Obama and Gun Sanity

Obama and Gun Sanity

The prez comes out with 23 executive orders and 13 proposals for Congress

 

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

January 16th 2013

 

 

To hear the far right tell it, North Korea, led by the reanimated corpse of Adolf Hitler, has invaded America and is making every school child turn in any relatives who have guns. Discussion areas throughout the web erupted with an amazing variety of paranoid conspiracy theories, ranging from claims the shootings at Sandy Hook were faked by the administration as an excuse to burn the Constitution (yes, really) to claims that doctors would be forced to turn in any patients who owned guns.

The reality is considerably closer to actual sanity. The 23 executive orders are relatively mild, and most amount to nothing more than window dressing. Even the one about doctors falls far short of Matt Drudge’s paranoid babble: it consists merely of sending a letter to doctors letting them know that it is not illegal to report patients who the doctors feel present a real risk of gun violence. To that end, he feels doctors should feel free to ask about weapons in the home, something the GOP has tried to outlaw.

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Corporate Rights

Corporate Rights

Inhuman Rights

 

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

January 8th, 2013

 

Another moronic businessman who wants to make a principled stand for employee subjugation popped up yesterday. The owner of eleven Omaha Nebraska franchises, Scott King, ordered full time employees’ hours cut to 28 a week or less (except for management, of course) in order to evade having to pay for Obamacare. He’s not the first cheap dirtbag to come up with this, of course; other outfits, including most famously Papa John’s Pizza, have tried the same stunt, and they’ve discovered that their open displays of contempt for their own employees cost far more than the minimal savings of not enrolling in Obamacare would have.

He’ll learn that screwing the employees like that really hurts his own best interests, and he’ll back down, whining loudly that he shouldn’t have to pay for employee medical care.

That’s one of the strangest things about the set up America has for health care. Most employers hate the costs and time involved in providing insurance to their employees, and the scummier ones, up until now, simply didn’t bother. This is America. Life is cheap.

It demonstrably hurts American competitiveness; one reason Detroit lost so much ground against European and Japanese car makers was because while employees on the lines overseas got paid as well as or better than their union counterparts in America, the employers here also had to shell out for medical insurance. In Europe, it came out of everyone’s taxes, and the employer had absolutely nothing to do with it. Not only did this save the employer money, but it saved everyone money, because it was a much more streamlined and efficient system, one with cost controls built in. A medical provider who tries to cheat National Health and gets caught is out of business.

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The One Thirteen

The One Thirteen

Broken Mirrors and Walking Under Ladders

 

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

January 5, 2013

 

The 113th Congress has already set one new standard that will be hard to improve upon. In just two days, it managed to make itself even more loathed and ridiculed than the 112th, arguably the least popular and most ineffective Congress in the history of the United States.

They began with the sheer petty snittery that is the trademark of the trash right. Led by the estimable Michelle Bachmann, they held what I’m sure will be the first of dozens of utterly pointless votes to repeal Obamacare. The 112th had 33 such votes, firmly making themselves look like a pack of obsessive morons who have endless tantrums if they don’t get their way.

Normally, such an occurrence wouldn’t get much press play, and people who did hear about it would just shake their heads in disgust and reflect that the House is in session and many a village is missing its idiot as a result.

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Solstice 2012

Solstice 2012

A darkness from within

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December19th 2012

This is the Solstice piece, and it’s going out a few days early this year because, well, I want everyone to read it before the world ends on Friday.

I went to let the dog out last night near midnight, and there, near the horizon, was Nibiru, the rogue planet that’s going to destroy us all.

I tried warning people, but they just got out on their back porches and shouted that it’s just the damn MOON, and go to bed, you drunken fool, and other stuff that wasn’t so nice.

Well, let’s just see who’s laughing on Saturday, shall we?

Actually, we have a monster snowstorm due to start tomorrow night, and it has the makings of a Big Snow. That usually means the lights go out, and with them, the DSL. It’s not unusual here in the mountains, but I would be annoyed if I was sitting in the dark on Friday, knowing I could have gotten it out earlier but didn’t. We have heat, and the dog’s edible, so we’ll be fine.

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Guns and Kids

Guns and Kids

Newtown, old problem

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 14th 2012

 Imagine the uproar, if in the wake of the Newtown shootings today, someone had gotten in front of the cameras and said, “Well, you know, they are just a bunch of American kids. They’d have gotten shot sooner or later, so why is everyone so excited?”

Every time someone says, “There’s nothing to be done. The gun nut lobby is too powerful.” they are really saying, “Well, you know, they are just a bunch of American kids. They’d have gotten shot sooner or later, so why is everyone so excited?” Can’t beat the NRA. People have a right to defend themselves, and if a few kids get greased, well, what the fuck? Ain’t my right to defend myself more important than a bunch of stupid kids?

Even more disgraceful are the handful of preachers who have jumped in to declaim that if America were just a bit more Christian, those kids wouldn’t have gotten shot. Jesus loves the little children, but he doesn’t mind blowing a few of them to hamburger if it makes the backsliders in the pews sit up and pay attention.

The fatalism I can almost understand. It’s a type of fatalism that would appall a Frenchman, but at least it’s a human reaction. The preachers ought to dragged out of their churches and sodomized with their own bibles.

I’m sure the NRA and their apologists will be going full throttle over the next few days, proclaiming that hundreds of millions of gun owners did not go out and kill a bunch of children. Although on an average day, 25 of them will go out and kill someone, and most of the victims will be wives, ex-girlfriends, family, or neighbors. There’s a decent chance that one of the 25 victims will be a child—about once every four days, a child under the age of 16 dies from a gun-related homicide.

They’ll point out that gun laws don’t keep kids safe, and point to China, where a nut went on the rampage nearly simultaneously with the Newtown killer and attacked 22 school children with a knife. And it’s true—both China and America have horrible records when it comes to protecting the mentally ill from themselves, and society from them. Americans often have the notion that anyone who is claiming mental illness is trying to pull some kind of fast one, getting SSI for nothing. How do the crazy survive when the surrounding society is nearly as crazy?

One little difference between Newtown and the Chinese attack: in China, all the kids lived. None even sustained life-threatening injuries. They were scarred for life, mentally and in some cases physically, but they are all alive. I wonder how many parents of children at that Chinese school are looking at the news from America tonight and thinking, “It could have been much worse.”

The problem isn’t guns. The gun nuts are right when they say “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Americans are surprised when I point out that nearly as high a percentage of Canadians own guns as in America. Canada’s gun homicide and gun-related violence stats are, by American standards, negligible.

The problem is the attitudes towards guns. The gun manufacturers who fund the NRA shameless play on fear, assuring one and all through their deadly little lobby that guns are an American’s only hope to defend against blacks, Hispanics, Jews, Obama, Commies, Socialists, criminals, crazies, kids wearing hoodies, rival sports team fans, whatever.

Society is scary. Guns make it less scary.

Guns can solve your social problems.

It’s what informs those lunatic “stand your ground” laws. The message is clear enough: your right to use guns against whatever frightens you is far more important than any actual violence. We can all be Charlton Heston, who could kill the bad guys on screen and never face repercussions. Justice comes too late for you to save yourself. You must kill first.

After all, there are many criminals out there who kill.

It isn’t the screen glorification of violence that does it. After all, they watch the same movies and play the same video games in the UK and Canada. They read the same news about mass shootings in America, and less frequently, at home. They don’t run out and buy a bunch of guns because their NRA meeting talked about home invasion, or the President is black.

We’ll never know what went through the head of the Newtown shooter other than police bullets. Maybe he was mad at mom and thought he would make her feel bad. Maybe it was because of the election. Or maybe his goddamn dog told him those kids were possessed by Satan. But he knew this: guns could solve his problems. He might have been so screwed up he looked at children at play and saw the old ones of Cthulhu, but he knew what the all-American answer was. Guns. And big powerful ones, judging from the carnage.

“Well, you know, they are just a bunch of American kids. They’d have gotten shot sooner or later, so why is everyone so excited?”

Hey, no problem. Just start issuing school kids guns, so they are in a position to return fire.

After all, an armed society is a polite society, right?

Sleep tight, keep your gun close by. After all, there’s probably a lunatic with a bunch of guns in your neighborhood.

It might even be you, one day.

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Not dead, in jail or a slave? Thank a liberal!

E-surrection

E-surrection

Watt miracle is this?

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 11, 2012

A couple of weeks ago, it was a Saturday, and my wife decided to sleep in. I was up, writing, and heard her alarm going off. She keeps the alarm in the living room, where it’s harder for her to reach out and just slap it off. I went into the bedroom, where she gave me a sleepy glower and said, “Go and slap that goddamn thing off, would you?” When it comes to alarm clocks, she’s just a little ray of sunshine.

So I did, and immediately became aware of a fairly loud electric hum. Or buzz.

The house is nearly 120 years old, and we updated a fair bit of the wiring when we moved in twenty years ago so we could plug in our computers and color TVs and whatnot without burning the place down. The electrics in the place dated from the 30s and 40s, and there was a fair bit of dodgy amateur work that had to be removed. But the front part of the living room hadn’t been done. There was only one outlet there, and it powered the CO alarm and a single lamp.

Still, a loud electric buzz was cause for alarm, even if I couldn’t immediately see any reason for it. I walked back, listening carefully. The sound was coming from the very front of the “mud room” area, the area in a corner behind the front door that had corner shelving and was our designated junk shelf area; it’s where various tools and stuff for the car and discarded tape players that we were too lazy to haul to the junkyard and such-like live.

The sound was definitely coming from there.

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Odds and Gods

Odds and Gods

Momma Nature is gonna spank little baby

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

December 8, 2012

The Climate Change conference is taking place right now in Qatar, a ludicrous choice since Qatar has the highest per capita emissions of CO2 in the world.

Adding to the general air of clownishness that surrounds this meeting is the fact that Senator Inhofe and Lord Monckton showed up—two of the biggest fools the denier community has. Inhofe wanted the world to know it wasn’t hot and dry in Oklahoma, and Monckton tried to claim he was the representative from Burma and actually managed to address the meeting before the ruse was discovered and he was kicked out of the country.

In the meantime, some of the details of the IPCC’s next comprehensive report leaked out. It’s a pretty terrifying report. Climate Change will reach catastrophic levels by 2050, 37 years away. That’s pretty bad. But the IPCC does not address the billions of tons of methane that will be released as the permafrost in Siberia and Canada melt. This is not a projected problem—it’s been going on for twenty years now, and is one of the main reasons why the rate of climate change keeps exceeding scientific predictions.

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