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Twit Show
When Elon Musk finally took charge of Twitter, I felt the springs of schadenfreude bubbling up in my psyche. If the first few days of his reign there are any indication, there will be a long (and entertaining) festival of humiliation for The Richest Person in the World (TRPITW).

I have not always felt this way. When I first learned of the possibility that he might take control of this powerful communications pipeline, it gave me a chill. This guy? In control of Twitter? Trump unchained? No-o-o-o! It seemed like just another ominous sign among all the other disturbing news these days.

As I see the story unfold, though, I am less concerned. The TRPITW, I believe, may have bitten off more than he can chew. This deal, in fact, could well undermine his entire empire. It’s a money thing, as this article explains. Briefly put: the debt from this purchase, along with the declining revenues from a more vitriol-based product, may end up eating him alive.

But the mere sight of a rich guy losing gobs of money is not what really makes the schadenfreude flow. That will come from the day-to-day deflation of his planet-sized ego.

The drama will be enhanced by the fact that Elon is possessed of a very large set of rabbit ears. He is hypersensitive, in other words, to even the tiniest hint of criticism. His involvement with Twitter will call forth a torrent of abuse each time he or his team of content moderators makes a call — from both the right and the left. His history predicts that he will not be able to resist entering the fray.

I suppose he might figure out a way to avoid calamity (he did, after all, figure out how to make those big rockets land butt-first). This trick, however, would require a depth of interpersonal savvy that TRPITW does not seem to have.

It’s already started. Elon’s recent tweet about the Paul Pelosi attack is a precursor to the ugly silliness that is bound to follow. He’s taking a beating for it all over the internet, including on Twitter. And he is not handling it well. What’s more, advertisers are already balking at the prospect of a vicious, hateful Twitter.

Oh, I know that the general trend of distressing news is likely to continue. Signs of the apocalypse will abound. The shit-show will no doubt begin in earnest. But at least I can look forward to Elon Musk’s spiteful tweets. With each, I suspect, will come a surge of dark joy to float my boat on these troubled waters.
It Might be Bad, but it Could be Worse
Elections always come served with a large helping of anxiety. The one we’re heading into is no different. Some of that anxiety is just nervous anticipation — even some excited hope that something really good might happen. But mostly, it’s about fear, and this year holds plenty of that for both sides.

The right (or the GOP, or MAGA, or Qanon, or however we identify it these days) is apparently afraid of being replaced (though there are no reports as yet of Magas actually disappearing). They also fear that heir rights will be taken away and that the election will be stolen.

The left, interestingly, has the same fears (excepting the replacement thing). They are worried about different rights, though, and the stolen elections that concern them are scheduled further into the future.

We might differ about which of these two sets of fears have the best grounding in evidence or stand up best to the application of plain common sense, but in the end that argument would miss the point. They are fears. They are not products of reasoning or research. Thinking and fact-finding may have helped generate them, but once they qualify as a potent emotion, they tend to take on lives of their own. Mere logic and “reality” can no longer affect them.

So that’s where we are right now. Everybody — on both sides — is spooked by something. And that feeling is real, no matter how misguided or bent out of shape the mind behind it may be. On November 9, when the dust settles and we can make out the contours of our political topography for the next two years, perhaps our minds will be clearer, too. Once the electoral anxiety is gone, once the fear subsides, what will we see?

I won’t even guess about what will happen inside the Magas’ heads. They “think” in the same way that the devoutly religious do, and I am not a religious person. I assume they will maintain their faith that elections are being stolen (except when their candidates win), and they will continue to fret about losing the right to carry semi-automatic weapons. If the GOP sweeps the House and Senate, though, I their quest might actually lose a little steam. The “good guys” will be in power, and they won’t have as much to fear.

But how about the left? Would a GOP sweep really force them to confront a reality in which authoritarianism has taken hold? That is what the fear has us believing right now.

I don’t think it will be that simple, even if the right wins across the board. For one thing, the vow to reinstall Trump as President will not, cannot be honored. The law, our courts, and a host of other institutions will make that impossible. And though he might never see the inside of a jail cell, it is hard to imagine him not being swept away by the tsunami of legal consequences he has brought on himself.

If you want to call that just another doomed prediction of Trump’s demise, so be it. I am simply reporting what I see in my anxiety-free crystal ball.

What we would have to deal with if the right wins, however, is a whole lot of chaos — not just in our elections, but in a host of other realms that the Magas would then rule. Their ideas, their “solutions,” their willingness to shake up the order of things all go well beyond what the old, traditional conservatives were capable of. In short, they will screw things up like they’ve never been screwed up before. Elections, fiscal policy, tax policy, foreign affairs, Social Security, Medicare — and yes, inflation — will all get worse. And the chaos will affect everyone in the country on a very personal level.

That is bad politics. They will certainly make a mess of things, but I don’t think they’ll have time to completely poison our free elections. They will be shown the door by a dissatisfied electorate before they have the chance.

Or, so says this crystal ball.
Change Up
Change is
Gonna come
They say

It’s coming
Ev’ry day

So what role
Do we have
To play?

Let me
Tell you
If I may

Your job is to
Get out
The way
One of Those Days
Today was one of those days. I had to get downtown, get that piece of mail in before the last pick-up, then haul back across town in time for my big meeting. Everything had to go perfectly.

Luck was with me. I made every light going in, some by the slimmest of margins. Potential obstacles like double parked trucks and uncertain drivers parted in front of me like the Red Sea. Then, at last, I pulled right into the prime parking spot in front of the Post Office. Miraculously available!

On the way back, it was like I was part of an express train. Ten of us, all rolling through green lights without slowing down even a little. That never happens! Even had time for a little light grocery shopping before my appointment!

As I say, it was just one of those days. Oh, I suppose someone might say that the whole thing was a complete waste of energy. You know, because the Post Office was closed.

But hey, I made great time!
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Yes, voting matters. Polls do not.
~ H, Santa Cruz