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

The Indomitus Report
Volume 2, #28

13 September 2005
Eris Silver Anniversary
Saturday

Being Sovereign

      "When land does well for its owner, and the owner does well by his land; when both end up better by reason of their partnership, we have conservation. When one or the other grows poorer we do not."

      - Aldo Leopold, The Sand County Almanac, 1949

We heard from a few more speakers on Saturday 6 August 2005. First out of the gate in the morning was Roger Selbert on "US & Global Demographics, Viewed through a Libertarian Perspective."

One does not usually think of demographics as entirely libertarian in aspect. After all, demographics tend to be a collective approach to people. Here is a population, here are its constituent elements: so many of each ethnic group, so many of each income group, so many in each geographical location, so many of each age group, so many of each gender. But, of course, each individual is unique, and therefore takes choices independently. He may or may not share interests in common with others his age, his race, his income, or even his gender. Indeed, he may find offensive the entire process of being asked questions by census takers and market researchers, who jolly well ought to be told to mind their own beeswax.

Roger made an interesting point, which probably says something especially trenchant about demographics. The market for Demographics magazine was insufficient, and it went out of business. One does wonder if anyone in the demographics profession saw that one coming.

There are many numbers issued every year by government, and it isn't easy to bring oneself to believe any of them. However, it was somewhat startling when Roger divided the population into four groups of eighty million each. He said that about 80 million Americans are older than 50, 80 million are 35 to 49, 80 million are 18 to 34, and 80 million are under 18. Anyway, we took note of this information. Eighty times four is 320. So, Roger's figure is about 40 million or 14% greater than the official population of the USA as of the 2000 census figures released sometime in 2001.

In addition to the difficulties inherent in government oversight of the vast majority of information we have access to, such as figures on inflation that are "hedonically" adjusted to be whatever the government wants to pretend inflation is this month, there is also the difficulty in the essentially artificial or "cut flower" nature of contemporary demographics. Immigration is thwarted on all fronts now, and since any border patrol strong enough and any fence high enough to keep immigrants out are necessarily capable of forcibly detaining anyone seeking to escape, emigration may soon be thwarted. So, when people talk about the birth rate or the retirement rate or the Baby Boom generation, and its echo, these are data that reflect extremely artificial conditions imposed by government.

Any discussion of demographics that doesn't consider the high level of motivation of people to lie about their incomes, their tax obligations, their property valuations, their presence in the country, and so forth, really doesn't seem well considered. Since the government obviously wants to enumerate us, ear tag us, and feed off us like so many vampire bats feasting on a herd, it is well that we don't get all the government we pay for.

Speaking of demographics, one of the figures we heard mentioned casually on the radio during a news briefing on New Orleans was "a city of 1.5 million people." But, that's hard to fathom, because the city is just two parishes, Jefferson and Orleans. Together, the 2000 census gives them 926,470 total population - that includes Metairie, Kenner, New Orleans, everything within the two parishes. It would be a stretch to say it was a million population, except we know the government is incompetent at everything. But, 61.9% of the population missed in the last census? That seems highly incompetent indeed. The other possible interpretations, that the media got it wrong, and that people are being steeled for a larger loss of life "than expected" are anyone's guess.

Stephanie Sailor gave a very engaging presentation on her work as an activist in the Chicago Libertarian Party political scene, her innovative advertising and public relations ideas, and her "Capitalist of the Year" project, which she describes as turning "capitalism into a media circus."

Her multi-media presentation included some very nice slides, images from some of her web sites such as Molten Media, Guns101, KennedySailor, StephanieSailor, her Libertarian ads, SailorVsTheMachine, Fortune 500 Resume, Boomershoot, CapitalistChicks, and LiberatedSpace.

We were especially impressed with some of her research on Jesse Jackson, Jr., and her no-holds-barred principled campaign. For example, rather than accept campaign contributions, Stephanie set up a charity, "the Jessica fund," for disadvantaged children to benefit from private school, much as Jesse Jackson, Jr. did, and as JJJ's daughter Jessica was. It was also fun to see her willingness to package the product with a catchy name, even when the product was her candidacy for Congress. Sailor versus the Machine to catch the attention of pro-wrestling enthusiasts, and "Kennedy Sailor" explained by the idea that to beat the Jesse Jackson name would require the Kennedy name!

One of our favorites was her slogan for an ad campaign she did on spec. The slogan is, "Reliable Feminine Protection." The bottom of the image shows a handgun. A related ad campaign shows the barrel of a handgun with the slogan, "Not exactly the hole a rapist was looking for." So, her advertisements and web sites were plentiful evidence of her talents as a marketing genius.

Her "Capitalist of the Year" project was organized around a "plan meet need" structure. First, the identifiable need: capitalism and free market economics get a bad rap. The "world's most liberated economic systems deserves a better" reputation, as she says in her brochure on the project. Widely held views include capitalism is greed, businessmen are evil, corporations are all corrupt, capitalists are ruthless and shady, property creates the haves and have-nots, the poor get poorer and the rich get wealthier, free market economics are bad for people, the planet, the environment, and morals.

Given the very large number of incredibly wealthy people who own major media outlets (Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch being among the most infamous of these), it is somewhat surprising, not to say disheartening that anti-capitalism thinking "is reinforced everywhere: books, movies, magazines, TV, news, the 'net...." to quote Stephanie. It gets worse. "Americans have been consistently bombarded withthe message that their livelihood depends on depending upon government to ensure that everyone gets a fair shake. We are told that government regulation, monitoring, and control is good." [emphases in original].

"We are told that it's bad to embrace our individual needs or indulgences. We are told that one should feel guilt rather than happiness in buying products that satisfy our desires, thus practicing freedom of consumer choice. Rarely do you hear about the beauties of capitalis - job creation, better consumer products, and above all, an improved quality of life - thanks to the world's most liberated economic system. Capitalism needs a makeover."

So, what's the plan? "It's time to overturn the collectivist message and place power back into the hands of the indiviuals as we celebrate ...the world's most liberated economic system. We start with the Capitalist of the Year Award." (Recently renamed "Free Marketeer of the Year Award.") "Held in conjunction with an announcement ceremony that will attract prestigious attendees and national media coverage, the ...Award honors those who work to create world-wide wealth. The cash award, trophy, and ceremony spotlight a businessperson who: creates a new product or service, thereby improving the lives of consumers; creates jobs, thereby improving the lives of employees and their families through increased wealth, bringing greater economic power to individuals; through contributions to the community, spreads wealth to the world, as a result of competitive profit-driven capitalist incentive."

The trophy shown consists of a polished wooden base with the award's name, surmounted by a standing figure of a heavily muscled man reminiscent of the Titan the Greeks called Atlas. In the arms of Atlas is not the world, but a set of four rings defining the axis, equator and meridians of a sphere with empty space in the midst. Atlas isn't shrugging, but he's also not holding up the world. Presumably, he's holding up whatever his mind conceives as best.

Her draft promotional video was very well produced, showing the empty field where Gateway Computer set up shop, describing the people out of work, the lack of economic activity, and then all this creative energy added because a company founder decided he wanted to assemble computers there. Unfortunately, Gateway hasn't done really well, and someone saw fit to criticize the video on that basis during the question and answer period.

Although we got the impression from her work that she's well educated and has beaucoup experience in marketing, her curriculum vitae in the brochure discusses her experiences running for Congress three times, advancing the cause of Chicago's Libertarian Party by developing creative posters for Chicago Transit Authority trains that increased the party's e-mail list by "over 1000%" and a "tenfold increase of membership." Stephanie "has appeared in dozens of local and national media outlets as a spokesperson for self-defense." She then left the political arena in 2005 "to focus her energies on non-party projects. Now Stephanie is looking to suppor her free market beliefs by creating the [Free Marketeer] of the Year Award." Happily, her work speaks for itself.

To round out our set of impressions, we were very pleased to see her offering gun training to neophytes. Guns are, in our view, the essential tool for self defense. Governments wouldn't want to take them away from people if they weren't so incredibly useful. The recent experiences in New Orleans are cautionary tales galore about difficulties encountered when government is left in charge of anything, when people are deliberately prevented from keeping and bearing arms, and when the military occupies any city, USA or foreign.

In addition to her Guns101 course, Stephanie got involved in BoomerShoot, a really fun idea. What if your marksmanship were rewarded with Hollywood-style explosions? Every time your round goes where it should, you see an enormous explosion. In a nutshell, that's Boomershoot. On her Capitalist of the Year site, Stephanie explains some of the difficulty encountered by a gun freedom activist who happened to have been working at a government lab.

Ken Royce was unable to attend (as were L. Neil Smith, Ted Rall, and owing to our finances, Meaghan Walker-Champion; not a stunning average for our efforts at bringing in speakers). So, instead, we heard from Ed Warner.

Ed's presentation was on "Cooperative Conservation: the New Environmentalism." And, indeed, the top quote for this week's issue comes from Ed's description of his talk. The basic point being that private land ownership is better for the land, in most cases, than public ownership or "tragedy of the commons."

Inevitably, we were more than a bit distracted by what was to come next, and didn't give Ed our full attention. So, here are some thoughts from Ed's description of his presentation, as shown in the Eris program guide.

"After a thirty year career as a geologist in oil and gas exploration, I retired five years ago to pursue a second career in conservation. The environmental movement in the US can be explained by the anti-capitalist mentality of its philosophy. For the first forty years of the 'green' movement, command and control, and stewardship by legislation, regulation - with the understanding that, in order to good, people had to be coerced, regulated, controlled, or removed from the natural environment - was the methodology employed. The negative consequences to these 'noble' intentions are legendary. In the background, during those first forty years, was a vstly different philosophy espoused by Aldo Leopold and described in his 1949 posthumous publication, 'The Sand County Almanac.' [see top quote above]"

"Today, this relationship to the land is called 'Cooperative Conservation.' Instead of coercion, landowners, community stakeholders, government agencies, and academia are coming together to promote stewardship joint ventures which combine public and private lands. Through the use of devices that protect private lands like 'Safe Harbor Agreements' and easements, national legislation like the Endangered Species Act and the Wetlands Act can now be used as tools that enhance habitat for endangered or threatened species while at the same time protect property rights. The 'New Environmentalism,' an age of private land conservation is upon us."

Owing to some impending obligations just then, we didn't get a satisfactory sense of how Ed proposed that enforcement of Endangered Species or Wetlands acts would ever take place non-coercively. Our personal experience in real estate suggests that most real estate developers employ a mow and mulch policy toward wetlands grasses and other evidence of wetlands qualifying "resources."

Finally, some guy named James Eric Davidson gave a talk on "Free Market Money." He's just this guy, y'know?

Jim opened his talk with the idea that free market money is the best money at the best possible price. What does that mean? Money is the tool we use to measure prices, so how could money be available at a price? Obviously, if money is inflating constantly, or depreciating in value, then it is bringing less and less of any other good or service in exchange. That's the case for all the government issued currencies. If a money were available that held its value, then it would be superior to coercive fiat money. Happily, there is.

We've quoted this essay in a past issue, but it bears repeating: "Coming in the future is a true monetary revolution, where competition will arrive in the marketplace between government controlled currencies and private money systems based on gold. This is not some wild dream of the future. As this is written, several high tech companies in the United States are developing private electronic money systems and several companies are developing a similar system in which the currency will actually be weight of gold in ounces which can be electronically transferred at the touch of a computer pad. These transactions can be entirely private (encrypted) based on gold stored in many different countries. The new gold money of the 21st Century will be a new international gold standard without regard to borders, based on thousands of years of proven history of gold as the ultimate money. Indeed, the philosophical and economic arguments for such a gold based monetary system are so sure that it is not a matter of if this will happen, but a matter of how soon. It is my hope that the combined wisdom in this small book will help in that radical monetary revolution." All from James U. Blanchard, III, Golden Insights, 1997.

So, after reading that entire quote in his mildly mellifluous and annoyingly nasal voice, Jim proceeded to an overview of what money is: a medium of exchange, a store of value, and a unit of account. What do these terms mean?

A medium of exchange, as EC Riegel pointed out long ago in his book A New Approach to Freedom, available from our friend Spencer MacCallum of the Heather Foundation, is simply a mechanism to break barter transactions into component events. A medium of exchange makes it possible to buy shoes when you produce eggs, even if the local shoemaker has plenty of eggs. You simply sell your eggs for the medium of exchange, then use that medium to purchase shoes.

All sorts of things have been used as media of exchange over the years. Livestock was a pretty early choice, because it was widespread, valued by everyone, and had a natural increase. Unfortunately, livestock have some difficulties. There's the small change problem - a ribeye steak being an expensive solution, and only temporary before refrigeration. There's the fungibility problem, as not all camels are the same. And there's the storage problem. You can put a few ounces of gold in a shoebox in your attic. Try that with camels and it smells terrible and annoys the camels. (Yes, Jim never seems to tire of that particular chestnut.)

Having examined the question of what money is, Jim went through a timeline of the developers of free market gold and silver based currencies. The first of these was the Islamic Mint which began to mint gold dinar and silver dirham coins in 1992. I mentioned that the organizers were members of the Murabitun, a sort of libertarian outlook on Islam. Four years later, Doug Jackson founded e-gold. In 1998, Bernard von NotHaus founded the Liberty Dollar. In 2000, the Islamic Mint founders Zeno Dahinden and his associate Yahya Cattanach founded e-dinar.com becoming a front end for the e-gold service. The year 2001 was crowded, with new entrants GoldMoney, 1MDC, and e-Bullion. Bernard's 3PGold became Crowne Gold in 2002, and was followed into the market by Pecunix that same year. I also mentioned the promise of the Phoenix Dollar, due out this year.

Then it was a quick look at users, from my charts on the status of the industry, updated for end of July 2005. Sixty-two percent of the users have e-gold accounts, 25% e-Bullion, 11% Liberty Dollar, and about 1% for GoldMoney and Pecunix. However, no numbers are available from 1MDC or the e-dinar folks. And, of course, with silver coins, gold coins, and paper warehouse receipts from the Islamic Mint and Liberty Dollar, there's really no way of knowing how many users have touched the stuff or are holding it.

In terms of value circulating, the end of July figures were 46% stored by GoldMoney, 31% by e-gold, 13% by Liberty Dollar, an estimated 9% by e-Bullion, and 1% for Pecunix. Again, no figures from e-dinar or 1MDC.

So, what are the benefits?

Benefits

  • Digital gold enhances your freedom;

  • Digital gold increases your economic privacy;

  • Digital gold helps you reach beyond borders;

  • Digital gold makes multi-currency transactions cheap and easy;

  • Digital gold exploits jurisdictional arbitrage for fun and profit;

  • Digital gold is better money;

  • Digital gold holds its economic value better than national currencies;

  • Digital gold is good for your sovereignty;

  • Digital gold is your key to a better future

Given the nature of the audience here, it would probably be pedantry to go through each point, as I did at the Eris Society conference, where it was merely pedagogy. It probably does make sense at this point to set digital gold in stark contrast to the fiat money fraud of the Federal Reserve Scheme, the world's other central banksters, their thugs in the military-industrial complex, and the evident military dictatorship they contemplate as both necessary and appropriate. Given their behavior in Iraq and New Orleans, you can see where a better future for yourself is something you are going to have to work at. Since it won't be easy, you'll need freedom, economic privacy, transnational markets, jurisdictional arbitrage, better money, and a better store of value if you hope to have either your sovereignty or a better future.

Then, I gave a definition of digital gold: Gold, silver, or another precious metal is available for redemption; there is a clear process for redeeming online warehouse receipts for actual metal; online transactions are available to accept payment in the currency; an inventory of precious metal is identifiable and, preferably, audited; an online transaction database is available to each user, preferably kept in a privacy haven; precious metals prices are tracked with the free market prices for these metals; signing up for a new account is a straightforward process. These features are more or less present in all the currencies I had named, or had been more or less present when they were organized.

The question came up: why bother with gold? Why not have a currency that uses some arbitrary value, such as the USA dollar? The answer is acceptability. You can issue a money based on anything, but if I don't need that thing, and if I don't believe I can find a buyer for that thing, then it wouldn't be wise for me to accept your money. Gold is acceptable because it is widely valued, and it is widely prized because it is a good store of value. Anywhere in the world, at any time from about 12,000 years ago to present, somebody has less gold than she wants, and would be glad to accept your gold from you in exchange for something you wish to purchase.

My concluding slide hit them with the growth rate. In this first image below, and the next few, if you click on the image itself, you get a larger version which we've uploaded to our server. Obviously, you can see that the growth in the bar count at e-gold, which has only the second largest bar count, is going up like a rocketship.

After getting back from the conference and spending much of August working on some new business plans, and failing to get it together for a trip to Seattle, there was a contest which JP May put together to see if anyone would not only present the above data in a graphically interesting way, but project growth into the future. These next two images, again with clickable larger versions, are examples of images I concocted. The first, showing Ayn Rand's famous gold dollar sign from Galt's Gulch in the background, is simply the historical bar count itself. Where a reddish gold bar appears, the bar count has dropped by two or more bars.

This final image show the bar count projected into the future, using a linear growth curve. Unfortunately, it shows a logarithmic Y-axis, which is something JP May dislikes. But, it is also graphically interesting.

Some concluding thoughts on Eris. The Eris Society is a unique event. It brings together authors, scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and financiers in a casual atmosphere. Because these are people who think about the future, talk about it, and plan to live in it - some of them for perhaps thousands of years individually - it is the sort of event that matters a great deal. In speaking of similar events, Jerry Pournelle once described them as "the planning department for the human race," which, it seems clear, was how he viewed science fiction conferences at the time.

There are advantages to being in the planning department. You can make shrewd guesses about what's coming next, as the Eris Society founder Doug Casey has done every month for readers of his International Speculator newsletter. (Doug's team recently published an essay of his from 1997, based around a book review of Strauss & Howe's The Fourth Turning. You should read it.) So, if you join the Eris Society, by no more deft act than committing to attend their meeting in Vermont next August, you might be in a position to pick up key insights for your investments which, like living humans, are necessarily going to spend most of their time in the future.

Finally, I had started my speech at Eris with another thought from Jerry Pournelle. Jerry made a speech at one World Science Fiction convention, as I recall the story, in which he pointed out that conferences about the future are great. There's a lot of camaraderie. There's an impressive array of intellects. There are people around you can talk to about things without going through a lot of background or explanation. The future is painted on the walls. You don't have to be embarrassed about a particular vision of the future, or the ideas in some book you've read, because you probably won't be asked about which team you support in the upcoming athletic event, and you probably will find someone interested in that book with whom to chat about it. But, Jerry said, what do you do tomorrow?

Tomorrow the conference is over, the people all go back where they came from, the vision falls away from the walls, and you go back to whatever you were doing. So, what might you do, tomorrow, to take action on the vision? In some ways, reading this newsletter is a bit like going to an Eris Society conference, though my meager narrative ability is nothing set against the fine nuanced flavors found in any one hallway conversation to be had there.

At Eris, I suggested that they each go home and form a free market money account with one of the digital gold services. Play around with it. Put some money in. Buy something with it. See what it's like. And, for those who already have accounts, get a friend to form an account and join the digital gold revolution.

But you lot reading this newsletter mostly have such accounts already. If you don't, there's no shame in starting now. But, if you do, and you've set about recruiting others, by all means consider other actions. Do you have a gun? If not, buy one. If so, get thee to a gun range. Is your gun a semi-auto rifle in some useful caliber like .308? If not, consider adding one to your arsenal. Train with it. Go to a decent training center like FrontSight or Thunderbird Ranch, or get in touch with Ken Royce. While you are thinking about guns, stock a thousand rounds for your rifle, a hundred rounds for your shotgun, and two hundred for each handgun.

Do you own a quality kevlar vest and helm? If not, go buy one. It may not be long before people in your country are forbidden ownership of these things. Do you have a quality knife? A good quality knife is an extremely useful tool for hunting, fishing, close quarters combat, and survival. Do you have a grab-'n'-go bag, packed? Do you have food and water for up to a year where you live? Are you where you ought to be if the winds come, the rains fall, and the storm breaks? If so, your neighbors favor the freedom to keep and bear arms, know you well enough to care if your home is attacked, and also respect your privacy. If not, the kin folk say, "Move away from there."

In coming weeks, I'll be working on some new projects that should greatly enhance economic privacy and individual sovereignty. As it becomes practical to describe these, you'll hear more.

One thing to do, soon, which might make a substantial difference, is to form a temporary labor service providing accounting, legal, clerical, and day laborers to the market in New Orleans. Some educational efforts might be possible in the circumstances. One wonders, for example, what might come of having a copy of the Declaration of Independence and the constitution in the hands of every soldier and national guardsman occupying New Orleans.

It is probably worth pointing out, here, that the words "emergency," and "martial law," do not appear in the constitution. There is no constitutional authority for suspending the constitution, nor the bill of rights, nor any of the rights listed. The only power granted in Article One, Section 9 (along with numerous powers prohibited to the national government) is the power to temporarily suspend the "privilege" of the great writ of habeas corpus and then only in the event of invasion or rebellion, and only upon a vote of the Congress. There is no constitutional power to prevent individuals from keeping and bearing arms, because suspending the Bill of Rights is not something over which the government has any authority. And, it is clear from their writings that the Founders wanted Americans to keep and bear arms, most especially during emergencies, invasions, and rebellions.

A couple of thoughts relating to telecommunications, which seem to apply here. First, our friend Anders has a consulting service, Berlin Pacific Telecom for companies that might benefit by reviewing their telecomm service agreements. Anders has found several companies hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings at no cost to them.

Previously, we've expressed concern that Skype uses a proprietary encryption algorithm, and may not be effectively secure. Since the algorithm isn't open source, it would be anyone's guess what it is or how strong. There's therefore no way to know if the encrypted phone calls would be decoded by an algorithm known to, say, the National Security Agency which is certainly competent to secure the data stream from any Voice over IP conversation. This week, we learned that Skype is being bought by eBay, the owners of PayPal. You may recall some years back when the security officer for eBay made it clear that law enforcement were welcome to fax a request for complete account details of any eBay account holder, and would receive that information without any need for subpoena. So, the good news is the deal may be worth over $4 billion to the founders of Skype, which means that encrypted voice communications is a big industry; the bad news is eBay has bought Skype. Presumably, Phil Zimmerman's encrypted Voice over IP encryption software (PGPfone?) is coming.

Free Market Money

      "Once governments are given the power to benefit particular groups or sections of the population, the mechanism of majority government forces them to use it to gain the support of a sufficient number of them to command a majority. The constant temptation to meet local or sectional dissatisfaction by manipulating the quantity of money so that more can be spent on services for those clamouring for assistance will often be irresistible. Such expenditure is not an appropriate remedy but necessarily upsets the proper functioning of the market."

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

Inflation harms everyone by suspending the "effective working" of the price mechanism. It is worse for those with fixed incomes or depending on external aid. What's more, there's no need for it. It is a form of political largesse that accompanies politically manufactured scarcity.

There's an interesting point, now, about majority rule. In fact, it isn't majority so much as plurality. Those in power need only satisfy the clamoring of a plurality to work their will. And, of course, that's only to the extent that the votes are actually counted.

Inflation has already been increased to pay for the war with Iraq combined with the attendant high trade and budget deficits. The lies about consumer price indices and the like from government have become harder to swallow with Katrina and her damage to refineries and oil terminals in Louisiana. Inflation is being ramped up further to pay for all the costs of militarily occupying Afghanistan, Iraq, and now New Orleans.

Majority rule and democracy cannot function as anything but tyranny. The tyranny of the majority soon gives way to military dictatorship or totalitarian authority. Inflation is one mechanism by which democracies fail. Clamoring for bread and for circuses is another.

Much of the country has already apparently given up on freedom. They have traded in all their liberty for a little image of pretended security. So, they willingly allow unlawful searches and seizures on a routine basis throughout the country, in spite of the fact that the Fourth Amendment may not be suspended, either.

Inevitably, the current conditions will lead to rebellion, revolution, and new countries. The timing of these future developments is uncertain, but their prospect is quite assured.

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 (Friday 9 September 2005):

Company Symbol C$ US$
D
Exploring
Almaden AMM.TO 1.83 -
C$0.09
Free Gold ITF.TO 0.14 0.126
-C$0.134
Luzon LZN.V 0.12 -
-C$0.17
Pinnacle PNL.V 1.13 -
C$0.50
Western WNP.V 4.50 -
C$2.76
Holding
Regalito Copper RLO - 5.76
$0.86
Northern Peru Copper NOC.to 1.78
-C$0.12
Lumina Resources LUR.to 0.40
-C$0.35
Silver Standard SSRI - 12.22
-0.56
Vista VGZ.TO 4.52 -
- C$0.48
Mining
Apex Silver SIL - 14.77
$2.22
Newmont Mining NEM - 42.44
-0.86
Northgate NXG - 1.24
- 0.43
Tan Range TRE 2.56 2.20
C$1.56

Western Prospector rose to a value of 255% from our first recommendation. So did Tan Range. We fully expect triples or better out of these two.

Last week we reported our doubles without reflecting upon the triple of Lumina Copper earlier this year, when it split into four operating units. Of those, Regalito is the cherry, and it may be appropriate to discard the other two. We'll take a long hard look at the dogs for next issue.

There was good news for Northgate. The evil vicious minions of the state in Canada have provided final guidelines for the preparation of an environmental impact assessment for their Kemess North project. Northgate should have its expansion plans submitted according to the guidelines in late September, and the thugs who orchestrate such things should be done putting them through the wringer in first quarter 2006. The Kemess North property is an undeveloped gold/copper deposit containing 4.1 million ounces of gold and 1.5 billion pounds of copper, about six kilometers from the existing Kemess South mine and existing milling infrastructure. If current prices were to persist through 2019, when the extraction is anticipated to be completed, the value of these metals would exceed US$4.39 billion. (Copper would likely make a full eight year cycle from peak to valley and back, and then some; the USA dollar's value would drop in that period and very likely the Canadian dollar would improve, unless Canada fractures along sectional lines; gold's price would very likely zoom.) With something over 200 million shares, the value of Kemess North is around US$21/share, less the US$1/share anticipated development cost.

A note on ethics seems to be in order. We recently were asked to write extensively on a copper and iron mining company in Sweden. We were unable to complete our research without apparently offending company management both at the mining company and the prospective publishers owing to our concerns that the Swedish government is manifestly a socialist dictatorship, openly practiced eugenics (sterilizing those with poor eyesight, e.g.,) as recently as the 1970s, with extortionate labor policies and exorbitant individual income and value added tax rates.

Among other things, we learned that companies mining in Sweden pay no royalty on mineral extraction, pay 28% corporate income tax (compared to the approximately 60% tax structure on mere mortals) have the benefit of drilling systems that are able to operate in the far north year 'round without succumbing to cold, and also have the benefit of direct subsidies, such as data sets developed with taxpayer funds by the Swedish government, and some direct subsidies for employing people in the far north. We gather from our local contacts in Sweden that it is typical for companies that start making profits from their Swedish operations to be subject to solidarity actions against entire industries, or specific blockades in order to part them from their money. Six months ago a Latvian company that built a school in Sweden with Latvian workers paid in Latvian currency was driven to bankruptcy by a Swedish organized labor blockade. These blockades are described by our friends as mob rule, extortion, and organized criminal activity - with the typical annotation that the Swedish government authorizes them, making things worse with color of "law."

Let us speak candidly about ethics. What you do with your money is your choice. We don't recommend any stocks here. We offer suggestions based on fundamentals that we think point to good results. Obviously, as with all expectations of the future, sometimes our ideas are on target, such as the four companies that have posted well, and sometimes expectations don't bear out, as with Free Gold and Luzon, thus far.

We don't suggest, and we don't even look closely at, companies that primarily do business in South Africa. Why not? South Africa is a socialist country which we fully expect is going to follow the same path that Zimbabwe followed, perhaps not soon, but quite likely in even more horrifying ways. Even if it doesn't, South Africa is a country run by extortionists who demand ownership interests for their friends and family members in mining companies based on no qualification other than the color of their skin. Such racial discrimination was disgusting under the British regime of Cecil Rhodes, it was improved only slightly under the Afrikaans government - by the development of interesting tribal sovereignties such as Transkei and Ciskei - and it has resulted in horrifying butchery in Nazi Germany, socialist Sweden, and Mugabe's Zimbabwe. Racism as an official policy is disgusting in South Africa, as much under the rule of the African National Congress as under any other.

We don't routinely suggest major defense contractor companies (Boeing, Lockheed Martin, etc.), even though there's a war on, and presumably money to be made. We have scruples. We don't recommend you invest in companies that make night sticks or supply police tasers, either. Sure, there's money to be made in such investments, and if you want to make investments in those areas, you may want to subscribe to Stratfor, or Richard Maybury's US & World Early Warning Report. But you won't find suggestions that don't meet our standards here.

No doubt it is hard to be very clean. The companies we have suggested here do presumably have some relationship with government. It isn't possible to even own property in most countries without paying property taxes and otherwise getting permits from government. But, it is not necessary to get very dirty. It isn't necessary to suggest investments in Sweden or South Africa or Zimbabwe or Venezuela, so we don't do that here.

And since we do have scruples, it would be a mutual waste of time to engage our services to write favorably about things that seem demonstrably unethical. Our principals do know a lot about taxes, defense contractor companies, NASA, egregious government accounting "standards," and extant socialist nightmare nations. It is possible to engage our services to describe and criticize such nastiness, or identify productive methods for circumventing them, but it would be unwise to regard us as suited to extolling the virtues of things we despise.

Part of making a better world is being involved in the ethics of the world. It is typical to say, "everyone in the industry does it," where "it" is some method of converting tax dollars to corporate welfare. But tax dollars are not everyone's money, they are stolen funds. Productive people did something to create income, generate sales, make something of value, and non-productive politicians, bureau-rats, and related slime came along and took an unearned portion. In ethics, the term for that behavior is theft. Converting stolen money to, say, geology databases used for exploration to find major mineral resources which the government then "gives" to a mining company is a bad thing. It may be that everyone does it, and that all major national governments do this sort of thing, but that doesn't make it right.

Finally, in regard to Sweden, I have a sneaking suspicion that all these low taxes, no royalties, and direct subsidies are the free meat in the bear trap. Once the trap is sprung, once an economically valuable mineral resource is discovered, the teeth will start biting in. The unions will make their solidarity threats, or their blockades, the government will require special permits and added inspections, and the vampiric nastiness of socialism will rear its ugly, fang-infested head, and sink its bite into the carotid artery, siphoning off a big chunk of investor wealth.

Free Market Money

Gold came up nicely over the weekend to touch just above $451/ounce in very early morning trading in the Far East on Monday morning. It has slid back a bit, but looks to be building another solid base at $446. So, a renewed assault on $450 should be anticipated.

If you haven't put much money into gold lately, or don't have 10% of your portfolio in gold, you should consider the current price situation as unbeatable. For most of September 1999, gold was below $258. We haven't seen it that low on a sustained basis since then. For much of September 2000, gold was below $274. You won't see it that low this year. September 2001 saw gold at $290. September 2002 saw gold around $320. You can't get it for those prices now. September 2003, gold $375, unobtainable now. September 2004, gold $405. You won't see that price soon, if ever. Every rally is different, but we seem to be entering the Autumn buying season, and it would be very surprising if next Summer's doldrums are at similarly low prices, given the large number of inflationary forces in view.

Silver at $6.94 per ounce (evening Tuesday 13 September) is an even better value. The Au/Ag ratio is 64.25 ounces of silver to buy an ounce of gold. Expect this ratio to drop as inflation takes hold and prices of both metals climb.

Copper was priced at $1.7082 this evening. It looks like the top was just under $1.79 in early September trading. With warehouse stocks rising, it seems likely that copper is being put away in anticipation of higher prices. Supply seems to exceed demand enough that warehouses are being filled (but that happened to zinc, recently, for only a few months). How long-term is that top? We've tried to guess at it before. Wait and see.

Zinc was at $0.6354 on Tuesday evening. It is running against the other metals, with warehouse inventories down and the price up to a new high recently.

Pre-1982 pennies are running over 13% premium to face value.

Nickel metal was $6.602 on Tuesday 13 September 2005.

U3O8 is again higher at $30.75/pound.

Oil prices moderated somewhat on Tuesday, dropping below $63/bbl. Schlumberger was $82.22 a share.

The three stocks we've suggested in this sector are PVH, GBH, and MCG. Prices from Tuesday 13 September 2005.

Company Symbol gAu
D
Gold Barter Holdings GBH 0.120

- 0.88

MicroCasino MCG 0.834

+ 0.321

Pecunix Venture Holdings PVH 0.028

- 0.022

These prices are unchanged from last week.

Gold Barter Holdings president Tristan Petersen published a letter to a discussion list we follow claiming that no commitment was ever made to distribute capital from the sale of the Cambist.net business unit. So, shareholders should not rely upon that expectation, although we gather such a commitment had been made prior to John Kyle negotiating the sale. Someone representing the new owners indicated that they do value the acquisition, and should be expected to complete payments still due totalling about $13,000. It was surprising not to receive any thanks from Mr. Petersen for negotiating the $8,000 payment from the new owners, which Mr. Petersen derided as miniscule and too small to bother distributing to shareholders. It should be noted that in spite of his protestations to these effects, the $8,000 was distributed to shareholders. So, sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The Gold Casino last sale was 105.55 grams of gold (~$1541) per share.

Space Frontier

      "The purpose of this mission is to demonstrate and validate the core technology, such as the inflation process, as well as the durability and longevity of the vehicle when actually exposed to the on-orbit environment for a period of years."

      - Mike Gold, Corporate Counsel, Bigelow Aerospace

The idea of inflatables as a low-cost solution to creating on-orbit living space and, potentially, lunar or Martian habitats first gained widespread notice around 1989 during the Return to the Moon clamor started by former President GHW Bush. Bush the elder, speaking on the 20th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing, had challenged NASA to come up with a plan for putting man back on the Moon, "this time to stay," and "a journey into tomorrow" to plant flags and footprints on Mars. After their 90-day study, NASA came back with a ridiculous response, making it clear to everyone that NASA was against these ideas from the outset, and projecting the expenditure of $450 billion or more. This price tag and NASA's deliberate obstruction effectively killed the "Space Exploration Initiative."

So, Lowell Wood of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories looked at those figures and cringed. Not only was he horrified by NASA's egregious 90-day study claiming to have designed the path into the future of mankind in space, but also he was determined to show a better way. He put together a research team which accepted the possibility of many innovative solutions, and came in at around $40 billion. One of the solutions his team felt would save money was a kevlar structure that would be inflated on-orbit.

Since 1989, NASA has done nothing with the suggestion. After all, the suggestion suffers from NASA's "not invented here" syndrome, and therefore cannot be considered. In 2006, however, a private sector company, Bigelow Aerospace, is going to try it out. The Las Vegas, Nevada based company owned and operated by Robert Bigelow, a hotel entrepreneur worth hundreds of millions of dollars, is getting ready for a robust, step-at-a-time development approach.

In order to get real data on how inflatables...inflate, how they perform once inflated, and the basic engineering concept under development, Bigelow Aerospace is launching a one-third scale version of their future hotel module. They dub the third-scale model Genesis. The launch in first quarter 2006 is aboard a Dnepr booster built by ISC Kosmotras, a Russian and Ukrainian commercial space transportation service company. A second Genesis would fly later, perhaps in late 2006.

After a series of tests with Genesis, the company will launch Guardian, a 45-percent scale module. The larger test module will have life support and power generation equipment, and be more of a complete space station "free flyer." Again two of these modules are to fly. These tests are, guardedly, planned for 2007 to 2008. A total of four flights are planned.

Obviously, a commercial outlook is involved. The plan is for four modules to be flown to check out the concept, twice, and the major equipment systems, twice. No single point of failure is involved. Brilliant. Contrast that approach to things like NASA's Mars Observer.

"All four of these flights will culminate in the deployment of the first full-scale BA 330 prototype," Mr. Gold says. Presumably BA stands for Bigelow Aerospace, and 330 is some model number in their development series. In related news, Mr. Gold reports that Bigelow Aerospace has built their command and control center facilities which are to be used in operating and testing the orbital modules.

Perhaps the most telling comment, "Keep employment levels low, but keep freedom and innovation high."

Bigelow has organized a $50 million prize competition to find a space transportation vendor capable of putting people in orbit and docking their spaceship to the Bigelow orbiting module, before 10 January 2010. Some thirty different entities have contacted Bigelow with interest in entering the contest. All this activity, says Mr. Gold, "without a dime of government money."

NASA delenda est.

SpaceDev closed at $1.50 on Tuesday 13 September 2005. It is exactly where it was when we first suggested it. In mid-August, SpaceDev reported net income for 2nd Quarter 2005. The company has seen ten successive quarters of increasing revenues, seven quarters of increasing earnings before taxes, interest, etc., and two consecutive quarters of net income. It also maintained a positive cash flow. So, naturally, its stock price was slaughtered in late August and early September. Heh.

Jim Benson is the first of the multi-millionaire computer entrepreneurs to enter the commercial space business. He first came to our attention last century when he proposed an innovative mission to not only investigate a near Earth asteroid, but land his Near Earth Asteroid Prospector on it and claim its resources. Last year, his company provided the propulsion system used to rocket Spaceship One into suborbital space. His company is admittedly expanding its customer base by providing propulsion systems under subcontract to a NASA contractor and with an Air Force contract to develop their SpaceDev Streaker propulsion systems. Given the high level of integrity found among investors in commercial space businesses, some of the loss of share price may be due to sales by individuals who don't want to be invested in defense contractors.

It gives us great pleasure to note that Delta Airlines and Northwest Airlines both seem to be closer to bankruptcy. Apparently, people don't have as much demand for high cost airplane trips with members of oligopolistic cartel in restraint of trade. Meanwhile fuel costs are way up. Since these vermin are responsible for the wand raping that takes place at every airport before every flight, we can think of no fitter subjects for bankruptcy proceedings. Shorting their stocks may be a clever investment strategy.

Launch Technology

New Mexico is making a bid for a commercial spaceport. The state government is to break ground later this year on construction. On 27 March 2006, the first of a series of commercial suborbital space flights is expected. UP Aerospace of Unionville, Connecticut is to launch its 21-foot, 750-pound, two-stage rocket with experimental and commercial payloads.

One experiment is sponsored by a university. Its purpose is to test a system which may be used to control the future reentry of older satellites. The UP Aerospace rocket is expected to reach an altitude of 350,000 feet (66 miles). Two separate parts are to parachute back to the ground. Portions of the rocket system are reusable, one reason for the $25,000 price tag for launches that NASA typically charges taxpayers around a million dollars to perform.

UP Aerospace plans to launch three times in 2006, twelve times in 2007, and thirty times in 2008. The company has previously launched in 2004 from the Nevada desert.

It isn't all good news. The New Mexico state government is flogging the peasants for $100,000 for a weather station, and more to pour a concrete pad for launches and set up temporary buildings. Corruptly allocated construction contracts to improve roads to the spaceport should be anticipated, costing taxpayers several hundred thousand more. After all this taxpayer largesse, the sweetheart deal sees UP Aerospace charged $1,000 per launch. But, the state gets flight data from UP Aerospace that the state hopes to use to obtain a license for the space port from the evil vicious thugs at the Federal Aviation Administration. Yes, apparently state sovereignty is a thing of the past.

NASA delenda est.

New Country Developments

The best country in the world for paying taxes is the Maldives, according to a ranking by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation. The worst performer in this category is Belarus. For the Maldives, an island chain due South of India, entrepreneurs are expected to make one payment, spend about 0 hours dealing with the paperwork, and pay a total tax of about 5.5% of gross profit.

By way of comparison, Belarus expects entrepreneurs to make 113 different payments per year, spend 1,188 hours dealing with tax papers, and pay 121.8% of gross profit in taxes, a rather bizarre expectation. Presumably, this former Soviet bloc nation has enough corruption to make many of these problems go away (and enough problems to make corruption inevitable). One also expects a substantial free market underground that simply ignores most of these expectations.

In other metrics, New Zealand comes up best in registering property and protecting investors, as well as best overall. Nigeria is worst for registering property. Afghanistan has the worst protection for investors. The Democratic Republic of Congo (which has enormous mineral resources) is the worst overall performer for doing business across categories.

Palau makes it easiest to deal with licenses and easiest for hiring and firing. Tanzania is worst for licenses (something Jim Sinclair has evidently navigated for Tan Range) and Burkina Faso is worst about hiring and firing. Canada makes it easiest to start a business, Angola hardest. The UK is tops for getting credit, Cambodia worst. Denmark makes it easiest to trade across borders, Iraq worst (and militarily occupied by the USA; shades of things to come?). Norway does the best job enforcing contracts, Timor-Leste does worst. Japan makes it easy to close a business, whereas the West Bank and Gaza make this difficult.

Well, of course, there are far more than 155 countries, even ones recognized by the UN. And of the 198 UN recognized countries, some are like Somalia which doesn't have a unified national government, but is composed of about 14 regions. We'll be looking at some of the places that aren't recognized in an upcoming issue.

Sweden ranks 95th of 155 in protecting investors, 38th in paying taxes, and 86th on hiring and firing - no surprises here. Even so it comes up 14th overall, second in trade across borders doing a lot to haul up its average.

We're not enthusiastic about most of these ranking systems. But, the big shocker was to find Puerto Rico listed 22nd, when all along we thought it was a territory of the USA?

The top twenty overall performers in ease of doing business were: New Zealand, Singapore, the USA, Canada, Norway, Australia, Hong Kong, Denmark, United Kingdom, Japan, Ireland, Iceland, Finland, Sweden, Lithuania, Estonia, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany, and Thailand. The bottom of the barrel were Cote d'Ivoire, Mali, Lao PDR, Congo Republic, Togo, Niger, Sudan, Chad, Central African Republic, Burkina Faso, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Could there be bias in this report? Well, of the top twenty countries three are distinctly Asian (Singapore, Hong Kong, and Thailand) and two of these are former British colonies. English is spoken as a primary language in eight of these top twenty countries. European ethnic populations dominate sixteen out of twenty. Of the eleven worst countries, ten are in Africa. Counting up from the bottom no European country is reached until the 32nd worst, Ukraine. In other words, one would suspect the survey's authors to have a distinctly Western European bias. At the same time, it must be admitted that a great many African countries are extremely poor and hard places in which to do business.

Longevity

Will Block was at this year's Eris Society conference. We met him at the 2002 Eris conference, and visited with him in May 2004 at FreedomFest. Will works with Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw at Life Enhancement Products, Inc., a nutrition and research group which markets a wide variety of supplements and nutrients. Will is the publisher and editorial director of their in-house magazine.

Will's interests incude life extension, life enhancement, and the cognitive enhancement aspects of nutritional science. He is the author of The 5-HTP Archives and Tools for Privacy a book about public-key encryption. He speaks about futurology, nootropics, nanotechnology, and freedom. What's more, he's a pretty fun guy to be around.

So, naturally, I was impressed when he responded to my question about Longevinex which I had directed toward the speaker Aubrey de Grey. My question to Aubrey had been whether proteolytic enzymes in Wobenzym and resveratrol in Longevinex might be beneficial to a program of life extension. Aubrey seemed to think no on one, yes on two.

Aubrey's particular answer, that the proteolytic enzymes would be broken down in digestion and therefore not serve any useful function does not seem to be consistent with the literature we've seen supporting the efficacy of Wobenzym at reducing the presence of unwanted proteins, especially those associated with cancers. Perhaps the functionality of these supplements has not been widely published. Aubrey also commented that resveratrol was certainly a good thing, potentially the key mechanism in caloric restriction diets as a path toward some life extension, but he questioned whether caloric restriction itself would add significantly to lifespan.

Will's comment, in the hallway after the session, was that Longevinex pills don't produce the sort of results in getting resveratrol into the bloodstream that his company's sublingual reseveratrol product does. Sublingual means that rather than ingesting the compound in a specially prepared capsule that dissolves in the digestive tract, the product is given in liquid form and absorbed into the soft tissues under the tongue, or in the cheek pouch. So, I asked Will to provide some information in support of this surprising contention. Having previously recommended Longevinex, and having read Bill Sardi's extensive literature on the subject of Longevinex's efficacy, I remain convinced that the product does deliver resveratrol to body cells in an effective way. Will referred me to the Life Enhancement literature available on the back literature table.

So, I picked up the May, June, and August 2005 Life Enhancement magazines and the Fall/Winter 2004 catalog from the company, and found nary an article on the subject of resveratrol. Curiously, the company's "ProsShield™" capsules contain resveratrol, as do the capsules of "BioEnhance with DNAble™". So, something of a contradiction there, which I hope Will may resolve soon.

Meanwhile, in the May 2005 issue of his magazine, Will writes very cogently about CoQ10. He points out that it helps power your heart and may also help brain, muscles, and gum tissues. CoQ10 is a vital anti-oxidant which is vital in reducing or even reversing free radical damage in a host of bodily organs. "Such damage is strongly implicated in many of the chronic disorders of aging, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease," writes Will. He notes that CoQ10 has been prescribed by physicians in Europe and Japan for patients with cardiovascular disease, "especially congestive heart failure."

You would do well to visit the company's web site or call them for their catalog and magazine (1-800-543-3873). While they are clearly marketing their own lines of nutrients, Will, Durk, Sandy, and the other writers for the magazine have a wealth of knowledge and are very adept at communicating it to you. (No, we never accept any fees from companies which we suggest to you. Any investment, product or service mentioned here is one we sincerely suggest you try and evaluate on its merits as you see them.)

Motley Fool had an interesting article reprinted at biz.yahoo on nanotechnology. Accelrys is a NASDAQ listed stock which has formed a nanotechnology consortium to develop software tools appropriate to nano-scale engineering. Jack Uldrich, the article's author calls the stock a "pick and shovel" play, reminiscent of the companies that made reliable profits selling tools and supplies to miners in the gold rush eras (miners whose wealth was much less predictable). Two of the consortium's members are Millennium Chemical, a subsidary of Lyondell and PPG Industries.

Lyondell hasn't been doing well overall, but their subsidiary Millennium Chemical has an interesting new product called EcoPaint. This paint uses custom-made nanoparticles of, e.g., titanium dioxide, to soak up and bond with nitrogen oxide gases produced by car exhaust and manufacturing. Titanium dioxide may be used to make a self-cleaning glass that reacts with sunlight to make a chemical reaction that breaks down dirt. A potential application, if this nanotechnology is developed successfully, would be for owners of skyscrapers and office towers to reduce their window cleaning labor costs. Those costs can be substantial, along with insurance to cover the hazards to the workers involved.

Mr. Ulrich also reports from an Accelrys press release the development of ONETEP, a software application recently released. I gather it is an application to model the complex behavior of nanoscale materials. Mr. Ulrich notes that Accelrys has a market capitalization of $140 million.

Legislatura delenda est.

Accelrys was $6.61 in afternoon trading on Wednesday 14 September 2005. We are suggesting this stock.

Integrated Pharmaceuticals closed Friday 9 September at $0.65. We are discontinuing our tracking of this stock.

Dendreon which we began to follow at the ides of June is up to $6.5399 Wednesday 14 September. It is up $1.22 since we first suggested it.

Elan Corp, PLC, was down a few cents on Friday and down further since, to $8.40 on Wednesday. It has risen $1.17 since we began following it. The reduction in gain seems to be owing to reports that their drug Tysabri may be linked to other side effects.


Publication Note: Still running behind schedule.

On another front, we were asked by several subscribers to offer a forum for discussion. There are so many discussion lists - we're subscribed to over 100 Yahoo Groups alone - that we thought it might work to invite you to an existing group we happen to own. That group is the Ama-gi group on Yahoo. You may wish to click the link or subscribe by sending mail to ama-gi-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. All subscriptions require approval, and members may hide their e-mail addresses. Further information on the group's properties and settings is available on the web site, along with an archive of messages going back to September 2000. Messages do not require approval, all members may post messages once they subscribe to the group, e-mail attachments are not permitted. You are welcome to discuss any Indomitus Report essays, articles, company suggestions, thoughts, ideas, or derogatory remarks in the Ama-gi forum. (Spamming the list or deeply offending the moderator may result in changes to your subscription, to moderated-only, or in particularly egregious cases to unsubscribed.)

Gratuitous example of bizarre legislation: The USA Senate unanimously approved a law restricting access to cold medicine. Yes, apparently the use of pseudo-ephedrin in manufacturing of methamphetamine for recreational use is such a hazard to mankind that you should be forced to beg for cold medicine. If you need more than 7.5 grams per month of this useful drug, too bad, the Senate hates you. Every single senator followed the lead of that horrid witch Dianne Feinstein and that ominous ogre Jim Talent, so don't vote for any of them. Neil Smith's latest editorial suggests never voting for any incumbent until the war on drugs and the military occupation of New Orleans are ended.


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