What is the object of power?

Characteristically I am an optimist.

So optimistic that, as I finish How I Learned The Facts of Life, my short handbook about how to get the facts from the news and distinguish the facts from the fakes, I came to an optimistic conclusion: the majority of us do not believe lies, do not accept distortions of reality, can’t be brainwashed into any such acceptance and are smart enough to understand what’s going on and what to do about what’s going on.

In short, my book will not save anyone from delusions. All it will do is give you a tested method for accumulating facts and the confidence to trust yourself in doing so.

So why was I digging around for a George Orwell quote for the last chapter?

Strangely, I don’t remember, even if it was only a few minutes ago.

Nevertheless — and despite my character — I came upon this stunning paragraph from 1984. As massively murderous as it is, I think it is truth. But it’s a truth for a small part of society and a truth most of us reject — not as truth per se, but as a type of politic we refuse to live in.

That refusal is democracy.

Ergo, you can read it without despair:

“Now I will tell you the answer to my question. It is this. The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from the oligarchies of the past in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just around the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now you begin to understand me.”
George Orwell, 1984

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It isn’t nice to defy Mother Nature

And she is so pissed:

“30-Foot Drift of Tumbleweed Buries Motorists on the Highway”, a/k/a “Tumblegeddon”

The plant is thought to have arrived in the United States when American farmers, looking for inexpensive flax seed in the 1870s, bought contaminated seeds from Russia and inadvertently planted the thistle, which responded well to the dry, windy conditions of the West, said Jeffrey Dukes, a professor of forestry and natural resources at Purdue University.

Tumbleweed, a Russian (troll) invasion.

Hit the link and scroll down to see the photos and video, in the remote case you don’t believe this.

(Maybe I should start a category called “Plant News.”)

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Political pundits, polls and money

I’ve been listening to pundits talk about the Democratic presidential campaign. I suppose because there are no firm numbers from actual voters, the pundits are concentrating on how much money the candidates have raised.

And the way they talk about the money suggests that the most money means the most…well, what? Votes? Poll numbers?

I’m a little surprised, and fairly annoyed. Because the money race does not seem to have moved the polls much at all. Everybody’s been making a big deal about Andrew Yang, for instance, and how much money he’s raised. He’s polling at 3.5% and it hasn’t moved very much.

And what about Tom Steyer and Mike Bloomberg, with their unlimited pocketbooks? Steyer’s been in the race longer than Bloomberg and has been all over TV, but he’s at 1.8%, while Bloomberg is at 4.8%.

Gosh ‘n’ golly! Is is possible money won’t buy this nomination?

Here’s what I’ve dug out — thanks to the New York Times (quarterly money numbers) and 538.com (national poll numbers as of today) — for the three major candidates and one I consider to be minor:

Joe Biden: $22.7 million. Poll number: 27.8%

Bernie Sanders: $34.5 million. His poll number: 18.7%.

Elizabeth Warren hasn’t yet publicized her current quarter number. Her poll number: 14.9%

Pete Buttigieg: $24.7 million. Poll number 7.5%

So what about their opponent, running basically without competition in his own party? Trump raised $46 million this past quarter. His poll number? 42.4%. Wowser, right? Big number.

Yeah, but I added up the monies collected in toto by the three Democratic candidates for whom we have these quarter numbers. The total? $81.9 million and when Warren reports, this total will probably go to $98 million. Reminder: Trump collected $46 million.

If money does mean something, the Democratic candidates are doubling Trump’s numbers.

Since one dollar does not mean one vote, I added up the poll numbers. The four top Democratic candidates total 68% of Democratic voters — 25.6% higher than Trump’s approval number.

 

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