Reason Morning Links: Soda Tax Study, Newark Has a Murderless Month, Judge Deems NSA Wiretapping Illegal

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NEXT: Reason.tv: Nanny of the Month for March 2010 is Salt-Banning NY State Rep. Felix Ortiz!

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    1. Odd, this video doesn’t seem to be on Hank’s website.

      1. Wonder why? It seems very popular.

        1. OK, I’m on it!

          1. Try not to tip over on your way, Hank.

          2. Hank Johnson never disappoints 😉

            1. Suki, have you mailed in your Census Form yet?

              1. Yes, your Honor I have and I have a witness!

                1. Did you put “human” in the race description area? I did. Mwahaha.

                  Oh, and… good mornin’, Suki!

                  1. Hi TLG!

                    Bothe me and beloved put “American” in the “other race” field for race.

                    1. I was sooo tempted to put “Bajoran” or “Betazoid” there, just to see how many Trek geeks are working at the census bureau these days… but that might be construed as a lie on a federal form, and prison is a damned unhealthy place to be.

                      So… I left it blank.

    2. “Uh…we don’t anticipate that.”

      1. That’s why those Admirals get paid the big bucks.

        1. The admiral gets the big bucks for not laughing his ass off.

          1. He’d have gotten bonus points if he had said “No sir, that won’t happen. We use specially trained dolphins to keep everything on an even keel.”

            1. That was Smokey from The PJ’s deressed up in a suit and plopped down in Congress as a joke, right?

    3. That’s excellent. I’ve spent some time on Guam. Interesting place. World-class nudie bars and firing ranges. Also, the snorkeling and scuba diving is great. It is most definitely in danger of tipping over, so the Navy installed a flotilla of empty beer kegs at one end to correct the island’s listing.

    4. Racist!

  1. Newark was homicide free in March, the first time in 40 years the city has gone a calendar month without a murder.

    That’s because the cops are working their asses off to get dangerous guns and the criminals who own them off the streets. See below on H&R. The guy had cop killers bullets.

    1. Sure glad they got him off the street before tragedy struck. He frightened me.

    2. There are still people left who are stupid enough to believe the ‘cop-killer’ bullet myth? The quality of trolling here has hit rock bottom and started to dig.

      1. capitol was snarking sarcastically not trolling tedidiously.
        he’s refering to this
        https://reason.com/blog/2010/03…..tion-leads

      2. You owe me $1.

  2. The online April Fool’s pranks you won’t see, but should.

    ROFL! Thanks.

  3. Newark was homicide free in March

    Didn’ March just end yesterday? Shouldn’t they give it a few days before they can say for sure that nobody was killed yesterday?

    1. The Department of Non-Precrime says it’ll be okay.

  4. I am so disappointed in you, Newark.

    1. Don’t be Saccharin Man. It’s the economy; murderers just can’t seem to fund their trade. And the loan sharks can only break so many knees. Hell, even the hookers are having a hard time attracting business with all the city cuts Christie is making.

      1. “I had to sell the trigger and most of the handle to feed my family. C’mon, gimme the dough, I can throw this pretty hard!”

        1. “I’ve had a hell of a day. I been beat up every time I turn around. But the day I get turned down by a whore when I got good cash money to pay her with… well, there’s only so much a man can take.”

  5. “Small taxes on soda do little to reduce soft drink consumption or prevent childhood obesity, but larger levies probably would, according to new research.”

    They needed a study for this? It’s straight out of Econ 101.

    1. They should stop fucking around and just ban all of these “epidemic” causing products. You all know that’s what the nanny fucks want anyways, it’s painful going through the motions, any more.

      Then in twenty years we can have posts on H&R decrying the pepsi/mountain dew sentencing disparities.

      1. What pisses me off the most is the same politicians will cry foul when Coke and Pepsi start laying people off. Georgia should declare war on New York.

        And I live in New York.

        1. And I live in Georgia. On behalf of the state, we’ll kick your state’s ass.

          After all, we all have guns 😀

        2. Isn’t Pepsi based in New York? (Invented in New Bern, NC though.)

      2. decrying the pepsi/mountain dewgrapesoda sentencing

        FTFY

        1. racist?

      3. Cap,

        You obviously missed that fine South Park documentary last night that showed the effects of a ban on KFC.

        1. documentary, LOL

          coffee up my nose now

    2. If the gov’t *must* use taxation to “prevent obesity”, it should tax “excess weight” directly, not some purported cause.

      1. Soon as the mandate to buy health insurance if found constitutional, this measure is sure to follow. “Your paperz pleaze, and step on zis scale.”

      2. Will you let them get government health care off the ground before charging me the overweight, drug using, alcohol using, cigarette smoking and not using sun block tax penalties?

        1. Uh … No?

        2. “”Will you let them get government health care off the ground before charging me the overweight, drug using, alcohol using, cigarette smoking and not using sun block tax penalties?””

          Not tax penalties. All that will be taken into consideration when calculating your risk based insurance premium.

    3. If you want to make soda more expensive, maybe you should STOP FUCKING SUBSIDIZING SUGAR YOU IGNORANT RETARDS instead of a special soda tax. How can they not have figured that out yet?

      1. Ummm…its just Congress. We’re 535 people that collectively have fewer functioning brain cells than a short bus full of Downes Syndrome kids huffing glue. What did you expect?

        1. thanks for adding that “huffing glue” part, cuz even my 13 year old son w/DS knows that Guam can’t tip over.

      2. Silence, peasant!

      3. If you want to make soda more expensive, maybe you should STOP FUCKING SUBSIDIZING SUGAR YOU IGNORANT RETARDS instead of a special soda tax.

        Congress’s sugar programs don’t make sugar cheaper, they make it more expensive. That’s why US sodas use HFCS. The sugar system works like this:

        1) Quotas on how much sugar can be imported
        2) USDA accepts sugar as collateral for loans, valuing sugar at a fixed price per pound.
        3) The sugar producer can forfeit the collateral sugar and keep the money at any time; in practice, this means that if the price of sugar falls below that value, they forfeit the sugar and keep the money, keeping the price of sugar higher.

        It’s 100% stupid, but it doesn’t work in the manner you describe. It’s opposite to that.

      4. They’ve figured it out, it’s just in their best interests to continue the status quo. That way they get to steal our money and give it to HFCS producers who in turn give Congress money and votes. Then they tax the sodas with HFCS because HCR has given them a rationale for controlling our lives in yet another way. It’s win-win.

  6. Declaring that the plaintiffs had been “subjected to unlawful surveillance,” the judge said the government was liable to pay them damages.

    How does this work exactly? If I break a federal law, I don’t get to “pay damages” with other peoples’ money. I get to go to Federal Pound-you-in-the-ass Prison. So when do we see the indictments? Will the trials be televised?

    1. Are you serious?

    2. Are you serious? Are you serious?

    3. I don’t know if you missed it, but near the end of the article it mentions that the damages that will be paid are going to total something like $60,060. Just wanted to make you more depressed.

      1. If you keep this up, someone’s going to attempt suicide with a bowl of Fruity Pebbles.

    4. How does this work exactly? If I break a federal law, I don’t get to “pay damages” with other peoples’ money. I get to go to Federal Pound-you-in-the-ass Prison. So when do we see the indictments? Will the trials be televised?

      Are you arguing that courts should abandon the doctrine of respondeat superior , a doctrine that has been in America before the Revolution?

  7. I’m surprised that no no at Reason has picked this up, yet.

    Former Goldman Commodities Research Analyst Confirms LMBA OTC Gold Market Is “Paper Gold” Ponzi

    First, we obtained direct evidence from Andrew Maguire (who may or may not have been the target of an attempt at “bodily harm” as reported yesterday) of extensive manipulation in the silver market. Today, Adrian Douglas, director of GATA, adds to the mountain of evidence that the commodities market, and the CFTC, stand behind what is potentially the biggest market manipulation scheme in the history of capital markets (we are assuming for the time being that all allegations of the Fed manipulating the broader equity and credit markets are completely baseless). Using the testimony of a clueless Jeffrey Christian, formerly a staffer at the Commodities Research Group in the Goldman Sachs Investment Research Department and now head and founder of the CPM Group, Douglas confirms that the “LBMA trades over 100 times the amount of gold it actually has to back the trades.” Christian confirms that the gold market is basically a ponzi: “in the “physical market” as the market uses that term, there is much more metal than that?there is a hundred times what there is.” And there you have it: as Douglas eloquently summarizes: “the giant Ponzi trading of gold ledger entries can be sustained only if there is never a liquidity crisis in the REAL physical market. If someone asks for gold and there isn’t any the default would trigger the biggest “bank run” and default in history.

    1. Also, from GATA

      Initially we thought that the manipulation of the gold market was undertaken as a
      coordinated profit scheme by certain bullion banks, like JPMorgan,
      Chase Bank, and Goldman Sachs, and that it violated federal and state
      anti-trust laws. But we soon discerned that the bullion banks were
      working closely with the U.S. Treasury …Department and Federal Reserve
      in a gold cartel, part of a broad scheme of manipulation of the
      currency, precious metals, and bond markets.

      – William Murphy, Chairman of GATA (Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, http://www.gata.org/)

    2. Hmm, I see a lot of dental work and bling suddenly missing.

      Flava Flav better gaurd that grill.

    3. Sounds like regular banking.

    4. From the excerpt, I can’t even tell whether there’s a problem here.

      1. Well, I’m certainly no expert in commodities trading. Whether or not this is a problem to investors, I simply do not know. If it is a problem for free market oriented Libertarians, I would have to say, yes. My understanding is that any manipulation of markets or currency is frowned upon. Whether it’s simple fractional reserve lending on demand deposits, or fractional reserve selling of a physical commodity. It does seem to be ruffling a few feathers with the latter.

        1. As a libertarian, fractional reserves dont bother me. Just as long as they arent hiding it. I know my bank deals in fractional reserves and therefore I can choose whether to bank with them or not. I dont see the problem.

          As far as gold, if you are going to buy gold, buy gold. Take deliver at purchase. If you want to buy gold in a fund instead, understand there may not be a 1:1 correspondence unless they promise it to you.

          1. Really? I don’t think you understand the implications. If the gold supply is inflated with worthless paper, it devalues all gold, even physical gold coins you may have in your possession. That is because it artificially adds to the supply. We’re not talking about futures or funds, we’re talking about the “physical supply”. If a bullion bank has 1 ounce of gold, and writes 100 ounces of paper on that 1 ounce, don’t you think that will affect the price of all gold on the market? When you add to the supply, you decrease the demand, thus, prices fall which devalues the gold you have. Gold is no longer a store of value.

            1. And? The problem with that is what exactly? Im a libertarian, I am going to allow people to make transactions as they see fit – as long as done without force or fraud. There is danger of fraud in this, but as long as that is handled properly, the fact that it might hurt my unrelated property value is my tough luck.

              I bet you whine when your neighbor paints his house an ugly color too.

            2. Oh, and bullshit on gold being devalued. No matter what happens 1 ounce of gold will be worth 1 ounce of gold.

              1. According to whom? No reason to get nasty, unless you are a paper trader. Currency manipulation effects everyone. I couldn’t give two shits what color my neighbor’s house is, but if his fraudulent transactions are affecting the value of my gold, bonds, currency, etc, I must take issue. If you want to bend over and take it, that’s on you. Fraud is fraud, and effects everyone, especially when it comes to money.

                1. Hi facebook friend! I know this one:
                  According to whom?

                  The buyer, of course. Buyer sets the price of the sale, in a voluntary trade.

                2. Its not fraudulent if both parties understand its a fractional reserve system.

                  1. But in this case, there’s evidence they do not. And there are no reserves, in any true sense of the word. We’re not talking about lending, where the money is owed back, we’re talking about selling. Selling something you do not have.

                    …on behalf of people who believe they own bullion in LBMA vaults but in fact they don’t. They are told they have “unallocated gold” or “unallocated silver” but that does not mean the LBMA has physical metal set aside for those customers and has just not given specific bar numbers to the customers. No, it is the most cynical and corrupt definition of “unallocated”

                    At best, there’s a serious lack of transparency and disclosure.

                    1. How is it any different than any other short selling?

                      Well, okay, maybe this is naked shorting, which their are rules against for stocks. But, if anything, it isnt the shorting that is the problem, its the naked shorting. Eliminating that would drastically reduce the ratio, it wouldnt be 100:1 anymore.

                    2. Maybe? But it’s not just about futures. The LBMA is supposed to be “cash for gold”, period. People are being told they own physical gold, not futures or ETFs.

                      This means that there are thousands of clients — Asian and Middle Eastern governments and sovereign wealth funds among them — who think they own hundreds of billions and perhaps trillions of dollars of gold bullion, and are being charged storage fees on that fantasy bullion, but they really own unsecured gold loans to the banks at a negative interest rate.

                      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…..19893.html

                  2. These traders are playing with fire. If the gold market were to freeze, or if there is a run on gold, every fiat currency will crash. Maybe not a bad thing. So, maybe it is best for Libertarians and free market advocates to sit back and let it happen. but that would be condoning fraud. Fraud on a fraudulent system of fiat currency. This is dizzying.

                    1. Once again, what fraud?

                  3. Then there’s also the possibility that the Treasury and Fed are involved directly with JPM to intentionally manipulate the value of the dollar though the PMs market. There is no direct or circumstantial evidence of that, but if they are, or if there is the possibility, shouldn’t it at least be investigated?

    5. Yeah. That’s why I don’t own any paper gold.

      Paper gold is for speculating on the gold price (NTTAWT!). I use gold as a vehicle for savings, not trading, so I have physical gold.

      The gold market is famously subject to manipulation by central banks and their allies. Its great, if you’re an insider. If you’re not, you’re a mark. No thanks.

      1. That’s only cool if you own a Silver Ghost with a modified body of gold.

      2. There are two definitions for “physical gold”, it seems. We’re not talking about speculation on futures. A physical gold certificate means you own gold in a vault. That’s what is being manipulated, the way I read it. Maybe I’m missing something. The only way your gold in hand will show it’s true value, is if there’s a run on paper gold, and there’s not enough gold in the vaults to cover it. Otherwise, your gold in hand has the same value as inflated physical paper gold.

        1. That’s good for those who are buying and holding actual physical gold- keeps the price down for those accumulating. It’s not so great for sellers, but I hear the bitching about this more from those pimping the buy and hold position.

          1. I think their position is, that if there is a run on gold, initially, REAL gold will go through the roof, then fall through the floor when the market freezes, because no one will have any faith in gold. This is all highly speculative. I think there is just a broad sense of anger that forces greater than themselves may be manipulating the market, for better or worse. From an investor point of view, from what I understand, is that they want stability in the market.

      3. This is a stunning revelation. Mr. Christian confirms that the “physical market” is not in fact a physical market at all. It is a loose description of all the paper trading and ledger entries and some physical metal movements that occur each day on behalf of people who believe they own bullion in LBMA vaults but in fact they don’t. They are told they have “unallocated gold” or “unallocated silver” but that does not mean the LBMA has physical metal set aside for those customers and has just not given specific bar numbers to the customers. No, it is the most cynical and corrupt definition of “unallocated”?the customer has NO bullion allocated to him. NONE! The LBMA defines the owners of “unallocated accounts” quite clearly as “unsecured creditors”. That means they have NO collateral. NONE. Can it be any clearer? It is a giant Ponzi scheme.

        Mr. Christian confirms what many analysts and GATA have been alleging that there is not much REAL physical metal, but testifies that there is actually one hundred times the REAL Physical metal being sold based on the much more “loose” definition of what “physical” means to the bullion banks.

        1. “The LBMA defines the owners of “unallocated accounts” quite clearly as “unsecured creditors”. That means they have NO collateral. NONE. Can it be any clearer? It is a giant Ponzi scheme.”

          Social Security

      4. But gold always goes up and it never goes down!

  8. “Newark was homicide free in March, the first time in 40 years the city has gone a calendar month without a murder.”

    My city — Minneapolis — should be that lucky. Tuesday night, at 9:10 pm a 21-year-old man was shot dead in the street just a few doors down from my house. As the song says, “It’s just an everyday thing down in the ghetto”, but here’s what really pisses me off. Last night when coming home from work, there were about 200 people at the sight of the shooting, which had been plastered with balloons and signs and what have you. And about 80% of the people there were wearing red. You wouldn’t see that much red at a Cardinals game. And their all drinking beer in plastic cups. So this morning the fucking street is strewn with plastic beer cups.

    So here’s they executive summary: gangbanger gets shot, surviving gangbangers throw a celebration, leaving a fucking mess on the street.

    1. Any videos of the festivities? Be a shame if any partiers got prosecuted for littering.

    2. Who knew that Scandinavians could be so violent?

      1. ask the Vikings

        1. Losing 4 Super Bowls will do that to a people.

          1. Not to mention Brett Favre…

            1. Chucking season-ending interceptions will do that to a people.

    3. Probably Somalians.

    4. Newark, NJ or Newark, DE?

  9. Surely Roland Sturm and the Rand Corp. know that higher soda taxes will disproportionately hurt the poor.

    Why do they hate the poor?

    1. It’s for their own good, Chinny. The poor must be led to enlightenment by their betters.

  10. They ain’t gonna tax pop, tho, rite?

  11. ThinkGeek is doing prank gifts again (remember the Tauntaun Sleeping Bag?); I just highlighted my favorite over at Urkobold: The Monolith Action Figure.

    1. Blog whoring at its worst! How can you live with yourself? For a blog called reason! Wait until Longtorso sees this.

      1. Technically, I’m linking to my page linking to another. Feel free to go straight to ThinkGeek, which sends me practically no money at all.

        1. “My god. It’s full of monkeys!”

          1. Ah, you’ve seen the alternative ending of 2001. An ending that brilliantly ties the beginning of the film to the end of the film. The studio made Kubrick change the ending, deciding that all the references to apes–especially the image of the Star Monkey floating in Earth orbit–would remind audiences too much of Planet of the Apes, which had been released several months earlier.

  12. I was amused by xkcd.org today. I found 1 undocumented command.

  13. From the Brickbats:

    In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service is facing a major funding crisis. Some regional health trusts have told doctors to delay MRI scans for cancer for up to six weeks. Others have ordered general practitioners not to send people for scans for “non-urgent” matters or to send children with tonsillitis to specialists.

    That’ll never happen here. Right?

    1. Or rising health insurance premiums, for that matter.

  14. That’ll never happen here. Right?

    Never.

    Ever.

    We, under the guidance of the Ascended One, have smashed the shackles of filthy economic incentives.

    My unicorn told me so.

  15. The bizarre thing about every President’s energy policy since Nixon is how they all have one theme – energy independence. We’re as likely to be energy independent as we are to be “air independent.”

  16. That’ll never happen here. Right?

    Of course not. That’s what our Chinese banking friends are for.

  17. My unicorn told me so.

    You can’t trust unicorns, P. Filthy liars, the lot of them. Now a pegasus is trustworthy, so if you get one of them to confirm we’re good.

  18. Tired of looking at your dog’s asshole all the time? Never fear.

  19. There are two definitions for “physical gold”, it seems. We’re not talking about speculation on futures. A physical gold certificate means you own gold in a vault.

    A proper physical gold certificate identifies the actual gold that you have in the vault. All gold bars have ID numbers; when you buy a gold bar, if you don’t take delivery, you get a certificate identifying the actual, unique, one-of-a-kind gold bar that you own.

    Why anybody would own gold coins and not take delivery, I have no idea.

    What’s being manipulated is the Gold ETFs (although, goldbugs being paranoid sorts by nature, there are dark rumors about the physical gold inventories of repositories as well). Those are allegedly backed by physical gold, but when you look at their volumes, you quickly realize that there is no freakin’ way.

    Then, there is the disparity between the volumes of futures contracts and the volume of gold actually available. This doesn’t bother me as much, because futures markets generally have far more contracts out than they do physical supply.

    Now, if people holding long futures contracts start standing for delivery in any numbers, you will quickly see delivery breaches. The problem is made even worse because the vast majority of gold short contracts come from a very small handful of bullion banks, that cannot, in any way, deliver. Deutsche Bank got caught out on this last year, and the ECB had to transfer billions of dollars of gold so they could cover.

    There. More than you wanted to know.

    The only way your gold in hand will show it’s true value, is if there’s a run on paper gold, and there’s not enough gold in the vaults to cover it. Otherwise, your gold in hand has the same value as inflated physical paper gold.

    1. Thanks. That’s exactly as much as I wanted to know. I thought maybe this was about some kind of OTC forwards, which is why I wasn’t alarmed, for the reason you state.

  20. Marc, I think there are two things to be worried about:

    (1) The Gold (and Silver) ETFs, most of which purport to be “backed by gold.” They aren’t. They can’t be. They’re too big.

    (2) The systematic naked shorting of the gold futures market by bullion banks. Its outright and intentional market manipulation by banks fronting for governments that want to hold down the price of gold to stabilize their fiat currencies.

    This systematic shorting, BTW, has led to a rule change that allows delivery on a futures contract to be satisfied by paper, not physical delivery.

  21. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGvO7nW4EqA

    This video makes me think of unintended consequences. These politicians speak about taxing pennies. This regressive tax adds dollars to our grocery bill. I wonder about if these same hacks have considered how much of this tax will be spent on replacing government letterhead after they’re thrown out of office.

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