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On Our Way To Freedom Fest

"The world's largest gathering of free minds"
Tuesday, July 12, 2016, 8:18 PM

For years now, a number of Peak Prosperity readers have been encouraging Chris and me to attend Freedom Fest, a conference billed as "The world's largest gathering of free minds". 

Every Spring, the calls and emails begin: Are you guys going to Freedom Fest this year?

They tell us this is consistently the most stimulating week of their entire year. And that, like at our annual seminars, the people you meet and relationships you make there are well worth the price of admission alone.

Well, this year we decided to take up the invitation.

So tomorrow Chris and I will make our way (me from the West coast, he from the East) to Las Vegas, where we'll spend three immersive days listening to speakers, panel discussions, and having 1-on-1 chats. Certainly, there will be some personalities there we're interested to meet in person -- John Mackey, Senators Ron & Rand Paul, Steve Forbes, Bill Bonner, and the like -- whom we'll see if we can get access to and record a podcast for the site.

Most important, though, we've been told by past attendees that the Freedom Fest audience is already completely bought in to the Economy "E" of our 3E story; however, it's quite unaware of the similarly unsustainable Energy and Environment "Es". This may be an important gathering of influencers to speak to, in hopes of propagating the full Peak Prosperity message to the sizable army of followers they reach.

At least, we think it's worth a shot.

So we'll be taking good notes and a selfie or two from the halls of this year's Freedom Fest, and we'll share the interesting nuggets we learn during the process with you all here on the site.

If you're going to Freedom Fest this year, or just happen to be in the Las Vegas area, come meet up with us. We'll be signing copies of our book Prosper!: How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting at the Valaurum booth in the Exhibitors Hall at 2:50pm on Thursday.

And for those of you who will be following our experience vicariously here through the site, much of the speeches, debates and panels will be live streamed for the first time this year. You'll be able to watch them here:

And, as a warm-up, here's an interview we did a few years back on the growing surveillance State with Mark Skousen, Freedom Fest's founder and producer:

We'll start sharing updates as soon as we're on the ground...

cheers,

Adam & Chris

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90 Comments

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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Great idea, Adam and Chris!

Good luck helping some of these other  well-known thinkers open their eyes to the other 2Es.  I look forward to your updates!

On Teaching
 Kahlil Gibran

No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge.

The teacher who walks in the shadow of the temple, among his followers, gives not of his wisdom but rather of his faith and his lovingness.

If he is indeed wise he does not bid you enter the house of his wisdom, but rather leads you to the threshold of your own mind.

The astronomer may speak to you of his understanding of space, but he cannot give you his understanding.

The musician may sing to you of the rhythm which is in all space, but he cannot give you the ear which arrests the rhythm nor the voice that echoes it.

And he who is versed in the science of numbers can tell of the regions of weight and measure, but he cannot conduct you thither.

For the vision of one man lends not its wings to another man.

And even as each one of you stands alone in God's knowledge, so must each one of you be alone in his knowledge of God and in his understanding of the earth.     

Reference: http://www.katsandogz.com/onteaching.html

jasonw's picture
jasonw
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Pack extra water!!!

I heard somewhere that there is a water shortage on the west coast - especially Lake Mead - what you don't drink can be donated to the good folks of Nevada.  Safe travels to both of you.

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Freefall Carpet slippers

Reaching for The Great Oracle  the Limits to Growth Curves,  I am told we shot over the edge of the cliff in 1982. 

All sorts of Collective and Authoritarian decisions needed to be made by then. They weren't. 

Civilization ascends in hob nail boots and descends in velvet slippers. 

Stephan Moleneux,  quoting someone else.

Am I supposed to be  happy saying "I told you so"? At this moment in time we have more chance of proving Einstein wrong or grasping at Alien straws than pretending that this bus will magically levitate. 

All this talk of  Fweedom is just  that, talk.

I could have called this piece Hitler redux but too many people would have gone running for their safe spaces and calling for an Authoritarian Daddy to make me stop.

Oh the irony.

CleanEnergyFan's picture
CleanEnergyFan
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Excellent, See you there at Freedom Fest

Glad to hear that you and Chris are going to make it this year.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have in the past.  They will have some interesting speakers but they could really benefit from hearing from both of you to complete the 3E picture (they really do focus on the Economy in isolation from much of the other 2Es).  Looking forward to seeing you both later this week and will stop by the Valaurum booth as well.

HughK's picture
HughK
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Good luck at Freedom Fest

Chris and Adam,

Good luck at Freedom Fest.  One of the big turning points in terms of the first E for me was reading John Mauldin and Jonathan Tepper's Endgame: The End of the Debt Supercycle and How it Changes Everything back in 2011.  For many years before that, I thought that US government debt was way too high, but it was their book that put our high public debt to GDP ratio into the context of the other rich countries, showing that pretty much all of the OECD was in the same over-leveraged boat.  They also introduced me to Rogoff and Reinhart's This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly, for a more theoretical look at debt supercycles and and how governments have typically responded.  

As I think most here know, Mauldin also comes of as very...confident, to put it nicely, but his message was more important to me than his delivery style.  Also, he makes a lot of right-wing claims about economics, and as my origins are from the left, this also made it a bit challenging for me to read him.  But, it was really his book that spurred me to make my first physical PM purchase and I was also able to get it into our school library.  Since then, some students have read it.  We were also able to get Rogoff and Reinhart on the shelves, but it's not as accessible for most of them.  It wasn't the first, and I'm sure it won't be the last time that mixing the waters of political ideology was a good thing for me.

I know Mark Skousen from his book The Making of Modern Economics, a decidedly neo-liberal and quite editorialized account of the history of economic thought.  As Clean Energy Fan points out, Skousen and most of the other luminaries at Freedom Fest are likely to be focusing on the first E at the expense of the other two.  Climate change, for example, doesn't seem to be taken seriously by either Skousen or the folks at the various Von Mises Institutes around the world, because it just doesn't fit with their economic ideology. I would guess that would also be true for peak oil.

So, I hope that you guys are able to mix the currents of ideas in both directions, and awaken some of the folks at Freedom Fest to the possibility that the global industrial growth bus is not the way forward, and that there are constructive responses to the limits to growth that we face.

Cheers,

Hugh

KennethPollinger's picture
KennethPollinger
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In additionj to Prosper

I hope you two sell MANY copies of the Crash Course, the foundational book that opens eyes to the THREE Es.  In fact, Id like to see you "push" the Crash Course more often on your posts, especially for newcomers.  If your original videos were played at ALL college campuses, (4 1/2 hr one), I believe the word would spread much faster, and influence the college crowd.

Doug's picture
Doug
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Freedom?

Hugh, you're much kinder than I would be.  Freedomfest appears to be nothing more than a sales conference to pump up the true libertarian believers.  Las Vegas is, of course, the perfect venue for such an event.  Plenty of hookers, blow and gambling for those with too much money and too little sense.  As someone once defined it, libertarianism is a philosophy abandoned by millions of college sophomores every year.

Let's face it, libertarianism is completely inconsistent with a liveable environment.  As Ayn Rand once supposedly advised, you should find the filthiest smokestack you can, run up to it and kiss it.  If Chris and Adam want to familiarize those in attendance with the orphan E, the environment, they will find a stone deaf audience.  Environmentalism is by definition a collective enterprise, libertarianism is by definition the glorification of the individual and his/her selfish interests.  The two cannot coexist.

SingleSpeak's picture
SingleSpeak
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Can't wait

for the daily commentary. 

Looking at the schedule I see among many interesting topics, "Power Moves: Latest Trends in Energy and Investment" at 10 am on Thursday, "Mock Trial on Global Warming" at 7 pm on Thursday. 

Oh then there's one on voter fraud on Friday and oil in the middle east on Saturday. 

You guys are going to be like 2 pigs in slop, figuratively speaking. cool

SS

Mark Cochrane's picture
Mark Cochrane
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Thoughts - On Teaching (Pinecarr)

Pinecarr,

What a great quote from Kahlil Gibran!

Having just taught my first seminar last week in a language other than English, in this case Portuguese (Brazil), I recognize in this quote that we are always speaking different languages to each other when we try to relate our knowledge, thoughts and beliefs.

You cannot force ideas or understanding down each other´s throats, but with integrity, compassion, and persistence you can put them on a plate for them to contemplate. All but the most obdurate will have to eventually come to grips with these matters if they truly have merit.

 

Doug - I hear you but am not so quick to throw the baby out with the bath water.

None of us have the whole picture of everything. Although, from the given agenda, I can see that many attendees might be hostile to such matters as Global Climate Change (or the other 2 E´s in general), I, personally, would not be dismissive of everything espoused at Freedom Fest. If we cannot be open to the ideas of others then how can we expect them to truly listen to us? Respectfully engaging in debates does not require accepting or acquiescing to someone else´s point of view but requires both parties to wrestle with each others ideas. This can go a long way to defusing polarization even if it doesn´t result in a complete meeting of the minds.

I´d de interested in seeing that ´Mock Trial on Global Warming´ as one of the participants is Professor Kerry Emanuel from MIT. He is about as solid a climate scientist as you will find and was one of my own professors (Meteorology) back when I was at MIT. It doesn´t look like it is supposed to be an echo chamber discussion.

All in all, I think that Chris and Adam are likely to open many people´s eyes to a larger picture where energy and the environment provide the foundation upon which our global economy depends. Who knows, maybe next year they will be asked to return as presenters! Regardless, I look forward to hearing their impressions and reports from Freedom Fest this year. 

 

Michael_Rudmin's picture
Michael_Rudmin
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The orphan E, from the libertarian's house

To a libertarian view, environmental destruction is a collective effort. Yes, when you have unowned resources, you can get some tragedy of the commons, and that's bad. But that's only one small area. To really destroy the environment, you need laws that make it prohibitively costly to protect or renew the environment.

Things like, misapplied antitrust laws that force coal mines to blow methane off into the air, so that the government can say "see, we're doing our job" as they turn a blind eye to their regulatory capture.

skipr's picture
skipr
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good luck

If the arctic ice cap totally disappears for the first time this September I bet the people at FF will declare it a government conspiracy.

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Going with an open mind

Thanks for the feedback all.  Now that Mark has told me about the AGM connection, I will be quite interested to see what that event holds.

I will, of course, be going with an open mind.  I've never been before and so I'm sure that there will be some there that I resonate with strongly and some less so.  

All I really care about is if people have open minds.

This political season has been hard, and fracturing, and so I am quite keen to see what the political mood there is.

I'll be sure to provide updates as I can to the site, and tweet the rest.

...now I have to catch a flight heading east and south before I can catch the next one heading west and north.  ;0

Doug's picture
Doug
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mock trial
Quote:

I´d de interested in seeing that ´Mock Trial on Global Warming´ as one of the participants is Professor Kerry Emanuel from MIT. He is about as solid a climate scientist as you will find and was one of my own professors (Meteorology) back when I was at MIT. It doesn´t look like it is supposed to be an echo chamber discussion.

I didn't see that Kerry Emanuel would be participating in the mock trial.  I assumed it would be an echo chamber.  I, too, am very interested.  I wonder who will represent the libertarian perspective.

I've been more or less following libertarianism for over 40 years since my undergrad days.  It has a superficial attractiveness, but once the implications sink in it becomes far less interesting.  It must be remembered today that when libertarians complain of "burdensome regulations", it is largely a euphemism for environmental, health and safety regulations.  Their's is a world of social Darwinism.  

If and when they come up with realistic plans to address climate change and the other environmental rapes being committed while they drop quarters in the slots, I might begin to think differently.

I took the time to google the other participants on the panel. A few are dyed in the wool deniers; Will Happer, Patrick Michaels and James Taylor (not that James Taylor.)  And, of course, the "moderator" is Michael Medved.  For entertainment Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic magazine, author of a book entitled Ske?tic (really) and columnist for Scientific American is also on the panel.  I'm not completely sure of his position of climate change, but he claims allegiance to science.  He has some great TED videos.

https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_the_pattern_behind_self_decept...

https://www.ted.com/talks/michael_shermer_on_believing_strange_things?la...

So, Emmanuel will be decidedly outnumbered but possibly not without allies.

It should be interesting.  I hope we can get it.

Doug

 

 

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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Just landed

Man, it's hot here...

cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
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Still travelling...

man, I love in air wifi.

:)

pinecarr's picture
pinecarr
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Now THAT'S what I call real-time reporting!!

Silly, but I'm excited about you and Chris participating in this event.  Kind of like the morning at a race track when anything seems possible...  Good luck!!

Mark, isn't that a great lesson on teaching from Kahlil Gibran?  I was afraid of coming off preachy in posting it, which wasn't my intent.  I just really liked the idea he conveyed; it rang true to me.

efarmer.ny's picture
efarmer.ny
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3 E's plus 1 doesn't work

Personally, I'm wondering if social cohesion will fail before the other E's. I tried to find a fourth E to express "civil unrest" but unfortunately the best that the online thesaurus could come up with is Edginess. So I guess I'm you are safe with just 3 E's.

Stay safe. We look forward to your reports.

karenf's picture
karenf
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i am looking forward to

i am looking forward to hearing your experiences.  I knew Steve Moore (Cato Institute)years ago and was actually surprised to hear how his views have softened.  He used to be a hard core Ayn Rand every man for himself person. We all learn as we live.  

I have been a long time fan of Michael Shermer (great books).  Would love to hear what he will say over the weekend.  He helped clear up my thinking so much about reality and distortion.  Eagerly awaiting your updates.  Don't think Stossel will be too interested in the other two E's.  Just saying.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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Opening Ceremony

I'm here at the FF opening ceremony (Chris is still en route). Things are about to kick off, and I've got my laptop out to liveblog the nuggets that catch my attention.

I'll update this post every 5-10 minutes, so if you're reading this as am typing, hit 'refresh' every so often to get the latest.

Speaker #1: Terry Brock/Mark & Jo Ann Skousen -- Welcome & Intro

  • TB: this year's FF theme is "freedom rising". The intrusion of government is increasing, yes, but more & more are awakening to this and demanding change/making change --> choosing more freedom
  • A dance/drum procession has kicked off, reminiscent of Stomp. Supposed to be some sort of physical visualization of 'freedom', I guess.
  • Ooh, there go the flaming nunchucks....
  • MS/JS: lots planned for the next few days, will be awesome, etc

Speaker #2: Wayne Allen Root -- Is Freedom Rising?

  • Freedom is falling: GDP depressed for 7 long years (record for US economy), more businesses now close each day than open
  • If you can't keep/save your own money from govt, business suffers
  • When government takes/debases money, it is stealing opportunity for the citizenry
  • Tax & regulations are making it too onerous to start & run businesses. We are killing the 'makers'
  • Some of the assaults over the past decade: raised taxes, payroll taxes, Affordable Care Act compliance expenses, increased capital gains taxes, phased out tax credits, raised insurance premium while lowering coverage, raised legal and accounting bills needed to account for new regulations and taxes, raised minimum wage, restrict independent contractors, increasing sales taxes, IRS audits of small businesses have increased, raising Social Security qualifying age, trying to get rid of mortgage deductions, making it harder to do business or store $ overseas (I missed a few - he talks fast)
  • The solution: cut taxes, cut regulations 

Speaker #3: Steve Forbes -- Reviving America

  • US stuck in economic morass
  • But the good news is that we can fight back & pull ourselves out of this
  • The real battle is the battle of ideas (has 3 big ideas for reform to share)
  • Health Care: Health care costs are too high, as are insurance premiums which don't cover enough anymore. The reason why is that the health care market is not free, it's run as a cartel. Examples like flu shots and LASIK surgery, which are not covered by health insurance, are examples that competition brings down prices and raises quality. Forbes has a lot of specific ideas for transparency of costs/quality, choice of doctor, and other reforms that give more freedom to the patient -- predicts this will lower costs and improve care.
  • The Tax Code: Way to dense and complicated; nobody knows what's in it. It's a monster. Throw it out and start all over. Replace with single rate flat tax, with exemptions for families with kids. Same thing for business. Should only take 1 sheet of paper and 1 minute to do your taxes. Will boost economy overnight. And it's moral, unlike our current solution (we spend billions of hours and dollars per year just filing taxes collectively)
  • Money: Fed is manipulating money through bad policies. Solution: take our money out of the hands of politicians, go back to a fixed rate for the dollar = return to the gold standard. During the years the US was on the gold standard we had the highest economic growth rates in history.

Speaker #4: Lawrence Reed -- Real Heroes

  • We'll need heroes to create a path forward towards an optimistic future
  • He's written a book about heroes, several stories he'll share here:
  • Fanny Crosby - lived from 1820-1915, she wrote the lyrics to 9,000 songs. First woman to address the US Congress. She knew 21 US presidents personally. She was blind, as well. Her message: no handicap is more powerful than the spirit to make a difference.
  • Jesse Owens - worked his way through college with menial jobs, supporting his family at same time. Triumphed for his country and race at the Berlin Games. Never received a thanks from the US President, even though all the white runners were invited to the White House.
  • Vivian Hellens(?) - scrappy entrepreneur anti-tax evangelist. Thought withholding taxes were wrong, could only escalate the issue by non-compliance. She did and while the IRS steamrolled her, she fought back in the courts. Similarly, she fought for women's right to own businesses.
  • Joe Louis - fought as a boxer and a WW2 soldier. Fought the IRS, as at the time, the top tax rates were 75-90%. Louis had fought a number of charity fights, receiving no payment himself -- though the govt treated those fights as taxable income, creating crushing tax debts for him.
  • American needs more men & women who cannot be bought. Who are not afraid of risks to advance what is right. American, in other words, needs more heroes.

Speaker #5: Larry Elder -- The Axis of Indoctrination

  • We're in a culture war.
  • Hollywood has a real bias, and a lot of influence.
  • Academia is similarly skewed in terms of bias, and again, positioned to have an outsized impact on young minds.
  • Media is coloring the news it delivers. In many cases, the messages run contrary to the data. Elder uses stats of police shootings to make his point.

Speaker #6: Michael Medved -- The Year Of Rage

  • We do not have a news business in America. We have a "bad news" business = if it bleeds or enrages, it leads.
  • Like Elder, Medved is using police shooting stats to indicate that the media message often does not fit the actual data.
  • Average American spends over 30 hours per week in front of a screen, largely only consuming news of dysfunction. As a result, our sense of our country and what's going on it is often very afar from reality.
  • Things are not as bad as we are being led to believe -- we need to take a "media diet", and give ourselves opportunity to hear news from our communities vs our devices. Even 1 day a week doing this is worthwhile.
  • Eschew anger/complaint/competitive victimhood. Embrace gratitude, optimism and hope.

Initial Impressions

  • Tonight is just the tip of the iceberg. Tons more speakers, panels, etc tomorrow.
  • I haven't mixed with the other attendees yet, so I reserve the right to amend my initial impressions -- which are intended as objective observations, not judgments
  • Folks here are pretty conservative, culturally. It's kind of interesting: many of the speakers seem like conventional Republicans in their values, except they seem (and this is me postulating) betrayed by how the current Republican party has moved away from sound money and responsible economic stewardship.
Edwardelinski's picture
Edwardelinski
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Looks like the the bench is stacked with

Fox and friends?Just wondering?

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LesPhelps
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Arthur Robey wrote: Reaching
Arthur Robey wrote:

Reaching for The Great Oracle  the Limits to Growth Curves,  I am told we shot over the edge of the cliff in 1982. 

All sorts of Collective and Authoritarian decisions needed to be made by then. They weren't. 

Civilization ascends in hob nail boots and descends in velvet slippers. 

Stephan Moleneux,  quoting someone else.

Am I supposed to be  happy saying "I told you so"? At this moment in time we have more chance of proving Einstein wrong or grasping at Alien straws than pretending that this bus will magically levitate. 

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

DimitryOrlov wrote:

Try to form a picture in your mind: it is a superpower, it is huge, it is powerful, and it is going to come crashing down. You or me trying to do something about it would have the same effect as you or me wiggling our toes at a tsunami.

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

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Searching in the haystack Les.

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."

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davefairtex
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big tents

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.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
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Bull/Bear Debate

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.

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Bulls vs Bears....

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?  

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BitGold/Goldmoney

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
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Bulls or bears?

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?

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Goldmoney...

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.  

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Shiff is a bear.....

I took it as a typo...

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Advancing the American Dream

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
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Typo fixed
Jim H wrote:

I took it as a typo...

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

Sorry for the flub -- typing very fast here to capture the content...

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BeetGold? Nyet, Not Possibil in New Yoirka

Only:

Colorado

Ohio

Texas

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Libertarian CEO Panel

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. 
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Napolitano

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...

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Countering "opposition network"

Was he just referring to TPTB here?

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Peter Schiff

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...

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Global Warming Debate

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

Verdict

 

  • 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.
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Entire global warming debate misses the real issue

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.

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The failure.

From my ex father in law, Electronic engineer 

Yes. But does it work. No? Bring it back when you've got it to work

This Idealism of "freedom" is basking in poor light. It cannot grapple with the problems of Climate change.  If it cannot address existential problems then it doesn't work. Mr.Darwin accepts no excuses. "Yes, but." cuts no mustard with him.

I had better get back to my preps.

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Climate Change: So what? Now what?

Quercus bicolor,

What is the real issue? I used to worry about it until I realized there wasn't anything I could do about it. As long as the enormous human population continues to use resources and leave behind pollutants as byproducts, we're eventually going to hit that cliff. It doesn't matter at what speed the collision takes place. So, why try to save the system if any effort is too little and too late? Why worry about it? Do you worry (excessively) about the eventuality of your own death? I don't. (I worry about living too long rather than dying too soon.)

I keep seeing the climate change alarmists tell us how bad everything (climatewise) is getting. That focuses on the "So what?" part of the questions. It's time to focus on the "Now what?" question. I'd really like to see some realistic plans to combat the problem. When I used to try to come up with solutions, every thought train led to a one world government that kept tabs on everyone. Frankly, that scared me much more than climate change ever did.

Qb, I don't mean to single you out here. Your post just reminded me of my past failings. I'd like to hear from anyone who has a real plan. In the end ... if nothing can be done to stop it, then nothing should be done.

Grover

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A libertarian perspective...a bit different than Adam's take
Adam Taggart wrote:

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.

My take is we should get rid of all the subsidies for all fuels.  Right now we have so many distortions starting from the money system to subsidies of all energy sources include fossil fuels to know what is really sustainable or the proper solution.  When a government picks a solution (such as wind/solar) are they killing an even better idea?   Would just removing the subsidies from the fossil fuels (military counts as one) reduce use due to price rises without having to resort to crap like carbon credits that will simply enrich some other political connected entity?  I just can't put my faith in fixing the issue (real or not) with the same folks that caused the problems in the first place.  Just look at what heavy government subsidies of roads/public works has done for promoting unsustainable cities in the deserts (Las Vegas!).  Or how about those nice windmills being built with concrete that won't last.

Then I too figure as Grover does that it just doesn't matter.  All the solutions put forth do not address the root cause of the problem at all, the fact that we are in massive population overshoot, so unless someone is going to decide how to get rid of maybe 6 billion people we are going to keep putting out more CO2 and other pollutants until we can't due to running out of fuels and then we will get the population reduction.

I would even go so far as to say Climate Change (real or not) doesn't matter because so many other issues are going to be critical before it is.

As far as real or not, when one side is so sure that they insist on shutting down debate, I begin to get real suspicious.   Who cares if everyone believes it's real.  If the majority do and are willing to do something about it then great, start.  When all those who are so alarmed start actually reducing their use (ie. no more jetting around in private jets), then maybe I will start to give them a bit more credence.

As far as Tesla, I do not have not problem with what they are doing, except for the fact that they are suckling mightily from that government teat, which means they are stealing from everyone to support a megolomanic billionaire's idea of what the world should be.  If what they are doing is so great, then they shouldn't need to use violence via proxy to pay for it!

 

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Grover wrote:As long as the
Grover wrote:

As long as the enormous human population continues to use resources and leave behind pollutants as byproducts, we're eventually going to hit that cliff. It doesn't matter at what speed the collision takes place. So, why try to save the system if any effort is too little and too late?

I'd really like to see some realistic plans to combat the problem. When I used to try to come up with solutions, every thought train led to a one world government that kept tabs on everyone. Frankly, that scared me much more than climate change ever did.

Continuing to tow a ski boat to the lake with your Suburban and tow your kids back and forth on tubes or skis is not the answer.  Refusing to drive energy efficient transportation because all your neighbors still have pickup trucks is not the answer.

It's a matter of doing the right and rational thing, personally.  I can't change the world, but I can change my behavior.

It appears to me that global warming science has been handled poorly by some, not all.  It appears to me that skeptics shoot holes in the science without bothering to look at there thermometers.

To me, it winds up being a side issue to poor energy consumption habits and not knowing when you have enough stuff. 

Even if you can prove global warming to be a non-issue or minor issue, you can't wish peak oil/energy away.  I drive highly fuel efficient transportation, because I have a better understanding of the true value of a gallon of gas than most of my neighbors.  My carbon footprint is improved as a result.  It's really that simple.

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rhare wrote: My take is we
rhare wrote:

My take is we should get rid of all the subsidies for all fuels.  Right now we have so many distortions starting from the money system to subsidies of all energy sources include fossil fuels to know what is really sustainable or the proper solution.

So efficient markets and unregulated capitalism will solve the energy problem?

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A self regulating organism?

I wonder how much the earth has been affected by everyone flying, driving or otherwise trekking to Freedom Fest to discuss how mankind can continue to denude the planet of the community of life forms we currently have the privilege to experience.

“The idea that humans are yet intelligent enough to serve as stewards of the Earth is among the most hubristic ever.” 

― James E. LovelockThe Revenge of Gaia

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I have to kind of differ
Quote:

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.

I think Adam's final paragraph summed it up beautifully.  Denial of climate change is a non-starter still proposed only by fossil fuel interests and their proxies, many of whom are represented at libertarian gatherings.  Time to move on.

As QB noted, there are a lot of environmental problems not primarily related to AGW.  As others note, overpopulation is a huge problem (but not the only or driving problem). Besides, it's probably harder to solve than climate change and they are not mutually exclusive.  As still others point out, we should be focusing on what to do.  Make no mistake, AGW is a, if not the, critical issue of our time.  It must be solved for the sake of the earth as we know it.

The science is pretty clear and a lot can be done about it while recognizing there are still differences at the margins.  Wind, solar, other renewables, carbon taxes and conservation are obvious partial solutions that could be initiated and scaled up rapidly.  Don't let issues like using cement in the foundations stop us, find some other foundation methods.  Drilling into bedrock works.  There were at least dozens of small hydroelectric dams in upstate NY before they were decommissioned and torn down in favor of large grid systems.  Well, maybe its time to rethink some of those local solutions with compromises to protect populations of aquatic species.  I'm still hesitant about nuclear as it has problems that seem insoluble, waste being the biggie.  But, there are smart folks out there who might be able to resolve those problems.

In all of this there is plenty of opportunity for private enterprise, but trying to pursue the wet dream of a totally free market is a road to disaster.  Balance and compromise are the keys.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Online)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 3107
Voter Access, Voter Fraud & Gerrymandering

Panel on the state of the US election process -- panelists are Frank Atwood, Alicia Dern, Aaron Hamlin, John Fund, Hunter Scarborough

  • JF: voting process itself needs to be reconsidered. Suggesting it would be a good idea to have voters rank the choices, instead of the simple winner-take-all process right now (instead, the person with highest-weighted score would win).
  • JF: we should put term limits on Congressional seats (this got a big applause)
  • FA: advocate for approval voting. Right now voter can only cast 1 vote for 1 candidate. Under approval voting, voter can vote for all the candidates they'd be comfortable with (and not vote for those they don't like). This is the simplest, easiest way to give visibility to 3rd party candidates, and avoid run-offs.
  • AH: our voting process offers little information to the voter and is very inefficient and non-transparent.
  • HS: working with Tinder to use their technology to create a "swipe the vote" solution that has promise to bring millennials more into the voting process. Combining the Tinder experience with lots of data on the candidates to give "everyone a quick way to vote with confidence". App launches in 2 weeks.
  • HS: witnessed gerrymandering in the recent CA election. Analogizes the election process integrity as on par with the TSA -- a lot of theatre to make you feel like your vote counts, but in many cases, it's not counted or miscounted.
  • HS: Approval voting, mathematically, yields the highest voter satisfaction. But it's hard to explain intuitively -- which is too bad, as it's the best option.
  • Interesting work being done on "blockchain voting" (the panelist who was going to speak on this couldn't make it today)
  • JF: The system is so sloppy it's hard to tell where the sloppiness ends and the fraud begins. Our system is very vulnerable. Voter fraud is very easy to commit and very hard to police. A simple solution is to recruit more poll watchers -- just having the threat of getting caught will decrease a lot of folks casting false votes.
cmartenson's picture
cmartenson
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jun 7 2007
Posts: 5754
Voter Fraud Session

All the panelists are talking about what I consider to be the edges of the vote irregularity issues.  

Current panelist is talking about vote fraud (i.e. dead people voting, and double voting) which is the 0.00065% issue while the insecure vote tabulators are the 99.9995% problem.

The vote fraud issue is really a non-issue, but there's a lot of focus on it here...I think because it's so easy to understand?  

Nobody is talking about election rigging by electronic machines and tabulators.  I cannot engage in the topic when the 8,000 pound elephant is on the stage and nobody is talking about it.

Adam Taggart's picture
Adam Taggart
Status: Peak Prosperity Co-founder (Online)
Joined: May 26 2009
Posts: 3107
Term Limits/Gary Johnson

Panel on term limits, featuring Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate for US President. Other panelists include Philip Blumel and Paul Jacob.

  • PB: adding term limits to Congress would require a change to the Constitution (invoking Article 5). There is historical precedent for this.
  • GJ: Proposes grandfathering the sitting Congresspeople exempting them from term limits in order to overcome their self-interest
  • PB: His organization is pressing sitting Congresspeople to support a vote on term limits. Currently has 40 signatures. As a realist, he knows the majority won't support unless we the people put pressure on them.
  • PB: Term limits doesn't limit voter choice. Why not? Because powerful incumbents run for their party seat each election, preventing new candidates from emerging. Term limits create open elections on a regular basis, and create more incentive for more candidates to toss their hat into the ring.
  • GJ: Paid for his own primary when he ran for governor. Freed him from the 'quid pro quo' that his opponents had to deal with. As he began to win the race, all of sudden those funding his competitors wanted to start giving him money, so they had an "in" with the winning horse. Main point: need to get money out of the campaign process.
  • PB: it's clear the US public thinks term limits are a good idea. We need to push for Congress to hold a convention on term limits. Will require huge public grassroots push to make this happen. But it's possible -- cites ousting of House Speaker Tom Foley in his home district as an example when the public won out on the issue of term limits.
  • GJ: He and Bill Weld (his VP candidate) are the only candidates who have signed a pledge to fight for term limits if elected
  • Bill Weld (steps up in audience): thinks term limits could be a major issue in this campaign. Sees this year as a great election for highlighting the "fossilized duopoly" of our current political system. The 2-party system is the 'villian'; it's just not working and only serves itself at this point. Claims this message is resonating on the campaign trail. Agrees that term limits would bring in fresh ideas, new energy, and more people "serving for the right reason"
  • PJ: Politicians are better people when the voters "put fear in their hearts"

 

KugsCheese's picture
KugsCheese
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 2 2010
Posts: 1449
Shermer

Shermer Ad Hominem attack.  Attacks person not argument.   There you go.  Why I don't read his stuff anymore.

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