I became insane with long intervals of horrible sanity.
Edgar Allen Poe
The trouble with fighting for human freedom is that one spends most of one's time defending scoundrels. For it is against scoundrels that oppressive laws are first aimed, and oppression must be stopped at the beginning if it is to be stopped at all.
- H. L. Mencken
Many people would sooner die than think; In fact, they do so
What I have been telling you, from alpha to omega, what is the one great thing the sigil taught me — that everything in life is miraculous. For the sigil taught me that it rests within the power of each of us to awaken at will from a dragging nightmare of life made up of unimportant tasks and tedious useless little habits, to see life as it really is, and to rejoice in its exquisite wonderfulness. If the sigil were proved to be the top of a tomato-can, it would not alter that big fact, nor my fixed faith. No Harrowby, the common names we call things by do not matter — except to show how very dull we are ...
-James Branch Cabell
July 28, 2017 - 11:15 a.m.
I can see again! That makes it much easier to write. I'm listening to Moxy Früvous as I write; the first time I've done that in over five years. It might be a decade. My friends are great and I'm replacing my long-lost album collection. I started with Bargainville. This is some weird edition of the album, the lyrics of The Drinking Song are wrong. It's supposed to go:
And the band played on,Don't look at me like that. You had to be there. Don't ask where there was. The dark corner of my mind is a place for only the bravest of souls.
I didn't leave the house again yesterday. Good thing I have not heard live music in I don't know how long. I think it's over a week! At least close to that. I'm making up for it with three days of music in a row; tonight, Andrew Bird and Esperanza Spalding, tomorrow. Jean Rohe, and Sunday the Common Ground Porch Jam with Abbie Gardner, David Massengill, the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival House Band (Radoslav Lorkovic, Eric Lee and Mark Dann), as well as Emily Mure and Letitia VanSant. Next week is Falcon Ridge. I'll be making up for lost time.
Thanks to John McCain the Republican "We'll call it a health bill but we don't really know what it will do bill" failed last night. Most of the senators that voted for it were against it. The idea was to just pass something they could send back to the House and then make believe they can make it work in conference. The emphasis on the coverage of this has been misplaced. The ACA was a carefully built device with many moving parts all of which were necessary to make it work. I like any complicated machine it could be improved, it needed fine tuning, but the basic outline could not be modified. It would have to be replaced by something totally different. The alternatives were going back to what we had before with tens of millions of people not covered and many others without adequate coverage, or the misnamed "single payer" which is just a shorthand for a plethora of systems, most of which have more than one payer but that are truly universal.
The GOP was never going to accept the latter and the public was never going to accept the former so what the GOP did for years is lie about the ACA being a disaster that wouldn't work. Then Trump came along and told a different lie, that the people can get all the coverage they gained under the ACA without any of the costs. When Obama was president they GOP could pass whatever they wanted, knowing it would never become law so nobody would look that closely at it. Once they controlled congress and the White House they could do something, but it was something that the people hated. They could lower taxes for the rich and gut benefits for the poor but not fulfill Trump's promise. This was always the underlying problem, that they were attempting to do the impossible and hide what they were doing from the people. They came damn close and it isn't over yet. It won't be over till they are out of power.
We love blaming the politicians but in the end, we live in a democracy and the problem lies with the voters. Yeah, I know the voters didn't pick Trump but that's because of the stupid electoral college. It's like losing a game because the pine tar was too high on George Brett's bat. The voters are still the problem. They prefer pleasant lies to harsh truths and will reward those that make them.
There is so much discussion on winning over the less educated white male voters. Most of what's suggested involves lying to them. The truth is that the manufacturing jobs are not coming back any more than we are going to go back to an economy when 90% of the workers were farmers. Protectionism is not going to bring it back. It isn't the fault of trade deals. The world has changed. There are no reasons for some cities and towns to exist, at least at their current size. They were placed there to take advantage of natural resources that are no longer being used. Pittsburgh reinvented itself because Andrew Carnegie and Andrew Carnegie took some of their wealth and invested it in education so Pittsburgh could develop a knowledge-based, not steel-based economy. But that didn't save the jobs of steel workers.
We can certainly do more to help working class whites but it involves changes that frighten them; it's leaping into the unknown, so they listen to lies. It's not because they are don't have college degrees. Wealthy educated people think that taxes can always be lowered without reducing government services. I've heard progressives think that we'd get a "single payer" system that will cover more than is covered in Europe and it will be easy and I even heard people say it would cost only $500 a year. We can do it but it will be hard. There will be sacrifices. Things don't come for nothing but the lies are more pleasant to believe.
Everything has a cost but people will listen to those that tell them it won't cost them. It might cost other people but not them. Politicians that tell the truth are derided for being uninspiring. Those that lie are rewarded. We decry lying about having an affair but lying about how you will govern is acceptable. I don't know how to change that but we must. The one thing I will do is call people on their lies and praise those willing to tell the inconvenient truths.
Brother Brothers in Arms - October 01, 2017
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