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Comment Tax reform (Score 1) 360

I 100% expect the Republicans (congress in general, really, but the Republicans are presently driving the bus) to do exactly the same thing to tax law that the Republicans attempted to do to the healthcare law. Which is to say, rewrite it to further benefit the wealthy and further disadvantage the poor and middle class.

What congress thinks is broken about tax law and what the poor and middle class thinks is broken about tax law are two entirely different things.

It's not that congress can't figure it out. It's that what they want has absolutely nothing to do with benefitting the voters who elected them. They serve those who write them checks, hand out lucrative speaking engagements, "think tank" positions, lobbyist jobs, property and stock tips/deals, etc. They care very little for our votes. They know full well that when disapproval of congress is high (86% in a recent election), re-election rates remain high (94% in that same election.) So until disapproval numbers for a bill hit really dangerous looking extremes (83% for the ACHA, basically everyone that doesn't drool all their waking hours), they pretty much do whatever they want, and what that is, as always, is fluff the wealthy.

The key to stopping them is exactly what happened with the ACHA: The media and the Internet need to repeatedly and in a way that cannot be ignored, put the information about what the the proposed revisions to tax law is trying to do to most everyone out under bright lights. If that can be done, it'll kill their tax agenda, which is absolutely guaranteed to be harmful to most of us. Just like the ACHA.

The problem with actual reasonable tax reform is that you're asking the foxes to voluntarily reduce their access to the henhouse. No matter what they say about it, they are thinking "LOL, as if." That's not just the GOP, either; the Democrats trade on tax leverage too.

A truly fair and simple federal taxation system is literally no more than a few pages of clear and simple law away. The same is true for any state or town. Likewise decent healthcare mechanisms. But we can't get there from here. The monied interests don't want that; and that means we're not going to get it. What we are most likely to get, if we're not vigilant, is something a good bit worse. Just like the ACHA.

Comment ACHA "craft" (Score 1) 360

the lawmakers are being very well-compensated to read legislation. It's like their one fucking job, you know?

Yes, I know, that's the point I was making. I'm sorry if that was unclear.

If Trump and the GOP couldn't unravel the 3500 page health care law

The GOP unraveled it just fine (Trump doesn't even read his executive orders... the very idea that he had anything to do with the ACHA other than as an idiot mouthpiece is mildly hilarious.) The GOP rewrote it to do what they wanted it to do, which was adhere to the usual ethically bankrupt Republican agenda of disadvantaging the poor and further enriching the rich.

It's just that the poor, huge numbers of whom benefit from the ACA, actually got wind of the GOP's intent, and unfortunately for the Republicans, their base consists of considerable numbers of the poor.

It wasn't that they couldn't unravel it. It's that they got caught unraveling it.

The reason why is simply this: If you never give a baby a lollipop, it will just sit there and gurgle. But if you give a baby a lollipop and then attempt to take it away and it catches you at it, it will scream bloody murder until you give it back. That's exactly what happened here. The ACA handed out the lollipop that was healthcare to people who had never had it. The ACHA attempted to take it away. The people caught them at it. Everything from then on was entirely predictable.

Comment Re:False equivalency (Score 1) 360

I think you need to go back and look at what actually happened. Obama tried to get those prisoners into the US where they could be interned in a rights-compliant way, given proper hearings and trials, lawyers, due process. He didn't try (and shouldn't have tried) to "close Gitmo" by just releasing everyone, nor did he ever say he wanted to. His attempts to get this done were stymied by others. So from my POV, while yes, that's a failure of Obama's attempt to close Gitmo, it most certainly doesn't lay the blame for the failure at his door.

Look, I am not a blind fan of Obama. Lots of things I disagreed with him on. Some of it is just attitudes he promoted as a leader, such as his various constitutionally blind gun-control ideas, some of it is things he actually did like signing the (un)PATRIOT(ic) act. But closing Gitmo... that turned into a political nightmare, but it was a nightmare he was on the correct side of.

Comment False equivalency (Score 1) 360

I believe an important distinction is that Gitmo was not closed after 8 years of promises and the President leaving office without it getting done.

Obama was actually trying to close Gitmo, because it's a travesty against liberty and justice. This was a constitutionally sound, well thought out, and highly principled stance.

Trump was not actually trying to give us good healthcare, because either he has no idea what he's doing, or he is specifically trying to benefit monied interests rather than actually see that good healthcare is made broadly available to the citizens. This is the stance of (take your pick) an idiot or an evil person.

Yes, both were stymied by congress. But:

Obama's Gitmo effort is fairly described as "good intent, stymied by congress, AKA failure."

Trump's ACHA is effort fairly described as "bad intent, stymied by congress, AKA failure."

People claiming doomsday for President Trump are foolish.

Based on the ACHA failure, certainly. It was just terrible legislation that made him look like an idiot. Being an idiot isn't cause for impeachment. Otherwise we'd have been rid of Bush II early on. :/

However, based on Trump's continuing spewage of falsehoods, his campaign's complicity with Russian manipulation of the election, based on his utilizing the presidency to take financial advantage... I wouldn't be too sure that us saying "President Pence", and fairly soon, is all that unlikely.

Trump is obviously incompetent at the job. Between that, and his continual coloring outside the ethical and legal lines, and that of the campaign that resulted in his election, his future as president is by no means certain to extend a full four years.

Comment Re:Not the same (Score 1) 88

This is no worse than back in the 1960s when Ma Bell used to have its people listen in on all phone calls and write down the topics discussed on decks of index cards for each phone account. They then sold stacks of these cards to outfits like Montgomery Ward and S&H Green Stamps, which helped them to mail out coupon offers tailored for customers' interests. They only sent copies to J. Edgar Hoover when he said there was a good reason.

The U.S. Post office enhanced their revenues with a similar program steaming envelopes (note that stamps only cost a couple of cents back then, so it sure was effective at holding down prices). It was a win-win for everybody; what's the big deal?

Comment Laumerlicious stuff (Score 1) 384

Chris, know what else would make a superb movie from Laumer? The Long Twilight. That book is awesome fun.

It has superhumans, aliens and alien artifacts, AI constructs, alien empires, broadcast power, several quite different levels of plotting, alternate history, near-future tech, military aspects of various ages, a love story, revenge, reconciliation... and it's all reasonably doable, movie-wise.

Any Laumer fan who hasn't read it... I highly recommend it.

Comment Cockpit access (Score 1) 248

First, those only stop someone from commandeering the aircraft in the circumstances that we saw in 2001 and do not necessarily address destroying an aircraft

No, they don't. And you can't, completely. You can shoot one down, and nothing at all prevents that. And the TSA doesn't do anything worth doing at all. But the problem that arose in 2001 was using the aircraft as a ballistic weapon with intelligent guidance. Everything that came about post 9/11 was in response to that. We'd had various aircraft destroyed by bombs, and no one felt we had to go anywhere near the lengths we did after 9/11. So what I was saying was that in response to 9/11, we should have done what I suggested, and that would have adequately addressed the actual issues that 9/11 brought to the table.

One of the concerns about the cockpit door is a rapid depressurization of passenger cabin might force that the door be opened.

Fine. If this is a real problem (unlikely, but possible), start building new aircraft without cockpit doors, and replacing the entire bulkhead in older aircraft. Have an external hatch access the cockpit; another the cabin. The pilots and engineer(s) don't need to be in the cabin, and the passengers and stews don't need to be in the cockpit.

Then toss the (un)PATRIOT(ic) act in the sewer where it belongs.

Comment Re:Hollywood is usually awful (Score 1) 384

Voiceover is definitely called WRT Bolos. But here's the thing: this would actually be a challenging movie to make. As opposed to "just another story." And CGI is now up to the task. Even so, there are quite a few Bolo stories that are man and machine, and some of those stories are more than a little poignant.

No one's made a good mech movie yet (Pacific rim was freaking horrible.) I would love to see one.

But even if there's no studio capable of bringing Bolos to life, there are still many, many stories that haven't even been touched that stay in the usual zone of people vs whatever.

Comment Adult appeal (Score 1) 384

Why do adults see these type of movies? Mystifying. Someone should explain the appeal.

We adults were kids once, and some of us enjoyed reading comics. With a good superhero movie, we get to see some of that come to life. It can be done well, and has been; you can also get a real stinker. Like Superman vs. Batman.

You know, just because I'm 60 doesn't mean I'm dead. Yet.

Also, comics are an art form. Like most art, it doesn't speak to everyone. That's okay. Like most art, it can be done well, or poorly. Also okay. And conversions to movies... same. But when someone does such a conversion poorly, and then claims that the audience is at fault, as here, for sharing their opinion about it... well, that's just humor.

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