Friday, September 28, 2012

The bitter consequences of voter suppression . . .

So there's a report around that the NAACP has a delegation appearing before the United Nations Human Rights Commission, asking for an investigation into voting in the United States.  It seems that the NAACP's constitutuency is being shut out of the election process.

There's some arithmetic involved in their complaint.  You know that convicted felons are barred from voting.  That's one of the consequences of committing a felony, the same as fines and incarceration. 

About 20% of convicted felons are black, but blacks only amount to about 12% of the population.  Thus, suppression of voting rights falls disproportionately on blacks.  Got that?

Oh, the humanity!  Convicted felons sobbing themselves to sleep in their cells over not being permitted to vote while locked up.  And the horror continues even after release from the penitentiary, because even while the term of incarceration is completed, the individual remains a convicted felon who can't vote.  Quite understandably, in consequence of the sense of loss and incompleteness that comes when a felon can't vote, felons turn to drugs and violence as a distraction from their bitter disappointment at having the ballot box slammed shut on their fingers.  Metaphorically.

Oh, if only someone older and wiser had taken these young felons aside when they were but mere delinquints, and had explained that wandering from the path of righteousness leads to loss of the right to vote, why, the crime rate would surely have been reduced. 

Just imagine. If only people had had "that talk" with the young delinquints, perhaps America would now be treated with the sight of younsters wearing Boy Scout neckerchiefs, where today you see them sporting a droop with their pants permanently around their knees and their ass in the breeze.

Pay no attention to that pollster behind the ribbon, for I am the mighty Oz, comming atcha

It's one disaster followed by another, to the point where there is hardly any effect at all.  None of the following disasters matter, if you monitor media reporting.  What disasters?

The economy keeps getting worse, not better.  They are talking about another round of "quantitative easing" of our money.  This would be like the third dose of a big-ass shot of adrenalin directly into the heart of the patient. "Quantitative easing," is an extreme last-chance operation intended to blast a heart back to life.  Or else.  Note well, it didn't work the first two times. 

By the way, "quantitative easing"  is really some fancy-pants politician's deceptive use of language because he doesn't want us to know that what they are really doing is inflating the money supply radically, but just making it all up as they go along, printing notes and contracts and calling it money.

It isn't real value, folks.  Oh, and by the way, if the price of goods goes up with inflation, and it does, if your income doesn't go up to match the inflation, and it doesn't, well, that's basically the government way of raising money at your expense.  Another name for that is taxation. 

More and more people are out of work, or working at some sort of survival job because that's all that's left, and the unemployment insurance ran out some time ago.  The housing market sucks, despite experts saying it's getting better.  Very many businessmen, you know, the ones who pay money to people for working, are just hanging on, if at all, to the point where half the businessmen say that they wouldn't even start the business they are presently in, if they had to start it fresh today -- not worth it.

The middle east, what can I say?  It's kind of like the notion of voting took hold, there, but the majority invariably votes in favor of barbarism and bloodshed. 

And there's a war on young women.  The country is sticking young women with impossibly huge student loan debt to fund degrees in sociology, and dance movement, and women's studies, and journalism and communications, and aroma therapy, for shit's sake, with the promise that some crude and abusive businessman, somewhere, will be unable to prevent himself from hiring such independent and capable young women and paying them $85,000, plus benefits, a year, in return for their showing up and wearing suits and heels.  (That's the businessman who, as a sole proprietor, must be rich, and so must be taxed.  Eat the rich.)

And not only that, but the nation cruelly denies such women free birth control, a necessity in a society that highly values hooking up before names are exchanged, or perhaps only moments thereafter.  It's an option.  Or if women choose not to use birth control, it is only their natural function and right to be mothers, with or mostly without the committment of a father.  Not only that, but there seems to be a grave shortage of drone-men who are so in awe of unmarried motherhood that they welcome the chance to support any women who bravely has another man's child without bothering to have the other man.  Oh, the humanity!

But as I say, none of that matters.  In place of things that make a difference, we have polls.  We have local polls, phony polls, national polls, push polls, private polls, secret polls, and polls about polls.  They call you at home, at work, they e-mail you.  They will give you free stuff at the restaurant if you will just answer a few questions about the quality of your dining experience with them.

And the results of the polls are reported as if it is news.  It isn't.  Poll results are what lazy journalists do when they have to fill up broadcast time, or journalistic white space, and they don't actually have anything. 

It's like, "Nothing happened today, as far as I know, but some guy telephoned some poll results, so here ya go.  Based on a recent poll of some people in a park right here in Estacada, Oregon, 14% of all Americans ever born deny masturbating in the shower.  Oh, and 12% of them who didn't indulge in such conduct volunteered to start if there was any money it in, and the rest of them were Republicans.  Back to you in the studio."

I don't think you can trust polls.  I think people tell lies to poll interrogation.  And I know people mess with pollsters -- 'cause I!m pretty sure I'm not the only one. 

And I'll do it again and I recommend you do the same.  You already know the language of the interrogated man in the street.  Use phrases and expressions like, "rich and robust," "sustainable,"  "naturally sweet," "people who care," "people like us," "dependable," "improved," "margin of error," etc. 

It's just a poll.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

It's a good thing the Democrats are united because . . .Well, just because.

So here's what happened.  Always before, as far as I know, the Democratic Presidential Election platform has had some language in it saying something nice about God and Israel.  Not this time.

People noticed and started yelping about the platform never even mentioning God.  I suspect God is neither surprised nor hurt, because, as far as I know once again, He or She is not a clingy, needy sort of a deity.  But still, even if any particular Democrat remained unaffected by notions of piety, would it have killed them to pander to those who believed?

The big problem was Israel, because the Democrats get a lot of campaign contributions and support from American Jews who by necessity feel kinship with Israel.  And if we don't support Israel, there's a good chance Israel would be erased as a necessary first step to the establishment of the Caliphate.  Not a good thing in my opinion.

Anyhow, many Democrats thought once again about the platform, and there was a motion to amend the platform, to restore God and Israel to the platform language.  Evidently it takes a 2/3 vote to amend the platform at this point.  So a voice vote was taken.  All in favor, say aye; all opposed, no.  It sounded evenly spread between the ayes and nos to me and I think it sounded even to the chair as well.  But without blinking an eye or a blush of a cheek, the chair announced that the ayes were 2/3rds of the votes and the motion passed.  (I'm pretty sure the motion didn't pass, even at a simple majority, because I don't think there was a majority.  It sounded 50/50 to me.)  Anyhow, all the no-sayers instantly turned to boo-sayers.  Loudly.

But here's the thing.  If I were wealthy, and Jewish, and believed in big cradle-to-grave government, I still would be disinclined to give the Democrats any money.  Why?  Because about half the assembled convention loudly voted against supporting Israel.  If I were Jewish, I'd uncomfortable with that.