Wednesday, April 30, 2014

V. Stiviano Would Like to Become President

Well, this would be a lot more fun than a Hillary Clinton or Rand Paul presidency. And how could it be worse?

LaTi reports:

V. Stiviano, the woman at the center of the Donald Sterling scandal...stepped outside her home several times Tuesday and always had her face covered with a tinted visor. ...

With paparazzi tracking her every move, V. Stiviano roller-skated in her driveway Tuesday and said she wanted to be president.

“One day, I will become president of the United States of America and I will change the legislation and laws,” Stiviano said in one of several odd encounters with media camped outside her home. “Modern day history. Civil rights movement.”

It's On: Sterling Expected to Fight NBA

NyPo reports:
With the NBA’s owners’ 10-member advisory and finance committee scheduled to conduct a conference call Thursday to discuss the next steps in the ouster of Donald Sterling, a source close to the Clippers banned-for-life owner said he expects Sterling to mount a stiff legal challenge to commissioner Adam Silver’s ruling...

The source who has worked with Sterling, but is not advising him in this case, said the disgraced owner likely will work with attorney Robert Platt to fight the NBA. Platt, a 1982 Fordham Law School grad, successfully defended Sterling in 2009 against former Clippers general manager Elgin Baylor’s suit over alleged racial discrimination.

“I think it will be one last-ditch effort for both billionaire Sterling and millionaire Platt,” the source said...

If the NBA owners vote against Sterling, he likely will seek a temporary restraining order in the Central District of California.

“I’d be surprised if a restraining order was not granted,” the source said.

If a restraining order is granted, then the court would need to rule within 18 days on a possible injunction — which could tie the case in court for years. But the sourced acknowledged the chance of an injunction looked “hopeless.”

Platt was reached and declined comment.

The Strongest Asset Protection Laws in the US

By Mark Nestmann

Asset protection used to be easy. If you got in trouble, you’d just move to Florida, buy some property there, and then declare bankruptcy.

In the 1980s, Marvin Warner, former US ambassador to Switzerland, football team owner, and horse lover, was

What You NEED to Know about the Wealth Inequality Debate

By Bill Bonner

Dow up another 86 points. Can anything stop it?

Yes. We're just waiting to find out what.

We began this series with a question: Isn't it possible the same savants who now presume to address the problem of wealth inequality were those most responsible for

The System Is On Its Way Out

By Simon Black

Steve Jobs used to tell a very inspiring story about an article he read in Scientific American when he was a boy.

He said that the article measured the 'efficiency of locomotion' of various species-- essentially how many calories different animals spend getting from Point A to Point B.

The most efficient of all? Not human beings. Not by a long shot. It was

An Apology to Michael Milken

As a follow to a post he wrote earlier, Steve Sailer has issued this apology:
My apologies

By the way, I've been informed that Michael Milken's lawyers have at times been known to strenuously and expensively object to Mr. Milken being referred to as "the junk bond king," since they will not stipulate that junk bonds ever had a monarch, nor that there have even been any such things as junk bonds.

So, to preclude the need for Mr. Milken to pay for many billable hours to protect his sterling reputation from the "junk bond king" smear, I shall henceforth endeavour to refer to Mr. Milken as "the high-yield honcho."

Enter the Race Hustlers: The Dunbar High School Problem Rises Again

By Thomas Sowell

Dunbar High School in Washington is becoming a controversial issue again — and the controversy that is beginning to develop has implications for American education well beyond the District of Columbia.

There has not been much controversy about Dunbar High School for a long time. Since sometime in the late 1950s, it has been just one more ghetto school with an abysmal academic record — and that has

Other NBA Team Owners May Be Concerned About Skeletons In Their Own Closets

Oh yes, the slippery slope of attempting to police private thoughts and things said in private.

CBS Detroit reports:
In Tuesday, Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life by the NBA in response to racist comments the league says he made in a recorded conversation, but what comes next? The other NBA owners need a 75 percent vote to have Donald Sterling removed as owner.
But Detroit News columnist and 97-1 The Ticket co-host Terry Foster wonders if the other owners may be worried about their own skeletons in their closets. 
“I think there is a fear … some owners may not … want an investigation, so they want this thing to go away as quickly as possible. The one thing about Donald Sterling, he loves to sue people, so I think the other owners have to be careful, they definitely don’t want things coming out of their closet,” said Foster.
Foster also thinks Clipper coach Doc Rivers and the players are hypocrites because they knew exactly what Sterling was all about when they signed their contracts.
“They knew what he stood for before, don’t be surprised, don’t be outraged because you signed a contract to work for this man and the whole league knew what he was about.”
Interesting. Did the new NBA commissioner really think out in detail the lifetime ban of Sterling, and his call for Sterling to sell the team?

If Sterling fights back, it could get very interesting. The young Donald Sterling would have fought back, it is not clear the 81 year old Sterling has the energy to do so, but if he does decide to respond aggressively, buy some popcorn

Sterling has the resources to find dirt on other NBA owners. He has the capability to hire the best lawyers in the world. Can you imagine Sterling deposing other NBA owners, who try to force his sale of the team? What's Thought Police Commander Silver going to do then?

A Note on EPJ Coverage of Donald Sterling

I am seeing a few comments under the posts at EPJ like this:
Robert, I continue to find your coverage of this story to be pretty lacking and pretty unnecessarily intense. It feels like you are getting suckered into a story that really doesn't matter, just because it is the headline of the week. As we all know, the significance of a story is not necessarily correlated to the amount of widespread coverage it receives.

So what if the NBA hires a legal consultant with government ties? The NBA is not the problem here, its the fact that there are government cronies in the private law sector that is the problem. We know that government cronies tend to reach higher levels of industry success (also a problem, of course) - but why should the NBA be criticized for using its resources to hire from those higher levels? That is a private business decision, made by a private business. Put the arenas built by public money to the side for a minute (I agree that this is an unacceptable reality of the league, but it is not related to this particular issue)

Furthermore, who cares what candidates Adam Silver supports? The NBA didn't make that campaign contribution, did it?

It feels like you are on a bit of a witch hunt in regards to the NBA, and are fishing for potential areas of criticism that are a bit of a stretch, to be honest.
And this:
I agree, a lot of what I have seen so far from RW and his linked contributors misses the mark. There is a very libertarian/free market set of forces at work here - the NBA and its individual teams in particular rely heavily on private sector sponsorship, which will dry up in minutes at any hesitation to rectify a situation that causes major societal controversy.

This happened with the Clippers - major sponsors immediately began suspending or terminating their contracts. We can hypothesize about their motivations for doing so, but regardless, the league is acting in its own financial self-interest here.

Imagine a private firm with 30 board members - if one of these board members was catapulted into mass public criticism for controversial comments (racist or otherwise) would the other members not hasten to condemn those comments and then seek action against the ugly duckling? Would they not seek to remove the culprit from his position in the firm, by utilizing any and all relevant bylaws (agreed upon by the firm's members, including the culprit!) to do so? What might happen to the firm's funding sources if they did not?

Again, this is not an example of the state confiscating property based on personal opinions protected by the First Amendment (although I worry that the state could use this issue as a model, which is naturally terrifying). This is an example of a significant figure in a private business damaging the reputation of the business and threatening its revenue.

I also agree that Sterling was clearly set up, and there may be more conspiratorial motivations beneath the surface. I agree that Larry Johnson has been proven to be as much if not more racist than Sterling.

However, the claim that the NBA has become a "politically correct cesspool" implies that there is no market-based motivation for its quest for political correctness, which is simply incorrect.

First, just because something develops on the free market does not mean it can not be criticized. Thomas Picketty's book,  Capital in the Twenty-First Century, is published on the free market, yet it is an outrageous book. Should we not be able to criticize it because it is a free market product? Paul Krugman works in the private sector, Princeton and NYT, and he sells lots of books in the private sector, should we not be allowed to criticize him because he has found a private sector niche, admittedly the loony left niche?

As for the intensity of Donald Sterling coverage at EPJ, given the overwhelming, almost unanimous condemnation of Sterling, I wish I could devote more time to Sterling coverage, to put things in perspective. The release of the Sterling tape and the reaction to it provides an important object lesson in how distorted the thinking of the masses can get. That is how far in their thinking they can get from understanding that people should be allowed, without harassment, to think and say whatever they choose to think and say. It is an exteremely important topic. We are moving very quickly down the road of thought control. It is a very dangerous road that should be battled with intensity. This is not a second tier topic. Thought control, where people have to watch what they say, even in privacy in their own homes, is a form of mental solitary confinement. It is pure evil and destructive of individual spirit. The Sterling debate isn't in the end about an 81 year old man trying to control his 30-something girlfriend and the black guys she is hanging with, it is about the ability to think and say want you want, when you want, as long as you are not violating the non aggression principle. First, they came for the 81 year old men...

As for my mention of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the advice he sought from a Bill Clinton crony, and the fact that he has donated to the campaign of Cory Booker, what is wrong with noting Silver's influences and affiliations? What possible reason could there be to not attempt to understand how Silver reaches his thought control notions? Launched with a Tiny Bit of Help from the US Government?

 A friend emails:
I wonder if the spacecraft in this image is government or private? 

My commentary on and IP hypocrisy is coming soon.

Thomas Picketty: Chapter 1

I am just starting to read Thomas Picketty's new book, Capital in the Twenty-First Century. He doesn't take long to signal that his book is going to include a lot of bad economics.

This is  from the second paragraph in Chapter 1:
[T]he question of what share of output should go to wages and what share to profits—in other words, how should the income from production be divided between labor and capital?—has always been at the heart of distributional conflict.
First, there is no "distribution" going on at a macro level in free markets, which is implied here by Picketty. This phrasing suggests some type of central planning must go on. But, this is not the case. In a free market economy, each individual (or group of individuals, e.g. corporations) make decisions as to how much they want to allocate their funds, some funds may go to savings, that is, capital, some may be held as cash balances and some, by individuals, may go to consumption.

Second, there is no "distributional conflict." All decisions are solved at the individual micro level.

There is an implication here by Picketty that too many funds can be allocated to capital (or possibly consumption). This is absurd, especially when considering capital. The more capital in an economic region, the greater will be that regions standard of living.  There are no conflicts. I repeat, all allocation decisions in a free market occur at the individual level, which makes distributional conflicts impossible. Individuals put their money where they want it to go, no conflict, no problem.

"What the workers must learn is that the only reason why wage rates are higher in the United States is that the per head quota of capital invested is higher."-Ludwig von Mises in Planning for Freedom: Let the Market System Work

Tyler Cowen’s Attacker Thought the Professor Was Controlling His Mind, Cowen Testifies

WaPo was in court, when George Mason University professor, and Koch brothers lieutenant, Tyler Cowen, gave a blow-by-blow breakdown of the attack that was made against him on March 27 (SEE: Economist Tyler Cowen Pepper Sprayed While Teaching Class at George Mason University) :
On Tuesday, Arlington General District Court Judge Thomas J. Kelley Jr. ruled that Pendleton’s case will go to a grand jury. The judge also issued a protective order barring Pendleton from any contact with Cowen for two years.

Cowen, 52, testified that Pendleton “burst into the room” during his March 26 class bearing handcuffs, pepper spray and a Taser-like device and announced that he was making a citizen’s arrest of the professor.

“He tried to handcuff me,” Cowen said of the man, whom he said he had never seen before. “I did not submit.” Cowen said he scurried out of the room in fear for his life and was chased down hallways into a women’s bathroom, where he tried to barricade the door. “I felt in great danger and as if I was being abducted,” he said.

Pendleton forced his way inside, Cowen testified, and a scuffle ensued. As Pendleton tried to handcuff him, he said, the defendant sprayed him in the eyes with pepper spray. The professor said that his glasses helped shield him but that the spray stung painfully nonetheless and that the struggle left him with wounds on his face.

Cowen pushed his way out of the bathroom and toward a more crowded area where a “commanding” bystander stepped forward and barred Pendleton’s way until police arrived and arrested him.

“I was accused of having controlled his mind at a distance and also [of] sexual harassment,” Cowen said, explaining that the mind control allegedly occurred “by computer technology at a distance.” Cowen added that he has “never hacked into anyone’s computer.”

Top Clinton Aide Advised NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on the Donald Sterling Matter

This is really disgusting, the private sector NBA taking advice from a major league political crony. National Journal reports:
Standing on the sidelines of his son's soccer game Saturday morning, Doug Sosnik glanced at his Blackberry and noticed an email from NBA commissioner Adam Silver. It was the start of something bigger than basketball – about bigotry, big business, and the challenges of modern leadership.

Silver's email included a link to a TMZ story accusing Clippers owner Donald Sterling of racist statements. He asked the consultant to listen to the recording. Please, Silver wrote, give me any suggestions.

Why would Silver email Sosnik, a former political director in the Clinton White House and adviser to Democratic groups? Simple answer: The NBA is one of several private sector clients who pay Sosnik handsomely for his crisis-management experience in politics.

Sosnik replied: Anything you need.

When Silver announced Sterling's lifetime league ban and a $2.5 million fine three days later, he addressed a press corps as large as most presidents face – and his preparation was equally presidential. "It was intense," said Sosnik, who helped President Clinton survive the Monica Lewinsky impeachment scandal. He has advised the NBA for about 10 years.
And check this out:

BREAKING: Fed Held Unusual Emergency Meeting Yesterday

From Zero Hedge:

Everyone knows that the FOMC announcement, due today at 2 pm, will be the culmination of an orderly, traditional 2-day meeting which started yesterday, April 29.

What few know, however, is that in addition to the generic FOMC meeting which started yesterday at 10:30 am, at about the same time, the Fed also held an "expedited" emergency meeting between the four board governors Yellen, Tarullo, Stein, and Powell.

As the WSJ adds, "The four members of the board met to discuss "medium-term monetary policy issues," according to a meeting notice posted on the Fed's website.... A Fed spokesman declined to say if the two meetings were combined, or how long the board meeting lasted." The WSJ also notes that the "last time the Fed board met to discuss "medium-term monetary policy issues" was on April 26, 2011, according to analysts at BNP Paribas."

So what was discussed? We won't know because the "meeting was closed to public observation by Order of the Board of Governors because the matters fall under exemption(s) 9(A)(i) of the Government in the Sunshine Act (5 U.S.C. Section 552b(c)), and it was determined that the public interest did not require opening the meeting."

If You Dispute Chris Christie's Budget Estimates, He'll Go After You — Even If You're Right

Despite what Cato Shrugged thinks, Chris Christie is nothing but a typical evil politician.

Vox reports:
"Governor Christie's predictions for tax collections have missed the mark," the Bergen Record's John Reitmeyer writes today, and the state now has an $800 million budget shortfall. It's only the latest in a series of optimistic budget estimates by Christie that have been disproven by reality.

Economic forecasting is hard, and there isn't malfeasance behind every missed projection. But what makes this particularly embarrassing for Christie is that, when the state's top budget wonk criticized his past forecasts, Christie responded by insulting him and suggesting that he be fired...

When Christie issued his budget estimates in 2012, they looked odd to most observers. He predicted that revenue would have a huge yearly increase of 7.4 percent — which the Star-Ledger found was the most optimistic in the nation — due to economic growth...

[I]t was very inconvenient when David Rosen said Christie's projections would come up $145 million short this year, and $392 million short the following year. Christie criticized Rosen immediately, calling his office partisan and saying "they shouldn't be given any credibility." He added, "They're background noise to the New Jersey comeback."

Weeks later, Christie went further, going after Rosen personally in what the Star-Ledger called "a fiery 20-minute tirade." He called Rosen, widely respected among legislators of both parties for years, a "Dr. Kevorkian of the numbers" and asked, "Why would anybody with a functioning brain believe this guy? … How often do you have to be wrong to finally be dismissed?" Christie went on: "It should be humiliating to him. Nobody in this state believes David Rosen, anymore, nobody. And nobody should. He's so wrong, for so long, that his credibility is now gone."...

But Rosen's projections turned out to be far more accurate — and, if anything, were conservative. He had said that revenue for the 2012 fiscal year would fall $145 million short of Christie's estimates, and it actually fell $275 million short.  For the two fiscal years ending in June 2013, Rosen predicted a $1.3 billion revenue shortfall, and this also turned out to be right on.

As the inconvenient numbers rolled in, Christie kept insulting Rosen publicly, calling his estimates "politically motivated," and saying Rosen wanted to derail his planned tax cut. But only days later, Christie's administration advised potential bond investors on Wall Street that revenue could fall far short of their earlier estimates — as it subsequently did.

Americans Want the U.S. Overseas Meddling to Stop

WSJ reports:
Americans in large numbers want the U.S. to reduce its role in world affairs even as a showdown with Russia over Ukraine preoccupies Washington, a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds.

In a marked change from past decades, nearly half of those surveyed want the U.S. to be less active on the global stage, with fewer than one-fifth calling for more active engagement—an anti-interventionist current that sweeps across party lines.
Below are the poll results which show a near majority want the U.S. to be less active in world affairs.

Should Opinions Be Illegal? The Donald Sterling Scandal

By Shane Kastler

I suspect that Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling is a rich, arrogant jerk who might have unfavorable views toward those different from him. I also suspect many of the young black athletes he employees are rich, arrogant jerks who have unfavorable views towards those different from them. Arrogance is not limited to any particular race. However in America today, arrogance from a “minority” is completely acceptable. While arrogance from a white person might cost them their livliehood.

With all of that said, let me offer

Will the U.S. Government Soon Be Able to Revoke Your U.S. Citizenship?

By Mark Nestmann

You might not fit the profile of Osama bin Laden. But if your government suspects you of terrorism or treason, it can confiscate your passport and, in some cases, even strip you of your citizenship. Then it can arrange for a cooperative government to assassinate you.

From the government’s viewpoint, this strategy is very useful. You lose your passport and any diplomatic protections your country extends to its citizens. You must

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Michael Milken's Cozying Up to Third World Government Related Creeps

Earlier today, I reported on some of the disgusting characters that are speaking at this year's Michael Milken Conference. Tony Blair, Janet Napolitano and Hank Paulson are among the names I mentioned. (SEE: The Milken Global Conference Gets More and More Cozy With Government Operatives Every Year)

But the ugliness of the conference goes well beyond the high-profile first world names. Speakers also include a number of third world government officials, and those close to third world officials, from countries known for often very thuggish behavior by government officials.

Is this really the kind of legacy Milken wants to leave, a legacy of cozying up to these third world characters?

Among those speaking at this year's conference are:

Akinwumi  Adesina
Akinwumi Adesina 
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigeria

Clare  Akamanzi
Clare Akamanzi 
Chief Operating Officer, Rwanda Development Board

H.E. Paul  Kagame
H.E. Paul Kagame 
President of the Republic of Rwanda

Winston  Set Aung
Winston Set Aung 
Vice Governor, Central Bank of Myanmar

Jigyel Ugyen  Wangchuck
Jigyel Ugyen Wangchuck 
Prince of Bhutan; Global Ambassador to The King's Challenge

Milken was once thrown in jail by the U.S. government, now he is cozying up to global government officials, often in countries where government abuses of the people are legendary. Sad.

How Thought Out Was the Taping of Donald Sterling?

Yesterday, I reported that a source very close to V. Stiviano, Donald Sterling's alleged girlfriend, told me that Stiviano was going to claim that she wasn't Sterling's girlfriend, just his archivist. (SEE: The Los Angeles Clippers Major Legal Blunder)

When I heard this, I assumed there was a legal reason for this claim. Now, the reason comes to me. As an "archivist," her job was to follow him around and "archive" the events in his life.

Got it?

She wasn't breaking the law when she taped him, she wasn't his girlfriend, she was doing her job as an archivist.

My source also told me that in the over 100 hours of recordings that Stiviano made, there includes conversation between her and Sterling that will "refresh Sterling's memory" that she was indeed her archivist. In other words, she worked the conversation at some point with comments that caused Sterlling to confirm on tape that she is his archivist. "Yes dear, archive me. You are a wonderful archivist."

As Steve Sailer put it: Donald Sterling's Girlfriend's Lawyer Coached Her Well.

A very well planned out operation.


Here is LaTi, today, confirming my report that I made yesterday that Stiviano is going to claim she was merely Stiviano's archivist:

Stiviano's lawyer said his client was a hard-working young woman who supported herself waitressing and volunteered helping crime victims before signing on to work as an “archivist” for Sterling.

V. Stiviano, archivist

Peter Schiff: Logic and Objective Analysis Have Come to be Considered "White" Concepts

The Debate Debate
By Peter Schiff

While there is wide agreement that the cost of college education has risen far faster than the incomes of most Americans, there is some debate as to whether the quality of the product has kept pace with the price. Not surprisingly, almost all who argue that it has (college administrators, professors, and populist politicians) are deeply invested either ideologically or financially in the system itself. More objective observers see a bureaucratic, inefficient, and hopelessly out of touch ivory tower that is bleeding the country of its savings, and more tragically, its intellectual acuity.

Nowhere is this more clearly illustrated than in the demise of collegiate debate. This once courtly rhetorical sparring ground for class presidents and lawyers-in-training is supposed to be forum for ideas, proofs, and conclusions. And while traditional debates did not typically offer high drama, they did teach students how to produce objectively superior arguments, a skill that many types of potential employers would value. But more recently, debate has succumbed to the worst aspects of moral relativism, academic sloth and politically correct dogma that have transformed it into an unintelligible mix of performance art and petty politics. It's not a debate, but we pretend it is.

The 2014 National Championship of the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA), one of collegiate debate's governing bodies, made headlines as the first to include two all-African-American finalist teams. The winning team, from Towson University in Maryland, was the first ever comprised solely of African-American women. The results were heralded as a triumph for minority achievement in a field traditionally dominated by white "elites." But this success has come at a great cost: A dramatic change in the rules of the game. The championships, as well as dozens of the CEDA sanctioned debates and championships, are easily found on YouTube. I challenge anyone to watch any of those "debates" and describe

Busting Insider Trading: As Pointless as Prohibition

By Henry Manne

The much-hyped modern insider-trading prosecutions and their results are reminiscent of nothing so much as Prohibition-era government attacks on bootleggers. There is about as much chance of stopping trading on undisclosed financial information as there ever was of stopping the consumption of booze. There is simply too much money sloshing around the world's stock exchanges waiting for an "edge." Information is more mercurial than mercury and will seep into some crevice in the system no matter how many channels are closed.

Preet Bharara, the federal prosecutor in Manhattan who has racked up 80 insider-trading convictions, is no Eliot Ness —relentless pursuer of violators of the 18th Amendment prohibiting the manufacture, sale, transport, import or export of alcoholic beverages. But the similarities of the two men's situations are apparent, and the futility of their tasks identical. Ness and his fellow Bureau of Investigation agents convicted hundreds of Prohibition-era functionaries with no discernible effect on the amount of alcohol consumed. And so it is with Mr. Bharara's scores of insider-trading convictions, but

An Update on Bush's Bogus "Ownership Society"

By Chris Rossini

On June 17, 2004, President George W. Bush dropped one of his pearls of wisdom: "...if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of our country. The more ownership there is in America, the more vitality there is in America, and the more people have a vital stake in the future of this country."

Bush's above statement was made right in the thick of The Fed's artificial housing boom:

In perfect textbook form, government produces the exact opposite of its stated intentions. Bush's policies for making home ownership "more affordable" were nothing but fuel doused on top of The Fed's fire.

The other wing to the bird of prey was (is) just as clueless. In 2008 Obama assessed the situation like this: "George Bush called this the ownership society, but what he really meant was 'you're-on-your-own' society."


We should be so lucky to be on our own.

Here's something to keep in mind as The State continues its feast: Obama is now making healthcare "more affordable" for everyone.


Stay healthy.

Chris Rossini is on Twitter

BREAKING Rand Paul Introduces Stand with Israel Act of 2014

Rand Paul has just introduced the Stand with Israel Act of 2014. This is foreign meddling on steroids and, note well, Rand is not calling for ending foreign aid to Palestine, but about attaching conditions to such aid. There is zero about this to applaud from a libertarian perspective. Below is the complete statement, just released by the office of Rand Paul:

Sen. Paul Introduces Stand with Israel Act of 2014
Bill ends foreign aid to Palestinian government

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today introduced the Stand with Israel Act of 2014. This legislation halts all U.S. aid to the Palestinian government until they agree to a ceasefire and recognize the right of Israel to exist. The bill, S. 2265, can be found HERE and below:

“Today, I introduced legislation to make all future aid to the Palestinian government conditional upon the new unity government putting itself on the record recognizing the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state and agreeing to a lasting peace."

Prohibition on Foreign Assistance.

(a) In General.  Except as provided under subsection (b) and notwithstanding any other provision of law, no amounts may be obligated or expended to provide any direct United States assistance, loan guarantee, or debt relief to the Palestinian Authority, or any affiliated governing entity or leadership organization.

(b) Exception.  The prohibition under subsection (a) shall have no effect for a fiscal year if the President certifies to Congress during that fiscal year that the Palestinian Authority has --
(1) Formally recognized the right of Israel to exist as a Jewish state;
(2) Publicly recognized the state of Israel;
(3) Renounced terrorism;
(4) Purged all individuals with terrorist ties from security services;
(4) Terminated funding of anti-American and anti-Israel incitement;
(5) Publicly pledged to not engage in war with Israel; and
(6) Honored previous diplomatic agreements.”

Some Basics of State Domination and Public Submission

By Robert Higgs

Familiarity may indeed, as the saying goes, breed contempt, but it also breeds a sort of somnolence. People who have never known anything other than a certain state of affairs—even an extraordinarily problematic state of affairs—have a tendency not to notice it at all, to relate it, so to speak, as if they were sleepwalking through it. Such is the situation of modern people in relation to the state. They have always known it, and they take it completely for granted, regarding it as one might regard the weather: whether it brings rain or sunshine, lightning bolts or soothing spring breezes, it is always there, an aspect of nature itself. Even when it proves destructive, its destruction still qualifies as something akin to “acts of God.”
We relate to the state in this sleepwalking fashion, however, not because doing so is hardwired in our genes, but because our conditions of life and our long historical accommodation to living under the state’s domination predispose us to react to it in this oblivious manner. People who have lived in other circumstances, however, have reacted quite differently. Only when human populations adopted settled agriculture did they prove amenable to state domination. During the vastly longer epoch of human existence in small hunting and gathering bands, the state was impossible: people had few if any nonperishable stores of wealth to be plundered, and if someone attempted to impose state-like domination on a band, its members simply ran away, putting as much distance between themselves and the exploiters as necessary to escape the would-be state’s predation. (See, for example, James C. Scott’s recent analysis in For the past 5,000 to 10,000 years, however, ultimately for nearly all of the world’s people, the state has existed as an ever-present predator and all-around abuser of human rights, its power to dominate and plunder propped up by its adroit exploitation of people’s fears, many of which have been of the state itself, others of external threats to life and limb from which the state purported to protect its subjects. In any event, nearly everyone eventually became incapable of even imagining social life without a state.The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (Yale Agrarian Studies Series)
For the few who have succeeded in wrenching themselves out of this dreamlike condition in relation to the state, however, two main questions come rushing to mind:
(1) Who do these people—that is, the state’s kingpins, Praetorian guards, bootlickers, and key private-sector supporters—think they are to treat us as they do?
(2) Why do nearly all of us put up with the state’s outrageous treatment?
These questions can easily form—and indeed already have formed—the core of countless books, articles, and manifestos. Although nothing even approaching a consensus has emerged, it seems fairly clear that the answers to question (1) have much to do with the widespread prevalence of wicked, arrogant people with a comparative advantage in violence and the bamboozlement of their victims. Faced with the fundamental choice between what called the economic means of getting wealth (by production and exchange) and the political means (by robbery and extortion), members of the ruling classes have opted decisively for the latter. Pope Gregory VII (1071-85), the leader of the momentous Papal Revolution that began during his papacy and ran its course over a span of nearly fifty years (even longer in England), minced no words when he wrote (as quoted by Harold Berman): “Who does not know that kings and princes derive their origin from men ignorant of God who raised themselves above their fellows by pride, plunder, treachery, murder—in short by every kind of crime—at the instigation of the Devil, the prince of this world, men blind with greed and intolerable in their audacity.” It is possible, of course, that some political leaders have sincerely believed that they had a just basis for their domination of their fellows—nowadays especially the belief that an electoral victory is equivalent to divine anointment seems to have many under its spell—but such self-deception does nothing to alter the realities of their situation.
As for why we submit to the state’s outrages, the most persuasive answers have to do with

BREAKING NBA Commissioner Bans Donald Sterling from NBA for Life

This is a breaking news story, return to this post for updates.


The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, is also urging the other owners to vote to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.


The commissioner interviewed Sterling personally with regard to the released tape recordings.


The commissioner, during the press conference, directly apologized to Magic Johnson.


Silver also fined Sterling the maximum amount that the NBA constitution allows him to fine Sterling, $2.5 million.


Sterling is not allowed at any games, practices or other NBA activities.


Silver says he fully expects to get the votes from NBA owners to force Sterling to sell the Clippers.

Madness in the Medicalcare Sector

This is one occurs when the government gets more and more involved in healthcare. Dr. Daniel Craviotto is an orthopedic surgeon writes at WSJ:
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services dictates that we must use an electronic health record (EHR) or be penalized with lower reimbursements in the future. There are "meaningful use" criteria whereby the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services tells us as physicians what we need to include in the electronic health record or we will not be subsidized the cost of converting to the electronic system and we will be penalized by lower reimbursements. Across the country, doctors waste precious time filling in unnecessary electronic-record fields just to satisfy a regulatory measure. I personally spend two hours a day dictating and documenting electronic health records just so I can be paid and not face a government audit. Is that the best use of time for a highly trained surgical specialist?

This is not a unique complaint. A study commissioned by the American Medical Association last year and conducted by the RAND Corp. found that "Poor EHR usability, time-consuming data entry, interference with face-to-face patient care, inefficient and less fulfilling work content, inability to exchange health information between EHR products, and degradation of clinical documentation were prominent sources of professional dissatisfaction."

In addition to the burden of mandated electronic-record entry, doctors also face board recertification in the various medical specialties that has become time-consuming, expensive, imposing and a convenient method for our specialty societies and boards to make money.
Expect that this useless type record keeping mandate will eventually go beyond Medicare and Medicaid patients and be required by the government of all physicians. It is not going to happen overnight, but  in time this central planning in the medical sector will result in a significant decline in the life expectancy of Americans.

Magic Johnson Frontman?

By Steve Sailer

It sounds like there's a much more interesting story going on with the Donald T. Sterling donnybrook than anybody has been investigating yet. I don't know how far this story might go, but it just might go all the way from Magic Johnson to somebody really interesting.

For years, I've been pointing out that much of the hoopla over racism and sexism isn't actually about blacks or women or whatever. Instead, it serves as a cover story for ambitious, clever men to get what they want. For example, I've long been fascinated by how mortgage lenders like Angelo Mozilo, Roland Arnall, and Kerry Killinger used the rhetoric of the War on Racist Redlining to blow up the housing bubble.

Obsess over racism; pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!

But in the Sterling Story, who is The Man?

I'll offer a theory about why the man might be Magic Johnson, who desperately wants Donald Sterling's NBA franchise now that the Buss family says they won't sell his old Lakers. But Magic was the front man in the purchase of the Los Angeles Dodgers two years ago. So it might be Magic's big money backers in Guggenheim Partners.

Or ... And this is really a stretch, but let me toss it out there. There's a financier in L.A. who invests some of his money with Guggenheim Partners who for intelligence and energy and guile makes Mozilo and the other mortgage guys look like smalltimers. You haven't heard much about him since he got out of prison a couple of decades ago. He's legally banned for life from getting anything in return for giving investment advice. But he's still here and he's allowed to manage his own billions. The SEC has been investigating whether the Dodger purchase by Guggenheim was something of a front for him to get back in the game.

Granted, I'm no doubt reading way too much into this. And if this story doesn't go all the way to the top, it's still really interesting. I apologize for this post wandering all over the place, but the more I looked into the story that Magic wants the Clippers, the more pieces fell into place.

Listening closely to the presumably illegally made tapes suggests that the mistress was setting the LA Clippers owner up -- she's the one egging on the racial angle over her photos cuddling with Magic Johnson and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers. Originally, I assumed her minor league lawyer was her mastermind, but the news that Magic and his mysterious Guggenheim Partners backers want control of Sterling's NBA franchise suggests that there's a reasonable chance that this whole set-up originated with somebody more high-powered than her Woodland Hills attorney. (This lawyer is so obscure that his office is on Burbank Blvd. rather than on Ventura Blvd.)

Former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star Magic Johnson was the public frontman for the secretive Guggenheim Partners in paying an outlandish $2 billion to Boston leveraged parking lot robber baronFrank McCourt for the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team. And now, what do you know, Magic and the Guggenheim Partners are willing to take the Los Angeles Clippers off Donald Sterling's hands and add it to their nascent Los Angeles sports empire.

In contrast, the new Guggenheim Partners firm is very high-powered. In fact, the SEC has been trying for a year to figure out if GP is so high-powered that its Los Angeles sports franchise acquisitions are done in illegal collaboration with ... well, I won't mention his name yet, but it's a smack-yourself-in-the-forehead name out of the history books of Los Angeles and finance. I'll tell you the name later in the posting, but for my readers who are at his annual Beverly Hills wingding today, why don't you ask around and see what your host thinks about the Clippers. Or ask Magic Johnson when he speaks at lunchtime on Wednesday.

Read the rest here.

RW note: Yesterday, Magic Johnson issued something of a non-denial denial in a tweet, stating he is not interested in buying the Clippers because "they already have an owner." Though earlier in the week he said on ESPN about Sterling, "He shouldn't own a team anymore."

A Serious Security Flaw in Internet Explorer; What It Means for the IRS, Your ATM and You

By Micah Armantrout

According to cnet, a new vulnerability has been found in all versions of Internet Explorer. This bug has been found after Windows XP was decommissioned from Microsoft's extended support.
The CNet Article states:
"The vulnerability is currently being exploited by a group of hackers targeting financial and defense organizations in the US."  FireEye told CNET.
The IRS may be one of the organizations under attack. Computer World  reports that the IRS has no't completed its upgrade from Windows XP to Windows 7.
During an IRS budget hearing on April 7 before the House Financial Services and   General Government subcommittee, the chairman, Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) wondered why the agency had not wrapped up its Windows XP-to-Windows 7 move.
"Now we find out that you've been struggling to come up with $30 million to finish migrating to Windows 7, even though Microsoft announced in 2008 that it would stop supporting Windows XP past 2014," Crenshaw said at the hearing. "I know you probably wish you'd already done that."
According to the same Computer World article, the IRS is now paying extra for a custom patch job:
Part of that $30 million will be payment to Microsoft for what the  Redmond,  Wash., developer calls "Custom Support," a program that  provides patches for critical vulnerabilities in a retired operating system.
Guess what?
Earlier this year, analysts said Microsoft had dramatically raised prices for Custom Support, which previously had been capped at $200,000 per customer for the first year. Instead, Microsoft negotiates each contract separately, asking for an average of $200 per PC for the first year of Custom Support, those analysts said.

Things get even more interesting with ATMs. According to Business Week,most ATMs could also be affected by the same kind of problem that the IRS is dealing with.  If an ATM is running Windows XP, which according the article is about 95 percent of the worlds ATM's,  then ATM operators are also having to deal with an extra charge from Microsoft;  that is if they are actually paying extra for the "Custom Support".

Some ATM operators may not be doing so. Their ATM's are, thus, more susceptible to attacks. It's not clear that any bugs have yet been designed to hack ATM's using this flaw, but it may be only a matter of time.
As for any other businesses who have not switched from XP. This should be done immediately or you may end up paying Microsoft lots of money and explaining to customers why their data was so vulnerable to attack.

The Milken Global Conference Gets More and More Cozy With Government Operatives Every Year

In the early days, the Milken Global Conference was mostly about venture capitalists, top CEOs of non-crony businesses and top-flight entrepreneurs, but each year the conference gets more and more littered with opportunistic politicians, crony businessmen and government revolving door operatives.

Check out these characters from this year's list of speakers:

Christopher  Ailman
Christopher Ailman 
Chief Investment Officer, California State Teachers' Retirement System (CalSTRS)

Madelyn  Antoncic
Madelyn Antoncic 
Vice President and Treasurer, World Bank
William  Bennett
William Bennett 
Former U.S. Secretary of Education; Advisory Board Member, Viridis Learning; and Senior Advisor, Project Lead the Way
Melissa  Berman
Melissa Berman 
President and CEO, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors
J.D.  Bindenagel
J.D. Bindenagel 
Senior Advisor, Strategy XXI Partners; Former U.S. Ambassador and Minister, U.S. Embassy, East Berlin
Tony  Blair
Tony Blair 
Former Prime Minister, Great Britain and Northern Ireland

Some Very Basic Confusion About the Fed at WSJ

By Bob English

The "Suspense at the Fed," according to David Wessel at the WSJ, is not over continued QE trimming, but "the fate of President Barack Obama’s nominees to the shrinking Fed Board of Governors."  There are only four governors currently, down from the statutorily-mandated seven.  Come May, the Fed may be down to three governors.

Why is this a problem (or cause for suspense)?  Because the balance of power over monetary policy could be tipped by the five regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents who hold seats at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which currently sets monetary policy.  This gives Wednesday's FOMC Announcement at least the potential to be somewhat interesting (but don't hold your breath).  True, the regional Fed bank presidents tend to follow the central monetary planning heard, but they also tend to be less obsequiously unquestioning of the Fed Chair than the Washington-based governors.
Wessel's own answer to the "so what?" question digs into a bit of Fed history (emphasis mine):

"[T]his influences the balance of power inside the FOMC, and the market-moving statements it makes about its plans at the end of each meeting. When the Fed board is at its full strength, monetary policy is made by votes of the seven Fed governors in Washington and presidents of five of the 12 regional Fed banks, a delicate balance created by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913."

Unfortunately for Wessel, this explanation is just plain wrong.

The "delicate balance of power" was not created by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, but by the Banking Act of 1935.  Pursuant to the original 1913 Federal Reserve Act, the regional Fed banks could conduct their own monetary policy.  There was a Federal Reserve Board in Washington, but no Board of Governors until 1935.  This prior situation could be described as a more "delicate balance of power" than after Washington created de facto monetary policy hegemony for itself in 1935.  With the institution of the FOMC and its seven Fed governors versus five regional Fed bank presidents, the balance of power was decidedly tipped in favor of Washington.

Hopefully, this puts the present kerfuffle over Senate intransigence when it comes to Fed nominees in the proper perspective.  If anything, the Senate's on its way to rolling back the clock to 1934.  Now, if only Congress would roll the clock back to 1912.

Bob English as an occasional contributor to EPJ.

Racism From This Black Person's Perspective

By Victor J. Ward

Dear Bob,

I wanted to give you my brief thoughts on the Donald Sterling recording:

1. I agree with you: If someone wants to pay me $1M, then they can be as racist as they want to be. The typical, yet specious, counter to this statement is that I would be a sellout.

A sellout is someone who sacrifices their principles for the sake of money. They funny thing is, the people that will  yell, "Sellout!" will never ask me what my principles are. They will assume that since I am a Black man, I must have race as a principle to be valued over money. In other words, the people yelling, "Sellout!" have made a determination about me based solely on my race; that is, the yellers are racists.

2. Why get angry at Sterling? Clearly, the man did not

Serious Security Break at AOL's Network and Systems

AOL just put out the following email:

Dear AOL User,

At AOL, we care deeply about the safety and security of your online experience. We are writing to notify you that AOL is investigating a security incident that involved unauthorized access to AOL's network and systems. Recently, our systems alerted us to an increased incidence of email users receiving spam emails from "spoofed" AOL email addresses. AOL's security team immediately began investigating the cause of the spoofed emails. Spoofing is a tactic used by spammers to make it appear that the message is from you in order to trick the recipient into opening it. These emails do not originate from the AOL Mail system – the addresses are just edited to make them appear that way. AOL is working with other email providers like Gmail, Yahoo! Mail and Outlook·com to stamp out spoofing across the industry, and we have implemented measures that will significantly limit its future occurrence.

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Value of Money: Phil Jackson Edition

Just because someone is earning millions of dollars, it doesn't mean they aren't concerend about that marginal dollar. It's something lefties always fail to understand. Here's NyPo on Jackson's visit to Mises territory:
[The new president of the New YorkKnicks,] Phil Jackson, hasn’t found a New York apartment yet, but he has a favorite restaurant — and it has a perfect name. The new president of the New York Knickerbockers goes to the Knickerbocker Bar & Grill. But if he plans to become a regular, he better start tipping better: Jackson, who is getting $12 million a year, left just $25 on the bill of about $140, sources said. This despite getting his appetizers and desserts comped, no less.

Jackson was at the NYU hangout on University Place on Friday night with Steve Kerr, his leading candidate to coach the Knicks next season, for a three-hour dinner. Lots of talk about the triangle offense, I am sure.

“He [Jackson] has been in quite a bit,” a manager told me yesterday.

Justin Have You Completely Left the Anti-Neocon Camp?

Has Rand Paul really mesmerized you this much?

According to Rand himself, the bill is not anti-foreign aid but simply puts conditions favorable to Israel on the aid. Read Rand's own words here: Rand Paul Shows His Neocon Empire Meddling Colors.

Two questions come to mind:

1. Why should the U.S. be meddling in the affairs of the Middle East to begin with?

2. Why should the U.S. be paying out foreign aid to any country, with conditions or not?

The Los Angeles Clippers Major Legal Blunder

A source close to Donald Sterling's alleged-former girlfriend tells me that V. Stiviano's lawyers are ecstatic about the statement issued by the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday.
In the statement, Clippers President Andy Roeser charges that Stiviano, in a lawsuit, is alleged to have embezzled more than $1.8 million from the Sterling family. There is, in fact, no charge of embezzlement in the only suit against Stiviano, brought by Mrs. Sterling. The lawsuit seeks the return of gifts, chiefly expensive automobiles and a condominium, given to Stiviano by Sterling,  but there is no embezzlement charge.
My source tells me, "The Clippers are going to pay big time for that statement." 
Stiviano's lawyers also believe that Sterling is not worth in the generally reported range of $1.9 billion, but rather between $12 billion and $17 billion.
I am scratching my head on this one, but it also appears that Stiviano is going to claim that she was not Sterling's girlfriend, but merely an archivist for Sterling. EPJ has confirmed that Stiviano has over 100 hours of tapes and that the tapes include conversation that Stiviano's lawyers believe will be able to be used to "refresh Sterling's memory" that she was hired as an archivist, and with regard to other matters.