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User Journal

Journal Journal: Fuck Obamacare 13

Trump has been all over the map about the Affordable Care Act since he "won" the election, stating he'd like to keep the "popular" bits after meeting with Obama, then stating he'd organize a special session of Congress the day after he's inaugurated to repeal the whole thing. (He's apparently unaware Congress will already be in session, but, whatever.) If he chooses to keep the "popular" bits, the health insurance industry will crumble, for what it's worth, because they'll be forced to provide coverage for pre-existing conditions to people who refuse to pay a penny in premiums until they fall ill.

My view is nuanced on Obamacare, so I expect 99% of the replies to this post to miss the point completely, probably just focusing on the headline, but...

...this was entirely predictable. Obamacare was a really bad idea. I said so at the time. I stand by my comments. It was never feasible in the long term and it was politically the most inept attempt to introduce universal health care ever devised.

That it's going... is not to be celebrated, because it means suddenly a huge number of people will be unable to afford health care. That's bad. But simply blaming Republicans and Fascists for its removal is missing the greater picture: it was insanely unpopular. It was something Republicans were able to rally around to defeat Democrats. Think about that for a second: UH should be popular. It should have been a real concern by most of the country that they were going to lose it. When in 2012 Democrats wanted the Senior vote, they pointed out Paul Ryan planned to replace Medicare - UH for seniors - and were rewarded by a shift towards them. Nobody was able to stand up in 2016 and say "Hey guys, Trump will kill Obamacare, you don't want to lose that!" In fact, the opposite happened, Trump used Obamacare against Clinton.

Why did it fail? Because it sucked. It didn't control prices significantly enough that people noticed - in fact, most believed Obamacare was to blame for rising insurance costs. Most had insurance before, they had insurance afterwards, and the insurance afterwards was still going up in price way above inflation. It was the same system as they had before, but it was more expensive.

And those who didn't have insurance before, well, they resented it. Suddenly they were forced to pay for something they hadn't been required to have before, and most people don't have cancer or require an MRI, so they never saw any value in what they were forced to buy, despite the subsidies and so on.

The Democrats, if they ever get back into power, have to decide where they want to go with Universal Healthcare. But next time - if there is a next time - there's really only one option, and that's an income tax funded single payer system. If that's not politically possible thanks to Blue Dogs or whatever, then don't address the issue - it's a waste of time, and it'll result in Democrats being unable to address any other aspects of their agenda. But Single Payer is virtually the only healthcare system you can create that people would be frightened of losing. Which makes it politically the only choice worth pursuing. And in practical terms, it's also the only way to deliver truly universal healthcare.

RIP Obamacare. I'm sorry for the people who'll lose coverage, but I'm not going to blame the Republicans for getting rid of it.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Post election 12

Assuming we don't elect the fascist, both Democrats and Republicans are going to have to do some desperate soul searching this election.

Democrats are going to have to acknowledge that the race was, at one point, extremely close (at the time of writing, it isn't, but what's to say it won't again in the next three weeks.) They're going to have to recognize that this was, in large part, because whatever Clinton's professionalism and qualifications, and however unfair it might be that she's suffered a decades long smear campaign, even without the smears she was never a great candidate. She represents a centrism and a failure to push for substantive change that is anathema to a significant number of people in the US.

How bad is she? Trump's obvious fascism was not enough to make people vote for her. The entire election has just fallen because he's shown himself to be an unpresidential thug towards women. Not because he advocates violence against his opponents. Not because he has promised to abuse the power of the Presidency to punish and imprison political enemies and journalists. Not because he has promised to make it easier to punish those who criticize the rich and powerful. Not because he has scapegoated immigrants for the problems of Americans. Not because he has smeared as rapists, murderers, and terrorists, immigrants and members of minority religions. Not because he has enlisted and cultivated the support of foreign anti-American despots to his presidential campaign. And not because he's been blatant about it, proposing simplistic solutions to complex problems without details or fact based arguments to back them up.

No Presidential candidate in recent history has been so obviously opposed to the values America fought in WW-II to defend, and yet that candidate got close enough to the Democratic candidate to seriously threaten her chances of winning. The Democrats, by any reasonable measure, put up a terrible candidate.

Republicans are going to have to acknowledge that the experiment started in the early nineties (perhaps earlier) to discredit and illegitimatize Democratic Party Presidents has caused unbelievable damage to the country, and destroyed both parties in the process. From Rush Limbaugh's early beginnings as describing the Clinton Regime as an "occupation", to the scorched Earth treatment of the Obama Presidency by Republican legislators, the end result wasn't a stronger Republican party, but a party that lost control of itself enough to find itself under the control of the first Fascist major party presidential candidate in living memory.

That means Republicans will have to bite the bullet and work with Clinton if and when she gets into office. Both parties will need to find points of agreement, areas where ordinary people will benefit from action, from infrastructure to improvements in healthcare, That's not to suggest they should hide their differences, but the last eight years in particular have been completely ridiculous, with Republicans failing to support stimulus and infrastructure improvements they clearly have no problems with, simply because Obama might get credit.

If you want to get good, honest, respected people to stand for leadership of government, it's a good idea to make that government good, honest, and respected to begin with. It isn't.

Whether either side will do any of this is.... I'll be happy if they do, but it really requires both parties to understand what just happened, and to change direction. I'm not sure they can.

User Journal

Journal Journal: What I think of you based on your politics 12

(0. You don't have the vote. Sit down, relax, and watch the fireworks I guess.)
1. You're voting for Trump because you agree with him or hate Clinton that much: You're probably a horrible person. You should definitely feel bad.
2. You're voting for Trump because you want to upend the establishment: I don't think you're very bright. Hey, I don't want to live in suburbia any more, but I'm not going to get out of it by committing a Federal felony and letting the FBI know. I'd rather bite my lip until an opportunity arises to move to somewhere better. There are worse things than "the establishment" (like a fascist government), just like there are worse things than "Suburbia".
3. You're voting for Clinton: Probably the best choice given the circumstances. Don't blame you.
4. You're voting for Johnson or Stein in a swing state: OK. Well, I respectfully disagree with your decision, I feel Trump really is that bad, but at least you're letting the politicians know you're not happy with them and what direction to go in.
5. You're voting for J or S in a solidly red or blue state: Cool.
6. You're not voting: what the f--- is wrong with you? Write yourself in if you have to, but vote.

Regardless of my feelings towards your decision, I love you all. I just think those of you who actively support Trump probably deserve a good kick in the sensitive places.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Kapla: Spirals

Just building stuff, sometimes continuing the following week: Week 1 Week 2

The booklet had a spiral which took some time to figure out. Basically, 2 pieces in the middle, and 1 on each side of it, which makes it look really cool, and more importantly, supports the turned pieces. They do a slow turn though.

After figuring it out, we went for a 3, that is, 3 in the middle, 2 on each side, and 1 on each side of that. With 1000 pieces, that allows 111 levels of 9 pieces each, which is what a friend built in the picture. The last piece might be lost, but there are 3 warped pieces in there. Got to watch out where to put them!

Kapla is expensive, but with a small table, the enjoyment never ends. In only takes a few minutes for even the ardent to give in and start building!

User Journal

Journal Journal: An Lá 2

BÃ go maith, a mhuirnÃn.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Establishment vs Establishment 1

The framing of the 2016 election is that this is the establishment vs the anti-establishment. Clinton represents Washington DC. Trump represents the masses.

This is bullshit.

There are two establishments at war here. One is the obvious one, the party elites. Clinton is more or less part of that, though not as much as people suppose. She's actually an outsider who's fought her way in. If you doubt this for a second, examine the first Clinton's presidential period of 1991 to 2001 (I'm counting the initial campaigns as much as the being in office), and notice the entire period was a war between the Clintons, a Republican establishment who despised them, and a Democratic establishment who didn't trust them and only rallied around the cause when the Republicans went over the top.

The second is the general group that's had power and had the government direct power in their favor for as long as the US has been in existence, primarily the rich, but with a white, male, protestant secondary base as a group to keep happy.

These are, to some extent, the same groups, but the second group no longer believes that the party elites can be trusted to keep bowing to their whims.

Hence the fact a third rate reality TV star whose business successes are built upon fraud and deceit is suddenly able to reach this level of electoral success. Trump is a prime example of someone government has always worked for, yet he's untainted by DC itself. His character doesn't matter. He's part of the underlying establishment, and not part of the elite, so he's the person they pick.

Journal Journal: Shouldn't need to say "I didn't care much for Gawker but..." 3

The fact you have to bend over backwards to disassociate yourself with Gawker before pointing out that Thiel's assault on it was a dangerous attack on free speech is a dangerous sign that we've already drifted a fairly long distance towards fascism.

And, FWIW, if Thiel had bankrolled Elton John's (far more legitimate) lawsuits against The Sun newspaper in the 1980s, and bankrupted Rupert Murdoch as a result, there'd have been a public outcry in Britain.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Christian Distributism, explained 62

The capitalist solution is to allow one man to own most of the hens and turn to distribute eggs to workers who prepare the nests for him. The Communist solution is putting all the eggs into the hands of the dictator cook, who makes an omelet which is bound to be unsatisfying because not all the people like omelets, and some do not like the way the dictator cook prepares them anyway. The Christian solution is to distribute the hens so that every man can cook his eggs the way he likes them, and even eat them raw if that is his definition of freedom.

-- Fulton J. Sheen, Freedom under God, Economic Guarantee of Human Liberty, 1940/2013 (PAGE 129 -130)

User Journal

Journal Journal: By Fulton Sheen's Standards, Trump and Clinton are Communist 3

"MOST LEGISLATIVE PROGRAMS, political slogans, and radical catchwords of our times are concerned with the satisfaction of material wants. The Communist catchword is âoejobsâ âoejobsâ âoejobsâ; the politicianâ(TM)s slogan is âoeworkâ âoeworkâ âoeworkâ; the legislatorâ(TM)s promise is âoe[more] material security.â Add to this the sad fact that millions of citizens, whose bodies and souls have been ravaged by a materialist civilization, have reached a point where they are willing to sacrifice the last crumb of liberty for a piece of the cake of security. Reformers [and community organizers] have not understood their cry. Because man make demands for security, our reformers have neglected to inquire what they really want. A starving man asks for bread, when he really wants life. âoeThe body is more than the raiment, and life is more than the food.â The unemployed, the socially disinherited, the poor broken earthenware of humanity ask for âoework,â but what they really want is independence. The normal man does not want to be fed either by a social agency or a state; he wants to be able to feed himself. In other words, he wants liberty. But, as we said in the last chapter, there is only one solid economic foundation for individual liberty and that is a wider distribution of property.
Property is here understood primarily as productive property, such as land, or a share in the profits, management or ownership of industry. Property does not mean a distribution of created wealth [past savings] such as bread, circuses, and jobs, but a redistribution of creative wealth [future earnings]; not rations handed out by an agency or an employer, but a shared ownership of productive goods. Liberty to be real, concrete, and practicable must have a foundation in the economic order; namely, independence."
~ Fulton J. Sheen, Freedom under God, Economic Guarantee of Human Liberty, 1940/2013, (page 49).

Democrats

Journal Journal: This is not helpful (Updated) 60

As the CEO of the American Baby Mulching Corporation, I usually avoid taking sides when it comes to National Politics. Privately, I would generally consider myself a Republican, but a corporation such as ours must be seen to be above the fray. In 2001, for example, we donated equally to the campaigns of both Mr George W Bush, and Mr Joseph Lieberman.

But it has become abundantly clear that this country is now facing a very real threat in the form of Donald Trump. Mr Trump has made a number of statements we at American Baby Mulching consider to be seriously worrying. Mr Trump has made many statements alienating our allies. Mr Trump has made it clear he considers the use of Nuclear Weapons a viable form of warfare. He has pitted Americans against one another with his extremist anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant positions, slandering hard working Mexicans and creating a climate of fear.

As a Republican, I would not normally be comfortable endorsing the Democratic candidate for President, but in this case I feel I must, and I believe it would be the right thing for our country. Sure, Mrs Clinton and I have our differences. I personally oppose her positions on taxation, and as the CEO of a major company that requires a steady supply of disposable babies, we obviously abhor her position on abortion.

But in my dealings with Mrs Clinton, I have always found her fair and reasonable. She understands the need for corporations such as ours to mulch babies, harvesting their essential nutrients for eventual supply to ammunition manufacturers. She understands that businesses like my own require flexibility when it comes to environmental regulation, that we would be unable to employ so many workers without a low minimum wage, and she understands the need for regulators to overlook the use of undocumented immigrants and prisoners to solve staffing shortfalls.

For these reasons, I will be casting my vote for Mrs Clinton this year and I urge you to do likewise.

Updated: I'm just going to ignore the discussion at this point. It was supposed to be a comment about how things like that former CIA directory's "endorsement" of Clinton, and Bloomberg's, etc, wasn't necessarily helping those of us who are having to hold our noses and vote for a giant leap right-ward by the "left wing" party in the US this November. You know, humor. As far as the comments section goes, I've never seen such bare faced idiocy in my entire life. No wonder Trump is, current slump aside, doing so well. He might even win.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Secret Files of the Inquisition 2

http://www.pbs.org/inquisition/

After 700 years, the files of the Inquisition are being released, and like with the German Holocaust during WWII, they turn out to be a treasure trove for historians, since one of the primary functions of the Inquisition was to introduce better record keeping and rule of evidence to the judicial system.

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