Posted: April 12, 2017 Filed under: Foreign Policy, Global, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Chris Matthews, CNBC, Hitler, Holocaust, media, MSNBC, NBC, video
Posted: April 16, 2016 Filed under: Economics, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Adair Turner, Andrew Ross Sorkin, Bank regulation, Becky Quick, Central bank, CNBC, Federal Reserve System, Interest rate, Joe Kernen, Monetary policy, Presidential Election 2016, Ted Cruz, VAT
Cruz just had a very interesting hour-long interview on CNBC this morning with Joe Kernen, Becky Quick and Andrew Ross Sorkin on the Squawkbox financial program. The CNBC gang hit Cruz with everything from Japanese and German basis points, to negative global interest rates, to bank bailout policies, tax reform, economic effects of climate change proposals, opposition to various kinds of VAT taxing, instability of commodity prices, Fed monetary policy, etc.
Reagan administration economist Arthur Laffer, one of the architects of Cruz’s tax plan, weighs in for an extra helping of tax and quantitative easing wonkishness.
…This is a much more in-depth discussion than the stump speech snippets we’ve all heard many times…(more)
Posted: February 22, 2016 Filed under: Art & Culture, Comics, Mediasphere, Science & Technology | Tags: Apple Inc, CNBC, Comicon, iPhone, Jan Koum, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Sundar Pichai, Whatsapp
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak had a front-row seat as the personal computer began to reshape society, so it made perfect sense to him to bring a convention meshing technology with pop culture to Silicon Valley.
Posted: December 24, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Global, U.S. News | Tags: Associated Press, CNBC, Connecticut, Dan Malloy, Economy of the United States, Federal Open Market Committee, Federal Reserve System, Great Recession, Greenspan put, Interest rate
HOUSTON – Collin Eaton writes: For American drillers, the New Year will likely bring more of the same – financial pressure and mass layoffs.
The U.S. petroleum industry hasn’t seen this many bankruptcies in one quarter since the Great Recession, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas says, counting nine Chapter 11 court filings in the year’s final three-month period. And that’s just a third of the year’s domestic casualty count.
The Dallas Fed also estimates in a new report on Thursday the nation has lost about 70,000 oil and gas jobs since October 2014, a 14.5 percent drop in the 14 months after the domestic shale drilling boom that drew thousands to Houston’s oil hub began a steep decline.
But the sacrifice of dozens of U.S. oil producers, thousands of oil field workers and more than 1,200 drilling rigs still hasn’t stalled U.S. crude production enough to shrink the global oil glut that has sent oil prices below $40 a barrel.
Global crude supplies, the Fed said, could outpace demand by 600,000 barrels a day, and the world’s crude storage tanks may not start to decline until 2017.
That’s in part because increased production from Iran has come on earlier than anticipated and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is expected to continue pumping crude at current levels. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 22, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: "define and express their identity, #MediaBuzz, Air Force One, Barack Obama, CNBC, Fox News, G20 Summit, Howard Kurtz, Jet Lag, Luxury Travel, President of the United States, Turkey
Source: #mediabuzz | Howard Kurtz | Fox News
Posted: October 29, 2015 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Carly Fiorina, CNBC, Donald Trump, Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox News Channel, Howard Kurtz, media, Megyn Kelly, Menstruation, news, Oregon, Republican Party presidential primaries, video
Chris Stirewalt and Howard Kurtz break down the CNBC GOP debate on ‘The Kelly File’Watch Chris Stirewalt, Howard Kurtz, and Megyn Kelly talk about Elections, Presidential Primaries, and Republicans on Mediabuzz and The Kelly File.
Posted: October 12, 2015 Filed under: Economics, Mediasphere | Tags: Apple Inc, Bob Lutz (businessman), Chairman, CNBC, Dennis P. Lockhart, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Eastern Time Zone, Federal Reserve System, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Janet Yellen, Nasdaq, S&P 500
APPL is still on track to log its worst performance in six years.
Stephanie Yang reports: Apple has done better than the broader market this year, rising 1.5 percent while the S&P 500 has fallen more than 2 percent.
“Some of the bloom is off the rose. I think that’s a little bit unfair. We still think it’s a great story, we still think its going to have a good six months, but some of the excitement and momentum traders have backed off, probably in part because of a risk-off general attitude in the markets.”
However, the stock is still on track to log its worst performance in six years.
In 2008, Apple shares fell more than 50 percent. Since then, the stock has consistently risen 5 percent or more.
“We tend to see a little bit of a trail down in Apple going into earnings, we tend to see people be worried. And then we see the shares strengthen after the earnings are reported.”
Max Wolff, chief economist at Manhattan Venture Partners, said the stock’s lackluster performance this year is likely due to concern about the completion of the Apple car, sales of the new Apple watch and more risk-averse investors.
“Some of the bloom is off the rose,” Wolff said Friday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “I think that’s a little bit unfair. We still think it’s a great story, we still think its going to have a good six months, but some of the excitement and momentum traders have backed off, probably in part because of a risk-off general attitude in the markets.”
However, Wolff said Apple’s third-quarter earnings report, which is scheduled for Oct. 27, could bring some of that excitement back. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: August 10, 2015 Filed under: Global, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: Australia, Australia national rugby union team, Bledisloe Cup, CNBC, Flag, John Key, Julia Gillard, Kevin Rudd, New Zealand, New Zealand national rugby union team, Union Jack
These Are the Finalists?
There really isn’t much by which to distinguish the flags of New Zealand and Australia. The former comes with a Union Jack flag in the top left against a deep blue background with red stars. The latter includes a Union Jack flag in the top left against a deep blue background with — wait for it! — white stars.
That’s resulted in quite a bit of confusion — usually to the disadvantage of smaller New Zealand. That country’s prime minister, John Key, has spoken of being seated in front of Australia’s flag at multilateral fora, a wonderful bit of small-country anxiety that HBO’s John Oliver recently satirized to great effect…(read more)
Posted: May 15, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Mediasphere, Politics | Tags: 501(c) organization, ABC News, Benghazi, Bill Clinton, Clinton Foundation, CNBC, Commentary (magazine), Conflict of Interest, George Stephanopoulos, Hillary Clinton, media, Media bias, news, This Week (ABC TV series)
Limited Modified Hangout Specialist and Clinton Foundation Donation Donor George Stephanpoulos “Apologizes” For Not Disclosing Donation To Clinton Foundation. Sheds New Light on George Stephanopoulos’ April 2015 Interview with Peter Schweizer on ABC’s This Week.
Posted: April 26, 2015 Filed under: Law & Justice, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Albany International Airport, Barack Obama, CNBC, Daily Mail, Democratic Party (United States), Harry Reid, Nevada, New York Post, Party leaders of the United States Senate, United States
Read more…. New York Post
Posted: April 23, 2015 Filed under: Robotics | Tags: Bitcoin, CNBC, Deep Web, Diesel (brand), Hungarian passport, Installation art, Internet, MDMA, Robot, Switzerland
The robot’s purchases included a Hungarian passport, Ecstasy pills, fake Diesel jeans, a Sprite can with a hole cut out in order to stash cash, Nikes, a baseball cap with a hidden camera, cigarettes and the ‘Lord of the Rings‘ e-book collection
Arjun Kharpal reports: This is the curious story of how a robot armed with a weekly budget of $100 in bitcoin managed to buy Ecstasy, a Hungarian passport and a baseball cap with a built-in camera—before getting arrested.
The “automated online shopping bot” was set up in October last year by Swiss art group, !Mediengruppe Bitnik, as an art installation to explore the “dark web”—the hidden, un-indexed part of the Internet.
Each week, the robot was given $100 worth of Bitcoin— the major hard-to-trace cryptocurrency—and programmed to randomly purchase one item from Agora, an online marketplace on the dark web where shoppers can buy drugs and other illegal items. The items were automatically delivered to a Swiss art gallery called Kunst Halle St Gallen to form an exhibition.
“This is a great day for the ‘bot, for us and for freedom of art!”
— !Mediengruppe Bitnik, in a blog post
The robot was christened “Random Darknet Shopper” and its purchases included a Hungarian passport, Ecstasy pills, fake Diesel jeans, a Sprite can with a hole cut out in order to stash cash, Nike trainers, a baseball cap with a hidden camera, cigarettes and the “Lord of the Rings” e-book collection.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the robot and his artistic creators had a run in with the law. In January 2015, the Swiss police confiscated the robot and its illegal purchases.
However, three months later, the Random Darknet Shopper was returned to the artists, along with all its purchases except the Ecstasy (also known as MDMA) tablets, which were destroyed by the Swiss authorities.
The artists behind the robot escaped without any charges. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 15, 2015 Filed under: Crime & Corruption, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: Bill Clinton, CNBC, Democratic Party (United States), Harry Reid, Joe Biden, John Harwood, Mitch McConnell, Nevada, Party leaders of the United States Senate, Republican Party (United States), Rush Limbaugh
Reid Denies He Got Beat Up By The Mob
Al Weaver reports: Harry Reid denied fabricating the explanation for his eye injury in an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood.
“Why in the world would I come up with some story that I got hurt in my own bathroom with my wife standing there? How could anyone say anything like that?”
“In the last few days, a bunch of people are saying, ‘Reid, he didn’t have an exercise accident. He got beaten up by the mob,’” Harwood said.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) (R) talks to the media, after a weekly Senate party caucus luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Feb. 24, 2015. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)
“You know, I don’t really care. I think they’re all losers.”
“It shows the credibility of Rush Limbaugh. He’s the guy who got that started,” Reid responded. “Why in the world would I come up with some story that I got hurt in my own bathroom with my wife standing there? How could anyone say anything like that?”
[TREACHER: Why Isn’t Harry Reid Suing The Manufacturer Of That Exercise Band?]
“I think a lot of people, as I read, they kinda don’t like me as a person, and I think that’s unfortunate,” he added.”
Reid also called Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a “lump of coal” and remarked that all the Republican candidates for 2016 are “losers.” Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: April 14, 2015 Filed under: Entertainment, Global, Science & Technology | Tags: Apple Inc, Boston, Camera, Chief marketing officer, CNBC, iPhone, Israel, Samsung, Single-lens reflex camera, The Wall Street Journal
Acquisition of LinX deepens the Apple’s position in Israel
Apple confirmed the acquisition with its standard statement when it has bought a company. “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans,” said an Apple spokesman.
The companies had been discussing an acquisition price of about $20 million, according to people familiar with the matter.
LinX didn’t respond to requests for comment.
LinX develops and markets miniature cameras for tablets and smartphones. Using an array of sensors that capture multiple images at the same time and proprietary algorithms, LinX says its cameras can gauge depth and create three-dimensional image maps.
Last year, the company said its tiny camera modules allow for better-quality pictures in low light and faster exposure at standard indoor conditions. It said the technology offers single-lens-reflex (SLR) camera image quality without the need for a bulky device. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 22, 2014 Filed under: Asia, Breaking News, Science & Technology, War Room | Tags: Bain Capital, Blackstone Group, CNBC, Cumulus Media, Deutsche Bank, Federal Bureau of Investigation, GSO Capital Partners, Landmark Media Enterprises, NBCUniversal, North Korea, Sony Pictures Entertainment
North Korea is having major Internet problems, just days after President Barack Obama promised a proportional response to the devastating hacks against Sony.
“We aren’t going to discuss publicly operational details about the possible response options or comment on those kind of reports in anyway except to say that as we implement our responses, some will be seen, some may not be seen.”
— State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf
The country, which the FBI accused last week of the cyberattack, is suffering from periodic Internet outages, and experts at DYN Research found that recent problems were out of the ordinary, as first reported by North Korea Tech.
According to the research firm, North Korea’s internet grew steadily worse beginning Sunday night, and then went completely offline Monday morning.
“I haven’t seen such a steady beat of routing instability and outages in KP before,” Doug Madory, director of Internet analysis at DYN Research, told North Korea Tech. “Usually there are isolated blips, not continuous connectivity problems. I wouldn’t be surprised if they are absorbing some sort of attack presently.”
In an interview with Re/code, Madory said that even typically strong connections are experiencing disruptions. (CNBC’s parent NBC Universal is an investor in Re/code’s parent Revere Digital.)
“They’re pretty stable networks normally,” he told Re/code. “In the last 24 hours or so, the networks in North Korea are under some kind of duress, but I can’t tell you exactly what’s causing it.”
He added that there is no way to know if the outages are the result of an attack, or are just from maintenance or a power outage. Still, “given the timing,” a cyberattack is worth considering, he told Re/code.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 17, 2014 Filed under: Economics, U.S. News | Tags: Asia, Billionaire, CNBC, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Market capitalization, Middle East, Percentage, UBS, United Nations geoscheme for the Americas, United States
The combined wealth of the world’s billionaires increased by 12 percent to $7.3 trillion, higher than the combined market capitalization of all the companies that make up the Dow Jones Industrial Average
For CNBC, Ansuya Harjani reports: The world economy is going through a rough patch, yet the world’s billionaire population is at an all-time high.
“The fastest growing segment of the billionaire population, in terms of wealth source, are those who inherited only part of their fortunes and became billionaires through their own entrepreneurial endeavors.”
A new survey shows that 155 new billionaires were minted this year, pushing the total population to a record 2,325 – a 7 percent increase from 2013.
Credit goes to the United States – home to the most billionaires globally – where 57 new billionaires were recorded this year, according to the Wealth-X and UBS Billionaire Census 2014 released on Wednesday.
Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean were also large contributors, with 52 and 42 new entrants, respectively.
“The fastest growing segment of the billionaire population, in terms of wealth source, are those who inherited only part of their fortunes and became billionaires through their own entrepreneurial endeavors,” the report said, noting that 63 percent of all billionaires’ primary companies are privately held. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: September 13, 2014 Filed under: Asia, China, Economics, Global | Tags: Beijing, China, CNBC, Guangdong, Hurun Report, Lamborghini, Rupert Hoogewerf, Shanghai
China created 40,000 new millionaires in 2013, bringing the total to 1.09 million, according to a new study
CNBC reports: The growth of 3.8 percent is a bit of an improvement from last year’s 3 percent gain. But it’s still only about half the growth rate of 2010 and 2011, suggesting that China’s economic slowdown and the government’s crackdown on corruption is slowing its millionaire manufacturing machine.
“Beijing and Guangdong have the most millionaires, with 192,000 and 180,000 respectively, followed by Shanghai with 159,000.”
[punditfromanotherplanet celebrates the sublime, guilt-free enjoyment of breathtakingly expensive luxury goods]
According to the Hurun Research Institute, the number of people in China with personal wealth of 10 million yuan—or $1.6 million—in mainland China reached 1,090,000, up from 1,050,000 in 2012.
The number of people in China worth 100 million yuan, or $16 million, increased by 2,500 people to 67,000.
[We also celebrate the scandalous pleasure of obscenely affordable luxury items]
The slower millionaire growth comes as sales of high-end luxury goods in China—everything from watches and wine to handbags and Lamborghinis—have also cooled. But Rupert Hoogewerf, chairman and chief researcher of the Hurun Report, said this year’s millionaire growth was still solid.
“Although we have been seeing a slowdown in spending, the money is still very much there,” he said in the report. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: February 3, 2014 Filed under: Economics, U.S. News | Tags: Business, CNBC, Dow, Dow Jones Industrial Average, Emerging markets, Janet Yellen
CNBC‘s Kate Gibson reports: U.S. stocks were battered on Monday, with benchmark indexes falling through key support levels after a gauge of factory activity disappointed, heightening concern about the economy before Friday’s monthly jobs report.
Stocks had wavered ahead of the report that had U.S. manufacturing expanding at a substantially slower pace in January, driving overall factory activity to an eight-month low.
“A report like this scares people ahead of the payroll number on Friday,” said Andres Garcia-Amaya, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Funds, who added the report’s soft new orders component was of particular concern.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 29, 2014 Filed under: Breaking News, Mediasphere, Politics, White House | Tags: Al Jazeera America, BarackObama, Bill Clinton, CNBC, Fox News Channel, Hollywood Reporter, MSNBC, State of the Union address, Union
I was going to write about the contradiction between words and deeds, between message, and reality.
The message: “The State of the Union speech is a non-event, featuring an irrelevant president, on subjects that nobody cares about. America is tuning out.”
The reality: “We can’t stop talking about Obama’s State of the Union speech.”
The message, endlessly repeated by conservative talking heads, writers, and bloggers (count me among them) for the last three days, emphasizing boredom, fatigue, irrelevance, tuning out.
But if it’s so irrelevant, and everyone’s tuning out, why invest billions of pixels writing about it, and waste valuable broadcast time, evaluating it, discussing it, talking about it? It means that people are paying attention. Doesn’t it?
Then I saw this.
Falling just shy of the 2013 outing, Nielsen returns put President Obama’s Tuesday address as the least watched since 2000.
Apparently, they were right. America is tuning out.
It could be the only people paying attention were insiders, media people, speechwriters, White House staff members, friends and family of members of Congress, political operatives, cameramen, broadcasters, and editors who had no choice, but primarily, disgruntled conservatives; the people warning us that no one is paying attention.
From the Hollywood Reporter:
TV Ratings: State of the Union, With 33.3 Million Viewers, Hits 14-Year Low
With final ratings in for the State of the Union address, Nielsen Media puts the grand total just shy of last year’s for a 14-year low.
The gross average audience of 13 networks airing President Barack Obama’s speech puts viewership at 33,299,172. That’s down from the 33.5 million that tuned in for the 2013 speech for its lowest showing since 2000. (President Bill Clinton’s final address in office averaged 31,478,000.)
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: January 10, 2014 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets | Tags: CNBC, Firearm, Gun, Oren Schauble, Precision-guided munition, Rifle, TrackingPoint, Washington Free Beacon
How about this fresh report from the Washington Free Beacon Staff: A start-up gun company unveiled a highly accurate “smart rifle” at the Consumer Electronic Show this week.
TrackingPoint presented at the show its new 500 Series AR Smart Rifle, which is just one of the company’s line of “Precision Guided Fire Arms.”
This technology turns even a neophyte into a marksman, at least within a 500-yard range. The user simply “tags” the target, and the gun and ammo do the rest, all for a mere $9,950—the starting price for the new series.
In fact, the system is so accurate that a user will have up to five times the accuracy of an experienced shooter, said Oren Schauble, the company’s marketing director.
The gun can track a target moving at up to 10 mph and allows for rapid engagement, meaning a person can shoot multiple targets quickly.
According to TrackingPoint, the company’s unique rifles are meant to “dramatically enhance the hunting and shooting sports experience while delivering a powerful tactical advantage to military and law enforcement organizations.”
Posted: January 10, 2014 Filed under: Economics, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: CNBC, jobs report, Joe Scarborough, media, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Morning Joe, MSNBC, Unemployment
Posted: November 26, 2013 Filed under: Asia, China, Economics, Global | Tags: Brian Yang, California, China, CNBC, Diana Olick, Lennar Corporation, Overseas Chinese, Pulte Homes, United States, Yang
Zhang Pen | ChinaFotoPress | Getty Images
Diana Olick writes: At a brand new housing development in Irvine, Calif., some of America’s largest home builders are back at work after a crippling housing crash. Lennar, Pulte, K Hovnanian, Ryland to name a few. It’s a rebirth for U.S. construction, but the customers are largely Chinese.
“They see the market here still has room for appreciation,” said Irvine-area real estate agent Kinney Yong, of RE/MAX Premier Realty. “What’s driving them over here is that they have this cash, and they want to park it somewhere or invest somewhere.”
Yong’s phone has been ringing off the hook, with more than 5,000 new homes slated for the nearby Great Park Neighborhood. Most of the calls are from overseas, but prospective buyers are not looking solely for financial returns on the real estate.
“We are seeing a lot of Asians who are buying as an investment, but their kids are going to school here, so kids live in the home. They are looking at it more as an investment in education,” said Emile Haddad, CEO of Fivepoint Communities, developer of the Great Park Neighborhood.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 23, 2013 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News | Tags: CNBC, Cuba, Music of Mexico, Squawk Box, Steve Liesman, Ted Cruz, Texas
On Tuesday morning’s CNBC Squawk Box, senior economics reporter Steve Liesman blamed the weak jobs report on Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX). He said, “We’re going to call this the Senator Ted Cruz jobs report. These are the jobless claims of Senator Ted Cruz.” As CNBC showed a picture of Cruz, Liesman added,
“There he is! There he is! Can we get some music to go along with that, some Mexican music maybe?”
Cruz is of Cuban extraction.
Posted: May 9, 2013 Filed under: Economics, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: 3D printing, CNBC, Cody Wilson, Forbes, Gun violence, Right to keep and bear arms, Steve Levitt, Wilson
UPDATE Feds demand removal of 3-D printable gun plans from the Internet possible export law violation —- via Hot Air
In the past few days, Forbes writer Andy Greenberg broke a pair of dramatic stories on Cody Wilson’s quest to build an untraceable plastic gun using commercially available 3D-printing technology. First, Greenberg publishedexclusive photos of the completed firearm, then he reported on a successful test firing of a live .380 cartridge.
Although the technology is still in its infancy, Wilson’s innovation has already sparked heated debate. Some gun rights advocates (including Wilson) argue this means current gun laws will soon be obsolete. They welcome the fact that home hobbyists may soon be able to build functioning firearms without any background check or government record. Others are alarmed, concerned that this would enable criminals to more easily obtain firearms. Congressman Steve Israel has already stated his intent to modify current laws to ban such guns.
However, Congressman Israel may be too late. Once thousands of motivated hobbyists start downloading open source gun designs and posting their refinements, we’ll likely see rapid technical advances. But Cody Wilson’s real impact on America may not be technological but political — and in a good way.
Government will likely be unable to suppress this application of 3D-printing technology. True, they could attempt to outlaw the possession of such untraceable guns, but that would be as ineffective as current laws banning the possession of marijuana. Similarly, the government could attempt to require 3D-printers be installed with special software that only allows them to build objects from data files certified as “approved” by the authorities. But given how quickly hackers routinely “jailbreak” software restrictions on smartphones, the same would likely happen to software restrictions on 3D-printers. In other words, the genie is probably already out of the bottle.
Nonetheless, how likely is an attempted government crackdown on 3D-printed guns? One clue comes from ATF agent Charles Houser, head of their National Tracing Center Division. In a recent CNBC interview, Houser stated that there was no “legitimate purpose” to making an untraceable gun and that seeking to build one indicated “criminal intent.”
However, current law already allows home hobbyists to build their own firearms provided they are for personal use only (and not for sale). Such guns are already “untraceable.” 3D-printing doesn’t change that basic fact — it merely allows a wider range of hobbyists without specialized machine shop skills to do what’s already legal.
The unease expressed over 3D-printed guns mirrors similar unease following the adoption of widespread cryptography for secure communications. Some opponents were concerned that ordinary Americans could use this technology to engage in criminal activities undetected by the government. In the 1990s, the Clinton administration pushed for the adoption of hardware backdoors to allow government to read otherwise secure e-mail as it saw fit. Even now, the FBI continues to seek wider powers to monitor citizens’ electronic communications on the grounds it’s necessary to stop terrorism.
Yes, the government has a legitimate role in stopping the misuse of cryptography for evil purposes, such as terrorist plots or the dissemination of digital contraband such as child pornography or pirated software. But that should not be a pretext for giving the government excessive power over innocuous private communications.
Similarly, government has a legitimate role in stopping gun crime. But this should not be a pretext for restricting 3D-printing technology.
Furthermore, University of Chicago professor (and co-author of the bestsellerFreakonomics) Steve Levitt has noted that most proposed gun controls have minimal impact on gun crime. One of the few ideas that does work is enhanced prison sentences for crimes committed with a gun. According to Levitt, the gun laws that work are ones “where you’re not tying it to the gun itself, you’re tying it to the use of guns that you don’t want.” This makes perfect sense. The government should not punish gun ownership by responsible adults, nor legitimate sporting or self-defense uses. Instead, the government should punish the misuse of a gun by criminals.
Citizens do not have a general obligation to communicate with others in a way that the government can readily understand. An honest person can have many legitimate personal or business reasons for private communications. Most Americans recognize this is not a sign of “criminal intent.” If the government has a specific need to monitor someone’s private electronic communications, the burden of proof should be on them to demonstrate their need for a warrant for appropriate wiretapping. Otherwise, anyone using cryptography should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Similarly, honest citizens should not have a general obligation to disclose to the government what firearms they’ve built or bought, provided they are for honest purposes. An honest person may wish to keep this information private to avoid becoming the target of thieves or unwanted political attacks. A desire for private firearms ownership is not proof of “criminal intent.” And if the government has a specific concern that someone is planning a crime with a gun (or any other tool), the burden of proof should be on the government prior to any search or other invasion of his privacy. Otherwise, anyone owning an “untraceable” 3D-printed gun should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Wilson’s innovation could thus spark a much-needed re-examination of American gun laws, including the current paradigm of imposing ever-increasing restrictions on millions of honest gun owners in an attempt to stop relatively fewer bad guys from committing gun crimes. By making it harder (if not nearly impossible) for the government to regulate gun possession and transfers, his development could move the government to instead (properly) focus its efforts on punishing gun misuse.
That is why I’m encouraged by the development of 3D-printed guns. Not because I want bad guys committing more gun crimes. But because I hope it sparks some vigorous discussions on deeper themes such as “innocent until proven guilty” and the proper scope of government. If enough people start debating these questions, Cody Wilson will have done America a real service.