A Candidate Report Card

Apparently we’re going to have a presidential election this year.  I say ‘apparently’ because I’m not sure we really get to do much choosing.  All the candidates represent one of two political parties, both which are wholly owned subsidiaries of the corporate oligarchy.  But just for shits and giggles I’ll play along like we’re really doing something meaningful and grade the current choices.  Let’s see if there’s any hope on the horizon…

Willard Mittington Romney- Also known as the guy pictured on men’s underwear packages.  He’s rich.  Thurston Howell the 3rd rich.  In this era of Occupy awareness of income disparity he’s possibly the worst symbol you could choose for your party.  He also made a lot of that money from gutting companies and sending their jobs to India.  Besides that he has a little trouble relating to the common folk.  Every time he makes an attempt something condescending and ridiculous comes out of his mouth.  Not really his fault, but embarrassing none the less.

Besides his obvious social class he has two other little problems, his religion and his backbone.  Mormons are a little weird and poorly understood by mainstream Christians but I think all the candidates are way too religious for my taste so I’ll give him a pass on this one.  His perceived lack of conviction is more serious.  The poor man wants to be President so badly that he will literally take any position on any issue at any time.  At the very least it’s tacky and a bit tasteless.  It also makes it very hard to predict what he’s likely to do if elected.

None of these issues disqualify him from winning but they do present a real stumbling block.  His patrician demeanor and craven pandering make him a near perfect representation of all that’s wrong with our system.  Not his fault, but there it is.  Even so I suspect that he’s actually a decent enough fellow.  All in all I’d actually have to agree with Newt Gingrich who said that Mitt would competently manage the decline of the country.  But decline it would.  My grade- D.

Newton Gingrich- I can’t believe this giant oozing bag of puss is actually getting people to vote for him.  He’s racist, mean, and corrupt.  His entire campaign revolves around tapping into the worst fears and traits of the dumbest people in the country.  Every single person he worked with in the House has come out against him.  On top of all that he stands in front of the camera and tells bald face lies.  “I’ll make gas $2 a gallon”.  “I’ll fire Supreme Court Judges”.  The president can’t actually do any of the crap he’s promising but his supporters are too stupid to know any better.  Fortunately he stands no chance of winning since the Republican Party elders loathes him.  On the positive side he’s at least reasonably bright, just ask him.  My grade- F.

Rick “Please don’t google me” Santorum- Seriously?  I’d sooner vote for Rich Springfield.  He might actually be the worst candidate for president in the entire history of our nation.  He’s a theocrat who sees the government as an extension of his own repressive, hateful views.  He thinks Satan is targeting the country.  He has said that our national decline is due to women having sexuality.  He equates homosexual love with bestiality.  He believes that education and science are dangerous and elitist.  Without exaggeration I would vote for Satan over Rick.  My grade- F minus minus.  He makes me ashamed to be an American.

Ron Paul- Oh Ron, what a conundrum you are.  A true Yin/Yang, 50-50 candidate.  Half wonderful and half bat shit crazy.  There are two absolutely great reasons to vote for you.  Of all the candidates you have the ONLY reasonable foreign policy.  No bombing of Iran, no pseudo wars in Yemen and Somalia, withdraw from Afghanistan and stop being the world’s policeman.  Honorable, moral, and fiscally reasonable.  Not sure I could do any better.  And you’re the only candidate who gives a shit about civil rights.  You’re running against the Patriot Act and truly believe in limiting governmental powers, protecting individual rights and insuring personal privacy.  A dream candidate.  But then there’s the negative side of you.  Most likely you’re a racist and somehow you manage to think abortion is exempt from your small government ideal.  Also your insistence on returning to the gold standard is insane.  Cute and anachronistic, but insane.  My grade- C.  How could it be any different once you average the A/F that you earn?

President Obama- The incumbent.  The one and only time I voted for the winner in a presidential election and boy am I disappointed.  Where to begin?  First of all let’s dispense with all the bullshit.  He IS the President and he deserves to be.  He’s an American and a Christian.  He is NOT a socialist, a marxist, or a radical of any kind.  He barely fucking qualifies as liberal.  He loves this country is well intentioned.  The right’s constant attempt to paint him as “out of the mainstream” or “not one of us” is just poorly disguised racism.  It only makes them look stupid, mean, and un-American.  Their little pin brains can’t accept that the rest of the country isn’t as hateful or scared as they are.  They need to shut up and go home.

Okay, now we can actually look at his presidency.  The negatives- The health care act was a debacle.  You sold out the single payer option in order to get a hodgepodge bill that everyone hates.  You didn’t close Gitmo.  You supported Bush’s tax cuts and the renewing of the Patriot Act.  The detention provisions in the Defense bill are heinous.  You increased our military presence in the world.  You turned the economy over to Goldman Sachs and Wall Street.  You refused to investigate and punish both the greedy fuckheads who wrecked the economy and the Bush sadists who tortured in our name.  You’re deporting Mexicans at a rate that makes the KKK blush.  You’re killing Americans oversees without due process.  Your DHS and TSA are pissing all over the constitution.  I could go on but I’m sure you get the idea.  Not too good, but there are some positive accomplishments.  You saved the auto industry.  Your Supreme Court picks are pretty reasonable and there are likely going to be more openings.  Dodd-Frank isn’t hopeless.  You seem to be cool headed and handle crises pretty well.  You were handed an economy that could have rolled over and died and it didn’t.  You seem to have remembered your populism in the last few months.  My grade- D plus, but I have hope that your second term might sneak up to a C minus.  Call me a crazy optimist.

So, who to vote for?  If I was forced to go with one of the above candidates I’d probably choose Paul.  Ironically he’s probably the only one who could give Obama a tough test but he stands no chance of getting the nomination.  My real vote will be for ‘None of the Above’.  Once again I urge everyone to vote for any candidate not listed as a Republican or a Democrat.  It’s the only way forward.  Vaya Con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

Low Value Voters…

Get ready boys and girls, I’m about to lose it.  There will be no introspective questions or deep thoughts today, just some ranting and screaming.  Actually what I’d really like to do is start slapping some people in the head but my fear of jail will probably keep that from happening.  A verbal beatdown will have to suffice…

I am SICK AND FUCKING TIRED of the mass media equating hate filled, fearful, small minded people with morality.  It implies a spiritual or religious superiority to their way of thinking.  THAT SIMPLY ISN’T TRUE and it’s pissing me off.

Here we are in the middle of what’s become our perpetual election season.  The lazy ass media requires easy ways to talk about large groups of voters in order to reduce their newscasts to simple sound bites between boner pill commercials.  Since most of the coverage these days is to decide which repressive corporate robot will represent the GOP they’ve divided the Republican electorate into various factions.  Some of these labels are only mildly offensive.  ‘Tea Partiers’ is short for those mouthbreathers who want the government to keep their hands of everything, especially their medicare and the military.  ‘Moderate’ republicans means those people who are conservative and still manage to think about issues using their frontal lobe.  ‘Independents’ are those hard to pin down people in the middle who don’t get involved in campaigns until it’s actually time to vote.  ‘Libertarians’ are people who’ve actually read the fucking constitution.  Sure, these are gross over generalizations, but that’s what we expect from our lame corporate press.  Nothing there to get too worked up about, right?

Oh wait, there’s one more group that‘s pivotal to right wing elections; the ‘values voter’, also some times referred to as ‘people who vote their conscience’.   WHAT THE FUCK?  Every time I hear that phrase I want to throw something through my tv screen.  AAARRRRRRGGGGHHHHHHH.

Okay, calm down.  Unload the magnum and stop thinking about Southern Baptist churches.  No no, put down the sword.  That’s better.  Where were we?   Oh yeah, values voters.   AAAARRRGGGHHH.  Deep breaths.  Find my happy place.  Happy place, happy place.  Sigh.  Okay, let’s try this one more time…

If you refer to one group of voters as ‘values voters’ you are, by implication, stating that all other members of the electorate DON’T vote their values.  Even worse, you are clearly implying that the ‘values’ of those ‘values voter’ are somehow superior to, or more important than, those of the rest of the electorate.  The same applies to the phrase ‘voting their conscience’.  EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN votes their conscience and EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN has values. And EVERY SINGLE CITIZEN has spiritual and moral reasons that matter.  Jesus fucking Christ you people piss me off.  (Happy place, happy place, breathe…)

Those two terms have become shorthand for a very specific group of political ideas found on the far right fringes of American society.  Ironically those ideas represent some of the worst, most hate filled of human ideologies.  The ‘values voter’ hates gay people, is scared of anything new or progressive, tends to be racist, denigrates women’s rights, and absolutely loathes anything joyful or sexual.  They hide their own fears behind a vengeful and petty god.  I totally support their right to hold these silly, fear drenched ideas.  It’s a free country, kind of.  I just can’t stand that this philosophical bag of puss is somehow equated with superior values and conscience by a scared and slothful media.

Listen up, reporters and news people.  The far right, theocratic voter is not a ‘values voter’.  We are ALL ‘values voters’.  Some of us just think tolerance, joy, love, sex, and inclusion are better values than hate, fear and repression.  We ALL vote our consciences, even if they aren’t riding us with a whip hand of guilt.  We are ALL spiritual and we ALL consider that spirituality in the voting booth.  To pretend otherwise is to publicly and repeatedly endorse one very narrow interpretation of Christianity as the only true moral path.  And that is TOTALLY FUCKING WRONG.

There is very little room in this country’s dialogue for people who’s spirituality doesn’t involve being scared by cranky, repressed old men.  That’s a shame because there really are better choices.  The constant media repetition that those schools of thought are somehow moral or more central to their practitioner’s life is damaging to any hope for spiritual evolution.  So find another label.  (May I suggest ‘repressed, hate-filled, fearful meatbag of puss voter’?  Too long?)  Do yourselves this favor because anyone who looks at the shitheads in the Westboro church and says ‘values voter’ isn’t just stupid, they’re aiding and abetting evil.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

Sacrifice This…

A core teaching of most religions is the principle of sacrifice.  In order to know God or reach Nirvana it’s always necessary to give up Joy.  What a big fat load of poppycock.  God does not and would not demand sacrifice.  Old men demand sacrifice “in the name of God”.  They are wrong and, most likely, God weeps for them.

All of us, regardless of religion, need to accept a simple fact: The rich control our religious organizations just as surely as they control our government and to pretend otherwise is willful blindness.  The church, most any church, has long been an instrument of subjugation.  The many complaints of Martin Luther are just as relevant today as when he nailed them to that big wooden door.  Same as it ever was.

It’s kind of funny really because those that make the most noise about faith are actually the most cynical.  The Pope sits draped in silk on a golden throne while preaching about the piety of poverty.  Megachurch pastors berate their flock about choosing God over worldly pleasures while they count their millions and play golf with millionaires.  Ayatollahs live in a palace while demanding their subjects try to scratch out a living.  I’ve got mine and God wants you to be poor is the worst kind of cynical bullshit and borders on the evil they’re pretending to fight.

Of course I’m generalizing.  Each and every religion is filled with wonderful, pious people expressing their spirituality.  However all too often those people are simultaneously violating some tenet of church policy.  Spirituality is a deep human need and should be expressed in whatever manner is meaningful to the practitioner.  It has almost nothing to do with the large human made entities that pretend to represent God while they actually serve the rich ruling class.

Now, what do the rich want more than anything?  To stay rich.  Duh.  So it’s not exactly rocket science to put these two simple ideas together.  Rich people run the church plus rich people want to keep their unequal share equals churches that tell you to behave and embrace poverty.  Now think about this for one second.   Why in heaven would God want YOU to be poor and hungry while that dude over there is buying gold toilets to shit in?  Does that really sound divine or does it sound more like the ideas of mister gold crapper?  Yeah, I thought so.  God does NOT want you to sacrifice for him, Mr. Richy-rich does, and pretending that God loves him more is the height of cynicism.

Unfortunately the rich motherfuckers running churches are only part of the problem.  They have an ally in the repressed the joy killers.  You know the type; pinched and cranky looking men and women who are so poorly   integrated that they can’t stand to see anyone having a good time.  No sex, no drugs, no meat, no alcohol, no compassion, no Love and no fun.  The modern day puritan that is so often caught at some sleazy motel 6 with a nose full of cocaine and dick in his mouth.  Mr. or Mrs. “I can’t handle my urges so I have to stifle yours”.  They fill the churches and meeting rooms of every religion and most political movements, from the Islamist bagging up women to the PETA idiots crying over bacon.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Puritanism- the fear that someone, somewhere, is having a good time.  They make me laugh and they make God sick to his divine stomach.

So now it’s election time and the ‘we must repress and sacrifice’ forces are lining up to protect the haves from the have-nots.  Their churches are preaching against birth control and choice.  Their political representatives are wringing their hands over gay marriage and women serving in combat.  Rick “please don’t google me” Santorum recently gave an interview stating that the real core problem with America is that women take birth control.  Once women started having sex for pleasure our society started to crumble.  Really Rick?  Women having orgasms magically took all the middle class wealth and moved into a few rich pockets?  Wow, must be fun to be your wife.  Meanwhile the banks and the rich keep hoovering up all the wealth while shutting down your local school.  Are we really that dumb?

Look, I’m no fan of the current president.  I think he’s kind of weak and a little ineffective.  He is NOT, however, a radical, a socialist, or waging war on religion.  (If he were any of these things he’d probably get more of my support.  At least he’d be something.)  I’m certainly not suggesting that you vote for him.  What I am suggesting is that your religious organization doesn’t have your best interests at heart and probably is much further from God than you are.  Guess that makes me a heretic.

There is absolutely NO REASON to think that God asks for sacrifice.  It’s seems extremely unlikely that we would be created with a tremendous capacity for art and joy only to be asked to repress it.  It’s heretical to me to suggest that God loves Americans more than Argentineans or white people more than brown people.  It’s obscene and cynical to think that God likes greedy rich people better than those who serve others.  God gave you joy and sex.  God wants you to help others and care for each other.  Cynical, repressed old men ask for sacrifice, and the resounding spiritual answer to them should be “Fuck You”.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

The Planned Parenthood Mess…

Well, loyal parishioners of the digital salvation show, we have a request.  And of course we do requests, especially from close friends.  So here we go, thoughts on the Planned Parenthood/Susan G Komen mess…

Let’s begin with Planned Parenthood.  It exists because it HAS to.  We live in a country where two things are undeniably true: healthcare is not well distributed to the lower economic classes and good, scientific information about sex isn’t distributed at all.  Planned Parenthood bravely tries to fill both of those voids at once and make women’s sexual health care available to under served communities.  More power to them.  I admire and support their efforts and I really don’t give a fuck how much their executives make.  They’re fighting the good fight and doing so on two fronts.

Their first battle is with poverty.  Huge numbers of people in the good ole US of A don ‘t get to go to the doctor.  At least half those people are women who need things like pap smears, breast exams, pregnancy counseling, birth control, and yes, abortions.  (I’m not going to get into that particular debate right now, just suffice it to say they are legal, have been legal, and are likely to continue to being legal.  Therefor performing them is not a fucking crime.)  This country pretends to be Christian but ignores the fact the huge portions of the New Testament implores people to deal with poverty.  Not gay marriage, not capitalism, not abortion, not tax cuts, POVERTY.  Yet I never see the fucktards in conservative baptist churches picketing to help the poor.  At least Planned Parenthood doesn’t pretend poor people don’t exist or, even worse, demonize them.  They might be one of the most christian organizations in the country.

Of course all the pretend Christians can’t see that because of the second reason Planned Parenthood is crucial.  PEOPLE HAVE SEX.  Not only like that, but many people like it.  And, gasp gasp, faint faint, half of those people are women too.  Oh my goodness, women enjoying sex?  The horror, the horror.  The political right wing of this country can’t fucking stand the idea of a sexually aware, joyful woman.  They’ve spent the 50 years since oral contraception was released trying desperately to shove that particular genie back into the pill bottle.  Talk honestly to the anti-choice movement and they admit that abortion is the first step in a long plan that includes banning the pill and eventually outlawing sex outside of marriage.  The recent attempts at ‘personhood’ amendments prove that agenda.

Now look what Planned Parenthood does.  It educates girls about their bodies.  It helps them keep from getting pregnant and helps them stay healthy.  Since the big swing to the right in the 2010 elections the evil, and I do mean evil, forces of repression have gone after PP with everything they have.  Many states have stripped funding and so has the federal government.  And now the new VP of Komen, who just happens to be a failed right wing political candidate in Georgia running on a pro life agenda, decides to cut funding too.  You can’t help but place this attack in that social context.

Now, on to Susan G Komen itself.  I’m not a huge fan.  First of all it’s ridiculous to let yourself be drawn into a political fight, especially one that seems to be counter to your mission statement.  Beyond that I have a healthy skepticism when it comes to cancer charities in general.  I once had a well known researcher at UCSF admit to me that there were people in the field that lived in dread of a true cancer cure because of the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars they would lose.  It reminds me of the March of Dimes who was pledged to fight polio.  When polio was cured the executives were shit out of luck.  Rather than congratulate themselves and go home or choose another disease they decided to pivot to ‘birth defects’ because that was a broad enough category to insure that they could stay employed.

Don’t get me wrong, cancer sucks.  I’ve held a close friend as she died of lung cancer.  The pain and loss are monumental and I would give much for a cure.  I’m just not totally comfortable with the giant industry that cancer care has become.  Especially a cancer that gets so much attention largely because tv executives like an excuse to put the word ‘breasts’ on the air.

I believe in charity.  I donate a lot of time and, for me, a lot of money to the causes I support.  Planned Parenthood makes the cut, and Susan G Komen doesn’t.  This whole debacle has looked a little bit too much like middle class white women thinking that breast cancer is a tragedy for them while breast cancer for poor brown and black women is a useful fund raising statistic.  But you might not want to take my word for it.  After all, I like sex and women and in some circles that makes me a heretic.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.

I Like People.

On a recent campaign stop the wife of presidential candidate Rick “please don’t google my name” Santorum was politely asked by a young voter why, as a gay person, they couldn’t marry their partner.  A fair question.  Her response was to blithely comment that this issue was just a “policy disagreement”.  Of course she was wrong on every level, but let’s allow the Santorums to explain their hatred to God when they die.  Instead I’d rather discuss her answer in broader terms.  Because I, for one, don’t think much of policy.  I prefer people.

‘Policy’ is a great refuge for hatred and bigotry in this election.  It’s not that the right hates gay people or black folks, it’s just a matter of ‘policy’.  Obama doesn’t necessarily just bend over and spread anytime the banks want something, he just had to support certain ‘policies’ when the economy tanked.  The Department of Homeland Security doesn’t hate Mexican families, it’s just ‘policy’ to deport them at a record rate.  A lot of Nazis didn’t have anything personal against Jews, Gays or Gypsies.  You see, they just had this policy…

And it gets worse.  Policy is the panacea that cures any vile or disgusting act.  Every time some old person is humiliated by the TSA or an attractive young woman is put repeatedly through the scanner at an airport the answer comes back with some version of “every action taken was in accordance with our policies”.  Whenever some cop gets a little taser happy and zaps a little kid or unarmed woman the exoneration comes with the same crap about “the offending officer was found to be in compliance with departmental policy”.  Hell, the dude who walked up and down a line of kids in Davis dousing them with pepper spray like he was watering a garden of hate wasn’t severely punished.  Instead UC decided to “revisit some of their policies”.  Sure, that seems reasonable.  Let’s dispense with right and wrong and just go with what this paper says.  Bullshit.

The world isn’t made up of polices, it’s made up of people.  People who can’t marry the person of their choice.  People who deserve to go through their day without being molested or abused.  People who have stories and feelings and rights.  Policies lets officials hide behind rules and pretend like it isn’t their fault.  It permits them to distance themselves from the very real pain and heartbreak happening to another human being.  In a word, it allows them to be evil.

Yes, I said evil.  As in Good vs Evil.  As in immoral and wrong.  If you choose to enforce a policy that causes pain, humiliation, or the loss of rights to another human being you are, for that moment, evil.  No excuses.  No ‘just doing your job’.  If you write and defend those policies you are an affront to God regardless of which church you attend.  Repent before it’s too late and you’re standing before your maker next to Santorum trying to justify and explain your actions.  Because I have news for you.  God prefers people over policies too.

I like people.  I like to see people, all people, do well.  I will choose a person over a policy every single fucking time.  I will choose kind over officious or even legal.  Furthermore I will immediately distrust anyone who tells me that kindness is impossible because of a ‘policy’.  And I vote that way.  Go ahead, accuse me of being soft hearted and a hippie.  Tell me how I’m living in a dream world.  I don’t care.  People matter, policy never does.  Vaya con Dios and Viva la Revolucion.