John Oliver runs down the American Health Care Act with a locomotive, but it’s not going to help you, me or anybody else.


I have little to no confidence that I can hope to have access to decent health care again like I have over the past several years.

It’s so fucking sad. Has no one heard the screams and pleas of real Americans on this fucking topic?

Anybody?

Oh wait, they have ERs. So we’re good. Let’s attack a country!!!

Will Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Donald J Trump become pen pals?


Below is the entirety of a letter that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrote to President Trump seen at TYWKIWDBI and found in full here. It might be easier to read from the link.

I doubt there would ever be a response from the White House. But if there were one, it would be written at Trump’s third grade level in two or three different messages no longer than 140 characters.

Sigh.

I’m not going to quote/indent the text, but the rest of this post is the letter.

To: His Excellency, Mr. Donald John Trump
The president of the United States of America
Hello there.
Your Excellency has been elected, in the recent US election, as the president of the country.
It can be inferred from the political and media atmosphere in the US that the result of the election has been despite the status quo, and beyond the will and prediction of the governing body and the main system behind the scene of the US political stage.
The stances of the rival party and some of your party members and most western leaders suggest the same notion. Irrespective of whether or not that is true, the recent election revealed part of the actual and accumulated demands of the US people.

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Sean Spicer quotes Trump on jobs growth: “The reports may have phony in the past, but it’s very real now.”


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I’ve mentioned this several times before, but for the past eight years, one of the corporate events I’ve photographed is a summit in Chicago aimed at luxury architects, interior designers, builders and real estate agents. These people are the creme de la creme of local business.

At this event, I get an insider perspective on what these local business gurus are learning about. Much of it is privileged information regarding their very distinct markets. At this event, I’ve listened to all kinds of writers, professors and economics pros speak on all sorts of topics. I’ve heard high end bankers speak about how the economy has grown since the repression/depression in 2009/2010. Every year, I’ve listened in on how well the US economy has become since it tanked thanks to George W.

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Breaking Fake News: China Grants Preliminary Approval to 38 New Trump Trademarks


Shanghai (AP) — China has granted preliminary approval for 38 new Trump trademarks, paving the way for President Donald Trump and his family to potentially develop a host of branded businesses from hotels and golf clubs to bodyguard and concierge services, public documents show.

Trump’s lawyers in China applied for the marks in April 2016, as Trump railed against China at campaign rallies, accusing it of currency manipulation and stealing U.S. jobs. Critics maintain that Trump’s swelling portfolio of China trademarks raises serious conflict of interest questions.

China’s Trademark Office published the provisional approvals on Feb. 27 and Monday .

If no one objects, they will be formally registered after 90 days. All but three are in the president’s own name. China already registered one trademark to the president, for Trump-branded construction services on Feb. 14, the result of a 10-year legal battle that turned in Trump’s favor after he declared his candidacy.

Ethics lawyers across the political spectrum say that if Trump receives any special treatment in securing trademark rights, it would violate the U.S. Constitution, which bans public servants from accepting anything of value from foreign governments unless approved by Congress. Concerns about potential conflicts of interest are particularly sharp in China, where the courts and bureaucracy are designed to reflect the will of the ruling Communist Party.

SNIP

The marks include branded spa and massage services, golf clubs, hotels, insurance, finance and real estate companies, restaurants, bars, and a trademark class that covers bodyguards, social escort, and concierge services — though it’s unclear whether any such businesses will actually materialize in China.

Read more at Bloomberg. 

Genghis Khan’s take on religion


Over at TYWKIWDBI, Minnesotastan posted that he’s reading a book titled Gengis Khan and the Making of the Modern World and quoted the following from the book (emphasis is Stan’s):

“Eyewitnesses report that upon reaching the center of Bukhara, Genghis Khan rode up to the large mosque and asked if, since it was the largest building in the city, it was the home of the sultan. When informed that it was the house of God, not the sultan, he said nothing. For the Mongols, the one God was the Eternal Blue Sky that stretched from horizon to horizon in all directions.  God presided over the whole earth; he could not be cooped up in a house of stone like a prisoner or a caged animal, nor as the city people claimed, could his words be captured and confined inside the covers of a book. In his own experience, Genghis Khan had often felt the presence and heard the voice of God speaking directly to him in the vast open air of the mountains in his homeland, and by following those words, he had become the conqueror of great cities and huge nations.”

I don’t agree with Genghis Khan’s perspective completely, as I’m unsure of an actual supreme being. Hearing the voice of a god or gods is unprovable and likely some kind of hyperbole. But I certainly admire his perspective.

My most authentic “spiritual” experiences are during my morning meditations, during long runs outside in which the brain can do nothing but unfocus and focus at the same time (also happens during long swims) and while at large outdoor music festivals in which the entirety of thousands upon thousands of fans are deep in the fabric of shared experiences that are idiosyncratic at the same time.

That contrasts to those of the church, which I found, even as a child and teenager, to be contrived and not authentic.

I don’t believe in a god or gods (for many many reasons, but) because the existence of god is completely unknowable. One can assume a god exists, but all the evidence to it via biblical or even all around earthly experience, does not lead one to a place of “Yep, there’s an all-powerful, all-knowing dude in charge of it all.” The information the collective “we” of humanity have written in books and have stuffed into the confines of a church experience is too confining for a concept as large as something called “god”.

This is something a religious person will also agree with and explain they too look to nature for their answer, while maintaining that this mystery known as god must be worshiped or believed in. They’re also ignoring the parts of nature that do not indicate a god or gods. The message that belief in said being (or beings) would provide anyone with a reward in afterlife is surely not spending enough time experiencing life to its fullest. And is therefore limited by beliefs.

Once the unknowable is “knowable,” one tends to give up on searching out other unknowns and becomes static in so-called knowledge.

It’s sad. It causes a lack of sympathy and empathy for anyone except those with shared values.

 

 

A reminder from one Mr. Robert Frost


Mending Wall

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbour know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
“Stay where you are until our backs are turned!”
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours.”
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
“Why do they make good neighbours? Isn’t it
Where there are cows? But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.” I could say “Elves” to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, “Good fences make good neighbours.”