Ballots or Bullets | By Chandler McGrew, Guest Columnist

Chad4“For several years now I have come to believe I am living in an insane asylum.” – Chandler McGrew

Recently the last climatologist with any creds still denying GW , a man in the pocket of the Koch brothers, was paid to do a ‘study’ and guess what. He totally reversed his long held stance and declared that GW was in fact not only happening but was most likely a direct result of manmade carbon emissions. Richard Muller stunned the Denialist side (and the nondenialist side for that matter) with his blatant honesty (something the Koch brothers might care to try some time).

But his defection will do little good…

For several years now I have come to believe that I am living in an insane-asylum. I have people all around me who usually look and act like normal, rational people, but who upon closer examination are quite mad. What else can you say about someone on Medicare who wants the government to stay out of health insurance? How else explain a person who believes that we have the best health care system on earth when the latest Harvard study reveals that 45,000 Americans die every year due to lack of insurance or because of being underinsured? (We kill way more of our citizens than any other enemy ever has).

How can you account for someone who believes that ‘one side is as bad as the other’ when Democrats propose $10.00 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax hikes, and the Republicans shoot down the offer? Explain to me how a teacher can vote GOP when that party wants to cut her $50,000.00 a year salary by 20% while giving Romney’s horse a $77,000 tax break.

I’ve heard people say that the problem is that at any given time fifty percent of the population is of below average intelligence, but this isn’t just about intelligence, it’s about critical thinking. You can argue with these people until you are blue in the face. You can present them with reams of facts and figures detailing for them how the rich and corporations are buying our government and stealing their rights and their money. It will do you no good.

Even if you get a little light to go on in their eyes and they nod and go “Hmmm. I never thought of that,” tomorrow they will bring you a fictitious Lincoln quote that reads, “You can’t lift up the poor by tearing down the rich,” and they will be rushing back to the GOP. These are soundbyte thinkers. They are minds swayed by metaphors. They are the sort of people domineering governments have dreamed of since way before Romulus and Remus, and they are the exact opposite of the sort of freethinking citizenry that defends and assures a Democratic Republic.

I am afraid, my friends, and have been for some time, that if we are not there already (and we very well may be), within a handful of years we will be an official Plutocracy and the International Corporations will no longer need to even pretend we are not. GE, AIG, etc. do not care whether we have a middle class. Classes are irrelevant to them. Machines work as well as people, and if people have just enough money in their pockets to buy bread well, they can ship their luxury cars overseas where the economy is booming.

We have established our laws so that corporations can maximize and internalize profits while minimalizing and externalizing risk. Look at BP and the gulf. Two billion for the cleanup? Are you kidding me? It’s quite possible that the white shrimp will be extinct within two years and scientists are finding fish with massive mutations. Who’s going to save the Gulf if indeed it is even salvageable in the long run? Us. We taxpayers will, while the corporations continue soaking up our money.

Of course one day the golden goose will get sick of having its neck wrung. That always happens eventually. Look at France circa 1786 or Russia circa 1914 or the more socialist countries of Europe throughout the past century who finally realized that it was the middle class who needed nurturing and protecting not the rich.

If history teaches us one thing at that point is that there are two ways of doing things when the masses wake up.

Ballots or bullets, folks. Ballots or bullets.

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About Chandler McGrew…

Although he is the author of four critically acclaimed supernatural/suspense thrillers, Chandler McGrew, lives in quiet seclusion in the mountains of Maine. He writes ten to twelve hours a day, fueled by liberal doses of coffee and Pepsi, with only an occasional dollop of single malt scotch to take the edge off.

Chandler is the author of Cold Heart, Night Terror, The Darkening, In Shadows and Crossroads – all of which you can read about here. The common thread in all of these remains true regarding Chandler, in general, and that is his uncanny knack for touching readers and frightening the bejeesus out of them at the same time.

Find Chandler on Twitter, Facebook and check out his official author website.

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  10 comments for “Ballots or Bullets | By Chandler McGrew, Guest Columnist

  1. August 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    According to some:

    http://kunstler.com/blog/

    the outcome is more likely to be bullets than ballots. Jim Kunstler is unabashedly pessimistic and sees an apocalypse coming when the masses come to realize how they’ve been hoodwinked. I’m not buying into everything he predicts, but there is some justification for pessimism here. Good essay, Al!!

    • August 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks, as always, for your comments, Chuck. I agree that it will most likely be bullets. Oh, and in this case, the thanks go to Chandler McGrew.

  2. August 8, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Of course one day the golden goose will get sick of having its neck wrung. That always happens eventually. Look at France circa 1786 or Russia circa 1914 or the more socialist countries of Europe throughout the past century who finally realized that it was the middle class who needed nurturing and protecting not the rich.

    What scares me more is that this won’t happen and that we’ll descend into a state like some of those third world countries that have awful dictators who screw everyone and only get evicted when a tougher thug wants the graft. The little guys just assume this is their life and they put up with it.

    I live in a deep red state, have inlaws that belong to unions and love Repugs, see people in universities and business that think Repugs are the rational ones (and sorta wink and nod about Bachmann, Palin, Perry as the aberrations to the otherwise brilliant crowd they’re in). Their delusion shocks me. They’re not stupid, they’re not completely uninformed (some even listen to NPR, not just Fox), and they’re not evil. Yet they support an end to America.

    What I’ve decided is that today we only hear what we want to hear. My conservative acquaintances still believe the “lamestream” media is all liberal (despite watching Fox continuously). So it is this case where they believe both sides are lying, but somehow the Dems and/or liberals are lying more, because after all that’s what LBJ or FDR did. I constantly tell them that Eisenhower, even Taft, would be considered liberal today and that today’s crazy Repug party just isn’t your grandfather’s semi-reasonable Republican party and certainly not the party of Lincoln. But it doesn’t take. It is absolutely the bubble, nothing gets in but words that agree with their preconceived notion.

    So somehow, the trick the Repugs have pulled off, is to reboot these people’s brains into Safe Mode, where only minimal function is active and all outside information is rejected.

  3. kraut
    August 8, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    “I am afraid, my friends, and have been for some time, that if we are not there already (and we very well may be), within a handful of years we will be an official Plutocracy and the International Corporations will no longer need to even pretend we are not.”

    No, you are already there. It does not matter anymore which party supplies the president – it seems after the election he/she(eventually) gets pulled into a backroom where the ground rules are laid out what the oligarchs deem acceptable policies or not.

    Unfortunately, once the populace will wake up to how the rich got richer and threw the rest of the population into the dumpster, what I am sure will happen is a similar game the industrialists played in 1932 Weimar Republic.
    Find the solution in fascism, and as America has already a more violent streak within its populace than most other developed nation, it will be easy to find some scapegoat and hunt them down and create a militarized society that might even have some positive content like universal health insurance and infra structure upgrades etc.
    Hey, the playbook is still there in all its brown shirt glory, just follow the leader, Heil.
    They likely won’t call it national socialism, as socialism seems to be a very bad word in the US, lets call it National Capitalism. After all, its just a name to play the fascist game by – create a society were conflict is eliminated (the conflict between labour and capital especially), interest groups like unions no longer exist, that is tightly structured, where capital and its interest are superior and at the same time hidden behind a wall of national good feel rhetoric, where the masses are entertained and democracy is just another swear word.

    Look at the present state of the states and assess how far you are really away from it, with ever increasing access of the govt. of the private communications of it citizens, the possible and actual surveillance strategies, the infamous Home Land Security laws, the coming of drone surveillance in the states, the law that permits the army to act against the populace, and the powerless populace that has its access denied to information and cannot hold to account the ruling class anymore.

  4. rapiddominance
    August 9, 2012 at 2:26 am

    How else explain a person who believes that we have the best health care system on earth when the latest Harvard study reveals that 45,000 Americans die every year due to lack of insurance or because of being underinsured?

    Thats a neat trick: Preoccupy the reader’s critical mind with a burdensomely large number (45,000) of deaths and then fail all together to draw any comparisons between our health care and that of others.

  5. kraut
    August 9, 2012 at 5:12 am

    “then fail all together to draw any comparisons between our health care and that of others.”

    as you are too preoccupied to do that for yourself (I am the beneficiary of the Canadian system, lucky me):

    “(Reuters) – Americans spend twice as much as residents of other developed countries on healthcare, but get lower quality, less efficiency and have the least equitable system, according to a report released on Wednesday.”
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2010/06/23/us-usa-healthcare-last-idUSTRE65M0SU20100623

    “Healthcare system in the US again ranks last among the seven developed countries in a report by Commonwealth Fund released on Wednesday. The US healthcare fails to perform well on the parameters such as access, patient safety, efficiency, and equity. The other countries in the survey are Britain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. The US was ranked last in 2007, 2006, and 2004.”
    http://www.ibtimes.com/articles/30259/20100623/commonwealth-fund-healthcare-patient-safety-equity-access-to-care-preventive-care-specialized-health.htm

    “As excited as American liberals and proponents of expanding access to health care might be about the Supreme Court’s decision to largely uphold the Affordable Care Act, the U.S. still stands out from much of the developed world in state efforts to make medical care available to the public. If universal health care in the U.S. is your goal, then today was a big step forward, but maybe also a reminder of how far behind America still lags.”
    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/06/heres-a-map-of-the-countries-that-provide-universal-health-care-americas-still-not-on-it/259153/

    “What about access? I have talked in length in previous posts about the plight of the uninsured and underinsured in the US. While 100% of people over 65 are covered, only 82% of people under 65 are covered by health insurance. Compare that to 100% coverage in Japan, Switzerland, France and Great Britain, and 98.9% coverage in Holland and Germany.

    So looking at those three main dimensions, we can definitely say that we have the most expensive system in the world, we provide the least access among all developed countries, and quality of care can vary depending on what condition you are looking at. Not exactly what I would call the best system in the world.”
    http://healthcarehacks.com/the-us-healthcare-system-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly

    “Combined public and private spending on health care in the U.S. came to $8,233 per person in 2010, more than twice as much as relatively rich European countries such as France, Sweden and Britain that provide universal health care.

    Are Americans healthier as a result? The U.S. has fewer doctors per capita than comparable countries, and fewer hospital beds. But more is spent on advanced diagnostic equipment and health tests.

    Life expectancy has risen in line with that in other developed countries, but the average American life span of 78.7 years in 2010 was below the O.E.C.D. average. Obesity in the U.S. was the highest in the 34-nation survey.”
    http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/u-s-health-care-costs-more-than-socialized-european-medicine/

    and I really did not have to look hard.

    • rapiddominance
      August 11, 2012 at 8:53 pm

      He thought I was talking about healthcare.

  6. smrnda
    August 9, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    People like that are beyond reason. I feel like the solutions to many, if not most, of our problems as a nation and as humans are already known, and people are just too stupid to put the knowledge to work.

    As for an uprising, the problem with the States are that the people who feel most inclined to violently rise up are on the wrong side. I think it’s the effectiveness of private-sector propaganda, which, by not being officially from ‘the government,’ gives it the illusion of being the voice of free individuals, rather than just a machine for generating lies that benefit the oligarchy. Another issue is that there’s a strong notion that “America” means extremely limited government and ‘free markets’ and that ideas that are not ‘American’ should be shot down without even giving them a fair hearing.

    I’ve heard it said that Americans are too stupid for democracy, and I believe it. A great quote from Avital Ronell in the book “Stupidity” (a good read) was that ‘stupidity, unlike ignorance, stands in total non-relation towards knowledge.’ Ignorance is not knowing. Stupid is not knowing, but at the same time thinking that you already know everything, and not having the ability to check whether you really *do* know anything.

    I just had a conversation the other day where someone argued that a ‘flat tax is the only right way to go.’ I asked them what the difference was between a progressive and regressive tax – they didn’t know. When they bashed “Obama Care” I asked them if they’d read anything – they hadn’t, and when I told them that I had, they went on that there was no way that I understood it. (Apparently the village idiots believe it’s impossible for anyone to be smarter than they are.)

  7. eoleen
    August 11, 2012 at 11:52 am

    “Machines work as well as people, and if people have just enough money in their pockets to buy bread well, they can ship their luxury cars overseas where the economy is booming.”

    The story is told of the President of Ford Motor Corp. going through a newly automated plant with the president of the labor union, bragging about the machines not needing vacations, time off, working only eight hours a day, etc. etc. etc.

    When the tour was completed the Labor Union President had just one question: “How many cars do these machines buy?”

  8. October 9, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character

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