S1E58 - This Month in the Apocalypse: Jan 2023
Brooke, Casandra, and Margaret talk about some laws that the ATF just imposed and how you might soon be a felon, some bizarre tax proposals that have been in the works for the last quarter of a century, and check in our old friend, the Colorado River in This Month in the Apocalypse.
Margaret can be found on twitter @magpiekilljoy or instagram at @margaretkilljoy. Casandra is just great and can be found at Strangers doing awesome layouts, and Brooke can be found on Twitter or Mastodon @ogemakweBrooke.
This show is published by Strangers in A Tangled Wilderness. We can be found at www.tangledwilderness.org, or on Twitter @TangledWild and Instagram @Tangled_Wilderness. You can support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness.
Hopefully will come out Friday, Feb. 24th
This Month in the Apocalypse: Jan. 2023
Margaret 00:14 Hello and welcome to Live like the world is dying, your podcast for what feels like the end times. I'm one of your today's hosts, Margaret killjoy, and with me are also Brooke and Casandra. How are you too?
Brooke 00:25 Hello.
Casandra 00:26 Good.
Margaret 00:28 Joining me in the background, hopefully that we can't hear, is my dog, Rintrah, scratching at the carpet. So, this is one of the This Month in the Apocalypse episodes, as you probably noticed based on the title of it, which was This Month in the Apocalypse, and it is for January 2020-- whatever year it is now. Three? Are we at three. It's 2020; It's part three. And this show is a proud member of the Channel Zero network of anarchists podcasts. And here's a jingle from another show on the podcast brought up about
Jingle 01:03 what's up y'all I'm Pearson host of coffee with comrades. Coffee with comrades is rooted in militant joy. Our hope is to cultivate a warm and inviting atmosphere like walking into your favorite coffee shop to sit down with some of your close friends and share a heart to heart conversation. New episodes premiere every Tuesday, so be sure to smash that subscribe button wherever you get your podcast so that you never miss an episode. We are proud to be a part of the Channel Zero network.
Margaret 01:56 And this show is a proud member of the Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness, sort of network, publisher thing. Here's a jingle for another show on this network or publisher. Boop boop boop boop, boop.
Casandra 02:13 Since I don't have this yet, are you just gonna make one up right now?
Margaret 02:19 You know, I think we might have jingles, but I'll make one up anyway. Do you like nerd shit? Are you a fucking loser? Do you spend more of your time thinking about the way that character classes in Dungeons and Dragons relate to the current meta of whatever game system you play? Do you know more about what I'm talking about than me right now? Then, you might like an Anarcho Geek Power Hour, which is a new show from Strangers in the Tangled Wilderness where we talk about nerd shit. The first episode is up already and there might be more, I don't know how, I'm not the one making them. First episodes is talking about all about that show Andor and there's gonna be a bunch of other shows that talk about other shows. If you're a fucking nerd and know what the word THACO means.
Casandra 03:11 Wait, I'm a nerd and I don't know what that means.
Margaret 03:13 I know it's a second edition Dungeon & Dragons thing. It's actually an are you an older millennial or Gen Xer, I think is the actual gatekeeping I just did there by accident. Really just ruining everything. It means "To hit armor class zero." What I
Casandra 03:28 I started playing with third edition.
Brooke 03:33 I have another new podcast idea to pitch to y'all. But we don't have to do it during This Month.
Margaret 03:38 Okay, well, now this is an actual jingle. This...it actually exists. Okay. And that's the end of the jingle ba bop, bop, bop bop.
Margaret 03:53 And we're back. Thanks, to the regular show called Live Like the World is Dying. I do too many podcasts. I'm gonna fuck this up at some point. Welcome to Cool People Who Did Cool Stuff. Today, the cool person we're talking about is at the end of the world.
Brooke 04:14 This is what I get for declining to do the intro, isn't it? This is my reward?
Margaret 04:19 Yeah. Brooke was like, "I'm tired." And I was like, I'm not. I'm wired on fake energy. Which, isn't even caffeine. I don't even drink caffeine. So what we're going to talk about today is we're talking about a bunch of different stuff. The main topic that I have to talk about today. Have y'all ever heard of this agency that thinks is in charge of us? It's called the government.
Brooke 04:44 Vaguely vaguely familar with it. Yeah.
Margaret 04:47 I think different geographical locations have different gangs that have gotten together and declared themselves in charge. And they all use the word government once they get bigger than the word gang. The United States federal government, which is the name of the largest gang operating in the territory of central North America has a has a subgroup and they are committed to, you'd think that they'd be really cool, because their name is Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. So, it sounds like fun, right? I mean, actually, these things don't go well together and the middle one mostly just murders you. Actually, all three of them are...Okay, I see why there's a regulating body that people set up. But the ATF are notorious for being kind of...I don't know a government body that comes after you, if you like, do things that they decide that they don't like. And they like to be very mercurial about that. And on January 13th, they announced a new rule that will turn millions of Americans into felons in 120 days, so. Rintrah is really concerned about everyone's gun rights. So, I have a very complicated relationship with guns. I, you know, as people know, I use them sometimes, and I carry them and have ever since I got doxxed, by the far right. And I believe that community defense is very important. I'm also however, very critical of a lot of things about guns. So, I just want to like preface. Before I talk about guns for a whole fucking chunk of this episode, I want to say that I believe very strongly that if your firearm is not on you, at any given moment, it needs to be locked up. And this is something that used to be more abstract for me and is not abstract anymore. And and I'm going to be on about this for a long ass time. That is the safe way, if you are carrying a firearm, you're probably doing so because you want you or your community to be safer and or better fed. And if you don't lock your guns up, when you're not holding on to them, you are not making your community safer, you're making your community less safe. And that is the kind of balance that everyone needs to have at all times if they choose to carry firearms, and if it fucking matters. So, that has nothing to do with the ATF. Because....
Casandra 07:25 I was preparing myself for it to be a rule about keeping guns locked up.
Margaret 07:28 No, it has nothing to do with guns locked up. So y'all ever heard of the NFA? Or tax stamps? This is like, gun law bullshit?
Brooke 07:41 Well, nope.
Margaret 07:42 The National Firearms Act was passed in....And I'll cut to the chase, and then I'll go back and tell you the history. So there's this thing, where you can take a firearm, an AR style firearm is the most common gun by a substantial margin in the United States, as far as I understand at least rifle, and you can, if you have a shorter barrel on it, there's two different classifications, there's a short barreled rifle, which is illegal without specific and ATF approval, which I'll get to why that's actually bullshit shortly. And second, or you can have it be a pistol. And instead of putting a stock on it, you can put something called a pistol brace, which is originally designed so that people who have like, less mobility or missing a limb or things like that can successfully use this style of firearm. And these are fairly new objects, you have something called AR pistols, and they're very common. They're very popular. The ATF estimates that three to 7 million pistol braces have sold in the past 10 years since pistol braces came on the market in 2013. And when they first came on the market, it's okay, it's some loophole bullshit. Mostly, I mean, you can use it as is intended. Well, you could use it as is marketed, which is for being able to fire with one hand in a more stabilized way. Or you can use it as people tend to use it, which is to be able to shoulder a pistol, and so fire more accurately with something that is classified legally differently.
Brooke 09:19 Makes sense.
Margaret 09:20 Yeah. But before they like went ahead and like marketed this thing, they went and checked in 2013. They were like, "Hey, is this chill, ATF? Can we make this thing and sell it?" And the ATF was like, "Yeah," and then they went back and forth a couple times. By 2017, not only could you sell it, but it was also legal for people to shoulder a pistol in this way. And that that would not make you a felon by shooting this gun that you own legally.
Casandra 09:48 What are the concerns like why? Why wouldn't it be a good idea or legal?
Margaret 09:54 There's literally...there's fundamentally none, but we'll get...Okay. So I'll get to the where short barreled rifles come from as a classification. Okay, so and then on January 13, the ATF ruled that this is not true that this is not a pistol. If you have a pistol brace on an AR pistol, it is now a short barreled rifle. And this is on some level a reasonable thing, right? Because they are short barreled rifles, that's what they are. You, you shoulder them, you shoot them. Whatever, I don't, someone's gonna get really mad at me about this. But, we were all like, wink, wink, nudge nudge, I never fucking came anywhere near one of these things, because I was like this is gonna get...this is gonna go badly. So I never got one, right? Because it was perfectly legal. But now everyone has 120 days to either register the item with the government, destroy it, or turn it into the ATF, or put a longer barrel on the gun. And the thing that's really messy about this, is that they told people that this was fine. This was good. And everyone tried to cross their t's and dot their i's, which isn't what you're supposed to do. But that's what they tried to do. And and now basically, they like, you have to turn them in or you're in a lot of trouble. It's a 10 year. If you break the NFA it's a ten year felony. It's a 10 year felony. And if you're a felon, you can never use firearms, again legally in the United States. Which if you're the kind of person to collect firearms is a fairly major impact, besides of course, the 10 years that you might lose off your life.
Casandra 11:28 Wait, so sorry. I'm not familiar with any of this. So short barreled rifles are disallowed?
Margaret 11:36 Correct.
Casandra 11:36 And they reclassified this other thing as a short barrelled rifle?
Margaret 11:41 Yeah. And it's just this incredibly popular thing. And it's mostly....
Casandra 11:47 I didn't catch that short barraled rifles were disallowed, and was like it's just a classification, what matters?
Brooke 11:51 Yeah, no, it's confusing.
Margaret 11:55 So, the reason that short barreled rifles are disallowed is leftover nonsense. In 1934, the federal government was like, we want people to not really have guns in the US anymore, if at all possible. There's an amendment in the Constitution that prevents that from happening. So they were like, alright, well, we'll make it really hard. So, they passed this thing were called the the NFA, the National Firearms Act, where you have, you have to pay a $200 tax, you have to get buy a tax stamp. it's just a thing that says I paid $200, which was about $4,000 at the time. Equivalently. They didn't actually write into the law that this would escalate with inflation. So it's still $200 if you want an NFA iteam. And they specifically they were like, we want all the stuff that's used for crime by evil gangsters. So, they wanted to get rid of machine guns, which is honestly,reasonable. They wanted to get rid of pistols. And like all handguns, were going to be illegal. And then they were like, well, if we make our handguns illegal, then people are just going to chop chop down their their little rifle or shotgun, and they're going to suddenly have a pistol, right? So, we'll make short barreled rifles and short barreled shotguns also illegal, or things that you have to register with the government and pay a hefty tax stamp for. Then some people were like, but we have this thing called the Second Amendment. You can't outlaw these guns. So pistols got knocked off of it, but they didn't knock off short barreled rifles.
Casandra 13:33 Why?
Margaret 13:34 Because they didn't bother.
Casandra 13:37 Interesting.
Margaret 13:38 So a short barreled rifle is a like contraband item unless you go and you register it and you jump through all these hoops. The other thing is you have to fill out all this paperwork, and then wait like sometimes years in order to get this and the other thing they made illegal at this time was suppressors and suppressors, I will go to my grave believing should never have been. They are an element of gun safety. The ability to suppress the sound of a firearm makes it safer for everyone. It is a better object. It does not make the gun more dangerous. It also doesn't make it quiet. Everyone's like oh yeah, you can like run around James Bond style. It's just like not true if you shoot a suppressed gun. I mean, there's like a few tiny exceptions where if you like really work with subsonic, ammo and .22 And all this shit you can like, make it quiet. But like a suppressed gun just sounds like a gun. It's loud. It goes bang, you can hear from a long ways off. It just doesn't permanently destroy your hearing and give you tinnitus as much. Most of them you still have to wear ear protection for. It's just a fucking...anyway, whatever. That's not what we're talking about today. So, yeah, so that's why they made it....short barreled rifles illegal or much harder to come by. And it makes no sense. It never made any sense. Go ahead.
Casandra 14:57 What is it? I know it doesn't make sense. Like it sounds I was like, someone who does paperwork was like let's reclassify this thing. But like, what is their justification? Like, why are they saying it makes sense?
Margaret 15:10 Why are they reclassifying AR pistol to a short barreled rifle? Or why do they defend that short barreled rifles are illegal?
Casandra 15:17 I think I understand the former. Maybe the latter.
Margaret 15:21 So at the time, it literally was just it's closer to a pistol. That was the justification, they wanted to get rid of pistols, so that therefore they got rid of short barrel rifles. The argument being concealability.
Casandra 15:36 But at this point in history, there isn't really a justification?
Margaret 15:39 There's no justification. It's you can have a full length rifle and you can have a small handgun and you can't have in between. It is. Well, that's. So that's what I think that...there are a lot of cases to be made against guns and gun ownership. And I am like not trying to eventually become some like a gun nut talking head. But like, this is something that people whose primary concern or like one of their concerns is as firearms and firearm law. This is something that I think they wish people understood. The law is incredibly Kafka esque, and nonsensical, and labyrinth and like, just bizarre. And so whenever they're like, "Oh, we're gonna pass this new gun control law," everyone's sitting there being like, "Oh, God, it's going to be some other weird, crazy loophole, where if you don't do all of the following things, you're a felon." And what they've done now is they've gone back and made everyone felons in reverse. And I think it's fucked up.
Casandra 16:43 That's wild that that's possible to retroactively make that many people felons.
Brooke 16:50 It just it sounds like these these ATF peoples aren't very good at the F part of their ATF.
Margaret 17:03 Like they're drinking and smoking, but they forgot to go shoot guns?
Brooke 17:07 Yeah, like, I don't know about the A and the T shit that they do. But they sound like they're really fucking up the F part.
Margaret 17:12 I mean, like, and this is like, the ATF is like all of the gun people's like boogeyman, right? Like, because they like, they keep track of people for potentially breaking specific laws, like, right, for example, like straw sales are illegal, I can't go to the store and buy a gun with the intention of turning around and selling it. Even though, in many states, and I think this is reasonable, that's fine. It's a way to skirt the law. In most, in many states, you can privately sell a firearm from one person to another. But if you go to a store in order to buy a gun in order to turn around and sell it, at this point, you're an arms dealer, and you like should have and so the people buying it from you should have to go through background checks and shit like that, right? At least from a legal point of view. So what the ATF sometimes does is they keep track of anyone who buys a whole bunch of guns at once, or a whole bunch of guns over some period of time. And they just like show up on that at your house and be like, "Hey, Where's all your guns? We wanna see them. And we want to prove you didn't sell any of them." Even though, if you buy a bunch of guns, for your own sake, and then turn around and sell some of them because you don't want them anymore, that is usually legal. And so there's kind of some like thought police stuff that has to go in because they have to prove intent and all this like weird shit. So the ATF is this like boogeyman that everyone's like weird about anyway. And then the other new thing that I'm a little bit less confident about, I've seen some stuff about this, that also has people up in arms is that with these NFA items, previously, NFA items being the short barreled rifle or a fully automatic weapon, right? It is legal as a as a citizen to own fully automatic weapons in certain contexts, right, if you fill out certain paperwork, you know, use them in certain environments, things like that. It's usually basically rich people have them because you have to buy ones that are from like before a ban and they so they there's like only a certain number of them that are available in the civilian market. So they just become more more expensive, which is always what the NFA was, of course was a tax on...so it was like poor people can have guns. Rich people get to have guns. And so there was this thing that the ATF...no go ahead.
Casandra 19:26 I just think about how the justification originally was like, "We don't want mobsters to have access to these things," when when they were probably the only ones who could afford them at that point.
Margaret 19:35 That's so true. Fuck.
Casandra 19:38 We only want monsters to have these things.
Margaret 19:41 Yeah. Yeah, if your shotgun cost $5,000....Yeah, only a certain class of people would have shotguns. No, that's such a good point. Okay, so one of the other things the NFA says that you can use...if I own...I do not On any NFA items, but if a hypothetical person were to own a short barreled rifle, if they are supervising, other people can shoot it. Because they're there. They're present, whatever. It's my short barreled rifle. And so you have this whole market of people who are like, "Yo, you want to go shoot a machine gun, like come to my range, you get to shoot a machine gun," which like sounds like fun. And these are very controlled environments, and it's perfectly fucking...Well, it's the safest shooting guns ever is. And now the NFA has like quietly changed in it's frequently asked questions of sorry, the ATF has changed on its frequently asked questions on its website, to just say, "No, only the only the person who has registered the item can be in possession of it. Can can use it." And so...
Casandra 20:47 Weird.
Margaret 20:48 Yeah. So like, if I have a suppressed rifle, which I don't, but I want one, I want to I want to go through the tax stamp paperwork in order to get one. Not only would it be illegal for me to let someone else use it, it would be illegal for me to store it in a way in which anyone else can access it. Like if I live somewhere and my husband has access to my gun safe, then that would be now a crime. This is more hypothetical. The other thing is very specific. And they released a fucking 300 page document about how they're going to turn everyone into felons. And everyone has 120 days.
Casandra 21:26 They put so much thought into it.
Margaret 21:27 Oh, yeah, they've been working on this for 10 years. And like fairly literally. This other thing is like a weird....And so the reason I want to talk about this is because like, this is a thing that is mostly being talked about in gun spaces, and is therefore mostly being talked about in center, right of center spaces. I don't want to just say right wing spaces, I think there's a lot of center and center right groups that are not like aggressively racist or something like that and are just like rural people who are into guns or whatever. And so people were really upset about it. And sometimes when we see certain types of people get really upset, we're like, "Haha, fuck you." But like, I think it is a completely legitimate thing for people to be upset about. I think this is fucked up. I think this is overreach. I think that this is like...the the sort of hope that people have is that at the very least, they'll just get rid of short barreled rifles off of the NFA list because it's nonsense. They shouldn't be there...in as much as....in as much as there's going to be a society I can imagine that society being like "There's a level of weapon we don't really want around here," right? Like I'm not like nukes for everyone kind of girl. And if I'm not a nukes for everyone kind of girl. Am I a machine guns for one kind of girl? I'm kind of not? I kind of just don't care. You know, like people would come at me, whatever. Like maybe it's hypocritical ofmyself, of me as an anarchist. I don't fucking know. Whatever but like, but I don't know. Whatever. That's my fucking weird gun rant. I've watched like so many like YouTube people rant about it. What's up?
Casandra 23:02 That was a pristine conclusion.
Margaret 23:07 It's so funny, because I'm like more anti gun this month than I am most months
Brooke 23:14 Is it that you're anti gun? Or is it that you're anti ATF?
Margaret 23:17 Yeah, I'm definitely anti ATF. Unless you're listening ATF, in which case I fucking love you. Don't come over, though. God that sounds sketchy than I meant it. I just....whatever. Anyway, that's the main thing I had that I had to talk about about January. This not the most important thing happening, but it is a big thing but you have some other stuff that you want to talk about, right?
Brooke 23:42 I do and I like don't even know where to go to there from here. Oh, man. Well, I guess we can talk about....
Margaret 23:50 Well, speaking of tax stamps and tax....
Brooke 23:54 Yeah, well done. I was gonna go for like, ridiculous government nonsense.
Margaret 23:59 Oh, that's actually better and more accurate.
Casandra 24:01 That's taxes.
Brooke 24:02 Yeah, there you go. Yeah. So there's this act has been proposed in Congress called the Fair Tax Act. And it's ridiculous and far fetched and is not going to go anywhere. But it has come up like three different times in my own life in the last week from from different people asking me about it and asking me what's up with it and I even had to kind of walked my mom through what was going on with this too, cuz she was talking about it. Hi, mom, if you're listening.
Margaret 24:39 Hi, mom. Hi, Brooke's mom.
Brooke 24:44 Nice. So this tax act is a Republican act. And the succinct version of it is that they want to abolish the IRS in its entirety and institute a 30% national Sales Tax.
Margaret 25:01 See, I was with them for the start of that sentence.
Brooke 25:04 First half is great. Stop there. We're good. Yeah, so that would get rid of income tax, and payroll tax, estate tax, gift tax. I mean, the whole stupid, ridiculous tax system that we have would go away.
Casandra 25:16 I thought it was in addition to state taxes?
Brooke 25:20 No.
Casandra 25:21 Oh, interesting.
Brooke 25:21 Well, I guess, I guess I don't know if they can regulate state income taxes and all of that.
Margaret 25:26 Not without a war.
Brooke 25:28 Yeah. So.
Margaret 25:30 Anyway.
Brooke 25:33 Anyway, and if so...so it's a 30% national sales tax on all goods and services purchased, which, interestingly, some of the Republicant's have tried to call it a 23% Tax. Because, they're playing with the way the math is presented. Alright, quick math lesson.
Margaret 25:54 Oh, is it the which direction? Okay, yeah. Give us the math lesson.
Casandra 25:57 Numbers. Numbers are arbitrary. Is that the lesson?
Brooke 26:02 You can use math to lie. That's the lesson.
Margaret 26:05 Yay!
Brooke 26:06 Yeah. Yeah. So if you have to buy something that's $100. Let's say just for a nice round number, and there's a 30% tax on it, you're gonna pay $130 for that item. And most of us look at that and go, that's a 30% tax.
Margaret 26:22 Right.
Casandra 26:22 Cause it is.
Brooke 26:24 Right. But...
Margaret 26:26 If you reversed it.
Brooke 26:27 Yeah, exactly.
Casandra 26:29 What?
Brooke 26:29 $30 is 23% of $130.
Margaret 26:35 Heh, heh heh.
Brooke 26:39 So if you just pretend that the item costs $130 Then you can claim that you're only charging a 23% tax.
Margaret 26:46 Because 23% of that is tax
Brooke 26:50 Of that $130.
Casandra 26:53 I want to know how I missed the like stereotypical autistic person thing of understanding math.
Brooke 27:03 Yeah, the thing that that was that some people were like, "Well, it's only 23%," but they're just lying with...they're just using math to lie.
Casandra 27:13 23%? Was that only?
Margaret 27:15 I know exactly. Like, that's a lot of my money.
Casandra 27:19 Still doesn't make sense. I mean, there's been
Brooke 27:21 130% I guess.
Margaret 27:23 I mean, as a freelancer I pay some fuck off high percentage of my income in taxes. I don't even remember.
Casandra 27:29 As an Oregonian, I don't pay sales tax.
Brooke 27:32 Yeah, so any sale's tax is like "Fuck you you, world."
Margaret 27:40 This is the real tyranny. So why do right wing people want this? Like, is it because it helps the rich because they're not paying a state tax or whatever and it's like...
Casandra 27:49 And why is it repeatedly brought up?
Brooke 27:51 Yeah, so it's...it would be a flat rate tax on like a current system, which is it's called a progressive tax system. And please don't confuse progressive with like the liberal sense of the word progressive, but progressive as in like graduated taxes we have now. Poor people pay less, richer people pay more. You pay tax as you progress in income.
Casandra 28:13 So, this is a fuck poor people?
Brooke 28:20 Well, the flat rate tax would be simpler than the progressive system. And allegedly, under the current proposal, low income individuals could apply once a month for a rebate on some of the tax that they spent.
Margaret 28:34 Oh yeah, with all of that free time that poor people have.
Brooke 28:37 Yeah, exactly.
Casandra 28:38 What if I mean, if it were actually to pass, how much do you want to bet that the rebate would just be on like yachts?
Brooke 28:48 Yeah, yeah. Under the system, everyone ends up paying more in tax except for the wealthiest 5% of Americans who actually end up paying less in taxes overall. But yeah, as you just alluded to Casandra, this is like not the first time this idea has come up. In fact, it has been introduced in Congress every single year since 1999.
Casandra 29:12 Really?
Brooke 29:14 Yep.
Casandra 29:14 Why? Why.
Margaret 29:15 Is it just some guy?
Casandra 29:19 No, why are people making such a big deal out of it this time?
Brooke 29:22 Yeah, solid question.
Casandra 29:24 Because it's so Oh, sorry. Go ahead.
Brooke 29:28 Hypotheses are welcome. It has no more chance of passing right now than it has the last 24 times it has been introduced. But there's a larger contingent of right wing extremists who are behind it like 30ish people this year.
Margaret 29:43 Uuuuhm, 23.....
Brooke 29:52 Okay, so it's, you know, there's enough support for it that it is garnering more attention. It's not just one or two people throwing it out there. And it anytime there's been kind of this larger contingent of more extreme right wing people in Congress it has gotten attention in the news media. So, like when the Tea Party folks came into Congress, it got proposed that year as it has every single year, and it made the news a little bit more than because they were more supportive than usual.
Casandra 30:26 So is it just like Margaret said, is it just some guy is it? Is it the far right just like fucking with our understanding of normalcy, like the Overton window?
Brooke 30:38 Yeah, probably. That's part of it. I mean, it made news in '99, when it was first introduced. And I couldn't tell you exactly how many times it made any kind of major news between then and now, except for when the Tea Party folks came into power.
Casandra 30:54 Do youever look back and think like, we used to just have a Tea Party, you know?
Brooke 30:59 Yes, do. Yeah, okay. So I couldn't...go ahead.
Margaret 31:06 I, it's so hard, because it's like, there is a part of me, like, I hate how complicated our tax system is, right? So I could understand this appealing if you don't think it through, right? Because then you're like, well, it's just based on how much you actually spend, and not what you make at work or whatever, you know. Because like, I fucking hate turning around and giving some percent of my tax that I can never keep track of, to the government. Basically, just every April, I'm like, there goes all my money. And now every quarter there goes all my money. And like, so I get the appeal of it. And it's so frustrating, because I feel like they're tapping into something that's like real, which is people's frustration with the tax system in this country, like you explained to other....I am under the impression I have seen on the internet, that people from other countries are like, What the fuck is wrong with you? What do you mean the government just like? Because it's like, you go to a restaurant and you order food. And then they're like,"Alright, pay me now." And you're like, "How much is the food?" And they're like, "Yeah, I mean, you can figure that out. And if you get it wrong, you go to prison." That sucks. I'm never going to that restaurant again. Like, if the government and I know the government can can give me a bill with a number because sometimes I underpay and they send me a bill with a number. And sometimes I overpay and they send me money back. They know the number. Just fucking tell it to me and I will pay I will. I would begrudge taxes so much less if it wasn't just this weird dance of fucking death with the goddamn government. Anyway.
Brooke 32:42 You're totally fair. I have spent countless hours getting tax stuff done. Now, I spent 10 hours yesterday doing tax stuff for various things. That's just what I'm going to do for the next few months is spend a whole lot of time with taxes.
Margaret 32:58 Can we call it the Illuminati tax because the number 23? Or is that bad because anything related....anyway...conspiracies.
Brooke 33:06 We can call the buddy tax. Because the fella whose turn it was to introduce it this year is Earl Leroy Carter, whose nickname is Buddy from Georgia.
Casandra 33:17 Leroy. Leroy is such a good name.
Margaret 33:21 But, Buddy is the name of someone who's too old to be in government.
Brooke 33:25 Right! Like I had to look at a picture of the dude and he's exactly what you think he looks like.
Margaret 33:30 If your nickname is Dick, you are too old to be in the government. If your nickname is Buddy, you're too old to be in government. Maybe. Okay, wait, wait I want to say older people deserve representation too. The entire government should not be run by people who are all of one generation that is much older. That's how I'm going to walk back from ageism. Yeah, totally anger issues Yeah.
Brooke 34:03 Oh, I just it was Buddy's turn to draw the short straw I guess because he hasn't....It hasn't been him every year. it's been different folks in different years. He's only been in the US Congress for five or six years or something like that. So, I don't know if they just start off the governmenting season with a you know, drawing straws or...
Casandra 34:30 It's some sort of hazing ritual. To be part of the crew you have to like propose this ridiculous thing and everyone will hate you for it.
Margaret 34:43 Like I don't even want this. It's just literally their hazing.
Brooke 34:50 Alright, whose turn is it to bring out the old Unfair Tax Act law and abolish the IRS this year.
Margaret 34:58 Which is funny because it's like I mean, I just went on this rant about how we should abolish the ATF.
Brooke 35:06 Anyway, yeah,
Margaret 35:08 I get so frustrated by the.....
Casandra 35:11 Like you're almost there. You almost reached to the point..
Margaret 35:15 Yeah, and they go on down this wild side path where they're like and and then they wander off into the fucking....
Brooke 35:24 The other part of it is that 30% probably is not quite enough of a tax to replace the income that they currently get from the tax system. So, it would probably actually have to be higher than that to work.
Casandra 35:39 It's just while to be thinking about...whatever...how the fuck much we all pay in taxes and what happens with that money and what doesn't happen with money. And who doesn't pay taxes.
Margaret 35:51 All of you listening who are anti gun, but pay taxes I have. I have bad news for you. You buy so many more guns than any like than anyone who lives in any other country. Because half of your money is just guns.
Brooke 36:07 Fucking US military. Hey, speaking of government brutality. The second topic I have, is that there's some news that's gonna drop tonight. The night of the stay that we are sitting here recording this episode. It hasn't been released yet.
Margaret 36:26 So it'd be like last week or the week before for you all?
Brooke 36:28 Yeah, exactly. And it has the potential to spark some George Floyd esque levels of protests. It's the body cam video footage from early January of the traffic stop and the brutal arrest of Tyre Nichols, a 29 year old Tennessee man who died as a result of the brutality he experienced that day. The descriptions of the videos that have come out from those who have seen it in advance have likened it to the 1991 video of Rodney King being beaten by the Los Angeles Police and Tyre's mother, excuse me, who hasn't seen and is not going to watch the video said that her son was beaten to a pulp by the arresting officers, of whom they were five. He was pepper sprayed, struck by a stun gun, restrained, kicked and more. And the family's attorney described the beating by saying the Tyre was used as a human pinata. So, some caution in watching those videos. Of course, if you're listening to this, it's the week after the they've been released. So either they have sparked intense rounds of protests, or they've quietly flamed out and gone down as just another act of extreme police brutality.
Casandra 37:43 I was reading this morning that they were like closing parts of Memphis.
Margaret 37:47 Yeah, they brought in the National Guard, right?
Brooke 37:50 Yeah, the governor declared a state of emergency in preparation for the protest that will follow the release of the videos. Yeah. Yeah.
Casandra 38:02 I hate that it takes the release of a video, you know?
Brooke 38:07 Yeah, yeah. The five arresting officers have all been fired, and they're facing a barrage of charges, including second degree murder, aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping, official misconduct and official oppression, which I didn't know official oppression was the thing that you could get charged with. But I think we can just go ahead and slap that on a whole bunch of government stuff while we're while we're using that one.
Margaret 38:31 Yeah, that's what I say about them usually. It's like the inverse. There's a New York City law Criminal anarchy. Anyway, there you go.
Casandra 38:44 I've already seen some like right wing commentary. Just people pointing out the fact that like, this is different. This isn't race based because the officers were also black. Yeah. Because systemic oppression apparently means nothing.
Brooke 39:03 Yeah, and I've, you know, given in no position to speak to the race relations in this matter, and any of that, but you know, certainly is yet another example of police brutality and the indiscriminant violence that they visit upon us,
Margaret 39:21 And still part of racist policing. I think that it is still fair to say that it's part of racist policing in this country, I feel like that's been laid out. This isn't like my idea. This coming from Black liberation movements for a long time that black police are capable of enacting racist violence or being part of a racist, racistly violence system. But of course, they'll use that to distract and they'll use the fact that they threw the cops under the bus, which I like wonder whether they would have thrown the cops under the bus if the cops were white.
Casandra 39:54 Yep.
Margaret 39:54 Yeah. And, you know, and either way they threw the cops under the bus because of trying to minimize...It's not because they don't feel good about this stuff happening because the police do. But because they like, want people to not riot. And sometimes, they'll, you know, that's how afraid they are. I feel like you can you can see how afraid the system is based on how it handles the cops who enact violence. It's almost they're afraid this time. Which is good. They should be.
Brooke 40:32 Yeah, it sounds like it's going to be some real ugly video, and I am planning to watch it. But, a trigger warning on myself.
Margaret 40:43 Yeah.
Brooke 40:46 Well, I've got one more topic. It's kind of following up on on an old friend of ours, the Colorado River.
Margaret 40:53 Oh, yeah.
Brooke 40:53 Just because it was in the news a bit recently.
Margaret 40:56 How he doing? He doing good?
Brooke 40:58 Yeah, everything's great with with Old Colorado. He's feeding the seven states and, you know, everything's fine. So that's my update.
Margaret 41:11 Great.Tell me the bad news.
Brooke 41:13 Yeah. So, Lake Mead, which we've talked about, in at least a couple of episodes, it provides water to, and electricity to Arizona, Nevada, and just a little old area called Southern California. And currently, right now, it's at its lowest point that it has been since 1935. And it has been at its lowest point since 1935, for about two years now. And it keeps getting lower, which is the decline of the lake is consistent with the overall decline of the water levels in the whole river, which is a significant source of water, also for Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico. And the reason that it's extra in the news at the moment is that these seven states that all depend on the Colorado River, have collectively worked together for, I guess, more than 100 years to kind of manage the water and it's resources and decide how to allocate it. And the federal government has tasked them a couple of times in the last year, to come up with a plan for reducing their water usage and for, you know, kind of this emergency scenario, because it's getting so very low. And for the second time, in the last year, the states have failed to come up with a plan together despite their, you know, century of working together. So the Interior Department of the federal government is probably going to have to step in and impose water usage cuts on the states in order to prevent...well, I mean, it's still gonna be pretty devastating, but in order to, you know, mitigate, who's getting how much of the devastation.
Margaret 42:52 Well I bet that will go smoothly.
Brooke 42:54 Yeah, they're not already having, you know, legal challenges and, you know, threatens of sue, and lots of lawyers and private organizations and stuff involved.
Margaret 43:05 And if there's one thing I mean, what's that saying? Thirsty people don't fight over water.
Casandra 43:12 Exactly how it goes.
Brooke 43:16 It'll be fine.
Margaret 43:17 Yeah.
Casandra 43:17 Meanwhile, in other parts of California there's like massive flooding. And they're already predicting a produce shortages for the rest of the year. Yeah.
Brooke 43:27 Yeah, great. Need. So too much water in the north, too little water in the South? Crops? Fucked.
Margaret 43:37 Yay!
Brooke 43:38 Excellent. Yeah. Now the thing that people like to to raise the the alarm about, especially with Lake Mead is that it feeds the Hoover Dam. And if the water level gets too low in the lake, you're not gonna be able to power the dam. But it's not actually really looking like it's, that's going to happen soon. They're still probably a few years before it would get that low. And this is based on like me pulling all of the data and looking at the worst case scenarios of the water levels. And that's, you know, I'm not a climatologist. So I can't tell you about other things that might happen. But just in terms of the trends of the decline in the water. Now, of course, that means I'll have two years to ignore it, and then still freak out and panic and fuck everything up at the last minute.
Margaret 44:29 No, no, they'll like, get it together. That's why we have governments that are really good at doing stuff in a timely fashion and addressing the big the big issues.
Casandra 44:40 Governments make everything more efficient.
Margaret 44:42 Yeah. Yeah. Without it it'd be total anarchy,
Brooke 44:47 Lies, damn lies from governments. All right, what's happening in the world, Margaret? What's happening outside our little bubble?
Margaret 44:58 It's about California. My first one. Alright, so California....
Casandra 45:04 None of us live in California, for the record.
Margaret 45:09 So okay, what is it? There's a bill, Assembly Bill 92 in California. I have no idea whether this is likely to pass. This the thing. I think that I actually fall into this too. Whenever we see like, "Oh, there's this new bill, and it's fucked up." Everyone's like, "Oh, fuck, they're gonna," you know, there'd be a bill that's like, "Murder every seventh child," and people be like, "Oh, fuck," you know, and like, and then usually those bills don't pass. And so we feel a little bit like wolf cry'ey when we're like....like all the anti trans bills that are happening right now. Right? Like Virginia actually just shut one down. And I wish, I should have. I should focus more on some of the positive news for these things. Virginia, just shut one down. Like it didn't even go to vote. People were like, "Nah, we're good." And but, I don't even think it was a statewide one. I don't know, whatever. It's like, these things do get defeated all the time. But people propose all this wild shit, like, the 23 people tax. Well, I know. But if you start with the 30 people who propose it, and then you say, we'll pass the tax, if we get to execute seven of you. ...You know, I'd be willing to like give it a shot for a little while.
Brooke 46:18 A shot.
Margaret 46:21 Which, they'd be in trouble if they lived in California if this bill passes, because California is trying to pass a bill, or some people in California trying to pass a bill banning civilian possession of armor.
Casandra 46:34 Body armor?
Margaret 46:35 And I think that...
Casandra 46:36 Which i'm just like, wow. Why? I always wonder how....like, they must have to have some sort of justification for proposing bills like this. And I just like, what is it?
Margaret 46:47 So, there's justification for proposing this is that several other mass shooters have worn body armor in the past couple of mass shootings. This, to me is like, the crystal clear distillation of like, doing law wrong, you know, is like being like, well, you can't protect yourself from bullets beecause some people who want to kill people might protect themselves from bullets.
Casandra 47:14 But if we pass a law about it, those people who want to kill people will definitely follow the law.
Margaret 47:18 Yeah. That's the best thing about law is that the only people who follow it are criminals, and everyone else is free. Actually, what's really funny is in a weird way, because of selective enforcement, as it's like, you know, it's like, if you're breaking some other laws it's the only time you get in trouble for certain laws. But, yeah, so they're trying to pass a bill outlawing body armor, and I think it is fucked up. That's....
Casandra 47:44 That's wild. Most of the mass shooters are men. We could just outlaw them.
Margaret 47:50 You know, I see no counter argument that can be made.
Brooke 47:57 Let's put them in cages. Breeding stock only.
Margaret 48:04 The 1960s called they want their science fiction back. But they can't have it because it's funny. So, there's that. There's a diabetes med that's in shortage called ozempic. And it's in shortage because a version of it got popular for weight loss. The same drug is used is produced by the same manufacturer at a higher dosage called wegovy. I don't know, the dumbest names in the world are the names of prescription drugs.
Casandra 48:37 Yeah. That's someone's job
Margaret 48:40 I know, I'm so jealous of whoever's job that is. Like, I write fantasy characters for a living, I could do that job. No, that's not true. Because like, fantasy authors always go for like, Alright, we're gonna take a normal name like John and we're gonna, like spell it weird. Or add an 'e' in the middle or something. And like, this isn't called like, 'insaloon.' You know, it's not just 'insulin' with a different pronunciation. It's fucking orginal. Ozempic? Wegovy? it doesn't even look like it's some other language. It just looks like...you look at that, and you're like, that's a prescription drug.
Casandra 49:19 That means we need to hire a sci fi author to do the job.
Margaret 49:23 Yeah, okay. All right. Well, since I'm out of that job. People at the World Economic Forum in Davos are predicting major cyber attacks in 2023 and or 2024, DDoS attacks, denial of service attacks, like where they flood an IP to shut it down. Those increased 79% last year.
Brooke 49:44 Wow.
Margaret 49:45 And something like 49% of like major economic things that do all the manufacturing etc. are like vulnerable or like, particularly not hardened to cyber attacks. You know, we had the thing couple years ago where like, you couldn't get couldn't get gas in part of the Mid Atlantic because of a cyber attack.
Brooke 50:03 Oh, yeah.
Margaret 50:04 So anyway, so there's that to look forward to. In the most depressing news that no one ever wants to admit or think about, Germany's Minister of Health says that all signs point towards COVID putting people at risk for incurable immune deficiencies. The studies are not final. But there's just more and more mounting evidence coming in from all different corners about how we should be taking COVID Seriously. And again, not to put that impetus on like, as much the individuals, but like, wouldn't it be cool if some of our tax money paid for i dunno, HVAC systems for schools?
Brooke 50:43 Weird.
Margaret 50:44 Wouldn't that be just like...Oh, yes. And the other thing that happened, I didn't write this in my notes. But one of the main things that I saw this fucking month is at the World Economic Forum in Davos, the windows were open, there was HEPA filters in every room, everyone tested at the door. The people in the audience wore masks, because the world leaders know that it's fucking real.
Casandra 51:03 Yep.
Brooke 51:05 But, but, but didn't we just decided it ended it here in the US? Didn't we just declare that?
Margaret 51:10 Oh, no, we extended it till April.
Brooke 51:13 Okay.
Margaret 51:13 It's over in April. Yeah.
Brooke 51:16 Except not the SNAP benefits.
Margaret 51:18 No, the SNAP benefits. That is the next thing I had on my list. That's very good. The SNAP benefits, which I still in my head to call food stamps, but maybe you're not supposed to. But in case you're don't know what SNAP means the extended benefits that people got during the COVID pandemic are going to expire in March. So, February is the last month of the extended benefits. Sorry, sucks to be poor. Hope you don't die of the...this is me and my government voice not me and my voice....Hope you don't just...well, actually, we do want you to just go back to work and die for the economy. Speaking of people willing to die for the economy, Bolsonaro's right wing idiots stormed the Capitol after he lost an election. I don't have nearly as much as Brazil. I don't have nearly as much information about that as I wish I did prepared because...I...because this is the speed round. Speed Round. There should be like a little sound effect. Too too, zoo zoo. On the other hand, I like other people when they storm government institutions, and left wing people in Peru are doing are like also uprising. And I think that's good. Because I hate that we let....the when people are like "The insurrectionists and the seditioutionists," and I'm like "Hey, now. That's some of my best friends." What else? Oh, and Pakistan has been having massive, after their fucking floods that we talked about last year, they've been having massive blackouts. There was like to 220 million people without power for a while. And it's basically old fucked up infrastructure that is fucking them up. And that...either of you have Lightning Rounds?
Brooke 53:05 No, I don't pay attention to the news. I'm doing taxes.
Margaret 53:10 Oh, yeah. Okay, well, that's the end of our lightning round.
Brooke 53:15 Pew pew peeew.
Margaret 53:23 And that is This Month in the Apocalypse. And if there's something we missed, there isn't. And if you think something happened that was bad, it didn't happen. Or we would have covered it.I see no flaw in that logic and I think you all are gonna have to learn to understand that that's just the way it is. So, but if you want to hear us tell you everything that's happening and....whatever, if you want to support this podcast, you should do so by supporting us on Patreon. Our Patreon is patreon.com/.... not Live like the world is dying...shit. We are Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness. That's right Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness because this is published by Strangers in Tangled Wilderness. And if you support us on Patreon, we'll mail you a zine every month if you support is a certain level. Otherwise, you'll get like discounts on all our stuff including my new book that's probably out by the time y'all hear this called Escape from Incel Island, which is about people doing what it says on the cover. I tend to be fairly literal with some of my naming conventions, with amazing cover art by Jonas Goonface. And you can go get that from Tangledwilderness.org or wherever you buy books. I mean, eventually you can get from wherever you buy books. Right now you can...well I don't know book distribution's weird? So you should support us at Patreon: patreon.com/Strangersintangledwilderness and also in particular, we would like to thank some of our patrons we would like to thank Aly and Paparouna, Milica, Boise Mutual Aid, Theo, Hunter, Sean, SJ, Paige, Mikki, Nicole, David, Dana, Chelsea, Cat J, Staro, Jenipher, Eleanor, Kirk, Sam, Chris, Micaiah, Hoss the dog, and Hans, maybe Jan's, I usually write the pronunciation ahead of time. And I'm very sorry and it's especially embarrassing because you're new to the list and I really appreciate you in particular, Hans Vergennes for supporting us. And that's it. I'm gonna....done and I hope you all are doing great. Bye bye
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