Yesterday, we published “Five Solutions to Gun Violence.”
It contained five proposals, each of which if implemented, would reduce gun violence — if that is what the American public wants.
The title question is, “does the American public really wish to reduce gun violence,” or does it prefer to address small side problems, while pretending it is doing something about the main cause of gun violence?
The “more-guns = less-gun-violence” myth is akin to “more-anger = fewer-anger-crimes,” or “more-greed = fewer-crimes-of-greed.”
Reality doesn’t work that way.
If you really want to make sure someone stays lost give him a bad roadmap. Sending him on a wild goose chase will waste his time and energy far better than simply doing nothing.
In that vein, today I saw an article titled,“Omar Mateen, an ‘Americanized Guy,’ Shows Threat of Lone Terrorists” Here are a few excerpts to show how far off course we have been sent:
Omar Mateen had been on a terrorism watch list for incendiary comments he once made to co-workers at a local courthouse.
But the F.B.I. soon ended its examination of Mr. Mateen after finding no evidence that he posed a terrorist threat to his community.
Thus, we see the beginnings of the “blame the FBI” bad roadmap. The notion is that if only the FBI had done its job, Mateen would have been prevented from killing all those people in Orlando.
That is what the gun manufacturers want you to believe. They want you to waste your time, energy, and intellect trying to find ways to make the FBI better able to stop gun violence. They want you to follow a bad roadmap.
The government investigation could take months, but an early examination of Mr. Mateen’s life reveals a hatred of gay people.
This is the second bad roadmap — the search for reasons why this individual did what he did.
The hope is that if we knew he killed those people because he hated gay people, we could prevent future killings by . . . by what?
By somehow convincing bigots that gay people are good people? Is that the plan upon which we will expend thousands of hours and millions of words?
He was a man who could be charming, loved Afghan music and enjoyed dancing, but he was also violently abusive.
Family members said he was not overly religious, but he was rigid and conservative in his view that his wife should remain mostly at home.
The F.B.I. director said on Monday that Mr. Mateen had once claimed ties to both Al Qaeda and Hezbollah — two radical groups violently opposed to each other.
He could act like the NRA’s mythical “good guy,” and he also could act like a “bad guy.” No news there. That describes millions of Americans. Where does that lead us in any effort to reduce gun violence?
Investigators now face the question of how much the killings were the act of a deeply disturbed man, as his former wife and others described him, and how much he was driven by religious or political ideology.
Let’s say that after wasting months of tedious investigation, we conclude he was “deeply disturbed” (whatever that means). What then? How does “deeply disturbed” get us one inch closer to preventing the next gun murder?
Arrest all the “deeply disturbed” people, forever?
Unlike Al Qaeda, which favors highly organized and planned operations, the Islamic State has encouraged anyone to take up arms in its name, and uses a sophisticated campaign of social media to inspire future attacks by unstable individuals with no history of embracing radical Islam.
So, shall we search for all the “unstable individuals with no history of embracing radical Islam”?
How many millions of those do you think live in America? What about your dopey brother-in-law, or your goofy next-door neighbor. Are they unstable, with no history of embracing radical Islam?
What shall we do when find them? Arrest them all and keep them in jail indefinitely, for being “unstable”?
Mr. Mateen might have been gay but chose to hide his true identity out of anger and shame.
A senior federal law enforcement official said on Monday that the F.B.I. was looking at reports that Mr. Mateen had used a gay dating app, and patrons of Pulse were quoted in news reports as saying that he had visited the club several times.
So he may have been a guy ashamed of his identity. Should the FBI arrest all Americans who secretly are insecure about some aspect of their lives?
He came to the F.B.I.’s attention in 2013, when some of his co-workers reported that he had made inflammatory comments claiming connections to overseas terrorists, and saying he hoped that the F.B.I. would raid his family’s home so that he could become a martyr.
The F.B.I. opened an investigation and put Mr. Mateen on a terrorist watch list for nearly a year.
Mr. Mateen said he had made the incendiary remarks “in anger” because his co-workers had ridiculed his Muslim background and he wanted to scare them. The F.B.I. closed its investigation and took him off the terrorist watch list.
The F.B.I. interviewed Mr. Mateen a third time, but determined that his ties to the suicide bomber were not significant. The bureau had no further contact with Mr. Mateen.
Mr. Comey defended the work of his agents, although the bureau’s handling of the case is likely to be the subject of scrutiny and criticism in the coming weeks.
They interviewed him multiple times and put him on a terrorist watch list, all to no avail. Meanwhile, the gun industry laughs at their efforts, for none of this has any effect on gun violence. It’s all misdirection.
In fact, the inevitable failures to prevent gun violence beget more gun purchases. Orlando will prove to be another financial windfall to the gun makers, as more people are sold on the false notion that carrying a gun will protect them from future mass murders.
Still, cases such as these rankle F.B.I. counterterrorism agents, who believe they draw criticism for any choices they make — either for leaving cases open too long, or for closing cases that don’t seem to have enough evidence.
Don Borelli, a retired F.B.I. counterterrorism supervisor in New York, said there was a danger in criticizing agents who close investigations for lack of evidence. “Can we allow people’s futures to be affected if there is no proven basis for it? That’s the flip side to all this,” he said.
Sally Yates, the deputy attorney general, told reporters on Monday that the Justice Department might look to adopt new procedures that would alert counterterrorism investigators if someone who had been on a terror watch list tried to buy a gun.
And if she had been alerted, then what? How would Ms. Yates use that information to prevent future shootings?
“Why did he do this?” his father asked. “He was born in America. He went to school in America. He went to college — why did he do that? I am as puzzled as you are.”
To prevent our finding answers, the gun lobby and their voice, the politicians, has led us down a number of false paths. The purpose is to misdirect us.
They want us to scatter our efforts, by asking:
–“Why did he do it?”
–“What can be done about terrorism?”
–“What can be done about mass murder?”
–“What can be done about undocumented immigrants?”
–“What can be done about Muslims?”
–“What can be done about the mentally unstable?”
–“What can be done about hatred and bigotry?”
–“What can be done to preserve gun rights?”
Thousands of Americans are shot every year. Only a tiny percentage are shot by terrorists, mass murderers, the mentally unstable, undocumented foreigners, Muslims, or bigots. The vast majority of shootings are done by people who do not fit into any of the above categories.
The shooters are people who suddenly get angry, or who want to steal something, or who are part of a street gang guarding its turf. They are husbands and wives and children. They are smart and stupid.
Trying to solve the problems of terrorism, mass murder, the mentally unstable, etc., will make only the most minuscule difference in the overall shooting statistics. Each of these problems is more a diversion than a path to a solution.
That is the gun lobby’s plan. Change the subject. Change the focus, so no solution can be found.
The gun lobby doesn’t want you to know this, but the one common denominator for those thousand of American shootings is the easy availability of guns.
Anyone in America can buy a gun. Even if you are a convicted sex offender, multiple murderer, proven terrorist, child molester out on bail, you easily and legally can buy a gun.
Simply go to a gun show. Simply buy one online. Simply buy one from your neighbor or from a stranger in the street.
There is one, and only one way to reduce the vast number of gun murders: Reduce the availability of guns. Period.
Today, we hear politicians and media pundits debating everything from terrorism to insanity, pretending they are looking for solutions to all the gun murders. It’s all a facade, a pretense.
It’s like preventing dog bites by putting up a “no-collies allowed” sign. Even if the sign worked, and you eliminated all collies, there still will be thousands of dog bites.
The only way dramatically to reduce the number of shootings is to reduce the availability of guns as described in: Five Solutions to Gun Violence:
–Interpret the Constitution properly
–Remove the profit motive from gun manufacture and sales
–Greater penalties for gun carry during felonies
–Make gun ownership expensive; tax and license gun ownership
If we don’t do this, the gun lobby will continue to have us chasing our tails, searching in the wrong places for small solutions to small problems, while the big problem continues to bedevil us.
We return to the question that started this post: Does the American public really wish to reduce gun violence, or does it prefer to address small side problems, while pretending it is doing something about the main cause of gun violence?
=Rodger Malcolm Mitchell
Ten Steps to Prosperity:
1. ELIMINATE FICA (Ten Reasons to Eliminate FICA )
Although the article lists 10 reasons to eliminate FICA, there are two fundamental reasons:
*FICA is the most regressive tax in American history, widening the Gap by punishing the low and middle-income groups, while leaving the rich untouched, and
*The federal government, being Monetarily Sovereign, neither needs nor uses FICA to support Social Security and Medicare.
2. FEDERALLY FUNDED MEDICARE — PARTS A, B & D, PLUS LONG TERM CARE — FOR EVERYONE (H.R. 676, Medicare for All )
This article addresses the questions:
*Does the economy benefit when the rich afford better health care than the rest of Americans?
*Aside from improved health care, what are the other economic effects of “Medicare for everyone?”
*How much would it cost taxpayers?
*Who opposes it?”
3. PROVIDE AN ECONOMIC BONUS TO EVERY MAN, WOMAN AND CHILD IN AMERICA, AND/OR EVERY STATE, A PER CAPITA ECONOMIC BONUS (The JG (Jobs Guarantee) vs the GI (Guaranteed Income) vs the EB) Or institute a reverse income tax.
This article is the fifth in a series about direct financial assistance to Americans:
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Employer of Last Resort is a bad idea. Sunday, Jan 1 2012
MMT’s Job Guarantee (JG) — “Another crazy, rightwing, Austrian nutjob?” Thursday, Jan 12 2012
Why Modern Monetary Theory’s Jobs Guarantee is like the EU’s euro: A beloved solution to the wrong problem. Tuesday, May 29 2012
“You can’t fire me. I’m on JG” Saturday, Jun 2 2012
Economic growth should include the “bottom” 99.9%, not just the .1%, the only question being, how best to accomplish that. Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) favors giving everyone a job. Monetary Sovereignty (MS) favors giving everyone money. The five articles describe the pros and cons of each approach.
4. FREE EDUCATION (INCLUDING POST-GRAD) FOR EVERYONEFive reasons why we should eliminate school loans
Monetarily non-sovereign State and local governments, despite their limited finances, support grades K-12. That level of education may have been sufficient for a largely agrarian economy, but not for our currently more technical economy that demands greater numbers of highly educated workers.
Because state and local funding is so limited, grades K-12 receive short shrift, especially those schools whose populations come from the lowest economic groups. And college is too costly for most families.
An educated populace benefits a nation, and benefiting the nation is the purpose of the federal government, which has the unlimited ability to pay for K-16 and beyond.
5. SALARY FOR ATTENDING SCHOOL
Even were schooling to be completely free, many young people cannot attend, because they and their families cannot afford to support non-workers. In a foundering boat, everyone needs to bail, and no one can take time off for study.
If a young person’s “job” is to learn and be productive, he/she should be paid to do that job, especially since that job is one of America’s most important.
6. ELIMINATE CORPORATE TAXES
Corporations themselves exist only as legalities. They don’t pay taxes or pay for anything else. They are dollar-tranferring machines. They transfer dollars from customers to employees, suppliers, shareholders and the government (the later having no use for those dollars).
Any tax on corporations reduces the amount going to employees, suppliers and shareholders, which diminishes the economy. Ultimately, all corporate taxes come around and reappear as deductions from your personal income.
7. INCREASE THE STANDARD INCOME TAX DEDUCTION, ANNUALLY. (Refer to this.)
Federal taxes punish taxpayers and harm the economy. The federal government has no need for those punishing and harmful tax dollars. There are several ways to reduce taxes, and we should evaluate and choose the most progressive approaches.
Cutting FICA and corporate taxes would be an good early step, as both dramatically affect the 99%. Annual increases in the standard income tax deduction, and a reverse income tax also would provide benefits from the bottom up. Both would narrow the Gap.
8. TAX THE VERY RICH (THE “.1%) MORE, WITH HIGHER PROGRESSIVE TAX RATES ON ALL FORMS OF INCOME. (TROPHIC CASCADE)
There was a time when I argued against increasing anyone’s federal taxes. After all, the federal government has no need for tax dollars, and all taxes reduce Gross Domestic Product, thereby negatively affecting the entire economy, including the 99.9%.
But I have come to realize that narrowing the Gap requires trimming the top. It simply would not be possible to provide the 99.9% with enough benefits to narrow the Gap in any meaningful way. Bill Gates reportedly owns $70 billion. To get to that level, he must have been earning $10 billion a year. Pick any acceptable Gap (1000 to 1?), and the lowest paid American would have to receive $10 million a year. Unreasonable.
9. FEDERAL OWNERSHIP OF ALL BANKS (Click The end of private banking and How should America decide “who-gets-money”?)
Banks have created all the dollars that exist. Even dollars created at the direction of the federal government, actually come into being when banks increase the numbers in checking accounts. This gives the banks enormous financial power, and as we all know, power corrupts — especially when multiplied by a profit motive.
Although the federal government also is powerful and corrupted, it does not suffer from a profit motive, the world’s most corrupting influence.
10. INCREASE FEDERAL SPENDING ON THE MYRIAD INITIATIVES THAT BENEFIT AMERICA’S 99.9% (Federal agencies)Browse the agencies. See how many agencies benefit the lower- and middle-income/wealth/ power groups, by adding dollars to the economy and/or by actions more beneficial to the 99.9% than to the .1%.
Save this reference as your primer to current economics. Sadly, much of the material is not being taught in American schools, which is all the more reason for you to use it.
The Ten Steps will grow the economy, and narrow the income/wealth/power Gap between the rich and you.
THE RECESSION CLOCK
Recessions begin an average of 2 years after the blue line first dips below zero. A common phenomenon is for the line briefly to dip below zero, then rise above zero, before falling dramatically below zero. There was a brief dip below zero in 2015, followed by another dip – the familiar pre-recession pattern.
Recessions are cured by a rising red line.
Vertical gray bars mark recessions.
As the federal deficit growth lines drop, we approach recession, which will be cured only when the growth lines rise. Increasing federal deficit growth (aka “stimulus”) is necessary for long-term economic growth.
•Those, who do not understand the differences between Monetary Sovereignty and monetary non-sovereignty, do not understand economics.
•Any monetarily NON-sovereign government — be it city, county, state or nation — that runs an ongoing trade deficit, eventually will run out of money.
•The more federal budgets are cut and taxes increased, the weaker an economy becomes..
•No nation can tax itself into prosperity, nor grow without money growth.
•Cutting federal deficits to grow the economy is like applying leeches to cure anemia.
•A growing economy requires a growing supply of money (GDP = Federal Spending + Non-federal Spending + Net Exports)
•Deficit spending grows the supply of money
•The limit to federal deficit spending is an inflation that cannot be cured with interest rate control.
•The limit to non-federal deficit spending is the ability to borrow.
•Liberals think the purpose of government is to protect the poor and powerless from the rich and powerful. Conservatives think the purpose of government is to protect the rich and powerful from the poor and powerless.
•The single most important problem in economics is the Gap between rich and the rest..
•Austerity is the government’s method for widening the Gap between rich and poor.
•Until the 99% understand the need for federal deficits, the upper 1% will rule.
•Everything in economics devolves to motive, and the motive is the Gap between the rich and the rest..