Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In My Youth, I Probably Would Have Bought a Used Car from Bill Clinton.

By Robert J. Ringer

It’s amazing how often we automatically assume that someone’s words represent set-in-stone fact. Nothing amazes me more than when someone says, “I know that for a fact,” then, when pressed for his source of information, says that Freddie Fibber told him so.

Of course, just because someone tells you something that turns out to be false, it does not necessarily mean that he intentionally lied. For any one of a number of reasons, he might just be wrong.

For example, he might simply be repeating a falsehood that someone else told him, and that source may have gotten his wrong information from yet another source … and so on. Thus, if the original source is wrong, everyone who passes along the incorrect information is wrong as well. From whence comes the maxim “Consider the source.”

So how do you know whether or not something is true?

Gov. Jerry Brown Can't Stop Giving Orders That Expand State Power and Interventions in People's Affairs

Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation today imposing the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags.

On Sunday, his office announced that the governor signed the wacko “affirmative consent” standard for sexual assault (SEE: NUTSO California Adopts 'Yes Means Yes' Sex-Assault Rule).

Brown also, on Sunday, vetoed a bill that would have required police to obtain warrants for surveillance by drone. In vetoing the bill, Brown ignored the advice of a group of 41 law professors from around the country who sent a letter to Brown urging him to sign the bill. "Misuse of drones may chill First Amendment activity and lead to high-tech racial profiling," the letter said.

Stunning Drone Footage Reveals Just How Massive Hong Kong's Protests Really Are

(ht Bionic Mosquito)

The Best and Worst States to Earn a Living In

Lifehacker writes:
Besides being near family and friends, probably the biggest consideration for where to live —at least for those of us who are still working—is whether the area pays enough for you to survive there. We've highlighted a Money Rates analysis of the 10 hardest and 10 best states to make a living here (based on average salary, cost of living, employment rate, and workplace conditions). Another in-depth study found the minimum amounts—by state, county, and metropolitan area—an adult or family would need to cover basic expenses. (Think of it as a "this is how much it'd cost to live here at the bare minimum" guide.)

Rand Paul the Man

This post has nothing to do with whether Rand Paul would make a good president or not, but rather just a summary of some points made in the New Yorker article that might be of interest to close Rand observers who want to get a fuller picture of the man (and some points that will certainly be of interest to Rand opposition research teams).

Among the things we learn from the article:

The profile writer, Ryan Lizza, calls Rand "prickly" in the article (but notes that he also has a quick sense of humor.)


Rand's mother seems to confirm that Rand does wear a rug:
As a boy, Randal Howard Paul, the middle child of five, didn’t have his distinctive curls or his distinctive name. “His hair was as straight as could be and we never called him Rand,” Carol said. “We always called him Randy.”
Jesse Benton seems to be a major source for the article and is probably the source for this, though Lizza does not identify the source by name:
One of Paul’s former aides told me that Kelley is “politically savvy,” but she also encourages his worst instincts. “Kelley is going to say what’s on her mind,” the former aide said. “She eggs him on when he gets attacked.”

And I am still trying to understand what Lizza is getting at by reporting this in the article:
Rand’s friendship with George Paul was itself a small act of rebellion. George and Rand, who were both on the Baylor swim team and often spent six hours a day in the pool, became so close that, shortly after they arrived at Baylor, George legally changed his name from George Paul Schauerte to George Schauerte Paul. 
Is Lizza sending a clue to Rand opposition research teams here to dig in this direction to devlop a potential wedge between Rand and the religious right?

BOTTOM LINE: I suspect that it was a major error by the person who encouraged Rand (and George Schauerte Paul) to spend significant time talking to Lizza (Jesse, was that you?). It looks to me as though Lizza planted a few time bombs in the profile.


Dangerous Words: I Believe in Freedom, But . . .

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the news and commentary website, "EpicTimes," on "Dangerous Words: I Believe in Freedom, But . . ."

Many who say they believe in and support individual liberty and the free society in fact qualify their position with a single, simple word -- "but."

"I believe in freedom, but . . . we need a minimal welfare state to protect and support the poor." "I believe in freedom, but . . . we have to have some government regulation of business and the marketplace to secure us from unscrupulous companies." "I believe in freedom, but . . . an ethical conscience requires some redistribution of wealth."

The problem is that when all the "buts" are added up, not much freedom is left. We end up drowning in a sea of "buts."

I argue that this is not only inconsistent with a principled defense of individual rights and personal freedom, but . . . is also a misconception of how, historically, the profit-oriented activities of businessmen or the voluntary associations of a free society successfully handled the type of "social problems" that it is now taken for granted only "big government" can "solve."

We need to both regain the historical memory of how freedom "worked" to deal with various human and social problems before the modern interventionist-welfare state, and have the knowledge and courage to defend that principled case for human liberty.


Best Wishes,


Jennifer Rubin's Empire Gluttony

By Chris Rossini

There are neocons, and then there are NEOCONS. Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin definitely falls into the latter category. Every time I read her relentless war essays, I'm flabbergasted that (A) enough people will read it to merit printing in a mainstream paper, and (B) that at the same time our side of peace and liberty are considered "fringe" and "insane".

What a bizarre set of circumstances...

Anyway, as if The Empire didn't have enough self-imposed problems to continue meddling in, whether in the Middle East, or Ukraine, Rubin adds one more to the mix....Hong Kong.

Here's Rubin:
Now what would have given the Chinese the impression they can run roughshod over Hong Kong?...Maybe the Chinese have watched Vladimir Putin invade and occupy a separate country, with no effective response from the U.S.
Not a stone on Earth may go unturned without the great Empire setting things straight.
Our experience with dictatorships over decades should remind us. When the U.S. is indifferent or timid on human rights, dictators become more repressive. And when the U.S. then does not react those dictators are emboldened. The result is more brazen aggression and restriction of civil society.
This is what a false belief in complete and unlimited power looks like. This is what world government looks like. Forget the UN and other toothless organizations. If someone burps in China, Rubin wants the U.S. on top of it.

This is Empire Gluttony.

Peter Schiff Calls for World Bank President Jim Yong Kim to "Fast an Extra Day" This Yom Kippur

Economic Atonement

By Peter Schiff

This Friday is Yom Kippur, the day when Jews around the world ask forgiveness for their transgressions from the year past. Rabbis remind the penitent to dwell on their sins of omission, in which they did nothing when a more thoughtful and proactive action was needed, and sins of commission, in which they actively participated in an unjust action. And while not all economists are Jewish, Gene Epstein the economics editor at Barron's, offered his thoughts on how this applies to the group. 

While Gene is certainly on to something, I think he could have gone much further in his finger pointing. Increasingly, economists are

Progressives Copying Tactics Once Used in Tax Revolt To Impose Tax Increases

By Ira Stoll

Copying the right’s success, the left is taking its tax agenda directly to the people. California’s Proposition 13 property tax cut and cap, passed in 1978, and followed by the similar Massachusetts Proposition 2 ½ property tax limit passed in 1980... Bypassing state legislatures, governors, and local politicians, the popular tax rebellions in California and Massachusetts turned tax questions into ballot initiatives to be decided by voters.

This November, voters will again have the chance to decide on taxes. But in a number of cases, the questions they will be voting on are not aimed at limiting taxes or at cutting them, but, instead, at increasing them. On the ballot:

•In Berkeley, Calif., voters will consider Measure D, which would impose a one cent a fluid-ounce tax on distributors of soda, energy drinks, and sweetened teas.

•In San Francisco, Calif., voters will consider Measure E, which would impose a two-cent an ounce tax on sugar-sweetened beverages.

•In Nevada, voters will consider Question 3, which would impose a two percent “margin tax” on Nevada businesses with revenues of more than $1 million a year. The proceeds of the tax would be dedicated to fund the state’s public schools.

•In Illinois, voters will consider a “millionaire tax increase for education”question, which tests support for an additional 3 percent tax on those with income of more than $1 million a year. As in the Nevada proposal, the tax revenues would be earmarked for public education.

Read the rest here.

The Richest People in the U.S.

Forbes is out with its latest The Forbes 400 list.

The net worth to get on the list this year is a record high $1.55 billion.

Bill Gates is the richest American for the 21st year in a row, with a net worth of $81 billion. Warren Buffett, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, occupies the number two spot. Larry Ellison is third.

Charles and David Koch are ranked number 4 and 5, each is worth, according to Forbes, $42 billion.

A newcomers to the list is Elizabeth Holmes with a net worth of $4.5 billion. She is the founder of the Henry Kissinger-related (SEE: The Very Creepy, Kissinger Connected, Theranos)


Where the Oldest and Youngest People Live Across the World

OMG The Latest Insane Scare: The Pull of Gravity is Decreasing Because of Climate Change

Lindsay Adams at Salon writes in a post titled, The unstoppable Antarctic ice melt is actually affecting gravity
There are plenty of reasons to fear the unstoppable collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet: extreme sea-level rise could spell doom for vast areas of cropland, for one. Oh, and the ice’s disappearance is decreasing the pull of gravity in the region. 
After leading with that scare, Adams pulls back, as if by, well, the force of gravity and discounts all the nonsense in her lead two paragraphs:
This is only a small shift in gravity — certainly not worth freaking out over as much as, say, up to ten feet of sea level rise in coming centuries. 
Coming centuries? Oh yeah.


WaPo Notices That Austrian School Economist Israel Kirzner is in the Running for the Nobel Prize

I have just noticed that The Volokh Conspiracy is blogging for WaPo, This must be a Jeff Bezos move.

VC takes note of the fact that Israel Kirzner has moved up in the ranks among the Nobel handicappers, as a potential Nobel Prize recipient. Unfortunately, VC points to a Pete Boettke comment on the justification for a Kirzner Nobel Prize.

I believe that Kirzner deserves the Nobel Prize and have been championing the idea for some time (SEE: Austrian School Economist Named as Possible Nobel Prize Recipient) but I don't think it is for many of the reasons Boettke lists. Boettke points to his 2005 piece on Kirzner where he writes:
 Several Nobel Prizes have been awarded to scholars who not only made fundamental contributions, but also generated a research program in economics and a community of scholars around them.  Kirzner is the signal most important individual in modern Austrian economics.  Obviously, Mises and Hayek and their shared research program forged in the 1930s and 40s provided the foundations of the research program, but it was Kirzner in the 1970s and 1980s that cultivate a new research community in Austrian economics and the theory of the competitive market process.  Murray Rothbard was a major galvanizing figure in the movement, but unfortunately Rothbard never taught at a PhD granting institution.  NYU in the 1980s emerged as a top 20 department in economics, and Kirzner developed in the mid 1970s an Austrian Economics Program.  PhD students and post-doctoral students all made their way through Kirzner's program: 
Don Lavoie, Sanford Ikeda, George Selgin are a few of the PhD students; Roger Garrison, Bruce Caldwell, Richard Langlois, Stephan Boehm, Uskali Maki, Frederic Sautet, and David Harper are a few of the post-doctoral students; and Mario Rizzo, Gerald O'Driscoll, Lawrence White and myself are faculty members who had the great opportunity to work with Kirzner at the leading center for advanced study in Austrian economics in the post-Mises period. 
Kirzner was instrumental in organizing major conferences that rallied intellectual interest in Austrian economics --- South Royalton is probably the most famous of these.  Book series were established --- most notably Mario Rizzo and Lawrence White's Foundations of the Market Economy with Routledge.  Dissertations were supervised --- most notably Don Lavoie's Rivarly and Central Planning (published later by Cambridge University Press in 1985) and George Selgin's The Theory of Free Banking (published later by Rowman and Littlefield in 1988).  Kirzner directed the Austrian Colloqium for two decades before handing it off to the able hands of Mario Rizzo. And he also developed and directed for years the summer seminar in Austrian economics which enabled scores of students to study with some of the leading figures in Austrian economics and be exposed to classic and contemporary scholarship in the school.
For these two reasons --- his own theoretical contribution and his work to cultive [sic] a community of research scholars --- Kirzner deserves the recognition in October that has to date eluded him.

These Boettke comments are difficult to understand on many accounts. First, I am aware of no Nobel Prize winners that have been awarded the Prize for the followings they have managed to create. It is always about theoretical discoveries and advancements.

But further, I do not consider Kirzner's efforts at developing scholars his strong suit. There is no one that I would rank on the same level as those who came out of the Mises seminars in Austria and New York. Mises teachings resulted in the development of Murray Rothbard, Friedrich Hayek and Kirzner, himself. I just don't see anyone around Kirzner that can be placed in the same category as Mises' stars.

Boettke, also mentions that New York University is a top 20 university in economics, but this has little or nothing to do with Kirzner. It's a very heavily mathematical department. I was quite shocked when in a discussion, with NYU PhD grad Bob Murphy, he told me how little Austrian economics is going on at NYU.

It is positively absurd to rank Kirzner in the development of scholars above Mises and Hayek, especially Mises.

This sounds like Boettke promoting his view that cranking out Ph D students is the key to advancing a science (and a key to gaining a Noble Prize?), regardless of the quality of the students. If any one, he should no that this is a poor litmus test to quality. He wrote a damn paper on the contributions of Henry Hazlitt, who never even acquired a Bachelor's degree. Here's Boettke on Hazlitt:
The evidence that I have tried to marshal to support my conjecture that Hazlitt occupied a unique position in mid-20th century intellectual life in the US as a public intellectual attempting to contribute to scientific economics consisted of not just pointing to his prominent position in the world of journalism both as a literary critic and more importantly as an economist but more importantly for our purposes to the attention his written work commanded in the specialized professional journals in economics and philosophy, as well as the active correspondence he engaged in throughout his life. The company Hazlitt kept was not just that of the New York intelligentsia, but included many of the leading minds in the social sciences during his lifetime.
Again, I am one of the strongest supporters of the idea that Kirzner should be awarded the Nobel Prize. I believe his advancements in entrepreneurial theory are extremely significant with very important policy implications. But it is misdirecting the focus of the important work of Kirzner by discussing his research programs and over hyping their value. They have nothing to do with Kirzner's importance as an economist.


Want to Be Stinking Rich? Major in Economics.

So says Jordan Weissmann:

Want to guarantee yourself a steady, well-paid career? Major in engineering. Want to take a shot at striking it rich? Then major in economics.
At least, that's how I'd sum up the findings of a new report and interactive tool from the Hamilton Project, which looks at how the value of a college degree changes depending on your major. This is already a pretty well-explored subject. But the Hamilton study is especially nifty, because instead of calculating what the "typical" college graduate can expect to make over the course of a career, like many researchers do, it shows a whole range of potential outcomes, from the fifth percentile of earners up to the 95th percentile. And of the best-paid graduates in all fields, economics majors rake in the most.
Read the rest here.

Monday, September 29, 2014

A Response to Walter Block on Rand Paul

By Robert Wenzel

Wow, I was half way through working on a point-by-point rebuttal of Walter Block's defense of Rand Paul (SEE: The Opening of Debate Between Robert Wenzel and Walter Block on Rand Paul), when something occurred that I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined.

Rand Paul delivered to me on a silver platter clear evidence of why he is dangerous for libertarianism.

Thus, I am going to halt my point-by-point rebuttal and take Rand's own words to show why Rand is a problem for libertarians.

I have written:
Indeed, I am not even convinced, that if pressed in the framework of political expediency, that there is any libertarian principle that Rand wouldn't sell out on. Rand is not his father, speaking truth to power. Rand is about seeking power....And therein lies the problem. Rand takes focus away from the hate of the state. Those who do not understand the nature of the state may see Rand as some sort of savior. He will not be. The only way the state dwindles is by more and more people, on at least a gut level, not trusting the state, and more and more people losing hope in the state. Rand, like Ronald Reagan did, drives an opposite point home. He brings false hope that somehow he will be the great state tamer, a kind of snake tamer that will tame the evil ones behind the curtains while allowing the state apparatus to be used and remain in tact. What he really does, in fact, is tame the radical revolutionary fires of individuals...
Do we have any evidence of Rand doing this? I believe there are many instances, but let's take a very recent example, the Silver Platter case, his smearing of Walter Block as a racist.

This is what Rand had to say about Walter, as reported in a major new profile piece on Rand in The New Yorker:
“I really was disappointed,” Rand said, his voice rising. There was a quote “from some guy who I’ve never met saying something about how slaves should have been happy singing and dancing because they got good food or something. Like, O.K., so now I’m in the New York Times and you’re associating me with some person who I don’t know.” He went on, “It’s one thing to go back and interview my college professor or groups that I actually was with. But I was never associated with any of these people. Ever. Only through being related to my dad, who had association with them.”
This is outrageous behavior on the part of Rand. I consider Walter deserving of the Nobel Prize. In 2012, I wrote:
Just a year ago, I would not have added Walter Block to this list [of those deserving the Nobel Prize], but the more and more I think about his book, Defending the Undefendable, and other writings where Block has written observations about extreme liberty and economics, I have begun to see the great service that Block has done. No one else has thought or written about liberty and economics from these perspectives.

One really has to think if he had not rushed to the defense of, from an economic and libertarian perspective, the prostitute, scab, slumlord, libeler, moneylender and others, would anyone else have, ever? It's a special kind of genius that can recognize such a gaping hole in theory and then on top of that make the defense of these "undefendables" look easy at a practical level. This is great thinking that makes an important contribution to society.

I believe that Friedrich Hayek meant every word when he wrote to Dr. Block about the book:
Looking through Defending the Undefendable made me feel that I was once more exposed to the shock therapy by which, more than fifty years ago, the late Ludwig von Mises converted me to a consistent free market position. … Some may find it too strong a medicine, but it will still do them good even if they hate it. A real understanding of economics demands that one disabuses oneself of many dear prejudices and illusions. Popular fallacies in economic frequently express themselves in unfounded prejudices against other occupations, and showing the falsity of these stereotypes you are doing a real services, although you will not make yourself more popular with the majority.
And how does Rand paint Walter Block? He distances himself from the man, though I am sure he has read Block (SEE: Rand Paul Sucker Punches Walter Block) and, in that clever wording style, Rand implies that the NYT characterization is correct, that Walter is a racist. And therein lies the problem with Rand, he will do anything to advance his steps towards the 8 Year Throne and behead anyone in the way. Walter Block was in the way.

Walter, who has toiled without end to advance the ideas of liberty, has been banished by Rand from public discussion. Anyone being introduced to libertarianism through Rand, who happens upon the major profile of Rand in The New Yorker, will now have the impression that Walter is a racist. In fact, the impression left will be that Walter is so evil that his name can not even be mentioned by Rand. That Walter does not even deserve a decent footnote in history, that he is an inconsequential person that need only be referred to as "some guy."

Although, I am not going to do a point-by-point rebuttal here of Walter's defense of Rand, in the wake of the Silver Platter delivery, I do want to comment on Walter's closing point in his defense of Rand Paul, he writes:
 Wenzel’s position reminds of Ayn Rand’s view in 1972. She supported Gerald Ford, God help us, so to speak. Who was also running in that year? Why, John Hospers, on the ticket of the libertarian party. Why didn’t Rand, for goodness sake, support Hospers? It is my understanding this was because of some minor differences she had with him over technical matters of aesthetics.  The distance between Hospers and Rand was miniscule, compared to the divergence between her and Gerald Ford, of all people. Similarly, the disagreements between Rand Paul and Robert Wenzel are as nothing, nothing I tells you, as those between Wenzel and Hillary Clinton. Hillary Clinton, for goodness sakes? Is nothing sacred? The political acumen of a man who would make such a gross error is not to be trusted.
This is a distortion of Ayn Rand's position. She broke with Hospers long before he was the Libertarian presidential candidate (SEE:  The Ayn Rand Cult by Jeff Walker).

According to Walker, it was a typical Rand break:
Inevitably, Rand fell out with Hospers, as she fell out with nearly all her close intellectual relationships, typically never again speaking to the erstwhile friend or that friend's associates.  The break with Hospers came after he had arranged for Rand to deliver a paper at a philosophy colloquium. The paper was 'Art and Sense of Life', which Hospers thought interesting and provocative. Unfortunately he was obliged by academic custom to voice at least some minor criticisms following her address. Rand exploded. 
It had nothing to do with a point of libertarian principle. Hospers was a minor player in the 1972 presidential campaign as will be the 2016 Libertarian candidate (Gary Johnson  again?). But further, Walter  has his facts wrong beyond the Rand-Hospers break(though he does end with an odd question mark).

There was never a choice between Hospers and Gerald Ford.

Ford did not run in 1972. Richard Nixon was re-elected that year. Rand supported Ford against Ronald Reagan in 1976 and 1980.  She knew that Reagan would be trouble and that's why she favored Ford.

From The Ayn Rand Letters, Volume IV, Number 2, November-December 1975:
Now I want to give you a brief indication of the kinds of issues that are coming up, on which you might want to know my views.
1. The Presidential election of 1976. I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan. I urge you not to work for or advocate his nomination, and not to vote for him. My reasons are as follows: Mr. Reagan is not a champion of capitalism, but a conservative in the worst sense of that word—i.e., an advocate of a mixed economy with government controls slanted in favor of business rather than labor (which, philosophically, is as untenable a position as one could choose—see Fred Kinnan in Atlas Shrugged, pp. 541-2). This description applies in various degrees to most Republican politicians, but most of them preserve some respect for the rights of the individual. Mr. Reagan does not: he opposes the right to abortion.
From Rand’s final public speech, “Sanction of the Victims,” delivered November 21, 1981:
In conclusion, let me touch briefly on another question often asked me: What do I think of President Reagan? The best answer to give would be: But I don’t think of him—and the more I see, the less I think. I did not vote for him (or for anyone else) and events seem to justify me. The appalling disgrace of his administration is his connection with the so-called “Moral Majority” and sundry other TV religionists, who are struggling—apparently with his approval—to take us back to the Middle Ages, via the unconstitutional union of religion and politics.
Boy was Ayn Rand right to oppose him. See Murray Rothbard’s "The Reagan Phenomenon," "Ronald Reagan, Warmonger," and "Ronald Reagan: An Autopsy."

The war promoter, statist, tax raiser Reagan has been hailed by the establishment as a hero that should be emulated. Meanwhile, Ford, during his stint as president is remembered as a bumbler.

That's who every anti-statist should want in  power, a person who will bring disgrace and/or bumbling to the office, or at least be easily hated, not some smoothy who will distort  the lines between liberty and interventionism, who will imply that Walter Block is a racist.

I stand by my original opinion, you just don't know when, where or how Rand Paul will abandon libertarian principle and muddy the water for those who are attempting to understand libertarianism.

Any other major presidential candidate Democrat or Republican will be much easier to hate, and it is very unclear in my mind that Rand Paul would be much different in the house of power at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue than the others. As the crazed warmonger John McCain put it:
“I’ve seen him [Rand] grow and I’ve seen him mature and I’ve seen him become more centrist," McCain told The New Yorker's Ryan Liaa.
"I know that if he were president or a nominee I could influence him, particularly some of his views and positions on national security. He trusts me particularly on the military side of things, so I could easily work with him. It wouldn’t be a problem.”
With any other candidate in power,  people may search out for alternatives and stumble on libertarianism, with the distortion man Rand in power, they will think that Rand is the libertarian option and that Walter Block is inconsequential to libertarianism. The perfect evil establishment set up.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of EconomicPolicyJournal.com and author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics

Farrakhan Escalating?

If he gives the signal, this might make for some dangerous streets.

Feminist Camille Paglia: Young Women Are Dumb About Potential Sexual Encounters

That is the only way I can interpret this:
Colleges should stick to academics and stop their infantilizing supervision of students’ dating lives, an authoritarian intrusion that borders on violation of civil liberties. Real crimes should be reported to the police, not to haphazard and ill-trained campus grievance committees.

Too many young middleclass women, raised far from the urban streets, seem to expect adult life to be an extension of their comfortable, overprotected homes. But the world remains a wilderness. The price of women’s modern freedoms is personal responsibility for vigilance and self-defense.
Not surprisingly, although she recognizes the cluelessness of young women, she fails to point out that this clulessness is largely the result of feminists providing these women with a false sense of empowerment which skews their picture of how to deal with the world. Further, Paglia fails to  make it clear that women simply need to recognize the Wenzel rule for solving the problem:
The Wenzel rule for women on how to protect themselves against "date rape": Don't be with a man alone in a room, if you don't plan to have sex with him.  Follow this rule and you will never be "date raped."

(ht Jay Stephenson)

Will You Soon Be Taxed to Use the Internet?

If Congress fails to act before December, new taxes could show up on your next internet bill, reports KTVU TV in San Francisco.

For the past 16 years, a moratorium has been in place keeping state and local governments from passing laws that would create taxes on internet use.

The moratorium was set to expire on Nov. 1, but Congress was able to extend the deadline until after the mid-term elections, to Dec. 11 as part of the stop-gap funding bill passed before they left town earlier this month.

You have to always be nervous about legislation that is re-secheduled for after the elections.


Look Who's Urging Restraint In Hong Kong?

By Chris Rossini

Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, had some words for Hong Kong:
“Over the weekend, Hong Kong authorities used pepper spray and teargas in an attempt to dispel thousands of peaceful protesters who filled the streets. I urge restraint by Hong Kong officials and remind them that the world is watching as these events unfold.”
Speaking of pepper spray....

UC-Davis - USA
And speaking of restraint....

Boston - USA
Feguson - USA

Hobbesian Ideas Get A Refresh

By Chris Rossini

It appears the ideas of Thomas Hobbes are getting a little refresh of late.

Obama gets the ball rolling:
“But over the past couple of years, during the chaos of the Syrian civil war, where essentially you have huge swaths of the country that are completely ungoverned, they were able to reconstitute themselves and take advantage of that chaos,” Obama said. “And so this became ground zero for jihadists around the world.”
Jason Ditz refutes at Antiwar.com:
That’s a dramatic understatement, of course. ISIS and other factions didn’t simply go to Syria because the war made parts of the nation “ungoverned.” Rather, the jihadists went to Syria to join a rebellion the Obama Administration was loudly backing and bankrolling.
Deputy Secretary of State, William Burns, spins the same yarn in a speech at The Washington Institute:
Obama and Burns turn the situation (that they helped to create) into a Hobbesian 'without a State, life is brutish and short' fable.

As Murray Rothbard pointed out in his wonderful essay "Anatomy of The State," one of the primary ways that The State preserves itself is to "instill fear of any alternative systems of rule or nonrule."

So take note Americans. When a State collapses, violent extremists take over the "ungoverned" land. Take your nose out of LewRockwell.com. There's nothing to see there. You don't want to live in "chaos".

There is no life without The State, and as The Great Obama has declared: "America leads. We are the indispensable nation. We have capacity no one else has." 

Rand Paul Sucker Punches Walter Block

Like I have said, Rand is far different from his father when it comes to standing up for libertarian principle. This is what Rand had to say about Walter Block, as reported in a major new profile piece on Rand in The New Yorker:
“I really was disappointed,” Rand said, his voice rising. There was a quote “from some guy who I’ve never met saying something about how slaves should have been happy singing and dancing because they got good food or something. Like, O.K., so now I’m in the New York Times and you’re associating me with some person who I don’t know.” He went on, “It’s one thing to go back and interview my college professor or groups that I actually was with. But I was never associated with any of these people. Ever. Only through being related to my dad, who had association with them.”
Note well: There is no attempt by Rand to call out the distortions in the NYT piece. It's all about political expediency with Rand. And if it means throwing Walter overboard, well so be it.

I guarantee you that Rand knows full well how important Walter has been to the libertarian movement especially given Walter's book, Defending the Undefendable. It is outrageous for Rand to refer to him as "some guy."

Further, I find it difficult to believe that Rand, having grown up in the Ron Paul household, did not read  Defending the Undefendable . But this is what Rand will do to libertarians to gain that seat of power in Washington D.C.

He knows full well what Walter was attempting to say about slavery and that NYT distorted it  (SEE: Distorting A Champion of Liberty: The Walter Block Controversy).


An Examination of Paul Krugman's Salary Versus That of An Average CEO

Mark Perry writes:

Paul Krugman recently accepted a position at an income inequality institute at the City University of New York (CUNY). According to a public records request (first reported by Gawker), Krugman will be paid $25,000 per month ($225,000 for a nine-month appointment) and will not have to teach any classes during his first year as a “Distinguished Scholar in the Graduate Center’s Luxembourg Income Study Center.” Starting in his second year, Professor Krugman will teach one graduate seminar per year. Krugman will be paid about twice the salary of the average full professor at CUNY of $116,364 (most recent contract data here, see chart above). Krugman will also earn in 9 months about 26% more than the average US CEO salary of $178,400.
I make these comparisons because of Krugman’s comments in his most recent NY Times op-ed “Our Invisible Rich“:
In fact, most Americans have no idea just how unequal our society has become. The latest piece of evidence to that effect is a survey asking people in various countries how much they thought top executives of major companies make relative to unskilled workers. In the United States the median respondent believed that chief executives make about 30 times as much as their employees, which was roughly true in the 1960s — but since then the gap has soared, so that today chief executives earn something like 300 times as much as ordinary workers.
So Americans have no idea how much the Masters of the Universe are paid, a finding very much in line with evidence that Americans vastly underestimate the concentration of wealth at the top.
...Isn’t it a little hypocritical and statistically misleading for a professor who makes 26% more than the average CEO and twice as much as the average professor at CUNY to be constantly lecturing us about income inequality and complaining about excessive CEO pay by comparing the highest paid 1/10 of 1% of US CEOs to the average of pay of all 132 million American workers?

No, America isn’t Communist. It’s only 70% Communist

By Simon Black

“The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win. Workers of the world, unite!”
Most people remember Karl Marx’s most potent points and phrases, and the mountain of corpses his disciples left behind, especially in the 20th century.
However, most forget or don’t even know the specific policies that Marx advocated.
Within his 1848 Communist Manifesto, Marx outlined a list of ten short-term demands. These, he thought, would be the precursor to the ideal stateless, classless communist society.
Ironically in today’s world, Marx’s demands look pretty much mainstream.
That is because nearly every single item on the list has been implemented to varying degrees in the United States.
Think that couldn’t be possible in the Land of the Free? Just take a look.
Topping Marx’s list is the abolition of private property.
True, private property exists, but only until the state wants to take it. With its powers of eminent domain, the government can and does confiscate people’s property when it wants for public use.
Your property isn’t unconditionally yours. Just think of property taxes, for example.
If it’s actually YOUR private property, then why would you need to pay tax on it? And why do they have the authority to take it from you if you don’t pay?
Likewise, while we haven’t seen the complete abolition of inheritance (another Marx demand), the government can take up to 40% of your estate when you die.
So ultimately your estate is not your own. You don’t get to control what happens to your wealth and possessions when you die. It’s just a matter of proportion.
Marx also demanded the centralization of transportation and communication. Check, and check.
Try broadcasting over the airwaves in the Land of the Free without a license and special permission.
Practically the entire electromagnetic spectrum is tightly controlled by the state, centralized by a handful of government agencies.
Same with the network of roads and highways. Because, after all, without government, who would build the roads…
Another point of Marx is state-guided agricultural production andcombination of agriculture and manufacturing.
And the Land of the Free does not disappoint. Though its activities may not be as prominent in the news, the US Department of Agriculture is easily one of the busiest government departments.
With a budget of $146 billion a year, and much more for subsidies, USDA tirelessly works to dictate every major and miniscule activity in the sector.
Next on the list, is equal liability of all to labor. If you have at any point wondered, as I have, why politicians are always pushing jobs for the sake of jobs, rather than value and wealth creation—now you know why.
Between minimum wage laws and the constant stream of legislation that promises jobs for all, it is clear that politicians have wholly internalized this Marxian ideal.
Now, you might think that this is just a fluke, just a coincidence that some US policies resemble what’s on Marx’s list of demands.
But then you see these demands, which have not only been fully implemented in the US already, but are thoroughly entrenched in the national psyche:
First, there’s free education for all children, to enable the uniformity of thought.Check.
Then there’s a heavy progressive income tax. Yep, I’m pretty sure you’re familiar with this one, which has actually become so mainstream, that to have any systemother than this would be considered revolutionary. Check.
Third, is the confiscation of the property of emigrants (expatriates) and rebels.
Between the IRS bullying of political opposition groups and the imposition of exit taxes for those that renounce their citizenship, the United States is firmly set up to discourage dissent and escape. Check.
And last but not least, the centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bankCheck. 
Remember, Karl Marx thought central banking was a great idea—the same guy who thought that individual success and private property were evil.
Think about that the next time the Federal Reserve comes up with a plan to help businesses and fix the economy.
So now you know, America isn't communist. It's only about 70% communist. No reason to worry.

Simon Black is Senor Editor  at SovereignMan.com

How To Choose What To Do With Your Life In One Simple Chart

If Rand Paul Becomes President...

keep this in mind.

Josh Mitteldorf at OpEdNews.com writes:
Andrew Kreig, author of Presidential Puppetry and occasional OEN contributor, makes a case that the JFK assassination fundamentally changed American politics. Presidents from LBJ through Obama have understood that they serve at the pleasure of the CIA, and demands placed on them have been increasingly audacious and destructive. Kreig goes further to assert that every recent presidential candidate (both parties) has been pre-vetted, trained and promoted by the CIA.
Does it appear that Rand has any connections to those that control presidents?

Well there is this oddity, Rand belongs to a secret society (SEE: The Tale of Aqua Buddha Worship Reemerges; Rand Paul as a NoZerman) that counts among its limited number of outside members:

John Dean, who is up to his eyeballs in Watergate.

Dan Rather, who gave a distorted report (before the Zagruder film emerged publicly) of the direction that JFK's head jerked during the assassination.

Leon Jaworski, who was the special prosecutor during the Watergate Scandal, who subpoenaed the tapes that ultimately forced Richard Nixon out of office.

Kenneth Starr, who was an  independent counsel while Bill Clinton was president. He filed the Starr Report, which alleged that Bill Clinton had lied about existence of an affair with Monica Lewinsky, during a sworn deposition. The allegation opened the door for the impeachment of Bill Clinton and the five-year suspension of Clinton’s law license.

And this guy is also a member:

George W. Bush.

There is no smoking gun here, there never is with these guys, though. Just planted guns.


BREAKING John McCain Says He Would Support Rand Paul for President

Crazed neocon war monger John McCain told The New Yorker that he would support Rand Paul for president if Rand is the Republican nominee.

“I’ve seen him grow and I’ve seen him mature and I’ve seen him become more centrist," McCain told The New Yorker's Ryan Liaa.

"I know that if he were president or a nominee I could influence him, particularly some of his views and positions on national security. He trusts me particularly on the military side of things, so I could easily work with him. It wouldn’t be a problem.”


Apparently Rand has flipped on McCain (or vice versa). The New Yorker reporter also informs:
Last week, I talked to John McCain again, and he was in a less generous mood. In an interview with the Daily Beast on September 17th, Rand Paul, apparently referring to a widely discredited Internet conspiracy theory, said that McCain had met with ISIS. “They had a doctored picture of me with Baghdadi!” McCain said, speaking of the leader of ISIS: “It is disappointing that he would pick up and legitimatize what was clearly information that was being pushed by people who are enemies of the United States.” McCain now dismissed Rand’s hawkish rhetoric aboutISIS: “He said we have to destroy ISIS, and yet he has not described a strategy in order to achieve that goal.”

PRDEICTION: They will kiss and make up.


NUTSO California Adopts 'Yes Means Yes' Sex-Assault Rule

ABC News reports:
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Sunday that he has signed a bill that makes California the first in the nation to define when "yes means yes" and adopt requirements for colleges to follow when investigating sexual assault reports.

State lawmakers last month approved SB967 by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, as states and universities across the U.S. are under pressure to change how they handle rape allegations. Campus sexual assault victims and women's advocacy groups delivered petitions to Brown's office on Sept. 16 urging him to sign the bill.

De Leon has said the legislation will begin a paradigm shift in how college campuses in California prevent and investigate sexual assaults. Rather than using the refrain "no means no," the definition of consent under the bill requires "an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity."
 "Every student deserves a learning environment that is safe and healthy," De Leon said in a statement Sunday night. "The State of California will not allow schools to sweep rape cases under the rug. We've shifted the conversation regarding sexual assault to one of prevention, justice, and healing."...Lawmakers say consent can be nonverbal, and universities with similar policies have outlined examples as a nod of the head or moving in closer to the person.
This, of course, does not change a rape charge between a man and woman who are voluntarily together alone as being anything but "he said, she said." A jury should find anyone charged with rape innocent, when it is only a "he said, she said" case between acquaintances,because there is absoulutely no way to know exactly what went on between closed doors between to people who know each other.

Here's the Wenzel rule for women on how to protect themselves against "date rape": Don't be with a man alone in a room, if you don't plan to have sex with him.  Follow this rule and you will never be "date raped."


Now This Is Something Feminists Should Bitch About

The US has more women in prison than China, India & Russia combined.

UPDATE: The Anarchist Kid on 'Madame Secretary' is He Influenced by LewRockwell.com?

I have already commented on the new television show 'Madam Secretary' (See: 'Madam Secretary': Hints of Anarchism and Conspiracy Theory) and the kid who is approximately 14 years old and the son of the the Secretary of State, in the series.

I am still uncertain about the series over all, but episode 2, which aired last night, continues to suggest that the short scenes with the son, Jason McCord (played by Evan Roe), in them, are going to be fun scenes for libertarians to look forward to.

In the episode,  an older daughter of the Secretary of State decides to quit college. This results in a scene where the parents show great concern about this turn of events, but where the scene then includes the 14-year old anarchist son proclaiming about his sister, the way any 14-year old reader of LewRockwell.com might proclaim, "I applaud her leaving a corrupt system."


China Shuts Down Instagram to Prevent Mainlanders From Seeing Hong Kong Protests

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Top Ten EPJ Reader Country Locations


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