My Thanksgiving Tradition


Third graders holding hands Indians
And Pilgrims celebrating newfound lands
They tried to teach me that at school
Make the white man look superior, it’s always been their rule
Now I can’t believe we celebrate Thanksgiving as a holiday of unity and peace
If I had my way, we’d all dress in black
And Daddy would serve up the white meat
‘Cause genocide is nothing to celebrate, extinction doesn’t deserve a parade
And we perpetuate these lies with the turkeys that we buy
I tried explaining to my mom but she’s too afraid to admit to herself
That her race is a killing machine
Take a look around your town and who do you see?
The Native American is surprisingly absent in his own indigenous land
Do you want to know why? It’s ’cause we killed them all
It’s not that hard to understand, yeah
So I go to college and you know what I learned?
That 80 million people were killed by my grandpa,
Your grandpa and all of their friends
They bleached out our continent but that’s not the end
The last full blooded Aborigine died a century ago
If it’s possible there’s a place in the southern hemisphere
With a history even worse than our own
No one finds it peculiar
That a tropical island is full of people just like you and me
But Australia’s a piece of shit floating in the Pacific
Buoyed by the blood of the Aborigine.
Buoyed by the blood of the Aborigine.

The Joy of Groups

As part of my on-going treatment for my previous addiction to opiates, I do an hour a month of counseling, either in a one on one format with my actual counselor, or in a small group setting.  Normally I always try to fill my time with a one on one, since I have some serious issues with group treatment (which I will lay out below, after the main point of the post), but with the Thanksgiving holiday this month, I was forced instead to attend a group.  The group was billed as a “Men’s Issues” group and was being run by my counselor, so I figured it would be fairly painless.  Rather than “Men’s Issues” (whatever they may happen to be) the group quickly turned into a discussion of current events when the counselor asked the groups opinion on Syrian refugees.  While some things were completely unsurprising (I was alone out of the 11 in the room who supported admitting Syrian refugees to the United States), the rate of participation in the discussion was shocking (everyone participated, which could be a first in any group treatment setting), and some of the misinformation was simply depressing.

Why do I bring this up?  Because something I forget many times, in fact, something I think a lot of people forget from time to time, is that those of us who are well informed politically are not in the majority.  Sure, it is every citizen’s responsibility to be well informed in a democracy, but let’s be completely honest.  People have lives.  They have a thousand things competing for their limited time, and somethings, especially things that don’t immediately affect their day to day lives, are going to get shorted.  I spend a lot of time making sure I am well informed on issues.  I know how the media can mislead people, so I try to always read stories from various sites, including at least one from a comparatively unbiased news source.  I want to know what arguments I will be hearing, so I typically try to see what Fox News is saying about an issue as well.  Sure, it would be easier if I would just get my news from MSNBC or the Raw Story, but then I would be a picture perfect hypocrite since one of my main complaints about the right is the media bubble so many of them seem to live within.  Others who try to stay as informed can probably back me up on this, but some things have to be sacrificed.    For me it is largely television.  I normally have a documentary on in the background while I read or write, but my entertainment based television watching over the past five years is as follows:

  • Game of Thrones (because I am a huge fan of the book series.  Thankfully the showrunners have the show and their heads so far up their ass that since the sixth episode of the fifth season, I now have an extra hour free in the spring on Sundays.  To think, I actually subscribed to HBO for that show.)
  • One episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. (Though I’ve seen every musical number online.)
  • Cosmos
  • Random sporting events that my mother is watching.
  • Random episodes of Arrow and The Flash that my best friend put on while we were hanging out.
  • Random episodes of Blue Blood and Criminal Minds that my mother watches.
  • True Detective

And Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.  That’s it.  Seriously.  I’ve seen one episode of The Walking Dead.  Never seen Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, The Good Wife, Hannibal, or The Americans, even though I hear they are all great/at least worth watching shows.  It’s not because I don’t like television either.  Hell, I even like bad television.  I’ve seen every single episode of Perry Mason and Matlock thanks to my father’s love of those shows.  I think I’ve seen every Walker, Texas Ranger.  Most of Little House on the Prairie and Bonanza.  If I have the flu or something, I will watch 30 straight hours of Law and Order or Law and Order:SVU.  I used to adore Adult Swim.  Now?

We switched to Direct TV last year about this time and my room got a box installed.  I took the HDMI cable off the Direct TV box and used it to hook my television up to my new video card.  I have yet to watch television in my room on my new DTV box.  Why?  Because it is the entertainment I sacrifice to stay as well informed as possible.  And as much as I’d like to say that I do that because of a sense of civic responsibility, the fact is that I love politics.  Yeah, I care about the issue and everything, but I also am fascinated by it all; the inner workings of the system, the polling numbers, the psychological tactics employed to win voters, the debates, the lies, the amount of bullshit people will forgive as long as it comes from politicians in their own party, the idiocy, the insanity, every now and then the brilliance.  I love politics, and I have a very hard time thinking I would be anywhere near as well informed as I try to be if I didn’t enjoy it.  Politics is my thing.  And for many of those who are reading Think Progress, Right Wing Watch, Salon, Mock Paper Scissors, and Brad’s Blog to name a few sites, politics is their thing as well.  And sometimes, just like the right wing media bubble that some conservatives live in, listening to only rightwing talk, watching only Fox and Newsmax, reading only WND and Brietbart, we live in a bubble consisting only of people who care about politics.  Then we get frustrated when people don’t see our points or fail to understand what we think is a simple concept, forgetting that we are not only drawing on our built up over time knowledge of the middle east situation, but also the hours we’ve put into the latest crisis while the person we’re arguing with knows the following:

  • there was a bad terrorist attack in Paris
  • there is a Syrian refugee crisis
  • a lot of people are very adamantly saying that it would be dangerous to allow those refugees into the United States.

Now honestly, other than frustration, what are the possible outcomes of such a debate?  Especially if we don’t realize that both parties are coming at the debate from different places.

Look, I’m not saying these people are stupid.  Not at all.  By definition they are politically ignorant, but how much blame do they deserve for that?  Our brains did not evolve for the information driven life we now live, and for the vast amount of people, being politically well informed isn’t give that much priority when compared to the countless other things that demand our time and effort.  Sure, Trump may be leading in the polls right now, but remember, he has name recognition and the vast majority of the nation isn’t paying serious attention to the race yet.  If everyone was as passionate about politics as I am and he was still leading the polls, then that would be horrifying.  Sure, there’s a chance he’ll win the GOP nomination, and sure, even if he doesn’t, every damn one of their candidates cause me to shiver uncontrollably, but for me at least the real race won’t start until the voting starts and people start to pay attention.

Honestly, I don’t really know what point I am trying to make here.  It should be obvious to those of use who live politics that not everyone shares our passion, but then it should be obvious to the far right that they are a fringe group in the United States, yet they seem to believe the majority of citizens support the 40 member strong House Freedom Caucus.  We all project ourselves onto other people, because the only experience we have is inside our own head.  How can we have a debate about the Syrian refugees when the following issues, which all came up today in my group, are still around?  (11 people in the group. 2 proclaimed Democrats, 3 proclaimed Republicans, 6 apparent independents.  All men, since it was a “Men’s Issues” group.)

  • Obama is a Muslim.
  • Europe is on the verge of becoming majority Muslim.
  • In order to appear “tolerant,” European countries have installed Sharia courts for their Muslim population.
  • No-go Zones.
  • Muslims are having huge families in order to breed their way to political dominance in Europe and the United States.  (Amusingly the exact thing Quiverfull families are doing, for the exact same reasoning.)
  • The US is overflowing with Muslims already.
  • Europe will be dominated by Islam within a generation.  The US within 50 years.  (Unless we stop them, of course.)
  • Islam is the 2nd largest faith in America, only losing out to Christianity.

Good luck with your “admitting Syrian refugees” debate when you are already facing this grab bag of misconceptions.  Somethings did surprise me though.  Just about the whole room understood that the refugees were running from ISIS.  They knew that even Al Qaeda thinks ISIS is insane.  They all know that ISIS mainly kills other Muslims, or if they didn’t know, quickly accepted that as fact.  A majority realize that most refugees are women and children, no matter how much propaganda the right puts out that they are all “fighting age warriors.”  A super majority knows ISIS is attempting to draw the west into an apocalyptic war.  Every person in the room knows that ISIS wants the United States to put “boots on the ground.”  Just about everyone spoke up about how any backlash against Muslims gives ISIS just what they want.  They know that the reality is Everyone vs ISIS while ISIS wants it to be the West vs Islam.

And yet I was still the only voice in the room for admitting Syrian refugees.  Some used the obvious “what if we let in a terrorist” argument, but others ranged from confusing to jaw-dropping.  One of the people who claimed Europe would be dominated by Muslims within a generation stated that Europe should take in all the refugees.  Two took the stance that they should all go to China, because…’s closer I guess?  A popular option was relocating the refugees only to other Islamic countries, ignoring the Syrian Christian refugees I guess.  By far, however, the response that pissed me off the most, a position that was accepted by the majority in the room, was as follows”

“How are we going to admit refugees into the United States when we have homeless and hungry people living here already?  I feel bad for them, but we have our own citizens to worry about before we can start helping people from other nations.”

I’d like to say that I destroyed that argument as soon as it was stated.  I didn’t.  I’d like to say that the reason I didn’t was because the group ended as soon as he made that statement.  That would be a lie.  After he dropped that bomb, the group continued for five more minutes, mostly of people agreeing with that statement.  I’ll be honest.  I just sat there, slack-jawed, in total disbelief, with no real idea of how to combat that statement without turning the rest of the group into a literal shouting match.  The statement is so nonsensical that it isn’t even wrong.

You do not get to use the existence of America’s poor, hungry, and homeless, who we routinely ignore, sweep under the rug, and hide away out of sight while providing them the bare minimum (if even that) of aid to satisfy our sense of ethics, often demonizing them while complaining about what they spend their limited funds on, (Omg, that person on food stamps has a tv!!!! Burn them!) as an excuse to avoid helping other people in need.  If the money to help the 10k refugees coming to America was coming directly out of programs that help the homeless and hungry, then okay, make the argument.  But as of now, here is that argument explained:

  • We’d like to help the Syrian refugees, but we have our own hungry and homeless people to help first.
  • We do not help Syrian refugees.
  • We continue giving our homeless and hungry the ethical bare minimum (if that) of aid.  The same amount they would get if there was no Syrian refugee crisis.

We live in a wealthy western nation.  Americans do not like to hear this much, but we have hungry and homeless people in the United States because we choose to have them.  You can not make the argument that the United States is not rich enough to build a few less fighter jets and eliminate homelessness and hunger in the nation.  You can argue against us doing that, some people argue against any social safety net.  The voting public and their elected officials have made the decision that homelessness and poverty are acceptable consequences of our societies system.  Perhaps they are correct.  I don’t know.  I know that in the future, as machines take over more and more jobs, something like every citizen receiving a minimum income from the government is going to be a requirement, but that is still a future concern.  I know that if it really was as obvious as I think it is that food, housing, and health care should be fundamental rights in a wealthy nation, then that would be reality.

But what is obvious is this.  You do not get to use the homeless people we are already not helping as an excuse not to help other people.


Why do I normally attempt to avoid group counseling in favor of one on ones?  For those of you who have never done any drug and alcohol treatment, I’ll throw in a quick run down:

  • Groups where no one wants to participate are depressingly common.  Watching 10 people sit in a room silently is not one of the most entertaining usages of time that I can think of, so I normally talk the whole group once I realize no one else is going to.  Which makes it a one on one with an audience.
  • Even groups that are actual group discussions normally break down into 3 or 4 people discussing the topic and 6 or 7 people watching the clock.
  • Know what’s really fun at a methadone clinic?  A group where one of the participants is either obviously on way too high of a dosage or a handful of Xanax as well.  Sure, if they are really obvious they may get in trouble.  They may even get removed from group.  But as any ex-opiate addict will tell you, we can instantly tell if someone is high.  It doesn’t bother me now, but early on in your recovery high people can be instant triggers.
  • How much does the counselor leading the group want to be there?  Every counselor has to run a certain number of groups each month.  Half the time the group therefore consists of watching an episode of Drugs; INC.  In which case I have to leave the group, because ya know what is a trigger to me still, and probably will be my whole life?  Watching someone shoot up.  The sight of an insulin syringe causes my heart rate to increase.  I have years of clean drug tests now, but overconfidence can take down the best of us.  I know my triggers and limit my contact with them.
  • Going off the attitude of the group leader, do they want to run a good group or just get the hour over with?  If it’s the latter expect people to be allowed to cross talk endlessly or just fuck around on their smartphones.    So much fun, especially when you can hear the cross talk and the discussion is about the Xanax they are buying when group is over.
  • Speaking of phone usage, I have seen some people bring up some really heavy shit in group treatment.  People breaking down, crying, admitting things that take the whole room by surprise.  I’ve never seen or heard of this being done, but if someone is fucking around on their phone, how does anyone know they aren’t taping the break down to laugh about with their friends later?  I’d be more comfortable if no phones were even allowed in the group room, and I’ve already dealt with my embarrassing shit years ago.

Group treatment is very effective when done right.  I’ve done multiple groups in the past that I believe really helped me.  That being said, too often in drug treatment, especially when the group is a time requirement and not filled with just people who want group treatment, the problems trump any possible positives.  Why bother?  I’ll just take the one on one.  (Even though I know my next one on one is going to be an hour of me looking at my counselor with my mouth open stammering “Why the fuck do you think Obama is a Muslim again?”)

Dear Anti-Hillary People….

I’m not Nicole Arbour, I get it.  Bill Clinton was a great President, for a Republican.  Hillary is far from a true liberal or progressive, she’s just more of the same old big money swill the major parties forces us to choose from.  If you asked me to name the top 50 people I would install as President of the United States with no concern for reality, Hillary wouldn’t even make the list.  I’ve read your clickbaity Salon articles, I’ve heard the arguments, and I feel ya, I really do.

You have local, state and federal candidates who want to change the system, point them out, I’ll vote for em.  I’ll march in the parade to get money out of politics.  I’ll collect signatures to get rid of gerrymandering and single representative districts.    You’ll get zero argument from me that the system is broken.

I just really want to know what the actual alternative is to voting for Hillary in the general election, assuming the Democrats nominate her.  The above linked article suggests writing Bernie Sanders in during the general election.  I’m sure that will go great for you.

This ideological purity bullshit is what turned the Republican party into the joke it is today.  I would much prefer the Democratic nominee for President to be as progressive as possible, but I’m also not willing to watch 2000 happen all over again to make some protest vote against the Democratic party moving towards the center to pick up moderates the GOP keeps abandoning.  Yes, I will fight to move the party to the left and work to get the party to nominate progressive candidates, but there is no way I am letting any of these GOP candidates win the Presidency with possible control over both houses of Congress without one hell of a fight.   After each of President Obama’s election wins we’ve heard the far right say that they lost because their candidate wasn’t conservative enough.  That evangelicals stayed home rather than vote for a moderate Republican.  Do we really need our own group taking their votes and going home when the candidate isn’t ideologically pure enough?

Our political system is broken.  Two party systems are a damn joke when half the electorate treats it like sports.  We need some major fucking reforms, and it is going to take time and effort to force the changes.  And yes, sometimes voting does boil down to the lesser of two evils.

I probably don’t have any say in who gets the Democratic nomination.  By the time I vote in PA, a candidate normally has things sewn up.  I’m honestly not sure who I would vote for if it ends up mattering this cycle.  But if next November Hillary is indeed the Democratic nominee, I will vote for her.  Hell, I’ll probably be doing poll work for the campaign.  If you really can not bring yourself to vote for her because she isn’t liberal enough or even just enough of an improvement over the alternative, then I understand.

I’ll still blame you if she loses, but I will understand.


So the “compromise” the Pennsylvanian GOP is apparently willing to pass through the gerrymandered to hell and back PA state legislature is a fucking treat.  From what I’ve been hearing, Gov. Wolf will get his huge increase in education funding (which is desperately needed, especially since ex-Gov Tom “This is what you get when you don’t vote in off year elections” Corbett slashed education funding during his term) and nothing else.  The state GOP has killed any new taxes on the natural gas companies happily fracking their way to huge profits and managed to get a property tax decrease, forcing new funding to come from a purely regressive increase to the sales tax, giving PA the second highest statewide sales tax in the nation at 7.25%.  This is all rumor mill stuff until I hear otherwise, but this “compromise” is the word on the street.  The Democratic governor only being able to get education funding that never should have been cut increased, with the GOP protecting their friends in business, in spite of Wolf’s landslide victory in 2014.

Folks, seriously.  This is what gerrymandering, and not paying attention to local races will do to ya.  Practically every single election, more Pennsylvanians vote Democratic than Republican, yet our state legislature is overwhelmingly controlled by the GOP.

Meanwhile, my useless Rep, state Sen. John H. Eichelberger Jr., took a brave stand against a local effort to force nursing homes to pay their employees a living wage.  This is an issue I never even thought of, to be honest with you.  I always assumed that nursing home employees were decently compensated.  That was until my ex-significant other got a job in a nursing home.  She would bathe the residents, dress them, feed them in some cases, everything you would think nursing home employees would do, and she made the grand wage of 7.25 an hour.  Which is less than the local McDonald’s start employees off at, and you don’t have to wipe anyone’s ass at McDonald’s.   Let us all read the wisdom that Sen. Eichelberger Jr chose to bestow upon us all:

Eichelberger doesn’t agree with the imposition of any minimum wage, he said by phone after the rally.

“I think the marketplace should dictate what people are willing to pay,” he said.

Good employees with lots to offer will tend to receive better pay, he said.

Minimum wage laws cost employers more than just what’s needed to bring low-pay workers to the minimum, because workers who make more than the minimum often demand higher pay to maintain a fair and proportional separation, he said.

You know, it is such a naive worldview that it is almost cute.  Businesses are not going to increase workers compensation out of the goodness of their hearts.  Especially business that employ minimum wage or close to minimum workers.  They are going to pay as little as they can to get someone to do the job.  They don’t care if that person also has 2 other jobs, or if that person has to rely on government assistance in addition to their full time check.  Why?  Because they know people are willing to do it. Someone will always be desperate enough to take your poverty wages.  Next time you’re annoyed by bad service at a fast food place, remember that every employee there not only knows they are expendable, but is compensated like they’re expendable.  Even the managers.

I’d like to hope that most nursing homes don’t pay the people washing up your grandmother minimum wage, cause I’ve seen how little people making minimum wage care sometimes about their jobs.  I know the place my ex worked was a bit shady, and I definitely wouldn’t have put a loved one there.  (It has since closed down.  The Blair Chalet if you’re interested.)  But whatever the wage, it isn’t impressive, and I think we owe it to the older generation to compensate their caretakers more than a burger flipper.

In a perfect world, shareholders would insist that the businesses pay their employees a living wage.  In a perfect world, companies would treat their employees as partners instead of cogs in a machine.  In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need minimum wages because everyone would get paid a fair wage.  This isn’t that world.  This is a world that used to send children into coal mines because of profit margins.

An Honest Question….

So, is Fox Business part of the evil liberal media conspiracy?  I’d assume that they are not, but after the shock of finding out CNBC’s whole “news for the 1%” image was just a front they used in order to ambush the poor GOP presidential candidates with mildly annoying questions, well, I’m not taking anything for granted.  (What a deliciously evil move that was by the masterminds at NBC, was it not?  Launching a cable network dedicated to nothing but the financial news desired by the 1%, spending years nurturing the channel until it is seen by all as corporate friendly,[” CNBC: Cause Fuck the 99%. Amirite?”] only to finally reveal their true colors <commie pink and socialist red, of course> during the 3rd GOP presidential debate, not by confronting the candidates with boxes filled with the scientific evidence for human caused climate change and demanding answers, not by giving them binders full of women helped by Planned Parenthood, not even by revealing an audience filled with the Mexican immigrants who fill countless jobs American citizens deem as “beneath them,” but rather by being mildly irritating to Marco Rubio.  Fucking brilliant.  I mean, I totally don’t get it, but those people are masterminds of 3d people chess, so I’m sure it was a great move.)

But seriously, is Fox Business part of the liberal media?

The Ben Carson Word Salad of the Week, Nov 9th Edition



On “the human side” of drug addiction, on Meet the Press via ThinkProgress:

There are all kinds of addictions and addictions occur in people who are vulnerable who are lacking something in their lives, so we really have to start asking ourselves what have we taken outside of our lives in America? What are some of those values and principles that allowed us to ascend the ladder of success so rapidly to the pinnacle of the world and the highest pinnacle anyone else had ever reached, and why are we throwing away all of our values and principles for the sake of political correctness?

Um, what?

Seriously, how the hell did “political correctness” get in there?

Is Something Rotten in the State of Kentucky?

While the 2015 cycle was definitely an off year election for the majority of American voters, with few high profile offices up for grabs (in Pennsylvania, for example, the only statewide contests were judicial.), voters in Kentucky (well, at least 30 percent of them) were tasked with choosing the successor to their popular outgoing (term limits) Democratic governor.  In a landslide, Kentucky voters chose Tea Party candidate Matt Bevin as their new Governor.

And now, as soon as I type my next sentence, is when the comments calling me a “conspiracy theorist” start rolling in.

Or did they?  (You can comment below, or reach me at if you feel the need to insult me in private.)

The issue here is the voting systems we use in the United States.  Most of Kentucky, apparently, now uses hand marked paper ballots to vote, which is immensely preferable to touch screen systems.  The votes are then counted by running them through an optical scan machine.  Everything is cool so far.  The problem is that these machines are known to sometimes fail, recording votes incorrectly and declaring the losing candidate as the winning candidate.  This really shouldn’t be that big of an issue though, as the actual ballots exist.  Scan the ballots on election night, and then undertake a hand count of the ballots to verify the results.  Or if you are dead set against doing that in every race, then fine; only order the hand count if it is requested by one of the candidates.  I don’t care if hand counting the ballots is a pain in the ass, the integrity of our elections should be important enough to deal with it.  In Kentucky however, if a recount is ordered the paper ballots will just be re-ran through the machine, opening them up to the same mistake again.  These machines they use to tabulate the ballots can be tampered with, and as much as we’d like to believe all our elections officials are honest, we’d be naive to act that way.  Before this years election an Arizona official was caught on video breaking the tamper-proof seal on the computer that tabulated the results and can be seen doing something to the software.  This was mere hours after the logic and accuracy test was preformed on the machine in the presence of representatives from the Democratic and Republican party.  Thanks to a watchdog, this violation was noticed and the test redone the next day, but who knows what that person was actually doing and what effect it would have had on the election results.

Republican politicians keep pushing voter id laws, but other than their distressing habit of not showing up on election day, the voters are the least of our democracy’s worries.  Anyone who gives a shit about politics, no matter the party, should be demanding open, verifiable elections.  We shouldn’t be concerned with having the most high tech elections, we should have the most honest and fair elections.  Electronic voter rolls that replace old fashioned paper voter roll books may sound like a great idea, until they crash on election day, causing waits of more than an hour.  Touch screen voting booths look cool, until you see one switch your vote.  With a hand marked paper ballot, the votes are there, available to be recounted, proof to all of the election results.  With a touch screen system, you just have to trust the results it tells you.

The polling in Kentucky all showed a win for Democratic candidate Jack Conway.  The only poll that disagreed was a poll from a Republican outfit that showed the race a tie.  Conway lost by around 9 points.

The down ballot Democratic candidates not only got more votes than Conway did at the top of the ticket, they also mostly won their races.

Could all the polls have been wrong?  Sure.  Could the low turnout (30%) have hurt Conway?  That one is reaching a bit, since it didn’t seem to hurt the down ballot Democrats, and the previous Governor’s race, resulting in a Democratic victory, saw similar turnout numbers.  Could a significant number of those who voted for down ballot Democrats have decided to vote for a Tea Party candidate who pledged to strip 450,000 people of their health care?  I don’t know, I’m not a Kentucky Democrat.

I am not saying that Matt Bevin cheated.  I am not saying that there’s a conspiracy.  I’m not even saying that Matt Bevin lost.  He very possibly could have won.  Polls aren’t perfect.

What I am saying is that, all things considered, this race looks off and deserves to be looked into.  Why?  Because we need to have confidence in our election results.  Even in races that don’t affect the health care of so many people.  People need to be confident that their vote counts, and the votes are counted honestly, and that the actual winner is declared the winner.  Perhaps Matt Bevin did win the Kentucky Governor’s race.

Is it really so wrong to make sure the results are correct, especially when the results are so unexpected?

I urge everyone interested in fair, open and honest elections to look into this story.  Brad Friedman devotes most of an episode of The Brad Cast to it here, and his guest on the show, Karoli Kuns writes about it here at Crooks and Liars.

This is one of those that just doesn’t look right.  Election errors have hurt both Republican and Democratic candidates in the past, and until we commit to holding fair, open and honest elections, these issues will continue to undermine our democratic system.

Megyn Kelly is Once Again Bleeding Out Her…Wherever…This Time All Over Ted Cruz.

So.  Did the backlash she received from conservative idiots after the whole Trump kerfluffle at the first GOP debate this year trigger something in Megyn, or is the current crop of presidential candidates just so far out there that it’s impossible to take them serious?  Ted “jackass” Cruz more than likely thought he was set up with a friendly softball interview with Kelly on Fox News, but it turned out that his claim about the GOP debates being moderated by “liberal Democrats” was a bit too insane for Megyn to let slide.

“Why is it that we have Republican primary debates that are moderated by liberal Democrats,” Cruz asked, repeating the argument he made on Fox News’ “Hannity” moments following last week’s CNBC debate. “I don’t think that makes any sense,” he told Kelly.

“The one rule change that I think the RNC ought to think about is saying that if you have never in your life voted in a Republican Party primary, that you shouldn’t be moderating a Republican primary debate,” Cruz argued.

“Let me challenge you on that,” Kelly offered. “Do you have any idea whether Bret Baier or Chris Wallace have ever voted in a Republican primary?”

“I have no idea,” Cruz admitted chucklingly, before defending his assertion by revealing the secret that neither Kelly, nor Wallace, nor Baier could plausibly be described as liberals.

“Would we have to submit our voting records to you?” Kelly shot back after noting that Cruz’s proposed rule could potentially box out some Fox News anchors from moderating GOP debates.

“Megyn, it is not complicated,” Cruz insisted. “In a primary, don’t have liberals moderating.”

Wow, how did I miss that?  I’ve suffered through 3 multiple hour embarrassments to our political system, and now I find out that I missed a fourth debate moderated by Al Fraken, Nancy Pelosi, and Barney Frank?  Where the fuck was I?  Hell, I would pay to watch that debate.  Charge 50 bucks a pop for that 3 hour sucker on PPV and call it Debatemania.  There would be viewing parties all across the nation.  And you’re telling me they not only gave it away for free, but it was unadvertised and not covered by the mainstream media?  Lame.

Oh, wait.  You mean Ted Cruz is claiming liberal Democrats moderated  one or more of the three GOP debates everyone knows about?  You gotta be kidding me.  CNBC is to the right of Fox News on economic issues most of the time, and CNN is so scared of being called “liberal” that they may as well be “Fox News 2.”  Ted Cruz wants the GOP debates to take place the same place the majority of the so-called Republican “base” resides; in the right wing echo chamber.  If these candidates can’t handle debate questions from fellow conservatives, what are they going to do when they move on to the general election?

I bet Putin masturbates every night imagining one of these clowns winning the presidency.

We’re Not a Swing State

Ohio is a swing state.  Florida is a swing state.  There may have once been a time that Pennsylvania was a swing state as well, but those days are over.  No matter how much the voters residing in the state’s thinly populated rural counties believe otherwise, Pennsylvania is blue, a fact highlighted by the Democratic sweep yesterday of state-wide elections.

If you live in Pennsylvania, you could be forgiven for believing the opposite.  Any study of the problems of our system of representative democracy and single-member districts would have to dedicate at least a chapter to Pennsylvania.  While Pennsylvania hasn’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988, we have a US Senator from each party, the GOP holds a 13 to 5 advantage in US Representatives, and the PA General Assembly is Republican controlled as well, with the Senate split 30-19 (with one vacancy) and the House 119-84.  While some of this discrepancy (such as the GOP Senator) can be explained by Democratic voters baffling inability to find the polling locations in non-presidential election years, much of it can only be explained by problems inherent in our system of choice (cause of course North Dakota should get two Senators, for a non-Pennsylvanian example….),  and that enemy of democracy no matter who wields the power, gerrymandering.

Pennsylvania was typical of those states where Republicans benefited in 2012 from the decennial redrawing of congressional district lines. Democratic candidates drew more than half of the total votes cast statewide for the U.S. House last fall, but Republicans won nearly three–quarters (13 of 18) of Pennsylvania’s congressional seats. The GOP–controlled state government approved a map that packed Democratic votes into the five districts that they carried, where the party’s candidates posted winning percentages ranging from 60% to 89% of the total vote. Meanwhile, the Republican vote was spread more broadly, with nine of the GOP winners drawing less than 60% of the vote in their districts.

Source: Rhodes–Cook Letter, Feb. 2013

How anyone can look at those numbers and believe something even close to “political justice” carried the day is beyond me.  Sure, the GOP gained seats, but they didn’t gain them through the will of the people, rather they gained them through slight of hand trickery.  Republicans may be fine with this at the moment, especially since it gives them much more power than state-wide or nation-wide polling would predict for their party, but it is yet another short sighted vision.  Gerrymandering is an evil that both parties engage in, yet the Republican gerrymandering effort after the 2010 census went much further than previous district drawings.  When taken along side the push for Voter ID, especially here in PA where the GOP publicly admitted Voter ID was a political strategy to elect Republicans, it reeks of desperation.  With the current GOP presidential candidates veering so far off to the right in a nation that is rapidly becoming center left, actions such as the blatant gerrymandering and the push for Voter ID risk painting the GOP as a party that upon losing the culture wars, is willing to do anything to hold on to power.  But removing image issues from the discussion, the GOP has to be aware that eventually the other party will get to draw the districts, and by tossing any idea of subtlety out the window, they have given the Democratic party no reason not to respond in kind when they have the power.  The damage to our system of government, the destruction of the GOP’s image, and the future threat of retribution; is a few years of unearned power really worth it all?

It is the Wednesday after election day, 2015.  The only state-wide races on the ballot were judicial.  The stage was set once again for the GOP to gain largely undeserved power in Pennsylvania, as control of the state Supreme Court was up for grabs.  And yet….

And yet that isn’t what happened.  Michael Wojcik carried close to 53% in his race for Judge of the Commonwealth Court.   For Judge of the Superior Court, Alice Dubow did indeed break the 53% mark.  And the State Supreme Court race resulted in a sweep, with the win for the three Democrats, David Wecht (18.37%), Kevin Dougherty (18.52%) and Christine Donohue (18.17%), making it clear who PA residents want in control of the State’s highest court.

Across the nation, their are certainly some results that the GOP can point to and celebrate.  But this defeat in PA in an off year election has to make them a bit uneasy.  Is the damage the extreme conservative wing keeps inflicting on the party hurting the brand to the point where even off year elections favor the Democrats?  That is a question that will take much more time and evidence to answer.  But yesterday’s election did make one thing abundantly clear, no matter how much the major media will try to convince you otherwise next year:

Pennsylvania is not a swing state.


Insert Comment About Inmates, the Asylum, and Who Happens to be in Charge Here:

From ThinkProgress:

Two-thirds of North Carolina Republican voters would support immediately impeaching Hillary Clinton if she’s elected president, according to a poll released Tuesday.

Conducted by Public Policy Polling, the survey drew from the responses of 425 self-identified Republicans likely to vote in the 2016 presidential primary. Along with various questions about the Republican candidates, it asked voters if they would either “support or oppose impeaching [Clinton] the day she takes office.”

Sixty-six percent of respondents said they would support immediate impeachment for Clinton, while only 24 percent said they would oppose it. Ten percent said they were not sure, according to the poll.

This follows, of course,  congressman Mo Brooks (AL-Guess) making the following statement in a radio interview on The Matt Murphy Show:

“In my judgement, with respect to Hillary Clinton, she will be a unique president if she is elected by the public next November,” Brooks said. “Because the day she’s sworn in is the day that she’s subject to impeachment.”

There is a portion of the Republican party that doesn’t care anymore about democracy, the will of the people, or the United States’ system of government.  We’ve already seen members of Congress such as the House Freedom Caucus who oppose any compromise with the opposition party, which effectively breaks a two party non-parliamentary system of government, and we’ve seen congressional districts that will use primary elections to punish any Republicans not seen as “ideologically pure” enough.  (Ask Eric Cantor, former House Majority Leader, among others.)  This cycle we have seen even the “mainstream” GOP presidential candidates go overboard opposing church-state separation.  Several have spoken out against the 14th Amendment as a side dish to their race-baiting xenophobia while others claim that the president is free to ignore Supreme Court decisions with which he  or she disagrees.  So much for that document the conservatives all claim to love so much.  I guess the second is the only amendment they care about.

The current GOP takes every possible opportunity to move forward with the backdoor elimination of reproductive health services.  Pro-life advocates, emboldened by their success, move the goal posts suddenly start moving against multiple forms of birth control that they claim act as abortifacients.  (Just like we said they would.  And we were told we were crazy.)  They don’t want to stop abortions, they want to punish women for being sexually activeLook at Colorado if you don’t believe it.

They continue to push for voter ID laws, the stricter the better, in spite of study after study showing the laws disenfranchise large numbers of minority and lower income voters practically exclusively, some say by design, without any evidence that the law is needed or indeed, that the crime it is set up to stop, in person voter fraud, even happens outside of exceedingly rare cases.  Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai openly admitted the laws are a partisan political strategy and they still push these laws.  (Although watching the current US Congress, I guess that isn’t much of a surprise.  *cough*Benghazi*cough*)

Why would they accept a Hillary Clinton election victory?  Obama won twice and they never treated him as the legitimately elected President of the United States. They impeached her husband over a fucking blow job.  Why wouldn’t they use their power in the gerrymandered House to ignore the results of a legitimate election?


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