Arthur in the Dumps

I had previously, via facebook, this blog, and another blog, lauded the fact that Arthur magazine was coming back. The original (first?) version of it lives in infamy on various torrent sites and usenet back alleys and it was worth a read. Even if you didn’t agree with it, you could understand the reasoning for how they got there. It was sort of like what Rolling Stone should have been if it was more interested in cultural movements than making a point.

The problem is, the new Arthur (weirdly edited by Jay Babcock) wants to make a political point. I never remember it being like this. It’s so retarded I had to actually google make sure it wasn’t another Jay Babcock with the same name. It’s not. He’s just another washed up living corpse on the shores of lake LSD with no braincells capable of reason anymore. The post which had me remove Arthur from my RSS, facebook and two blogs was Repeal the Second Amendment. The original magazine was witty and funny and had this Mad sort of illustration. It toured music and culture.

Jay Babcock weirdly tries to pull an appeal to authority by saying “Well I edited SWAT magazine”. Well here’s an issue (GET IT?) – he never edited SWAT magazine. I’m not a huge fan of SWAT magazine, I can safely say I never knew it existed. On the other hand, I can google, and no-where is Jay Babcock credited as an editor of SWAT magazine. Modern Gun? Nope. He didn’t do that one either. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say maybe he edited under some sort of pen name but neither magazine turned up any references to him as an editor.

Now this gives us a particularly interesting problem – if he’s not being truthful about his editing of the firearms magazines, how can we trust him as a cultural commentator? We can’t. More importantly there’s now a serious issue where not only is he lying, but if someone submitting content to a magazine which “has no gatekeepers” and it doesn’t toe his line, we can expect it to be removed. This isn’t about free speech, Jay Babcock is just a huge a nazi as the “publishing gatekeepers” he claims to “destroy”.

More on the point, a magazine is just a thing, it’s a medium. He should be able to publish what he wants, just like SWAT should be able to publish what it wants. It’s sort of this live and let live environment where he claims professional and mutual respect. The problem is that instead of then condemning murder as wrong and recognizing that there is evil in the hearts of men (incredibly ironic given his “insider position” in “that culture”), he claims we should repeal the second amendment. He doesn’t, of course, suggest that freedom of speech and a culture of violence (teen slasher movies, violent TV, making the killers a household name on the news and magazines) influence people more than actually holding and owning a gun. Far be it from him to ask we repeal the first amendment to prevent the glorification of violence than to repeal the second amendment which somehow would prevent people from just reaching for their kitchen knife, or truck full of fertilizer, lime and diesel fuel.

Between Babcock being a liar and the new, low standard of content on Arthur, I’m sorry to see it’s back. I can’t help but shake my head at the terrible irony of a culture commentary magazine that doesn’t recognize print’s contribution to culture. Adios, Arthur.

Four More Years of Half Assing Everything

We now have four more years of half assing everything. Seeing how I had plenty of time to ruminate on this topic sitting in the dark in the storm battered northeast, this has been rattling around in my head for quite a bit. Like many voters, I’m socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Both candidates fit (and didn’t fit) my bias in wholly opposite but mostly related ways. There’s very few differences between Romney and Obama. The problem, I think, is that the average American voter just didn’t give a shit about either one. What pushed me to Romney wasn’t so much encouragement from him, but rather that I feel Obama does everything half assed. If he’s thinking more than a year out, I would be surprised. More on the point Obama frames everything in us-against-them, whereas Romney frames most of his stuff in “common sense math”. Obama and his base tend to turn me off with the divisiveness, so I expect this to be a lame duck four years. No-one is really interested in working across the aisle with a guy who says “Voting is the best revenge” instead of “we can compromise”. I was somewhat surprised at the election results, but it was narrow enough with each candidate getting 50%-ish of the vote that I think I probably am in tune with the majority of America. The problem which no-one is pointing out at the moment is that each candidate also received only 25%-ish of the possible votes. That means 50% of America simply doesn’t care. This is bad. That idea alone should really raise your hackles, that means 75% of America doesn’t want what the other guy is doing (or said he would do). If “your guy” won, it does not mean you’re in a majority. There is no mandate here.

What is the mandate for then? Since neither party has 2/3rds majority required to force things through, the mandate is for Obama to actually work across the aisle. If you’re someone who feels like he does this and does it well, you’ve got nothing to worry about. If you’re someone who noticed nothing has been happening (judging from the blame game of “obstructionist Republicans”, “yes”), I expect at least two more years of lame ducking, if not an entire term of it.

Cries of the “culture war” being over and other such nonsense will be laughed off the blog.

Lets take a look at what we can expect:

Obamacare Raising Taxes – This went from being “interesting” to “WTF” when the Supreme Court decided the election for us. Romney stumped on Obamacare rather than other issues, but the elephant in the room was that Romney couldn’t implement Romneycare as he did in his home state because of the Supreme Court ruling that you can’t fine people for not buying something. The individual mandate we upheld as a tax penalty. Obama therefore did raise taxes on us, and Romney really couldn’t run against Obamacare aside of it being way too complicated.

Obamacare on employement – This is one of two places I wish it was repealed and didn’t get brought up in the debates. The IRS counts “part time” as 39 hours a week. Obamacare counts “part time” as 30 hours a week. Obviously this doesn’t quite add up nicely, so businesses are running split shifts now where people are being cut to 20 hours a week to make the scheduling line up nicely. One of my buddies commented that more businesses are hiring more people for less hours. This isn’t actually how that works. More businesses are hiring the same people to work the finite amount of hours. If there’s 40 hours worth of work to do something, and your business doesn’t want to pay the health insurance fees, you just cut those 40 hours a week in half. Really the net result here is that people who were comfortable with their earnings now have the headache of balancing split shift schedules for their two (or three) jobs who hardly give them any hours. The implementation in Obamacare sucks and could be solved by…

Obamacare single payer – This was never actually on the table, but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t have merit. If we had single payer (something I strongly object to if Medicare/Medicade services are any indication of how it works), then people working 60 hours a week at their now 20 hours a week jobs would have healthcare. This would have been an expansion of medicare/medicade but since Obama is some sort of egoistic toolbox he had to come up with a separate government body to administer this stuff. It just doesn’t make sense.

Obamacare on Gay Marriage - or just gay marriage in general. Obamacare still has strong gender typing in the language (“bride and groom” language). Obama is in a particularly weird position where he now has to run against his own legislation in order to legalize gay marriage if this is even on his bill. The terribly irony here is that Romney’s position of states-rights is actually whats happening for both legalizing marijuana and gay marriage. Again, this is a place where Romney might actually have done better making this a states-rights issue and repealing Obamacare versus having a guy in office who has to defend his own train wreck. I suspect Obama’s ego is way too huge to fix this. Romney’s own position on it was actually the most flexible – if we define “marriage” as “between a man and a woman” and “gay marriage” as “domestic partnership”, then we can simply amend Obamacare to include domestic partnership if Romney failed to repeal Obamacare. This is roughly how Joe Biden deals with abortion, which he is “100% opposed to” and the whole Catholic Social Doctrine comment.

(GM) Bailouts - GM is insolvent again. While it’s Just Wrong to bailout a company, this is what Bain Capitol was doing to a T. Instead of Chapter 11, they would loan the company money and be the co-signer. Either people like the bailout and then should accept Bain or people object to Bain and should see the bailout as a trap. As it stands, GM didn’t produce anything that anyone was interested in buying, so they’re insolvent again. Could there have been another way? Yes. Obama should have put import tariffs on cars and paid for the bailout with that while increasing competition. One of my coworkers I was discussing this with said that “But cars are made from all over!” Well that’s sort of the point. We’re not tariffing parts (people have to maintain their crapmobiles in this economy, after all), we’re tariffing where the cars are assembled. All the Japanese made Toyotas would become more expensive. All the American made Toyotas wouldn’t get hit with it. Either Toyota creates more jobs here by expanding it’s plant or it has to pay the price. GM’s bailout gets offset by the tariff until they catch up. Companies like Mitsubishi making their cars in Mexico pay the tariff on 100% of all their stuff. And what about GM making cars in Mexico? They probably should expand their local plant and make some jobs. It’s a win-win.

Four more years of half assed status quo. The upside is that with re-election, Obama can’t blame the last term’s policy.

Morality in Religious Asceticism

The American Thinker was better when he was less personally invested in things but he still posts strong and interesting arguments. His post on Bidens Abortion Blarney is interesting to read but I would have actually called it Morality in Religious Asceticism.

I try to cut Biden a break with the Grain of Salt the size of a truck. He’s got mental issues. He’s clearly had a stroke or some sort of neurological problem recently. His kid had a stroke, and we know Joe Biden had an aneurysm, so we know the family isn’t running on all eight. We don’t know if he has had any subsequent health issues but judging from the uneven smile and the personality change in the middle of the debate (not the laughing, but the tone) I think it’s extremely likely. The sad part is that Obama (black, middle-aged, high stress job) is three for three for “likely to have a heart attack or stroke” so we could end up with two guys in office with brain damage.

That being said, Biden is pretty much the king of contradicting himself in the same breath, and you can hit up numerous political commentary websites for that. What particularly bothers me isn’t politicians being politicians but politicians ignoring morality. I think the American Thinkers post on Biden on Abortion sums it up nicely. Freedom is about maximizing the rights of the minority while preserving the rights of the majority. Liberty is about keeping to yourself and doing what you want so long as it doesn’t end up on the next guys lawn. Not only are these two distinct concepts, but they are inseparable in the vast majority of cases. It is freedom which would allow gays to marry, it is liberty when they get married. See what’s going on here? It doesn’t infringe on the rights of the typical Christian to allow gays to marry because the typical Christian isn’t gay. It doesn’t affect the liberty of the typical Christian when gays marry except in one very small instance – the official marrying the gays is party to the liberty of the gay marriage. See what Biden did? He’s claiming he’s a Catholic and following social doctrine but not “telling people what to do”. The problem is, if you’re gay, and you’re a Christian, the church isn’t going to marry you.

So lets apply this to a more extreme example per the American Thinker. If you’re a racist, you have the freedom of speech. You can say whatever you want. You have the liberty to say it – these are synonymous, but you do not have the liberty to discriminate. There are people in a purely libertarian environment who would argue that liberty = freedom and therefor they own a private business and they can tell whoever they want to fuck off. In some cases, this is actually true. You cannot sell a car to a 10 year old.

“Sure, because it’s codified in the law!”

Well that’s sort of the point. When it comes to abortion it’s not enough to say, “blah blah Catholic Social Doctrine” while discreetly beating off to a picture of Jack Nicholson as The Joker. Ryan’s answer is The Correct Answer. “This is the law and this the application of the law”.

What happens when we have an excess of freedom or liberty is injustice. Ironically, Obama sued Citibank for this very situation – he played the race card and while Citibank wanted the liberty to give everyone a shitty loan, it did not have the freedom to hand out loans under terrible conditions. Citibank drops the idea that things would be “more fair” if it was somehow compelled to hand out more loans and make more money and suddenly it’s vogue to make sure “everyone gets a loan”. Predictably, people who shouldn’t ever have gotten a loan are now given a loan in our “more fair” society and the whole machine explodes years later. Not hard to see why Obama was quick to shovel money into the bailout machine, it looks extremely bad to sue to compel a company to do something and then have that very something explode. It’s hush money. Rewinding the topic – why then should we compel the catholic church to marry gays? Gays have a freedom to get married, they are at liberty to be married, they do not have the right to be married in a church. That being said, there’s churches that will do it and honestly I think the message in the Bible to love one another and so these churches should do it – but that’s a personal view and probably more fit for another blog. The takeaway here is that it’s entirely up to the church, but they can’t bitch about gay marriage if we entirely secularize it. And we should, if not for the tax revenue.

Liberty stems from freedom, but where does freedom come from?

Freedom comes from protecting the rights of the few in the face of the rights of the many. The collective argument for this is “your right to throw a punch ends at my face”. The problem when you stop believing in the worth of individuals is that freedom suddenly stems from the whims of the majority. It’s dead simple.

That’s really what Biden is saying – “I don’t know where freedom comes from, so it’s just whatever most people want”. It’s a terrible way to run a country.

Joe Biden Undresses Paul Ryan (With His Eyes)

Random debate notes. I started playing the drinking game and it hit hard early.

I’ve pretty much decided by the end of the debate that Joe Biden was coached to laugh at whatever Paul Ryan said.

Here’s the problem: He’s laughing at the moderator, he’s laughing when Ryan is talking about foreign policy. Ryan says “Americans are dying” and Biden is smiling. Not a good place to chuckle.

I was particularly curious as to how people interpreted the phenomenon, so I started a poll. Go ahead and take it.

I was actually sort of worried that the moderator (who’s spouse works for Obama) wouldn’t be fair, I actually think she did a really good job.

I also think age is catching up with Biden – on the question of the “Bush Tax Cuts” (why not? we call the healthcare package “Obamacare”) Biden said he was not going to continue the cuts. While this makes economic sense in terms of reducing the debt and deficit, this doesn’t jive with the whole “save the middle class” message Obama is trodding. Then Biden points out “the opposition” is trying to “have a vote for the middle class tax cuts and have a vote for the upper class tax cuts”. Why not break it out to a separate vote?

One of the things that pissed me off about Ryan was he should have pressed the two level flat tax he proposed but it didn’t come up. It’s an interesting solution – if we make everyone decide what’s fair for everyone and fucking stick to it, things might be vastly different.

Also Biden just equated the turks with the saudis and jordanians. Some idiot is going to paste that into the foreign policy question. Ryan called him on it by pointing out who’s committed state sponsored genocide, but on the other hand Turkey provides the air corridor to the gulf. I happen to like Ryans stance in putting boots on the ground (“Only in the national security interests of the American people”).

The abortion question was a stinger for Biden – Biden had previously said he was 100% against abortion and justified that with the obvious “but it’s not my place to tell people what to do” (he is only the vise president after all). Delaware gets a C from NARAL, which gives it a firmly middle ground performance. Massachusetts gets a B. Biden listened to Ryan (again, whats with the laugh?), tries to frame Ryan for being against abortion (which he isn’t), then comes up with a bizarre quit about not telling Jews and Muslims what to do. Islam holds the same beliefs the Catholics (Christians) do. Jews are split down the middle as there’s no rabbinic guidelines on when life begins. As per usual, there’s no mention of third party religions or the “nones.”

The hilarious question at the end was “are you embarrassed at the tone of the debates?” Biden completely dodged it and jumped to closing statements, which is a reasonably solid plan for the debate structure but does nothing for his position. Ryan didn’t call Biden on the laughing, although I think I would have. Ryans closing statements (oops, I mean “tone of the debate”) summed the position up nicely, which was a Clintonesque “It’s the economy, stupid”.

Closing remarks were roughly the same as the tone of the debate question, clearly neither side was particularly interested in discussing it.

The Party of God

This is one of these things which is righteous and interesting, but not for the reasons I think people bandy it around for. The Republican convention had a Seikh open with a prayer.

Think about that for a moment – that is a huge gesture. The prayer wasn’t Christianized either, it was probably how a seikh would pray. (I suspect most seikhs meditate, but whatever). The detraction is “Oh ok that’s a nice gesture, because that temple just got shot up”. No it’s much bigger than that, it’s the problems the Democrats have had for the longest time. The Republicans have the three Gs cornered (Gold, God, Guns). When you ask what the Democrats have in terms of religion – well, they don’t. Dolan is offering the closing prayer but frankly he should have told both parties to go fuck themselves with the moderate stance on abortion. Biden is anti-abortion, but being VP it doesn’t really matter. Romney is a rule-of-law person (he has to be since he lives and dies by tax code) so he’s a RvW guy. Both of these positions are offensive to the Catholic church. The Mormons go slightly easier on the topic and say:

In 1973, the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released the following statement regarding abortion, which is still applicable today:

The Church opposes abortion and counsels its members not to submit to or perform an abortion except in the rare cases where, in the opinion of competent medical counsel, the life or good health of the mother is seriously endangered or where the pregnancy was caused by rape and produces serious emotional trauma in the mother. Even then it should be done only after counseling with the local presiding priesthood authority and after receiving divine confirmation through prayer.

That’s a fairly centrist position as far as the religious go. But it’s also an important point: Romney is a Mormon.

What the Republicans are doing, very clandestinely, is becoming not the party of Christ, but the party of the spiritual. Some of them might even be religious. Sure there’s going to be fringe objections to this – the Republicans have to deal with the collapse and re-integration of the Tea Party the same way the Democrats have to deal with their fringe Green elements – but they split off before and they can split off again. From the sound of the Ron Paul supporters at the RNC, I suspect it’ll happen. That being said, we’re actually watching an interesting paradigm shift. Will the elections after this one be held on spiritual grounds rather than economics?

Update – Now With Video:

Obama Care Part Deuce

The American Thinker has up what he thinks will happen on the July 9th(?) vote – Republicans could repeal obamacare as a de-facto tax. If the argument is that it’s not a de-facto tax, then it’s subject to the Commerce Clause, which would make it unconstitutional. If it is a defacto tax, it’s subject to recall, which is simple majority.

Anyway that aside, what has my head scratching is what the heck Romney is waiting for. Obama has obamacare, which is a huge debacle. The original draft of the bill defrayed costs to health insurance companies by having them receive the “penalty money”. In fact, it’s worth discussing Romneycare, because it’s how this sort of thing is done correctly. Under Romneycare, both individuals and businesses had to pay a penalty for not having insurance. Individuals could receive an exemption to this for earning less than $50,000. That’s not a typo, that’s the number (this is roughly twice whats in Obamacare but the value depends on the federal poverty definition among other things). Businesses would pay the fine if they didn’t make “reasonable insurance” available if they had more than 10 employees. In every way, these make better talking points than Obama even has. Weirdly enough Huffington Post either is “pro Romneycare” when talking about Obama or anti-Romneycare when going back to 2006, speaking of talking points. If I were Romney I would be pointing all this out.

Where did all these fines go?

Romney set up a fund to expand medicare in his state. If you went to the ER without insurance, it paid the hospital. If you took the fine, it went into the slush fund. If you needed help affording insurance, it was a tax credit.

I know what you’re saying “But that IS Obamacare!”

No, it’s not. It required a mandate from the federal government to expand medicare which administered the plan. While I object to the expansion of the government, the one place the money wasn’t going was the insurance companies. The fine went into social programs, the money which left the social programs went to the hospitals. Medicare has price controls built in – when they’re involved, they dictate the price of what they’re paying for. This works really well. The higher the insurance companies jack up the prices, the more people end up on Medicare, the more they dictate the cost of what they’re paying for. The insurance companies either had to play ball or they had to withdrawal from the state.

What we’re critically missing from the Obamacare plan is the authority to regulate the insurance companies. The one line item requires insurance companies to spend 80% of their take on premiums, but now we have another interesting problem: With no authority from the commerce clause per the supreme court (which is why this is a tax and administered by the IRS in the first place), there’s really no defined oversight here. The argument I would make if I were Obama would be that health insurance companies pay 100% tax on everything they make over 80% of the premiums they put out, but the traditional stance taken by the government is that diversified companies pay only what their business units take in. LOLWUT?

Take Toll Brothers, which is vertically integrated. The company doesn’t pay logging fees based on profits from the entire company, nor does the land ownership division pay capital gains based on the value of land changing. They are governed by separate bodies of law. Similarly the business as a whole make or loses money, but it’s governed by individual laws for individual business functions. To put this in perspective, a commercial driver carries insurance for his own personal vehicle, but he also carries a bond and a professional insurance policy. My wife (a nurse) carries personal insurance for her life and injury, but we also carry professional insurance for malpractice along with malpractice insurance for the hospital at large.

Why is this important? The insurance companies already offer consulting services for things like minimizing workplace injury, passing OSHA exams, legal consulting, etc. If the insurance companies suddenly decide the take from premiums goes into the individual business units, it’s really not that hard to spend 100% (or more) of the funds which go into the “medical care” pot versus something like consulting which is obviously not a medical function and then not governed by the law. Remember, no commerce clause means this is virtually unenforceable and the IRS already exempts businesses which operate at a loss. The whole thing is hollywood accounting at it’s finest and the IRS has been giving it a pass for years in the movie and music industry. Why not the insurance industry now? Its one of the things that really pisses me off come tax time – people who are consultants and operate their own company (on paper) claim a loss on their taxes from a consulting company which doesn’t reimburse them for computers and such and taxpayers foot the itemized deductions.

All this being said, I don’t see there being a mass of insurance companies dumping people for two reasons: rescission has been illegal since 1996 in almost every state and without the expansion of medicare per romneycare, obamacare has nowhere to put people. I do see our healthcare generally going to shit – Europe has had a serious problem with complex, long term care like cancer and I expect the US going over to this sort of system will encourage this.

Obamacare Part 2: Divination and Oracles

Obamacare was announced today (June 28th, 2012) at about 9:15am.

Incidentally those guys let you chart for free, which makes this really fun to play with. I linked to the chart, which includes basic interpretation of the chart. I don’t pretend to know anything about this topic, so I just read the chart and pretended the announcement was the “birthday” of the bill. It doesn’t always make sense but I’m sure other people on the blogroll will figure it out.

Single Rune Draw: Laguz

Talk about meaning, I normally hate the single rune draw but this time was neat. Laguz is two things: Water and leeks. Water of course represents life energy (healthcare) and the leek is medicinal. In typical runic fashion the first throw is typically the topic.

Single Cart Draw (WR Deck): Seven of Cups

“Wishful thinking, inability to make up ones mind, illusions, deception, cloudy thinking. May signify the danger of making a rash decision without thinking things through”. I’d say that’s pretty accurate.

Element: Water

Planet: Venus

Chakras: Second, Third

Color: Blue

Hexagram: 29

I think it’s particularly important to pay attention to the things which are obvious or overlap. Blue is also the color of Jupiter, certainly this is a literal goldmine for health insurance companies. Venus represents women (dur) and the water jives with the rune draw above. The hexagram would indicate a negative influence, so I am inclined to believe everyone’s health is going to suffer here.

Single Card Draw (Thoth Deck): Death (You’re doing it right when you say “I can’t make this stuff up”).

Sign: Scorpio

Planet: Mars (Pluto exalted)

Hebrew Letter: Nun (fish)

Tree of Life Path: 24 = 6, beauty to victory

Color: Green

Hexagram: 59 (I had to look this up)

I used the LMD book on the Thoth deck for the attributions. In typical “look for signposts” fashion that I like, I want some transition between the elements. The rune is water, the first card is Water, the next card is Fish. This typically seems to me like we’re on the right track for Making of the Key sort of work.

The scorpion typically represents suicide and putrefaction, while the eagle represents the sublime element and the potential for rebirth.

The quick reference says: “transformation, change, voluntary or involuntary. In either case the logical development of existing conditions, perhaps sudden or unexpected. Apparent death or destruction, but this is an illusion”.

Celtic Cross (WR Deck):

I know this isn’t the traditional use of this spread. Therefor I’m eschewing traditional interpretation and just looking at what’s present.

Stupid amounts of cups is present, which means emotions run high.

Pantacles are present next, which means security and resources are important.

Threes and Tens are present which means this is something new, this also means this is in it’s concluding stages.

Two kings, which means leadership. The two kings are upright, which would indicate standing together. This probably indicates the Government and the Court.

Finally the two elements split almost evenly in these cards are earth and water. (Green and Blue).

I Screw With Tarot Spread (Thoth Deck):

A spread I made up. Its decently good at describing the heart of the matter similar to the celtic cross.

The heart of the matter: The defeat of the emperor.

The unprepared emperor charged into the matter motivated by secret design. He becomes the empress and has a change of heart to be governed by love and unification. The existing government is destroyed, success is lost because the emperor is far too concerned with luxury than love.

My interpretation is this is going to be the end of the incumbent. He thinks he’s motivated by love, he thinks he has success, but what he’s done is traded comfort for his own future due to his own rash action. The signs are completely screwed up in this one but it tends to be dominated slightly more by fire than water and earth. The people are going to feel loved but if we look at how he enjoys his life and victory they will realize they are less equal and loved than they want. This brings destruction.

If he does somehow win the election, he’s going to be totally different.

Note that I’m kicking myself here for not taking at least a picture of the spreads. Also I favor the thoth deck.

Rune Spread:

I used my standard method. It’s worth noting that mannaz and ehwaz were off the cloth, but together, overlapping and upright. This generally means womens advancement isn’t going to be stellar under this program.

The spread came out with the typical clumps it usually does to indicate a topic and outliers. The rune closest to me (the individual) was Laguz again. This means for the individual things are uncertain about health and such.

Soliow is off to the left, it indicates a past, waning success in this issue. The bill passed.

I have three groups which make up the heart of the issue:

Group 1: Kenaz, Jeru, Berkano – If you’re a pregnant woman, great! This bill is for you! While women in general won’t get much advancement, women who are pregnant are going to do better here and play a key role in this legislation.

Group 2: Eihwaz (not ehwaz), wunjo, thurisaz – This is the “dude rune”. If you’re a guy and you’re providing support for your family, this rune set is for you. The other half of the foundation here is the burden of your insurance obligation is lifted.

Group 3: Isa, Urez, Ansuz – This is the top of the triangle, or what this all comes out to be. Isa in a group is about the only time I read a group negatively. Of course, it’s present in group 3. In fact if I didn’t think I had three groups with two outlying factors I would put isa at the heart of the matter but I don’t think it’s the overarching theme here from experience. Basically all insight, communication, learning and love go out the window here. Labor is lost, endless work is lost. While it’s a victory for the individuals, overall progress is damaged, frozen or reversed.

Conclusion: There’s a theme here. One of the things I look for in divination is a theme to link the last phase to the current one. The idea is that if we’re doing it right, it paints an interconnected picture. I get suspect when I can’t link things together. I think this particular question had a strong theme.

Obamacare is either the death of Obama’s political career or it’s the end of Obama as we know it. I definitely see it working well for individuals and families but being terrible for the current political establishment. If Obama does seek re-election and he is re-elected, he’s going to be completely different. If Romney is elected (I personally think he will) I think he will make it a point to be completely different. I feel individuals will actually do well under it – something I actually argued against on my mundane blog post. That’s the other reason why divination is interesting: you might not always be right. Finally I think the benefits extend to families too both literally and figuratively. As for the nation, the top card in my spread was The Tower. Specifically it’s ending success and luxury.

Post your own interpretation or better yet get those stones and get crackin!

Obamacare

Pay attention to the time this was written. If you wander in here next month and want to debate me with yesterdays news, you will be mocked mercilessly.

I’d like to start by pointing out that most people’s argument that “kids with cancer” are going to get healthcare is simply wrong. Kids with cancer collect social security from a system they never paid into and are covered under Medicare/Medicade. Really the decision doesn’t affect the poor nor the elderly. If you happen to have a condition and you’ve been denied insurance for whatever reason you’re covered under the old system.

That being said this is a total loss for both parties – the bill that passed simply doesn’t look like the original one that was submitted, then it was never intended to be funded by taxes. The argument against socialism was always that the government isn’t funded it. Well, now they are. Not only are you required to buy insurance (something I avoided doing in college and saved quite a bit by doing so) but now insurance companies have carte blanche to charge you (via the government) whatever they want. They don’t even have to put effort into it because before, if you reneged on your copayment, you went to court with the insurance company. Now, if you renege on your healthcare tax you get to deal with the IRS.

I’m going to guess the CEOs are toasting themselves right now. Just think about that last sentence there for a minute – you used to be able to negotiate because they could put a lien on your property, but chances are you weren’t going to sell anyway because of the housing crunch. They would threaten to take your house or car, but those things don’t have value in this economy. What our stupid activist judges managed to pull off was a major coup for the health insurance industry – it’s effectively their bailout. They don’t have to chase down deadbeats now – the IRS does it for them.

Other misc arguments I’ve seen (thank you daily kos, but I won’t link to your blog):

“Insurance companies could deny you for anything!” – This is false. Obamacare in 2010 (about the only part of the bill I agree with) made rescission illegal (even after the 1997 act), but this effectively only prevented women with breast cancer from being subject to a drop in their health insurance, and only really changed the two year period mandated. The other group of individuals who claimed to be “victims” were people who became HIV positive in the same two year period. Out of the groups likely to contract HIV, the overwhelming majority are gay black males, followed by drug users. While being black or being gay might not prevent you from getting insurance, substance abuse will. Now, while medicare and medicade (which also pays for medical visits for the people on welfare) didn’t test for drugs, with healthcare an individual mandate, insurance companies can, and will. For some people that means they can’t enjoy their substances responsibly without Uncle Sam knowing and for some people that means they won’t be getting insurance anyway – but they’ll still pay for it.

“Make wall street pay for it!” – This one is grossly ignorant and really makes me want to stab people. The idea goes something like “If we put X tax on stock trade, it would make Y billion dollars”. These people don’t understand how the stock market works. What actually happens when we’re talking about the SIG Trading Platform is High Frequency Low Latency trading. The system sees a stock drop $1, it buys 1000 shares and when the stock blips back up $1 because everyone else sees it, it immediately sells the stock. It does this about 100 times a second. Any tax like this would destroy the stock market overnight.

“Small businesses get tax credits!” – All businesses already received tax credits. Businesses with less than 25 full time employees get the small business tax credit (50% reimbursement). Since this now comes out of your tax dollars, and everyone pays taxes, not only is there incentive to hire twice as many people for half the time but this also means people who do take a full time job will still have to pay 100% of the tax liability. People who only work 20 hours still pay 100% of the tax liability. Businesses who skip on your hours now to ruin your weekend now have that much more incentive to hire seasonal workers and rotate the workforce. Remember – business don’t pay taxes like people. They don’t get married, they don’t get child credits, they don’t need healthcare.

“This is a tax hike on the middle class!” - No it’s a tax hike across the middle and upper class. Because the original law was not tax funded, there’s no way to implement this as anything but a tax. Sorry folks, if they follow through with it, it comes out of your pocket. I know debt != taxes in America which is why people take us less and less seriously nowadays but the only possible way to have this be constitutional per the ruling is to impose it as a tax. The lowest income bracket – the people already on medicare and medicade and social security – still aren’t going to pay it. Now, interestingly enough, the supreme court ruling does actually pave the way for a really interesting legal maneuver: If the health insurance is paid for through the taxes, then the health insurance may actually end up under social security, which is where it should have been in the first place.

Gays, Women, and the GOP – Rant Roundup

More and more I’ve been seeing posts about “The GOPs War on Women”. Which is sort of funny because gays have less rights than women at the moment and if you’re a gay woman, god help you. Generally it goes something like “Limbaugh said something, look at it!” and it’s a video of Rush or someone saying something inflammatory. I usually just post back the Bill Maher video.

But, something more recently dawned on me. People don’t get it. People, if they bother to respond at all to the Maher video, usually defend it with “oh but it’s humor”. On the face of it, Rush too hosts a program which is just humor, or just commentary. The issue goes a little bit deeper than this, it’s not that the GOP or the Republicans or the Democrats have a war on women, it’s that you wouldn’t say these things in the workplace. (I actually had someone yell at me for posting the Maher video to their page in response because they did watch it at work, with the volume up, completely ignoring the warning in the first 5 seconds). This isn’t particularly about a “war on women”, from any particular side, this is about the permissiveness and moral decrepitude of the average voter. I wouldn’t make a racist joke at work anymore than I would make a joke about a woman at work. If you wouldn’t make the joke at work, why is it then OK to make these jokes about women from either political party? Call misogyny as misogyny and realize these are two sides of the same coin. This means both parties engage in this sort of things.

On the issue of gay rights it actually is even more subtle. The Republicans are the traditional boogeymen of gay rights, but has a Democrat President actually made gay marriage legal? So much anger and noise is invested in making a boogeyman for people to direct their rage towards that no-one has noticed the Democrats have done absolutely nothing for the gay rights issue. The best we’ve come up with is moving it to a states rights issue. This is a band-aide at best because we’ve otherwise codified the idea of marriage at the federal level (tax code). Really the only politician who has carried the Gay Marriage idea to the logical conclusion as it stands today is Ron Paul. If we got rid of the tax code, it really would be a states rights issue. This is the point of the entire rant though – neither party has worked to actually affirm or deny gay rights at the federal level.

On the idea of religious freedom for those of us who roll our own theology, this is another great place to point out the Democrats doing nothing for us. The Democrats have taken the separation of church and state to the point where any showing of religion is treated poorly. By the same token, the Republicans have embraced religion, but it’s usually ascribed as “Christianity”. Funny thing is though, three decades ago it was Catholicism. Now it’s “Mainsteam Christianity”. Now they’re talking about running a Mormon, and the only people who seem to have noticed he’s a Mormon are the Democrats. In terms of progressive religion, the Republicans are more open about discussing theology than the Democrats. You would think the party who was offended by the G word (God) would have already helped out with the other G word (gays) but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is, it hasn’t happened. Instead they’re happy to accuse other people of being religiously motivated, but then they can’t execute when they’re supposedly “free” from such hangups.

The biggest problem here – a government which doesn’t want to acknowledge the divine – is that laws become inherently secular. What secular states have we seen in the past? The south before the civil war. World War 2 Germany. Can we cite any examples of states which allow for religion without being religious? Sweden comes to mind. It’s possible to find a middle ground here, but it’s also possible to be too far right or left. To be too far right subscribes to religious dogma and things would probably look like the Middle East, and to be too liberal results in comments from politicians comparing women to animals. Of course they’re animals – if you work from a worldview that there’s nothing particularly special about humans then we’re just particularly bald apes. The middle ground is to acknowledge that people are religious without espousing a religion. We can’t do that if we vote for the party that doesn’t talk about religion at all. (Actually this is the paintbrush of the Democrat Smear Machine. Don’t talk about religion so that anyone who even listens to Dishwalla’s “Counting Blue Cars” can be questioned).

On that theme of acknowledging things for what they are, we must also seek to understand things completely. A frightening number of people simply didn’t read the recent Georgia abortion law proposal about transvaginal ultrasounds. Instead, they reacted to a soundbite or the hilariously bad Huffington Post op ed on an op ed. “This person said women are animals!” isn’t thinking about the path this person took to get there, it’s simply an animal reaction to a comment without realizing that the apex of subscribing to evolution and denying the divine is that people are ultimately just very clever animals. This is where we know where people are married with kids, or pregnant. The unmarried, reactionist people operating on an animal level say “I wouldn’t want that in me!” But this is really the point. This medical tool didn’t spring gestalt from the pages of the proposed bill, whirring and throbbing veins intact. This medical tool (a transvaginal ultrasound device) has a legitimate purpose in pregnancy and it’s used by doctors all the time for pregnancy situations which might require surgery. What is abortion if not surgery? Do you really want the doctor grabbing around in there blind?

This previous paragraph is mostly for naught. If anyone had actually read the proposal, they would have seen the text included an opt out for this particular part of the procedure provided there was not a medical necessity to use the device for the protection of the mother during the course of the procedure. You can read HB 954 here. Also included was the objection that anesthesia drove the cost of the abortion up out of reach of “low income unprivileged women”. Lets think about that for a moment – why anesthesia? Because doctors who perform fetal surgery during and after the 2nd trimester know the fetus feels pain and that it will abort if it’s not anesthetized. So think about that, we’re performing abortions on fetuses, who we know from the medical establishment feel pain. Just because you can’t hear or see the pain doesn’t make it any more right than it wouldn’t be murder if I taped your mouth shut and dumped gasoline all over you. Why didn’t anyone bring this up? Because to acknowledge that the fetus feels pain and should be anesthetized because it’s the decent thing to do also acknowledges that the fetus is a person who has rights and we should be decent to our fellow people. But you can’t say that. We would rather call it a child in surgery and a fetus in an abortion setting so we can save a few dollars.

How do we fix this?

The average American voter won’t read the bills. Why anyone would participate in the political process without actually reading the results of the process is beyond me. How do we assess the performance of the governance of the state without reading the laws and proposals? To fix this situation, people need to actually start reading house bills and proposals rather than reading Fox News and Huffington Post. It’s fine to use them as a jumping off point, but half the things posted to Huffpo, for instance, wouldn’t pass muster on Wikipedia. If your source is an “anonymous doctor” and the blog “deletes stupid comments”, not only are you not getting a balanced discussion, but you’re not getting an article anyone would take seriously. Why would you base your political opinions on that?

Read the house bills. Read the proposals. Finally, remember that politicians should be judged both on what they are doing but also on what they’re not doing.