Have nothing to do with the [evil] things that people do, things that belong to the darkness. Instead, bring them out to the light... [For] when all things are brought out into the light, then their true nature is clearly revealed...

-Ephesians 5:11-13

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Guy Smith Blows Up Giffords’ “Gun Laws Scorecard”

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, February 11, 2019: 


The phrase “lies, damned lies, and statistics” reflects the use of various mathematical means to achieve foul ends. Giffords Law Center has engaged in it for years, and Guy Smith has caught up with them.


With a background in quantitative management and a nose for fraud and deceit, he took up the cause of debunking gun controllers’ misinformation, such as that from Giffords. Smith has no vested interest on either side of the issue, and apparently has no bias. He claims that he:


is not a member of any organization – not the NRA, not Everytown for Gun Safety, not the Second Amendment Foundation, not the Brady Campaign. Nada. Someone once bought [me] a membership in the California Rifle and Pistol Association, and [I] immediately demanded to be removed from their membership roster.


He is the editor of Gun Facts, and claims that “we are neither pro-gun nor anti-gun. We are pro-math and anti-B.S.”


Last year he took on the task of debunking Giffords’ latest scorecard, and, after doing much digging, he concluded:


Just when you think people could not be more deceitful, they somehow manage.


And by “deceitful” I mean Giffords Law Center and their rather ridiculous state-by-state scorecard on gun control policy, wherein they attempt to convince an unwary public that guns lead to mayhem.


His major takeaways included:


“Strong” gun control is associated with higher rates of violent crime (homicides, assaults, and rapes;

They handily omitted Washington D.C., which has very high violent crime rates;

They included suicides (which we know are not a gun issue);

They don’t cite sources for their data; and

Their grading scheme for the “strength” of gun control laws is 100% opaque.


What he found was that Giffords included all forms of gun deaths in their states’ tallies: legal interventions and justifiable homicides as well as suicides.


What Smith found applies as well to Giffords’ latest attempt to use incomplete statistics in its latest Annual Gun Laws Scorecard released last week. Consider its ranking of Wyoming, a state that historically has allowed its citizens maximum freedom in exercising their Second Amendment rights:


In 2018, Wyoming legislators put their constituents at risk by enacting a dangerous Stand Your Ground law and passing legislation allowing people with concealed carry permits to bring guns into places of worship.


The state has very weak gun laws and a remarkably high gun suicide rate. Wyoming could save lives by, among other things, passing universal background checks and imposing waiting periods on gun purchases.


On the other hand, it ranks California as its “best state” in its rankings:


California continued to strengthen its already strong gun laws in 2018 by, among other things, raising the minimum age to purchase and manufacture guns and broadening its domestic violence laws.


To uphold its role as a leader in gun violence prevention, California should also substantially increase its investment in violence intervention programs, restrict bulk firearm purchases, and regulate the sale of homemade “ghost gun” components.


Giffords chastised Mississippi for being its “worst state”:


Mississippi did not pass any new gun safety laws in 2018. The state has one of the highest gun death rates in the nation and correspondingly weak gun laws.


To raise its grade and save lives, Mississippi should, among other things, pass universal background checks, prevent domestic violence offenders from accessing firearms, and repeal its dangerous permitless carry law.


It congratulated Florida for being the “most improved” state in its survey:


Florida significantly raised its grade in 2018, from an F to a C-. After the mass shooting in Parkland in February, the state legislature passed a package of gun safety bills that included an extreme risk protection law, a higher minimum age for buying firearms, and stronger waiting periods.


To save more lives and further raise its grade, Florida should adopt universal background checks and regulate military-style weapons and magazines.


Its scorecard then purported to show that where the Second Amendment was honored, “gun deaths” soared while those with strict limitations infringing on it were much lower. Therefore, mission accomplished: more gun laws are needed to reduce “gun deaths.” It called it an “undeniable correlation”: “Annual state gun deaths per 100,000 people [are] grouped by grade. Gun deaths tend to increase as grades weaken.”


Therefore it follows that Giffords’ proposals should be adopted by any state that wants to reduce those so-called “gun deaths”: background checks into every transfer of a firearm including transactions between private individuals and ERPOs (extreme risk protection orders) or “red flag” laws.


Two years after Gabby Giffords, a liberal Democrat (Freedom Index rating of 14 out of 100 based on her five years’ voting record in the House) from Arizona, was nearly killed by a gunman, she and her husband founded Americans for Responsible Solutions. It was merged into the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence in 2017 and changed its name simply to Giffords.


Its attack on gun rights is in three parts: a lobbying arm, a super PAC, and a research arm which publishes its Annual Gun Law Scorecard.


Giffords’ attempt at complete transparency failed, as this writer discovered doing his own research. Said Giffords:


The attorneys at Giffords Law Center spend the year tracking and analyzing gun legislation in all 50 states, evaluating bills for their relative strength or weakness.


Taking note of newly enacted laws, we use an exhaustive quantitative rubric to score each state on its gun law strength, adding points for safety regulations like universal background checks and extreme risk protection orders and subtracting points for reckless policies like “Stand Your Ground” and permitless carry laws.


We then rank the states, convert point totals to letter grades, and compare our findings to the most recent gun death rates released by the CDC.


Year after year, our research yields the same conclusion – stronger gun safety laws lead to lower gun death rates.


The latest report from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – see Sources below) reveals the following data for 2016 (the most recent available): total deaths “by firearms”: 38,658. “Intentional self-harm (suicide) by discharge of firearms”: 22,938.


That means, for starters, that Giffords is “off” by nearly 60 percent. As Smith noted, “almost all [suicides] are committed with legally acquired handguns (no assault weapons or extra capacity magazines required).”


Next up is how Giffords breaks down the 40 percent of homicides committed with a firearm: they don’t. Not a word. Nothing about firearms-assisted suicides increasing following the financial crisis. Nothing about the increase of gun violence in inner cities as drug cartels were shifting their concentration from marijuana to opioids like fentanyl. And of course nothing was said about DGUs (defensive gun uses) in the United States.


Estimates of DGUs vary, from 50,000 to nearly 5 million every year. Most estimates are likely to understate how often a citizen is able to prevent a crime by the mere presence of a legally owned firearm. As John Lott, author of More Guns, Less Crime and The Bias Against Guns, noted, “In many defensive cases a handgun is simply brandished and no one is harmed [and so] many defensive uses are never even reported to the police.”


If Giffords had its way, there would be at least two disastrous results: First, gun violence would increase sharply as the law-abiding population would be disarmed; and second, only criminals and the state would have firearms. Is it possible to believe that Giffords doesn’t know that it’s rigging its scorecard and that its goal would be a military dictatorship in the U.S. as a result?



How statistics and used and abused

Giffords Law CenterAnnual Gun Law Scorecard 2019

Guy Smith at Gun FactsGifford’s Goof

Giffords Law Center website

Background on Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence

Background on Giffords organization

Giffords’ Mission Statement

Background on Gabby Giffords

Gabby Giffords’ Freedom Index rating: 14/100

Gun FactsSuicides and Guns

Gun FactsGun Deaths: Meaningless Metric

Gun FactsHigh Gun Death Perspectives

Background on defensive gun use (DGU) in the US

Background on Guy Smith, editor of Gun Facts

CDC.govNational Vital Statistics Reports  Volume 67, Number 5 July 26, 2018   Deaths: Final Data for 2016

Background on the CDC

SafetyLit.orgHow did we get here? Heroin and fentanyl trafficking trends: a law enforcement perspective

Keep reading…

What Recession? Jobs, Manufacturing, Consumer Sentiment All Up in January

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, February 1, 2019: 

Three reports released on Friday were good news for everyone involved in the U.S. economy, except for forecasters who once again underestimated its strength. From the Department of Labor came news that in January the economy gained 304,000 new jobs, far exceeding “expert” predictions of 172,000. And even that blowout number failed to appreciate just how strong the economy really is as it overcame both the normal post-holiday layoffs and the partial shutdown of the federal government.

And that job growth is getting stronger, not weaker. The economy has added an average of 241,000 new jobs a month since November, one of the best stretches during the nearly 10-year-old economic expansion. And job gains in 2018 were the strongest in three years.

Omair Sharif, an economist at French banking firm Société Générale, nailed it:

Keep reading…

Brookings Says a Quarter of U.S. Jobs To Be Automated Soon

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, January 25, 2019:  

The report from the Brookings Institution released on Thursday drew lots of attention, most of it positive. Its conclusions were condensed into a single sentence: “Approximately 25 percent of U.S. employment (36 million jobs in 2016) will face high exposure to automation in the coming decades.”

In the past this was cause for much hand-wringing and calls for more government training for people working in low-skilled positions to prepare them for the brave new world of automation and artificial intelligence. Instead what is remarkable is how the U.S. economy is adapting to the changes taking place, and preparing for more of them in the very near future.

Kiosks are replacing order takers in half of the MacDonald’s restaurants. But instead of laying off employees, the workers are being trained to offer additional services to their customers, such as in-person delivery of orders to their tables.

Online grocery ordering is providing workers the opportunity to do the shopping for their customers, aided by robots telling them where the items are located that are being requested. Further, those robots continually scan the shelves for outages, which are then relayed electronically to the back room for restocking. This technology also allows unloading to take less time and be more efficient, placing items in convenient stacks for quicker restocking.

Those collecting online orders are testing new computer glasses that tell where the items desired are located so that they don’t have to use their smartphones. At present Walmart has 18,000 personal shoppers who fill online orders — jobs that didn’t even exist just a few years ago.

Short-haul autonomous trucks are freeing up drivers for other tasks, often higher paid. The Amazon Go store in Seattle is now fully operational after a year of testing by its employees. Shoppers enter by scanning their Amazon Go app at a turnstile, which opens the door. When an item is pulled from the shelf it is added to that shopper’s virtual cart. Shoppers have commented that it feels like stealing, until the bill appears on their phone as they leave.

Cooks in fast-food and fast casual restaurants are becoming more efficient as robots help prepare the meals. Matt O’Brien, reporting for AP News, explained how it works in a fast casual restaurant in Boston:

Push a touch-screen menu to purchase a $7.50 meal called “Hearth.” A blend of Brussels sprouts, quinoa, kale and sweet potatoes tumbles from hoppers and into one of the pots. The pot heats the food using magnetic induction, then tips to dunk the cooked meal into a bowl. Water jets up to rinse it off before a new order begins.

Hotels are going robotic with facial recognition technology being matched with robots carrying guests’ luggage to their rooms and giving advice on restaurants and near-by theatre showings. At Sheraton’s Waikiki resort, the staff is being trained on “Mobile Key,” which lets guests check in and gain access to their rooms without ever having to use a key card or speak to a check-in clerk at the front desk.

Where robots fail is with interpersonal relationships and judgments based on past experience. For instance, Best Buy has begun to offer a free in-home consultation service where sales people will sit with customers and make recommendations on setting up a home office or designing a home theatre system.

The fears generated by reports such as this from Brookings have largely been placated by the remarkable ability of the U.S. economy to adapt, and the laws of the free market to operate. New jobs always emerge to replace those that have been lost to technology. Automation raises worker productivity, which translates into lower costs and prices to customers for goods and services. Lower prices translate into higher demand, requiring more workers to fulfill it. Customers can now afford to buy more products than before, which then creates new jobs for workers to fill.

For proof, just check the latest unemployment claims for last week, which hit a low not seen in decades. If automation and artificial intelligence cost jobs, those claims should be increasing, but they aren’t. Instead of viewing the Brookings Institute’s report with foreboding, it should instead be considered as a positive harbinger for higher standards of living for everyone participating in the remarkable U.S. economy.

Maduro’s Second Six-Year Term Won’t Last Six Months

This article was published by the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, January 16, 2019:

This writer is happy to declare that his prediction (see Sources below) about Maduro’s longevity appears to be dead wrong. Washington has just issued credible threats that it will turn off Maduro’s cash flow by prohibiting exports of crude from his state-owned PdVSA oil company to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries.

Last Friday, this writer thought that Maduro could not only remain as Venezuela’s dictator for another six-year term, but for as long as he wished. Now his tenure is likely to be measured in months.

An unnamed White House official told the Wall Street Journal on Monday that, “until now, we have been going around the edges. Now, it’s a new dynamic: we are no longer going to be tinkering around the edges.”

Earlier the Journal pointed out that

Keep reading…

What Can One Person Do In the Freedom Fight? Ask Kevin Shaw.

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 31, 2018:  

In his freshman year at Pierce College, Kevin Shaw joined YAL – Young Americans for Liberty – and decided to get active. He stood on the sidewalk in the middle of the sprawling community college campus serving Los Angeles and started passing out copies of the United States Constitution.

It didn’t take but about an hour for the administration to shut him down. He was violating the board’s “free speech zone” mandate: Shaw could only exercise his First Amendment rights inside a 616 square foot rectangle at the edge of the 426-acre campus. And only if he obtained permission to do so first. The enforcers gave him another option: if he didn’t like the rule, he could leave the campus.

Shaw stayed and grew a backbone. He had enough knowledge to know that his rights had been violated and he began to seek help. He found FIRE – the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education – and they helped him find his voice. FIRE – a foundation founded in 1969 by a libertarian professor at the University of Pennsylvania, Alan Kors, to provide support for students like Shaw who felt their First Amendment rights had been violated – filed suit.

FIRE’s director of litigation, Marieke Tuthill Beck-Coon, explained:

Keep reading…

Government Shutdown? What Government Shutdown?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 26, 2018: 

The three Washington Post writers lamenting on Saturday the Trump government shutdown complained that it is forcing 400,000 federal employees to keep working without pay. While they were at it, they griped that Trump had the audacity to pull a few thousand American troops out of Syria and Afghanistan, resulting in the resignation of his Secretary of State, Jim Mattis. They grumbled that the decline of stocks on Wall Street presaged an economic recession in 2019. They moaned that dozens of federal agencies were going to be losing their funding. And all because President Trump got grumpy over not getting from Congress a paltry one-fifth of the money he needs to build his wall.O, woe is me.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson said that “a lie which is half a truth is ever the blackest of lies,” so let’s review the Post’s half-truths.

Keep reading…

IRS Enforcement Arm Continues to Shrink

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Wednesday, December 12, 2018:

Complaints over lack of sufficient funding for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) often appear at this time of year, just as taxpayers are beginning to focus on readying their tax returns due in April. This year is no exception. Whining over insufficient funding began with Dennis Ventry, the chairman of the IRS Advisory Council (IRSAC), who complained on Monday that Trump’s tax reform had created a “nightmare” for the agency. He lamented: “[IRS] personnel had to work on reform this year when they otherwise would have been working on something else. So, in some respects, it was a lost year.”

That lost year, Ventry opined, cost the federal government billions in taxes owed but not collected. And it’s all because Congress keeps cutting the IRS budget. As a result, the IRS now employs about 24,000 fewer full-time agents than it did back in 2010 (now down to a scant 76,000), with most of those cuts (17,000) coming from the tax-enforcement arm. Ventry estimates that the agency was unable to collect somewhere between$58 billion to $84 billion over the last eight years due to those cuts.

ProPublica and the Atlantic picked upon the agency’s troubles and co-published a 20-page defense of the agency,recounted its woes, and suggested that Congress (Republican-controlled, that is) was derelict in its duty to fund the agency sufficiently to collect all the taxes that were due. 

They moaned that the rich were getting away with underpaying massively while those remaining enforcement agents were going after the little guy — the taxpayer who was so poor that he claimed the“earned income tax credit” (EITC) — without mentioning that the EITC has spawned an industry fraught with fraudulent advisors helping people who don’t qualify to get the benefit anyway.

They griped that the agency’s staff had been so emasculated that it didn’t have the resources to go after “nonfilers”or those who filed but didn’t include a check for what they owed. They lamented that agents didn’t go after those taxpayers hiding funds in overseas accounts because it took too long — up to three years — to find them, tax them, and collect the amounts due.

They warned that the agency is now so weak that word is likely to get out, that cheaters will multiply, knowing that the chances of their getting caught continue to diminish: “The IRS conducted 675,000 fewer audits in 2017 than it did in 2010, a drop in the audit rate of 42 percent.” They predicted that the damage done to the agency over the past eight years is so severe that it might not ever recover: “Agency veterans wondered whether the damage of the past several years will ever be undone. And they had a greater worry: that the American public will inevitably realize how weak the IRS has become.”

Little was mentioned in the jointly published defense that most of the damage done to the agency was self-inflicted. Think Lois Lerner. Think John Koskinen. It was Lerner who directed the branch of the agency that targeted conservative groups seeking tax exemption. It was Koskinen who took over the agency just after the scandal was made public and hid Lerner’s e-mails, destroyed them, and then lied about it to Congress.Impeachment papers were prepared by the House Oversight Committee, which accused him of failing to prevent the destruction of evidence in allowing the erasure of backup tapes containing thousands of e-mails written by Lerner, and of lying to Congress. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), the committee chairman, said that Koskinen “failed to comply with a congressionally issued subpoena, documents were destroyed on his watch, and the public was consistently misled.”

Neither of these miscreants was ever charged, convicted, or sentenced, and today they remain free to enjoy their retirement pensions from the government.

Of course, targeting wasn’t a new thing under Obama. Previous presidents used the tactic to attack their enemies as far back as FDR. Said Roosevelt’s son Elliott, “My father may have been the originator of the concept of employing the IRS as a weapon of political retribution.”

Included in the impeachment papers prepared for President Nixon (before he resigned) was this: “RESOLVED, That Richard M. Nixon … endeavored to … cause, in violation of the constitutiona lrights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.”

The agency may be underfunded. It may not have enough agents to prepare themselves for questions arising from taxpayers over Trump’s tax-reform act. It may be leaving money on the table as a result. But at bottom, the agency not only has brought this upon itself by its past and recent unconstitutional behaviors, it also violates the principle that what a person earns he has a right to keep. Instead, through withholding, the government stands in front of the taxpayer to get its share first, allowing the taxpayer to keep what is left. There is no sympathy from this corner. The damage done was done by the agency itself.

Trump’s Judges Starting to Repair Damage Done to the Constitution by Liberals

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, December 12, 2018: 

One of candidate Donald Trump’s most important campaign promises was that, if elected, he would install conservative judges who treat the Constitution with the respect that it deserves. He has been keeping his promise, having nominated 154 federal judges, 84 of whom have already been confirmed. This is more than any of his five most recent predecessors, including the unlamented Obama administration. President Obama managed to get 329 federal judges confirmed, but it took him eight years to do it.

Now the most recent judges are beginning to undo the damage done to the Constitution by the liberal judges. Take the case of the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, Inc., which sued New Jersey’s state attorney general over the state’s recent law limiting possession of magazines to those capable of holding 10 rounds or less.

The case was heard by a three-judge panel of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, where New Jersey’s law was upheld in a split decision: 2-1. The majority opinion was written by one of Obama’s appointees, Patty Shwartz:

Dissenting from the opinion was one of Trump’s newly-minted appointees, Stephanos Bibas. Bibas is a brilliant legal mind who is not only the 15th most cited law professor by the Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals, and numerous state high courts, but also the 5th most-cited professor of criminal law and procedure by professors teaching in law schools around the country.

Bibas assumed office on November 20, 2017 and took advantage of his appointment to the three-judge panel to excoriate Shwartz’s opinion and lay the groundwork for an appeal to the Supreme Court. Bibas built his case around the backhanded treatment the Second Amendment received by the majority in the case. The majority was in sync with anti-gun Everytown for Gun Safety, which brought in its attorneys to defend New Jersey’s AG in the case.

Bibas’s dissent runs 19 pages (see Sources below, starting at Page 44) and makes interesting reading for those wanting to know how the anti-gun, anti-Second Amendment liberal majority reasons, and how that thinking relegates that amendment to second-class status. Here, however, Bibas’s carefully-selected comments will suffice to make the point. Bibas opened his dissent declaring that “the Second Amendment is an equal part of the Bill of Rights. We must treat the right to keep and bear arms like other enumerated rights, as the Supreme Court insisted in Heller. We may not water it down and balance it away based on our [your] own sense of wise policy.”

He not only provided a defense of the Second Amendment that obliterated Schwartz’s opinion, but prepared the case for appeal to the Supreme Court. In essence, Bibas did the Supreme Court’s homework on the case should the high court decide to review it on appeal. Here are just a few of the salient points Bibas made in his exterpation of the majority opinion in the New Jersey case:

[blockquote]The Second Amendment provides a right to “keep and bear Arms.” U.S. Const. amend. II. It protects possessing arms, not just firing them. So the majority misses a key part of the Second Amendment. The analysis cannot turn on how many bullets are fired….

New Jersey has not met its burden to overcome intermediate scrutiny [the state must prove the ban serves an “important” public interest], let alone strict scrutiny [the state must prove the ban serves a “compelling” public interest]. True, the government has a compelling interest in reducing the harm from mass shootings. No one disputes that. But New Jersey has failed to show how the ban advances its interest….

The majority’s concerns are understandable. Guns kill people. States should be able to experiment with reasonable gun laws to promote public safety. And they need not wait for mass shootings before acting. The government’s and the majority’s position may thus be wise policy. But that is not for us to decide. The Second Amendment is an equal part of the Bill of Rights. And the Supreme Court has repeatedly told us not to treat it differently.[/blockquote]

In this specific case, Bibas was in the minority. But he has done his homework in the event the Supreme Court takes the case on appeal. He was one of the judges on the Federalist Society’s approved list of constitutionalists for the president to consider who are now being tasked with the job not only of correcting the majority when they go astray, but restoring the Constitution (and the Second Amendment) to its rightful place in American jurisprudence.

The damage inflicted to that precious document by liberal judges appointed by the likes of Clinton, Bush, and Obama is substantial, but with judges like Bibas now at work repairing the damage, there is hope of its restoration. If the high court reviews this case, Bibas’s brilliant and insightful defense will no doubt aid it in overturning the Third Circuit’s weak and intellectually deficient decision.



USAToday.comPresident Trump’s conservative court shift may slow down as liberal judges avoid retirement

Ammoland.comThird Circuit: Second Amendment is a Second Rate Right


Background on Judge Bibas

President Obama’s judicial appointment controversies

Who’s to Blame for the Decline on Wall Street?

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 10, 2018:  

Following a volatile week in the stock market, President Trump met with his advisors to see if his Twitter account had anything to do with it. It is hoped that Trump’s original diagnosis remains in play: It’s Jerome Powell, the head of the Fed and his Keynesian sycophants on the Federal Open Market Committee (and not Trump’s Twitter account), who thinks it’s time to slow down the Trump train.

Some have opined that that decision was made more than a year ago when the Fed started raising interest rates an inch (25 basis points) at a time. Others think it was September 2017 when the Fed began shrinking its Adjusted Monetary Base with a vengeance. According to the FRED chart provided by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank (see Sources below), on September 12, 2017 the AMB was $4.0 trillion. On November 21, 2018, it had shrunk to $3.5 trillion, a 12.5 percent decrease in the single most important ingredient a capitalist economy needs to survive and thrive: capital. In simpler terms, the Fed has been stepping on Trump’s economy’s oxygen hose for more than a year, and the results are just now showing up.

Pundits have been peering into every other conceivable corner for the culprit(s) to blame for the ferocious decline: shrinking housing and auto sales, rising credit card debt delinquency rates, rising oil and gas prices, slowing of job growth and capital investment, the accusations leveled at Chinese companies trying to break into technology service providers here in the U.S., the appearance of “yield curve inversions,” and so forth.

The appearance of so-called “death crosses” (the 50-day moving average falling below its 200-day moving average) in the major averages have no doubt triggered more volatility. Algorithms have driven trading by computers (program and high-frequency trading) to up to half of all stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange. This leaves money managers and individual investors behind, forcing them to the sidelines to wait for calmer times.

Who is the real culprit behind this volatility in stocks? The well-informed have been pointing to the actions of the Federal Reserve as the prime driver, focusing on its determination to slow the economy by raising interest rates. For example, the insider bank Goldman Sachs said in late November: “The FOMC [the Fed’s Federal Open Market Committee] will likely be reluctant to stop [raising interest rates] until it is confident that the unemployment rate is no longer on a downward trajectory….” In other words, the Fed is determined to keep on raising interest rates until the economy is so weak that unemployment starts to increase!

That oxygen starvation is now showing up in the various places pundits are looking to place the blame: anything that affects the financial wellbeing of the economy. As interest rates rise and money supply shrinks (the two most powerful tools the Fed is using to slow the economy), housing starts slow, car sales dwindle, credit card payments increase, profit margins decline, and capital expenditure projects are taken off the board as being no longer profitable enough to be justified.

Add to this the toxic blend of mixed messaging from the White House over the China trade talks, the incipient arrival of the Mueller investigation’s findings into Trump’s alleged misdoings, the threats being ramped up against the president by the Democrats salivating over their power to investigate when they take control of the House in January, and one wonders that Wall Street has any buyers left at all.

What about the economy? Does the “yield curve inversion” signal a recession in six months or so? Not according to Joseph Haubrich, an economist and a consultant to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. In April 2006 Haubrich was tasked with answering the question, “Does the Yield Curve Signal Recession?” His answer:

Evidence since the early 1990s suggests that the relationship between the yield curve and [future economic] growth has shifted, if not disappeared….

Speculating on whether or not the yield curve is truly predicting a recession remains exactly that: speculation.

Evidence continues to pour in regarding the health and strength of the U.S. economy. The latest reports from the Institute for Supply Management on both the manufacturing and services sectors of the U.S. economy confirm that health and strength. The latest jobs report, coming in below expectations for the first time, shows remarkable strength considering the shrinking pool of capable and skilled workers so desperately needed in the increasingly technology-driven U.S. economy. Oil and gas prices will continue to trend lower worldwide thanks increasingly to U.S. production records being set on an almost daily basis that are making the U.S. the world’s largest producer of crude and refined products.

It’s not your Twitter account that’s causing Wall Street to stumble, Mr. President, although there are times when you’re less than totally consistent in your using of it. It’s not the “natural end” of the nearly 10-year long bull market. Bull markets (and economic growth) don’t die of old age, they are murdered by the Fed. There is only one enabler that has the power to raise interest rates and shrink the money supply, Mr. President, and Powell and Friends are using both of these tools to stop your economy.



McAlvanyIntelligenceAdvisor.comWho gave Powell the Power to Manipulate Markets?

CNBC.comDow tumbles more than 500 points, wipes out gain for the year to cap wild week on Wall Street

Does the Yield Curve Signal Recession? By Joseph G. Haubrich, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland (2006)

Five year chart of the Adjusted Monetary Base

History of the Financial Crisis of 2007

MarketWatch.comA death cross for the S&P 500 highlights a stock market in tatters

Investopedia.comProgram trading 30 to 50 percent of daily NYSE volume

Background on Joseph Haubrich

Jon Caldera, Freedom Activist, Defies Boulder’s Gun Ban

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Friday, December 7, 2018: 

Just as the Boulder, Colorado city council was about to pass (unanimously) a ban on the sale or possession of so-called “assault” weapons in May, Denver radio show host and president of the free market think-tank The Independence Institute, Jon Caldera, defied the coming ban. The Denver Post published his defiance titled “To Boulder’s anti-gun bigots, I will not comply with your hate law”:

My home town of Boulder is about to define me as a criminal if I do not disarm or move.

Let this column serve as a public notice: I will not comply.

After writing of his history as a citizen of the once red but now blue Colorado, and his disappointment about the typical liberal response to gun violence by criminalizing the innocent, he reiterated his defiance:

Let it be known, like those who refused to go to the back of the bus, I will not surrender or destroy my guns, nor will I place my name on a government watch list.

Ah, but the city council doesn’t want to put his name “on a government watch list.” It just wants every gun owner among the city’s 100,000 people to have their firearms “certified” that they owned them before the ban became effective. The grandfathering would require only that they take the offending firearm(s) down to the local police station where they pay a fee (per weapon), subject themselves to a background check, and have the department then issue a certificate of ownership (in duplicate, in case one gets lost) against the day when his ownership is questioned in the future.

But it isn’t registration, honest. The Boulder Police Department, according to the ever reliant and forthright local media (the Boulder Daily Camera and the Denver Post), have said so. The BPD doesn’t even keep a record of who came in with their newly criminalized firearms. Really.

But there are teeth in the new law. Boulder City Attorney Tom Carr said that anyone found owning a “non-certified” firearm in his possession after December 27 would be subject to a fine of up to $1,000 and (not or) 90 days in jail. The now illegal firearm would be confiscated and destroyed.

Carr questioned just how many citizens in the enclave known as “the People’s Republic of Boulder” would comply with the demand that their grandfathered firearms be certified: “This is a very divisive issue where people have strong feelings. The folks who oppose these kinds of bans … some of them suggest they’re not going to cooperate. I can’t predict what people are going to do, but I respect their feelings.”

If national averages of gun ownership are applied to the citizens of Boulder, then there are one or more firearms per citizen, most of them owned before the ban. Roughly speaking, that means there are approximately 150,000 firearms in Boulder that need to be “certified” by December 27.

As of December 1, the Boulder Police Department had certified 85 of them.

Caldera has lots of support, even in “The People’s Republic of Boulder.”



BearingArms.com: Boulder Residents Given Just Days To ‘Certify’ Rifles Or Face Consequences

DailyCamera.com: 85 assault weapons certified in Boulder as ban compliance date looms

DenverPost.com: As Boulder assault weapons ban looms, authorities have certified 85 firearms

Caldera’s letter of defiance: To Boulder’s anti-gun bigots, I will not comply with your hate law

Background on Jon Caldera

History of Boulder, Colorado

QZ.com: Three percent of the population own half of the civilian guns in the US

Improvements in China Trade Relations to Happen “Very Quickly” Says Top Trump Official

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, December 4, 2018: 

The director of Donald Trump’s Economic Council, Larry Kudlow, expressed optimism that many improvements will be seen in U.S.-Chinese trade relations before the end of the 90-day “truce” announced on Sunday. Said Kudlow, “Those things should kick in soon. We should see palpable change on the Chinese side immediately. I don’t want to be too specific but I think the generic answer is we will see changes very quickly.”

Skeptics were quick to point out that Chinese promises are easily made and just as easily broken, as Chinese hardliner Peter Morici pointed out:

Keep reading…

Trump was Played by Xi in Buenos Aires

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, December 3, 2018:

Following the two-and-a-half-hour dinner meeting with Chinese communist dictator Xi Jinping in Buenos Aires Saturday night, President Donald Trump claimed that he got an “incredible” deal from Xi:

It’s an incredible deal. If it happens it [will go] down as one of the largest deals ever made. What I’ll be doing is holding back on [raising] tariffs. China will be opening up. China will be getting rid of tariffs … China will be buying massive amounts of products from us.

The operative phrase is “If it happens….” The White House gave all the credit to Trump: he squeezed them, he pressed them, they wilted and gave him what he wanted. Talk about spin:

President Trump has agreed that, on January 1, 2019, he will leave the tariffs on $200 billion worth of product [being imported from China] at the 10 percent rate, and not raise it to 25 percent at this time.


Both parties agree that they will endeavor to have this transaction completed within the next 90 days. If at the end of this period of time, the parties are unable to reach an agreement, the 10 percent tariffs will be raised to 25 percent.


China will agree to purchase a not yet agreed upon, but very substantial amount of agricultural, energy, industrial and other product from the United States to reduce the trade imbalance between our two countries. China has agreed to start purchasing agricultural product from our farmers immediately.

The spin from the Chinese was equally disingenuous. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Commerce Vice Minister Wang Shouwen who attended the meeting said that the talks to finalize the details would only focus on removing altogether Trump’s tariffs, without any mention of a 90-day deadline. Nothing was said about China’s predatory behavior in the theft of intellectual property in its quest to become the global leader in digital technology. Nothing was said about it relenting from demanding the blackmail transfer of that technology in exchange for access to the Chinese market by American companies. Nothing was said about Chinese cyberwarfare being waged on America by hundreds of Chinese hackers. Nothing was said about backing off on its subsidizing critical industries like steel and aluminum. And nothing was said about its willingness to forego the manipulation of its currency to gain an advantage over American producers wanting to sell to Chinese consumers.

According to the Chinese, Trump got nuthin’. Peter Morici thinks the Chinese are correct. A hardliner professor of economics from the University of Maryland, Morici said:

President Xi has successfully slow-walked President Trump. The president has fallen into the same trap as Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and even Bill Clinton. He will get more platitudes and promises and very few results.

The evidence? As mentioned above, the press release from China following the meeting said nothing about the 90-day “truce.” March 1 is 90 days from now, just before the Chinese communists get together for their annual “legislative” session to determine national policy and who lives to implement it. A softliner willing to give Trump anything puts not only his career but his life in jeopardy.

Negotiations start next week in Washington. By March 1, if little is accomplished, Trump will likely be bought off once again: more time is needed to “finalize” the details, etc., etc. And Trump will raise the white flag and agree to another delay. And then another, and another.

Xi got what he wanted in Buenos Aires: Trump backed off his threat to raise tariffs further. Trump got a promise from the head of a regime known for not keeping its promises. What kind of a deal is that?

Morici is right. The question is: when March 1 rolls around and the Chinese attempt to stall once again, will Trump have grown a backbone by then, or will they continue to play him for the fool?



The Wall Street Journal: U.S., China Signal Progress on Trade

The Wall Street Journal: G-20 Agrees to Joint Statement, With Compromises

Barron’s: Trump and China Called a Truce in the Trade War. Now What?

NPR.org: Trump Leaves G-20 With China Trade Truce…

CNBC.com: US will hold off on raising China tariffs to 25% as Trump and Xi agree to a 90-day trade truce

APNews.com: US, China put brakes on trade dispute with cease-fire

Background on Professor Peter Morici

Tariffs’ Upside: Two Million New Steel Industry Jobs

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Friday, November 30, 2018:

A nonpartisan trade group representing farmers, ranchers, manufacturers, and various labor groups reported on Tuesday that, according to its economic model, Trump’s tariffs on steel “are creating US jobs and stimulating growth,” the opposite of what many mainstream economists predicted.

The Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA) measured the impact of the steel tariffs on the U.S. economy and found that those “steel tariffs, in combination with other economic policies [implemented by the Trump administration] will drive growth of 2.1 million additional jobs in 2018 … and an additional 1.2 million jobs are expected to be created annually in the years 2019 through 2021.”

Traditional economic models got it wrong, said CPA Research Director Jeff Ferry:

The performance of the US economy since the steel tariff was implemented in March has been outstanding, with over a million more jobs in the US economy today than in March, and GDP growth roughly half a point higher than economists had predicted.


Most trade models got this wrong due to mistaken assumptions about how the economy would react to the tariffs. Our improved economic model corrects some key mistakes in standard economic models and incorporates actual economic results rather than assumptions. The results forecast that the steel tariffs, in combination with other economic policies, will create some 2 million jobs this year, with another million more to come next year.

He backed this up with data from the Federal Reserve’s latest industrial production report showing that U.S. manufacturing output was up 2.7 percent year over year, with strong production increases in steel-using industrials such as machinery (6.9 percent growth) and aerospace (4.0 percent growth). In addition, according to CPA’s metal-using members, Trump’s steel tariffs have also triggered new investment in steel production facilities estimated to approach three billion dollars nationally.

In a theoretically free economy, tariffs are a drag, as they serve as a tax on production, raising prices for finished goods and as a result diminishing demand for those goods. In today’s world, things are vastly different. Tariffs can be used not only to protect domestic industries from attack by outside interests inimical to the country’s best interests, they may be (and have been) used to punish foreign competition, to raise government revenue, and to reduce “undesirable” activity (so-called “sin” taxes on cigarettes and liquor, for example).

In today’s world the communist Chinese regime is using every means at its disposal to damage and weaken the United States. As The New American noted on Tuesday:

That’s why the side meeting in Buenos Aires [this weekend] between Trump and Xi is going to be the main event. It will address existential issues for both countries that go far beyond disputes over intellectual property theft, subsidizing critical industries such as steel and aluminum in order to weaken the United States, and China manipulating its currency to its own advantage.


China has built its military and economic power on the back of the United States ever since it joined the World Trade Organization in late 2001, and has made clear its plans to become the hegemon in East Asia.

In this real world, President Trump is using tariffs, and the threat of increased tariffs, to force the Chinese communists to change their behavior. If he succeeds, and he is able to strike what he calls “a fair deal … [a] deal [that would force] China to open up their country to competition from the United States,” that would approach a miracle. In the real world, word is getting out that the best Trump is likely to get from the Chinese this weekend is an agreement to hold “serious” talks about acceding to some of the 142 trade demands he has already presented to the Chinese in previous meetings.

In a truly free world, economic tariffs wouldn’t exist (or would be applied at a very low level), reducing the price of goods and services across the globe. That’s Trump’s goal.

That is not the goal of the Chinese communists. Gordon Chang, author and frequent guest on the topic, holds that China doesn’t want to just “dominate in advanced industries,” it wants to dominate the world. In an interview on Breitbart News Tonight in March, he said: “China’s not just content with the world as it is; it actually wants to overthrow the international system.”

That’s one more reason why those job gains in the U.S. steel industry are so important. They might just be needed in the event the Chinese communists fail to change their behavior.

The author is offline and won’t be publishing articles. But he’ll be back online soon, so please check back. Thanks!

Can Lightning Strike Twice? Liberal Millennial Democrat Sarah Smith Is About to Find Out

This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Wednesday, August 1, 2018: 

The group of Bernie Sanders’ sycophants who started Brand New Congress and hit a hole-in-one with one of its candidates isn’t likely to pull a repeat next Tuesday in Washington State.

As this author suggested here two weeks ago, the surprising upset victory of New York millennial liberal Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez over long-term Democrat incumbent Joe Crowley didn’t birth the savior that the Democrat Party is desperately seeking. But Brand New Congress, founded by 20 former Bernie supporters in the summer of 2016, continues its search for just such a savior. It currently is advising and funding the campaigns of more than a dozen liberal hopefuls who have dreams of becoming that savior.

One such is Sarah Smith, running against incumbent Democrat Adam Smith in Washington State’s Ninth District. The primary is next Tuesday, and Sarah has put together a far-left agenda that exceeds even that of Ocasio-Cortez. It runs 19 pages, and includes nearly everything that a far-left Democrat could ever dream of inflicting on the United States.

Here’s a very brief summary of those damages she dreams of implementing if she routs Adam Smith on Tuesday:

  • Supporting the recently cancelled Iran Nuclear agreement;
  • Expanding the National Affordable Housing Trust Fund to at least $5 billion a year in order to “construct, preserve, rehabilitate at least 3.5 million affordable housing rental units,” because, according to Smith, “Housing is a human right”;
  • Raising the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour and tying it to inflation;
  • Expanding funding for Planned Parenthood;
  • Expanding Social Security benefits;
  • Banning “for-profit” prisons which “create an over-incentive to arrest, jail, and detain non-violent offenders in order to keep prison beds full”;
  • Legalizing marijuana;
  • Federalizing local police departments;
  • Making all public universities tuition-free;
  • Spending $5.5 billion to create a million federal jobs;
  • Spending another $4.6 trillion over the next 10 years to re-establish the Roosevelt New Deal’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) “to put more than 13 million Americans to work rebuilding our crumbling cities, roads, bridges, public transportation systems, airports, drinking water systems, and other infrastructure needs;
  • Requiring federal agencies “to achieve climate and environmental justice” because, according to Smith, “the debate is over, and the scientific jury is in: global climate change is real, it is caused mainly by emissions released from burning fossil fuels, and it poses a catastrophic threat to the long-term longevity of our planet”;
  • Banning Arctic oil drilling;
  • Banning offshore drilling;
  • Stopping “dirty pipeline projects like the Keystone XL;
  • Stopping exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and crude oil; and
  • Banning fracking.

But first on her agenda, is “Medicare for All”: “From my first day in office I will co-sponsor the current incarnation of a Medicare for All bill (H.R. 676) to ensure no American ever has to worry about healthcare again.” After all, intoned Smith, “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege.”

Missing from Smith’s platform was any mention of just how all of this would be paid for. But when her “mentor,” Ocasio-Cortez, was asked the same question by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show last Thursday night, she responded by demanding that “people pay their fair share … corporations and the ultra-wealthy.” That would include “revers[ing] the tax bill, rais[ing] our corporate tax rate to 28 percent … [and implementing] a carbon tax on top of that … if we do those … things, and also close some of those loopholes, that’s $2 trillion right there. That’s two trillion dollars in ten years.”

That’s a lot of money. But according to several organizations, it won’t be nearly enough. A new study released on Monday from George Mason University’s Mercatus Center estimates that Sanders’ “Medicare for All” program touted by both Ocasio-Cortez and Smith would cost $32.6 billion in its first 10 years, and escalate upwards from there afterwards.

This estimate mirrors the results from the liberal Urban Institute, which took a hard look at Sanders’ proposal back in 2016: the price tag for his socialized medicine for everyone was $32 trillion over the first 10 years.

Kenneth Thorpe, a health policy professor at Emory University in Atlanta, authored another study with similar conclusions:

It’s showing that if you are going to go in this direction, it’s going to cost the federal government [the taxpayers] $2.5 trillion to $3 trillion a year in terms of spending.


Even though people don’t pay premiums [under “Medicare for All”], the tax increases [on them] are going to be enormous. There are going to be a lot of people who’ll pay more in taxes than they save in premiums.

Taxpayers won’t have to worry. Sarah Smith will likely move from obscurity to oblivion on Tuesday simply because Adam Smith isn’t Joe Crowley: he won’t make the same mistakes. Crowley took his reelection for granted and Ocasio-Cortez seized the opportunity. Adam Smith, on the other hand, isn’t likely to make the same mistake. In a phone interview, incumbent Smith said, “Have you been to Queens, New York? Queens is not SeaTac or Seattle. I am not Joe Crowley, and Sarah Smith is not Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Other than that, the comparison’s perfect.”


McAlvany Intelligence Advisor: Is Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez the Bright Shining Star Democrats are Looking for?

Seattle Times: Democratic challenger hopes to repeat Ocasio-Cortez’s success in Washington State

Sarah Smith’s issues

Her platform

TheBlaze.com: Think tank finds Bernie’s ‘Medicare for all’ shtick isn’t viable even if overall taxation is doubled

ABC News: Study: ‘Medicare for all’ projected to cost $32.6 trillion

Investors.com: ‘Medicare For All’ Would Cost $32.6 Trillion, And That’s Not Even The Worst Of It

Real Clear Politics: ‘Daily Show’ Host Trevor Noah to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: How Will You Pay For Your Agenda?

Investors.com: Thank You, Bernie Sanders, For Exposing The True Cost of Socialized Medicine

Background on politician Adam Smith

Background on Brand New Congress

History of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) under FDR

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Help for Motorists Is Coming as Crude-oil Prices Drop Sharply

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Tuesday, July 3, 2018: 

Motorists have seen gas prices rise to nearly $3 a gallon on average, reflecting rising crude-oil prices. This is costing the average American household an additional $440 a year. But Tuesday’s sharp drop of two dollars per barrel for crude (as measured in the futures market) will, within weeks, push gas prices back down, perhaps to as low as $2.50 a gallon by the end of July.

Excessive angst over cuts in production in Libya, where the ongoing conflict there has taken 850,000 barrels per day (bpd) of crude off the world markets; in Venezuela, where the economic implosion there has removed nearly a million bpd over the last year; in Iran, where U.S.-imposed sanctions are expected to take more than a million bpd off the world market starting in November; and in Canada, where a power outage at its Syncrude facility in Alberta has taken 360,000 bpd off the world market pushed the price of crude above $75 a barrel.

But the announcement that OPEC is not only increasing its production of crude owing to the scuttling of its production-cut agreement, along with Russia’s intention of adding another 100,000 bpd to the equation, pushed crude-oil prices down sharply. OPEC, in anticipation that the agreement would end in Vienna in late June, raised its production by 320,000 bpd in May with the goal of adding between 600,000 and 700,000 bpd by the end of the year. And the Canadian oil refinery is expected to be back in full production by the end of this month

The forecast from the Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO) reflects that increase in world supplies of crude, estimating that gas prices at the pump will drop to $2.84 a gallon, on average, by September.

Unsaid in all of this discussion is the increasing role of American oil producers, who are quietly setting new crude-oil production records on almost a weekly basis. The week of June 22, for example, U.S. crude-oil production hit 10.9 million bpd, up a breathtaking 16 percent from just a year ago, with little standing in the way of it increasing production into the future.

So astonishing is the growth in U.S. crude-oil production that when Pioneer Natural Resources Chairman Scott Sheffield was interviewed by CNNMoney on June 20, he noted that the United States is currently pumping 10.3 million bpd, according to already outdated information from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (IEA). In that interview Sheffield told CNNMoney that he expects U.S. crude-oil production to surpass 11 million bpd “within the next three or four months.” It looks like that might happen in July!

He also predicted that “We’ll be at 13 [million bpd] very quickly” and could jump to 15 million bpd “within seven or eight years.”

U.S. oil production has already overtaken that coming from Saudi Arabia and Russia, and puts America firmly in the driver’s seat as the world’s largest producer of crude oil for years to come.

UPDATE:  The price of crude oil for August delivery dropped below $73 on Thursday, to $72,98.

Venezuelan Oil Company Workers Quitting, Taking Parts of the Company With Them

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 18, 2018: 

Junior Martinez, 28, has worked in Venezuela’s oil fields for eight years. His salary, denominated in bolivars, today won’t buy anything thanks to runaway inflation, and so he has quit, hoping his credentials as a chemical engineer will get him a job in Brazil: “I got 1,400,000 bolivars a week and it isn’t even enough to buy a carton of eggs or a tube of toothpaste,” he said. His wife and daughter left for Brazil three months earlier.

The same with Carlos Navas, an oil field worker who was once able to support his family well with his income: He owned a car and a house with air conditioning. He is now headed for Ecuador, or Peru: “Before, you worked and you were rich,” he stated. “Your salary bought anything you needed. Now you can’t buy anything, not even food.”

At least they aren’t taking part of the country’s oil company, PdVSA. The New York Times reported last week that Martinez and Navas might be the exceptions: “Desperate oil workers and criminals are … stripping the oil company of vital equipment, vehicles, pumps and copper wiring, carrying off whatever they can to make money.” As offices at President Maduro’s state-owned oil company are emptying out, and crews in the field are walking off their jobs without giving notice, company pickup trucks are being stolen, copper wiring is being stripped from vital parts of the company’s electronic and control mechanism, and even motors driving pump jacks in the field are being removed — all in order to sell them on the black market in exchange for food.

This is the personal side of the collapse of Venezuela, as the cancer of collectivism rots away not only the country’s economy but its culture as well.

The New American and others have chronicled the collapse of South America’s once most prosperous country:

PdVSA and Maduro’s government are in default on more than $50 billion in bonds, not having been able even to make interest payments on them since last fall.


ConocoPhillips has just been allowed to seize Venezuelan oil shipments bound for offshore refineries and so PdVSA has been forced to cut its production as its storage facilities are full to capacity.


As a result PdVSA’s production is declining at the rate of 50,000 barrels day and is estimated to fall to less than one million barrels of crude a day, down from more than three million bpd just a few years ago.


Part of PdVSA’s difficulties stem from the company’s inept management and a lack of sufficient cash flow to keep the facility in good repair. As Nick Cunningham noted, writing at OilPrice.com, “Analysts have predicted that Venezuela’s oil situation would deteriorate over the course of 2018, but the descent is happening much faster than most people predicted.”


Also in free fall is the collapse of traffic at Venezuela’s airport. Just since 2014, 15 airlines have ceased operations there. The airport facility, once the pride of the country, has fallen into disrepair: Its terminal is frequently without air conditioning, power, or even running water in the restrooms. The airport’s cleaning services company went bankrupt so there’s no one cleaning the restrooms, mopping the floors or taking out the trash.


Part of the problem is Maduro’s currency exchange controls that prohibit airlines from converting the bolivars they receive for airline tickets into other currencies (dollars, francs, yen, etc.). and so the bolivars just sit in Caracas’ banks, wasting away. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that airline companies are holding $3.8 billion from ticket sales, which is rapidly becoming worthless in light of the country’s inflation, estimated at 25,000 percent annually.


Part of the problem is airport crime. Since 2017, airport security has been provided by Maduro’s militarized police force, which routinely shakes down passengers before they’re allowed to board. They’re called the “military mafia” and deny boarding to passengers until they fork over cash or valuables.


And not just departing passengers, either. When well-to-do passengers arrive, word goes out to the mafia, who then stops them on the highway from the airport to Caracas, often at gunpoint, and demand payment in cash or valuables before being allowed to proceed.


That has had, one might say, a chilling effect on the travel business at the airport. According to the World Tourism Organization, the number of international visitors to Caracas has declined by a third while the country’s tourism revenue has been cut in half.

Those who can are leaving Venezuela. The Miami Herald estimates that in the last two years alone nearly a million citizens have left Maduro’s failed socialist experiment — some, incredibly, by “walking hundreds of miles on foot through the Andes.”

As reported by The New American last week, Gallup’s 2018 Global Law and Order Index places Venezuela at the very bottom of the 140 nations it surveyed. In other words, those forced to remain consider their country the most dangerous place in the world to live.

Polio has returned to Venezuela after a 30-year absence, while other diseases such as diphtheria, tuberculosis, measles, and malaria are running rampant through the population. This is due to the lack of medical care and medicines, thanks once again to the policies of the Marxist Maduro.

Many Venezuelans, most of whom now live in poverty, are rooting through garbage dumps to find something to eat, while others are seizing the plastic bags the trash is placed in, to sell on the black market.

With the help of criminal networks both inside and outside the unhappy country, young girls are being enticed into prostitution through promises of good pay, and then find themselves sold into sex slavery around the world. Sex trafficking, ghastly as it was in 2016 when the number enslaved was estimated to be 60,000, is now more than three times that number (200,000 estimated this year), and is expected to rise to 10 times that number (600,000 estimated) by 2020, 18 months from now.

Maduro’s cancer of collectivism is eating out the vitals of a once-prosperous country.

American Medical Association Proposes More Anti-Gun “Solutions” at Its Annual Meeting

This article appeared online at TheNewAmerican.com on Monday, June 18, 2018:

At its annual meeting in Chicago last week, the American Medical Association (AMA) expanded on its list of proposed “common-sense solutions” to the problem of “gun violence” that it has been proposing for years. AMA’s former president, David O. Barbe, M.D., claimed that gun violence is a public health crisis:

People are dying of gun violence in our homes, churches, schools, on street corners and at public gatherings, and it’s important that lawmakers, policy leaders and advocates on all sides seek common ground to address this public health crisis. In emergency rooms across the country the carnage of gun violence has become a too routine experience. Every day physicians are treating suicide victims, victims of domestic violence, and men and women simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. It doesn’t have to be this way, and we urge lawmakers to act.

Inexplicably missing from Barbe’s comments was any mention of victims of car crashes being treated in emergency rooms (more than 37,000 die every year as a result of them in the United States), poisoning (more than 47,000 a year die from overdoses), or unintentional falls (more than 33,000 deaths). Perhaps it’s because automobiles are already registered, bottles of rat poison are commonly available at Amazon and recipes for making it are available on the Internet, and ladders aren’t considered “assault weapons.

But the AMA persists in offering its anti-gun “solutions” anyway, including 1) expanding ERPOs (extreme risk protection orders) and GVROs (gun violence restraining orders) to include not only family members but household visitors and dating partners; 2) prohibiting anyone under a domestic violence restraining order, convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime or stalking from possessing a firearm; 3) those under such orders have their data entered into the National Instant Criminal Background Check System; and 4) demanding that every school in the country be a “gun free zone” while opposing any school board’s requirements or incentives offered to teachers to carry weapons on campus.

But the biggest expansion of previously recommended incursions into precious rights is this: Delegates at the annual meeting supported banning “the sale and ownership to the public of all assault-type weapons, bump stocks and related devices, high-capacity magazines and armor-piercing bullets.” The AMA’s House of Delegates (HOD) went even further, demanding the licensing of every owner of a firearm in the country, and the registration of every firearm owned in the country.

Not content with these egregious breaches of Second- and Fourth Amendment-protected rights, the AMA’s HOD supported banning the possession and use of firearms and ammunition by “unsupervised youths under the age of 21.” Finally, the HOD opposed “concealed carry reciprocity” bills pending in Congress.

Back in 1973, the AMA had a fairly reasonable position on violence committed by criminals using a firearm. It proposed strict penalties on those using the weapons and not on the innocent law-abiding owners of firearms not involved in the commission of the crime: “While the increasing number of homicides by use of handguns is a depressing reality, and there is little evidence that new Federal gun control legislation will ameliorate this situation, the American Medical Association urges the enactment of strict penalties for the use of firearms in the commission of crimes.”

By the 1980s, the AMA had reversed its position and began supporting various gun-control schemes. In 1988, for example, the AMA called for a ban on the new polymer Glock pistols because they were allegedly undetectable by metal detectors. It also called on the Consumer Products Safety Commission to regulate the manufacture and sale of firearms, which many saw as a precursor to shutting down the industry altogether.

In the 1990s, the AMA called for a seven-day waiting period for handgun purchases along with a ban on all semi-automatic rifles and hollow-point self-defense ammunition. In 1992, the AMA Journal called for a national “system of gun registration and licensing for gun owners and users.”

To top off its expanded list of “solutions” to “gun violence,” the AMA has proposed more taxpayer funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct “research” on the causes and cures for “gun violence” and “the concept of gun buyback programs” as a way to get firearms out of the hands of criminals. The National Rifle Association calls this “the most blatant example of where AMA’s politics have trumped their reason” in light of studies going back decades showing that such voluntary buyback programs have been utterly useless in reducing gun violence by criminals.

The AMA aligns itself with other anti-gun groups such as the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Police Executive Research Forum, which the NRA characterizes as also having “lengthy histories of opposing the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners.”

In its expanded version of its previous “solutions,” the AMA is in lockstep with other anti-gun groups, proposing legislation that, if enacted, would move the Republic significantly further down the road to a police-state tyranny.

Many of the articles on Light from the Right first appeared on either The New American or the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor.
Copyright © 2018 Bob Adelmann