Thursday, July 21, 2016

Fight the Celebritocracy. Vote Clinton.

There are moments when I, in moments of Occam’s Razor-devoid tin-foil hattery, look at the two most-disliked nominees in American history and think we’re all being punked. Punked by the Clintons and the DNC who looked at the odds and found literally the ONE more-disliked candidate Hillary could beat. Punked by a failed reality show clown, fired-by-NBC fake “successful businessman” who will, mark my words, after he loses in November, have a shiny rehabilitated and recharged brand, probably a new TV show…or network…after pretty much crashing and burning as a nut case fringe birther before this awful year 2016 dawned.  It’s a fun parlor conspiracy game to play. But seriously, if “they” can engineer that then they’ll have zero trouble engineering the resurrection of the Public Option and medicare opt-in at 55 and subsidized state university tuition for millions of american college students. And that, I’m 100% ok with. Sign me up for that conspiracy. Again, thanks for hanging in there Bernie.

But the real “conspiracy” isn't a conspiracy at all. The primary, if not exclusive, blame for all of this goes, in my view, to the ratings, if it burns-it-leads, celebritocracy selling, enabling, enforcing, media. And Trump has been burning and leading the coverage from day one. The coverage afforded Trump….over Bernie, over Hillary, over Jeb, over Gary…..over every last human being with a scintilla of experience, credibility, sincerity, integrity, or 5 damn minutes of public service has functioned as the coal shovelers heaping loads into the boilers, keeping the lights burning on a campaign that should have been ignored and laughed into oblivion long ago. 

I’m voting for Hillary Clinton. And if you ask my opinion I will tell you: so should you. No I don't like many of her foreign policy positions or record. Yes I’m saddened by many on the left who I thought would be too, but bafflingly weren't, or, when asked about foreign policy answered with “she’s fierce” or some equally culty fact-devoid response.  Yes I think it’s your right as a citizen to vote for whomever you please, with no recriminations from me or anyone else.  Have at it, citizen. 

But it's simply not as simple as "voting your conscience." The system matters. And we are governed by, and participate in, a two party system, in function and design, de facto and de jure. First past the post, single member voting districts, winner take all. Look all that up if you're not up on the arcane systemic wonky stuff,  but it essentially boils down to this: If you’re not voting for the second place winner, you’re always voting for the first place winner, regardless of whom you vote for.  No I’m not happy about it either. I’m tired of the lesser of two evils crap sandwich we get served on a shiny silver platter every 4 or 8 years. But if you really want to change that, hit the streets and advocate for alternate voting or other systemic things that will break the two party system. Not by chiming in every presidential election with the same old gripe.  Til then, play by the rules of the game you’re currently playing. This isn't the Kobayashi Maru scenario where Kirk gets to hack the game and change the rules. Voting for Jill Stein aint gonna do it, as much as I like and respect her. Yes I want to send a message to the Democratic party. But I did that already, and I didn't prevail: my vocal support of Bernie Sanders submitted as evidence. And more importantly, his enduring campaign successfully garnered progressive concessions/commitments from the eventual nominee, despite sadly not winning the brass ring. Was/is the system rigged? Um sure ok fine. But let's be honest: we’re all “the man” here. I'm "the man," you're (probably) "the man." We all “rig” the system by participating in it and by reaping the rewards it bestows on our first-world, stable, safe, sated, comfortable lives. You don't get to opt out and be a barstool, brunch, or Facebook radical every 4 years for 5 proverbial minutes AND be taken seriously. Not to mention the fact that it  won't be our lives most threatened or damaged by a Trump presidency, it will be those far more marginalized and excluded from those rewards.

So if you live in a swing state like Ohio or Florida…or maybe even Pennsylvania this year (ugh), I respectfully submit you consider your vote and how it will matter and vote for Hillary Clinton. If you’re in a blue state and supported Bernie, just swallow your righteous anger and vote for Hillary. Otherwise you’re throwing away the commitments his candidacy won from Clinton. That’s how the system works after all.  If you’re in a red state and just cant vote with us lefties, just go ahead and vote for Gary Johnson, he’s pretty ok by me.  Anything else will add your name to the ranks of witting or unwitting President Trump enablers. And just because it’s your right to do so, doesn't make it right to do.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Could Romney get any worse?

Mitt Romney should not be President for so many reasons. But in the area of Foreign Policy, I'd go even further: He's simply not qualified. First of all he can't even go to a single country without making embarrassing, offensive, non-factual statements. Then he goes and declares that Jerusalem is the true capital of Israel, something the United States does NOT recognize. So much for not contradicting standing US policy (or the sitting President) while traveling abroad. Finally, it really isn't a stretch to see the thinly veiled anti-semitism in his "jews are just good with money" themed comments. The insane thing is that He manages to be equally offensive to literally EVERY group/culture/people he references: The Palestinians (ignoring that the OCCUPATION is the real reason for GDP disparities w/Israel, not "Jewish culture") Jews, and even Mexicans by analogizing similar reasons for US/Mexican disparities (hmmm is THAT why the Romney clan returned to the US after fleeing to Mexico?)....and finally offending all thoughtful Americans who now are cringing every time this idiot-android opens his mouth abroad, Ugly American indeed.

I can't help putting this into the context of the whole "barack obama is foreign" mantra…calumny…the Romney campaign is using. It's all about "the other." it's an oft used and ugly part of American campaigning. Code language to your base: he's not one of you. He's not American, he's other, and yes…he's black.  And as LGBTQ Americans that should make us nervous too, b/c we're attacked exactly the same way…and will be more and more if this is any indicator of what Romney either believes or is willing to gin up among his base….

Sunday, December 11, 2011

ABC's new "sitcom" "Work it" needs to go.

ABC has a new "sitcom"  coming in January called "work it".

Well, from what I've seen, it's awful. It's a tired retread of Bosom Buddies and just dumb. But more, it's offensive. Not only for the thinly veiled transphobia, but also for the subtle passive LGBT hate that i think it represents and reinforces. Take a look at how ABC is tripping over themselves to make sure the characters are not perceived as gay.

"Alpha males?". Whew. Thanks for clearing that up ABC. I know a lot of alpha bottoms. Some even work at ABC. 

Here's my re-work of the abc press release

(emphasis added. red is my attempt to out ABC's subtext)

about work it

From "Friends" producers Andrew Reich & Ted Cohen comes "Work It," a high-concept comedy about two unrepentant guy's guys (they're not gay, no way!)who, unable to find work, dress as women to get jobs. Not only do they pull it off, but they just might learn to be better men in the process.
Lee Standish is a quick-witted and likable family man (like we said NOT GAY!) His best friend, Angel Ortiz, is a hotheaded ladies' man (these guys fuck women, not men (yuck)) with no filter. The two of them worked at Pontiac -- Lee as a top salesman and Angel as head mechanic -- until the company went out of business. Out of work for a year, their job prospects don't look too bright. They've learned the hard way that the current recession is more of a "man-cession" (seriously? as if)and their skills aren't in high demand. Then the almost-broke Lee finds out that Coreco Pharmaceuticals is looking to hire sales reps -- female sales reps. He takes a chance and goes into the interview dressed in heels, a skirt and make-up. The transformed Lee gets hired -- as a woman.
Lee wants to stay true to his agreement with Angel that, if one of them is working, then the other will be too, so he tells Angel what he has to do if he wants a job at Coreco. Angel, who is miserable working at a fast-food dump, is desperate to make a change; he decides to swallow his pride and go for it. Unfortunately he tanks his interview, but when he fixes the boss's car, he too is hired – also as a woman.
To stay employed, Lee and Angel must put aside their alpha male selves (alpha = straight. have we told you they don't want dick?)and learn to navigate their all-female workplace. Their presence at Coreco with their new female coworkers initially raises a few eyebrows, but the company's two newest sales reps find ways to put almost everyone at ease: Enthusiastic and sometimes na├»ve Kristin is excited when the female Lee tells her that she, too, is a single mom. Kelly, the office party girl, is thrilled to have two more friends to hit the town with. Only Grace, the somewhat icy regional sales leader, keeps a suspicious eye on Lee and Angel, convinced that there's something seriously wrong with them. To complicate matters, when Angel meets their new boss, Vanessa, he is immediately smitten with her(by the way viewer, these guys are apple pie american vagina fuckers. even when they're dressed like women!)  But there are some serious obstacles in the way of their romance: She's his boss, and -- no small detail -- she thinks he's a woman. (BC a woman liking a woman would be impossible!)
For his part, Lee can't disclose his feminine secret to his wife (this is a good time to remind you, scared american, that this guy, wait for it, is straight. YUP!), Connie, or to their 14-year-old daughter (oh no, he's not pretending to be straight, he gets it up for poon-tang and makes non gay babies. with woman. bc he's straight!), Kat, so he tells them he got a job at a drug company – as himself. Connie notices that, since Lee has begun working at Coreco, he seems to be more understanding and sensitive to her needs. The opposite is true of Connie's unemployed brother, Brian, who is also Lee and Angel's drinking buddy (not only is he straight he does stuff straight guys do with other straight guys, i.e. not sucking their dicks, drinking American beer!). Sensitive and understanding he is not, so they definitely can't reveal their secret to him.
Lee and Angel quickly realize how much they have to learn to get by in their new environment. It's not just how to walk in heels and tighten up with Spanx. For the first time, they're really listening to the women in their lives (one last thing, viewer: these guys have women in their lives.) and opening themselves up to a whole new realm of experiences(and we DONT mean sex without one dick and one or more vaginas). In the process, they're learning that to be a better man may mean having to be a better woman.

Friday, September 30, 2011

A Specific Proposal for the Occupy Wall Street Protest: A True Campaign Finance Fix

Much has been said about the Occupy Wall Street protests lacking specific goals or proposals. Politically speaking, one of the fundamental problems is the out of control influence of money in our political system. Whether it's hedge fund managers or wall street firm barons or large corporations, it all comes down to the price of access. More crudely stated: most if not all of our elected officials are "bought." To be sure, it's not always corrupt or nefarious. Running a campaign costs money...a lot of it…Democrat, Republican whatever. And that system forces our elected officials to spend a larger and larger proportion of their time with their hands out. And the donors expect, and get, access for their giving. The result is the average American ends up having FAR less than average access. When Joe Schmo calls his Congressmen, will he get a personal call back? Or will it be the fund manager who bundled millions of dollars of contributions on Wall Street that year? Or maybe it will be his company's lobbyist who gets a personal lunch date that week. But it's the 99% that are left in the cold.

I came up against this first-hand when I ran for New Jersey State Senate in 2003. My solution was to accept no contributions larger than $100 so that the playing field was equal among all donors. But in the end I wound up hurting myself with an under-funded campaign. I stuck to my guns for the principle of the thing and maybe today with a more developed internet-savvy population things would be different. But forcing principled candidates into under-funded Quixotic campaigns just yields victories for the monied candidates and access to the 1%.

Of course public financing is the way to go. In the 1980 Presidential race Carter and Reagan took no private money: the entire campaign was publicly financed. But it's just not as simple as that debate anymore. The Supreme Court has established that political campaign contributions are the same as protected First Amendment speech. The First Amendment is first for a reason. If that interpretation persists, we're not going to see a change in private contributions anytime soon.

So the question becomes: how can we address the problem but not run afoul of the First Amendment implications? Answer: a federal clearing house for campaign contributions. Run it under the FEC. Call it The Federal Election-Contribution Clearing House (F.E.C.H.) Call it whatever. Fund it through the optional $1 Presidential Campaign donation on Americans' tax returns. Take all the limits off: anyone can give what he wants with no caps. But here's the key difference: The money is, for lack of a better word, laundered. You write the check, it goes into the clearing house, where any connection to who's giving is removed -- laundered -- but the designated candidate gets the money placed into his campaign account. You want to tell the world you gave a million bucks to Mitt Romney, go for it. Maybe he'll believe you. Maybe four hundred other people will say the same thing. But the candidate will technically never know who gave what or how much. Now, my bet is we'll see a steep DROP in campaign contributions when the givers know they won't get automatic access and payback. Their First Amendment right to give (and blab about it) remains in tact. Here's another bet: because the flow of dirty money will end, we'll then start a real debate about public financing. We've got nothing to lose. It's time for radical solutions. And this is one everyone just might accept.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Get Out

Being out...on tv, in your world, in your life...makes a difference in other people's lives. Being proudly out in the media means we are not subject to, or defined by, the two dimensional and often offensively clownish stereotypes hollywood and the media create for us. If you are in the public eye and in the closet, you are missing a critical chance to make a difference in the lives of struggling LGBT youth. A difference that you might not know about until a decade later:

A message I got yesterday:

Jim from The Mole, right? Wow. I hope you don't mind me being all Facebook creeper-ish, but I've been re-watching the first season and was curious of whatever became of you :P I had the biggest crush on you when I was like 11! You were one of the first gay men I came across on tv or otherwise who didn't make me want crawl into the closet for life.


Over the years I've gotten a bunch of these of messages. Every one means the world to me because each is a reminder that by simply being myself years ago on a silly reality show, I made even a small difference in someone's life. I deserve no particular credit for this, I was just being myself. The credit goes to the young guy or girl that felt a little less alone and mustered his or her own courage to be him or herself.

New York has shown us that the tide is turning in our direction. Our enemies, the forces of ignorance and, yes, hate, are going to be doubling down over the next few years.
Now is the time to spend the capital you have: you know who you are. Or will you wait another 5 or 10 years and miss the chance to make a difference NOW when it really counts? We need you.

Jim Morrison
Repost if you want.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dear American Media: Enough "Royal" Wedding BS

The amount of attention US media outlets are paying to the circus of leeches, aka the royal wedding, is simply offensive. On so many levels. It is offensive to the tens of thousands of men and women who died liberating this country from the tyranny of the British monarchy. I don't care if it was 200+ years ago and we now have a "special relationship." This is foundational stuff. It means something. People died. Millions have suffered and died world-wide under the heel of colonial subjugation. That the monarchy now has the face of harmless rich idiot dilettantes who find time in their busy work-week to (laudably) engage in charitable works is irrelevant. If the British public wants to keep their mascots, so be it. But our news media owe us more than devoting hours of coverage to such nonsense. Enough.