10 Apr 2014

Tom Woods and I Talk Private Law

private law, Shameless Self-Promotion, Tom Woods 10 Comments

We didn’t cover everything in this episode, but enough. If you want some quick reads, I recommend (in this order) the following things that I have written:

==> “The Possibility of Private Law”

==> “But Wouldn’t Warlords Take Over?”

==> Chaos Theory: Two Essays on Market Anarchy

10 Apr 2014

Small Riot Yesterday, Militia Arrive at Bundy Ranch Standoff

Big Brother, Conspiracy 11 Comments

Here is the latest on the developing situation…

If you’re pressed for time, watch starting around 6:00. You can hear the angry crowd asking the K-9 units, “What are you doing with the backhoes?”

In the beginning of the video, they report allegations that this is “really all about” mineral rights. I have no idea if that’s true, I’m just posting this video so you can see what has been happening. This could get ugly.

10 Apr 2014

Paul Craig Roberts Doesn’t Expect a Happy New Year

Conspiracy, Economics 61 Comments

I like to keep abreast of those writers in the arena of political economy who would be dismissed as doomsayers, because I usually agree with their analysis of broad trends–I just think they too often underestimate how long it will take for other investors / world players to see the same patterns they do. (Yes my price inflation wager with David R. Henderson has made me more humble.) But anyway, check out Paul Craig Roberts’ recent piece (HT2 Frank C.):

2014 is shaping up as a year of reckoning for the United States.

Two pressures are building on the US dollar. One pressure comes from the Federal Reserve’s declining ability to rig the price of gold as Western gold supplies shrivel and market knowledge of the Fed’s illegal price rigging spreads. The evidence of massive amounts of naked shorts being dumped into the paper gold futures market at times of day when trading is thin is unequivocal. It has become obvious that the price of gold is being rigged in the futures market in order to protect the dollar’s value from QE.

The other pressure arises from the Obama regime’s foolish threats of sanctions on Russia. Other countries are no longer willing to tolerate Washington’s abuse of the world dollar standard. Washington uses the dollar-based international payments system to inflict damage on the economies of countries that resist Washington’s political hegemony.

Russia and China have had enough. As I have reported and as Peter Koenig reports here…Russia and China are disconnecting their international trade from the dollar. Henceforth, Russia will conduct its trade, including the sale of oil and natural gas to Europe, in rubles and in the currencies of its BRICS partners.

This means a big drop in the demand for US dollars and a corresponding drop in the dollar’s exchange value.

All evidence points to US economic failure in 2014…

What is also interesting is that PCR goes matter-of-factly into “9/11 Truth”:

This audacious recklessness comes on top of Washington’s overthrow of the Ukrainian government, the NSA spying scandal, Seymour Hersh’s investigative report that the Sarin gas attack in Syria was a false flag event arranged by NATO member Turkey in order to justify a US military attack on Syria, Washington’s forcing down Bolivian President Evo Morales’ presidential plane to be searched, Saddam Hussein’s “weapons of mass destruction,” the misuse of the Libyan no-fly resolution for military attack, and on and on. Essentially, Washington has so badly damaged other countries’ confidence in the judgment and integrity of the US government that the world has lost its belief in US leadership. Washington is reduced to threats and bribes and increasingly presents as a bully.

The self-inflicted hammer blows to Washington’s credibility have taken a toll. The most serious blow of all is the dawning realization everywhere that Washington’s crackpot conspiracy theory of 9/11 is false. Large numbers of independent experts as well as more than one hundred first responders have contradicted every aspect of Washington’s absurd conspiracy theory. No aware person believes that a few Saudi Arabians, who could not fly airplanes, operating without help from any intelligence agency, outwitted the entire National Security State, not only all 16 US intelligence agencies but also all intelligence agencies of NATO and Israel as well.

Nothing worked on 9/11. Airport security failed four times in one hour, more failures in one hour than have occurred during the other 116,232 hours of the 21st century combined. For the first time in history the US Air Force could not get interceptor fighters off the ground and into the sky. For the first time in history Air Traffic Control lost airliners for up to one hour and did not report it. For the first time in history low temperature, short-lived, fires on a few floors caused massive steel structures to weaken and collapse. For the first time in history 3 skyscrapers fell at essentially free fall acceleration without the benefit of controlled demolition removing resistance from below.

Two-thirds of Americans fell for this crackpot story…

But no one else believed it, least of all the Italians. Italians had been informed some years previously about government false flag events when their President revealed the truth about secret Operation Gladio. Operation Gladio was an operation run by the CIA and Italian intelligence during the second half of the 20th century to set off bombs that would kill European women and children in order to blame communists and, thereby, erode support for European communist parties.

Italians were among the first to make video presentations challenging Washington’s crackpot story of 9/11. The ultimate of this challenge is the 1 hour and 45 minute film, “Zero.” You can watch it here

I have watched this topic with keen interest. Over the years, it has become more acceptable for people to challenge the official story. (I don’t know whether PCR was openly challenging it from the beginning; I don’t have him in mind when I make these remarks.) Can the old-timers tell us, is that what happened with the Kennedy assassination? Obviously there were skeptics right away, but at this point only 30% of Americans believe in the lone gunman theory. In 50 years, will only 30% of Americans (or Ameros?) believe in the 19-hijackers theory?

09 Apr 2014

Feds May Move Against Nevada Rancher This Weekend

Big Brother, Conspiracy 142 Comments

I don’t have too much commentary to offer on this developing story of federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials and their standoff with a Nevada rancher; if you aren’t familiar with the details, you really should watch this short news clip.

Beyond the particular issues of the standoff and the eerie memories of Ruby Ridge and Waco, there is the ominous notion of a “First Amendment Area.” Those versed in Rothbardian libertarian theory know that it’s silly to speak of “free speech rights” as opposed to general property rights. However, given the framework of legislation that the United States federal government uses, it is definitely creepy that they think they can designate particular geographical regions to which the Bill of Rights applies.

08 Apr 2014

Yet More Positive Externalities From an Alien Invasion

Conspiracy 17 Comments

Bill Clinton explains:

07 Apr 2014

Supreme Irony

Krugman 111 Comments

I know, I know, I’ve been blogging too much about Krugman lately, but this is too delicious to pass up, and I am pretty sure only I have the ability and desire to pinpoint such hilarity. Let’s get this over with as quickly as possible:

==> Ezra Klein has his inaugural post for his new site Vox, and it’s superficially a “hey-both-sides-are-terrible-let’s-all-be-more-tolerant” kind of thing. Klein cites some research showing that when it comes to political issues, more research actually leads to more polarization, because each side just parses the additional information to cherry-pick the arguments and facts that bolster the original position.

==> In order to illustrate the problem, Klein picks an example of a right-winger refusing to learn. (I’m sure this was the result of a coin toss, and not because Klein had a predisposition to bash right-wingers.) Here’s the narrative:

Imagine what would happen to, say, Sean Hannity if he decided tomorrow that climate change was the central threat facing the planet. Initially, his viewers would think he was joking. But soon, they’d begin calling in furiously. Some would organize boycotts of his program. Dozens, perhaps hundreds, of professional climate skeptics would begin angrily refuting Hannity’s new crusade. Many of Hannity’s friends in the conservative media world would back away from him, and some would seek advantage by denouncing him. Some of the politicians he respects would be furious at his betrayal of the cause. He would lose friendships, viewers, and money. He could ultimately lose his job. And along the way he would cause himself immense personal pain as he systematically alienated his closest political and professional allies. The world would have to update its understanding of who Sean Hannity is and what he believes, and so too would Sean Hannity. And changing your identity is a psychologically brutal process.

==> Now here’s the wonderful thing that almost makes me burst with joy. We don’t have to speculate about an alternative universe in which a previous hero to progressives does something heretical on climate change, and then receives pushback from former colleagues for it. No, we’ve got Paul Krugman doing it for us, for real, when he writes: “Ezra Klein’s new venture Vox is up, and so far, so OK — some fairly interesting pieces, and nothing like Nate Silver’s lamentable decision to make a professional concern troll his chief writer on climate.”

==> Now you might be saying, “Bob, you’re too clever, as usual. What’s so ironic or funny about this?” OK I’ll spell it out for you: If you click Krugman’s post, his purpose is to mildly chastise Ezra Klein for making it sound as if both sides are capable of this kind of tribalism that reinforces prejudices about ideological positions; according to Krugman, nope, his side is just fine, thank-you-very-much, it’s only those stupid (his term) right-wingers that actually in practice behave this way. Remember, Klein (as we have seen) used a hypothetical example of Sean Hannity going off the reservation about climate change and being punished for it. In commenting on this post, Krugman first starts off by punishing Nate Silver (and he has been doing it for a while now) for going off the reservation about climate change.

==> Last thing: It’s also supremely ironic that Krugman (as well as Klein) pick climate change as the epitome of an issue in which the “other side” refuses to learn from the incoming data. You could write a fairly extensive analogy between the debate over global temperature and CPI. (E.g.: “CPI is the highest it’s been since they started recording it!!”) It would be difficult to describe Krugman’s reactions to both topics in a consistent way.

07 Apr 2014

Billy Joel and Jimmy Fallon Sing “Lion Sleeps Tonight”

Music 2 Comments

I have been trying to contain my jealousy since Jimmy Fallon has been living my dream lately, doing decent enough singing that he produces awesome clips with famous musicians. (E.g. look at the first minute of his “history of rap” with Justin Timberlake.) But this is just flat-out cool:

07 Apr 2014

Murphy Talk at Texas Bitcoin Conference

Bitcoin 17 Comments

Somebody put up the audio of my talk at the Texas Bitcoin conference. I thought the best contribution I could make was to explain to the evangelists why the orthodox libertarians were going to resist their message. So this is mostly about Austrian monetary theory, not Bitcoin. Also note that this only captures my main talk, not the Q&A in which I was on fire.