Back Home From CanadaFellow Resource Prospector,I’m back in Vermont after spending four days in Toronto for a mining conference.I know I’ve been a bit heavy-handed with the conference information, so today I thought I’d make a left turn into a more personal subject - something I feel very strongly about.I did encounter some really exciting opportunities at the conference, and I’ll be following up on those opportunities in the following weeks. Click here if you want to read some of the past week’s articles on the mining conference.So, I spent most of yesterday driving from Toronto, back to Vermont. It’s about an 8-hour drive, including a few quick coffee stops. It’s a somewhat scenic drive that follows the north border of New York and Canada, crossing into Canada and the following the north side of Lake Ontario.The question is, why drive?That’s a question my co-workers and friends have asked me, and I’ve given the answer a lot of thought.I could have flown. My co-worker Tyler Laundon flew out on Sunday morning at 6 am and got into Toronto a little before noon. He also got home before I did, on Wednesday night, as opposed to Thursday afternoon.But I stopped flying last year, when my pregnant wife and I found out that the United States government would ask us to either go through a backscatter scanner or submit to a pat-down.We had purchased tickets to fly out of Manchester, New Hampshire to see our families in the Philadelphia area for Thanksgiving.When we found out that the TSA had installed scanners in both the Manchester and Philadelphia airports, we called USAir to refund our $400+ fares and cancel our tickets on the grounds that they did not disclose to us these new security procedures at the time we purchased tickets.We never would have booked the flight had we known that we might be expected to submit to such invasive and potentially dangerous searches of our persons, with no pre-text or due-process.USAir refused to refund our money, saying that it was against THEIR policy to do so for any reason other than a death of the ticketholder or a close family member of the ticketholder.In light of the unacceptable policies of the TSA and the complicit behavior of air carriers, my wife and I boycott flying commercially.
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We’ve also written to our Senator, Patrick Leahy, asking him to put an end to the TSA’s policies, and he wrote back to us:“As Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I intend to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security is held accountable for ensuring that we are successful in protecting both passenger safety and privacy. I believe that we can successfully accomplish this goal without sacrificing either. You can be sure that I will keep your thoughts in mind when the Judiciary Committee holds its next oversight hearing of the Department of Homeland Security and continue to closely monitor this issue.”Okay, so what you may be thinking, and what my boss is surely thinking is, what does the TSA and Kevin McElroy’s boycott of commercial air-travel have to do with commodity investing, or investing at all?It’s simple. These Federal cabinet departments such as the Department of Homeland Security wield great power, seemingly with no oversight or due process of law.They do so in much the same way that the Federal Reserve wields authority over this nation’s money supply and banking system with near-absolute impunity.I buy gold and silver as an increasing boycott on the dollar. The dollar is used as a political tool to fulfill the needs of the Federal Government first and foremost.The Department of Homeland security is concerned only with fomenting its own needs - ahead of any individual’s 4th Amendment rights.What’s good for the Department of Homeland Security? More employees, a bigger budget, more control over everything that has anything to do with the homeland and/or security.It’s not necessarily a sinister plot, because Janet Napolitano probably believes that the TSA should have control over people as they enter or exit airplanes, trains, buses, national parks, sports arenas, public buildings, and pretty much anywhere a few hundred people may congregate at one time.It furthers Janet’s career to be the head of a political body that increases in size, budget, scope and meaning.Janet probably wishes that she had the same control over the public sphere as Ben Bernanke has over the dollar.Both Janet and Ben believe that they have the country’s best interests at heart, and if that means bending a few constitutional rules or breaking a few amendments, then that’s a small price to pay.So I’m boycotting the airline industry, just as I’m increasingly boycotting the dollar.For some of you, that might sound crazy. But I have to ask you: how far is too far? How much TSA intervention in your life would be too much? How many quantitative easings and dollar printings will it take for you to stand up for yourself and to take steps to protect yourself?For me, a TSA agent’s hand in my pants is too far. For me, trillions of dollars of QE is too far.Have a great weekend,
Friday, March 11, 2011
Boycotting the TSA
I received this in my inbox today from Wyatt Investment Research. I can't find a copy online, so I'll just paste the text here. (The author, Kevin McElroy, previously shared his letter to Sen Patrick Leahy with me.)