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Saturday, December 29, 2012

Too Big To Fail Banks Win a Victory?

When you read this article, it appears as if a fee that big banks had to pay was killed by mutual funds and credit unions, however, that would be wrong. The fee was wiped out because it was only helping small, not too large to fail, banks.  These banks could not fail so the expense was just outgo without any benefit as they would never be allowed to go out of business.

The crime is that there should be NO bank or any other company that is too large to fail! Without the governor on the board to make good business decisions, knowing that a company is "too large to fail" removes any hesitation to properly evaluate the risk accompanying a proposal.

Additionally, it hurts competitors. A risky decision that goes wrong, could put a smaller competitor out of business while the "too large" would just have government money injected into it to save it. This is contrary to  a capitalist country.  This must stop!

Conservative Tom

Why a Popular Subsidy for Banks Died in the Senate

How did one of the most popular subsidies for big banks manage to get wiped off the books?
My brother Tim Carney explains that Senate Republicans earlier this month killed the Transaction Account Guarantee program with a parliamentary move that prevented Senate Majority leader Harry Reid from getting a straight up and down vote on it. But what's most interesting is the special interest dynamics Tim describes.
The program, which is known as TAG, was launched during the financial crisis to support liquidity and bank stability. The basic idea was to cover non-interest bearing deposit accounts used for things like payrolls that exceeded the normal FDIC insurance limits. Banks could opt-in and pay a fee that was supposedly based on estimates of the program's costs.
The fees, of course, were too low. TAG has been a money loser for the government. And Dodd-Frank made it a mandatory program, meaning that all banks had to pay the fee and participate in the program. This didn't make the program "solvent" but it did stop banks from adopting business strategies that involved competing for large accounts based on their own safety and soundness rather than backing by the government.
The program has been very popular with banks. At year end 2011, 20 percent of all U.S. bank deposits were TAG insured, for a total of $1.6 trillion in deposits, according to a paper from the St. Louis Fed.
The biggest banks -- those with assets of more than $15 billion -- hold 90 percent of TAG-insured deposits, a far greater market share than the 74 percent of all U.S. bank deposits they hold. This has become big business for the big banks: 24 percent of deposits at those $15 billion plus bulge banks are TAG-insured. These banks wanted to see the TAG programs extended.
But it wasn't only the big banks that wanted TAG extended. Small and community banks were pushing for an extension of the program. Some even wanted to make it permanent. They feared losing market share for big deposits to the big banks -- on totally justifiable grounds that these banks are still considered too big to fail.
The enemies of TAG were mutual funds and credit unions. The mutual fund companies, especially the money market funds, believed that TAG was diverting money away from their funds into government-backed bank accounts. With money-market funds paying such low interest rates these days, the price of having to go to zero-interest in a government-backed TAG account was very low.
Tim explains how the credit unions got involved:
Credit unions also helped kill TAG. They see community banks as their rivals, both on Main Street and on Capitol Hill. Community banks recently lobbied for regulations keeping credit unions from making more business loans. So some credit unions returned the favor, lobbying to kill the community banks' TAG subsidy.
This seems like a good outcome from a dirty process. In some ways it is reassuring to know that it is possible to end a taxpayer subsidy popular with our biggest banks -- even if it takes the selfishness of other special interest groups (in this case, the mutual funds and credit unions) to make that happen. A defeat for the big banks is rare and probably something to be celebrated.
There's probably another way to look at this, however. The TAG accounts are popular, in part, because interest rates are so low. Were interest rates to increase -- as they probably will sometime in the next few years -- businesses would likely have taken money out of non-interest bearing TAG accounts to pursue a return on savings in other accounts. A government backstop is only worth so much foregone interest.
What this means is that the extension of the TAG accounts were, at best, only going to benefit the big banks for another couple of years. Most bankers believe interest rates will climb in 2014 or 2015, at which point money would have started leaving TAG accounts. What's more, the biggest banks will probably gain some business in the meantime, as funds flow out of the community banks and into the implicitly-backed mega-banks.
Some bankers even wondered, privately of course, whether the mega-banks got any benefit at all from TAG. Citigroup and the like just aren't going to be allowed to fail, depositors know this very well. Few people are going to withdraw money just because the accounts at mega-banks lose their officially protected status.
The mega-banks also get to stop paying those pesky TAG fees, which were only being used to bailout the accounts of the small banks anyway. From the point of view of JP Morgan Chase, for instance, TAG fees were a subsidy to community banks. The threat of TAG fees rising to cover the cost of the program, of course, is now moot. (The mega-banks hated the idea of rising TAG fees because they would have paid the lion's share of higher fees due to their high market share of these accounts, while recouping almost nothing since they're never going to be allowed to fail.)
Conversations with lobbyists on Capitol Hill suggest that while the bank lobby was officially supporting an extension, they weren't pushing that hard for it. Some on Capitol Hill were even under the impression that representatives on at least one of the big banks were quietly indicating they wouldn't object to letting TAG die.
So perhaps TAG died not because the big banks were defeated but because the big banks didn't care all that much about a program that was due to die by market forces anyway. They may even have wanted it to die since they and their customers know that all of their deposits are protected by an implicit guarantee that doesn't cost a dime in fees.

Are Drugs The Real Cause of School Violence?

We have been looking for reports on the potential reasons for that Adam Lanza killed his mother and 26 others. This report is the first that seems to start putting the pieces together and tying this shooting with others in the past.

If this report is accurate, it should be drugs rather than guns that we should regulated and controlled!

Conservative Tom

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NEW YORK – From the moment news emerged Friday that a young man had carried out a horrific massacre of elementary-school children, politicians from local city halls to the White House have been restoking the age-old push for more gun control. While guns have been a common denominator in mass slayings at schools by teens, there’s another familiar element that seems increasingly to be minimized.
Some 90 percent of school shootings over more than a decade have been linked to a widely prescribed type of antidepressant called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs, according to British psychiatrist Dr. David Healy, a founder of, an independent website for researching and reporting on prescription drugs.
Though there has been no definitive confirmation that drugs played a role in the Newtown, Conn., assault, that killed 20 children and six adults, media have cited family members and acquaintances saying suspect Adam Lanza was taking prescription medication to treat “a neurological-development disorder,” possibly Aspergers.
Healy cautioned that the public needs “to wait to find out what Adam Lanza was on, and whether his behavior does fit the template of a treatment-induced problem.”
However, in an email to WND, he said he suspected prescribed psychiatric medications was the cause of Lanza’s violent behavior.
Healy said that while the public waits to learn more about Lanza, there are two general points that can be made.
First, he said, “psychotropic drugs of pretty well any group can trigger violence up to and including homicide.”
“Second, the advocates of treatment claim both that it is the illness and not the drugs that causes violence and that we are leaving huge numbers of people untreated.”
But Healy argued that if this were the case, “we should not find that comfortably over 90 percent of school shootings are linked to medication intake.”
Dr. Peter R. Breggin, a Harvard-trained psychiatrist and former full-time consultant at the National Institute of Mental Health, told WND it’s likely that problems for Lanza began with “getting tangled up” with psychiatric medicine.
Breggin insisted there has been overwhelming scientific evidence for decades correlating psychiatrically prescribed drugs with violence.
Writing in Ethical Human Sciences and Services, a peer-reviewed scholarly journal, in 2003, Breggin concluded SSRI drugs could be a factor in suicide, violence and other forms of extreme abnormal behavior, as evidenced in case reports, controlled clinical trials, and epidemiological studies in children and adults.
Breggin testified to Congress that research conducted in the medical science demonstrates a causal relationship between antidepressant drugs and the production of suicide, violence, mania and other behavioral abnormalities.
He warned Congress of the risks of giving these drugs to heavily armed young men and women in the military.
Mainstream religion
Breggin asserted that establishment media “ignores the scientific evidence linking psychiatric medications and violent behavior because psychiatry is the religion of the mainstream media, and they don’t want to see the dangers of psychiatrically prescribed drugs.”
“Besides, the drug companies also have incredible influence through advertising such that they can call the shots,” he said.
He believes the Lanza case fits the pattern of school shooters in some of the most famous incidents in recent memory, including the 1999 shootings at Columbine High School in Colorado and the massacre at Virginia Tech in 2007.
“Adam Lanza has in common with many of the young men who were shooters that they were outsiders who lived in the shadows, who deal with a lot of shame, humiliation and isolation,” Breggin explained.
He calls the psychiatric diagnoses “worthless.”
“We know exactly who they are,” he said. “They are called ‘geeky’ in the extreme. Not a single one has ever come forward with a close friend. They are alienated from their families, and they have been involved in psychiatry.”
Breggin insists that instead of psychiatric treatment, children of this kind need “more reaching out, more socialization, more caring, more involvement.”
“Our schools, our families, and our communities need to be aware of the kids who are withdrawn and violent, not because they are going to become violent – hardly any of them are going to become violent – but because these are really hurt kids,” he said.
“We can call them evil, we can call them mentally ill, but the pattern is really quite clear,” Breggin continued. “They are highly intelligent and highly withdrawn and they are all involved with psychiatry, so the claim psychiatry is going to do some good is really ridiculous.”
In many school shootings carried out by minors, court documents are sealed and the extent of chemical use is unknown to the public.
But in a number of high-profile cases, the link has been reported:
  • Kip Kinkel was withdrawing from Prozac and had been prescribed Ritalin when he murdered his mother and stepfather then shot 22 classmates, killing two, in 1998.
  • Christopher Pittman was withdrawing from Luvox and from Paxil when he killed his paternal grandparents in 2001.
  • Elizabeth Bush, who fired at fellow students in Williamsport, Pa., in 2001, wounding one, was on Prozac.
  • Jason Hoffman, was on Effexor and Celexa when he opened fire at his El Cajon, Calif., high school, wounding five.
  • Shawn Cooper of Notus, Idaho, was on antidepressants when he fired a shotgun on students and staff.
  • T.J. Solomon, on antidepressants, wounded six at his Conyers, Ga., high school.
  • Eric Harris was taking Luvox when he and fellow student Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher and wounded 24 others before turning their guns on themselves at Columbine High School in Colorado.
  • At Virginia Tech in 2007, where 32 were murdered, authorities found “prescription medications related to the treatment of psychological problems had been found among Mr. Cho’s effects,” according to the New York Times.
“Violence and other potentially criminal behavior caused by prescription drugs are medicine’s best kept secret,” Healy said in a statement last month. “Never before in the fields of medicine and law have there been so many events with so much concealed data and so little focused expertise.”
In the past six years, Healy has authored two best-selling books analyzing the degree to which the pharmaceutical industry has influenced medical doctors to prescribe antidepressant drugs to patients with psychiatric problems: “Let Them Eat Prozac: The Unhealthy Relationship Between the Pharmaceutical Industry and Depression,” in 2006 and “Pharmageddon” in 2012.
Recently, Healy’s added a “violence section” to its website, allowing users to enter the name of a prescription drug to find out the side effects recorded in the more than 4 million adverse drug event reports filed with the FDA since 2004.
Was Lanza on meds?
Writing for Monday, Emily Willingham was quick to warn against demonizing Asperger’s syndrome, or autism in general, as the cause of Lanza’s violence. Likewise, in a New York magazine piece titled “Asperger’s is a Red Herring to Explain the Newtown Massacre,” Adam Martin wrote, “As the nation sets out to understand how Friday’s massacre came to pass, some are rightly worried that the high-functioning form of autism will become unfairly stigmatized.”
Nevertheless, credible sources have not withdrawn published claims that Lanza was on prescribed psychiatric medication at the time of the shooting.
On CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday, Mark and Louise Tambascio, friends of the shooter’s mother, Nancy Lanza, said Adam Lanza was being medicated for Asperger’s.
“I know [Adam Lanza] was on medication and everything, but she homeschooled him at home cause he couldn’t deal with the school classes sometimes,” Louise Tambascio told CBS reporter Scott Pelley. “So she just homeschooled Adam at that home. And that was her life.”
Her comment followed Mark Tambascio explaining to Scott Pelley that “friends told us that [Asperger's syndrome] did dominate the Lanzas’ lives.”
In addition, the Washington Post reported over the weekend an unnamed former neighbor of Nancy and Adam Lanza in Newtown, Conn., recalled Adam as “a really rambunctious kid” who “was on medication.”
The story became confused when a now discredited source claiming to be Adam Lanza’s “Uncle Jonathan” told several publications, including the Sun in the United Kingdom, that Adam was being treated with the strong anti-psychotic drug Fanapt.
Later reports found no relatives who knew “Uncle Jonathan.”
Separately, law enforcement officers have found evidence Lanza played graphically violent video games, the Hartford Courant reported on Sunday.
The Express in the United Kingdom reported Monday that Lanza had “an unhealthy obsession for violent video games” and that his favorite video game was said to be a “shockingly violent” fantasy war game called Dynasty Warriors, which is “thought to have given him inspiration to act on his darkest thoughts.”

Read more at 

Drugs, Not Guns, To Blame For Many Mass Killings

If one wants to blame something for the 30 mass killings that have occurred over the past 28 years (according to the New York Crime Commission (, we should be looking deeper than what "instrument" they used to murder.

In the following article, Bob Livingston, describes the effects of certain drugs that several of the murderers have used prior to their killing sprees. One does not have to look very deeply into these events to see that psychotropic drugs is also a common element. Are these medicines being monitored effectively? Should we be looking to the medical community with the same concern as the "gun-grabbers" are looking at gun manufacturers?

We believe there should be more attention paid to the cause of the rage expressed by these murderers, rather than the tool. If drugs are one of the common elements, we think they should also be investigated.

What do you think?

Conservative Tom

Guns Don’t Kill People But Big Pharma Does

December 28, 2012 by  
Guns Don’t Kill People But Big Pharma Does
Purported Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza was, according to a man reported to be his uncle, on the antipsychotic drug Fanapt. The “uncle”turned out to be a fraud, but given that most news reports describe Lanza as being emotionally or mentally disturbed, it’s quite likely he was on some sort of mind-altering drug or drug combination.
Documented side effects of Fanapt are aggression, confusion, delirium, hostility, impulse-control disorder, mania, mood swings, paranoia, panic attack and suicide. Sound familiar?
Gun grabbers have gone almost apoplectic since the shooting, blaming the (misnamed) assault rifle—which was reportedly still in Lanza’s car when police arrived at the school—for the deaths of the children and teacher. Lanza has since been pushed into the memory hole—along with the man in camouflage plucked from the nearby woods and many other anomalies— and the focus has been on the AR15 and its links in other recent mass shootings.
But there is another common denominator in mass shootings: psychotropic drugs. Aurora movie theater shooter James Holmes, Columbine killer Eric Harris, and a host of other mass murdering young killers were on some type of psychotropic drugs when they committed their crimes.
According to a study published in the journal PLoS One and based on the FDA’s Adverse Event Reporting System, the following mind-altering drugs are most frequently linked to violence:
10.  Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq) is an antidepressant associated with 7.9 times more violence than many other drugs.
9.  Venlafaxine (Effexor) is related to Pristiq and is an antidepressant also used in treating those with anxiety disorders. Effexor is 8.3 times more associated with violent behavior than other drugs.
8.  Fluvoxamine (Luvox) is an antidepressant that affects serotonin (SSRI), and is 8.4 times more likely to be linked to violence than other medications
7.  Triazolam (Halcion) can be addictive and is a benzodiazepine that supposedly treats insomnia. It’s 8.7 times more likely to be associated with violence than other medications.
6.  Atomoxetine (Strattera) is often prescribed to tread ADHD and is 9 times more likely to be associated with violence.
5.  Mefoquine (Lariam) treats malaria and sometimes products bizarre behavior, and is 9.5 times more likely to be linked to violence.
4.  Amphetamines come in many forms and are often used to treat ADHD (even to children not diagnosed with ADHD). They are 9.6 times more likely to be linked to violence.
3.  Paroxetine (Paxil) is an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) antidepressant. Many users experience severe withdrawal symptoms and are more likely to produce children with birth defects as well as 10.3 times more likely to be linked to violence than other medications.
2.  Fluoxetine (Prozac) is a household name for a powerful SSRI antidepressant linked with 10.9 times more violence than other drugs.
1.  Varenicline (Chantix) is administered to smokers to supposedly help curb cigarette cravings, but it’s a whopping 18 times more likely to be linked to violent behavior than other drugs.
Big Pharma is killing everything from babies to adults by the thousands, but no one seems interested in banning these drugs or holding Big Pharma and prescribing physicians accountable. The Food and Drug Administration, which approves these drugs, recognizes that more 100,000 adverse drug reaction (ADR) deaths occur each year. ADRs is the fourth leading cause of death, ahead of pulmonary disease, diabetes, AIDS, pneumonia, accidents and automobile deaths.
Drug companies bribe doctors to prescribe their medications and use fake studies to sell their efficacy. The drug company GlaxoSmithKline was recently fined a mere $93,000 in Argentina for killing 14 babies during illegal lab vaccine trials in which the company falsified parental authorizations so that the babies could participate without legitimate parental permission. According to one pediatrician working at the public hospital  when GSK began recruiting babies for their illegal human trials, not only did GSK force illiterate parents into handing over their children, but they also “recruited” several doctors working at the hospital into their cause. The actual number of children affected may run in the thousands.
According to a study published in Human and Experimental Toxicology, the more vaccinated a baby is the more likely he is to die or suffer serious reaction.
Yet lawful gun owners are becoming the scapegoat for the mess Big Pharma is creating and more draconian, liberty stealing laws will likely result from the shooting.

Lessons To Be Learned About Gun Control

Wayne Allyn Root makes some very salient points in his posting "Guns Save Lives."  We agree with his point of view.  History has taught us that without weapons, the people are pawns in the hands of the government and that only leads to tyranny. We must stop this "gun-control craziness" that is spreading through the country and hopefully, it will die just as it has previously when crazed gunmen have killed innocent individuals.

We cannot prematurely stop all murder regardless of what we do. Those intent on killing will always find a way.  Hint: they do not follow the law!!

Conservative Tom

Guns Save Lives

December 27, 2012 by  

Hello, I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. Happy Holidays to all my readers. My message is pretty simple this week: Don’t believe the hype from liberals or the media (I know I repeat myself). The fact is: GUNS SAVE LIVES.
Not only do liberals lie… they always come to the wrong conclusion, and usually come up with the wrong solution, in response to every crisis.
As an example, we don’t have a “fiscal cliff” crisis because of a tax problem in America. What we have is a spending problem — Obama is a spending addict. Obama criticized Bush for adding $4 trillion to the debt in eight years. Yet Obama added just under $6 trillion in four years. He is on track to add $12 trillion to our debt by the end of his second term– three times more than Bush. And Obama has produced four consecutive trillion dollar plus deficits for the first time in history. Obama is the biggest spender of any politician in world history.
What does this have to do with guns? It’s the same story. Every time there’s a crisis politicians learn the wrong lesson… come up with the wrong solution… and always use the crisis as a reason to take away our freedoms and grow government bigger.
Take the debt crisis: Obama wants to raise taxes, so we lose our economic freedom, and government grows bigger… while we add more debt to solve a debt crisis. That should work out well!
Take 9/11 — Bush spent billions on the formation of Homeland Security, hundreds of thousands of expensive new government employees, started two wars, and took many of our civil rights away.
Take global warming — Obama wants to tax us to death, double our electric bills, take away our freedoms, and put government in charge of business.
Take the health care crisis — Obama passed Obamacare to raise our taxes, grow government, unionize healthcare workers, and put government in charge of our health.
The same story holds true with the gun control issue spurred by the tragic Newtown school shooting. The liberal politicians and media are using Rahm Emanuel’s famous saying, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” They are trying to turn a terrible tragedy into a gun problem. Their solution is to try to demonize and ban guns. But the Newtown tragedy wasn’t a gun problem; it was a mental illness problem.
Thank goodness the American public has more common sense than the politicians and media big shots. The latest Rasmussen poll is out following the Newtown tragedy. While 27 percent think stricter gun control laws are the solution… a dominant 48 percent believe the answer is more action to treat mental health issues.
It is obvious that many Americans feel in their gut what the statistics I’m about to share with you prove — that guns do much more than kill (in the wrong hands). More often than not, they save lives and prevent violence.
Here are a few proven facts that are too often missing from the gun debate (Thanks to Gun Owners of America and for these statistics):
Based on a 2000 study, Americans use guns to defend themselves from crime and violence 989,883 times annually. Banning guns would leave about 1,000,000 Americans defenseless from criminals who have no problem acquiring guns illegally.
A nationwide survey of almost 5,000 households found that over a five-year period 3.5 percent of households had a member who used a gun to protect themselves, their family, or their property. This also adds up to about the same 1,000,000 incidents annually.
The Clinton Justice Department identified 1.5 million cases per year of citizens using guns to defend themselves.
Another survey found that Americans use guns to frighten intruders away from a home break-in about 500,000 times annually.
Armed citizens shoot criminals more than twice as often as police each year (1,527 to 606).
Each year about 200,000 women use a gun to defend themselves from a sexual crime or abuse.
The Carter Justice Department found that of more than 32,000 attempted rapes, 32 percent were actually committed. But when a woman was armed with a gun or knife, only 3 percent of the attempted rapes were actually successful.
Newer studies all point towards a figure of 2.5 million — that’s the new number for how many times Americans defend themselves from violent criminals each year. 2.5 million. Guns save lives.
Now that we’ve polled the citizens, how about we see what the felons have to say:
  • A survey of male felons in 11 State prisons across the USA found that 34 percent had been scared off, wounded or captured by an armed victim of their crime.
  • 40 percent of felons made a decision not to commit a crime because they feared the potential victim had a gun.
  • 69 percent of felons knew other fellow criminals who had been scared off or captured by an armed victim.
  • 57 percent of felons polled agreed that “criminals are more worried about meeting an armed victim than they are about running into the police.”
  • Statistical comparisons with other countries show that burglars in the United States are far less apt to enter an occupied home than their foreign counterparts who live in countries where fewer civilians own firearms.
These facts (and many more too voluminous to show here) prove that guns — in the right hands — defend citizens, families and children. In short, guns save lives.
By the way… it’s important to note that Barack Obama wants to disarm schools… create “gun free zones.” Yet he spends $60,000 per year to send his precious daughters to exclusive Sidwell Friends School — which has? Drumroll please… ARMED guards. An armed security force of nine to be precise.
And David Gregory of NBC News sends his child there too. Armed guards are necessary for their children. But not yours.
And Michael Moore has armed bodyguards. While he condemns guns.
But for me, it’s always been a personal and emotional argument, even more than a factual one. I’m a proud Jewish American. Over six million of my fellow Jews were enslaved, starved, tortured, and then slaughtered by Adolph Hitler. Before it could happen, in 1938, Hitler banned gun ownership for Jews.
That act on Nov. 11, 1938 was the beginning of the end for German Jews. Millions of Jews were left defenseless from that day forward. Just like the criminals in the studies above, who were far less likely to break into a home or attack a victim, if they feared the victim was armed; Hitler only started his murderous genocide after first ensuring his victims were disarmed, defenseless and helpless.
But why should that surprise anyone. Virtually every dictator in history has started his murderous reign by disarming the population.
The communist leaders of China recently issued a statement in response to our Newtown, Conn., tragedy. They said that Obama must disarm the American people. I wonder why they’re so interested in our people being disarmed? What do you think they have in mind?
I’m a member of both the NRA (National Rifle Association) and JPFO (Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership). Will I support reasonable gun control? Of course.
Should we ensure that mentally ill people cannot purchase guns? Of course.
Should we enforce current gun laws? Of course.
But should we move to ban guns, thereby leaving the law-abiding citizens defenseless and helpless? Never. Not in America.
Should government and law enforcement be the only ones legally able to carry guns? Never.Not in America.
Should government be allowed to take away guns from honest, law-abiding homeowners, business owners, and citizens like me? Only when you pry them from my cold, dead hands.
Thomas Jefferson put it best: “When governments fear the people, there is liberty. When the people fear the government, there is tyranny.”*
I’m Wayne Allyn Root for Personal Liberty. See you next week, same time, same place.
Happy New Year. Stay safe and stay vigilant. God Bless.
* While this quote if often attributed to Jefferson, there is no evidence that he ever uttered or wrote these words, according to–BL