Always Wrong Conservatives?

I used to say conservatives are always wrong.  It’s a nice little inflammatory line that enjoys the advantage of making conservative heads explode and – truth be told – is rather easily defended.  But over time I’ve realized it’s not correct or, rather, it’s not complete.  In order to be completely correct, it needs two more words so from now on, my new phrase is: conservatives are always wrong for civilization.

It’s a small but important distinction.  I mean, sure, you can have a society in which the wealthy and powerful are allowed – encouraged, even – to use their inherent advantages to prey on the weak and defenseless.  But you can’t have a civilized society in which the wealthy and powerful use their inherent advantages to prey on the weak and defenseless – at least not for long.

You can have a society in which everyone is armed to the teeth and willing to shoot the nearest likewise armed person at the merest perceived insult.  But it won’t be a civilized society.

You can continue to oppress various groups into desperation and beyond – all the while blaming the victims for being victims.  But they’re not going to go gently into that good night and in their desperation, they’re going to disrupt civilization.

You want a society of uneducated, illiterate drones?  Why, you can have that, too, by simply de-funding public education and setting up teachers to fail.  But that’s not civilization.

You can live in a world where pharmaceutical manufacturers wave life-saving medications in front of a dying man and ask “NOW how much would you pay?” But that’s not civilized, either.

As it happens, ALL of those are examples of conservative dogmas promoted in America today.  Each of them can be found in various places throughout history. We’ve seen the results of wealthy people preying on the poor all the while blaming them for being poor.  We called it “fiefdom” and, later, “slavery”.  It took a war to stop it.  Arm everyone to the teeth?  That sounds like the Old West and was addressed, by the way, by men like Wyatt Earp – who solved the problem by passing ordinances taking people’s guns away.  You prefer uneducated illiterates?  Why, we called that ‘the Dark Ages’.

Yet conservatives continue to support these ideas as somehow suddenly credible…because conservatives are always wrong, you know…for civilization

Media – Conservative, Liberal, or Just Corporate?

I hear much talk about the “liberal media” (often pronounced “librul”) and the “conservative media”.  I’m here to say there’s no such thing.  What we suffer in this once-great nation is corporate media.  To be sure, corporate media targets it’s message (or lack of information, depending) through various outlets towards liberals or conservatives but the thing it has in common regardless of intended audience is that it protects corporations.

Corporate media works to deceive all Americans.  I’m fond of saying corporate media deceives conservatives on facts and liberals on intent.  What I mean is, conservatives believe (and they actually believe) that the economy crashed because the big, bad “gubment” forced poor, defenseless banksters to make bad loans.  They believe it because that’s what they were told by sources they trust.  Many of them can cite – in detail – various segments of the Affordable Housing Act as evidence of government malfeasance.

Perhaps a little background is needed.  The government kept receiving complaints from minority borrowers that loans for which they applied were being rejected even though the borrowers were certain they qualified for the loans.  As it happens, they were correct so Congress critters sat down and wrote a law.  The idea of the law was to “encourage” (read: “force”) banks to make more loans to minority borrowers.  The legislation included a cudgel: the government was going to review the banksters portfolios and if the number of funded loans didn’t include a certain percentage of loans to minorities, punishment would be swift and sure…

That’s what conservatives will tell you.  That’s the information they have.  Hmm, whaddaya know?  The government DID pass a law requiring banks to lend more to minorities.  But it wasn’t “no matter what”.  There’s a piece missing.  The part conservative serving corporate media leaves out is this:  “…consistent with sound lending practices”.

Five words but they make all the difference.  If conservative serving corporate media includes the phrase, the entire conservative position is undermined.  They’d be left to argue that making loans to borrowers who can’t pay them back based on falsified documentation qualifies as a “sound lending practice”.  Good luck.  See?  Conservatives deceived on facts…

For their part, liberals actually believed the government would do something to address the problem that would benefit the victims of the bankster’s fraud.  They believed it because liberal serving corporate media told them the government would do something to address the problem that would benefit the victims of the bankster’s fraud…if only Americans elect the “right“, er…I guess, correct candidate.

Well, we (liberals) did elect the guy who said he would help, the guy who promised us “change” and “hope”.  Of course, he didn’t.  See?  Liberals deceived on intent…

You know who benefited?  The corporate banksters and Wall Street.  They made a LOT of money while they were inflating the bubble.  They made a LOT of money after the bubble burst.  They are making a LOT of money re-inflating the bubble right now and they’ll continue to profit after THIS bubble bursts, too.  (Because the guy who made the promises hasn’t even done anything to change the corporate environment that encouraged the fraud in the first place…)

And all the while, corporate media makes money playing cheerleader for the banksters by deceiving conservatives on facts and liberals on intent.  I wonder how long Americans will stand for it?

How Do Half-Measures Help?

No final bill, yet, I know.  But the more I look at what Congress is doing, the more I fear the net end result is that I’ll be an “outlaw”.  It seems the ONE thing the Congress critters have agree upon is that we need a law that requires people to buy health insurance.

It’s classic wrong-headed thinking.  Our so-called “representatives” seem to believe that people wouldn’t pursue health care unless they’re forced to.  MY problem is that all of my discretionary income is used up on “housing” and “food”…

Think of me as a drowning man, going down for the third time.  I can pay my bills…unless anything goes wrong.  Anything at all.  That includes a shiny new mandate about where I’m legally allowed (or required) to spend my money.  If I pay my PG&E, I can stay warm, forestall pneumonia, and avoid a need for health care.  If I pay my newly minted health care bill, I can’t stay warm.

So, I’ll be warm and take the same chance I’ve been taking for ten years, now.  (Hell, why SHOULDN’T a guy approaching 50 have confidence in continued robust health?  I mean, what could go wrong?)  But here’s where such a law would help: if I DO get sick and go to an emergency room, they’ll have a basis to deny me services: failure to comply with national health care laws…

Apparently, both measures currently include some form of government health insurance.  The Senate lets states “opt out”.  I don’t so much mind the “opt out” bit.  I don’t really think any states will opt out.  Oh, one or two might, just for show, but they’ll “opt right back in” just as soon as their constituents are done with them.  (Remember how all those “red” states who screamed about “stimulus money” nevertheless accepted “stimulus money”?)

It’s looking like the final product will also leave somewhere between 12 and 16 million people without coverage, too.  Oh, and both plans include a “phasing in” process so NONE of this stuff happens now.  Hell, the current House measure won’t be fully implemented until 2019!  Sarah will be nearly finished with her second term by then and righties will have had MORE than enough time to convince Americans “it doesn’t work”.  (And, really, because of these half-measures, it won’t…)

Some people are willing to accept “baby steps” or half-measures.  The concept is the ‘foot-in-the-door’ theory.  “Just get a bill…any bill.  We can tweak it later.”  So the Dems accept nearly any compromise, counting on the “tweak it later” part.  Repugs push for every concession, knowing the weaker the bill is now, the easier it will be to kill later.

Again, I acknowledge there is no final bill yet.  We’ve heard all kinds of scary stories about what it will and won’t do or how such-and-so provision is “dead” only to see it resurrected (or never dead in the first place…)  So it’s best to wait until we see the actual contents of the actual bill Congress sends to Obama’s desk.  But through it all, I can’t help but remember: all they had to do was expand Medicare…

It’s The Abuse, Stupid…

This is from the BBC.  It’s the first and last paragraph from the article, ‘Gates blocks abuse photos release’, dated 15 November, 2009.

“The US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has blocked the publication of further images of US soldiers abusing foreign detainees…

…He said then that the release of such images would be “of no benefit” and might inflame opinion against the US.”

Gee, ya think? It’s too bad the Empire is unable to produce photos of the “detainees” being treated well and in accordance with US and international law…

Gates is mired in this classic “rightie” thinking, though.  See, it’s not the abuse that causes the problems.  It’s the photos of the abuse.  Personally?  I would have preferred to live in a country that believed in it’s own principals enough simply to live them and trust the example to be inviting to others…