Oh The Things Our Handlers Propose To Us

by J.B. Reynolds, October 21, 2010

Once again it’s time for us warm up for that sacro­sanct American leisure activity, the trip to the polls! But since this journey always incurs a near-blinding storm of unhappily familiar verbiage and wind, it is our hope that a brief guide may prove useful. So let us set forth and try to disentangle the skeins of rhetoric surrounding the intent, or at least attempt to distinguish between the lies, damned lies, outright lies, blithering lies, half lies, little white lies, artful misrepresentations and plain ol’ bullshit that so wonderfully beguile the unwary voter.

GOVERNOR

I’m probably not the only Californian who finds Scary Meg Whitman scary, but I may be the only one who thinks she ought to be institutionalized, for every­body’s good. I don’t claim this honor because of Ms. Billion personally, but generally --- that is, anybody who finds it necessary to amass a personal fortune of a mil­lion dollars one thousand times over is obviously a maniac, an unwell individual suffering from plain lunatic acquisitiveness. What we’re seeing in 2010 is what an unwell person does who has access to unlimited resources. Now, I will admit that thanks to western popular culture one entertains a certain thrill at being a “millionaire,” but only because it implies a kind of Final Arrival, a capitalist Nirvana if you will, a place where one might at last exhale and relax. One need never worry for lack again, it says to us. Go past this point, however, and there lies idiocy. Who orders sixteen steaks? Or wears seventy three Rolexes? Or thinks they can simply purchase a governorship for the right price? Even if it is a buyer’s market.

Then we have Jerry “Hey I’m Totally Mature” Brown, who apparently restricts his photographers to using overhead lighting, giving his head the appearance of intellectual acreage and setting his eyes into deep shadowy pits of…uh, deepness, I guess. His feckless campaign might get better traction if they made lawn signs that said JERRY BROWN 2010, IN SPITE OF EVERYTHING.

I suppose I may end up voting for Laura Wells, because as a Green she appears to be the least harmful of the recognized parties.

LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

Since the job seems more like California’s Official Greeter And/or Commencement Speaker than anything substantial, Gavin “The Haircut” Newsome ought to be a shoo-in, plus he knows how to work the rubber-chicken circuit so he may bring in a few bucks now that they’re needed. Abe Maldonado, Senator, Businessman and Farmer, will work tirelessly to encourage prosperity by eliminating taxes for businessmen, farmers and senators, though possibly not in that order. James “Jimi” Castillo is certainly theatrical enough to keep up California’s well-deserved reputation as the USA’s Favorite Bowl of Mixed Nuts, but you’ve got to hand it to the American Indy party’s Jim King for having the sheer nerve to run for anything in California as a practicing Real Estate Agent. If he’s ever shot, many thousands of underwater mortgage holders will go to their local precinct houses to gladly confess to the crime. This leaves a retired Gum­mint Analyst named Weber, and a Professor of Eco­nomics named Brown. Since recent economic events in our land render Ms. Brown’s doctorate about as valuable as a graduate degree in Garden Fairyology, I’ll plump for C.T. Weber even though I think the Peace & Freedom folks could only make themselves less attractive to the electorate if they all grew immense mustaches.

UNITED STATES SENATOR

Since being a millionaire is an obvious baseline quali­fication for being a Senator, that appears to leave only Barbara “I Love the Deserving Poor” Boxer and Carly “I Hate the Deserving Poor” Fiorina as contenders. I may shock even myself by voting for one of the Deserving Poor instead, namely Duane Roberts, another Green. Again, he seems the least potentially harmful of the lot.

UNITED STATES REPRESENTATIVE

It’s kind of funny to me that in our haste to distance ourselves from tyrannical England in the 18th century we divided our representative ruling body into Lords and Commons. This division has settled out as the Hope­lessly Corrupt on one side of the aisle, the Hopeless on the other, yet it endures. I wouldn’t mind seeing P&F’s Eugene E. Ruyle getting elected, but I wonder: could a PhDnik possibly find a home in a pew once adequately occupied by Sonny Bono?

STATE SENATOR

I suggest we try an experiment here: write in “Wesley Chesbro” for this office. I suspect that if the man woke up November 3rd as the new State Senator instead of Member of the State Assembly, for which he is running, he (and we) would never know the difference.

STATE CONTROLLER

Frankly, since they stopped calling this post “Comp­troller,” I’ve lost all interest in it.

PROPOSITION 19, LEGALIZES MARIJUANA UNDER CALIFORNIA BUT NOT FEDERAL LAW. PERMITS LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO REGULATE AND TAX COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION, DISTRIBUTION AND SALE.

☑ YES.

Although it is glaringly obvious to anybody who was awake that High School afternoon they discussed the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, America’s decade of noble Prohibition was not only a colossal failure, it took minor criminals like the Al Capone, Meyer Lansky, Bugsy Siegel and Joe Kennedy and catapulted them into the ranks of permanent and fabulously wealthy blots on the landscape. It also took thousands of ordinary nobod­ies and made them into criminals for life for the heinous transgression of getting high in their own living rooms.

Sure, the wording of Prop 19 “isn’t perfect,” as if any law we have answers to such a condition; the state’s legal flunkies will work on that. (Criminy, what else can they do?) Ah, but Mothers Against Drunk Driving opposes it, apparently because they believe it will practi­cally mandate everyone to drive stoned, especially school buses! An edu-bureaucrat (named, if one can believe it, Snavely) warns it will tap our school system for ten billion bucks!! Or worse, hundreds of millions!!! And worse yet, marijuana inflames the primitive minds of Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers AND causes white women to seek sexual relations with them!!!! Whoops, wait a minute – that last comment was from Harry J. Anslinger back in 1934. And yet it seems so apropos.

Pot, like alcohol (or monotheism, for that matter) is not going away. So legalize it, standardize it, and tax the hell out of it. This is what capitalism is FOR, people. And who knows, maybe onerous wackyweed taxes will spawn a new “Tea” party by 2020? It could hardly be more comical than the current one, but I look forward to it.

PROPOSITION 20 – REDISTRICTING OF CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS.

☑ YES.

Carving up districts to suit your party or better yet to gratuitously fuck with the opposition party, an inventive task known as “gerrymandering,” is a venerable political tradition dating back, at least in name, to Declaration-signer Elbridge Gerry. (And lest you think him some kind of arch-fiend, consider his statement regarding America’s proposal to maintain a standing army once the revolution was over: “A standing Army is much like a standing Penis,” he said, “Useful for the maintenance of Domestic Tranquility, but too easily involved in Foreign Adventures.” I’m not sure the sentiment could be better put.)

Proposition 20 wants to expand the purview of the Redistricting Committee we voted into power two years ago via Proposition 11. The Anti camp howls that a diverse 14-person “bureaucracy” somehow isn’t “accountable to the people,” as if ‘the people’ were ever consulted, period. What they want is a pack of hand-picked stooges accountable only to them. In fact they’re so afraid of the Redistricting Committee as it stands, they want to scotch it completely! See: PROP 27.

PROPOSITION 21 – $18 ANNUAL VEHICLE LICENSE SURCHARGE TO HELP FUND STATE PARKS. GRANTS SURCHARGED VEHICLES FREE ADMISSION TO ALL STATE PARKS.

☑ YES.

Apparently it wasn’t just Ron “How many trees do they need to go look at?” Reagan who thought State Parks were a huge waste of potentially valuable real estate. The funding sources for our State Parks are now in an even lower toilet than usual so you’d think some­thing like a Multi-User Pass would be a cool idea to the Pro-Business types, but no, it’s just a “cynical ploy” to bring back the “car tax,” says the California Chairman of Americans For Prosperity. Oh, dear, not that horrid car tax again! Didn’t we long ago drive a stake through its malignant vampiric heart and thus achieve American Prosperity forever? Oh, honestly. Do Michelle Steel and Peter Foy really believe $18 is too much to ask for keeping Hendy Woods from the chainsaw? Apparently!

PROPOSITION 22 – PROHIBITS THE STATE FROM BORROWING OR TAKING FUNDS USED FOR TRANSPORTATION, REDEVELOPMENT, OR LOCAL GOVERNMENT PROJECTS AND SERVICES.

☑ YES.

Personally, I consider it an embarrassment that an initiative like this should ever have to be considered, let alone enacted; it’s like the noble statutes insisting that all votes in elections must actually be counted. If govern­ment bureaucrats can simply snatch funds from anyplace they feel like, whenever they feel like, then every yellow Plymouth that stops at the traffic light is suddenly a taxi­cab.

PROPOSITION 23 – SUSPENDS IMPLEMENTATION OF AIR POLLUTION CONTROL LAW (AB 32) REQUIRING MAJOR SOURCES OF EMISSIONS TO REPORT AND REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS THAT CAUSE GLOBAL WARMING, UNTIL UNEMPLOYMENT DROPS TO 5.5 PERCENT OR LESS FOR ONE FULL YEAR.

☑ NO.

Yow, talk about your “cynical ploys”! Follow your own laws and you wantonly destroy prosperity!, say the oil barons – as if this actually made sense. (Perhaps instead they should call it Prosperity™, defined as A Wondrous Condition Only Achieved By The Immediate Total Suspension Of All Taxes and Environmental and Labor Laws…?) “OK -- all right,” they backpedal, “even though we’re all for clean air --and really, we are-- right now just isn’t the time to DO anything about it. You see, we’re making such staggering fortunes! Anything that would imperil this is just plain wrong! Oh, Christ -- is this microphone ‘on’…? Ahem. Very well, laws, democracy, OK, yes yes, stop your shouting. Fine, you can HAVE your silly AB32 law: we’ll be perfectly rea­sonable and let you fools have your cleaner air ... but only if you can hop on one foot, balance a small refrig­erator on your head, juggle three flaming brands and recite long passages from the Bible. For one full year. Hey, we saw this guy do it on the Venice boardwalk so it’s a realistic goal.”

Failure to pass this critical statute, its promoters warn, can only result in –gasp!— inevitable job loss –aiee!, surely not jobs?!— and higher energy rates. Which is to say, you will be punished by the great and wonder­ful barons for your hubris. Which is probably true.

PROPOSITION 24 – REPEALS RECENT LEGISLATION THAT WOULD ALLOW BUSINESSES TO LOWER THEIR TAX LIABILITY.

☑ YES.

Business accounting has always been a wild and wooly shell game ever since somebody near the Euphrates River invented it millennia ago, but the antes in the business world have lately risen to the breaking point. It seems that now, even the suggestion that some­body in business, somewhere!, anywhere!, ought to tell the actual truth about what they have, what they make, and especially about what they owe, scares them straight into dire threat mode. “Make us actually pay taxes,” they snarl, “threaten Prosperity™ (see above), and we’ll axe 144,000 jobs! Do you hear us, JOBS! BWAH-hah-hah-hah! It’s all you peons have! You can’t AFFORD it! So go ahead, try and make us pay.” Make them pay, I say. Make them all pay.

PROPOSITION 25, CHANGES LEGISLATIVE VOTE REQUIREMENT TO PASS BUDGET AND BUDGET-RELATED LEGISLATION FROM TWO-THIRDS TO A SIMPLE MAJORITY. RETAINS TWO-THIRDS REQUIREMENT FOR TAXES.

☑ NO.

Wowee, Mr. Cleaver, but this Prop sure talks tough! Those bad ol’ legislators have to forfeit their pay and perks if they don’t pass a budget on time! And it makes it easier for them to agree! And it still protects us from those icky ol’ taxes!

In fact this awful Proposition makes it possible for our legislators never to agree, ever, on anything, because now it will be easier to railroad through a piece of odious legislation because you need fewer Yes votes to do it. And even if the miracle of apparent consensus doesn’t happen and a budget agreement somehow goes past its deadline as usual, does anybody think a legislator will ‘do without’ for one Sacramento moment? Tiny loop­holes will expand like the very universe itself. Special Exempted Expenses will bloom like giant fungi. These guys are not there to ‘do without.’

PROPOSITION 26 – REQUIRES THAT CERTAIN STATE AND LOCAL FEES BE APPROVED BY TWO-THIRDS VOTE. FEES INCLUDE THOSE THAT ADDRESS ADVERSE IMPACTS ON SOCIETY OR THE ENVIRONMENT CAUSED BY THE FEE-PAYER’S BUSINESS.

☑ NO.

If you haven’t got it by now, “Taxes” is the Albatross Word of the current election cycle just as “Jobs” is the Instant Virtue Word. Each is tossed about promiscuously for little meaning other than shock value. “Environmen­talist” is another one of those Albatross Words; in news­papers it translates to “Crazy Person, Even If Educated.” Therefore anyone trying to see justice done on this topic is dangerously insane and threatens Prosperity™! Hence this proposal. Making any law’s enforcement applicable to a “two-thirds majority” means it will never happen, just like a balanced budget. And when any fines for pol­lution the fat cats are obliged by law to pay are automati­cally re-defined as “hidden Taxes,” they thus become void because it’s axiomatic that Taxes threaten Prosper­ity™. And Jobs.

PROPOSITION 27, ELIMINATES STATE COMMISSION ON REDISTRICTING. CONSOLIDATES AUTHORITY WITH ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES.

☑ NO!

All one need do is keep in mind that “consolidated authority” means “tyranny.” Enough said.

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