Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Trump Coins

So apparently, the White House Gift Shop is now selling Covid-19 commemorative coins.

You Joking GIFs | Tenor

I am not.
This is a real thing on their website.

And here is the super-professional totally coherent header:


All profits donated!

Donated to whom?

Shut up, that's to whom!

The Eric and Don Jr Future Legal Fees Fund is so a legitimate charity!

Here's the design:

I gotta say, the empty podium is a bit on-the-nose!

But apparently, the Covid-19 pandemic is something that has already been relegated to the pages of history as something upon which we can look back and proudly remember the heroes aho defeated the "invisible enemy." Namely Trump, Pence, Mnuchin. . . wait, what? Oh, right, of course, those were the guys on the front lines of this battle! They were the brave gallant men storming the metaphorical beaches of the Proverbial Normandy of public health.

Yes, together WE fought the unseen enemy by first denying the problem, then pretending that the problem had been solved, then blaming China, then drinking Clorox. Douglas MacArthur himself couldn't have devised a more effective strategy!

I don't know how long the White House Gift Shop has been in the commemorative coin business, they seem to only have two Presidential coins, one for Obama and one for Trump. Well, more than one for Trump. Besides the sort of official "Yes, this guy was President" medallion, there are a few others. Like this one:


Now sure, it may at first glance appear to be gaudy and chintzy and tacky as all fuck, but think how inspiring it could be when you read the official White House Gift Shop description:


Yeah, that's right. Genius!

Wile ECoyote Introduce GIF - WileECoyote Introduce SuperGenius ...

Oh, and that's just the front of the coin.
Check out the flip side:


Yeah, that's right. An "historic win!" I mean, it's true. No other candidate has ever won the presidency with a 3 million vote deficit.
And you know what else? Generation of Peace, that's what! I bet you feel pretty foolish now! Now that you know there will be Peace in the Valley for the next few decades, all thanks to something that Trump did or said or. . . something. No more war! Hurrah!

And to be honest, he's being modest. This was the original description that was posted on the site before the coin was available:

The WH Gift Shop Is Actually Selling a Coin Which Calls Trump a ...

That's right: Genius makes its own rules! Previous Presidents may have felt constrained by the Constitution or the various laws of our nation, even our system of checks and balances. That's why none of them were geniuses!

And that's not the only coin commemorating the "Historic Moments in Global History" of the Trump administration. There's this little memento:


Because I guess we're still pretending that looking at a list from the Heritage Foundation and pointing at a name and saying "Uh, him I guess" is some sort of an historic accomplishment.

And if you think that's impressive, you should see the "Not the Vietnam" coin.


#3 Coin in Historic Moments Collection, NOT THE VIETNAM COIN ...

Okay, I'm sure that's supposed to be "LED by a fearless American President." Or who knows, maybe it's referring to the heavy metal which Trump no doubt consumed in copious quantities as a child?
Who knows? But either way, this is a celebration of the day that President Trump legitimized a murderous Communist dictator on the world stage, which is more than you've ever done.probably.

"Generational Peace." Ah, finally. After all this time it is so wonderful to be at peace with a country that we were not at war with and which posed no threat to us at all. I know I sleep better at night knowing that Trump's enemy/best friend/enemy again/probably friend has agreed to terms of peace.

And of course, no Trump genius coin collection would be complete without this mintage:

collector's limited edition coin, Space Force coins, authentic officiial ...

Celebrating the creation of the newest branch of the military which is totally a real thing that is going to totally exist and isn't just a colossal racket to funnel more money into well-placed aerospace company coffers!

collector's limited edition coin, Space Force coins, authentic ...

You can tell its serious because there's a Star Trek logo in the center!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Why we can't have nice things

(I started this one around the end of March then forgot about it. Some of this may be a bit dated)

Medicare for All Scares Me More Than Coronavirus


seriously GIF by Luke Cosgrove

Really? A virus that is probably going to kill hundreds of thousands of people just here in the US doesn't scare you as much as the idea of everybody being able to go to the doctor and get medicine? Really? Like the thought of the US turning into I Am Legend is less frightening to you than the possibility of becoming Canada? Seriously?

Democratic Debate Seriously GIF

The world today is dealing with an unknown -- a virus currently without a treatment or vaccine, and, like most Americans, I’m praying one will be found. But what scares me most in this moment of crisis isn’t the coronavirus; it’s the push for “Medicare for All” as a solution that can harm millions, including my children.

Oh my God, yes. It's a system so potentially harmful to so many that it has only ever been tried in Canada.
And Norway.
And Sweden.
And the Netherlands.
And the UK.
And Taiwan.
And, well, you get the picture. Anyway, yes, a change in the way that Americans pay for medical services is obviously way more frightening than the possibility of The Stand coming true!

 The Democratic debate between former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders earlier this month illustrates the current campaign to capitalize on the COVID-19 crisis to establish government-run health care.

The Russia narrative is dead!! : EnoughTrumpSpam

Well, you say that, but. . .
I mean, of the two Democratic candidates, only one is pushing for single-payer healthcare. Biden has (in)famously said that, were Medicare for All come across his desk while he was president, he would veto it. And Bernie Sanders has been advocating for single-payer since time immemorial, he is hardly "capitalizing on the COVID-19 crisis."

Naturally, Sanders weighed in with his favorite talking point: "First of all, the dysfunctionality of the current health care system is obviously apparent,” arguing that we spend too much for what we get.

And does anyone dispute that? Does anyone dispute the fact that we spend more per capita on healthcare than any other country and get worse results?

U.S. infant mortality rate worse than other countries

U.S. infant mortality rate worse than other countries ...

Our maternal mortality rate is a national embarrassment ...

So, you know, you can sit there and say "oh, there goes Bernie again, saying his favorite old talking point," but whatever you think of Senator Sanders he is 100% God damn right about this. We spend more and get worse results than any other wealthy country. The numbers don't lie.

But saying there will be better coverage doesn’t make it so,

True. But what does make it so is the numerous examples we have all over the world of single-payer systems that provide coverage to everyone at a lower cost than our ridiculous employer-based for-profit system. Have you ever been to any other country? Have you even gone next door to Canada? When it's safe to travel again, go take a little sightseeing trip to Quebec. Maybe go see the Eifel Tower or La Sagrada Familia. Talk to people in countries that have single-payer systems. See if any of them -ANY of them - would prefer to be left to the tender mercies of Aetna.

I know I've told this story before, but several years ago we went to Montreal to visit my wife's Quebecois relatives. They had some complaints about their healthcare system ( I don't remember what). But when I asked them if they would prefer the American "system," they all laughed in my face. (politely). No one who has a single-payer healthcare system wants to change over to a private for-profit insurer. You'd have to be a lunatic.

Right now, patients in China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and the United Kingdom are dealing with rationed care, some being turned away. The “wonders” of government-run health care aren’t being offered to everyone.

Wow. Just imagine living in a country where they don't have enough tests, enough ventilators, enough intensive care unit beds for all their Covid-19 patients! I wonder what that would be like. . .

COVID-19: New York's unclaimed bodies buried in mass grave - YouTube

See doctors react to photo of nurses wearing trash bags

Thank God we have our private for-profit healthcare "system" to protect us from outcomes like that!

 “Free” and “available” are not the same things, and it’s not truly free, as taxpayers will get the bill,

Oh my God, we know that! We know! I don't know why you people always think that's some great gotcha line. We understand that single-payer isn't free. It is paid for with tax dollars. Same as the highways, the police department, public schools, Yellowstone. . . We understand that things cost money. It's just that single-payer is an exponentially more efficient way of paying for healthcare and ensuring that everyone is covered.

Also, "not free" and "available" are not the same thing. I pay way too much to Aetna every month for my health care plan. And if I got Coronavirus, I would pay more in deductibles and co-pays to be hospitalized. But there is no guarantee that a ventilator would be available to keep me alive. Or that the necessary medications would be available.

MIT team races to fill Covid-19-related ventilator shortage

FDA takes another step to ease shortages of drugs for Covid-19 patients on ventilators

APRIL 20, 2020

If the product isn't available, it doesn't matter whether you have private insurance, Medicare or the British NHS. No system is going to conjure up medical equipment that doesn't exist.

But with government-run health care, nations do decide who they won’t bother saving. 

Oh, yeah. Nuch better to leave those kinds of decisions up to corporate bean-counters who are paid to figure out ways to deny claims!

In talking about this crisis with the Washington Post, medical experts said that rationed care was likely here in a piece titled “Spiking U.S. coronavirus cases could force rationing decisions similar to those made in Italy, China.” 

Face Palm Ohmygod GIF - FacePalm Ohmygod Omg - Discover & Share GIFs

Well, it's a good thing that we didn't switch over to a single-payer system, then because. . . whait, seriously?

You're raising a hue and cry about the possibility that a single-payer system would lead to healthcare rationing, then you say"oh, by the way we're going to have rationing now with our precious private insurance system?" Do you ever go back and read wht you've typed?

“We have very effective means of making that a comfortable, peaceful death,” said Philip M. Rosoff, professor emeritus of at Duke University School of Medicine and chair of its hospital ethics committee from 2005 to 2019.
Well, isn’t that special. And it’s happening now.
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Oh my God.
As Josephine says in HMS Pinafore: "He little thinks how successfully he has pleaded his rival's cause!"

You are arguing against yourself!
You are stating the case that here in the USA, where we do not have a single-payer healthcare system, healthcare is currently being rationed and doctors are easing patients into death and you think that this is an argument for KEEPING the current system? Because if we were to change to a Canadian-style system, it could lead to the rationing of healthcare and doctors allowing patients to die? It boggles the mind! How do you see any tiny sliver of logic in this?

Under government-run health care, all of us may find ourselves at the mercy of an Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) up-or-down vote on whether we should be allowed to live or die. This calculation is already in use by economists who make a financial calculation of whether someone’s life is worth saving. 

Ooh, that sounds awful! I would hate to be at the mercy of . . . wait, ALREADY IN USE? Jesus Christ, this is the most illogical irrational argument I have ever read. This would get a failing grade as a freshman term paper.

In a moment like this, with a virus that causes respiratory distress, my two children who have cystic fibrosis may be determined too costly to save

Okay, that would be horrific. Just absolutely appalling and tragic. I can see why you'd never want to switch to a system that would allow such a thing to happen. Oh wait, you weren't done with that paragraph? Oh, please continue!

 Before the virus hit, a recent ICER report determined that the cost of life-extending medication for CF sufferers wasn’t worth it, even if it was a full cure.

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I don't. . . I don't know what to even say here. Everything that you want to warn us about you then turn around and say it's already happening. I don't even get what point you think you're making.

That’s why Medicare for All is so scary. The known practices of withholding care in government-run plans has the potential to put all Americans at risk, no matter the illness.

see, this always gets me. Conservative idots are always going on and on about how the government spends too much, spends money they don't have, runs up deficits, etc. But then they think that if there's a government-run healthcare plan, suddenly the government is going to turn into penurious penny-pinchers saying "Gee, we'd like to let you have this surgery, but the money just isn't in the budget. Can't spend money we don't have, you know!"

Also, do you have any examples of this "known practice" of withholding care?

Just this week, the National Council on Disability asked  the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to take proactive steps so that care will not be denied to those with chronic illnesses and disabilities. 

Okayyyy. . . that's rather like me asking you not to murder me and then pointing to that request as evidence of your :known practice" of being a murderer.

In recent days, I’ve been heartened to see so many Americans make sacrifices to ensure those who are most at risk with coronavirus stay safe. My prayer is that more continue to use social distancing precautions and take all safety measures necessary. And we all hope that the testing proceeding now will be successful.
Shouldn’t this mindset continue after the corona pandemic ends? If Medicare for All is allowed to proceed, treatments won’t be for all, but only the few that the government determines have potential value, as they see it. 
You mean like how the government decided that Cystic Fibrosis patients aren't worth saving? Oh wait. . . that wasn't the government! That was you friendly neighborhood private for-profit insurance company's soulless bureaucrats! my mistake!
But. yeah. We certainly wouldn't want medical care to be restricted to those deemed worthy of saving. Far better that it be restricted to those who can afford it.

This kind of idiotic thinking - this is why we can't have nice things.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Awesome Idea of the Day

Posting will continue to be very light for a bit since the Missus is having to use our home laptop for work and apparently SOMEONE thinks that her career is more important than making fun of jerks on the internet!

Anyway. . .

Awesome Idea Of the Day

Couretesy of the U.S. Naval Institute:

Unleash the Privateers!

The United States should issue letters of marque to fight Chinese aggression at sea.

Oh Hell YES!

Sign me up!

gif swords battle fight pirates | Elizabeth swann, Pirates ...

Honestly, you had me at privateers, but go on. Let's hear the rationale for it as if we needed one.

Naval strategists are struggling to find ways to counter a rising Chinese Navy. 

Right, right. . . because in the 21st Century, naval battles are a thing that happens all the time. It's not like we engage in warfare by having some dude in Las Vegas press a button to unleash hell from the flying death robots. If one is to continue to be a world power, clearly one needs a swift and stout armada!

War Fighting GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The easiest and most comfortable course is to ask for more ships and aircraft, but with a defense budget that may have reached its peak, that may not be a viable strategy. 

Wait, there's a peak to the US defense budget? When did this happen? There has never in my lifetime been any limit on the amount of money that can be shoveled into the Pentagon. Well thanks a lot, Trump!

Privateering, authorized by letters of marque, could offer a low-cost tool to enhance deterrence in peacetime and gain advantage in wartime. 

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Now that's what I call deterrence!

Hell yeah! International war crimes could give us a huuuuge advantage in war! I mean, it's not like China has a nuclear arsenal or anything. I'm quite certain they don't have ICBMs or anything. We just need to send some desperate Somalis out there to seize their ships and bing bang boom, war over!

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 It would attack an asymmetric vulnerability of China, which has a much larger merchant fleet than the United States. Indeed, an attack on Chinese global trade would undermine China’s entire economy and threaten the regime’s stability. 

Wait. We're talking about attacking commercial vessels?
Commercial as in CIVILIAN vessels?

That Idea Is Literally The Greatest Idea I Have Ever Heard In My ...

What could possibly go wrong? I mean, we're already pretty much a pariah nation anyway. Why not be the country that attacks merchant vessels at sea? What are the Chinese gonna do about it? We're doing it in international waters! Their laws don't apply there. There's literally nothing they could do!

China's New Hypersonic Missiles Could Hit Anywhere in the U.S. in ...

Oh, right!

Finally, despite pervasive myths to the contrary, U.S. privateering is not prohibited by U.S. or international law.

Well, of course it's not against US law! Why would us being pirates be against our law? But international law? I certainly don't have the time or the energy to research maritime law, but I'm pretty sure it's acceptable, when confronted by piracy, to send Navy SEALS out to put bullets in the pirates' heads. Also, let's say it isn't against the law. Is that really going to matter to China?

Let's say you're walking down the street and you see this young couple stopped at the light.

The 7 Hidden Benefits to Dating A Biker - Biker Digital

And let's say you make the young lady on the back there an indecent proposal. There's no law against that, First Amendment and all that. Do you think it's gonna help to explain to the dude on the front of the bike that your comments were perfectly legal? Like he's gonna say "damn it, I was going to stomp you into a pulp, but I guess you haven't broken any laws, so I will just bid you good day!"

Privateering is not piracy—there are rules and commissions, called letters of marque, that governments issue to civilians, allowing them to capture or destroy enemy ships.

Oh, sure. If we were at war with China, which we are not and never will be, then sure. The government could send out civilians in their bass boats with their hunting rifles to take out Chinese destroyers. Absoultely. But when we are not at war with China, sending a bunch of MAGA hat rednecks out to attack commercial shipping vessels would absolutely be seen as a horrendous crime and an act of war and NO ONE would take our side in this dispute.

The U.S. Constitution expressly grants Congress the power to issue them (Article I, section 8, clause 11). Captured vessels and goods are called prizes, and prize law is set out in the U.S. Code. In the United States, prize claims are adjudicated by U.S. district courts, with proceeds traditionally paid to the privateers.

And obviously this is the key factor. What US laws and US courts think of US citizens stealing another nation's property by force of arms. It's like if someone punched you in the face and then said "the rules of my house say I'm allowed to punch you in the face and you're not allowed to call the police on me." That is a solid legal ground on which to be standing and evryone would have to respect that.

Letters of marque could be issued quickly, with privateers on the hunt within weeks of the start of a conflict. By contrast, it would take four years to build a single new combatant for the Navy. 

Yeah, it takes along time to build a battleship. We could just send people down to Bass Pro Shops to buy boats and then hit the high seas! Who the hell has time to wait? I mean, it's not like we could just go into battle with our current tiny little navy!
Wait, what's that?

As of April 2020, there are 44 active aircraft carriers in the world operated by fourteen navies. The United States Navy has 11 large nuclear-powered fleet carriers—carrying around 80 fighter jets each—the largest carriers in the world; the total combined deck space is over twice that of all other nations combined.

Still, though. How cool would it be to go pirating in one of these?

This Champagne Gun Is The Alcoholic Super Soaker Of Your Dreams

Pew pew pew! Take that, Chinese Navy!

During the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, privateers vastly outnumbered Navy ships, with one U.S. official calling privateers “our cheapest and best navy.”4

And as we all know, military technology has pretty much stayed the same since 1812. Any decent sized yacht should be able to take on a Chinese destroyer!

China has built a powerful defensive network around its homeland, sometimes called an antiaccess/area-denial (A2/AD) envelope. As one element of this strategy, China has expanded its navy from a modest coastal force in the 1980s to an oceangoing force of at least 200 ships,

Uh oh! China has how many navy ships now? 200? Well, shit the US Navy only has. . . let's see. . .

The United States Navy is a powerhouse. The fleet consists of roughly 430 ships in active service or reserve. The vessels run the gamut from the massive Nimitz-class aircraft carrier, which stretches more than 1,000 feet, to the Los Angeles-class submarine that slithers 900 feet below the ocean surface.

Only 430?  Four Hundred Thirty little ships to take on the entire Chinese force of. . . at least 200? God damn it we need to get the pontoon boat brigade armed and ready!

Yardsale fashion and Pirates | Boat, Pirate boats, Boat parade

Okay, honestly I feel like you're kinda talking me out of this a bit. You're making it seeem less fun and that is really not cool of you. Don't ruin this for me! I want to be a pirate!
Although now that I think of it, I do get seasick on boats.

Yo Ho Ho and a bottle of Tums!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

We lost a legend last night.

Rest in peace, John Prine.

For my money, one of the top American songwriters of all time - right up there with Chuck Berry, Merle Haggard, Townes Van Zandt, Gillian Welch, Steve Earle, Gladys Knight, you name 'em. He could make you laugh, he could break your heart, and make itr seem easy somehow.

And a lot of times when a singer dies it's sad, but you think "well, it's not like he's done anything in years anyeay," but check out some of the songs that John Prine put out in the last few years of his life:


It's a very sad day, so let's end with a couple of fun ones. (If you really want tears brought to your eyes, Google "Hello in There" or "Sam Stone." I don't have the heart for either of those at the moment.