I Hate Election Years

A couple of years ago, I abandoned the Republican party as the party.  I went in determined to register as an Independent; but when I found there was an Unaffiliated option, I opted for that.  Why?  Because the Republican party hasn’t represented my political views for years; and in the years that I’ve been registered Unaffiliated, they haven’t done a damn thing to convince me to return to their fold.

I’ve also stopped voting against people.  You know how it is, the two candidates running for an office are for all intents and purposes the same amount of useless (they are running for political office, after all), but one is worse than the other by some standard.  I’ve stopped voting against that guy, if the guy running against him also doesn’t represent me and the views I hold.  When I’d rather not vote for either of them, I won’t; and if there’s a write in line, I write my own name in there.

There is a downside to being Unaffiliated.  I recognize that I am among those who make Colorado a swing state, (which is a ludicrous term because Colorado is obviously a left-leaning state).  I’m not apologetic for adding to this number, mind.  But when I hear that Obama (or any other candidate) is coming for a visit, I just want to groan.

I’m utterly appalled by the amount of mail I get for various candidates or causes.  I don’t even look at them.  My daughter loves feeding things into the shredder, and everything that’s glossy that’s got some politician’s smiling mug on it gets handed to her to shred.  All that money spent on their propaganda materials and into the bin it gleefully goes in tiny little pieces.  For the candidates that I simply despise like Mark Udall or John Hickenlooper, I sometimes wish they could feel the pain of their images being shredded into hundreds of pieces of confetti.

I also hate TV commercials where politicians are battering each other, making accusations and trying to make the other person look bad.  I prefer to stream episodes of Top Gear or Doctor Who from Amazon because there are no commercials when I do that.  It’s nice that there are no commercials period of any sort, but I am especially glad there are no political ads when I do this.

It doesn’t even pay to opt out.  The medium of television is like a mishandled shotgun, it indiscriminately, remorselessly assaults everyone within its range.  It doesn’t matter if you agree, disagree, or don’t even play the game; when you watch TV, you’re still brutalized by the issues with which politicians are beating each other over the head.  Which is a really good argument for not bothering with TV.

Then there’s the penultimate invasion of my privacy: the political poll phone calls.  I am registered on both the national and the state’s no-call list, but that doesn’t matter: these guys have made themselves exempt from the laws about harassing people via the phone.  Is anyone shocked?  Didn’t think so.  The only thing we can count on politicians doing is ignoring the laws they force on us.

I don’t even entertain these fools.  When they call, I deal harshly with them and make sure they understand their questions are not welcome.  I do not feel honored to be asked, and I think a lot of people on the receiving end of my wrath are surprised by how much I hate their intrusions.  And god help any of these pollsters that use automated marketing.

My contempt for politicians carries over to the people they send out into the world like missionaries of poison.  The last one that came to my door got as far into his introduction as …from the campaign of before I told him to go away.

Now, I recognize part of the price of what we call freedom in this country now means I have to deal with this every two years.  I’m sure there are some people reading this in some country somewhere wishing they had these sorts of complaints; I’m sure they’d consider it a good problem to have.  I guess I appreciate, in some perverse definition of the term, having the problem to complain about.

Here’s the thing.  These intrusions bring with it more than annoyance.  I recognize that the hatred and contempt in political ads will be turned toward the voters as soon as the more immediate threat of not getting elected passes.  Further, these ads are trying to distill complex issues into 30-second spots, and no important political issue is that easily classifiable.

The implication is that I won’t do my own research into candidates and issues, and most of the candidates would prefer I didn’t.  Unfortunately for each of them, I do my own research, and I vote accordingly.

When I was still registered as a Republican, I resented the idea that because I was registered Republican I would automatically agree and vote for the Republican candidate.  In their campaigns, politicians push a dehumanizing agenda and the press eats it up and reports on it as if they’re not Soylent Green ingredients as well.  These people have bigger problems than convincing me that the enemy of his enemy is my friend.

I view everyone who seeks out and campaigns for positions of authority with suspicion.  Truly great leaders have to be convinced that they’re the person for the job and they’ll step down as soon as the crises for which they are needed are over.

I’m looking forward to this phase of the Charade of American Politics to be over.  I cynically doubt there are enough people with similar views as my own to effect any sort of real change over this very broken system of politics in our country.  But I’m a closet optimist, so I can’t help but hope.

About these ads

Photogenic Kitty

I’ve been a bit lazy today, and instead of coming up with an insightful and interesting topic, I am posting some more pictures of Rose.

Who, me?

Who, me?

It's hard not to be smug when you're this cute.

It’s hard not to be smug when you’re this cute.

 

Photogenic Kitty

You were going to pet me, right?

You were going to pet me, right?

Ah, thanks, that's the spot.

Ah, thanks, that’s the spot.

Shutterstock Rejections

On a lark, I submitted these photos to Shutterstock. They were all rejected, but I can submit again after the 3rd of October. I don’t know if I will, or if I’ll be over it by then (I’m betting on the latter). I’m curious to know how many companies are looking through Shutterstock’s images looking to license photos exactly like these and are frustrated they can’t find them.

It’s hard not to take it a little personally, I suppose; but as I said, I submitted them with no real expectations. And since I don’t do post processing on my images, I doubt I’ll ever find mine accepted at Shutterstock. I’ve been thinking of building a site to showcase them anyway.

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As an aside, this is the first post I’ve published using the new post tool. I’m not sure I like it, but I figured I’d give it a go.

General Motors Deserves to Die

General Motors issued a stop sales order on the new Corvette last week.  There are two issues with the new Corvette that led to this decision; and fortunately for buyers, neither are with the ignition switch.  One of the issues has to do with a part that attaches the driver airbag to the steering wheel, and the other is a potentially faulty emergency brake.

Not to pick solely on the Corvette.  GM has been up Excrement Creek in a leaky canoe with no means of propulsion for some time.  The ignition switch problems that lead to nineteen deaths affected a range of GM cars, from Chevy Cobalt to Saturn Sky.  Some of these cars are no longer in the GM product line, but the company’s still on the hook for the poor build quality and faulty engineering.  Not to mention blatantly ignoring the problem for so many years.  If that doesn’t make you rethink buying a cheap American car, nothing will.

The Doofus in the Oval Office, unaware of how a free market economy actually works and bound by promises he’d made to the Union Thugs that got him elected, gave billions of taxpayer dollars to GM to keep them from failing.  He failed.  This is the quality of automobile they’re churning out, and they rightfully deserve to collapse in a cloud of cheap plastics.

And now you can see that General Motors stopped caring years ago and are now simply phoning it in.  Look at the hideous mediocrity that is their product line.  From all of this, only two once stood out as good cars, if forced to choose a GM product on which I would actually spend my own money: the Corvette and the Cadillac CTS-V.  And now, the Corvette can’t be sold because their apathy and piss-poor engineering has struck again.  I wouldn’t even buy the CTS-V any more: I’d choose death over buying and driving a GM product.  Driving a GM is apparently a death sentence anyway, it’s just over more slowly and you’re far less comfortable when you choose death by GM.

The argument that GM is too big to fail that lead to a net loss of $10 billion (yes, with a B) taxpayer dollars was utter crap.  Ask the Romans if their empire was too big to fail.  It was, of course; nearly every modern convenience we have can be traced back to the Romans in some form or another.  Things like paved roads, irrigation, and language.  And yet, where are they now?  They rose to prominence in the world, they peaked, they disappeared.

I read a piece on Forbes recently  (and I can’t find it now, so if you know which piece I’m talking about, send me a comment and I’ll update this post to link to it) where the author points out that recessions are the economy purging itself of all the bad ideas and bad practices that have been put into place since the last pruning.  Much like a forest fire clears all the underbrush, deadwood, and causes seeds to burst open to encourage growth and further survival, the economy needs to weed itself periodically of all the crap that we do to it.  And we’d have stronger recoveries if politicians kept their inept fingers out of the pie.

Actually, like everything else, if politicians and government stayed out of the economy, it would survive just fine on its own.  We would all be better off if the government quit meddling with the economy; but, as is the way of governments, it’s not about ensuring a healthy market place, it’s about controlling you and me and your neighbors and your kids.

We accept that death is a part of the natural lifecycle in nature, why is this so difficult to understand in business.  When a business no longer provides a useful service to the economic well being of the country, it needs to die.  GM is the perfect example of this concept and the hijinks that have become Obama’s Bailout Fiasco now show to the world just how inept General Motors is.  Even they recognize they shouldn’t be in business any more and are doing their best prove it.

Warning: Contains Comments About Warnings

I think warning labels on most products are ridiculous at best and are at worst simply rewarding people for stupidity. I understand that they’re on products so the manufacturers can limit their liability when ignorant people misuse their products.  You don’t have to make that point for me.

A trend I’ve noticed recently, though, shows me how bad this is getting. The warning labels don’t even really include words anymore; warning labels are basically written in hieroglyphics. These things prove that they’re written for the illiterate and ignorant with this new trend: companies don’t have to bother with localization issues because the vapid image chosen for the warning easily translates. And that seems like a good idea on the surface, but this also rewards people who are too stupid to use the product in the first place.

On the other hand, literate people are constantly bombarded with new symbols and hieroglyphics every day, and it’s not easy to keep track of what they all mean. Does this mean that the introduction of warning labels in hieroglyphics is discriminatory against intelligent, literate people? Probably. But I bet the case they’d make is that the warning labels aren’t for intelligent, literate people. They’re for the ignorant, irresponsible, and illiterate people in the country.

The people in American society are so willing to turn the business that employ them into villains that when they are selected for to hear a case of individual versus corporation, they automatically think the corporation should pay out billions of dollars. The coopted media is willing to validate these claims and cover stories as if they’re valid, and champion the cause of the underdog: There’s automatically a desire to reward the little guy and blame the big bad business, even though the little guy was probably misusing the product that landed him in the situation where he felt he needed to sue. This is stupid.

Here’s an example: people who’ve sued tobacco companies. No one forced these people to smoke or chew, but when the play unwound to the inevitable conclusion, they got a big payout from the corporation that simply met their part of the supply and demand chain. This is the equivalent to suing the supermarket simply because there’s food in there. Speaking of which, suing companies because you haven’t got the discipline not to eat four calorie bombs in a sitting is as fundamentally stupid as suing (by proxy, likely) a gun manufacturer because you lost a game of Russian Roulette.

This trend of rewarding irresponsible people has been devastating to our society and our economy. The cost of everything goes up to compensate for businesses paying lawyers to defend them over frivolous lawsuits that could’ve been avoided had the user been intelligent enough to not misuse the item in the first place.

Society before all this nonsense still had stupid people in it, of course. Stupid people exist and sometimes thrive no matter what. But before society rewarded someone for being a stupid drain on the local intellectual economy, life was harder than otherwise.

Life is tough; it’s tougher when you’re stupid.  — John Wayne as Sgt. Stryker, The Sands of Iwo Jima

If you want to hear leeches scream, mention tort reform to a group of lawyers who cater to this class of society. These scumbags survive on the backs of society, encouraging irresponsible behavior and furthering the degradation of intellect. They produce nothing and are rewarded handsomely for it; it’s like living on welfare as your sole career choice, but with a higher payout. These succubae don’t want tort reform cutting into their profit margins.

But I, as the person stuck paying more for someone else’s reward for being stupid, would like to inject some sense (that used to be called common sense) into the equation.

You see, I used to argue that we could re-establish Darwinian Principle in our society if we removed the warning labels and refused to hear these lawsuits. And I still think that would be the case. However, since we’re already paying judge-level leeches to provide the service, I propose following alternative (Warning: the following paragraph contains a modern-America profanity):

If you levy a lawsuit against a company claiming they were negligent which resulted in your needing a payout that rivals most countries’s GDPs and you lose, you are by law ordered to pay the legal fees incurred by your claim. I also think they should have to reimburse the taxpayers for wasting the judge’s time, for the use of the courthouse, the utilities, and all the other costs incurred by their stupidity. I think this levels the playing field a little bit in favor of rational thought and sanity, and reintroduces the concept of — here comes that profanity I warned you about — Responsibility to our society; and it’s a slower, more gradual reintroduction than simply letting the stupid people kill themselves off by their ignorance in one fell swoop.

Now, there are two simple solutions to seemingly complex problems in the American society given away for free because I’m such an amazing humanitarian. You’re welcome.

Trinidad Art-O-Cade Pictures Part 2

Yesterday I shared some pictures I took of the Trinidad Art-o-cade this weekend. The big dragon art car seems to be a crowd pleaser; it shoots flame that looks pretty impressive (I saw that last year… for not being particularly interested in art cars, I’ve managed to be in Trinidad for both of them so far).

As unimpressive as I felt most of the entries were, there was one I thought was pretty cool. This is a mosaic of simpler times, older cars, and main street cruising.

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Okay, enough with the art cars for a bit, eh?