August 22, 2012
- From the government that brought you preventive war comes preventive custody…
- How a gold dealer’s Facebook posts have bought him (at least) 30 days in a psych ward: Jeffrey Tucker on why despite the chilling news you don’t want to maintain a low digital profile
- Iran rumors drive oil up $10 this month: How a different geopolitical crisis looming beneath the surface could steal the headlines soon
- Waiting on the Fed (again)… Do-it-yourself pistols… A new bubble in the making (thanks to a government mandate, natch)… and more!
“They were concerned about me calling for the arrest of government officials,” the 26-year-old Marine veteran told the Richmond, Va., Times-Dispatch.
Last Thursday, Raub was paid a visit by Chesterfield County police, the FBI and the Secret Service. They wanted to talk to him about things he’d posted on Facebook.
“The posts I read that supposedly were of concern were libertarian-type posts I see all the time,” said John Whitehead, executive director of Virginia-based civil liberties group The Rutherford Institute. “I see worse stuff.”
The uniforms and suits say Raub was neither detained nor charged with a crime. He was, however, handcuffed and whisked away to the friendly local mental ward. That’s all.
And oh, yeah…the Chesterfield PD weren’t involved, as the investigation “was an FBI matter” and they “were just there to assist them.”
However, the FBI had no comment because they had “nothing to do” with his detention and placement in the mental institution.
Secret Service, got anything?
Raub served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2005-2011 as a combat engineer sergeant, does not own a gun and returned to the States about a year ago. His mother says he does not have PTSD or violent tendencies…
To the authorities, he must sound so unsuspicious that he might very well be very suspicious. Clever.
What makes this story even more compelling — and more relevant to you than you might think — is that Raub’s LinkedIn profile says he owns a small bullion business.
Compelling because we’ve been noticing more and more anti-bullion sentiment regurgitated by the mainstream…
Nancy Grace — whose career of prosecutorial misconduct has been richly rewarded with a second career as a legal pundit — has turned her steely gaze onto bullion buyers.
See, because a guy in Texas is accused of paying a hit man in silver bars to kill the new boyfriend of his ex-girlfriend… people who buy bullion are… well, the prosecution has the floor…
“Who else is going to do such a zany thing as have bullion sitting in their house?… A lonely, rich white guys… a lonely, rich white guy without a family and kids running around to divert his attention, without a girlfriend there going, ‘Get off the Internet and stop watching cable TV.'”
What’s the saying? Gold doesn’t kill, people do? Something like that.
No matter. Ms. Grace hasn’t seen fit to weigh in on Mr. Raub’s situation, but we imagine if she did, she’d say he should be held for another 30 days without charge and moved to a different mental hospital three hours from his home and his lawyer.
Which, in fact, is what a judge ordered. Shades of dissidents in Stalinist Russia pronounced insane and disappeared…
We don’t bring up Mr. Raub’s case to make you feel paranoid. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“I completely disagree,” wrote Jeffrey Tucker via email recently, “with people who say that the answer to protecting privacy is to go into hiding, not use credit cards, stay off social media and don’t create a digital profile.
“All these approaches have exactly the opposite effect: They let your captors, rather than you, define who you are. You make yourself more vulnerable, not less. The best approach is to get out there and define who you are in a way that you decide. You can actually outwit your captors by being a public person (of your own choosing), rather than by cowering in a corner with a blanket over your head.
“To be clear, it does require a certain level of deliberation to know what should be public and what should be private. Part of the reason for the Club is precisely to permit frank discussion in a secure environment. Not everything needs to be public, but we can gain the benefit of public networks without compromising our privacy rights.”
The “Club” in question is the Laissez Faire Club. We’ve spoken of it here before. It’s more than a book club, although it certainly is that — delivering a new e-book to your inbox every Friday. It’s also a virtual gathering place where like-minded souls can candidly exchange ideas.
The Club is ridiculously affordable, but for the next three days, we’re literally giving it away.
That’s right… we’re offering a free 30-day trial to readers of Whiskey & Gunpowder, to mark Whiskey’s merger with Laissez Faire Today… and to celebrate the release of Jeffrey’s book A Beautiful Anarchy. That was last Friday’s release, and every couple of pages you’ll encounter a new thought-provoking insight of the sort he shared in that email above. You’ll be able to read the book right away if you like… along with 20 other titles we’ve already released.
This is an unprecedented offer. We may never extend it again. And it expires Friday at midnight.
The preferred metal of “rich white guys” with “no life” is holding onto yesterday’s gains. Gold sits at $1,639.
Silver, the preferred payment method of murder-for-hire suspects everywhere, is having a very good week, indeed: At last check, it’s up to $29.51.
Stocks are stalling as traders await the release of the latest Fed minutes this afternoon.
The S&P couldn’t crest the April 2 high of 1,419 by day’s end yesterday, and it’s retreating further today. If there aren’t sufficient noises about QE3 buried in the minutes of the Fed’s July 31-Aug. 1 meeting, the sell-off might well accelerate.
Oil has broken through $97 this morning — $97.07, to be precise.
The government’s weekly report on crude inventories showed a sharp drop, carrying on a trend in place since mid-June.
West Texas Intermediate has jumped nearly $10 this month, driven in part by rumors that Israel might launch an attack on Iran before the U.S. elections in November.
While all eyes are on the Middle East, the next major hot spot driving oil upward could come as a complete surprise to the mainstream. To wit…
One of Washington’s most-reliable strongmen in a dangerous part of the world died yesterday… and there’s no obvious successor.
Meles Zenawi ruled Ethiopia since 1991. He oversaw Africa’s largest and best-equipped army — situated near one of the world’s key shipping “chokepoints.” It’s called Bab-el-Mandeb, or the “Gate of Tears,” lying at the southern end of the Red Sea, with the Suez Canal on the north.
“Ethiopia is not so much a nation as a prison house of nations. The people of the Ogaden, Oromia, Gambella and Afar, some two thirds of Ethiopia’s 80 million people, are demanding the right to self-determination, de facto independence. Once this happens, and matters have gone too far to prevent such, there will no longer be an Ethiopia and no longer an Ethiopian army to do the bidding of the USA…
“So no matter how many drones it may have, the USA may find itself having to put thousands of American boots on the ground in the Horn of Africa alongside a permanent naval fleet.”
As the gun laws begin to tighten, the “freedom fries” of weaponry is in the works…
You might remember our brief mention in late July on the man who 3-D printed an AR-15 (well, the receiver, anyway) on his desk…
It was none other than Jeffrey Tucker who brought 3-D printing to our attention: “This technology, has moved with incredible speed from the realm of science fiction to the real world, seemingly in a matter of months.
“You can get such printers today for as low as $400,” Jeffrey said. “These printers allow objects to be transported digitally and literally printed into existence right before your very eyes.”
As DIY 3-D printing begins to take off, as does the search for a loophole in gun laws…
With 3-D printing and the U.S. Army as inspiration, a small group of students might’ve accomplished that task…and created the first fully functional downloadable gun.
A little history: During the summer of 1942, General Motors mass-produced a small one-shot pistol called the FP-45 Liberator for the U.S. military.
The Army’s plan was to drop these small guns on enemy land in hopes that civilians would quickly pick them up and shoot German soldiers.
The United States never went through with it, but now the idea inspired the libertarian student partnership named Defense Distributed to modernize that concept for all citizens of the world.
Their goal? To create a disposable ABS plastic .22 handgun called the Wiki Weapon. It can be created by anyone who can download a file and has access to a 3-D printer.
While many are forecasting 3-D printing just as accessible as ATMs, anyone could print out their very own Liberator in mere minutes.
“Looks like we have another bubble,” a reader advises us… and this one might well play out before the bubble Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin are warning about.
“Coupling government ethanol mandates with crop subsidies is creating moral hazard,” the reader goes on. “As you know, 156 reps, 30 senators and five governors have asked the EPA and the administration to immediately suspend or do away with the Renewable Fuel Standard involving corn ethanol. See attached.
“Right now, with no adjustment for the drought, 40% of all corn goes into the gas tanks, 36% goes as feed to livestock and 24% for human consumption. The U.S. is the biggest supplier of corn to feed the world. With 96 million acres planted in corn, that equates to 38 million acres dedicated to just ethanol.
“And each year, the RFS steps up in the legislative demand. From almost nothing in 2005, blenders are required to make 13.2 billion gallons using corn ethanol. Next year, the number goes to 13.8 billion gallons until it maxes out at 15 billion gallons.
“If one were to plot the rise of commodities year by year by crop, one would see how corn ethanol policy has distorted the ag market, driving up land values artificially. In many cases, land values have doubled since 2005, when this policy was adopted as a compromised replacement for the MTBE additive under the Energy Policy Act of 2005. The numbers then got adjusted upward in the 2007 energy bill.
“As the saying goes….all bubbles start with a trend and misconception. Just as people thought houses could never decline in value, ag folks are talking about rises in land value as far as the eye can see due to China. The reality is U.S. government policy is the key driver of corn. And because the government-legislated demand is great, lands go out of cotton or soybeans to chase corn, causing further supply constraints in other commodities. The increased yield does not cover the gap, causing all commodities to rise in a low interest rate environment.
“As the reinsurer of last resort and the driver of the legislated demand, the government seems to be creating this mess. Would be interested in your take.”
The 5: Hmmm… the Chicago Fed’s index of Midwestern farmland values has grown nearly fourfold since 1997. It proved impervious to the Panic of 2008, and has gone almost vertical since 2009.
We’ll ponder it some more, but you might be onto something…
The 5 Min. Forecast
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