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November 3

I'm glad some new candidates won.

I'm glad some new candidates didn't win.

I'm not glad some new candidates won.

I'm not glad some new candidates didn't win.

I'm glad some folks won re-election.

I'm glad some folks didn't win re-election.

I'm glad some folks did run for re-election.

I'm glad some folks didn't run for re-election.

I'm glad some thing got shaken up.

I'm glad some things stayed the same.

I'm not glad some things got shaken up.

I'm not glad some things stayed the same.

I'm glad some ballot initiatives passed.

I'm glad some ballot initiatives didn't pass.

I'm not glad some ballot initiatives passed.

I'm not glad some ballot initaitives didn't pass.

I'm not expecting Lovecraftian disaster.

I'm not expecting either Plato's or More's Utopia.

I'm not expecting much, actually.

I'm not going to stop trying to better things, though.

Don't you stop either.

Just know the process doesn't end until the ideas stop.

So, when are you moving to Canada?

It really shouldn't, but it never ceases to amaze me that so many political party members, party leaders, and elected seem so surprised, angry, disheartened, sad, and shocked when their opposition rises up and defeats them after two or more years of conversation that amounts to "WE WON! HAHAHAHAHA! FUCK YOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUU, FUCKERS! WE'RE IN CONTROL NOW, AND WE'RE GONNA DO WHAT WE WANT NOW, NOT WHAT YOU CHEATING, LYING, NO GOOD, THIEVING, IGNORANT, BIGOTED ASSHOLES WANT! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! WE WON, NOT YOU! HOW DOES IT FEEL? HAHAHAHA! FUCK YOOOOOOUUUUUUU AND EVERYTHING YOU STAND FOR!"

It doesn't matter which party wins or loses. That's what the losers get for two years, sometime more. And with the internet they get it as soon as someone clicks "Post". Truly, who wouldn't get pissed off and redouble their efforts to rise up and work to cut you off at the knees?

That's how we operate, for the most part. And we so often lament how civility, statesmanship, compromise, goodwill, and national unity just seem to continually elude us. Of course, it must be the other guys' fault. We're just optimistic, thoughtful, caring, charitable, civil, honest, open-minded, tolerant good sports who are just trying to get along with everyone as best we can.

Most of us don't allow our children to act that way, and most of us weren't allowed to act that way as kids. Most of us were told to be nice, considerate, polite, gracious, honest, and civil, to try to get along with people if at all possible and not to act like raging, spoiled assholes if things didn't go our way. So either our parents, families, schools, and society lied to us then, or many of us are just being a bunch of greedy, ruthless, self-righteous, dishonest, intolerant, disrespectful, close-minded, rude, pompous asshats. Which one is it?

informed civic participant

I voted against incumbents.
I voted for Democrats.
I voted for Republicans.
I voted for outsiders.
I voted for men.
I voted for women.
I voted for members of various ethnic backgrounds.
I voted for underdogs.

I knew all of their names well beforehand.
I knew what offices they were running for and why.

I knew why I voted for them all.

When I couldn't allow myself to vote for any listed candidate for particular offices, I wrote in people I knew.

My conscience is clear.
My civic noise will continue.
I'm weird like that.

These apply to everyone, Democrat and Republican and Green and Socialist and all, alike. I'm not playing political favorites here. I have no political favorites.

Persecution is the first law of society because it is always easier to suppress criticism than to meet it.
- Howard Mumford Jones

The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the party that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
- Lord Acton

Thinking about profound social change, conservatives always expect disaster, while revolutionaries confidently expect utopia. Both are wrong.
- Carolyn Heilbrun

There is one safeguard known generally to the wise, which is an advantage and security to all, but especially to democracies as against despots. What is it? Distrust.
- Demosthenes

Pity the leader caught between unloving critics and uncritical lovers.
- John Gardner

Madness is rare in individuals - but in groups, political parties, nations, and eras it's the rule.
- Friedrich Nietzsche

Men in authority will always think that criticism of their policies is dangerous. They will always equate their policies with patriotism, and find criticism subversive.
- Henry Steele Commager

We are in a race between cooperation and catastrophe, and the threat is outrunning our response.
- Sam Nunn

Truthfulness has never been counted among the political virtues, and lies have always been regarded as justifiable tools in political dealings.
- Hannah Arendt

The pretense in disputed elections is that the great conflict is between the two major parties. The reality is that there is a much bigger conflict that the two parties jointly wage against large numbers of Americans who are represented by neither party and against powerless millions around the world.
- Howard Zinn

There is a thin line between politics and theatricals.
- Julian Bond

At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.
- Aldous Huxley

Then there's politics. Just imagine politics with its dumbbell element subtracted. There would be no Republican candidates. There would be no Democratic voters. The whole system would collapse.
- P. J. O'Rourke

What we need is a rebirth of satire, of dissent, of irreverence, of an uncompromising insistence that phoniness is phony and platitudes are platitudinous.
- Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

679860o5dtmdtir6or6ks4r

U.S. **NON-COMBAT** troops in Iraq are...
Bombing, raiding, and engaging in firefights. This is of course after "an end to all combat operations in Iraq by U.S. forces." I was under the impression that trainers and advisors were... well, trainers and advisors, not actively engaging the enemy in combat. If international and national media reports, excluding News Corporation and its subsidiaries, are to be believed, then U.S. non-combat troops went out on missions to engage with and kill the enemy and destroy enemy facilities.

"Mission accomplished", anyone?

The death penalty may well be...
More merciful than life in prison, considering what conditions convicts live in and what it does to many, probably most, of them. People bemoan the death penalty as horrible revenge, but what is a lifetime of confinement in a place filled with fear, hate, disease, violence, and despair, where survival can be a week-to-week question?

I'm neither advocating nor condemning. I'm just pondering.

hypocrisy much?

I was eating dinner an hour or so ago in town, and there was a group of white and hispanic college students from Winthrop at the next table. The restaurant, like many in the area, had its television tuned to Fox News. There wasn't a news show on, just that idiot guy Kramer on his "Mad Money" show. That didn't stop the kiddos from talking amongst themselves about politics. Their conversations were revealing.

Overheard:

"Those niggers owe people like us. We freed them. How the fuck would they like to be in chains on some fucking farm or starving to fucking death in some shithole in Africa?" They were talking about the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and how several black leaders and media figures have marked the anniversary by talking about how they feel blacks are still victims of institutional and broad cultural racism by whites. One of the kids quipped that President Obama was "the ruler of all the American people, not the guy to play favorite to a bunch of spooks and scumbags looking for freebies." Several others at the table concurred.

"I swear there ought to be attacks on those TeaBagging motherfuckers, kill every last damn one of them. They're so fucking wrong on everything, and they know it. People like that don't deserve to fucking live. I'd do it if I could get away with it." Laughter and agreement followed the remark. They were talking about the Tea Party rallies, of course. One girl said the government "should run everything" and that "that would stop all the big money people from running the country." Someone pointed out that many Democrat members of Congress, state legislatures, and a few state governors are pretty darn wealthy, some even millionaires and maybe billionaires. She corrected herself, saying, "I mean we should get the right rich people out of running the country and put an end to corporations run by their friends."

I found it ironic that two of them were wearing "Hope and Change" t-shirts from the Obama presidential campaign and another was wearing one of those "COEXIST" tie-dye shirts. And yes, one of the white guys was wearing a beret and had the Che facial hair and hairstyle.

I wish I could say this type of thing is anomalous, but it isn't in my experience. It's quite common, and it isn't limited to American Southerners. I've had Northeasterners and West Coasters(?) express essentially the same sentiments. Truly, it's not as if the gun-toting, Bible-thumping, Constitution-quoting, free-marketeer, Fox-watching dittoheads have any majority claim on the hypocrisy, racism, bigotry, or narrow-mindedness markets. Both groups are guilty of that which they claim the other does solely.

As ever, I'm watching the siege and reporting.

courtsey of Tim Vine

"I've just been on a once-in-a-lifetime holiday. I'll tell you what, never again."

"I was reading a book, "The History of Glue". I couldn't put it down."

...and my favorite:
"I bought a boomerang from a ghost. I bet that's going to come back to haunt me."



To some friends and all strangers:

Sophistry does not make your arguments correct. Skillfulness at performing intellectual and semantic contortions only proves how good a bullshitter you are. Sophists are illusionists, nothing more.

Ass-U-Me

It's happening a lot lately. I'll point out something, usually something I find amusing or humorous. Someone else won't get it but will assume I meant whatever they think I meant, and then they will condescend and let me know how I fail. When I explain what I was pointing out and why, they tell me I was missing the true point of what I said and will admonish me again. Just... I mean... damn.

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