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Posts Tagged ‘Republican’

Perhaps I should note, right up front, that I am not equating Barack Obama to a douche. Or more accurately, I am, but not in the spirit of meanness. South Park fans will understand immediately. For the rest of you, let me explain. After major elections overseas and several state primaries, my thoughts turned to voting and the process of election. A friend, discussing similar topics, brought up episode 808 (#119) of the well-known satiric TV series South Park, wherein a new school mascot must be decided by vote and the two choices are anything but ordinary: a turd sandwich and a giant douche.

To cut a complex story short, a boy who is told he must vote refuses, citing that he doesn’t agree with either of the candidates and it is a pointless exercise anyway. After heavy pressure from family, friends, and community members, including threats of bodily harm, he relents. But before doing so, he is advised by the leader of a nationwide activist group that “every election is between a Giant Douche and a Turd.”

So we have our foundation. And I am inclined to agree with Matt Stone and Trey Parker, the creators and principal writers of the South Park series. Most elections do seem to come down to the choice between between a douche and a turd. It is one unfortunate result of a two-party system. As much as we tout the wide variety of choice in political preferences, it really comes down to Democrat or Republican on the ballot. Though a few shudders of revolt have been felt from the Independent and Tea factions, most candidates elected to major offices still carry an (R) or (D) by their names. (Is it a mere coincidence that douche begins with (d) and turd contains an (r)? I wonder.)

So what should one do, when faced with the choice of selecting between a turd and a douche? How can one determine the lesser of two evils? Either way, the populace effected is sure to lose. Yet not voting – refusing to choose – is seen as an insult, not only to the nation as a whole but to the many who fought and died to bring the nation to where it stands today.

I argue that refusing to choose is not an insult to the nation but a measure of the abuse the political system is experiencing. Without strong figures of reason and credibility to vote for, what impetus is there to cast a vote? Why mark the box for a turd if a turd isn’t wanted in office? It becomes a catch 22: the only candidates with enough political savy and sway to reach levels of importance are all douches and turds, so only douches and turds can be elected. Which I believe is the point made by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. And for the more patriotic, who see refusal as a dismissal of the battles that gave us the freedom to vote, I can only ask if those same battles were fought so that we would only be able to choose between two corrupt, greedy, unappealing, unwanted, money- and power-hungry candidates. I don’t believe that was what any of those men and women fought for. I don’t believe that is what men and women the world over continue fighting for.

I whole-heartedly support the right to vote. 1,000%. It was meant to be our greatest freedom, our most powerful weapon of peace and justice against our own government and political system. I value that right beyond words and will defend it to my last breath. With force, if necessary. But it has been so misused. It has become such a pitiful shadow of what it could and should be. It’s the 21st Century. We are surrounded with technological and biological marvels. And yet we vote as though we are still in the Dark Ages, ignorant, apathetic, afraid. James A. Mishener once said, “An age is called dark, not because the light fails to shine, but because people refuse to see it.” Well I see it, or at least the potential of it, and I refuse to vote for darkness. I refuse to vote for turds and douches and rampant liars and unconscionable thieves. Not when we, as a nation, are capable of so much better.

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This is part of a letter from Jeff Clark, an author and economic advisor. I thought it most befitting. Enjoy.

“The CEOs of our nation’s largest banks were ‘invited’ to impersonate a bunch of piñatas before Congress yesterday and testify about how they’ve been spending the government’s money. Unlike the auto company CEOs, who must have a combined IQ of something like 12, the bank executives had the good sense to fly commercial. … But none of them had the guts – or any other body part – to call out the condescending hypocrites on Capitol Hill.

‘How do you justify,’ asked one of our esteemed elected officials, ‘taking a million-dollar salary when your company is operating at a loss?’

The ideal response would have been, ‘Because I spent that much on booze after you passed a law forcing my company to give home loans to people who couldn’t pay me back.’

But the CEO’s were silent… And they were silent when Maxine Waters, a Democrat from California, complained the banks were too slow in renegotiating the terms of the loans her constituents had agreed to and were now unable to fulfill. They were silent when they were asked if they had increased credit-card interest rates on cardholders who were delinquent in paying their debts.

Here’s what I would have said if I had been in their shoes…

My dear partners in crime, our generation-long scam is coming to an end. Yes it has been a good run. As bank executives, we’ve been able to line our pockets with generous stock options and golden parachutes that ensure we’ll live like kings from now until eternity. And as elected officials, you’ve been able to cater to the lowest instinct of your constituents, ensure your reelection, and fill your bank accounts with an eternal stream of campaign contributions. Bravo to all of us.

Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme is nothing more than a zit on the big old butt we’ve put together here. By working together, we’ve fleeced the American taxpayer for trillions of dollars. Bank executives have lived high off the hog for years. We have mansions in the Hamptons, 60-foot yachts, private jets, and personal chefs.

As elected officials, you have all of those benefits, plus the ability to vote yourselves a pay raise, increase your petty cash expense fund by $93,000 – as you did so recently – and grandstand in front of the television cameras even though you’re guilty of the same abhorrent behavior you accuse us of.

With any luck, we’ll have a few more years to suck off the teat of the American taxpayer. But beware. If we go down, then you’ll go down, too.

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Supposing any reader of this blog has some cursory knowledge of the current state of the American economy (in the crapper) and my inherent mistrust of politicians (crooks, cons, and thieves, the lot of them), here’s my take on the new stimulus that was passed yesterday.

It’s crap.

I know all the governmentals were standing around wringing their hands and trying to think of even one idea that held water but if this is the best they could come up with then we really are a doomed nation. That sounds harsh. Cutting. Sarcastic. And it’s the nicest thing I could think to say. Without knowing the specifics of the bill (because this lowly peon didn’t feel like slogging through 1588 pages of such political grandeur), I have serious doubts about the actions it reputedly mandates and the resulting fallout.

From what has been publicized, the stimulus contains plans for hundreds of billions of dollars to be “diverted to such necessities as dog parks…a frisbee golf course…and an ‘eco-friendly’ butterfly garden.” Oh my, yes, let’s all play some frisbee golf and no one will be worried about their mortgage or the insolvency of their bank or the climbing rates of inflation. By jove, Washington, I think you’ve got it!

According to one CBS article, the stimulus also includes $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (for the unemployed artists among us, I suppose). Another CBS article lists $870 million to “combat flu” and $19.5 billion for school modernization. All I can say is, for that much money, they better be giving shots against a deadly and highly contagious version of the bird flu that, like the influenza outbreak of the late 1910’s, poses a tangible threat worldwide. And can’t our schools hang on with what they’ve got for just a couple more years without these billions of dollars? Can’t the sex ed programs just re-use a few of their demo condoms and call it good?

CNN reports $248 million slated for new furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters…which they intend to spend at least $448 million building (and I’m certain that that project won’t run over-budget…huh-uh). The list goes on:

+ $6 billion to turn federal buildings into “green” buildings (it’s going to take several years for those low-flow toilets to pay that $6 billion back, you know)
+ $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems (who the hell are they anyway? never heard of them and their obviously horribly deficient computer systems)
+ $600 million for new hybrid vehicles for federal employees (exactly how many freaking employees are driving cars paid for by the Fed? my employers sure as hell never bought me a new car to get to work or run their errands)
+ $75 million for salaries of FBI employees (it does not state whether these are salaries for new employeee hires or simply raises for current workers…but I’m betting most of it is the latter).

And these are from a relatively short list; God knows what is stuck back in the nooks and crannies of that most voluminous bill (which allocates the equivalent of over $500 million per page). And before I get flamed for my less-than-supportive attitude, let me say here and now that I know most of these objectives would create more work. The problem, I think, is how few of those positions will be permanent. The bill is designed around a one-year time-frame for most of these appropriations, two years tops, and then all that “extra” funding is going to disappear. It might help boost the job market for a few months but then those jobs are going to end and those men and women are going to be looking for work…again. And this bill is too massive to repeat on an annual basis, or even bi-annually. The country is broke as it is, operating in a deficit trillions of dollars deep and getting deeper all the time. Gross and wasteful spending is not a solution to our problems, not by a long shot.

And while we’re on the subject of waste, let’s talk pork. I think Caleb Howe over at AOL said it best

“I mean, look at it this way. If you are cooking a chicken, in a duck … in a turkey, and you decide to wrap it in bacon, then you’ve added pork to your meal. But if, on the other hand, you’re cooking a bacon log, you aren’t adding pork, are you? It’s made of pork. That is it’s nature. You may be adding cheese, or perhaps pineapple wedges (awesome) but you aren’t adding pork. So I guess that’s kinda what Obama is trying to say. This is a spending bill. You don’t have to earmark it when spending is the objective. You can’t, you see, earmark an earmark.”

Splendidly put. This bill is a perfect example of runaway government and blatant misuse but, guess what, it passed and we’re stuck with it now. The pork is on the table and we’re about to be force-fed. For decades and decades, Washington has bled the taxpayers dry while they bloated on ridiculous excesses and obscene expenditures. Democrat and Republican alike. This is just the latest installment of “Screwing the American Public: the Art of Pocket-Lining and Two-Faced Backstabbery.”

Instead of ATV trails and a butterfly garden, how about a legislature that is actually concerned about this nation and how to keep it afloat? How about a modicum of honesty and integrity, just this once, so that these billions and billions of dollars are put to good use and maybe, just maybe, the nation will pull through this mess in one piece? But I ask too much. Silly, silly me.

To read the act yourself, visit ReadTheStimulus.org.

On a side note, the CNN breakdown also shows $125 million for the Washington sewer system but I’m not bitching about that one … with all the shit flying around Washington they need a good sewer system.

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People, I’m tired of all the politics flying around our media-centric country like flies around a fresh pile of poop.  I understand this is a presidential election with a black(ish) man as a potential future president.  I get it.  After an 8-year Republican run I’d say McCain’s chances are just over nil because it’s been, oh, decades, since there wasn’t a party shift after a presidential incumbent.  This isn’t rocket science, “my friends,” it’s a matter of historical record.  Let’s see here…  The most recent was the election of George H. W. Bush in 1988, after Republican incumbent Ronald Reagan’s term from 1980 through 1988.  Two decades, so not too bad…  But prior to that, we have to go all the way back to Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover to find an incumbent and a new president elect sharing the same party.  That was 1928

The Republican party knows it has virtually no chance of winning, especially against Obama.  First off, Geroge W. is one of the least-liked presidents in living memory and has sullied the GOP’s reputation for years to come.  Second, Obama is black, the first real black candidate ever, and he’s spouting utopian ideals and plans for “change, change, change!”  To further the Democratic cause, his pre-nomination competitor was a woman.  I mean, the Democratic party couldn’t have planned it better if they’d tried … hard on the heels of a stodgy, uptight, ignorant, conservative, corporate- and crony-helping incumbent, what better to stir attention and proclaim the “need” for the Dems to take charge?  Poor old McCain doesn’t stand a chance.  He was a lost cause from the start, a scarecrow for the Republican party to put on a stick and play pretend.  Not that I would have voted for him anyway.

I don’t consider myself a Republican or a Democrat.  I identify with planks of both party platforms and would never limit my choice of candidates to one side or the other purely for tradition or out of some misguided political obligation.  I just don’t care.  My vote will go toward whatever candidate I think could and would do the best job, regardless of party affiliation.  That said, it’s pretty well a sure thing that the winning official will have a neat (R) or (D) behind his name, no matter who the rest of us vote for (Independent, Green, Labor, Communist, etc).  And the crux of this post (I know, I was long enough getting to it) is that I really don’t understand all the hoopla over this election.  Either way, very little will change.  For the better, at least. 

Both candidates are deeply flawed, and I remain unconvinced that either has the best interest of the American majority at heart.  No matter who wins, thousands of families are still going to lose their homes, the economy is still going to play tilt-a-whirl until we hurl, and I very much doubt the troops are going anywhere in the near future.  Bush will get the blame in any event, but no matter who is in the White House in the next few years to come, things for the rest of us are going to suck. 

Under Obama or McCain, take your pick, I think unemployment is going to go way up, as will gasoline and other petrol products, wages will go down, as will property values, and our rampant consumerism is going to get a nasty wake-up call.  The government will take greater control of more facets of our lives (like the bank bailouts), which will only make things worse, and whoever is president will look and act more and more like a dictator.  With little concern for the Constitution and Bill of Rights, our freedoms and privacies will (further) dwindle amid assurances that it is all for the greater good.  The America our forefathers built and have died to protect ever since will exist in name only.  This has been brewing for a long time.  The bloated carcass of our corpulent government has only further ballooned over the years; the rancid flesh of red tape, regulation, and ridiculous budgetary expenditures has only swelled in further decay.  Behold the unlovely corpse of a failing democratic republic. 

No one group is to blame, and no one group should be held responsible, but I think it will take something monumental to flog some life back into this dead horse.  Something much more monumental than an inexperienced black man, a run-of-the-mill white man, or their typically ho-hum bureaucracy.  We need a real leader, a shepherd to lead we sheep out of the treacherous ravine we’ve climbed into.  We need a guide, someone to finally take real action and drive us to safer ground, someone with little things like honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, morals … not a politician worried about how to grab a buck in the latest kickback.  But the only names I see on the ballot belong to politicians.

Welcome to the Presidential Election 2008.

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You may have noticed this story already from the AP feed or MSNBC or some other news organization but I think it bears repeating.

Muskogee, Oklahoma, has a new mayor.  Aside from Merle Haggard fans, this probably holds little meaning.  But don’t click to a new blog just yet, it gets a lot more interesting.  You see, he’s 19.  Yup, not even old enough to legally drink and he’s mayor of an entire city.  Given, it’s not exactly New York (Muskogee’s population is roughly 40,000), but I very much doubt I could have taken a fraction of that responsibility at his age.  (If you’re honest, I doubt you could have, either.)  I thought I was doing pretty well to get passing grades in my classes, keep a part-time job, and pay my car insurance on time.  To win, he beat out Hershel McBride, 70, a former three-term mayor.  Was it a squeaker, you ask?  Did he win by re-count and dimpled chads?  Hardly.  In a landslide victory, John Tyler Hammons, a freshmen at the University of Oklahoma, garnered 70% of the votes and is set to be sworn in next week.

So did he run on a lark?  A dare?  As a result of a booze-fueled frat party?  Sorry to disappoint, but no.  He’s serious.  And he’s non-partisan.  Democrat, Republican, Greener, Independent, Whig, or whatever, he plans to work for Muskogee as a whole.  “Politics stop at the door,” Hammons said.  “First and foremost, Muskogee is my one and only interest right now.  …If someone wants to talk politics, I will literally leave the office and leave the building if I have to.  In this office, it needs to be Muskogee-oriented.”  To begin, he has at least two ambitious projects to pursue for the city:  1) the introduction of an independent ethics commission to track city officials, both those elected and those directly appointed, and 2) the campaign finance reporting requirements for those running for office.  “I’m sure the [city] council will work with me on these issues,” Hammons shared.  “I campaigned on this, and this is something I intend to push.”

It’s clear this driven young man has big plans.  And Muskogee is betting he’s worth the risk.  Unencumbered by political secrets, schisms, and scandals, Hammons can bring a fresh perspective to the office and hopefully affect greater change than his predecessors.  At the very least, it provides a hopeful turn of events for the millions of voters across the country who remain unsatisfied by their elected officials at every level of government.  Change can happen.  

And not just the change from (D) to (R) in front of a congressman’s name, which is almost meaningless today anyway.  I think the mere act of shaking up an arena is worth as much as any outcome, if not more, whether the results are good or bad.  A former professional wrestler was elected governor.  A former body-builder and actor was elected governor.  A former actor was elected governor … and then elected president.  Oh yes, change can happen, though it may come in many a strange form.  I almost wish I lived in Muskogee so I could have penciled in a ballot for John Tyler Hammons myself.  At least he wants to work for the voters, he wants to make improvements, and wants to try.  That in itself is a victory.  “I’ve always had it in the back of my mind to be governor of Oklahoma one day,” he also said.  “That’s always been a dream of mine.  If I am lucky enough to be governor, I’ll probably flirt with the idea of trying to become president.”

Tell you what, John.  Try your hardest.  Stay honest (I’m assuming, of course, that you are now).  Fight for everything you want to see happen and don’t budge an inch on the important stuff.  Keep your ambition, your idealism, your drive, and I’ll be first in line to vote for you in 2024.  I’ll even make a campaign contribution.  I’m not holding my breath … but I’ll be rooting for you.

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A little Muskogee trivia, for those interested…   Located in the eastern portion of Oklahoma, Muskogee is about 45 miles from Tulsa and 120 miles from Okie City.  It is 61% white, 53% female, and 54% of the population is under 40 years old.  Median income is less than the state average at $26,418 and overall crime is slightly above average.  (A bunch of poor, angry, white women to blame, perhaps?)    The city encompasses roughly 35 square miles and is partially bordered on the northern and eastern sides by the Arkansas River.  It was settled in 1872, was once capital of the Indian Territory (pre-statehood for Oklahoma), and continues to grow today.

 

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