Indomitus Industries heraldic achievement.

This Issue:

Contact Us
Jim's CV
About the Name
About the Crest

2004 Issues #1 to #16
Seventeenth Issue 10 January 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Eighteenth Issue 17 January 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Nineteenth Issue 24 January 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Twentieth Issue 31 January 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Twenty-first Issue 7 February 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Twenty-second Issue 14 February 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Twenty-third Issue 21 February 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Twenty-fourth Issue 28 February 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Twenty-fifth Issue 7 March 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Twenty-sixth Issue 14 March 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Twenty-seventh Issue 21 March 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Twenty-eighth Issue 11 April 2005
Annual Sovereignty Review

Twenty-ninth Issue 18 April 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Thirtieth Issue 25 April 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Thirty-first Issue 2 May 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Thirty-second Issue 9 May 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Thirty-third Issue 23 May 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Thirty-fourth Issue 30 May 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Thirty-fifth Issue 6 June 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Thirty-sixth Issue 20 June 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Thirty-seventh Issue 27 June 2005
B     M     GM     FMM     S     LT     N     L     P

Thirty-eighth Issue 11 July 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
Volume 2, #23

18 July 2005
Secret Cabals &
Intentional Communities

Being Sovereign

      "Since I entered politics, I have chiefly had men's views confided to me privately. Some of the biggest men in the U.S., in the field of commerce and manufacturing, are afraid of somebody, are afraid of something. They know that there is a power somewhere so organized, so subtle, so watchful, so interlocked, so complete, so pervasive, that they had better not speak above a whisper in condemnation of it."

      - Woodrow Wilson, The New Freedom, 1913

Long ago there were Egypt, Greece, and Rome. These empires were built on the backs of slaves, and hierarchy was a seemingly natural extension of the dichotomy of slaves and free men. Some ruled, some were priests, some scholars, most toiled. From the wreck of one empire, a period when diffuse power was spread among many thousands of principalities would lead to consolidation, and the rise of another empire. And so it went down through the ages.

In the early 17th Century, something interesting happened. Beyond the edge of the Holy Roman Empire, some English parliamentarians, extending on the ideas contained in a great charter then some 400 years old, got together and chopped off the head of their king. The English civil war led to the philosophy of John Locke, the Glorious Revolution, a great flowering of trade and commerce, the American Revolution, and an enormous tide against chattel slavery that finally led to its abolition.

By the end of the 19th Century, Oscar Wilde was considering the possibility that the slavery of machines could replace the slavery of people. He correctly pointed out that slavery of humans is terrible, criminal, and degrading to both slave and slave driver. With machines to do much of the labor, more people were able to afford leisure, study, and contemplation.

But before Wilde's ideas had gained notoriety, many secret cabals had been formed. These were cabals of powerful men who sought a return to old ways of doing things, a return of rigid hierarchy and absolute control, a limited circle of influence and power, and none of these contemptible middle-class sorts rising in importance without having hereditary credentials. These cabals are not conjecture, they are identified in the diary of Cecil Rhodes, in the work of Adam Weishaupt, and in the writing of George Bernard Shaw and many others. Wall Street bankers financed the Bolshevik revolution that resulted in the extermination of tens of millions of civilians in the Soviet Union.

To achieve their ends in these various countries, the assorted cabals had to attack several basic institutions. Private property was a key institution for the rising of merchants, traders, artisans, and scholars. Private property would have to be put under assault, in order to establish the necessary hierarchies. Freedom would have to be assaulted. And what was the keystone in the arch of freedom but the right to keep and bear arms? Private ownership of weapons had to be attacked and, where possible, eliminated.

The history of these processes is long and tedious, and the nature of many of the various cabals, and their exact origins, is shrouded to an extent in various mysteries and mythologies. But the vast outline is quite clear. Socialism is no mere attack on private property by have-nots, but a conscious effort to organize opposition to private gain by those already in power. Socialism, in other words, is just hierarchy grafted onto a popular mythos. Scientific socialists claim that those in power, those in bureaucracies, those gifted by understanding, should run the affairs of others. In their view, individuals are incompetent to run their own affairs, so they must be ruled, if needs be with an iron fist. This same argument is the creed of every hereditary aristocracy. Some must rule and others must serve. Those who won't submit are assassinated, massacred, or exterminated.

Humane societies and various animal enthusiast groups were among the first to prey upon property rights in livestock, as a wedge to drive against private property of all sorts. From these efforts came extensive environmental movements. These efforts to "preserve wild places" are but an echo, amplified, of the king's forest and game reserves. Environmentalism is a charade, with the goal of taking private property away from individuals, locking it up for the benefit of a hierarchy consisting initially of bureau-rats and ultimately of hereditary rulers. Those who would make it a crime to hunt animals in "national parks" or "World Heritage Sites" are of the same stripe as those who would outlaw men for feeding their families by hunting in the King's forest.

An example of the excesses to which this sort of thing leads is the Crown Butte affair, where a private landowner, Margaret Reeb, obtained financial support for a mining operation on her land. Environmentalists went crazy in 1995, and proclaimed that the New World Mine would destroy or endanger Yellowstone National Park, and demanded that the United Nations (which had already placed the park on the World Heritage register, due to the cowardice of various presidential administrations) list the park as "in danger." The mine was stopped, but evidently the mining company and the landowner have not been paid any compensation. In other words, private land and its usufruct were taken for public use without just compensation.

Ethically, this situation is no different from the establishment of royal hunting preserves and the assault by the king's men on anyone who dared to enter such lands to get food for their families. Obviously, the king had no ethical property right to the land, since he gained it through taxation - theft. Instead, the whole basis for an exclusive royal hunting preserve was the arrogance of hereditary authority.

These activities have been aggravated by the closing of the American frontier in the 1890s. In the two generations immediately following that event, an enormous amount of damage to private property, by which term I refer to individual liberty, was done. The conquest of the Philippines and other Spanish territories created a large-scale American empire. Prohibition of alcohol, marijuana, heroin, and cocaine provided the pretext for civil asset forfeiture and the formation of a national police and domestic espionage agency, the FBI. Income tax, even in the absence of an explicit law requiring it, along with withholding funded two major world wars. An outrageous monetary policy combined with the trade wars attendant upon a high tariff produced economic chaos - quite deliberately - with socialist redistribution schemes to follow. Alcohol prohibition led to the formation of large scale gangs which in turn provided the excuse for limiting private access to useful tools of self-defense such as sawed-off shotguns and automatic weapons.

So, what should be done about these things? Is it inevitable that humans live in a hierarchical society, where some serve and others rule? Or is it possible for people to live together in communities of consent?

The answer to the last question is yes, and any number of examples exist to demonstrate this fact. There are intentional communities for all sorts of religious affiliations, including nuns, monks, Mormons, Mennonites, various other stripes of Anabaptist such as the Amish, and there have been a large number of utopian communities founded in the 19th Century by groups like the Shakers, and even a few free market enthusiasts - as chronicled about a decade ago by Wendy McElroy.

Wendy has pointed out that much of the theoretical groundwork for libertarian communities has already been laid, and tested. In his book Equitable Commerce, Josiah Warren identified several key ingredients to successful liberty communities. These included a meeting place, a private currency, the expectation that each member of the community be responsible for himself, and that every institution of society be privately owned.

Warren was an interesting character. He felt social harmony required radical individualism. In fact, he saw that differences of opinion, tastes, and purposes would increase in proportion to the demand for conformity.

For an example of this individualistic approach, Wendy points to Warren's solutions for eating facilities and sleeping arrangements. Rather than having common ownership of such things, Warren preferred that eating facilities be modeled after restaurants and sleeping facilities after boarding houses. It is interesting to think that some contemporary proprietary communities such as Irvine, California or Sun City, Arizona have plenty of restaurants, hotels, and condominiums, but few dormitories or mess halls.

Warren wrote about the libertarian community of Utopia, founded 1848. "Throughout the whole of our operations...everything has been conducted so nearly upon the individual basis that not one meeting for legislation has taken place. No organization, no indefinite delegated power, no 'constitutions,' no 'laws,' or 'by-laws,' 'rules,' or 'regulations' but such as each individual makes for himself and for his own business. No officers, no priests nor prophets have been resorted to...."

Having things privately owned also seems to be a good way to deal with potentially disruptive persons. One of the hallmarks of successful community projects, Wendy points out, is to screen applicants to make sure they are self-sufficient and not a drain on the community's resources. As well, by having all land within the community owned by originators, Wendy suggests that they would sell land only to new members based on observance of the community's rules or standards. (This idea is entirely corroborated by the deed restrictions and covenants that make subdivisions in Houston, Texas work without any zoning laws.) Wendy goes further in suggesting that private courts, or "a free market court system to arbitrate and adjudicate disputes," would be useful.

Shortly after Wendy's essay on this topic appeared, I was in Wyoming thinking about how to pursue this idea of intentional communities as a business opportunity. Admittedly, I was also working with Michael van Notten on a similar concept in the Somali region of Awdal at about the same time. (The Somali system of law is very similar to the free market court system which Wendy had mentioned.) My term for this business opportunity was the Libertarian Real Estate Investment Trust (LREIT), and the related plan included an enormous quantity of research on dude ranches in Wyoming.

The idea was to acquire several thousand acres of land, operate a dude ranch, firing range, training center, amusement park, and multi-use real estate development, making available finished, utility-ready lots to home builders and individuals in easy reach of offices, shopping, and entertainments such as riding, hiking, shooting, hunting, fishing, herding or rodeo. Since then, I've refined the idea to inculde a sort ethical Disney World (that would not, e.g., require finger scans on admission) in a low population county in Wyoming, arising on land that is now largely fallow. The idea would be similar to Disney's theme parks in that there would be games, rides, shows, puzzles, mazes, and activities such as paintball, dirt bike paths, bridle paths, snowmobile trails, obstacle courses, war games, parades, pageants, and historic re-creations.

As with the "experimental prototype community of tomorrow" (which has, apparently become "ecologically planned," in the time since Disney's passing), there would be opportunity for learning about history and philosophy as well as the economics behind free markets and free enterprise. Some of the corporate sponsors for such a center of trade and learning might include booksellers, software developers, free market money entrepreneurs, gun makers, ammunition makers, outfitters, and outdoor equipment makers, as well as providers of education and training in all manner of martial arts. There would be many opportunities for demonstrations of survival gear, for the sale of food and beverages, for the demonstration of sundry arts and technologies.

Part of this idea is in common with the Mennonite/Hutterite communities and their Western counterpart, the Mormon communities. But, rather than a religious alignment, the members of the prototype community would share a common culture being armed, free, entrepreneurial, decent, and honorable. Moreover, if this idea works in one place, then something like it should work in other places, and so a sort of cookie-cutter model of franchises might be effected.

There is much work to be done in updating the old business plan, discarding what has become outmoded or irrelevant, and writing a new business plan, identifying a team competent to implement the plan, and gaining the trust of prospective investors to raise the necessary capital to make it work. Curiously, my message on this very topic crossed paths with an announcement of a Rice University symposium on venture capital to discuss the renewal of "initial public offerings," as a way of raising money which - in the face of Sarbanes Oxley - seems intriguing if not quite credible.

There seem to be a number of opportunities here which would best be exploited by creating more than one company, as well as various foundations, trusts, and potentially offshore entities, as well. Given that the eventual time scale for realizing such a bold venture would be decades, especially for establishing multiple communities of this sort, a foundation capable of matching the longevity of the purpose to the lifespan of the enterprise would be appropriate. And, of course, if the projects don't make money, then they aren't worth doing.

Recently, I shared some of the above ideas with a select group of friends. A number of extremely interesting ideas came back, especially with regard to competition. One correspondent mentioned Front Sight which provides advanced weapons training for individuals. Another correspondent mentioned The Founder's Ranch of the Single Action Shooting Society. Both of these are now well-developed communities, the one dedicated to shooting and the other to history. Naturally, the existence of competitors suggests that the idea has some business potential. It also provides opportunity for more research, especially to find dimensions along which the plan might develop distinctive competence.

Part of the vision is to create places where men, women, and children live, work, and play. These people are free, prosperous, decent, and honorable by choice, by consent, and gain strength from a culture which supports them in seeing God's creation as a miracle of cornucopia and opportunity rather than a dismal and wretched universe of scarcity. Since it is the myth of scarcity which promotes hierarchy and politics, and the reality of cornucopia which generates prosperity, it is essential to convey the vision thoroughly and well.

Some aspects of this vision and its conveyances would be showpieces, people wearing bright outfits and choosing to be armed openly as an indication of their honor and rectitude, as symbols of their willingness to defend life, liberty, and property with effective force, but also as the essence of effectiveness in training and ability. Some of the vision is in showing that such a place would work, would embrace the best aspects of human culture and human nature, and support the development of advances that are yet beyond our ken. A sort of prototypical community of freedom, but today rather than tomorrow.

Less than three hundred years ago, it remained traditional in Europe for gentlemen to go about armed. Why? Gentlemen were armed in defense of the realm, in defense of the faith, and in defense of decency. They were armed to protect their own lives, their liberty, and their property. While the hierarchical aspects of this cultural phenomenon have been correctly discarded, the idea of being armed for these valid purposes has remained, for across the West, especially in rural communities, it remains traditional to have a rifle rack in the pickup truck, a gun on the front seat. The value of being armed to defend life, liberty, and property and the realm of freedom has remained, though the persistence of thieves and goons has driven these traditions from many larger communities.

About the time Wendy was reviewing Josiah Warren's ideas on free communities, Neil Smith was writing about a cultural war. He pointed out that we are fighting over cultural issues: the meaning of terms, the definition of freedom, the choice of which values to hold dear. We are fighting against a culture which seeks to impose old ideas of hierarchy and caste structure in the name of new terms like environmentalism and communism. We are fighting against the creepy notion of scientific socialism, where the few rule the many because they are more adept at managing the affairs of others than individuals would be at managing their own affairs, and the million cultural artifacts that go with such essential idiocy.

The core idea of Neil's essay was that to win a cultural war, we need cultural artifacts. We have the opportunity to create a culture of our own. Since our ideas of liberty, property, self-reliance, trade, and commerce are superior, our philosophy should win - but a philosophy is powerless unless embedded in a culture. It seems to me that a grand free mountain West prototype community and amusement park represents a sort of epitome of cultural artifacts, brought together and culminating in an actual movement toward broader freedom, greater prosperity, and, ultimately, access to the Solar System - the high ground from which we should better be able to defend our liberty and the treasure house of resources to fuel our burgeoning prosperity.

Wyoming makes particular sense in some ways. It is fairly well provided with water. It has cheap land and low population counties, which motivated the selection of Florida for Disney World several decades back. There is already a dude ranch industry and a larger tourism industry which brings millions of travelers to Wyoming every year. There is a Free State Wyoming project that is already committed to extending the culture of freedom that exists in Wyoming now. Wyoming has open carry, not just in law but in practice.

My favorite correspondent thus far on this topic is collaterally gobsmacked by this idea. He's proposed the creation of a sort of hospitality club, which would provide open carry resorts, campgrounds, bed and breakfasts, and sundry other venues everywhere. Wherever someone wants to invite like-minded people, who are agreeable to a code of conduct and pay their dues, to come for a visit. These could be formal hospitality industry venues or private residences. The opportunities are endless.

Which brings me back to secret cabals. The vicious socialist thugs have had their cabals, and done much damage with them. The use of private and secret action for freedom has been discussed in books such as Unintended Consequences (in which it is the main theme) and Molôn Labé! (in which it is a fascinating plot element). As authors John Ross and Ken Royce suggest, the best conspiracies where violence are concerned would be individuals taking separate action, perhaps inspired occasionally by news of one another.

But where organizations are concerned, there is no need to cede the field to the enemy. Organization, planning, and leadership are not the enemies of freedom. Quite otherwise. Organization and planning are the result of applying tools and techniques. A tool may be used for good or for ill, and is otherwise neutral. Leadership is a technique for inspiring action in others, and so is also tool-like. Joseph led his brothers and eventually his entire people into slavery in Egypt to avert a famine. Moses led his people out of slavery. So, leadership works either way.

Yet another author has written on this interesting subject. Neil Schulman wrote Alongside Night in which he envisioned a series of free market communities all over the world, many of them hidden from view or actually underground. Various signs and signals were used by free marketeers to gain entry to these places. Agents provocateurs and informants compromised one location, but escape plans were in place and implemented with more or less good results.

By some accounts, the contemporary "war on terror," which is really just a new phase in the war on freedom (previously incarnated as the war on alcohol, the war on drugs, and the war on poverty) may be expected to last for decades. It is a sort of final rigidity of the ruling class as power slips from their fingers like water slips through a clenched fist. In such circumstances, it is useful to be mobile, prepared, and related to freedom enthusiasts in many locations.

As in the past, the ramping up of totalitarian methods in one location will cause many to flee the country. Perhaps authoritarianism would be limited to major cities back east, but likely the application of brutality would be enthusiastically distributed in many other places. Good then to plan in advance to have friends over the borders in various directions.

Free Market Money

      "By referring to different kinds of money, we have in mind units of different denomination whose relative values may fluctuate against one another. These fluctuating values must be emphasised because they are not the only way in which media of exchange may differ from one another. They may also, even when expressed in terms of the same unit, differ widely in their degree of acceptability (or liquidity, i.e., in the very quality which makes them money), or the groups of people that readily accept them. This means that different kinds of money can differ from one another in more than one dimension.

      "It also means that, although we usually assume there is a sharp line of distinction between what is money and what is not - and the law generally tries to make such a distinction - so far as the causal effects of monetary events are concerned, there is no such clear difference. What we find is rather a continuum in which objects of various degrees of liquidity, or with values which can fluctuate independently of each other, shade into each other in the degree to which they function as money.

      "I have always found it useful to explain to students that it has been rather a misfortune that we describe money by a noun, and that it would be more helpful for the explanation of monetary phenomena if 'money' were an adjective describing a property which different things could possess to varying degrees. (Machlup for this reason speaks occasionally of 'moneyness' and 'near-moneyness.') 'Currency' is, for this reason, more appropriate since objects can 'have currency' to varying degrees and through different regions or sectors of the population."

      - F.A. Hayek, Denationalisation of Money - The Argument
      Refined: An Analysis of the Theory and Practice
      of Concurrent Currencies
      , 3rd Edition, 1990

The other night, I was out with a couple of five-gallon water jugs at a Windmill Express filtered water station. These are places which provide 24-hour access to much-improved tap water in just about any quantity you might desire. They are to water what after-market auto accessories are to sports cars. If you have ever stood before a vending machine which accepts one dollar bills or coins, having in your possession nothing smaller than a five dollar bill, you understand this concept of a given unit of currency having widely varying usefulness or acceptability. Even though the five is expressed in the same unit - the dollar - it is not as useful nor as widely accepted as a single.

Similarly, an ounce of gold, or a warehouse receipt for an ounce of gold, may prove to have an extremely liquid market - as in the case of e-gold - or a fairly limited market. Neither GoldMoney nor e-Bullion seem to have nearly as many users nor as much ready liquid demand as e-gold, though both are markedly more liquid than Pecunix. Yet, all four of these currencies are in fact gold. They differ both in the size of their respective user bases and the velocity with which they move through the economy.

Hayek explains the theory behind the fact that any number of articles can be useful in different situations as money. For example, cigarettes have often been used as money in various economic situations. Tales of prison and war time economies often invoke the cigarettes-as-money phenomenon. Similarly, chocolate bars, silk hose, nylons, animal skins, tulip bulbs, and many other objects have been money in various places at different times. The key dimension along which objects take on enhanced "moneyness" is acceptability. Batteries turn out to be especially prized in some lesser developed countries, and may be included in quantity in luggage to...facilitate...border corssings. Even objects which are not especially interchangeable nor even fungible, such as livestock, may be regarded as money if they are sufficiently acceptable in the market.

Finally, Hayek's idea of currency being the better term, since an object may have currency to a greater or lesser extent, leads inevitably to my idea of currencyism as the new contemporary philosophy to replace "modernism." Modernism has been tainted by association with socialism, so another term for contemporary thought is preferable, and postmodernism is comparatively silly.

We'll continue our focus on Denationalisation next week.

Gold Mining

Here's how the stocks we presently suggest in this area look of late (close Friday 15 July 2005):

Company Symbol C$ US$
Almaden AMM.TO 1.75 -
Free Gold ITF.TO 0.17 0.16
Luzon LZN.V 0.145 -
Western WNP.V 3.16 -
Regalito Copper RLO - 4.49
Northern Peru Copper 1.38
Lumina Resources 0.46
Silver Standard SSRI - 11.31
Vista VGZ.TO 4.51 -
- C$0.49
Apex Silver SIL - 13.47
Newmont Mining NEM - 36.86
Northgate NXG - 1.10
- 0.55
Tan Range TRE 1.37 1.12

Doug Casey's Explorer's League has sent round their despatch. We've found it chock full of news and information. This week, they profile Almaden Minerals and the Caballo Blanco project in Mexico. This extremely large copper-gold deposit could be one of those treasured elephants about which miners speak. The geology on the project is profiled here. To illustrate the value of this project, Doug points to 11 grams/tonne samples taken in the project's northern zone. Almaden's joint venture partner, Comaplex is earning 60% of Caballo Blanco by funding two million dollars of drilling and exploration work in the next four years. Results from drilling in the northern zone in particular should be in by Summer's end.

Free Market Money

Gold has settled back to around $421 this week, closing Monday 18 July at $420.10 but recovering quickly from every tap on prices below $420. As of this writing, the price is $421.20.

Silver appears to be building a base just below $7/ounce. It closed Monday at $6.97 and is now $6.99.

Copper tested the air at $1.650 on Monday, but dropped back again. It is currently at $1.6360 per pound. It has again failed to match its end of June high. On the other hand, warehouse stock levels are not recovering.

U3O8 has finally moved off $29/lb to gain another fifty cents. The price as of 11 July 2005 is $29.50/pound. In fact, we have no explanation for the weeks and weeks of price plateau at $29/lb.

We don't generally report on currency fluctuations, but in the ten days leading up to the London subway bombings, there was apparently a very substantial short activity in the Great Britain pound (GBP). This activity is darkly reminiscent of the shorting of airline stocks in the days leading up to the 11 September 2001 attacks. It is interesting to read the World Net Daily report on this development, which relates the pound falling by six percent in the days ledaing up to the bombings. Farah's team seems to think that terrorists are responsible, which is consistent with our views of those in the banking cartel who seem to revel in these attacks.

The three stocks we've suggested in this sector are PVH, GBH, and MCG. Prices from Tuesday 19 July 2005.

Company Symbol gAu
Gold Barter Holdings GBH 0.170

- 0.83

MicroCasino MCG 0.711

+ 0.198

Pecunix Venture Holdings PVH 0.030

- 0.02

We've heard a very solid rumor from an impeccable source that another GBH dividend is in the works.

Space Frontier

      "The shuttle is the most complex vehicle ever built."

      - Senator John "Lincoln Savings & Loan" Glenn 14 July 2005

So, they didn't launch the shuttle, after all. No big surprise. The vaunted "return to flight," which, among other things seems to be a determining factor in whether the space station may end up being abandoned in place rather than completed, has not come off. A faulty sensor, one of four in the shuttle's external tank (Lockheed Martin's Michoud Facility assembles the tank, so shorting Lock-Mart might be the play here) caused the mission to be scrubbed. NASA is now seriously contemplating flying the shuttle with just three working sensors, even though a premature shut-down of the main engines is part of a large assortment of abort scenarios - some of which are potentially fatal to crew.

John Glenn, one of the Senators whose role in the Savings & Loan crisis suggests he is not ethical, was on hand with John Kerry. While most of the subsequent news reports available by web have Kerry saying that the shuttle is the most complex vehicle ever built, television reports of the date of the mission scrub show Glenn making this absurd statement. Absurd, not because false, but because it isn't a feature. Complexity is a bug.

Complexity is bad and simplicity is good, which is why mechanical systems which are complex are simplified by engineers until they have fewer moving parts and less complexity. Complexity leads to failures, and the shuttle is a prime example. There were, at the time of the Challenger commission report, hundreds of "criticality one" items in the shuttle. These are things that cause a loss of the vehicle resulting in fatalities. So far, NASA has managed to kill fourteen shuttle astronauts through negligence.

The design of the shuttle is deliberately complex because complexity serves many political masters. Having parts of the shuttle built in every Congressional district in the country is one pay-off. Of course, the private sector would not choose to do things in a needlessly complex manner, would not corruptly allocate contracts to major defense contractors, and would not spread contracts over the entire country. Rather, private sector space efforts such as Virgin Galactic focus on profit.

An interesting suggestion: should one short the NASA contractors? Quite a few, such as Lockheed Martin are publicly traded. The problem with this suggestion would be the identity of many of these NASA contractors as defense contractors. As Rick Maybury points out, the defense contractors are doing well in this war. So, it is an idea whose time hasn't come. Besides, tracking the stocks of major defense contractors, even for purposes of suggested shorting, would make me ill.

NASA delenda est.

SpaceDev was at $1.65 close Friday 15 July 2005. It is up $0.15 since we first suggested it.

Launch Technology

Mark is an old friend whose built more rockets and engines in his garage than most car enthusiasts have hot rods. Over the years, he's fired some pretty impressive rocket engines, including a big two thousand pound thrust job based on propane and nitrous oxide. His current project is to "count coup on the Moon...touch NASA's Moon, and claim it for those who are brave and free."

To do so, he proposes launching a very tiny payload into the path of the Moon's orbit. He sent me a photo of the payload mock-up, a cone the size of my fist sitting comfortably atop a videocastte. Inside the payload is an accelerometer, a countdown timer, a battery, a load of pistol powder in a C02 cartridge, and tiny grains of tagent. Tagent is a product which consists of tiny grains of ceramic with layers of black and white that can be read like bar codes. Developed for the gun control freaks, tagent powder may be able to uniquely identify gunpowder samples, or provide the pretext for imprisoning anyone the government doesn't like.

The mission scenario is quite simple, Three days before the new Moon, the Sol Cazador rocket is launched towards the Sun. It uses a very simple guidance system based on a Sun seeker steering sensor. The name "Sol Cazador" means "Sun seeker."

The first three stages are based on proprietary nitrous oxide and poly-vinyl-chloride (PVC) technology, using liquid injection thrust vector control and cold gas roll control thrusters. The motors are a proven design. The four upper stages are spin stabilized using a spin table and electric motor atop stage 3 before launch. These are graphite epoxy solid rocket motors.

Two days after launch the payload intersects the Moon's orbit and the payload dispersal charge fires. A flotilla of tagent grains is sprayed outward in all directions. Some of these grains will hit the Moon. Thus, Mark counts coup on the Moon. Nothing large hits the Moon, nothing remains in lunar orbit, but some day in the future, someone may find one of these tagent grains and be able to positively confirm Mark's mission's success. The planting of a flag on another world could not be accomplished for less.

NASA delenda est.

New Country Developments

It isn't clear to us what "could be" is doing in that sentence about taxes. Perhaps the "taxation is low for business" and "regulations are mild for business" would not be definite, but there is certainly no income tax. According to the site's page on Bolivia's government, "There is no personal income tax. Their legislature passed an income tax once. The Bolivians showed their displeasure so persuasively that the income tax was repealed about one week later."

So, what's the idea here? We were contacted this week about potentially profiling this site and the related Nexus Bolivia. These folks offer professional assistance in residency, citizenship, passport, and relocation efforts involving Bolivia. If you need help with renting a car or buying one, they have people on the ground in Bolivia who can help. If you are considering relocating your business to Bolivia, you should certainly stop by their web sites.

Citizenship is comparatively inexpensive. Fees may range anywhere from $2,000 to $14,000 depending on the particular approach to citizenship. "The bottom line is that Bolivian citizenship is competitive and cheaper in just about any way with other low priced countries, except the beach part." Being landlocked, Bolivia has few beaches and no ocean front properties.

The site is a very nice compendium of information about Bolivia. For example, there are thirteen free trade zones in Bolivia. There is no daylight savings time. The government is in La Paz, but the legal capital and home of the judiciary is in Sucre. Foreign embassies are in La Paz, and there about twenty-five countries with embassies and consulates.

For those interested in travel to Bolivia, the site lists all the countries for which no visa is required, or visa without special authorization. Most Western Hemisphere and European countries citizens may enter Bolivia without any visa.

But, of course, the idea here is to offer Bolivian residency and travel documents. So, what comes with a Bolivia passport? You can enter the following countries without a visa: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Panama, Peru, Spain, and Uruguay. All you need is your passport or identity card.

You can get a second citizenship with Bolivia without having to renounce your existing citizenship. You can also, of course, get Bolivian residency and a "cedula" or residency card without abandoning your existing citizenship. Residency cards are renewed every six years.

Clearly the most interesting page on the site is the lengthy essay, "Introduction to Bolivia." It is also the least accessible, apparently linked from the home page right of center, but not in the persistent menu at left. The final paragraph of this introduction is the most insightful.

"Bolivia is not and never is going to be a solution to the dreams of freedom seekers. Ten years ago it appeared to be headed for a prosperous, rather capitalist future. Now, politically, it is wallowing in the self-destructive socialist mire, again. Ten years from now prospects may be looking up again. In the mean time, it is a place you can live safely and comfortably without being subject to the strictures and threats of an all-powerful, totalitarian welfare state. No one should go to Bolivia without a keen awareness of all its many faults. But, the lower inertia, greater flexibility, and higher autonomy of Bolivian civil society leaves room for a future in which those faults might be ameliorated; this is a hope that simply does not exist in a more 'developed' country."


One of the key factors in aging seems to be programmed cell suicide or apoptosis. As damage to mitochondrial DNA increases, so does apoptosis.

Dr. Prolla's research team at the University of Wisconsin in Madison engineered a strain of mice to be deficient in a protein that proofs mitochondrial DNA for errors. As a result, these mice saw much higher incidence of genetic mutations in their mitochondrial DNA. There was also a higher rate of apoptosis. Graying hair, hair loss, muscle atrophy, and bone atrophy all took place at a higher rate than in experimental control mice.

There was also an observed reduction in adult stem cells which are needed for replacing cells that die. "If these stem cells are lost, tissue structure and the ability of tissue to regenerate are impaired. We have observed that in tissues like bone marrow, intestine, and hair follicles." Dr. Prolla suggests that further studies might firm up the relationship between mitochondrial DNA defects and longevity. Subsequently, pharmaceutical interventions might "retard aging by preserving mitochondrial function."

Calorie restriction slows aging in part by delaying the accumulation of mitochondrial DNA mutations. It is conceivable that resveratrol would have similar effects.

Another significant study also reported in the same issue of Science found that it is possible to reverse memory loss. Karen Ashe and team at the University of Minnesota Medical School have found that mice bred to express human tau, a protein found in neurofibrillary tangles, exhibited the tangles and brain atrophy. However, doxycycline was administered to turn off the tau gene expression. Surprisingly, memory loss was not only halted, but also memory was restored.

While the mice regained their memory, neurofibrillary tangles remained and even increased. Conceivably, these may not play the causative role in dementia previously attributed to them. (Which leads to the suggestion that amyloid-beta plaque is the main culprit.) The actual mechanism for memory restoration is not yet fully understood. The authors say, "...either...reversible neuronal dysfunction rather than irreversible structural degeneration is responsible for initial memory deficits or that neuronal remodeling of some form occurs after doxycycline treatment and allows recovery."

Professor Ashe writes, "Most Alzheimer's disease treatments focus on slowing the symptoms or preventing the disease from progressing, but our research suggests that in the future we may be able to reverse the effects of memory loss, even in patients who have lost brain or neural tissue."

Dendreon was at $6 when we looked in Friday 15 July 2005. It is up $0.68 since we first began tracking it.

Elan Corp, PLC, was at $7.35 also on Friday. It is up 12 cents from our suggestion last week.

Publication Note: A day late. Sorry.


Copyright © 2005 Free West Trust, All Rights Reserved.

Indomitus Industries heraldic achievement