Yesterday I wrote about the need for a Marshall Plan for Republicans. I didn't explain what the original Marshall Plan was. After the Allies won WWII, the US did something unusual for a victor. We rebuilt the country we defeated, Germany. We didn't have to. In fact at the end of WWI we did the opposite. We imposed reparations on Germany. Then came the Depression, and thus were planted the seeds for a rebirth of Germany as an even more ferocious military force in the second war. There was no third war, probably thanks to the Marshall Plan.
When the Soviet Union broke apart in the early 90s, we kicked back, not a terrible idea, because any intervention by the US would probably have been seen as a threat. That would come later, during the Obama presidency, when Putin was reinstalling a Soviet style government, and we, via our State Department, were encouraging the opposition. Nothing wrong with that, except it didn't work. And we're left with a Putin who seeks revenge, and knows nothing helps a despot like a foreign enemy to blame everything on. That would be the pre-Trump United States.
Now we're on the verge of defeating the Republican Party. I don't want to go into detail on that, I can -- imho it'll seem obvious in hindsight, like the dissolution of the Soviet Union seemed obvious after the Berlin Wall came down, but until it happens it can be hard to visualize. The Repubs have been a fixture in American politics all our lives. But it has been changing all the time, trying to put off the inevitable by becoming more and more insidious relative to constitutional America. And now people of the party, the base, will be forced to decide. Finally we have broken Trump's monopoly on news flow. They're broadcasting the hearings on Fox, they have to. And it's going to get worse, much worse, in the next few days, for the fascists in the Republican Party to keep the base unaware. There is a splitting coming. The question is how big. My believe is that it will be big enough to create an opportunity that we should not miss. A chance to rebuild America before we fully fall apart. To be a Marshall Plan for ourselves. Because now finally we will have to accept Republicans as our fellow Americans, with some differences, important ones, but underneath it all, we don't try to steal elections and we accept that no one is above the law, especially the president.
If we don't bring the constitutional Republicans in, without a solid majority in the Senate even with a Democratic president, we'll just see the McConnell Stonewall again. Obstruction. Nothing happens. And Trump, second of his name, comes along in 2024, this one is not Baby Huey, and a true fascist, much more schooled in the ways of America, and one who plays the part of president much better than this Trump does. That really will be the end of America. We'll be out of moves.
PS: This is a rewrite of a Twitter thread. Twitter is becoming pretty useful as a place to develop my ideas before writing a blog post. This is a good example of that.
We need a Marshall Plan for Republicans.
This is a moment of opportunity that will not come again.
This is why, if you campaign against Bloomberg because whatever, you're being selfish and honestly, stupid. Let him run.
The only thing that matters in this election is this:
Does the candidate respect the Constitution?
If so, good.
You don't have to vote for them, but don't denigrate them. In the big picture you all are on the same side.
This is why old people are conservative.
As you age your body wears out. This happens to people at every age, but it first starts to be noticeable in your 40s, and it keeps getting worse until in your 60s, where I am now, you have permanent aches that don't go away. You live with them. From time to time you think about how great life was at 22, when everything worked at peak performance.
Back then if you hurt yourself, you got better.
Then when someone says Make America Great Again, you remember the old days when you were young, and think, yes, that's what I want. Because you felt good, the sex was great, and you had your whole life in front of you. You confuse your youth with the country. Never mind that today's 22 year olds are thinking about what you were thinking about then, and their view of the future is expansive, even infinite, and old age is just something to sing about.
Then you remember how much you have to deal with now, and when someone says they're going to really shake things up you think fuck that shit, I want my MAGA.
An unsolicited testimonial on Twitter about Radio UserLand got me thinking, it was a good combination of features. Blogging integrated with a feed reader. In 2001. It was the product that defined blogging for many, including people who went on to write popular blogging software. And it was where podcasting was born. Radio was both a podcatcher and a tool for managing a podcast feed. It did both sides. I don't know of any product, 18 years later, that does that. And it was easy. We really honed the UI. By then we really understood blogging, and were ready to make it flow. I would put Radio's design up against any popular blogging software today. I think it would win.
Then I thought hmm, we're within striking distance of being able to do it again. The thing that made Radio, still to this day a unique product was that the CMS ran on your desktop. A fractional horsepower server. It was a repackaging of Frontier. Very few people knew that there was a powerful scripting and object database system running on their machine. The virtuality was pretty complete.
Something to put in the hopper. Thinking about it.
I'm doing a bit of refinement now that I've had a chance to use tweetSucker for a few days. First impression, I tweet a lot, and most of it is uninteresting a day later. I realized what I want most are tweets that are't links, rt's or replies. Original stuff. An idea that could possibly turn into an interesting piece on the blog. So I adjusted the app so that it splits them up into the four categories. I've pasted below the four classes of tweets from yesterday. Here's the OPML file.
Everywhere I've lived people greet outsiders mostly generously but there are always some who don't.
I've moved so much geographically and in what I do, over my 64 years, I have a lot of experience with it.
Silicon Valley welcomed me in 1979. The people who lived there before the various booms were farmers. Lots or orchards. Small towns, it looked like the Central Valley in Calif today. My family drove through there when I was ten years old and I remember it. In the first 20 years I was there, I felt like I had come home. Everyone was into the same things I was, personal computers, software designed for humans, and it was all so new, so much potential, so much to explore. But it already looked like Long Island. And traffic like you wouldn't believe got worse every year. Was it ruined by newcomers? Hard to say. Maybe it achieved its destiny. I left in 2003 because I more or less hated what it had become.
While I was there, I got involved peripherally with Napster when it was booming. I was fascinated. My blog was well-read in tech, so I got to know a lot of music people in that period, not always in a friendly way. Ultimately I think they would have done better if they listened and accepted that change was inevitable, and they could profit from it. People were actively interested in music in ways I had never seen. But the insiders desperately didn't want it to change. Is it better that now we can all program our own music? I feel very strongly -- yes. It's hard to imagine that when I grew up I was limited to what was played on the radio and what I could afford to buy. There was so much more music. And music is so personal. All that potential opened up as Napster broke the dam. It was incredible for the users. The people who make and sell music didn't appreciate that or respect that.
My own family are immigrants. My parents and grandparents landed in Queens and Brooklyn as refugees during WWII, running for their lives from the Nazis. We were not universally welcomed. Lots of antisemitism. I grew up ashamed of my heritage, because I took on the attitudes people had about us.
A funny thing happened, as my mother was getting old. The neighborhood she had lived in since the 1960s was turning from Irish, Italian with a little Jewish, to Asian -- Chinese and Korean. And my mom, born in Prague, an American newbie, was angry about the changes that were coming. I was amazed to see this, because she was a very inclusive sort of person, welcoming, and sought out different experiences. And of course she had herself benefited from a country that had its doors open to anyone. When she died, and it came time to sell the house, the neighbors next door begged us not to sell to an Asian family. They were also refugees. I said nothing but I thought it was both futile and hypocritical.
I guess if I lived anywhere for long enough to resent newbies it would be on the net. I started using it as a grad student in the 70s. I've been through every iteration, and yes -- there's a point at which the area you've learned to call home becomes overrun with newbies. They have no idea about the culture you've developed, and they don't seem to care. They do the equivalent of leaving broken glass and dirty diapers at our pristine swimming holes. It sucks.
Facebook is, to me, the Land of the Newbies, the way AOL was 30 years ago. But I love FB the community (I do not love FB the company, though I know a number of people who work there, some of whom I consider lifetime friends). I especially love the Woodstock group, because it's filled with love, and I've benefited so much from it. I'm not kidding. 99.99 percent of my interactions there over the last year or so have been lovely. And I've learned so much about the place I now call home, far more than I could have without the group. It's changed the way I think about local news. Friends who work in journalism don't understand the role FB groups play, and they're not listening any better than the music industry people did in Napster days.
I have friends who remember the net before FB as I do who will not use FB. They say they got along fine without it before, and will be fine now. No doubt. But they're missing something huge and cultural, and eventually the software they make will be irrelevant because they failed to move where the culture was going.
Humans dealing with change. A constant. We don't always do it well. God bless our pointy heads.
PS: I cross-posted this on FB because it's so much about FB.
If you watched Maddow last night, it would be hard to call the first day of testimony in the impeachment hearings a snoozefest. Here's the deal. Everything the president does not only benefits him personally but it also benefits Russia. All of it.
So more than an impeachment, we are hearing a case study about how the Republican Party and the American president are servants of a foreign adversary. A truth most of us find hard to accept, I guess. But there's a lot more of this than has come to light. This is just the first that has been so microscopically exposed. Expect that when we peer into the Turkish invasion of Kurdistan, we will find another clusterfuck of your favorite country and mine.
We need more than impeach and remove.
We need an exorcism.