Saturday, July 23, 2016

Monkey Tale

I climbed to the top of the highest tree in the forest
Just so I could see the view.

But there was a dead monkey up there.

I decided to enjoy my success from halfway down.

The view was every bit as grand
And it didn't smell so much like dead monkey.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Open Letter to the Democratic Party

Maybe this is our fault. Maybe we weren't clear. Maybe we shouldn't have made it so personal. It doesn't really matter any more, but I feel the need to try to explain it one last time.

When we told you we were #BernieOrBust we meant it, but maybe we shouldn't have made it about Bernie. When we told you we were #NeverHillary we meant it, but maybe we shouldn't have made it about Hillary.

This isn't about them. It never was.

This is about a system of government we no longer believe in.

No... I'm not talking about the Republic. I'm talking about what it has become as a direct result of the so-called "two party system", which has really become more of a single "pro-business" party with two squabbling factions.

We like to pretend this process is Democratic, but it's not. The same tiny handful of super wealthy corporations owns and funds the whole pageant. The same moneyed interests fund both parties and own the media that props it up.

Bernie tried to challenge this system from the inside, and he chose the Democratic party to do it. We supported him because we supported what he was trying to do, and by extension we supported you. 
Maybe we should have used the hashtag #DemocracyOrBust. Maybe we should have used the hashtag #NeverOligarchy. Maybe if we had depersonalized it you would have understood our message more clearly. By personalizing it we invited recriminations and bruised egos to obfuscate what we were trying to say.
But that's not how hashtags work. Hashtags are reflections of our flawed, beautiful selves in all our glory. They reflect the passion of the moment and as people we can't help ourselves but to write our plays replete with heroes and villains.

And let's be honest, when confronted by an opposing point of view we'd all rather be offended than try to see clearly into a deeper underlying meaning.

The problem with Hillary Clinton isn't that Hillary Clinton is a bad politician.

Quite the opposite. She's an extraordinarily skilled and accomplished politician. The problem is the system she is a part of, which literally legalizes bribery. Being a masterful operator in a system which leverages campaign financing into legislative power and incentivizes corruption by allowing politicians to amass vast personal fortunes by peddling influence is not something to be proud of.

Now it's over.

We're sorry you've chosen not to embrace our campaign to restore Democracy to the Republic, but we will not be unifying with you in support of the Oligarchy.

You're going to have to pull this one off without our help.

Please don't take this as an invitation to debate or persuade. Don't waste your time and ours trying to convince us that your Oligarch is better than their Oligarch or trying to scare us with Donald Trump. We know all about the supreme court. We've heard it all before.

Trump and Clinton are just two sides of the same coin. This isn't an election any more. It's a dog and pony show and when it's over Hillary and Donald will still be going to the same cocktail parties together, with all the same wealthy donors whispering in their ears, smiling for the cameras and laughing at each others jokes.

In four more years, when nothing has changed, we can try again.

A Simple Free Market Equation

In the end
Math don't bend.

You gave it away yesterday.
Ain't nobody gonna give it back.
You're out of the black.

Ain't no exchange,
   no price range,
      no market,
         no store,
            no commodities floor

Sells the shit you really need.
And everybody
      EVERYBODY needs a thneed.

Like a wallet we clutch at some broken old crutch:
   Thinking to much?
   Afraid of the pain?

You can't have a headache if you don't have a brain.
Don't pump blood if you're afraid of the stain.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

The Democratic Party is Wasting it's Breath

Why I'll Never "Unify" Behind Hillary

It's not because I'm a conservative. It's because she's a "conservative", or more accurately, she's a Republican.

The Republicans like to brand themselves as conservatives, but they're not. Most people who self-identify as "conservative" believe in all kinds of oppressive politically liberal policies. Likewise many self described "liberals" actually support a lot of Conservative values.

If you accept the most basic definition of political conservatism as a function of smaller, government, lower taxes, and less intrusion on the lives of citizens, the Republican brand of conservatism becomes laughable.

The drug war does NOTHING to advance the cause of political conservatism.

Creating government bureaucracies and law enforcement agencies to regulate who can get married or use which bathroom does NOTHING to advance political conservatism.

A large military, constant war, the Patriot Act, Domestic Surveillance; All of these Republican "conservative values" are viscerally offensive to real political conservatism.  ANYTHING that does not protect the welfare of people, their rights to life, and liberty (their rights under the Constitution) is just none of the Governments damn business.

The term "Social Conservatism" was coined specifically to deflect criticism that modern neoconservatives no longer reflect real politically conservative values. The real meaning of "Social Conservatism" is; "Big government liberal positions held by people who like to pretend they hate big government and liberals".

I don't agree with a LOT of Bernie's policy's, but on the core issue of government corruption and corporate influence I agree with him completely. Until we break the stranglehold of the Oligarchy on the political process it will never be possible to make, or even honestly address, any kind of meaningful change (including a shift toward real political conservatism, many planks of which are better represented by the progressive movement than they are by the Republican party).

In the meantime, if the government is going to steal a third of my income anyway? I'd just as soon they spend it on education and health care than on bombs and bank bail-outs.

Legalized corruption is not an issue that Hillary will EVER address. Quite the opposite, government corruption is the source of ALL her wealth and power. She not only won't address them, she has shown that she will fight to protect that system time and time again.

I will NEVER support Hillary Clinton for president. If that means we have to trust God to see us through 4 years with a racist buffoon in the Oval Office, so be it.

I remain, and will remain, #BernieOrBust.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

News that's Not on the News

California poll workers are being lied to by the California DNC.

They are being told in training that independent voters, who are allowed to vote in CA primaries, are to be given "provisional" ballots.

This is a lie. Provisional ballots are almost never counted.

Registered Independent voters (or as they are called in Cali, "No Party Preference" voters) are supposed to be given something called a "crossover" ballot. These are included in the initial vote counts.

The DNC Thinks You are Stupid

They would have you believe that this is an honest mistake. They assure us that his has nothing to do with propping Hillary Clinton up against Bernie Sanders' tendency to win outstanding, even overwhelming, upsets when independent voters participate.

No steps are being taken to retrain their poll workers.

You can count on four things:

  • Hillary Clinton is going to win the California Primary.
  • There are going to be an unusually large number of provisional ballots submitted, and ignored, this year.
  • We are going to see the same voter purges, double digit exit poll discrepancies, poll closures, ballot shortages, and polling machine "malfunctions" that we saw in NY.
  • The mainstream media and Hillary's supporters will gleefully ignore the overt disintegration of our democracy and once again turn the outrage of Bernie's supporters into another variation of their "Bernie-Bro" dialog.

What rank and file Dems don't get is that the DNC is throwing them under the bus.

It's very likely that Bernie's supporters have already been driven away from Hillary for good but, if not, a shady California primary will be the last straw for hordes of Bernie's supporters both inside the Democratic party and out.

The Clinton campaign, unable to attack Sanders' for anything other than being ridiculously poor for a US Senator, and having a disorganized wife who lost their tax returns, has instead leveled a merciless barrage of attacks against Sanders' supporters. We have been portrayed as sexist, racist, stupid, naive, privileged, and even violent.

Having thus alienated pretty much every progressive independent in the country, and almost half of their own party faithful, Hillary's attempt to unify voters will be a disaster. Bernie supporters are already flocking to Green Party candidate Dr. Jill Stein or vowing to write Sanders in.

The Democrats are poising themselves to loose the white house to Donald Trump, and the Democratic Party bosses know it.

They would like to keep the White House, of course, but their need to protect the corrupt system that allows both them and their campaign contributors to profit by bartering votes for tax breaks, subsidies, and bail-outs is far more important than the results of a single election.

In simple terms...

The DNC would rather lose with Hillary Clinton than win with Bernie Sanders. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Nevada's Unlearned Lesson for Hillary Dems

Barney Frank recently implied Bernie Sanders' supporters were responsible for Washington gridlock because they are low information voters. He suggested that the real problem in Washington is that Sanders' people don't understand how the system works and aren't participating in it.

Recent events would seem to pretty much prove he has everything

It's certainly true that certain Democrats' unwillingness to participate in mid-term elections is central to the odious political failures that pretty much defines their party these days. Laying that on Bernie Supporters, though, is absurd.

Never mind that so many of Sanders' supporters are independents whom one ought not reasonably expect to support Democrats, mid-term election or otherwise. The real absurdity of this assertion lies in the establishment candidate's recent upset in Nevada.

In the Nevada Caucus popular votes are calculated to assign delegates who are tasked to cast their actual votes at a state convention. In 1776, when news traveled at the speed of a trotting horse, this was a reasonable and necessary process. In an age of instant communications, it is an absurdity. Still, both parties cling to this "tradition".

There are a number of excuses for this offered by party bosses, but there is only one real reason.

Both parties work hard to rig their elections in favor of candidates preferred by the party bosses. State conventions help serve this purpose.

For this election the favored Democratic candidate is Hillary Clinton, while the preferred Republican candidate was Paul Ryan (although even if they can force the GOP primary result to a  national convention they may need to settle for Ted Cruz).

The parties assume that many grassroots "upstart" candidates will elect "low information" delegates who don't understand the importance of attending the state conventions. The assumption is that low-information delegates will think of the convention as an unnecessary formality and not show up, and this will give establishment candidates (who will presumably field delegates who understand and participate in the party process) an edge.

That's exactly what happened in Nevada, but it didn't work out the way the Dem party bosses had hoped.

Hillary won the primary in Nevada by 5 points. Based on these results both camps selected delegates to be dispatched to the state convention to cast their votes for a final tally, and this is when things went all wonky for the DNC.

Hundreds of Clinton delegates didn't show up to the convention.

When the delegate votes were tallied, Bernie Sanders had won the state.

I'm not even going to talk about the shady things the DNC did to try to keep the state when they realized what was happening. That's a discussion for another time.

What REALLY matters here is what it says about the DNC and their "presumptive" nominee. It's a bitter pill that the DNC has so far been unable to swallow. The events in Nevada are indisputable, though.

The low-information voters that Barney Frank is complaining about... The Democrats who don't follow through and fail to participate in the process when it really matters, are NOT Sanders supporters. The low information voters, the ones who stay home when it's time to vote, are the ones flocking to Hillary Clinton.

Monday, May 11, 2015

How I Broke America

I've had it up to my eyeballs with Neocons whining about the liberal media.

The bulk of the American media is not liberal. It's not conservative.

American media is corporate.

Hell, what we call "news" isn't even really news. It's entertainment disguised as news and it couldn't care less about politics. All it cares about is keeping you glued to the TV so they can sell advertising, and keeping advertisers happy by getting people to consume as much as possible as fast as possible without asking, "why?"

There IS ideologically driven media on both "sides" of the aisle but this still isn't news, it still isn't liberal, and it still isn't conservative. It's party propaganda. It's not meant to inform, it's meant to prop up the "one party system" by keeping true believers in one party afraid of the soulless heathens in the other party. People who trust these sources (Fox News and MSNBC, for example) are wildly misinformed even compared to people who ignore the news completely.

Media, and politics for that matter, isn't about liberals and conservatives. It's about keeping power consolidated in the existing "bipartisan" political structure.

The One Party Ideology
The ideological differences between the parties are largely cosmetic.

You don't think so? Let's look at a few things they have in common.

Both endorse big government. Both support the IRS and the federal income tax. Both endorse the war on drugs. Both endorse inflated military spending, adventurism, the Patriot Act, NSA domestic mass surveillance, and the so-called "war on terror". Both endorse the "central banking system". Both pay lip service to immigration reform but support policies that criminalize and deport as many immigrants as possible. Both are complicit in deficit spending and trillion dollar tax giveaways to big business.

Both are actively advancing secretly negotiated global trade agreements like the TPP. This is a "Free trade" treaty we can't even honestly criticize because legislators are trying to ram it though without even letting the public see what's in it. What we can be certain of, though, is that it's central to the ambitions of multinational corporate interests. These are the very same corporate interests, by the way, that fund the two party system and own the media.

In the light of day we don't really have a two party system at all. There is really only one party with an iron lock on power. It controls the "bipartisan" federal election commission and the "bipartisan" debate commission. While this party insists that "they" are private entities with no connection to government party registrations are consistently administered by the state and officially sanctioned on the actual ballots.

Maintaining an Illusion of Choice
The media doesn't talk about what the parties AGREE on, which is really pretty much everything, so there's no discussion of these important issues at all. The false dichotomy of the two party system keeps these issues out of sight and out of mind unless public outcry FORCES the system to address them by passing referendums to legalize marijuana or by bombarding administrative procedures with public comments in favor of net neutrality, and even then politicians in both parties scheme to defy the will of the voters they purport to serve in favor of paying back the corporate special interests that fund their campaigns.

The differences the "parties" pretend to argue about are a few percentage points on tax rates and programs worth a few hundred million dollars here or there. Arguing over programs like PBS and food stamps represents a pittance in the Federal budget. The stink over Obamacare is a joke. If McCain had been elected instead of Obama the Republicans would have put the exact same system in place, called it Romneycare, and they'd be heralding it today as a resounding success.

Other differences that might seem important, like abortion and gun control, are smoke and mirrors intended to keep people divided and afraid. They aren't even REALLY legislative issues at all but are instead firmly under the thumb of the supreme court.

When you get right down to it the two party system is a dog and pony show. Neither party is particularly liberal compared to the other and neither is really conservative AT ALL.

Both parties are corporate.

Following the Money
Both major parties are owned by pretty much the same special interests, and these are the same special interests that own the media.

The result isn't hard to figure out. All you need to do is step back and look, yet somehow the "party faithful" continue to stymie the sensible majority of independents who might, given half a chance, actually be able to clean up the mess left behind by a century of rampant corruption and mismanagement.

A Culture of Stupidity
It's ironic, and very telling, that so many people are constantly whining about the "intellectual elite". Smart, well educated people aren't the ones screwing up the country. The country is being screwed up by the rich, the powerful, and the stupid.

The culture of mediocrity is a thing of the past. We now live in a culture that holds intellect in abject contempt. Intellect and education are treated as character flaws, arrogance and pomposity, while the stupid and the ignorant flaunt their simple-minded provincialism with pride.

My Profession Broke America
The reason for this is quite simple, and as a marketer I must admit to a degree of complicity. The corporate media is about advertising, and any marketer will tell you there's no point in advertising to smart people. Smart people are not influenced by advertising. Smart people buy the best product for the best price. They don't buy based on what they see and hear on ads. They make purchasing decisions based on referrals and independent research. An advertisement is a paid self-promotion. Only an idiot would buy a product because the guy selling it tells you it's the best product for the best price.

Fortunately for the advertising industry there are a lot of idiots out here.

Unfortunately, media being ad driven pretty much means that pretty much everything you see on TV is oriented to stupid people. I don't want to run ads on Masterpiece Theater. The kind of people that watch that show won't buy my products. I want to run my ads on Real Housewives so the money keeps rolling in.The idiots that watch that crap will buy anything. You can move 10,000 units of any product you want just by putting it on the tank of Kim Kardashian's toilet.

Furthermore, it's in my best interests to keep people stupid so I can continue advertise to them. I don't want the media educating and informing my customers. I want the media to tell people that they're OK "just the way they are" and at the same time turn words like "intellectual", "thoughtful", and "educated" into pejoratives.

And because I'm the one giving them money to run my ads that's exactly what they give me.

Stupidity and Democracy

Being smarter than average doesn't make you smart. It just makes you a little less stupid. Hell... my IQ is more than a little on the high side and I know I can be a complete idiot. Stupid is a chronic condition we all suffer from occasionally. 

Just because we are all prone to stupidity, however, does not mean we should aspire to it. This is where media culture has failed us. You're not OK just the way you are. It doesn't matter how smart or how stupid you are, you should aspire to be more. It's never OK to be content with what you know.

Stupidity and democracy are a bad mix and when the people who shape the media deliberately cultivate a culture of stupidity it can't help but influence our politics. Uninformed voters might be great for the established power structure, but it doesn't do much for the quality of an election. People who don't really understand an issue can't reasonably be expected to cast an intelligent vote in regards to it.

The Tragic Genius of the One Party System
This culture of stupidity has allowed idiots, cynics, and cowards to pretty much form the dedicated "party faithful" of both major parties, with idiots by far being the best represented.

If you are content to be a part of "Muhrican" culture than you haven't gotten this far into this post, and thank God for people like you because there is an underlying America that's still worth being proud of. Thanks to you there is hope.

Waking Up
Third party voters call major party voters "sleepwalkers". There's a simple litmus test to find out what kind of sleepwalker you are. This is the key to waking up.

Becoming an informed voter is about identifying what kind of voter you are now, and a bi part of that is accepting the painful truth that if you are voting for major party candidates you are not currently informed. This will require some brutally honest self-reflection but you need to understand what aspect of the system has co-opted you. Once you've done that you at least have a chance to stand up to it.

If you are worried about the governments ability to keep you safe, you're a coward. And probably something of an idiot also if you really believe the government CAN keep you safe.

If you are simply siding with the lesser of two evils you are a cynic... but cynicism alone doesn't excuse party loyalty. Again, you're probably also a bit of an idiot. The existence of only "two evils" is, after all, a false dichotomy.

Maybe you're jaded (cynical with a streak of cowardice) and realize there are other options but refuse to explore them because "they won't win".

Hopeless Follower
Jaded or not cynics actually represent another pretty important voting block that I call the "two party faithful". These are voters who consider themselves "independent" but remain slaves to the choices of the "party faithful" on both "sides". They are constantly switching allegiances between the two parties trying to support the "lesser evil" suffering under the delusion that which evil you vote for could possibly even make a difference. They see that something is broken, but they just can't wrap their head around the idea that the politicians aren't the problem, they're just a symptom. The problem is the system. 

And this brings us to the core constituency of both parties. People being just plain stupid.
  • If you sincerely believe that the rank and file voters who support the other party are "evil", that they are trying to "destroy the country", or that they "hate America" you're being just plain stupid.
  • If you believe it is the proper function of a legislator to "hold the line" or if you think "compromise" is a dirty word in a parliamentary setting you're being just plain stupid.
  • If you believe this is a democracy, that most Americans really want free market medicine, or that we even have free market capitalism in this country you're being just plain stupid.
  • If you believe that US Currency is backed, the Federal Reserve Bank is part of the government, printing money stabilizes the economy, or that there is gold in Fort Knox you're being just plain stupid.
  • If you sincerely believe there is still any real scientific doubt or debate about cigarettes being carcinogenic, global climate change being influenced by human activity, or vaccination posing a greater health risk to your kids than polio or measles epidemics you're being just plain stupid.
  • If you believe EITHER party is any more or less responsible than the other for our national debt or deficit spending, you're being just plain stupid.
  • If you voted for a major party candidate thinking he or she could change the system from the inside; if you sincerely believed anyone who's part of that system would even try; you were likewise being just plain stupid.
Oh... wait... That last one was me, wasn't it?

When Obama came around talking about ending wars, condemning NSA surveilance, putting an end to drone strikes on overwhelmingly civilian targets, shutting down Gitmo, and just generally demilitarizing the country I swallowed his bullshit hook, line, and sinker.

Yeah. I being stupid.

And that brings us to our happy ending... we don't have to be stupid. We can learn from our mistakes. We can walk away from the one party system, and when enough of us have turned our backs on them they will either change and become more responsive to the will of the voters, or they'll lose their power.


Sick Mother F***ers
One last thing... I almost forgot...

There is one other option.

If you are a dedicated believer in either of the two major parties but none of the sleepwalker archetypes really applies to you you need to consider the possibility that you are a sociopath. Sociopaths see exactly what's going on and don't care. They would rather exploit the system as a means for personal power than do anything to fix it... but if that's the case you're probably already in (or invested in) politics so you already know that.