Category Archives: Political Ass-Ass-ination

Farce

angrysocialmediamob
“Borrowed” from digidickinson.net – It suited the sentiment too well not to appropriate the image.

Rarely am I inspired by a one-word prompt. Then again, rarely does one word so aptly describe how life feels lately.

FARCE

What I have to say matters.

(Lie)

Politicians feign concern during election years and then they strip health care exposing the bones of their conscience.

Diseased carcasses wearing red, white, and blue lies.

If I could, I would curse them:

May syphilitic crabs feast on your crotch rot!

May you feel karma’s sweet kiss leaving you unprotected from your policies.

May you be forced to live the life of your poorest constituent.

May the bullet of public opinion find its target and kill your self-serving aspirations.

May curses come true.

FARCE*

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnote:

*Handy-dandy link to New York Times article which includes a list of the congressmen and women who voted for the recent ‘health care act’ to repeal and roll-back Medicaid expansion.

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Farce

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Is It Me?

polish-2
Is this the author’s foot? The toes know–but they’re not telling

For Christmas, I asked Santa to give me a break. A break from the relentless needs of Autism parenting and the excuse to overindulge in selfish pursuits. Santa came through big time in the form of a weekend getaway!* I randomly pick January 20th as the date for an overnight camp where people more responsible than me will keep my genetic contribution to the world safe for forty-eight hours. I had not realized it would coincide with inauguration day.

It’s the long-awaited Friday—finally!—I drop my beloved child at camp and escape like they might try to hand him back. Like a Baskerville hound baying for blood, I’m off! I have no obligations to anyone except myself and the goal of being blissfully distracted for two whole days. The difficulty is picking just one activity—so I don’t. First there will be a little buff and polishing and then dinner and a movie with friends. Absolutely nothing is wrong in my perfect little world. Life is bliss!

This works really well…until I sit in the massage chair at the nail salon. I’m punching the lower-back Shiatsu settings trying to relax while someone else deals with my winter-callused feet, when, blaring overhead, comes the familiar notes of a military band frothing with patriotic fervor. Aghast, I realize they have tuned the tv to the pomp and circumstance of President (*urp*) Donald Trump’s inauguration.**

I try to hint to my manicurist that anything else—The Shopping Channel, Urkel reruns, anything—would be preferable. She just smiles in that way the technicians do when they either can’t understand a word you are saying and/or are trying to suppress a gag reflex at the amount of skin sloughing off your mangy feet. I’m stuck, forced to listen to the horror unfolding with the insistence of all nightmares you just can’t wake up from no matter how hard you pinch yourself. Before long, my psyche is bruised.

The incessant and inane commentaries about the Big D’s faux humility of acceptance of office scrape against reactivated nerve endings—it’s like a scab being ripped from a raw wound. All the seething loathing and despair come oozing to the surface.

Since the election, I have erected an information force field—a giant bubble of reality denial. I try very hard not to read, see, or listen to any of the goings-on related to the transition of power. I avoid the bile of exchanges on Facebook because there is no Epipen big enough for certain toxic allergens. I am a political ostrich and have my head firmly wedged…somewhere…in an attempt to huddle beneath an illusion of safety.

But the seal on the bubble isn’t inviolate. Facts seep through. Reporters are positively gleeful about delivering devastating blows:

“This disastrous news, just in

“The Big D wants a climate change denier as the head of the EPA.”

“The Big D offers Secretary of State position to oil magnate, Comrade-in-Chief Tillerson in bed with Moscow.”

“Dolores Umbridge to head Department of Education…”

It’s like being trapped in a car heading for a huge crap pile and there’s nothing you can do but brace yourself for the stinky impact. Try as I might, I can’t hide from the impending wreckage.

I escape the salon with beautiful toes and abused ear-holes. I scarper next door to join friends for a Chinese feast. There is little in the world that cannot be improved with a really good duck sauce. In fact, I think 2017 will be the Year of the Rangoon, for me.

It is awesome to get out with girlfriends and yack-yack face, while divvying up entrees. This all-estrogen experience is enhanced by its rarity. The food is great, the friends are delightful. Conversation flows. Three admit they can’t make the movie afterward because they are attending The Women’s March the next day in Lansing. They are bubbling with enthusiasm over the prospect—eager to represent their concerns about our political direction. Opinions are voiced. The choice to carry signs or not is discussed. Some express regrets that they have other commitments. I, however, am silent.

There it is, that subtle recognition that I lack something when it comes to addressing the concerns in the world around me. Among a group of intelligent, well-educated, driven females, I am the odd woman out. I feel no urge to march. No enthusiasm for protesting. No drive to join arms with other nasty women to demand equality or any other rights. It has been an indelible character fault—my honest recognition that I do not possess great ambitions to enact change other than to wish, weakly, that things were different. It is the note of discord that harps at me even as I enjoy my night out:

“Is it me? Am I part of the problem?”

I want to have fun. I want to be wild and carefree. Right now, the world needs movers, can-doers, outspoken activists to address the growing problems with our divisiveness and crumbling American ideals. Other women want to go be the change that rearranges the world. Me? I want to go see Hidden Figures and be entertained.

Dinner breaks up, and four of us split off to hit the nearby theater. We underestimate the popularity of the film. Perhaps there are more people moved by threat of civil rights abuses inspiring people to go see a film about African American women making sine waves during the 1960’s space race than we realized? Whatever the reason, just as I step up to purchase tickets, the movie sells out.

We resolve to find it showing elsewhere. Cell phones to the rescue, in seconds we locate the nearest next showing. We make it with time to spare for bathroom breaks and a close encounter with overpriced snacks.

The film is a poignant reminder of how much things seem to have changed in fifty plus years. As the characters of Katherine Goble, Mary Jackson and Dorothy Vaughn parade the injustices rampant in Virginia during an era of supposed desegregation, this viewer can’t help but compare these struggles to ongoing racist discontent in the current tide of anti-everything-I-stand-for sentiment.

In Hidden Figures, the camera marks the continued segregation of a south in the American sixties. Signs on buildings are marked with “Colored” versus “White” entrances while restrictions on employment, library access, and toilets underscore the indignities for persons of color in an uber-white world. The movie is an ugly reminder of a future I’m coming to dread.

Today, hateful murmurs on Twitter and Facebook rants reveal, even revel in, blatant homophobia, anti-feminist bile, and a self-satisfied, Christian-Right America centrism which cheers for the deportation of people of Muslim faith and encourages wholesale murder akin to shades of 1940’s Holocaust. Watching Hidden Figures, I am encouraged and inspired. It shows the victory of those who challenge and beat a system stacked unfairly and overwhelmingly against them. However, when I leave the theater, I am reminded of the forces daily rewinding what progress has been made.

While we sleep, the government moves to repeal the Affordable Care Act. In one swift, hostile, late-night legislative assault, health care is in danger of being erased for 20 million people. Steps are taken to undermine the FHA regulations that protect mortgage insurance rates that help low-income people afford homes. The Big D threatens to repeal all of the grounds gained in an eight-year Obama presidency. If we pretend that he’ll stop there, that is level of delusion we can’t afford. I should be galvanized by the imminent destruction of the values I hold dear. And yet…

Last Friday wasn’t about inducting a virulent corruption into our government—it was all about me. And ME wanted dessert.

Staggering out of the theater at 10:30, we wander to the nearby MildThings restaurant for ice cream with deep fried, cinnamon-sugar tortilla strips. We’re overfed, highly-sugared, middle-aged women on the loose. Here us roar!***

mild-things-restaurant
Victory comes dipped in chocolate sauce and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar!

 

The PYT (Pretty Young Thang) waitress endures our revelries not even encouraging us to leave when we ask “When’s closing time?”

“Oh, you’re fine.” PYT waves a perfectly manicured hand at us, pooh poohing our concerns. “We don’t close until 2:00 a.m.”

But for us, the coach has turned back into a pumpkin and our glass slippers are killing us. We wrap up our giddy exchanges, hug madly in the cool air outside the restaurant, and make our escape.

I snuggle into my bed as the clock turns 12:30 a.m. It is a new day. A darker day, perhaps, but it is a day I am free to make the choices I can live with.

I am not a rebellious soul. I prefer a quiet life, out of the confluence of bad history come to repeat itself all over my constitution. But now is not the time to stick one’s head in a bucket of denial—no matter how comforting that existence might be in the short run. We will have to keep our eye on the Hidden Costs of a Big D administration; otherwise, the next coming detraction might just strip our civil liberties entirely. And that preview is a pretty grim prospect to behold.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*The role of Santa was played by family and friends who have looked on in horror at admired my parenting on the edge-of-catastrophe. Thank you to all who sponsored this get-away weekend.

**I have to suppress my gag reflex whenever I put those words together. At least in one respect, this dick is just too much to swallow.

***All that’s missing are the fuzzy pink hats.

The World Wrote Me a Poem Today

The world wrote me a poem today.
It spelled it out in leaves.
I’ll try to tell you what it said,
But sometimes words fail me.

fall-flowers

All things change, child.

Someday will bring rebirth.

The newly-minted leaves of spring burst forth—

Escaping winter’s grip.

The ice that seems forever set, cracks,

Creating meltwaters in frozen spirits.

And growing things will make the dried ground a newly-turned earth again.

But today is a different celebration.

Today we bid farewell to a season that refuses to go out.

The November sun yet burns—

a fiery match against unprotected skin—

Warding off winter’s dark heart.

*

As I walk, I listen. With my heart, I hear.
The world speaks in technicolor and surround-sound splendor.
Maple, Bay, and Beech leaves waver from green to gold to bronze—
laughing, courting the heat curling up from warm grasses.
And though they are crunching nuisances to chase with a rake,
The scraping, dragging, bagging annoyances adults curse,
Also make a playground for children to romp through with rubber-soled glee.
the-informant
The tree at the corner whispers revelations—it is my informant.
Its leaves with their crinkle-cut, potato chip edges, blacken, yet stubbornly cling to gnarled branches.
It’s crooked trunk in naked winter, points out mistakes in a grey sky with crooked-fingered impatience.
Yes, a bleak season is coming.
But for now, a sinuous black cat laps at a pool in the inky tarmac.
It darts a reproachful look before—poof—it dashes into shadows and is gone.
A current whisks red-brown-yellow paintbrush splashes in vortexes along the sidewalk.
And squirrels have no time to pander for gawking admiration.
The world speaks through wind chimes…
And invisible gusts…
And silence.
 The pathway is now a variegated landscape
Where up is down
And only in snow globes
Can worlds come apart and reform
In such a whirlwind, patchwork topography.
I am dizzy. Overcome by verse parsed in semaphore signals
Through sunlit trees the Earth speaks.

*

“The fallow season is upon us and yet the roses cling, sharp-thorned objections to change.
Milkweeds tuck their mouse ears up and listen to fall’s farewell.
Podsopen mouthedspitting seeds.
Silken tufts will find their way to window boxes
Where dead chrysanthemums mourn with heavy heads.
The time for spring will come, child, the time to rise will come.
But, for now, it is time to sleep.”

*

The world wrote me a poem today.
It spelled it out in leaves.
I’ll try to tell you what it said,
But sometimes the world fails me.

 

Voting…as American as…

I have deliberately avoided making political commentary prior to now because this has been such a heated election. Honestly, I am surprised that the candidates have not yet spontaneously combusted.* Plus, as I have mentioned in a previous post,  I can’t stomach the conflict and demagoguery that goes along with political rhetoric.**

I have just come back from doing my civic duty and I’ll admit to having mixed feelings this time around. In the last two elections, I was a vocally avid supporter of the democratic candidate–not just because his particular brand of politics aligned with my own world views, but I could buy into the hype hope of a breath of change ruffling the skirts of stodgy politics that would never have considered an African American in prior elections.

I have come to a conclusion about politics that just cries out for a half-baked analogy.

Politics is like pie!

Hear me out. If you like PIE–Politics In Extreme–this has been the election for you. This year’s dessert cart comes with two potentially delicious choices:

Hot Meat Pie – If you like candid-to-the-point-of slanderous representation, have I got a pie for you! This pie appeals to the carnivorous amongst us–offering  meat-loving appetites a 100% sausage fest of sexism.*** This pasty isn’t afraid to call a spade a spade–or a spic a rapist.  (Warning to any Muslims–this pie is made of pork. You’ll want to avoid it or it might deport you.) This pie comes with an extra flaky crust–so flaky it blows off in a slight breeze. But don’t worry, we’ve slathered on a nice, fatty layer of extra-white gravy and a side of pre-digested opinions so your bile doesn’t have to work overtime. This pie comes served to you by Russian wait staff who will offer free refills of WikiLeaks Tea for when you get parched.

meat-pie
Comes pre-lubricated for your pleasure.

Now before you think I plan to sell you on just one over-filled pastry, I’ve got another slice for you.

Strawberry Surprise Pie–This pie comes with a beautifully latticed crust–you can’t untangle where one strip of dough lies over another. That tart might have been processed by so many financial fingers that you could feasibly be licking the hand of every banker in America–and possibly a few abroad. This pie might be a tad tough to chew. We’ve been offered it before you see in 2008, but back then, all anyone could talk about was the ultra-rich chocolate cream served with a nice dollop of whipped Hope & Change and everybody just HAD to have a taste of that!

strawberry
It always looks good–but we know it isn’t good for us!

 

These strawberries might be a little out of season–but that doesn’t mean they aren’t ripe. Possibly over ripe. But we won’t know until we get a look under the crust. I’ve been eyeing the spinning dessert wheel behind glass and it looks delicious and I love berry pies…but I sometimes find strawberry pie has a nasty secret. I worry that, even as I take a bite of this electoral delicacy, I won’t be able to swallow the sugary, nuclear-red filling that doesn’t quite hide the bitter aftertaste of politics-as-usual rhubarb buried inside. What else can you expect but a mix of bittersweet coming from the first election of a pie that a pant-suited Betty Crocker might have baked? This lukewarm wedge is dished up by a private male server along with a tall glass of diet denial which you can drink later to wash away any lingering regrets.

Let’s be honest here. After a year of having this election shoved down our throats—it doesn’t matter how much you like a good piece of pastry. I think we can all agree—no matter which pie you voted for–both of these were half-baked to begin with and the bottom is starting to get soggy.

strawberry-2
Really, no amount of ala mode is going to make this election easy to digest!

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*It would explain a certain red-faced polemicist exploding on Twitter though.
**I also can’t spell it…Rehtoric…Recthoric…Rhett-or-Rick. (Dammit.)
***Careful, this pie is a tad assault-y.

_________________________________________________________

Afterthought:

Is it just a coincidence that rhetoric, rhubarb and Rodham all have a silent H in them? Maybe it’s just meh!

Ban the Hashtag—#WarOfWords

Words have power. The language we use tells people more about us than we like to think. Which makes you wonder why we don’t try harder not to sound like idiots.*

###

I was having a discussion the other day with my friend and we started by bantering back-and-forth about expressions we are too old to use or that are so overdone they should be retired.   (This exchange went on for several minutes.  We think we are very funny when we haven’t had our caffeine yet.)

Everybody’s Saying It

Me: “I can’t stand the use of “What happens in (Blank) stays in (Blank). The Las Vegas board of tourism should fine people whenever it is misused.”

Her: “I’m sick of hashtags. I run across one and think “Why do people throw them at the end of everything they post? I’ve used one ONCE, and then only ironically.” #overdone

Me: “Text speak should be outlawed altogether. We could force people to wear an emoticon or the @ symbol as a sign of penance. It would be red and we’d call it The Scarlet Symbol!”

Her: “The Hashtag is better.”

Me: “I think the @ symbol is closer to the letter A.”

Her: “You should definitely use the HASHTAG!”  #Opinionated

For the sake of our friendship, we drop it. You’ll notice, however, that I eventually agreed with her. Another pet peeve rears its English head.

Me: “The phrase ‘Keep Calm and [Blank] On!’ where people fill in the blank with whatever thing they like.  I saw one that said ‘Keep Calm and Bake On!’ with a cupcake instead of a crown.  Stop just stop!”

Clerical Errors–Not Just For Clergy Anymore

We discussed what we were tired of seeing in writing.

Her: “I’m tired of seeing single word sentences. You know, where the author puts a period after every word for emphasis?”

Me: “Or, if you put it ironically: Overused. Periods. Must. Go.”

I couldn’t think of an example to complement this at the time, but since then, I would submit another particular annoyance—the word ‘Not’. Where people make a statement and then negate it with the single word ‘Not’ afterward.  I just love this.  Not.

Insults Add Injury

Then she proved to me exactly how far out of the loop I am, slang wise.

Her: “I’m tired of ‘Throwing shade.’ ”

Me: “What?  I’ve never heard of that one.”

Her: “It’s an insult.”

Me: “Like ‘dissing’ someone?”

Her: “I don’t think anyone uses that one anymore.” (I swear she snickered when she said this.)

Her: “And ‘Butthurt’. I’m tired of ‘Butthurt’.”

Me: “That’s what she said.”**

Her: “Hah hah. Very funny.”

Me: “No, I’m tired of the phrase, ‘That’s what she said.’  I don’t really know the expression ‘Butthurt’ is it like ‘Asshole’?”

We devolve into a nattering Google search trying to confirm the origin of that one.

Her: “It means: ‘Overly annoyed, bothered or bugged because of a perceived insult; needlessly offended.’ I would have thought it had a more sexual meaning.”

Then she looks a bit further; she is scrolling the text when she stops.

Her: “Oh…someone here uses it to be degrading, as if it means rape.”

We’re both silent for a minute tacitly agreeing this isn’t funny and maybe we should just drop this line of thought. But, we aren’t over finding ourselves terribly amusing in general, if not in this particular instance.

You’ve Been Served

Me: “I hate it when I use slang that I am wayyy too old to be using: ‘My Bad!’”

Her: “I’ll confess, with a pre-teen running around the house, I’ve been known to drop a ‘Whatevs’ on occasion.”

Me: (Gasp) “No!”

She nods sadly and I shake my head in disbelief. We pause for a moment to digest how much respect we have just lost for each other.

Then we momentarily veer unto serious grounds. I may have climbed on a soapbox for a moment or two, before being overwhelmed by the dizzying heights of intellectual pursuit and falling off again.

Brown Shirting It

Me: “The use of the phrase ‘Nazi’ intending to be a clever slur for whatever someone feels like making fun of: ‘Grammar Nazi’… ‘Soup Nazi’…”

Her: “Feminazi.”

{Non-Sequitur Alert}

Me: “Speaking of Nazis, I just watched a memorial show about the holocaust this week in which two sons of Nazi war criminals met and talked about their respective fathers’ part in the genocide. It was shocking how much one son denied his father’s involvement—even with evidence put before him—he refused to believe his father was a bad man.”

My friend no doubt said something very smart and insightful in response, but alas, I have forgotten what is was. Enjoy this Holocaust meme instead:

Holocaust Meme 1.jpg
I love it best for the typo it contains.

And this one:

On a side note, I wasn’t aware there was a Holocaust Day of Remembrance.  This week, all anyone could talk about was an album by Beyonce–something having to do with fruit juice.  Instead, I watched a documentary about Niklas Frank and Horst van Wachter–sons of two high-ranking Nazi officials. PBS presented this in advance of Holocaust Remembrance Day which was May 5 this year. The Last Picture of Hans Frank aired May 2 and it was an excerpt of a larger documentary: My Nazi Legacy: What Our Fathers Did.  An article in The Telegraph  provides insight into the conflict surrounding those who remember and those who still deny the Holocaust–in part or whole.

Now Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Blog, Already in Progress

Me: “I have wondered how entire countries could have participated in the atrocities during the Holocaust; how did so many people fall in line with the belief that killing people was a moral and just act?  And now, listening to the bile spewed by Donald Trump, I see how it can happen.”

We stumble through the hazards of discussing politics on a gray day. It helps that we are both Die-Hard With a Vengeance liberals but the topic should come with a trigger warning:

Danger: discussing the buffoons currently running for office may result in catatonia, convulsions, or the desire to hurl yourself off a tall building. If over-exposed, seek the nearest bi-partisan affiliated medical center or move to Canada.

I Hate Hashtags

Just the day before, Ted Cruz took his campaign off life support, and as a nation we were equal parts relieved and horrified by the confirmation that Donald Trump was the de facto Republican candidate.***

Me: “I heard what’shisname dropped out of the race, finally. I can never remember his name.  You know, the first runner up?”

Her: “Cruz. Ted Cruz.” [Read this with a James Bond 007 emphasis]

Me: “And now the Republicans are fighting about whether to back Trump or not. I am terrified of the prospect of a Trump presidency.”

Her: “I just can’t watch the election coverage any more. I am so sick and tired of hearing the hateful things Trump says and then there are his supporters who are proud of their racists, sexist, bigoted views. I’d rather go work in my garden.”

And on this, I have to agree.  After listening to people sling political bullshit, it’s nice to find a use for it by going and fertilizing the plants—metaphorically speaking.

Our conversation drizzled to a halt and we signed off Skype and returned to the minutia of daily life. But the conversation stayed with me.

The Skinny

I’ve been trying to parse out the meaning of it all—what I think about the mixed bag of ideas: well-worn aphorisms, iconic statements (#oversimplification), misused marketing jargon, and the fact we’ve reduced the election process to tweet wars. It’s become a contest for who can fling the most monkey dung without having any stick to them! When I couldn’t wrap my head around an answer, I did what most people do.  I looked to the internet.

NPR offers a meaningful look at the effect of a meme-oriented mindset by reporting on the comparison of Donald Trump with Adolph Hitler. The article references Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies—and it gave me a momentary pause for thought to consider my own eagerness to pass on a witty slam against a political adversary. Am I part of the problem when I partake in the Olympic event that is the hundred-yard dash to judgement on something the other side has said?

Democrats like to vilify the enemy as much as the Republicans like to burn Democrats in verbal effigy. Tit-for-tat backstabbing is the mother tongue of politics. Rhetoric, polemics and personal insult take the place of a real discussion. Issues are boiled down to a symbol and a word or two.

#BlackLivesMatterButEvidentlyNotEnoughToFixTheWaterInFlint

In the political arena, center stage is given to the loudest actor with the best lines.  (Who remembers anything Guildenstern said? Anybody? No?  No, it’s all about Hamlet.  Hamlet said this. Hamlet stabbed Polonius. Hamlet left Ophelia to drown. Hamlet has fake hair and his wife is an immigrant. Hamlet, Hamlet, Hamlet! No one mourns poor Guildenstern, except maybe Rosencrantz and even then it was probably laced with self-pity. In this analogy, Guildentstern and Rosencrantz are played by Ron Paul and Jeb Bush.)

#BitPlayersDie

When all you have are sound bites, it is hard to digest and regurgitate an educated opinion—and apparently no one really wants a nine-course, fact-laden meal when they can swallow nuggets of pseudo truth instead. Sadly, the toy that comes with this Un-Happy Meal is whoever is elected. It is the Age of Oblivious and the one with the most likes wins.

#Spoiler:WeAllLose

Where was I heading with this? I’m not entirely sure. This started out funny and lighthearted and then spazzed into a quasi political rant half-way through.  Suffice it to say, there is something dangerous about relying on pat answers or worn-out catch phrases to represent our opinions. It is just too easy.  And as the poster hanging on the wall of my social studies classroom in high school said: “For every complex problem, there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” H. L. Mencken****

#IronicFootnote

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*Donald Trump, I’m talking to you.

**Okay, I’m totally making up this reply.  I only came up with it much later when my brain gives up all the wittier things I might have said if I only could have thunk them up at the time.

***De Facto is an abbreviation, the long form is: Eligendi asini, de facto producit ventum de inmundo. (For those of you too lazy to use Google Translate: Electing an ass in effect produces a foul wind.)

****And just to prove how dangerously full-circle this reference is, Wikipedia describes H. L. Mencken thus:

“His diary indicates that he harbored strong racist and antisemitic attitudes, and was sympathetic to the Social Darwinism practiced by the Nazis.”

So, I can understand how Donald Trump could cite an opinion which originated with Mussolini without knowing it.  But, once you know, you have to realize your words might not be conveying the message you think.

#ContextIsEverything

My Ass Is Not a Super PAC—But It Could Be

Alternate title:

Super PACs–The Boil on the Backside of Politics

Exam Glove
“Let’s just check that out, shall we?” Image courtesy of freedigitalimages.net / nattavut

 

To my delight dismay, I have reached an age where my body is falling apart in a most embarrassing fashion. This morning, I had an itch…in an unmentionable place. (For the sake of the squeamish, we are going to use old-world medical terminology.) Scratching my posterior whilst preparing to carpe the diem, I felt something go ‘pop’. Let’s just say, it was not a place one could put a plaster*. While trying to angle a mirror to get a disgusting look-see, I couldn’t help but think of that political curiosity—the Super PAC.**

NO NOT THAT KIND OF PAC! Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Salvatore Vuono
NO NOT THAT KIND OF PAC!
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net/Salvatore Vuono

Before you start scratching your….head…trying to put those two ideas together, let me save you time. I have no idea why looking at a bleeding hind sore makes me think of politics, I really don’t. But I figure, there has to be some sort of subliminal influences at play. (Possibly influenced by a week of bean soup.) I also blame NPR for spilling the beans about the Federal Elections Commission’s continuing failure to keep big money out of our electoral process.

It turns out that, as long as you don’t SAY you are running for office, you can benefit from oodles of donations for your campaign’s political advertising or even just to sabotage your opponents and you don’t have to report who is making the contributions. After listening to a very clear and concise explanation of why Jeb Bush isn’t running for office yet (wink wink), I still couldn’t grasp how this was possible or why it was significant.

As previously discussed in An Unnatural Brunette Get Political, my vast knowledge of politics pretty much begins and ends with whatever humorous snark John Stewart is ranting about on the Daily Show. In order to understand why my bleeding orifice reminds me of a bloated organization hemorrhaging money, I had to do a little research.

You’d think it would be easy in the day of digital reconnaissance to clickety-click one’s way to comprehension on just about any topic. If you were looking up ‘ways to be entertained by cats’, for example, you’d have an embarrassment of riches. However, when trying to parse out exactly what kind of shenanigans the government is getting up to, it’s a royal pain in the….(I think you know where I’m heading with this one.) I did stumble over many convoluted explanations of how both parties have maneuvered to alternately approve a political message (Hillary Clinton sucks) or ban a political message (Michael Moore really hates George Bush and you should too). These sources cite precedent, legal statutes, bickering opinions by supreme court justices and they all boil down to the idea that money in politics = bad.  So how come we still have golden showers of money raining down on us in the form of political advertising? Because money talks dirty and powerful people listen. Skip forward a few years…and the FEC takes a dump on our electoral process by creating a loophole in finance reform. Here’s roughly how it happened:

To understand what a Super PAC is, you have to understand how PACs came to exist. In 1974, the government tried to restrict how much money could be given directly to a politician’s campaign by special interest groups. The Federal Election Campaign Act dictated that “Corporations and unions may not contribute directly to federal PACs, but can pay for the administrative costs of a PAC affiliated with the specific corporation or union”. So the PACs funneled money for the candidates, but there were still restrictions on how much could be collected and that donations abide by strict guidelines and transparencies. Politicians were against this and immediately looked for a way around this law.*** Reading this stuff can give you a headache;  I like analogies, so I’ll try to mangle one for you…

Let’s say, Bob is running for office. If some group—say, Americans Banning Body Art—gave Bob $2,599 dollars in total contributions because Bob doesn’t have any tattoos, no one would raise a stink. If, however, A.B.B.A. gave Bob $2,600 to spend on his campaign the group would immediately be labeled a PAC—or Political Action Committee.

But Bob doesn’t want to be known as having anti-tattoo leanings; he would rather hide how and where his campaign support comes from. What is a clean-skin freak to do? Enter the Super PAC. Instead of A.B.B.A giving Bob the money, A.B.B.A. can collect unknown millions and hire someone to speak well of Bob (or badly of Bob’s opponent) without saying who paid for it. You may ask, “But where did Super PACs come from?” Bob…or someone like him…talked dirty to the FEC.

How does a PAC mutate into a Super PAC. Super vitamins? No. According to a report on How Stuff Works, the FEC (remember them—the commission which tried to regulate excessive spending in politics?) ruled that “individuals, corporations and unions can now contribute unlimited cash to Super PACs, which essentially means there is no ceiling to how much money is injected into elections.”

I think ABBA said it best:

So, there you have it. Now any Tom, Dick or Bob can funnel his drug cartel money hard earned pennies into any candidate’s election through an independent agency who just happens to want to propose advertising that will benefit said politicians aspirations as long as the candidate hasn’t actually said he or she is running for office.

Fast forward to my bleeding rectum and you can practically sense the tingling moment when a great idea was born. (Wow, is that a gross analogy.)

[Warning: Back-assward Syllogism Follows]

Any ass with a Super Pac can collect money to NOT run for office…

…Dramatic Pause…

My ass isn’t running for office!

…Drum Roll…

Therefore, if I had a Super PAC they could raise millions of dollars for my ass!

…Rim Shot…

So, I have decided to form an exploratory committee for my ass. The committee will plumb the depths of people’s desires for my ass NOT to run for office! According to the Federal Election Committee, the first step is for someone to raise or spend $1,000 on behalf of my ass and file a FEC Form 1 within ten days. I encourage someone out there to form Committee to look into my ass’s chances of not running for office. You will need a name for my eventual Political inAction Committee. Vote here for your favorite suggestion:

 

My ass is nameless and it is not running for office. My ass approves this message.

Asterisk Bedazzled Footnotes:

*A plaster is what they called Bandaids™ before Johnson & Johnson kicked every else’s ass and slapped a piece of tape on the contusions.

**“What is a Super PAC?” You ask.  In short, a Super PAC is the political equivalent of saying “So There” to campaign finance reform.

***All politicians like getting as much money as possible—it’s called a PAC mentality.

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Actual Honest To Goodness Footnotes (I am now cursing my high school self who argued that I would never, in a million years, need to know how to footnote something when I grew up. Blame her for the following list):

How Super PACs Work, by Chris Warren http://people.howstuffworks.com/super-pac1.htm

Political Action Committee, Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_action_committee#History

How Do I Start a Super PAC or Hybrid PAC?, Federal Election Commission, http://www.fec.gov/ans/answers_pac.shtml#super_hybrid