Category: Politics

Recalling Hypocrisy

You may have heard that the fruits and nuts of California are trying to recall our governor, Gavin Newsom. As a current fruit and nut of this state, I recently received my mail-in ballot and was faced with a decision. Should I vote to recall the bastard, or has the poor son-of-a-bitch been unfairly maligned?

Governor Newsom, posing with his sincere and innocent-looking smile.

Californians have a reputation for recalling our governors, which might be slightly exaggerated. True, we did replace Governor Davis with the Terminator back in 2003. But in the entire history of the United States, only four gubernatorial recall elections have ever been held, including the current one.

The first occurred in 1921, when North Dakota governor Lynn Frazier was booted out of office. The second involved the termination of California’s Gray Davis, by Arnold Schwarzenegger, in 2003. The third occurred in Wisconsin, in 2012, where Governor Scott Walker barely held onto power by the skin of his scummy teeth.

And now we are in our fourth. Only 20 states allow their governors to be recalled, by the way. Although California has only held two such elections (including the current one), we probably have the record for most attempts.

The fun and games began in 1960, when we tried to recall Governor Pat Brown (Jerry Brown’s father). No California governor since then has escaped a recall attempt. In all of California history, there have been 54 attempts at giving our various governors the hook. And in fact, the current recall election is the seventh attempt at firing Gavin Newsom. The previous six petitions were initiated during the first year he held office. They fell far short of the signatures needed to hold an election. But the seventh apparently was the charm.

Newsom has complained that Donald Trump is behind all this political punching. But no, Trump went over a whole year without even commenting on it, and we all know how hard it is for Mr. Orangehair to keep his mouth shut.

Some may have the impression that this petition began as a response to harsh Covid restrictions. But no, this petition was born on February 20, 2020, weeks before diktats and mandates overset the lives and livelihoods of Californians.

Petition #7 began as a boring sequel to prior, failed recall petitions, with the usual laundry list of Republican gripes concerning illegal immigration, water rationing, high taxes, over-regulation, etc. Covid wasn’t even mentioned.

And the petition went nowhere, fast.

In California, the amount of signatures required to force a recall election is 12% of the votes cast in the prior election. This meant that 1,495,709 signatures were required. And all of those signatures had to be gathered by November 17, 2020.

And so, the race was on. By August 2020, a paltry 55,000 signatures had been gathered. Uh, not such a promising pace for six months of trying to convince masked and paranoid passers-by to stop and sign a political document.

Then it seems the movement to unseat Newsom fell into despair, as a hopeless cause, because over the next three months, only 890 additional signatures were gleaned from our state population of nearly 40 million fruits and nuts.

But then November 5th rolled around. This was a day that will live in infamy. At least in the mind of our guppy-eyed governor. On this fateful day, die-hard proponents of the petition, who were obviously gluttons for punishment, went to court and argued for more time to pursue their quixotic request for signatures. They complained that Covid restrictions had severely hampered their efforts.

The judge shrugged insouciantly, as if to say, “sure, what the hell, what harm could it do?” and agreed, giving the petition-pushers four more months, until March 17, 2021, to find anyone else willing to scrawl their name against the governor.

That very evening, our clueless Governor Newsom decided to take his wife out to a friend’s birthday dinner. Yes, the same Governor Newsom who had been shutting down restaurants and telling people to stay home. Yes, the same governor who had actually recommended, just weeks before, that if you must dine at a restaurant that has managed to stay open, be sure to wear your mask at all times, except during those brief moments when you’re shoveling food into your mouth.

Yes, that governor.

The restaurant he dined at is called The French Laundry. That’s an odd name for a restaurant, but perhaps patrons receive complementary dry-cleaning with their dinner. I’ve heard that it’s a very high-brow joint, costing diners hundreds of dollars for a meal. Geez, at those prices there had better be free dry-cleaning.

He dined with about a dozen bigwigs, in spite of all his warnings and mandates to avoid large gatherings. One of those in attendance was the CEO of the California Medical Association, and another was its head lobbyist. It’s strange that these medicos seemed to have had no concern about Covid. And all were maskless, including the governor.

It was a loud, raucous gathering, drawing attention from other diners, and leading the restaurant staff to close large, sliding glass doors, to block the noise. Closing these doors effectively turned their semi-outdoor dining experience into a completely indoor dining experience.

Soon, word leaked to the press about this stain upon all things holy and Covid-restrictive. And our Laundry-dining governor quickly went into spin cycle. He got on TV and issued a rambling, mealy-mouthed apology, which you can watch for your amusement or agitation, by clicking this link, or clicking the YouTube video, below.

In his speech, the governor defensively apologized. He stated that he’d only taken his wife out to dinner two times before, during the pandemic, as if to excuse his behavior as something understandable in the light of such a paucity of dining out. And he also asserted that the dining had occurred outside.

Unbeknownst to the gov, an alert French Laundry patron had pulled out her cell phone and taken pictures. A few days after his apology, these pictures emerged on FOX News, airing out the governor’s dirty laundry. They depicted an indoor dining event, not an outdoor event as the governor had claimed. And this indicated that he had been lying on camera, and was not at all sincere in his apology.

This was the last straw for Californians who’d already had enough of heavy-handed Covid restrictions. Many of us were outraged over the governor’s gross hypocrisy and feigned sincerity, and over the next month the floundering recall petition was revivified. It soared in popularity, garnering a whopping 442,000 new signatures by early December.

And by the time the revised deadline of March 17, 2021, had rolled around, the recall campaign had gathered the signatures of 2,117,730 incensed and disgruntled Californians. About a quarter of the signatories were Democrats and Independents.

This was more than enough to trigger a recall election, even after a few hundred thousand signatures were disqualified for the usual, expected reasons. And now it’s upon the California voters. The official election date is September 14th. Recent polling has given Governor Newsom about a 50-50 chance of surviving this recall.

The ballot is in two parts. The front-side asks the voter if the governor should be recalled. The flip-side asks the voter who should replace the governor if he is recalled, and provides a list of 47 candidates to choose from.

Caitlyn Jenner is one of the choices, but the heavy favorite is Larry Elder. He’s an African-American conservative radio talk show host. He is popular among California Republicans, and could inspire a widespread conservative election turnout.

In 2019, Governor Newsom signed a bill allowing targets in a recall election to state their party preference on the ballot. But he failed to take advantage of this law that he, himself had signed, and missed the deadline to state his own party preference. And so, the recall ballot simply lists his name, with no party preference after it. This is not the best way to appeal to your base.

Newsom’s bumbling days in office may be numbered. But we’ll have to see. This election will be a nail-biter. But win or lose, hopefully this will be a lesson to all politicians, regardless of political party:

Don’t push. Get out in front and lead by example. Avoid hypocrisy. Be straightforward with the people who put you in power, and respect that at least a few of them possess intelligence and a sense of fairness. We have shown that we can tolerate some hypocrisy from our politicians. But what we find hard to tolerate is the outrageous levels of hypocrisy, arrogance, and insincerity displayed by our governor, Gavin Newsom.

Remembering the Hostages

I hope I’m premature and very wrong about this assessment I have about Afghanistan. But at the moment, I have a sinking feeling that our country is about to find itself in a hostage crisis that will make the Iranian hostage crisis of 40 years ago seem like a playground slapfight.

Thankfully, some Americans have been airlifted out of Kabul, but it’s likely many more are still stranded. Yes, “stranded.” That’s a word that everyone except the White House is willing to use.

The Taliban has publicly proclaimed that any American who wants to leave is free to make their way to the Kabul airport. But when Americans try to reach the airport, they are often turned away, sometimes with violence. Thus, the Taliban is saying one thing, but doing another. And that leaves me to conclude that they plan to hold the Americans they are turning back, as hostages.

The White House claims they don’t know how many Americans are still in Afghanistan. So we are left with estimates from television pundits, who speculate that it is up to 15,000. And that doesn’t include our allies. It’s speculated that Canadians, British, and French have been left stranded also, due to our abrupt pullout.

Thus, this could become a hostage crisis of historic proportions. What will happen to the hostages? Some are making phone calls to news outlets, and you can hear the terror in their tremulous voices. One such caller claimed some Americans are being dragged from their homes in the middle of the night, to who knows what fate?

I’m not proud of how our president has bungled our pullout from Afghanistan. But I’m proud to be an American, and I want to say that I stand in solidarity with all of our Americans stranded in Afghanistan. They need our support. They need to know that we are not so caught up in the usual bullshit that tends to keep us distracted, that we’ve forgotten about them.

I have no fucking idea what I can do to help them. But at least I’m thinking about them. And in my own stupid, feckless way, I’m posting a flag of Afghanistan on my blog as a show of solidarity, below the American flag that’s already been on display for about a month. It’s solidarity for our stranded citizens, the stranded citizens of our allies, and for the stranded Afghans who assisted our military.

Maybe some artist will come up with a more apropos symbol of solidarity, in the future. Until then the old Afghan flag will have to do.

I hope like hell Biden’s airlift will be completely successful and we get every one of our stranded hostages out of there. But if not, I hope the Taliban will have mercy on them, because that’s where they’ll be at. And until all hostages are safe, I hope we will do our best to keep them in our minds, and never forget.

Remembering the hostages stranded in Afghanistan.

Women Must Go to Hell

JFK signing Equal Pay Act in 1963

Ladies, did you know there are gigantic businesses in our country that overtly discriminate against women? These behemoth money-makers refuse to hire women into some or any management positions, as a matter of official policy. And for many years they have successfully influenced politics to prevent women from obtaining many of the rights feminists seek.

Many of these businesses are multi-national in size, while at the same time reaching their tentacles into most small towns and cities throughout our country. If you live in a city of say, 20,000 or more, I’ll bet you can find at least a dozen franchises in your area that these misogynist businesses have established.

And they bring in billions of dollars annually. And a large percentage of their customers are women. And while many of these women truly want more rights for their own gender, they eagerly bring their money to these businesses. And these big businesses use this money to campaign and lobby for laws that prevent these same women from expanding their rights.

I have sleuthed around and investigated and discovered who some of these businesses are, and am prepared to reveal them to you. And with this knowledge in hand, ladies, you can get busy with your boycotting, demonstrations, and civil disobedience, until these large businesses change their outrageous discriminatory, anti-woman policies.

Here are the names of some of the businesses:

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons)

Jehovah’s Witnesses

The Roman Catholic Church

The Seventh-day Adventist Church

The Southern Baptist Convention

The Holy & Blessed Church, Temple, or Mosque on Your Street Corner

Okay, I made that last one up. But I think it’s safe to say that most Christian, Jewish, Islamic, and Buddhist denominations and traditions discriminate against women in some manner, as a matter of official policy.

The forms of discrimination are patchwork, and vary from religion to religion. It isn’t always about whether or not women are allowed to be ordained. For example, the Jehovah’s Witnesses consider any man or woman who has been baptized into their religion to be an ordained minister. However, the women are not allowed to be elders.

I’m too damn lazy to research all the religions out there, and detail their peculiar brand of misogyny. I’ll leave it up to you to analyze your own religion and thresh out the facts. It shouldn’t be difficult. These are official policies, you know.

By the way, I call them “businesses” because they are in the business of religion, and they tend to have lots of money at their disposal. Therefore most churches are merely “franchises” of very large national or international businesses.

So now that you know, ladies, it’s up to you. Is it worth it to you to challenge your own religion in order to stand up for the rights of your gender? Or are you very much afraid that God will send you straight to Hell for such apostasy? Heh, heh, are you willing to sacrifice your very own soul to dethrone us men from our vaulted positions of dominance?

Religions wield a powerful political influence in our society. Therefore women will never completely succeed at winning the rights they seek, until they stand up to religions. Ladies, focusing your activism on for-profit corporations ignores the root cause of inequality.

If you truly want fair treatment and equal rights, you must be willing to march straight into Hell.


Note: This post is my contribution to International Women’s Day, which is today, March 8th.

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