How a Lack of Power and Guns Go Together

How a Lack of Power and Guns Go Together

The NRA’s brief moment of sanity is over. On Tuesday, the gun group apologized for a statement published on its website that called gun rights protesters in Texas “weird” and “scary.” That statement, which the NRA put out last Friday, came after gun activists in the Lone Star State brought assault rifles into busy restaurants and stores to show off their "open carry rights." For a moment there, it looked like Wayne LaPierre and company were actually being reasonable. But yesterday, the NRA’s director of legislative action, Chris Cox, called back his group’s statement, saying that it wasn’t the NRA’s job to “criticize the lawful behavior of fellow gun owners.”

Since Cox made that apology, there’s been a lot of talk on the progressive side of things about how the NRA can’t escape the influence of the more radical parts of the gun movement - the people who, for whatever reason, want to bring an AR-15 to Chipotle. And while that’s an important discussion to have, it misses the bigger question: Why would anyone feel the need bring an AR-15 to Chipotle in the first place?

The obvious answer is that America is a gun-obsessed country with a frontier history and that open carry activists are just a small, but vocal, part of a much bigger subculture. But I think it goes deeper than that. Just saying that open carry activists are a symptom of American gun culture doesn’t tells us why they’ve picked right now, the spring of 2014, to protest.

I think this has everything to do with the economy and the destruction of the middle class. For the past thirty-three years, Reaganomics has blown a whole right through the heart of the American dream. Wealthy inequality is near Banana Republic levels, unionization it as at an all-time low, and the American middle class is now the smallest it’s been in decades.

The foundation of our society has been torn apart and people are desperate to get some control over their lives in an otherwise chaotic society. The recession and the fact that the Republican Party - since their sabotage conspiracy at the Caucus Room restaurant on January 20, 2009 - has blocked any efforts by Obama to fix the economy since then have only made things worse.

And so people who feel helpless, disempowered, and impotent, particularly men, turn to guns. When everything else is falling around you, the bills are stacking up and your job won’t pay, a gun can make you feel strong. After all, it gives you ultimate power - the power over life and death.

We really shouldn’t be that surprised. Our society tells young men from the moment they’re born that they’re real men only when they stake their claim and get a job that provides for them and their family. We expect them to be stoic and strong in the face of danger and we expect them to stand up for themselves when they’re threatened. But the dangers we face today in Reaganomics America are difficult to put your finger on.

With Republicans controlling the House outright and controlling the Senate with the filibuster, Obama can’t "fight" unemployment - and neither can these individuals. They can’t "punch" rising healthcare costs. Guns, because they’re physical things, give some people the chance to feel like they have some sort of control over their life and the world around them.

After all, who’s more of an independent man than the guy who can waltz into any store and command attention because he’s got an AR-15 slung across his back? He’s like a modern day gunslinger. I know in the past I've made fun of some people in the gun rights movement by calling them members of the “Small Penis Gun Club,” but this is serious stuff. Just take a look across the pond and you’ll see why. In Europe, a crappy economy has given rise to a whole new movement of far-right nationalist groups, many of whom have no qualms with calling Hitler a hero and who put weapons and violence at the core of their political theology.

America doesn’t have quite the same history of fascism as Europe does (although you could argue the Jim Crow era was fascistic), but make no mistake about it: the people joining up with Golden Dawn to attack immigrants in the streets of Athens are driven by the same emotions as the people who waltz into Chipotle carrying an assault rifle.

Until the economy gets better, more and more people will hold up their guns as a way to feel powerful in a society that renders them powerless. This is just a fact. That’s why it's time to turn our back on the 33-year experiment of Reaganomics and bring back an economy that works. Only then will these men stop feeling so desperate, frightened, and disempowered that they carry assault rifles in public.

Comments

ChicagoMatt 21 weeks 16 hours ago
#1
Why would anyone feel the need bring an AR-15 to Chipotle in the first place?
That's easy. They want attention. Anyone with children knows that if that child is doing something obnoxious, they just want someone to pay attention to them. And it's working. Who would be talking about these people otherwise?

Our society tells young men from the moment they’re born that they’re real men only when they stake their claim and get a job that provides for them and their family.

This brings up an interesting point. Our society also tells boys that it isn't ok to settle their problems with fighting. But is that really fair? If testosterone compels men to throw a punch (or own a gun), and we tell boys from an early age that punching is wrong, why don't we do the same for girls? If a girl is playing with a doll or seems to be drawn towards nurturing her younger siblings, why don't we tell her to stop? It sounds stupid, but isn't it equally as stupid to ask boys to stop doing what their bodies and hormones are urging them to do?

Telling teenage boys to stop being violent is like asking teenage girls to stop having sex. How successful has that been? It's ironic and unfair that the most progressive school districts will hand out condoms and teach girls about safe sex, but won't even consider a field trip to a gun range for the boys.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 21 weeks 13 hours ago
#2

Matt- So you think it's stupid to tell boys not to throw punches at people! Testosterone is no excuse for violent, socially unacceptable behavior. I don't give a flip what their "bodies & hormones" are "telling them"; they need to learn to handle conflict in a civilized manner. They've no right to put their hands on someone without an invitation, especially when the intent is to do harm. That is WAY over the line. Testosterone is no excuse for bullying.

And what's that got to do with "nurturing" behavior anyway?! Nurturing isn't harmful. Punching is. And in case you haven't noticed, girls can be violent too.

You've made another silly assertion: "Telling teenage boys to stop being violent is like asking teenage girls to stop having sex." Unless those girls are lesbians, they're not engaging in sexual activity without boys' equal participation. Seems to me that sexual behavior is an issue for ALL teenagers, not just girls.

Matt, your notions about gender are a little (AHEM) old-fashioned. AND presumptuous. Not all boys are interested in guns; some couldn't care less about guns. Yet you insist that all boys should be required to visit shooting ranges. Since when did machismo become mandatory? And not all girls have any use for dolls either.

Stop compartmentalizing people! - AIW

ScottFromOz 21 weeks 12 hours ago
#3

Absolutely spot ot Thom. Here in Australia, we responded to a massacre at Port Arthur by getting the guns off the street in one way or another. It is the only thing John Howard got right. Now however, the powerless in our society have what I call "weapon dogs". These are the staffordshire and bull terriers. They are very strong and aggressive dogs, often found in fighting rings. From time to time, these dogs end up savaging people and it's especially galling when small children are attacked.

But you are right Thom. When people feel powerless, they will seek some way to address that feeling, whether it is a gun or a weapon dog. The really bad part is that the people who feel powerless, take out their frustrations and anger on the wrong people. They tend to hurt others of the same social strata as themselves rather than those who have actually CAUSED the problems; the very rich, the politicians and the corporations.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 21 weeks 12 hours ago
#4

ChicagoMatt and Aliceinwonderland ~ I don't think boys tend to fight anymore than girls do. Sociological studies show some African tribes where the woman is the warrior and hunter and the man stays home, cooks and makes cloths. The roles are completely reversed and that is the norm. There is nothing innate about behavioral development. Boys in our society tend to fight because they are taught to do so by their parents, TELEVISION, and their peers. Girls likewise learn to play with dolls, wear dresses, and cook in the same way. Although children may have an innate sense of right and wrong, everything else is learned.

Further studies have shown that human children are some of the least instinctual animals in the entire animal kingdom--having to learn virtually everything about survival virtually through their entire childhood. During this period they are completely dependent on their parents. In comparison a infant chimpanzee is a genius.

The fixation and phallusation of guns is a trait that is learned at a very young age the same way young girls are taught to fixate on shoes. Remember, we as a society simply don't shield our children from exposure to violence the same way we do exposure to sex. Therefore, they pick up on it and identify with it quite regularly. In essence we teach them how to fight before we teach them how to make love. I think this poor quality of child rearing is a glaring factor behind the phenomena that Thom is talking about.

As far as sex is concerned, as I recall it has always been the man who was responsible and expected to initiate the gesture. As I also recall, neither sex had a problem with the desire for sex; however, girls were usually taught that it was their job to just say "no."

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 21 weeks 11 hours ago
#5

Excellent points, Marc.

I'd just like to add how crazy it is, that we shield kids from sex so much more than from violence. How ironic is that?! Creating life is more taboo than damaging or destroying it?!! What does that tell us about our culture? And as if that wasn't crazy enough, we have all these nincompoops declaring themselves "Pro-Life".

"Coo-coo. Coo-coo. Coo-coo. Coo-coo...." as in LOONEY TUNES! - AIW

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 21 weeks 11 hours ago
#6

Well, there's the old saying that (put simply, if crudely), men need guns when they don't have balls. That said -- We're just seeing the inevitable consequences of the Culture of Dumb that took hold with the Reagan era; anti-education, unquestioning obedience, coerced comformity, etc. What has been so bizarre about recent decades is the fact that, every step of the way -- from Reagan's deregulation to Clinton's NAFTA/welfare "reform" and workfare replacement labor -- the middle class has embraced the very policies that are so successfully phasing them out. Maybe it's for the best, in the long run. This generation looked at the policies and programs that were in place from FDR to Reagan, which took the US to it's height of wealth and productivity, and decided to reverse course, doing just the opposite. The results were entirely predictable. There's really nothing we can do about it at this point. Those who don't grasp what has happened feel cheated and panicked, and they cling to their guns in a desperate effort to give themselves a sense of power and relevance.

SHFabian's picture
SHFabian 21 weeks 11 hours ago
#7

I think it's always been this way. Consider that those at the very bottom of our social pecking order are single mothers -- the women who accepted their responsibilities for their children to the best of their abilities, as opposed to all those single fathers who merely walked away from their own sons and daughters, not wishing to be "burdened."

ChicagoMatt 21 weeks 11 hours ago
#8
I'd just like to add how crazy it is, that we shield kids from sex so much more than from violence. How ironic is that?! Creating life is more taboo than damaging or destroying it?!!

That's kind of the point I was trying to make, I think. If we were more open and instructional with guns the way that we are with sex ed now, the "taboo" factor would go away. It'd be like, "Wow. That person has a gun. So what." Sort of like sexual situations on TV now don't even phase us anymore, because we've been so exposed to it.

Marc - In my child development graduate classes, which I took in the mid to late 2000s, we learned that there is a lot of backlash and rethinking of the "gender roles are societal, not instinctual" studies of the 60s, to which I think you are refering. There are a plethora of studies and books out there now that claim, in a gender-neutral vacuum, boys will still end up more agressive, and girls more nurturing.

One anecdote I remember in particular was a study where a group of 3-year-old children who had been raised as gender-role-neutral as possible were given traditional boy and girls toys to play with. The result? The girls took the toy cars and tucked them into beds like they were children, and the boys took the dolls, built towers out of blocks, and pretended like the dolls were monsters, knocking over the towers.

I'm going to see if I can find some of those studies online now. Next time you're at a bookstore, check out the parenting section and see how many books are about raising boys to celebrate their masculinity.

ChicagoMatt 21 weeks 11 hours ago
#9
This generation looked at the policies and programs that were in place from FDR to Reagan, which took the US to it's height of wealth and productivity, and decided to reverse course, doing just the opposite. The results were entirely predictable. There's really nothing we can do about it at this point. Those who don't grasp what has happened feel cheated and panicked, and they cling to their guns in a desperate effort to give themselves a sense of power and relevance.

I'm going to say something that will piss off just about everyone on here, as if I haven't already. It may be something you've heard before too, but your quote here brought it to mind. It has been my experience, as a 30-something guy, that "this generation" (people younger than the baby-boomers) have been hearing their entire lives how great things were in the 50s and 60s, and how much things suck now. Then, when we're looking for people to blame, we point to the baby boomers and the 60s counter-culture in particular. Hippies, "free love", Vietnam protests, etc - that's the moment when things started going downhill. For all of the crap conservatives get for being "all about me, me, me"... look at those people - the baby boomers who, in their teens and 20s, went totally hedonistic and didn't think of the consequences. "I want to smoke whatever I want, sleep with whoever I want, not worry about the future, and expect all of my needs to be provided by the government."

How many of you on this blog are baby boomers who want the economy of the 50s and 60s, but the social freedoms of today? Doesn't that seem like you're cherry-picking the parts of society that you like? Do you see how younger people might look at the 60s counter-culture as a failure, and its members as self-centered? You all like to pinpoint Reagan and the conservative movement of the 80s as the turning point, but wasn't that just a reaction to the liberal movements of 10 years earlier?

Ok, I'm not verbalizing that as well as I intend to. But I'm going to post it anyway. Bash away...

There's really nothing we can do about it at this point.

On this we agree. It is what it is. The best thing you can do is, as an individual, try to take care of yourself.

DrRichard 21 weeks 10 hours ago
#10

Makes sense. Add a Black president with a Muslim sounding name, and the general feeling that America is no longer run by heterosexual white men (and race is what those on the bottom fall back on when they have nothing else to show). Throw in the ridiculous right wing perception that president's a weak Socialist (i.e. "Commie" to the uneducated), mix with a constant barrage of lies and paranoia from Fox and those far beyond it. And finally toss with a longstanding antipathy against "Eastern liberal elites" such as Palin has used, It's no surprise that what comes out is violent and unstable.

And you're right about Reagan; his Big Lie was that he'd bring back "the good old days." But, like Bush's lies about Iraq, those who bought in would rather blame somebody else than admit they were fooled, or go face the con man who fooled them. Again, getting scared and angry people even more whipped up is exactly what the "leaders" of the right do well. And if some of them go from figuratively to literally brandishing a weapon...well, they can say it's not their fault.

DrRichard 21 weeks 10 hours ago
#11

ChicagoMatt, There's something to what you say, though the Hippies were pretty small in numbers and the anti-war movement became quite large across many different demographics. I'm not sure the '60s was such a failure; women's rights, minority rights, consumer rights, open discussions about sex, child abuse, substance abuse, plus men and women breaking out of stereotypes, the start of the environmental movement, some realistic looks at when governments were lying were all positives after the narrow '50s, and let's not forget bright clothes and very good music.

Cherry pick? Sure, why not? It was a fun, much more positive period. But you are right, we Boomers could have done more, but maybe some of that is happening now--gay rights and a possible end in site to the ridiculous "war on drugs" are at least in part linked to that period (Boomers have more control today). As for Reagan, etc. being a reaction...yes, the Powell Memo of 1971 gets into that. So was the election of the miserable Nixon, though he did himself in. But I'm just sorry we didn't wake up to the poison earlier. Not all of us were making money in the '70s and '80s (I sure wasn't) but we were too distracted to catch the spread of the rot below the surface.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 21 weeks 10 hours ago
#12

The "crappy economy" in Europe is still enriching, at everyone elses expense, a few billionaires, just like our crappy economy does. It's a winner take all economic theory called under regulated capitalism....and it's the problem, a problem Reagan put on steroids.

Reagan's trickle-down bull was just another lame justification for stealing massive amounts of wealth from the working class. One legacy of this recent bankster/billionaire crimewave is a pissed off group of misinformed and gun-toting citizens.

Time is running out. The shockingly evil crime of trickle down capitalism has to be stopped with progressive political change now. If not we're going to see a very ugly and confused situation advance and explode in the streets. How can it not?

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 21 weeks 10 hours ago
#13

The recent Bergdahl swap has got the Republican noise machine claiming that it was illegal and a horrible thing to have done. After-all, they claim, he went awol and may have been the cause of the deaths of a few American fellow soldiers who went looking for him. Maybe our response should be that the Republicans, even now, will not own up to what their "Saint" Raygun did when he traded weapons to Iran for hostages. How many of those weapons were used to kill Americans, eventually? And what about all of the weapons that American corporations have sold to these countries since?

Bergdahl is no traitor...he's a hero! He acted out of conviction when he came to realize that he was lied to about why he was over there and what they were actually doing over there. Killing civilians...lots of them! That's enough to turn any honest man's stomach...any man with a conscience anyway.

But obviously, the men he had to work with, or for, over there were heartless, jingoist murderers. Those murderers in American uniforms are not patriots. They are the psychopathic cowards who deserve to be tried for war crimes right along with the cowardly politicians, military officers, and American xenophobic citizens who go along with the mass murder of civilians in the countries their military have illegally invaded and occupied.

ahthetruth's picture
ahthetruth 21 weeks 9 hours ago
#14

AIW -

So glad you brought up testosterone! From Ohio to Nigeria, it's testosterone run amok. I am not a male human so cannot truly understand the compelling nature of this hormone. I can, however, observe our culture of male-directed advertising, titillating scenes in movies, books and video games, as well as, female street fashion to understand that the goal is arousal. The apparent formula is arousal = sales, no matter the product. So, okay - the product is purchased, but the arousal is not abated. Our society is woefully negligent when teaching our males about controlling this response. Seems to me the subliminal message is to "poke it anywhere desired" or get a gun if denied. Our male-dominated society appears incapable of a 3-dimensional conversation regarding control and restraint of the effects of testosterone. Female voices carry less validity in this dialogue. It must be men that finally address this scourge within their ranks. "Control is cool!"

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 21 weeks 9 hours ago
#15

Thank you, "ahthetruth". Interesting perspective! "Scourge" is the word for it. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 21 weeks 9 hours ago
#16

SHFabian says those at the bottom of our social pecking order are single mothers, "the women who accepted their responsibilities for their children to the best of their abilities, as opposed to all those single fathers who merely walked away from their own sons and daughters, not wishing to be 'burdened'." Ain't that the truth!! And thanks for acknowledging it.

This is why, when it comes to abortion, I will tolerate only the comments and assertions of women who are opposed to it. However I will not listen to a man who is so opposed. Because in my opinion, abortion and childbirth are OUR domain, and ours exclusively. Besides, it is so easy for a man to simply bail, never to be seen or heard from again. Not to mention all the consequences he is automatically spared, by virtue of gender alone.

I realize this is getting way off the topic Thom has brought up. For that I apologize. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 21 weeks 9 hours ago
#17

Matt, I appreciate what you have shared about studies & books regarding matters of gender. When viewed through a scientific lens, gender is actually more complex than most people seem to realize. There is quite a diverse range within the two genders, having much to do with the hormonal cocktail we are exposed to before birth. All babies receive a dose of hormones from both genders in utero, and this varies quite a bit among individuals. For example, some girls receive higher doses of testosterone than others while still in the womb. Conversely, some baby boys get a bigger dose of estrogen than others of their gender. This affects the personality and temperament of each child for the rest of her (or his) life.

Since learning of this phenomenon, I've suspected that I am one of those high-testosterone females. Growing up, I was a rough-and-tumble sort of kid who much preferred boys as companions, as they were more inclined to enjoy the same sorts of activities I enjoyed. I was athletic and very physical, and could outrun and outclimb most boys. Girls often harassed and ostracized me for dressing, walking, acting "like a boy". I hated being put in situations where I was in the exclusive company of girls, for this very reason. Summercamp, in particular, could be a real test of endurance for me. Boys were more inclined to share my sense of humor as well as my choice of activities. I never liked dolls as toys and never played "mommy", even in earliest childhood.

This all went on way before puberty, so it's is not about sexual attraction or preferences.

My main point here is to illustrate that gender isn't all black & white. There's many shades of gray. And I'd like to also point out that not all "masculine" females or "feminine" males are gay, while many homosexuals of either gender still conform to what is considered typical of their genders; in temperament, personality, aptitudes and interests.

From my perspective, diversity is the spice of life. It keeps life interesting. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 21 weeks 7 hours ago
#18
Quote ChicagoMatt:Then, when we're looking for people to blame, we point to the baby boomers and the 60s counter-culture in particular.

ChicagoMatt ~ Unless you were there you really don't know what you are talking about. That being said, you're right! The boomers are at fault for all the problems that not only exist now in the US; but, the rest of the world as well.

Why? Not because of the counter-culture movement, or the anti-war movement, or hippies, or drugs, or free love. That was the best part of those times. That was the best our generation achieved. That was also far more than anything 'productive' that I have ever seen come out of your whinny little generation. We are at fault because we had a moment when we had the establishment on the ropes and we let up. We got selfish--just like you are--and accepted the end of the Vietnam War like that was what the only problem the counter-culture had to solve. We fell for it. We dropped the ball. We made Ronald Wilson (666) Reagan and the '80's possible with our complacency.

The reason? We were burned out. You have no idea what that struggle was like! You haven't a clue what Vietnam was like; or the draft! You've never had to fight for your life in the streets without the support of your family, neighbors, teachers or your police. You've never been beaten bloody senseless and arrested and blamed for it, just for having an opinion. You haven't been snatched out of your home and shipped off to kill strangers in a strange land or die trying. My generation saw exactly what the current cabal that controls this country is fully capable of doing and let them go free. Now it's your problem and you don't even have a clue as to what you are really up against. Denial isn't just a river in Egypt.

So go ahead and dig down, point fingers, call names, shout insults, state pointless accusations, make faces because to me and my fellow baby boomers you look pretty clueless. I have to laugh because I know that you, your kids, and your kids kids have inherited the same problem we did; and, now it is far more dug in and powerful than it every was. You guys are far more duped than we ever were too. So just keep that little smirk on your face when the chickens come home to roost at your front door. I can't wait to see how you guys handle this cabal. I can't wait to see how you do what we failed to do. As Thom himself so eloquently says at the end of each and every one of his shows... "Tag buddy! Your IT!!"

Soon it will all be your fault.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 21 weeks 3 hours ago
#19

Hot damn, Marc, you've coughed up some mighty insightful posts lately. What'cha been smokin' (or drinking or poppin')? You're on a roll this week, my friend. I tip my hat to ya.

Reading your #10 post, Matt, I'm not pissed off. I just don't give a rat's ass. Sorry to disappoint. I just can't get that worked up over the opinions of the young and the clueless. It's not that important to me, what today's teenie boppers and junior start-ups think of my generation. Like Marc has asserted so eloquently, you guys weren't there. You don't know what you're talking about; you only think you do. Your opinions don't matter, to anyone but your whiney selves.

The only thing that was great about the fifties and sixties was the economy. The majority of the working class in America never had it so good, before or since. Beyond that, it was rife with conflict and chaos. Riots, assassinations, racial strife, the Vietnam War… We boomers had our own crosses to bear. We countered all that shit with a mini renaissance of art, poetry and music. We painted our faces and danced in the streets. We questioned authority, spoke truth to power, broke taboos and re-invented ourselves. We protested the war en masse, burned draft cards, said "Hell no, we won't go!" and gave Uncle Sam the middle-finger salute. Some were forced to leave the country, to avoid getting sucked into Uncle Sam's war machine. Many of us took psychedelics, smoked lots and lots of pot. In my teens and twenties, I occupied the epicenter of all that, living in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'd grown up in Oakland. The Unitarian Church my family attended was right next door to Cal Berkeley, on Bankroft & Dana. Against the backdrop of the Cold War, the Vietnam War, endless civil unrest, all that chaos and ugliness and death, we boomers celebrated life. Looking back, I have few regrets. I offer no apologies for any of it.

Like Marc has pointed out, our biggest mistake was dropping the ball, becoming complacent in middle age. Many hippies sold out and became yuppies, cashing in on the new high-tech boom... By then it was the 1980s, the decade of the so-called "New Age" movement. What a crock. This counter-cultural transition was vividly represented in the music we listened to at that time. The marvelously innovative, diverse music of the sixties gave way to the dull thump of disco, followed by the mind-numbing redundancy of New Age music in all its insipid glory. Yeah, the thrill was gone. I guess everyone was pretty burnt out by then, after all that social upheaval and so forth. I was living in Santa Cruz by the early '80s, with my soon-to-be husband. I could scarcely believe the self-absorbed, elitest, pompous assholes there were, all around us, chanting "Ommmmm" in their little hot tubs as if in a collective trance, carrying on like their shit didn't stink with so much pretentious, psuedo-spiritual fucking nonsense. As Ray-gun launched his vicious assault against us, dismantling everything that had provided any semblance of stability in our lives, we boomers were already asleep at the wheel, meditating and chanting into oblivion. That's my one big regret. We're paying dearly for it now, with no end in sight.

Think you're special, Matt? You and those kids you're teaching and raising at home? Well I've got news for you. Thirty years down the road, if humans are still around by then, you'll have another generation of half-baked, know-nothing young smart asses looking down their noses at your generation, pointing the finger with the same disdain, the same old smug self-righteousness, blaming YOU for all the world's problems. Yep. Same old thing, generation after generation! 'Round and 'round it goes… So keep right on boomer-bashing if it makes your day. We all like to feel superior, don't we Matt? Whatever. - Aliceinwonderland

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 20 weeks 6 days ago
#20

Apropos to #19 ~ ChicagoMatt two other things you should know.

Back then we had something you don't--an honest media. Sure it was in black and white but it showed us what was really going on in the war and in the streets. Now, that is conveniently blacked out so that YOU are not too disturbed. In those days, on a daily basis, you would see birds eye footage of actual battle grounds in Vietnam. You would see dead victims from both sides lying in pools of their own blood, missing arms, legs and sometimes with the top of their heads blown off. Equally disturbing you would daily see on the scene footage of the carnage in our streets from the protest movement. You would see police in riot gear and batons use fire hoses and tear gas on unarmed teenagers. You would see blood soaked unconscious protesters being dragged by the hair into paddy wagons. You got to see three or more armed and helmeted police mercilessly beating an unarmed protester over the head with clubs until they were covered with blood. You just don't see that anymore Matt. They don't even show real protests anymore. However, if you did you would be a completely different person I assure you.

Finally I just have to say I have to hand it to the generation that came before us. What a mixed bag of nuts that was. They remind me a lot of your generation so you should listen up good. These people went through WWII and the Great Depression and survived. They were rugged and tough and came out of the experience feeling like winners. They were richly rewarded with some of the best opportunities and the highest paying jobs in the history of the world. They went through the sixties with us, fighting us all the way. No one hated hippies more than this bunch of losers. They supported the war unconditionally simply because they believed that the war was their governments effort to protect their privileged lifestyle. (More so because they knew that they were too old to have to worry about getting their hands dirty in it.) "This is the best country in the world," they would tell us. The single most beautiful irony of that entire era is that the government really didn't give a crap about these people. In fact, they hated them even more than they hated the hippies. What did they do? How did they repay their loyalty? Well the first chance they got they pulled the plug on these fat, disgusting, overpaid and overfed, self righteous morons and sent all their fancy jobs to.... to... No wait for it! WAIT FOR IT!!!

RIGHT OVER TO THE VERY ENEMY WE WERE ALLEGEDLY TRYING TO DEFEAT!! Now if that wasn't karma, I don't know what is. So be very careful what you say my friend. Ask not for whom the bell tolls, for it tolls for you.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 20 weeks 6 days ago
#21

Aliceinwonderland ~ Sorry I edited my post after you posted yours. Now they're out of sequece. If you hit the edit and save button again they will fall into the correct place. By the way, thanks for the compliment. It made my week.

Also, your posts have been on fire too. Good job! I particularly love that lost post. "So much smarter than us." Yep, that about says it all. lol

goat-on-a-stick's picture
goat-on-a-stick 20 weeks 6 days ago
#22

What a HORRIBLE thought! To first think that teenage girls are sex crazed, and then to link them with how "natural" that sex drive is with boys needing to use guns! When you try to place the sexes into prefabricated cubbyholes, you're no better than the older generations who cannot see that a person can be something other than what their sex stereotypically "should" do. When you also make huge inaccurate generalizations of entire genders, it's a kind of ignorance that reflects the horrible television raised society you claim to hate so much.

And that would be a correct description of irony.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 20 weeks 6 days ago
#23

Unlike the censored news from the main stream news media, I have often seen bloody scenes on the alternative news channels like RT, Al Jazeera, LinkTV, and FSTV. I would see the same clips of an atrocity caused by US military on main stream news media sans the gory scenes and modified comments that covered up the real story of US criminality. That's why some politicians are very uncomfortable with RT and other alternative media. I suspect they are trying to abolish them.

I often wonder if the government isn't behind the frequent censorship by interfering with the audio and video portions of the alternative media news shows. It used to be Russia, and other countries that had heavily censored news stories...now it is happening in the US.

Police Now Can Switch off iPhone Camera and Wi-Fi
http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/08/19/police-now-can-switch-off-iphone...

Maybe we all should start carrying little digital cameras, or old-style 35 mm cameras, or maybe even little spy cameras, with us and develop the film ourselves. All the cell phones do is track you wherever you go and allow for monitoring of everything you say, and to whom you say it, and give you brain cancer.

I hate cell phones except for when they are used to record police brutality. But if they can now block that, what good are they, really? If you really have to talk to someone...use a pay phone. People would object to having to wear a tracking device but having a cell phone effectively accomplishes the same thing.

Did you know that Homeland Security has less to do with preventing terrorist attacks than preventing people from going shopping? That's right! It's considered a terrorist act to prevent or delay people from spending their money...making merchants richer. I wonder if it is also considered a terrorist act to ask people to boycott certain goods?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 20 weeks 6 days ago
#24
Quote :Police Now Can Switch off iPhone Camera and Wi-Fi

Palindromedary ~ Well thank you Apple!! All I have to say is where there is a will there is a way; and, with the plethora of todays high tech gadgets I'm sure the kids today will plan ahead if they intend any mischief. If they don't, well, chances are the police will be caught off guard too. Personally, if I was a civil liberties lawyer I'd smell a nice profitable lawsuit.

One way or the other Apple will be made to pay for this outrage. If a lawyer doesn't get them, surely there falling sales will when their potential customers get wind of their intentionally faulty products. Personally, I hope they get hit from both sides. This really pisses me off.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 20 weeks 6 days ago
#25

Of course, if our government can play that game, as well as another game they've used to defeat other "repressive" governments from censoring the internet...ie: mobile telephone network in a suitcase...then we may have a chance to fight the injustice and repression in our own country.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/12/world/12internet.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

What the government spent $2 million to create, I suspect the rest of us can spend a few thousand to achieve the same thing. After all, we can now buy little spy drones for a couple of hundred dollars. Maybe we should all have those spy drones to capture videos of police brutality.
You can even get a pair of sun glasses that have a built in "POV ACG50 1080p HD Action Camera Eyewear and Webcam (Black)" for $150 at Amazon

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 20 weeks 6 days ago
#26

[Initially following Marc's #21 post, directed at Matt as an afterthought:] YEP! There you have it. Ain't karma great. Like a boomerang it circles around, soars waaay up, then back down again to hit you in the head. In that sanitized little psuedo reaity of faux fiction, you know-it-alls won't even see it coming 'til you get smacked with the same ugly reality as the generations before you. Chances are, the majority of you will spend the rest of your lives up to your eyeballs in debt. Oh well. But since you're so much smarter than us older folks, I'm sure you'll have no trouble adapting to indentured servitude while those billionaire welfare queens have the last laugh. - AIW

ChicagoMatt 20 weeks 5 days ago
#27

DrRichard - I do love 60s music. Except the Beatles. I don't see what the big deal is about them. I'm listening to Jefferson Airplane at the moment.

Not all of us were making money in the '70s and '80s (I sure wasn't) but we were too distracted to catch the spread of the rot below the surface.

That touches on another thing that righties like to bring up because it scares people my age: the looming burden that the baby boomers are going to put on social services as they age and retire. Every Social Security statement I get has to remind me that my retirement age is higher than my parents. Currently, according to them, I can start collecting full retirement when I am 67. I will not be surprised at all if they move that goalpost away from me when I get close to it. Which is why I am not counting on having it at all. I look at it like a tax, not like something I might actually benefit from some day. (But also, my father, both of my grandfathers, and all of my uncles died before making it to 60. So I've always got that in the back of my mind as well - now, in my mid-30s, I already have more yesterdays than tomorrows. I find it comforting for some reason.)

Public worker pensions are the same way. The message I keep getting is, "You have to pay now for promises politicians made to government workers years ago. Those workers are now retired, and there are a lot of them. So even though you're paying more and more, you're not getting any more services. Those politicians who made those promises are long gone. And, the real kicker, when your time comes, there probably won't be anything left for you. So good luck with that."

It's also interesting that you use the word "rot" in this context. That's something that both sides of the political aisle like to talk about - how rotten things are today. But that's all I've ever heard. And, like Alice who says she gets sick of hearing Conservatives talk about how inept the government is, I get sick of hearing about how things are worse today than they were in the past. So I focus on the positives, put a smile on my face, and do my best to be happy, if for no other reason than spite.

ChicagoMatt 20 weeks 5 days ago
#28
The shockingly evil crime of trickle down capitalism has to be stopped with progressive political change now. If not we're going to see a very ugly and confused situation advance and explode in the streets. How can it not?

How can it not? That's easy - not enough people are pissed off or paying attention. For every one person who is angry enough to protest, how many dozens more look for release and escape in more carnal pleasures? (Sex, drugs, booze, video games, etc...)

I think this is at least part of the reason for an easing of marijuana laws. Letting people get as high as they want, so they forget how crappy their lives are. And years down the road, when they are middle aged or close to retirement and have nothing to show for it, they will blame themselves and their own bad choices, not a system that was rigged against them from the start.

ChicagoMatt 20 weeks 5 days ago
#29
This is why, when it comes to abortion, I will tolerate only the comments and assertions of women who are opposed to it. However I will not listen to a man who is so opposed. Because in my opinion, abortion and childbirth are OUR domain, and ours exclusively. Besides, it is so easy for a man to simply bail, never to be seen or heard from again. Not to mention all the consequences he is automatically spared, by virtue of gender alone.

This sounds like that billionaire in California who got so much flack a few months ago for claiming that the votes of the rich should count for more than the votes of the poor, since the rich are paying for a disproportionate amount of the government. Why not apply this logic to everything: If it doesn't involve you, personally, then your opinion doesn't matter, right? If you're not paying property taxes, then you don't get a say in the public works that those taxes pay for. Don't have school-aged children? Then why have an opinion on how schools are run? Don't live in a place where they are fracking? Then why have an opinion? Not gay? Then stay away from the Pride parades. And so on... Speaking on behalf of the unborn is no different than speaking up for the rights of any other voiceless group.

But, we both know, abortion is not really a topic worth talking about, since minds are already made up.

You do have to hand it to the righties, though - they never consider something "settled", even if the Supreme Court says so. Abortion was "settled" in the 70s? Tell that to the states passing laws against it today. The legality of the ACA was "settled"? Let's keep voting to repeal it anyway.

Righties can hold a grudge better than anyone else.

ChicagoMatt 20 weeks 5 days ago
#30
There is quite a diverse range within the two genders, having much to do with the hormonal cocktail we are exposed to before birth.

Very true. We all start off "female". Only later during fetal development do the ovaries descend and become testes for boys. That's why the tubes that connect the testes to the penis run up a considerable way through the body first - like a hose that has been dragged by one end - as the ovaries became testes, they dragged the cords with them.

And that's today's science lesson.

But getting back to my point - yes, there is a lot of grey area and different degrees of "masculine" and "feminine". But it's not fair to tell boys to stop being overly-masculine, unless you also tell girls to stop being overly-feminine. Want guys to stop carrying guns in public, even if it just a manifestation of their inner masculinity? Then tell women to stop doing things that make them feel feminine in public too.

ChicagoMatt 20 weeks 5 days ago
#31
Not because of the counter-culture movement, or the anti-war movement, or hippies, or drugs, or free love. That was the best part of those times. That was the best our generation achieved. That was also far more than anything 'productive' that I have ever seen come out of your whinny little generation.

You hit on one of the fundamental differences between the baby boomers and other generations - the feeling of collectivety. When did baby boomers start to be called that, anyway? When you were young, did you feel a connection to the rest of your generation, because you were all sort of the same age and had shared values? And shared experiences?

My generation has none of that. Everything is individualized for us, from the news, to music, to books, to TV shows. We are very much living on cultural "islands". And we don't look at what our generation as a whole is "producing", but what we, as individuals, are doing with our own lives.

I realize I may be voicing the ultimate triumph of the elitist Conservative wave of the 80s - the destruction of any real collectivety that could organize and upset the status quo. If this really is some conspiracy of the elites, it worked.

I can't wait to see how you guys handle this cabal. I can't wait to see how you do what we failed to do.

The trend I've been seeing for the last ten years or so has been a return to the way things were before the 60s. In some parts of life, at least. Take Whole Foods, for example. They caught on to and exploited the desire for natural foods. What is that but "the way things were in the 50s"? Or the PSAs I hear urging people to eat dinner together at a table, without a TV on. Again, just like it was before the 60s. Or the PSAs urging fathers to stay in and participate in the lives of their children. Or the environmentalist mantra of reducing and reusing. Are these not all variations of throwbacks to the 50s and earlier?

But, again, there isn't nearly as much collectivety as a generation now as there is with the baby boomers. When I get to the end of my productive days, and it comes my time to reflect on the world I'm leaving behind, I will not think about the legacy of my entire generation.

ChicagoMatt 20 weeks 5 days ago
#32
They don't even show real protests anymore. However, if you did you would be a completely different person I assure you.

Very true. We are all products of our experiences.

Back then we had something you don't--an honest media

Also something everyone can agree on - distrust of the media.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 20 weeks 5 days ago
#33

"It's not fair to tell boys to stop being overly-masculine, unless you tell girls to stop being overly-feminine," Matt says. "Want guys to stop carrying guns in public, even if just a manifestation of their inner masculinity? Then tell women to stop doing things that make them feel feminine too."

Any guy who needs a gun to feel "masculine" must have a small-penis complex. He definitely has a problem. There are plenty of appropriate, non-bullying, non-threatening ways to express masculinity, such as through athletics, getting buffed at the gym, dressing in masculine attire, etc. etc. etc. Why guns? And what's the point of flaunting guns in public; to make it crystal clear that you can kill anyone anytime, if they rub you the wrong way or whatever? Is that your idea of "masculine"? Gimmie a break.

People can express their gender identities any way they want. Long as it isn't harmful, or threatening harm, I've got no objections. Bullying is where I draw the line: hitting, slapping, punching and other kinds of abuse. And unless someone's got a damn good reason to display a gun in public, such as living in a war zone, then why do it? Lots of people flashing their guns in public is a sure-fire way to create a war zone, where one isn't warranted.

I am sick to death of Americans' obsession with GUNS. I find it both obnoxious and tiresome. Just a lot of macho, wild-wild-west, hot-air posturiing over nothing. - AIW

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 20 weeks 5 days ago
#34

Matt, what does rich-versus-poor have to do with abortion & childbirth being women's exclusive domain? That "parallel" just doesn't cut it for me. It doesn't explain why people who can't get pregnant should have any business dictating what those who can should be doing about it. The United Nations gets it; they've declared denial of abortion is tantamount to torture. Especially in a country such as ours that is so hostile to single motherhood, punishing those who give birth out of wedlock; where such things as maternity leave, affordable childcare and accessible healthcare are not even guaranteed to U.S. citizens! It places too great a burden on women of childbearing age and punishes them for a biological characteristic inherited at birth. Men don't have to deal with any of that, therefore it's none of their business what women choose to do with their bodies. Some people (men in particular) seem to think we should be treated as incubators for the unborn, as if our needs and aspirations had no relevance. If they don't support a women's right to choose, they can keep their opinions to themselves.

As for this rich & poor thing, which you insist on dragging into this discussion, here's my take on it. If we want to live in a real democracy, we have to have a political system where every vote counts regardless of the size of each voter's bank account. Otherwise we're living in a plutocracy. When you say the rich are paying a "disproportionate" amount of the cost of government, you are simply out of touch with reality, since that has not been the case for decades. As Thom Hartmann has pointed out time and again, and as some of us in this forum keep pointing out, rich people have benefitted more from our socioeconomic system than the rest of us; they use various aspects of our infrastructure more than the rest of us; therefore they should pay more. (DUHHH.) That seems a perfectly reasonable concept and therefore, one I embrace. Arguing about something like that seems akin to arguing about whether the sky is blue. A waste of my precious time.

No Matt, I don't have children. But the society I live in, like all societies, must have an educated population in order to function, which affects my life as much as anyone else's. (Duh.) No I'm not gay, but I am a supporter of gay rights because I believe in fairness. No I'm not black, but I support socioeconomic equality and integration in public and private life because I know for a fact that we are one race, called the human race, and that xenophobia has no place in a civilized society. No I'm not physically handcapped, but I think public facilities should be accessible to all, not just the able-bodied. No I'm not a squirrel or a raccoon, but I think the natural habitats of wildlife should be protected and that even the rights of non-humans should be respected.

See where this is going, Matt? If you water down the focus of a debate past a certain point, it becomes meaningless. - Aliceinwonderland

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 20 weeks 5 days ago
#35

AIW -- There is one facet of this discussion that you and Marc left out. For example,

Quote Alice:Like Marc has pointed out, our biggest mistake was dropping the ball, becoming complacent in middle age.

I do not think we so much dropped the ball as it was knocked out of our hands. Lewis Powell was the coach of the team knocking it out of our hands.

When we realized we could build a better society through love and co-operation (as Darwin pointed out), it scared the 1%.

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 20 weeks 5 days ago
#36

Chi Matt -- Regarding social security, I read in the LA Times something very interesting by M Hiltzik. When Abby Hoffman on MSNBC was saying the social security reserve fund was running out the lefties became defensive. Also, she said the old were competing against the young. Thom and Bernie were describing to us that was the way it was supposed to be. With a plan designed by raygun and greenspan, baby boomers had to pay twice as much. The original social security (the 1930's) was designed so current workers were paying for current retirees. Due to the rapid increase in population (baby boom) the raygun admin was afraid the plan would fall apart and thus they created the double payment scheme.

The problem with all of this discussion is that the social security reserve fund is increasing per M Hiltzik. Chi Matt due to the collectivity thought of the baby boomers you may have no worry in your later years.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 20 weeks 5 days ago
#37

Chuck, I'm not going to argue with your point about the ball being knocked out of our hands. But I still believe we boomers were asleep at the wheel, at least starting in the 1980s, and for the reasons explained in my post. I never liked the "New Age" movement; I thought it was a self-congradulatory, elitest, pretentious load of crap. Maybe it wasn't so prevalent throughout the country as on the west coast; of that I'm not so sure. But that's what I witnessed in Santa Cruz, where I was living at the time, and it turned me off. A real letdown after the sixties and seventies! - AIW

ChicagoMatt 20 weeks 4 days ago
#38
When we realized we could build a better society through love and co-operation (as Darwin pointed out),

If that's what the boomers were trying to do, then they failed to realize that a society like that would only work well if almost everyone were on board with the ideas. And that seems contradictory to human nature. Cooperation on a grand scale I mean. Cooperation tends to break down a lot once you get past the family or tribal level. An entire nation of 300 million people cooperating freely and acting on love of each other? Perhaps I am a little jaded, but that really does sound like a pipe dream. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say most people only pay taxes because it's taken from them automatically, not out of love or cooperation.

I wish we could do an experiment to see if your system would work. Just for one week, stop automatic sales and income taxes. Tell people they need to write a check for their sales and income taxes at the end of the week, out of love and cooperation. Let's see how that goes.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 20 weeks 4 days ago
#39

It's grow-up time for humanity, Matt! Grow up, or out we go, by way of the dinosaurs. We can't keep living like this. It is unsustainable on a number of fronts. This problem we've created, with all our petty conflicts and so much strife, will resolve itself one way or another. The planet will continue to evolve with or without our regal presence. - AIW

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 20 weeks 3 days ago
#40

Chi Matt -- As Alice said Darwin was just saying what will happen to our species if we don't co-operate. You are saying, maybe unintentionally, is that there is little hope for our species.

Co-operation as represented by the boomers brought us computers, the internet, space exploration, the elimination of the draft and major strides in civil liberties.

Individualism introduced by raygun brought us the inventions we see on Shark Tank. One example I can remember was a piece of rubber to stop things from falling down between the seats. It made the inventor a bunch of money, I guess that is your view of a good thing. Myself, I like what the boomers brought. Other parts of the world continued to believe in co-operation. This was a major factor why the Large Hadron Collider wound up in Switzerland rather than Texas.

Should public radio program in the public interest?

NPR is supposed to be our national public radio, but they're barely covering climate issues that are in the public's interest.

Only one month ago, a national New York Times/CBS News poll found that half of all Americans think that global warming is already having a serious impact. Sixty percent of those surveyed even said that protecting our environment should be a priority “even at the risk of curbing economic growth.”

From The Thom Hartmann Reader:
"In an age rife with media-inspired confusion and political cowardice, we yearn for a decent, caring, deeply human soul whose grasp of the problems confronting us provides a light by which we can make our way through the quagmire of lies, distortions, pandering, and hollow self-puffery that strips the American Dream of its promise. How lucky we are, then, to have access to the wit, wisdom, and willingness of Thom Hartmann, who shares with us here that very light, grown out of his own life experience."
Mike Farrell, actor, political activist, and author of Just Call Me Mike and Of Mule and Man
From Cracking the Code:
"No one communicates more thoughtfully or effectively on the radio airwaves than Thom Hartmann. He gets inside the arguments and helps people to think them through—to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
to understand how to respond when they’re talking about public issues with coworkers, neighbors, and friends. This book explores some of the key perspectives behind his approach, teaching us not just how to find the facts, but to talk about what they mean in a way that people will hear."
From Screwed:
"Thom Hartmann’s book explains in simple language and with concrete research the details of the Neo-con’s war against the American middle class. It proves what many have intuited and serves to remind us that without a healthy, employed, and vital middle class, America is no more than the richest Third World country on the planet."
Peter Coyote, Actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall