Donald Trump is president of the United States in two weeks.

On his agenda.

1. Repealing Obamacare.

This is, uhh, going to be hard because Obamacare affects everything in health care and health insurance and people don't like their health insurance being affected (as shown by the extreme backlash originally to Obamacare). All Democrats are united against repealing Obamacare so they need 3 Republican Senators to stop the GOP from cutting off funds to Obamacare. This may happen because the repealing of Obamacare that has been settled on is repeal and delay which literally everyone hates.

Here's Rand Paul explaining why repeal and delay blows.

http://rare.us/story/rand-paul-repeal-all-of-obamacare-and-replace-immediately/

The stick of Obamacare was forcing people to buy insurance or pay a penalty. The carrot of Obamacare was allowing people with pre-existing conditions to buy insurance after they were diagnosed. Even with the mandate, many healthy young people refused to buy insurance and the pools of insured Americans under Obamacare are overly burdened by sick individuals and insurance companies are suffering losses.

Removing the mandate to buy insurance while leaving in place the dictate that people can wait to buy insurance until after they are ill will only accentuate the bankrupting of the insurance industry.

My fear is that if you leave part of Obamacare in place (the dictate that insurance companies must sell insurance to individuals with pre-existing conditions) then you will see an acceleration of adverse selection and ultimately mass bankruptcy of the healthcare insurance industry.

Don’t misunderstand me. We should repeal Obamacare, but partial repeal will only accelerate the current chaos and may eventually lead to calls for a taxpayer bailout of insurance companies.

Obamacare required the brute force of government through the individual mandate to make people buy insurance. If you repeal this mandate but leave in place dictates as to whom may purchase insurance, you create a business model doomed to fail.

Principled opponents of Obamacare rejected it because we reject the use of state force to mandate that we buy a commercial good from a private seller. Pragmatic opponents want to keep the feel good aspects of Obamacare while cleaving the individual mandate that forces people to buy insurance.

Partial repeal of Obamacare will likely win the day, but when the insurance companies come to Washington crying for a bailout don’t say that no one warned of this preventable disaster.

If you have a Republican Senator, call to complain that repeal and delay would be bad and that they should do a repeal and replace on the same day. This is a good tactic for running out the clock.

Here's how you find your representative:

http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Here's how you find your Senators' phone numbers.

https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

2. Ryan also brought up the idea of defunding Planned Parenthood in the same bill that they use to repeal Obamacare.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/05/politics/paul-ryan-planned-parenthood-obamacare/

Go and call your representatives and Senators to talk about how much good Planned Parenthood has done for yourself and others.

3. Trump has picked a cabinet of Mad Dog, McConnell's wife, Nikki Haley, and a bunch of psychopathic billionaires. The GOP is trying to rush through these confirmation hearings to try to get these people confirmed.

http://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/01/07/us/politics/senate-confirmation-hearings-background-checks.html?referer=

Call and complain to your Senators if you don't like some of these picks (Jeff Sessions is probably the worst and the one I would focus on)

4. Trump wants to move the Israel embassy to Jerusalem as a fuck you move to Palestine.

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/12/trump-us-embassy-jerusalem-232724

But there's a worry that most Muslim countries would view it as a fuck you to them also.

5. Trump wants to fuck with China for reasons that aren't clear.

Trump has been wanting to use Taiwan for a bargaining chip for... something that isn't clear at all.

Taiwan and China and the U.S. have an extremely complicated relationship.

Starting at the beginning of the 17th Century, significant numbers of migrants started arriving from China, often fleeing turmoil or hardship. Most were Hoklo Chinese from Fujian (Fukien) province or were Hakka Chinese, largely from Guangdong. The descendants of these two migrations now make up by far the largest population group.

In 1895, following Japan's victory in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Qing government had no choice but to cede Taiwan to Japan.

After Japan was defeated in World War Two, the US and Britain agreed that Taiwan should be handed over to their ally, Chiang Kai-shek's Republic of China government, which was then in control of most of China.

But in the next few years, Chiang's troops were beaten back by the Communist armies under Mao Zedong.

Chiang and the remnants of his Kuomintang (KMT) government fled to Taiwan in 1949. This group, referred to as Mainland Chinese and then making up 1.5m people, dominated Taiwan's politics for many years, even though they only account for 14% of the population.

Having inherited an effective dictatorship, Chiang's son, Chiang Ching-kuo, began a process of democratisation, which eventually led to the 2000 election of the island's first non-KMT president, Chen Shui-bian.



There is disagreement and confusion about what Taiwan is, and even what it should be called.

Chiang Kai-shek's Republic of China (ROC) government, which fled the mainland to Taiwan in 1949, at first claimed to represent the whole of China, which it intended to re-occupy. It held China's seat on the United Nations Security Council and was recognised by many Western nations as the only Chinese government.

But in 1971, the UN switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing and the ROC government was forced out. Since then the number of countries that recognise the ROC government diplomatically has fallen to about 20.

China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province which it has vowed to retake, by force if necessary. But Taiwan's leaders say it is clearly much more than a province, arguing that it is a sovereign state.

It has its own constitution, democratically-elected leaders, and about 300,000 active troops in its armed forces.


The US is by far Taiwan's most important friend, and its only ally.

The relationship, forged during World War Two and the Cold War, underwent its sternest test in 1979, when President Jimmy Carter ended US diplomatic recognition of Taiwan in order to concentrate on burgeoning ties with China.

The US Congress, responding to the move, passed the Taiwan Relations Act, which promises to supply Taiwan with defensive weapons, and stressed that any attack by China would be considered of "grave concern" to the US.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-34729538

Around the world....

1. France is having their presidential election on April 23rd of this year. It's likely going to be Fillon (Putin loving in FP, Reagan-like in domestic policy) vs. LePen (more economically left leaning rhetoric but also kind of a Nazi).

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opinion_polling_for_the_French_presidential_election,_2017

Fillon will likely win.

2. Venezuela is bad.

CARACAS, Venezuela — Embattled socialist President Nicolas Maduro reshuffled his Cabinet on Wednesday and named a hard-line former interior minister as Venezuela's vice president.

The No. 2 job being taken over by Aragua state Gov. Tareck El Aissami is an appointed position, and Maduro has swapped it out in the past. But the vice presidency holds extra significance this year as the opposition has vowed to force Maduro from office. That could lead to his vice president serving the rest of his term, which ends in 2019.

The 42-year-old El Aissami is a rising star in the socialist party who got his start in the National Assembly and later as interior minister was in charge of public security. Maduro said that will again be his focus as vice president.

"The top priorities will be the fight against criminals, the fight to clean up the national and regional police force, and the fight against the terrorists in the extreme right wing," Maduro said.

Critics of the socialist administration denounced the appointment and said Maduro was putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. The opposition has accused El Aissami of participating in the drug trade and calls him "the narco of Aragua." El Aissami has called those who speak ill of him traitors who seek to harm Venezuela.

El Aissami is one of several senior Venezuelan officials being investigated by U.S. prosecutors for possible involvement in drug trafficking, according to two people familiar with the investigations. They agreed to reveal that information only if not quoted by name because they weren't supposed to discuss the case.

Maduro also appointed a number of ministers in what he called a "renewal" of his Cabinet. He named economist Ramon Lobo head of the ministry of economy and finance and Nelson Martinez as oil minister.

The president's approval ratings have sagged below 20 percent as Venezuelans blame him for severe food shortages, the world's highest inflation and pervasive crime that has major cities under informal curfew.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/01/04/world/americas/ap-lt-venezuela-cabinet-reshuffle-.html?_r=0

PUERTO CABELLO, Venezuela — When hunger drew tens of thousands of Venezuelans to the streets last summer in protest, President Nicolas Maduro turned to the military to manage the country's diminished food supply, putting generals in charge of everything from butter to rice.

But instead of fighting hunger, the military is making money from it, an Associated Press investigation shows. That's what grocer Jose Campos found when he ran out of pantry staples this year. In the middle of the night, he would travel to an illegal market run by the military to buy corn flour — at 100 times the government-set price.

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2017/01/01/world/americas/ap-lt-venezuela-undone-profiting-from-hunger-abridged.html


3. South Korea is impeaching their president because she's not connected to reality.

http://askakorean.blogspot.com/2016/10/the-irrational-downfall-of-park-geun-hye.html

Choi Tae-min met Park Geun-hye for the first time in 1975, when Park was 23. Park Geun-hye had just lost her mother, who was assassinated by a North Korean spy. (The spy was aiming for Park's father, the dictator Park Chung-hee, but missed and killed the first lady instead.) Shortly after the assassination, the elder Choi sent several letters to Park Geun-hye, claiming that the soul of Park's mother visited him, and Park could hear from her mother through him. Park invited Choi Tae-min to the presidential residence, and the elder Choi told her there that Park's mother did not truly die, but merely moved out of the way to open the path for Park Geun-hye. This was the beginning of the unholy relationship between Park Geun-hye and Choi's family, which included Choi Tae-min's daughter Soon-sil.

Once the elder Choi won Park Geun-hye's confidence, he leveraged the relationship to amass a fortune. Choi set up a number of foundations, with Park Geun-hye as the nominal head, and peddled influence. The influence-peddling and bribery became so severe that the dictator Park Chung-hee summoned Choi Tae-min to personally interrogate him. In the interrogation session and thereafter, Park Geun-hye would fiercely defend Choi, her spiritual guide and connection to her dead mother. In a Wikileaks cable from 2007 when Park Geun-hye first ran for president, the U.S. Ambassador for Korea noted: "Rumors are rife that the late pastor had complete control over Park's body and soul during her formative years and that his children accumulated enormous wealth as a result."


But this brief relief soon gave way to the terrifying realization: actually, it does not make sense. None of this makes any sense.

In an ordinary case of political corruption, the politician is in it for himself. At most, the politician is doing it for his family, or other rich people who may end up helping him later. Obviously, corruption is bad. But this type of self-interested corruption at least gives some measure of predictability. We all know what self-interest looks like. Even though we would prefer that our politicians are not corrupt, at least we know how corrupt politicians behave.

But not with Park Geun-hye. Her corruption was not self-interested at all. If anything, her corruption was self-sacrificing in favor of Choi Soon-sil. Among the numerous revelations, I personally found this the most pathetic: Park Geun-hye gave Choi a sizable budget to purchase the presidential wardrobe, and Choi embezzled most of it. Instead of purchasing the clothes that befitted a head of state, Choi outfitted Park Geun-hye with crappy clothes that she had her cronies made with subpar material. There is a video of Choi's staff smoking and drinking while eating fried chicken, right next to the suit meant for Park Geun-hye. At one point, one of the staff members handled the suit without even wiping chicken grease from his hands, while breathing smoke onto the clothes. Park Geun-hye would wear this suit on her presidential visit with Xi Jinping. For accessories, Choi gave Park the cheap leather purses and clutches that her gigolo designed. This could not have possibly escaped Park's notice. Even assuming the unlikely possibility Park Geun-hye might not have had the discernment to know firsthand (unlikely because she grew up in the lap of luxury,) the obvious cheapness of Park's clothes and bags even made the news. Yet nothing came of it. Choi Soon-sil dressed Park Geun-hye liked an unwanted doll, and Park, the president of the country, did not care.

Even in her apology, Park Geun-hye showed that she still might be under Choi Soon-sil's hold. What would a self-interested politician would do, if the corruption of one of his cronies was revealed? The politician would sell the crony down the river, denying up and down that he ever knew or interacted with the crony. Such denial would be cowardly and dishonest, but at least it is predictable. But not with Park Geun-hye. She stood in front of the whole country and admitted that Choi Soon-sil fixed her speeches. Instead of cutting ties with her, Park reaffirmed that Choi was an old friend who helped her during difficult times.

4. Genocide is going on in the Phillippines (Warning: Pictures of dead bodies)

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/07/world/asia/rodrigo-duterte-philippines-drugs-killings.html

5. Genocide is going on in South Sudan.

http://www.npr.org/2016/12/21/506401398/u-n-worries-south-sudan-is-on-the-brink-of-genocide

6. And genocide will hopefully not happen in Syria and Lebanon, but we'll see how it goes with brutal Shia leadership and vulnerable Sunni civilians.



It took me a few days to make this because I caught a cold and was feeling too under the weather to find supporting articles.
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