Monday, November 5, 2012

decision 2012: stevo's ballot tomorrow

“I always believed in futures –
I hope for better, in November.
I try the same losing lucky numbers?
It could be a cold night, for a lifetime.

Hey now – you can’t keep saying endlessly,
My darling?  How long until this affects me!

Say hello to good times!
Trade up for the fast ride!
We close our eyes while the nickel and dime
Take the streets, completely.

I always could count on futures,
That things would look up.  And they look up.
Why is it so hard to find the balance,
Between living decent, and the cold and the real?

Hey now – what is it you think you see?
My darling?  Now’s the time to disagree!

Say hello to good times!
Trade up for the fast ride!
We close our eyes while the nickel and dime
Take the streets, completely.

Hey now – the past is told by those who win.
My darling?  What matters is what hasn’t been.
Hey now – we’re wide awake and we’re thinking!
My darling?  Believe your vote can mean something!

Say hello to good times!
Trade up for the fast ride!
We close our eyes while the nickel and dime
Take the streets, completely …”

-- “Futures” by Jimmy Eat World.


Tomorrow, ladies and gentlemen, peoples and peepettes, the drunk and the stoned who stumble upon this – tomorrow?

WE have a job to do.

No matter who you opt to vote for, go vote.  The power of the people is something that so much of this world has never known, and never will.  Get up tomorrow morning.  Go stand in line.  Or go at lunch.  Go after work.  Make your voice heard, however inconsequential you think it might be.

I believe this is arguably the most important election this nation has had, since 1860.  The choice is crystal clear, at least for the top of the ticket.  Either you vote to hurl the United States down the un-retreatable road to financially unsustainable socialism, or you vote to hit the breaks and make a hard right, to start the u-turn back to the economic model that built this nation into the greatest the world has ever known, capitalism.  If you believe socialism is the answer, where your potential and income and earnings and status in society hits a hard cap far below what you are capable of accomplishing?  Then please vote to re-elect President Obama and Vice President Biden.

If, like me, you refuse to believe that your potential, your earnings, your job, your LIFE, deserves to be capped by some unnamed, faceless government official who doesn’t know you, or your hopes, or your dreams, or your desires.  If, like me, you believe that YOU, not the government, not other people, YOU AND YOU ALONE control your destiny?  Then vote to elect Governor Romney and Rep. Ryan.

Below, is how I will be voting on Tuesday.  Sample ballot for me was obtained at the Missouri Secretary of State’s official website.  I always disclose, at least to my politically active friends, how I vote, because while I completely agree with the sanctity of the privacy of the voting booth, and respect without prejudice your right to not reveal your choices … I have no problem admitting who I voted for, what ballot measures I supported or opposed, and why.  For me, I am so damned proud that this nation, the greatest experiment in mankind’s history, proof that man does not need a misguided trust in some form of higher being in order to self-govern, self-rule, and establish a respected rule of law, I am so damned proud to live here, to call this amazing social success “home”, that I shout from the rooftops who I support, what I believe, and I back it up with the power of my ballot.  Please, folks – do the same tomorrow, no matter how you decide to vote.

You will notice, I do not vote on strict party lines, and in the interest of full disclosure, I am a registered Democrat from the Reagan / Clinton wing of the party that is so thoroughly disgusted by my party’s nominees for the highest office in the land – namely, the outright embrace of European socialism that has led to 25% unemployment in Spain, a literal economic collapse in Greece, and rioting – yes, RIOTING! – in France of all places, that I have to vote:

* President / Vice President: Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan (R).  The last four years have been the greatest failure in American history, save for possibly the Buchanan administration.  And please, spare me the comparisons of President Obama to President Carter – yes, both are inept, clueless, and in over their heads, but at least President Carter not only balanced every budget, the 1980 budget ran a surplus.    President Obama hasn’t even signed a budget into law, let alone balanced one.

I am voting for regime change, because I believe in fiscal sanity.  I oppose $6 trillion of new debt, with (45,000) jobs to show for it.  I oppose 47% of the populace drawing their primary sources of income from the public treasury (although, in the interest of fairness, this is a stupidly misleading statistic, considering that anyone who is a public servant, teacher, first responder, fireman, police officer, member of the armed forces, or draws Social Security legitimately, is included in that 47% figure.  Still, it’s too high to sustain – no free market economy can sustain higher than 35% tops, and even the totalitarian regimes collapse in the 40% range.) 

I oppose nearly 50 million Americans drawing food stamps, up over 15 million from four years ago.  I oppose waiting until 2014 to end the war in Afghanistan – end it now.  (On this point, both sides are dead wrong.)  I oppose the overhaul to welfare requirements this administration issued.  I opposed the stimulus.  (In the interest of fairness, I supported both the financial bailout (TARP), and the bailout of the auto industry, as necessary evils.)

I oppose the Affordable Care Act overall, although there are parts of it that I believe are vast improvements over what the status quo was, and that should form the basis for legitimate comprehensive health insurance reform.  (There is a difference – health care in this country has NO NEED WHATSOEVER for reform.  Insurance?  Oh hell yes it does.  But Care?  Nope.) 

I oppose 8% percent U3 unemployment figures every month the President held office, and 15% legitimate U6 unemployment figures every month the President has held office.  I strongly disagree with the notion that some road or bridge built this country’s economy – it’s PEOPLE did, through hard work, long hours, insane dedication, and a belief that there is no limit to what one can accomplish in this country, if you work at it long and hard enough.

To the President’s credit, he did give the order to successfully locate, and remove as a credible threat, the architect of 9/11, osama bin ladin.  To the President’s credit, I believe he has relatively successfully managed the Arab Spring.  And while I feel horribly for the people affected by our inaction, the President has been correct in refusing to get directly involved in the civil war in Syria.  To the President’s credit, he carried through his predecessor’s promises to withdraw from Iraq by 2010, even speeding up the timetable, and Iraq’s government has proven to be sustainable and stable. 

Also to the President’s credit, he has come out strongly in favor of equal rights for all citizens, by endorsing the rights of gay couples to wed.  Unfortunately, it took four years of “evolution”, and a timely (planned?) gaffe by his Vice President, to get him to realize that equality for all, means equality for all.  You would think the first minority to hold this nation’s highest office, would understand the need to extend equal rights to ALL its people.  (Unfortunately, Mr. Romney does not support equality for all, which in just about any other election, would be a huge negative against him … but this is not “any other election”.)

At the end of the day, when the only successes you can claim are in the realm of foreign policy, and you ceded your foreign policy to your primary rival and her fellow supporters … and that your Vice President forced you, after you “evolved” on the issue, to embrace equal rights for all under the law?  When that’s all you have to show for the last 46 months, 24 of which you had super majorities in both Houses of Congress, and a compliant Supreme Court to boot?  You do not deserve a second term. 

And I will not vote to grant you one.

* US Senator: Claire McCaskill (D).  Ms. McCaskill has done a damned fine job serving my state, and has more than earned a second six year term to represent me in the Congress.  She opposes earmarks for the most part.  (The only one I could find she voted for, was the Kit Bond Bridge.  Anyone who’s made a dash up 29/35 to the gaming establishments in North KC knows, that bridge was LONG OVERDUE and BEYOND NEEDED.  It was NOT a “Bridge to Nowhere”.)

She is a vigilant watchdog of the people’s money.  She has been a moderate voice in the Senate (ranking 50th per most non-partisan rankings of conservative to liberal members of the Senate) at a time this nation needs moderation more than ever before.  While I oppose her support for the ACA, that is the only vote I can think of in six years in which I either did not agree with her vote, or could not reasonably respect her decision to vote as she did.  And again – even though I oppose the ACA overall, there are responsible parts of it that it would be criminal to gut in the event of a Romney / Ryan victory.

Toss in the fact that, while I share her opponent’s belief that all abortion is murder* … his comments on rape are indefensible, and reveal a man simply mentally unfit to hold public office.  My vote is to re-elect a Senator who has earned a second term.

(*: trust me – NOBODY is more stunned at my complete 180 turn on my abortion viewpoints, than me.  Twenty year old me is demanding to know what happened.)

* Missouri Governor: Jay Nixon (D).  If it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it.  Governor Nixon has signed four balanced budgets into law, without raising a cent in taxes.  And when you’re dealing with a legislature as dominated by wingnuts as Missouri’s is, that’s an impressive accomplishment.  The Governor has charted a moderate, pro-growth, pro-business environment that has seen the movement of some major corporations across the state line, both from Illinois and Kansas, the most recent of which (Freightquote) will be a major boost to my area of town, District 6.  And trust me – we NEED the economic growth.  DESPERATELY.  (Just drive by the roo-eens of what used to be the Bannister Mall shopping complex to figure that out).

His opponent, Mr. Spence, seems like a nice enough man and appears to be qualified for the job.  But again, if it ain’t broke, why try to fix it.  Governor Nixon has done more than enough to earn my vote for a second four year term.

* Missouri Lieutenant Governor: Susan Montee (D).  This might be the toughest decision on my ballot, if only because our current lieutenant governor, Peter Kinder (the Republican on the ballot), has been investigated for assaulting a stripper in an adult entertainment establishment, and had to reimburse the state for charging hotel rooms he shared with said adult entertainers to the state’s credit card.  I mean, that’s awesome!  You want sleazy sometimes in your public officials, if only to make you feel good about yourself.  And really folks – how can it get any sleazier than knocking around a stripper who won’t commit to a “three hole playoff” (rimshot!)?

In all seriousness, Mr. Kinder is a state-wide joke that does not deserve a third term.  Ms. Montee is the sensible alternative, if only because it’s a safe bet she won’t be running up a night at Chippendale’s on the state’s dime.

* Missouri Secretary of State: Shane Schoeller (R).  Coin flip.  Democrat running is Jason Kander of Kansas City.  No matter who wins, fellow Missourians, we are ALL winners, because Robin Carnahan won’t be drawing a public salary anymore.  And if I’m not mistaken, that means every gravy-training Carnahan is now sitting at home.  That’s good enough.  (Note: if I hate you enough as a politician, that I voluntarily vote for John freaking Ashcroft over you?  You are a HORRIBLE politician.)

* Missouri State Treasurer: Cole McNary (R).  Do you trust a Democrat with your money?  And I ask that as a registered Democrat.  Do you trust a Democrat to be responsible and sensible with your taxpayer dollars?  Cause I sure as all hell don’t.

* Missouri Attorney General: Chris Koster (D).  Another “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” vote.  Mr. Koster has done a solid job in his four years on the job, and Republican-turned-Democrat-to-win from Harrisonville deserves another four years in the job.  Put it this way – Mr. Koster could literally screw a court reporter on a desk in a defendant’s waiting area while various other court officers “watched on a personal level”, while destroying evidence that proves a lawsuit against Planned Parenthood is baseless in fact … and all he’d manage to do is match what’s gone on in this office in Kansas the last six years.

* US House of Representatives (5th District): Jacob Turk (R).  My current Representative, the former mayor of Kansas City, Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III, or “Sleazy Manny Cleaver” as I call him, not only never deserved this office in the first place (hey, passing on NASCAR!  That was brilliant!  No, really Manny – Jackson County couldn’t have used the Village West / Legends type growth you so geniusly handed to Wyandotte County!).  Mr. Cleaver currently has the taxpayers on the hook for literally millions of dollars in a failed car wash business he owns, that he has defaulted on the loan payments for.

For that reason alone, he must be retired to whatever congregation is stupid enough to consider this man a legitimate representative of the Christian faith.  (Although, to be fair, he’s at worst the third worst “representative” of Christ on Earth, behind Reverend Jesse Jackson and Reverend Al Sharpton, who I gotta admit, I cannot WAIT to see react to the election results tomorrow night on MSNBC.)
* State Senate (9th District): Kiki Coles (D).  Running unopposed.  Besides, how can you vote against someone named Kiki?

* State Representative (27th District): Bonnaye Mims (D).  Running unopposed.  Besides, what the hell is a Bonnaye?

* Jackson County Sheriff: Mike Sharp (D).  Running unopposed.  Having spent an unplanned few hours in Mr. Sharp’s penal system over the last four years, I can confirm it’s a professionally run, semi-efficient operation that gets you bonded out within a few hours, and doesn’t require you to shower up before leaving.  That’s good enough for me.

* Jackson County Prosecutor: Jean Peters Baker (D).  A worthy successor to Mike Sanders.  She has more than earned a second term.  Ms. Peters Baker is running unopposed.

* Missouri Supreme Court: NO to retaining George W. Draper III.  The Missouri Supreme Court outrageously upheld the new restrictions on adult entertainment establishment, uuh, entertainment.  Every one of those people on the ballot is getting a “HELL NO!” vote to retainment from me.

* Missouri Court of Appeals: NO to retaining Cynthia Lynette Martin, NO to retaining Thomas H. Newton, NO to Gary D. Witt.  See former Sen. Matt Bartle’s outrageous anti-strip club legislation that these cowards upheld.  And before I face prosecution from these misguided idiots – I WILL ensure I am at least six feet … AND seven and a half inches away from the ballot when I cast my vote on their retention to the bench.  (pause).  OK, ok fine – six feet and six and a half inches.  Talk about ruining the fantasy …

* Missouri 16th Judicial Court: YES to retaining Justine E. Del Muro (Division 4), YES to retaining James Kantazar (Division 5), YES to retaining Charlie McKenzie (Division 13), YES to retaining Marco A. Roldan (Division 16), YES to retaining Jack Grate (Division 17).  I’ve had no dealings with the Missouri 16th Judicial, so there’s no reason to fire these fine upstanding members of the bar that I can see.

* Missouri Associate Court Justices: YES to retaining Kenneth R. Garrett (Division 26), YES to retaining Vernon E. Scoville (Division 28), YES to retaining Robert L. Trout (Division 32).  Again, no personal issues or involvements in the last four years.  That’s gotta be some kind of record for me, right?

* Missouri Constitutional Amendment Three: HELL NO to amending the process for how judges are picked to the bench.  This system we have is not only not broken, it functions so well that every state in the nation has pretty much plagarized it.  Here’s a hint, religious zealots: if you don’t like these pesky judges upholding the Constitution?  How about you take a good, long hard look at the first part of the First Amendment, and think long and hard about how much you REALLY want a judge “reinterpreting” what that document says.

* Missouri Statutory Prop A: YES to allowing local control of police and fire in St. Louis.  God forbid the damned city control its own police authority.  Plus, if this passes, then local control here in Kansas City goes on the ballot next.

* Missouri Statutory Prop B: NO to raising the cigarette tax.  Let me get this straight – we approved the lottery because it would “finance our schools to a satisfactory level”.  We approved limited riverboat gambling because it would “finance our schools to a satisfactory level”.  We amended that approval to “boats in a moat” because it would “increase financing for our schools”.  We amended that amendment to “open boarding” because it would “increase financing for our schools”.  We then amended that amendment to the prior statutory proposition to allow 24 hour gaming because it would mean “more money for our schools”.  And finally, we unshackled the last limits on any form of casino gambling, the $500 / 2 hours loss limit, because of the “revenue growth for our schools”.  Uum, guys?  AT WHAT POINT ARE THE SCHOOLS GETTING ENOUGH DAMNED MONEY?!?!?!  Because WE’RE THERE!  If they can’t make due on over $1 BILLION in additional revenue in the last 15 years?  Then fire every damned person affiliated with school budgeting and get someone in with a clue!  You give me a $1 billion windfall, AND all the time I need to allocate the funding adequately?  I’ll allocate it adequately, and that’s with the $10 million or so I’m skimming illegally off the top to my newly founded Swiss bank account!  Good God.  STOP.  TAXING.  US.  NEEDLESSLY. 

If someone is stupid enough to think that putting something that is ON FIRE in their mouth, and then INHALING said burning object, if someone is so f*cking stupid that they think doing that 20-30 times a day is a safe, healthy idea?  Then let them do it!  Nowhere in our nation’s founding laws does it say we have to legislate against stupidity.  So please, stop doing it!

* Missouri Statutory Proposition E: NO to banning the forming of state health exchanges.  This is the height of stupidity.  Whatever you think of the Affordable Health Care Act (and I opposed it), it is the law of the land until otherwise overturned.  Why you’d vote to screw yourselves out of any available federal funding for health care, on some misguided zealous principle, is beyond me.

And the final issue on my ballot:

* KCMO Special Election 1: YES to raising mandatory retirement age of judges from 65 to 70 to match state regulations.  You have to be some special level of stupid to vote no on this one.

However you want to vote tomorrow, just make sure you vote.  Millions upon millions of our citizens, brothers, sisters, parents, grandparents, and ancient ancestors have literally given their life, for the right far too many of us take as a given.  It’s NOT a given.  Show up tomorrow and let the world know what you think.

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