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Brexit Victory, new reason editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, and a communication problem for libertarians

28 Jun
Some libertarians, like Katherine Mangu-Ward, the new editor in chief at reason (speaking last week on the Kennedy show) favored “remaining” in the EU, as a form of maximizing free trade.

In a way it’s a curious position for Ms. Mangu-Ward, a non-electoral libertarian who believes “voting only encourages them,” yet thinks international governmental organizations and agreements are a good path to free trade.  It may be a minority position too – not only conservatives but libertarians like Ron Paul as well as those in England and elsewhere favor Brexit.

It also highlights a problem area for libertarians, who often appear on C-Span, in the form of lawyers and scholars affiliated with CATO etc, arguing for free trade to an audience, if judged by the callers, who don’t get the economic arguments about gains of trade and then view the libertarians as a subspecies of the pointy headed technocratic elite that populates the government and wants to tell them how to live their lives.


In on line discussions among members of the British Libertarian Alliance, opinion was something like this:

“…The death of the UK to be replaced by being a sub-state of the EU is a libertarian nightmare. By rejecting the EU we have taken a major step in the direction of libertarianism.

This was not the intention of most Leave campaigners but it means that the UK is now more… vulnerable, one might say, to libertarian campaigning. The EU is no longer there to impose its own laws from outside. Now all that we, as libertarians, have to contend with is the infrastructure and bureaucracy of British government. This is by no means an easy job but it’s a lot easier than having to cope with the EU too!

Our job of bringing about libertarian change has just because a little bit easier.

All of a sudden, there is a lot less state for us to deal with.”


I fear libertarians have a communication problem they don’t know how to deal with here.  I saw one clicktivist in a group of gay Trump supporters recently damn all libertarians for looking down on people and thinking they are smarter than everyone else.  One of Gary Johnson’s main media people, as well as a Republican delegate to the GOP nominating convention who wants to campaign for Johnson, have both expressed to me their exasperation with me when I ask if Libertarian candidates should not find a way to appeal to the concerns of Trump voters.

I’m picking on Ms. Mangu-Ward a little, as she dislikes me.  She’s also a smart woman and might have some ideas about this communications problem.



Brexit Wins: Why That’s Great News for Europe, Too

British voters have elected to leave the European Union in a national referendum. The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage declared Friday Britain’s “independence day.” That is quite a statement given British history. A little over two and a quarter centuries ago, America had its own first Independence Day, and the British Empire was the super-state from which Americans declared independence.
Independence is not isolation.
History has come full circle; in a sense, today we are seeing the American Revolution in reverse. In many ways, the European Union is a lever of US global hegemony. By seceding from the EU in spite of threats from Washington, Britain is declaring partial independence from America.
It must be noted that independence is not isolation. This is the key distinction that is intentionally blurred by the “Better Together” rhetoric of the “Remain” camp. When they scaremonger about “leaving Europe,” it conjures images of Britain abandoning Western civilization. But “the West,” as in the US-led alliance of neo-colonial powers, is not the same thing as Western civilization. And the European Union is not the same thing as Europe. Exiting a mega-state in defiance of an imperium is not withdrawing from civilization. In fact, such an exit is propitious for civilization.
Small Is Beautiful
Political independence fosters economic interdependence.
Advocates of international unions and super-states claim that centralization promotes trade and peace: that customs unions break down trade barriers and international government prevents war. In reality, super-states encourage both protectionism and warfare. The bigger the trade bloc, the more it can cope with the economic isolation that comes with trade warfare. And the bigger the military bloc, the easier it is for bellicose countries to externalize the costs of their belligerence by dragging the rest of the bloc into its fights.
A small political unit cannot afford economic isolationism; it simply doesn’t have the domestic resources necessary. So for all of UKIP’s isolationist rhetoric, the practical result of UK independence from the European economic policy bloc would likely be freer trade and cross-border labor mobility (immigration). Political independence fosters economic interdependence. And economic interdependence increases the opportunity costs of war and the benefits of peace.
The Power of Exit
Super-states also facilitate international policy “harmonization.” What this means is that, within the super-state, the citizen has no escape from onerous laws, like the regulations that unceasingly pour out of the EU bureaucracy. But with political decentralization, subjects can “vote with their feet” for less burdensome regimes. Under this threat of “exit,” governments are incentivized to liberalize in order to compete for taxpayer feet. Today’s referendum was a victory both for Brexit and the power of exit. That’s good news for European liberty.
During its Industrial Revolution, Britain was a beacon of domestic liberty and economic progress that stimulated liberal reform on the European continent. An independent Britain in the 21st century can play that role again. In doing so, Britain would help Europe outside the EU far more than it ever could on the inside. Brexit may be a death knell for the European Union, yet ultimately a saving grace for the European people.
Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez

Dan Sanchez is the Digital Content Manager at FEE, developing educational and inspiring content for FEE.org, including articles and courses. His articles are collected at DanSanchez.me.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

Libertarian women’s history month: (Lisa) Kennedy (Montgomery)

29 Mar
Lisa Kennedy Montgomery (September 8, 1972 – ) is an American political satirist, radio personality, former MTV VJ, and current host of Kennedy on the Fox Business Network. She was the host of MTV’s now-defunct daily late-night alternative rock program Alternative Nation throughout much of the 1990s.
Montgomery was born in Indianapolis, Indiana and raised in Lake Oswego, Oregon, an affluent suburb outside of Portland. Montgomery graduated from Lakeridge High School in 1990. She returned to school as a working adult and completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy from UCLA.
Montgomery first came into the public eye in 1991 as an intern at Los Angeles radio station KROQ-FM, where she was known on the air as “The Virgin Kennedy.” A year later she took the “VJ” job at MTV, where she spent several years.
As “Kennedy”, Montgomery ushered in a new musical era for MTV as the host of Alternative Nation from 1992-1997, helping popularize bands like Nirvana,Soundgarden and Pearl Jam.
Montgomery appeared as a panelist on the 1998 revival of Hollywood Squares.
In 1999, Montgomery completed her first book, Hey Ladies! Tales and Tips for Curious Girls, in which she incorporated a multitude of personal experiences. That same year, she moved to Seattle to host a talk show on KQBZ “The Buzz” 100.7 FM talk station (now country station KKWF “The Wolf”). The show was a mix of news, local issues, and comedy. Montgomery then left Seattle in 2001 to co-host a morning radio show with Ahmet Zappa on the ComedyWorld Radio Network. The show was entitled The Future With Ahmet & Kennedy, and like her show in Seattle, consisted of news and current events with a comedy bent. She later co-hosted the morning show with Malibu Dan entitled The Big House, her final show on the network before the network went off the air.
Starting June 3, 2002, Montgomery hosted Game Show Network‘s original program Friend or Foe?, which ran for two seasons. On April 1, 2003, she guest-hosted the GSN show WinTuition, normally hosted by Marc Summers, who made a “guest” appearance. She also hosted GSN’s Who Wants to Be Governor of California?, a televised debate among some of the more colorful candidates in the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election, such as Gary Coleman and Mary Carey.
As of September 23, 2005, Montgomery appeared as an occasional panelist on VH1‘s Best Week Ever and MSNBC‘s Scarborough Country. MSNBC endedScarborough Country in June 2007. In October 2005, she became host of Fox Reality‘s Reality Remix until that series ended in June 2008.
In December 2007, she guest-hosted the evening show several times on Los Angeles talk radio station KFI, before being hired by the station for a regular show on Sunday afternoons from 3-5 pm. In April 2008 she joined Bryan Suits as cohost of the Kennedy & Suits Show, which ran from 7 pm-10 pm weekday evenings.
Kennedy’s final broadcast on Kennedy & Suits was September 30, 2009. She hosted Music in the Mornings (6 am to 10 am) on KYSR 98.7 FM in Los Angeles from 2009 until March 2014.
On January 18, 2011, she started appearing as Anthony Sullivan‘s assistant on PitchMen, looking for new inventions to promote in infomercials.
Kennedy is a contributor to Reason.com and Reason.tv, and occasionally serves as guest host for Bill Carroll, John and Ken, and Tim Conway Jr. on KFI AM 640 in Los Angeles. She was a “special correspondent” on the Fox Business News talk show Stossel, and has made occasional appearances as a panelist on Fox shows including Red Eye and Outnumbered.
She hosted The Independents, a current events and political discussion show, from its debut on the Fox Business Channel on December 9, 2013. The show was cancelled in January of 2015 but she continued as host of her own show, Kennedy.

Montgomery is an Eastern Orthodox Christian, married to former professional snowboarder Dave Lee with whom she has two daughters, Pele and Lotus. The family lives in the posh Pacific Palisades neighborhood of Los Angeles, but Kennedy rents  a pied à terre on the Upper West Side and logs 5,000 miles a week in the air, taking a redeye every Sunday night to New York and returning to the West Coast on Wednesday afternoons. Meanwhile, she is continuing to host a three-hour morning drive-time music show on Los Angeles radio. It is, needless to say, a killing schedule. “I want my girls to see that if something is really important to you,” she says, “you have to move hell and high water to make it work.”

In March 2012, reason magazine published an article by Kennedy claiming that atheism is an organized religion.
In September 2012, during an appearance on Red Eye, Montgomery said that she had been diagnosed with celiac diseaseleading her to change to a more meat-based diet.
Montgomery is a libertarian and a registered Republican, describing herself as a “Republitarian“. She even has a pink Republican elephant tattooed on her upper left thigh. She actively supported Gary Johnson’s 2012 presidential campaign.  Before she started hosting shows full time on the Fox Business Network she was a frequent speaker at libertarian conferences like those of Students for Liberty.
She is a supporter of same-sex marriagepro-choiceprivatizing social security, opposes the War on Drugs, and opposes bureaucratic regulations.
When Montgomery joined MTV in 1992, she said “I didn’t dare out myself as a conservative” in her early months at MTV. At MTV’s 1993 Rock ’n’ Roll Inaugural Ball for Bill Clinton, she chanted, “Nixon now! Nixon now!”, whenever the Clintons went on stage. Along with being a fan of Richard Nixon, she supported Dan Quayle and Bob Dole. She was also a speaker at the 1996 Republican National Convention.

She later abandoned conservatism. Montgomery said that “Social conservatism was really bringing me down, and I realized, as time went on, that I wasn’t a Bush conservative. I was really a libertarian.” She says she was first introduced to libertarianism when Kurt Loder suggested she read Ayn Rand‘s Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, though that sounds so improbable it is more likely a joke and it was more likely from reading Rand’s novel Atlas Shrugged.  Kennedy hopes to wrangle some rocker-pals as guests:  “There’s a strong connection between music and politics, and a strong spirit of independent thinking that political musicians share,” she says. “And it’s funny because they tend to be libertarians. Frank Zappa”—whose children Kennedy remains friendly with—“died 20 years ago today [December 4]. He was a libertarian, and he was smart and tough to debate—and we don’t have a lot of people like that.”

Ten Things About the New "Atlas Shrugged" movie – in lieu of an actual review

16 Sep

1.  It may or may not be better than part 2.  It’s definitely better than part 1.  Libertarians are basically panning it everywhere, not for its (in)fidelity to Rand’s book, but for the talents of the directors and producers.





2.  The production values are somewhere around the level of an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation or a B grade made for TV movie.  (Maybe that’s why so many trek actors, like Armin Shimmerman, have been sprinkled throughout this trilogy — they know how to act beside nothing but papier mache and glitter.)



(Shimmerman – are Ferengi interstellar Randians?)





3.  Rob Morrow (as Hank Reardon) and a number of well known TV character actors have bit parts or mid-level parts for which they are either bad casting or oddly brief cameos.


And who knew Hank Rearden was a hot Jewish boy?






(Morrow – I’d eat him with some horseradish!)


4.  Actor Kristoffer Polaha does a very respectable job as John Galt, as well as being both a moderately delicious hunk (though truth be told, aside from some pretty mountains, there isn’t a lot else for the gaze to settle on).  As long time Objectivisty libertarian Republican activist Ann Stone just emailed me “I was not crazy about this one at all…seemed stilted…the only positive was the hunk playing John Galt.”  So far all the gals and gay guys I have spoken to agree.

5.  The torture scene, where the worst of the fascist kakistocracy strip and electrocute Galt to try to force him to become the nation’s economic czar, features only a shirtless, not nude, Galt, unlike the book.  The special effects are also not good even for an old episode of TNG in this scene.  And though Polaha, married and the father of three, is 6’3″ and in better shape than me or most of the people reading this, by Hollywood standards he needs to lift some weights to have shirtless scene quality pecs.  Rearden is also not there to help rescue Galt, as he is in the novel.


6.  Funnily, Polaha does actually resemble a number of good looking libertarian boys, our better looking nerds, although he’s taller.  I think he and Gary Johnson’s son could be cousins.


7. Amazingly a number of people attending the group event screening I attended in Arlington, Virginia were libertarians who have never read Atlas Shrugged.  More amazingly they claimed to understand this movie without having read the book or in some cases having seen the first two installments.  I don’t think it is well written enough to stand alone, but if these other viewers can be trusted, I am wrong.


8.  Ron Paul, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity and Grover Norquist, among others, all appear, in some cases playing themselves and in some cases as extras.  It’s cute, but when someone does a real version of this someday, starring Anne Hathaway and Joe Mangeniello they should take these “product” placement gimmicks out.  (How come they didn’t get Kennedy to play Cheryl Taggart? I bet she would have been good at it for real.)


9.  It’s actually very touching and almost misty eyed making, mainly the scenes where Dagny and Galt navigate the fact that they want to be together but are on different sides of a war.


10.  The one thing the writers and directors did do well is condense The Speech and figure out how to film it.  Among all the overly long and loving panoramas of redwoods and mountains and the cheesy sets, this they did surprisingly well.

Our guilty pleasure – we’re covering CPAC

7 Mar
CPAC Panel on Minority Voter Outreach Poorly Attended – CPAC Roundup

Reason magazine is covering it this year.  We ran into Kennedy and crew filming interviews for reasonTV (reason coverage link above).

Apparently prices, especially for sponsors, were doubled this year, so there seem to be many fewer attendees, including most gay, libertarian, and even some tea party groups.  The Libertarian Party had a booth for years in the exhibitors hall, but hasn’t for several years.  American for Prosperity has no booth.  And Campaign for Liberty is shrunken from its Ron Paul campaign years of having one or two aisles of booths of related groups like Young Americans for Liberty to having only one booth.

CPAC is again held inconveniently at Washington National Harbor, the resort complex rubes think is in DC that is actually far away in Prince George’s County in Maryland, on the Potomac, near Andrews Air Force Base.  CPAC organizers say they outgrew DC hotel space but many think the real reason for the move last year was that the Occupy protesters confronted Andrew Breitbart, when CPAC was in DC, in 2012, where the late, great Achilleus of the center-right harangued the occupy under fay.   CPAC wagers that Occupy, which in DC has to hire the unemployed and homeless people so it has enough bodies at a protest, aren’t competent to find National Harbor or charter a bus to get there.  CPAC offers bus service from Union Station on Capitol Hill (last year it also offered it from George Washington University).

I’ve been covering CPAC for my blogs since 2007.  The three perpetual fault lines are: Ron Paul and other libertarians vs neoconservatives and pro-military groups; gay conservatives vs people who want no gay groups as sponsors; free market Muslim Americans and their supporters vs people who want no tincture of Islam allowed.  The anti-gay, anti-Muslim, and anti-libertarian forces have won most battles, and excluded most groups from sponsorships and exhibits who fall under those three categories, with only Ron and Rand Paul left.  This year they also refused to rent space (and presumably sell wedding cake) to one of those single issue atheist groups as well.  I think the Ayn Rand Institute may still be in but I will have to check to see if they have a booth as they did last year. However CPAC may lose the war, since they want the young peoples, and when they show up they usually end up being over half libertarian leaning, even if you barred their sponsoring groups.

The other usual CPAC experience is leftover or “liberal” journalists looking for snark.  In the past this has taken the form of checking gay ads on craigslist etc. and then reporting the shocking finding that 20-something gay conservative boys away from home in a big city staying in hotels actually look to hook up with each other – the depravity knows no ends!  Last year Betsy Rothstein, a reporter for FishBowl (now with The Daily Caller), filed a report on how one exhibitor dared to have a poster with an unflattering photo of Hillary Clinton, at the CPAC conference – in Baltimore.  She thought, I believe, she was at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor instead of Prince George’s County’s National Harbor, based on the time spent on her expense account Uber ride.

I got there late last afternoon and only stayed until 9 pm, for about 6 hours of CPAC experience.  Here were my impressions:

Kennedy, Matt Welch, Meredith Bragg and other reporters said journalists were really scratching for something to cover.

Newlywed Yahoo News journalist Chris Moody, a former Cato intern, seemed almost giddy as he ran about snapping photos.  He’s such a nice young man.

British author and environmentalist critic James Delingpole was trying to meet journalists, carrying his new book on Eco-fascism, but he had no publicist or helper and none of the Americans knew who he was by looking at him.  (I tried to help a little.)

Glen Reynolds of Instapundit won a journalism award from Accuracy in Media, and Dana Loesch, formerly of Breitbart and now of Glen Beck Inc. accepted it for him (video later).  During the Q&A everyone asked her where Glen Beck was and why he didn’t come to CPAC.

I overheard a young journalist say “I was thinking about covering Rick Santorum, though he’s really irrelevant now.”  To which his young intern friend said “He came in second behind Romney last time.”

At the small (20 people) happy hour for the Republican Liberty Caucus (where 45 were expected) at a nice bar called Harrington’s. Token Libertarian Girl, FreedomWork’s Julie Borowski, and Republican Liberty Caucus candidates from South Carolina and New Mexico addressed the prospects for the Liberty movement and the threat of Libertarian Party spoilers to Republican candidates.  One Congressman from the south opined that Libertarian Party candidates are now stealing votes and ruining elections for half a dozen GOP candidates every election – and noted that in some cases, for less libertarian GOP candidates, he didn’t mind seeing this happen.  I kept waiting for one to advocate the usual Republican strategy of keeping Libertarians off the ballot but no one did.  Julie Borowski then decamped for the annual Blogger Bash across the street at a piano bar called Bobby McKay’s, where she was nominated for a blogging award.

I spent the night drinking with a right leaning libertarian friend who is married to a Republican Liberty Caucus organizer, who works in, as they say in DC, IC.  Meaning the intelligence community.  She says Judge Napolitano is wrong that the Ukranian uprisings wee funded by the Obama regime.  A Campaign for Liberty organizer then argued in our private beer fuled symposium that they many not have been government funded, but they were funded by the National Endowment for Democracy and other government supported groups.

Tonight I will be “covering” the Leadership Institute reception and a private, invite only Breitbart.com party (assuming they allow one to repeat what was said etc.) and hope to get to the actual event earlier, before lunch, as well.

MTV Kennedy premiers "The Roundtale" FOX Business Show Monday

6 Dec

Former MTV VJ Lisa Kennedy Montgomery to host libertarian Fox Business show

Fox Business announced Tuesday that Lisa Kennedy Montgomery — better known as ex-MTV VJ Kennedy, the hipster conservative host ofAlternative Nation from 1992 to 1997 — is joining the network as host of a new program called The Independents. The series, which will air Monday through Wednesday and Friday nights at 9 p.m. ET, will feature “a roundtable discussion about the day’s news, with a focus on the protection of economic and civil liberties.”
Montgomery isn’t a new addition to the Fox family — she joined the company’s business network as a contributor and special correspondent to John Stossel’s weekly talk show last year. Previously, Montgomery hosted Fox Reality’s recap show Reality Remix from 2005 to 2008.
Matt Welch, editor of the libertarian monthly Reason — to which Montgomery also contributes — and Kmele Foster, chairman of the conservative/libertarian America’s Future Foundation, will co-host The Independents alongside Montgomery.
The roundtable will premiere Monday, Dec. 9.

Roger Stone, LBJ, and Public Choice Theory: Notes from my homework

20 Nov
I’ve recently been in a graduate school course that surveys both microeconomics and public choice theory, which led me to observe that the standard critique of voting proferred by some libertarians  is actually a simplifying, and perhaps overly simplistic and fallacious, model of reality, in much the same way the neoclassical model of perfect competition is.  (Though to be sure, paedagically useful in demystifying democracy.). Voters, like consumers, exist outside of time or at a point in time, performing a function statically; there is no discovery process, learning, ignorance, asymmetric information.  Voters are like the neoclassical price taking producers, whose actions have no effect on outcomes.

I once asked one of my favorite frenemies, reason editor Katherine Mangu-Ward, if her critique of voting (derived from the work of economist Bryan Caplan and others), wasn’t arithmetically and logically unassailable, and yet false and irrelevant.  It’s not voting that is worthwhile, but campaigning:  it’s an empirical issue of whether 100 hours or $1000 donated to reason magazine, or the Mercatus Center (where public choice theory is articulated), or to a candidate or referendum calling for ending the drug war, stirs more people to rethink the issues.  The critique of voting abstracts from candidates, canvassing and campaigning, just as the neoclassical model of perfect competition leaves out innovating firms, consumers discovering new needs, desires, goods and services, entrepreneurs discovering new factors of production, etc.

Which leads me to wonder if public choice theory has also been over simplifying things.  I don’t know since after years of reading articles about it, or even hearing James Buchanan speak (to my senior high school math class actually, long ago), I’ve only just started reading it.  But I am struck by how in initial formulations the public choice theorist analyzes her “market” of interactions between voters, politicians, bureaucrats, and special interest groups, and simplifies the way they actually behave.

For example, there are “profit-making” behaviors of politicians that seem to be left out of introductory public choice discussions, in which politicians are simply described as lying for votes and buying votes and donors by stealing from taxpayers to give out subsidies.  I am struck by how this model leaves out two or three major aspects of politician behavior.

The first is how politicians create barriers to entry for competitors, from ballot access laws, character assassination by digging up dirt on potential rivals, and above all, by amassing a huge war chest in a candidate PAC so that no one will waste time running against them.  A politician doesn’t need to buy votes if instead you buy donors who fund such a huge war chest that no serious rival will emerge even if voters don’t approve of you.

Second is how politicians and political assemblies themselves are examples of the regulatory capture public choice economists use to describe bureaucracies.  Recently there has been a lot of evidence that the stock portfolios of elected officials always outperform the market, because they possess insider information about what laws and policies they will promulgate that change the values of firms and stocks.  Aren’t legislatures themselves now bureaucracies that are captured by a politically connected subset of the investor class, who will always inflate the currency to keep stock prices up, and pass laws that favor the stocks they invest in, knowing that those stocks will be favored by their legislation?

And then there is assassination, the ultimate barrier to entry, which Roger Stone now tells us LBJ committed (he also used the FCC to enrich his wife).  How do these large, historically specific, institutional features of particular national political processes fit into public choice theory?

Robert Caro Sins By Omission

ROBERT CARO SINS BY OMISSION
Robert Caro

By Roger Stone

As my book The Man Who Killed Kennedy: The Case Against LBJ has become an Amazon Top 100 best seller (# 18 at this writing) I have been asked again and again how Lyndon Johnson’s definitive biographer Robert Caro could have missed LBJ’s role in an assassination plot.

Yet, Caro’s masterful biography is flawed. There were two enormous scandals surrounding LBJ in the fall of 1963. One involved Secretary of the Senate, Bobby Baker, once described by Johnson as “my strong right arm” and the other involved the Texas wheeler-dealer, Billie Sol Estes. A review of news coverage of both scandals reveals substantially more column inches dedicated to coverage of the Billy Sol Estes scandal, yet nowhere in his biography does Caro even mention Sol Estes. Perhaps this is because Baker never testified against Johnson and served his prison sentence without comment while Billie Sol Estes served his prison term but later testified before a grand jury detailing Johnson’s role in the murder of U.S. Agriculture Department official Henry Marshall and President John F. Kennedy. Sol Estes also wrote to the Justice Department outlining the serial murders committed by LBJ. Time for Robert Caro to ‘fess up.

TO READ MORE go to: The StoneZone

To order the Man Who Killed Kennedy – The Case Against LBJ,
by Roger Stone with Mike Colapietro —
 Go Here

America’s real Duck Dynasty

22 Sep

Caroline Kennedy sells out Camelot

As the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination approaches, so does the merchandising onslaught — books, movies, commemorative magazines.
But there is one aspect of this commercialism that remains surprising: The most shameless huckster of Kennedy mythology and memorabilia is Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg.
Her public image is that of the classy, quiet keeper of the Kennedy legacy, the civic-minded former lawyer who publishes books on poetry while her cousins crash into trees and kick nurses. With the bar for Kennedy comportment set so low, it’s almost impossible for Caroline not to look good.
Look closer, though, and it’s clear that Caroline’s image is as fake and manufactured as her father’s: She is a profit-minded serial holder of non-jobs, culminating in her appointment to one of our ultimate non-jobs, ambassador to Japan.
During her confirmation hearing last week, her accomplishments, such as they are, were listed by Sen. Chuck Schumer: lawyer (she’s never practiced law), author (more on that in a moment) and philanthropist. He noted, with disproportionate awe, Caroline’s recent completion of a three-mile swim in the Hudson River. “I’m not sure either of us could have accomplished this feat,” he said to Sen. Bob Menendez. Well then — confirm her!
Caroline’s disastrous flirtation with taking Hillary Clinton’s vacated Senate seat — a damning interview revealed her capable of little more than like’s and you know’s, her entitlement off-putting — has long been forgotten.
Yet Caroline’s true accomplishments have gone criminally unnoticed: Her ability to seem above the fray while continuing to burnish a false legacy, all while indulging in a “Real Housewives”-style hustling of ancillary products.
In 1996, two years after Jackie Kennedy Onassis died of cancer, Caroline and her brother, John Jr., put the bulk of their mother’s estate up for auction. Mixed in with the oil paintings and jewels was JFK’s hat box (worth $100, sold for $31,625), a foot stool (worth $150, sold for $33,350) and one of Jackie’s lamps (worth $900, sold for $48,875). Even the doors from Jackie’s White House dressing room were ripped off their hinges and put on the block.
Lest this all seem too greedy, Caroline said that some of the proceeds would go to charity.
Modal Trigger

New York senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer fawn over Kennedy at last week’s hearings.

Reuters

More shocking than the auction’s $34.5 million haul was the selling itself: here were the intimate possessions of the most famous and private New Yorker since Garbo, set out for the equivalent of a yard sale for lockjaws. Even the interior of Jackie’s Fifth Avenue apartment was photographed for the Sotheby’s catalogue (which, by the way, is still for sale at Amazon, used for $34.99).
As for those much-vaunted donations to charity, neither she nor John ever disclosed how much, if any, of that revenue went there.
“My mother kept every single thing she ever got in her life,” said John Jr. “Either we were going to open up a museum or we were going to have more normal lives.”
But Caroline set about tracking down all the memorabilia she could. In his book “American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy,” C. David Heymann quotes Robert L. White, a businessman who owned the largest Kennedy collection of all. Caroline, he said, wanted what he had.
“The Kennedys made my life miserable,” White said. “I tried to appease them by offering the JFK Library and Museum a number of these items. But that didn’t satisfy them. They wanted everything. Ted Kennedy led the charge, but there’s no question that Caroline Schlossberg was behind it all. Evidently $34.5 million wasn’t enough for her. It’s like the more money she had, the more she wanted.”
Jackie herself, ever shrewd with money and negotiations, left her children $250,000 each in her will to avoid punitive estate taxes; she reportedly told them, on her deathbed, to sell whatever they didn’t want to keep.
When it came to auctioning, as ever, there were two sets of standards: one for the Kennedys, another for everyone else. In 1998, after two civilians put their extensive JFK memorabilia up for auction (the items came from two former JFK aides), Caroline and JFK Jr. hired an army of lawyers to try and stop it, and when they failed, questioned the authenticity of the items, then slammed the whole thing as gross exploitation. The pieces for sale, they said, were “intensely personal.” One bidder spent $3,000 on a pair of JFK’s long johns.
Heymann also wrote that when Caroline’s distant relation, Yusha Auchincloss, was preparing for his own auction of items from Hammersmith Farm — where Jackie spent much of her childhood and where she and JFK held their wedding reception — Caroline demanded that he not use the Kennedy name. He agreed.
In 2005, once again proclaiming herself overwhelmed by her parents’ possessions, Caroline staged another auction at Sotheby’s. Here were things most people wouldn’t give to the Goodwill: old magazines, dingy wicker baskets, a doorstop, chipped jars, a pair of tarnished candlesticks. A sugar bowl sold for $7,200. The press dubbed it “Came-schlock.”
Some Kennedys were upset that they were downgraded to mere bidders.
Eunice Kennedy, a source told The Post, “was ticked off that she had to be there bidding on items that belonged to her parents and grandparents.”
Meanwhile, Caroline was forging a career as an author. She co-wrote two books on the law and said she insisted her co-author’s name come first — not, she said, to reflect the division of labor, but because she was more famous, and how unfair for her civilian friend. It was noblesse oblige presented as humility. Caroline promoted the books only on the condition that no interviewer ask about her family.
In 2001, Caroline decided to go it alone. For her next books, she cobbled together lots of other people’s work — poems her mother loved, poems she loved, poems to memorize, poems that helped her on her “woman’s journey” — and packaged them as distinct parts of her Kennedy upbringing.
She also edited a couple of on-brand anthologies, publishing “Profiles in Courage for Our Time” — a callback to the book her father didn’t write and won a Pulitzer for — in 2002. It contained 13 essays by other writers, with Caroline’s name on the cover. That was followed, the same year, by “A Patriot’s Handbook: Songs, Poems, Stories, and Speeches Celebrating the Land We Love.” It included full reproductions of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. In 2009, it was reported that her five Kennedy-themed books earned her $4 million in royalties.
In 2011, Caroline sold the recorded interviews that her mother gave to Arthur Schlesinger in the wake of JFK’s assassination — tapes that Jackie had sealed and stored at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston. Jackie ordered the tapes kept secret until 50 years after her death, and the implication was these recordings were part of American history — that they belonged to all of us and would be released for free.
But Caroline took those tapes and sold them to her publisher, Hyperion, only 17 years after her mother’s death. The transcripts were packaged with CDs, and Caroline also sold the rights to ABC for a TV special.
“I think people really need to understand the purpose of an oral history,” Caroline told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, explaining her magnanimity. “And it really — the value of it is immediate, it is honest.” The value was also $60 retail.
Then, last August, a friend of Caroline’s told The Post that she couldn’t believe QVC was selling reproductions of Jackie’s jewelry. “Trust me,” the source said. “Jackie wouldn’t have been caught dead wearing this stuff.”
Never mind that QVC was able to make copies because Caroline auctioned off Jackie’s jewelry, or that you could buy this stuff at the Kennedy Center’s gift shop, or one of Jackie’s favorite pieces was a fake three-strand pearl necklace — clearly, peons should not have such easy access to her replicas of her mother’s fakes. Caroline is like the Gwyneth Paltrow of legacy politics, selling off curated pieces of her image and life, crying foul whenever she can’t control the narrative or turn a profit herself.
As the 50th anniversary of her father’s assassination approaches, Caroline is keeping things low-key. This year, she’s selling off two parcels of undeveloped land on her late mother’s Martha’s Vineyard estate.
“Simply magnificent is the only way to describe this pristine waterfront parcel,” reads the listing. Caroline, who is currently worth an estimated $271 million, expects to get $45 million for it.
She’s also publishing a new book, “Rose Kennedy’s Family Album: From the Fitzgerald Kennedy Private Collection, 1878-1946.” It’s available for pre-order at Amazon now.

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