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THE CANDID CONSERVATIVE: The best liars lie to themselves first
Wednesday, 04 March 2020 00:04
Special to the Daily Planet

Propaganda works best when those who are being manipulated are confident they are acting on their own free will.” 
— Joseph Goebbels


The Problem

A lie has one clear advantage over truth – it can be twisted into something that feels good. 

In contrast, truth is almost always packaged with hurdles. 

Under stress, most men – and as many women – reliably chose comfort over truth, conscience, liberty, maturity and a whole mess of other character measures.  

It thus comes as no surprise that amidst the harsh glare of reality, elitists, progressive politicians, opportunists and other social predators find fertile opportunity for manipulating others. 

Skipping truth for propaganda, entitlement pretense, hyperbole, eternal victim scripts and promises of something for nothing have thereby become embedded in our never perfect culture.

For several months we’ve had fun picking holes in these forms of predatory behavior in our community. In that Asheville is such a target rich environment, why stop now?

Needle exchange is a double entendre

 With all due respect to our community’s booming drug culture, there’s no such thing as a needle exchange program. We have several needle dispensaries, but the only thing exchanged is the pretense addicts have responsibility in the equation.

The foundation idea for needle exchange programs is that free fresh needles can cut disease common to reused syringes. That part is true – but then comes the rest of the story. Intravenous drug users are all on an unyielding fast tract to self-destruction and their use of clean needles – like eating healthy food and brushing their teeth – is episodic at best.

Importantly, handing out clean needles should not be confused with treatment or an otherwise serious form of addiction intervention. It’s more surely the equivalent to making donuts more accessible to diabetics. 

The silent con used to secure funding and permitting for such programs is the pretense new needles are exchanged for old ones. Where did anyone get the silly notion that anyone busily killing themselves in the pursuit of pleasure would place social responsibility above personal convenience? Free needles thus end up on streets, playgrounds, parking lots and everywhere else addicts find it convenient to do their thing.

 Ask the needle folks their exchange ratios. Ask intravenous addicts. Giving what is more realistically “addiction enabling” the name “needle exchange” is the same kind of propaganda trick Antifa (short for anti-fascists) uses to justify their own routine use of fascist tactics.

Providing people needles to insert deadly substances into their body is not nice or anything close. The existence of such programs merely tells us – that on the issue of drug harms – our community has surrendered.


Corruption is not gone in local government

Wanda Greene spent almost two decades in county government. Though her primary abuses of power occurred in the last half of that tenure, the foundation for her actions was laid much earlier.

Most people don’t remember, but Ms. Greene was a fairly new county manager when Asheville attempted to secure control of its water system to match the model used by other municipalities owning a water system in North Carolina.

The semi-successful attempt by state and county representatives to stop the city was fraught with intrigue, public manipulation, media complacency and political misdeeds. 

Wanda was in the middle of a bunch of “ends justifies the means” thinkers and political vanity kings more dedicated to their personal power interests than the rule of law. She watched them all get away with economic murder in the form of effectively paralyzing Asheville’s ability to use its water system like other cities. She learned from the experience. She learned the media doesn’t investigate anymore. She learned that behind a mask of pleasantness you can get away without about anything. She learned that saying what people want to hear will free one to do what one wants to do. Unfortunately for Ms. Greene, like all outlaws, with time her appetites overshadowed her judgment.

Nothing has changed since the early part of this century. Our politicians in city and county government continue to smile and pretend and get by with it. Our primary news outlets continue to confuse reporting what’s happened with investigating things while they are happening. Most importantly, voters continue to focus on personalities and promises over voting records. We thus find our local city and county governments run by agenda-driven progressive-liberal-socialists masquerading as community minded public servants.

What little conservative representation we have, again, as measured by voting records, upholds conservatism with the directional consistency of squirrel in the middle of the road. Talk not upheld by walk is, unto itself, a form of corruption.

Though there is more to come out of the “Wanda Greene Affair,” perhaps the biggest scandal of all has received absolutely no attention. The fact that literally hundreds of people knew bits, pieces and chunks about the corruption of Ms. Greene and her compatriots, and did nothing to raise the alarm, should in itself be alarming.

It’s a myth that we’ve put Wanda Greene behind us. Wannabees are sewn into our city and country culture of indifference, fear, self-service and political incest. Wanda Greene’s corruption was an exception only to the extent she got greedy and careless and then actually got caught. Most don’t.

Mission sale was a dog and pony show

 Mind if one offers a direct opinion? The sellout of the Mission Hospital system will go down as one of the greatest cons in local history. Mind if one goes a step further? Our community’s politicians, media outlets, hospital administrators, and the medical community at large aided and abetted the theft.

The groundwork for this mischief was laid years ago. Mission has long been on a collision trajectory with reality, but the governing board and administrators chose image over substance in pretending all was well. Chronic under-funding of government healthcare programs in a hospital with an exceptionally large population of such patients partially assured calamity.

The problem was ignored and concealed with a great marketing program, aggressive legal representation, and chronic understaffing as an unstated policy. How was it policy? If you do something consistently, no matter what your talk, your walk affirms your truth.

Our hospital system was not sold for our betterment. It was sold to cover the tracks of failed public policy and the inadequacies of the administrators, governing board members, the medical community, and others who managed and utilized this invaluable community investment.

While everyone smiled and pretended good things were coming, a group of what some might describe as modern-day healthcare robber barons were handed the keys. It hasn’t taken long for reality to start kicking some into consciousness.

Mission has fast gone from a difficult place to work to a very painful place to work. Already overstretched nurses have been given more patients and responsibilities and commanded to accept a service model that might best be described as chronic afterburner.

Ask any pilot what happens to a jet engine when a device intended for temporary emergencies is overused. Engines break under such circumstances, and so do nurses and other patient care professionals. Mission is hemorrhaging staff like a jet engine shedding parts from relentless demands for 125 percent.

The new Mission will get by with the ruse – and they will do it with three strategies.

 Administrators have accelerated the chronic unstated understaffing policies of their predecessors and will continue. With what amounts to an effective monopoly on healthcare positions, they have an exploitable labor pool. In a community of silent co-conspirators, public complacency and media shallowness, there is no organized opposition, union, or investigative presence to call them on an extreme “profit over people” model.

A second strategy relies on concealment. Hospitals like the HCA Mission resist cost transparency for the same reason drug dealers don’t post prices in public housing. Ask our state treasurer, Dale Folwell, how he feels about a healthcare system that operates out of rigged regulatory model that undermines the potentials of a truer free-market system.

The third strategy is to continue relying on a little economic gem called cost-shifting.

Cost shifting is a budget balancing method whereby hospitals compensate for Medicaid and Medicare underfunding and the large number of patients who pay nothing at all by charging more to those with private healthcare coverage. That amounts to double taxation for those of us trying to carry our own weight. Working people pay the way for those who rely on government funded healthcare services, and pay again through high insurance premiums misused to prop up a broken system.

Again, State Treasurer Folwell can tell you more about this subterfuge.

It’s a personal belief we got robbed in the sale of our community’s hospital and that the damage is just beginning to unfold. In dealing with HCA – at least per their reception in other communities – it can be argued we secured a pact with the devil. 

What is not up for debate is the shame that should be applied to those who made or let it happen. That includes the once passive or complicit politicians that are not busily attempting to cover their tracks with feigned alarm.

Patient care at Mission continues to be good and the hands-on healthcare providers there deserve an “A” for their efforts. The past and current administrators, board of directors, legal team, and marketing departments also deserve an “A” for the lipstick they applied to the stick-up.

It comes down to this – successfully managed not-for-profit community hospital systems are not sold to for-profit companies. That outcome is reserved for poorly managed community hospital systems. How many times have you not heard that?


Next month

There’s no reason for us to quit while we’re having fun.  Up ahead we’ll tackle the false innocence of weed, climate change zealotry, the misguided mission to destroy a President, the missing legitimacies of the non-heterosexual movement, the “both sides of the chamber” pretense that debt doesn’t matter, and other stuff.

If you know about some community mischief and find your courage button, please let us know. We’ll keep your name in confidence and turn the lights on. 

Unlike our community’s mainstream media outlets, the Asheville Daily Planet and myself have a fondness for whistle-blowers.


Dr. Mumpower is a psychologist and former member of Asheville City Council member. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 252-8390.




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