Your leaking thatched hut during the restoration of a pre-Enlightenment state.


Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   small efficiencies
Thursday, August 21 2008
It's a membrane, but it's a thin one. I'm referring, of course, to the thing concealing the ugly reality of the modern American Republican party from the clueless, distracted average American voter just trying to make minivan payments and track down a reliable plumber. Republicans would have such people believe that they're the friendly folks who stand strong in their support taxpayers, families, and fœti while taking a dim view of criminals, terrorists, people with unusual lifestyles, as well as those who are perhaps a little too big for their britches. Republicans, they would have us believe, are the party of honest hard working no-nonsense Americans, the folks who made this nation great. Republicans don't talk too much, don't use big words, don't think too hard, and they're absolutely wonderful people with whom to share a burger and a beer. But let just one Democrat into your barbecue and pretty soon he's begging for brie, burgundy, and maybe even a bagel.
This is all an elaborately-constructed fiction, of course. The Republican party as it exists today is mostly about the furtherance of the goals of sociopathic corporations. That the party has been able to succeed in the context of a democracy reflects the perfection of a shell game designed to build a coalition comprised mostly of religious kooks, racists, jumpy suburbanites, and amoral libertarians. But none of these constituencies have gained much from the Republicans as they've gone about systematically reworking our institutions to make them more like those of Guatemala or pre-Revolutionary France. Those with wealth have have benefitted, and those without have suffered.
The Karl Rove strategy has been to attack opponents on their strengths, managing (for example) to convert John Kerry's war heroism into the liabilities of hubris, exaggeration, and fabrication. Similarly, Democratic politicians have been successfully portrayed as out-of-touch elitists even as they advocated policies that would benefit far more of their constituents than the policies being advocated by Republicans.
Their strategy of fabricating a false reality using the power of top-down propaganda works best in an environment where people are distracted and apathetic. But now the damage of the Republican mismanagement is impossible to ignore, and furthermore, the Republicans have, in the presidential candidate they've selected, a perfect example of the kind of people who benefit most from Republican policies. All that was needed was for someone to come along and point this out, and then the membrane over the boil of Republican deception would be lanced and the foul clotted juices would begin to flow. That's just what happened when John McCain couldn't answer a question about how many houses he has.
If McCain had been an advocate for the poor, no one would care how many houses he has. But when he advocates policies to expand the gulf between rich and poor, the details of his pampered life can do nothing but damage him and conclusively demonstrate to the American people the cruel irony of what the right wing noise machine has been saying since early in the Clinton administration. McCain isn't the kind of guy you could have a beer with; he lives exclusively in the rarified world of the super rich, and if he ran the country, he'd see to it that the super rich became even richer, while those toiling in the fields for $50 an hour would shut up and keep picking lettuce (and perhaps arugala). And if they wanted to drink a beer, they could perhaps share one with their friends in the shade of a ghetto palm.

Gretchen began one of her several-day stays in New York City today. I dropped her off at the Kingston bus station and then ran some errands to obtain various supplies for ongoing projects. Among the things I bought was a larger, heavier mattock, one with an extra-wide adze end that could actually serve as a hoe. This meant I would only need two tools as I worked on my ongoing greenhouse basement dig. With this new tool, the procedure would be much simpler. I'd use its pick end to blast into the soil to break it into chunks, and then, instead of fumbling to get the hoe, I'd just rotate the tool in my hands to use its adze end to rake the chunks into a snow shovel. It's been my experience that even small efficiencies pay back handsomely when introduced to an extremely repetitive procedure.

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