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Saturday, 31 December 2011

Happy New Year

Have you read it yet?
Superman meets 1984, Superman wins.
Back from the Christmas madness - working so many hours without a day off, that if I did not work for myself it would be illegal.

Well we say goodbye to 2011 a rather successful year all round if I do say so myself and so now at work preparations begin for Christmas 2012.

Looking Back...

1_ Gold looks to have gained somewhere around $200 per troy ounce so a reasonable 12% gain on the year, more if you caught the bottom of the market in February. On the markets the most exciting news is that there is a global 1 million tonne cocoa shortage which explains why all the sweets have gotten so expensive this year.

2_ Mixed business results - locally trade is abysmal although we managed a record December it wasn't enough to counter the rest of the year. Internet sales up by over 50% though and strong showing from the new 'sell your stuff on eBay' and bullion and coin businesses. Still managed to end the year creditor free and with too much stock so in a good position for next year.

Looking forward...

1_ Expecting gold prices to continue to fall until sometime in February at which point gold will shoot up through the rest of the year. Now is the time to get on board and I shall be going into as much debt as they will lend me to BUY GOLD in the next six weeks or so. I am expecting at least a 25% return so borrowing money even at 10% makes sense... now if I can just catch the bottom of the market.

2_ Aiming to double international sales next year at least but expecting sales locally to continue to slump. I fully expect a 2 or 3% increase in GST at some point on top of the social security increase which hits in January. After long and agonising thought I am going to sell my collection of US comics in the New Year mind you if it is anything like my attempt to sell my role-playing games collection which occurred last year then I will end up with five times as much as I started with and still make a profit. The plan is to turn into into something more moveable like... GOLD. Maybe I am turning into a dragon who knows.

3_ Will the world end on the 21st December? Not long to find out now. I'm keeping an open mind but I figure it is safer to work on the basis that it doesn't because if it does then it doesn't matter.

4_ The US$ is as strong as it has been for a long, long time so expect some bad economic news to be coming out of the US in the not too distant future. The election season kicks off January 3rd with the first round of the Iowa Caucus. Let's hope Ron Paul makes a strong showing.

I hope all readers have had a successful 2011 and wish you all good fortune in 2012.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Euro Crisis leads to strong dollar = weak US economy

The ongoing crisis in the Euro zone has had the expected reaction from investors who are indulging in a perceived 'flight to safety' in the US dollar. I say perceived because the economic effects of a string dollar will lead to decreased exports and increased imports which will damage the already frail US economy.

The only option available to weaken the US dollar is yet more quantative easing or in plain terms to print more money. When the supply of US dollars increases whilst the supply of commodities remains the same the simple economic effect is to raise the price of commodities.

So why is the price of gold and silver falling?

Well firstly the price of gold is always expressed in US dollars so a strong US dollar means a lower price in GB pounds.

Secondly there is the herding effect... US dollars look like a good short term gamble and those professional traders are following the sound bet and riding the wave. All waves inevitably break but most of these investors are nimble enough to get off at just the right time.

Thirdly we are nearing the option expiry date for the COMEX. It is traditional at these times for the market makers such as HSBC and JP Morgan to take down the market.. Gold generally has a cyclical downturn between now and the February options expiry. But the US dollar conundrum adds a further twist to expectations. The US dollar will head back down in due course and when it does the price of gold will rise accordingly. At the moment silver is trading at £18 per troy ounce and gold at £1,040 per troy ounce.

I'm eagerly watching for the right time to buy in... £15 for silver and £1,000 for gold? There should be some massive gains to be made if you can time the bottom of the market which will fall at some point during the next two months.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Why are there no political parties in Jersey?

Deputy Tadier on his blog interviews the knowledgeable and insightful Dr Forskitt on the prospects of political parties in Jersey.
Parties are about so much more than elections,
how hard could it be to start a proper one in Jersey?

Now I am a firm believer that only with the assistance of political parties can any democratic state effectively function as a true expression of the will of the people, a view coincidentally shared by the Council of Europe.

So I want to examine what would actually be required for a political party to function effectively and to look at the different roles that a political party will take.

1) POLICY FORMATION

Now policy formation is a long and complex process which many people would rather not have any more than a cursory role in, but you need to break it down into bite sized chunks.

For example within the policy making function you would need to have a series of sub-groups which would look at specific areas of policy, to make it easy form ten panels each of which would 'shadow' one of the ministerial departments.

There would of course have to be some cross-over between the groups but say ten panels of ten people each person serving on two would be sufficient to ensure some form of cohesiveness and enough diversity of opinion that every aspect of an issue should be raised and a best way forward identified.

2) A SOCIAL CLUB

Every party will have a private members club in each constituency which will serve to unite the members, I believe that the operation of the National Trust for Jersey would serve best in this area. They have regular events - lectures, cultural events such as black butter making, music concerts, open days for their properties, educational events. In fact the National Trust for Jersey is the closest thing to a political party that exists in Jersey at the current time.

3) CANVASSING, POLLING AND LOCAL ISSUES

Party activity continues even in years when there is not an election. Local issues can be bought to the awareness of local councillors or MP's through the party apparatus. Do not be fooled into thinking that an MP's duties do not include the citing of bus stops, interceding with government departments on behalf of constituents and many other things which specifically serve only one constituent. The MP may not personally handle these matters as they generally have a small staff and volunteers but every person served is a vote, potentially.

4) ELECTING MEMBERS TO COUNCILS AND PARLIAMENT

The final role is in supporting candidates in elections both financially and in terms of knocking on doors. In the UK you may not see the candidate but the chances are that someone from each party will call in to see you during any campaign.

So where do you find 50 people in Jersey with sufficient interest and motivation to form a party?

The UK Labour party has just ten aims but take out the aims which are to do with the operation of the party and you are left with just one: Pursue social justice through community, co-operation and freedom of endeavour.

The UK Conservative Party aims are: To improve the quality of life for everyone through: A dynamic economy, where thriving businesses create jobs, wealth and opportunity. A strong society, where our families, our communities and our nation create secure foundations on which people can build their lives. A sustainable environment, where we enhance the beauty of our surroundings and protect the future of the planet.

The truth is that almost anyone could sign up to either party - the test is how these aims are subsequently broken down and the methods which are employed to achieve them.

In any party structure the members would have to realise that not everything would necessarily be to their liking but as long as things were generally moving in the right direction, sometimes you just have to accept that democracy means you can be outvoted. Each member will sometimes be required needs to subordinate their individual desires to the will of the whole.

Any nascent political party would of course function best without any 'independent' politicians as publicly identified members, a party needs to grow from the people not from the States Chamber. A party I believe would function best without a leader who after all only serves any real purpose inside the Parliament. The parliamentary party is only one small part of what a political party does.

There are many politically aware people in Jersey, but there is no cohesion, no sense of common purpose and no form of association between these free individuals.

The first step is to identify a simple aim that as many of those motivated and politically aware individuals as possible can get behind - when someone has written it let me know, I'll get behind it. Until any attempt is made to get a candidate elected it is only a think tank and social club.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The European sovereign debt crisis is barely beginning.

It will come as no surprise to those of us who remember the 1970's and 80's but government intervention prolongs recession and depression. But looking back to the 1920's and 1930's it is possible to see what the likely outcome of government intervention through 'stimulus packages' will be for us.



Europe’s leaders met recently to try and resolve Europe’s ongoing crisis. The markets themselves are indicating what the outcome in Europe will be. They are all starting to break down, which indicates that Europe will NOT solve its crisis.

For one thing, Europe continues to refuse to deal with the real problem. That problem is that Europe never created a fiscal union to begin with. In short, they left all the member states’ debts out there on the table and did not create a unified debt structure in the way of Eurobonds, like U.S. Treasury bonds. That was a fatal mistake, one of many. They continue to neglect that one mistake and even now refuse to create Eurobonds. So that ill-conceived foundation for the euro persists.

Moreover, the agreement they are supposedly hammering out this weekend is merely going to make matters worse. Unbelievably, France and Germany are moving to exercise direct control over the national budgets of other European Union member states. That’s effectively asking countries such as Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece and all others to give up their sovereignty to France and Germany.

Even if those countries agree now, down the road it’s just going to seal the fate of the European Union because very simply, there is no way those countries will kowtow for long to Germany and France.

And to top it all off, the European Central Bank (ECB) continues to refuse to print money, which although inflationary, is the one thing that could really help. It would allow the ECB to create a Eurobond market, which would relieve pressure on the bankrupt European countries.

There is no end to Europe’s problems in sight. Perhaps a glimmer of hope here and there, but no resolution. Which is precisely what the markets are telling you! Europe’s crisis is leading to a flight of capital into the dollar, more so than into commodities. When the sovereign debt crisis hits the United States and the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. dollar — that’s when you will see the true next leg up in commodities.

Some stock investors never seem to learn. They hope and pray for a new government rescue from Washington or Brussels. They wait with bated breath for each official sign of money printing, interest-rate cuts, or financial bailouts.

Then, as soon as something is finally announced, they breathe a sigh of relief, applaud with enthusiasm, even buy a stock or two.

But it's a fool's game. Because within a few months — or even just a few days — the government rescue crumbles, investors run for cover, and, ironically, they begin a whole new cycle of hoping and praying for the NEXT big rescue. Just this year alone, European authorities have held 19 high-level emergency meetings ... proposed dozens of rescue packages ... and delivered an endless stream of promises.

Since the crisis began, we've seen four PIIGS bailouts (Greece twice, Ireland and Portugal) ... the creation of two European bailout funds (ESFS and ESM) ... plus countless central bank interventions to buy sinking PIIGS bonds.

What have they gained from all this? Nothing! In fact ...

The Danger of Systemic Collapse Is Far Greater Today Than at Almost Any Time Since the Debt Crisis Began

The European Union is the biggest economy in the world — close to $15 trillion in GDP. When it sinks, so does the U.S. and much of the world. European banks are roughly THREE times larger than U.S. banks. When they're forced to cut their lending drastically, global capital shortages hit hard. Most frightening of all, the U.S. has committed most of the same mistakes as Europe — the same kind of massive debts, deficits, and failed bailouts. And now the European Union is crumbling, threatening a systemic collapse far larger than the near meltdown witnessed in the wake of the Lehman Brothers collapse in 2008.

How do I know a dangerous new meltdown is so likely?

Because that's what the objective data proves. In fact, to measure and track this danger as accurately as possible, I use the Debt Danger Index for Europe. This index is based on the total cost of insuring against sovereign debt defaults in each of five key countries — Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

So it directly reflects the danger of European debt disasters, regardless of the sentiment in the stock market. Reason: Unlike stock market investors, sellers of these specialized insurance contracts see through the hype and hoopla of government bailouts and rescues.

If the danger of debt default is rising, they charge a higher premium for the insurance and my index goes up. If the danger of default is subsiding, they charge a lower premium and the index goes down. Now, just look at how the Debt Danger Index has surged:


Four years ago, before the U.S. housing bust and the Greek debt crisis, the sovereign debts of large European countries were considered beyond reproach. Default was unthinkable. And any talk of wholesale collapse was considered science fiction. So the cost of insuring against default was a pittance:

To insure a $50-million portfolio — allocated equally among sovereign bonds of Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain — the total cost was a meager $28,649 per year. Care to venture a guess as to how much it costs now?

The cost of insuring the same $50-million portfolio today is a whopping $2,258,200 per year, or 78.8 times more!

In other words, based on the market for these insurance contracts, the danger of a wholesale European debt disaster — with the potential to melt down the global banking system — is now nearly 79 times greater today than it was four years ago.

Massive Policy Failure

What about all the trillions of dollars and euros committed to money printing, bailouts, and guarantees? What did they do to stem the crisis? Nothing, absolutely nothing!

Quite the contrary, even the most massive and dramatic government interventions only made the crisis worse. Want proof?

Then take a look at the timeline in the chart below. It's the same Debt Danger Index I showed you in the previous chart, but this time zeroing in on just the last two years:


Here's a timeline of the four most important government actions:

April 2010 — the first Greek bailout. What did it do? Nothing! The Debt Danger Index was rising at a steady pace before the bailout announcement ... and it continued to do so after the announcement.

May 2010 — the $1 trillion European bailout fund (EFSF). Now, THIS was supposed to be the be-all, end-all Mother of All Bailouts. Instead, it was the cue for a whole new wave of the crisis … and the Debt Danger Index promptly resumed its steep rise.

July 2011 — the second Greek bailout. Finally a solution? Of course not! Instead of reducing the Debt Danger Index, it merely helped drive it sharply higher.

This past Friday, December 9, 2011 — Europe's "new fiscal pact." The grand bargain that markets were praying for? Far from it!

The European Central Bank will NOT provide the money printing that investors were hoping for. England will NOT sign on to the deal. And even most of the countries that DO join the pact — including big movers and shakers like France and Germany — are merely making the same old promises that they've already broken repeatedly in the past.

The debt crisis is barely beginning but already nations have shown that they lack the political will to make the right decision, even if it may cause political difficulties, that is to cut government expenditure and start paying down debt.

The longer they try to avoid doing so the worse the situation is going to get.

Monday, 12 December 2011

What to look for in the UK by-election this week

The by-election will demonstrate how much progress UKIP
have made as a result of the most recent developments
with the EU.
The Felton & Hesham by election due to take place on the 15th December 2011 will be the first in the UK since May. The expectation is that the result will run - Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem, Others but this will be the first real test of the vote following the unveiling of the ongoing crisis in Europe.

UKIP is aiming to push the Lib Dem's into third place but the deeper concern is that UKIP could cause a divide in the Centre-Right vote in the UK and become a headache to the Conservatives causing them to lose key marginal seats.

"The existence of both the Liberal Party (later the Liberal Democrats) and Labour had ripped asunder the country's centre-left majority, bequeathing a Tory-dominated 20th century"
writes historian David Marquand (one wonders what happened to the 'le') in his book the Progressive Dilemma.

We have now suffered 65 years of the welfare state experiment and people are gradually moving towards the Libertarian philosophy, which combines the economic freedoms of the right with the personal freedoms of the Liberals to attract a wide base of support. Libertarianism is not really a Centre-right philosophy, although the press struggle to recognise anything beyond the left-right economic cleavage at the present time.

They will be hoping to draw people away from the BNP who polled 4th at the last election with their anti-immigration policies.

George Hallam is contesting the seat for the London People Before Profit party. His organisation has grown out of Lewisham People Before Profit, a pressure group and political party formed to counter what they claim is the privatisation of public services. The party contested council, mayoral and Parliamentary elections in Lewisham in May 2010, and polled about 6,000 votes. It also intends to fight the Greater London Assembly elections in May next year with candidates from the area and an all-London party top-up list. A party spokesman said: "George Hallam's candidacy will give people outside Lewisham their first chance to vote for a People Before Profit candidate and will give an impetus to individuals and groups of campaigners in south-west London who are setting up People Before Profit groups on a borough by borough basis." Mr Hallam has lived in London since 1979 and in Lewisham since 1991 and has been an active campaigner.

Daniel Goldsmith is the Green Party candidate. An IT consultant who lives in Chiswick, he is concerned with air quality in the borough and believes his party can make London more affordable for ordinary people.

He said: "I live in Chiswick and can get to Feltham town centre in less than 30 minutes by train so I won't be charging expenses for a second home. "A railcard will be fine for me. I will highlight the issue of air pollution, which is worse than World Health Organisation limits in parts of Feltham and Heston, and call for action to resolve this. The Green Party are determined to close the gap between rich and poor and we will fight to raise the minimum wage in London to £8.30 - the current level of the London Living Wage - so work pays and no parent needs to do two jobs to make ends meet."

David Bishop is from the Bus Pass Elvis party. Mr Bishop, who lives in Nottingham, has stood in the past five General Elections, as well as by-elections in Haltemprice and Howden in 2008 and Oldham East and Saddleworth in January this year. For Feltham and Heston voters, Mr Bishop is promising to campaign to save public lavatories from extinction, fighting any move to scrapping OAP bus passes and banning fast food corporations from sponsoring sporting events.

ROGER COOPER is standing from the English Democrats. He is retired and holds the position of London and Middlesex Chairman for his party.

David Furness is the British National Party candidate. In the General Election of 2010, the BNP vote put the candidate John Donnelly in fourth place, behind the three main parties, but ahead of both the Green Party and UKIP.

The other four candidates; Lib Dem Roger Crouch, Labour's Seema Malthotra, Conservative Mark Bowen, and UKIP candidate Andrew Charalambous.

Mr Keen held the seat for Labour in 2010 with a reduced majority of 4,658. The seat will no longer exist in 2015 as it will be carved up into three under the review of constituency boundaries.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

It is a golden goose not a 'flying banana'

The Jersey Evening Post reports

'A REPEAT of the ‘flying banana’ controversy has been avoided after a last-minute intervention by the new Chief Minister. Senator Ian Gorst stepped in to stop taxpayers’ money being spent employing a private design company to create a logo for a website used by States employees.

Earlier this year, employees were asked to come up with a name for the new States intranet service, a system that allows them to communicate using their computers. The competition was won by a civil servant at Home Affairs, who came up with the name MyStates. When the winning entry was announced, all States employees were told that a professional agency would design a new logo to go with the name.

But when St John Constable Phil Rondel heard of the plans, he contacted Senator Gorst to point out that spending money on designing a logo was not appropriate while some Islanders were struggling to make ends meet.'

Firstly there is some good news, Phil Rondel doing the usual stand up job for the people of Jersey and Ian Gorst showing that he can listen to a reasoned argument and make decisions. Why you need a logo for an intranet service which one presumes no one but States Employees will ever use is beyond me...

I am sure it is just one of the many ways that our Civil Servants devise to waste taxpayers money. There are big budgets and all the money needs to be spent. I am sure that there is something hidden in there... as far as I knew all States employees could already communicate using their computers. I certainly have no trouble e-mailing them.

Secondly though there is the repeat of the 'flying banana' idea. Clearly the logo looks nothing like a banana. I submit to you that it is in fact a golden bird in flight, stylised none the less, but without doubt a golden bird, perhaps even a golden goose.

The message is clear - Jersey is a place to land your gold safely. The trouble with marketing Jersey in such a way, rather than pretending to be the village idiot who has been taken advantage of by 'evil bankers' is that you invite attention. If you establish your intentions as to attract Capital away from other jurisdictions then you invite others to seek to prevent you from your aims.
Once the government becomes involved in supporting certain industries, it inevitable invites other governments to interfere.
The bad news for Jersey is that the United Kingdom by vetoing the EU deal appears to be laying the groundwork to become the offshore financial centre for the European Union and the United States.
As a potential safe haven for your Capital the United Kingdom is far and away a clear favourite. Is it becoming clear that the the UK financial services sector have used Jersey as a sandbox to develop and test the future of the UK financial sector.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Shoppers need car parks not office blocks

Removing Car Parking from Town
Forces people to shop on the internet.
Back in 2009 I made the concious decision to focus my business on the non-local market. I could see which way the wind was blowing. The madness of continued pedestrianisation, the endless tax increases impoverishing the local people.

Local retail sales are at 60% of what they were in 2008 so it seems that this was a wise decision.

Now I am the cheapest on the internet for what I sell, in the UK on some lines we are the fourth largest account behind only Argos, John Lewis and H Samuel and of course my one store in Jersey's Central Market will always struggle to compete against huge chains such as these.

Our internet business has grown 50% year on year for the past three years. We have become bullion dealers, we offer an eBay selling service. Next year we are going to launch yet more businesses.

Recession is a time when fortunes are lost and made; there were more millionaires created during the great depression than at any other time.

We haven't given up on our core business, but the government seems determined to destroy retail as it destroyed tourism and is well on the way to destroying the finance industry.

Whilst we have adapted and grown the Government of Jersey has stuck doggedly to its obviously flawed plans. It is irreparably damaging the economy but still they will not take the required steps and de-regulate, lower taxes and just stand aside and let those of us with some business acumen clear up their mess.

Retail sales have fallen by 5% according to official figures this year (5% is the maximum recordable decrease on the form they send round to businesses so who knows how far it really fell) and Liberty Wharf is failing particularly badly.

We have heard the usual excuses - 
  1. the internet is undercutting us
  2. people aren't spending because of the economic situation
Well here are the facts -
  1. There is no parking in town
  2. The vehicular access to town is so congested that it is impossible to get to anyway
  3. When you cut incomes (with less than inflation rises) and raise taxes there is less disposable income
There has been a complete lack of criticism of the government and their policy which lies at the very heart of the problem.

We do not need or want the Waterfront, we never have and I doubt we ever will. Just because the government has decided that it wishes to enter the business of being a Commercial landlord does not mean that everyone is suddenly going to agree to be their tenant.

The decision to do away with the Esplanade car park is quite simply self-defeating. If no one can park to get to Liberty Wharf then who is going to go there?

Parking is the big issue, make parking free on Saturdays and more people would come to town.

It is that simple.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Loss of LVCR is no threat to business

Shipments will no longer be sent from Jersey,
but the profits will keep on coming.
How will the government react?
Finally the long awaited details of how low value consignment relief have been revealed and I suspected it is a minor change which will only affect those businesses which have sprung up specifically to exploit the regulations.

Normal businesses such as my own do not file VAT returns when shipping goods to the EU, the VAT is payable by the recipient on receipt. Just as you or I pay the GST on items imported to Jersey, they are not paid by the company that supplies the goods.

Where fulfilment businesses differ is that they voluntarily file VAT returns with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in the UK and pay the VAT on items over the £15 value (formerly £18). The change is that now these companies will have to pay the full VAT on all items irrespective of the value of the goods.

So what is the obvious next development for these businesses?

The Company will be divided into two. The cost part of the business is the fulfilment and this will be spun off as a subsidiary.

The cost of labour and commercial property in Jersey is artificially inflated by government programs, most notably the rental subsidy offered by income support which drives up both the rental value of property and the cost of living in Jersey meaning that wages must be higher than in the UK. Therefore the businesses will simply move this part of the operation to the UK. The UK government is offering grants for businesses to relocate for example to Wales which already has a large fulfilment operation. The company will thus make a large saving in this area.

The orders and the payments for those orders will still be collected in Jersey, but the goods will be stored in the warehouses in the UK. The Jersey company will have to pay input VAT on the orders. The customer will place their order with the Jersey Company, who will pass the address for delivery to the UK subsidiary. The UK subsidiary will package the goods and ship them out for a fixed fee (plus perhaps a storage charge for the goods). This process is already used by Amazon fulfilment which many sellers use to ship their goods.

The profit will not be affected as the saving in costs of labour and rents will be offset by the increased VAT paid. The profits will still accumulate in Jersey where they will pay 0% tax until the company pays out a dividend.

It is only the government which may be affected as if the 1,700 jobs go in the Channel Islands, the income tax and social security will no longer be collected.

The stark choice for the government is to cut back on spending to account for this or to try to raise taxes. I know which I want them to do, but I suspect they will simply raise GST which is of course the more beneficial in the long run as is will cause harm to the Jersey economy cutting their ability to raise revenue further and in the end forcing even deeper cuts in expenditure.

I just hope they are not stupid enough to issue a legal challenge against the UK when it serves no one, certainly not the best interests of the people of Jersey.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

£4 million to help unemployed or?

As was pointed out on thisisjersey,com the caption should read
'Employment - Our Highest Priority'
A few days ago the first initiative of Ian Gorst's reign was announced, an 'Action Plan For Jobs'. This coincided neatly with a new initiative in the United Kingdom by the Liberal Democrat party.

The reaction of the UK press was 'well it didn't work in the 80's so why are we repeating our mistake?'.

So what is businesses reactions to such schemes?

Most large businesses have a reasonably high turnover of staff, people leave and new people are being employed constantly, so instead of re-employing they will now take on subsidised employees in line with the government program - net effect a subsidy to the business.

At the end of the six month period, the business faces such a harsh regulatory environment that if there is not absolute certainty that the person will be able to complete the role successfully then they will terminate the contract before the person 'qualifies' for the statutory 'protections'. To train someone to be able to do a job properly without supervision takes about two years and in some trades far longer.

For smaller businesses there is no advantage, but for larger businesses who can afford to take on twenty staff in the expectation that one or two may prove suitable for the longer term it is a great bonus.

I do not know which companies are going to use the scheme but I suspect that it will be Sandpiper. Sandpiper have a high turnover of staff anyway so this will just be a £4 million subsidy, which will not achieve the objectives of the government or serve the Island in any way in the longer term.

The phrase 'blank cheque' is a key point; blank cheque is 'enough rope to hang yourself'. If Ian Gorst fails to deliver then questions about why the money was wasted will inevitably fail. Ian Gorst must of course fail as you cannot simply create jobs that do not exist, except in Government 'make work' jobs.

'He will triumph who knows when to act and when not to act'

I believe that Ian Gorst genuinely wants to tackle the problem and fulfil his election promises and you cannot criticise him for that; but good intentions are not enough, you need workable solutions - the only workable solutions are cutting regulation, cutting taxation and cutting back on government.

Ian is either trapped in the false notion that Government can provide solutions or we are back to costly publicity stunts at our expense.

'Statistical solutions' which will give an illusion of success including - encouraging emigration, increased numbers of students, back to work programs, increased numbers of long term sick - only affect the statistics not the problem. But in this era of politicians 'kicking the can down the road' and avoiding having to personally make the right choices and risk losing their incomes, I fear that Ian will simply take the easy way out, the way which will not risk losing his seat, and doctor the stats.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Lessons from History: The Fall of Rome


The Welfare State was born from the shared experience of the Second World War. The events pulled the community together to achieve a common goal in war. They admirably attempted to preserve this spirit in peacetime. They succeeded but only as long as those people who had experienced the horror of war remained alive to pass on their hard earned wisdom.

Rome fell over centuries, a catalog of avoidable errors
bought it to its knees. The same mistakes are being made
in the Western World today.
The people who fought and lived at that time are dying out, now largely only those who were just children remain. The experience of the later generations has been substantially different; they have suffered no hardship, they have not been drawn together in the same way as a community.

The Welfare State has failed to adapt to the modern social conciousness. A perfect example of this has been provided by philanthropist David Kirsch whose Christmas gift of £100 to every person in Jersey has been abused - with every person over 70 taking the money even those who have absolutely no need of it. That is the problem with entitlements, if you are entitled, you take, irrespective of need.

It is this combined with a lack of responsibility for oneself and blind faith in the government and the welfare state that is, in my opinion, the cause of its undoing. Humans are by nature, lazy (it is a biological imperative to conserve energy). We can come together in times of peril, but in the absence of peril there is the absence of community.

Government has removed the peril from our lives, but like many individuals has become obsessed with its own concerns at the expense of the general good. It has entered into debt to bribe voters. Its decisions are for sale to the highest bidder.

We are at a time of unsound economies, military build-up, rising taxation, increasing restrictions on personal freedoms... just as happened at the end of the Roman Empire. Can you be certain that the results will be any different now to those that history have shown to occur?

Economist Ludwig von Mises argued that unsound economic policies played a key role in the impoverishment and decay of the Roman Empire. According to them, by the 2nd century AD, the Roman Empire had developed a complex market economy in which trade was relatively free. Tariffs were low and laws controlling the prices of foodstuffs and other commodities had little impact because they did not fix the prices significantly below their market levels. After the 3rd century, however, debasement of the currency (i.e., the minting of coins with diminishing content of gold, silver, and bronze) led to inflation.

The price control laws then resulted in prices that were significantly below their free-market equilibrium levels.

According to von Mises, artificially low prices led to the scarcity of foodstuffs, particularly in cities, whose inhabitants depended on trade to obtain them. Despite laws passed to prevent migration from the cities to the countryside, urban areas gradually became depopulated and many Roman citizens abandoned their specialized trades to practice subsistence agriculture. This, coupled with increasingly oppressive and arbitrary taxation, led to a severe net decrease in trade, technical innovation, and the overall wealth of the Empire

The beginning of debasement can be traced to the reign of Nero. [Debasement began in 1971]

The emperors increasingly relied on the army as the sole source of their power, and therefore their economic policy was driven more and more by a desire to increase military funding in order to buy the army's loyalty. [No attempt to reduce military spending even though no one to fight/defend against]

By the 3rd century, the monetary economy had collapsed. But the imperial government was now in a position where it had to satisfy the demands of the army at all costs. Failure to do so would result in the army forcibly deposing the emperor and installing a new one.
Therefore, being unable to increase monetary taxes [just like now], the Roman Empire had to resort to direct requisitioning of physical goods anywhere it could find them [think $160 billion frozen assets from Egypt & Libya]- for example taking food and cattle from farmers. The result was social chaos, and this led to different responses from the authorities and from the common people.

The authorities tried to restore order by requiring free people (i.e. non-slaves) to remain in the same occupation or even at the same place of employment. Eventually, this practice was extended to force children to follow the same occupation as their parents. So, for instance, farmers were tied to the land, and the sons of soldiers had to become soldiers themselves. [Think employment laws binding you to your place of work]

Many common people reacted by moving to the countryside, sometimes joining the estates of the wealthy, and in general trying to be self-sufficient and interact as little as possible with the imperial authorities. Thus Roman society began to dissolve into a number of separate estates that operated as closed systems, provided for all their own needs and did not engage in trade at all. [Think move to green and libertarian philosophies]

The presence of large communities of immigrants within the Empire and the army who eventually rebelled and the drastic climate change of 535 AD (probably caused by a volcanic eruption) also undermined the structures of Empire.

Can you see any similarities?

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Satyagraha and the Freeman on the Land

Ron Paul a man who does not compromise interests
A man who is willing to sacrifice office to conviction
In the finest tradition of 'Real Leaders'
Sometime ago now I examined the principals of individual responsibility as the foundation of the path to enlightenment as propounded by every single one of the world's religion.


Max Weber (one of the founders of Sociology) wrote "The real leader's task is not merely to compromise interests as if politics were like a market place, but to take a stand on issues that transcend material interests. A person is more likely to care about such issues, and be willing to sacrifice office to conviction, if he is financially independent - he must live 'for', not 'off' politics."


Newt Gingrich is one politician who compromises 
interests as if politics were a marketplace.
There may be some in Jersey who follow his example


The majority of political leaders in the former empire have historically attained pre-eminence following a period of imprisonment by the British colonial authorities. Gandhi is perhaps the most famous..


"Satyagraha" is a compound of the Sanskrit words satya (meaning "truth") and Agraha ("insistence", or "holding firmly to"). For Gandhi, satyagraha went far beyond mere "passive resistance" and became strength in practising non-violent methods.

In his words:
Truth (satya) implies love, and firmness (agraha) engenders and therefore serves as a synonym for force. I thus began to call the Indian movement Satyagraha, that is to say, the Force which is born of Truth and Love or non-violence, and gave up the use of the phrase “passive resistance”, in connection with it, so much so that even in English writing we often avoided it and used instead the word “satyagraha” itself or some other equivalent English phrase.
Gandhi proposed a series of rules for satyagrahis to follow in a resistance campaign:


  1. harbour no anger
  2. suffer the anger of the opponent
  3. never retaliate to assaults or punishment; but do not submit, out of fear of punishment or assault, to an order given in anger
  4. voluntarily submit to arrest or confiscation of your own property
  5. if you are a trustee of property, defend that property (non-violently) from confiscation with your life
  6. do not curse or swear
  7. do not insult the opponent
  8. neither salute nor insult the flag of your opponent or your opponent’s leaders
  9. if anyone attempts to insult or assault your opponent, defend your opponent (non-violently) with your life
  10. as a prisoner, behave courteously and obey prison regulations (except any that are contrary to self-respect)
  11. as a prisoner, do not ask for special favourable treatment
  12. as a prisoner, do not fast in an attempt to gain conveniences whose deprivation does not involve any injury to your self-respect
  13. joyfully obey the orders of the leaders of the civil disobedience action
  14. do not pick and choose amongst the orders you obey; if you find the action as a whole improper or immoral, sever your connection with the action entirely
  15. do not make your participation conditional on your comrades taking care of your dependents while you are engaging in the campaign or are in prison; do not expect them to provide such support
  16. do not become a cause of communal quarrels
  17. do not take sides in such quarrels, but assist only that party which is demonstrably in the right; in the case of inter-religious conflict, give your life to protect (non-violently) those in danger on either side
  18. avoid occasions that may give rise to communal quarrels
  19. do not take part in processions that would wound the religious sensibilities of any community

Gandhi in effect not only embodies the purest principals that Weber suggests we should look for in our 'leaders' but does so in an enlightened manner which at all times stayed within the 'Common Law', which I would suggest is the basis of 'self-respect'.

The Freeman of the Land movement is in and of itself a campaign of Satyagraha, a philosophy of non-violent system, non-co-operation with a State that relies on force and intimidation to assert its authority. If all of Jersey were to simply refuse to pay parking tickets the system would collapse.


I have been told that no one in Jersey dare rock the boat, because it is such a nice boat to be onboard. That may have been true once but not these days.


As matters deteriorate, which they will do fast over the next three years, it is essential that a credible alternative exists that the people of Jersey can turn to. Government is only creating problems, not offering solutions. If people cannot turn to government then they must turn to themselves.

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Are we sleepwalking into showdown?

Troops are due to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan within
two years, but will they be 'withdrawing' into Iran?
Many apologies to Jersey readers but in the absence of anything very much at all happening I am going to concentrate on the main areas of Ron Paul's US presidential campaign. There is a longer term purpose to this but all will be revealed in due course.


Did I mention I really like what Ron Paul has to say? He's my hero!


Not only that but the US elections are having a huge effect on what is going on in the world.  The US elections on November 7th 2012 are what the world is waiting for, for the financial system is being held together for. And of course the ongoing preparations (including running the propaganda machine) for the invasion of Iran. There is nothing like a war to unite a nation. Of course US intervention in the middle east is nothing like a war... legally anyway.


You might also wonder if the two most endebted countries in the world, the US and the UK can afford to go to war, and that is a good question.


You may fool some people some of the time but not all the people all the time. The earthy wisdom of Abe Lincoln, the US president credited with uniting America and ending slavery, is repeatedly challenged by his own country. 


Seems you can’t just fool all the people all the time, you can get away with murder by lying through your teeth. What happened in Iraq eight years ago appears all set to repeat itself as the Western powers gang up against Iran. And you thought the world has learnt its lessons from the catastrophe of Iraq. 


Savaged by the trillion-dollar wars being waged by the US and its Nato allies, coupled with the open loot and corruption on the Wall Street, the world economy is battling for its life. Look at the god-awful mess in Europe. Who would have thought a decade ago, at the time of the Western invasion of Afghanistan, and then Iraq, that the rich European Union and euro would be faced with the calamity they are facing today? Even the with-us-or-against-us leader of the Free World, who had persuaded himself he was on a divine mission to save Israel from its imagined enemies, seemed to have his share of doubts about the whole circus when he left the White House.


Of course, those weapons of mass destruction that Saddam Hussein was supposed to have piled up to attack the peace-loving, democratic state of Israel are yet to be found, and this is not to mention the million-plus Iraqis who have paid with their lives for the Oedipal insecurities of the most powerful man on the planet. 


Yet here we are back once again sleepwalking, eyes wide shut, towards yet another calamitous showdown. It’s deja vu all over again as the Goebbelsian propaganda machine bombards us with the characteristically disingenuous fiction masquerading as “facts” and “expert opinion” about the clear and present danger the world faces in Iran. 


Just as the UN and its numerous experts were used to build the case against Iraq, the IAEA’s services are being employed today to corner Tehran. In its latest report, the UN nuclear watchdog suggests Iran may have developed necessary knowhow and expertise to build a nuclear weapon after receiving “critical support from foreign scientists.” Since when has knowledge become a crime? 


In putting Iran in the dock, the International Atomic Energy Agency has trashed its own findings and numerous reports by its experts after endless inspections of Iranian nuclear sites. All of them dismissed the possibility Tehran is working on the bomb – a fact that was corroborated by the US intelligence agencies in the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate. 


The latest IAEA report is based on the “evidence” provided by a Russian scientist, who is supposed to have helped the Iranians in building the detonation system for nuclear weapons, and data found on a stolen laptop! Russia, which has helped Iran with its nuclear power program over the years, has dismissed the claim with utmost contempt.


Robert Kelley, a retired IAEA director and nuclear scientist, is amused by the agency’s claim. In a conversation with The New Yorker’s Seymour Hersh – on the subject that most of the information on which the latest IAEA report is based came from a single “source,” a laptop computer allegedly supplied to the agency by a Western intelligence agency – he said: “This is old news and known to many journalists. I wonder why this same stuff is now considered new information by those same reporters.” 


Tehran has rejected the IAEA claim as being stage-managed by the West. Considering that the US contributes 26 percent of the IAEA’s annual budget and has many US officials serving on the board, the claim is hardly exaggerated. The UN watchdog, instead of enforcing nuclear non-proliferation and confronting the big powers on their hoards of nukes, is increasingly acting like a US government outfit. Unlike Israel, North Korea, India and Pakistan, Iran is a signatory to the NPT and has allowed regular international inspections of its nuclear sites.


But we have been here before, haven’t we? In the run-up to the Iraq invasion, many such experts were produced out of Uncle Sam’s hat. From the fiction of Iraq sourcing uranium from Niger to Blair’s claim of Saddam Hussein being within 45 minutes’ striking distance of a WMD attack on the UK, the history of colonial deceptions is endless. 


And thanks to the blessings of the Internet, every blatant lie and piece of the charade that passes for international diplomacy in the run-up to the Iraq invasion has been preserved for posterity. Just Google and see for yourself. The resemblance of Iraq 2003 with Iran 2011 is uncanny. 


The same saga of subterfuge continues against Iran, notwithstanding the historical irony that it was the US and Israel that had originally helped Tehran build its nuclear programme in the 1970s, in an attempt to squeeze the Arabs. Indeed, Israel was supposed to supply Reza Shah Pehlavi with missiles and nuclear warheads. 


The programme was abandoned in haste when people power threw the Shah out in 1979, forcing him to seek refuge with the very Arabs he loved to hate. His old friends in the West had spurned him, just as they recently abandoned Hosni Mubarak, Ben Ali and Qaddafi. The Shah died a broken man in Cairo in 1980, only a year after the Iranian Revolution. 


What cruel irony of history that today the same Arabs are being hammered into believing that Islamist Iran, and not Israel and its powerful partisans with a large nuclear arsenal and a long history of aggression, is their worst enemy! 


For eight long years, Bush and fellow-crusaders obsessed over Tehran, dreaming of doing an Iraq to Iran. Not because the long-sanctioned, Iran with its archaic weaponry and crippled economy, was a threat to world peace, but because Israel said so. Indeed, but for the “shock and awe” that the Empire faced in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran might have been the third front in America’s war. 


And the irony of ironies: the man who as a senator voted against the Iraq invasion eight years ago is now parroting and reading from the same hymn sheet that his predecessor did. The script of the Middle East’s theatre of the absurd remains unchanged; only dramatis personae have changed. As Scott Ritter, the former UN weapons inspector who exposed his own government’s game on Iraq, puts it, it’s the same bull**** with a different president! 


So as Israel steps up the beating of war drums, with American politicians competing with each other to woo the Zionists, can Obama leave behind? Unleashing more “effective” sanctions against an already much punished country over the past 33 years, he thunders “all options are on the table” – just as his predecessor did. So much for the audacity of hope!


The irony of it all may not be entirely lost on the Nobel laureate president. But with the re-election battle looming and all Republican hopefuls, except Ron Paul and Herman Cain, promising to hit Tehran, how can Obama not suck up to J Street? The rejection of a Palestinian state was Part I of the strategy for the Jewish vote and money. An attack on Iran would seal the pact with the Devil. Meanwhile, the world stands and stares in morbid fascination.




So what is the alternative? Ron Paul sets out his ideas on foreign policy.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Economic disaster averted?

The US Federal Reserve has fooled a lot of people into believing that the grand monetary pump and debt monetization project has been put on hold. The only thing that changed was their talking publicly about it. The money press has been working to the limit, never stopped. The discussion has been kept quiet, but the machinery still operates with vigor. The proof is not statements by central bankers, but the data from the monetary aggregate. The data is compelling. The conclusion to reach is that Quantitative Easing has become the norm, the foundation policy, the emergency action to prevent implosion of the US banking system. Hyper monetary inflation is the New Normal.

The increase in the money supply has gone parabolic
The end is nigh, but not till after the US elections.
The mainstream analysts are only beginning to notice that the credit-based system is collapsing, while the central bankers have been busy turning off alarms, and the inflation engines labor on. Von Mises put it so clearly, that inflation always has been a matter of money growth.It always will be.


Notice in the yearly monetary aggregate chart, where ticks are full years, that the 2010 and 2011 years show a steady linear growth. The money supply never stopped growing in summer 2011. The fictional June deadline came and went, and nothing changed, only the words from the increasingly desperate central bankers. The money supply is still growing.

The data contradicts the premise that the QE program was terminated. Easily explained. The initiative turned global to produce Global QE. The USFed has been accommodating the Europeans and Wall Street banks, so that the teetering insolvent big Euro banks can be propped with more effortless money of diminishing value.

The massive Swap Facility announcement of the 30th November served as an exclamation point, in reaction to a near calamity as numerous big European banks almost failed. The official story omitted that detail.

One must make conclusions without the aid of the financial press. The Euro Central Bank has drawn in heavy volume from the USFed Dollar Swap Facility. Without bond market buyers, the EuroCB has reluctantly filled the void and has been buying the Italian Govt Bonds.

Recall that big Euro banks are huge sellers of sovereign bonds. The USFed never stopped printing money to buy USTreasury Bonds, which ramps up each month as USGovt debt piles up each month. Recall that foreign creditors are net sellers of USTBonds. The USTBond auctions have not failed, and for a reason. The USFed is buyer of last resort.

Where the bids came from has been kept quite secretive. It is the USFed, which never stopped QE, and a few dutiful allied central banks. In fact, Global QE is the mainline policy nowadays, and it has turned into hyper-inflation without the fanfare. Many enlightened people are wondering if QE3 will emerge when QE never ended!!

THE ONLY THING THAT CHANGED SINCE JUNE 2011 WAS THE USFED DOES NOT TALK ABOUT THEIR VAST MONEY PRINTING AND DEBT MONETIZATION. THE MASSES WEAR ROSE COLORED GLASSES.

The big Euro banks are selling boatloads of bonds. But on the other side of the table, the Euro Central Bank is buying only truckloads. The net is still an exodus, thus rising bond yields. Wondering why sovereign bond yields in Spain, Italy, and even France are still rising if the EuroCB has entered the arena with both hands buying the bonds, however reluctantly. Remember the initial pronouncements by the new EuroCB head Draghi, that he did not want to buy government bonds. Their purchase volume is inadequate to meet the task. The European Govt Bond market is in freefall. The only way to stop it is vast recapitalization of the entire US & London and European banks at a cost of $4 to $5 trillion.

When the Powerz and Technocrat generals flip the switch and make the decisions, Gold will then go to $3000 and beyond. Similar for silver, going to $80 and beyond. The enormous required volume makes necessity a gradual approach, moving the amount up in steps, kind of like the amount of MFGlobal money missing (stolen).

The Americans falsely believe they are better off. But within the United States, tremendous multi-$trillions in mortgage bonds must be financed alongside multi-$trillions in state & municipal bonds alongside multi-$trillions in USTreasury Bonds, against a backdrop of war costs that have entered into the multi-$trillions. The United States is many times worse off than Europe, but its condition is concealed by a managed printing press operating in the shadows. The alternatives are systemic failure or hyper monetary inflation, centered in the US and extended into Europe.

UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES


Focus on suppressed long-term interest rates and their consequences. They are broad and horrendous. The US captains of the derelict vessel traveling in icy waters filled with icebergs boast that the USEconomy benefits from ultra-low interest rates. They believe that Americans are better off than the Europeans who are in shock from rising rates, a flash of reality during a debt crisis. Take the time to review some powerful consequences of interest rates kept low for years, in violation of permitting them to rise at least to the prevailing price inflation rate. Suppressing the 10-year bond yield has dire consequences. Some but not all of them appear unintended. The Powerz and their henchmen want unlimited easy money for sure. But in doing so, they permit some horrendous developments like feeding a cancer.
1) Savers are given nothing in interest yield, no reward which actually slows the economy since more savings than consumer debt while at the same time causes asset erosion from the higher inflation.
2) Banks are encouraged to continue holding their home inventory which means the housing market decline will continue for at least 2 to 3 years since banks have no incentive to clear their inventory and enable healing.
3) Big banks will continue their USTreasury Bond carry trade schemes to replenish capital which results in emphasis on speculation instead of business capital formation as the largest banks are no longer true partners to the business sector.
4) Investment banks are encouraged to continue their reckless speculation as they only know speculation, and invest heavily in machinations, not machinery which inhibit actual business investment that produces jobs.
5) The USFed believes it can expand its balance sheet to buy toxic assets with cheap money which further cripples the central bank and renders impossible some regular functions and prevents it from revealing its own dead condition.
6) The USGovt is not discouraged from deficit reduction since it believes it has much more time to fix its condition, but daudles instead which will lead eventually to massive inflation, debt default, and systemic failure.
7) When the cost of money is forcibly set near 0%, the entire valuation system is skewed rendering all financial markets as improperly valued, and capital of low worth.


 “Can there be any more drastic attempt at a free lunch than suppressing the market interest rate for 10-years in order to build a more perfect union?"

FINAL IMAGES WITH MESSAGES
Drowning in liquidity, the masters of the American chapter of the Fascist Business Model have created a black hole in the form of a gigantic sinkhole. These natural wonders off Belize and in South Africa are incredible anomalies. After the liquidity is drained off during the counter-productive de-leveraging process, the hole will be more visible. However, the more accurate picture can be seen with money juxtaposed within a monetary swirl located at the Dollar control centers.
  


Always keep in mind the true value of the USDollar. It will revert to the innate value of every fiat currency in history, even if defended to the hilt. Some maintain shallow beliefs that the Dollar Empire will never fade or endure a sunset. They are delusional and poor students of history.


Behold the timeless resilient brilliant enduring beauty of gold bars.

GRAND DIVERGENCE PERSISTS

The grand divergence is moving along apace. The physical gold market price lies 10% to 15% above the distorted paper gold market dominated by futures contracts. The MFGlobal event concealed a default failure, whose details will come to light gradually. The physical silver market price lies 25% to 35% above the distorted paper silver market dominated by futures contracts. One can only wonder what the prices would be without the illicit confiscation of private segregated accounts that has recently occurred at MFGlobal. The price divergence will continue to grow and widen until some form of collapse at the exchange occurs. The market always prevails, as societies and regimes come and go, even empires.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Curious Case of 'Legal Tender' & Employment Statute

Shortly after the issuance of this note Zimbabweans
stopped entering legal contracts and used silver
as a medium of payment on Common Law contracts.
So after my recent post regarding my decision to cease employing persons, I received a letter two days later informing me that the Social Security department wished to come and inspect my employee records to ensure that they were being kept in accordance with the law.

Naturally I have taken the trouble to review my situation and ensure that as far as possible everything is up to date and as required. There had been a few changes to the legislation since last I looked but one point caught my eye in particular Article 44(a) of the Employment (Jersey) Law 2003 sets out a simple basis of distinguishing a Common Law contract from a Statutory Law employment contract.

No consideration arising from any Common Law contracts that I should offer will be made in legal tender, they will be made in troy ounces of fine silver or fine gold, I make no claim that this is legal tender. Since any employment contract must by virtue of the law include a consideration expressed in terms of Legal Tender, the absence of any such consideration removes the contract from the scope of the statute.

Legal tender is a medium of payment allowed by law or recognized by a legal system to be valid for meeting a financial obligation, notice it says the legal system, it does not state that it is the only 'lawful medium of exchange'. Under Common Law everyone is free to enter into a contract for whatever consideration they wish.

Therefore contracts which employ a lawful medium of payment other than legal tender naturally falls outside the scope of the statutory law.
EMPLOYMENT (JERSEY) LAW 2003
PART 5
PAYMENT OF WAGES
44    Wages to be paid in legal tender
Subject to Article 45 wages shall be paid to an employee –
(a)     in legal tender;
(b)     by payment into an account at a bank, being –
(i)     an account standing in the name of the person to whom the wages are due, or
(ii)    an account standing in the name of that person jointly with one or more other persons, or
(iii)   at the express and unsolicited request of the employee, and with written authority, signed by the employee, an account in the name of a third party who shall not be directly or indirectly associated or connected with the employer;
(c)     by payment by postal order;
(d)     by payment by money order; or
(e)     by payment by cheque,
and, subject to the preceding provisions of this Article, shall not be paid in the form of promissory notes, vouchers or coupons or in any other form alleged to represent legal tender.

Note also that any payment made in a currency other than legal tender which under the LOI (1835) SUR LA MONNAIE is English currency only but also includes Jersey currency under the CURRENCY NOTES (JERSEY) LAW 1959. The BANK NOTES (JERSEY) LAW 1955 also excludes Scottish, Northern Irish, Guernsey and Isle of Man notes from constituting legal tender.