Another step closer

250px-Gadsden_flag.svgThe big news today is Obama’s threat to use Executive Orders to create more gun [control] regulations.

The executive actions could include giving the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention authority to conduct national research on guns, more aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws and pushing for wider sharing of existing gun databases among federal and state agencies, members of Congress in the meeting said. — The Politico

It’s alarming that one of the changes is to merge state and federal databases (like NICS?) into a consolidated one (registry) of firearms and owners. Exactly the type of registration that the NICS database is forbidden to do by law. At one time, Missouri Sheriff’s had source documents, the old Pistol Purchase Permits. Those documents could, at that time, be used to create such a database of pistol owners. Those pistol permits were abolished when CCW was passed a number of years ago and no longer exists.

What such an Executive Order would do is to attempt to ignore existing federal law and create a national firearms registry through the back door. NICS is “supposed” to purge their data of who is buying a firearm. As I understand it, the call to NICS is just to determine if the buyer—not what he/she is buying, has a criminal record and therefore not allowed by law to buy a firearm.

There has been instances where information has been leaked that the FBI failed to follow the law and purge that buyers list from the database.

The FBI’s NICS E-Check system is capable of accurately tracking and reporting on usage as each case is assigned a unique control number and is associated with a specific user identification number.45 In a conference call between the OIG Inspection Team, NLC staff, and the FBI’s NICS Section, a manager at the NICS Section told the OIG that the NICS data are complete and accurate because, “It’s the system that did the checks and nothing has been purged.” — OIG Report on BATFE use of NICS.

There was a suit that extended the retention of buyer data to six months contrary to the intent and actual language of the law. The court decision was not based on law nor precedent but on an administrative need by the government.

The question then evolves to this. Can Obama force the creation of a national database of gunowners and weapons without violating existing federal law? The government may, in its bowels, have information on weapons from manufacturers, distributors and FFLs. But, without access to individual 4473 forms, NICS is the only existing federal database that has any buyer data. If the BATFE attempts to seize 4473 records from FFL, that is also illegal and we would soon learn of any such attempt.

So what is this announcement of 19 new Executive Orders to “tighten” gun control all about? A real attempt to violate federal law, to infringe on the Constitution right to own and bear arms in violation of the 2nd Amendment? Or, is it just another push, another nudge limiting our basic liberties, hoping the ‘Pubs won’t push back. A plan of incremental tyranny?

Someone asked me last Thanksgiving where our country stood at this time. My response, “The same as the nation was in January, 1860.” My estimate of the date way have been premature. Lincoln was elected in November, 1860. His announcement of sweeping reforms that affected the South pushed South Carolina into secession in December 1860.

Obama was re-elected in November 2012. He has now announced sweeping “reforms” affecting our liberty, economic stability, infringing on our 2nd Amendment rights, and failing to support and defend the Constitution. Examining the parallels between then and now, is our nation at the December, 1860 threshold? Sean Hannity thinks we may.

Going home

The Chinese are picking up their marbles and going home.  A few years ago, Chinese companies ran to the US and entered the US market and exchanges. Now, just a few years later, they are leaving and going home. There are a number of reasons why, but US regulation and required regular documentation are factors.

China was once a communist state. Now it has evolved into a nation based on state capitalism.  In past times it would be called fascism—another form of state capitalism.

Yahoo Financial News has the story.

Chinese companies pull out of US stock markets

Chinese firms leave US stock markets amid complaints about price, accounting scrutiny

By Joe Mcdonald, AP Business Writer | Associated Press

BEIJING (AP) — Just a few years after Chinese companies lined up to sell shares on Wall Street, a growing number are reversing course and pulling out of U.S. exchanges.

This week, Focus Media Holding Ltd., announced its chairman and private equity firms want to buy back its U.S.-traded shares and take the Shanghai-based advertising company private. The deal would value Focus Media at $3.5 billion, according to financial information firm Dealogic.

Smaller companies also are withdrawing from U.S. exchanges. In a sign of official encouragement, a Chinese business magazine said a state bank has provided $1 billion in loans to help companies with listings abroad move them to domestic exchanges.

The withdrawals follow accusations of improper accounting by some companies and a deadlock between Beijing and Washington over whether U.S. regulators can oversee their China-based auditors.

Some Chinese companies say they are pulling out of U.S. markets because a low share price fails to reflect the strength of their business. Withdrawing also eliminates the cost of complying with American financial reporting rules.

Focus Media “has been seriously undervalued on U.S. stock markets” and being taken private will help to promote its “long-term strategic development,” said a company spokeswoman, Lu Jing.

U.S.-traded Chinese companies faced scrutiny after auditors for several quit and others were accused of accounting irregularities. Concerns about company finances have caused share prices to tumble, costing investors several billion dollars.

“Probably all these companies have some questionable accounting, so they may prefer to move out of the U.S., not to come under too much scrutiny,” said Marc Faber, managing director of Hong Kong fund management company Marc Faber Ltd.

Some analysts compare the current Chinese companies with the Robber Barons of the 19th Century like Carnegie, Astor, Rockefeller, Gould, Morgan and many others. The Chinese, as far as treatment of their employees, are still in the 19th Century. That cheap labor enables them to compete.

How long they will last is another question and there are already rumbles that the Chinese workers are about to turn and demand the same treatment as other workers around the work.  It would be ironic that for a formerly communist nation to be beset with strikes and the formation of non-state unions.

Perhaps we should abolish unions here in the US and send them to China.  That’d stop Chinese progress for another hundred years.

Updated: Have you noticed the gas prices lately?

Update (November 18, 6:30pm CST): My wife returned home an hour ago and reported that the price for unleaded regular has broken the $3 level—$2.999 at two separate stations.  I can’t remember how long it has been since prices were that low.


I made a few comments at a couple of internet sites this week that my local gas prices are approaching the $3 line.  Coming down towards that line, that is.  Earlier this week, unleaded regular at my neighborhood gas station was $3.049/gallon.  Yesterday it dropped to $3.029/gallon.  Some of my neighbors wonder if the price will drop through the $3 line before Thanksgiving.  (Everyone expects the price to rise on or just before Thanksgiving although I remember that has not always happened in the past.)

At the same time, I read on Drudge and other sites that the price of Brent crude rose above $100/barrel during trading. How can our local pump price drop while the world crude price rises?  

US and Canadian domestic crude production. 

There is a glut of US and Canadian crude that has offset the price of international crude. That glut is stored in a place call Cushing, OK.

Greg Knapp, a local radio host, interviewed an oil industry analysis, Loren Steffy of the Houston Chronicle.  That interview is available via MP3 here.

Steffy noted that US refineries are working to utilize this domestic supply. At the moment, they’re set up to use imported oil via tankers.  When pipelines can be redirected to accept oil from the Cushing Tank Farm, there will be an immediate impact on the availability of oil.  We will be less vulnerable to variances of overseas oil supply—like the recent  and ongoing civil wars in Libya and Nigeria.

Steffy does not expect the current low gas prices to last.  They, like all commodities, are subject to the law of supply and demand.  At the moment we have more supply that we have demand and that is driving the gasoline prices down.

The trend, however, is towards equalization.  If we have a glut, we will sell that glut either here in the US or overseas.  There is demand for our product as seen in the revitalization of the Dakota oil fields and the central western states of Colorado and Wyoming.

The bottom line is to enjoy these low prices while they last.  The US industry could manage these prices to all our benefit if—we can get rid of the opposition of the bureaucrats in Washington and their liberal political supporters.

I urge you to listen to the MP3 interview linked above.  It will be an education.