Three Ounces Of Shampoo And 10,000 Rounds Of Ammunition

Ed Raymond

We keep hearing that the November 6th election provides the American people with a real choice of ideologies. A short letter to the Star Tribune editor about the Minneapolis shooting at Accent Signage resulting in carnage for at least nine families put the choice this way: “Why is it that I am a danger to society if I carry more than three ounces of shampoo on a flight, but it’s OK to buy 10,000 rounds of ammunition?” This one sentence outlines just one aspect of the complex questions voters must ponder before selecting one political ideology over another.
   In a country where 312 million people have access to about 300 million firearms, should we allow a citizen with obvious mental problems recognized by his parents, relatives, and friends to purchase a Glock and 10,000 rounds of ammo? For personal use? At the same time, should we spend billions of dollars to screen passengers to keep terrorists and other miscreants from boarding airplanes? That citizen with the Glock and his 10,000 rounds can be in his “castle” surrounded by citizens, but he can’t board an airplane with his Glock and ammunition and sit with 200 innocent jet passengers?

Politicians And Hot Air

  A New Yorker cartoon says a lot about today’s politicians. An assistant to a talk show host is explaining to the radio guy about the politician collapsing into a small heap before his very eyes: “All I did was remove his flag pin!”
  In their absolute dedication to making President Barack Obama a one-term president, the Republicans have proved they are willing to let the country slide into the third world. While the income inequality gap widens to extreme chasms, we have puppy palaces in major cities where the dogs of the super rich are treated with gourmet beef-flavored treats costing $30 a pound. Manhattan alone has four locations of Spot, a full-service dog concierge operation that provides dog shuttle service, walkings, grooming, overnight sleeping accommodations, and healthy dog menus. Spot services are advertised as dog “Montessoris” (like the human elementary schools) where dogs are treated for aggression, biting, and barking. All Spot employees go through 80 hours of concentrated training in dog psychology and emotional well-being for Fido.
   If Fido doesn’t act like Farquhar P. Rockefeller III, Spot facilities offer a training boot camp at a 13-acre estate in upstate New York for errant dogs with loose manners, bowels, and barking. Bad dogs are enrolled in doggy kindergarten programs for only $1,800 a week. Spot provides webcams in all training facilities so super-rich owners can stay in touch with the progress of their dogs. The average cost for “good” dogs runs about $1,000 a month in Spot facilities, but costs can skyrocket quickly: a half-hour walk costs $16.20, an overnight in the country runs $120, and dog beds for naps can be purchased for several hundred dollars.

While The Dogs Of
The Wealthy Luxuriate...

   Next to these dog spas in Manhattan we have public schools that have leaky roofs only when it rains. The helicopters from the Hamptons fly over those ghetto schools on their way downtown for luncheon appointments. While the public schools have 40 to 45 students per class, Wall Street banksters pay $50,000 a year for private kindergarten tuition. While Farquhar P. Mutt has private concierge health care, recreational facilities, nutritional meals, and special ed dog programs for the physically and mentally handicapped, one out of every five American children lives in poverty. While we hear the mantra that the United States is the wealthiest country in the world, bar none, with the best health care in the world, bar none, we have the highest child poverty rate in the entire industrialized world—except for Romania. The Department of Agriculture estimates that it now takes $295,560 to raise a child from birth to age 18 by a middle-class family. In 18 years, a family of four at the poverty level ($22,314) will make $401,652 in 18 years, but their two kids will cost them $591,120 to raise to middle-class standards. That does not compute well.
    Along with poverty levels, we are near the bottom in three other categories: material well-being, health, and education. Since George W. Bush took office in 2001, the U.S. poverty rate jumped 33 percent in the next decade, from 11.3 to 15 percent. The median wealth (assets) for single black and Hispanic women is an absolutely shocking $100! Single white women have only $41,500. Poor white women are dying four years earlier now than 20 years ago.
   While Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale, and Princeton have $50,000-a-year tuition and billions of dollars in endowments and other funds, only 38 percent of total U.S. college expenses come from public funding for public colleges and universities. Our European and Asian higher ed competitors average 70 percent public funding. Some offer free tuition, while U.S. students borrow tens of thousands of dollars to attend public colleges.
    Thirty years of Reagan-Bush greed allowed the vulture capitalism growth of U.S. economic conservatives to have at least $12.8 trillion of U.S. untaxed revenue sitting in tax havens around the world—just waiting to be sneaked back into this country. The U.S. tax loss on this money amounts to about $300 billion a year. $300 billion would put a lot of people to work on replacing aging infrastructure, building 21st-century schools, and developing educational programs. A vote for Republicans is a vote for overseas tax havens and this tax policy.

Other Votes,
Other Choices

   The Supreme Court is examining affirmative action programs to see if it is necessary to continue programs that help minorities attach some straps to their worn-out boots. Republicans say that affirmative action is no longer needed, that racial discrimination has ended in the U.S. If that is true, why does the GOP Facebook of the Mecklenberg County, Virginia Republican Party display pictures of President Obama as a black witch doctor, a caveman, and a drug dealer? The chairman of the county GOP explained it this way: “We know our regular readers, who are good conservatives. They’re gonna get a kick out of it.”
   Some Tea Party groups actually have the budget deficit and total U. S. debt in mind as a policy argument, but Southern Tea Party groups often are just Ku Klux Klan subsidiaries. Here are a few quotes gathered from Tea Party groups by the Washington Post:
(1) “Obama needs to go back to Africa with the rest of the coons! He’s nothing but a jigaboo and spear chucker!”
(2) A cartoon of Obama shows him holding a Welch’s grape soda can and wearing heavy jewelry and baseball cap with the caption: “Where are all the white wimmin at?” Readers responded, “There should be a watermelon and chicken farm in back!”
(3) Rhetoric directed at Michelle Obama: “Chilin wit Moochelle Obamaa. Barry is a good man, He gave Moochelle chitlins and peanut butter for breakfast.” Another response: “You forgot to pry the piece of chicken or watermelon out of Moochelle’s mouth.”
(4) A 21-year-old Miami college student’s Feb. 21 posting on Internet: “Who wants to help assassinate Obummer while he’s at UM this week? Get ur phones out... cause at any moment im gonna put a bullet through the head and u don’t want to miss that!”
   If you think people are just “havin’ good fun” and we don’t need to continue to fight racism in this country, vote Republican.

Politics And
The Religious Scam

    Economic “conservatives” have only one religion, golden shekels, but they have scammed the Catholic Church hierarchy and protestant Bible Thumpers into supporting and voting Republican by exploiting their pro-life stance. This “economic” branch of the Republican Party couldn’t care less about pro-life policies. Look at what the Republicans do to programs such as Head Start, nutrition, pre-natal and post-natal care, family leave, and preschool after those precious babies have been born. Shake heads and vote “NO!”
   Democrats believe in the freedom of women making choices about abortion in consultation with doctors and family members. Although it has been proven that free birth control leads to a reduction in abortions, Republicans continue to oppose Obamacare, which has a requirement that contraceptives be a paid part of health care programs—just like Viagra. “The Flipper” Mitt Romney is even opposed to rape victims getting abortions—at least, that was last week. Mitt has the most flexible political spine in the history of the republic. If elected, I wonder if he will get the whole thing fused so he can stand for the inauguration—or will he leave 47 percent of his spine flexible?
  If you believe that a “person” exists in the egg as soon as the sperm penetrates, and that a woman should carry the fetus for nine months regardless of circumstance, medical condition, and crimes connected with the pregnancy, vote Republican. Even if Jesus Christ said nothing about abortion.

Let’s Not Forget That
God Created Gays,
Lesbians, Bisexuals,
The Rest Of Us
Troubled Humans

   We ignorant humans have not been able to discover why our cells, DNA, and genes have created attractions for hairy men to really love hairy men and beautiful women to really love beautiful women. Heck, we still haven’t figured out much about why hairy men really love beautiful women, why boys born in boy bodies really love to be girls and vice versa, and why humans will go through dozens of physical operations to accomplish what their brain tells them they really are.
   If you are a Catholic bishop or Bible Thumper and believe the Bible where it says God sneaks a peek in the womb of every pregnant woman—well, isn’t that a sort of “Good Housekeeping” seal of His approval? What about the millions of miscarriages? Are these God’s rejections? What makes you think you know more than God?
  Minnesota Republicans forced the Same Sex Marriage Amendment on the Nov. 6th ballot in their total ignorance of human relationships. The evangelicals shouldn’t be gloating either. They have the highest divorce rate in the United States of any “religious” group. Why do they “asunder” more than any other sect? And the poor medieval Catholic bishops are still caught up with their Inquisitions! The second largest religious group in the U.S. is Catholics who have left the Church. Even Catholics who remain with the Church have exactly the same ratio of beliefs in contraceptives and abortions as normal folks. Get real.
    I thought Bernie Erickson’s recent letter to the Fargo Forum editor was the best explanation about gay marriage I have seen in months. Bernie’s summary of what will not happen if voters approve the amendment:

1. Better living conditions for Minnesota kids.
2. Reduction of the divorce rate and domestic violence among straights.
3. Employer benefits increased.
4. Your church will be forced to conduct same sex marriages.
5. Gays will stop sharing their lives and long-term relationships.
    I guess those who approve the amendment banning same-sex marriage would agree to follow all of these “Biblical” statements about marriage:
1. Marriages should be arranged and be in the same faith.
2. The wife’s virginity must be checked and she should be subordinate to her husband.
3. If a woman’s husband dies without having a son, she must marry his brother.
    If you believe that marriage can be only between a man and a woman, vote yes on the  marriage amendment.