Do the Math…then Solve the Real Problem

“I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending. I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated.” ~ former US Representative and gun violence victim Gabrielle Giffords, NYT Op-Ed, April 18, 2013

Per The Guardian, 42 of 45 Gun Control No votes got $ from the gun lobby, as recently as 3 weeks prior to the vote; only 4 of 55 Yes votes got any cash from the gun lobby.

http://gu.com/p/3f9vv/tw

On April 17, 2013:

100% of PA’s US Senators – one Democrat and one Republican – joined
90% of Americans, including
80% of Republicans, and
74% of NRA membership who

wanted to close the gun sales loophole.

60% of the US population, represented by
55% of the duly-elected US Senators voted to do so. This loophole allows

40% of guns to be sold without the background check which current NRA leadership originally supported passage of. The NRA stopped it.

1.5% of the US population or less is an NRA member. That conservatively assumes all of its 4 million members are US citizens.

This prompted US President Barack Obama to tell We The People last night: “Ultimately, you outnumber those who argued the other way. But…THEY’RE BETTER FINANCED.”

President Obama tells us to keep fighting…for background checks. I disagree. What we need to fight is the underlying, root cause of the faulty math above:

$1,021,237 is, according to OpenSecrets.org, the amount the NRA donated directly to Federal Candidates. Just in 2012.

THAT is the Real Problem. The direct funnel of for-profit, non-constituent money to the selection of OUR representatives is what We The People need to fight. We The People can stop this circumventing of our democratic republic by the minority. Or, we can allow it to continue. It is our choice.

August 21, 2015 UPDATE – Per July, 2015 Pew Data, US favors:

57% – assault rifle ban
70% – Fed data base
79% – Mentally ill, no gun
85% – Background checks

More than half of EVERY DEMOGRAPHIC favors all, except that only 47% of hispanics and 49% of 18-29 yr olds want to ban assault rifles. Probably still within the margin. Regardless, every single other demographic is a slam dunk for all four common sense, fair and reasonable measures.

None of which will inhibit one citizen’s right to a militia, while also ensuring the ‘well-regulated’ part.

#WhatAreWeWaitingFor? The #NRA to allow the recipients of its cash to vote as We The People wish.

http://www.pennlive.com/opinion/2015/08/americans_views_on_guns_are_ab.html

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About steventodd

Both parties are broken by big money...what to do? I'm a dad, husband, son, taxpayer, voter, civil engineer, reporter, blogger, rabble-rouser and honest guy.
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19 Responses to Do the Math…then Solve the Real Problem

  1. james17011 says:

    I’ve said this a few times. We need Campaign and Filibuster reform

    Like

    • steventodd says:

      Many of us say this all the time. We either need leaders who will do it, or a citizens’ constitutional convention to override them if they won’t.

      Like

    • $1,021,237 to federal candidates? Hmm…..that’s less than the University of California donated to BHO’s 2012 campaign. It’s also approx. 4% of the total lobbyist group contributions to BHO during the 2012 campaign. If you want a source, I used yours (OpenSecrets.org) Mayor Bloomberg spent 12 million dollars on political propoganda in the last month…..out of his own pocket! The reason these bills did not pass, is because those of us who oppose them have launched a massive grassroots protest……..mostly through writing our congressmen.

      Here is my challenge to you sir. Since you have basically echoed Obama’s percentage and polling claims in your article and provided no source for any of it, give me the real data. If you have spent “quite some time investigating,” then give us your sources. Show us the who, what, where, when, and why of these “polls.” It is your responsibility as the author.

      Like

      • steventodd says:

        Anthony Qualls:

        The University of California and Michael Bloomberg and the rest of a small and shrinking Political Class – including the NRA – spend a lot on campaign funds. If/when they spend it on people who do not represent them, it is every bit as wrong as when Winchester Remington does so. That is the point, which I repeatedly and passionately make on this blog and other places.

        Point taken on the grassroots effort from those who opposed background checks. Those who support said wrote their congressional reps exhaustively as well, but must do better next time. That does not negate the power of campaign donations, much of which come from corporate entities.

        I won’t provide a bibliography. No blog or news article does that. Here is a quote and link, that generally supports my point: that the US Senate circumvented the wishes of most Americans whom it represents. There are many others:

        “Nine in 10 Democrats, more than eight in 10 Republicans and independents, and almost nine in 10 Americans who live in households with guns backed the proposal, according to the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll.”

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/gun-vote-shows-gulf-between-washington-country/2013/04/17/e50ede04-a793-11e2-8302-3c7e0ea97057_story.html

        If you provide a number you like better, I will let it stand to counter mine. If your better data still shows “Most of We The People want background checks” to be a valid statement, though, doing so does little to further the debate.

        Let’s debate the issue, not the minutia of the numbers…and hopefully find a solution.

        Like

      • Okay……..I’ll debate the issue.

        When I watched Obama’s remarks immediately following the senate vote, I couldn’t help but wonder…….Why is this man attempting to spin this story like background checks would have prevented any of the recent mass shootings? VA Tech, Sandy Hook, Aurora, and AZ shootings…… All of these crimes were committed with legally obtained guns that were purchased on an ATF form 4437 with FBI NICS check. Why aren’t we talking about this?

        The problem with the SB’s that were on the floor, is that none of them, including the ammended version, addressed the source of the problem…….ENFORCING LAWS ALREADY ON THR BOOKS. Take Illinois for example. IL is plauged with the worst gun violence in the country. They have what’s called an FOID (Firearms Owner Identification Card). If you want to own a firearm, you must have a FOID in IL. It’s similar to a DL. During recent studies and inquiries from news sources such as NPR, it was discovered that there were thousands of residents whom have had felony convictions while in possession of a FOID, and LE has failed to confiscate their cards. Illinois cannot even muster up the resources to enforce a fairly simple law in their own state. What makes you think the federal government could take on such a huge task as “universal background checks.” The answer is…..they couldn’t.

        Let’s enforce the laws already on the books that we have failed to enforce, and let’s strengthen the system that is already in place, but failing miserably. S649 and the cluster of amendments would have done nothing to deter criminals from breaking the law. That’s why they are criminals. They have no regard for the laws. All it would have done, is provide a false sense of “doing the right thing” to certain demographics whom quite frankly, have little to know knowledge about how our current system and how it works. It just “sounds” good to them. They can feel like they’ve “done something.”

        Oh well, ignorance is bliss, and the truth hurts.

        Like

      • steventodd says:

        Maybe closing background loopholes would help, maybe it would not. My main beef is NOT whether or not We The People even pass this law or that. It is that the majority is not being represented, because its representation has been highjacked by corporate and non-constituent interests. For (a timely) example:

        “One day after the U.S. Senate voted down a proposal to expand background checks for firearms purchases, a Muhlenberg College poll commissioned by the Allentown Morning Call shows 89% of Pa. adults support such a move.”

        http://www.politicspa.com/mcallmuhlenberg-poll-89-support-background-checks/47491/

        Like

      • Sorry……a survey of 435 is simply not even close to adequate in making your case. Next?

        Like

  2. Pingback: A statistics fix + response to a Wordpress Blog - Somebody go post this for me. :)

    • steventodd says:

      I spent quite some time investigating the data. Which ones do you doubt? For example, the 90% was per Barack Obama in an email today: “Forty-five lawmakers stood in the way of improvements to the background check system that would keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and the mentally unstable — something that 90 percent of Americans support.”

      You doubt this data. So be it. But dismiss it with something a tad more replicable than “Bad data,” or that two US Senators “misstated it in a sales pitch.”

      Like

      • B.Slike.3 says:

        I found the link and comments; and as I am weary of the spread of abused and misstated statistics; I shared with others who I thought could articulate the flaws, and they’ve done well. I wasn’t sure even wanted to comment or just vent; but since in sharing it, my response somehow got linked here, so I will reply myself to this.
        My issue with the 90% statistic was not fully addressed. I have seen the original sources, and the original questions. This was several weeks ago, I believe in late January / early February when this was conducted. I did not save the link to this. As others have stated, the survey/poll was conducted in an area where firearm ownership (and therefore knowledge) is very low and very restricted. The survey consisted of 1,711 people. The question asked was not “do you support Background Checks as proposed in S.XXX legislation”. It was a more general, vague and open ended questions; to which many that oppose the proposed legislation could easily have say yes to the poll question. It couldn’t have asked about the specific legislation as none of it was written when the poll was conducted. So to say 90% of Americans “supported” S.649 or even SA.715 to S.649 is simply and clearly miss-use the statics. The fact the President can quote this off a teleprompter, in no way makes it any more accurate, or representative.
        As astounding as it is that 1,711 people now represent all of America now (based on the poll above, and some standards that this is the minimum statistically significant population); the continued abuse of the 40% of guns are obtained without background check from 20 year old survey of only 251 (only 14.6% of the minimum significant population) is even worse. Even the author of this survey has said it is not significant or reliable data.
        The last static I will argue is the 74% of NRA members support closing the gun show loophole. So for arguments sake that is 3 of 4. For this argument I will be #4 that disagreed with the UBC proposal. That means of all the folks I know in the NRA (which is far more than 2 dozen, but I’ll say 24 for argument sake) – there should only be a handful of others who agree with me. Yet I know none that agree with the legislation, not a single 1. Add to that, that I am the only member of my immediate or extended family in the NRA at the moment; yet of 6 or more adults (some gun owners, some not yet); none agree with the legislation or these statistics; especially when they are correctly explained.
        I will say that have found many people and some gun owners, that do not know all of the current laws; OR what the proposed legislation would actually do or require. When they understand these issues – they have then been opposed to the legislation. This brings me to my last point, regarding my ‘sales pitch’ statement. Senator Cruz in discussing his amendment SA.725, was correct when he responded to questions by Senator Manchin. Under SA.715, (the Toomey-Schumer-Manchin Amendment) any type of published / public advertisement triggers the need for a background check. This is contrary to what Senators Manchin and Toomey were stating in what I called their sales pitch.

        Like

      • steventodd says:

        Bill:

        Nice to hear from you again. Hope all goes well. As with the other posters from that same chatroom, I say: fair enough. My numbers might be wrong. I don’t believe them to be, as I got them from what I deemed reputable sources. People have been citing sitting POTUS as long as there have been said. But they could be wrong. Give your versions of the ones you feel are incorrect. If they are notably so, they may change the overall point of my original blog: that the will of the majority is not being done by our elected officials. If you offer minor changes, I will note them as well, as I did Keith’s. In that case, I will point out that neither number dubbed as “correct” changes the thesis, as I did Keith’s. Take care, and thanks for your input.

        Like

  3. Keith says:

    I find your willingness to quote statistics without investigating their origin disheartening. If you have investigated their origin and honestly believe the 90%, 80%, 74% and 40% statistics quoted above are factually valid, then, well, I guess disproving them with facts probably won’t get me very far.

    I encourage you to analyze the sources of the statistics you quote. Personally I would be embarrassed to base an arugument on such terribly flawed data.

    I was impressed with the overall layout and formatting of your piece, though. You write well and present it to the reader in a very engaging format. Kudos. You’re obviously talented. However, that matters not if the substance lacks integrity.

    Respectfully,

    Keith

    Like

    • steventodd says:

      I spent quite some time investigating the data. Which ones do you doubt? For example, the 90% was per Barack Obama in an email today: “Forty-five lawmakers stood in the way of improvements to the background check system that would keep guns out of the hands of violent criminals and the mentally unstable — something that 90 percent of Americans support.”

      Mr Slike doubts this data. So be it. But dismiss it with something a tad more replicable than “Bad data,” or that two US Senators “misstated it in a sales pitch.”

      If you provide corrected data, I will revise the article to acknowledge your claims and full name. I won’t say “my data is wrong, because “Keith” on some chat board says so.” I hope you can understand that.

      Like

  4. Keith says:

    I totally do understand that. I ask you to understand that a politician quoting a statistic to support an agenda does not authenticate or legitimize that statistic. For instance, here’s a Washington Post fact check on the 40% statistic:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/update-obama-claim-on-background-checks-moved-from-verdict-pending-to-2-pinocchios/2013/01/25/59caeca6-672f-11e2-85f5-a8a9228e55e7_blog.html

    A phone survey of 251 people in 1994 is a valid fact to base gun legislation on 19 years later? Even saying 40% is a blatant manipulation of the very insignificant data set.

    Understand that public opinion polls can easily be structured to produce whatever results one likes. Who conducted the poll? Who was polled? How many responses? How were the questions asked? Have similar polls been conducted that produced different results?

    We tend to latch on to talking points and statistics that get repeated over and over again by politicians, the media, and personal discussions. They become engrained and easy to regurgitate, and are accepted as fact even though most have no idea where the statistic comes from.

    Respectfully,

    Keith

    Like

    • steventodd says:

      So your claim is the 14 to 22 percent Washington Post uses is accurate? Given that, the statement becomes: “1 in 5 or 6 of guns to be sold without the background check which current NRA leadership originally supported passage of. The NRA stopped it.” Still too many, still up for interpretation (who is Wash Post? Who QC’d their data?) AND doesn’t change the gist of the blog.

      Like

      • Keith says:

        My claim is that the survey and statistics being used in that particular instance are horribly outdated and, given that the survey was conducted 8 months after the Brady Bill set up the background check requirement yet asked about firearm acquisitions over the prior 2 years.

        If such outdated statistics are still valid in current legislative debate, then why don’t we use the same methedology to other debates. According to a Gallup poll conducted in 1996 which asked the question “Do you think marriages between homosexuals should or should not be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages?”, 68% of those surveyed stated that it should not be valid. This survey is even more recent and had a larger sample size than the 1994 gun acquisition survey, so it must have even more credibility in the gay marriage debate happening in 2013.

        I think we would both agree that there is absolutely no reason that marriage between homosexuals should not be recognized by the law as valid, and someone opposed to gay marriage who used the 68% statistic mentioned above in an argument over legislation taking place in 2013 would be downright ignorant as said statistic bears absolutely no
        validity 17 years later.

        And I get the gist of your argument. Obviously the NRA’s money is why the Manchin-Toomey bill didn’t pass. As your piece states, the NRA spent over $1 million in campaign donations and support in 2012. Michael Bloomberg has spent over $12 million just this year. That’s a rather large delta in full year spend vs. single quarter spend. Yet somehow it’s the NRA’s money that stopped the legislation. If money were what drove this vote, then every single senator had way more to gain from Bloomberg than the NRA. What fool in their right mind would go against that kind of ad spend if 90% of Americans support the legislation?

        Or, could it be that the 90% support isn’t actually a valid statistic?

        Respectfully,

        Keith

        Like

      • steventodd says:

        Keith:

        My statistics might be outdated. If yours are more valid, I will use them, as I said. As in my last reply, my 2 in 5, or your 1 in 6 doesn’t change the point: too many guns are sold by skirting background checks.

        See my reply to Anthony Qualls, regarding Michael Bloomberg’s and others’ expenditures on campaign funds.

        It could very well be that the 90% support isn’t a valid statistic. If you provide better data, I will let it stand as your other numbers above. If your better data still shows “Most of We The People want background checks” to be a valid statement, though, doing so does little to further the debate.

        Let’s debate the issue, not the minutia of the numbers…and hopefully find a solution.

        Like

  5. Keith says:

    I couldn’t agree more. I would love to have a factual, honest debate where both sides have an understanding of not only the specific details of the bill/amendment being proposed, but also a firm understanding of current laws and what currently is or is not legal. Unfortunately, a vast majority of people are totally uneducated about what gun laws are currently on the books, and run under the assumption that all sales at gun shows and over the internet forego a background check.

    1) a majority of sellers at gun shows are Federally licensed firearm dealers, who are required to do background checks for each sale, regardless of it taking place in their own shop or at a gun show.
    2) a majority of sellers online are federally licensed firearm dealers. It is against the law to purchase a firearm and have it shipped to your house. It must first be shipped to a federally licensed firearm dealer in your state, who then conducts the NICS background check (for a fee, of course) prior to transferring the firearm to the purchaser. The same thing goes if you purchase a firearm from an individual who lives out of state through the internet. The firearm must be transferred to a federally licensed firearm dealer in your state, who is required to conduct a background check prior to transferring.
    3) the only transactions that are not required to go through a background check are face to face sales between individuals. However, this still places a decent amount of liability on the seller, as it is illegal to provide a firearm to someone if you know or have reasonable suspicion that they are prohibited from owning firearms. Understand that even the possibility of having to answer to a charge like that means that most sellers who are willing to engage in a private transfer with someone they don’t know require that the purchaser show some form of identification to prove they are not a prohibited person, such as a valid Firearm Owners ID (Illinois) or a concealed-carry license/permit, both of which require just as much, if not more, of a background check than the current NICS requirements.

    Gun owners absolutely want to keep firearms out of the hands of criminals and other dangerous individuals. Please understand that every one of these terrible tragedies leading to this legislation has hurt and saddened gun owners and NRA supporters just as much every other American. Each time something terrible happens involving a firearm, gun owners have to brace themselves for the demonization and slander they will undoubtedly receive based solely on their desire to excercise their right that is protected by the Second Amendment of the constitution.

    I hope that this will help you better understand what laws are already on the books. The only way this debate will ever progress is if everyone has a firm understanding of what is actually being debated. Villianizing a specific organization or group of people does nothing but further divide our country, making any sort of compromise totally impossible.

    Respectfully,

    Keith

    Like

  6. steventodd says:

    This just in from the Demand Action campaign of Mayors Against Illegal Guns: “45 Senators voted to block a bill to expand criminal background checks, and the gun lobby spent at least $8,165,490 to support their campaigns.” Hard to argue that.

    http://www.demandaction.org/Receipt

    Like

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