pyesetz: (woof)
On Thursday, President Trump announced that if the Republicans did not pass the replacement healthcare system by Friday, then he would drop the matter and stay with ObamaCare (which remember is basically the same as RomneyCare, which was a Republican initiative to begin with).  On Friday, as expected, the replacement plan did not pass because it wasn't mean enough to poor people.  Here we are on Monday night and apparently the TrumpCare plan remains dead.

This is the correct outcome!  The Repubs have been saying for seven years that they would "repair or replace" ObamaCare, which they hated because Barack Obama has black skin.  (It couldn't have been because of anything *in* the plan, because Obama had copied it from the Repubs to begin with.)  For seven years they fundraised off racist donors who hated a plan that helps Black people more than Whites.  The (R)'s won the 2016 election, in part, by promising to get rid of ObamaCare and make Black people die in the gutter as God intended.  But of course they can't actually do that.  ObamaCare, like MediCare, is now a permanent entitlement.  Too many voters are getting benefits from it and it would cost too many votes to get rid of it.

So how did Trump get out of this unimplementable campaign promise, this "pre-existing condition" signature issue of the Republican party?  He made a big show of *trying* to pass a lame attempt at replacement, which of course failed, and then he dusted off his hands, declared failure, and moved on.  End of campaign promise!  ObamaCare is now the law of the Republican land — which is the right answer for America.  Of course, ObamaCare is a stinking pile of rotting garbage compared to what Canadians get, or what most every well-off country on the planet offers to their citizens (except Andorra — what is wrong with those people?).  But Americans can't have nice things, so ObamaCare is the best they can do.  And Trump has now announced what amounts to bipartisan support for it.  Such a nice president!

I sometimes wonder whether the ban-on-some-Muslims is a similar trick.  Trump repeated that promise over and over during the campaign because it got such big roars from the crowd, but banning Muslims will not Make America Great Again.  We've tried that before.  Banning Chinese people did not MAGA.  Putting quotas on Catholic immigrants did not MAGA.  Throwing all the Japanese-looking people into concentration camps did not MAGA.  We know this approach doesn't actually help with anything except generating applause at election rallies.  So Trump has twice now issued an "executive proclamation" in which he appears to be trying to keep his campaign promise to ban Muslims, only to be shut down by Conservative judges appointed by President W.  Did Trump know that would happen?  Was the whole Muslim-ban just a feint to get out of a inadvisable campaign promise?

And how about "Mexico will pay for the wall"?  What a great applause line that was!  But it seems pretty clear that Donald has no idea how to make it actually happen.  Somehow he will need to make an attempt, declare failure, and move on.  Might I suggest that the USA buy something for Canada, which then buys something for Mexico, which then buys the wall for the USA?  It's a three amigos gift exchange!  I can't imagine anything else that could possibly work.
pyesetz: (woof)
This article by Anis Shivani is very good, but perhaps overlong.  He thinks Trump is more like Mussolini than Hitler; I would like to have also seen some mention of Silvio Berlusconi as an analogue for Trump.

Shivani correctly notes that Donald's policies are not really that much different from W.'s or Barack's, because both (D) and (R) parties subscribe to the neoliberal ideology.  Only the rhetorical flourishes are different, but otherwise the new boss is the same as the old boss.  Obama said he loved DREAMers, but deported 2.5 million of them.  Trump says he hates Mexicans, but deported fewer of them in his first month than Obama did in his.  It is always a mistake to believe what a politician says.

Ralph Nader is mentioned once, but only as an avatar for the uselessness of protest against the neoliberal agenda.  If you're a millennial American, Mr. Shivani says you should move to Canada or Europe (but says that he himself is too old to move).  I disagree slightly, since it seems that Trump is markedly more willing to listen to protests than Bush Jr or Obama were.  Still, the point stands that the rise of American Fascism over the last 30 years will probably continue until the USA loses a war in a big way — and surely you don't want to be drafted for that, so what's the point of hanging around to protest?  Like the Jews from Germany, young liberal Americans should get out while you still can.

"Anis Shivani" is an Muslim name, but Mr. Shivani's bio does not talk about his ethnicity.  He assumes without evidence that Trump will surely start a new war in the Middle East, but this is based on historical trends and possibly unconnected with any personal interest that Shivani might have in that area.  He idly fantasizes about Trump nuking Iran, which I think is mistaking style for substance — but who knows?
pyesetz: (woof)

Recently, the world-famous blogger Pharyngula (who is actually Professor P.Z. Myers of UMinn/Morris) noted that the president was running an online survey, so he asked his minions to screw it up by choosing their answers to "go against the result the poll is engineered to generate".  I generally like Pharyngula, although he is sometimes too willing to conflate "scientifically proven" with "true".  (Newton's laws were scientifically proven for over 300 years, but they were false the entire time.  F = m⋅a is a statement about the universe that you can only "prove" if your equipment isn't very precise.)

So anyway, I clicked on the link to the poll, even though it seems politically incorrect to visit a page that has "DonaldJTrump" right there in its URL.  Oh noes — my address bar is displaying Voldemort's name!  But really, the poll isn't so bad, if you are willing to let the president speak his own icky Republican language.

The poll asks 25 questions, for 13 of which I am able to give the answers that The Donald wanted to evoke.  That's over half!  Maybe this guy isn't so bad.  I suppose it's time for me to bore you with my rundown on his poll.

Read more... )

In other news, Craig Deare has lost his job at the National Security Council and returned to his previous job of Dean of Administration at the National Defense University (née the National War College).  Deare had to go because he is an expert on Mexico and Trump doesn't want to hear opinions that disagree with his own — and Deare couldn't keep his mouth shut about that, which was fatal.  Now *this* is the Trump Administration that I was expecting!  It doesn't matter that Trump's initial cabinet is the "worstest ever" because many of these people will not last long on the executive payroll.
pyesetz: (woof)

Wil Wheaton is depressed.  His preferred candidate did not win the election.  That's understandable.  The election told him things he didn't want to know about the people of the country he lives in, so now he is caught in a whirlpool of lies he tells himself that make him feel bad while avoiding the real issues.  Having studied his affliction, he is only too aware that the things he says to himself are not true (such as the climate of Los Angeles, which actually gets an average of 35 rainy days each year) but his self-knowledge that he is in a whirlpool of his own making does not cause the waters to recede.  There are things I could say to him, but they would not make him feel better, so I'll say them here instead.

Star Trek: The Original Series was a fantasy.  It wasn’t *really* an egalitarian paradise, it just *said* it was.  The Federation *said* it came in peace, but Captain Kirk & crew were constantly starting wars with planets whose only real crime was disagreeing with them about the proper philosophy of government.  The Federation were a bunch of self-righteous bullies, much like the Americans of the 1960’s and the Hillary-voters of today.  Sometimes it seemed the only reason the Federation fought with the Klingon Empire was because they were in constant need of some enemy to fight in order to justify their militaristic society; this also seemed to be Hillary’s only reason for picking a fight with Russia.

American presidential elections are morality plays: the lesser-evil candidate wins.  The candidates spend the entire election lying about everything, trying to create the impression that they are evil enough to deserve mega-donations yet somehow good enough to deserve votes.  You can’t believe a word that either of them says about anything.  If you allow yourself to believe the hype, you’ll get a post-election depression even if your preferred candidate wins.  I remember when Barack Obama won, and started doing stuff that did not match his campaign rhetoric.  The phrase “hyperdimensional chess” was briefly popular among Democrats.  You see, Obama must be playing a game in which he pretends to be evil in order to better position himself for doing good things later.  But “later” never came and eventually people realized that Obama is just another corrupt politician like all the others.  I like to think that Barack does actually *want* to do good (such as the ACA), but most of the time he just can’t because of the constant overriding need to suck up to Wall St in order to have any ability to get anything at all done.  The presidency does not have as much independence of action as many people like to think.  Our current president is Black but still life sucks for ordinary Black Americans; the president-elect is a White supremacist but I expect that life will continue to suck for ordinary Whites (though less than Blacks).  We are in year 16 of what will probably be a 20-year global economic recession and there isn’t much that a president can do about that.

I found Hillary’s campaign rhetoric to be extremely offensive.  Donald’s misogyny makes him completely unfit for the presidency, but Bill Clinton’s very similar misogyny was — shut up, don’t talk about my husband!  Hillary’s actions in Ukraine and Syria probably amounted to war crimes, but — Shut Up!  Hillary has NEVER done ANYTHING wrong EVER!!!  Hillary’s adamant refusal to secure her email server showed appallingly bad judgment and probably should result in her being banned from having a security clearance — SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP DONALD IS A POOPY HEAD THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW.  But you can’t win an election by telling people to shut up all the time.

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