The Fruits of Timidity

Rebel forces in eastern Ukraine on Tuesday announced that they plan to hold a referendum calling for the creation of a new state known as Malorossiya, which translates as “Little Russia.”

In a statement published on the rebel-aligned Donetsk News Agency, rebel leader Alexander Zakharchenko said that the new state would aspire to include not only the areas under insurgent control, but also the rest of Ukraine.

This wouldn’t be occurring now, had our government and those of Europe hadn’t been so meek in the face of Russian aggression in the two eastern oblasts and then without a whimper accepting Russian partition of Ukraine and occupation of Crimea.

EPA Jobs?

The Environmental Protection Agency has sent out more than 1,000 buy-out notices to its employees….

The positions are being eliminated, and the incumbents aren’t being offered positions elsewhere on the government’s teat payroll.  The horror.  The union-demanded, if not God-given, sinecures are not sinecures, after all.  American Federation of Government Employees Local 704 President Michael Mikulka is quite vocal with his dismay.

EPA wants over 1,200 of us to leave, purportedly to save money going forward and claiming that they no longer need the positions occupied by staff that in some cases worked at EPA for over 30 years[.]

It’s Time

…to sweep the ones we can’t trust from the Republican Party of Castrati and from Congress.

When Republicans voted on the repeal-only bill in 2015, they knew Mr Obama would veto it, making their vote largely symbolic. Of the GOP senators currently in the chamber, 49 voted for it at the time.  …

Moreover, many GOP lawmakers have already acknowledged that they would vote differently now that the stakes are far higher….

Now that these persons have to take action more concrete than virtue signaling, they’re exposing themselves as porch dogs.  They’re betraying their country, and more specifically, they’re betraying their constituents, to whom they promised for the last seven years, they’d repeal Obamacare and replace it.

A Union

doesn’t like Amazon buying Whole Foods.

[United Food and Commercial Workers International Union President, Marc] Perrone plans to file a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission, arguing that letting Amazon buy Whole Foods would trigger a wave of store closures and eventually quash customer choice.

With a straight face, he argued in his complaint (which somehow fell into The Washington Post‘s hands before the filing) that

Regardless of whether Amazon has an actual Whole Foods grocery store near a competitor, their online model and size allows them to unfairly compete with every single grocery store in the nation.

Questions for Susan Collins

Susan Collins is the Republican Senator from Maine whose refusal to vote for the health care reform bill on offer (and any of the prior efforts) is centered on her insistence that the bill’s cuts to reductions to growth in Medicaid payments to the States—Maine in particular—are too great.  Collins needs to be asked, and required to give straight, substantive answers to, a number of questions.

What is Maine’s government doing to reduce the costs to its citizens of health care and of health coverage?

What is Maine’s government doing to make health care available to its citizens in the absence of health coverage?

Election Fraud vs Election Hacking

Certainly these are different from each other in method and often (but not always) in purpose, but is there an important difference were these successful in altering our election outcomes or in raising doubt about those outcomes?

I didn’t think so.

Why, then, are so many who should know better so obstructive of the Federal effort to understand the method and extent of election fraud?

There were nearly 150,000 attempts to penetrate the voter-registration system on Election Day 2016, State Election Commission says

That’s the subhead of Sunday’s Wall Street Journal piece on US Election Hacking Efforts. Illinois was hit as badly:

Leaks

Investigators are re-examining conversations detected by US intelligence agencies in spring 2015 that captured Russian government officials discussing associates of Donald Trump, according to current and former US officials, a move prompted by revelations that the president’s eldest son met with a Russian lawyer last year.

Emphasis added.

Why is Special Counsel Robert Mueller allowing these leaks?  Is he not interested in running an honest investigation?

The Cruz Amendment

Senator Ted Cruz (R, TX) has a provision in the latest Senate health bill that’s on offer, one that would allow sellers of actual health insurance to sell non-Obamacare compliant policies on the condition that they also sold Obamacare compliant plans on the ObamaMart.  The idea, and it’s a sound one, is that those plans, better tailored their customers’ needs, would soon have commensurately lower premiums, deductibles, and copays and thereby be more affordable.

Health plan sellers don’t like it, though.

While this setup could offer healthy people less expensive policies, insurers and actuaries say it would likely prove dysfunctional over time, pushing up rates and reducing offerings for people buying the compliant plans.

Using the Cloud

“The cloud” is, in Internet jargon, the Internet, and in this context the jargon word means a collection of computers somewhere on the Internet that are tied together via Internet connections (they don’t have to be collocated; although, usually they are) and user reachable via the Internet.  The purposes of this sort of collection of computers are to centralize computational efforts, to centralize data storage, and for companies to pay the third parties operating a cloud facility to use it to do the computations or data storage.

The PRC and Northern Korea

The People’s Republic of China trade relations with northern Korea appear to be robust and growing, despite efforts by President Donald Trump to get PRC President Xi Jinping to do more to curb his dog.  Imports from northern Korea have actually fallen 13.2% in the first six months of this year compared to the first six months of last year, but exports have risen 29.1%, for a net increase in trade over 10%.

Huang Songping, representing the PRC’s customs agency, said

As neighbors, China and North Korea maintain normal business and trade exchanges[.]