Tag Archives: lessons

Civics 100: You Have To Know How It Works To Fix It

Back in my IT days, one of the banes of my existence was “the friend who knows something about computers.”   Hearing that phrase meant that I was in for a long, involved effort to repair not just the original problem, which would have been a quick fix, but to repair what the helpful friend had done.   I’ve run into it in other fields, and it is often put as “They know just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to know what they’re doing.”   What would cause me to think back to that?   Over the past few weeks, I’ve been running into a lot of the more rabid Bernie Sanders supporters, and what has stood out in those encounters is that they don’t understand government.  In particular, they don’t understand the government this country operates under.

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Some Thoughts For Democrats This New Year

We’re now in a new year, and once again it’s a presidential election year.   After what promises to be a long, exhausting primary election season, we’ll be electing a  new President.   One thing that seems to be rather conspicuously missing from most of the coverage I’ve been seeing on the news and political blogs is that there are other offices on the slate.  We’re going to be selecting members of the House of Representatives, and a number of Senators.  Along with those national races, there will be governor and state legislature races, ballot propositions, and even local races.  While the presidential race will be fodder for the media, it’s those other races which will be much more influential.

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Progressives? Don’t Expect Your Issues to be My Issues

One of the first blog posts I wrote here was titled “No True Progressive,”  which looked at the ever-shifting goalposts used to determine just who (or what) was “progressive.”   I said back then that

You can see this on various left-wing blogs, if you look at the posts and comments.  “President Obama is not a progressive, he hasn’t” – fill in with whatever the writer thinks is the progressive stand.    “Senator (name) voted for this bill, they’re not a progressive!”     When it’s pointed out that on other issues the given politician is progressive, the goalpost will be moved to a new position which excludes that particular issue.     “No true progressive” would do/vote for/say this!

I was reminded of that reading a recent post by Milt Shook over at his blog, “This is why we lose, Progressives.”  He’s taking on a Daily Kos diary that supposedly takes to task some Senators for not being “Real Democrats.”

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Cargo Cult Politics

In the South Pacific, there’s a set of beliefs which are known as “cargo cults.”    While they may seem ridiculous at times to Westerners, they make sense in terms of a society attempting to explain something in terms of that society.

Since the modern manufacturing process is unknown to them, members, leaders, and prophets of the cults maintain that the manufactured goods of the non-native culture have been created by spiritual means, such as through their deities and ancestors. These goods are intended for the local indigenous people, but the foreigners have unfairly gained control of these objects through malice or mistake.[9] Thus, a characteristic feature of cargo cults is the belief that spiritual agents will, at some future time, give much valuable cargo and desirable manufactured products to the cult members.[9]

Many of the rituals mimic what they saw during various times, particularly World War II.  There are “airfield,” “control towers,” and so on, all designed to influence the gods to redirect the cargo to them.   So what does that have to do with politics?

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Weekend Bits and Pieces

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but I thought I’d put together various “stub posts.”  Those are created when I have an idea for a blog posting, but just not the time to, or sometimes interest in, get them fleshed out.

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