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.

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!

Obama and the Budget has their Morning Bell piece on the Mid Session Resview. Frankly if I were them and I wanted to really make a point I would have done a line by line breakdown on the thing. The piece is worth a read as a summary, and they cut the administration some slack by using the “official” number for unemployment (8.7%) versus the adjusted number of 22%. My gut feeling from talking to friends is that it’s closer to 8.7% – it’s probably 10%. It’s worse than the government is saying but it’s not as bad as statisticians are saying. At some point you’re playing word definition games rather than looking for numbers.

My impressions are that I’m still surprised Obama is in Blame Bush mode. At this point he’s sounding desperate. From the very first paragraph alone:

In January of 2009, the economy was on the brink of a potentially severe depression, precipitated by an era of irresponsibility marked by excessive risk-taking in, lax oversight of, and an eventual meltdown in the country’s credit and capital markets. The result was a severe and rapid economic contraction, the collapse of the financial markets, and damaging and painful job losses. More than 750,000 jobs were lost just in the first month of 2009, 3.7 million were lost in the first half of that year, and 8.4 million were lost between the beginning of the recession, at the end of 2007, and the beginning of the recovery.

We’re still talking about The Last Guy is what I get out of that. That tone continues through the entire piece. At some point in his term Obama might actually choose to lead and take personal responsibility for what’s going on, but I suspect this year isn’t it. Maybe next year. Even people who generally do try to ascribe economic failure to The Last Guy tend to only count the first year of a Presidents term as The Last Guys economic policy, so the fact that we’re still talking about 2007 speaks volumes for Obama realizing he’s absolutely screwed. Not only does he realize he’s screwed but rather than try to take it on the chin and say “ok we’re just making a mess here, lets do something else” he’s still saying “but look what BUSH did!”

The other thing which really pisses me off is that the budget says “oh look we made PAYGO into law!” Which was good. For all I thought Clinton was a scumbag who should have been raped to death by dolphins (one of the few animals in the world with two penises), he could run a business. The problem is the Obama version can be superceded by “emergencies” which hes cheapened out to be “right now”. The law solely exists to make sure congress and senate has a tough time funding anything since the office of the President has spent every last dime (actually four and a half of them). Obama’s PAYGO isn’t about a balanced budget, it’s about making sure everyone in the other two arms of the government can’t possibly say no.

Another step towards disaster is the Dodd-Frank act. This act prevents taxpayers from having to bail out wall street companies. Like we just did. Several times over. But it’s an emergency you see.

OK trying to be at least a little bit positive – Patient Protection and Affordable Care act which has nothing to do with the balance sheet protects Americans from discrimination based on pre-existing conditions.

Anyway, the rest of it is standard issue hogwash. I think we’re going to return to 10%+ mortgage rates in a few years so BUY NOW.

American Psychosis and Hitler’s Economics

This topic comes up every now and again on TV when discussing economics. We openly discuss communism in terms of the Soviet Union. We discuss limited communism in the tract of China. We can have talks about the trillions of Kenyan dollars it takes to buy bread but the moment you mention the basis of Denmarks economic operation – the Third Reich – the ADL sues the living crap out of you.

Now, American Psychosis protrays one side of it, their point is basically that people who are amoral have corrupted the economic system. Nevermind that all commerce in the system they’re arguing for is consentual. The traders knew what was bundled in the bonds they were buying and they chose to buy them anyway. The article completely fails to mention Madoff, who actually did act in a fully illegal and reprehensible way through misrepresentation. And really this is where we can argue agianst liberty. In the examples chosen in American Psychosis, he’s arguing that because our leaders act in an amoral fashion, we as a nation can only expect morally bankrupt treatment. He cites Bush and “the suspension of haebus corpus” while ignoring the fact that in order for there to be liberty there needs to be security. I don’t think the founding fathers had any thought towards islam or air travel or the idea that you can be anywhere in the world within three hours for enough money. For them at least, the world was framed within how far you could get on a horse. American Psychosis would agree with the ADL that studying Hitler’s economic policy is the path to the next holocaust.

On the other hand, reading Hitler’s Economics, there’s an argument here for socialism (basically this is how Denmark works) by vertical integration. America is, for all intents and purposes, horizontally integrated. We have the market cornered on military engineering and complex devices. On times when it doesn’t work, such as the auto industry, there’s nothing to save the company because all the company does is make cars. It’s not interested in casting, minng, refining, etc. Even our basic oil infrastructure can only accept light sweet crude, it too is horizontally integrated. We too, are like Germany in the early 1900s. We do one thing well, and eveyone else either plays in that market or they don’t make money. We’re slightly better off because our version of capitolism allows us to have some varigated industry, but for the most part we’re set up to buy stuff from overseas and assemble it into cooler stuff. The problem we have, as a society, is that things are so cheap that we don’t need unskilled labor anymore. Again this isn’t entirely true, but this is where empires go to die. We either ignore our unskilled labor force and they go somewhere else (China, India), or we provide goods and services for them at the expense of taxing the living hell out of the producers. This is where Finland is. Unlike Finland, however, the tax rate isn’t 60% and we have open borders.

To put it bluntly, America is unsustainable.

So lets look at this another way – normally I am a staunch advocate of capitolism and conservative politics because the conservatives tend to want to secure the line and kick people out. This is basically what it takes to have a capitolist society – you control who comes in and you don’t care about imports or exports since you know if stuff becomes cheap enough people can simply buy one and learn. This is how small business works. But, given the new Obamaconomy, lets look at how full socialism works. Again, we hat tip Hitlers economic policy in Germany and Denmarks model (which has it’s own quirks, but it’s a good example of established semi-socialism).

The first requirement is almost total dictatorship. This is largely where America is headed. It used to be that people knew the president, the congressional speakers and the senate but nowadays all you read about is Bush or Obama or whoever. The attitude of the people has turned towards the office of one man who leads the country and thus makes them sympathetic towards dictatorship. (Shades of Rome, anyone?) This is a requirement because the government is wholly corrupt and we’ve entertained special interests for far too long. If the leader can act without consequence, then special interests can’t impose penalties on them just or not. If Obama said tomorrow he was dropping foreign aid, the JDL and other pro-israel groups would sue him into nothingness or congress and senate would surely oppose it. But does Israel matter to America? No, it does not. America could continue without Israel, and since we’re crouching the discussion in the idea of the survival of America, somethings got to be cut. For the people going “since when was America conceived as a dictatorship and why should I keep reading?” – this is why I tend towards conservatism and voting for the republic, this whole idea of America as a dictatorship doesn’t pass the common sense test of constitutionality. For America to continue as it is, let me be clear – we really need wholly open markets and secure boarders.

Anyway, getting back to my full on socialism, Germany knew what needed to be done. They required ID cards (normally crouched in Jewish discrimination but that was only a small part of it), they closed the borders, and they began massive government spending on social projects such as the highways and dams. In fact it was a lot like Hoover, but America never closed the borders. What does this do? It requires Germany use it’s own resources. Germany has no oil production so they invented – and I mean invented as in totally new product – synthetic oil and synthetic diesel. Since imports were now off limits, they now needed labor from all walks of life. And since the economic loop was closed because no-one was buying anything German after WW1, companies like BMW made high end aircraft engines and cheap car engines under the “People’s Car” label, which ran on synthetic diesel, which used material mined from German mines, which in turn went to German smelters, to be cast by German casting companies, and so on. Each of these industries was powered by German citizens and they were carrying German ID cards. (The holocaust industries were terrible mirrors of this, the camps were built by jews for the purpose of holding jews, but they still were built despite the best efforts to sabotage them and it goes a long way for demonstrating the production of this system in the face of opposition on all levels of workman).

We’re entertaining this terrible notion but we have to ask if it worked if we want to step into any sort of advocacy for this. If we examine the GDP of wartime Germany, things are marginally interesting. The GDP grew, but it grew across the board for most nations and systems of economics. But GDP also relies on exports. It’s a measure of an economy which is trading with the outside world. An economy which doesn’t do much trading would have an artifically low GDP. More frankly me and you don’t care about GDP in our daily lives and GDP doesn’t apply when you’re dealing with a closed system. If the price of imported gasoline was $10 a gallon but the price of American produced synthetics was only $3, you wouldn’t care that the rest of the worlds gasoline was much more valuable than your own. You only care that you have gasoline in your car. I would reference the wikipedia article here but in typical wikipedia fashion it’s more concerned with politics than points. The take away is that Nazi Germany had an effective tax rate of 13.7% (staggeringly low) and went from over 30% unemployement in 1929 to less than 1% almost overnight. Suddenly people had jobs and they could afford gasoline and food again. They wouldn’t be buying Fords any time soon, but what’s a Ford when you couldn’t even own a car before? So now people who are reading this are saying “So you want America to be Nazi Germany”?

Well, no. I want to make the comparison to Denmark. Denmark, has for the most part, been a socialist economy since world war 2. With little in the way of natural resources (except people) it had to be a socialism from the start as there was no currency for barter but labor. Where is Denmark today? For one it has almost no real GDP growth to speak of, the average income is $37,000USD, and the effective tax rate hovers around 60%. There is one single revealing statistic here – the GDP as Purchasing Power Parity is $37,000, while the GDP nonadjusted is almost $57,000. This is a major tip that the 60% tax rate is killing the average dane’s purchasing power. However this is coupled with an unemployment rate of 6.3%. The way the danes balance the books is by treating taxes as trading industries. By playing games with the tax rates on various goods, they control how the economy (in terms of money) works. By increasing taxes on a particular good or service they control the value of that good or service, which basically means the Danes have a barter based economy and money comes second. However, if you’re lucky enough to live in Denmark, education is free through college. And, if you’re wondering, Denmark has the strictest immigration policy of just about any nation in the world.

Can America live as an open state and continue the march towards socialised services? Probably not. I’ve picked two recent examples of economically successful social states. In the case of Germany, BMW, VW, etc live on today. In Denmarks case, it’s mostly a barter economy with money as an afterthought due to taxes, but they lead the way in skilled industries such as Nokia and Lego. In both examples, taxes skyrocketed to pay off the bills, and in both cases people had to pay those taxes. If America wants to be an open state, America needs to drop import/export restrictions on people and goods. On the other hand if America wants to become a socialist state, it needs to secure it’s imports and exports. I don’t see any other combination that would work in a sustainable way, and certainly not as things are now.

Protip: Invest in things. As the economy worsens, things will become more valuable than money. Durable goods such as houses are where it’s at.

Fuck Obama and Fuck His Traffic

I just got out of being stuck in McDonalds for over an hour because they shut down every intersection within a mile of Willow Grove.

Now, I think Obama is a tool to begin with but the gladhand touring pisses me off to no end. There’s real issues to deal with, and talking to college kids while you’re enjoying an approval rating in your first term lower than the last guy had in his last term is crap.

But to further add insult to injury, it was a freaking McDonalds. There was no indication the cops were going to close 611. They just did it. To add insult to injury the poor guy in the apartment complex across the street got hassled for being on his front lawn. Not cool. And this morning I got stuck in the motorcade of state police coming up the turnpike.

The mood in the McDonalds was revealing. A few starstuck idiots were in the playground area going OH THERE HE IS. For whatever you can see. He’s riding in a blacked out limo, doing twice the speed limit (my guess: 70mph in a 35mph zone), and the cops come first, then the minigun SUVs, then the limo flashes by. Some people tried to take pictures. The attitude in the McDonalds was equally hilarious. People went from “Oh I hope he’s riding by in an open top limo waving” to “I hope they’re dragging him behind it”. Someone with kids was yelling at her kids to keep back, they were sticking their head between the bars.

Really Obama? Do you really need to blockade the McDonalds front and back with cops just to drive by?

Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs Fame Loves Fisting

This thread is now about fisting.

If people ask me why I stopped reading LGF, it’s because of crap like TEH CONSPIRACY AGAINST OBAMA. The tone of the site went from investigative reporting to full on hardcore UFO cult.

The bottom line is that Kevin Jennings, Obama’s education advisor, is adovcating things like “fisting kits” under the guise of safe sex. Normally I’m all for safe sex education, if it’s within the bounds of fairly normal sex. There’s a difference between teaching kids the nuance of the thing and the mechanics. The problem is that Jennings is going for the nuance that it’s OK to shove your fist in someone’s ass. I’ll save you the links and pictures, but if you’ve got the stomach or morbid curiousity, the pictures of the kit can be found here.

OK fine, that’s weird enough and it deserves your attention. To add to the weirdness, LGF (which was still on my RSS feed) steps up an accuses “The Right Wing Smear Machine” of going after Jennings. If there is a smear machine, LGF would firmly be in that trench. Here’s the problem – the kit is out there and there’s pictures of it including the weird little comic that comes with it and the rubber glove. Why would you defend it?

Fisting Kit

Lowrez Fisting Kit

OK fine, we have a kit, we have a comic, whatever. I think there probably is an ignorance in the American media that this is going on and I think it’s a travesty that more parents clearly aren’t involved enough with their children to notice what they’re bringing home. It’s likely that there’s no conspiracy here on either side – the fact of the matter is the European media tends to shy away from violence, and the American media will shy away from sex. It’s likely that articles about fisting and gay boyscouts can’t get past the editors. Instead of going along with that, though, Charles Johnson elects to publish the personal details of those reporting on the article and both sides are failing to make the topical observations on the differences between acceptable reporting in different cultures.

Apparently the original article is in Bulgarian, if you’re wondering. Since I can’t read it and babelfish makes a rotten mess out of it, you’re on your own if you really want to see what’s going on.

At the end of the day, who could possibly support this in public schools?