In case you have not talked about this enough already…

Covered everywhere (including here!) in the last 24 hours.

As usual, Zerohedge does a freaking stellar job of dissecting the argument. The core:

We’ve all heard the prefabricated gun control talking points before.  Some of them so old they predate us.  They are numerous and most of them incredibly thin.  The gist of the anti-gun position, though, could be boiled down to these three points…

Common Anti-Gun Arguments:

1) The 2nd Amendment is “outdated” and no longer relevant in today’s modern society.

2) We do not want to stop you from “defending yourself”, or interfere with the American tradition of hunting, but people do not need “military assault weapons” for either.

3) Your claimed freedom to own guns should not supersede my freedom to live without fear of guns.  We exist in a society, and our society requires us to give up certain freedoms so that it can function.

Again, in response to these arguments, I have to ask, what does the 2nd Amendment mean for the future?  What was its original intent?  Gun control advocates would like to ignore the fact that the Constitution specifically protects a broad application of gun ownership, but when they cannot deny the legality of it, they instead turn to more abstract and existential methods of attack.  They try to twist the original intent of the 2nd Amendment to further their goals.  To respond briefly to each of the above fallacies:

1) The right to self defense from ANY threat, whether it be an individual, or a criminal government, does not “outdate”.  It is a universal and eternal freedom.  It is a foundational pillar of natural law.  Even if the 2nd Amendment did not exist, I would still have the inborn right to arm and protect myself and those I love, and the best way to do that is to own firearms.  The men who drafted the Constitution were far more intelligent than any pithy gun grabber today, yet, these socialist errand boys seem to believe that they have “surpassed” the wisdom of the Founders.  The amount of ego required to fuel such an attitude boggles the mind…

Gun violence and violence in general will not end simply by banning firearms.  The very idea that any society can remove all weapons from their sight is naïve to begin with.  Criminals always find a way.  Murder, rape, and mayhem will continue until you confront the root problem, which is the human mind, and the human heart.  Only when these two things are balanced in all people will violence end.  Disarming good men and women has never made a society “safer”.  When the power of defense is removed from the people, someone, somewhere, will seek to abuse their weakness.  The most armed entity of the time invariably becomes the subjugator, and usually this is the government.  Nazi Germany, Stalinist Russia, Mao’s China, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, etc, all contained disarmed populations.  The guns were gone, and still millions upon millions died.  Modern day Mexico is a perfect example of a disarmed population that is now living in terror because of criminal organizations (which, of course, still have guns).  Disarmament does NOT end gun violence, it only changes the dynamic of who uses that violence, and it makes innocent victims easier to attack.

2) Because the legal argument over the “interpretation” of the 2nd Amendment is essentially over, and the Supreme Court has ruled that gun rights do indeed apply to individuals, and not just collective bodies like the National Guard, gun grabbers are now reverting to the argument that we ARE allowed to defend ourselves with firearms, but the kinds of firearms we are able to use can still be limited.  The goal of this argument is to fool gun owners who only possess conventional firearms (hunting rifles) into believing that they will not be personally affected if they support a ban on military style weapons.  These wishy-washy hunting enthusiasts are often referred to as “Elmer Fudds” because of their gullibility.

All gun confiscation programs start by chipping away at the outer barriers of gun ownership.  Like termites slowly chewing away at the wooden skeleton of a home, anti-gun proponents start small and end by destroying the entire edifice.  Anyone who believes Feinstein’s legislation will begin and end with AR-15’s and AK-47’s is living in fantasy land.  That said, the 2nd Amendment was not established for hunting purposes.  Nowhere in the writings of the Founding Fathers do they mention “hunting” as their primary concern.  Instead, gun rights are protected in order to ensure that the citizenry remains dominant over any centralized government that turns to corruption.  We are supposed to police our own political leaders, and without military style arms, this becomes increasingly difficult.

Gun grabbers will argue that our government is not the enemy because it is derived through democratic elections.  They will say that we can change it anytime we like in the voting box.  I would point out that regardless of which party is placed in power through elections, nothing in terms of our direction as a country has been changed, and, that both parties support almost identical policies.  For instance, Obama has come out in favor of nearly identical policy initiatives to Bush, and I can almost guarantee that many Republicans will sign onto the gun control efforts of Democrats despite their supposed pro-gun rhetoric.  When the two party system becomes a one party system, voting becomes irrelevant.

Finally, they will admonish the idea of an armed citizenry keeping the government in check as a “fairy tale”.  They will claim that in the face of modern military might, constitutionalists would be crushed.  For what can an AK-47 do to an F-15?  Apparently, they have never heard of Afghanistan, which has used AK-47’s and 30 year old armaments to repel two technologically advanced armies; the Soviet Union and the U.S.  Of course, the Afghanis did not allow themselves to be disarmed…

3) Here is where we get into the nonsense of intellectual idiocy.  The only real skill which academics seem to have is jumbling piles of logical fallacies together to make a single argument that sounds “rational”, but, in fact, isn’t.  The third debate point is an extremely collectivist one, and collectivist arguments generally exploit the idea that individuals must sacrifice their personal freedoms in order for the group to function.

The truth is, the group does not matter.  The perceived collective concerns and fears of a mass of people are not relevant.  All that matters are the concerns of the singular man or woman, and whether or not those concerns are legitimate.  If a person “fears” guns and gun violence, then that is their private problem, not the problem of our entire society.  We as gun owners should not have to relinquish our rights because others are afraid of what MIGHT happen to them.  We should demand that they control THEIR fear, instead of being allowed to control OUR guns.  Just because a portion of our country shares this individual fear does not make that fear any more credible, or any more our problem.

And, some unintended consequences…

I have heard it argued that Americans are passive.  We didn’t rise up against the last Assault Weapons Ban. We didn’t rise up against the Patriot Act.  We didn’t rise up against TSA molestation.  We didn’t rise up against warrantless wiretapping, the assassination of U.S. citizens, or even the NDAA.  The people who make this point, though, are not looking at the larger issue.  It is one thing for our government to pass legislation; the wider application of that legislation on our streets and at our doorsteps is another matter.

Feinstein’s bill is unprecedented in the history of this country, and requires widespread enforcement in every town and hamlet in order to be effective.  The way in which it is designed makes a violent response from the public inevitable.  It reaches far beyond the Assault Weapons Ban of the 1990’s, calling for the creation of a massive database of almost all gun owners in the United States.  This database will require citizens to submit their EXISTING firearms to cataloging, and the owners to be filed and fingerprinted like criminals.

The bill will ban the outright the sale, manufacture, and transfer of at least 120 models of firearms (which have not yet been named).  It will ban the manufacture and sale of most if not all semi-automatic rifles and the bill specifically targets handguns as well.  Large capacity mags and mag fed weapons will essentially disappear from gun stores.  Though, those guns designated as “hunting rifles” will be exempt (for now).

Good points all around. I’ll leave you with this screenshot of the first two comments that I saw after I finished the article today:

Screen Shot 2012-12-28 at 3.25.44 PM

Macro Warnings

From ZH. Been expecting something akin to this for a while now:

8 – Based on the reasons set out earlier and also covered in my two prior notes, over the August to November period I am looking for the S&P500 to trade off down from around 1400 to 1100/1000 – in other words, I expect over the next four months to see global equity markets fall by 20% to 25% from current levels and to trade at or below the lows of 2011! US equity markets, along with parts of the EM spectrum, will I think underperform eurozone equity markets, where already very little hope resides. For iTraxx crossover, this equates to a spread wide for 2012 of – in my view – 800/1000bp. NOTE however that investment grade cash corporate (non-financial) bonds remain a core (relative!) safe-haven. This four-month coming major risk-off phase will, in my view, also be very USD bullish (my expectation of Fed USD1trn QE in December should eventually alter the bullish USD trend of course) and bullish core government bonds (USTs, Gilts, Bunds) – perhaps we could see 10yr Bunds at 50bp all-in yields, with USTs and Gilts at/close to 1%. By late 2012, based on my Fed December QE view, my tactical call will likely turn bullish/risk-on – let us see about that closer to the time. And of course I still see a very clear path to 800 on the S&P500 at some point in 2013/2014, driven by market revulsion against pump-priming money printing central bankers, but this discussion is also for nearer the time.

You have been warned!

The system is backed up and needs an adjustment. Has for a long time now.

We will look back and laugh

Seriously. I would think that at some point we will all be sitting around a fire, a bar, or a TV and having a bit of a chuckle over this a few years from now.

Lying about everything.

But the telling quote is at the very end:

So… let’s see here: huge disparity between what is represented and what the reality is… a crucial political election… and a regime that many have accused of misreporting critical data for years (even if others captured media outlets accuse the former of being conspiracy theorists)…

Why… could this possibly mean that every piece of data out of the US is just as made up and just as meaningless? Now that would be truly unpossible.

Everything you know is a lie.

The Dreaded D Word

From Zerohedge again:

One Sick Labor Market

There were so many disturbing elements to the May jobs data that we’re not sure we can do justice to the litany of disappointments (with some help from our friends at the Investor’s Business Daily):

  • The share of long-term unemployment is at its highest level since the Great Depression (42%).
  • Fully 54% of college degree graduates under the age of 25 are either unemployed or underemployed.
  • 45 million Americans are on food stamps — one in seven residents.
  • 47% of Americans are on some form of government assistance.
  • The employment-to-population ratio for 25-54 year olds is now 75.7%, lower than it was when the recession supposedly ended in June 2009.
  • The number of people not in the labour force has swelled eight million since the recession ended; absent that effect, the unemployment rate would be 12% right now (about the same as President Obama’s election chances would be).
  • The number of people confident enough to leave their jobs fell 11% in May
    for the second month in a row to 891k, the lowest since November 2010.
  • The ranks of the unemployed who have been looking fruitlessly for work for at least 27 weeks jumped 310k in May, the sharpest increase since May 2011.
  • The unemployment rate for males aged 16-19 is 27% and for males between 20 and 24 it is 13%. Draw your own conclusions from a social (in)stability standpoint.
  • One in seven Americans are either unemployed or underemployed.
  • Only one in six of the youth are working full-time and three-in-five are living with their folks or another relative (as per the NYT).
  • A mere 16% of the 2009-2011 graduating class has found full-time work, while 22% are working part-time. Even those hired from 2006-08, just 23% are working full-time.
  • According to a poll cited in the NYT, just 14% of high-school grads today believe they will have a more successful financial future than their parents Line of the day, as depressing as it is, comes from an 18-year old: “Thank God I had a buddy at Burger King who could help me out”. Fast-food has emerged as the fast-growing industry in a country once led by technology. Even tech now is fuelled more by companies that produce nifty consumer gadgets and feed our narcissistic needs than those who focus on improving the nation’s capital stock which is the ultimate trailblazer for productivity growth and durable gains in our standard-of-living.

Something to think about on a Wednesday afternoon dear readers.