Sunday, October 28, 2012

Why Did I Do It?

Young Obamunist
Because he:

kept a recession from becoming a depression,

got the economy growing again,

invested in green energy,

saved the automobile industry,

knows women can take care of their own bodies,

thinks any two people in love should be able to get married,

ended the nightmare in Iraq,

is ending the nightmare in Afghanistan,

passed Obamacare, and

is our first president who can hit a jump shot,

I voted for Barack Obama today.

Was glad to do it.


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Why Not Jill Stein?

Maybe someday, Jill Stein
Some readers may remember back four years when I was an enthusiastic supporter of democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel.  I liked how the former Senator from Alaska didn't cloud his beliefs in obfuscatory language.  He wanted to end the war in Iraq immediately.  He supported marriage equality.  He knew the war on drugs is bullshit.  He railed against the military industrial complex.  I liked what I heard, and I wrote about him several times.  I vowed to vote for him, no matter what.

On election day, I voted for Barack Obama.

A few days ago I had a quick exchange with our official aquarist, someone whose opinion I greatly value, about casting a 'lesser of two evils' vote.  As frustrated as I am with the Republican Lite version of today's Democratic Party, my friend appears to be officially fed up.  We only traded a few messages, but it got me thinking about the way I use my vote.  If my views are more in line with the Green Party candidate, why do I vote Democrat?  People lament the two-party system all the time, but the fact is, we do have a plurality of parties: Green, Libertarian, Constitution, Prohibition (wtf?).  These are mostly marginalized and only seem to be relevant when they're siphoning votes from one of the major candidates (like when Ralph Nader drank Al Gore's milkshake).  But for those of us not entirely in line either of the two largely corrupted behemoth political parties, there is a way to more adequately express ourselves, and perhaps sleep a little better at night.  Very few of us have the guts to do it.  So, if I'm not enamored of Obama and his drone strikes and his incessant rhapsodizing of 'clean' coal and his plan to more or less maintain the status quo on military spending, my question is this: is a vote against someone a good vote?

I think so.

I think a vote against the GOP is a damned good vote.  It's not particularly controversial to say that things are better for the majority of people when a Democrat is occupying the White House.  That's a broad statement, but I think it's pretty plain that, for at least the last 32 years, that GOP largesse has been reserved for the extremely well-to-do, whose campaign donations and political movements have been repaid in the form of lucre (tax cuts), power (Citizen's United) and fawning adoration (all hail the job creators).  Are the Democrats any better?  Only marginally in some areas, but in others there is a great yawning gulf separating the parties.  Gay rights, health care and climate change are a few that come to mind. And then there's women's rights.  You can see ideological differences every time Todd Akin, or Richard Mourdock, or Paul Ryan, or Mitt Romney or any of these candidates from the neolithic age of American politics opens his mouth about the opposite sex.  There is a very real possibility that two new Supreme Court Justices will be selected in the next presidential term.  The thought of Romney wielding those picks makes me tremble for Roe v Wade.

And for me, that's the bottom line: I respect my wife, mother, sister and hypothetical daughter too much to ever consider voting R.  I dig just about everything on Jill Stein's platform, but Obama is staunchly pro choice, he's committed to protecting Planned Parenthood and he knows unequivocally that rape is rape.  Call me yellow if you want to, but I care enough about keeping these GOP assholes out of office that I'll keep filling in the D for as long as I have to and dream of the day that Jill Stein is a viable contender.

Obama/Biden 2012


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Paul Ryan:

Attended Miami University in Ohio.  Strike one for this Ohio Bobcat.

Was a Miami frat boy.  You know what?  Strike fucking three.

So, we've established that the Representative from Wisconsin is an incurable prick, and indeed he does come off as the cocky 18-year-old who after one semester of college and a Poly-Sci 101 class suddenly knows everything about the workings of the world.  A lot of us go through that phase.  The difference is, after reading some Ayn Rand and taking a few Econ classes, Ryan appears to be locked in this juvenile hubris for the long haul.

That wouldn't be such a big deal, except that he's a legislator who's ridden a meteor to the top of his party's leadership; Ryan has ambition and the attention of his party.  What's more, we keep hearing his name and the word 'intellectual' mentioned in the same breath.  Now that Newt's time is up, it  seems Ryan has emerged as heir apparent to the GOP's resident deep thinker.  This is troubling.  Where Newt always seemed most devoted to his own hedonism, Ryan is fit, full of energy and hellbent on making his mark on the country.  What's disturbing is that his fervor seems less intellectual than ironclad, like something out of the Westboro Baptist Church (and yes, Ryan does hate fags, for the record).  His prevailing belief?  Not that big government is bad, of course, oh no; he's voted for every giant spending bill to come his way.  In that way, he looks like just about every other Republican from the last 30 years.  Social beliefs?  Standard GOP playbook: anti-woman, anti-gay, anti-immigrant. 

No, what makes Ryan special, aside from his blue-eyed glow of phony geniality and veneer of erudition, is the abject cruelty at the core of his economic superstardom; it's brazen, nasty and dangerous, it encapsulates no kind of conservative ideology that I've ever heard of, and it can be parsed out thusly:

1) Your worth as a human is in direct proportion to your wealth.

Ronald Reagan, patron saint of the modern conservative, godfather of reckless tax slashing and exploding deficits--Reagan sacrificed fiscal balance in the name of swelling the coffers of the already rich.  He also sneered unabashedly at the poor, painting needy families as parasites and singling out poor black women as welfare queens.

George W Bush carried Reagan's torch for 8 years, compromising the future of our social programs by cutting taxes and ignoring the consequences.

Reagan and Bush Jr: that's Paul Ryan's pedigree.

There are euphemisms for enriching the rich.  'Supply-side economics.'  'Trickle-down economics.'  'Reaganomics.'  Whatever you call it, it doesn't work as advertised.  Ryan and the GOP know this better than anyone, because they don't want the wealth to trickle down.  They keep going back to the well because, to them, the only thing better than a rich American is a richer American.  Now they're trying to sell it again, this time on the strength of Ryan's intellectualism, as if this preppy economic savant has really thought it through, worked out the kinks and come up with a plan that's just too nuanced to explain to drooling rubes like us.  If Ryan had it his way, as outlined in his first budget proposal, there would be zero taxes on capital gains and dividends--that's the kind of income that people like Mitt Romney prefer, because it's already taxed at a lower rate.  That lunatic idea has since been ditched in subsequent Ryan budgets, but it does underscore the kind of men we're dealing with.  Men of wealth and entitlement.  You're rich.  You deserve more.  Treat yo self.

Of course, Ryan is not blind to our giant growing debt;  He seems to sort of genuinely want to do something about it.  You can forget about increasing revenues or cutting the military, but some program or other is going to have to cough up the trillions, which brings us to our second point:

2) If you are not rich, you don't deserve to live.

How else can you explain his attitude toward Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Pell grants?  These are the programs that stand to lose if Romney and Ryan win in November.  How about the Affordable Care Act?  The GOP calls Obama the 'Food Stamp President,' but let's get something straight: more people on food stamps means that people were still eating through the second worst financial meltdown in our nation's history.  These safety nets quite literally keep people alive, but the GOP sneers again.  Yeah, Ryan is that guy, the one making an example of the mom in the grocery store who uses food stamps while having the audacity to own a smart phone.

So what are the poor and needy to do?  Ryan says he wants to teach them to fend for themselves.  What he doesn't seem to understand is that so many people who need food assistance already have jobs.  You can talk about self reliance all you want; people with low incomes can't just give themselves a raise, can they?  They can't scare up college tuition, can they?  The reality is that unemployment is still high, organized labor is weak and wages for middle and working classes have stagnated since the time of Reagan.  Social programs are popular.  They work.  Ryan himself was able to attend college because of the Social Security benefits provided by his late father.  That was fine for him.  He made the most of it.  For everyone else, it's a Ponzi scheme.

Any rational person knows that we'll all have to chip in to bring down the debt.  Ryan and his mythical job creators don't see it that way.  Sacrifices will have to be made, but not by them.  As for the rest of us, if we die, we die.

We were formally introduced to the new face of the GOP at the Republican National Convention.  Paul Ryan made his national debut by delivering a speech that was riddled with lies.  His encore comes tonight at the vice presidential debate. 

Here's hoping Joe Biden calls him on his bullshit.