Tuesday, May 7, 2013

And The Winner Is...

Every once and a while I catch a carefully coordinated legislative misdirection, a sleight-of-hand—a political event or series that either yawns on cursory review or confounds to the point of mental exhaustion.  I many cases, I believe the yawning and the confounding to be the journalistic goal.  There are three examples of late that bring me to the blogging desk:  internet sales taxation, American foreign policy, and on perhaps a tangential front, petroleum pricing.  There is an obvious common thread to these and other issues, and I get to that later. 

The Internet Sales Tax

Did anyone notice that our beloved US Senate passed a bill mandating the collection of taxes for sales over the internet?  Too focused on missing girls, printed guns, and the latest sex scandals?  Well, it happened, and it’s currently sitting on the desk of the House.  Obama is reportedly for it, too.  This is great news for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers who’ve struggled to remain competitive with nimbler e-tailers such as Amazon and several thousand other virtual storefronts.  But is it good for us?  I’m not here to hash the accolades of either policy.  As a former retailer, I’ve been on both sides of that argument and quickly learned that, as with all things in life, adapt or die.  For me, the real question becomes, “Who’s the winner here?”

Well, it’s certainly not the consumer.  At least, not for the short-term outlook should the bill reach Obama’s office.  In the end, we’ll all be paying more to revenue-addicted governments.  It’s a win for them, and a win for retail behemoths such as Wal-Mart, Sears, Macy’s, Best Buy, and sooo many others.  But wait, I thought government policy is supposed to represent the needs of the people?  Obvious Clue #1. 

Foreign Policy

We ignore this on a daily basis, and I am also guilty.  Except, I don’t ignore it completely; American foreign policy matters become gunpowder grains in an internal hourglass.  Common questions emerge:  Why do we coddle communist China while maintaining an obviously failed embargo with communist Cuba?  Something to gain?  Something to lose?  My guess is that a few corn syrup consortiums and a banana producer or two might prefer the status quo.  Really?  The rest of the world seemingly has no trouble at all with Cuba, and I don’t see the US threatening Canada or the UK with sanctions either.  Is our policy a matter of principle or something else entirely?

Now to the Middle East...

Someone please tell me who we, as freedom-loving Americans, are supposed to be rooting for in the Syrian civil war?  As far as I can tell, it all started when Arab Spring demonstrations grew violent, with President al-Assad ultimately campaigning to kill his dissenters.  While the US rightly condemns that policy, those protesters happen to be aligned with forces we also don’t care too much about.  Al-Qaeda fighters are well known as aligned with the rebel Syrian National Coalition, which as it happens, has recently been cited as violating humanitarian law by utilizing sarin gas—the same chemical weapon the al-Assad is accused of using.  The rebels also wish to seek a religiously intolerant Islamic state.  So the US is thinking of arming them?  Someone help me here; I’m a little lost.  While I empathize with all the human suffering in the region, I’m not quite catching a concrete foreign policy angle.  The only possible winners seem to be arms manufacturers.  Obvious Clue #2.


I made an offhanded comment to my wife just the other day.  “Look, gas is below $3.20.  I bet something happens soon.”  And without much waiting, Israel bombs Syria—formally entering that conflict and most assuredly giving OPEC and Wall Street their timely excuse for a speculative 20% bump.  I’m no tinfoil hatter, but after a couple dozen of these spikes, the modus becomes quite obvious…doesn’t it?  Obvious Clue #...okay, you get the picture.

And so the commonalities between the above lamentations become self-evident.  We have no recourse but to continue voting our conscience and pocketbooks.  I will continue shopping the best products and the best price, backed by the best service.  I will vote against all those who favored a tax increase of any kind.  I will pray for freedom to return in Cuba and other shunned countries.  I will avoid cheap Chinese products that have reasonable American alternatives, and I will vote against any legislator that openly condones feeding the Middle East after midnight.  That’s my win—my conscience.


Thanks again to all those that downloaded DUST.  Hope you enjoy the read!  For those of you interested but missed that free download opportunity, you’ll get another chance Memorial Weekend (later this month). 


That's right; I'm creating a new section dedicated to my books' trivia.  Some may entail fun facts about certain passages, others will reveal hidden meanings, homage, or blatantly arcane references.

Let's start with one from DUST:

In the first chapter, "Awakening,"  Chris comments, “I bet you wouldn’t eat anything named Curly.”  He believes it's a bad idea to name anything you're eventually going to eat. 

A friend’s mother once owned a cow named Curly.  They had a rough time with the slaughter.  “Tastes funny.” ...and that was the last Stooge reference of the evening. 

Writing Update:

Still writing.

Life Update:

Still living.

Happiness Index:


More Soon,


No comments:

Post a Comment

T. Nelson Taylor | Official Site | DusT | Bolita