Dear Constant Readers,
It’s my pleasure to inform you that big changes are coming to The New Apocalypse. First of all, the fundamentals are bending a bit. New Apocalypse will now be a forum not only for non-fiction, opinion and guerilla journalism, but also for poetry and — perhaps even occasionally — fiction. You may have seen a prototype of this contribution if you were paying attention almost a year ago at my last posting. Lots has happened since then and the game has changed. It’s time to embrace the New Paradigm.
I am perhaps even more excited to announce that The New Apocalypse will soon be home to a new and very important contributor: Upton Charles. This man is a consummate gentleman and is given to strong drink, which means we can trust him. Never trust a man without a vice. Or ten.
I had the pleasure of meeting Upton Charles several years ago in a horrific dive bar in New York, NY. Mars Bar is it’s name and locals will be familiar with its general back-alley ambience if they have any drinking blood in them at all. I was flailing my limbs and gibbering incoherently about the End of Days with yet another half empty glass of rum and ice, tripping on bad mushrooms, when this erudite young gentleman strolled in. Obviously a regular, the bartender served him without a word and he observed my diatribe cooly for some time.
Finally, Charles interjected his own points to the debate and we found we were of like mind. Yes, he too had heard of the Pacific Plastic Soup. Yes, he too despised politics as usual (especially in the Republican Party). Yes, he too knew the pitfalls of modern technology. Yes, he too knew the dangers of Traditional Gothic Heavy Metal Doom Rock. Yes, he too hated Christmas. Upton always spoke eloquently and with nobility; others took this to mean he was a bit stuck up, a tad high strung. I know better. He’s a gentleman and a scholar. His demeanor is simply a by-product if his staggering and brutal intelligence. It’s hard to cope with that kind of Knowing. He is a paragon of honesty and introspection. He is a True Journalist of the first order.
After the conclusion of our drunken debate in that hole in New York, we took a walk in the bitter cold, smoking cigarettes and reefer. Finally we agreed that we should collaborate, and that he should join my venture on the interwebs: The New Apocalypse. Why it took so long for this to finally happen is another story. I’ll let him tell that one.
I am proud to welcome him now, these several years later, to The New Apocalypse. Look for posts from Upton Charles coming soon.
P.S. In other news, there is a pretty good chance that I will be starting a new blog in collaboration with another colleague of mine: Richard “Bingo” Little, also know as Comrade Bingo. This blog, called Disputationes, will be imbued with the Aristotelian ideal of debate and dialogue. Each post will take on a topic, and we will each argue one side of that subject, to its bitter and final conclusion. This is a bit more down the road, but look for it in the near-ish future.
Thanks. And keep up the good fight, dear Constant Reader. Don’t let them dull your mental blade. Keep thinking!
Yours, in dubious and brooding solitude,
Boehner Cries Like a Bitch Again
In other words — by the numbers — what has been lost for the Democrats this week? Other than a little dignity, that is. Well, they’ve definitely lost the fucking House of Representatives. There’s no doubt about that. The Democrats have lost all but the slimmest majority in the Senate since their soaring heights at 60 seats earlier in this past term. At least its a slim majority, and not a split or a Republican majority… Great Magnet forbid.
The New York Times is even painting this on their front page November 3rd edition as “A REBUKE FOR OBAMA.” But honestly, is it really? Not even the same voting pools showed up this year as in 2008. The Democratic base that elected Obama totally failed to show up and support Obama’s minions in Congress. I blame young voters and ethnic voters, all of whom are always terrible at turning out in midterm elections. It’s the same reason that Clinton not only lost the House but also the Senate in 1994………… wait. What? Holy shit. I just remembered! Clinton lost both houses of Congress in 1994 and he went on to be a two term President widely remembered as one of the most competent of the late 20th century. Do you think…. could that mean… that this is totally fucking normal and that it didn’t even end up as badly as it could have?!?!?!? FUCK YES!!! But the 24-hour news media or a blubbering John Boehner (soon to be the new Speaker of the House; pictured above) would never let the explanation be that simple… To them, this is so significant they could either fill a room with 33 commentators to shout over each other or just fake human emotions, respectively.
I might even go on to remind the Dear Constant Reader that sudden House shifts are routine in our nation’s history after traumatic economic crises. Democrats lost more than 100 House seats in 1894 after an economic collapse in the U.S. brought about sudden voter outrage. In 1932 — oh yeah, after the Great Depression began — Republicans lost 97 seats in the House at the same time F.D.R. assumed power. And, in the second of Franklin Roosevelt’s unprecedented four terms, Democrats lost 72 of the 97 seats they had just gained in 1938 (midterm backlash, just like Clinton and Obama’s).
What I’m saying is, F.D.R. rallied from the aftermath of the worst financial crisis in U.S. history to lose and win again the support of Congress during the greatest war in our nation’s history — all accomplished during a decade and a half of his Presidency. Clinton managed to win re-election handily in 1996 after losing both houses of Congress in 1994. He went on to be one of the few Presidents in recent history to leave office with a national budget surplus rather than a tremendous deficit. Obama will do the same (okay, perhaps minus the budget surplus — we’ll see).
Seriously: consider his possible opponents. Romney? Palin? Pawlenty? Gingrich? Come on, people. Do you really think those young and ethnic voters that didn’t care to show up for Russ Feingold are going to forgo Obama and allow Sarah Palin to assume power? If you think that… not only should you think again, you should eat a gun and relieve us of your miserable company.
This is a typical midterm election backlash which typically comes from impatient and stupid voters who have spent the last two years doing what they do best: stoking their own ignorance and anger. Ask yourself: who showed up to vote? CNN and any other news network with 3D holographic data-points can tell you: angry and/or old Republicans showed up to vote! The same angry and/or old conservatives who showed up to vote in the midterms after F.D.R. and Clinton were elected! In 2010, the Democrats that lost their seats got thrown out by pieces of shit like the guy pictured at right. I’m not too worried about Obama’s base being outnumbered by their kind in 2012.
Not only is the 2010 midterm backlash normal, its not even as severe as the last few cycles. This time, we didn’t lose 100 or 70-some House seats. We only lost 50-60 House seats, and Democrats still retained the Senate! Jesus, it’s not all doom and gloom! This way, there is no risk of an impeachment hunt and the grim political kabuki theater that inevitably ensues. The kind of kabuki theater Clinton faced. This time, there is no chance in hell of repealing Health Care with Democrats retaining the Senate and Obama holding the veto pen. This time, the people will quickly realize — as they have in all precious backlash cycles — that the new President’s policies aren’t to blame.
In other words, people: you have to give a guy more than two years to fix an economic crisis that took the previous President eight years to create.
Anyway, by the numbers things went badly this week for Democrats but not as badly as it could have gone and not as badly as many would have you believe. It’s true we’ll face some gridlock in Washington D.C. for a while and the compromises we get will probably be bitter ones where Democrats and Republicans smile shaking hands for the cameras but spit venom behind closed doors. But the important point is that people will soon find out these Republicans they’ve elected can’t accomplish anything they’ve promised and they aren’t who they said they were. I mean, how can you repeal Healthcare when you don’t control the Senate and the President still holds the veto pen? A promise like that is broken the second it’s made. It’s just a sad commentary on how stupid this year’s voters were that it will take them months to realize that. Therefore, the backlash will subside just as all waves break and roll back.
On the more immediate bright side, my home state of Oregon has gone blue again. Peter DeFazio (D – House) and Ron Wyden (D – Senate) both won re-election in Oregon this week. Best of all, in a narrow race John Kitzhaber won election to his third term as Oregon’s governor after being forced out by term limits while still relatively popular just a few years ago. He is the first governor in Oregon’s history to win election to a third term this way. I’m not all that optimistic that he’ll be able to achieve much until the next election cycle for the Oregon state legislature, since it looks like both chambers of the Oregon state legislature will be evenly split for now and unable to do much of significance. Nevertheless, I’m counting my blessings since I can’t imagine this state in the maniacal hands of a crazy-asshole-former-Portland-Blazer-who-couldn’t-shoot-free-throws-to-save-his-fucking-life-turned-dick-bag-Republican Chris Dudley. The terror would be unfathomable. Not to mention, I’m much more liable to sleep at night with Kitzhaber holding the veto pen should any crazy ass budget proposals come out of the legislative chambers.
Which brings me to my next — and much more local and personal — point of interest. At the same moment races across the country were being decided, the Eugene, Oregon Public School Board was hearing a new budget proposal from Superintendent George Russell. This proposal is intended to bridge an expected 30 million dollar budget shortfall coming in the next school year. The proposal — among other things — would layoff over 100 teachers (virtually every teacher hired within the last three years) and increase average class sizes to over forty.
It would close six elementary schools and fold their kindergarten through third grades into neighboring elementary schools while the empty husks left behind are to be sold for disposable funds. Where do the fourth through fifth graders go, you might ask? They will be folded into programs heretofore — and by George Russell’s own admission and to our collective best knowledge — never tried anywhere in the country: fourth through eighth grade middle schools.
That’s right: your innocent little cherub fourth graders will be wandering the same halls as sinister drug dealing eighth graders.
The best part is that all of the actual sustainable cuts to the budget proposed above (and others not even mentioned) only account for about two thirds of the 30 million dollars Russell needs to cut to break even (which is required of school budgets every year in Oregon law). The last third comes from one-time-only-funds like selling properties the district owns — luckily, there will be six more of those this coming year — and using up every last dime of reserve funds the district has left.
Wait. It gets better still.
After spending every last spare dime the Eugene school district has in its piggy bank, Russell is retiring at the end of the year and leaving the next year’s inevitable mess of a budget gap in the hands of some other poor asshole. Not only that, Russell’s budget calls for that very same replacement asshole to get a raise of some $70,000 per year.
That’s right: the new superintendent of Eugene schools will get a $70,000 raise at the same moment over 100 of Eugene’s teachers are packing their bags and heading for the unemployment lines.
Having worked in public schools elsewhere in the past, having many friends among Eugene teachers as I do now, and valuing the futures of children everywhere as I do, I can only conclude that this budget proposal is disgraceful and un-American. How can this motherfucker Russell ask those teachers left after cutting 100 to take a 20 to 25% salary cut for the coming year with the same straight face he’s using to reassure Eugene parents that these new class sizes of 40 to 45 and six fewer instructional days won’t adversely affect their children’s education?
If you live in Eugene, Oregon, you need to get in touch with George Russell and let him know his budget proposal for Eugene schools is an unacceptable, unimaginative and un-American piece of shit. You need to tell him that he can’t leave one third of the problem for the next asshole to fix as long as he leaves a $70,000 tip. You need to tell George Russell that the children of Eugene are more important than his bottom line.
More importantly still, you need to tell your Oregon state legislature that public schools cannot survive another catastrophe like this. Nor can its teachers. They are already at the breaking point, though their brave smiling faces would never show it to their students or to a callous and unsympathetic public which expects so much of them.
Bottom line: schools can’t fix the problem by cutting budgets from the bottom up. They need new income from above. Eighty-seven percent of Eugene’s operating budget is in its personnel. You can’t make cuts without firing teachers. Cutting 20% of Eugene’s budget every year means cutting 12 or 13% of its teachers every year.
Fact: schools cannot operate without teachers, and the students aren’t fucking going anywhere.
Conclusion: this entire process is completely unsustainable and the biggest losers are your children.
Only possible solution: new money from the state or the federal governments.
Your job if you want to help: write your fucking local, state and national representatives (Eugene is just one of hundreds of districts across the country having the same problems, after all) and demand action. Before its too late. Even better, vote Democrat across the board — local and national — in the next election. H.J. Herrick and his friends — the teachers of Eugene, Oregon — would thank you.
Hell, we’d even buy you a beer.
Dawn has broken over a United States of America transformed. The world will never be the same as it was when we woke up on the morning of November 4th, 2008. This morning is a new morning, full of sweet promise for most and full of bitter defeat for the rest.
- He is a man (check).
- He is in his 40’s (check, gotcha).
- He will have massive Christ-like appeal (okay, I guess I can see that comparison; he is pretty popular).
- He will deceive the nation with persuasive language (uh, did Obama ever lie once during the election?).
- He will promise false hope and world peace and people will flock to him (um… correct me if I’m wrong, but neither candidate was running on a world peace platform, though I guess Obama did use the word “hope” during his campaign and people are sure as hell flocking to him).
- He will be of Muslim descent (okay, argument over; you crazy Christian assholes lose; Obama is Christian and was baptized in the Trinity United Church of Christ in 1988; that means he is a reasonable Christian who wants to help people instead of destroy them like you).
With all of that religious swift-boating propaganda behind us, it’s 10:00 a.m. pacific time on November 5th, 2008 and the current electoral vote count is 349 for Barack Obama and 163 for John McCain. Two states – Missouri and North Carolina – haven’t yet been called by most respectable outlets, but I’m going to go ahead and call them…
Missouri will go red with McCain bringing in 50% of the vote over Obama’s 49%. McCain is currently winning this state by only about 6,000 votes with 100% of precincts reporting, so they are counting carefully there. But I’m going to give McCain – who, let me remind you, has already lost – the benefit of the doubt and say he wins this state.
I’m going to go ahead and call North Carlolina for Barack Obama. The President-elect is bringing in 50% of the vote in North Carolina compared to McCain’s 49%. Obama is currently up by about 12,000 votes in North Carolina with 100% of precincts reporting.
So what does that mean?
Well, I’ll tell you. It means I was right when I said a week before the election that Obama would win with 360 electoral votes to McCain’s 178 (well, almost; things went even a little better than I thought they would). With North Carolina going for Obama and Missouri going for McCain, that puts the final electoral vote count as follows:
Barack Obama 364
John McCain 174
I hate to be the kind of person who says, “I told you so,” but… wait a damn minute! I love saying, “I told you so!” I fucking told you so, America! Despite the fact that all my liberal friends and acquaintances were scared to death McCain was going to pull some kind of rabbit from his top hat in the final days of the election, I remained unafraid on the eve of the ballot count. While my friends and I sat down to watch the election coverage after a lovely Thai dinner, they were nervously buzzing before the television was turned on. Then, twenty minutes later – at 8:00 pm Pacific time – the election was called in Barack Obama’s favor as the results of Washington, California and my home state of Oregon came over the wires. It was only twenty minutes of election night angst for them before I could start dancing and screaming, “I told you so, motherfuckers!” And I had been smoking and relaxing since I’d gotten home from work, drinking coffee and beer. In other words, it was the most relaxing election night I’ve ever experienced, and the most gratifying.
A lot of people are wondering: what do the results of this election mean for America? Well, since I’m busy telling you what to think about everything else, I’ll tell you about that too…
America has finally proved that – while many of us are still racist assholes – most of us are (somewhat slightly) enlightened people who do not believe black people are inferior, and we really can’t get too grandiose and pretend this means much more than that. Racism still exists, and don’t let Bill O’Reilly, Pat Robertson or anyone else tell you different. ‘Nuff said there.
What about Implications for the Democratic and Republican Parties?
The real news is this: neoconservative Republican politics is dead and in the ground. After two landslides for Bill Clinton and a landslide for Obama, the country has said firmly for the past two decades that it is a left-leaning nation. Those two elections which George W. Bush won (well, sort of) by narrow pissant margins have today been revealed for what they are: flashes in the pan.
I compare the neoconservative victories in 2000 an 2004 to what scientists call an extinction burst: a sudden resurgence in a negative behavior or a viral infection before it burns out completely and disappears.
Am I saying that Republicans will disappear? No. I’m simply saying that the new Republican party cannot afford to let itself be run by evil dictators in disguise like the Bushes, who use people like Karl Rove to steal their elections. If the Republican party wants to survive in the future, it will have to change itself into a more palatable organization which accepts that they are in the minority and most Americans will disagree with them on all the issues that matter. In other words, Republicans have hit the wall and they will adapt into something we can all respect or they will eventually die and be replaced years from now by something like a Democratic monopoly or – holy shit – a system where Independent candidates can actually run for election in a major office and win.
How do I know a Democratic shift is happening in this country and will continue to happen in the future? Well, I’ll tell you. As I said before in “Further Proof that McCain/Palin Supporters are Retarded…” trends show that more and more people will continue to become more educated, more intelligent, and will continue to register Democrat in greater numbers. Meanwhile, Republican supporters (pictured at left) continue to dwindle as time marches onward.
If all of that previous information isn’t enough to convince you, the National Student Mock Election, which just closed at 12:00 p.m. eastern time on November 4th, shows 64.12% of the popular vote going for Obama and only 32.31% for McCain. For those of you who don’t know, this mock election has students participating all around the country in high schools and middle schools, and most of its participants will be able to vote in the 2012 Presidential election. If I were a Democratic candidate in the next Presidential election, I would be pretty happy to know that two thirds of first-time voters will probably be registering Democrat.
To sum up, the American People have been fooled by Bush and his neoconservative friends before, but they were not fooled this year by neoconservative predators like John McCain and Sarah Palin posing as maverick house pets. As W. said…
Good work, America. Way to get a black guy into the Oval Office. Way to change history. Way to shove your collective boot up John McCain’s withered old ass. At least for the next four years, we can tell lunatic fringe right-wing conservatives to fuck off, eat shit and – most importantly – die.