Durst: One Man, One Vote

Will Durst
Will Durst
Will Durst on the Texas voter ID law (upheld on Saturday by the Supreme Court):

“Whiners. Bounders. Ingrates. Talking about the incessant griping and sniping currently buzzing over long overdue Republican reforms requiring citizens to produce a government issued ID before casting a vote. From the outcry you’d think the GOP was organizing competitive kitten clubbings. Again.

Face it, the problem isn’t not enough people voting: it’s too many people voting. Time to go back to literacy tests and poll taxes. Restricting the vote to white male Protestant landowners. They’re the ones who run the country. The ones with the most to lose. Oh sure, the constitution states that voting is a right, but it’s also a privilege. Barnacles don’t determine where the whale swims, do they?

Freedom isn’t free. And the rich have the resources to pay for elections. We could set it up so the more they spend, the more votes they get. Until eventually the guy with the most money ends up running things. That’s they way they did it in Europe and they turned out okay. What the hell, we’re at least halfway there.”

Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed political comic based in San Francisco. He is the author of Elect to Laugh! A Hilarious, Common Sense Guide to American Politics

Bear Baiting in Maine

Nash 2.5

What’s the #1 Election Issue in Maine? Bear Baiting.

Here’s how it works.   Out-of-shape middle-aged guys from Boston and New York City are willing to spend a couple of grand a piece to come up to Maine to “hunt” a bear.  That’s big bucks to the locals.

The city guys don’t actually do any real hunting, of course. Black Bears in the wild are very alert and very clever, so they are difficult to hunt, unlike deer and moose which are really dumb.

bearbaitingSo … an entire industry has been developed by “Certified Maine Guides” to accommodate the bear-killing needs of these affluent customers. “Bait” (day-old donuts are popular) is placed in locations near guest lodges, and the guests, dressed in color-coordinated LL Bean hunting clothes, are driven, in rugged-looking extended cab pick-up trucks, to a spot where they can  conveniently shoot at the bears, without too much exertion.   (Many of the guides carry cardiac defibrillators in their trucks, just in case.)

All of this was fine for decades until a bunch of “whining out-of-state environmentalist nuts and animal lovers” got a voter referendum placed on the November ballot, to ban the practice of Bear Baiting. (Actually it was native Mainers who did it, with a little bit of financial help from national organizations, but that’s not what the talk radio audience wants to hear.)

In addition to regular political ads (i.e., for governor), Mainers have been bombarded by “pro” and “anti” Bear Baiting ads for months.

Here is a short video on the politics of Bear Baiting, explaining why having this issue on the ballot may help the Republican candidate for governor (LePage) and hurt the Democrat (Michaud). Michaud is ahead in the polls, at the moment.

What’s On Your Ballot?

— Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor. Read More by this author.
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Use It or Lose It

As a nation, our voting muscles are withering away from lack of use and the muscle-bound money bullies are kicking sand in our face.

It’s not just disenchanted baby boomers, according to a Harvard University Institute of Politics study “less than one in four (23%) of Americans under the age of 30 say that they will ‘definitely be voting.'”

We arsande voting booth wimps when compared to other democracies. For instance: “The United States’ 2012 elections was marked by a low voter turnout with 57.5% of voters going to the polls. Compare that to India and Malaysia where more than 80% of eligible voters cast their ballots in 2013.”

How do we build back that voter muscle? Is there a dynamic tension solution like the one Charles Atlas promised comic book readers?

Obama Sidelined

The President might as well toast marshmallows at Camp David for the Midterm Election. No Democrat in a tight race — and plenty in safer contests — want him around. Perhaps it’s not as bad as LBJ’s end-of-term isolation, when he could only get applause from soldiers at military bases who probably feared court martial if they didn’t.

What’s worse for Democrats is how much fun the GOP is having by associating their foes with Obama.

Check out this ad by Florida’s Republican Gov. Rick Scott, which is saturating TV sets these days. I saw it four times in a single 30-minute newscast last night here in Orlando, and across the dial all day and night. Just think, if Obama were at all popular this could be a Charlie Crist ad:

The Politics of Ebola

Nash 2.5
Fear: it’s really all the GOP has these days.

Fear of terrorists, fear of immigrants, fear of socialism, and now fear of the Ebola virus.

Millions of Americans have become cowards, shivering under their beds, clutching their assault rifles, which are not much use against disease, by the way. (They would be better off if they just washed their hands after using the bathroom.)

Forget about rational discussions about why the (profit-driven) U.S. healthcare system is simultaneously becoming more expensive and declining in quality. (Profits?)

fearLet us instead devote 24/7 mainstream media coverage to shallow analysis about “how we can protect ourselves from the threat of Ebola.”

Over at Fox News the message is clear: somehow this is all Obama’s fault.

If the GOP gains control of the Senate in November, it may be because of a tiny virus you need an electron microscope to see.

Here is the trailer for “Outbreak” (1995), about an Ebola-like disease epidemic.   They should run this film 24/7 on cable TV for a few days, and then we can all talk about Ebola more intelligently.

– Nash 2.5 is a Trail Mix Contributor. Read More by this author.
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New World – Not Ordered

Blue Bronc

Does everybody remember my little post regarding me having email accounts hacked? Well, let me say that was not all.  The other day the great state of Maryland let me know that they say I did not have insurance on my car; that such lack of insurance was $150 plus $7 per day while I was lapsed.  Oh, that is due to a bounced check says my insurance company.  Moi,  oh I did not know that was the problem, I did not know this was happening.

Today’s post brought a letter from the loan provider of my truck, rather rude and abrupt but as pleasant as a threat letter can be, that I had no insurance on my truck and that I need to provide proof or “they would provide the insurance,”  A call to my insurance provider, “. . .not in the office, your call is forwarded to. . .”  After that rather informative discussion, it turns out that I in fact did not have insurance.  Something about my credit card not active when charged.

It turns out all this occurred at the time my accounts were under attack and my accounts with accompanying credit cards and check cards were being changed. Those changed due to being under attack.  And, for hilarity, I will have new accounts in the coming week due to being under attack by bad people who have information from companies I do business with having the accounts breached.

I will be talking to several companies and government agencies this coming week.

This most difficult part of this is when I relied on companies to let me know in person something was wrong. I did not expect the companies to only send out “automatic letters” and let the onus of problems fall on me.  My previous experiences with these companies had been on personal reach out, but then those were in different states.

Lessons learned, change companies when those you hire to do your business do not give you a personal touch and support you when things go wrong. Especially in this new era where companies are hacked and your personal information is sold to high buyer.

Okay. So let us review:  change passwords; use 12 or more characters; use upper and lower case, numerals and special characters (password generators help); change companies if you are not supported; talk to all agencies you can to explain your plight; hire an attorney if necessary.

Now you will be asking yourself “What the bloody hell does this have to do with me?”  Your accounts can come under attack because you shopped at a retail store, such as Target or Home Depot.  We are in a new world.  Will our politicians do anything?  A rather more on topic question is “can they do anything?”

Simplistically, some say use cash.  Sorry, it is not always usable online.  Write checks, they cry.  Sorry, checks not accepted.  Use your credit card online.  Sure ‘nuf.  screwed on that one.

Politicians will not save you.  They pass laws for reasonable people.  Those who attack your checking accounts or credit cards do not care about laws.

– Blue Bronc is a Trail Mix Contributor

Hillary: Take The Money Or Don’t Run

She’s got to run or piss off every Democrat out there. Because whether by design or coincidence, party donors are refusing to commit to anyone else until Hillary Clinton reveals her decision. Time is running out for any other Democrat to muster the resources for a credible campaign. Few, including Joe Biden, can even afford a few nights in Iowa without substantial funding. Hiring qualified staff is almost out of the question. What a huge disservice this would be to her party if Hillary doesn’t run, unless she makes it clear immediately that she isn’t running.

More Nukes?

Help me understand. Why are we spending a trillion dollars on upgrading our nuclear arsenal? And why is the president who campaigned against this, and partly won the Nobel Peace prize for championing nuclear disarmament, now green-lighting this?

The New York Times provides this answer: “With Russia on the warpath, China pressing its own territorial claims and Pakistan expanding its arsenal, the overall chances for Mr. Obama’s legacy of disarmament look increasingly dim, analysts say. Congress has expressed less interest in atomic reductions than looking tough in Washington’s escalating confrontation with Moscow.”

And in an editorial NYT says,”There has been little debate among members of Congress and the public about the decision by Mr. Obama and Congress to pour billions of dollars into new nuclear weapons systems — even as other government programs have been cut significantly.”

Hey nation, this seems worth discussing.

Secret Service: No More Texting

Here’s one idea for how another intruder jumped the White House fence and made it inside the mansion before the Secret Service nabbed him — maybe the agents were too busy playing with their cell phones, as described in this letter to the head of the agency’s White House Security Detail sent a while ago from a friend and former DEA agent Michael Grimes:

“I am writing to you about what I see as a lapse in physical security surrounding the White House.

I am a retired federal agent and have planned and executed many raids/assaults in my 30 years of service. I am a part time resident of Washington and frequently walk to the White House.

Omar Gonzalez in Secret Service custody after jumping White House fence on Sept. 19
Omar Gonzalez in Secret Service custody after jumping White House fence on Sept. 19
At any given time, and within my view from any location around the White House, I see at least one, if not more, uniform officers with their heads down playing with an electronic device. I have seen as many as three officers, standing together, and every one of them had their heads down and not paying a bit of attention. I have walked to within just a few feet of these officers and not one will look up. This is not only disgraceful, it is downright dangerous.

I assure you that I would be quite capable of planning and executing an assault on the White House grounds by overpowering the guards when at least half are not paying attention by using their electronics. I am aware that someone would sound the alarm but this is not the point.

These people are not being paid to text with their friends or Google for some place to spend a day off.”

— Michael E. Grimes is a retired DEA agent, the owner of Criminal Investigation Techniques, which provides training, risk assessment and consulting services to law enforcement agencies, and the author of Informants – A Guide for Developing and Controlling Informants.