24 September 2018

Ironically, Mueller is Cleaning Up the Swamp

Specifically, another lobbyist is under investigation for failure to register as a foreign lobbyist, and this one is a former Obama administration official.

Here's hoping that this unlubricates the bearings of that old revolving door:
Federal prosecutors have stepped up their investigation of prominent Washington attorney Gregory Craig for work he conducted at his former law firm on behalf of the Ukrainian government in 2012, an effort coordinated by Paul Manafort, according to people familiar with the matter.

Shortly before Manafort pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and obstruction this month, attorneys for Craig received requests for information from prosecutors in the Southern District of New York, who are investigating Craig’s activities as an offshoot of the broader probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, according to one person with knowledge of the exchange.

Craig’s case — and that of two Washington lobbyists who worked with Manafort on Ukrainian matters — were referred last April to New York prosecutors, who appear to be focused on whether the three failed to register as foreign agents while working with Manafort’s Ukrainian clients.


Still, the investigation of Craig — a White House counsel for President Barack Obama — along with lobbyists Vin Weber and Tony Podesta, has shaken Washington’s lobbying and legal community, which until recently had faced little scrutiny of its representation of foreign clients.

“There is a rising level of concern, particularly from law firms providing services to foreign governments,” said Joshua Ian Rosenstein, an expert on foreign lobbying registration compliance at the Sandler Reiff law firm.

I want these motherf%$#ers to be terrified.

Even if it only effects their behaviors with foreign clients, it would be nice to see the House of Saud losing influence in DC.

23 September 2018

How do you spell RICO?

That part is not a surprise, but the specifics, that they colluded with ticket scalpers in order to raise the price of the tickets:
Music fans’ ire toward Ticketmaster for expensive concert tickets may be somewhat justified, according to a fiery investigation by CBC News and the Toronto Star on Wednesday detailing a secret scalping scheme run by the ticket sales company itself. The two outlets sent journalists undercover as scalpers to a live entertainment convention this summer, where Ticketmaster reportedly pitched them on its underground professional resale program, through which it takes a cut of profits.

Ticketmaster, which is owned by live entertainment juggernaut Live Nation, enlists resellers to grab batches of tickets from its site and then flip them for higher prices on a Ticketmaster-owned, invite-only platform called TradeDesk (touted by the company as “The most powerful ticket sales tool. Ever”), according to the report. Ticketmaster gets extra fees from the pricier resale tickets on top of its fees from selling the original ticket. CBC and Toronto Star journalists were told that despite the existence of a Ticketmaster “buyer abuse” division that looks for suspicious online activity in ticket sales, the company turns a blind eye to its TradeDesk users. A sales representative told one of the undercover journalists that there are brokers with “literally a couple of hundred accounts” on TradeDesk, and that it’s “not something that we look at or report.”

Ticketmaster has sued groups in the past for using bots to grab up live events tickets from its site, which prompted counterclaims that Ticketmaster was itself supplying scalpers with bot software — which, per this week’s investigation, TradeDesk appears to be doing. “This is going to be a public relations nightmare,” popular Canadian radio program host Alan Cross told CBC upon seeing the findings, noting of previous “whispers of this in the ticket-selling community, but it’s never been outlined quite like this before.”
I knew that Ticketmaster sucked, but this sucks like a thousand hoovers all running at once.

Seriously, if someone at the DoJ's antitrust division wants to hit some low-hanging fruit, this kind of crap is clearly out of line, even by the standards of the, "Strict Constructionist," judges who hate antitrust enforcement.

Schwer zu Sein a Yid*

It is so much fun to assemble a sukkah in the pouring rain.

At least I did not fall off of the step stool and dash my brains out on the patio.

*Yiddish for, "It's tough to be a Jew."

The Internet of Sh%$

Internet connected appliances are a f%$#ing menace.

22 September 2018

Hint: It's called pay, benefits, and job security

Aviation Week & Space Technology is wringing its hands over the shortage of Aviation and Defense (A&D) workers.

Given that there is little job security, and pay and benefits have been declining for years, it's not surprising that people are loathe to enter the field:
Uncle Sam’s contractors want you—and your sons and daughters. And at this rate, they could be eyeing the family dog. But perhaps they should expand their search.

From 737 gliders parked around the Seattle area to a $2.5 billion merger and acquisition (M&A) among Beltway Bandits orbiting Washington, headlines in the aerospace and defense sector lately have been replete with examples of workforce constraints manifesting in money terms. What is more, the Pentagon soon will unveil a review of the defense industrial base (DIB) that will spotlight concerns over talent recruitment and retainment.

The need for more technology-oriented workers and the difficulty in getting them is the talk of industry. Just this month, word came that Boeing was rehiring some of its retirees to help alleviate 737 production issues.


At the Farnborough Airshow in July, senior executives pondered how to recruit talent, especially managers, from other industries such as automotive. “Discussions at the air show confirmed concern about supporting an upturn in activity with the correct personnel in this competitive hiring environment,” ZRG’s report notes. The traditional approach of recruiting from the same sector has huge limitations, it was noted.

But Foster tells Aviation Week that the truism “Companies do not want to spend the time or money training new workers” ultimately holds for upper management as well as the factory floor. Everybody wants you to already know their industry, their company, she says.

Also, companies want managers in 45-55-year-old range, she says. Seasoned, but with growth potential. However, there is a deficit in that age range because not a lot of prime candidates were entering then. At the same time, older workers are eyeing the exits. “If there was ever a time to retire, it is now.” For starters, look at the stock markets. Besides, it can be increasingly hard to live a high-travel business life, Foster notes.
You spend 30 years sucking the marrow out of your workforce, and then you are surprised when your workforce goes away.

Modern American MBA mismanagement.

Saw a Toothpick Dispenser Tonight

I was in a restaurant, and there it was, right next to the cash register.

Discretion being the only part of valor here, I did not try to check out how it worked.

Made me think of my dad, and a family story.

Let's just say that this 14 year old had some serious egg on his face.

21 September 2018

Think About this at Pledge Time

NPR's Morning Edition chooses think tank experts of a seriously right wing bent.

I am not surprised.

It is the rule, rather than the exception, that they choose a right wing flack to discuss the issues of the day with a studiously impartial journalist.

That, and their jihad against low power radio stations, are both good reasons not to give at pledge time.

Quote of the Day

It is hard to overstate how deeply these Americans despise the Obama response to the 2008 financial crisis. Many saw the values of their homes, the largest investments they will ever make, dramatically decrease. They don’t own much stock outside of flaccid IRAs, and so they benefited little from a recovery that first bailed out Wall Street. Obama’s decisions still aren’t done with them 10 years later, because their retirements are dependent on home prices rising enough so downsizing sales can cover them late in life.
Peter Van Buren
It is an interesting take on why the so called, "Deplorables," support for Trump is so resilient.

The conventional wisdom does not serve them, so they want to burn it all down.

And Kavanaugh is Now a Regular on The Young and the Restless

And now we have a right wing stalwart, Harvard Law and former Bush Administration official, claiming that there is a doppelgänger what actually tried to rape Christine Blasey Ford.

It appears that either Republican operatives are so stupid that they believe that the real world works like Telenovellas, or they think that the rest of us are even stupider than that,


Too cute:

20 September 2018

Tweet of the Day

Economics is not the dismal science, it's just dismal.

Fort Trump???? Seriously

Yes, the Poles want a permanent US base in Poland, and as a sweetener, they offered to name the base after Donald Trump.

It's a pretty lame and obvious kiss ass move, but it will probably work:
President Donald Trump said the U.S. is looking “very seriously” at establishing a permanent military base in Poland -- and Polish President Andrzej Duda, eager to secure a deal, suggested it be named “Fort Trump.”

Trump raised the possibility of a new U.S. base in Poland in a meeting with Duda in the Oval Office on Tuesday. He said at a news conference with the Polish leader that Duda had offered to pay more than $2 billion toward construction.

Also Yes

It appears that people screening Brett Kavanaugh's potential law clerks, spoecifically Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother author Amy Chua and her husband Jed Rubenfeld, both of Yale Law School, advised women who applied to clerk for Brett Kavanaugh to try to look like models:
A top professor at Yale Law School who strongly endorsed supreme court nominee Brett Kavanaugh as a “mentor to women” privately told a group of law students last year that it was “not an accident” that Kavanaugh’s female law clerks all “looked like models” and would provide advice to students about their physical appearance if they wanted to work for him, the Guardian has learned.

Amy Chua, a Yale professor who wrote a bestselling book on parenting called Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, was known for instructing female law students who were preparing for interviews with Kavanaugh on ways they could dress to exude a “model-like” femininity to help them win a post in Kavanaugh’s chambers, according to sources.

Kavanaugh is facing intense scrutiny in Washington following an allegation made by Christine Blasey Ford that he forcibly held her down and groped her while they were in high school. He has denied the allegation. The accusation has mired Kavanaugh’s confirmation in controversy, drawing parallels to allegations of sexual harassment against Justice Clarence Thomas by Anita Hill in the 1990s.

Yale provided Kavanaugh with many of the judge’s clerks over the years, and Chua played an outsized role in vetting the clerks who worked for him. But the process made some students deeply uncomfortable.

One source said that in at least one case, a law student was so put off by Chua’s advice about how she needed to look, and its implications, that she decided not to pursue a clerkship with Kavanaugh, a powerful member of the judiciary who had a formal role in vetting clerks who served in the US supreme court.

In one case, Jed Rubenfeld, also an influential professor at Yale and who is married to Chua, told a prospective clerk that Kavanaugh liked a certain “look”.

“He told me, ‘You should know that Judge Kavanaugh hires women with a certain look,’” one woman told the Guardian. “He did not say what the look was and I did not ask.”
It turns out that Chua and Rubenfeld are, "Towering figures at Yale and were described by one student as being the centre of gravity at the elite law school," and also, "The Guardian has learned that Rubenfeld is currently the subject of an internal investigation at Yale. The investigation is focused on Rubenfeld’s conduct, particularly with female law students." (Karma, neh?)

Well, now we know why Yale reflexively endorsed Kavanaugh when Trump nominated him, the law school hip deep in his sh%$.

19 September 2018

Your Kavanaugh Update

First, we have a report from a classmate of Christine Blasey Ford's who recalled this incident being discussed contemporaneously:
A former schoolmate of Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser wrote a Facebook post saying she recalls hearing about the alleged assault involving Kavanaugh, though she says she has no first-hand information to corroborate the accuser’s claims.

"Christine Blasey Ford was a year or so behind me," wrote the woman, Cristina Miranda King, who now works as a performing arts curator in Mexico City. "I did not know her personally but I remember her. This incident did happen."

She added, "Many of us heard a buzz about it indirectly with few specific details. However Christine's vivid recollection should be more than enough for us to truly, deeply know that the accusation is true."
She has since deleted her tweet, but there is still a Google Cache copy:

Additionally, we have a report that people who have worked with him in the court want to come forward, but they are concerned about retaliations:
The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee were both approached in July by an attorney claiming to have information relevant to the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. The attorney claimed in his letter that multiple employees of the federal judiciary would be willing to speak to investigators, but received no reply to multiple attempts to make contact, he told The Intercept.

Cyrus Sanai made his first attempt to reach out to Sens. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., in a letter dated July 24.

Sanai told the committee leadership that “there are persons who work for, or who have worked for, the federal judiciary who have important stories to tell about disgraced former Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, and his mentee, current United States Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. I know that there are people who wish to speak out but fear retaliation because I have been contacted by more than a half-dozen such persons since Judge Kozinski resigned in disgrace.”

Sanai is the California attorney who blew the whistle on Kozinski years before a series of articles in the Washington Post in December finally brought about the resignation of the former chief judge of the 9th Circuit Court over sexual harassment revelations. Sanai has long challenged the judiciary and was deemed a “vexatious litigant” by one trial court, an attempted designation that was overturned on appeal.
It appears that Feinstein* was a willing participant in efforts to brush this under the carpet, which is yet another reason to vote for her Democratic opponent in November.

It also appears that Trump's claim that the FBI can't probe Kavanaugh because the statute of limitations have expired is complete bollocks.

So says John Yoo, who appears to be making a statement against his own interest, which makes his analysis more credible.

Yoo is a former a lawyer from the Bush-the-younger administration, who among other things argued for an unlimited Presidential power to torture:
The White House could order the FBI to investigate the sexual assault allegation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, several former senior White House and Justice Department officials from both parties said Wednesday, contradicting President Donald Trump’s claims that doing so would exceed the FBI’s mandate.


But several officials who have had direct roles in the nomination and background check process said it’s common, as part of the FBI’s vetting of presidential nominees for judicial posts and executive branch jobs, to investigate matters that do not qualify as federal crimes. Some noted that the Trump White House itself enlisted the FBI last winter to explore spousal abuse claims against former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter.

“What happened here is actually not unusual,” said John Yoo, a senior Justice Department official under President George W. Bush. 

“The Judiciary Committee will often say to the Justice Department: ‘Can you send the agents back out and find out if this is true, find out what happened with this? ... The normal procedure for this would have been to send the FBI out,” Yoo added.

A former Obama administration lawyer also said the FBI would look into the matter if the White House relayed such a request.

“If the FBI was asked to do it, it would do it,” said the attorney, who asked not to be named. “It doesn’t have to be a federal crime. They’ve investigating someone’s suitability for the position. ... It has nothing to do with it being a federal crime.”
There is a very heavy smell of desperation here.

*Full disclosure, my great grandfather, Harry Goldman, and her grandfather, Sam Goldman were brothers, though we have never met, either in person or electronically.
California jungle primary, don't you know. 

What is it About the Ammosexual Lifestyle?

Cody Wilson, who is attempting to release plans for 3D printed guns, has been charged with sex with a minor.

What's more, it appears that solicited her on a web site geared toward this sort of sh%$?

I don't mean to get Freudian, but this sh%$ is seriously Freudian.
2:30 p.m. update: Austin police are working with international authorities to bring Cody Wilson, an Austin man at the center of a debate about 3D-printed guns, back to the country from Taiwan to face a sexual assault charge filed in Travis County on Wednesday.

Wilson’s last known location was the Taiwanese capital of Taipei, Austin police Cmdr. Troy Officer said.

Wilson missed a scheduled flight back to the United States and is thought to have left the country after a friend of the 16-year-old sexual assault victim told him that police were investigating him, Officer said.

Police do not know why Wilson went to Taiwan, only that he frequently travels there for business, Officer said.

Wilson has been entered into a national law enforcement computer for sexual assault of a child, Officer said.

Earlier: Cody Wilson, an Austin man whose fight over 3D-printed guns thrust him into the national spotlight, faces a charge of sexual assault, according to an arrest affidavit filed in Travis County district court on Wednesday.

The affidavit said a counselor called Austin police on Aug. 22 to report that a girl under the age of 17 told her she had sex with a 30-year-old man on Aug. 15 and was paid $500.

In a forensic interview on Aug. 27, the girl told authorities that she created an account on SugarDaddyMeet.com, and began exchanging messages with a man who used the username “Sanjuro,” the affidavit said.

The pair messaged online, then began exchanging text messages.

“During this conversation, ‘Sanjuro’ identified himself as ‘Cody Wilson.’ Victim said that ‘Sanjuro’ described himself to the victim as a ‘big deal,’ ” the affidavit said.
This is both appalling and unsurprising.

I Had a Lousy Fast

Sometimes, it goes well, and sometimes it doesn't.

This year, my Yom Kippur fast was absolutely miserable.

No medical problems, but it was just miserable.

17 September 2018

Phuque Phacebook

In the annals of stupid sh%$ to come from Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook using The Weekly Standard to fact check articles is right up there with home colonoscopy kits: (No, Zuckerberg has never to my knowledge invested in home colonoscopy kits)
When Facebook selected the right-wing, Iraq War-boosting magazine The Weekly Standard [DO NOT CLICK THRU ON THIS LINK] as an official fact-checking partner last year as part of its effort to combat "misinformation," progressives warned that the conservative publication would use its power to suppress accurate articles published by center-left and left-wing outlets.

That's precisely what happened.

After ThinkProgress published an article by Ian Millhiser last week arguing that Supreme Court pick Brett Kavanaugh's comments during his Senate confirmation hearings combined with a speech he gave in 2017 eliminates "any doubt" that the judge opposes the Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, the Weekly Standard deemed the article "false"—a designation that, given Facebook's rules and the platform's enormous power, cuts off 80 percent of the piece's future traffic and penalizes other pages that dare to post the article.

Expressing opposition to Facebook's decision to hand the factually-challenged Weekly Standard the power to decide what is and isn't fact-based news, The Intercept republished Millhiser's piece on Friday with a statement from The Intercept's editor-in-chief Betsy Reed, who condemned the social media giant's decision to tank "a fairly straightforward legal analysis" at the behest of a right-wing magazine.
By way of perspective, the Weekly Standard gave full throated support to segregation in the 1950s and 60s, and Facebook has made them arbiters of "Truth".

Way to go Mark.

Tweet of the Day

And now we know how she lost to an inverted traffic cone.

Find Me a Producer, I've Got one F%$# of a Treatment

It is, as the saying goes, ripped from the headlines.

It's the best heist movie concept, and in this case, the headline is that, in response to Brexit concerns, Cadbury creating a massive stockpile of chocolate:
Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union next year, but it still hasn’t reached a deal on how exactly this could happen. If it leaves Europe without a deal, some experts have warned that there may be chaos at the borders and a shortage of key goods.

On Tuesday, the owner of the beloved confectionary brand Cadbury announced that the company has a plan to deal with the threat of this dreaded “no-deal” Brexit: a chocolate stockpile.
Think about the action, think about the adventure, think about the tension, and think about the merch that you could sell.

Before you ask, I am aware that an actual sweet food stockpile has been stolen, the so-called great Canadian maple syrup heist, but that just adds verisimilitude.

And just think about the obligatory love making scene between the mastermind and the cop who has been pursuing them.

Chocolate ……… And Strawberries ……… And Gentle Heat.

I smell razzie!

16 September 2018

We Now Have a Name

Christine Blasey Ford is the source of the allegation that Brett Kavanaugh attempted to rape her in the early 1980s.

Of particular significance is that she told both her husband and her therapist (she has authorized the release of his records) of the incident in 2012:
Earlier this summer, Christine Blasey Ford wrote a confidential letter to a senior Democratic lawmaker alleging that Supreme Court nominee Brett M. Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in suburban Maryland. Since Wednesday, she has watched as that bare-bones version of her story became public without her name or her consent, drawing a blanket denial from Kavanaugh and roiling a nomination that just days ago seemed all but certain to succeed.

Now, Ford has decided that if her story is going to be told, she wants to be the one to tell it.

Speaking publicly for the first time, Ford said that one summer in the early 1980s, Kavanaugh and a friend — both “stumbling drunk,” Ford alleges — corralled her into a bedroom during a gathering of teenagers at a house in Montgomery County.

While his friend watched, she said, Kavanaugh pinned her to a bed on her back and groped her over her clothes, grinding his body against hers and clumsily attempting to pull off her one-piece bathing suit and the clothing she wore over it. When she tried to scream, she said, he put his hand over her mouth.

“I thought he might inadvertently kill me,” said Ford, now a 51-year-old research psychologist in northern California. “He was trying to attack me and remove my clothing.”

Ford said she was able to escape when Kavanaugh’s friend and classmate at Georgetown Preparatory School, Mark Judge, jumped on top of them, sending all three tumbling. She said she ran from the room, briefly locked herself in a bathroom and then fled the house.
The significant point is that she revealed this during couples therapy 6 years ago:
Ford said she told no one of the incident in any detail until 2012, when she was in couples therapy with her husband. The therapist’s notes, portions of which were provided by Ford and reviewed by The Washington Post, do not mention Kavanaugh’s name but say she reported that she was attacked by students “from an elitist boys’ school” who went on to become “highly respected and high-ranking members of society in Washington.” The notes say four boys were involved, a discrepancy Ford says was an error on the therapist’s part. Ford said there were four boys at the party but only two in the room.

Notes from an individual therapy session the following year, when she was being treated for what she says have been long-term effects of the incident, show Ford described a “rape attempt” in her late teens.

In an interview, her husband, Russell Ford, said that in the 2012 sessions, she recounted being trapped in a room with two drunken boys, one of whom pinned her to a bed, molested her and prevented her from screaming. He said he recalled that his wife used Kavanaugh’s last name and voiced concern that Kavanaugh — then a federal judge — might one day be nominated to the Supreme Court.
In related news, two Republican Senators, Jeff Flake (who is on the Judiciary Committee), and Bob Corker (who is not) are asking to postpone the vote so that there can be further investigation.

Also, I gotta figure that Kavanaugh knew that this was coming, since it's not normal for people to keep a list of 65 women who they didn't sexually assault in their back pocket.

On the bright side, Joe Biden is not running the confirmation hearing this time.

To Quote Douglas Adams, Don't Panic

Harold Feld, who is a top flight lawyer on all things telco, and is on one of the relevant advisory committees, notes that, "The Upcoming IPAWS “Presidential Level Alert” Test Is Not A Trump Thing — Really."

The nationwide alert that will be broadcast on September 20 has been planned for years:
There is a bunch of hysteria running rampant about the September 20, 2018 test of the “Presidential Level Alert” functionality of the Wireless Emergency Alert System (WEA), which is part of the Integrated Public Alert Warning System (IPAWS). (See FEMA Notice of Alert Here.) The thrust of the concerns is that Fearless Leader is creating a propaganda system that can blast through all cell phones and no one can opt out.

I ask everyone to please calm down. The fact that it is called a “Presidential Alert” has nothing to do with Trump. This all goes back to The Warning, Alert, Response Network Act (WARN Act) of 2006. That Act required that we integrate the old Emergency Alert System (EAS) which is on broadcast and cable with a newly created wireless emergency alert system (WEA) so that we could take advantage of the emerging communications technology (texting in 2006, but with an eye toward broadband) to warn people in advance of disasters.


This absolutely has nothing to do with Trump. The WARN Act mandates that while users may opt out of other alerts, they may not opt out of “Presidential Level Alerts.” This was decided way back in 2006, when Congress determined that people should not be able to opt out of anything so important that it triggers a nation-wide alert (although, annoyingly, they did give wireless carriers freedom to opt out of WEA entirely, which tells you a lot about the priorities of Congress back in 2006). See WARN Act Sec. 602 (b)(2)(E). This was not a choice by the Trump Administration. Nor can the current FCC allow people to opt out of “Presidential Level Alerts.” It’s in the WARN ACT of 2006.

So please, please stop spreading rumors about this. Please stop treating this as more evidence of Trump overreach with all kinds of possible sinister motives. The President can’t just press a button to send this out. And while a determined President with enough effort can abuse any system, this is not something Trump can just decide to do with his morning Tweets.
 So, just chill out everyone.

15 September 2018

This Crap Will Not End Well

There has been a band of religious nuts in Israel, roughly evenly divided between Jewish and Evangilical morons, have announced (yet again) that they have bred a red heifer, which, according to them means that the 3rd temple will be rebuilt (Jews) which will lead to the end of times (Evangelicals).

This kind of sh%$ never ends well:
A Jewish group says an apparently completely red heifer has been born – the first in 2,000 years – thus fulfilling a biblical prophecy that signals the coming of the Messiah, which Christians believe will end with an apocalypse.

The birth of the potential cow of prophecy was announced by the Temple Institute, a group which says it is “dedicated to every aspect of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem.” “On the 17th day of Elul, 5778, [August 28, 2018], a red heifer was born in the land of Israel,” the group wrote on its Facebook page.

The organization says that the female baby cow foreshadows the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem, heralding the arrival of the Jewish Messiah. Evangelical Christian theologians also believe the construction of the Third Temple will lead to Judgment Day.


The Temple Institute began its Raise a Red Heifer breeding program back in 2015 with the express goal of producing the heifer of prophecy, which would be required to meet a number of requirements, chief among which being that the calf be entirely red and “without blemish.”

גם אני#

David Keys, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu's spokesman to foreign press, is the subject of multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault:
A total of 12 women have accused David Keyes, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesperson to the foreign media, of inappropriate behavior toward them and other women.

One of the 12, New York State Senate candidate Julia Salazar, on Tuesday detailed her alleged 2013 sexual assault by Keyes. After that, Wall Street Journal reporter Shayndi Raice, responding to Salazar’s allegation, described an “uncomfortable” encounter with Keyes, whom she called a predator.

Ten other women have also been in contact with The Times of Israel in recent months, with allegations that include one detailed accusation of physically aggressive behavior by Keyes, claims of overly aggressive advances by him, and incidents of inappropriate behavior. The women spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Several sources, furthermore, have said that Keyes’s alleged improper behavior toward women, which took place before he was appointed Netanyahu’s spokesman in 2016, was so well-known that he was asked to stay away from certain offices that he used to frequent in New York.


The Times of Israel has also obtained two emails Keyes sent to women in which he apologized “for being less than gentlemanly.”
I dunno, this contemptible ratf%$# seems to be completely well suited to working for Netanyahu.

If Only there Were Some Sort of Token Representing Value that Could Restore Balance

It turns out that that there has been a exodus of pilots from business aviation, which is now depressing aircraft sales.

The solution is simple: If you want more pilots, pay more for them. Supply will then take care of itself:
A growing shortage of pilots in Europe is hitting business aircraft sales, as owners struggle to source crews to fly their assets.

That is the view of UK aircraft sales and marketing company Colibri Aircraft, which predicts the squeeze on business aircraft pilots will continue over the coming years, as commercial airlines poach crews in increasing numbers to help address their recruitment demands.

Colibri says around 70% of sales it works on encounter difficulties in relation to guaranteeing sufficient access to flightcrews. "Five years ago, this affected only 20% of our cases," it notes.


This shortfall is a combination of several factors, he explains, including the legal retirement age for pilots being set at 65, and growing demand for pilots from overseas markets – especially Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
Really, the solution is simple: Pay your pilots more, and they stay with you.

Econ 101.


All RPGers have been here, sometimes as Leeroy Jenkins, and sometimes being hosed by Leeroy Jenkins.

It's better to be Leeroy Jenkins.

14 September 2018

Tweet of the Day

No further comment necessary.

Yeah, So Not Surprised

Call it confirmation bias, but every single video of Brett Kavanaugh has left me feeling that he's a skeevy creep.

So I am not surprised that there are now allegations that he attempted to rape a girl as a prep-schooler in the 1980s.

My only question is why Dianne Feinstein sat on this for 8 weeks before turning reports from the alleged victim over to the FBI for investigation:
On Thursday, Senate Democrats disclosed that they had referred a complaint regarding President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Judge Brett Kavanaugh, to the F.B.I. for investigation. The complaint came from a woman who accused Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct when they were both in high school, more than thirty years ago.

The woman, who has asked not to be identified, first approached Democratic lawmakers in July, shortly after Trump nominated Kavanaugh. The allegation dates back to the early nineteen-eighties, when Kavanaugh was a high-school student at Georgetown Preparatory School, in Bethesda, Maryland, and the woman attended a nearby high school. In the letter, the woman alleged that, during an encounter at a party, Kavanaugh held her down, and that he attempted to force himself on her. She claimed in the letter that Kavanaugh and a classmate of his, both of whom had been drinking, turned up music that was playing in the room to conceal the sound of her protests, and that Kavanaugh covered her mouth with his hand. She was able to free herself. Although the alleged incident took place decades ago and the three individuals involved were minors, the woman said that the memory had been a source of ongoing distress for her, and that she had sought psychological treatment as a result.

In a statement, Kavanaugh said, “I categorically and unequivocally deny this allegation. I did not do this back in high school or at any time.”


Kavanaugh’s classmate said of the woman’s allegation, “I have no recollection of that.”

The woman declined a request for an interview.

In recent months, the woman had told friends that Kavanaugh’s nomination had revived the pain of the memory, and that she was grappling with whether to go public with her story. She contacted her congresswoman, Anna Eshoo, a Democrat, sending her a letter describing her allegation. (When reached for comment, a spokesperson for Eshoo’s office cited a confidentiality policy regarding constituent services and declined to comment further on the matter.)

The letter was also sent to the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein. As the ranking minority member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Feinstein was preparing to lead Democratic questioning of Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing weeks later. The woman contacted Feinstein’s office directly, according to multiple sources.


Feinstein’s decision to handle the matter in her own office, without notifying other members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, stirred concern among her Democratic colleagues. For several days, Feinstein declined requests from other Democrats on the Judiciary Committee to share the woman’s letter and other relevant communications. A source familiar with the committee’s activities said that Feinstein’s staff initially conveyed to other Democratic members’ offices that the incident was too distant in the past to merit public discussion, and that Feinstein had “taken care of it.” On Wednesday, after media inquiries to the Democratic members multiplied, and concern among congressional colleagues increased, Feinstein agreed to brief the other Democrats on the committee, with no staff present.

On Thursday, Feinstein announced that she had referred the matter to the F.B.I. “I have received information from an individual concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court,” Feinstein said. “That individual strongly requested confidentiality, declined to come forward or press the matter further, and I have honored that decision. I have, however, referred the matter to federal investigative authorities.”
The way that Feinstein has handled this has been beyond stupid.

She sat on this for 2 months, refusing to even discuss the the outlines of complaints because she had, "A sense that Democrats would be better off focussing on legal, rather than personal, issues in their questioning of Kavanaugh."

She has been in the Senate for almost 3 decades, and she thought that, "Focusing on legal issues," would prevent the Republicans from goosestepping in lockstep to approve him.

She destroyed the credibility of the report, and her behavior has been damaging and a shirking of her duty as the senior member of her party on the Judiciary Committee.

Her opponent in the upcoming election, Democrat California state Sen. Kevin de León, is quite justifiably cutting her a new asshole over this one, saying that she, "politely pantomimed her way through last week’s hearing without a single question about the content of Kavanaugh’s character."

She has seriously, and disastrously, dropped the ball on this one.

My cousin deserves to lose the election over this, and she just might.

*Full disclosure, my great grandfather, Harry Goldman, and her grandfather, Sam Goldman were brothers, though we have never met, either in person or electronically.
California jungle primary, don't you know. 

Copyright Trolling, Sony Edition

Sony Music Entertainment has been forced to abandon its claim that it owned 47 seconds of video of musician James Rhodes using his own piano to play music written by Johann Sebastian Bach.

Last week, Rhodes recorded a short video of himself playing a portion of Bach's first Partita and posted it to Facebook. Bach died in 1750, so the music is obviously in the public domain. But that didn't stop Sony from claiming the rights to the audio in Partita's video.

"Your video matches 47 seconds of audio owned by Sony Music Entertainment," said a notice Rhodes received on Facebook. Facebook responded by muting the audio in Rhodes' video. Remarkably, when Rhodes disputed Sony's claim, Sony stuck to its guns and denied the appeal. As far as we know, Sony hasn't commented publicly on the dispute or explained why it continued to claim Rhodes' music.

But whereas Facebook's formal appeals process didn't work for Rhodes, public shaming seems to have done the trick. Rhodes' tweet on the topic got more than 2,000 retweets, and Rhodes also emailed senior Sony Music executives about the issue.
As one commenter noted:
Guys, let's be reasonable here.

Without strong copyright enforcement, composers like Bach will have no incentive to produce new music.

Sony is just ensuring that Bach has the financial freedom to release his next album. Really they're doing you a favor.

13 September 2018

Tweet of the Day

Once again, I would suggest that anyone who hasn't read Eric Frank Russell's magnum opus Wasp, in which a man is sent to be an agent provocateur on the planet of an empire at war with Earth, and his mission is not to collect intelligence or do damage, but rather to provoke an overreaction by the authorities:
"Phew!" Mowry raised his eyebrows.

"Finally, let's consider this auto smash. We know the cause; the survivor was able to tell us before he died. He said the driver lost control at high speed while swiping at a wasp which had flown in through a window and started buzzing around his face."

"It nearly happened to me once."

Ignoring that, Wolf went on, "The weight of a wasp is under half an ounce. Compared with a human being its size is minute, its strength negligible. Its sole armament is a tiny syringe holding a drop of irritant, formic acid, and in this case it didn't even use it. Nevertheless it killed four big men and converted a large, powerful car into a heap of scrap."


"However," Wolf went on, "the problem becomes less formidable than it looks if we bear in mind that one man can shake a government, two men temporarily can put down an army twenty-seven thousands strong, or one small wasp can slay four comparative giants and destroy their huge machine into the bargain." He paused, watching the other for effect, continued, "Which means that by scrawling suitable words upon a wall, the right man in the right place at the right time might immobilize an armoured division with the aid of nothing more than a piece of chalk."
Terrorism is not about winning, it's about making us destroy ourselves, or as DC at the Stellar Parthenon BBS says, "Chaos is Job Won."

Least Surprising News of the Day

Many lawmakers and aides who crafted financial regulations after the 2008 crisis now work for Wall Street


Cynthia Nixon Did Not Win, but Neither Andrew Cuomo

With the active support of Andrew "Rat Faced Andy" Cuomo, the "Independent Democratic Conference" caucused with Republicans in the state senate, allowing the Republicans to run that chamber, and allowing the Governor to thwart any efforts that might upset his owners donors.

They were nearly completely wiped out in the primaries tonight, and it was Nixon's focus on this issue, particularly with regard to Cuomo's perfidy on the whole affair, was a large part of this:
Years of anger at a group of Democratic state senators who had collaborated with Republicans boiled over on Thursday, as primary voters ousted nearly all of them in favor of challengers who had called them traitors and sham progressives.

The losses were a resounding upset for members of the Independent Democratic Conference, who outspent their challengers several times over, but also a sign that the impatient progressive fervor sweeping national politics had hobbled New York’s once-mighty Democratic machine, at least on a local level.

The most high-profile casualty was Senator Jeffrey D. Klein of the Bronx, the former head of the I.D.C. In that role, he was for years one of Albany’s most powerful players, sharing leadership of the chamber with his counterparts in the Republican conference and participating in the state’s secretive budget negotiations.

But on Thursday, he was defeated by Alessandra Biaggi, a lawyer and former aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, after a campaign in which Ms. Biaggi cornered Mr. Klein into spending nearly $2 million — more than 10 times what she spent — since January, an astonishing sum for a state legislative race. (Cynthia Nixon, in her bid against Mr. Cuomo, spent less.)

“If this doesn’t prove that political currency is people over money, I do not know what does,” Ms. Biaggi said at her victory party. “We have now cut the head of the I.D.C. snake.”

Mr. Klein did not appear at his watch party.

Also defeated were five other former I.D.C. members: Senator Tony Avella in Queens; Senator Jose Peralta in Queens; Senator Jesse Hamilton in Brooklyn; Senator Marisol Alcántara in Manhattan; and Senator David Valesky in Syracuse. The only former I.D.C. members to survive the primary were Senator Diane Savino, of Staten Island, and Senator David Carlucci, of Rockland County.

In another high-profile race, Senator Martin Dilan, who was not part of the I.D.C., was defeated by Julia Salazar, a 27-year-old democratic socialist whose candidacy energized young voters in swaths of gentrifying Brooklyn, despite near-constant controversy in the final weeks of the campaign.

“This is a victory for workers,” Ms. Salazar said standing atop a staircase in front of her voters at a party in Bushwick. “This is a victory for all of you, who every day have knocked on doors and have had meaningful conversations with our neighbors about these issues.”
The Democrats still need to pick up a seat, as Simcha "Shande Far Di Goyim" Felder will almost certainly caucus with the Republicans again, but I think that they can manage that,

As much as it pains me, I think that I have to quote Matt Yglesias:
Nixon, it should be said, really took one for the team here. 

No real politicians wanted to run a hopeless race, she stepped up, pushed Cuomo left on issues, shed light on the IDC situation and contributed meaningfully to their defeat. 

 Not bad work at all.
On the down side, Cuomo beat Nixon by 30 points, and Letita James beat Zephyr Teachout in the AG primary.  (Teachout had promised to aggressively investigate Cuomo, and James appears to be joined at the hip to Cuomo)

Tru Dat

The good folks at Naked Capitalism came across this post mortem of what is now 8 years of electoral failure by the Democrats, and concludes that a lack of vision, and a complete unwillingness to stand for everything have led to the ongoing rout of the party.

The party establishment has refused to do anything even remotely like an analysis of what went wrong, so these folks did, and they say what I've been saying since about 2010.

People will vote for a bad something over a not-bad (good is too strong a word) nothing:
Executive Summary

Sample of Findings

The Party’s Base
  • Aggregated data and analysis show that policies, operations and campaign priorities of the national Democratic Party undermined support and turnout from its base in the 2016 general election. Since then, the Democratic leadership has done little to indicate that it is heeding key lessons from the 2016 disaster.
  • The Democratic National Committee and the party’s congressional leadership remain bent on prioritizing the chase for elusive Republican voters over the Democratic base: especially people of color, young people and working-class voters overall.
  • After suffering from a falloff of turnout among people of color in the 2016 general election, the party appears to be losing ground with its most reliable voting bloc, African-American women. “The Democratic Party has experienced an 11 percent drop in support from black women according to one survey, while the percentage of black women who said neither party represents them went from 13 percent in 2016 to 21 percent in 2017.”
  • One of the large groups with a voter-turnout issue is young people, “who encounter a toxic combination of a depressed economic reality, GOP efforts at voter suppression, and anemic messaging on the part of Democrats.”
  • “Emerging sectors of the electorate are compelling the Democratic Party to come to terms with adamant grassroots rejection of economic injustice, institutionalized racism, gender inequality, environmental destruction and corporate domination. Siding with the people who constitute the base isn’t truly possible when party leaders seem to be afraid of them.”
  • The DNC has refused to renounce, or commit to end, its undemocratic practices during the 2016 primary campaign that caused so much discord and distrust from many party activists and voters among core constituencies. • Working to defeat restrictions on voting rights is of enormous importance. Yet the Democratic National Committee failed to make such work a DNC staffing priority.
The full autopsy is here.

The malefactors of the party are on the run right now, even if the number of primary defeats are relatively small.

I hope that  the pressure is kept up in 2020, because the party establishment is definitely running scared.


Daniel Ellsberg on why Julian Assange is a Journalist, and should not be prosecuted:

12 September 2018

Why Does This Guy Have a Job?

In a Congressional district that is important for Democrats if they want to retake the house, Rep. Henry Cuellar, nominally a, "Democrat", is raising money for the Republican:
Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat, had breakfast on Tuesday with an embattled Republican colleague, Rep. John Carter.

But this wasn't just a friendly bipartisan chat over huevos or chorizo at San Antonio's Mi Tierra Cafe.

This was a campaign fundraiser for Carter, who is badly in need of cash as he fights for political survival against former Air Force combat pilot MJ Hegar. Ticket prices ranged to $2,700 and Cuellar didn't just attend. He also encouraged others to donate.

Congressmen cross party lines to write and pass bills, and Cuellar and Carter have worked together for years. But it's highly unusual for a lawmaker in one party to help a colleague from the other to keep his job. It's especially remarkable given that Democrats are angling for a "blue wave" potent enough to dislodge lawmakers who, like Carter, have held safe seats for years.


"Sadly, this is far from out of character for Cuellar," wrote the liberal Daily Kos, which noted that Cuellar votes with President Donald Trump more than any Democrat in Congress.


As a member of the Texas House, he supported then-Gov. George W. Bush for president in 2000. Bush's successor, Rick Perry -- now the energy secretary -- named him secretary of state, Texas' chief election officer and the governor's emissary on Mexico and border affairs.


As The Dallas Morning News has documented, Cuellar has a long history not just of bipartisan cooperation but of going out of his way to provide political aid to members of the other party. 
Cuellar is in a district that has a PVI of D+9, and this ratfF%$# was renominated without any opposition in the primary.

There is a difference between a conservative Democrat and a disloyal Democrat, and Cuellar is the latter.

Nothing will come of this in the party, because he is good at raising money, his PR flack is quoted saying that, "The congressman is a member in good standing [of the DCCC] and has not only paid his entire dues for this Congress but he is also advanced his dues for the next Congress."

He raises money that pays the unelected consultants who keep losing elections, so he is safe from the party leadership.

F%$# that.

Quote of the Day

Cuomo beats Rahm for "worst Democratic politician in America" and I'm including any that happen to be in prison now.
Mr. Black is talking about the fact that "Rat Faced Andy" Cuomo is refusing to do a photo-op on the subway because he thinks that it is not a dynamic enough image for him.

In related news, Andrew' Cuomo's push to unveil the Mario Cuomo bridge before the primary election may destroy the new bridge:
A piece of the old Tappan Zee Bridge became destabilized Friday, creating “a potentially dangerous situation," which caused state officials to call off plans to open the Westchester-bound span of its replacement, the Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge.

Matthew Driscoll, the executive director of the New York State Thruway Authority, said engineers disassembling the Tappan Zee feared the destabilized piece of the old bridge could fall.

“Given its proximity to the new completed span, out of an abundance of caution, motorists will remain in the current traffic configuration until a thorough evaluation by Tappan Zee Constructors is complete,” Driscoll said Saturday morning.

It’s unclear when the new eastbound span will open.

“The second span is finished and ready to open to traffic as soon as the Thruway Authority is assured there is no risk to the new span,” he added.

The discovery prompted the Coast Guard to close the navigational channel under the bridge and the traffic shift already underway was canceled late Friday.
Seriously, this is the guy running on his successes as an executive?

His only skill is moral degeneracy.

Tweet of the Day

Why some sensible people are getting to the point where they just want to see the world burn.

Capitalism increasingly resembles the fever dreams of Heath Ledger's portrayal of The Joker.

11 September 2018

Amazon is Evil, Part Many

Amazon applied for a patent that would literally put its workers in cages.

Following a mild media sh%$ storm, they are now saying that this was, "A bad idea," and that they would never do this.

Yeah, right:
No one ever said working at Amazon was a relaxed experience. The e-commerce giant is well known for its taxing workplace culture, but putting warehouse workers in cages seems a bit extreme, even for Amazon.

But a patent, granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to Amazon in 2016, would make that dystopian cubicle a reality. The patent shows a cage built for a human working in robot work zones, a small work station atop a robot trolley like the kind already used in Amazon warehouses to move shelving. The patent was highlighted in a study by two artificial intelligence (AI) researchers, New York University distinguished research professor Kate Crawford and director of the research lab Share Foundation Vladan Joler. In their analysis, Crawford and Joler noted “an extraordinary illustration of worker alienation, a stark moment in the relationship between humans and machines.”

When the study was reported by news outlets including The Seattle Times, there was (predictable) blowback on social media. Amazon senior vice president of operations Dave Clark even weighed in on Twitter, explaining that even “bad” ideas are submitted for patents, and that the company has no plans to implement the cages.
Yeah, right.

They are saying, "Never," but I am hearing, "And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids!"

Live in Obedient Fear, Citizen!

In the ongoing corruption trials involving members of the Baltimore City police department, it has been revealed that Baltimore police officers routinely carry toy guns to plant on people when they shoot them:  (I missed this revelation when it came out 9 months ago)
Last week, the beginning of an explosive corruption trial involving eight members of Baltimore's elite Gun Trace Task Force revealed that a handful of Baltimore cops allegedly kept fake guns in their patrol cars to plant on innocent people—a failsafe they could use if they happened to shoot an unarmed suspect, the Baltimore Sun reports.

Detective Maurice Ward, who's already pleaded guilty to corruption charges, testified that he and his partners were told to carry the replicas and BB guns "in case we accidentally hit somebody or got into a shootout, so we could plant them." The directive allegedly came from the team's sergeant, Wayne Jenkins, the Washington Post reports. Though Ward didn't say whether or not the tactic was ever used, Detective Marcus Taylor—another cop swept up in the scandal—was carrying a fake gun almost identical to his service weapon when he was arrested last year, according to the Sun


But the BB gun testimony is particularly disturbing in light of 12-year-old Tamir Rice's death in 2014, the 13-year-old in Baltimore who was shot twice by cops in 2016 after he allegedly sprinted from them with a replica gun in his hand, and the 86 people fatally shot by police in 2015 and 2016 who were spotted carrying toy guns.
Think about that if you are ever on a jury, or a grand jury, investigating a shooting by a cop.

10 September 2018

Linkage (Rosh Hashanah Edition)

I queued this up for a post a few days ago.

If only the Australian Government were so honest:

09 September 2018

Rule Number 1 of Telcos: They Will F%$# the Consumer Whenever They Can

Rule number 2 is: GOTO 1

Case in point, wireless carriers got caught throttling Netflix and Youtube:
Anyone holding out hope that the Federal Communications Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules wouldn’t affect their internet better brace for some bad news. New research from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Northeastern suggests that all of the major U.S. telecom companies have been throttling traffic to and from apps like Netflix and YouTube. That means customers are getting lower quality video, because the internet service providers say so.

The data that backs up this startling claim comes from over 500,000 tests that looked at more 2,000 ISPs worldwide. Everything was collected through an app called Wehe, developed by the researchers, that has been downloaded by over 100,000 people. This amounts to one of the largest studies of its kind. Verizon appears to be the biggest culprit with 11,100 instances of what the researchers call “differentiation,” most of which involves throttling. AT&T was spotted treating traffic differently 8,398 times, and they identified T-Mobile doing it almost 3,900 times.

Need a few more stats to get angry? The throttling observed through the Wehe app was not minor. Bloomberg gives an example of a recent test wherein “Netflix speeds were 1.77 megabits per second on T-Mobile, compared with the 6.62 megabits-per-second speed available to other traffic on the network at the same time.” That’s about one third as fast. David Choffnes, one of the researchers behind the Wehe app, says YouTube, Amazon Prime Video, and NBC Sports have been throttled in similar ways.


None of this means that big telecom companies will change how they’re operating. Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile all told Bloomberg that these instances of differentiation simply meant that they were managing internet traffic. “And people probably don’t notice because the video still streams at DVD quality levels,” Bloomberg reports. “If you want high-definition video, you can pay more, the carriers say.”


We don’t know what will happen next in that fight, but one thing does look very clear. Given the opportunity, it looks like big telecom companies can and will throttle internet traffic, unless their customers pay more money. Extrapolated over time, this principle could fracture the internet as we know it into fiefdoms and walled gardens, where only the rich get access to certain information and services. If this sounds like a bad idea, you can email Ajit Pait at this address.
I think that the best solution is public ownership of telecommunications services, but I tend to be fairly far along that philosophical axis, so YMMV.

The Mistake Jet Abides

It looks like there will be another delay for the f-35:
The troubled $1.5 trillion F-35 program is not ready to begin the critical combat-testing phase, the Pentagon’s testing director said in a previously undisclosed August memo obtained by the Center for Defense Information at the Project On Government Oversight (POGO). That decision marks another setback in the development of the Pentagon’s largest acquisition program.

The memo, issued on August 24, 2018, says the program has not met the necessary entry criteria to begin the crucial combat-testing phase called Initial Operational Test and Evaluation (IOT&E). It comes on the heels of the revelation, reported first by POGO, that program officials have been trying to make it appear as though the program has completed the development phase, by altering paperwork to reclassify potentially life-threatening design flaws to give the appearance of progress rather than actually fixing them.
This has gotten to be a remarkably routine thing:  The aircraft experiences problems, so the program managers move the goal posts.

It's no way to develop a successful weapon system.

08 September 2018

Also, Not a Surprise

The minimum wage increases that started four years ago in SeaTac are spreading across the country, but economists continue to study – and disagree about – the impact of the new policies on pay and jobs.

The latest look at increased wage floors in six U.S. cities, including Seattle, finds that food-service workers saw increases in pay and no widespread job losses. That reinforces the conclusions that the same group of University of California, Berkeley, researchers reached in 2017 after studying the impact just in Seattle.

This time, the Berkeley researchers examined Seattle, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, Chicago and Washington, D.C., where minimum wages at the end of 2016 – the end of the study period – ranged from $10 to $13.

“We find that they are working just as the policymakers and voters who enacted these policies intended,” said Sylvia Allegretto, co-author of the report and co-chair of Berkeley’s Center on Wage and Employment Dynamics. “So far they are raising the earnings of low-wage workers without causing significant employment losses.”
This is the latest in a series of studies showing the same effects, but it won't change the minds of the Freshwater (conservative) economists, because they are even more impervious to reality than the economics field as a whole.

Not a Surprise

Since Amazon's takeover of Whole Foods, the lot of its employees has deteriorated.

There have been benefit cuts, layoffs, and the implementation of a new centralized inventory system that has led to empty shelves and crushed worker morale.

Think of it as the, "Amazon Way," transferred from their hellhole warehouses to the local grocery store.

Now there is an aggressive effort to unionize, which is not a suprise

From the moment that Whole Foods sold out to Amazon, it was clear that the lip service that the grocer had paid to treating its employees well was, to quote Ron Zeigler, "Inoperative":
A group of workers at Whole Foods Market is leading an effort to establish a union for the Amazon-owned company’s 85,000+ workforce.

In a letter addressed to Whole Foods employees, the group — members of Whole Foods’ cross-regional committee — wrote that they are “concerned about the direction” of Whole Foods in an Amazon era. The letter outlines several demands, including a $15 minimum wage for all employees, 401k matching, paid maternity leave, lower health insurance deductibles and more.

“We cannot let Amazon remake the entire North American retail landscape without embracing the full value of its team members. The success of Amazon and [Whole Foods] should not come at the cost of exploiting our dedication and threatening our economic stability,” they wrote.


The letter, which calls out both Jeff Bezos and Whole Foods’ CEO John Mackey directly, says there will “continue to be layoffs in 2019 and beyond as Amazon aims to aggressively trim our labor force before it expands with new technology and labor models.”

Since the Amazon acquisition, several hundred Whole Foods workers have been laid-off as Amazon infuses “Whole Foods with its efficient, data-driven ethos,” per The Wall Street Journal. Shoppers, however, have saved millions as a result of the shake-up.


Here’s the full letter, obtained by New Food Economy.

07 September 2018

Well, Now We Know What it Takes for Alex Jones Banned from Twitter

Because he just got banned from Twitter.

Twitter is not being particularly forthcoming about the proverbial straw that broke the proverbial camel's proverbial back, but I think that what got Dorsey to stop protecting him was that, he finally had to meat Jones in meat space:

A peanut gallery of three white supremacists and conspiracy theorists are watching Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey testify before Congress Wednesday.

All three have been banned from major social media platforms for violating their rules — and they’re using today’s hearings to confront them, and to try to force members of Congress to stand by them.

Alex Jones, a well-known internet conspiracy theorist, sat in the audience at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing to “face his accusers,” referring to Sandberg and Dorsey. Also in the front row at the hearing was internet troll Charles Johnson; Twitter banned him from the site permanently after he threatened to “take out” a Black Lives Matter activist. Present on the Hill as well was Laura Loomer, an alt-right activist who alleged that the shootings at a high school in Santa Fe, Texas, were staged; she has been suspended from Facebook and Twitter in the past.
That's Jones on the right, and Dorsey on the left, and, rather inexplicably, a glass-hole* wearing a congressional staffer (see the name tag) and a really tall guy in between them.

So the reason that Alex Jones is gone from Twitter, is not for doxxing the families of victims of mass shootings and forcing them to move, and not for calling for violence against people, it is for coming within about 2 meters of Jack Dorsey, and as a very rich man, Dorsey wants to remain apart from such unpleasantness.

Jack Dorsey is an asshole ……… standing next to a glass-hole.

*Someone out there is still wearing Google Glasses, and they are known as glass-holes.