Tuesday, November 6, 2018

October links: even more to catch up with

Writings by Jamal Khashoggi. Collusion and repression in Saudi Arabia, and the Muslim Brotherhood. Khashoggi was murdered and dismembered in a Saudi consulate in Turkey. A fast survey of power balance in the Middle East.

New bombing and terrorism. "Bet it's a Democrat." says a clueless commenter on Breitbart. Some people are either too stupid or too partisan to realize that there are extremists among them. The bomber talked a lot of shit, but complied with the work requirements of his boss, a lesbian. Here are some of the lies that the shooter in a synagogue believed.

Old terrorism. Again, there is some twerp claiming that the driver at Charlottesville isn't a murderer. How many times does this have to be refuted? Some people can't deal with the facts, and have to make up lies that allow them to excuse the actions. The videos taken of the car speeding. The lies about self-defense. White supremacists charged with violence at the rally.

Not a deficit hawk. The GOP doesn't care about deficits, and have increased it greatly in the past year.

How to lower healthcare costs. Focus on the providers. Limit payments to them. What doesn't work: making patients pay a higher share. Sorry, libertarians, but your theory is a bust.

Foreign policy inertia is good. Trump hasn't been able to wreck the foreign policy throughout the world, even though he is president and he's a foreign policy idiot. My comments on the thread: if you're going to scream about how bad the US is, step up and name someone who think would do a better job.

Humorous failed plot to smear Mueller. Try to bribe women to accuse him. Gosh, it fell apart. Who would have guessed. Incidentally, one of the crooks was behind the Seth Rich lies too.

Image: washingtonpost.com

Sunday, November 4, 2018

October links: too many

GOPers learn to negotiate. The GOPers in Congress learned and managed to fund the government. No shutdown. Trump was out of the loop.

Lying scummy politics. A scummy, lying trick in a campaign ad. Chris Collins, indicted for insider trading, gives a completely false translation of his opponent's words.

A lying scientist. Cornell

Trump outrageous again. I think it's part of his plan. In love with NK dictator.

Revision of a critique on conservatism. Maybe it is a lot of paranoia. This is a very good read--maybe the most important in several months.

Dangers in US-China relations. Link.

Coerced sex is legal. If done by police.

Russia investigation update. A Trump operative considered using phony accounts. Buried in this article: sentencing for Manafort and Flynn. Does that mean the investigation is almost over? I'm guessing yes. You don't sentence your informants until they have fulfilled their side of the bargain.

Famous for 15 minutes. A mom screws up against #metoo. Funny.

California voter registration. Always curious about this black hole.

Climate change links.

Anti-democracy. Georgia puts voter applications on hold.

Antifa and Nazis are still fighting, but I lost the link.

Image: aip.org

Friday, October 5, 2018

Charges against Judge Kavanaugh

If one person comes out with a story about Brett Kavanaugh with a lot of gaps in the details and no witnesses, it's not too credible. When the count gets up to four people, it becomes more credible. Now there are over 8 people on the record with their names and what they witnessed. It includes drunkeness, aggressive behavior, and sexual aggression toward women. And that doesn't count numerous people who wouldn't release their names.

I find the charges against Kavanaugh plausible, but that doesn't mean much. It means he might well have been there and he might physically have been able to do the actions he's accused of. I don't believe arguments like 'it's not within his character' or 'she's so honest there's no way she's lying.' Those arguments aren't convincing to me unless I peronally know the extreme credibility of the character witness. Why? Because 'it's not within his character' has been said about too many serial killer, serial molesters, etc.

So the charges are plausible. It's also plausible that Ford is lying or mistaken. That's why the investigation is important. It's not going to be easy. Many people are not going to want to talk about their wild times in high school or college. If they're conservatives, as many of Kavanaugh's supporters are, they may not want to reveal his dirty past for political or tribal reasons. If they were friends, they may want to remain silent and loyal. That makes it hard for Kavanaugh to clear his name. The suspicions will linger. There's no way around that. It's an injustice built into suspicion, and it's impossible to remove it from people's brains.

If Christine Blasey Ford is lying, she figured out quite a cunning lie to tell. It's one that fits the pattern of Kavanaugh's partying. She's obscured details like where and when to make it harder to disprove. But she's done it in ways that are somewhat believable. I do have a couple problems with her story, which is her not remembering how she got to the house and how she left. Particularly not knowing how she left, I'm left wondering if she went back into the party. I wonder if she's leaving out details that which might undercut her story of how traumatized she was. It's also possible that she dissociated, and lacks the memory for that reason. Or there could be other reasons her memory is poor. I'm not an expert on memory, and I'm not sure anyone is expert enough to sort this out. Of course, a strong reason to conclude Ford hasn't fabricated the story is that she told her therapist and husband years ago, with therapy notes to confirm that. It's hard to fabricate a lie in advance.

This is one of those times when an infallible truth serum would be so helpful. I wish I could ask them both, and get the real story, not the one sorted and selected for the audience in the American public. But that's not possible, and we humans are such cunning animals. We aren't to be trusted. So what to do? We're left trying to make judgments in our imperfect ways. That's life.

Image: dailykos.com

Extras. This will be very long because I did a lot of research and want to save the info I found.

Transcript of Ford's and Kavanaugh's testimony. Julie Swetnick's sworn complaint. And another from another client of Avenatti. Decoding Kavanaugh's yearbook entry. Lots of references to sex and especially drinking. A letter from Kavanaugh to his friends about Beach Week, with lots of details and insider info. About Mark Judge's books.

Tucker Carlson and very sloppy argumentation. Weaknesses of Ford's story, and ignoring its strengths and supporting info. Biased assessment. As counterpoint, defending youthful mistakes--of privileged white guys, but not others.

Run down on two of the allegations. Rather complete at the time, so good detail. Private school culture at that time and place. Some sources fully identified. Also this article, which talks about gang rapes which weren't called gang rapes. A first-hand account by the author, so a named eye-witness. However, the parties are from the mid 1980s, so a few years after Kavanaugh graduated.

More people remembering Kavanaugh very drunk.  And more, with a follow-up. Others asked not to be named. A police report of Kavanaugh involved in a bar fight while at Yale, discrediting one of his character witnesses. Witnesses about Kavanaugh: Liz Swisher, Christine Keating, Lynne Brookes, James Roche, Charles Ludington, Elizabeth Rasor, Daniel Livan, Sean Hagan, Kerry Berchem, Kenneth Appold. Other named participants who should be thoroughly interviewed (which didn't happen) Mark Judge, Leland Keyser and Patrick Smythe. Also Renate Dolphin because she might have some very interesting stories to share.

A very critical analysis of Kavanaugh's testimony with numerous lies and evasions pointed out. Plus a companion piece on why Kavanaugh would be a harsh, rotten justice.

Inspired by Ford, a woman reveals her rape at a frat party many years ago. Is it fair for him to have to face consequences so many years later? Is it required that the survivor just let it go?

The very rigid rules for reading the FBI report, which forbids 'characterizing' the information. Looks like the FBI investigation is brief, limited, and a whitewash.

Update 11/5/18. A Republican consultant remembers being anger and aggressive at a conference meeting with Ken Starr. She's very disappointed with GOPers sweeping it under the rug.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Right-wing media lie, again

The Washington Times was sued about a Seth Rich story it published, and has had to settle the case with a full retraction. That's how much work it takes to get most right-wing media outlets to correct their lies--a court case. And this might have been lucky too, because the Times made the mistake of making claims about Seth Rich's brother, who was the plaintiff.

So whereas the Times claimed that it was 'well known in intelligence circles' that Rich and his brother leaked the DNC emails, it turns out that's completely wrong.

So, is that the only punishment? The settlement is sealed, so we don't know if money was involved. However, there is no report of the Washington Times firing anyone for the mistake. That makes it like the other lies from other right-wing outlets. No one gets fired for birther nonsense, or Shirley Sherrod, or any other fabrication. There's basically no downside in conservative media for lying because no one is held to account. Yet again.

Image: the must trusted foxnews.com

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Ten years after the crisis

Bloomberg, my favorite opinion site, had a bunch of reflections on the 2008 financial crisis and what has happened since then. Some of it makes me worried. We might have avoided a worldwide depression then, but have we just delayed an inevitable reckoning. Or have we learned the intricate methods needed to deal with financial crises, so that we're probably safe?

Just to review, the Great Depression in the US in the 1930s was rather horrid. Unemployment at 25%, wages low, people hungry, in worn shoes and clothes, living off the kindness of family, scratching out a living. However, many more people lived on farms back then, so they could provide susbsistence living. Should a depression occur now, we'd have that many more people totally dependent on others, with no means to even feed themselves. (And we have a lot more weapons now too. Will crime be a horrendous problem if we have another depression?)

One author is optimistic that emerging economies won't have a crisis like we did in 2008. That was sparked by too much savings chasing risky investments in pursuit of return. Emerging markets are riskier and give higher returns, so they might seem vulnerable to fright-and-flight in a crisis. But that's less likely for two reasons: 1) Emerging markets are now a standard part of large portfolios, not just a high-risk high-return asset, and 2) local investment pools are larger and will grow even more as pensions become important in emerging countries.

Another article isn't optimistic. It's about a world swimming in debt, with little hope to pay it off. Somehow I'm overly worried about this. I figure everyone takes a haircut, tightens their belts, and lives, though less lavishly.

Image: en.actualitix.com

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

September links

Good news about elections. Elections were administered more fairly in 2016 compared to 2012. The metrics included wait times, which is a good check on whether there is enough equipment in a given area.

Superdelegates and Dems. The DNC has reformed how superdelegates will work. It's a technical change, but the last paragraph in the report may be the most telling. Worth a read, truly

Supreme Court nominee on immorality. Brett Kanavaugh, nominee for the Supreme Court, had a blistering view of Bill Clinton, his immoral behavior, and his lying. I have to wonder how Kanavuagh will rule on such issues when he's on the Supreme Court. I'll be watching.

Responsibility for preventing rape. A professor writes an analysis of some arguments about rape prevention. He tries to claim that he's following logic, but appears to stack the deck in his framing of the two sides of the issue. I give him a D on logic.

Who's responsible for Trump? Fascinating discussion on whether having Obama as president caused the election of Donald Trump. Obama says no, but the article comes down on the 'yes' side, but not in a way that is harsh on Obama. Instead, it is harsh on racial resentment present among white Americans.

How Americans process news. A nice slice of life--on a fairly busy newsday, ask Americans what's happening. Write down the answers. Find out some interesting facets about Americans.

Alex Jones update. Regular readers (if they exist) know I intensely dislike Alex Jones. Here he is being quite an annoying asshole. Love the title of the post.

Image: fortune.com

Trump administration in disarray - Not news

Trump got a double-whammy last week. A new book by Bob Woodward was leaked. It detailed many cases when Trump's advisers got fed up with his egotism and lack of focus on important national and international issues. Also, an adviser went to the New York Times with similar stories. The NYT allowed the person to write an anonymous editorial.

None of this is new. There have been leaks about Trump not understanding issues from the beginning of his presidency, when Pence (possibly) had to tell Trump that Mike Flynn was compromised and had to be fired. Trump seemed to think he could shut down the investigation into his campaign's connections to Russia, but found out he doesn't have the power to stop investigations.

So, really, it's not news that Trump is frequently at odds with his advisers. We don't need a recitation of the scores of episodes. Vox has a fascinating discussion about who leaked to Bob Woodward, based on clues from the book itself. His main sources are all former advisers with the exception of Linsday Graham, the senator.

It seemed likely that  Trump would blow a gasket over the twin strikes on his credibility. However, Trump actually handled it pretty well (except for his reaction in the first 24 hours). He took the stand that the NYT is steeped in fake news, and he's actually doing very well as president if you look at economics and policy initiatives like trade. He said that with seeming confidence, as though he was prepared with a strong defense that he found believable.

The motivation behind the anonymous NYT editorial is muddy. If you have to sneak around to stop Trump for doing stupid actions, why would you tell him and the entire country? Trump isn't strongly going after the leaker in his midst. No high profile lie detector tests. No one claiming to be the leaker, no one blowing the whistle on a fellow adviser. I think this leaker may not be identified. If so, he'll just be one of many leakers. Can't name them all, and definitely can't fire them all. Got to live with them.

Image: washingtontimes.com

Extras. Trump's advisers didn't know what White House counsel Don McGahn (a public employee, not a private lawyer) told Mueller in extensive interviews. Oh, more disarray. Surprised?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Reflections on economics

I read articles very carefully, always trying to learn new information or views I haven't encountered before. I also read comments that way. This comment is from an article on a financial crisis that is looming:
As to QEs, this is the only way for the Western economies to keep growing, nominally. You can call this idiotic, but they simply need much bigger monetary bases just to stay where they are. This needs to be reflected in prices. Since the last EM crisis of 1997-1998 Dollar devalued by about 4 times relative to the variety of asset classes - from oil to stocks to gold to real estate to China's hard currency reserves. Commodities, as an asset class, cannot sink for long. Supply and demand, of course, play a role, but as an asset class they have to reflect the value of the currency they underpin (primarily through oil). The oil price may be hurt longer term only if the monetary base contracts. Do you think this is going to happen? If yes, this will, of course, hurt everyone. Weak EMs will drop first. Americans may think they will get out relatively unscathed as they did in 1998, with capital flowing to "safe haven". I guess that is what they would like to see.
The difference between then and now is that China is now way bigger and is going to be the major beneficiary of any collapse in commodities along with EU and India. America has deteriorated into a resource economy and is now going to be hurt much more than in 1998, along with a number of its trading partners and allies such as Australia, Canada and Mexico.
As to Russia. It is indeed more a bystander now. Watching how others struggle, mostly.--Dmitry Vakin (commenter)
There are very specific predictions made here, and we can see if they are fulfilled or not.

I haven't been formally educated in economics, but I'm very numerate. I've been watching economic issues all my life, even longer than my interest in politics. As someone with an interest in numbers, it's impossible for me to ignore prices, wages, taxes, spending, etc. I swim in this daily. So I'm not ignorant of economics.

One thing I want to see is how an economically advanced country handles population stabilization and minor population loss. I'm watching Japan. It's not making me scared because Japan doesn't appear to be imploding. It looks quite stable to me. So I'm hoping to see economic ideas based on steady-state rather than growth.

In contrast to Japan, I also see countries like Haiti, the Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. Populations have exploded with dire consequences. There's a lesson, but too few learn it.

Japanese public housing
japanpropertycentral.com

Friday, August 17, 2018

August links

Alex Jones banned. The conspiracy theorist that Trump loves has been suspended on a bunch of major social media sites. A good article that focuses not on Alex Jones, but on the issues of moderation on social media. Twitter lagged behind, but it's not clear why. Lack of clarity was a theme.

Stalin's useful idiots updated. A great article by someone with a Russian name. Full of energy and unfamiliar angles. I think conservative talk radio types have been incredibly useful to the Russians, but the author points out it's not just them.

Success of solar and wind. Having excess energy due to solar and wind generation is happening more and more. Power companies may not be happy, but this is what I wanted as an environmentalist and someone who cares about the future.

China's misbehavior. China demanded and probably deserved some slack as it was developing, but it's quite a developed nation now. A former Obama administration official gives a blunt assessment that she didn't have the candor to give while Obama was in power. China also wants to make sure it has plenty of company as an authoritarian country. It's even helping Venezuela.

Reference link to save. Concerning where terrorists are most active. Great graphics with some interactive features.

Image: storymaps.esri/com

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Is it a hate group?

Conservatives like to claim that the Southern Poverty Law Center, the long-time watchdog on hate groups, is now a hate group itself. They want to make this claim because the SPLC has labeled some of their favorite organizations as hate groups, including the Family Research Council.

This time I looked into the Alliance Defending Freedom. It's been active in lawsuits, such as defending the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. From what I know, that baker isn't filled with hate, and defending him isn't what I'd call hateful either.

However, the SPLC has quite a solid complaint against the group for supporting laws that mandated sterilization of transgender people who wanted official name and gender changes. It also has a list of other positions against transgender and gay people, with the worst behavior over a decade ago, but several incidents in the past 5 years.

The Alliance (ADF) tries to look friendly and not hateful on its website, but some of the hate comes through. It lies about Planned Parenthood--but isn't that de rigeur for any conservative group? It claims it supports rights and freedom, but doesn't mention how not all rights get their respect. Some people's rights are obviously more important than the rights of those gays.

ADF lawyer moving up.
Image: thenation.com

Monday, August 13, 2018

Nazis one year later

This will be rough and quick. Last year the Nazis and white supremacists showed their mettle, and it was disgusting stuff. I predicted they'd be badly hurt, and they were. For the anniversy of Charlottesville, they had a horrible showing at a rally in Washington DC. Maybe only 40 people showed up, and they billed themselves as a 'free speech rally' where the emphasis was going to be on white civil rights.

The organizer, Jason Kessler, is still making one of the big mistakes of the movement by not denouncing the guy who ran over protesters last year, killing one of them. The ugliness of their response was a big part of why people shut down on them. They didn't even think random killing was ugly--they didn't even have that bit of decency. Perhaps as nasty as concentration camp guards. Not a good look for people hoping to gain popularity.

Here are some links:

  • A long video, much of it from within the 'free speech' group. 
  • Reporting from Vox.com. Short, pithy.
  • Reporting from Vox.com on bad behavior from antifa protesters. No surprise there.  Somewhat sympathetic in that they point out how it hurts the cause.
  • Fox news reporting on the same topic. The last video shows how Fox subtly slants their coverage in ways not noticeable in print. 

Kessler and his small cohort within a square of yellow vested police
Image: bloomberg.com

Monday, August 6, 2018

Late July links

Manafort's trial will bare Putin's methods. Excellent article that clarifies the issues and the importance of Manafort's trial. It will reveal how Putin buys influence. See it with Manafort and multiply by hundreds.

Russian trolls still active. Facebook uncovers some. Same sort of tricks. No, it's not a hoax perpetrated by the deep state. Details here--screen after screen after screen.

Russia timeline. I'm parking the link because I may want to look at this again. Seems fairly complete, but I didn't look all that closely.

Socialists in the Dems. What they want now and in the future. Their hopes for the future include an end to capitalism. Yep, they are communists and want to nationalize the oil companies. Maybe communists-lite. Like Venezuela.

Scary loners. A detailed look at online groups for men angry that they aren't getting laid. They blame women, blame society, blame other men, and fantasize about horrific actions. These men are called 'incels' for involuntary celibates. Portrait of a scare loner/mass shooter. The Las Vegas police released their report on their invetigation into the man who killed 58 people using his arsenal in a hotel room. This is good, readable summary. In his case, there weren't enough warning signs.

Yet another conspiracy group. Yawn. This one is called QAnon. I'm not going to waste my time on a summary, but again Dems are running pedophile rings.

How to assess Trump. Ignore him, ignore what he says. Look only at what gets done. I kind of agree with this. Trump is trying to capture attention, but it's pretty useless to look at what he says. So I agree. Ignore him. Stay educated about what he's saying, but put no stock in it. Ignore the distraction and home in on what actually happens. A good read, and solid advice... for now.

Journalist survives her tweets. A controversial hire by the New York Times won't be fired even though she lashed out at white people. Good. Context is important, and so is putting the matter into perspective.

Image: pinterest.com

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Still searching for neutrality

I've wanted to find unbiased news sources for a long time with no luck. On my primary goal, at least. However, my latest look yielded some interesting sites.

AP news may be the leasst biased source. I'll be checking it out regularly for a while.

Media Research Center has some reasonable reporting on the influence of George Soros, and how biased many news outlets are, including ProPublica. However, its associated news site cnsnews.com is terribly biased too. Way to show us how to combat bias. With more bias, I guess.

Numerous hits directed me to a site as bad as InfoWars. It's called YourNewsWire.com. Especially bad/funny/sickening is its science news.

AllSides.com - I'll be checking for whether it's a fair source.

FAIR says it's been challenging media bias since 1986 (the same year as my epiphany about media bias). I'll less hopeful about this. Articles are geared more to media issues.

Reuters is supposed to be less biased than Bloomberg. I'll be checking out their commentary section to see if that's true. It would be great to find incisive commentary that doesn't follow party lines, and preferably skewers party line.

Unfortunately, no breakthroughs. Sigh.


 Image: quora.com


Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Why am I looking at a FISA warrant?

I don't regular see FISA warrants. Very few people do. They are secret warrants for gathering intelligence on foreign sources. Foreign Intelligence Something Act. Surveillance maybe?

But I'm looking at a warrant because the FBI requested a warrant to spy on Carter Page, an adviser to the Trump campaign on foreign issues, especially Russia. Numerous conservatives have accused the FBI of corruptly spying on the Trump campaign, saying that the warrant was a fraud, and the spying was a conspiracy to blah blah blah.

So a bunch of congressmen demanded a copy of the warrant, which was supplied with large redactions. Not surprising for a secret warrant really. That's the idea of secrets--you don't show them around. I love the picture of one page of the warrant with its redactions.

Carter Page, among others, claims that the warrant is an outrage against his rights as an American. Such warrants are supposed to be granted only on the basis of probable cause, whatever that means. OK, I'll look up what it means. Oh dear, it's rather broad. However, Page going to Moscow, reportedly seeing Russian intelligence agents, fulminating against sanctions on Russia while working on the Trump campaign, maybe there's enough probable cause there.

According to a fancy lawyer writing for the Brennan Center:
"... we cannot imagine the FBI that we know after decades of combined experience would ignore the evidence that was presented to them and decline to seek a warrant for Carter Page when it did. In fact, if the FBI had failed to investigate such allegations, we (and the American people) would’ve been entitled to find them derelict in carrying out their duties."
I definitely don't have experience in how much foreign contact is fine and how much is worrying. I have to depend on others to make that call in an unbiased way. If it turns out that Carter Page wasn't peddling influence to the Russians, that's good. However, maybe he was just careful not to leave an electronic trail. So, really, I'll never know if he's innocent, only if he's guilty and the evidence comes out. That's asymetry for you.


 Image: washingtonpost.com

Thursday, July 26, 2018

A rapist

Brock Turner, a pretty white boy, former student at Stanford University and former swim champion, raped an unconscious woman he picked up at a boozy college party. He's trying to get one of his convictions overturned, and his lawyer is claiming he never intended to rape.

Let me explain something to you, Brock, and to anyone else who participates in the activities I'm going to describe.

  • When you drag or carry or herd an extremely drunk person to an out of the way place, you're probably planning a rape, and thus are a rapist. 
  • If you remove her bra, you're a rapist. 
  • If you pull down the top of her dress, you're a rapist. 
  • If you pull her skirt up high, all the way above the waist, you're a rapist. 
  • If you remove her panties, you're a rapist. 
  • If you touch her ass or genitals, you're a rapist. 
  • If you stick your fingers into her vagina, you're a rapist. 
  • If you hump her, you're a rapist. 
  • If you don't manage to get your cock out and into her, you're still a rapist. 
There's no way, Brock Turner, you aren't a rapist. You are a rapist. Making excuses just shows that you're an unrepentant rapist.

Men who don't want to be known as rapists, here's something you can do: Don't rape anyone. Don't even get close. There's not a fine line between raping someone and not raping them. It's a very wide line, and don't even start crossing it. That's how you avoid rape, and how you avoid being a rapist.

A worldwide problem
Image: voiceofmuslim.in


Extras. The victim's statement is a tower of strength. No exaggeration in it, but she totally takes the defendant apart in all his slimy nastiness and double-talk.

Update 8/9/18. His appeal was rejected. The court found there was sufficient evidence for conviction, counter to his appeal claim.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

July links

Travel ban ruling. A careful look at the travel ban (from some Muslim majority nations) and the issues involved. The Supreme Court decision and the dissent are haunted by the decision in the 1940s to intern Japanese-Americans. None of the justices want to make a mistake like that again. But there are other interesting issues, like whether waivers are being granted to those with clearly legitimate needs to visit the US. Definitely eye-opening and different from the usual partisan screamfest.

A history of the politics of Supreme Court nominations. A clear, easy read. I prefer the times when competence was the issue. However, the Bork nomination and anger over it eroded that. This prompted me to look into Bork again, and I found this strong statement of opposition to Bork--that he had no problem with discrimination and segregation as a personal choice of a business owner. Nor did he have any sympathy for the accidentally pregnant. It was the right thing to defeat this nomination. (I've written about before about the history of the Supreme Court.)

Poor standards at Fox News again. This time, Fox reported, Trump tweeted and both were wrong. This isn't actually news, but someone should keep score of how bad news orgs are.

Inside look at land management issue. This is a rare topic, but important for the future. Good choices on land management are a boon. Bad choices are a blight. I've seen it first hand on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Why is congress such a circus? There's actually an answer to that question. Gods be praised, and count me surprised. The answer is--messaging is still very important in Congress, but policy isn't. The number of pragmatic policy staff have been greatly reduced, but not the 'communications' people.

The latest winner in Syria... Is Israel. Read about the power plays between Israel, the US, Syria, Russia, and Iran. Fascinating. Seems coherent and solid to me. Will I still think so in a few years?

Image: economist.com

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Crazy week in Russia-related matters

Trump, glowingly thinking he does great at summits, decided to have a summit with Putin. It was set for a Monday. The Friday beforehand, Mueller released indictments against 12 Russian military personnel for hacking the DNC and related crimes. The indictment document is an interesting read concerning who, what, where (including Indonesia) and how. A piece of icing in the indictment: a congressional candidate and a lobbyist are in big PR trouble because they requested dirt from those lovable Guccifer guys.

Then Trump went to Europe and had a one-on-one talk with Putin. Many people get very nervous about such a meeting--I don't. Trump doesn't live up to the promises he makes out loud in front of thousands of people, so he's not going to live up to any promises he makes behind closed doors. Also, I fully expect him to say foolish shit, and so does everyone else. Maybe he'll blab secrets, but our national security is aware of that so they won't brief him with anything that shouldn't be blabbed. And what he heard last week, he won't remember. Ok, clearly I'm not worried.

Prior to the summit, some GOPers were urging Trump to confront Putin about election interference, including Trey Gowdy and Ben Sasse. Yeah, likely Trump is going to stand up and do that. Trump is known mostly as a glad-hander at these summits with our frenemies. He wants to be liked, and he doesn't play tough. It was the same here. Praise for Putin.

A reporter asked him a gotcha question whether, in light of the indictments, he told Putin not to meddle. Trump meanders and essentially says that Putin denies it, and 'why would he do it?' I think 'nothingburger, Trump being a wuss again.' I was wrong.

Why is this something that finally causes a firestorm? Even Newt Gingrich came down on him--for one tweet. Some of the hosts on Fox News, especially Neil Cavuto, came down hard. More than the usual number of GOP congressmen did too, but does that really matter? It hasn't before.

I don't know why, but this time it was different. One day later (Tuesday), Trump is offering the explanation that he misspoke. It was pretty tepid, and not very convincing (though good enough for Gingrich, that louse). Here's an interesting analysis of how Trump apologizes or backpedals: "Insult, grudging apology, double down. Repeat." These were his exact words:
Let me be totally clear in saying that — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place. [Pause] Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.
So Trump didn't really walk it back. Another attempt on Wednesday. This time, Trump finally seems more definite. Plus it's an interview with CBS, an MSM outfit instead of his softball friends at Fox News. No apology for his mistakes in the previous days, but a much stronger statement that Putin and the Russians were responsible. Currently, it's still Wednesday. Trump hasn't yet contradicted himself or softened what he said about Russian interference. Perhaps he has finally learned that he can't play that game of wink and nudge about Russian interference. Time will tell. Maybe if a month goes by and he's still on that page, it will be believable.

However, Trump is losing something--the narrative that Russian interference is a hoax by the deep state intelligence services. This isn't a small loss. So many conservative outlets have run with this fake story, as have plenty of lying congressmen. Now what?

It may be much harder for conservative media, Trump, and GOP congressmen to claim that the whole Russia accusation is a hoax and the Russia investigation is a witch hunt. I'll have to update this post in a month with info on what's happened. Real change? That would be amazing. [I'm a bit more sober today. It's hard to believe Trump will get the lesson through his thick skull. I expect more equivocation in the future, so no change.]


Image: mintpressnews.com

Extras. The plans of some congressmen to impeach Rosenstein will probably fizzle. Trump OK'ed the indictments prior to the summit. An explanation for why it's stupid to ask for the servers to be impounded. How White House staff got Trump to back pedal from Bloomberg and Vanity Fair. A bunch of theories about Trump's behavior toward Putin. Russia wants to move ahead on some of the agreements from the summit, but no US government officials know what those agreements are. Welcome to Trumpland! Get in line. We're still waiting for the beautiful healthcare plan.

Update maybe 7/24/18 (misplaced at first). Did Trump make deals with Putin? This is hilarious to me. I thought it would be great if the Russians had to deal with the shifting stories from Trump like we Americans have had to. Supposedly, it's been a problem. Per CNN, the Russian press has claimed there are deals, but not so fast. If they are only known to our idiot president, they don't actually count. Welcome to our world! And the cabinet and intelligence agencies have to try to figure out what Trump said. Good luck with that. It might be like analysis of a literary classic where the narrator can't be trusted--uncertain, full of speculation, and maybe fruitless. I predict no disasters because Trump isn't in control. He's basically a figurehead with no one pulling the strings.

Update 7/25/18. The Russians aren't getting anywhere, and have nothing hard to back up any claims. According to this article, they're settling for making the Americans uncomfortable by hinting. I'm surprised that's possible. Well, maybe for someone who takes Trump a bit seriously, which I don't.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Making stuff up

I think there is a lot of fake news floating around, and I suspect conservatives channel a lot of it. Remember the scare about Jade Helm? How Seth Rich was murdered because of the DNC hack? Pizzagate? Ambassador Stevens sodomized before he was killed?

Here's one that I learned today. Peter Strzok grew up in Iran, and then moved to Saudi Arabia. From that snippet, plus a letter signed by Peter Strzok where he is identified as a Section Chief, a fake news generator spins the most marvelous stories.

Peter Strzok didn't work for the FBI but was a deep state guy who slid into whatever position was required, working both for the FBI and CIA. This is all based on Strzok's signature on an FBI letter.

According to another fake news article, Strzok was:
...the key Middle Eastern Intel operative for the Iranian airline Mahan Air’s purchase of United States government planes during the Obama administration from 2011 to 2013. -- Big League Politics
Did this actually happen? I looked into it, and found an article about Iran trying to skirt sanctions and buy planes. 

The fake news article goes on to accuse Strzok of fixing the email investigation and then conveniently getting in on the Mueller investigation. What is this based on? "An insider." Or maybe someone making shit up.

With a quick search, I find that the FBI does indeed have 'section chiefs.' So that conclusion that Strzok really worked for the CIA was nothing but a lie.

I don't know how many people in our country work at fabricating these stories. Or how many more repeat them on youtube, websites, or fake news sites like InfoWars? How many more people then read this trash and believe it? It's insidious, and it should be exposed whenever possible. With extreme prejudice to the purveyors.

Image: bigleaguepolitics.com

Monday, July 16, 2018

Grilling the FBI agent

Peter Strzok is the reviled FBI agent to wrote all sorts of nasty texts about Trump using his official FBI phone. The texts were sent to an FBI colleague with whom he was having an affair, an interesting bit of spice but oh-so-common among Congressman, presidents, and assorted Washington folk.

Supposedly Strzok may have been in deep with the deep state that concocted the Russian interference hoax as part of a planned coup. That's according to the far-right conspiracy theorists, who really seem to believe this. (Sources 1, 2, 3.) And Fox News got heavily involved, showing that it isn't much different from the far-right conspiracy theorists. Everyone is now Alex Jones school-shootings-are-staged crazy.

This past Thursday, members of the House grilled Peter Strzok. It was a circus, with too many insane moments for complete discussion here. I'll pull out a couple bits I found significant.

Trey Gowdy, a one-man Jekyll-and-Hyde combo who can't decide whether to go full honest or full partisan, decided to grill Strzok about this text complaining about what an idiot Trump is. For some reason, Gowdy wants to take these off-hand texts as completely serious. (Scroll down here for the testimony.) Absurdly, he questions Strzok on what he meant when Strzok wrote the Clinton should win 100 million to zero. He refused to accept the answer that it was hyperbole, despite that it obviously was hyperbole. How does that make sense? How is that constructive at all as questioning?

Gowdy seems to have a special hatred for Strzok. Does Gowdy not know how people talk about Trump, and how Strzok is fairly representative? On the other hand, Gowdy can be realistic, like supporting the Mueller investigation and pointing out that there is no rationale for impeaching Rosenstein. This is a head-scratcher, but that's how Gowdy has been for a long time.

Stranger still...

Much more puzzling was Louie Gohmert's questioning. Gohmert appeared to be reading notes about the Inspector General for the intelligence community (ICIG) sending an investigator to verbally tell Strzok that Clinton's server had been hacked, something strange (an anomaly) installed, and emails copied and sent to a foreign account. Strzok remembered meeting with the investigator, but nothing else. Gohmert in incensed. How could such a finding be ignored by the FBI? Well, that's a good question. No one other than Gohmert seems to have information about this accusation. I have to wonder, was there a written report? Who was it sent to? Why didn't Horowitz, the Inspector General for the DOJ, mention it? And wasn't Hillary's server stored in some facility and wiped? How would an investigator find 'an anomaly' on it if that's true?

Gohmert seems to be the only person telling this story, which is a bit bizarre. I have to wonder if Gohmert got punked with a fabricated story using a few actual details, like the name of the IC Inspector General. So far, no reporters have followed up. But it can't be hard to call up the IC Inspector General and ask him about the server. I hope I get to read about it. It would be delicious if my theory was confirmed. I'll have to eat dirt if I'm completely wrong and there is an inspector's report to that effect.

Strzok's look of defiance
Image: 4videogames.com


Sunday, July 15, 2018

Delusions of GOP snowflakes

Too bad snowflakes. There is a fucking cloud over Trump's election. Russians hacked the Dems, released the materials, and it probably helped Trump. Without it, Clinton might have squeaked by and become a horrible president, giving mealy-mouthed speeches andcon making us wish it was 2020 already.

Instead, we have this ignoramus who can't accept that his PR plan accidentally landed him in the White House instead of with a bigger reality TV show.

So if you snowflakes want to pretend that nothing went wrong in the 2016 election, go ahead and look like fools.

Lots went wrong with that election. This country showed that we are well down the road to being the movie Idiocracy-- a movie where Americans have become so stupid that they don't remember arithmetic or how to grow crops. But they do listen to the twerps on TV who tell them stuff, like the FBI planned a coup against Trump and Russian hacking is simply a hoax. Some idiots believe that shit, like a twerp name Will on the comment thread here.

So you want to pretend Trump is a real president? Hey, we won the election, but he's a joke. The guy has no interest in important issues, only in his own image. He claimed to have saved the world from nuclear threat without actually checking whether that's true--because that would take work.

Hey, Italians had a bozo embarrassment as president too. I guess it's our turn. But please, don't pretend he's not an egotistical blowhard and an embarrassment. He shouldn't be president, and most people know that. It's a sad commentary on our political system that someone 100 times better didn't come along and toss him off the stage. Same on the Democratic side. This country has many good people, but our politicians suck. And considering the power entrusted to politicians, they are dragging us down with them. I'm not at all certain that we Americans will reverse this decline. It may be irreparable. By the time I'm 80, if I live that long, I may not be able to respect my own country. That is so sad.


Image: mercurynews.com

Monday, June 18, 2018

June links

This has been an interesting month. Real things are happening. The long-awaited Inspect General's report about the FBI has been released. Trump and the despotic leader of North Korea insulted each other and almost torpedoed their summit, but then it was back on. Of course Trump is acting like he's saved the world from a huge threat without caring about the details, reality, or truth. But that's not new for him. Trump is never about substance or reality. It's about the show and ratings.

FBI official taking the fifth. Congress wants testimony from Andrew McCabe (probably for partisan show). However, the Department of Justice is considering charges against him, so he'll probably take the fifth in front of Congress.Normally, I'd think that is terrible, but considering he's likely to be facing charges, it makes good sense. I'm not sure why, but I have a somewhat good impression of McCabe. Maybe because he hasn't showboated or thrown anyone under the bus. However, the current director of the FBI demoted him, so it seems like there is something questionable there. And the reaction from the new FBI director? 'We need more rigorous training in being fair.'

How bad is James Clapper? Clapper is one of the many boogeymen according to those in conservative circles who believe in the horror of the 'deep state.' There's him, Comey, Loretta Lynch, Brennan, Rosenstein, and probably countless others. What exacting did Clapper do to earn that reputation? I had to look it up because no one was repeating it, just that he was evil. Supposedly his huge sin was lying to Congress about the NSA data gathering programs. His real sin was saying that Trump is a liar and unserious (my paraphrase). In this write-up of an interview, Clapper makes a lot of sense. Michael Flynn was probably played by the Russians, the Russians probably did tip the election, but we're probably going to survive this and come out stronger afterward. Sensible and reasonable.

Round-up on Inspector General's report. CNN has a series of short, readable clips about the significance of the report. Alan Dershowitz, legal savant and media whore, blasts Comey based on information from the report. Nice to know that Dershowitz has an infallible sense of how to handle fraught situations. He thinks Rosenstein has to recuse himself, and then oversight will fall into the lap of someone who will oversee the Mueller probe with perfect judgment. No, wait, there shouldn't even be a special counsel because there are people in the Justice Department who can handle the investigation without bias... if we're lucky enough that they're the ones who are appointed to do it and nobody interferes with them, like firing them or pointing a biased person in to supervise them.

Educated observer's report on Russia. Just the kind of rationality we need to read sometimes. Strip away hype, fear, and posturing, and you get this kind of reporting. It's great to have non-hyped, non-scary reporting about Russia.

Educated analysis of Pax Americana. This is a fairly long read as my links go, but worthwhile in that it asks questions and looks behind the explanations and mythology of US policies. I read it with an eye to what realistic expectations should be, not idealized expectations. After all, we live in a real world with many dangers, and you have to respond to danger in ways that are effective.

History lesson about altruism. The US helped a lot of countries through the Marshall Plan, and benefited from the peace and prosperity it fostered. Or we could have had a lot more communism.

Resegregation via charter school. Some places in the US, segregation never ended. Now there is a new way to create it or support it, and it's funded via tax dollars.

Football kneeling protest. I'm a supporter of this protest, which I find to be very dignified and respectful. In fact, I can't find anything disrespectful in it. I liked this statement from one of the leaders of the Philadelphia Eagles about the controversy around the protest. I compare this with the insults leveled at players, and it's no contest whom I respect more.

Helpful information for a rare situation. A woman was recently killed by an alligator in Florida. This report tells how to avoid that (stay far enough away from waterfront at dusk, nighttime, and dawn), how to run, and how to fight if you need to. Not much to remember. Good advice.

Copy-paste internet threat. I didn't realize this was a thing. I don't believe the threats made against me over the internet. A few people may be savvy enough to figure out who I am, but very few. So the threats are so likely to be rubbish that I've never worried. But it's incredible and ridiculous to find out there is a meme of threat--a veritable script that people copy and adapt. I guess it's too much work to make up your own bizarre threats, so just borrow something.

Image: irishtimes.com

Friday, June 15, 2018

Spies from the FBI, oh my!

Since it was leaked that the FBI had an informant contact members of the Trump campaign, Trump has been trying to frame it as though his campaign was infiltrated and spied on for political purposes. This is most likely a mountain of hogwash, as it so often is when Trump opens his mouth or gets on twitter. The guy is such a glib liar that he probably only accidentally utters the truth. As a person who cares deeply about truth, I find this appalling. Trump, on the other hand, finds lies to be completely normal.

So Trump says his campaign was being spied on, and he calls it 'Spygate.' What do others, who perhaps remember what truth means, say about this?

There's an interesting contrast between this article from Huffpost and this one from Fox News. The Huffpost article focuses on a former Trump aide who's embarrassed by his conspiracy theorizing. The Fox article, starting at the headline, exaggerates the FBI operation as a 'web of informant contacts.'

If you swallow the story that this was politically motivated spying, then it looks terrible. Trump wants people to swallow that. Along those lines, Trump regularly claims that the Russia issue is a hoax, ignoring all the parts of it that are real and are known to really have occurred. Again, Trump doesn't care about the truth, just his narrative.

Trey Gowdy, as a former prosecutor, has some idea what is required in an investigation. He has spoken clearly that he supports this part of the FBI investigation:
"Based on what I have seen, I don’t know what the FBI could have done or should have done other than run out a lead that someone loosely connected with the campaign was making assertions about Russia..."
But conservatives can't agree on this, not even at National Review. To some of them, the FBI crossed a line that must not be crossed! They don't bother to say what intelligence agencies or the FBI are supposed to do when there is somewhat credible information of foreign influence on a campaign. Only that it is forbidden to investigate by covertly asking questions of the campaign.

Well, that argument is so weak that it crumbles as soon as someone asks what the FBI should do when it hears of criminal activity like hacking our elections. Critics are left sounding as though they want the FBI to 'stand down' -- not do anything. Maybe the FBI should go on twitter and label it all a hoax. Maybe the FBI no longer needs to do investigations and work to protect the US and enforce the laws, but can become a post-reality entity where truth is optional and random. But I'd kind of prefer them to continue the role they had before reality TV took over the presidency and so much of the electorate.

Image: philsp.com

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

May links 2

Conservative Supreme Court prunes worker rights. I appreciate both sides of this argument in general, but I think this isn't a good ruling. If we want a strong middle class in this country, we need support for workers. That's how we got the middle class.

Shootings. An account of what the school shooter from Santa Fe, TX said and did while killing his victim. Not a vantage point we usually get. Some details of police actions. Young Texans will probably not being leading marches for changes in gun laws. Accounts from first responders to the Las Vegas shooting. There were a lot of first responders, and it was more like a military battle because the shooter was so well armed and prepared.

More on Russia. For reference. The fake ads that Russians put out. So many that they are condensed in zip files. I don't really want to look, but I know I should. Mueller apparently used a Russian oligarch for a sensitive mercy mission. Not scandalous. Background on an undercover FBI informant who tried to find out what was happening in the Trump campaign. Trey Gowdy, in his sometimes-straight-sometimes-hack way, says that the FBI use of an informant in the investigation was appropriate. Great background and historical perspective on Russia.

Memorial Day reflection. When war becomes mundane and most Americans become detached, wars can linger and not be resolved.

Sessions changed immigration enforcement. Revealing and fascinating article about how Jeff Sessions (the Attorney General) is changing immigration enforcement. Chilling, surprising.

Background on fentanyl. I have some knowledge of fentanyl, but this was instructive even to me.

Timeline on scandal. Trump friends Michael Cohen and Elliott Broidy were gathering a lot of money. At this point in the investigation, it may be a partial timeline, but it's already long.

Revealing more sexual harassment. University of Southern California is being sued over the behavior of one of its gynecologists. Surprise - complaints were ignored.

More on the gold standard. One of my pet peeves is people who dogmatically think that the gold standard is workable. Another revealing story about FDR and his odd relationship with the gold standard.

Well, then don't act like one. Lawyer claims he's not a racist after his non-racist rant went viral. And that kind of rant isn't popular in New York City, the home of large number of immigrants.

Image: thefirearmblog.com

Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Commentariate must decide forum preferences

Ok folks. Some of us have discussed creating our own forum where we can have our discussions without concerns about the paywall. I started looking at some options. Here are three: (To see the detail, click on the image.)

1. Disqus. Advantages: We all already know it. Disadvantages: Nanny filter (possibly). Discussions deleted after 7 days by Disqus.


SPOKE TOO SOON ON THIS. SORRY.  It turns out that you can't create any new channels. Their documentation talks about how to do it, but you can't actually do it anymore. Instead, you have to find a channel where you already fit, and do your discussions there. THANK YOU SO MUCH, DISQUS, FOR NOT UPDATING YOUR DOCUMENTATION.

1 Alt. We migrate en masse to The Atlantic discussion group on Disqus, as recommended by johnny sunshine.

2. Bravenet. Advantages: Pick the way you want to view the discussions (topics). This includes a threaded view. Disadvantages: We have to trim posts once we get to 1000, but this will probably be less frequent than Disqus. When you're reading the messages, they aren't threaded as they are in Disqus, but they do have an easy-to-follow order.



3. Boardhost. Advantages: Best batch of tools for formatting and managing. Unlimited number of posts and visits. Disadvantages: No threading. The list of responses is simply chronological, so you can't reply to a specific comment without copying their comment into yours, and your reply gets put at the end of the list.



All these services are free, for now. All let people start new topic discussions, so any of us could start a new topic thread. All have admin tools. All have advertising, but I didn't get to see if it's annoying or not.

So, everyone, please discuss and say what you prefer. If anyone has other suggestions, please do the exploration of the features and let us know. It's certainly possible that there are better free services out there, but I don't have the time to hunt them down. Plus it has been aggravating. (Oh, you want threading, well, PAY UP!)

ALL COMMENTS ON THIS ISSUE BELOW, NOT ON OTHER POSTS.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

New STRIKE CENTRAL

Tony White asked me to put up this page for Bloomberg commenters to organize their strike. This is a one-week strike of commenters at Bloomberg View (maybe now called Bloomberg Opinion) arising from them putting up a pay wall. It's mostly an experiment to see if anyone other than the commenters here care.

ACTION PLAN FOR JUNE

1. Continue to get new people signed up.
2. Commenting is allowed and encouraged this week. Show that our words enhance the comment threads.
3. Continue to search for and try new sites to continue the unique conversation without the issue of paywalls. See this post.
4. Started the month with about 37 people signed up.

SIGNED UP ALREADY:

Tony White                                                   
mountaintraveler (Traveler)                         
Steeple                                                           
ModeratePoli                                                 
mb                                                                 
Yak Hearder                                                 
Howard Craft
Fish heads
yobubba
Sir Tainley
Keith Fenton
waynerober
bgdg
eyethink2
Epstein's Mother
Covfefe is my slave name
Johnny sunshine
Reaganite88
clandabbg
JC1010

Iseheijiro
LiberalSmallInvestor
Joe Brady
thrashertm
Zack Smith
M. Faizal Rasol
Dean Achison
DCoronata
The Contentious Otter
Justin Woodall
Lew
Joe_Hubris
Craig
Working Class Dog
Popcorn
Luc
Danno


HOW TO SIGN UP

Please sign up by leaving a comment on this page.

Very important: You don't have to register at all to sign up or comment. After writing your comment, follow these directions, as shown below:

1. Scroll down to the comment box and enter your comment there.
2. Click on the toggle by Name/URL.
3. Enter the name you use for Disqus.

Everything else with the comments is self-explanatory.

About the trolls who might feel interested in signing up, you can guess how much shit I'll put up with on my page. Be respectful or begone.

Even More Important

Tony has been the leader but with a huge openness to ideas and help across the board. I'll be updating this page to put important info at the top.

How to Reply to Comments

This site has limited capabilities for handling replies. Basically it's just a straight list of comments. Sorry, but that's what is available. If it's important to cite what you're replying to, name the person and quote their comment.

The BV Commentariate Mission Statement

We the "BV Commentariate" adamantly and vigorously oppose the new Bloomberg paywall. It is detrimental to both Bloomberg and its subscribers. Our strength lies in the promotion of readership for which Bloomberg benefits through greater advertisement exposure. Our unique and diverse group adds life, zest and value to every article. Our Motto is "Tear Down this Wall."

Rules:
1. When "on strike " all members are very, very, strongly urged to withdraw comment activities from Bloomberg Opinion on or View. (It is our major leverage)
2. While commenting during a strike is heavily frowned upon, it will not be grounds for "Dismemberment".
3. Anyone who signed up will only be removed upon their request.
4. Anyone can signup either here or by "in discussion request" to any existing member.
5. Posting during a strike is acceptable for the following:
a. To protest the paywall.
b. To attempt to get a commentator in discussion to join our group.
6. Shills and trolls must renounce their shillish and/or trollish ways before joining.

Points of discussion not yet agreed upon:

- Whether to go for zero fee, to pay one dollar/year will alienate many.
- We aren't freeloaders. No, we are uncompensated contributors who add wit and added dimension and spice to each article.

Test out our new guestbook
Top item on the right side of the page.



Guidelines for Writing the Daily Posting

It makes a great impression that we have a lot of people willing and able to express their reasons for wanting an open Bloomberg View/Opinion. It's a reflection that we're all literate (Yay!) and involved. This is so much a group effort, and getting more so.

Guidelines for the official daily commenter:
1. Comment as early as possible on all articles from The Editors.
2. Comment as early as possible to a few additional articles that are likely to be popular. Don't spam everything.
3. Include the list of supporters/strikers.
4. Invite people to join and give the website.

Thanks everyone. But remember, Tony White is in charge, hahahaha. Do as he says.


REPORT ON WEEK 1 - MAY 7 TO  MAY 13

1. Daily posting, with responsibility shared among those willing to write. Since we're commenters, there are a fair number willing to write.
2. Strike against commenting. Members ideally shouldn't comment except in response to the group's daily post. However, a couple of comments are OK. 
3. Trying to recruit new members. 
4. Starting the strike with about 18 group members.
5. The quality of the comments threads suffered, especially from midweek through the end of the week.

REPORT ON WEEK 2 MAY 14 - MAY 20

1. Daily posting by multiple members as a reminder of the strike and of the value of good commenters.
2. This was a period where people were encouraged to comment as a reminder of the value of our voices.
3. Many commenters are leaving, so the quality of the threads is clearly diminished.
4. Started the week with about 26 people signed up.

REPORT ON WEEK 3 MAY 21 - MAY 27

1. Daily posting by multiple members as a reminder of the strike and of the value of good commenters.Commenters are also were encouraged to comment as a reminder of the value of our voices.
2. Strikers were expressing hope to find a new home for the Commentariate.
3. Started the week with about 34 people signed up.



This was the first daily posting announcing the strike. Kudos to our fearless leader, Tony White:

STRIKE! To the editors of Bloomberg View

We are a group of commenters who highly value the comment threads on Bloomberg View. We [naming ourselves the Commentariat] are announcing to our fellow contributors of Bloomberg View that the names listed below will be protesting the Pay Window policies enacted by Bloomberg Business this past week  on May 3, 2018. We are therefore notifying our fellow writers that we will, sadly, not be participating in this week's discussions. We do this not in selfish promotion, but in the desire to keep all our opinions open and free. As contributors to the success of the opinion pages, we justly feel unfairly treated to be charged for that success. BV is killing the proverbial golden goose. While we understand Bloomberg Business has to have revenue sources, doing so on the backs of the contributors is unjust and unwarranted. Please join us in protesting the paywall which will result in the demise of free and open discussion among all ideologies and incomes.