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2018-02-21 10:48 by Karl Denninger
in 2ndAmendment , 156 references
[Comments enabled]  

This was an amusing headline....

Bump stock prices have spiked following President Trump's directive on Tuesday that the Justice Department draft regulations to ban the devices.

Bump stocks can be used to allow semi-automatic guns to fire at speeds similar to automatic guns.

After Trump’s proposed ban, bump stock prices quickly rose on the firearms auction website Gun Broker, Bloomberg reported.

Meh.

These things destroy accuracy and basically turn what can be (in skilled hands) a precision target (or varmint) rifle into a big, loud noisemaker.  The Las Vegas shooter only got the mileage he expected from them because he was firing into a crowd where it was essentially impossible to miss and his skill, or lack thereof, was immaterial to the result.

So in terms of whether I personally care about such a "ban" or not, the answer is not since I cannot come up with a reason to want to own one of these things.  If I want a fully-automatic weapon I'd rather have that than a simulation of one, and fully-automatic weapons are in fact legal in most states if you go through the insanity of the required BATFE paperwork.

Why wouldn't I want a machine gun?  Because it consumes ammunition at a frightening rate -- sort of like how my large boat (45 Hatteras) consumed diesel at a frightening rate.  When I bought said boat fuel was a bit over a buck a gallon and I really didn't much care that it consumed 35 or so of them an hour when operating at "normal" speeds.

Then fuel prices went from a bit over a buck to north of three dollars, and suddenly I cared quite a bit.  The boat was sold.

The idea of going out to the range for a nice afternoon and turning $1,000 into shredded paper, noise and smoke just doesn't appeal to me all that much.  But there are people who don't care about the money; they like the shooting enough to pay what it costs to feed one of these things, so I say "big deal."  Never mind that only a couple of actual machine guns have ever been used in crimes in the last 50 years and one of those was in fact used by a cop!

But the principle of this -- that the words in the Second Amendment do not mean what they say -- which appears to be what Trump has decided, is an entirely different matter.  I note that in Las Vegas, while these things were used, they probably actually decreased the death count although they also probably increased the injury count since they increased the number of rounds fired.  Maybe.  Or maybe not; you can fire very rapidly using nothing but your finger too, although doing so will have a similarly-bad impact on accuracy.  Nonetheless aimed fire is more-deadly than not, and these things are in the category of "not" (as is rapidly using your finger.)

Well, except for a few people.  Like this guy.

That's a revolver.

It's also a hell of a lot of skill.

Does Trump -- or the BATFE -- intend to cut off his booger-snatcher?

So rather than address the actual issue when it comes to school shootings, which I remind you come down to two things: Psychotropic drugs and the fact and broadcasting that schools are "soft targets" where nobody is armed we have the usual mealy-mouthed garbage and more proposed laws to toss on the pile of 50,000 existing gun laws, nearly all of which are unconstitutional.

Rule of Law?  Bah.  As I pointed out before the election Trump cares not for the law, as he refused to take on the actual health care scams -- the myriad ones everywhere (more of which are in the pipe here at The Ticker, not that anyone in the law enforcement community gives a crap.)

How does it feel to have voted for Senator Palpatine, Trumpers?

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2018-02-21 09:30 by Karl Denninger
in Corruption , 163 references
[Comments enabled]  

This is an interesting perspective on the Netflix "content at all cost" scheme.... and where it will end.

The scheme goes like this: Buy up as much talent in town, as quickly as possible, and it’ll all pay off later. Doesn’t matter how much you have to pay. Trust us, the financials will work out very nicely in the future. Because we will simply chase everyone else out of the game. Just give us a lot of money, so we can make sure that everyone else will go bust - before we do. It will only take us a few short years to make that happen. Then, we’ll be the only option in town. We will control everything. We will be able to squeeze the amount of money paid for talent back down, while charging our customers a ton of money. We will be the last man standing, rolling in dough.

The author notes that this has never worked -- and in fact has either bankrupted or led to enormous losses for the investors.  But there's another point here that really ought to be explored, and this guy misses it:

The essence of this scheme is quite-arguably a criminal enterprise.

The key is right in those two bolded sentences.

Why?

Because 15 USC Chapter 1 section 2 prohibits an attempt to monopolize or restrain trade under criminal penalty.  Section 1 prohibits attempts or acts to restrain trade.

Every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony, and, on conviction thereof, shall be punished by fine not exceeding $100,000,000 if a corporation, or, if any other person, $1,000,000, or by imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or by both said punishments, in the discretion of the court.

You don't have to succeed to be guilty -- you just need to try.

Just as in health care the essence of schemes like this and the money lost is not simply if the scheme fails or not.  It's that the losses taken whether by customers or investors should never happen in the first place because the scheme itself at its foundation is a felony criminal act and, if it were punished just a few times people would cut that crap out!

It is only because our government refuses to enforce 100+ year old law that makes such a criminal act that these schemes persist and ultimately screw customers, investors or in many cases both!

So when does this crap stop?

Only when you, dear American, demand and enforce that the government do it's damn job.

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2018-02-20 11:31 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 371 references
[Comments enabled]  

I just got a phone call that really annoyed me.

Not with the person that called me -- with her friends, who I've never met.

She was apparently trying to explain the health care proposals I've made to them, and they wanted something understandable and concrete.  She pointed them at The Market Ticker.  I think that's awesome, to be frank, since I believe that the content I've put forward on this is worthy of being a major part of that discussion.

They came back to her and said "they couldn't find the content."

I nearly lost my ****.

If you go to The Market Ticker with a browser, not signed in, this is what you see on the top page:

Now let's assume you did that, and you are looking for, oh, something about health care, because you were told you'd find it here.  What on that page would you think a person with an IQ that is somewhere to the right of the 1SD point (that is, greater than about 80 or so) would click, since the very first article you see isn't about health care?

I think you'd choose to click the button marked "Topic List", right?

It is right under your nose, literally, at the top of the page.

So let's assume you click TOPIC LIST because, well, you're interested in finding a certain topic.

What do you see?

Three of the first four articles in that listing are blatantly and obviously from the titles, exactly what you are seeking

In point of fact the top one is too, but the subject also includes a broader discussion, so I can forgive you for not instantly recognizing that the first article is relevant.

Yet these people, who live in a big city, are allegedly "successful professionals" and allegedly very smart came back at my friend and said they could not find the material.

Never mind that also on that top page is a clearly-marked search box -- and if you type "health care" (yes, it's two words, not one) into it and press the "search" button you will get a decently-representative set of results.  ("Diabetes" will work pretty well too, for that matter.)  In fact I spent a fair bit of time on the back end functionality for search and as a result it's extremely fast and looks at the entirety of both the body of all the articles that are visible to you and the subject.

This is what passes for allegedly "professional" individuals -- in the supposed "top half", at least, of the voting public.  They're people with some money, some material success and who live in an upscale (quite so) neighborhood with crazy-high school property taxes and whose children get accepted on the reputation of said school to major universities all over the country.

I do not believe they lack the mental acuity to read the words "Topic List" and deduce that clicking that button, when told that the content they seek is on this web page, will take them to a place where said content is trivially able to be accessed.

Instead what I argue is that the people of this country including the allegedly intelligent and successful are terminally lazy.

If they cannot be bothered to read a page, discern that "Topic List" is the correct selection to choose a topic to read about, and then look at the first half-dozen items to determine that they are relevant to what they are attempting to learn exactly what odds do you place upon them reading the couple of thousand words that follow in said topics even if spoon-fed them in printed or electronic form.

This nation is doomed folks.

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2018-02-20 06:56 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 239 references
[Comments enabled]  

There seems to be much misunderstanding about the problems being talked about here:

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - A Belgian court threatened Facebook (FB.O) with a fine of up to 100 million euros ($125 million) if it continued to break privacy laws by tracking people on third party websites.

There seems to be this belief that you can opt out of this tracking by turning off "Applications", "Platform" or similar on Facebook, or not signing in and having an account there at all.

This is false.

Let me show you where the problem is.  

Go to the Chicago Tribune's web site.

Nowhere is there any disclosure that Facebook is getting tracking data from that access, which they can then sell to anyone they wish.

But they are.

In fact they don't just get one connection they get a whole bunch of connections, and some of them are "POSTS" that include cookies -- and Facebook sends one back on many of these requests.

I don't have a Facebook account.  I don't have a Chicago Tribune account.  While I could reasonably be seen to have consented to the Tribune using my presence there and tracking it because I voluntarily went to the page and read it there is utterly no possible way for me to know or consent to Facebook getting data about my visit and they then sell whatever they can correlate from it.

This is the problem, in short, and it gets worse -- much worse -- as soon as you use a mobile phone with either Android or IOS on it because any of a number of "apps" can now add to that data trove -- whether you're using them or not.

Again, while I am using an app (it is open and I am viewing it) I reasonably can consent to my usage being "counted" in some fashion.  When I am not using it there is no reasonable way for me to consent since there is no disclosure and, even if there was, there is also no honest statement about the use(s) to which the data will be put.

No, "we share this with our advertising partners" doesn't cut it.  Would anyone reasonably conclude that such "sharing" would include rating you for car insurance -- by where you go any time you have your phone in your pocket, and how much time you spend in a given class of establishment?

Well, it does.  What if the same was applied to those who might be looking to hire someone?  Or your homeowner's insurance?  Or, for that matter, what price to charge you for something you shop for online?

If you think this doesn't happen you're wrong -- it not only happens it's the entire reason these firms "make money."  It is the very reason they exist.

And you, dear reader, are being screwed literally by the second -- without your knowledge or consent.

This should be illegal -- and in the EU it has been made illegal since there is utterly no means by which you can reasonably consent to it, nor understand the scope of the data collected or the purposes to which it is used.  In the US?  Surveillance of any sort by a company, no matter how much it is used to screw you, at present is legal and will remain so until you demand that it stop.

Well?

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2018-02-19 14:57 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 995 references
[Comments enabled]  

Still won't raise the actual issue will you?

“The concept that mental illness is a precursor to violent behavior is nonsense,” said Dr. Louis Kraus, forensic psychiatry chief at Chicago’s Rush University Medical College. “The vast majority of gun violence is not attributable to mental illness.”

Oh really?

The article goes on to claim that ~38,000 people died from firearm violence in 2016.

What is being omitted is that the majority were suicides!

In fact, of those 38,000 people (37,863 for 2015 according to the CDC) 22,928 were firearm suicides in 2015 (according to the CDC again), or more than half of all deaths by violence and roughly half of all suicides.  And virtually all of those suicides, along with most of the homicides, are committed with handguns.

(It's actually a bit of a trick to kill yourself with a rifle or shotgun.  It's not impossible by any means, but it's a hell of a lot harder to shoot yourself in the head with a rifle that it is with a pistol.)

With the exception of the few people who committed suicide under perfectly-understandable and sane circumstances (e.g. facing a terminal illness and choosing the time and manner of death instead of having it forced upon them) the rest were mentally ill.

Are you next going to tell me that suicide is not a "violent behavior" Mr. Kraus?  Or does it only count if someone blows their brains out instead of taking a intentionally fatal dose of some drug, jumping off a bridge or similar?

Go **** yourself you lying sack of ****.

You see, what Kraus is deathly afraid of is this sort of event being properly pinned on him and his profession -- which was a very, very near miss:

RUTLAND - An 18-year-old Poultney man pleaded not guilty Friday afternoon to charges including attempted murder in connection with the threat of a mass shooting at Fair Haven Union High School.

Police said former student Jack Sawyer indicated he wanted to cause "mass casualties" at the Rutland County school of about 400 students in ninth through 12th grades in an attack he had been planning for two years.

By the way, this guy bought a shotgun.  Which is not an "assault weapon", but will still kill you very dead.

What else do we know about him?  That he was on medication and stopped taking it.  He was also institutionalized for a while under care of a psychiatrist.  You know, someone who claims to be an expert in figuring out whether someone is dangerous (and mentally ill, I might add) or not!

How did said psychiatrist do in this case, on an objective basis, if I may ask the dear Doctor Klaus? Would you care to give him a grade on a scale from "A" to "F" or do we need more letters than that to appropriately express his level of performance?

And what medication was the alleged would-be shooter on?  Anti-depressants, it appears, if the article is correct.

Let me point out once again that the the infamous "329" study, which led to GSK being criminally charged for off-label marketing, when re-analyzed showed:

Few studies have sustained as much criticism as Study 329, a placebo controlled, randomized trial of paroxetine and imipramine carried out by SmithKline Beecham (which became GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 2000). In 2002, a US Food and Drug Administration officer who formally reviewed the trial reported that “on balance, this trial should be considered as a failed trial, in that neither active treatment group showed superiority over placebo by a statistically significant margin.4 Yet this same year, according to the New York State Attorney General’s office, which sued GSK, over two million prescriptions were written for children and adolescents in the United States, all off-label, after a marketing campaign that characterized Study 329 as demonstrating “REMARKABLE Efficacy and Safety.”

Got a reading comprehension problem folks?

The drugs don't work in teens and children; neither showed that it was superior to a sugar pill in terms of being effective.  Worse, they massively increased the risk of suicidal ideation - by anywhere from 2.5 to more than five times depending on the specific drug in question. Finally, the government (FDA) knew all of this in 2002.

Why would you allow a doctor (of any sort) to prescribe a drug to someone that we know, scientifically, does not work in that person's age group?

But what we also know is not just that they don't work and raise the risk of self-harm -- they also potentiate violent criminal behavior in a small percentage of children, adolescents and those under the age of 25 who take them.

In fact these drugs as a class basically double the risk of violent criminal conviction in that age group.

DOUBLE!

Now there are plenty of theories on why -- but no facts at this point.  But what does exist to date is a warning in the prescribing information on giving them to young adults and teens, especially those who may be bipolar.

This guy in Vermont, I'm willing to wager, was exactly that.  He was drugged with a substance known to be dangerous.  He tried to go off the drugs on his own which is extremely common for bipolar individuals.

Fortunately he was caught before he was able to commit his crime -- but he formulated intent to commit that crime while under the influence of a psychiatric medication we know comes with the risk of potentiating violent criminal felonies.

Does this make him somehow excused?  Of course not.

But when are we going to stop with the bull**** about "assault weapons" when (1) the most-common, by far, violent act committed by mentally ill people is suicide, (2) suicides are more than half of all violent deaths that involve firearms, (3) nearly all suicides and nearly all homicides (10:1 ratio for the latter) are committed with handguns, not assault (or any other form of) rifle or shotgun -- indeed, you're about 3x more likely to be killed by someone with a knife than a rifle of any sort and (4) among those who are under the age of 25 these drugs not only do not work they make both violent criminal behavior AND suicide more likely by a factor of anywhere from two to five times over those with similar afflictions who take sugar pills -- that is, nothing.

The above is not based on my opinion it is based on multiple scientific, medical studies never mind the false (and, it appears, intentionally-so) claims made by one of the drugmakers in question -- and that firm was criminally charged for off-label marketing of said drug.

Yes, 17 people dead in Florida sucks.  How badly does it suck that 22,000 people kill themselves every year, many times more than 17, and of those who are under 25 at the time how many of them were taking either currently or recently a class of drug we know not only doesn't work it makes suicidal ideation anywhere from 2 to 5 times more likely?

Look, I get it.  People want to hold out this Marcus Welby view of doctors -- including psychiatrists.  They don't want to face the fact that physicians either are duped or simply fail to follow the literature, but both happen.  In other fields we consider a failure to do so criminal negligence, but apparently not here -- even when it leads people to take their own lives, or much worse, decide to try to take the lives of countless others. Screaming "guns guns guns!" is politically expedient, especially for a certain segment of the political sphere that doesn't give a **** about either people's lives or facts.

You'll never solve this problem with "gun control."  If you want to put a serious dent in the issue start by following the scientific literature and studies which say that (1) these drugs do not work in children, teens and adults under the age of 25, (2) they cause (not prevent) suicides compared against those who take nothing at all for the same symptoms in the under-25 age group, and (3) they are associated with a doubling of serious, violent criminal behavior in that same age group.

The criminal association disappears entirely in those 25 and older, and there is decent evidence that these drugs, under at least some circumstances, are effective in older patients.

In other words if you want to put a serious dent in these events bar the writing of prescriptions for these drugs to those under 25 and for those doctors and psychiatrists who hand them out anyway hold them criminally accountable if their judgement, which is directly opposed to the scientific evidence, results in an attempted or actual mass-murder. 

Not only will we dent or completely stop these "rage monster" incidents we will probably also prevent thousands of suicides annually by adolescents and young adults -- many MULTIPLES of the 17 killed in Florida -- at the same time.

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