Blast from the Past: Andy’s Blog
Andy made be gone, but his writing lives on. Here’s an archive of Andy’s blogs that he posted on the old website. They were either announcements for upcoming TruthToTell episodes or comments on past shows.
Andy’s Blog: The Conservative Knows – Almost Better Than We
Some believe MoveOn and progressives should not be quoting conservative Barry Goldwater, who famously is quoted saying: “I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!”
But, Goldwater is a perfect resource for what could happen to an old conservative who not only moderated as he aged, but actually supported Clinton, I believe. Better that it come from another conservative than some secular lefty like me.
The MoveOn quote is merely a portion of the few choice words Goldwater uttered in reaction to the preponderance of religious influence.
Here’s another: “On religious issues there can be little or no compromise. There is no position on which people are so immovable as their religious beliefs. There is no more powerful ally one can claim in a debate than Jesus Christ, or God, or Allah, or whatever one calls this supreme being. But like any powerful weapon, the use of God’s name on one’s behalf should be used sparingly. The religious factions that are growing throughout our land are not using their religious clout with wisdom.”
This is an old war in every country. Religious zealots have forever believed they should be in charge of the corporal world around them and elsewhere. Not that most of it was a spiritual belief system driving this, but a zealotry of religious overlay on the secular diversity around them. That’s where politics stepped in to create the schism between Christians and Jews, Catholics and Islam, the pope and Henry VIII, the Catholics and Martin Luther (and John Knox and John Calvin, evangelists in their own day), between the Coptics and Rome, between Rome and the Byzantine rites, between Roman orthodoxy and Greek and Russian orthodoxy. The Puritans and other Americans. It’s what the Inquisition was about. Note the dominant presence of Catholicism in that history. Note the domination of evangelism in rightwing politics in this country, yes, but the role of Catholicism in anti-human rights initiatives yet again. Witness the attempted hijacking of Far Eastern/Asian cultures by Spanish and Portuguese Jesuits in the 16th and 17th Century.
Today, it’s Opus One and a plethora of evangelists and archdioceses gamnely attempting to stop human rights in their tracks – especially any human right and proven science associated with sex and marriage.
Human rights = equals freedom FROM religion, not freedom OF religion. Most religious conservatives hate human rights – because it means losing control of the masses to secular humanism – a death knell for religious dominance over irreligious politics.
Andy’s Blog: Is There Such a Thing As Society?
Is There Such a Thing As Society?
By Andy Driscoll
David’s Strom’s paean to Voter ID requirements bears scrutiny of the most probing kind.
“Conservatives” (quotes indicate a lack of sincerity) have this issue with trusting people – and of inclusion. Perhaps that’s normal for the right, but it should never be adopted as public principle in a democracy.
This Hobsian view that everyone but themselves must be a grasping undeserving cheat in the marketplace of ideas and human rights also assumes that no one who is hurting deserves to vote, to be taken care of, or that certain human rights and services should forever be denied those who have offended society by committing crime, for which they’ve already paid dearly, or who can’t afford to pay for life’s necessities entirely out their own pockets.
They see nothing about the Constitution as guaranteeing all citizens the right to vote. Where does this come from? Except a belief that those who should be deprived of that right (an inalienable one, I might add) are those who can’t show a piece of paper proving they are qualified by birth or naturalization or freedom from all offensive behavior to society should never again participate in the most fundamental of our rights? This is hogwash, pure and simple – and the fact that they clearly believe the people they wish to excise from the role of citizen are more likely to vote against their cherished candidates and issues. This may work in other countries. It should never take root here.
Such are also denizens of the segment of this war-torn society of increasing class disparity that insist such basic elements of a civilized nation such as nutritional food, clothing, adequate and reasonably priced health care, clean sources of air to breathe and water to drink and a general freedom to travel and vote are not also basic rights – as well as basic needs.
“Iron Lady” Margaret Thatcher is again quoted in today’s papers as saying “There’s no such thing as society.” That comes about as close as anything to defining the chasm between the far right – the only label I’m willing to put on this nonsensical creed – and our left. The latter assumes (or should) that society as an abstraction, if not a reality, does indeed exist (read that old Constitution again, if you please), and that the fundamental pretext of the concept of society is that we assure each other the well-being of all others – the common welfare. Such provisions inscribed by those nasty lefties that penned our Declaration and Constitution – neither of which is perfect, but both of which, created by compromise, on either end of the political spectrum are wont to cite as the basis for their beliefs. It remains a basic tenet of democracy, which holds no truck, in principle, with elitism masquerading as stewardship.
The common welfare – or the commons, in short – is a mandate of this nation’s founding – and to suggest that anyone should be deprived of exercising the fundamental franchise – the vote – granted all of us by our citizenship, therefore a voice in the governance of our public institutions – is to invoke the worst form of dictatorship and class war.
Shame on all those who would deny the vote to anyone – and I include inmates and those having served their terms, let alone the masses who have no driver’s licenses and other forms of intrusive identification requirements. Voter ID – is based on racism and classicism – its own class war, if you will – pure and simple – because not a shred of evidence exists to justify denying any citizen the franchise – including the necessity of IDs in other, less Constitutionally mandated uses for commerce and security.
Andy Driscoll: ObamaCare Has History on Its Side
Employer-provided healthcare, in its true light, should long ago have been seen for what it was: a stopgap measure to ensure wartime factory workers coverage to prevent war-profiteering by corporations whose largesse derived directly from government contracts to produce tanks, jeeps, armaments, etc., produced mostly by Rosie the Riveter…women employed to replace the men sent to the battlefields and war ships.
Insurance companies had a premium holiday because they could profit handsomely from certain percentages of those defense contracts to provide the coverages required by them.
After the war, instead of finding a way to maintain those coverages on such a massive, government-funded scale, employer-provided healthcare moved into a permanent group policy culture that kept premiums and profits flowing to the private insurers, thus allowing a continually evolving insurance industry to remain in the business of denying coverage for pre-existing conditions and specific procedures. In other words, the money drove the development of actual health care based on what insurance companies said they’d pay for.
Moreover, a worker’s insurance stopped cold if he or she changed jobs, then often having to wait six months, at least, before her/his new employer’s policy would cover then. More profits.
Never mind how onerous this was to a society’s contract with its citizens to provide a life without fear of losing their healthcare when they contacted an illness or changed their workplaces. And if they were unemployed? Too bad. Nothing. At least, nothing until they qualified for welfare or General Assistance Medical Care (Medicaid in Minnesota). Destitute is what you’d have to be to qualify for governmental medical assistance.
Now the system grew like Topsy, based on fee-for-service reimbursements that ignored the benefits of preventative care and a system of health insurance covering everyone – universal care.
For more than 70 years this has been expanding exponentially with every special interest growing rich off the system that spent most of its time and money denying coverages for people sick and dying without it. For what is profitability if not minimizing expenses, and that is what insurers found easiest to do – by not doing what they were designed to do – paying for health care individuals could not individually afford.
Any wonder why, finally, 70-80% of health care providers – including well-heeled physicians – want out of the fee-for-service system and into some sort of single-payer system where payment for insuring everyone are also guaranteed and the job of paying for health care becomes a right instead of a privilege reserved for those most able to afford it? Also, docs and others have increasingly watched how preventive care actually improves patient care, increases income and reduces trauma.
Any wonder why the massively powerful health insurers and Big Pharma are fighting such a shift tooth and nail, thus buying off the political establishment to prevent such a rational approach from becoming law?
And any wonder why, despite the power and money behind those blocking efforts, rebellion is in the wind? The Occupy movement includes this issue, along with its many other legitimate beefs about the rip-off of society and its least advantaged residents by the controlling corporate culture in the United States.
That Forbes Magazine’s essay on the latest rulemaking by HHS around the ObamaCare law (I like the term ObamaCare – to be adopted like the GLBT community has adopted the term, “Queer” as its own) is really not a warning but a fist-in-the-air “yes” for the requirement that insurers pay out between 80 and 85% of premiums back into real health care/medical costs – not profits, and not expenses in the course of doing business.
For the author, Rick Ungar, the rules are the next step toward a single-payer system, and for Ungar and many of us – it cannot come soon enough. Amen.
Andy’s Blog: CABLE ACCESS: Media Whipping Child? – The Long Background
ANDY DRISCOLL: THE SHOCK DOCTRINE OF BUDGET-MAKING
One in four US hackers ‘is an FBI informer’ The FBI and US secret service have used the threat of prison to create an army of in