virgin Islands, Wake Island, Wallis and Futuna, West Bank, Western Sahara, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Taiwan.

Sadly, it is a pathetic, political listing. Look at Taiwan stuck there at the bottom. What the heck is that? It is deliberately out of order alphabetically. With the People's Republic of China having most favored nation trade status and a conflict over whether Taiwan is its own country, and with Wal-Mart the 8th largest trading partner with China, one does have to ask, "What is Taiwan, to the USA, anyway?" Noble ally? Long-time friend? Or just a casual acquaintance to be stabbed in the back at the first opportunity? Inquiring minds would wish to know.

We noticed Somalia. Isn't that just typical? The Republic of Somaliland gets short shrift. No room for the autonomous state of Puntland. No mention of Lower Jubaland. Don't get us started on Wersengeliland. Somalia wasn't even one country in 1960. It had been divided into five pieces, one part French (now Djibouti, then the French Somali Coast), one part Italian, two parts British (a province of Kenya and the Crown Protectorate of British Somaliland) and one part Ethiopian (Western Awdal, the Haud, and Ogaden graciously ceded in perpetuity by the British - some protectorate! - in 1954). So on independence in 1960, the British Protectorate and Italian portions joined forces until 1978 when the Somaliland portion declared its independence, which was won in 1991. Mind you, the various international groups in the region declared that colonial borders must be recognized in perpetuity, for whatever bizarre arbitrary reasons. Nevertheless, Somaliland doesn't make the CIA listing.

We noticed Gaza and the West Bank. But the Palestine Authority doesn't rate. Tiny San Marino is a country, Andorra is a country, but Palestine, no can do. So, the CIA listing is totally political, bears no relationship to the world as it exists, and is just another example of mindless bureau-rats making the world into a garbage heap.

But, when we accept the conditions of territory, population, and control of the borders, we have to assent to the Navajo nation. The Navajo know their borders, have their own tribal police, have various other state-like features, certainly have a territory and population. Sure, their foreign policy is essentially limited to their relationship with the USA, but they are a country as far as we're concerned. So, when we learned there were 557 Indian tribes in the USA, we were quite excited. Then we found out about 614 "First Nations" communities in Canada, and approximately 159 South American Indian tribes. We have no idea about Mexico through Panama, but we suppose another 100 tribes would probably be identifiable. So, add 1,430 countries for the Western Hemisphere. Here are some of them:

A'ane (Aane, A'ananin), Abenaki (Abanaki, Abinaki, Abenaqui), Abnaki-Penobscot, Acatec (Acateco), Achi, Achomawi (Achumawi), Achuar, Acolapissa, Ahahnelin, Ahe, Ahtna (Ahtena), Akainawa, Alabama-Coushatta, Aleut, Algonquians (Algonkians), Algonquin (Algonkin), Alkansea, Alnobak (Alnbak, Alnombak, Aln8bak), Alsea, Alutiiq, Amalecite, Amuesha-Yanesha, Amuzgo, Anishinaabe (Anishinabe, Anishinabemowin, Anishinabeg, Anishinabek, Anishnabay), Aniyunwiya, Apache, Apsaaloke, Arapaho (Arapahoe, Arrapaho, Arrapahoe), Araucano, Arawak (Arawakan), Arikara (Arikari), Arkansas, Asakiwaki, Ashaninca (Ashaninka), Assiniboine (Assiniboin), Atakapa, Atikamekw (Atikamek, Attikamek, Attimewk), Atsina, Atsugewi, Ayapanec, Ayisiyiniwok, Aymara, Aztec, Batzi Kop, Beaver, Bella Bella, Bella Coola, Beothuks (Beothuck, Betoukuag), Biloxi, Black Carib, Blackfoot (Blackfeet), Blood Indians, Bode'wadmi, Bororo, Caddo (Caddoe), Cahto, Cahuilla, Cakchiquel, Carib (Caribe), Carolina Algonquian, Carrier, Caska, Catawba, Cayuga, Chahta, Chalaque, Chamula, Chatino, Chehalis, Chemehuevi, Chenalo, Cheraw, Cherokee, Chetco, Cheyenne (Cheyanne), Chibcha, Chickamaugan, Chickasaw (Chikasha), Chilcotin, Chilula-Whilkut, Chimakuan, Chinanteco, Chinook, Chinook Jargon, Chipewyan (Chipewyin, Chippewyin), Chippewa, Chitimacha (Chitamacha), Chochoteco, Choctaw, Ch'ol, Chol, Chontal of Oaxaca, Chontal of Tabasco, Chumash, Clallam, Cmique, Coahuiltecan, Coastal Cree, Cochimi, Cocomaricopa, Cocopah, Coeur d'Alene, Columbia-Wenachi, Comanche, Comox, Coos, Coquille, Cora, Corapan, Coushatta, Cowlitz, Cree, Creek, Croatan (Croatoan), Crow, Cuicateco, Cupeno, Dakota, Dawson, Degexit'an, Delaware, Dena'ina, Dene, Dene Tha, De Xitan, Didjazaa, Diegueno, Dine (Dineh), Dogrib, Eastern Inland Cree, Eenou (Eeyou), Eskimo (Esquimaux), Etchemin (Etchimin), Eyak, Flathead-Kalispel, Fox, French Cree, Gaigwu, Galibi, Garifuna, Gitxsan, Gros Ventre, Guahibo, Guarani, Guarijio, Gulf, Gwich'in (Gwichin), Haida, Haisla, Halkomelem (Hakomelem), Han, Hanis, Hare, Hatteras, Haudenosaunee, Havasupai, Hawaiian, Hawaiian Creole, Heiltsuk, Hidatsa (Hinatsa), Hinonoeino, Hnahnu, Hocak (Ho-Chunk, Hochunk), Holikachuk, Hoopa, Hopi, Hualapai, Huamelua, Huarijio, Huasteco, Huave (Huavean), Huichol, Huixteco, Hupa, Huron, Illini (Illiniwek, Illinois), Inca, Ingalik, Innu, Inuktitut (Inuit, Inupiat, Inupiaq, Inupiatun), Inuna-Ina, Iowa-Oto (Ioway), Iroquois Confederacy, Isleta, Iviatim, Ixil, Iynu, Jacalteco, James Bay Cree, Jemez, Jicarillo, Juaneno, Kadohidacho, Kainai (Kainaiwa), Kakchiquel, Kalapuya (Kalapuyan), Kalihna, Kalispel, Kanien'kehaka (Kanienkehaka), Kanjobal, Kansa (Kanze), Karok (Karuk), Kashaya, Kaska, Kaskaskia, Kato, Kaw, Kawaiisu, Kaweskar (Kawesqar), Kekchi, Kechan, Keres (Keresan), Kichai, K'iche', Kickapoo (Kikapoo, Kikapu), Kiliwa (Kiliwi), Kiowa, Kiowa Apache, Kiowa Tanoan, Kitsai, Klallam, Klamath-Modoc, Klickitat, Koasati, Konkow, Kootenai, Koyukon, Ktunaxa, Kumeyaay (Kumiai), Kuskokwim, Kutchin, Kutenai, Kwakiutl (Kwakwala), Kweedishchaaht (Kweneecheeaht), Kwikipa, Lakhota (Lakota), Lassik, Lenape (Lenni Lenape), Lillooet, Lipan Apache, Listiguj (Listuguj), Lnuk (L'nuk, L'nu'k, Lnu), Loup, Lower Tanana, Luiseno, Lumbee, Lummi, Lushootseed, Mahican, Maidu, Makah, Maliseet (Malecite, Malcite, Maliceet, Malisit, Malisset), Maliseet-Passamaquoddy, Mam, Mamaceqtaw, Mandan, Mapuche (Mapudungun), Maricopa, Massachusett (Massachusetts), Massasoit (Massassoit, Mashpee), Matlatzinca, Matagalpa, Mattole, Maumee, Mayan, Mayangna, Mayo, Mazahua, Mazateco, Menominee (Menomini), Me'phaa (Mephaa), Mescalero-Chiricahua, Meskwaki (Mesquaki-Sauk, Mesquakie), Metis Creole, Mewuk, Miami-Illinois, Miccosukee, Michif, Micmac (Micmaq, Mickmack, Mi'gmaq), Mikasuki, Mi'kmaq (Mikmaq, Mikmak, Mikmaw, Mi'kmaw, Mi'kmawi'simk, Mikmawisimk, Mkmaq, Mkmaw, Mkmawsimk), Mingo, Minsi, Mishikhwutmetunee, Miskito (Miskitu), Misumalpan, Mitchif, Miwok (Miwoc, Miwokan), Mixe, Mixteco, Modoc, Mohave, Mohawk, Mohegan, Mohican, Mojave, Molalla, Monache, Mono, Montagnais, Montauk, Moosehide, Munsee (Munsie, Muncey, Muncie), Muskogee (Muscogee, Mvskoke), Nabesna, Nahane, Nahuatl, Nakoda (Nakota), Nanticoke, Nantucket, Narragansett, Naskapi, Natchez, Natick, Natinook-wa, Navajo (Navaho), Nayhiyuwayin, Nde, Nee-me-poo, New Blackfoot, Nez Perce, Niantic, Nimipu, Nipmuc, Nisenan, Nisga'a, Nisgaa, Niska-Gitksian, Nomlaki, Nongatl, Nooksack (Nootsack), Nootka (Nutka), Northern Cheyenne, Ntlakapmuk, Nuu Savi, Nuxalk, Odawa, Ojibwa (Ojibway, Ojibwe, Ojibwemowin), Okanagan (Okanogan), Old Blackfoot, Omaha-Ponca, Oneida, Onondaga, O'odham, Oro Win (Orowin), Osage, Otchipwe, Otoe, Otomi, Ottawa, Paipai, Paiute, Palaihnihan, Pame, Pamlico, Panamahka, Panoan, Papago-Pima, Pascua Yaqui, Passamaquoddy, Paviotso, Pawnee, Peigan, Penobscot (Penobscott, Pentagoet), Peoria, Pequot, Peskotomuhkati, Piegan (Piikani, Pikani, Pikanii, Pikuni), Pima Bajo, Pipil, Piraha, Pit River Indians, Plains Indian Sign Language, Pocomchi, Pokom, Pokomam, Pomo, Ponca, Popoloca, Popoluca, Porcupine Indians, Potawatomi (Potowatomi, Pottawatomie, Potawatomie), Powhatan (Powhattan, Powhaten, Powatan), Pueblo, Puget Sound Salish, Purepecha (Purhepecha), Q'anjobal (Qanjobal), Q'eqchi, Quapaw, Quechan, Quechua, Quiche Maya, Quileute, Quiligua, Quinault, Raramuri (Ralamuli), Red Indians, Restigouche, Saanich, Sac, Sahaptin, Salish, Sandia, Sanish (Sahnish), Sastean, Savannah, Sarcee (Sarsee, Sarsi), Sauk, Sechelt, Sekani, Selkirk, Seminoles, Seneca, Seri, Serrano, Shasta, Shawano, Shawnee, Shinnecock, Shoshone (Shoshoni), Shuswap, Siksika (Siksikawa), Sinkyone, Sioux, Siuslaw, Skagit, Skicin, S'Klallam, Skokomish, Skraeling, Slave (Slavey, Slavi), Sliammon, Sm'algyax, Smith River, Snohomish, Soke, Souriquois (Sourquois), Southern Paiute, Southwestern Pomo, Spokane, Squamish, Stockbridge, Stoney, Straits Salish, Sumu, Suquamish, Swampy Cree, Swinomish, Tachi, Tagish, Tahltan, Taino, Tanacross, Tanana, Tanaina, Taos, Tarahumara, Tarascan, Tenino, Tepecano, Tepehua, Tepehuano, Tequistlatec, Tete-de-Boule (Tetes-de-Boules), Tewa, Thompson, Tila, Tillamook, Tinde, Tipai-Ipai, Tiwa, Tjekan, Tlapaneco, Tlingit (Tlinkit), Tohono O'odham, Tojolabal, Tolowa, Tonkawa, Totonaca (Totonacan, Totonaco), Towa, Trique (Triqui), Tsalagi (Tsa-la-gi), Tsetsehestahese, Tsimshian (Tsimpshian), Tsitsistas, Tsuu Tina, Tubatulabal, Tulalip, Tumbala, Tupi, Tuscarora, Tutchone, Tutunacu, Tututni, Twana, Twatwa (Twightwee), Tza Tinne, Tzotzil, Ulwa, Umatilla, Unangan, Upper Kuskokwim, Upper Piman, Upper Salish, Upper Tanana, Ute, U'Wa (Uwa), Varihio, Virginian Algonkin, Wabanaki, Wailaki, Walapai, Walla Walla, Wampanoag, Wappinger, Wappo, Warihio, Warm Springs, Wasco-Wishram, Washo (Washoe), Wenachi (Wenatchi, Wenatchee), Wendat, Weott, White Clay People, Wichita (Witchita), Winnebago, Wintu (Wintun), Wiyot (Wi'yot), Wobanaki, Wolastoqewi (Wolastoqiyik), Wyandot (Wyandotte), Yakama, Yakima, Yanesha, Yanomami, Yanomamo, Yaqui, Yavapai, Yocha Dehe, Yokuts, Yucatec Maya (Yucateco, Yucatan), Yuki, Yuit, Yuma (Yuman), Yup'ik (Yupik), Yurok (Yu'rok), Zapoteco, Zimshian, Zoque, Zuni

You'll probably have noted some other things on the CIA listing. Antarctica. There is a continent claimed by twelve countries as of 1959 when they formed a treaty organization. As we recall, it was Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Britain, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, USA, and the USSR (now Russia). It may be cold, but it is a continent, with substantial coal, natural gas, and probably oil reserves. The protocol of 1991 which 24 nations signed forbidding exploration for minerals in Antarctica expires in 2041, and not everyone has agreed to it.

Sealand is missing from the CIA's list. Quite a few other assorted offshore locations of special tax status aren't mentioned. And then there's Africa.

We've lost count, frankly. There may be more than 2,000 clan and tribe groups within Africa. Of course, it depends on how fine you'd like to divide. There are some 74 identifiable clan groups within Greater Somalia (all five pieces of colonial Somalia aforementioned). The Somalis themselves identify seven great clans. So, two thousand may be high or low.

Europe has a great many clans and tribes. Don't kid yourself. Germany? Ten or more dozen countries just a few hundred years back. Prussian hegemony won't last forever. Scotland? Perhaps seven or eight dozen clans. If the Balkans are any clue to the coming century, Europe is a lot more countries than presently identified. Call it a thousand for round number's sake.

Asia, well, Asia is the largest continent of them all. Truly, it is Eurasia, but as we're in a subdividing frenzy we've relented on the lack of a body of water separating Europe from Asia (as is the case with every other continent, nowadays). Asia is larger than Africa, so let's say 3,500 clan and tribal groups.

You'll notice that the CIA makes no mention of Hutt River Province. So, Australia is another one of those continents which accounts for only one country. We don't know the aboriginal peoples of Australia well, so we're just arbitrarily assigning that continent the number 20. Call it whimsy.

None of the numbers from Africa, Europe, Asia, nor Australia are at all precise. These are numbers of caprice, but they seem within reason. They total 6,520.

Add ten spare countries to cover Sealand, Palestine, and other occasional places, and tote up the 6,520 just mentioned, the 265 admitted to by the CIA, the estimated Western Hemisphere native tribes, and we get 8,225 country-like entities. So far.

Obviously, we're not counting any of the efforts to colonize the sea surface, though Patri Friedman's Seastead, the various Atlantis Projects, the First Millennial Foundation, and others have been designing and planning if not building. ResidenSea and FreedomShip are both likely to be flagged vessels, but they amount to countries in their own right. In fact, with a standard metropolitan statistical area defined as 2500 people, there are probably two or three hundred cruise ships, aircraft carriers, and other large surface vessels that would count as city-states while at sea.

Nobody has made much effort to excavate the crust of the Earth, nor to colonize the deep oceans, nor to settle on the surface of the seabed, nor to form aerostats that float through the skies. We have just begun to reach other planets in our Solar System, mostly with robotic probes thus far, but humans are eager to follow. So, the future holds millions of new countries.

Longevity

Tea. It seems like such a nice friendly drink. And good for you. Have some.

This issue is late enough without us going on and on about tea.


Publication note: Two weeks ago we reported Sandy Sandfort's e-mail address wrong. We've corrected it in that issue. His correct e-mail is sandy@sandfort.biz. We regret the error.


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