Sunday, June 24, 2018

Bitcoin Breaks Below $6,000


The last trade on Bitcoin was at $5,919.05.

Since Bitcoin hit a price of $19,783.06, in December 2017, it has been in a steady decline and is now down some 70% from that high.

For some serious Bitcoin fanboy delusion, see:  The Craziest Bitcoin Theory

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San Francisco Busy Body of the Year: Calls Police on 8-Year Old Girl Selling Water Without a Permit



On the internet, as the video has gone viral, she has been named "Permit Patty.”

Since then, Permit Patty has told The San Francisco Chronicle, “It was wrong, and I wish I could take it back. Believe me, I wish I never had done that.”

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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Trump Considering a Pardon For Former 'Junk Bond King' Michael Milken



Former  "Junk Bond King: Michael Milken is being considered for a pardon by President Trump.

Kurt Nimmo reports:
 Trump insiders are pushing to pardon the junk bond king Michael Milken and reverse his conviction on securities fraud. The Milken pardon is being pushed by Goldman Sachs alumnus and current Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Milken was indicted for racketeering and securities fraud in 1989 in an insider trading investigation. As the result of a plea bargain, he pleaded guilty to securities and reporting violations but not to racketeering or insider trading. Milken was sentenced to ten years in prison, fined $600 million, and permanently barred from the securities industry by the Securities and Exchange Commission. His sentence was later reduced to two years for cooperating with testimony against his former colleagues and for good behavior.

The charges against Milken were largely seen in the libertarian community as politically motivated by the establishment desire to stop Milken from encroaching.

Murray Rothbard wrote an article in 1989 that takes on greater meaning now:  Michael R. Milken vs. the Power Elite.

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The Mystery of John Williams at the New York Fed

The second most powerful man at the Fed and me, sharing a joke about inflation and the masses.

In a piece titled, "The Mystery of John Williams at the New York Fed," Danielle DiMartino Booth informs:

  • John Williams is now the second-most powerful leader inside the world’s most powerful central bank. If Jay Powell gets hit with the flu in a few months, it is Williams who directs interest rate policy.
  • Williams has advocated for raising the inflation target off the 2% level they’ve failed to attain forever as it’s an ill-designed metric not meant to rise.
  • Williams also advocated for further bond-buying (a.k.a. Quantitative Easing) and in the event all else fails, forward guidance.
  • Williams’ SF Fed has extensively researched raising the inflation target to coerce a steepening in the yield curve. But is that even do-able?
  • That also builds in higher inflation expectations across the term structure of interest rates, so long-end yields would rise. Raising the inflation target means the Fed doesn’t just tolerate higher prices, it tolerates higher costs and profits.
  • But it falls flat in practice. If firms can’t raise prices, then either costs are cut, profits are squeezed, or companies’ balance sheets weaken due to the reduced cash or added leverage that stems from the higher-cost environment. The issue then becomes a credit problem.
I reported this back in April:
Williams in San Francisco was featured at a meeting of a small group of elite globalists, maybe 12 people. As he was explaining to the group how the Fed operated, one of the elitists asked, "So you basically print money out of thin air?"
Williams responded: "Yeah, it's fun. Don't you think?"
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Friedrich Hayek on Redistribution of Wealth



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Murray Rothbard on the Correlation Between Money and Freedom



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Friday, June 22, 2018

Koch Brothers Network Unveils Phase One of Multimillion-Dollar Ad Campaign Against Trump's Tariffs

The political network funded by billionaires Charles and David Koch are unveiling their first phase of a multimillion-dollar ad campaign against President Donald Trump's tariffs.

Freedom Partners, an organization that's part of the Koch network, is launching a six-figure television and radio ad campaign that will target the import tariffs being implemented by the Trump administration. The ads will also call on Congress to embrace free trade and not follow the course of the current White House trade policies.

"To keep growing, we must keep trading," the ad says. "Tariffs are not the answer. Tell Washington: Support Freedom. Oppose Tariffs."

The ad itself seemsboring to me but fighting tariffs should always be hailed.



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(via CNBC)

Trump Threatens 20% Tariff On All Car Imports From the EU


The mad mercantilist is at it again.

President Donald Trump has tweeted another tariff threat, this time targeting imported autos from the European Union.
Such a tariff will, of course, hurt the U.S. auto buyers who prefer EU manufactured cars, will otherwise distort U.S. and  European economies, and lower the standard of living for all because of the distortions.

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Forget the Deniers, the True Place of Murray Rothbard in the Austrian School Tradition

Murray Rothbard, Henry Hazlitt, Ludwig von Mises
By Joseph T. Salerno


Recently a young Austrian scholar made a very interesting observation in an informal discussion on Facebook: 
I have experienced that when you quote Mises instead of Rothbard (and they say basically the same in most circumstances) other Austrians are usually more receptive and willing to engage you in a discussion. Have you guys experienced the same thing?
Indeed we have and the reason has become increasingly obvious. In the past ten years or so, there has been a concerted effort in some quarters of the Austrian economics movement to

Harriet Tubman $20 Bill At Least 10 Years Away

In response to a letter from Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire concerning the Obama Administration announced that Harriet Tubman's image would appears on the twenty dollar bill, the Treasury Assistant Secretary for Legislative Affairs Drew Maloney praised  Tubman’s “courage and persistence."

He went on to state that the redesign of the next generation of U.S. banknotes was “still in the early stages”, and that neither “final designs nor all features” had so far been prepared by the Treasury.

“For this reason, the department is unable to provide additional information regarding the potential designs at this time,” Maloney said. He estimated that a new $20 bill design would not see release for another 10 years or more.

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(via CoinWeek)

The Rockefeller-Connected Cronyist Origins Of Social Security


By Brian Balfour
In a story that could only happen in 2018, septuagenarian Bernie Sanders took to twitter to agree with someone called Cardi B – who my teenage daughter tells me is a popular singer – about the importance of strengthening Social Security.
Sanders claimed that Social Security enables seniors to “retire with the dignity they deserve,” while Ms. B praised FDR for its creation.
Of course, Social Security needs “strengthening” because, by some estimates, it has long-term unfunded liabilities of $34 trillion, and will “officially” be insolvent by 2034.
The commonly held belief is that Social Security was created by FDR as a compassionate, “progressive” program to help older people feel more secure in their retirement.
Like so many progressive programs, however, Social Security was likely the creation of big businesses turning to big government technocrats to protect themselves against competition. That’s just one of countless insights unearthed by Murray Rothbard’s book The Progressive Era.
Social Security passed in 1935, but its genesis began in 1934 when FDR “commissioned three of his top officials to select the membership of a Committee on Economic Security (CES),” according to Rothbard.

Dear Congress, Please Don’t Keep Up with the Kardashians!


By Raymond March

Kourtney Kardashian has been all over the internet again, but not for reasons we’ve come to expect.
The TV persona and entrepreneur recently spoke on Capitol Hill in an attempt to motivate the federal government to play a larger role in regulating cosmetics. Expressing concern some cosmetic products may contain unsafe ingredients, Ms. Kardashian said: “Everyone should have the right to healthy products and personal care, and that’s why I wanted to come and make this a bigger deal.” She also added, “it would be nice if there were laws to regulate cosmetics so that the people running these businesses and these companies can have some standard of what to use.”
Such laws may be on their way. The Personal Care Products Safety Act would require cosmetic companies to register with the Food and Drug Administration and submit lists of their products’ ingredients. The bill would also grant the FDA authority to prohibit distribution of products it deems unsafe.
Several members of Congress are teaming up with Ms. Kardashian. Among the most vocal advocates for more government in makeup is Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ), who noted: “the laws for cosmetics have been left untouched for nearly 80 years.”
It is true that the FDA regulates cosmetics significantly less than other products it oversees. But if regulation and cosmetics have something in common, it’s that more is not always better.
Since 1938, when the laws were “last touched,” women’s life expectancy in the United States has increased about 30 years. Over this same period, the cosmetic blossomed from introducing the first hairspray with aerosol (in 1941) to a global market where, according to a 2015 survey, the average woman now owns about 40 cosmetic products. It seems, at the very least, cosmetics aren’t killing their users.
It’s also unclear how much blame can be placed on cosmetics for pressing health concerns. For example, some cosmetic users are concerned that paraben exposure can lead to breast cancer. However, breast cancer incidence rates have decreased over the last 17 years. Cosmetic sales have increased over the same period. This suggests (but doesn’t conclusively prove) that other factors may play a larger role.
Fortunately, the risks that cosmetic ingredients pose to health is already receiving attention and solutions are well underway. To the wishes of Ms. Kardashian and others, someone is already giving cosmetic companies a “standard of what to use.” But the standard is coming from consumers, not the government.
In 2015, market sales for natural cosmetic products grew 7 percent, compared to 2 percent for the overall beauty market. Revenues for these products are expected to reach $13.2 billion this year. To take advantage of consumer trends, cosmetic companies better know what’s in their products. With CVS and Target both removing many cosmetic lines without natural ingredients from their shelves, it seems the market is providing.
Ironically, Ms. Kardashian herself did not comment on the ingredients in her and her sister’s cosmetic line. Like the Congress she is calling out to for help, she doesn’t seem to be keeping up with the times. Her competition is, and they didn’t need regulation to do so.
With these insights in mind, it might be best for Congress to stay out of the picture for another 80 years. Adding more regulations to the cosmetic markets is not the makeover we need.
***
Raymond March is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and Assistant Professor of Economics at San Jose State University.
The above originally appeared at the Independent Institute.

Fighting the High Minimum Wage: First "Robot Created Burger" Restaurant Opening in San Francisco









On June 27, the world’s first robot-crafted burger will roll off a conveyor belt in San Francisco and into the hands of the public, reports Bloomberg.

The product, from Bay Area-based Creator, a culinary robotics company, is assembled and cooked in a machine that contains 20 computers, 350 sensors, and 50 actuator mechanisms. It does everything from slicing and toasting the brioche bun to adding toppings (to order) and seasoning and cooking the patties, all in five minutes. The meat is ground to order—why it’s touted as so fresh—and sourced from premium ingredients. It emerges from the machine piled with tomatoes and lettuce, sprinkled with seasonings, and drizzled with sauces, at which point it’s transferred by human hands to the customer. The price: $6.

Creator will be open for lunch on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and a limited number of diners can order via an online ticket  system through August (ticket sales for August will go live on July 10). In September, Creator will open to the public.

Creator is located at 680 Folsom St., South of Market; it’s in San Francisco’s top five priciest neighborhoods, according to statista.com.  Among its neighbors are Microsoft, Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, and Yelp.

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Larry Kudlow to Return to Work at the White House


President Trump's top economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, whom Trump doesn't seem to pay attention to on the issue of the errors in instituting tariffs, will return to work at the White House on Monday after suffering a heart attack 10 days ago.
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U.S. Home Prices Least Affordable in Almost a Decade


Thanks, Fed Chairman Jay Powell. Thanks, President Trump.

Soaring home prices are now the result of a tag team. The Federal Reserve, headed by Jay Powell, continues to keep interest rates artificially low, thus fueling the price gains with newly printed money. And President Trump's tariffs on Canadian lumber appear to be adding about $10,000 to the cost of a new home, which puts upward price pressure on previously owned homes as an alternative.

In May, the median price of a previously owned homes rose to a record $264,800, newly released  National Association of Realtors data show.

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BREAKING Horrific Supreme Court Ruling: States Can Require Internet Tax Collection



This is a developing story. Return to this post for updates.

UPDATE 1

The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states and local governments can collect sales taxes from internet retailers that don’t currently charge tax to their customers.

UPDATE 2

 The court's 5-4 vote overturned a 1992 ruling that had made much of the internet a tax-free zone.

UPDATE 3

The bastard Trump Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch voted with the majority.

Thomas Sowell: One Simple Test Whether Marxism is True



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Stockman: ‘Donald Trump Is an Ignoramus on Trade, He Has No Idea What He’s Doing’



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An Incredibly Destructive Trade War is Looming (It Could Be Worse Than Smoot-Hawley)


By David Stockman. During the last few days, the Donald has gone stark raving mad on the trade front. Yet the bozos on Wall Street are already sounding the "all clear", claiming this is some kind of brilliant Trumpian 3D chess maneuver or that it's just a skirmish and it will all soon blow over. Indeed, the over night rally in equity futures was pegged on a reed so thin as to be truly pathetic. According to one Irene Cheung, a purported "FX strategist" at ANZ bank, there's nothing to sweat: "China’s stronger-than-expected yuan fixing should help to calm the market and the visit of the North Korean leader to China suggests that perhaps there is room for trade negotiations" she added. Really?