Sunday, December 15, 2013

When did the sentiments of terrorists go "mainstream"?

The other day I posted an article on Facebook from entitled "Our sick gun fetish is destroying us: Tea Party fantasies kill kids".  The article talks of the price of gun violence and the Tea Party's love of guns, namely the idea that all you need is to pack some heat and you've instantly got your own personal balance of power.

To this, a person who I went to high school with wrote back a response that indicated that they didn't know what fantasy the writer was speaking of.    "The right to bear arms is about protecting our country from a government out of control," this person maintained, going further to say that we may some day have to take up arms against a tyrannical government.

Compare this and other Tea Party statements and sentiment to this statement:   
The government is afraid of the guns people have because they have to have control of the people at all times. Once you take away the guns, you can do anything to the people. You give them an inch and they take a mile. I believe we are slowly turning into a socialist government. The government is continually growing bigger and more powerful and the people need to prepare to defend themselves against government control.
This statement is from Timothy McVeigh, the crazed militia loving bomber of the Oklahoma City Federal Building who killed 168 people.     Back then McVeigh and his sentiments were rightfully viewed as completely nuts, the rantings of disenfranchised lunatics with a warped sense of history and indignation.

So how is it that almost 20 years ago the idea of armed insurrection is now mainstream?   Why is it that the sentiments that led to taking so many lives are now considered a mainstream view?   Why do so many people who outwardly seem rational inwardly seem to think we're only a day away from some sort of freak Red Dawn scenario where they're going to be foot soldiers to "take back 'Murica!"


Wednesday, December 4, 2013

I'm sick. I blame Obamacare.

I am feeling like a truck hit me with congestion, cough, ringworm, psoriasis,  tetter and ED (that stands for existential depression, correct?).   I needed a few OTC remedies.  Since there is an impending winter storm that will paralyze the Louisville area for days, I decided to go to a local big box retailer so I could save a few pennies and test how high my blood pressure could go.

I needed Sudafed.   Since anyone who isn't Walter White only uses Sudafed to make meth, I had to go to the pharmacy counter to get permission to buy it.  No sweat.  I rounded the corner and..... six deep in the pharmacy line.

I stood patiently, fuming at both the retailer and my own choice to come there, feeling my already numb brain going into shut down mode.    The guy behind me walked up and said "Jesus, ain't anybody workin' here?"    I said, "It's (insert big box retailer here)."   He shook his head.    Then the elderly guy in front of me turned to me and said "This ain't nothin'.  Imagine what a mess it's gonna be when Obamacare kicks in."

"I know," said the elderly woman in front of him, "he's gonna screw this all up."

Normally I'd bite my tongue, smile, and drop some nasty grams in my head (or on Twitter).  But since I felt like my eyes were being stabbed from behind with a Ginsu and my nasal cavity felt like there was a four man bobsled competition inside of it, my thought hit my mouth.

"Why is the Affordable Care Act going to change the fact that (insert big box retailer) is understaffed today or any day?    Seems as though increased demand would make (insert big box retailer) want to actually meet it.    I imagine some of the people in here today might finally be happy to have affordable insurance."

The old man muttered something about Medicare and turned from me as if I had stripped to my underwear and started singing old communist work songs.

But here's the thing old man, if you want to blame someone for the fact that it took us 15 minutes to get through the line, or for Obamacare, blame yourself.  Blame me.  Blame everyone you know who shops here and pretty much anywhere these days.    You and I complain about these things as though some evil force messed up the economy.  (Big box retailer) doesn't care.   At some point in their existence they prided themselves on buying USA made products and saving jobs.   But that all changed when they realized people weren't really paying too close attention to where things were made, and it was simply easier and cheaper to do business in countries where environmental and labor standards are more lax than the US.     We paid no attention when the companies that manufactured their products in the US quietly shifted production to other countries when retailers demanded they shave a few cents off the product.    We watched as people demonized labor and pension plans as killing industry but then complained when our stock based retirement plans crashed because a highly unregulated financial industry cheated, lied, and stole to enrich their pockets.   We turned our heads as benefits and hours were stripped from hard working Americans.   And we bitch about the people behind the counter right now, who probably are making less than their counterparts would have made 20 or 30 years prior to do the same job.

So when you go home tonight dude, how about you turn off Fox News for a second and reflect on your own life and how things are different now than they were 30 years ago.   I hope you'll find that it's not always everyone else to blame.  Now excuse me while I go take my generic allergy medication from India.