Doomsday

doomWell, the world hasn’t ended yet. But this may be a distinction without a difference, as they say, when we see how officious officials from every land and clime are hurriedly harkening a harrowing hell in a handbasket. Make up for lost time, boys, because the Mayan Calendar was off a spell!

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-12-21: Doomsday by The Stranger on Mixcloud

PLAYLIST
Hall of the Mountain King – Apocalyptica
Rag Na Rok – GWAR
End Of The World – Aphrodite’s Child
The Four Horsemen – Iron Horse
Earth Died Screaming – Tom Waits
Kaamos – Apocalyptica
Coma – Apocalyptica
The End of the World – The Cure
Tiny Apocalypse – David Byrne
Hurry Down Doomsday – Elvis Costello
Do You Believe In Rapture? – Sonic Youth
Creeping Death – Apocalyptica
Beyond Time – Apocalyptica
Post-Apocalyptic Rap Blues – Busdriver
Prophecy – Iced Earth
Hope – Apocalyptica
The End – The Doors

I am dead set against entering yet another STUPID and RIDICULOUS gun control debate. I don’t want everyone’s guns taken away. I will say this; it is incredibly hypocritical to blame Hollywood and videogame FANTASY violence (which has no correlative effect) while defending what causes ACTUAL violence. It is hypocritical to get riled up about our rights to guns, but not the right to protest, the right to education, health care, decent wages… and hypocritical to think the federal government can be trusted putting armed personnel in schools..

But right-wing extremists have blamed everything from Obamacare, abortion, feminism, homosexuality, science, Hurricane Sandy, comedian Jon Stewart, sex, black rapists,  women and people of color for not being nice enough to white men as they’re robbed of privilege, they say we need stricter federal laws and controls on the mentally ill, like many of the Republicans’ diseased brains.

It’s a silly solution to suppose that a few armed civilians will stop doomsday. Most times they arrive too late, or after the shooting is already over, and these so-called ‘vigilantes’ are also usually police, security personnel, or even marines.

And what about in which citizens try to use their guns and things go terribly wrong? Shopping mall shooting in Tacoma, Washington, or Courthouse shooting in Tyler, Texas, where the armed interlocutors are shot dead instead of heroically saving the day. And as we saw earlier this year in Manhattan, even the police tend to wound many innocent bystanders when shooting after a perpetrator.

And just how do we keep weapons out of the hands of mentally ill people. It’s frighteningly easy for people with serious psychiatric problems to purchase weapons, thanks to the NRA’s past efforts. 40 percent of private gun sales don’t require buyers to be vetted.

The law also defines disqualifying mental illness narrowly. It only forbids gun sales to people who have been determined by a court to be seriously mentally ill, or who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution. This means that the system often overlooks dangerous and disturbed people who don’t have a paper trail. Many states submit little to no mental health data to the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System

“We have no idea how many prohibited people there are in the United States,” John Strong, chief of the FBI section overseeing the NICS “We’re not even close to being able to know.”

Surveillance as a substitute for gun control is no idle threat. In the age of anti-terrorism, courts have already permitted the National Security Agency to troll among otherwise confidential records—everything from cell phone and computer-information trails to bank and insurance company records. The Fourth Amendment, which usually requires a warrant for invasion of privacy, has been simply waived.

Any minute now, they could decide that treating and serving the poor mentally ill is not adequate, and put them all on a registry instead. The NSA could create a database in which half of Americans are classified as potential mass killers.

The problem is the gross underfunding of known treatments that work. Adding stigma and surveillance while not adding funds would only make an injustice that much worse.

But I’m not condemning the NRA for their delayed response (I would have preferred them to have shut up longer), or even the atrocious and tone-deaf and reactionary stances they take. They’re like any lobbyist, and their toxic beliefs are seen as normalized and powerful because their speech and deregulated money are one and the same in Washington DC.

Lobbyists in general are bringing about the end times, and the infernal revolving door between government and big business.

We see it with gun advocates, health insurance “providers”, private prisons, wall street, and the so-called public officials that are supposed to regulate them. But why would you regulate your own job? The industry spends as much as $8 billion a year and employs some 100,000 people, including former government staffers who make far more than they did on the public payroll.

A third of those leaving Congress after the 2010 elections became lobbyists, making between half a million to millions of dollars.

And a lot of this greedy, shady, behind closed doors decision making and networking and coordination of disparate objectives is facilitated by right-wing group ALEC.

Israeli lobbyists push us to be more hawkish. And Wall Street lobbyists push hard to cut entitlements and funnel more public money into their pockets. It defies logic and fairness to give more tax breaks to the wealthy while cutting benefits for the near-poor.

Right-wing Un-Americans aren’t particularly interested in a smaller, less intrusive government—if that were the case, they’d support a large reduction in military spending, and the overall national security state. Instead, Republicans are reliable supporters of large increases to military spending, and—as we saw with Paul Ryan’s budget—are willing to drastically cut social services (which will yield very little in savings but affect the middle and lower class) in order to fund greater spending on military. Cuts that significantly harm the elderly.

CNN/ORC International poll also indicates that a slight majority of Americans sees the Republican party’s policies and views as too extreme, a first for the GOP, and fewer than a third say they trust congressional Republicans more than President Barack Obama to deal with the major issues facing the nation.

53% say the GOP should compromise more, with 41% saying the Democratic Party should. Fifty-three percent of those surveyed say they view the policies of the GOP as too extreme, up 17 points from two years ago. Only 37% say they view the polices of the Democratic Party as too extreme. Nearly half (48%) would blame the GOP if the fiscal cliff occurs

Instead of heeding the public, as always, the Republicans are holding the economy hostage.

Our supposedly infallible U.S. Constitution is failing Americans because our current parties are not capable of reacting to national emergencies. The temper tantrums and ‘tyranny of the minority’ cannot accept results of a presidential election, cannot compromise, and cannot return to debate now.

Obama seems all too happy to fall right over for them. Either weak, or co-conspirator in the destabilization of the middle class via “right to work” laws, weaker unions and lower benefits and wages.

We live in a country that bans people trying to get their lives back in order from getting government assistance. They are keeping Americans from getting back to work.

There’s a two-tier justice system in America. Need proof? Bankers for HSBC were found guilty of laundering billions of dollars for drug cartels and groups linked to al-Qaeda. Their punishment? Pay a small portion of their billions of profit, and defer bonuses.

But not all the billionaires are evil scumbags:

The group United for a Fair Economy organized a project called Responsible Wealth, which includes prominent Americans such as Warren Buffett, George Soros, Robert Rubin and Abigail Disney. The group is calling for the implementation of a Responsible Estate Tax proposal that would raise new revenue while spurring deep and damaging budget cuts.

The proposal is significantly stronger than President Barack Obama’s proposal on the estate tax. The rich Americans part of this project are calling for the estate tax level to return to its pre-George W. Bush rates, which would “raise a half a trillion dollars—$536 billion—over 10 years.” Obama’s proposal, on the other hand, “leaves $256 billion of that revenue on the table,” the group says,

Some CEOs have come out of the cult, and admit that tax cuts for them don’t create jobs:

Bill Harris, the former CEO of PayPal and Intuit (the giant software company whose main clients are small business), and the current CEO of Personal Capital, recently wrote a column in Forbes headlined “Tax Cuts Don’t Create Jobs.”

“what do entrepreneurs need to grow companies and create jobs? I think it’s not tax cuts. Issues like marginal tax rates are just not in the consideration set of entrepreneurial companies. They’re thinking about funding or growing or evolving or investing. What they do need is a healthy economy, because then consumers will go out and spend and buy things that new companies are selling.”

Because there are things we could do now to cut the deficit without touching our social programs.

  1. Close multiple loopholes in the capital gains law: $174.2 billion. (1.42x)
  1. Refuse to compromise on the president’s $250,000 figure for increased taxation: $183 billion (1.5x)
  2. Reduce the budget for U.S. overseas military bases by 20 percent: $200 billion. (1.6x)
  3. Allow the government to negotiate with drug companies: $220 billion. (1.8x)
  4. Enact DoD-friendly cuts to military budget: $519 billion. (4.25x)
  5. Eliminate corporate tax loopholes: $1.24 trillion (10x)
  6. Create a financial transactions tax for high-volume Wall Street trading: $1.8 trillion (14.75x)
  7. Enact Rep. Jan Schakowsky’s ‘Fairness in Taxation Act’ for very high earners: $872.5 billion. (7.15x)

The bill adds the following tax brackets:

  • $1-10 million: 45%
  • $10-20 million: 46%
  • $20-100 million: 47%
  • $100 million to $1 billion: 48%
  • $1 billion and over: 49%

We need to do something. Wealthy political investors will keep pouring money into politics—until they’re stopped.

Stranger in a Strange Land 2012-12-21: Doomsday by The Stranger on Mixcloud

~The Stranger
thestranger@earthling.net

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