Writer and magician Penn Jillette joins Stansberry Investor Hour today. Someone Porter’s always been dying to talk to, he’s also worked with Buck’s former boss Glenn Beck – and become a libertarian thinker whose brain Porter wants to pick along the way.
There’s also news concerning another one-time Stansberry Investor Hour guest – Julian Assange, who is facing his last days of freedom in Ecuador’s London Embassy before falling into the waiting hands of British authorities.
Porter and Buck also get into the controversy around Nike, which has drawn Presidential-level wrath with its decision to make Colin Kaepernick the face of its brand. Porter’s take: Nike’s marketing decision is “interesting” at best – and Kaepernick’s protest was idiotic.
Speaking of protests – Buck brings up some of the most creative protest costumes he’s seen, directed at Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. From women in handmaiden tale outfits, to a guy dressed as a condom, there’s something in the culture war for everyone.
Later on, Porter reveals a big new project – a newsletter dedicated to laying out his personal investments, when and what he’s buying, and most importantly, why.
Magician, Comedian, Author
NOTES & LINKS
Announcer: Broadcasting from Baltimore, Maryland and New York City, you're listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour.
Tune in each Thursday on iTunes for the latest episode of the Stansberry Investor Hour. Sign up for the free show archive at InvestorHour.com. Here are the hosts of your show, Buck Sexton and Porter Stansberry.
Buck Sexton: Hey, everybody. Welcome back to a fantastic of the Stansberry Investor Hour. I am nationally syndicated radio host Buck Sexton, also host of Rising on Hill.tv. Back in the driver's seat today, none other than the founder of Stansberry Research, Mr. Porter Stansberry. And of course Country Club Guy. Gentlemen. Good to be back.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. Great to see you, Buck. Looking forward to the show today. We're having Penn Jillette on, a guy I've really always wanted to talk to. I'm so impressed with his career as a entertainer, magician of course. But he's also a great writer, and, near and dear to my heart, he's a libertarian.
Buck Sexton: So, yeah, I'm excited to talk to him as well. You know, he's actually done many interviews with my old boss, Glenn Beck. They had quite a bromance going for a while. Lots of appearances on Glenn's network. So I've seen Penn on. I've actually never gotten a chance to interview him. We got big things to talk about, by the way. Ford downgraded Nike. Assange, finally in his last days of freedom possibly. Also some sexism. We gotta talk about the patriarchy. We're gonna need some Portersplaining. I can tell Porter that I interviewed Alyssa Milano recently about –
Porter Stansberry: You did? Whoa.
Buck Sexton: – the patriarchy.
Porter Stansberry: What?
Buck Sexton: That was amazing. Yeah. But can I just first – I feel like you guys – I wanted a little pat on the head for this one. As soon as Kaepernick comes out with this ad for Nike – which is, what, the single biggest apparel company in the world, Porter? – I sent you and Jammer, also known as Country Club Guy, an e-mail and I was like, "I think this is gonna hurt Nike's stock." Turns out Nike lost $3.75 billion after that ad came out. Surprising?
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. And gravity exists. It's a shocker. You throw a stone in the air, it lands on the ground. No. I can't give you a pat on the head for that, Buck. That was pretty obviously a really interesting gamble for Nike to make. If it cements Nike's status in the inner-city communities or in the urban communities, it could have a very powerful brand effect for a long time. I recall that Under Armour got in a lotta trouble with one of its core demographics when the CEO of Under Armour agreed to be on some presidential advisory board. The presidential advisory board never even met, right? This is just a political fundraising effort. Of course no one understands that and so when the CEO of Under Armour got sort of labeled as a friend of Trump, all of a sudden he had big problems with a lot of his athletes and one of their core demographics.
So I think, in the short term, it looks like Nike's gonna take some heat. But it's gonna get them in the media and it's gonna get them a lot of die-hard supporters in sports communities, which in many cases are filled with African Americans.
Buck Sexton: And, in fact, there's been some research that shows that there's a disproportionate spending in this country by minority communities on goods like the conspicuous consumption involved in very expensive sneakers, athletic apparel. So, long term, it may actually solidify the base.
Porter Stansberry: Right. Maybe Nike's appealing to their base, to put it in political terms.
Country Club Guy: They got woke.
Porter Stansberry: Of course the flip side of that is: I think that Colin Kaepernick is very ignorant and I think that his protest was absurd. And I note that he didn't begin protesting anything until he lost his starting job. And my feeling is that if he was qualified to play quarterback in the NFL, he probably would be. Because the NFL is enormously competitive and there are lots of owners like the guys who own the Oakland Raiders and the guys who own the Dallas Cowboys who take delight in picking up troubled players and making them successful again on the field. So I have a hard time having any sympathy for Colin Kaepernick and I thought his protest was in very poor taste.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. He also wore socks with pigs with police hats on them. And then it was fun to watch all the commentators go on TV and say, "Well, it's still about police brutality." I was like, "That seems like you're just ridiculing police to me, my friend. I think that's pretty straightforward. Cops as pigs."
Porter Stansberry: Well, and I'll tell you: I'm probably one of the few people in America who can say this in a public forum without being shouted down or whatever happens to people who are supported by advertisers, which is not us: I have absolutely no sympathy whatsoever for the fact that there is violence from police into the black community. Because it's the black community that commits the overwhelming number of crimes in every urban area in the United States.
And so if you want my sympathy, black community, stop committing crimes. Let's start there. Let's stop abandoning your children. Let's stop having dozens of kids out of wedlock. Let's stop using the welfare rolls and the the plaintiff's bar as the way of making a living a living in America instead of getting a job or providing a good or a service. And let's stop shooting each other, stop selling each other heroin. All that stuff. Can we just start there? Because I don't think that police brutality is even in the top 50 of the problems of the black community in America. Not even in the top 50. So if Colin Kaepernick wants to protest something, let's protest the fact that the minority graduation rates from high school are abysmal. And you know why? Because the parents don't make the kids go to school. Let's start there.
And can we stop blaming all the problems of that community on everyone else in America? You know, three out of the six cops that killed Freddie Gray were African American. This isn't a race issue. This is a cultural issue. This is a class issue. This is an educational problem. And you're not gonna solve all those things by cracking down, whatever that means, on police brutality. Not only that, but if you look at all the cases that these people are talking about, the Freddie Gray case, the case – who was the guy in St. Louis that they had a big fit about?
Buck Sexton: Brown?
Country Club Guy: Mike Brown.
Porter Stansberry: So Brown had just strong-armed, robbed a convenience store. And according to –
Buck Sexton: On video.
Porter Stansberry: – all of the witnesses in the case, who were African American, by the way, he was trying to grab the police officer's weapon [laughs]. That's not a hero for your community. Freddie Gray was 26 years old in Baltimore. He had been arrested for selling heroin a dozen times. A dozen times. And he didn't have a social security number because he had never had a job. A 26-year-old healthy American citizen never employed. These are not problems that the police can solve for you. Sorry, African American community.
And, by the way, I guarantee you there are an overwhelming number of educated, self-made, probably middle-class or upper-class African American people who listen to our podcast who sit there and go, "Exactly, Porter. Exactly. And, by the way, the people who are building this entire political base of dependence and government handouts – they don't represent me." Again, this has nothing to do with race or skin color. It's all about ideology, culture, personal responsibility, these things. And if Colin Kaepernick came out there and spoke to any of that, I'd be a lot more sympathetic to him as a protestor.
Buck Sexton: Speaking of protestors, did either of you gentlemen see – and I do have to push Porter toward sharing the vast wisdom of his insights into the financial world, 'cause I know that's why people actually listen. But I do wanna know – 'cause I'm down here in the swamp – did you guys see some of the protests at the Supreme Court nominee hearings this week? There's a guy dressed up as a six-foot-tall condom walking around [laughing] Capitol Hill. There are women –
Porter Stansberry: Gotta be hot in that outfit.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. There ae women in handsmaid's – I wish we had visual aids here – Handmaid's Tale outfits. Dozens of them gathering. This is a show, Porter, about the patriarchy. It's essentially: if liberals' nightmare of Porter running the entire world came true, in their cartoonish view of the patriarchy – which by the way, I'm a part of too: white male privilege, the whole thing. They wear these kind of bonnets and these red – only thing they said is the Supreme Court nominee is gonna destroy the country. What they've really shown everybody is that, for all these liberals you see that're saying that Trump has destroyed civility, guess what? There're a lotta maniacs running around here who want higher taxes and free health care. A lotta crazies on that side too.
Porter Stansberry: Plenty. And let me tell you what. Anyone who wants to know about white privilege could've hung out with me when I was 15, 16, 17 years old and mowing grass in Central Florida all summer. Teach you a lot about white privilege. The privilege I had was to work really hard and try to better myself and serve and protect my family for the last 45 years. That's all I understand.
Let's get to some real nonsense. Does anybody know why the liberals are boycotting In-N-Out Burger? Is it because they serve beef there or something? What's the problem?
Buck Sexton: So In-N-Out Burger had a committee that gave some money to a Republican – I don't even remember the exact specifics. But, essentially, In-N-Out Burger gave some money to a Republican election committee I believe. State's Republican Party. That's what it was. $25,000.00 In-N-Out Burger received. I will tell you: In-N-Out Burger is the best fast-food burger in the country. This is kind of like a boycott of Chick-fil-A, guys, This is where it all falls apart. 'Cause people love tasty fast food. It doesn't matter that it's not woke or cool. They want it. So this isn't gonna work.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs]. What is "woke"? What does that even mean?
Country Club Guy: I just brought it up earlier.
Buck Sexton: Social-justice conscious is the best definition.
Porter Stansberry: What does that mean? What is "woke"?
Buck Sexton: I don't know.
Country Club Guy: It's past tense.
Porter Stansberry: How is past tense – it doesn't even make any sense.
Country Club Guy: It does. Not in your community.
Porter Stansberry: "Woke."
Country Club Guy: Behind the big walls of your house, it probably doesn't make any sense.
Porter Stansberry: How about this, Buck? There's some new data out: 50 percent of American adults have less than $11,000.00 in savings.
Buck Sexton: This is why socialism, Porter, is now a pretty mainstream talking point of the Democratic Party. I'm not making it out. The biggest names in the Democratic Party are talking about a European social welfare state for America openly now.
Porter Stansberry: You know, think about how much different America would be if you had to pay a minimum amount of federal taxes to vote in a federal election. Just a minimum. Just $1,000.00. You know, if you're not putting at least $1,000.00 into the kitty, then you really aren't part of the equity of America. And you shouldn't have a vote. I like that idea.
The other idea I like, Buck, is the good American card. Good American card: you can qualify, you can apply. You don't want the government to run the program. We'd have to have somebody like American Express run the program that can actually provide customer service and manage a database. But the idea here is: if you're a good American, if you can prove – there's a number of different categories, right, that prove you're a good person. Like you've paid your taxes for the last ten years. Or if you're only 24, then the last 2 years or whatever, right? You have filed on time and paid your taxes. Simple, but a lotta people don't do it. There was some congressman that hadn't paid taxes in like ten years or something crazy.
Buck Sexton: But he was probably woke.
Porter Stansberry: He was very woke. You pay your taxes. How about this? There are no arrests anywhere on your record. Sorry, guys, if you got a DUI. No more good American card for you. I know it's a shame. But you shouldn't fuck up and drive drunk. So no arrests on your record, okay? Now, I might extend it like ten years. 'Cause if you do something dumb when you're 18 years old then you should be allowed to grow out of it. So maybe put a ten-year cap on all this: you've paid all your taxes for ten years, you haven't gotten arrested for ten years, and this is a stinger: no divorce. Now, I know everything's fair in love and war, but good Americans should stay married, be dedicated to their families. So ten-year limit. If you get a divorce, ten years go by, you get a second chance.
Country Club Guy: I don't know about that one.
Porter Stansberry: The victory of hope over experience, otherwise known as a second marriage [laughs].
Country Club Guy: Don't some lives get better when they get divorced? So wouldn't –?
Porter Stansberry: Again, but if you'd made a good decision in the first place then you wouldn't've gotten married.
Country Club Guy: All right. The ten-year rule. Gotcha.
Porter Stansberry: Ten-year rule. Good American card. You can object to some of these. And maybe it's a thing where like if you've got seven outta ten, you're all set. But you got any of these, Buck? What about –
Buck Sexton: I would have a good American card plus –
Porter Stansberry: You've made a donation to a major charity of at least $1,000.00? Something? You have to donate something to be a good American. What else? Maybe you haven't been involved in any kinda law suits. 'Cause I don't think good Americans sue people or get sued. I mean, listen, I've been in business a long time and fortunately I've made a lotta money. Nobody's ever sued me except for the federal government.
Country Club Guy: That's a big one.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. But that was more than ten years ago. I'd still qualify.
Country Club Guy: Okay. Yeah, how you doing in this list, by the way?
Porter Stansberry: Now, listen: if you have a good American card, you get privileges, right? So you get automatically upgraded at hotels and air fare if it's availability. We'd give you a discount on the newsletters. We wanna have lots of good American subscribers. You don't have to wait in line to vote. There's a special good American card line, get you right in the door.
Country Club Guy: Now we're getting somewhere.
Porter Stansberry: Discounts at restaurants. Good American discount, kinda like Social Security – or not Social Security, but AARP discounts. "Oh, you're a good American? Here, have a better table. Ten percent off your check." What else? You guys get the idea?
Country Club Guy: Yeah. We got the idea.
Porter Stansberry: If you get pulled over by the cops –
Country Club Guy: That's not gonna fly.
Porter Stansberry: "Hey, I'm a good American. Can I have a warning?"
Country Club Guy: What happens if you hit a guardrail in Green Spring Valley Road?
Porter Stansberry: Well, it's important that you paint your car gray so that the guardrail doesn't stain the car.
Country Club Guy: _____ _____ for that story.
Porter Stansberry: All right. That's my idea.
Buck Sexton: I'll never forget. I was with my dad and he pulled an illegal U-ie through a red light to try to get me to the train to get me back down to DC when I was working at the CIA and we got pulled over and I would never have said this, but my dad looks at the officer – and the officer's like, "I was right behind you, man. You just broke three laws. What are you doing?" And he goes, "Well, I gotta get my son back down to DC. He just returned from Iraq serving his country." And the officer looked at me and I kinda just gave him the: "Well, it is technically true. Yeah, that did happen." The officer's like, "Go right ahead, sir."
Porter Stansberry: There you go.
Buck Sexton: That was like having a good American card.
Porter Stansberry: Good American card. That's it. Definitely if you served in the armed forces, you start out with a good American card. I mean, hope you can keep it. But, yeah, you get one. Absolutely. Honorable discharge of course. Not the dishonorable kind. No.
All right. Does anybody who – I'd love it if we have a listener who is owed a pension by the state of Illinois. If there is a listener out there who is owed a pension by the state of Illinois, I will make you a deal right now. I will buy your pension from you for 25 cents on the dollar [laughs]. 'Cause there is no way you're getting more than that out of it. I think it's a pretty good deal. You should take it.
Buck Sexton: Porter, I actually had on the TV show earlier this week somebody from the American Federation of Teachers. And I didn't have enough time to really dig into it –
Porter Stansberry: Oh my God.
Buck Sexton: – but the whole story – yeah, get ready for it.
Porter Stansberry: Talk about a target-rich environment.
Buck Sexton: The whole story that we're hearing now is: oh, there are all these teachers' strikes going on in states like West Virginian and Oklahoma, and the people have spoken. And I sit here and go, "How long do we have to deal with this mythology that teachers are the most overpaid, more hardworking, most honorable" – I mean, look, there are great teachers. There are terrible teachers.
Porter Stansberry: You mean underpaid.
Buck Sexton: I'm sorry. Yeah. Underpaid. Thank you. But the most underpaid, the most hardworking. And so raise taxes on homeowners in whatever state you can to fund public schools that don't ever get any better. I feel like with your pension thing, by the way, the public sector pensions usually – teachers are often the biggest single expense.
Porter Stansberry: So, the problems in education are not just with the public schools. There's also the big problems in public education expenses in colleges and private schools. And I think, to me, it has a lot in common with our problems in health care. And before you get outraged, just listen to what I'm about to say. In both cases, people have a belief that is at odds with the market's reality.
So the belief is, in America, that you're entitled to an education. And the belief is that you're entitled to health care. In the sense that it's your birth right because you were born in America. And that, unfortunately, is simply not true. The government cannot grant you a right to a service. You are born with certain inalienable rights, the right to free speech being the most important [laughs]. The right to bear arms, right? The right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures. The right not to incriminate yourself. Buck, I know I skipped the third one. I can't remember what it is right now. Buck probably knows. He's in the CIA.
But my point is: those are all things that the government can grant you simply by leaving you alone.
Buck Sexton: Quartering of soldiers.
Porter Stansberry: The quartering of soldiers. Yes. But the government can't grant you a right that involves another person, say another person, a teacher or a doctor, providing you a service. Because that person has to be paid. And so what's interesting is: the market has been completely warped by the availability of taxpayers' money to go into those markets. So all those markets have vastly inflated prices because of the belief that someone is entitled to those services, and then the government's willingness to finance those services because of that belief. And so that's why it's so expensive – one of the many reasons it's so expensive to go to the doctor and it's so expensive to get an education.
And the answer to those problems are, unfortunately, completely politically unpalatable: you have to remind people that these are all services and they have to be earned and they have to be purchased. And then what you could do is you could provide a limited amount of funding for them. "So, look, we'll give you $1,000.00 a year to go to college and that's all we're gonna give to you and you gotta make the best of it. And we'll give you $1,000.00 a year towards emergency medical service, but that's it. You gotta provide the rest." And if we did that, as a country, you would see prices on all these services plummet.
The other big problem with health care is that the rigamarole in the licensing and the regulation about doctors is out of control. When I have a bad ear infection, I don't need to see someone who went to medical school for eight years. I need to see someone, the pharmacist, who can prescribe to me an antibiotic that'll cure my ear infection. It's not hard to diagnose it. And, sure, there's the off chance where 1 in 10,000 cases is not an ear infection; it's flesh-eating disease, and the poor guy dies if he doesn't see a doctor. Well, that's the risk we gotta take.
Country Club Guy: I think with the frequency that you get sick, you could probably self-diagnose a lotta your illnesses.
Porter Stansberry: I can.
Country Club Guy: You were sick this week.
Porter Stansberry: Let's not talk about that. Every year when my kids go back to school, I immediately get sick. Every single year. They're like petri dishes.
Country Club Guy: True story.
Porter Stansberry: All right. How about Ford and General Motors? Anybody wanna invest in a car business yet?
Country Club Guy: Not Tesla. Did you se Mercedes is coming out with an SUV, electric version? And it looks nice. And they can actually make 'em.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. And you can get 'em serviced.
Country Club Guy: It's crazy. They don't come with the discolored bumpers.
Porter Stansberry: That'd be nice.
Country Club Guy: All the wheels are on 'em.
Porter Stansberry: They don't blow up and start on fire?
Country Club Guy: Yeah. They don't explode when you go through a puddle.
Porter Stansberry: That's a plus.
Country Club Guy: So would you rather buy a Mercedes – and I'm sure BMW's right behind 'em in the electric vehicle space. But would you rather have that or an Elon Musk car?
Porter Stansberry: No, I'd like to buy a car from a car maker that made my car in a tent. I think cars made in tents have a bright future.
Country Club Guy: Where he's asking the engineers from the upstairs office to come down to help put the car together. Now, that's a problem.
Porter Stansberry: And I also like that he's asking for money back from all of his parts suppliers. That's a great way to get the best parts on time [laughs].
Country Club Guy: [Laughs].
Porter Stansberry: Listen, I applaud Elon Musk's ability to start a car company from scratch. Really is brilliant. And I think the cars are actually tremendously technologically advanced and they've been great for the market to push Mercedes and BMW into making better cars and giving people choices of electric vehicles. All that's wonderful and he should be applauded. I just don't think that his car company should be worth more than BMW's. So don't bother writing in telling me how wonderful your Tesla is. I'm sure it's a great car. His car company is overvalued by 90 percent. And when the reality of what it is to be a car maker becomes clear to the stockholders, there's gonna be a huge correction.
One other thing about that: I'd love for you to print out a chart of GM and Ford over the last ten years. And what you're gonna see is that neither stock has gone anywhere. And that is not because GM and Ford can't build good cars and it's not because they don't have good workers and it's not because they have union shops. None of that's the real issue. The real issue is that there is tremendous overcapacity in the global auto industry and there has been for a decade or longer. Two decades or longer. So it's impossible for these guys to make a profit because there are too many cars being made around the world for too few buyers. And things like Uber and Lyft – and what's that metro – Zipcar service? It's all making car ownership more and more marginal for people. So less demand going forward.
Anyways, the wonderful thing about this is that the government came in and decided that we wouldn't have a liquidation of General Motors or Chrysler. Ford, by the way, never did go bankrupt. And, as a result, we should've had a much smaller domestic auto industry, which would've allowed more pricing power to the people who survived like Ford. Meanwhile, GM and Chrysler – they never got liquidated. They never really reduced their capacity. And, in many cases, their debts never went away; most notably the debts never went away vis-à-vis the obligations they have to retired workers. So these companies are still debt-laden zombies that can't possibly earn a good return for investors. It's impossible. They can't even make a ten-percent operating margin on these businesses.
So they've got big problems going forward. And I've been waiting for the next recession or the next credit default cycle because I knew that both Ford and GM would get slammed. Ford's gonna get slammed because it never wrote off all of its debts. It still has 'em all. And GM's gonna get slammed because even though it wrote off all its debts, it immediately began borrowing tens of billions as soon as it came outta bankruptcy, and I think now owes something like $50 billion again in ten years.
So the truth'll never come out. How much money that GM has paid directly into the unions will never come out.
Buck Sexton: And didn't they also violate the contract to the bondholders as part of that bankruptcy when Rattner did the restructuring?
Porter Stansberry: Yeah.
Buck Sexton: They just said _____ –
Porter Stansberry: The bondholders got 10 cents on the dollar; the unions got 90 cents on the dollar. Plus they got preferred stock that guaranteed them a dividend that then GM had to buy back by borrowing tons of money. That's where all the money went. It all went to the unions.
Buck Sexton: It was a big political payoff. But it sounded good, right? Bin Laden is dead; General Motors is alive. That was the 2012 slogan for Obama and – not Bernie – Biden's re-election.
Porter Stansberry: And people have forgotten all about this, but remember it was Steve Rattner, a completely crooked Democratic fixer from New York, who was the car czar for Obama, who organized the new GM.
Buck Sexton: Oh yeah.
Porter Stansberry: And he was an unindicted co-conspirator in a giant embezzlement scam in the New York State Pension Fund group. And three or four people went to prison and he should've too of course, but he couldn't because he was actively in the federal administration at the time and that would've been a little embarrassing for everybody.
Buck Sexton: So for Obama and the Democratic Party, he was the right guy for the job.
Penn Jillette is an American magician, comedian, and author. Penn is also half of the performing group, Penn & Teller. Performing together for over 40 years with a 15-year run at the Rio Hotel & Casino makes them the longest-running and most beloved headline act in Las Vegas history. Penn will also be speaking at the 2018 Stansberry conference in Las Vegas, October 1st through 3rd. Tickets are sold out but you are still able to catch all the action with our livestreaming. Just go to www.InvestorHourStreaming.com to sign up. That's InvestorHourStreaming.com. And now, everybody, please welcome to the Stansberry Investor Hour Penn Jillette.
Porter Stansberry: Penn, hi. How are you? It's Porter Stansberry.
Penn Jillette: Never better, boss. How are you?
Porter Stansberry: I'm doing great. Thanks so much for spending a little bit of time with us today. I really appreciate it.
Penn Jillette: I'm thrilled.
Porter Stansberry: I am one of your biggest fans. I know we've never met. But I am just in awe of your ability to build a career in the entertainment business the way you have. I love the books that you've written. And of course I'm a fellow traveler in regards to libertarian philosophy.
Penn Jillette: Good thinking.
Porter Stansberry: So, if you don't mind, we'll just jump right into some basic questions and then get into some funny ones.
Penn Jillette: Okay. We can even mix those up [laughs].
Porter Stansberry: So, Penn, the first question I have for you is – I know you're a fantastic entertainer, a great musician, and you're a wonderful author. I've enjoyed several of your books. But the question I have for you to start with is all about your political philosophy. How in the world did you stumble on to libertarian thinking and thought? What put you on that path? Because it's such an unusual philosophy for most Americans, and a lot of people have never even heard of it. So how did you come to those ideas?
Penn Jillette: I didn't come to them. They were brought to me. I was your standard kind of Hollywood liberal around the late '80s, early '90s, and I met a guy named Tim Jenison who I ended up making a movie about called Tim's Vermeer. He painted a Vermeer in a warehouse in Texas with technology that he rediscovered, that he – you could say invented except it's pretty clear that that's what Vermeer used to do his painting. And found out kind of, in at least one sense, what Vermeer was doing was not paintings but rather photographs.
Way back when we first met, Tim was talking to me about – I think we went to an artificial life conference in Arizona and we were talking one night and he started talking politically. And there's a few ways to change someone's mind. And usually what people push for is manipulation, saying to people, "Oh, well _____ _____ _____," asking questions, being very gentle. And that never works with me. I always feel like I'm be hustled and condescended to. And Tim, who was a very good friend, just kept saying to me, "No, you're wrong. What about this? You're wrong."
And he argued with me for about two hours about what freedom really means. I think, strangely, or at least strangely to people who don't understand libertarianism, as my peace with nature. What bothers me the most I think in general is the use of force and coercion. So this very thing that makes me think that war is so rarely the answer is the same thing that makes me think that so rarely government control is the answer. So I kind of came around to it with a friend yelling at me. And my peacenik leanings.
Porter Stansberry: I've seen many libertarians yelling about the initiation of force before. That's a common theme among us.
Penn Jillette: Yes. I really think, for me, it's everything. The question that was asked about libertarianism – because I'm a coward. I've never hit anybody in my life in anger. It's hard to believe I would even fight to defend myself. And I'm really against that. So I have to ask myself: what would I be willing to use force to stop? And although I might not have the strength or the bravery, I would use force to stop a murder. I would use force to stop race. I would not use force to build a library. And that, I think, in a nutshell is my libertarian philosophy.
Porter Stansberry: That's brilliant. I wanna get to atheism in a minute 'cause we wanna try to annoy as many of our deeply religious and conservative listeners as we can.
Buck Sexton: Oh God.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs]. But first, the next thing I've always wanted to ask you about is: you have had such an amazing career as an entertainer and you've done so many different things. I don't think there's many people that know that you were actually on an episode of Miami Vice. And when I was a kid in the early '80s, Miami Vice was my favorite TV show. So I gotta ask: how in the world did you end up on Miami Vice?
[Silence for about 30 seconds]
Penn Jillette: Well, first of all, I wasn't just on Miami Vice.
Porter Stansberry: Oh, sorry.
Penn Jillette: I was in the _____ _____ _____ _____. And boy did I not wanna do it. I was working off Broadway. I was doing eight shows a week, which – no job in show business is hard. There is no job that's hard in show business. You cannot carry on about how hard Bruce Springsteen works because maybe someone listening to you has had a job in an emergency room or even as a secretary, and they work much harder. No one in show business works hard. That being said, eight shows a week on Broadway is a pretty full schedule. And on top of that I was doing a movie that had me shooting overnight. So I'd finish the show and go to midnight to 6:00 AM to shoot this movie at the New York Library.
And Miami Vice was going through this phase where they wanted to get all the people that they considered to be kind of trendy, kind of written about in The New Yorker and The New York Times and so on. So they came to a lot of the people that were doing Steppenwolf shows from Chicago and New York. And they also – Penn & Teller had just kind of hit off Broadway. So they wanted me to be in an episode. And I went in and met Paul Michael Glaser, you know, Starsky of Starsky & Hutch, and Michael Mann. And my agent insisted I go in and audition although I didn't have the time to do it. And I went in and the audition was uncomfortable. I didn't really care for them. And they just seemed like the kind of people I didn't like to hang out with.
So I went through the audition and said, at the end of it, "Listen, this is pretty clear: you don't like me; I don't like you. I've never seen this show. I'm too busy." They then called me back for a bigger part. And the part they called me back for was Jimmy Borges, who was Colombian, and I'm from Massachusetts.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs].
Penn Jillette: I didn't think my accent was right. I didn't think my look was right. I didn't think anything was right. But they called me back. And then, speaking of coercion, I then said I wouldn't do the part 'cause I was too busy, and because Miami Vice had so much muscle at that time, I then got told that Penn & Teller would not be able to do Letterman ever again. And they had a guy following me around asking me why I wouldn't do it.
So that ended up with two weeks of Miami Vice, during which my schedule was – and this is no exaggeration; this is the schedule: I did the show at 8:00 off Broadway, I finished at 11:00, I got in a limo, went to the New York Public Library, I worked from midnight to 6:00 AM; at 6:00 AM a limo picked me up, I went to the set of Miami Vice, and I worked from 7:00 in the morning till 7:00 in the evening; then I took a limo over to the show and did the 8:00 show and repeated. So I was working for 2 weeks in a 24-hour days. And all of a sudden someone was shaking me. It was Don Johnson in my face saying, "We're rolling," and then did his line, and somehow miraculously I was able to remember my lines and do the whole scene actually 30 seconds after waking up.
And, as you know, I ended up in an elevator, shot in the head. And I will just tell you: you spend two weeks with Don Johnson and see how much you wanna be alive.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs]. That's great. Penn, I have one more question for you, and I know Buck wants to ask you about the infamous Trump tapes that people keep talking about.
Penn Jillette: Sure.
Porter Stansberry: My question for you is a little more philosophical, and hopefully more interesting than more Trump politic talk. But you gotta give the people what they want. So here's my question for you: if you could ask a devout religious person – I don't care whether he's a Orthodox Jewish guy or a proselytizing Christian or – I don't even know what – I guess some sort of Islamic radical person – if you could ask them one question, just one question that would point out sort of the internal fallacies of believing in a monotheistic all-powerful God, what's that question?
Penn Jillette: If God, however you perceive him, her, or it, spoke to you in whatever way you believe God communicates with you – if your particular god told you without a doubt to kill your child, would you do it? If the answer is no, you're an atheist and welcome. If the answer is yes, I would like you to reconsider.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs]. That's a really good one. The question I have that I wanted to share with you is only really applicable for Christianity 'cause that's the only religion I know very well. I'm sure you could pose the same question in a similar way to a Jewish person or Islamist. But my question is: why do you think that Jesus didn't tell us about penicillin?
Penn Jillette: [Laughs]. Yeah. Exactly.
Porter Stansberry: Healing all those people was great. But you didn't have to do it one at a time [laughs].
Penn Jillette: [Laughs]. Yeah. That is the question. That question that ends up the problem of suffering. And there's all sorts of answers people have given. And I don't find any of them satisfying. If God is all-powerful, the only way reason there's suffering is because he doesn't care. And if God is kind, the only reason there's suffering is because he's not all-powerful. So one of those two things must not _____.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. Agreed. Now, Buck, let's get into the political drama part of the interview.
Buck Sexton: Okay. All righty. So, Penn, good to talk to you by the way. You used to sit down with my old boss and actually the guy who brought me into media, Glenn Beck, a fair amount, if you recall. I remember you on our set a number of times. I don't work for Glenn anymore, but I used to.
Penn Jillette: I love Glenn.
Buck Sexton: Glenn's a great guy. So I got a couple things. One, we haven't talked at all on the show – and, see, Porter doesn't like to BS. And I get it. But there's a BS superstorm going on right now because of this anonymous op-ed in The New York Times. I don't even know if Porter's read it yet. But this is the biggest – in the bubble – I'm coming to you from DC. This is what everybody in the swamp is talking about. Have you read the op-ed, before I specify some questions? Do you know what I'm talking about?
Penn Jillette: Of course I've read the op-ed.
Buck Sexton: Just making sure, this anonymous op-ed. One –
Penn Jillette: And the smart money says Dan Coats, right?
Buck Sexton: Really? Okay. 'Cause I was gonna say: one, who do you think is responsible? And, two, what do you think of the message? Porter, it's basically saying – just in summary and for our listeners – is that there is a group – he calls it a steady state, not a deep state – of senior administration officials – this was published in The New York Times editorial page under an anonymous byline – that they are trying to stop the President from messing things up because he's so crazy. I mean, that's a summary version. But Penn, I think that's a fair one.
Penn Jillette: Yeah. It is fair. Although you need to have –
Porter Stansberry: Hey, guys – sorry, Penn. I just wanted to say: is that really that unusual? Because I have maybe 500 employees. And the same exact thing goes on right here. I mean, people always think the boss is crazy and they always think that for the good of the institution, they're gonna not do what they're told to do. And at our company we call it stonewalling. When Porter has a big radical idea that people think are risky, they just won't do it. And they just stonewall me and stonewall me and stonewall me and they hope that I forget about the idea that I had. And usually I do. But –
Buck Sexton: But they're not worried you're gonna drone somebody, Porter. At least not that I know of.
Porter Stansberry: That's just how organizations work. It's not a conspiracy.
[Silence for about a minute]
Penn Jillette: It's not a conspiracy and it is the way organizations work. I think, having spent a lot of time with Trump – and the editorial, in his summation, that seems right – when you read the actual details, where they disagree with their boss is more profound than you see in business. And their use of the word "crazy" when they're talking about you is probably accompanied by an eye roll. When they're talking about Trump, it may be accompanied by cold sweat.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs].
Penn Jillette: And I think that is a profound difference. The people around Trump really worry that they have a mentally ill child who is the most powerful man in the world. And that is very different. 'Cause although you are a very powerful man, Porter –
Porter Stansberry: Oh please.
Penn Jillette: – I don't believe – and forgive me. I don't believe you have your finger on the nuclear _____ _____.
Porter Stansberry: Please [laughing]. First of all, I don't even run my own house, Penn [laughs]. So I'm far from a powerful person. And, second of all, no, I would be terrified – I'm terrified that button even exists. I want nothing to do with it.
Penn Jillette: Yeah. So what I'm saying is: I think you are saying – I think if you talked about a president who, whether we agree or disagree, was smart and sane like Bush or Obama – pick either one of 'em – even presidents we disagree with profoundly and think didn't do anything like Carter were sane and smart. I'm sure the people around them did a lot of jiggling and nudging and manipulating to have them do what the employee thought was a better job. Having spent a lot of time around Trump, it is remarkable – I've never been around somebody who had no filter, no thinking, and no kind of sense of other people. It is really really remarkable.
Now, in a reality show, show business environment, that's I won't go as far as to say charming. But that is completely acceptable. We have found a use in entertainment for mentally ill people _____ _____.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs].
Penn Jillette: It goes very well. And it's no problem. You have people that – and not only do we have people who have serious psychological problems, but also we cultivate those. There's no doubt that we as a culture drove Elvis and Frank Sinatra insane. And we were okay with that. What we got out of that was someone very entertaining who spoke to our hearts. And we've certainly seen that – I mean, you certainly saw that with Richard Pryor. Many many of our geniuses – Lenny Bruce – were put in a role that drove them crazy.
Buck Sexton: Is it fair to ask, Penn, if creativity has a bit too close a relationship with crazy?
Penn Jillette: I don't know about that. I'm always a little bit skeptical when somebody – and many people do – try to consider their lack of prudence and their capriciousness and self-centered qualities to be part of their genius. Because you do have people who are phenomenally talented and at the same time incredibly sane. I mean, Steve Martin comes to mind as somebody who is as sane as anybody you're gonna find and yet has a body of work as good as anybody you're gonna find. And you even saw that when Lou Reed got off drugs: very sane, hardworking. I'm trying to go for the people that you would think would be crazy. Debbie Harry of Blondie.
Buck Sexton: Can I focus you in on Trump for a second actually if I could, Penn? And I'm also – this is Trump-related: I'm sitting down with your former contestant, colleague, Omarosa tomorrow for an at-length discussion. What can you tell me about Omarosa?
Penn Jillette: Well, she texts with my wife fairly often. She has a wonderful relationship with my wife and they text I think daily. Although I don't really know. But they go through periods where they're texting really often. They became fairly close. My contact with her is not very much and my contact with her was somebody who was playing a role, you know? In wrestling it's called the heel. You have the face and you have the heel in professional wrestling. And the face is the good guy and the heel is the bad guy. And Omarosa was very – I've never done this, but Omarosa played a character with her own name that she considered to be a character that was a bad guy on reality shows.
I have enough trouble just trying to present myself as honestly as I can that I've never been – I mean, I'm not much of an actor. I'm not good at playing a role. So since she would say to me that who she was when I was around her was not who she really was, it was very difficult to get a picture of her, if you know what I mean. If someone says to you, "We're gonna go in a room for three hours and I'm not gonna be myself," at the end of that three hours, what do you think about who you've met? [Laughs]. It's difficult. So I don't really know.
The question everybody wanted me to answer, especially Stephen Colbert, aggressively on TV – wanted to know if I heard Trump say the N-word. I never did. I don't know if he ever did. It doesn't seem like part of his culture, but what do I know? And I don't know what more evidence you need of Trump's racism, unkindness, incompetence, and capriciousness than what we have without any inside sources, without anything anonymous, without anything underhanded. It seems like his incompetence is broadcast.
Porter Stansberry: I don't know, Penn. I don't wanna be in a position of defending President Trump because he seems crass and rude and like a bully to me. But I can't recall ever hearing him say something or do something that I thought was overtly racist. And I've seen that word used so many times to describe people who are simply conservative that I'm sensitive to that issue.
Penn Jillette: You should be. You should be very sensitive to that issue. And I have that same feeling all the time. I cannot tell you word for word the conversation that I heard Trump use because I know from experience – 'cause I keep a journal – that my memory is not accurate. I know that no one's eyewitness testimony is accurate.
But I can tell you – and it's absolutely true – I heard him make jokes referring to Lil Jon, the rapper, as an Uncle Tom, that was very very unpleasant, and at absolute best, tone deaf, and at worst, dismissive and racist. I heard him have an attitude toward Dennis Rodman with sex that was, once again, at best old-fashioned and uncomfortable – and that's being phenomenally kind – and at worst outright racist. He was seen with his father in apartment buildings discriminating against people because of their race. That was proven in court I believe. And I believe that some of the things he said about shithole countries and some of the things he said during his immigration talks were, to my mind, judging somebody not by who they were but by how they were born.
Porter Stansberry: Penn, have you been to many shithole countries? [Laughs].
Penn Jillette: I have. I've been to Shadipur in India, which is the worst slum of the untouchables were tourists never go. I was there covered with flies, up to my ankles in human shit.
Porter Stansberry: Why?
Penn Jillette: I have been –
Porter Stansberry: Why?
Penn Jillette: Because I'm crazy.
Porter Stansberry: [Laughs].
Penn Jillette: I have been to Munchau in China, about 100 clicks outta Beijing, which is – at the time I was there, as far as I could tell, the worst thing you were gonna see of communism. I've been to Egypt, where you couldn't breathe the air, and where women were around dressed like Batman, and with the little slits for their eyes, and where there were people with guns all the time and tremendous suffering. I've been places in Calcutta. I saw diseases that we will never see in the United States. And I don't think –
Porter Stansberry: So you wouldn't describe those places as shitholes?
Penn Jillette: [Sighs]. Not when dealing with immigration. Because people trying to get out of shitholes I think is the definition of America.
Porter Stansberry: I agree with you 110 percent. I just didn't have any problem with him describing those places as shitholes 'cause I haven't been to the same places you've been to, but I've been to plenty of shitholes. And I don't think that saying their shitholes is anything about the people. I mean –
Penn Jillette: Well, it does if you –
Porter Stansberry: I've been a foreign investor in Nicaragua for 25 years. And I love the people of Nicaragua. They're fantastic human beings. They have great families. They're deeply religious and conservative people that I find very attractive. But their country is an absolute shithole. They don't reliable electricity.
Penn Jillette: There's no doubt about it.
Porter Stansberry: They don't have running water. I get food poisoning every time I go. I mean, there's just no way I would recommend Nicaragua to anybody as a great place to go vacation. It's a shithole.
Penn Jillette: Exactly. But if what you're talking about is not allowing people from those countries to come to a better place, you're saying something different in describing the situation that they're in.
Porter Stansberry: All right.
Penn Jillette: I believe that those are two very different things.
Porter Stansberry: All right. Let's move on to something that we can have more common ground on, which is: you're gonna have a great presentation at our conference.
Penn Jillette: I believe we'd have great common ground on Trump too. I don't think that anything that I've heard from him that bothers me is something that you would _____. And I think I agree with you on a lot of the regulation he's brought down and a lot of just getting outta the way of business that Trump has done right, I would say in spite of his character and not because of it.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. You know, for me, the difference between creative and genius and bully and crazy – the difference for me is always whether or not someone can be honestly self-deprecating and humble. And I don't think that Trump has ever had a single moment in his life where he was self-deprecating or humble. And that to me speaks to a very significant emotional or intellectual shortcoming. But I just think it's completely unfair to say that he's a racist or to say that he was wrong to describe these places as being shitholes.
And I also don't think that I wanna live in a country where we have to welcome everyone from around the world who lives in a shithole. I've done my best to improve some shitholes around the world. But I don't want 'em living here because I like our high standard of living. So I think these issues are very complex. And I think that they go well beyond someone just being a racist or not.
Penn Jillette: You're absolutely right. I have the disadvantage of having spent hours with Trump. And that _____ _____ –
Porter Stansberry: No. I don't envy that.
Penn Jillette: [Laughs]. It's a profound disadvantage in this conversation. Because I cannot be objective as to what he's doing because it's so unpleasant.
Porter Stansberry: That makes complete sense to me.
Buck Sexton: We've gotta leave it there with our friend, Penn Jillette, for this round I think. 'Cause –
Porter Stansberry: But I did like the common ground we found at the end. Jim – I'm sorry, Penn, can you please just tell us a little bit about what you're planning on talking about at our conference this fall so that we can encourage some folks to join us at that conference via the streaming? We have something called InvestorHourStreaming.com. And for the next 48 hours, Penn, we're gonna be engaged in a little bit of a free market process called selling.
Penn Jillette: [Laughs].
Porter Stansberry: And we'd love for you folks to come and sign up, and you'll get a very big discount off of our normal streaming price, and you can see Penn live via the internet streaming process. Penn, any little teasers about you presentation for us this month in Vegas.
Penn Jillette: Well, you used the word "planning," which scares me [laughs]. I intend to talk about pretty much whatever you want me to talk about. I'll talk about magic. I'll talk about anything that pops into anyone's head who happens to be in the room with me, or anything that comes up I will talk about. _____ _____ _____ card trick or two. Absolute miracle. There's a few new things I'm working on. I'd love to give a try.
Porter Stansberry: Before we go, one last thing. I heard a story about you and I don't know if this is true or not, so if it's not, apologies. But I heard that you leave one of your fingernails painted in honor of your mother. Is that true?
Penn Jillette: Yes. When I first started doing magic and juggling, my mom told me that I should keep my fingernails really clean and nice because people were looking at my hands. So I grabbed her fingernail polish and I put it on my nail and said, "Do you mean like this?" in order to mock her. And I wore the nail polish in order to mock and horrify my mother through high school. And then as I got older and more successful, I would use it – I would run my thumb over my finger with the nail polish when I was on Letterman or The Tonight Show or any of those shows just to let my mom know I was thinking of her at that second. And then my mom died in 2000. And now it's I can't say to remember her because I never forget her, but to honor her. I should say I'm quite a mama's boy. I was very close to my mom.
And my daughter, who's 13 years old – I heard her say recently to her friends that I do the nail polish because of her. And I believe my mother would approve. And that story will be changing [laughs].
Porter Stansberry: I found the story very touching. And I think the other thing that really differentiates genius from crazy is people who are respectful enough and grateful enough to honor their parents. So I love that story. And I look forward to meeting you in a couple weeks.
Penn Jillette: We'll be hanging. We'll see you, _____.
Porter Stansberry: Okay. Bye-bye.
Buck Sexton: Hey, just real quick for everybody listening: tickets for the Stansberry conference are completely sold out. But 48 hours only, Stansberry Investor Hour listeners for the next 48 hours will receive the discounted livestreaming price of $349.00 for a limited time. You'll be able to see Penn, Steve Forbes, Trish Regan, Robert Kiyosaki, Jim Grant, Roddy Boyd, the whole Stansberry crew. Just go to InvestorHourStreaming.com, InvestorHourStreaming. Only $349.00. Dropping the price down. Get it while it's hot.
All right. Let's get to the mailbag. First up, e-mail number one from Matt V., a paid-up long-arm reporter. "A free podcast and you're not allowed to talk about Harvey Weinstein opinion? That's junk. Tell us what you think, Porter. That's why we listen."
Porter Stansberry: No, I'm not allowed to. I have been severely censored and edited by my own staff. The stonewallers we call them.
Buck Sexton: He also says, "Great informative interview with Marty Fridson. Porter and Country Club Guy did a great job in Buck's absence. Where was Buck, by the way, at a Bilderberg meeting? Love the show. Thanks again." By the way, Porter, first of all, it's kinda like you're telling us there's a Stansberry deep state. You're aware of that, right? That's really what you're saying.
Porter Stansberry: There's definitely a Stansberry deep state. These people fervently believe that their job is to save me from myself. And I think sometimes they're right.
Buck Sexton: There you go. And, by the way, Alex Jones, if you didn't see it, was on Capitol Hill earlier this week, folks, and he almost got into fisticuffs with Marco Rubio. It's on video. In fact one of my colleagues captured the whole thing here on video here at The Hill. Just type in "Marco Rubio Alex Jones" on Google. You'll see. He goes, "He's a frat boy. He's a frat boy. Oh, I'm sorry Mr. Tough Guy." And he touches him. And Marco Rubio's like, "I'll take care of you myself." It got there, Porter. It got spicy.
Porter Stansberry: I would've loved to seen that. I think Marco would've kicked his ass, too.
Buck Sexton: Oh, Marco would crush him. They're about the same size. Alex got a lotta weight on him. But let's just say Alex is not exactly one for calisthenics.
Porter Stansberry: No.
Buck Sexton: Not exactly limber.
Porter Stansberry: No.
Buck Sexton: Greg K. up next here. He writes, "Hey, Porter. Your show's one of the best. I love it. Wanted to get your take on why you never talk about the current pension fund shortfalls" –
Porter Stansberry: Talked about that today.
Buck Sexton: – "and defaults. Wouldn't this rock the market more than anything else since many of these pensions have become unable to even come close to paying out the promised value to workers of this country. Your insight is valuable." Porter, any add-ons for that? Because you were right: you hit it today.
Porter Stansberry: Yeah. I hit it today. And I have no idea how that's gonna be resolved. Those promises can't possibly be kept, not if the money is sound. Will there be a federal bailout of the Illinois pension plan? I mean, I can't imagine that happening but I also don't know how it's gonna not happen. There's not even a provision for bankruptcy for these states. I got no idea how that problem gets solved. What's gonna happen of course is Illinois'll have to raise taxes to the point where no one will live there. And then what're the teachers gonna get paid with? I don't know. Those are big problems. But if I could help it, I wouldn't live in Illinois.
Buck Sexton: You know what they said, by the way? The teachers' union person or whatever, teachers' federation, whatever it was? Porter, they're only gonna tax the rich. That's what they always say. They're only gonna tax the rich.
Porter Stansberry: Well, the rich move.
Buck Sexton: Yeah. I was gonna say: the rich are the first ones to say, "Thanks for taking my money. I'm out."
Porter Stansberry: The governor of Maryland back in 2006, O'Malley – I might have the dates a little bit off. It was around that time frame. He doubled the state taxes on people who make more than X amount of money, and I don't wanna say what X amount of money is because I don't wanna get into a pissing match about how much money I need or deserve or anything like that. But he basically doubled my taxes. So we just got a moving van and we moved to Miami. And what I saved in Taxes paid for me to live in a $10 million house on the water. Great. I'd much rather live in a $10 million house on the water than give the money to F-ing O'Malley to go waste on teacher salaries and inner city gang violence or whatever. It's just dumb. You can't tax people like that. They're gonna leave. Which is what we did.
So then what did Maryland do? Well, the following year, Maryland collected less in state income tax from that cohort than they did the year before, even though the tax rates doubled. Why? 'Cause everyone deferred income or moved or both. And so they did away with the law about four yeas later and we moved back.
It was O'Malley. It wasn't Ehrlich. It must've been before that. I don't know.
Buck Sexton: Next e-mail. Steve J. writes, "Porter, I've been a long-time listener of all your podcasts. I haven't heard you mention this. When Aaron was the host of your show" – who's this Aaron character? – "the two of you talked about a long-term commitment to a particular stock. I believe it was some educational company. You never mentioned the company name. I believe the holding period was gonna be ten years and you were gonna invest $100,000.00. How did that turn out and whatever happened to this Aaron character? Thank you, Steve. J."
Porter Stansberry: Well, the show that I did with Aaron went away because at that time we had a notion that we could sell a premium version of it. We had something called a black label show and we combined it with some kind of an e-mail that you would get. I can't remember all the details. As a business, it never worked out. And so Aaron went on to greener pastures. He actually moved to Medellín, Colombia, and he started a online nutrition and diet company that has done very well. So we wished Aaron all the best and I'm very happy for his success.
Buck Sexton: Can I go visit him? Colombia sounds awesome.
Porter Stansberry: You should go visit him. He's a great guy. And you'd have a ball.
Buck Sexton: Everyone that I know tells me that Colombia – everyone I know who's a true world traveler – they say that if you like brunettes – and I'm just repeating what I've been told – Colombia has the most beautiful women in the world. That's what they tell me.
Porter Stansberry: I can assure you – and I have traveled a lot, and I think I'm a connoisseur of beautiful women – that they're right. If you like brunettes, Colombia is as good as it gets. And people all of a sudden wanna argue about Panama. But what they stupidly don't understand is that Panama was actually part of Colombia until we stole it from them [laughs]. So you're really arguing about the same people.
But anyways, the stock was DeVry. It was an online education company that got blown up as those stocks got blown up. And I think it's done fine. It changed its name. But the idea was not just one company. The idea was that Aaron and I would pick one company each year and I would invest $100,000.00 in it and then we would hold it for ten years and see how the portfolio did over time. The idea being that you can diversify either by buying lots of different positions or, over time, by buying different positions each year. And so the three stocks where we made that deal was IBM, DeVry, and then Weight Watchers. And DeVry didn't do much but it didn't go down, IBM has done nothing, and Weight Watchers has gone up like 400 percent.
So I don't know what the portfolio has done, but it's done very very well, much better than the market. And then Aaron left and we haven't done anything more with it. But I would like to bring the idea back because I would like to start writing a new newsletter just personally without any staff, just myself writing it, called Porter's. And the idea would be writing about the actual investments that I'm making. And the only kind of investments that I make are on that basis: long-term, very high-quality businesses that I have a lotta confidence in. And so it'd be very different than the kinda trailing stop investing that we do in the other newsletters.
But, legally, writing about stuff that I own is really tricky and I don't know if I'll be able to do it or not.
Buck Sexton: One more e-mail here from the mailbag. We've got, from Nathan, "Porter, a long while ago you suggested following Einhorn and Ackman's reinsurance enterprises for when they trade at a big discount. Well, both GLRE and PSHZF seem like they're trading at significant book discounts for great _____."
Porter Stansberry: No.
Buck Sexton: "However, both are at a discount because of the truly dismal performance of their managers, especially on the short side."
Porter Stansberry: Yup.
Buck Sexton: "Still, I'm thinking that as the market turns down, both are going to massively outperform the market due to their value approach and short exposure."
Porter Stansberry: No, no.
Buck Sexton: "So, which one do you like best, maybe a third candidate, and how would you time an entry for these? Thanks, Nathan."
Porter Stansberry: No. No, no, no. Neither one of those stocks have ever been ranked anywhere except for the bottom on our P&C value monitor. So I would refer you to – if you're gonna invest in a property and casualty insurance company or a re-insurance company, which also does property and casualty like those stocks do, I would refer you to our Insurance Value Monitor. And I would tell you to stick always in the top ten of those names. And those two stocks you mentioned have always been the bottom two of those names.
So even though when I got started I was excited about the opportunity to invest in those portfolios through their insurance companies, I never had any idea that they would run their insurance companies so poorly, which they have done. So those stocks have never actually been recommended in any of our newsletters, or any of my newsletters. And I doubt they ever will be.
So if you can't invest in those hedge funds with those guys, don't do it.
Buck Sexton: That's gonna be it for this week, folks. InvestorHour.com for all of the goodies you need here from the podcast including transcripts. Give us your e-mail; we'll get you all the latest updates. InvestorHourStreaming.com _____ Stansberry conference –
Porter Stansberry: We're not gonna get to the really angry guy from Kentucky?
Buck Sexton: Who was that?
Porter Stansberry: I'll get to that one. E-mail number five.
Buck Sexton: Uh-oh.
Porter Stansberry: My staff was stonewall –
Country Club Guy: All-time record on Stansberry Investor Hour: five e-mails.
Porter Stansberry: Five e-mails. This is a retired soldier in Kentucky. "Why I no longer listen to the Investor Hour podcast. I used to listen to every Investor Hour podcast as I drove in my car. I was listening to a podcast about two months ago. Buck and Porter were discussing how the military policies of the United States should be developed. It's always humorous to me to listen to cowardly civilians who have never done anything dangerous in their lives speak about how the military should be run. I heard Porter say he would never let his children join the military. Porter said, quote, 'Let the poor, uneducated people in Kentucky and Tennessee go to war. My children will become wealthy and do something productive in their lives.'"
Just as a note, he actually wrote "nothing productive," but I think that's a typo. "Mr. Porter," he says, "I live in Kentucky, have a master's degree, and am financially secure. I was a soldier in Iraq and in Afghanistan. Your conceited, arrogant attitude insults every military veteran in this county. I pray I will never get an attitude like you, who, from your waking moment until you sleep, think you are a superior being and the rest of us commoners are cannon fodder. I believe Porter has excellent financial investing advice but I could no longer listen to him and Buck, due to their extreme arrogance and constantly telling me how much better they are than everyone else in the world. Goodbye, Porter. I hope you continue to become more wealthy." Well, thank you.
"If this great country ever needs a defense from evil, it will be the poor, uneducated people from Kentucky and Tennessee who will operate the most sophisticated weapons of war the world has ever seen." That's true. And, by the way, it'll be me who pays for them. "They will not hesitate to risk their lives for every citizen including fat, arrogant, conceited civilians like you two who will never do anything more dangerous than walk across the street."
Now, listen. I'm fat. Buck is not. So that's not fair. This continues: "I blame Porter for this attitude. I cannot blame Buck for all of this."
Buck Sexton: [Laughs].
Porter Stansberry: "Anyone who can do an impersonation of Adriana Huffington better than she can herself cannot be all bad. A retired soldier in Kentucky."
Buck Sexton: Porter, do you wanna go – I got some things to say.
Porter Stansberry: Well, first of all, I do love it that everyone's always willing to judge me as being conceited while they believe they know exactly what I do when I wake up in the morning and everything like that. And it has to go back to the podcast to get the actual quote. But I'm sure I couched it in a lot more context than what he's saying here. I don't think that there are many parents who are being honest who dream that some day their children will start out as a private in the Marine Corps and end up potentially as cannon fodder. So what I said was that I hope that my children will go on to lives that are more productive and hopefully have better opportunities than having to join the military as their best option.
And I would point out to retired soldier in Kentucky that my biological father unfortunately never returned from Vietnam and that my family has certainly known the sacrifice of the military, and we don't take any of those sacrifices or services lightly, nor are we ever conceited about them. We just hope that there's something better for our children. And I don't think that anyone, if they were being honest, would disagree with any of those statements.
Buck Sexton: I just would say that I don't usually throw this stuff around or I try to always downplay it, but from my perspective, I did go on movements outside the wire in both Iraq and Afghanistan, traveling with special forces, JSOC guys, trying to do clandestine things to help our military win the war. And if I had been captured, I would've not only been a combatant, I would've been a spy, and I would've gotten my head sawn off on a video. So the cowardly civilian thing – I don't know. We could probably compare some notes with Mr. Retired Soldier about places that he's been that I've been. And I've had to go out at night with two or three guys. So it wasn't always quite the fat-and-happy life that he thinks that I've had for some reason, and I will just leave it at that.
Porter Stansberry: Well, I also think it's sad or frustrating when opinions that I actually hold quite dear are either taken outta context or simply misunderstood. So I regret that.
Buck Sexton: Yep. But I do thank him for his service. And I tried to help folks like him. I'm assuming he was outside the wire in door-kicker and not somebody in the rear with the gear. I would hope that somebody who would write that e-mail would fit that category. 'Cause if he is a rear-with-the-gear guy, we gotta have a whole other talk. But, yeah, I do appreciate the service. And there we go.
Porter Stansberry: What I think is interesting is: most of the time – and, by the way, I was at a captain in the Marine Corps' house last night for dinner. And most of the real door-kickers that I've ever met would say exactly the same thing: "I sure hope my kids don't have to do what I did. Because it was really dangerous and scary. And I don't want that for them." Now, of course, there's probably pretty gung-ho guys who think that that's simply part of being a man, and they want their kids to experience all that. So I'm not saying you can't have two opinions. But I do think that I don't want my children to have – that I would not want my children to be involved in dangerous military operations makes me unpatriotic or a bad person. I think I'm just being honest.
Buck Sexton: I'll tell you this: if I had a kid, which I haven't even had yet, and there was this whole push for us to invade Iran, as somebody who was in Iraq and Afghanistan, I wouldn't let 'em go. I mean, it wouldn't be my choice 'cause he'd be an adult. But I'd say, "I've seen this story before, my friend. Do not go." Unless they attacked us. If they attacked us, go for it. Kick their asses. But if it's: "We're gonna help them achieve democracy or something," no way.
Porter Stansberry: It's a pipe dream. Okay, guys, listen, that was a great show. Buck, thank you very much for being here.
Buck Sexton: Great to see you, Porter.
Porter Stansberry: Listeners, thanks for joining in. And I know that the interview with Penn was a little rocky technologically. We did our best to clean it up. He's such an interested and talented guy. I really do hope that you'll join us on the streaming: InvestorHourStreaming.com. You can get to see him live and a bunch of other really talented folks. So please consider that if you're interested. And, guys in the booth, thanks very much. I always like you nodding at me. It makes me feel like I'm doing the right thing. And, by the way, the nodding when I was talking about the deep state at Stansberry Research – got lots of full nods. That apparently does actually exist.
Country Club Guy, I just want you to know: when Penn was describing how there's always a face and a heel for entertainment in wrestling, got a new nickname for you.
Country Club Guy: What is it? I love it.
Porter Stansberry: You're the heel, baby.
Country Club Guy: Yeah. I love it.
Porter Stansberry: Buck's the face. You're the heel.
Country Club Guy: All right. I'll wear that badge proudly.
Porter Stansberry: We gotta get you a t-shirt. The name on the jersey: "Heel."
Country Club Guy: Do I have to wear a wrestling unitard or whatever they're called?
Porter Stansberry: No. I don't ever wanna see you in a unitard.
Country Club Guy: A singlet? Is that what they're called? They don't have wrestling at the country club. Just to let everybody know. We keep our hands to ourselves.
Porter Stansberry: Oh, if only Peter Radcliff would. All right, everybody. That's it. That's a wrap.
Announcer: Thank you for listening to the Stansberry Investor Hour. To access today's notes and receive notice of upcoming episodes, go to InvestorHour.com and enter your e-mail. Have a question for Porter and Buck? Send them an e-mail at [email protected] If we use your question on air, we'll send you one of our studio mugs.
This broadcast is provided for entertainment purposes only and should not be considered personalized investment advice. Trading stocks and all other financial instruments involves risk. You should not make any investment decision based solely on what you hear. Stansberry Investor Hour is produced by Stansberry Research and is copyrighted by the Stansberry Radio Network.
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