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In the garden: Volunteers

Going on the offense with the 12-Point Platform

[I'm leaving this sticky, since this plan is going to dominate my blogging life for the next six months. So, the more commentary, the better! --lambert]

My center is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking.

-- Ferdinand Foch

Something I've been noticing lately is that there's too much news to react to. Ferguson; Gaza; ISIS; Iraq; Ukraine; NSA; and the ongoing clusterfucks of ObamaCare, permanently high disemployment, the failure to prosecute criminal banksters. And that's before we get to campaign 2016 (already underway), as well as the 2014 skirmishing. MR SUBLIMINAL Hillary! Warren! Also too climate change.

It's almost like the elite is gaslighting us, isn't it? If we've got too much to think about, we won't think at all, right? Worse, as a blogger, I'm reacting. I'm being pushed around, and there's no chance to push back. So I want to push back. I want to go on the offense.

Things become simpler when we know what we want. Let's take all the news stories I listed above and reorganize them: Read below the fold...

The 12-point platform

Happy birthday, Social Security!

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"The 12-Point Platform" is a simple and self-explanatory list of common-sense programs that will benefit every American, no matter their class, gender, race, or age. "The 12 Reforms" are the programs needed to secure the benefits of the Platform. The Single Value ties the Platform and the Reforms together: Government is to be used for "public purpose," and not for privilege (which means "private law").

The 12-Point Platform

  1. A Living Wage
  2. Medicare for all
  3. Tax the Rich
  4. Job and Income Guarantee
  5. Debt Jubilee
  6. Retirement Security
  7. Free Public Education, K-16
  8. Post Office Bank
  9. Enforce the Bill of Rights
  10. End the Wars
  11. Clean Air, Water, Soil, and Food
  12. Carbon Negative Economy
Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Getting sucked into ObamaCare is a lot like being on probation

I got a cheery note in the mail from HHS about "life changes" that the grateful recipients of ObamaCare must "report"[1] the following "life changes." Be on the lookout for the real piece of fuckery, because it's not obvioius at first glance:

Life changes to report

You must report a change if you:

  • Get married or divorced

  • Have a child, adopt a child, or place a child for adoption

  • Have a change in income

  • Get health coverage through a job or a program like Medicare or Medicaid

  • Change your place of residence

  • Have a change in disability status

  • Gain or lose a dependent

  • Become pregnant

  • Experience other changes that may affect your income and household size

  • Other changes to report: change in tax filing status; change of citizenship or immigration status; incarceration or release from incarceration; change in status as an American Indian/Alaska Native or tribal status; correction to name, date of birth, or Social Security number.

When and how to report changes

You should report these changes to the Marketplace as soon as possible.

If these changes qualify you for a special enrollment period to change plans, in most cases you have 60 days from the life event to enroll in new coverage. If the changes qualify you for more or less savings, it’s important to make adjustments as soon as possible.

Important: Do not report these changes by mail.

You can report these changes 2 ways:

  • Online. Log in to your account. Select your application, then select “Report a life change” from the menu on the left.

  • By phone. Contact the Marketplace Call Center at 1-800-318-2596 (TTY: 1-855-889-4325)

Learn more from the IRS about how changes can affect the premium tax credit you may be eligible for.

Look. Wouldn't it be simpler if they just make ObamaCare recipients wear ankle bracelets?

As for the mindfuckery: Read below the fold...

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Be sure to record EVERYTHING when you talk to your insurance company rep AND your ACA marketplace rep

Here's cheerful little horror story (and little horror stories are all we've got right now, because heaven forfend HHS or CMS or our famously free press or even Congress gather any aggregate data about quality of service). And do note the only reasons this citizen got any satisfaction is that (a) he recorded both flavors of weasel, the ObamaCare rep who did the sales job, and the health insurance rep who tried to deny the care, and (b) he could go to the press, once he had the recordings. Read below the fold...

Today, August 14, is Social Security's birthday


1935 The 37 page Social Security Act signed August 14, 1935 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Retirement benefits only to worker, welfare benefits started

37 pages... Read below the fold...

In the garden: Stacking functions

Try never to do only one thing at a time, which isn't the same as doing many things at the same time, which will only confuse you. For example:

Read below the fold...

"Teachout Encourages Democratic Chairs To Defect"


In the letter released this evening, Teachout writes the growing controversy over the governor’s involvement in the Moreland Commission To Investigate Public Corruption — and the subsequent inquiry over its shutdown by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s office — is “damaging” to the party in New York.

Read below the fold...

In the garden: Actual peppers!

These peppers are not very large; the sustainable ag geeks have bushels of fully-grown peppers aleady. Nevertheless, there they are! So my anxiety over whether they could get pollinated and grow under the (deer prophylactic) "poor person's row covers" was unfounded, as my anxieties so often are. (You can see a leg of the bamboo U-hoop and a poorly exposed swatch of the non-woven cloth, white, in the background.) Read below the fold...

Quick notes on Ferguson (Part 1)

[I'm stickying this and adding more material in a second post, because it looks like the site doesn't like too many tweets. In short, it looks like the cops are going nuts. It's one thing to whack poor black people, but another to beat up reporters; that lacks finesse. And a very interesting and diverse crowd is watching this on the twitter and hurrying to the rescue. Say, what does America's first Black President think of this? --lambert]

I'm not up on the detail at all, but this is reminding me a lot of Oakland, where we had a heavily weaponized, politically discredited local police force, "aided" by a mix of police forces from surrounding jurisdictions, and very poor communication in a volatile situation. (In the back of my mind, also, is the possibility of DHS coordination/involvement, given the level of militarization.) Anyhow, to start off with some humor:

Meanwhile, some flavor of cop arrested two black national reporters at a MacDonalds. Here's the chief's reaction: Read below the fold...

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Quick notes on Ferguson (Part 2)

Following #Ferguson and curating as I go--

Above: Umair Haque from the Harvard Business Review... Read below the fold...

The author of "The Good Fight: Why Liberals—and Only Liberals—Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again" (2006) today

Yes, Peter Beinart (bio). Interesting article in the Atlantic:

[O]ver the last year or so—as a result of the conflict in Ukraine and the rise of ISIS in Syria and Iraq—elite opinion has grown more hawkish even though public opinion at large hasn’t. When it comes to foreign policy, in fact, the key divide is no longer between Democrats and Republicans. It’s between the elites of both parties [the political class] and their rank and file. When asked about arming Syria’s rebels, an Iran deal that allows some uranium enrichment, and whether America should do more or less in the world, both Democrats and Republicans overwhelmingly take the more dovish view. On each question, the partisan divide is five percentage points or less.

The real gap emerges when you compare ordinary Americans to elites. According to Pew, for instance, rank-and-file Republicans are 34 percentage points more likely to want America to do less overseas. Rank-and-file Democrats are 31 points more likely to want America to do less. Members of the prestigious, bipartisan Council on Foreign Relations, by contrast, are 20 points more likely to say America should do more.

When you've lost Peter Beinart.... Read below the fold...

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