Tuesday, November 4, 2014

(Barf. Poop. Green Doggerel-Doo.)

"Don't Tempt Me..."
I'm not sure I've ever seen an election result suck worse than this one does, or at least seems to be, certainly not in a midterm election.

Voters are very, very angry and disappointed with their government (are they? well, aren't they? you don't think unlimited, easily funded campaign lies might have affected their reaction, do you?), so their reasoned, practical response is to take their pistols and shoot every family member who might help them out, or rather, take their fingers and vote out most of the decent politicians who remained in office.

Get your election returns somewhere else; I'm not writing up this dog-awful shit-pile.

If I were a young American woman, between now and 2016 I would scout out a country where one might apply for political refugee status and still have some hope of finding a job. Just in case America is not "Ready for Hillary" ... in fact, I may keep my own eyes open for such a place.


  1. Well, Steve, it could have been worse (not in Texas, of course)... at least the Dems picked up a governor in PA.

    I think a major problem is our extremely long campaigns before elections. People get so confused by the commercials and pundits that they really don't know what to do, so they don't vote. That's not to excuse those who don't vote - they're not being good citizens - but I do wish we could change the way politicians campaign.

    1. George, that's of course true, but I don't think long campaigns are the real problem: MONEY is the real problem. Long before Citizens United, I remember reading that the candidate with the most campaign money won well more than 90 percent of the congressional races, so that Congress is, de facto, bought by the backers with the most money. We live in the United States of Koch Brothers.

      The prior companion of Citizens United is Buckley v. Valeo, the "spending is speech" decision... except that that is ABSOLUTELY NOT what the Supreme Court ruled in that case: a court recorder with an ax to grind on behalf of the railroads wrote a preface to the decision, and his preface was included in the distributed copies of the decision... HE, not the Court, came up with the assertion that "spending is speech".

      Democrats have regrettably responded by trying to (mostly successfully) raise and spend more money. Republicans, who have more money than god, do not care one iota whether they win fairly as long as they win; indeed, that may be the only difference today between D's and R's. And so 27 states engaged in voter list purges shortly before this election, perhaps affecting between 6 and 7 million people. Lord help Mr. John Smith, in all the Texas places he lives...

      And then there's voter suppression. Did you get the automated phone calls from the Wendy Davis campaign yesterday (why not sooner?), telling people that Hiram Clarke and Sunnyside multi-service centers were no longer polling locations, and urging people to call the county clerk to find their real polling place? The GOP's entire game... all of it... is finding new and different ways to prevent opposing voters from voting. If the GOPers truly don't support the notion of representative democracy, NOTHING is going to prevent them from cheating their way to victory.

    2. And George, for women, the Democrats' loss of the Senate is catastrophic. They will tap-dance around Roe v. Wade, restricting it to the point where it protects exactly no one and infringes violently on women's rights. Back when I did some contract work for Planned Parenthood, occasionally I had to run the gauntlet of the anti-choice zealots outside the clinic; those folks are nuts to the point of murderous. If the R's were to get a veto-proof majority, I would seriously urge young women to leave the country until such laws were repealed.

    3. Money is certainly a problem, but I don't see how money - in the form of campaign propaganda - alone discourages people from voting. The R's didn't go on TV and tell people not to vote. Their efforts at suppressing many voters were successful, but that doesn't account for the fact that in Texas about 2/3 of all eligible voters didn't vote.

      Part of the problem, of course, is that many D-leaning voters are discouraged by the fact that the R's have won for so many years. If half of those who didn't vote this time had voted, Texas would have become a blue state.

      Women have lost a lot, of course, but it seems to me that men have a big stake in abortion rights. For a man, married or not, the financial benefit of terminating his fetus is enormous. Oh, that sounds pretty bad, but child support is very expensive. I am NOT suggesting that abortion for economic reasons is a good thing, but in the practical world it is going to happen whether it is good or not. Just think about the fellow who was having to pay child support for four children by three women, and who disappeared after conceiving the fifth one. Now, with DNA testing, it really not possible to deny fatherhood. My guess is that many - maybe most - of the 80,000 or so abortions each year in Texas are done because of economic considerations. Birth rates go down in financially difficult times, such as during the Great Depression, so how does that happen. Could it be that abortion rates go up in such times?

      Enough on that, so about the R's: now that they "control" Congress, will they do anything constructive? Recent history suggests that they will not be able to do so.

    4. George, let me focus for a moment on the catastrophe impinging specifically on women.

      First, note that there is no single event more disruptive of a woman's normal life than an unplanned pregnancy. The reasons may be medical, economic, professional or social; the woman herself may be a fine mother of other kids, or under other life circumstances... but forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, she may lose her job, her husband, her health or her social standing, irretrievably in many cases. Women of course know this both viscerally and intellectually; ask your wife.

      Follow that thought to its (il)logical conclusion: no law against abortion will ever prevent a woman from terminating a pregnancy. The most an antichoice law can do is prevent a woman from terminating a pregnancy safely. (Unless one of my former lovers is lying to me or hiding something from me, I have never caused such a pregnancy. But I know women, many of them as intelligent as you care to imagine, who, back in the day, turned to back-alley abortionists. One woman I know damned nearly paid with her life. Knowing all that, women who want to terminate a pregnancy will go forward, whatever the (medical, monetary, social) cost to herself.)

      And that is all known to the leadership of the GOP. They are willing to sacrifice the lives of a million women or more for their own political gain in stirring up the most radical antichoice voters. It's no skin off their back: they can afford to pay a doctor a sufficient secret fee to obtain an abortion for their own wives, daughters, etc.

      And thus women have the very most to lose by a government-shattering GOP victory. The only two ways our new situation could be worse for women is if a) the presidency were taken by a Republican and/or b) the GOP were to obtain a veto-proof Senate majority while retaining their grip on the stark raving mad House. Neither of those is out of the question in 2016, which is why I advise young American women to make their contingency plans now for what they will do if it comes to pass.

    5. Oops. "only two ways... is..." -> "only two ways... are..."

  2. "I would scout out a country where one might apply for political refugee status and still have some hope of finding a job."

    I'm not a young American woman, but when I was already a middle-aged American man on the general election eve of 2004, my (now-X) wife and I began making plans to emigrate to Australia so we would not be supporting the Cheney Regime with our continued participation in Amerikan society. A darn shame, too, because we had a great house on the back side of Mount Sutro with a fantastic view over the ocean, sometimes as far as the Farallons on a clear day. Politics are not perfect Down Under, nor were they during the four years we lived in Vancouver, B.C. But I feel more of a sense of ease in these countries than I do when I make return visits to the hyper-panicked Police SState of Amerikkka. As the world economic situation tightens down due to creeping austerity, though, it's getting ever harder to escape to elsewhere...

    1. Welcome, Bukko; it's good to see you visiting in The (Often Flooded) Bayou City.

      In my youth it was a reasonable assumption that if you left the American system alone, it would leave you alone. That began to change to abusive in the Nixon era, was running full blast in St. Reagan's terms, and is now to the point that it almost doesn't matter who Americans "elect" (or whether it's by vote or by oligarchic appointment) or what party takes power (don't get me started on what has happened to my once-beloved Democratic Party), the living conditions for people of ordinary or limited means are just plain horrible and getting worse.

      Stella (my mate of 17 years) and I are in our sixties and not in good health. We might manage a move across town (or not), but we certainly couldn't move around the world. So the ease you feel is pretty much denied to us by practical matters. We can and do refuse to quake in fear at every scare tactic our government uses to control us, but even the avenue of public protest once open to us (and we pursued it) has been rendered ineffective by commercial media's refusal to report, not to mention unsafe by marauding hordes of some city and town police departments with too much equipment on their hands and a desire to use it on protesters' skulls. We can still vote (until the GOP manages to impose DNA ID requirements; I don't think I'm willing to be stuck with a needle just to vote) and write letters (for what good that does), but there's not much else we can do. "Be good to us or we'll leave" is no threat to our band of oligarchs in charge today; they only want us here while we're healthy enough to work, and those days are behind us.

      So we "eat, drink and be worried..."



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