In the 24 hours since the debate, folks on both sides of the aisle have agreed that Biden sunk Ryan’s battleship, which leaves us tied so far. One political pundit was quoted as saying: “Joe [Biden] made poor old Paul Ryan his bitch. Even an idiot could see that he [Ryan] was lying like a used car salesman. I felt bad for his wife—there she was in the front row, and she looked like she wanted to disappear into the floor. At one point, I’m pretty sure she wept.”
Well … shit. With talk like that being printed, I think it’s time for another look at Romney’s recent surge in the polls. And it certainly didn’t help that whenever the moderator asked Ryan a direct question, he danced around the answer like a stripper.
Joe Biden is a nice old man who has a quick wit and sharp teeth; he reminds me of one of my high school teachers. Paul Ryan, on the other hand, looks like he ought to be wearing a letter jacket and driving a Trans Am—the kind of prick who goes around clutching a football and stuffing freshmen in lockers and making jokes about fags.
I’m not sure if Ryan uttered one factual remark. Every time he opened his mouth, Biden was right there laughing and smiling and shaking his head, often interjecting the truth even as Ryan blundered ahead into a forest of lies. And while all that was going on, the fact checkers were lighting up the side of the screen with links and quotes debunking everything that Ryan just said.
They don’t call him Lyin’ Ryan for nothing.
We’re in the final stretch of this election season. With less than four weeks to go, both camps are pulling out all the stops and there’s nothing left for us to do but watch the debates, argue with our families, and then hustle to the polls on November 6. Since Secret Laboratory began as a political blog last year—and since I’ve been neglecting my column in favor of Netflix and prime-time TV, which seem to be coping mechanisms for an almost clinical depression—I think I owe it to you and myself to get back behind the National Affairs Desk and see this thing through. I’ve always been fascinated by the political process, even as a child. I remember reading cartoons depicting Bush Sr. and Michael Dukakis and not understanding them (I was more interested in how the artist rendered their likenesses, since I wanted to be a cartoonist at the time). But while I had an excuse as to why none of it made any real sense, I get the feeling that a vast number of Americans don’t know any more about it than I did then, only they’re not able to hide behind the innocence of youth—they have only their staggering ignorance to blame.
Well … shucks. This is a topic that I’ve been over before. While I’m sharing poignant political statements with 800 people on Facebook, they’re inviting me to play Farmville and Texas Hold ’Em. My own cousin accused Obama (and me too, I suppose) of hypocrisy because of the “3.8% tax on all home sales.” Surely this is a tax on the middle class … right?
Well … no. And I explained why.
According to houselogic.com: Some sources have characterized the so-called Medicare surtax as a transfer tax on real estate, but it’s not. What the tax is: A 3.8% tax on investment income from some sources, such as dividends, interest payments, and capital gains; and a last-minute addition to healthcare legislation, enacted in 2010, to help shore up Medicare. It affects a limited group of high-income people.
I could go into a whole slew of details (I did on Facebook), but I won’t. If you’re interested, just follow the link. The point is that my cousin, like so many others, gets his news and “facts” from the idiots over at Fox News.
Hunter Thompson once said, “So much for Objective Journalism. Don’t bother to look for it here—not under any byline of mine; or anyone else I can think of. With the possible exception of things like box scores, race results, and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as Objective Journalism. The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms.”
So I don’t mind political spin—but the bastards at Fox News lie, with a straight face, and the people who watch believe them because they don’t check the facts.
So there was no more talk about taxing the middle class, but he did make a disparaging remark about how those who earn more should not have to give what they work for to others … except that is what taxes are and that is how they work. And it’s worth noting that taxes have been at historic lows for decades. For instance, in 1952 and 1953, the top marginal tax rate was 92% for income over $300,000, while in 2009 it was 35%. Here is another interesting link on the same topic.
Right. Where was I? I think I was going to point out that while I’ve always been interested in politics to one degree or another, it wasn’t until 2004 and 2008 that I began to develop the urge to actually cover a presidential election in print … and here I am, the editor & publisher of an online magazine, and I’m spending an extraordinary amount of time watching sitcoms.
I just read a story about a new luxury building known as One57 being built in Manhattan; its apartments are being sold to billionaires with price tags as high as $90 million—and those billionaires are taking advantage of a city program designed to provide more low-income housing. Under the program, annual real-estate taxes that would normally be $230,000 would be slashed to just $20,000.
According to MSNBC: The tax-reduction program has come under fierce criticism over the years. According to the city’s Independent Budget Office, 421-a cost the city more than $1 billion in revenue in the latest budget year.
As originally designed, the program requires to allocate at least 20 percent of their units to low-income families, in return for tax breaks of up to 80 percent. It’s a badly kept secret in Manhattan that the program is often used by luxury developers.
One57 used a popular loophole in the law that allowed the developers to take the tax benefit for the building overlooking the park, but fund the affordable housing units in another location. One57 bought credits or “certificates” that helped fund those affordable housing units in outer boroughs, according to city records.
I think it’s interesting that while Republicans condemn “government handouts” and social programs for the poor, they have no problem taking advantage of subsidies and tax loopholes for themselves, especially when they don’t need them. And then there’s Paul Ryan, who had his hand out for an expansion of food stamps, stimulus money, federally guaranteed business loans, grants to invest in green technology and money under President Obama’s health care reform law … but he publicly speaks out against every one of those things, using terms like “corporate welfare” and “cronyism” to describe the very programs that he not only supported, but took advantage of. Talk about hypocrisy.
In related news, a woman named Sherry Smith lives in a 242-square-foot apartment in Manhattan and pays “just” $1,075 per month in rent. Oh boy.
In other news, a young man named Ryan Andresen was denied his Eagle Scout pin because he is gay. When Matthew Kimball, 30, heard about it, he came out as gay himself and sent Andresen his own pin. Hundreds of other Eagle Scouts have been returning their pins to the Boy Scouts in protest. And while many defend the Boy Scouts as a private organization that has every right to deny membership to certain people, I wonder how much sympathy they would receive if they refused to admit blacks to their exclusive little club. What bothers me is that the Boy Scouts have credibility when they should not. Americans have dismissed the Klu Klux Klan as a useless bunch of bigots and the same should hold true for the Boy Scouts … but we’re not quite there yet, are we? It’s still okay to discriminate against the gay community. I guess we need to wait for another generation or two to die off before we can add that ugly page to our history books and look back on it in shame.
And speaking of history, do you remember when you could still smoke in bars … and even restaurants? Well, despite a state law banning indoor smoking, a Nebraska pool hall continues to let its patrons light up. Naturally, the anti-smoking zealots are losing their shit over this and calling the owner a “criminal,” but I wonder how business is there compared to other nearby bars. If there was somewhere like that in Minnesota, that’s where I’d go.
Finally, in local news, a Minnesota man got drunk and wandered onto a highway, where he was arrested by police—but not before he stopped at a local farm and fucked a goat. To death. Why do I live here?
Welcome to the weekend. Here’s your wisdom:
John T. Schmitz is the editor & publisher of Secret Laboratory; he is the founder of Maple Hills Press and has also freelanced as a writer and photographer, contributing to various local and international publications. Mr. Schmitz lives in Minnesota with his wife, Megan, and their two children; he is the author of five books.
Email Mr. Schmitz at firstname.lastname@example.org.