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#1 Mark

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 09:57 PM

Diana Hsieh posted a “Dear ARI Contributor” letter from Yaron Brook telling of an ARI article which had made it into a major newspaper and then soliciting donations. Here is my post in reply, and Diana Hsieh’s response – all this on her blog Noodlefood.

(begin quote)

Thursday, November 29, 2007
Comment ID: #2
Name: Mark
URL: http://ARIwatch.com


Yaron Brook takes the successful placement of Thomas Bowden’s excellent article “Deep-Six the Law of the Sea” in the Wall Street Journal as an opportunity to solicit contributions to the so-called Ayn Rand Institute.

Since a contribution can have no strings attached any contribution you make will help promote everything coming out of ARI, not just Thomas Bowden. And it would help pay for Yaron Brook, whose compensation for the year ending September 2006 was $352,538.00 or almost 7% of ARI’s expenses.

Is that salary extraordinary? What percent of expenses is usual for the salary of the president of a company he doesn’t own outright?

Go around saying things like (to paraphrase Mr. Brook) “if torturing people helps defend our cities – and indeed it does – then it’s OK for the police to torture people – I meant to say the CIA” and maybe you too can command an annual salary of $352,538 !

See http://www.charityna...?...&orgid=8345

Thursday, November 29, 2007
Comment ID: #2
Name: Diana Hsieh


“ARI Watch” Mark: I've deleted your idiotic comment. Go away and do not come back. You are not welcome to post in these comments – ever.

(end quote)

It’s difficult not to get the impression that Ms. Hsieh doesn’t like yours truly.

My admittedly flippant comment made four good points:
1. ARI is a package deal, you get the bad (almost all of it these days) with the good.
2. Very possibly Yaron Brook is overpaid.
3. When Mr. Brook repeatedly says “If X then Y” he really means “X.”
4. His torture argument applies just as well to your local police as it does to the international CIA.

All of which Ms. Hsieh finds “idiotic.”

#2 Brant Gaede

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Posted 29 November 2007 - 11:16 PM

I agree with Diana. Also, the head of ARI is not overpaid if he is responsible for raising a lot of money on an ongoing basis. It is not necessary to use torture anymore for information can be better obtained using a certain drug. I could personally torture on an ad hoc basis if I had to, but that's not my personal context or world. I would pay a terrible price. If I were 25 years older I would have been up to piloting the B-29 that dropped the first A-bomb killing 80,000 Japanese men, women and children, instead of the man who did who just died. In the 1964 I volunteered for a military unit that was likely to see combat even absent a Vietnam War, which was just starting to heat up big time. I became this way because of the Hungarian Revolution and Fidel Castro. I wanted to kill communists. I still could kill a lot of them. Not all, of course; mostly Cuban communists. North Koreans too. Start at the top and kill down, stop killing when you reach a human being. Though I only spent three years on active duty I'm thoroughly a soldier--a combat soldier. This is the real world. I must seem like an alien being to most who read these words, especially females or males with no military service, but historically there have been untold millions of Americans just like me this way. I'm a very decent man.

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#3 Mark

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 12:26 AM

I'm a very decent man.

Our evaluations differ!

#4 Brant Gaede

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 12:48 AM

I'm a very decent man.

Our evaluations differ!

:)
Thank goodness. But I am going to comment and elaborate on my own post.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede, 30 November 2007 - 12:58 AM.

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#5 Brant Gaede

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 01:33 AM

I agree with Diana. Also, the head of ARI is not overpaid if he is responsible for raising a lot of money on an ongoing basis. It is not necessary to use torture anymore for information can be better obtained using a certain drug. I could personally torture on an ad hoc basis if I had to, but that's not my personal context or world. I would pay a terrible price. If I were 25 years older I would have been up to piloting the B-29 that dropped the first A-bomb killing 80,000 Japanese men, women and children, instead of the man who did who just died. In the 1964 I volunteered for a military unit that was likely to see combat even absent a Vietnam War, which was just starting to heat up big time. I became this way because of the Hungarian Revolution and Fidel Castro. I wanted to kill communists. I still could kill a lot of them. Not all, of course; mostly Cuban communists. North Koreans too. Start at the top and kill down, stop killing when you reach a human being. Though I only spent three years on active duty I'm thoroughly a soldier--a combat soldier. This is the real world. I must seem like an alien being to most who read these words, especially females or males with no military service, but historically there have been untold millions of Americans just like me this way. I'm a very decent man.


When I say I could torture "if I had to" I would have to be in extremis. Professional torturers are cold-blooded and matter of fact. I'm not capable of that. I would also not be a good interrogator. For instance: there is a big bomb planted in NYC and it will kill millions. I have five hours to find out where it is and I know you know what I need to know and I'm the only one available to get that information. Even if you want to die in the blast, the things I will do to you to get that information will either work or destroy me psychologically in using them or both. I will end up at least as damaged goods. Of course this situation isn't ever going to happen, thank God for me. I just know what I am capable of "in extremis." "In extremis" people jumped to their deaths from the World Trade Center rather than burn. They were "decent" people, too.

In dropping the A-bomb, it was necessary to win the war, and if I were not the man to do it someone else would (and did as I was only one year old). What's the difference from Truman who ordered the attack or the scientists who built the bomb? What's the difference from the pilots on the firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945? Or soldiers and Marines in hand-to-hand combat or the airmen who sat in silos ready to launch retaliatory nuclear missles on the USSR in the 1960s and 70s and 80s? They are there even now.

As for me wanting to kill communists, mass murdering is what communists did for decades as a matter of state policy starting with Lenin and ending with Pol Pot. Castro should simply be flushed down the toilet with all the rest of the crap.

Now you know I am a decent man--it's the world that's indecent (but getting better overall). Please go tip-toe through the tullips: my treat.

--Brant

Edited by Brant Gaede, 30 November 2007 - 02:24 AM.

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#6 Chris Grieb

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 05:28 AM

Mark; Why are you even reading the "lady"? Don't you have better thing to do?

#7 Merlin Jetton

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 08:21 AM

The irony of Hsieh posting the letter from Yaron Brook on her website is that she would have likely posted a long diatribe if the letter had been from TAS/TOC. After all, Sen. James Inhofe, per Wikipedia, "often cites the Bible as the source for his stances on various political issues." Talk about getting into bed with the enemy! :)

#8 Mark

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 05:06 PM

Merlin,

Sen. James Inhofe, per Wikipedia, “often cites the Bible as the source for his stances on various political issues.” Talk about getting into bed with the enemy!

Just so other readers know what’s going on (I didn’t quote Ms. Hsieh’s first post “ARI’s Growing Impact”), Yaron Brook wrote: “The impact of that op-ed [the ARI op-ed in the WSJ] has been extremly [sic] encouraging. Both Sen. James Inhofe of Oklahoma and Sen. John Kyl of Arizona have referenced Tom's article ...”

#9 Mark

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 05:07 PM

Chris,

... “Mark; Why are you even reading the ‘lady’?
.... Don't you have better thing to do?”

{smile} The “lady” – were quotes ever more appropriate? – seems to be popular among ARI supporters, either people who support ARI knowing what it’s really doing or people who’ve been fooled into thinking ARI lives up to its name.

I hardly ever read Noodlefood. I dropped in last night to see if there was something I could comment on in order to broadcast a link to ARI Watch. There’s something to be said for preaching to the choir when you don’t belong to the church.

#10 Mark

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Posted 30 November 2007 - 05:22 PM

Re: Brant Gaede

His position is consistent with the following from another thread:

Force rules everywhere. It is guided by culture and philosophy but it's the horse all ride. ... If we're going to have government we are going to have force. If not ours then someone else's imposed on us. Way of the world. Way of everything.

Going from “Government is force” to “Force rules everywhere” is hard to follow.

Brant Gaede, a cynical materialist per above, can proclaim his decency until he’s black in the face. We’re not talking about Brant Gaede torturing people if he “had to” (talk about a circular argument – just like Yaron Brook’s), we’re talking about government institutionalized torture. I’ve written about this before on ARI Watch and will again.

Government doesn’t necessarily mean slavery, or that we must put up with police torture warrants per Dershowitz.

#11 Jody Gomez

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 12:00 AM

Mark,

Admit it. You're voting for Hillary.

#12 Brant Gaede

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 12:37 AM

Re: Brant Gaede

His position is consistent with the following from another thread:

Force rules everywhere. It is guided by culture and philosophy but it's the horse all ride. ... If we're going to have government we are going to have force. If not ours then someone else's imposed on us. Way of the world. Way of everything.

Going from “Government is force” to “Force rules everywhere” is hard to follow.

Brant Gaede, a cynical materialist per above, can proclaim his decency until he’s black in the face. We’re not talking about Brant Gaede torturing people if he “had to” (talk about a circular argument – just like Yaron Brook’s), we’re talking about government institutionalized torture. I’ve written about this before on ARI Watch and will again.

Government doesn’t necessarily mean slavery, or that we must put up with police torture warrants per Dershowitz.

I'm against government institutionalized torture.

What government does--can do--using force is establish an environment where people can trade and live in peace. This takes a right philosophy. That philosophy directs and limits force, but force is what things actually happen off of.

I am not a cynic. I am (was) part of the wall that keeps the bad guys out. The wall is made of force, which includes the willingness to use it.

That I'm a decent human being is a modest statement. The country is full of such. If the rest of me is or becomes invisible, people like me will eventually disappear and the U.S. will be like Mexico.

--Brant

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#13 Robert Campbell

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 08:23 PM

Getting back to Mark's other point...

If Yaron Brook's salary last year for managing the Leonard Peikoff Institute was really $352K, it exceeds the salary and perks of the president of Clemson University (4000 employees, 16000 students, annual budget in the vicinity of $500M). And President Barker spends a lot of his time talking people into giving money to Clemson.

In The Ayn Rand Cult (not a source whose reliability can be accepted without question...) Jeff Walker claims (on p. 198) that during the late 1990s Leonard Peikoff was paid $40K just to lecture at the summer conference run by the institute that should bear his name.

If the report is true, 9 times that sum to do Leonard Peikoff's bidding all year seems modest.

Robert Campbell

#14 Chris Grieb

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 08:52 PM

I remember that one of the controversies involving George Reisman and Edith Packer was the salaries paid Harry Benswanger for the Objectivist Graduate Center.

For comparison purpose is there any information on what Ed Hudgins, Ed Crane and Fred Smith receive for their respective jobs.


Edited by Chris Grieb, 01 December 2007 - 08:54 PM.


#15 Barbara Branden

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 08:57 PM

Robert, I'm afraid you simply don't understand. It is not Brook and Peikoff who are profiting from their use of Rand's name. It is I, who at the height of NBI's success -- when I was running the business in New York, writing and presenting a series of lectures in New York and Philadelphia, functioning as Managing Editor of The Objectivist, and handling tape courses in eighty cities, for which my combined salary was $15,000 -- who was venal enough to grow rich from my exploitation of Ayn Rand. As is only proper, Peikoff et.al. have soundly criticized me for this.

Barbara

#16 Brant Gaede

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 10:17 PM

Robert, I'm afraid you simply don't understand. It is not Brook and Peikoff who are profiting from their use of Rand's name. It is I, who at the height of NBI's success -- when I was running the business in New York, writing and presenting a series of lectures in New York and Philadelphia, functioning as Managing Editor of The Objectivist, and handling tape courses in eighty cities, for which my combined salary was $15,000 -- who was venal enough to grow rich from my exploitation of Ayn Rand. As is only proper, Peikoff et.al. have soundly criticized me for this.

Barbara


About 90,000 today. About the average salary of a NYC police officer. Don't forget, Barbara, you didn't have to commute!

I must point out that Barbara's salary came from profits. the ARI has never generated a penny in profit.

--Brant

Rational Individualist, Rational self-interest, Individual Rights--limited government libertarian heavily influenced by Objectivism


#17 Barbara Branden

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Posted 01 December 2007 - 11:41 PM

Brant: "Don't forget, Barbara, you didn't have to commute!"

Yes, I did! For three years, I commuted to Philadelphia weekly to give my lectures on Efficient Thinking.

Barbara

#18 Brant Gaede

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 12:18 AM

Brant: "Don't forget, Barbara, you didn't have to commute!"

Yes, I did! For three years, I commuted to Philadelphia weekly to give my lectures on Efficient Thinking.

Barbara

And you loved it!

--Brant

PS: I first took the BPO in Tucson by tape transcription in 1968. I interrupted this to move to NYC area and I continued live with NB in the Spring of 1968. Before I left Tucson (I wonder what happened to the Beatsons) the Beatsons offered Principles of Efficient Thinking or NB's course on Romantic Love for the next series. I voted for PET but the majority wanted that mush stuff. Ugh.

Dorene Castle, who edited my book "Capitalist Commentary" (not published) 35 years ago told me that she went to Philadelphia to see something or the other involving the Brandens and Rand and that on the way back she met up with them and their Cadillac at a New Jersey Turnpike rest area. Might have been that play Patrecia was in, but I don't know. She had a natural-light deficient apartment on Gramercy Park that Phillip and Kay Nolte Smith had once occupied, complete with built-in bookshelves Phil, my acting teacher, had built. Phillip J. Smith was a genius in extrapolating meaning from dialogue translitterated into character. I hope he's doing well. He would be 79 or 80 now. I assume he's still in New Jersey. Three people died of cancer within a month in 1993: Kay Nolte Smith, Petr Beckmann, and my Father. I could only be with my Father. I was Petr's friend, but I couldn't be a friend of the Smiths for I didn't have the space or time for the more than a decade that transpired before she died.

--BG

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#19 Bill P

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 12:32 AM

Robert, I'm afraid you simply don't understand. It is not Brook and Peikoff who are profiting from their use of Rand's name. It is I, who at the height of NBI's success -- when I was running the business in New York, writing and presenting a series of lectures in New York and Philadelphia, functioning as Managing Editor of The Objectivist, and handling tape courses in eighty cities, for which my combined salary was $15,000 -- who was venal enough to grow rich from my exploitation of Ayn Rand. As is only proper, Peikoff et.al. have soundly criticized me for this.

Barbara


Barbara -

You think those from the ARI hold themselves to credible standards? Not likely, given the sorts of things emerging from the nuke-them-all ARI. The only standard I can determine that they even attempt to use on a regular use is to condemn (usually by refusing to mention or discuss) anything coming from someone with last name Branden.

Alfonso

#20 Chris Grieb

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Posted 02 December 2007 - 05:34 AM

I must add that I am less brothered by Yaron's salary than I am by whatever Harry Binswanger, Michael Berliner and Leonard Peikoff receive from the Estate and ARI.

Yaron is doing a good job.

Barbara; I believe Nathaniel Branden has said that his final settlement from NBI was only $6000. Was your settlement less than this figure. If I am not mistaken the Basic course was $35 on tape, $70 live. Is my memory correct?

I would like to point out that Peikoff's course Philosophy of Objectivism is sold by ARI bookstore for $240.






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