John Allison Meets with Trump

Photo: Ken Bennet/ Wake Forest University


1. Allison is an Objectivist who supports pro-capitalist policies

Allison said Trump also sought his advice as an outside-the-box thinker that includes being a devotee of author Ayn Rand and her economic philosophy of objectivism, which extols rational individualism, creativity, independent thinking and a limited role for government as a protector of peace.

2. Allison calls Goldman Sach’s “crony capitalists”

[…] Allison was critical of Goldman Sachs’ role in the financial crisis, calling the investment company “crony capitalists,” in his 2013 book “The Financial Crisis and the Free Market Cure.” Mnuchin’s “history on Wall Street is not something that I am all that thrilled about,” Allison said.

3. Trump invitation comes from Pence who supports Allison’s theories on the financial crisis and also opposes TARP and eminent domain

[…] The Trump invitation came from Pence, who previously asked Allison to speak at congressional hearings about his theories on how the financial crisis occurred and his recommendations for avoiding another severe economic blow. Pence also supported Allison’s stances on TARP and eminent domain. “He thought my book was one of the best explanation of the crisis,” Allison said. “As such, he was kind enough to inform the president-elect of my qualifications to serve in his administration.”

4. Financial Choice Act is a first step that will provide an “off-ramp” to get off Dodd-Frank

Allison said he supports proposed legislation in the U.S. House, known as the Financial Choice Act, that he says would restore accountability and responsibility to the financial-services industry. The act would provide an “off-ramp from the post-Dodd-Frank supervisory regime and Basel III capital and liquidity standards for organizations that choose to maintain high levels of capital,” he said. Those financial-services companies who can’t meet those capital criteria would remain subject to Dodd-Frank regulations.

The act would require banks to remain subject to publicly disclosed regulatory stress tests but exempt those that achieve the assigned capital levels from regulatory limitations on purchases. The act also would require that “consumers be vigorously protected from fraud and deception, as well as the loss of economic liberty” and “taxpayer bailouts of financial institutions must end and no company can remain too big to fail,” he said.

5. Allison as FED Chairman?

[…] He expressed his concerns that the Federal Reserve, particularly under Chair Janet Yellen, has limited economic growth through what he considers to be burdensome regulations that may make sense to regulators but not on Main Street in terms of creating demand for loans in particular from entrepreneurs and small businesses.

When asked about his interest in serving as Fed chairman, Allison said that while he would be interested because of the opportunity to change lending policies, “I don’t know if I could get through Congress.” “It may seem old-fashioned or quaint, but I still believe in making loans by sitting across the table from the applicant and getting to know them as much as learning about their reasons for borrowing,” he said. “I believe if regulators would step back with some of the regulations, consumers tend to figure out the good and bad players in the marketplace.”

Jacoby: Harvesting The Organs of China’s Prisoner’s of Conscience

Writes Jeff Jacoby in The Boston Globe:

The documentary, “Human Harvest,” won the coveted Peabody Award for its exposé of an unspeakable crime against humanity. In 1999, Chinese hospitals began performing more than 10,000 organ transplants annually, generating a vast and lucrative traffic in “transplant tourists,” who flocked to China on the assurance that they could obtain lifesaving organs without having to languish on a waiting list. China had no voluntary organ-donation system to speak of, yet suddenly it was providing tens of thousands of freshly harvested organs to patients with ready cash or high-placed connections. How was that possible?

The evidence, assembled by human-rights researchers and investigative journalists, added up to something unimaginable: China was killing enormous numbers of imprisoned men and women by strapping them down to operating tables, still conscious, and forcibly extracting their organs — and then delivering those organs to the hospital transplant centers that have become a major source of revenue. Chinese officials claim that organs come from violent criminals on death row. But “Human Harvest” makes it clear that most of those killed are peaceful citizens persecuted for their beliefs: Tibetans, Uighurs, Christians — and, above all, practitioners of Falun Gong, a Buddhist-style spiritual movement of peaceful meditation and ethical commitment.

Read the rest of In China, prisoners of conscience are literally being butchered.

See the movie trailer here:



Bayer: Developing a Critical Mind for Judging The Validity of News

In the The Sniff Test – Medium philosopher Ben Bayer lists 5 important questions one should ask in judging stories we hear online:

(1) What is the source of this story and what do I know about it?
(2) How likely is the story to be true in the first place?
(3) If this were true, what else would be true?
(4) Does the story represent its own facts honestly?
(5) Why do I want to believe it is true? Why would someone else want me to believe it’s true?

Cross: Political Executions in Communist Cuba

Writes James Scott Linville on Plimpton and Hemingway in Cuba in The Paris Review:

Castro’s death has renewed an open, vibrant, and sometimes heated debate about his regime and its treatment of Cuban citizens. Twenty years ago, in the aftermath of the Cold War, much less was known in the U.S.—these were not things the American media dwelled upon. An incident while working at The Paris Review with George Plimpton in the early nineties opened my eyes, especially to Che Guevara’s supervision of the detention of political prisoners at La Cabana prison in Havana.


A sad look overtook his face, and he began to explain: “Years ago, after we’d done the interview, Papa invited me down again to visit him in Cuba.” (In the fifties, George had interviewed Hemingway for the magazine on the Art of Fiction, and now he always referred to him as Papa, as Hemingway encouraged his young friends to do.) “It was right after the revolution,” George continued. After he arrived in Havana, he settled in at a hotel room above a bar. One afternoon, at the end of the day, Hemingway told him, “There’s something you should see,” and to come by the house.

When he arrived at Hemingway’s house he saw they were preparing for some sort of expedition. Before they ventured forth, the elder writer made shakers of drinks, daiquiris or whatever, and packed them up. This group, including a few others, got in the car and drove for some time to the outside of town. Arriving at their destination, they got out, set up chairs, brought out the drinks, and arranged themselves as if they were going to watch the sunset. Soon enough, a truck came, and that, explained George to me, was what they’d been waiting for. It came, as Hemingway explained to them, the same time each day. The truck stopped and some men with guns got out of it. In back were a couple of dozen others who were tied up. Prisoners. The men with guns hustled the others out of the back of the truck and lined them up. And then they shot them. They put the bodies back in the truck and drove off.

Castro’s Legacy: Torture and Execution of Political Opponents

Writes Lee Habeeb on Fidel Castro’s Brutal Dictatorship: Armando Valladares & Cuban Dissidents Tortured | National Review:

A young artist and poet who also happened to be a Christian, Valladares understood the meaning of the request. What he did not know, and could not know, was how far his own government would go to bend him to its will. Soon after his refusal to comply, Valladares was arrested by political police at his parents’ home. Faced with trumped up charges of terrorism — a favorite tactic of the Castro regime for silencing dissent — he was given a 30-year sentence.

Valladares would spend time in different prison camps for the next 22 years. The first, La Cabaña, forged some of the very worst memories. “Each night, the firing squad executed scores of men in its trenches,” he told the Becket Fund, which last year honored him with its Canterbury Prize, given annually to a person who embodies an unfailing commitment to religious freedom. “We could hear each phase of the executions, and during this time, these young men — patriots — would die shouting ‘Long live Christ, the King. Down with Communism!’ And then you would hear the gunshots. Every night there were shootings. Every night. Every night. Every night.”


“I spent eight years locked in a blackout cell, without sunlight or even artificial light. I never left. I was stuck in a cell, ten feet long, four feet wide, with a hole in the corner to take care of my bodily needs. No running water. Naked. Eight years,” Valladares recalled. “All of the torture, all of the violations of human rights, had one goal: break the prisoner’s resistance and make them accept political rehabilitation. That was their only objective.”

Related Reading:

Trudeau: Castro’s Useful Idiot

Writes Jonah Goldberg on Fidel Castro died as he lived — praised by useful idiots – LA Times:

The gold medal in the Useful Idiot Olympics should probably go to Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of Canada. In a statement, he expressed his “deep sorrow” upon learning that “Cuba’s longest serving president” had died. […] “Fidel Castro was a larger than life leader who served his people for almost half a century,” Trudeau continued, repeating that word. “While a controversial figure, both Mr. Castro’s supporters and detractors recognized his tremendous dedication and love for the Cuban people who had a deep and lasting affection for ‘el Comandante.’”

“El Comandante”: The term drips with affection, doesn’t it? Castro’s “detractors”? Would those be the families of the thousands he had executed? The survivors of Castro’s Caribbean gulag? Those who didn’t drown trying to escape?

Trudeau’s expression of “deep sorrow” was typical of a whole genre of Castro eulogies. His apologists have tended to romanticize the “revolution” and parrot Cuban state propaganda – literacy rates! Free healthcare! – while dispensing antiseptic euphemisms for the brutal reality of what the revolution wrought. At least when people note that Hitler built the autobahn and Mussolini made the trains run on time, they’re usually being ironic. To listen to some Castro defenders, you’d think the scales of justice can balance out any load of horrors, so long as the substandard healthcare is free and the schools (allegedly) teach everyone to read.

As much of the American left is openly mooting whether or not the American president-elect is a dictator in waiting, one has to wonder whether they would take that bargain: No more elections, no more free speech, no more civil liberties of any kind, but socialized medicine and literacy for everyone! American political dissidents, homosexuals, journalists and the clergy, just like in Cuba, can languish in prison or internal exile, but at least they’ll be able to read the charges against them.

The Dangers of Trump ‘Protectionism’

Writes Tyler Cowen on Trump’s Disastrous Pledge to Keep Jobs in the U.S.:

“…a policy limiting the ability of American companies to move funds outside of the U.S. would create a dangerous new set of government powers. Imagine giving an administration the potential to rule whether a given transfer of funds would endanger job creation or job maintenance in the United States. That’s not exactly an objective standard, and so every capital transfer decision would be subject to the arbitrary diktats of politicians and bureaucrats. It’s not hard to imagine a Trump administration using such regulations to reward supportive businesses and to punish opponents. Even in the absence of explicit favoritism, companies wouldn’t know the rules of the game in advance, and they would be reluctant to speak out in ways that anger the powers that be.”

“In other words, the Trump program for protectionism could go far beyond interference in international trade. It also could bring the kind of crony capitalist nightmare scenarios described by Ayn Rand in her novel ‘Atlas Shrugged,’ a book many Republican legislators would be well advised to now read or reread.” [Bloomberg View]

Ben Shaprio on the Alt-Right Movement

 Good interview with a Ben Shaprio on the Alt-Right movement, Steven Bannon and Donal Trump. Two important points:

1. “Alt-Right” Ties Western Civilization (Good) with White Nationalism (Bad).

Basically, the alt-right is a group of thinkers who believe that Western civilization is inseparable from European ethnicity—which is racist, obviously. It’s people who believe that if Western civilization were to take in too many people of different colors and different ethnicities and different religions, then that would necessarily involve the interior collapse of Western civilization. As you may notice, this has nothing to do with the Constitution. It has nothing to do with the Declaration of Independence. It has nothing to do actually with Western civilization. The whole principle of Western civilization is that anybody can involve himself or herself in civilized values.

2. Left is making a mistake of labeling everyone on the right, or who voted for Trump, as “alt-right.”

I think that the left is making a huge mistake by labeling everybody on the right “alt-right.” Because what they’re doing is they’re pushing people into the arms of the alt-right. You call people racist enough, and they begin to think OK, well, who’s not calling me a racist—I’ll side with that guy. So the worst thing the left can do is continue to suggest that everyone who backed Trump was a racist, sexist, bigot homophobe; everyone’s evil, everyone’s terrible. What they really should be doing is they should be saying, “Look, we understand one of the reasons that we lost is because Hillary Clinton was a uniquely terrible candidate”—she really was—“and because of that, we’re not trying to throw you guys out of the tent. We think it was a bad choice to choose Trump, but we would sort of appeal to the better angels of your nature—that if we think he’s divisive as time goes on, that you recognize that he’s being divisive.” I think it’s a big mistake to have the left pushing the notion that they’re just going to double-down on the Obama coalition and tell everybody else to go screw.

Read the entire interview here: Ben Shapiro on Steve Bannon, the alt-right, and why the left needs to turn down the outrage.

Ayn Rand, Objectivism and Practical Politics: John Allison For Treasury Secretary vs Alan Greenspan as FED Chair

Don Watkins — coauthor of Free Market Revolution and Equal is Unfair ( ) — has posted some some excellent comments on the GREAT John Allison for Treasury Secretary:

Trump is apparently considering the great John Allison for Treasury secretary. I don’t have a definite view about whether John should accept the position if offered. There are good arguments going both ways (and in any case I assume he isn’t going to base his decision on Facebook posts).

But one thing I do want to comment on: the parallels some are making to Alan Greenspan. There are certainly lessons we should learn from Greenspan’s career, but…

  • Greenspan took on an *illegitimate* job as the head of the Fed. Head of Treasury is legitimate.
  • How much Greenspan ever truly understood and valued Objectivism is debatable. With John, it isn’t.
  • Washington didn’t corrupt Greenspan. He actively sought out power and importance–whatever convictions he held always took a back seat. John’s achievements have come from living by his convictions.
  • The biggest problem with Greenspan is not that others blamed his failures on capitalism (and Ayn Rand)–it’s that *he* blamed his failure on capitalism.

Finally, I’ll just note that Trump’s failures will be blamed on capitalism no matter what. We can’t avoid that. We can only counter it.



Hudson: The Problem with Steve Bannon

Hudson: The Problem with Steve Bannon

Photo: by Don Irvine Photos

Walter Hudson has a fantastic op-ed — Fellow Republicans, Don’t Sell Your Souls for Bannon and the Alt-Right | PJ Media: — on Steve Bannon — the former head of Breitbart News who served as Trump’s campaign CEO, and has been named the Trump  administration’s chief strategist and senior advisor —  and his relationship with the white nationalist, anti-individual rights movememt that calls itself the “alt-right.”

1.  The problem with Bannon is not his personal views, but his role in disseminating abhorrent views

[…] The problem with Steve Bannon is not his personal views, for which there seems to be little evidence of anything egregious.The problem with Steve Bannon is the role he has played in proliferating the abhorrent views of others. While in charge of Breitbart News, Bannon transformed it into a haven for the alt-right. While Bannon may not be racist, antisemitic, or white nationalist himself, the alt-right plainly is. It’s their defining characteristic, and they’ll be the first ones to tell you so.

2. Coiner of the term “alt-right” admits Trump and Breitbart and Bannon are NOT part of alt-right

The man who coined the term “alt-right” is Richard Spencer. He holds a distinction as the movement’s most prominent thought leader. As president of the National Policy Institute, an alt-right think tank, Spencer spoke at a celebration in Washington D.C. over the weekend attended by his fellow white nationalists. From Politico:

[…] “I would say Steve Bannon’s comment that [Breitbart is] a platform of the alt-right is probably something I could agree with, say 90 percent, just in the sense that it’s clearly moved away from the conservative movement,” Spencer said. “It was pro-Trump, it was also a site that tons of people on the alt-right [go] to get their news from, they share [it]. I don’t think Breitbart is really ideologically alt-right, no, but it’s interesting and very hopeful for me that Bannon is at least open to these things.”

3. Trump (and Bannon) should distance himself from those who identify with ethnic identity and not America’s founding principles

[…] As that same son of a black father and a white mother, my existence proves offensive to the alt-right. According to them, I have no worth whatsoever. Neither do my children.

[…] Trump should go out of his way to condemn the alt-right. He should make clear that their objectively racist, white nationalist views have no place in his administration or in the Republican Party. That declaration should be echoed by a repentant Bannon, or Bannon should be fired. It must be abundantly clear that American greatness is defined by our founding principles and not ethnic identity.

Well said.

Radicals for Capitalism

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