Monday, June 30, 2014

Bill Clinton's Undisclosed Speaking Fees

PEU Report emails:
I found two speeches from 2012 Bill failed to disclose.

One was The Carlyle Group annual investor meeting and the other Michael Milken's Global Institute.  They don't fit the narrative for Hillary's "common lady" Presidential run.

Do You Pass the Israel Test?

Best selling author George Gilder is teaching a course at Prager University where he argues that the Jews of Israel are good for the Arabs.

I would argue that Jews tend to indeed be an industrious lot, so that point must be given to Gilder. Further, any businessman of any ethnic background, who is successful, is generally raising the standard of living of a community. But Gilder completely ignores a very big part of the very complex Israeli–Palestinian conflict, which is the political art, rather than business. And it includes Israeli occupation of Arab land. Thus, when we are talking about the  Israeli–Palestinian conflict, we are talking about government coercion and violence and not freedom and business successes. Gilder fails to take this into account in his so-called test. The governments here are the problem, not lack of appreciation of Jewish businessman. People tend to transact with other groups, if there is value in a transaction, even if they tend not to like the group as a whole. That is all that is needed for a prosperous economy. Governments are the ones that get in the way.

Karl Marx as Religious Eschatologist

The below is reprinted in light of the Pope's recent comments on Communism and Christianity. The essay originally appeared at

By Murray Rothbard

Marx as Millennial Communist
The key to the intricate and massive system of thought created by Karl Marx is at bottom a simple one: Karl Marx was a communist.
A seemingly trite and banal statement set alongside Marxism's myriad of jargon-ridden concepts in philosophy, economics, and culture, yet Marx's devotion to communism was his crucial focus, far more central than the class struggle, the dialectic, the theory of surplus value, and all the rest.
Communism was the great goal, the vision, the desideratum, the ultimate end that would make the sufferings of mankind throughout history worthwhile. History was the history of suffering, of class struggle, of the exploitation of man by man. In the same way as the return of the Messiah, in Christian theology, will

Rand Paul Hires Former Heman Cain Operative

Rand Paul just named former Republican Party of Iowa Chairman, Steve Grubbs, as Chief Strategist of his Iowa RANDPAC operation.

Grubbs is a typical political opportunist. He worked for Herman Cain during Cain's presidential bid. At the time, he said:
We tried a community organizer as president, maybe it's time we put a CEO in the White House. I've had the good fortune to work with Bob Dole, Steve Forbes and Tommy Thompson and I can honestly say that I've never quite seen the groundswell of excitement that I'm seeing for Herman Cain.
Grubbs was ousted as Iowa chair by the anti-Ron Paul forces. Bottom line, Grubbs played a very sloppy hand in Iowa and RANDPAC is bailing him out.

The Business Cycle, RIP?

Robert Samuelson at WaPo writes:
The business cycle, RIP?...

The Great Recession has inflicted enduring economic damage. Business investment has lagged; many workers have dropped out of the labor force. By early 2014, calculates the BIS, U.S. gross domestic product — the economy’s output — was 13 percent below where it would have been if pre-crisis growth trends had continued. In Britain, the gap was 19 percent; in France, 12 percent; even Germany had a shortfall, 3 percent. 
Conventional business-cycle analysis didn’t anticipate these steep losses. It also missed other features of the post-crisis economy. Unlike earlier recessions, countercyclical policies — especially low interest rates by the Fed and other government central banks — have only modestly helped recovery. Low rates fail if borrowers don’t want to borrow or lenders don’t want to lend...  The many failures of economics before, during and after the financial crisis have left an intellectual vacuum. There’s a scramble for policy ideas.

There is nothing about the Great Recession that could not be explained by Austrian School business cycle theory.

I just sent a copy of The Fed Flunks, which includes a chapter detailing my real time warnings about the developing financial crisis of 2008, and also a copy of Austrian School Business Cycle Theory by Murray Rothbard, which explains the theory I used to forecast the 2008 financial crisis. In the book, Rothbard also discusses the strengths of Austrian theory versus other business cycle theories, and discusses the problems with government actions that attempt to resolve a business cycle crisis.

No one who fully understands Austrian business cycle theory could observe the current Fed money printing activities, and its impact on the economy, and declare the business cycle or correct business cycle theory dead.


"A Wonderfully Savage Critique of GMU Economist Tyler Cowen"

Joe Salerno writes:
Forbes’ columnist John Tamny executes an inspired and wonderfully savage critique of GMU economist Tyler Cowen’s dotty blog post touting the positive effects of war on economic growth.  Tamny takes his cue from Henry Hazlitt and writes in plain and muscular language.  Here is a juicy sampler that should whet your appetite for the full meal:

Read the rest here.

WARNING Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) Goes Into Effect Tomorrow

By Robert Wenzel

The Empire will expand its financial monitoring of its subjects just days before July 4th.

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act  goes into effect tomorrow. The objective of FATCA is the reporting of foreign financial assets held by U.S. citizens.

FATCA targets tax non-compliance by U.S. taxpayers with foreign accounts.

FATCA focuses on the reporting by foreign financial institutions about financial accounts held by U.S. taxpayers or foreign entities in which U.S. taxpayers hold a substantial ownership interest.

A senior Treasury official, during a briefing that occurred today, said that there are 90 foreign jurisdictions that will comply with FACTA and that over 80,000 financial institutions are registered with the IRS and will provide data to the IRS. It is anticipated that the IRS will start getting names of US account holders with foreign accounts in 2015.

Russia has not agreed to FACTA and, according to the Treasury official, negotiations with Russia have been suspended.

It is noteworthy that at this time FACTA is not a reciprocal agreement, that is, the U.S. will not provide to foreign countries the names of  foreign country citizens who hold accounts in the U.S.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher of and author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank.

Florida Judge Tosses George Zimmerman’s Defamation Suit Against NBC

Judge Debra S. Nelson
“There exists absolutely no clear and convincing evidence that defendants knew that the information published was false at the time it was published, or recklessly disregarded the truth or falsity of those statements,” wrote Judge Debra S. Nelson. She also ruled that against contentions in Zimmerman’s complaint that he suffered emotional distress as a result of the NBC News reports.

WaPo provides the background of the NBC distortions that the judge somehow failed to notice:
At issue in the case were several broadcasts from NBC News that edited the 911 call that Zimmerman had made not long before shooting Trayvon Martin on the night of Feb. 26, 2012 in a subdivision in Sanford, Florida. As a result of edits by NBC News, Zimmerman sounded as if he had volunteered that Martin is black. The full tape reveals that he was asked by the dispatcher whether the person he was following was “white, black or Hispanic?” Zimmerman’s complaint contends that NBC News knowingly misportrayed Zimmerman...

Home Sales Prices Have Averaged an Increase of $20,000 Since May 2013

ZipRealty, Inc. has released a new report showing that median home sales prices in the 24 metros surveyed by Zip accelerated to 7.9% year-over-year growth in May 2014, about 2 percentage points stronger than the 6.1% year-over-year growth seen in April 2014.

Across the metros analyzed by ZipRealty, the median sales price was $290,000 at the end of May 2014, a $20,000 increase since May 2013.

The largest year-over-year increases in median home sales for May 2014 were:

Las Vegas, up 16%
Sacramento, up 15%
Chicago, up 14%
Austin, up 12%
Orlando and Los Angeles, both up 11%

“Home price trends continue to be closely tied to inventory levels, and part of the price strength in May almost certainly reflects tighter inventory this month,” said ZipRealty CEO Lanny Baker. After rising 1% year-over-year in April 2014, for sale housing inventory fell to (5%) below 2013 levels in May 2014. The biggest declines in inventory occurred in the leading Texas metros, with the number of homes for sale in Houston down (16%) year-over-year, Dallas down (12%) and Austin down (6%). Sizeable inventory declines also occurred in Boston (13%) and Denver (5%) in May 2014.

Ulysses S. Grant Expelled Jews From Their Homes During The Civil War

Another neocon hero is revealed to be a hater of free trade and,on top of that, anti-Semitic .

I just came across this interesting fact. According to NYT , the book, When General Grant Expelled the Jews, reports that Ulysses S. Grant issued General Order No. 11 on December 17, 1862, which evicted Jews from certain parts of the country based on Grant’s belief that they were running a black market cotton trade between the North and the South. In part, the order read, “The Jews, as a class violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department and also department orders, are hereby expelled from this department [various areas, including parts of Kentucky] within 24 hours from the receipt of this order.”

From the NYT review:
[T]he incontrovertible part of the story is that the perception of profiteering in Paducah, Ky., and his tendency to use the words “profiteer” and “Jew” interchangeably, provoked a written outburst from Grant, commander of the Territory of the Department of the Tennessee, which included Paducah.
As a result of an outcry from Jews that included stuff like this:
 Isaac Leeser, editor of The Occident, a Jewish publication: “Why are tears shed for the sufferings of the African in his bondage, by which his moral condition has been immensely improved, in spite of all that may be alleged to the contrary, whereas for the Hebrews every one has words of contempt or acts of violence?”

Lincoln  ordered Grant to revoke the order.

What They Say About "Austrian School Business Cycle Theory"

Mark J. McGrath emails:
Just finished your Rothbard book on ABCT. Excellent work, great slice of Rothbard that puts everything in easily understandable language. A job well done!
Also picked up copy or your "Fed Flunks" speech. Will be picking up more copies to give to colleagues. Everyone needs to read it!

Nick Badalamenti emails:
Just received the ASBCT book...It's very nicely put together, I probably won't get to reading it until my trip to SoCal in a couple of weeks(on the plane!), because I'm swamped here at work and recovering from flu/cold...but I wanted to drop you a note and let you know it's well done in terms of manufacture, I look forward to reading it.
Order Austrian School Business Theory by Murray Rothbard, here:

Very Cool: A Typical Day for Southwest Airlines

On average, there’s a Southwest jet taking off every 24 seconds, day after day, without pause.

To get a sense of scale, created a video showing a typical day in the Southwest network.

How Janet Yellen Ruined the Neighborhood (Even FBI Director Mueller Wasn't as Bad)

Good for the Hillandale Board and Covenant Committee. It is great when the private sector uses the government court system to harass evil government employees, and Yellen and her money printing is among the worst.

WSJ explains:
In the Georgetown gated community of Hillandale, residents live in secluded calm governed by some 50 pages of rules banning fences, motorcycles, certain paint colors, tree species and excess dogs and cats (no more than two total per household).

"People come to live in Hillandale because of the quality of our residential community, and that is something that we need to maintain," says resident Sallie Forman.

Then one of the most powerful economic policy makers in the world moved in and, in the words of some here, ruined the neighborhood.

As neighbors tell it, earlier this year, the security detail protecting new Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen barreled through the cul-de-sac where she lives in oversize vans loaded with guns, cameras and takeout pizza. It established an "armed camp" next door to Ms. Forman's townhome, according to a written bill of grievances presented by concerned neighbors deeming the uniformed police presence "uncomfortable for residents of various religious persuasions," such as Quakers.

Security trucks, it continued, "weighing approximately 7,000 pounds each" sit idling on the street for "approximately 22 minutes daily" at each Yellen morning pickup. When Ms. Yellen leaves her home, a second truck then "speedily pulls out of the security driveway…all the while spilling fluid onto the street, which has now left a permanent stain." Hillandale bylaws expressly prohibit car fluid spills in the common areas.

Neighbors seem especially put off by the aesthetics of the security detail, in particular their blue uniforms and—in the words of one resident—"doughnut bellies."...

T[F]ormer Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller, a Hillandale resident who has been a guest at neighborhood block parties.

After Ms. Yellen became the nation's top banker, her security detail moved into a rented townhome down the block from hers. They mounted on the roof a camera that looked like a streetlight on an interstate and proceeded to monitor—and disgust—the neighbors.

" Bob Mueller, who you would think would have a much more dangerous job dealing with terrorists all over the world, had people who were businesslike, didn't socialize and waited for him outside the gate," says one unhappy resident, sitting in a living room decorated in chintz, silk topiary and family silver. "Now we have this group, overweight, wearing the most ridiculous blue uniforms with the most ridiculous blue caps, and they have guns that are visible." She declined to be named because she is worried about federal-government reprisals.

Marx 'Did Not Invent Anything' says Pope Francis

Pope Francis has accused communism of stealing its ideas from Christianity, and said its founding thinker Karl Marx "did not invent anything," reports AFP News.

Commenting on suggestions that his world view is not dissimilar to communist ideology, the Pope responded that it was the church that got there first.

"The communists have stolen our flag. The flag of the poor is Christian. The poor are at the heart of the Gospel," he said in an interview published on Sunday.

He cited the Beatitudes, the opening verses of the Sermon on the Mount, as an example of where Christianity had influenced communism.

"The communists say that all this is communism. Yeah, right, twenty centuries later. So one can say to them: 'but then you are Christian,'" the Pope said while laughing, according to the interview in Rome daily Il Messaggero.

The biggest problem here is that the Pope still sees an important connection between communism and Christianity, when there isn't one, regardless of who came first with the central planning ideas. That said, the Pope also has his facts wrong about which came first.

Peter Boettke Responds to My Comment on 'Coordination Problem'

Peter Boettke emails in reference to my post, Peter Boettke and the Coining of Technical Economic Vocabulary:


Gerald O'Driscoll wrote a book --- the first such book -- on Hayek's ideas back in the 1970s, it is entitled Economics as a Coordination Problem.

The point being, that economic theory must explain the complex coordination of plans in an economic system such that even a common pencil can be produced.  The idea is that coordination is the problem, but it is the entrepreneurial activity of individuals within the market place that provides the solution.

We have said this repeatedly when folks have asked the question such as you.  Why you would think that coordination implies planning is beyond me.  The coordination of plans must occur if an economic system is going to work, the question is who does this coordination --- the planning by the state is one answer that folks like you and I reject for various incentive and calculation issues; the "planning" by market actors is a solution that you and I accept.

Confusion occurs in science when folks use the same words to mean different things and different words to mean the same thing.  Greg Ransom is wrong to challenge the received vocabulary of a scientific discipline (the term "rent" has been used since at least Ricardo).  And the same is true with respect to the term coordination --- it is a term used by classical economists, early neoclassical economists (including the Austrian economists), and modern economists.

Anyway, let me make this clear once more --- I do not believe coordination implies planning, I believe it is one of the central puzzles of economics to explain how the production plans of some come to mesh with the consumption demands of others.  That coordination of economic activity through time is brought about by the individual purposive action market participants. In short, as I have said before, coordination is the puzzle, entrepreneurship is the solution.

All the best,


Peter Boettke
BB&T Professor for the Study of Capitalism at the Mercatus Center
University Professor of Economics & Philosophy
Department of Economics
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22032


Is Hillary Inevitable?

By Patrick Buchanan

Looking back over the last century there were two great coalition builders in presidential politics: FDR and Richard Nixon.

Franklin Roosevelt broke the Lincoln lock on the presidency that had given Republicans the White House in 56 of the previous 72 years. From 1932 to 1964, FDR's party would win seven of nine elections.

Nixon broke through in '68 and built the New Majority that gave the GOP the White House for 20 of the next 24 years.

The Nixon-Reagan coalition, however, has aged and atrophied.

In five of the last six presidential elections, the Democratic nominee won the popular vote. And no fewer than 18 states, including four of the most populous — California, Illinois, Pennsylvania and New York — have gone Democratic in all six of those elections.

Also, four states crucial to victory and once regarded as reliably Republican — Florida, Ohio, Virginia and Colorado — have turned purple.

The GOP is also facing a demographic crisis. White folks, who provide almost 90 percent of Republican votes in presidential years, are steadily shrinking as a share of the electorate.

Is Hillary thus inevitable?

With the cash she can raise and the support of the sisterhood, she may be able to clear the field in the run for the nomination. And in a general election it is hard to see which Republican today could take 270 electoral votes from her.

Yet the lady has vulnerabilities. If elected, Hillary would be

TIME MAGAZINE: Local Police Departments are Becoming Excessively Militarized

Wow, TIME gets it.

Josh Sanburn writes for TIME:
Forget Officer Friendly. A new report finds that local police departments are becoming excessively militarized, equipped with weapons, uniforms and even vehicles formerly used by the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan...

As the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have wound down, police departments have been obtaining military equipment, vehicles and uniforms that have flowed directly from the Department of Defense. According to a new report by the ACLU, the federal government has funneled $4.3 billion of military property to law enforcement agencies since the late 1990s, including $450 million worth in 2013. Five hundred law enforcement agencies have received Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, built to withstand bomb blasts. More than 15,000 items of military protective equipment and “battle dress uniforms,” or fatigues worn by the U.S. Army, have been transferred. The report includes details of police agencies in towns like North Little Rock, Ark., (pop: 62,000), which has 34 automatic and semi-automatic rifles, a Mamba tactical vehicle and two MARCbots, which are armed robots designed for use in Afghanistan.

“More Americans are becoming aware of the militarization of policing, but the use of paramilitary tactics to fight the war on drugs has been going on for a very long time,” says the ACLU’s Kara Dansky.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Iowa GOP Decapitates Rand Paul People

The Iowa GOP central committee voted Saturday to fire the state party chairman and replace him with a fixture of the establishment, reports Politico.

Danny Carroll, removed on a 14-2 no confidence vote, will be replaced by Jeff Kaufmann, formerly the Speaker Pro Tem of the state House.

More from Politico:
The bloodless coup was widely expected after forces loyal to Gov. Terry Branstad officially seized control of the party’s governing body from close allies of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) at a state convention earlier this month. The former chairman, A.J. Spiker, stepped down this spring and became a senior adviser to RAND PAC. Carroll is a former lobbyist for the evangelical Family Leader and supported Branstad’s primary challenger in 2010.
Chad Olsen, who stepped down as the party’s executive director in May 2012 after Paul’s forces took control, will get his old job back. Cody Hoefert, from conservative northwest Iowa, replaces the co-chair, who resigned before the meeting.

Perhaps Someday We Can All Be Starving Billionaires

By Chris Rossini

Hyper-inflation can make us all billionaires.

(h/t @Sebastian_JKT)

Chris Rossini is author of Set Money Free: What Every American Needs To Know About The Federal Reserve. Follow @chrisrossini on Twitter.

Obamacare Premiums Are Going Up

Insurers are starting to calculate what to charge for health plans in 2015, reports BusinessWeek. What we know so far.

How the Chicago Police Department Cheats Its Way to a Lower Murder Rate

It's always dangerous to put too much value into government statistics. Even when it comes to murders, which you would think would be difficult to hide, the numbers can be manipulated.

Matthew Yglesias writes:
The big problem with making murders disappear (apart from it being illegal and immoral) is that, compared to other crimes, it's much more likely that you'll be caught. For example, Patrick Walker was found injured and unresponsive in a crashed automobile, taken to a hospital where he died, then during an autopsy they found a gunshot wound in his head and a bullet casing in the back seat of the car. Owing to the fact that he was clearly shot and killed, this was filed on his death certificate as a murder. But the Chicago Police Department has classified the case as a death investigation, making it disappear from their stats.
Chicago Magazine reports:
 On October 28, a pathologist ruled the death of Tiara Groves a homicide by “unspecified means.” This rare ruling means yes, somebody had killed Groves, but the pathologist couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause of death.
Given the finding of homicide—and the corroborating evidence at the crime scene—the Chicago Police Department should have counted Groves’s death as a murder. And it did. Until December 18. On that day, the police report indicates, a lieutenant overseeing the Groves case reclassified the homicide investigation as a noncriminal death investigation. In his writeup, he cited the medical examiner’s “inability to determine a cause of death.”
That lieutenant was Denis Walsh—the same cop who had played a crucial role in the alleged cover-up in the 2004 killing of David Koschman, the 21-year-old who died after being punched by a nephew of former mayor Richard M. Daley. Walsh allegedly took the Koschman file home. For years, police officials said that it was lost. After theSun-Times reported it missing, the file mysteriously reappeared.
But back to Tiara Groves. With the stroke of a computer key, she was airbrushed out of Chicago’s homicide statistics.
The change stunned officers. Current and former veteran detectives who reviewed the Groves case at Chicago’s request were just as incredulous. Says a retired high-level detective, “How can you be tied to a chair and gagged, with no clothes on, and that’s a [noncriminal] death investigation?” (He, like most of the nearly 40 police sources interviewed for this story, declined to be identified by name, citing fears of disciplinary action or other retribution.)
Was it just a coincidence, some wondered, that the reclassification occurred less than two weeks before the end of the year, when the city of Chicago’s final homicide numbers for 2013 would be tallied? “They essentially wiped away one of the murders in the city, which is crazy,” says a police insider. “But that’s the kind of shit that’s going on.”
For the case of Tiara Groves is not an isolated one. Chicago conducted a 12-month examination of the Chicago Police Department’s crime statistics going back several years, poring through public and internal police records and interviewing crime victims, criminologists, and police sources of various ranks. We identified 10 people, including Groves, who were beaten, burned, suffocated, or shot to death in 2013 and whose cases were reclassified as death investigations, downgraded to more minor crimes, or even closed as noncriminal incidents—all for illogical or, at best, unclear reasons.

The Women Problems of the Billionaires

These guys have serious problems controlling their women.

Of course, Donald Sterling has trouble with V.  Stivano.

Rupert Murdoch caught his ex-wife Wendi Deng shacking up with Tony Blair.

A George Soros ex-girlfriend is suing him.

And Sumner Redstone, the largest shareholder in CBS and Viacom is the latest with woman problems. NyPo reports:
Sumner Redstone’s live-in girlfriend, Sydney Holland, is a control freak...
Redstone, the majority owner of CBS and Viacom, is being dragged into a bitter court battle between Holland and his former protegee Heather Naylor.
Holland, 43, is suing Naylor, 33, for $1 million — claiming the star of the short-lived MTV show “The Electric Barbarellas” stole her laptop computer containing “private and confidential” photographs.
That usually means X-rated.
Naylor countersued, charging that Holland used her influence, as she took control of Redstone’s life, to get the show canceled.
Redstone is 91 and worth $6.2 billion.
edstone reportedly pushed MTV execs to air the show — about a girl group described as a cross between the Pussycat Dolls and the Spice Girls, but raunchier — and gave Naylor $157,000 worth of Viacom stock.
In motions filed Friday, Naylor’s pit bull lawyer Neville Johnson states, “Because Holland is a beneficiary under Redstone’s will, she did not like that Redstone was spending his time and his resources with a free thinker like Naylor.”
Court papers state that “Holland grew jealous of Naylor’s relationship with Redstone and made efforts to cut off all ties between Redstone and Naylor so that Holland could control Redstone for her own economic advantage.”
Holland allegedly had all the phone numbers changed so Naylor couldn’t reach Redstone — and all of Naylor’s contacts removed from Redstone’s database so that he couldn’t reach her, a source familiar with the case told me.
These boys need to take some lessons from J. Paul Getty, once the world's richest man, who kept a dozen, or so, women floating around him. One for his cultural tastes, one for his intellectual pursuits etc.. In his will he left them only on average about $500,000 each. From PEOPLE:
 After his death last month at the age of 83, it was disclosed that a dozen women he had loved, was charmed by or did business with would share in his multimillion-dollar estate...The largest personal bequest—5,000 shares of Getty oil stock valued at $826,500 and $1,167 a month for life—went to Penelope Ann Kitson, 53, an English interior decorator and mother of three. Recently divorced from her third husband, industrialist Patrick De Laszlo, tall, elegant Penelope Kitson was constantly at Getty's side during his final weeks...

Penelope's closest rival, in terms of inheritance, is Mary Teissier, 50, a Russian-born French interior decorator and art expert. She was willed 2,500 shares valued at $413,250 plus $750 a month for life. "The last few years," she says of Getty, "were very close, very sweet and very generous. Don't try to make a romance out of that. He was as old as my father!" ...

Getty left 1,000 shares worth $165,000 to widowed Lady Ursula d'Abo, 59, a celebrated prewar society beauty he had known 22 years. She shared his interest in gardening and served as a sometime hostess at Getty's parties where guests ranged from French esthetes to Oklahoma wildcatters.

Rosabella Burch, 42, a Nicaraguan widow who was one of Getty's companions for the last 15 years of his life, received $82,625 in stock....

Oddly enough, only one of Getty's five ex-wives was mentioned in his will: Louise Lynch Getty of Santa Monica, once a professional singer, who received $55,000 per year for life.

He bestowed lesser amounts on an astonishing variety of women about whom little is known: Countess Marianne von Alvensleben, 54, of Düsseldorf, West Germany; Karin Mannhardt (another German); Hildegard Kuhn, 69, of West Berlin; Gloria Bigelow of Los Angeles; Mary Maginnis of Malibu and Belene Clifford of West Covina.
Getty also claimed that Aristotle Onassis knew how to deal with difficult women. According to Getty, Ted Kennedy was severely outmatched by Onassis when he met with Onassis to hammer out the financial arrangements for Jackie's marriage to him.

Getty reported that, among other things, in his will Onasis left half of his yacht to Jackie and the other half to his daughter. The yacht required a massive staff for upkeep. It was a tremendous financial drain that Jackie couldn't do anything about, other than pay the bills, because of her only half ownership. Getty claimed that Onassis knew exactly what a financial knot he was leaving Jackie in when he negotiated with Ted.

As best I can tell, it seems that as far as modern day tycoons, Warren Buffett is closest to handling women in the manner Getty did. He is married but seems to have a number of other women floating around his place---and he doesn't seem to have the women problems that Murdoch, Sterling et al., have come up against.


Lunch with Clive Palmer

FT sat down for lunch with Australian mining magnate Clive Palmer and we learn:
 [About] his plan to build Titanic II, a life-size replica of the doomed liner that would run transatlantic cruises for tourists...“Everywhere it goes, people will want to see it,” he assures me. “When it arrives at ports, we’ll charge $100 for a tour and a photo.”
What he thinks about Australia's parliament:
“Parliament”, he says, “is like having lots of people on one side that know nothing. They are opposed by a lot of other people on the other side who also know nothing. They are all advised by a lot of people, who know absolutely nothing – it’s a fine art, parliament,” he says with a grin as he scans the room for any MPs within earshot.
And his take on Rupert Murdoch:
Last year he threatened to sue one of Rupert Murdoch’s titles for defamation over articles alleging Palmer exaggerated his wealth and qualifications. “Rupert doesn’t like me,” says Palmer. He adds a little more cryptically: “He is someone who has sworn an oath of allegiance to the US, and he is controlling all of our media [in Australia]. I suppose that is an issue for some people.”

Did MI-5 Spies Launch a Twitter Attack Against the Harry Potter Author?

The Daily Beast reports:
A vicious Twitter smear campaign against the Harry Potter author may have been the work of secret agents, says one British pol.
British spies may have orchestrated the abusive messages sent to JK Rowling after she spoke out against independence, a leading SNP politician has claimed.
Christina McKelvie said the torrent of online attacks aimed at the Harry Potter author could have been the work of "secret service plants".

The Robots Are Coming

Rudina Seseriand Wan Li Zhu write at Tech Crunch:
Consumer Robotics Is Finally Ready For Prime Time...

In the past few years, there have been major investments by large players that have helped to validate and reinvigorate the robotics market. IBM’s Watson platform, and Google’s driverless car and string of recent acquisitions in AI/machine learning come to mind. As most breakthrough technology innovations require large entities to lay down the costly foundations, we are now seeing that happen in AI. For example, Watson has reduced the barrier to creating innovative AI applications that process large amounts of unstructured data to arrive at accurate answers.

What do the next five to 10 years of consumer robotics look like? Will cars drive themselves? Will household robots assist with our daily chores? And will robots ultimately interact and transact on our behalf and even with other robots? We predict the following developments will take shape.

Redefined Robotic Form Factor

The humanoid robot popularized by media will not be the dominant form of consumer robotics.  Artificially intelligent devices will take on a multitude of forms where the form factor will more closely match its functions and use case.  Many more will be in the form of embedded intelligence within everyday systems we are already familiar with. One thing we can predict: goodbye flat, rectangular devices; hello, form factor diversity.

Technology Cost, Productivity Gain

Robotics will initially augment and eventually replace high-cost human labor.  The market acceptance of this progress will be driven by reliability and safety and there will be interim solutions.  For example, driverless cars are preceded by cars with heads-up displays and automated sensory-enabled breaks already in the market.

Service-based Monetization

As devices learn and begin to anticipate consumer needs, they make more recommendations and even make transactions on the consumer’s behalf. In the Internet of Things world, device providers will be more willing to lower prices of the hardware and appliances if they get a cut of revenue from services that are delivered on those platforms. Consumers will be able to download “apps” (either paid or free), which then connect to the cloud to deliver functionality via a subscription model, for example.

A New Platform and Ecosystem

Finally, the computer industry structure will loosely map to the robotics landscape. There will likely be a dominant open OS platform adopted and supported by large vendors (like Linux/Android) and a few manufacturer specific closed OS’s (like Windows), a number of “app” stores (like iTunes), and a wide variety of apps and API-based services offered by small and large companies. A new wave of education providers, engineers and service professionals, security providers, financial/insurance products, and legal frameworks will also emerge.

Prepare for $5 per Gallon Gasoline

AAA says the number of drivers on the road this holiday will be the highest in seven years.

According to the national average for a gallon of regular gasoline is $3.68. I expect the price to climb as price inflation begins to accelerate, and, according to ABC 7 Chicago, some oil analysts predict gas prices in the U.S. will surge to 5-dollars a gallon. It could be more.

Bill: My Death Would Get 2 Million Votes for Hillary

 From Edward Klein's new book, Blood Feud (via NyPo)

Later that day, Bill, Hillary, and two of her friends gathered in the converted red barn that served as Bill’s home office. The women drank Chardonnay; Bill favored a Pinot Noir.
It wasn’t long before Bill brought the conversation around to politics.
“We started too damn late last time,” he said, referring to the 2008 campaign. “That’s why I’ve been working on this thing for the past five years, since that one ended. We’re on course to raise the money, well over a billion dollars, and we’re getting our people in place everywhere.”
He said that he was writing what he called “playbooks” — thick notebooks outlining positions for Hillary to take on the major issues of the day — everything from immigration reform to gun control and education.
He felt strongly that Hillary was going to have to distance herself from Barack Obama and his amateurish handling of domestic and foreign policy.
“You’ve got to hit hard at the Obama record,” he continued, getting up from his chair and circling the barn while he spoke. “Your administration would be a third Clinton term, not a third Obama term. We have to be very harsh, because the voters are turning on him like a bad dog, and we have to do the same.”
The conversation continued in that vein for some time, and then, quite unexpectedly, Bill changed the subject and began talking about his health.
“I’m worried how my health will affect your campaign,” he said. “I have to do all I can to prepare the campaign playbooks, but I also have to accept the fact that if I fall by the wayside, you have to continue without me and make a positive thing out of it.”
“A positive thing?” Hillary said. “What the hell are you talking about?”
“Obviously, you have to have a big state funeral for me, with as much pomp and circumstance as possible,” he said. “I’m thinking maybe I should be buried at Arlington [National Cemetery] rather than at my library in Little Rock. After all, I was commander in chief for eight years and have every right to be buried at Arlington.”
“Bill!” Hillary said, trying to interrupt his train of thought.
“I’m going to plan this thing out in detail,” he said.
“I don’t want to hear this!” Hillary said.
“Wear your widow’s weeds, so people will feel sympathy for you. Wear black for a decent mourning period and make my death an asset. The images on television of the funeral and the grieving widow in black will be priceless.
“When I’m gone, people will think only of my good points and forgive, if not forget, the bad. I’ll be remembered in a positive light more in death than I was in life. That always happens.
Everybody knows that. So you’ll have to take maximum advantage of my death.”
“Bill…,” Hillary said.
“It should be worth a couple of million votes,” he said.

The Reason California Will Break Apart Into Six Different States

Joshua Krause writes:
A Silicon Valley venture capitalist by the name of Tim Draper, has proposed that perhaps it is time for the various regions of California to part ways. His goal, is to let California be divided into six different states. This isn’t exactly a new idea. There have been proposals to divide the massive state since California achieved statehood. Of course, none have succeeded. As a matter of fact, there have only been a handful of times in American history, when part of a state has managed to secede to form its own state, and none of them have occurred since the Civil War.

So what makes this time any different? Well for one, Tim Draper appears to represent the monied interests of the Silicon Valley. He’s dumped 2 million dollars of his own cash to fund the movement, which is now gathering signatures for a ballot in the next election. Most state secession movements fail because they are grassroot affairs, something that most state governments (or frankly any government) don’t share the same interests with. If breaking up a state doesn’t benefit the people at the top, then they won’t let it happen.

Which is why it’s interesting that the proposal is headed by a Silicon Valley mogul. While there’s no proof that Tim Draper is being backed by larger corporate interests, it would certainly make sense. Part of his proposal is to grant the Silicon Valley its own state. It would obviously benefit the major tech companies of this region to have a state to themselves, where they could wield massive influence. Considering the amount of money these tech interests hold, I doubt California stands a chance.

Bank for International Settlements Warns on ‘Euphoric’ Markets

The Bank for International Settlements has warned that “euphoric” financial markets have become detached from the reality of a lingering post-crisis malaise, as it called for governments to ditch policies that risk stoking unsustainable asset booms, reports FT.

I have been warning at the EPJ Daily Alert that central banks, especially the Federal Reserve, will be very slow in raising interest rates, even after price inflation acceleration becomes more evident. It will be, as I have written, "too little, too late." The BIS appears to have the same concern. More from FT:
Leading central banks should not fall into the trap of raising rates “too slowly and too late”, the BIS said...

“Particularly for countries in the late stages of financial booms, the trade-off is now between the risk of bringing forward the downward leg of the cycle and that of suffering a bigger bust later on,” it said...

The BIS, the bank for central banks, has been a longstanding sceptic about the benefits of ultra-stimulative monetary and fiscal policies and its latest intervention reflects mounting concern that the rebound in capital markets and real estate is built on fragile foundations...

Global markets are currently “under the spell” of central banks and their unprecedented monetary policy settings, it said.
It almost sounds as though some at the BIS understand Austrian School Business Cycle Theory.


How World War I Started

On June 28, 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were murdered by Serbian nationalist Gavrilo Princip in Sarajevo. The assassination set off a chain of events that led to the outbreak of the First World War. Below is a discussion of those events by the great libertarian historian Ralph Raico. The below originally appeared in his important book, Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttal. - RW
And the War Came
By Ralph Raico
The immediate origins of the 1914 war lie in the twisted politics of t.he Kingdom of Serbia.[1] In June, 1903, Serbian army officers murdered their king and queen in the palace and threw their bodies out a window, at the same time massacring various royal relations, cabinet ministers, and members of the palace guards. It was an act that horrified and disgusted many in the civilized world. The military clique replaced the pro-Austrian Obrenović dynasty with the anti-Austrian Karageorgevices. The new government pursued a pro-Russian, Pan-Slavist policy, and a network of secret societies sprang up, closely linked to

Friedrich Hayek on Redistribution of Wealth

Saturday, June 28, 2014

This is Brutal: Do You Really Need a Curved TV or Is It Just a Gimmick?

Businessweek's Sam Grobart discusses here.

Stop the Fed Counterfeiting!

Murray Sabrin emails:
After seeing the letter in EPJ yesterday about the Fed (SEE:EPJ Reader Gets the Word Out on the Fed) , I am sending my letter in the NYT, May 19, 1976, an oldie but goody. I gave it to New Jersey Republican senate candidate Jeff Bell who loves it.

Peter Boettke and the Coining of Technical Economic Vocabulary

Peter Boettke writes:

I agree that this is often the case. Indeed, Boettke naming his blog, Coordination Problem, is an example of such poor choice of words. He uses the name to replace, Austrian Economists, but apparently believes his discussion is still mostly from an Austrian perspective. But the Austrian perspective is, at its core, a perspective that begins with methodological individualism. This flies in the face of Boettke's new blog name, since, coordination problem, implies something other than methodological individualism. It is some kind of societal look at economics. This is a great error among almost all economists and Boettke has redoubled the error by naming his blog this way. Economics, from an Austrian perspective, is not, for the most part, about coordination in any planned acting manner. It is about exchange, valuation etc. which is, again, a  methodological individualist perspective. Boettke's blog name distorts this essence and instead implies planning of some sort, afterall, isn't that what coordination means? Now, Boettke may argue that he means coordination in a Hayekian sense of unintended consequences of individual acting, exchange and valuation, but Boettke's use of coordination distills the important essence of Hayek's use of the term and its important methodoligical qualifiers. It is a terrible, ambiguous name for a blog that is allegedly a blog with an Austrian perspective.

Use of the term Austrian School removes the ambiguity of the essence of what is being discussed. One unfamiliar with the Austrian School may have to look up the meaning and its principles, but there is no chance for ending up with a wrong impression of what it is. There is no chance that it  could result in the taking of a reader in a wrong direction, which can certainly occur with "coordination problem."


Facebook's Secret Mood Manipulation Experiment

The Atlantic reports:
Facebook’s News Feed—the main list of status updates, messages, and photos you see when you open Facebook on your computer or phone—is not a perfect mirror of the world.
But few users expect that Facebook would change their News Feed in order to manipulate their emotional state.
We now know that’s exactly what happened two years ago. For one week in January 2012, data scientists skewed what almost 700,000 Facebook users saw when they logged into its service. Some people were shown content with a preponderance of happy and positive words; some were shown content analyzed as sadder than average. And when the week was over, these manipulated users were more likely to post either especially positive or negative words themselves.
This tinkering was just revealed as part of a new study, published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Many previous studies have used Facebook data to examine “emotional contagion,” as this one did. This study is different because, while other studies have observed Facebook user data, this one set out to manipulate it. 
I am not sure how this is significantly different from companies running A/B tests on ads, direct advertising etc.   But capitalist haters are going to jump on this.


The Bureaucratic Healthcare Beast

By Chris Rossini

The U.S. government bureaucracy is so massive that it's impossible to wrap your mind around it. Wait you read this mouthful....apparently there's something called The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology!

This 'thing' conjures up "visions". Here's a sample of its vision for all of us:
“all individuals, their families, and care providers should be able to send, receive, find, and use health information in a manner that is appropriate, secure, timely, and reliable.”
Government, even in its wildest dreams, cannot possibly create anything like this 'vision'. It does not operate with the profit & loss signals that private entrepreneurs use to allocate resources. Government is always flying blind, and creating mountains of waste as it does so.

After dealing with government's many bureaucracies, have you ever walked away thinking: "Boy, that was appropriate, secure, timely, and reliable"?

Of course not! The feeling is always the exact opposite. You want any dealings with the bureaucrats to be over as soon as possible!

Going back to above "vision"...Guess how much time the bureaucratic beast is allocating to accomplish it...

10 years!!!

Were there a free market in healthcare, entrepreneurs could achieve it in no time (assuming consumers actually desired it). We'd be sending, receiving, and finding health information yesterday!

Chris Rossini is author of Set Money Free: What Every American Needs To Know About The Federal Reserve. Follow @chrisrossini on Twitter.

The Woman Behind the Patent Office's Removal of Trademark Protection for the Washington Redskins

George Will writes:
Amanda Blackhorse, a Navajo who successfully moved a federal agency to withdraw trademark protections from the Washington Redskins because it considers the team’s name derogatory, lives on a reservation where Navajos root for the Red Mesa High School Redskins...
 The name “Redskins” is more problematic than, say, that of the Chicago Blackhawks or Cleveland Indians presumably because “Redskins” refers to skin pigmentation. People offended by this might be similarly distressed if they knew that “Oklahoma” is a compound of two Choctaw words meaning “red” and “people.”...
Blackhorse...says “someone” once told her that teams’ mascots “are meant to be ridiculed,” “to be toyed with,” “to be pushed around and disrespected” and “have stuff thrown at them.” She should supplement the opinion of that someone with information from persons more knowledgeable. But she considers “any team name that references Native Americans” an injurious “appropriation of our culture.” 

How the Indians Really Lost Their Land

Walter Olson writes:
Stuart Banner's book seriously complicates tidy narrative of America as stolen from Indians.
From the blurb to How the Indians Lost Their Land:
Between the early seventeenth century and the early twentieth, nearly all the land in the United States was transferred from American Indians to whites. This dramatic transformation has been understood in two very different ways—as a series of consensual transactions, but also as a process of violent conquest. Both views cannot be correct. How did Indians actually lose their land?

Stuart Banner provides the first comprehensive answer. He argues that neither simple coercion nor simple consent reflects the complicated legal history of land transfers. Instead, time, place, and the balance of power between Indians and settlers decided the outcome of land struggles. As whites’ power grew, they were able to establish the legal institutions and the rules by which land transactions would be made and enforced.

This story of America’s colonization remains a story of power, but a more complex kind of power than historians have acknowledged. It is a story in which military force was less important than the power to shape the legal framework within which land would be owned. As a result, white Americans—from eastern cities to the western frontiers—could believe they were buying land from the Indians the same way they bought land from one another. How the Indians Lost Their Land dramatically reveals how subtle changes in the law can determine the fate of a nation, and our understanding of the past.

George Soros’ Daughter Re-Lists Townhouse for $25M

Andrea Soros Colombel, daughter of billionaire investor George Soros, has put her five-story Greenwich Village townhouse back on the market for $24.75 million, reports The Real Deal.

The 19th-century house at 10 West 10th Street (Not far from where Ludwig von Mises taught at NYU), between Fifth and Sixth avenues, has 21 rooms across 8,500 square feet. There are seven bedrooms, eight-and-a-half bathrooms, a basement gym and three fireplaces.

Robert Heinlein in Profile

From a review of Robert A. Heinlein in Dialogue with His Century, Vol. 2: The Man Who Learned Better, 1948-1988 by William H. Patterson Jr:
Heinlein is happily remarried and settled into an environment as bizarre as anything in his fiction: the postwar American suburb. It's a land of martinis, barbecues, wife-swapping parties, fallout shelters and political extremism. Heinlein, a lifelong devotee of nudism, alternative lifestyles and radicalism both left and right, fits in perfectly...

Heinlein in the postwar years was a successful writer, and successful writers don't really do much besides work. The colorful adventures recounted in the earlier book are gone; as Patterson tells it, whatever shenanigans may have been going on out on the patio, Heinlein was invariably sitting inside the house writing. He churned out 40 books in the years covered by this volume, and Patterson, helplessly unable to omit or abridge any detail, takes us through the publication history of every one. The drafts, the fights over rewrites, the serialization rights . . .

[T]here's a fascinating drama here. Heinlein began the '50s on a remarkable high. He made an unpromising deal with Scribner's to write a series of outer-space adventures for the teenage market. But he lavished so much skill and imagination on these books that today they are regarded as the defining masterpieces of old-school sci-fi. He followed the 12 "juveniles" (as they're usually called) with three classics for adults: "Starship Troopers" (1959), "Stranger in a Strange Land" (1961) and "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" (1965). All three won the Hugo Award for the year's best science-fiction novel...

His work had from the beginning the virtues of the finest pulp: a swift narrative line, an easy conversational manner and a strong uncluttered prose style. But there is also a quality almost unheard of in pulp writing and pretty rare in literature generally: conviction. Heinlein's worlds aren't built out of genre cardboard or adolescent fantasies: They feel like real places, weathered and inhabited. He achieved this effect through a careful accumulation of details. As characters are talking, Heinlein would just drop in an unobtrusive line: "They stepped on a glideway which picked up speed until walls were whizzing past." He didn't explain what a glideway is any more than Raymond Chandler would stop to explain an elevator, but by the end, Heinlein's imaginary worlds seem as beautifully realized and substantial as Philip Marlowe's Los Angeles...

But this isn't why the juveniles are still being read now, 60 years later, when the realities and dangers of space exploration can be taken for granted. They have another quality behind their scrupulously naturalistic surface: an intensely persuasive optimism. With each book, the dramas grow more serious, the moral lessons more adult and the sense of space exhilaratingly larger...

 "The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress" is a visionary epic of a lunar colony breaking free from earth's government and establishing an anarchist-libertarian utopia. But even as it was being enshrined by the libertarian movement as a foundational text...Heinlein turned cagey and evasive about whether he was advocating its revolutionary agenda. Once again, it was as though his own persuasiveness was making him uncomfortable.

Bestselling Economist Steven Levitt: “I no longer feel like an adult... I’m in the candy store and I get to pick and choose whatever I want.”

By Tim Harford

“I used to play poker a ton and then I quit. It’s too time consuming and toooo boring.” There’s something boyish about the way Steve Levitt drags out the word. But then his inner economist reasserts itself: “What you come to realise about poker over time is that the ratio of luck to skill in the short term is too high to make it feel productive.”

Here’s what you need to know about Levitt. He used to be a rising star in academia, with prestigious positions at Harvard and then Chicago. He picked unusual topics: cheating sumo wrestlers; the link between legal abortion and falling crime. His detective work with data was influential. In 2003, when he was just 35, Levitt won the John Bates Clark medal, often a precursor to the Nobel memorial prize. The journalist Stephen Dubner profiled him in The New York Times Magazine; a book deal followed for the pair, and the result, Freakonomics, sold four million copies.

So, I’m playing poker with a data-savvy millionaire genius, a game I understand only in the sense that I’ve written about it. The good news is that Levitt doesn’t play any more. The bad news is that on his last outing, five years ago, he was within one hand of the final table at the World Series of Poker … I am doomed.

Read the rest here.

Paging Walter Block: Who Needs Government Traffic Lights?

Meskel Square, is the nerve center of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. According to the youtube summary, it is often the site chosen by the Ethiopians for festivals and celebrations but it also is a chaotic crossroads where thousandsof vehicles cross daily.

Also, checkout the people crossing the intersection, without walk signs.

Walter Block is author of The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors.

Roger Stone: Hillary Clinton was Fired From the Nixon Probe Because She Wrote Fraudulent Legal Briefs...

Richard Johnson reports for NyPo:

Hillary Clinton might be hoping no one buys “Nixon’s Secrets” — Roger Stone’s new book marking the 40th anniversary of the Watergate scandal.

Stone — a Nixon staffer who is so partisan he has a tattoo of his old boss’ face on his back — reports that Clinton was fired as a staff lawyer for the House of Representatives’ Judiciary Committee for “writing fraudulent legal briefs, lying to investigators and confiscating public documents.”
Yale Law School grad Clinton was 26 in 1974 when she started working for the committee that was investigating whether or not there was enough evidence to impeach or prosecute President Nixon for the Watergate affair.

Clinton’s boss, Jerry Zeifman, the general counsel and chief of staff to the Watergate Committee, claims he fired her because she was working to impede the investigation and undermine Nixon’s defense.
“Hillary’s lies and unethical behavior goes back farther — and goes much deeper — than anyone realizes,” Zeifman told Fox News in 2008. When asked why he fired Clinton, Zeifman responded, “Because she is a liar.”

How the Private Sector is Going to Blow Away Government Weather Forecasts

Jacqui Bennett, chief meteorologist at KRON 4 in San Francisco, says this will revolutionize weather forecasting, not just for air travel, w/more data in the upper atmosphere:

The Case for Voting for Flakes and the Zero-Sum Nature of Politics

I don't vote, but Gary North has an interesting observation for those who do:
I think a Republican could defeat Biden fairly easily. Even if Biden won, he would be less of a threat to our liberties than Hillary Clinton. He has a marvelous ability to put his foot in his mouth. He would become, not so much a bone of contention as a source of amusement. I don't think he has the stomach for becoming a dictator. There is something flaky about him. Flaky people make rotten dictators. It is why I would have voted for John Kerry in 2004, had I not written in Ron Paul's name.
North also makes this interesting point:
 I wanted to see Clinton torn down, but I did not want to see him impeached and convicted. So, I was not envious against him; it was simply a matter of political strategy. I am always happy to see some President whacked on the knuckles by political reality, so that he cannot exercise as much power. National politics is usually a zero-sum arrangement. The President wins; I lose. When he loses power, I gain a little bit of freedom.

EPJ Week In Review - Week Ending 6/27/14

Below you'll find everything that has been published on EPJ for the week ended Friday June 27, 2014. The hottest posts for each day are highlighted in red.

Friday 6/27/14
Thursday 6/26/14
Wednesday 6/25/14
Tuesday 6/24/14
Monday 6/23/14
Sunday 6/22/14
Saturday 6/21/14