The United States of America, Inc., and the news roundup

Whew. It has been a little while since I’ve done a round-up of all the craziness that’s in the political world, but the current SCOTUS decision was just the incentive I needed.

I refer to the decision that effectively opened the financial floodgates in terms of campaign donations. McCutcheon v. FEC. Full text in the link.

I cannot quite put the caliber of the disaster that this decision is into words. Bear with me, might get rambly.

We have seen the Republican craziness in the months leading up to the President’s re-election. We’ve seen the gerrymandered districts. We’ve seen the candidates’ crazy caliber go off the charts. We’ve seen ridiculous budget proposals that would leave millions below the poverty line and/or starving, just to patchwork-save a quick buck, completely disregarding the fact that putting benefits and the social safety net on the chopping block now will result in a far wider strain on that same safety net in as little as four years. And most of all, we’ve seen an absolutely frightening amount of big money get poured into right-wing politics, most of it courtesy of Charles and David Koch, whose family has been trying to buy the US Government since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I kid you not about that last, look up the details.

Citizens United v. FEC opened the big-money floodgates, and McCutcheon just removed the last remnants of the dam. If you hadn’t gotten sick of the media constantly shoving lies and out-of-context quotes in smear campaigns down your throats, you probably will after the effects of this decision will begin to show in full. Right now, expect to decide the next candidate – from both sides – by how much money is spent by their backers.

And we, of course, know that four of the justices have been bought and paid for by corporate sponsors already. Yes, I’m looking at you, Antonin Scalia. Alito and Roberts were our gifts from George W. Bush. I spat some nails when those two got confirmed and I’m once again seeing why. And you know my standing opinion on Clarence Thomas.

Really. This is a disaster on a mass scale, if you consider that a large majority of the actual people at the voting polls don’t really have the money to contribute to campaigns – and they do so anyway, which is why grassroots efforts pay off – and they also are kept too tired and too busy to think and pay attention adequately to what’s around them. Remember the disillusionment in Ted Cruz after the government shutdown of Oct. 1st? While there certainly weren’t enough people to call for his resignation – not yet, anyway – I wasn’t wholly surprised by the fact that the disillusionment was even there. People don’t see when they’re being scammed until the scam reaches them personally, and people started to see the scam that Ted Cruz was selling – but why weren’t they able to before? Because it was everywhere around them. They didn’t need to think about it right up until they had to. Problem is, money buys media, and the media right now is little more than a propaganda machine. There’s a very good reason I chucked my television three weeks ago, and not just because it’s a CRT clunker that was taking up more space than it’s ever been worth.

If you disagree with me on the media statement, think on this: the other day was the last day to sign up for the ACA, without an extension. The lines circled blocks. Where was a single media report on this? Nowhere.  If the media was truly liberal, those photos would’ve been plastered nationwide, but instead we got a carefully-orchestrated blackout, even though the ACA has met and surpassed its sign-up goal. But no – instead we still get bullshit-riddled reports about the “dangers” of the ACA, and people who, to this day, cannot understand that ACA and Obamacare are one and the same, and I cannot tell you that this blatant ignorance is accidental.

What’s going to happen is basically three things:

1. We’re going to see an overwhelming number of ads, largely coming from the teabaggers and the right, and they will be everywhere.

2. Political campaigning will become the next new big business venture, and we’re going to see people make a shitton of money in political advertising alone.

3. The people’s voice, votes, and opinions will cease to matter as we know it.

Because really, few people can outspend the Koch brothers, and someone making 40K per year no longer can never possibly rank up to someone making 40 billion a year or more.

The Supreme Court has basically just handed this country and its political reins over to whoever holds the most cash, which is what every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has specifically warned against. Hell, even Tom Jefferson has warned against it, and he was one of the people thanks to whom this country even exists.

The ignorance of history here is absolutely staggering. Yes, the French Revolution was over two hundred years ago, if memory serves my dates right, but the causes of it were largely similar. Just because it’s another century doesn’t mean the dynamics changed at all, and history has always been a great teacher, especially its ugliest parts. The tensions in this country are already skyrocketing to a fever pitch, and I will be very surprised if we’re not going to see a major backlash to this sooner rather than later.

Now, for some more news:

Rick Scott’s voter purge ruled illegal. Yes, thank you, appeals court, because pretty much everyone with a brain cell knew that this was illegal. But while you’re at it, what are you going to do about the fact that his wife is a medical lab CEO and that “drug test the welfare recipients” stunt that caught next to no welfare fraud lined her pockets?

Yet another explosion at a gas plant, and people still think that regulations are a terrible horrible thing. Honestly, it’s things like these explosions, coal waste spills, chemical spills that will likely displace a lot of West Virginians, that highlight that government regulations are an absolute necessity to protect bystanders from a corporation’s thirst to pad their bottom line. This is not the first time such a thing happened, by a long shot, and we’re seeing firsthand what happens when there isn’t enough oversight. The EPA has been gutted by the very same people who right now are collecting a tidy profit regardless of whose water they just poisoned or how many people now have to move because, again, they have no clean drinking water whatsoever.

There’s talk about Jeb Bush for 2016. Yes, another Bush. I’ll wait for you to un-embed your heads from your desks.

And yes, there’s Christiegate. Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey, who was very well aware of everything happening in Fort Lee, definitely and very likely the same guy who authorized the closings of the GW Bridge for no more than his own political petty bullshit, basically had his lawyers publicly declare that there was nothing to see and Mr. Christie was fully innocent. But we all know that thing about foxes and henhouses. And we also know that Christie withheld Sandy aid for politicking bullshit as well. Ask the mayors of Hoboken, Weehawken, and yes, Fort Lee. But guess what! The lawyers who “cleared” him are getting subpoenaed!

The more this unfolds, the more I get gleeful. I love nothing more than watch people get their just desserts, and Chris Christie has been an absolutely epic douchebag on more than one occasion. But a fake – proven fake – traffic study to cover up the fact that he was basically engaging in political bullying? Give me a damn break. He’s getting what he deserves, and once he’s out of office, whether it’s by means of an orange jumpsuit, expulsion by vote or expiration of term, his political career is forever over.

And to wrap up this dose of ridiculous things in national politics, Mississippi takes example from Arizona, in all the wrong ways, in a bid to legalize discrimination.

*facepalm* *headdesk*

Don’t those fucking idiots learn?

Arizona’s bill of a similar nature passed both the House and the Senate, to meet its death on Jan Brewer’s desk by means of a veto, and that veto may well be the smartest thing that Brewer has done for her state. However, I said it on my FB page then and I will say it now: the only thing that has forced her into this veto was a massive nationwide outcry against it. Had this bill not garnered the attention that it has garnered, then she would’ve been happy to sign it into law. The senators and house reps of the AZ legislature had reneged on the bill after letting it pass only after they realized the widespread economic impact that this decision would have on their state. Like it as not, but those gay people they want to discriminate against have this thing called money, and money is the one thing that the Arizona state economy needs very badly, especially considering that they’ve been on the short list of states refusing federal funds for no reason other than political bullshit.

I also said back then that Arizona was only the first state to attempt this bill, and there will be others.

And I’m right.

If you only knew what I wouldn’t give to be wrong about shit like this. I’m not psychic, but I know history, economics, and politics well enough that I predict most of this shit on point. And considering the trend of the above, I would give a lot to just once, just once be surprised in a good way. Kentucky going blue and expanding Medicaid maybe? Georgia finally going pro-choice on a grand scale? Something, anything to give me hope that the legislative bodies in the South and the Midwest of the US are capable of logical reasoning and empathy past the “I got mine, fuck the rest of you” mentality.

Well, I also want the Bible Belt to demonstrate some semblance of common sense in general, but considering that South Carolina has been debating how to credit God on an official state fossil proposal….no, I’m not kidding…I think I will need to invest in a cushion, because all the headdesk moments may end up either cracking my desk or giving me a lulu of a bruise.

But suffice it to say that this is not a good day politically. The country has been handed over to the highest bidder, idiots across the country are still attempting to legalize discrimination, and they’re still trying to insert religion where it doesn’t belong in clear violation of the separation of church and state – and conveniently forgetting that federal law will always supersede state law. (Supremacy clause, look it up).

Yeah.

K.G.

And more from the Supreme Court

Much to pro-equality people’s relief, DOMA is struck down.

The sound you hear is the sigh of relief from the LGBT community, the LGBT supporters, the pro-equality young voters, and everyone who has ever believed that no legal body has business of dictating what qualifies as a marriage.

Considering the abysmal ruling on the VRA, and the earlier ruling on the Fifth, I’m a little concerned about the mixed messages from the Supreme Court.  Look at the big picture that these three decisions are painting: your silence, which has been previously protected under Miranda v. Arizona, can be used against you. The voting districts can get redrawn with no repercussions, which, in theory, can be turned against the GOP. And yet, on top of all this, same-sex marriage is a legal reality that is, right now, in legal equal standing with a hetero marriage.

Could it be that maybe, possibly, Clarence Thomas saw that if he went against DOMA, then he’d be a hypocrite?

Nope. Would you believe that he dissented? Of course. And he conveniently ignores, again, that his own marriage was illegal 50 years ago. Further proof he can’t see the forest through the trees, to the detriment of the country’s citizens.

The one part about this decision that I don’t like, which technically cannot be legally allowed to stand in totality of circumstance in this decision, is that a state is still allowed to not recognize a same-sex marriage performed in another state. That is a problem. However, if the key parts of the law are proved unconstitutional, which they were, then that provision too is not valid. Federal trumps state, and especially so with a SCOTUS decision.

Again, going back to the mixed messages: I’m not sure how, or if, I like the current slew of SCOTUS decisions. On one hand, the pro-LGBT victory gives me hope that maybe there’s a way to, eventually, overturn the current judgment on the VRA. On another hand, I look at the anti-Fifth decision and the VRA and really don’t like what it means for minorities. But, with the DOMA strikedown, the SCOTUS is showing that there is room for improvement.

The battle continues…

K.G.

An Open Letter to Michael Bloomberg

Brought on by this gem.

Dear Mr. Bloomberg,

You just insist on pissing people off lately, don’t you. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I wonder if you get off on the fallout, especially when you come out with zingers like this one.

“You’ll get used to it”? Seriously?!

Mr. Bloomberg, who do you think you are? Truly. Who do you think you are? Because last time I checked, the Middle Ages have expired and you aren’t the king, New York City in 2013 is not Soviet Russia of the 1960s, and this being the United States with a penumbral right to privacy supported by both the US Constitution and courtroom precedent in the United States Supreme Court – look up the definition of penumbral if you aren’t comfortable with big words – I want to know what, exactly, you think you are doing and who, exactly, you think you are by condoning drone espionage on New Yorkers. Probable cause hasn’t even entered your thinking process, has it?

First of all, don’t even think about giving the bullshit line of, “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about”. That is not the damned point. The NYPD is just as notorious as the LAPD in terms of abuse of power, if not more so, and you granting the NYPD the sort of technology that provides an excellent opportunity to invade anyone’s privacy without them knowing it really, really does not sit well with me. Considering that the NYPD protects abusers and rapists within their own ranks with the infamous blue wall of silence, the absolute last thing they ought to have is more access to potential victims.

Don’t pooh-pooh the NYPD’s ongoing history of abuse of power, Bloomberg. The stop-and-frisk approach has been racially slanted from the get-go, and there are too many complaints of police brutality to just disregard as overzealous rookies drunk on the power of having a badge and a gun. And didn’t we just convict a cop who’s a wannabe cannibal? Yeah. We have a police force of thugs, closet racists, abusers, and wannabe serial killers looking for a chance to get it right. What’s the best thing to do? Why, give them espionage gear!

And you wonder why people don’t take you seriously.

I would also like to know exactly why this is a priority as opposed to the very real and very growing housing crisis in New York. No, I’m not talking about the less-than-1% vacancy. I’m talking about the price. I understand that you don’t really think about anyone who doesn’t make below $70K per year as someone who actually exists, but you tell me this, Mr. B: what exactly justifies renting out a 250sqft closet – I won’t call it a studio – on the Upper West Side for $1,600? What justifies a two-bedroom in Inwood being upwards of $1,400? I really want to know. Because the majority of the city’s population cannot afford those rents, hadn’t been able to afford those rents for some years now, and are slowly getting priced out of the city.

Mr. Bloomberg, contrary to your belief, this city doesn’t consist of young wealthy future tycoons who are making bank in $70K and up, have no other obligations, and can afford to pay these inflated rents and go out to Broadway shows, etc. This city consists of a lot of people who are making $40K a year and under, whose single paycheck goes to rent alone, who do not work at a desk job in a cubicle farm. They’re usually the ones who are delivering your catered lunches. They’re the ones pouring the morning coffee for all the nine-to-fivers. They’re the ones who are doing the data entry and bookkeeping without health insurance at a starter salary just because they need the income, regardless of how much experience they have. They’re older people who aren’t able to retire because the recession sucked up their 401Ks. They’re people who weren’t born here, who are trying to make it here, who are not familiar with employment laws, and who take a below-minimum-wage job because it pays bills. They’re the ones whom you and Wall Street and too many other people sneeringly tell to just “take some responsibility for yourself and do better”. They don’t have a lack of responsibility, Mr. Bloomberg, of that rest assured, but they do have a very real challenge trying to pay an inflated rent rate when their paycheck stretches only so far to cover rent and bills aren’t willing to wait on payment. That’s not a lack of responsibility. That’s a juggling act worthy of Cirque du Soleil to manage all the responsibilities that they have.

Instead of addressing the issue of NY’s housing, you instead decide to attempt banning soda because – according to your reasoning – New Yorkers aren’t “being responsible” with their health.

Very nice, Mr. Bloomberg. I salute your absolute lack of priorities. I also salute you, in your quest for public health, requiring GMO foods to be labeled– oh, wait, you’ve not done that. Oh, wait, you’ve also done absolutely nothing about corn subsidies or HFCS subsidies. Yeah, so what was this about the soda ban being for purposes of public health?

You’re also not addressing the very real homelessness problem in New York. My guess is that the sequester has also impacted funding on the homeless programs, which you have more than the means to contribute to out of your own pocket, being the scion of the Bloomberg brand. But silly me, how can I possibly think that you would want to invest in the infrastructure of your project? After all, you’re treating the city, which needs to be run as an administration, as a business project, and you completely disregard, like so many businessmen who get comfortable in their money often do, the crucial infrastructure of your project. The project is only as viable as the employees, and even if the cheapest, rustiest screw gives way and pops out of the joist, the entire building collapses. You disregard that little fact. The money you’re pouring into the useless battle against soda of all things could be used to alleviate the homelessness problem, because guess what: those same homeless people, once cleaned up, housed, and medicated, can then go to work. There’s little shortage of employment in the city, if you actually consider that employment does not equal a nine-to-five at a desk.

But you don’t consider that. Instead, you think that it’s fine to authorize a gross invasion of privacy and think that we can “get used to it”.

Mr. Bloomberg, it took you the Dec. 2010 blizzard to actually realize that it’s important to prep the city for inclement weather, and in learning that lesson, you had the balls to tell people who were snowed in and could not leave their houses to “go see a Broadway show and stop complaining”. That was so very easy for you to say, Mr. Bloomberg. Your building’s street was plowed immediately after the last snowflake settled. Your sidewalk was salted. Those of us who live in South Brooklyn couldn’t walk outside for days. Now why, exactly, was South Brooklyn buried while Park Slope was dug out right away? Is it because SoBro residents are not rich? Or because they are, largely, not WASPs? Let’s fess up here. What’s so repellent about us in the outer boroughs that you couldn’t even bother to clean our streets in a timely fashion, and yet at the same time, you’d happily authorize drone espionage?

Don’t tell me to “go see a Broadway show”, because for one, I am no fan of Broadway, and two, I see more than enough shows in a year, Mr. Bloomberg. I am a concert photographer. I see shows aplenty. I also see when there is a real problem in my city, and that problem is a mayor who thinks that he can be a CEO running a project in an admin environment. I grew up in New York. I lived here for twenty years. I’ll likely die in this city, even though everything practical in me is screaming to get out and hightail it to Phoenix. But while I’m a New Yorker, the one thing I will not tolerate is some smarmy suit telling me that I’ll “get used to” a blatant violation of my privacy because a police force that is long overdue for a psychological reassessment and a recurrence of the Wickersham Commission happens to have drone tech. I will not tolerate the same smarmy suit slicing up the education budget and instead pouring money into a Sisyphean battle to ban sodas above a certain size. Do not patronize me and my ilk, Mr. Bloomberg. We may not be rich, but there are far more of us than there are of you and yours. Just because you don’t see New York as worthwhile if it’s further up than 92nd Street in Manhattan and below Cadman Plaza in Brooklyn doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It exists, and its population greatly outnumbers the New York in your scope.

Mr. Bloomberg, we are not your employees, and this city is not a business. Contrary to your attitude, you do not have full and complete control of the population of this city, and we will not stand for, nor will we “get used to”, a damned thing we don’t want to see, and you will do very well to remember it.

Your illegal third term did not go unnoticed. Nor did your continued mismanagement of the MTA. I, for one, would like to know what percentage of the MTA’s profit goes into your pockets, because so far, the fares are increasing, the service is steadily declining, and projects that have been started years ago are no closer to being completed. There has already been one transit strike, and if you hadn’t noticed, this city is as reliant on its public transit as a person relies on air to breathe. This is the one system that you cannot afford to run into the ground – no pun intended – and yet you’re doing so anyway.

Mr. Bloomberg, your administrative skills are deplorable. Point blank, you don’t have a damned clue what you’re doing with this city. There will always be a class stratification in every big city, there will always be the haves and the have-nots, but in a city where the have-nots greatly outnumber the haves, and have some of the widest income gaps, I would imagine that you’d want to avoid making them angry. Like as not, they can vote, and no one on either side of the income gap is okay with their privacy being invaded without due cause.

If you knew what you were doing, then a 1BR in South Brooklyn would never have been allowed to reach over $900 in price per month.

You’re no mayor of mine, Mr. Bloomberg. I did not vote for you. I definitely did not agree with your third term. And no Broadway show that you can suggest erases the fact that right now, teachers and social workers burn out and have PTSD by route of their jobs, the subway service has been steadily declining, and people are being priced out of even the boonies – and that it’s all happening on your watch. Your tacit tolerance tells me that you’re A-OK with it.

Unless you want a return of the 1890s Gilded Age-era tenements – which, come to think of it, might be your end goal after all – buck up, put on your big-boy pants, and do your damned job. If you’re not okay with the way things are for the lower denominator of your constituents, start actually doing something about it.

Otherwise, get the hell out and give the job to someone who will.

No love whatsoever,

K.G.

On Newtown, CT.

72 hours.

That’s what it took for me, and for a lot of other people to find a voice and discuss, or at least make an adequate attempt to discuss, what had taken place in Newtown, CT on Friday.

Even now, no words seem to encompass this tragedy, which was completely senseless and avoidable, on all accounts. Sadly, and enragingly, this has already been politicized. Half of the country wants to prevent this from ever happening again, while the other half is more concerned with their own guns. This is amazing, and not in a good way. It’s absolutely astounding that, in the wake of the news that someone would shoot up an elementary school, the thought of “don’t take my guns away” would even cross people’s brains.

Callous? Ridiculous? Completely devoid of humanity? Whatever epithet you can come up with that describes that pro-gun-toting BS, use it. Myself, I am mourning the fact that we as a people, as a country devolved to such an extent that a tragedy would be almost instantly used for politicking.

The gun control laws have been an elephant in the room long enough. Let’s talk about this.

For starters, the much-maligned Second Amendment:

A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.

Please pay close attention to the phrasing, especially the first four words. A well regulated militia. What part of this, I ask you, tells you that the Second Amendment gives the right to bear arms to civilians? With the phrasing of this law, the implication is that the right to keep and bear arms is applicable to only the people who are part of said well-regulated militia, and who are acting in the security of the country. In other words, it applies only to the Armed Forces, and if you have to stretch, police. Civilians are not in the equation here, legally, and for a good reason. There’s also reason there are gun permits and control laws, but they are not enforced, and that reason is the same as prior, and is really very simple: not everyone should own a weapon.

That’s only a haunch of the proverbial elephant in the room, and that is something that the NRA and the gun-toting brigade don’t seem to understand. Not everyone should own a weapon. Not everyone has the responsibility, the psychological stability, the common sense, the levelheadedness, or the knowledge to make for a responsible weapon owner. Per one person who keeps a small handgun in a safe for protection and has no reason to ever remove it from its safe, there are at least three people who will keep an assault rifle in their house, claim it’s for the same reason, and have no rational or common-sense explanation whatsoever as to what kind of danger they perceive themselves to be in that they own an assault rifle that, let’s face it, doesn’t belong outside the Army.

What is wrong with this picture? Plenty, and there’s far too much behind this to dismantle. So let’s begin.

Let’s start with the fear-mongering. It’s gone far enough. Let’s start by stopping the culture of sensationalizing and dissecting infinitisemally every little tiny quibbling detail of the news reported and just stick to reporting facts. What happened to journalism? What happened to real, implication-free, non-yellowed journalism? Has that become completely extinct while I wasn’t looking? Because really, every last piece of information that comes over mass media has an overwhelming flavor of you should be afraid for your life! when in reality, the “threat” is imaginary at best, and overblown any way you spin it. We are capable of independent thought – yes, even the yokels who may not seem that way at first – and we should be given the very basic luxury of interpreting the facts for ourselves. Yes, media saturation is one of the reasons behind gun violence, or has the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona, a result of overblown and oversaturated rhetoric, taught us nothing?

But this is the easy discussion. We can always talk about guns. We can always talk about the media being a roiling pot of fear, misinformation, and loathing. That’s the easy discussion.

We can’t talk about mental illness.

We need to.

This is the real elephant in the room. This is the hard discussion to have. And it’s the hardest one.

Read this. It’s necessary.

The shooter had a mild form of autism. Guess what’s going to happen next in the media. If you can’t, I’ll spell it out for you: after this, every single autistic person, child or adult, will be demonized as some violent homicidal maniac who’s a menace to everyone around them. Every single person with a mental illness – a genuine mental illness – will now have the label of “potential killer” slapped on them. Is it the case? Of course not. But will the general public be aware of it? No. Who will suffer as a result of their lack of awareness? Everyone.

Mental illnesses get misdiagnosed and mistreated on a regular basis. As a result, people who have them end up with a far more compromised mens rea than they have naturally. All this in the interest of slapping a band-aid in the form of a pill on the real problem, and that problem is that people do not really know how to adequately treat mental illness. It doesn’t help that not enough of  a priority is put onto researching mental illness to begin with. This and worse happens with autism, and as a result, what happens, again? No one benefits. Not the autistic people. Not their families. The only people benefiting in this unfortunate equation are the pill-pushers and the manufacturers of the medicines.

All blended in with the media frenzy about fear and loathing, and the added bonus of people screaming about their so-called imaginary “patriotic freedom” to carry an AK-47 as they see fit – to defend themselves from what, they don’t know and I won’t be the one to ask – and the responsible gun owners staying very silent to dissociate themselves from the AK brigade, blithely unaware that they’re the ones misrepresented by them too, and you get a perfect storm that brings absolutely nothing good for the social perception of anyone who’s not “normal” (an objective concept at best). Fear whips people into a frenzy, and I can assure you one thing without hesitation: nothing that people do out of fear is done with a sound mind and in sound judgment.

People have already come out and said that if one of the teachers had a gun on her, then this could’ve been avoided. Reality check time: she did own a gun. That was the gun that her son had taken to kill her and her husband, and everyone else.

Some people are even coming out and saying that assault rifles need to be in schools. Okay, and that solves what, exactly? And let’s add that this was an elementary school. Children were victims. CHILDREN. Children who get curious, and who are bound to try and play with an assault rifle because of the way it looks. The inevitable result of that – I cannot use a polite term to frame that suggestion – is more deaths.

More guns do not solve the issue. It’s pure and simple math. What did I say back in the election season? Math does not lie. It does not take sides. If you have 2x = 10a as a base setup, 4x = 20a. Simple math.

Mental illness needs to be discussed. Mental illness, which takes many shapes and forms, rarely if ever diagnosed properly, treated very inefficiently most of the time, is the real elephant in the room. As a tragedy unfolds, and as twenty-seven families have to now face Christmas without their kids and loved ones, we as a country are mourning with them.

We are also staring down a choice. This choice is how we continue from here. Do we:

1. Make an effort to actually learn about something that affects a chunk of our population that keeps growing, and work to prevent these tragedies before they begin? Yes, mental illness affects an ever-growing segment of the US population. And by and large, few mentally ill individuals ever become violent. But if they had been treated, this could have been avoided.

2. Keep on our current path and wring our hands, collectively, saying that we have to do something?

Because let’s be realistic: we’ve done all our hand-wringing with the Colorado shootings. With Virginia Tech. Time to stop with the hand-wringing and start on a real, non-knee-jerk, non-stereotypical, non-biased conversation about mental illness. About what constitutes responsible gun control. About when to turn off the television because bad news saturates. And most importantly, about real, honest, realistic responsibility and prevention.

Because we, as a people and as a country, need to actually be people. Screw ideology, screw your personal beliefs for a minute, and just look at the big picture. It’s grown to be quite ugly, and it got that way when realistic discussion gave way to the quagmire of politicking and media sensationalism. We can make things work, but to do that, we actually need to keep the jerking knees under control and discuss. Even the tough stuff. Especially the tough stuff.

In Memoriam: the victims of the Newtown, CT shooting. Requiescat in pace.

K.G.

Reflections on a Re-election

Barack Obama won his next four years in the White House.

To say that I’m relieved right now is an understatement. Considering how much has been at stake for this election, both for me personally and in the scope of the Big Picture for the Country, I was honestly scared for what I would have to do if we would’ve ended up with a President Romney. I’m relieved. Exhausted mentally, on all accounts, but relieved above all.

You’ve seen my writing on the topic of politics. I’ve ranted up a small storm every time the debates were on. But all kidding aside, this has been a nail-biter.

The issues on the line were ones that directly impact both of the working generations: that of our parents, the baby boomers looking to retire, and the young people – their children, really, or, well…people my age, to put bluntly – who are just entering the workforce fresh after college. Social Security will be the way most of our parents will pay for retirement. Not everyone has a 401K. Not everyone has or will have a pension. Not everyone’s kids will be able to afford to take care of them. And if you consider that the kids of this equation – the voting bloc aged from 18 to 30 – are so saddled with debt from student loans that they’re forgoing having any sort of a life of their own so they could pay it back, then you have to wonder how the kids and the parents will be able to take care of each other.

All of this, to a middle-class working woman with student loan debt, with a valid concern about reproductive rights, with a very valid concern about how much money I will be paid for my work, and an extremely valid concern as to whether or not I would ever be able to stop working later in life, is pretty damn important.

And yes, I will be up front about the fact that I judge a country’s leader by the way he leads his own life, in addition to where he stands. The people who say that both candidates are the same could not be any more wrong, in both the personal and public aspects of the persona. Obama had proved that while he’s far from perfect, he has it where it counts, and had taken chances on decisions that had, so far, paid off. Romney had proved that he values his secrecy far over his candidacy, and he had paid for it with this election.

Secret life and private life are different, let me just say. You’re entitled to the latter, but not the former. And if you are running for public office, both will be combed through thoroughly, and nothing would be left to chance. No, the two candidates are not the same. Last time I checked, Obama doesn’t have a lower effective rate than his own cleaning guy. Obama had never exported my job to China. And Obama definitely never had a plan that boiled down to, “First put me in the office and I will tell you”.

But most importantly, this election had highlighted the GOP as it really is, and just how far it was willing to go to get the results it wanted. Florida governor Rick Scott got slammed in court over voter suppression, and voter intimidation, and he still persisted in attempting to suppress. There has been a historic number of smear campaigns – and I’m not exempting the Dems from it; I’ve seen maybe two anti-Romney ads that were more factual than insult-based (then again, my TV-watching is limited) – in the media. And with stances like that of Todd Akin and his utterly despicable “legitimate rape” remarks, as well as Paul Ryan having the brilliant (read: absolutely nightmarish) idea about rapists suing for and having visitation rights to the children that were born of their crimes, we got to see exactly how divorced from empathy the GOP has become. Truly, the entire attitude of the GOP came down to, “We got ours, you’re on your own”. Great – except life doesn’t work in the Ayn Randian style, and never will. No one gets anywhere on their own.

Oh, and the budget ideas…I don’t even want to start on it. As I discussed in my Debate and Taxes post, there’s no way, mathematically, that tax cuts generate revenue. Dwight Eisenhower was likely generating electricity from spinning in his grave, and he was the last Republican to balance the budget.

Another thing that this election had highlighted for me is the aspect of human nature that clings to belief in the face of facts, the part of people that would rather go for a lie than hard facts. We’re told, by self-help gurus, coaches of all sorts, and well-meaning friends and relatives, that if you want something badly enough, believe in it, a la The Secret. If you want something, picture yourself already having it.

But what politics and The Secret alike fail to consider is that if the facts do not back the possibilities, and if there is no underlying solid base to the end result, then no amount of wishing, hoping, or praying will yield you your desired result. That’s just simply not possible. Think about it in the terms of interviewing for a job. You might be the best person for the job; you walk into the interview and talk up your best game. Your resume stands up to cross-examination. However, if you have no qualifications necessary for the position, there is no chance you’ll get it. You can’t interview for a financial management position if your background is in communications. You can pray, yes. You can hope, yes. You can visualize yourself in that position. But unless you have done something to get the qualifications (work/intern at a financial firm, get a second degree in finance, etc.) for the job, you cannot walk into it and hope to get it just by a wing and a prayer.

Human nature is to cling to the ideal in the hope of having it come true, and rarely do people as a whole stop and reassess just how realistic those ideals and hopes happen to be. The conservative base has divorced from reality when it had shown its hand on social issues, and continued to hope that, despite the overwhelming evidence that the majority of the country did not subscribe to the same social value set as themselves, their world view would win out. Had they actually stopped, looked outside their ideology, and looked at what people – especially young people, who are their own children and coworkers alike – really live like, they would see that their own view isn’t really reconciling with the reality of the current generation. But instead, they thought that if the other people would just see their world view, they’d know that they’re in the wrong. If they could only have the good old days, they would see just how great things were. After all, it worked well for them.

Never mind that for a lot of people, it really didn’t work that well, but I’m more into dissecting the mindset.

The fact of the matter is, a lot of the people who had bought into Romney’s sales pitch – and let’s face it, this campaign was a massive sales pitch; this applies to both sides – had completely ceased to analyze and read between the lines. The statement that they had clung to was, “I can defeat Barack Obama!” and for those people who were not okay with the president for whatever reasons (it will take too bloody long to get into why they weren’t okay with him, so I will not), that was enough. They had not  stopped to consider that Mitt Romney had not demonstrated where, precisely, he was a better choice than Barack Obama. Foreign policy? Taxes? Social issues? Jobs? Nowhere had he demonstrated sufficient consistency and knowledge. And on close analysis of his campaign, he had turned his coat on issues so many times that no one even knows where he stands anymore. But they heard, “I can defeat Barack Obama!” and that was enough. The bubble was set and sealed, and people got comfortable with it and in it, while the rest of the world looked on, analyzed, dissected, and saw the bubble for what it truly is.

Ignorance of the facts does not work. Ever. If an ostrich buries its head in the sand, sure, it cannot see what’s going on and is comfortable and secure because of an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. But at the same time, the backside of that ostrich is fully exposed and ready to take a kick. Facts catch up and kick very hard when ignored, and it hurts a hell of a lot worse than taking the hit head-on. And what we have seen in this election was an ignorance of the facts that, in the case of the far right with the tea party, etc. was just plain frightening.

I got into a thing on FB with someone who insisted that cutting taxes brings in revenue. Mathematically, that’s wrong. Logically, that’s wrong. And yet it was a belief across nearly half the country that that was the case, even though any IRS agent will tell you that it’s not. And no one on the right bothered getting a pen and paper and setting up a few equations to see how it worked. You don’t need to be a math genius to know that if you have an x = y setup, you cannot have 1/2 of x = 2y. In fact, any public elementary school teaches you this.

Mitt Romney was one of the original pioneers of outsourcing, and Bain Capital records and articles support that. And yet, people believed that he would bring the overseas jobs back. Someone please explain to me why, precisely, would someone do away with something that he had directly profited from? If money does the talking, then the income that companies in this country had made because they had outsourced their labor should be speaking volumes. Bringing jobs back into the US would have decimated many companies’ profit margins. And why would they do that, then? No one on the right had asked this.

Paul Ryan had admitted that the Romney budget plan was trickle-down economics. Considering that that’s what had precipitated this mess to begin with when Reagan had implemented it, it’s amazing that the right had not asked the key question of exactly what would trickle down, if, as stated above, letting wealth and profit go anywhere would kill the profit margin.

The red states who had overwhelmingly voted for Romney are also the poorest states in the country, where use of public assistance is the only way for some people to survive. Mitt Romney had said multiple times that he would do nothing for safety nets, and in the infamous 47% video, stated that those people considered themselves “victims” and that he wouldn’t worry about them. Those red states are among the highest rates of public assistance – and they voted for the man who was perfectly fine with eliminating their only source of survival. They hadn’t stopped to consider that hey, if this guy wins, I won’t have a red cent to my name, or any way whatsoever to survive. That was a perfect example of cognitive dissonance, and it was stunning in the worst possible way.

This election campaign and watching the result has been an overwhelming exercise in watching the power of the human mind as it saw what it had found attractive and clung to it despite massive amounts of proof that what it was clinging to was nothing like the reality. Had I still been in college, I would’ve used this election for a thesis. Hell, if I go back for the Master’s in Psych that I want, I would very likely use it.

But there is a silver lining to having gone through this campaign as an observer: this election had also shown me exactly what people can do if they stand up and stand together. Just the financial aspect of Obama’s victory is evidence enough. Think about it: Romney had an absurd amount of wealth at his disposal, not just his own but that of donors, all as wealthy as himself. He got defeated by grassroots contributions. Small, $3+ contributions, given repeatedly by millions of people, had all stacked up to a presidential victory. Yeah, I donated too, a couple of times, at $10 each. But those $20 that I tossed into the pot had helped. As the saying goes, nickels and dimes make a full jar. It all added up, and it had a lot more influence than the conservative SuperPACs. In Florida, where voter suppression had made the news on an almost consistent basis, people had turned out to vote in record numbers, with lines going for miles. We’ve seen it with the alcohol during the Prohibition,  and we’ve now seen it with voting: if you want something to be as popular as possible, disapprove of it and attempt to suppress it.

Do you have any idea what it feels like to know that together, united, by contributing even the cost of a bagel on a weekly basis, many of us can overpower the wealthy individuals who are in control of the coffers and the media? Do you know how utterly empowering that feeling is, to know that yes, even though your contribution was minuscule, you made a difference? Do you know what it feels like to know that efforts to suppress a hard-won right have backfired despite the opposition just because people had decided to come together? It is something that you cannot ignore. And it confirmed what I already knew: united we stand.

The US motto is not, and has not been “In God We Trust” until the 1960s. I will, forever and a day, acknowledge its original motto as the real one, and it was borne out of the end of Civil War: E Pluribus, Unum. Out of many, one. After the Civil War, that’s when people had started saying, “The United States is” as opposed to “The United States are“. That’s what this election was about. That was the attitude that had turned the tide against the Big Money aspect of the campaign. And that’s the attitude that’s going to pay off. Not the, “You’re on your own, we got ours, why aren’t you doing X or Y?” attitude, but this. Out of many, one. That was what I had seen happen in NJ and NY after Sandy had slammed into our region. People ceased to give a damn for politics, wealth, and money, and instead had just turned to helping each other out.

That, really, is what I hope to see in the next four years. The smear campaigns are over. The votes have been cast. The president has been reelected. It’s DONE. Now we actually have to live, and coexist, and make things happen. Let’s do that instead of grandstanding on stances and rhetoric that, when dissected, have inherent flaws across the board.

K.G.

PS: Please stop with the whole, “Both parties are the same” line. They’re not and never will be. The right has been taken over by violent maniacs from the minute that Obama had won the nomination prior to the 2008 campaign. While the Democratic party was far from perfect from day one, the one massive difference between the kooks on the left and the kooks on the right is that the kooks on the left had gone largely ignored. The kooks on the right, known as the tea party, had taken over the party in full and the reps of the party actually and fully believe the stances of the kooks. The extreme leftists had gotten largely ignored. Yes, they exist, but not once has it happened that a Democratic voter/supporter/citizen would resort to violence and threats on the opposite side of it to make a political point. Democratic candidates had been shot at (Giffords), and had their offices vandalized (mutilated cat on an AR rep’s front door). Liberal institutions had gotten vandalized, broken into, and attacked repeatedly (look up the several bombings of abortion clinics, GYN offices, Planned Parenthood; murder of Dr. Tiller). But you do not, ever, see a Democrat attacking the headquarters of Focus on the Family. I didn’t see a liberal spray-paint a conservative office. I don’t see liberals picketing funerals. I don’t see liberals threatening to attack a candidate. But already, the conservatives are starting to threaten violence because Obama won the second time. So don’t get me started on the “both parties are the same” myth.

If you haven’t done it yet…

Vote.

Yes, it’s a public service announcement. The election season being what it has been, I won’t let this go unsaid. Vote.

It’s standing on the line, punching a few buttons, filling out a form and scanning it, or whatever. But do it. Vote.

This right hasn’t always been around. The United States is still only 234 years old, and as far as other countries’ ages are concerned, it’s barely out of diapers. The United Kingdom, England, its parent country, is over a millennium old. Don’t think for a second that you leave the British Empire without fighting for it tooth and nail. That’s what your right to vote has been born from. Don’t forget that until the conclusion of the War of 1812, the British government hadn’t even recognized the US as a country. Your right to vote has been fought for time and again, and it’s still being fought over now.

Vote.

Moreover so if you’re not a born citizen but got that way through naturalization. Moreover so if you are not white and male. Moreover so if you’re a woman. A college student. Someone who just hit 18 and is voting in their first election. For you, that right has been a dogfight through the years, and at no point had it stopped, if the suppression efforts (Florida, I’m looking at you) are any indication. You may laugh or scoff when people say “vote as though your lives depend on it” – well, they do. The president elected here will directly impact the course of the country for the next four years, and your life can change drastically over that period. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and tempt Murphy’s Law.

Ask yourself carefully what candidate is better for the country. Not just for you, but for the country. Use math, logic, and common sense. Do things add up? Does that person have a plan? Does that plan make logical sense when laid out in equation format?

Then go out there and cast. your. vote.

Otherwise, you lose any and all right to remark on politics in this country. Not participating in a government that depends on and responds to the public automatically voids your right to complain and remark on what the elected candidate has done or will do. You have the right to vote for a reason. In general world history, not exercising a right usually results in its cessation to exist. If you don’t vote because there’s “no one to vote for” – then write in your candidate, that’s why the space exists. If you do not vote, then you are stuck with whatever you get, and your right to complain is gone. Free speech nothing, this is pure and undiluted cause and effect. You had the chance to have a say, you didn’t, and now you reap the consequences. The First Amendment never once exonerated people from consequences to their action – or their inaction.

Vote. That’s your action.

That’s your right.

VOTE.

K.G.

Debate and Taxes

Last night’s debate was honestly a lot better. Now I understand exactly why Obama had held back on the first one: he wanted to give Mitt Romney enough time and rope to where he’d spew everything he had to spew, and then leave it ripe for dissection. And oh, Obama dissected. I am very proud of Mr. President today.

And Mitt Romney again proved that he is deeply unqualified for any post that doesn’t involve the letters C, E, and O.

The big buzzword of right now is “tax cuts”. Tax cuts, tax cuts, everyone wants to have lower or no taxes, but guess what: the treasury is gutted, needs refilling badly, and Romney thinks that if he cuts tax rates, reduces certain types of income tax, and eliminates deductions,  it will balance out.

This made me start laughing outright. I spent way too much time working at an accounting firm, apparently, because my bullshit meter went into the stratosphere on this one within five seconds.

I’m about to drop a piece of knowledge, guys and gals, and you’re not going to like it. You’re also not going to like it if you’re a Romney fan (in case of which…please close the blog now).

This is independent of any political party.

Ready?

It’s math. And the math says that Romney is full of shit.

Mathematics does not depend on politics. It either adds up or it doesn’t. Accounting math, specifically, depends on reconciliation across the board to be shown as correct: that a series of numbers add up to a certain percentage or a sum, and add up to the same sum across two platforms. If it doesn’t reconcile, you’re doing something wrong. That’s how you know your accounting is good or not.

First of all, let’s get rid of this ridiculous idea that we’re overtaxed. We’re not. Compare today’s tax rate with that under Richard Nixon, or even Gerald Ford. The difference is palpable. If your taxes were to be computed using the Nixon Administration’s numbers, you would be screwed. It’s simple fact. Look up the archives of the U.S. Tax Code if you don’t believe me. Taxes are at an all-time low.

Second, tax cuts don’t do a damned thing to bring in revenue.

You’d think, “But two-for-one sales bring businesses loads of revenue!” True – businesses, and businesses alone. But a government/treasury is an administration, not a business, and business math, which is centered largely on profit and bottom-lining, doesn’t work here.

This is why it doesn’t work:

Cutting a price to bring on a sale and make up the price cut in volume of sales makes sense – in business. Why does it make sense? Because it is banking on an increased number of consumers paying their money. This is good when you’re selling material goods and certain services. This is how buy-one-get-one-free sales succeed. The catch to that is that you cannot predict your number of consumers. You’re banking on taking a loss, and hope that you break even/make a profit in volume. You have that option because consumers are a variable number in this case.

In taxes, this is the exact wrong approach. Why? The number of taxpayers isn’t variable. People  retire from the workforce and enter it at a relatively constant, break-even rate. The taxpayers are a fixed constant, which means that the money has to come from their wallets one way or another, and it’s a matter of who can pay how much. Their number is the same. What isn’t the same is their incomes, and having an even rate across the board, and a plan that eliminates deductions but yet doesn’t tax certain types of income completely defeats the purpose of the tax rate to begin with. Because what does a tax return depend on, and the amount of tax taken out? The type of income. Because they’re not taxed the same way. Self-employed income gets taxed much higher than W-2 income. Pass-through K-1 income is not taxed the same way as either of the above. C-corp tax and partnership/S-Corp tax aren’t anywhere near the same.

Logically, if X is a fixed constant, and 3x = Y, then 1.5X will simply not yield the full amount of Y if you’re expecting it at the same proportionate rate. They just don’t reconcile. In this case, 1.5X will bring you Y divided by 2. Remember basic division from elementary school? If you have to divide, the same denominator is applied on both sides of the equal sign.

Therefore, tax cuts do not create more revenue. They slice it.

Again, this is simple math. You don’t need to be a rocket scientist or a CPA to be able to set up an equation and try to work it out. Pencil and paper would do.

Let’s dissect Romney’s tax ideas. He claims that he won’t tax dividends, interest, or investment income (cap gains, accumulated interest on IRAs, etc). This right here should be a red flag. Most people do not make a significant amount of dividend income to have it make an impact on their returns. Bank interest, at the current rates, is laughable as a source of income, to where the IRS dictates you not to bother even reporting if it’s below $10. But this is the thing: if you look at the big picture of what all that adds up to, you will realize that put together, this is exactly how the wealthy had acquired their wealth as of late: all of those types of income are rooted from previous investments. Not taxing those sources of income effectively puts more money into already well-lined pockets and further starves the IRS.

And then, atop that, Romney says he will eliminate deductions. Okay, which ones? Standard deduction is something across the board; for some people, it’s irrelevant because they’d be in AMT because of their amount of income/tax rate (self-employed; or making over 300K/year; or receiving mostly passive income). For Joe W-2, who only makes a certain amount a year and is taxed at 25%, that standard deduction, added up to the tax withheld from his pay, could mean he’d get a partial or full refund of his tax liability. This does mean that Joe W-2 is not paying taxes; he had paid them in the minute he had agreed to have his taxes withheld from his pay. There is a massive difference between receiving a refund and not filing a tax return.

Would Romney then eliminate the first-time homebuyer deduction? Or the mortgage interest deduction? Or property tax deduction? So a couple who went close to broke paying for their first house would now have to shell out on a tax bill from the IRS after they’ve paid their locality tax, which can get steep in some areas, especially if the assessor hasn’t been by in a while.

Or, would Romney eliminate the student loan interest deduction? Which people of my generation will continue to use into their fifties. And sometimes, it means the difference between breaking even on the tax bill and owing on it.  Again, for the upper tier it would make little difference, because with his idea about investment income, that little credit is barely relevant. For someone making 40K per year, that and every other credit counts.

Romney’s plan is mathematically impossible to execute. The money that he will not receive by means of even partially lifting liability for passive income tax has to get made up somehow. Killing deductions does absolutely nothing. Unless you put pass-through K-1 income at a 50% rate or higher, you just will not see even a small percent of the money that will be lost by his tax cuts. If you think eliminating deductions will rectify it, you’re kidding yourself. You can’t hope to collect an extra $300 or so in tax revenue from people who can barely pay their own bills. Someone who receives a dividend check of about $2,000 can pay that $300 much easier than someone for whom that $300 means groceries for a month. So where will the money come from? Slicing defensive spending? Of course not. Eliminating corn subsidies? Nope. His own offshore accounts? Don’t make me laugh.

The math just doesn’t add up. Where will the shortfall come from? The deficit can’t take it, and if you print more currency, as has been floated around in the early days of Obama’s presidency, inflation goes through the stratosphere. Salaries hadn’t kept pace with inflation as it is; Romney’s “solutions” to the shortfall would plunge the country into poverty, one way or the next. Anyone remember Hoovervilles?

But I promise you: if major corporations who outsource their labor to China and India got taxed to hell and back (Mr. Clinton, why the hell did you sign that tax break into law?!), the problems of unemployment and treasury revenue will be rectified in short order. You want to have cheap labor? Great. Pay the hefty tax bill for it, or bring the jobs home and your money will at least tide people’s lives over in the form of paid wages. But if that’s implemented, the CEO brigade will riot. Decisions, decisions.

Oh, and China isn’t “cheating”, as Romney put it. For one, he should be one to talk, he pioneered outsourcing while in Bain Capital. For two, if another country decides to open up a plant and give your country thousands on thousands in manufacturing jobs, what do you say? “Thank you very much”. China’s unemployment is an all-time low because the American companies have exported their factories and according jobs there. China’s economy is thriving because it’s powered by American money, and that American money is a fraction of what it would cost to open and keep the same plants and factories in the US. Smart business investment for the CEOs, and an even smarter one by China to allow it. Their revenue benefits too, because more people are employed and paying tax on their earnings.

Want to make the US attractive to CEOs? Tax the living hell out of outsourcing.

The fact that CEOs don’t want to be bothered to pay the overwhelming minimum wage of $7.25 per hour for American workers is another matter altogether. Because we all know that the real reason that companies took jobs out of the US is because paying that wage is way too much money for them. (end sarcasm)

(Don’t get me started on cost of living and wages keeping pace with inflation. I could go on for weeks.)

I have no idea what Romney was thinking going on about taxes in his debate. Hel-lo, did he not think that maybe, just maybe, people who knew accounting, or worked in accounting, would be listening? Did he honestly believe that if he would repeat the same BS over and over again, it would make it magically add up?

You see, this is exactly why I like math and accounting: it doesn’t lie. It does not and never will depend on a political party. Either it adds up or it doesn’t.

K.G.

On the debates, and politics. Warning: not polite.

Before I get into the very political post, I would like to first acknowledge that I will likely lose friends and followers over this, and am fine with it. But, like most important topics tend to be, this is something that I can’t really keep quiet on. If you disagree with me, feel free to, but my opinions won’t change.

Also, in a turn to the opposite, I don’t want feedback. I want to give food for thought. If you absolutely have to reply, you can contact me privately. But I’d rather you didn’t, and I’d rather you walk away with things to ponder on.

This is going to get very heated and profane, also very personal in a few ways, and I seriously don’t want to have to beat back commentary, especially on personal experience, whether mine or someone else’s.

Continue reading “On the debates, and politics. Warning: not polite.”

Some people should never be in charge.

Like this guy, the Mississippi governor, who insists that liberals want abortions left and right. 

Seriously? Do I really have to explain this shit?

Let me, again and with feeling, explain the concept of pro-choice. See the word choice. It does not mean to abort the ever-loving hell out of every pregnancy. It means exactly what it is: choice. As in, a woman has the choice as to whether or not she wants to keep a pregnancy. If she does – that’s her choice. See that word again? But if she doesn’t and makes the choice to abort, then that is her choice. Funny little word, right?

Now, look at what I just wrote. And now ask me this: where does it get implied, even remotely, that every pregnant woman would traipse into a doctor’s office and ask to terminate a pregnancy like it’s the easiest choice ever? Where is it implied that there’s an abortions-for-all concept here?

I’ll wait.

No answer? Fabulous. I’ll go on, then.

Let’s be frank and call a spade a spade: none of this anti-choice, anti-birth control BS is about babies. NONE. Zip. Zero. This is basically men getting their britches in a bunch over the fact that, now that women have control over their biology and don’t have to be shackled to house, home, kids, and uterus, they are creating viable competition for the men in the workplace and in life. This is all about control. It has absolutely nothing to do with babies, because the same people who would see abortion outlawed are the very same people who would eliminate any and all social safety nets as the next step. They don’t give a damn about babies. They don’t give a damn about women, because they can and will and have imprisoned women for not giving birth the way they want (google the case of a FL woman who was imprisoned because she wanted a natural birth after a C-section with her first child). They only want one thing: to shoehorn women right back into the 19th Century, where there was little choice for a woman but to marry and reproduce, man was the king of the castle, and everyone around him was to worship him.

This is what it’s about. Make no mistake. And lest you believe otherwise, think of this: the Republicans have proposed next to nothing to create jobs. They have, however, proposed – and in some cases, passed – over four hundred anti-choice bills.

This right here is a perfect demonstration of their priorities. None of this is about “saving” anything except their egos.

On a national scale.

And they’re not in the least bit ashamed that they would use women and women’s rights as political bargaining chips and blame “radical feminism” for their own misogyny. Feminism is this superbly radical idea that women are people. You know, human beings.

The Republicans have to lose and lose HARD in November.

K.G.