Waking up in a Libertarian US of A

Tossing and turning in a fever induced dream state, I dreamt that the US had become the Libertarian Utopia that I have read about. This is the summary:

Joe Conservative wakes up in the morning and goes to the bathroom. He flushes his toilet and brushes his teeth, mindful that each flush & brush costs him about 43 cents to his privatized water provider. His wacky, liberal neighbor keeps badgering the company to disclose how clean and safe their water is, but no one ever finds out. Just to be safe, Joe Conservative boils his drinking water.

Joe steps outside and coughs–the pollution is especially bad today, but the smokiest cars are the cheapest ones, so everyone buys ‘em. Joe Conservative checks to make sure he has enough toll money for the 3 different private roads he must drive to work. There is no public transportation, so traffic is backed up and his 10 mile commute takes an hour.

On the way, he drops his 12 year old daughter off at the clothing factory she works at. Paying for kids to go to private school until they’re 18 is a luxury, and Joe needs the extra income coming in. Times are hard and there’re no social safety nets.

He gets to work 5 minutes late and misses the call for Christian prayer, and is immediately docked by his employer. He is not feeling well today, but has no health insurance, since neither his employer nor his government provide it, and paying for it himself is really expensive, since he has a precondition. He just hopes for the best.

Joe’s workday is 12 hours long, because there is no regulation over working hours, and Joe will lose his job if he complains or unionizes. Today is an especially bad day. Joe’s manager demands that he work until midnight, a 16 hour day. Joe does, knowing that he’ll lose his job if he does not.

Finally, after midnight, Joe gets to pick up his daughter and go home. His daughter shows him the deep cut she got on the industrial sewing machine today. Joe is outraged and asks why she doesn’t have metal mesh gloves or other protection. She says the company will not provide it and she’ll have to pay for it out of her own pocket. Joe looks at the wound and decides they’ll use an over the counter disinfectant and bandages until it heals. She’ll have a scar, but getting stitches at the emergency room is expensive.

His daughter also complains that the manager made suggestive overtures towards her. Joe counsels her to be a “good girl” and not rock the boat, or she’ll get fired and they’ll be out the income.

His daughter says she can’t wait until she’s 18 so she can vote for change or go to the Iraq War.

They get home and there’s a message from his elderly father who can’t afford to pay his medical or heating bills. Joe can hear him coughing and shivering.

Joe turns on the radio and the top story is a proposal in Congress to raise the voting age to 25. A rare liberal opinionator states that it’s an attempt to keep power out of the hands of working class Americans. The conservative host immediately quashes him, calling him “a utopian idealist,” and agreeing that people aren’t mature enough to make good choices until they’re at least 25.

Joe chuckles at the wine-swilling, cheese eating liberal egghead and thinks, “Thank God I live in America where I have freedom!”

Fortunately, I awoke and the world was normal.

Trumpcare – A disaster by all measures

This week, we have been treated to the spectacle of the house Republicans jamming their “replacement” of the ACA through their two subcommittees with astounding speed and virtually no comment or open debate.

Last week, it was the rage that the supposed plan was available to be viewed in a “secret” room, no note taking, no removal from this room, heck, the reports were that it wasn’t to be found anywhere. Amusing, funny, but tragic to our republic.

7 years of bloviating. 7 years of promising to repeal the disaster that was Obamacare – or the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The complication was that the cheeto-faced Shit-Gibbon promised that they would replace the out of control Obamacare with something better, cheaper, and everybody was going to be covered. Continue reading →

The Trump Administration and Surveillance

I try to not discuss politics here, but sometimes, you hear or see something so over the top, so insane, so awful, that you can’t help yourself.

Today, that happened. I was sitting on my couch, drafting a blog post for my professional site, and I got a ping on my phone, an alert from the New York Times, that without any evidence, Trump tweeted that former President Obama had the phones tapped in Trump Tower, and some comments about how sad this was.

This is in the midst of a flurry of instantiations of the Trump campaign and administration team having contacts with a Russian ambassador, who is also a known Russian intelligence operator (aka – Spy). Already the original National Security Director, Michael Flynn, has resigned due to his lying about a conversation with this Russian spy. Continue reading →

Why Republicans aren’t pushing to investigate the Russian Hacking

A well written analysis as to why the congressional Republicans prefer to ignore the ramifications of Russian interference in our election last year. That seems like a catastrophically bad idea to me.

The CIA’s assessment that the Russian government probably had a hand in the hacking the Democratic National Committee servers and the subsequent release of leaked emails written by members of the party sent shockwaves across Washington Dc. To Democrats, the alleged Russian cyberattack was a deliberate campaign against their presidential nominee; an unprecedented act of…

via The GOP would rather live in dangerous ignorance than get the truth about Russian hacking — Quartz

Waking up in a Libertarian USA

A dream sequence of waking up in a Libertarian USA

Joe Conservative wakes up in the morning and goes to the bathroom. He flushes his toilet and brushes his teeth, mindful that each flush & brush costs him about 43 cents to his privatized water provider. His wacky, liberal neighbor keeps badgering the company to disclose how clean and safe their water is, but no one ever finds out. Just to be safe, Joe Conservative boils his drinking water.

Joe steps outside and coughs–the pollution is especially bad today, but the smokiest cars are the cheapest ones, so everyone buys ‘em. Joe Conservative checks to make sure he has enough toll money for the 3 different private roads he must drive to work. There is no public transportation, so traffic is backed up and his 10 mile commute takes an hour.

On the way, he drops his 12 year old daughter off at the clothing factory she works at. Paying for kids to go to private school until they’re 18 is a luxury, and Joe needs the extra income coming in. Times are hard and there’re no social safety nets.

He gets to work 5 minutes late and misses the call for Christian prayer, and is immediately docked by his employer. He is not feeling well today, but has no health insurance, since neither his employer nor his government provide it, and paying for it himself is really expensive, since he has a precondition. He just hopes for the best.

Joe’s workday is 12 hours long, because there is no regulation over working hours, and Joe will lose his job if he complains or unionizes. Today is an especially bad day. Joe’s manager demands that he work until midnight, a 16 hour day. Joe does, knowing that he’ll lose his job if he does not.

Finally, after midnight, Joe gets to pick up his daughter and go home. His daughter shows him the deep cut she got on the industrial sewing machine today. Joe is outraged and asks why she doesn’t have metal mesh gloves or other protection. She says the company will not provide it and she’ll have to pay for it out of her own pocket. Joe looks at the wound and decides they’ll use an over the counter disinfectant and bandages until it heals. She’ll have a scar, but getting stitches at the emergency room is expensive.

His daughter also complains that the manager made suggestive overtures towards her. Joe counsels her to be a “good girl” and not rock the boat, or she’ll get fired and they’ll be out the income.

His daughter says she can’t wait until she’s 18 so she can vote for change or go to the Iraq War.

They get home and there’s a message from his elderly father who can’t afford to pay his medical or heating bills. Joe can hear him coughing and shivering.

Joe turns on the radio and the top story is a proposal in Congress to raise the voting age to 25. A rare liberal opinionator states that it’s an attempt to keep power out of the hands of working class Americans. The conservative host immediately quashes him, calling him “a utopian idealist,” and agreeing that people aren’t mature enough to make good choices until they’re at least 25.

Joe chuckles at the wine-swilling, cheese eating liberal egghead and thinks, “Thank God I live in America where I have freedom!”

Yep, sounds like a dream. A feverish nightmare.

Showergate

Yesterday1, a cryptic message came across my phone. The NY Times flashed a headline that last week both Donald Trump and President Obama were briefed on an unsubstantiated, but deemed credible report that Russian officials had a dossier on President-Elect Trump that was potentially damaging.

Reading the article, it was quite clear that it was un verified, and possibly unverifiable, but that it contained information that would be embarrassing to the incoming administration.

Then Buzzfeed (not linked, because they are clickbait) posted an image that highlighted that Trump was party to orgies in Moscow and St. Petersberg with prostitutes, and that waterplay (a.k.a. “Golden Showers“) was involved. Also that Trump purposely did this in the same hotel that the Obamas stayed at during their state visit, and even the same bed. Continue reading →

The New Republican Healthcare Plan

The new republican plans for health care sure sounds like “just die quickly, and quietly” Well, as we expected, once the Republicans captured the White House (well, in 29 days now), their first order of business will be to repeal the ACA.

They have been talking about repealing it and replacing it for 6 years now, bloviating at every opportunity, and doing fuck-all in the House with 54 attempts to repeal or defund portions of the ACA (or the pejorative “Obamacare”) so this isn’t a surprise.

However, some of the rhetoric coming out of the Paul Ryan camp is interesting. Suddenly, instead of shutting it down on day 1, they are talking about repealing and delaying for 2 – 3 years until they can devise a “replacement” for it. Yeah, that sounds do-able. Continue reading →

Russian Intervention in the 2016 US election

Yep, the Russians interfered with the election. Of course, the US has done this for over a century, so we shouldn’t be upset. Unlike many opinions flying around about how much outrage that the Russians (and Vladimir Putin) have interfered in the 2016 US presidential election, by hacking both the DNC and RNC servers and email. Of course they only released the goods on the Democrats, thereby putting a finger on the scale for the victor, Donald Trump.

However, this outrage is a bit mislaid. Of course, a little googling will identify a long history of the US interfering in the affairs of other countries. From interventions to protect the US Fruit Company in Honduras in 1903, to the overthrow and coup d’état that installed the Shah of Iran in 1953, to repeated and long term intervention in Nicaragua, there is plenty of instances of the US government and CIA having their hand in the cookie jar. Continue reading →

The Death of the (insert name here) Party

In the run up to the 2016 Presidential election, I heard pundit after pundit, and commenter after commenter bleating about how Trump’s candidacy was going to be the end of the Republican party. The fact that they nominated (with a full throated roar) such a terrible candidate, a narcissistic, racial pandering, xenophobic, serial sexual harassing, and in general boorish candidate, surely, this would destroy the Republican party.

As tempting as it was (being a fairly liberal, mostly Democrat voting person) to back in the impending demise, and hapless wandering in the dark of the Republicans, daring to hope that even gaining the 20 or so seats in the house for a complete Democrat rout, I had to step back. Continue reading →

How Gullible are the Progressives

With all the recent focus on “fake” news and how much reinforcement happens in the echo chamber on Facebook, with the heavy bias for the conservative point of view, one would think that the progressives would be a bit more cautious, but alas, that appears to not be the case.

The past few days, my Facebook timeline has been loaded with bogus stories about how two computer scientists claim that the results in Wisconsin, Michigan (which hasn’t certified yet) and Pennsylvania look anomalous, and that we should inundate the US DoJ to initiate a review, with a phone number. Continue reading →