2004 Issues #1 to #16
Seventeenth Issue 10 January 2005
B M GM FMM S LT N L P
Twenty-eighth Issue 11 April 2005
Buy this essay and others in Jim's new book Being Sovereign.
The Indomitus Report
1 August 2005
"We are specifically encouraging resistance to the registration laws of the United States, seeing registration as the necessary step toward conscription (the draft). We are what the Selective Service calls 'anti-war intellectuals.' We see the direct link between registration, the draft, and aggressive war. Remember, non-registration is the strategy to beat the draft. If enough of us refuse, there is nothing they can do!"
Given that so much utter drivel infests minds all over the world, when one encounters that which is apt, sincere, well-stated, intellectually rigorous, and ethically sound, it is a real pleasure. It is the sort of tearful pleasure one feels when encountering something that is just right, not because the pleasure is hard to accept, but because it fills the void where the pain of endless rounds with fools, dilettantes and scoundrels usually resides. DraftResistance.org is such a site.
On their page of seven reasons to refuse to register, the number one reason is life ownership. "The most important reason why you should not register for the draft is because you own your body. You own your life. With the draft, the government says that they own your life and they will do whatever they want with your body for as long as they want when they decide the time is right. So, don't register." Perfect.
Reason number four: it's easy. "Basically we're asking you to do nothing. Do not lift a finger to help the Selective Service." Echoes of Étienne de la Boétie who said that we don't have to lay hands upon the tyrant to topple him, just stop holding him up. Don't lift a finger to harm, but also lift none to help tyranny.
Reason number five: there are negligible consequences. Yes, you may have some trouble with student loans, but taking loan guarantees from the government violates the basic premise: give nothing to the state, take nothing from the state. Besides, the DraftResistance.org folks kindly link to the Fund for Education and Training and the Student Aid Fund for Non-Registrants.
There are perhaps ten million men who have not kept their registrations current by moving and not filing registration updates. A further three million are in the "hard core resisters" category, having refused repeatedly to register despite three or four warning letters from the Selective Service. Thus far, Justice Department goons have prosecuted a total of thirteen people since 1980.
Reason number 8, not given: It's what Reagan would want you to do. Reagan promised in 1980 during his campaign to eliminate the Selective Service. He also promised to eliminate the Departments of Energy and Education, as they are anti-free enterprise. He failed in all three promises. But, hey, if you see a comedian, ask him to tell you a new joke. If you see a politician, ask him about the latest lies he's heard.
Under reason 6, anti-intervention, Scott writes, "The government needs a draft to conduct a prolonged war of aggression because once the body bags start coming home, volunteers tend to dry up. The United States has an empire, and it is very expensive both in dollars and civil liberties. There is a direct link between Selective Service registration, the draft, and wars of aggression." Empire is also expensive in lives wasted, cut short, or badly damaged.
My favorite reason is number 3, "It's patriotic. The draft has nothing to do with patriotism. The US has used conscription for fewer than 40 years of its 225+ year existence. The Selective Service System is an alien culture. It belongs to totalitarians." And militarists. "It is incompatible with a free society." Furthermore, when it comes to war, "...we should be fighting not for the soil or the cloth of the flag, but for great ideas like freedom and choice and free enterprise and all the freedoms (press, religion, speech, assembly) that we hold dear." The militaristic scum who demand registration and a draft to promote their totalitarian ideals make me sick.
Some years ago, Robert Heinlein wrote about the decline and fall of the Roman Republic. His analysis was a bit different from Gibbon. Heinlein said that the tradition of the Roman Republic was that young men would volunteer to serve in the military. A Roman matron would send her sons off to battle with the request that they return with their shields, or on them. Of course, this phrase referred to the unwholesome manner in which some would flee combat, throwing down their shields and weapons and running away; likewise it referred to the Roman tradition of carrying the honored dead from the field atop their shields - the Roman equivalent of the body bag. Heinlein noted that after a time, this tradition declined. So did Rome.
There is nothing about an empire that has any claim on anyone's allegiance. Empire is for the benefit of those who rule, the oligarchs, tyrants, bureau-rats, tax farmers, and related filth. A republic, while unlikely to have much merit over the long run, at least symbolizes a respect for private property (including lives) and individual liberty, and may merit support.
Scott wrote a few days ago to ask if I'd mention his web site on mine. So, I'm doing it now, and will likely add a permanent link in the free section of the site. When I wrote back to say that I'd do these things, I mentioned my involvement in the Committee Against Registration and the Draft in high school and college. Obviously, CARD was a radical group and presumably infiltrated by all sorts of hard core leftists. But, it was the right thing to do. It fills me with chagrin, malice, and not a little bitterness to find that men my age are again eligible for the draft, as we are now being accepted for enlistment.
This business of the draft, registration, and its avoidance is covered pretty well in Richard Maybury's web site, chaostan.com. Rick points out that the demands on the military in the current war are such that a draft would be very likely. He offers some meaningful suggestions for young men who want to avoid being drafted.
In an upcoming issue, I plan to review some definitions. There are a lot of words bandied about that are being badly abused. "The Patriot Act" is one that gets my dander up, but there are others.
Free Market Money
"A competition the chief merit of which is that it keeps the products of the competitors dear raises various interesting questions. In what will the suppliers compete once they have established somewhat their reputations and trust for keepng their currencies stable? The profits from the issuing business (which amounts to borrowing at zero interest) will be very large and it does not seem probable that very many firms can succeed in it. For this reason services to the enterprises basing their accounting on a bank's currency would be likely to become the chief weapon of competition, and I should not be surprised if the banks were practically to take over the accounting for their customers."
Refined: An Analysis of the Theory and Practice
of Concurrent Currencies, 3rd Edition, 1990
It has confused me ever since reading it. Profits are very large. Unless competition were regulated or extraordinary barriers to entry were imposed, why wouldn't "very many firms" succeed? One would expect that where profits are high, many companies would compete successfully.
The point Hayek makes about accounting proves to be completely correct. All the web based currencies are now offering basic accounting functions and account history information in various useful formats. Some, like 1MDC.com are offering delightful mechanisms for unusual spends, bulk spends, monthly recurring spends, money order spends, special checks with various useful features. You should check it out.
Friend Gordon Hayes is developing a new Phoenix Currency which should be out this month. It has all kinds of accounting features that provide for invoicing and purchase orders, as well as various ways of looking at your account history.
Once again, Hayek proves to be nearly prescient in his vision of free market money. It works, he understood why it would work, and there is no longer any reason for fiat money. There is only the power-mad purposes of those who control fiat money and send it out into an unwitting world.
We'll continue our focus on Denationalisation next week.
Here's how the stocks we presently suggest in this area look of late (Friday 29 July 2005):
Freegold and Luzon appear to be problems. Both have good underlying value. Luzon's new management team may get things turned around, and Freegold's team has seemed competent all along. So, we'll be taking a cold hard look in September at whether to continue these on our list or not. It may be time to drop them. Not every pick works out.
Some do. Apex Silver is up ten percent in the 63 days we've been tracking it. That's a nice annual return if it keeps up. Western Prospector and Tan Range are doing well, the others should make up for lost time as the price of gold recovers, which it seems to be doing now.
Meanwhile, in the search for better places to put your money to work, we've been looking hard at Pinnacle Mines for several weeks. You'll remember how much we liked company head Andy Bowering's black T-shirt in his publicity photo for the New Orleans show. We've been following the price from 27 May 2005, when it was C$0.63 and Friday it closed at C$0.61. So, about the same.
The market may not yet have reacted to news from Pinnacle's Silver Coin property where three meters were found returning 56.6 grams per tonne gold. In free market units, that's 1.82 ounces per tonne, which is a very good measurement indeed. What's better, the latest drill holes extend the known mineralized zone a further 50 meters to the South. Drilling is continuing on 50 and 75 meter centers along the projected strike of the Perseverance-Kansas zones, according to the press release we received from Pinnacle's Nancy Massicotte. The mineralized zone appears to have a minimum strike length of 1.1 klicks and a vertical height of 270 meters. Pinnacle Mines and Mountain Boy Minerals are working this claim together, and are able to earn up to 70% interest in the Kansas claim from Tenajon Resources.
Comparable zones nearby produced lots of gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc. So, that's nice. We generally ignore these similarity claims. Elephants are similar to mice in that both are mammals, but similarity is not all there is to it.
Pinnacle is also exploring for gold and other metals in China. They have been working closely with Chinese contacts for some time now. Back in November, when we reviewed the New Orleans show, we mentioned, "As far as actual gold goes, the company's brochure indicates 'the most significant drill hole to date returned 1.63 grams/tonne Au over 89 meters.' Pinnacle Mines has acquired the right to purchase 100% of the Yang Wen Chong property from its owner, Yunnan Geology and Mineral Resource for a total of C$4.3 million by November 2005. Chip sampling on traverses has revealed up to 3 meters of 4.42 grams/tonne Au, and up to 40 meters of 1.86 g/t Au."
Now for the news we can't talk about. Capitalization is obviously a key factor in these junior mining companies. Luzon's Jim Currie makes that clear in his swan song message. Well, there is to be an announcement from Pinnacle about sources of company capital in about two weeks, based on a very pleasant phone conversation we had with a gentleman representing Pinnacle, Marc West. If what we've been led to believe is true, the source of capital is a major mining company with extensive interests in one of the two countries (Canada or China) where Pinnacle has been engaged in exploration. We won't say more here, but Marc is happy to do so.
So, it might be a good time to pick up some Pinnacle. It is a suggestion. We don't make suggestions based on every phone conversation we have, as the Metalline review of last week indicates. We do make suggestions when something looks right, to us. Pinnacle is starting to have that look. Part of it is the extension of the mineralized zone at the Kansas part of the Silver Coin project. The other part of it is that capital seems to be very nearly in place. Now might be the time to capitalize on this information. Otherwise, it is just another rumor.
We are officially suggesting Pinnacle as of today's date. We'll be tracking their stock from C$0.61/share.
Free Market Money
Gold closed Friday at $429.50. According to Jim Turk, the price in British pounds is now above the long-term down-trend from the 1980 spike. The pennant formation has completed. Further rises should be anticipated. We are obviously approaching the end of the Summer doldrums this month, and should see new highs this Fall (which officially starts late September). Keep in mind, though, that $455 was nobody's predicted high last fall. It may be a hard-fought level, since it seems clear that $500 gold eats some important lunches on various plates.
Silver closed Friday at $7.22. Nice.
Copper tapped $1.71 on Thursday and closed Friday at $1.7056. Short term warehouse stocks, shown here, are going asymptotic to the vertical. Copper has been looking toppish for months, and it is well past its usual 8 year cycle - it was back in November when we discussed that cycle as part of our review of the New Orleans show. Now, with warehouse stock levels rising, it seems likely that we've found the copper top. It may eke out a few more cents to the upside, but it is looking Duracell.
When copper reaches new highs, we often like to take a peek at the 1982 pennies. They currently have a 13% premium to face value. Their metal content is copper and zinc, mostly copper at 95%. So, if your children or grandchildren lack for fun things to do, tell them about the treasure of copper in old pennies, and set them to sorting. They'll soon invent better games and not pester you again about being bored for a while.
Checking in on pennies reminds us to look at nickel and zinc. The USA nickel seems safe from being pulled into private stockpiles, now more than a third under face value. Nickel prices have declined dramatically in the last sixty days. Zinc is also well down, as we mentioned last week. If these commodity prices are any sign of a slowing economy, and there are good reasons to think they are, then be wary.
U3O8 is still $29.50.
The three stocks we've suggested in this sector are PVH, GBH, and MCG. Prices from Tuesday 26 July 2005.
PVCSE.com appears to report share prices on its home pages somewhat at variance to the way it reports last trade. The last trade for GBH was at 0.137 grams of gold (about $1.89) so that's what we're using for our table. Naturally, it is no surprise that the price is down, given that dividends still are not in evidence. There is a remarkable lack of information, but one shareholder contacted us to say he had been told that dividends would be issued. Last week.
PVH seems to have recovered, and MCG is up very nicely.
The Gold Casino is holding well to its share price, with last sale at 103 grams (~$1422).
"We were wrong. Obviously we have to go fix this. Until we're ready, we won't go fly again. I don't know when that might be."
The shuttle is in orbit now, at the space station. NASA has grounded the remaining shuttle fleet.
There was damage to a tile on one landing gear door, but the tiles are not leading edge stuff. Discovery is probably not in danger on re-entry. In any event, there is yet time to repair the damaged tile. NASA has extended Discovery's stay by another day.
The damage to Columbia was on the leading edge of a wing. According to sources we've seen, it was filmed from orbit by one of the spy satellites the USA military/espionage community maintains. We gather the damage to the leading edge of the wing has been described as "a gaping hole."
The chunk of foam seen flying off Discovery's external tank on liftoff last month was certainly large enough and heavy enough to do the same sort of damage. Happily, it separated after Max-Q when the shuttle goes through maximum aerodynamic loads and vibrations, so it was not as likely to impact the shuttle, and did not in fact do so - as the film clearly indicates. But, the bad news is more money is going to vile defense contractors to pretend to fix the same problem.
NASA just got done spending 2.5 years and two billion dollars, including over $200 million on the external tank. The only winners are the defense contractors who won contracts to fix what they had broken in the first place, and they didn't get it fixed.
At first, the external tank was painted white. You can occasionally find publicity photos of the very first launches of Columbia back in 1981. Those tanks were highly reminiscent of the Taj Mahal. A dome is a dome, no matter how much stupidity NASA puts into it. After the first few flights, though, the paint was left off, because there was a weight saving.
Naturally, the foam of the time was made with chloro-fluoro-carbon (CFC). CFC was used as the blowing agent, meaning that all the little holes in the foam that make it all foamy were made from CFC 11. That came to an end in December 2001. The replacement foam eliminated the CFC blowing agent, replacing it with a hydro chloro fluoro carbon HCFC which, unsurprisingly, retains water.
Trouble was obvious to anyone with a brain, including many NASA engineers. The first mission to fully cover the external tank with the new stupid foam was STS-86 launched in 1997. Over 300 impacts were reported, with some hits measuring fifteen inches in length, with depths to seventy-five percent of the depth of the shuttle tiles damaged. The new stupid foam caused eleven times more damaged thermal tiles than the previous mission with Freon foam. More than 100 tiles were damaged beyond repair, compared to a normal mission of 40 tiles damaged beyond repair.
NASA has refused to go back to the old foam, even though the EPA specifically exempted NASA from the ban on CFC foaming agents. Apparently, an even newer variant of the stupid foam began flying in December 2001. Just over a year later, Columbia was launched in a mission ending, once again in disaster. (We recently ran across an old song in our archives, remembering Challenger.)
Now, NASA has again spent a lot of money, trying to fix a problem that did not exist before it went for political correctness to replace basic science. HCFC foams are notorious for retaining water, and it is insane to imagine that the humid atmosphere of the Florida coast together with the intense cold of cryogenic fuels inside the external tank won't combine to form water ice on the surface of the tank. The CFC foam did not retain water, and the external tanks coated with old foam did not shed chunks large enough to damage the shuttle as Columbia was.
The Discovery just missed running a repeat of the Columbia, or having the crew wait at the space station while some manager at NASA discovers how to unwrap from recto-cranial inversion long enough to go back to the old foam and launch a rescue mission that does not itself get stuck in orbit. NASA is unable to fix the problem because NASA is essentially a political machine for corruptly allocating contracts.
There's no going back. NASA cannot be repaired nor reformed. Congress won't destroy it, because Congress critters benefit from the campaign contributions attendant on these multi-hundred-million dollar and billion dollar shuttle contracts, with defense contractors or subcontractors in every Congressional district working on some facet of the "shuttle program." Clearly, the program is about building pork barrels and distributing them, rather than about settling the Solar System or providing for the scientific investigation thereof - both parts of the NASA charter that go unfulfilled year after year.
NASA delenda est. Given Congress's role in this mess, a subscriber has suggested "Legislatura delenda est."
SpaceDev was at $1.62 before trading on Tuesday 26 July 2005. It is up $0.12 since we first suggested it. (Last week we correctly reported the price of SpaceDev, but not the change from first suggestion. This week, both figures are correct.)
"We expect to double, triple, quadruple the number of astronauts in the next few years that have currently experienced space."
At the Experimental Aircraft show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, this week, Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan announced their new company to build space ships. The company, bearing the remarkable name, "The Spaceship Company" will manufacture the launch aircraf, spacecraft, and support equipment, to market those products to spaceliner operators. The company will be jointly owned by Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, Rutan's company, and Virgin Group, Branson's company.
Readers familiar with the history of aviation will recall that anti-trust prosecution in the early 20th Century split apart airlines and aircraft manufacturers. It seems likely that this company is being formed in anticipation of a similar approach by anti-free-market forces within evil, vicious, brutal governments.
Meanwhile, the plan is to buid a 9-person SpaceShip Two (SS2) which will carry seven passengers to orbit. The SpaceShip Company is contracting with Scaled Composites for the research, development, testing, and certification of the SS2 design along with a new White Knight Two (WK2) mother-ship launch aircraft to be called "Eve" after Branson's mother.
The SS2 will fly into suborbital space using the same type of hybrid rocket motor used by the SpaceShip One. Paul Allen's Mojave Aerospace Company apparently has the patents, and will license the technology to the SpaceShip Company. It is unclear whether SpaceDev would be the only vendor, but given their experience at building and selling the hybrids for SpaceShip One, it is likely they would continue as a vendor of this technology, if not the only one. Plans are for the spacecraft and aircraft to be available in 2.5 to 3 years from now. Virgin Galactic has ordered five spaceships and two carrier aircraft, and capacity to build vehicles for other spacelines is planned.
The companies still plan to fly from within the USA. Virgin Galactic seems fixated on operating from a base somewhere in the USA. They are now being a bit coy, suggesting that Mojave, California, Las Vegas, New Mexico, or Florida would be possibilities. (Las Cruces, New Mexico is a much more likely site, near the White Sands Space Harbor where the shuttle has previously landed when Edwards was closed in the rainy season. But, the report we've read says Las Vegas, NM.)
So far, advance sales are going well. Branson says that about a hundred pioneers have forked over the $200K each. Twenty million is a nice chunk of change, and clear evidence that the space tourism market is real. Thousands more have made reservations for future flights. Virgin Galactic's Will Whitehorn says the company would like to be flying the vehicles in tests in 2007 and for paying passengers in 2008.
NASA delenda est.
New Country Developments
"The situation is particularly bad in Myanmar's border areas, where government brutality and neglect, coupled with long-running ethnic rebellions, have lowered living standards yet further. The army often resorts to murder, rape, theft, arbitrary arrest, relocation and forced labour. Guy Horton, a human rights activist, argues that these abuses are systematic, deliberate, and aimed at specific minorities, and so constitute genocide. He cites written orders from senior officers to raze villages and to kill 'anyone related with the enemy.' Estimates of the total number of people killed in the border region range as high as 10,000 a year. Many more die of disease or starvation brought on by the conflict."
We're a bit disappointed in The Economist. No bylines. The written material is presented as the collective effort of the staff, rather than the individual works of men and women. And who are these people? If there's a masthead, it is remarkably well hidden.
Nevertheless, the 23 July issue has a fine image on page 24 showing Myanmar, with separately shaded areas for Shan State and Wa Region. Apparently the United Wa State Army "remain well armed thanks to revenues from drug trafficking." So, we may presume poppies grow well in them thar hills.
The juncto of generals running Myanmar has not shown any practical interest in returning to the rule of law. (We prefer the English word "juncto" to the Spanish "junta." In either case, the word originates from Latin and means "joint.") Their genocides are obvious to everyone. Lately, they have become more intransigent, arresting the leader of one group of rebels that had been engaged in a cease fire. The Shan State National Army has subsequently gone back to war. "The ensuing upsurge in fighting in Shan State has displaced as many as 200,000 civilians...." Meanwhile, the juncto seems to be moving the military and perhaps the entire government into underground bunkers at a town called Pyinma, in a hilly region at some remove from Mandalay.
With the juncto now supported economically by Thailand and China, with a pipeline project soon to link it to India, there is little hope for the policy of sanctions. At the same time, the economy is in ruins thanks to the idiocy of the generals, who have inflated the currency by some 1500% since 1994, much of it in the last four years. Their rule is arbitrary, they have seized property, and they clearly are unfit to govern a free people.
Whether Shan State or Wa State will be part of the five thousand new countries of the 21st Century predicted in Alvin and Heidi Toffler's War and Anti-War is uncertain. But it was fun to see Southeast Asia further subdivided on that map.
"For example, a patient taking aspirin therapy to prevent a heart attack, and steroids to treat arthritis, estrogen replacement therapy for menopause, along with vitamin E, and experiences a heart attack, would have to disclose to their doctor they were taking vitamin E pills. Aspirin, estrogen and steroids deplete the body of vitamin C which weakens blood vessels, induces their collapse, and can result in blockage of a coronary artery that produces a heart attack. But the vitamin E might be unfairly blamed for inducing this event. The patient may also be a smoker and/or alcohol drinker, which further depletes vitamin C and increases the risk for a heart attack. But only the vitamin E pills would be reported to the FDA!"
Susan A. Davis of California, John D. Dingell of Michigan, and the ever-vile Henry A. Waxman of California have introduced HR 3156 now in committee to require reporting of adverse side effects of vitamin supplements. Since all sorts of adverse events take place, like heart attacks, and since six out of ten Americans take some sort of food supplement, especially vitamins, it is easy to see that there will be lots of reports. The science is absurd, as Bill Sardi describes above.
Meanwhile, Life Enhancement magazine's editorial page has this passage, "In fact, Sen. Durbin is known for his stance for greater health education and reform, which presumably grows out of his 'concern' for human beings. As the introducer of S. 722, the so-called Dietary Supplement Safety Act, Durbin is promoting a bill that carries a number of substantial initiatives aimed at counteracting certain freedom-of-choice safeguards contained in the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), while opening the door to future FDA regulations and bans (can we say verboten?). Durbin has said, 'It is impossible for anyone to calculate exactly how many people have had their lives ended or their health ruined by dangerous supplements since I first began working on this issue three years ago, but whether it was 500 or five, it was too many.' Seriously … is five too many? Is Durbin willing to push nutritional supplements into the pharmaceutical abyss of regulation and 'protection' where, during the same three years, an estimated 390,000 people may have died as a direct result of regulated and protected drugs, and as many as 2,310,000 may have suffered injury? One thing is clear: Durbin is willing to jettison the right of the American public to choose among nutritional products—and to determine what they should and should not ingest—because as few as five people may have been injured."
So, it is another terrible day in the legislature. Gee. What a surprise.
Legislatura delenda est.
Integrated Pharmaceuticals is down at $1.05.
Dendreon is up slightly to $5.88 close Friday 29 July.
Elan Corp, PLC, was off slightly to $7.48 also on Friday.
Publication Note: A day late. Sorry. Gratuitous example of bizarre legislation: See Longevity Report.
Copyright © 2005 Free West Trust, All Rights Reserved.