There’s this old adage about how people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. If you live in a glass house you shouldn’t throw stones. Something like that. Well, in politics people throw stones from their glass houses all the time, and they get away with it. We let them get away with it.
Why the hell do we let them get away with it?
I’ve been kinda trying to avoid blogging directly about the Presidential debates in here. I feel I’ve blogged or tweeted or otherwise rambled at length in years past about my opinions regarding voting, and the futility of modern politics. Like George Carlin claimed, I abstain. I feel voting for bad civil servants only encourages bad behavior and leadership.
Whenever I do talk about this stuff, someone invariably tries to change my mind about not voting. How it’s my sacred duty as a citizen. That it is worse to not vote than to vote. However, they have yet to prove their claims to my satisfaction. Why? Cuz again, it comes down to belief. And if you don’t know my opinion about belief by now.. I don’t know what to tell ya. I don’t believe in belief. It’s that simple. If you must have faith that your guy’s the best one for the job and you can’t honestly prove it, then you’re wasting your time, my time, everyone’s time.
‘Don’t boo. Vote.’ – President Barack Obama
…but I want you to vote, if’n you wanna vote. More on that later. I don’t want to talk you out of voting. That’s not what I’m trying to do here. What I AM trying to do here, is get you to think about why you’re voting, and who you are really voting for. By all means, vote if you wanna vote.
Last night (or Wednesday October 3rd 2012 for whenever you read this which will maybe be long after I wrote it) was the first presidential debate between Obama and Romney and I found myself ‘tuning in’ not cuz I care. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t like either candidate. They are both far too conservative for me and more importantly, they are both politicians. More on that in a moment. Even if I were to vote, it’d be for Obama, but not cuz I like Obama. I’d be voting against Romney. I hate Obama less than I hate Romney, and this is simply not how voting should work. One should vote for somebody. One should feel strongly that person X is in fact the best person in the country, and on the planet, for being executive officer in charge of the biggest nuclear super power on Earth. The Lesser of Two Evils. That’s what we vote for. Against the other guy. Not for the best man for the job. I’d rather vote for Neil Tyson, but I’m not gonna get up and drag my sorry ass to the voting booth to write in Neil Tyson out of principle, when I know he ain’t got a snowball’s chance in Texas of being elected.
Anyway. so the reason why I tuned in was cuz I clicked on Huff Post Live on a whim, and it looked like fun. They had a comedy channel for people to chat and make fun of the debate in almost real time. I was mildly perturbed about how my sends were being “reviewed” by some nameless faceless person before being seen. My humor is often time sensitive. My wise cracks about Jim Lehrer before the debate started didn’t hit the other chatters until well after the debate was underway. However, this allowed my comedic mind to adapt to the room and write future sends with the understanding that they wouldn’t be seen immediately. They’d need to be funny regardless of when they were seen. It was a good comedy exercise for someone like me, who needs more practice frankly at being funny on cue.
So it was fun not cuz it was a debate, which was terrible and boring, but cuz of the people in the chat room with me. I didn’t see a head count but there were easily hundreds of us typing away trying to out lol each other. It was great fun. I hope to do it again some time. The thing is, while I was in there having fun, I happened to notice something that reminded me why I wasn’t voting this November, and while I’ll probably never vote again. These two candidates, allegedly the best two men in America for the job of president, were decidedly …politicianishy.
Or to put a finer point to it: they both lied.
Now, apologists and fans of these guys would correct me quickly, saying that technically one can argue they were simply seeing the facts and figures from a certain point of view. This reminds me of the movie Return of the Jedi when a dead Obi Wan Kenobi comes back to Luke Skywalker to say that while Darth Vader is Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan never mentioned it before because he saw his friend Anakin die and the monster Vader took his place. “So what I said was true, from a certain point of view.” Of course, the TRUTH was that when George Lucas produced Star Wars he didn’t have Empire Strikes Back firmly in mind as more than a pipe dream. Vader was not always Luke’s father. Lucas came up with that later, but he’s never going to admit it. Good liars never do.
Take for example Romney’s charge that gas prices have doubled since Obama became president. This is technically true. The day before Obama took office, gas prices were artificially lower than normal because of the economic downturn and volatility in the marketplace. However, both before and after that day, they were about where they are now: well over three dollars a gallon. Gas prices go up and down a little here and there due to all kinds of variables, but the increase of gas prices overall has been gradual, and it’s been going up since before Jimmy Carter took office.
Now, you can argue that Romney didn’t blatantly lie here, but it’s painfully obvious not only did he know the facts, he knows they’re meaningless. It’s just an opportunity to paint Obama badly regarding something he knows Obama had no control over. He made the statement with malice and forethought. He intentionally meant to mislead the audience into thinking Obama’s actions have deliberately and directly increased gas prices. Presidents don’t even have that kind of power, but the average US citizen doesn’t know that, and it’s the gullible people just tuning into the election now, who have ignored everything up until this point and still haven’t made up their minds, those are the ones Romney wants to trick into voting for him now. He doesn’t care about those of us who know the facts, cuz he knows he can’t trick us.
However, I’m not just shooting down Romney. I got equal time for Obama. Remember this if you don’t remember anything else from this blog post: THEY BOTH LIE.
Obama claims he’s gonna take the money saved from ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and use that money “to rebuild America.” This is a pile of horse shit with flies all over it in the middle of a hot Texas summer. There is no money being saved from ending those wars cuz when George Herbert Walker Bush and his son started those wars, they used borrowed money to do it. They put us further in the red than we already were, and lined the pockets of a bunch of fat cats from New York City to Dubai India. The war machine is a money maker for rich elitists and it’s done on the backs of the working class. That’s historically verifiable. When Obama ends those wars, if he does and it looks to me we still got a presence in both those countries and won’t really be pulling out completely any time soon, we won’t magically have a pot of gold to splurge on infrastructure and education. We will still be in a very big MONEY PIT that makes the Tom Hanks Shelly Long movie look like Casablanca.
So Obama can’t possibly do what he claims. That’s what I’d call a lie. And I’m sure there’s political spin doctors who have a pat answer to dispute that but no matter how many words you throw down that hole, it’s still clear that Obama says that to make people think he’s fixing something that he can’t fix. He knows he can’t fix it with money that ain’t there.
Another example of “accentuating the positive and delineating the negative” aka LYING is that Obama keeps insisting Romney’s gonna cut taxes by five trillion dollars for the upper class. Romney then turns around and says he will not do that but when Romney says that it sounds like he’s lying and Obama’s telling the truth. Well, what IS the truth?
Obama may be referring to the alleged effect Romney’s plans will have over the course of the next ten years, and these kinds of ten year forecasts NEVER turn out to be just how they’re planned, but no one ever seems to go back and fact check those things do they? It’s like prophecy. People make bold crazy claims about the future and people only make a big deal out of it when they happen by coincidence to come true. Romney’s intent, with what little about his future plans he’s actually laid out up till now (which ain’t much it’s all kinda foggy and fuzzy logic), is that he’s gonna simplify the tax code which will raise the same amount of taxes but more efficiently, so the government will save money on efficiency (and probably put a lot of tax auditors and accountants out of work). HOW Romney plans to simplify the tax code is kinda up in the air. He hasn’t detailed things much in many areas. So Romney’s also been lying to us by omission. Romney insists that he’s got a better plan than Obama, claiming that what we have now is bad, and any kind of change is better than going down the path we’re currently on. Only, at least Obama’s path is well lit, even if I don’t like where we’re going. Romney’s plan is down a dark tunnel and we’re supposed to blindly believe Romney knows how to get us out the other side without vampires and alligators and all kinds of creepy crawlies coming out of the tunnel to eat us.
So they’re both lying. They’re politicians. They have to lie. People were complaining after the debate why didn’t Obama call Romney out on that tape that surfaced not too long ago which was recorded several months ago now. It’s of Romney standing at some behind closed doors dinner with rich elitist donors to his campaign. In it, Romney claims that 47% of the electorate believe themselves to be victims of the system and he can’t win them over no matter what he does so he doesn’t feel his job as presidential candidate is to worry about them. So, why didn’t Obama call Romney out on that? Cuz Obama knows full well there’s another video out there which has surfaced which shows Obama several years ago talking to other black people claiming that the federal government doesn’t care about black people. Obama is probably also aware of video footage of him behind closed doors saying things to his donors that he wouldn’t want just anybody out there to know what he said.
And why is there video out there like that for both candidates? Cuz politicians lie. They will say to the people currently in the room anything they can say to get their support. They will sell their great grandmother’s soul to Donald Trump if it will get them elected. Do you know how much the president gets per year as a salary? Two hundred thousand dollars a year last I checked. He also gets a free plane and a free house, and there’s other perks. However, it costs hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars of other people’s donated money to get the job. The return on the investment is insanely absurd on its face, so I don’t trust anyone who actively pursues the presidency. This should be something we draft people into doing. Find the smartest most trustworthy American on the planet, drag him into the Oval Office, lock him in and tell him that we’ll let him out in four years provided he’s fixed the country by then. If he hasn’t, then we’ll keep him in there and throw another smart guy in there to help him. Maybe we’ll let them have free room and board.
They lie to get elected. We know they lie while in the office. They probably even lie after they get out but by then nobody cares. These are supposed to be our civil servants. They’re supposed to be working for us. Why do we vote into office people we know have bold faced lied to us repeatedly? Why do you even bother getting out of bed on November and voting for the lesser of two evils? You are still voting for evil.
Or even worse, you’re voting for a man who thinks it’s okay to do evil things if it’s for a greater purpose. I think history has had more than enough of that bullshit. Don’t you?
But this right here is why I have been trying not to blog about this stuff. I want you to do out and vote if it makes you feel better. I ask you to enjoy that day. Make it a big event. Wear silly hats to the voting place. Talk with fellow voters. Pass around a bottle of your favorite hard liquor (just don’t let anyone see you cuz that’s probably illegal) and make a party out of the whole thing. Spontaneously start a singalong of the National Anthem, even and especially if you can’t remember the words cuz I bet someone in that room will join in. HAVE FUN. And do know that voting is a privilege we so take for granted in this country. In other parts of the world they don’t get to vote, or they’re ordered to vote for the only name officially on the ticket. It’s sickening sometimes.
Here, we are given the choice to vote for two of the best liars in the world, and you get to decide which of them is going to lie to you even more.
We are given the choice in this election of top down economics versus top down government. Either the federal government should have a laissez faire attitude towards business and only regulate a little bit here and there just enough to say you regulated, but essentially let the market police itself and don’t get involved, or you should have the government step in and micromanage businesses and tell them how not to screw the American people every chance they get. We have tried both of these ideas.
Top down economics is essentially what Ayn Rand wanted in Atlas Shrugged, and Top Down Government is what she got in Atlas Shrugged. Both of these ideas don’t work. Repeatedly throughout history we have seen both of these ideas used and repeatedly both of these ideas failed.
In the extreme, Top Down Economics leads to unregulated big corporations getting bigger and wheeling and dealing behind the scenes to make rich people richer and poor people poorer. People used to get unionized so in theory as a group they’d be strong enough to compete with big business, but all big business would do then is either pay off the union leaders so they’d secretly work for them, or they’d demonize the unions until their own people refused to support them. Either way, power corrupts.
Top Down Government in the extreme is everything from Dictatorships to Socialist regimes. They. Don’t. Work. Proponents for socialism claim that’s cuz we have yet to do it right, and my answer to that is maybe you can do this with woodchucks or dolphins but human beings will never behave in a way that will allow socialism to work properly. It doesn’t take into account the things that make human beings uniquely human, and therefore socialism will always fail.
We actually have the worst of both of these in America already. You think the presidency is leading this country? Think again. The real power is behind the American dollar, and that is controlled by a very small group of powerful men and women. I call it a corporate oligarchy, but it’s more a kind of aristocracy. It’s almost feudal in some ways. You got big corporate empires that operate kinda like the fiefdoms of old. If you happen to work for one of these big corporate behemoth, so long as you cater to their favor, you might see some benefits trickle down your way. Sometimes these corporations work for each other but more often than not they operate competitively, and if they do something that benefits everyone it’s just a coincidence. They’re selfish in the marketplace. The leaders of these companies want to be able to do anything they need to do to stay vibrant and competitive, and want to quell or squelch any voices that seek to restrict them in some way for any reason, no matter how noble. The only real way to police them it seems is through public exposure and the fickleness of the American public but mob mentality has a short attention span and an even shorter memory, and since the big wigs also own and manipulate the news media and other public outlets of expression, that doesn’t really police them very well either.
Obama claims to want to regulate these guys, but some of those guys help keep him in office, so he’s giving lip service to this and not much else. Romney wants to go back to what Reagan and the Bushes were allowing since the 1980s. So when you vote this November your choices are either a plan that got us in this crap in the first place, or a plan that’s slowly digging us out but at great cost in the long term, and no promises it’s gonna really work.
Top down government and top down economics. Both are fails, but if there is a third option, it’s been squelched out of the debates by the people with all the money. Cuz they don’t want to fix this. As far as the rich elite is concerned, everything is working EXACTLY they way they want it to work.
To quote from George Carlin, “if you have selfish ignorant citizens, you’re going to get selfish ignorant leaders. Garbage in? Garbage out.”