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Sweat Logic
Don’t sweat
The small stuff
That’s what
People say

And don’t sweat
The big stuff
It’s hopeless

Only if it’s
Should you
Even try

And even then
It’s better when
You stay
Completely dry
A Roll of the Dice
We have never witnessed anything quite like the spectacle now unfolding in our nation’s capital. The drama is not limited to the White House, though the president does impart an orange stain to everything he touches. Perhaps the most riveting act in this three-ring circus is the show being staged in Congress.

There have been comparisons of the Trump-Russia story to Watergate and to the Clinton impeachment saga, but this one is different. Neither of those crises involved our national security or struck at the heart of our democratic system. There was wrongdoing, but a third-rate burglary and lying under oath are just not in the same category as Trump’s quasi-treason or the massive corruption of our right to vote. What’s more, in those cases the wrongdoing was over and done with by the time Congress stepped in. The Russian attack on our rights and sovereignty continues to grow even now. And our Republican Congress has done nothing to stop it.

It is hard to explain exactly why that is. You don’t have to be a cynic to know that politicians will abandon their principles to hang onto power, but most people would predict that even the most shameless pol would balk at foreign powers taking control our government. Lindsey Graham, for instance, is not likely to land a job in a Putin administration. Why, then, are he and his GOP colleagues treating this dire situation with such casual partisanship?

None of us really knows the answer to that, but I have a theory. There are some crazies in Congress, especially in the Freedom Caucus of the House of Representatives, but I don’t think Lindsey and his co-conspirators are among them. I don’t even think he has abandoned his long-held suspicion and dislike of the Evil Empire. He has served the interests of Vladimir Putin by trying to discredit any investigation of the Trump-Russia entanglements, but I sense a larger plan at work here.

It all comes back to that orange stain. I believe that the Republicans (the craven-but-not-crazy ones) are almost as anxious to expunge it as most Americans. But that’s not so easy for them. His base, after all, is their base. That group includes the nationalists, racists, alt-righters, conspiracists, and a lot of other nutcases that they have cynically nurtured over the last few decades. If Lindsey and company were to try to dump the Orange One without a solid reason, the base would surely dump them.

So what to do? To me, their despicable tactics are part of a big, dangerous gamble. They are daring to defend the indefensible now, protecting Trump on every front, but they are looking for the perfect time to pivot and help drive him out of the White House. That moment, according to their plan, will be provided by the Mueller investigation. They will undermine his credibility, but they are betting that it won’t stick. Mueller and his band of cold-eyed prosecutors will find plenty — plenty — of impeachable offenses. When that day comes, Republicans will solemnly, and with the deepest sadness, give in to the mountain of indisputable proof. They will choose country over party and join the Democrats in the impeachment and conviction of Donald J. Trump.

It is a gamble, though. For one thing, the base might desert them anyway. Even if Trump goes, the orange stain will still be there, and some of it will be on them. Whatever honor they can claim now will surely be compromised. Lindsey Graham will be stuck with a record that not only includes comforting Vladimir Putin, but also undermining our justice system and abetting the largest single instance of voter fraud in U.S. history. He and his friends are rolling the dice and hoping it won’t make any difference to the voters. And it could work. All of these issues may be at the very heart of Republican orthodoxy, but hey, they’re just principles. As we have said, the lust for power often trumps such concerns.

There is always a chance, of course, that they overplay their hand and end up seeing their efforts to discredit Mueller succeed. The investigation would end, Trump would still be there, and so would the massive Russian intrusion into our democracy. But heck...nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I admit that all of this is an ugly scenario. If true, it would be a dark episode for our republic. Honestly, though, my theory is really very Pollyanna-ish. It assumes the absolute best about Lindsey Graham, given what he has already done. The truth could be much, much darker. His complicity could be even deeper, his crime against the common good even more reprehensible.

But I really don’t think so. Or maybe I just prefer an explanation based on ugliness rather than full-out criminal insanity. I guess that is my gamble.
Ripped Off Again
I really thought I was onto something the other day. I imagined that I had stumbled upon an insight that could heal the divisions in our country and set us on a track toward the trust and understanding we will need to face the challenges of our time. It might, I dared to think, even save humanity.

Before setting out on my quest, however, I decided to look up the term “Libertarian Socialism.” That is the transcendently ironic name I had decided to give to my movement. I was certain that the conceptual tension between those two words would be the crowbar needed to pry people loose from their staid convictions and open the way to my rescue of planet Earth.

As I so often find when I google one of my bright ideas, however, someone else had it before I did. There is already something called Libertarian Socialism. What’s worse, its advocates actually believe it’s a workable governing philosophy. That, in my view, completely misses the point of Libertarian Socialism.

These people believe, among other things, that there shouldn’t be any state at all. Society under their flag would probably have no flag at all. The people would have all the power, and civil order would be kept by…well, I’m not certain how. I’m not necessarily pro-flag, but I have found that at least 25% of my fellow citizens are irredeemable boneheads. They are the reason we need a state, dudes. We just have to make it as fair and open as we can…and socialist, obviously.

That’s just one man’s opinion, of course. These people are also entitled to their opinions, and I’m right there with them in their distaste for authoritarians and unbridled capitalists. I guess my main complaint is that they stole the name of my movement — even though they thought of it first.

The beauty of my Libertarian Socialism is that the two words are mutually exclusive. The conceptual impossibility of this philosophical connection is the very source of LS’s power to unite. Think of it as a dynamic paradox. Libertarian Socialism, if its name had not been usurped by these misguided utopians, could have allowed the coexistence of our natural desire to help others with our equally natural desire not to be told what to do. More and more, I am convinced that the clash of these two motivations is at the root of all political discord. LS is not so much a philosophy of governance as a touchstone for meditation.

I don’t know, maybe it’s hopeless. Maybe I should just stick with Democratic Socialism and hope the right-wing populists finally wise up. Trouble is, that would require them to move toward me. They can’t be expected to like that any more than I would like moving toward them. Under Libertarian Socialism, we’d already be under the same tent — brothers and sisters living lives of paradoxical dynamism together.

So I am not going to give up on my mission. The door is still open to all you Anarcho-Syndicalists (my preferred name for the original LS’ers). Join me, and together we can rescue planet Earth from the corporatists, the fascists, and all the other control freaks who have been busting our chops for so long.

Power to the people! Especially me!
Bee Wars
Once you get past any anti-insect prejudice you might have, it’s not hard to like bees. They are hard-working, loyal, and brave. You might even come to think of them as cute. Maybe not ladybug cute, but pretty darn lovable.

They will sting, of course, but unless you’re dealing with the Africanized variety, they’re not really looking for trouble. Stinging, after all, is a weapon they can only use once. They’re not likely to use it out of pettiness or pique. Only when they feel that the hive is threatened or their own safety is on the line will they go there. And even if they do, there’s no real danger beyond a small pain and an insignificant bump that might need to be scratched (unless you’re allergic, of course, in which case you could die — along with your attacker).

Practically everything else a bee does is good for us. The honey, the wax, the propolis, the pollinating — does any other animal provide as much benefit without having to die? Bees might be the most peaceful, productive, law-abiding citizens of planet earth. Who could imagine them doing anything bad?

Mass murder, for instance. Surely these adorable little creatures would never involved in anything like that. And they’re way too busy for terrorism or genocide or war. Right?

Well I used to feel the same way. That was before I saw them with my own eyes, plundering our own hive — the robber bees! They came in great numbers, stealing honey and anything else they could carry off. And there was killing, lots of it. No blood, of course, but but the ground below the main entrance was littered with legs, wings, antennae, and unattached thoraxes.

I can understand an invasion by ants or wasps or raccoons, but the idea of luftwaffes of bees raining death and destruction on their own kind just seems wrong. How does a community built on conscientious hard work and team play transform itself into a murderous, thieving horde? Certainly there is an alternate explanation.

One possibility, I suppose, is a queen gone mad. I could imagine all that power changing someone, even a bug. Or perhaps the pressure got to her, and she lost her grip. In either case, on a whim or as part of some demented design, she might have commanded her workers to wreak havoc on their neighbors. They’d have to do it, of course, because she is the goddam queen.

I can also envision a cabal of drones seizing control of the hive. You can guess how these guys must feel about their lives. Sure, they’re waited on hand and foot. Sure, they don’t have to work. And the sex is great. But it can’t be a very fulfilling existence. For one thing, you only have sex that one time, and when you’re done you die. Not working sounds great, but a man needs to step up and meet the world. Make his mark, count for something. I figure that must go for male bees as well.

And drones are big buzzers, too. Bigger than the queen, even. They could swing a coup if they worked together. And once they were in, you know the first thing these dudes would want to do is invade somebody. Cause that other hive has really been asking for it anyway.

So that could be it. Maybe. But honestly neither of these scenarios strikes me as very likely. Impossible as it may seem, honeybees are no less warlike than any other species. Their hive, with all its intricacy and organization, represents no more than a veneer of law and order. Given the opportunity, they’d conquer the world and rule with an iron stinger.

If only they weren’t so damn busy.
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No "new normal" for me, this shit ain't normal.
~ MS, Truckee