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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 9,425

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Voting to get a "political product" is a sickness.

I guess Americans can be forgiven for thinking of voting as a way of paying for a "political product." It's deeply misguided, but in our world, practically everything has taken on the characteristics of a transaction.

First, the product is shown or proposed. The buyer looks over the product or proposal. The buyer chooses and "buys." The product is delivered or not. If the product is not delivered as proposed, then the buyer has a right to be angry and to choose not to buy from the seller in the future. If the product is delivered as promised, the buyer returns for more.

Fine, but voting isn't that. Government isn't that. Everything isn't that.

I think a lot of folks have gotten so used to this passive, "sell me something" paradigm that we sometimes apply it where it doesn't apply. Voting isn't buying. Voting is taking action. Voting is, if anything, producing a product, not simply buying one off of the menu.

Look at the net monetary value of a single vote. It's practically worthless. People used to—rationally—sell their votes for a beer. One of the best arguments against the Republicans' lying contention that there is widespread voter fraud is simply that a vote isn't worth enough to risk going to jail over. It isn't worth enough to risk getting a parking ticket.

A vote isn't money, and you aren't buying things with it. And if you don't get the things you thought you were "buying," you don't have grounds to be angry. You weren't buying anything. You were trying to empower a position. You don't get to be a consumer in this case, much as you might want to be. Much as you might not be able to see yourself as anything else.

A voter is just a tugger on a rope, an engine on the democratic plane, not cargo. If you don't win the tug-of-war or the plane doesn't make it over the mountain, it doesn't mean you didn't "get what you paid for." It means that voters with your position—as a group—were outnumbered or, if not outnumbered, failed to do their part.

I bought a car from a used car salesman a couple of years ago.

True story, but since I don't intend to tell you anything about who the guy is, you are free to assume I am making it up. You'll just have to refer to your own experience.

I saw the guy's ad on-line. He runs a small car lot out on one of the local highways. He had what looked like the perfect car I wanted at a good price. So I made an appointment with the guy and later drove out to look at the car.

The guy was maybe late thirties, early forties. Very big, very muscular. He told me he was a dedicated bodybuilder. I'm not, but I work out (sometimes), so I know it takes a hell of a lot of work to look the way this guy looked.

We talked some about our families and then I took the car out for a test drive. It drove great.

I had a couple of minor problems with the finish on the car, and I told the guy about them. I said I wanted to make an offer on the car, but I couldn't unless I was sure the minor problems were fixable. He told me to give him a day and the problems would be fixed. He wanted me to make the offer before I left, but I told him no, I wanted to wait until I was sure. He was fine with that.

I came back the next day to look at the car, and sure enough, the problems were taken care of. So I made him an offer, and he made a counter-offer. We settled somewhere in the middle. I bought the car. He sold it.

It has been an excellent car. I have had no problems with it. I'm very glad I bought it.

It bothers me when I see "used car salesman" used as a putdown, and not just because it is bad writing. I think a lot of good people make a living selling cars to people who want them. They then take the money and buy groceries.

Snowden: "Congratulations to me!"

"Now the world's children can once again grow up knowing what it means to have private thoughts! Once again, people have the power to control their own lives. The great night that had descended on the human spirit, the hobnailed boot on the neck of all mankind, the helpless, hopeless abysses of terror into which we were heretofore plunged...all past. We are free again. All I can say is, World, you are welcome."

GOTV Enemy #1: "The Democrats must earn votes."

Imo, the idea that the Democrats have to earn voter turnout from left-leaning voters needs to be demolished. It is one of these "easy-to-get-backwards" ideas that someone should catalog some day, like trickle-down economics, or requiring payment for higher education, or the drug war. The idea that voter turnout should be earned is somehow so apparently obvious that people don't question it. They keep chugging the rotgut and blame something else for the blindness that follows.

If there is more Democratic power, there is more Democratic power to go around. Create the power, then your share of it will grow. It really is that simple. Vote first. Vote always.

But how do I trust? How do I get past the hopelessness and feelings of pointlessness? How do I get past the hopes of easy escape, and the cozy, upright, and proud feelings I get when making my stand for inaction? How do I get past the anger and disgust?

That stuff is all complete and utter bullshit. It's the Zeno's Paradox of the motivation-afflicted. There is a subtle difference between standing your ground and resolving to stay in bed under your warm blankies. If farmers only worked when circumstances made them feel like working or only did the chores they enjoyed, we would all starve. Farmers just get it done.

Always vote Democratic in every election for every office. Do that once in 2014, and the bullies will back down. Do it twice, and we get Roosevelt-era, human-centered governance. We need to get this right, because it is all that is keeping us at a fifty-fifty standoff with the Koch's payola and the brutally misguided folks on the right.

Where the Buck Really Stops

So some obviously able-bodied guy cross-parks his Escalade over two handicapped spots in front of a hospital entrance. He gets out, and tosses an empty coffee cup into the window of the car next to him. Then he spits on a seeing eye dog, trips an old lady, and cuts in at the head of the line. "I need to get someone to look at this finger," he says. "I'm teeing off in twenty minutes, so make it snappy."

That guy is still a better person than a non-voter.

When we get to the point where we look down on non-voters rather than sympathizing with them, when we no longer tolerate their learned helplessness, depression, and "political consumerist" whims, when their excuses fall on deaf ears, we will be on the right track.

He's desperate for new asylum, I think.

All this noise from Snowden lately makes me think he's been getting some less-than-positive signals from Russia on his asylum renewal. To me, he sounds like someone trying to convince any third party country who will listen that he really has character. Everything he did was for the best intentions, following the rules, etc. Good luck.

He really blew it by putting down the United States and making juvenile rants like the one he made last December. That sank him. No country wants to be the base of operations for the tween hearthrob of libertarianism now that he's past his sell-by date. Gotta wonder what Putin is making of Snowden now.

I'm feeling about a 61% probability Snowden is in prison in August.

As usual with Obama

As usual with Obama, things are just going to work out with Ukraine. There won't be any catastrophe. There won't be a new war, cold or hot. Americans won't kill or be killed. We won't be throwing away hundreds of billions of dollars. It will just work out. Somehow, whatever it is Obama does just works out.

The media will definitely give him credit—for being lucky. Where's the story if things just work out? Obama may be technically President of the United States, but he is sure no protagonist. The Putin character is just being wasted. Give us back Chance the Great.

The Republicans will have found no hint of arrogance or hormone-releasing recklessness in Obama's performance. No catharsis for them. Just more of this Libya-Syria "careful" crap. They will have to kick their dogs again.

Police confiscate puppy of 104-year-old veteran.


Police wearing full riot gear stormed the home of 104-year-old Wilhelmena Narblaskonsonwitz and seized her two-month old rescue puppy. Narblaskonsonwitz was reported dazed but uninjured. She was freed on $100,000 bond after being booked on unspecified charges under the Patriot Act. The puppy is currently being held by police, but is reportedly not being petted or offered snacks.

"I can't believe they took Ferdston McBeagle from me," said Narblaskonsonwitz. "He was my everything. His big, beautiful, sad beagle eyes greeted me every morning. His tail wagged and wagged. I had just gotten him a new chew toy. Why, oh why would the police do this to me, a veteran?"

Reached for comment at the Donut Duke on West Shane, Sgt. Jack Obermensch addressed reporters to explain the raid. "On Wednesday, Nov. 11th, 2013, our officers entered the home of the suspect, pursuant to a FISA court warrant. One of our officers sustained an injury when he slipped on a rubber "star-ball" apparently owned by the suspect's canine. The officer was treated and released."

"I only hope this goes to show the public the sacrifices made and courage shown by our police force each and every day," said Obermensch. "We are that thin blue line."

Asked about the puppy, Obermensch said, "The animal's case will be reviewed, and if it is shown that the star ball was not being left where someone could trip over it, the animal will be returned to the suspect."

Single payer rises and falls with the ACA.

If the ACA succeeds, then single payer is inevitable. It positions the Democrats as successes, and their next ideas will carry more weight. People will want to take the next steps to listen.

If the ACA fails, the failure will crush single payer. Republicans certainly won't propose single payer, and the left will have lost all credibility. It will be like the Republicans on national security or on the economy after their boy George W. Bush. Disgraced and ignored.

If you are not committed to ACA success, you are not committed to single payer. This plane is going over the mountain or into it.

If the ACA fails, we will finally get single payer on the table.

I was talking to my astrologer, and he told me it's a sure thing. GREAT NEWS!!!

So stand firm ACA critics! Rock this boat and help the Republicans sink it! A new boat is gonna float up under our feet. Don't believe the naysayers. If the ACA goes, politicians of all political stripes will stampede to propose Medicare for all. IT....IS...IN...THE...STARS!!!
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