blueollie

Go ahead and pass the AHCA/BHCA…..

Ok, I’ll come clean. I am 7 years away from qualifying for Medicare, have great employer insurance (which was good even before the ACA), have some money in the bank, a job that is about as secure as they come, and expenses are about to drop quite a bit (daughter out of college, which is completely paid for).

I am pretty much on my own as far as genetic relatives (young adult daughter and wife..that’s about it).

So go right ahead, cut Medicaid by 800 billion dollars to fund a tax cut on investment income for those making 200K (250k for families) a year…that’s right, a tax on INVESTMENT INCOME. Go right ahead.

Now some of you might not ever need Medicaid. But guess what. Many (most?) have that indigent family member, sometimes a moocher, who depends on Medicaid..and maybe needs a Medicaid nursing home.

Guess where that relative moves to? That’s right: he/she moves in with YOU. Job that requires lots of time? Uh, not anymore. Retirement savings? Bye bye! Vacation or recreational spending? ROTFLMAO!!!!

Oh, business owner: you need customers. Now more people at the bottom end won’t have money to patronize your business. Sure, maybe they’ll sell a few more yachts, but remember tax cuts at the bottom stimulate the economy much more than tax cuts at the top.

So go right ahead and cheer Trump and the Republicans as they do this.

Hey, if it pisses off liberals and sticks it to the “lazy, entitled, shiftless” poor, there must be something good about it, right?

June 25, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Moving forward…

Yes, Democrats lost 4 special elections: in Georgia, South Carolina, Kansas and in Montana. They won one in California.

The Republican special elections came about because a GOP Congressman resigned to take a post in the Trump administration, so these were considered “safe Republican seats”. They proved to be very competitive, and the margin in the Georgia and South Carolina races were less than 4 points.

So, these elections were encouraging but frustrating. Yes, there is some finger pointing going on and some Republican taunting.

So, do these results mean anything? And how do we move forward?

Here is what I take away from it:

1. Trump has weakened the enthusiasm of some Republicans, but not nearly the majority of them. And tribal identity remains strong. Running to the left in such districts isn’t going to work, at least in terms of getting some Republican voters or “Republican leaning” voters to switch.

2. Yes, we need to get more people to the polls, but I doubt that Bernie Sanders types will do it. At the House level, we need “district appropriate” candidates, including those who can distance themselves from, say Nancy Pelosi. And yes, we need new blood at the leadership levels.

3. At the national level, we need candidates that excite people, and people often get excited by the personality of the candidates, not by proposed policies or platforms. Note this 2008 video, where Obama supporters didn’t know the basics of his positions.

Identity has a LOT to do with it, and do not trust the voters to know the basics. In general, they don’t.

And public expressions of anger really do not convince anyone to switch, though they might be effective in a primary election. Liberal hatred of Trump is a DESIGN FEATURE, not a bug. Count on the Republicans to say “see: the liberals LOATHE Trump, so he must be doing something right”, even as Trump pushes for laws and policies that will hurt their constituents!

June 21, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

How can Democrats do better?

Ok, what do we do in 2018, and in 2020? That is a tough question with no simple answers. These three opinion pieces offer up some ideas, and yes, these pieces offer (sort of) competing ideas, though there is some overlap.

First of all, why did some Obama 2012 voters defect to Trump? One possibility: though they voted Obama in 2012, they still had some resentment toward at least some liberal constituencies (e. g. black people, Muslims, feminists, etc.) But in 2012, the economics won out. In 2016, the “identity” won out. Perhaps that can change in 2020, or even in 2018? Yes, this is a small percentage of voters, but big enough to swing the critical states in 2016.

This makes some sense to me. After all, I don’t like many liberal activists; some of the social justice warriors are, well, loud and clueless. I too get disgusted with the excesses of the political correctness crowd. But, to me, policy wins me over.

Of course, turnout hurt us; many who broadly agree with us don’t show up. The candidates will have to have some show-biz appeal to excite people.

On the other hand, we can’t be too stuck on the current electoral map. After all, I am old enough to remember California and Illinois being Republican states.

Workout notes: 8 mile walk (8.1 Cornstalk course) in 1:58:20 (59:06/59:14) 14:36 pace. It wasn’t much of an effort, though I walked “with purpose”. Cool weather.

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, walking | | Leave a comment

Oh boy…dark days ahead

Tomorrow, Georgia 6’th Congressional District will vote on a replacement for Tom Price’s old seat. He won 62-38 in 2016, but resigned to take a post in the Trump administration. Though Trump narrowly won the district 48-47, this seat was considered safe..until..recent events.

The Democrat Jon Ossoff got more votes than anyone else in the primary, but narrowly missed the 50 percent threshold to avoid a runoff. So now he is locked in a tight battle with Karen Handel with the polls being so close. Ossoff did have a 7 point lead in one of them, but most have been 0-2 points with Ossoff leading; the latest had Handel up by 2 (but the day before, Ossoff was up by 1 and 2 points).

In other words: toss up.

And in the Senate, Mitch “the Turtle” McConnell won’t let anyone outside of his narrow circle see the Senate’s bill, and he will force a quick vote on it.

My guess is that he wants to avoid public scrutiny AND to keep Trump out of the loop. And if it fails..well, he wants to move on to tax cuts.

I think that is the way to read this: whatever gets them to tax cuts the quickest…that is, tax cuts for the wealthiest among us.

I am not sure how much he will put into the health care bill itself.

Workout notes Bonus walk with Barbara after weights (2 miles)

rotator cuff, hip hikes, calf raises
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (ok)
bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170
incline: 10 x 135
military: seated, 15 x 55, then 10 x 45, 10 x 40
rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 10 x 60
yoga: abs, 1-2 sun salutes, headstand (good?), plank for 2:30

I saw Barbara on the way home and so walked a leisurely 2 miles with her.

Note: I am getting the old “piriformis tingles” again; brought on by the onset of longer, faster walks, I think.

June 19, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans political/social, republicans politics, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Partisanship, civility and threats

I’ve been very critical of stuff like this:

So now, we have…Ted Nugent denouncing such rhetoric?

Funny, that it took a Republican getting shot by a nut job for him to rethink. But that is how it goes, isn’t it?
Yes, they get all high and mighty talking about “Second Amendment remedies” (even Trump)

Yes, we saw the signs:

So now, a left wing Bernie supporting loon went out and shot a Republican Congressman (and a couple of law enforcement officers too). NOW, maybe they are “getting it”.

That thing that you threaten others with may well be used on you.

That is why I find such threats to be disgusting.

I rather like being able to walk around sans a bullet proof vest and, yes, unarmed. Unarmed this time, and the next time too. And the time after that. I can’t say that I’ll never own a gun. There was a time where I held a marksman ribbon (pistol) and I once went target shooting. It is sort of fun. And perhaps, oh, I might live in a rural area where there are possible wildlife threats.

But no, in my day to day life, and what I anticipate to be my day to day life, I want nothing to do with guns.

All I am saying is that if you threaten me, someone else might threaten you. And I have no desire to live that way.

So let’s keep politics a ballot box thing, ok? That is how civilized, first world countries do it.

Now our politics can certainly use improving. And please spare me this “both sides” bullshit; there is nothing on the Democratic side that is the analogue of Fox News, talk radio and the massive spin/lie/disinformation machine that operates on the right. And it is easy to see why: the Republican agenda, at the very top, is “tax cuts for the rich”. That, in and of itself, is a tough sell. So one needs a cover of some sort, be it right wing religion, resentment of minorities, or social issues (e. g. “war on Christmas”, “bathroom wars”, blah blah).

The current administration is reeling in a morass of paranoia and self pity. No, I am not foolish enough to think that they are finished. But, aside from some executive orders, they haven’t really done that much. My hope is that we can beat back this health care bill stuff and keep the works jammed with scandal until the 2018 midterms..and we have to pick up some seats! Hopefully we can win a chamber, or at least win enough seats to get the moderate Republicans to cut some deals.

Really, a type of coalition with “non-flat-earther” Republicans wouldn’t be so bad.

News of the weird: yes, women can rape men. It doesn’t happen that often. But here is a case in which the woman, who raped a cerebral palsy sufferer, is using “facilitated communication” as a defense. I don’t know how the trial will go; part of the case will be putting the hoax of “facilitated communication” on trial. But now matter how the case goes, the woman is a monster and I don’t want her in society.

Workout notes: lazy workout: rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10, good), bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170 (lazy, empty gym), military: 15 x 55 (seated, supported), 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 40 standing, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55, 1 set of 10 x 60 (one arm dumbbell), stretching, easy 2 mile walk outside.

June 16, 2017 Posted by | politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, weight training | , , , | Leave a comment

Disgusting…

I got a late start (but sleep!) and walked 10K: 19 minutes warm up, 4.2 miles (10 laps of W. Peoria, doing parking lot intervals; about 3 on, 2-2:30 off), a bit less than I mile back.

27:29/26:12; I was 5:3x for the first 4 laps and mostly 5:1x for the next 6; one 5:20 (lap 9) and 5:04 (lap 10). But the heat and humidity was revolting.

Speaking of revolting: Will Bunch as an interesting op-ed. It is worth reading: it is about the marriage of Donald Trumps authoritarianism with general GOP greed (cut taxes on the rich at all costs).

I highly recommend reading the article. It is genius, really.

Trump: needs adoration. He gets it this way: to his lesser educated base, he promised to make “America Great Again” (say, post WW II) by making things “like they were”. His base gets this in return: liberals are infuriated by the things Trump says and what he pushes for. Hey, if the “libtards” are upset, he must be doing something right, correct?

The wealthy base: gets promises of tax cuts. That is what the modern GOP is really about, though the sell hatred of the liberals to their lesser educated base. And it is an easy sell; vocal, unreasonable liberals are easy to find.

So, the poorer Republicans lose Medicaid and the “lower to middle of the middle class” ones are no closer to seeing the return of good paying middle class jobs (think: automation, plus the loss of union power), but the GOP gets away with it by pointing out that we are sticking up for Loretta’s right to use the women’s bathroom.

We suck as politicians and the GOP base gets conned over and over again.

June 13, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans, walking | | Leave a comment

Comey testimony: where will it lead?

Ok, James Comey testified; you can see the full testimony here:

Meanwhile, the Republicans in the Senate worked to get their version of “repeal Obamacare” ready for “fast tracking” and the House worked on their repeal of Dodd-Frank and passed it.

True: both are a long way from becoming law.

So, what political ramifications will Comey’s testimony have?

IMHO: anyone who thinks that Congress will remove Trump from office is smoking crack, as it needs a House majority (possible after the 2018 midterms…possible) and 2/3 of the Senate. Trump will have to do something drastic, such as start a nuclear war, or raise taxes on the rich.

But there are some good things that can come about:

1. The fallout can gum up the works and keep some very bad legislation from being signed into law.
2. This can help with the 2018 midterms: the GOP members of Congress have to worry about the primary election and those who oppose Trump might get challenged from the right wing. And if they support him too much, it can hurt in the general election. We might gain seats.
3. This can really help in 2020; remember how agonizingly close we were in those key states. It won’t take that much to flip them back.

June 9, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , | 1 Comment

Defeating Trump: will unions be the answer?

Ok, we have a serious situation. Our push-back against Trump appears to be doomed to fail. Frankly, not a lot of people are up in arms about things like “transgender rights”; climate change is too long term for people to be very passionate about (though it is very important..extremely important..but to many rates below what an NFL player does during the National Anthem).

And I think that minority voter turnout during 2008-2012 and President Obama’s skill papered over some serious issues with the Democratic Party.

And please, forget about Sanders. Those who switched from Obama to Trump aren’t that big on, say, the “minimum wage” as many earn well above that; the goal is a great job with benefits.

But employers aren’t going to just provide those out of the goodness of their hearts. Right now, things are very tilted toward the employers. Workers should organize to counter that. It is all about leverage.

June 3, 2017 Posted by | political/social, social/political | | Leave a comment

Is the United States on the decline…or is it something else?

Yes, yes, I’ve hard about “The United States being on the decline” for all of my life. The reasons given are manifold (e. g., people not being religious enough, or worshiping the wrong way, or women’s rights, gay rights, not bombing another country enough..)

Personally, I am not that concerned with the relative decline of the United States vs. the rest of the world. WW 2 was a long time ago and it was unrealistic for us to remain the world’s sole Leviathan in most areas forever.

I am concerned that our own standard has dropped a bit; our infrastructure is headed downhill and we have growing social and economic inequality.

And there is our current President. It is bad enough that his deportment and behavior is rotten; it sucks that our current President sets such a bad example when it comes to being civil and polite. In this regard, he is the worst that I’ve ever seen. But even worse: he really does not appear to know what he is doing.

Yes, the same nation (under the same rules) elected Barack Obama twice, and he is pretty smart and aware. But, he (along with Bill Clinton) were what I call “purple unicorns”; they possessed the “showbiz” talent necessary to get elected while having a strong intellect and thirst for understanding what was going on. Trump has only the “showbiz” side of it.

So, in my opinion, what is going on? What the hell happened?

In my opinion, one huge problem is the information age that we live in. We can get quick access to “facts” right at our fingertips. We really don’t have to know how to use google; we can just ask our phones via a voice command. (not what I do).

This opens up a huge can of worms, as there are now experts who specialize in directing this information search and driving us to, well, fake information. That was a massive problem in this last election.

But I believe that something else is going on.

First: there is the fact that, in the United States, news is a for profit enterprise and the truth does not sell well. And the different sides handle the media differently.

Also, news from, say, Breitbart looks exactly as, say a report from the National Academy of Sciences to the undereducated reader. How does one distinguish junk that fits one’s narrative from the truth (yes, liberals sometimes fall for this too)

Even worse is the behavior of some very smart people. A dumb person cannot run a successful business, become a successful literature professor, get a Ph. D in mechanical engineering, pass a tough state bar exam, etc.

But sometimes achievement in one field leaves to overconfidence in other fields and sometimes such people speak out of turn in fields that they really don’t know that much about. But their own accomplishments makes them think that they know more than they actually do, and they speak in public…and people pay attention to them instead of the genuine experts. For example, you often see successful engineers make fools of themselves when they try to discuss evolution in public:

Re. April 1 story, “Study: Nose shape related to ancestral climate”:

To observe that the width of the human nose would change with time based on climate is an amazing discovery. As a professor of thermodynamics, I have learned it is important to be precise in the use of language in order to accurately communicate scientific discoveries.

It would have been more precise if the article would have attributed this discovery to adaptation rather than evolution. Evolution implies that one species evolves into another. Since the changes in noses did not produce a new species, then adaptation would explain the observation more precisely.

Here, the author confuses speciation (one outcome of evolution) with evolution (which can lead to adaptation).

And such people, smart people, mind you, spread such nonsense to the public (e. g., some deity will rescue us if we trash the planet) And people end up cherry picking what they want to hear (liberals and conservatives alike, I am afraid).

And this leads us to where we are now: an unstable man with the nuclear codes.

Yes, a more stable, more politically savvy Republican would have a better chance of getting damaging legislation passed. But I’d trade that to get him away from the nuclear codes.

So, now, how exactly did we get here?

For one, the Constitution provides for the Electoral College, and none of these tiny states are going to give up their disproportionate power. And no, we aren’t going to move there to flip the politics. Then there is the make up of the Senate, where Wyoming, Idaho and Montana have the same representation as New York, California and Illinois. We’ve given away power to a small number of angry rural people.

I see now way out. After all, the split is really rural vs. urban; for example, I’d be a better fit for Austin or Dallas than I would for rural Illinois.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics/social, social/political | , | Leave a comment

Giving Trump supporters some credit

I watched the climate change stuff with interest. Yes, Trump pulled us out of it. But as President Obama and others pointed out:

1. Businesses and energy firms have already made some good advances…and we won’t retreat from those and
2. Other countries can make the agreement stronger because they won’t have to water it down just for us; they will be taking the lead.

So, the planet might not be hurt as badly as our world leadership, and ironically, our businesses.

Yes, withdrawing from the agreement wasn’t really popular anywhere, but this is not something that most people feel intensely about; it is not a big emotional hot-button issue for most.

Now about those Trump supporters: some on the left seemed to think that Hillary Clinton was “just as bad” as Trump, or “worse”. Some even said that openly…”what is the difference>?”

Evidently, millions and millions of Trump supporters COULD tell the difference, and here we are. So in that sense, the Trump supporters are smarter than the super hard core Bernie bots (the ones who didn’t switch to Clinton for the general) and the Stein voters.

And so, I feel so embarrassed for our country…but am realistic enough to recognize that the buffoonery that we are displaying to the world accurately reflects large swaths of our population:

the Trump supporters who will do just about anything “because the liberals hate it” and those who put up with Trump’s incompetence because they think that they can grow even richer via deregulation and tax cuts.

June 1, 2017 Posted by | Republican, republicans, social/political | | Leave a comment