The we must ban guns meme is of course cranked up once again in the wake of California's terrorist attack.
I am willing to and in fact claim we must as a society have a public and open debate about what we should do in regards to terrorism, the Second Amendment, immigration and all other facets of what happened in California -- and in the other incidents across this land.
I have only one rule: All points of debate must be grounded in and resort to logic; those that do not must be discarded and those who refuse to debate on that basis must be ignored.
This is a serious time for serious people. Getting shot or blown up is serious. But our Constitutional Republic is also serious; it is a unique political experiment among the various governments of the world, and to dilute or worse lose it over an un-thinking overreaction not only risks destroying our way of life it is likely to make our lives more dangerous rather than less.
Now let's look at the alleged "reasonable" response that the NY Times ran this morning.
It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation.
False. A right is immune from prior restraint. The First Amendment is absolute. This does not absolve you from responsibility should you exercise that right in a blatantly and grossly irresponsible manner. This is the infamous "fire in a crowded theater" example so often cited. But what is being intentionally mis-characterized is that you cannot be forced to wear a muzzle when entering a theater because you might utter the word "Fire" when there isn't one.
There is nothing wrong with punishing someone who falsely claims there is a fire in a crowded theater when there is not, just as there is nothing wrong with punishing someone who brandishes or otherwise uses a firearm for an impermissible purpose.
However, the mere possession of firearms is a right just as is free speech and until and unless it is misused and by doing so one harms others you cannot inhibit a right.
Certain kinds of weapons, like the slightly modified combat rifles used in California, and certain kinds of ammunition, must be outlawed for civilian ownership. It is possible to define those guns in a clear and effective way and, yes, it would require Americans who own those kinds of weapons to give them up for the good of their fellow citizens.
First, let's talk about the ammunition. Here are two actual bullets next to each other just so nobody can claim that games are being played with scale to make one "scarier" than the other. Incidentally, the picture is scaled to be of approximately actual size on most monitors.
One of them is the "evil" type that the NY Times is referring to, and is probably identical to the ones used by the San Bernardino shooters -- if it's not identical, it's damn close.
You probably would say that you'd ban the one on the right; it's bigger and scarier. You would probably also be shocked to discover that the bullet on the right is commonly used to hunt deer and, if it's not obvious by its size and mass, you definitely would prefer to be shot with the one the San Bernardino shooters used if someone is going to give you a choice!
Now let's talk about weapons for a minute. The firearms used by the San Bernardino shooters are no more dangerous to the person or animal shot than any other. In fact they're less dangerous than many other common rifles simply because the bullet they shoot is of .22 caliber -- less than a quarter of an inch across. They are also autoloaders, which means that they fire one round for each depression of the trigger. There are probably a hundred million said autoloading weapons in the United States today and they are not "weapons of war"; those typically have the capability of "select fire", which means they can shoot more than one bullet for each press of the trigger, the common settings available being three (a "burst") or until you let go (the latter is usually called a "machine gun" but the legal definition includes any weapon that fires more than one round per trigger press.)
It is currently unlawful for any civilian to posses a select-fire weapon manufactured after 1986, and for those made earlier you must first apply with the BATFE, submit a full set of fingerprints and a (relatively large) tax payment and then wait for them to approve the sale before you can take possession. This typically takes six months to a year or more.
There are a decent number of select-fire weapons in civilians hands; people are willing to go to that much trouble to buy and keep them. Due to their scarcity and legal restrictions they're very expensive and shooting one is extremely expensive as well simply because of the quantity of ammunition they consume (cartridges are not cheap!) Of the lawfully-owned machine guns in civilian hands I believe the count used in a crime since that law was passed number two, with one being committed by a former police officer. These actual "weapons of war" have never been involved in any amount of criminal activity that one can actually find in the statistics.
That doesn't mean machine guns haven't been used in crimes; they have. In fact the San Bernardino shooters were reported to have attempted to convert one of their civilian rifles to select fire (there was apparently evidence of that found in the weapon) but failed at doing so. It is quite difficult to successfully do this, with success being defined as "it shoots bang-bang-bang when you pull the trigger and doesn't blow up in your face" -- a very real risk if you do it wrong.
Civilian semi-automatic 22 caliber weapons, including the type used by the shooters in San Bernardino, are extremely popular in America. They're popular because they have myriad legal and proper uses, including depredation (that is, the taking of small invasive animals that damage crops and similar), target shooting and smaller-animal hunting. They are in fact illegal to use in the hunting of deer and other larger animals in many states because they are not lethal enough to be reasonably certain of a humane kill and no sportsman wants to see an animal suffer unnecessarily.
What the NY Times is talking about is the appearance of weapons. That is, a gun that looks scary. The idiocy of this sort of "regulation" has been tried and found wanting, specifically during the "assault weapons ban" of the Clinton Presidency.
That ban failed to produce any verifiable positive effect. This should not surprise given that only about 2% of all crimes committed with firearms use these sorts of weapons in the first place. Never mind the impossibility of "removing" them from America -- or anywhere else. Note France flat-out bans civilian ownership of pistols, any automatic weapon and requires strict licensing of semi-automatic firearms of any sort. All gun sales and transfers must be documented and are subject to license and registration there.
Of course this didn't bother the terrorists that shot up Paris despite them not having lawful firearms. It did, however, prevent any of the Parisians there, who obey the law, from having a usable defensive firearm on their person so they could attempt to defend their own lives.
They were slaughtered, just as occurred in San Bernardino where again, nobody in the room was armed.
In fact despite Obama's and other claims the United States is not the "mass shooting" capital of the world. You've probably heard that enough that you take it as truth, but it isn't. Adjusted for population we're somewhere between 8th and 10th depending on what you exclude (e.g. does some sort of civil insurrection count?) But just in raw numbers, not adjusting for population, France has had more people killed in mass-shootings this year than has the United States during the entirety of Obama's Presidency and yet they have some of the strictest gun laws in the Western Hemisphere.
Indeed, it's quite idiotic for anyone to argue that we could actually ban guns and get rid of them in the hands of anyone other than law-abiding citizens when we have banned a huge number of drugs since the 1920s and yet you can buy damn near any illegal drug you want on virtually any street corner of any city in America.
And this is where we come back to logic and the truth.
There is evil in this world.
There always has been and there always will be.
The Second Amendment exists because in The Declaration the founders declared that you have a natural right to life; that is, you have a right to live simply because you are human.
No right is real unless you can defend it for yourself and those who you love (such as your children.)
The Second Amendment codifies a pre-existing right to defend your life, and the life of your loved ones, against any evil individual or group that would attempt to take life by unlawful means. That right is absolute and thus so is the Second Amendment. It is only when that right is abused by criminal action with said firearm(s) that one may be sanctioned.
The security of a free state does not only require that an invading army be able to be repelled.
Security also includes internal threats within a nation whether individual or collective.
The Security of a Free State was violated in San Bernardino just as certainly as it is when a thug breaks into your home in the middle of the night.
There are those who argue that we should have a list of prohibited guns, persons and the like. What those people are arguing is that those persons have no right to either their life or that of their loved ones.
Think about what you're saying if you hold those beliefs very, very carefully:
You are declaring some people to be so much lesser than you that they do not have the right to live and further, you are declaring that someone else gets to make and update that list -- which could quite-easily wind up with your name on it. Further, you have managed to collectively get some fifty thousand gun laws on the books of this nation and every one of them, and thus every one of you, has directly contributed to the lack of security of a free state exhibited in San Bernardino and elsewhere.
If that is truly your position then you are not an American. It's that simple.
I understand the argument on the other side when it comes to persons who have committed a crime. However, the problem with a former criminal having guns does not come from them having committed a crime because a criminal by definition does not obey the law. Rather the problem lies in our refusal to keep dangerous people who we identify as dangerous by their criminal activity locked up until they're not dangerous any more. Since a criminal by definition doesn't give a damn about the law whether it's legal for him or her to buy and have a gun is immaterial; either he or she is not going to do something criminal with that gun (in which case they can only contribute to the Security of a Free State by owning one) or they're going to acquire said weapon anyway to commit their next criminal act. The only means by which we can deal with that problem is that once we identify someone as a criminal dangerous to others through our judicial process we do not let him or her out until he or she isn't dangerous any more. This is logic, not politics and if we wish to solve problems we must apply logic to them.
As an example of why so-called "gun control" doesn't work and can't Tashfeen Malik and Sayed Farook obviously did not give a damn about the law; they not only committed murder but they apparently constructed and amassed a number of bombs, every one of which was very illegal to make and possess. In fact they had roughly four times as many bombs as they did guns. The only saving grace in that regard is that they were piss-poor bomb-makers and their instruments of destruction failed to explode. Neither of these individuals appears to have been known to be dangerous beforehand, although again as usual we seem to be ignoring the negligence of our government, just as we did after 9/11, after Boston's bombing and in myriad other cases, a few of which I've documented such as the three-time jackass in central Florida who killed a Marshal that was attempting to serve papers on him.
In this case there are allegations that Malik at least misled the government about where she lived when she applied for her Visa to enter the US. It appears probable that she not only was the radical intent on jihad and stoked its fire she may have come to the United States for the explicit purpose of committing jihad and her "marriage" may have been nothing more than a vehicle to accomplish that. That we do not yet know and may never find out with certainty, but the timelines and acts involved certainly appear to support such a belief.
Who will be held accountable for that? Nobody. They never are, just like we've never held anyone accountable for the hundreds if not thousands of guns our government knowingly trafficked to drug lords in Mexico (including at least one that was used to kill a border agent), the former Florida Governor Bush (now Presidential contender) who gave Driver Licenses to people here in the state who were neither citizens or permanent residents (who continued on to kill 3,000 Americans in part facilitated by that state-issued ID), and of course the Boston Bombers who we had explicit warning on from foreign governments and ignored same.
But leave that aside, because even if we closed all those loopholes, even if we punished everyone involved in all of these "oversights" or even went to the degree of charging them as accessories before the fact to terrorism (which in my view we ought to do) it doesn't matter because you can't detect them all.
In short not all evil presents itself before you in a way you can determine before the fact. Most of the time it does, but not always.
And this, inevitably, comes back to the Second Amendment.
You see, at San Bernardino they had a nice "gun free" zone -- an office party for government employees at which nobody was armed -- except, of course, the two shooters. The assault wound up being terminated before everyone was murdered only because one of the shooters either got unlucky with a ricochet or was a crappy shot and hit a fire sprinkler, setting off the fire alarm, and then their lack of skill at bomb-making kept others from death as their IEDs failed to explode despite the remote for them allegedly being found in their rented SUV.
There is of course no guarantee that if some or all of the people at that party had been armed the outcome would have been different. It might have meant nothing. But then again when faced with evil it is not a question of guarantees, it is a question of time before an effective response can take place.
Watch an MMA fight or boxing match for one 2-minute round. That's the minimum amount of time you can expect to pass before the police can show up if something bad happens right here, right now wherever you are.
Contemplate the pounding that you would take from mere fists during that intervening time; as an untrained individual would you be alive? Now consider that the person doing the pounding isn't using fists, they have acquired a gun -- whether legally or not.
What is the only thing you can do to improve your odds?
There is only one thing you can do and you know damn well what it is. Carry a gun yourself as a means of attempting to deter evil should the quite unlikely but possible gravest extreme arise.
If you do not support and are not willing to stand and demand a literal, word-for-word recognition of the Second Amendment as written it is your responsibility to explain why in the comments, using only arguments that can be validly addressed and either confirmed or refuted through logic.
There are few more self-destructive things a human can undertake than denying provable facts.
Only a few things qualify as "provable facts", and it is important to separate out hypothesis, theory and opinion from fact. Mathematics and physics are two areas of discipline that have massive amounts of their subject matter within the realm of provable facts.
Honest people call the parts of these disciplines that are within the ability to prove laws. Unlike laws made by men that are often ignored these are simply inviolate -- period. The laws of thermodynamics prohibit a "free lunch", basically; they state that while energy may be transformed from one type to another, and other parts of physics make clear that matter and energy can also be transformed you never get out everything you put in; there is always loss to the environment that you can neither use or avoid. Newton's laws of motion tell us how momentum, mass, force and velocity interact; how energy, in short, is carried and dissipated in an object that moves or is contacted by one that is moving.
Likewise the laws of mathematics tell us that 2 + 2 = 4, that 2(x + 3) = 2x + 6, that the square root of 9 is 3 and more. These are called laws because every single time the same result will be obtained -- here, there, on Mars or somewhere in Interstellar space.
Here's the reality of money:
Money is only valuable because it is, in relative terms, scarce. Money is really nothing more than a unit of accounting that's convenient in the physical world.
We could (and perhaps should) account for production in the physical world, and its value, in some invariant physical unit. I happen to like BTUs (or Joules) of energy required to produce a thing or contained within a thing, because it is an invariant and therefore not subject to tampering. Accounting for it under production rather than the recoverable (e.g. "stored") energy in a good or service means that improvements in productivity (e.g. discovery of a new, "cheaper" way to make gasoline, for example) makes the value of each unit (a gallon, for example) less and accessibility greater. This is what productivity improvement is supposed to do -- it advances the common benefit to everyone because it makes useful goods and services more accessible to everyone.
So let us assume that among everything in the economy there is 100,000 Joules of energy represented in a given period of time. Yes, I know this is a ridiculously small number, but adding more zeros doesn't change anything other than scale, and 100,000 is a nice convenient number.
We will also assume that there is $100,000 -- that is, one hundred thousand dollars, in said economy.
It would be reasonable to assume that the average cost of transacting for one Joule of represented production of a good or service would be one dollar. There would be items in the economy that are of relatively more value in terms of dollars-per-Joule, and some with less, but on average that would be the expected clearing price.
Now let's remember that money is fungible (that is, exchangeable) with credit (which is just another word for "debt"); that is, a promise to make something tomorrow. They both are accepted in the economy as exactly the same thing, even though they demonstrably are not.
Now here's the problem: Bill and some others (e.g. the MMT charlatans) assert that the government can simply create money.
But that's not true. The "creation" he refers to is in fact credit because the government did not first produce anything.
Consider what happens if you double the amount of "money" in the system from $100,000 to $200,000, given that 100,000 Joules of production takes place.
The average clearing price of a good or service produced with those Joules will double from $1 to $2. It cannot be otherwise because equations always balance; this is what the laws of mathematics tell us.
Now does it matter whether you borrow or "create" in this regard? Only in one respect: The prospect of having to repay (potentially with interest) is a check and balance on borrowing that is utterly absent if you "create."
But in terms of the economic impact today, at the point in which you put the new "money" into the system the two acts are exactly identical.
Both do immediate violence to the purchasing power of every unit of currency or credit that exists in the system at that instant in time.
It cannot be otherwise because the laws of mathematics, which state that equations always balance, are not suggestions!
As a consequence there is no possible way for the government to spend more than it takes in via taxes without distorting the economy and destroying the purchasing power of the people.
"Creating" is exactly the same thing as shaving coins -- it is counterfeiting and is economically indistinguishable at the moment of the act from borrowing by emitting unbacked credit.
Borrowing, in point of fact, other than the interest, actually has a benefit in that when the amount borrowed unbacked is repaid it is destroyed and thus the inflationary impact is reversed. Of course in today's world we don't repay government debt ever and so that reversal never takes place, but that someone cheats doesn't mean that the underlying premise is wrong -- it just means you cheated.
Further, when rates are near zero there is no difference economically between "creating" and "borrowing"; it is only when rates rise that the difference shows up. For this reason if "creating" would work we'd already have proof since we've "created" more than $8 trillion by the Federal Government alone since 2008 and yet there has been no strong, positive economic recovery impact.
The mathematical facts are that the only way to stop the destruction of purchasing power and thus economic damage is for the government at all levels to stop spending more than it takes in -- period.
Denying the laws of mathematics makes you either a fool or a charlatan.
There are some very disturbing reports coming in about the Oregon shooting.
First off, it was clear within minutes that the shooter targeted Christians. How many people in our political system have been outraged that Christians were targeted for execution while others were either shot in the leg or not shot at all? I have heard exactly nothing from Obama or anyone else in political power in that regard. Why not?
Second, you've heard my screeds over the years about The Second Amendment. If you cannot argue facts and logic then get the hell off my lawn -- you're unwelcome around me. In matters of life and death there is exactly zero room for any sort of "squishy", "touchy-feely" or "feel good emotionalism."
Let me be clear: If you resort to emotion when life or death are on the line you are going to die.
If you wish to entertain the debate here on firearms, gun control or anything of the sort then you are going to argue logic and facts. Here they are:
If you cannot argue these points from a perspective of logic then you have no basis to be here as a member with the privilege of commenting and having your state (e.g. what you've read, etc) between sessions. In point of fact this is a perfect illustration of the difference between rights and privileges -- you have no right to be on this site on the Internet at all as it is private property, and therefore I may deny you entry as I wish.
Now let me leave you with one more thing to contemplate.
There are reports that the shooter reloaded during his rampage. If these reports are true and he was in the room with a bunch of people who were about to become deceased then you need to hear this very clearly and must read this next sentence over and over until it sinks in:
Stop watching the damn movies and become educated now about firearms.
The instant that jackass dropped his magazine and thus announced he was out at the close range that exists in a classroom (30-50' or so maximum, right?) there was absolutely no reason on God's Green Earth why the persons there should not have immediately grabbed something (e.g. a chair!) and threw it at him and/or bum-rushed the shooter.
He was empty and thus at that point he was a thug with a club until he could reload.
Everyone reading this needs to spend some time in the deep, dark recesses of their mind and drill this singular fact far, far into your consciousness:
If you find yourself in a situation like this you must assume you are dead.
Therefore, logic says that anything you do from that instant forward can only change things for the better. Yes, you may fail. One ex-military member reportedly did try to rush the shooter and was shot several times. It is reported he is expected to survive. His doing so likely prevented some number of other people from being shot as the shooter was occupied with shooting at him. He is a hero but the point here is not to urge people to be heros -- it is to point out that once your life is under assault in this sort of fashion nothing you can do will make the situation worse; you can only improve your odds.
You won't hear this from the mainslime media nor from the so-called "pundits" and "experts" but it is true. You do not know how many rounds or what other weapons the person threatening you has. You only know that that person's very presence and presentation means that from an objective point of view you must assume you are dead and thus if you get any tactical advantage, no matter how small, you must take advantage of it immediately and without a second thought.
On United Flight 93 the passengers did exactly this, collectively. They saved a tremendous number of lives by doing so. They correctly surmised that they were all dead at the moment they learned the plane had been hijacked and was intended to be used as a bomb. There was, for this reason, no downside to any action they might take -- they could only improve their odds and those of others, and decided to do so.
This was the correct decision. It is the only logical decision and the only logical set of actions in a circumstance such as this.
Folks, firearms do not shoot themselves. They do run out of ammunition. If they are not aimed, but rather wildly fired, they either miss or if they hit someone it is much less likely to cause serious injury or death than if they are deliberately aimed. Bullets do not have a GPS embedded in them as you see in the movies and without deliberate, concentrated action most of the time they will miss. There is an infamous Youtube video of a bar fight in Toledo a number of years back in which many shots were fired at close range typical of the distance you'd find in a classroom. Watch the video folks, and then realize this: Not one of those rounds hit anyone.
Therefore anything you can do that detracts from an active shooter's concentration and deliberation who is targeting you increases your odds of survival and that of everyone in the area with you.
If you are scared of firearms then do something about that. Take a shooting lesson from an instructor or someone you trust that owns firearms. Learn how they work and how to handle them safely without quivering in fear. A gun is just a mechanical device and simpler than most that you use every day; it is vastly less-complex than a bicycle, lawn-mower or car. Safe use and handling of firearms is not difficult to learn at all and every gun works essentially the same way. Understanding this and having at least a passing level of comfort with it means that if you find yourself in a situation such as what occurred the other day and you are given a tactical break no matter how small you will have a clean opportunity to save not only your own life but that of everyone in the vicinity.
It's very hard for me to give a **** these days.
In fact, it's becoming nearly impossible. The reasons are many, with the most-serious being your refusal to give a ****.
You don't give a **** that the entire medical industry rips everyone off to the tune of 200, 300, 400, 500% or more of what virtually everything should cost. This is why you "need" health insurance. It is why we "need" Medicare. The practices of this "industry" in virtually every other line of business would result in the people involved going to prison for decades, yet you tolerate this daily despite the fact that it is the largest cause of bankruptcy in the United States. You cannot take your car in for an oil change or have the furnace guy come and fix your heating system in your home without being quoted a price before work begins, and were two gas stations to collude on prices the owners of both would be charged with felonies.
You don't give a **** that pharmaceutical companies literally price drugs at a half-million dollars a year -- and if you need it, you'll need it effectively forever. There are so few people who have that sort of money that this kind of pricing is by definition theft, as the only way to "afford' such a drug is to steal the money from someone else (through legal means or otherwise.) What's worse is that you let them get away with having most of the development cost of these "wonder drugs" be born through publicly-funded research; it's not even their money at risk (for the most part) when such a new drug is tested, it's yours and mine. We then wonder why so-called "health insurance" is as expensive as it is and why the stock of firms in that business such as Aetna (NYSE: AET) are up more than 500% since 2009, roughly doubling in the two years since the Obamacare "mandates, er, taxes" kicked in and stock in company that makes the drug in this example (ALXN) is up 1,000% since 2009. You, on the other hand, will be flirting with bankruptcy (if not rendered penniless, insurance or no) if you get sick.
You don't give a **** that the US Supreme Court in two separate decisions on the same underlying issue re-wrote Obamacare in ways that severely implicate your fundamental and Constitutional Rights. When Obamacare was found "Constitutional" originally it occurred through re-writing the law to find that the "penalty" was actually a tax, but in doing so it was re-written as a direct tax that is not apportioned nor is it a tax on income, which means it is explicitly unconstitutional. You didn't care enough about that to demand that this crap stop, and thus opened the door to the second and more-recent decision which simply cemented the first: Words (and the Constitution) don't matter if they fail to meet a desired political outcome! (Roberts actually said in that opinion that to uphold the law as written "would destabilize the individual insurance market"; in other words the federal spending must flow irrespective of what Congress actually did and Congress cannot be left to fix it, IF it was a mistake.) The result of this second decision was that people cheered the screwing that the aforementioned medical industry has been dishing out for the last four decades instead of immediately taking to the streets and demanding the arrest and prosecution of everyone involved in that part of the so-called "economy" and both blatantly unconstitutional acts of the court.
You don't give a **** that over the last year $790 billion was literally stolen from you in value due to deficit spending (6/30/2014 to 6/29/2015) and that over the last fiscal year (September 30 2013 -> September 30 2014) an approximate trillion (that is, $1,000 billion) was similarly stolen. To put a number on this that is 4.5% of the economy over the last 12 months and approximately 6% over the previous fiscal year. From the first of 2008 to today that theft has totaled $8,924 billion dollars and is the reason that actual economic expansion over the last four years in real terms has not run about 3.5% a year, it's approximately 1.1%! Anyone who steals that much damn well ought to be in prison no matter how many people conspire together to do it. Yet not only are you unwilling to demand that the people involved go to prison you keep ratifying and approving their theft by returning them to office and cheering them on at political rallies!
You don't give a **** about the fact that all of the above mean that on a compounded basis roughly half of your purchasing power has been robbed from you since 2000 and this will, inevitably, collapse the very programs you claim a right to such as Social Security and Medicare (say much less private pensions.) Were the medical situation, in particular, to be resolved it would (1) eliminate federal deficit spending, (2) resolve most if not all of the state and city government budgetary problems and (3) remove close to 1/5th of the spending you currently do from your personal budget. That's the math, folks. In other words your willful and intentional refusal to give a **** on a collective basis means that you are intentionally allowing a course of conduct by our governments and certain private actors that mathematically must cause the collapse of the very programs you claim to have a right to. You can make all the claims you want but you can't make the impossible occur, and what's worse is that you're intentionally destroying the economic future of your children -- not just your own future.
You don't give a **** that arithmetic says that the debt and GDP accumulation path this nation is on must end in disaster; it cannot be otherwise, and further we are beyond the point where accumulating more debt provides even a temporary gain; it instead comes with immediate pain. Yet you continue to permit, even insist on continued deficit spending by our government despite the fact that you cannot bargain with math nor is it subject to political will. You are not only screwing yourself you are screwing every young person in this country -- including your own children who will live long enough to have to deal with the collapse you are actively causing, even if you're in your 80s and will probably die before it gets you.
You don't give a **** that the fundamental right found by the Supreme Court to marriage was in the same breath turned into a mere privilege subject to license, so long as everyone is similarly constrained by said license. The breathtaking breadth of that decision, the turning of your fundamental right to choose who you are intimate with into a licensed privilege so long as everyone has to pay the same tax and subject themselves to the same terms, for anyone with more than two firing neurons in their head, should have led to immediate protests and a full-on strike by every producing American. Instead people turned their Facebook profile picture "rainbow colored" in support of it. In short you cheered the single largest arrogation of power by the government in American history.
You don't give a **** about the fact that Ross Perot warned during the 1996 Presidential campaign that NAFTA and related "free trade" bills would eviscerate American employment, costing literal millions of good-paying manufacturing jobs. He was later proved right; you could certainly be excused for not believing his prediction (after all, he was just a rich bastard shooting off his mouth, right?) but there is no excuse for refusing to believe proved facts over the next three decades. The fact is that our trade deficit has grown with every nation we've entered into one of these "agreements" with; that is, every one of them has cost more than than it has benefited the United States. Yet we're still allowing not only NAFTA to continue but we then granted China "most-favored nation" status and a tariff-free environment for them while China demands local content and tariffs on goods and services we export back their direction, they steal anything not nailed down (and much that is) and, to top it off, we are now "debating" extending the same abusive trade deals to over a dozen other nations, nearly all of which are poor "emerging markets" much like China was when we gave that status to them. ARE YOU NUTS?
You don't give a **** that those who are not citizens can and do vote and the Supreme Court has ruled that states cannot put a stop to it. The single most-important asset a citizen of a nation has is to determine the political path of the nation; we express that through ballots and our representatives. If those who are not citizens can cast ballots, given that many elections are narrowly-decided, we have ceded the right of political decision-making to non-citizens. Since the citizens of this nation have sat for this crap up until now and continue to do so we have collectively decided that we no longer live in a Constitutional Republic. Why in the hell would you expect anyone else give a **** about anything if you won't do whatever is necessary to prevent non-citizens from determining the political path this nation takes?
You don't give a **** about the outrageous armed robbery practiced daily by our so-called "law enforcement" agencies. Ferguson is hardly the only place this has become a national pasttime; the entire State of California is another example where a simple and routine $25 traffic ticket is instantly turned into a $300 citation through "assessments" and "surcharges." Of course if you don't have $300 it then becomes a suspended license, loss of your job (when you can't get to work) or an arrest (if you drive anyway so you don't starve.) For those who claim it's not "armed robbery" exactly what do you think that gun is doing on the cop's hip? This is tolerated nationally and can quite-literally begin with nothing more-serious than a parking violation -- oh, and that citation might be trumped up too (and frequently is with "meter maids" that will write on a meter that is not yet expired.) Four million residents (17% of the state's adult population!) in California have a suspended license for this reason right now; that's nearly one in five! Exactly why is this sort of literal and outrageous armed robbery not cause for an immediate cessation of all work by Californians complete with picketing around the state house and senate, never mind the governor's mansion, until it is stopped and these outrageous "surcharges" and penalties canceled? I've not even bothered with the "pull people over and steal their money" games yet; that's just another of many additional examples of the very same act of armed robbery.
You don't give a **** about false oaths, particularly those to "Defend and preserve The Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic." The list of persons who have taken such oaths and then acted directly in contravention of them is too long to list. No, this is not advocating war or civil unrest but it sure does include advocating not associating with or helping people who have shot off their mouth in public in this regard that they have such a duty, or who currently hold public office, yet directly violate said claimed duty whether actively or simply by sitting on their ass. Or, as I've put it many times to such folks (earning many dirty looks in the process): "If you have a duty to defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic, when do you intend to start doing so?"
So here's my question to you: If you refuse to give a **** about any of the above why should I?
I have often commented about innumeracy among the American people, but nowhere do I find it more-distressing than among those who are of sound mind and reasonable (or better) education.
There really isn't any point in having any sort of debate on government reform, monetary reform or anything of the sort with those who deny arithmetic. It is a complete waste of time to discuss that which cannot work and if your answers do not comport with arithmetic they cannot work.
When it comes to government spending it's quite simple: Government cannot spend, in nominal dollars, more than it taxes. It does not matter one bit whether the money that government is using is theirs (that is, they're a "currency issuer") or whether the money is issued as debt or by pure fiat -- that is, debt-free.
The reason is as I've put forward for years now -- pretty much since I started writing this column, and which I spent a lot of ink on in Leverage: Two compound (exponential) functions will always diverge from one another. If the smaller, that is the component of the larger, is growing faster than the whole it will eventually consume the entirety.
There are no exceptions to this, ever, because this is a fact of arithmetic just as 2 + 2 = 4.
Since a sub-part (e.g. government) can never exceed the whole (the entire GDP of the nation) yet the progression of growth of government spending that exceeds that of output (both in nominal terms) must inevitably do so there is no way such a path can succeed.
Every single person who claims to have a high-school diploma knows this because you all learned it in school.
Our Congress refuses to face this -- both parties, not just one. I have been told that deficit spending will not be stopped -- by Republican leaders, back in 2011 during the "debt ceiling" talks.
Since July 1st of 2011 to March 31st of this year total federal debt has increased by 26.6%.
Since July 1st of 2011 to March 31st of this year GDP has increased by 14.4%.
Federal Debt is increasing at a rate approximately twice that of economic output and this is beginning two years after the end of the "Great Recession"!
It is mathematically impossible to continue doing this; continuation of this policy will fiscally destroy the nation with mathematical certainty.
Yet despite this fact, and that you cannot argue with arithmetic, neither political party will stop it.
It does not matter whether you issue the currency as "debt" or not. If you "print" the money then the destruction in real purchasing power happens just as it does if you issue as debt-backed currency. This impairs economic growth in exactly the same way.
There is, in fact, a greater push-back in the form of compounding interest in that said interest also consumes more and more of your funds if you issue debt-backed currency. It can be argued that this is a positive in that it (should) act as an inhibitor of bad government behavior, even though we have seen that it is entirely ineffective in the present tense.
However, if the government does not deficit spend, that is, if it does not take on debt then there is no impact on government sustainability irrespective of the monetary form.
There are plenty of reasons to like debt-free currency. Philosophically if someone is going to get to the benefit of currency issuance it should be we the people through the government, not private banks.
But -- and this is key -- that debate is utterly immaterial until and unless deficit spending ceases and advancing it as an "answer" to debt-laden nations who are and continue to deficit spend is utter nonsense.
Such debate on monetary form is irrelevant here, it is irrelevant in Greece, it is irrelevant everywhere that deficit spending (whether formally or simply through the expansion of debt) is taking place because if you do not stop advancing government spending in excess of economic output expansion your nation and its economic system are mathematically certain to fail.
America has one advantage over Greece and most of the rest of the EU: We have a piece of our federal, state and local government budgets we can whack off without destroying our economy. We need only enforce existing laws. The answer is found in putting an end to medically-related monopolies and restraint of trade and were we to do it we'd be able to remove roughly $800 billion a year from federal spending alone.
The problem is that we have to take that step and stop the deficit spending now -- while we still can.
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