Gary Marbut, Missoula, MT

Gary Marbut’s whole life revolves around guns. He is a firearms instructor, user, competitor, collector and advocate; he makes his own ammunition in the basement of the house he built himself and fabricates steel shooting range targets in his shop. Oh, and by the way, they are not “weapons.” He calmly informed us that “in Montana culture, one does not say ‘weapons,’ because that would imply offensive purposes; here, they are called ‘firearms.’” Gary does everything calmly.

Gary Marbut, Missoula, MT We came to Missoula, MT to talk to Gary because he might be the single most effective individual political advocate for gun rights in the country, at least as measured by laws passed. His group, the Montana Shooting Sports Assocation, has successfully advocated, written and passed more than 50 laws in the Montana Legislature – if you’re hunting elk with a handgun in Montana, thank Gary Marbut. He is also the author of the Firearms Freedom Act, a full frontal assault on the power of the US Government to regulate firearms under the Commerce Clause. Most legal scholars dismiss it as crazy, but ten state legislatures have passed it. As I write this, everybody’s waiting for the US Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. If they overturn it as an overreach of commerce clause power, then Gary Marbut moves one giant step away from crazy and towards being a prophet.

We talked about his vision of the Constitution, but he also taught me to shoot, which he does extremely well; he brags of having taught more than 3500 people the art of armed self-defense. I went from total ignorance to working my way, somewhat credibly, through a practical shooting course, drawing my (or rather, his) Glock 9mm pistol, moving to position, shooting at targets, moving to another position, shooting at those, trying to score both for accuracy and time. It was an exhilarating, terrifying and challenging, and I took to it instantly. Anyone about to argue about firearms policy needs to begin with this understanding: firing guns is really, really fun.

Gary says I did pretty well for a rookie, although on my last go-round through the corse, in which I was trying to break 45 seconds (he did it in 17), I winged one of the “hostages,” a white cardboard silhouette mounted in front of a corrugated brown one.* This cost me a lot of points, but it’s my contention that it twitched at the last second.

Gary Marbut, Missoula, MT

But as we were saying farewell, I looked around at his friends going through the course (the best guy was Mike, a retired CPA, who did it in 15 seconds), and I said, “Here you and your friends are, each of you owning multiple guns with more at home. You’re here firing off all the ammo you want, and I’d say you were free to do it till the cops come, but we both know they’re not going to.”

“If they did come, they’d be training on the next range over,” he laughed.

“Right. So what’s your complaint? You have complete and total freedom to own and use firearms all you want. This is a gunner’s paradise. What’s so wrong with the Constitution that you’re trying so hard to fix it?”

“I’m not trying to fix it,” said Gary. “I’m trying to improve it.”

*Yes, I know. I honestly don’t think they mean anything by it.

Kumba Iron Ore starts $382m town resettlement

Kumba Iron Ore starts $382m town resettlement

Kumba Iron Ore Ltd. started moving more than 500 households as part of plans to raise output at Africa’s largest mine for the steelmaking ingredient as the Anglo American Plc unit announced a business review.

Kumba will move some homes from the west of the Sishen mine to a new precinct in the nearby town of Kathu in South Africa’s Northern Cape province by year-end, Public Affairs Head Yvonne Mfolo said today. The rest, as well as businesses, schools, clinics and churches, will be moved by the end of 2016 in the 4.2 billion-rand ($382 million) project. It’s reviewing all operations, spending plans and product portfolios after prices fell to a five-year low, spokesman Gert Schoeman said.

Kumba Iron Ore starts $382m town resettlement

Kumba is expanding the Sishen pit as the price of iron ore, which has fallen 47 percent this year, dwindles, partly on concern China’s economic slowdown will weaken demand for the material. At the same time, BHP Billiton Ltd., Rio Tinto Plc and Vale SA have increased production to bolster their market shares, creating a glut and preventing a price rebound.

“Prices have moved to lower levels than we expected,” Schoeman told reporters at the site. The company will announce more details on London-based Anglo American’s investor day on Dec. 9, he said.

Kumba Iron Ore starts $382m town resettlement

The commodity, which traded at $70.97 a metric ton at 12:39 p.m. in London, will fall to less than $60 in the third quarter of 2015, Citigroup Inc. said in a Nov. 11 report. Only BHP and Rio, the world’s two largest mining companies, and Pretoria- based Kumba produce profitably at that price, UBS AG analysts said in a Sept. 12 report.

Higher Output
Kumba wants to increase iron-ore output from the open-cast mine to 37 million metric tons by 2016. South Africa is the world’s fifth-largest producer of the seaborne variety of the material.

BMO

The expansion of Sishen “is already encroaching on the buffer zone of the community,” Mfolo said, referring to a 500- meter (1,640-foot) border between the pit and the settlement. “As it is they’re dealing with a lot of dust” from current mining, she said.

Owners of 17 homes and 54 municipal houses will be moved by the end of December, Mfolo said. Included in the relocation program are 24 businesses, schools and clinics, a police station and seven churches, she said.

BMO cuts gold, silver, platinum price outlook

BMO Capital Markets warns miners should prepare for a “prolonged period of sub-US$1,200/oz gold prices.”

As a result, “many of the gold producer equities will struggle, especially those with higher cash costs and/or high debt loads,” cautioned BMO Nesbitt Burns analyst Jessica Fung in a report issued October 7th.

“Gold, silver and platinum prices remain under considerable pressure due to expectations for the U.S. dollar to continue strengthening,” Fung advised.

GOLD 

BMO has lowered 2015-16E gold prices from $1,275 to $1,190 in 2015 and from $1,250 to $1,238 in 2016 to reflect recent price performance, adding “BMO Research does not expect any upset for gold from current levels until H2/16E based on U.S. dollar forecasts.”

In her analysis, Fung observed that at gold prices of $1,200/oz, “nearly 40% of gold production is loss-making on an All-in Cost (AIC) basis. Further, given BMO Research covers some of the larger and better-cost operators, on a global basis it is possible well over half of gold production is unprofitable at current gold prices.”

BMO

Nevertheless, BMO Research forecasts rising gold mine supply through 2018E, “despite operating in a lower price environment. Ongoing efforts to cut costs and revise mine plans are much preferred to curtailing operations.”

“Consumer demand for gold, particularly the ‘shift from west to east’ makes great headlines, but does not impact the gold price, in BMO Research’s view,” observed Fung.

BMO prefers gold producers with younger mines, “since younger mines frequently have more flexibility to adjust mine plans to a higher grade. Higher grade portions of older mines are generally mined out.”

Gold mining names preferred by BMO Research include: Randgold, Alamos Gold, Franco-Nevada, Goldcorp, and Dalradian.

SILVER

Silver price forecasts have been revised down by BMO Research “in light of recent price performance and ‘in sympathy’ with gold prices. BMO Research expects silver prices to average US$17.50/oz in 2015E … moving up to US$19.50/oz in 2016E in a weaker environment.” Previously, BMO forecast a 2015E silver price of $20.25.

Mined silver supply growth through 2019E is anticipated by BMO Research. “Much of this growth is, like existing production, a result of by-product output from gold, copper and zinc mines. In addition, BMO notes that zinc smelters in China are increasingly capable of processing silver from zinc concentrates, providing upside risk to BMO Research’s supply expectations.”

Meanwhile, the industrial demand for silver remains at relatively low levels, Fung noted.

PLATINUM

BMO Research prefers to view platinum price performance in rand terms, “which has reflected market fundamentals more so than in U.S. dollar terms.”

“A relatively tight market for platinum” is anticipated over the medium term, “though not undersupplied liked platinum,” observed BMO Research. “BMO continues to expect platinum prices to improve in rand terms, but given expectations for a still-weakening rand through 2016E, platinum prices are forecast to be rather rangebound in the USD.”

BMO platinum price forecasts for 2015E have been revised from $1,500 to $1,413 per ounce, while 2016E price has been revised from $1,550 to $1,425 per ounce.

BMO

PALLADIUM

BMO Research has increased palladium price forecasts to reflect an expected deficit market over years, with the long-term price increased from US$850/oz to $950/oz.

Palladium continues to be preferred to platinum due to greater demand leverage to auto production in the key growth regions of China and the U.S., said BMO.

However, Fung warned that Norilsk’s proposed purchase of US$2 billion worth of palladium from Russia’s palladium inventories “is a near-term downside risk.”

BMO estimates that US$2 billion is equivalent to 2.2-2.5 million ounces of palladium.

“It remains unclear if Norilsk would sell this palladium into the market as demand requires, which would effectively close the supply gap through 2016E and could take palladium prices down significantly, or exert some discipline to support palladium prices,” Fung advised.

One person hospitalised in critical condition after settler attack in Qusra

One person hospitalised in critical condition after settler attack in Qusra

At around 11am this morning, fifteen settlers from the nearby Jewish-only settlements of Esh Kodesh and Shilo attacked several houses on the outskirts of Qusra, southeast of Nablus.

One person hospitalised in critical condition after settler attack in Qusra

Confrontations between Palestinian residents and, settlers and Israeli forces ensued. Israeli army and border police fired large quantities of tears gas canisters and rubber coated steel bullets at Palestinians. Around twenty-eight people suffered from tear gas suffocation and rubber coated steel bullets related injuries. Osama Rami Hassan, a sixteen year-old boy, was shot with a rubber coated steel bullet near the left eye. He is currently stable, recovering from the injury at Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Helmi Abdul Azeez Hassan (26) was shot by a settler with live ammunition in the upper left abdomen. He is also hospitalised at Rafidia hospital, waiting to be transfered to an Israeli hospital where he can undergo surgery. Another resident was also shot with live ammuntion in the leg but is already recovering from the injury at home.

One person hospitalised in critical condition after settler attack in Qusra

The village of Qusra has witnessed continuous settler attacks and army violence for the past few years. In recent days, clashes between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces and settlers have intensified as last Thursday Israel forces demolished an electricity pole and the following day settlers burnt six cars from the village.

Hillary Clinton and Her Faux Supporters

Hillary Clinton and Her Faux Supporters

“Astroturfing” is when a politician pays people to pretend like they support them on an issue and to make it seem as though it is a grass roots movement. Hillary Clinton has been publicizing her quiet campaign to go out and have discussions with ordinary Americans as if she’s going to somehow get her finger on the pulse” of the nation and thereby base her campaign upon what she learns.

As staged and badly as that sounds, the reality is actually much worse:

According to AP’s Julie Pace, what Hillary Clinton wants you to think is an honest conversation with average Americans, is actually a highly staged production with ‘pre-picked’ supporters in attendance.

These conversations are “with pre-screened, pre-selected supporters mainly” Julie Pace said, about Hillary’s campaign stops where she meets with locals.

Hillary Clinton and Her Faux Supporters

So the people she’s meeting not only already agree with her but they’re also Democratic operatives. Take this inspiring story from The Hill about Gary and Lenore Patton:

Lenore and Gary Patton could not talk to the candidate they had come to see. They could not even get out of their chairs.

“ ‘Hey,’ Gary said to no one in particular. ‘She’s smart. She’s experienced. End of story. … This woman has what it takes.’

‘She has ideas for the direction of the country she wants to go in,’ said Lenore. ‘She cares about the middle class. We’re about as middle class as you can get.’

‘She’s so experienced, she’s so bright, and she’s so adroit,’ her husband added. ‘And I came in here not necessarily feeling all of these things, but I go away thinking that we would be lucky to have her as the president, because she has so many attributes that you need. It’s an incredibly impressive performance.’ ”

The trouble is… they were placed there intentionally:

The roundtable in Hampton was Clinton’s largest yet. About 60 people came — including the Pattons, local activists who said they “fervently supported” Barack Obama in 2008 and now “fervently support” Clinton.

Hillary Clinton and Her Faux Supporters

7-1/2 years ago, the Pattons were considered a “power couple” in New Hampshire Democratic Party politics, as reported in the New York Observer on December 6, 2007.

Meanwhile, when a real Hillary Clinton supporter came up to her asking for an autograph she told her to “go to the end of the line.”

It’s shameful we have a candidate running for the presidential nomination that is so phony and it’s even worse she’s not getting called on it. She has a mixture of entitlement and arrogance. And it’s disgusting.

Republicans Should Be Careful Responding to Obama’s Executive Action Amnesty Push

obama

obama It is common knowledge that President Obama is going to issue an Executive Order regarding immigration and make a move to allow millions of illegal aliens to stay in the country and, possibly, to obtain amnesty. The Republican party needs to tread carefully as a wounded animal is still dangerous.

President Obama still has power… negative power. He may not have the power to make things happen but he can make things not happen. And he can draw Republicans into a trap making them act rashly in ways that will benefit Democrats in 2016.

Republicans need to drop the idea that what Obama is doing is somehow “lawless.” Issuing Executive Orders is not lawless. Obama is constrained by the same laws George W. Bush was. And Executive Actions can be overturned by the next occupant of the White House just as easily as they can be issued by this president.

Don’t take your eye off the ball.obama

Republicans can also refuse to fund whatever programs Obama’s Executive Actions create. Without funding, nothing can happen. This is not to say “shutdown the Government” just make it clear that whatever amnesty moves Obama takes will not happen.

Americans see Obama’s move for what it is… a brazen political power play.

Democrats will take a hammering if Obama is seen as the one creating the havoc.

obama The announcement is also going to happen around the same time that the Ferguson, Missouri verdict will be read that, most likely, will create so much violence that people will be distracted.

Obama is conducting guerrilla warfare on Americans and one of the first rules is to use your opponent’s strengths against them.

The main strength of the Republicans now is their power and the desire to flex it. Obama hopes to unify Republican anger and focus it on himself so as to make them lash out an embarrass themselves.

I can only hope the GOP doesn’t take the bait.

Book Burning Brings Community Together

Book Burning Brings Community Together 1

Crisis communications doesn’t need to be a head-to-head messaging competition. Through smart tactics melding together with grass rootsBook Burning Brings Community Together 1 efforts, events, social media and traditional PR, it’s possible to direct the conversation in clever ways. The benefits of implementing this kind of strategic approach were reflected in how the Troy Library addressed a recent crisis.

I know a lot of people who place an emphasis on their summer reading. And whether it’s through an e-reader or in-person, the library is a great place to check out a variety of books. However, late last summer, Troy, Michigan was considering closing the Troy Public Library because of a financial deficit.

To secure the necessary funding, Troy scheduled a vote to ask local citizens Book Burning Brings Community Together 1to approve a small tax increase of 0.7 percent. This angered well-organized and well-funded anti-tax Tea Party members. With their “vote no” signs and flyers, they quickly changed the focus from the need for library support, to the issue of increasing taxes. However, a clever reverse psychology communications campaign helped turn things around.

Yard signs began appearing throughout Troy that read: “Vote to Close Troy Library on August 2nd – Book Burning Party on August 5th” (along with a Facebook page address). The idea of a book burning party angered the citizens so much that they decided to push back by posting comments on the Facebook page about the merits of libraries and books. Following extensive news coverage of this heated debate, the true intent of the campaign was unveiled: “A vote against the library is like a vote to burn books.” This revelation resulted in the citizens of Troy voting yes on August 2 to support the tax increase.

The outcome-centric approach that was employed here, involving multiple Book Burning Brings Community Together 1communications methods, is a concept at the heart of what we do at Star. This clever communications campaign worked because it resonated with people and engaged them in a meaningful discussion. The dissemination of this emotionally charged message across a variety of channels (i.e., video, print, online, etc.) compelled citizens to vote “yes” and save the library. Furthermore, it illustrated the benefits of approaching a crisis with a strategic mindset.