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Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 1:02pmSanction this postReply
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This book is ground-breaking. It is like reading Thomas Paine or John Locke (in the very first year that they published their masterpieces involving rights). Like the Magna Carta, it has the potential to alter human politics forever. Forgive me if, in retrospect, it turns out that I've overstated the importance of this book. It just feels so damned exhilarating and validating to hear the whistle blown on these vultures.

Ed

p.s., At least 2 thirds of all the corruption cited was from the Democrat side -- i.e., those wolves who wear the most sheep clothing.

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 11/29, 1:06pm)




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Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 2:29pmSanction this postReply
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Error -- Reposted in the Obama's speech thread in the general forum (where it was originally intended).

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 12/07, 2:39pm)




Post 2

Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 2:30pmSanction this postReply
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Oops, I posted this in the wrong thread!

:-)

Ed




Post 3

Monday, January 23 - 8:22amSanction this postReply
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The question of why Obama might want to interfere with the Keystone Pipeline came up in another thread.

The answer is that if you -- by force of government -- have the power and the ability to interfere with the production of value (by others), then you can make yourself and your cronies rich (even if everyone else is harmed). Sometimes it's pure blackmail, sometimes it's simply to rig the game to cover the hedged bets that you or your friends had already made -- things already invested into. Either way, it immorally socializes the costs of doing business and creates financial ruin for the country. Here is a telling bullet point list from the introduction of this book:
--The average American investor  underperforms the market.
--The average corporate insider, trading his own company's stock, beats the market by 7% a year.
--The average hedge fund beats the market by between 7% and 8% a year.
--The average senator beats the market by 12% a year.(11)
Ed

p.s., Reference # 11 in the 4th bullet point above is actually a triple reference to: Ziobrowski et al., 2004; Barber & Odean, 2000; and to Jeng, Metrick, & Zeckhauser, 2003.

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 1/23, 8:26am)




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Post 4

Saturday, January 28 - 6:39amSanction this postReply
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 Throw Them All Out on BookTV (link).



Post 5

Saturday, January 28 - 1:34pmSanction this postReply
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Thanks, Merlin. That was an excellent video - worth watching! Among others, I no longer look at Warren Buffet in same way.



Post 6

Saturday, January 28 - 4:41pmSanction this postReply
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Steve,

Yeah, I remember Ayn Rand saying she doesn't consider some millionaire/billionaire CEOs to be capitalists. Warren Buffett is definitely not a capitalist (in the non-crony sense). He is a crony on the same level as George Soros and Jeffrey Immelt. They can be considered -- to draw from my Christian past -- to be an unholy trinity, of sorts.

:-)

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 1/28, 4:47pm)




Post 7

Sunday, January 29 - 5:18amSanction this postReply
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Steve, I watched the show on TV and recall Buffett being mentioned. But I wasn't paying full attention at the time and don't remember what was said. Do you remember what was said or the time of it?

Ed, I wouldn't call Buffett a crony capitalist, but his political views are typical Democrat. Soros is far, far worse.



Post 8

Sunday, January 29 - 7:38amSanction this postReply
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Merlin,

Have you read the book? The reason I ask is that you make it seem as if Warren Buffet is just a cheerleader on the sidelines, waving some Democrat banner every once in while, while going about his personal business of running a business most of the time. You make him out to be at least a partially-honest businessman, earning his profits in the capitalist way of earning profits.

But this is not the way that he has done "business" for the last several years. As indirect evidence of this, in the Index of Schweizer's book, the entry on Warren Buffett (p 200) is one of the longest, most-cited entries. Here it is:

Buffet, Warren, 34
--benefits from TARP, 112, 115
--buys Burlington Northern, 116-17
--and crony capitalism, 115-16
--in economic crisis of 2008, 106-7
--invests in General Electric, 110, 112, 114
--invests in Goldman Sachs, 107-10, 112-13, 114-15
--Lampe on, 117
--Paulson and, 113-14
--popular image of, 106-7, 118
--proposes Public-Private Investment Program (PPIP), 113-14, 115
--Rattner on, 119
--Stoll on, 115
--Summers on, 113
--supports Obama, 107-8, 116, 118
--supports TARP, 107-9, 111
--Winkler on, 112-13

And, for persepective, here is the Index entry for George Soros:

Soros, George, 103
--and currency speculation, 125-26
--invests in alternative energy companies, 131-32
--invests in technology companies, 128-32
--as Obama economic adviser, 127-28
--and political connections, 126-29
--political views, 125
--Rahn on, 126
--Rich on, 126
--supports Center for American Progress, 128
--supports Obama, 93, 127
--Vachon on, 125-26
--and Zoi, 132

So Soros got 12 'mentions' and Buffett got 16 'mentions.' Now, believe me, this is not a book where you would want to get a lot of mentions! Buffett's hands are dirty. He is not a 'businessman' in the Randian sense of the term.

Ed

(Edited by Ed Thompson on 1/29, 7:39am)




Post 9

Sunday, January 29 - 9:02amSanction this postReply
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Have you read the book?
No.
You make him out to be at least a partially-honest businessman, earning his profits in the capitalist way of earning profits.
Are you trying to say he is completely dishonest?
Buffett's hands are dirty. He is not a 'businessman' in the Randian sense of the term.

Hank Rearden or Orren Boyle? :-)




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Post 10

Sunday, January 29 - 10:55amSanction this postReply
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Merlin,

I was using literary license and overstepped the boundaries of logic when I said that Warren Buffet is not even a partially-honest businessman.

An example is given in the book. It's a story about a board meeting at Berkshire Hathaway, where Buffet was being real honest about soaking the public for some unearned profits -- forcefully redistributed from the taxpayers, for their own good. In between the lines, he said that they were going to be taking the taxpayer's money, and that they would be good stewards of that money. So he was making it clear that there would be some reciprocity: 'I take your money against your will, and I offer a decent service in return.'

I don't have the book in front of me, but I'm pretty sure this is what he said about taxpayer subsidies for Burlington Northern. It's not a pretty picture, and it is certainly not a (non-crony) capitalist one.

Ed




Post 11

Sunday, January 29 - 12:22pmSanction this postReply
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Merlin,

I don't remember the spot in the video where Buffet was mentioned - and it wasn't a long section - nor do I remember the specifics.

I'd always admired Buffet as a financial genius. Someone with an uncanny ability to pick investments and manage them. I still think that is true. But I think that as time went on, and he saw the large returns available in this economy when one had some government help, he started dabbling in that. Just my opinion.

Here is something else I heard recently. Buffet profits from the Keystone pipeline not being constructed because of his railroad holdings that transport tankers of oil. I've also heard that he closed down several coal fired electrical plants under control of his electrical company and then raised the electrical rates for the area - a move to get cleaner fuel for electrical generation while passing the cost on to the consumers. I have no details on these, or verification on either of them. Both could be nonsense. They are from people I know in Wyoming who liked the idea of burning their own coal to generate the electricity they used.



Post 12

Sunday, January 29 - 12:55pmSanction this postReply
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Here is something else I heard recently. Buffet profits from the Keystone pipeline not being constructed because of his railroad holdings that transport tankers of oil.
Not only railroad people have spoke against it for business reasons. Domestic oil producers have, too. The Keystone pipeline would bring oil from Canada, which is obviously competition for oil sourced in the USA.

The day after BO's State of the Union address -- correction, campaign speech -- the stock price of Continental Resources (ticker CLR), with oil properties mainly in the USA, rose about 11%. The CEO appeared on Cramer's "Mad Money" that day, but part of the price jump may also have been to BO's speech.



Post 13

Monday, January 30 - 5:21pmSanction this postReply
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Merlin that arguement would hold some merit if the usa was not importing oil from saudi and other international sources. One of the benefits of importing oil from canada would be lessening the usa's reliance on oil from countries that are either directly funding or indirectly being complacent at best those that want to do harm to american citizens through terrorist activities.
Not one dollar of canadian oil is used to oppress its own people.
In canada women can hold jobs, drive cars and not wear burkas(unless they want to of course).
In canada females are not beheaded just for wanting to learn to read...come to think of it they aren't beheaded for any reason..



Post 14

Monday, January 30 - 6:25pmSanction this postReply
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Jules,

... come to think of it they aren't beheaded for any reason.

:-)

You crack me up, man!

Ed




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Post 15

Monday, January 30 - 8:07pmSanction this postReply
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The whole business of Energy Independence and the business of not buying from countries that support terrorism and don't like us is a little peculiar. The situation doesn't arise where we only use the oil that we produce. "We" is shorthand for those who purchase oil that are part of the U.S. market. And what we pay is set by the global market place. Those facts don't change if we produce more than we use or less than we use.

Oil is a fungible, homogeneous commodity. It is a world market. If we were bringing in oil via the Keystone pipeline it would decrease the transportation costs of the oil and those savings will eventually show up in the market place price per barrel - a global market price - and they will be very minor offsets. There will be profits available locally that won't appear for us if the pipeline goes the Canadian West coast. Those savings could have gone into "our" productivity account instead of just Canada's... Oh, well.

The production of all energy sources should be strictly free market issues and should have no government involvement (apart from leasing mineral rights on government controlled property which should be unfettered but for an adequate, required liability insurance requirement).



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Monday, January 30 - 8:35pmSanction this postReply
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You are right Steve, what also drives me nuts is the way obama just blames it all on the republicans for forcing the issue, reminds of of a 3 year old throwing a tantrum in public for not getting something he wants.

20000 jobs lost just to build it plus all the economic offshoots once it is built and he just gave the finger to the american people on so many levels...



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Thursday, February 2 - 11:27pmSanction this postReply
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SW: "The production of all energy sources should be strictly free market issues and should have no government involvement (apart from leasing mineral rights on government controlled property which should be unfettered but for an adequate, required liability insurance requirement)."

You have something in mind, but to me the words you used are ambiguously endorsements of public enterprise. I am not saying that you advocate for that, but only that if I did not know you, it would seem that way. What lands would a limited constitutional government own?

"... rom leasing mineral rights on government controlled property which should be unfettered but for ..."

And you really do not intend that I should be allowed to show up in the Capitol basement with my pick and shovel.





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Friday, February 3 - 12:55amSanction this postReply
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What lands would a limited constitutional government own?
As little as possible. But, often people forget that we are where we are and that it is a very long way from here to where we want to go. Minarchy is still off in a distant future.

It wouldn't make any sense to say that no drilling can be done till all public lands have been sold into private hands. We need to continue to push for energy development and minimize government intervention. Getting the political understanding and the political will to sell off all public lands is not going to happen as fast.

During the time that the government is managing public lands, or holding the responsibility for offshore rights, there needs to be a way to manage that with the least government intervention. My point was not that government should own land, but that government regulations are not the way to protect against things like offshore oil rig leaks. It simply isn't efficient. Better to let private insurance be the guarantor. I insure my property against those risks I don't want to carry. The government should manage damages in the same way. If I were drilling oil on property I owned, I'd look for a policy to cover the liability should my activities cause oil to spill on the property of others.



Post 19

Friday, February 3 - 3:29pmSanction this postReply
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Steve, do you have any kind of a specific proposal. 
 I do not know much about Public Lands issues.  Perhaps you can disassemble these.

The Teapot Dome scandal was a bribery incident that took place in the United States in 192223, during the administration of President Warren G. Harding. Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall leased Navy petroleum reserves at Teapot Dome and two other locations to private oil companies at low rates without competitive bidding. In 1922 and 1923, the leases became the subject of a sensational investigation by Senator Thomas J. Walsh. Fall was later convicted of accepting bribes from the oil companies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Teapot_Dome_scandal

Multiple-Use Conflict Resolution Act
The Multiple-Use Conflict Resolution Act introduced in Congress would provide compensation to ranchers who voluntarily relinquish a federal grazing permit or lease on public lands where conflicts with other multiple uses render livestock grazing impractical. The bill would pay federal grazing permittees/lessees $175 per animal unit month to permanently retire their permit or lease.
http://publiclandsranching.org/

Grazing fees on federal public lands will remain the same in 2012, officials with the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management said Wednesday.
The fees apply to 26,000 permits held by livestock producers in 16 western states.
In Montana, the decision affects 3,766 grazing permits on BLM lands and 772 grazing permits on forest lands.
The federal grazing fees for the year will remain at $1.35 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the BLM, and $1.35 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the Forest Service ...
Bing News Here



I just don't see how this could work well.   I mean, if the government is going to "private" insurance for something, you know the outcome that is easy to predict.. It is not accidental.  Do you have some other facts?




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