Thursday, January 31, 2013

Clueless 'MarketWatch' Columnist Disses Austrian Economics

Darrell Delamaide in a very goofy column writes:
[...] there is no fiscal crisis. The only real problem is the totally artificial one imposed by the “fiscal cliff” legislation passed by Congress last year when its forlorn attempt at a “super-committee” on the deficit failed to reach any agreement.
Oh yeah. Interest rates are starting to head up, which means the fiscal crisis is going to expand by a multiple of its current self, as the Treasury will be forced to pay  higher rates on the money it borrows. Far from not being a crisis, it is about to become a crisis squared.

He then mentions "Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman,"  to support his case. A major problem with this is that Krugman pretty much received his award for geography, or as the Nobel committee put it, ""for his analysis of trade patterns and location of economic activity".  No one considers Krugman an expert on the deficit and what's more, his entire understanding of the structure of the economy and business downturns is based on a misinterpretation of the historical account of the goings on at a babysitting co-op.

Thus, Delamaide displaying no understanding of the economic world in his first few paragraphs  goes for the biggie by sealing his position as completely economic ignorant with this doozie:
The U.S. economy has fared somewhat better than Europe precisely because Obama in his first term was able to get some stimulus spending passed, while Europe remains mired in the obsolete and discredited policies of the “Austrian” school of economics, which sees austerity as the answer to everything — much as medieval doctors saw leeching as the cure for all illness.

First, an Austrian economist did get a Nobel Prize for business cycle theory, not geography. The committee wrote the prize was awarded to Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek for:
pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and for their penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena.

Second, as Hayek and other Austrians would be able to explain, the developing recovery is a manipulated recovery. The result of Bernanke money printing rather than government spending, which is simply a transfer payment.

But finally, Europe is not applying the policies of the Austrian school of economics. An Austrian school policy, if increasing the standard of living were the goal, would call for an elimination of all regulations on the economy, the reduction of taxes to zero or near zero, elimination of unemployment payments and a return to gold as the monetary standard. None of these policies are being implemented anywhere in the eurozone.

Delamaide confuses Austrian policy, with current "austerity" programs, which everyone from the geographer Krugman to Bob Murphy promote as nearly the same thing. Causing the clueless like  Delamaide to fall completely into the trap, while Krugman and Murphy both understand the difference but confuse the issue. "Austerity" in the eurozone is about raising taxes, central bank monetary control (the ECB) and micro-economic management for the benefit of banksters and cronies---far from anything an Austrian school economist would propose in order to get an economy out of its decline.

Top to bottom, Delamaide is clueless on facts and theory about deficits, business cycle theory and basic economics.

(ht Anthony Trevisan)

LaTi: High-End Home Sales on a Roll in California

The number of homes statewide in California selling at more than $5 million reached an all-time high last year, reports LaTi.

More from LaTi:
In activity reminiscent of real estate's bubble years, the number of homes statewide selling at more than $5 million reached an all-time high last year, while those selling at $1 million or more rose to the highest level since 2007, a real estate information service has reported.[...]

"Last year was gangbusters," said Dave Fratello, an agent with the Real Group in Manhattan Beach, the busiest Southern California community for $1-million-plus sales in 2012. "We flipped very quickly from a buyer's market to a seller's market."

Across California, 697 homes sold for more than $5 million, beating the previous high of 491 in 2011, according to San Diego-based DataQuick. The 2012 sales mark was the highest since DataQuick began tracking such sales in 1988.

The 26,993 homes sold at $1-million-plus represented a 26.9% jump from 2011, DataQuick said. In comparison, 42,502 home sales exceeded the million-dollar mark in 2007, before the mortgage meltdown dragged down prices across the housing market.

The record was set in 2005, when 54,773 homes sold for $1 million or more. The luxury market outpaced overall sales, which were up 8.2% statewide.

"The very top, it is a record level — well beyond what it was in the bubble period," said John Karevoll, analyst for DataQuick.

Geraldo Rivera: 'Truly contemplating' New Jersey Senate run

Politico reports:
Geraldo Rivera on Thursday announced he is “truly contemplating” running for Senate in New Jersey as a Republican.

“Fasten your seatbelt,” he told listeners of his radio show Thursday.

“I am and I’ve been in touch with some people in the Republican Party in New Jersey. I am truly contemplating running for Senate against Frank Lautenberg or Cory Booker in New Jersey,” Rivera said.

The Fox News host said he’s considering jumping into the race because “at my age, if I’m going to do it, I’ve got to do it.”

“I’m not going to drill this out, because obviously I’ve got commitments to Fox and here to the radio program, which I’m really having a great time,” Rivera said. “But I figure, you know, at my age, if I’m going to do it, I’ve got to do it. And there doesn’t seem to be any Republicans ready to work against or run against Cory Booker, the popular Newark mayor, or you know, Frank Lautenberg.”
With both Judas Christie and Rivera in government, Chris Rossini will have to double his EPJ posts, to cover just 10% of the nonsense that will be coming from the state, where the only decent thing between politicians that has ever happened in the state was when Aaron Burr shot the Federalist Alexander Hamilton.

The Bernanke Manipulation: Leading Indicators Continue to Climb

Ed Yardeni reports:
The ECRI’s Weekly Leading Index jumped 3.3% during the first three weeks of January. It is up 7.9% from its low last year during the week of June 15. The Conference Board's monthly Leading Economic Index jumped 0.5% in December to a new cyclical high. 
Yes, the Bernanke helicopter is in the air and impacting the economy. Non-seasonally adjusted 13-week annualized money supply (M2) growth is at 11.4%.

Ex-Sen. Ben Nelson Cashes in on his Obamacare Vote

Timothy Carney reports:
Sen. Ben Nelson delivered a crucial vote to pass Obamacare into law in 2009, and now he is cashing out of the Senate to make money off the organizations that benefitted from the legislation.

Nelson's trip through the revolving door demonstrates an important truth about Washington's influence industry: The revolving door rewards lawmakers for further entangling business and government, whether through regulations, subsidies or mandates.

Nelson represented the conservative state of Nebraska for two terms in the U.S. Senate. Voting for Obamacare in 2009 and 2010 sealed Nelson's fate in the 2012 elections, and so he decided not to run again. Nelson's last day as a senator was Jan. 3, and on Jan. 22 he announced he had taken two jobs on K Street.

Agenda Global is a new, self-described public affairs and advocacy firm headquartered on Capitol Hill. Former lobbyist Craig Pattee, who had founded a firm with Nelson back in 1994, launched Agenda this past summer. Pattee says Agenda doesn't lobby per se but concentrates on "building grassroots coalitions" to pressure lawmakers to support the policies that help Agenda's clients. "The backroom deal is dead," he tells me.

Last week, Agenda announced it was hiring Nelson and former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer (Pattee's old boss) as "senior advisers."

"Both are recognized for leadership on agriculture and biotech matters," the firm boasted on its announcement. How did Nelson "lead" on ag and biotech? Mostly by pushing federal subsidies.[...]

Nelson's second K Street job, CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, might not even exist without Obamacare.

The NAIC is not an industry lobby. It is the trade group and lobbying association for state insurance regulators.

Obamacare mentions the NAIC 18 times. Again and again, the law requires the secretary of health and human services to consult the NAIC in developing federal health insurance standards. Some provisions of the law basically delegate regulatory power to the NAIC.

Now, with Ben Nelson on the payroll, the NAIC can be even more confident it will get its wishes.
Read Carney's full report, here.

Ignorance Is Bliss: Bill Gates Peddles Foreign Aid

By, Chris Rossini
Email | Twitter

Someone needs to get Bill Gates a copy of Hazlitt's Economics In One Lesson pronto! Also Bastiat's That Which Is Seen, and That Which Is Not Seen would help.

Watch the 1 min clip below of Gates talking about foreign success is being it's becoming "more like a business"...and how cutting it would be a bad thing.

Interestingly, Gates stays mum about "measuring" the fraud, waste and abuse that accompanies foreign aid. He doesn't talk about "measuring" what's expected from the foreign country after they receive their cash. There are always "strings attached".

Perhaps Gates hasn't heard of Ron Paul's famous quip that "Foreign aid is taking money from poor people in rich countries and giving it to rich people in poor countries."

Gates is lost.

True charity...true voluntary giving.

The costs that go unseen just don't cross his mind. You can't see the costs on those who had the money stolen from them, so they must not exist.

Between Gates, Buffett, Trump, Bloomberg, the Kochs, and other prominent billionaires, I say it's high time that a billionaire with some economic sense is sorely needed in the U.S.

Don't Forget to Listen to "Morning Coffee with Murray Rothbard"

Mary K Wulfers emails:
I so look forward to “Morning coffee with Murray Rothbard”; it makes my day.  Love, love, love.  I hope you never run out of material.
A few weeks back, the great historian Ralph Raico, who knew Murray Rothbard personally, emailed:
Bob, I appreciate the clips you're publishing of Murray. They bring back fond memories. Have a happy, successful, and very prosperous 2013.
Thanks to the Mises Institute, there is much video and audio of Rothbard, so Morning Coffee will continue for some time.

Hey Australia, How's That Gun Ban Working?

The Sydney Morning Herald reports:
Young men are arming themselves with illegal guns to fight petty disputes in a trend that is alarming police and has placed Sydney in the midst of another spike in public shootings. 
The acting Police Commissioner, Nick Kaldas, has pleaded with young men to ''think about your family and loved ones and what this means'' after a spate of fatal and drive-by shootings already this year.
Three men have been shot in Sydney since Sunday afternoon, including a 24-year-old father, Joshua George, who died from a single wound to the chest after a disagreement at a party the night before.[...] 
''We are seeing guns used to settle the most trivial matters,'' Mr Kaldas told Fairfax Media. ''Small debts, arguments over women, domestic tensions, road rage and minor property disputes.[...]Dr Weatherburn said that previously gun crimes had mainly been carried out by ''organised crime gangs'' or were ''the classic domestic homicide/sexual jealousy shootings''. 
Now police are worried about the ''idiot factor'' - young men who see guns as the first and only option in petty arguments.[...] 
A dispute between two wives in a supermarket [...] led one husband to shoot the other's home. 
Police said they seized 6000 to 7000 guns a year but access to firearms was still the big issue. 
''The big problem we are facing is the accessibility of weapons,'' Mr Kaldas said. ''Whether it's young men or others in criminal groups, they are getting access to guns and as long as those guns are out there, we are going to see shootings.''

Bernanke at the Super Bowl

Bernanke's huge money printing spree is impacting more and more sectors of the economy. A huge spike in the CPI is likely not far behind.

Super Bowl ticket prices are up 14% in secondary market. This year, a single seat for Super Bowl XLVII is averaging $3,398 online, versus $2,990 a year ago, according to ConvergEx.

Writes MarketWatch:
[U]nless you plan to be walking to New Orleans, a weekend in Fat City will cost you $15,406 if booked today, the strategists said. This includes a game ticket, non-stop airfare, hotel and rental car for four nights.

Super Bowl ad spending is also up. Standard 30-second television spots are going for $4 million each, and in some cases more, ConvergEx said, citing CBS Sports. That’s 14% more than a year ago.

Be Patient with RT

I see a number of comments with regard to the departure of Lauren Lyster at RT and disappointment with RT. Be patient with RT, I hear even more interesting broadcasts may be in the development stage. We may be very pleasantly surprised.

Revolving Door: Gvt. Lawyer Invoved in the Prosecution of Rajaratnam and Gupta Leaves for Big Bucks Private Sector Gig

NYT reports, that the powerful elitist law firm, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, is expected to announce that Reed Brodsky will leave the United States attorney’s office in Manhattan to join the law firm as a partner in its white-collar criminal defense practice. Brodsky is most well known for his role in prosecuting hedge fund player Raj Rajaratnam for the non-crime of insider trading.

Brodsky also led the prosecution of Rajat K. Gupta, the former Goldman Sachs director found guilty of leaking boardroom secrets to Rajaratnam.

“Reed is a star in federal prosecutorial circles,” said Randy M. Mastro, co-head of Gibson Dunn’s litigation practice. “He has tried some of the hardest, most high-profile cases in his office, winning one after the other.”

The two other prosecutors who tried Mr. Rajaratnam with Mr. Brodsky — Jonathan R. Streeter and Andrew Z. Michaelson — have already moved on to partnerships at corporate law firms.

Coming Up on The Robert Wenzel Show

By, Chris Rossini

This Week's Guest is Carol Roth
Carol Roth
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is currently the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio. Don't miss this awesome interview, where she discusses her workaholic career on Wall Street (She ended up in the hospital 3 times) and the networking techniques she used to breakthrough into media broadcasting. And don't miss her strong and important views on the dangers of gun control.

This Sunday - February 3rd

Sunday, February 10th - Robert Morrow & Judy Morris

On LBJ and the Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty

Sunday, February 17th - James Altucher
Blogger, entrepreneur and venture capital investor

Sunday, February 24th - Daniel McAdams
Ron Paul's Foreign Policy Adviser

Sunday April 7th - Stephan Kinsella
SPECIAL EDITION: Wenzel versus Kinsella on IP

2013 Interviews:
2012 Interviews:

Euromoney: Fischer for Fed Chairman

Euromoney, which chose outgoing Governor of the Bank of Israel Prof. Stanley Fischer as "Central Bank Governor of the Year in 2010," calls for him to be appointed the next Chairman of the US Federal Reserve.

The magazine writes:
The outgoing Israeli central bank governor - and former Bernanke thesis advisor - is one of the best monetary policy officials in the world. His market instincts and astute knowledge of economics endow him with impeccable credentials to lead the Fed in 2014.
EPJ  was first to suggest that Fischer may be considered for the Fed post, when Bernanke's term ends in January 2014.

Euromoney explains how inflationist Fischer was as Bank of Israel's top man:
Fischer helped to shield Israel from the storms emanating from the US syndicated loan crisis between July 2007 and March 2008, stepping up acquisitions of foreign currency reserves and embarking on quantitative easing through the purchases of long-term debt. Secondly, when Lehman collapsed, Fischer insulated the economy from the global storm by weakening the currency, ensuring the export sector was not demolished by an uncompetitive shekel.

Thirdly, on October 6, 2008 Fischer cut Israel’s benchmark rate - one day before monetary policymakers in the US, UK and eurozone coordinated their interest rate cuts. Fischer then cut the rate to a record low of 0.5% by April 2009 and embarked on an aggressive bout of quantitative easing. Lastly, in January 2012, Fischer cut rates - again anticipating monetary loosening globally - as he rightly judged growth fears would outweigh inflation concerns
Here's a chart of Israeli CPI over the last two years. Given the Great Recession price inflation has generally been very subdued in most countries, but not under Fischer's watch in Israel, inflation has been comparatively very strong. Indeed, in 2011, it was as high as 4.3%, more than twice the Fed's current target rate. 


For Sale: "Medical Inflation" by Andy Warhol

Via Christie's

Lot Description
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Medical Inflation
synthetic polymer on paper
31½ x 23½ in. (80 x 59.7 cm.)
Executed circa 1985-1986.

$15,000 - $20,000

Bidding on this lot will open on
February 26, 2013
Sale Information
Andy Warhol @ Christie's: Online Only
26 February - 5 March 2013

Fascinating. Warhol was on to medical inflation very early. Medical inflation has exceeded growth in economy-wide inflation since 1984.

According to Veronique de Rugy:
Before 1984, the growth in medical inflation fluctuated relative to the growth in economy-wide inflation. This pattern persisted in roughly three-year intervals. By contrast, since 1984 annual price changes in medical care (orange line) has exceeded the average inflation rate of all consumer prices (green line) in every year but one.

For Sale: "U.S. Unemployment Rate," By Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) 
U.S. Unemployment Rate 
synthetic polymer on paper 
23½ x 31½ in. (59.7 x 80 cm.) 
Executed circa 1984.

$20,000 - $30,000

Bidding on this lot will open on 
February 26, 2013
Sale Information
Andy Warhol @ Christie's: Online Only 
26 February - 5 March 2013

(ht NPR)

LBJ: Paranoid, Narcissist, Bully, Sadist & Lout

Historian and JFK assassination expert Robert Morrow was kind enough to send over to me extensive excerpts from two books about Lyndon Baines Johnson, one was by long time Johnson aide, George Reddy. The book was called Lyndon B. Johnson: A Memoir. The second book is Journals: 1952-2000 by Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who served as a special adviser to both JFK and RFK.

Longtime LBJ aide George Reedy on what a Narcissist, Bully, Sadist & Lout Lyndon Johnson was.

Reedy worked for LBJ from 1951-1965

"He was notorious for abusing his staff, for driving people to the verge of exhaustion- and sometimes over the verge; for paying the lowest salaries for the longest hours of work on Capitol Hill; for publicly humiliating his most loyal aides; for keeping his office in a constant state of turmoil by playing games with reigning male and female favorites."

"There was no sense in which he could be described as a pleasant man. His manners were atrocious- not just slovenly but frequently calculated to give offense. Relaxation was something he did not understand and would not accord to others. He was a bully who would exercise merciless sarcasm on people who could not fight back but could only take it. Most important, he had no sense of loyalty- at least, not the kind of loyalty I learned on the Irish Near North Side of Chicago, where life was bearable only because people who had very little in the way of wordly goods had very much in the way of mutual trust. To Johnson, loyalty was a one-way street: all take on his part and all give on the part of everyone else- his family, his friends, his supporters."
[Reedy, p. x]

"He was cruel, even to people who had virtually walked the last mile for him. Occasionally he would demonstrate his gratitude for extraordinary services by a lavish gift- an expensive suit of clothes, an automobile, jewelry for the women on his staff. The gift was always followed by an outpouring of irreverent abuse (I believe he thought his impulse was an example of weakness for which he had to atone) and a few members of his entourage noted that gift was invariably tax deductible on his part. Furthermore, some of the most lavish presents frequently went to members who had performed no services other than adulation. And when his personal desires were at stake, he had absolutely no consideration for the situation in which other people found themselves. They were required to drop everything to wait upon him and were expected to forget their private lives in his interests. He even begrudged one of his top assistants a telephone call to his wife on their wedding anniversary, which the assistant was spending on the LBJ ranch and his wife at their home in Washington, D.C." [Reedy, xiv]

"He had a habit of adopting all useful thoughts as his own, and often the originator of highly important ideas would forget his or her own authorship in a matter of hours and be ready to swear that the whole thing originated in the brain of "the Leader." [Reedy, xvi]

"He had a remarkable capacity to convince himself that he held the principles he should hold at any given time, and there was something charming about the air of injured innocence with which he would treat anyone who brought forth evidence that he had held other views in the past. It was not an act. His whole life was lived in the present and he was tenacious in his conviction that history always conformed to current necessities." [Reedy, p. 2]

"To complicate the picture, his own view of what had happened frequently shifted. To the outside world, this appeared as a form of mendacity. It is my firm belief, from close association over a number of years, that the man never told a deliberate lie. But he had a fantastic capacity to persuade himself that the "truth" which was convenient for the present was the truth and anything that conflicted with it was the prevarication of enemies. He literally willed what was in his mind to be reality and, as he was a master at imposing his will upon the people, the society, and the world around him, he saw no reason for history to be exempt from the process."
[Reedy, p. 3]

"That other man had to be Robert Kennedy, whom he regarded as the focal point for all the forces who sought the downfall of Lyndon Johnson." [Reedy, 6]

"As a rule, his language colorful, pointed, and what can most charitably be described as "earthy." His "humor" was based chiefly on the contents of toilet bowls and he was addicted to "pie-in-the-face" practical jokes. His favorite spectator sport was watching bovine copulation and he gloried in summoning fastidious males to his bathroom, where conference and excretion could be intermingled. His consumption of beverage alcohol was for purposes other than sacramental and in quantities that did not accord St. Paul's "a little wine for thy stomach's sake." [Reedy, p.34-35]

"They had to be young, they had to be cheerful, they had to be malleable, and it helped if they were slightly antagonistic to him at the outset. He dearly loved to convert an anti-Johnson liberal with a slightly plump figure and a dowdy wardrobe into a lean, impeccably clad female whose face was masked in cosmetics and who adored the ground he walked on (or, at least, told him she adored the ground he walked on). To her, he would pour out all his dreams and aspirations in what (as it was described to me later by one woman with a sense of humor) was an incredibly potent monologue. The motif was that he trusted her loyalty and needed her wisdom and she had to come with him to occupy the top spot in his organization. It was an offer rarely refused.
The reality was somewhat different. The best the woman could hope for was a position as his private secretary. She learned very quickly that it was not the post of a top "advisor." He had no respect for the political intelligence of any woman except his wife- and, unfortunately, he usually listened to her only when he had done something stupid and had to find a bail-out manuever.
There were many compensations for the reigning favorite. She could look forward to travel under plush conditions, attendance at glamourous social functions with the Johnsons (he would always find a "safe" male for an escort), expensive clothes, and frequent trips to New York, where a glamorous make-up artist would initiate her into the mysteries of advanced facial make-up, resulting in cosmetics so lavishly applied that they became a mask."
[Reedy, p. 36]

Murray Rothbard on a Debating Tactic to Use Against Post-Scarcity Types

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

RECORDING: JFK Seriously Peeved

Note: Jordan Marsh was a Boston-based department store chain, that I believe was converted to Macy's stores.

(ht Michael Duff)

Smackdown: The Truth About the Bill Clinton Economy

Dean Baker tweets:

Which leads to this pretty decent Baker analysis:
There is widely held view in Washington policy circles that the economy was golden in the Clinton years. We had strong growth, low unemployment, rising real wages, a soaring stock market and huge budget surpluses. According to this myth, George W. Bush ruined this Eden with his tax cuts for the rich and wars that he didn't pay for. While there are plenty of bad things that can be said about George W. Bush, his tax cuts for the rich and his wars (whether paid for or not), this story of paradise lost badly flunks the reality test.

At the most basic level, the chain of causation is fundamentally wrong. The driving force in this story was the soaring stock market, which was in fact a bubble. Stock prices had grown hugely out of line with the fundamentals of the economy. The ratio of stock prices to trend earnings at the market peak in 2000 was over 30 to 1, more than twice the historic average. It was inevitable that this bubble would burst and in fact the unwinding actually begin when Clinton was still in the White House. The overall market was down more than 10 percent from its peak by January of 2001 and the Nasdaq was down close to 30 percent.

This collapse was the basis for 2001 recession which began less than 2 months after President Bush stepped into the White House.
Baker is correct here as far as he goes. There was a stock market bubble. But, he fails to point out the bubble was caused by a massive acceleration in money supply (M2) growth, which was slowed for a bit by Greenspan in 1999-2000, which resulted in the 2000 market peak.

Hillary Clinton's Excellent Adventures

By, Chris Rossini
Email | Twitter

When the toil of millions of Americans foot your bills, you'd be a fool not to take advantage of it, right?

At least that's Queen Hillary's motto.

Remember back in 2001 when Hillary became Senator of NY, and it was time to get an office? She picked the most expensive office of all Senators, costing taxpayers $514,149 per year, which was $90,000 more than Diane (I want your gun) Feinstein’s $424,632 pad.

A former First Lady deserves nothing but the best.

Becoming Secretary of State didn't slow Hillary down when it came to guzzling your money either.

No way!

Even though we live in an unbelievable technological age, where you can communicate with just about anyone in the world in seconds, Hillary would take the old school approach. She'd travel the world like no other, breaking records along the way.

The Atlantic fills us in:
During her four years as the nation's top diplomat -- and particularly during her final year in that post -- Clinton fashioned herself as something of a George Clooney of global affairs, spending almost as much time up in the air as she did on the ground.
So while you're instructed to "recycle" and find more "sustainable" ways to live, Her Highness racked up 1,000,000 miles on her plane (956,733 to be exact). And let's not forget that the Pentagon is already the world's biggest polluter.

But that's neither here, nor there.

You get back to rummaging through your trash (like a raccoon) and separate those bottles and plastics.

While you're dumpster diving, Hillary would break Madelene (500,000 dead Iraqi kids are worth it) Albright's record of visiting 98 countries. Hillary would visit 112.

And why not?

If you were going to become Queen of The World in 2016, wouldn't you want to survey your lands and your peoples.

But you're not....You must go to work and earn enough to pay for the lives of your superiors.

And you best figure out ways to make even more money, because come 2016, the cost of carrying the Queen on your back will escalate exponentially!

Rahmaland Murders Top Afgahn Death Toll

The death toll by murder in Chicago over the past decade is greater than the number of American soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom, according to a police analysis reviewed by WND.

Chart via WND

WND reports:

In a city with some of the toughest gun control laws in America, where a handgun cannot be purchased, Fox News reported that Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy “acknowledged aiming at assault weapons misses the mark when dealing with Chicago’s gang violence.” 
“The weapon used is generally a handgun, and rarely is it purchased through legal channels,” he said.
Bottom line: Gun control and gun registration programs are only coming after guns of law abiding citizens. In other words, guns that would be known and taken from the hands of law abiding citizens, if a totalitarian ever ruled America.

The Backstory on Arthur Laffer

As a follow up to my post, Arthur Laffer Blurbs Al Gore's New Book, a friend emails:
In 1979, I snuck into a Congressional Members Only briefing to hear Laffer. He said he was a Liberal Democrat who wanted supply side economics to fund the welfare state.

HOT Did Obama Manipulate Q3 GDP to Create His Election Victory?

While much focus was put on the curious improvement in unemployment data in early October, which resulted in speculation that the BLS may have manipulated the data for the benefit of the President and his re-election campaign. Perhaps more focus should have centered on an even more curious data point released on October 26, 2012, the Gross Domestic Product: Third Quarter 2012 (advance estimate).

The release read:

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- increased at an annual rate of 2.0 percent in the third quarter of 2012 (that is, from the second quarter to the third quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
This was a big swing upward from Q2.  In the second quarter, real GDP increased 1.3 percent. Thus the 2.0 number implied that the economy was on an upswing.

Where did the improvement come from. The report went on to inform (my highlight):
The acceleration in real GDP in the third quarter primarily reflected an upturn in federal government spending, a downturn in imports, an acceleration in PCE, a smaller decrease in private inventory investment, an acceleration in residential fixed investment, and a smaller decrease in state and local government spending that were partly offset by downturns in exports and in nonresidential fixed investment.[...] 
 Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment increased 9.6 percent in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 0.2 percent in the second.  National defense increased 13.0 percent, in contrast to a decrease of 0.2 percent.  Nondefense increased 3.0 percent, in contrast to a decrease of 0.4 percent.
According to BEA data, federal government expenditures contributed 72 basis points of the total 2.0 percent gain in GDP for Q3. In comparison  Q2, government expenditures actually shrank GDP growth by -0.14.

Did the Obama Administration stuff federal government purchases into Q3 to show a growing economy for the benefit of the president? The data seem to indicate that's exactly what occurred. While, the underlying economy appears to be growing as a result of Bernanke's money printing, one sector of the economy collapsed, according to the Q4 numbers released today. From the BEA:

Real gross domestic product -- the output of goods and services produced by labor and property located in the United States -- decreased at an annual rate of 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012 (that is, from the third quarter to the fourth quarter), according to the "advance" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis.
However, as many analysts noted, this was an odd decline:
Business investment in equipment and software rose 12.4 percent, among the larger increases in the current expansion. Residential investment (housing) posted a solid 15.3 percent increase. And consumer spending was up 2.2 percent, driven by strong purchases of durable goods. 
The strength in these three categories is generally more typical of the start of a recovery, not 3.5 years into it. 
What gives?

The BEA clues us in in their release (my highlight):

The decrease in real GDP in the fourth quarter primarily reflected negative contributions from private inventory investment, federal government spending, and exports that were partly offset by positive contributions from personal consumption expenditures (PCE), nonresidential fixed investment, and residential fixed investment.  Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.[...]  Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment decreased 15.0 percentin the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of 9.5 percent in the third.  National defense decreased 22.2 percent, in contrast to an increase of 12.9 percent.  Nondefense increased 1.4 percent, compared with an increase of 3.0 percent.

Holy Mitt Romney! According to the BEA, federal government spending had a negative 133 basis point impact on Q4 growth. If if wasn't for the decline in federal government spending, the Q4 growth number would have come in at a positive 1.32%, not the 0.1% decrease. So what was behind the decline in federal spending, did we win a war in Q4 and the military-industrial complex lobbyists decided to end schmoozing the Penatgon, which resulted in a non-neocon like 22% decline in defense spending?

Or was the spending stuffed into Q3 to help the President's election campaign?

Ron Paul's Foreign Policy Adviser on US Foreign Policy

Lew Rockwell has a very important podcast up today. It's an interview with Ron Paul's foreign policy adviser Daniel McAdams. This is podcast is a must listen, it puts into perspective what the US role in Syria and with the Arab Spring. There's also more hints about Ron Paul's big announcement.

The podcast is here.

Jesse Benton Issues Off-the-Wall Email on Behalf of McConnell reports:
In a campaign fund-raising email Monday, McConnell's campaign manager, Jesse Benton, said every conservative in the state needs to be aware of "an important development."

He said a report by Politico, a political journalism news group, "confirmed that (President) Barack Obama's Democratic allies are attempting to infiltrate conservative organizations across Kentucky to encourage and fund opposition to Senator Mitch McConnell."

Benton said liberals know that McConnell "has stood side-by-side with conservatives in Kentucky and they need to manufacture a movement against him to get attention to the race."[...] 
Benton did not identify any specific conservative group in Kentucky that he thinks has been infiltrated by Democratic liberals.
What's really going on is that Benton client Mitch McConnell is hated by many in the state, across the political spectrum. They all want McConnell out, but for sure they are far apart on who should replace McConnell. Benton is doing nothing but attempting to spin the hate for McConnell into some type of bizarre tale of the left infiltrating conservative and the Tea Party groups, when it's really across-the-board McConnell hate at the grassroots level. Hard-core conservative and Tea Party groups want McConnell replaced because he is a big government interventionist, not, as Benton would have people believe, because lefties have sprinkled magic powder over their eyes.

Arthur Laffer Blurbs Al Gore's New Book

This will be an unexpected curve to many. Arthur Laffer has endorsed Al Gore's new book, The Future: Six Drivers of Global Change. How idiotic is the book? Gore is apparently clueless about marginal revenue product and how wages tend to climb in a highly capitalized society, not fall. In other words, robots would make us, like all other increases in capital, more productive, resulting in supply and demand pushing wages higher. But apparently, Gore doesn't get this. Further, Gore bitching about outsourcing suggests he doesn't understand the law of comparative advantage, either.

From a review of the book, at Amazon:
The part I liked best focused on how globalization and especially technology are transforming the economy and labor markets. Gore divides this into outsourcing and "robosourcing" (what he calls replacement of jobs by smart machines and robots). Unlike others who feel today's technology is just a continuation of what has come before, Gore sees it as a totally new force with dramatic (and often negative) consequences for workers.
Gore's confusion is something that any student who has taken Econ 101 could spot, and yet Laffer endorses Gore's madness. From the blurb to the book:

"I'm a pro-growth supply-side economist, so my admiration for Al Gore may seem like an oxymoron. It's not. This book is amazingly rich in wisdom, practicality, and insight. Al Gore has a portfolio that warrants credibility and is an accomplished polymath who transcends ideology while turning our attention to big issues, big ideas, and big solutions. The Future frames the discussion whether you're conservative, agnostic, or liberal. It's a fascinating deep read." —Arthur B. Laffer, Ph.D.

One really has to wonder how knowledgeable of an economist Laffer really is, versus being just a good self-promoter. Remember, in 2009, he displayed significant confusion about the difference between the monetary base and the actual money supply. Laffer was also a major supporter of Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan. This was bogus tax reform that would leave taxes "static revenue neutral." Which Laffer explained,
means that if people didn't change what they do under his plan, total tax revenues would be the same as they are under our current tax code.
Laffer went gaga over the possibility that the shift in tax structure might even result in the already bloated government see revenues increase:
  I believe his plan would indeed be static revenue neutral, and with the boost it would give to economic growth it would bring in even more revenue than expected.
Laffer should be considered nothing but a self-promoting apologist for government growth and increased interventionist policies.

(Via John Podhoretz)

Rahmaland: 15-Year-Old Who Performed At Obama Inauguration Shot Dead

In a city with some of the toughest gun control laws in the country, CBS News reports:
A teenage girl–an honor student who had just performed at President Obama’s inaugural–was gunned down Tuesday afternoon in the Kenwood neighborhood, just blocks from the high school she attended.
CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports the victim, 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, was taking shelter from the rain with a group of 10 to 12 teenagers under a canopy in Vivian Gordon Harsh Park on the 4500 block of South Oakenwald Avenue around 2:30 p.m., when someone jumped a fence, ran up to them, and opened fire.[...] Police said Pendleton had no gang affiliation and likely wasn’t the intended target. Several of the teens with her at the time, however, were believed to be gang members.
Does Rahmaland Mayor Emanuel or President Obama seriously think the gun involved in this shooting was registered or that it would be turned in if this type weapon was "banned."

Expect more non sequiturs from Emanuel and Obama as they call for more measures"to stop the violence,"  by calling for more background checks and more gun bans, of the peaceful that have nothing to do with the shootings that are the result of government interventions in society.

(via Travis Holte)

Iceland President At Davos: 'Why Do We Treat Banks Like Holy Churches? It's Time To Stop The Bailouts And Let Them Go Bankrupt!'

Liz Claman interviews Iceland President Olaf Grimsson at Davos.

He has a sound alternative to Geithner, Paulson and Bernanke bankster bailouts, but as you will see he still is a big league tax taker.

(via Daily Bail)

The USS Liberty, Israel & President Johnson’s Order to Destroy the USS Liberty

The below well referenced article was sent to me by JFK Assassination expert Robert Morrow. In the email to me, he endorses the analysis, "I think it is fine article."

I have no separate knowledge of the facts detailed in this article or if the facts could be interpreted differently. I provide this analysis simply as a starting point for those who may want to explore the topic in more depth.

The USS Liberty, Israel & President Johnson’s Order to Destroy the USS Liberty
By Judy Morris

Lyndon Baines Johnson is a president who has escaped the scrutiny and judgment of history despite considerable documentation that should make him an outstanding candidate for historical review, critique and analysis.  His primary biographer, Robert Caro, consistently gets rave book reviews from mainstream media for his disingenuous puff piece books on LBJ.  It’s entirely possible that LBJ is the most evil or one of the most evil presidents in US history.
Some researchers believe that LBJ was the mastermind behind JFK’s assassination and researcher Phillip F. Nelson wrote a book documenting his investigation on this issue: LBJ: The Mastermind of JFK’s Assassination.  

However, one of greatest unknown chapters in LBJ’s presidency is that he personally gave the order to Israel to bomb and utterly destroy the USS Liberty and its entire crew of 294 Americans.  Astoundingly, when the mission went awry and Sixth Fleet Commanders were ordering the rescue of the besieged and bloodied USS Liberty crew, LBJ ordered that rescue operations be called back, at least twice.   Against all odds, the USS Liberty survived but after the attack, 34 Americans lay dead.  Except for 4 worthless 50 caliber machine guns, the USS Liberty was unarmed and defenseless against the far superior firing power of the Israeli navel and air force armada that descended upon it with relentless and unspeakable terror.
Not a whole lot has been written about the USS Liberty and its just another critically important issue that has been buried in history but two extraordinary books document the truth. James M. Ennes Jr., a retired US Navel Officer and a survivor of the USS Liberty who wrote a book on the USS Liberty that documents his investigative disclosure of the truth, here.
Peter Hounam, an investigative journalist, wrote Operation Cyanide, Why the Bombing of the USS Liberty Nearly Caused World War III.   Hounam’s extraordinary book, published in 2003, relies heavily on the work of Ennis and also documents numerous interviews that Hounam conducted with the USS Liberty survivors as well as other folks in the US, British and Israel governments.
The “official”  story of the USS Liberty according to the government and mainstream media version of the event is that on June 8, 1967 the Israelis accidentally bombed the USS Liberty off the coast of Egypt and killed 34 American sailors.
The real story is that President Johnson, who was being battered in the polls over the Vietnam War and facing a general election loss and even losing the DNC primary, ordered the Israelis to bomb the USS Liberty to create a casus belli to secure a Gulf of Tonkin style resolution to explode the world into war because in America everybody loves an outraged and indignant president who will use the full force of the military at the slightest provocation, even a government planned false flag attack.
The USS Liberty, however, encompasses far more than a murderous psychopathic American president resorting to hideously evil deeds to get re-elected.  In addition to ordering the total destruction of the USS Liberty and sending 294 Americans to a watery grave in the Mediterranean Sea, LBJ also ordered the nuclear bombing of Cairo, an event specifically designed to create a nuclear war by blaming the entire USS Liberty affair on Russia or Egypt.  More horrifying, it’s documented that US planes were on emergency standby orders as pilots waited on the runways in their planes armed with nuclear weapons.  The nuclear bombing of Cairo was called off only 3 minutes before the nuclear bomb drops.
As fate would have it, LBJ’s plan blew up in his face and the world got a reprieve from a nuclear US induced holocaust.  How did it happen?  First, it must be understood that the USS Liberty was supposed to be destroyed and sunk within minutes and without any survivors.
The actual attack on the USS Liberty commenced at 2:00 p.m. Israel time on June 8, 1967.  The USS Liberty was 13 miles off the coast of Gaza and moving slowly at 5 knots. The crew had observed several flyovers by Israeli reconnaissance planes earlier in the day.
When the USS Liberty was struck, it was struck with an awesome force.  According to, a website created by the survivals to document and expose the truth, the ship was first struck by Israeli fighter aircraft:
“Israeli fighter aircraft launched a rocket attack on USS Liberty. The aircraft made repeated firing passes, attacking USS Liberty with rockets and their internal cannons. After the first flight of fighter aircraft had exhausted their ordnance, subsequent flights of Israeli fighter aircraft continued to prosecute the attack with rockets, cannon fire, and napalm. During the air attack, USS Liberty’s crew had difficulty contacting Sixth Fleet to request assistance due to intense communications jamming. The initial targets on the ship were the command bridge, communications antennas, and the four .50 caliber machine guns, placed on the ship to repel boarders.
After the Israeli fighter aircraft completed their attacks, three Israeli torpedo boats arrived and began a surface attack about 35 minutes after the start of the air attack. The torpedo boats launched a total of five torpedoes, one of which struck the side of USS Liberty, opposite the ship’s research spaces. [20] Twenty-six Americans in addition to the eight who had been killed in the earlier air attacks, were killed as a result of this explosion.
Following their torpedo attack, the torpedo boats moved up and down the length of the ship (both the port and starboard sides), continuing their attack, raking the ship with cannon and machine gun fire.[21] In Malta, crewmen were later assigned the task of counting all of the holes in the ship that were the size of a man’s hand or larger. They found a total of 861 such holes, in addition to “thousands” of .50 caliber machine gun holes.“, link here.
USS Liberty Timeline, here.
0600: Israeli Nord 2501 Noratlas (flying boxcar) reconnoiters Liberty….
0603: Reconnaissance aircraft reports to Israeli naval headquarters that “GTR-5” is written on the ship, identifying it as an NSA intelligence vessel.
0720: Fresh American flag is raised….
1000: Two unmarked, rocket-armed, delta-winged jets circle Liberty three times. Liberty officers can count rockets and see the pilots, but see no identifying marks on the plane. The jets radio Israeli headquarters that the ship is flying an American flag….
1055: Pinchas Pinchasy, naval liaison officer at Israeli air force headquarters, reports to Naval Headquarters that the ship cruising slowly off El Arish is “an electromagnetic audio-surveillance ship of the U.S. Navy, named Liberty, whose marking was GTR-5.”…
1100 & 1130: Israeli reconnaissance aircraft again circle Liberty.
The above information is critically important because it proves beyond any reasonable doubt that the Israelis were well aware that the USS Liberty was a well marked US spy ship.  US spy ships are extremely easy to spot because as telecommunication vessels, they are loaded with wires, antennas and other communication gear that are easily recognized and identifiable (unlike Russian spy ships that were realistically camouflaged as trawlers and fishing boats).  The reason it’s important to understand this is because the cover-up of of the USS Liberty incident was so flimsy and fictitious that both the US and Israeli governments officially stated that the USS Liberty was mistook for an Egyptian vessel that hauls horses.  This is simply impossible.
As the timeline unfolds, it’s clear that the attack on the USS Liberty had two goals:  1.  first destroy and disable all communication capabilities and 2. sink the ship, her crew and guarantee that there were no survivors.  The timeline continues.

Murray Rothbard on the Principled, Uncompromising Mises

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

ALERT: US Embassy Cairo Closed to Public Services

The US Embassy in Cairo has sent out this tweet advisory.

The Christian Science Monitor reports:
Five days of protests in Egypt, with dozens of people killed and entire cities in turmoil, have revealed a whopping deficit of public trust in the Muslim Brotherhood, the Islamic group that dominates the leadership of this young democracy of the Arab Spring.

The Big Secret About Skill

James Altucher explains:
Only here’s the secret nobody tells you: skill compounds exponentially, not linearly. If you practice something you love for 15 minutes a day for 2 days your effort didn’t have double the effect, it had quadruple the effect. More here.

The Implications of the New Eurozone Financial Transaction Supra National Tax

By John Browne

Although it was barely noticed by the American press, on January 22nd, EU finance ministers approved a new "Financial Transactions Tax" (FTT) that has implications for market competitiveness around the world. 

The move was conceived as a Franco-German initiative and was supported by seven other EU nations, including the entire bloc of highly indebted southern tier nations, to reach the minimum nine nations required to press ahead under the EU's so-called, 'enhanced co-operation procedures'. If at least one of the transacting parties involved is an EU resident, the tax will impose a one tenth of one percent tax (on both sides of a financial transaction) on secondary market trades in equities, bonds, securities and REPOS. Derivatives will be taxed at a lower one hundredth percent. 

Although limited presently in scope and at an apparently low rate, the tax will nevertheless provide an extra layer of financial bureaucracy that will dissuade some market participants from transacting in the Eurozone. It should be patently obvious that transactional fluidity is supportive of efficient markets and ultimately of economic growth. It is only in the poisonous, anti-capitalist, post-crisis environment that such a measure could be passed. More importantly, the measure is a "supra national" tax that helps to pave the way towards a global taxation system. Not only will such a system be economically damaging, but it will be devoid largely of effective democratic accountability. 

In its March 2011 tax meeting in Brussels, the EU had originally proposed a "Financial Activities Tax" (FAT), a more comprehensive, and potentially more destructive, EU-wide measure. The opposition to the tax was so fierce, most notably from Great Britain, that the FTT was proposed as a compromise. 

Ignoring the role of the central banks in the financial debacle, the German Finance Minister commented lamely that, "The financial sector must appropriately participate in bearing the cost of the financial crisis." According to the EU's Tax Commissioner, Algridas Semeta, the FTT decision was a "major achievement for EU tax policies." Those who believe, as I do, that the EU's covert intent is to erode the traditional independence of the world's financial markets, particularly the dominance of London and New York, certainly share those sentiments. 

In an economic impact analysis running to over 1,000 pages, the EU Commission estimated that the FTT would raise $76 billion annually. The commission admitted that this would cause a 10 percent drop in securities transactions, a 70 percent fall in derivatives trading and result in a loss to the EU's GDP of some 0.53 percent. All this in an EU economy struggling now to prevent a recession falling into a depression! Of course, the Commission failed to consider any resulting lost tax revenues implied by a fall in GDP.

On its face, it was clear that the idea for both the FAT and the FTT was a product of left wing ideology of soaking the so-called rich, but devoid of any real understanding of how free markets operate.

If such a tax were imposed in single country market, in the UK for instance, it would encourage a massive flow of business to other national markets. The EU must feel that its size and status will protect it from such an eventuality. Few suspect that the FTT will offer economic benefits that would outweigh the harm it will impose. But that is not the criteria by which the measure will be judged by EU leadership. What if FTT is designed not as a tax to encourage more responsible investing,  but as a covert weapon to win political control of Europe? 

FTT is a supra national tax imposed on top, and independent of, national financial taxes. Once the infrastructure to enforce and collect the tax is established, the tax rates can be raised relatively easily. Most importantly, once such supra national taxes are established, they suffer from very little if any democratic supervision. 

EU Tax Commissioner, Algirdas Semeta, has said that the Commission has arrived at a means of levying a tax that prevents investors from relocating. The tax will be imposed on both the buyer and the seller of a financial instrument so long as either of the two parties is based within any participating EU country. This means that even investors in London or New York accustomed to paying only their domestic taxes may not escape the new tax completely. 

At a time when governments should be encouraging the free flow of capital, this measure moves us exactly in the wrong direction. Combined with the heightened regulatory scrutiny in the United States (President Obama's appointment last week of the first former federal prosecutor to head the Securities and Exchange Commission), the move bolsters the belief that the West will likely cede financial market leadership to the freer and more vibrant markets in the Pacific. 

John Browne is a Senior Economic Consultant to Euro Pacific Capital. Opinions expressed are those of the writer, and may or may not reflect those held by Euro Pacific Capital, or its CEO, Peter Schiff.

Video of Big Brother's spy drone that can watch you from 17,500 ft

By, Chris Rossini
Email | Twitter

Big Brother has quite the powerful camera.

These are (for sure) the hallmark of a free society.

From Popular Science:
Curious as to how the Defense Department could be spying on you next? PBS checked in with DARPA about the latest in drone camera technology for the NOVA special "Rise of the Drones," including the world's highest-resolution camera.

Actually seeing the sensor on ARGUS-IS, or Autonomous Real-Time Ground Ubiquitous Surveillance Imaging System, is still classified, but the basics of how it works have been deemed fit for public consumption...

It can store a million terabytes of video a day, up to 5,000 hours of footage, so soon drones will not only be able to see everything that happens on the ground, but also keep that record.

Nathaniel Branden's Nasty Swipe at Murray Rothbard

In a reminisce about the old days, and the 1979 Libertarian convention in particular, Robert Ringer drops this cute memory:
A few weeks after the convention I invited a number of noteworthy libertarians to a dinner party at my home.  With my newfound enthusiasm for libertarianism, I wanted to pick the brains of some of the smartest libertarian minds in the country.[...] At one point, in response to one of my guests extolling the virtues of Murray Rothbard’s anarchist beliefs — specifically alluding to his advocacy of private police forces — Nathaniel Branden tersely shot back that Murray Rothbard would be the first one to complain about a lack of police protection if he were in trouble.
What a nasty swipe from Branden. This was 1979 and Rothbard lived in NYC. There was no police protection. The father of a friend of mine was a top ranking NYPD officer, the friend told me that things were so bad in parts of the Bronx and Harlem that police did not go in to stop shootouts. They just blocked off surrounding streets so that the gunfights wouldn't expand. Calling the police back then was a joke. At the time, the NYPD  had a cop stationed in midtown outside the office of the Russian airline, Aeroflot. One night, I parked my car about 10 feet from where the police booth was located. The car was broken into, when I went to the cop just 10 feet away to report the break-in and find out he missed the break-in, he just shrugged.

NYC 1979 was a very dangerous place. People were fleeing the city. There were 149,000 violent crimes that year. By compassion in 2011, there were "only" 77,490.

Did "libertarian" Branden seriously think that private police were going to be less responsive than the government coppers?  Did Branden even understand what a private property society was all about?

Murray knew the score about Branden, when Branden's book, Judgement Day, came out in 1989, Murray wrote:
The battle between Rand and Branden, moreover, is really no contest. Rand created something, whereas Branden has lived his entire life parasitically off Rand, first as a worshipful disciple and cult organizer, then as a neo-Randian shrink who set up shop in California with the solid initial base of the RandCult's Nathaniel Branden Institute mailing list. And now, too, he is parasitically living off Rand as a scavenger and kiss-and-tell calumniator. Talk about your "social metaphysician!"
Just by coincidence, in the review, Murray even hinted in speculative fashion at how a private detective might operate more carefully then a government detective:
One of the curious aspects of Judgment Day is the Epilogue. The subtitle of the book is "My Years with Ayn Rand," and yet the Epilogue goes on and on about the mysterious death of Patrecia, wife number 2, almost ten years after Nathan's expulsion from the RandCult in 1968. Why does he keep dwelling on the details of an event clearly irrelevant to the book?

There are many possible explanations, some more sinister than others, that have been bruited around the libertarian movement for years. Here is one possible solution to the puzzle: In my days in the movement, we kept hearing about Nathan's plan to write one day his own Great Novel. So, just as Brahms's First Symphony has been called Beethoven's Tenth because it so closely followed the Master, perhaps we can treat Judgment Day as Nathan's first, or Rand's fourth, novel, albeit a "nonfiction" one, using real names. We could then, I suppose, excuse the falsehoods and the personal smears in the name of "art." And every reader of mystery stories knows the value of a dead body, especially of a pretty female perishing in mysterious circumstances.

But Branden is not off the hook, because Judgment Day fails even as a work of fiction. We are told many details of the death of Patrecia, for example, but other crucial items are missing. Thus, we are told such minute details as the exact time that Patrecia made her last phone call to Nathan on the day of her death, as well as the precise hour that Branden wound his way up the driveway to get to his home to find her body. And yet we are not told anything of Nathan's whereabouts that crucial afternoon; nor are we told the details of the autopsy report.

Furthermore, we are told odd details about their watchdog, and yet it is unclear why it is important that he was found inside rather than outside the house by the authorities. And how exactly and when did Branden "trip the burglar alarm" that summoned those authorities? Inquiring minds want to know!