bottom & links to all 3 papers
WHY ARE SO MANY ADULTS
SO ANGRY & SELFISH?
Class Structure and Economic Injustice in the United States

 For gun control kids who need to know what's coming,
and for their Trumped parents who can't figure out what happened.


Jerry Nelson
McLean, VA  June 2018

rev 12July2018, 22Oct2018

I dedicate this story of civic breakdown to all the AP Government students in Broward County, Florida, . . .  and to high school students everywhere who will change gun laws in the United States.  You will discover many problems besides gun law problems.  Some of you will still be working on them when your own children head out the door with their own best friend for their first day in high school.  Thank you!  Better to keep working than to leave the country on autopilot only to wake up surprised later. 

INTRODUCTION

High school kids want gun law change, I want you to get gun law change, and fighting for it is going to throw you up against silly people and serious problems.  They say, "It's going to be harder than you think" and they expect you to fail.  I say, "It's going to be harder than you think, and succeeding will change everything."  You have broad support because big changes lie ahead.  I do not want any one of you to lose focus on gun law change.  I wrote this paper so that every one of you will enjoy all your own adventures ahead, stick to your own values, laugh at those who don't have any, and keep going. 

I decided that taking you through the entire banking crisis of 2008 was the best way to get you laughing at anything the adult world might throw at you. Changing gun laws changes everything.  This is your moment. 

SUMMARY

My parents and their friends cared about how to build a better society after The Great Depression nearly destroyed the one they had known and everyone's faith in capitalism.  But today, many adults care about advancing themselves, and everyone else be damned. 
To get gun laws, you will have to push past them.  The central question of this essay is, Why are there so many such selfish people?  The answer to that question also drives an answer to the question, Why are so many other adults so angry? 

The largest graduating class of selfish adults came from the banking crisis of 2008, and I take you through the fraud and gushers of money leading up to it (the boom before the bust).  I want you to glimpse the magnitude of the wealth these people scrabbled after -- ignoring you, the country, and our future; ignoring the future even of the corporations they were destroying.  The Big Numbers lesson here is how wealth and power flow through society.  Understanding social structure like that makes you smart fast as you pursue gun law change.

Understanding how society is put together and works usually begins with social class analysis, and social class analysis is usually done on a pat scale of wealth: poor, middle class, wealthy.  My social classes are based more on the psychology and cognitive skills of the people.  People able to model how society works can create and pursue policies that will reduce gun violence.  This is you, but you are a minority, and you cannot obtain on this basis -- at this level -- the support of other people who have never constructed a model of society and how it works.  For them, society at any level is little more than a parade of personalities.  If something surprising and unanticipated occurs, there can only have been some plotting of those personalities that was hidden at the time -- a conspiracy to explain what they cannot otherwise understand. 

We have to discover a different common ground if you, the policy-capable Model Builders and they, the Parade of Personalities people, are to come together in a fight for things you both want. 

The third group, whose world always begins -- and often ends--with themselves, must be forced out of public life as society is restructured to stop breeding  more of them.  The concluding look at the NRA shows yet another fraudulent institution exploiting its members for money with fantasies, while doing nothing substantive to help them. 

TL;DR: read contents, it tells the story, skip paper. 

CONTENTS
-- It was not like this for the Great Depression (1930s) and World War II (1940s) generation. 

THREE DIFFERENT CLASSES, THREE DIFFERENT JOURNEYS THROUGH LIFE
       The Model Builders can figure out policies to pursue
       The Parade of Personalities people only know whom to hate, and so seal their fate
       The Linear Worlders feel great every time they get one more step ahead of everyone else. 
                                                    With
no vision for God & country beyond their own immediate next step,
                                                    any path they choose is a path to greatness. 
                                                    Greatness for any nation requires visionary leadership they don’t have.

 
THE FINANCIAL PYRAMID
           We paid them to crawl out of the woodwork. 
           The financial industry resold the same wealth over and over again. 
           Salesmen made fortunes doing the selling, even if buyers wound up with worthless promises. 
       1. mortgage loans to buy a house: was the $11 trillion base of the pyramid
       2. bundles of these mortgages were resold to inject cash back into the mortgage merry-go-round
       3. REITs, Real Estate Investment Trusts are listed on stock markets, pull in more money from different people
       4. Collateralized debt obligations (CDOs): the bank is debt-free because we turned the debt into stock.  They hold wealth, not debt!
                People who buy CDOs don't own the house, can't repossess if the loan fails --
                maybe they  need insurance?
       5. Credit Default Swaps  -- insurance!
                Nothing real inside, it's a concept, it's a "derivative".
                Easy to make $32 trillion of them to sell.  Remember to collect your commission and fees. 

WHY SO MANY LINEAR WORLDERS?  Because we taught these people to be selfish. 
       1. We paid them handsomely.
                 Nobody flunked out
                They partied.
                They concentrated the world's wealth.
       2. We kept regulations away.
       3. We fixed everything they broke.
                We cloaked the size of The Fix in secrecy.
                The corporate form of business organization became degenerate.
                We turned our back on the country's infrastructure -- only house-building got done. 
                We paid off the  nations humiliated on the world stage by our bankers. 
                Families were broken and homes held empty as banks carried their original, fraudulent value on their books.  
       4. We sent no one to jail.
                People paid to think only of themselves do not care if you get killed by guns in school. 
      
What now?  Tax them!
Fines will never work.
Humiliation is kryptonite for a social climber.  Flash the kryptonite! 
Sunlight works -- they don't want anyone to know how rich they are, let alone why.

WHY BANKING IF WE WANT GUN CONTROL?
          Because their gun control responses are irrational, and you need to know what is really driving them.
                   If their issue is wealth and power, that is your issue too.
          Because nothing adults can throw at you will seem surprising after this. 
          Because the banking crisis payouts enraged a large class of people,
                and now you know you have allies who want to join you,
                who do not want to be the betrayed pawns of the me-only Linear Worlders . . . again.
                And again.  

THE NRA -  NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION
       1. NRA does nothing for its members.
       2. NRA extorts money from members with fantasies
                   -- They're coming to take your guns away.
                   -- You can protect yourself by murdering someone.
                   -- You can change government policy by pointing a gun at "the government".
                   -- The Germans couldn't stop Hitler because they didn't have guns like us.
                            
BOYCOTT THE NRA, support companies that do. 

HOW  WE  FUND  ELECTIONS
- Hidden funds, foreign money, porous borders. 
          501(c)4s make donors anonymous.
          SuperPACs ("independent expenditure groups") pool those anonymous 501(c)4 donations
          Shell corporations add more anonymity
          The system's near-total anonymity 
                   permits foreign players to enter American politics with deniability.  Sunlight, please. 
CONCLUSION & GRADUATION
          -- You will remove them and it will be stunning.
          -- You won't oil a broken machine, you'll start fixing it.
          -- You will be patient when told you don't know how complicated this is  :-)

-----=<o0o>=-----

IT WASN'T THIS WAY FOR MY PARENTS

It hasn't always been this way.  "What's the social utility of that?" my parents' friends would ask each other when everyone was getting first jobs after college, if ever anyone could find a job.  The country was in tatters, confidence in capitalism was shattered -- the Great Depression was tough times for almost everyone.  Pulling together to rebuild it was obvious then.  It became more obvious when Adolf Hitler said his racially superior people with radically superior weapons would blitzkrieg Europe, and deserved to dominate the world.  Everyone in my parents' crowd, the guys, left to fight for the survival of their country.  "No one 'conquers the world' " I once kidded Dad. "Why did anyone take that kind of talk seriously?"  "Because he nearly did." 

Why so many awful adults today?  Because we asked for it, we paid for it, we promised high rank and never prison for it.  I must show this to you, there were just geysers of cash, the entire housing and financial industries were dripping in cash. The nation stood bug-eyed as it went up, and thousands were hurt as it came back down, rolling over everyone.  This was 2008, and we created all the people you can't reach and must remove, one by one, from public life.  There are other groups, people who are on your side and feel they were just rolled out of the way like trash. Resentment and getting even is pleasing for many of them to imagine.  Others are blindly determined to score a life of wealth.  I will sketch these three groups of people.

The 2007-2008 housing boom-and-bust did more to create today's social landscape than anything else my parents ever told me or I ever saw, just as the Great Depression and World War II created the landscape of their lives.

How will we come together again? 
When one person wants to try approaching another, his first step is always finding the courage to face himself.  But one group doesn't have the tools to do this, the other won't use the tools they have, and then there is you.  We'll start with you.  

THREE SOCIAL CLASSES, THREE  DIFFERENT JOURNEYS THROUGH LIFE


Clipart-TeachersKnowHowToRunTheCountry-BumperSticker.jpgTHE MODEL BUILDERS.  Model builders understand enough about how society works to devise social policies that make it work better.  Ours is the most technologically-advanced civilization yet seen on this planet, and model-builders fill many governing and  guiding agencies. 

You are one of the Model Builders.  How many factors predict the most likely number of children for families where you live vs other neighborhoods?  The chance each will finish college?  Adult income?  Life expectancy?   Likelihood of being stopped by police?  Murdered violently? 
 
There are three groups and -- sorry about this -- your group has the cognitive skill set for developing working models of society, for laying out society's key metrics and the principle relationships among them.  You are offering the only working models of society in town.   Change a fee and people change their choices -- concepts from economics quantify this relationship between one thing and another on curves for us, provide a functional relationship between the variables.  You can fit a mathematical function to the relationship, interpolate an exact number, extrapolate a quantitative prediction -- always wrong, maybe not by much, and certainly better than guessing. 

People who know how society's moving pieces work do not find it necessary or personally enjoyable to push other people around, when they can easily change the behavior of millions.  Build it fair, build it right, and everything comes out OK in the end.  Stop pushing, relax.   

THE PARADE OF PERSONALITIES PEOPLE.  "Liberals Don't Mind Killing Children as Long as It's Not By an Assault Rifle" (abortion vs gun laws tweet).  Why are these people so funny, so original, so off the wall?  In simplest terms, we are dealing with (or rather, should attempt to find other ways to deal with) people with limited ability for abstract thought, impaired ability for changing the level of abstraction, difficulty following logical, cause-and-effect connections at any level of analysis, let alone across levels.  Few skills are evident that would give them a model of how the society in which they live functions.  Their models of the social and civic world around them have few moving parts and scant reach.  Coal equals jobs.  If nobody has to buy insurance, health care costs less.  Lock her up.  Dead Muslim, safe country.  Big wall, no cross-national problems.   Cold weather,  climate hoax.  To many people with guns killing students inside schools, add more guns.

Anyone whose model is too simple -- or who just guesses -- can get surprised.  I'll never forget the New York City program to help poor people burned out of their apartments in winter by stepping in with a little hotel money to tide them over a rough patch.  How much money?  Enough, it turned out, for people to start burning down their own apartments to get it.  Who modeled that?  But for Parade of Personalities People who don't  build good models, failure is the default destination.  There is tragedy here, and this group's tragedy is ours also.  

Sandra Boynton - Fat Cats 1991

THE LINEAR WORLDERS.  We enjoy the company of a third group, smart as we are, and a lot more focused.  Like the car behind you that finally gets  one car ahead in a traffic jam going nowhere, these people are focused on success, and they measure it linearly, one car length at a time. 

The world of nature marches on, billions of years at a stretch, as species come and go, leaving the oceans, climbing up to populate the continents, staking out territories, establishing social hierarchies, and fighting over both of them.  Territoriality and social hierarchy create a social world out of the natural one.  The Linear Worlders live exclusively in that social world, where mammals establish pecking orders, the linear hierarchies which Linear Worlders must climb.

Linear Worlders are fixated by the converging perspectives of their social world.  For these men of action, the next rung shines brightly. They always know what they want and what you must not have.  Concepts of global warming, pollution, extinction -- it is all beyond them because it is all in another world, the natural world of a larger universe.  13.75 billion years? 200 billion galaxies?  None of it matters, they are too busy with what matters most, with Numero Uno, with themselves; too busy advancing one more rung on a linear scale of personal power.  Their universe is the social universe, the universe where human behavior has yet to achieve any sustainable form of social organization.  Their world is the world of personal power; that is the world they think about first, most, perhaps only. 

Linear Worlders are men of action, advancing endlessly on a vivid, straight line, their noses fixed to one end.  Both men and women can arise to become Linear Worlders, but alpha males rise higher, and women are fewer. 

Private jets have luxurious interiors, bathrooms, kitchen Advancing endlessly?  Yes, endlessly.  The most expensive house in the world, the most expensive artistic masterpiece?  Sure.    Let forty-two people control more wealth than half the people living on earth?  "Yes, you silly boy," they say, "and my life is not over, my purposes are strong, I see the next rung."

Linear Worlders are destructive of resources.  A concept of economic justice -- of any justice -- is impossible in a world of Self. 

No one has found the end of that line, and so no one has ever bent it into a circle that could include more people than just that one particular Self.  They don't do anything together unless a corporate organizational chart makes it explicit who's on top and how to get there.  They find collaborating pointless because you wind up with joint ownership -- public roadways, public schools, public water supply, public prisons, public health care -- and then you have to privatize it all.  Why bother? 

Linear Worlders are destructive of civic society.  A person destructive of his country's civic society can never build it elsewhere, and so their wars are endless, each rung of victory, each new country, left mired in chaos. 

Students of AP Government!  The biggest problem Linear Worlders have is you. If you can figure out how to build solutions that solve problems you are their enemy.  Working together in common citizenship on any common goal (gun control ! ) is a threat to them.  But that is the world which Model Builders model, a world of endlessly rising quality of life for all.  It is a bigger and better reality, and it makes someone trying to grab only what is there today seem small-minded and silly.  Limited manifest powers of abstract thought make it hard for Linear Worlders to see anything that isn't there. 

Linear Worlders don't know how to get rid of Model Builders. 
They are forever dressing up lies as logical sequences or building bad models on good data or taking our models and running them on bogus data -- whatever it takes to counter our plans for strengthening civic society instead of selling it to them.   Linear Worlders combine destruction of truth with a studied unwillingness to see the long-range consequences of their own actions.  Those consequences occur in a world where galaxies collide, planets form, species rise and fall.  So what?  There is no climate change, and if there were, it would not matter, certainly not for the only world they know, the territorial world of social behavior and social hierarchies.  "You will now get out of my way."  Sometimes it's hard to remember that they are smart, cunningly so.

THE FINANCIAL PYRAMID

WE PAID THEM TO CRAWL OUT OF THE WOODWORK.  The number of Linear Worlders on our streets is abnormally high today.  We
waved the money around, and they just crawled out of the woodwork in ever greater numbers to get it, filling both the Democratic and Republican Parties.  

We won't go into turning schools private, prisons private, water private, veterans health care  private, public highways private, gutting any regulation that costs a little money to protect a lot of people -- guns, for example. 

We are going to look just at houses.  Houses?!  Absolutely.  Houses.  In the 2007/2008 housing boom and bust, the wealth of the housing industry -- the nation's total wealth in all its houses, its "housing stock" -- was resold in differently-named packages, each one based on the one before, and capped with insurance that the money would flow perfectly with nothing but minor missed-payment problems.  Every time a newly-named package (financial instrument) was invented, the entire housing stock could be resold.  Salesmen made fortunes doing this reselling.  The insurance that capped the pyramid was sold as shares to all comers, and grew to three times the value of the nation's housing stock itself--a "pyramid" three times heavier on the top than the bottom. 

MORTGAGE LOANS TO BUY A HOUSE - $11 Trillion.  Leading up to the Crash of 2008, we let Linear Worlders play with trillions of dollars and divide billions of dollars in profits among themselves as they climbed their ladder rungs. 

It is time to get familiar with big numbers
A broker's fee you hardly notice, an innocuous one tenth of one percent on 10 trillion dollars is 10 billion dollars; 10 billion dollars is a 1 million dollar bonus for 10,000 lucky people in the banking industry.  That's not exactly how the story went down, but 11 trillion dollars is the size of the home mortgage industry which the Linear Worlders put into play.  $32 trillion is the size of the derivative they created,  and sold for a commission, and traded (Credit Default Swaps, below).  Thousands did take home million-dollar bonuses.  So let's get started. 

If you want new commissions you've got to get new mortgages or refinance old ones.  We will look the other way so you can sell new mortgages to people who will never pay them back.  That's over two thousand dollars, maybe five, every time you sit down to close a new mortgage, and you can charge fees all over again when you throw them out of their home later -- unpleasant, maybe, but now you've got double fees and the home. 

MORTGAGE BUNDLES SOLD TO GET MORE CASH TO LOAN OUT.  Big banks don't like pounding the pavement selling mortgages an
Clipart-GirlWithBubbleGum-400pxd you don't either, so take a seat at a computer workstation in the bundled mortgages industry, put a bunch of already-sold mortgages into a bundle and sell it to a bigger bank upstream.  You collect the fee, and we ignore the falsified data describing your bundle.  They pay you for the bundle, so you can go back and sell a new round of mortgages (make new loans) with the cash.  If all the good customers already have mortgages, then sell to the bad ones.  No need to make anyone look bad, you can falsify the documents about income level (we fixed the regulations) or just leave out their income data ("liar loans", "Ninja loans", No Income verification, No Job verification, Assets not checked either, just sign here).  Selling bundles of mortgages upstream and heading back onto the street with more cash is your basic mortgage merry-go-round.  In the old days, the mortgages never went past the local bank in town, and, if you the homeowner had payment problems, you could talk to them. 

REITs LISTED ON STOCK MARKET PULL IN MORE MONEY, DIFFERENT PEOPLE.  Move up.  Create a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) corporation out of a bunch of bundles -- we won't tell anyone what's inside, the corporation's stock can pull in money on stock markets, and you visit fancy pension funds and wealth management offices to sell them.  Now you are an investment broker collecting brokerage fees --  socially respectable!   

COLLATERALIZED DEBT OBLIGATIONS, CDOs.  Run around to different smaller banks, put the debt you buy from everyone into a pool -- your new company.  Call the debt your "assets" and sell shares to these assets -- an "asset-backed security".  The banks will buy shares too; that makes them debt-free, they own  "assets" instead of "debts".  Tell everyone the assets are backed by real houses somewhere, but no one will be able to trace which houses, so no one can call them on the fraud when the ratings agencies rate your garbage pile "triple AAA".  You can sell and trade these shares on stock markets around the world.  Tell everyone the debt pile they are buying pieces of is "collateralized" even if you have no right to repossess the house if the mortgage payments behind your "collateralized debt obligations" stop rolling in. 

People who buy "collateralized" Debt Obligations do not own the house, and cannot repossess it if the loan fails.  Maybe they need insurance? 

 CREDIT DEFAULT SWAPS -- INSURANCE!  By now everyone has forgotten that the mortgages this castle is built upon are junk, so let's create Yet Another Financial Instrument based upon them.  I can't let you sell insurance, which is regulated, so lie and call it a "swap" instead, and, after the first lie, you can lie about anything else you want to.  Don't worry, once you're rich, people will say you are a genius.  We'll get the people who bought the CDOs to pay you again for insurance that the CDOs won't go bust.  Call the insurance policy a Credit Default Swap -- you don't have to put bundles of mortgages inside the swap.  You don't have to put anything inside it, it's a derivative, it derives its value from people's beliefs that a CDO is collateralized by expensive homes, and that the owners of those homes take their debt obligations seriously and will make the monthly payments, but this is insurance just in case we got a lemon.  Since a derivative has nothing inside, it's easy to make as many of them as you can sell.

The swaps are like "hands across the ocean":  we tell a bunch of  municipalities and county governments who never heard of anything like this to hold the insurance policies on the CDOs.   If a CDO somewhere fails, they will have to pay the CDO owner back what he spent on his shares.  We tell them the CDOs will never fail,  they'll only collect the monthly insurance payments on the policies if they agree to hold ("underwrite") them.   Then turn around and convince the CDO owners that, although you sold them a safe investment, they should pay you again for insurance, just in case.  You get double fees. 

A derivative is a concept with nothing inside, so it will be easy to make 32 trillion dollars worth of them.  Thirty-two trillion dollars is as much market value to trade and take fees on as the value of all the "real" (company) stocks on all the US stock exchanges.  The nation's largest banks invented a financial instrument sold around the world and traded on an unregulated derivatives market that eventually equaled the value and transaction flow of the entire United States stock market. 

A 0.1% transaction fee on 32 trillion dollars
will be a million dollar bonus each for 32,000 financial industry workers, that's the size of the playing field here.  Think of your happy childhood summertimes -- if the fire hydrant is gushing billions in cash flow, and you can just deflect a thousandth of the stream, you can splash your friends with millions. 

WHY DO SO MANY GROWNUPS WANT TO BE LINEAR WORLDERS?

1. We Paid Them Handsomely 

NORMALLY, YOU FLUNK OUT.  Normally, people who do not know how to handle money flunk out of the banking industry. 
If you build a house with fraud on every floor, if prices are divorced from value, collapse comes painfully.  The 1720 South Sea Company Bubble (UK) wiped out a generation of investors, the 1825 Panic (UK) collapsed over 70 banks, the 1896 Overend, Guerney & Co. (UK) collapse caused 200 companies to default, the 1893 Panic (USA) caused 500 banks to close, 15,000 businesses to fail, and signaled a growing recession and rising unemployment not overcome until 1897.  The Wall Street Crash of 1929 signaled the impending global Great Depression of the 1930s.  Normally, the bust after a boom is damaging.  Normally, pain leads to prudence.  But the United States is no longer normal.  Or prudent. 

Mansions-LehmanNo1RFuld-LehmanNo2JGregory-MansionInInsideJobDocumentaryTHEY PARTIED.  The housing collapse of 2008 was celebrated lavishly.  Enough money was made available immediately ($700B, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP) that no big bank had to close its doors (perhaps the only failure, Lehman Brothers, had poor political pull as well as poor finances).   That year, the nine largest banks gave out $32.9 billion of bonuses (year-end awards on top of salary).  Five thousand bonus receivers took home checks of one million dollars or more in appreciation for their services. Not that every bonus was only a million dollars; at Merrill Lynch, the top four guys split $121 million.   Since the banks made no money that year -- they lost $81 billion overall -- you have to wonder where the money came from.

This was after the crash.  How did they live before it? "Vanity Fair reported former co-workers’ memories of [Joe Gregory, Lehman Brothers No.2] actually leaving $1,800 tips on $200 lunch bills and the local soccer field he underwrote when one of his daughters took a liking to the sport. He was well-known for personally flying his helicopter and seaplane to and from his home in Long Island, although he sold both later in 2008, after resigning in September. Since then, he has been famous for selling other big-ticket items, including a mansion in Bridgehampton for $20.5 million.  Remember when looking at the middle photo (right) that this is the summer home.  At his main residence, the furnishings alone went for $2.7 million (Sotheby's, 2013). 

THEY CONCENTRATED THE WORLD'S WEALTH.  If you place a pile of money in front of a Linear Worlder, he will remove whatever regulations keep him from getting his hands on it.  With government institutions as currently structured, regulations are futile; these people endlessly gain access to wealth. 

Tax the wealth so accumulations cannot become astronomical. 

Does the world really need two new billionaires every three days (2017-2018)?  The bottom half of the world makes much of our clothing, our food, assembles our devices -- do we need to keep their poverty constant?  These people do the work and grow the wealth.  Is there any point in depriving them of increased rewards for their increased productivity -- just so all gains in world wealth for 2017 can flow to the top?  What are the reasons, besides power, tax evasion, and corruption, that 61 individuals (2017) can own as much wealth as the bottom half of humanity on our planet (3.7B people)?  As mentioned above, by 2018, further wealth concentration had given 42, not 61, people the same wealth as half the world.

Your future will be different from my past.  The Internet, climate change, and the human population load on our planet make this the Globalization Century.  Nations still have a monopoly on the right to kill, but corporations have  a monopoly on everything else.  Corporations, still a  primitive form of social organization and governance, are the tools people use to drive wealth concentration in the United States,  and around the world.  Bringing deeper transparency, broader access and brighter legal checkpoints to corporations is not an attack on capitalism.  It is a push to get corporations' social level and governance structures to evolve.  One should also put in more women, and pull more alpha male cavemen out of the executive offices.  

2. We kept regulations away.

We drank the Kool-Aid: small government is good government, impotent government is better, no government is best of all.  Deregulation here and there is good for their kind of business, comprehensive regulations that look good but can't be enforced are better, and government out of the way entirely is best.   We promised them we wouldn't get in the way while they concealed, cheated, and deceived.  Or maybe they didn't -- with no regulatory framework in place, you can't know, and they claim they didn't. 

Linear Worlders are smart like us, and more focused.  Derivatives are a $600 trillion market, ten times the capitalization of all the world's stock markets.  The mortgage-tied "credit default swaps" within this $600 trillion pile were the same worth as the entire American stock market,  big enough to crash the global economy in 2008.  

Like gun regulation (pain, bleeding, death), you would think financial regulation (bankruptcy, unemployment, homelessness) was obvious.

"Regulation of derivatives transactions that are privately negotiated by professionals is unnecessary.  And participants in financial futures markets are predominantly professionals that simply do not require the customer protections that may be needed by the general public. ...  Regulation that serves no useful purpose hinders the efficiency of markets to enlarge standards of living. " 
Allen Greenspan (Chairman, Federal Reserve, 1987-2006; Congressional testimony, 1998).


The "Federal Reserve" is a big department in a big building that people call "The Fed".

"The Fed was really adamantly opposed to any form of regulation whatsoever."
Arthur Levitt Jr., Chairman, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), 1993-2001
quoted in Washington Post, 15Oct08, pg A9

One way to avoid regulation is to pass a regulation bill that doesn't regulate, and hope nobody notices.

" In 2000, Congress passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act (CFMA) to provide legal certainty for swap agreements. The CFMA explicitly prohibited the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and Commodity  Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)  from regulating the over-the-counter (OTC) swaps markets . . . [also]  the SEC was specifically prohibited from, among other things, imposing reporting, record keeping, or disclosure requirements or other prophylactic measures designed to prevent fraud [in the derivatives swap market]. This limited the SEC’s ability to detect and deter fraud in the swaps markets."
https://www.sec.gov/spotlight/dodd-frank/derivatives.shtml

3. We fixed everything they broke.

When the wealth proved worthless, 937,840 houses were foreclosed on their owners in the three months ending 30Sept2009.  January 2010 was the eleventh consecutive month with over 300,000 foreclosures per month
(widely-cited Realty Track report).  Original mortgages for original amounts were left to stand over houses standing empty.  The amount that the mortgage was worth on paper -- the amount printed on it -- could be left unchanged by leaving ownership unchanged and the house empty.  This meant that the amount printed on loans, bundled loans, REITs of securitized loans, collateralized debt obligations and derivatives (swaps) could be kept unchanged also.  And that meant many banks could lie about their assets, many of which had disappeared. 

When assets are less than the money people think they have deposited or invested with you, your bank is bankrupt.  You need to lock the doors and figure out what to do next, before your customers come asking for money you do not have.  The choices are, Find more money or declare bankruptcy.  We gave them the money they didn't have.  No one flunked out of banking for breaking their own bank.

Clipart-BrokenTrainSet-1950sSchoolReader-400 Keeping the doors open was expensive (for the rest of us, not them).  The Federal Reserve gave these banks $7.77 trillion dollars, and resisted attempts to reveal they were handing out that much, which made it much easier for the bank owners themselves to issue misleading statements about how well off they were. 

SECRECY.  The size of this $7.77 trillion reward for bad behavior only became known after a lawsuit was filed and won to force release of the information.   The $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) is widely talked about, but the  ten times larger $7.77 trillion figure was never presented to the people by their government. 

The $7.77 trillion secrecy is encouraging in a pathetic sort of way.  The secrecy suggests that, deep down inside, these people (e.g., Ben Bernanke, two-term Chairman of the Federal Reserve, our country's central bank) know that what they are doing is wrong, and breaking secrecy can stop them even when a nation's laws cannot.  Secrecy is their weapon; breaking it is ours. 

DEGENERACY OF BUSINESS ORGANIZATION. 
These levels of wealth and power can only be sustained by degeneracy.  Profits went out the door as December bonuses to employees, not as dividends to shareholders.  Failures produced no bankruptcies.  If neither profits nor risk were shared across a pool of investors, then there was no capitalism.  Stock investment -- selling shares to get a company going -- is a way of pooling capital for building or doing something that grows the entire nation, its wealth, health, and infrastructure.  Capitalism -- how we engage capital -- had degenerated.  The banks had socialized risk (we fixed everything they broke) and privatized profit (not even the stock holders got their fair share). 


DAMAGED AS A NATION ON THE GLOBAL STAGE.  We embarrassed ourselves before other nations on the world stage.  Arguments over whether or not we had let salesmen sally forth to cheat our friends were headed off with cash.  TARP billions were wired to Europe as fast as some American banks got them.  American International Group (AIG) alone got US Congressional TARP dollars (your income tax dollars) and shipped them overseas (Société Générale of France, nearly $12B, Deutsche Bank of Germany, nearly $12 billion; Barclay's of Britain, $8.5 billion; and UBS of Switzerland, $5 billion) as fast as they came in the door.  TARP did not save only American banks, because American bankers were not satisfied by screwing only themselves.  Trillions more than TARP came out of the Federal Reserve and some of that went overseas in exchange for dubious Collateralized Debt Obligations and Credit Default Swaps, or to provide liquidity until what everyone knew was worthless could be publicly declared as such.  Our banks had peddled trash around the world.  Our Federal Reserve sent trillions overseas to cover for them -- trillions to the consternation of Congressmen who tried to find out who got what under which Constitutional authority

NEGLECT OF INFRASTRUCTURE.  The United States harnessed productive capacity for home production.  Home sizes and price exploded -- 64,300 million-or-more mansions were built in 2007, triple the annual rate five years earlier, and 7,968 of them were in foreclosure by August of the following year (RealtyTrac data in Wall Street Jl & elsewhere).  We produced little to support our productive capacity as a nation (factories automated or otherwise; telecommunications bandwidth and fiber access; rail, highway and port capacity; power grid modernization). 

It is always better to create tomorrow's wealth than to argue over dividing what seemed valuable yesterday.  Don't privileged people see that all of us are here to make the same country prosperous, strong, admired, influential in the world today?  We know they think about country and not just self, because we see them wearing American flag pins. 

BUT BROKEN HOMES WERE NOT FIXED.  The trillions flooding out of the Federal Reserve  to banks foreign and domestic, sometimes to hide their near-bankruptcy, stands in stark contrast to lack of compassion for people with pickup trucks trying to empty their repossessed homes before they got locked out of them.  Their  personal financial wealth and home equity was destroyed ("mortgage below water"), sometimes rendering them homeless as well  ("foreclosure").  This contrast between the financial top and the financial bottom speaks volumes about how this country imagines it should care for its own people troubled by gun violence, health, housing, education, opportunities in life, even drinking water

Rules were bent to protect incompetent people who drove their own institutions bankrupt.  When their dilemma turned out to be criminal fraud and not merely incompetence, trillions were moved to protect their place in society.  For whom is the government working?  Getting gun laws means getting the government to care for its own people. 

4. We sent no one to jail.

Of course that's not true, there's always an exception, one person did go to jail, one out of 744,000 employees in the top four banks alone (3/2017 data; Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Bank of America).  Even the judge was embarrassed. 

Why didn't the U.S. Department of Justice bring more cases?  Top Dept. of Justice lawyers want to score a marquee victory, avoid anything that looks bad, and "retire" to a second career in a private company at 10x their government salaries.  Even with only four years in "retirement", not forty, you can double your lifetime income, and now it is all gravy.  You don't want to lose a case, and maybe they were right not to go forward, right that the Department of Justice was now too under funded and understaffed to win one. 

Some say that all the financial instruments -- loans, Real Estate Investment Trusts, Collateralized Debt Obligations, Credit Default Swaps -- contained fraudulent paper totaling $4.8 trillion dollars.  But what about just the basic home mortgages at the bottom of it all?  What about prosecuting mortgage fraud? 

Clipart-Toddle+Father-1950s school reader 300pxWe indicted a bank for mortgage fraud too.  Instead of a hundred and fifty thousand employees (Bank of America), we picked a bank with one hundred and fifty.  Instead of the banks that needed $7.77 trillion to balance their fraudulent books we picked a bank that issued only 3,000+ home loans that never defaulted, except for nine houses.  This family bank in Chinatown knew its customers; they didn't default.  His own two daughters defended the bank's founder, Mr. Sung,  the jury acquitted everyone, and the DA gave up and dropped the other eight charges.  The Dept. of Justice never got anyone for mortgage fraud, but this little bank story makes a good movie -- ABACUS: Small Enough to Jail

There have been some Justice Department agreements with banks to pay settlements, but nothing comes before a judge (who can ask the questions we all want to hear answered)  and no one pleads guilty to any crime and has to go down the rungs of his social ladder. 

In these nobody-pleads-guilty agreements, the bank usually charges (deducts)  part of the settlement against profits, and so we the public forgo a hunk of tax dollars that we the people need.  We hand the money to them instead (the tax deduction), to reduce the pain of their punishment. 

My favorite fine is the $780 million that we removed from the Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS) for letting rich Americans defraud the IRS.  They cheated on taxes instead of helping out like the rest of us.  They cheated using over 52,000 secret (anonymous, numbered) Swiss bank accounts.  The UBS fine (hundreds of millions) was levied (18Feb2009) about the time the TARP program funneled five thousand million dollars into UBS through the American company AIG.  (AIG had sold them junk and needed to make it good again.)  

As a society -- collectively, as a nation -- we let these people reward themselves for failure, and we have not jailed them for fraud.  Without accountability, we teach our ruling elites to abuse the law, to abuse others in society, to abuse us.  To tell students whose classmates were murdered that the solution to gun violence is more guns is abusive.  Ending one abuse will end the others.  Gun control changes everything. 

NOW WHAT? 

The Masters of the Universe (as they were known) ground an eleven trillion dollar mortgage business to a halt, invented and ran thirty-two trillion dollars in credit default swap derivatives that destabilized institutions around the world, and drove banks here and in Europe 7.77 trillion dollars into insolvency.  Our  Federal Reserve fixed it while these selfish, cunning, money mania idiots partied with million-dollar, end-of-year bonuses. 

This is a terrible way to raise children. 

Now the world is full of grownups who don't listen to anyone, who just want to get to the top, who aren't athletic or musical, can't play anything, and are totally stuck on wealth and power -- Linear Worlders grip the ladder and can't let go. 

Now what? 

TAX THEM

Linear worlders must learn that there are other people besides them who live in the United States of America.  Tax the Linear Worlders and fix the country before it is too third-world to make anyone rich. 

Linear Worlders who have entered government must learn that public life is not for them after all. 
The best way to get them to go home and do something else with their lives is taxation.  Tax them. 

Tax avoidance is the greatest contributor to today's off-the-scale wealth.  Tax avoidance is how Linear Worlders attack civic society and starve government until they can control and privatize it.  Tax them!  There will always be an intricately corrupt, sun-drenched country where they can bond once again with their concealed wealth.  Tax what's here and let them go there. 

Their drive for corporate supremacy over everything makes Linear Worlders blind to the fascism they foster.  (Fascism is corporate-government unity.)  Tax them and let the worst ones go.  Nothing is more natural in the minds of Linear Worlders than an authoritarian regime, or even an authoritarian dictatorship -- achieving the top of the only ladder in town is a natural form of government for them, they will not oppose it.  Tax them, and let the worst ones go. 

. . . the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is Fascism—ownership of Government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power.
-- President Franklin D. Roosevelt,  Message to Congress on Curbing Monopolies, 29 April 1938


FORGET FINES
 
When criminal law talks fines to these people, we are telling them that they understand money and we do not.  With one billion dollars, a person can be fined $5 million.  And fined again, fined monthly, fined $5M forever.  Yes, forever, because it's hard for them to get worse than 6% returns on passive, plain-vanilla equity investments.  (Rich people actually employ investment managers and active, aggressive investments; e.g., in a pool of hot startup companies that later go public and shower them with stock shares.)  After twelve years of five million dollars fines every month, you'll probably decide to end your fines and ask him if the punishment taught him his lesson.  What will he tell you?  "You know, the market did 12%, not 6%, and I have to tell you,  I'm worth two billion dollars now. I hope you are doing well too.  What punishment were you talking about?" 

Let them play with their wealth -- go to sports games, own the whole team, name the stadium,  it doesn't matter.  If the rule of law were restored, civic society could recover.  The present path ends democracy itself.  The present path leaves us standing as the generation that decided to close down the first major democratic nation founded in over two thousand years.  If it was a democracy when we entered and not when we left, then we took the decision  democratically, and you and I and all of us in this country at this time shut it down and shoulder the tragedy in eternity.


NEVER TURN THE PAGE, HUMILIATE THEM

When a white collar criminal is arraigned and told  he is charged with a crime, put the handcuffs on.  One picture in handcuffs is worth a million dollars.  In many cases, one can wait 48 hours between arrest and arraignment.  Schedule the arraignment for next morning and hold him overnight.  One picture coming unshaven out of jail is worth a ten million dollars.  Get him sentenced, not fined.  Get him into a medium- or low-security prison (it's not the general prison population, he'll be OK).  Let him discover you can earn earlier parole with community service -- a valuable lesson.  Put him in a world where everyone but he himself can tell others what to do -- another valuable lesson.  Maybe he'll write a book about it, and teach his friends.  Get the criminal, not the corporation.  Get enough of them, and you'll change the society that sets the social values that drive them all 

Humiliation is kryptonite for the social climber.  You have wiped out what he wanted most from his money. 
 
SUNLIGHT WORKS.   Linear Worlders are proud to be rich, but they don't want anyone to know exactly how rich they are.  Linear Worlders are proud to be rich, but not as proud of how they made their money.  Their lawyers and financial managers are paid for secrecy, everything from multiple family trusts with strange loans and contracts,  to assets either hidden (Swiss bank accounts) or sufficiently laundered to obscure ownership (search "Panama Papers" or "Paradise Papers"; you should know this). 

Any legislation that gets government data onto the Web is valuable.  One can sneak something innocent into legislation to get what looks like a boring disclosure requirement passed into legislation, then use a mashup and databases to make  the information understandable, fun and accessible to the public, journalists, the rest of us. Use the Internet.  Deny them a life in the shadows. 


WHY ARE WE DOING "BANKING" IN A GUN CONTROL ESSAY?

-- because their responses to gun violence are irrational.  Something else is driving them.  We need to know what it is.  If their issue is wealth and power, that has to be our issue too. 

-- because critics are telling kids, "It's more complicated than you realize," and your answer must be "No, it isn't.  Complexity is my reason for going forward -- solving one issue solves many.  Is complexity your excuse for doing nothing?"
 

-- because we needed a 30,000 foot view, we needed to be too high for Model Builders to see policy details.  Now you see boldly the same degeneracy and flight from core values that drives the Personality Parade People nuts.  You have found your winning alliance.  "Left" and "right" don't matter when the direction to change is "Going down!"  

YOU WANT THE SAME THING.  You and those who appear to hate you want the same return to the same lost decency. 

Yes, for Parade of Personalities people, politics has been reduced to a parade of people whom they should hate.  But they were told whom to hate.  Their energy comes from the same frustrations as yours, and someone plugged into that energy and betrayed them . . . yet again.  The Parade of Personalities People don't build sophisticated models, they don't so easily find exceptions to any rule.  Many live their own lives by straightforward values, and, if you think they are hard and stubborn when they argue values with you, you might discover that they are hardest of all on themselves.  They believe what they say and they have lived their own lives by those beliefs.

At the end of a life lived according to personally held values, at the end when you see that success and social standing went to others who had no value save  "Self", how do you fix it?  Drugs?  At the end, poor and ignored as others rushed past, how do you fix it?  You cannot.  But you can lash out at them and hope to bring it all down. 

Aren't  you as angry as they are? 

When a Linear Worlder moves up from  wealth to wanting power, from money to politics, most of them turn to manipulating  Personality Parade People, and they mobilize them to neutralize you, the Model Builders.  Where democracy is still in the way, they need the numbers.  Parade of Personalities people can bring in the numbers if their desire to humiliate and destroy is focused on the right political opponent, one election at a time.  Linear Worlders need the misery, frustration, anger and poverty of the Parade of Personality People to mobilize them against people like you.  Hatred works.  Linear Worlders want no constructive achievements, want nothing that might lessen misery, frustration, anger and poverty in those they can exploit.   You stand there and say, "But sir, that will increase misery, frustration, anger and poverty -- we have new survey numbers to prove it's already happening!"  You stand there wondering why you can't seem to convince them, and they say to themselves, "Ah, good, it's working!" 

A smart person who exploits a less gifted person for their own selfish gain with no concern for other people's place on this planet is a bastard.

Do you have a big trip coming up?  Don't fly next time, see if you can drive across the country.  Drive a little further off the interstate at day's end, to a small town motel, go for a walk in the morning before you hit the road again.  When both you Model Builders and the Personality Paraders take a 30,000 foot view of the society we all live in, both of you will find agreement.  At 30,000 feet, what has to be done on the ground will be obvious, and you will do it together.
One thing, though. 

What a person who has never left their state cannot have is cosmopolitanism.  Perhaps some day suddenly you'll write each other and rendezvous for an overseas trip, fly out of the same airport together, struggle with an overseas language both of you don't speak and still get through the days together until the day you're home again, incredulous at the thought your eyes are telegraphing:  that all of that is still out there, every day,  in the country you've just left, in the ninety-nine others you didn't visit this time. 

The banking crisis of lavish parties, privilege and payouts enraged an entire class of people in our society, and now you you've met your own best allies.  The Personality People have the talent in art and music, have the social warmth, core values, and human decency to complete the team and drive the social change you both want. 

THE NRA, NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION

"I want gun laws, you never told me about the NRA."

It's very unpleasant, that's a really nasty organization. I wanted this to be upbeat for everyone.  I just ended on an upbeat note and you want to spoil it for everyone.  

"Everyone?  You dragged me through the entire banking swamp, I'm the only person still reading this.  Tell me about the NRA."
 
The NRA?  I need eye contact.  Look at me.

THE NRA DOES LITTLE FOR ITS MEMBERS.  Start by understanding that the NRA does little for its members.  The NRA does not fight for longer hunting seasons, easier license applications, raised game limits.  Olympic sponsorships and support of Olympic marksmanship -- a part of the Olympics since 1896 -- are weak.  T
he NRA has recurrent problems raising funds from its membership, a Republican National Committee and NRA fund raiser I once knew told me, as he headed off for a meeting with Wayne LaPierre.  The NRA's main roll is political fund raising and most funds go to politicians, with shooting range construction a distant second. 

Instead of doing anything for members,  the NRA extorts money from its membership with irrational fantasies. 

The NRA's central fantasy is that the government is your enemy, and you should pay the NRA to protect you.  It is a world where democracy does not exist, you need a gun to protect yourself against your own government, and, at any moment, government thugs will beat down your door and barge in to take your guns away.  It is a fantasy that works -- donations soar after a mass shooting rouses calls for better gun laws, as do gun purchases.  But only 3% of adults own half of all America's private guns, and these donation and gun purchase spikes may be coming from a devoted few. 

FANTASY: You can protect yourself by murdering someone.  There are 300 million guns in America, you will have one of them, your mugger or house robber will not.  All killing is justified, and there are no consequences for murdering the wrong person. 

FANTASY:  You can protect yourself with a gun: against identity theft? car accidents? against the legislature that takes your union or pension away?  against health care or job loss?  against the top 1% of the American population getting 25% of the the income and owning 50% of the wealth?  "Protect yourself with a gun, and don't pay attention to everything I am stealing from you." 

FANTASY: You can change government policy by pointing a gun at your government.  
The Founding Fathers gave us guns to protect our democracy.  If we hear that tyrants have taken over, we will go get them and restore our democracy.  The Constitution arms citizens so they can stop a government gone wrong, even though it has a defense budget greater than the next eight countries combined.  Overcoming those armaments is not problem because of another fantasy: a guy with a gun is omnipotent. 

FANTASY: The Germans had to accept Hitler because he took their guns away -- no guns, no fight, no choice. When citizens lack guns, tyrants can triumph over them.  Answer: There were four elections of 1932, and, in the two parliamentary ones, the German people gave the Nazi party so much of the vote that the Nazis would have to be invited to form a ruling coalition.  So they were.

FANTASY: The Germans could not defend themselves from the dictatorship of a tyrannical government because they did not have guns.    Because of their victories in two successive 1932 parliamentary elections, Hitler was invited (parliamentary democracy!) to form the country's multi-party, coalition government and was appointed Chancellor to lead it by von Hindenburg
30Jan1933.  Hitler got an emergency legal decree 28Feb1933 to round up terrorists like the one who had set fires in the capitol and it was great that Hitler took care of it so fast -- very tough, strong, not going to happen again, believe me.  Because of the fire, he cut short trials by biased judges who should have recused themselves anyway, which enabled the country to move swiftly forward, and that was great.  Because of the fire, he made sure the legal decree gave him the legal authority to shut off  the fake news media, and he shut newspapers down, and that was great too, why should I want to change that?  CNN, fake news. 

WWII-SS-Insignia-Schutzstaffel.jpg National security was restored after the fires, so Hitler could pass the Enabling Act of 23 March 1933, so laws wouldn't have to wait on the legislature that couldn't pass anything anyway.  Now  the country was ready to move forward again, and that was great.  He got the country moving again, because now he could run it as a one-party state -- it's just like my buddy Lani said at the Harrisburg rally (PA, 29Apr2017).  "I wish we had no parties -- they just lock into left or right, and nothing gets done. [Trump] wants to fix stuff."  Well, Hitler fixed stuff, it was great.  He signed executive decrees, maybe not as many as Donald Trump's 30 executive orders in 100 days, but the difference is, Hitler got rid of congress too, the legislative log jam, so he could do a lot more with each order, and that was great.  Why stop that? 

If they had guns, Germans could have protected themselves against a power-hungry government, sure, but this government wasn't power hungry. They were too busy getting things done, fixed, running again, finally!  Just one funny thing was one night long after the government was back on track, the next year (30June/1July1934).  The Munich Chief of Police must have had a gun, but Hitler had him executed. 

The Sturmabteilung "Storm Troops" all had guns, I mean, really, storm troopers! 

But Hitler murdered them too.

So now you hear all the Monday quarterbackers saying that was the moment when the one-party government turned into a dictatorship.  But all those dead bastards were traitors like Edward Snowden, they had turned against the state.  You look at what people who were there at the time said, and you see the big name people congratulating Hitler, saying he nipped the traitors in the bud.  Get the
History Channel, 2005 Season, Episode 25 and see for yourself; but, for the full Monty, I mean, to really see what it was really like back then, drown yourself in decadence with  Luchino Visconti's The Damned, 1969.  But it's not going to happen here because Americans have guns.  We've read up on this stuff, a lot of us have, and we know how it all went down.  There's the woman, a truckload of them already stripped naked outside Crematorium 2, and one of them, beautiful, naked, a dancer with stage experience, she sees where an SS guy's eyes are looking and dances for him, dances around him, gets his gun and kills him

So we need guns to protect ourselves and our families,  to protect our democracy, but sometimes it makes you think that what you need most of all is bravery.

BOYCOTT THE NRA
 
Boycott the NRA.  They exploit their members with fear and fantasy.  Without discounts from corporations who need no NRA favors, the membership, now  stalled at 5 million, will shrink. 

According to romper.com, these corporations have already left the NRA.  Tell them you you noticed, you love it, it looks good on them:
-- Delta Airlines
Georgia's Gov. Nathan Deal signed a retaliatory cancellation of Atlanta-based Delta's fuel tax exemption, an act of revenge and punishment that will cost Delta $40-$50 million a year.  Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian is standing strong and needs to hear from you. 
-- United Airlines
-- Enterprise, Alamo, National car rental discounts went first, before Hertz & Avis
-- Hertz
-- Best Western
-- Wyndham Hotels
-- First National Bank of Omaha (Visa card with 5% bonuses on gas and sporting goods)
-- MetLife (group discounts on car insurance)
-- Symantec
-- Chubb accident insurance, for backing up NRA members who shot someone "in self-defense".

According to Mother Jones, additional early NRA severances came from:
-- Teledoc, a telemedicine company
-- Avis
-- Budget
-- Simplisafe
-- Allied Vans

Tell these companies how much you appreciate their common decency, tell them not to worry, tell them we are a great nation of 325 million people, and the NRA has a stalled membership stuck at 5 million.  Tell them they look good. 

HOW WE FUND ELECTIONS:  HIDDEN FUNDS, FOREIGN MONEY, POROUS BORDERS

When you need more than a bank account or GoFundMe for your money to do a project,  you need a C-corporation, S-corporation, LLC or other form of "business organization"  to put your money in if you are profit-making, and a 501(c)3, 501(c)4 or other form of charity-like "Non-Governmental Organization" if you want to be non-profit and not have to pay taxes.  You deserve tax exemption if none of you are generating wealth and you claim that your organization itself works for something good in civic society, the same kind of goodness that taxes would have accomplished if you had paid them into the system. 

On 21Jan2010, our corporate-oriented -- not people-protecting --
Supreme Court made it possible (as cleaned up by Speechnow v. FEC) to put into politics the same amount of wealth that rich people themselves think is reasonable:  unlimited amounts.  This led to a new kind of "charity," the SuperPAC (Political Action Committee) or "independent expenditure group". 

Applications to create 501(c)4 organizations skyrocketed, as rich people began pumping their money into SuperPACs (which have to disclose their donors) through 501(c)4s (which don't). 
501(c)4s make donors anonymous, and SuperPACs pool 501(c)4 donations.  The NRA is itself a 501(c)4, and the NRA has created a SuperPAC into which the funds are transferred, once the donors identities have been masked by the 501(c)4.  The wealthy have an entire branch of the legal and banking profession devoted to serving them with "tax-efficient" investing and financial services.  These professionals advise additional masking of who you really are when you are  pumping up a PAC. 

American lawyers advise American SuperPAC donors to form a shell corporation and instruct the shell corporation to donate to the 501(c)4 that donates to the SuperPAC, since sometimes 501(c)4s screw up, run afoul of state or federal government regulations, and are forced to disclose donors after all. With a shell corporation, that disclosure would then disclose a company that doesn't have your name on it.

Form a shell company?  It is easy to get it done.  One shell corporation is called hiding you identity  A string of shell corporations is called money laundering -- even the tax man can't find out who you are.  The tax man sees that one (hollow) corporation performed a financial transaction with another, and your name is not associated with either -- not the Board of Directors nor the CEO of either company that was set up for you by the offshore investment industry. 

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT (c)3s vs (c)4s: Small people want tax deductions for their donations.  Groups form 501(c)3 charities for them.  The wealthy, with  an entire branch of the legal and banking profession devoted to serving them with "tax-efficient" investing and financial services, want anonymity not help with  tax avoidance.  So lots of organizations add a 501(c)4 "foundation" for non-deductible but anonymous donations, and run their old tax-deductible 501(c)3 "charity" as well.  Donors large and small are welcome. 

Our laws have created a pipeline into American politics that can take infinite amounts of cash (Citizens United, U.S. Supreme Court) and mask the donors' identities (501(c)4s; IRS rules).  Rich Americans wanted this; they only thought about themselves, about domestic politics.  Now there have been FBI investigations into whether Russia pumped money into the NRA to throw American politics against the enlightened values of Western civilization.  These values have been the basis of our world leadership.  Anyone can appreciate the optics of a "wall" at the "border",  but the Supreme Court and legislative branch have left the border without a wall when it comes to letting wealthy, powerful, sources push our elections around with anonymity. 

It is odd that Russian and GOP political interests are again aligned for the 2018 election. 

Democracy thrives on sunlight.  The problem with Citizens United, with SuperPACs, the 501(c)'s, "tax-efficient" investment advisors, the offshore investment industry -- with all of it  -- is not that Russia can pump money into the NRA or Trump, or that CEOs and corporations can take taxable money out of the system.  The problem is that we'll never know.  

CONCLUSION & GRADUATION

T
his story of where we are today and why we don't have to stay there is dedicated to all the AP Government students in Broward County, Florida, and to high school students everywhere who are going to change gun laws in the United States.  Stay with gun laws.  Changing gun laws changes everything.  I worked on civil rights, on getting black kids into my white college.  This is your time, your issue.
 

You will get politicians to renounce NRA support, or you will vote them out of office -- one by one.  We will help you, and you will get smart fast as they tell you:
"Concentrate on laws about guns, that's all you need to know."
On the contrary, forcing even a small gun law change breaks a central power structure in money and politics, challenges the patriarchy in our midst.  That is why it is hard, that is why it changes everything, that is why so many people support you. 

And you will hear people saying,
"You won't succeed."
At what?  Succeed at repeating all the mistakes that got us here?
You're right, you are absolutely right. 

And you will be told,
"It's more complicated than you youngsters realize."
I don't think so.                                                               


AFTERWORD
My career never led to a full professorship, but Robin and I have great friends around the world, having worked in great places: the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in France, the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Germany, what was then the Institute for Advanced Studies of the national university of Australia, the Technological Institute of Northwestern University, departments of biophysics, biology, ophthalmology.  We solved puzzling questions by proving answers with data.  A scientist was respected for trying to prove himself wrong -- strong results (data, numbers) that usually held up made you a good scientist in the eyes of others. 

Eventually I got down the Ivory Tower stairs and out the door at ground level.  I blinked twice in the glaring world of cherry-picked and fudged data, of strained  logic and outright nonsense, always in the service of an agenda, never in a quest for the best answer to anything.  What a society!  What a civilization!  It is not acceptable to me, and this can't seem normal or acceptable to any high school student either. 
What are the moving parts of this machine?  Where is this ride taking us? 


This was the best I could do -- an explanation of how we got stuck in this together, and what we are going to have to do together to get to a different and better place. . . starting with getting gun laws or sending home opponents who had no business in public service in the first place. 


--jerry
jerry_stillstanding@nelsonic.org 

To get a friend's opinion on this, tell them to search: "NERDYLORRIN  GUNS" 
That search takes you here, to "Gun Control is Hard Because It Will Change Everything". 

It would be heart-warming to hear from high school students, especially
for clarifications, disagreements, and of course especially from McLean High School, VA here in town, where I am Class of 1960. 

LemonadeStandKidsRaiseMoneyForGoFundMeBrowardEdFdn-1200pxjpg.jpg

 
top 
1. My anger at them for pushing more guns as the country's solution to gun violence  
2. 
Anti-Patriarchy Signs at the Gun March    
3. Class Structure and Economic Injustice in the United States - Why Are so Many Adults so Angry & Selfish?   <---  You are here.
               An essay for gun control kids who need to know what's coming,
               and for their Trumped parents who can't figure out what happened.. 


home for this Website, such as it is
a happier Website with travel photos from Oz, Germany . .


Rev 8Mar2018 Hitler rallies his base at the 1938 Nuremberg rally. 1.3M people came, but the "Rally for Peace" the next year on Saturday 2Sept was canceled when the German blitzkrieg forces invaded Poland on Friday 1 September 1939, starting a world war. 
Rev 15Mar2018 - the kids have sent out their map for the march.Rev 18Mar2918 - link to Miami Herald introducing AP Gov teacher Jeff Foster
Rev 12Apr2018 Headings make 3-part structure more obvious
Prior banking essays integrated here:: 2008yes, 2010long-yes, 2010short-yes
Prior banking essays removed from home page / &server / &archived in own folder on storage array:  2008no, 2010long-no, 2010short-no
Rev 9May2018: better TOC headings.
Rev 22May2018 - split into three separate essays.
Rev 1June - comments from SW in France
Rev 12June - Headline: this is for kids getting rid of guns and for adults getting rid of Trump
Rev 13June - better cross-links in all 3 essays
Rev 12July - Linear Worlders **want** misery, anger & frustration; why fix anything? Better NRA text.
Rev 30July - TOC text
Rev 22Oct - Move PREFACT to AFTERWORD sowe can just get going with INTRO