For I can raise no money by vile means*

Nobody has more contempt for Republican voters than professional Republicans:

The Trump campaign has been unrelenting in recent days with its all-caps, bold font, exclamation-point-ridden fundraising appeals: “THE DEMOCRATS WANT TO STEAL THIS ELECTION!” “We can’t allow the Left-wing MOB to undermine our election.”

They urge supporters to make donations to President Donald Trump’s election integrity defense, to ensure he has the “resources” he needs to keep the election from being “stolen.”

In the fine print of the fundraising blasts, it lays out that 60 percent of the contributions will first go to the new PAC, up to the maximum contribution of $5,000. The remaining 40 percent goes to the RNC up to the maximum $35,500. If that first 60 percent of the donation exceeds $5,000 the remnants go to the campaign’s “recount account”; if the 40 percent exceeds the $35,500 RNC maximum, only then does it go to the RNC’s legal defense fund.

That story was three weeks ago. By now they have raised more than $170m and it’s difficult to characterize as anything other than a nice haul. It can also be a struggle to sympathize with the donors, as it has always been:

The new NRA disclosures appear to constitute a formal admission of financial mismanagement, which the gun group had denied under months of mounting pressure. In August, following a lengthy investigation, Letitia James, the Attorney General of New York, filed a civil suit seeking to dissolve the organization, alleging the NRA had grown rotten from “a culture of self-dealing, mismanagement, and negligent oversight.” To James’s mind, LaPierre’s repayment represents a drop in the bucket. She told the Post that the $300,000 is “just a fraction of the millions he personally profited from,” and she accused LaPierre and his deputies of having raided “NRA coffers to fund lavish lifestyles that included private jets, pricey vacations, expensive meals and no-show contracts.” The Wall Street Journal recently reported that LaPierre is being investigated by the IRS for “possible criminal tax fraud related to his personal taxes.” LaPierre declined to comment to the Post.

We might call this Green brutality, because nothing reveals the vulnerable like the willingness to sell their fears back to them.

* For I can raise no money by vile means.
By heaven, I had rather coin my heart
And drop my blood for drachmas

Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act IV, Scene III

Sustainability for Dummies

I regularly check /. (Slashdot), both as a part of my job keeping up with developments in science and engineering and as one of the many ways of generally training a wider eye. The great preponderance there is technology-oriented, and a serious plurality of that is gaming-related and so of little interest to me personally. But there’s a non-tech thread soliciting advice about marriage for geeks that serves as a good parallel to some wider points, green and other.

We should admit that the concept has become rather trite, even and especially as an advertising tool. I think it was at 80% in the first month, and has pulled up the remainder of the ladder in the time since.

Anyway, the /. poster made the point that he and his fiance were self-ID’d geeks and that most of the books about marriage were aimed at alpha-male jocks and submissive cheerleader wives and hence the incompatibility issues related to sports just didn’t apply to them. Commenters graciously pointed out, among other things, that ‘intelligent people do not need the rubberstamp advice found in self-help books’ and that honesty and openness were the paramount virtues of any marriage. Well put; those points alone open up all manner of questions about anti-elitism and best-selling books along the lines of ________ for dummies and what have you. That people are willing to self-identify as dummies in pursuit of some rudimentary guidance on basic human behavior is indicative of their token interests in the first place. Sort of like trying to figure out how to ‘go green’ with ease, without changing any of the larger elements of your life – you can just buy the right cleaner or bowling ball and Voila!

That’s as stupid as it sounds, itself a point that should be the subtitle on the Dummy Guides to Everything. Just as there is no circle drawn around your town demarcating a sustainable distance from work or play, there is no definitively green lifestyle, per se. Despite our fascination with collective experience, most everyone’s quotidian existence has certain unique aspects. It is these which are malleable and in play, open to alignment with planetary-mindedness, if that’s the idea, or allegiance to your favorite team, as the case may be. The point is not achieving a level of relative sustainability regarding what you are already doing but embarking upon a transition to less waste and better food.

We can’t superimpose sustainability on this system any more than we can mandate faithful marriages by tweaking the kinds of lies that are okay (or agreeing that men and women are simply – darn it – from different planets). We can identify ways to better living and begin to buy and vote accordingly. This will entail a lot of work and probably include reading many books and talking with people smarter than you (and me), but will definitely and without doubt result in better freedom.