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HISTORY LESSON #15 - Why No Democrat was Prepared Post-Trump

Personally, I did not want Joe Biden to get the nomination. I would have preferred Hillary try a second run, since she was still tough, she was right and she was a little younger. Had Biden run in 2016, he might have stopped Trump right there. But now, thinking about all the candidates along with Biden in 2020, I'm not sure anyone could have been a good follow-up to someone like Trump who made dividing this country his presidential passion. As more than one Biden voter has admitted, when it came to 2020, "anyone but Trump."

 

None of them, from Amy now struggling with breast cancer, to Yang who has left the Dems to become independent but doesn't seem to realize how few would see someone of Chinese descent as president (considering our ongoing struggles with China now turning back toward communism again) to Warren, who seemed strong but doesn't seem to have a lot to say anymore, to Sanders, not any younger and who seems like a raving lunatic, to Harris, who is not impressing anyone in being a heartbeat from the presidency. Biden seemed the best choice to unite a world divided -- although who counted on Trump further dividing by insisting the election was fraud because he doesn't know how to lose?

 

Here's Trump's idea: let the country and economy crash so he can say "I told you so, should have stuck with me instead of an illegitimate government." On October 7th he slammed McConnell for offering a compromise to the debt ceiling stalemate. Is there any doubt that he doesn't care about anyone or anything but himself? Having this country crash and burn will save his sorry hide from the January 6th commission and everything else.

 

Even worse is how Trump tries to make his objection sound: "Looks like Mitch McConnell is folding to the Democrats, again," Trump said in a statement through his leadership PAC, Save America. "He's got all of the cards with the debt ceiling, it's time to play the hand. Don't let them destroy our Country!" Trump doesn't even realize what's at stake, nor does he care if he does.

 

We do see some GOP reaction against Trump's plans to run again. According to an article in "The Week," we were closer to a constitutional crises in January than we realize. Perhaps to be beaten by "perennial loser" Biden was the last straw, and he would not have challenged a loss to someone else. But I doubt that's the case -- this idea that he couldn't lose was in his noggin all along. We are still IN this crises, do not doubt that. The Republicans are doing all in their power in the variou GOP states to prevent the pandemic style of voting that was used in 2020. They are trying to cover up what happened on January 6th because many of them are implicated, and to uncover that would lead them into a freefall in 2022. McConnell has just now indicated that he will not work with the Democrats in December on the debt ceiling. He would rather allow the US to default on its debts than to work with them again. That's Trump-Speak, even though Trump wants to have him "deposed."

 

Many of us wonder why DeJoy still has the Post Office in his grip. It appears there are efforts to remove him or get him to resign, but he responded with "get used to me." Here's our answer:

 

"Louis DeJoy is … facing potential legal troubles. The postmaster general may be the closest thing to former President Donald Trump left in the nation's capital. But there's little President Joe Biden can do about it. The scrutiny of DeJoy, 63, has intensified as the Justice Department investigates him over political fundraising at the North Carolina-based company he ran prior to his work at the post office. DeJoy's proposed overhaul could help the post office operate more like a business than a public service. But he's bristled at suggestions he's a Trump holdover with an ideology that now conflicts with a Democratic administration. "I'm not a political appointee," DeJoy told the House hearing. "I was selected by a bipartisan board of governors and I'd really appreciate if you'd get that straight."

Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan, who organized a letter signed by 90 House Democrats in August calling for DeJoy's removal, said the postmaster general "doesn't seem to understand that one of the few services that the federal government does that's in the Constitution is the Postal Service," Pocan said "and we have a higher obligation to do the job correctly."

 

Sad to say, having him in there is actually the least of our problems. Our country's leadership right now needs youth and vigor, yes; under Biden we also need a committed and dedicated cabinet, a staff around Biden ready to rally to his cause and help him. Is that happening?

 

Our justice department under Garland has had some positive news, including this commission on investigating who beyond the rioters need to be held accountable for January 6th, and recently they were able to call a halt to Texas's new crazy anti-abortion laws while they are investigation for being unconstitutional.

 

For me the biggest issue is raising taxes on the rich, BEFORE spending money on infrastructure or anything else. Why push to raise the debt ceiling before you have a payment plan for your infrastructure in place?

 

It's increasingly clear that Biden's moderate approach to the Republicans was doomed from the start. They don't want him to do well, and will pull out all the stops to make him crush and burn, the same way they obstructed Obama. Many GOP are still afraid of Trump -- heaven knows why, because he could implicate them, I suspect. They are also afraid that, since their voters are the minority, they can never win again unless they pull every nasty trick in the book, while all along saying it's "to save democracy."

 

Sadly, a lot of Democrats, too, don't see the need to be moderate, but then, it seems that they might be right. Because the GOP doesn't want to work with the Democrats. No matter what. Take this debt ceiling approach. It doesn't matter to the GOP that the Democrats voted three times under Trump to raise it.

 

The biggest issue to me is that taxes need to be raised on the rich. Why can't this be done? A big deal was made of getting the two Georgia Democrat senators elected in January, because that gave the Senate a 50/50 split with Kamala Harris the tie-breaker. What good has that done the Democrats? None that I can see.

 

According to one article, however, there are changes coming to the tax code in January. But that will be too late to save the country, if we cannot stop the filibuster and cannot raise the debt ceiling. My hunch, if I can play politics a moment, is that the Republicans will make a deal to raise the debt ceiling in December: Stop digging into the January 6th event. Will the Democrats cave for the supposed "good of the country?" Or will they have the strength to call the GOP bluff?

 

Unless there's someone brave enough to stand up to the Trump curse plaguing our country, there's a chance none of us will survive him. Someone in the GOP, and there have been several who are willing to stand up to Trump, needs to take the next step. Someone tried to form the Lincoln Party. Do it now, and all the good reasonable GOP need to defect to it, leaving the GOP extreme right alone to continue their love fest with a maniac.

 

The Democrats need a lot more courage than they've shown lately. First, there seems to be candidates pandering for the White House in 2024 by making Biden's job more difficult. This would not have happened under a young and vigorous president, or where the VP was popular. They need unity to defeat the GOP's desire takeover of our politics, Trump-style. Schumer came out blasting the GOP for their ridiculous response to giving them two months on the debt ceiling before they have to go through that again, and Munchin commented that Schumer just made things worse, a comment that McConnell leaped on. Goodie. Instead of supporting Schumer and maybe understanding the comment, Munchin, you side with the jerks who don't do for Biden what you did for Trump. That's not courage. Stop letting them buy you off.

 

It may be hard for the Democrats to believe but they still need to defeat Trump. They're not even trying. They're too busy defeating themselves. I'm not the only one observing this. Kaiser-chatzlein noted: "Democrats need to stick together on this issue. The stacks are high because what's on the line is nothing less than who we are as a country."

 

Sources:

 

Robin Kaiser-Schatzlein, The New York Times, as quoted in "The Tax Rule the ultra-rich love most," The Week, October 8, 2021, p. 34.

 

Business Insider, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-slams-mcconnell-for-folding-to-the-democrats-by-offering-them-a-temporary-lift-of-the-debt-ceiling/ar-AAPeXT6?ocid=msedgntp 

 

"The Eastman Memo," The Week, October 8, 2021, p. 6.

 

"There has been a coup," CNN.com, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/there-has-been-a-coup-bernstein-reacts-to-new-evidence-on-trump-s-role-in-riot/vi-AAPimK3?ocid=msedgntp 

 

Amy Wang, "McConnell vows Republicans…" Washington Post, https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/mcconnell-vows-republicans-will-not-help-raise-debt-ceiling-in-december/ar-AAPhQQW?ocid=msedgntp 

 

"PLanning for Biden's Proposed Tax Changes," August 18, 2021, Coldstream Wealth Management, https://www.coldstream.com/blog/2021/08/18/planning-for-joe-bidens-proposed-tax-changes/ 

 

There are more sources but a lot of this is just from paying attention to what's going on. You should, too.

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History Lesson #12: A Graveyard of Empires

We can all see what's happening with the US pull-out of troops and civilians in Afghanistan. You might not remember this, but no president wanted to pull out of Vietnam and become known as the one who made America lose. That's what's happening to Biden now, but he had the courage to face the criticism. We were never going to get anywhere there.

 

I read an interesting comment somewhere about how governing Afghanistan could destroy the Taliban, so let them try. Problem, of course, is in how many innocent people are losing their lives there in the process. Could he have done better? We are armchair coaches in both support and criticism. But there has been so many already, names we've forgotten or have never known. Since Bush's invasion in 2001, there have been 47,000 civilians killed, along with so many military. Back in 2001 they wanted to get at Al Qaida and the Taliban, and after that, the mission was to transform the country into a democracy, though it was tribal, desperately poor, largely illiterate and deeply religious, according to The Week (August 27, 2001: 6). Mission a failure, and could never possibly succeed once Bush dropped that ball.

 

But the difficulties there didn't start with Bush. That's what we'll look at here; the history of attempts to govern here, and why it's such a difficult country in the first place.

 

When bin Laden escaped capture and the Taliban left Afghanistan, Bush switched his focus to something he felt he could win -- Iraq. This left Afghanistan open to becoming - what it was all along - a war we could not win. But it was all due to 9/11. Whatever impact those attackers hoped to have on that date, they were successful. The attitude in the U.S. changed dramatically. No longer "to stop communism," as the goal in Vietnam, but "to protect America." Nationalism increased dramatically, as did anti-Muslim and anti-black attitudes in this country.

 

The photo shows Panjshir Valley, where the anti-Taliban forces are maintaining a stronghold. There's only one way in. According to The Week (September 3, 2021), Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh fled there to join with Ahmad Massoud, son of an assassinated former warlord. As noted at BBC.com:

 

"The son of an Afghan army general, Ahmad Shah Massoud was born in the valley. His portrait can still be found in many places throughout Panjshir Province and in Kabul - from monuments to billboards and shop windows. Because of him, the Panjshir valley become a centre of anti-Communist resistance, after the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) won power in 1978 - and the Soviet Union moved in forces a year later."

 

Massoud was assassinated just two days before 9/11. And there are people who say he was a war criminal. I suspect you could say that about GW Bush, too. Say what you want against Trump. He was unable to start a war.

 

Panjshir Valley continues to be the anti-Taliban stronghold, where appeals are sent out for weaponry from the US and other countries to help them continue the fight. The resistence could become a civil war there.

 

The Soviets previously did better in Afghanistan; the Soviet-backed government there lasted for three years beyond the time the Soviet troops left. The U.S. government of Ashraf Ghani "was seen as a band of corrupt American puppets," and why not? They were corrupt nearly everywhere else they tried to help. (Read "From Lincoln to Trump" to see what Eisenhower did to Iran.)

 

As the above demonstrates, we need to see Afghanistan's long history to truly understand what's going on there. The BBC.co.uk reported the following:

 

"Once a cultural crossroads, Afghanistan has been ravaged by 22 years of war and the Taliban regime whose systematic destruction of the country's cultural heritage culminated in the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas. Early in 2002, Dan Cruickshank travelled to Kabul to investigate what treasures remain and find out how Afghanistan's people have dealt with attempts to destroy their culture and national identity."

 

As early as 3,000 years ago, this country was a meeting point for the Chinese, Indian and European civilizations. Alexander the Great conquered the region in 300 BCE, allowing the silk road to pass through the center of the country. In relation to the comment above:

 

"The monastery of Bamiyan - where the trade route coming south from India met the route from China to the Roman Empire in the west - is a product of Afghanistan's rich past. Buddhist monks, moving along the Silk Route, created a monastery within the cliff face overlooking the road by hollowing out cells, halls and chambers and - in the 4th to the 6th centuries - carved there two colossal statues of Buddha. This was the first time the 'enlightened one' had been expressed not in abstract but in human form."

 

According to Wikipedia:

 

"Afghanistan's significant ancient tangible and intangible Buddhist heritage is recorded through wide-ranging archaeological finds, including religious and artistic remnants. Buddhist doctrines are reported to have reached as far as Balkh even during the life of the Buddha (563 BCE to 483 BCE), as recorded by Husang Tsang."

 

It wasn't until the 7th Century CE that Mohammed came into the religious picture.  "After the Kushan Empire's rule was ended by Sassanids— officially known as the Empire of Iranians— was the last kingdom of the Persian Empire before the rise of Islam. Named after the House of Sasan, it ruled from 224 to 651 AD."

 

From the Middle Ages to around 1750 the eastern part of Afghanistan was recognized as being a part of India while its western parts parts were included in Khorasan. Again in Wikipedia (the only source I found with complete history): "The early Arab forces did not fully explore Afghanistan due to attacks by the mountain tribes. Much of the eastern parts of the country remained independent, as part of the Hindu Shahi kingdoms of Kabul and Gandhara, which lasted that way until the forces of the Muslim Saffarid dynasty followed by the Ghaznavids conquered them."

 

From the 16th century to the 17th century CE, Afghanistan was divided into three major areas.

 

Loyn told NPR's Renee Montagne that "Afghanistan's sprawling deserts and 16,000-foot mountains are a key reason why the country has come to be known as the "graveyard of empires." The Panjshir Valley is nearly impregnable and a stronghold to whoever has it, and it's not far from Kabul.

The British invaded in the 19th Century, and found that to get through the country, there simply isn't another passable route. Loyn noted:

 

"Afghans tend to ally against a foreign enemy when the enemy comes in. But then they tend to fall apart like sand when you try to govern them from inside, and many Afghan kings have discovered that." He calls government corruption their biggest obstacle. As we learned in an earlier lesson, that's also been a problem for Haiti. But attempts at colonization didn't help. If only the Soviets hadn't walked in.

 

Here's where we tie past and present together, again, from Wikipedia:

 

"The Emir Dost Mohammed Khan (1793–1863) gained control in Kabul in 1826 and founded (c.  1837) the Barakzai dynasty. Rivalry between the expanding British and Russian Empires in what became known as "The Great Game" significantly influenced Afghanistan during the 19th century. British concern over Russian advances in Central Asia and over Russia's growing influence in West Asia and in Persia in particular culminated in two Anglo-Afghan wars and in the Siege of Herat (1837–1838), in which the Persians, trying to retake Afghanistan and throw out the British, sent armies into the country and fought the British mostly around and in the city of Herat. The first Anglo-Afghan War (1839–1842) resulted in the destruction of a British army, causing great panic throughout British India and the dispatch of a second British invasion army. The Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–1880) resulted from the refusal by Emir Shir Ali (reigned 1863 to 1866 and from 1868 to 1879) to accept a British mission in Kabul."

 

"In the wake of this conflict Shir Ali's nephew, Emir Abdur Rahman, known by some as the "Iron Emir", came to the Afghan throne. During his reign (1880–1901), the British and Russians officially established the boundaries of what would become modern Afghanistan. The British retained effective control over Kabul's foreign affairs. Abdur Rahman's reforms of the army, legal system and structure of government gave Afghanistan a degree of unity and stability which it had not before known. This, however, came at the cost of strong centralization, of harsh punishments for crime and corruption, and of a certain degree of international isolation."

 

While Afghanistan became officially established as a 'state' in 1880 after the second Anglo-Afghan war, recorded history of the land mass goes back to 500 BCE under the First Persian Empire. It became part of the empire under Xerxes I, who conquered much of Greece, including Athens, in 480 BCE.

 

After Alexander the Great died, it was ruled by a couple other empires until "the Iranian elites of the central plateau reclaimed power by the 2nd century BC under the Parthian Empire." The Persians were an Iranian people who arrived in what is today Iran c. 1000 BC and settled a region including north-western Iran, the Zagros Mountains and Persis alongside the native Elamites.

 

Gets complicated, doesn't it?

 

Conquered variously in those very early centuries established certain locations as places where people could live and trade. In the later centuries, colonization and overpopulation tended to destabilize and control people who may have been happy as they were.

 

The question Biden finally asked was: what the heck are we doing there? No, withdrawal is not pretty. But neither is conquest. Let's let history guide our future, for once.

 

Sources:

 

The Week, August 27 and September 3, 2001.

 

Afghanistan: At the Crossroads of Ancient Civilisations, Dan Cruickshank, http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/recent/sept_11/afghan_culture_01.shtml 

 

Afghanistan: The 'undefeated' Panjshir Valley - an hour from Kabul

By Paul Kerley & Lucia Blasco, BBC News, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-58329527. 

 

BBC's Loyn: Afghanistan's History Of Defying Invaders

October 8, 2009, https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113582498 

 

"History of Afghanistan," Wikipedia.org, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Afghanistan 

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History Lesson #8: Taxing the Rich

Summary: No, the goal of the U.S. is not to help the rich get richer. 

 

 

It seems that somehow the GOP has forced Biden to reconsider raising taxes on the rich, or at least reversing Trump's tax cuts, in an effort to pay for infrastructure and everything else Biden wants.

 

But why? Isn't a study of economics in history able to give Biden the guidance he needs? Let's give Biden the tools he needs to raise the taxes on the rich before the U.S. comes crashing down around our feet.  But also, it's the GOP's job to make Biden fail.

 

Here's a report from CBS News: "Poll after poll show that people favor higher taxes to reduce the deficit. That's because, while susceptible to demagoguery, most of us aren't total idiots. The case for balancing the budget in part by raising taxes on top income-earners is compellingly simple. Better yet, it's good economics."

 

Good economics. What does that mean? According to this site the Bush era tax cuts during his war contributed greatly to our deficit. That's not hard to believe. Even if the taxes on the rich were raised, their income gains would still dramatically increase compared to the rest of us. Can Bezos stand to pay more in taxes? There's really very little doubt about that.

 

(I would love to stop supporting Amazon but that's the only place my books are currently available. But I will say that my sales have screeched to a halt the better part of this month, so I'm sure others are boycotting.)

 

And there's this: "Recent income gains for the highest-income one percent have far exceeded gains for everyone else, leading to dramatic income concentration at the top of the scale. Now, more than ever, the highest-income households are in a better position to pay taxes."

 

Don't believe CBS? Let's look at another source.  The PEW Research Center has a pretty good rap. Here's what they say about what we think about raising taxes: "By two-to-one (44% to 22%), the public says that raising taxes on incomes above $250,000 would help the economy rather than hurt it, while 24% say this would not make a difference. Moreover, an identical percentage (44%) says a tax increase on higher incomes would make the tax system more fair, while just 21% say it would make the system less fair."

 

Okay, I get it. More of us are in favor than against, which is proportional to more of us voting Democrat to Republican. What are the Republicans afraid of? That rich people will no longer have the money to help them cheat at elections? Okay, you know I'm biased, right? The Republican Party needs a new image, a new mission statement, in order to align with voters today in a more honest and direct way.

 

Now, granted, that was an old survey, but fair enough because of the references above to GW Bush.

 

Here's one from Marketplace.org in 2018, a little more recent.  "One of the most pernicious economic falsehoods you'll hear during the next seven months of political campaigning is there's a necessary tradeoff between fairness and growth. By this view, if we raise taxes on the wealthy the economy can't grow as fast," noted Robert Reich. He noted that taxes were higher on the rich in the first three decades after World War II than they've been since. He also said Clinton's taxes on the wealthy contributed more to the growth of the economy than did Bush's tax cuts after him.

 

"What we should have learned over the last half century is that growth doesn't trickle down from the top. It percolates upward from working people who are adequately educated, sufficiently rewarded, and who feel they have a fair chance to make it in America."

 

Let's look at an opposing opinion to see how much sense it makes.  "Luckily, there are some people out there who understand why higher taxes are bad for the economy and society. Steven Horowitz of Libertarianism.org is certainly one of them and he does a terrific job of explaining just why the current tax-scheme regime is hurting America. In his recent article, "The Social Harms of Taxing Private Wealth," Horowitz does a great job of defending capitalism and the current private financial system and he explains why the Democrats are so misinformed about wealth and what a wealth tax would mean for not only our nation's billionaires but also every other productive member of society."

 

Oh my goodness. We cannot take a chance on hurting billionaires? Maybe someone who has 5 billion will end up with 4 billion and that will just destroy him? I'm sorry, it's hard to take those people seriously. Please look at their link if you want to read more. I'd rank those comments right up there with QAnon lies about mass shootings being fake.

 

When did trickle down start? How about Coolidge? Coolidge both cut taxes and cut the federal budget. He knew that to cut taxes you had to cut spending. Fair enough. No brainer, really. He served during the roaring Twenties, a time of tremendous economic boom, during which a middle class was created. The war was over -- it was time to dance. The tax was reduced on the wealthiest from 77% to 7% he was the one to start Reagan's "trickle down" economics by lowering taxes on businessmen.

 

Economic historian Steve Fraser felt that the Coolidge administration perfected "crony capitalism," where you could no longer tell the difference "between the representation of a political constituency and the servicing of a corporation client."

 

This was a happiness bubble that grew too big and finally burst. But not under Coolidge. He didn't like to see what was happening to the stock market but he felt it wrong for the government to interfere. He chose not to run again, Shlaes said, because he'd had enough.

 

So that particular trickle down, if left uncorrected under Hoover, led to the crash of 1929. From what I could find, Hoover further cut taxes, believing in hands-off capitalism. He too believed people would benefit if the rich business owners had more money.  So low taxes on the rich directly led to the depression, it seems.

 

Most of us remember Ron Reagan as being the one who created trickle-down. It didn't start with him, but obviously he didn't know his history. Reagan called his program of cutting taxes to produce more jobs and reducing regulations to get the federal government out of business interests as "The New Federalism."

 

Reagan's package offered no relief when the country went into a devastating recession. High interest rates put the stopper on everything from home mortgages to factory prosperity. They finally realized they had to drop oil prices and Reagan also cut domestic programs. The federal deficit, however, continued to grow, because Reagan funneled domestic savings into the defense budget, while the taxes for the wealthy were cut dramatically to create that 'trickle-down' that would produce jobs.

 

Did you notice that today even your CDs get very little interest? I wonder why that is. Yes, no economic growth thanks to the pandemic. But maybe taxing the rich would help.

 

In 1981 there was a serious recession, with unemployment as high as 11%. Growth from tax cuts failed to materialize; he thought slashing income tax up to 25% would encourage people to reinvest in the economy. "Debt interest payments became the government's third largest bill after defense problems and entitlements such as public assistance." As Reagan assured the people to stick with him, Congress enacted a $100 billion tax increase. By 1983 the country again experienced a period of growth.

 

Hey, I'm not making this stuff up. Some of the above, by the way, you can find in "From Lincoln to Trump."

 

Here's a summary found online.

 

"As projections for the deficit worsened, it became clear that the 1981 tax cut was too big. So with Reagan's signature, Congress undid a good chunk of the 1981 tax cut by raising taxes a lot in 1982, 1983, 1984 and 1987. George H.W. Bush signed another tax increase in 1990 and Bill Clinton did the same in 1993. One lesson from that history: When tax cuts are really too big to be sustainable, they're often followed by tax increases."

 

So now it's time for that tax increase, Mr. Biden. Congress must act.

 

"The other argument that advocates of tax cuts for the rich make is that many small-business owners would be see their taxes go up and thus would be discouraged from hiring workers. The facts do not support this. "Only 3 percent of small-business owners are in the top bracket," notes Roberton Williams, a senior fellow with the Tax Policy Center, which is sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute. And, he adds, "They are not all what we think of as job-creating small businesses. A lot of them are hedge-fund managers and law-firm partners." So other than perhaps a few restaurateurs on Manhattan's Upper East Side, the workforce is unlikely to be affected."

 

This was another article about the Bush tax cuts expiring.  Jeepers, I sure hope they did because if not, we have Trump tax cuts on top of them. No wonder rich men can afford to build spaceships.

 

Oh wait …

 

The Bush tax cuts were two tax code changes that President George W. Bush authorized during his first term. Congress enacted tax cuts to families in 2001 and investors in 2003. They were supposed to expire at the end of 2010. Instead, Congress extended them for two more years, and many of the tax provisions remain in effect—and continue to affect the economy—to this day.

 

Son of a gun.

 

 

SOURCES:

 

From Lincoln to Trump: A political transformation

 https://www.cbsnews.com/news/why-raising-taxes-on-the-rich-is-good-economics/ 

 https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2012/07/16/raising-taxes-on-rich-seen-as-good-for-economy-fairness/ 

 https://www.marketplace.org/2012/04/18/taxing-rich-good-economy/ 

 https://genzconservative.com/why-higher-taxes-are-bad-for-the-economy/ 

 https://www.thebalance.com/president-hoovers-economic-policies-4583019 

 https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2017/12/08/what-we-learned-from-reagans-tax-cuts/ 

 https://www.newsweek.com/would-raising-taxes-rich-hurt-economy-74041. 

 https://www.thebalance.com/president-george-bush-tax-cuts-3306331 

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New Gun Safety Laws

We should be required to submit a resume and character references in order to own a gun. Why not?  Why shouldn't we have to apply to own something that can potentially take an innocent life?

 

First, I'm not talking about taking anyone's guns away – unless they're illegal.  I am talking about making guns that are rapid fire illegal, and then yes, everyone who owns one would be required to turn it in for some kind of monetary "reward." Here's a stat shared by a South Carolina congressional candidate: When Clinton banned assault rifles in 1994, mass shooting deaths dropped by 43%. After the ban expired in 2004, they shot up by 239%. With statistics like this, how can anyone argue against a ban? This time, make it a ban that does not expire. Forbid even the manufacture.

 

Gun ownership needs to be taken as seriously -- no, more seriously -- than driving a car.  After all, you can always take a bus. But you should not be able to take a bus loaded with weaponry. You do have to get a photo ID to drive and it needs to be renewed every eight or so years, because you could become OWI in the meantime. Even operating while intoxicated isn't as bad as buying guns so you can shoot people.

 

I read the other day about a woman who was stuck in a traffic jam in CA and started shooting her handgun at other cars. Imagine that. Road rage is real, but usually you just have to worry about a fender bender. Did that lady think someone wasn't going to report her by her license plate?

 

So of course you need to get a license on that weapon to have it properly registered in your name. Do you? Guns can so easily change hands. But if a gun is registered to you, then no matter who uses it to kill people, YOU are responsible. Yes. Accept that. And there are ways to get guns where you don't have to register them. No one who sells you a gun currently cares about your mental health, or what you want it for.

 

We have to stop allowing concealed weapon or open carry laws. We have to stop. Because we cannot tell what any single individual carrying a gun is planning to do. Oh yes, they say, they're exerting their 2nd Amendment rights. No, they're not. There's nothing in the 2nd Amendment about walking around with a gun. People who lean on that amendment forget when it was written, and why. It was so each state had an active militia to protect against a "federalist" government. They were afraid the Brits might come back and try to re-exert influence again. Period.

 

On the other hand, if only concealed carry were allowed, then criminals might think twice, not knowing who might be carrying a gun and ready to shoot back.  The only thing that makes sense is concealed carry.  Then, too, the average citizen doesn't have to be made nervous or frightened seeing people walk around with these big guns. But the problem with concealed carry is the same -- what are they planning to do with that gun on their person? And how does any cop who confronts any traffic offense know who or what he's facing?

 

With concealed carry, every public building should install metal detectors -- don't worry, they'll get pretty cheap -- and anyone who enters a building with a gun needs to show his carry license, before going about his business.  It can be a kind of silent alarm, so that if there is a shooter in the building, they won't hear it go off and quickly scurry off to another public building to shoot up.

 

Gun owners also need to be aware that they will very likely not ever get the drop on anyone intent on doing harm.  Why? Because in a public place, you don't go there that day expecting trouble. The shooter does. The shooter is ready.  You're not. So who's going to out draw who?  You might be able to take him out after he's killed a few, but not before.

 

Finally, before I get to the resume part, think twice about needing a gun.  I never have and never will.  Instead, I prefer to live my life in a way that I'm not seen as a threat to others, and I hope you do, too.

 

Anyway, here's my step-by-step plan for someone who wants to get a gun.

 

  1. They need to be gainfully employed.  Seriously, they want to do a background check on someone in order for them to get a gun already, don't they?  Make sure they have and can hold a job.  The people who don't or haven't are more likely to turn suicidal, hold a grudge or become vindictive.
  2. They need character references.  Now just to be sure we understand this, these character references will need to be contacted, each of them, to make sure they are legitimate. They will need to testify to this person's personal character, first on paper, and then on the phone—and if necessary, in person.  The potential gun owner might be divorced, but he should be a willing partner to the divorce, and pay child support.  And if there are any red flags in any of these five references, then get more references.  Some of the questions these references must answer are related to the person's mental stability, and answers need to be consistent, and not sound coached.
  3. I think it's necessary that the person be over 25, at which age you can drive a rental vehicle. But if the person is aging, it could be important that they not have Alzheimer's and their eyesight isn't going.  I know that the aging population is at higher risk, but we don't want them to be a risk to others, or themselves.
  4. They need a clean record.  Squeaky clean.  Never arrested for drunkenness, never hit a cop, they don't speed (indicates stress), absolutely nothing in their past record.  As with resumes for jobs, they have to give past names used, past addresses, past jobs, social security number, driver's license number, whatever it takes to verify a clean record.  This is a must.
  5. The renewing of the license, too, is not a DMV-speedy event.  It's a week-long process, where the record is obtained for the past year to make sure their record stayed clean. If they have even one accusation of George-Zimmerman-itis, the gun is taken away.
  6. Before they're allowed to take the gun home, they need classes. Lots and lots of training.  They need to know how to put the safety on, and where to keep the weapon so that the kids don't get it but they can get at it in the event of burglary.
  7. Finally, they need this last bit of advice.  "You will likely never, ever shoot it.  Get used to that idea."

Now let's look at what Biden is proposing. These are all in the form of executive action currently, which would have to be made into law to have any real impact.

  • to propose a rule within 30 days to stop the proliferation of so-called "ghost guns," or makeshift weapons that can be constructed at home or that lack a serial number. These kits will be treated as firearms.
  • directing the Justice Department to issue a proposed rule within 60 days that makes clear a device marketed as a stabilizing brace, which effectively allows a pistol to operate as a short-barreled rifle, is subject to the requirements of the National Firearms Act
  • Bipartisan Background Checks Act, would expand background checks on firearm sales, closing a gun show and online sales loophole. It passed the House with the support of eight Republicans
  • the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2021 would close another loophole dubbed the "Charleston loophole," which allows gun sales to proceed without a completed background check if three business days have passed, by extending the background check review period from three days to 10. The loophole is named because it is linked to the 2015 shooting in Charleston during which a white supremacist was able to obtain firearms that killed Black churchgoers.
  • Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., have introduced a new bill that would revive the ban [on assault rifles]. "It was the law for the longest time. And it brought down these mass killings. We should do it again," Biden said.
  • Strip manufacturers of protection from lawsuits by repealing PLCAA (2005); as it stands now, it can only be sued for defective merchandise.
  • Red flag legislation will allow police and family to petition courts to remove firearms from people who may present a danger to themselves and others - the Justice Department would do this immediately to allow the states to enact this legislation but the federal government would need Congress to pass the law.
  • Contributions to community violence program in the last stimulus program.
  • Biden appointed a director to the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Division, which has been an empty position since 2015. He needs confirmation.

 

The most controversial of these is the repeal of Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act (PLCAA), put into effect under GW Bush. This prevents the gun manufacturers from being sued, except if the weapon has a defect, or if they knowingly sold to someone for criminal activity. But this law also prevents the manufacturers from adding extra safety features, such as child locks or making them harder to steal. For instance, you can have a fingerprint ID on a phone; why not on a gun? There are those who say that making them responsible for how these weapons (meant to kill people) are used illegally is like making Ford responsible when people drive drunk. If you do make them responsible, wouldn't training and better background checks be a part of the sale? If someone drives drunk, and is killed, there is other culpability that can be enforced, unlike with weapons; if you are the victim, you can, for instance, go after a friend who let them drive drunk. It's called culpable negligence. I think since that PLCAA is so recent, it should go, and along with other measures noted above, manufacturers will start acting more responsibly in these measures.

 

Let's hope Biden can get this done, and soon, while we have a Democratic Congress. Some of the above information taken from

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2021/03/24/gun-control-where-president-biden-stands-legislation-executive-orders/6989667002/;

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/109/s397; 

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/biden-wants-to-end-gun-maker-liability-protections-that-could-sink-the-industry-advocates-say/ar-BB1ftgTI?li=BBorjTa

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