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So the big scaremongering issue of the week is the loom of sequestration on the horizon. It is supposed to go into effect on Friday, because no one has done anything to prevent it, but never you fear: it won't happen.
I predicted it wouldn't happen two years ago when the abortive monstrosity was passed and signed into law, and I see no reason to change that. The compromise was passed so that no one would have to take responsibility for cutting federal spending, because no one in Washington, D.C. wants to cut spending by so much as one dime. No one.
The compromise bill ensured that the debt ceiling could safely be raised without anyone having to vote on it. If it had required a vote, Democrats would have had to vote for it and Republicans against, because their constituencies expect such votes, and this would have given their opponents (in both the primary and general elections) plenty of rope with which to hang them. Further, if any vote to raise the debt ceiling had failed, the entire massive fraud of government-supported demand would have died an instant death* and the whole charade would have ended...along with a lot of legislators' careers.
Far easier just to take the issue off the table entirely, by setting things up such that everything would happen automatically, including automatic cuts that would go into effect if nothing was done to cut federal spending.
But that, too, was a sham, as I predicted. Because now we're getting all kinds of BS from both sides about how terrible the automatic cuts are going to be for the economy, and of course we must stop sequestration from happening lest we all die or be eaten or some horseshit like that.
So for all the sound and fury we got in 2011 from the GOP about how WE'RE SERIOUS, YOU GUYS, ABOUT CUTTING SPENDING, what did we in fact get?
We got $100 billion in government-style cuts--reductions in the rate of growth, that is to say--and no other brake on federal spending whatsoever.
Boortz discusses the horrors of sequestration when he tells us how much these draconian cuts will slash--gut--from the federal budget: a whopping 2.3% of the total. O horror! O calamity!
Figuring a total budget of, say, $4,500 billion (I am probably off by a bit, but it's good enough for government work) and a budget deficit of $1,200 billion, how much actual cutting does 2.3% represent?
It represents a total cut of $103.5 billion. Let's be generous and call it $104 billion--just round it up--and you can see how much nothing this actually is. Sequestration reduces the deficit (again, using my PDOOMA numbers) to $1,096 billion. Hey, we've cut the deficit by almost 9%!
In his post, Boortz lays all this at the feet of "0bama", but the blame lies equally at the feet of the GOP. After all, plenty of GOP politicians don't want to fly commercial any more than their Democrat counterparts do. Why, that kind of nonsense is for the little people!
ADDENDUM: Turns out my PDOOMA numbers are optimistic. Sequestration would cut $85 billion if it were to go into effect...which it won't.
* Originally wrote "debt" there. Freud?
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Hospitals get local monopolies thanks to government interference; hence they can charge whatever the hell they want to. The hospital which serves the Fungal Vale has not been expanded or improved in decades--why should they? They have no local competition; the next nearest hospital is twice as far away and in a different state.
I remember my two hospitalizations while living in Cedar Rapids, both of which featured private rooms because there were two hospitals to serve a city of 127,000 people. Two hospitals which were individually larger than the one hospital serving the Fungal Vale, I might add.
It's true that there's another hospital in the Fungal Vale, one that's farther from the bunker than the one across the border in Indiana; that hospital is larger and better than the nearest one to the bunker, but it was recently bought out by the same organization that runs the nearest one. And even if it hadn't been, the ambulance service in the Fungal Vale doesn't take emergency cases to the better hospital.
...which is one of several reasons my 33-hour stay in the ER at the nearest hospital, in May of 2011, cost me enough to buy a new motorcycle. You have no chance to dicker, no chance at shopping around; they have you over a barrel because you are going to THIS hospital regardless of what you want or can afford.
All of this works to the advantage of the people running the hospitals. They can set whatever prices they like, and if you want a job in the medical industry you have basically one choice for employers, unless you don't mind a commute.
The medical industry needs a big dose of competition. That won't fix all the problems with the insanely high costs of health care in this country but it'd be a good start.
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DOOM! Monty starts out talking about Detroit, which is simply the starkest and most advanced example of how well the blue model works--which is to say, "not at all"--and then goes on to other salient issues facing us today.
Environmentalism--like most liberal issues--is a luxury afforded by a well-running economy. As soon as the economy begins to choke on stupid crap like green subsidies, though--as soon as people begin realizing that the green initiatives are forcing them to freeze in the dark--it gets ashcanned pretty quickly.
The average annual household energy bill in England is approaching £1,500, which is $2,750 in US currency. That's $230 per month in a country which has egregiously high taxes on everything to pay for socialized medicine and other socialist programs, which inevitably guts the average take-home pay of the working population.
Britain is closing power plants because they don't meet "green" standards set by the EU, and they are to replace traditional power sources with "renewable" things like solar and wind power--which are diffuse and inefficient and totally insufficient to the task of powering a modern industrialized economy.
Of course the answer is never to build nuclear plants, because the real objective is not to prevent the emissions of CO2 while allowing people to live their lives; oh, no! The real objective is to make energy as expensive as possible so that people will stop insisting on living, thus saving the Earth for...something. Walruses, I guess.
Meanwhile Vox Day says that Zero Hedge gives the economy about 10 months before the blowup happens. Vox Day doesn't think we'll get hyperinflation, but we will get something worse than the Great Depression.
Commentor JCB gets it right: "They will nationalize retirement accounts first. That may buy them another year or two." I think that's very likely to happen, and the GOP will put up only a token resistance because they like their cushy D.C. offices and don't want to be lynched.
Following that, individual ownership of precious metals will be taxed, regulated, registered, and outlawed--in that order--with confiscation following shortly after the penultimate step. If you've got gold, you may or may not be compensated in (increasingly worthless) paper money when your gold is taken. Depending on how dire things are by that stage you might face jail time for owning gold, even if you complied with the first three steps. In the best case scenario you merely end up with toilet paper.
I'm convinced that the big push for gun control revolves around the inevitable financial crash; the government wants to remain in control regardless and it cannot do that if everyone has a gun or three and can say, "Fuck you, come and take my gold, bitches!" If government does not have a monopoly on violence, the politicians in D.C. may find themselves facing lynch mobs when their shell game is finally revealed to be a con.
The GOP in particular must walk a fine line in this; they don't want to lose gun owners but they, too, want to limit the civil right to self-defense, which is why they appear so eager to cave to Democrats on this issue.
...but this is the "economy" subheading, not "gun control". (Odd how they're becoming more and more synonymous, though....)
Jerry Pournelle weighs in:
The notion is to blame the coming Depression – and that looks to be inevitable – on the sequestration, although we will be spending more next year than we did last year, and more the year after that than we will this year: the sequestration will not be a “cut” in the budget, merely a diminution of the increase that is automatically built into the budgets we don’t pass any more. And Obamacare will cost a lot of money, the 2% increase in salary tax (as opposed to income tax which hits what’s left after the 12 to 20% salary tax), inflation, raise in minimum wage, and other economic disincentives will cost more, and the incentive to expand a business is lowered, fewer businesses start – maybe we won’t hit a full Depression, but the probability is there. We are doing it to ourselves.I disagree with his optimism--"maybe we won't hit a full Depression"--because the recession never ended, and it is not going to end so long as we continue to play games.
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Okay, "gun control":
And a leaked Obama memo demonstrates that the government wants--is planning to--implent the confiscation of firearms. The Democrats have wanted this for a very, very long time; gun control policy has its roots in the post-bellum South and was meant to keep blacks from being able to defend themselves.
In short, Lake County Sheriff, STFU.
Lake County Attorney John Dull said the county would have to pass an ordinance to make any substantial changes to the fairgrounds shows are conducted. He said state law doesn't provide any support for [Sheriff] Buncich's call for more gun control.Problem: guns bought in Indiana are being "recovered" from Chicago crime scenes.
Of course lawful gun buyers are supplying those guns! Those guns bought in Indiana, they couldn't possibly be stolen from their lawful owners before being sold to Chicago gangbangers! Don't you know anything?
Good for you, Lake County commissioners; that totalitarian wannabe can suck it.
Illinois has lost its appeal and must implent some kind of legalized CCW. Wahoo! In fact, I think the absolute best outcome for this would be if Illinois failed to enact anything and ended up defaulting to Constitutional carry. Wouldn't that be awesome?
Now if only we could do something about the idiotic FOID law!
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Speaking of the Peoples' Demokratik Republik of Illinoistan, the Chicago machine is apparently in a panic over Jesse Jackson Junior's abrupt downfall. Take a look at the text blockquoted in the piece:
fter Robin Kelly lost a 2010 bid for state treasurer, the office’s chief investigator alleged she violated ethics laws by improperly reporting time off from her taxpayer-funded job as chief of staff to then-Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, the Tribune has learned.This person broke laws and the sum total of the consequences she paid for violating these laws was...she had to resign before disciplinary action could be taken.
Kelly, now a top contender in Tuesday’s special Democratic primary in the 2nd Congressional District race to succeed Jesse Jackson Jr., was at the center of an investigation by the treasurer’s executive inspector general into whether timekeeping violations took place as she campaigned for treasurer, records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show.
Executive Inspector General David Wells recommended that Kelly be disciplined, according to a letter from Giannoulias. The punishment that Wells recommended was not made public, but Giannoulias said no action would be taken against Kelly because she had already resigned from state government.
She was chief of staff to Alexei Ginnouliar, but because he's a Democrat in a Democrat-run state he was able to shield her from the consequences of breaking the law and now she's running for Congress.
Hard to imagine what would happen to the chief of staff of a Republican Treasurer in the PDRI who violated exactly the same laws this bint did. But I'd wager it would include jail time.
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This has been the party line since Hitler attacked Russia in 1941. The biggest mistake Hitler made was to declare war on the US and Russia at the same time; declaring war on the US allowed Roosevelt to get us involved in Europe, and Russia was simply too big of a bite for Germany to take when it was still trying to take England and having to fight off the US.
Declaring war on communist Russia lost Hitler the support of the international left. Before he did that, they loved the little dictator to pieces; plenty of them went so far as to say that Nazi Germany was the blueprint for socialism the world over and that it was only a matter of time before the US went the same way. It wasn't anything to be feared, but to be admired and emulated.
But once Hitler's eyes turned east? Hoo boy. That was when Hollywood got on board with the war effort in a big way. That was when the peaceniks shut up. That was when Hitler underwent the magical transformation from forward-thinking progressivist leader to diabolical monster. (That was when the lies started about his religion, because of course no atheist could possibly be as evil as Hitler.)
It's taught as fact in political science classes that fascism is a "hard right" ideology, but it's just not so.
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So your SF book can hit the bestseller lists if you pony up the cash to make it happen. Why am I not surprised?
As always the discussion devolved into stuff about John Scalzi, and I find from the comments that I am not alone in my predictions about what Scalzi's "reboot" of Little Fuzzy is like. The hell of it is, I called it all, with the minor exception about Scalzi not being well-known. So I'd score that as "I was about 95% right", which is good enough for me.
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Og says that ketchup does not work well as a decongestant. My comment:
I once wrote a fight scene in a fast-food restaurant, where the main character ended the fight by grabbing the big squeeze bottle of hot sauce, sticking it in one of his opponent’s nostrils, and squeezing....I wonder if I have a printout of that story. A lot of that stuff is on C-64 floppies, which have probably degraded to "coaster" status by now. *sigh*
No, I don’t imagine the fight continued past that point.
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Steven Den Beste knows why Obama got the Nobel Prize.
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Two FMLs today:
Today, while driving extremely fast on a road in the middle of nowhere, I started to go down a hill. Noticing a police car at the bottom, I slammed my brakes and blew a tire in the process. I turns out the police car was an old cutout used to trick people. FML
Here's an idea, anus: drive the speed limit. Then you won't have to worry about police, real or otherwise. If merely slamming on the brakes is enough to blow a tire on your car you shouldn't be driving the damned thing at all, "extremely fast" or not, and you're lucky to be alive, you waste of skin.
Today, I went to the doctor to get a blood test and I started crying when I saw the needle. I planned on becoming a doctor. FML
Oh, grow the fuck up, asshole. If you're an adult and you start crying at the mere sight of a hypodermic needle, you aren't mature enough to do anything requiring judgement. You'd better work in fast food or retail or something. Jesus.
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Not much else to report here. Tomorrow I'm going to see about going to the doctor, because the Amox has done very little about the sinusitis (or whatever it is) and I need something stronger. But I've been experiencing such fatigue that I'm starting to think it just might be walking pneumonia, rather than sinusitis, and Amox ain't gonna touch that. The most worrisome part is the unilateral swelling of lymph nodes in my neck--they're fine on the right side but swollen on the left, which indicates something is out of whack. And when said swelling continues in the wake of (an admittedly relatively weak) antibiotic, it's not a good sign.
We'll see, I guess.