Trump and Ryan Get Served Humble Pie as Obamacare Repeal/Replace Juggernaut Crashes into Tea Party Ice Berg in Shocking Defeat

The Trump Administration has been on a legislative rampage since inauguration with numerous controversial executive orders and the first big planned legislative event was the repeal and replacement of the ACA otherwise known as Obamacare. They seemed intent on maintaining a high level of momentum and speed in executing their agenda.

All this came to a screeching halt on Friday as the much hyped Trumpcare/Ryancare Bill meant to replace Obamacare was pulled from the planned vote in an embarrassing defeat as there were not enough votes for the Bill to pass.

 

The implications and level of this failure are quite astounding. The GOP has voted to repeal or amend Obamacare 54 times while Obama was in office. There was never a problem getting those bills passed in the GOP controlled House during Obama’s term.

Now that the Republicans control the Presidency, House, and Senate, the failure of the House to pass a bill puts the GOP is a bright “Emperor has no clothes!” spotlight. The obvious conclusions are:

  1. The Republicans NEVER had a true working plan to amend/repeal Obamacare. All those consensus votes in the past were a FRAUD knowing the bill would fail in the Senate or be vetoed by Obama. Now that they know their Bills will really go into effect, everyone is no longer on the same page.
  2. The Republicans had seven years to develop a working replacement plan but have NOTHING to show for it. Think of all the taxpayer time and money wasted in their fake “repeal” bills put on just for show.
  3. The GOP is very good at opposing the Democrats, but come up short at the task of governing and building consensus. It’s far easier to be disruptive than creative.

The inside story is that White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon thought he had power he didn’t have when he tried to force rebelling Republicans to get in line and vote “yes”, and their reply was basically:

 

 

As for Trump, his aura of invincibility along with his winning streak for successfully bucking the system has come to an end. All the “Business mastery” bravado and supposed “Art of the Deal” expertise have met their match at the hands of rebelling fellow Republicans.

It became all too clear that electing a person with no prior political experience or expertise to the highest office in the land comes at a cost.

 

 

Nobody knew healthcare could be so complicated?? Actually, anyone with any experience or who paid ANY attention at all to the healthcare problems over the past few decades knew it was a complicated issue. You would have to be supremely arrogant or naive to think you could just walk into a problem you didn’t research or have any background knowledge in and think you would come up with an “easy” solution.

 

When met with this failure, does Trump own up to it and accept the loss like Paul Ryan did? Nope, he pointed the blame away from himself:

 

It’s beyond absurd to blame the Democrats when The Presidency, House, and Senate are controlled by Republicans and they are trying to pass a law that goes against the healthcare package the Dems created. Why would the Dems support a bill that replaces their own law with a much WORSE substitute? That’s like your boss asking you to vote to cut your pay in half, and then complaining that nobody agreed to it.

He’s also now saying he never said this bill was a top issue and that he never said he’d do it quickly- another LIE:

Does Trump have amnesia that EVERYTHING he says to the public is recorded?

Some folks will blame The Freedom Caucus – the group of Republicans that voted against the bill, but in truth, they were just keeping the GOP to their word of repealing Obamacare rather than amending it. They wanted it eliminated entirely as the GOP said they would do time and time again. The GOP was once again burned for making promises they knew they couldn’t keep.

There’s a clear obvious reason the GOP backed off fully repealing Obamacare – many of their constituents would be be impacted and lose their health insurance. That would have bad consequences for them come election time.

The GOP healthcare bill was built on arrogance and the desire to cut taxes for the wealthy rather than try to obtain low cost effective healthcare for all. They didn’t try to work with the Dems for their input or seek advice from the American Medical Association, American Hospital Association, AARP, and a host of others who are opposing this fault ridden bill.

Some of the biggest problems of the bill:

  1. Does NOTHING to address rising costs of health care services
  2. Reduces subsidies for most and especially the elderly – the folks who will most likely need medical attention
  3. Allows insurers to hike up costs for those over 50 up to 500% of what is being charged to younger people. Obamacare capped top rate to 300%
  4. Eliminates all essential benefits like preventative care, prescription drugs, maternity care, addiction help, etc.. This basically allows insurers to sell you pieces of paper that say “insurance”, but cover very little so you come up snake eyes if you ever need to use it.
  5. Eliminates Federal funding of Planned Parenthood. Even though no federal funds are used by PP for abortions by law, the ACHA tries to mandate moral agenda by forbidding PP to conduct any services regarding abortions if they wish to continue to receive funding- funding that now goes to women’s health care like mammogram screenings.
  6. Removes “mandate” to buy insurance while keeping the rule that no preexisting conditions can be excluded. This is a recipe for disaster as people will only now sign up if they get sick, and insurers stand to lose billions. This alone GUARANTEES skyrocketing insurance rates to cover for these losses.
  7. Gives the wealthiest groups millions of dollars in tax cuts at the expense of everyone else in higher rates/less coverage
  8. CBO estimates 24 million folks will lose their insurance.

As bad as this bill was, the GOP Freedom Caucus still felt this package was “too generous” and wanted even more cuts- to the point where moderate Republicans were now refusing to vote for this.

Trump promised he would fix the health care problems, but this bill makes things far worse. Makes you wonder if he even took the time to read it.

Now he says he will just let Obamacare implode on it’s own- walking away from the problem like a quitter instead of a dedicated elected official trying to help those who elected him into office.

Why not work to repair Obamacare to solve the problems instead of trying to just slap together a toxic inferior replacement? The answer is they want tax cuts more than they want to create a true working and acceptable healthcare plan. Thanks to the numerous angry town halls of their own constituents yelling at them to come up with a REAL solution or leave Obamacare alone, they knew they’d be in big trouble if they went ahead with this “repeal/replace” charade.

Former Speaker of the House John Boehner’s speech on Obamacare now fits the Republican American Health Care Act (AHCA) like a glove:

 

 

Republicans now OWN the healthcare issue and pressure needs to be kept on them to provide a solution that works for the majority, not just their wealthy elite donors.

 

Advertisements

Trading 101: The Key Ingredient to Sustained Success is Failure

My trading style uses fairly tight stop loss settings, which demands that my entries be pretty accurate with a small margin of error. In some trading circles, this would be seen as being “amateurish” for not allowing your trade to have breathing room to deal with the range of market volatility. Of course, most of those same trading circles view the market as mostly random in the short term that must be met with a ball park entry with a wide stop loss.

I used to trade with wide stop loss settings, or threw caution to the wind with “mental stops” rather than actual programmed stops. The market can gyrate so much that it’s an easy habit to get into. The market rarely moves in a straight line and can drift back and forth before making a definitive move in a particular direction. When stops are tight, it’s easy for price to move just enough against you to trip the stop loss before moving in the anticipated direction. This often happens enough to be a common frustrating experience among traders.

Using wide stops gives you more leeway when in a trade, but that also means your losses will be greater when they are tripped. Of course some traders don’t use stops at all- as that guarantees you will never be whipsawed out of a trade, but that also leaves you without protection if the market makes a big move against your position.

Not using stops is high risk, yet most traders including myself have engaged in such behavior due to the frustrations of getting whipsawed out of trades that would have eventually worked. But eventually the Grim “Stopless” Reaper cometh and will make you pay for not using stops. Eventually one learns to incorporate hard exits via stops, or the market will do it for you with severe losses that can blow out your account.

Over time I’ve learned that while using stops can be frustrating, and using tight stops VERY frustrating, it forces you to really focus on your trading system to find ways of improvement. Typically when a trade is entered that doesn’t work out, it’s one of three things:

  1. System is correct, but market had a random spike/dip due to some late breaking news.
  2. System is correct but the application of system was wrong.
  3. System has flaws that need to be worked out.

Out of most events encountered, #1, is VERY rare, while #2 is more common and #3 is typically the most common. One could say that #2 is a subset of #3 since proper execution is also part of the system.

I’ve been working on precision trading, where one can trade the daily battle between resistance and support with a fair amount of accuracy so as to not need to use wide area stops. Using tight stops and the ensuing failed trades and frustrations that resulted were actually great motivation in improving my trading system.

I find that my post trade analysis of failed trades have been responsible for the bulk of my trading system evolution. Preparation and planning can only go so far but I seem to be able to pick up so many more fine details of what went right and wrong when the analysis is done right after the trade is finished- likely because my plan is fresh in memory so it’s easier to pinpoint the aberrations. It’s a great feeling to spot a problem that was previous missed that when fixed, improves the accuracy of my system.

It’s a lesson I like to forget – that failure is a part of progress, since it opens the window for improvement. To get the best out of failing, it helps tremendously to have a clear and concise system trading plan that you can back track step by step to see what went wrong as well as what went right. A big mistake I’ve seen other traders make is “winging” trade entries in real time without a clear plan of specific entry and exit strategy. The point of system trading is the eliminating of seat of your pants “ad lib” style trading.

 

 

 

My Final Xanga Update: After over a “Year’s Silence”, Xanga Finally Opens its Mouth and Sings its Swan Song

September 9th, 2013, was the last mass update provided by the “XangaTeam” when they went over to the “new” Xanga 2.0 “WordPress” format. After that,..silence….and more silence.

Unanswered were questions running through the mind of many- here are a few:

1) Why is Xanga 2.0, which is costing $48/yr, operating with less functionality and features than free WordPress?

2) What happened to the “Front Page” and other user and community friendly features Xanga 1.0 had?

3) When can we expect to see improvements to restore all the community centric features of Xanga 1.0?

4) if Xanga 2.0 is on the WordPress platform, why is it still shut off from the rest of the blogging community so that not even free WordPress users can leave comments?

5) I thought you guys said Xanga 2.0 was going to keep all the community features as “1.0” and would be a better deal than the free blogs like Blogspot and WordPress?

 

Days, weeks, and months passed by with nary a peep from Xanga as to what their status was and what they were doing. NOT ONE WORD. The only one saying anything was the volunteer Xanga helper EdLives who did his best to provide a positive spin to the situation.

During this time, the subscription clock was running – meaning folks were being charged to blog on a site that looks like the pre alpha version of free WordPress.

What was delivered was NOT what was offered – a new site that would have all the rich community features that made Xanga 1.0 stand out from the rest. People were NOT told the system they had pledged money to would be a bare bones version of free blogging sites and would remain in that state until further notice.

People wondered if Xanga had pulled a “bait and switch” and had taken the near $70 grand of crowdsource moula just for their own amusement.

After a year of silence the “volunteer cheerleader” EdLives mentioned that he had finally been able to communicate with Xanga CEO John and that an update would be forthcoming.

That statement became a reality on October 1 when The XangaTeam blog finally issued an update. Let’s review this update line by line to fully understand what it means…

Before I begin, remember what Xanga 2.0 was marketed as – having the SAME community features as Xanga 1.0. A direct quote from an update from them last year:

Community

Whenever anyone asks me what Xanga is all about, I always answer: “blog community.” To me, that’s what makes the site fun: you can blog, and there’s a community of people generally excited to read your posts (and vice versa).

I know a lot of people who have tried other blogging platforms, and they’ll often say that they feel they’re publishing into a vacuum… and that nobody is reading their blogs. We’re working to keep that warm community feeling on Xanga… so that when you post, your subs can quickly and easily chime in with a comment. (As part of that, we’ll be importing every single login over – along with all subscriptions/friends – so that your subs can continue to read your posts even if they’re not blogging on Xanga 2.0).

We’re incredibly excited about using the WordPress platform, as the publishing software is incredibly powerful. As we adapt it for use for Xanga 2.0, we’re working to make sure that all that power is combined with the warm fuzzy feeling of Xanga community love as well.”

 

Also, they noted that they would be more communicative going forward with the arrival of Xanga 2.0, with the community playing a greater role in guidance and control. The year of silence appears to contradict that notion however.

Anyway, EdLives’ answer to mine and others complaints about this lack of response was that we didn’t have all the info to justify our criticism and when the John’s update came to light, all would make sense. You can be the judge if this is the case. Here we go (my comments in blue)….

_________________________________

Update

We want to thank everyone for being there for us.  Without your involvement, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

Here are a few of the things that we’ve been working on over this past year:

* We built out a new server system, and migrated thousands of websites over to the new servers
* We fought off ongoing DDOS and brute password attacks that were slowing the site down
* We’ve made further upgrades to our server setup over the past six months, to use new more powerful servers as they became available.
* We’re planning one more server upgrade later this year, to take advantage of better and cheaper server systems that have become available.

(These hardware updates are nice, but this is the “back end” stuff- the stuff that is invisible to the customer, the blogger. For the PAYING customer, the more important items would be front end stuff like the user interface along with user features and operations.)

One area where we’ve dropped the ball is providing updates on all of the above.  Initially we were fighting off the DDOS attacks, and didn’t want to tip off our attackers on our progress.  So we focused on talking to our users one at a time, through our email support and help forums.

 (So this is their excuse for over  a YEAR of SILENCE? They act like no other company has to deal with “denial of service attacks”. Newflash- it happens to just about ALL major internet entities such as Facebook, Google, Blogspot, Amazon, and a host of other popular internet companies. It’s nothing new.

Besides that, how on earth do they think that justifies ZERO updates for a YEAR? They didn’t want to “tip off” the attackers?  What does that have to do with any upgrades or new hardware purchased? And if this were the REAL reason for lack of updates, why not just state that as a simple update – that they are dealing with internet attacks without going into any details?

Two Words: LAME EXCUSE

IMO: They should just admit this was a screw up with no decent excuse and fully ACCEPT the blame rather than try to deflect it.

On to the next LIE – they focused on talking to users “one at a time”? I guess all the folks saying their emails and attempt at contacting Xanga went unanswered must be hallucinating…)

But more recently, we’ve largely defeated the ongoing DDOS and password attacks.  The site has been up and stable, and we’re gearing up to make the further upgrades mentioned above.  We’ll be providing more regular updates and communication, both on this blog and also on our Facebook page.

(The site may be stable, but it still has subpar functionality than that of free blogging sites. And didn’t they ALREADY say last year that they would be updating more? Xanga needs to learn that WORDS are CHEAPACTION Counts.)

 So we’re working to communicate more regularly, and to start building the community teams that we mentioned earlier.

(As in a YEAR ago before they collected the funds and went silent)

First up: we’ve asked Joel of edlives.xanga.com to serve as a community liaison.  You can reach him at his blog at edlives.xanga.com, or through Xanga’s facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/xanga.  We will have a regular call with Joel to discuss feedback and ideas.

(Uh, really? Isn’t this what he was doing ALREADY? The only difference now is you are making it “official”?)

We’re also going to be working together to pull together a list of other areas where we could use help.  If any come to mind, please let us know and we’ll discuss it with Joel in our next call!  And as a thank you for sticking with us, we’re offering 6 months of free blog hosting to all of our paid members.  Just email Eugenia at help@xanga.net, and she’ll add it the extra months to your account!

 (So lets see- in return for one year of horrible blogging conditions with no updates that whole time, the reward to the diehards is 6 more months of broken website? Really? Even worse is folks who want this offer will have to request it as it isn’t being given out automatically.

Let’s take a moment to think about this- Xanga hasn’t updated for over a year – so most folks that did pay for subs have no idea there is a new Xanga update and a free six month offer. Why not just extend everyone’s sub by six months automatically? Oh yeah, if they did that, some folks who would have PAID another $48 to blog may put off doing that.

So it’s okay to leave paying users in the dark for over a year on a subpar blogging site, but it’s NOT OKAY to extend them the additional time automatically, because making money is more important, got it.)

Thank you for sticking with us over the past year.  We’re looking forward to working together to build Xanga in the coming year.

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

That was it with no mention of any restoration of ANY of the community features of Xanga 1.0.  This was it after a year of silence.

So was EdLives right? Does the above “update” adequately explain the year plus long silence and massively degraded service so that prior complaints were not justified?

 

To me the update did explain quite a bit- it made it CRYSTAL CLEAR that Xanga is finished and “Xanga 1.0” is history, not to be duplicated by anything Xanga offers for the foreseeable future.

It’s crystal clear that any business sense Xanga had at the beginning of its existence has left the building long ago. The first and most important rule in any business is that CUSTOMERS COME FIRST. You MUST do what it takes to convince new people to pay for your service and current customers to continue paying.

Imagine if Facebook, Google, or Amazon decided to offer extremely subpar service for an ENTIRE YEAR. Do you think they would still retain their customer base, or would the vast majority of folks migrate to other companies? And those are FREE sites! But Xanga thinks charging people for a service inferior to free blogging sites, and ignoring their customer base is the ticket to success.

The reality of the situation is Xanga already lost most of their users when they decided to put up a pay wall. Then they lost many of the folks who paid to blog during the continued poor functionality of their “new” Xanga 2.0 site. Now the 1 year subs are expiring and there is no incentive for anyone to continue to pay to blog under such poor conditions.

Xanga needed to restore the community features ASAP and they FAILED MISERABLY and don’t seem the least concerned about it.

There are so few people left that there’s little hope for any type of recovery and more subs expiring will be the final nails in the coffin.

If people want to restore the old “Xanga Style Community”, it will have to be done elsewhere without Xanga’s “help”.

In summary, this is my response to Xanga CEO John’s latest “Update“:

 

 

RIP Xanga 1.0 you deserved to go out better than this.

 

 

The Paradox of Failure and Success

Everyone loves to succeed. We love the feeling of being successful. On the other hand, everyone wants to avoid failure and the negative feelings associated with it.

The paradox is success is typically built on the shoulders of failure. Before we can hope to succeed, we have to step up and try and achieve.

To try is to risk failing that task, but it sows the seeds of experience that can grow into further progress on continued attempts.

Failure is also the seasoning that makes the taste of success so sweet. The more difficult and complex the task, the more energy and effort one puts in, the greater the feeling of satisfaction felt achieving the desired goals. Success easily obtained doesn’t feel as special as that which is hard fought for.

Success and failure are intertwined – those who allow themselves to be scared off from trying due to fear of failure will also limit their opportunities for success.

Fed Chairman Faces the Music at Senate Reappointment Hearing

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is attending the Senate Hearings on whether he gets appointed to a second term. Kentucky Senator Jum Bunning had a few choice words to say on the matter.

Before I show the video, a little set up is needed…

Here’s the low down on bailed out company AIG. When a company is in serious financial trouble, one of the first things they do is try to renegotiate the debt obligations to their lenders….as in pay them 60 or 70 cents on the dollar rather than the full value amount, known as “par value”. The lenders may not like to take a loss, but they are motivated to negotiate because the losses could be far greater if the company goes bankrupt. Anyway, that’s what normally happens- but it didn’t with AIG. The Fed bailed out AIG and paid 100% of their debt (par value) to the lenders…..all with US taxpayer money and more debt. So basically AIG allowed other banks to engage in risky counter-party investments that went bust- and US citizens get stuck with the bill. So AIG and their lenders get the benefit of only gains and NO RISK of any losses. This, my friends, SUCKS and is NOT what capitalism is about.

This video starts in where Bunning is talking about the AIG bailout having no negotiated cuts to lenders:

Notice how Bernanke tries to weasel out by saying he was “powerless” to do anything and that the lenders had the upper hand. This is hogwash. If AIG went belly up, the lenders would have got squat, and had NO leverage. This is yet another example of Bernanke making excuses instead of taking accountability for his mistakes….that is, if you want to call this a “mistake”. I think this was a deliberate move in favor of Wall Street cronies.

Here’s the longer version of the video to see the full verbal smack down given to Bernanke:

Sen. Bunning (R-KY) to Fed Chair Bernanke: ‘You Are the Definition of Moral Hazard’