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Voting Third Party

I was going to write about the conventions today, but I decided to do something different. My impression of the conventions is pretty clearly spelled out on my Facebook page.

I received two questions this week alone, asking why I don’t write or comment more about third party candidates. I’m assuming these questions are rooted in recognizing that I’m not a partisan hack. I call bullshit anywhere that bullshit exists, without doing the “calling it even” crap that the main stream media does. It’s not even. One party is significantly more destructive to most Americans than the other is. Any true conservative or liberal would agree with that assessment. Real conservatives completely lost their party eleven years ago. Liberals are in the process of losing their party, as I write this.

So why don’t I talk about third party candidates? I have two main reasons. Let me start with the most insignificant, and easy to explain. I don’t like either of the two most popular third party candidates; Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. I like Gary Johnson as a person, but libertarianism is the single most childish ideology ever created by the human race. I don’t want to go on a long rant about libertarianism, so let me cut to the jugular right away. Unless you can provide an example of a single country or civilization in which libertarianism has successfully brought prosperity or growth, you’re basically advocating for the existence of unicorns. I’m not interested in your unicorn because I’m an adult. I like to form my opinions based on empirical evidence and historical precedent. On to Jill Stein. I just don’t like her, even though I agree with almost everything she says. I’ve heard a few interviews with her now, and I’ve concluded that she doesn’t listen. She’s the type of person that waits for her turn to speak, without absorbing or considering anything that is being said on the other side of the conversation. And her rebuttal to the point that voting for a third party is an exercise in futility is also childish. She thinks that even though she doesn’t have a snow balls chance in winning, that every vote for her (or any third party) diminishes any “mandate” that the victor will ultimately have. BULLSHIT. George W Bush barely got selected to be president in 2000. He didn’t have anything resembling a mandate and yet, he barreled through his presidency as if he were the imperial president.

This mandate thing is nonsense, because our representatives don’t give two shits about your opinion. I can give you a long list of examples, but let me briefly give you two. Afghanistan. We’re over it. Democrats are over it, and republicans are over it. Now that we killed Bin Laden, no one can make a cogent argument for why we’re still there. And yet our representatives, republican and democrat alike, won’t get us the fuck out because the defense companies that own them don’t want us out. My second example is social security. Three quarters of Americans (republicans and democrats combined) don’t want to see a single cut made to social security, ever. Most of those people don’t even understand that there’s an easy fix to the social security problem. If they did, that 3/4 number would go up. And yet, the vast majority of our legislators can’t fucking wait to make the “grand bargain”, which will result in significant cuts in benefits. Obama, Boehner, McConnell are all on the same page on this one. Instead of raising the cap on contributions into the fund, they want to raise the retirement age and cut benefits.

At this point you’re probably thinking that I’m making a great argument in favor of third party candidates. I’m not, and here’s where I turn it all around. Our politicians aren’t people. They’re tools. They don’t give a shit about your needs because they don’t work for you. They work for the interests that pour money into their coffers to get them elected. This is the fucked up system of governance that we must work within. We have a system in which the candidate with the most money wins their election 94% of the time. Think about that for a second. The person with the most money wins NINETY-FOUR PERCENT of the time. The ideas and the people running are irrelevant. Good guy/ bad guy, ideological purist/ pragmatist; none of that matters. The only thing that matters ninety four fucking percent of the time is the MONEY.

The irony is that I believe that a bigger percentage of third party voters know that statistic, than the rest of the population. That’s true of the third partiers I know, anyway. But when you know that fact, supporting third parties is even more inexplicable because you still have to believe that the better idea can win. That is not fucking possible, and the empirical evidence tells you that it’s not possible.

As long as we have to operate under this system, voting is an exercise in picking the less damaging, sell out candidate among the options available to you. That’s just a fact. I don’t mean to be disrespectful, but I don’t call myself bitchy for nothing. You need to grow the fuck up, and realize that there is no political nirvana to be had in this system.

We have to fix the goddamned system before we can expect anything good to come out of it. Voting for a third party candidate is like flicking water off your fingers at a wildfire, and expecting to extinguish that fire. It’s actually worse because what you think is water on your fingers, is actually little tiny droplets of gasoline. The interests that control our government fucking love it when you vote third party because you’re practicing self voter suppression. You’re throwing your goddamned vote away and helping their guy win by checking out of the system. Voting third party is an exercise in futility, and it always will be.

I will be writing a lot about what we need to do to fix this monumentally fucked up election system of ours after the election, and as followers of this blog grow. It’s going to take a lot of proactive work, on the part of a lot of us. But right now, we have an election to deal with. And we have to have that election with the current system in place. We have to focus on minimizing the damage.

We can’t help to elect candidates that want to tear down our social safety nets as quickly as possible, and destroy our already pathetic education system in order to feed the corporate profits of their masters. In case you haven’t figured out yet, that would be 100% of republicans, and roughly 40% of democrats. I don’t care what a politician calls themselves. Whether they’re republican or democrat, you have to pick the one that will slow down that dismantling of our social contracts.

You have to do this until we change the system. I’m a sunny optimist. I believe that we can fix the system, and I have an idea of how to do it. But right now, we have to keep our eye on the prize and get through this election cycle.

I just don’t see how voting for a third party candidate is going to serve your best interest. I hope that answers your questions on this topic.

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MSNBC Sounding A Little FOXesque

I noticed something strange (and subtle) on MSNBC last week. Something reminiscent of FOX News. I may be jumping the gun in being an alarmist, but I believe these things are important to point out and watch closely.

I heard both Maddow and Olbermann refer to Eric Cantor as the speaker of the house last week. This was odd since his taking over as leader of republicans in the house is far from a foregone conclusion. He did announce his intention to run for the position but as far as I know, Boehner isn’t voluntarily stepping down. Cantor just announced his intention to go after the position of speaker last Wednesday, so there’s no chance of having inside information on how the vote is going to come out this early in the game.

This may seem innocuous at first glance, but two commentators on the same network making the same statement is not a coincidence. Are they both just making an assumption? Or are they attempting to create a well crafted narrative a la Fox?

There has been a back and forth lately between MSNBC (and the “professional left”) and Jon Stewart over the Rally To Restore Sanity that Stewart and Stephen Colbert held in DC two weeks ago. Left leaning pundits are upset that Stewart seemed to imply an equivocation between the angry left and the loony right. Olbermann (among others) took exception to that equivocation by asserting that Fox just flat out makes shit up while MSNBC “enthusiastically” comments on reality based issues. Bill Maher threw his two cents in on Friday. You can watch it here.

I mostly agree with Olbermann and Maher. There is a big difference between expressing outrage over something that is happening and making shit up in order to manufacture outrage. When Countdown is on, the only thing that Olbermann makes up is his opinion of the topic he’s discussing. When anyone at Fox News is on, they make up insane bullshit like…oh, let me see if I can come up with something…oh, got it…The president is going to India and he’s taking one tenth of our navy and 200 million dollars (a day) with him. There is a very clear difference between the two sides.

I wandered off into bringing all of that up because I don’t believe that Fox started off with “death panel” and “34 navy ship” whoppers. I believe they started small by creating seemingly innocuous narratives. When those stuck, they began to snowball until they managed to create an alternate reality for their viewers.

This “Speaker Cantor” thing on MSNBC isn’t nothing. It feels like the start of something. At the very least, it’s worth watching MSNBC with a slightly more critical eye.

I would hate for MSNBC to turn into Fox’s counterpart. And I would hate to watch the creation of a “loony left”, worked up by false narratives fed to them by people that were once trustworthy.

Your credibility is on the line here, MSNBC. Please don’t go down this bad road.


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Random Election Musings

I (like you) have some thoughts on what happened yesterday and what it means, so I thought I’d share.

First let me start with the two states that I believe made the biggest mistakes yesterday. Florida and Kentucky fucked themselves, but good.

Rand, Rand, Rand. The big question now is, will he stick to his principles? If he does, then both Mitch McConnell and Kentucky are fucked.

Let’s start with Mitch. He’s is going to have some major problems getting Rand on board with some of the republican party policies. It’s going to be fun to watch McConnell walking around with a perpetual migraine for a while! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think for a second that Rand is as principled as his father. It was apparent during the election, that Rand just parrots what he’s heard from his father his entire life. Add to that the fact that he doesn’t appear to be very bright, and you end up with someone that will eventually walk away from their so called principles. We saw him back away from his more insane beliefs during the election. People with strong beliefs don’t do that. If I strongly believe something to be true, then I explain it as long as I have to in order to show everyone that I’m right. I wouldn’t slink away from my principles because they’re costing me votes. Rand will eventually conform, but it will be fun to watch that “breaking in” period.

Kentucky is fucked because that running water they’ve become so accustomed to will stop running if Rand sticks to his guns. You see, for every dollar that Kentuckians pay in federal taxes, they get $1.82 back. Little Randy hates the federal government, and he hates federal taxes. In his little utopia, Kentuckians would stop paying federal taxes and instead, pay a 25% sales tax. Let’s think about this for a moment, shall we? Kentucky is so fucking piss poor, that they need nearly twice as much federal money to operate than they pay. How much money does Rand think poor people spend? Does he think that his constituency can spend enough to generate enough tax dollars to offset what his state gets in federal money? Is he out of his fucking mind? There isn’t even a Ferragamo  or a Chanel store in Kentucky! This is not a population with money to throw around! IDIOT. But on the upside, this is great news for me! I only get seventy-nine cents back for every dollar I pay in federal taxes. If Rand refuses to take the money, I may get my twenty-one cents back. California and Illinois can likewise keep the money they’re sinking into Kentucky. WooHoo!

You’d better start digging wells for water, Kentucky. And start working out, because those buckets full of water are going to be heavy to carry. Especially when you have to carry them through fields and dirt toads.

If you’re lucky Kentucky, you won’t get what you voted for and Rand will completely abandon his dumbass principles and you won’t get what you deserve for being so fucking stupid.

Moving on to Florida. WOW, are you guys stupid! Your Governor elect (Rick Scott) is the all time the biggest practitioner of medicare fraud ever. He has the distinction of heading the company that was successfully prosecuted for perpetrating the biggest medicare fraud in US history. His company plead guilty to fourteen felonies. The fines were 1.7 billion dollars. Since fines (as we learned from the Angelo Mozilo situation) are generally a fraction of what was stolen, I can only imagine that Scott stole the equivalent of Bolivia’s GDP!

And you know what, Floridians? Rick Scott used the money that he stole from you to fund his campaign. He bought you with your own money. Nicely done, idiots. But I’m sure that having Scott run the state that is the biggest consumer of medicare is going to turn out just fine. What could possibly go wrong there?

Let me pause for a moment here to inject some positivity into this post. Here’s a little tidbit for those of you that get queazy hearing (or saying) the words “Speaker Boehner”. There may be a little bit of relief in sight. There are grumblings within the republican party that Boehner won’t be voted into the position of leader. Eric Cantor is likely to lobby for that position. If he does, he has a good shot at getting it. This will ease our pain a little, and free up some cocktailing and spray tanning time for Boehner.

Now back to states that fucked up. I have to give California an honorable mention here. Kudos to them for staving off crazy Carly and mean Meg, but they blew it with prop 19. Legalizing marijuana is the only way to cripple the Mexican drug cartels. They earn 78% of their revenue from marijuana sales. If just California (the world’s eighth largest economy) legalized marijuana, it would be devastating to the cartels. And let me say that if prop 9 had passed, Monsanto (who have been working on genetically modifying pot for decades now) would open up marijuana strip malls all over California over night. Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way, shape, or form pro-Monsanto. I know that they’re the embodiment of evil. But I have every confidence that Monsanto would succeed in killing the Mexican cartels, where two governments have failed. I hate to say it, but I would be rooting for Monsanto in this fight. Not that they’re not immoral thugs that are killing us, but at least they’re not killing us violently. And through education, we ultimately have the power to take down Monsanto. We are powerless to do anything about the drug cartels.

In the end, I would say that the big winners in this election were Goldman Sachs and the Mexican drug cartels. We, the people were the big losers.

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Speaker Boehner, Darrell Issa, And Obama’s 2nd Term

These things are intertwined in a significant way beyond just causing some Americans grief. I am finally ready to accept that republicans are going to take the house on Tuesday. Their strategy of demonizing Obama has worked in getting their whack job base of 25% of Americans fired up to vote. Their strategy of stalling every fucking piece of legislation that could hasten our recovery has succeeded in making independents apathetic. And Obama’s lack of courage has succeeded in demoralizing his base. The two ugliest words in the English language “Speaker Boehner”, are about to become a reality. And yes, I did just vomit in my mouth a little as I typed that.

I believe that this victory is going to set off a chain of events that will virtually guarantee that Obama secures a second term.

The first thing that will happen is that republicans will finally share the blame for anything that happens (or doesn’t) over the next two years. They can keep killing job creation programs, but they will take some of the blame for the lack of jobs.

The next thing that will happen is that republicans are going to start a procedural witch hunt against Obama. Congressman Darrell Issa, a republican back bencher from southern California is the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He has promised us that he will subpoena the shit out of the administration in an effort to crucify them.

A little background on Darrell Issa; he’s not a back bencher by design. He’s a back bencher because he’s an incompetent joker. Seriously, follow his tweets – they’re comical. He’s the guy that orchestrated the recall of Governor Gray Davis in 2003. His plan was to swoop in and steal the Governorship of California for himself. But moron didn’t count on the Terminator coming in and trumping Issa’s fortune with fame. So Issa has been a back bench sitting schmuck that has been trying (unsuccessfully) to force himself in the game for years. I don’t believe that he’s fundamentally a whack job, but he’s been playing it up for the crazies for the past few years. He didn’t even bother to try and put together a run for governor this year, so he has to, on some level, know that he’s never going to get further than where he is right now.

Darrell Issa is an attention starved political hack who will most definitely deliver on his promise to subpoena the shit out of Obama, just to grab some attention for himself and try and elevate himself in his party. And as with everything Darell Issa touches, this will turn to shit for the republicans.

Right now, most Americans don’t know why the unemployment rate is high. They’re clueless about the republican strategy to stall and block every goddamned thing on Obama’s agenda. All they know is that the economy isn’t getting better. Issa’s strategy will shine a light on what’s going on in our political system because nothing gets people’s attention like presidential subpoenas.

You wanna know what else is going to happen? Americans are going to rally behind Obama, because no one likes a bully. That’s not an opinion. We have historical precedent from the Clinton years. During the impeachment proceedings, Bill Clinton’s approval jumped ten points to 73%, the highest approval rating of his presidency.

Read me now and quote me later; a congressional witch hunt of President Obama will make him one of the most wildly popular presidents in history.

Why am I so confident? I have two reasons; Obama is generally very likable as a person and, he hasn’t actually done anything offensive. Because he has an easy going and friendly demeanor, people want to like him. He’s just a naturally charismatic person. He would have to do something pretty offensive in order to reverse peoples natural predisposition to liking him. He hasn’t done that, and he won’t because he’s so measured and cautious. At worst, Obama is utterly ineffective. He’s nowhere near offensive. Sure, he hasn’t made a whole lot of things happen that he could have, but he also hasn’t precipitated our problems. He’s just kind of weak.

Polls consistently show that Americans still blame W for our current troubles. This is not going to change. It definitely won’t change if Americans have to watch him being bullied by congressional republicans.

Right now, the biggest threat to Obama’s reelection is Mike Bloomberg. He’s going to run as a third party candidate. My bet is that Bloomberg will claim more votes than any other third party candidate ever has. He’s going to blow Ross Perot’s 18.9% of the vote out of the water. I believe that he will get a significant chunk of the independent vote, as well as siphoning off both republican and democratic voters. I’m pretty sure that he will take more democrats than republicans, given his recent stance on gay marriage.

But when the bullying factor is taken into account, I believe that democrats and independents will rally around Obama, ineffective or not.

This strategy that republicans have employed for the past two years is going to explode in their faces in 2012. And they’re too stupid to realize it.

They have bullies for sixteen long years now. During that time, they’ve whittled their supporters down further and further. The remaining 25% of diehards will be all they have left soon enough.

The sunny optimist in me hopes that becoming a regional southern party will eventually force republicans to change their strategy, and actually try to govern. I know, I know…I’m living in a fantasy world.

On a positive note, we definitely won’t be living with the second most ugly words in the English language, “Majority Leader McConnell”. Republicans will not be taking the senate. There really is a bright spot in every black cloud, if you just look hard enough!

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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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BondageGate

Did you really think I wasn’t going to talk about it? This story is just too much fun not to comment on! My first thought when I heard about the head of the RNC expensing a large tab at a West Hollywood bondage club was, "Is Ken Mehlman back?" Then I realized it was a straight club, so Ken is definitely NOT back. My next thought was, there’s a straight bondage club in West Hollywood? And then my mind had to explore the horror that is wondering what Michael Steele’s safe word is. Is it Reagan? Tax cuts? WMD? After I got my mind out of the gutter (it took a while), I had to wonder what kind of moron would expense something like this? Don’t you know that the FEC looks at this stuff? And then I realized that we’re talking about republicans here. They’re self entitled and hypocritical so it would naturally make sense to engage in this sort of behavior on someone else’s dime while preaching family values to the donors that made it possible. The next thing that occurred to me is that they took what could have been a brilliant and lucrative idea and turned it into a minor scandal. Instead of spending their donors’ money on watching fake bondage, they should have given perspective donors the opportunity to make big contributions in exchange for the opportunity to flog some of their members. Think about the untapped revenue potential! I would pay untold sums of money to put a ball gag on John Boehner and then go to town on his ass with a wooden paddle. I would! And I wouldn’t care that the money will ultimately go to fund Michelle Bachman’s campaign. Four more years of Michelle Bachman, just to be able to shove a butt plug right into John Cornyn? YES, YES, it’s worth it! YES WE CAN! SIGN ME UP! You think I’m kidding, but I’m NOT. The very idea makes me happier than I’ve been in months. Screw long term thinking! I want instant gratification! And I’m pretty sure I can’t be the only one. There must be millions of people out there that would never donate to the RNC under any other circumstances, who would gladly open their wallets for this type of opportunity. They could even do an auction to ensure that they got the maximum contributions from people. And if the bids aren’t high enough, they could sweeten the pot. Think about it, how much MORE would you pay to spank a ball gagged Mitch McConnell if you had the ADDED option of nipple clamps? Don’t pretend like you’re above it all. You know you want to as bad as I do.

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