Crony Hollywood really wants the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement, And they don’t want you know about it.
SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA, the freedom of the Internet is under assault from crony industry and governments. It’s about control. It is about the reining in of information. It is about restricting innovators and protecting dinosaur business models.
Hollywood knows that the way it is built will not survive in the 21st century. The studio model, with heavily unionized work forces just doesn’t make sense when it costs 1/100th of what it used to cost to make a quality film or show. The cronies in Southern California know that their expiration date is up. Their time is over. But they still have a lot of money and with it a lot of political influence. These guy’s desperately want the TPP and the expansion of copyright to go through. They don’t care that it will stifle innovation and make the world a worse place. Hollywood has decided to use the state to protect them from the public rather than innovate.
Thankfully the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and of course many others, is paying attention to the ongoing, and very secret negotiations going on at the Trans Pacific Partnership talks.
(From Black Listed News)
As during the ACTA negotiations, Hollywood and other Big Content industries have a stronghold over international policymakers. As a result, U.S. trade delegates are pushing forth provisions that, if enforced, would have huge chilling effects on everyone including innovators, hackers, makers, students, researchers, and people with reading and learning disabilities. These provisions are designed to limit how anyone can share and interact with digital content so they will impact everyone.
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Don’t fall for this banking scam
by Simon Black on May 9, 2013
If I told you that your bank only held 1% of its customer deposits in reserve, would you feel that your money was safe?
If I told you that the insurance fund which backed your bank deposit only had enough cash to bail out 0.35% of the banking system, would that make you feel any better?
Probably not. But this scam is the reality in the US banking system… and across the West.
As an example, US Bancorp has $248 billion in total customer deposits according to their most recent reporting, yet a mere $6.9 billion in cash… roughly 2.8%.
PNC Bank holds just 1.8% of its customers’ $248 billion deposits in cash. And BB&T holds barely 1.0% of its customers’ $131 billion deposits in cash.
These figures are indicative of the entire western financial system. Banks hold a very small percentage of customer deposits in cash. The rest is sitting in loans, bonds, and other securities of indeterminable value– mortgages that are still under water, shaky commercial real estate deals, etc.
Truth is, nobody really knows what’s on their books. Loan portfolios are like a black box, and the liquidity structure doesn’t leave a lot of room for error.
Think about it. If the slightest thing goes wrong– a spike in customer withdrawals, a decline in bond prices or commercial real estate, etc.– banks simply don’t have any rainy day funds set aside to handle it.
And who can blame them…? The FDIC, one of the US banking system’s chief regulators, has a mere $33.0 billion reserve fund to insure $9.3 TRILLION worth of deposits in US banks… a ratio of just 0.35%. And the FDIC is backed by the insolvent US government!
Bottom line, we simply can no longer afford to blithely assume that our bank… our most intimate financial partner… is in good financial condition.
The good news is that in 2013, it’s no longer necessary to save within the confines of our home country; it’s possible to establish a bank account in a country where the banks are actually well capitalized and liquid.
Singapore is one of those places. In fact, Singapore has ZERO net debt and has never had a banking failure in its history. Plus the banks are swimming in cash.
UOB Bank, for example, has 33.7% of its customer deposits in cash equivalents. OCBC holds 35.8%. These banks are literally 10 to 30 times more liquid than their western counterparts.
With a bit of legwork, it’s possible for both individuals and businesses to open insured accounts at either of these banks.
Today I even managed to convince one of my bankers here to open business accounts for US LLC’s… which means that anyone with a global self-directed IRA can hold retirement savings at a well-capitalized Singaporean bank. More on this soon.
The advantages of banking here are obvious; pitting the US against Singapore, there’s simply no comparison.
If everything goes fine and there are no major hiccups in the world, you won’t be worse off for holding some savings at a highly capitalized bank in Asia’s most dominant financial center.
Yet if there’s another major meltdown like we saw in 2008, or worse… these insolvent Western governments pull a Cyprus… then having funds in Singapore may turn out to be one of the sharpest financial decisions you could have made.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu May 09, 2013 10:59 am
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Public employeee pensions are some of the largest investors in the world. Many have actively sought to manipulate boards of companies (sometimes for very good reasons) and many have demanded corporate transparency. But that’s where the desire for transparency ends. The pensions like their records good and opaque.
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
New poll: Young people don’t trust the government, Poll from 2010: Young people trusted government more than any other group.
What happened. Did young people tack on a few more IQ points over the past 3 years because they started eating organic? Or is it that they have seen what the Obama machine has done and the crony capitalist policies it has implemented?
View full post on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org
Last week it was revealed that secret negotiations were happening on Capitol Hill between House and Senate leadership regarding a key requirement of Obamacare — that members of Congress and their staff purchase healthcare coverage through insurance exchanges.
Republicans slammed the Democrats for trying to create a special exception for themselves in the President’s landmark health care legislation. The healthcare law requires lawmakers and congressional staff to buy their healthcare coverage through the newly created insurance exchanges.
Democrats denied the claim and argued they have not sought an exemption and would not support one if proposed. Senator Harry Reid’s spokesman also denied the claim.
In referencing the secret meetings, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in an op-ed in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer that “Democrats have no one to blame but themselves for the health-care “train wreck” that’s about to be inflicted upon hardworking Americans.”
The fact remains that many Americans are unclear about the impact of Obamacare and whether they will be able to maintain current coverage and how much their premiums will increase. A survey released last week claimed that 49 percent of Americans do not understand how the law will affect their families. This is a significant number of people who could benefit from additional information about the legislation’s impact on their daily lives and their family’s overall budget. As we all know, healthcare costs can comprise a significant chunk of any family’s budget, especially if a serious illness arises.
There is merit to some Republican’s assertions that this Administration should publicly explain to Americans what lies ahead for them in Obamcare. The revelation about the secret meetings and their apparent “cover up” sums up what many Americans feel about our legislative process, that Congress makes the laws, but somehow, the rules simply do not apply to them.
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC), an outspoken opponent of Obamcare and opposed to exempting Congress from the exchanges, seemed to sum up the situation:
“I have no problems with Congress being under the same guidelines,” Burr said. “I think if this is going to be a disaster — which I think it’s going to be — we ought to enjoy it together with our constituents.”
View full post on MyGovCost | Government Cost Calculator
Gosnell Placed In Solitary Confinement – Prisoners Don’t Like Baby Killers
Posted by Jim Hoft on Wednesday, May 1, 2013, 8:50 PM
Baby killing Dr. Kermit Gosnell is being held in solitary confinement. Apparently, his fellow prisoners don’t approve of snipping baby’s necks.
Journalist J. D. Mullane reported:
Life News reported:
Kermit Gosnell has been in jail since his January 2011 arrest after authorities raided his abortion clinic.
The jury in the Gosnell murder trial is expected to deliver a verdict soon, and the abortion “doctor” is housed at the Curran-Fromhold Correctional Facility.
He is currently in solitary confinement pending the verdict and his expected sentencing. That’s because, according to one local reporter in Philadelphia, fellow prisoners don’t take his crimes of killing babies in infanticides too kindly.
Should Gosnell be convicted and face a prison term, he would likely remain in solitary or in a sensitive needs population for the duration of his time in prison term.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu May 02, 2013 6:13 am
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This is why you don’t want to move gold yourself…
by SIMON BLACK on APRIL 10, 2013
April 10, 2013
A few days ago, Italian authorities stopped a man who was making his way across the border into Switzerland with his wife and three children.
They searched his car and found, literally, a ton of gold bars hidden in a floorboard storage compartment.
Needless to say, the gold was confiscated, the car was impounded, and the man was arrested, despite the fact that it’s perfectly legal to own and transport gold.
Now, the European Union does require that ‘cash’ in excess of 10,000 euros be declared when crossing borders.
Yet article II of EC regulation 1889/2005 states that “cash” for the purposes of declaration includes legal tender currency plus monetary instruments in bearer form– travelers cheques, promissory notes, bearer bonds, and stock certificates. Not gold. And certainly not gold bars.
So the man was actually well within his legal rights. But it didn’t matter. They nabbed him on ‘suspicion of money laundering.’
As one of the most bankrupt European Union member states, Italy is going down a very dangerous road indeed. They’ve already imposed bank withdrawal restrictions, raised taxes, and openly flirted with bank nationalization.
No doubt, after watching what happened in Cyprus, Italians are scared. And they’re not the only ones.
Candidly, everyone living under a bankrupt, insolvent government should consider the very strong possibility that their savings will be plundered, their retirement accounts seized, and capital controls imposed.
These ideas aren’t alarmist or sensational; even the most cursory look back on history shows that desperate politicians almost always fall back on the same old playbook of confiscating their citizens’ wealth.
Are the chances of this happening 100%? No. But the likelihood is certainly greater than zero. It would be dangerously foolhardy to adopt a strategy of blissful ignorance and merely assume that “it won’t happen here.”
Consequently, rational, thinking people ought to consider prudent options to move a portion of their assets, savings, income, and even lifestyle overseas to safe, stable jurisdictions.
This doesn’t necessary require a radical change to the way you live your life. It’s merely having an insurance policy.
If the worst happens and governments follow the historical pattern of confiscatory rampages, you’ll be in an excellent position.
But if nothing happens, you won’t be worse off for having moved some precious metals to Singapore, or having transferred some savings to a Hong Kong bank account, or having purchased productive agricultural property in South America.
This isn’t about tax evasion, terrorist financing, or criminal money laundering. It’s about putting your family before your politicians… and preserving what you’ve worked your entire life to build.
Just make sure these steps are executed rationally, and prudently.
For example, I’ve been advising our premium members for quite some time to NOT move precious metals abroad themselves. Leave that to established companies like Viamat and Malca Amit which specialize in global secure logistics.
And be mindful of the jurisdiction that you choose; it’s imperative to select a place that has a tradition of respecting privacy and strong economic fundamentals.
This effectively eliminates most of Europe and North America, though some options in Switzerland, Andorra, Liechtenstein, and Austria may make sense.
Asia, particularly Singapore and Hong Kong, are much healthier and present better options for precious metals storage.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:35 am
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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2013 AT 5:58PM
Friday evening when no one was supposed to pay attention, Google announced that Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt would sell 3.2 million of his Google shares in 2013, 42% of the 7.6 million shares he owned at the end of last year—after having already sold 1.8 million shares in 2012. But why would he sell 5 million shares, about 53% of his holdings, with Google stock trading near its all-time high?
“Part of his long-term strategy for individual asset diversification and liquidity,” Google mollified us, according to the Wall Street Journal. Soothing words. Nothing but “a routine diversification of assets.”
Routine? He didn’t sell any in 2008 as the market was crashing. He didn’t sell at the bottom in early 2009. And he didn’t sell during the rest of 2009 as Google shares were soaring, nor in 2010, as they continued to soar. In 2011, he eased out of about 300,000 shares, a mere rounding error in his holdings. But in 2012, he opened the valves, and in 2013, he’d open the floodgates. So it’s not “routine.”
Liquidity, Google said. In 2012, he reaped about $1.2 billion from stock sales, and if he can sell this year’s portion at the current price, he’ll reap $2.5 billion. $3.7 billion in total. What exactly would he need that kind of liquidity for? He could buy a Boeing 787, if it ever becomes airworthy again, plus a few castles, dozens of handmade exotic cars…. And it would barely scratch the surface.
Diversification, Google said. Sure, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Though he didn’t need to diversity from 2008 through 2011, he now needs to diversify urgently. The landscape has changed. And he is reacting to it.
He could diversify into treasuries, for example, which would guarantee him a loss after inflation, thanks to the Fed-imposed financial repression that governs our crazy lives. Or he could buy lots of gold or a myriad of other assets that he thinks make more sense than holding Google stock at the current price.
So, we’re left wondering if there’s something waiting to happen at Google that prescient execs with a phenomenal understanding of the company and the industry can see on the horizon. Google has plowed a lot of money into startups, green energy, and other mind-boggling projects. He might be worried that they won’t pan out, that they’ll have to be cleared off the balance sheet with a huge write-off. He might be worried about a million things.
Yet the fact that he sold practically nothing during the bull market of 2009-2011 suggests that he may see something beyond Google: the hoped for Great Rotation, for example—from those who know to those who don’t. From the Eric Schmidts to mom-and-pop retail investors. And once that’s accomplished….
Small investors lost a bundle in the last crash. At the end of their wits, they got out at the bottom, and stayed out during the subsequent run-up. But now, they’ve been driven to desperation by the Fed’s zero-interest-rate policy, as inflation has hammered their CDs that yield almost nothing. In order to stop losing money slowly but surely, they’re jumping into the stock market once again, buying the very shares Schmidt is selling—or so the smart money hopes—only to face once again the risk of losing a lot of money fast.
That was the Fed’s policy every time. They didn’t care in 2000 that the market demolished a bunch of young upstarts that had gotten unjustifiably and unnecessarily rich. Let them crash. They did it again during the financial crisis. Let them crash. Only when it started taking down their cronies, did they get nervous—and handed them trillions.
Mr. Schmidt isn’t alone. Corporate insiders were “aggressively selling their shares,” reported Mark Hulbert. And they were doing so “at an alarming pace.” The buy sell-to-buy ratio had risen to 9.2-to-1; insiders had sold over 9 times as many shares as they’d bought. They’d been aggressive sellers for weeks. That they dumped shares in December, when the sell-to-buy ratio was 8.38-to-1, could have been the result of the fiscal-cliff theatrics, but the latest sell-to-buy ratio was even worse.
Instantly, soothing voices were heard: “don’t be alarmed,” they said. But Mr. Schmidt and his colleagues at the top of corporate America, multi-billionaires many of them, are immensely well connected, not only to each other but also to the Fed, whose twelve regional Federal Reserve Banks they own and control.
For the mere public, there have been vague and mixed signals that the Fed might finally stop its drunken printing frenzy—that the only thing it is waiting for is the completion of the Great Rotation of equities from the smart money to mom-and-pop money. Once that’s completed, to heck with the markets. But for Mr. Schmidt and his buddies, the signals might not have been vague and mixed, but clear and actionable.
At the other end of the income spectrum: with the average cost of attending college at $120,000, a family of four should expect their children’s college to cost more than a home. Optimism about the value of education provided justification for students to borrow $42 billion from the US this year. Yet many of them will end up as student-loan debt slaves.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Mon Feb 11, 2013 1:16 am
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A declaration of sanity: Don’t give up rights without a fight
Posted: Saturday, February 9, 2013 7:00 pm
FRANK MIELE/Daily Inter Lake |
What part of “self-evident” don’t Americans understand?
Or more to the point, I suppose, what truths in the Declaration of Independence are left that Americans actually DO understand?
Somehow, in 237 years, we have gone from declaring the NECESSITY of dissolving political bands with England and explaining proudly why we must do so … to the current pusillanimous acquiescence to tyranny which we are assured by the villains in Washington, D.C, is better than the alternative.
Don’t you believe it. The alternative, ladies and gentleman, is freedom.
After describing the unalienable rights to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” and how a just government works to secure these rights, Thomas Jefferson went on to state unequivocally: “That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.”
Nothing in there about how a desire to preserve the Union trumped “Safety and Happiness.” That’s because free men don’t put the government first, and their own “Safety and Happiness” second. “Just government” has only one purpose — “to secure these rights” of life, liberty, etc., and failing to do so, it has given up its legitimate claim to power.
That was not only the case in the American Revolution either. The United States government has frequently championed the rights of self-determination for other people as well, whether the oppressed nations of Eastern Europe during the Cold War or the nations of North Africa during the so-called Arab Spring.
Yet the establishment politicians and mainstream media mock those who yearn for unfettered liberty in our own country. Take, as just one firm example among many, the Second Amendment. It’s about as clear as the water in a Rocky Mountain stream: “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
The key words of that amendment are “shall not be infringed.” There is no wiggle room there for people who want to restrict certain kinds of rifles or handguns, or determine how many rounds are permissible for each type of weapon. To be precise, “shall not be infringed” means shall not be limited, restricted, modified, undermined or encroached upon. Could that be any plainer?
Nor can anyone argue that because the authors of the Bill of Rights included a specific assumption in the amendment about the value of a well regulated militia, that the right to keep and bear arms can therefore be ignored or abridged if modern folks disagree with the Founders about what a “well regulated militia” is. No matter how you change the meaning of the stated assumption, it does not change the definitive conclusion: “…the right OF THE PEOPLE to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” That can only be changed by a further amendment to the Constitution.
Yet we see United States senators and the president and vice president, who have all taken oaths to protect and defend the Constitution, working overtime to infringe, restrict, limit, abridge and all but eliminate the RIGHT to keep and bear arms! They do so on behalf of a sincere belief that restricting firearms will increase the individual security of our citizens.
But the stated assumption or purpose of the Second Amendment, in its very own text, is that the people’s access to firearms is intended not to protect individuals from harm, but to ensure “the security of a free state.” And clearly, the Founders considered a free state to be vulnerable to some sort of threat.
What exactly could they have meant?
Well, if you thumb through the Constitution, you will find over 200 references to either “state” or “states.” Other than references to “the United States” and two references to “foreign states,” all of the other uses of the word state refer to the individual states in our diverse country. It is therefore safe to assume that the reference to the “security of a free state” also refers to the individual states in the United States. Moreover, the militia was understood at the time to be a military unit organized at the state level.
Therefore, when the Second Amendment was passed, its intention was obviously to provide for the security of the individual states, not for the security of the federal government known as the United States. That being so, we must ask who or what was considered a threat to the individual states. The answer surely was not England or Canada, but rather the federal government itself.
Remember, the entire purpose of the Constitution was to enshrine limited government, and the Founders tried to provide clear directions that the rights of the individuals and the individual states should always take precedence over the insistent bullying of the federal government except in cases where the Constitution plainly spelled out federal supremacy. If in doubt that this is true, citizens are advised to read the Ninth and 10th Amendments. YOU are supposed to have the power, not the federal government.
Which brings us back to Thomas Jefferson, independence and the “right of the people to alter or abolish” any form of government which is destructive to the ability of the people to secure their rights.
We as Americans have always understood that we have certain God-given rights, and we had better be willing to fight and die for those rights, or else we will surely lose them. Jefferson put it this way:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. —That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”
What I don’t understand is just when we — proud Americans, freedom fighters, defenders of liberty — lost these supposedly unalienable rights for ourselves. We are told that because President Lincoln prevented the Southern states from seceding over slavery, the people of the United States of America no longer enjoy the right of self-determination that we still promote whole-heartedly for Egypt, Cuba and North Korea.
No matter how bad things get, we are stuck with it — stuck with politicians and judges who abuse the Constitution, stuck with “repeated injuries and usurpations,” stuck with a shriveled Second Amendment. No matter how the rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are abridged or truncated, we should just smile and be grateful for a federal government that knows better than we do.
And considering the leviathan nature of the federal government, that just may be true. For all practical purposes, we the people now serve the government and not the other way around.
Of course, it is a matter of faith — and history — that no government instituted among man can stand for long without “the consent of the governed.” What we now must determine is whether the governed — we the people of the United States of America — will consent to tyranny or not.
On that, the jury is still out.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Sun Feb 10, 2013 3:38 am
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DON’T TRUST YOUR GOVERNMENT
Posted on 24th January 2013 by Administrator in Economy |Politics |Social Issues
Barry Ritholtz, gun control, mike shedlock
Mike Shedlock is one of the best bloggers out there. He is a libertarian and big supporter of Ron Paul and Rand Paul. He makes some excellent points in his article about gun control. But, I have to disagree with him on a few points. Using Barry Ritholtz as an example of someone who is reasonable on this subject is a joke. Barry is a liberal douchebag that is afraid of guns. He thinks libertarians are crazy nutjobs. Here is a guy that is worth millions and he didn’t even have a gas generator in his house. He lives on Long Island and had to live with relatives for two weeks after Sandy because he didn’t make the most basic preparations. I’m sure he doesn’t own a gun. He thinks the police will protect his fat ass. When I scorched his anti-gun arguments with facts, I was banned from his site. Referencing him in an article doesn’t help your case.
Mish thinks that re-instituting the assault weapons ban, banning armor piercing bullets and banning magazines with over 10 rounds should be done. He thinks it is just common sense. He is making the same mistake many have made. They trust their government. They can’t comprehend the possibility that the Federal government could become the enemy. The argument many make about the 2nd Amendment is that the Founding Fathers never conceived of semi-automatic weapons. No they did not. They did know that the government had muskets at their disposal, so the people should also have muskets at their disposal. They wanted the citizens to have equal firepower with the government as a check against tyranny.
Today, the Federal, State and Local governments have tremendous firepower. They have automatic weapons, tanks, predator drones, artillary, and missiles. The citizens should be able to have semi-automatic weapons, armor piercing ammo and magazines with more than 10 rounds. The government is dangerous. The government is out of control. The government is stripping us of our freedom and liberties. There is no middle ground on gun control. The 2nd Amendment is clear. We need to be armed because a showdown is likely to happen within the next 15 years.
Don’t Trust Your Government
Gallup Poll on Obama’s Proposals to Address Gun Violence; Republicans and Democrats Agree on 7 of 9 Items; Is Now the Time?
Gallup has an interesting poll on Gun control. Republicans, Independents, and Democrats are in agreement far more than one might have thought.
Of course I am talking about the population in general, not the extremists on both sides of the aisle in Congress.
Poll questions were specifically worded by Gallup to follow President Obama’s “Now is the Time” gun control agenda.
The results are in: Americans Back Obama’s Proposals to Address Gun Violence.
Most Proposals Have Bipartisan Support
Although Democrats show more support than Republicans for each proposal, majorities of both partisan groups favor seven of the nine proposals. That includes nearly universal support among Republicans and Democrats for requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales. A majority of Republicans also favor a ban on armor-piercing bullets and increasing penalties for straw purchasers, as well as the various school security, police funding, and mental health funding proposals tested.
The two proposals favored by majorities of Democrats, but not Republicans, relate to enacting bans on the sale of guns or ammunition.
Support for Proposals by Political Affiliation
My personal check list is sure to disappoint some Republicans, some Democrats, some Independents, and some Libertarians. So be it.
Requiring criminal background checks for all guns is a seemingly reasonable thing to do. Overall, 92% of the people favor such an action. Checks will not stop a desperate criminal, but it may stop others. Nonetheless, I have reservations as explained below.
The proposal to increase mental health programs for youth will not be affordable. What would likely start out as a modest program will end up costing tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars down the road once bureaucrats get behind it. Ask taxpayers if they support increasing taxes to pay for the program and I bet the answer is different. The same applies to other funding questions.
Similarly, we do not need funding to increase training. Police departments have ample money already. Money is wasted in union graft, overpaid officers, and untenable pension programs. There is nothing wrong with increased training. However, there is everything wrong with assuming extra funds are needed.
Increasing penalties for straw purchasers may not help a lot. However, it cannot hurt either. In conjunction with item 1, there may be a modest benefit. If not, at least item 4 will not cost anything.
Funding 15,000 extra police is of course ridiculous. Having an extra officers may not be. The solution is getting rid of collective bargaining of public unions to drive down costs, not to throw more money at the problem.
By now you should be tuned into my line of thinking. Funding school emergency response plans is also ridiculous. This is not to say I oppose having a plan. Rather, I simply oppose spending additional taxpayer money on the idea. Schools ought to be doing this already. All it takes is for schools to schedule time with police departments to go over some common sense ideas. Do this for one school and it will apply to thousands. Throw money at it, and every school will seek 1000 times more money than they need.
There is absolutely no need for anyone to have an assault weapon to protect themselves. Nor do citizens need hand grenades, nuclear missiles, or any other such devices. It is beyond idiotic to ascertain assault weapons are constitutionally protected.
A ban on armor-piercing bullets is of course a no-brainer. There is no legitimate use of armor-piercing bullets for private citizens.
A ban on magazines with over 10 rounds is also a common-sense proposal. No one can possibly need more than 10 rounds in a clip to defend themselves in public or in their homes.
Cost Effective Analysis
From a cost-effective standpoint, the items that would likely do the most good, at the least cost, were the items that had the least support. Items 7, 8, 9, and 4 would not cost a dime. I solidly support all four.
I support preparing emergency plans (item 6), but that should not cost a dime either. As worded, I have to vote no.
I am fearful that the most supported idea (item 1) will end up costing too much in relation to the benefit. I voted yes, for now, but I need to see details of the plan as well as realistic measures of the cost.
As it stands, I am solidly in favor of 4 things that will not cost a dime. Those 4 items will not trudge on any conceivable rights either. I support an additional item, with reservations.
Once again, if Gallup asked taxpayers if they support increasing taxes to pay for these program, I bet the answers would be different and the order of priorities would be different.
How Helpful Are Concealed Weapons?
Inquiring minds may be interested in a post by Barry Ritholtz How Helpful Are Concealed Weapons?
Click on the link to see a couple of interesting videos.
Note that Barry took a lot of flak for his post. Read the comments and see for yourself. I side with Barry.
The most sensible comments came from Disinfectant and GreenTom.
Disinfectant says …
It is amazing, but not at all surprising, that so many watch these videos and utterly fail to understand the message. The point is simple and should be uncontroversial – unless you are well trained, defending yourself with a gun in a live scenario is very difficult; your body and mind are not prepared for this. It doesn’t matter how often you go to the gun range or how heroic you imagine yourself to be. Going through the motions of protecting yourself, getting the gun out, then firing at the target (and ONLY at the target) does not happen naturally.
To the critics: nowhere does it imply that a gun will never be useful in defense. Obviously, if you are not in the immediate line of fire and can take cover, you will have more time to prepare yourself. But if the shooter is standing right in front of you, your odds are likely much lower than you think. And as far as anecdotal evidence goes, I’m sure 0% of you can actually say that you have been in such a situation and performed as flawlessly as your imagination would have you believe.
GreenTom says …
I’d agree this is kind of staged, but more rigorous studies show the same thing. Study below reports that people carrying weapons are about 5 times more likely to be shot than those who don’t carry. It’s funny, I predict a lot of negative reactions to this comment, but does anyone really claim that escalating a robbery to a gunfight isn’t a risky move?
Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault
Here is the study cited by GreenTom: Investigating the Link Between Gun Possession and Gun Assault
…Individuals in possession of a gun were 4.46 times more likely to be shot in an assault than those not in possession. Among gun assaults where the victim had at least some chance to resist, this adjusted odds ratio increased to 5.45.
Among a long list of issues facing the American public, guns are third only to gay marriage and abortion in terms of people who report that they are “not willing to listen to the other side.” In concert with this cultural rift, scholarly discussion over guns has been similarly contentious.1 Although scholars and the public agree that the roughly 100 000 shootings each year in the United States are a clear threat to health, uncertainty remains as to whether civilians armed with guns are, on average, protecting or endangering themselves from such shootings.
I commend Barry for taking a controversial stand on a controversial topic. Most bloggers stay away from controversial subjects, generally out of fear of offending readership. As my readers know full well, I will not shy away from controversial topics either.
By the way, gun control may not seem like an economic topic but it is. Many of Obama’s proposals will require significant expenses to implement down the road (even if hidden initially).
Reflections on Libertarianism
I am certain to be charged by some of violating Libertarian beliefs.
However, libertarianism is not anarchy. Rules exist to protect property. Reasonable legislation will prevent some of these incidents, and no amount of legislation will stop all of them.
Moreover, common sense says that encouraging average citizens or teachers to walk around with assault weapons or concealed guns (the actual remedy proposed by some gun advocates) would cause a lot of needless deaths and property damage as a result would-be John Wayne types trying to be heroes, but accidentally killing innocent bystenders.
Reflections on the Constitution
As passed by Congress, the Second Amendment reads “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
As ratified by the states, the Second Amendment reads “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”
Notice the dispute over commas. Also note how the concept of a “well regulated militia” is completely dropped by gun advocates.
The Supreme Court did rule the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia.
Regardless, the rights to bear arms to protect oneself certainly can and should have limits.
To clarify that its ruling does not invalidate a broad range of existing firearm laws, the majority opinion, written by Justice Antonin Scalia, said:
“Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.”
One does not need bazookas, hand grenades, missiles, assault weapons, armor-piercing bullets, or 10-clip magazines to defend one’s person or one’s house. Those items all need to be outlawed.
Gun advocates argue we need to enforce existing laws, while arguing against every law on the books. Meanwhile, state-to-state variations in laws make enforcement a nightmare, at best.
Now Is The Time
Obama says “now is the time”. I agree but only where costs are low and benefits high. There are four (perhaps five) items out of nine on the president’s agenda that meet that criteria.
My top three ideas are 7, 9, and 8 (pretty much in that order, but possibly 9 ahead of 7 which I will leave to the experts). Unfortunately, Republicans are likely to fight 7 and 9 (if not 7, 8, 9, and 1).
Given the sad state of Congressional compromises, Republicans may even agree to waste taxpayer money on programs simply to appease voters who clearly want something done.
Unfortunately, the end result is highly likely to be a combination of the most money spent for the least benefit.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock
Read more at http://globaleconomicanalysis.blogspot. … hxTc41B.99
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Thu Jan 24, 2013 1:39 pm
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