Immigration – And The Diversity It Brings – THAT Is “American Exceptionalism”

Rich Christian white guys, pumped up on cheap beer (they don’t drink it for the taste, they drink it to get plastered) think THEY are American Exceptionalism.

What Republicans think “American Exceptionalism” looks like…

Rich, Christian white guys with real money — we’re talking Koch & Mercer level wealth — don’t care about American Exceptionalism. They care about maintaining power and cultural hegemony. They don’t give a damn if enriching themselves far beyond ANYONE’S ability to spend the money even multiple generations onward results in the demise of the greatest experiment in human self government ever.

But American Exceptionalism is a very real thing. While white Christian men — already advantaged because they brought the money with them — may have placed themselves at the center of power in their new-fangled Democratic Republic, they weren’t actually the generators of the new ideas and vitality that would bring more money (and more new ideas and vitality) to the country — all those diverse OTHER PEOPLE were and still are.

Money is important to realizing great ideas. But money doesn’t “make” the ideas. Great minds do. And most every human has the potential for greatness in one way or another if given the chance (and the training, education and encouragement).

Take just a cursory glance at the biggest ideas of the last century — who did the innovating, whose cleverness solved a challenging problem, whose genius made lots of people lots of money — and you’ll see a sea of diverse faces staring back.

If American authoritarians continue to hold power (minority rule, remember) — and they drive every immigrant away — it will only be a matter of time before somewhere else becomes “Exceptional” in the way we used to be.

But then, looking backward — to how it was — is what rich, white, Christian men are all about. They’re “conservatives” remember — hell bent on conserving. The exceptionalism they have in mind exists only IN their mind.

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Cannabis & Sports Go Together Better Than You Think

I started using cannabis to play tennis about 2 years ago. I wish I had started way sooner. I bet I would have enjoyed tennis a hell of a lot more.

I don’t mean because I’d be playing high. I’m not sure why anyone would want to do that. I don’t use cannabis to get “high” anyway — at least, not in the sense that most people use the word. My writing day starts around 5 a.m. with a mug of strong, dark coffee (I’m especially fond of Trader Joe’s Cafe Pajaro blend) and my first cannabis bowl of the day — usually a blend of GG4 & Durban Poison.

The GG4 in the mix brings a lovely, wide beam of euphoria and energy. The Durban Poison brings clear, steady focus. The combination is exquisite. My next bowl moves completely into sativas — I have four or five I use as my go-to daytime strains. Presently — Durban Poison, XJ-13, Clementine and Cat Piss. In the past, Jack-the-Ripper, Alaskan Ice and Strawberry Durban Diesel have all been in the mix too.

Just as Durban Poison is a great strain for working — the focus and mental energy it produces is outstanding — it’s a great strain for sports. A good hit taken just before I step onto the court slows the ball down — slows everything down — just enough so that I can actually see the ball’s spin. My timing gets more precise. My decision-making, too. I see the whole court better. I strategize better. I seem to get across the court faster and anticipate my opponent better.

It doesn’t make me perfect (nothing could possibly do that) but it makes me more consistent — and my whole tennis experience just “feels” more fun. Playing better can have that effect.

And, of course, there’s the simple fact that cannabis just makes you feel better. I’ve no doubt that contributes to the positives.

But it isn’t feeling good that produces an improved ground stroke or serve. It’s focus.

When Penises Attack

Let’s get naked about penises.  They’re designed (as it were) to penetrate.  For all our peacockery about cocks, a penis is nothing more than a DNA delivery nozzle.  Glorifying a man’s pecker is as absurd as glorifying a garden hose when it’s the garden he’s “watering” that should get our respect..

Male design specs encourage “squirt’n go” behavior.  Before humans figured out that sperm were microscopic flagellates, they imagined them as tiny humans.

In other words, men (since men got to do all the “imagining”) convinced themselves that when they penetrated a woman with their penises, what they were really doing was implanting the baby that would grow inside them.  The man, they believed, delivered the product while the woman served as its incubator and temporary digs.

Our thinking hasn’t changed all that much, has it?

Our culture doesn’t just celebrate the penis, it gives it extraordinary privilege.  Where the word “no” should be an absolute, we still see grey area as if an erection suddenly gave men two votes instead of one.  Not that it matters.  Where sex is concerned, anything shy of a unanimous “yes” (and that “yes” must be allowed to be fluid) becomes an instant “no”; the sex stops right there, right then.

The male orgasm is no more a right than is penetration.  The day we make the male orgasm mandatory in male-female sex should come only after we make the female orgasm mandatory.

Fact – female sexuality does not cause pregnancy, male sexuality does.  The female orgasm is unconnected to a woman’s fertility.  The egg in her fallopian tube can be fertilized regardless of whether or not the sperm swimming toward it had to broach the powerful waves of an orgasm first.  Men are 100% responsible for impregnating a woman.  Minus sperm – and that sperm’s penile delivery system – no woman would ever get pregnant – even if she actually enjoyed the sex that made her pregnant.

Whether or not a penis gets weaponized is entirely up to the man to whom that penis belongs.  And, of course, you don’t have to be a woman to be the victim of a weaponized penis.  As I’ve blogged here previously, the man who sexually assaulted me when I was 14 knew exactly what he was doing with his penis. 

And he knew that what he was doing with his penis – and with me – was wrong.  But a weaponized penis does the thinking for its owner.  A weaponized penis wants what IT wants.  And a weaponized penis, once unloaded, becomes a whole other kind of weapon – a psychological one. 

Though I was assaulted (twice) back when I was 14, those assaults continued to ripple across my life in myriad ways up to and including a depression deep enough to tempt me to suicide myself.   

Not every man is beholden to his dick.  Of course.  That’s where the hope comes from.  Fatherhood doesn’t actually require a penis — flowing, as it does, from our brains, not our nutsacks.

Private Prisons Are As Flat Out Stupid As For Profit Healthcare

There’s a reason no other industrialized country has profit incentive buried inside its healthcare system — it’s stupid!

A corporation has a fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders. It could never see patients as anything other than a commodity — something directly impacting its bottom line performance. The more money a corporation can save on patients that it can return to its stockholders in the form of dividends, the better — from the shareholder’s point of view (and therefore from the corporation’s point of view). Profit incentive is why America doesn’t have a health CARE system, it has a health INSURANCE system. The first question we ask anyone needing help isn’t “How can we fix you?”, it’s “How’re ya gonna pay for this, Sparky?”

Not the same thing.

Profit incentive alters the focus AWAY from health care and TOWARD profit. How shocking…

Privatizing prisons is equally blockheaded. It’s further proof that in the entire history of the world, greed has never made anyone smarter. Never mind bullshit about “efficiencies”, it’s all entirely beside the point. The penal system cannot be detached from the justice system. The penal system must SERVE the justice system.

And the penal system should be focused as much as possible on helping those inside its walls to break the cycle that put them there. When prisons are part of the justice system, at least that’s a possibility. It’s not when prisons are in the business of being in business.

The ideal should be that we have no prisons because no one ever commits crimes warranting such punishment. That’s never going to happen, of course. But, if it could happen, it would put companies like the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA — which California just banned, I’m pleased to say!) out of business. Keep in mind — CCA makes money only when there are prisoners in its prisons. The more prisoners in its prisons, the more money it makes. It’s therefore in CCA’s interest to either see crime rise (so long as its prosecuted) or for more things to be criminalized (creating more criminals).

One of the staunchest foes of marijuana legalization? Yup — the private prison industry who profits from having pot smokers doing hard time.

We should have killed the idea of private prisons at first whiff. We didn’t. I’ll bet greed was in the room at the time…

Hey, America — Here’s A Radical Idea: Let’s Tax The Ignorant

I hope like hell this isn’t a revelation: ignorance is blissful only for the ignorant.  Ignorance is expensive as hell for everyone else.

Ignorance is caused by lack of information.  Willful ignorance is a refusal to accept information that would cure the ignorance.  Stupidity, on the other hand, is just that — stupidity.  It’s deep-seated dopiness; dim-wittedness on steroids. 

There’s less hope for the stupid than the ignorant.  In theory, one can inform the ignorant.  The stupid… they’re too stupid to learn anything.  That’s a big part of their problem.  It’s why they’re stupid.  

Though many, many stupid people are ignorant, a stupid person can’t ever be willfully ignorant.  Stupid people — where their stupidity is concerned — have no choice about being stupid whereas willfully ignorant people… well, there’s the “willful” part — the deliberation.  Willful ignorance is a choice.  And — as ample evidence proves — ignorance (willful or otherwise) costs a bomb.  In money.  In lives.  In prestige.  In decency. 

Now, while I pity most stupid people (it’s not their fault they’re stupid), there is one group of the stupid who I despise.  They’re the people whose stupidity was caused by greed.

Greed – the data is pretty uniform on this – makes everyone stupid. 

While taxing the ignorant may seem cruel, it’s really the only way to motivate them to fix their problem.  And all they have to do to fix their problem?  Learn something.  Cure the ignorance with good information.

It’s a little like using light to ‘fix” a darkness problem.  And when you finally get the lights back on?  Bet the ranch you’ll find an ignorant person sitting there – unaware they didn’t have to sit in the dark.

End of the day? I bet the ignorant will thank us for, in effect, taxing the ignorance right out of them. Then we can set our sights on the stupid.

Hey, America — Here’s A Really Dumb Idea: Let’s Put PROFIT INCENTIVE At The “Heart” Of Our Healthcare System…

There’s a very good reason no other industrialized country has profit incentive built right into its healthcare system: a corporation’s bottom-line fiduciary responsibility is to its shareholders (the ones holding preferred shares, not the poor, dumb humps holding “common” shares) and NOT “health care customers” aka “patients”.

If a profit-driven health insurance company gave in to patients instead of providing a generous dividend next quarter, it might face a stockholder revolt. The price of its shares might plummet — and with it, the value of the company. All because it did the right thing instead of the financially expedient thing.

Ever wonder why pharmaceuticals are so much more expensive here in America than in pretty much any other country? Have you seen Big Pharma’s bottom line? They’re making money hand over fist from ;us. Be thankful you’re not a diabetic in America. The real production cost of a vial of insulin is between $2.28 and $3.42, while the production cost for a vial of most analog insulins is between $3.69 and $6.16, according to the study in BMJ Global Health.

“Anyone with Type 1 diabetes should be able to buy insulin for under $100 per year, including the long-acting forms,” said Andrew Hill, a study co-author and senior visiting research fellow at the University of Liverpool. “Pharmaceutical companies cannot justify charging governments $532 per person per year in the U.K. and $1,251 in the U.S. Yet, they do.

$100 vs $1251 for a year of insulin. That’s quite a mark up for a LIFE-SAVING PRODUCT. Know why that mark up exists? Profit incentive.

It’s the same reason an ibuprofen tablet that costs a few pennies to make costs $100 if a hospital hands it to you. It’s not costing $90 to make, package and transport that tablet. Virtually all of it is profit.

How did we get here? How did we let the biggest wolf of all – the insurance companies — become head gate-keeper in our health care chicken coop? That’s what insurance companies are — they’re gate keepers who get to decide which doctors we get to see. No one — repeat, NO ONE — loves their insurance company. They like that the company — with its clever “plan” — allows them (with deductibles and out-of-pocket costs) to see the doctors they like. They like that the GATEKEEPER says yes.

But the gatekeeper can say no, too. And often does. The gatekeeper can make up all kinds of bullshitty rules to “explain” why we CAN’T have the care we need.

The fact that we have insurance companies as gatekeepers is a historical anomaly. During WWII, all financial resources were poured into the war effort. Companies weren’t allowed to give employees raises. That made attracting new talent to a company (or retaining good talent) harder. To incentivize workers, large companies offered health insurance. People liked it. Why wouldn’t they? More big companies started to do it.

Then the war ended. But the employer-provided health insurance didn’t. In fact, it proliferated despite the fact that it really wasn’t good for any of the companies to keep providing it: it’s expensive — and when you factor in the cost of providing this perk, it makes the good or service that much more expensive. Example — in the competition between Boeing and Airbus to build and sell large commercial airplanes, Airbus always had a huge advantage. The cost of worker healthcare was built into the cost of every Boeing plane — making them more expensive to buy and less profitable for Boeing. Airbus, on the other hand, didn’t have to pay for its workers health insurance — that cost was born by whatever government the worker lived under because that country provided universal singer payer health CARE.

Europeans needing health care get it — no one asks how they’re going to pay for it first. Everyone KNOWS how it’ll get paid for. They skip that and move right on to the health CARE — like they’re supposed to.

America has great health care for those who can afford it. Otherwise, we have a system designed to make rich people richer and sick people die.

Dear American News Media: Never Mind What The Democrats Are Doing To Prep For Trump In 2020, What Are YOU Doing?

I’ll answer my own question (it’s why I asked): NADA.

The overwhelming bulk (the perfect word) of the American News Media is happily zooming down the same idiotic, Democracy-destroying path THIS election as they did in 2016. Despite whole mountain ranges of evidence, most of our MSM still refuses to accept an ounce of responsibility for their piss poor 2016 performance.

They still think Donald Trump is just a “different” kind of president.

On their talking head panels, the MSM Talking Heads worry themselves sick about how the Democratic nominee will handle Trump’s bully-in-the-schoolyard tactics. If I remember correctly, Hillary Clinton stood up to it. The MSM, on the other hand, not so much.

Trump’s campaign should have been over the instant “Mexicans are rapists” tumbled from his bloated, orange lie hole. How in hell’s name did Trump’s campaign survive that? It wasn’t because Mexicans accepted it — or Democrats. It was because the MSM accepted it. Donald Trump moved past it — and so did they. They stopped asking Trump about it which, to him, meant they’d accepted it as part of “the deal”. That was just who Trump was — a, you know, “different” sort of presidential candidate.

The correct answer remains: “No, he’s not a ‘different’ sort of presidential candidate (there’s no such thing), he’s a RACIST, BIGOTED kind of candidate”.

Since 2016, has the American press gotten better? No — they still ask out loud if Donald Trump is a racist. Like it’s a question.

It isn’t, of course. Which bring me to my next giant bone in need of picking — because it’s another way the press is repeating its past mistakes to our collective detriment. The nature of storytelling is simple. Every scene should add information. Each following scene then builds on the new information — and adds new information of its own. Voila! Storytelling!

The whole mechanism breaks down however when you don’t add the new information to the mix — you kinda toss it aside — and keep returning to Square One as if the new information never existed. It’s a bit like a flat earther seeing irrefutable proof that the world is round — and agreeing with it — then going back to the flat earth way of seeing things as if the proof never existed.

In point of fact, our Main Stream Media has been so damnably lazy about covering Trump, it’s enough to make one a conspiracy theorist. The Truth about who Donald Trump really is is not a mystery. When Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS testified before Congress (one of the earlier hearings where the Republicans were trying to undermine the integrity of ‘The Steele Dossier’), he described Fusions process. Fusion had been hired first b6y the Washington Free Beacon to do oppo research on Trump. The Beacon’s owners liked them some Jeb Bush.

Step one, Simpson testified, due diligence. Fusion got its hands on every book, magazine article, radio interview, TV show — everything they could — finding it online, in book and video stores — even at the public library. All publicly available material. What Fusion found in that publicly available material that ANYONE (any member of the press could have found themselves) convinced them that Trump had been part of numerous criminal enterprises involving his Atlantic City casinos and the Russian mob.

That was why Fusion GPS hired Chris Steele, former head of the MI6’s Russia Desk. His deep background on Russia and Russians was unmatched.

Just wondering: Has anyone in the MSM done even the same due diligence since then?

Has the MSM fully embraced the idea that without Russia, Donald Trump wouldn’t be POTUS? If they haven’t they’re going to have a helluva time making sense of what Russia does in 2020.

To be honest, I don’t hold out much hope for the MSM. I’m not even sure their hearts are all in the right place. I know that with too many of them, their heads are right up their asses.