When a government is too big and too rich to falter, it is no longer a government "of the people."
When one candidate for office can win by landslides and still lose by rule, it is no longer a government "by the people."
When the people are so poor that they fight amongst themselves for scraps enough to feed their families while others fight only to protect their Scrooge McDuck vaults of money from the filthy plebeians, the American Dream has gone awry.
Gun control, abortion, gay rights, immigration? All a smokescreen for the only real issue: less than a dozen unbelievably wealthy families control everything in America, while everyone else squabbles over stupid issues that ultimately never get solved.
Take abortion. Roe V. Wade was in 1962. Half a century ago. Yet we're still barking and pecking about it like it just happened. The second amendment was passed two hundred and thirty-odd years ago, and we're still bitching about the details.
Meanwhile, in the richest nation in the history of the world, hundreds of thousands of people are dying early because they can't afford to pay doctors to save them. Diseases related to obesity are killing tens of millions of people because no one dares stand up to the moneyed food lobbies that kill legislation that would enable people to eat healthily. And millions of people live without basic food and shelter because the wealthy have decided they're "too lazy" to help.
Not to mention the thousands of poor young men and women who die or lose limbs fighting poor brown people so the fat cats who own all the oil futures can shave a few cents off per barrel and earn a few million dollars by betting against the very oil they own.
And an entire religion is persecuted and denigrated because extremists commandeer it to justify unjustifiable acts of cowardice.
America is in desperate need of a revolution.
The publisher sent over a cover mock-up for Robby the R-Word, which is scheduled for Spring 2017 publication.
The quality problems with this are because it's a mock-up, and the blurb across the top is a placeholder until actual reviews come in.
I've sent back a few issues I had with it, but I bet the final cover ends up looking a lot like this:
My four-year-old son just now: "Look at that big-ass spider!"
Me (involuntarily): Buwahahahaha!
I rethunk one of my works in progress, this one called Serial Dad, about the son of a serial killer who is worried that serial killing might be genetic in nature, and thus asks his dad, now in prison, to talk to him about what went down to cause him to start killing.
If you want to read part of the first chapter, click here: Serial Dad
Stephen King came to Tulsa last night, and boy are his arms tired. Mixed metaphor/stolen joke that was never actually funny. Anyway, for those who don't know, I've been a Stephen King fan since I was four years old. When I taught myself to read at three years old (I stole my brother's first-grade textbooks), I quickly blasted through all the kids' books we had and stumbled upon my mother's copy of King's first novel, Carrie. At four years old, it took me a few weeks to get through it, and I'm pretty sure I didn't understand about 60 percent of it, but it was like a revelation to me. I knew then that there was something special about the written word.
And I've been a fan ever since.
Tonight at the world-famous Cain's Ballroom, he gave a wide-ranging (and hilarious) speech about writing, life, household chores, rock and roll music and getting old and dying. But one of the things that really stuck with me is how he bristled - mildly - at being pigeonholed as a horror writer, when so much of his writing is on subjects other than horror. He recounted the story of an elderly lady who said he should write stories that weren't horror, like her favorite, Shawshank Redemption.
"I wrote that," he said he told the old lady.
"No you didn't."
"Yes," he told her calmly. "I did."
And then she said he should try to be more like the guy who wrote The Green Mile.
"I wrote that too."
It was funny when he told it, and it reminded me that, in life, we tend to be pigeonholed. I've done journalism for mumble mumble years, so everyone calls me a journalist. But I'm also a professional musician. I'm also a computer programmer. And a designer. And an artist. And a novelist. And a true crime author. And on and on. I'm not a "Renaissance man," I just refuse to be pigeonholed, and Stephen King reminded me that it's OK to just do what you want and tell people to go sit and spin when they don't understand.
I am pro-gun. I own guns. I use guns. I don't think I should have to explain to anyone why I own guns or why I think guns should remain available to Americans.
There. I've said all that to say this: Some kind of gun control has to happen. I'm not talking about the government seizing people's guns. For the record, President Obama has stated publicly that he has no interest in seizing people's guns, and no Democrat he knows has any interest in that. He's been in office for eight years, and not once has he made any attempt to come take my guns.
But Omar Mir Seddique Mateen, the gunman who killed 49 gay people and injured more than 50 others over the weekend, had in his possession an AR-15 rifle, a handgun and a shit ton of ammunition. In case you don't know, the AR-15 is another name for the M-16 assault rifle carried by many in the military. And Mateen got the guns and the ammunition legally - despite the fact that he was on several FBI watch lists and had openly claimed to be associated with al-Qaeda and Hezbollah - two of the largest sponsors of terrorism in the world.
Co-workers described him as "unhinged and unstable" and said he'd often talked about killing people, especially gays, blacks, women and Jews.
And as an aside, if you don't like gay people, you're entitled to your opinion, but to quote Robin Quivers, "Don't worry about it; it's not happening to you." You have the right to be as bigoted as you want. You DO NOT have the right to hurt gay people just because you don't understand them.
With all that stuff, he LEGALLY purchased at least two firearms THE WEEK BEFORE THE SHOOTING. Something is wrong with this picture. He's an open, proud and avowed terrorist, he talks a lot and openly about killing people, especially protected minority groups, people who know him say he's unhinged and the FBI IS WATCHING HIM. And yet he can still legally purchase assault rifles and enough ammunition to cut down a tree.
It is in no way unconstitutional to say the government should be able to keep a shithead like that from legally acquiring weapons that enable him to kill dozens of people. And if you think so, you're part of the problem.
Here's a conversation with my mother.
And of course, tomorrow actually is the 13th and my birthday. But what fun would that be?
Six months ago, I had never heard of Bernie Sanders.
Today, I am convinced that he is the politician I have never dared dream would actually exist.
I was a Hillary Clinton supporter. Until I discovered Bernie Sanders. Now, I can't imagine voting for Hillary, given the corruption, dirty tricks, outright fraud and political machinations that have occurred during the Democratic primary this year.
What we have just witnessed is the complete demonstration of how we don't actually live in a democracy. What we live in is an oligarchy that has remained hidden behind the veil of democracy and doesn't like to be exposed as the wealthocracy that it is. The Democratic Party primary process is clearly rigged to favor establishment candidates, and that's before we even consider the outright voter fraud and missing votes, malfunctioning voting machines and other irregularities that have dogged the Democrat primary.
Hillary Clinton ONLY won states that also complain of widespread voter fraud and malfunctioning voting machines. Does that worry no one?
In states that Bernie won, often Hillary received more delegates. Let me repeat that: BERNIE won some states, and in those states, often HILLARY received more delegates. More delegates than the candidate who won. On what planet does that not say "this shit is rigged"?
And that doesn't even take into consideration the super delegate system. The popular media have touted Hillary as the "presumptive nominee" based on the idea that super delegates will lean to her because she has not secured enough actual delegates to win the nomination. Super delegates, according to the DNC chair, are there for the explicit purpose of making sure establishment candidates don't lose to upstarts like Bernie Sanders.
I fervently hope Bernie runs as an independent. Otherwise, I may not vote in the general election, because there's no way in hell I will vote for a criminal like Hillary Clinton.
I'm not a big believer in conspiracies. Except JFK. Everyone knows that one.
But Hillary Clinton's campaign has made me a believer. Voter fraud, election fraud, lying, stealing and corruption have dogged the Clinton campaign throughout the primary, and now we can add dirty tricks to the bag.
You see, most major news outlets called the primary for Hillary yesterday. And others called it for her early today, before California voters even headed to the polls.
Hillary Clinton has not won the Democratic nomination. She needs super delegates to get her the nomination, and they don't vote until July 25, yet numerous "news" outlets unabashedly called the nomination for her before the votes were even in. It was their way of helping ensure throngs of Bernie Sanders voters didn't even bother going to the polls in California, a state that could bring Bernie back to parity with Hillary in popular votes.
Because why vote for someone who has already lost?
As a member of the media, I can tell you there used to be a day when I never would have accused the "media" of being involved in a conspiracy to discourage voters from coming-out to vote, but all the evidence points that way: the rich wags who own most of the media these days have an agenda: Keep Bernie Sanders out of the White House. And they pulled out all the stops to make sure it happens.
If I were Bernie Sanders, I'd run on a third-party ticket if he doesn't win the Democratic nomination, because the truth is this: national polls have him beating Donald Trump soundly, and Hillary Clinton is terrified of Bernie.
This weekend, I had numerous projects to do, and some of them were things I absolutely loathe doing - namely, working on cars. I can work on cars, but I hate it.
So I found a guy who works on cars and needed money, and I invited him out to:
Nothing huge, but enough work that I didn't want to do it. The guy doesn't have a car, so I was giving him a ride home and he started telling me about his regular job. Here are the highlights:
Now, I have to tell you, for some reason, that got all over me. Here is a business owner paying this guy $3 an hour, which is significantly under the minimum wage. Since he pays him under the table, I guess he feels like he can get away with it. He's basically stealing from this poor guy, because the federal government requires him to pay the guy a minimum of $7.25 per hour. Which is also too low. But my point is this: He'd probably complain that if he had to pay the guy that kind of money, he never would have hired him in the first place. Which is bullshit, because I know this business and I know he charges his customers the equivalent of $50 an hour for the work his $3-an-hour worker is doing.
So he's profiting $47 for every hour he's giving the guy doing the work $3. And then he has the unmitigated gall to say this to the guy he's stealing from:
"I worked hard to own my own business, and then I have to pay taxes to buy your food every time you use food stamps."
Or how about this one:
"You'll never be me. You'll never own your own business and be successful."
Or how about when the guy was mentioning buying food for his dog and the boss said, "You shouldn't own pets! You're so poor the government has to buy your food!"
I'm trying very hard here to not cuss, because I promised my wife I'd keep it cleanish.
To pay a person below-poverty wages and then verbally abuse him for being poor is sociopathic. It is, in a word, evil.
This business owner makes a grand show of supporting charities in town by "sponsoring" charity events, which usually means giving a few hundred dollars to the organizing committees of the events, and he involves himself in every civic event he possibly can. But it means absolutely nothing if the only people you help are people who can help you back. See, these charity events are almost always run and organized by wealthy muckety-mucks who can later remember the business owner's contribution and then send business to him. When he does these "charity" events, he's really just marketing his company.
But when it comes to doing the right thing for someone who in no way can help enrich him, he shows his true colors. He pays the guy sweatshop wages, berates him by telling him what a favor he's doing him and then constantly lectures him about what a poor, indigent loser he is and how lucky he is to have someone looking out for him. That, friends, is the definition of "true colors."
I promised the guy I wouldn't mention the business by name and I would leave out details that might identify it. And you don't know how hard it is to keep that promise. So I told him, "be proud every time you use food stamps - be proud of the fact that you live in a country that believes in helping people who need help. Hold your head up high. That (expletive omitted) may not like paying taxes to support those who need help, but some of us are more than happy to."
I only wish I had a few more broken cars he could work on. Still, he walked away with several weeks' worth of wages for a day and a half of work here - and he deserved every penny of it. I wasn't giving him charity, I was paying him a fair wage for his work. That doesn't make me a hero, it makes me legal.
I just omitted another cuss word to describe the business owner, who you can bet will never get a penny from me. Fill in the blanks yourself.