THE COMPLETELY MEANINGLESS PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

Ironic, isn’t it? So many billions of dollars spent, so much travel engaged in by the principles and their hearty entourages of hundreds of people, so many towns closed down by the bodyguards of these two guys, so much money spent to lie, obfuscate, prevent you from voting, enable you to vote, applaud your vote, discount your vote, etc. etc. etc.

And the irony is that IT WON’T CHANGE A THING. Romney will maybe hang some new curtains in the White House, add a stable for his really expensive horse, and proceed to completely kiss the asses of whatever corporations drop their pants. Obama will keep on not getting things done, claim it is Congress, be empathic and kind and identify with real people, and proceed to completely kiss the asses of whatever corporations drop their pants.

It isn’t the political parties that let this go on. It’s US. WE have the power and WE have the ability to actually effect true and lasting change, and WE are not picking up the ball! Occupy tried, but unfortunately, good intentions do not make a movement cogent or meaningful. Nor do egos and dogma, and there are plenty of both in even the populist Occupy brand.

Why do we let corporations make the laws for the rest of us to live under? Why can a coal company rip the top off a whole mountain and fill Appalachian creeks with filth when I can’t even burn my wood stove during an air alert? Why can fracking companies pump chemicals into the earth, follow them up with millions of gallons of fresh water, and then blow the whole thing up, when I can’t even throw a Popsicle stick out the window of my car without earning a littering infraction?  Short answer: BECAUSE CORPORATIONS MAKE THE LAWS! And the laws invariably favor whatever it is that they want to do, no matter how immoral, wrong, and harmful it is for actual people. It takes a lot of money to buy Congress and the Supreme Court and the Presidency, you know, but they’ve done it. In fact, it has been statistically demonstrated that, compared to other types of corporate investment, buying judges and politicians pays off in spades!

Okay, so the big money makes the rules. It’s easy to see their fingerprints on legislation, because corporate -originated laws almost invariably harm citizens and enhance the profits of some big company. Question: WHY DO WE LET THEM GET AWAY WITH IT?

Well… could it be that there’s been a lot of money put into militarizing our police forces so there can be a much more thorough “rule by law”? Could it be that money is poured into polarizing voters through side issues like abortion, guns, race, and religion? Because guaranteed, if your well starts producing water that you can light on fire as it exits the tap, it DOESN’T MATTER what you think of that other stuff. Could it be that going to jail is a very real possibility, seeing that over 2 MILLION Americans are already incarcerated, combined with the fact that if buying a politician is easy, it is probably even easier to buy a besieged local official to trump up some jail-worthy cause or other in order to get some troublemaker out of the picture? And at the least, the militarized police can be used to intimidate and frighten good people into doing nothing, even when egregious deeds are being done in the name of corporate profits.

WHY do the citizens of this country shamelessly continue to allow “laws” to be passed that do NOT enhance our lives, and actively HARM our lives? We need to stop fighting one battle at a time – shutting down the Walmart they want to put in our neighborhood, or letting Burlington Northern plant fuel depots in leaky containers right on top of the drinking water for a whole region. How about if we place a law on the books that says “FIRST, DO NO HARM”, and let all these industries convince us ACTUAL HUMAN BEINGS that their requests are in everyone’s best interests? I would like the opportunity to be convinced that moving jobs to China helps anybody in America. I haven’t heard a reasonable excuse yet for not throwing every one of those Wall Street bastards into jail for screwing the rest of the country with their financial gimmickry. I would like somebody to TRY to convince me that “corporations are people” while they’re at it, because that is the biggest load of special-interest hooey that ever darkened the American legal landscape.

If “We the people” are in charge here, LET’S SHOW IT. No need for violence or anarchy, just determination and dogged pursuit of justice. Laws will have to be broken. But laws had to be broken in pursuit of civil rights, and laws had to be broken in pursuit of the vote for women. And every American should consider it a patriotic duty to break an unjust law, and support those who choose to throw themselves on the wire for the rest of us and break an unjust law. Guaranteed, there’s laws written somewhere, in some legislative book or another, that permit Tyson Meats to build a 100,000 hog farm right next door to your house, pollute your water source, stench you out night and day, spray pig shit all over the landscape and maintain giant ponds of sewage within yards of family farms that have been responsible stewards of the land for generations. They’ve done it! They are still doing it! But we are supposed to sit down and shut up about it, because the LAW says they can! And who wrote the law? THEY DID!

Right. Let’s get over the petty crap of who wins what, and start thinking about the bigger picture. I don’t want to live in the place that corporations are creating, and I would wager, neither do you.

 

ON MORALITY

I once worked with a guy who told me the new boss was not a moral individual. Well, I got that, and was ready for more! What’d he do? Juicy details in order! But I personally had not noticed immoral behavior from my boss. He seemed okay, within boss limits, I guess.

So I questioned my co-worker about this, who told me the REASON the boss could not be moral was because he WAS NOT A CHRISTIAN. Okay, wait a minute. You have to be CHRISTIAN to be MORAL? So I had to close the door to my office and have a conversation about this, where upon my judgmental co-worker (judge not lest ye be judged!) had to hastily backpedal because clearly, our many interactions had demonstrated me personally to be a very moral person, and I was most definitely NOT a Christian, especially in the particular sense of the word he seemed to think implied morality.

In fact, I have noticed, when it comes down to actual Christian behavior, there are proportionately  more atheists who act like they have Christian values that card-carrying Christians. Wasn’t Ted Haggard a mega-Christian, the meth-taking, gay-banging minister? Wasn’t Jimmy Swaggart, the multiple-offense prostitute-frolicking guy, a Christian? How about W Bush and Dick Cheney, the guys who can’t leave the country now because they would be arrested immediately for war crimes and sent to the Hague for trial, kind of like mass-murdering Serb Slobodan Milosevic? Seems like a whole BUNCH of Christians have some serious moral problems! And check out the marriage-satisfaction statistics in the US. If you are a Bible Belter (aka, “Jesusland”), you are MUCH more likely to cheat on your mate and/or get a divorce than any non-believer in any so-called heathen region of the country. And, do I even have to mention the Catholic Church? Hum! Hum, hum, hum!

So then, what makes a moral life? Let’s just say it and get it over with: RELIGION OR LACK THEREOF HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MORALITY.  That’s why you can have reaaaally religious individuals who would gladly cut up their neighbors and feed them to the dogs, and completely non-religious individuals who will defend the lives of people they don’t even know because they are internally motivated into “doing the right thing”.

Here’s a book for you that summarizes the above: The good life : the moral individual in an antimoral world, by Cheryl Mendelson. Her thesis is this:

You must reflect and examine yourself and your beliefs in order to become a moral individual. Through reason, deduction, and personal examination, you can come to a valid definition of what is right and what is wrong.

The problem with religion – and not to mention, conservatism, Bircherism, lefty-ism, and extremism of any stripe – is that adherents to these loosely-defined “philosophies” are presented with a book, or a political platform, or a speech, to which principles they will stick to without question. In fact, questions are actively discouraged, as is any sort of self-reflection, because they threaten the stability of the producing organization’s status quo. And when you ask someone where some particular concept of their morality came from, they say “My dad”, or “My Bible”, or “My preacher”, or “My precinct committee chairperson” or “I saw it on TV.” What does the Tea Party make it a POINT to stand on? “Our principles”, or, actually, somebody else’s principles that the Tea Party has bought into without reflection or forethought.

ARRGH!

I just have to say, is this not the LAZIEST thing you’ve EVER heard of? Just gulping down sets of beliefs without even THINKING about them, like Big Macs for one’s own citizenship and humanity? Who would do this, anyway?

Easy answer: true believers. Proselytizing Christians come to mind, but also those people who litter political comment boards and public forums with threats, expletives, and crap they’ve gleaned from horseshit ninth-tier websites like Mike Huckabee’s. If you need somebody else to tell you what to do – the Bible, the Koran, the Republican platform, Grover Norquist, Karl Marx, Howdy Doody, L. Ron Hubbard, or Michael Rennie as Klaatu – you’ve screwed the pooch on your mission to become a fully-functioning grown-up human being. After all, even criminals have codes. And a LOT of completely immoral (i.e., criminal) behavior is either directly encouraged, or encouraged-by-interpretation, through passages or statements from the aforementioned sources (except maybe for Michael Rennie).

Obviously, morality is a complicated idea. If you say, “Treat others as you would like to be treated”, well, what if you happen to be a psychotic sado-masochist? If you say “Thou shalt not kill”, how do you deal with the travesty of capital punishment and the deep irony of warfare? If you say, “Girls can marry boys, but NO to you two over there!”, how do you conclude if that’s fair if you can’t resort to that stupid book and have to DECIDE FOR YOURSELF?

It’s hard work. Let’s get busy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BARKING-DOG CRAZY RICHARD MOURDOCK SAYS STUFF

Mourdok -R.

“Indiana Republican Senate candidate Richard Mourdock said pregnancies resulting from rape are part of God’s plan, tearfully explaining that he only supports abortions when a mother’s life is in danger. “I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen,” Mourdock said during Tuesday’s Senate debate, choking up.”

Okay, aside from the obvious – that Mourdock thinks he’s the proxy boss of you cuz God ain’t tough enough to do it Himself, that Mourdock has the power to read God’s mind, and that Mourdock has anointed himself as the official ancient-book-of grudges-smitings-and-revenge story interpreter – what’s wrong with this picture?

Yes! You are correct! He says, right there, that rape pregnancies are “something that God intended to happen.” So, I guess we could then extrapolate that “murder is something that God intended to happen.” And “running over a pack of third graders with my car is something that God intended to happen.” And even, “my daughter getting a LEGAL abortion because she was raped is something that God intended to happen.”

Let’s call this what it is. Mourdock wants to get elected and the people voting for him are apparently not able to perform the difficult and complex logic of if-A-then-B. I hope these people don’t think God only perks up his ears when some girl gets raped so He can make her conceive, and then lets all that other, minor stuff – war, hunger, suppressing the vote – just go on happening willy-nilly.

Of course, there is the bare possibility – that tiny crack of light under the door – that we are ON OUR OWN. Perhaps the decisions we make that allow some people to escape the consequences of heinous crimes (the executives of AIG come to mind)  are due to OUR malfeasance, and not some sky-fairy’s.

Because you just can’t say that God intends some things to happen and not others. He’s either all-powerful, or he isn’t. And, as Susan B. Anthony once said, “I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do, because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.”

I think even Indiana voters can figure this one out.

13 REASONS TO VOTE DEMOCRATIC (OR AT LEAST INDEPENDENT)

This post has an interesting history. Originally it was a riposte to somebody who posted the original, serious “13 Reasons to Vote Republican”, which had a lots of they-hate-us-for-our-freedom and unions-are-awful and unfettered-capitalism-rules-the-world stuff in it. So, point-by-point, I turned it around, posted it, and got blasted off the forum a couple times in a row. Republican dogmatists may be many things, but tolerant they are not.

Anyway, I thought I’d post this here, but intended to look up the original so readers could compare and contrast the two lists side by side. But now you can’t find the original ANYWHERE! The Net is flooded with parodies, paraphrases, and joke posts about the original “13 Reasons to Vote Republican”, though. Apparently it struck an awful lot of people as an extremely dumb and vulnerable list of indefensible points, just as I did.

So it goes. You’ll just have to imagine what the original conservative post went on about, which shouldn’t be hard. But it does demonstrate a fundamental truth: an awful lot of conservative people have no sense of humor whatsoever. Often, when they try, it backfires big-time. Like the short-lived Fox News hilarious alternative to Jon Stewart, which was generally a name-calling forum full of unfunny personal attacks, and with all the subtlety of a cartoon mallet smacking someone over the head.

But I digress. Do read on.

1. I vote Democratic because I believe oil companies’ profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t, because with that 15 percent we support a social and environmental structure that benefits everybody and not just a couple multi-billionaire oil-company CEO’s.

2. I vote Democratic because I believe the government can do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would, especially regarding big-picture things like climate change, which I am so clueless about that listening to me would be the last thing you’d ever want to do.

3. I vote Democratic because Freedom of Speech is fine as long as not too many people are offended by it, because I appreciate a civil society. Besides, the Aryan Nations and Fred Phelps are allowed freedom of speech — and they are plenty offensive to plenty of people, so it’s not like freedom of speech is restricted in any significant way.

4. I vote Democratic because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, mainly because statistically, I shoot paperboys and babysitters far more often than I shoot criminals. But Democrats haven’t done a thing regarding gun control — if you don’t count the ATTEMPT at continuing the ban on assault weapons in Washington DC, that virtually EVERYONE who actually LIVES THERE was in favor of. Good old NRA, meddling in other people’s business.

5. I vote Democratic because I believe that people who can’t tell us if it will rain on Friday can tell us that the polar ice caps will melt away in ten years because they are SCIENTISTS, have studied thousands of pages of scientifically-obtained data, and are way smarter than me regarding the topic of climate change. Anybody can pull an opinion out of their ass, but it is a lot easier if all you have to do is repeat Rush Limbaugh’s talking point, which he just pulled out of HIS ass.

6. I vote Democratic because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive. Mainly because millions of babies are NOT being aborted, and even if they were, I believe it is every individual’s God-given right to DO WHAT THEY PLEASE WITH THEIR OWN BODY, abortion is LEGAL, AND Death Row inmates have often been proved innocent — INNOCENT — of all charges brought about by confused eyewitnesses and overzealous law enforcement.

7. I vote Democratic because I think illegal aliens have certain human rights, and as they contribute greatly to our society, should get SOMETHING out of the deal, like health care and education. Illegal aliens don’t get Social Security benefits. They pay INTO SS, but since they are illegals, they cannot collect on their contribution.

8. I vote Democratic because I believe that business should not be allowed to make unrealistic, usurious profits for themselves by crushing competition, lying to consumers, using their mighty piles of money to buy out smaller businesses and then hide the innovations those businesses were working on to ensure their corporate bottom lines.

9. I vote Democratic because I believe judges like John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Anton Scalia need to be held to the Constitution, and NOT be allowed to pass a judgement such as Citizens United — where anybody with money can buy any election they want by pouring scads of dollars into it. And not only American dollars — foreign dollars. So foreign businesses can buy our elections? Great!

10. I vote Democratic because I think that it’s better to pay billions to people who hate us for their oil, than not have enough oil on our own territories to drill safely and cleanly. As a Democrat, I actually care that somebody’s well is contaminated with Toluene, not just MY well. I also ride my bike places and drive a small car because I think it is better for EVERYBODY, and I hate paying those guys too — so I use as little as possible, instead of bitching my head off about the Arab League at the same moment I am filling up my huge Cadillac Gargantua SUV.

11. I voted Democratic because while we live in the greatest, most wonderful country in the world, it could still use some work.

12. I voted Democratic because if I try to talk to most Republicans, they resort to this final phrase, which they think solves all arguments, ends all controversy, and crushes all dissent: “You have your head up your ass”. Thanks guys. Point taken, yeah. Whatever.

13. I voted Democratic because though I’m not one of the 70 million who don’t pay taxes, I take exception to the fact that the entire huge corporation of Exxon DOESN’T pay taxes, but people with investments that lose significant income, a destroyed home or business (known as a casualty loss), high medical expenses (especially for those who self-insure), or nursing home expenses DO pay taxes. Or maybe people are just POOR, for whatever reason. I’d rather have really poor people not be taxed and not be quite so poor than a lot of very angry and deprived poor people wanting to kick my ass instead of Exxon’s or Walmart’s, who pay far less in taxes than they should, if any at all.

THE BREATHLESS HYPOCRISY OF CONSERVATIVE PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Romney addresses coal miners at Beallsville, Ohio

Oh! Oh! A new height has been scaled in the annals of conservatism! Here is Mitt Romney speaking to coal miners at an August rally in Beallsville, Ohio. The CEO of this coal company is Robert Murray – yes, that same Robert Murray whose coal facilities have an abysmal safety record, the one who oversaw the 2007 Crandall Canyon Mine, Utah disaster, in which 9 men died.

So, it kinda looks like the coal miners all love Romney, right?

That would be a negatory.

Robert Murray made attendance at this rally MANDATORY. And then, when the workers showed up at the rally because it was MANDATORY, they were DOCKED A DAY’S PAY. Then, the coal company allegedly told employees to donate to Republican politicians including Mitt Romney. And THEN Mr. Murray allegedly threatened employees with reprisals, including the loss of their jobs, to MAKE them contribute to the company’s PAC.

ACK!

And this is Republican America, where we now have the privilege of remaining serfs for life.

Unions are a creation of management. And more often than not, they are JUSTIFIED because of ridiculously transparent power plays like this one.

It makes me sick.

 

 

CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS IS A TURNIP-HEAD

First of all, let me thank the founding fathers of the good ol’ USA for writing in a clause to the Constitution that allows me to call Cathy McMorris, the U.S. Representative for Washington’s 5th congressional district, serving since 2005, a turnip-head. Thanks guys, much appreciated.

Now on to Cathy, who is so much more than just a turnip-head, I don’t know where to begin.

First of all, she signed on, part and parcel, to Paul Ryan’s cunning national plan to make poor people pay for everything possible, while giving rich people a pass. 62% of the Ryan plan affects the poor in major ways. Also, Ryan’s plan does not affect the Pentagon in any way whatsoever, even though the US pays SIX TIMES more on defense than the NEXT TOP TEN COUNTRIES COMBINED! That seems … stupid. Especially when there are a number of Pentagon bigwigs who are saying “No! No! Please cut the defense budget! There’s a ton of waste and a ton of misspent dollars! Stop, wait, don’t!” But no, Cathy and Ryan just go merrily onwards with the Cunning Professor Ryan’s big ideas.

Turnip-head point number 1: go along with the Republican party line no matter how out of touch it is.

Okay, now let’s talk about the so-called “war on women”. (I happen to think when you say “war”, you should mean “war”, complete with bombs, rifles, soldiers, invasions, collateral damage, etc.etc. etc. War is a REALLY bad thing to have happen to your country, as recently demonstrated by the US war on Iraq, where over a million civilians (i.e., people like you and me) were displaced or killed outright in the crossfire.) Cathy, despite being about the squishiest piece of female milky toast anywhere, kind of seems like she doesn’t like women very much. But, if we refer to Turnip-head Point 1 above, we can see why – it’s the party line!

Here’s a lil’ bit of Chris Matthew’s interview with Cath last May:

MATTHEWS: Well, let me ask on the other side of this issue, Cathy Rodgers, Congresswoman, why — what`s wrong with taking care of people who are involved in these same-sex or whatever kinds of relationships? As long as somebody`s being beat up by somebody, don`t you want to protect them?

REP. CATHY MCMORRIS RODGERS (R), WASHINGTON: Absolutely. And what the Republicans have introduced is the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. We actually took some of the recommendations from the Congressional Budget Office in our reauthorization. We are committed to this program that has long enjoyed broad bipartisan support.

MATTHEWS: Yes, but why not these other — why don`t you cover people who are not in a traditional marriage? Why would you limit it to just traditional marriage folk?

MCMORRIS RODGERS: Well, what I — those are — those are side issues that have been attached to this bill, and I think it`s very important…

MATTHEWS: Well, they`re not side issues if you`re getting beat up by your partner. That`s not a side issue, it`s your life.

MCMORRIS RODGERS: That is an issue — there is no — there is nothing under federal law that currently recognizes same-sex couples. And so if we`re going to have that debate in Congress, it should be a separate debate from the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

CATHY’S THOUGHT BUBBLE: Um, um, um, Chris took me off script, what am I supposed to say again? OH YEAH, take refuge in the party line.

Turnip-head point number 2: When the going gets tough, the tough get going by letting the party line take the drubbing.

Then there’s the issue of her Down’s Syndrome child. She once said – and this has been scrubbed from the Internet, but not from my mind – that she was sure happy she had government health care, cuz her hubby’s self-insurance from being a super-rich agricultural lobbyist sure wasn’t going to cut it when it came to caring for that child! It just wasn’t going to cover all those essential extra expenses a handicapped child requires! Thank goodness for Uncle Sam! And then she turned around and voted AGAINST the Childrens Health Insurance Program bill (CHIP), that would have reauthorized State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) through FY2013 at increased levels. Well, HER child is apparently more deserving that any POOR kid, that’s for sure.

Turnip-head point number 3: go along with the Republican party line no matter amoral and wrong it is, even if it turns you personally into a stunningly self-stroking hypocrite.

Have you ever written a letter or Email to Cathy? Do you get the impression, as I do, that she doesn’t read what you send her? Or perhaps, many weeks later, you receive her signature Email response, which generally thanks you for your profound interest in farm policy, even though the topic you wrote her about was veterans from the war in Afghanistan. I mean, if one hadn’t made the effort to contact her originally, it would almost be funny. Have you ever tried to attend a town hall meeting with Cathy? They are very seldom scheduled, are kind of a secret actually. You can only go if you are the kind of person who would never ask her a hard question, which means you must be a slavering worshiper with a letter of reference from Ronald Reagan’s ghost itself. Otherwise, no dice. Actually, I kind of understand this, because if anybody, ever, asked her a question that was even moderately difficult, she would babble senselessly on for a while and then go to some other question that was easier, like, what is the Republican party line? THAT she knows, because she has to parrot it endlessly. Even then, the party big cheeses have to be careful with her, because she can be SO embarrassing. Note, if you will, the many TV appearances she makes as one of the very few Repub female representatives (there are 435 voting representatives, 21 are female Republicans), but she NEVER says anything. Clearly, she has been instructed by some Republican strategist, with mighty powers that eclipse her own, to just STFU. And, being a sweet lil’ ol’ conservative gal who toes the Dominionist line, if a MAN says it (and virtually all Republican strategists are men), well, no argument!

Turnip-head point number 4: When you go along with the Republican party line no matter what, and avoid all meaningful communication with your constituents because you cleave to the Republican line, you give the distinct impression that you REALLY DON’T GIVE A SHIT.

Here’s an interesting thing. Cathy, she who likes to tout her small-farm background, has attempted to pass legislation that would  have taxed farmer’s markets – which, as most people know, are just places where a lot of genuine small farmers go to sell farm products – at the same rate as a huge commercial agricultural enterprises. What, one might ask, would be the purpose of this? Well, if you tax farmer’s markets prohibitively, those small farmers will stay home, right? And if they stay home, there’s less competition for the the big-ass orchards and monocultural, bug-spraying, farm-worker-abusing commercial farms, so they can continue their very special practices with the rest of us hobbled to them, if we want to eat, that is. God forbid that an actual citizen movement occurred that moved us away from this unholy enterprise of modern farming.

Turnip-head point number 5: Always pretend your past life of selling apples from your dad’s fruit stand has equipped you to understand and act upon complex national farm policy.

Oh, and here’s what a rootin’ tootin’ money-collectin’ cowgirl Cathy is. She won the 2010 general election with 64% of the vote, against Democrat Daryl Romeyn. Romeyn spent only $2,320 against Mrs. Rodgers’ total outlay of $1,453,240. She had won 63% of the primary vote, against Romeyn (12%), and three other opponents (respectively 9%, 6%, and 6%.) Yup, a lot of people who value independent thought and authentic old-school freedom from the constraint of the establishment consistently vote for exactly what gobbets of money tell them to do. Way to go, Eastern Washington rural suckers and unthoughtful elderly Fox-News-watching party-liners! You sooooo smart!

Turnip-head point number 6: ALWAYS outspend your opponent by about 10,000 to one, because you never know when the public will find out just how useless you are.