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April 15, 2016

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It's Emancipation Day in the District of Columbia, which has traditionally extended the filing deadline for federal taxes (and also some state taxes).

Google Orly Taitz re Obama

We're on holiday in Morocco this week, and next week I start a new job in Amsterdam. I'll have a week or two on my own to find an apartment for my partner and baby to join me in. Here's hoping everything goes smoothly. I suspect at some point I am going to have to give a estate agent several thousand euro in cash, since I almost certainly won't have a euro bank account by then.

Where in Morocco? Went there about 10 years ago and it was terrific.

Ugh, note that Taitz's various suits regarding Obama's citizenship were simply dismissed. Sometimes with caustic comments, but simply dismissed, not ruled against. This suit regarding Cruz actually resulted in a court decision.

Money may talk. But it also walks. Especially large bundles of it. In recent years, France has lost about 10,000 millionaires.

Countries that crack down on tax havens will see more of their well heeled citizens and their money walking.

Citizens of other countries sometimes find the US a convenient tax haven.

I also heard that a Cruz citizenship case made it to the PA supreme court.

Thing is, I doubt these cases are being argued very well... If Trump was bringing the cases, they'd be hard fought; but some random crank?

And we should not discount the possibility that the cases are being brought by covert Cruz supporters. There's probably a legal term for bringing a case that you "try to lose" just to set a precedent you want, but in this context "rat fncking" is just Cruz's style.

Regarding taxes, here's an interesting little tidbit from Gallup. The percentage of respondents (from three groups) who think upper income people pay too much vs how many think they pay to little. That is, how much support is there for tax cuts, vs tax increases, for the wealthy. See if you can guess which groups they are.

Too Much Too Little
    20           45
    20           46
    16           57

And what are those three groups? Line 1: Republicans (i.e. not Democrats or independents). Line 2: Conservatives (i.e. not moderates or liberals). Line 3: Those with incomes above $75K.

Needless to say, Democrats, Liberals, and those with lower incomes lean further towards tax increases for those with high incomes. Guess we'll see the Democrats making a lot of noise about any Republican candidate's tax plan which features cuts....

From the "what are these people thinking" log:
"In a session that rivalled Georgia’s in its ultraconservatism, West Virginia also enshrined English as the state’s official language (even though its motto is in Latin)"

Well, either they think Latin (as opposed to Latino) is acceptable, or they don't realize that it isn't English....

No one speaks the King's in West Virginia that I've ever heard, 'cepting maybe John Cole.

The closest they came were Robert Byrd's florid speeches from the floor of Congress, but back home it was more along the lines of the Darlin family from Andy of Mayberry, whittlin' while speechifyin' and suchlike.

T'aint no way to talk.

I just drove through there and their highway system is spectacular thanks to Byrd. You could eat off the pavement.

Not that there's any move afoot to give all of that Washington DC pork back now that dogsh*t Republicans run the joint.

I should have stolen some bathroom fixtures from the highway rest stops to get some of my money back from those f*cking states' righters and Obamacare haters.

"Citizens of other countries sometimes find the US a convenient tax haven."

So raising taxes would fix our immigration problem?

"In recent years, France has lost about 10,000 millionaires."

France dropped its supertax in 2014.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/france-drops-super-tax-millionaires-072915575--finance.html?ref=gs

Gerald Depardieu, the actor, who started the brouhaha, took Russian citizenship.

Which I guess will be interesting when Putin moves militarily on Western Europe one day.

I spose it will prove something but I can't think what.

Actually, there may be other reasons why millionaires are leaving France:

http://www.vocativ.com/304403/why-are-so-many-millionaires-leaving-france/

Maybe wealthy French Jews sense when right-wing French, Christian nationalists start in on the foreigners, a few of whom are rabid anti-Semites themselves, that it's time to hit the road.

France had about 280,000 millionaires in 2009.

We've always been told by American conservatives that France and other European countries were taxed into socialist stultification, even before the supertax.

No wealth-building could possible occur.

280,000 millionaires never received the memo.

To my mind, the utter steaming pile of horsesh*t regarding tax rates the world over that we've had dumped on us these past decades is starting to look like the Ty Cobb story, now subject to question.


You want some official English?

Donald Trump:

“Well, I think many. I mean, you know, when we get into the Bible, I think many. So many,” he responded. “And some people—look, an eye for an eye, you can almost say that. That’s not a particularly nice thing. But you know, if you look at what’s happening to our country, I mean, when you see what’s going on with our country, how people are taking advantage of us, and how they scoff at us and laugh at us.”

“And they laugh at our face, and they’re taking our jobs, they’re taking our money, they’re taking the health of our country,” he continued. “And we have to be firm and have to be very strong. And we can learn a lot from the Bible, that I can tell you.”

Sarah Palin:

"It’s something that our candidates should be talking about, and giving us their view on and hopefully acknowledging that it needs to become, in the science community, less political,” Palin said, according to The Hill. “Otherwise, it leads us to believe that so many things coming from perhaps the scientists could be bogus. If this is bogus, you know, what else are they trying to tell us and trying to control us around if they can’t get this one right?”

If that's talk, the walk must be hilarious.

And you may be able to do the talk, but the walk is gonna fracture your hip.

Eshutupics is the official language of the Homeland.

Or maybe the official language of America should be called "Saywhatish?"

Or "Comeagainish?"

Palin was a roving major in ..... Communications, with an emphasis on lamestream journalism:

"After graduating from high school in 1982, Palin enrolled at the University of Hawaii at Hilo.Shortly after arriving in Hawaii, Palin transferred to Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu for a semester in the fall of 1982 and then to North Idaho College, a community college in Coeur d'Alene, for the spring and fall semesters of 1983 She enrolled at the University of Idaho in Moscow for an academic year starting in August 1984 and then attended Matanuska-Susitna College in Alaska in the fall of 1985. Palin returned to the University of Idaho in January 1986 and received her bachelor's degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism in May 1987."

Now Trump? So I'm thinking if I'm engaged in a business meeting with the Donald with an eye toward forging the Deal, what to make of his impenetrable babble? Is this a guy I want to give my money to, who just blabs horse pucky from his never silent mouth. I mean, except for the declarative sentences "You're fired!", "I'm terrific and you're not!" and "Bend over and show me the money!", what exactly is the bottom line?

The two of them need translators.

Maybe Trump gets the nomination, and decides that Palin should get another shot at the Vice Presidency. That way he would have someone at hand who he wouldn't need a translator to talk to. 😞

Countries that crack down on tax havens will see more of their well heeled citizens and their money walking.

If just about all countries "crack down" then these fools will all flee to the same place, and we can drown them in Grover Norquist's bathtub.

Shooting fish in a barrel as it were.

Bernie Sanders doesn't seek tax havens because his taxes, they be low:

http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2016/04/bernie-sanders-earned-205000-2014

America is full of shit.

Bernie and Jane filed jointly. His income was $200K, hers $5K.
Total income: $205K

After garden-variety deductions (state income tax, property tax, mortgage interest, charity) they ended up with
Taxable income: $141K

Income tax: $27.6K

What effective tax rate did they pay?
Was it $27.6K/$205K = 13.5% (on gross income)?
Or was it $27.6K/$141K = 19.5% (on taxable income)?

That's not a trick question. It's an invitation to anyone who wants to complain that "taxes" are "too high" (or "too low", for that matter) to define what "effective" should be understood to mean.

On a personal note, having just filed my returns for 2015, I ended up paying 27% of my gross, 40% of my taxable, to the IRS. The reason is NOT that I am remotely in McKinney's income bracket. It is that I am single, and self-employed. If I were to complain about paying a higher effective rate (either way you define it) than the Sanderses, on rather less income, what I'd complain about mostly is the "unmarriage penalty". Freedom costs too much money.

--TP

Ugh - Marrakech. We may take a day tell into the atlas mountains on Monday if I can figure out the best way to do it with a baby in tow.

TP - in the UK you're better off incorporating than getting married.

This is brief, and quite interesting:
http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2016/04/15/how_i_got_the_democratic_primary_completely_and_utterly_wrong.html

Is a genuinely left of centre (something it really hasn't been in anything but relative US terms) Democratic Party a viable prospect electorally ?

Also, this seems more than a little strange/disturbing:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-36055488

I'd be very interested in Hartmut's comments.

I think the context is everything.
Böhmermann had done a satirical song (based on a still well-known German pop song from the 80ies) that Erdogan was very indignant about and tried to have banned ('or else!'). He got the answer that his ideas of censorship did not rhyme with Western European values (i.e."no, we will not violate free speech just because you can't handle the truth").
Then Böhmermann made a statement on his show that compared legal satire with actual libelous/slanderous attacks that would indeed be open to prosecution by giving an example of the latter in a really over-the-top fashion (including the claim that Erdogan's hobbies were having sexual relationship with certain animals, watching kiddie pörn and bombing Kurds at the same time). That got Erdogan really angry, and now he tried to get either the German government or the courts to go after the satirist by legal means. Plus this time he threatened to kill the freshly minted agreement about the refugees.
Now, Merkel is a Clintonesqe triangulator by nature (or she would not be where she is now and for so long). On the one hand she knows that the legal base for prosecution is slim at best but on the other hand realpolitik requires keeping relations with the Turkish government intact at least as long as the refugee problem is not solved. since simple stalling did not work, we now have what is essentially buck-passing, so the blame will land on the courts.
If we keep politics out of it the case pivots on a crucial detail: is the "I would be legally liable if I said X, so I won't" just an attempt to bypass the law while giving the intended insult or is it really explanatory (i.e. I could not reasonably prosecuted, if I said "It is illegal to say Heil Hitler." because my intention is not to do the nazi salute but to inform about alegal matter). In Germany it is forbidden to insult public servants (Beamte) and there are special fees for that. After people started to insult especially female police officers with "I'd call you a [insert very insulting term of choice], if it was not illegal" clearly with the intention to avoid committing an actionable Beamtenbeleidigung while still insulting the officer, the courts decided that the obvious intent weighed heavier than the formal cop-out, so, yes, the full fees could be applied.
So, what the courts have to decide now is, wether Böhmermann's declared-as-such actionable insult against Erdogan should be treated as the cop-out or taken at face value.
What is clear is that Merkel acted cowardly (but with a good reason) and that Erdogan's rage should be the target of mere ridicule out of principle (while at the same time realizing what the consequences could be). It definitely sets a bad precedent, and the government is likely to face similar stunts from other governments as well in the future, if they have some hostages ready to shoot (literally or metaphorically) and will be less well equipped to deal with that than if they had stayed strong the first time.

Many thanks for the response.
I'm still somewhat perplexed, though.

It seems very strange indeed that 'insulting a head of state' should be a criminal offence. If introduced in the US, up to half the population would face the prospect of incarceration at any given time. In the UK, only the present popularity of the queen would keep the figure down below that.

That libel/slander should still be a criminal rather than a civil matter is also odd.

Nigel: it's ye olde "Lèse-majesté", but updated to these modern times.

And, in my own opinion as a hardline 1st Amendment advocate, attempts to use Lèse-majesté are sufficient reason to unleash a flamethrower of insult.

Still a thing in Thailand, so not so olde...

A little more surprising in the modern German state (though I note Merkel has professed an intention to repeal the statute, sometime).

In some western democracies, the idea seems to be that free expression is so important that you have to protect it by putting a stop to anyone who abuses it by saying outrageous things and upsetting people.

Is a genuinely left of centre (something it really hasn't been in anything but relative US terms) Democratic Party a viable prospect electorally?

Nigel, Is a genuinely left of center party (in the European sense) viable in the US? I suspect not. (The way things are going, they might do OK in a general election. But whether a seriously left of center candidate could get the Presidential nomination in the first place is a different story. Note that Sanders wouldn't be seriously left of center in Europe; more like center-left.)

But a party far more to the left than the Democratic Party has been? Yes. Especially if they have the fortune to be running against a Republican Party that keeps getting further to the right.

We have had an example of that in California for a couple of decades now. Senator Boxer is, even for California, pretty far left. But she has had the good fortune to repeatedly be faced with Republican candidates** who were either even further right than she is left, or were utterly unqualified (cf Ms Fiorina). So the evidence suggests that, if your opponents are bad enough, you can get pretty far left and still get elected. Repeatedly.

That seems to be what the Democrats are likely to face this fall. Cruz is far enough right that either Clinton or Sanders should win (barring an economic meltdown). And Trump falls into the utterly unqualified category.

So the Democrats have the luxury this year of deciding where they would like to be, philosophically. Rather than having to consider what would be electorally viable. It appears that they don't really want to move drastically to the left. But there is a significant constituency in the party for moving left-ward -- how far being the only uncertainty.

** Note that, now that California has an "open primary/top two" system, we might well see a situation this year where both of the general election candidates for the seat Boxer is retiring from will be Democrats.

But there is a significant constituency in the party for moving left-ward -- how far being the only uncertainty.

One of the election items that I'm looking forward to here in Colorado is the sort-of single-payer ballot initiative. Sort-of because it acknowledges that the state can't force people covered under the variety of federal programs on to it, and that putting Medicaid and the ACA people on would require federal waivers. If approved and implemented, it would roughly double the size of the state government (measured in dollars). I don't expect it to pass, although the sponsors seemed to collect the necessary signatures pretty easily. If it's even close, though, it sends quite a message.

Is a genuinely left of centre (something it really hasn't been in anything but relative US terms) Democratic Party a viable prospect electorally?

I will generally second wj's reply to this.

At a national level, it's not something I expect to see any time soon. Even taking Bernie into account, because by international standards he's not especially left of center.

There is more of constituency for left of center folks at a local level, in some fairly specific places.

There was, I think, a stronger base for left-leaning folks at a national level here in the US between, roughly, WWI and WWII, but I think our sense of being in a global contest with Soviet Russia and Communist China for a couple of generations made it a non-starter after WWII.

I note that a lot of Bernie's base seems to be younger people, so maybe a generation from now the story will be different.

I wonder if the age of Bernie's supporters has anything to do with their having grown up without the sense of that contest with soviet Russia. Folks in our generation always had that looming in the background. But for kids born since the mid-80s, it hasn't really been part of their environment.

russell, since you define "left" in terms of people who are "favorable to labor", all I can say is that the dynamics are different here than in Europe because of our respective histories, and that I prefer the "liberal" worldview that exists here. The reason, I think, is that because of slavery, we have had to contend with racism as a major obstruction to social progress. There were certainly white people (especially immigrants) who have been victims of labor abuse, but the biggest abuse was slavery and its aftermath.

Racism (including anti-Semitism) and xenophobia are clearly elements in Europe too, but those issues were separate from "labor" which was more of a class issue that had its origins in an ancient social hierarchy.

That's why I reject the "we're not really leftists because we don't do 'left' like the Europeans'" analysis. We've had different priorities and progressive landmarks because of our history and different set of problems.

More specifically, what I'm taking issue with is your statement, russell, that
"At a national level, it's not something I expect to see any time soon. Even taking Bernie into account, because by international standards he's not especially left of center."

I really don't think that statement has any meaning, because there are no 'international standards" for "left of center". Or maybe I'm wrong, and you could point them out to me. I know that Ontario is experimenting with a basic minimum income, for example. But, correct me if I'm wrong, you would place that in the "safety net" category, not a "labor rights" category. So, in fact, even though that's a very "leftist" notion in the United States, I don't know how where it fits in "international standards". Hope you see what I mean by this - I'm coming to grasp that I'm not as clear as I think I am.

The question of what constitutes 'right' and 'left' is a knotty one, and probably not capable of any resolution which would satisfy a cross section of commenters here.

Having said that, it's reasonably clear for example that a large number of UK conservatives would be quite comfortable to identify in the US as Democrats - whereas a very small number of Republicans would be at home in the UK Labour Party.

wj wrote:

"That seems to be what the Democrats are likely to face this fall. Cruz is far enough right that either Clinton or Sanders should win (barring an economic meltdown). And Trump falls into the utterly unqualified category."

"Unqualified" is the qualification in this season of the witch. And nuts, like Trump and Cruz. Sanders sounds increasingly shrill and nuts, but in practice he's about as socialist as my car insurance agent trying to increase the pool of insured drivers.

But, you know, "SOCIALIST!" UGGA BUGGA!!!

Vast numbers of the American people involved in this election are enthralled by prolix Death Palin incantations of returning America to its greatness when no one had health insurance, except those who could possibly afford it, and racist, nationalist maneuvering limited the voting pools to whitey.

and ...

"I wonder if the age of Bernie's supporters has anything to do with their having grown up without the sense of that contest with soviet Russia. Folks in our generation always had that looming in the background. But for kids born since the mid-80s, it hasn't really been part of their environment."

I'm not precisely sure what you mean there, but when the Berlin Wall came down after the fall of the Soviet Union, the right wing in America, most notably in my memory Steven Forbes, chortled that those events made the way clear to demolish all social welfare (in their minds everything the government does outside of bombing foreigners) in the United States .. the New Deal, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, a graduated tax regime, unions, labor protections, you name it, because all of those programs were sops thrown to the American population as payoffs by American politicians so we wouldn't try any revolutionary stunts here in the homeland.

Voila .. Paul Ryan, Ted Cruz, and the rest of the mess.

I'm here to tell everyone that they can go ahead and move to destroy those programs and we'll see if the armed population they have extolled these many decades stands by and allows it without organizing to kill the conservative murderers.

It'll be more than a stunt. It will be the real f*cking item.

I can purchase heavy automatic weaponry from the same guys who arm Grover Norquist to the teeth.

Yes, Nigel, but would that have been true in 1990? The Republicans have become so insane, that it's really surprising (to me) how many people vote for them here.

Most Democrats here would probably be very comfortable in the Labour Party. In fact, a lot of folks were way more "left" (whatever that means) than Tony Blair.

So the whole "leftist" measuring game is kind of fruitless, maybe.

So the whole "leftist" measuring game is kind of fruitless, maybe.

Especially in light of the Count's message.

I came across this little movie streaming on Netflix that's kind of rough around the edges called "Look Who's Back", based on this German best-selling novel ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look_Who's_Back

... which I'm sure Hartmut will enjoy fleshing out for us.

It seems Hitler (Adolph), the real item, wakes up (don't ask) and stumbles around for a bit and inevitably catches the attention of "new media" (translation: even bigger unqualified bullshitters than the previous ones; in other words .. us) and begins to very cannily insinuate himself and his predilections as a comedy reality figure into the Zeitgeist.

Folks buy it, cause, you know, the Volk want the naked truth of the matter after all of this petty professional political prevaricating over the decades and he gives it to them, and they are captivated that he does in such plain language, as in "Juden".

He gets in trouble with politically correct types for pulling out a pistol and shooting a little dog in plain sight who's nipping at his pant legs, but like our contemporary fascists, it is somehow appreciated for its honesty and Hitler makes hay.

It conforms to my general theory of the End that it will not be a whimper or the howling of the tortured, but the world will go out horribly with a bit of an interested chuckle.

And we'll be entertained. They won't have to hide to camps. They'll have a studio audience for the reality of it. Even those being butchered with appreciate being included as participants in freedom.

Like so much satire, it's late, because he's already here in various guises and getting ready to kill.

I came across this little movie streaming on Netflix that's kind of rough around the edges called "Look Who's Back", based on this German best-selling novel ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Look_Who's_Back

... which I'm sure Hartmut will enjoy fleshing out for us.

It seems Hitler (Adolph), the real item, wakes up (don't ask) and stumbles around for a bit and inevitably catches the attention of "new media" (translation: even bigger unqualified bullshitters than the previous ones; in other words .. us) and begins to very cannily insinuate himself and his predilections as a comedy reality figure into the Zeitgeist.

Folks buy it, cause, you know, the Volk want the naked truth of the matter after all of this petty professional political prevaricating over the decades and he gives it to them, and they are captivated that he does in such plain language, as in "Juden".

He gets in trouble with politically correct types for pulling out a pistol and shooting a little dog in plain sight who's nipping at his pant legs, but like our contemporary fascists, it is somehow appreciated for its honesty and Hitler makes hay.

It conforms to my general theory of the End that it will not be a whimper or the howling of the tortured, but the world will go out horribly with a bit of an interested chuckle.

And we'll be entertained. They won't have to hide to camps. They'll have a studio audience for the reality of it. Even those being butchered with appreciate being included as participants in freedom.

Like so much satire, it's late, because he's already here in various guises and getting ready to kill.

hide "the" camps

"will" appreciate

Twice.

all I can say is that the dynamics are different here than in Europe because of our respective histories

I'm sure that's so. And, I by no means discount the things that have been accomplished here in the US by liberals / progressives / whatever name you want to give it.

When the country started, "democracy" was largely rule by white men with property. That's no so any more.

What I do find missing in our political and social mix is plain old advocacy of labor, which is to say, the interests of people who earn their bread by working. Whether you call that "leftism", or just a traditional view of political economy, it boils down to political representation and advocacy for the interests of working people.

The US is a phenomenally rich country, and a lot of people are poor. A lot of people *who work full time* are poor, poor enough to need public assistance in order to both eat and pay rent.

IMO, that's messed up.

More of the wealth that is generated by our economy should go to the people who actually, hands-on, create the goods and services that generate the wealth. An enormous number of other issues would, IMVHO, basically be moot if that were achieved.

That's where I'm coming from.

I don't mean to take away from American liberalism when I say that, I just think it's a position that isn't well represented by liberalism. To my eye, a lot of the liberal project is remedial, my preference is to make remediation superfluous.

"The US is a phenomenally rich country, and a lot of people are poor. A lot of people *who work full time* are poor, poor enough to need public assistance in order to both eat and pay rent.

IMO, that's messed up.

More of the wealth that is generated by our economy should go to the people who actually, hands-on, create the goods and services that generate the wealth. An enormous number of other issues would, IMVHO, basically be moot if that were achieved."

You see, that right there could be posted as every post and every comment on every blog in the internet creation and broadcast via 24-hour cable over and over for zillions of news cycles and flown trailing as a banner behind little airplanes over sports stadiums for months on end and maybe, maybe, probably not, via pure hammering repetition make a tiny dent, a slight alteration in the purposely deformed American DNA, in the stupid stupidinous stupitosity that has polluted out vital bodily fluids and flowed as non-point source pollution into the fundamental cellular levels of American political dumosity.

As Newt Gingrich starts every speech "It's very simple", but not like he thinks, the simpleton.

What


Russell

And this:

"I don't mean to take away from American liberalism when I say that, I just think it's a position that isn't well represented by liberalism. To my eye, a lot of the liberal project is remedial, my preference is to make remediation superfluous."

Shut the front door and sit down.

said

Count, I have not read that book and it's unlikely that I will. Not out of prejudice but because I am so far back on my reading list. The unread books I own would last me a few years even if I had nothing else to do (and so does my backlog of DVDs).

Hitler was perfect for the media of his time. TV was invented already but played no significant role and would not have worked well for him even under the heavily controlled conditions of Nazi Germany.
The Nazis also made heavy use of the fact that information could be kept local (something modern rightwingers would love to get back), so they were able to send very different messages to different places (like campaigning in Polish in Eastern Prussia while going for "German only" on the Rhine aiming hatred in particular against Polish workers in the Ruhr area).

Meanwhile, the endgame nears for a true test of democracy...
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/17/boaty-mcboatface-wins-poll-to-name-polar-research-vessel

Offshore tax havens will exist for as long as the major economies permit them to exist. That many of them are subject to UK and US control (de jure and/or and de facto) should be instructive. For the others, such as Panama and Switzerland (the latter being better as of late) and others, threatening with kicking them out of SWIFT would work.

More broadly, tax policy has been thought of as a key part of national sovereignty, and rightly so. But along with that has come a reluctance to make destructive domestic tax policirs a core issue of international agreements and relations. To the extent there are tax treaties those have been historically focused on reducing taxes rather than negotiating some sort of minimum standards. The OECD has over the past couple years with its BEPS project tried to change that approach but it's success is TBD.

There's also the issue that certain quarters have long pushed the idea that "tax competition" among nations is an unequivocal good, convincing many politicians that lower and lower rates are always better.

The World’s Favorite New Tax Haven Is the United States: Moving money out of the usual offshore secrecy havens and into the U.S. is a brisk new business.

Offshore wealth and tax evasion: regional estimates (2014)

I have a question for any of you who are familiar with Costco.

I'm putting together the food for a 50-person event in CT (I live in NJ). There's a Costco near where the event is being held. Is there any way that you know to find out what fresh foods are in stock at a particular Costco (without calling)?

Also, if I want to buy e.g. deli platters, cheese platters, etc., can I order them ahead of time ... somehow? Or do they have that kind of thing already made up so I just pick it up?

Some sentences from CharlesWT's 11:25am link:

"the U.S. is emerging as a leading tax and secrecy haven for rich foreigners."

"By resisting new global disclosure standards, the U.S. is creating a hot new market, becoming the go-to place to stash foreign wealth."

"The trust company was set up in 2013 to cater to international families, particularly those with a mix of assets and relatives in the U.S. and abroad, according to Rothschild. It caters to customers attracted to the “stable, regulated environment” of the U.S., said Rees, the Rothschild spokeswoman."

"Rothschild’s Penney wrote that the U.S. “is effectively the biggest tax haven in the world.”'

Guess it's time for the complaining, overtaxed, over-regulated, unpatriotic American right wing to take a look around at how lucky they are to live in our "stable, regulated environment" and shut their stinking mouths.

Doctor Science, there is probably an anonymous mail drop in Reno, Nevada which can rout your deli cheese platter orders via a Costco in Pierre, South Dakota tricked out to look like a storefront non-profit homeless shelter and thus avoid sales taxes in your hometown and may even allow you to get something for nothing.

Count, that anonymous mail drop near Reno (a suburb known as Sparks) only accepts Bitcoin, which might be a problem.

The fact that The Amazing Adventure Hour old-timey-style podcast has episodes of an SF Western: "Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars" is purely a coincidence, I'm sure.


Trump: Be a shame if there were violence at the Republican Convention, hanh?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-contested-convention-no-violence

No, I think it would close a perfect circle that started with the Gingrich/Luntz/Limbaugh/Reagan program to eliminate whatever fragile political civility once existed in Washington and to demonize all government and all liberals/minorities as unAmerican, anti-American enemies if Cleveland features Republican-on-Republican bloodshed on some very frightening scale.

Trump seems to be a master of the art of suggesting something, while nominally saying that he hopes that it doesn't occur.

One pictures a mob boss saying "Be a pity if your leg got broke on account of you not doing what I want. Hate to see that happen." The threat isn't, quite, explicit in the actual words. But it's extremely implicit.

It seems to me that leftist has a fairly clear meaning on domestic issues-- it means leaning more towards workers as opposed to the rich, being friendly to labor unions, etc... During the late 70's and 80's the liberal/ left in the US was in retreat. Clinton in the 90's seemed to have the answer--a more Wall Street friendly Democratic Party. Free trade agreements which in textbook models benefit everyone if gains from trade are somehow distributed to include factory workers who lost their jobs. Didn't work out that way. But the model seemed to work while the stock market and real estate bubbles inflated.

As for racism, one problem for the left has been that many working class white voters can be persuaded to think that the reason they aren't doing well is because black people on welfare take their tax money, immigrants take their jobs, and Muslims are here to kill them. Republicans used to be able to funnel all this support for politicians to cut taxes. Hard to get a left wing working party off the ground when conservatives can play the racism card.

Also, I thought the reason reparations were a bad idea was because it was better to try to do things that would decrease inequality across the board.

One of the issues left undiscussed by candidates AFAIK, including the wonky foreign policy experts--

http://rare.us/story/u-s-support-for-saudi-intervention-in-yemen-makes-us-all-less-secure/

Though it was a pleasant surprise to see the Gaza War an issue. I almost wondered what country I was in. People aren't supposed to criticize our noble allies that way.

Warming up for Republican murder in Cleveland. Yee-Haw:

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/in-the-virgin-islands-there-is-chaos

Can we hope for Republican-on-Republican here too?

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/texas-nationalist-movement-secession-resolutions

I would surely hope decent conservatives in Texas would take it upon themselves to thwart the secessionists in their State with savage violence, should their aims come to pass, in order to maintain the Union.

Count,
I thought that the Texas secessionits from the US would be waging savage violence upon those who wish to secede from Texas, because they're doon it rong, or something.

Republican on Republican violence is a growing social problem.

Something must be done.

Long but awesome article on the death of rock and roll, in Bob Dylans view, along with the answer on why jazz struggles in America today:

https://medium.com/@brentellesmith/like-it-is-bob-dylan-explains-what-really-killed-rock-n-roll-f6a4b6587a1a#.t31mfa2ow

Wasn't there an article in 1965 tearing Dylan a new one and accusing him of killing folk music when he debuted the electrified rock and roll "Like A Rolling Stone" at Newport?

The outrage was tantamount to the reception to the scandalous introduction of Impressionist and Cubist painting at the Armory Show in American in 1913, if that was the year.

I haven't finished the article yet, Marty, but it looks good.

Since the crimes of the British Invasion are invoked therein as accessories to the murder of various strains of American music, let me say this without disagreeing necessarily:

On the one hand the Beatles and others pretty much singlehandedly killed Motown, but it was really accidental manslaughter. When the Beatles came to the States the first time, they brought their transistor radios with them, like all of us had in the early 1960s, and they spent their free time between concerts and Sullivan calling into radio stations around the country requesting the playing of their favorite Motown tunes.

They loved the stuff and grew up on it. As did I. They didn't mean to kill it; it was the last thing they expected. It didn't help of course that their cover of "Please Mr. Postman" blew the socks off the Marvelettes original, though I loved both. And you can throw in Paul's Little Richard chops.

Now the Stones and other Brit bands, who listened to American swampy rhythm and blues players growing up stole American influence to their hearts delight, but the upside is that over the years they actually helped introduce American kids to their own roots music, if you think about it, just as George Harrison's early and clunky Chet Atkins licks introduced America's very own country-western roots to mainstream American kids, though we didn't know it at the time.

The fact is the British Invasion knew what was great about original American music even if we, white suburban kids ruined by the packaged ersatz Fabian and Annette Funicello (I liked Ricky Nelson; still do) thought the Brits were somehow original, which of course they were but deeply informed by American native music.

The British Invasion groups were tribute bands to original American music.

It just sounded good.

By the way, the corporate creations Fabian's and Pat Boone's were who killed off Elvis and Little Richard as America tried to deny that so much of original American music originates in the loins, which Sinatra ought to know, considering there was never a dry seat in the house when he performed as a skinny 21-tear-old crooner.

Everyone in music got screwed by corporate back in the day. Some of that is changing.

I'll finish the article.

Anyway, the variety of music today of so segmented but available via the internet that you can get a taste of everything -- here's couple of examples of good retro but contemporary sounds climbing the charts:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_oACPWGvM4

... and these guys, a local Denver band who is becoming known nationally. They drink at my watering hole down the street and occasionally pull out a guitar or two and perform. They make a lot of noise with drums and two acoustic guitars and the guy has vocal range, but you hear the roots.

There's nothing new there.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-HG77jgqkU

Nothing has really been killed.

I'd be interested in others' opinions, including cleek's and Russell's.

Long but awesome article on the death of rock and roll

That piece covers a lot of ground. I hardly know where to start.

One thing I will say is that Bob Dylan is, among many things, a truly serious student of American vernacular music. I came pretty close to signing up for satellite radio just so I could listen to his channel. He's not always the most articulate guy, but he knows a hell of a lot about the history of American music. It's his craft, and he takes it seriously.

There are so many threads woven into music, as an industry, as an art, as a practice, as a cultural legacy. Money, race, sex, and of course human expression and community. It's hard to isolate one out of that mix and consider it independently of all of the others.

But all of the points Dylan, and the author of the piece, make seem reasonable to me.

I'm reading a piece now that argues that music preceded human speech, and probably homo sapiens. I find that argument persuasive. It's one of the most profound things that people do, and we all participate in it in some way. Everybody sings, and dances, and taps their feet in time, and is moved by music.

It's funny to talk about the "death of rock". No musical style or tradition "dies", it just mutates.

In other news, Henry Threadgill won a Pulitzer. About time, IMO, Threadgill is a great player, a consistently interesting and protean composer and bandleader, and he has a 50 year career of producing important and challenging work.

So, apparently even jazz isn't dead yet. Although the kind of cultural imprimatur that the Pulitzer confers - the badge of Serious High Art Form - might do it in faster than anything else.

People will always make music. They always have, all of them, everywhere, as long as there have been humans, and probably before that. The industry is ruled by money, so the degree to which it aligns with the human project of making music varies over time. But people always have, and always will, make music.

If and when rock, or jazz, or blues, or bluegrass, or funk, or whatever style you can name, stop resonating with people, then those styles will pass away, and the aspects of them which are still relevant will be absorbed into something new.

Gypsy brass bands are pretty kick-ass, if rock isn't getting you up out of your seat anymore, I can recommend them.

Here's one of my favorite groups, the Debo Band. They're a bunch of Boston cats who decided to resurrect the Ethiopian Amharic pop music from the 70's. Not the best sound quality in this clip, but it gives an idea of the juice they bring to their live show.

Debo Band

Any band with bass AND tuba gets my attention.

Nothing really has been killed.

count, those guys just can't get enough different sounds out of those guitars. Just need a few more pedals. And I love Leon bridges.

The death of rock and roll is, of course, different from the death of rock.

That was a really interesting article. John Adams and Frank Rizzo, busting up parties over the centuries.

I never really thought of the Beatles as having killed Motown, but maybe I just know too many women from South Philly who are now in their 70s, so Motown always appeared to be alive and well to me. I always thought of them as having upended the parodies of Elvis the Count mentioned (e.g. Fabian).

I see there being a repeating pattern of something good and real being appropriated to the point that it loses its essence, and something else comes along to remind people what "good and real" is again.

An instance of that pattern not mentioned in the article would be Nirvana destroying the hair-metal scene of the late 80s. The music industry was cranking out a cheap and inferior product, modeled superficially on the success of, say, Van Halen, with a little extra glam thrown in.

Then along comes a man writing and playing from the heart, bearing his fragile soul. Of course, grunge quickly becomes a "thing" and people are heading to the thrift shops to get old jeans and flannel shirts. You can't swing a dead cat without hitting a grunge band or an "alternative" radio station, and the whole thing starts over again.

But that seems to be the last big "thing." The whole music scene got to be so splintered after that that nothing dominated. I wouldn't describe that as some sort of death, though. It's more of a diffusion than a death.

'2. Ted Cruz (via a contested convention), who creeped out most sentient beings last night by saying this: “America has always been best when she is lying down with her back on the mat.'

He followed up by pledging to pursue criminal prosecutions of Planned Parenthood, I expect.

Additionally, Americans expressed relieve from the expectation that they would spend the entire next four years bending over to receive the rogering Cruz is looking to perpetrating on the country.

America likes a little variety.

Not to be outdone, Donald Trump told his pigf*cking rabid-niks that he when enters the Oval Office in January 2017, he'll do every thing possible as President to reverse the breast reduction surgery performed on America by the Obama Administration these past eight years.

"America will be terrific again in Double-D cups, let me tell you."

The next/current big thing is the fusion of all musical types under the heading country. The rock/hip hop fusion of Florida/Georgia Line and amazing range of Chris Stapleton are just examples of how the very bed are converging to create a fresh round of American music.

Btw, I have no idea what I tried to type in the last sentence, but you get the drift.

I wonder if the RNC is going to impose a rule at the Cleveland convention regarding who may use which bathrooms and when at the Quicken facility.

Maybe one bathroom for Trumpniks, another exclusively for Cruzmaniacs, who rarely go anyway because their you-know-what doesn't stink, and yet another for those lamestream Republicans who are fearful of being molested or beaten while micturating.

Probably a special little girl's room for Sarah Death Panel, kitted out with plenty of mirrors and waterboarding props.

I'd hate to hear that something like this happened. The summers can be remarkably humid in Cleveland:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caIpEieZe4A

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