Blame and Responsibility

In general, I find blame to be a pretty useless category. Assigning blame seldom moves a discussion or a relationship ahead. It simply closes doors.

When we think of responsibility, however, we can easily ask, Who is responsible for the next step in the right direction?

I’m afraid Trump and the Republicans have been making it very difficult for me to avoid thinking in terms of blame. Just when I think I cannot stand being so negative any longer, they do or say something which seems completely inexcusable and I get suckered back into blame.

A large part of the problem for me is that it seems to me they have worked themselves into an inescapable corner and I cannot see the way out for them. I cannot see who is responsible for doing what. The party and their leader, so far as I am able to see, are so hopelessly entangled in a huge series of falsehoods and perfectly terrible values that I simply see no hope for them.

Trapped as I am for the time being in blaming, I need to be very clear about one thing. I do not believe Trump or the Republicans bear the deepest share of the blame. I believe the church is to blame, especially the very conservative church which has lost the ability to distinguish between conservative theology and conservative politics. It is beyond my ability to comprehend how a person can claim to love Jesus yet approve of being led by a person who — to me — so very obviously exemplifies the spirit of the AntiChrist.

To point out just one example of the failure of the church, let me mention earthkeeping. In Genesis we are told that God created the heavens and the earth, then created us in his own image and entrusted the earth to our dominion or rule.

The obvious principle here is that we are to treat the earth as does the Lord because we are to be like him. What is the godly (shorthand for “God-like”) way to treat the earth? First lesson: In the beginning the earth was chaos and God brought order (Genesis 1). Second lesson: All was harmonious (Genesis 2) until the disruption brought by humankind (Genesis 3). Third lesson: God is moving us toward the day when the lion and the lamb will again be in harmony (Isaiah 11 and 65).

Biblical Christians, it seems, are most in harmony with God when they are participating in this movement from chaos to harmony and are quite out of tune with him when they are disruptive of earthly harmony. Denying climate change, burning more fossil fuels (especially coal), allowing the irresponsible dumping of toxic materials into our streams — all of these strike me as being directly opposed to our biblical responsibilities as caretakers on the planet which the Creator entrusted to our care without granting us permission to abuse it all we like in the name of greed and selfishness.

Let me say again what I’ve said often before: I believe Ronald Reagan was as bad as any president we have had since the Civil War. He deregulated our business/finance world and we’ve been in chaos ever since. And he almost completely stopped our progress toward renewable energy and we’ve been in chaos ever since. And the conservative Christians love his memory!

So I believe the greatest blame rests with us Christians for failing to be a biblical people. But — at last something positive! — I also believe that, because of the grace and the power of God, we can be and are responsible for calling humankind back to love and joy and peace, to good stewardship of the earth, and to choosing leaders who reflect Christlikeness of character, such as integrity, compassion, justice and equality.

Let’s get to work! Quickly!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump is Ethically Inept

The USA, which ranks 63rd in a list of 120 countries on a scale of degree of nepotism, has strong laws against the practice of leaders appointing their own family members to positions of influence and power. It is clear that our intention is to stay far away from the danger of our leaders favoring family over country.

Two of Trump’s senior advisors are Jared and Ivanka Trump Kushner.It is by any measure a clear violation of the express intent of our laws against nepotism. True to his oft-proven insensitivity to ethical issues, Trump seems to think that he can evade the law by not paying his daughter and son in law a salary. He measures everything by money because he is incapable of thinking in ethical terms.

Among many problems created by Trump’s lack of ethics in the=is matter is the troublesome fact that we the people have no way to hold “volunteers” accountable for their work. Such “unpaid” nepotism is nothing more than an evasion of responsibility, something which is a common tool used by Trump, who is entirely devoid of any sense of personal responsibility for his own words and decisions.

How low we have sunk as a people!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Republican Misunderstanding of Insurance

Listening to the arguments by conservatives about health insurance has convinced me that they simply don’t comprehend the nature of insurance. Let me repeat the definition I gave yesterday: Insurance companies run a legitimate business overcharging healthy people in order to make a profit and pay the medical expenses of unhealthy people. Can anyone point out a flaw in my thinking here?

And one of the most important implications is that the larger the pool of insured healthy people, the less the insurance companies will have to overcharge each one. Therefore, the most fair insurance plan is the one with the largest pool of insured healthy people. And that in turn means national health care is the most fair system we can create.

Republicans apparently don’t like that idea, however inescapably true it might be. They want each individual to have an insurance plan tailor-made for his or her individual situation, thus drastically reducing the pool and dramatically raising the cost of premiums.

To give an example: It is not fair, they say, that a male must pay for maternity costs. But if only women pay, it will cost them twice a much as it would if the other half of the population, the males, share the expense. Maybe some men, without excuse, don’t want to share the cost for maternity expenses because they are women’s responsibilities. Do we really want to live in a society in which men are so selfish and so blind to the obvious fact that they have made an essential contribution to the woman’s pregnancy? Do we want to help people be so selfish and ignorant?

Pregnancy costs the woman a great deal more than it does the man but, since we all benefit from the birth of babies, shouldn’t the men therefore at least shoulder more of the financial responsibility? And isn’t insurance with a very large pool of participants the most fair way to do that?

Please, someone, tell me where my logic goes astray here. Tell me the Republican division of the insurance pools into groups as small as possible makes sense.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Government-run Healthcare

Tom DeLay, long time member of the House who was run out of the House in 2005 for being a crook, has weighed in the the health care debate. Like all conservatives, he is blindly opposed to the government. In an interview with NPR, DeLay said, “This whole notion that the government can run a health insurance is doomed to failure in the first place.”

As a person who is alive because of Medicare, I find myself wondering whether he has any hint of a clue about the subject.

Can someone give me some evidence that Medicare proves the government should stay out of health care?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Opposing Obamacare

Opponents of Obamacare look more and more foolish every day. They stumble and bumble their way through arguments that are totally nonsensical.

One fellow engaged in a lengthy exchange of notes on Facebook the other day, arguing that families should pay their own medical expenses out of pocket or with private insurance. It is not fair, he insisted, that Obamacare depends on healthy people footing the bill for people who actually needed medical care.

Hmm, he advocated families using insurance but opposed Obamacare because it depends on the support of healthy people. Obviously, the fellow’s vision is marred by two huge blind spots.

One, he is healthy now because he is young. There will come a day when he is no longer young and the chances are very good that his expenses will be grossly beyond what he can now imagine.

Two, more importantly, it is clear he hasn’t a clue what insurance is. Insurance companies run a legitimate business collecting money from healthy people in order to make a profit and pay the medical bills of those who are not healthy.

It is obvious, so obvious that no honest person can miss it, that the most fair insurance plan is the one with the largest pool of healthy people to spread the cost. And that in my book is the only argument needed to demonstrate the need for national health insurance. Anything less is unfair.

Two facets of the current situation do need to be corrected. One, insurance companies are making unimaginably huge profits and are thus major contributors to the ridiculous costs of health care in America. Two, pharmaceutical companies are also making huge, absurd profits.

The Republicans must stop coddling the wealthy or we’ll never fight our way out of the mess called health care in America.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Addicted to Lies

If there is anything clear about the character of Trump it is that he suffers from a serious addiction to lies. The House has 237 Republicans and 197 Democrats. Those Democrats were not in on any of the discussions leading to Ryan’s proposed health care act and were even excluded from seeing it until just over a week ago.

Let’s see, the Republicans have a 4o seat advantage over the Democrats, so if the bill fails — which it did — then obviously it is the fault of the Democrats. Or so says Trump. Spin doctors know that to have any credibility at all, their twists of the truth must retain some slight connection to reality. Trump, however, is not a spin doctor but a Swamp Master. What he says usually bears no connection whatsoever with the truth.

An addiction to lying is clearly a sign of a perverted character. That is perfectly obvious yet — to my great dismay — there are people who claim to be followers of Jesus Christ who also cheer for Trump. If there is any American who partakes of the character of the AntiChrist, it certainly is Trump. Something is wrong with this picture. . .

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Defeating the Swamp Master

I like what David Brooks wrote in the NY Times on Friday:

The core Republican problem is this: The Republicans can’t run policy-making from the White House because they have a marketing guy in charge of the factory. But they can’t run policy from Capitol Hill because it’s visionless and internally divided. So the Republicans have the politics driving the substance, not the other way around. The new elite is worse than the old elite — and certainly more vapid.

Well put!  A president who is nothing more than a salesman is of no help in governing because he does not care what he is selling. In fact, there is no evidence that he even knows what was in Ryan’s plan. And Capitol Hill has nothing to contribute because, after all these years, they are still engaged in the preliminary work of seeking cohesion in their party.

It is amazing that the Republicans have had all these years since Hillary tried to reform healthcare in the mid-90s, yet they are just now getting started on creating a Republican plan. I cannot imagine any possible kind of excuse for such gross irresponsibility.

Clearly, the election of a new Swamp Master has been of no value for the Republicans. And if he is not good for the Republicans, how much worse is he for Americans as a whole?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment