The Gathering Storm, The “White Bloc”, And More

China wants the United States and North Korea to cut the crap.

In comments carried by China’s official Xinhua news agency, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said “storm clouds” were gathering … “The United States and South Korea and North Korea are engaging in tit for tat, with swords drawn and bows bent,” Wang said at a news conference after a meeting with visiting French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, Xinhua reported. “We urge all parties to refrain from inflammatory or threatening statements or deeds to prevent irreversible damage to the situation on the Korean Peninsula.”

If they allow war to break out on the peninsula, they must bear the historical responsibility and “pay the corresponding price,” Wang warned. In the event of war, “multiple parties will lose, and no one will win,” he said.

Richard Spencer is calling for like-minded racists to organize to fight the black bloc and other antifascist movements. He wants to call it the white bloc.

Obama-era student loan protections have been thrown out the window by DeVos’ Education Department.

His desire to sit at the popular table has turned Stephen Miller into Steve Bannon’s Brutus.

The NYPD reports that general crime is at an all-time low… but incidents of hate crimes are spiking.

If you haven’t read Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower and Parable of the Talents, this particular moment in history is a good time to start.

Butler seemed to be on the minds of many on November 8, 2016, as many watched in horror as conservative forces swept through the US electorate, taking the presidency and maintaining control of the House and Senate, with at least one Supreme Court appointment to follow. President-elect Donald Trump’s slogan, borrowed from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign, mirrored that of ultra-conservative presidential hopeful Christopher Charles Morpeth Donner in Parable of the Sower: “Make America Great Again.” There are other similarities. Donner dismantles the “‘wasteful, pointless, unnecessary’ moon and Mars programs,” and abolishes “‘overly restrictive’ minimum-wage, environmental, and worker protection laws.” He gives increasing power to big business, permitting gross labour-rights violations as long as workers are provided “training and adequate room and board.”

Before you start reading Butler, however, you need to set up a VPN. It will take about 10 minutes.

Hate in the Age of Trump: a photo essay by Johnny Milano.

Unless thousands of incarcerated individuals are conspiring to keep their stories straight without being in direct contact with each other, ICE prisons are turning detainees into slaves. A federal judge recently allowed a lawsuit filed in 2014 to reach class action status.

What about whataboutism?

Praising the president for state violence is not a cycle we want to encourage.

Obamacare hasn’t been repealed, but it was just modified to the detriment of everyday people.

And now for some-things completely different:

Cassette tapes are making a comeback for some reason.

Vice on the ongoing influence of Darlene Conner.

It’s day eighty-five of year zero in Trump’s America…

The Totally Not Terrible Obamacare Replacement Bill Of 2017

It will make the American health care system an even greater debacle than it already is, but doesn’t House Republican Bill 1275 have a jolly good name?

The “World’s Greatest Healthcare Plan of 2017” – its official title – has been introduced by Texas Representative Pete Sessions and begins its long slug through the House and Senate before hitting the President’s desk.

A lot to unpack there. “World’s Greatest?” It’s not even America’s greatest. Wouldn’t a truly great plan give women comprehensive access to contraception and reproductive health coverage? Wouldn’t it be great if single payer was universal?

The GOP shouldn’t take the same tack to sell us on the non-existence of their plan that Golden Fluff takes to selling us popcorn.


Paul Ryan And Mitch McConnell Want You To Die In A Gutter

Michael Hiltzik did a bang-up job of explaining why the GOP’s Affordable Care Act repeal bills are downright terrifying. Sure, they defund Planned Parenthood, kill the Medicaid expansion, would no longer require medical plans to afforably cover trifling things like hospitalization, maternity coverage and mental health coverage, but there’s also:

Income-based premium subsidies would be replaced by age-based subsidies, which will hurt working-class families in many states. Under the ACA, subsidies to help individual buyers afford premiums and (for poorer households) deductibles and co-pays were based on household income. The GOP measure will base them on the buyer’s age, instead, with older buyers receiving more help than younger. The GOP plan limits subsidies to $4,000 per individual; under the ACA, which also keys subsidies to the cost of benchmark insurance plans in the buyer’s home market, the subsidies theoretically could be several times higher.

When did the Republican Party’s motto become the chorus of a Dead Kennedys song?

All We Have To Do Now / Is Take These Lies And Make Them True Somehow

What is freedom?

For a word used so frequently in our civic discourse, its meaning is nebulous and contextually dependent on the person using it. From theologians and kings to revolutionaries and peasants, everyone has something to say on the matter. In 1990, philosopher George Michael made the groundbreaking individualist argument that freedom can only be achieved by recognizing that I don’t belong to you, nor you to me.

Michael’s dancable paean must have resonated deep in Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s heart, because he too operates on the assumption that none of us belong to each other. Instead, we are individuals with wants and needs, and nothing should get in the way of our self-expression. Not social bonds, not divisive leftist rhetoric, and especially not safety nets.

He may want to gut Obamacare without a workable replacement, but you can trust Speaker Ryan will do the right thing with your health care. None one can dispute that the Congressman is health-conscious.

(Year Zero/Day Thirty-Four)