Category: News

News

Nikolas Cruz Pointed Gun at Family, Report Says

By Jason Patterson | United States

19-year-old Nikolas Cruz, suspected to be responsible for killing 17 students at Parkland Highschool, has also reportedly had other family incidents. These include pointing a gun at his brother and his mother.

The suspect’s younger brother, Zachary Cruz, spoke to the Miami Herald in an interview about his sibling.

Zachary, 18, told the outlet his brother once pointed a loaded gun at him. The incident came after a spat when their mother came home from food shopping. Zachary said he’d knocked a jar of Nutella from his brother’s hands after he saw Nikolas stick his fingers in it.

He claimed that his brother then ran up to his room and retrieved his gun, loaded it when he came down and then held it up to his older brother as their mother watched, according to the report.

“If you’re gonna shoot me, shoot me!” Zachary said he yelled at his brother.

” Thankfully ” The moment de-escalated quickly, with Nikolas putting the gun away and returning to watch TV, he told the Herald. But Zachary said the moment stuck with him and he “never messed with him again.”

He also recalled a time that he did the same to his mother, Nik got his AR-15 and put it to my mom’s head,” Zachary said. “He was yelling at her because she wouldn’t take him to a cabin”. It wasn’t clear if the weapon was loaded. The brother said their mother ran to her car and drove away.

“He was in the middle of the driveway, in the middle of the street with his AR-15,” Zachary told the Herald. “I had 911 ready to go on my phone. I guess he just came up and he put his gun away and I hung up.”

He also told the reporter that his brother suffered a depressive disorder and often self-harmed.


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Hillary Clinton Thinks She Lost In 2016 Because America Is Sexist

By Jason Patterson | United States

During a media event in Australia, Hillary Clinton stated why she believed she lost what was seen as an easy victory in 2016.

Clinton spoke on Thursday spoke with Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female prime minister, about sexism in politics.

Clinton claimed that the men who run for public office “come in all sizes and shapes,” with “all kinds of hairstyles.” Women go unmentioned because Americans are “used to seeing men in these roles” and women are still “breaking glass ceilings.”

She also invoked President Trump‘s attacks on women like Carly Fiorina and Megyn Kelly during the election for their appearances, which she insisted was a way for him to “undermine” women.

Hillary then went on to say that there “is still a very large proportion of the population that is uneasy with women in positions of leadership.”

“There is this fear, there is this anger, even rage about women seeking power, women exercising power and people fall back on these attacks like you’re a witch or you should go to prison,” Clinton continued. “It’s not a majority, thank goodness, it’s not, but it’s a very vocal minority at least in my country. And sometimes these tropes are very much part of the press coverage.”


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A Look at Finland’s Universal Basic Income

By Isaiah Minter | United States

Last month, the Finnish government rejected a proposal to extend its universal basic income trial. Contrary to most media reports, this does not mean that basic income in Finland has failed. Rather, the program is going to expire at the end of 2018, as planned.

Finland wants to gather data on the results of the program before making a decision on it, but one would never know this from the media.

To no surprise, however, political pundits have tried to explain this supposed failed UBI trial through one of two prevailing theories. The first theory, as offered by Dr. Gigi Foster of ABC News, suggests that the UBI creates a disincentive to work worse than traditional welfare programs. But there is no merit to this claim: unconditional cash transfers had no significant effect on Alaskan employment, nor did Iran’s UBI reduce employment.

It never occurs to Gigi Foster that a basic income is a cash supplement. Under a UBI, individuals receive a monthly check and remain free to earn more money through work. The measure does not, in stark contrast to America’s current welfare system, make it more profitable for recipients to collect benefits than to seek out employment. Nor does it cut the individual off from their monthly check in the event that they make enough gross income. Ultimately, a basic income, by its very nature, sets a minimum income floor under which people may not fall.

For those less critical of Finland’s failed UBI trial, the popular theory seems to be that it didn’t go far enough. This is the route that Leonid Bershidsky of Bloomberg took, and it’s one I want to steer clear of.

First, Finland has been practicing small-scale cash transfers for years, and with great success. Similarly, in an earlier piece of mine on UBI, I made note of the poverty reduction achieved by non-universal cash transfers throughout Africa. If Bershidsky’s claim was true, in the sense that a lack of universality is to blame, then one would expect these cash transfers to have failed. But that isn’t the case.

Similarly, even if he meant that Finland’s UBI failed because it didn’t do enough to reduce poverty, he is wrong. Finland isn’t extending its UBI trial because it wants to gather data on the program’s results and determine if it was a success or a failure. In other words, it’s too early to tell what the effects of the basic income trial are.

Somehow, Bershidsky’s claim manages to both lack evidence and run contrary to it.

But I want to get to his central theme, for it’s a dangerous one. The notion that we need to redistribute to level Y because level X of redistribution didn’t work pardons any bad outcome of wealth redistribution.

Allow an example: in America’s War on Poverty, we’ve taken over $20 trillion from the rich and given it to the poor. In the wake of this lies a destroyed black community and more than 40 million Americans in poverty. This was of little to concern to Sasha Abramsky of The Nation, who published an article some years ago titled “Why We Need a New War on Poverty.”

It never occurs to Leonid Bershidsky that the shortcomings of programs often stem from the very institution that enacts them: government. It is illogical to expect that imperfect humans with imperfect knowledge can come together and form a perfect government. With all the different incentives and motives of politicians in a government,  there is often tampering with programs. Enough to the point where the actual program may differ greatly from the original model envisioned by policy proponents.

Indeed, Finland’s activation measure, apart from serving as an obstacle to the basic income trial, absolutely did more harm than good. In withholding benefits from unemployed persons who were determined to not be actively seeking work, the program restructured welfare policy for the worse.

In this, I am not saying that a basic income is inherently flawed, nor that we must avoid government action altogether. For, in fact, the tampering of said program may very well make it more effective than originally planned. Rather, I am suggesting that citizens be wary of the incentives politicians face and the finite knowledge they possess.

In the end, it would do us well to reject the approach of Foster and Bershidsky. While I am sure they mean no ill, both of their claims are baseless. Each of them looked at some facts of the case and drew conclusions supporting their beliefs. This confirmation bias behavior simply fails to benefit our current political environment, and us as individuals within it.

The Wide World of Unregistered Firearms

By Clint Sharp | United States

In a world where the right of the individual to own firearms — especially ones deemed “assault-style” rifles– is constantly being threatened, people are turning to less orthodox means of obtaining guns that bypass the over-the-counter registration process. These firearms are known by most as “ghost guns” as they are 100% unregistered, virtually untraceable, and as far as the State knows, nonexistent. While this seems too good to be true, it isn’t. Not only are these invisible guns cheap and easy to obtain, but they are also completely legal.

Image result for 80 percent lower

One notable company on the frontier of this industry is Ghost Gunner. Ghost Gunner specializes in manufacturing and selling “80% lowers”. An 80% lower is the lower receiver of a firearm and makes up around 80% of the completed receiver, hence the name. The lower receiver of a firearm is perhaps the most important part for two reasons. For one, it is the part of the gun where the bullets are fed into the chamber and the part that actually fires the round toward its designated target.

The other important aspect is that this is the part of firearms that is registered by both the seller and by the government. It is where that you will find the name of whatever brand of gun that you have, i.e Colt or Smith&Wesson, as well as the unique serial number used to identify the weapon. That is what sets the the Ghost Gunner receivers apart from the rest. They do not have the registered serial number that the other guns have. After you have your receiver, all that’s left is assembling the other 20% of the gun, which includes the stock and the barrel.

Ghost Gunner even sells entire CNC milling machines so that you can make the 80% lowers in the comfort of your own home. What’s great about that is that you do not have to be a certified machinist or gun expert to do this. All you have to do is pop in a block of aluminum, do a little clicking, and the machine mills out your receiver, completely free from the prying eyes of Uncle Sam. In addition to their original AR-15 lower, Ghost Gunner also provides receivers and software for MP5, AK-47, and M1911 lowers.


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California’s Solar Panel Mandate Worsens Ongoing Crises

By Indri Schaelicke | United States

The California Energy Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday, May 9th to mandate that all new homes built must have solar power. Those responsible for creation of the policy are hoping that the move will help reduce carbon emissions by switching to a cleaner source of energy. However, they have overlooked several important issues with their solution.

To start, there is no need for increased electricity production in California. The Golden State already produces more solar power than they actually need. To deal with the excess, they have had to export their electricity to neighboring states, as well as prevent energy from solar farms from coming into California. This mandate will only add to the ongoing problem, as large amounts of electricity already flood the market.

Beside the excess amount of electricity California produces, the state is also facing low rates of home ownership. California currently has the third-worst state home ownership rate for millennials, and as the price of houses climbs higher as a result of this policy, that rate will surely continue to drop. Mandating that houses must have solar panels is estimated to raise the price of a new house by about $9,500. Elevated prices will only make it more difficult for first time home buyers to enter into the market, at a time when California is already in the middle of a homelessness crisis. California has the second-most-expensive homes in the nation after Hawaii, and it is dangerous to produce legislation that will raise these prices further.

 

Furthermore, the cost of living in California, which is exorbitantly high already, will only continue to rise. The figure below shows how California has the second highest cost of living for 2017, behind only Hawaii. 

Cost of Living Map

Many people will not be able to afford living in California, causing millions to go into debt or even become homeless. People facing financial difficulty are unable to spend and invest in economies as well as those that are more wealthy. Thus, if fewer people are able to spend large amounts of their income, the economy will not be able to grow well. This could threaten California’s years of strong economic growth.

It is also concerning to see that this policy was created and implemented by a group of unelected politicians – effectively an oligarchy. If the populace does not like the decision, there is little to no way that voters can remove the bureaucrats from office. The creation of this policy is a prime example of how the government seeks to gain control over every aspect of individuals’ lives, by any means necessary. The founding fathers never intended for unelected officials to be able to legislate and create policy that would impact our lives and ability to succeed. The idea of a representative democracy is that we the people are able to elect those we feel will make decisions that we support, and when they cease to do so, remove them from office. It is not possible for the populace to remove a bureaucrat from office.

Therefore, Californians must decry this policy and create a backlash severe enough to convince the Commission to reverse this decision. Otherwise, we can expect considerable hits to the California economy. Scarier still, the state will move towards a reality where bureaucrats commonly make these decisions without accountability.


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