A wise friend suggested to me yesterday that the Boston bombing story is “the elephant in the room, leading to total reconsideration of many issues, whether immigration, the war on terror, gun ownership, cultural decline…”
Color me skeptical.
Politicians and activists, pundits and columnists across the political spectrum have used the murder and mayhem caused by a pair of Islamic radicals (yes, President Obama, I said “Islamic”) to grind their own policy or opinion axes.
Some (but probably not most, at least within the political class) are sincere, others simply opportunistic. But on almost every issue, even if agreeing with the speaker’s fundamental position, broad policy implications of the murderous Tsarnaev brothers are overstated.
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
I don't know what it will look like in the morning, but gold and silver are following their massive Friday sell-offs with more massive selling on Sunday evening.
Gold is down about $58 from Friday's close as I write this (almost 4%), to $1443. It closed Thursday around $1560. So down about 7.5% in less than two trading days.
Silver is down $1.65 from Friday's to $24.65. (6.3%) It closed Thursday around $27.60. So down almost 11% in less than two trading days.
By any normal metric, these metals have crashed. If these were the stock market, they would rank among the sharpest 2-day crashes in history. Not counting the crash of 1929, I think only 1987 would be bigger than silver's crash, though I'm not 100% sure.
Here's one interesting story. The summary: Near-legendary silver investor Eric Sprott has been selling large quantities of his own silver trust, and he says that he's using some of the money " to buy shares in silver mining companies, which he believes will outperform the metal itself on the next rally."
One thing which I think is very interesting in the market is that while oil is also going down, this sort of selling would normally accompany a big rise in the USD and a big sell-off in stocks, but that's not happening. (There's been a very slight rise in the USD over the past day or two and slight selling in the stock market.)
What this says to me is that the selling is about two things: First, fundamental issues: fear of a marginal global slowdown, but mostly a slowdown in China. And fear that Cyprus, and then other European weaklings might need to sell gold reserves.
Second, and this is really what is happening today, there are massive margin calls in silver and gold and anticipation that the public is getting washed out of the SLV and GLD ETFs, causing massive selling pressure in the spot and futures markets. These redemptions cause further margin calls among the investors with the weak hands, and it snowballs until the public is out and/or those who are short jump in and cover. But the weak public is much bigger and the short pros. Furthermore, there are fast-money traders who simply follow momentum, and will be selling just because it seems like the path of least resistance.
One reason I think this second issue is the key to current trading is that base metals, which followed gold and silver down pretty closely in percentage terms on Friday are down much less (but still down) on Sunday night, with lead and zinc each down less than 1%, and copper just over 1%. The public is not in base metals, so are not being panicked and margin-called out of those metals.
For those (like me) who have any investment exposure to precious metals, the past few months have been very bad, with the past few days being a true disaster. I wonder how people like Glenn Beck, who advertise aggressively for gold-selling firms on their radio shows, will feel as they read these tea leaves. I'm sure Mr. Beck's money is where his mouth is, and I'm not suggesting that he's hawking something he doesn't believe in. I'm simply saying that when you hear ads for any financial asset all over TV and radio, it's only a matter of time until that asset crashes. The most surprising thing about the metals is that they didn't crash sooner.
All that said, I imagine we're close to a bottom in these things, especially silver. But catching a falling commodity is at least as dangerous as catching a falling knife.
How much would you need to be able to retire comfortably? If you’re not sure of the answer, don’t worry: the Obama administration will answer for you.
President Obama’s FY 20414 budget will be released on Wednesday — two months later than the legal deadline. But thanks to administration leaks, too conveniently released just hours before last Friday’s horrendous employment report, we have some idea what it will contain.
Most of the Obama budget will be the same tiresome mix of higher taxes, higher spending, and budgetary gimmicks that would land any private sector CFO in jail.
Despite the larger fiscal impact of other provisions of the Obama budget, it is hard to match the audacity, paternalism, and economic idiocy of Obama’s plan to limit individual retirement accounts to a maximum of $3 million.
What we know so far offers more questions than answers; the answers we have already are bad and the questions even worse.
Please read the entirety of my article for the American Spectator here:
I'm always reticent to use these pages for appeals for assistance, but a friend of mine could use some professional advice that I'm not qualified to give and I'm hoping that someone reading this pages can be of direct or indirect help.
My friend is a Denver-area policeman, and a former commando in the Royal Marines.
He moved to the United States with his family, loves this country, and hoped to make his future here.
He was injured while on duty and suffered a jarring, twisting injury to his head and neck which has apparently caused disc dislocation/damage and perhaps other damage that I don't fully understand. The disc is now pressing on a nerve which is causing him to lose his grip in his right hand. Losing his grip will end his career as a police officer and, obviously, dramatically limit any future employment opportunities.
He is not a wealthy man.
As it stands, he fears losing his career, his home, and his ability to stay in the United States.
He feels that local officials, the insurance company, and the workman's comp system are treating him very shabbily, and he doesn't trust their advice, whether medical or otherwise. So far, based on advice from an overseas friend of his who is a doctor, he has refused spinal fusion surgery. He also refused cortisone injections because when it was suggested to him was just when the news was coming out about the contaminated steroid injections causing meningitis.
If you are, or if you know, an orthopedic surgeon or neurosurgeon or other qualified doctor who would be willing to see my friend and give him expert advice based on a basic examination (I'm not sure if he has imaging available to show), at little or no cost, I would be very grateful.
Please get in touch with me at rossputin(at)rossputin(dot)com if you might be able to offer any assistance.
I'll be guest-hosting for Mike Rosen on Denver's 850 KOA on Monday, March 25 from 9 AM to noon Mountain Time.
I hope you'll tune in.
Likely topics include gay marriage and the death penalty, as well as the 10 AM hour being the usual Money Monday segment with Jordan Goodman.
Hope you can tune in over the air or online at http://850koa.com
I hope you'll consider attending the tribute for General Jim Hall on Sunday, March 24 from 5 PM to 7:30 PM at the Glenmoor Country Club in Cherry Hills Village. Congressman Mike Coffman will also be attending.
More info HERE...and below:
Entertainment will be provided by Anthony Kearns, one of the world's leading tenors, who is making a special appearance in Denver at General Hall's request at the height of the "Irish season" (since Anthony is Irish through and through.)
There will also be an exclusive preview of the general's parachuting display which will then move to the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.
The event is to benefit the general's son, Eagle Hall, who has special needs, particularly to allow him to continue to participate in the Special Olympics.
To learn more about the event, guests can call (720) 675-7056. Guests must RSVP to RSVPMarch24Tribute@gmail.com by Wednesday, March 20. Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are $35, or $50, with the $50 option including a signed copy of my book, "Parachuting for Gold in Old Mexico." Checks made payable to "Glenmoor Country Club" and sent to Andi Allott per the instructions in the invitation form which you can find here:
The event will feature an Irish-themed menu with Irish signature drinks at the bar (it is a cash bar). There will also be delicious Irish coffee after the program and a meet-and-greet with special guests.
A little more about General Jim Hall:
Throughout his 36 years of military service and in his civilian life, General Jim Hall became a pioneer in the field of parachuting. A Master Parachutist with more than 1,800 jumps, he created the premier parachuting program for the U.S. Air Force Academy, which now trains 600 cadets annually and ranks first in the world. In addition, he created the "Buddy System" for free falling and the "4-line cut" for parachuting emergencies. In 1959, Hall and a partner founded the first professional parachuting firm ever. As Col. John Buckley said, "Almost every parachute development done for the USAFA in the first 30 years came from General Hall... he truly was a USAF pioneer..." General Hall's developments saved lives and therefore, pilots everywhere owe General Hall for his contributions.
Gen. Hall has been honored numerous times, including receiving The Leo Stevens Parachute Medal (the highest award given annually for achievements in the field of parachuting) and the Colorado Meritorious Service Medal (the highest award that the state of Colorado can award to a member of the military). Learn more at: http://parachutingassociates.com/Pages/AboutJim.php
Colorado State Senator Greg Brophy (R-Wray), in debating the Michael Bloomberg-pushed "high capacity" gun magazine ban in Colorado, announced that if the bill becomes law, he will not obey it.
Neither will I, and I imagine many thousands of other Coloradoans will also refuse to comply. (The link and embedded video below start at the 10:48 point in Brophy's testimony where he says this, followed by cheers from the gallery that the Senate President silences with the gavel. But I encourage you also to watch the entire 12 minutes.)
Not only does the measure ban pistol and rifle magazines with capacity greater than 15 rounds, but it bans magazines which are "designed to be readily converted to accept more than 15 rounds." As Senator Brophy explained at the beginning of his testimony, this bill makes illegal the standard magazines of 15-round (or less) capacity for many guns, including Glock pistols, probably the most popular handguns in the United States, because Glock magazines and most others include a removable base plate which allows an extender to be attached. Thus the 15-round magazine is "designed to be readily converted" to exceed that limit, and is thus illegal even if not converted.
At least unless and until Glock makes a magazine without a removable base plate (which is also useful for magazine cleaning), the magazine ban effectively bans the sale of many or most handguns.
It is time for those who support Second Amendment rights to stand up even more aggressively (but not violently) against these out-of-control anti-gun bills, including by contacting Governor John Hickenlooper to let him know that we will refuse to abide by this law.
Greg Brophy is truly a champion for the rights of Coloradoans. (And to be clear, I'm fairly impressed with most of our Republican state senators on that score.) It is a long time until the next election, but I trust that Democrats will be harshly punished for ramming unpopular legislation down their constituents' throats in the service of Michael Bloomberg and Joe Biden. If they want to represent New York and Washington, DC, I encourage them to move there. Until then, it will be the voters' job to move them out of their seats in the legislature.
Although the corpse of Colorado House Bill 1226 is still warm, it appears to have died the death of a miscreant which should never have been born, one of a raft of anti-gun rights bills being put forward for final vote in the Colorado State Senate today.
The bill would ban concealed carry of handguns in college campus buildings and stadiums, and at other college campus events where college management wanted to ban (otherwise legal) concealed carry by permit holders.
The Senate Committee which had jurisdiction over the bill passed it on a party line vote on Monday despte the objections of the brave Amanda Collins who testified that because her Nevada college was a gun free zone, she left her legal-to-carry handgun at home one day and was raped in a school parking lot -- by a man who went on to rape a second victim and then rape and murder a third.
At this time, it appears that the Senate sponsor of the bill, Senator Rollie Heath (D-Boulder) will pull the bill before letting it get to the floor for debate.
It is worth noting that Senator Heath had a town hall meeting planned for two days ago in my town outside Boulder. On Tuesday, I got a blast e-mail from his office saying that it had been canceled due to a scheduling conflict. I sent him an e-mail asking him to tell me what the other event was, because I believe he canceled simply to avoid hearing from gun-rights activists, even in liberal Boulder County. Other state senators have done that very thing. Needless to say, I never got a response from Senator Heath.
The first very bad press for this bill came when "Clueless Joe" Salazar suggested that if a female student were being attacked on a college campus, she might not have the presence of mind to know if she were about to raped, and therefore not know if she were about shoot a guilty person or an innocent person.
The final nail in the coffin of the bill was probably the disgraceful Sen. Edie Hudak who told Amanda Collins that gun statistics "are not on your side." But it turned out that even the anti-gun Denver Post called out Hudak for, to put it politely, data abuse, saying that the "stats don't apply in (this) case." Less politely, Evie Hudak is a despicable liar, using irrelevant propaganda to a rape victim that others who might end up at the same risk should not have the opportunity to defend themselves.
Again, at this writing it's not absolutely certain that the bill is dead but it seems very likely. Good riddance, and now let's get rid of more of the barrage of terrible, pointless, Democrat anti-gun bills.
Making the news today due to a blog posting by Media Trackers is the story that Rhonda Fields, one of the leaders of the assault on gun rights by Democrats in the Colorado state legislature, has a criminal record:
While I wasn't aware of these facts not living anywhere near Ms. Fields' Aurora district, this is in fact an old story, though made more dramatic by the mug shot (which I had originally posted in this note but have since decided is unnecessarily inflammatory.)
The report says that the original mugshot picture came from the Magpul Industries Facebook site and was posted by a private (non-Magpul user), but it appears that it first showed up on another Facebook page, likely GunsForEveryone.
Media Trackers do show a document from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation which seems to back up the claim that Fields was arrested in 1976 for larceny and 1991 for shoplifting. Also interesting to note that Ms. Fields (not of cookie fame), has used at least 5 different names. I assume that some of that might be maiden names versus married names. And perhaps her criminal behavior, which was not recent, was the product of youthful indiscretion. Nevertheless, it is galling to have someone with a criminal record trying to disarm law-abiding Coloradoans.
The response from Ms. Fields and her friend in the legislature is that this is old news, that she's not proud of it, and doesn't like to talk about it. You don't say.
Indeed, it is old news, with the Denver Post having reported on Fields' record (along with other candidates who had criminal records) in 2010.
I take Ms. Fields at her word when she says "I'm so glad I'm not the woman I was back then." I'm glad, too, though at least back then she only hurt a few people with her crimes rather than the thousands of Coloradoans she aims to put at risk through crimes posed as legislation.
You'd think that someone who had been a criminal, even if driven by dire circumstances, would understand better than anyone that there are bad people out there, that even otherwise good people have the potential to do bad things, and that it is important that we have the right to defend ourselves.
I would add something else: Ms. Fields' son, Javad Marshall-Fields, along with his girlfriend, Vivian Wolfe, were murdered in 2005 prior to testifying against gangster Sir Mario Owens. The shooter, Robert Ray, has been sentenced to death, as has Owens. As a parent, and having seen the effect on my mother of the death of my brother (accident, not murder), I can barely attempt to imagine Ms. Fields' pain at the loss of her son. And with a gun having taken the life of her loved one, it is difficult to be as angry with Ms. Fields' misguided attempt to disarm law-abiding citizens as with other Democrats such as Edie "the statistics aren't with the rape victim" Hudak for whom there is absolutely no excuse.
But despite my sympathy for Ms. Fields, I do not forgive her and her colleagues for any of their feel-good, let's-just-do-something assault on our constitutional and natural rights. Nor will I forgive Governor John Hickenlooper -- who has mostly governed as a moderate -- if he goes along with them.
[Meanwhile, Magpul, which will leave Colorado if the pending ban on magazines with capacity greater than 15 rounds becomes law, is offering a special deal, called the Boulder Airlift, to Coloradoans on several magazines for AR-15 style rifles.]
On Monday, I had my first opportunity to be a guest on the Sean Hannity radio show. It was a lot of fun as the conversation started off about Colorado Democrats' radical anti-gun agenda but then moved to the topics of legalized marijuana, Amsterdam, and Atlas Shrugged (the movie.)
If you'd like to listen -- it's about 10 minutes -- you can click here or (if you see the player on your screen) hit the play button: