Bloomberg TV Ad Off Target For NC Gun Owners

Cornelius, N.C. – Forget Raleigh! Now New York City is trying to tell people in Charlotte what to do.

The billionaire mayor of the Big Apple, Michael Bloomberg, is spending $12 million of his own cash on a TV ad that is trying to influence the gun law debate in Washington, D.C.

The campaign is not so much about gun control as it is about universal background checks.

National polls show the issue has wide spread support. But people in Charlotte say the law in North Carolina is not the problem.

“Hey ladies, how are you doing tonight?” asks the attendant at The Range at Lake Norman in Cornelius.

“Checking in for ladies night,” said one enthusiast.

It’s the last Tuesday of the month, which means women – new or experienced with firearms – can have fun shooting at targets.

“It’s great,” said Huntersville resident Amy Shafer. “It’s a great release and it’s a great skill to have.”

These are the people a new TV ad wants to reach and convince to support universal background checks.

“I’ve owned a gun all my life,” says a man in the ad, sitting in the back of a pickup truck and holding a firearm in his hand. “Closing loopholes will stop criminals and the mentally ill from buying guns.”

“I think we have plenty of laws in the books,” said Taylorsville resident Karen Haines. “I don’t think another one is going to make us any safer.”

The ad is aimed at North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and her yes vote on gun control legislation.

“I’m hoping this will not influence her,” said Haines. “I’m hoping she will listen to constituents such as myself.”

“Everyone in the industry talks about the best salesman in this industry,” said The Range co-owner Brian Sisson, “is sitting in the White House.”

While Sisson believes the Bloomberg ad may sway some to support that cause, others will become gun owners.

“We’ve got enough restrictions in place already,” is what Sisson believes viewers might say after watching the ads. “I’m going out to get more (guns) before they try to put more (restrictions) in place.”

“No matter what you want to buy,” said Carolina Sporting Arms lead instructor Rob Hunter, “we have to perform a background check.”

Any time there’s a push for more gun laws in Washington, Hunter says people buy up guns and ammunition.

As for supporting universal background checks, he says North Carolina already has strict rules.

“If you have a lawful individual who is wanting to do things the right way, they’re going to follow the letter of the law,” said Hunter.

FOX Charlotte reached out to Bloomberg’s organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns. None of the members live around Charlotte and the mayor’s PR firm never called back.

New gun laws could mean economic woes for booming gun industry

As lawmakers consider a range of new restrictions on guns, the gun industry is growing nervous that its exceptional success during the “Great Recession” could be coming to an end.

In the past four years, the gun industry has experienced an unprecedented level of growth, providing a rare boost to the ailing economy.

But now, with states like New York and Colorado passing some of the strictest gun laws in decades — and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid poised to bring a sweeping new gun control measure to the Senate floor — worries are growing about the widespread impact such gun laws could have on business.

The gun industry employs approximately 220,000 highly skilled workers, according to a recent report released by the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Over the past two years, while the rest of the country faced unemployment rates above 8 percent, the gun industry added more than 37,000 new jobs, with average salary of $47,000.

The report states that in 2012 alone, the industry paid $5.1 billion in federal taxes and was responsible for $33.6 billion in economic activity.

Demand for new guns is high. FBI background checks for new guns through America’s 130,000 licensed firearm dealers have doubled since 2006, but with politicians pushing for various bans on firearms and magazines, the era of growth in the gun industry may be coming to an end.

“It’s unfortunate. We don’t want to lay anyone off, but there is always the potential of layoffs,” said Joseph H. Bartozzi, CEO of shotgun and rifle manufacturer Mossberg & Sons.

Most concerning to gun companies is the potential reinstatement a version of the 1994 assault weapons ban, which could be passed as an amendment to the bill that Reid will likely present in April.

 “If there were a federal ban on modern sporting rifles, which are mislabeled ‘assault weapons,’ it would mean a ban on the most popular semi-automatic rifle in the US,” Mike Bazinet, public affairs director at the National Shooting Sports Foundation, told The Daily Caller.

For Bartozzi, it is the passage of legislation at the state level – not just the federal level — that has him worried.

Read full story from the Daily Caller here

Homeland Security buying pricey ammo as department-wide cuts take hold

The Department of Homeland Security is spending more and more on pricey hollow-point bullets for law-enforcement officers — even as it plans to enforce furloughs and other cuts on Customs and Border Protection employees due to sequestration.

The Department of Homeland Security plans to buy more than 1.6 billion rounds over the next five years for training and on-duty purposes. They cite the numerous law enforcement agencies contained within the department with employees who carry weapons. But the purchases have led to criticism that the agency is spending money on bullets that can cost twice as much as regular ammo — and questions over whether those bullets are really needed for training purposes.

“Obviously you want to know how a hollow point is going to cycle through your weapon,” Scott McCurley, manager for Maryland-based Horst and McCann firing range and a former soldier for the U.S. Army, told FoxNews.com. “But I don’t think there’s much of a difference when training. One box of rounds per gun is enough. The cost outweighs the purpose.”

It’s unclear how many of the total rounds sought would be hollow-point, but a recent solicitation specifically called for 360,000 rounds of hollow-point bullets.

Rep. Leonard Lance, R-N.J., who last week wrote a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano asking about the rationale for the purchases, also questioned the cost.

“With sequestration in effect, and the federal debt approaching a record $17 trillion, members of Congress like Leonard Lance believe our federal government should not be spending taxpayer dollars on the stockpiling of billions of rounds of ammunition,” his chief of staff Todd Mitchell said in a statement to FoxNews.com. “That’s why it’s important for DHS officials to explain the need and foundation for this acquisition.”

Others disagree, saying that it’s important to use the same equipment during training as in the field.

“I have no idea why they would need 1.6 billion rounds, but the reality is that it is essential to train with the same ammo as you would use in real situations,” Steven Howard, a Michigan-based attorney, and weapons and ammunition expert, told FoxNews.com.

A box of 25 rounds of hollow-point bullets can cost double the price of regular, full metal jacket bullets at up to $40 per box.

A statement issued from the Department of Homeland Security maintains the position the agency has taken in recent weeks.

“DHS routinely establishes strategic sourcing contracts that combine the requirements of all its components for commonly purchased goods and services such as ammunition, computer equipment, and information technology services. These strategic sourcing contracts help leverage the purchasing power of DHS to efficiently procure equipment and supplies,” the statement reads.

The statement said one solicitation under the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center has a ceiling of up to 750 million rounds, which the department said allows “flexibility over the next 5 years for training of over 90 federal agencies.”

“A separate 5-year department-wide contract allows the purchase of UP TO 450 million rounds of duty ammunition for our law enforcement officers and agents,” the statement also reads. That contract applies to all DHS agencies except the Coast Guard, which uses Pentagon ammo contracts.

“With more than 100,000 armed law enforcement personnel in DHS, significant quantities of ammunition are used to support law enforcement operations, quarterly qualifications, and training, to include advanced firearms training exercises,” the department said.

Howard notes that use of hollow-point ammo by law enforcement officers is more efficient and even safer for the public.

“It (hollow points) cuts down on ricochets which means few bystanders will be hit. Hollow points rarely go through one target,” He said.

Officials at the Department of Homeland Security told FoxNews.com that the amount of ammunition is simply a “ceiling” or estimate and does not mean that DHS will buy or require the full amount of ammo. They also said that the number of rounds purchased annually by the department has remained steady since 2009 and that the amounts ordered are usually much less as they are purchased on an “as-needed basis.”

During the fiscal year 2012, DHS purchased nearly 94 million rounds of ammo for use across the department except for the U.S. Coast Guard.

Ammunition is used on a quarterly basis within DHS in training and firearms re-qualification activities in addition to everyday duty among over 100,000 officers and agents.

The news of the intended ammo purchase comes at the same time as automatic budget reductions are set to take effect across the department, including at Customs and Border Protection. The division expects planned furloughs of employees, reductions to overtime and a hiring freeze to increase wait times at ports of entry, including international arrivals at airports.

Officials from CBP have said reductions to Border Patrol overtime will begin on April 7 and furloughs of all CBP employees are expected to begin in mid-April. The agency said “field locations” are reporting sporadic increases in wait times at airports and land border ports due to reduced primary staffing — between March 14-20, the agency said nearly 200 flights experienced wait times of over two hours, and certain ports experienced wait times that were just as long.

“CBP is working diligently to analyze the Fiscal Year 2013 Appropriations bill and sequestration impacts, and is developing a plan to implement this budget in a way that minimizes the impact on operations and our workforce,” a spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News.

But Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, blasted the administration for the CBP cuts. He said they “amount to nothing short of a calculated, willful neglect of what should be a president’s top priority: protecting the homeland and keeping Americans safe.”

Wall-Street Craziness Is Back

The craziness on Wall Street, the reckless for-the-moment-only behavior that led to the Financial Crisis, is back. This time it’s Citigroup that is once again concocting “synthetic” securities, like those that had wreaked havoc five years ago. And once again, it’s using them to shuffle off risks through the filters of Wall Street to people who might never know.

What bubbled to the surface is that Citigroup is selling synthetic securities that yield 13% to 15% annually—synthetic because they’re based on credit derivatives. Apparently, Citi has a bunch of shipping loans on its books, and it’s trying to protect itself against default. In return for succulent interest payments, investors will take on some of the risks of these loans.

The first deal of this type was negotiated privately with Blackstone Group and closed last December. This second deal will be open to a broader group of institutional investors. Soon, similar synthetic securities will be offered to the treasurers of small towns in Norway.

But shipping loans are a doozy. After its bubble, the shipping industry fell into a deep crisis. It’s such a problem that Andreas Dombret, member of the Executive Board of the Bundesbank, listed it as one of the four risks to overall financial stability in Germany—in Hamburg alone, there were over 120 shipping companies. He fingered two causes: shipping rates that had plunged during the Financial Crisis and never recovered, and continued overbuilding of ships of ever larger sizes, driven by “cheaply available financial means,” a direct reference to the easy money handed out by central banks.

And then he waded into the bloodbath in Germany: retail funds that blew up and were shuttered, banks whose shipping portfolios suffered heavy hits, an industry that was breaking down…. Capital destruction, the inevitable consequence of central-bank passion to create bubbles. Now, the Bundesbank was looking at it from a “broader perspective,” he said, with an eye “on the stability of the entire financial system.”

That was mid-February. Two weeks ago, the largest ship-financing bank in the world, HSH Nordbank, which had already been bailed out in 2008, cratered and was bailed out again by its two main owners, the states of Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein.

So, with the smell of putrefaction wafting from Citi’s shipping-loan closets, it’s time to sell high-yield derivatives based on them. If hedge funds buy them, fine. Presumably, they understand the risks. But these products may end up in funds favored by state and municipal retirement systems. They’re starved for yield and are chasing it every chance they get in this zero-yield environment. And “alternative investments” are hot. So, banking crap would be shifted once again to retirees—with a satisfied nod from the Fed.

The Fed’s drunken passion to print has led to the most gargantuan credit bubble ever, a farmland bubble, commodity bubbles, equity bubbles, heck, even a new housing bubble as hot money buys up billions of dollars in homes and now can’t rent them out [a debacle that I wrote about in…. Housing Bubble II: But This Time It’s Different].

It was never intended to fix the damage that the Financial Crisis had done to the real economy—as experienced by people, and not as measured by the Dow which is setting new highs. Some of these issues are very basic. For example, income.

Median household income in February was $51,404 (Sentier Research), down $590 on an inflation-adjusted basis, or 1.1%, from January. Culprit: the red-hot 0.7% increase in consumer prices that month. It wasn’t a fluke but part of an insidious long-term trend. Adjusted for inflation, median household income in February was:

  • 5.6% lower than in June 2009, during the Financial Crisis, or the beginning of the “recovery,” whichever.
  • 7.3% lower than in December 2007, the beginning of the recession.
  • 8.4% lower than in January 2000, when the data series began.

That year, median household income, expressed in February 2013 dollars, was $56,101! If it where this high today, households could spend more and save more, and they’d be more optimistic and enthusiastic, and the real economy would be humming along at a better clip.

Throughout these years, nominal wages have crept up just enough to bamboozle people into thinking that maybe this time it would be different, that this time they could actually buy more with the increased income, only to be whacked again by inflation. Their deteriorating circumstances shed a harsh light on the Fed-inspired craziness on Wall Street—and an even harsher light on the Fed’s persistent refusal to see it, though it’s happening right before their eyes.

The US-centric balance of economic power has been destabilized by the crumbling of EU welfare states and the rise of the state-sponsored capitalist BRICS, eager to seize the opportunity to attack the dollar’s preeminence. And so the inevitable is waiting to happen.

Cyprus-Style “Bail-Ins” Are Proposed In The New 2013 Canadian Government Budget!

The politicians of the western world are coming after your bank accounts.  In fact, Cyprus-style “bail-ins” are actually proposed in the new Canadian government budget.  When I first heard about this I was quite skeptical, so I went and looked it up for myself.  And guess what?  It is right there in black and white on pages 144 and 145 of “Economic Action Plan 2013” which the Harper government has already submitted to the House of Commons.  This new budget actually proposes “to implement a ‘bail-in’ regime for systemically important banks” in Canada.  “Economic Action Plan 2013” was submitted on March 21st, which means that this “bail-in regime” was likely being planned long before the crisis in Cyprus ever erupted.  So exactly what in the world is going on here?  In addition, as you will see below, it is being reported that the European Parliament will soon be voting on a law which would require that large banks be “bailed in” when they fail.  In other words, that new law would make Cyprus-style bank account confiscation the law of the land for the entire EU.  I can’t even begin to describe how serious all of this is.  From now on, when major banks fail they are going to bail them out by grabbing the money that is in your bank accounts.  This is going to absolutely shatter faith in the banking system and it is actually going to make it far more likely that we will see major bank failures all over the western world.

What you are about to see absolutely amazed me when I first saw it.  The Canadian government is actually proposing that what just happened in Cyprus should be used as a blueprint for future bank failures up in Canada.

The following comes from pages 144 and 145 of “Economic Action Plan 2013” which you can find right here.  Apparently the goal is to find a way to rescue “systemically important banks” without the use of taxpayer funds…

Canada’s large banks are a source of strength for the Canadian economy.  Our large banks have become increasingly successful in international markets, creating jobs at home.

The Government also recognizes the need to manage the risks associated with systemically important banks — those banks whose distress or failure could cause a disruption to the financial system and, in turn, negative impacts on the economy.  This requires strong prudential oversight and a robust set of options for resolving these institutions without the use of taxpayer funds, in the unlikely event that one becomes non-viable.

So if taxpayer funds will not be used to bail out the banks, how will it be done?  Well, the Canadian government is actually proposing that a “bail-in” regime be implemented…

The Government proposes to implement a “bail-in” regime for systemically important banks.This regime will be designed to ensure that, in the unlikely event that a systemically important bank depletes its capital, the bank can be recapitalized and returned to viability through the very rapid conversion of certain bank liabilities into regulatory capital.  This will reduce risks for taxpayers.  The Government will consult stakeholders on how best to implement a bail-in regime in Canada.  Implementation timelines will allow for a smooth transition for affected institutions, investors and other market participants.

So if the banks take extreme risks with their money and lose, “certain bank liabilities” (i.e. deposits) will rapidly be converted into “regulatory capital” and the banks will be saved.

In other words, the banks will just be allowed to grab money directly out of your bank accounts to recapitalize themselves.

That may sound completely and utterly insane to us, but this is how things will now be done all over the western world.

Sometimes a “bail-in” can be done by just converting unsecured debt into equity, but as we just saw in Cyprus, often when there is a major bank failure a lot more money is required to “fix the banks” than can possibly be raised by converting unsecured debt into equity.  That is when it becomes very tempting to dip into uninsured back accounts.

Read the full story here

Concealed Carrying Limo Driver Fights Off Armed Robbers Trying to Shoot Passengers

– Four people were wounded in a shooting that started when the occupants of a limousine were apparently targeted for a robbery, St. Petersburg police said.

Two of the nine limo passengers were shot by someone in a stolen Chrysler 300 who pulled up next to the limo at Queensboro Avenue South and 31st Street, police said.

The limo driver, a registered gun owner, told investigators he shot back in self-defense as the Chrysler fled. The limo driver was attempting to call 911 about 2 a.m., when he came upon police investigating an unrelated shooting and stolen vehicle.

An acquaintance of the limo party following behind in a black Nissan Altima was also wounded, but the Altima left the scene before police arrived, investigators said. The man later went to All Children’s Hospital.

The Chrysler 300, which had been reported as stolen March 13, was found about a mile away. Anzio Fabian Dale, 17, was inside with a life-threatening gunshot wound, police said. He was hospitalized in critical condition.

Charges against Dale are pending, police said.

These are details of the preliminary police investigation:

About 9 p.m. Tuesday, the driver of the leased 2013 black Lincoln Continental custom limousine picked up eight passengers from an address near Sixth Avenue South and 29th Street. The party was taken to the Scene nightclub downtown.

Early Wednesday morning, the limo took the party to a convenience store at Fifth Avenue South and 34th Street. Police said some of limo passengers may have been intentionally flashing large sums of cash at the store, which caught the attention of people in the Chrysler and a silver Kia, which has not been located.

A Nissan Altima carrying several acquaintances of the limo passengers followed behind as the limo, owned by Alpha Limo Service, left the store.

At 28th Street South from Fifth Avenue, the limo driver told police he noticed the Chrysler 300 had pulled along its left side and the Kia was coming up on its right.

“It appeared the two vehicles were working in concert with each other to slow or stop the limo,” a police spokesman said.

An occupant of the Chrysler then began to fire multiple gunshots into the limo, wounding passengers Malik Wilson, 23, and Kendrick Haney, 24. Wilson and Haney’s wounds were not considered life-threatening and they were hospitalized in stable condition.

The limo driver, who had a concealed weapons permit, returned fire with his gun.

At Queensboro Avenue South and 31st Street, the limo driver pulled up as police investigated an unrelated shooting incident involving a white Nissan Maxima.

The limo driver informed the officers of what had occurred.

Officers went to the area of the limo shooting and found the stolen 2011 Chrysler on the shoulder of the 700 block of 28th Street South.

Inside was Dale, who was taken to a hospital in critical condition.

A handgun was found in the Chrysler, and detectives believe at least one other person was in car vehicle during the shooting.

The black Nissan Altima later showed up at All Children’s Hospital and dropped off Eugene Chambers, who had been shot in the upper body.

Chambers, 21, told police he was in the Altima following acquaintances in the limo during the shootings. Chambers’ wound was not life-threatening and he was hospitalized in stable condition.

Detectives said they have found no connection to the shooting and the white Nissan Maxima, which was reported stolen out of Tampa and had crack cocaine inside. No victims or blood were found in or around the car.

The investigation is continuing.

So, What’s It Like To Have a Business in Cyprus Right Now?

popularbank2

 

From the owner:

The most of circulating assets on our business Current Account are blocked.
Over 700k of expropriated money will be used to repay country’s debt. Probably we will get back about 20% of this amount in 6-7 years.

I’m not Russian oligarch, but just European medium size IT business. Thousands of other companies around Cyprus have the same situation.

The business is definitely ruined, all Cypriot workers to be fired.
We are moving to small Caribbean country where authorities have more respect to people’s assets. Also we are thinking about using Bitcoin to pay wages and for payments between our partners.

Special thanks to:

– Jeroen Dijsselbloem
– Angela Merkel
– Manuel Barroso
– the rest of officials of “European Comission”