On Our Way To Freedom Fest

Fox and friends?Just wondering?

Recently, whilst reading "Reinventing Collapse" I ran across something that resonated.

I'd love to have a more positive perspective, but there are a lot of powerful people who have horses in this race.

I'd love to have a more positive perspective,
This old trooper is going down fighting Les. From Adam's piece
no handicap is more powerful than the spirit to make a difference.
The way that I see it is that the monkey has got hold of the peanut and he is not going to let go. The peanut in this case is our Physics Model of Realty. Physicist themselves will tell you that they don't have a sound grasp of the nature of reality. Lesser minds question nothing. To them it is back to 1908 and Lord Kelvin.
"There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now, All that remains is more and more precise measurement."
But he redeems himself with this beauty.
"When you are face to face with a difficulty, you are up against a discovery."

If Chris can get across even the first glimmer of "hey, oil resources might not be infinite" and it really sticks, I don't care if these guys watch FOX news 24/7.  A whole lot of changes in thinking flow from realizing that resources aren't infinite, and that we're on the wrong side of the discoveries/production ratio slope and all that implies.
Conservatives are actually well set up to believe stuff like this.  After all, money to fund government programs isn't infinite; "at some point you run out of other people's money."  Same thing here.  Concept is, there are limits, we have to have adult conversations about the limits, and all they really need to do is just add in another set of constraints.

It is really interesting looking at the list of speakers and topics and thinking, "yeah, I remember when I believed in that stuff."

Somehow things got a lot more complicated between then and now.

The morning is opening with a bull/bear debate between Peter Schiff/Bert Dohmen (the Bears) and Keith Fitz-Gerald/Alexander Green (the Bulls):
Q1: Despite the Fed raising rates, the oil price collapse, Brexit, "sell in May and go away" – what happened to the market correction that the bears are predicting?

  • BD: Wall Street's agenda is for the Dow and S&P to make new highs. That has now happened. It's important to note that there are plenty of stocks and stock indices that are not at highs. Especially when you look at foreign indices. The world, for sure, is not in a bull market.
  • AG: There are a lot of positives to focus on: low inflation, rock-bottom interest rates, ultra-cheap energy. 
  • PS: Dow and S&P are at same height they were at 2 years ago. Had the Fed not promised to save the markets with no more rate hikes -- maybe even going to negative rates -- the markets would have continued the plummet seen at the beginning of the year. The real returns are in foreign markets -- in commodities, etc. His fund is seeing huge returns in commodity plays in other markets in non-US currencies.
  • KF: The bears have a lot of data that frightens -- if you listen to them, you'll never invest. Yes, the Fed is meddling right now and there will be a day of reckoning; but odds are its not in our immediate future -- there's money to be made now.
  • PS: There are 2 types of bear markets: one is a cyclical downturn; one is a collapse. The Fed is doing everything it can to fools us: stocks are not going down right now, but that is masking the rot.
  • KF: big question to ask yourself: do you want to participate in global growth and innovation? Or do you want to bury your head in the sand? (and miss out, presumably)
Q2: How many of you were shocked to see the Dow hit an all-time high this morning?
  • MS: Is shocked himself, even though he's 100% invested in the markets currently.
  • AG: surprising that we're at the high so soon after the Brexit swoon. By the way, bull markets climb a wall of worry.
Q3: Would all of you agree that gold is in a bull market, and it's time to get back in that pool? And do you have a good mining company for investors to consider?
  • PS: The high for the stock market on a real basis was 16 years ago (measuing Dow price vs gold price). Sees the Dow going to 1oz of gold. Sees gold in a bull market since 2000. It corrected in 2011 because everyone believed the Fed's rescue policies were going to work. Now folks are waking up that the Fed is going to print to infinity and the next big leg of the gold bull market (bigger than the previous up leg) is starting now. Gold stocks were hugely undervalued at beginning of year, recommends buying someone else's mining index (pushing his firm's gold fund)
  • AG: Thinks Peter is in fantasy land; comparing $800/oz gold in 1980 to $1,300/oz now. PS claims he's cherry-picking his data (run the numbers from 1970 says Schiff)
  • BD: Agrees that gold is in new big uptrend. This gives us a tremendous opportunity.
  • PS: Gold is true money (all other currencies backed by nothing). Skousen admits he's a long-term gold bull.
Q4: What's your favorite investment for the coming year?
  • AG: Ask yourself: What is undeniably cheap and underperforming? Look to emerging markets. Marketing across 3/4 of the world's landmass is on sale. They want a modern lifestyle and will be buying .Buy an ETF like EEN.
  • KF: Stick with the unstoppable trends in areas that the government can't screw up. American Water Works - controls a huge amount of water and infrastructure, with nice dividends.
  • BD: Doesn't like one-year forecasts. Get an ETF of the gold mining stocks, like GDX -- will perform better than the underlying metals.
  • PS: Emerging markets have been so hated of late. Recommends EuroPacific's emerging markets fund -- these will do better as the funds flowing into the US for "safe haven" reverse.
By applause, the audience voted that the Bulls won the debate.

Thank you for the reporting Adam.  There is always a Bull market somewhere… The S&P and Dow may be still moving up… but not as much as metals. 
FFMGF (First mining finance) up 14% on the day right now.  On a day when the metals are getting smashed a bit.  BRIZF up 4% on the day.  Risk vs. reward.  Dow/S&P vs. metals… is this a hard decision?  

Darrell MacMullin  is the speaker. Life focus is how to use to technology platforms to disrupt.

  • Most people don't really understand what money is: It's stored labor.
  • Despite lots of innovation since going off the gold standard, our currency sits atop the "Federal Reserve stack"
  • It seems like the BitGold guys are now embracing the GoldMoney brand (BitGold bought GM) as the main brand for the combined company.
  • Valued against the world's fiat currencies, gold outperforms all on nearly any time scale.
  • There's more value in physical gold in the world than there is in physical cash/banknotes.
  • Technology is now empowering people more than ever before in society
  • GoldMoney (aka BitGold) mission: making gold easily accessible as the best way to save & spend your money. You can "peg your life" to the gold standard.
  • Partnered with Brinks and MasterCard to create a real-time settlement platform. You have a bank account, held in gold, and transact from it to buy things in the real world. Also making it possible to earn your income in gold (help employers pay their workers in gold)
  • More to come later at FF

On your entry for the bull/bear debate you identified both sides as bulls.  I guess the question should be bulls or bears in which markets?

I took it as a typo…

You have a bank account, held in gold, and transact from it to buy things in the real world.
For now.. I like to have my Gold exposure outside the banking system, thank you.  Once we are through whatever the next crisis is.. then maybe we can reassess counterparty risk.  

PHYS for brokerage Gold

BullionStar Singapore for physically held.  

Both outside the banking system, both accessible to any size investor.  

Richard Fink speaking now.

  • The people fighting for freedom are from the left and the right -- inclusiveness needs to be a key pillar of the freedom movement
  • Just showed a heat map of the "freedom network" in the US (education & research, think tanks, citizen activists, decision makers, and philanthropists. There is a countering "opposition network" too, but Fink's key point is that no matter what happens in the Nov election, there is a growing grassroots freedom network in play to be engaged with.
  • Fink highlights Friedrick Hayek's focus on facilitating the production of intermediate goods and then finished goods (from raw goods) is what created the boom of the industrial revolution. Fink thinks doing the same with social thought (helping free-market policies evolve) will unleash a similar boom.
  • So what are the key infrastructure components of a successful social movement?: data, investment, talent, management, communication and competitive analysis
  • Big need: to engage others outside the echo chamber. How to we engage the masses in the movement?
  • The political system can't drive this change -- it's role is to protect the rights of the public to pursue such a movement
  1. https://www.bitgold.com

Yes, Schiff/Dohmen were the Bears. Typo fixed.

Sorry for the flub – typing very fast here to capture the content…




Panel of Bill Bonner, John Allison, Jennifer Grossman & John Mackey.
Q1: Panel reaction to controversial statements from Bill Bonner in his new book

  • JM: doesn't take a salary from Whole Foods. He is a large shareholder -- that appropriate aligns his incentives with the future health of the company
  • JG: Important for companies to get involved with employee health (physical and mental). The company bears the costs of sick employees, and if it doesn't fill that need, it creates an opening for the government to get involved and make everything more costly/less efficient for everyone
  • BB A business has a purpose; you have to focus on that purpose above all else. Need to look outward to better serve their customers. When they turn inward, they focus on serving their own needs and the company's performance suffers.
  • JM: Rejects BB's Dickensian view of how to treat workers. High morale = high productivity.
Q2: Role of charity
  • JM: Social entrepreneurship to solve problems is essential to the success of our society, otherwise government will get involved and make it worse for everyone (Whole Foods gives away 10% of profits each year). Sees business as having a responsibility to do so.
  • JA: Aligned with JM. Production must come first, though, before charity. It's what makes charity possible. Should not put charity first, else you give away the seeds of prosperity for the future.
  • JG: Current tax code adds friction to charitable giving.
  • BB: Big fan of private charity. When you give help/money, you have to take responsibility for the results. His views and opposition to government/institutional charity are are shaped by his time living in the ghettos of Baltimore -- seeing how government welfare ruined lives and created dependence in those whom received it.
  • JM: 51% of millennials think socialism is better than capitalism. We are doing a poor job of marketing capitalism. We're in danger of our society embracing misguided values.
  • JM just threw down a challenge to BB to debate him on stage at next year's FF
  • JM: the purpose of business is not to make money. It's the greatest value creator in the world. Money is a by-product of value creation. Capitalism is all about value. That's the story we need to tell.
Q3: Role of humility


  • JA: need to have an objective view of your strengths and weaknesses (a nice commercial for the exercises in my book Finding Your Way To Your Authentic Career)
  • BB: A good business leader needs to be humble to the market. The market will instruct you on your priorities if you listen to it. 

Just parachuted in to Judge Andrew Napolitano's keynote (20 min late):

  • The Stamp Act was largely a demonstration of the King's authority to barge into our lives whenever he wanted to. Tax collectors could knock on your door and enter you house at any time to search it to make sure the documents inside carried the required stamps. Research has shown that this program cost more than the taxes it collected. Why do it then? To make a point with the populace that they King's authority was absolute.
  • The backlash against this laid the roots for the 4th Amendment ("the right to be left alone")
  • When the French Revolution happened, the fledgling US government out of fear passed an act constraining French immigrants from coming into the country. BUT, along with this, was legislation (the Alien & Sedition Act) that forbade seditious speech against the government. How could the founding fathers pass such law so soon after obtaining the liberties (like free speech) they fought so hard for?
  • A Congressman, Matthew Lyons, who disagreed with this law was imprisoned for speaking out against it (and President Adams' waistline)
  • Jefferson repealed the Act when he became president. Lyons ran for re-election from his prison cell and wins.
  • During the War of 1812, the US captured 4 British troops. The leading US officer went to the local British encampment occupying a city and makes a deal: I'll give you back your troops, leave the town alone. The Brits accept, the town is spared, the war soon ends and the Brits go home. Later on, the US officer is arrested for treason (giving comfort to the enemy during wartime). He was tried and a jury of his peers overrode the government charge. This was the first example of a jury of the public overturning the government in a court of law.
  • Napolitano's point is that since these early days, the government has intruded much further into our liberties than the Constitution ever intended.
  • There is a lust to dominate that is inherent in government.
  • The Patriot Act, he says, is the worst abuse of freedom in the past 200 years. Among many other issues he has with it, it allows govt agents to create their own search warrants.
  • He's holding his phone, saying he wants to be on the record -- that the government is listening (to all of us) over our cell phones. He stresses that the govt can record even if the phone looks like it's off.
  • Safety is always the excuse for curtailing freedom/liberty. The govt argues that the majority can take away your liberty if it replaces it with safety. Napolitano asks: how you can take something away from me that you claim is an inherent right? It shouldn't be subject to the rule of the majority; it's mine.
  • Napolitano rejects that we have to try to strike a balance between safety and liberty. In his opinion, liberty is essential. Safety is meaningless without it.
  • For Napolitano, it seems his POV is that inherent natural rights (like freedom of speech, privacy, etc) are ours to decide how to express them. The govt has no jurisdiction over inherent natural rights. His main beef is that the govt has been mucking with them, in violation of the Constitution, for a long time.
  • Clearly, he says, the government's surveillance/gun restrictions/etc are not protecting us from harm -- citing the recent public shootings. He quotes Jefferson: "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery"
  • The individuals whom we've entrusted our liberties to are not taking care of them. We must be vigilant over these overseers. There is a danger of living under more oppression going forward. We must we willing to do what is needed should the time arrive for us to stand against such oppression.
Standing ovation...

Was he just referring to TPTB here?

Now at the Peter Schiff breakout session:

  • The Dow hasn't changed much vs its high 2 years ago
  • Sees the main dynamic in play right now is growing skepticism that the Fed's plan is going to work. While there was a lot of faith a few years ago, especially as stocks and housing prices strongly recovered. PS warned this was merely a "victory dance"; that the hard part will come when the stimulus ends.
  • Due to the exuberance, gold sold off, stocks continued higher. And the Fed jawboned that it was going to get serious about raising rates and ending the party. When the Fed made the tiny rate hike from 0% to 0.25%, the stock market had a violent sell-off (exactly what PS claims he said would happen)
  • The Fed doesn't want to raise rates because it can't without crushing the market/economy.
  • So the Fed backed off, and keeps delaying making the decision to raise again. Brexit pushed things back even farther. In fact, the market believes the Fed is more likely to cut rates next than raise.
  • PS has been predicting this, because the Fed is backed into a corner. For years, talking about raising rates was the Fed's "tightening".
  • PS now sees another wave of Fed easing.
  • Now, when we eased too much under Greenspan, it led to the housing bubble, the popping of which gave us the absolutely vicious 2008 crisis. Now, Bernanke and Yellen have dwarfed the easing that Greenspan did. How tremendous a crisis awaits us when that collapses?
  • PS notes that even Greenspan is a critic of Fed policy and a fan of gold.
  • PS claims the next recession is already here. The reckoning is already underway; the stock market is just not signalling it yet. Negative rates and helicopter money are being seriously pursued now -- these used to be jokes/absurdities. We are at the end of the line monetarily.
  • Our leaders are doubling down on policies that have clearly failed.
  • Interest rates are the most important pricing mechanism in a free market. They should not be manipulated by the government -- distortions result if they are. That's where we are now -- a freakishly and dangerously out of whack system.
  • What's about to happen then?
  • The vast majority of statistics are indicative of recession vs growth. And many of these are manipulated to look as good as possible (unemployment rate, as an example)
  • Malinvestment and malincentives abound (PS is channeling my recent posts on mass layoffs and automation)
  • PS predicts the Fed will cut to 0%, and will conduct a round of QE4. As the economy weakens, politicians who feel the need to "do something" will vote to ease more.
  • PS predicts the dollar will weaken as a result, commodity prices will rise, and price inflation will really get going (after an initial lag). Initially, the government will cheer this as a good thing -- finally we're hitting our inflation targets! (Schiff lambasts the idea of celebrating any kind of inflation).
  • But as the inflation rate ticks up further (even though it will be underreported by the govt), PS doesn't see any way they can contain it. They can't raise rates -- they US govt can't pay the interest on its debts at higher rates. On top of that, the bond/stock/housing markets will crash. Same with the big banks.
  • So don't expect the Fed to fight inflation EVER. Instead, it's going to rationalize not taking any action at all.
  • This will really get the decline of the dollar accelerating, and inflation moving even higher. This is the horrible trap the Fed is in: kill the economy by raising rates or allow hyperinflation?
  • This is why gold jumped so high so quickly this year, and why the dollar index rise has flattened out. Folks are beginning to wake up to the possible endgame.
  • All of the problems that led to 2008 are MUCH much worse today. The next crisis will be different than 2008 -- it's going to be a currency crisis. It's one the govt can bail us out from: in 2008, the world wanted Treasury bonds, which we used to paper over our problems. What will happen when folks don't want Treasurys?
  • We can default or print money. We should default, get it over with, and move on more intelligently. Instead we're going to print more.
  • "As long as no one realizes you're broke, as long as you can issue debt at low interest rates, you're fine. You're not the minute your creditors realize you're insolvent."
  • People have been buying the US dollar as a save haven. Someday, they're going to realize it's not one. That when the true safe havens will explode higher.
  • The Fed has been pretending it's going to shrink its $4 trillion balance sheet. It never is. It's much more likely to grow.
  • The Fed sucks prosperity from Main Street when it monetizes debt the way it has been. That's why local economies are hurting so badly.
  • We've hollowed out our manufacturing base and de-skilled as a nation. The rest of the world is better positioned to produce than the US. PS predicts a lot of opportunity overseas -- largely in emerging markets.
Off to the PP book signing...

Arrived 10 mins late…
James Taylor

  • Just got his closing comments
  • Global warming scientists cherry pick their data -- should be looking at temperatures for the past thousands of year vs the past 200
  • To take away our industry, productive potential and our liberties for a false threat is immoral
Michael Shermer
  • This is not a political or economic issue -- put those beliefs aside
  • Used to be a client skeptic until I looked at the science
  • 7 lines of evidence
    • CO2 is higher today than 650k years (measured by air bubbles in ice bores)
    • Rate of warming has been increasing in past 200 years
    • Increase in CO2 comes from burning fossil fuels (due to the isotopes)
    • Melting polar ice caps at unprecedented rate
    • Melting glaciers at unprecedented rate
    • Rising sea levels
    • Record heat waves - 15 hottest years happened in the last 16 years
  • The science research data comes from multiple disparate sources
  • Study revealed that 97% of 12,000 research papers conclude that global warming is real (= that is scientific consensus)
Witness #1: Al Gore
  • Al Gore never agrees to debate. What is he afraid of?? If his position was defensible, he'd defend it
Prosecution Witness #2: Dr William Haver from Princeton University


  • A physicist from Princeton, has worked in climate issues for most of his career
  • CO2 is not a pollutant
  • We've been in a CO2 famine for the past thousands of years. Much harder for plants to grow today than when levels were higher 60 million years ago.
  • The climate always changes -- the world has had many warming/cooling periods in the past
  • CO2 is a minor factor in climate warming. Other factors play a much bigger role.
  • Models of global warming are spectacularly wrong vs the data
  • Extreme weather events are not increasing. The data shows its the same as its always been.
  • If CO2 doubles, the planet temperature will increase 1 percent Celsius. Those claiming 3-4 degrees are being alarmist to secure funding
Under cross-examination:


  • Admits that he believes that a small fraction of climate warming is due to humans.
  • Personally thinks that more CO2 is good for the world.
  • Disagrees that the rate of warming is higher than in earlier periods
Prosecution Witness #3: Dr. Michaels
  • Director for the Center of the Study of Science at Cato Institute
  • Climate model forecasting has been terribly off-the-mark compared vs the actual data as measured by satellites and weather balloons. As a result, we can calculate that the impact of CO2 on global warming is HALF that of what the models predict
  • The right question to ask is: How much more will the temperature rise in the future? Most scientists will have to admit less than is being warned about.
Under cross-examination:
  • Shermer challenging Michaels on his, and the Cato Institute's, credentials on this topic.
  • Doubts private industry can address climate issues.
  • Michaels claims that latest models show that rate of increase is linear, not increasing
Defense Witness #1: Dr. Cary Emmanuel (from MIT)
  • Has spent career studying climate science
  • Scientists are professionals: they put beliefs aside and let the data speak for itself
  • The temperature has been climbing at the fasting rate since the last ice age -- the previous witnesses were flat wrong
  • Ancient warming periods were largely regional, not planetary.
  • The record shows that temperature and CO2 immediately started spiking as the Industrial Revolution began
  • More CO2 may be good for life in general, but not for humans and our way of life. 
  • If the planet warms to the point where the sea rises by several meters, the devastation and destruction of the ecosystems we depend on will be tremendous
  • We don't have to destroy the economy to address global warming
  • Doesn't agree that Paris Accord should be ripped up

Under cross-examination:

  • Will solar and wind suffice to bring down CO2 emissions? Answer: No. Nuclear will need to play a role.
  • Natural gas can be good in the short term (10-20 years). Much less pollutive than coal. Bad in the long run.
  • Environmentalists are blocking nuclear, and access to good solutions like hydropower.
  • Believes that nuclear power should be on the table.
Defense Witness #2: Dr. Michael Previka (from UNLV)
  • "Science is science"
  • Is skeptical of the global warming skeptics
  • Look at Venus: if the temp gets to a certain level, CO2 will no longer be absorbed in the water and the planet will experience runaway greenhouse effect
  • Data (wild fires, extreme weather, etc) show more energy in the atmosphere than in past
  • CO2 spewed out by jet planes is ejected into the atmosphere, and takes 100 years to make its way down to ground level
  • Rapid change generally causes rapid loss of life. Without time to adapt, species die off
Under cross-examination:
  • Can't say definitively what % of the temperature increase is due to humans
  • Yes, the atmosphere is somewhat restorative -- it gets hotter in one place and colder in another -- BUT the concern is that the loss of ice & trees will result in trapping of more heat on average, and increasing warming
  • CO2-based warming leading to desertification


  • The trial ended with a hung jury (6 "guilty", 6 "not guilty)
  • The audience "applause-o-meter" favored the prosecution (Taylor)
  • I find myself puzzled by the libertarian stance displayed here regarding climate change. The denial of it seems based on beliefs ("nothing is worth compromising my personal liberty") than on the warnings of science ("hey, you might be free, but you might end up dead, too"). Along with the belief comes a bias against everything the greenies embrace, even if it just makes good sense -- like investing in renewable energy systems. A lot of folks here seem to be rooting for Telsa's failure. Really? Won't having the technology figured out to switch from hydrocarbons to electrons for transportation be a good option, no matter what we choose to do with the remaining fossil fuels? The automatic equation of being a better environmental steward with big government/freedom loss seems unfortunately short-sighted to me. It shouldn't be an either/or choice between freedom and sustainability IMO.

So the deniers basically say "it's not real, don't interfere with our economic freedom."  In other words, business as usual.  Cary Emmanuel with all of his command of climate science promotes a modified business as usual with wind, solar, hydro and nuclear taking up the slack (at least as far as I can tell from Adam's notes).  My assessment (and probably many others here) says that the combined stresses of anthropogenic climate change, pollution, habitat destruction, overfishing, etc. along with coming shortfalls of energy and minerals threatens the entire project of industrial civilization.  That makes their debate almost irrelevant.  Kind of like the occupants of a train speeding towards a cliff debating about whether to continue full throttle or to ease up on the throttle a bit and maybe just coast.  Meanwhile, even aggressive braking will still result in low speed crash.