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None Of The Above

I have a crazy idea. I know what you’re thinking; Bitchy, most of your ideas are crazy! You would be correct, but at least I’m consistent!

I was listening to last night’s episode of Maddow and she said something that sparked a crazy thought in my mind. She said that in Nevada, voters have the option of voting for “none of the above”. I looked up the statue and it’s real! It’s been in place since 1976. But it has a major flaw. Here’s how it works; Nevada voters can vote for one of the candidates or for “none of the above”. The candidate with the most votes wins. That last part is problematic.

This would be a great (and useful) law with a little tweaking. This law could combat the Citizen’s United ruling by the Supreme Court, which opened the floodgates for unlimited corporate spending on elections.

Here’s what I think should happen. We should collectively get state by state ballot initiatives together to include “none of the above” as an option. But instead of the candidate with the most votes winning, the option with the most votes should win. So if “none of the above” gets the most votes, none of the candidates wins. If it’s a primary, any party that gets a majority of “none of the above” votes, must run a new set of candidates. If it’s a general election, then both parties need to go back and do better. Oh, and a candidate that lost to “none of the above”, couldn’t run for that seat again until the next election cycle.

If you think about it for a minute, you’ll realize that I’m not entirely batshit crazy. My idea solves a myriad of problems.

“None of the above” would spare each of us the pain of having to choose the least shitty candidate ever again! Look, the republican party have nominated the village idiot to be in the white house three times in a row now (Quayle, W, and Palin). I refuse to believe that there weren’t a significant number of republicans that didn’t hold their nose to cast a vote for the idiot, despite knowing they were an idiot. I know that when the presidential election came around in 2004, I held my nose a little. I knew I was voting for the best option, but I wasn’t voting for the best candidate. So this solves the problem of feeling dirty after casting your vote.

I mentioned Citizen’s United. Imagine how much fucking money corporations would flush down the toilet, having to finance campaigns over and over again, for candidates that keep getting shot down by voters. The cost of a winning senate seat used to be (pre-Fiorina) 6.5 million dollars. Citizens United and rich, entitled asshat candidates will bring that number way up fairly soon. Imagine what would happen if we had the power to say, “Not having it. Try again.” Corporations and rich fuckers would have to spend double what they’re spending now, if we forced them to do just one do-over. If corporations are going to buy the elections, we should do what we can to make it as costly for them as possible! If we keep rejecting the bullshit candidates that are obviously in the back pocket  of the corporation that financed the run, maybe corporations will be forced to rethink their strategy. If nothing else, they will have to budget significantly more for the “buying politicians” allocation of their petty cash reserves.

And if we can get congress to pass the bill they’ve been talking about; the one that would force corporations to get shareholder approval for political spending, voila! Problem solved! Or at least mitigated.

As it stands now, both candidates running in any given race is a corporate shill. We should have the option of voting for neither candidate and forcing a more palatable option.

What do you think? Am I coo coo for cocoa puffs?

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Cowardly Bullies

Turns out that high school is an excellent place to learn about how the world works. For example, most of us learned that the school bully is really just a big coward by the time we got to our senior year. Either that, or we learned it in a John Hughes film but regardless, we learned it.

Why am I thinking about bullies? Because of Ken Mehlman, of course. How did you not make that connection?

In case you hadn’t heard, Ken Mehlman (W’s campaign manager in 2004 and head of the RNC from 2005 – 2007) came out of the closet this week. Yup, much to no one’s surprise, Ken is gay. He’s 43 years old, and finally out of the closet. Why now? Because he’s not working as a republican operative anymore, stupid! He doesn’t have to fall in line anymore, so he gets to spend that last half (or third) of his life keeping it real.

What a fucking coward, seriously. Now, I can understand the appeal of conservative rhetoric (you know, the horseshit about small government and fiscal conservatism) 25 years ago when Ken was deciding on which political ideology suited him better. But by the mid 90s, the Pandora’s box that Reagan opened up in trying to appeal to evangelicals and religious zealots had started to move the party in a very ugly direction. The right wing rhetoric during the making of don’t-ask-don’t-tell was appalling. Why didn’t all of the gay republicans stand up then? Why did they choose fear and shame over courage?

I’m not suggesting that they should have abandoned their party. I understand that liberalism isn’t for everyone. Although it should be said that the last liberal president we had was Jimmy Carter. The last two have been decidedly right of center but okay, no one knew it was going to turn out that way and the next Jimmy Carter could have been lurking in the democratic party. What I’m suggesting is that they should have stood up, come out, and changed the course that the republican party was taking. But no, they instead chose to shut the fuck up and tow the party line. Worse than that, they helped in the suppression of their own civil rights. Fucking cowards.

Gay republicans aren’t the only cowards. Sane republicans are cowardly in their own right (how’d that double entendre work out for you?). Yes, I said sane republicans. There are some. You just don’t know about them because they’re in the sane closet. Lindsey Graham (I have no idea why Ken Mehlman makes me think of Lindsey Graham!) is not a whack-a-doodle. John McCain isn’t a whack-a-doodle. Dick Luger and Orin Hatch aren’t whack-a-doodles. Scott Brown is a dim bulb, but he’s not a whack-a-doodle.

Why aren’t they standing up for sanity? Why aren’t they appropriating funds for the jobs bill, stimulus, and the extension of unemployment benefits when they know that these bills are helping their states? Make no mistake, they do know. CBO (the congressional budget office) just came out with a report that says that the stimulus has helped to create between 1.4 and 3.3 million jobs. That 3.3 million figure means that the number of jobs created solely because of the stimulus package have surpassed the number of jobs created during the whole, miserable George W Bush nightmare. Sane republican senators know this. I don’t have some magical mechanism that gives me access to information that they don’t have. And yet, they’re shutting down efforts to help their constituents at every turn in order to tow the party line.

Where the fuck were the sane ones to reign in Bush when he was spending us into oblivion? Not one of them stood up and suggested that it might be a good idea to budget for the war and the occupation. Not one. None of them stood up and said that the Bush tax cuts were a bad idea. They knew what the impact of those tax cuts were going to be. They had to pass those tax cuts through reconciliation. According to the rules of reconciliation, congress can’t pass anything that way if it will have a negative effect on the deficit for over ten years. So they passed it through reconciliation with a nine year and three hundred and sixty-four day sunset. They knew they were burying our economy. They fucking knew it and said nothing. God damned cowards.

They are aiding and abetting the nuttyfication of the republican party because they’re fucking cowards.

How different would the republican party be today if their members weren’t cowards? They might actually practice some fiscal conservatism. They might have some diversity of thought. Democrats have anti-choice members serving in congress and in the senate. It’s inconceivable to me that 100% of republicans are anti-choice. It’s inconceivable to me that 100% of republicans are so rabidly pro-gun, that they don’t think that banning people on the terrorist watch list from buying a gun is a good idea.

It’s inconceivable to me that republicans aren’t a bunch of cowards. They band together to bully the pussies in the democratic party because they’re fundamentally a bunch of scared little girls. And I don’t understand what they’re so afraid of. Are they worried that if John Boehner pays them a visit to give them a good talking to for not towing the party line, that his skin condition will be contagious?

I honestly don’t understand this level of cowardliness. I’m used to spineless democrats, but at least they’re not actively participating in the ruination of their constituents, or the suppression of their own civil rights.

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Stockholm Syndrome

A recent Pew Research poll shows that 18% of Americans believe that President Obama is a Muslim.

I’d like to tell you that at least 1 in 300 million doesn’t give a shit one way or another. I honestly don’t care which religion my president is afflicted with. I can’t see much of a distinction from one religion to another. I do know that if you purport to be religious, and are afraid of someone else’s religion, you probably don’t know shit about God and aren’t likely to find “him” in your lifetime.

The idea that Americans fear or loathe Islam is inexplicable to me. The only reason why you’re not scared shitless of the international pedophile factory known as the Catholic Church, is that you’re suffering from an as of yet undiagnosed form of Stockholm Syndrome that allows you to take comfort in the devil you know.

I say “pedophile factory” because the science is very clear in this area; pedophiles create pedophiles. The numbers vary (depending on which study you look at), but somewhere between 30% and 93% of child molesters were molested as children. Molesters on average, molest fifty children. Think about that for a minute, and apply those statistics to the pedophile Catholic priests around the world. If each priest molests fifty children, we know that somewhere between fifteen and forty six and a half of those fifty victims will grow up to victimize.

That doesn’t scare the shit out of you? If it doesn’t, it’s because they’re the devil you know and you’re suffering from Stockholm Syndrome .

Does anyone know what the ratio of pedophile Catholic priests is to radicalized Muslims? No, no one does.

America’s fear and hatred of Islam is arbitrary and irrational.

Why don’t the Mormons scare the crap out of you? They come to your door, literally! These batshit crazy fucks have to spend two years of their lives peddling their religion on the street like a hot dog, and you’re not alarmed by this? The only reason they “renounced” polygamy, is because Utah couldn’t be ratified as a state until they did. Blacks couldn’t enter the Mormon priesthood until 1978 because they were believed to be placed under a curse, which gave them black skin. These people have never once done the right thing without being pressured into it.

Why aren’t you scared shitless of Mormons? Because they’re the devil you know, and you’re suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

How about the Jahovah’s Witnesses and the Evangelicals that are foaming at the mouth, waiting for Armageddon to come so that they can be “saved”. Saved, by the destruction of mankind? That doesn’t scare the piss out of you? If it doesn’t sound coo coo for cocoa puffs to you, it’s because they’re the devil you know and you’re suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

Not to be accused of bias toward my own, how about that whole flotilla in Gaza situation? Granted, that wasn’t the Jewish faith behaving like soulless bastards, it was a country. But I must say that if your “survival” depends on oppressing others, I for one won’t miss you if you’re gone. An American citizen was executed (four shots to the head and one shot to the heart) during the course of that incident, and our media tells us that Israel was justified and that we should support them? Israel is the devil we know, and we’re collectively suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.

Personally, I’m afraid of anyone that feels compelled to tell me what they believe in. I feel like your beliefs are personal and the only reason for attempting to convert others to your beliefs, is because you’re fundamentally insecure about them. I don’t talk about what I believe in very often because I don’t need the validation of others to support my beliefs. I just need my beliefs to get me through the day. And anyone that needs to convince me about what they believe is scary.

Why do we even give a shit what our president’s religion is? It’s 2010. Why aren’t we more concerned with how our president governs than we are with how he prays to god, or even if he prays to god?

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Do you REALLY Think That America Is Great?

I can’t believe I even have to talk about this noncontroversial Muslim community center issue, but thanks to Fox, I do.

Before I get into the greatness of America, I do want to tell you one thing that you may not know if you’re not a New Yorker. The proposed community center is 2 – 3 blocks from ground zero which means that it very likely isn’t even in the same zip code as the WTC buildings. I’m not kidding. Two blocks in New York is literally a different zip code. But that’s irrelevant.

My question to those that oppose a Muslim community center is, do you really think that America is great, really? I must say that I question your sincerity if you answered in the affirmative. You see, if you really believe that America is great, you would support America’s embrace of the Muslim culture. If you actually had faith in America’s greatness, you would believe that it can overcome the will of religious radicals, Muslim or otherwise.

When we embrace Muslims and make them an integral part of our country, we’re actually welcoming them over here so that we don’t have to fight them over there. I do fundamentally believe in the principals that make America great. We didn’t become the world’s superpower without embracing many, many new cultures along the way. And as we became greater and greater, more people wanted to come here to get a piece of the American dream because our way is a better way. And as more and more people make America their home, we become greater.

Let me clue you in on something about people – we’re not different. No matter where a person comes from, human nature remains the same. We all want decent homes to call our own, flat screen TVs to put in those homes, and iPods to carry with us to work. We all want jobs that enable us to support our families, and we all want safe communities to raise our families in.

These desires are not unique to a specific race or religion. Most people would choose to pursue these opportunities if given the chance. If you don’t believe me, you’re just not paying attention. First generation Americans generally leave the majority of their parent’s rituals behind. I see Indian families all the time, where the mother is is wearing a saree and the daughter is wearing jeans. Or a Hasidic family where the adult son is wearing nothing more than a yamaka.

America offers the opportunity to obtain the house, TV, iPod, and community in which to raise your family. That’s what makes us better.

Iran is still stoning people to death. Seriously, they’re burying people up to their chests and throwing stones at them until they’re dead. Let me share a few more highlights about Sharia law with you;

-Islam commands that drinkers and gamblers should be whipped. In 2005, a man was sentenced to an eighty stroke caning for drinking in Nigeria

-Islam allows a husband to beat their wives, for simply being “highhanded”. Yup, domestic abuse is permitted by Sharia.

-Islam orders unmarried fornicators to be whipped, and adulterers to be stoned to death.

-Islam forbids smoking

-Under Sharia, all men must have beards

Does any of this sound good to you? Do you think this sounds good to anyone that has a choice? Do you have so little faith in the superiority of the American way of life, that you don’t think it will win out over stoning? Who do you think would choose a caning over a beer?

Honestly, this opposition to Muslims being embraced by America is the most inane thing I’ve ever heard. It goes against everything that went into making America what it is today. But more than that, it is fundamentally based on the fear that our way of life isn’t better. You must believe that a significant number of people will choose radicalism over iPhones. That’s just stupid on its face.

Believe in America. Believe that most people that experience America won’t choose terrorism over living a free and happy life here.


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Bin Laden Is Winning

He always said that his goal was to bankrupt the United States. Well, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

We’re caught in a vicious cycle, thanks to the Bush approach to economics. Losing 8 million jobs has had such a profound impact, that most people can’t even grasp the big picture anymore.

See, when people aren’t working, two major things happen; they’re not earning taxable income, which lowers the amount of money that both states and the feds are collecting, and they’re not putting money into the economy, which costs more jobs.

I’m about to debunk two lame ass republican mantras; “trickle down economics” and “the government can’t create jobs”.

Let’s start with the latter. Last week, republicans were up in arms over the federal jobs bill which included 26 billion dollars for school funding. That 26 billion is supposed to save over 160,000 teachers from losing their jobs so naturally, we’re all supposed to hate the free loading teachers now. Actually, that’s not true. We’ve always hated the teachers because they have the audacity to join labor unions, but that’s a topic for another post. The one thing that Fox and the republicans didn’t tell you, is that those funds were paid for. They weren’t an “emergency” supplemental a la Bush, and they weren’t off budget funds. They were paid for.

So let’s look at the impact of those teachers on the economy. I’m going to use my city of New York as an example because well, it’s my city!

New Yorkers are currently talking about yet another impending increase in subway fares. This is  BIG deal for us, because we don’t drive cars. The subway is how we get around. The proposal on the table right now would increase the monthly cost by 16%. That’s a huge increase. We’ve been getting a minimum of 10% increases every year for the past 4 years. The MTA (transit authority) is facing major shortfalls (as they always are), so they’re cutting services and increasing fares.

Back to the teachers. Some of the shortfalls that state and city run services are facing are due to unemployment rates. When New Yorkers aren’t working, they’re not paying New York city taxes (yes America, we pay city, state, and federal taxes here so QUIT your whining!). In addition to not paying taxes, they’re not using some services, and using the shit of other services. Services that cost money see shrinking revenues. Unemployed people don’t buy $89 unlimited Metro cards. They buy single ride cards because they’re not leaving the house every day. With less people riding the trains, those shortfalls increase exponentially. So if New York city saves 5,000 teaching jobs as a result of those federal funds, it’s good for us in more ways than most people can even conceive of.

When 5,000 teachers are spared from the fate of unemployment, some number of MTA employees are also saved because those fares help to mitigate the budget shortfalls.

This applies to a myriad of different service jobs. Every $1 that those 161,000 teachers spend on food creates $1.71 in economic activity. “Economic activity” includes the jobs of the people picking (or processing) the food, the truck drivers delivering the food, the gas station owners filling up the trucks with gas, the store employees stocking the shelves, etc. You see how the list goes on and on, far beyond what most people think about.

If those teachers were unemployed, they would be spending less, thereby causing more unemployment. And that impact wouldn’t be limited to the state they live in. Yes, unemployed NYC teachers hurt the state of New York, but they also hurt economic activity in several other states. How is this not obvious to everyone?

Anybody who says that the government can’t create jobs is just plain ignorant. Republicans that say it are just lying. All they have to do to prove that government creates lots of jobs, it to look at the Reagan presidency. The Reagan years were eight straight years of stimulus spending. He jacked up record deficits so that he could spend wildly on defense. He pumped hundreds of billions of dollars onto the pockets of the defense industry. That investment is still creating jobs today. All of that defense money Reagan spent ultimately led to the silicon valley boom. Hundreds of billions of dollars being thrown at R&D in defense, shrank the microchip down to a size that made the personal computer possible. Yes, we would unquestionably have gotten there eventually, but the “Reagan stimulus” greatly sped up the pace.

So yes, government does create jobs. Lots of jobs because money doesn’t trickle down, it flows up.

Poor people are the ones that actually create jobs. No, I’m not crazy. Just stay with me. Those 161,000 teachers that make between $25,000 and $50,000 a year are actually the backbone of our economy because they spend every cent of what they earn, which creates economic activity. People who make more generally save some of their money. They defer some of their income into 401k accounts and open up savings accounts.

People that make a lot more invest their money. They invest their money in ways that will maximize a return on their investment. They invest in companies that will pay out high dividends. How does a company get into a position of paying out high dividends? By maximizing profits by any means necessary. Historically, this is accomplished by paying less for goods and labor. This means offshoring jobs and buying supplies from Chinese manufacturers that can offer those supplies at a much lower rate than a US manufacturer can.

Companies don’t have an imperative to create jobs. They have an imperative to create money, which is why “trickle down” is total bullshit. Very little actually trickles down. In fact, every $1 in tax cuts to corporations creates 32 cents in economic activity. The other 68 cents ends up either in a Swiss bank account or at a manufacturing plant in China.

Republican ideology is giving Bin Laden his wish. Every cent of stimulus spending they choke off is accelerating the pace for the bankrupting of the United States.

States all across the country are removing street lamps, or just turning them off at night. How’s that going to work out for your city’s crime rate? And as states are running out of money, they’re also cutting state jobs like policemen and firefighters. Good luck with getting help on those dark streets. Another charming development is that we’re devolving from using asphalt on our roads, back to gravel because it’s cheaper. Seriously, we’re going to be driving on dirt roads soon. Our roads are literally crumbling, our cities are getting darker, and our infrastructure is falling apart.

Two key measures of the development of a country are its infrastructure and its education system. We’re moving backwards in both of those areas. Thanks republicans!

Your sudden interest in fiscal conservatism is as ass backward as your knowledge of world politics. If we don’t invest a lot of money in our country right now, we’re either going to give Bin Laden his wish, or we’re going to spend a lot more later. And by “later”, I mean a couple of years.

Nevada is a few months away from not being able to pay its municipal bonds. Florida, Arizona, California, and Wyoming aren’t far behind. Where do you think they’re going to turn to bail them out?

The federal government can spend money to create jobs now, or they’re going to be forced to throw a lot more money at the problem later. Homeowners know that if you don’t spend a dime on maintenance for ten years, you’re going to have to spend a lot more to rebuild portions of your house later.

We are letting our country fall apart, and we’re giving Bin Laden his wish. Anytime some asshat talks to you about “trickle down” or the evils of stimulus spending, just let them know that Bin Laden appreciates their hard work. He can’t do it without them.

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Banking On Dumber

That’s what leaders in both the republican and democratic parties are counting on. They’re counting on the other party being even dumber than they are, in order to pick up some seats.

Republicans spent the better part of last year touting the virtues of the tea party, only to discover that they’re a giant liability to republicans. Republican leaders didn’t have to foresight to realize that aligning themselves with extremist whack-a-doos was eventually going to bite them in the ass. Good luck turning Sharon Angle into something palatable to the general public, Mitch McConnel! Thanks to your shortsightedness, you lost the unlose-able seat. And thanks to your stupidity, I’m stuck with six more years of Harry Reid in the role of majority leader (because you’re not taking back the senate this time around). Thanks a lot, dumbasses! I was perfectly willing to lose that seat to get a real leader in the senate.

And speaking of dumbasses, there is no shortage of them in the Obama administration. Let’s review;

  • Robert Gibbs (white house press secretary) went off on “the professional left” (of which I’m not a member because you people are too damned cheap to donate!), stating that they wouldn’t be happy until “…we have Canadian healthcare and we’ve eliminated the pentagon”.
  • After the Arkansas primary when Blanche Lincoln (the corporatist incumbent) barely squeezed out a victory against her more liberal, union backed opponent (Bill Halter), an unnamed (it was obviously Rahm) white house source said, “Organized labor just flushed $10M down the toilet”.
  • Earlier this year, Rahm Emanuel referred to liberal activists as “fucking retarded”.

I think we’re all pretty clear on how this administration feels about liberals. Personally, I would like to let the geniuses at the white house know that crapping on your base is no way to win a midterm election. In fact, it’s a great way to ensure that your candidate is going to have to whore himself out to corporate America with the enthusiasm of a rent boy, to make up for the money that your base won’t be contributing to him in the next presidential election. Here’s a news flash for the brilliant Rahm Emanuel; nothing slams my wallet shut tighter than being referred to as a retard.

Rahm and Gibbsy are counting on the notion that liberals have nowhere to go, so we have to show up for them. They think that republicans are so distasteful to us, that we’re just going to suck it up and support any trash they serve up. Wow, your parents must be so proud of you, what with you sucking less than the other guy. Way to lead democrats, way to lead!

Guess what? I’m not going to show up for you. I’m not going to donate to any DNC candidates, and I’m not going to vote for any DNC candidates. And if that means ceding seats to republicans, then sobeit. If losing control to republicans again is what needs to happen in order for democrats to reassess their policy positions, then that’s what’s going to happen. I have no emotional attachment to the democratic party, so I have absolutely no preference for democrats fucking me over republicans fucking me. If your platform doesn’t line up with mine, then I’m outta here! Republicans allowed their party to turn into a giant crapfest because they chose to stand by their man like battered wives, taking back their abusive husbands in perpetuity. I’m not planning on making that same mistake. I refuse to aid and abet the devolution of my party by buying into the false narrative that I have no other choice.

I can choose to sit back and let you get your asses handed to you. And I will, because that’s preferable to letting democrats hand my ass to me with my vote and with my money.

So congrats to democrats on saving the Harry Reid seat that should have been lost to a republican. And by “saving”, I mean sitting back while dipshit republicans let an unelectable whack job like Sharon Angle win the primary.

And congrats to republicans for winning the senatorial seat in Arkansas. And by “winning” I mean, sitting back while dumbass democrats poured a shitload of money to ensure that Blanche Lincoln (who no progressive will come out to vote for) won the primary.

I have to hand it to the “strategists” for both the democratic and republican re-election committees. Waiting for your opponent to be dumber than you are is a most innovative strategy that I could never conceived of.

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Steven Slater

No, I’m not going all pop culture on you. Don’t worry, Lindsay Lohan posts will not be forthcoming.

I’m fascinated with how quickly Mr. Slater has become a national hero.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, let me give you the background. Mr. Slater was a flight attendant with JetBlue. He snapped a few days ago when a passenger was abusive toward him, after he asked her to follow FAA rules and remain in her seat until the plane stopped moving. The passenger refused to apologize for her rude behavior, so Mr. Slater did what none of us would do – he took to the PA system on the plane to curse her out, bid farewell to a 28 year long career in the airline industry, grabbed a couple of beers from the galley, deployed the emergency exit slide, and slid off the plane.

I say that none of us would do this because it wouldn’t occur to most of us. If it did occur to us, it would probably end at being a lovely, reoccurring revenge fantasy.

But what he did isn’t the interesting part to me. The interesting part is that he’s become a national hero. I’ve seen at least three Facebook groups dedicated to lionizing him. Every news story I’ve seen is full of praise for Mr. Slater. Everyone seems to be on his side. This is particularly interesting to me since, the rude public that he pushed back on is us! Let’s be honest here, we’ve all taken out a little aggression on a flight attendant or TSA officer for making us abide by some stupid arbitrary rule, haven’t we? So why are we all jumping on the “Steve Slater is a hero” bandwagon when we’re essentially the public that put him over the edge?

He’s a hero because he’s one of “us” in the battle of “us versus them”. He’s every working man, standing up against a shitty job that doesn’t pay enough to compensate for the grief that comes with that job. We’re collectively angry at corporate America for the situation that we find ourselves in. We viscerally know that our precarious job security, plummeting home value, and diminishing 401ks lay squarely on the shoulder of big business.

We’re all pro-Steve Slater because we’re as anti-corporate as we’ve ever been.

It’s just interesting to me that when politics is taken out of the equation, Americans generally agree on most issues. To be pro-Steve Slater is to be pro-labor and yet, we’ve been led to believe that Americans aren’t pro-labor because unions are evil.

Let me go off on a union tangent for a moment. 8% of American workers today are union members. Unions get their “strength” from union dues. They’re what fuel union lobbying efforts. Let’s think about this for a minute. 8% of blue collar Americans are union members. So 8% of Americans are paying some percentage of their salaries in union dues which, in turn pay for union activities (of which lobbying is a small part). Are we to believe that unions have more power than corporate interests? Really? HOW? I have yet to hear someone explain how that math creates an equation in which unions are the big, powerful interest group that has ruined everything.

But I digress. Back to Steve. He’s our hero because he stood up to “the man” in a way that most of us want to. And he doesn’t (didn’t) even work for a a company that is generally regarded as evil! He works (worked) for a company that is generally well regarded and yet, we’re elated that he stood up for himself. We’re elated because we’re vicariously standing up for ourselves through him.

Maybe we need to stop framing our issues in political terms, and start talking about what we want to change and how we want to change it.

This artificial right/left divide that has been created is designed to keep us fighting amongst ourselves so that we don’t pay attention to who is doing evil unto us. We’re told to hate the Mexicans, the gays, Obama, black racists, and everyone that isn’t like us. And a certain segment of America is happy to jump on board because they’re angry about the situation they find themselves in, and are happy to hate whomever they’re told to hate. Figuring out who’s responsible takes more work than following Glenn Beck’s chalk board scribblings.

But those people aren’t really angry at the gays, the Mexicans, the blacks, or Obama. They’re angry at the same people that those of us that pay attention are angry at.

The lionization of Steve Slater proves that.

We need to learn from this and reframe the debate and close the false divide that has been created to divert us from the real issues.

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What’s In It For You?

This is a question that I often have for conservatives that are pro-choice, pro-gay rights, pro-fiscal responsibility, and pro-America, that insist on voting a straight republican ticket, ALWAYS.

I talk to republicans all the time that claim to be for gay equality because they have lots of gay friends. They purport to have no desire to ban gay marriage and yet, they vote a straight republican ticket every opportunity they get. WTF? You want your gay friends to have equal rights, and yet every time you vote, you create a road block to equality for the gay community. What is that, collateral damage? And what are you getting in exchange for creating that collateral damage? Does your conscience speak up at all when you vote? Or does your concern for the gay community end at having to do anything demonstrable? What’s in it for you?

And you pro-choice republican-voting women. Seriously, WTF? If your party had its way, you would be forced to carry your rapists child. Or worse yet, your daughter would. More collateral damage? And again, I have to ask, what’s in it for you? What are you getting from your vote that trumps the importance of having the ability to exercise control over your own body?

But the asshats I love the most are the patriots that always vote republican. Last week, we watched republicans vote down health care for 9/11 responders. What the fuck are you getting in return for sacrificing a group of people that selflessly helped other people escape certain death on 9/11? Honestly, you people piss me off the most. What’s in it for you that makes this excusable?

I get that you may not to vote for democrats because you find them too distasteful to even consider debasing yourself with. Trust me, in many cases, I’m right there with you.

But why aren’t you out there fighting to change what’s unacceptable to you about your party? Where was the outrage from the right over the 9/11 responders’ health care bill? Seriously, where the fuck were you? I hear the whackadoodles in the republican party all the time. They’re vocal and they’re active. Two of them managed to win republican primaries for US senate seats (and many more currently serve as senators and congressmen). But where the fuck are the non-crazy republicans? I talk to pro-choice republicans all the time, which tells me they’re not all that rare. Why aren’t they speaking up within their party? Why isn’t anyone in the party demanding actual, demonstrable fiscal responsibility? Your last three presidents have jacked up the deficit to dizzying heights compared to their democratic counterparts. Why is this acceptable to you? What’s in it for you?

Why are you holding your nose and supporting a party that collectively (and consistently) supports policies that you claim not to support? What’s in it for you?

There are many of us on the left, busting our asses to keep Obama in line with his promises. We’re busting our asses (and wallets) to support primary challengers against people like Blanche Lincoln, who don’t support our party platform.

Why aren’t you doing the same? Why have you let the nutbags take over your party? And more importantly, why do you keep voting for this?

What’s in it for you?


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Maxine, Maxine, Maxine

DISAPPOINTED!

Maxine Waters was supposed to be one of the good ones. Truth be told, I still think she is, but she needs to receive the appropriate sanctions for her ethics violations. And while we’re at it, Charlie Rangel must step down.

Don’t kid yourselves, democratic party loyalists, these charges are true. There hasn’t been a “misunderstanding”, and no one is going to be cleared here. I know this because Nancy Pelosi and the ethics committee would not be raising these charges months before an election if there weren’t solid cases here, which brings me to the real story in all of this.

I’m going to go out on a limb here to say that you won’t be hearing the real story from the main stream media. These charges of ethics violations are being brought against democrats, in a democratically controlled congress, months before an election. That is an enormously positive change in the way congress is being run. When republicans controlled congress, crooked republicans were the beneficiaries of cover ups, obfuscation, and delay (also DeLay) from their party leaders. Jack Abramoff, Mark Foley, Tom DeLay, and many, many more didn’t go before the ethics committee until republicans’ backs were up against a wall. We had Denny Hastert covering for Mark Foley, Jon Cornyn covering for John Ensign, The list is almost endless. And they certainly didn’t allow themselves to be subjected to scrutiny during election season.

Nancy Pelosi is running a clean ship. Well, as clean a ship as a politician can run. Make no mistake, she could have delayed these charges until after the election, just like republicans did. I know this, because I don’t believe that republicans have magical powers. They didn’t pull shady maneuvers that aren’t available to Nancy.

This whole situation will be spun as evidence of an epidemic of corruption in the democratic party. Let’s be honest, politicians are dirty. They have been dirty since about ten minutes after the first politician took office. And please don’t get me wrong, I’m not excusing dirty politicians, I’m just saying that I’m not naive enough to be shocked when a politician turns out to be corrupt.

In fact, I’m damned near flabbergasted when one turns out to be clean, not because I’m a pessimist about politics, but because our system is designed to virtually guarantee the corruption of a politician. Here are some interesting facts about American politics;

  • In 2008, 93% of all seats won in the house were won by the candidate that spent the most amount of money
  • In 2008, 94% of all senate seats went to the candidate that spent the most amount of money
  • The average cost of a winning house seat in 2008 was 1.1 million dollars
  • The average cost of a winning senate seat in 2008 was 6.5 million dollars

What this means, is that we have a system designed to attract or create amoral whores into our politics. You can’t raise the kind of money that it takes to be elected in America by being honest. It’s just not very realistic to assume that your representative is “one of the good guys”. You wanna know how to tell if he/she is one of the good guys or not? If they’re your representative, they’re not one of the good guys. They had to whore, beg, borrow, and steal the money to represent you.

But I digress, back to Nancy. She is turning out to be the change that we wanted when we voted for Obama. She is the transformative figure in our politics today. And in my opinion, she’s an unsung hero.

As with the Shirley Sherrod tale, the story that we’re about to be told is  the polar opposite of what’s actually happening here. This story is not about an “epidemic” (there are two) of dirty democrats. This story is about how much better democrats are at stomping out corruption within their ranks, than republicans are.

But you’re not going to hear that from most anybody on your TV because the people on your TV are spokesmodels and lemmings.

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Irrational Greed

There’s no such thing. I know that you think there is, but there isn’t.

John Kerry docking his boat in another state in order to save $70,000 in taxes. Taxes that incidentally, would  go to pay for initiatives he supports in his own state. I feel fairly comfortable in assuming that he and his wife’s annual capital gains dwarf that $70,000.

Martha Stewart committing the crime of insider trading so that she can make $250,000. Again, I feel very comfortable in assuming that she “earns” more that $250,000 a year in capital gains.

Every single bank executive in America paying themselves record bonuses, while collecting tax payer dollars to save the very institutions that they’re taking those bonuses from. And they did this, all the while knowing how loathsome the world would find them to be.

Charlie Rangel, committing ethics violations that put his re-election at risk (he will get re-elected, by the way), by not reporting rental income from several properties on his income taxes. Charlie, if you can afford to buy multiple properties in two countries, you can afford to pay taxes on the money that those properties generate!

BP not investing $500,000 to make sure they drill in a “safe” way, so that they don’t have to pay out billions of dollars in damages and costs to clean up a huge spill.

Massey energy not investing a few hundred thousand dollars in keeping their mines safe so that their workers don’t die, and they don’t have to pay out millions of dollars in damages.

I can go on and on in listing people taking unnecessary risks to save or obtain money that they don’t need, but you get the point.

Think I’m disproving my own point? Bear with me, I’m about to get there.

The sheer volume of these occurrences committed by people across such a diverse political and social spectrum is proof that greed isn’t irrational. It’s an inherent part of the human condition.

Time and time again, we see people and corporations take unwise and illegal risks to save or earn money that they don’t need. The only conclusion that can be made is that greed isn’t irrational. It’s normal. And the only thing preventing most of us from being excessively greedy, is the lack of opportunity.

Why the hell is Bitchy pontificating human nature on her political blog? Because I’m making the point that libertarians, republicans, conservatives, teabaggers, and Milton Friedmanites are complete idiots.

Trickle down economics is a childish philosophy that completely discounts human nature.

When rich people get tax breaks, they take that money and turn it into more money whether they need it or not. They save it, and they stockpile it. When the poor or middle class get a tax break, they spend that money thereby creating more jobs.

I’m sick and tired of hearing the Friedman philosophy. It’s stupid on its face, and it makes me Bitchy. And when I get bitchy, the only relief I can find lies in calling you for the idiot that you are for perpetuating such an obviously disprovably myth.

Stop advocating for the people that have the means and opportunity to be greedy, and adopt some greed for yourselves. They (like me) think you’re dumbfucks for supporting them anyway.


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