Penn Jillette Goes Off On Obama’s War On Drugs

An excellent rant, which is not an easy thing to pull off.

Guest Post: BBC Interview with Nassim Taleb on JPMorgan

Republished with permission from Jesse’s Cafe.

“It is one of the serious evils of our present system of banking that it enables one class of society, and that by no means a numerous one, by its control over the currency to act injuriously upon the interests of all the others and to exercise more than its just proportion of influence in political affairs.”

Andrew Jackson, Farewell Address

Rational people keep struggling with the ‘why’ of all this. I think the struggle is because they start with some wrong assumptions about morally rational behaviour and motives. As Rick Santelli likes to say, traders are not moral when they are trading.

I keep coming back to William K. Black’s explanation for this enormous attraction to multi-trillion dollar bets at JPM

“Financial institutions such as JPMorgan love to buy derivatives because they are opaque, create fictional income that leads to real bonuses and when (not if) they suffer losses so large that they would cause the bank to fail, they will be bailed out.”

William K Black

The more I look into this and think about it, the more that Barack Obama’s ‘favorite banker’ looks like Enron in their heyday.

I wonder how far the US will go to prevent the failure of their ‘best bank’ from spoiling the grand illusion, and how many lives of the poor and the middle class will be sacrificed to the god of greed and power.

The Gilded Age and the Gold Standard

Interesting video from Mises¬†about America’s Gilded Age, during which the nation experienced its fastest period of growth. A gold standard was in place during most of this remarkable period, and of course there was no income tax.

The Trials of Henry Kissinger

A great documentary on one of the most controversial figures in recent US history. The film asks a central question: is Kissinger a war criminal for his actions in Vietnam, Chile, Indonesia, Cambodia, and beyond? It’s a question worth exploring.

Film is by Alex Gibney and Eugene Jarecki. Their website is here.

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