Monday, September 12, 2016

Why We Can Never Repay the Federal Debt

I keep hearing many people talk of repaying the United States' federal debt.  This cannot happen.  Let me explain.

First, as has been discussed before, the United States Dollar is actually properly called the Federal Reserve Note.  What does this mean?  It is emitted by the Federal Reserve Bank of the United States and not by the Treasury.  It is backed by nothing and is pure fiat money.  There is no way to meaningfully redeem a Federal Reserve Note except by paying taxes.

The way a Federal Reserve Note gets born is interesting.  Ok, it's interesting to economics geeks, but might be passably diverting to the rest of you.  First, the Treasury Department issues a bond.  Then the Federal Reserve Bank buys some of those bonds.  To do this, it creates money by simply flipping a few electrons in a computer.  Then, once it receives the bond, it considers that an 'asset' and makes loans, swaps and so on using that to create money into the banking system, getting a nominal interest on everything it does.

Yes, for each dollar it creates to buy a federal bond, it creates a matching dollar to stuff into the banks.  If it were to see the debt paid down, the Federal Reserve Bank would see its assets shrink, and, were it not mendacious, it would be forced to recall its loans to banks to cover the loss of assets.  This is how the law is set up to work.  If the Federal Reserve Bank sees its assets go down, it must lower its loans by the same amount.

It wouldn't actually take much of a lowering of the federal debt, then, to cause a major problem in the economy, so accustomed is it to suckling at the teat of easy money.  Remember the hoary economist adage 'all activity is at the margin'?  If the debt goes down by 1% that means that the Federal Reserve Bank must reduce the money in the banks by 1% as well.  If the bank already has a reserve of, say, the minimum, which we'll call 3%, then suddenly its reserves will drop below the minimum and it will have to scramble to increase its reserves, which it can do by either increasing interest income or simply reducing its loans.  This would mean a greater recession and possibly a deflationary depression.

Yes, what I'm saying is that the bankers have gotten themselves into a position where not taking out loans would be ruinous.  This means they get to have a sustained income in interest for little to no risk, meaning they can maintain their lifestyles at everyone else's expense.  This is the essential fraud of the banking system.

There is no easy way to get rid of this monkey on our backs.  It will take either an economic disaster of biblical proportions or an amazing political will to effect change.  Until then, the bank will continue to skim off the top of the economy.

Why does it matter?  The activities of the fed cause inflation.  That is actually a stated goal they have.  That inflation is a hidden tax as it means that someone else is spending money to compete with the money you make in your job, and that money they are spending is reducing your purchasing power, meaning your life is worse.  From my viewpoint, it is much worse than that because the banks take no risk but receive profits as a result of their neat little scheme, so they actually provide no value.

In a classical economic system, a person that lends money he has to provide capital for industry provides value.  Such a person has accumulated the capital, presumably, through careful effort, and thus is likely to make good decisions about the dispensation of his capital.  This means such a person is, effectively, a controller.  This person decides what economic activity will happen, and, should such a person gain more and more capital in the process, such a person can be presumed to be good at such decisions.

If there's no requirement to use personal capital, such a person is merely getting money for no risk, meaning that person has no skin in the game and is lots more likely to waste money, so the economy's efficiency will suffer, leading to less of the things people want being available, thus increasing the cost of things people want.

So, in effect, the banks are stealing from us and hoping we never notice.

What is really happening

The day has come for another admittedly infrequent installment in this series.  Anyone who has read this blog (all six of you) knows that these vignettes contain speculation gleaned from the way news is published more than what is in the news itself.

For starters, we have Clinton's health.  As pointed out by one of our analysts (and yes, there's still more than one), Clinton could have simply told people she had pneumonia and been done with it, even if she only showed up for a few minutes on 9/11.  Few would care.  However, there are three interesting things about this story:

1) Hillary got pneumonia in the middle of summer.  Old people often do this.  This is proof of poor health all by itself, though.  It could just be she does not have enough left to cope with her schedule, but her schedule has been weak anyway.

2) Hillary is an inveterate liar.  That's not a salacious accusation, it's an observation based on what she's done in the past.  There's no reason to conclude she actually has pneumonia.  Certainly, we can surmise that pneumonia is not the totality of her health problems, meaning there's likely something else they're not telling us.

3) If #2 isn't correct and this is just pneumonia, then the Clinton campaign is really stupid.  It would have been lots better as said above to simply say she had it and curtail her schedule accordingly.  Once again, this shows poor judgement on the part of someone who wishes to attain what is, for better or worse, the highest office in the world.

Then we have Donald Trump.  He is pivoting towards the general election in lurches and appears to have the thing won, in my opinion, if he can just avoid angering anybody else.  Comparably, Clinton now has a major gaffe on her hands, although I doubt any of her core supporters really care that she called the supporters of her opponents, essentially, a stain on the character of America.  The ironic bit, of course, is that Clinton's career has been just such a stain as she continues to sell influence from every office she gains.

Then there's Wasserman-Schultz, who, in an apparent payment for helping defeat Sanders, has been given a job with the Clinton campaign.  This is a really stupid idea too, not that it bothers Clinton supporters.  Comparably, Trump won the Republican nomination despite being hated by the Republican leadership, which shows that the Republican party is far more democratic than the Democratic party.

Not that I support either; to a man, our analysts support Johnson/Weld.  One interesting bit is that the only 'gaffe' Johnson has committed so far, the 'Aleppo' gaffe, appears to have helped his poll numbers because more people are considering Johnson.

Believe it or not, none of the analysts in this venerable Bureau are actually Libertarians.  Only one of the analysts, your humble author, has ever been a member of the Libertarian party.  The other current analysts include a progressive and a conservative, on the principle that the more different angles available the more likely a correct assessment is made.

That being said, support in the bureau for Johnson/Weld remains strong because, oddly, the Libertarian ticket is more progressive than the Democrats and more conservative than the Republicans.  Libertarians have always been towards the anarcho-capitalist corner of the political map anyway, but Johnson/Weld, being moderate libertarians, are not as far in that direction as your author would like.  That being said, they present the best option for real change in this republic.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

The Hillary Bot

I track politics quite a bit, as an analyst for the bureau, ok, for the fun of it.  This means I am abreast of the latest about Hillary's email server.  As such, I can't seem to understand how her supporters still, well, support her.

The obligatory, these days, disclaimer must be said, and then mostly disbelieved, that I don't care that Hillary is a woman.  I only care that she is a bad candidate.  She's not very good.

It amuses me to no end that her campaign has reliably been forced to trot out the fact that she is incompetent as proof she is not a criminal.  What do I mean?

The most recent bit, trotted out by her campaign, is that she doesn't even know how to use a computer.  She used a Blackberry because she knows how.

Wow, where to start.  This woman would have us believe she's competent to run the free world but not competent to use a computer?  That she knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that her home server was secure but she doesn't know how to use a computer?  I can go on like this for a while.

A reasonably wise and competent leader would at least attend a class, break out one of the 'Idiots' books, or hire someone to personally teach her.  She's rich enough.  The fact that she hasn't even, minimally, done this suggests that she's just not that interested in being the best possible public servant she can be.

That isn't really a surprise; being a servant isn't part of her character.  She's an 'elite' in her mind.  She's better than the rest of us and we should be ecstatic, I tell you, ecstatic to let her be involved in running things because, well, there's something or other she has or does that makes it all better.

Except that it doesn't.  She wasn't particularly good as Secretary of State.  She was almost a non-entity as a senator.  As First Lady, her only policy effort failed, thank goodness, and has recently been held up by a federal court as a model of mendacity.

The only thing she shows any aptitude for is lying, although she's incompetent at that too.  Bill would lie and then stick with his story.  Hillary tells one lie, gets called out, shifts to a new lie, gets called out, then, sometimes, shifts back to the original lie hoping we've all forgotten.  Her lies are now too numerous to print.

The thing is that if she'd simply seized the narrative and said that she did use a personal email server, State was not aware of it, but it wasn't illegal and wasn't insecure, and, yes, classified information likely did pass through it but she was not aware of any, she'd now be looking at a slap on the wrist and it wouldn't likely affect her campaign as much.

It is the lies that affect her campaign.  It's not that she's dishonest; that was known because she is, after all, a lawyer and a politician.  It's the fact that her lies were all so transparently aimed at conning the American public into electing her, which, combined with the evidence she believes she's entitled to the office, paint a picture of someone who lacks the humility to properly serve the American people.

She, if elected, intends to get out in front of all of us and lead us to where we were going anyway, as she does not actually have an original idea.  The only things she intends to try to make happen that are against the public opinion are things that are very bad.  She is the caricature of the establishment candidate: led by the nose by special interests, only willing to stand up for ideas that are inconsequential except to harass populations considered evil by liberals, and completely certain of her personal superiority and therefore the right to make such decisions on our behalf.

What Is Really Going On With Donald Trump

Today I watched Hillary Rodham Clinton stand up with a grim look and pronounce that Donald Trump did not have the temperament to be president.  She then reminded us that the President of the United States would have the secret nuclear codes.  She felt this piece of knowledge, apparently, would shock those American citizens who support Donald Trump into supporting her.  She is very, very wrong.

For starters, her argument actually works better against herself: would you want someone as president who is not even reliable enough to avoid risking exposure of state secrets just for her personal convenience?  That is, of course, the most charitable explanation, that she is too incompetent and/or lazy to bother with following official directions.  Should such a person really be allowed to control the nuclear codes?

However, this post is actually about Donald Trump.  A problem most of the anti-Trump crowd has is that they assume that people are listening to politicians and rationally picking the one that makes the best arguments.  Were this the case, Hillary wouldn't be doing well, either, but Trump would certainly be doing poorly.

Trump appeals because he is not a part of the establishment.  From the fact that he is independently wealthy to the fact that his brash statements and lifestyle obviously show he is not beholden to public opinion, Trump sets himself apart from the serious society that modern politicians expend great effort aping.

So, when Hillary attacks Trump in this way, not only does she expose herself to counterattacks, but she also completely fails to get the point.  In a way, nobody in Hillary's position, or anyone in any talking-head position, can attack Trump effectively because Americans are pretty sure they're all lying to forward their own agendas because, well, they've been caught at it so many times.  Attacks from them mean little to a Trump supporter.

As a matter of fact, given how low the average American's opinion of the establishment has sunk at this point, getting attacked by the establishment merely burnishes Trump's appeal.  There is no effective way to attack this man.  That, alone, makes him one of the most appealing candidates in some time to the kind of people that want change.

The constant creeping of bureaucracy that has accelerated under Obama grates.  It has come to the point that nothing short of revolutionary effort will stop it.  I do not intend to become apocalyptic, but our current government attempts to control as much of our lives as possible under the guise of enlightenment.  Trump, whatever his political views, is seen as the only candidate that can effectively stand up to this, if only because he's a loose cannon, a bull in a china shop, whatever metaphor you like, and has the intestinal fortitude to steer his own course no matter what.

I am not praising the man.  I will vote Gary Johnson, as I did last election.  If you don't know who Gary Johnson is, you should take some time to Google him to see if maybe he presents a better option than the two presumptive nominees.  However, I am cautiously optimistic about a Trump presidency as long as he makes an effort to surround himself with good people.

Unfortunately, it could all go very, very wrong.  If he sets about to making new laws and new regulations, then he will just contribute energetically to the death spiral of over-regulation we seem to have slipped into and thus hasten the apocalypse (ok, a little apocalysm slipped in).  I still don't see, personally, how he could possibly be worse than the known evil of Hillary Clinton, the lying, manipulative, venal, corrupt and greedy woman who honestly does not care about this country so long as she gets to run it, something she sees as her entitled right for some reason or other that escapes me.

Just as a final shot, note that every single accusation she's leveled at Trump applies to her: she insists he's just doing this for personal gain (she certainly is doing it for personal gain), he's unstable and unfit to be president (she's never held an idea longer than it was of use to her personal political campaign), he's corrupt and pays for influence (she's corrupt and has sold influence, to Trump), and so on.  The personal gain argument is particularly mendacious as Trump will not make more money as president than he could as, well, the Donald.  As a matter of fact, he's spending his own money on the campaign.  Hillary, on the other hand, will make much more money after she is president, peddling influence, among other potential career opportunities.  This is the final advantage of Trump, that he has already made his money, so has no need of being bought.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Why I Support Donald Trump

There, I said it.  I support Donald Trump for president.  Not that I care particularly for him as a candidate; I don't.  Not that I think a Republican would be significantly different than a Democrat; I don't.  Not that Donald Trump has shown significant insight or deep understanding of the issues; he hasn't.

No, it's pretty simple: the kinds of people I loathe in national politics simply hate Donald Trump.  That means there must be something there, and, even if there isn't, it will send a definite signal if Donald Trump achieves the presidency: the people are angry.

The average voter does not have the inclination nor the time to understand what is going on in the world.  Indeed, the world is so large and chaotic that no group of dedicated persons, even those in the Bureau, have the slightest chance of understanding everything.  Therefore, the average voter uses a rule of thumb to decide on an election.  In this election, that rule of thumb is that they are tired of the establishment screwing around and robbing us blind.

There are other reasons.  Trump actually has a point when he says nobody outside of America really respects Obama, and that mantle of disrespect would be assumed by Hillary were she to become president.  Whether a strong personality should occupy the Oval Office or not, at least Trump does, indeed, possess a strong personality.

Then, there's the question of success.  Whether or not Trump got his billions by righteous means, whatever those means are to you and yours, he did, indeed, get billions.  By comparison, nobody else in the entire field is anywhere near as successful.  This means Trump is, at least, minimally competent to run a large organization, something that cannot be said of Hillary, whose primary income is derived from speech giving and, apparently, influence peddling.  As a matter of fact, Trump has, indeed, purchased influence from the Clintons.

And, finally, and, perhaps most tellingly, Trump basically cannot be bought.  This is unique in recent memory.  Prior to Trump, there simply has not been a candidate in my lifetime that was so situated and had a chance in the general election.

I do think Trump's heart is in the right place.  I believe he's been watching the country veer towards authoritarianism, aided and abetted by petit dictators in both parties who would enforce their idea of heaven on the rest of us (exempting themselves, naturally) so that we could all live a 'better life' than we could achieve by our own efforts.

Given that, politically, I am a rather radical minarchist, I support Gary Johnson as being both the closest to me politically and the most likely to make any real change in governance.  Since he's a Libertarian, he's not going to get the election at the moment, so, instead, I will help elect Donald Trump at the two main parties as a promise of further electoral revolt if they do not mend their ways and see to the simple pastime of making a government that operates smoothly and improves lives by not screwing them up.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Why $15 an hour minimum wage is a bad idea

Several candidates (and many voters) are enamored of the idea of a massive increase in the minimum wage, with $15 or even $17 being quoted, as this is assumed to improve the lot of the very poor.

More than one problem exists with this idea:

Wrong demographic

Actually, rather than helping the 'poor', this is likely to impact the newly employed.  Most of those who earn minimum wage are actually young workers.  Sure, there are families whose wage earners earn minimum wage, and we will get to them, but the majority of those impacted will be workers looking for their first job, which are normally teenagers and young adults who need the money a lot less than the truly poor.

Drives inflation

This one is a bit difficult, as it isn't immediately obvious, but think about all the people who earn minimum wage.  We often speak of the makers of burritos in these pages, and we will do so again.  The actual cost of a burrito is heavily dependent on labor costs, most of it at the low end.  Increasing minimum wage will cause an increase in the cost of the burrito.  It won't be completely proportional; other issues impinge that we discuss below.

This will increase the cost of production of nearly everything.  Over a relatively short period of time, a few years, nearly everyone will have to be making more to have the same purchase power as before, so those on minimum wage will suddenly find themselves little better off than before.  For instance, in an economy comprised of a doctor and several burrito producers, in order for the doctor to get as many burritos, he will have to raise his prices, leading to burrito producers having to pay more, largely negating the gains from the increase in minimum wage.

Drives unemployment

First, and almost immediately, while inflation has not taken hold, our mythical burrito house is faced with a difficult decision: raise prices or fire workers and make the remainder work twice as hard.  As time goes on, he will get a third choice: buy new equipment to replace workers for much less.

So, let's look at the hypothetical dual wage earner family that makes, right now, say, $9 an hour each, for $18 an hour.  In order to meet the new minimum wage requirements, the burrito house has to lay off one of them.  The other, being senior, is actually given more than the minimum wage, say, $16 an hour, but, as you can see, that's less total pay than both got before.

Since the wage earner is unskilled labor, the remaining wage earner will have a hard time finding a job.  They will have to spend less money, which may not be possible.  It is quite likely that raising the minimum wage in this way will actually cause higher unemployment and serious hardship for the very demographic it is intended to help.

As time passes, it will be financially advantageous to replace workers with machines.  Inflation often does this.  Once again, this will lead to unemployment, except it will be permanent this time.  Since inflation will eventually remove the effect of the minimum wage, it will eventually remove the unemployment effect, but if a particular industry has already mechanized production, it is unlikely to walk back from that.

The final cause of unemployment is that we have a global economy, and, unless we are willing to enact stringent isolationism, raising the minimum wage will drive production to countries with lower wage costs.  This has already happened repeatedly.  This will, of course, lead to lower employment.

Reduces entry level jobs

For a new job seeker, often a teenager, with no skills and no job history, it can be very difficult to get a job.  Raising the minimum wage will make this much worse.

Mechanization will require skilled operators.  This means companies that mechanize in response to the increase in the minimum wage will face higher training costs, and this presents a very real risk.  The company has to bet on an unskilled worker working out, and is paying much, much more for the worker while the worker is not making the company any money.

Even companies that have not mechanized will be reticent to hire new workers.  Since a company is in the business to make a profit, they need to sell more product than they incur in costs.  A new worker is unlikely to turn a profit for some time at the new, higher minimum wage.  This means companies will be less likely to take a chance on a new worker.

Of course, eventually, inflation will fix this problem as well.

It doesn't work

In the long term, raising the minimum wage will raise costs.  It will raise costs rather quickly, rapidly wiping out the income gains for those to whom it applies, and causing hardship for those on fixed incomes, who can't respond to such massive inflation.  It may trigger hyperinflation.

If we instead got rid of the minimum wage, we'd see the cost of nearly everything either stay the same or drift lower.  What this means, to the target demographic, is that the things they buy can get cheaper.  This is improved purchase power.  While the target demographic does not have more money, they can buy more because prices have fallen, so they are better off.

If we got rid of the minimum wage, we'd see higher employment, which results in lower crime as well as lower welfare costs.  Giving people the option to work with dignity for their wage is always better than forcing them to not be able to work by enshrining a number in law.

So, what should we do?

We should eliminate the federal minimum wage.  States are welcome to set whatever minimum wage they like, so, if you want to live in a state with a minimum wage, you can.

Eliminating the federal minimum wage would allow for greater employment, meaning more people can support themselves and get on the job track rather than the welfare or crime track.  It will allow companies to train younger workers while paying them pocket money, and will mean that people who find themselves in economic trouble can at least get some cash flow.

Eliminating the federal minimum wage would allow real data to enter the argument.  Since different states would have different minimum wages, or none at all, we'd be able to compare them with a chance to make an observation on who is really right on this issue.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Think About It

Some time ago, a simply horrid movie entitled 'The Last Temptation of Jesus Christ' was released.  So bad was this thing that your humble author, a veteran of schlock cinema, having witnessed several entire Troma films, could not suffer through the entire thing.  Nevermind the lack of redeeming quality, it has become sort of a must-see film simply because there are so many people against the thing.

They protested it.  People went to see it to find out why.  In the Arab world, they recently started protesting some unknown Youtube video.  Prior to that, the only people who had really seen the thing were the ones protesting it; after, nearly everyone saw it to find out whyfor the ruckus.

Now, liberals, including the chief liberal, are rattling their sabers against private ownership of guns.  It's getting to where I can no longer watch the Daily Show.  Stewart, normally a fairly well-informed and intelligent man, made a statement, "surely there's no use for hollowpoint and armor piercing ammunition outside of the military."

Of course, us gun nuts would love to point out a standard fact that the definition of 'armor piercing' very much depends on what kind of armor, as piercing the armor of a main battle tank takes a multi-stage warhead complete with high temperature gas burn prior to main payload ignition.  Piercing most body armor is accomplished with literally any rifle you have.  Basically, any caliber can be armor-piercing if the armor is weak enough.

However, it is the other bit that really pissed me off.  John Stewart, of all people, should be well enough informed to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the military is forbidden from using hollowpoint ammunition of any form by the Geneva Convention.  Of course, the reason for this is that a wounded man is more of a bother for the enemy than a dead man and most militaries use sufficient armor to defeat most hollowpoints anyway, although the non-hollowpoint versions of the common rounds will defeat most common body armor employed by the military.  So, which do you want to be rid of, hollowpoints or armor-piercing rounds?

Also, consider that, once fired, a hollowpoint has a far lower chance of dangerous ricochet, tending to fragment on a hard surface, and also has a much lower penetration against a soft target, meaning lower chance of killing the guy behind the guy you shot.  In other words, while substantially more effective against the intended target, hollowpoints are generally safer to everyone else.  As important or more important, hollowpoint rounds cause the attacker to stop attacking faster, reducing the risk to everyone of further violence as well as, quixotically, increasing the attacker's survival rate, as he will generally suffer fewer rounds due to having gone down more quickly.  I'll save you the grisly science of wound channels and just state that, for defensive purposes, anyone not using a hollowpoint is a bloody idiot.

Anyway, my intent wasn't really to refute silly misconceptions by silly liberals; my intent was to point out that, thanks to Obama, the gun culture is far stronger than ever in my entire life.  I've been a gun nut since '94, when I turned 21 and could go buy my first pistol, a quaint little piece of junk called a Jennings J-22.  My current arm, an EAA Witness 10MM, is a far cry from that modest pistol, and is one of the evil guns that our dearly beloved liberals would do away with to  protect us from, well, us.  In those early days, I did not know much about guns and gun violence; I just knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I wanted a gun, and would do anything, including moving my corpus to a more gun-friendly clime, to get one.  This is an attitude shared by many of the analysts here (and, yes, there are more than one).

See, these idiots, as there is no kinder word, and most of the unkinder words are unprintable, have decided to go after not only guns, but gun owners and the 'gun culture'.  When they did that, people who used to be considered basically normal, reasonable people, people who have never owned a gun before, are now buying them.  While it is in a way glorious that I no longer get treated as a sort of pervert outcast for owning, well, a few guns, it is also very, very annoying.

Why is it annoying?  It has made it nearly impossible to buy worthwhile guns and ammunition.  For instance, I sold my Sig Pro because it really didn't fit my hand, and wanted to buy a Glock 20.  I was unable to find one.  Seriously.  So, I went with the other gun I have long wanted, the EAA Witness 10MM, but only because I could find a used one.  I also paid way too much for it.

Why do I need ammunition?  To practice, of course.  No self-respecting gun owner would consider using a gun in self defense until he had spent quite a bit of time with it.  Hitting someone three feet away is easy and within the realm of nearly any gun.  Hitting a man at ten feet starts to be more difficult, and often impossible to people just starting out with a pistol.  At 35 yards, the last distance I practiced with, with my new (to me) 10MM, I put in about a six inch group, which I'm not that happy with, although, by the end of the day, it was down to a more respectable two inches or so.  Before I got old and my hands started to shake, I could hit a one inch target at 100 yards with a decent revolver, but I boast, er, digress.  Let's just say that you need to know what you can accomplish with your gun, which means range time to find out, you need to develop muscle memory so that the gun and you become fused, as it were, and that requires ammunition down range.

How much?  at least 200 rounds to get started, then shooting every six months as a minimum to keep it up.  I prefer every other week, but I like to shoot and hold myself to a much higher standard with a pistol than most do.  Why do I?  Were some nut shooting my children 35 yards away, I have to hit him on the absolute first shot and put him down hard as fast as possible.  I'd do it for your children as well.  Can I live with myself if I end up in such a situation and fail?  Could you?  So, I practice partly because, well, it's fun, and I justify the expense because it is absolutely necessary.

So, back to the purpose of this post: idiot lefties decided to go after guns.  Nothing really appreciable can come out of it because everything they're trying to do falls into one of three categories: a) unconstitutional as per decisions so recent the ink isn't dry, b) impractical in real life and c) not never gonna no way pass the House of Representatives. In other words, the political reality is that none of the gun control efforts so far put forward have any chance of actually becoming law.

The first class of proposals include most of Feinsteins astonishing miscategorization of guns, as the Feinstein taxonomy defines as 'assault weapon' any weapon that can rapidly fire more than ten rounds at a time.  As per Heller and McDonald, two recent US Supreme Court decisions, the right to self defense has been incorporated, and the contributory right to the means of self defense is therefore protected, and the decisions do specifically mention handguns of high effectiveness, including high capacity magazines, as well as carbines (the true term for what everyone thinks is an assault rifle), which, of course, are protected by the far more plain reading of the second amendment, them being military purpose rifles, which are exactly what the second amendment was set to protect.

The second class of proposals, the attempt to outlaw the private sale of firearms, which may also fall in the first class, is pretty much going to be impossible to enforce.  Are we going to create an Orwellian network of snitches?  Seriously?  It is pretty much impossible to prove that I sold a gun to someone else, nevermind when, where or for how much...

The third class includes pretty much everything except a redefinition of what a firearms dealer is and therefore who must engage in background checks, as that is pretty much the only thing the Republican controlled House is willing to do.  Everything else proposed won't even pass a Dixiecrat smell test, let alone a Republican smell test, when his entire district is buying every single arm they can find.  It is simply impossible to do.

Also, none of the proposals put forward so far would have had any impact on any of the recent shootings.  There are acres of prose on this particular subject, so I won't dwell on it, but these lefties are trying to take away my freedom and happiness to enact laws that have no real effect other than to take away my freedom and happiness.

And, so, in the end, the final calculus, the day of reckoning, when we all have to answer for the stupid stuff we've done, where will these lefties be?  They will be stuck explaining how their utter failure to in any way affect the gun laws in this country led to the single largest increase in gun ownership, as far as I know, in the history of this country.  Seriously, both as a percentage and in numbers, known as 'gun penetration' and 'gun stock', this country has seen a massive, sustained increase since Obama took office, and an acceleration in the last three months or so.  The number of guns owned in this country is nearing one per person, well over 300 million and counting.  Gallup reports gun ownership at 47%, with a huge gain in gun ownership by women.  In other words, it has backfired, outside of traditional Democratic strongholds, causing exactly the opposite reaction they wished to engender.

Also, please remember that Obama and his toady, er, vice president, promised no action on gun control prior to being elected.  This change, while not unexpected, is just another example of the mendacity of politicians, which leads most of us to not really care what they say, them having been caught lying so often.  Also, it plays directly into the hands of the far right, with their repeated predictions that Obama would do exactly this when elected to a 'lame duck' session, thus lending credence to the rest of what they have to say.  Think about that for a bit.  Not only has Obama managed to increase the size and strength of the 'gun culture' he hates, he has also managed to strengthen the nuttiest of the far right.  Good job, number one president, have a cookie and please take your nap before you ruin something else.

PS: Mendacity, thy name is gun control may become a common theme on this here collection of electrons.  Please do not merely accept statistics from gun-control groups, as they are either out of date, misrepresented or merely wrong.  Were these people at all rational, they could look at the numbers and come to some sort of conclusion, but they have already made up their minds so the numbers must be bent to say what they want.  Nevermind that real scholars such as John Lott and Gary Kleck have done manful work on the question of the effect of guns on society, the arguments from the left persist.  As an example, see here:

http://www.gallup.com/poll/150353/self-reported-gun-ownership-highest-1993.aspx

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/12/guns-in-america-statistics/60071/

The first link has Gallup's numbers on gun ownership.  The second link quotes those numbers, stopping at 2010.  This, of course, is on purpose, despite the article having been published in 2012, as if they kept the graph up, they would see an uptick in ownership.  The graph they have shows a huge upswing in pistol ownership, a trend that has continued.

Also, consider Mother Jones:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/mass-shootings-map

The argument is that a ban on 'assault weapons', which is defined as whatever Senator Dianne Feinstein does not like, pretty much, as the term of art 'assault weapon' commonly refers to a select-fire machine carbine, and not, as in her bill, to a raft of guns including shotguns and pistols.  She is rebranding them so people won't notice that perfectly serviceable defensive weapons are being banned as well.

Anyway, the article tries to point out that most of the people who engaged in mass killings and spree killings used 'assault weapons', when, in fact, they mostly used pistols.  Further, it implies with its graph that reducing magazine capacity would reduce the number of killings, which is pretty much rot.  Many of the shooters, according to their own data, did just fine with 10 round clips.  There is no evidence to support the idea that fewer rounds in a clip will result in fewer killings, as the worst killing spree in England that I know of was accomplished with a .22 rifle and a side-by-side shotgun.

Anyhoo, the last magazine limitation law that was passed did have an effect, although it was probably not the intended effect.  Prior to that law being passed, the 9MM was gaining ground as the gun of choice, both among criminals and among law-abiding citizens.  After the ban, the .40 S&W pretty much took over because 10 rounds of .40 is lots more effective than 10 rounds of 9MM.  In other words, the number of bullets were reduced, but the individual effectiveness was increased.  Also, we tended to see an increase in the use of the shotgun because 8 rounds of 12 ga is roughly equivalent to 72 rounds of 9MM.

It is a quaint fallacy, depended on by the Mother Jones article, that making a thing illegal will stop it from happening.  All over, we have evidence to the contrary.  People speed on the highways, use illicit drugs, connect cable illegally, download stuff they know they shouldn't and so on.  Guns flow into this country as easily as drugs, and, just like drugs, getting a gun from a criminal simply is not that hard.  If you don't believe me, consider England, a nation entirely surrounded by salt water:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-25671/Violent-crime-worse-Britain-US.html
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1223193/Culture-violence-Gun-crime-goes-89-decade.html

Both are English media articles detailing the violent crime situation in England.  Interestingly enough, while violent crime has soared since guns have been outlawed (pretty much as Lott predicts in his book, 'More Guns, Less Crime', based on statistics on concealed carry laws in the US), the murder rate has been going down.  The interesting bit to notice, of course, is that guns are, apparently, readily available despite there being no nearby country that has lax gun laws and there being, well, water everywhere, meaning that the guns have to come in by port or smuggler boat.  In other words, were it possible to stop the influx of illicit guns, it certainly could be done in England, and it has not been done there despite both massive public will to accomplish it and some of the strictest laws about it anywhere.

The murder rate, of course, is the only statistic the lefties want us to look at when discussing England, but, remember, the murder rate has always been lower in England, and, believe it or not, the vast majority of murders in England now are not committed by gun:

http://fleshisgrass.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/us-and-uk-murder-rate-and-weapon-updated/

And England is at a 30 year low, meaning that, prior to the recent gun ban, the murder rate had been the same or lower (the tightest gun bans in England were all in the 80s and 90s, iirc):

http://glocktalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1457228

And, besides, as per above, despite the massive recent increase in gun ownership, the US is, apparently, at a 55 year low, meaning the crime situation has improved substantially since the early 90s (the high water mark) when all those concealed carry laws started being passed.  No blood in the streets as the liberals wailed, but much lower in nearly every category of crime.  Yes, slight increase in petty theft, and slight increase in aggravated assault, but much, much lower murder numbers, and lower everything else.

Oh, and the mass killings?  Do you really want to exchange all the rapes, murders, robberies, burglaries and general criminal activity deterred by the private ownership of guns, something like 2.5 million occurrences annually?  How much misery are you willing to trade to save the lives of 20 children?  This is the actual decision we must make, not the heated discussion of the moment, but the sober facing of the truth that untold human misery is prevented by the presence of a gun, specifically a pistol.

See, a 120 pound girl cannot stop a rape committed by a 250 pound fit male by herself.  With a tiny little .25 auto, she may prevent it from ever happening by simply brandishing the gun, and, were it to come to it, do the entire world a service by at the very least aiding in the capture of a predator, and, ideally, saving the effort and paperwork of prosecuting him by summarily ending his life.

This is why the pistol has sometimes been called the great equalizer; it makes us all on the same level.  I, at a stropping 270, am at the same level as my wife, at her (redacted) weight.  She has a .40 S&W Baby Eagle, otherwise known as a Jericho.  She is very good with it.

And, one thing missed by the anti-gun crowd is that guns, by their mere presence, deter crime.  They don't have to be used to effect a reduction in crime.  They don't even have to be shown.  The criminal merely has to believe there is a gun there along with someone willing to use it, and he will go find an easier target in, say, Maryland, where he knows a law-abiding citizen must retreat in his own house in the face of armed robbery. As an example, Virginia, being a Southern state, has adopted the castle doctrine, which basically states that your house is your castle and you may defend it.  Despite soaring gun purchases, Virginia is seeing a constant drop in crime:

http://www.timesdispatch.com/news/local/central-virginia/gun-related-violent-crimes-drop-as-sales-soar-in-va/article_54cca13a-35ee-11e2-83f0-0019bb30f31a.html

Maryland, right next door, has strict gun laws and restricts how you can use them to defend yourself.  While violence is decreasing in Maryland, it is decreasing at half the rate in Virginia:

http://www.goccp.maryland.gov/msac/crime-statistics.php

None of this, of course, proves that gun ownership lowers crime; that research is very complicated to do when trying to disentangle socio-economic factors and demographics, but it pretty much puts paid to the idea that more guns means more crime...

Anyway, as I said above, shooting guns is a great pleasure to me, so the lefties are messing with more than just my right to self defense; they are messing with my happiness and the happiness of many people in this country, and they are doing it for no good reason.