Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Man Who Got OJ, Casey Anthony and Phil Spector Off

By Larry Getlen

There was shock across the country in 2011 when 25-year-old Orlando mom Casey Anthony was found not guilty of the murder of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.

But there was one person who saw it coming.

Richard Gabriel is one of the country’s top trial consultants, working with defendants in high-profile cases to help steer the trial toward acquittal.

Having worked on more than a thousand trials, including those of Anthony, O.J. Simpson and Phil Spector, his expertise comes in helping defense teams learn which factors will most strongly influence jurors, and this begins with the all-important jury selection.

In his new book,Acquittal: An Insider Reveals the Stories and Strategies Behind Today's Most Infamous Verdicts,” Gabriel shows how he picked the juries that would say “not guilty.”

To prepare for jury selection in the murder case against Simpson, Gabriel and his team conducted a slew of research, including polls and mock trials.

What they learned was essential for Simpson’s defense, including that many in the potential jury pool wanted Simpson to be not guilty, that many doubted he had time to commit the murders, that only those under 35 placed faith in DNA evidence, and that many in the potential jury pool had “been treated poorly by the police.”
As a result of this last finding, the defense filed a motion to ensure that, when jury notices were mailed out, “lower socioeconomic areas were fairly represented,” as they sought jurors for whom “claims of police profiling and evidence planting were not desperate attempts of a defendant trying to escape conviction,” but rather, “a reality of living with the Los Angeles Police Department.”

They also uncovered some surprising findings on the attitudes of women.

Read the rest here.

Phil Mickelson On Insider-Trading Probe: ‘I have done absolutely nothing wrong’

WaPo reports:
Phil Mickelson said he has cooperated with a government investigation into possible insider trading and maintains that he has “done absolutely nothing wrong.”
Mickelson found himself making front-page headlines when the Wall Street Journal and New York Times late Friday reported that he, investor Carl Icahn and Las Vegas gambler William T. (Billy) Walters are the subjects of an investigation by the FBI and the Securities and Exchange Commission  into possible illegal trades allegedly made by Mickelson and Walters based on nonpublic information they may have obtained from Icahn about his investments in public companies.
“I have done absolutely nothing wrong. I have cooperated with the government in this investigation and will continue to do so,” Mickelson, who is playing in the Memorial this weekend in Dublin, Ohio, said in a statement issued by his manager Saturday morning. “I wish I could fully discuss this matter, but under the current circumstances it’s just not possible.”
For the record, insider trading is a government created "crime" used to protect the establishment. SEE:  Judge Needs a Lesson in Finance and Economics and, also, Insider Trading and the Stock Market by Henry G. Manne.

Snowden, Brian Williams: Staged Amateur Night for the Suckers

by Jon Rappoport

You could call it a completely incompetent interview, but Brian Williams is supposed to be incompetent. That’s his job.

Don’t take a Snowden comment and drill down into it. Don’t connect dots. Don’t delve into Snowden’s history. Don’t ask serious questions about the NSA.

Just make the interview seem important. That’s all that counts. Give the impression that the interview is

Bankster vs. Libertarian Summer Reading Lists

By Chris Rossini

JPMorgan Bankster, Jamie Dimon, has shared his "summer reading" list with MarketWatch:
In case you are looking for ideas for your summer reading list, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. JPM  has one for you! Meant for its wealthy clients, the list of 10 books includes “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder” by Arianna Huffington, Creator of and Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind, by Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter.
Ariana Huffington, this morning, blew a kiss back to the banksters with this:

So there you have it. As Jamie & The Gang pickpocket our purchasing power, we need to find a way to "enjoy" life a little more. After all, we still have some left in our pockets, right? Take your mugging with a smile.

While the bubble gum news pushers and thieves cross-promote each other, I have a much better summer reading list for the thinking man. You can start with Robert Wenzel's The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. There's also Lew Rockwell's Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto and Walter Block's Toward a Libertarian Society

Also, keep your eyes peeled on EPJ. Robert Wenzel has some fantastic stuff in the pipeline, and I have a book about The Fed coming out in the next month as well.

Don't waste the summer away reading The Huffington Bankster Post. It'll rot your brain.

Chris Rossini is on Twitter

Bilderberg-Related Drone Operator Arrests

Good For Steve Ballmer

By Robert Wenzel

The manner in which the NBA treated Donald Sterling was truly outrageous, that being said, I am happy to see Steve Ballmer blow away other bidders for the Los Angeles Clippers with his $2 billion bid. Awesome.

I think billionaires are generally a bored lot. They have so much money that they can pretty much buy any creature comforts they want. Many of them seem to one to break their boredom by attempting to manipulate the world. George Soros, the Koch brothers, Bill Gates, come to mind, what are these guys other than bored billionaires trying to play a real world version of the board game, Risk?

It's good to see that that there are other billionaires that attempt to break their boredom by channeling their energy in directions that does not involve attempting to control the world and by extension all of us. Mark Cuban comes to mind, as does Donald Trump with his golf courses and beauty pageants, and, now, Steve Ballmer.

Good for him, he has found a place, the NBA, where he can battle other billionaires and still leave the rest of us out of it. What's more fun is that we can get front row seats to these battles with, literally, popcorn in our hands.

Of course, there is the politically correct crowd that sees things completely differently. USA Today columnist  Nancy Armour writes:
Set aside the galling fact that Sterling is cashing in on the bigoted and racially insensitive remarks that started this whole fiasco. Set aside, too, the absurdity of spending $2 billion when that money could be put toward things like childhood education or, if Ballmer is really hung up on sports, after-school programs for kids.
No team is worth $2 billion, and most certainly not the Clippers.
First, how is Sterling cashing in on his alleged-bigtroy? The man sold a basketball team that consists overwhelmingly of black players and has a black coach.

Second, it is clear Armour is ignorant of the very important Austrian School concept of subjective value, if she can write, " No team is worth $2 billion."

And, finally, Ballmer is doing a lot more to properly influence kids by showing them that if you are involved in providing a good product, Windows, you can make enough money to buy the Clippers, that is a much greater teaching lesson than if Ballmer would have spent the money buying politically correct books that distort the nature of racism, fail to teach kids the reality of subjective value and .never contain the words, private property, entrepreneurship or liberty.
Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

OMG: Rand Paul Suddenly Unsure If Obamacare Should Be Completely Repealed

Typical muddled talk from Rand, but now it is about government involvement in healthcare. This is truly disgusting. The man is a distortion artist. He wants to pretend he is a libertarian so that he keeps the checks rolling from his father's base, but at the same time he distorts the libertarian message to the point it doesn't make any sense. He is doing this, of course, so that he can expand beyond the libertarian base and gain supporters among those who don't know the difference between liberty and a bad toupee.

Think Progress reports on the horror:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has joined Mitch McConnell in suggesting that Kentucky could maintain its Obamacare exchange if health care reform is repealed, saying that he’s “not sure” if the new marketplace (Kynect) should be unraveled. Paul’s comments come as a growing number of Republicans aim to repackage the key tenets of President Obama’s health care law as unique state solutions, designed and built by state officials far away from Washington D.C.
“There’s a lot of questions that are big questions that are beyond just the exchange and the Kynect and things like that,” Paul said. He reiterated that he would like to “repeal all of Obamacare,” but added, “Can a state still have an exchange? You know we live in a 50-state union so some states could have exchanges. They already did before Obamacare.”
I have said before that Rand would sell out on many issues as we get closer to 2106, but I never expected him to hedge on government involvement in healthcare.

Kid Draws on Dad's Passport, Gets Them Stuck in South Korea

And to think there was a time, ever so long ago, when one could travel the world without a passport.

From Wikipedia:
King Henry V of England is credited with having invented what some consider the first true passport, as a means of helping his subjects prove who they were in foreign lands. The earliest reference to these documents is found in a 1414 Act of Parliament. In 1540, granting travel documents in England became a role of the Privy Council of England, and it was around this time that the term "passport" was used. In 1794, issuing British passports became the job of the Office of the Secretary of State.

A rapid expansion of rail travel and wealth in Europe beginning in the mid-nineteenth century led to a unique dilution of the passport system for approximately thirty years prior to World War I. The speed of trains, as well as the number of passengers that crossed multiple borders, made enforcement of passport laws difficult. The general reaction was the relaxation of passport requirements. In the later part of the nineteenth century and up to World War I, passports were not required, on the whole, for travel within Europe, and crossing a border was a relatively straightforward procedure. Consequently, comparatively few people held passports.

During World War I, European governments introduced border passport requirements for security reasons, and to control the emigration of citizens with useful skills. These controls remained in place after the war, becoming standard, though controversial, procedure. British tourists of the 1920s complained, especially about attached photographs and physical descriptions, which they considered led to a "nasty dehumanization".

In 1920, the League of Nations held a conference on passports, the Paris Conference on Passports & Customs Formalities and Through Tickets.] Passport guidelines and a general booklet design resulted from the conference, which was followed up by conferences in 1926 and 1927

Read Snowden’s Comments on 9/11 that NBC Didn’t Broadcast

​Only around a quarter of the recent NBC News interview with former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden made it to broadcast, but unaired excerpts now online show that the network neglected to air critical statements about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, reports RT.
When the four-hour sit-down between journalist Brian Williams and Snowden made it to air on Wednesday night, NBC condensed roughly four hours of conversation into a 60-minute time slot. The network uloaded online portions of the interview that didn’t make it into the primetime broadcast, including remarks from Snowden in which he questioned the American intelligence community’s inability to stop the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In response to a question from Williams concerning a “non-traditional enemy,” Al-Qaeda, and how to prevent further attacks from that organization and others, Snowden suggested that United States had the proper intelligence ahead of 9/11 but failed to act.
“You know, and this is a key question that the 9/11 Commission considered. And what they found, in the post-mortem, when they looked at all of the classified intelligence from all of the different intelligence agencies, they found that we had all of the information we needed as an intelligence community, as a classified sector, as the national defense of the United States to detect this plot,” Snowden said. “We actually had records of the phone calls from the United States and out. The CIA knew who these guys were. The problem was not that we weren’t collecting information, it wasn’t that we didn’t have enough dots, it wasn’t that we didn’t have a haystack, it was that we did not understand the haystack that we have.”
“The problem with mass surveillance is that we’re piling more hay on a haystack we already don’t understand, and this is the haystack of the human lives of every American citizen in our country,” Snowden continued. “If these programs aren’t keeping us safe, and they’re making us miss connections — vital connections — on information we already have, if we’re taking resources away from traditional methods of investigation, from law enforcement operations that we know work, if we’re missing things like the Boston Marathon bombings where all of these mass surveillance systems, every domestic dragnet in the world didn’t reveal guys that the Russian intelligence service told us about by name, is that really the best way to protect our country? Or are we — are we trying to throw money at a magic solution that’s actually not just costing us our safety, but our rights and our way of life?

Best-Case Scenario: A Japanese Toilet: Those High-End Toilets That Sprinkle Hot Water in Your Ass

Anthony Bourdain: How to Travel
As told to Elizabeth Gunnison Dunn

The first thing I do is I dress for airports. I dress for security. I dress for the worst-case scenario. Comfortable shoes are important — I like Clarks desert boots because they go off and on very quickly, they're super comfortable, you can beat the hell out of them, and they're cheap.

In my carry-on, I'll have a notebook, yellow legal pads, good headphones. Imodium is important. The necessity for Imodium will probably present itself, and you don't want to be caught without it. I always carry a scrunchy lightweight down jacket; it can be a pillow if I need to sleep on a floor. And the iPad is essential. I load it up with books to be read, videos, films, games, apps, because I'm assuming there will be downtime. You can't count on good films on an airplane.

I check my luggage. I hate the people struggling to cram their luggage in an overhead bin, so I don't want to be one of those people.

On the plane, I like to read fiction set in the location I'm going to. Fiction is in many ways more useful than a guidebook, because it gives you those little details, a sense of the way a place smells, an emotional sense of the place. So, I'll bring Graham Greene's The Quiet American if I'm going to Vietnam. It's good to feel romantic about a destination before you arrive.

Before getting on a flight, I buy a big pile of magazines. And I'm a big fan of airport massages. I'll get a chair massage if there's one available, or a foot massage. If there's food available I'll load up on whatever the local specialty is. In Tokyo I'll get ramen, in Singapore I'll get something from the airport's hawker center. Shake Shack at Kennedy airport is the best, although airport food options in the States are usually really bad.

Read the rest here.

RW note: If you haven't caught Bourdain's show, Parts Unkown, on CNN, you should. There is no politically correct nonsense that is typical of most CNN reporting. It is just Bourdain travelling to different locales around the globe. He is a great story teller and has a beautiful knack for finding the neat nooks and crannies of the people, places and food of the world.

Parts Unkown: Myanmar

Parts Unkown: Tokyo

Parts Unkown: Mississippi

Libertarian Candidate for Governor Arrested For Gathering Signatures

Ben Swann reports:
According to the Minnesota Libertarian Party, Candidates of minor political parties in Minnesota need to gather 2000 signatures during a two week period that ends June 3rd to be listed on the ballot for state-wide races. That was what Holbrook was attempting to do when he was approached by five local park police officers.

“We were sitting in the parking lot of the park and the five volunteers who were with me were starting to sort our literature. A park police officer came over to us and asked what we were doing. I told them that we were going to gather petition signatures and he said ‘You can’t do that here.’ We know that we can we are legally allowed.” says Holbrook.

Because Holbrook and the LP volunteers were aware of the law, they explained their right to be at the park. Within 10 minutes another four officers were on the scene. Holbrook and those with him began recording the confrontation with police.

“The officers asked for my ID which I refused because I had committed no crime. He ordered that we stop filming him with our cell phone cameras which he said was illegal. He then grabbed me, twisted my arm and smashed me against his vehicle.”

Holbrook says that his shoulder was wrenched and injured and the handcuffs actually cut through the skin and Holbrook’s arm causing it to begin bleeding.

Against The State

Lew Rockwell's new book, Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto, is now available for purchase at Amazon. I will have a review of the book up early this coming week.

Shame on Walmart

By Robert Ringer

Forget that Walmart employs 1.4 million people in the U.S. alone.  Forget that it saves consumers billions of dollars each year on retail purchases.  Forget that its employees, on average, earn about double the minimum wage.  The raw-meat crowd is salivating.  Bring out the class-warfare script.

The word from some disgruntled employees is that Walmart doesn’t treat its employees “fairly” — whatever that’s supposed to mean.  But, definitions aside, this is your lucky day.  Because if you think Walmart is “unfair,” guess what?  You

Bawbawa’s Journalistic Porn

By Ilana Mercer

Barbara Walters has promised to retire. But then so did that lip-licking lizard, Larry King. You can’t take them at their word.

In my journalism-school days one looked up to the legendary, late Oriana Fallaci. These days, it’s mediocrities like Walters and colorectal crusader Katie Couric who’re considered cutting-edge clever. And they’ve sired a new crop of

EPJ Week In Review - Week Ending 5/30/14

Below you'll find everything that has been published on EPJ for the week ended Friday May 30, 2014. The hottest posts for each day are highlighted in red.

Released This Week!!

Friday 5/30/14

Thursday 5/29/14
Wednesday 5/28/14
Tuesday 5/27/14
Monday 5/26/14
Sunday 5/25/14
Saturday 5/24/14

Friday, May 30, 2014

Why Republicans Are Useless In The Battle Against Crony Capitalism—Witness The Michigan GOP Sell-Out To The Restaurant Lobby

By David Stockman

Michigan’s purportedly conservative governor just signed a 25% increase in the minimum wage—a move guaranteed to destroy jobs within the state and which is as clean a repudiation of free market economics as any Republican state legislature could possibly enact. Why? Can you say restaurant lobby?

The Michigan Restaurant Association, which staunchly opposed the petition drive and other efforts to raise the tipped wage, praised the Legislature for reaching a compromise. “The MRA has made it clear from the beginning that the total elimination of the tipped minimum wage as proposed in the ballot initiative was gross negligence and would result in the closure of countless full-service restaurants – especially independent ‘mom & pop’ places least capable of absorbing a nearly quadrupling of their labor costs,” spokesman Justin Winslow said in a statement. “The compromise legislation sustains a 38 percent ratio that will require adjustments by the full-service sector of the industry, but should prevent mass closure of restaurants.”
That’s it in a nutshell.  The minimum wage is one of the most pernicious forms of statist intervention there is because it attacks society’s most vulnerable citizens. That is, it outlaws jobs that have low economic value, thereby condemning the young, poor and marginally skilled to unemployment, dependency and deprivation.

Yet when push came to shove, the Michigan restaurant lobby cast its lot with the special privilege it obtains under current law—the so-called tip credit—-in order to avoid a voter referendum that would have put restaurants on par with everyone else. Yes, the proposed referendum’s plan for Obama’s “$10.10″ minimum wage would have been onerous for the state’s restaurateurs—especially the moms and pops. But why didn’t the industry stand-up and fight on principle?

The answer is simple. They didn’t have to because the GOP offered to bail-out their chestnuts via the so-called bipartisan compromise. Admittedly, that capitulation is not going to garner Gov. Snyder a corporal’s guard worth of extra votes next November. There’s about 80 years of history that prove minimum wage workers mostly don’t vote, and almost never for the GOP.

No matter. The Michigan Republicans’ craven maneuver wasn’t about a few thousand votes; it was about tens of millions of campaign funds and the vast campaign resources of the restaurant industry. More specifically, the Michigan GOP threw free market principles to the wind because it did want the restaurant lobby’s massive campaign resources diverted out of the GOP coffers and into a life-and-death fight against the Obama minimum wage referendum.
To be sure, the sacrifice of principle for political expediency is an endemic fact of life in a democracy. But doing so should at least require that heavy duty electoral considerations are involved—-not merely the slight inconvenience that the Michigan GOP would have had to work a little harder to fill its war chest.

But after decades of betraying free market principles through endless compromise, expediency, rationalizations and short-term ploys, the Republican party is no longer capable of making wise and productive tradeoffs.

In the state of Michigan in particular, the abandonment of free market principles by the GOP has been especially endemic and long-standing. It goes all the way back to the first bailout of Chrysler in 1979 when Michigan had a large GOP delegation, and all voted for it except your writer.

Back then, I also voted against every one of Jimmy Carter’s proposals to raise the Federal minimum wage and suffered no electoral setback from either stance.  In fact, 40 years ago the Republican rank and file in Michigan—the restaurant industry included—-would have been appalled at this weeks spineless action by the GOP.

In the decades since, the Michigan GOP delegation has gone on to vote for nearly every Federal energy boondoggle which came down the pike including he lunatic “cash-for-trash” tax credit for junk cars; most of the Freddie/Fannie/FHA housing subsidies and market manipulations; the abominable Wall Street bailouts of 2008; and then the utterly uncalled for rescue of GM, the UAW and Chrysler for the second time.

In short, the GOP has become as statist as the Democrats. It is no wonder that the free market is fast fading in America, and is being replaced by a crony capitalist regime in which both parties play the game permission.

David Stockman was the Director of the Office of Management and Budget during part of the Reagan Administration, from 1981 to 1985. He is the author of The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitaism in America and The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed.

 The above originally appeared at David Stockman's Contra Corner and is reprinted with permission.

BREAKING Donald Sterling Filing $1 Billion Lawsuit Against NBA

Donald Sterling is filing a $1 billion lawsuit against the NBA, his lawyer confirmed to's Ramona Shelburne

"The [termination] charges in the lawsuit are an invasion of his constitutional rights, violation of antitrust laws, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract," attorney Max Blecher said.

Blecher said the lawsuit was being filed Friday afternoon and "has nothing to do with the sale." He said Sterling is still weighing legal action against his wife, saying: "He's looking at it. That's a different kettle of fish. We just got the paperwork on that yesterday. There's been no decision made on that yet."

MUST SEE Third World Construction Techniques Without Machines

Increases in minimum wage jobs are pushing automation into sectors of the economy where they would unlikely appear on the free market. However, there is nothing wrong with automation itself, as these videos show, a country with limited capital means using labor that is a lot less efficient than automation.

Here's a group pile driving to music.

This is pretty amazing:

(ht Mark Perry)

Sawant Declares Victory As Seattle Moves Closer To A $15/Hour Minimum Wage

Who let the robots in? Kashama Sawant.

A Seattle city council committee unanimously voted to pass Mayor Ed Murray’s minimum wage plan, with some amendments.

Socialist city council member Kshama Sawant said it’s a victory for workers. Of course, it won't be  a victory for those who lose their jobs/

The plan phases in a $15-an-hour minimum wage over a period of three to seven years, depending on how big the business is. Which raises the question, if minimum wages are so great, why are their different phase in times for different businesses?

(via KPLU)

Hey Jesse Ventura...WTF?

By Chris Rossini

Jesse on raising the minimum wage:
“Well, it can smell like socialism all you want,” he said, responding to a viewer’s comment, “but why should a guy pushing a pencil make more than a guy doing back-breaking work digging a ditch? I notice CEOs, they never sweat. They wear suits all day, ties, they go to lunch — and they get paid the big dough.”

“Anybody working 40 hours a week should not have to be subsidized in any way, shape, or form by the government,” Ventura added. “They should be able to earn a wage to live off of.”
Then this:

No Jesse...I do not agree with a single word.

Chris Rossini is on Twitter

I'm Leaving

By Simon Black

Today is my last day in Chile for a while.

As a permanent traveler, I do my best to never spend winter anywhere... so tomorrow I'm off to

Memo to Gun-Control Advocates: Even Elliot Rodger Believed Guns Would Have Deterred Him

By Dr. John R. Lott Jr.

How can we prevent mass murderers? Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old who killed six innocent people this past Friday in California, is causing everyone to ask that question, yet again.

Rodger spent over a year and a half meticulously planning his attack.

His 141-page “manifesto” makes it clear that he feared someone with a gun could stop him before he was able to kill a lot of people.

Read the rest here.

Wenzel in Spanish: Libertario en 30 Días

It has just been brought to my attention that someone has apparently published the essays from my list: The 30 Day Reading List that will Lead You to Becoming a Knowledgeable Libertarian, in book form, in Spanish.

I have no affiliation with the publisher, don't speak much Spanish and no one has notified me that they  published this book. That said, the product description says the book is 342 pages, so I am guessing that it is a translation of all 30 essays I listed, which I think is a great idea.

And it has a pretty cool cover.

Again, no one contacted me about the book, and I have no idea if they obtained proper copyright permission to translate and publish the essays. A good chunk of the essays came from and, and they are both pretty good about allowing republication.

Since my Spanish is extremely limited, I can't vouch for the faithfulness of the translation to the original essays, but it appears someone put a lot of work into this. I would love to hear from some Spanish speaking readers about the essays and how well the translations were done.

The book is:  Libertario en 30 Días

Ron Paul's Pure Libertarianism Sorely Missed

 Brent Budowsky, columnist at The Hillwrites:

Ron Paul, pure libertarian, sorely missed in DC
Congress is a lesser place, and Washington is a lesser town, without the presence of one of my favorite members of Congress, the great libertarian of our generation, former Rep. Ron Paul (R) of Texas. I wrote about Ron Paul often, sometimes in agreement, often in disagreement, but always with respect for his pure-play libertarian philosophy.

In some ways, but not all ways, we have begun to enter a libertarian generation with increasing common areas of agreement between conservative libertarians and progressive libertarians on matters such as limiting the abuses of National Security Agency (NSA) eavesdropping.

While Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) often digresses from the pure libertarianism of his father, Ron Paul...What makes Ron Paul special, by comparison, is that he always advocates the libertarian view, without presidential politics watering down his position for purposes of expedience.

The Dark Money Man: How Sean Noble Moved the Kochs’ Cash into Politics and Made Millions

by Kim Barker and Theodoric Meyer

For a brief, giddy moment, Sean Noble—a little-known former aide to an Arizona congressman—became one of the most important people in American politics.
Plucked from obscurity by libertarian billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, Noble was tasked with distributing a torrent of political money raised by the Koch network, a complex web of nonprofits nicknamed the Kochtopus, into conservative causes in the 2010 and 2012 elections.
Noble handed out almost $137 million in 2012 alone -- all of it so-called dark money from

What Separates Genuine Libertarians From Imposters

By Laurence M. Vance

It has been fashionable of late for some libertarians to broaden the libertarian non-aggression principle in their attempts to make libertarianism less thin and brutal and more cosmopolitan and humanitarian.

I will not address this controversy here. I recently made very clear my views on libertarianism.

What I do want to address is an older libertarian attack on the non-aggression principle that has recently reared its ugly head.

Some libertarians

Chances Are that You Have No More Expertise in Economics than You Have in Astrophysics

By Robert Higgs

Although the statement is commonly attributed to Mark Twain, his friend Charles Dudley Warner was the one who said, “Everybody complains about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.” Regardless of who said it, the statement was and remains fairly accurate.

In contrast, we might observe, “Everybody complains about the economy, and a great many unfortunately try to do something about it.” Economic policy is the name given to such attempts by government officials, their consultants, and their contractors. For the general public, economic policy is a tragic matter because regardless of what the man in the street may think, the government’s actions almost invariably make economic life worse than it would have been had the policy makers kept their hands off of it.

Despite a gigantic outpouring of talking, writing, and studying, at least 90 percent of this yammering is worthless, and much of it is positively harmful. Look, I’m not going to lie to you: I’m an economist. I’m not bragging about this professional status; it’s simply a fact. If I were a plumber or a carpenter, I’d admit being one just as readily. Now, tens of thousands of other people also say that they are economists, but scarcely any of them is so in more than a nominal sense. They may have a Ph.D. in economics, yet it remains the case that their ideas about economics are no better than your average crackpot’s. The overwhelming part of what people learn in graduate school in economics is mathematical mumbo-jumbo whose substance boils down—if it boils down to anything, rather than simply evaporating—to what F. A. Hayek called the pretense of knowledge. In short, these “experts” are ill-educated fakers. My best guess is that no more than a couple thousand real economists exist in the entire world, and I would not be surprised if my estimate were too high by a thousand.

Besides the real and counterfeit pros, perhaps several hundred thousand other people purport to possess genuine knowledge about how the economic world works. At least 95 percent of them haven’t a clue. They are charlatans, whether they know they are or not. One has only to surf the Web, read the articles and comments, and consider the character of this froth. It’s almost all crap.

People are generally sensible enough that they do not go about their lives pretending to know about astrophysics at a professional level. They don’t dish out crackpot ideas about the red shift or the events that occurred in the first millionth of a second after the Big Bang. They realize that pretending to know anything much about astrophysics would only make them appear foolish to anyone who heard what they have to say. If only people had enough sense to realize that with very few exceptions, they actually know no more about economics than they do about astrophysics.

Bear in mind that knowing how to run a business successfully, knowing how to write an economics column successfully for a magazine, newspaper, or news site, knowing how to rise in your profession successfully, and knowing a great variety of other things is not at all the same thing as understanding how an economy works. How much better off the whole world would be if in regard to economics everyone settled for thinking locally and acting locally and, above all, never, never inviting politicians and government bureaucrats to do anything to “improve the economy.”

The above originally appeared at

The Shocking Real Reason for FATCA, and What Comes Next

If you’ve never heard of the obscure and seemingly boring Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA), I don’t blame you.
Few people have, and even fewer fully grasp what it really means or the terrible things that it’s a harbinger for.
Readers of International Man of any duration will no doubt be familiar with it. (In case you aren’t, see here and here to get up to speed.)
That so few people understand FATCA is perhaps not surprising. Often, otherwise offensive government actions and institutions are given dull and opaque names to obfuscate their true purpose.
I think the Federal Reserve is an excellent example of this.
After two experiments with central banking in the US failed to take root in the 1800s, anything associated with a central bank became deeply unpopular with the public.
So, the central banking advocates decided to try something new—a fresh

Snowden Acts Like a Man – John Kerry Acts Like a Thug

By Shane Kastler

Edward Snowden appeared calm, articulate, and mature. John Kerry on the other hand acted like a spoiled, rich kid – a schoolyard bully questioning the “manhood” of Snowden who he insulted by calling him a coward since he won't immediately come home to face charges. In another sophomoric, juvenile bit of mud slinging Kerry called him stupid. What the jack jawed pompous millionaire government hack doesn't seem to realize is that

Thursday, May 29, 2014

JUST RELEASED The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank

I am happy to report that I have now put into print the speech I delivered at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

At the time of the speech, the great historian Ralph Raico emailed to say, "Bob, your talk to the Fed was absolutely brilliant!"

The economist and libertarian great Walter Block said, "That it is not a good 'Austrian' critique of Keynesianism and the Fed, it is an EXCELLENT one."

The important Misesian scholar Richard Ebeling emailed, "I read your speech at the Fed and your postscript. Brilliant! Just  the type of talk that should be given in a place like that, and superbly constructed and articulated!!!"

Economist Robert Murphy called it an "awesome speech."

Lew Rockwell, chairman of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, said it was "heroic."

But the speech itself is only part of the story. In The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank, I also tell the back story of how I ended up being invited to deliver the speech in the first place, how there was an attempt to sabotage my delivery of the speech, who attended the speech and the reaction.

In The Fed Flunks, I also include three other essays. One discusses how I called the 2008 financial crisis in real time. Another contrasts my correct forecast with what Fed members and other government economic officials were saying at the same time, and finally, I have an essay that discusses how I calculate money supply growth to help me make economic forecasts.

I have designed The Fed Flunks in a manner so that it can be an important tool in the fight against the Fed and be of value to those who want to better track Federal Reserve money printing activities.

But, it is not only an important read for anyone attempting to understand the failures of the Fed and what they are up to now, but it can be used as a pass along to others to introduce them to what the Fed is really all about.


How to Win a Jump-Ball When the Other Guy Has a Foot on You

BREAKING: Ex-Microsoft Chief Bids $2 Billion for the Los Angeles Clippers

WSJ is reporting that former Microsoft Chief Steve Ballmer has made a $2 billion bid to acquire the Los Angeles Clippers.


CNN is reporting that Ballmer has signed a binding agreement to buy the Clippers. The NBA still needs to approve the sale.

Avoid College: James Altucher Explains To Glenn Beck

By Chris Rossini

James is great as usual, however I was impressed with Beck (on this topic) as well:

Chris Rossini is on Twitter

Jim Rogers On Russia, China & US Dollar

Peter Schiff on Piketty's Envy Problem

Piketty's Envy Problem
By Peter Schiff

There can be little doubt that Thomas Piketty's new book Capital in the 21st Century has struck a nerve globally. In fact, the Piketty phenomenon (the economic equivalent to Beatlemania) has in some ways become a bigger story than the ideas themselves. However, the book's popularity is not at all surprising when you consider that its central premise: how radical wealth redistribution will create a better society, has always had its enthusiastic champions (many of whom instigated revolts and revolutions). What is surprising, however, is that

Coming Up on The Robert Wenzel Show

By, Chris Rossini

Sunday June 8th
Daniel Schulman

US Food Inflation Running at 22%

Chriss Street writes for Breitbart:
After five years of the federal government telling the public that despite a $3.5 trillion increase in monetary expansion, the inflation rate is below +2%, the Department of Agriculture (DOA) just warned the American public that the consumer price index for food is up by 10% this year. 
The DOA tried to blame food inflation on the drought conditions in California, but last year’s drought was worse and food prices fell by -6%. The real problem is Federal Reserve monetary stimulus is stimulating inflation. I reported in "Food Price Inflation Scares the Fed” two months ago that commodity food costs were exploding on the upside. Given the lag in commodity costs impacting prices on grocery store shelves, annual U.S. food inflation is now running at +22% and rising.

Arkansas Dental Cartel Attempts to Prevent Dentist From Charging "Too Little"

Ukraine: The Real Energy Crisis Starts in June

By Robert Bensh

Kiev is feeling emboldened by the successful election of a new Ukrainian president and a bloody surge against separatists in the east, but in just a few days, Russia says it will twist the gas spigot, and there's very little Kiev can do to stop that.

On June 3, Russia plans to reduce the gas supply to Ukraine — and hence, to Europe — if Kiev has failed to pay in advance for next month's gas deliveries, the price for which has been doubled as a result of the political crisis.

Interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is trying to play hardball with Moscow, suggesting that gas talks cannot move forward until Russia addresses the issue of $1 billion in gas it stole when it annexed Crimea.

Yatsenyuk may be riding high on the sense of stability the recent presidential election has brought, not to mention the unleashing of the Ukrainian military on pro-Russian separatists in Donetsk, but the "stolen gas" gambit is a losing one—a bunch of bluster that certainly

Snowden on What the Obama Administration is Afraid Of

(via Bossy Monica)

A New Entry in the Annals of Academic Cravenness

By Joseph Epstein

For those who have not yet caught up with it, in the academic world the phrase "trigger warning" means alerting students to books that might "trigger" deleterious emotional effects. Should a Jewish student be asked to read "Oliver Twist" with its anti-Semitic caricature of Fagin, let alone "The Merchant of Venice," whose central figure is the Jewish usurer Shylock? Should African-American students be required to read "Huckleberry Finn," with its generous use of the "n-word," or "Heart of Darkness," which equates the Congo with the end of rational civilization? Should students who are ardent pacifists be made to read about warfare in Tolstoy and Stendhal, or for that matter the Iliad? As for gay and lesbian students, or students who have suffered sexual abuse, or those who have a physical handicap . . . one could go on.

Pointing out the potentially damaging effects of books began, like so much these days, on the Internet, where intellectual Samaritans began listing such emotionally troublesome books on their blogs. Before long it was picked up by the academy. At the University of California at Santa Barbara, the student government suggested that all course syllabi contain trigger warnings. At Oberlin College the Office of Equity Concerns advised professors to steer clear of works that might be interpreted as sexist or racist or as vaunting violence.

Movies have of course long been rated and required to note such items as Adult Language, Violence, Nudity—ratings that are themselves a form of trigger warning. Why not books, even great classic books? The short answer is that doing so insults the intelligence of those supposedly serious enough to attend college by suggesting they must not be asked to read anything that fails to comport with their own beliefs or takes full account of their troubled past experiences.

Trigger warnings logically follow from the recent history of American academic life. This is a history in which demographic diversity has triumphed over intellectual standards and the display of virtue over the search for truth. So much of this history begins in good intentions and ends in the tyranny of conformity.

Sometime in the 1950s, American universities determined to acquire students from less populous parts of the country to give their institutions the feeling of geographical diversity. In the 1960s, after the great moral victories of the civil-rights movement, the next obvious step was racial preferences, which allowed special concessions to admit African-American students. In conjunction with this, black professors were felt to be needed to teach these students and, some said, serve as role models. Before long the minority of women among the professoriate was noted. This, too, would soon be amended. "Harvard," I remember hearing around this time, "is looking for a good feminist."

Read the rest here.

The Bizarre Claim That the Average CEO Makes Over $10 Million

Associated Press is out with a bizarre story. The AP "Big Story" headline reads:

Median CEO Pay Crosses $10 Million

It is rare to see such a misleading headline. It is simply far from the truth, but news outlet after news outlet is running with the absurd claim. According to the Census Bureau, at the end of 2103, there were  400,400 CEOs in the U.S. Of those, 92% earned less than $1 million, never mind $10 million. Only 2%, according to the CB data, earned over $3 million. 77% earned less than $500,000.

So what is with the misleading headline?

It turns out that AP is only talking about companies in the S&P 500. That is, it is not about overall pay, but the pay of CEOs at some of the largest companies in America.

From the body of the AP story:
Propelled by a soaring stock market, the median pay package for a CEO rose above eight figures for the first time last year. The head of a Standard & Poor's 500 company earned a record $10.5 million, an increase of 8.8 percent from $9.6 million in 2012, according to an Associated Press/Equilar pay study.
I am very suspicious of the timing and method this CEO pay story has surfaced. It coincides with the "Inclusive Capitalism" conference in London organised by Lynn Forester de Rothschild.

At the conference, the Bank of England’s Governor Mark Carney warned that a more unequal society was “amplifying the rewards of the superstar” as he pledged to help build a “more trustworthy” capitalism.

The UK's Independent tied in his remarks with the AP story:
His comments came as an Associated Press/Equilar survey showed the average pay of top US executives breaking through eight figures for the first time.
When one of the richest women in the world is holding a conference where concern about CEO pay seems to dominate, a woman who gained most of her wealth by marrying a man more than 25 years older than her, something real fishy is sure to be going on.

Indeed, other big time government operators at the conference echoed Carney's "concern". From The Independent:
Mr Carney’s fellow speaker, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director Christine Lagarde, also attacked the unreformed bonus culture of the financial world at the conference. 
She called for the G20 to push ahead with pay reforms “because the behaviour of the financial sector has not changed fundamentally in a number of dimensions since the financial crisis” and accused the industry of resisting reforms...She argued that rising income inequality was casting a “dark shadow” across the global economy. She called on capitalism to become more inclusive by making income tax “more progressive without being excessive”, making greater use of property taxes and expanding access to education and health.
It looks to me like another New World Order power grab, intended to make sure that new wealth doesn't have a chance to catch up  to old wealth, and another attempt at laying the seeds for an eventual global tax, that will result in greater tax on all of us, but framed as though it is a tax to go after those earning over $10 million. In other words, they are playing the envy card to enslave us all.

Book Review: "Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful & Private Dynasty"

By Shane Kastler
In his book Sons of Wichita: How the Koch Brothers Became America's Most Powerful & Private Dynasty, author Daniel Schulman tells the story of the Koch family whose patriarch Fred Koch initially made his fortune as an Engineer/ Entrepreneur in the oil industry. A native of tiny, rural Quanah, Texas; Koch would eventually earn a degree from prestigious M.I.T. then travel the world as a global businessman. Some of his travels took him to Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union, where he saw first hand the devastating effects of communistic governmental control and learned what it was like to have a government spy follow him wherever he went. The experience deeply affected Koch.
Eventually Koch came to