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User Journal

Journal Journal: So what was Milo's book Dangerous supposed to be about? 7

On my way home from work I couldn't seem to escape news coverage of the "conservative provocateur" having his book canceled after being recorded praising pedophilia.

What I couldn't seem to figure out for anything though is what his canceled book was actually supposed to be about. The Amazon entry for it only told me its length, title, and author; not a single word about its content - and that Amazon entry is now gone. Some of the news coverage was bragging about how well it was doing in pre-sales - did he really sell a huge number of books based only on his name and an exceptionally vague title?
It's funny.  Laugh.

Journal Journal: Monday Funnies!

Thank you friend, for your awesome line

Temporarily stopping entry of people from Terrorist hot-beds as defined by Obama and Congress until we can get a true vetting process so we don't import another Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

While it doesn't make the situation suck less, it is an amusing reminder of the geography fail that is the GOP.

Thank you, friend. I look forward to seeing who you can pull into your trap.

User Journal

Journal Journal: How To Destroy America in Under Two Years 22

Our POTUS / Fuhrer is off to a great start here. Not just the executive order pertaining to immigrants from 7 carefully selected countries, or even that plus the wall. It goes much further, including the promised tariffs as well as the suppression of free speech, the "alternative facts", and tightly embracing hate. This barely even gets the fascism going, really - he's done so much more beyond that.

So how will it go down? Here's my prediction.
  • First, we're going to see a large spike in unemployment, soon. This will start with the large number of government employees losing their jobs as a result of Trumpian thoughts and actions. It will go much further than those people though, as their inability to put their own money into the economy will be amplified on down.
  • Second, the cost of pretty well everything will rise. We're dependent on migrant workers doing tasks that our work force simply isn't capable of. The administration aspires to throw these people out, which will make everything we consume regularly more expensive. We cannot automate our way out of this.
  • Third, the vultures will come in and start throwing people out of their homes at an accelerated clip now that they are officially endorsed by the administration and all of the GOP. The vultures don't give a shit about the fact that this will create a substantial deluge of homes on the market with no buyers for them. They also don't care that this will bring home construction to a screeching halt and further accelerate unemployment.
  • Fourth, the government will go broke. The taxpayer base will erode and no significant money will be coming in. States will try to make up for it either by raising property taxes or through silly accounting gimmicks but that won't work either.

Hopefully the people will rise up before the collapse of the system to the point of no return.

Republicans

Journal Journal: Conservative Clairvoyance

A while (years) back some conservatives claimed that we had we had elected a POTUS who hated the country. I laughed at them, but did not realize at the time that they were actually expressing profound clairvoyance. On Saturday the White House came to be occupied by someone who indeed harbors great hatred for our country.

Do you doubt me? Take a look at what he actually said in his inaugural address. Here's a hint - blessing America is dramatically different from loving America. You can do both, just as you can do one or neither. Trump opted for a rather unique combination of blessing it while hating it. I can't think of anyone who ever before was so bold to put that combination on display for all of the public to see.

It is hard to tell if it is therefore better for his sake that he had one of the least-attended inauguration ceremonies of recent history. Although even as much of a total moron as he is, he should still be well aware that people were able to see his vitriol posted to news sites and other web pages.
User Journal

Journal Journal: Wait, how tall is the fuhrer again? 17

They keep claiming that he is 6'3". However we know that Obama is 6'1". here they are standing side-by-side. I think someone forgot his elevator shoes for that picture... here's another picture where Trump's two inches seem to have magically disappeared (or even changed sign). Once again, he still doesn't look taller.

I'm willing to skip the sitting pictures, because different people have different proportions and sit differently in the same chair. I have yet to see a single picture of the two men next to each other that supports the notion of Trump being the 6'3" that he claims.

Considering he is already making a fast claim at least honest POTUS in the history of our nation, it wouldn't surprise me if his height is a lie as well.
Republicans

Journal Journal: Conservative Cowardice On Parade 5

The GOP members of congress made dozens of attempts to repeal the ACA while President Lawnchair was still in office. They never worried about a replacement at the time because they knew their attempts were good publicity as they were guaranteed to fail.

Now they have all the power. Where is the repeal now? Nowhere in sight. Suddenly they have all these extra steps they have to take, when before it was so easy.

This. Is. Bullshit.

What's really going on? Why the foot dragging? Two reasons, the first you hear often.

First, they have no replacement ready. They know the consequences of repealing without replacing . They knew these consequences before, but didn't have any reason to worry about them before. Now they actually need a replacement, so they are intentionally slowing down their own process as they don't have one.

Ultimately, they are going to "replace" the ACA by changing the name from "Obamacare" to "Trumpcare" (or "Pencecare" if Trump is removed from office before it happens).

Second is the reason they don't want anyone to pay attention to. Both the GOP and the democrats are owned by the insurance industry. As much as the insurance industry claims that the ACA has been bad for business, the GOP knows that nothing that deviates strongly from this will keep their owners happy. The insurance industry has such deep pockets in DC that they could very nearly replace every representative in 2018 if they wanted - or at least establish a new majority.

Unfortunately nobody will be willing to call out the GOP on their bullshit with this. The elected democrats are too spineless and afraid of being called "Un-American" by their colleagues.
The Almighty Buck

Journal Journal: Sears Announces More Store Closings 6

Sears / KMart - which have been owned under the same corporate umbrella for years now - struggled yet again to make money through this holiday season. After obtaining another line of credit to stay afloat, they have announced the imminent closing of at least 32 stores between the two chains .

That means the retailer will have fewer than 1,500 stores left by early 2017. That's down nearly 60% from 2011, when Sears had more than 3,500 stores.

...

In the most recent quarter, Sears' revenue fell 13%, to $5 billion, and its losses widened to $748 million from $454 million in the period last year.

Same-store sales dropped 7.4%, including a 10% decrease at Sears stores and a 4.4% decrease at Kmart stores.

Censorship

Journal Journal: Mr George Michael: A Statement 1

I completely condemn the death of George Michael yesterday morning, which was senseless, a needless tragedy, and caused great pain to hundreds of millions of fans and those who enjoy music.

This utterly despicable death comes on the heels of the pointless loss of David Bowie, and combined with Brexit and the election of Trump, is more evidence of cruel and malignant mentality amongst those responsible for the guidance of the universe at this present time.

I call upon those responsible to stop it, and to end their monstrous campaign against humanity.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Some post election clarifications 16

1. No, Liberals were not "in a bubble". Our reaction isn't because we were surprised by the Trump victory, we knew there was a chance of one, pretty much every liberal I knew in a swing state voted for Clinton because we knew how close it was. Our reaction post election is horror, not surprise. Insofar as we expected a Clinton win, it was because the opinion polls seemed to suggest that. Those of us who trusted Nate Silver knew there was a one third chance of Trump winning.

2. No, Trump did not win because his supporters were called idiots, or racists, or fascists, or both. Nobody has ever said "That man called me a fascist! Well, that does it, I'm going to vote for a fascist who'll most likely destroy the country I live in and love! That'll show them!" Besides, we didn't, for the most part, call Trump supporters any of those things, we called TRUMP a fascist, and we also observed that actual self-described NEO-NAZIs ("Deplorables") were voting for Trump - as in David Duke was voting for him, and any analysis of what neo-nazis were doing showed they were enthusiastic about Trump.

(On that note: are you a fascist for voting Trump? You might be, you might not, but what is clear is that you don't consider fascism to be such a terrible thing that you'd refuse to vote for someone who runs as a fascist. That is not a good thing, and whether you're one or not, you should feel bad if you voted for him.)

2.1 No she didn't. She said half of Trump's supporters were "deplorables", an entirely reasonable statement to make. She never said that half of voters, or that all Trump supporters, were racists, you just made that up.

3. You may think he made it all up just to get elected. But you have no real evidence of that. We will be fearful that Trump intends to continue as a fascist until he proves otherwise. Thus far, he's been all over the map, we have to wait until he's in office before we can judge.

4. No, we will not "Hope for Trump's success". We'll hope for America's success, but to our eyes, that appears to be in conflict with the success of Trump. We'll hope that Trump somehow redeems himself, and turns into something completely unlike what we've seen so far.

Addressing a different crowd...

5. No, she didn't win the popular vote. She did great, and has a plurality, but she's not even near the 50% mark. The EC would have absolutely no mandate - moral or otherwise - to substitute Clinton for Trump. Both candidates lost the popular vote.

6. She was a shitty choice of candidate, get over it. No, she's not Nixon, she's the victim of a 25 year long smear campaign, but she's also a neo-con who doesn't represent liberal values on certain key issues like war and civil liberties, and she's spent so much time cosying up to the various establishments that she appears aloof of ordinary American's problems. She's rightly or wrongly associated with her husband who may or may not have been popular but is infamous for regressive anti-progressive positions during his time in office. In the primaries we may have had two shitty candidates to choose from, we may or may not have picked the best of the two, but she was still shitty.

6.1 Sanders? You really think a country brainwashed for more than a century to think Socialist is a bad word would have voted for Sanders? Really? Even Trump had the good sense to not explicitly use the word that described the ideology he was campaigning on. He wasn't even a great campaigner - he might have beaten Ron Paul if the latter had been the Republicans choice, but nobody else.

7. No, we're probably not going to win back either house in 2018. We're not Republicans, we're obsessed with looking reasonable and getting the blessing of the media, and the media is going to normalize Trump and the Democrats will end up compromising themselves and fucking themselves over. When Obama won, the Republicans went Scorched Earth despite there being no reason to think he was particularly offensive. Democrats need to go Scorched Earth now, but won't, because they're pathetic.

8. No, we shouldn't abandon our principles to win the next election. Supporting minorities didn't kill us, failing to address issues that affect everyone might have done, but the two are not in conflict. We need to abandon people suffering real hardship and discrimination so we can focus on the "White Working Class"? Bullshit. We need policies that lift up the whole of the working classes, not just whites. And while we do so, nothing prevents us from reforming chronically discriminatory institutions, or dealing with hate crimes at the same time.

We have precious little we can do at this stage, but we can resist in our own small ways, and make it politically possible for others with more power to resist too. That's what we must, at minimum, do right now.

User Journal

Journal Journal: No more /. subscriptions? 2

I realized that I had not topped up my /. subscription in some time and went to do so. Saw this:

"Please Note: Buying or gifting of a new subscription is not available
at the moment. We apologize for the inconvenience. This downtime though
does not effect your current active subscription in any way. We will
keep you posted on the latest"

Any idea what's going on? Are they sticking to a pure ad model (all blocked anyhow, but I did like to subscribe as I like the ol' barn.)

User Journal

Journal Journal: Is Anyone Tracking Trump's Broken Promises? 34

Trump made a great deal of campaign promises, and he is already back-tracking on quite a few of them.

Raise criminal charges against Hillary Clinton? nah, maybe not

Repeal all of Obamacare, immediately? nope, not doing that either

Start deporting people on day one? nah, that can wait (note what the same article also says about the wall)

Can anyone name anything substantive he was planning that he hasn't already walked back? Should be an interesting "first 100 days", being as he's already been dropping things off his to-do list.
User Journal

Journal Journal: 97% in 2016 30

What was 97% in 2016? According to opensecrets.org, 97% of US House members who ran for re-election in 2016 won their re-election bid. While that seems high - and it is higher than 2014, 2012, or 2010 - it is not the highest we've seen since the 60's, and we've never seen less than 80% in that time frame.

This is of course while congress has approval ratings from US polls that is barely better than Ebola or ISIS.
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.

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