The Reason Both Sides Don’t “Do It” Is Because Both Sides Aren’t The Same

Our news media insists (all evidence to the contrary) that the only difference between a Republican and a Democrat is the letter next to their name.

No, they’re not the same. Of course they’re not. Republicans, being conservatives, want to CONSERVE. Being as you can’t conserve the future, conservatives want to conserve the present but more exactly conservatives want to “conserve” the past. Just like their name says.

Progressives on the other hand want to (as THEIR name suggests) PROGRESS. Being as you can’t “progress” into the past — and you really can’t “progress into the present”, Progressives put their energies into getting as many people as possible to progress into the future — where we all belong.

So — both sides want diametrically different things. Whatever both sides might be doing, IT’S NOT THE SAME THING.

Come election time (if they could only put cheating aside), conservatives want to restrict voting as much as possible. The demographics are completely against them; the more that vote, the worse conservative chances are. That’s because the “glorious past” that conservatives dream of returning to is the 1850’s where everyone knew their place — men, women, white people and especially black people.

Democrats and Progressives, by contrast, want to bring as many Americans into the voting process as the possibly can. Why wouldn’t they? Democracy works best when it reflects as many voices as possible. Ever notice how Republican voter suppression efforts are never aimed at Republican voters? That’s not a coincidence.

By the same token, if the brown-skinned people fleeing Central American drug violence (that’s mostly our fault) were reliable Republican voters? They’d be limo’d across the border, handed a passport and be dropped off at the first employment office they came to. Complete with a credit card.

Both sides don’t lock children up in cages — and then justify it. Both sides don’t betray allies as easily as they breathe. Both sides don’t take money from the poor and middle class to give to the rich. Both sides aren’t actively trying to destroy our environment out of pure stupid greed. Both sides don’t seek to dismantle the whole federal government. Both sides don’t conspire with hostile foreign powers to circumvent the will of the American People.

Both sides do not commit treason to maintain political power.

Only ONE side does that — Republicans. It’s just how they’re wired.

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Dear America – We Have A Health INSURANCE System, Not A Health CARE System; They’re NOT The Same Thing

Until we get the framing right, we’ll never fix the problem: our health CARE system is broken because it’s NOT a health CARE system. It’s a health INSURANCE system.

The first question anyone gets asked when they walk into any facility for health CARE isn’t “How can we fix you?”, it’s “How ya gonna pay for this?” Right off the bat, that’s ass backwards. The inmates are in full control of the asylum.

No other industrialized nation has a system like ours — where most Americans get their health INSURANCE (not care) through their employer. There’s a reason — and it’s not because we’re so clever and exceptional. It’s a historical anomaly that we’ve simply never dealt with, addressed or even admitted to.

Back during World War II, every available dollar was put toward the war effort. Rules prohibited companies from giving employees raises or raising salaries for new hires. Big companies, wanting to compete for the best employees, needed another incentive so they began offering free health care — well, they’d pay the insurance premiums.

Note — big companies were able to do it because they could afford (at first) to handle the additional admin and cost of running a health insurance program. As the war went on, more big companies offered the same health insurance benefit. Then the war ended… but the health insurance benefit didn’t — even though it should have.

After the war, all those big companies looked to get out of the health insurance business. They subcontracted out the work to the burgeoning health insurance industry to serve as the “gatekeepers” between workers and their health CARE. To keep costs down, the insurance companies eventually cut deals with doctors to get better rates. All very reasonable except that the insurance companies had now created EXCLUSIVITY where there wasn’t any.

Suddenly insurance companies could control which patients a doctor could see. And then they made their gatekeeping integral to the whole health CARE system itself.

Corporations — like health insurance companies — have a fiduciary responsibility to their shareholders (the preferred class, not the regular class of shareholders) first and foremost. They have NO actual responsibility to “patients”. The insurance company doesn’t actually care what happens to any patient. It’s in their interest to spend the least they can get away with on each patient while collecting the maximum amount of income from him/her.

Is universal single payer perfect? FFS, there’s no such thing as “perfect”. But at least it takes the FOR PROFIT gatekeepers out of the health CARE equation. There will still be gatekeepers for sure — government gatekeepers. But We The People can control how they keep the health care gates for us. We can’t do the same with a corporation.

It is even more absurd to run around all Chicken Little-like about Elizabeth Warren says she’d pay for her Medicare For All plan — without comparing it to either 1) what our current health INSURANCE system costs each & every one of us in cold, hard cash terms or 2) ever asking a Republican EVER what their “health care plans” cost or how THEY might get around to paying for it.

FFS – the Republicans pulled off a massively destructive (to the middle class) tax cut to the rich that they had no intention of every paying for — except by gutting social security and welfare.

America keeps getting tripped up by greed. Greed is what allows Big Pharma to charge extortionist prices for insulin when it’s inside America’s borders and reasonable prices everywhere else.

Greed never makes anyone smarter. It ain’t gonna cure anyone’s ills either.

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.

America’s Love Affair With “Stupid”, Part III: When Democrats Get Stupid, There’s Nothing Stupider…

Not a revelation: smart people are as capable of profound stupidity as the profoundly stupid.

The instant even an Einstein-level genius begins to view the world with limited or diminished perspective, it’s just a matter of time before they turn as deeply, utterly, right-down-to-his-tighty-whities stupid as Texas’ Louie Gohmert — the (certifiably) Stupidest Man In Congress. When discussing “stupid”, it’s important to define one’s terms.

As a “baseline” for stupid — “stupid” we can all agree is 1) genuinely stupid and 2) quantifiably stupid — Louie Gohmert is (in my humble opinion) The Gold Standard. So — when I say Democrats are capable of profound stupidity, I’m saying Democrats have it in them to be stupider than Louie Gohmert — stupider than the stupidest man in Congress.

But, I’m not here just to call people stupid (as much fun as it is). I’m here to explain WHY they’re stupid. I want to help after all. Louie Gohmert is stupid because stupid is baked in to his genetics. In the human gene pool, Louie and his kin are all “floaters” in the shallow end — turds someone squeezed out because they regularly shit where they eat and sleep. Unfortunately for us, it’s now too late to clear out the pool, empty it of floaters, and give it a good scrub before refilling.

Louie epitomizes conservative stupidity. It has zero intellectual curiosity. Everything a Louie-Conservative knows (or needs to know, it says) comes from the bible. Never mind that had that works’ authors (the bible is a compendium of multiple texts written by multiple people then edited and assembled into the form we know now by other multiple people) operated from a very limited knowledge base. They thought everything in the cosmos revolved around the earth (they were wrong). They thought magic caused and cured disease (they were wrong). They thought the whole world and everything in it was right there where they lived — that no other “continents” existed filled with millions of humans with vastly different experiences from theirs (they were wrong about that, too). Louie-Conservatives holds up this religious text as the basis for all history, science and cosmology.

So — a Louie-Conservative will take the genetic stupidity he starts with and add heaps of experiential stupidity. Rather than open his eyes or, better yet, his mind, a Louie-Conservative will dig in his heels, insisting that these ancient texts, like their authors were “divinely inspired”. They were transmitting the literal “words o’ god”. That’s what every author things, stupid

Conservative stupid is because it will do everything in its power to live in the past — and living in the past (say it with me) IS STUPID.

Democrats get stupid in the exact opposite way. In a sense, Democrats get stupid because we so very much want to live in the future. While conservatives long to live in a past where their tribe dominates (everyone in power needs to look and sound just like them), Progressives (Democrats) want to live in a future where no tribe dominates. That’s a terrific ideal but might not be as doable as Progressives think. Certainly not now the way homo sapiens are “configured”.

Democrats want to think the best of people. Because they want the pool to be as diverse as possible, they allow a tremendous amount of variability in terms of who can join the pool. Progress can’t happen any other way. There are inherent risks because people aren’t uniformly good. Some of us are greedy. Some of us are really greedy.

Greed is a whole other kind of stupid. Everyone is capable of greed.

The moment greed-stupidity enters, all bets are off. Greed-stupidity trumps everything and all other stupidity becomes instantly irrelevant. Greed stupidity is the most willful. It will sacrifice everything at the altar of Greed right down to its own future — like Abraham sacrificing his beloved Isaac just because the voice in his head told him to. The Nature of Democrat-Stupid is we’re terrible at recognizing Greed-Stupid.

Democrats get stupid when they give the benefit of the doubt to Greed-Stupid because they can’t adjudge Greed-Stupid’s true motives. Then Democrats get nuts when Greed-Stupid changes the rules — or flat out ignores them — because all Greed-Stupid cares about is holding onto power (and money) — so they can maintain their Conservative-Stupid hold over everyone — the majority of people.

In bending over backwards to be fair, Democrats initiate the process of their own destruction. Stupid, right? The problem? It’s as baked in as a Conservative’s stupidity.

As the French would say, Voila la probleme.

Is there a cure for stupid? It’s a fair question. I’m afraid the answer’s unsatisfying: no. Homo sapiens are incredibly clever. Industrious. We’re great problem-solvers — maybe the best among sentient beings on earth (though we have no way of really knowing — lots of other sentient beings are good at solving problems). But we’re self-destructive in myriad ways — starting with our knack for over-production. There are far, far too many of us on the planet. We’ve destroyed 90% of all the other creatures we’ve encountered. Destroyed them or made their habitat unlivable, take your pick. They disappeared regardless.

We’re facing a massive, genuinely existential crisis caused by our own greed and short-sightedness. But, in part because there are so many of us and because we’re so diverse, it’s impossible for us to collectively help ourselves quickly if at all. And even if we could collectively help ourselves, because variation is baked in — and because so much of that variation is motivated by greed — we’re doomed from the start.

It’s a fact — homo sapiens will be no more durable on this planet than the dinosaurs. We’re just as doomed to distinction. The one big difference? Dinosaurs had no hand in their own destruction. The cosmos did that courtesy of a massive meteor strike.

In our case — we have only ourselves to blame.

Boy, is that stupid.

A Democracy’s Bottom Line Must Be Its Principles – Not Money or Power

Let’s take it a step further: OUR Democracy’s bottom line must be its principles — not money or power.

Let’s frame it correctly though. OUR Democracy’s principles started off un-principled. We cut a deal with slavery.  We accommodated it and it cost us dearly.  We fought a Civil War because we compromised our principles.  We failed at Reconstruction because of it. We failed to even live up to the claim that we’d fixed the problem by amending the Constitution.  Slavery — and the compromises it caused — haunts this country every single day.

So — with that unfortunate caveat (and the additional caveat that we didn’t give women full rights and the vote at the start) — but with the knowledge that we are finally beginning to address slavery (and our institutional misogyny) with the gravity and purpose it deserves (reparations for slavery would be a good start) — our Democracy’s bottom line must be the Enlightenment-age principles that the founders aspired to — updated but not undermined.

There’s a reason why America became a beacon to the rest of the world.  Something happened here that never happened before.  A country was founded not on some dynastic claim but on a set of principles.

That’s the good news but it’s also the bad news.

Principles — as a foundation — are concrete.  But they cannot breathe the same air as Money or Power.  The instant principle gives in to either money or power — the principles die.  Money and Power are that toxic to Principles.

What’s happened here, in America, is: We allowed our already compromised principles to be further compromised. We are living at the mercy of people who claim principle while exercising nothing but power given to them by money.  There’s not a principle in sight.  Hell — there’s not a principle in the same hemisphere.

So — how do we fix this?  CAN we fix this?

I guess that’s our mission going forward — answer that question.  For starters we’re going to have to clean house.  We’re going to have to be brutally honest with ourselves — and why & how we got ourselves into this mess.  Then we’re going to have to be brutally honest about what we can forgive and what we can’t.  The “what we can’t” list is going to be long.  It better be if we really intend to fix this.

Maybe that’s what it will take — brutal honesty with ourselves (individually too; it’s no fair always putting brutal honesty on the shoulders of some abstract “they”).  We got slavery wrong, wrong, wrong.  We need to do everything we can to fix it.. Reparations… killing of the electoral college… Owning up to and sectioning off the deep beam of racism that runs through this country.

Let’s own up to the sexism and misogyny too.  We have to.  It’s a matter of principle, right?

Living by your principles ain’t cheap.  Be warned.  Doing things the right way vs the expedient way is, by its nature, more expensive — in money and in time.  While we may have fewer dollars in our pockets, we’ll be healthier (because regulations will have made our food, air, water safer) and happier (because when more people benefit from our system — even more people will benefit as a result — happiness grows exponentially).  It’s just a fact of Life — nothing is free.  Anything you think is free?  You haven’t seen the hook yet.

When you live by your principles though, you insist on paying what’s fair to get what’s fair. You treat all people equally because all people are equal — so say your principles.

If America can get its bottom line back to where it belongs — away from Republican greed and power-lust — to our Democratic Principles — if we “CAN” — we’ll walk away battered and bruised but a better, stronger, MORE PRINCIPLED Democracy.

I have hope.