Debunking The Meme

A friend posted the following meme, from the site The Other 98, their mission:

We specialize in spanking greedy corporate asses for the harder working classes and provide a home on the internet for the millions of Americans who want to fight the power and make our country work for the other 98% of us.

Other98 is the only group out there with the kind of massive audience, bold language, and knack for storytelling that we need to create the seismic cultural shifts we need to change the world. Join us.

They have 5.2 M followers.

The Meme


Implying that the AR-15 is a common factor and presumably a causative and contributing factor.

First what is an AR-15?

The AR-15™ is a a lightweight, 5.56×45mm, magazine-fed, gas-operated semi-automatic rifle that has been in production since 1964.  It is a semi-automatic version of the United States military M16 rifle. Colt’s Manufacturing Company currently uses the AR-15 trademark for its line of semi-automatic AR-15 rifles that are marketed to civilian and law-enforcement customers. [Wikipedia]

Colt AR-15™ (model AR15A4)

It is what is commonly referred to as an assault rifle, which is a misnomer if we accept the Wikipedia definition of:  An assault rifle is a selective-fire rifle that uses an intermediate cartridge and a detachable magazine.  The AR-15™ is semi-automatic vice selective fire (automatic, burst, semi-automatic).

The characteristics of an assault rifle:

The U.S. Army defines assault rifles as “short, compact, selective-fire weapons that fire a cartridge intermediate in power between submachine gun and rifle cartridges.” In a strict definition, a firearm must have at least the following characteristics to be considered an assault rifle:

  • It must be capable of selective fire.
  • It must have an intermediate-power cartridge: more power than a pistol but less than a standard rifle or battle rifle, such as the 7.92×33mm Kurz, the 7.62x39mm and the 5.56x45mm NATO.
  • Its ammunition must be supplied from a detachable box magazine.
  • It must have an effective range of at least 300 metres (330 yards).

Rifles that meet most of these criteria, but not all, are technically not assault rifles.  op. cit.

Just to reiterate, the AR-15™ is NOT selective fire and therefore using the Army definition is NOT an assault rifle.

Was a Colt AR-15™ Used?

Aurora – No

The weapons used were:

  1. Smith & Wesson M&P15 Sport rifle
  2. Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun
  3. Glock 22 handgun

Orlando – No

The weapons used were:

  1. SIG Sauer MCX semi-automatic rifle
  2. 9mm Glock 17 semi-automatic pistol

Las Vegas – Yes/Maybe

The weapons in the room were, it is unclear which were actually fired.

  1. four DDM4 rifles,
  2. three FN-15 rifles,
  3. one AR-15 rifle with forward front grip,
  4. one .308-caliber AR-10 rifle,
  5. one AK-47,
  6. at least one made-to-order LMT rifle, and
  7. one handgun.

Sandy Hook – No

The guns used were:

  1. Bushmaster XM15-E2S (.223)
  2. Glock 20SF (10mm)

Umpqua Community College – No (No long rifle was used)

All the guns actually fired were handguns:

  1. Smith & Wesson M99 (.40)
  2. Smith & Wesson M642-2 (.38)
  3. Taurus PT24/7 (.40)
  4. Hi-Point CF-380 (.380)
  5. Glock 19 (9mm)

Also found on the scene, but not used, was:

  1. Del-Ton DTI-15 5.56x45mm semi-automatic rifle
    Del-Ton, Carbine Rifle

San Bernardino – No

The weapons used were:

  1. DPMS A-15
  2. Smith & Wesson M&P15 (op. cit.)

Sutherland Springs – No

The weapon used was:

  1. Ruger AR-556
  2. an unidentified handgun that may or may not have been used.

The Weapon Related Common Denominators

Since the AR-15™ is not a common denominator in the seven incidents, a “yes/maybe” in one of the seven, what are the weapon common denominators?

  1. Semi-automatic, magazine fed long rifles were used in six of the seven incidents.
    1. six of seven of the incidents had long rifles that have cosmetic characteristics of assault rifle, such as:
      1.  A pistol grip that protrudes conspicuously beneath the action of the weapon.  [six of the seven incidents]
      2. A thumbhole stock. [zero of the seven incidents]
      3. A folding or telescoping stock. [six of the seven incidents]
      4. A grenade launcher or flare launcher. [zero of the seven incidents]
      5. A bayonet mount. [four of the seven incidents]

        Colt AR-15™ Bayonet Mount (photo credit freetobeinamerica)
      6. A flash suppressor. [six of the seven incidents]
      7. A forward pistol grip. [possibly one of the seven incidents]

        Forward Pistol Grip (Las Vegas) (Photo Credit Boston 25/NY Post)

Semi-automatic, magazine fed handguns were used in six of the seven incidents.

In one of the seven only handguns were used (Umpqua Community College) and in one only long rifles were used (Sutherland Springs).

The long rife common denominators that had the potential to add to the lethality of the incidents were:

  1. semi-automatic vice single shot, bolt or lever action.
  2. large capacity box magazines vice clips or tubular magazines.

The long rifle common denominator that had no potential to add to the lethality of the incidents was the cosmetic characteristics of assault rifle.

The handgun common denominators that had the potential to add to the lethality of the incidents were:

  1.  semi-automatic vice single shot or single action.
  2. large capacity magazines vice clips or revolvers.

This is an example of a semi-automatic long rifle that accepts large capacity box magazines with only one of the assault rifle cosmetic characteristics, a flash suppressor.  It is just as lethal as the long rifles used in the six incidents.

Springfield Armory M1A

Trade Deficit In Dollars, The Wrong Metric.

The Japanese consume 2.5 times more US goods, per consumer unit than the US consumes Japanese goods.

US-Japan Trade Deficit

The U.S. goods and services trade deficit with Japan was $54.9 billion in 2016.  Japan is currently our 4th largest goods trading partner with $195.5 billion in total (two way) goods trade during 2016. Goods exports totaled $63.3 billion; goods imports totaled $132.2 billion.  [US Trade Representative]

The US has a population of 323.1 million and Bureau of Labor Statistics reports there are 129 million consumer units.  This gives us a ratio of 39.9%.

If we apply this ratio [1] to Japan, whose population is 127 million we have 50.7 M consumer units.

So 129 M US consumer units consumed $132 B in Japanese goods.  This is $1,023 per US consumer unit.  While 50.7 M Japanese consumer units consumed $63.3 B in US goods.  This is $2,603 per Japanese consumer unit.

The Japanese consume 2.5 times more US goods, per consumer unit than the US consumes Japanese goods.  These looks like the US is the deficit partner.

US-China Trade Deficit

China has a population of 1.379 billion, which using the 39.9% ratio [1] yields 550.5 million consumer units.  The US exported $115,602 M or $840 is consumed by each Chinese consumer unit.

The US imports $462,618 M in Chinese good or $3,586.00 is consumed by each US consumer unit.  We consume 4.27 time more Chinese good than they do US goods.  China is clearly the deficit partner.

In actuality, the better metric would be related to median household income, but I don’t have easy access to that data.

The average annual household income in China, converted to dollars, was $10,220, compared with $84,300 in the United States (the median US income is $47,300.)

The $3,586 is 4.25% of the US average income while $840 is 8.21% of the Chinese average income.

[1] Probably not exact but only data I have.


Rational Tax Brackets

The Census Bureau Current Population Survey (2017) provides the following information on Household Income, derived from HINC-01. Selected Characteristics of Households by Total Money Income (all races).

By Quartile – Four Tax Brackets

First Quartile (0-25% of Households) have incomes between $0 – $29,999
Second Quartile (26% – 50% of Households) have incomes between $30,000 – $59,999
Third Quartile (51% – 75% of Households) have incomes between $60,000 – $104,999
Fourth Quartile (76% –  100% of Households) have incomes between $105,000 – Greater than $200,000.

A rational four tax brackets would be based on this data adjusted for; adjusted gross income (vice household income) and for single and married filing jointly.  The middle class would be the 2nd (lower middle class) & 3rd (upper middle class) quartiles.

By Quintile – Five Tax Brackets

First Quintile (0 – 20% of Households) have incomes between $0 – $24,999
Second Quintile (21 – 40% of Households) have incomes between $25,000 – $44,999
Third Quintile (41 – 60% of Households) have incomes between $50,000 – $74,999
Fourth Quintile (61 – 80% of Households) have incomes between $75,000 – $124,999
Fifth Quintile (81 –  100% of Households) have incomes between $125,000 – Greater than $200,000

A rational five tax brackets would be based on this data adjusted for; adjusted gross income (vice total household income)  and  single and married filing jointly.  The middle class would be the third quintile ($50,000 – $74,999 total household income).

The lowest tax bracket in each case should should take into account the poverty level, but should not be zero, all income earners should pay a income tax, even if it is only $1.00.

The welfare aspects of the tax code (earned income tax credits, …) should be transferred to Health and Human Services.

Taxing the Wealthy

If it is desired to tax the wealthy, in deference to the Progressives in Congress, then an addition tax bracket could be added to either approach.  The bracket would cover the 7% of households with total income of $200,000 and over.

Visualizing the Data


The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS)


CFIUS is an inter-agency committee, chaired by Secretary of Treasury, authorized to review transactions that could result in control of a U.S. business by a foreign person (“covered transactions”), in order to determine the effect of such transactions on the national security of the United States.  CFIUS operates pursuant to section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950, as amended by the Foreign Investment and National Security Act of 2007 (FINSA) (section 721) and as implemented by Executive Order 11858, as amended, and regulations at 31 C.F.R. Part 800.

Composition of CFIUS

The members of CFIUS include the heads of the following departments and offices:

  1. Department of the Treasury (chair)
  2. Department of Justice
  3. Department of Homeland Security
  4. Department of Commerce
  5. Department of Defense
  6. Department of State
  7. Department of Energy
  8. Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
  9. Office of Science & Technology Policy

The following offices also observe and, as appropriate, participate in CFIUS’s activities:

  1. Office of Management & Budget
  2. Council of Economic Advisors
  3. National Security Council
  4. National Economic Council
  5. Homeland Security Council

The Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of Labor are non-voting,
ex-officio members of CFIUS with roles as defined by statute and regulation.

The CFIUS Process

In its national security reviews, CFIUS considers the particular facts and circumstances of each transaction to identify and address the potential national security effects of the transaction. The Committee applies the same rules to each transaction, regardless of the nationality of the investor or the economic sector of the investment.

The CFIUS process contains the following key steps:

· Filing: When a foreign company is acquiring a U.S. company, the companies may voluntarily file with CFIUS to have the transaction reviewed. The Committee also has the authority to initiate a review of a transaction, whether proposed or completed, that it believes may raise national security concerns.

· 30-Day Review: CFIUS’s initial review of the transaction lasts for up to 30 days. During this period, Committee members review the transaction and may contact the companies for further information. CFIUS also considers information provided by the intelligence community. Most transactions complete the CFIUS process within this initial 30-day review period, without any change or condition.

· 45-Day Investigation: If at the end of the 30-day review the Committee requires more time to gather additional information or analyze complex issues, it begins an investigation which may last up to 45 additional days, to complete its national security assessment and make a final decision. CFIUS members may also discuss steps that the companies may take to mitigate any national security concerns arising from the transaction. The Committee may require that the parties to a transaction implement specified mitigation.

· Presidential Review: In rare instances, such as when CFIUS has determined that there are national security concerns that cannot be resolved by mitigation, CFIUS may recommend to the President that a transaction be prohibited. Only the President has the authority to suspend or prohibit a transaction. When CFIUS refers a transaction to the President, the President must make a determination within 15 days.

CFIUS Confidentiality

In reviewing a transaction, CFIUS considers national security matters and commercially sensitive information provided by the parties. Accordingly, CFIUS does not disclose whether parties to any transaction have filed notices with CFIUS, nor does CFIUS disclose the results of any review.  When a transaction is referred to the President, however, the decision of the President is announced publicly.

CFIUS Result Summaries 2008 – 2016


Speculative Flow of CFIUS Process


If my speculative flow is correct the majority of the review is done by staff, as would be expected.  The principles from the Departments/Offices or their delegated representatives only meet to approve/reject the staff recommendations.

Who actually attends

Taken Question
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 22, 2006
Question Taken at Daily Briefing of Feb. 22, 2006

State Department’s Representative on CFIUS (Taken Question)

Question:   Who is the Department of State representative on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S.?

Answer:   The State Department’s representative on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. is the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB). The point of contact for the Committee is the State Department’s Office of Investment Affairs. The Office Director is Wesley Scholz. The State Department official who attends the Committee meetings depends on the level of issues being discussed.

2006/216  [US Department of State Archive]

EB is a 4th tier in org chart, with 7 divisions (5th tier) Office of Investment Affairs is 6th tier in the org chart.


Two Mining Case

2009 Chinese Purchase of Gold Mining Firm

In late December 2009, a Chinese company, Northwest Nonferrous International Investment Co. (“Northwest”), backed out of a deal to purchase a 51 percent interest in a U.S. mining company, Firstgold Corp. (“Firstgold”), after being informed that the U.S. Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS”) intended to recommend that the President of the United States block the investment.  [Lexology]

2010 ARMZ Uranium Holding, A Part of Rosatom, Takeover of Uranium One

In June 2009, the Russian uranium mining company ARMZ Uranium Holding Co. (ARMZ), a part of Rosatom, acquired 16.6% of shares in Uranium One in exchange for a 50% interest in the Karatau uranium mining project, a joint venture with Kazatomprom.  In June 2010, Uranium One acquired 50% and 49% respective interests in southern Kazakhstan-based Akbastau and Zarechnoye uranium mines from ARMZ. In exchange, ARMZ increased its stake in Uranium One to 51%.  The deal was subject to anti-trust and other conditions and was not finalized until the companies received Kazakh regulatory approvals, approval under Canadian investment law, clearance by the US Committee on Foreign Investments, and approvals from both the Toronto and Johannesburg stock exchanges. The deal was finalized by the end of 2010.

ARMZ took complete control of Uranium One in January 2013 in a transaction which was reviewed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.  In December 2013 an internal reorganization of Rosatom extinguished the interest of ARMZ making Uranium One a direct subsidiary of Rosatom. [Wikipedia]

Other reportage indicates that 2013 transaction was not reviewed by CFIUS:

because Rosatom’s new deal involves the same parties as the 2010 transaction, does not change the corporate structure of Uranium One, and does not alter Rosatom’s already-held majority control over Uranium One, Rosatom was able to bypass the need for additional approval by CFIUS and the NRC for the 2013 transaction.  [Politico]


FBI Miami Field Office Dedication

Annotated chronology of the Wilson-Kelly Brouhaha


2011 – 2013


2012 – 2015


Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove Federal Building via Public Law 114-8

Legislative History

  • January 2015 (estimate) – Rep. Wilson was approached by representatives of the FBI, as the representative of the Congressional District in which the Field Office is located, requesting that the building be named for agents Dove and Grogan before the dedication. [Endnote 1]
  • February 2, 2015 – Bill introduced in House [41 day prior to dedication]
    • Sponsor – Rep. Frederica S. Wilson (D-FL)
      • March 2, 2015 – Rep. Curbelo (R-FL), Rep. Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL)
        Rep. Diaz-Dalart (R-FL), Rep. Murphy (D-FL), Rep. Brown (D-FL) and
        Rep. Frankel (D-FL)
      • March 4, 2015 – Rep. DeSantis (D-FL)
      • March 17, 2015 – Rep. Miller (R-FL)
      • March 23, 2015 – Rep. Deutch (D-FL) and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
  • March 24, 2015 – Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by voice vote.
  • March 27, 2015 – Passed/agreed to in Senate: Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.
  • April 1, 2015 – Presented to President.
  • April 7, 2015 – Signed by President.  Became Public Law No: 114-8.


April 10, 2015 to an audience of 2,000 from Congress, the military and law enforcement.

Ribbon Cutting (L-R) Comey, Wilson, Turner Roth , Wasserman Schultz, Messam, Secada.

Notables Present

  • FBI Director James Comey who remarked “Rep. Wilson truly did the impossible, and we are eternally grateful,” presumably referencing passage of PL-114-8 in 41 day [Endnote 2].
  • U.S. Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Carlos Curbleo, Mario Diaz-Balart and Frederica S. Wilson.
  • U.S. Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly.
  • FBI Miami Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro.
  • U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo Ferrer.
  • Miramar Mayor Wayne Messam.
  • General Services Administration’s acting administrator, Denise Turner Roth.
  • Singer/Songwriter Jon Secada.

Current Kelly-Wilson Brouhaha

Rep. Frederica S. Wilson’s comments (10/18/2017)

Rep. Frederica Wilson was in a limousine, on the tarmac at Miami International airport with Myeshia Johnson, her two children and a military condolences team, awaiting the arrival of Sgt. Johnson’s coffin.  There may have been others in the limo.  My speculation on the situation.  The White house placed a call to the Condolence team and they put it on speakerphone.

Rep. Frederica Wilson told the Miami affiliate WPLG that while speaking with Myeshia Johnson, the widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, one of the four US Army Special Forces troops killed in action during a mission in the African country of Niger earlier this month, Trump said, “He knew what he signed up for, but when it happens, it hurts anyway.”

“Yeah, he said that,” Wilson told the news station. “So insensitive. He should not have said that — he shouldn’t have said it.”

The congresswoman later told CNN’s Don Lemon she was riding in a car Myeshia Johnson on their way to receive the soldier’s body when Trump called the widow.

“I heard what he said because the phone was on speaker,” Wilson said.

Wilson continued:

“This is a young, young woman, who has two children, who is six months pregnant with a third child. She has just lost her husband. She was just told that he cannot have an open-casket funeral, which gives her all kinds of nightmares — how his body must look, how his face must look — and this is what the president of the United States says to her?” [Business Insider, 10/17/17 10:54 PM]

Certainly taken out of context the remark is insensitive, and there reportedly is no transcript or recording of the conversation, just recollections of others in the room and the limousine.

Rep. Wilson added to her comments on Wednesday (10/18/17)”

“When she got off the phone, she said, ‘He didn’t even know his name. He kept calling him, ‘Your guy,’ ” Ms. Wilson recalled the widow saying. “He was calling the fallen soldier, ‘your guy.’ And he never said his name because he did not know his name. So he kept saying, ‘Your guy. Your guy. Your guy.’ And that was devastating to her.”  [NY Times]

Again out of context this doesn’t sound good, is it possible that this is a term frequently used by POTUS, yes.  Would a simple substitution of “husband” for “guy” have been much more appropriate, certainly.

General Kelly’s comments at White House Press Briefing October 19, 2017.

And a congresswoman stood up, and in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise, stood up there and all of that and talked about how she was instrumental in getting the funding for that building, and how she took care of her constituents because she got the money, and she just called up President Obama, and on that phone call he gave the money — the $20 million — to build the building. And she sat down, and we were stunned. Stunned that she had done it. Even for someone that is that empty a barrel, we were stunned.

But, you know, none of us went to the press and criticized. None of us stood up and were appalled. We just said, O.K., fine. [NY Times]

General Kelly should have done some fact checking.

  • Rep. Wilson was a dedication speaker, vice the implication of “stood up” [Endnote 3], her description of her role in getting the bill passed was approximately 2 minutes of a 10 minute speech, in that two minutes she acknowledged other in Congress who had helped pass the bill in record time.  The “empty barrels” comment was definitely out of line.

    FBI Director James Comey and U.S. Rep. Frederica Wilson are scheduled to officially open the building which is named for agents Benjamin P. Grogan and Jerry L. Dove, … [CBS Radio, April 10, 2015]

  • Building cost was $194 M vice $20 M.
  • Elsewhere in his remarks he got the name of agent Dove wrong using Duke vice Dove.
  • Another monumental failure of the White House Press Office to adequately fact check what it puts out.  Ninety-nine percent of General Kelly’s remarks were spot on, just to be sabotaged by one glaring error.

My Opinion

What should have been a sacred moment, as General Kelly said, has become a partisan political pissing match.

  • The reporting has been atrocious, very little of the classic who, what, when where, mostly, in my perception, just gotcha headline.  Four condolence calls were made that day, I would have expected the press to reach out to spokespersons for the other three families, the press  hasn’t  other than the one Time report I found:

    But the father of another one of the four American soldiers killed in Niger said Wednesday that Trump was respectful when he called with his condolences. Arnold Wright, the father of the late Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright, said he and Trump spoke for about 20 minutes, and that Trump mostly listened.

    “He talked to me about the loss of my son and how he served with honor and dignity and he just wanted to give me a call to thank me,” Arnold Wright told TIME in a phone interview. “I told him the kind of man Dustin was. We talked about his deployment. … We got troops out there with no air cover. There are still teams in the country. That was the main point that was the conversation.” [Time]

  • The timing of the call to the wife of Sgt. La David Johnson couldn’t have been more inappropriate, “as a limousine carrying Myeshia Johnson and her two children, ages two and six, sat at Miami International Airport waiting for the transport plane carrying the body of her husband, Army Sergeant La David T. Johnson, to arrive” [NY Times].  The military condolence team screwed this call up, it should not have been made with Rep. Wilson in the limousine, and should not have been on speakerphone.
  • The military condolence team should brief the President on Mrs. Johnson’s perception of the call and if it is as Rep. Wilson reports, the President should write a personal letter of apology to her, with no fanfare from the White House.
  • General Kelly owes Rep. Wilson an apology, again a personal letter with no fanfare from the White House side.


[1] In her remarks at the dedication she said the request came four weeks before the ribbon cutting, that would have been March 13 vice the February 2nd date the bill was introduced.

[2] one of 329 bills that became law in the 114th Congress, both houses had Republican majorities.  At the time Rep. Wilson was a 2nd term representative, from the minority party.  To have the bill pass in 41 days required bipartisan cooperation and the support of House and Senate Leadership from both parties.   It should be noted that a search of The Congressional Record (114th Congress) did not find any comments by Rep. Wilson regarding the bill.  There is a speech by Rep. Currelo (FL) on March 24.  Where he praises her

“I would also like to thank my dear friend and pioneer and legend, the gentlelady from Florida, Madam FREDERICA WILSON, who really is a Floridian icon, but I want to recognize her for her dedicated work with law enforcement officers, including the two who died in the line of duty.”

but not for her effort on the bill.  Looking at the legislative timeline it was a month from the time the bill was introduced until the first co-sponsor signed on.  This seems a long time considering Rep. Wilson was in “attack mode”.

[3]  General Kelly uses “stood up” twice in his remarks, the second time it definitely appears to reference someone in the audience standing up to make a comment.  This is reinforced by his “And she sat down”.  Which certainly was not true in Rep. Wilson’s case, as she was a featured speaker at the dedication.

Video of Rep. Wilson’s Dedication.


View the video here.

Assault Rifle?

Identify the assault rifle:
Below are photos of different weapons, hunting rifle, match rifle, … which is the assault rifle?

No. 1

No. 2M1A_2

No. 3


No. 4

No. 5


Answer: They are all different configurations of the same rifle, Springfield M1A.

  1. Standard (hunting) version
  2. Match (competitive) version
  3. Enhance match version
  4. Close quarter tactical version
  5. Tactical version

According to Diane Feinstein’s proposed “S.150 – Assault Weapons Ban of 2013” 3 & 4 would be banned “Assault Weapons”:

“The term ‘semiautomatic assault weapon’ means any of the following, regardless of country of manufacture or caliber of ammunition accepted:

(A) A semiautomatic rifle that has the capacity to accept a detachable magazine and any 1 of the following:

“(i) A pistol grip.”

while the other three, which are functionally the same would not.  All of the features Ms. Feinstein uses to define an assault weapon are cosmetic, not functional.

Ms. Feinstein did include one almost functional characteristic: “A semiautomatic rifle that has a fixed magazine with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds”.  But the problem is any magazine fed weapon can be retrofitted with a larger magazine.  To achieve her desire to limit the capacity to 10 rounds it would have to be a “smart weapon” that counts rounds and requires a magazine change after 11 rounds are fired (1 chambered and 10 in magazine).

I expect Ms. Feinstein’s is using Rahm Emanuel’s advice:

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

to re-introduce her 2013 bill as S.1916 – A bill to prohibit the possession or transfer of certain firearm accessories, and for other purposes.

Why you should lie when answering security questions

Clark Howard had this recommendation from Adam Levin, founder of CyberScout, an identity management and data security services company.

Many financial institutions use security questions as an extra layer of security. You may be prompted to answer them if you forget your password and need to reset it.

Here’s the problem: Hackers may be able to gain access to your account just by guessing!

Answers to common questions like “What’s your mother’s maiden name?,” “What’s the name of your favorite pet?,” and “What street did you grow up on?” can often be found online — perhaps even on Facebook and Twitter.

“There’s so much information out there about us through social media or information that could be phished, that it’s too easy for someone to get a hold of those kind of facts that could be answers to security questions,” Levin said.

That’s why Levin suggests that you never tell the truth when you set answers to your security questions. You should lie.

When I chatted with Clark about my conversation with Levin, he agreed. He said you want to make sure that your answers can’t be researched or guessed.

For example, you could use a pet’s birthday instead of a human’s birthday because that information isn’t public record.

Although many websites have moved to stronger authentication methods, you probably have at least one account that uses security questions. Go ahead and update the answers from your account’s settings or security page now.

Answering security questions with lies may not stop a hacker in every case, but it does put up another roadblock.

Levin told me that criminals pay about $30 for a complete identity dossier on the black market, so the information obtained in the Equifax hack could potentially be worth billions of dollars.

However, if you set up barriers to make things harder for the scammers, they may just move on to the next victim.

Recap: 5 things you can do to protect your identity

  1. Set up free credit monitoring with Credit Karma
  2. Freeze your credit with Equifax, Experian and TransUnion
  3. Update the answers to security challenge questions
  4. Create strong passwords and set up two-factor authentication
  5. Monitor your financial accounts daily for suspicious activity