Saturday, July 28, 2018

Trump's choice

Does he really think that the evidence doesn’t support ongoing Russian interference (ongoing is the key word)?  If yes, he should commit to combatting it, if no, he should say that the while intelligence community is full of baloney instead of pretend to respect it. He can't have it both ways. 

A Day in the Life of Joe Republican

A redated post.

This post is dedicated to the memory of David Baur, a friend of mine whom I recently discovered died of a heart attack last August. He sent me this during the 2004 election campaign.


Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water to prepare his morning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum water-quality standards.

With his first swallow of water, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to take because some stupid commie liberal fought to ensure their safety and that they work as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought their employers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too.

He prepares his morning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry.

In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properly labeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on his body and how much it contained.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wacko liberal fought for the laws to stop industries from polluting our air.

He walks to the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saves him considerable money in parking and transportation fees because some fancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which gives everyone the opportunity to be a contributor.

Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medical benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberal union members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employer pays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees to call the union.

If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll get a worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some bills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruined the banking system before the Great Depression.

Joe has to pay his Fannie Mae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan because some elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better off if he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe is home from work. He plans to visit his father this evening at his farm home in the country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safest in the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safety standards.

He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation to live in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankers didn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong and demanded rural electrification.

He is happy to see his father, who is now retired. His father lives on Social Security and a union pension because some wine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himself so Joe wouldn't have to.

Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, and turns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals are bad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the beloved Republicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoys throughout his day.

Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-government liberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believes everyone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

* written by Donna L. Lavins and Sheldon Cotler.

Is this a pro-life alternative to eliminating choice?


Friday, July 27, 2018

What is the great bias of the mainstream news media? Patriotism?

The  textbook I use for critical thinking (I didn't pick it) thinks that the most significant way in which the media is biased is not its partisan bias, which, of course differs from outlet to outlet, but rather its nationalistic bias. Our press is biased in favor of America and its allies, and not fair to opponents of America, like Cuba, North Korea, and Iran. In other words, mainstream news outlets in America, liberal or conservative, suffer from a patriotic bias. 

What do you think?

This kind of reminds me of the Outsider Test for Faith applied to whether America is a good nation or not. According to this line of reasoning, whether you think America, or Saudi Arabia, or Germany, or North Korea is a great nation depends on accident of birth. Therefore, in dealing with this question you must abandon any prior convictions and accept only those beliefs in this area supported by hard, scientific evidence. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Debates about socialism vs. capitalism

It seems most of these, so far as I can see, founder on definition. If, in order to have socialism, you have to have state control of all the means of production, the case for it gets difficult. If on the other hand, you think that any increase in government involvement in the economic system is "socialism," then such "socialism" is far easier to defend. What we now call Medicare was attacked by Ronald Reagan in the ads he did for the American Medical Association as socialized medicine. I am sure Social Security was called Socialist Security by its foes. Obamacare regulated the insurance industry more it had been regulated before and is often called socialistic. But I have an Obamacare-based health plan, and every month I make a premium payment to one of those money-grubbing, capitalist, profit-making corporations, corporations whose very existence would be illegal in countries that have truly socialized medicine.

What was the death toll of the Spanish Inquisition?

Apparently, if you do the math, about 1250.

Monday, July 16, 2018

A crime against America

 It's very simple. Our government intelligence agencies are unanimous in saying that a massive crime was committed against the United States electoral system. Out intelligence community further says that this will continue in 2018 and 2020. OK, no dead bodies such as in 9/11, but our very system of government is threatened. The Russians hacked into voter rolls in 2016. If they can hack into voter rolls this time, they can wipe thousands of names off the voter rolls next time so that when you try to go vote, they are going to tell you that you weren't registered, so you have to fill out a provisional ballot, and if we happen to find your name in our system, your vote will count. No matter who it benefits, it's totally wrong. Trump stood on stage with the chief perpetrator, our enemy, and said that since he vigorously denied it, that has to be taken at least as seriously as the work of our own Justice Department. O. J. Simpson says he didn't do it, too. This is not about liberalism and conservatism. Let me repeat: This is not about liberalism and conservatism. Both senators form my home state of Arizona have vehemently condemned Trump's performance today as disgraceful. They are conservatives with the conscience of a conservative. Conservatives used to be the first to stand up for our national defense, and Ronald Reagan once told Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall. If you want to point to something Obama did you think is just as bad, well, Obama is out of office and can't be impeached, and last I checked, two wrong do not make a right.

The biggest mistake you can make is making issues concerning Donald Trump all about liberalism and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats, Left and Right. 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Monday, July 09, 2018

Socialism is not a sexually transmitted disease

 I never got a full-time tenure-track teaching job, so I spent most of the last 26 years cobbling together adjunct teaching jobs and other part-time work. I worked as hard as anyone else, but I never got insurance except for one semester when I got a temporary full-time position. I was diagnosed with chronic ulcerative colitis at the age of 23, so individual health insurance companies wouldn't touch me with a ten foot pole. Finally, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, I got insured in 2014, and since then I have had three surgeries, the last to prevent cancer. Under good old fashioned capitalism I would have had to wait until I actually got colon cancer before my condition would have been considered a sufficient emergency for my operation to be paid for. After that surgery I was in the hospital for three weeks watching the debate over the attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, after the ACA, arguably, had just saved my life. The legislation, supported by Trump, would have cost me my health insurance for 2018.

 Socialism? It is not a sexually transmitted disease. We are all socialists when it comes to our military, our police, and our fire department. Not so much, maybe, for cars and houses. People should earn a living and work hard. But I don't see that moving in a socialist direction on medicine in any way undermines the work ethic, which seems to be the great fear with socialism. Now it could be that for others the ACA has done harm. Maybe I am thinking selfishly here, and it would be better for the American people in general not to have laws allowing me to get health insurance in spite of a pre-existing condition. Maybe I didn't deserve health insurance, since I didn't earn a place with an employer who would provide insurance for me. Maybe someone could have told me when I was 18 not to get ulcerative colitis. As they say, "don't get sick." But I say, "Thank you, President Obama."

And, by the way, what does "repeal and replace Obamacare" even. You don't replace something if the basic idea is rotten to the core, you just get rid of it. 

Sunday, July 01, 2018