Ireland

Signs Of The Time, Part 105

Lausanne, Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Center, publisher of the World Competitiveness Yearbook, “the leading annual report on the competitiveness of countries,” has just released its 28th edition of the publication. From their website:

The USA toppled as world’s most competitive economy
IMD World Competitiveness rankings released

30 May 2016 – The USA has surrendered its status as the world’s most competitive economy after being overtaken by China Hong Kong and Switzerland, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Center.

The sheer power of the economy of the USA is no longer sufficient to keep it at the top of the prestigious World Competitiveness Ranking, which it has led for the past three years.

The IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group within IMD business school, has published the ranking each year since 1989 and it is widely regarded as the foremost annual assessment of the competitiveness of countries.

The 2016 edition ranks China Hong Kong first, Switzerland second and the USA third, with Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada completing the top 10…

“USA third”

Disappointing to hear, but not altogether shocking.

You can read the entire piece on IMD’s website here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 Asia, Europe, North America, Signs Of The Time Comments Off on Signs Of The Time, Part 105

Gun Registration Often Leads To Confiscation, As New Yorkers Find Out Once More

Why Gun Rights Advocates Oppose Gun Registration

A centralized registration system is the one usually proposed by gun control activists, and it is the type most feared by gun rights advocates. At the heart of resistance to registration is the belief that it encourages firearm prohibitions and ultimately leads to confiscation. (It is also why many choose not to comply and register weapons already owned.)

Those who favor more gun control often accuse gun owners of being paranoid, but the track record of firearms registration is not a good one.”

-GunCite.com, popular firearms information website, August 24, 2007

Supporters of more gun “control” in the United States routinely push for the registration of firearms.

And, “Don’t worry,” they like to say, “No one is going to take away your guns.”

Problem is, history repeatedly shows otherwise.

I blogged backed on January 14, 2013:

Gun registration often leads to confiscation. From the latest edition of Gun Facts, a popular firearm reference book:

Myth: Registration does not lead to confiscation

Fact: It did in Canada. The handgun registration law of 1934 was the source used to identify and confiscate (without compensation) over half of the registered handguns in 2001.
Fact: It did in Germany. The (before the Nazis came into power) required all firearms to be registered. When Hitler came into power, the existing lists were used for confiscating weapons.
Fact: It did in Australia. In 1996, the Australian government confiscated over 660,000 previously legal weapons from their citizens.
Fact: It did in California. The 1989 Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act required registration. Due to shifting definitions of “assault weapons,” many legal firearms are now being confiscated by the California government.
Fact: It did in New York City. In 1967, New York City passed an ordinance requiring a citizen to obtain a permit to own a rifle or shotgun, which would then be registered. In 1991, the city passed a ban on the private possession of some semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and “registered” owners were told that those firearms had to be surrendered, rendered inoperable, or taken out of the city.
Fact: It did in Bermuda, Cuba, Greece, Ireland, Jamaica, and Soviet Georgia as well.

Now, you can add the “Big Apple” to that list for a second time. Edmund DeMarche reported on the FOX News website earlier today:

The New York City Police Department is taking aim at owners of shotguns and rifles capable of holding more than five rounds, demanding such guns be surrendered, altered or taken out of the city.

The demand came in the form of some 500 letters mailed out to owners of registered long guns that are in violation of a 2010 city ordinance. The first option for the letter’s recipient is to, “Immediately surrender your Rifle and/or Shotgun to your local police precinct, and notify this office of the invoice number. The firearm may be sold or permanently removed from the City of New York thereafter.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Surrendered, altered or taken out of the city.”

Sound familiar?

“Question: Why is it, every time I buy and register a gun in New York City, it gets confiscated?

Man, funk dat!”


Sagat, “Funk Dat” (1993)
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Smith, Guy. Gun Facts Version 6.1. Guy Smith, 2012.

DeMarche, Edmund. “NYPD cracks down on long guns that hold more than five rounds.” FOX News. 5 Dec. 2013. (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/12/05/nypd-targets-owners-multi-clip-shotguns-rifles/?intcmp=latestnews). 5 Dec. 2013.

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Cook County Implementing Gun Registration?

Taking to heart Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s opinion about letting no crisis go to waste, both the City of Chicago and Cook County are joining together to push more gun “control” on their law-abiding residents in the aftermath of Newtown, Connecticut. From the Ward Room blog on the website of Chicago NBC affiliate Channel 5 yesterday:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is seeking to broaden a requirement for gun owners to report the loss, theft or sale of firearms to include all of Cook County

For the first time, similar reporting requirements would be expanded to all of Cook County under companion legislation that’s been drawn up.

County Board President Toni Preckwinkle plans to introduce that legislation at a county board meeting on Wednesday.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“To report the loss, theft or sale of firearms to include all of Cook County.”

“Report… sale of firearms.”

Should the proposed legislation pass, when a firearm is sold in Cook County, would information about the gun, seller, and purchaser, now be provided to County officials?

Sounds like this could be a new gun registry in the works.

Back on November 23, 2012, I blogged about Cook County’s recently-adopted $25 per gun “violence tax” on firearm purchases in the county also being a possible gun registration scheme.

Gun registration often leads to confiscation. From the latest edition of Gun Facts, a popular firearm reference book:

Myth: Registration does not lead to confiscation

Fact: It did in Canada. The handgun registration law of 1934 was the source used to identify and confiscate (without compensation) over half of the registered handguns in 2001.

Fact: It did in Germany. The 1928 Law on Firearms and Ammunition (before the Nazis came into power) required all firearms to be registered. When Hitler came into power, the existing lists were used for confiscating weapons.

Fact: It did in Australia. In 1996, the Australian government confiscated over 660,000 previously legal weapons from their citizens.

Fact: It did in California. The 1989 Roberti-Roos Assault Weapons Control Act required registration. Due to shifting definitions of “assault weapons,” many legal firearms are now being confiscated by the California government.

Fact: It did in New York City. In 1967, New York City passed an ordinance requiring a citizen to obtain a permit to own a rifle or shotgun, which would then be registered. In 1991, the city passed a ban on the private possession of some semi-automatic rifles and shotguns, and “registered” owners were told that those firearms had to be surrendered, rendered inoperable, or taken out of the city.

Fact: It did in Bermuda, Cuba, Greece, Ireland, Jamaica, and Soviet Georgia as well.

Nothing on the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) website about this. Not surprising, considering how active the gun “control” supporters are these days.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“Chicago Gun Rules Could Extend to All Cook County.” Ward Room. 13 Jan. 2013. (http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Chicago-Gun-Rules-Could-Extend-to-All-Cook-County-186728431.html). 14 Jan. 2013.

Smith, Guy. Gun Facts Version 6.1. Guy Smith, 2012.

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Monday, January 14th, 2013 Australia, Europe, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Hunting, Self-Defense, Shooting Sports Comments Off on Cook County Implementing Gun Registration?

U.S. Falls To 15th In Democracy Rankings

Back when I was toiling away on “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street” a couple of years ago, I came across something that made me chuckle. I don’t remember the source, but in the wake of all the government bailouts and intervention after the global financial crisis really reared its ugly head in 2008, it was said one of the most popular books in Russia at the time was Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations.

While in America, Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto was a hot item.

I have a feeling this was more commentary than fact, but what reminded me of this was something I stumbled on the other day on the Washington Times website. Jennifer Harper blogged on the Water Cooler on December 17:

A new rating of the most “democratic” nations on the planet places the U.S. in 15th place in a list of 104 countries. Who made the assessment? The Vienna, Austria-based Democracy Ranking annually rates the democracy among world populations based on “quality,” taking into account such factors as political rights, civil liberty, press freedom, corruption, political stability, “gender gap” issues and myriad socioeconomic indicators.

Nordic nations — where governments tend to flirt with socialism — dominate the lead. The top 10 nations on the list are Norway, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Denmark, Netherlands, New Zealand, Germany, Ireland and Austria.

Harper noted that the United States dropped from 14th to 15th place in the latest rankings.

Next time some politician or somebody else proclaims we live in a model democracy, a beacon for the world to follow, I’ll have to remember these rankings.

In the meantime, it’s business as usual here in Amerika.


“Glenn Beck presents the Obama National Anthem”
YouTube Video

Just kidding. I’ll keep toiling on in the plutocracy.

You can find out more about the Democracy Ranking’s findings on their website here.

Source:

Harper, Jennifer. “’Most democratic’: U.S. is 15th on the list.” Water Cooler. 17 Dec. 2012. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/watercooler/2012/dec/17/most-democratic-us-15th-list/). 20 Dec. 2012.

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Thursday, December 20th, 2012 Corruption, Europe, Freedom, Government, Socialism Comments Off on U.S. Falls To 15th In Democracy Rankings

60 Minutes Segment About Eurozone Crisis, Potential Impact On United States

We’re in a debt crisis. Eurozone countries have way too much debt. We have gorged on debt. We are living beyond out means. And after 10 years of booming economic times- it is now payback time. We are paying back our credit cards, and that will prove very painful and costly…

Well, the U.S. is doing terribly well at the moment. However, clearly if the Eurozone has a really bad time of it this year, which it could well do, then America will not escape unscathed.

-Louise Cooper, Senior Financial Analyst at BGC Partners, talking to Steve Kroft in a recent interview that appeared on the CBS show 60 Minutes this past Sunday. Cooper has been called “The Downturn Diva” by the British press.


“An Imperfect Union: Europe’s debt crisis”
CBS News Video

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Tuesday, April 10th, 2012 Bailouts, Bankruptcy, Civil Strife, Credit, Currencies, Debt Crisis, Defaults, Europe, Fiscal Policy, Government, Recession, Recovery Comments Off on 60 Minutes Segment About Eurozone Crisis, Potential Impact On United States

European Central Bank Attempts To Shield Spain And Italy From Debt Contagion

I’d be willing to bet most Americans thought Monday’s carnage on Wall Street was the direct result of Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the United States’ credit rating. However, developments across the pond related to the lingering sovereign debt crisis may have contributed to the sell-off as well. From the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Blackstone and Charles Forelle today:

The European Central Bank delivered on its promise to purchase Italian and Spanish bonds on a large scale, calming investors who had grown increasingly worried that euro-zone leaders might sit idly by while the debt crisis engulfed Spain and Italy.

Government bond yields of Spain and Italy plunged Monday, as did their yield spreads over safe German bonds. Italy’s 10-year bond yield fell to around 5.3% from just over 6%. Spain’s fell even further, to 5.15%.

The ECB bought those countries’ bonds for the first time since creating its debt-purchase program 15 months ago, said traders. The ECB didn’t say how much it bought or confirm what bonds it purchased, but estimates range from around €3.5 billion ($5 billion) to as high as €5 billion. In an interview with German broadcaster ZDF on Monday, ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said the central bank’s actions “undoubtedly were significant,” and necessary to ensure that its interest-rate policies functioned smoothly…

The ECB’s purchases of Italian and Spanish bonds were no help to European equities, which tumbled along with the rest of the global markets Monday. Bourses in London, Paris and Frankfurt all traded lower; German and French indexes each shed more than 4%.

Well, if anyone still believed Spain and Italy were strong enough economically so as to be somehow immune to the debt contagion that’s already claimed Greece, Ireland, and Portugal, these actions by the European Central Bank demonstrate otherwise. And due to the size of their economies, such a condition is worrisome. Blackstone and Forelle noted:

Italy and Spain, the region’s third- and fourth-largest economies, have a combined gross domestic product of nearly €2.7 trillion, almost 30% of the euro zone total. Royal Bank of Scotland economists estimate the ECB and Europe’s bailout fund will eventually have to own €850 billion of Spanish and Italian bonds to safeguard those countries.

It might be a good idea to keep monitoring the sovereign debt situation over in Europe. Investors may be easing up after the ECB’s actions, but keep in mind that no intervention would have been necessary if the rosy pictures that had been painted recently of these two major European players were really true.

Source:

Blackstone, Brian and Forelle, Charles. “Italian, Spanish Bond Yields Decline.” Wall Street Journal. 9 Aug. 2011. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904480904576496363709187284.html?mod=googlenews_wsj). 8 Aug. 2011.

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Monday, August 8th, 2011 Bailouts, Banking, Bonds, Debt Crisis, Europe, Government Comments Off on European Central Bank Attempts To Shield Spain And Italy From Debt Contagion

Dennis Gartman Predicts ‘All The PIIGS Will Go Bankrupt’

Yesterday I discussed the potential impact on the United States should Greece and Portugal default on their debt. As most of you might already know, these two European states belong to a group of nations referred to as the “PIIGS.” From Investopedia.com:

An acronym used to refer to the five Eurozone nations, which were considered weaker economically following the financial crisis: Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain.

And one veteran investor who correctly-called the 2008 commodities pull-back thinks each of the PIIGS will soon be going bankrupt. From Lee Brodie on the CNBC website yesterday:

Will the EU ever corner the problem?

According to strategic investor Dennis Gartman the short answer is ‘No.’ He tells Fast Money it ain’t gonna’ happen.

Although he concedes problems will probably be contained in the short-term – in the long-term he doesn’t see the situation playing out terribly well, at all.

In fact he tells us that he expects “all the PIIGS will go bankrupt.” And not 10 or 20 years from now. Gartman says prepare for it to start happening “sometime over the next year and a half. But they’re all going to go.”

Stay tuned…

Source:

Brodie, Lee. “Dennis Gartman: PIIGS Will Go Bankrupt Within 18 Months.” CNBC. 6 July 2011. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/43656127). 7 July 2011.

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Thursday, July 7th, 2011 Bankruptcy, Crash Prophets, Debt Crisis, Defaults, Europe Comments Off on Dennis Gartman Predicts ‘All The PIIGS Will Go Bankrupt’

How Americans Could Be Impacted By Defaults In Greece Or Portugal

Despite the persistent claims of Pollyannas worldwide that the global economy is humming along just fine these days, it seems as if there’s no end to the number of destabilizing factors popping up. Even as I watched the financial news late last night, CNBC Europe reporter Rebecca Meehan astutely-noted that as it concerns Europe, as soon as one crisis seems to be brought under control (Greece), another one is quick to pop up (Portugal). MarketWatch’s John Kell explained the situation on the Iberian peninsula yesterday:

Moody’s Investors Service issued a four-notch downgrade on Portugal’s rating, placing the European nation into junk as the ratings agency expressed concern about the growing risk of a second round of financing before it can return to the private market.

The woes surrounding Portugal come as Greece, another flailing European nation, continues to worry international markets about possible default on its debt. Like Portugal, Greece was also told to cut its budget deficit sharply, but has been unable to do so. Portugal is aiming the cut the deficit to 5.9% of gross domestic product this year, from over 9% in 2010, and then to 3% by 2013.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

If you’re like me, you may be curious about what kind of impact a Portuguese or Greek default might have on the United States. Well, the Los Angeles Times’ Walter Hamilton wrote about Greece’s situation on July 2 and provided a glimpse of what could happen if one of these smaller European states defaults on their debt. From the article:

What would happen if Greece defaulted?

The biggest threat would be a drying up of credit worldwide. As banks and other lenders are hit with losses, they could drastically rein in lending activity, thus throwing a monkey wrench into the global economy.

Although Greece represents just a sliver of the overall European economy, economists worry about the threat of “contagion” spreading to other troubled economies, such as Ireland, Portugal and possibly Spain, all of which are stricken with anemic or nonexistent growth and heavy debt.

“Contagion is the real issue, not Greece per se,” said Gary Schlossberg, senior economist at Wells Capital Management.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“…drying up of credit worldwide.” As if getting banks to lend these days weren’t hard enough already. Even after they’ve been showered with taxpayer money.

Sources:

Kell, John. “Moody’s cuts Portugal to junk; outlook negative.” MarketWatch. 5 July 2011. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/moodys-cuts-portugal-to-junk-outlook-negative-2011-07-05?dist=beforebell). 6 July 2011.

Hamilton, Walter. “How Greece’s debt crisis affects U.S. investors and consumers.” Los Angeles Times. 2 July 2011. (http://articles.latimes.com/2011/jul/02/business/la-fi-greece-qa-20110702). 6 July 2011.

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Wednesday, July 6th, 2011 Banking, Credit, Debt Crisis, Defaults, Europe Comments Off on How Americans Could Be Impacted By Defaults In Greece Or Portugal

U.S. Taxpayers On The Hook For Portugal Bailout?

The bailouts keep coming in Europe. Greece, Ireland, and now Portugal, it seems. From Reuters’s Shrikesh Laxmidas this morning:

Portugal has reached a deal with the European Union and the IMF on a 78 billion euro 3-year bailout, although it is yet to be backed by the opposition and agreed by euro zone finance ministers in mid-May.

Below are some of the main terms of the bailout package, according to a copy of the memorandum of understanding obtained by Reuters:

BAILOUT LOAN VALUE, RATES, TIMETABLE

* Portugal to receive 78 billion euros [$115.7 billion] in loans, including up to 12 billion euros for the banking sector.

* The loans will span until 2013, after which Portugal is expected return to markets to finance itself.

* The interest rate Portugal will pay on the loans will be set by euro zone finance ministers at a meeting in mid-May.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

While that 78 billion euro figure is being tossed around publicly, it’s being reported that the bailout might end up costing more. Reuters’ Luke Baker wrote this morning:

Portuguese government officials said the aid would total 78 billion euros, with 12 billion of that going to Portugal’s banks. But a senior euro zone source said the range EU officials were working with was still 75-90 billion euros, depending on how much the banks ended up needing.

The figures are expected to be finalized in talks in the coming days, the source said.

Factoring in Portugal, the total cost of European bailouts to date could be close to 285 billion euros ($423.4 billion). Baker added:

The bailout means three of the euro zone’s 17 countries are now effectively in financial intensive care — Greece accepted 110 billion euros of bilateral loans a year ago and Ireland signed an 85 billion euro bailout last November — with the long-term fiscal and economic prognosis for all three clouded.

And here’s the kicker. According to one U.S. congresswoman, through it’s obligations to the International Monetary Fund, American taxpayers are helping pick up a portion of the bill for these bailouts. Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) explained on the BigGovernment.com website back on April 18:

Recently, Portugal officially requested a $116 billion bailout from the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. This makes Portugal the third European nation to seek such a bailout in the past year (Greece got $157 billion; Ireland $122 billion). What most people don’t realize is that the U.S. is the largest contributor to the IMF.

Therefore, U.S. taxpayers are paying for Portugal’s bailout which– like the earlier bailouts of Greece and Ireland – was caused by too much government spending and borrowing…

While the IMF refuses to provide a reliable number, we estimate that America’s contribution to a Portuguese bailout is equal to writing a check worth $600 for every man and woman in Portugal. This largesse makes it more likely that larger counties – particularly, Spain and Italy – will be standing in line for U.S. tax dollars tomorrow. That is unacceptable. We cannot take the “too big to fail” philosophy to a global level. The only thing “too big to fail’ is America itself.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Sources:

Laxmidas, Shrikesh. “Factbox: Main terms of EU/IMF bailout deal for Portugal.” Reuters. 4 May 2011. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/04/us-portugal-bailout-idUSTRE7433KA20110504). 4 May 2011.

Baker, Luke. “ Euro zone takes third debt crisis patient into care.” Reuters. 4 May. 2011. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/04/us-eurozone-idUSTRE7432S720110504). 4 May 2011.

McMorris Rodgers, Cathy. “U.S. Taxpayers on the Hook for Portugal Bailout.” BigGovernment.com. 18 Apr. 2011. (http://biggovernment.com/crodgers/2011/04/18/u-s-taxpayers-on-the-hook-for-portugal-bailout/). 4 May 2011.

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Wednesday, May 4th, 2011 Bailouts, Banking, Borrowing, Debt Crisis, Europe, Government, Main Street, Spending Comments Off on U.S. Taxpayers On The Hook For Portugal Bailout?

Portugal, Greece See Credit Ratings Downgraded, Survey Suggests European Defaults

While the mainstream media keeps talking about a reviving U.S. economy this week- bad news piles up across the pond. From the New York Times’ Matthew Saltmarsh yesterday:

Standard & Poor’s said Tuesday that it had cut its sovereign credit ratings for Portugal and Greece, piling further pressure on the two countries with heavy debt loads, weak economies and moribund banks.

S. & P. cut Portugal’s rating to BBB– from BBB, with a negative outlook, the agency’s second downgrade of the country since Friday. BBB- is the agency’s lowest investment grade rating and is just one notch above junk. The Greek rating, which had already been cut to junk, was lowered to BB– from BB+.

Richard McGuire, a fixed income strategist at Rabobank in London, said the steps confirmed investor perceptions that Greece would have to default on some of it debt and that a similar outcome was “increasingly likely” for Portugal. He added that the European bailout mechanisms were inadequate, likening them to attaching a first-aid bandage “to a festering wound.”

“It’s a liquidity solution to a solvency problem,” he added.

The downgrades come after the results of a BBC World Service survey of European economists were published which showed many of them think Greece might default on its debt. BBC News’ Andrew Walker wrote Monday:

Greece is likely to default on its sovereign debt, according to the majority of respondents to a BBC World Service survey of European economists.

Two-thirds of the 52 respondents forecast a default, but most said the euro would survive in its current form…

Nearly two-thirds of respondents – 25 out of 38 – said there would be a default. All of them said Greece would probably fail to pay all its debts…

More than a third – 14 – said the Irish Republic would do so as well. Seven of them… predicted a default by Portugal.

Sources:

Saltmarsh, Matthew. “S.&P. Downgrades Portugal and Greece Again.” New York Times. 29 Mar. 2011. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/business/global/30euro.html). 30 Mar. 2011.

Walker, Andrew. “Euro economists expect Greek default, BBC survey finds.” BBC News. 28 Mar. 2011. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-12864413). 30 Mar. 2011.

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Wednesday, March 30th, 2011 Debt Crisis, Defaults, Europe Comments Off on Portugal, Greece See Credit Ratings Downgraded, Survey Suggests European Defaults
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