Police killers identified as activists on mission to spread anti-government message

In the final moments of their lives, West Memphis Police Department veterans Brandon Paudert and Bill Evans encountered Thursday an old white Plymouth Voyager minivan carrying 16-year-old Joe Kane and his 45-year-old father, Jerry R. Kane – a man who unbeknownst to them harbored extreme anti-government views. He also had a record of previous trouble with police and a philosophy, which he credited to the Bible, of applying overwhelming violence to “conquer” foes.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2010/may/21/relatives-id-west-memphis-suspects/?partner=popular

getting an odd link to a nonexistent qt3 topic rather than the intended destination

Sorry about that. Should be fixed now.

Material on the website promoting Kane’s foreclosure-advising business displays classic rhetoric experts say is associated with anti-government groups. Topics discussed on the site include microchips inserted into people’s bodies, plots involving the H1N1 vaccine and the contention that U.S. dollars don’t constitute real money.

forgive my total financial ignorance, but isn’t this somewhat true?

What is money, Eric?

It’s a long-settled argument that nobody has bothered to revisit since everybody forgot what The Wizard of Oz is actually about. Any sort of contemporary understanding of currency recognizes Fiat Currency as being legitimate. This idiot’s position hearkens back to The Gold Standard, where you could trade your money for some sort of durable commodity.

i don’t know. i never seem to have any

This idiot’s position hearkens back to The Gold Standard, where you could trade your money for some sort of durable commodity.

Gotcha.

i thought that was a myth:

Some biographers and scholars of Baum disagree, pointing to details of Baum’s biography, his own statements and writing about the purpose of his book, the ease with which hidden meanings can be found in works not intended to contain any, and the question of why contemporary press did not discuss these perceived metaphors which logically should have been much more obvious at that time. The consensus is that the books are written mainly for the pleasure of Baum’s younger readers, to give them a sense of possibility and imagination.

Eh - I only know what I was taught in my American History whichever years it was course in college, and that guy seemed pretty adamant. The fact that the movie bothered the hell out of me when I was younger makes it hard for me to hold much of an opinion.

Brian Seiler, presenting vague memories as hard facts since April of 2008.

Don’t think that I won’t get that on a business card.

I don’t like the notion that gold has the inherent monetary value some of these guys argue it does, as if it’s real money and paper is just fake money. I don’t have anything to use gold for, therefore its perceived value to me is only that other people value it. Sounds a lot like my dollar bill. Sure, you can’t print it and crash its value in the same way you could a dollar, but when a handful of countries are responsible for the majority of the world’s gold production, it’s not as if there is no increase in the supply and it’s not like it’s some everyday item like a car. If people stopped wanting to wear it as jewelry, at all, its value would go plummeting. While a car, hey, I can drive the car, no matter what people believe its value is.

The idea is that the government (or its central bank) can arbitrarily reduce the value of paper money at any time, simply by making too much of it. That’s not possible with physical gold, rare historical exceptions like the Spanish over-exploitation of the South American gold mines notwithstanding.

The argument in itself is sound, but it overlooks the crucial fact that you mentioned: gold has almost no practical value at all, so unless it is in fact used as common currency its price is pure speculation. This is demonstrated by the crazy roller coaster curve of the gold price over the last decades which didn’t correspond to similar changes in the value of the dollar or other fiat currencies.

As an investment, gold is actually less safe than the big currencies due to these insane price fluctuations, plus the fact that you don’t get any dividends or interest. If you buy gold now, at an insane $1200 per ounce, you’re almost guaranteed to lose half your money or more over the next ten years. Very unlikely that US government bonds would fare as badly.

Gold has some limited practical value, but its primary value is that there is a fixed amount of it. The idea is that you should base your economy off of an unchangeable commodity. That’s pretty much bullcrap, but whatever.

As for gold being a shit investment, the wisdom that both Paul Harvey and my economics teacher way back in high school handed down to me was that you invest in gold if you feel insecure about all the markets, which is why gold is sometimes regarded as an early bellwether for potential stock market downturns. It would make sense that gold is ridiculously overpriced right now, given the general economic climate of the recent past. Of course, these are people who were still alive at points in time where it was possible that whole nations could potentially cease to exist, which is the other significant reason why you put your money in a durable commodity. You don’t buy Latverian Urgels or whatever their currency would be in this imagination example because Latveria could collapse and go bankrupt or whatever. I try not to pay attention to that any more.

I’m no goldbug, but…

Number of times gold has become nearly worthless in the last century or so: Zero

Number of times various paper currencies have become nearly worthless in the last century or so: Many

That’s the idea, but it’s not quite true. Over long periods of history the amount of gold in circulation has changed radically due to changes in discoveries and extraction technology.

Furthermore there are smaller regular and predictable changes in the quantity of gold in circulation due to the price of gold itself–when it goes up, it’s suddenly worthwhile to use different extraction or reclamation techniques. So it’s not some magical fixed quantity that never changes.

(In addition the velocity of money is not constant, which also throws monkey wrenches into the stable money supply argument, but that’s a whole 'nother issue.)

While not trusting the government with the money supply may seem appealing, it looks far less attractive when you realize switching to gold doesn’t mean eliminating changes in the money supply altogether. It just means changing the stream from a torrent to trickle and handing the faucet over to a different, and possibly less attractive, group of people.

From the perspective of a US citizen, for example, what’s the attraction of ditching the dollar? Right now the dollar is the world’s number one reserve currency, making all sorts of imports nice and cheap for the US consumer, and it’s under our control. Switch over to gold, by contrast, would be mean handing the keys to the money supply over to China, South Africa, and Russia, the world’s leading gold producers.

Which is why guys like Ron Paul are the loony fringe. They are proposing a radical solution to “solve” a nonexistent problem with the dollar, namely hyperinflation. It’s like suggesting you go into get your appendix removed when you’re perfectly healthy, just because something might possibly go wrong someday.

(And the fact that, yes, some people do sometimes come down with appendicitis is still not a good argument for undergoing risky surgery to fix a non-problem.)

Of course people in this thread have spent more time and thought thinking about the Gold Standard than this guy has, whose philosophy doesn’t seem to get any deeper than THE GUMMINT IS EEEVIL SHOOT EM ALL.

But that “worth” has nearly always been denominated in a paper currency. One could say the same about just about any commodity/ real asset (that the value never became nearly worthless).

My father’s interest in Persian carpets was sparked when it came just about the only way he could move value out of the country we were then in. Local currency had become worthless, and any gold/ foreign currency/ gems/ obvious valubles were being confiscated by customs on exit. A few old carpets however…

Well, yes, just about any commodity will hold value better than currency during a time of hyperinflation.

But gold makes for a particularly good store of value, in that it has been recognized as a valuable, rare store of value for millenia, it is valuable enough so that a small (by weight and size) amount can store a lot of value, and that it doesn’t rust/decompose.

Gold is an incredibly unreliable store of value. Check out this since 1970 graph - does that look like a stable currency to you?

Over the short term, its value is volatile. Over the long term, it is likely to retain value whereas many paper currencies will not.