Various and Sundry Threats to the Democratic Voting Process and Other Parlor Games

Let’s face it, the real threat to the democratic voting process isn’t whether or not some little old lady, college student or disabled person can produce a current photo ID.  The real threat to the integrity of the electoral process is Citizen’s United, or United Corporations to be more truthful.  The negligible headcount of presumed fraudulent voters is by far and away unlikely to unfairly sway this coming November’s elections.  What will sway the elections is obscene amounts of anonymous money being infused into campaigns through shadow packs.  Corporations United is far too opaque to be taken lightly.  If, for example, a campaign donor is connected to casino gambling and that same donor is paying for a candidate’s shadow pack ad-messaging, the public needs to know who that person is and what interests they represent.  Otherwise the candidate, if elected, is beholden to the gambling industry.  Or the oil companies…. the coal lobby…. the insurance moguls…. or whatever greed motivated conglomerates are out there willing to do anything whatsoever necessary to lessen or eliminate industry guidelines drafted to protect the consumer.  Presuming the consumer and the voter are one in the same.  Big business knows the consumer/voter isn’t necessarily paying close attention to their own best interests.  There are sporting events to watch, soap operas to follow and embarrassingly fake reality TV shows among other distractions that pull everyone’s attention away from knowing the things they need to know in order to be an informed voter.  For instance I just learned one of the Kardashian Sisters is named Thor.

One of the best ways to divert the public’s attention AWAY from what they need to know is to spoon feed them partial truths and nonsense by way of ad placements on TV and the internet.  The objective is to build a case that’s counter to all common sense, but seems curiously plausible due to the fine craftsmanship of Madison Avenue tricksters.  Advertising survey people realize the public will eat up anything they’re told without ever fact checking as long as you tell them convincingly accompanied by good graphics.  Americans allow television and other easy media to mold their viewpoints not with what they need to know, but with a blend of what politicians want them to hear played against everyone’s own most primal fears.  It’s called “selling soap.”  The GOP strategy to regain the White House appears to be a two part process to pollute the airwaves with propaganda on one hand and suppress the vote with the other.  The key demographic is the voter who can’t distinguish Chris Christie from one of his reality show counterparts.  Sometimes they’re difficult to tell apart.

Across the river in Pennsylvania, Republican State House Majority Leader, Mike Turzai, said while speaking to special donors that the newly signed Pennsylvania voter ID law was “going to allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania.”  When you read between the lines what Tuzrai means, is he can glean out and suppress as many Democratic minority voters as possible in order to deliver Pennsylvania to Governor Romney.  Pennsylvania has fallen into the hands of knuckleheads and dimwits.  Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who signed the voter suppression order into law will probably experience a short political career, but not ending in time to see this particular calamity averted.  Corbett was the state’s Attorney General through much of the Penn State Jerry Sandusky investigation and all appearances suggest he potentially played a role in the sex scandal cover-up.  Hopefully his career will not survive a “Penn State” damnation by association, but his removal from office will never come in time to prevent further damage to women’s rights, voter privileges and fracking the environment.  The man is playing pocket pool with big business and dark overlords.

The November election is probably as important an election as we’ve ever seen in decades.  Never has there been a more crucial time to learn from our own recent past and apply it to our future by rejecting the principles of greed when the seeds of recovery are slowly being sewn.  I am a human economic barometer, a sort of “canary in a coalmine.”  As a freelancer I’ve noticed an uptick in inquiries about projects clients only commission when they’ve got discretionary spending.  I’m very close to the bottom of the economic food chain so I’m sensitive to any and all ripples in the water.  It goes part and parcel with being an artist.  With rare exception I’ve hovered inches from financial doom all my adult life.  The fact that I’ve survived at all and carry any glimmer of hope rides on the belief that Barack Obama must get a second term.  History demands it.  Don’t allow big money and voter suppression to further divert the course of the future.

- Dissociated Press, 7.29.2012

Winnie and Duck Explain the ‘NRA for Dummies’ Because the NRA Remains Clueless – Everyone Else Has Already Figured Them Out

When a person buys an assault weapon, legally or illegally, they’re buying it to USE it.  No one buys an automatic assault rifle without so much as the hint of a fantasy that they might get an opportunity to use that weapon to kill someone or something.  You don’t need an assault rifle to shoot deer or rabbits although it would increase your odds while leaving your meat not only “gamey” but full of shrapnel.  You don’t need to use an automatic weapon to do that, scatter shot does the very same thing.  It’s the “friendly” weapon of choice, ask Dick Cheney.

That said, there is nothing funny about the latest senseless mass murder and injury of innocent theater-goers in Aurora, Colorado.  Nor is there anything funny about the Columbine massacre or the horror of Gabby Giffords’ attempted assassination and the deaths of the people who came to hear her speak.  There’s nothing funny about Trayvon Martin.  There’s nothing funny about the body found riddled with bullets three blocks from the historic district here in Philadelphia where I live….  Or the 32 year old man shot dead for his iPhone six blocks in the opposite direction in the heart of Society Hill.  The horrific examples are without end….

What IS funny (but not in a “ha ha” kind of way) is how the National Rifle Association predictably circles the wagons every time the NRA’s own stupid, poorly thought out gun laws blow-up in society’s face.  I call those laws the “NRA’s laws” because that’s exactly what they are:  They’re the result of a massive influx of funding flowing from one of the most powerful lobbyist networks in the nation.  The data is irrefutable proving a home containing a gun, exponentially increases the chances of a gun-related death or suicide.  The statistics are all over the map but the one thing they all have in common is a clear indication that owning a gun puts you at a higher risk of death and does nothing whatsoever to insure your safety.  Now apply that thought to individuals unbalanced enough to seek out any variety of rapid firearms….  And you only have to reflect on recent history to realize the NRA is not merely “in the wrong” but dangerously and indefensibly so.

I saw a bumper sticker that read: “Real Men Fight With Their Fists” – and while I appreciate the incremental progress that phrase represents – I offer-up the notion that intelligent people resolve conflicts with carefully thought out words and the enforcement of laws.  That, of course, rules out the crazies, the inherently stupid and all of the backwoods mental cases hiding behind trees in America’s heartland.  I believe a retroactive gun law needs to be introduced that includes a 90 day waiting period and written proof of a full psychological work-up plus a certificate stating the prospective gun owner has concurrently completed 30 hours of professional supervised training.  Once the gun owner has completed this “driving” test, they can apply-for and presumably receive a gun-license recognized in the state of issuance for anything EXCEPT an assault weapon.  Furthermore, every time a crime or murder is committed using a firearm, if the police are able to determine the manufacturer of the weapon, that company should pay a mandatory minimum fine of $1,500 per incident which would be passed onto the consumer, substantially raising the retail price of guns.  That should be retroactive too now that I think about it.  The money collected can be used to help victims of gun violence and surviving orphans.

Gun shows have got to be outlawed and loopholes closed, sealed and the earth salted beneath them.  Offending merchants can spend quality time with their most hardened valued customers in state penitentiaries nationwide getting to know one another better.  And while you’re at it, stop prosecuting minor infractions like possession of marijuana so the prison system can make room for the genuine criminals: People who use and sell guns for wrongful purposes.  A person’s right to own a gun doesn’t trump an innocent individual’s right to live out the remainder of their natural lives without being left to die riddled with bullets.  There IS no morally acceptable opposing viewpoint.  End of story.

- Dissociated Press, 7/21/2012

Zeus Ponders That “Old Time Religion” and Asks Why No One Has Consulted HIM…?!!!

Zeus ponders why the people keep asking for that “old time religion” but no one has invited him to participate in the conversation.  If that old time religion is allowing the state to become one with organized religion, then that’s really not good enough for me.  It lacks sound judgement to base an empire’s fate on the color of the smoke when burning entrails, but it makes no less sense than placing everyone’s fate in the hands of organized religion: Too much dogma and everyone thinks their mythology is superior to everyone else’s.  Lucky for us, we, as Americans have the right to keep our religious persuasions to ourselves and control of our own future if only by one single vote.  Be sure to check with your local and state officials for ID laws and further information as to whether or not you’re on the “black” list…..  Or the “elderly” list….  Or the “gay, inconvenient and unconventional” list….  (Don’t blame me, it’s not my idea.)  In ancient Greece and Rome only the aristocracy voted – and on the rarest of occasions one or two of those “senators” stood up for the common man if only to postpone the inevitable uprising until after his term was over.  It pretty much still works the same way – it’s called “keeping the peace.”

Part of keeping the peace is indeed satisfying the common man (and woman) with bread and circuses, and middle-class daily needs, because when you don’t address those needs there’s an inevitable uprising.  History bares me out.  If the system works (hopefully) it’s a “civil” uprising.  We currently face a battle squaring-off two candidates who couldn’t be of more divergent foundations in life.  One candidate identifies with the majority of thinking adults which in and of itself narrows down the playing field for the smart team.  OR, If you’re looking for a leader who represents what we all have in common, then look no further than the Swiss bank accounts and blind trust holdings in offshore strongboxes being served-up by the challenger.  Does anyone honestly believe Mitt Romney’s resume connects with either the common man or his and her faith…. or lack thereof…?  Even the “lack thereof” crowd are leery of a slick sociopath who’s on record contradicting himself more times than any candidate in recorded history.  Mitt Romney is running on the “Yeah, that’s the ticket, ‘ticket.'”  I keep wondering: Does Mitt Romney have a barely nodding acquaintance with truth and reality or is he living in an alternate universe tuned into his own inner voices? Voices only he can hear….  With Romney, you have to wonder who’s steering the ship?  He’s like that squeaky clean “Bob” character who appeared everywhere in graffiti a few years back.  Is Romney aware that cameras and recording devices exist and are trained on him to capture his every utterance?  Most embarrassing of all: HIS clips don’t require any “creative” editing.                                                                                        I give Mitt a B+ for courage when he sang “America the Beautiful.”  It used to be my favorite patriotic song other than the Whitney version of “The Banner.”  With Obama the challenge is how to convince certain sectors of the white middle-class, that voting in their own best interests without regard to where they land on the color spectrum will serve them well in the long run.  There’s no “shame” in learning from the Bush years.  What the middle-class needs to recognize is they’ve never been in more competent hands during a time of pestilence and crisis than under our current president.  That’s partly because most of us aren’t old enough to remember the last time of pestilence and crisis.  The “shame” of the situation belongs to the House of Representatives who stand instead for “petulance” and manufactured crisis….  Meanwhile Romney strategists are left reading entrails in braille when it comes to understanding the scope and scale of the American experience.  With that thought in mind, white middle-class America, ask yourself: “Why did the Republican House vote down every single jobs bill introduced?  Most notably the ones they themselves once championed?”  Answer: To keep the middle-class struggling so they can blame Obama for the economy as their premier chess strategy toward regaining the White House.  They want to put Mitt Romney in the White House.

Seriously?  Does anyone really want to see Mitt Romney in the White House?        I don’t want a suit model for the leader of the free world.  When I was a child I used to build elaborate sandcastles and when I was done, I’d place a ladybug to serve as “king” on one of my carefully sculpted towers, but it turned out that each and every one of them remained insects.  That’s exactly the problem the GOP has with selling Mitt Romney.  He’s as believable as the plot of “The Fly” only its the nation crying out “help meeee…!!!”  Middle-class white America, you need to take ownership of your connection to your half of our half-white and half-black president.  Who better to bridge the gap between us as America turns increasingly tan?  Anyone who can’t see that simple reality is consciously choosing not to.  It boils down to one essential question: Which of our presidential candidates best understands the definition of the word “struggle”?  Let your answer guide you in the voting booth this coming November, and bring a current ID if only to irritate the paranoid schizophrenic sourpuss asking to see it; “may Zeus strike down their minions.”

- Dissociated Press, 7/15/2012

The Human Race is Determined to Destroy Itself for Fun and Profit

The human race is determined to destroy itself as part of the process in allowing obscenely wealthy corporations the “freedom” to do whatever the hell they want.  We’re talking about the time honored tradition of hoarding the almighty dollar while ignoring the real costs to humanity.  Corporations, regardless what you might have heard to the contrary, are NOT people, but they are killing people.  Both quickly and slowly.  Our air, land, water and food supply are in severe jeopardy and somehow corporate America manages to avoid taking responsibility for what is left in its wake.  Corporate America, from banks to boardrooms have proven themselves to be the least patriotic sector of our culture, oblivious to the irreversible damage they cause.  As long as the gas, oil and coal industries (among others) can pay to air slick TV ads designed to snow-job the gullible into believing there really is such a thing as “clean coal energy” and “safe, clean burning natural gas” – then we’re all doomed.  So what if gulf shrimp have no legs and three eyes following the BP oil spill…?  Try some batter-fried so you can’t see the deformations.  BP can broadcast snappy TV commercials with lively Cajun music in the background assuring John Q. Public that everything’s been cleaned-up and everything’s fine and dandy.  It isn’t.

We just lived through a suffocating national heatwave.  Here in Philadelphia, as early as 7am, steam was rising off lawns and sidewalks during the “coolest” hours of the day.  Once every summer the media gives lip service to global warming following a spate of unseasonably hot weather and then thinks not of it again.  Prior weather records are consulted and determined to have been broken (yet again) and the climate deniers ignore all the evidence while dumping more and more filth into the environment.  Not to worry, just keep believing Jesus will clean it all up and make everything alright – so don’t lift a finger toward changing our own lifestyles….

The latest and most insidious of corporate America’s get-rich-quick schemes is hydrofracking which shatters the Marcellus shale creating poison seepage into the water supply for hundreds of surrounding miles merely to access miniscule amounts of natural gas.  Once hydrofracking has punctured and destroyed the natural plates below the ground that protect our drinking water supply, nothing can ever be done to correct that mess.  It’s done and done-for….  The infected areas will lay fallow for the unforeseeable future.  The State of Pennsylvania now has sick cattle quarantined due to frack poisoning.  Birds, rabbits, foxes and all sorts of wildlife are dying mysteriously with all indicators pointing toward hycrofracking as the cause.  Meanwhile, former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge has become a handsomely paid hydrofracking lobbyist selling his own state down the polluted river.  The Delaware River Basin to be specific, is a key target for the fracking industry, well underway.

Clearly we need to rethink our energy sources.  Wind and solar being the most obvious clean choices.  The Republican-stifled congress (especially in the House of Representatives) has blocked every job bill Obama has introduced.  Americans could be put back to work retrofitting domestic and public structures with solar panels.  This would be a shot in the arm for the construction industry no longer cobbling together pasteboard McMansions due to a lack of demand.  Abandoned factories could be re-purposed to manufacture solar panels and other clean energy sources.  But it’s an election year and keeping the economy flat-lined is the GOP’s top priority.  That said, they don’t give a rat’s ass about the environment either – if anything they want to roll-back all sensible restrictions concerning the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts.  So meanwhile no one has work, kitchen sink faucets are catching fire in fracking zones and people and pets are becoming violently ill.

Our aging nuclear power plants are in dire need of updates and repairs, but no one believes that what happened in Chernobyl or Fukushima could happen here.  Really?  Think again.  Last summer’s 6.0 east coast earthquake centered in Virginia was only a few miles away from an aging nuclear power plant spared by pure luck.  Meanwhile, Eric Cantor (R-VA) who is apparently a congenital idiot, is fighting to repeal nuclear power plant safety regulations.  Cantor and other official public dangers like himself all take campaign money from the satanic Koch Brothers whose sole purpose in life is to pollute the environment with toxins like formaldehyde used to cure the lumber after they’ve defoliated the forests.  Why?  Because it makes them very, very, very rich….  Rich enough to shadow-fund Republican SuperPAC’s.  People who live near Koch owned lumber and petroleum treatment facilities have a suspiciously high rate of pediatric cancer.  I, myself, have a friend suffering from lesions, hair-loss and a litany of health horrors suspected to be caused by daily exposure to formaldehyde found in products we use in our daily lives.

What can we do about it?  Probably not much, due to human apathy; aside from boycotting the products that cause pollution and making a concerted effort to stop over reproducing unplanned offspring causing the world’s population to swell thanks to thoughtless recreational sex,.  Yes, we’re screwed.  I would never bring a child into this world – not with the future they have facing them filled with toxic food, fouled air, poisoned drinking water and household products off-gassing God knows what into their lungs.  We’re facing all this suffering and ruin so shortsighted blithering idiots can get rich.  I’m relieved to be sliding into the final quarter of my life.  I’ve lived to see the world while it was still clean and at it’s best.  I have no interest in being here for the inevitable grain and water riots humankind faces in our collective world future.  In fact it’s already begun….

- Dissociated Press, 7/9/2012