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Musings from the shed.

Rob Elshire

Let's talk about whether Democrats and Republicans are the same.... - YouTube

In which Beau talks about how changing society begins with changing thought.

Rob Elshire

Rob Elshire

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Biden’s Win, House Losses, and What’s Next for the Left

The corporate Democrats are blaming progressives for a mediocre performance at the polls. Progressives won big. It was the corporate Dems who didn't do so well. AOC explains why that is and why the corporate Dems need to get their shit together or there will be Trump version 2 in 4 years.

More here.

Rob Elshire

Rob Elshire

A Distasteful Encounter with William F. Buckley Jr. by Gore Vidal

This article was published in Esquire Magazine in 1969. This is the year after the (in)famous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. When the police rioted during the convention, the press called it what it was. Much different than we've seen from the press in recent years.

Both Buckley and Vidal were active commentators in those days -- coming from very different perspectives. There is a lot of Trump in Buckley as recorded by Vidal in this article. The last bit really sums it up.

Since I began this operation with a story from The Lakeville Journal, a sense of symmetry impels me to end with another newspaper quotation. During Buckley's campaign for Mayor of New York, The New York Times took exception to his "slurs on Negroes," and accused him of pandering to "brutish instincts." Buckley wanted to know to what brutish instincts he was appealing and The Times made answer, "Those instincts are fear, ignorance, racial superiority, religious antagonism, contempt for the weak and afflicted, and hatred for those different from oneself."

The roots of Trumpism go back at least this far, but really much farther.

Rob Elshire

Donald Trump vs. Democracy

2 min read

My old friend Trent Shepard from Urbana Illinois / Stephen's Bay NZ spent a few days with us this week. We watched much of the PBS coverage of the election yesterday. Too much really. We took a pause to bbq and have a really nice dinner sitting outside on our deck. When we finished, Trent, Robyn, and I went back out to the shed where the TV is a few minutes before Trump took the stage to speak. It was 2:30 AM Eastern time, but 8:30 PM here.

It was the most surreal thing I have ever seen. The president of the United (sic) States claimed that his voters were being disenfranchised by counting other peoples' votes. He declared that as far as he was concerned he already won the election and the voting must stop. He said he would take it to the supreme court.

We were in shock. The PBS commentators where in shock. Even though we had been warned about this scenario by Bernie Sanders a few weeks ago. Now the count goes on as does the dumpster fire that is 2020.

For me, the biggest take home lesson from this election, is that there are millions of selfish, bigotted Americans who agree enough with Donald J Trump to vote for him. Like nearly half of the people who voted. At the same time, the Democrats put forth an old, centrist, neo-liberal as the alternative. This makes me so, so sad.

The COVID-19 pandemic will rage on in America due to these selfish, bigotted people. Regardless of the outcome of the presidential election, Ya'll Queda, under the leadership of Donald Trump, are racing headlong to Pyrrhic victory -- "Give me liberty and give me death". This is not fun to watch.

Rob Elshire

"Both-Sides" Biden

On some things, he's not really better.

Rob Elshire

Is a Vote for Biden a Vote for Science? - YouTube

Just the other night we were having dinner with a small group of scientists. The discussion turned to the US election. I was asked, "Wouldn't Biden be better than Trump?" My response was "Better is not the same as good." There is a bit of that sentiment in this video.

Rob Elshire

Rob Elshire

Coalition to cut $2 billion a year from university research | The Saturday Paper

Over in Australia they are getting ready to cut back on the feedstock of the economy. According to Nobel Prize winning economist and former world bank president Joseph Stiglitz, historical evidence shows that basic research underpins wealth creation.  A reduction in research funding is the wrong direction for an economic recovery.

In other words, you shouldn't eat your seed corn.