Death By Snoring

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My sleep study wasn’t all fun and games….in fact…

Not all people who snore have sleep apnea, a stoppage of breathing during sleep, but most, if not all, people who have sleep apnea, snore. The problem is that if a person has sleep apnea, they are likely dying a slow death.

I have snored for most of my adult life, and I’ve known it was bad. What I didn’t understand was that my snoring was a sign of sleep apnea, and it has affected the quality of my life. Left untreated, sleep apnea acts almost like a disease that nibbles away at a person’s health, until the body systems began to fail.

A sleep study, involving sleeping in a lab where I was observed all night, revealed that my breathing stopped 82 times…in one hour. In addition, my oxygen levels dropped below acceptable levels.

What that means is that the following health issues may have been caused by, or exacerbated by my sleep apnea:

Stroke:  Five and a half years ago sleep apnea may have contributed to, or caused my Wallenberg stroke.

Fatigue:  My sleep apnea likely has kept me from obtain quality sleep every night, and led to a near constant state of fatigue.

Overweight:  Most of my life I have been able to eat almost anything and not gain weight; however, in the past twenty years, my weight has soared, and now I am almost sixty pounds over my recommended weight. While aging is a factor, sleep apnea, and the resulting fatigue is likely contributing to the issue.

High Blood Pressure:  Sleep apnea is linked to high blood pressure, and my blood pressure has gone from borderline high to blood pressure that requires treatment with medication.

Brain Atrophy:  After my stroke I had a MRI scan of my brain. The neurosurgeon wrote that I had brain atrophy, but he linked it to normal aging. Now I question the role sleep apnea has played in the shrinkage of my brain.

Depression:  I have had issues with mild depression since my stroke. I believe most of the depression is linked to the frustrations with lingering effects of the stroke. Sleep apnea may be a primary cause of those issues, and/or it has had an effect on my overall sense of wellbeing.

Difficulty Exercising:  I often become light-headed and mildly dizzy when a begin to exercise. Even a simple walk can generate the symptoms. If my brain is starved for oxygen at night, it might be establishing a deficit during the day that leads to a lack of oxygen for exercise.

Concentration:  In the past few years I have written less. It is possible that sleep apnea has made it difficult to concentrate.

It is unclear how much sleep apnea has contributed to my health issues, as aging also contributes to many of the above symptoms; however, it is almost impossible to establish natural aging issues from issues caused by sleep apnea. It may take months for me to feel a difference using a machine to maintain an open airway at night.

Still, starving the brain and body of oxygen every night is going to cause damage over the long term. If left untreated, I won’t die of sleep apnea, but I will die of what sleep apnea does to my brain and body.

My Four Fathers

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(To understand the background of this story see, Familius Interruptus, the explanation of how I learned through a DNA test that my father was not my father, and that my mother had an affair with another man known to our family.)

I had four fathers. Two of my fathers were real, tangible people. Both were good men and both were good fathers. One of my fathers was my biological father. I knew of him, and people have told me about him, but I never really knew him. He died when I was five years old.

One of my fathers was my man listed on my birth certificate. He was the man I always knew to be my Dad. He raised me and until a few months ago, I was led to believe he was my real father.

But I have two other fathers. They are the two men who I never got to know. They are ghosts of my past. They are the relationships I should have had with both my biological father, and my Dad, but were kept from me in a shroud of secrecy, rumors, and shame.

My Biological Father
My knowledge of my biological father is limited. He was a business owner in Craig, a small northwestern Colorado town. Based on everything I can gather, he was an amazing entrepreneur, creating and maintaining a business in a market that was too small, and too poor for the quality and experience his company offered.

My biological father

I have never heard anyone speak a negative word about my real father. His tragic death when I was only five, kept me from having any kind of relationship with him, and the shroud of secrecy that was maintained prevented me from interacting with the people who really knew him. 

It is ironic and poetic that it is the next generation of my biological family that reached out to me after a DNA test proved the link between myself and their family. It was their actions that brought clarity and truth to my family history, and I am grateful.

I regret not knowing my real father and being able to know him as my father. I also am saddened to think of his sons and their mother. His death occurred when his sons were young adults. From what I know of my real father, he would have been proud of who they became, and of their achievements with their families, their work, and their church. My lack of a relationship with my real father pales in comparison to their loss.

My Dad
The man who raised me worked hard all his life. He was often up on Mondays before five in the morning and on the road to the job site, over an hour away. He often stayed at the job site during the week, living out of a camping trailer. He operated heavy equipment, and as a child the words, Cat, Maintainer, and Scraper described the three types of heavy equipment that my father used to build roads and reservoirs.

My Dad, and my Mother

I was the youngest of four sons to my Dad. I remember going with my family to see my oldest brother play high school basketball, my next oldest brother play high school football, but I don’t remember my Dad going see my next to youngest brother in plays, nor do I remember him coming to any of my school events. I suspect that when I was a child, my Dad was at the job site when our events were happening.

If my Dad knew, or suspected that I was not his son, I was not aware of it. I have indications that my mother and he had a strange marriage, but as a child, I had nothing to compare their relationship with, nor did I have any reference to compare my relationship with my parents. In hindsight, I knew I was not the child that my parents beamed with pride over, but I attributed it to being the last of four boys.

The Kiser brothers and me (on left)

My mother posted an October 1968, Erma Bombeck column on our family scrapboard about the Caboose Child that was ‘planned about as well as a headache.’ At the time, I had no idea that my mother was probably well aware of who my real father was, but I didn’t understand the statement she was probably making when she posted this single article on the scrapboard.

I suspect my father also knew, and that is part of the story that is amazing and tragic. Most people would shun the bastard child, but to my knowledge, he didn’t. Our relationship wasn’t close, but he could have justifiably shunned me, and he didn’t.

That is the Dad I didn’t get to know. The man who probably knew I was not his child, but raised me anyway. Regardless of what happened one day in March of 1957, he chose to be my Dad. I wish that before his death, I could have expressed my appreciation for living with the knowledge that few men would have had the character to move beyond.

My Dad wasn’t a perfect father, but he was a father to me, when he could have rejected me. I had a relationship with my Dad that I knew, and I wish I could have had a relationship with the part of my Dad who had to deal with the reality that I was as a son of another man.

I am too late, but I want to express gratitude to my fathers, and wish them a belated Happy Father’s Day.

Job Killing: The Republican Prime Directive

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There may be no political party in the history of the world that has killed more jobs, or enacted legislation to kill jobs, than the Republicans of the United States of America. They attempt to deny their legacy and claim that it is government that is killing jobs, while also claiming that illegal immigrants are taking high paying jobs from our citizens. Those are damn lies.

Trump’s SS forces raid homes to allegedly save high paying jobs for U.S. citizens

Business and Republicans are one in the same. Republicans always do what business wants, and in the past thirty years there have been few, if any, examples where a majority of Republicans have voted for legislation that was contrary to business wishes. When manufacturing jobs leave the United States, a Republican businessperson is behind it and it is done with the blessing of Republican politicians.

Manufacturing jobs in the U.S. 1939 to present. Growth occurs under Democratic leadership and shrinks under Republican leadership. (Source:  Bureau of Labor Standards)

Trump’s feigned anger at businesses sending jobs overseas is almost comical if it weren’t so pitiful. In 1995, the sixty-year reign of Democratic majority control of Congress ended. in that sixty year history Democrats controlled either the House of Representatives and the Senate for all but four of those years. Republicans controlled the House of Representatives for six additional years during the Reagan administration. Since 1995, Republicans have controlled the Senate, House, or Presidency for all but two years under a banner to thwart all Democratic legislation.

Four years after the Republicans seized control of Congress and passed major business-friendly legislation, the number of manufacturing jobs in the United States began a plunge that would take it down to levels not seen in fifty years.

Job killing our country’s key employer is a primary goal of the Republican party. Federal, state, county, and local governments have been under attack since the Reagan administration. Republicans have consistently sought to strangle funding for public schools as our population has grown, eliminate jobs of the people paid to protect workers and consumers from unethical businesses, prevent funding for workers providing veteran services, and attack critical jobs that provide services for the typical citizen.

The goal of every business person is to make money, not create jobs. That is why Republicans seek to eliminate costs by killing jobs, rather than spend money to create jobs. To a business person, jobs are an expense, and are the obstacle to making money. What Republicans don’t understand is that jobs move the money through the economy, and eliminating high paying government jobs takes money out of the economy. This is why our economy is barely moving forward.

Trump supporters can’t understand the complexities of a national economy, which is why they are the problem in perpetuating Republican domination of our government. Trump is trying to push our economy into a disaster that we may never recover from unless he is stopped.

Don’t Look To The FBI To Bring Trump To Justice

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Former FBI Director James Comey: A Man For No Seasons 

FBI Director James Comey was fired by Donald Trump. Was it because he was protecting our country’s interest against an unethical, perverted, traitorous President, or did the Dark Lord have tantrum over a lack of absolute obedience?

There is little reason to believe that James Comey was prepared to act against Trump in the Russiagate investigation. Prior to being fired, Comey had declared to Congress that he believed it was perfectly acceptable to publicly announce unsubstantiated, baseless evidence against a Democratic presidential candidate just prior to an election; however, it was not acceptable to publicly announce substantiated evidence against a conservative and/or Republican prior to, or after an election.

He was correct. That is the role the FBI has historically taken, and continues today.

The FBI investigated Watergate from the moment the burglars were arrested. They had evidence that President Nixon, and his administration were involved, and yet, the FBI somehow failed to find the key evidence of a wider conspiracy that would eventually force Nixon out of office. While we don’t know the full extent of the FBI’s role in hindering the Watergate scandal, we do know the following:

  • A former FBI agent was recruited to wiretap the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate complex.

    Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray during Watergate

  • Acting FBI Director L. Patrick Gray helped destroy Watergate evidence that came from a White House safe of Howard Hunt, eleven days after the burglary.
  • On October 10, 1972, less than a month prior to the election, the FBI publicly revealed a list of crimes that their investigation had uncovered to date, and that the crimes were linked to staff in the White House. Despite this announcement, the FBI, nor Department of Justice took no action, nor threatened action, giving credibility to White House denials of the facts. Nixon won the election by a landslide, largely because Nixon and his administration were able to convince people that the FBI’s lack of action proved their innocence.

It could be reasonably argued that, in October of 1968, the FBI and the Justice Department were in a state of confusion about the depth of the Democratic National Headquarters break in, spying, eavesdropping, and cover up. It is possible that no legal action occurred before the election due to their own lack of understanding of the real situation. It could also be argued that based on the involvement of past and current members of the FBI in the Watergate break in and subsequent cover up, that the FBI was caught in an internal struggle between protecting Nixon, and not looking like they were protecting Nixon.

J. Edgar Hoover and John and Robert Kennedy

The FBI has historically been a politically motivated investigative body that has a friendly relationship with conservatives, and an adversarial relationship with liberals. The 1987, four-part mini-series, Hoover vs The Kennedys:  The Second Civil War, depicts the adversarial relationship of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover had with President Kennedy and his brother Robert.

The FBI Director role has historically been defined by a cozy relationship with conservative politicians, and an adversarial role with liberal politicians. James Comey’s replacement will likely follow that tradition.

Can The FBI Arrest The President?

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Keep your small hands where we can see them Mr. President

Air Force One lands at Andrews Air Force Base late in the night. it taxis to a stop and the security teams move in as normal. As President Trumps steps off the plane several SUV’s filled with FBI and Homeland Security teams pull up and the Secret Service is told to stand down. Trump and several of his staff are arrested.

VP Mike Pence: “I’m with Comrade Trump

At the same instant, additional security teams at multiple locations close in and arrest Vice President Mike Pence, all of Trump’s top administration, and multiple House and Senate Republicans. All are charged with collusion with a foreign government, acts against the United States of America, and violations of U.S. laws.

Not possible? Not so fast.

While most believe that the only way to get remove a President from office is to impeach him or her, the Constitution doesn’t address the issue of being arrested. It is a grey area. There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents a President from being arrested and charged with a crime, providing the cause of the arrest doesn’t come from the Legislative branch.

In the case of a Senator or a member of the House of Representatives, they also have rules for being recalled; however, those rules have not prevented them from being arrested and charged with a crime.

The problem is not so much, ‘can it be done,’ as ‘what would happen if it were done.’ If the President, Vice President, and several Republican Congress members were found to have colluded with the Russian government, the structure of our government would be affected as all three branches (Executive, Legislative, and Judicial) would no longer be operating under a Constitutionally prescribed system.

Unfortunately, we are already in that situation, as the evidence indicates that Trump’s administration is festering with Russian influence, Trump has apparently attempted to obstruct the investigation, he has passed on classified information to the Russians, and the Republican Congress has failed to act. Effectively, our Constitutional government has been voided by a widespread infiltration of foreign influence meant to destabilize and/or destroy it.

It is unlikely that the FBI and/or Homeland Security would arrest a significant portion of our federal officials, even if all the evidence were delivered by FedEx to their offices; however, it is now obvious that our forefathers failed to protect us from a situation of corruption of more than one branch of government.

If any legal entity were to be forced into action to protect our government they would have to do something extraordinary. They would have to create a plan for a temporary government to replace our Constitutional government. That is a dangerous move, as few countries have succeeded in removing their corrupt leadership and replaced them with a caretaker that effectively restored a fair and ethical government.

Compounding our situation are as many 20 million citizens that actively seek the destruction of our Constitutional government. They are the source of our current problems and many of them are making noises about an armed insurrection if anyone interferes with the destruction of our country into a lawless, unethical, white-dominated society where the violent rule.

There is also the question of whether or not Vladimir Putin is attempting to push the United States into a chaotic state in order to take revenge for what President Reagan did in the 1980’s. If that were true, arresting our country’s leadership would be a big step in Putin’s goal.

So can Trump be arrested? Yes. Will he be arrested? Probably not….but one can dream.

Six Facts About Manufacturing Jobs

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Manufacturing jobs do not just appear or disappear, and the government is not the bad guy.

It is sad to hear Trump supporters to be interviewed about anything, but when they start talking about the lack of manufacturing jobs is when they really start looking like adults in diapers. They act like the government is supposed to force private manufacturers to build a factory and make something so that Joe Blow, with a high school degree, in Small Town USA can drive two miles to the local factory and earn $150,000.

Here are the facts:
 
1. Manufacturing jobs go overseas because consumers in the USA want to pay less for goods, and labor is cheaper in many places outside the United States, which makes the cost of manufacturing less, which makes the price of the product less. 
 
2. USA, state, and local taxes have almost no impact on good manufacturing jobs. For example, the Sierra Nevada Corporation (a private version of early 1960’s NASA…before we had a successful launch) has its headquarters in Nevada, but all of their non-executive jobs are in Colorado. Colorado has higher taxes than Nevada, but Colorado also has a better, more skilled, higher educated workforce. Nevada is the headquarters only so the executives don’t have to pay taxes, but the jobs are in Colorado. If the issue was about taxes, the jobs would be in Nevada, not Colorado.
 

Job fairy or much ado about nothing?

3. There is no manufacturing jobs fairy. Manufacturing jobs REQUIRE someone who wants to buy the product. The NEED for a manufacturing job is determined by the consumer. You don’t build a factory, then hang out a sign saying you’re open for business. Manufacturing jobs are “secondary jobs” meaning that before a manufacturing job is created, a product that people want to buy must exist. 

 
4. Most unskilled manufacturing jobs don’t pay well regardless of where the factory is located. CONSERVATION OF COMPENSATION: If anyone can do the work, the jobs go to the people who are willing to be paid the least amount of money. Whether the job is in the United States, or elsewhere, pay is driven by the supply of workers who can do the job.
 
5. Small towns rarely attract high paying manufacturing jobs. While some factories have moved to rural locations to reduce labor costs, it is rare, and factories still need enough potential workers to avoid a labor shortage, which would increase labor costs.
6.  Good business REQUIRES government regulation. Government regulations protect the employee and the consumer. Many countries don’t have rules of against abuse of workers and don’t require manufacturers to abide ethical business practices, and result is always unethical business practices. Remember the Samsung Galaxy Note 7?

Trump Supporters Are Born-Again Wallace Supporters

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Wallace supporters – 1968

Recently my personal research took me to the October 24, 1968 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. On page 57, was an article about supporters of the then presidential candidate of Alabama Governor George Wallace. Wallace was in a three-way race with Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey. Wallace was a poor third place against Nixon and Humphrey; however, he did manage to keep Nixon and Humphrey in a statistical tie with each failing to receive more than fifty percent of the vote.

What is interesting about the article is the quotes by Wallace supporters, and the uncanny similarity in tone to today’s Trump supporter. For example:

Regarding Wallace:

Now I keep hearin’ about an old Nixon and a new Nixon, and an old Humphrey and a new Humphrey, Now I don’t know which is which, but I can tell you there is no old Wallace or new Wallace. He’s sayin’ and believin’ the same things as when he ran for governor. And he’ll be sayin’ and believin’ the same things as President.”

Dick Smith, October 1968

“We’ve already given Democratic and Republican presidents a chance and they can’t straighten things out. Let’s give somebody new a try. We don’t have anything to lose.”

Bob Miller, October 1968

Regarding Trump:

The other politicians are controlled by their handlers. He’s not.”

Vern Engel, Kansas City, August 2015

“I backed Trump from the beginning. Because he calls things out. He does not allow lies to live. He just exposes things. Pastors sometimes need to be politically correct, and Donald Trump is not politically correct, and I love that about him”

Crystal Myers, California, May 2016

Regarding Wallace:

I’m a racist, but that’s not the reason I’m supporting Wallace. I’m behind him because he’s the most patriotic man I know. I just can’t stomach these liberals. I think they’re scum.”

William Napier, October 1968

“I’ve moved twice because of Negroes moving in. All that loud rock and roll music.”

Elmer Genie, October 1968

Regarding Trump:

I was actually sitting in the chow hall (in Qatar) when they announced the results (when Obama won in 2008,) and he gave his speech,” he says. “I saw such a division at that time. Every black member of the military was cheering. Everybody else was sitting there mute. Like stunned.”

Former Marine, June 2016

“….these people, that are from other countries, non-speaking—I’m not biased, I have no reason to be—but . . . I’m seeing them getting cash, getting their bills paid, and, as a taxpaying citizen, I don’t get anything. And so the border thing really resonated with me.”

Stephanie from Minnesota, June 2016

Ideologically, there is no difference between the 1968 George Wallace supporter, and the 2017 Trump supporter. Both act on emotion and opinion with few facts to support their position. They are unified in the opinion that non-whites are, at least in part, the cause of their problems. They are also completely deaf to any idea or fact that doesn’t support their position, and ignorant of how corporations and the wealthy have manipulated them into making decisions that go against their own interests.

Our country’s problems aren’t caused by bad politicians. They are caused by uneducated and unintelligent voters who don’t have the ability to understand what they are doing…and never will.

Quotes were taken from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (24 October 1968,) BBC News (9 November 2016,) The New Yorker (11/18 June 2016)

1968: The Year of Fear and Hate

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October 1968. Richard Nixon, Hubert Humphrey, and George Wallace, and were desperately trying to win the Presidential election. Former Vice President Nixon had moderate conservatives and war-hawks backing him. Vice President Humphrey had Democratic core voters and intelligent liberals backing him, and Alabama Governor George Wallace was the darling of racists and right wing extremists.

1968 Democratic Convention (The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

1968:  A Year of Chaos
In 1967, most had assumed President Lyndon Johnson would run, and likely win reelection. Those in his administration’s military leadership offered an optimistic view of the Vietnam War, with one of his recent close advisors publicly saying that the enemy was losing their will to fight.

Despite the rosy picture, over 70,000 U.S. soldiers had been killed or wounded during the war, and 1,000 more were being killed each month. Opposition to the war was tearing the Democratic party apart, and it overshadowed almost all other political issues.

In late January 1968, North Vietnam launched the Tet Offensive. Ultimately, the invading armies were beaten back, but the offensive shocked the United States. Those confident of Johnson’s ability to bring a successful end to the war waned in their support, and in March, the New Hampshire primary gave Johnson an uncomfortably narrow win over Eugene McCarthy, who was considered a relatively minor candidate that focused on an anti-war campaign.

Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (AP Photo/Dick Strobel)

Soon after the primary, Robert Kennedy entered the race, and Johnson ended his campaign. (Although Johnson probably dropped out because he doubted he could beat Kennedy, it is noteworthy that President Johnson’s decision to drop out was heavily influenced by his health concerns. Specifically, that he would likely not live through another term.) Without Johnson in the race, there was no single, obvious choice for President.

The year became more chaotic after Johnson dropped out. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4. Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 6. Anti-war and civil rights protests and riots, along with mounting U.S. casualties in Vietnam dominated the news everyday.

Baltimore, Maryland, 1968 (Photo by Afro-American Newspapers/Gado/Getty Images)

By October, voters were reacting to the the presidential election as the prescription moment in the United States. The next President would either cure or kill our country, depending on the point of view. People who sought a calm return to normalcy were split between Nixon and Humphrey.

However, there were people who sought a disruptive choice for President, in the hopes that he would revive the Confederacy’s goal of remaking the United States into a white dominated government that would undo decades of work to create equal rights for all citizens. Their choice was George Wallace.

While many may believe that Wallace was a bigger threat to Nixon’s campaign, the reality was that the Governor from Alabama was luring as much as half of the support of the unions that normally support the Democratic ticket. Uneducated, Caucasian, blue-collar workers were taken in by Wallace’s hardline racist positions.

The civil rights riots generated fear among white voters, many of whom, felt they were not racist, but were of the opinion that life for the African-American would be fine if they would just settle down and accept their lot in life.

In the end, Nixon won with less than half the vote, and was in a statistical tie with Humphrey, but he had a significant electoral college margin. Wallace won over almost ten million voters, and certainly had an impact on the outcome.

Both Nixon and President Johnson used last-minute tactics to sway voters in the final weeks. President Johnson publicly suggested that a Vietnam peace deal was imminent, and Nixon’s campaign used back channels to interfere with those peace efforts, coupled with a spy in the White House that kept the Nixon campaign informed of Johnson’s diplomatic efforts.

NEXT:  A hard look at the Wallace voter

Ryssdal Allows Guest To Euphemize High Crude Oil Price As Desirable

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As host and senior editor of NPR’s (National Public Radio) business-focused, Marketplace, Kai Ryssdal has a tough job. He and his staff have to meld business, politics, and society into small chunks of edible information for his listeners to consume during one of four syndicated shows that air multiple times each day.

For most people, developing and presenting an informative, factual, unbiased radio program about business and everything around it would be a tax that is over 100% of their brain’s income. But Ryssdal isn’t ‘most people.’

So it would be perfectly reasonable to give Mr. Ryssdal a break and overlook a segment that didn’t really measure up to a perfect journalistic standard. Sorry, Kai, but you don’t get that break.

Last week, (April 18, 2017,) Ryssdal and Maria Hollenhorst produced a segment on oil pricing called, “Why boom-bust oil prices may be here to stay.” Ryssdal was interviewing former President George W. Bush advisor, Robert McNally who recently came out with a book called, Crude Volatility.

In his book, and during this interview, McNally attempts to generate fear that low oil prices are bad. Only, he doesn’t use the words, “low oil prices.” Instead he refers to price instability and price swings. McNally uses the euphemism of price stability to indicate artificially high crude oil prices are good, and free market, low crude oil prices are bad.

Historical Crude Oil Price (red line = adjusted for inflation. Credit: Wikipedia)

Adjusted for inflation, crude oil prices were relatively stable for forty years at around $20/barrel from 1933 to 1973. McNally implies that once OPEC began controlling the oil market in the 1970’s, the artificially high price of crude oil was a ‘stable’ oil price. He seems to suggest that the return to lower oil prices at the end of the 20th century and in the past two years are a sign of instability, simply because the free market is controlling the prices.

From his book and interview, it is clear that McNally is a conservative, on a first name basis with major oil executives, and one who believes that the future consumption of oil, as Agent Smith might say, is the sound of inevitability. It is also clear McNally desires to be a mercenary for oil corporations that seek to manipulate the market for their gain.  

What isn’t clear is why Kai Ryssdal gave him a pass on his attempt to generate fear of free market influences on crude oil prices. Ryssdal is too smart to not see McNally’s pandering to his oil clients, and the Marketplace staff had to know that McNally is not an unbiased source of information. 

Sure, high oil prices are good for oil companies and their investors, but wasn’t this past election allegedly about making things fair for the poor guy who has to pay the price at the pump?

(Marketplace is owned and operated by American Public Media)

Conversations With Conservatives: The 37 Year Lie

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(NOTE:  This is Part II of this article. Read Part I, here.)

The social and economic issues that people are concerned about in the United States of America don’t necessarily fall along party lines. Some issues, like immigration and applying religion to public policy, have a distinct political division; however, many other issues cross the lines of the ideologies.

In conversations with conservatives I learned that the deep division between conservatives and liberals can be traced back 37 years, to when Republicans managed to break the hold of Democratic leadership of our country in 1980. For 37 years, conservatives have been able to maintain control of our country by singing one anthem, ‘Everything is the government’s fault, and business is the solution.’

Ronald Reagan: Founder of the Cult of Conservatism

Ronald Reagan was elected on the idea that Democrats had failed the country. It was an easy story to sell for one reason. The Iran Hostage Crisis. Every night the news reminded our country of how many days our citizens had been held and humiliated by a group of Iranian students. Most in the United States did not understand the complexities of the situation, and were angry that we didn’t go to war with Iran.

The result was to give Republicans an early opportunity to erase the shame caused by Richard Nixon’s illegal involvement in fixing the 1972 presidential elections during the Watergate affair. The Hostage Crisis ended at the exact hour that Reagan was sworn in as President, a coincidence that causes questions of Republican collusion with the Iranian government during the crisis. Suspicions of collusion were raised again when Reagan’s administration worked a bizarre deal to sell arms to Iran several years later during the Iran/Contra Affair.

The Big Lie
Reagan is famously quoted in his first Inaugural speech when he said:

….government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem…”

Ronald Reagan, January 1981

The demonization of government was necessary for conservatives to achieve their goals. Government is the ethical referee that prevents business from underpaying employees, polluting for profit, abusing and endangering the customer, engaging in banking practices that protect the account holder, etc. Government oversight and regulation keeps business from devouring itself in greed.

Additionally, government collects business taxes for the privilege of having access to our country’s rich consumer markets. By eliminating these taxes, business could keep more of the spoils of capitalism and drain revenues from the entity that kept business fair and ethical.

The other shoe dropped by conservatives was to preach that the solution to our problems was business. In the holy corporate world, business was the shining light on the hill for all to worship.

37 Years Later:  The Cult of Conservatism
In my conversation with average conservatives I have discovered that conservatism has now become a cult. The code word for a conservative is ‘fiscal conservatism.’ Ask anyone who votes for a Republican candidate why they vote for the party they will automatically answer, “I believe in fiscal conservatism.” They don’t even pause.

For conservatives, issues are caused by government and solved by business. Among the issues discussed with conservatives I learned the following:

Finance regulation:  Conservatives believe that the government is at fault and less regulation will solve the problem, even though a lack of regulation and business greed caused the 2007-8 financial/bank crisis.

Housing Inflation/Bubbles:  Conservatives that government is the problem because…I didn’t get an answer on this, but the free market will solve the problem, even though the bubbles that occur with rapid housing price increases are caused by capitalisticitic factors, not government involvement.

Economy:  Conservatives believe that business is the creator of jobs and growth in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and government inhibits both. The evidence contradicts this as job and GDP growth have been anemic under almost 35 years of Republican economic policies, and the pre-conservative period of government initiated infrastructure projects and the space program generated massive job and GDP growth.

Healthcare:  Conservatives believe that government has been the cause of uncontrolled price increases in healthcare and drug prices, even though it’s the lack of government regulation that has allowed the price increases, especially in the prescription drug market, where Republicans pushed for, and passed an end to competitive market that would help to restrict price increases.

Trump and Republicans have succeeded in creating a cult-like status around the concept that government is the problem and business is the solution…and like any cult, the believers surrender themselves to ‘faith.’ Truth and facts are fiction to a conservative.

The Republican party has no need to be logical, compromising, or reasonable. Their believers have no choice but to hate government, and worship business.