james campion.com

Aquarian Weekly 1/2/13 REALITY CHECK

READERS RESPONSES

While it is true that Obama is in a no-lose situation now, having gained re-election by the strongest margin for a Democrat since FDR, I think it is incumbent on him to be more aggressive than you even describe in your column. (THE EMPEROR’S NEW SHOW — Issue: 11/28/12) Having voted for his “change” mantra the first time around (I abstained this time) I was disappointed in his less than enthusiastic fervor for getting into the muck with congress or being more assertive during the entire Health Care debate and vote and later failing miserably to explain it to the people.

I believe, as you do, that these second terms are rife with trouble; hubris, laziness, or an out-of-touch disease that hits all presidents in their final political run of their lives, but mostly I think it is that animal you describe as “a man who no longer has to run for anything.”

While I’m inclined to think that with a recalcitrant Republican opposition in congress and so many big hurdles to climb, the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, the new Debt Ceiling back-and-forth, Immigration Reform, Iran, the Deficit, this will likely be another underwhelming second term.

Judith O’Keefe

 

It will be interesting to see the amount of passion exerted on the Right now that the TEA Party has been neutered. This past election was a joke for them. I have to ask, do these people, who worked so hard, and they really did, whether you agree with all of their protests or candidates or not, they did really take things to another level of grass roots politics — do they feel cheated? Did they feel cheated by the party that claimed to embrace them? Did they feel cheated for the lack of voice they received in the primaries, as each and every candidate they tried to latch onto to was ultimately defeated by a moderate? Did they feel cheated that their arguments about the laziness of an electorate raised and brainwashed into a take-take-take culture were overwhelmed merely three years after they were offered?

I know you always say to be careful to think that once you make a mark in Washington that it will hold much past one or two election cycles, but even you have to be amazed at how little the TEA Party has mattered. The question then that I have for President Obama is will he be emboldened by this new voice he has been provided by the people and go hard Left this time; arguments to the contrary that his first term was littered by Leftist governing — I argue it was a mish-mosh of centrist nothingness. Even Obamacare reeks of middle-of-the-road junk legislation, something I fear we will pay for forever.

Hell, I know Romney was a crappy candidate. I am glad he was sent packing. But I wonder what we are getting in Obama II.

Jer009badass

 

The president should be strengthened by his re-election. For nearly three years the cry from his opposition was that not only would he be a one-term president, but leave in disgrace, ala Truman or G.W. Bush. But the very opposite has occurred. He gained momentum, because the opposition had no viable answers. They made shit up and for awhile people were angered by the slow return of the economy or maybe Obamacare or maybe by the nods to Cap & Trade and broken promises to end wars quicker and close Gitmo, so they were inclined to buy it. But in the end, when these same people began to pay attention to the record, it was not a disaster. Fair to middling perhaps, but no disaster.

Now this president that set history on its ear, that did in fact change the political winds in Washington and took as many slings and arrows as any president in recent memory for his personal past; whether being a citizen or whatever nonsense the radicals made up, can lead for real.

No more excuses about how awful the last lousy president left this country’s fiscal solvency in, and how Bush destroyed our foreign relations and sunk us into unwinnable, ill-conceived wars. Time to lead or be judged solely on that.

This is where history is made, not in elections.

I pray he answers the call.

Lizzy-TalkBack543

 

Mr. President, I didn’t vote for you because I didn’t feel that you earned my vote in the first time. That being said, I don’t want you to fail. You were chosen represent my country, so I want you to make it a better place. Mr. President, please prove me wrong.

donp700

 

Your nod to the politics of this Benghazi tragedy is right on the money. It is an obvious attempt by the defeated Republicans to take the sheen off the apple of this decisive victory for Obama. The only scandal here is that a disgraced John McCain, once a beaming American hero, so clear-headed and independent in his thinking, yes, even a maverick, as he claimed in his ill-fated 2008 election, the same man who unleashed the horrible Sarah Dumb-Ass upon an unsuspecting world, would engage in such chicanery.

The only fly in this ointment is that while the Democrats failed to make a case of Watergate, which was breaking during the final months of the 1972 Election, and most of the national media ignored its obvious impact on an election Nixon would win in a monumental landslide, soon the truth emerged. It would fell his second term in ways the country had not seen in over a century.

I fail to see how this is anything close to Watergate, a constitutional crisis like no other, but there is fire where there is smoke and one has to wonder how much of this dirt is tossed on a White House that while feeling its oats in a rounding re-election, would be wise to take all allegations seriously. The Republicans will not stop with a mere election to oust this president. Hope they know this.

Fielding II

 

Benghazi is not a scandal? Four Dead Americans, one of who was the Ambassador, on the anniversary of 9/11 all blamed on a video and a non-existent demonstration and that’s not a scandal? When the compound had been repeatedly attacked in the months before 9/11. When the Ambassador had asked for more protection and had been denied. When the Ambassador knew that he had been targeted. When the attack went on for seven hours and was being viewed in real time by our intelligence people and no attempt was made to rescue our people. When the head of the CIA said he knew almost immediately that it was a terrorist attack and the President and his administration kept telling the American people and the United Nations that it was not a planned terrorist attack. That doesn’t constitute a scandal? Are you serious? Baghdad Bob lives in America in the form of the American media.

urbanjoe

 

If George Bush was not taken to task for the horrors of 9/11, I should think this tragedy in Benghazi would not merit a peep.

Ellie Tellie

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12/14/12

Aquarian Weekly 12/26/12 REALITY CHECK

12/14/12

A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world. – Alan Watts

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? – Matthew 6:26-27

There is a video on YOUTUBE of a Canadian golden eagle flying majestically through a cloud-streaked sky, cutting through the wind with an impressive wingspan, talons poised and beak slacked joyously. Suddenly the giant bird reverses its course and swoops violently down upon a meadow and grabs a child, about 10 to 14 months, and lifts it into the air. The voice of what the viewer could only guess is the child’s father begins to shout, “Holy shit!”, which is heard above the screams of its mother. The giant bird struggles to lift the weight and must drop the child about eight feet from the ground. It fortuitously lands unharmed, rolling over and crying hysterically. The eagle, hardly fazed by this failure, ascends again to seek out a lighter load for its prey.

NewtownA casual observer of this can be amazed, even titillated; it is nature at its most stunning, a balance of cold calculation mixed with random circumstance and vicious beauty. A more subjective view of the event engenders horror; the terrifying understanding that to live is expose that life to swift and brutal disorder. Either way, it is the way of nature, the random and sudden meeting between a hunting-killing machine and its unsuspecting victim, developed over centuries of evolution into something that cannot be stopped by merely eradicating it once, twice or a dozen times. There is always another and another and then another species that will swoop down until the realization that no plan or level of intellect or force or compassion can halt its progression. Only fortune could hope to shield life from it.

Succumbing to the reality of nature, to the vagaries of its relentless law of chaos, sparks horror and dread in the human heart. It is too much to bear, this sense that no one is either safe or in danger, it is merely life, existence, and therefore placed in the laissez-faire course of acting as predator or prey. It is the haphazard but perfectly functioning cruelty of the natural world; the world we live in, not the fantasy utopian dreams created by civilization’s laws, religion and cultural myths, which have transformed the wildly unpredictable snake in order to conjure the evil tempter of Eden.

But the snake, as the great Native American proverb warns, is a snake, nothing more; not evil or devil or monster. It is the snake, sharing existence with us, the all-important human, who cannot help looking for a way to control the snake from being the snake.

And so, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month of the year twenty-twelve, such a predator, as random and furious and sudden as the golden eagle careening towards the defenseless child, emerged to lay waste to twenty-six lives, twenty of which had not yet reached their eighth year in this unfettered chaos of existence. One young man, whose name is not important, as if anyone had bothered to name the eagle, walked out of the myth society had created to realize his true nature, that of the predator, and began seeking the truth of his being; a truth as random and horrifying as the heart that beat within him.

The survivors and the witnesses on the ground and on television, some housewives, others businessmen the news media and the president acted as humans do when the random chaos of existence unleashes its indefinable mayhem in places not normally if ever visited upon. There are tears and cries for explanation and security against it; as if in some strange way there is security against existence, as if there is some law to pass or prayer to offer or secure place anyone can go to avoid it.

It is the snake, sharing existence with us, the all-important human, who cannot help looking for a way to control the snake from being the snake.

But it is forgivable panic, since a significant portion of existence is the desire to preserve it and to also protect those who may need protecting against the forces of nature; like levees against the rising tide or measures to keep the billowing flames from devouring us. It is forgivable that humans cannot and will not ever accept that at any moment the predator will strike in the form of a storm or a fire or the troubled mythmaker manifesting carnage to wreak its blind vengeance upon the unsuspecting purveyors of illusion.

Perhaps in a moment of madness, I too would ask for forgiveness to have written that Penn State University should have been razed in the wake of years of child rape; bankrolled and provided without a peep from faculty and coaches in employ to protect, serve and educate; a systemic rape house for a pedophile they called colleague and friend, allowed, nay, enabled to unleash his random carnage upon the innocence of youth. And well, there are far more children being raped in churches and schools and homes across this nation and every nation every hour of every day than there are myth-crushing gunmen.

Maybe some forgiveness should be provided me for repeatedly pointing out that each and every one of us who call ourselves American provide money to our government to bomb villages and cities across the Middle East; hospitals and schools and playgrounds with innocent children being massacred, burned and mutilated. Our tax money pays for it and some of us even cheer it. And this has been going on unchecked for decades; here, there and everywhere.

But you can keep your forgiveness. I don’t mind. I am just like you. I have been fed the same myths and illusions. The Bogeyman is in the closet. The Bogeyman wears special garb and speaks special languages and has agendas and ideologies. The Bogeyman can be spotted and ferreted out and made to stand down. There are cages to put him in and pills to quell his urges and science and medicine to explain him and a God to judge him.

But there is no Bogeyman and there is no closet or jail or drug or God that will keep him in check. He is next door and down the street. He sits next to you on the train and hands you your change at Starbucks. He lives in the inner city, the suburbs, the woods. He laughs at jokes and grits his teeth when he stubs his toe on the furniture .He has a blog. He has a dog. He goes to church. He owns a gun. He doesn’t own a gun. He plays video games and he watches movies, like the guy passing him on the street and the other guy reading about the guy obliterating school children or his high school bullies or the girls who ignore him or the parents who don’t love him or the guy he didn’t vote for or the music he used to like but now sounds like a hollow shrill.

He is you.

He is me.

He is the eagle, the snake, the gunman.

He is nature.

He is existence.

The rest is myth, except for the parts that are illusion.

 

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The (New) Never Deal

Aquarian Weekly 12/19/12 REALITY CHECK

THE (NEW) NEVER DEAL The Madness Method Explained

Now that things have gone underground in Washington, the wheels of our national fate are turning. A sign of progress is that the first body of this standoff has been tossed out. Susan Rice has fallen on the sword and will remove one jack-boot the president had to humiliate the already damaged Republicans. Accepting her de facto resignation from consideration for secretary of state due to her role as puppet mouthpiece for the Benghazi debacle in September is the olive branch or duck and cover the White House needs. Meanwhile at the Capitol, the speaker of the House has driven his blade through the carcass of Paul Ryan, the only pariah left from the failed attempt to carry out senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell’s doomed operation; “Make Barack Obama a one-term president.”

Human bids are crucial to these types of negotiations. American history is ripe with the skin trade amongst politicians. In 1832, Andrew Jackson, sick with brain warts, offered several men up to the obviously mad Henry Clay in the National Bank Affair, many of which disappeared completely from public life. Clay, well known for treating states as if poker chips, was well acquainted with Jackson’s proclivity for gunplay and offered the president six counties in Kentucky to open.

So now that the sides have mercifully stopped grandstanding to the press every five seconds and begun to hammer away in private, there is tight security on who is taking the worst beating and who can appear the least wretched to the American public when this bloated dung bag is finally sent up for a vote.

John Boehner has already tested the waters on this. The speaker is a poll freak. Many in his employ claim he hangs the results in pie charts above his desk, so that when the TEA Partiers enter his office to complain they can plainly see that now 70 percent of the voting public, 50 percent of Republicans, wish to tax the top two percent. According to the Wall St. Journal, hardly a bastion of leftist propaganda, now 80 percent of voters want a compromise, and for the first time since its inception, over half of those polled believe the election settled any discussion on the survival of Obamacare.

As explained nearly a month ago in this space, the jig is up for House Republicans. But according to reports inside the capitol, after a private briefing with its caucus, there appears to be little budging on the raising of revues on the rich. Not because it’s the national will or a normal executive mandate carried immediately after a general election, but because districts and counties historically fuel members of congress, not states like senators, or the nation as a whole like presidents. The congress has always been a tough nut, made much tougher since for some weird reason the Republican establishment thought it could ignore the influx of the TEA Party fervor in 2010 and elevate an old-line lifer to the post of speaker and then nominate a liberal to lead its national ticket.

But stranger events are to come, as the word being bandied about in the “smart” circles centers on both the White House and the congress allowing this debate to purposely spill over January 1; so all can save political face. And quite frankly, it makes perfect sense.

For Republicans, the claim can be that taxes have now hiked on everyone automatically, thus a compromise can occur without breaking the no-tax pledge and the guilty can appear to be actually lowering taxes. Of course, the hope will be that most people don’t read this column, which most do not, and will forget that it was congress that devised this insane plan in the first place, in essence defaulting on all promises.

This, of course, fills this heart with bubbles of sweet joy, if only because it proves the point of this entire Reality Check News & Information gig: All of this is utter bullshit.

For Joe Cool, the White House can continue to point to the abysmally low public rating of the current congress as do-nothing and act as a hero for five minutes. All of this is plausible, because in the original agreement, the Fiscal Cliff directive has a retroactive clause, allowing a deal to be struck on, say, January 5 or even February 5, in order for everyone to appear functional during an actual crisis, instead of merely avoiding one, which in cinematic parlance is boffo.

This, of course, fills this heart with bubbles of sweet joy, if only because it proves the point of this entire Reality Check News & Information gig: All of this is utter bullshit.

Remember when everyone told us this latest in a series of stalemate elections would decide the existence of the nation? And remember how it was the most important thing since Adam banged Eve? Yeah, well, you voted and no one in charge seems to give a flying fart. Everything, as the saying goes, is as it was before. Maybe Barack Obama is standing a little taller and the part of congress with a self-preservation streak is humbled, but for the most part it is status quo with no one standing aside to say, “I guess the people decided”, because the people, as usual, decide nothing pertinent, except whose picture gets to hang in customs when you slink back across the border with your baggage packed with Cuban cigars.

For the record, this has never happened to me. It is merely a vacant analogy.

And what then of this terrible Fiscal Cliff that will doom us all; where blood will run through the gutters of our streets while Baby Jesus weeps for our living souls?

Also bullshit.

See? Doesn’t all that hand ringing on whether Mitt Romney was an imbecile or if Obama stole Florida seem silly now? What fools we were to let these pikers rile our gills, make us feud with friends, take to the streets in gory garb, and wait on line for three hours to vote. It was a fuck around, a piss in the wind. It’s akin to surviving a roller coaster ride in which you truly believed you might die and then as you exit a ten year-old kid jumps into your seat.

This is a thrill ride worth writing about. Sometimes I feel as emboldened as that woman who spent her life with the apes. Hell, it brings back fond memories of being half out of my mind; check that, completely out of my mind on gin, sucking on a fresh stogie at Shelly’s Backroom with my pal, Georgetown a generation ago: Newt Gingrich throwing a fit for not getting the good seat on Bill Clinton’s plane and shutting down the government. How we would laugh.

For instance, I can hear us now deconstructing the fact that with Susan Rice gone, most likely to take the non-hearing national security advisor position, John Kerry, once the bane of the Right Wing smear system, will instead be named secretary of state. Meanwhile, Republican Chuck Hagel will be the new secretary of defense; a man who refused to support the anti-Rice cheerleader, John McCain for president against, you guessed it, Barack Obama in 2008. And then, in the font of poetic justice, Scott Brown, sent packing on a rail by the voters of Massachusetts will get to run again for Kerry’s vacant senate seat.

I complete this analysis at the Clemens Estate, but I’m spiritually in Shelly’s right now.

Another round, please!

 

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Ego Dance To Armageddon

Aquarian Weekly 12/12/12 REALITY CHECK

EGO DANCE TO ARMAGEDDON Public Flogging Off “The Cliff”

That is the thing you want to remember if you work in either journalism or politics — or both, like I do — and there is no way to duck it. You will be flogged for being right and flogged for being wrong, and it hurts both ways, but it doesn’t hurt as much when you’re right. – Hunter S. Thompson

Yes, the good Doctor wrote that back in 1988 and as usual he had his finger on the pulse. I did not fully absorb the quote until the Nineties, but by ’88 I had already dropped out of journalism and radio and decided instead to front a rock band to caterwaul seditious lyrics of my own making; horrible things that caused many people to wretch, but others to sing along, and that is when I became aware of what dissatisfaction sounds like en masse. I didn’t need television or newspapers; the medium and message reverberated back at me ten-fold.

John BoehnerIt is the kind of memory; a complete vision of unfiltered defiance, which provides me the fuel to thrash out these words each week. It’s not likely something I will ever be able to strip from my mind. For my money, it’s the closest thing to absolute truth I’ve experienced to date; and it’s not like I’ve stopped looking.

A motivated gathering of restless youth, jacked on several and varied substances in smoky rooms with spastic lighting will provide even the most cynical shitheel a reasonable facsimile of how the delicate balance of emotional impulses could precisely communicate the intellectual conclusion that what’s happening outside the place is nothing you want any part of. That’s when I learned that whatever twit coined the phrase “youth is wasted on the young” had never actually been young, because we knew, or at least those kids knew — I only knew that pretty soon I would be trading in those lyrics for a typewriter and run as far as I could from the truth binge — that the days of railing like a banshee against being sucked into the system would soon end. There was a desperate sense of tranquil recognition that comes from failing to fiercely defy the inevitable. We’d soon be joining the Grand Fuck and there was nothing any of us could do about it.

However, giving in does not mean staying silent for some of us. That generation and the two after it, something called X and this Millennium crew have carved out a throng of bloggers and tweeters and podcasters and anonymous bitchers. The Internet, social media and the like have put the journalism tag on us all, and for good or ill it is here to stay, at least until the government finds some half-assed way to regulate the life from it. For now, everybody’s a television; something I wrote as one of those miserably prescient lyrics that found themselves bouncing over distorted guitar lines that spoke more about the chaos of the human experiment than anything I’ve penned in this space for 15 years.

Public displays of ego warfare are what separate two generations from 1988. Everything that came before; whether politics, journalism or music for that matter, is rendered null and void. Airing our laundry to the masses is rote, not exception. Expressing ideas, but mostly complaints, through the bullhorn of social media, the Internet or calling into the radio rant is the way of discourse. Woody Allen once mused that dissent and commentary would merge to form dysentery, which for my money rivals anything Thompson said about being right or wrong and being flogged for it.

Maybe it should all have been aired out like congress and the White House now openly fight for our fiscal solvency. The whole mess is bad mojo for things like progress and compromise, but it’s gangbusters for truth.

Which brings me to my point, such as it is: this incessant need for the members of congress and the White House to continue to negotiate, debate and grandstand as a matter of public display rather than the preferred cloak of secrecy, wherein the asinine pitches from both sides can be mocked and argued without the need to defend personal honor or political cloud. Once a stance is made public, it is ever more difficult for the chest-thumping, base-bating nonsense that passes for opening gestures to be compromised.

Suddenly, this has become — as did the completely nonsensical debt ceiling rumble of 2011 — an ego trip of sound bites and grandstanding; a repeat of campaigns past. Going to the press and or the public to blurt out defiance is no way to successfully to come to this fairly important decision in keeping the nation from the kind of austere measures that might stall whatever plodding recovery this is and plunge us into another crippling recession.

But it is truth; the truth of what humans are capable of when frightened of being perceived The Loser. It lifts the veil on the process, like the 2000 presidential election did; cracks appearing at the foundation of this American experiment.

Of course, it makes no sense to use the press or the cable news networks to hash out a deal in which both sides will have to eat some measure of shit. But it gives the voting public a chance to see what Otto von Bismarck’s “sausage making” is all about. And believe me; even people who love sausage want nothing to do with knowing what’s in there or how they’re prepared.

But what if they did?

What if, for instance, the majority of the voting public came to grips with the fact that this nation has been at war for over ten years without so much as paying a dime more in taxes or lifting a finger to assist in the effort, beyond those families who have given of their young for a concept none of us are really sure of. What if we really knew what was in the Patriot Act or the Affordable Health Care Act or where most of our tax dollars end up?

Maybe it should all have been aired out like congress and the White House now openly fight for our fiscal solvency. The whole mess is bad mojo for things like progress and compromise, but it’s gangbusters for truth.

It leaves one wondering if we can handle it?

My guess is no. We don’t “handle” — we whine like bitches and take to the streets dressed as comic book characters or minutemen.

But hell, I know what’s it’s like to cringe from truth. I bagged my waltz with that kind of painful crap years ago, and since this is likely to end up as all these things end up, with someone being flogged, right or wrong, I say a few weeks of truth may be ugly and scare the hell out of everyone, but it’s sure as shit is fun.

 

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james campion.com

Aquarian Weekly 11/28/12 REALITY CHECK

READERS RESPONSES

Love your assessment of the numbers reflecting the reality for months on the projected Obama victory, refuted, as many realities are often refuted by the Right, to their ultimate detriment. (THE JOE COOL STOMP II — Issue: 11/14/11) Look, these people have been running against a straw man for years. The president they wanted to run against, Muslim appeaser, socialist, weak on foreign policy, clueless, doesn’t exist. They had the chance to make an alternative argument against the guy that actually held the position, but thought it better to echo nonsense by Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin; lunatics all. Not only lunatics, but living in a fantasy world perpetuated by the FOX machine and accepted as fact by ill-informed voters, who were actually shocked when the cold, hard facts they had laughed at came home as actually votes.

V. Elias

 

Man, Mitt Romney had to work hard to blow this. More power to him. He is a champion loser.

Adalson

 

This is now five out of the last six election cycles where the Republicans have lost the popular vote. Their message is stale, antiquated, and soon to go the way of the Whigs. The hijacking of the party during the eighties of the Religious Right and the corporate culture, much of which dumped millions upon millions of dollars to elect Mitt Romney their puppet, have been bested more times than not. This is not likely to change anytime soon. Immigration, contraception, evolution, climate change, tax cuts for the rich, anti-women, anti-homosexual, anti-intellectualism has doomed it.

The brand, as you say, is damaged. The question is who has the balls to change it?

Freddie Regaldo

 

See, you lose me when you let a little soft-on-Obama ankle show. There was nothing impressive about Obama winning. I actually had it backwards when I said nobody cared about Romney – they actually did, but in a negative way to the tune of 2+ million LESS Repub votes than McCain got in ’08. I thought for sure the anti-Obama sentiment would override the obvious Romney stank, but hey I wouldn’t be the first to be wrong in the history of the world. Add to that the fact that Obama himself didn’t draw as many votes as he did in ’08 and there goes your “impressive” analysis.

The bottom line is the Rhinos control the Repub party, they put a Rhino up for Pres who claimed to be conservative when true conservatives knew that was BS, and you have the same result as in most elections whenever Rhinos go up against Dems – utter failure. As long as they control the party and continue to out-Lib the Dems they’re going to be losers, despite the Media Intelligencia’s blaming the Tea Party for everything cause they’re scared shitless of them. One could say the 2 mill who stayed home might have gotten off the couch had Romney picked a real Tea Party conservative, not to take anything away from Paul Ryan, but it’s all pissing in the wind at this point.

I will now sit back and enjoy the spin of the coming and inevitable government failures as the fault of the party who controls only 1/2 of 1/3 of government…

Ken Eustace

 

You make a fair point; what data was Dick Morris, whose job, actually job — not hobby — is to dissect this data, using? It’s not just that the Republican side of things is out of touch with an evolving nation, but they don’t even have serviceable people to understand the process. It’s sad. I used to be a Republican. Now I cringe when any of these people speak. It’s like the party of idiots now.

GG16

 

Mr. Campion – this article is . . . brilliant. (THANKS FOR NEXT TO NOTHING — Issue: 11/21/12) Couldn’t have said it better. My hats off to you.

Blows Against The Empire

 

Yes, it is true. Only two States legalized cannabis. Only a few voted for gay rights. It is true that these things should already be legal in this country. I get it. But the facts are that things are not that way. People in 48 states are still being arrested for pot. This is a relatively small first step, but it is most importantly, a first step. After generations of inequality, and the severing of some of our personal liberties, we are finally making progress. I am excited to see something being done about cannabis prohibition, even though the present situation is not perfect, it began the first serious realization that it can be done. The conversation is upon the world stage now. The genie is out. I am not going backward.

ShumannFu

 

On one part of this piece is correct — fundamental rights should never be subject to popular vote. We allowed it to happen without challenge, and paid the price. So where were you in 2004? Why weren’t you filing lawsuits to stop them?

And now that things are turning in our favor, now that we have a much broader base of support among the public, you’re having a fit.

Real constructive, that.

Huntercgo

 

Giordono Bruno was burned alive for beliefs that were largely fact. He audaciously claimed the Sun was just another star, that other stars had planets orbiting them and likely had life. While that latter is yet unobserved, we retain two absurd words bereft of factual basis. We still reference our daily revolution from a biased, geocentric viewpoint; we call it a sunrise or a sunset. The sun does neither.

Unless we are grossly incorrect, our species lived over 160,000 years in nearly the same level of relative ignorance as the wilds around us. We struggled for 1,000 of our more recent years to comprehend what is now regarded as basic math. The newer language of science existed for 200 years before the revelations of Einstein were realized. We struggle to understand how much of Einstein was correct, and how much deserves correction.

It is no less a wonder how it could be that our interpretation and expression of enlightened ideals remains imperfect, errant and incomplete. Within a short few years the wisdom of recognizing the equality of all people was tarnished by the specification that whole categories were exempt as only 3/5ths of a human being.

We must continue the struggle to understand and implement our own convictions, and to eliminate the contradictions and injustices we invoke upon ourselves. The paradox will continue. We made huge progress over the epochs, and quickly compared to the Eons before us, yet it moves glacially compared to the span of our lives.

JVene

 

This article reads like a scream for attention. Things are getting better and you’re pissed about it. It’s precisely this kind of sensationalism that makes it hard to get the progress both you and I want. Also, I disagree about the religion part of this argument. If they want to be non-taxed, they ought to be playing by the same rules required of every other citizen association that collects and spends money and wants to do so in a tax free way. The religion part of the first amendment is no more inalienable than the right to assemble part.

Pied

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Second-Term Obama Comes Out Swinging

Aquarian Weekly 11/28/12 REALITY CHECK

THE EMPEROR’S NEW SHOW Second-Term Obama Comes Out Swinging

It’s balls-out time for Joe Cool. Elections, as they say, have consequences. The last president to win a second term did so by a paltry sixty thousand votes in Ohio and began talking like Kubla Khan about “spending political capital”. None of this is lost on Barack Obama, who swept through 11 of the purported 12 battleground states; a performance, when compared to George W. Bush, looks like a windfall. It appears to have turned the first-term demure, pragmatic no-drama Obama into Daddy Warbucks.

Barack ObamaIf the president’s first post-election press conference is any indication, there’s a new sheriff in town: “If there was one thing that everybody understood was a big difference between myself and Mr. Romney, it was, when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, I argued for a balanced, responsible approach, and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay a little bit more. I think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate, and the majority of voters agreed with me, not — by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me.”

Those are the sounds a man makes when he no longer has to run for office. It is powerful, even majestic, if not terrifying. Makes the most fearless among us truly understand the lofty position of the end game. It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? End game. No more matches, debating or begging for money or trolling votes. Nothing left to do but talk tough and crack skulls.

Those on Capitol Hill are well acquainted with those sounds, specifically House Speaker John Boehner, who did his best to appear conciliatory in their wake. As if still in control of something pertinent, Boehner had to pay lip service to raising revenues with meager caveats. It was a stellar performance by a man whose job now is to hand out the shit cakes and shout, “Bottoms up!” It comes with the territory, and will be done, no doubt, with far less bravado and joyful tears than two years ago when he had the defiant look of a winner.

It is Boehner that must bring down the bummer on the Republican caucus. The people have spoken and none of it is what they want to hear. Hard rain, chief. This explains his sending whatever’s left of Paul Ryan in to rally the troops, which in Washington-speak means coming to grips with defeat and what it means to know when the jig is up.

Both Boehner and Obama are poised to tackle the Fiscal Cliff. And why not? They both know what it’s like to be sandbagged for a sniff of power. It’s a wash; 2008 turned into 2010 and that turned quickly to 2012. It is Obama’s serve and he is not lobbing a fucking thing anymore. This has got ace written all over it.

Sure elections have consequences, but sometimes more so for the guy sticking around to do the job.

House Republicans are screwed and they know it. Slowly, the elder statesmen, the lifers — those who could no longer give a flying fart for the fumes of the TEA Party when faced with re-election — are getting in line.

Perhaps it’s the reason Republicans have unleashed Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte to run with this murky Benghazi scandal, which appears to only be a scandal for those who wish the election results had gone the other way. It’s a welcomed distraction to dogpile on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and just the kind of red meat you feed the base and the donors before you lick boots.

Whether the shaky intelligence, dismal security measures and incredibly crappy communication after the U.S. Embassy in Libya went up in flames in early September was a campaign conspiracy or an embarrassing lack of control by the White House is hardly the point. Of course there were problems, and a strategic “handling” of said problems. This is standard procedure and has been long before any of us were born.

And for those of us who don’t have a grasp of how George Washington may or may not have handled the Whiskey Rebellion, the public only has to go back to 2001, when the federal government was well aware of the imminent attack on New York and chose to ignore it, and how, ironically, the woman most responsible for this horrendous disaster was the president’s National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State. This other woman named Rice also went on a bevy of Sunday morning news shows in 2002 and lied about solid evidence of enriched uranium being shipped into Iraq; a lie boldly echoed by Senators McCain and Graham on the floor of the Senate.

This, of course, makes this fabricated pogrom on Susan Rice, a mere errant girl for the big boys, anything but political theater and will fail to reach the new year with any legs. The only question will be whether Joe Cool takes this dead-end ploy to derail his decision on whether to name Rice as Hillary Clinton’s successor as a dare; something Republicans would love, since they have a better chance of pissing up that rope than the one they face on the budget crisis. After the first few post-election weeks of the newly emboldened Obama, the smart money is flooding in that direction. But can the Republican Party afford a bunch of old white guys pitching a fit at an African American woman trying to replace another very popular woman?

How’s that for politics, jack?

Nah, not even the wild and wooly Congress has the stones to pull that off. In fact, the only person going down around there is Grover Norquist, whose masterful lobbying reached epic proportions when he demanded dozens of Republican candidates sign a “no tax” pledge. That idea, while queerly noble, went bye-bye on November 6. A fact not lost on a slow march of Republican senators who’ve already jumped ship in order to better read the tea leaves of 2014, when their asses will be on the line. Each and every one is fully aware of how 65 percent of the citizenry either being against something (Obamacare and the 2010 Democratic fall-out) or for it (2012 election and taxing the rich) brings its own hammer.

The Republicans will give ’til it hurts, but should not forget that they still control the purse strings, ultimately. And the election, while binding, did not have the overwhelming tide the Democrats are selling. While the president is right, he has a solid majority of Americans demanding their tax cuts remain at the expense of the top two percent after January 1, no one with half a brain thinks this is some kind of Liberal mandate.

While significant, Obama’s victory was mostly culture-based, specifically with Hispanics and women, and less economical. Many voters (48 percent of which did not vote for him) still felt his opponent possessed the better grip on fixing the nation’s fiscal issues. His campaign, outreach, and ground game was vastly superior and Mitt Romney, as pointed out with sickening regularity for over a year now, mostly sucked.

The president should take heed that his predecessor, while walking around like the new emperor in 2004, eventually realized his fancy clothes were just a figment of his imagination, and before long his ill-conceived attempt to privatize Social Security did little but signal his second term woes.

Sure elections have consequences, but sometimes more so for the guy sticking around to do the job.

 

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Thanks For Next To Nothing

Aquarian Weekly 11/21/12 REALITY CHECK

THANKS FOR NEXT TO NOTHING Election Day Boondoggle – Freedoms at a Premium

Those of us unimpressed with this ongoing myth that the United States of America promotes the pure tenets of freedom are to say the least lukewarm on these referendums passed in four states (Colorado, Washington, Maryland and Maine) last Tuesday to legally recognize same-sex marriage and decriminalize recreational use of marijuana. Are we supposed to burst into song and dance lauding the democratic spirit because four out of fifty states pulled a majority to allow civil rights and ration basic freedoms?

Marriage EqualityThe public voting at the state level to grant equal treatment under the law and remove the consideration of prison for the consumption of a plant is a joke. I see less reason to cheer this pathetic crawl to liberty than to call it what it is: Nothing less than a patronization of constitutional law, doled out incrementally by the ballot in place of the inalienable rights we rush to celebrate.

A sadder display of freedom is hard to conjure.

This phony notion America has become anymore progressive since Election Day is lip service to those of us who believe that slowly providing rights duly granted by the constitution is patently insane. It is, as depicted in this space for over a decade now, an embarrassment. We should be ashamed to call ourselves free. Who are we kidding with this bullshit?

There was a lot of talk during the election season that religious freedoms are being threatened by the federal government, most of it stemming from the outlandish argument that if an organized religion runs colleges and hospitals, it is supposed to be treated as an extension of that religion’s faith. But religious freedom is an absolute, protected by the first amendment to the constitution, granted not by vote, but by rights proffered and fought for during the American Revolution over 250 years ago.

The federal government does not dictate how a religion conducts its business inside the guise of religion; the pulpit, the synagogue, the mosque, the temple, church or ministry. But the federal government does deny Americans the right to smoke a joint and marry the person of their choice.

Why don’t we put up for a vote whether organized religion should be allowed to function as a private non-taxable concern, which may still infuse its will (based not on fact or law or anything tangible, but on faith and belief) on the body politic. I say we vote on that. No? Why is that? Because it is a non-negotiable right.

So why are we happy that people are voting on other non-negotiable rights?

Just because those rights occasionally win?

Why are we voting on rights?

We have become so anesthetized to the atavistic, puritanical recoiling this nation has displayed in denying basic freedoms for eons that we celebrate like children when we’re granted half-assed amnesty.

We have become so anesthetized to the atavistic, puritanical recoiling this nation has displayed in denying basic freedoms for eons that we celebrate like children when we’re granted half-assed amnesty. Oh, thank you masters of a broken system for allowing us a glimmer of hope that our rights might be slowly realized at the whim of the public!

The paranoia citizens have about the public sector being absorbed into a state institution should begin not with the pocket book or moral outrage, but with the individual; as Thomas Paine imagined it, as Thomas Jefferson sermonized it, as the people formulated it, and the blood of the infantry sacrificed for it. When a free society ignores the rights of the individual, not just the public at large, then we are all in chains. No vote, no public outcry, no protest can make it so. Law makes it so. It is what separates us from the beast. And I say we are beasts when we ignore law, and then for some bizarre, inexplicable reason, we vote on this aberration.

This is not a reason to celebrate. It is a reason to throw up.

You know how I know this to be true? What if we vote on whether you can drink beer? How’s that work for you? Or how about your son or daughter being denied the same rights as someone else’s son or daughter based on eye color or height? You know why Dick Cheney, a man with an abject abhorrence of any liberal cause know to modern society, supports gay marriage? Because his daughter is gay, just like you’d support it if it were your daughter.

Without spending too much time on same-sex marriage, which has nothing to do with sex, homosexual or otherwise — or marriage for that matter — the audacity for a government to deny taxpaying citizens the right to legally join their fortunes is criminal. Period. This is another in a long line of silly omissions which litters our history that we will soon, maybe ten years, maybe twenty, laugh at; as we did when we denied women the vote, African Americans full and complete citizenship, interracial couples to marry, you name it.

The marijuana issue is not only flat-out asinine, but could greatly assist in the decreasing of the debt and the creation of jobs, not the least of which the crippled farming industry.

Hardly anyone in our mostly ill-informed voting public has an idea why marijuana is illegal in the first place, and this ignorance has led to the most costly, ineffectual war this country has ever waged; the War on Drugs.

Over the past four decades the U.S. has spent over one trillion dollars losing this completely futile battle, and for what? The hemp industry threatened the paper industry (timber and fiber) in the 1930s, so the Hearst papers and Du Pont Corporation unleashed a smear campaign casting marijuana as a dangerous poison with no scientific proof?

During the years following this fabricated corporate power play our judicial and penal system has been ravaged by senseless incarcerations. The feeble FBI and bloated DEA are overwhelmed. Drug cartels, organized crime and mutants profit while pot is readily available to children.

The worst period of this nonsense occurred during the Reagan Administration’s “Just Say No” head-in-the-sand stupidity. Since 1980, we’ve had three times as many citizens imprisoned per year on senseless drug possession charges than prior decades. Our prisons burst with ten-times the incarcerated as any of the world’s richest countries. In 2010 alone, 1.6 million people were arrested on marijuana charges alone.

So excuse me if I’m not ecstatic over this dribble of sewage water being sold as champagne by a snickering media and joyous liberal commentators, who are so used to scraps they’re apparently pleased the American people are being treated like preschoolers bargaining for an extra ten minutes of TV time before bed.

 

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Obama Victory 2012

Aquarian Weekly 11/14/12 REALITY CHECK

THE JOE COOL STOMP II Barack Obama Doubles Down On History

That was fun. Eighteen months of hard campaigning, billions of dollars spent, hundreds of speeches, rallies and whistle stops, trillions of words spewed from every avenue of punditry, and here we are: President Barack Obama, Republican Congress, Democratic Senate.

How did we get to status quo?

Obama VictoryFirstly, this was about Barack Obama. Beyond the distractions of his opponent’s mostly sub-par to at times atrocious candidacy, this victory cements his place as the most impressive Democratic presidential candidate since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It’s not even close. Truman barely survived Dewey. LBJ quit. Kennedy was murdered. Carter never had a prayer. Clinton failed to win the popular vote twice. Joe Cool stomped the terra. Took the names and buried the comers. In my lifetime, this was the domain of Republican candidates. Until Obama.

Obama achieved the impossible, twice. Just by getting elected as the first African-American president in the first place; not to mention as a northern, liberal, two-year senator, and then, weakened and vulnerable, repeating the achievement as the owner of the highest unemployment as any victorious incumbent from either party since 1936. Thirty years from now journalists and head-scratching Republicans will have to listen to the myths of Barack Obama the way we’ve had to endure those of Ronald Reagan. He is the liberal pillar to Reagan’s conservative one; both men overcoming recession, harsh and unfair attacks from opponents, and a mid-term congressional dump to win an impressive re-election.

Just like the old liberal establishment of the early twentieth century failed to comprehend the pall of the Depression Era, the fatigue of world wars and the yolk of government had faded into the yuppie gore of the 1980s, there is an equally fervent rejection of reality by the Cold War, trickle-down nerds who have been living in a nether world of falsehoods that finally came home to roost on November 6, 2012.

Republicans will argue, and it is starting right now as I write this, four minutes before Mitt Romney’s concession speech, that the candidate merely sucked. He did suck. But if so, he’s sucked for seven years, and despite a TEA Party uprising in 2010 that brought the GOP back from a post-Bush funeral, he, and not a true conservative became the party’s overwhelming choice. And with more disposable cash than any candidate in American history, he was trounced.

Turns out, Romney’s high watermark was that evening in Denver when his campaign was ditched and he boldly unleashed the biggest ass kicking anyone is likely to see in a presidential debate again. Before that his team was deeply divided and the candidate’s performance poor. His desperate lurch to the center and then to shamelessly mirror his opponent in the final debate confused anyone paying attention for more than a few weeks. And perhaps keeping him from any interviewer, radio microphone or television camera for the last 45 days of the race made it impossible for the electorate to embrace him.

But this was not a Romney problem. For weeks nearly every conservative commentator fell over one another to tell us that all the polls were wrong and “momentum this” and “enthusiasm that”. “You’ll see!” they all said. They just didn’t have anything to back it up, like polls or data; not unlike their candidate’s economic math or dozens of other campaign promises that were devoid of detail. It is this kind of disconnection from reality that has plagued the Republican brand for years now, whether in matters of social, cultural or economic concerns.

No campaign, especially those that Rove’s $400 million-plus American Crossroads miserably failed to rescue, can ever make the mistake of ignoring this reality again.

A lot of people got a kick out the Republican Primaries, it was great political theater, but they also scared the hell out of many more. Fighting against gay rights with religious nonsense, dismissing women’s health care as promiscuousness, treating the human element of immigration reform as if rounding up cattle, laughing at climate change and trashing the government you’re auditioning to run was a recipe for November 6, 2012.

This parade of nonsense helped build on Obama’s overwhelming demographic dominance, putting the onus on the GOP to expand its ever-dwindling voting block — working-class whites, religious fanatics, married white women, neo-cons, and fat cats. Fact is right now there is a pretty good chance the next 20 years of trends whether ethnic, social, or gender will land squarely in the opposition party’s column. An entire generation of young people has now come out to vote for a Democratic president twice. The old adage is that three such elections and you have that voter for life.

The Obama Machine, which gained its fangs in those drag-outs against the mighty Clintons in 2008 and designed the nation’s finest grass roots ground game ever, has set the standard. Pinpoint inner polling, a Herculean get-out-the-vote discipline, county-by- county retail political sweeps, and heavy demographic targeting as precise and lethal as a military engagement will be the norm now, not the exception. Fossils like Karl Rove, Michael Barone, George Will, and Dick Morris, who were all sure Romney would win, (Morris predicted a landslide) applied the last vestiges of the loser’s lament; wishful thinking, when well-researched and irrefutable arithmetic were readily available to them. Rove, once the boy genius of a time now long past, was so flummoxed election night he openly fought on the air with the FOXNEWS statisticians until the cold reality of his folly had stripped him bare. No campaign, especially those that Rove’s $400 million-plus American Crossroads miserably failed to rescue, can ever make the mistake of ignoring this reality again.

And finally, the statistical matrix of the race, specifically the superstar, Nate Silver and his 538 blog, with its weighted poll system and de-junking of antiquated systems, has turned a heretofore unreliable prognostication tool into a dead-on indicator of voter loyalties and leanings. This has changed the very landscape of politics forever. Dismissing this data or failing to use these tools as vital measuring sticks to victory for candidates by any campaign or the media from now on will be done at their peril.

Silver is the great revelation of this 2012 presidential campaign. His miraculously stellar 2010 prediction odds were only outdone by the nearly six months of consistent and illuminating polling data that never once gave Mitt Romney a more than 30 percent chance of victory, and as late as Election Day provided Barack Obama a 92 percent probability rating, based solely on fastidiously balanced internal state numbers that failed to waver but only for a few weeks in October and then settled back out to the original and ultimately finishing totals.

Never has polling data been so reliable and in-depth at providing not only the correct outcome weeks even months ahead of time, but factored in all the information politicos, the press and the public would need to know about the electorate at large. Covering or following the ebb and flow of a presidential campaign will never be the same again. It is the political junkie’s equivalent of Einstein, Edison, you name it. Compared to Silver, the rest of the field was using sticks and rocks in an atomic age.

In many ways the 2012 election cycle was historic. Whether this results in competent governing is for those in the wishful thinking category. We feel sufficiently pleased that cold, hard reality won over bullshit for now. We take our victories where we can get them.

 

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Countdown Election 2012

Aquarian Weekly 11/14/12 REALITY CHECK

COUNTDOWN ELECTION Final Fever-Induced Thoughts From The Desk

If the state polls are right, then Mr. Obama will win the Electoral College. If you can’t acknowledge that after a day when Mr. Obama leads 19 out of 20 swing-state polls, then you should abandon the pretense that your goal is to inform rather than entertain the public. – Nate Silver 538 Blog

You provide the picture, I’ll provide the war. – William Randolph Hearst

Nate SilverSomewhere between Silver and Hearst that sliver of light, the minutest strip of disparate verisimilitude, the infinitesimal morsels of the fact/fiction continuum is where this column lies. It has tight-roped that baby for years, too many to count. Shit, this is our fourth presidential election manning the Reality Check News & Information Desk. It has been far longer than that on the freelance wire, and before that, long ago, when this voice actually gave a crap who won these things. Absolutes here are a luxury. We visit them from time to time, like Cabo San Lucas or Pete’s Tavern; a home away from home where it appears life is somewhat free of hard fact and colder reality.

This is where I tend to agree with Mr. Hearst, a giant in print publishing. A man so powerful he once brokered a peace accord with a foreign country for the United States when he had as much legislative power to do as say Rupert Murdoch. He twice asked for someone to put a bullet in President McKinley, which of course someone fatally did. Hearst had no mind for facts; he was a man of raw emotion; if it bleeds, it leads; crush opponents and prop up friends. This was the aim of American Journalism. I am nothing if not its bastard child and I stand aloof from crunching numbers and getting the exact tallies down. I’ve been writing for years about how Richard Nixon won the 1960 election, as did George W. Bush in 2000. I believe these things from the heart, not the head.

Although, Nate Silver is a shrewd customer. In a way, this election is on him and his ilk. The geeks have taken over baseball and football and every inch of our country’s computer landscape. Why not politics? But as my long-time friend, Jersey Pete reminds me time and again, if they knew then what we do now, half the shit that is lauded would be worthless, like using leeches to cure TB. And according to Nate Silver’s 538 blog, which blew every other statistical analysis out of the water in 2010, the president has an over 80 percent chance of winning a second term.

But polls are strange bedfellows. We run to them when they fill our cup, but from them as poison when the news is less cheery. Yes, but we never ignore them. We are inundated by them; professionals and the public alike. So many to choose from, so many biases, so many vacillations. It was so much easier to cover these things in the eighties when Reagan showed up and the country fell at his feet, never mind the thirties when Roosevelt didn’t bother to campaign. H.L. Mencken mused that even if everyone stayed home FDR would carry 48 states.

But no matter the illumination, numbers are weird. Right before A-Rod resurrected his persona as Yankee pariah this October, Jersey Pete sent me a screed from one of a billion online statistical analysts that proved the he was a far more productive play-off performer than the guy, Derek Jeter, who holds half the records for said play-offs. His numbers made sense to someone who had failed to watch or listen to or review the box scores of every Yankees play-off game since 1976, otherwise it was preposterous nonsense. Not to mention, before breaking his ankle (to which afterwards the Yankees failed to even lead a single inning for the rest of the series) Jeter was having an excellent play-off, following an excellent year. A-Rod was being the A-Rod people love to dump on.

So timing is everything too. Proof being in the pudding, and for Silver, the proof comes two days from when I write this; hacking up a lung in front of a dying fire in a room devoid of heat and the little electricity my generator can burp up. I am a professional, Koczan, if nothing else.

The thing is, as far as this reporter is concerned, since July all of the polling data, dismissing Silver altogether, has pretty much kept Barack Obama far enough ahead to maintain the probable electoral votes needed to reach 270.

You see, Silver, unlike Hearst, has to back up his bold headlines about a secure Obama win, not a landslide, but a fair electoral firewall with a steadfastly cruel deconstruction of the numbers. Obama and Romney will make a nifty living on speaking gigs, Rush Limbaugh and Rachel Maddow will still have shows, but who in their right mind is going to ever take Nate Silver seriously if Romney wins? It’s over for him. I like that.

The thing is, as far as this reporter is concerned, since July all of the polling data, dismissing Silver altogether, has pretty much kept Barack Obama far enough ahead to maintain the probable electoral votes needed to reach 270. That makes him president; not momentum or unforeseen circumstance or money or whatever is argued counts more. 270. Not popular vote or any other Al Gorish crapolla.

And while Mitt Romney, like John Kerry in 2004, a candidate I believe he most resembles in comportment and general flip-flop handling of his campaign, did make it a real horserace in early October, he never could overtake Obama in places he needed to steal to block his road to 270, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and then nudge his opponent to the side in battleground states like Nevada, Colorado, Florida and most importantly Ohio. If anything, Obama has slightly stretched those leads as late as November 3.

Kerry, of course, is an interesting case. The polling in the final weeks of the ’04 campaign had Kerry’s rise falter and there were still several electoral paths for Bush, just like the Romney/Obama matrix. The exit polls were the ones that screwed everyone. They looked tremendous for Kerry by 5:00 pm on Election Day, but by 10:00 pm, it was the polar opposite.

Now, we’ve dismissed polls here many times. They are minor guideposts, but they do have relevance, since they have historical measures, and this time they all point to one thing: If Mitt Romney is the next president of the United States he needs to steal states he is currently trailing that lean blue and lock up anything resembling a battleground state, and if he has any prayer, he had better not drop Ohio. Or, as Silver writes, “hope the polls are dead wrong”.

Look, we’ve been without Internet connection, besides the tiny smart phone, here at The Desk for almost a week now — and for most of that AT&T screwed us. I’ve recently emerged from a hellish 48 hours of hallucinating fevers that would fell most mammals. Most of my brain cells have been boiled away. I thought my left hand was Mayor McCheese as late as 3:00 am this morning. I have no fucking idea how well Obama played this crisis, nor do I care. All he had to do was beat Katrina, and a lamppost could have bested that clusterfuck.

You know our stance; if you don’t want to vote, don’t. This idea that people died for this right is correct; but it’s the right, not the mandate. They can’t prevent you from voting, but they can’t force you to do it either, which is what I keep explaining to these anti-gay marriage idiots; it doesn’t mean you have to marry a homosexual or that every homosexual who is currently dating is now officially married the second it’s legal, it just means some numbskull in congress can’t disallow their right to do so.

Also, you know my stance on second terms; they’re awful (Johnson — Viet Nam, Nixon — Watergate, Reagan — Iron/Contra, Clinton — Monica Lewinsky, GW Bush — running out of space, I’ll pass on this list) And as far as this space is concerned, neither of these candidates have bothered to put forth a coherent road map to their agenda over the next four years, (I love when people show up to a debate to tell everyone to look at the web site, it’s like your daughter’s date showing up at your house telling you to check out the Facebook page).

I’m interested in seeing Romney govern; I seriously have no idea what we’re getting. It’s a wild ride for someone like me. Obama helps me on my whole gay marriage kick, but I don’t believe him, so there’s that.

Holy shit, a gremlin is trying to kill my cat.

 

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Woman Vote 2012

Aquarian Weekly 10/31/12 REALITY CHECK

WOMEN, WOMEN, WOMEN The Pandered Demographic Model Circa 2012

Somehow there are five to seven percent of people, maybe it’s four percent, maybe less that are undecided about this year’s presidential choices; of which there are only two. Now I can clearly see why there isn’t a three-party system. This is apparently tough enough. And so two weeks out the campaigns have narrowed their targets down to one group — as is the custom in these final harried days — white, middle-class, suburban women; known more condescendingly as “soccer mom’s” or “security mom’s”. But generally, as we have heard from the swatch of punditry willing to toss it all in; whoever is to be the next president will be is almost solely dependent on women, women and more women.

Woman VoteYou hear it all the time now; Women find this appalling. Women are turned off by this or that. Women especially prefer this disposition. Women don’t like aggressive interplay during debates. Women only care about reproductive rights. Women have to get home to cook dinner for the kids. Women vote this way and that way.

Frankly, not being a woman, but nevertheless the proud husband of an intensely alternative thinking woman and the father of a pretty damned independently minded girl (not to mention the son of a raving lunatic), I would think these generalities to be a tad insulting.

Strike that, it’s a fucking embarrassment.

Yet it is repeated over and over by both campaigns and strategized to death. And of course it is the mantra of the media: How will women respond to Romney’s tie or Obama’s smile? Who is “more likable”, sweeter, calmer, less threatening, cordial or fatherly? This is the equivalent of “The American people choose the man they want to have a beer with or hand the keys of their car to” crap.

Of course, we play into their hands. For instance, this idea that Mitt Romney could show up to a debate in early October, after running for president for 16 months, enduring 20 debates, hundreds of interviews, a grueling primary season, stage a multi-million dollar biographical and ideological convention and continuously spend in the millions on ads and still manage to have a coming out party to turn the polls upside down means we really don’t pay much attention to this stuff. The president rewrites his record and no one seems to notice. Romney says one thing for a year and then says the complete opposite — not sort of different or a slight shift in ideology — but a diametrically opposing stance, as if reinventing another candidate, and it matters not.

So, we’ve earned this “people vote this way” tag, however pathetic.

Still, this accepted idea that “women like this” and “women vote this way” stuff is patently insolent. It is the point I was trying to make when Bush or Cheney were prattling on and on about “The Iraqi people”, as if there was one type of Iraqi people. And as we have come to understand at the very least there were three divergent sects of Iraqis, all of which had no interest in pooling their differences to form a democratic milieu.

The key to women, we are told in one way or the other by both campaigns and the lapdog media is the availability of this demographic. It is movable. Not entrenched. This is the main reason many Republican strategists have told me for three years now that the party must expand or fade. There are only so many groups left to maneuver now and women are the ripest. As for Democrats, they have the advantage in social concerns, specifically in Roe v Wade, which is the sticking point. In fact, there is not much point in a woman who is not religious or entering menopause to ever vote Republican. Why would you let the government dictate what goes on in your body? This kind of thing tends to trump economic and security issues: Capital Gains are down, but we’ll need you to act as carriage for the next nine months, thanks.

And let’s try and ignore, if we can, the absolute insanity coming from Republican candidates for Senate, who have in two different occasions now interpreted rape as either some divine interplay by the omnipotent Godhead or a vague distinction of “illegitimate” in which the female organs biologically reject semen.

This accepted idea that “women like this” and “women vote this way” stuff is patently insolent.

These are the main reasons why Barack Obama enjoys an on average seven to nine percent gender gap among likely women voters, much less when taking minorities out of the equation. It was larger prior to the aforementioned early October debate. Thus, it is the only demographic the Romney campaign feels could be available to make up the last inches of ground in order to secure victory on November 6. Hispanics are out of the question. African Americans are long gone. And the youth vote is probably better for the Republicans if it sits this one out, as it usually does with the exception of 2008. For Obama, white working class men are way out of reach, as are religious types, a good portion of the elderly who are not scared shitless of Paul Ryan, as well as the usual Republican strongholds; wealthy, military, etc.

Therefore, it is women.

The Romney Campaign recently told me that they have been working their way back in the race on the strength of the woman vote; suburban mostly; specifically those outlining areas around Cleveland and Toledo, just outside Philadelphia and Phoenix, and similar areas around cities in nine other battleground states. Contraception, health care, right to choose, taxes, national security, jobs; these are the buzz words that will ultimately decide this election if both campaigns are to be believed. Too simple? Maybe. But nevertheless, this is the way the political wind blows.

More recent examples would be Richard Nixon’s 1968 “Southern Strategy”, wresting the defiantly racist portion of the white, male population away from the Southern Democrats that had maintained a foothold since The New Deal. This was the fundamental shift that allowed Republican candidates for president a mortal lock on almost anything south of the Mason-Dixon Line for decades.

In 1972, it was the Silent Majority; Nixon’s term for those not taking to the streets to protest the abomination of Viet Nam, which he promised to end with “a secret plan” in ’68 and that whisked him to power on the televised riots in the streets outside the Democratic Convention in Chicago. Those frightened by social change, youth uprising on college campuses, drug culture and rock music, what Dr. Hunter S. Thompson dubbed Freak Power.

In 1980, there were the Reagan Democrats, or lunch pail white working class men; previously unavailable to Republicans but brought in on fears of Iranian Hostage Crisis and a crumbling manufacturing sector. In ’84, and ’88 it was the growing Evangelical community or what it is known as the Religious Right. In 1992, it was the Yuppies and the disaffected Boomers; the “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow” types who’d had it with 12 years of Reaganomics. In 2004, it was Karl Rove’s “security mom” strategy with the slam-dunk previously untapped anti-gay contingent, which at that time was upwards of 74 percent of Americans.

Two years ago Barack Obama achieved the near impossible; parleying the outlandish notion of a black, liberal two-year senator into president of the United States, largely due to the most effusive and active youth voting block in the history of this nation.

Now you wonder if women; long considered part of the general racial, cultural and geographical demographics, will use this new attention to defy the logic that they all respond, think, and vote in solidarity.

Or the” Women don’t like to be referred to merely as women” vote.

 

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