PORN VALLEY—Hope you can forgive the use of the first-person "voice" here, but as far as I'm concerned, voting is a very personal issue, and lots of people see the same facts (assuming you can even figure out what those "facts" are) from lots of different perspectives—and as I think just about everyone can agree, voting based on your beliefs is the ideal way to go. Assess your positions on various social and political issues, and see which candidates and ballot measures are in concert with them, and those should be who and what you vote for.

Trouble is, we live in the "real world," and sometimes neither the candidates nor the ballot measures "measure up" to your (or my) view of how, if the "proper" votes are cast, society should ideally progress. Moreover, assuming you vote at all—and I definitely think you should, the reason being most succinctly expressed by sci-fi author Robert Heinlein, "There may be no candidates and no measures you want to vote for ... but there are certain to be ones you want to vote against"—the sad fact is that only one candidate in any particular race will win, and perhaps more importantly, some candidates will stand virtually no chance of winning. Likewise, a ballot measure will be either approved or disapproved, and there's no opportunity to tinker with them while in the voting booth—that's the kind of fun you have between elections.

So with that preface, and since I'm lucky enough to have this internet platform with which to express my views, I thought I'd make some suggestions on who and what to vote for—or against.

I'm a progressive, so of course I'm voting for Obama/Biden. In a better world, I'd probably be voting for the Green Party's Jill Stein, but she can't possibly win, and I'm mindful that the "conscience voters" in 2000 who voted for Nader wound up giving the presidency (with a lot of help from the Supreme Court) to W, and I'd like not to see something like that happen again. Similarly, I'm voting for Feinstein (the Democrat) for Senate; not because she's a great (or even a particularly good) politician, but because the Senate generally works by majority rule, except for that (IMO) unconstitutional requirement that it takes 60 votes to break a (pseudo-)filibuster—as you're probably aware, real filibusters no longer take place—and unless there are at least 60 Democrats (and left-leaning Independents) in that body, nothing progressive will happen thanks to the current Repugnant philosophy of "everybody in our party votes in lock-step."

Through the recent redistricting, I'm getting a chance to choose between two Democrats for House of Representatives, and I'm going with Howard Berman, but I wouldn't fault anyone for choosing the other guy. In some ways, the House is more important than the Senate, because the Constitution requires that all bills for "raising revenue" must begin in the House—and as you've already noticed, that House is currently chock full of assholes whose primary goals are to protect the rich people's riches and fuck the poor, while trying to tell women that they're less than second-class citizens who don't know crap about their own bodies or desires—and that there's something wrong with consenting adults watching other consenting adults fuck their brains out for content producers. Similarly, though I consider state and local elections to be the best places to exercise your "conscience voting," I’m nonetheless voting for the Democrats for state senate and assembly, since in this case, once again, it's either them or the Repugnants.

This might be a good place to mention that unlike several other countries I could name, candidacy in the U.S. is almost totally weighted in favor of either a Democrat or a Repugnant, with third parties having been intentionally excluded from the presidential and vice-presidential debates—hell, they even arrested Jill Stein when she and her running mate tried to crash the last debate—and that's because, as I recently tweeted, the reason the League of Women Voters ditched sponsorship of the debates was, "because the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter. It has become clear to us that the candidates' organizations aim to add debates to their list of campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity and answers to tough questions. The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public."

So now the debates are run by the Commission on Presidential Debates, which is entirely run by Democratic and Repugnican party bosses, and the current debate schedule has shown just how "fair" that arrangement is. Of course, what we should have is a ballot featuring ALL of the candidates, and voters should rank them in order of preference, with perhaps the top two vote-getters pitted against each other in a run-off. There's already a movement afoot to do just that—they can be found here and here, among other places—not that the mainstream media has given those groups ANY exposure, but the point is, no progress can be made until the power held by the two major parties to determine who gets media access and who doesn't is taken away from them, or at least reduced to a point that third parties can actually have their voices heard as loudly as the Dems and Pugs.

Anyway, those are the candidates; now to tackle the state and local ballot measures.

Of course, all adult industry members will likely be voting "no" on Measure B, and you've read enough about that, that I don't need to repeat any of it here. Similarly, they should be voting "no" on state measure 35, which claims to deal with the "problem" of human trafficking, but is so poorly written that it even criminalizes consensual sex work.

Another measure I'd encourage everyone to support is Measure 37, which would require food manufacturers to reveal what genetically engineered plant and animal products they're including in their processed foodstuffs. Opponents of the measure have claimed that it would drive food producers out of California, but that's horseshit; they already have to supply that information if they sell their wares overseas, so why shouldn't Americans be privy to the same info?

I'm also voting against Measures 32 and 33; the first because despite claims to the contrary, passage of the measure would decrease ordinary citizens' access to the political influence system while leaving all the corporate Citizens United fans able to spend their PAC money freely for political causes. I'm voting against Measure 33 because it'll allow car insurance companies to raise your rates if you've ever—EVER—let your car insurance lapse—and in the current recession, plenty of people have.

Beyond that, I'm voting to ditch the death penalty (Measure 34) and to require a criminal's "third strike" to be a violent crime before they can be sentenced to life in prison (Measure 36), and in favor of increasing some taxes for good causes (Measures 30, 38 and 39).

Beyond that, I don't have any great arguments. I'm voting against Measure 31 because I don't like the people supporting it, and I'm voting for Lacey for DA mostly because she's a woman, but as I said, no great arguments.

Well, that's about it. Have fun at the polls—and don't let any petty functionary try to tell you you don't have a right to vote; kick and scream until somebody pays attention and solves whatever problem they claim to have with your registration—or voting by mail—and while you may disagree with some of my choices, the important thing is to VOTE LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDED ON IT! ('Cause, you know, it kind of does.)