Libertarian Jackass

"Life is short, but truth works far and lives long; let us speak truth." -- Schopenhauer

Wednesday, August 31, 2005


Don Banks presents 5 good reasons. #2 is the best. I commented on Fantasy Sports Leagues last year. It's bad enough that the most important item on the Sunday agenda is watching football on TV, but do you really need to check meaningless "sports data" all day at the office?

I check the bond markets. Did you all get excited as I did earlier this week when the Treasury yield curve narrowed to 12 basis points? That's where the real action is, boys. Bonds and currencies, not Fantasy Sports.


Sepak Takraw


COMMODITIES Is it a commodities bull market or wild inflation? What's the difference? Does it matter?

The markets: Doug Casey on commodities. (

The theory: if you adhere to the Austrian theory of money, then you must believe gold is incredibly undervalued.
SUGGESTION Maybe now we can build enough political support to stuff $1.3 trillion into a War on Hurricanes?

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

HELMS ON ABORTION "At last count, more than 40 million unborn children have been deliberately, intentionally destroyed. What word adequately defines the scope of such slaughter?"

Any answers?
DODGERS AND REGGAE Thanks to a good friend, I had exceptional seats behind homeplate at the Dodgers game Sunday, featuring The Rocket. Also, a reggae concert at the Hollywood Bowl that night, featuring Maxi Priest.
LESSONS FROM A DISASTER: police in particular (and governments in general) do not maintain order. They are at the mercy of the masses.
LAGUNA BEACH Eric Fry spent the week here with his kid and has a few observations on cars and wealth. That's what I love about living around here: the places I spend most of my time at are the same places most Americans save up for an entire year to visit.

Also, as he mentions in the article, it's surprisingly easy to drive around in a flashy car. I used to think driving a Benz was a status symbol. Not here. And for only $599 a month, you can have one for yourself.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

FAILED WAR ON TERROR(ISM)? Major terror attacks tripled in 2004. Old news, but still increasingly relevant as more people begin to question the purpose of Iraq.


From Meditations:
Reflect often upon the rapidity with which all existing things, or things coming into existence, sweep past us and are carried away. The great river of Being flows on without pause; its actions forever changing, its causes shifting endlessly, hardly a single thing standing still; while ever at hand looms infinity stretching behind and before -- the abyss in which all things are lost to sight. In such conditions, surely a man were foolish to gasp and fume and fret, as though the time of his troubling could ever be of long continuance.
THE SIDEKICK Received an email question on LJ's use of the Sidekick. I was just testing a friend's device. In a word, it's crap. Major problem: the keypad is set too deep in order to accomodate the goofy swivel screen. The interface looks like it was created for junior high school kids. I wouldn't be suprised if the young punks made up its dominant demographic. As the manger of a private equity fund once told me: "No serious business professional uses a Sidekick." Spend a morning riding on the elevator in my building and you'll find truth in that statement.


On the "oversupply of housing" from Peter Schiff of EuroPac:

However, I would argue that an over-supply of housing already exists, as many properties are now owned by investor/speculators, who have no intention of actually living in the properties themselves, and for which no rental demand actually exists. Other units are occupied by owner/speculators, intent on selling before the rates on their ARMs rise to levels they can not afford. When these properties come to the market, and no greater fools remain to buy them, the artificial "housing shortage" will turn into a glut.

Zoning restrictions, tax incentives and "fundamentals" fueling real estate prices? Get a clue.

Canada phone cards
UK phone cards


JIM ROGERS: Oil "will go over $100 per barrel." I know quite a few so-called economists (especially the libertarian/free market types) have been running their mouths about oil, but I'll put my money on Jimmy Rogers.
SICK AND DISGUSTING Easily one of the most sickening displays I've ever seen. We owe so much to members of the U.S. military. What a wonderful group of human beings.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

PUT YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS You pro-war maggots can Bet on Iraq. Come on, I dare ya...

Also of note to those of you wondering whether Iraq really is a US colony: there's no longer any doubt. Iraq "will be allowed to open a deposit with the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which will earn it millions of dollars in vital interest income, a top US Treasury official has said."

Let me guess (and this really is a guess since I've not investigated the issue): Iraq's legal tender laws are formulated such that it's beneficial to use dinars in daily transactions and to store US dollars away?

SADDAM THE CRIMINAL The only "formal charge" against Saddam is for the mass murder of Shia Muslims? I bet the "conservatives" would love to adopt Saddam's own tactics against the same group. My favorite:

"We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

PRICE-TO-RENT RATIOS Which markets are ridiculously overvalued? In which markets should we expect rents to skyrocket, sales prices to dive or a combination of the two? According to CNN: San Fran, NYC, San Diego, Phoenix, LA and even Trash Vegas make the list.
THE IRAQ INDEX Tracking the variables of reconstruction and security in post-Saddam Iraq.

Monday, August 22, 2005

HOW CHINA DELAYS A FALL IN TREASURIES As we've been saying here for some time, China has an interest in maintaining the current monetary arrangements. Others are catching on.
THE GIRLS, THE GIRLS, THEY LOVE US A friend says: "J, you spend so much money on women, you should just put them on the payroll."

There's an idea. By the way, for Christmas, should I take her to Barbados or Aspen?
REAL ESTATE According to Merrill Lynch: from 1955 to 1995 housing prices kept pace with inflation, appreciating 0 percent in real terms. From 1996 to 2005 housing prices have appreciated nationwide 45 percent.

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Sunday, August 21, 2005

WALTER BLOCK I listened to a podcast of Block's lecture on Abortion from Mises. In a sentence: "abortion" is killing and the libertarian should promote the eviction (where and when technologically possible) of the fetus. Also, Block actually changed my position on Terri Schiavo in one argument. I think it's an excellent approach. He also outlines three types of birth control and why the libertarian should question the use of at least one method. If you have a moment, take a listen.
MALIBU Sipped champagne and enjoyed the smoked salmon at a pleasant establishment right on the ocean in Malibu this morning, er, afternoon. I spent the weekend in LA, most of it shopping with a friend, as it turned out. I fell in love with a tan suit.
QUOTE FROM THE WEEKEND At a wonderful cocktail party at an oceanfront condo in Santa Monica: "All you need in life are 3 or 4 really good friends. The rest are just fluff ."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

"MY PREDICTIONS ABOUT THE WHOLE HOMELAND SECURITY ENTERPRISE seem to have been borne out, alas." Yeah, Glenn, your predictions. It doesn't take a rocket scientist.

Friday, August 19, 2005

MY BEST INDICATOR of the real supply glut (via John Mauldin):

"Jim Eggleston, owner of Sacramento's biggest residential 'For Sale' sign installer, predicts this will be his busiest week in 21 years in business. He's had to hire an extra worker and buy a new delivery truck since his crew planted a one-day record of 225 signs on Monday.

"'There are whole lot of houses going up for sale,' says Eggleston, who promises next-day installation when a real estate broker orders a new sign. 'The number of 'For Sale' signs we're removing keeps going down relative to the number we're putting up.'"

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

MISES.ORG PODCASTS are a beautiful thing. It's great to spend the afternoon in my office listening to Dr. Hulsmann's "Further Considerations in The Theory of Interest" lecture from Mises U. If you think you understand the theory of interest, listen to this overview of his paper and think again.
YOU ALL CHASE 'EM, I REPLACE 'EM I've had women leave for strange reasons before, so when she told me she was going to Africa I felt at least it was for a noble cause. Nonetheless, we are glad she changed her mind -- at least for now . . .

Sunday, August 14, 2005

AGAINST KRUGMAN Actually, aren't we really paying for war and housing with money printed by the Federal Reserve and accumulated by Asia? I'm uncomfortable with referring to it as savings, as even some notable Austrians have done. It's just that money that would otherwise have been recycled back into the economy purchasing real goods and services (an oil company, for instance) are being channeled back into the credit markets.

Also, remember, our theory tells us that China is colluding with the US banking system in all of this. It's not some sort of rivalry. China benefits from using the dollar to pyramid its own currency. They have an interest in parking their "reserves" in risk-free investments, even if the rates of return are dismal and the risk of portfolio valuation declines are significant.
DOW 36,000, HUH? James Glassman, one of the authors of Dow 36,000, is upset with Paul Krugman. The guy behind Dow 36,000 says there isn't a real estate bubble? Hm.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

ROMANCE Nothing like a deserted stretch of beach, a bottle of champagne and a meteor shower to get, get, get it poppin'.

I see from the archives we were well-prepared last year as well.
IT'S NOT "NATION BUILDING," it's planet building. Just when you thought the blogosphere would be a better place without InstaGlenn, he leaves the children to play house.
"WAKE ME UP WHEN SEPTEMBER ENDS" The "anti-recruitment" music video from Green Day hits #1 on TRL?
THE REAL OC It's better than even the TV show portrays:
But it can't be disputed that the OC coast comes off as one big Mediterranean-styled resort filled with beautiful people living in new mansions, wearing designer clothes and driving flashy cars. It's a place where the sun always shines, cell phones are a necessary accessory and shopping is a respected pastime.

Many people I know have cried foul, that our town is not all monied-up, that the country will get the wrong impression of us.

The thing is, they're wrong; the show has us pretty much pegged. We're a spot that in the past few decades has gone from BBQs on the beach to toddies on the terrace, and more times than not those terraces embrace Mediterranean architecture. And new resort/spas like Laguna Beach's Montage, Monarch Beach's St. Regis, Huntington Beach's Hyatt Regency and the soon-to-be developed Pelican Hill Inn, have inspired state tourism officials to market us as the "new Riviera." Consider the fact that the nation's average home price is just over $200,000; the average Newport Beach home price is over $1 million. Like it or not, we are not a beach town any longer, we are a cosmopolitan destination that turns the rest of the country money-green with envy.

It's not a crime. It's just a matter of perspective. If you're rich enough to call your home a villa, your terrace a loggia and stock a private wine cellar, you call the last decade a Renaissance of fine dining, high culture and upscale shopping. If you're still working a paycheck, you call it an invasion of skin-toned stucco, and wax nostalgic for the days when you could get parking at the beach and afford to eat out. But come on, who wouldn't take the big house with the entertainment center? Or even the guest house, for that matter?
Canada phone cards
UK phone cards


SPECULATORS PUSHING DOWN RENTS? THE SUPPLY OF HOMES is actually larger than at first glance, especially in Trash Vegas, Florida and So Cali.

Monday, August 08, 2005

NEW YEARS' EXCITEMENT I just booked my New Years' travel and accomodations arrangements. I know, I know -- a bit late. We've been busy.
"I HAVE A GREAT APPRECIATION FOR FINE ART, fine homes, fine wine, fine cigars and fine friends." The good life, according to Don Johnson. I must add: fine literature, fine women and fine food. This is slightly reminiscent of a trip I took last fall up the California Coast where we encountered a wine dealer who insisted that all one needs to be happy in life are "a big kitchen, good friends and great wines." Thanks, Adam. More from Don:
"Why do I love Italy?" asks Johnson. "Nearly everyone who comes to Italy knows why. It's the people. And the fact that they're living. They know how to live and they're living it. And everyone else [outside of Italy] is still experimenting.

"The people of Italy are very genuine," he adds. "It's always you before them. They always make you feel more special. You know, that's not something that I crave. It's something that happens when you're a celebrity. But here in Italy, all you have to be is a good person and you get treated the right way." It's been a revolving door this July at his rented villa, located about an hour's drive south of Florence. At times, Johnson admits that he isn't sure if he is running a hotel or a restaurant, considering the number of visitors he's entertained. Each day, if he's not sightseeing, he's throwing a big lunch or dinner for a large group. He loves having people around him, sharing the good life with them. He must be one of America's great bon vivants, whether appreciating three-star Michelin food, hard-to-find bottles of Italian reds or aged Cuban cigars. "Life's too short to drink bad wine or smoke poor cigars," he says, during a lunch that includes a bottle of 1997 Masseto, one of Italy's most vaunted bottles of Merlot.

Thanks to our good friend from Helsinki, Tero, for bringing this to LJ's attention.
Whip Guide

Sunday, August 07, 2005

IT'S NOT A STATE, it's a family-run oil business. Excellent article on the House of Saud.
SHOULD AMERICANS FEAR TERRORISM? On the campaign to keep you afraid and submissive:

For the vast majority of Americans, the chances of dying in a terrorist attack are close to zero. There's a higher probability that you'll die by falling off a ladder than getting mixed up in some terrorist plot. So why is the U.S. Department of Homeland Security constantly telling every American to be afraid? That's a strategy that creates widespread fear without making America any safer. U.S. homeland security efforts should focus less on what is possible and more on what is probable.
"All Americans Should Fear Terrorism"

-That's ridiculous. The odds of dying in a terrorist attack are minuscule. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the odds are about 1 in 88,000. The odds of dying from falling off a ladder are 1 in 10,010. Even in 2001, automobile crashes killed 15 times more Americans than terrorism. Heart disease, cancer, and strokes are the leading causes of death in the United States--not terrorism.
People overestimate risks they can picture and ignore those they cannot. Government warnings and 24-hour news networks make certain dangers, from shark attacks to terrorism, seem more prevalent than they really are.

Insiders Selling Stock

The Toll brothers sold their stock, why haven't you?

"Bulls of 1929 - like their 1990s counterparts - had their eyes glued on improving profits and stock valuations. Not a thought was given to the fact that the rising tide of money deluging the stock market came from financial leverage and not from savings."

Saturday, August 06, 2005

IT'S RACE DAY AT DEL MAR We are going to be in the luxury box again. Who is this hot?

Friday, August 05, 2005

ADVENTURES OF THE LIBERTARIAN JACKASS: WHO SAYS YOU CAN'T ESCAPE ALCATRAZ? They told me it was impossible. They said there were sharks, that the tides were dangerous, the water frigid and the conditions unpredictable. I laughed. Then, against the odds, I escaped from Alcatraz on Saturday.

The race results are available here. If you know LJ, you'll be able to figure it out. That's right, we did not go to San Francisco to play around.

I'll say more on this later . . .

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

MY SPACE Did anyone believe LJ actually has My Space? Judging by emails, apparently this is the case. We were mocking My Space users. My Space is infested by an entire race of losers and/or high school students. In fact, I'm developing a list of "My Space Frauds" -- a few people that I went to school with and therefore know their "profiles" are fraudulent. You're not foolin' anyone, children. I think I'll post their descriptions side-by-side with LJ's take on their lives and personalities. Fun?

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