Sand Sharks And Republicans Have Something In Common

Ed Raymond

With the philosophical battles among the Tea Party, the evangelicals and Southern Baptists, and old-line conservatives providing us liberals with both consternation and delight, the Republican Party reminds me of the voracious appetites inside a pregnant sand shark. According to political history, only Republicans “eat their own.” Born without an ability to compromise, without any sense of community, but with an obsession to circle the wagons only with their own kind, they often have individual stovepipe philosophies.

   And so it is with the sand tiger shark. The female is of a promiscuous kind, mating with as many sharks as she can attract, so she can have the fetuses of many competing males in utero. It took until the 1980s for scientists to determine the females have two uteri and carry hundreds of eggs. After a 12-month pregnancy, each uterus produces only one hungry shark. At around five months, the hatchlings in each uterus start eating each other within that confinement.

   In the concluding months, the strongest little shark in each uterus eats all of his step-brothers and step-sisters, and is born strong, healthy, and feisty. The lead author of this remarkable scenario is Professor of Biology Demian Chapman: “It is still unclear whether the evolutionary strategy works because the most aggressive fathers get their offspring growing in utero before others, thus giving them a developmental advantage in the cannibalistic battles to come, or if they produce offspring that gestate more quickly.”

Was Romney The Strongest Shark In The Republican Uterus?

   So in the 2012 Republican presidential nomination spectacle, was Mitt Romney the strongest Republican among the rest in the Republican utero? Did he gobble up the weaker but wildly verbose Newt Gingrich, the needle-stuck Herman “9-9-9” Cain, the woman with the fastest growing nose in political history, Michele Bachmann, the Texas idol with the greatest hair and the weakest mind, Rick Perry, the beast with two backs, Rick Santorum, and others? Romney ended up being the biggest shark in a very weak pool, but he didn’t find much nourishment from them. During that election, though, sharks of another kind like Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz entered the pod, snarling, snapping, bomb-throwing, and tearing huge junks out of the tender white Republican body.
   This morning a Wall Street investment publication predicted that the One Percent in the U.S. is preparing for an apocalyptic economic disaster coming soon. Such preparation includes moving more funds to many tax havens around the world and buying homes and friends in Europe and Asia. Could be true. We have an administration that refuses to put bankster criminals in jail for fraud that resulted in the loss of $17 trillion to the American public during the Bush Debacle Decade. Barack Obama and his associates are still propagandizing that we are slowly moving out of the “worst recession” since the Great Depression.

We Have Four Million People Who Have Been Unemployed For More Than Six Months While We Are Down Six Million Jobs From Six Years Ago
  Nobel Prize economist Paul Krugman seems to be one of the rare economists who looks at facts after doing his homework. We are adding only about 160,000 jobs a month while laying off and paying unemployment insurance to about half that number. Four years after this recession officially ended, we should be adding a million jobs a year and have a normal unemployment rate of five percent. We are at 7.6 percent presently. According to Krugman, we should have very few people out of work for extended periods. Currently 25 percent of the 2012 college grads are unemployed. The typical American household has lost income every year since the recession “ended.” That is not supposed to happen during a “recovery.” Meanwhile, the shrinking middle class has been nearly shrunk out of existence by lousy pay, lousy jobs, and shrinking assets. The average American family has regained only about 50 percent of its assets since 2009.
   Guess what. Corporations are having banner profitable years by screwing the middle class out of even lousy wages. These “personhood” companies are so loaded with billions in cash, they are shipping it out to tax havens at the fastest rate in history. Remember a couple of years ago when General Electric paid no federal income tax? Gee! Today it has hoarded $77.4 billion in cash! Here are some other miserly corporations with loads of cash on hand: Chevron, $21 billion (that’s what $4.09 a gallon gas does for you); Apple, $16 billion (paid a few bucks in fed income taxes, but they hide most of their money overseas in the Cayman Islands); Google, $14.8 billion (maybe people should Google “How much did Google pay in income taxes in 2012?”); and Coca-Cola, $8.4 billion (have they made a billion people in the world obese?). There are thousands of other corporations with profits setting records that are destroying the viability of the middle class.

We May be Creating A Better Class Of Criminal

   In the old days, the criminal class was often uneducated and sometimes very forgetful at the scene of the crime. Occasionally thieves and burglars would leave incriminating evidence around such as wallets, and perhaps notes with addresses and phone numbers on the back that would lead police to their door—if they had one.
   Now we have so many talented, creative people in the unemployment lines that they are rapidly coming up with ways to avoid identification at the scene. Cameras in prominent business locations and scattered around on the streets have severely limited the unimaginative common criminal. Disguises have become the ID solution for all cameras. How can a cop find Batman and Robin after they have held up a liquor store? An accountant going to the bank with a theater’s receipts was robbed of $6,500 in New York by Spider-Man. With thousands of Spider-Man costumes floating around... So far the police have had thefts and other criminal acts committed by Sponge Bob, Captain America, Super Mario (who groped a fifty-eight-year-old woman), and many Spider-Men. It was a very popular Halloween costume. A Batman in Hollywood kicked out the back window in a squad car and escaped. A Shrek maced a group of female tourists while trying to grab their purses. Chewbacca of Star Wars fame even head-butted a tour operator. So far, all of these American characters were after cash. We assume they were former members of the middle class.

What Does A $10 million Tear-Down Signal?

  Some economists and bankers go on TV and proclaim the economic recovery is on its way. But research shows that only the One Percent, the big banks, wealthy homeowners, and corporations have profited from stimulus money and the growth in the stock market. The stock market is simply the rich betting in the Wall Street casino and exchanging money between Monday and Friday. Families with high debt loads because of mortgages are struggling as much as four years ago and have gained only 45 percent of what they have lost since 2007. Participation in the stock market is at a 15-year low. It will take many years for real estate to recover in some areas.
    But the sale of a $10 million tear-down in Wayzata on the shores of Lake Minnetonka gives you some idea of how the wealthy have survived the recession. Wayzata and Edina, two Minnesota ghettos, have had 134 tear-down sales and have had to hire personnel to approve and supervise the demolitions. Time magazine’s Joe Klein sums it up: “The middle class is sliding toward dissolution. The wealthy have become an isolated plutocracy. America used to be community-minded.” All the signs are present that it is getting too late to bring back a sense of community.

Another Signal Announcing The Death Of Community

   I see the National Rifle Association is asking North Dakota NRA members to thank our new senator Heidi Heitkamp for her vote against gun background checks. The Fargo Forum quoted an NRA spokesman: “The NRA thinks that Sen. Heitkamp is a profile in courage and common sense. She listens to her constituents.” Well, she didn’t listen to me. Her spokesman said her position represents North Dakota’s needs. The problem is she did not represent the country’s needs on the crucial issue of the growth of the gun culture. Since the murder of 20 first graders and six teachers at Sandy Hook, we have had another 6,000 murders and man-woman-girl-boy manslaughters.
  In the most recent mass slaughter at Santa Monica College, we had a shooter, armed with a semi-automatic rifle and 40 large-capacity magazines hosting at least 30 rounds each, walk on to a college campus and shoot innocents. He had a history of mental illness, demonstrated by the fact that he was fascinated with guns since adolescence. He had the potential of killing at least 1,200 people with what he was carrying. Will that number of deaths at one mass murder be what it takes to limit magazines and rounds?
   The senator and her NRA bosses perhaps should look at the gun culture with this perspective. Since Adam Lanza at Sandy Hook, we have had 6,000 murders, suicides, and manslaughters by firearms. These preventable deaths wiped out towns in the U.S. equal to the populations of Abercrombie, Lignite, Max, Anamoose, Medina, Cannon Ball, Manvel, Casselton, Hoople, Drayton, Golden Valley, Fordville, Leeds, and Gackle. During this same six-month period, England had 25 firearm deaths and Japan four.

Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus: The Tragic History Of Life And Death

  We are dealing with life and death in at least two major issues of the day: the economy and the gun culture—or the death of the middle class and the death of innocents. In a few years we will have 500 Neiman Marcus stores, 500 Tiffany, 50,000 Walmarts, and 100,000 thrift stores. And we probably will have 12,000 firearm deaths in six months instead of the 6,000 we have today.
  It’s quite evident the One Percent has bought Congress. Congress has forgotten the middle class and the economy, and has the lowest approval rating at ten percent in 230 years of American history. And it is also evident Heidi has sold her soul to the NRA in order to be re-elected. Perhaps all of us should review the story of Dr. Faustus, who makes a deal with Mephistopheles, the servant of the devil (after all, North Dakota is the most religious state in the union!), to gain the devil’s services—but he has to give up his soul after 24 years. It is a story of absolute power, sin, redemption, and the divided nature of man. Dr. Faustus demonstrates great potential in his early years, but after he makes his tragic deal with Lucifer he wastes his power, travels with noblemen (the plutocracy) he tries to impress, fiddles away time playing petty tricks on friends, and in the end is a celebrity hound who “fools” around with beautiful women. Gee, does that sound like today’s politicians?

“This Weekend, Have A Few Rounds With The Boys”

  As an old commander of a Marine Corps heavy machinegun platoon, I see why young men are fascinated with the power of guns as Dr. Faustus was fascinated with the power of the devil. But when shooting becomes the ultimate video game, as played at the Helicopter Sniper Adventure in Aubrey, Texas (where else?), it spreads a certain sickness throughout Gun Culture Land. Customers at this gun range pay $795 for a 15-minute helicopter flight over a practice course, firing off 500 rounds of .223 ammo at targets below in a few minutes. The range advertises on video: “This weekend, have a few rounds with the boys.”  Oh, and you get an awards ceremony and lunch for your $795. They didn’t say what the awards were about.