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.


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!)


Thursday, May 10, 2018

Reactions and Plans

                  To Sign Up:  STRIKE CENTRAL IS HERE
Bloomberg Opinion/View Commenters' strike May 7 - May 13

To Comment on an Current Issue: The Commentariat is HERE

This page is for those who participated. For feedback and planning.

Please comment below. You know the drill, I hope. I'll repeat directions anyway.

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.


Monday, May 7, 2018

Annals of the (unsuccessful) commenters strike at Bloomberg Opinion

I'm moving information into here because I want to delete two posts about the strike and get them off of my top posts list, making way for more relevant posts. So commence the copy and paste:


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.


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.


Tony White                                                   
mountaintraveler (Traveler)                         
Yak Hearder                                                 
Howard Craft
Fish heads
Sir Tainley
Keith Fenton
Epstein's Mother
Covfefe is my slave name
Johnny sunshine

Joe Brady
Zack Smith
M. Faizal Rasol
Dean Achison
The Contentious Otter
Justin Woodall
Working Class Dog


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."

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.


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.


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.


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.


We may quote from articles and comments. All quotes are for discussion and sharing of opinions, obviously, and therefore are made under fair use guidelines.

#1  From the editors today:
In the world according to Trump, the president knows what he’s doing, and it’s working just fine. Be the bully and keep them guessing. Apply this to allies as well as rivals — because in the end what’s the difference? Disdain institutions that the U.S. spent decades building — because what did they ever do for us? In the real world, this approach will prove enormously damaging to the country, as well as to America’s friends.
#2 Bernstein:
[paraphrase] Trump's cabinet is in chaos. He's fired people with no coherent plans for replacements.  
 #3 Ponnuru:
[paraphrase] What's hype in the media coverage of Trump? 1. There's a constitutional crisis. 2. Some act (like firing Mueller) will end the Trump presidency. 3. Stormy Daniels doesn't matter. (To millions, including millions of supporters, it does matter.)
 Commenters, ADD YOUR OWN TOPICS. Let the commenting begin. It'll start slowly.

#4. Sunstein:
Summary and analysis of possible obstruction of justice by Trump, with a historical framing. 
"Even if a candidate for president did not collude with a less-than-friendly foreign power, or have any relationship with it, presidential obstruction of an investigation into that issue would be a serious offense — from the standpoint of the impeachment clause, at least as serious the first Article of Impeachment against President Nixon."
#5. CNN:
[I'm not a big fan of CNN. I just tuned in to see primary result, but they have a huge story about payments to Michael Cohen, Trump's lawyer and fixer.] "In a memo posted online Tuesday afternoon, Avenatti alleged that Cohen received the following payments after the 2016 election: approximately half-a-million dollars from a company linked to Viktor Vekselberg, a Russian oligarch with close ties to the Kremlin; nearly $400,000 from pharmaceutical giant Novartis; $150,000 from Korea Aerospace Industries and $200,000 from telecommunications conglomerate AT&T."

Thursday, May 3, 2018

May links: cleaning up from April

Korean peace? Don't be too hopeful yet. North Korea has pattern of reneging, or getting stubborn.

Syrian peacce? The role France may play.

Trump's fixer. Michael Cohen, who handled a payment and non-disclosure agreement for a paramour of Trump, also worked for Sean Hannity. It might be involve real estate, but maybe it's another fix-it situation. Time will tell, and I'm not convinced it is just real estate.

Parties and race. This article chronicles how the Dems signed up with blacks long before the 60's. Contrast this bravery with the craven behavior of most Repubs. Also from Vox: White evangelicals tolerate racism and character flaws in Trump. An explanation about Kanye West and Trump.

Forge and frame, inc. Software now makes it possible to fake someone's words and facial expressions in a video. What a bonanza for computer-capable liars and fake news generators.

What competence looks like. Saving all but one person when a jet engine falls apart, piercing the plane in the passenger compartment. The dive to lower atmosphere for more oxygen, the successful landing. Even calming the passengers. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

No effect from the weakening dollar. The dollar has been getting weaker, so are we exporting more? Not really. Good explainer for why.

Healthcare cost containment. California may try it. Good!

Russia-related stories: McCabe's wrongdoing at the FBI. I want to hold on to this resource about the Inspector General's report and see what happens. Was he conniving? Was he thrown under the bus? Also this articleComey notes about Trump. His private memos, written to document the weirdness of Trump's communications with him, are now public. Who's the liar? Trump's legal team. Trump has hired Guiliani for his Russia strategy team. Another Russian tactic. (I almost , typed 'Soviet.') Use international committees to harass emigres in other countries. And to think that my favorite shills think that Russia is good and the US is a war-mongering horror. Russian meddling. A link to the House Intelligence report. A real report, not a Nunes tissue of lies.