Friday, May 27, 2016

In an Open Letter, Gawker Founder Calls Peter Thiel “Thin-Skinned” and a “Comic Book Villain”

A day after Silicon Valley billionaire and co-founder of PayPal, Peter Thiel, publicly admitted he had given about $10 million to fund multiple lawsuits against Gawker Media, the site’s founder, Nick Denton, published an open letter to Thiel, calling him “thin-skinned” and a “comic book villain” and challenging him to a public debate about the role of journalism in society.

“I can see how tempting it would be to use Silicon Valley’s most abundant resource, a vast fortune, against the harsh words of the writers of a small New York media company,”Denton wrote. “We have our devices; you have yours.”

The full letter is here.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

My Interview with John McAfee

Earlier today, I interviewed John McAfee, who is seeking to be the presidential nominee  of the Libertarian Party.

I asked him  how he became a libertarian and what he thought about Murray Rothbard, among many questions. You won't want to miss the answers.

The interview will be posted here at Target Liberty tomorrow morning.


Trump Sets the Terms for a Debate With Bernie

He says he will do it for a $10 million donation to charity.

Actually, it would be smart for Bernie to try and raise the money and make the donation.

He might be able to do it. He has already raised more than $200 million---though he has spent most of it.


Say What? Did Scott Adams Notice the Hulk Hogan-Gawker Libel Case Took Place in a Government Court?

Scott Adams, who is creator of the Dilbert cartoon, wrote on his blog on Wednesday in defense of Peter Thiel's funding of the Hulk Hogan libel suit (SEE: Billionaire Peter Thiel Admits Funding Hulk Hogan's Legal Fees to the Tune of $10 Million):
This is another example in which I think citizens are taking a more active role in fixing the world when government isn’t the right tool for the job.
Not quite, the suit was brought in a government court using government laws.


Billionaire Peter Thiel Admits Funding Hulk Hogan's Legal Fees to the Tune of $10 Million

PayPal co-founder and Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel admitted Wednesday he has paid out approximately $10 million to finance Hulk Hogan’s winning invasion-of-privacy lawsuit against Gawker, claiming the act was “one of my greater philanthropic things that I’ve done.”

Gawker outed Thiel as gay though “It’s less about revenge and more about specific deterrence,” Thiel told NYT.

“I saw Gawker pioneer a unique and incredibly damaging way of getting attention by bullying people even when there was no connection with the public interest.”

Here's NYT with some background:
Silicon Valley likes to keep the media on a tight leash. Tech executives expect obedience, if not reverence, from reporters. They dole out information as grudgingly as possible. Sometimes they simply buy a chunk of a publication, a time-honored method of influencing what is deemed fit to write about.

Valleywag declined to play the game.

It was a gossip sheet for the digital age: abrasive, knowing, cynical, self-promoting, sometimes unfair. It dispensed snark by the truckload, printing things that people knew or surmised but were off the table. It said Google co-founder Larry Page had dated his then-colleague, Marissa Mayer. That the Google chairman Eric Schmidt was a playboy and a scamp. That the Napster co-founder and early Facebook executive Sean Parker’s wedding was seriously over the top.

Most notoriously, at least in retrospect, the tech gossip blog said in late 2007 that Peter Thiel, who co-founded PayPal and was an early and significant investor in Facebook, was gay.

Outing famous people has a long and not particularly respectable history, but Valleywag said it was celebrating Mr. Thiel. The point, as Valleywag’s then-editor Owen Thomas wrote in his post, was that even in Silicon Valley, “a gay investor has no way to fit into the old establishment. That frees him or her to build a different, hopefully better system for identifying and rewarding talented individuals, and unleashing their work on the world.”

This was gossip with an attitude, and an agenda. And what it unleashed was Mr. Thiel’s ire. He secretly financed a suit brought by the wrestler Hulk Hogan against Valleywag’s parent, Gawker Media, which has resulted in $140 million in damages. Gawker is appealing.

As I have pointed out, Walter Block has argued that in a libertarian society libel is not a violation of the non-aggression principle. (SEE:Defending The Undefendable).

Thiel claims to be a libertarian and also will be a Trump delegate at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

I reviewed his book here.


BREAKING: Donald Trump Has Reached the Number of Delegates Needed to Clinch the GOP Nomination

Via AP

Trump was put over the top in the Associated Press delegate count by a small number of the party’s unbound delegates who told the AP they would support him at the convention.

It takes 1,237 delegates to win the Republican nomination for president. Trump has reached 1,238. With 303 delegates at stake in five state primaries on June 7, Trump will easily pad his total, avoiding a contested convention in Cleveland in July.

Trump and Sanders Agree to Debate Each Other for Charity?

Donald Trump late Wednesday said that he is ready and willing to debate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for charity, reports The Hill.

“Yes, I am,” he said on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!" "How much is he going to pay me? If he paid a nice sum toward a charity, I’d love to do that.

Sanders agreed to the idea. He tweeted out:

Trump Blasts Neocon Bill Kristol

(Via LRC)

The House the Obama's Will Live in After They Leave the White HOuse

According to Politico, President Obama  will lease an 8,200-square-foot 9-bedroom mansion in the Kalorama neighborhood of Washington D.C. after he leaves the White House.

The TSA In Action: They Gave My $2,800 Macbook to Another Passenger

By Eric Cheng

On Friday, I lost my $2,800 Apple MacBook Pro by following standard TSA security protocols at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX).

I look back on the series of events that led to the lost computer with incredulity, and although all of the TSA staff and LAX airport police were courteous, I am still without my computer and am unsure whether or not I will be reimbursed for my loss.

Here’s what happened:

At 4:00pm on Friday, May 20, I was at the TSA security station at Delta Terminal 5, Lane 3. Per the standard (non-Pre) TSA process, I removed my 15.4” Apple MacBook Pro from my backpack and placed it in a bin. I removed my shoes and incidentals and placed them in a second bin. Behind me, I could hear a woman making a big scene because her “flight [was] at 4:15,” and her gigantic bag was clearly never going to fit on the airplane. She claimed multiple times that “the lady” told her she could bring it through security. At least 3 TSA agents were dealing with her as we moved closer to the X-Ray machine, and most of the people in the area were watching the altercation.

I arrived at the entrance to the X-Ray machine, pushed my 2 bags and 2 bins through, and stepped into the body scanner. When I stepped in, I realized that I had left my belt on, and went back to put it through the X-Ray machine. I almost always fly using TSA Precheck so I’m accustomed to not removing my belt (and computer), but this particular airplane ticket was booked by a conference, so I was in the normal line

The body scanner line wasn’t long, so this put me 2-3 people between me and my original position. I emerged from the scanner without any problems, collected my 2 bags and incidentals, and proceeded into Terminal 5. After awhile, I looked into my backpack and realized that I didn’t have my computer. My heart skipped a beat! I turned around and rushed to the security area. During the walk back, I was thinking that I didn’t even remember seeing my computer on the belt when I collected my things, but I always assume that human memory is terrible, so I couldn’t be positive.

I arrived at the security area, flagged down a TSA agent, and told her that I must have left my computer there, but that I didn’t remember seeing it on the belt. She left to look around; I wanted for about 5 minutes and never saw her again. I flagged down a second agent,

Reda the rest here.

(ht Dale Fitzgerald)

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Trump Aide Accidentally Reveals Plan to Attack Hillary on Whitewater

Donald Trump wants to attack Hillary Clinton over the over the decades-old shady Whitewater real estate deal — a strategy inadvertently revealed when one of his top aides spilled the beans in an email sent to the wrong person.

Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks disclosed the plan when she sent an email detailing Team Trump’s intentions to Marc Caputo, a reporter for Politico, when she meant to send it to Trump campaign adviser Michael Caputo.

Her response was part of a chain that originated when Michael Caputo messaged a Republican National Committee researcher asking him to “work up information on HRC/Whitewater as soon as possible,” Politico reports.

(via NyPo)

Glenn Beck, Brad Thor Discuss a ‘Patriot’ Taking Out Donald Trump

Here's the latest from the very curious character, Glenn Beck. The American Mirror reports:

Talk radio host Glenn Beck and best-selling author Brad Thor believe the only way to get a President Trump out of office is for a “patriot” to apparently kill him.
Appearing on Beck’s radio program this morning, Thor said:
I am about to suggest something very bad. It is a hypothetical I am going to ask as a thriller writer.
With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President? If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that if, if, he oversteps his mandate as president, his constitution-mandated authority as president, I should say.
If he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? And I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office, because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.
Beck responded, “I would agree with you on that.”

James Bovard Blasts the War On Terror

SERIOUS EVIL Anti-Marijuana, Neocon Billionaire Joins Trump-RNC Fund Raising Team

The former Ambassador Mel Sembler  has been named to the joint Trump-RNC fundraising team. 

This guy is total bad news.

Right Web reports:
Sembler has been a consistent supporter of militarist advocacy campaigns for many years, serving on the board of trustees of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and joining Adelson to help bankroll the lobbying group Freedom’s Watch, which was founded in 2007 in part to promote the hardline Middle East agenda pushed by the George W. Bush administration. 
Sembler also supported the Liz Cheney-led pressure group Keep America Safe (KAS). Established in 2009 to create political ads attacking Democrats and promote a hawkish view of U.S. security, KAS advisers have included neoconservative pundits William Kristol and Michael Goldfarb. Discussing his support for the group, Sembler told Newsweek, “I love Liz Cheney and what she's doing," stating that he intended to be "as supportive [of KAS] as my budget will allow."...
As a funder and organizer of Freedom’s Watch, a group whose supporters included former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, Sembler placed himself at the center of Bush administration efforts to garner support for the “surge” in Iraq and for get-tough policies on Iran, as well as domestic issues like immigration. Soon after it was founded in 2007, Freedom’s Watch went on the offensive in support of these issues, creating a series of television ads that proclaimed “victory is America’s only choice.”

Sembler also is an activist against medical marijuana. The East Bay Express reports:
On Friday, billionaire drug war profiteer Mel Sembler vowed to raise $10 million to defeat Measure 2 [a medical marijuna initiative]. 
Sembler told a Florida reporter that: “We’re trying to save lives and people’s brains,” the Drug Free America founder said. “It’s not a medicine.”...In 2012, The Nation magazine called the strip mall developer Sembler the GOP Mogul behind drug treatment “torture” centers shut down for child abuse allegations. Sembler has taken hundreds of thousands of federal tax dollars to push workplace drug testing

In politics, follow the money players to know what candidates are really all about.

Sembler wouldn't go near Trump if he wasn't comfortable with Trump's position on overseas military interventions and domestically Trump's position on the "drug war."


Oh Yeah!! The Ultimate 2016 Libertarian Party Ticket

(ht Adam Dick)

Trump: The RNC is Forcing Rich People’s Money on Me

What's this? The great negotiator is having trouble negotiating with the Republican Party where he will become the nominee?

Hey, try selling me the Brooklyn Bridge instead.

Donald Trump says he is only asking wealthy donors for their money because the Republican National Committee wants him to, reports NyPo.

Trump is holding his first fundraisers this week, including a $25,000-per-ticket dinner today in Los Angeles.

For every check he solicits for the RNC, the first $5,400 goes to Trump’s primary and general election campaign accounts. The rest is spread among the RNC and 11 state parties.

Asked by the AP if he sees a contradiction in asking for money after repeatedly saying he stood above the other candidates because he didn’t, Trump said, “No, because I’m raising money for the party. And if I didn’t do it this way, I wouldn’t be able to raise money for the party.”

There is no requirement that a presidential candidate’s fundraising agreement with the party include his or her own campaign.


Swedish Court Upholds Julian Assange Arrest Warrant

No surprise here. The court rules the way The Empire wants it.

A Swedish court today upheld the arrest warrant of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, with a Swedish prosecutor saying there's still probable cause to prosecute him on the absurd rape allegation and that "the risk of him evading justice is still large."

Assange's legal team immediately issued its own statement, saying it will appeal to a higher court.


The Creation of the Constitution Was an Evil Counter-Revolutionary Action

It undid the radical revolution.

A fascinating discussion between Sheldon Richman and Joshua Bennett: here.

This is a good one, find the time to listen to it.


Peter Thiel Has Been Secretly Funding Hulk Hogan's Mukti-Million Dollar Lawsuits Against Gawker

So claims Forbes.

Of course, Walter Block has argued that in a libertraian society libel is not a violation of the non-aggression principle. (SEE:Defending The Undefendable)


DEATH BY TSA: How the TSA Kills Hundreds of People Every Year

By Joseph Salerno

Experts increasingly agree that the TSA is inept and has not actually prevented any terrorist attacks on airplanes.  Recently,  Homeland Security sent a team to attempt to smuggle guns and bombs onto planes. The so-called "red team" succeeded on 67 out of 70 tries, or more than 95 percent of the time!  Bruce Schneier, a security expert, reportedly found "basically zero evidence the agency has prevented any attacks."  Even in the widely publicized (by the TSA) case of Kevin Brown, the TSA didn't prevent an airplane from being blown up, because Brown was caught trying to check luggage containing materials for making a pipe bomb.  But the TSA has never touted a case in which they caught someone actually trying to bring down a plane.  (They claim that this is for national security reasons, which oddly did not apply to the Brown case.)
Not only is there an absence of evidence that the TSA saves lives, there is evidence that it may actually cause a significant number of deaths. In one paper, economists Garrick Blalock, Vrinda Kadiyali, and Daniel Simon estimated that, all other factors held constant, baggage screening procedures implemented after 9/11 reduced passenger volume by 6 percent overall and by 9 percent on planes departing from the nation's 50 busiest airports.  Interestingly, the study also found that the introduction of federalized passenger screening did not significantly reduce passenger volume. The authors integrated these results with those of an earlier paper they had written on the direct effect of 9/11 on reducing airline travel and increasing driving and, therefore, deaths in auto accidents.  The authors concluded that, over a three-month period,  
approximately 129 individuals died in automobile accidents which resulted from travelers substituting driving for flying in response to inconvenience associated with baggage screening.
As one commentator starkly noted, this figure when annualized is "the equivalent of four fully-loaded Boeing 737s crashing each year." While one may quibble with the precise figures, a number of studies in the wake of 9/11 has confirmed the link between a reduction in airline passenger volume and an increase in driving and, inevitably, the number of fatalities from auto accidents.  
In sum, the benefits of the TSA are negligible and the costs include—in addition to an annual  budget of $7 billion—possibly hundreds of deaths per year. In light of these facts, considerations of economic efficiency and of basic human decency demand that the TSA be abolished and that the important task of providing  security for airline passengers be handed over to the competing airlines and airports, who are eager to find efficient, effective, and passenger-friendly market solutions to guarding their property, reputation, and the lives of their customers.      

The above originally appeared at

Justin Raimondo vs. Sheldon Richmond et al.