Posts Tagged 'Election'

Please…enough already

Please…enough already.

I’ve worn down the delete key of my old HP PC by banishing hundreds of political messages to the trash bin. Messages that warn me that Republican Armageddon will arrive right on schedule on November 4…unless I send money.  Lots of money.  The world will come crashing down on us if my deficit-saddled candidates don’t meet their October fund-raising goals.  And I’m solely responsible.

But things can’t be all that bad, can they? This morning I saw a CNN footer crawl across my bloated political message laden screen that announced “candidates are having a very tough time finding available ad space on TV.”  Big surprise.

More importantly, why is everyone so down in the mouth about the Democrats’ chances of keeping even one back row seat in the 2015 Senate? Live with it I say. It’s your turn in the barrel.  A much improved economy, healthcare for millions, military exits from places we never should have been, and a surprisingly robust stock market have no bearing on the voting habits of the general public.  TV has seen to that.

And then there’s the House of Representatives. There’s not a chance that the House might even seat one surprise Democrat victor.  Everyone knows that the Republicans have a lock on that asylum.  The Democrats have thrown in the towel and the bathtub.  Fugedaboudit.

And what’s up with that eerie silence of late in both the House and among the Senate minority Republicans about their god-given moral assignment to repeal Obamacare.  Accustomed as I am to their single-mindedness about the issue, I find myself missing the vitriolic speeches about the days of death panels, government control of my body and the first step toward a Communist takeover.

Perhaps the ebola virus has taken center stage. Along with the obvious…that it’s all Obama’s fault.  The two cases of the dreaded pestilence could surely have been prevented had the President been on duty in that Texas hospital emergency room when the first of what surely will be tens of millions of cases turned up.  You won’t have to rely on Hollywood manufactured Zombie movies anymore.  They’ll be right at your doorstep.

Fortunately, this morning I was relieved of any concern that something might actually get done in the newly constituted, Republican majority Senate. On Tuesday, in a rare instance of stark realism, the about-to-be Senate leader Mitch McConnell admitted that Obamacare could not be repealed since the Republicans will not, save a miracle conjured up by Pat Robertson or Billy Graham, have the required sixty seats to ram through the as yet unannounced Republican version of a new, more wonderful, healthcare system. But then all hell broke loose in the Conservative ranks.  How dare Mitch, that normally reliable Luddite, even for a moment consider such a logical, but never-to-be-spoken-of possibility.

“Ooops, my bad”, he said. Remembering that he was up for re-election in less than a week, Mitch regained his other-world composure and quickly announced that he was “fully committed to the repeal of Obamacare.”  Shocking.  In brief, he would do so through the previously despised (when the Democrats did it) slippery procedure called Reconciliation.  Requiring only a simple majority in the Senate, Mitch would send blizzards of bills to the President that would, if signed, assure the continuation of the Government (budgets, appointments, housekeeping stuff) in the Republican mode (you know, banning abortion, stopping gay marriage, easing pollution regulations, liberalizing banking rules, loosening consumer protections, strengthening the military and maybe impeaching the black guy.)  And, attached to those bills would be a few succinct phrases that would also dismantle Obamacare.  Aaaah, a breath of fresh air.

Forced to watch the Government descend into nothingness should he not sign the bills, the black guy could cave and Obamacare will be the first victim of its own death panel. A barrage of vetoes by the reclusive (or is it dictatorial) foreign born alien would assure the Republicans of two years worth of talking points that blame the Kenyan sitting in the Oval Office for everything from the disgrace of an unprepared military to a lack of toilet paper in the Senate visitors’ gallery.  Then again, maybe a lack of toilet paper is just the right accompaniment for a constipated Congress.

So, my friends. Not to worry.  We will have the same sort of gridlock for the next two years.  But at least we won’t have to worry about good government interfering with the circus-like atmosphere of nominating the 2016 presidential candidates.

The Morning After

Tuesday evening Sweetie and I watched Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins duke it out in Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Gary, in a role superbly suited to him, still scares me as he seeks to capture Winona Ryder’s heart while fending off the sharpened stake wielded, somewhat comically,  by a partially deranged Mr. Hopkins.

You were watching a twenty year old film on election night, you say?  With all that time on your hands why weren’t you focused on the election results?  Because my blood pressure was already high enough, thank you.

In a way I suppose I was, in fact, watching a stand-in for the election night results.  Oldman could just as well have been playing Mitt Romney, a man who was serially written off for dead, starting with the primaries where he was confronted by any number of netherworld demons including Newt, Michelle, Rick, and Herman.  No stake in the heart could penetrate him regardless of multiple ill-fated attempts. His pursuers were doomed to fall on their own swords.  Like Dracula, Mitt’s oft-repeated metamorphosis from one life form into another finally ended only when he was exposed to the full light of day.

Hopkins, a somewhat shy and retiring personality, could have been Obama who refused to give up the quest for another four years even though at times you wondered if he was really serious about the whole thing.  Stake in hand, he methodically pursued his quarry and, when all seemed to hang by a thread, plunged the dagger into his antagonist.  Not a lingering death as predicted by the pundits, it was all over in the blink of an eye.

Belatedly, we made the rounds of the usual cable news stations.  MSNBC, CNN and, yes, Fox.   OK, I really enjoyed Fox.  Shepard Smith was particularly interesting.  With a “what the hell happened” expression on his face, he looked splendidly shell-shocked.

Karl Rove was delightful as the mad scientist who, with precise logic and an intensity bordering on the maniacal, sought to refute Fox’s award of Ohio to Obama.  How dare Fox do that without his permission.  In a moment rivaling the best of the Keystone Kops, Megan Kelly, playing the role of Karl’s Igor, dutifully strolled down to the bowels of Fox and asked her own statisticians “are you guys shitting me or what?”

Rove and his buddy George Will were understandably stunned.  How could this be?  Especially after the outpouring of money from their friends and neighbors.  We will win big, they had assured themselves and their minions. This must be some alternate universe.  When we wake, things will be better.

Donald Trump who, as NBC’s Brian Williams put it, has driven well past the last exit of relevance, tweeted multiple brain farts including a frenzied call to his followers to march on Washington.

Bill O’Reilly, a little late in seeking more Hispanic votes, made a plea for an election re-run with Marco Rubio instead of Paul Ryan as Mitt’s Sancho Panza.  While insulting half the American voters and ignoring the fact that Mitt’s votes came from predominantly aging white men on Medicare and Social Security, Bill observed that the 50% of the country who voted for Obama want stuff.   They want things.  And who is going to give them things? President Obama. He knows it. And he ran on it.

But perhaps the most rewarding election revelation came the morning after when we were treated to an analysis of the money spent and the rewards of that extravagance.  The most candid and resigned expression came from Kenneth Langone, the founder of Home Depot and a top Romney fundraiser.  “All I can say is the American people have spoken.”

The Koch brothers spent millions including a reputed chunk of the $11 million delivered from an Arizona mystery PAC in a failed attempt to block California’s Proposition 30 supporting schools, and to promote Proposition 32 that would have limited the rights of unions to spend money just like, thanks to Citizens United and the Supremes, corporations do.

Foregoing the ubiquitous PAC route, Linda E. McMahon, owner of a professional wrestling company, concluded her second attempt to single-handedly buy a Republican Senate seat by spending $100 million of her own money in Connecticut.  She lost.  But in the process she certainly succeeded in adding jobs to the media and printing industries in her own state.  Way to go, Linda.

Joe Ricketts, the owner of the Chicago Cubs, spent close to $13 million to bankroll a super PAC attacking Obama over federal spending.  Better he should have spent it on the pitiful team that lost 101 games this season.  That’s the last time I go to a Cub game.

And then there’s Sheldon Adelson, the gambling casino mogul.  Sporting a refreshed carrot coloring of his sparsely populated hairline, he seemed unperturbed about the sixty million he had pumped into the super PACS supporting eight carefully selected Republican candidates.  Sheldon went 0 for 8.  Better stay away from your own craps tables, Sheldon.  Oh, and buy a mirror.

As the NY Times reported, Karl Rove has been busy fielding calls from many of those bazillionaires who forked over about $300 million to two super PACs founded in part by him.  Always looking on the bright side, he offered them these uplifting words,  “Without us, the race would not have been as close as it was.”

So it’s four more years.  Used to seem like a long time.  Not any more.  A blink of an eye.  A week in Dracula time.  I hope Obama’s stake is well sharpened.

A Storm in the Making

OK, I admit it.  I’m scared and in hiding.

A tempest threatens us and all I can do is wait.  I can’t bear watching the depressing news on TV.  It’s full of ominous rumblings, dangerous predictions, and imminent disaster.  So I seek  safe haven in mindless detritus.

Even my computer is no refuge from the specter of impending doom.  Hourly, I’m bombarded with e-mails that warn me of the consequences of my inaction, the urgent need for resources to cope with the onslaught, the pleas for assistance.  Minute by minute updates stridently report the status and odds of it hitting us where it can do the most damage.  I feel sorry for people exposed and in its path.

Whole communities lie in the track of this unstoppable juggernaut.  The social fabric of the country is imperiled, about to be challenged by irreparable damage to schools, roads and bridges.  Millions of people left to suffer without adequate support and the very real prospect of limited government aid.  Only those with substantial assets may survive and even prosper as a result of the unthinkable.  The consequences of what may happen will be irreparable for years to come.  A perfect storm.

Oh, and I’m also worried about Hurricane Sandy.

It was all I could do to muster enough energy to watch The News Hour on Friday.  Even then I had to click away from it whenever the conversation centered on what might happen next Tuesday.  He’s up…he’s down.  A shoo-in…a nail biter.  He said…she said.  Give me an Advil…puleeeze!

And  I am so very tired of hearing about Ohio.   Even the Weather Channel is fixated on it.  With less than four percent of the electoral votes, it rivets our attention as though it were the center of the universe.  Nobody gives a crap about California with three times as many votes, or New York for that matter…we might as well be an alien planet populated by Mork and Mindy.

Forgive me, but even that pinko, liberal MSNBC is a pain in the ass.  Valiantly struggling to keep pace with Fox even though it has less than half the viewers, it finds a fascist plot in anything said by the Dark Side and claims that seventy million old Democrats in wheelchairs will be stripped of their voting privileges because some lame brained Republicans want to see their birth certificates.

CNN’s Wolf Blitzer has to calm down, get his act together and stop casting himself as the bearded version of Cassandra.  Coupled with Anderson Cooper, who I swear was put together in a high school physics lab, it’s no wonder that CNN’s viewership has fallen to its lowest in ten years.  No amount of placing daredevil reporters in hurricane force wind and rain will help.  Yes, we know it’s wet and windy…now get out of there, you bozos.

As my visits to Fox are generally restricted to whenever we have a total eclipse of the sun, my principal exposure to the Red team is Bill O’Reilly’s column.  His most recent diatribe chronicled media bias and listed a dozen left-leaning TV broadcasters and their potential negative impact on the election.  He somehow missed any mention of anyone on the Fox staff.  Maybe he watches CNN. 

Thank goodness for the once-a-week News Hour musings of David Brooks and Mark Shields.  They have very different political persuasions yet find a way to voice their opinions while maintaining a collegial rapport.  I somehow feel cleansed and refreshed when their fifteen minutes of fame ends.

Unfortunately, the rest of week will have begun all over again.  Might even rain.

Now you see it, now you don’t

A trip to the Magic Castle yesterday provided ample proof that sleight of hand is alive and well in an era of supposed transparency.

Five hours of carpooling and five hours at the Castle led to a return home at 1am. It was worth it. Daniel Ketchedjian in the Parlour of Prestidigitation proved that you need not be able to say that mouthful to enjoy his bright eyes and even brighter personality. Danny Ray in the tight confines of the Close-up Gallery nearly put an eye out demonstrating his mystical ability of divining which envelope contained the shield that protected his body from unrecoverable mutilation.

Dana Daniels performing in the Palace of Mystery proved that you don’t need to be a great magician to wow the crowd. With absolutely no grace,  he juggled a woman’s four-inch heeled shoe, a Tampax contributed by an uninhibited theater goer, and a sixteen pound bowling ball. In conclusion, his precocious pet parrot, Luigi, reminded us that laughter is the best medicine. I haven’t roared so hard since Gene Wilder ordered Teri Garr and Cloris Leachman to under no circumstances open the cell door while he tried to deal with Peter Boyle, the Frankenstein monster.

This morning everything was back to normal.

Making my usual cup of coffee, I switched on NPR in the middle of the news. Right in the middle of the commentator saying “Judge Robert Simpson has denied a challenge to the new Pennsylvania law intended to reduce voter fraud. That law requires photo identification in order to vote in the November election. This despite the fact that the State of Pennsylvania had been unable to produce a single instance of such fraud.”

It should also be pointed out that the law was passed by the Republican dominated legislature and signed by the Republican governor.  As reported by the Christian Science Monitor After Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled state legislature passed the ID law in March, the state House majority leader boasted that the new requirement would help deliver the state’s key electoral votes to Mr. Obama’s Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.   I tried to think back on Luigi in the hope of raising my spirits.  He was beginning to fade.

We next dragged ourselves down the hill to Dr. Halverson’s office for Sweetie’s allergy shots. One of the highlights of that every-three-weeks’ adventure is my opportunity to read the LA Times, a literary masterpiece when compared to the Ventura Star and its continuing banal coverage of pet cows, sheep and piggies destined for slaughter following their once in a lifetime appearance at the Ventura Fair. They won’t deliver the Times to us up on the hill because they know I’m a Democrat.  Visiting the doctor’s office is my way of getting back at the paper-boy.

My mood did not improve with the Times’ stories of decapitations performed by Mexican drug cartels, the murder of a 72-year-old man by his high school classmate in retribution for a fifty year old slight, an Alabama man who received a 624 year prison sentence and the most depressing revelation of all, another Cub loss.  Luigi began to lose his feathers.

Arriving home and a glutton for punishment, I visited the New York Times on the web and was presented with a glimpse of Ohio, one of the “battleground” states.  All 86 Ohio election boards are evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. In the case of a tie vote, the Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, casts the tie breaking vote. It seems, courtesy of the boards’ tie votes and Mr. Husted’s climactic tie breakers, that the polls in all Republican leaning counties can remain open after 5pm and on weekends, while those in Democratic leaning counties have to stick to a Monday through Friday schedule closing at 5pm. The reason given? There’s more money in Republican counties to fund the later hours, while the poor folks in places like Cincinnati and Cleveland are bereft of such largess. Surely the fact that about half the folks in those cities are black has nothing to do with it.

Luigi is dead.

Just the facts, Ma’am

Jon Stewart wants tens of thousands of people to join him in Washington on October 30 to speak softly and carry a small stick.  Bring back sanity to the political process and to those who rejoice in their insanity.

To show you how bad things are, Jon has a clip on his Daily Show web site  purportedly showing some of the worst political ads in the current zany season.  I watched one featuring Jimmy Donn for Congress.  There’s this guy standing near a punching bag.  He says “elect me and I’ll go to Washington and punch Obama in the balls!”  Then he whacks the bag a few times.  End of ad.

After lifting my jaw off the table, I decided to write a blog about it.  I Googled “Jimmy Donn” figuring he must have a website.  Turns out he’s a producer on Jon’s show.  It was a gag.  And I swallowed it.  Dummy.

Proved that I can believe anything.  Here I am, this supposed smart guy.  Been there, done that.  Old enough to know better.  Whatever.  Don’t you believe it.  I’m as messed up as the next guy.  So what makes me think that sanity, logic and understanding will play any part in the current election season?

For example, why would I think the media would beat on the Tea Party solutions to our problems?  Because there aren’t any.  Nada.  Oh, a couple maybe.  Reduce taxes for one of the least taxed countries in the world.  Reduce spending except for their social security, their own health care and the military.  Everyone else can whistle Dixie.  Especially the 44 million poverty stricken folks.  Try harder you guys, they say.  With a little luck and no help from Uncle, you too can be in the upper two percent of the population earning more than $250,000.

For example, why would I think the electorate would vote for people like Republican congressional candidate Dan Debicella of Connecticut who claims the stimulus bill didn’t save or create any jobs (in opposition to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office statement that the stimulus reduced the unemployment rate by as much as 1.8 percentage points.)

For example, why would anyone believe the Republican Pledge to America that claims the only part of the economy that has expanded is government.  In fact, government employment has fallen and private sector jobs have gone up by over 700,000.  Or that jobless claims continue to soar when they are in fact below their highest levels.

For example, why would anyone vote for Sharron Angle who wants to unseat Nevada’s  Harry Reed.  Sharron’s ad says Harry voted to give “special tax breaks to illegal aliens.”  In fact, Reid sponsored a bill in 2007 that made it clear that illegal immigrants remain ineligible for tax breaks.  Oh, if that isn’t enough, Ms. Angle, a staunch proponent of the privatization of Social Security, said on August the 12th that she thought Social Security should be phased out in favor of a system resembling the one created in the 1980s by right-wing Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet.

For example, and to show that Republicans aren’t the only zanies, why would anyone believe  Democratic Rep. Alan Grayson of Florida who falsely accused his opponent Daniel Webster of a lack of patriotism and a big fan of the subservience of wives.  The opposite is true.

Yes, why would anybody believe that stuff?  Because we saw it on TV.  And we were too lazy to check it out.  We had better things to do.  Like whine, complain, and moan.  And throw our hands up in despair.  Woe is me.  It’s a lost cause.  What can I do about it?

Well, if you’re a Democrat or an Independent, try this for starters.

“You know, maybe his speeches aren’t as exciting as they used to be, but Obama’s done a lot.  Not as much as I’d like.  Not as much as he promised.  But it’s something.  And it’s a damn sight better than the Old Guy, the Snow Queen, the Bronze Bomber, the Kentuckian and their nay-sayers would have done.  So I’m gonna do whatever I can to see that we keep the Obama guys around. And I might even drag a bunch of bucks out of my wallet and send it where it’ll do the most good.  And for damn sure I’m gonna vote on November 2, maybe twice.”

After you’re memorized that you might even think about joining Jon Stewart on October 30.  But carry a big stick.

No, really, he did win

As has become my custom, I woke around 5 this morning, the day after election day.  I typically roll around in bed for an hour or so in sort of a half sleep.  Just awake enough to think, but not clear-headed enough to make a whole lot of sense.

I thought about the election, the high anxiety when the first results trickled in showing McCain leading in some red states.  The beginning of a mild high when the electoral count began to go our way.  The increasing euphoria when the CNN pundits began to sound like it was all over.  We were at Barbara’s house where a few others had come together to watch what we hoped would be a positive outcome.

A minute before 8pm, Sweetie and I watched Wolf Blitzer stand in front of a digital display that counted down the last minute.  The time when the West Coast polls would close and CNN could finally, officially, project a winner.

59, 58, 57…It was like watching the crowd in Times Square on New Year’s eve.  Except there was only one guy on the TV screen.

44, 43, 42…Nearly two years since this whole thing began.

25, 24, 23…The ups, the downs.

8, 7, 6…Out with the old, in with the new.

3, 2, 1…Yea.

Strange.  Those around me gave out a yell…whoopeee.  I sat there in relative silence.  Maybe it was the beer that had dulled my senses.  Maybe not.

Maybe I was so exhausted that I just couldn’t get excited.  Maybe not.

Maybe I was so amazed by what had just happened that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, believe it.

I admit it.  I never thought that it would really happen.  That a black man could run a positive campaign, not resort to character assassination and still win the presidency of the United States of America.  I never.

Well, he really did.  And I’m glad.

 ameriflag_2

Obama wins!

No, not in the U.S.  Not yet.

If this was a world-wide vote, the Muslim Guy would be a shoo-in.  Myrna sent me this link to a site that solicits votes from people everywhere.  If The World Could Vote currently lists over 600,000 votes from 211 countries including such powerhouses like Benin, The Cook Islands, Djibouti, Kiribati, and Palau.  Impressive.

Eighty-seven percent of the votes are for my man…the big kahuna.  At this writing, only 2 of the 211 countries are in the Old Guy’s column.  One is that bastion of democracy, Albania.  The other is Macedonia.  The Italians, who like to spend nearly all their free time in the polling booth, have cast almost 90% of their 3,000 votes for Obama.  Over 90% of the Brits are in our column.

But these votes, including the one Tongan who loves our guy, don’t mean squat if he doesn’t get 270 electoral votes tomorrow, Tuesday, November 4, election day in the United States of America.

Without 270 electoral votes, you get the Old Guy and the Snow Queen.

You get four more years of rewarding the rich and short-changing the poor.

You get to see more sick people without health insurance.

You get to watch our schools reach third world status.

You get to watch our roads and bridges crumble.

You get to see more Scalias seated on the Supreme Court.

You get to see women’s rights eroded.

You get to watch our parks and natural resources neglected.

You get to see our continued dependence on oil.

You get to see our standing in the world drop further.

You get to be frightened by the prospect of war.

You get to see religion become a greater factor in government.

You get to see a do-nothing Congress, hamstrung by party loyalty.

You get the idea.

You got to vote!

 


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