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So about suing gun stores....

A federal judge ordered the parents of a Aurora, Colorado, theater shooting victim to pay court costs and attorney fees as a result of a lawsuit filed last year, and the defendants in the case say the family owes around a quarter of a million dollars.

According to court documents filed April 10, in a combined sum, Lucky Gunner and Sportsman Guide paid roughly $224,600 to fight allegations that they failed to properly vet the gunman who used their products to kill 12 people and injure 70 others during a screening of The Dark Knight Rises in July 2012.

The Brady Campaign appears to have goaded the family into the suit, despite the fact that there's a law, the Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, that bars such suits provided the seller does not have actual knowledge or involvement in some form with whatever unlawful act the third party engages in.

Suing a gun store is like suing a car dealer who sells you a car that you then use to run someone over with.  Unless the car dealer has knowledge that you intend to commit an unlawful act with the vehicle at the time of the sale they're not responsible.

It is quite rare in this country to get hit with fees and costs as the result of losing a suit; that usually only happens when the judge finds that there was no legitimate legal basis for the filing.  That facially appears to be the case, and as such I have this much to say about it:

It's about damn time and if you listen to the Brady Campaign and take their advice this is what you get -- and deserve.

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Kim would have continued to wait on the national list, despite having several willing donors, were it not for a company called BiologicTx. Thanks to its software, Kim was able swap his sister’s kidney for the Marine’s kidney. The Marine, a woman named Liz Torres, gave up her kidney to ensure that her mother got a kidney, which came from a young social worker, Ana Tafolla Rios, who was a better match. Rios passed hers along to secure one for her ailing mother from Keith Rodriguez, a young man from Fresno. He let go of his to procure one for his mom, Norma, a 52-year-old dental assistant with polycystic kidney disease. All these people underwent surgery over two days in March at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco, in what is called a kidney-transplant chain. The software programs driving such chains create something like a marketplace for organs — but one where supply and demand are balanced not through pricing but through altruism.

Ah, maybe.

The rest of the article goes on to explain that the computer software allows creating "chains" where this person gets a kidney from that, who then gets one from someone else, and so on.  The chain begins with one person willing to make a donation but continues onward until it terminates when the number of matches that "work" expires.

Here's the problem: Unless you have an identical twin there are no perfect matches.

So the question that needs to be asked, but isn't in this article is the following: What is the optimization parameter?  That is, if I can favor the length of the chain, increasing the odds that someone hard to match will get a kidney, what damage do I do to the rejection risk that everyone else in the chain is forced to accept?

The software ranks those possible pairings based on hundreds of different immunological, genetic and demographic criteria, while also aiming to create longer chains of harder-to-match people which will ultimately result in more transplants.

In other words one of the aims is to create longer chains, which benefits harder-to-match people.  What harm does it do to less-hard-to-match people?

We don't know, but this much I do know: There is never a free lunch, and if you are intentionally targeting chain length, never mind adding demographics to the algorithm, then the matches you generate are not purely set by the best immunological and genetic pairings.

Do you like this sort of outcome?

Guess what -- you may well have no choice but to accept it if you find yourself in need of such a transplant because there is no choice.  Given that fact who gets to decide whether we optimize for the best match or the most matches, when you, if you're in need of such an organ, are stuck with that decision?

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Folks, there is exactly one way you're going to put a stop to this sort of nonsense:

At the end of October, IT employees at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts were called, one-by-one, into conference rooms to receive notice of their layoffs. Multiple conference rooms had been set aside for this purpose, and in each room an executive read from a script informing the worker that their last day would be Jan. 30, 2015.

Some workers left the rooms crying; others appeared shocked. This went on all day. As each employee received a call to go to a conference room, others in the office looked up sometimes with pained expressions. One IT worker recalls a co-worker mouthing "no" as he walked by on the way to a conference room.

Disney, like so many other firms, apparently has been moving many of their high-paying IT jobs effectively offshore -- in many cases demanding that current employees train replacements that then come in and take over.  Those replacements are H1b immigrants, frequently from India, where they obtain subsidized schooling and, of course, come from a land where the cost of living is a tiny fraction of what it is here.

These moves are often disguised as "outsourcing" to consultant outfits and similar that do the actual hiring, or as is often the case with call centers and similar the entire operation is moved offshore.  In either event the result is the same: Good paying American jobs are lost to foreigners.

This has been going on now for well over a decade; I saw the start of it back before I stood up MCSNet, but the trend has accelerated greatly.  Effectively, if it can be offshored it will be in some fashion, exploiting the wage disparity between nations.

You can argue all you want about lifting the living conditions in these other lands but doing so comes at our expense.  Even so-called "American" companies like General Motors and Ford have effectively offshored huge percentages of their car manufacturing through their supply chains and where the pieces that go into the cars come from.

We, the people, have permitted this.  We in fact fund it every time we buy products and services made by companies that do this.  While today there are no alternatives left in many industries that do none of it we can stop buying goods and services from the worst offenders and by doing so pressure firms to bring home their manufacturing -- and jobs.

As an example Apple both sources virtually everything that goes into its iPhone and iPad products from Asia and assembles there too.  If you care about American jobs you cannot buy Apple products -- period.  Likewise, Disney is not a "need", it's a want, and if you care about high-paying American IT jobs don't go to Disney parks.

There is only one way to stop this crap and that's when you, the American consumer, refuse to buy from the worst of these firms and press the advantage when someone pops up to assemble products and employ workers here in America.  As soon as that pressure is applied someone will step up and seize market share.

It starts with you folks; you either care about the future of this country and both your job and the job that your kids will (or won't!) have, or you don't.  You either put a stop to this through the pressure of the market or you not only ratify you accelerate this trend by buying an iPhone, iWatch or iPad and going to a Disney park.

Economic suicide is a choice.

Choose wisely.

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You knew it would come, right?

The attempt to blame all on.... liberalism.

Of those governments, perhaps the most salient fact to the objective political scientist, tasked with anatomizing the failed system, would be that both governments have long effectively functioned as one-party systems. Baltimore last had a Republican mayor, Theodore M. McKeldin, in 1967. (A wire photograph from April 1966 captured McKeldin, a bear of a man, chatting amiably with Dr. King in Baltimore, two years before the civil rights leader’s assassination in Memphis.) Maryland elected its incumbent Republican governor, Larry Hogan, in November – but that made Hogan only the second GOP governor in the Old Line State since 1969.

Incumbent mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, a Democrat, deals with a city council comprised 100 percent of fellow Democrats. Other important power blocs in the political and civic life of Baltimore are likewise controlled by Democrats, such as educational institutions and public-sector unions.

See, that's easy.  Just blame "one party" rule, as if the Republicans have "better ideas" without demonstrating how their ideas are better or even providing examples of alleged ideas to be implemented.

Nobody, of course, wants to ask the salient question: Exactly how did these cities become one-party political machines?

That, of course, is because if you were to go there you'd expose the soft underbelly of corruption in the political process -- the making of political promises that the maker knows cannot be fulfilled but doesn't care as he or she is buying votes, not results.

In the meantime behind the scenes even more-perverse and outrageous corruption is taking place; the selling of America, literally, to the highest bidder.  And rather than perform its job as a guardian at the gate the press fawns over such people and their espousing of various programs without a single critical examination of the issues at hand or a question being raised.

Let us put reality out there for everyone: No, not everyone is exceptional.  In fact most of us are downright ordinary and even there, if we're in the middle of the bell curve somewhere instead of out on the ends, fully half of us are on the wrong side of it!

The question to ask becomes simply this: What are you going to do about that fact given that we all must somehow manage to find our way in the world?

This is a cancer that we invited into our nation with so-called "free trade" and the exporting of our manufacturing base.  It is the one we refuse to discuss and debate, yet we must.  We instead try to placate and paper over it while at the same time destroying the programs and structures that led individuals in that situation to have productive, happy lives.

We then wring our hands when despair turns to crime and rioting.

Baltimore was a thriving industrial community that produced, among other things, a huge amount of steel.

But Baltimore lost over 100,000 manufacturing jobs by 1995, all due to foreign imports produced under near or actual slave labor conditions with zero regard for environmental impact.  One third of the residents of Baltimore fled the city.  Worse, 90% of the jobs in Baltimore today are low-paying and often part-time service-sector jobs.

Did liberals promote all the so-called "free trade" that led to this manufacturing displacement?  Hardly; that charge is equally leveled against conservatives; that is, Republicans.

At the same time deficit spending, which both political parties consider sacrosanct, has destroyed the ability to accumulate wealth for anyone that is in the lower economic classes.  Adding to this was outright and documented predatory behavior by financial institutions toward city residents, especially black city residents, in the 2000s via subprime lending.

Where is the debate on these topics?  It's missing from the political sphere for a very good reason: To address this you must address facts -- such as the fact that if the "average" IQ is 100 then half of the people will be above and half below; unless you're willing to literally murder the lower half of the population you need a social, employment and political system that provides opportunity for all.  That in turn means you cannot export your lower-wage and lower-ability-required manufacturing jobs to places like Vietnam and China as they must be retained so your citizens have gainful employment available to them.

At the same time you cannot deficit spend because for the person in the lower economic and intellectual quantum there is no defensive move available to them to mitigate the damage done to their financial security by such policies.

Finally, accountability for every dollar spent is far more important when you have few dollars to contribute to government programs in the form of taxation.  In this regard both Democrat and Republicans fail; our current so-called "educational" system is an utter and complete joke when looked at in terms of return-on-investment.

Are you ready to have a debate on these topics yet, America?

Or will you wring your hands and point fingers, as is often the case, at this bogeyman or that while ignoring the elephant in the room -- the intentional destruction of working-class jobs in this nation over the last 40+ years, and our utter refusal to put a stop to the abusive and outrageous "trade policies" that enable it.

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Clinton has now weighed in on Baltimore, saying "Without the mass incarceration that we currently practice, millions fewer people would be living in poverty," she said. "It's time to end the era of mass incarceration."

Sure Hillary.  But what you haven't said, nor have any of the Republicans, is how we got here and what you actually intend to do.

"Alternative punishments" for "low-level" offenders are no more of an answer than are what we do now.  Both come about because we both destroy the hope and job base of the working class of society that labors with its hands and then at the same time both give them welfare dependence and criminalize their choice in drowning the sorrows government inflicted on them.

Cut the crap Hillary, along with Obama, Rubio, Paul, Boehner and the rest: There is no answer to be found unless you address the root of the issue.

Let's get down to the root of the issue, shall we?

  • Medical monopolies must be broken up and the participants imprisoned for their violations of the Sherman, Clayton and Robinson-Patman act along with consumer-protection statutes.  This "industry" between medical care and medical insurance takes 15%, off the top from the first dollar that it should not from everyone.  The worst part of this abuse falls on those who can least afford it; the person earning a million dollars a year doesn't care if medical insurance and care costs him $20,000 a year because he has it and it's a tiny piece of his earnings.  The person who earns $15,000 a year can't even manage to eat catfood and stay out from under the freeway overpass with that sort of expense.  Those who claim that Medicaid "insulates" the poor from the abuse are full of crap; it does no such thing as Medicaid is a last-resort option and effectively eliminates choice (never mind that a huge percentage of middle-class people get bankrupted and thus rendered poor by a medically-related event.)

  • TPP must be scrapped and all other so-called "free trade" agreements abrogated.  This does not mean that there cannot be fair trade; there both can be and should be.  But we must put a stop to the destruction of manufacturing in America; I laid forth a means to do exactly that in Leverage, where I called for wage and environmental-parity tariffs.  In short we must eliminate the ability of multinational corporations to arbitrage slave labor, jackbooted political regimes and environmental destruction as a means of lowering their labor costs.  None of this is "fair competition" and our largest corporations, including consumer darlings like Apple and even GM, are the worst offenders.  For our economy to truly grow absent the abuse of leverage we must make things, not perform "services".

  • Inflation as government policy must be scrapped.  This means an immediate end to deficit spending, period.  It means enforcement of the written Fed Mandate, which calls for stable prices.  We must enforce this mandate with prison terms for Fed Governors if necessary and One Dollar of Capital in the banking sector.   Note that if we break the medical monopolies balancing the Federal Budget becomes trivial as the amount spent on such monopolistic industries is large enough, and the 80-90% reduction in cost that would occur is also large enough, to result in an actual surplus were it to be stopped.  Those on both the left and right that say we "can't" balance the Federal Budget right here, right now are lying and they need to be run out of town on a rail as they are stealing from you twice -- first with the cost of medical care and the monopolistic practices in that sector of the economy and then again through intentional price inflation.  Price inflation means that a dollar a working person earns and saves at age 20 is worth less than 40 cents when he turns 65.  This is how your value is stolen and it is stolen from everyone; the middle class and poor are hurt the most by the very deficit spending that the politicians claim to be "helping" them with!

  • "Social laws" that criminalize consensual non-violent adult behavior must all be scrapped and all records of previous acts related to same rendered void.  There is no justification for arresting someone because they choose to consume a particular plant that grows in the wild -- as just one of many examples.  These laws are not about public safety; it is a documented fact that the original drug control act was passed at the behest of corporate interests protecting their vertical monopoly structure in the pulp, paper and newsprinting business.  The proponents lied about the effects of marijuana specifically in order to pass that legislation and framed the argument in both misogynistic and racist terms, claiming that the drug made (undesirable) Mexican men******(pure) white women who were rendered unable to resist by the power of the demon weed. These lies continue today; a common false representation sold to the public is that marijuana smoke is "much more harmful than tobacco."  This is probably true but ignores the fact that nobody can manage to smoke 20 cigarette-sized joints in a day and still reach for the Doritos bag, yet plenty of people smoke a pack of cigarettes daily.  Thus even if the pot smoke is more harmful than tobacco the dose taken is a tiny fraction of the tobacco smoker's and thus the risk commensurately less.  Further, there exist devices you can buy today that "vaporize" marijuana without burning it, reducing to near-zero the carcinogenic risks attendant with smoking, never mind the ability to make brownies and other edible confections that have no smoking risk of any sort.  These laws do one thing and one thing only -- they destroy employment opportunity for tens of millions of Americans as a felony criminal record follows you forever and they are disproportionately applied on racial grounds.  It is perfectly acceptable for a felony record to attach to someone who engages in some form of violent assault against another person or their property but it is utterly unacceptable to apply such a sanction to someone who has harmed nobody but, perhaps, themselves as a consenting adult.  Our drug laws were blatantly and intentionally racist at their inception and have continued to be so to this very day; they must all, as applies to consenting adults, be repealed immediately.

  • Welfare as we know it must end.  There is no motivating factor known to mankind that exceeds public notice and yet at the same time we have a moral obligation to prevent people from starving or freezing to death, provided they can behave like human beings.  We had a system like this before President Johnson's Great Society and we must return to it immediately.  In short we must end, right now, all welfare programs of any sort and replace them with a very inexpensive alternative -- direct assistance in the form of "three hots and, if you need it, a cot."  That is anyone may show up at centers that we establish either directly or through partnership with various public assistance organizations (yes, including churches) to distribute to people edible food for immediate consumption on premises (that is, "soup kitchens") along with buildings containing showers, toilets and cots so anyone can sleep, shower and ****.  This is very inexpensive and setting up a basic metal detector to prohibit weapons by those who come in is trivially enforced.  While this will be vastly less expensive than what we do now that's not the point of such an exercise.  No, the point is that if you have the money for an X-Box or fancy wheels on your car you do not need public assistance but if you are truly in need of a place to sleep and food in your belly, and are willing to behave as a human being while consuming both we both can and should provide it to you. At the same time having to stand in line and sleep on a cot is a humbling experience and a tremendous motivator for you to get off your ass and get a job.  Having returned manufacturing to our shores there will be plenty of jobs available for those willing to work.  Further, such a change in our so-called "welfare" will make mobility trivial for those willing to go where the work is; you will be able to travel very inexpensively to where jobs are and have both a place to sleep and enough to eat while seeking same. For those unwilling to work they can be reminded every single day that they are obtaining that given to them voluntarily by others in the hope that their mind is changed, but without penalty if it is not.

If you want to put a stop to the destruction seen in Baltimore and elsewhere, a cycle that will continue if we remain on our present course as we are destroying more and more jobs, stealing more and more money from the poor, demoting middle class people to poor every day at a rate that grossly exceeds people going the other direction and permanently destroying the job prospects of those who have committed no violence against anyone else then you must support and put into place all of the above.

There is no half way on this, and there is no picking and choosing.

There is only demanding that all of the above take place, right now, and tossing every politician who refuses out on their ear or there is more violence and more destruction of our society to come until we reach a point of critical mass at which point all of us in civil society lose.

Your choice, America, but do realize one thing: A lack of immediate action on your part to demand and enforce these changes in our political landscape means you consent, desire and confirm the destruction of our society and when, not if, the destruction evident in Baltimore and elsewhere reaches your race, class and place in our society it will be too late to implement that change by peaceful, political means.

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