Mortgages Are Bullshit (Amagi Podcast @ Think Liberty Episode 7)

Join Dylan and Nima and they break down the details behind what most people have already caught themselves saying at one point or another… Mortgages are bullshit!

Mortgages Are Bullshit lesson by Dylan on Youtube:

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Airbus, Alabama, and Minimum Wage Legislation

The WSJ writes Airbus’s New Push: Made in the U.S.A.:

Airbus announced plans to start assembling passenger jets in the U.S. starting in 2015, a move likely to affect labor and trade relations on both sides of the Atlantic.

Airbus outlined the plan Monday at an event in Mobile attended by U.S. suppliers, airlines and politicians, carefully stage-managed amid potential negative reaction on both sides of the Atlantic. EADS shares rose 2% Monday in Paris.

The company said it would create 1,000 jobs at its Brookley Aeroplex in Mobile, doubling the company’s U.S. workforce. One assembly-plant job typically supports up to four at suppliers, Airbus said. Parts for the aircraft will be shipped to Mobile from Hamburg, the site of an existing single-aisle Airbus assembly plant.

“We go where the talent is,” Airbus Chief Executive Fabrice Bregier said in Mobile ahead of a parade of local politicians welcoming the $600 million investment. He didn’t respond directly when asked whether the move would shift employment to the U.S. from Europe. The company’s European unions have voiced concern about production moving overseas, according to French media reports.

He said labor flexibility afforded by a union-free facility in right-to-work Alabama helped drive the plan. So, too, did the opportunity to change the balance of dollar-generated revenue with costs that are generated mainly in euros.

Remember that Alabama has no state imposed minimum wage:

Clickable map of America

About 3 years ago I wrote about The Effects of Different Minimum Wages in Different States:

Expect those states with minimum wages above the federal level (green) to experience problems with their minimum wage legislation sooner or later. That portion of unemployment which is to be imputed upon minimum wage laws will be significantly higher there. Thus overall unemployment is likely to be sustained at much higher levels there. We may see a noticeable exodus of workers from those green states to some of the red, blue, or yellow states over time.

That concept applies globally as much as it does nationally.

On How Minimum Wage Laws Create Unemployment:

States and the federal government have to pay serious attention to this issue. If market wages across the country fall below the minimum wage, long-term mass unemployment will ensue and not go away anytime soon. Lots of people will of course seek refuge on the black market, get paid in cash, and pay no taxes. But to the extent that governments actually enforce those minimum wages that are fixed above market wages, I see nothing but trouble ahead on the employment market.

Recent events in Wisconsin and a general trend towards Right to Work legislation in several states suggests that even politicians are beginning to recognize the necessity of clawing back on the aggression and threats that are inherent in so called “pro-labor” legislation, if their tax livestock and with that their tax farms are to generate enough output moving forward.

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California To Impose Internet Tax – Amazon Shuts Down California Retailers

Today I received the following email from the Amazon Associates Team:


For well over a decade, the Amazon Associates Program has worked with thousands of California residents. Unfortunately, a potential new law that may be signed by Governor Brown compels us to terminate this program for California-based participants. It specifically imposes the collection of taxes from consumers on sales by online retailers – including but not limited to those referred by California-based marketing affiliates like you – even if those retailers have no physical presence in the state.

We oppose this bill because it is unconstitutional and counterproductive. It is supported by big-box retailers, most of which are based outside California, that seek to harm the affiliate advertising programs of their competitors. Similar legislation in other states has led to job and income losses, and little, if any, new tax revenue. We deeply regret that we must take this action.

As a result, we will terminate contracts with all California residents that are participants in the Amazon Associates Program as of the date (if any) that the California law becomes effective. We will send a follow-up notice to you confirming the termination date if the California law is enacted. In the event that the California law does not become effective before September 30, 2011, we withdraw this notice. As of the termination date, California residents will no longer receive advertising fees for sales referred to [ ], [ ], MYHABIT.COM [ ] or [ ]. Please be assured that all qualifying advertising fees earned on or before the termination date will be processed and paid in full in accordance with the regular payment schedule.

You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you are a resident of California. If you are not currently a resident of California, or if you are relocating to another state in the near future, you can manage the details of your Associates account here [ ]. And if you relocate to another state in the near future please contact us [ ] for reinstatement into the Amazon Associates Program.

To avoid confusion, we would like to clarify that this development will only impact our ability to offer the Associates Program to California residents and will not affect their ability to purchase from [ ], [ ], MYHABIT.COM [ ] or [ ].

We have enjoyed working with you and other California-based participants in the Amazon Associates Program and, if this situation is rectified, would very much welcome the opportunity to re-open our Associates Program to California residents. We are also working on alternative ways to help California residents monetize their websites and we will be sure to contact you when these become available.


The Amazon Associates Team

The government is a group of people that aggressively extorts money from a defenseless and largely disarmed majority. They use it to protect and cement the privileged position of established and campaign-financing organizations who fear competition from those annoying, small, and dynamic entrepreneurs who push down prices.

In the process it always cripples commerce to one degree or another. So long as the tax livestock remains productive and obedient, such occurrences can be shrugged off as regrettable but “necessary” collateral damage.

I submit the letter above as yet another piece of evidence in the long list of items that corroborate this thesis.

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Celebrity Memorabilia Auction in Beverly Hills Achieves Record Prices

Once again I spent a weekend with one of our clients, Julien’s Auctions, supporting our auction software during the Icons & Idols sale in Beverly Hills, California.

You can look up the results for Icons and Idols (Fri,Sa) and the Johnny Cash sale (Sun) online.

Here are some press statements about this weekend’s sale:

From Rolling Stone:

A single glove worn by Michael Jackson on his Bad tour sold for $330,000 on Saturday.

The glove drew the highest price at the “Icons and Idols” auction, held at Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. Other Jackson items that were sold include a signed jacket and a fedora he wore onstage, which went for $96,000 and $72,000 respectively. A costume made for Jackson’s pet chimp Bubbles was also reportedly up for auction, but it is unknown whether it sold.

… actually, it is known. It sold for $11,250.

Th AP writes Johnny Cash jumpsuit brings $50,000 at auction:

“The Man in Black” was dressed in blue as he rehearsed for a 1969 concert at San Quentin.

The embroidered blue jumpsuit that Johnny Cash wore to practice caused a bidding war during a memorabilia auction Sunday, bringing in nearly 10 times what was expected.

The suit was expected to sell for $5,000, but was eventually claimed for $50,000 by a collector from Belgium, said Darren Julien, president and CEO of Julien’s Auctions in Beverly Hills. He would not name the buyer.

The auction of 321 lots sold for over $700,000, nearly twice what was expected, Julien said Monday.

The late country singer was photographed in the suit giving a concert photographer “The Finger.”

That photo was used in a 1998 Billboard magazine ad purchased by Cash’s record company to sarcastically thank Nashville and country radio after he received a best country album Grammy for “Unchained.”

“Johnny Cash is highly collectible. He’s got global appeal, especially for a country artist. He was the first country music artist who was collectible. He set the standard,” Julien said.

An international group of fans, collectors and investors took part in the auction, by phone or in person, he said.

A poster announcing Cash’s performance at the prison sold for $25,000, a 1968 passport for $21,875 and a Martin guitar for $50,000.

A shirt made by Nudie Cohn and worn by Cash when he was grand marshal of the American Bicentennial Grand Parade in 1976 brought in $31,250 and a pair of Cash’s knee-high boots sold for $21,875.

Cash died in 2003 of complications from diabetes.

Because he performed at prison so often and led a rather rowdy life early in his career, many people believed he served time in prison. He did not, although he battled drug addiction over the years and received a suspended jail sentence in 1965 on a misdemeanor narcotics charge in Texas.

Here are some details on the lot, in case you are interested.

Well, why am I writing all this? To show you that one thing’s for sure: The one group of people who are well and alive and thriving in this financial crisis are the super-duper rich. And they are surely doing their part in driving up prices in investments left and right, be it commodities or be it celebrity memorabilia.

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Julien’s Celebrity Auction Achieves Record Results

This will be a little bit of an off-topic post.

The past five days I was busy in Las Vegas, supporting Julien’s Auctions run their live sales via, which is powered 100% by my company’s auction software which I conceptualized together with my business partners and which was implemented and is constantly being refined and improved by our brilliant and dedicated team of developers.

Among other things, Michael Jackson’s crystal glove sold for over $190,000, his Beat It jacket changed owners for over $130,000 and Marylin Monroe’s chest X-rays (!!) sold for over $45,000.

The sale was a huge success and has shown the world how well we are able to support live auctions in real time while people from all over the world participate and how superior our thin client bidding application is to comparable bidding applications that require people to install heavy plugins.

Here are some news articles about the sale.

Michael Jackson Glove Fetches $190,000 At Auction:

One of Michael Jackson’s crystal-studded gloves has fetched $190,000 at auction.

The glove, worn during the singer’s Victory Tour in 1984, was the star lot during the sale at Julien’s Auctions in Las Vegas.

Other items included a worn pair of Jackson’s loafers, which sold for $90,000. A stage jacket, expected to raise $6,000, sold for $120,000.

“It just shows you Michael Jackson is the most sought after and most collectible celebrity of all time. It was just phenomenal,” auction owner Darren Julien told the Las Vegas Review Journal..

“People flew in from Asia, Russia, all over. Now that he’s gone, we now realise the true legend we lost.”

The auction coincided with the first anniversary of the star’s death on June 25 last year.

Marilyn Monroe’s Chest X-Rays Sell for $45,000:

A set of three of Marilyn Monroe’s chest X-rays from 1954 have sold for $45,000 at a movie memorabilia auction in Las Vegas. The X-rays had a $3,000 pre-estimate before the Planet Hollywood auction took place.

The pictures of Monroe’s chest and pelvis were bought by two anonymous bidders at the event, which was presented by Julien’s Auctions. The frontal shot was bought for $25,000 by one bidder, while the pelvic and side chest shot were sold at $10,000 each to another bidder.

President and CEO of Julien’s Auctions, Darren Julien, said, “[the x-ray] was taken around the time she was believed to be pregnant and rumor has it that she had a miscarriage.” The x-ray was taken at the Cedars of Lebanon Hospital.

Other items that were sold included a chair from Monroe’s final photo shoot ($3,000), Kate Winslet’s earrings from Titanic ($25,000), Audrey Hepburn’s dress from Funny Face ($56,250) and Michael Jackson’s crystal-studded gloves ($190,000).

I recommend you take a look at the results yourself by browsing through them.

The next sale will be in October in Macau where among other things the black crystal glove will be sold which Michael Jackson was wearing at his wedding.

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