Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Free Market

Federal Court Rules that the Bitcoin is Money

When the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) charged that Trendon Shavers, the founder of Bitcoin Savings and Trust (BTCST) was running a Ponzi scheme, Shavers challenged the agency by claiming that bitcoins didn’t fall under their definition of securities and so therefore he and his company were exempt from SEC rules. Federal Judge Amos Mazzant ruled otherwise, which was bad news for Shavers but good news for

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George Mitchell, the Father of Fracking, Dead at 94

With his determination and the ability to ignore naysayers, George Mitchell, the owner of a Fortune 500 company, Mitchell Energy & Development Company, poured himself and $6 million of his company’s money into the task of finding ways to access the natural gas he knew was underground of his property north of Houston, Texas. It took him more than 10 years to find those ways. Since 2000, his discoveries have changed the world and are responsible for

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President’s Speeches on the Economy Draw Attention Away from His Scandals and Falling Poll Numbers

From the New York Times to Politico.com the president’s speech to students at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois on Wednesday was headline news. More than an hour long, it contained enough platitudes, sound bites and falsehoods to keep pundits busy and away from more about the Benghazi, IRS, NSA surveillance scandals and Obamacare fallout which have caused the president’s poll numbers to plummet. It was time to get out of Dodge and take

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CFR expert calls for elimination of Laws restricting Crude Oil Exports

Sounding more like a free market economist than the thoroughly establishment analyst that he is, Blake Clayton, writing for the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in a paper published last week, built a carefully crafted case for the elimination of all federal controls on exporting crude oil. Clayton, who received two master’s degrees from the University of Chicago and Cambridge University along with a doctorate from Oxford, was blunt:

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The Myth of the Disappearing Middle Class in America is Finally Put to Rest

This was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, July 15th, 2013:

 

Two favorite economists, Donald Boudreaux of George Mason University and Mark Perry of the University of Michigan, have contested and decried the dominant social theme that America’s middle class is disappearing. For instance, back in January their arguments reached the pages of the Wall Street Journal in which they stated flatly that

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Wal-Mart Shrugs: Pulls Plans to Build Stores in Washington, DC

Writing in the Washington Post on Tuesday, Wal-Mart’s regional general manager Alex Barron told Washington DC’s city council that if they voted to pass the Large Retailer Accountability Act (LRAA) his company would “not pursue [building] stores at Skyland, Capitol Gateway or New York Avenue” shopping centers and they would

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Paul Ryan the “bridgebuilder” on immigration reform?

On Saturday Newsmax.com reported on Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) continuing attempts to revive interest in the House to consider the immigration bill the Senate just passed. He thinks that with a little tweaking the House can come to terms that the Senate would approve, and all will be well once again:

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Welcome to Washington, DC: Pay $50 Fine, Have a Nice Day, Go Home

This article was first published at The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on June 26th, 2013:

 

When Joe Carr, along with five of his baseball buddies from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, decided to fly to Washington to watch their Twins take on the Washington Nationals in June, he had no idea he’d leave the city with a criminal record and $50 poorer.

In a sarcastic jest he decided to write about his experience in a letter to the editor of the Washington Post, and they printed it. He explains what happened:

The Friday, June 7, night tilt between the Nationals and my Mighty Fighting Minnesota Twins was rained out by Tropical Storm Andrea. I was hosting five of my buddies on our annual baseball weekend, and, having lived in the D.C. area in the ’90s, I had booked the hotel, purchased the game tickets and planned the requisite Mall and monument tours. We were going to drop some serious cash (well, by Midwestern standards, anyway) into the local economy.

The rainout resulted in my possessing six tickets — worth $360 — to the second game of a Sunday doubleheader scheduled to be played when my friends and I would be somewhere over Chicago. However, as any baseball fan knows, there is always a market for club-level seats. So I proceeded to “market” the seats as I walked up to Nationals Park prior to Saturday’s 4:05 p.m. game.

Bad move.

Fast forward: after offering his tickets (he was willing to let them go for less than the $60 he had invested in each of them) to several people who turned him down, he was accosted by a uniformed member of the local constabulary, along with a trainee who was about to get a lesson in how to shake down a visitor. Here’s the conversation:

Officer: What are you asking? [Note: this is a solicitation.]

Carr: I’d love to get face value.

Officer: You’re under arrest for solicitation.

Trainee: You’re going to do this?

Officer:   Absolutely.

Carr:  You’ve got to be kidding.

Officer:  Does it look like I’m kidding? [Is this intimidation?]

The OIC (officer large and in charge) called for backup, put Carr into the back seat of the cruiser when it arrived, sans belt and shoes but wearing handcuffs, took him “downtown” for a mug shot, fingerprinting, and cool-off time in a jail cell for 2½ hours. The judge showed up, fined him $50, and let him go, leaving behind a criminal record.

As Mark Perry noted, Joe never actually sold his tickets. He ate the $360. There wasn’t even a transaction. There was no victim. He wasn’t charged with scalping either, just solicitation.

Carr described his experience into Washington’s welcome chamber of “downtown” as “Kafka-esque” where everything is upside down and inside out:

I broke a law. Guilty. But what purpose was served by my arrest? It didn’t make any financial sense. I am certain that the costs of my arrest, transport and processing had to be many multiples of the $50 I paid. Does the District have a massive budget surplus it needs to spend down?

What Carr ran into was the war on the free market, in a microscopic moment. Carr bought his tickets. He owned them. He paid for them. They were his property. Under free market principles he would be free to use them (or not), give them away, will them to his heirs, or sell them (at any price that a willing fully informed buyer would pay). But not in Washington, DC. Their definition of “solicitation” is different.

In the United States, there are three parts to the crime of solicitation:

  1. The encouraging, bribing, requesting or commanding a person
  2. To commit a substantive crime
  3. With the intent that the person solicited actually commit the crime.

You can see where this is going. Apparently, in Washington, DC, attending a baseball game with tickets purchased from another person is a “substantive crime.” Looking at the Washington National’s record to date, attending any of their games is a crime – of boredom.

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Sources:

Joe Carr: Welcome, baseball fan. Go directly to jail.

Definition of Kafka-esque

Definition of Scalping

Definition of Solicitation

Current Washington Nationals standings

Mark Perry: Great moments in government prosecution of innocent baseball fans for victimless crimes that didn’t even take place

 

 

Consumer Confidence Not Matched by Reality

The consumer confidence numbers announced on Tuesday by The Conference Board surprised even the economists who had expected a decline rather than the nearly 10-point increase that the board reported. The index came in at 81.4 compared to economists’ expectations of

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Staying private in a public world

The new rule is: once you express a thought, it’s public. So far, NSA isn’t able to monitor our thinking, but the moment we express ourselves, someone’s watching and taking notes.

So what is to be done? I’ve been waiting for someone to come up with some answers, and I’ve found him:

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Once Reviled, Capitalism is Making an Extraordinary Comeback Worldwide

This article originally appeared at McAlvany Intelligence Advisor

 

Hidden inside an obscure study just released by Barclays is a nugget of huge importance that reflects a sea change in the growth of entrepreneurial capitalism. The results of this development could equal if not exceed those of the

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Left Coast car buyers still like IC engines, shunning EVs despite Obama and his greenies

This is quite extraordinary: new car buyers in Los Angeles still like cars with internal combustion engines, despite efforts to move them into electrics. Galpin Ford in Los Angeles is having its summer sale: 10,000 new cars in the next three months. When asked how many of them will be electrics, Beau Boeckmann (whose family ownes the dealership) estimates about

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Unanimous Supreme Court Ruling on Human Genes is a Split Decision

On Thursday the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that patents on human genes are now void, while the successful creation of synthetic genes may continue to be patented. Both sides of the lawsuit celebrated victory. Mike Adams of Natural News exclaimed: “Sanity prevails: human genes are not eligible for patent protection!” while the ACLU declared: “Victory! Supreme Court Decides Our Genes Belong to Us!”

On the other hand, Myriad Genetics, Inc., the biotechnology company that holds dozens of patents on human genes, wrote:

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Could a Professional Wrestler be the next Senator from Tennessee?

This article first appeared at McAlvany Intelligence Advisor:

 

In gearing up for the 2014 Senate election in Tennessee, the Tennessee Alliance Tea Party & Liberty Groups announced in its newsletter last week that current Senator Lamar Alexander was ripe for extinction:

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Many Positives Coming from the Unfolding NSA Leaker Story

This article was first posted at  the McAlvany Intelligence Adviser:

 

Hardly a sentient soul on planet Earth doesn’t know who Edward Snowden is, but few of them know of the ramifications and positives that are already coming as a result of his leak about NSA spying on Americans’ emails, voicemails, and IMs.

Because of his top-secret clearance across a broad spectrum of surveillance programs developed by the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency, Snowden had a rare opportunity to view the threats to privacy these agencies and their enablers have created. So he decided to do something about it:

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The Bankruptcy of Better Place Served Its Purpose

This article first appeared in the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor newsletter:

 

The announcement of the bankruptcy of a tiny electric car company called Better Place barely created a ripple in financial circles. The Financial Times noted that while Better Place was once “hailed as a visionary pioneer,” it was now being relegated to history as

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Chicago Sun-Times Photographer Shocked – Shocked! – About Being Laid Off

This article first appeared in the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor newsletter:

 

Steve Buyansky, who was, until last Thursday, a professional photographer for three of Sun-Times Media’s 39 suburban papers, said he was surprised when he was asked to turn in his magnetic employee badge and his photographic equipment: “I’m still in shock. I’m not angry right now. Maybe I will be later.”

On what planet has Buyansky been living? How could he not know what was happening in front of his very eyes? Sun-Times Media hasn’t been profitable for years. It filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. Where was Buyansky while that was going on? When the group was bought by Wrapports LLC in 2011, salaries were cut by 15 percent, the pension plan went from defined-benefit to defined-contribution, and seniority rights regarding layoffs were ended. Where was Buyansky then?

In March, the Sun-Times fired several editors and staff members for several of its suburban papers, and consolidated operations of those papers to its downtown location to save money. It had fallen behind in making its monthly payments for the Chicago Tribune which was printing its papers after the Sun-Times shut down its own printing facilities.

The paid circulation base for the Chicago Sun-Times has been shrinking, having lost 25 percent in just the last six years. In its announcement last week, the media group said:

The Sun-Times business is changing rapidly and our audiences are consistently seeking more video content with their news. We have made great progress in meeting this demand and are focused on bolstering our reporting capabilities with video and other multimedia elements.

The Chicago Sun-Times continues to evolve with our digitally savvy customers, and as a result, we have had to restructure the way we manage multimedia, including photography, across the network.

Wrapports thinks there’s still some life in the dinosaur. It’s an investment group made up of Michael Ferro of Merrick Ventures, Timothy Knight (former publisher of Newsday, another newspaper struggling to be profitable), and three other private equity or venture capital firms. They have seen the handwriting on the wall for years. Why hasn’t Buyansky?

The new strategy is to allow, no, require, their remaining news reporters to use their iPhones to take pictures to supplement their articles! What a concept! Talk about being late to the party! Last week it was announced that Facebook gets 208,300 photos uploaded every minute, along with 100 hours of video onto YouTube! Yahoo estimates that next year 880 billion photos will be taken and downloaded somewhere on the Internet.

Efforts to regain profitability have so far come up short. In February Sun-Times launched an online video news program, a 90-second flash news segment. That effort ended in May.

Also in February the paper launched Grid, a Sunday business news magazine that was just ended last month.

Life magazine’s domination of the all-photographic news magazine niche ended in 1972. Efforts to resuscitate the brand failed, and Life published its last issue in April, 2007 – six years ago. Look magazine died in 1972, and no one even tried to resuscitate it. Wasn’t Buyansky aware of that?

Or what about the reality check written by professional photographer Talbert McMullin last summer, entitled “Professional Photography is Going Away?” McMullin saw what’s been happening for years:

My little Panasonic point-and-shoot will take hundreds and hundreds of photos one after another on a single memory card, and it rivals the quality of my Nikon SLRs! That is an amateur photographer’s dream, but unfortunately it is not as beneficial for the pros. Suddenly, the playing field is level for everyone. Technology has not yet put pros out of business, but it is setting the stage – even our mobile phones have cameras!

Professional photography is going away. That’s right, going away. I can’t say it is going to happen today, next week, next month, or even next year, but at some point in the future it will. Fact: The transition has begun. You cannot change it; you can only adapt. Before you wet your pants, please notice I did not say all photography is going away, only professional photography. Ignore or distort the facts at your own peril!

Some professionals will thrive, but the rest will be left behind. The number of successes will continue to shrink until the professional photographer becomes … an anomaly.

What did Buyansky do when he was suddenly informed that his skills as a professional photographer were no longer needed? He joined 10 other equally surprised former photographers from the Sun-Times at the Billy Goat Tavern, a local watering-hole for journos, and celebrated the glory days long past, saying “The Sun-Times had an amazing photo staff.”

The emphasis was on the word “had.”

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Sources:

Chicago Sun-Times Lays Off All Its Full-Time Photographers

Chicago Sun-Times lays off all photographers

Chicago Sun-Times lays off its photo staff

Chicago Sun-Times fires all staff photographers

Reality Check: Professional Photography Is Going Away

How Many Photos Are Uploaded to The Internet Every Minute?

An Editorial: Is the Internet a Photographer’s Friend or Foe?

Look magazine

Life magazine

Wrapports

Newsday

Who is Jason Furman?

This was initially posted at McAlvany Intelligence Advisor:

 

With Monday’s announcement that Jason Furman will be taking over from Alan Krueger as chairman of President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, some have asked: who is he?

The short answer is that he is a

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US Now Produces More Oil than it Imports for the First Time since 1995

When Brantley Hargrove noted in the Dallas Observer on Thursday that the US produced more oil than it consumed during the last week in May (for the first time since February, 1995) he was awfully quick to give nearly all the credit to Texas. But he was proud, nevertheless:

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Slowing Economy Confirmed

The report from Automatic Data Processing (ADP) on Wednesday morning surprised economists once again by coming in substantially below their expectations. The 135,000 new private sector jobs created in May were way below the

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Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.