- "Should You Shoot? Self-Defense Tips You Don't Know" by Mike Boyle, The Armory Life. This is another article on the common law elements of self-defense. I know that this can seem to be repetitive, but these are things you need to re-read and revisit to make sure that it has sunk into your brain so you know what to do under stress. While we are (or should be) familiar with the basic elements of self-defense: ability, opportunity, and jeopardy (or some varient of these three), the author adds a fourth factor:
In my discussions on deadly force, I like to factor in a fourth element. Preclusion. This might be defined as the act of preventing something from happening. Before resorting to deadly force, consider other options you can take which may include fleeing the scene or using another, lower-force option (providing it would lead to safe control). I recognize that your back may be up against the proverbial wall and the only way out is to utilize deadly force, but if those other options are viable, they should be taken. For the responsible citizen, avoidance of conflict should be the guiding concept.
- "5-Shot-Group Shapes: Here's What They're Telling You"--Rifleshooter Magazine. The author explains that your group may be telling you to bump up (or reduce) your powder load, and a lot more.
- "The AR-10 and Big Game Cartridges" by Bryce M. Towsley, Range 365. The author briefly discusses several hunting cartridges for the AR-10 platform besides the ubiquitous .308 Winchester: the .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08 Remington, .338 Federal, .358 Winchester, and .500 Auto Max for those of you interested in a dangerous game rifle.
- Related: "New .243 Service Rifle Cartridge, A Proposal" by Chuck Hawks. A look at the advantages of the .243 Winchester as a combat cartridge. Main points for adopting it over the 5.56 is greater sectional density (giving better penetration), better ballistic coefficient (BC) making it less susceptible to wind drift, and it shoot flatter than the 5.56.
- Related: "Is The .243 Win. The Magic Bullet For The Urban Sniper Rifle?" by Robert Dwayne, Ranger Made.
- Related: ".243 Winchester – 6.16x51mm"--Sniper Central.
- "Running Spares- Keeping Your Weapon Going" by NC Scout, Brushbeater. A look at spare parts you want on hand for your combat or prepper rifle. The author notes that the part he has seen fail most often in an AR style rifle is the bolt; he recommends keeping one or two spares together with a go/no-go set of gauges. He also recommends using standard parts as much as possible to make it easier to find spares, and to keep extra trigger packs around. I would recommend making sure that you have extra springs, a spare firing pin, and extra gas and o-rings for the bolt. I keep an "oops" kit and a bolt rebuild kit on hand and probably will add an extra bolt or two.
- "Long Barrel, or Short? The Effectiveness Trade-Off Between 14.5″ and 20″ Barrels" by Nathanial Finch, The Firearm Blog. Comparing the effectiveness of M855 from 14.5″ and 20″ barrels, assuming a fragmentation threshold of 2500 ft/s, "the M4 Carbine with its 14.5″ barrel and 2,920 ft/s muzzle velocity meets our velocity threshold at 125 meters, while the M16A2 with its 20″ barrel and 3,150 ft/s muzzle velocity meets the threshold at 190 meters."
In other words, the difference in velocity between the two rifles is enough to create a “gap” in performance of 65 meters, or put differently, the M16A2 has by this model a 52% fragmentation range advantage versus the M4.
Nathaniel points out that this is using idealized muzzle velocity. If the barrel is worn out or the ammunition is cold, it could result in lower muzzle velocities and decreased performance. Assuming a 200 f/s less muzzle velocity (which is realistic for cold conditions):
The M16A2 with a compromised muzzle velocity gives us just a shade more fragmentation range than the fresh M4 under ideal conditions – 133 meters – while the M4 with a compromised muzzle velocity gives a very disappointing fragmentation threshold of 66 meters. This means that in these less than ideal conditions, the M16A2 has a 67 meter – or 101% – advantage versus the M4.
However, the lesson that Nathaniel takes from all this is not that it is necessarily better to have a longer barrel (and higher muzzle velocity) but to have a bullet with a lower fragmentation velocity, which is what the M855A1 is supposed to provide.
- "Shooting Lightweight Rifles: Tips & Techniques"--American Rifleman. Most of the article is about tips for accurately shooting a lightweight, slender barrel rifle. But the author also discusses why he prefers lightweight rifles for hunting:
Having hunted extensively with light rifles, I now prefer them in every case where the available caliber is appropriate. With a bit of practice, they’re staggeringly accurate and blessedly easier to carry afield. While it’s difficult to imagine, a couple of pounds at the gun counter can become the weight of the world by the time you climb to the top of a mountain. Carrying a light rifle will make just about any hunt even more enjoyable.
- Ruger has released the first of its Marlin rifles after purchasing the Company's assets a little over a year ago. This model is the stainless steel Marlin 1895 SBL in .45-70 with a laminated stock. In other words, what you would expect a Ruger manufactured Marlin lever-action to look like.
The rifle comes with a HiViz optics rail for scope mounting that features a fully adjustable rear sight. Hunters who prefer iron sights will really appreciate the front sight, which is also from HiViz. It incorporates a green fiber-optic rod and a tritium ring, so it’s easy to pick up in any lighting condition and is particularly handy early and late in the day.
The gray/black laminated stock has come in for attention as well. The fore-end is noticeably slimmer than older Marlins and feels better in the hands, and the checkering is sharper—without being too sharp—for a non-slip grip. The buttstock doesn’t have the black pistol grip cap found on older Marlins but rather a laser-engraved horse-and-rider logo. The famous Marlin “bullseye” on the bottom of the stock is rendered in red and white instead of black and white. A beefy black recoil pad soaks up kick.
The article reports other mechanical and finish changes that have improved the rifle and made it more accurate. And, of course, like other Ruger products, the rifle features a hammer forged barrel.
- "Palmetto State Armory Parent Company JJE to Acquire Nodak Spud"--The Firearms Blog. Although Nodak Spud makes receivers for other types of firearms, they are probably best known for making receivers for AK style rifles for use by small manufacturers and home builders as well as retro AR receivers. With PSA buying them, it hopefully will inject additional capital so Nodak Spud can keep a more steady inventory.
- More: "Nodak Spud Joins PSA Under Harrington and Richardson Banner"--The New Rifleman.
- "Earth's Tilted Magnetic Field 41,000 Years Ago Pushed The Auroras to Unexpected Places"--Science Alert. From the article:
If you want to be dazzled by a spectacular northern lights display, your best bet is to skywatch near the North Pole. But that wasn't the case 41,000 years ago, when a disruption of Earth's magnetic field sent auroras wandering toward the equator.
During this geomagnetic disturbance, known as the Laschamp event or the Laschamp excursion, the planet's magnetic north and south weakened, and the magnetic field tilted on its axis and diminished to a fraction of its former strength.
This lessened the magnetic pull that normally directs the flow of high-energy solar particles toward the north and south poles, where they interact with atmospheric gases to illuminate night skies as the northern and southern lights.
It took about 1,300 years for the magnetic field to return to its original strength and tilt, and during that time the auroras strayed to near-equatorial latitudes where they are typically never seen, scientists reported on Thursday (Dec. 16) at the annual conference of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), held in New Orleans and online.
This period of intense geomagnetic change may also have shaped changes in Earth's atmosphere that affected living conditions on parts of the planet, presenter Agnit Mukhopadhyay, a doctoral candidate in the Climate and Space Sciences Department at the University of Michigan, said at the AGU conference.
- "How to Sharpen a Knife to a Razor’s Edge"--Field & Stream. The author notes that the first step in getting a knife razor sharp is to use a steel amenable to holding a good edge.
From what I’ve seen, if you’re looking for the sharpest possible edge, pick a humble, low-tech steel that’s been around forever called 1095. It sharpens easily and rusts if a cloud passes over the sun. Everything in steel is a tradeoff. All of my knives are made of 1095, or W-2, or D-2, or 0-1, or 5016. They all rust if you don’t take care of them, but they all sharpen easily and take a terrific edge and acquire a nice blue color as they are exposed to blood, onions, or anything corrosive.
Or you can choose it by make. I don’t know of a custom smith who will sell you a knife with a poor edge. Some manufacturers do especially well. Swedish Moras, Norwegian Helles, American DiamondBlades, and any Japanese knife all come very, very sharp, and are easy to maintain that way.
- "Food Acquisition Methods That Just Don’t Work"--Organic Prepper. I think that anyone that believes that they are going to get most of their calories post-SHTF from hunting are in for a rude surprise. But those that rely on primitive hunting techniques will be in for an even ruder surprise according to this article. It specifically picks on those thinking of using throwing sticks (e.g., boomerangs), slings, and atlatls (spear throwers). The author instead suggests learning to use a bow, learn trapping, or use firearms for hunting.
News & Current Events:
- Here's something the Left can get behind: "Hong Kong university REMOVES Tiananmen Square memorial called the 'Pillar of Shame' in the dead of night after pro-Beijing 'patriots' dominate elections"--Daily Mail.
- Now that's showing the good ol' National Socialist spirit: "Austria Hiring People to 'Hunt Down Vaccine Refusers'"--Summit News. Public choice economic theory explains that once you create a bureaucracy like this, it will not go away once the coronavirus is gone, but the agency will be retasked to other purposes.
- Speaking of socialists: "Of Course NATO Wants To Escalate With Russia"--The American Conservative. The author essentially argues a public choice theory analysis of NATO and escalating tensions with Russia: that NATO is doing so in order to maintain its relevance (and budgets) in a post-Warsaw Pact world.
- What is it with the Left and mass killing? "The Killer GirlBoss: Sarah Weddington, 1945-2021"--The American Conservative. Weddington was the lead attorney that argued Roe v. Wade before the Supreme Court enabling the death of over 60 million babies. Weddington recently died. The author writes: "If we don’t speak ill of the dead, who will?"
- Speaking of the Left and children: "But They Told Me This ‘Elite Pedophile’ Stuff Was a Conspiracy Theory"--The Other McCain. A look at the allegations against CNN producer, John Griffin.
- Related: "The Canadian Pedocracy"--Vox Popoli. He notes a couple articles about high ranking or well connected pedophiles in Canada, including this from August 2020 that reported that "Christopher Charles Ingvaldson, 42, a long-term close friend of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, has been found guilty of child pornography charges after being caught directing an international pedophile ring."
- SJW's always double down: "The Salvation Army takes an even deeper dive into wokedom" by Andrea Widburg, American Thinker. Not having been chastened by the reaction to its CRT guide, the Salvation Army is doubling down by hosting a two-day Young Adult Racial Justice Forum.
"We believe racial justice is an urgent issue close to the heart of God," the event description states, "and therefore are eager to create opportunities to disciple our soldiers and stakeholders in ways that will encourage deeper holiness and to provide those in our ranks with the resources to help alleviate the pain of suffering humanity within our communities and institutions."
I'm willing to bet that God, being concerned with bringing people to salvation and thinking in terms of time scales of millions and billions of years, probably doesn't give a rat's fart about the social justice movement. The belief He would be concerned with social justice is much the same as the myopia that infected the Jews during Christ's ministry. Jesus was here to free them from spiritual death and slavery, but they were more concerned about whether He would free them from Roman rule.
- Related: "Today’s blacklisted Americans: School board votes to pay whites less than non-whites"--Behind The Black. The author relates that "[t]he Mankato School Board in Minnesota voted unanimously last week to pay its white teachers less than its non-white teachers, while also voting to place them in 'work environments based on their race.'"
- Heh: "Five Arrested in Connection with Armed Carjacking of Dem Congresswoman" by Brittany Bernstein, Yahoo News. Per the article, Representative Mary Gay Scanlon (D., Pa.) "handed over the keys to her 2017 blue Acura MDX at gunpoint on Wednesday at FDR Park in South Philadelphia."
Scanlon was approached by two black men who demanded the keys to her vehicle as she walked toward her parked vehicle after taking a tour of the park around 2:45 p.m., according to police and the congresswoman’s office.One suspect drove off in Scanlon’s vehicle while the other fled the scene in a dark-colored SUV, police said. The congresswoman, whose district covers parts of Philadelphia and its western suburbs, was unharmed, though she also lost multiple cell phones to the carjackers.
Bernstein observes that Scanlon "was one of 125 Democratic sponsors of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which aimed to make it easier for states and localities to replace police officers with social workers and other first responders."
- New England may be going green this winter: "Natural gas shortage, supply chain issues could result in rolling blackouts in New England"--WFSB.com. At least they can warm their hearts with the knowledge that they are producing less carbon.
Opinion & Analysis:
- Dems starting on getting out the vote for the next presidential election: "Millions of Angry, Armed Americans Stand Ready to Seize Power If Trump Loses in 2024"--Newsweek. David H. Freedman argues:
Mike "Wompus" Nieznany is a 73-year-old Vietnam veteran who walks with a cane from the combat wounds he received during his service. That disability doesn't keep Nieznany from making a living selling custom motorcycle luggage racks from his home in Gainesville, Georgia. Neither will it slow him down when it's time to visit Washington, D.C.—heavily armed and ready to do his part in overthrowing the U.S. government.
Millions of fellow would-be insurrectionists will be there, too, Nieznany says, "a ticking time-bomb" targeting the Capitol. "There are lots of fully armed people wondering what's happening to this country," he says. "Are we going to let Biden keep destroying it? Or do we need to get rid of him? We're only going to take so much before we fight back." The 2024 election, he adds, may well be the trigger.
Nieznany is no loner. His political comments on the social-media site Quora received 44,000 views in the first two weeks of November and more than 4 million overall. He is one of many rank-and-file Republicans who own guns and in recent months have talked openly of the need to take down—by force if necessary—a federal government they see as illegitimate, overreaching and corrosive to American freedom.
The phenomenon goes well beyond the growth of militias, which have been a feature of American life at least since the Ku Klux Klan rose to power after the Civil War. Groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers, which took part in the January 6th riot at the Capitol and may have played organizational roles, have grown in membership. Law enforcement has long tracked and often infiltrated these groups. What Nieznany represents is something else entirely: a much larger and more diffuse movement of more-or-less ordinary people, stoked by misinformation, knitted together by social media and well-armed. In 2020, 17 million Americans bought 40 million guns and in 2021 were on track to add another 20 million. If historical trends hold, the buyers will be overwhelmingly white, Republican and southern or rural.
America's massive and mostly Republican gun-rights movement dovetails with a growing belief among many Republicans that the federal government is an illegitimate tyranny that must be overthrown by any means necessary. That combustible formula raises the threat of armed, large-scale attacks around the 2024 presidential election—attacks that could make the January 6 insurrection look like a toothless stunt by comparison. "The idea that people would take up arms against an American election has gone from completely farfetched to something we have to start planning for and preparing for," says University of California, Los Angeles law professor Adam Winkler, an expert on gun policy and constitutional law.
Another example of projection on the Left. If they had sufficient arms they would try to overthrow a populist president, so of course, they think, conservatives would do the same when faced with a Leftist president. "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't" is probably the primary reason that I don't expect conservatives to try and overthrow the government. And, notwithstanding the Left's fevered dreams, January 6 was not an insurrection. It was a protest by a bunch of people saying "listen to us!" (Of course, when the Left has orchestrated protests inside the Capitol Building--or organized terrorist attacks using guns, or set off bombs, and more bombs--it is something to be admired and praised).
- But maybe it isn't a bad thing if the Left is afraid of armed conservatives: "Gun Ownership Is Political Violence" by Andrew Cuff, The American Conservative. Primary point:
The American right must acknowledge the association of guns with violence, while rejecting the fallacy that all violence is evil. Like the hoplite with his shield and spear, gun owners who take their duty seriously become bulwarks against both tyranny and anarchy. Instead of pretending our guns are only for outdoor sportsmanship, a luxury graciously allowed us by a piece of paper in the National Archives, we should acknowledge what they represent and accept the violent responsibility they entail.Heavily armed men are a necessary but insufficient condition for the rule of law. The U.S. Constitution—a mere document subject to revision and manipulation—cannot alone protect the right to keep and bear arms. Rather, the inverse is true: keeping and bearing arms, as an act of political violence, is all that protects the Constitution.
- Liberals don't give a damn about the children: "What They Did to the Kids: As a teacher for special needs and underprivileged students, I saw the effects of school closures up close. It was a moral crime." by Alex Gutentag, Tablet Magazine. An excerpt:
Before the closures, my district was already struggling with special education teacher vacancies, especially in schools serving high-poverty neighborhoods. Staffing shortages and the lack of experienced teachers had clear effects. It was common for me to get students in sixth grade who had only mild or moderate disabilities but who could not read at all. After a few months it would become obvious that these students were more than capable of educational growth but simply hadn’t received adequate instruction.Learning to read can change the trajectory of a child’s life, but the older children get, the more difficult it becomes for them to learn basic literacy skills. Having seen it first hand, I knew that the learning loss caused by school closures would be devastating. Even kids in general education who fall behind are rarely able to catch up. By the time students reach sixth grade, children in the poorest school districts are already four grade levels below children in the richest districts. Third grade students who are not proficient in reading are four times less likely to graduate from high school, and according to the National Center for Educational Statistics, as many as 21% of U.S. adults are illiterate or functionally illiterate.Because the academic and social progress of my students was at stake, I followed the COVID-19 data closely from the beginning. And I found that school closures were irrational and counterproductive. According to the most comprehensive studies to date, COVID’s survival rate among children and adolescents appears to be around 99.995%. The child mortality figures for COVID are similar to the respiratory syncytial virus (about 500 annual pediatric deaths), for which schools have never been closed. One Swedish analysis looked at COVID data from March to June 2020 when Swedish schools were open without masking. The analysis found that not a single child died with COVID during that time period. A study from the American Academy of Pediatrics found that in California hospitals, COVID cases for children between May 2020 and February 2021 had been overcounted by 45%. Several other studies found that children were far less likely than adults to spread the virus, that the effectiveness of closures for containing spread was, at best, highly unclear, and that closing schools had no effect on community transmission. Nor were closed schools linked to lower COVID mortality.When it became clear that California public schools would stay closed despite the paucity of evidence that closures were effective, and the far greater amount of evidence that schools could safely reopen, I tried to volunteer to teach kids with severe disabilities in person. But my district and union would not allow it. I emailed other teachers I knew from my union and cited statements from organizations like the American Academy of Pediatrics that were urging schools to reopen. State and local leaders kept referring to rising cases and deaths to justify closures, but later our county would reveal that it had actually overcounted total COVID deaths by 25%. The county dropped hundreds of “incidental” COVID deaths (in the case of car accidents, for example) from its register, meaning the figures that had been used to rationalize school closures in my district were not even accurate.But I struggled to find other teachers who agreed with me. When I mentioned to colleagues that schools were open in Europe or Florida, they looked at me as though I was somehow a threat. Before school closures, I had nothing but respect for other teachers and for the leadership of the teachers union. But in my view the treatment of children during the COVID era has been a moral stain on the profession. During over a year of online learning, an unforgivable crime was committed against public school children and families. And as it unfolded, everyone around me said it was acceptable, necessary, and even good.
- This is why we have the 2nd Amendment: "Are You Ready To Be An American Kulak?"--Revolver. An excerpt:
If one takes the ideologues who rule over America at their word, then the governing principles of this country’s reigning regime are things like fairness, equality, diversity, or “anti-racism.”
But of course, anybody with a brain today isn’t taking America’s rulers at their word. It is obvious, and has been for many years now, that there is no spirit of “fairness” or “anti-racism” in the heart of their ideology. Instead, the spirit at the heart of America’s leadership is bitter, envious, resentful, hateful.
Who is it hateful toward? You know who. The modern American regime is built on explicit, institutionalized hostility to the people who most resemble the great Americans of the past. It is anti-white, anti-male, anti-Christian, anti-rural, and anti-middle class. The more of these traits a person has, the more worthy of hate they become. The more the Globalist American Empire decays and squanders the inheritance it was given, the more bile and hatred it directs against those who symbolize what came before.
But those on the receiving end of this new discriminatory regime may not appreciate its full scope or the ultimate fate that the Globalist American Empire has planned for them. They may see recent anti-white animus as a temporary spell, or a limited affair that can be waited out.
They are wrong. America’s shrinking white middle class are the target of an ever-intensifying cycle, whose mechanics are ripped straight from another oppressive regime, the Soviet Union of the 1920s and 30s.
The white American middle class have become America’s kulaks — Blamed for every problem, vilified for every success, and deserving of every punishment. Their destruction has become a fundamental goal of American political life.
- Related: "Prepare For The Resistance"--The Armed Christian. He writes:
In previous posts we have talked about how an unelected cabal of bankers, technocrats, bureaucrats and their pet politicians are trying to seize control of our nation and subvert the principles on which it was founded. Michael Yon has termed them collectively as The Beast. They are ignoring the legal constraints placed on them by the US Constitution and the body of law that this nation is founded on. Some, including myself, believe that they have already succeeded in gaining control of the levers of government. We have also discussed how it is time to stand up and resist those tyrants.
If we are to resist we need to prepare for what is ahead. We need to toughen up, be smarter and be more resilient. Because no matter whether we resist or not this nation is in for some tough times.
- When two victim groups clash over who was the most victimized: "What The Media Didn’t Tell You About Bishop Desmond Tutu" by Jeff Dunetz, The Lid Blog. Dunetz's big reveal was the Tutu was antisemitic; or, at least, said things that could be interpreted as antisemitic. Dunetz begins:
When Bishop Desmond Tutu passed away on Sunday, he was celebrated across the world as a man who led non-violent opposition to South Africa’s white minority rule called apartheid. And he should be honored for that achievement. But the media’s glowing praise of the Bishop left out something important, the hatred he displayed for the Jewish people.
Then, quoting Alan Dershowitz's comments that Tutu:
“is no mere anti-Zionist …. He has minimized the suffering of those killed in the Holocaust. He has attacked the ‘Jewish’— not Israeli — lobby as too ‘powerful’ …. He has invoked classic antisemitic stereotypes … about Jewish ‘arrogance,’ ‘power’ and money …. [A]nd has accused ‘the Jews’ of causing many of the world’s problems” (“Bishop Tutu Is No Saint When it Comes to Jews,” Dec. 20, 2010, The Gatestone Institute). Tutu, impervious to facts, also has denied that Israel is a civilized democracy and unsuccessfully urged the Capetown Opera not to perform there.
But apparently the most grievous affront was that Tutu downplayed the Holocaust by telling Israeli Jews that they should forgive Nazi's for the Holocaust (Dunetz says that "Anyone who has ever gone through Yad Vashem and can make a call for forgiveness has no heart.") and by suggesting that black South Africans suffered as much or more under Apartheid. Dunetz explains:
Tutu has made some alarming statements about the Holocaust. He has publicly complained about what he calls “the Jewish monopoly of the Holocaust.” (Jerusalem Post, July 26, 1985) Sorry Bishop, but Jews do own the copyright. We paid for it with more than Six Million lives, one and a half million of those were little children.
Dunetz adds that Tutu "compared Judaism to Hitler, Stalin, and tyrants, along with bloviating the stereotype that the powerful Jewish lobby runs the U.S."
The Jews are not the only ones that suffered under the Nazis. Although it is claimed that 6 million Jews died, even the Holocaust Museum concedes that it is merely an estimate and it is impossible to know how many Jews were killed, and there are other estimates that put the number at 5 to 5.5 million. Moreover, the Holocaust Museum acknowledges that many other groups also died in Nazi camps including Gypsies, the disabled, Poles, Soviet citizens and prisoners of war, and religious groups such as the Jehovah Witnesses. In fact, it generally acknowledged that at least 5 million non-Jews were murdered by the Nazis. So it is possible that the number of "others" equaled or exceeded the number of Jews murdered by Nazis. It is sick that Jews (speaking about them as a group and not individually) are so obsessed with victimhood that they don't even want to share the "spotlight" of being Holocaust victims.
I don't know Tutu's motivation for telling Israeli Jews to forgive the Nazis. Perhaps it was as simple as the New Testament admonition that God will choose whom He will forgive, but of us it is required to forgive all people. As I've noted before, God is a really smart guy. It is unhealthy to obsess over wrongs. I think this can apply as much to a people or nation as much as to an individual.
And Now For Something Completely Different:
- "Conspiracy Theorists Ask ‘Who Owns the New York Fed?’ Here’s the Answer."--Institutional Investor. An excerpt:
The big reveal for year-end 2018: Citibank, the No. 1 institution on the roster, held 87.9 million New York Federal Reserve Bank shares – or 42.8 percent of the total.
The No. 2 holder stockholder was JPMorgan Chase Bank, with 60.6 million shares, equal to 29.5 percent of the total. In other words, the two banks together control nearly three-quarters of the regional bank’s capital shares.
But does share ownership matter?
Each bank, after all, has only one vote when it comes to electing bank directors (their only shareholder responsibility) regardless of stock holdings. And New York Fed shares cannot be traded, shorted, or pledged as collateral.
Nobody is getting rich owning the New York Fed’s stock. The shares long paid a dividend of 6 percent. But that payout was amended in 2016; now, members with more than $10.7 billion in assets, like Citibank and JPMorgan, receive the lesser of the 6 percent dividend or the high yield of the most recent 10-year Treasury auction rate – 1.62 percent as of earlier this year.
From Citibank and JPMorgan, there is a steep drop off in shareholdings. Bulge bracket rivals hold far fewer shares, with Morgan Stanley Bank owning 4.8 million and its affiliate Morgan Stanley Private Bank 2.8 million shares, for a combined 3.7 percent stake in the New York Fed.
Goldman Sachs Bank USA owned 8.3 million shares, equal to 4 percent of the total, and Bank of New York Mellon held 7.2 million shares, or 3.5 percent.
It may surprise observers that some big holders are affiliates of foreign banks: HSBC Bank USA, part of London-based HSBC Holdings PLC, owned 12.6 million shares, or 6.1 percent, of the New York Fed’s total. Deutsche Bank Trust Co. Americas was the owner of 1.7 million shares, and Deutsche Bank Trust Company 60,678 shares, for a combined 0.87 percent stake.
Mizuho Bank (USA), an affiliate of Tokyo-based Mizuho Financial Group, owned 819,344 shares. Industrial & Commercial Bank of China held 221,278 shares.
There are scores of smaller owners, from Bank of Cattaraugus, which held 180 shares, to Cayuga Lake National Bank, with 375.
Still, it serves as yet another red flag for those concerned with the power of too-big-to-fail banks that the top two banks hold nearly three-quarters of the New York Fed’s capital shares.
“It’s surprising to see how concentrated it is,” says Razza. That lopsided ownership hasn’t changed much since the financial crisis: In 2007 JPMorgan owned 41.7 percent of the New York Fed’s shares and Citibank 36.6 percent, a combined 78.3 percent.
The amount of share ownership plays no explicit role in the complex electoral system that determines the make-up of the New York Fed’s board.
A refresher: The nine-person NYFRB board is divided into three classes of three members each.
Banks elect three class A directors to represent their own interests. The same banks also elect three class B directors to represent the interests of the public. The three class C directors, including the New York Fed’s chairperson and deputy chairperson, are also designated to represent the public interest and are selected by the Federal Reserve Board of Governors in Washington.
One mystery is why the New York Fed would not freely disclose stock ownership to begin with, given that the information can be estimated with some accuracy using public data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and other sources.
The peculiarity of these board elections may endow New York Fed stock ownership with more importance than is initially apparent, says economics professor Andrew Levin of Dartmouth College.
The member banks are divided into three categories – group one for banks with more than $2 billion in capital and surplus (like Citibank and Goldman Sachs Bank), group two for those with between $40 million and $2 billion (like Safra National Bank of New York and Bessemer Trust Company) and group three for banks with less than $40 million (like Tioga State Bank, and Brown Brothers Harriman National Trust).
Group one banks vote for one particular designated class A director as well as one class B director. The group two and group three banks similarly vote for one class A and class B director each.
“Given that the ballot has invariably had only a single candidate for each director, there’s room for doubt about whether some big banks might be playing a key role behind the scenes in selecting those candidates,” says Levin, who has served as a special advisor to the Federal Reserve Board in Washington. “There needs to be greater transparency about how that candidate is selected.”