My Politics Right Now (and My Shallow Thoughts on Anarcho-Communism)

So… quick note. I consider my politics to be incredibly shallow right now. I am very ignorant about a lot of aspects of social, political, and economic issues, having only a surface-level understanding. I am working to change that… I’m studying. This post is the result of only one level of my studying. So I will admit up front that this post does not have a lot behind it… and most of what it does have behind it is ignorance. I’m hoping to have a discussion about this, because I think it’s interesting and I want to learn more. So please don’t expect an expert dissertation, here. Expect an ignorant lefty’s rambling thoughts about politics, instead.

The only thing I’ll say here is that there is roughly zero chance of me ever moving to the Right. The only path for me is to the Left.

Edit April 10: I thought this post was clear, but since it wasn’t… I am not, currently, an Anarcho-Communist. I’m engaging with the idea, but do not currently agree with it… yet…

I’m constantly researching my politics, trying to both strengthen and challenge my worldview. These days, I call myself a Democratic Socialist. And yet, the more I learn about Communism and even Anarchism, the more I think I could glide even further Left.

It’s so interesting reading political and economic theories from the Left. I’ve been watching a lot of Professor Richard Wolff these days, over at Democracy at Work. His series Economic Update is so fascinating. He, for those who don’t know, if a self-described “Socialist Economist”. I like what he has to say on economics, and specifically his talks on worker co-ops and Workplace Democracy, and how important they are to our future.

But I’ve also been learning more and more about the Anti-Work movement. It’s another fascinating political philosophy that says that no one should be forced into laboring in ways they don’t want to. It’s not saying that people shouldn’t work, but instead that people should have the freedom (both monetarily and in time) to pursue their interests. So yes, people should absolutely work together towards common goals and such, but no one should be conscripted into a job as defined under Capitalism and under the State. Basically, no more wage-labor, and no more Capitalism.

I’m also, of course, learning more and more about Anarchism…

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E-Cigarettes, Wet Lung, and the US vs the UK

Yet again, the US news media over-hypes a story and uses it to peddle a narrative about e-cigarettes being “just as bad” as analog cigarettes. They are evil, dangerous, and should be banned. And this obsession in the US with e-cigarettes being somehow terrible is very strange to me, seeing as how other countries (such as the UK), are actually quite happy with e-cigarettes as smoking cessation devices.

E-cigarettes are in the news again because of a Pennsylvania woman with a history of mild asthma going to the hospital after having developed a cough, chest pains, and difficulty breathing. After attempts to control these symptoms, all of which failed, she went into respiratory failure, needing a machine to help her breathe and tubes inserted into her chest to drain fluids from her lungs. She was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis.

According to Cleveland Clinic, hypersensitivity pneumonitis (also known as extrinsic allergic alveolitis) is “a complex condition of varying intensity, clinical presentation, and natural history. It is the result of an immunologically induced inflammation of the lung parenchyma in response to inhalation exposure to a large variety of antigens. These are primarily organic antigens to which patients have been previously sensitized and are hyperresponsive.”

Wikipedia gives a less technical definition, calling it “an inflammation of the alveoli within the lung caused by hypersensitivity to inhaled organic dusts. Sufferers are commonly exposed to the dust by their occupation or hobbies.”

What does this have to do with vaping?

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The State of the Vaping Union

I don’t think I’ve mentioned much that I vape. I started vaping to give up cigarettes, and I’m extremely close to giving up nicotine entirely. I did do a post on my old blog a few years back talking about a study claiming to have found formaldehyde production in vapes, but I think that’s the last time I talked about it on either blog.

What I want to do in this post is give y’all a surface-level breakdown of the state of the vaping union as it is right now. I’m going to go over some of the science, a little bit of the misinformation, where the laws in the US stand, and also what’s going on with vaping communities (there will be discussion of things going on with Reddit right now).

The summary is that, for people who vape or are interested in vaping, the whole thing sits in a pretty hellish limbo right now. There is a lot of misinformation out there in large part because bad science is getting more publicity than good science, the tobacco industry is pushing regulations that could destroy the industry, and communities like Reddit, separate from regulations, are basically destroying vaping subreddits. This post may, in some instances, come across as rather libertarian and anti-FDA because I really hate the regulations currently in place. But if you know me, you know that I am very much a fan of regulation and I support the FDA usually. But the way this is all being handled is pretty horrible right now, so keep that context in mind.

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German Car Sales Are Destroying America!

From Paste

Trump’s ever-expanding axis of evil (i.e. anybody he doesn’t find “tremendous”) grew just a little bit more yesterday. Along with Muslims and exercise, Trump has now decided that Germans are “very bad.” Trump, eloquent as ever, has taken offense to Germany’s trade surplus with the United States. According to German news outlet Der Spiegel (presumably German for “fake news”), Trump made his remarks while voicing his frustration during a meeting with top EU leaders.

Elon James White *blink*

Animated gif of Elon James White blinking in confusion…

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Breakdowns of Agent Orange’s Budget Proposals

Angry Peter Capaldi

Angry Peter Capaldi

I’m genuinely getting sick of talking about the Thin Skin in the White House. I had to take a break. But here I am, again, because details of his nasty budget are out, and it isn’t pretty. Dude wants to cut a whole lot of important stuff.

We’ve already seen a bit of this. The blueprint of this was released back in March. And it’s even worse than that…

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Orange Cheeto: Australia Has Better Health Care Than the US Does

I have to wonder if he realizes that Australia has universal health care?

From AP News

President Donald Trump’s praise of Australia’s government-funded health care system has raised the ire of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a leading advocate of such single-payer systems.

Republicans have strongly opposed calls by Sanders and others to create a similar “universal” health care system in the U.S.

Trump’s praise for the Australian system came as he met Thursday in New York with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull hours after the U.S. House narrowly passed a bill to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, the health care law enacted by former President Barack Obama.

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Guess Who’s Now Heading the Securities and Exchange Commission?

From Reuters

The U.S. Senate voted on Tuesday to confirm attorney Jay Clayton to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, the agency tasked with policing and writing rules for Wall Street.

In a 61-37 vote, the Senate approved the nomination, with some moderate Democrats joining their Republican colleagues in supporting his confirmation.

Clayton could be officially sworn in as SEC chairman as soon as Thursday.

The White House still must complete some paperwork, including an action by President Trump to formally designate him as SEC chairman.

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House GOP Wants to Undo Dodd-Frank

From AP News

House Republicans worked to undo former President Barack Obama’s law overhauling the nation’s financial rules, arguing that it is undermining economic growth. Democrats countered that the GOP effort risked a repeat of the 2008 meltdown that pushed the economy to the brink of collapse.

The Financial Services Committee’s effort got off to a slow start Tuesday as Democrats insisted that much of the 600-page replacement bill be read aloud before the committee even considered amendments. The marathon session had been expected to last through the night, but the committees leaders agreed instead to hold the first votes Wednesday morning in what will now be at least a two-day affair.

5th Doctor, Peter Davison, annoyed...

5th Doctor, Peter Davison, annoyed…

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Orange Julius Caesar Proposes Tax Cuts that Help the Wealthy

What an obvious title. We all knew that’s what he’d do…

From the New York Times

President Trump on Wednesday proposed sharp reductions in individual and business income tax rates and a radical reordering of the tax code that would significantly benefit the wealthy, but he offered no explanation of how the plan would be financed as he rushed to show progress before the 100-day mark of his presidency.

Mr. Trump’s skeletal outline of a tax package, unveiled at the White House in a single-page statement filled with bullet points, was less a plan than a wish list. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Gary D. Cohn, the director of Mr. Trump’s National Economic Council, laid out the bare bones to reporters, part of a mad dash toward the administration’s 100th day on Saturday that has included the resurrection of a health care bill, near-daily signings of executive orders and the possible withdrawal of the United States from the North American Free Trade Agreement.

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The FCC Is Destroying Net Neutrality

From the Washington Post

Tech companies and Internet providers are poised for another dramatic showdown as the head of the Federal Communications Commission revealed a plan Wednesday for rolling back his predecessor’s rules mandating an open Internet.

The proposal from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai marks the first step toward undoing a key decision of the Obama era, one that forced Internet providers to behave more like legacy telephone companies. The stricter rules for ISPs had made it illegal to block or slow down websites for consumers — and they paved the road for other policies, such as one governing online privacy, which was overturned in a separate controversial move by Congress and President Trump earlier this year.

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