Monday, November 7, 2016

election 2016: stevo's ballot ...

“Why not think about times to come,
And not about the things that you’ve done?
And if your life’s been bad to you?
Just think what tomorrow could do!

Don’t!  Stop!
Thinking about tomorrow!
Don’t!  Stop!
It’ll soon be here!

It’ll be here –
Better than before!
‘Cause yesterday’s gone!
Yesterday’s gone! …”


As best I can tell, this is what the ballot I cast tomorrow will look like, when I head to the Disabled American Veterans place, next to the abandoned bowling alley off of 87th and Blue Ridge Boulevard tomorrow, to cast my ballot for #Election2016.

If how I vote guides your decision, wonderful.  If it doesn’t, fantastic.  Just please, get out and vote.  If even I can manage to make a polling place by 7pm CT (and I plan to be there when my polling station opens at 6am – I mean hell, if I can’t walk the equivalent of two blocks to exercise the greatest freedom that we have, then why do I have this freedom, to determine my country’s future), then what is your excuse?

As you will notice from my ballot, I do not vote party line.  Hell, if you know me, you know that’s the truth – I am a registered Democrat who hasn’t voted to put a donkey in the White House since 2000.  (And hasn’t voted for a Republican to represent me in the Senate since … uuh … I forget.  I’m honestly not sure that has ever happened, unless Bob Dole was running on the ballot both for the Presidency and the Senate in 1996.  Although in my defense, look at the “options” I faced the last twenty years – Pat Roberts (ugh) or Sam Brownback (never) when I lived in Kansas; Roy Blunt or Todd Akin in Missouri (not a chance in hell). 

And if the theme to this post doesn’t give away who I’m voting for at the top of the ballot?

Then you didn’t pay even the slightest bit of attention to politics, in 1992.


* President (and Vice President): Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine (D).  All I need to justify this vote, to be brutally honest, is to (a) look at my friends who backed Bernie Sanders, and (b) look at my friends who back Donald Trump.

Not because I think they’re wrong to support either candidate; it’s your vote – all I ask is that you use it however your conscience sees fit to, uuh, use it.  But because my friends backing Mr. Sanders argued Mrs. Clinton isn’t “liberal enough”, and my friends backing Mr. Trump  believe Mrs. Clinton is “worse than Obama”.

Which means she’s exactly what I’ve always felt she was: a true moderate, willing to work with either party for the best solution to our nation’s problems.  And thanks to the ineptitude both sides have sent to the White House in the last sixteen years, is exactly what this country needs.

There are things about Secretary Clinton I don’t like, not the least of which is her strident pro-choice stand, not the most of which is her indefensible continual lying about the “email scandal”.  It’s my biggest complaint about Hillary, actually – she automatically assumes all criticism of her is based on hatred or bias or something other than reality.  Madam Secretary?  Take a bit of advice from someone who’s had to do this a lot in his life:

When you f*ck up?  Own it, admit it, apologize for said f*ck up, then go about repairing the damage your mistakes made.  Be humble, be contrite, be genuinely sorry, and learn from it.  It’s called a “life lesson” for a reason.  People will always forgive the sinner.  If not the sin.  But not if you don’t admit you’re wrong to begin with.

In the interest of honesty, if the Republican ticket was flipped, I could have been talked into it.  Reluctantly, but it could have happened.  But I cannot in good faith say that I can stand before the face of God someday, and confirm I sold out my values and beliefs, to vote for the most evil man to ever be this close to the Presidency, because he might appoint a Supreme Court nominee that keeps the court centralized, versus pulled far left.  I cannot in good faith say that I can stand before the fact of God someday, and confirm I sold out my values and beliefs, for a man who thinks grabbing women by their privatest of parts is acceptable, who brags, boasts, and beams with pride over his constant degrade and disrespect for his wife, and who claims he owes no confession or absolution for his sins because he has nothing to confess.

This man is just … I’ll stop there.  Vote your conscience.  I have too strong of one – I was raised too appropriately – to cast my vote for this vile of a human being.

Having said that, this is my final projected Electoral College map ... and yes, it really is about one state: New Hampshire.  New Hampshire.  New Hampshire.

New Bleeping Hampshire.

Just like it was sixteen years ago, if we're being honest:

* United States Senate: Jason Kander (D).  Of every endorsement I’ll read this election cycle, the Kansas City Star signing off on another six years of Roy Blunt disgusts me the most.  Roy Blunt is Washington at its worst – his family gravy trains as lobbyists, he never fails to shove a pork-ladened amendment into an otherwise quality piece of legislation, and he’s so bought and paid for by the tobacco lobby that I’m shocked Joe Camel didn’t appear at a Roy Blunt campaign rally.

Kander’s done a decent job as Secretary of State.  God knows he had some issues on his watch that would try the patience of Job – Ferguson, that journalism professor “asking for muscle” during the racial protests at Mizzou – and he’s handled those things as reasonably well as can be hoped for.  (If you doubt me, look at Baltimore’s reaction to the racial tensions that erupted this year.)

With God’s good grace and a bit of luck, Mr. Kander might become as powerful a force for Missouri as Senator McCaskill is.  Even if he’s worse than imaginable?  He’s still better than Roy Blunt.

* United States House of Representatives: Jacob Turk (R).  I wouldn’t vote for “Car Wash” Cleaver if you put a gun to my head and pulled the trigger.  “Sleazy” Manny Cleaver is a disgrace.  Sadly, there is no chance in hell Mr. Cleaver is not going to win; the 5th Congressional District in Missouri wouldn’t elect a Republican if God Himself demanded it be done.  But a kid can dream.  And the dream of “Sleazy” Manny Cleaver retired to the pulpit (yup, he’s a Reverend … and to think people actually ask why I refuse to step foot in a place of worship to, uuh, worship), is a dream I proudly cling to.

* Governor of Missouri: Eric Greitens (R).  This is the one that I spent the most time agonizing over.  I think Eric Greitens’ ads against Chris Koster are disgraceful, disgusting, and outrageously false.  But at the end of the day, Chris Koster isn’t someone I want representing Missouri to the world.  He’s just not a good dude from afar.  I’d call him a sleazy opportunist who switched parties to get elected but … oh wait, he is a sleazy opportunist who switched parties to get elected.  My bad.  (And funny how all you Trumpsters reading this, probably found that last comment funny.  #irony)

Either person would do a decent job running the state; Jay Nixon has been a tremendous governor the last eight years, and will leave the state in the best shape it’s been in, in decades.  I just think Mr. Greitens is the better option.  Hence my vote.

* Lieutenant Governor of Missouri: Russ Carnahan (D).  Jesus God above, I’m voting for a Carnahan.  I’m not sure there’s enough whiskey in Jackson County to absolve me of that fact.  Let’s just move on; there’s really no good options here, only awful ones.

* Secretary of State of Missouri: Jay Ashcroft (R).  I’ve rarely if ever felt more disgusted with a decision I’ve made, and I’m fully aware there’s that night involving a stripper, a cripple, and a chick with a mustache.  I’m voting for an Ashcroft.  That might be worse than voting for a Carnahan.  They’re both awful, awful political families that have done significant damage to Missouri and the nation over the last four decades. 

* Attorney General of Missouri: Teresa Hensley (D).  A few people I’ve talked to think she’s the real deal, from her time in Cass County.  Good enough for me.  All the AG has to do is throw a competent presser a couple times a year when some heinous crime occurs in the state.  She seems like she can pull that off at least as competently as Mr. Koster has these last four years.

* Treasurer of Missouri: Eric Schmidt (R).  You have to be a brain dead idiot to put a Democrat in charge of the Treasury.  And I say this as a registered Democrat.

* Missouri Senate, District 9: “Kiki” Curls (D).  Running unopposed.  Also, you have to love a candidate who goes by “Kiki”.  (Note: if I write in a friend on the ballot, as Mr. Reason always does on his in unopposed races, this is the one that gets a write-in.)

* Missouri House of Representatives, District 27: Richard Brown (D).  Running unopposed.  Could be another “shout out to a friend” write-in vote.

* Missouri Supreme Court: Richard Teitelman – vote Retain.  Unless a judge has unfairly incarcerated me for a night or three, I’ll always vote to retain. 

* Missouri Court of Appeals, Eastern Appellate District: James Dowd, Philip Hess – vote Retain.  I can’t recall any offensive appeal to rail against.  Retain competence.

* Missouri 16th Judicial Circuit Court: (hang on folks, there’s a list of these people coming) Jalilah Otto, Sandra Midkiff, David Byrn, J. Dale Youngs, S. Margene Burnett, Bryan Round, Joel Fahnestock, Wesley Brent Powell, Jennifer Phillips, Jeffrey Neal, Janette Rodecap, Robert Trout – vote Retain on all.  (Pause).  You know what?  I just realized something.  I haven’t appeared in a court room as a defendant, for any reason, in at least four years!  I haven’t spent an unfortunate night in incarceration, in any jurisdiction, in well over four years!  #progress!

* Ballot Initiatives:

Proposition A, Missouri $0.23 Cigarette Sales Tax: Yes.  I have to be consistent.  If I support legalizing marijuana for more than the obvious … then I have to support raising taxes on every other legal (or hopefully, soon to be) tobacco-type product, for the public’s best interest.  Also, Missouri cigarette taxes are ridiculously low, and if this doesn’t pass, then you know they’re coming after alcohol next to fund whatever idiocy this promises to fund.  And I’m getting sick and tired of paying nearly $40 / handle for Weller, that was $29 / handle four years ago.

Having said that, you’re going to call me a complete bleeping hypocrite in five … four … three …

Constitutional Amendment 3, Missouri $0.60 Cigarette Sales Tax: No.  No just no, but hell no.

For starters, what the hell does a cigarette tax have to do with the damned state’s constitution?  I swear, this state is becoming as ridiculous as California with their amendment ballot initiatives.  Secondly, doesn’t federal funding already fund Head Start and early childhood development programs?  Thirdly, I’m getting damned sick and tired of this “the language of the provision ensures politicians can only use the money for” promises.  That’s what we were told twenty years ago when we legalized casinos!  How many more f*cking taxes and promises do you have to reneg on, before you finally properly fund our school systems, Jefferson City?

Here’s a thought: grow a pair, and use it to properly fund our schools, by making choices WE elect you to do, and craft a budget that does it, taxes be damned!  Who in their right mind would vote against properly funding a public education system?  Who in their right mind would boot someone out of power for raising taxes 1/8th of 1% to balance the damned budget?

This is the single worst thing right-wing talk radio has unleashed upon the nation, is this ridiculous “all taxes are evil” bullsh*t.  No, they aren’t.  Taxes serve a useful purpose – they pay for the public services we all use and (at least somewhat) enjoy! 

There’s a reason why propositions and amendments like this keep failing in Missouri: because we’re too stupid to fall for them.  I’ll choke down Proposition A, because it’s reasonable.  There’s no way I’ll vote to amend the constitution – the governing document of the freaking state – to mandate a tax on cigarettes.  There’s a place for something like that.  It’s called a “piece of legislation passed by the state Congress”, not the bleeping constitution.

Constitutional Amendment 4, Prohibition on Extending Sales Tax to Previously Untaxed Services: No.  The second toughest decision on the ballot for me, because I’m currently neck-deep in a committee project at work to deal with all the states putting this on the ballot come Tuesday.  (And trust me, if these things pass, it will be a nightmare to deal with, both accounting and tax-reporting wise.)

Having said that …

I can go along with this, because the playing field isn’t level across state lines.  (Deal with processing -- or creating -- an invoice for even ten minutes, and you’ll get it.)  Some states charge tax on internet sales; some don’t.  Some charge tax on services and fees; some don’t.  You’ll drive yourself bat sh*t crazy trying to not only figure out if, when billing a client, taxes apply … you’ll really drive yourself Trump sh*t crazy trying to figure out if reciprocal taxes apply, based on what the invoice is for, from whatever state the vendor is based in.  It’s insane.

Again – not all taxes are evil, and not all taxes are equal.  Charging a fair rate like other progressive states do seems the reasonable and right thing to do.  So I’m voting no, on this amendment.

Amendment 1, Missouri Sales Tax for Parks and Conservation: Yes.  It’s to renew the state parks tax.  It’s a 1/10th of 1% surcharge.  If you enjoy floating the Elk or Niangra at least one weekend every summer?  You’d damned well better vote yes.

Constitutional Amendment 2, Missouri State and Judicial Campaign Contribution Limits: No.  If ridiculously right and left wing idealalogues are going to attack judges for interpreting the law?  Then give judges the right to defend their decisions and rulings to the people through advertising.  Free speech.  Let it breathe.

Constitutional Amendment 6, Missouri Voter ID Requirement: Yes.  Good God, who DOESN’T have a valid state-issued ID?  You can’t cash a check without one, which pretty much destroys every argument against this proposal.  If the poorest of the poor can’t cash their benefit and/or assistance check from the government without an ID, then who the hell DOESN’T have an ID?

That appears to be it, for what will appear on my ballot come (hopefully) 6:05ish tomorrow morning.

Whatever appears on yours?  Vote your conscience.  I suppose that is why this is my favorite political ad of the year, and for once, it's not an outrageous lie.  True character is said to be revealed in how you treat others, when you think nobody is paying attention.  And I agree with that statement.

What does it speak for who you are, when you act like the candidates, with the cameras on you?


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