Wednesday, July 31, 2013

It's Getting Ugly in Kentucky Early

The Republican primary in Kentucky isn't until May 2014, but the attack ads are already flying. Jesse and Mitch must be real nervous.

EPJ reader Tom Evans emails:
Just wanted to pass this along.  I live in Louisville KY and have begun to hear some radio spots for both Bevin and McConnell.  On my drive home this evening, I heard a big time attack from McConnell/Benton camp against Bevin...  I don't know too much about Bevin yet, but found it humorous that McConnell is attacking him for getting a $200,000 "taxpayer bailout" when McConnell voted for TARP.  Anyway, thought you may find interesting.  
Here's a video version of the ad:

Get your popcorn ready. I can't wait for the Bevin response.

Upcoming: The Judas Beer Summit?

The Judas Rand pollsters must be telling him that calling Judas Christie the King of Bacon is not going over well with likely Republican voters. Rand has switched gears and is calling for a "beer summit" between the two.

Rand now tells us that it turns out Christie is not the king of bacon, but is actually pretty libertarian. From Politico:
“We’re going to have to patch things up. If we can sit down. I’m inviting him for a beer. Anytime he would like to come down and sit down at the pub right around the corner from the Senate and have a beer,” Paul told [Neil Cavuto of FOX News]. “We’ll formalize it, we’ll put it in writing but I think we could sit down and have a beer and mend things.”

“At times people have said Chris Christie has some libertarian leanings so it’s actually a little ironic that we see him criticizing libertarians in the party for libertarian influences, because some libertarians actually had high hopes that he had some libertarian leanings.”

This is some big tent Rand is building: Mitch McConnell and Chris Christie are included, but no to  the true libertarian leaning Matt Bevin. Can't wait to see who Rand includes next under the big tent.


The Hill reports:
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) turned down an offer by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to get a beer and end a nearly week-long feud.
"I’m running for re-election in New Jersey. I don’t really have time for that at the moment," Christie said to Eric Scott on 101.5 FM's "Ask The Governor" program on Wednesday, according to the Asbury Park Press. "You know, if I find myself down in Washington, I'll certainly look him up. I don't suspect I'll be there anytime soon. I've got work to do here." 

So much for Rand's big tent:

VIDEO Spike Lee vs CNBC

The Daily Beast has a video clip of Spike Lee's appearance on CNBC.  It is a pretty uncomfortable interview for the anchors not involved in the back and forth with Lee. Check out their body language.

In the clip, Lee tells a CNBC anchor that it isn't easy for him to get major studio financing for his films. He's probably correct. His movies aren't the blockbuster types that major studios are looking for.Though aimed at a different audience, they are probably similar in terms of box-office gross to the movies made by Woody Allen (maybe even less), and Allen doesn't always get major studio backing.

But what caught my ear in the give and take is that Lee said he just sent out letters (pre-internet) to get the funding he needed for his first film. There's a lesson here. Those that are aggressive and keep at it, get what they want. Nobody is handing out cash, jobs, or anything else. Be creative, aggressive and most importantly persistent.

Here's the clip.

The Pretense of Knowledge Is Alive & Well

By, Chris Rossini

Ezra Klein put out a list that supposedly makes the case for Larry Summers as the next Fed Chairman.

It must be clarified, before going any further, that the whole Yellen vs. Summers match is purely for entertainment purposes only. In the real world, no man (or woman) can possibly succeed in centrally planning the economy. But, we are dealing individuals who operate under The Pretense of Knowledge, so let's play along for fun.

Here are some of Ezra's findings on the case for Summers:
— Summers will be a more engaged regulator - [...] Outside the White House, the knock on Summers is that he’s a tool of the banks — he helped with the financial deregulation of the 1990s, and he was skeptical of the Volcker rule during Dodd-Frank, and he’s taken millions of dollars in consulting and speech fees from Wall Street.

This drives his supporters crazy. They see the 1990s as basically irrelevant. They think Summers made good points about the difficulty of enforcing the Volcker rule. They think his Wall Street experience is a plus, as it means he actually understands the industry.
The truth is that The Federal Reserve itself is a tool of the banks. It's a banking cartel. Trying to separate the banks from The Fed is an error. It's one big happy thieving family. Any (and all) government regulations that are put in place (or removed) are done for the benefit of the entire system.

The best way to picture it is to think of a giant octopus. The head is The Federal Reserve and the sprawling arms are the banks. It's all one unit. "Regulations" and "Deregulations" are just fodder for the masses out there to think that "government is doing something".

To think that The Fed is some kind of "regulator" is the same as thinking that the arsonist "regulates" the fire.
— Summers knows how to manage a crisis. This White House is particularly attuned to the idea that the economy can fall apart at any moment. Summers, they think, knows what to do when that happens.
Really the "recovery" can fall apart?

Of course it's going to fall apart; as do all castles that are built on sand.

All that the Fed has been doing (for decades now) has been a successive continuation of distorting and contorting the economy. They continue to rack up the malinvestments, while also preventing the liquidations.

At some point (and no one can no exactly when) the market will finally show it's wrath, and deliver a massive coup de gras. Whether it'll be under the next Chairman's term, or five Chairmen from now is anyone's guess.

But, whoever the unlucky one is, he or she will be as effective at "managing the crisis" as this guy:

— He’s really brilliant. [...] The experience of taking an idea to Summers, they say, is the experience of having the smartest person you’ve ever met focus intensely and seriously on what you just told them and then give you 10 reasons you never thought of for why it’s idiotic or won’t work or needs revision. And those 10 points are good points.

You know who else used brilliance for nefarious reasons? Anyone remember the "geniuses" that ran Long-Term Capital Management?

There was also this guy:

Smarts, connections, experience, good intentions...None of it matters!

No one should be Chairman of an organization that should not exist.

Follow @ChrisRossini

This Week in Zimmerman Drama: Zimmerman Was Speeding and Carrying Gun

Great job by the police here. George Zimmerman has probably moved to protect his life and the police release to the online gossip page, TMZ, his general location.

Zimmerman was speeding in Forney, Texas on Sunday, just after noon, when he was stopped by police.  Zimmerman told cops he was headed "nowhere in particular," and informed them he had a firearm in his glove compartment, reports TMZ.

Zimmerman was given a warning, after cops determined he was free of warrants.  He was sent on his way with a polite goodbye, "Have a safe trip."

The Lady Who Votes Against Bernanke and Other Fed Members

The latest Fed statement is out and it is more of the same.

The Fed will continue its $85 billion bond buying program and the Fed says price inflation is below its 2% target, while the MIT Billion Prices Index shows price inflation around 2.5%,

One FOMC  voting member, Kansas City Fed President Esther George, continues to vote against current Fed policy. Here's how the Fed reported the vote at today's meeting:
 Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman; William C. Dudley, Vice Chairman; James Bullard; Elizabeth A. Duke; Charles L. Evans; Jerome H. Powell; Sarah Bloom Raskin; Eric S. Rosengren; Jeremy C. Stein; Daniel K. Tarullo; and Janet L. Yellen. Voting against the action was Esther L. George, who was concerned that the continued high level of monetary accommodation increased the risks of future economic and financial imbalances and, over time, could cause an increase in long-term inflation expectations.
Why does she vote this way? George gives few speeches, but she did deliver a speech in June where she discussed her views. She is far from a hard money person, but her speech does contain some concern about the current massive additions to the monetary base. The speech, if anything, provides a clue as to how money printing oriented the remainder of FOMC members must be, if the pushback against mad money printing is only represented George's call for a slowdown in money printing. The below is from her June speech.
With the economy improving and with monetary policy having been extraordinarily accommodative for nearly half a decade, the world, it seems, is holding its breath as it waits to learn when the FOMC might adjust its current policy settings. This anxiety follows in part from the fact that a number of global economies have come to depend on central banks to provide unprecedented amounts of money to engineer growth and influence asset values, fearing otherwise that deflation would take hold.

In the United States, for example, the Federal Reserve has added more than $2 trillion in
Treasuries and agency-MBS securities to its balance sheet over the past five years and continues to add $85 billion each month. To varying degrees, these actions have influenced asset prices,supported financial markets and boosted household wealth.

These unconventional actions also bring their own uncertainty about the outlook for the
economy and increasingly appear to be viewed by markets and the public as “conventional.” As a result, several sectors in the economy are becoming increasingly dependent on near-zero short term interest rates and quantitative easing policies. For example, debit balances in security margin accounts at broker-dealers hit an all-time high in April of this year. The rise in thesebalances indicates that investors are borrowing at very low rates of interest to purchase riskier financial assets. Presumably, some investors are pursuing this strategy because they anticipate that loans will continue to be available at very low rates of interest, which will allow them to ride out any market volatility. Likewise, an extended period of low rates is causing investors to be more aggressive about seeking out higher-yielding and riskier assets in the leveraged loan market. Leveraged loans are packages of higher-risk commercial loans, which hit an all-time high in the first quarter of this year.

These issues, among others, raise a most important question for the FOMC about when to shift its policy focus to the longer run and what steps should be taken now that will return the economy to a state less dependent on monetary stimulus.

Like others, I want to see the U.S. economy grow with healthy job creation. Without question, more progress is needed in our labor market. While monetary policy affects inflation and financial stability and influences employment, it cannot singlehandedly fix today’s high unemployment. That will take additional time. In maintaining its present course, the FOMC must consider other possible unintended consequences. For example, Will continuing with current policy and the creation of even greater excess reserves in the banking system result in more lending and economic growth or merely invite asset misallocation? Are we creating a path to stable long-term growth or fostering uncertainty about the impact to the economy when the Federal Reserve must unwind its balance sheet?

Given these dynamics, and in light of improving economic conditions, I support slowing the pace of asset purchases as an appropriate next step for monetary policy. Moreover, such actions would not constitute an outright tightening of monetary policy, but rather, it would slow policy easing. History suggests that waiting too long to acknowledge the economy’s progress and prepare markets for more-normal policy settings carries no less risk than tightening too soon.

In other words, a slowing in the pace of purchases could be viewed as applying less pressure to the gas pedal, rather than stepping on the brake. Adjustments today can take a measured pace as the economy’s progress unfolds. It would importantly begin to lay the groundwork for a period when markets can prepare to function in a way that is far less dependent on central bank actions and allow them to resume their most essential roles of price discovery and resource allocation.

Jesse Benton: There Will Be a Fusion of Team Mitch and Team Rand After the Election

From  a profile of Jesse Benton in National Review Online, we learn:
When Jesse Benton was approached about becoming Mitch McConnell’s campaign manager for the 2014 election, he quickly reached out to one person: Rand Paul.

Benton has longstanding and deep ties with the Paul clan. He was a top aide on both of Ron Paul’s presidential campaigns, and he served as campaign manager for Rand Paul’s victorious, rookie Senate campaign in 2010. And his wife, Valori, is Ron Paul’s granddaughter.

When Benton told Rand Paul he was considering taking the job, Paul barely hesitated. “Oh, you got to take it,” Paul told Benton in a phone call, according to Benton. “If they’re interested in you and you think it’s the right fit for you, you got to take it . . . It’s good for you and it’s good for me.’”[...]

“Once we win this [McConnell senatorial] campaign, there’s going to be a substantial portion of Team Mitch that’s going to fuse with Team Rand,” he remarks, “and I think it’s going to make a really dynamite team.”

What Actually Happens When You Click On Those 'One Weird Trick' Ads

By Andrew Kaufman

You’ve seen them. Peeking out from sidebars, jiggling and wiggling for your attention, popping up where you most expect them: those “One Weird Trick” ads.
These crudely drawn Web advertisements promise easy tricks to reduce your belly fat, learn a new language, and boost your credit score by 217 points.

They seem like obvious scams, but part of me has always wanted to follow the link. What, I wonder, makes the tricks soweird? How come only one trick (or sometimes "tip"), never more? Why are the illustrations done by small children using MS Paint?

I’ve never pursued these questions, though, because a fear of computer viruses and identity theft has always stayed my hand. One curious click, I imagine, and I could wake up hogtied on an oil tanker headed to Nigeria.

Thankfully, Slate has allowed me to slake my curiosity, and yours. They gave me a loaner laptop, a prepaid debit card, and a quest: to investigate these weird tricks and report back to you. I also contacted a bevy of marketing experts to help me parse what I found. The individual tricks themselves are peculiar, but the larger trick—of why this bizarre and omnipresent marketing strategy works—tells us a lot about what makes us click, buy, and believe.

Read the rest here.

Poll: NYC Women Desert Weiner for Lesbian

The WSJ graphic below shows the results of the recent Quinnipiac poll data for the NYC mayoral race.

Since the latest Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, Weiner has dived in the polls, especially among women voters.The lesbian, Democratic candidate, Christine Quinn, has picked up much of the women voters who have abandoned Weiner.

Think Your Password is Secure From the NSA? Try This.

By Simon Black

Seven minutes.

That's how long it would take to crack one of the passwords I had been using for more than ten years, according to the crypto experts at Silent Circle.
Let's be honest. A lot of people use the same password over and over again across multiple websites, like email, bank accounts, and social media.

Sometimes these passwords can be a bit elementary. The dog's name. 

Daughter's nickname plus her birth year. A favorite chocolate syrup.

These types of passwords won't typically thwart government agencies that are keen to spy on their citizens. They can easily be cracked in a matter of minutes.

I've been using eight or ten different passwords for several years, some of them going back to my days as an intelligence officer. I had always thought they were secure-- letters and numbers that I've been typing so long, they're committed to muscle memory.

But a few months ago when I signed up for my Silent Circle account, I was surprised to see the results when I tested one of my passwords against their crypto analysis tool.

It turns out that the password wasn't so secure after all. You can try it for yourself here:

(You don't have to sign up, you can just type in a password and see for yourself...)

I was never a crypto specialist while in the intelligence business, so I studied the issue for the last few months to find out about the latest password cracking algorithms.

It turns out that most things we think about password security are completely wrong.

For example, you know how it seems like every website these days has a particular password format they REQUIRE you to use?

For example, they'll require at LEAST one upper case character, one lower case, one number, one 'special character', and that the password must be at least seven characters.

Most of these web sites are incredibly annoying, and it can take three or four tries to come up with the right password.

iTunes, Facebook... they all do this to cover their own butts in case your account gets hacked, so they can say that they advised you to use the industry 'best practices' for a secure password.

It turns out this isn't very secure at all.

Most password cracking algorithms have adapted, particularly as a lot of people use 'dictionary' words in their passwords.

For example, instead of "sunshine", one may use "5unshinE!", substituting a 5 for the s, capitalizing the E, and adding an exclamation point.

The first password, "sunshine", is considered to be highly vulnerable based on industry convention, but "5unshinE!" is considered to be much more secure.
It turns out that both passwords can be cracked by modern algorithms almost instantly. Neither is secure.

Since cracking algorithms succeed by picking up patterns in human behavior, the key to a secure password is randomness and disorder. In the security business, this is known as entropy.

It's difficult for a human being to fake randomness and disorder. So one easy way to achieve this is to use a password generator tool that incorporates entropy.

Try, for example, going to

On this website, you move your mouse around randomly, and the website's software incorporates these random mouse movements into its password generation code.

The passwords that it generates are far more secure, taking centuries to crack instead of mere seconds.

It may be a good idea to take a few minutes out of your life to check your own password vulnerability, and come up with an alternative that's far more secure.

Simon Black writes and is Senor Editor  at Follow Sovereign Man on FacebookTwitterGoogle+


I just found a password that will be easy for me to remember but will take 94 years to crack. -RW

Whoa, Obama on Larry Summers!

In the great Fed chair race, Larry Summers  versus Janet Yellen, President Obama just defended Summers. Let the femministas out!

Albert Jay Nock on the State

-From: The Criminality of the State, America Mercury Magazine, March, 1939:

Here is the Golden Rule of sound citizenship, the first and greatest lesson in the study of politics: You get the same order of criminality from any State to which you give power to exercise it; and whatever power you give the State to do things FOR you carries with it the equivalent power to do things TO you.

Many now believe that with the rise of the totalitarian State the world has entered upon a new era of barbarism. It has not. The totalitarian State is only the State; the kind of thing it does is only what the State has always done with unfailing regularity, if it had the power to do it, wherever and whenever its own aggrandizement made that kind of thing expedient. Give any State like power hereafter, and put it in like circumstances, and it will do precisely the same kind of thing. The State will unfailingly aggrandize itself, if only it has the power, first at the expense of its own citizens, and then at the expense of anyone else in sight. It has always done so, and always will.

[T]he State's criminality is nothing new and nothing to be wondered at. It began when the first predatory group of men clustered together and formed the State, and it will continue as long as the State exists in the world, because the State is fundamentally an anti-social institution, fundamentally criminal. The idea that the State originated to serve any kind of social purpose is completely unhistorical. It originated in conquest and confiscation -- that is to say, in crime. It originated for the purpose of maintaining the division of society into an owning-and-exploiting class and a propertyless dependent class -- that is, for a criminal purpose. No State known to history originated in any other manner, or for any other purpose. Like all predatory or parasitic institutions, its first instinct is that of self-preservation. All its enterprises are directed first towards preserving its own life, and, second, towards increasing its own power and enlarging the scope of its own activity. For the sake of this it will, and regularly does, commit any crime which circumstances make expedient.

Architects & Engineers - Solving the Mystery of WTC 7 -

This is the best video I have seen on the evidence that Building 7 of the World Trade Center collapsed as a result of a controlled explosion.

(Via WhatReallyHappened)

Michael Hastings and His Journalist Enemies

By Spencer Ackerman

My friend Michael Hastings died in Los Angeles on Tuesday. His death leaves a journalistic void, and not just the one created by the loss of a fearless reporter. Michael's untimely death at 33 deprives Washington journalists and national security professionals of one of their favorite people to sneer at, condescend to, and ignorantly deride.
It occurred to me last night, as I stared into the drink I drank to toast my friend's memory, that I spent more time defending Michael to colleagues, military officers, bureaucrats, tweeps and random people than I did actually talking to him in person.
You might think Michael's track record needs no defending. He wrote an immortal Rolling Stone article that exposed a caustic military contempt for the Obama administration and which led within days to the resignation of the Afghanistan war's commanding general, Stanley McChrystal. The coterie of national security journalists around Washington began to fear that there would be a before- and after-Hastings period in journalistic-military relations. Yet, a bit more than a month after the piece, I was in Afghanistan on an embed with the US military, without any evident post-Hastings professional reprisal.
I heard a lot about Hastings while in Afghanistan. Very little of it was from the soldiers and air force personnel I was with. Nearly all of it was from fellow journalists, and none of it was positive. How could Hastings publish off-the-record jibes made by officers who were trying to be welcoming to him, the complaints went; what kind of arrogance led him to want to make a name for himself like this? What was his problem with McChrystal, anyway? Didn't he know McChrystal was trying to rein in the war?
As Michael would spend the rest of his life explaining – I can't believe I'm writing those words – he didn't publish anything that was explicitly off-the-record; but neither did he stop observing the boorish behavior of McChrystal's senior aides while the beers flowed. There's a reasonable professional journalistic debate to be had about what to do with material uttered by sources when they're drunk. But I found few people were interested in chewing over that question. They simply wanted to feel superior to Hastings.
A common complaint I have heard from my fellow national security journalists over the years is: Hastings doesn't have to put the time in. By that, they meant that Hastings could afford the luxury of offending the military, because he didn't spend each day working out of the Pentagon, going on embeds, or otherwise maintaining relationships with the people he covered.

MUST VIEW Greenwald Smashes CNN Government Apologist

Glenn Greenwald destroys CNN government apologist Jeff Toobin.

Greenwald/Snowden Latest: NSA Tool Collects 'Nearly Everything a User Does on the Internet'

It is good that this is getting out there, but in many ways it is more of the same: the technical nature of how the NSA collects data and can access individual pieces of data versus any details of what the NSA has captured and used. I think we all already know the NSA is collecting data on us and the rest of the world. Give us details of how the bastards are using the technologies or prove you can snoop with the stuff and release a bunch of data on people (say, politicians). That will wake up the people. The Greenwald/Snowden revelations, in their current form, are close to crossing the yawn barrier.

Glenn Greenwald writes:
A top secret National Security Agency program allows analysts to search with no prior authorization through vast databases containing emails, online chats and the browsing histories of millions of individuals, according to documents provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The NSA boasts in training materials that the program, called XKeyscore, is its "widest-reaching" system for developing intelligence from the internet.[...]

The files shed light on one of Snowden's most controversial statements, made in his first video interview published by the Guardian on June 10.

"I, sitting at my desk," said Snowden, could "wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant, to a federal judge or even the president, if I had a personal email".

US officials vehemently denied this specific claim. Mike Rogers, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, said of Snowden's assertion: "He's lying. It's impossible for him to do what he was saying he could do."

But training materials for XKeyscore detail how analysts can use it and other systems to mine enormous agency databases by filling in a simple on-screen form giving only a broad justification for the search. The request is not reviewed by a court or any NSA personnel before it is processed.

XKeyscore, the documents boast, is the NSA's "widest reaching" system developing intelligence from computer networks – what the agency calls Digital Network Intelligence (DNI). One presentation claims the program covers "nearly everything a typical user does on the internet", including the content of emails, websites visited and searches, as well as their metadata.

Analysts can also use XKeyscore and other NSA systems to obtain ongoing "real-time" interception of an individual's internet activity.[...]

The purpose of XKeyscore is to allow analysts to search the metadata as well as the content of emails and other internet activity, such as browser history, even when there is no known email account (a "selector" in NSA parlance) associated with the individual being targeted.

Analysts can also search by name, telephone number, IP address, keywords, the language in which the internet activity was conducted or the type of browser used.

One document notes that this is because "strong selection [search by email address] itself gives us only a very limited capability" because "a large amount of time spent on the web is performing actions that are anonymous."[...]

A slide entitled "plug-ins" in a December 2012 document describes the various fields of information that can be searched. It includes "every email address seen in a session by both username and domain", "every phone number seen in a session (eg address book entries or signature block)" and user activity – "the webmail and chat activity to include username, buddylist, machine specific cookies etc"[...]

One top-secret document describes how the program "searches within bodies of emails, webpages and documents", including the "To, From, CC, BCC lines" and the 'Contact Us' pages on websites".

To search for emails, an analyst using XKS enters the individual's email address into a simple online search form, along with the "justification" for the search and the time period for which the emails are sought.[...]

One document, a top secret 2010 guide describing the training received by NSA analysts for general surveillance under the Fisa Amendments Act of 2008, explains that analysts can begin surveillance on anyone by clicking a few simple pull-down menus designed to provide both legal and targeting justifications. Once options on the pull-down menus are selected, their target is marked for electronic surveillance and the analyst is able to review the content of their communications:

Beyond emails, the XKeyscore system allows analysts to monitor a virtually unlimited array of other internet activities, including those within social media.

An NSA tool called DNI Presenter, used to read the content of stored emails, also enables an analyst using XKeyscore to read the content of Facebook chats or private messages

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Late Night Weiner Entertainment

Former Weiner campaign intern Olivia Nuzzi

A top Weiner aide has gone on record with a vicious attack against former Weiner campaign intern, Olivia Nuzzi.

Nuzzi penned a tell-all for the NY Daily News where she described her experiences as part of the Weiner campaign.

From Nuzzi;s article:
The candidate sometimes seemed inexperienced, too. 
There was the time when he called his 20 interns into a cramped office, and boasted that if we told him our names and one fact about ourselves, he could correctly identify all of us. He went around the room, then went back to the first intern, and tried to remember her name.
“Monica,” he said. No, it was Stephanie.
Then he called me “Monica.” Wrong again. 
He got the next three interns’ names wrong, and then called the whole thing off.

Here's Talking Points Memo on the response from the Weiner campaign:
Tuesday was an angry day in Weinerland.
The campaign staff awoke to see their former intern, Olivia Nuzzi, on the front cover of the Daily News. Inside the paper was an article bylined by Nuzzi in which she told a rather unflattering tale of her experience working on Anthony Weiner’s mayoral bid.
Now, Team Weiner is firing back. TPM called Weiner’s communications director Barbara Morgan to discuss an unrelated story Tuesday and she went off on a curse-filled rant about Nuzzi, describing her as a fame hungry “bitch” who “sucked” at her job. Morgan also called Nuzzi a “slutbag,” “twat,” and “cunt” while threatening to sue her.
On Monday, Nuzzi, a college student and writer, published a story on the blog NSFWCORP that claimed multiple sources on the campaign told her there had been “six departures” from Weiner’s team, more than had been previously disclosed. She also claimed that staffers had been underpaid and that the former campaign manager, Danny Kedem, left over the weekend because Weiner “lied to him about the timing of his sexting scandal.”
Nuzzi’s post on NSFWCORP was followed up by Tuesday’s Daily News cover story in which she claimed Weiner incorrectly called multiple interns “Monica” and said people only joined Weiner’s campaign to curry favor with his wife, Huma Abedin, a close aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Along with these allegations, Nuzzi wrote in the Daily News that “a lot” of Weiner’s staff had “short résumés,” including Morgan, who Nuzzi derisively noted “last worked as the press secretary for the New Jersey state education commissioner.”
“I’m dealing with like stupid fucking interns who make it on to the cover of the Daily News even though they signed NDAs and/or they proceeded to trash me,” Morgan told TPM, referring to a non-disclosure agreement. “And by the way, I tried to fire her, but she begged to come back and I gave her a second chance.”

Morgan went on to suggest Nuzzi would be unable to get a job in New York City’s political scene as a result of her actions.
“Fucking slutbag. Nice fucking glamour shot on the cover of the Daily News. Man, see if you ever get a job in this town again,” said Morgan.
Read the rest here.

Rand Paul "Gushes" at the Idea of Government Financed Private Schools

The Tennessean reports:
[Lamar] Alexander and [Rand] Paul gushed about publicly financed, privately led charters for more than an hour as they heard Nashville charter leaders discuss their longer school days and freedom to set curriculum. Parents and former students chimed in with personal stories on how school choice changed their lives.[...]

“As I listen to the conversation, you don’t really hear any downsides about the charter schools,” said Paul.[...] “It seems to all be good."

“I’m going to try to take this back to Kentucky and see if we can get charter schools in Kentucky."
Note well, this isn't the position advanced by libertarians such as Murray Rothbard. This is still government involvement in the education sector.

Rand's position here is terrible. It promotes the idea that government education wrapped in "charter  school" talk is significantly different than plain old public school education. They both should be called what they are: government influenced education via government money.

And further, the Rand/Alexander discussion remains in the realm of compulsory education.

As Rothbard put it: in Education: Free and Compulsory:
The record of the development of compulsory education is a record of State usurpation of parental control over children on behalf of its own; an imposition of uniformity and equality to repress individual growth; and the development of techniques to hinder the growth of reasoning power and independent thought among the children.

Bank of England Refuses Comment on Huge Discrepancy in Custodial Gold Reports

The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee writes:
The Bank of England refuses to explain what appears to be a huge discrepancy in its accounting of the gold it holds in custody, a difference of as much as 1,200 tonnes between the total reported in the bank's annual report in February and the total reported in a "virtual tour" of the bank posted this month at the bank's Internet site:
The discrepancy was noted by GoldMoney research director Alasdair Macleod last week during an interview with Max Keiser on the "Keiser Report" program on the Russia Today television network:
Responding to Macleod's assertions, your secretary/treasurer wrote to the bank's public information office Sunday seeking clarification about the bank's custodial gold.
A reply was quickly sent from the bank but it was unclear. So your secretary/treasurer wrote back asking for plain answers to these questions:
1) Will the bank confirm any difference in the amount of gold reported held in custody in February and the amount in custody reported by the new Internet site application?
2) Did Alasdair Macleod misconstrue anything about the Bank of England's custodial gold in his remarks on the "Keiser Report" program on Russia Today?
3) Is the bank declining to acknowledge changes in the amount of gold in its custody? If so, could you explain why?
4) Does the bank prefer to be reported to be declining to acknowledge substantial changes in the amount of gold in its custody?
A reply received today from the head of the bank's public and internal communications division, Chris Shadforth, provided affirmative answers to Questions 3 and 4:
"The number of bars mentioned in the app cannot be used to infer a change in the amount of custodial gold held by the Bank of England as the figure is deliberately non-specific," Shadforth wrote. "The bank will not be offering any further comment on this matter."
That is, the information provided to the public by the bank about its custody of gold is for entertainment purposes only and the facts of surreptitious intervention by central banks in the gold and currency markets are not to be discussed, in accordance with the findings of the secret March 1999 report of the International Monetary Fund, revealed by GATA last December, which related that central banks conceal their gold swaps and leases to facilitate secret market intervention:
So Macleod will stand uncontradicted and participants in the financial markets -- at least the few who pay attention -- may fairly assume that the smashing of the gold price in April well may have been related to an huge outflow of metal from the Bank of England's vault.
And once again the great asset of Western central banking in surreptitious market manipulation is shown to be the refusal of mainstream financial news organizations to put specific and critical questions to central banks and to report their refusals to answer.
CHRIS POWELL, Secretary/Treasurer
Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee Inc.

The original Macleod interview is here.

Comeback Attempts: First Weiner, Then Spitzer, Now Crane

Center for Political Integrity reports:
Purple PAC, a super PAC created by former Federal Election Commission Chairman Brad Smith and Cato Institute founder Ed Crane, raised $575,000 from the time the group launched in early May through the end of June, new FEC filings show.

Only four donors contributed, but they provided significant cash. The group received two $250,000 contributions — one from Richard Masson, a Kentucky horse breeder, and another from Pennsylvania-based options trader Jeffrey Yass, who also sits on the board of the Cato Institute.

Washington, D.C., entrepreneur Philip Harvey donated an additional $50,000 to Purple PAC, while New York real estate developer Howard Rich chipped in $25,000, according to FEC records.

Statement by Julian Assange on Verdict in Bradley Manning Court-Martial

Today Bradley Manning, a whistleblower, was convicted by a military court at Fort Meade of 19 offences for supplying the press with information, including five counts of ‘espionage’. He now faces a maximum sentence of 136 years.

The ‘aiding the enemy’ charge has fallen away. It was only included, it seems, to make calling journalism ‘espionage’ seem reasonable. It is not.

Bradley Manning’s alleged disclosures have exposed war crimes, sparked revolutions, and induced democratic reform. He is the quintessential whistleblower.

This is the first ever espionage conviction against a whistleblower. It is a dangerous precedent and an example of national security extremism. It is a short sighted judgment that can not be tolerated and must be reversed. It can never be that conveying true information to the public is ‘espionage’.

President Obama has initiated more espionage proceedings against whistleblowers and publishers than all previous presidents combined.

In 2008 presidential candidate Barack Obama ran on a platform that praised whistleblowing as an act of courage and patriotism. That platform has been comprehensively betrayed. His campaign document described whistleblowers as watchdogs when government abuses its authority. It was removed from the internet last week.

Throughout the proceedings there has been a conspicuous absence: the absence of any victim. The prosecution did not present evidence that – or even claim that – a single person came to harm as a result of Bradley Manning’s disclosures. The government never claimed Mr. Manning was working for a foreign power.

The only ‘victim’ was the US government’s wounded pride, but the abuse of this fine young man was never the way to restore it. Rather, the abuse of Bradley Manning has left the world with a sense of disgust at how low the Obama administration has fallen. It is not a sign of strength, but of weakness.

The judge has allowed the prosecution to substantially alter the charges after both the defense and the prosecution had rested their cases, permitted the prosecution 141 witnesses and extensive secret testimony. The government kept Bradley Manning in a cage, stripped him naked and isolated him in order to crack him, an act formally condemned by the United Nations Special Rapporteur for torture. This was never a fair trial.

The Obama administration has been chipping away democratic freedoms in the United States. With today’s verdict, Obama has hacked off much more. The administration is intent on deterring and silencing whistleblowers, intent on weakening freedom of the press.

The US first amendment states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press”. What part of ‘no’ does Barack Obama fail to comprehend?

Suggestions for the Pope

By Bionic Mosquito

The Pope is concerned about youth unemployment:

Widespread youth unemployment is creating a generation of the jobless, Pope Francis said Monday, setting the tone for a weeklong visit to Brazil that marks the first foreign trip of his papacy.

The Argentine pope, speaking to reporters at the start of a 12-hour flight to Rio de Janeiro, criticized labor markets that he said treated young people as "disposable."

"We risk having a generation that hasn't held a job. Personal dignity comes from working, from earning your bread," the pope said. "Young people are in a crisis."

I have a few suggestions for the Pope.  Very humbly offered:

  • Eliminate minimum wage laws.
  • Eliminate statutes giving unions extra-market power.
  • Eliminate financial and administrative burdens for laying-off employees and otherwise restructuring a workforce.
  • Eliminate central banking, the root of the boom-bust cycle that has devastated the global economy.

That would be a start.

The above originally appeared at Bionic Mosquito.

Round 3: Judas 1 vs. Judas 2

I give this round to Judas Christie over Judas Rand.

The BIG Squeeze of the American Wage Earner

These two charts say it all, personal income growth is crashing, while the cost of renting a house is climbing. Not a good combination. Rents are climbing because there IS price inflation thanks to Fed money printing. Personal income is declining thanks to government regulations which make it more risky and expensive to hire workers.

(Charts via ZeroHedge)

Why Can't We Party Like Its 1905?

By Paul Rosenberg

When writing historical things, I try to include perspective from people who actually lived through the events. And for money issues in the U.S., I'm able to do that back to about 1905.

So, do you think life was nasty, brutish, and short in 1905? That there were poor and starving people falling dead on every street corner?


The Wright brothers were flying for 30 minutes at a crack; Einstein was upgrading the laws of physics; telephones and electric lights were being installed all across America; Henry Ford was getting the final pieces in place for his moving assembly line and Model T; radio was being developed; art was flourishing; and the world was more or less at peace.

Sure, we have far more tech and better medicine now, but mostly because the people of earlier times (like the 1905 era) gifted it to us.

People in 1905 lived in heated homes, refrigerated their food, had access to professional physicians, traveled the world (mostly on trains and ships), read daily newspapers (there were many more of them in those days), watched movies, and ate just about the same foods we eat.

So, was it really that bad a time?

No, it wasn't. In fact, it was better in important ways.

The Facts Don't Lie

Consider this:

The working person of 1905 kept his or her money. They ended up saving somewhere between a quarter and a half of everything they made – after living expenses.

It's hard to be completely precise when reconstructing the budgets of average people in 1905 (records are hard to find), but we do have enough for a good, close guess.

Here's how finance worked for a working family man of 1905:

Annual income: $700.00
Annual expenses: ($350.00)
Annual savings: $350.00

If you're thinking that I'm taking liberties with these numbers, let me assure you that I'm not – I'm being conservative. For example:

The income figure should probably be higher. I've found figures of well over $800 for construction workers.

As for expenses, I rounded up from a New York Times article, dated 29 September, 1907. It specified $325 per year.

Added to that is the fact that many people grew their own food during that time, which would skew the figures further.

As noted initially, I compared these numbers with stories I heard from relatives who lived through the time. My uncle Dave, for example, used to tell me how he got a job paying $390 per year sweeping floors as an unskilled immigrant (who spoke almost no English) in 1903.

The next time you drive through an old part of town and see the grand old houses, remember that people were able to build and buy them because their paychecks weren't stripped bare. There were no income taxes in 1905, no sales taxes, no state taxes, and not much in the way of property taxes.

There was also no such thing as a military-industrial complex in those days, and – miracle of miracles – the rest of the world survived!

And Now…

Today, the situation is much, much different. The average working family pays about half their income in combined taxes: income taxes (to the state and the Feds), payroll taxes, property taxes, gas taxes, utility bill taxes, sales tax, local taxes, and on and on.

So, figuring an average income of just over $50,000 (the 2011 figure). And combined taxes of about $25,000, the average American family is left to pay bills like these:

Mortgage 11,000
Car payments 6,000
Gas, repairs, etc. 2,500
Property taxes 2,500
Food 3,000
Total $25,000

That leaves people zeroed-out. And again, I'm being conservative, and I haven't included a number of smaller expenses.

And if you think I'm going overboard, look at this graph of the savings rate from between 1947 (as far back as I could find) and 2009. This graph covers more than families, but it paints a clear enough picture:

Please Enable Images to See this

Great Grandpa Did It, So Why Not Us?

Your great grandfathers faced very few of the taxes that we face. (The government survived on tariffs.) There was no social security either, and – believe it or not – the streets were never full of starving old people. Families were able to take care of their own – it's not that hard when you're saving half of your income!

We have forgotten that it was once possible for an average person to accumulate money. The truth is that productive people should be comfortable. Well-off, as they used to say.

So if you feel like you are working hard and not getting ahead, now you can see why. It was never really your fault. Clearly, the less government interferes in peoples' lives, the better they are for it… the better off we all are.

Paul Rosenberg is the "outside the Matrix" author of, a site dedicated to economic freedom, personal independence and privacy.

The above originally appeared at The Project to Restore America.