Saturday, August 30, 2014

There Certainly is No Inflation (Butter Edition)

Butter futures prices on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange have reached an all-time high.

On Friday, the October contract traded as high as $2.5500002,the highest ever for a most active contract. It was a gain on the day of 1.1%.

The price is up 62% this year.

-RW

Who Says The World Economic Forum Is Just A Wine & Cheese Party?

By Chris Rossini

The world's "elites," who routinely descend upon Switzerland's World Economic Forum ,are apparently doing more than consuming Moose cheese and washing it down with some fine vino.

Apparently, they're coming up with some fatuous ideas as well.

For example, in 2011, they came up a something called an EDGE certification for corporations. I'm sure the thinking went that companies with an EDGE certification could claim to have an "edge" on their competition.

Are you ready for the unpacking of the EDGE acronym?

It stands for "Economic Dividends for Gender Equality" and a U.S. company has finally earned this certification. Cosmetics maker L'Oreal has become the first! Apparently the company went through a 6-month certification process, with surveys and forms, and metrics, and Heaven only knows what else.

Now (like Beyonce) L'Oreal can attach a feminist label to itself:


See!!...it's more than just wine, cheese, and greasy government + corporate handshakes that take place at the World Economic Forum. There are tangible ideas with tangible results.

We'll see, after everyone wakes up from the central banker fantasy if EDGE certifications are still being discussed. When economic reality hits corporate America, so will Ludwig Von Mises' dictum:
The consumers are merciless. They never buy in order to benefit a less efficient producer and to protect him against the consequences of his failure to manage better. They want to be served as well as possible. And the working of the capitalist system forces the entrepreneur to obey the orders issued by the consumers.
In other words...man or woman, black or white, young or old, rich or poor....you better supply customers with what they urgently desire, and you better do so at a profit.

EDGE is not a creation, or demand, of the consuming public. It was spawned in the Alps by a bunch out-of-touch apparatchiks.






Why I Chose Panama (Over Costa Rica, Mexico, or Canada)

By Mark Nestmann
In my consulting practice, I’m often asked about my own “Plan B” – what I plan to do when the s**t hits the fan (SHTF) in the good ol’ US of A. And of course, why I chose that plan.
In my case, it’s Panama. I’m now a permanent resident there and will pick up my cedula – my national ID document – next month.
In choosing Panama as my personal “bug out” location, I went through a comprehensive evaluation of that country versus several other possible alternatives. Here are the criteria I reviewed

George Galloway Assaulted by Pro-Israel fanatic

Georger Galloway leaves hospital after being treated following a street attack.


The BBC reports:
The Respect MP for Bradford West was posing for pictures in Notting Hill when he was assaulted on Friday night.

The MP suffered "severe" bruising to his head and appears to have broken some ribs, his spokesman said.

The spokesman said the attack on Mr Galloway seemed to have been prompted by the MP's views on Israel. A man has been arrested over the attack.

The attacker allegedly called Mr Galloway "a Hitler" during the assault....

The MP's spokesman said the assailant had made reference to the Holocaust.

"George was posing for pictures with people and this guy just attacked him, leapt on him and started punching him," the spokesman said.

"It appears to be connected with his comments about Israel because the guy was shouting about the Holocaust."

(ht  Jay Stephenson)

Longtime Top Google Exec May Become White House Evil Doer

Megan Smith 
Nothing good happens in the world of government intervention and certainly not in the White House office of technology, which is why is is sad to see that Megan Smith is close to becoming the next U.S. Chief Technology Officer.

Smith, who was most recently a vice president at Google’s X lab, is a top candidate for the role of U.S. chief technology officer, reports Bloomberg.

Smith joined Google in 2003. As vice president of business development, according to Bloomberg, she oversaw many of its most important acquisitions, like Keyhole, the service that underlies Google Earth. She has led the company’s philanthropic division, Google.org, and served as a co-host for Google’s Solve for X forum, where distinguished thinkers and scientists brainstorm radical technology ideas with Google executives.

Before joining Google, Smith was chief executive officer of Planet Out, a site for gay and lesbian Internet users.

-RW

Top Ten Least Affordable US Cities for Housing

Metro
July 2014
Zillow
Home Value
Index
Q2 2014
Median
Income
Share of
Income
Needed
to Afford
Median
Home,
Currently
Share of
Income
Needed to
Afford
Median
Home,
Historically
(1985-1999)
Los Angeles,
CA
$529,200$59,42442.6%35.20%
San Francisco,
CA
$688,600$76,23942.6%37.70%
San Jose,
CA
$803,900$96,86839.5%34.90%
San Diego,
CA
$467,700$62,66335.5%32.90%
New York/
Northern
New Jersey
$374,700$68,62525.8%31.60%
Sacramento,
CA
$321,300$58,46625.6%29.30%
Riverside,
CA
$277,100$53,54924.5%25.20%
Boston,
MA
$362,300$74,50523%27.80%
Seattle,
WA
$333,000$69,71122.7%25.60%
Portland,
OR
$274,300$59,15921.8%22.70%
Source: Zillow

(Table via CNBC)

First Attempt at Distancing Rand Paul from the Ron Paul Inc. Scandal

David Weigel writes today in Slate:
Rand Paul hasn't kept Kesari around, either. Earlier this year I reported on the Iowa scandal, Kesari, and the fairly obscure players who went from the world of direct mail to the worlds of Ron and Rand Paul. It was made very clear to me that Kesari was not among the people being brought into Rand Paul's orbit as he expanded his national profile and made trips to primary states. Nobody knew what would happen to the bribe saga, but Iowa allies of the Pauls were already working to distance themselves from the key figures.
Rand may or may not be successful in distancing himself from Ron Paul Inc.

The Kesari referenced by Weigel is Dmitri Kesari who is at the epicenter of the Ron Paul Inc. scandal. He is the one that negotiated the secret payoffs to Kent Sorenson. Sorenson has pleaded guilty (SEE: BREAKING: Kent Sorenson Pleads Guilty to Concealing Ron Paul Campaign Payoff).

But this is only one of the problems Kesari has. The FBI is investigating MANY other activities of Kesari. Kesari is under extreme pressure to co-operate with the government. And no one, outside of Kesari and the government, knows where that is going to lead. As I have reported here exclusively at EPJ, Kesari may have been recording Ron Paul Inc. as early as 2009 (SEE: BOMBSHELL: Ron Paul Inc. Operatives May Have Been Secretly Recorded Since 2009).

When Kesari starts to talk, if he hasn't already, will he be able to snare Rand? It is very unlikely, but Kesari was around the Rand Paul 2010 campaign to some degree and I am aware that the FBI is investigating some of the activities that Kesari was involved with in relation to Rand's 2010 camapign that might include campaign law violations. This is stuff that Rand was probably unaware of.

Then there is the question, What did Kesari record on his magic pen recording device?  More than likely, what is going to happen here is that Rand will be linked as aggressively as possible by libertarian haters and the political establishment for his "ties to Kesari" (and Jesse Benton).

Politics is a dirty game and the amateur night fashion in which parts of Ron Paul Inc. operated is going to provide the dirty game players a lot of mud to sling Rand's way.

-RW

Coming in September: Atlas Shrugged III: Who Is John Galt?



Atlas Shrugged III: Who is John Galt? is the final installment of the Atlas Shrugged trilogy.
It opens September 12.

REPORT: Charlie Shrem Reaches Plea Deal

Reuters is reporting that Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to launder money as part of his bitcoin operation.

It's good to see Shrem resolve this and be able to move on with his life without this hanging over his head. He is a talented entrepreneur.

According to Reuters, Shrem will plead guilty next Thursday in New York federal court to unlicensed money transmission. Of course, in a libertarian world, this wouldn't even be a crime.

"I'm happy that it's coming to a close," Shrem told WSJ in a telephone interview.

Under his plea, Shrem said he could face time in prison. The final sentence will be determined by a judge.

He  said that he will ask members of the bitcoin community to write letters to the judge on his behalf ahead of the sentencing that is expected in the next few months.

"My life is not ending here. I'm overall happy and satisfied," he said.

-RW

Is This the Libertarian Moment?

By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

Earlier this month the New York Times wondered aloud if the “libertarian moment” had arrived. A good question, to be sure.
To answer it, though, Times reporter Robert Draper sought out not quite the top libertarian thinkers in the world, but instead those people most easily reached within a ten-minute walk from the Capitol or the Empire State Building.
Draper begins with an ex-MTV personality and proceeds from there. None of the people whose work and writing have shaped the libertarian movement, and who have converted so many people to our point of view, make

EPJ Week In Review - Week Ending 8/29/14










Below you'll find everything that has been published on EPJ for the week ended Friday August 29, 2014. The hottest posts for each day are highlighted in red.







Friday 8/29/14
Thursday 8/28/14
Wednesday 8/27/14
Tuesday 8/26/14
Monday 8/25/14
Sunday 8/24/14
Saturday 8/23/14

Friday, August 29, 2014

Late Night Self-Help Advice: What You Should Do If You Ever Encounter a Bear

A man reported this month that he survived a bear attack because Justin Beiber’s “Baby” began sounding on his phone. It turns out he was on to something., says Slate.

Did Certain Foreign Governments Facilitate the 9/11 Attacks?

By Justin Raimondo

Some thirteen years after the event, the shadow of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in Manhattan and the Pentagon still darkens our world. The legacy of that terrible day has impacted not only our foreign policy, bequeathing to a new generation an apparently endless "war on terrorism," it also has led directly to what is arguably the most massive assault on our civil liberties since the Alien and Sedition Acts. Getting all the information about what happened that day – and why it happened – is key to understanding the course we have taken since.
This was supposed to have been the purpose of the 9/11 Commission, whose massivereport is now looked to as the primary source on the subject. Yet there is another, far more specific investigative report, the one issued by the intelligence committees of both houses of Congress, entitled "Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001."
If you actually take the time to read the report, all goes along swimmingly (except for occasional redactions) until you get to p. 369, whereupon the text is blacked out for the next twenty-eight pages.
What is in the twenty-eight censored pages? You aren’t allowed to know that, but members of Congress can read them provided they write to the heads of the Senate and House intelligence committees and get permission. If such is granted, they are escorted into a soundproof carefully guarded room in the company of various spooks, where they get to read the material: they aren’t allowed to take notes.
Do you get the impression someone has something to hide?
The censored section is entitled "Finding, Discussion and Narrative Regarding Certain Sensitive National Security Matters," and the introduction – left largely intact – is instructive:
(ht Bill Bergman)

How Good Are You at Properly Ranking Salaries of Other American Workers Against Your Own

The quiz is here.

No Inflation Friday: 422% Increase in Price to Leave 'The Land of the Free'

By Simon Black

Pop quiz: What do actor Jet Li, opera singer Maria Callas, writer T.S. Eliot, financier John Templeton, actress Elizabeth Taylor, and Queen Noor of Jordan all have in common?

They are all former US citizens who went through the formal process of relinquishing or renouncing their citizenships. (Liz Taylor actually restored her US citizenship in the late 1970s)

Until a couple of years ago, there wasn't much of a fuss about this. It was a rare occurrence for someone to renounce his/her citizenship.

Fast forward a few decades. The US government is now flat broke (actually in the red to the tune of $17 trillion) and resorting to chasing people to the ends of the earth to get their fair share of your lifetime earnings.

I have many friends overseas who are 'accidental Americans'. A Panamanian, for example, who by accident of birth ended up a US citizen because her father was born in the Panama Canal Zone. 

She lives her entire life in Panama... studying, working, building a business. Then one day she receives a note from the IRS demanding money.

They inform her that, as a US citizen, she is required to pay taxes on her worldwide income to Uncle Sam even though she has barely set foot on US soil. Then they command her to settle up.

Even for folks born and raised in the US, tax compliance has become epically aggressive.

US tax code is among the most complicated on the planet. Yet the Land of the Free is one of the only 'civilized' countries in the world where even a simple misunderstanding can win you a new career turning big rocks into little rocks whilst wearing a dayglo organge jumpsuit. 

In matters of taxation, you are presumed guilty unless you can prove your innocence. 

They have threatened senior citizens with imprisonment and confiscated peoples' entire life savings merely for failing to file a form. 

For example, Anton Ginzburg was fined $1.5 million by the US Department of Justice in 2011. And frankly he got off easy. He faced up to five years in prison.

What was Mr. Ginzburg's heinous crime? What nefarious deeds had this criminal mastermind perpetrated against a peaceful society?

He didn't file a disclosure form to report his Swiss bank account. 

Note-- Mr. Ginzburg wasn't accused of tax evasion. He was fully compliant in paying his fair share to the US government. He simply didn't file a form. 

This isn't how a free society should function. 

If a government has to collect taxes by terrorizing its people or snuffing out accidental citizens, something is obviously wrong with the tax policy. AND they way they spend it.

After all, who in good conscience wants to go their entire working lives supporting a government that wastes tax dollars on bombs, drones, spying on citizens, and bankrupting unborn generations?

It's no wonder why the number of Americans renouncing their citizenship is increasing exponentially... and will likely continue to do so.

Back when Elizabeth Taylor and T.S. Eliot did it, it was so rare there was really no process. And no fee.

In fact, renouncing US citizenship was free of charge until a couple of years ago. Then, overnight, the State Departmente imposed a $450 fee.

Yesterday they increased it once again-- to $2,350. That's a 422% increase.

In its explanation, the State Department whined that the costs of processing renunciations had simply become too high. 

It's curious that a government which denies inflation even exists would complain about the consequences of it.

Simon Black is Senior Editor at SovereignMan.com

BREAKING: Jesse Benton Has Resigned

Jesse Benton has resigned as camapign manager of the Mitch McConnell Re-election campaign.

Developing....

Return to this post for updates.

UPDATE

Benton’s full statement is below:
There is no more important cause for both Kentucky, my new home I have come to love, and our country than electing Mitch McConnell Majority Leader of the United States Senate. I believe this deep in my bones, and I would never allow anything or anyone to get in the way.
That includes myself.
Recently, there have been inaccurate press accounts and unsubstantiated media rumors about me and my role in past campaigns that are politically motivated, unfair and, most importantly, untrue. I hope those who know me recognize that I strive to be a man of integrity.
The press accounts and rumors are particularly hurtful because they are false 
However, what is most troubling to me is that they risk unfairly undermining and becoming a distraction to this reelection campaign.
Working for Mitch McConnell is one of the great honors of my life. He is a friend, a mentor and a great man this commonwealth desperately needs. I cannot, and will not, allow any possibility that my circumstances will effect the voters’ ability to hear his message and assess his record.
This election is far too important and the stakes way too high.
With a heavy heart, I offered Sen. McConnell my resignation this afternoon and he reluctantly accepted. Effective Saturday, August 30th, I will no longer be the “Team Mitch” campaign manager.
The good news is that most of my work has been done. We have built a top flight team of incredible people that are working tirelessly to ensure Mitch's re-election. They are a finely oiled machine and will not skip a beat without me.
Background here: Top Aide to Mitch McConnell Linked to Shady Deal

Justice Department Confirms Ron Paul Inc Secret Payoffs Investigation is Ongoing

WaPo reports:

The federal probe that resulted in a guilty plea this week by a former Iowa state senator who was secretly paid to endorse two Republican presidential candidates in the 2012 campaign is ongoing -- and could implicate the political operatives who were involved in routing payments to him, according to people familiar with the case...

One focus by federal prosecutors now appears to be on people involved in Paul’s 2012 operation...

Two sealed documents were filed in court as part of the case, a possible indication that Sorenson is cooperating with federal prosecutors as part of a broader investigation....

Sorenson’s attorney, F. Montgomery Brown, declined to comment on whether the former state senator had such a deal. But he and others involved in the matter said the case is continuing.

“It’s my understanding that this an ongoing investigation,” Brown said.

Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr confirmed that the investigation is ongoing.

Jesse Benton, a Republican strategist who is married to Paul’s granddaughter, served as chairman of Paul’s 2012 campaign. He is now running Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign and is expected to play a significant role in a 2016 presidential bid by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

It is unclear if Benton knew about the payments made to Sorenson, but emails published last year by the TheIowaRepublican.com and OpenSecrets.org show that Benton wrote to a Sorenson associate in the fall of 2011, asking if the then-state senator would be “joining our team.”

Poland Is Drunk On The Empire's Cough Medicine

By Chris Rossini

Poland recently asked for permanent NATO bases.

Poland, even more recently, was found complicit in having secret detention centers, where the U.S. transferred individuals to be tortured. Ron Paul had the definitive statement on the issue:
How tragic that Poland, where the Nazis constructed the Auschwitz concentration camp in which so many innocents were tortured and murdered, would acquiesce to hosting secret torture facilities. The idea that such brutality would be permitted on Polish soil just 70 years after the Nazi occupation should remind us of how dangerous and disingenuous governments continue to be.
And now this....


Apparently, the EU is not moving quickly enough towards war with Russia.

The Polish government is drunk on the Empire's cough medicine.

How terribly sad.


Labor Day News Dump: Chelsea Clinton is Leaving Her Fake Job at NBC

New York reports:
Kicking off the annual Labor Day Friday News Dump, Chelsea Clinton has announced, via People, that she will no longer pretend to be a reporter. The once (and future?) First Daughter has been a “special correspondent” for NBC News since 2011, when she was dubbed, following her debut, “one of the most boring people of her era.” For the occasional feel-good segment or interview with the CGI Geico gecko, Clinton earned a reported annual salary of $600,000, or approximately $26,724 for every minute she was on-air...
“Chelsea's storytelling inspired people across the country and showcased the real power we have as individuals to make a difference in our communities,” said NBC News senior vice president Alex Wallace.