a writer's journal - politics, music, american culture, esoteric aspects of life, and stories

Tuesday

Technical Diffies

Are now somewhat mitigated (was having trouble for a week with the pages expiring, and couldn't post, but I've figured out a slightly annoying workaround for myself). The time off was well spent wondering if I am wasting my time doing this, looking for work (or as I call it "financial masturbation") and trying to figure out the best adjective for describing the difference between white meat and dark meat - dark is more - loamy? swampy?
"We know which kind of meat we like best, but few of us know the reason for the difference... It's a question of fibers."

So I should be back to roughly 1 post per day now. Perhaps after being backed up for a week, I will burst forth with a diarrhea-like torrent of clever insight, we shall see. Patient reader, you will no doubt be waiting with your mouth open in suspense.

Sunday

Tipping points

When I was a waiter, and I was seeing a girl who was a waitress at the same place, we had separate apartments but did a lot of living together. I always cooked dinner, she always cooked breakfast; we fought quite a bit and had lots of fun. We had a vicious running joke whereby whenever one of us was pissed at the other, we'd leave a tip with the meal the other one served up, a few bucks or some silver. Eventually it started making things worse, but that made the gesture more vital.

I am occasionally reminded of this whenever I eat out. I get a glimmer of hatred in me as I tip.

She and I split up after a while, and I realized that I hadn't left her a tip on that last morning.

So I went back to the diner on her shift - I'd quit the job the week before - and sat in her section. She refused to serve me, and I dumped out my spare jingle and blew.

You ever do that? Go to a restaurant, leave some change, and go?

It's funny, but I can't do it like Warren Zevon did - "I went home with the waitress / the way I always do" - if I'm working as a waiter, I sleep with the waitresses, but if I'm a customer, I sleep with other customers. I tip pretty good.

Getting ready for rioting in the streets

There's been some handwringing on the left about the conjoined problems of easily-tamperable electronic voting and the general air of intent to defraud hanging over Florida from the 2000 election, the 2002 election, and the current felon list question.

The basic issue is, what can ordinary people do to help insure that the 2004 election will not be "stolen"? Whatever that means, exactly. The problem, as most lefties see it, is that unless either large parts of the media or major Democratic Party figures start talking about the distinct possibility of election-stealing, there's little in the way of control over the shadier activities of the republicans in Florida or elsewhere. What I suspect is that even if the election is "stolen", and the facts do come to light, it will not be a major blow to the Republican Party: look at the arc of politics in this country following the ignominious fall of Nixon and his election-tampering squad. It seems to me that Nixon's fall strengthened his party immensely. The image of the Republican Party has gradually been shaped and molded into a seductive "brand" of power, competence, dirty dealing at home and abroad, tough talk, etc. It is the party of money & white men; that's their brand. And obviously, there's an intuition many people have that that's what's always worked for America, that's what's made us great & powerful.

This prickly dread about the election is compounded by a growing awareness of the Democratic Party's collusion in election-tampering in this country. After all, we know that Lyndon Johnson was an inveterate election-stealer, and it is the nature of the Democratic Party itself which leads inevitably to corruption: the nature of the party structure is little fiefdoms of corrupt bosses in industrial cities, cutting dark deals with labor machinery, with mafia and Hollywood men, and with shadowy businessmen who distrust the Republican Party's distinctive top-down control. This dynamic was made obvious last year in the Democratic Party's turning a blind eye to the republican redistricting of Texas. There was quid pro quo happening behind closed doors at the highest congressional level that let Tom Delay get away with it.

Consider, then, what might happen if after the election, facts come rapidly to light that the Bush brothers engineered a fraud in Florida. Certainly, Bush would be forced to step down. But would that matter? It might even be planned for. Think of how this works in the business world - a CEO runs a company into the ground, and leaves with a briefcase of money and stock, attracting vociferous condemnation from the press. Meanwhile, the board of directors did just as well, and everyone moves on to their next project.

If the election is stolen, with Congress still in republican control there will be no possibility of prosecution. And the inevitable rioting in the streets will only serve to make the Democratic Party look ridiculous, extremist and powerless. That's certainly the way it looked to America in the summer of 1968.

I know, I know, I sound like a conspiracy theorist. Well, let me ask some practical questions in a straightforward manner. Are you prepared to riot in the street come winter? What, exactly, would it take to make you take to the streets? Once you've figured that out, then think about how little it would accomplish. Hmmm...

What we all need to do is face the realities. We need to take preventive measures. We can do that by placing pressure on our media and our Democratic Party representatives. Ideally, what we want is a system put in place whereby if election tampering occurs, the election results can be corrected. If such a reform is made to the system, the problem of 2000 would have been solved. And so much averted...

Such a reform is an unrealistic expectation, but a rational one; yet so far as I know it is not even discussed on the left. And if the media did discuss it, that would place pressure on the republicans to behave. At the very least it would be better than giving up the issue to Michael Moore, who has vowed to single-handedly insure valid elections in Florida - what a joke.

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