G’Day World #345 – Alex Epstein, Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights

Ayn Rand

I’ve been a big fan of Ayn Rand‘s work since I first read “The Fountainhead” when I was about 20. I quickly read everything of hers I could get my hands on and I re-read both “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged” every couple of years. I’ve wanted to do a show on her work for years.

However… this interview with Epstein was pretty disturbing. It started off okay as we talked about her work but then Alex started talking about the foreign policy of the United States and I was shocked at how extremely right-wing his views are. Rand was a huge believer in individual rights however Epstein’s view seems to be that the indigenous people of countries such as the Middle East, the Americas and Australia HAVE no rights. Personally I think the views he expounded in the latter half of the show represent the worst kind of American imperialist thinking and do NOT accurately represent Rand’s philosophy. But that’s just my opinion.

Listen and tell me your thoughts.

Alex Epstein has a BA in Philosophy from Duke University and is an analyst focusing on business issues at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights.

Please support the show by throwing me some cash to cover the bills or, if you’re tight on the cash front, by blogging or Twittering about the show or joining the G’Day World Facebook group. There is a list of things you can do to support the show here.

The G’Day World theme music:

End of DaysConquest
“Secrets of Life” (mp3)
from “End of Days”
(Dark Star Records)

More On This Album

PlayPlay

The Frankenstein Clarinet

Robot Clarinet

I’m at the MediaConnect Influence event again this year (they must have forgotten what happened last time I was here) and the opening keynote is by the CEO of NICTA. Dr John Judge from NICTA is also here showing off their robot-controlled clarinet which won first place in the ARTEMIS Orchestra competition in Athens a couple of months ago.

The robot’s “mouth” uses two servomotors that apply force to the clarinet reed to make a sound. The smaller servomotor mimics the action of the human tongue, while the second applies a damping force to the reed, copying the action of the human lip. Force is applied to the clarinet keys by brass plungers with rubber or nylon feet depending on the key. “It is conceivable that in the near future, we could see an entire orchestra made up of computer-driven instruments like this clarinet,” said NICTA Chief Technology Officer Dr Chris Nicol, “They will interpret a musical score and follow a conductor.”

If you want to stay up to date with other news from the event, keep an eye on Twitter.

Shatner Is Right!

Great video below of William Shatner explaining how easy it would be to bring Capn Kirk back from the dead. And he’s spot on! The Enterprise teleporter would have Kirk’s entire molecular signature! All you need to do is re-materialize him! I ROFLd my ass off when I saw how easily Shatner out-did JJ Abrams. To read the full story of Shatner v Abrams, go here.

Tex Perkins’ infomercial

An infomercial for Tex Perkins and His Lazyboys album “No. 1’s & No. 2’s”. This is the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time and it’s also the best viral marketing idea I’ve seen in ages. I think it’s going to go off. And the best thing about it is – this is exactly the kind of schmaltzy act you’d expect to see at places like Crown in Melbourne – but Tex is taking the piss out of them… and making money from doing it at the same time. Brilliant!

As Tex says:

Hi, my name’s Tex Perkins and I was huge during the early 90’s (a golden period for scumbag indy rockers). Having endured a 25 year career in the music biz, I’ve done and seen it all.

So here we are at the beginning of the new century and the record industry is on its knees, ravaged by years of careless self indulgent big spending and a complete inability to understand the potential of the new technologies, poor fools. It was within this context that I began work on my last contracted recording for Universal music. All was going well, and I was 3/4 way through the writing and recording of this ALL original album, when I was called in for a meeting with the biggest heads of the company. They showed me the figures, and they were very grim indeed. If things continued to slide, George Ash, the head of the company may have had to sell his private helicopter! They then began to openly beg me, that’s right, BEG me to help save the company and perhaps the entire record business.

It was then we came upon THE IDEA: I would record an album of classic cover versions, songs so good, so irresistible, so well known, so…classic, that the general public would have no choice but to hunt down, buy and love a bunch of songs that they can hear on Gold fm pretty much every day of the week anyway….. hmmm….

G’Day World #344 – Ben Witherington III on the Historicity of Jesus

My guest on #344 is Ben Witherington III, an evangelical Biblical scholar and lecturer on New Testament Studies, who is currently Professor on the New Testament for Doctoral Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky.

Ben Witherington

In our discussion, Prof. Witherington makes a case for the historicity of the New Testament and for the existence of Jesus. While he seems to agree with me on certain facts (eg that Mark, Matthew, Luke and John are anonymous documents and that Paul was not an eyewitness), he makes the argument that they can be treated as eyewitness testimonies.

During the show, you’ll notice a couple of times when Ben caught me off-guard and I’ve added my later thoughts into the show, after I had a chance to read up on his claims. I’ve put some links to further information on those issues below:

1st Century Historians Who Strangely Don’t Mention Jesus
The Acts of Pilate
Who Wrote The Gospel Of John?

If you haven’t heard my previous show with Robert M Price (who argues that Jesus is a mythological character), then you can find it here.

Please support the show by throwing me some cash to cover the bills or, if you’re tight on the cash front, by blogging or Twittering about the show or joining the G’Day World Facebook group. There is a list of things you can do to support the show here.

The G’Day World theme music:

End of DaysConquest
“Secrets of Life” (mp3)
from “End of Days”
(Dark Star Records)

More On This Album

AIG bailed out while former CEO is $40 mill richer

The news today that yet another American finance giant, AIG, has been bailed out by their “capitalist” government, led me to wonder how much their “leaders” made out of their destruction.

Martin J. Sullivan, their former CEO (he was fired last June), took home nearly $40 million dollars in compensation in the last five years according to Forbes. He had only been in the job three years. The previous CEO, Maurice R. Greenberg, was asked to resign by the Board in 2005 due to “accounting irregularities”. Charges were brought against him by Eliot Spitzer, then attorney general of New York State, who later became Governor of New York but had to resign when his penchant for high-class hookers hit the press.

Greenberg, by the way, still has a job (currently chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr and Company, a diversified financial services firm) and Business Week said of him in 2002 “But few run their business better than Maurice R. Greenberg of American International Group Inc.”.

This is the reality of American-style capitalism. Fat rich white guys milking the system for their own profit. Then, when their greed leads to the failure of the company, and taxpayers’ money is used to bail the company (and the company’s investors) out of the shit, nobody does a damn thing about it. Will Sullivan or Greenberg face charges? I doubt it.

How long are we going to let it continue?

Best Analysis of Freddie Mac / Fannie Mae bailout I’ve read

I just read this analysis by Michael Hudson, a former Wall Street economist. It’s worth reading.

I love it when America, currently run by Republicans, the ones who keep demanding the rest of the world stop propping up their industries and embrace “free market economics” if they want to become part of the WTO, the same America that equates socialism with pure evil, spends hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer’s money bailing out a publicly-listed company. Will those taxpayers end up shareholders in the respective companies? No. The money is going into a black hole, to pay the exorbitant salaries of the same greedy fat executives (like the CEO of Freddie Mac who got $20 million last year) who ran the companies into the ground in the first place. And the ones who ran the companies while they lied about the balance sheet don’t even go to jail.

When I talk with American friends about the bailout, they say the same thing – “it’s the best thing for the economy”. I always ask the same question – “why?”. And then they go… “ummm…..”. They don’t know the answer. They are just regurgitating what they’ve been told by the elite media.

Of course, if another country, say Venezuela, wanted to prop up one of it’s industries for “the good of the economy”, the US State Dept would declare them evil commies and threaten them with economic or military intervention. But oh, it’s okay when it happens in the US o’ A.

Hudson doesn’t agree that it’s the best thing for the economy. He says it’s the best thing for the big fish:

The looming defaults threaten financial institutions holding mortgages on such properties, moving up the economic pyramid to reach investors and creditors at the top. Somebody must take a loss. But who? Big fish or little fish?

Of course, the elites at the top want protection of their investments. They don’t care if $100 or $200 billion of little fish’s money disappears in the process. The people get screwed again and they smile while it’s happening.

Hudson, in his conclusion, says:

America’s $13 trillion in domestic real estate debt is no more payable than is the government’s $3.5 billion dollar debt to foreign central banks, or the public debt itself for that matter. Adam Smith remarked over two centuries ago that no government ever had repaid its debts. At that time the aristocracy – the heirs of the Viking warlords who conquered Britain and other European countries and turned their common lands into private property – held most of the land free and clear. Today, real estate has been “democratized,” but this has been done on credit. Mortgages are the major debts of most American families. In this role, real estate debt has become the basis for the commercial banking system, and hence the basis for the wealthiest 10 percent of the population who hold the bottom 90 percent in debt. That is what Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and “the market” are all about.

More Melbourne Bars

Cam & Kev (from TPN’s SOUSED podcast) hit a few more Melbourne cocktail bars a couple of weeks ago… it was RESEARCH goddamit!…. to chat with some of the owners and bartenders who have been nominated for the upcoming Melbourne Bar Awards.