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March 16, 2018

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Sorry, that was the link for Augusta.

Here's the more general one.

Gerrymandering is gaming the system. Voter suppression is gaming the system. SuperPACs are gaming the system. No wonder some of us dislike people who "game the system".

--TP

Allowing employees to use accumulated leave to reach either the 20 or 50 is standard practice.

Yeah, I don't get the issue with accumulated leave either.

If you have accumulated leave, it's because you didn't take time off that was owed to you was a part of your compensation. Instead of taking the time off, you worked.

So, as far as I can tell, it's something you earned. It's not "gaming the system", it's a choice about how you allocate stuff that belongs to you.

If employers don't want that, they need to negotiate a different deal. Many places (including where I work) cap how much leave you can carry over.

If they want to cap that, chances are they will have to give something else back.

That's the way it works. Or, ought to.

It goes without saying that I'm with you all on civilised norms being trashed, respect for the rule of law etc, and I personally would be delighted if McCabe gets his full benefits to thwart this clear vindictiveness. But I just wanted to respond to something that sapient I think said upthread, about the Cambridge Analytica/Facebook situation. I don't think its primary value is in supplying a missing piece of the Russia puzzle, valuable though that may be. I think its primary value is in highlighting how big American money (in this case Mercer's) was aiming to, and has been able to, subvert your democratic processes. Of course it just follows on from Citizens United, and corporations being people, and other highly regrettable developments, but I think the elements of a) theft and b) covert psychological manipulation are something rather new which need exposing to the sunlight, and dealing with.

If I understand it correctly, when a government employee retires, they're paid for any untaken paid leave at their current wage. If their pension payout is based on their retirement year's income, saving paid leave until then can give their pension payout a nice boost.

Yeah, I don't get the issue with accumulated leave either.

The problem is this. Suppose you cash out 8 weeks accumulated leave when you retire. Then you last year's "salary" is 14 months pay! That is, your retirement pay is based on something more than 10% higher than what your actual salary was. Some people manage to pile up almost 6 months unused leave.

That's what the problem with accumulated leave is. That you get paid for your accumulated leave is, as you say, not a problem. It's the pension impact that is.

Why try to understand Civil Service leave policy in a vacuum? There is this place call the Office of Management and Budget with plenty of .gov web addresses that are readily accessible to the public.

Here's one: https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/leave-administration/

Knock yourselves out.

A retiring federal employee receives a lump sum payment for accrued ANNUAL Leave. There are limits on how much annual leave can be carried over from year to year, so an employee who, for example, never takes annual leave during his or her career loses nearly all of it, except what he and she earns in their final few years.

Sick leave, on the other hand, does accrue from year to year, so yes, those accrued hours are figured into an increase in their retirement annuity, at most a few percentage points.

These rules vary according to whether one is on the CSRS system pre-early 1980s or the FERS system, post early 1980s.

But here's how it works, however, for a federal government employee (YMMV will vary at the state and local government levels). If you are a stellar employee who takes very little annual and sick leave throughout your careers, you get no credit from the American public you serve, except contempt.

When you collect the the money for the hours owed you at the end, it turns out you've been conniving all along for a nice boost, including the contempt.

If you use your annual and sick leave as it accumulates over the course of your career (and, yes, more often than not, your superior will stand on your desk and ask what the fuck is up) , with none left over when you leave Federal service, you are a lazy, overpaid piker who is never in his office, so just like the guy who took no leave, the same degree of contempt is applied as to our first example, except the first guy is doubly in dutch, because he and she are assumed to be on sick leave suffering from various politically correct syndromes, by the American public, which itself, as a general class of people who THINK they know something,, is little more than a poisonous Reddit site with little reference to reality.

Natch, both types of federal employees, and all who fall between those two extremes, are spending the rest of their time viewing porn on their computers, right, mates?

Yeah but, federal employees are overpaid, blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, we are. It's a bonus for becoming a suspect.

Apply for a federal position if it's so fucking lucrative and then shut the fuck up.

Perhaps you are neither smart, experienced, competent, or good looking enough to handle it.

And yet, despite those shortfalls, you are too good to work for the government.

I'm sure those accusations are NOT true, but if I repeat them enough times, they become true fact, as we do in America, a long tradition.

I can't tell you how sick and tired I am of paying inflated prices for goods and services provided by the American private sector who overpay both salaries and benefits, which compared to most of the rest of the world, are extravagant.

So, we'd better move jobs overseas and automate and spavine the unions, right?

Whatever it is, Americans spend most of their time trying to find ways to fuck their fellow Americans while of course THINKING they are exempting their own selves from the fucking.

We deserve mp in a nuke sandwich.

I can no longer comment on the Mueller thing, because no one will like what I know needs to happen, especially the NSA.


I think its primary value is in highlighting how big American money (in this case Mercer's) was aiming to, and has been able to, subvert your democratic processes.

We have known that the Mercers have been the largest money people behind Cambridge Analytica (and other election efforts) for awhile now, although it certainly seems that the Facebook connection might implicate them in fraud, and I certainly hope someone figures out a way to lock them up. I'm not sure their wealth can be called "American": their ties to Deutsche Bank and Renaissance Technologies's hedge fund holdings are international; Cambridge Analytica is British based. Rebekah is recently divorced from French-born, Morgan Stanley managing director Sylvain Michel Mirochnikoff. Mercer influence is not just American, obviously, either: Brexit, for example.

Again, the comment to the Wheeler piece.

Mercer acquired his big data chops at IBM. IBM and big data helped Hitler out with the Holocaust. Everything old is new again.

This is a vast, world-wide right-wing conspiracy. Hillary Clinton tried to tell us.

Count, nobody (that I know of) is objecting to someone getting a lump sum payment for leave not taken. It's using it to ramp up his supposed final year's salary, and hence his pension, that bugs me.

Principals at Mercer's Renaissance Tech - including Mercer personally - are currently in a dispute with the IRS over $6.8 billion-with-a-B in back taxes.

So, another... complication.

Pick up any rock, there are maggots under them all.

"It's weaponized popularity" Just a random comment from the LGM thread on Cambridge Analytica and Facebook

No. Worse. It's universally commodified popularity. Jodi Dean calls social media in Blog Theory the "circulation of commodified affect." The reference is to the market and the circulation of commodities as the means of accumulating capital.

Social media is the circulation of feelings for the profit of platforms and the pleasure of the producers/consumers(us). Advanced is seeing that is is a shift in the general nature of capitalism, and say the stock market is more about the circulation and exchange of feelings about stocks than objective info.

Used to be 3-6-10 people would share your relationship with your cat. Now it can be millions, and you can make a living with it on youtube. Most of us are failures because we don't have thousands of followers. "Here, honey, right up to my chest. The book will stop the bullet."

Affect is a directed emotion:I like Ike. I hate Trump. OMG, the school shooting. What about that NCAA upset? Some streams storms and flows are more viral and profitable than others.

What has this to do with Trump? Oh, lots. Trump tweeting and acting outrageously sure keeps the affect flow moving fast. Likes and dislikes aren't mutually destructive, they're additive.

wk: no sweat, just working off forty years of accumulated frustration with what Americans THINK they know about folks who work for the government.

But I'm not sure how you think this works on the federal level.

The hours allowed to accumulate (that accumulation is limited) as annual leave at retirement are paid out in a lump sum.

Accumulated sick leave hours over a career "ramp up" the pension, to some extent.

But, maybe the individual was healthy all of his or her life. Maybe the individual was responsible enough to not take sick leave on principle because they liked doing the work on the job.

I don't recall EVER calculating or even thinking to myself both times I worked for the federal government (only a combination of eight years; my ex-wife was a federal scientist for close to 40 years and the taxpayer got a great deal out of her) how not using my sick leave might enhance my possible pension decades down the road.

If you are a federal manager, what would you prefer, an employee who uses up every hour of sick leave as they go, or a person who shows up to work as much as possible?

Yes, I expect some (do we have numbers on this?) long-time federal employees might begin to bank those sick leave hours as they approach their retirement date to enhance their pension.

But maybe they liked their jobs and decided to spend as much time at work as possible those last few years before they were put out to pasture.

How do we know anything about this?

It is true at the municipal and state levels, mostly among long-time police, fireman, and higher grade employees that scheming occurs on an egregious level to fatten their pensions.

Republican Congressman and Senators work how many days a year?

If we want to slash benefits, start with those goldbrickers.

Start with their penchant for bunking in their offices.

I could have saved a lot of money sleeping in my government office.

Paul Ryan. He has a 13-room mansion in Wisconsin.

Use it.

Count, I may well be guilty of assuming that the abuse I see at the state and local level also happens (or is able to happen) at the Federal level. If it isn't, I think that's great.

As far as I can tell, Senators and Congressmen (or either party) work 3 day weeks. They spend Friday and Monday traveling, so they can spend the entire weekend at home. Where, typically, they have left their families. I think we were better served when they took their families with them to Washington.

They might have fewer days of face time with their constituents, although that is less of a problem with modern technology. But it a) let them spend full time on actually doing their jobs, and b) meant that they were far more likely to interact socially with their fellow Congressmen. Which resulted in a lot more bipartisan action, since it is harder to demonize someone when you just spent the evening sitting next to him cheering on you kids basketball team or something.

Certainly, the Mercers' funding of CA was known ages ago, it was in all the articles I linked last year. When I italicised American wealth, I was trying to differentiate it from Russian influence, irrespective of who the Mercers marry or where their wealth originated, and irrespective of where CA are based. Speaking of which, I am extremely exercised about the influence CA (and therefore Bannon and the Mercers) exercised over the Brexit debacle, I see it as just the same kind of dangerous and illegitimate activity as what they did in your election. And it's true, whatever other motives were involved, it's clear that both examples gave Russia exactly what it wanted. It's an extremely ugly can of worms, and as I mentioned, I'm not brimful of confidence that the situation can be corrected or the malefactors brought to justice. But one can hope.

To clarify: Russian meddling in your election is I believe illegal. As far as I know, billionaire Americans meddling isn't.

As far as I know, billionaire Americans meddling isn't.

all those dollars have to be heard. it would be censorship, otherwise.

billionaire Americans meddling isn't

Stealing personal data under false pretenses may well be. Money laundering is. We're not sure about the details about all they do.

"Which resulted in a lot more bipartisan action, since it is harder to demonize someone when you just spent the evening sitting next to him cheering on you kids basketball team or something."

Agreed.

As noted ad nauseum by moi over the years, thank New Gingrich, Tom Delay, Dick Armey, and Frank Luntz and their fellow revolutionaries for messaging to their caucus that all fraternizing with the opposition, referred to by various insults, including social time with families, would stop.

At this point, I hope it continues. I wouldn't trust the spouse or children of a lying, thieving, cheating republican with my family anyway.


America is a fucking disgrace. An exceptionally dispensable country:

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-had-senior-wh-staff-sign-ndas-wapo-deputy-editorial-page-editor-says

I'm kind of beyond the "coming around to" thing and have pretty much arrived at the point of believing our best days as a nation are in the past.

It's always been kind of sketchy, but I actually do think we - the US - has held some valuable things up to the rest of the world. Honored in the breach, maybe, or via lip service, but honored nonetheless. And, I think it's been worthwhile, and I think a lot of people have benefited from it and appreciated it.

I just don't think we're even trying anymore. Donald J Trump has a 40% approval rating. That means out of every 5 people in the country, 2 think he's doing just fine.

We're no longer a serious country. We still have lots of money and guns, so other folks can't actually laugh at us to our faces, but I suspect the reaction when we walk out of the room is some combination of mockery, pity, and disgust.

And why not? My own reaction is some combination of mockery, pity, and disgust.

So, who's going to pick up the torch? That's my question at this point.

Check it out: the Netherlands, the #2 exporter of food by volume in the whole freaking world. They do it without intensive use of insecticides or other adulterants. They just use their freaking heads and their sense of constructive common national purpose.

We're number 1, for another five minutes. We have 270 times the land mass of the Netherlands, and one-one-thousandth the basic pragmatic common sense.

We're leaving a big, gaping hole in world leadership, on about 100 different fronts, and the rest of the world is perfectly happy to step in and kick our ass.

Nothing wrong with that, it's good old market-based competitive dynamics. We just don't have any game anymore. We're busy Making America Great Again. The rest of the world is busy working around us to get shit done.

America, the sloppy self-delusional drunken has-been nation. Yeah, but you shoulda seen us in WWII!!

Tell that to a Russian. Just saying.

Make America Wake The Fuck Up And Smell The Coffee Again. This ain't no reality show.

I'm kind of beyond the "coming around to" thing and have pretty much arrived at the point of believing our best days as a nation are in the past.

IF, and I submit it's a big if, we keep going down this path, then I may look back and agree with you. But for the moment, I'm unwilling to assume that we won't manage to turn things back around.

Open thread, right?

A couple weeks ago several people here mentioned VSL#3. I have IBS, and I decided to give it a try (despite the cost).

It's early days yet, but you may have changed my life. I thank you, my family thanks you (you know what they say about When Momma Ain't Happy). Wow.

Libertarians tend to be pretty optimistic about the country. But then we don't see politics and government as the be-all and end-all of the country.

You're welcome, Dr Science.

If, however, you find after some months that it stops being so effective, you may need to discontinue it for a couple of months and then start again.

The Netherlands is also the world's sixth largest food importer. There must be a lot of import-export going on.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/retaliation-against-civil-servants-goes-into-hyperdrive-under-trump

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YD6fvzGIBfQ

They want it darker.

They will have it.

The Netherlands is also the world's sixth largest food importer. There must be a lot of import-export going on.

Rotterdam is the largest, and Amsterdam the fourth largest port in Europe.
The import/export figures are just a little out of kilter with the size of the economy...

The Netherlands is also the world's sixth largest food importer

2nd for export, 6th for import.

advantage netherlands.

2 of the 5 largest ports in europe. advantage netherlands.

as the sea levels rise, folks here in the coastal northeast US quite often turn to the dutch for tecnology and expertise in managing that. advantage netherlands.

it's a country of about 17 million people. it's the size of MA and CT put together. they're punching way above their weight.

good job, netherlands! you deserve every success.

our understanding of how to be "great again" seems, in comparison, lacking.

wanna be great, or great "again"? you gotta work for it. we think it's our birthright. it's not.

But how much of the food exported from the Netherlands is grown there ?

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-had-senior-wh-staff-sign-ndas-wapo-deputy-editorial-page-editor-says
So Trump treats his interactions with White House staff in the same way as those with porn stars ?

The Netherlands is also the world's sixth largest food importer. There must be a lot of import-export going on.

It's a complicated subject.

About 30% of the Netherlands' agricultural exports are products that were previously imported. The largest single category for agricultural exports, about 10% by value, is flowers and bulbs, of which they are the largest exporter in the world.

The "feeds the world" claim at the referenced article is not even remotely true. By calories, the Netherlands doesn't make the top ten exporters in the world. In fact, they often make the list of ten countries least self-sufficient in calories. The dominant calorie exporters are the big grain producers: the US, Argentina, Australia, Ukraine, etc. Egypt, for example, is hugely dependent on wheat imports for basic calories, and by itself imports an order of magnitude more wheat than the Netherlands produces.

None of which takes away from the Netherlands agricultural accomplishments.

It's a complicated subject.

It always is.

My perception is that the US is heading into a state of some kind of decadence. Not "Bob Guccioni's Caligula" decadence, but a lack of vigor. A loss of energy and resilience.

I'm not in the "We're number 1 America F*** Yeah!" camp. But I'm also not in the "America sux burn it down!" camp. I'd like to see us get to a place where we aren't a nation of a handful of billionaires and millions of people who need food stamps to get by.

Tariffs aren't going to do that, MAGA hats aren't going to do that, pissing all over brown people isn't going to do that, embracing our white supremacist past isn't going to do that.

Giving astounding tax breaks to companies to move their corporate headquarters to your town isn't going to do that, tax breaks that bankrupt the feds isn't going to do that, drilling more f***ing oil and gas isn't going to do that.

Investment, education, infrastructure, sensible industrial policy, an even-handed approach to balancing the interests of labor and capital will do that. Recognizing and valuing the contributions of immigrants will do that. Taking basic steps to make sure people who live in what is a fabulously wealthy country don't spend their lives in financial jeopardy will do that.

The Netherlands gets that, or at least important parts of it. So do lots of other countries. We don't.

We don't.

I'm just another far left lunatic, but I would tend to agree.

What Russell said (at 10:51).

Yup, as usual, russell at 10.51 nails it.

Investment, education, infrastructure, sensible industrial policy, an even-handed approach to balancing the interests of labor and capital will do that...

The performance of the South Korean economy after 1953, when it was among the very poorest countries in the world, epitomises (most of) that.

(I'll pass over the economically enlightened dictator, and the sacrifices made by a generation of labour...)

An unrelated "what russell said":

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-selfdriving-uber/woman-dies-in-arizona-after-being-hit-by-uber-self-driving-car-idUSKBN1GV296

and, though they haven't killed anyone yet, Cruise is having a hard time of it, too.

The Cruise article:

They sometimes slow down or stop if they see a bush on the side of a street or a lane-dividing pole, mistaking it for an object in their path

How ya gonna ask a car to step out of the car and walk in a straight line heel-to-toe, then stand on one leg?

that bush was comin right at me, occifer.

The Netherlands gets that, or at least important parts of it. So do lots of other countries. We don't.

I'd only point out that it's easier to do that when the population is 17M, in a relatively small coastal country that's been a major seaport for centuries. Rather than a continent-spanning country of 330M. Does China get it, or India, or Indonesia, or the EU as a whole, or any other country with a population/geography on the order of the US? There's a lot more agreement if you look at New York minus large chunks of the outstate area, or Oregon/Washington west of the Cascades.

I'm convinced that the wheels are going to come off in the US in the next 20-45 years (five years ago I was saying 25-50, so I'm trying to be consistent). What's lacking at present is an issue that divides the country along regional lines rather than urban/rural. I think it will eventually be electricity.

I'd only point out that it's easier to do that when the population is 17M

I think it's easier to get unity of purpose in a smaller country, with a much longer history, and a stronger sense of common cultural identity.

That said, we bring raw resources to the table that the Netherlands could only dream of.

Everything's easy for somebody, everything's hard for somebody.

I think it will eventually be electricity.

My money's on water. Then again, we may not need to pick, there may be a cornucopia of things to yell at each other about.

We'll see how it goes.

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/3/19/1750293/-British-sting-reveals-how-Cambridge-Analytica-used-sex-workers-and-bribes-to-get-what-they-wanted

https://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a19481001/hud-officials-church-grift/

My money's on water.

My money is on an actual declining standard of living for a widening sector of the population coupled with the bitterness of failed expectations and the rich disconnecting themselves from the social contract....well that, and Mexico taking back the Southwest.

We've gone a good way down the road to bringing back the Gilded Age, and giving the rich more money and more power is a one way social ratchet (racket?) that cannot possibly end well.

But, as noted by Crane Brinton in his great little monograph The Anatomy of Revolution, the arrival of these upheavals tends to come as a bit of a surprise.

You never know.

ANYTHING Russel said about Art Immelman.

I'm convinced, more than ever, that the FCC were wrong...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratfucking
In August of 2017, journalist Marcy Wheeler garnered the disapprobation of the Federal Communications Commission when she used the term in a radio broadcast. Wheeler maintained that the word has become a term of art in political science and is thus not an obscenity. The FCC disagreed...

Did it work?

Well, of course the compliant rats and their ratfuckers don't like the term.

My opinion:

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/335799715936636407

I've just sent a thank you gift to The Guardian in response to a tweet by Carole Cadwalladr.

Thanks, Carole, you brave soul!

well that, and Mexico taking back the Southwest.

ROTFLOL!

Hysteria of the nativist s notwithstanding, there is zero chance that Mexico "takes back the Southwest." Zero.

People come here to get away from Mexico. Not because they don't love their country overall, but just because things are so much better here. Better job opportunities. Less (lots less!) crime. Better educational opportunities. More social mobility -- no matter how much we've lots compared to what we used to have. The list goes on and on.

So, not happening. It is, of course, possible (anything is theoretically possible) that Mexico could revamp itself as much as South Korea once did. But by the time that happens, all those Hispanics who came here will be pretty acculturated. And their children and grandchildren will be as thoroughly American as any other bunch of Americans. (See how the Dreamers feel about being part of America.)

I was going to notify you all about the terrific Channel 4 News report tonight, with all the hidden footage as they stung Cambridge Analytica, but the Count got there first. However, if you can manage to see the actual 35 minutes or so they dedicated to it, as opposed to just reading about it, it's well worthwhile. But more importantly, it's part of a series, they're showing more tomorrow. I hope it's available stateside. And sapient, thanks for alerting us to the Carole Cadwalladr appeal for funds for the Guardian; I've responded before, I responded this time when I saw your post, and no doubt I'll respond again. What a magnificent job she and they have done, in the face of tremendous threats.

It will be water.
Putting solar panels on my roof to get all the electricity I need to power my home and my Chevy Volt.
$60/month for 10 years to pay for system and free there after except for maintenance.

Mexico taking back the Southwest.

Are there any historical examples of a substantially poorer country annexing a portion of a richer country against its will?

I have seen conspiracy-theory level stuff asserting that business owners in the northern tier of states -- which are much richer than the rest of Mexico -- are plotting for those states to declare their independence and seek status as some sort of protectorate of the US.

Putting solar panels on my roof to get all the electricity I need to power my home and my Chevy Volt.

Residential electricity accounts for about one-third of US electricity consumption. You gonna power the commercial and industrial portions from your roof also? Who's going to provide the storage so the hospitals still function at night?

The Western Interconnect now gets 35-45% of its electricity from renewable sources, the higher numbers coming in wetter years. By far the biggest chunk -- about 27% last year -- comes from conventional hydro. Wind and solar are both growing steadily. It won't be long before the West hits a year where 50% of its power is from renewable sources. Hell, even Wyoming has figured out just how lucrative it's going to be selling wind power to California.

it'll be guns.

water is a western thing.

guns are everywhere.

Are there any historical examples of a substantially poorer country annexing a portion of a richer country against its will?

Alexander the Great had some success in this respect....

Hysteria of the nativist s notwithstanding, there is zero chance that Mexico "takes back the Southwest." Zero.

You perhaps did not notice the tongue firmly pushing on cheek. On the other hand, when the demographic line is crossed and the shit hits the fan, welp.....who knows?

But it pleases me to give you a good laugh. Sail on!

I've responded before, I responded this time when I saw your post, and no doubt I'll respond again. What a magnificent job she and they have done, in the face of tremendous threats.

Yes. And thanks GftNC for spreading the word about her.

Are there any historical examples of a substantially poorer country annexing a portion of a richer country against its will?

Spain in Central and South America.
The Mongols in all of Eurasia.
Britain's takeover of India.
Rome's rise got fueled by military conquest of far richer adversaries. It was part of Rome's core ideology that its relative poverty gave her superiority over the decadent others and even excused her own lack of success against certain barbarians with their keeping of the old austerity while Rome had gotten too rich and thus weak.

More on Cambridge Analytica:

https://www.balloon-juice.com/2018/03/19/breaking-britains-information-officer-moves-against-cambridge-analytica/

Tomorrow they present the filth on tape telling us how they stole the November 2016 election for mp.

Facebook is up to its nuts in it:

https://seekingalpha.com/news/3340317-nyt-facebook-security-chief-exiting-company-amid-disagreements

Part I:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpbeOCKZFfQ

The whistleblower:

vhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb6-xz-geH4&t=144s

Bannon is a Board member of CB. A close ally of Kushner is too.

The free-traders in the White House are importing Novichok from Russia to use on the Mueller investigators and witnesses and anyone else who gets in their way.


CA, not CB.

But probably CB too. And CC, and on down the alphabet.

The entire worldwide conservative conspiracy has all the good acronyms sewn up. All of the letters and most of the numbers.

Water, electricity, guns ... yeah, those are issues.

But the break-up of America will come much sooner than folks believe because the Republican Party must be destroyed as a physical presence in this country as soon as possible to save us.

I hope I'm still young enough to fight these fuckers.

it'll be guns... water is a western thing... guns are everywhere.

When I have my US partition conspiracy hat on -- I'm the conspiracy -- I point out that a peaceful partition requires 38 states to agree that there are reasons why they'd be better off without some of the others. Different states/regions don't have to agree on one reason, there just needs to be 38 with some reason.

Bobbyp: You perhaps did not notice the tongue firmly pushing on cheek.

Mea culpa.

It's something of a commentary on the current political environment that statements which would once have been instantly recognized as humor are being said in all seriousness. Assuming "serious" can really be applied to those folks....

So 38 state to tell the other 12 (Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Alaska, West Virginia, Kansas?) to GTFO?

Sounds plausible.

You don't have to actually eject 12. For example, we could decide that Kansas seems to have learned from it's (serious) mistake. And just eject 11.

Include Florida to get it back to an even dozen.

I wonder if the 12 will align with Russia ... or China?

Eject one or two into solar orbit, via nuclear explosives, and the rest will fall into line pretty quickly, I think.

Start with S. Carolina, they're big on secession.

Can we tell Texas that, if they reject Cruz, they get a reprieve?

No.

But we'll accept refugees fleeing oppression and immigrants from the notorious twelve once the hash is settled.

From wikipedia on Cambridge Analytica's parent company, SCL:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCL_Group
SCL’s involvement in the political world has been primarily in the developing world where it has been used by the military and politicians to study and manipulate public opinion and political will. It uses what have been called “psy ops” to provide insight into the thinking of the target audience.[4] SCL claimed to be able to help foment coups.[6] According to its website, SCL has influenced elections in Italy, Latvia, Ukraine, Albania, Romania, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, India, Indonesia, Thailand, Taiwan, Colombia, Antigua, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, St. Kitts & Nevis, Trinidad & Tobago.[2] While the company initially got involved in elections in the United Kingdom, it ceased to do so after 1997 because staff members did not exhibit the same "aloof sensibility" as with projects abroad.[4]

Buchanan's locked and loaded diaper pail of a brain has a theory:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/buchanan/did-putin-order-the-salisbury-hit/

He's always on the right side of mystery, is Buchanan.

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/maryland-authorities-investigating-school-shooting

Buchanan might well arsk: How did Steny Hoyer have those condolences so ready in the nick of time?

Bruce Bartlett, the only Republican left alive in the 38-state United States of America in 2025, speaks:

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/3/19/1750299/-Reagan-Adviser-Bruce-Bartlett-They-are-all-whores-and-cowards-who-will-do-nothing

another GOP-sponsored Spontaneous Inevitable Freedom™-Related Event.

When left and right reconcile one day in the territory of the insane, this Democrat and Buchanan will be running mates in the Take a Hit of Helium and Talk Funny Party:

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2018/03/dc-councilman-apologizes-for-saying-jews-control-the-weather.html

Well, sure they do, crow conservatives, Soros is melting the ice caps just to give liberals the opportunity to run our lives, aren't he?

Brought to you by "Polar Bears Against Nebbishes", a republican mail drop.

another GOP-sponsored Spontaneous Inevitable Freedom™-Related Event.

Thoughts and prayers...

Sing it at home:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mlCBiFbtqAI

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/what-would-adam-smith-think-of-todays-economic-pundits-this-new-play-provides-a-clue-2018-03-20?siteid=bigcharts&dist=bigcharts

Meanwhile, this on today's primaries in Illinois:

In the fight for the 3rd congressional district, both parties are dealing with embarrassments. Arthur Jones, a neo-Nazi and Holocaust denier, is running uncontested for the Republicans. Dan Lipinski, a pro-life Democrat who voted against Obamacare—and who has held the seat inherited from his father since 2004—is being challenged by Marie Newman, a well-funded progressive, in a battle that highlights the party’s deep divisions.
[From the Economist's daily newsletter]
I admit to being particularly taken by the description of the incumbent as having "inherited" his seat in Congress from his father.

But it appears to be a great opportunity for liberal Democrats. You ought to be able to run a pretty progressive candidate against a flat-out neo-Nazi and win. No need to dig around for a candidate who is moderate enough to win in the district. Or so you may hope.

Count, I loved that quote from Bruce Bartlet in one of your links: "Take Nixon in the deepest days of his Watergate paranoia, subtract 50 IQ points, add Twitter, and you have Trump today."

I'm not sure I would subtract only 50 IQ points (maybe when he was younger, but he is obviously loosing steps steadily). But otherwise....

Another mp White House staff candidate snuffed:

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/hacker-who-outed-chelsea-manning-to-the-fbi-found-dead-at-37?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=idealmedia&utm_campaign=washingtonexaminer.com&utm_term=68883&utm_content=2204832

One of the notorious 12 applies for an early exit from the Union:

https://www.valuewalk.com/2018/03/oklahomadeath-row/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=idealmedia&utm_campaign=valuewalk.com&utm_term=68883&utm_content=2203522

SCL’s involvement in the political world has been primarily in the developing world where it has been used by the military and politicians to study and manipulate public opinion and political will. It uses what have been called “psy ops” to provide insight into the thinking of the target audience

Art Immelmann

Thoughts and prayers...

The situation is contained

Shooting himself in the foot with chaos, Russia edition:

I found this description of the growing Trump legal team:

The developments suggest that the tumult that has already engulfed Trump’s White House now threatens to overtake his fractious legal team. The half-dozen key lawyers tasked with defending Trump are increasingly operating with conflicting information, feuding internally, and pursuing strategies that many legal analysts and friends of the president view as dubious — if not downright dangerous.
This may be viewed as a huge plus for those yearning to nail Trump on this. Picture an actual trial, with the defense team arm-wrestling over who gets to ask the questions of witnesses. Hmmm....

One of the notorious 12 applies for an early exit from the Union...

If there has to be a death penalty, which I oppose strongly, inert gas asphyxiation is painless and reliable. People die from it every year by accident because they don't notice that it's happening. Based on number of deaths, dry nitrogen is the most dangerous industrial gas in the US. One of the reasons that halon-dump fire suppression systems for big computer rooms were dropped was because too often leaks were identified by the tech who had stuck their head under the raised floor where the halon pooled, passed out, and died.

Also requires no medical personnel, so the DA who asks for the death penalty can be required to administer it themselves.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_bag

President Trump has hired diGenova, an ex-prosecutor and TV pundit, for his legal team.

No comment

Well, what else would anyone expect Trump to do?

A lot of major law firms have refused to have him as a client. And he appears to have no idea that playing a lawyer (or tycoon) on TV is not the same as being one -- so an actor who plays a lawyer who always wins must be a great lawyer, right?

I'm doing my CharlesWT impression today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Charlie_and_the_Chocolate_Factory_characters#Mike_Teavee

SCL’s involvement in the political world has been primarily in the developing world where it has been used by the military and politicians to study and manipulate public opinion and political will. It uses what have been called “psy ops” to provide insight into the thinking of the target audience

For anyone who still hasn't watched last night's C4 News, this is (roughly) what CA's CEO said to the undercover journo:

"Elections aren't won with facts, they're won with emotions, particularly fear. So we identify fears that in many cases people didn't even know they had, and then play on them." This was shown over shots of the ads claiming HRC had endangered America's security.

Tonight's C4 News just starting...with the breaking news that CA CEO has been suspended.

i've seen a great six word summary of Black Mirror, on the internet :

what if Phones, but too much?

[cue creepy music]

call me cynical, but CA sounds like a marketing firm, but too much.

Nothing to see here....
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/20/trump-campaign-cambridge-analytica-473650?lo=ap_c1

"Elections aren't won with facts, they're won with emotions, particularly fear. So we identify fears that in many cases people didn't even know they had, and then play on them." This was shown over shots of the ads claiming HRC had endangered America's security."

Thus fundamental political theory 101. You can't imagine that CA came up with this as an original thought.

When Obama mined FB for his candidacy he was hailed as a new generation leader who understood the advantage of social media the way Kennedy understood the power of tv.

Now it's suddenly criminal, and unethical which I happen to agree with in both cases, but it isn't new except in its effectiveness.

That quotation was I think Turnbull, not Nix. Today: they boast about how they were responsible for every element of the Trump campaign, and how they used "proxies" or "affiliates" who couldn't be identified with the campaign, to spread the disinformation into "the bloodstream of the internet", and then watched it spread. Plus lots more....

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