Thursday, January 12, 2012

Wasted Money. Speak UP!

Holy underwear, he's won again.

(I really don't need to elaborate, do I?)

And with that note, it's time to take note of the ridiculous amount of money being thrown around in election campaigns.

Let's see:  In Iowa alone, 12.5 million spent just on TV ads, and that's just from the candidates.  If one includes the PACs, an additional 14 million.

How effective was that money?  Well, the biggest spender by far, Rick Perry, spent 2.86 million to finish a distant fifth.  Or, to put it in gasoline terms, his political engine gets 35 gallons per mile.  Rick Santorum, by contrast, barely spent anything and tied Romney.  In terms of money spent, this is the equivalent of the Toledo Mudhens beating the New York Yankees.  Maybe Rick Perry should have had a better stand on the issues and spent less money.

Nah, that would make too much sense!

Since its so blazingly obvious, and has been for a while, that TV ads don't buy victory, why the hell do politicians think they can buy their way in?  The short answer is that, every once in a long while, a rich and unprincipled fuck really can buy an election.

We can't outlaw political TV ads, much as we would like to.  That would violate free speech.  But if professional sports teams have to live with a spending cap, why the hell can't our politicians and PACs?

Nah, that would make too much sense!

What really bothers me about this, is that the idiots wasting so much money on TV ads that ultimately don't matter more than what they do and say are the same morons who are going to get into budgetary battles.  To put it in perspective, 5.3 billion was spent on the presidential campaign alone between Obama and McCain, including PACs.  McCain, it turns out, actually outspent Obama by just a little bit.  (Yeah, how'd that work out?)  Republican PACs were outspent by Democratic PACs by a little bit.  The annual budget for NASA is 17.8 billion.  In other words, just for presidential politics alone, the cost is nearly one third of what it takes to launch things past the troposphere on a regular basis.  It used to cost 450 million to launch a space shuttle.  President Obama spent roughly 850 million on his election.  In other words, just trying to get elected to the White House now costs about the same as launching two space shuttle missions.


And these are the same people who will turn right around and argue on the House and Senate floors that we have better things to do with our money than launch things at Mars and Jupiter.  I agree!  But we wouldn't have to even have the discussion if the Space Program came out of your goddamned re-election fund, now would it?!

Here's what really puts it in perspective.  The amount spent by the Republican Party during the 2010 election cycle was 1.77 trillion dollars.  (The democrats spent 1.8 trillion, outspending them, to get their asses kicked.  Case in point again.)  I reported in a previous blog about how the national 2011 budget deficit was 1.267 trillion.  In other words, both the Republican and Democratic parties outspent the national deficit by at least 30%, EACH!  And that's during a midterm election!

Here's a thought:  Let's enact an election spending cap, then take all that extra cash and solve our national debt and deficit crisis problems at the same time!  Hell, let's pay for medical care for everybody too!

Nah, that would make too much sense!

So, if you think that our money would be spent better on other things, NOW is your chance to speak up!  Let politicians know the waste will not be tolerated anymore!  Or else, when the time comes to argue over whether to slash Social Security and Medicare, or raise taxes on the upper part of 1%, you will have LOST your right to complain!

I've got it!  Let's levy taxes on campaign spending!  Brilliant!  (That would certainly tax the 1% easily, wouldn't it?)

Nah, that would make too much sense!


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Iowa Caucases, And Reforms

Holy underwear!  Mitt Romney has just won the Iowa Caucasians, er, I mean, Caucuses, by eight votes!

I demand a recount! (Hee, hee!)

Bachmann's out.(Apparently, God was just kidding when he told her to run.)  Rick Perry is on life support.  Newt Gingrich is bitching like the limbless Black Night in Monty Python's "The Holy Grail."  It's a beautiful thing.

The two finalists?  You have Obamacare, Jr, Mitt "Holy Underwear" Romney, and the only legislator to have homosexual ass-juice named after him.

Oh, for those of you who actually DON'T watch Jon Stewart, let me teach you about the meaning of the word, "Santorum."  It began in 1996 when Rick Santorum first won election to the Senate, and garnered ire from gay activists everywhere as he fervently preached that he would, given the chance, repeal all gay marriage.  Okay, fine.  Then, around the time of 2001, with the "No Child Left Behind" bill pending (yeah, how'd that one work out for us?), Santorum was the guy who added an amendment to require the teaching of Intelligent Design.  Maybe I've got my chronology of events wrong, but it was way back then that I became aware that the gay & lesbian community had had enough of this clown, and engaged in the best act of name-calling since the "Pink Lady," Helen Gehegan-Douglas, tagged Richard Nixon as "Tricky Dick."

You see, that gross combination of cum, anal lube and well-churned shit that stains the sheets after two men have enjoyed an intimate night together, officially has a name -- and has for over a decade, now.  It's called "santorum," named after you-know-who!  And it's his unflinching religious-right-wing nonsense that earned him the title, and forever wrote him into the anals... excuse me, the annals, of history.

So Iowa has given us Mr. Shit, and Mr. Underwear.  Put them together and you have... well, you know.

Really, I'm driving towards a serious point with all this silly-talk.  Because Iowa has given us one brown-nose, and one brown-ass, and that makes me wonder:


Or New Hampshire for that matter?  Why do these tiny little states, have such a big say?  Why does Iowa, which ranks 30th in population size, and New Hampshire, with only seven states with fewer people (including Alaska, Delaware, and Hawaii), get such a big say-so?  By the time the primaries reach states like Wisconsin, all but one or two candidates have dropped out!  Until Barack Obama came along, I really never got to vote for my #1 choice as president, and the tracks were littered with the corpses of all those I never got the chance to vote for.  Paul Tsongas, Lamarr Alexander, Arlen Specter, Dick Gephardt... the list of candidates denied to me -- and indeed all of us -- goes on and on.  It seems so unfair.  And that's because it so fucking IS!

So, if we're to concede that these corn-munchers and cape-codders have too much say-so, what can we do to fix it?  What can we do to give the rest of us a taste of the trillion-dollar advertising bombardment that makes us sick to our stomachs, and the inability to go to the grocery store without being glad-handed by some no-name we've never heard of?

Well, we could have the primaries be a national affair done all at once.  Certainly we have the technology.  But this pretty much guarantees that the candidates will spend nearly all their time in California, and maybe a little bit in New York and Texas.  No, having states do primaries one at a time at least guarantees that some of us common folks get to meet the candidates themselves, and this makes just as much sense today as it did back in the days before jet-planes and the Internet meant that candidates had to campaign by shoe-leather and soap-box.

So how about moving everything up?  Maybe we could have a January Bonanza?  A super-string of Super Tuesdays?  Again, this fails.  Because even with primary elections taking place at least as frequently as football games (and with just as much hype) you still have the front-running states having too much say, and the later-running states having masses of people eager and willing to vote for a candidate who (damn it all!) drops out just before primary day arrives.  It solves nothing.

So what are we to do?  It seems we have a choice of evils.  Let two or three states have too much power, or let two or three OTHER states have too much power.  What's a concerned voter to do?

Here's my solution:  LOTTERY!  Instead of Iowa and New Hampshire getting first crack EVERY SINGLE TIME, why don't we cycle the order of primaries for each state every time there's a presidential election?  We put a bunch of numbers in a basket, start it tumbling, turn on the vacuum cleaner, and the order that each  state's number rolls out (with each state's number being the order in which it joined the union, for example Wisconsin, the 30th state admitted, would be #30) is the order of state primaries.  So, every once in awhile, a state like Michigan, which has always been near-last, might get to be first!  And they'll get a taste of the mind-numbing responsibility of being unqualified judges of who gets to lead the nation.

Not perfect, no.  But way better than the stupid shit we currently have where Iowa always picks the person who seldom is the candidate, usually isn't qualified, and even less often the president.  I say, give it some thought!