Friday, January 25, 2013

Three things:

Part 1.) Screwing With The Vote (Again!)

Well, back on January 11th, I argued very strongly against gerrymandering.  And before that, on November 9th, I pointed out that Republicans had to make serious adjustments if they wanted to have any chance of winning future elections.

Put those two ideas together, and you have what the website is currently promoting.

Unfortunately, they’re going a slightly different direction. You see, my idea of Republicans making adjustments was removing or altering one or more planks in their outdated political platform. After some analysis, I concluded that the likeliest areas for this to happen would be either immigration or the drug war. But no! I forgot, these are conservatives we’re talking about, here. They would rather dig out their testicles with a grapefruit spoon than change their minds about one, single thing. Hence, their “adjustment” comes in the form of extending their gerrymandering to include presidential elections instead of just congressional ones.

As an example, consider Ohio. What Republicans are deciding to do there is take their gerrymandered districts and apply them to the electoral college representation for that state. In other words, electoral college representatives from Ohio would be decided based upon congressional districts rather than a state-wide victory in the popular vote. Were this method to have been applied during the 2012 election, Mitt Romney would have carried Ohio, even though he lost the popular vote 51% to 47%.

Have we really sunk this far? Has our respect for Democracy sunk so low that we are willing to piss all over the will of the people so thoroughly? Well, apparently we have.

What boggles my mind is how obviously evil this is. It's as though Republicans just don't give a damn that they just don't give a damn about voter rights. (Nope, that wasn't a typo. It's like saying they are careless and couldn't care less.) They're determined to win, by rook or by crook, and it's becoming more crook by the minute! Loudly and without shame, Republicans are saying, "We don't care if you're in the majority, we're taking your voice away from you." And what's odd is, they could conceivably get away with it, too! Two states, Nebraska and Maine, have electoral college structures based on Congressional district already. There is precedent. 

The second thing about this that boggles my mind is how thoroughly it is guaranteed to backfire! Let’s just say they succeed in making congressional districts determine the electoral college. It practically begs for Obama and the Senate to step in and propose legislation which will force states to hand the drawing of districts over to independent, non-partisan entities! To which I say, GOOD! That's the way it SHOULD be! But even if this legislation doesn't manifest, the demographic will then almost certainly shift beyond the point where even this level of gerrymandering won't affect a favorable outcome to the Democratic Party. At that point, state elections will also go Democratic, and Republicans can kiss their gerrymandered districts goodbye. Either Democrats will make the districts balanced, or (and this is far more likely) the Democrats will gerrymander things back in their favor. That puts states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida in the Democrat column, permanently out of reach forever and ever.

Part of me wants to say, screw ‘em! If they’re so goddamned dumb, let their failure be that much more complete! But on balance, no. I don’t want the vote gerrymandered toward my own view any more than I want it gerrymandered toward theirs. I want a goddamned FAIR vote, even if it goes against my own opinion. So, I say again, a federal law must be enacted which requires all states to turn their districting process over to non-partisan entities.

Independent Districting! Take up the cry! It’s 200 years overdue! Let’s get it done!

No, seriously! Sign every petition! Write your representatives! Do it TODAY! Independent Districting!

Part 2.) Ron Johnson’s Colossal Screw-Up

I was writing stuff on while listening to Hillary Clinton’s testimony on Benghazi, so I wasn't watching the faces of the people on the television while that bit of news was going on. What an interesting day! At one point, I heard some dickhead spouting off about how it wasn't true that the attack was made by a mob, but rather was by an organized group of militants. Hillary rightly smacked that jerk down by yelling, “What does it matter at this point?!” And then went on, quite sensibly, to point out that the important part was that four Americans had been killed, and we need to bring the perpetrators to justice. Indeed, the mob vs. militant argument is quite obviously splitting hairs, and such minutiae is not where the focus needs to be. Hillary knows so, and so she was right to bitch-slap that shit right back up the asshole it came from!

The legislator who attempted to argue that idea to Hillary’s face was obviously a patsy who was chosen to attempt a lame justification for the phony witch-hunt which had been aimed at Susan Rice. And THAT witch-hunt was seeking, not a witch, but a special election in Massachusetts to re-elect Scott Brown (by means of forcing John Kerry to be the new Secretary of State). Now, with even that ill-conceived plan in total disarray, some fool had to volunteer to do damage control by throwing that conspiracy theory in front of Hillary Clinton in hopes that it would stick well enough to seem credible. But Hillary would have none of it.

“What a dumbfuck!” I thought. The Republicans actually found some moron who was willing to run that play against Hillary’s formidable defenses? Must have been one very green fool.

Only later did I learn that the idiot was none other than Senator Ron Johnson of my own Wisconsin.

Mother fucker! That asshole has gone and embarrassed our state yet again?!

Oh, yes, Johnson has thrown coffee on Wisconsin’s white dinner jacket before. He was one of a few dozen senators who blocked an international treaty to protect people with disabilities. The treaty was based on America’s own Americans With Disabilities Act, so no national sovereignty was at stake. Even nations like China and Russia passed this treaty, but for the rat-bastards of the Tea Party, even that’s not enough. The vote embarrassed not just Wisconsin, but all of America in the eyes of the entire world. When I wrote Johnson chiding him over this particular vote, I received a polite reply, laced with the kind of grassy-knoll stuff which let me know that he’s the type of man who is penny-wise, but pound foolish.

But even that wasn't enough for him. Not content with embarrassing himself in front of Hillary Clinton, he went and made the same, damned mistake in front of John Kerry. He insisted on knowing the truth of what happened in Benghazi, but when Kerry informed him that we already know the truth, and was he present at the briefing where the truth was plainly shown on surveillance video, Johnson was forced to admit he wasn't even there. Fuck! It seems Johnson is bound and determined to make an ass out of himself no matter who happens to be Secretary of State.

And for the last, fucking time, Susan Rice made an honest mistake! She sincerely passed on the only information which she had been given during a very tumultuous situation. There was no deliberate deception!

Heloooooo? Ron Jooooohnson? The witch hunt is oooooover! Susan Rice is goooone! There's no more need to be phooooney! You can put down your burning cross noooow!

Jesus Christ, I knew he’d be bad, but I had no idea he would be this na├»ve! I mean, is politics just a hobby for this noob? (Yes, "noob," gamer slang for "newbie.") Did he listen to nothing but talk radio for years while a businessman and then decide to go into politics knowing only what Limbaugh knows?

No, wait, that’s not quite fair. Johnson’s a good, smart businessman, and he’s well educated in that particular field. But as anyone who’s read Dilbert knows, being smart in business often means being stupid in nearly every other field. An MBA teaches almost nothing about national-level economics (outside of macroecon-1), and business schools exist in an insulated, politically conservative bubble. I give Johnson all the credit in the world for working his way up in his education. He did well in that regard. But what excuse does he then have for being duped by people like Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh, both of whom are college dropouts?

I suppose this comes from Johnson’s style of education. He clawed his way up. Good for him. But all he ever saw while going up that side of the mountain was taxes and regulations blocking his way. He’s probably never tried the other side of the mountain, where science and the humanities so clearly illustrate the necessity of a progressive slope. As such, he only got half the picture, and now he’s acting like he has half a brain.

He doesn't have to embarrass himself, or the Dairy State, in this way. He has the brains to overcome his initial blindness, if he really wants to. It is possible to know business and reality at the same time. Herb Kohl illustrated this. But was Kohl so balanced because he went to Harvard instead of a local night school? Was Kohl more progressive because he was Jewish and Johnson is Lutheran? Or is it more that Kohl was born into money? Certainly Herb had a liberal youth, then turned conservative when he took over the Kohl’s business, and then became so rich he turned more liberal again. Ron, by contrast, married into a little money (not an interstellar amount), but largely worked his own way up, building PACUR in the plastics industry. Or perhaps one has to be more balanced if one’s business is in retail rather than in manufacturing? (Greater emphasis on public relations.) Does all that color one’s perspective? Or is it impossible to be successful as a businessman without adopting a tycoon’s mentality?

Regardless, one thing is clear: Johnson is, once again, learning on the job. Nothing wrong with that per se, except that it’s given Wisconsin one hell of a black eye in the meantime! We might well endure these growing pains of Ron’s long enough for him to become as capable as, say, William Proxmire, but first he needs to back off and take notes for a couple of years. If he doesn't, and he continues, stubbornly, to try swimming in the deep end of the pool without water wings, then we’ll have to quickly yank his ass out after one term before he drowns – as a kindness to both him and us.

Hey Ron! Welcome to the Big Leagues! Jerk!

(Yeah, I’m a Monday-morning quarterback. But I’m still right.)

Part 3.) Obama’s Gun Proposals

Pop quiz: How many assault weapons did the assault weapons ban of 1994 (you know, the one Obama wants re-instated?) actually ban?

Answer: Almost none.

That’s right, the assault weapons “ban” did almost nothing to ban any assault weapons. Gun dealers easily found ways around the provisions. What was actually banned was the manufacture and import of assault weapons, with the exception of law enforcement and military contracts. But assault weapons manufactured before the ban was put in place were still available for sale and resale. This, of course drove up the price of these kinds of guns (supply and demand), but one could still get them.

That higher price destroyed the gun-running business. With the price of assault rifles so high, there was simply not that much profitability in arming thugs in Mexico. Drug lords below the border were slowly becoming disarmed between 1994 and 2004. By 2005, that progress was completely undermined.

So, here’s my question: If the “ban” on assault weapons doesn't really ban anything…


The buck-naked truth, told here for fucking once, is that nobody is coming to take away anybody’s gun! Second amendment rights are not in jeopardy, and all law-abiding Americans will be able to own and carry small firearms as a deterrent to crooks.

Is the NRA defending Mexican drug cartels? Because that’s surely what it looks like!

Actually, I should re-phrase the citing of the name, “NRA.” It should be “NARA” – the National Assault Rifle Association. Because that’s closer to the truth. They’ll defend weapons that kill en masse, but when it comes to sensible defensive weapons, such as tasers, well, you’re on your fucking own!

So don’t hand me this shit about ‘self-defense!’ It’s ‘self-offense,’ and you goddamned well know it!

The other aspects of Obama’s gun-control proposals, universal background checks for everyone, including those at gun-shows, banning high-capacity ammunition clips, banning armor-piercing bullets, increased policing of gun-trafficking and more funding for mental health programs, are all measures which make so much sense that opposing them is nothing short of wild-eyed extremism. Those who block it might get money from the NRA next election season, but they won’t get any votes. Just wait.

Did I say the NRA has no horse in this race? Correction, they're defending a dead horse. No, correct that, too. Because the horse isn't even there. They're defending a dead unicorn!

Well, that’s it. I left it all on the battlefield. Cheers!



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