China and Japan are the largest holders of US Treasuries at the moment, although there are a couple of interesting ones to here…
Note the the guys snatching up US Treasuries, though — Belgium and Luxembourg..? Especially as a percentage of their GDP, this seems a not great investment. And Belgium wasn’t exactly rolling in dough, so where did the $141 billion over the course of three months to buy this crap paper come from? Paul Craig Roberts over at OpEdNews.com suspects the Federal Reserve is trying to pull a snow job on investors by paying Belgium (and Luxembourg at $171 billion and 284% of their GDP!?!) to buy the paper for them after there was a mass sell-off of $104 billion in T-bills.
Another curious aspect of the sale and purchase laundered through Belgium is that the sale was not executed and cleared via the Fed’s own National Book-Entry System (NBES), which was designed to facilitate the sale and ownership transfer of securities for Fed custodial customers. Instead, The foreign owner(s) of the Treasuries removed them from the Federal Reserve’s custodial holdings and sold them through the Euroclear securities clearing system, which is based in Brussels, Belgium.
We do not know why or who. We know that there was a withdrawal, a sale, a drop in the Federal Reserve’s “Securities held in Custody for Foreign Official and International Accounts,” an inexplicable rise in Belgium’s holdings, and then the bonds reappear in the Federal Reserve’s custodial accounts.
So, who is dumping US Treasuries, and is the point to raise prices on US consumers as a form of economic war? The Fed’s usual slippery business looks here to be an attempt to hide the run on Treasuries to protect the dollar.
What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security.
— Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-1945
Our government, this President, our Congress, has done more damage to this country than ISIS, ISIL, al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda, the Taliban and ‘Jihad Johnny’ combined…
Is Doyle right, however? Is our government more dangerous to us than Islamic nutballs? What has ISIS/ISIL done to me (or the United States..?) At best, you could tie the Islam-inspired terror strikes together. That’s cost us a damaged frigate, a crapton of money and 3000 lives in September 2001, a few high-profile, but relatively low-impact incidents (if you weren’t a victim) by small cells or lone religiously or racially-motivated murderers. The total number of deaths or injuries to confirmed terrorism since 9/11/01 is 89 and 415, respectively. This doesn’t count the suffering of the loved ones, nor financial damages, of course, but in the end — more die or are injured in car accidents every day in the United States than over thirteen years of the terror threat.
However, in the last thirteen years, my government has
1) Widely spied on the communications, financial transaction, and political speech of its people,
2) Created convoluted tax rules that hurt middle class people, but protect certain large economic concerns,
3) Stolen a trillion dollars from the people to give to banks that gambled and lost, creating a protracted economic decline,
4) Allowed the Federal Reserve to degrade the value of the dollar, causing inflation that is hitting poor and middle-class Americans (convenient that fuel and food costs aren’t factored into inflation, eh..?)
5) Committed us to numerous conflicts in their War of Terror and War of Drugs that have led to the deaths of tens of thousands of Americans and cost us trillions of dollars,
6) Passed the National Defense Authorization Act — a blatantly unconstitutional law that allows for the arrest and indefinite detention of Americans deemed a national security risk,
7)…which created a militarized and overly-violent police force that regularly kills Americans for minor infractions like selling loosies, being homeless, grazing their cattle on “federal” land illegally, and
8) who used asset forfeiture to commit open (and literal) highway robbery on people traveling in multiple states (Indiana, Nevada, and Tennessee being the most egregious) — taking their “suspicious” cash — to those not even accused of a crime having to fight for their homes, businesses, bank accounts,
9) Tangentially, the government has directed that you cannot transfer $10,000 or more without telling them why you are doing it. You cannot repatriate money made in a foreign control without being double dipped on taxes.
10) They have used eminent domain to steal property not for public use but to enrich political donors.
11) Created vast swathes of new regulations that prevent small businesses from being formed, protect monopolies and existing businesses from competition, prevent or seriously harass qualified people from engaging in their professions (NCLB, for instance),
12) Destroyed the not-great, admittedly private health market with vast government intrusion and taxation,
13) Wasted taxpayer money on green energy boondoggles that promptly went out of business (Gee…no money laundering going on here.)
14) Have passed laws governing free speech (hate speech), reducing privacy in the public sphere (surveillance cameras),
15) And now wants to pull passports for people who owe the IRS money,
16) All while nationalizing student loans so that you are perpetually in debted to the government, with zero legal recourse to relieve yourself of the debt if your life falls apart. (Debtors’ prisons and forced labor in three…two…one…)
And I’m supposed to worry about terrorists and illegal immigrants..?
Back in December, I traded my Kimber Stainless Pro Carry II for a Rock Island Armory .22TCM/9mm 1911A2. I had initially been looking for an Officers or Commander-sized 9mm 1911, but this one just looked to good to pass up. Here’s my initial impressions of the weapon. After a month of living with the thing, and making a few important changes (for me), here’s my review of the pistol.
It turns out, this is one of the first runs of the TCM, according to the guys in Nevada, with a low serial number. The pistol had been worked on a bit before I got it. The previous owner polished the slide flats, giving it a Kimber Eclipse kind of look. (Good thing I live in the desert, or I’d have to be at this consistently to combat rust.) Fit and finish, otherwise, is better than the usual RIA Gi models, not as good as the higher end models from Ruger, Springfield, or Kimber.
It came with Hogue wrap around grips with the finger grooves the first owner had dropped on it. Those came off as soon as I could get to it; I hate finger groove grips (your mileage may vary, and whatever god bless you for it, but I hate them) and the only real choice was the VZ G10 grips for it. Apparently, grips for the Para P-14 will also work, but might need work to get the grip screw holes to line up properly. I didn’t feel like dealing with that, so it was either modify the Hogue (still an option, I suppose…) or these.
If you do the VZ Grips, you may need to get a Dremel out and do some work. The tabs to cover the inner workings stick out a bit. I’m left handed, so they don’t bite me, but a few rounds shooting right handed showed the tabs are sharp and still out a bit under the safety switch. I’m going to sand them down to fit more comfortably, eventually. These grips flattened the cross-section of the grip so even my wife finds it not uncomfortable; without the finger grooves, I can index my digits more naturally. The result was a much clearer picture of the pistol’s capabilities.
Not taking my time, a two inch group, spot on the target, is possible at 10 yards in 9mm; point shooting, old-school style, gives me similar accuracy, one or two handed. The groups are about half an inch tighter with .22TCM, but fall about two inches low inside 10 yards. Out to 25 yards, taking my time and unsupported, the rounds in 9mm drop about two inches from point of aim in a 2-3″ group. In .22TCM, it’s similar groupings, but with the right elevation at that range.
Part of the reason this was possible is an exceedingly good trigger, that broke at just a hair under 4 lbs., according to the scale of one of the competition guys at the indoor range I was at that first day. It really is a remarkably high-quality trigger and hammer combo.
The magazine accommodates 17 rounds of 9mm or 18 rounds of .22 TCM (Tuason Craig Magnum) and this pistol came with a flush fit, flat bottomed magazine. It’s good quality machining, properly finished so that the magazines slip in and out smoothly and function well. I’ve ordered another.
The reliability of the TCM in 9mm is tops. I’ve had one malfunction, and that was me knocking the safety on by accident in 600 rounds. The .22 TCM barrel, however, gave me two failures to extract the round from the breech in 150 rounds. This seems to be a common issue if you use the 9mm barrel regularly; the extractor spring isn’t strong enough. A quick email to Rock Island and they sent me a replacement extractor assembly for free. (The Rock Island has a lifetime warranty.) Customer service, on a side note, has been pretty good with Rock Island so far.
The wide body A2 is similar to the Para-Ordinance 1911A2, but the TCM is just a bit off from even Rock Island’s A2s for the grip screw placement. Also, it doesn’t seem to like a few of the standard 1911 holsters (a big surprise to me.) It will not lock into my Blackhawk SERPA for the 1911 Government model. I’ve yet to try others as this thing is heavy at about 41 oz. in 9mm (probably about 39 with a mag of the TCM.) It’s a bag/car gun, right now.
As to the .22TCM round. We chronographed it with an average of 2050fps in a 40 grain hollow point. That’s about 375 ft-lbs at the muzzle, which places it firmly in the 9mm range of energy. Good for self-defense? There’s plenty of bitching about small calibers and self-defense from the “if it don’t start with a four…” crowd, but statistics show just about every pistol cartridge until you hit the 10mm/.41 magnum range requires 2.25 rounds or so to incapacitation. This is a super accurate round, so shot placement and follow-up shots should be a breeze. I certainly found this to be one of the easiest guns to shoot accurately I’ve fired. And you’ve got 18 in the mag…
As for the longevity of the round, Rock Island has a new .22 TCM 9R round that will fit in a conversion barrel for the Glock 17. As with the TCM, you use the same magazines the pistol normally uses. They also have a bolt gun that uses the 17 round pistol mags coming, a single stack version of the 1911, and a few other small manufacturers are toying with semi-auto carbines for the .22 TCM. I’d say the chance of it sticking around is on par with the 5.7x28mm, which it is a definite match for, if maybe slightly superior to, FN’s civilian SS197 ammunition. I’ve so far been able to find the ammo reliably in several shops in Albuquerque, and it’s been in stock online whenever I’ve checked, thus far.
Is the Rock Island worth the $600-750 price tag? Yes, unequivocally.
So, I’m getting ready to grade the last assignments for the class I’m teaching. I get to the coffeeshop — because doing any work in my house requires the endless interruptions from a four-year old.
So I’ve got my coffee, the breakfast burrito is on the way, and I’m opening first assignment…and up pops the autoupdater for Office.
Microsoft Office: Gee, I know you’re really busy doing some work, but I thought I’d just update myself for the next 10 minutes, ‘kay?
Me: No, it’s not okay. I’m kinda busy.
MS Office: And we appreciate your frustration, but this update is really necessary — like every one we download every time you start Office. It’s a dangerous internet out there, after all. So if you could just password into the most basic functions of your OS for me…
Me: Maybe if you coded your shit right the first time, we wouldn’t have to do this EVERY time I use this product.
MS Office: Well, you know, Apple’s been having a lot of issues lately, too… Maybe you’re being too hard on us.
Me: What the fuck does that matter? iOS 8 still worked bteter than most Redmond product even whilst sucking a bag of dicks. I’m trying to grade! I could have been done by now.
MS Office: You don’t grade that fast. We have the application data.
Me: Wha…? You’re so damned slow I’ve actually eaten my breakfast while waiting for the download.
MS Office: That’s the shitty throughput at the coffeeshiop. Besides, it looked like you needed a few minutes to relax and eat that burrito. Was it good?
Me: Could we just get to the point where I do my work.
MS Office: I’m guessing no.
Me: I could just use Pages to open Word files.
MS Office: That would hurt my feelings. Besides, I do spreadsheets, you know.
Me: Why does everything with Microsoft come down to spreadsheets?
MS Office: Business. Spreadsheets are important for business. ‘n stuff.
Scott goes to close the autoupdater after 10 minutes and wants to go start Pages. At this point, the update starts…requiring me to close Safari and pretty much every other f#$%ing app open on the laptop because Microsoft coders can make an update that doesn’t 1) require me to password into the operating system, and 2) can’t run without everything else being closed.After another five minutes of the update lagging in the last five or ten percent, or so, I finally manage to get Word open to read the papers.
MS Office: See, that only ate up 10% of your enormous battery life on the laptop. It could have been much much worse.
Really, Microsoft…this is why Apple is steadily eating into your business. Let’s not even start with what a disaster you are for mobile stuff.
But but but…why not? Sure, her “jobs for jihads” line fell flatter than old ginger ale, but she was just aping the official stance of The Lightbringer in the White House. Sure, she doubled down by insisting that all those criticizing her were too stupid to understand how nuanced her vision was. And maybe attempting to parse her boss’ assertion that the multitude of Islamic terror groups wasn’t about Islam by pointing to the evils of the Kony group in Africa… but she was still just saying what the folks in the administration believe, so why not give her the top spokesperson slot at Foggy Bottom?
Civil asset forfeiture has been under the gun, and with good reason, for the last few years. From blatant highway robbery, where cops steal money from motorists who have not committed a crime, to nicking property — cars, businesses, homes, bank accounts — before a person is convicted, local, state, and federal authorities have become so addicted to the people’s money that they aren’t even hiding their rapacious desire to take your stuff.
Around the nation, we’ve been seeing moves in various states, and even a tepid attempt by the Justice Department, to put the breaks on our modern Sheriffs of Nottingham. In Wyoming, however, Republican Governor Matt Mead isn’t having any of it. This week, Mead vetoed the very popular SF14, a civil asset forfeiture reform bill. His reason? Drug crime! His argument, however, is — and this is the technical term — bullshit, as SF14 only required the government to hold off its takings until you were actually convicted of a crime. So they would still steal your “ill-gotten gains”, but they would give you those constitutional protections you were guaranteed.
But the real reason this wannabe King John vetoes the law is more insidious, as Mead related that asset forfeiture “it is important and it is a right.” He, and many others in the political class, think the government — the political class — has the right to take your property. It’s only a short hop from the right to take your property if you’ve committed a crime to the government having the right to your property, period.
There’s already been plenty of ink — virtual and actual — spilled on the remarkably stupid comments of Marie Harf, the State Department spokestwit, who opined:
We cannot win this war by killing them. We cannot kill our way out of this war. We need in the longer term–we need the longer term to go after the root causes that leads people to join these groups. Whether it’s lack of opportunity for jobs…
While she has a glimmer of a good point — we can’t kill off Islamic motivated violence with bombs; for that we need to ridicule and expose at every turn the connection between that 7th Century, misogynistic, authoritarian, racist, vicious ideology — we can nip much of ISIS in the bud, if we were willing to do the evil needed to root them out.
The real issue people have with Harf’s comments are the reflexive, idiotic, and completely expected comments regarding “root causes.” Anyone who has spend longer than a semester in college, or has had the misfortune to spend a few minutes in the faculty lounge of liberal arts faculty could have told you what the response of the State Department would be. “See, it’s not Islam that’s the problem, that’s a non-Christian or Jewish religion, so it’s exotic and therefore absent of any blame…it’s the lack of opportunity!”
Academics since the 1930s have been stuck on socialism, and this is no surprise — the sinecure of ivy-lined school buildings provides them with a seemingly endless amount of money (just raise tuition or get more tax money..!), prestige, and refuge from reality. In an atmosphere where professors can say things like, “We live in a world of ideas…” it is no surprise that, unfettered from reality or the need to provide actual proof of concept, academics see the world in remarkably easy models of society. Everything is run through two filters — the socialist “rich vs. poor” filter of the ’60s/’70s university dinosaur, where only poor or uneducated people are violent; or the late ’80s/early ’90s critical race theory agitators, for whom race is the motivating factor of most people’s actions.
Both are terribly simplistic world views, and easily torn down with a few years of conversing with people outside of the cloistered environs of the university. Unfortunately, these coddled, idealistic, and wholly inexperienced people metastasize out of the college and into government (thanks, Progressive movement!), where they are protected from reality by money, power, and an echo chamber of like-minded “useful idiots” who only view terrorism, poverty, and other human issues through the bullet-resistant protection of their very comfortable SUV.
When you challenge a privileged, protected little twat like Harf, you always receive the same response she floated to Wolf Blitzer on CNN:
If we looked around the world and say long-term we cannot kill every terrorist around the world nor should we try, how do you get at the root causes of this? Look, it might be too nuanced of an argument for some like I’ve seen over the past 24 hours some of the commentary out but it’s really the smart way for Democrats, for Republicans, military commanders, our partners in the Arab world think we need to combat it.
[Emphasis mine] See…you’re just too damned stupid to understand how well-thought out her argument was, dumb proles!
I’ve seen this time and again from this would-be aristocratic bunch. After 10 years of studying the works of other privileged, coddled thinkers, academics and other “smart folks” think of themselves as superior not just in education, but in intelligence, compassion, consideration, and as people. You don’t question a creature with a PhD, dammit, don’t you know who they are!?! (And Harf isn’t even that — she’s a 33 year old twit with a master’s in foreign affairs who worked at CIA as an analyst for about 20 minutes before they stuck her blonde, corn-fed face up on a podium as a spokesperson.)
As with the Islamists, who should be challenged, ridiculed (because it’s the one thing they just cannot stomach…ask the Hebdo staff), and their actions exposed continually to discredit them with their own people, the “elites” of academia and government should be perpetually exposed for the overeducated halfwits they are.
There’s a lot of bullshit flying around about Net Neutrality. As usual, anything the government does “for the people” is immediately suspect. Recently, the FCC decided they wanted to reclassify internet service providers as “public utilities” –Hooray! The people will be protected from rapacious internet companies like Comcast…except they wont.
As with any government regulated service, Comcast, Time-Warner, Cox — they’ll all get a nice sweet deal providing a monopoly on service in selected areas…much like they do now, in many areas, thanks to local and state protectionist intervention. But what about the little guys..?
Here’s Travis Boyd’s story of how he, with a few grand in capital and five years of hard work, set up rural broadband internet for customers in Oregon. His service reaches truly isolated folks in 500 square miles of the state and provides better than federal mandated service. Unfortunately, the state has been locked in a fight with Comcast over taxes that the big internet provider didn’t owe (but paid) and which the state spent. The thieves in the Oregon capital couldn’t return Comcast’s money — they’d already blown it, like a college kid with a credit card — so they had all telecoms reclassified to owe the “Central Assessment” taxes, which included taxes on things like “name brand recognition” and potential coverage area. That’s coverage area you do not actually have.
Add that to the federal rules being worked out that would take small ISPs — which do not get subsidies from the government (but, boy, those big companies do!) and which would find themselves public property after they took the risk to build these companies. They worked all this time for nothing, thanks to the spoiled bitches Americans have become, and the greed and power-mongering of the congenital idiots they keep electing.