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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: As predicted ACA and insurance are incompatible.

An article in nytimes shows that millions of Americans choose not to pay insurance premiums but instead only get insurance coverage when they need it because the premiums are more expensive than government penalties of not buying insurance and because simultaneously the government forces the insurance companies to cover anybody regardless of any pre-existing conditions.

Back in July of 2012 I explained that ACA is unconstitutional and that the SCOTUS was completely political and wrong but also I explained that ACA and the very concept of insurance are absolutely incompatible.

I am going to use two of my quotes from that journal entry here:

1.

This means that in principle if the tax (fine) is raised from its current level (and it will have to be raised, otherwise ACA is completely unworkable, everybody who has to pay for insurance under the ACA will cancel insurance and only 'buy' it when they absolutely need to and then cancel again, once done with the bills) so if the tax is raised, the mandate becomes immediately unconstitutional and ACA has to go back to the supreme court!

2.

The tax (fine) will be raised, because people who do pay for their insurance today will stop paying, because this tax (fine) is so low today compared to the insurance plan payments. There will be some people who will be subsidised under the plan and will not have to pay for insurance, so they will 'buy' their plans with the subsidies. Also the people who actually need insurance to pay them right now, because they are sick, they will obviously 'buy' into insurance, since they cannot be denied due to the pre-existing conditions.

But this means that huge number of people will drop out of insurance, and the only people in it will be a minority of those who didn't have it until now and those who need insurance to pay for their treatment.

Under this scenario, the insurance companies will cease to operate. But of-course what is likely to happen is that the government will bail out the insurance companies with tax (and borrowed and printed) money. In the short term the government may even have an influx of cash because taxes (fines) will be collected from people who had private insurance prior to ACA but would cancel it now and just pay the tax (fine). But in the long run this means that insurance will become extremely expensive because of lack of payers and the government will be bailing out insurance with tax money at the new expensive rates.

the quotes above explain that people who are allowed to buy insurance only when they get sick will do so because 1. Insurance will become more expensive but the penalty for not buying the insurance is going to be lower than the cost of insurance and 2. The insurance companies will be forced to accept everybody with pre-existing conditions.

This means that no insurance company can actually run an insurance business in this government system without getting government bailouts, be it via taxes or other mechanisms (TARP comes to mind).

It is amazing how gullible so many people can be, looking straight into the same information that I am looking at and not connecting the dots at all. I was ridiculed on explaining these extremely obvious points (extremely obvious if one takes 10 seconds to think them). Of-course people prefer not to think about anything but then they miss the most obvious consequences that are going right towards them because of past actions.

There are more predictions in that journal post I wrote back in 2012, they will all come true, especially the points about bailing out insurance companies and generally worsening the level of coverage.

Now, I am not arguing that people should go without insurance, I am arguing that government shouldn't be forcing anybody into any product or service at all, all of these matters should be left to the private sector, which takes care of things like insurance and like medical care for profit, which is the preferred way of running things - for profit, thus ensuring that things are done efficiently while providing good customer service, all of this is the exact opposite of how governments do business (inefficiently and without actually treating customers as clients).

User Journal

Journal Journal: UBI is the modern version of Communism 1

In the last year or so there have been numerous stories on /. on the subject of Universal Basic Income (UBI). Many so called 'libertarians' left a number of comments on how they are supporting UBI because they think it might be more efficient than other forms of welfare.

Whether welfare is efficient or not is really irrelevant from point of view of individual freedom, putting a lipstick on a pig doesn't change the nature of the animal but I do want to bring to their attention this simple fact: UBI is the modern version of Communism and just like all other forms of collectivism, this form is doomed to misery, oppression, murder and finally economic failure.

Communism is absence of private ownership of means of production, possibly State ownership or in case of Marxism some form of collective non-State sharing. For voluntary forms of Communism or Marxism there is no need to reinvent the wheel, go to a modern day kibbutz, where people are participating voluntarily and this might be the best argument for *voluntary* form of cooperation to date.

However this is not the subject of my post. Here I am looking at the UBI imposed by the State, where the income taxes are collected from each person according to his or her income level (ability) and everybody is getting some minimum amount of money out of that pool on a monthly basis.

First of all automation, outsourcing and other forms of efficiencies are cited as the reasons for all of these UBI related ideas, so it is proposed that in some not so distant future people will no longer be able to earn a living by holding a job, because American (and maybe European) people are uncompetitive when it comes to automation and foreign labour. The reality is that labour and capital are always in competition and it is not necessary that capital should always win against labour in the market. Capital wins where government makes labour uncompetitive with various rules, laws, taxes and government intervening on behalf of unions that make it too expensive to hire labour and make it more practical to automate or outsource.

Once the labour is uncompetitive due to government intervention into the market the argument becomes that without UBI there will be no more jobs for people to take and so UBI is proposed as a form of welfare that is supposedly more efficient. In reality the reason why UBI is proposed has nothing to do with efficiency but everything to do with marketability of that concept. It is much easier to sell UBI to the public, majority of which is actually still working under the current system than to sell a welfare system that excludes people based on their income level. The argument is the same nonsense that was used to push through the SS and EI. Since everybody is supposedly going to receive the benefits it is sold not as a form of welfare (which has stigma attached to it) but as a form of universal entitlement that everybody gets.

SS and EI benefits (as well as Medicare) are completely unnecessary for the people who are self sufficient, the people running profitable companies, people who are much better at investing their money than a modern State apparatus could ever be. Yet SS and EI are advertised as 'universal' to make them look as if they are not a form of welfare but instead a form of insurance. Of-course the people who do not need SS and EI benefits also absolutely do not need to pay into the SS and EI system through payroll taxes. Yet without them paying into these systems the payments would be in even more deficit than they are today. The proponents of SS and EI state that these programs are sustainable and would be even more sustainable if the wealthy people didn't have a cap at 100K or so that EI and SS percentages are taken from. Of-course those are the very people (the wealthier income earners) who do not need SS and EI in the first place, they shouldn't be in those systems, they don't need that form of welfare and they shouldn't be paying those taxes. Originally SS was set up for widows and orphans, not for everyone. Eventually it was extended to everybody else to make those ponzi scams workable much longer. The self employed were excluded from the system completely, they could afford their own retirement and other savings, they didn't have to pay into those programs, eventually they were forced to pay into them to make the ponzi scams run longer. Today the argument is that the wealthy should not have a cap for SS and EI payments to make those ponzi scams run longer yet.

UBI would be similar to SS in a way making it 'SS for all', not only for the retired. But why am I defining UBI as a modern version of Communism? Lets start from the obvious: everybody who works will have to pay into UBI and everybody who does not will not be paying into it. So this is a technicality, but basically it says: from each according to his ability to each according to his need. However under Communism there cannot be private means of production, there is either State ownership of productive resources or some voluntary collective ownership (like in a family or in a kibbutz). So the real question would a UBI system mean that the ownership and operation of productive resources will be nationalized and otherwise collectivized? My contention is that it is inevitable that a UBI regime requires nationalization and collectivization of resources and of all means of production. I will explain this in detail and I will start with a simplified model.

Consider two villages where both villages share common currency (dollars):

* Village A has a population of 10 people, each one of them is working in something productive. There is a farmer, there is a blacksmith, there is a hunter, there is a doctor, there is a shoemaker, etc.

* Village B has a population of 10 people, one of them is a milk farmer who owns a cow, the rest are either unemployed or are service sector workers, they do not possess means of production.

The milk farmer produces 10 litres of milk a day that he can sell at $1 a litre thus making $10 a day. The farmer sells the milk for dollars but the reason he wants to receive dollars is to buy goods produced by other workers. The farmer wants to buy some bread, shoes, tools, he sometimes needs to visit a doctor. The farmer also may pay for some service like for a haircut. The people from village A are able to supply the farmer with the goods exchanged for his dollars, the people from village B are able to supply him with some services.

A person from the B village (an unemployed individual) decided to start a campaign for equality in the village because the income levels are so different. The milk farmer can make $10 and a service sector worker can only make a small fraction of that while an unemployed person does not get to eat unless he can figure out something useful to do as a service or he begs or robs somebody. The campaign starts picking up momentum across the B villagers since they agree, they are all poorer than the milk farmer. Village B forms a government and collectively introduces a motion that requires that everybody in the village must get a UBI of minimum $1 a day. For this to work each one of the villagers must contribute what they are able to make the total sum of $10 a day so that the $10 can be distributed to each villager at $1 a day. The total taxable income of the B villagers is maybe $15, $10 of which comes from the daily earnings of the milk farmer. A UBI income tax is established and the milk farmer is now taxed at about 80%, which makes the 80% of UBI amount and the remaining 20% come from the rest of the villagers.

At this point the milk farmer looks at his income of $10, $8 of which is taken away and $1 is returned to him, making his daily net income $3 and he decides that it does not make sense to generate income in the village. So instead of selling his milk in both villages, he moves most of his sales to village A, where he now makes $8 out of the daily $10 and maybe he is able to sell $1 worth of milk in village B. Then he leaves the $8 in the bank in village A and only takes home $1 a day. All of a sudden the daily UBI taxable income in the village B falls from $15 down to $6. Since there are 10 people in the village it is not possible to split the $6 among them at $1 amounts and besides this would mean that even at the taxation level of 100% there is still a UBI deficit of $4 a day.

B villagers (except for the milk farmer) get together and decide that this will not do, they have to make sure that they have their $1 a day of UBI but to achieve this they have to force the milk farmer to bring his income home. Milk farmer does not agree but he is met with overwhelming force of 9 guns pointing in his direction. At this point the farmer's ownership of his property, his means of production are confiscated from him because he is unwilling to work within the system. He might decide to continue working within the system but again, from point of view of how the business is done he has no choice in the matter, he is no longer the owner of his private property and of his means of production. It is nationalization for all practical purposes, whether the milk farmer goes with the program or not. Eventually of-course there is a movement to ensure that nobody with such horrible background as a private property owner can actually live at any level above somebody with much more acceptable background (like that of a labourer or that of an unemployed, the formerly unemployed are the ones with the most time to set political agenda, normally they will end up in the top echelons of the newly formed government).

This is actually the road that was taken a number of times on this planet where 'social justice' doctrines have been taken to their logical conclusion, the end result is overall poverty, destruction of the means of production given that nobody is actually allowed to own productive property as to not ascend above the rest and generally economic calamity that comes some time after the installation of this type of a regime.

UBI is a modern form of Communism, it is the rose under another name or more to the point it is the proverbial lipstick on a pig.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Best simple SID to USB connection? 3

That may not be a good way to describe it but... I have a C64 I never use and I think I shall desolder its SID before consigning it to recycling since they are now officially hard to come by. What can I put it on that will let me use it efficiently?

User Journal

Journal Journal: The lameness filter is broken (again) 13

Your comments "spectacularly brain-damaged suggestion" and "drug-fueled" are why I consider your post troll like.

The above quote rendered one of my comments unpostable...

Republicans

Journal Journal: Trump's Attack Lines On This Are Spot On 12

Trump's attack lines on this are spot on:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 7:01pm  12 Jul 2016

        Bernie Sanders endorsing Crooked Hillary Clinton is like Occupy Wall Street endorsing Goldman Sachs.

and

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 7:03pm  12 Jul 2016

        Bernie sanders has abandoned his supporters by endorsing pro-war pro-TPP pro-Wall Street Crooked Hillary Clinton.

Those are valid statements. I find it hard to to argue with these.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Also? 8

Where on EARTH is the /. UI for starting a journal entry? LOL!

I don't know how it's done, if you don't just know to navigate http://slashdot.org/journal.pl?op=edit

User Journal

Journal Journal: Ryan Ryttie / kesuki - Rest in peace 2

As most activity has gone away here, I often don't remember what real username maps to what person. It's fine, that is how this social media thing evolved.

What I do know, is that I knew Ryan Ryttie, from slashdot. Today, I saw a post from his sister that he passed away (Link to Facebook is public). No, I do not know the circumstances.

I know he stopped using his original username here. Ryan was a friend, sure he had is daemons. but he was a friendly and authentic person.

I post this in a journal, for others that may still wander here and may have known him.

May Ryan rest in peace.

[Edit: Ryan was known as kesuki on slashdot]

User Journal

Journal Journal: [geek] Dual-Boot 2-in-1 Tablet

I recently acquired a 10.1" tablet with a break-away keyboard so this little beast can be either a very small laptop or a full-sized tablet. The keyboard is nice and it is very solid, so this is a great solution for my needs. I have wanted one of these for a long, long time, and now I have one.

Where it gets interesting, though, is that it can dual-boot into either Android or Windows. My first thought was that, since I have an Android tablet already, this might be a good candidate for running the last few Windows applications I rely on, which would allow me to convert my Windows system into another Linux workstation, probably for development. I like my laptop, and it works well enough with Windows 10 on it but I am no fan of Windows 10. So, I booted the tablet up in Windows and looked around.

With the release of Windows 8, I wanted a Windows tablet. It seemed like a good system that would work well for me. I had a touch-screen laptop that came with Windows 8 preinstalled (but has since been migrated to CentOS 7) and it was not as bad as I expected - the interface actually made some sense to me and I did not mind it at all, though I definitely preferred the older Windows 7-style desktop. I had a Windows 8 phone at the time which I bought on a whim and it was the easiest phone to use I had ever owned. So, the Metro desktop on a tablet seemed like a good way to work.

Windows 10, not so much.

As a desktop OS, Windows 10 is not totally unreasonable though it is not my first choice by any means. It's not the best version of Windows, and even though I am primarily a Red Hat kind of guy I definitely prefer Ubuntu's interface to Windows 10. But, on the desktop Windows 10 is workable. On a tablet, though, Windows 10 is a big goose egg. It's clunky, it is harder to use and it takes up too much in terms of resources. So, this dual-boot tablet will be in Android the large majority of the time.

User Journal

Journal Journal: [work] karma

My last job sucked. No way to sugar coat it. My manager absolutely refused to say anything positive to me about the work I was doing and actively went out of his way to find people that were unhappy with my performance (meaning, he looked for people that thought I should work 70+ hours/week with unpaid OT for them exclusively) and my final review there for the worst I had ever seen. I missed family events, funerals, trips and more, just to try to keep afloat. Such a prick this fellow was that he took the day off on my last day, requiring someone else to accompany me to HR for my exit processing.

The fellow who was my mentor and who was all that stood between me and that manager was a bright fellow who did work 70+ hours every week and was considered hot property among management. He was the manager's right hand and he did not think I was treated fairly but there was little he could do for me.

That fellow is leaving now, having had enough of the BS himself and leaving the manager in a lurch. No one else in the group held the same respect with that manager and even those in other groups who did not like him respected him (if only privately). Three of the heavy hitters have either left or are about to leave, and the manager will have a shell of a group and no one to keep him above water.

I am smiling a lot today. Sometimes, bad things do happen to bad people.

User Journal

Journal Journal: [geek] Windows 7 Again 4

My son has a laptop that finally got bogged down with crapware and other nasties under the hood and he asked me to reload it for him. He is usually careful online but he apparently found some aggressive adware buried in something else he wanted. He had updated it to Windows 10 from 7 which at the time had seemed like a good idea.

I spent two days reloading this system, using the 4 recovery DVDs that I made from the system (shoulda used CloneZilla and imaged the booger). After that, I made a terrible mistake and tried the WIndows 10 thing since I thought that was what he wanted. Box would not boot so I got to start all over again.

I am going through the process of dowloading all of the WIndows 7 updates right now. I had forgotten what a slow and painful process this is.

User Journal

Journal Journal: [music] You Walk Away

With the night behind you
You walk away and I will find you
We are locked in this emotion
We will find the way home

And itâ(TM)s too late
To regret the mistakes we made
Easier to walk away

And itâ(TM)s too late
To deny all the words we say
Nothing will ever be the same

When the world surrounds you
You take your place with me, behind you
These are every word unspoken
This is our way home

And itâ(TM)s too late
To regret the mistakes we made
Easier to walk away

When the world surrounds you
You walk away
You walk away

And itâ(TM)s too late
To regret the mistakes we made
Easier to walk away

And itâ(TM)s too late
To deny all the words we say
Nothing will ever be the same

And itâ(TM)s too late
To regret the mistakes we made
Easier to walk away
You walk away

And itâ(TM)s too late
To deny all the words we say
Nothing will ever be the same

"You Walk Away" by TyDi and Audrey Gallagher

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