Friday, October 31, 2014

Converting Guano Into Something Useful

I voted last Monday via absentee ballot, as I will not be in town next Tuesday to cast my vote locally.  Even though our democracy is extremely flawed, and special interests have bought and sold most politicians and the leadership of both the Democrats and the Republicans, I still feel that if a citizen doesn't vote, then they also need to 'sit down and shut up' if they disagree with anything that their government does, locally, in their state, or in their country.  If they've voted, then they have a voice - even if it is a very quiet one, muffled by millions of dollars of Super-PAC funds and billionaire robber barons who are manipulating the media and the electoral system for their own personal gain or promoting their brand of ideology.

Here in California, there's all sorts of online resources for sample ballots (like this one, here), and how to find out where to vote in your precinct.  Since it's a well funded Blue State (for the most part everywhere except Orange County, apparently) that gives more to the Federal government than it takes from the Feds, and it has a remarkably educated citizenry who are also motivated to try and show that government can do work that promotes the greater good, things tend to "work better here" than they did in Arizona, South Carolina, or Indiana, where Dr Desert Flower and I lived previously over the last 30 years.

But when it comes to the lesser known, "non partisan" races, for school boards, commissions, and judgeships, it is somewhat harder to discern what a candidate stands for, how they might vote, and to whom they owe their allegiances, their moral and political alignment.  Sure, one can individually Google every candidate and thoroughly research each race, but that takes time.

Luckily, one group of very angry, mostly white, mostly very old (retired), highly motivated and very vocal Tea Party affiliated Orange County California residents set up a website that helped guide me as to who I Do Not want to vote for: everyone they've recommended.  (link here) or the long link form, here:

It was very handy to see broad generalizations and Made-for-Fox-News hyperbole right there, in black and white, published for all of those devotees who consider guano as one of the 4 basic food groups.  Here are some actual text excerpts from the idealogical (and illogical) page:

*Neel Kashkari (R) vs. Jerry Brown (D)
RECOMMENDATION: Skip this portion of the ballot! I vehemently recommend that folks skip this portion of their ballots! Leaving the Governor’s portion on your ballots blank this year, will send a very loud and clear message to the CA GOP that you’ve had enough of them pushing RINO candidates on us, especially for such crucial offices! Had the GOP and their progressive donor allies not steamrolled over the authentic conservative in the primary Tim Donnelly, this race to challenge Jerry Brown would have likely been much more competitive and Brown would’ve been forced to defend his atrocious record!"

Yes, Jerry Brown has an atrocious record.  He's brought the state out of the massively deep fiscal hole Schwarzenegger and the Republicans dug (just like Obama had to with Bush), and successfully launched an expanded California Cares medical website without hiccups (better than the Affordable Care Act did).  He's being a moderate & successful governor....   how atrocious!   Earlier this week, the OC Tea Party website actually called Kashkari a "Liberal Republican candidate" but they've since taken that wording down.  Now they are just urging voters to NOT vote.  Fools.

For Lt Governor, Treasurer, and State Attorney General, same thing:  "No Recommendation" - they hate both the candidates because they are not bat sh*t crazy enough to warrant a Tea Party endorsement.

Then...  for State Controller, they list this gem:

*Ashley Swearengin (R) vs. Betty Yee (D) (OPEN SEAT)
NO RECOMMENDATION Ashley Swearengin is said to be the new rising star of the state GOP, but she’s certainly not the rising star of conservatives! As the Mayor of Fresno, this woman is an ardent supporter of Jerry Brown’s bullet train and she refuses to rule out the possibility that she might even vote for Brown this November!"
WHAT!?!?!?!  She might compromise, seeking a middle ground, and work across the aisle to get the business of governing done, instead of pouting in her own sand box if she doesn't get her way 100%?  Unimaginable!!!!!

And then, on judges, this bat sh*t site was very useful.  One such example is here:

You may be surprised to know this, but Goodwin Liu was nominated by Obama in early 2010 and again in 2011 to serve on the ninth circuit court of appeals! He is a former UC Berkley Law Professor, who was so incredibly liberal, that even some Senate Democrats joined Republicans in blocking attempts to end their filibuster of him! Obama had to withdrawal his nomination, not once but twice! Even the liberal former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel had reservations about nominating him because of his extreme views! Liu is a radical pro-abortion supporter, who also believes in an “evolving” Constitution! After a 16 month battle to keep Liu from the ninth circuit, Obama finally dropped his nomination. Shortly after that, Jerry Brown appointed him to our state’s highest court! I’ve pasted tons of info about Liu below! I strongly encourage you to vote NO on him!! This guy has no business serving on the bench! Vote NO on Goodwin Liu for re-election to the Supreme Court!"

Don't pay any attention to his legal record, his rulings, jurist prudence, or judgement... none of those things obviously matter if he has all that Obama all over him!!!  Focus only on ideology, and ideology only.  We get our way, or we don't vote!  Or maybe...  we take up those "2nd amendment remedies".  Guano.  Absolutely bat sh*t crazy.

But you know...   I should not be so hard on the OC Tea Party.  I can relate.  When I lived in South Carolina and Arizona, I knew I was always throwing my vote away when I checked the boxes for reasonable candidates who were opposed to Methuselah (McCain) or running against total Flakes, Brewers of terrible beverages, or total anachronisms who soon will be extinct as their telomeres continually shorten.  It's just a matter of time before the OC dinosaurs die out as well.

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