Atlas Shrugged and Then Shot Himself In the Foot

It has been the contention of this writer that the philosophical underpinnings of the Romney Ryan campaign are the writings of Ayn Rand, most specifically Atlas Shrugged. “Rand’s heroes must continually fight against “parasites”, “looters”, and “moochers” who demand the benefits of the heroes’ labor”, and Romney clearly sees himself as a Randian hero and 47% of Americans as “parasites”. I believe that the video that came out yesterday of Romney speaking to his wealthy donors from his heart will be the fatal blow to his presidential hopes. Here is the critical quote from the fundraiser.

There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what…These are people who pay no income tax.My job is is not to worry about those people. I’ll never convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.

This could have been taken straight from Atlas Shrugged. But let’s look at the facts of the 47%. To begin with, a majority of them don’t pay income taxes because the payroll taxes taken from their pay checks satisfy their tax obligations, because they don’t have additional income from stock dividends or capital gains.

Of the remaining “parasites”, more than half are elderly and no longer earning an income and the remainder are the really poor, a family living on less than $20,000 per year. Just as interesting is to see where the “moochers” live. Mostly in Red States that vote Republican.

The task now for the Democrats is to wake up the 47%, half of which vote Republican in the delusion that Mitt Romney cares for their interests because he talks about God and is against abortion. They must spend every day of the last 49 days of this campaign making it clear to the working class of America that the whole Republican plan is a shadow play, in which the true beneficiaries are the people in the Romney video who can afford the $50,000 ticket to the fundraiser. The real losers are the people who put their cultural passions above their economic interests.Romney and Ryan don’t give a damn about the middle class, but see themselves and their millionaire friends as a persecuted minority. Here is how the Atlas Society portrays the world.

Atlas Shrugged is an extended cry against the oppression of creators, most particularly businessmen: the Atlases who bear this world on their shoulders. Uniquely, Rand’s work portrays the exploited entrepreneurs of the mixed economy as the true successors of Socrates, Galileo, and the countless other truth-seekers who, over the centuries, have been silenced, punished, crushed, and killed—not for their vices but for their virtues.

In their view criminals like Mike Milken or rapacious capitalists like John Paulson or Sheldon Adelson are the “exploited entrepreneurs”, that need to be rescued from Obama and his “schemes” to raise their taxes. It is a warped view of humanity and of society. Here’s hoping the 99% will wake up and vote the Republican Rascals out of the government.


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40 Responses to Atlas Shrugged and Then Shot Himself In the Foot

  1. Paul Zullo says:

    Romney/Ryan, Republican Rascals….that works

  2. len says:

    Not wrong but the people you’re aiming at haven’t read Rand or if they have, they are just as enamored of her heroine and hero as R&R are so easily railroaded. You’ll have to connect this to something they value highly because they are true believers.

    Find the Maddow report on The Family. It is a very good expose of the ideology of those for whom power is the ultimate get of jail free card.

    Take note that the Persecuted Hero Who Is Filthy Rich plays very well to the TJMaxx Shoppers Who Hate Katie Because She Is Liberal And We Don’t Get Laid By Men Worthy Of Us Crowd.

    Callous but true. They can be aimed like bacteria in a weak immune system. They tend to gather on local and national store pages and food chef pages.

    The inner fast loop is social media. The outer slow loop is the MSM. Pass the values explicitly.

  3. Rick Turner says:

    It’s the lottery mentality…everyone wants to believe that they’re one lucky day away from being instantly elevated to the 1%, and therefore, they don’t want to harm the privilege of the 1% for fear of harming themselves as they wish to see themselves be tomorrow. Don’t vote for higher taxes on millionaires because that will be you next year. Keep on buying those lottery scratchers; you’re one MiniMart away from riches… The American public believes the back story of the Beverly Hillbillies…

  4. ROman says:

    Rhetorical question time again, “Did Mr. A get his man or what?”

    Who thinks we could have this, or one of the other dozen or so ‘1% vs. 99%’ discussions if Sarah, Michelle, Newt, Herman, Ron, Jon or one the Ricks won the nomination?

  5. I always thought Ayn Rand was kind of developmental, and you outgrew her.

  6. len says:

    @Rick Turner

    While there are those who live in their mobile home on an acre and a half bought and paid for with pictures of The Bear on every wall and three babies on year apart wearing Roll Tide t-shirts, there are a lot of live the middle class three or four bedroom brick home in a development that sits where the cotton used to grow, both work, have three children two years apart wearing Roll Tide hoodies. IOW, the stereotypes are what kill the left when they come to the South. You believe that stuff. And that is why you lose here.

    No, the problem is to crack a culture of work hard and go to church on Sunday types who really do believe in the American dream and that if they could get rid of the welfare moochers, their children could finish college and get a better job than they have or at least as good. A key is the wives are shopaholics and the husbands can actually fix their own cars and talk sports. IOW, take away the drawl and they are pretty much average americans.

    Romney told them they eat “cheesey grits”. Imagine. He has to defend his wealthy horse who gets a better tax break than they do. He has to defend he sent their children’s out of college jobs to India. He has to defend that he doesn’t build anything. He has to defend that he puts his money overseas after taking their plant apart where the husband worked to put those kids through college. He has to defend that he wants to get rid of Pell Grants because only moochers who can only work two jobs and lost one because he took the plant and sent it to India need Pell Grants for their merely average kids.

    Obama has to break the Magic Mirror that tells these women they are the fairest of all and get them to believe they don’t need a Magic Mirror to tell them that. He should remind them that the fact that already live in better homes than their parents did, that they have kids in college means they have already done more than the greatest generation could do, that what they want for those kids IS the American Dream and if we can fix the problems Bush made and stop letting the Mitt the Vampire Capitalists get tax breaks for sending jobs overseas, then their kids will have that.

    They are average Americans, Rick. The Average American is already living better than 90% of the rest of the world. They want to know their kids will too. Tell them how despite all the troubles in the world and at home they can do that and they’ll vote for Obama.

    We have to look past the election this time. We need the House and Senate. We need a functioning Congress. The Republican Party is destroying this country. It’s time to perp walk them into the ocean. Even when Obama wins, we have a tough hoe to row and we need every picker with a bag and a stick picking and beating the snakes.

    Then it will be a fine harvest.

  7. Rick Turner says:

    Well, I do not use “the South” as my example of America the Lotto Addicted. And your average Southern Male can no longer do much to his car other than tart it up. Those pesky computers under the hood have replaced the Holley carbs. And the Average American now is better off only because of cheap WalMart goods and credit card debt and shiny things that dazzle.

  8. len says:

    Beverly Hillbillies?

    The South is a big part of what the Democrats need to take back.

    Computers may be pesky and the long throated spark plugs are a pain, but they still work on their cars here. Even if they have to own three or four to do that.

    As for where they shop, you should read those FB pages. Some of these gals will drive 50 miles to buy stationary. They go to Wal-Mart for food. They go to Target for clothes. Then they turn around and go to Hobby Lobby for colored paper because it is a “Christian corporation”. I didn’t say they are consistent. That’s part of the Magic Mirror effect. They aren’t ready to admit their church and rand can’t cohabitate the same political or moral universe. Figuring that out is a key part of understanding them and understand them he must.

    Obama and Biden said it: he’s President of ALL the citizens. He has to convince the ones who will vote against him anyway. Romney is giving up on the people who won’t vote for him. The trick to being perceived as The President is convincing them not only that he won’t but that he can’t.

    It’s time to think beyond Red vs Blue. Solutions to this nation’s problems require national thinking not states rights and block grants. Mitt told them they eat “cheesey grits”. So they voted for Santorum. Mitt is promising to take away their kid’s scholarships and their Grandmother’s medicaid. So how do Dagny and Galt explain that to these women who need a better self-image so badly they are willing to believe Ann Romney is one of them?

  9. T Bone Burnett says:

    I have to say it is nice to see these Libertarian views aired out.
    They can get a little stuffy in here at times.

    From David Brooks:

    “This comment suggests a few things. First, it suggests that he really doesn’t know much about the country he inhabits. Who are these freeloaders? Is it the Iraq war veteran who goes to the V.A.? Is it the student getting a loan to go to college? Is it the retiree on Social Security or Medicare?”

  10. T Bone Burnett says:

    Romney/Ryan would attempt tough love, as it is called, with half the country.

  11. James says:

    @Ethan Russell
    Boom. Best Ayn Rand observation. two enthusiastic thumbs up.

  12. Rick Turner says:

    I think we have to get past this idea that Social Security is today’s payers contributing wholly to today’s payees. Yes, I know that’s how it was set up in the first place…nearly 80 years ago, but most retiree/beneficiaries THINK of it as getting back what they put in; in other words, it’s a government run retirement program. And I have no problem with that and think that if anything, it should be better funded by removing or moving the cap on SSI taxed earnings. Or put in a funding methodology that bumps up SSI contributions for three or four generations…enough to actually make it our dollars going in and paying for our retirement…and then scale the contributions back so it’s just a well funded retirement pool. Sure, raise the retirement age; encourage folks to work past retirement age; but make it be a national program that works.

    I do not consider myself a freeloader being on SSI and MediCare. I paid in, and I continue to pay in. I want back what I put in. And, to beat this dead horse, if we weren’t still burning cash in the Middle East, this money shit wouldn’t be a problem.

  13. Mike says:

    @Rick Turner

    Ever laugh when talking to people about winning the lotto, like when they bitch about how the gov’t takes HALF! So funny.

  14. len says:

    They might start by paying the fund back the money the government has been borrowing from it.

    I’ve worked since I was fifteen. I don’t expect to retire. It sucks, but I am no freeloader and I know exactly what a Mitt’s Off style of tough love looks like. Note he is already talking about combining departments, laying off people, and making sure the gains realized will go straight into his own pockets through tax reductions.

    THAT is what he learned as a businessman. And he means it. Habits first; beliefs follow.

  15. JTMcPhee says:

    It ain’t just that the Vampire Squids are sending jobs overseas (next step being the TPP thing.) It’s sort of related to that “debt” thing that a few of us are just a little concerned about. Quick read, for those who don’t want to try to wade through Graeber’s “Debt: The Last 5,000 Years:”

    What the fucking Banksters are doing to us, large and small. Where they also want to put the stuff that is supposed to have been lock-boxed in the SS “trust fund.” And the cost of the Wars of Choice would more than make up all the supposed shortfalls in what the Entitled so condescendingly refer to as “entitlements,” and way too many of us are stupid enough to fail to recognize as the sound of the butcher’s blade hitting the 4th cervical vertebra, having transected the trachea, both carotids and both jugulars, the larynx, and a whole lot of muscle and nerve and connective tissue.

    In case anybody forgets, or gets all weepy about people “not paying their just debts” because they themselves are sucker enough to buy the notion that righteousness means submitting gleefully to debt servitude, there is this thing called “Jubilee…”

  16. Jon Taplin says:

    @Ethan Russell Why did Mittens never outgrow her?

  17. Jon Taplin says:

    @JTMcPhee The Naked Capitalism interview was mind blowing. Many thanks for posting.

  18. Fentex says:

    The Average American is already living better than 90% of the rest of the world.

    I wonder how true this is, I suspect it isn’t if by average you mean median – the person who if you lined every U.S citizen up in order of quality of life is at the centre.

    That person, according to Wikipedia earns about USD 28,567 per annum and pays U.S prices and taxes on it.

    Is that, with a world population of 6,600,000,000 out side of the U.S buying a better life than all but the richest 10% of that 6.6 billion? I doubt it.

  19. Alex Bowles says:

    @JTMcPhee Wow, that Husdon piece is a tour de force. And speaking of astonishing force, the Times has just dropped the hammer on Romney.

    As an embodiment of destructive capital subverting government from within, he’s everything Hudson identifies as toxic. The Times hasn’t approached the Romney problem from the same macro-economic perspective. They simply point out that he’s a man of the very lowest and most despicable character; a cynic, a liar, and an outright threat to the Union.

    A takedown like goes well beyond about ending his candidacy. This very public rebuke is addressed to him personally. It’s the kind of thing that should haunt him to his dying day.

  20. len says:

    @jtmc: Debt servitude: yes. As I said, work for a company that is “turned around” and see what it does to the competency and employees as well as the long term relationships with customers and the products. It is a vampire sucking the life out of everything it touches, building nothing but a prosperity facade and leaves the employees not fast enough or too greedy themselves to flee servicing a leveraged debt burden. That is Romney’s America: a facade of prosperity servicing an ownership class that no longer regards America as their home, just a place to park their jets.

    @fentex: If you take the lifestyle, services available, support and overall quality of life into account, Americans do very well in contrast with the rest of the world. You can always rejigger the math to make it look worse or make yourself feel better but it doesn’t take a lot of analysis to see why a superpower with these resources and means does as well as it does.

    We do need to quit focusing on projecting power and playing to the international banker’s fiction of big and little people. We need to quit protecting the democracies that won’t protect themselves. If China and Japan want hegemony over New Zealand, well, in Mitt’s World, they should have it. It’s a defenseless island committed to high ideals and peaceful co-existence, so in the Darwinian world of Rand and Romney, it’s theirs for the taking because, well, it’s a stupid place.

  21. len says:

    Apply the Hudson article of economic rent to the problem of Internet telecom monopolies:

    What would be the impact of regulations both on access AND content?

  22. JTMcPhee says:

    @Jon Taplin
    Did you get to read all five parts? It just gets better and better…

  23. Roman says:

    Dana Milbank put together an entertaining tongue-in-cheek compilation of Mitt gaffes.

    It also serves as a primer on how not to run a political campaign in today’s wired world where internet access, cameras, and video recorders are everywhere.

    A word of caution, don’t eat or drink while reading Dana’s article, or risk spraying it all over your computer, tablet or phone – it’s that good.

    Once again, you can’t help asking the now proverbial question, “Did Mr. A get his man or what?”

  24. Rick Turner says:

    The problem is that I fear that Mitt’s 53% are likely to be very forgiving of gaffes on his part, so deep is their dislike for Obama…

  25. len says:

    Rick Turner :The problem is that I fear that Mitt’s 53% are likely to be very forgiving of gaffes on his part, so deep is their dislike for Obama…

    Possible but even Republican stalwarts are roasting him. Some conservatives feel he isn’t conservative enough. Some still-have-good-sense Republicans don’t like the crazies taking over the asylum and feel he is caving to them too readily. There is some growing consensus that events about to overtake us transcend the boundaries and we best be about getting ready. His inability to articulate a lucid strategy while making both foreign policy gaffes and domestic political gaffes are making everyone nervous. The idea that America is best led by a business man flies in the face of the fact that bankers and businessmen colluding with neocons dug the hole we are in. We need a leader. We only get two choices.

    Just as some justices are following Roberts’ lead and placing country above party, the surprise is that a majority of Americans really do care and really do want to make the right decision.

    That said, it’s still a long ways to the ballot.

  26. JTMcPhee says:

    More book report: Working on Barbara Tuchman’s “The Proud Tower.” I guess I should be glad that the people she chronicles, back there in the bridge du siecle 1890-1910, who saw events about to overtake them, were wrong, that the Innovated Engines of War brought out by the Krups and such, and sold seriatim in each “improved” generation to one side or another of inter-national gamery, were not (then) enough to kill off the species. Same game as the World Military Industrial Thing is doing to continue eating a fourth of the world’s wealth and growing.

    Not to pick on the WMIC. All the other human frailties and passions and foolishnesses were in full play too — mapped out in l’Affaire Dreyfus, where the Guantanomizing of one Jewish French Army officer pretty much divided that nation along lines similar to what we’re seeing now. Who would have thought that the flower of the Grande Armee, epitomizing the honor and esprit of the “I fart in your general direction” military, not yet plucked and desiccated by the Kaiser and then the Blitzkrieg, would have so blatantly have railroaded a junior officer and conspired at all levels to lie about it, to preserve their honneur?

    Lots more. Tuchman’s genius is in evoking poignant parallels between the Then and the Now, not by hammering them as some of us do, but simply by displaying them adroitly and succinctly. Definitely not as people like me prose away at. If you-all get the chance, it’s entertaining and illuminating and if you are paying attention depressing to read her stuff, like the Tower and “A Distant Mirror.” Too bad so few humans seem capable of keeping the elements of past idiot behavior in mind and memory as they confront and try to manage or just sort out and understand what the hell is going on today. The genome and the physiotype are pretty much unchanged from the Good Bad Old Days. We still hold our clubs very near and dear…

    There are so many similarities, not surprisingly, between the deeply divided, highly hierarchialized Then, and the scary, fucked-up, Interregnum/Anomic/pre-Ragnarok NOW. And so little in the way of reserves of wealth and energy untapped, to cushion the fall…

  27. Alex Bowles says:

    The Economist has just published a fancy (interactive!) guide to national debt levels in the world’s largest economies.

    The really eye-opening thing is how much trouble Britain is in, especially when you consider this key line from that Hudson piece.

    This is the basic problem with the Anglo-American-Dutch banking system. Instead of extending loans to create new factories to employ people, new means of production, bankers look at what can be pledged as collateral on which they can foreclose.

    The Netherlands aren’t included in these charts, but from what I understand, they have US/UK levels of debt on their balance sheets. I’m really not sure what to make of bigger picture, except to say that even the winners in this system don’t seem to be winning.

  28. len says:

    @alex: does the verse “around and round the mulberry bush the monkey chased the weasel” ring true?

    At some point either the debts are forgiven and the debt holders buy wheel barrels, or the huge cash reserves have to be reinvested. The question is will the public assets be fire saled or will the debt be forgiven. Salaries are already being crunched.

    Another question is will the western economic powers make a grab for more resources, say Africa, bits of South America and other places where local unrest makes old style imperialism justifiable.

    The winners are winning for now. There are some limits to what wealth can obtain and realize.

    Meanwhile, technology has surprises left in the gig bag. Sci-fi is coming true in ever more amazing ways. I am surprised/disappointed that with all Taplin must be seeing at his day job, he writes about that very little.

  29. Alex Bowles says:


    I mentioned David Hacket-Fischer’s “The Great Wave: Price Revolutions and the Rhythm of History” a while ago, but it’s worth mentioning again, just because it’s so prescient. The book is a bit more nuanced than the publisher’s plug on Amazon, but the plug gives you the idea.

    Records of prices are more abundant than any other quantifiable data, and span the entire range of history, from tables of medieval grain prices to the overabundance of modern statistics. Fischer describes four waves of price revolutions, each beginning in a period of equilibrium: the High Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and finally the Victorian Age. Each revolution is marked by continuing inflation, a widening gap between rich and poor, increasing instability, and finally a crisis at the crest of the wave that is characterized by demographic contraction, social and political upheaval, and economic collapse. The most violent of these climaxes was the catastrophic fourteenth century, in which war, famine, and the Black Death devastated the continent–the only time in Europe’s history that the population actually declined.

    Fischer illuminates how these long economic waves are closely intertwined with social and political events, affecting the very mindset of the people caught in them. The long periods of equilibrium are marked by cultural and intellectual movements–such as the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and the Victorian Age– based on a belief in order and harmony and in the triumph of progress and reason. By contrast, the years of price revolution created a melancholy culture of despair. Fischer suggests that we are living now in the last stages of a price revolution that has been building since the turn of the (20th) century. The destabilizing price surges and declines and the diminished expectations the United States has suffered in recent years–and the famines and wars of other areas of the globe–are typical of the crest of a price revolution. He does not attempt to predict what will happen, noting that “uncertainty about the future is an inexorable fact of our condition.”

    What he does note is that the long equilibrium / instability cycles can stretch over centuries. In terms of political history, these are geological timescales. He also notes that the most defining aspects of revolutions – violence and social change – are moving in opposite directions. Relative to the total population, the death tolls have gone down with each major upheaval. At the same time, the amount of social progress made in the wake of each catastrophe has increased dramatically. Worth noting too: the populations at greatest risk now are the poorest and densest. Geography really is destiny, and given the tectonic pressures building in Asia, Jon’s belief that the American continents are the world’s best placed seems well founded.

    What this means for poor but resource-rich places I can’t say. They are likely to bear the brunt of change, but paradoxically they are also likely to see the most dramatic social gains. Recognizing that we no longer live in a unipolar world is key. How well they play the larger economies off against one another will be key to their own success – especially if they get with the program that Hudson describes, making resources the foundation of a tax base, and insist that lenders become active investors as opposed to passive seekers of unearned rents.

    And I think you’re right about technology. The only branch I know in any depth is the geospatial, but wow, what’s developing now is astonishing. It can have a tremendous effect on the way people think about the world, and this is one more thing that makes predicting the future so difficult: we can only guess at the frame of reference that people will be using. The only thing I can say for certain is that it won’t be the one we’re using now.

  30. len says:

    I look at the hundreds perhaps thousands of unexplored Mayan ruins poking out of the jungle in the satellite photos and shudder. A population can only be bled and worked hard for the elites for so long. As said, when any population reaches some density, elites emerge. How well they manage resources for the benefit of the population determines how long they stay on top. The relationship of politics and economics is not that complicated.

    From the Oh Wow fringe: small warp drives may be possible that don’t require planet sized engines. The approximate size of an affordable bubble is around 32 feet, the approximate size of a 50s era flying saucer. See It may be BS but that is exactly what some military folks said about the web in the late 80s when we were called “the lunatic fringe of SGML”. I never say never about this sort of thing. There are always smarter people than me working the edge.

  31. len says:

    Big data is about human behaviors.

    This is why I pushed for HumanML then quickly walked away. Connected to the personna systems (on which Google took out a patent), the modeling potentials are astounding but so are the downsides.

    As always, the problem is in the hand that draws the hand shapes the hand but the eye distorts the drawing. Beware the hidden couplers. The John Perry Barlows of the world have good intentions behind those rose-colored glasses but when you pair them to a Tim Berners-Lee who understands a lot about a network but not nearly enough about the face in front of the screen, ‘Zilly morphs from a house pet who was fun at marshmallow roasts into a full-on sushi house eating Godzilla.

  32. len says:

    …that gets these companies out of the regulator’s pocket. It gives them a white hat, because they explicitly asked you if you wanted to op in, and it lets them make money, which is what they desperately want. And it appears that if you treat people’s data in this sort of responsible manner, people will willingly share their data. It is a win-win-win solution to the privacy problem, and it’s the companies that grew up in an unregulated environment, or the companies that are in gray markets that are likely to dry up, that are most strongly opposed.

    We are beginning to see is services that leverage personal data in this sort of respectful manner. Services such as really personal recommendations, identity certification without passwords, and personal public services for transportation, health, and so forth. All these areas are undergoing tectonic changes, and the more that we can use specific data about specific people, the better we can make the system work.

    It’s all about respect. And then it isn’t. There can come a time when the data you respectfully submit is expected because it is part of the societal control systems, a governance of feedback-mediation which if you fail to submit to causes defaults in services. You are not invisible because you still consume resources. You are hunted like a parasite, a moocher, to quote a recent speech maker.

    Think about what the server farms have done to the creative communities and the transfer of wealth from them to the server farm owners. Anyone who fails to submit is “unperson”. And fighting them becomes dangerous because alongside the well-intentioned utopians the dystopian opportunists, criminals really, grow up simultaneously.

    Even God doesn’t make a coin with only one side as George Burns told us. Caveat emptor.

  33. Alex Bowles says:

    That Edge link is a gem, len. Thank you.

  34. len says:

    Alex Bowles :That Edge link is a gem, len. Thank you.

    No problem.

    We will all live in Sharepoint now. Love it or loathe it, we will adapt. :( Would that we become more promethean and less epimethean. pandora in drag is all the stress and none of the wiles but I guess better than having our livers eaten daily.

    On the other hand, driving the gods nuts with stuff and nonsense is a high art, Trickster.

  35. Fentex says:

    This sort of thing is why I pollute databases as much as I can at every opportunity.

  36. len says:

    I like to torture their indexing servers and reputation engines. It’s not enough to poison the edge links; warping them around so the abnormal becomes normal is a pleasure. Oompa Oompa Oompity doo..

  37. Alex Bowles says:

    Speaking of reputation engines…

    Ha ha and happy Friday.

  38. T Bone Burnett says:

    At this point, if I were one of the guys planning to buy hundreds of millions of dollars of ads in the last few weeks of the campaign, I might start looking for a more efficacious place to put my money.

  39. len says:

    @T Bone Burnett

    The standout is the data that says the young who will be most affected by the outcome of the election care the least. OR… they have already made up their minds and have better things to do than answer Pew. It will be interesting to see if the donations to the campaigns and the super-pacs begin a precipitous decline.

    My sense of this is it will be Obama by a squeaker. Then we can all go back to criticizing the administration. Salman Rushdie has it right: a straight line from the fatwa ordering his assassination to a society organized by rage.

    I am blessed. My weekend was so frantic for the free music I was asked to perform that I had to take today off from a paying job to sleep. And I had the day to take. Blessings pave the road to Summerland and I’m counting the bricks in the road.

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