Month: November 2018

Useless Sack of Sh%$ of the Day*

It’s amazing how irrelevant Bernie has been to the Resistance. And that’s a good thing. Cult of personalities don’t make for long-lasting movements.

— Markos Moulitsas (@markos) November 28, 2018

Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, (Kos) founder and proprietor of the Daily Kos.

Ane he posted this on the day that Bernie Sanders got 63 Senators to support his proposal to stop American support for Saudi atrocities in Yemen, Kos has a hissy fit.

He’s gone establishment, which means that he’s gone to the side of the incompetent, expensive, and useless consultant community in DC, which means that he’s a part of the problem.

It’s notas bad as, for example trying to assert progressive bona fides, which is what the guy he quotes does, but it does have a general of hypocrisy and desperation about it.

As Pogo said, we have met the enemy, and he is us.

*Full disclosure, I was banned from Daily Kos, and I should have been banned for what I did (Sock puppeting) over a decade ago.

Tweet of the Day

BBC reporting that May is banking on people being so bored with Brexit that they will support her deal so they don't have to hear about it again.
Like being so bored with your food you take a large dose of strychnine so you don't have to eat it again.

— Craig Murray (@CraigMurrayOrg) November 26, 2018

Given her justaposition of unlikability, incompetence, and complete lack of political instincts, I am not sure how Theresa May remains at 10 Downing Street.

Clearly She is a Russian Agent

2016 Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein has negotiated a settlement securing competent and transparent voting in Pennsylvania:

PA Recount Settlement a Victory for Voters Everywhere

Posted by Robert Blackmon 46pc on November 28, 2018


Contact: Dave Schwab, 518-610-2708

Historic PA recount settlement is a victory for voters everywhere – Jill Stein.

Today, Green Party 2016 Presidential nominee Jill Stein announced the formal settlement of her 2016 lawsuit against the state of Pennsylvania. The lawsuit called for an end to the use of paperless voting machines known to be vulnerable to hacking, tampering and error, and for the reform of unworkable recount procedures that prevent verification of the vote. The settlement guarantees that Pennsylvania will provide new voting systems using paper ballots by 2020, followed in 2022 by automatic robust audits after every election to confirm the accuracy of the vote before results are certified.

Stein declared, “This is a critical victory for everyone concerned with the integrity of our elections. We congratulate the state of Pennsylvania for raising the bar not only for Pennsylvanians, but for voters everywhere. By agreeing to end the use of paperless voting machines, Pennsylvania is not only safeguarding its citizens’ right to vote. By example, the agreement is also a big step towards the retirement of paperless voting machines that one in four voters across the nation are still required to use, despite their demonstrated vulnerability to hacking, tampering, and error. Automatic robust audits provide an essential safeguard by cross-checking paper ballots against machine totals using hand counts and the human eye to make sure every election is verified before the results are official. These two reforms are a first step to restoring confidence in our broken elections.”

Read the Settlement Agreement

Not a big fan of the Greens.

I see them as a group of rich white liberals whose primary goals is to alleviate their guilt, not changing politics of society.

That being said, they aren’t Communist Russian stooges.

The Fall of Empire

For the 3rd year in a row life expectancy has fallen in the United States:

Life expectancy in the United States declined again in 2017, the government said Thursday in a bleak series of reports that showed a nation still in the grip of escalating drug and suicide crises.

The data continued the longest sustained decline in expected life span at birth in a century, an appalling performance not seen in the United States since 1915 through 1918. That four-year period included World War I and a flu pandemic that killed 675,000 people in the United States and perhaps 50 million worldwide.

Public health and demographic experts reacted with alarm to the release of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s annual statistics, which are considered a reliable barometer of a society’s health. In most developed nations, life expectancy has marched steadily upward for decades.

“I think this is a very dismal picture of health in the United States,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, vice dean for public health practice and community engagement at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. “Life expectancy is improving in many places in the world. It shouldn’t be declining in the United States.”

The last time I’ve heard of something like this, it was in the USSR in the mid 1980s.

Between a bloated and corrupt financial sector, a bloated and corrupt healthcare system, and a bloated and corrupt defense establishment, (I see a theme) we have been eating our seed corn for years, and we are running out.

Not good.

Who’s an Antifa Icon Again?

Liberté, Egalité, Gritté!

At his day job

My favorite non political Gritty meme

It appears that the Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty has become an icon of the left:

Last week, a headline on neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer read like something from an alternate universe: “Alt-Right Icon Gritty Seeks to Follow Adolf Hitler’s Footsteps and Become Time’s 2018 Man Of The Year”. It was at least the third piece the site has posted in the last month proclaiming Gritty – the googly-eyed, giant, orange, hockey-playing monster mascot for the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers – as a symbol of the far right.

As it happens, the Daily Stormer is playing catch-up, in reality trying to re-appropriate Gritty as a symbol – to take him away from their ideological opponents on the left. Because, you see, Gritty was already a partisan. Gritty, this smiling muppety nightmare on skates, is antifa.


When Gritty was unveiled in September, the immediate reaction was horror and revulsion (including from this very publication). But within hours, the tide began to turn, thanks largely to Gritty’s early Twitter activity – particularly when he told cross-state rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins to “Sleep with one eye open tonight, bird” – as well as his instant visual meme-ability. The gigantic face, the wide mouth set in a permanently crazed smile, and the massive swirling eyeballs made Gritty a grotesque underdog in a social media world of aesthetic perfection. He is hideous, yes, but one cannot help love him for it – recalling for many hockey fans the historically rough-and-tumble Flyers, or, for others, the city of Philadelphia itself and its famously aggressive sports fans. His entrance to the Flyers’ first home game of the season further solidified his status as a sympathetic destructive force: he came in on a wrecking ball.

Then, very quickly, Gritty’s relationship to hockey, or sports, fell by the wayside. Into the mix, another underdog cause attached itself to Gritty: the political left.

A few days after Gritty first appeared, Jacobin magazine, a socialist publication, tweeted simply: “Gritty is a worker.” Whether it was this tweet which sparked what has come since, or whether Jacobin caught on very early to Gritty’s leftist memeification is difficult to ascertain, but in the weeks since, Gritty’s image has been used by anti-fascist protesters, anti-Trump protesters, and in countless left-wing memes.

I am amused, and completely flummoxed.

Making Bernie Sanders Look George H.W. Bush

When Bernie Sanders talks socialism, Jeremy Corbyn says, “Hold my coconut water,” (He doesn’t drink alcohol).

Case in point, his proposal to require that company’s customers and employees have a vote on executive compensation.

But wait, there’s more:  He would put an end to stock options, and force companies to name their highly paid executives:

Customers of Britain’s 7,000 biggest companies would be given the right to vote on the pay of top executives under plans for a clampdown on boardroom pay being considered by Labour.

A report commissioned by Rebecca Long-Bailey, the shadow business secretary, and John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, calls for an annual binding vote on executive packages to include all stakeholders – including employees and consumers.

Other suggestions include scrapping all forms of share options so that executives are paid only in cash, a ban on golden handshakes and punitive fines for directors of companies that persistently fail to pay the minimum wage. The report also proposes that all companies in Britain with more than 250 staff would have to reveal the names of employees paid more than £150,000 a year. [$190,000.00]


Party sources stressed it would be wrong to assume all the suggestions would make it into the party’s next manifesto but Long-Bailey and McDonnell are well disposed towards five key reforms proposed by Sikka:

  • That executive remuneration contracts in large companies be made publicly available
  • That executive remuneration be in cash, because rewards in share options, shares and perks invited abuses.
  • That pay differentials between executives and employees analysed by gender and ethnicity be published
  • Company law be amended to give all stakeholders the right to propose a cap on executive pay and bonus package
  • The remuneration of each executive at large companies be subject to annual binding vote by a range of stakeholders.

Stakeholders includes shareholders, long-term customers and employees.

Labour believes an attempt to curb boardroom pay is justified by the lack of restraint shown by company boards and the failure of voluntary codes to have any impact on executive remuneration. Sikka’s proposed reforms would apply to the 7,000-plus companies in the UK that have 250 or more employees, accounting for more than 10 million workers.

Good politics and better policy.

I so want Corbyn to become PM.

Unfortunately, what May hands him will be a complete sh%$ show.

How Convenient

The White House is refusing to allow the only administration who heard the Khashoggi murder tapes testify before Congress.

Now we know why John Bolton refused to listen to the tapes, he can mischaracterize what happened without crossing the legal line for perjury:

The White House has denied preventing the CIA director, Gina Haspel, from briefing the Senate on the murder of Saudi dissident and Washington Post columnist, Jamal Khashoggi.

The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, and the defence secretary, James Mattis, are due to give a briefing on US relations with Saudi Arabia to the entire Senate behind closed doors on Wednesday, ahead of a vote that could cut off US support for Riyadh’s military campaign in Yemen.

On a national security issue of such importance, it would be customary for a senior intelligence official to take part, Senate staffers said. On this occasion, the absence of the intelligence community is all the more glaring, as Haspel travelled to Istanbul to hear audio tapes of Khashoggi’s murder provided by Turkish intelligence, and then briefed Donald Trump.

Senior senators – including the chairman of the foreign relations committee, Bob Corker – have called for Haspel to appear, but there was no sign on Tuesday evening that she will take part.

Officials said that the decision for Haspel not to appear in front of the committee came from the White House, but the national security adviser, John Bolton, denied it. “Certainly not,” he told reporters, but left it unclear why there would be no intelligence presence.


Bruce Riedel, a veteran CIA official and an expert on the US-Saudi relationship at the Brookings Institution, said: “Gina [Haspel] has been the case officer on this. She traveled to Turkey and she is the one who listened to the tapes and is reported to have briefed the president multiple times.

“This is further evidence that the White House is trying to outdo the Saudis in carrying out the worst cover-up in modern history,” Riedel added.

An incompetent coverup?


This is Called Looting

GM has spent over $14 billion on stock buybacks, so now it’s time for massive layoffs.

We need to call this what it is:  looting.

Stock buybacks are popular because senior executive’s compensation is largely in the form of stock options, so by buying back the stock, they are taking money that should be spent on new products, new plants, and new equipment, and putting it in their own pockets.

The job cuts are popular because the leeches on Wall Street flock to stocks of companies that lay off lots of people, further lining the pockets of sociopathic executives.

It should noted that this behavior was considered illegal stock manipulation until the adoption of SEC Rule 10b-18 in 1982 under the Reagan administration.

It might have been the worst decision of the whole Reagan administration, and that’s saying a lot.

“We recognize the need to stay in front of changing market conditions and customer preferences,” explained GM CEO Mary Barra in perfect corporate-speak in the statement released this morning, as employees are fretting about their jobs.

The phrase, “changing market conditions,” in regular English means that sales are skidding in the US despite enormous incentives. GM’s new-vehicle deliveries in the US plunged 11% in the third quarter and are down 1.2% for the year. In Canada, GM’s sales have dropped 1.6% so far this year. GM apparently expects these “market conditions” to worsen further, and it’s getting ready for it.

So GM is going to cut 15% of its salaried workers and salaried contract workers. At the end of 2017, GM had 54,000 salaried workers in North America. Of them 52,000 are in the US.

The Vampire Squid Abides

Goldman Sachs has made the most reprehensible healthcare decision of the year, which is saying a lot, when they decided that it makes no sense to invest in cures, because if you cure someone, they won’t buy any more of the drugs.

Basically, they redefined medicine as hooking patients into a lifelong pattern of drug use:

Goldman Sachs analysts attempted to address a touchy subject for biotech companies, especially those involved in the pioneering “gene therapy” treatment: cures could be bad for business in the long run.

“Is curing patients a sustainable business model?” analysts ask in an April 10 report entitled “The Genome Revolution.”

“The potential to deliver ‘one shot cures’ is one of the most attractive aspects of gene therapy, genetically-engineered cell therapy and gene editing. However, such treatments offer a very different outlook with regard to recurring revenue versus chronic therapies,” analyst Salveen Richter wrote in the note to clients Tuesday. “While this proposition carries tremendous value for patients and society, it could represent a challenge for genome medicine developers looking for sustained cash flow.”

F%$# the Vampire Squid.  They, and f%$# the whole degenerate for-profit health care system needs to be dismantled root and branch.

Finally, Some Good News

Watch NASA Staff Lose their Sh%$ Completely (about 2:55)

NASA’s InSight probe nailed the landing on Mars:

NASA has not botched a Mars landing since December 1999, when the Polar Lander fell silent following its powered descent to Planum Australe. Then came the successes of the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, the Phoenix lander and, in 2012, the bellwether Curiosity rover, which discovered organic materials and habitable environments on Mars.

Still, NASA downplayed the chances of InSight surviving atmospheric entry, descent and landing (EDL) on the wide, flat plains of Mars’ Elysium Planitia, located 4.5 deg. N. Lat. and 135.9 deg. E. Long., about 340 mi. (550 km) away from where Curiosity is exploring Gale Crater.

With an 8.1-min. time delay for radio signals from Earth to reach Mars 91 million mi. away, flight controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) here had little to do but watch and wait as InSight shed its cruise stage and dived into the Martian atmosphere at 11:47 a.m. PST (2:47 p.m. EST) on Nov. 26, with the probe still traveling at more than 12,000 mph.

A tense 6.5 min. followed as InSight, built by Lockheed Martin, traveled the final 77 mi. to the surface of Mars. Its ablative heat shield, composed primarily of crushed cork, reached temperatures as high as 2,700F—hot enough to melt steel—as friction from Mars’ atmosphere bled the spacecraft of kinetic energy, gradually trimming its speed to 295 mph.

At 11:51 a.m. PST, a mortar fired to release InSight’s 39-ft.-dia. supersonic parachute, which inflated with a force of 12,500 lb./ft.2, leaving the probe free to shed its heat shield, deploy three shock-absorbing landing legs and activate a ground-facing radar system to relay altitude and descent rates to the onboard flight computer.

Finally, a dozen Aerojet Rocketdyne MR-107N retrorockets, each capable of providing 68 lb. of force, pulsed to steer InSight clear of its discarded backshell and parachute and slow its speed to 5.5 mph for a soft landing on Mars at 11:54 a.m. PST. “This never gets old,” JPL chief engineer Rob Manning said during NASA’s landing webcast.

Unfortunately, no Mohawk guy, but a good time was had by all.

Why to Ignore Public Radio Pledge Time

Did you hear the bit that they did about Amazon on Morning Edition?

It was all about how Amazon’s AI was ushering in some sort of shoppper’s utopia, while studiously ignoring the awful record of the firm on the labor and the environment.

If they throw their lot in with Amazon because of its sponsorship money, they don’t need yours.

Force the choice:

There are dozens of reports detailing how Amazon’s shipping policies negatively effects both the environment and workers, but one wouldn’t have any idea either was a concern after listening to NPR’s sexed-up report (Morning Edition, 11/21/18), “Optimized Prime: How AI and Anticipation Power Amazon’s 1-Hour Deliveries.”

The report, detailing the “Artificial Intelligence” behind Amazon’s delivery systems, relies entirely on interviews with Amazon flacks. The only people NPR speaks to are Brad Porter, the head of robotics for Amazon operations; Jenny Freshwater, director of software development; and Amazon VP Cem Sibay. No outside parties were sought for comment, let alone anyone remotely adversarial, such as labor organizers or environmental activists.

Indeed, the words “labor,” “worker” or “employee” are nowhere to be found in the six-minute report: Christmas packages simply deliver themselves with the help of brilliant Amazon execs and this mysterious AI technology. If Amazon’s marketing department wrote and produced a segment on their AI technology for NPR, it’s difficult to see how it would have been any different. Host Rachel Martin and correspondent Alina Selyukh all but literally exclaim “gee whiz”:


What economists? What does “latest chapter of industrialization” even mean? NPR, using Amazon’s spokespeople and paraphrasing a nebulous cohort of “economists,” recasts “criticism,” such that it is, as a generic, sanitized critique against an industry trend presumably out of Amazon‘s control, rather than directing criticism at Amazon themselves—a employer notorious for worker abuses ranging from wage theft, Orwellian working conditions, intimidation, retaliation and union-busting.

None of these widely documented concerns—all of which make cheap two-day shipping possible—were mentioned at all. Nor were the equally well-documented environmental downsides to two-day shipping, a convenience that, despite NPR’s “oh wow, how do they do that” excitement, creates tons of gratuitous, harmful carbon emissions.

Seriously: If you are a member, tell them to go Cheney themselves comes pledge time.

Sucks to be Zuck

Facebook allows you to download all your data to your computer.

Lately, there have been so many people doing this that the hardware has been overwhelmed, and so the downloads are very slow.

As near as I can figure out, the only reason to download your data is if you are planning to delete your Facebook account.

Starting in 2010, Facebook started giving users the option to download their Facebook data, the collection of posts, photos, friends and even previous locations that Facebook has collected from you over the years.

Until this spring, when Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal became public, a lot of people didn’t even know that this data download was an option. There’s probably a good reason for that: Downloading your user Facebook data is the kind of thing you might do right as you’re deleting your Facebook account altogether. Facebook even prompts users to do this on the “Permanently Delete Account” screen.

So it’s interesting, then, that there are a lot of people trying to download their data from Facebook this month. So many, in fact, that it’s causing delays on Facebook’s end as the company tries to fulfill all those data requests.


Not all download requests are from users preparing to delete their accounts, of course, though it’s certainly a common process. We also don’t know much about how common download requests actually are. How many people normally request their data? Is this spike in traffic rare? How does it compare to previous spikes? Facebook wouldn’t say.

The timing is interesting, though. It’s been one week since the New York Times published a bombshell report about how Facebook’s top executives handled the fallout of the 2016 presidential election, during which Russian trolls used the service to try and sow discord among voters. The NYT story led to a lot of other negative press for the company in the week since, and more calls for people to delete Facebook.

Why do I have the sense that Mark Zuckerberg right now is clenched so tight that he is mainlining fiber supplements.


BTW, the procedure for downloading Facebook data is pretty straightforward:

  1. Go to Facebook settings.
  2. Click on your Facebook information.
  3. Click on, “Download Your Information.” 
  4. Set your download settings.
  5. Click on, “Create file.”
  6. Wait
  7. and wait………
  8. Download the zip file.  (mine was 13 MB after about 20 minutes)

I Think that I Saw This Dr. Who Episode

Break Out the Sonic Screwdriver

It appears that the Gell Guards have taken over the White House.

It’s either that, or the person decorating the White House has the creepiest sense of style ever.

Wait ……… This just in ……… It’s the creepiest sense of style ever:

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something filled with the coagulating blood of one’s enemies. The Trump household apparently wasn’t content turning the White House into a dark alternate dimension where all hope dies for just one year—this house of horrors has now become an annual holiday tradition.

The White House has shared an official look at First Lady Melania Trump’s latest holiday decor at the White House. Last year, Mrs. “Be Best” turned the hallways of the presidential residence into a living nightmare straight out of Get Out or Voldemort’s bathroom. Shadowy branches crept over the walls, reaching forth to suck out the souls of anyone who dared trespass the darkened walkway. This year, she’s changing it up a bit with some good old-fashioned blood cones.


When this Goes Nationwide, Look Out Below

Expanding a program already in place in New York City and Miami, the US Treasury will be requiring full purchaser information on all cash real-estate transactions.

It’s called Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs), and it has been expanded to include Boston; Chicago; Dallas-Fort Worth; Honolulu; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City; San Antonio; San Diego; San Francisco; and Seattle (US Treasury link).

I do not know how much real estate in these areas is criminals and despots trying to conceal their ill gotten gains, but my guess is that, at least at the high end, it is quite a lot.

Assuming that the GTO regime is relatively strict, and given the vicissitudes of the Treasury, and the fact that the current President almost certainly laundered money for Russian oligarchs, I have my doubts.

The Good News is that They Just Completed the First Ever Full Audit of the Pentagon

The bad news is that they just completed the first ever full audit at the Pentagon.

The audit was, to use military jargon, a complete clusterf%$#:

The Pentagon has failed what is being called its first-ever comprehensive audit, a senior official said on Thursday, finding U.S. Defense Department accounting discrepancies that could take years to resolve.  

Results of the inspection – conducted by some 1,200 auditors and examining financial accounting on a wide range of spending including on weapons systems, military personnel and property – were expected to be completed later in the day.

“We failed the audit, but we never expected to pass it,” Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan told reporters, adding that the findings showed the need for greater discipline in financial matters within the Pentagon.

“It was an audit on a $2.7 trillion dollar organization, so the fact that we did the audit is substantial,” Shanahan added.

No, the fact that you did an audit was bureaucracy 101, and you f%$#ing failed in f%$#ing flying colors.

Shanahan said areas the Pentagon must improve upon based on the audit results include compliance with cybersecurity policies and improving inventory accuracy. In a briefing with reporters, he did not provide a figure detailing how much money was unaccounted for in the audit.

It was unclear what consequences there would be after the audit, but Shanahan said the focus would be on fixing the issues.

Translation:  How do we overpay contractors to wallpaper this over.

A 1990 federal law mandated that U.S. government agencies be audited, but the Pentagon had not faced a comprehensive audit until this one was launched in December.

Defense officials and outside experts have said it may be years before the Pentagon is able to fix its accounting gaps and errors and pass an audit.

I’m not sure how to fix the mess, but a good start is to remove the authority of the people who created the mess.

A good start would be for there to be another Truman Commission, but given the predilection of politicians these days for grandstanding, and their deep distaste for the hard work involved in real oversight, I’m not holding my breath.

An Important Phrase to Know: Stochastic Terrorism

For those of you who have never heard the termStochastic Terrorism , (See also the Wiki) it refers to terrorism that is, “Statistically predictable but individually unpredictable.”

What this means is that invocations toward terrorism in the media that are calculated to create “lone wolf” actors who will then engage in terrorism to further the aims of the speaker.

When you look at people like Glenn Beck (Tides Foundation), Alex Jones (Everyone), Anwar al-Awlaki (The secular west), and Bill O’Reilly (George Tiller).

O’Reilly publicly called Tiller a, “Baby Killer,” and then piously eschewed any responsibility when the doctor was assassinated.

I am far less concerned about Anwar al-Awlaki than I am the rest of them, because the right wing deliberately uses this technique to silence voices from the left.

Liberal talk radio still has yet to recover from the assassination of Alan Berg in 1984.

They do this because it works, and no one will stop them.

Where the Democrats Won’t Go, but Should Go

Because going after the rampant wage theft in America today would upset their big money donors:


If the Democrats’ job number one heading into 2020 is to win back some of those white working-class voters who deserted them in 2016, this general problem of wage theft seems like an awfully good place to start. It affects many millions of Americans of all races and in all places. Yet I don’t hear many Democrats talk about it. No one in the broader public even knows what “wage theft” means. Somebody stole your pay packet as you walked home from work? No. It’s what employers extract from employees in not paying them what they’ve earned.

There are two notable exceptions to this silence that I’m aware of (though one is not a Democrat). Bernie Sanders has a bill that would impose a 100 percent tax on large employers for every dollar an employee needs in public assistance like food stamps; he has singled out Amazon, whose warehouses are going to be stuffed to the gills with part-timers for the next month. As is Bernie’s wont, that seems a bit grandiose, but at least he’s trying to get the issue discussed, so good on him for that. (I wonder why a lot of more main$tream Democrat$ are aver$e to $ocking it to Amazon….)

And Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is a Democrat, has legislation that would similarly tax companies (though at a lower rate than Sanders) whose employees need public assistance and would offer some tax credits to companies that did the right thing and raised wages. So, stick and carrot, in other words. The Senate actually voted on it during the farm bill debate last June, and while it lost, it got the support of every Democrat. Note, every Democrat: Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Jon Tester, everyone. Democrats are and will be divided on some cultural issues, but on something like this, they can be 100 percent united.

Wages, work, and the idea that if you work full-time you deserve a decent life have to be the cornerstones of what Democrats present to people in 2020. Medicare for All and free college, which constitute most of what I’m hearing out of the newly energized left that will be seated in the next House of Representatives, are secondary. Medicare for All failed in Vermont, and free college does nothing for the 65 percent of young people who don’t go to college. But everybody (mostly) works. Everybody is entitled to a good wage. If the Democrats haven’t firmly associated themselves with these simple ideas by 2020, they have failed.

And they will embrace failure, like they always do, because too many of them and theirs secure their sinecures by sucking up to rich donors and doing their bidding.

This Business Will Get out of Control. It Will Get out of Control and We’ll Be Lucky to Live through It.

A Sh%$ Mess of Planes and Guns

Geography is a Bitch

Russia and the Ukraine are having confrontations over ship transits in the black sea, which has culminated in the Russians seizing 3 Ukrainian military vessels after a ramming, and a possible exchange of gunfire.

In response, the Ukrainian President is calling for martial law:

The Ukrainian president has proposed the imposition of martial law after Russian forces shot at and seized three Ukrainian navy vessels in the Black Sea, injuring six crew members according to Kiev, in a major escalation of tensions between the two countries.

On Monday, Ukrainian MPs will vote on whether to declare nationwide martial law in response to the attack following an emergency war cabinet held by the president, Petro Poroshenko. He said that the imposition of martial law would not imply a declaration of war and was only intended for defensive purposes.

The UN security council will also hold an emergency meeting on Monday about the incident following a request from Ukraine, the US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley confirmed.

Sunday was a day of rising tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with hostilities focusing on the Kerch strait, which connects the Sea of Azov with the Black Sea. Russia has constructed a $3.69bn (£2.7bn) bridge over the strait following its occupation of Crimea to link the Russian mainland and the peninsula. The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, officially opened the bridge in May.

The FSB, Russia’s principal security agency, said its patrol boats had seized three naval vessels from Ukraine and used weapons to make them stop, adding that the boats had entered its territorial waters illegally.

About the only thing that could make this worse is if the, “Very Serious People,” in the US foreign policy and defense establishments, aka, “The Blog,” decide that this should be a problem for them to fix.  (Which, of course, they will)

We are completely screwed.

God: 1 – Man Who Thinks that He is God: 0

Specifically, I am referring to Jeff Bezos.

It appears that Amazon has been forced into private negotiations in Minnesota, because they were f%$#ing with the state mandated prayer breaks for its Somali immigrant workers.

Normally, immigrants tend to be less demanding, and harder to organize, because they remember how things were back home, but when you try to go after their religion  ……… BOOM!!!

Soon after Hibaq Mohamed immigrated to Minneapolis from Kenya, where she had been living as a refugee, in 2016 she got a job at a new Amazon warehouse near the city. At first, she enjoyed packing boxes for delivery to consumers.

But over time, she said, Amazon required her and her co-workers to pack at a faster rate, at least 230 items an hour, up from 160. Ms. Mohamed, who is Muslim, said that Amazon let her take paid breaks to pray, as required by state law, but that her managers had told her that she still needed to keep pace.

“There is just pressure,” Ms. Mohamed, 24, said. “The people they don’t fire worry one day they will be fired.”

Ms. Mohamed and scores of East African colleagues, many of them, like her, born in Somalia, responded in an unusual way for Amazon workers: They organized to complain.

Now, tied together by a close cultural connection and empowered by a tight labor market, they appear to be the first known group in the United States to get Amazon management to negotiate.


Last week, Amazon offered some compromises at its facilities in the Minneapolis area. The company said it would require a general manager and a Somali-speaking manager to agree on any firings related to productivity rates, designate a manager to respond to individual complaints within five days and meet with workers quarterly.

Jeff Bezos’ tears are sweet.