Archive for the ‘political stupidity’ Category

More Helpful Hints for Politicians

September 21, 2007

Since the average political candidate has no trouble at all when it comes to losing arguments, the following post might seem to be unnecessary.  Under normal circumstances this would be true.  But, since there are at least a dozen morons running loose under the delusion that they are qualified to be President of the United States, I feel obligated to provide the following information as a public service to these candidates.

1.  When not even your own family (much less the members of your political party) will swallow the twisted reasoning that you use to justify you position on any given topic, you can always resort to the most widely used argument in modern political science: the Reductio ad Hitlorum.

Despite its impressive title, this argument is actually quite easy to introduce into any debate, press conference, position paper, bumper sticker or any other modern media.  All you need do is identify anyone that disagrees with you as a Nazi, a fascist, or even (if Israel happens to be involved) a “Holocaust Denier.”  Since the average American voter’s understanding of history is only slightly better than that of  an albino prairie dog you may rest assured that no one will challenge you on it and, in fact, such a pronouncement will probably get you some free “face time” on the evening news.

2.  Never claim “victory,” to have “won” any debate, or to have “proven” anything.  Make your opponent prove that you have been bested, defeated, etc.

Since the probability that your position makes only slightly better sense than the Sunday comics is rather high, under no circumstances should you claim that it is worth anything other than a footnote in the NYC Yellow Pages.  Always force your opponent to refute your claims.  This will be of immediate benefit to you in that 1) it will make your opponent look like a fool and 2) make you look like a latter-day Aristotle.

3.  Make up anything that you need to quote in support of your position and then attribute that quote to someone that the average voter, by pure random chance, may actually have heard of.

Let’s face it: it is very unlikely that George Washington or Abraham Lincoln ever had anything to say about the Patriot Act or Islamic terrorists.  Such a minor technicality should not stop you from quoting them extensively at every opportunity, particularly when you “discover” that their words sound suspiciously like those in your most recent press release or some other variety of partisan propaganda.

As an additional safety factor, be sure to attribute your quote to someone that is dead (whether from natural causes or after the application of due process of law).  Always remember this: if you made it up, it isn’t plagiarism.

4.  Never make a promise that you intend to keep!  Never!  Ever!

Jimmy Carter was the last President of the United States to keep his only campaign promise, which was “I‘ll never lie to you.”  He kept his word, was elected, and was un-elected at the first opportunity.  Need I say more?

Money, Politics, and Stupidity

September 12, 2007

It is an indisputable fact that any act of stupidity will lead to consequences that are of greater than the original stupidity.  The potential consequences of dealing with stupid people are demonstrated in the following news item distributed by the Associated Press on September 10, 2007.

Washington (AP) – Sen. Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced that it will be returning $850,000 in campaign contributions raised by Norman Hsu, who is under federal investigation for allegedly violating election laws…

 

The FBI is investigating whether Hsu paid “straw donors” to send contributions to Clinton and other candidates…

 

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said that “… In light of recent events … and out of an abundance of caution … an estimated 260 donors will receive refunds totaling approximately $850,000 from the campaign.”

 Let me translate that last paragraph for you.

Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson said that “… Since Norman Hsu was busted as a result of his own stupidity … and since we don’t want any more bad publicity than we already have … we’re going to dump this money back on the people that Hsu used to illegally contribute to the campaign…

 If there is one thing that a politician loves, it’s money.  And if there is one thing that a politician hates, it’s giving up money that they already have.  But, in the above cited case, stupidity has entered the picture.  Let us examine how stupidity and money have influenced the Clinton campaign’s handling of this matter.

First of all, the junior senator from New York seems to have forgotten the scandals attached to the 1996 Presidential Campaign.  If anything, she should have learned to have bogus campaign contributions made in a manner that isn’t so obviously traceable by the news media and the Feds!

Secondly, the manner in which her campaign is dealing with these contributions is an insult to the intelligence of the average voter (not that the intelligence of the average American voter is all that great to begin with). 

Assume the following:

  1. Norman Hsu used 260 individuals to make illegal contributions to the Clinton campaign.
  2. The individuals would have known that what they were doing was illegal.
  3. They did it anyway.
  4. The money these individuals donated wasn’t theirs to begin with, yet it is being returned to them as if it were theirs.
  5. What is to stop these individuals from giving the money right back to the Clinton campaign?

I guess that last one has managed to slip by the media and the Feds.  All in all, this incident just proves what I’ve been saying for years.

Politics requires a constant supply of stupidity for the same reason that a houseplant requires sunlight.

Helpful Hints for Political Candidates

September 11, 2007

Although the 2008 elections are still 14 months away, it is never too early to plan for the unthinkable: that your candidate will be defeated! Since simple mathematics will demonstrate that any election will produce at least one disgruntled loser, it is imperative to plan ahead.  We will now examine tactics that have been used (with varying degrees of success) in past elections by both the winning and losing candidates.

 The (Insert the opposition party here) are Trying to Steal this Election

This strategy is quite easy to implement, even by newcomers to the political arena.  All one need do is gather as many members of the news media (a group not noted for its impartiality or its collective intelligence) as you can find and then announce that your party (the epitome of honesty and the only true “party of the people”) has discovered that your opposition’s party (composed of evil capitalists and / or other such “enemies of truth and freedom”) is plotting to “steal” the upcoming election.

The above allegation can be used to justify the outcome of the election regardless of whether your candidate wins or loses.  If your candidate wins, you can proclaim that democracy, the “will of the people,” or some other intangible force has prevailed by exposing and then defeating the conspiracy that you invented.

The invented “conspiracy” is of even greater utility if your candidate loses the election due to some unexpected or unplanned development such as a drastic underestimation of exactly how big a lie the voting public will believe.  Should this occur, all you have to do is claim that your candidate’s defeat is “proof” of the previously identified conspiracy!

Many political strategists feel that relying on the simple win-lose outcome of your “conspiracy” is too risky and that a more aggressive course of action is necessary.  This can include any or all of the following tactics.

The Exit Poll Two-Step

Exit polls are generally considered to be an accurate reflector of voting trends, provided that they accurately represent the voting population but, since this posting is about everything but accuracy, you are correct in believing that accuracy has no place in partisan political activities.

In the Exit Poll Two-Step strategy, you must post your survey takers outside polling places in areas where your candidate is certain to win.  This will insure that the percentage of voters supporting your candidate will be higher than those voting for your opposition.  After the polls close and the votes are counted you will have two options available:

1.  If your candidate wins the election, you just throw the exit poll results in the nearest trashcan before heading to the victory party.

2.  If your candidate loses the election you should immediately call a press conference where, citing your biased exit poll results, you claim proof of the existence of your previously identified “conspiracy.”

The 40 – 40 – 20 Principle

Practically all political analysts and other such social parasites will tell you that, in any given election, 40% will always vote for the more liberal candidate, 40% will always vote for the conservative candidate, and 20% will vote for the candidate that makes the most sense in his / her position on issues that appeal to the emotions of the undecided voters.  It is the 20% sector that determines the outcome of any given election and you must get to these unaffiliated voters as early as possible.  This is very important because:

1.  Whoever has the support of the non-partisan 20% will win the election.

2. This same group is able to think for themselves and will not easily be swayed by either your candidate’s idiotic statements or those made by the opposition.

3. Therefore, you should spend day after day of your time and truckloads of money pandering to this group.

The Oprah’s Book Club Strategy

This strategy takes a bit longer to implement and is more complex than the other tactics mentioned here, but it has several unique advantages.  To set this strategy in motion you must:

  1. Write a book.  Better yet, have someone write it for you.  This will allow you to spend more time pandering to the special interest groups that will bankroll your campaign.
  2. Hire a literary agent to convince Oprah Winfrey that she needs to feature your book on Oprah’s Book Club.
  3. Since getting on Oprah’s book list is a guarantee that you will sell millions of copies, you will rake in millions of dollars in royalties that are exempt from the restrictions of the campaign finance laws.
  4. Should you lose the election, go on Oprah’s television show and whine about how the election was stolen.

The Big Lie (the Cynthia McKinney Move)

No one is exactly sure when the Big Lie tactic was first used, but it should always be kept in mind by every candidate and every political party.  This tactic is also the easiest to implement, even if your candidate is a functional illiterate.  An example will serve to demonstrate this tactic.

Say you are a candidate that is so far behind in the polls that moving into single digit territory would be a major improvement.  You should immediately tell the most outrageous lie that you can come up with, such as:

“George Bush knew about the 9-11 attacks but did nothing to stop them so he could invade Iraq and team up with Israel to oppress women and children and steal all the oil for Dick Cheney and Big Oil.”

The above mentioned tactic will invariably meet with at least some degree of success simply because the average American voter will accept as the gospel truth anything that he or she sees on television.

In other words, the future of the Republic may lie in the voting habits of the MTV generation.

Scary thought isn’t it?

There’s Nothing Like the Taste of Homegrown Stupidity

September 6, 2007

As I’ve mentioned several other times one of the advantages to writing humor and satire is that I have an entire planet lined up outside my door waiting to give me material.  But sometimes I have to admit that there’s nothing like the homegrown variety of stupidity.  Allow me to demonstrate what I mean.

Let us first consider the antics of that barrel full of prehensile-tailed primates collectively known as the Mayor and City County Council, of Albuquerque, People’s Banana Republic of New Mexico.

Recently, Mayor Martin “Marty the Moron” Sanchez announced that it was his intention to ask that the City Council close down the municipal golf courses due to a shortfall of some $200,000 in revenues that were projected to be generated by those courses.  This seems a somewhat flimsy excuse in that:

1) The City Council recently voted to spend a few million to decorate city vehicles in order to “stress the rich cultural heritage of the city.”

Whenever the taxpayers’ money is to be spent “stressing the rich cultural heritage” of anything you can bet that it’s actually being spent as a reward to a handful of businesses that were the most financially-supportive of the incumbents.

Coincidentally, the golf courses in question lie within, or adjacent to, voting districts that went against Sanchez in the last city election

2) Marty and a few cronies took of to China for a week to “promote cultural and business ties” with that nation.  The price of Marty and his Band of Merry Men’s little joyride?  Allegedly, only $5,000.

Tried pricing a trip to China for 3 people lately?

3) The City Council, (at the request of Sanchez) recently voted to kill funding for a “reflecting pool” at the launch site of the International Balloon Fiesta, the City of Albuquerque’s premier tourist event.  This year’s visitors will be able to marvel at the wisdom of that decision while staring into a hole in the ground half the size of a football field.

4) This same august body is comprised of the same individuals that recently voted to spend $6 million on a deserted stretch of land that isn’t really near anything to provide a “landing site” for balloons.

I hate to tell the merry pranksters down at city hall this, but hot air balloons aren’t like airplanes.  Airplanes tend to take off and land at well-established locations (like airports).  On the other hand, hot air balloons tend to crash-land at whatever location is nearby when they start to run our pf LP fuel.  The council has yet to announce how they’re going to get around that little problem.

Fortunately for Marty and Friends, they’re only amateurs when compared to the  irresponsibility of Amigo Numero Uno, our Exalted (now part-time), Leader, Governor Bill Richardson.

First of all let me make it clear that I don’t like Bill Richardson.  I have many reasons for that dislike, but allow me to share a few of them.

Bill Richardson wouldn’t know the truth if it walked up and bit him on his rather abundant posterior.

In 2006 Bill campaigned for re-election to office of Governor of New Mexico.  Part of his campaign was his promise that he “wasn’t running for President, just Governor.”  That promise, plus a Republican candidate that was hated by most Republicans, got Billy Boy his second term.

Bill started campaigning for the Democratic Party’s Presidential nomination as soon as his feet left the inaugural platform.

Bill Richardson, despite his “I’ll bring fiscal responsibility to Washington if I’m elected” hoopla, doesn’t have a very good record in that department.

In a front page, copyrighted story in last week’s Albuquerque Sunday Journal Richardson was quoted as saying that it might be necessary to raise the state’s gasoline tax and convert some highways into toll roads because of a 300 million dollar deficit in the Department of Transportation’s road and bridge maintenance budget.  This figure is eerily close to the amount of money that it will take to pay for one of the biggest boondoggles (even by New Mexico standards) in recent history: The Railrunner Express.

The Railrunner is one of the most ridiculous and expensive ideas (even by Richardson’s standards) to be cooked up.  The Railrunner is a “commuter” train that, in theory, will make it easier for people to travel between Albuquerque and points south to Santa Fe.  It is currently projected to incur “infrastructure” costs of “around” 300 million dollars.  I’m sure that is just coincidental.

Bill’s campaign workers don’t have to worry about Bill “shooting himself in the foot” simply because he can’t keep it out of his mouth.

As an example, consider his latest attack of foot in mouth disease consider this statement, reported by The Des Moines Register.

“Iowa, for good reason, for constitutional reasons, for reasons related to the Lord, should be the first caucus and primary (state).”

I’ve tried hard, but I haven’t been able to find anything in the US Constitution that even mentions Iowa, much less assure its citizens that they should have a monopoly on being the first state to decide which candidate made less of a fool of himself than his rivals.

The above statement, which Richardson’s staff was quick to explain as “a joke” (how’s that for truth in politics), got Bill a little more attention than he wanted.

The “left-leaning” Daily Kos blog, which only last week had praised Richardson’s virtues, withdrew its support in no uncertain terms when founder Markos Moulitsas wrote that

“Richardson is is really becoming the buffoon of this campaign…I can’t believe I ever flirted with voting for this guy.  He’s now down in the Kucinich/Gravel territory on my list.”

My life is now complete, for I finally agree with something published on Daily Kos.

September “Stupidest Thing …” Race Already Crowded Thanks to Norman Hsu

September 1, 2007

 

It’s only September 1st but, thanks to the pre-election money-grubbing by the herd of Democratic Presidential Nominee wanna-be’s, the race for the September nomination for the “Stupidest Thing of the Year” is already heating up.

The earlier entries into the competition include:

Hillary Clinton fund raiser Norman Hsu.  Hsu enters the competition because, although he is wanted on a felony warrant in the State of California for failure to appear for sentencing after pleading guilty to a single count of grand theft in 1996 (a year in which he was a major figure in Bill Clinton’s re-election fundraising).  Now, I don’t want to prejudice anyone’s chances to win the September nomination, but you have to admit that he will be hard to beat a man who:

 

1) Despite being wanted in California, engaged in high profile fundraising activities that would have easily revealed what part of the country he was hiding in.

 

2) If the above wasn’t enough to put Hsu on the police radar, he starts throwing his own money into the campaign war chest even though his name and address would be listed on the financial disclosure statement.

Hsu returned to California on Friday, August 31 where he turned himself in to authorities.  He was promptly taken before a judge who ordered Hsu held in the county slammer (did he get the Paris Hilton suite?) until he could post bond in the amount of $2 million.  Hsu was back on the streets 5 hours later.

Hsu’s scofflaw antics while on the run leads to our next candidate, the California Department of Public Safety.

The California cops get a nomination for not having a clue to Hsu’s whereabouts even though he was all over the second (Bill’s re-election) and third (Hillary’s) Clinton campaigns. Do you think that maybe Arnold’s Gestapo was too busy enforcing the laws against smoking in bars and other locations?  How about that they were too busy enforcing the myriad of laws against “hate speech,” “hate writing,” or “not being politically correct?”  Either that or perhaps the word had gone out for the cops to just say “no, we don’t have the slightest idea where Hsu is.”

However, doing or saying something stupid isn’t the only ways to become candidates for the monthly nomination. You can also be nominated by trying to convince us that we’re too stupid to see through a fraud or a scam. This seems to be the tactic adopted by the Paw family.

 According to a copyrighted story in the Wall Street Journal, the six members of the Paw family, all of them claiming the house at 41 Shelbourne Ave. in San Francisco as their residence, have donated a combined $45,000 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential primary bid since 2005, her Senate re-election last year and her political action committee. In all, the six Paws have donated a total of $200,000 to Democratic candidates and political action committees since the 2005.

 
Public records indicate that the Paws own a gift shop and live in a 1,280-square-foot house that they recently refinanced for $270,000. William Paw, the head of the household, is a mail carrier with the U.S. Postal Service who earns about $50,000.  Mrs. Paw lists her occupation as housewife and their children are all employed.

How this family, of relatively modest means, by California standards, has a surplus income that allows it to throw around a quarter of a million dollars has yet to be explained.  To this writer, such largess can be explained by one of the following scenarios (in increasing order of likelihood).

1)      The Paw family has a pile of money and just felt like giving it away

2)      The Paw gift shop is raking in money faster than the owners can give it away

3)      The Paw children are making a bundle

4)    The Paw family lied through its collective teeth to the Internal Revenue Service about their incomes in what is known in legal terms as tax evasion.

5)      Somebody gave the Paw family money that was earmarked for Sen. Clinton’s political aspirations.

As the potential political fallout from Norman Hsu’s fund raising became apparent, the campaign poobahs of the Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Bill Richardson announced that direct contributions from Hsu (those that he made under his own name) would be donated to charity.  In Sen. Clinton’s case, the loss of $23,000 from a campaign war chest estimated to be at least $50 million will go unnoticed. 

Gov. Richardson got off easy since Hsu had only contributed a total of $28,000 to Richardson’s 2006 re-election campaign.  Gov. Richardson’s campaign staff announced that the contributions would be shipped off to an undisclosed charity.  Since Richardson’s re-election campaign raised about $13.5 million yet only spent $12 million, $28,000 is mere chump change

Of the three candidates, Obama gains credibility at the cost of donating the $2,000 that Hsu contributed to his 2004 senate campaign and his $5,000 to Obama’s PAC to another undisclosed charity.

In keeping with at least a degree of fairness Larry Craig, the mow-former Republican Senator from Idaho, gains entry into the September competition by virtue of pleading guilty (without consulting a lawyer) to public indecency charges related to an alleged attempt to initiate a homosexual sex encounter at the Minneapolis, MN airport.

Craig’s entry is felt, by many observers, to be a long shot since resigning from the senate was about the only smart move he had left. su

Thoughts on Politics: Old and New

August 30, 2007

If I had to identify what I considered to be my best personality trait, I would answer with one word: cynicism.

Below is a collection of quotes from the two men that I admire for both their cynicism and their insight. Unfortunately, most readers will be unfamiliar with both authors. It is the purpose of this post to bring to the reader’s attention these two giants of both cynicism and American literature.

***

Ambrose Bierce (1842-1913?) is, in my personal opinion, one of the most underappreciated figures of American literature. Bierce is widely held to be the father of the modern short story as well as being the first author to make use of the concept of a “psychological thriller” over 100 years before Stephen King et al. For those that would like more information concerning Bierce, here is the obligatory link to the Ambrose Bierce page at Wikipedia.

CONGRESS, (Noun), A body of men who meet to repeal laws.

CONSERVATIVE, (Noun), A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others.

POLITICS, (Noun), A strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. The conduct of public affairs for private advantage.

REPRESENTATIVE, (Noun), In national politics, a member of the Lower House in this world, and without discernible hope of promotion in the next.

SENATE, (Noun), A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.

VOTE, (Noun), The instrument and symbol of a freeman’s power to make a fool of himself and a wreck of his country.

Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

***

H.L. (Henry Louis) Mencken (1880-1956) is another literary figure that has drifted into relative obscurity. In this writer’s opinion, Mencken should be considered as one of the true giants of American literature because it was Mencken that more or less created the cynical editorial style that influenced a full century of commentators. Even today, his 1925 reports on the Scopes trial (“The Great Monkey Trial”) are considered to be among the classics of journalism. Once again, here is the link to the H.L. Mencken page at Wikipedia.

As an aside, in the movie Inherit the Wind (which borrowed heavily from the Scopes trial) Gene Kelly plays the character E.K. Hornbeck, which was modeled on Mencken.

Whenever “A” attempts by law to impose his moral standards upon “B,” “A” is most likely a scoundrel.

A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.

A national political campaign is better than the best circus ever heard of, with a mass baptism and a couple of hangings thrown in.

Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.

Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good.

It is inaccurate to say that I hate everything. I am strongly in favor of common sense, common honesty, and common decency. This makes me forever ineligible for public office.

The cynics are right nine times out of ten.

H.L. Mencken
***

OK, I’m not in the same class as the 2 gentlemen mentioned above but it’s my blog and I can write whatever I want. The following are a few definitions that I came up with over the years that I hope you will enjoy. Look on the bright side; you don’t get another link to Wikipedia but one to my personal web site.

ACTIVIST, (Noun), One seeking to advance either a personal or group agenda by being as obnoxious as is humanly possible.

ENDANGERED SPECIES, (Noun), A species that, having outlived its biological utility, is attempting to self-destruct.

FORMER, (Adjective), An adjective used to denote one who, having lost an election, is actively conspiring to regain public office.

INAPPROPRIATE DECISION, (Noun), A mistake brought about by one’s own stupidity.

INFRASTRUCTURE BUILDING, (Noun), PORK BARREL SPENDING that occurs in your Congressional district.

INJUSTICE, (Noun), That which has occurred when your candidate is defeated or your client is convicted.

POLITICS, (Noun), The methods and practices used to gain, and hold, access to the public treasury.

PORK BARREL SPENDING, (Noun), INFRASTRUCTURE BUILDING that occurs in someone else’s Congressional district.

RECOUNT, (Noun), A more sophisticated technique than voter fraud for stealing an election. (Verb), to reexamine and retally the votes cast until you are certain that your candidate has won the election.

REFORM, (Verb), To change an existing law in order to maximize your position and/or minimize the position of your opponent.

UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANT, (Noun), An illegal alien.

UNSUBSTANTIATED STATEMENT, (Noun), A lie.

Wayne McDonald, Chat Rooms in Wonderland

“Stupidest Thing of the Year” Race is Still Too Close to Call

August 23, 2007

The race to decide the August entry in the First Annual Stupidest Thing of the Year competition is growing closer as one candidate removed himself from contention by copping to a plea bargain with Federal prosecutors, another candidate made yet another stupid statement, and a host of new contenders for the title emerged from the sidelines.

This week’s update d list of contenders includes:

Michael Vick, the soon-to-be former quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons, accepted a plea bargain negotiated by his attorneys and Federal prosecutors. Vick, by having done the smart thing by copping a plea, is removed from contention for the month of August.

New Mexico Governor and Democratic Presidential hopeful Bill Richardson has strengthened his position in this month’s competition. At a forum with gay rights activists Richardson replied “It’s a choice…” when asked if he believed people were “born” gay. Immediately, the governor attempted to cover this breach of political correctness by adding “you know, I’m not a scientist…”

 

Governor Richardson also appeared to prove that he definitely isn’t a political scientist by admitting that “I screwed up…” when he named arch-conservative Byron White as a model for future Supreme Court justices.

 

Another Democratic Presidential hopeful, Sen. Barrack Obama of Illinois, has emerged as a contender. At a campaign appearance in Virginia he said that, as a result of a springtime tornado in Kansas “… ten thousand people died … an entire town was destroyed …” According to news reports, the actual number of fatalities was 12.

 

Apparently not wishing to concede the race for this month’s winner, the pack of howling wolves known as several Republican Presidential nominee-wannabes are now vigorous contenders.

 

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in an attempt to explain why none of his 5 sons had enlisted in the military, said “… one of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected…” He later claimed that he had “misspoke.”

 

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani claimed that, following the 9-11 attacks, he was at Ground Zero “… as often, if not more, than most of the workers …” and was thus exposed to the same health risks. He later admitted that “I could have said that better … What I was saying was that ‘I’m her with you’”

With a week to go in this month’s competition, it’s still a wide-open race.

This Week’s Most Misleading Headline

“‘Dangerous’ Dean Poised to Hit Mexico”

The above headline referred to a hurricane named Dean and not to former Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean.

In a related incident, Mexican President Felipe Calderón cut short his Canadian summit talks with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and US President George Bush in order to return to Mexico to personally assess and monitor relief efforts in regions that would be hit by Hurricane Dean. The storm has thus entered the record book as the only hurricane that has caused a Mexican national to return home.

Balancing the Federal Budget with an Exise Tax on Stupidity

August 20, 2007

I long ago reached the conclusion that the dream of every political hack and influence-peddler since the days of the Roman Senate is to find something to tax that is both abundant and something that no one would miss, even it were taxed into oblivion.  After years of searching for such a commodity, I have discovered that it would be matter of exquisite simplicity to balance the federal budget and replenish the Social Security Trust Fund, by imposing a federal excise tax on stupidity.

Why would you want to tax stupidity?

In the above paragraph I noted that what is needed for a tax base is something that is both plentiful and present in unlimited amounts.  Obviously, only stupidity meets both criteria.

How would such a tax be levied?

If there is one thing that Congress has perfected to an art form, it’s levying taxes.  All that is needed is to determine the amount of tax to be assessed and then define what constitutes stupidity.  Once those minor details are taken care off, all we have to do is sit back and watch the money start rolling in.

Any tax on stupidity would, of course, be progressive.  This means that each subsequent incidence of stupidity would be taxed at a higher rate than the previous incident.  The trick would be to maximize revenue without encouraging a reduction in the amount of stupidity.  Given the current state of American politics, and society in general, this shouldn’t be a major problem.

Can you explain that “progressive” part again?

A progressive tax is one that increases in proportion to the amount present of whatever it is that you’re taxing.  Under the current system, the more money you have the more you have to pay.  At least that’s the way it’s supposed to work.

Under the new system, you would still have to pony up more money for each act of act of stupidity but each act is going to cost you more.  For example, say that the first act of stupidity results in a tax of $1,000.  The second act of stupidity would cost you, say, $2,000; the third $4,000; the fourth $8,000 and so on.  Simple mathematics demonstrates that, after about the 20th act of stupidity, not even Bill Gates could afford to be stupid.

Who decides what is stupid and what isn’t?

Stupidity will be defined, and the appropriate tax levied, by a Blue Ribbon Commission on the Identification of Stupidity that will consist of 18 members. 

The 9 Permanent Members of  the Commission will be  the 9 currently-sitting Justices of the Supreme Court, with the Chief Justice acting as the Presiding Chairman (or Chairwoman) of the Commission. 

Three members will be chosen by the Permanent Members from a list of candidates submitted by the President of the United States, with the advice and consent of the Senate being duly noted, considered, and then ignored. 

The final three members will be selected at random from the Los Angeles Metropolitan Area telephone directory and serve until the publication of the following year’s directory.

All members of the Stupidity Commission will be paid a salary that is based on the average income (for the preceding three years, and after deduction of the necessary stupidity taxes) of Sean Penn, Paris Hilton, and a member of the Kennedy family to be chosen by lot.

In the interest of integrity, no member of the Executive or Legislative branch of government may act as a member of the Commission until at least two years after leaving office.

What about those with less financial resources?  Will they be prohibited from doing and/or saying anything stupid?

No, not at all.  The act will contain a provision for what will be known as the Earned Stupidity Credit which will consist of vouchers that will be issued to low-income families at the end of each year and redeemed as needed when a family member commits a taxable act of stupidity.

Who would be stupid enough to agree to such a scheme?

Have you watched C-SPAN lately?

Why America Should Become a Part of Canada

August 18, 2007

A few months ago there was an item posted of several of the political humor and satire sites calling for the United States to revoke the Declaration of Independence, pass a Congressional Resolution in which the United States would apologize to Great Britain over that “little misunderstanding” some 200 years ago, and humbly ask to become a member of the United Kingdom.

Although the item was written with tongue firmly implanted in cheek I think that, basically, it’s not such a bad idea.  In fact, the only thing that I would change is that the United States would petition to become a part of Canada rather than the United Kingdom.  Such a merger would, at the least, be a marriage made in Heaven for both nations.  Among the many virtues of such a union:

1. The goals of the American political left would be met in that the US would finally have socialized medicine, stricter gun control laws, and more taxation extracted from its citizens. The political right would benefit by laughing themselves into a coma when the liberals, now having no agenda to pursue, would be unable to control a single seat in the Canadian New Parliament.

Those that have long pointed to Canada as an example of “compassionate” government-controlled health care would finally get their wish.  Now all Americans would have access to health care. The only drawback to this triumph of compassion over money would be that the citizens live long enough to get an appointment in a system that would combine Canadian inefficiency with good old fashioned American bureaucracy to create a system that would stress death as a cost-containment strategy.  As a side benefit, the economies of Cuba and Mexico would gain billions of foreign exchange dollars as both countries would become “health care Meccas” for those willing to fork over hard cash to avoid becoming a mortality statistic.

Most Americans would have no problem adjusting to Canadian gun control laws since the current American laws are practically identical to those in Canada. A potential roadblock to full acceptance of Canadian laws would be the requirement that, in order to possess a firearm in Canada, one must be either a Canadian citizen or a registered immigrant.  The Canadian judicial system has traditionally been quite intolerant of those who violate the nation’s gun laws.

That portion of the American electorate believing that the answer to any real or imagined “problem” is more taxation would find themselves enveloped multi-orgasmic joy when confronted with the Canadian taxation system.  Or at least they would until it could be pointed out that, under the Canadian system, everyone pays taxes.

Canada, of course, would benefit from gaining the American tax base.  They would also benefit by having some 300 million new citizens to torment with social policies that have already reduced its citizens to mindless automatons that go along with the game just to get their government to shut up.

2.  The American right wing would finally have an effective immigration policy.

In addition to closing the so-called border checkpoints along the current US-Canadian border, the US would immediately benefit from the much stricter Canadian immigration policies.  In summary, these policies state that 1) you don’t get into Canada unless you have a job  waiting on you and 2) if you are in the country illegally and find that you have attracted the attention of the Mounties, you go to jail until you can be deported to whatever third-world cesspool that you came from.  In fact, the only difference between American and Canadian immigration laws is that the Canadians enforce theirs.

And what about all those displaced immigration and customs agents from both sides of the current border?  They would be transferred to the current US-Mexican border to enforce the new Canadian-American immigration policy.  Any agents that are left over would become the staff at the new detention facility dedicated to immigration law violators.  Since no one wants a prison “in their back yards,” this facility would be constructed some 300 miles (~ 500 km) north of Calgary.

Having an effective immigration policy would also deprive the political right of its only platform and would eliminate it from the political theater.  The left would then laugh itself into a coma and thus be unable to control a single seat in the New Parliament.

3. The American public would finally get a real royal family to laugh at and would no longer have to depend on the lower-quality domestic brands.

This would undoubtedly be bad news to the Hiltons, Kennedys, Romneys, Clintons, and other American royalty wanna-be clans but, as citizens of the New Canada, all would be expected to “do their parts” to make the transition from America to New Canada as smooth as possible.

4.  The American “energy crisis” would become a thing of the past.

Once we’ve sucked all the oil out of the Alaskan North Slope oil fields we could then draw from the untapped resources of Canada. And, should those appear to be coming close to depletion, Canada has plenty of uranium that’s just lying there doing nothing.

As a side benefit to such policies, America would be finally rid itself of those tireless; noisy; and generally obnoxious guardians of “animal rights” and of weeds on “public grasslands” collectively known as the “environmentalist lobby.”  In Canada if you ride your bicycle out to the forest to protest old-growth logging, one of two things has been known to happen: you will either be decapitated by a chain saw or be run over by a logging truck.

There are, of course, many other potential benefits to Canadian-American unification and just as many potential shortcomings.  However, this writer is of the opinion that the gains accrued in such a merger would far outweigh any negative aspects.

Note to citizens of California and/or members of the Green Party: Does the word “satire” ring a bell?