The last few times I’ve had a wet dream, it was about me masturbating. Normally I wouldn’t mention this, for all of the obvious reasons—good taste, relevance, common decency—but I think that my strained libido and declining health might have to do with the looming election. Hunter Thompson described it as “campaign bloat”—and it’s been known to affect even people on the sidelines, such as myself. As November has drawn closer, I’ve become addicted to caffeine and antacid pills, my hair is falling out, and I’ve swelled up like a goddamned toad. I eat nothing but garbage, sleep fitfully, and have become so apathetic that it’s all I can do to keep the trash from piling up. I’m coming unglued and it’s time to talk to a professional.
But until I do, I’ll dive back into politics and bring you today’s stories. For instance, Paul Ryan barged his way into a closed Ohio soup kitchen and had himself filmed “washing” clean pots. According to Brian J. Antal, president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, the Romney campaign “ramrodded their way in” after the food had already been served, the patrons had left, and the hall had been cleaned. Apparently, the incident caused Antal “all kinds of grief.”
Antal said this: “The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall. Had they asked for permission, it wouldn’t have been granted.… But I certainly wouldn’t have let him wash clean pans, and then take a picture.”
Right. And the idea that Paul Ryan gives a shit about poor people who eat in soup kitchens is laughable at best. It’s no secret that Ryan and Romney—not to mention their Republican cohorts—feel that this country would be best served if half of its population was put down like dogs.
In other news, the Koch brothers and many other business owners are telling their employees to vote for Romney or “suffer the consequences.” While they’re not actually threatening their employees, they’re saying that if Obama is re-elected, they probably will lose their jobs.
Employees of a paper company owned by the Koch brothers received a mailer warning them that if they voted for candidates not supported by Koch-owned companies, they would “suffer the consequences, including higher gasoline prices, runaway inflation, and other ills.” Also included in the packet was an anti-Obama editorial by Charles Koch and a pro-Romney editorial by David Koch.
According to kochfacts.com: “Our support is not based on party affiliation, and we support both Republicans and Democrats who support market-based policies and solutions.”
Huh. But all 14 candidates in the mailer who were supported by Koch were Republican … and so far, they haven’t been able to come up with a single Democrat. Perhaps that’s because by and large, Democrats fight for the interests of the people, not a couple of billionaires and a bunch of corporations.
According to NBC: Last week, owner of Westgate Resorts David Siegel sent workers a pro-Romney email that said, “If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company … I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone.”
And: MSNBC program Up w/ Chris Hayes reported Sunday on a leaked email from Arthur Allen, president and CEO of ASG Software Solutions, that took a similar tone. “If the US re-elects President Obama, our chances of staying independent are slim to none…. I don’t want to hear any complaints regarding the fallout that will most likely come,” he wrote. The company did not respond to the program’s request for comment.
Finally: And two weeks ago, in a letter to employees obtained by Michigan media outlet MLive.com, president and CEO of auto-parts manufacturer Lacks Enterprises Richard Lacks warned workers that sticking with the current administration would hurt them. “The more government takes the less there will be available to spread around to the working people of this company,” he wrote in reference to “talk of additional tax increases.” “It is important that in November you vote to improve your standard of living and that will be through smaller government and less government,” he said.
So who gave them this idea? Well … Mitt Romney did. Back in June, he said this: “I hope you make it very clear to your employees what you believe is in the best interest of your enterprise and therefore their job and their future in the upcoming elections. [There is] Nothing illegal about you talking to your employees about what you believe is best for the business, because I believe that will figure into their election decision, their voting decision.”
Izzy Kushner, president of consulting firm HR Impact and president of the Human Resources Association of New York, said this: “Messages like this are horrible for a corporate culture. It’s a fear tactic.”
To be fair, two managers at the Federal Aviation Administration allegedly told attendees at a departmental meeting to vote for Democrats in presidential and Congressional races “in order to preserve the FAA budget and, consequently, their jobs and pay.”
Of course, this statement actually makes sense. And to think that the billionaire Koch brothers might have to tighten their belts and lay people off if Obama is re-elected is … well … ridiculous, and it serves only to highlight their pathological need to accumulate more and more wealth. It’s too bad that Jesus isn’t real, because I’d like to see him come down out of the clouds and show these greedy bastards a little bit of tough love.
In other news, according to a five-month investigation by The Arizona Republic newspaper, Military recruiters with the Arizona Army National Guard engaged in a pattern of systemic misbehavior over the past decade that included instances of sexual abuse, forgery, embezzlement and assaults, including riding in a Humvee and shooting paintball guns at homeless people.
When Staff Sgt. Chad Wille received complaints of camouflage-painted Humvee driving down Seventh Street in north Phoenix shooting paintballs at pedestrians, he questioned Sgt. 1st Class Michael Amerson.
Mystified, Amerson replied, “You’re not aware of the bum hunts?”
Apparently not. He was also not aware that standard operating procedure included offering homeless women food, money, or drinks for exposing their breasts. It remains unclear why anyone would want to see a homeless woman’s breasts in the first place.
I mentioned the other day that as a nation, we’re more-or-less over the whole race thing … but I spoke too soon. The Florida Board of Education has approved a strategic plan that will categorize students’ academic performance based on race and ethnicity. According to the plan, the state wants 90 percent of Asian, 88 percent of white, 82 percent of American Indian, 81 percent of Hispanic and 74 percent of black students to be reading at or above grade level by the year 2018. For math, the state set goals of 92 percent for Asian, 86 percent for white, 81 percent for American Indian, 80 percent for Hispanic and 74 percent for black students.
There you have it: The State of Florida has officially declared Asians to be the smartest, while blacks remain the dumbest. Seriously? No, really. What the fuck?
Many young people join the military in hopes of training for a career and taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, but that didn’t work out so good for Hayleigh Perez, a veteran. She has lived in North Carolina since 2006; she owns a home, pays taxes, and votes; but when she applied at UNC Pembroke, she was told that she would have to pay out-of-state tuition (which is higher, naturally) since she had been deployed to serve in Texas and Iraq. It also turns out that the well-known G.I. Bill only covers in-state tuition, which resulted in Perez having to take out thousands of dollars in student loans that she couldn’t afford. This situation isn’t unique, either—it happens all over the country, all of the time, although the University of North Carolina school system, which enrolls over 20,000 G.I. Bill recipients, is one of the largest culprits of tuition discrimination against veterans. Click here to sign a petition asking UNC to end this unfair policy.
And have you heard about Pizza Hut? Chances are you have, since the blogosphere and traditional media outlets lost their shit after the restaurant offered free pizza or cash to anyone willing to ask “Sausage or pepperoni?” at tomorrow’s debate. A blatant, ill-conceived marketing ploy? You bet. But apparently so many people complained—that they wouldn’t have the chance to ask the question—that Pizza Hut is now letting anyone enter the contest online. It remains unclear whether two prizes will be awarded if someone does indeed ask the question.
According to NBC: The blog Gawker wrote about the stunt under the headline, “Want Free Pizza Hut Pizza for Life? Just Make a Mockery of the American Democratic System on Live TV.” The site wrote that all the contestant had to do was “embarrass themselves on live television before the President of the United States and millions of their fellow Americans.”
In response to the debacle, a Pizza Hut spokesman said, “What would you have us do? Ever since they invented those goddamned DVRs, no one watches our commercials anymore.”
That may be true, but people still want to watch Hulk Hogan have sex. The ex-wrestler is suing everyone he can think of after the tape was leaked, including Gawker, where you can see a short excerpt. For now.
Okay. Tomorrow’s debate should be memorable. We will be streaming it live, in case you’re not home to watch it. So, until then …
… 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.