Tag Archives: current events

Caustic Countdown: Four Insanely Mean-Spirited Political Ads

17 Jul

I should apologize for not posting more often. I could sit here and lie (after all, it is my job) and say that I’ve been busy. It’d be a half lie; I have been busy. Just not enough to justify such an extended absence. No. The truth is I’ve been having a hard time finding balance and order to my routine. I am not what you would call organized. At all. With this in mind, it’s amazing that I’ve managed to accomplish so much with my writing. But I can’t rest on my laurels, and my disorganization is restraining my potential. So I present Caustic Cookies version 1.5. It’s a beta right now, but I’m sure you’ll like it. If you have any suggestions, just drop me a line. I’d be happy to field questions on any intelligent basis.

Now to the fun stuff!

It’s easy in this world of political nonsense to feel entirely inundated with every facet of the machine. Personally, I feel like I can’t even go five minutes without having to explain my political position in some way. In order to combat this, I’m tempted to just sit back and say: “You know who really had their shit together? Lincoln. Boy, could he emancipate and propagate liberty like the best of ’em!” I’m a history nerd though, so it’s kind of nice to have some perspective to compare our current disorder to.

One of the greatest gripes of all comes in the form of these bombarding attack advertisements. Currently, Former Governor Romney is attacking President Obama based upon his health care mandate and the President is backlashing with details of Romney’s supposed corporate history. And it’s getting kind of nasty. It always does. It seems like our politicians are the proverbial children in the sandbox… if the children happened to be vying for the position of the most powerful man in the free world. (Would that equate to the slide on the playground them or the monkey bars? Such is the great philosophical quandary). And every election cycle, people find ways to believe that, if anything, it’s only gotten worse than the time before. It turns out that not only are they feeding a mass-delusion that legitimately affects the older population bracket, they also happen to be incorrect. It’s not their fault, however. See, it’s all a matter of perspective. Here are four political ad campaigns that makes today’s contenders appear as polite and courteous as stereotypical Victorian gentlemen. Which do not turn out to be as nice as everyone believes.

1: Jefferson v. Addams (aspiring king of England?!)

Despite the fact that the United States and England seem to now be best buds (the Blair Bush Bromance will go down as one of the most noticeable in political history), there was indeed a time where being closely associated with the English would destroy any hopes of social acceptance. Keep in mind that this period of time was namely until that pesky war of 1812 (a war which most Americans don’t recall the year it transpired. Seriously). Up until that squabble got resolved, it probably wouldn’t be very good for someone running for political office to be in close relations with higher British authorities. It would be worse if said politician was running for office and said close relation was the King’s daughter.

Boy, doesn’t that just sound like a wacky sitcom.

Enter John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both uncontested intellectual badasses. Except for the fact that they had a contest between each other. Namely, the 1800 presidential election. Now this election went down in history for a number of reasons. But people forget that a large population of people didn’t vote for Adams because Jefferson had spread the entirely fallacious idea that Adams’ son was being wed to the King’s daughter in an attempt to create an American dynasty. Despite being called out on his lies, Jefferson still ended up winning. Chalk one up for liars!

3: Johnson’s Bomb (Not Talking about his Libido).

Now if you didn’t get the joke in the title, follow this link. It turns out that Kennedy wasn’t alone in enjoying the ladies as President.

Now. Back to business. And by business, I mean overtly insinuating that your rivals will ensure the nuclear apocalypse.

See that? That wasn’t exactly subtle. But neither was Johnson. He had a tendency to be upfront and dramatic when it came to certain nuances of his policy. He often allowed his size and low growl of a voice to intimidate dissenters. So it was in his nature when he presumably thought as he was running for a second term of ways to intimidate not just disorderly orderlies, but the nation as a whole.

He came up with this.

For those who didn’t follow the link, shame on you. Seriously, go click on it. It’s worth its metaphysical weight in metaphysical gold. I’m sorry to say that the exchange rate for metaphysical gold isn’t too high now, but still go click.

That’s right. Johnson insisted that electing his opponent would instigate a fiery hell of nuclear radiation and death. Needless to say, he was reelected.

2: Swift Boats for Justice.

Alright, this one is recent (it aired against Kerry in 2004), but it shows how quickly we forget. Because these were just flat-out mean.

Take a watch.

Now, essentially the message boils down to this: Kerry was lying about how bad-ass he was in Vietnam. Normally, this isn’t a problem, there are people who exaggerate about their war-stories every day. The issue came that he was using it as pro-Kerry propaganda during the campaign and he happened to piss off a lot of people he served with.

Honestly, I remember this election. I was convinced that Kerry was going to beat out Bush…up until these ads came on. Even though I was younger and didn’t understand the gravity of such an attack, I somehow knew that the game was over. Looking back on it, I’m surprised riots didn’t explode into the street such is the gravity of their statements.

1: Don’t Mess With Jackson

So far these have been rather harmless in the grand scheme of things. Sure, reputations were damaged (not irreparably) egos were bruised, but otherwise no harm no foul. Things got crazy; such is the nature of the beast, right? Well, this time, it arguably got someone killed.

Enter who is perhaps the greatest President of all time (if you choose to selectively ignore the whole trail of tears thing): Andrew Jackson.

And yes, I am aware that the parentheses and colon equals a frowny face emoticon. That was perhaps the one potmark of Jackson’s presidency that can really never be fixed. It was destructive and cruel, no doubt about it. But a political mistake doesn’t erase the other great things he is known for. Nor does it justify the fact that his wife was brutally assaulted by the media. To the point where she freaking died!

Jefferson and his wife were the quintessential star-crossed lovers. When they met, she was still married to an absent husband. But when they were together, he was incredibly abusive. So they just took the absence as a blessing and got on with their happy lives. The two never actually divorced, however, allowing the press to portray Mrs. Jefferson as a harlot. She soon died after this violent press started pouring in and Jackson was forever changed. He went from his rambunctious, violent nature to…swearing to avenge her death on every person who ever spoke ill of her. So the press managed to take his fury and direct it to his political opponents and themselves. Probably not the best idea.

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Caustic Countdown:5/28/12

29 May

My high school cross-country coach was a man of interesting axioms. He, of course, would offer certain quirky phrases as we ran (“Arms, Arms, Arms!” and “Relax to Run Fast” happened to be his favorites), but by far his most memorable has to do with- well- high school stupidity. He would always tell us “I want you guys to know that I love you as people…but you sure do make some interesting choices with your lives!” I thought it was the optimal attitude to have in regards to humanity: love your fellow man, but still admit that he can be a freaking moron (it’s like having your cake and eating it too!). So this week, we tip our hats to three individuals who have, recently, made some very interesting decisions with their lives.

3: Creative Videography

It may or may not come as a shock, but several people really seem to hate their local meteorologist. Maybe it’s because the uncertainty of weather and the uncertainty of man coagulates into a frustrated heap of failed predictions. Maybe it’s because people are envious of the fact that television meteorologists get to draw on a board, perform guesswork in front of thousands of people daily, and rake in an average of $85,000 a year. If everyone had this job you could be that every day some outlandish prediction would be made like, I don’t know, a meteor passing within 30,000 kilometers of Earth. I mean, what’s the likelihood of that?

Given this disdain, it’d be understandable if weather reporters somehow concocted a way to ensure the accuracy of their predictions- or even their on site reporting. But how could they accomplish this? Last time I checked, the doomsday machines controlling the weather were banned by the UN (seriously). Well, they could just kick sand to give the cheap illusion of 60Km/hr winds. Sure. Why not?

According to the hyperlinked article above, the weather conditions that the Romanian reporter was trying to emulate actually were occurring; they just calmed down before he hit the scene. So instead of reporting that the storm has miraculously passed, he felt it more prudent to have his camera man kick sand into his face as he reported on the storm that has passed. Unfortunately, this gaffe was immediately picked up on by even the least observant viewers as said production assistant was still in frame. Fortunately, both men get to keep their job. In fact, no report of them even receiving a formal reprimand has come to light. Instead, the station is simply shrugging and saying essentially “hey, it’s not doctored.” At least that’s an assertion that can’t be disputed. Rain or shine.

2: Pretty Ceremony, Petty Bride.

We’ve all been a little strapped for cash. This economy is tough; it wears down on people. But, as a wise man once said, there will always be life, liquor, and love- so why not just continue on with the weddings? (obviously, they are the perfect combination of all three). Well, considering that the price tag of a wedding is nearly half of the average American’s salary, there’s understandable trepidation about tying the knot. But hard times often inspires the creative side of people. It just so happens that no one qualified that these creative solutions had to be considered ethical. But, I mean, it’s not like someone will just go out and blatantly lie to fund their dream wedding? OK. No one will try to play the pity card to fund the wedding? Drats, OK, once more. No one will blatantly lie about dying of cancer soon after their wedding to swindle well wishers into giving money… You know what? I give up at this game.

That’s right. A New York bride has been convicted of faking a cancerous condition to elicit sympathetic donations for her “dream wedding.” Soon after the wedding, however, the husband alerted the police to the fact that his new beau was simply a liar. How he figured it out wasn’t explicitly mentioned- so I’ll just go off on a fictitious limb and say it was presumably from all of the calls asking either a) how his soon to be dead wife was doing or b) why his soon to be dead wife wasn’t dead yet. Such inquiries would be a real head-scratcher to any spouse.

Predictably, the couple has gotten a divorce but, scandal alert, he was there to pick her up from the jail cell as she was released. Do I detect the flame of romance being reignited? Readers, I honestly don’t give enough of a damn about their private lives to say (this isn’t TMZ after all). I will say this however: how twisted would it be if this was just something on the couple’s bucket list?

1:

There has been a lot of publicized hype about the immigration issues in the United States. However you stand on the fence with these issues (badum-ping), it can be agreed that we are at least attempting to limit the number of illegals entering. But with every advantageous means we employ, it can be assured that someone will craftily dodge or work around the issue. We’ve seen it time and time again in criminality- people will always try to be one step ahead of law enforcement.

On occasion, it helps to be in a pair of wheels designed to look like a UPS truck. You know, to have an advantage. Not to fulfill some child-like dream to become an international postman travelling between the U.S. and Mexico…while also being a secret agent…and trapeese artist. What? Some people like to retain their imagination.

Apparently, the car was decked out to look like a true UPS vehicle. It even had the unmistakable actual American citizen driving the damn thing to increase its authenticity. The difference is, besides the obvious fact that this vehicle didn’t deliver parcels but a baker’s dozen worth of illegals, may only lie in the color value of the logo. This van is just one of an emerging trend called “cloned vehicles.” And while the title may spark images of Optimus Primes lined up ad infinitum, they’re merely the creation and modification of vehicles so as to appear less obvious.

The cleverest of facades can’t pass through the immovable force of bureaucratic policy! The truck and passengers were caught and arrested at a routine inland vehicle check about 50 miles from the border. One can only hope they made their interesting decision even more so by deciding to exit the vehicle dressed as cardboard robots. They may not be transformers, but they apparently know how to hide in plain sight!

Caustic Countdown: 5/14/12

14 May

Good day to vampires, and good evening to those with proper circadian rhythms.

This last week was particularly eventful, politically. Even if you don’t happen to subscribe to the traditional news sources (and say, instead, you merely follow the Caustic Countdown), I’m fairly certain that you’ve heard about the hullaballoo going about in the political arena. Besides the fact that there are rich, privileged politicians, watching this display of strategic verbal evisceration is as close as we can comfortably get to the hunger games.

Now, I’m not going to get atop a pedestal and say “Obama is a scheming socialist; vote republican” or “Romney is a callous business man; vote Obama.” In my humble opinion, it’s all a bunch of puppetry which plays upon very real ideological foundations shared by a large propensity of Americans which are, in turn, polarized based upon minutiae and extraneous nuances. In short (in the words of my father, my mentor) it’s all *cough* bullshit, bullshit *cough* bullshit. A show, a facade, a play within a play- like in Hamlet except with less incest. I have my beliefs, you have yours. We all want this nation to grow stronger with each successive effort and generation. If we work together, regardless of petty differences, we can make America amazing for our posterity.

But even if I can respect your beliefs, and you can respect mine, we can all agree that sometimes politicians and their constituents do some, well… interesting things. So rounding out this week’s four is some recent political actions culminating in clean, bipartisan hilarity. Well, not so much clean. This is politics, after all.

5: Incarcerated vs Incumbant.

Elections are meant to be a serious matter. To vote poorly and for the wrong candidate is to embrace certain grave consequences. People will cite both this president and last as a cautionary tale in voting for “the right man.” However, consequences may already be pretty grave in West Virginia; how else can they justify a convicted Texas felon receiving 40% of the vote in a Democratic primary against President Obama.

Now I understand the whole premise of tactical voting. I even understand voting for Snoopy to send a message. But when 40% of the DEMOCRATIC vote rallies behind a convicted TEXAS felon instead of President Obama, then this man clearly has a damn good publicist. Either that or his platform must be really personable and relatable. It presumably includes things such as softer punishments on crime and mandatory sympathy for people who grow their hair out long enough for it to look like a mauled raccoon.

When asked why individuals had voted for the convicted felon, most reported a serious disdain for the President’s energy policies. Seeing as how he routinely pushes for green-technology and West Virginia is heavy in coal production, the apparent abhorrence makes sense. But still, wouldn’t it be interesting if the convict made it to the white house? I wonder if they would have to pardon him or merely force him to work by telecommuting.

4: Newt in Deep Water

Many people know Newt Gingrich in different ways. To some, he is the man who promised to get us to the moon… in less than a decade. To others (a smaller populous) he was a serious contender for president. To most, the man’s name makes him sound like he’s an amphibian from the Amazon.

The truth is that Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is all of these. Except for the Amazon part (although, I’m still waiting on the official DNA test results).  In addition, the man was a strong proponent of arguing for a balanced budget, responsible fiscal spending, and intelligent monetary policy. So is it a case of “whoops!” or delicious irony that he is in the biggest financial hole out of any of the candidates for president this cycle?

Sure, running a campaign is expensive. You have to spend loads of greenbacks just to continue shoveling those bittersweet negative advertisements down our throats. And then you need enough money to pay your employees and fly around in a private jet- and all that jazz. It racks up heavily. So heavily that he currently leads the current debt list- ahead of even multiple-attempt third-party candidates.

3: Not Too Merciful Court

Although many people consider the supreme court to lie within a political vacuum, the truth is that the influence of politics on the court is comparable to how prevalent a certain Serbian inventor’s work is to our daily lives. Although most of their rulings are displays of intelligence-fueled common sense (indeed, most opinions are levied with incredible super-majorities or carried with a unanimous vote), the most publicized often come down to pure political leaning.

This case didn’t even get the writ of certiorari.

Tom Petters was a man convicted of  orchestrating a multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme. The stare decisis ruling means that the man will continue to serve his fifty year sentence. If fifty years sounds like an awfully long time for a few measly billions of dollars of personal wealth and welfare stolen from innocent victims, you’re in luck. You qualify to be this man’s attorney.

According to the article linked above, the primary argument of the man was that he’s innocent. But as the old adage goes, prisons are filled with innocent men. (Sometimes, they are at least present). However, the primary argument of his attorneys is that his sentence was simply too extreme. Considering though, that in 1992 the act of committing suicide was considered a veritable crime by the Judiciary branch, it may have been the wrong route to go.

1: Immoral (Even for a Politician).

All joking aside, we can agree that politicians are truly human. They have their personal flaws and shortcomings, to err is to be mortal. Many retire without a single official blemish on their official congressional record. Still- let’s be honest- it’s just too tempting to pick out the few who get caught in remarkably compromising situations and believe them to be emblematic of  representatives within our democratic-republic.

Then there are those guys who even stand out above that. So much so that they even get tried for corruption and cheat on their spouses who are ridden with cancer.

Let me be clear now. I don’t dislike John Edwards personally because of his policies. I don’t dislike him personally because he is a Democrat; and I wouldn’t dislike him personally if he was Republican or Independent. However, I do dislike him personally because, to be blunt, it takes a certain kind of asshole to cheat on your wife with a movie star and father an illegitimate child all while she battles cancer. I think that’s a fair, bipartisan statement.

So it aroused more venom when it came to light that Edward’s campaign manager allegedly paid said mistress nine-thousand dollars a month for living expenses.  Defenders insist that the money was a donation entirely unrelated to the fact that he was secretly (and literally) making babies.

For some reason, I want to invoke my father’s prior wisdom.