The best election ever if you’ve given up because, if you don’t vote and vote smart in this one, it’s pretty much guaranteed to be the last one.
The good news is that we still have some laws, at least in California, about allowing voters to follow the money. And the ballot measures are almost transparent this time around if you do just that, which I have.
TL;DR: If you’re cool with laws being made by the wealthiest one percent for the wealthiest one percent at the expense of all the rest of us, do not Pokemon Go-to-the-polls. Stay home and drink Kool-Aid. NO on everything except Prop 8 and Prop 10.
Prop 1 and Prop 2:
Both predominantly paid for by Mark Zuckerberg and the Essex real estate investment firm. We approved Prop 63 fourteen years ago to increase millionaires' income tax by 1% to be spent on mental health care for everybody. Prop 2 diverts $120M a year from that money to help some of them recoup some of that in return for building more buildings for the mentally ill. Prop 1 spends even more, in the form of our collective tax investments to give these developers, to do the same for low-income, veteran, farm-worker, and trailer park residents. Wouldn’t it be cool if everybody pitched in to reduce the cost of doing your job? “Sure, we’d love to do the ethical thing – what’s it worth to you?”
Not even 6 months ago, we agreed to spend $4.1 BILLION for clean drinking water and water-related environmental fixes. I guess we burned through that, because this measure doubles that money. Who’s paying for the propaganda? Big agriculture, factory farms for produce. It enjoys bipartisan support from Cox and Feinstein, which is to say from far-right conservatives and moderate Republicans who differ mostly in their support for the subhuman in the oval office that they put there, keep there, and vote with 99% of the time. Prop 3 also has significant support from several environmental groups – sounds good, but gets quite insidious (which is to say fucking evil) by the time we get to Prop 12.
Sick children? Jesus, of course no price is too high. That’s why we gave children’s hospitals $750M in 2004 and $980M in 2008. Fifteen of these hospitals are paying to get the word out that $1.5 BILLION should do it this time. The healthcare industry is well-known for it’s support of the single-payer universal healthcare that every other civilized country provides as a human right to their citizens, it’s just a shame that the wealthiest country in the world can’t afford it.
FUN FACT: The money raised to support or oppose candidates and propositions this year, in California alone, has exceeded FIVE BILLION DOLLARS. Yes, for those shitty ads. That’s one thousand 30-second Superbowl commercials.
The slightly less insidious of Props 5 and 6, the GOP’s Trojan Horses to try and get Republican voters to the polls. The bulk of the propaganda dollars for Prop 5 are coming from the CA Association of Realtors. It eventually takes one billion dollars A YEAR from schools and local governments in the form of less property taxes for seniors who can afford to move to more expensive homes. Coincidentally, they tend to vote Republican because, apparently, they don’t use the spare time afforded by their retirement to read and think.
Half a million bucks alone are from the personal checking accounts of Paul Ryan and half a dozen other SITTING REPUBLICAN SENATORS. Just to try and get a few more CA Republican voters out there on Nov 6. That’s how much money those public servants have sitting around. BUT – We already pay the highest gas prices in the country, now something like 80 cents a gallon in taxes, since well before the DNC convinced us to approve the latest 12 cent increase back in June. They’re telling us that it’s dangerous not to fix potholes, but they never brag about all the potholes they’ve repaired. Funny. Contractors like the tax, too. Because if there’s anything more awesome than everybody pitching in to pay some of the cost of doing your job, it’s everybody pitching in to give you more work.
I didn’t warn you how much nose-holding and coin flips you’d have to do on this ballot, did I? It stinks to high heaven, almost the whole thing. Hey, I voted in the primaries, did you? We would have had quite a lot of really great choices on this ballot if more people had spent a couple hours looking at the last one instead of pet photos on Facebook.
Oh hell, I dunno. More dark mornings, more light in the evening. However – and you might want to sit down for this one – statistically speaking, DST pays off mostly for businesses at the expense of workers. Shocker, I know. No money in this measure, though! Congress would still have to okay it, so flip your coin assured that there would be no consequence for a long time, if ever.
THE MOST MONEY EVER SPENT TO FIGHT A BALLOT MEASURE IN THE HISTORY OF THE COUNTRY,
Ninety million. From two dialysis companies. Two. You’d think they’d need to save that money, with the hand-to-mouth nature of a service that their customers are free to refuse and die when their kidneys shut down. If we don’t let this monopoly charge whatever they want, so that they can afford the exorbitant cost of bribing senators, they might have to just stop providing that service. The population of sociopaths and psychopaths together is estimated at about 5%. I don’t know if their employment in decision-making positions for the healthcare industry has been calculated. Get someone to hold your hair back while you vomit, then vote #YesOn8.
Coming in at number two in dollars spent to defeat a measure, from mostly out-of-state developers, one or two massive ones, are doing basically what those subhuman dialysis company people are doing – threatening to make more people homeless unless we let them charge whatever ever they want for rent whenever they want. Prop 10 doesn’t even pass any rent control laws! It repeals a law that says no local jurisdiction in CA can. Sounds like American democracy, doesn’t it? Free market and trickle down and all that? There are orgs formed to do good things, like reduce drunk driving deaths and be sensitive to people who don’t like tobacco, but they grow drunk on power and they won’t stop until they achieve total prohibition. It’s a thousand times worse with money. The point I’m making is #YesOn10.
Do you see a theme here yet? Real estate developers for sure. But the healthcare industry isn’t done with CA yet.
“In 1991 Paul Verrochi created a business plan to consolidate the fragmented ambulance industry“, American Medical Response. Paul did so well at eliminating/consolidating the competition/fragmented ambulance industry, they can afford to consolidate the fragmented unions and worker protections that untold millions fought and starved and died for. And if we don’t allow them to deny paramedics breaks, people will die. Because there won’t be ambulances. CA GOP is behind them – the ambulance company, I mean, not like lawyers chasing ambulances. But not totally unlike that, either. There’s no money in opposition to this measure. It’s up to you.
The Faustian Deal Award goes to the final measure,
The number is so appropriate! It’s the same number, in inches, that egg producers will allow chickens to move around in if we vote yes. In 2008, we passed (by such a huge margin it almost restores your faith in humanity) that year’s Prop 2, expressing the unanimous value that Californians want animals to be treated humanely before we eat them. Because we love them and they’re delicious. It wasn’t too much to ask, especially since it made violations a misdemeanor. But even that – along with all the loopholes and compromises around an issue that should be entirely without either – wasn’t enough for what would become concentration camps for defenseless animals, poisoning everything we eat with fear and pain. So Big Egg and the rest kept on well past the 2015 deadline, now a decade later, dragging their feet and filing appeals and whining that the measure was too vague to judges. One awesome justice in particular told an egg producer (I’m paraphrasing) “a chicken has a wingspan and turning radius that any reasonably intelligent person can measure.” Now, PETA has a reputation of being a fanatical bunch of extremists, but here’s the thing: The biggest supporter and fundraiser of Prop 12, the Humane Society, as well as fellow supporters the ASPCA, are among the people who call them that. On the other side, the folks who break in to factory farms and all that, their orgs criticize PETA for not being radical enough. So PETA takes abuse from both sides, which tells me that they probably have the best-balanced view. PETA wants you to vote no on Prop 12, along with pork producers, egg farmers (not to be confused with Big Egg), and God help us the California Republican Party. The California Democratic Party sides with the Humane Society and ASPCA and Big Egg because it’s never too bad for too many for too long for their tried and true “incremental reform” sales pitch. This is not a long bill. It’s not indecipherable legalese. If you just read one of these propositions in its entirety, read Prop 12 and cross-reference what you need to on Wikipedia or whatever. PETA doesn’t have the kind of power and influence it takes to get Sarah McLachlan to do a commercial for them. It takes lots and lots of donations to build that kind of organization – just ask the GOP or DNC – and you have to make compromises. Like the Humane Society clearly did with Big Egg. I’m speculating here, but it looks really good for both of them to say “look! We fought to treat animals better!” while in fact they’re fighting to let the agricultural equivalent of Mengele get away with defying the will of California voters, the laws of the state, and common decency for another decade or more, locking in the bare minimum requirements that will allow them to say they respect the lives of the animals we live on and continue to break the law with little consequence. If we vote no, maybe – just maybe – some of these monsters who have spent decades killing individual family farms, maybe some of them will be fined or something. On the other hand, if we vote yes, we’ll be saying AGAIN that we want animals to be treated well, and maybe someday a judge will get the chance to see them shitting on the spirit of the law and do something consequential.
BREATHE. Maybe pour a stiff drink. Believe it or not, it gets a little easier now that we’re to the candidates. And I don’t need to go through them one at a time, even.
TL; DR: #VoteThemOut. Every incumbent. Every single seat in the house is up. A big chunk of the senate, too. Send an undeniable message that transcends interpretation and polls and CNN panels and even the big, big money. With the unavoidable disclaimer that, if the challenger is insane enough to support an emotionally retarded racist sociopath then lucky you, Ms. Incumbent, you have until the next primary to get your shit together and grow a conscience.
Public service isn’t a career. Feinstein has made millions (for herself, I mean, much more in party donations) in the name of the average working American over the decades IN THE SAME JOB, working against them all the while. She voted for the Iraq war, Afghanistan, and on and on. Didn’t just vote to give Trump the massive military budget increase he asked for, but MORE than he asked for. Yet eternally “just not there yet” on Universal healthcare. Because we don’t know how to pay for it, while outspending every other country 10-1 on bombs. That we use. On people we don’t know. So, yeah, de Leon? Dunno what he’ll do. But I know for sure what Feinstein will do if Kevin wins – fucking retire like a fucking Saudi empress and not cast any more of her moderate Republican votes. We already have a proud pro-biz party. We need one for human not-millionaire people.
Seriously, when I first moved to CA, I looked up my reps and was thrilled to see the first (and last, to date) Rep who ever actually represented me, Babs Boxer, then puzzled and finally nonplussed by Feinstein’s record. Look it up. She’s a Republican. Y’know, like Manchin*? Yeah. Take a closer look at Kamala too before you wave the blue flag and beg her to run in 2020. Spoiler: She let an innocent un-rich man rot in prison for a decade despite DNA evidence, but refused to prosecute (and to this day refuses to explain why) Mnuchin for his massive financial crimes. Yeah, that Mnuchin. Now, instead of being in prison, he’s in Trump’s cabinet. Kinda like how Obama wanted to “move forward” and not prosecute the war criminal that preceded him and the people that enabled those crimes, like *Kavanaugh, the final piece of the single party domination of all three branches of government that are supposed to check and balance each other.
Statistically, historically, this one is yours to turn around, Women.