March 25, 2017

The Party of Failure Strikes Again

Are you still not convinced the Republicans are nothing more than a semi-organized group of frauds and liars? Not to mention a bunch of petulant self-important cry babies?

At a press conference following the failure of the GOP healthcare bill, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said:

I don't know what else to say other than Obamacare is the law of the land. It's going to remain the law of the land until it's replaced. So, yeah, we're going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future. I don't know how long it will take us to replace this law.

Translation: I'm taking my ball and going home because you didn't let me win.

The bill failed Mr. Ryan because it was awful and deserved to fail. For years Republicans campaigned and fundraised on the promise of "Repeal and Replace." The Republican House passed bill after bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act knowing they would never make it past the Senate and if they did they would be vetoed by President Obama. And when they finally had the opportunity to make good on their promise to Repeal and Replace, they gave us Modify and Maintain. They put forth a bill that maintained the essential premise of ObamaCare, that the role of government is to make sure that everyone has health insurance, and changed a few details of its implementation. Instead of vanilla flavored statism they offered us strawberry. 

But that was the plan all along.

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) admitted as much as he left the meeting Friday. Reporters asked why, after Republicans held dozens of nearly-unanimous votes to repeal Obamacare under President Obama, they were getting cold feet now that they control the levers of power.

"Sometimes you’re playing Fantasy Football and sometimes you’re in the real game,” he said. "We knew the president, if we could get a repeal bill to his desk, would almost certainly veto it. This time we knew if it got to the president’s desk it would be signed."

Translation: They never intended to get rid of federal control over health insurance. 

They just used that lie to get the power to control it their way. You often hear GOP politicians who don't mouth the proper conservative platitudes derided as RINOs - Republicans In Name Only. The truth is big government statism IS the Republican Party.

And as for the choice they offer between vanilla flavored statism and strawberry flavored statism, I'm lactose intolerant.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:14 AM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 22, 2017

Big Pizza is Watching You

We have a family food tradition that is probably outside the norm. It all started when the daughter was in a choir that had rehearsals on Wednesday nights so dinner was a bit of a fire drill. So while for most people take out night is probably something you do on the weekend, for us take out night is still Wednesday.

The daughter is off at college but the son and I maintain the tradition with the added twist that I let him pick what we're getting. Usually this works out just fine, but every once in a while, for reasons I don't understand, he will pick Domino's. I am not a fan of Domino's pizza. I think there are many better options available - some of which are in our grocer's freezer.

I just don't like the crust.

They do have a chicken habeñero sandwich that I tolerate so tonight when he picked Domino's "because we hadn't had it for a long time" I got the sandwich.

I also downloaded their app to place the order and so I could use the handy tracker to time my trip to pick it up. Domino's is not worth the extra cost of the delivery charge and the tip. I had the app open to their tracker - a progress bar that tells you how close your order is to ready - and there was button that said "Track Your Order." I thought I was already looking at the tracking so I pushed the button.

An alert popped up that said (quoting from memory) "We have detected a Samsung Smart TV on your network. Enter this code '55555' and track your order on your TV."

Excuse me - pizza guy. Get the hell off my network. What other information are you collecting while you snoop for smart TVs?

That app has been deleted, but I guess Domino's already knows that. Hopefully it will be a long time before my son feels nostalgic for mediocre pizza.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 08:08 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 15, 2017

MSNBC Blinded by Hatred

What I don't understand about the whole MSNBC Trump Tax form circus is how it happened. Not how MSNBC and Rachel Maddow got their hands on Trump's 2005 tax return, but how it actually got on the air.

Did they read them first? Did they do any basic research to see how Trump's tax rate compared to the rates paid by other prominent politicians? I think five minutes of Google time and the tiniest bit of common sense should have told them that not only was this a nothing story but in the end it was going to make Trump look better.

Trump paid taxes at almost double the rate of Socialist Crank Bernie Sanders. He also paid a much higher effective rate than Obama who spoke constantly about "asking" the rich to "pay their fair share." The returns that Maddow and company shared with world show that in 2005 Trump paid $38,000,000 in federal taxes. I wonder if Obama and Sanders consider that a fair share or not enough?

I'd like to think that Trump is some sort of genius super troll and that this was all part of some carefully crafted plan. That he would refuse to release his tax returns knowing that the democrats and their media partners would eventually get their hands on them. He had to be counting on the refusal to spark all kinds of speculation and innuendo to designed smear him and derail his campaign. He had to do all of this with the belief that when the media would eventually get them they would rush to make them public. And of course he had to know what the result would be.

I'd like to think it was part of his plan. But at his hollow core Trump is a range of the moment pragmatist. Instead Trump is the unwitting beneficiary of the media's blinding hatred that lead Maddow to hold up his tax returns in a moment of what she and her network perceive as triumph. They were speaking truth to power, and that truth is that Trump paid a lot of tax. Now they have learned that the paper the forms are printed on is not useful for wiping the egg off their faces.

On a side note. Trump claims to be a managerial genius who surrounds himself with the best people. Really the best people? And he paid 25% of his income in taxes? I hope he fired his accountant.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 04:04 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 08, 2017

Neither one is likeable

Remember when Hillary lost the election to Donald and we were assured that the only reason she lost is because knuckle-dragging misogynists would never vote for a woman? It seems like only yesterday.

An associate professor of economics and political science at INSEAD, Maria Guadalupe go the idea to flip the gender roles in the Clinton/Trump debates. She wanted to see how an audience would perceive Clinton's debate performance coming from a man and Trump's coming from a woman.

Guadalupe began the project assuming that the gender inversion would confirm what they’d each suspected watching the real-life debates: that Trump’s aggression—his tendency to interrupt and attack—would never be tolerated in a woman, and that Clinton’s competence and preparedness would seem even more convincing coming from a man.

It didn't quite turn out that way for Guadalupe or the standing room only audiences. You should read the whole thing because the details are fascinating. People were not put out by seeing a woman exhibiting Trumps behavior, and they were put off by seeing Hillary's performance from a male.

So maybe everyone should take a breath and stop complaining that this election was decided based on genitalia.

The money quote?

Someone said that Jonathan Gordon [the male Hillary Clinton] was "really punchable” because of all the smiling.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 03:40 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

March 01, 2017

Watch the World Burn

If I had a list of people I really don't care about - which I don't because I don't care enough to make a list, Milo Yianopoulos would be somewhere near the top. But I was listening to a podcast today on which he was discussed at length. The host, Yaron Brook, referred to Milo as an engine of chaos - he may have been quoting Milo's description of himself.

But that reminded me of something that I'm not sure Brook intended, but which fits perfectly and makes perfect sense. Milo is the Joker.

I just did what I do best. I took your little plan and I turned it on itself. Look what I did to this city with a few drums of gas and a couple of bullets. Hmmm? You know... You know what I've noticed? Nobody panics when things go "according to plan." Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all "part of the plan". But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds!

Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. 

Milo doesn't use drums of gas and bullets, he throws verbal bombs, but he throws them for the same purpose, destruction for the sake of destruction. The negation of value and values. Milo seeks to tear down the left, and based on how he goes about it, to take the right down with it.

It’s not about the money, it’s about sending a message. Everything burns!

I don't have understanding of the pathology of a committed nihilist like Milo, but I know that Alfred got it right:

Some men aren't looking for anything logical. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 07:06 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment

Same Shit Different Statist

President Trump {{{shudder}}} gave a speech before a joint session of Congress last night. A sort of unofficial State of the Union Address. So he did what presidents always do, he proposed some big ticket legislation.

Trump proposed a massive Make American Infrastructure Great Again package.

"I will be asking the Congress to approve legislation that produces a $1 trillion investment in the infrastructure of the United States."

We've been down this federally build road before. The only surprise is that he didn't actually refer to "shovel ready projects." I can't wait to see what he calls his "Summer of Recovery." If he really wants to continue trolling the Democrats he could go with "Summer of Reconstruction."

This will work in exactly the same corrupt way it worked when Obama and the Democrats did the exact same thing. The money will go to Trump & GOP cronies who will turn around and donate a portion of the proceeds to Republican candidates and PACs. 

Just don't lose sight of where the money for this comes from. This money will be taken by force from you and me and our children and their children.

Posted by: Stephen Macklin at 01:32 PM | No Comments | Add Comment

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