2004 Issues #1 to #16
Seventeenth Issue 10 January 2005
B M GM FMM S LT N L P
Buy this essay and others in Jim's new book Being Sovereign.
The Indomitus Report
3 March 2005
"It is a comfortable feeling to know that you stand on your own ground. Land is about the only thing that can't fly away."
In 1802, John Adams wrote that he had heard his father say "he never knew a piece of land run away or break." Unfortunately, that creates a great many difficulties for land owners. Land is a fixed position. It is therefore a target for looters and plunderers. Those tied to the land are immobile. So, don't be tied to your land.
A good friend of mine once heard advice from a local laborer, not someone of any impressive education, but with a bit of wisdom to impart. "Always pay your car payment before your mortgage. You can sleep in your car, but you can't drive your house."
Our friend Richard Morris is the architect who developed plastic SeaCell technology and has quite a few patented innovations in the area of MegaCells made from floating concrete. With projects like ResidenSea and Freedom Ship, the day is approaching when land may run away. There are proposals for aerostats, enormous lighter than air structures that would take advantage of the benefits of large scale in lighter than air craft. With aerostats, or the spin dizzies of James Blish, or rocket propelled asteroids, we may yet produce land that can fly away.
These would be welcome developments, since tax farmers are endlessly demanding money. No matter where you choose to live, land is a target for "property taxes." Wherever you find voters, you will find those without property voting to tax those with property. It is the age-old problem, as the military intelligence youth says in the film "Starship Troopers," "It's simple numbers, boys and girls. They have more." There will always be more voters who have no property, or very little property. Thus, as HL Mencken wrote, every election is simply an advance auction on stolen property, or property yet to be stolen.
One of the classic strategies to fight against this tendency for land and other property to be plundered is what we call "jurisdictional arbitrage." You may employ a diversity of tools, incuding trusts, corporations, limited partnerships, and the like to limit your tax liability. You may have multiple addresses, in which case you might find it reasonable to have items shipped from one jurisdiction to another. Often, sales tax is not collected when you do so. Though, as we shall see below, that is not a strategy without risk.
Another strategy is the so-called "permanent traveler" strategy. Instead of having one domicile, have four or five. Move throughout the year, spending no more time in a given country than the country's government specifies for non-resident status. In other words, don't become a "permanent resident" of any country.
Related to these two strategies is the idea of the five flags. You reside in one country, but not your country of origin. You have a secondary citizenship and passport from a third country. You have ownership interests (perhaps through trusts or partnerships) in a corporation domiciled in a fourth country. That company does its business in a fifth country. You can obviously extend on this approach with multiple residences, multiple countries for ownership, and so forth.
You should not be afraid to walk out your door, right this minute, and go somewhere else. Preferably, have several destinations in mind. Are they within "walking distance"? Sure. You can walk and hitch rides to anywhere in the world. With the advent of space tourism, in a few years, you may be able to hitch rides to places out of this world.
Even so, walking is a bit of a drag. Walking really long distances can be very limiting. Most people walk at three or four miles an hour when they are rested and used to long walks, two miles an hour when they aren't. Walking fifty minutes on, ten minutes off, for twelve hours would put most people in the hospital. But, after a few days of working up to it a few hours at a time, you can certainly get into a mode of walking that far, assuming you can get adequate food and water. It helps a great deal to have sunlight for walking, especially in keeping your speed up. Comfortable shoes or boots are a must. Your feet will break out in blisters and other ailments before your dress shoes are broken in.
Even in the best of conditions, though, walking would limit you to ten hours of movement per day at about three miles per hour. So, thirty miles a day. Forced marches at higher speeds are possible, but with considerable attrition.
Which is why people ride. Riding has three major advantages. You can move faster on almost any animal or conveyance. You can carry more with you. You arrive more rested, so you can do more things at your destination.
Perhaps as early as 35,000 years ago, humans began to domesticate various animals. Among these were horses, burros, llamas, elephants, and camels: all useful for hauling. Horses, burros, elephants, and camels were also well adapted for riding. Sometime in the last 25 millennia, horses and burros were bred, resulting in mules. (The sterile hybrid offspring of a male donkey and a female horse is a mule; the sterile offspring of a male horse and female donkey is a hinny. A female donkey is a jenny.)
It isn't clear exactly when humans started riding horses and other animals, but it certainly predates written history. A considerable time later, chariots and wagons were developed. While these conveyances slow the fastest gallop of the horse, they allow for considerably greater cargo to be moved. With the advent of steam engines, it became possible to move wheeled and tracked conveyances without horses, way back in the 18th Century. Also in that century, lighter than air conveyances were developed by the brothers Montgolfier.
Now, of course, we have available to us a wide range of skate boards, Segways, bicycles, ships, motorcycles, automobiles, planes, trains, helicopters, airships, rocketships, and other systems for getting around, as well as horses, mules, burros, camels, and even elephants. We have a full range of rides. Let's focus on the horse.
Horses are interesting as a natural resource that is first adapted as a prey animal, then a herd animal for meat and milk, then a draft animal for hauling what may be packed on the horse, then onto sledges, then onto carts. The horse is a technology driver for war wagons, chariots, roads, horseshoes, harnesses, yokes, saddles, stirrups, and hoists. These technologies improved the arts of metallurgy, forging, leathercraft, and textiles. War chariots led to innovations in javelins and lances. Stirrups provided for dramatic improvement in the horse as a weapons platform for archers, lancers, and cavalry soldiers wielding sabers and subsequently pistols and carbines.
Given the comparatively fragile materials involved, the earliest human harnesses, hackamores, bridles, and sinew bits for handling horses or even riding them are very likely dust by now. Ancient myths of centaurs are probably early riders. The very earliest riders may have used the horse's mane, or a length of thong around the horse's ears for control, much as bareback riders (and rustlers) of today. Antler cheek pieces used with some softer material such as rope, rawhide, or sinew to make bits for controlling horses have been found on the steppes north of the Black Sea and dated to about six thousand years ago. In the absence of images of men on horseback or written history from the time and region, we cannot know whether these were bits used to lead horses dragging sledges or used for riding.
About three thousand five hundred years ago, Egyptians were aware of the difficulties in using pole, yoke, and harnesses designed for oxen on horses. Owing to differences in anatomy, the harness would tend to press on the horse's windpipe, reducing its eagerness for forward motion, as well as limiting its wind. Yoke saddles consisting of wishbone shaped wooden elements lashed to the yoke and resting on the horse's shoulders were developed to alleviate the pressure on the throat. At about the same time, wheels were improved, metal bits were developed, and chariots were adapted to out-race ostriches.
Early portrayals of riders from 3,350 years ago show donkey seats and nose rings for control. At the same time, chariots were widely used in battle as an early form of cavalry. Generally, a chariot would have a team of horses, a driver or charioteer, and a soldier. The horses would carry the chariots near the enemy's front lines, the soldier would hurtle javelins or shoot arrows into their ranks, and the chariots would wheel about and ride off.
The same Russian steppes that gave rise to the earliest use of the bit some six thousand years ago also gave rise to the Scythian civilization. About 2,800 years ago, the Scythians came into contact with Greek culture, which was very helpful for contemporary scholars, as Greek writing survives. (Etruscans were also horseflesh enthusiasts, but were conquered by the Romans who had an unpleasant and despicable habit of burning the written records of conquered peoples - a habit continued by the Roman Catholic Church into recent centuries.) Scythian contact with Persia and Greece was largely in the form of conquest using archers equipped with compound bows firing both in attack and retreat. (Turning about on the horse and firing over its rump being something of an innovation.) Scythians were also fond of gold, and it appears in their grave goods, along with horses taken with the dead for use in the after life. Among many other innovations, the Scythians came up with trousers, clearly adapted for the rider.
The next major innovation would certainly be the breast-strap harness, about 480 BC, which the Chinese invented. Replacing the throat and girth harness that was choking horses, as described above, the breast-strap harness allowed fewer horses to pull the same load.
Shortly thereafter, another great innovation, the Roman paved road was developed. The Romans did not merely lay down flag stones for pavement, they engineered marvelous systems of straight, graded roads through tunnels, over bridges. Many miles of the 50,000 miles of highway they built remain to this day. Were it not for the despicable tradition of corruptly allocated government contracts, roads today might be even better. As it is, the Romans built roads that have lasted over two thousand years. German autobahn roads, even with high speed wear and tear, last up to 60 years. American construction contractors thrive on the graft inherent in roadways that last only 20 years before needing regrading and resurfacing.
Effective roads added enormously to productivity. They are such a great idea that they should be too important to trust to bureau-rats and politicians. With their superior roads, a Roman emperor could travel 80 miles a day. A Roman courier on horseback, with fresh mounts at way stations along the way, could make 144 miles a day (that's gross!). Even the strongest couriers of the Incas would be hard pressed to make 50 miles a day on foot.
Paved roads led to the development of horseshoes. Initially, these were heavy iron "hipposandals" strapped to the horse's hooves. Later, lighter shoes would be nailed to the hooves.
The Scourge of God
About five hundred years later, the stirrup combined with advanced armor to create heavy cavalry. Hoists were developed to lift fully armored men onto their enormous destriers. Heavy cavalry and the taxes demanded to maintain them were a dramatic curb to the blossoming culture of trade and commerce which the small holders of Europe had developed. Although events such as Runnymeade would curb the tendencies of self-aggrandizing nation states to some extent, empires would grow until the end of the Twentieth Century. A more detailed examination of this period of history is certainly warranted.
Dragoons are a type of mounted infantry. The dragoon moves to the battlefield on horseback, then dismounts, typically entering combat dismounted. The horse provides mobility for attack and retreat. Dismounting provides greater cover and concealment for the troops. Horses are, after all, a huge target compared to a man.
Probably the most effective use of the dragoon in combat was by Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest and his men did not lose a single battle until March 1865 at Selma, far beyond the rational scope for defending fixed positions in that war. (The War for Southern Independence is a perfect example of why defending fixed positions is a failing strategy.) Beginning as a private in the Confederate Army in 1861, Forrest rose to the rank of Lt. General by the close of the war.
At the start of the war, Forrest made numerous excursions into Union territory to buy pistols, rifles, saddles, and other equipment for his men. Throughout the war his cavalry would raid into Union territory and bring out horses, cattle, and volunteers. Some of his battles, including Bryce's Crossroads, are textbook examples for military strategists.
The advantages of mobility and the ability to carry substantially more equipment, ammunition, and rations makes the dragoon concept sound in almost every era. Modifications of the dragoon concept have been attempted in Vietnam and elsewhere. The "air mounted cavalry" is a poor substitute, given the necessity of packing squads of men into each helicopter, the higher profile of the choppers, their greater noise, and their vulnerability to munitions as inexpensive as the rocket propelled grenade. However, mounted on individual vehicles such as dirt bikes, the dragoon may have application in contemporary combat.
Next week, we'll take a look at the mechanized horse or motorcycle.
Free Market Money
"Open Source Exploration, Ltd, draws from the experience of the open source movement in computer software development. This model - now the basis of a billion dollar industry - has shown that opening information up to worldwide peer review produces spectacular results both in providing new possibilities and for the bottom line."
The Open Source Exploration concept is to create a market between analysts and mine owners for the exchange of data and expertise. At the same time, the company would provide a market between analysts and investors, and, conceivably, between owners and investors.
While the germ of this idea was advanced to some extent by the Red Lake Mine "GoldCorp" challenge in March 2000 by Rob McEwen, it is clear from follow-up research that GoldCorp already knew where the major strike zone was. What wasn't clear was whether the geological data sets could be successfully evaluated by remote reviews without ever visiting the mine site. Nick Archibald and Fractal Graphics of West Perth, Australia, along with Taylor, Wall and Associates in Queensland showed that it could be and won the top prize.
McEwen's reasoning was excellent. By posting about $575,000 of prize money, including a $105,000 first prize, Goldcorp received interest from "more than 1,400 scientists, engineers, and geologists from 50 countries" who downloaded the company's data. McEwen commented, "We have drilled four of the winners' top five targets and have hit on all four. But what's really important is that from a remote site, the winners were able to analyze a database and generate targets without ever visiting the property. It's clear that this is part of the future."
The GoldCorp prize was an unusual development for the industry, and has not seen much emulation from others. However, similar concepts appear to be at work in the petroleum industry. Schlumberger Group's IndigoPool, TransZap's Oildex Connect and Datalog Technology's Well Hub are similar in concept, with a focus on petroleum. Outside the exploration field, InnoCentive controlled by pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly matches top scientists in chemistry and chemical engineering with R&D challenges in that sector. Mark Jewell writes, "Research-dependent companies are offering the rewards, enlisting the world's scientists to supplement their in-house research and development. ... Solution seeking companies pay fees to...InnoCentive, promising cash awards to bounty hunters - regardless of their location or credentials - who come up with workable solutions."
Bringing open source ideas to an industry that is traditionally very proprietary about data is likely to be difficult. However, what worked in open source software development seems likely to work here. As high school and college students see the continuing bull market in commodities, they will choose majors or change majors to adapt. Young men and women entering the mining engineering fields "won't know any better" and should be quite eager to adapt to the open source opportunities.
We've been reviewing the ideas and innovations of Open Source Exploration, Ltd., thanks to a heads-up from our friend John Kingman. We anticipate revisiting this opportunity again, soon.
Here's how the stocks we presently suggest in this area look right now:
Western Prospector issued a news release on 24 February regarding their Saddle Hills airborne radiometric and magnetic survey. Saddle Hills is their property in northeastern Mongolia. "The survey was successful in defining numerous opportunities for additional uranium discoveries that will see drill testing throughout 2005." The company is movng to advance its Gurvanbalag mineralization to "NI 43-101 compliance."
Lumina Copper is planning a four-for-one split which should be ready by their shareholder meeting of April or May. Shareholders of record at that time should receive one share of each of three new companies for each share in Lumina. Lumina itself would be renamed Regalito Copper Corporation and will hold the company's eponymous Chile property discovered in 2004. The other three companies will be Northern Peru Copper holding the Galeno and Pashpap properties in northern Peru; Continental Copper will hold Vizcachitas and Relincho properties in Chile; Lumina Resources Corporation will hold the remaining assets in Argentina and Canada. Naturally, court, shareholder, and regulatory approval stand in the way. However, this approach should enhance value to shareholders, make it easier to divest specific properties through simpler corporate ownership, and allow for property financing and development with selective reductions in stock dilution. Existing officers with some additions would run all four companies, all four of which are expected to be listed. Also this past month, Lumina filed its NI 43-101 compliant report for Regalito, suggesting to us a measured and indicated resource worth about $9 billion at recent copper prices. More information about these developments is available on the company's web site.
We anticipate a report on the previously mentioned problem stocks next week. It looks like Northgate is pulling close to break even for us.
Free Market Money
This week has seen doldrums in all three metals we follow. And, we're adding uranium, given the significance Western Prospector is providing to our stock portfolio in that area.
Gold was briefly over $435 on Tuesday, and has broken down today through $432 to idle at $430 or so. This down leg seems to be filling in some of the gap from last week's dramatic rise.
Silver ran up on Wednesday to test overhead resistance at $7.33, and has come back down to $7.19.
Copper is at $1.5134 per pound. Overhead resitance seems to have moved up to $1.52. The significance of last week's breakthrough shows up nicely on a six month chart.
Uranium is at $21.75 per pound for U3O8. A long term price chart suggests peaks in mid-1987 and mid-1996, valleys in late 1991, early 2001. Thus, there seems to be a nine- to ten-year cycle. That's incredibly good for promising stocks like Western Prospector, even though prices right now are well ahead of their 30 week moving average. Nine years from the last peak would be mid-2005; ten years would give us until mid-2006.
The three stocks we've suggested in this sector are PVH, GBH, and MCG. All three appear unchanged from last week.
Cambist.net recently changed their telephone number. The new phone number is in the New York City area. An existing exchanger with the same area code is GoldAge.net. We have not seen any announcement pertinent to Cambist being sold, but will keep you informed if we do.
"The government announced the indictment and arrest of space tourism and telecommunications entrepreneur Walt Anderson, accused of evading $200 million in federal and local taxes, the largest US criminal tax case ever filed against an individual."
Among the other allegations in the government complaint, our friend and former boss Walt stands accused of using "a mailbox in the Netherlands." Among the foul statements made by vicious thug Assistant Attorney General Eileen O'Connor, "countries known as tax havens have been cooperating with US investigations more openly since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. Terrorist and other shady organizations often use such shelters to launder money" per Space.com. Such statements fatuously comparing tax avoidance with terrorism should drip with acidic sarcasm.
Walt is famous for his work developing MirCorp to satisfy the upscale space tourism market. Naturally, doing so gave a black eye to NASA which looked incredibly stupid objecting to space tourists visiting the internationalist socialist space station. Of course fiends like O'Connor would deny that the fact that Walt's brilliant marketing made NASA look like idiots has anything to do with the current indictment. Yeah, sure, it's all about terrorism.
Space.com isn't especially competent. Their article claims that Walt started a long distance company in the early 1990s. Actually, Mid-Atlantic Telecomm was a deal he started in the 1980s. We worked for Walt's Microsatellite Launch Systems from November 1989 until November 1990, leaving to start Space Travel Services. Walt was chairman, and we remember visiting him at his home in DC in mid-1990. Meanwhile, Walt's Mid-Atlantic Telecomm became a part of Frontier in 1992 which in turn seems to have been eaten by Global Crossing or Worldcom.
Walt ended up with hundreds of millions of dollars which he used to organize ventures such as Gold & Appel (perhaps an Erisian term?), MirCorp, and Orbital Recovery Corporation - a venture to refuel satellites on orbit to extend their useful lives. According to the procurators, Walt's ventures earned $450 million which he didn't report. They also assert that he failed to file federal income taxes from 1987 to 1993 while he was living in Washington, DC. He also is accused of having wine purchased in DC shipped to one of his homes in Virginia for the sole purpose of avoiding DC sales tax.
It is tough being arrested. We are very sympathetic toward Walt given what we know about what he's going through. We learned today that, having accused him of having overseas holdings, the fedgoons are using that allegation to further allege that he would be a flight risk. Walt has been denied bail at least until 17 March. US District Court Judge Allen Kay is the one to whom to direct complaints about this high-handedness.
Naturally, we fully expect Walt will beat the rap. In this day and age, he can't expect to "beat the ride."
It does take the edge off a little bit, though. While David Mayer and Jim Davidson remain the only two people ever arrested for trying to put people into orbit, to our knowledge, these are not the only space tourism entrepreneurs to be arrested.
Here's how things stand for the stock we suggested in this sector:
SpaceDev is at $1.85. It is up $0.35 since we first suggested it.
"Our role is to make sure the hardware is right when it's assembled, that it contains no defects and passes all retesting after processing is complete."
NASA seems determined to launch another crew to their death, if not this May, then sometime thereafter. Meanwhile, the irony drips from every word of the shuttle safety apparatchiks as they assert that they "make sure the hardware is right." Here's a newsflash, lady: ya got the hardware wrong. Twice. Fourteen people are dead. They'll be picking debris out of the lakes in east Texas for another century.
Sure, it was exciting for the folx out in Hemphill and San Augustine. They had never seen a shuttle land in their neck of the woods. Or on it. One of our friends who lives near Sam Rayburn Reservoir phoned up to say, "Parts is parts."
The good news is that the whitewash commission is done with their work. NASA has completed seven of the things they are supposed to differently from now on, and really promises to do the other eight, too. Nobody has mentioned, since about the time Dr. Feynman released his minority report for the Challenger commission that the 50,000 parts of each space shuttle main engine are pretty much all "criticality one" or two. Meaning a catastrophic or near catastrophic failure may result if one of those parts fails. So far NASA hasn't lost a shuttle due to main engine failure, though they've had to abort to orbit on at least one occasion as we recall. Having lost Challenger to solid booster burn through and Columbia to debris strike and tile burn through, the betting pool for "major malfunction" due to main engines is where the even money lays.
In other launch news, XM Satellite Radio had their third broadcasting spacecraft lofted Monday night, the end of February. The satellite was launched by Sea Launch using their Zenit 3SL rocket. The Zenit was originally designed for the Soviet space program. Sea Launch employs a floating launch facility. "The launch was awesome," says Derek de Bastos of XM.
Today's Zenit is made partly in the Ukraine, partly in Russia. The satellite is made by Boeing. At one time, Sea Launch was a Boeing division, so there may be a discount on launches that way. Apparently Boeing has removed a "crippling design flaw" from its satellite power system. For this flight, the Sea Launch ships departed Long Beach, California in early February to reach the Equator, where the launch took place. Sea Launch plans to conduct six launches this year. Meanwhile, XM has adjusted its prices for inflation.
New Country Developments
"The...Federal Government will - in the name of fighting the 'War Against Terrorism' - unwisely continue to squeeze an increasingly incompressible core, most of whom are politically conservative. Most of them are gunowners, and many of them are 'damn-the-torpedoes' Patriots. Thus, the escalating federal barbarity will eventually encounter a very resolved and highly prepared segment of the populace who will never dociley accept CS gas 'inserted' by tanks into their homes, or FBI snipers shooting their nursing wives in the face. Once the gun confiscation raids commence, the Government will have at last crossed that 'line in the sand' for hundreds of thousands of Patriots. I would give up nearly everything for that day never to arrive, however, the feds apparently believe they can pull it off, so they're going for it."
Many long years ago, a guy named Werner Stieffel organized a group called the Atlantis Project. Roughly 1969, meeting in an old motel in a smaller town in New York, Stieffel and his crew planned a new country on the high seas. About the same time, the pirate radio king Roy Bates was outfitting "Rough's Tower" to create Sealand. Some years later, another character, Eric Klien, organized another Atlantis Project. It was similarly unsuccessful. Several of Klien's creditors met in November 1995 in New York City at a conference organized by Courtney Smith. The New Country Foundation was formed, flared briefly, and failed to catch hold. Roughly the same time, Richard Hammer was organizing the Free Nation Foundation, which eventually split up, with some of the group forming the Libertarian Nation Foundation. In Central America, a group called Laissez Faire City got going, before being infiltrated by the NSA and ripped asunder. In Costa Rica, the Movimiento Libertario began to take over parliament, and Limon REAL was organized. An author we like once said that when it is steamship time, everyone builds steamships; when it is railroad time, everyone is railroading.
Even without organized efforts by liberty activists (something of an oxymoron), new countries were forming all over the place. The disintegration of the Soviet Union between 1988 and 1991 created dozens of new and reinstated sovereignties. Native American tribes were demanding increased autonomy and recognition of their broader sovereignty interests. Somalis kicked out their dictator, considered the matter, and formed no new central government.
Years before there was an essay by Walter Williams to inspire Jason Sorens to organize the Free State Project, there were liberty enthusiasts gathering in Wyoming. One of these gatherings was in July 1997 in the Grand Teton "national" forest. We met writer Claire Wolfe, activist Louis James, Cowboy state computer guru Charles Curley, and many other liberty enthusiasts at this event.
Those who saw the Soviet Union fall apart were convinced that the United States would, as well. Many symptoms in the culture made it clear that there were far more forces pulling the last superpower apart than the few holding it together. Whether engineered or not, the 11 September 2001 crisis has been used as a Reichstag fire to justify extreme measures to hold together a failing empire. It should be obvious by now that these measures are not working.
One of the men most interested in those Wyoming gatherings in the late 1990s was Ken Royce. An author and publisher, Ken writes under the pseudonym Boston T. Party. His books include the untax classic Good-Bye April 15th; the serious arrest avoidance and constitutional liberty review You & the Police; a somewhat dated but still stimulating Bulletproof Privacy; the most intelligent treatise on the USA constitution's unholy alliance with big government Hologram of Liberty; a survival manual Boston on Surviving Y2K and Other Lovely Disasters; and three books on guns: Boston on Guns & Courage; Boston's Gun Bible 2000 edition; and Boston's Gun Bible 2002 edition - a substantially different, updated, and much more thorough treatment of the gun owner's tome.
Commenting on the situation in his introduction to Molôn Labé!, Boston asks, "Do I believe that the USG would willingly allow a national mitosis? No, I think the Federal Government would try to crush any such attempt, as it did in the 1860s. (Note the modern antipathy towards the Confederacy and its flag.) Once, however, the Crash hits and the welfare checks become increasingly worthless through inflation, and federal troops are patrolling the streets, we will become the Yugoslavia of the Western Hemisphere. Then, secession will finally have its chance. I firmly believe that the Rocky Mountain states will be the place to weather out this imminent 'Rainy Decade.' They are geographically defensible, beautiful, abundant in wildlife, and are generally populated by honest, 'salt of the earth' folks. I highly recommend that you seek high ground now while it's early and affordable to do so."
His premise of a market and currency crash followed by a "very sharp recession" or, what we used to call a "Panic" and then called a "Depression," and what Doug Casey has referred to as "The Greater Depression" is fairly easy to see. The evidence of a dollar collapse is all around us, including the book The Coming Collapse of the Dollar by author Jim Turk just released.
Boston writes, "The final premise is that the Government will view this alpine convergence of self-reliant Americans as too embarrassing a contrast to the liberal urbanites who stand in soup lines. As the West becomes stronger and stronger, and the East becomes weaker and weaker, the Government will feel forced to act. Partition, much less secession, indicates to the world that Washington, DC has failed, and the politicians will do whatever they can to prevent the secession of a state. I expect they'd even call in foreign UN troops (as did the 1960s Congo Communists to forcibly regain the independent and prosperous Katanga region). This is where the 'fun' begins. So, I have written Molôn Labé! with these assumptions: Early 21st Century will be a mess, and the feds will worsen it to the point of instituting martial law. The President will then usurp the Congress through his Executive Orders. Dr. Gary North's prescient book Government by Emergency will come to pass. Will we win? Will we successfully carve out an oasis of freedom in America where our lives are our own again?"
What follows is a series of vignettes. Chapters are named with years, ranging from "1995" to "2021," providing back story and plot. Some chapters are prefaced with quotes from history, others with quotes from fictional characters. Unlike many novels, this one has appendices, which include a report on the merits of Wyoming which was begun in August 1997, an entire chapter from the body of the novel in the form of a Playboy magazine style interview with the protagonist, two wise but challenging essays on revising democracy to encourage more liberty and responsibility, an essay on encryption, and two pages excerpted from a Wyoming almanac. In other words, it is not like most other novels we've read. It is, however, very much like other books by Boston T. Party - filled with facts, organized to suit the author, and not dedicated to any foolish linearity. Like other novels, it is paginated sequentially; other Boston books are paginated by chapter.
The story begins in 2006 with what any federal prosecutor would call a conspiracy. Hundreds of men and women have moved their families to select counties in Wyoming. They have the numbers for the upcoming election in Novembe 2006 to win elections in five or six of the lowest population counties in the state (which is, itself, the least populated in the country). Moreover, two state employees have noticed this unusual pattern of immigration into the state, and are preparing a report on the subject. They take a break to go to a nearby tavern, get drunk, drive back toward the office in a snowstorm, skid on black ice, and crash - burning to death by the side of the road along with their computer analysis.
Following this prologue, the story turns back to 1995. A traffic stop near Casper, Wyoming, leads to the unconstitutional arrest of gun enthusiast Bill Russell. We follow his story to federal court. We meet a lively defense attorney named Juliette Kramer, a defense witness Harold Krassny, and a very interesting juror named James Preston. We also meet the bad guys, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms rat Gordon Lorner, and assistant US attorney Jack Krempler who are presented with considerable accuracy. The case against Russell centers on whether his rifle had an illegalized flash suppressor. Lorner fakes some video using two very different gunpowders to simulate a dramatic difference in flash. Preston reviews the tape in the jury pool, persuades the other jurors of the malfeasance, Russell is found not guilty, and Preston falls in love with Kramer.
The condition of liberty in the United States in 2002 and 2003 is covered in a short series of vignettes. We meet another character, briefly, to empathize with his experience at airport security. James Preston writes a note to his father about the benefits of home schooling and the difficulties of being tyrannized by the majority. He references the "Wyoming Report" in the first appendix. His father writes back filled with approval. An unidentified speaker at the Colorado Libertarian Party convention points up the difficulties facing the party if it won't concentrate liberty activists in one location. A thinly veiled "Whisk E. Rebellion" alter ego writes about how 46% of the Free State Project's participants participated in a vote that allegedly chose New Hampshire for the destination of many of them.
This essay by Mr. Rebellion contains a fine quote from Thucydides: "The state that separates its scholars from its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools." Last week in this section, we reviewed the slave rebellion cycle. Thucydides, who felt that the future would reflect the past, would have been intrigued.
Vignette follows vignette, and we find ourselves in 2007, watching as the FBI director quizzes an agent about this Wyoming migration. There's nothing unlawful about moving people to low population counties and having them register Republican, but then again there was that Rajneeshi group in a small county in Oregon some years back that ended up in federal prison. The FBI is having trouble putting the ringleaders together with the political movement owing to strong encryption. They are also hampered by the fact that the political leaders of the migration are individually decent rather than the usual scandal-ridden monsters the FBI seems to tame with extortion.
Just when one is settling in for a fairly tedious political drama about the mechanics of rural county elections, it's 2008 and Harold Krassny sends an e-mail message to a sheriff's detective. Krassny had been his summer camp counselor, and uses the name of the camp for the password to an IDEA encrypted message. Krassny's encrypted message explains that he's carefully committed suicide in a very nice hotel room in Boulder, Colorado. In a message that is also circulated to various interested web sites, Krassny tells his life story. He flew fighter planes in WW2, got shot down, and killed three Nazis fighting his way through occupied Holland to Allied lines. After the war, the OSS trained him for intelligence work in postwar Germany gathering intelligence on the Soviets. In 2008, he applied this training "to kill international socialists." One is a USA Senator that Krassny views as "a modern reincarnation of Josef Goebbels" and the other is an "arrogant evil" man who "was consumed with creating a one-world government to rule over deflated nations and ...powerless peoples."
Krassny has not only killed these two, but also taken information from their computers which gets broadly published by liberty activist web sites. "It is my hope that this information will be stepping stones for further action against our would-be enslavers," writes Krassny in his suicide note. In his swan song, Krassny laments that he is too infirm in his 80s to do much more for the cause of freedom. But he rallies the freedom fighters, and inspires numerous imitators.
One thread of the novel's plot follows the actions inspired by Krassny. We have here a plot line reminiscent of John Ross's excellent tome, Unintended Consequences. Ross pointed out that individuals acting alone were the ultimate in revolutionary cells. No leadership needed to guide them, only principles of liberty. No communications could expose them, as they would plan their individual actions independently. The unintended consequences of despotism are thousands of individual acts of liberty. In Ross's novel, hundreds of government agents, judges, and politicians are killed by angry individuals tired of living under tyranny. In Boston's novel, the same targets are found, though in considerably smaller numbers.
Boston also thoughtfully examines the consequences for bystanders. Two freedom enthusiasts visit a Colorado city to consider a real estate investment. Their visit coincides with the slaying of a prominent fedgoon. The novel follows the FBI down the wrong path, with one liberty lover gunned down outside his home and the other confronting a swarm of FBI agents in the nude. Both early morning raids are "successful," though six federal agents provide a color guard in the after life for one hero, and the other successfully defends his innocence. Neither one had been involved in the slaying. We take another trip through the justice system's foul underside to another happy result - perhaps the most difficult area in which to suspend our disbelief.
Another reason to buy this book is a detailed critique Boston provides for Jim Bell's Assassination Politics idea. He tears it to pieces. Bell's web site describing and encouraging discussion of assassination politics - a proposal to pay assassins to successfully predict the timing of the demise of some particularly egregious violator of individual liberty - created considerable interest in the late 1990s. Among other things, it made Bell the target of federal investigations which trumped up charges to put him in prison for some time. Boston points out that the proposal was inherently flawed. Had it been implemented, the contributors to the prize money and the individual assassins would have been needlessly communicating with a high-profile web site. No matter where it was hosted, it would be connected to criminal enterprise and a target. Even the timing idea was flawed, since the police and prosecutors could easily withhold information about the death of prominent individuals, claiming they were missing, and even asserting their deaths were at a far different time to thwart the payment of the assassin's fee, meanwhile taking a shrewd interest in whichever assassin had the actual timing right.
Why all this violence? Simple. The state demands it. "If the altnernative is to keep all just men in prison, or give up war and slavery, the State will not hesitate which to choose. If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be as violent and bloody a measure as it would be to pay them, and enable the State to commit violence and shed innocent blood. This is, in fact, the definition of a peaceable revolution, if any such is possible." Henry David Thoreau's Civil Disobedience is quoted in chapter 2011.
The Federal Election Commission announced this week that the 2002 campaign finance law which the US Supreme Court upheld limiting political speech within 60 days of an election will be applied to Internet speech. A federal district judge struck down the Internet exemption, and the Federal Election Commission asserts it is powerless to appeal. Congress has made it increasingly difficult for anyone but an incumbent to be elected. Under the guise of campaign finance "reform," the safety valve of electoral politics, as limited and as frequently pointless as it may be, has been ratcheted shut. Pressure will build.
In Wyoming, however, there is considerable political success, at least in the novel. By 2014, the freedom migration has captured a majority of both houses of the state legislature, and elected a new governor, James Preston. In his inaugural address, Preston tells "the Potomac Parasites, 'Mind the nation's business and stay out of ours!" He also tells his audience that under his administration, the Wyoming government "will leave you alone." He proceeds to do just that.
In early 2015, the state legislature makes ten points for liberty. Boston is wisely concerned that a sudden disruption of government power not lead to chaos which, frequently, leads to clamoring by a terrified people to be led right back into tyranny. So, Preston approves ten changes in the first major redress of grievances.
These are: (1) repeal of the sales tax on firearms, ammo, and shooting gear; (2) Vermont style open or concealed carry without permit - this includes an amendment of the state constitution to prohibit government agents at all levels from infringing, regulating, or taxing the right to keep and bear arms; (3) a state constitutional amendment prohibiting tax increases without the consent of three-fourths of the voters; (4) raising the daytime highway speed limit on Wyoming highways to "reasonable and prudent;" (5) guaranteeing the right to jury trial in all criminal prosecutions, repudiating the Supreme Court's Blanton doctrine which inserted the concept of jury trials for capital crimes only; (6) a fully informed jury constitutional amendment to guarantee the freedom of the jury to judge the merits of the law as well as the case, the motives and moral perspective of the accused, the extent of harm done, and the sanctions to be applied; (7) a Parental Rights amendment guaranteeing the freedom to homeschool; (8) bonds for civil suits over $1000 to limit nuisance suits with "loser pays;" (9) another amendment to eliminate tax foreclosures of homesteads; (10) an amendment to provide for constitutional amendments by popular referendum.
We like these ideas. They aren't a perfect government of individuals by themselves, but they are an improvement over what Wyoming has now.
In item six, Wyoming would be brought closer to Texas, which has always provided for jury trials in all cases. Texas also has a history of the defendant being able to ask the jury to choose punishment rather than the judge. The importance of jury trials in Texas history relates to the failure of Generalissimo Santa Anna to uphold jury trials and other constitutional liberties in 1835 - conditions which led to the Texas Revolution.
Among the many innovations which make this novel a treasure is the passage describing the sales tax exemption for those openly wearing a handgun. Since sales tax is collected at cash registers, and as nearly all registers are set up to provide for tax exempt sales to businesses for resale or to charities, the plan is very elegant. Simply enlist business owners to not collect sales taxes for any transaction where the buyer is wearing a functional and loaded sidearm. Doing so encourages the wearing of guns by nearly all the people. Since they are providing for their own defense, the need to collect sales taxes to pay for sheriffs and police is much less. Those who cannot put up with the idea of wearing a gun can either pay the entire burden of sales taxes, or they can live in some other state. Not only supporting a gun culture, or leaving it be, but actively promoting it serves to encourage individuals to be capable of defending against crime - which happens quite often even today - or against tyranny. No finer purpose for a tax exemption could exist.
The book has endless ideas of this type. Wyoming is large enough to support an intra-state airline. Flyoming airline refuses to abide by FAA regulations, because it is not engaging in interstate commerce. Accordingly, Wyoming's people fly with their guns. Some flights might provide for smoking. No female passengers are fondled in the chest area by federal Transportation "Security" Agency goons, and no baggage screeners are pilfering luggage while the fedgov drops the theft charges citing "Sensitive Security Information."
How does it all end? The Feral Gummint is certain to react very negatively. How is a more independent Wyoming to defend itself? Its geography is mountainous in places, but its very name derives from a native Indian term for beautiful plains. Boston has some clever plot twists, and to say more would be to spoil the ending.
Those who don't mind a spoiler can Google for information on why Steven Wright's old friend Jigs Casey would be proud.
Many writers are prone to write the same book or essay repeatedly. The Indomitus Report is testament to that very fact. Molôn Labé! is another case in point. Boston has an excellent and graceful style. He's not afraid of tackling complicated issues. He's not shy about tacking on an appendix. He's also prepared to tackle cultural issues, not only what people should do, but why government shouldn't make any of them do these things.
There are many characters in Molôn Labé! who are met only briefly. We suspect that there's room for a sequel, or several. In the meantime, you should buy this book. It's available from the author's JavelinPress.com and Amazon. (Free market money note: Javelin Press will accept gold and silver bullion or specie for books. Contact them for details.) We didn't find the book at LaissezFaireBooks.com, although Boston's You and the Police is available there.
"Let's admit that people have claimed that they've had the elixir of youth probably for the last 40,000 or more years. So, I don't want to claim that we have the cure for aging...but it's really clear that modern medicine, modern molecular biology, has finally grasped a potential way to manipulate life span and have a dramatic impact on health care."
PBS ran a special on anti-aging research. Naturally, they found a photogenic young Yale student to follow through the grocery store. Eri Gentry is a member of the Calorie Restriction Society. So, she's restricting her caloric intake to 1100 or 1300 calories a day, eating mostly fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, yogurt, and nuts. The plan is to live longer. Gentry comments, "It was the only type of diet consistently proven to increase your health biomarkers. And it seems that there's a strong case that humans can live longer through calorie restriction and that seems amazing."
We agree. It is amazing. Calorie restriction has been investigated with yeast, worms, mice, and monkeys. The Calorie Restriction Society mentions a voluntary human "clinical" trial based on protocols developed by the late Roy Walford.
We've been interested in caloric restriction since first learning of it at an Alcor meeting in 1995. Our friends Paul Wakfer and Kitty Antonik practice calorie restriction and provide information on a wide variety of nutritional issues at their MoreLife web site.
Part of David Sinclair's work at the Harvard Medical School has been to understand why calorie restriction does so much to control the aging process. That work has led him into the cell nucleus where he and other scientists have discovered the Sirtuin 1 and 2 genes, along with several other key elements in the molecular biological soup. Sinclair comments, "We found that there are particular genes that protect us against aging and if we can tap into these genes, we would have a way of protecting ourselves against the aging process."
One of the genes is called NPT1. (We think NPT1 is an "NAD precursor" - possibly the NP of the name - which in turn stands for "nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide.") It controls the activity level of the gene Sirtuin 2. Artificially enhancing NPT1 activity causes yeast cells to live 40 percent longer. That's not especially fascinating for a creature that lives ten days, but if you could extend human lifespan from 85 years by 40 percent, you'd have average lifespans of 119 years. Maximum lifespans might increase from 120 years to 168.
One of the more alarming conclusions of the research comes from Stephen Helfand of the University of Connecticut. "We changed Sir2, we can change life span. We prevent Sir2 from increasing, we can block the life span extension. So it seems as though when we block the ability of Sir2 to increase, we block the ability of calorie restriction to extend life span."
Helfand and Sinclair worked together to discover resveratrol, a chemical found in red wine which targets the aging genes, putting them into overdrive and apparently lengthening life span in many lab animals. We profiled one product that derives from this specific research, the red wine extract Longevinex in our premier issue back in May 2004.
We mentioned Alteon in last week's issue. The price dropped to $0.71 this week, way down from $6/share in mid-2003. The company web site is AlteonPharma.com. The company is focused on cardiovascular aging and diabetic complications related to advanced glycosylation end-products or AGEs. These were discovered in the early Twentieth Century by scientists studying the cooking process. The same toughening and discoloration which occurs in food during cooking or prolonged storage seems to relate to a similar process in body cells. Advanced glycosylation end products are amino acid and sugar complexes associated with diabetic disorders of the cardiovascular and renal systems. We suspect that Alteon may be a good opportunity. The stock is very under valued, and the company seems to be raising cash by selling obsolete lab equipment. Presumably the drop from earlier high stock values relates to some regulatory approval difficulty. The seventeen AGE crosslink breakers discovered by the company are proceeding through development, led by Alagebrium which is in advanced human clinical testing. "Approximately 800 patients have received alagebrium treatment...and the drug continues to exhibit a clean safety profile," according to the company's eb site. They also have a clinical trial underway with pimagedine, their lead AGE formation inhibitor. We have not completed our research pertinent to making a suggestion. In particular, we've not reviewed key personnel. However, as a speculative play in biotech, Alteon might be a good one. It certainly isn't priced very high right now. That might be typical market over-reaction, or it may have some cause we've not ferreted out.
We've not had time for Elan, and this issue is very late.
Publication note: Here's a quick portfolio calculation, normalized for USA dollars. Under each date except 3 March we indicate the number of shares you would have bought with $1000 had you followed our suggestion promptly on publication date. At the bottom, we've indicated the exchange rates for Canadian dollars and grams of gold where they are pertinent to share purchases indicated. At the far right, we've shown the 3 March 2005 values for each thousand-dollar investment.
The net bottom line, assuming you never followed our suggestion to place tight trailing stops, is $379.23 to the good for $13,000 invested.
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