Financial News – Greece

Global stock markets sank Monday after Greece closed its banks and imposed capital controls in a dramatic turn in its struggle with heavy debts.

Oil prices declined and the euro edged down after Athens announced the moves to stanch the flow of money out of Greek banks and pressure creditors to offer concessions before a bailout program expires Tuesday.

Germany’s DAX index tumbled 2.9 percent to 11,161.41 points in early trading and France’s CAC-40 dived 3.4 percent to 4,887.69. Britain’s FTSE 100 dropped 1.6 percent to 6,643.83. Futures augured losses on Wall Street. Dow futures were down 1.1 percent at 17,677.00. S&P 500 futures shed 1.1 percent to 2,073.00.

Greece’s Cabinet closed banks for six business days and restricted cash withdrawals. The Athens Stock Exchange was due to be closed Monday. That follows Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ weekend decision to call a referendum on European and International Monetary Fund proposals for Greek reforms in return for bailout funds.

The accelerating crisis has raised questions about whether Greece might withdraw from the 19-nation euro currency, a move dubbed Grexit.

While this has happened in the past; I strongly suggest people keep an eye out. Each time this happens the odds of the problem cascading to affect our economy increases.  As everyone knows our world economy is very tightly interwoven with so many other countries. Even if we don’t have much direct trade with Greece, other countries do so if their economy tanks it can impact ours.
Next, I would also suggest people study how the Greek government has and will handle this. One of the common steps as shown above is a ‘bank holiday’. Think about what would do how you handle business, how you would put food on the table and gas in your car. People still have to work, still have to get to doctor’s appointments, buy medicine etc.

Think about what else the government or banks can do. Remember in 2013?

He should know. As Cypriot finance minister in 2013, Sarris was forced into a deal contingent on winding down a bank on an ELA lifeline. A second bank was forced to raid its clients deposits to recapitalize, a process known as a ‘bail-in’.

How many of us keep most of our money in the banks; wouldn’t it be a kick to find out the bank decided to take 10, 15, 40% of your money to stay afloat?

I’m watching closely and trying to take the lessons to heart. What do you think about the situation?
Please join the discussion>?

Really Mr. President?

“This type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.”

— Barack Obama on Thursday, June 18th, 2015 in remarks at the White House

As usual the gun control advocates – aka Anti-Rights Cultists — will try to weasel out of it citing the ‘advanced’ countries specification. As if the people of a high GDP country are any more moral or ethical than anyone else.

In Tunisia, a gunman killed 37 people, mostly tourists, at a seaside resort. In Kuwait, an Islamic State suicide bomber killed at least 27 people at a Shiite mosque. In France, a driver rammed his truck into a U.S.-owned gas factory, where a decapitated body was found with the head hanging at the entrance. In all, at least 65 people were killed across the three continents.

I wonder how Tunisia and Kuwait feel about being left of of the “advanced” country status. Of course, France doesn’t qualify because – well only one person was killed there, right?

Of course even Politifact is having to spin unsuccessfully President Obama’s claim.

We compared mass shooting incidents across countries is to calculate the number of victims per capita — that is, adjusted for the country’s total population size.

Calculating it this way shows the United States in the upper half of the list of 11 countries, ranking higher than Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany and Mexico.

Still, the U.S. doesn’t rank No. 1. At 0.15 mass shooting fatalities per 100,000 people, the U.S. had a lower rate than Norway (1.3 per 100,000), Finland (0.34 per 100,000) and Switzerland (1.7 per 100,000).

We’ll note that all of these countries had one or two particularly big attacks and have relatively small populations, which have pushed up their per-capita rates. In Norway, that single attack in 2011 left 67 dead by gunfire (plus additional bomb casualties). Finland had two attacks, one that killed eight and one that killed 10. And Switzerland had one incident that killed 14.

Still, while the United States did rank in the top one-third of the list, the fact that three other countries exceeded the United States using this method of comparison does weaken Obama’s claim that “it doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency.” In at least three countries, the data shows, it does.

Elsass warned PolitiFact of a few caveats about the data. While they believe their database “to be among the most exhaustive compilations available,” Elsass noted that it may not include every instance of mass shootings. It also doesn’t include every example of mass killings — just those committed by firearms, even though mass stabbings are not uncommon in such places as China. Finally, their database doesn’t include acts generally considered to be terrorism, such as the attack in Paris on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

“If these were included, we are likely to see something much different statistically as there have been a number of very high-profile terrorist attacks in Europe, some including the use of firearms, that are excluded from the current analysis,” she said. But in all likelihood, this would only make the case against Obama’s claim stronger.

Emphasis mine – I don’t mind talking about the issues. I don’t mind admitting that America, for whatever reasons, is more homicidal then many other countries. But let’s be honest in our debate.

Please join the discussion. 

Let’s Not Argue Like The Antis

Please, I really beg some of the people on our side to learn how to debate and to do so with some decorum.  Yeah, I know I shouldn’t expect much from an FB discussion group…..but the number of people who actually argue like the antis is quite small. There has been some great points raised about the two recent laws but in a discussion about Campus Carry; it’s obvious some people never were taught how to debate or logic.
The question came up as to why the implementation of Campus Carry has been scheduled for Fall of 2016 for Universities and major Colleges – 2017 for Junior Colleges.
My answer was simple – colleges need time to do it right and do it in such a way so the gun control advocates will not be able to overturn it in the courts.

Example #1

  • Person T  I think its fair that they gave this time. To train campus security and police to handle everything and develop systems and practices and teach their officers how to handle it.
  • Person M —  There’s nothing to train… It’s legal.

Right….140 something years (I think) of Campus Carry being illegal and someone is saying there is no reason to train campus security or police otherwise. I think the vast majority of people recognize how simply inane that is.

Example #2  Person J

So, putting aside the vitriol, your answer is that colleges need time to enforce the law properly, communicate to students and train professionals. Aren’t those all the role of the State? Aren’t all these time-consuming tasks already being handled by the rest of us? Colleges think they are their own little empires and can interpret the First and Second Amendment however their little liberal minds choose.

 

The first line fails to distinguish between developing procedures and policies in accordance with the law and “enforcing the law” — I thought  police and the courts enforced the law. And yes, continuing with the first line, administrations do need time to communicate with the students. In fact, it is required by the law !!

(d-1) After consulting with students, staff, and faculty of  the institution regarding the nature of the student population, specific safety considerations, and the uniqueness of the campus environment, the president or other chief executive officer of an institution of higher education in this state shall establish reasonable rules, regulations, or other provisions regarding the carrying of concealed handguns by license holders on the campus of
the institution or on premises located on the campus of the institution. The president or officer may not establish provisions that generally prohibit or have the effect of generally prohibiting license holders from carrying concealed handguns on the campus of the institution. The president or officer may amend the provisions as necessary for campus safety. The provisions take effect as determined by the president or officer unless subsequently amended
by the board of regents or other governing board under Subsection  (d-2). The institution must give effective notice under Section 30.06, Penal Code, with respect to any portion of a premises on which license holders may not carry.

Yes, the legislative actually requires the administrations to at least talk to the students. Not follow their advice (which can be good or bad) but talking to a couple thousand people or at least setting it up to do so is going to take some time. Acting on the information given isn’t going to happen over night.  And yes, making sure that campus security and the campus police are aware of and can properly interpret the requirements and restrictions of the new policies takes time. Again – we are overturning decades of previous habits and training. Change takes time in some cases.

And let’s continue – with the next line and talk about lessons we should have learned in civics class in high school. No, developing policies and procedures for universities and colleges is not the role of the state.

 

This is the one that got my goat. Example #3 – Person J

I simply asked you to defend your position that colleges should be allowed to each make up their own laws regarding campus carry.

 

That is such a straw man argument I was shocked it didn’t come from the mind of a gun control advocate. Seriously. For those of you who know me in real life, I’ll give you the link to the FB argument if you want it. I’d advise against looking; it might make your brain pop. Regardless anyone who knows me, knows that I would never argue that colleges ‘should be allowed to make up their own laws’. Nothing in my statements could be remotely twisted to mean that. I asked three times for him to quote my words
Again this is about not making our side indistinguishable from the antis — that type of attack is beneath us. We can discuss if 14 months is too long. We can discuss why it is reasonable to make sure the rules the schools come up with can withstand a court challenge in a reasonable debate.

 

I just want to close and make sure I say this. I am not saying it is wrong to think the legislative made a bad decision. I’m not saying it is wrong to think the law should be enacted quicker. I’m not saying you have to agree with campus carry or not. — Those are all valid opinions; just don’t argue like the antis is all.

Please join the discussion.

State Department News

Probably everyone has heard of the recent efforts of the State Department (PDF of proposal here – search for ITAR to invoke the International Trafficking in Arms Regulations (ITAR) in order to remove ‘technical data” from discussion and posting online. This is nothing short of two things: first an attempt to circumvent our right to free speech and in my opinion more importantly, a distraction.

Paragraph (b) of the revised definition explicitly sets forth the Department’s requirement of authorization to release information into the ”public domain.” Prior to making available ”technical data” or software subject to the ITAR, the U.S. government must approve the release through one of the following: (1) The Department; (2) the Department of Defense’s Office of Security Review; (3) a relevant U.S. government contracting authority with authority to allow the ”technical data” or software to be made available to the public, if one exists; or (4) another U.S. government official with authority to allow the ”technical data” or software to be made available to the public.

The requirements of paragraph (b) are not new. Rather, they are a more explicit statement of the ITAR’s requirement that one must seek and receive a license or other authorization from the Department or other cognizant U.S. government authority to release ITAR controlled ”technical data,” as defined in § 120.10. A release of ”technical data” may occur by disseminating ”technical data” at a public conference or trade show, publishing ”technical data” in a book or journal article, or posting ”technical data” to the Internet.

This proposed provision will enhance compliance with the ITAR by clarifying that ”technical data” may not be made available to the public without authorization. Persons who intend to discuss ”technical data” at a conference or trade show, or to publish it, must ensure that they obtain the appropriate authorization.

 

 

I don’t think there is a snowballs chance in Hades of this going through; while there are reasons to limit ‘technical information’ but most of what the people publish online is common knowledge. Should a diagram and blue print for a Mosin Nagant become subject to ITAR despite the fact that firearm has been around for over 100 years?

So why does the State Department elect (here is a hint) to make this move at this time?

Of course the answer is a distraction.

Speaking by telephone, Clinton told the more than 1,300 fast food workers gathered at a convention in Detroit that every worker deserves a fair wage and the right to unionize. 

“I want to be your champion. I want to fight with you every day,” said Clinton, who kicked off her presidential campaign in April saying she wants to be the champion for “everyday Americans.”

The call was another step to the left for Clinton, as she vies for the Democratic nod with progressive candidates Bernie Sanders andMartin O’Malley. She told the assembled crowd that they should continue building the Fight for 15 movement, which is pressing employers to raise workers’ pay.

From Politics

That hissing sound you just heard is more air coming out of thebubble in the global bond market. From Germany to the U.S., fixed income prices tanked last week, sending yields way up. The turmoil is a clear signal that investors are bracing for higher interest rates — whether the Federal Reserve is ready for its first rate hike in a decade or not.

Greece needs money to pay its bills. But creditors don’t want to fork over more dough until it agrees to difficult economic reforms, which would prove Greece is working to stand on its own two feet.
The two sides have been wrangling for months over the terms of a deal that would see lenders give Greece 7.2 billion euros ($8 billion), which is the final portion of a previously agreed to bailout program that could save the country from a messy “Grexit” scenario.

From economic news at home and aboard.

The Affordable Care Act gets less disastrous every day. The latest boost: Overall costs are now likely to be $14 billion per year lower than estimated just two months ago, and $56 billion per year cheaper than the first official estimate in 2010. That’s a 30% reduction, compared with the 2010 numbers.

The Congressional Budget Office regularly updates its cost projections for all big federal programs, and its latest numbers show an improvement related to Obamacare, as the ACA is known, that few supporters or critics saw coming. In 2010, the year Congress passed the law, the CBO said the annual cost of administering the law and providing subsidies to enrollees to help them purchase insurance would be about $172 billion in 2019, when all the provisions of the law are fully in effect. In January of this year, CBO dropped its 2019 estimate to $135 billion per year. It has now dropped that even lower, to $121 billion per year.

What’s behind the slowdown?

Nobody is quite sure why the growth in healthcare costs has slowed so dramatically, after two decades of growth at 3 or 4 times the rate of inflation, which harmed both family and company budgets. Possible reasons: A tough recession that forced many families to cut back on healthcare spending, cost-control efforts throughout the healthcare system, and insurance policies that force consumers to pay more out of pocket, making them more likely to cut bank on nonessential things.

From previous disasters the administration pushed through. Let’s face it, there are many reasons the Obama Administration wants the pro-rights crowd being on the defensive. Not the least is the number of pro-rights laws being passed in many states. I’ll be talking about two here soon; Open Carry and Campus Carry, here in Texas. In the mean time; have some fun looking around at some the technical data published on the internet; wonder how these folks are going to react to the proposed law.

Please join the discussion.

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’ll Teach Ya To Brag

A 22-year-old Mineral Wells man is in jail after allegedly posting on his Facebook page that he had more than a dozen warrants out for his arrest.

Authorities say Eddie Smith’s Facebook page on Jan. 20 boasted of having 16 warrants out for his arrest

Yep — post on Facebook that you are wanted on a dozen warrants. Have friends of dubious level of ‘friendship’. Facebook’s single level of ‘friends’ is a rant I’m going to pass on for today.
And cops will find you to collect on those warrants. Sometimes the crooks make it easy.

Sometimes the victims make it all too easy also

Melissa Pace had her car broken into last week while she worked out at a Lifetime Fitness in Flower Mound. She’d left a tote bag in her Escalade with her credit cards and driver’s license.

“Lifetime has cameras, and so I thought, ‘Who in the world is going to do it?’ because there are cameras all over the place, but I was wrong,” said Pace.

Police believe the same suspect was caught on security camera video taken after another smash-and-grab spree at a Lifetime Fitness in Colleyville as the suspect used a stolen card at a nearby Hobby Lobby.

Colleyville police call the man a dedicated opportunist who’s watching for women who get out of their cars without a purse.

Yeah, cameras have really proven to stop criminals. I simply can not understand the mindset that thinks cameras keep crime from happening. We see media report after media report of criminals being caught ON CAMERA during and after the crime. Wouldn’t you think anyone paying the least bit of attention would make the connection that camera does not equal crime free?

 

Chutzpah — example of, politician type.

Dallas County commissioner John Wiley Price will be in federal court on Tuesday, and he is asking taxpayers to pick up the legal tab in his corruption trial.

The embattled commissioner will also face a judge to ask for two separate trials — one for alleged bribery and the other for alleged tax fraud.

Back in September, a federal judge denied Price’s request for a court-appointed attorney, saying that he could afford to pay for his own legal defense.

The federal trial is set to begin in January of next year.

Price has pleaded not guilty and has maintained his innocence. Fellow commissioner Mike Cantrell pushed for Price to be suspended from commissioner’s court, but the efforts failed and Price refused to step down.

Jiminy Crickets — this man has no shame at all. Awaiting trial for using his political position for personal gain and he wants the taxpayers to defend him.

Turnabout is Fair Play….

or is the newest politically correct term supposed to be ‘equality’

Oh, and Boehner didn’t consult Obama:

Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress about Iran next month, a move sure to inflame the Obama administration, which is trying to negotiate a nuclear deal with the Islamic republic.

Boehner later told reporters he did not consult with the White House about the invitation….

After the closed GOP meeting Wednesday, Boehner told reporters he didn’t need to consult with the White House.
“Congress can make this decision on its own,” Boehner said. “I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye. There is a serious threat that exists in the world, and the president last night kind of papered over it. And the fact is that there needs to be a more serious conversation in America about how serious the threat is from radical Islamic jihadists, and the threat posed by Iran.”

Boehner inviting Netanyahu is big-time trolling. But even bigger, it may help Netanyahu in the run up to the March Israeli elections, ensuring that Netanyahu will be around for the remainder of Obama’s final term in office.

Update: I was wondering if Netanyahu would accept the invite, since it could be perceived by Obama as another poke in the eye. Yes. He. Did.

 

See President Obama, you aren’t the only one with a Phone and a Pen.

However the White House criticized the invitation as a breach of the protocol for when world leaders visit the U.S.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said that usually leaders inform the White House before planning a trip to the U.S. He said the administration will decide a course of action after speaking with the Israelis about what Netanyahu will say in his address, the Associated Press reported.

The State Department also expressed displeasure, with spokesperson Jen Psaki telling reporters “traditionally” the administration would be informed by the world leader directly about a visit.

The Israeli leader has been a vehement critic of negotiating with a nuclear Iran. He and President Obama have endured a tense relationship throughout their time in office.

Where the President will not act, John Boehner will — wasn’t that something like you said Mr. Obama?

Is it just me or does it seem like President Obama has invited illegal immigrants to Washington more than he has invited some of our closest allies like Israel?

 

 

Senator Cruz Sums It Up

Pretty well covers my thoughts on the part of the State of the Union speech by President Obama.

 

 

I do love how people like President Obama sees absolutely no irony in trumpeting the call for everyone to have a fair chance; to succeed, to contribute equally but turns around and say “We are going to tax one group of people more heavily then they already are”.

Yeah, because one group paying the vast majority of taxes is really ‘fair’.