If you’ve never read Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, you should consider doing so. Its controversy-inspiring title was itself inspired by an unlikely source. Remarking on the likelihood of tyranny coming to America, George Carlin said, “it will not be in brown and black shirts. It will not be with jackboots. It will be Nike sneakers and smiley shirts. Smiley-smiley.”
Lest you think I’m trying on tin-foil hats again, consider the case of Buckyballs, which is an adult desk toy made of magnetic balls. And while you’re at it, quit laughing at the juxtaposition of “adult”, “toys”, and “balls” in the same sentence. I’m trying to be serious here. Really. Quit it.
Because the Consumer Product Safety Commission isn’t laughing. In fact, they’re threatening to essentially put the company out of business.
Think that’s absurd? Then read the full story, or at least this graf:
The CPSC has filed a lawsuit against Maxfield & Oberton claiming Buckyballs and Buckycube desk toys “pose a substantial risk of injury to the public.”
They want the company to stop selling its product.
There have been a handful of reports that children and teenagers have swallowed the tiny magnetic balls. Sabrina Lopez, of Bakersfield, Calif. had to undergo two surgeries after the 12-year-old swallowed four of the Buckyballs pieces, USA Today reported.
Yes, injuries are bad. If I had a baby or toddler, I wouldn’t let them anywhere near such a toy. But a 12-year-old? There’s something else going on here. Our 12-year-old is the poster child for hyperimpulsive but I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t do anything like that.
And if he did? Stuff happens. We’d deal with it, and add it to the long list of ridiculous injuries our children have acquired. I certainly wouldn’t want the government threatening to put someone out of business over it. Not if they were just doing what they do – that is, not intentionally pushing hazardous products.
Like, I don’t know, toy companies that use cheap Chinese labor so they can get that extra special lead additive or radioactive Cesium (look, sparklies!).
We’re talking about something that grownups buy to put on their desks and fiddle with while they’re pondering The Great Problems. Or waiting for the clock to hit 5pm, whatever. But they certainly don’t deserve to be sued out of existence by DC bureaucrats in the name of public safety.
So much for the smiley-face part. Now for the jackboots…
Gibson Guitars (my personal favorite) has finally reached a settlement with the Feds over the use of imported wood. Which would be good, except for the bad part: it should never have happened in the first place. At least, not in the way this went down.
You might remember this case, wherein they were the subject of two armed raids.
SWAT teams kicking in the doors at a musical instrument factory as if they were the friggin’ Untouchables raiding a Chicago distillery is bad enough. We’re not talking Al Capone here. It’s a bunch of middle-aged guys making Les Pauls and Flying Vs. Couldn’t they have just sent a couple of guvmint lawyers armed with briefcases?
Or maybe they believed that Ted Nugent album cover; the one where he’s sporting a Gibson with a shotgun-barrel headstock…
What’s worse – and this is where we get way into opinion-land – is that it appears politically motivated. Gibson’s CEO donates to the party not currently running the Executive Branch. C.F. Martin, another high-end guitar maker, uses the same wood but has not shared the same fate as Gibson. So who do you think they support? You got it…
And now, we have a President whose campaign (and by extension, him) sees fit to publicize the names of Romney donors and accuse them of essentially being un-American. For being rich and supporting another rich guy, I guess. Disregard the fact that Dear Leader is a millionaire in his own right.
But that wasn’t enough. Now, they’re actually going after Romney donors like Vegas bigshot Sheldon Adelson with IRS audits, OSHA harassment, and more DOJ investigations.
Now, consider that the President’s own people are openly suggesting Romney is a potential felon, based on nothing but his refusal to release tax returns beyond the extent required by campaign law. In other words, disprove a negative. The Dems know most people don’t get the finer points of Socratic debate, all they have to do is get the idea out there.
I get it. Politics ain’t beanbag. It’s not even dodgeball. But where does this end? Remember, these suggestions are coming from the staff of a man with the ability to prosecute. If Romney continues to resist, will he too be subject to malicious prosecution?
A sitting President criminally charging his opponent during an election would be unprecedented and just plain scary as hell. That’s the kind of thing that happens in third-world banana republics. But hey, if it works for them, I guess everything’s fair game.
Keep your eyes on the news. I wouldn’t put anything past this bunch, especially if their internal polls are heading south. Not when the stakes are this high, not when their whole premise is about to be either legitimized or rebuked. There is no middle ground any more.
Having said that, I submit to you this analysis which asserts that its all hopeless no matter what.
Doesn’t mean I’m going to stop fighting. Tea, anyone?