consultants are sandburs

Friday, August 28, 2015

I am puzzled by pundits and by circumstances. Ted Cruz, Donald Trump. As pundit fodder. And a closing note concerning journalistic professionalism.

For starters, this, no quote so go to the source itself and read enough to get the drift. The pundit is saying Trump should have handled FOX gotcha entertainment/questions the way Ted Cruz did. Read how Cruz, as seasoned politician seeking the presidency, responded.

Then there is Newsmax, the headline carrying the message; "Poll: Trump Soars Past Cruz in Texas."

So Trump should study and emulate question evasiveness, per Cruz?

The pundit says so, so it must be so?

Next, beyond Trump or Cruz, what is going on, Trump and Cruz?

A TPM image, link at left.
The story is -- Two contestants, one event, one stage, Iran deal in the paired crosshairs. Scanning mainstream coverage each item is not unlike the other; CNN, ABC, Politico, TPM, Rupert's WSJ, The Hill, WaPo, Israeli press, and then the Monitor chooses compare and contrast. Even the Seattle PI weighs in, surprisingly well. Marco Rubio must feel left out. Along with others of the seventeen who would also like a co-starring chance to bash the Iran deal by sharing a stage with Mr. Trump.

Each outlet spins this-and-that the same and differently, punditry cannot be in exact lockstep, but the message is Cruz and Trump, two contestants, one event, one stage. You can read as much of that stuff as you choose, but is there in any of it a sense of what's going on, beyond Trump and Cruz, two contestants, one event, one stage?

Gotta get to FOX. The quick superficial websearch did not get to whether FOX had boo to say about Cruz and Trump, one venue, etc., but our own Glen Taylor Strib opting to carry AP feed material unrelated to Cruz, this item stating in ending paragraphs:

Trump returned to bashing Kelly this week, and the network chief Roger Ailes engaged.

"Megyn Kelly represents the very best of American journalism and all of us at Fox News Channel reject the crude and irresponsible attempts to suggest otherwise," Ailes said in a statement demanding Trump apologize.

"I could not be more proud of Megyn for her professionalism and class in the face of all of Mr. Trump's verbal assaults," he added.

FOX? Journalism of any quality? "Professionalism" and not tawdry sensationalism?

"Class, Ailes said?" From FOX?

There is this. Evidence of what exactly? That Howard Stern can bring the best class and professionalism out of people? That FOX bigwig Ailes doth protest too much - perhaps even reaching so far as to feign a dislike for that which is "crude and irresponsible?" Is chasing ratings "crude and irresponsible?"

Would Univision know how to properly handle a ratings boost godsend? Responsibly? While not judging that, happily is the modifier I'd apply. With advertisers buying ratings and with a pending IPO and now the firm's name, happily in the news.

___________UPDATE____________
Part of being puzzled, is not knowing whether this link should be put here where it is, or here, where commentary was posted about an ostensible hostile positioning between Donald Trump and Hiam Saben, per the half-bilion complaint of Trump against Univision - in the midst of floating an IPO - which, along with the as-if-staged Jorge Ramos - Donald Trump theater show - boosted the Univision brand recognition among non-Hispanic Americans. Cruz and Trump together thumping the tub against the Iran negotiations, Israel disliking the deal, and Hiam Saben's Wikipedia page, the link referred to above as suitable for adding two places, stating:

Saban says his greatest concern is to protect Israel. At a conference in Israel, Saban described his formula. His three ways to influence American politics were: make donations to political parties, establish think tanks, and control media outlets.[22]

[...] During the 2000 presidential election, Saban increased his rank to 5th among individual donors with a combined contribution of $1,250,500.[23] Matthew Yglesias wrote that "Saban was the largest overall contributor to the Democratic National Committee during the 2001–2002 cycle." [25] Saban's donations during that 2001–2002 period exceeded $10 million, the largest donation the DNC has received from a single source up to that time.

In September 2004, Hillary Clinton described Saban as a very good friend, supporter and adviser: "I am grateful for his commitment to Israel, to a just and lasting peace in the Middle East and to my foundation's work, particularly on reconciliation issues."[5] In May 2007, Haim publicly declared his support for Clinton in 2008 presidential election.[20] In June 2007, Saban and Steven Spielberg co-hosted a Hillary Clinton fundraiser at the house of Peter Chernin, the President of News Corporation.[26] According to the Los Angeles Times,[26] the fundraiser brought in over $850,000.

[...] On May 19, 2008, it was reported that Haim Saban had "offered $1 million to the Young Democrats of America during a phone conversation in which he also pressed for the organization's two uncommitted superdelegates to endorse Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for president."[28]

[...] In 2002 Saban provided an initial grant of 13 million USD[29] and a pledge of additional funds[29] to create the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, a foreign policy think tank based in Washington, D.C.. The Saban Center is part of the larger Brookings Institution think tank.[29] The Saban Center aims to provide policy makers in government with information and analysis regarding America's foreign policy in the Middle East. Saban recruited Martin Indyk to direct the center.

Haim Saban discussed his views on the Middle East and Persian Gulf region in great detail in a 2006 interview with Haaretz. Particularly notable were his comments regarding Iran: "When I see Ahmadinejad, I see Hitler. They speak the same language. His motivation is also clear: the return of the Mahdi is a supreme goal. And for a religious person of deep self-persuasion, that supreme goal is worth the liquidation of five and a half million Jews. We cannot allow ourselves that. Nuclear weapons in the hands of a religious leadership that is convinced that the annihilation of Israel will bring about the emergence of a new Muslim caliphate? Israel cannot allow that. This is no game. It's truly an existential danger."[30]

[...] Saban, a long-time supporter and donor of many pro-Jewish and Israel causes, has stated his main goal in multiple interviews: "I'm a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel."[38]

Again the other place I declined to put the Saben link, already with much updating, here.

As a thought experiment, might some of the Clinton "personal and deleted" emailing have been with Hiam Saben, a personal friend of the Clinton's family and a supporter of their foundation, much as the Trump complaint paragraph 2 asserted? And might such emailing have overlapped Ms. Clinton's service as US Secretary of State? And then had there been such emailing, preserved, might others than Ms. Clinton view it as edging beyond the merely personal?

I am truly puzzled. Bernie's gravitas and bona fides does not puzzle me one bit, but much of the rest does.

____________FURTHER UPDATE___________
The question of "birthright citizenship" a/k/a more pejoratively termed "anchor baby" status is explored in an online source the existence of which I indirectly learned of from an earlier writing of Harry Niska. Specific to the question, this link, linking over to here. The dance involves hairsplitting over what "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States means in the opening sentence of the Fourteenth Amendment. Given the predilection of the ultimate hair splitter of our time, Mr. Chief Justice Roberts who along with his hair-splitting confederates on the court determined against all logic that inanimate corporations are "people" having rights normally viewed as only accorded actual, real to the touch humans. Any human who can split that hair that way, can split any other in an infinity of ways, as long as he's got the other four votes in the bag. He's the worst politician of our time.

So, the legal arguments can be bandied about, and the links given lead to other links, so it appears Trump fairly stated to the Univision guy that legal scholars are of different opinions. And remember, the Fourteenth Amendment stood as bright and as tall as ever during the time Japanese American citizens were put into concentration camps on American soil during WW II, so make of the protections what you will. They appear subject to the tastes of the times, rather than being more actual and eternal.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

The truth, per online reporting, is that Pete Hegseth is astroturfing [that is phony grassroot advocacy] for the Koch clan. His "concerned veterans" thing never did smell quite right. Now the source of the smell has been catalogued.

Media Matters, a respected nonprofit, carries the Hegseth = Koch fellow traveler front man barker story. This link:

Fox News Anchor Is The "Special Guest" At Event For Group "Literally Created" By Kochs
Research August 26, 2015 10:26 AM EDT - by ERIC HANANOKI

Fox News anchor Heather Nauert will be a "special guest" at an upcoming event for Concerned Veterans for America (CVA), a group that was "literally created" by the Koch brothers' financial network. CVA is headed by Republicans, has spent millions trying to elect Republicans, and has been criticized for trafficking in "partisan attacks" despite "posing as a vet advocacy group."


CVA CEO: We're Protesting The Obama Administration For "Crushing" "Freedom And Prosperity." While promoting CVA's tour on Mark Levin's radio program, CVA CEO Pete Hegseth said his group is protesting the Obama administration for taking the country in the "wrong direction":

LEVIN: Tell us a little bit about Concerned Veterans of America.

HEGSETH: Absolutely, Mark. CVA is a veterans and military families organization that's building a movement of veterans and patriots across this country. They're fighting to take this country back. You know, I raised my right hand, served in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantanamo Bay like so many of my generation, and other generations to defend the Constitution, and this country, and the freedom and prosperity and liberty that we love. And we're watching this administration and this country head in fundamentally the wrong direction.

[...]

I look at a failing VA bureaucracy with vets dying on secret lists. I look at the gutting of our military and the pink slips they're sending to captains and majors today, who have borne the battle. I look at leading from behind, which last time I checked is just following. And lunging at deals with the worst enemy or jihadist enemies -- you've been talking about Iran. And the deal we're making there, which is poisonous. Our 18-and-a-half trillion dollars in debt, bloated entitlements, our shredding of the Constitution. Status quo in this country and what this administration has done is crushing the freedom and prosperity that we put the uniform on to defend. Spineless politicians, narrow special interests, are not going to get us where we need to be. It has to be veterans, military families, and patriots. And that's what Concerned Veterans for America is building, and what started as a group, and what started as a tour, really is turning into a movement. [YouTube.com, 5/4/15; Cumulus Media, The Mark Levin Show, 4/30/15]

Hegseth Cited Affordable Care Act And Benghazi During Tour. The Virginian-Pilot reported that Hegseth invoked "scandals" such as ACA and Benghazi during a 2014 tour event in Virginia:

Pete Hegseth, the group's CEO and a Fox News contributor, ticked off what he called a series of scandals that have tainted the Obama administration, including the substandard care at Veterans Affairs health centers.

"When you have a bureaucracy more concerned about protecting leaders who are covering up deaths of veterans waiting on secret lists - that's more important than providing timely care - you know you have a government and a country whose priorities are off the rails," Heg­seth told an enthusiastic audience of about 100, many of them veterans, at the Granby Theater.

He also railed against Obama's health care law, the "cover-up" of the 2012 terrorist attack that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and the targeting of conservative organizations by the Internal Revenue Service. [Virginian-Pilot, 5/24/14]

On Defend Freedom Tour, Hegseth Railed Against "Welfare State," "Porous Borders," "Socialized Medicine." During an April 25 speech in Texas, Hegseth criticized the Obama administration by citing a litany of complaints about progressive policies. [Defend Freedom Tour, 4/25/15]

Defend Freedom Guests Include Numerous Republican Politicians And Conservative Commentators. Guests on the Defend Freedom Tour 2015 include former Virginia Senate candidate Oliver North, former Rep. Allen West (R-FL), Rep. Steve Russell (R-OK), and former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA). Conservative commentators S.E. Cupp, Buck Sexton, and Katie Pavlich have also appeared on the tour. [DefendFreedomTour.com, accessed 8/24/15]

Wash. Post: 2014 Tour Featured "Speeches Lambasting" Obama Administration. The Post wrote in June 2014 of CVA's Defend Freedom tour last summer: "The Koch-backed group Concerned Veterans for America, now in the midst of a 10-city 'Defend Freedom Summer Tour,' is mixing music performances with speeches lambasting the Obama administration's handling of the patient backlog at veterans hospitals." [Washington Post, 6/18/14]
CVA Is Run By Republicans

CVA CEO Pete Hegseth Has Been A Republican Candidate And State Party Official. Pete Hegseth unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for a U.S. Senate seat in 2012 in Minnesota. The Republican Party of Minnesota appointed him as its finance chair in 2014. He is currently a Fox News contributor. [Star Tribune, 5/24/12; MNGOP.com, 5/23/14; FoxNews.com, accessed 8/24/15]

Star Tribune: Hegseth Was "A National Spokesman For The Bush Administration's War Aims" Through Prior Organization. The Star-Tribune in Minneapolis reported of Hegseth:

Hegseth, 31, has not run for public office before. But he is well known in Republican circles as executive director of Vets for Freedom, a now-dormant national group that supported former President George W. Bush's surge in Iraq, where Hegseth also served.

[...]

As a leader of Vets for Freedom, Hegseth became a national spokesman for the Bush administration's war aims, as well as a critic of President Obama's push to set withdrawal timetables for U.S. combat troops in Afghanistan. [Star Tribune, 2/22/12, via Nexis]

Wash. Post: Hegseth Helped Raise "Millions Of Dollars To Elect Conservative Veterans To Congress." Post reporter Dave Weigel wrote of Hegseth: "In 2007, Hegseth became the executive director of Vets for Freedom, which raised millions of dollars to elect conservative veterans to Congress. TV bookers were frequently in need of an advocate for the George W. Bush administration's troop surge. Enter Hegseth, a sharp debater and surge defender who looked like a battle-hardened Channing Tatum." [The Washington Post, 7/23/15]

CVA Vice President Worked For John McCain's Presidential Campaign. Joe Gecan's CVA biography states: "Joe was the deputy director for veterans outreach for John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign where he helped develop, manage, and operate a twenty-state network of volunteer activists and leaders." [CV4a.org, accessed 8/24/15]

CVA Legislative Director Worked For Republican Congressman. Dan Caldwell's CVA biography states: "Prior to joining CVA in 2013, Dan worked for Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) from 2011 to 2013 ... Additionally, in 2012, Dan managed the successful re-election campaign of Congressman Schweikert." [CV4a.org, accessed 8/24/15]
CVA Attacks Democratic Politicians, Supports Republicans

Military Update Columnist: CVA Issues "Partisan Attacks," "Traditional Vet Groups Are Alarmed" By Their "Rising Profile." Tom Philpott, who writes the syndicated Military Update column, criticized CVA's partisan alignment in a piece for Stars and Stripes:

But in my 37 years covering veterans' issues, I have never seen veteran issues used more cynically or politicized more thoroughly than during the past several years. At times the intent seems to be to shake trust in government generally rather than to address veterans' needs.

In the thick of this is Concerned Veterans for America, posing as a vet advocacy group and being rewarded for it. CVA press releases usually are partisan attacks. Its spokesman, Pete Hegseth, an Iraq war vet and Republican who ran for a U.S. Senate in 2012, is quoted often by major news outlets without mention of press reports associating CVA with the Koch brothers, libertarian billionaires who create public interest groups to oppose big government. That's fine. That's protected speech. A CVA spokesman told me last year it won't reveal donor information.

What should upset vets is the use of select facts about VA and its programs to reinforce fears rather than give reliable information. Last week a CVA press release hit a new low in purporting to document "lies" Shinseki told in congressional testimony, dropping any veil of respect for a decorated, combat-disabled soldier with a long and stellar career.

It is no coincidence only Republicans, including Rep. Jeff Miller (Fla.) and Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.), participate in CVA events. They should reconsider. Though CVA sponsors an occasional informative forum in Washington D.C., it produces no careful analyses of what ails VA. The goal seems to be to attack, relentlessly, while a Democrat holds the White House.

Traditional vet groups are alarmed by the rising profile CVA has on cable news programs and in newspapers where informed opinions on chronic claim backlogs and care delays should rule. Instead, there's heated rhetoric that stirs dissent and attempts to turns the public against a department the CVA routinely portrays always as too costly and too ineffective. [Stars and Stripes, 5/23/14]

TIME: CVA Is A "Conservative Group" That Attacked "Democratic Candidates In Contested Races With Costly Advertising" In 2014. TIME wrote of CVA in September 2014:

This cycle, in addition to VoteVets.org, a conservative group called Concerned Veterans of America has been attacking Democratic candidates in contested races with costly advertising. That group is run by veteran Pete Hegseth, a former finance chair for the Minnesota Republican Party and one-time Republican Senate candidate, and has been tied by ProPublica through tax forms to groups funded by conservative donors Charles and David Koch. "Under her watch, things got worse," claims a recent Concerned Veterans television spot that ties Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina to the recent scandals at the Department of Veterans Affairs. [TIME.com, 9/5/14]

Politico: CVA "Ran Ads In The Run-Up To Last Year's Midterm Elections Attacking Vulnerable Democrats." Politico wrote of the group:

Concerned Veterans, though, ran ads in the run-up to last year's midterm elections attacking vulnerable Democrats like Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and then-Sen. Kay Hagan of North Carolina. The group also put up ads in support of then-Rep. Tom Cotton, the Republican Iraq war veteran who ousted Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor in Arkansas. [Politico, 6/25/15]

CVA Is Running Ads Supporting Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. Politico noted in August that the "Koch-linked group Concerned Veterans for America is spending $1.5 million on a TV, digital and mail campaign to boost Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Pat Toomey," who is facing reelection in 2016. [Politico, 7/30/15]

CVA Was A "Top" Spender In 2014. The Center for Responsive Politics wrote of CVA:

AFP is not the only Koch-backed organization making the list of top federal spenders in terms of airtime this cycle. Freedom Partners -- a massive 501(c)(6) trade association that served as a conduit for the bulk of the $400 million that the Koch network raised in 2012 -- has begun to spend directly on ads in 2014 as has another group, Concerned Veterans for America, that derives most of its funding from the Koch network. Both groups have spent an estimated $2.1 million on air time in 2014. [OpenSecrets.org, 9/4/14]

CVA's Attacks On The Affordable Care Act Align It With "Other Koch-Affiliated Groups." Roll Call reported of CVA during the 2014 campaign:

But Concerned Veterans for America's frequent attacks on the Affordable Care Act align it squarely with other Koch-affiliated groups. Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, a trade association at the heart of the Koch donor network, gave $5.2 million to Concerned Veterans for America, 2012 tax records show. [Roll Call, 9/30/14]

Military Times: CVA Is "A Favorite Of Conservative Lawmakers." The Military Times reported of CVA: "On one side sits Concerned Veterans for America, a favorite of conservative lawmakers who have been pushing for expanded private care options for veterans and an overhaul of the Veterans Affairs Department bureaucracy." [Military Times, 7/15/15]
Koch Brothers Network "Literally Created" CVA

CVA Head: Koch Network "Literally Created" CVA. During a 2014 speech at a Koch brothers summit, audio of which was obtained by The Undercurrent, CVA CEO Pete Hegseth told donors that the Koch network "literally created" CVA:

When Kevin Gentry, vice president of the Charles G. Koch charitable foundation, introduced Hegseth to the assembled donors, he noted that "you all helped build a group called Concerned Veterans for America."

At various points, Hegseth took pains to express his gratitude to the people funding his operation. "Concerned Veterans for America is an organization this network literally created to empower veterans and military families to fight for the freedom and prosperity here at home that we fought for in uniform on the battlefield," he noted.

Hegseth declined to comment on the tape when asked by MSNBC. [The Nation, 9/23/14; YouTube, 9/23/14; MSNBC.com, 4/15/15]

Center For Responsive Politics: CVA "Derives Most Of Its Funding From The Koch Network." [OpenSecrets.org, 9/4/14]

USA Today: Koch Network Gave CVA Nearly $5.3 Million In 2013. USA Today reported that Freedom Partners, which is "at the center of the Koch brothers' far-reaching political network," gave CVA "nearly $5.3 million" in 2013. [USA Today, 9/16/14]

Wash. Post: CVA "Was Funded Almost Entirely By" Koch Network In 2012. The Post reported that TC4 Trust, a now-defunct organization that routed dark money from Charles and David Koch's funding network, was responsible for almost all of CVA's funding in 2012:

The Washington Post and the Center for Responsive Politics identified a coalition of allied conservative groups active in the 2012 elections that together raised at least $407 million, backed by a donor network organized by the industrialists Charles and David Koch. Most of the funds originated with two groups, the Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce and TC4 Trust, both of which routed some of the money through a Phoenix-based nonprofit group called the Center to Protect Patient Rights (CPPR).

The makeup of the coalition may change going forward, but in 2012 the network consisted of:

[...]

Concerned Veterans for America, which in 2012 held events spotlighting the unemployment rate among veterans and the difficulties members of the military face in casting ballots. The group was funded almost entirely by TC4 in 2012. [The Washington Post, 1/5/14]

Wall Street Journal: CVA Is A "Koch-Brothers Backed Group." [WSJ.com, 4/8/15]

I hope I got the quotes within the quote all correct.

What a sack of dirt opportunism. Is it honor to the uniform he wore; whoring for the Kochs?

And for FOX. The man can't even throw an axe straight, when going rogue with the axe, on camera, and almost seriously injuring a West Point band drummer who the axe struck.

Can he walk and chew gum? At the same time? Without help from the Koch clan?

At least Kurt Bills, (who soundly defeated Hegseth in a Minnesota GOP primary when Hegseth ran here to oppose Klobuchar's reelection to the Senate), honorably declined connecting his future to the Koch misinformation empire. Bills had the character and sound judgment not to do so, unlike weaker Republican individuals. It is little wonder Hegseth's astroturf operation attracted only a handful of fellow travelers. Most veterans apparently had their eyes open. Not their hands out.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Trump yet again captures headlines. Including filing suit where Larry Klayman might have been chosen as Trump's attorney. And are you surprised that the target is Hispanic-American? [SPECULATIVELY UPDATED]

The Entertainer. With a prop he might even respect.

For starters, Strib carries AP feeds where web search will disclose alternate online coverage, but two Strib items are, "Donald Trump starts new media feud with Univision anchorman Jorge Ramos," here; and "Trump has Univision anchor taken out of Iowa news conference amid immigration confrontation," here.

"Uinvision anchorman Jorge Ramos," the one AP headline says; so who do you guess The Donald is suing? Hint - not anybody in the Bush family.

Not yet.

The Monitor, before filing of the complaint, wrote of possibility and/or likelihood. (The item is source of the opening image.)

Other mainstream coverage, NPR, Politico [with a Scribed link to the lawsuit if you use Facebook and its super-awful Scribed product - a more useful pdf of the complaint is online here]; and New York Times (with a familiar image, differently cropped). Less than mainstream -- The Hollywood Reporter [do remember Trump is an entertainer], and my favorite coverage, techdirt.

There are at least two non-Scribed pdf complaint copies online, here and here; and if you read the Trump complaint, and have read any of Larry Klayman's pleadings, you will (or might) feel a twinge of deja vu. At a guess, Larry would love a wealthy paying client such as Trump; but would Trump want Larry? The evidence is he used a New York firm, and filed in New York state court.

Claiming damages of $500,000,000 and defamation and breach of contract.

Again if you follow any reporting link, techdirt has the more entertaining coverage of the entertainer's lawsuit against a Spanish-language entertainment outlet. Stir in the ongoing Trump-Fox entertainment stuff; and the big question, are you turned off, enthused, or entertained?

____________UPDATE____________
To explain one point of piqued curiosity I have toward the Trump-Univision litigation show, it is appropriate to briefly quote the NYT item:

Mr. Trump contends that Univision was in violation of its contract by abandoning the broadcast. In the lawsuit, the Trump Organization said that Univision signed a five-year, $13.5 million contract this year to broadcast “Miss USA” and other Miss Universe pageants. The lawsuit also claims that Univision was trying to “suppress Mr. Trump’s freedom of speech.”

Okay. A written contract. Apparently not appended to the complaint. So, was it in English, in Spanish, or were there two signed versions, one in each language? Given that Univision is a Spanish language news and entertainment outlet, does it cut its deals in one language, the other, or both?

When there's money on the table ...

_________FURTHER UPDATE [AS AMENDED]_________
Breitbart, here. CNN Money, here, stating in part:

[Trump attorney] Garten also said, contrary to some speculation, "there is no morals clause" in the contract with either network. Such a clause can let a company get out of a contractual obligation if an individual brings embarrassment upon the company.

Garten asserted that companies get into business with Trump knowing that he "draws a lot of media attention and talks straight."

So, can high profile arguably egregious conduct outside of a contract breach an understanding when no express term is included to that effect; but where there is always an implied duty of good faith, and an expectation of public reasonableness of a kind to not poison the well? Implied responsibility to not bring disdain or distress to weigh as an anticipatory breach of the bargain's having mutual benefit? (Something akin to a right to an expectation that a counter party will not act publicly in ways to lessen substantially the good will of the obligated party, if the obligated party were to perform contractual obligations - an equitable duty imposed to not adversely willfully impact the good will of the other party to the contract).

Trump seems to be set to only lose public credibility if that technical absence-of-an-express-clause argument is advanced by his litigators. It seems to be digging a hole more deeply.

Is, "draws a lot of media attention and talks straight," a reasonable characterization of events?

_________FURTHER FURTHER UPDATE_________
In terms of entertainment, there is the b-word used repeatedly by Mr. Trump, not the one that rhymes with witch, but "bimbo."

Consider the term in light of the opening image, and considering that, what would Norwood Teague say about the grip there?

Aside from that, see here, here and here, about Mr. Trump yet again calling the FOX lady entertainer a "bimbo."

Megyn Kelly, while having moved to the dark side of the force, [FOX], nonetheless has a law degree, worked for a law firm, and has litigated, something we might not expect of the young, attractive lady in that image.

There is the dimension of Trump that seems to want it both ways. Having a ton of money is not an entitlement to sell inconsistent bombast to the most gullible. That ton of money surely facilitates such sales effort, but does not excuse it.

If you follow those three "FURTHER FURTHER UPDATE" links, is there much content you'd agree with or accept at face value, and if so, would it be Mr. Trump's tweeting challenge and characterization he extends toward Mr. Bush?

_______FURTHER AFIELD - ANOTHER UPDATE________
There were reports, e.g., here and here (with interesting images each), of a Bill Clinton - Donald Trump phone conversation weeks before Trump declared his candidacy, (wherein he launched his candidacy-related Hispanic commentary).

Shortly after that candidacy announcement weeks after the phone call but within days after the Trump commentary, NBC and Univison announced dropping contracted coverage of the Miss USA, Miss Whoever thing Trump was invested into, which happened as it was scheduled, about two weeks after the end of June, 2015, without TV coverage. End of June is when Trump sued Univision. How I learned of that lawsuit? The Iowa press conference where Trump and the Univision news anchor person had their discussions, Trump, this YouTube video at about 26:30 min and onward, he makes a point of it. The entire video is worth watching. But that is the part where the litigation is mentioned. Near the end of the session.

An eyeopener, this item dated July 7, days before the beauty pageant w/o TV, stating:

Can Donald Trump stop a Univision IPO?

The war between Donald Trump and Univision heated up further Tuesday when Trump fired off a letter demanding a Univision “reserve fund” to pay his $500 million suit.

“Given recent reports . . . that Univision is currently carrying in excess of $10 billion in debt, ‘has swung in and out of profitability’ and ‘barely broke even last year,’ we hereby demand that the company immediately establish a litigation reserve commensurate with the amount demanded . . . so that Univision is capable of satisfying any judgment,” Trump’s lawyer Jeffrey L. Goldman wrote.

[...] “Donald could be holding up a billion-dollar IPO,” an insider said. “Univision may settle for a hundred, two hundred million, because Univision just wants out. They were already married to Trump in this deal. They could have hit pause, said, ‘We do not condone his comments,’ and not made a knee-jerk reaction and made a bad deal.”

But in its IPO paperwork, Univision didn’t sound worried about Trump: “We are not involved in any legal proceedings that would reasonably be expected to have a material effect on our business, financial condition or operations.” Its rep has called the suit “legally ridiculous.”

Asked to comment, Michael Cohen, Trump’s special counsel, provided a statement by Trump: “We have today sent a demand letter that Univision immediately set up a reserve fund for this litigation. Univision had a five-year contract to broadcast the Miss Universe pageant with no right of termination and they terminated the contract with a press release. [...]

So, a pending IPO effort on the skids ready to be pushed to market. Trump very publicly alienates Hispanics, timed when it was. Univision reacts dumping Trump's beauty pageant within days and gets sued, within days; days before the blacked-out pageant. A net effect is litigation with a high target price potentially mucking up the Univision IPO status, at least somewhat, and that litigation gaining a high profile by Trump's quite prominently mentioning it, (again, see the Iowa YouTube segment).

But is it that simple?

Rereading the WaPo item about the Clinton - Trump phone conversation (with wonderment and concern over why would insider associates of each of them give WaPo such a story at that time, in such detail); there is this in the coverage:

Former president Bill Clinton had a private telephone conversation in late spring with Donald Trump at the same time that the billionaire investor and reality-television star was nearing a decision to run for the White House, according to associates of both men.

Four Trump allies and one Clinton associate familiar with the exchange said that Clinton encouraged Trump’s efforts to play a larger role in the Republican Party and offered his own views of the political landscape.

Clinton’s personal office in New York confirmed that the call occurred in late May, but an aide to Clinton said the 2016 race was never specifically discussed and that it was only a casual chat.

[...] The revelation of the call comes as many Republicans have begun criticizing Trump for his ties to Democrats, including past financial donations to the Clintons and their charitable foundation.

Trump took the call from his office in Trump Tower in New York, according to the four allies, who requested anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly. The call came as Trump was making a final decision about whether to run, and he was candid about his political ambitions and his potential interest in seeking the White House during the talk, these allies said.

The 42nd president listened intently and then analyzed Trump’s prospects and his desire to rouse the GOP base, the Trump allies said.

One person with knowledge of Clinton’s end of the call said the former president was upbeat and encouraging during the conversation, which occurred as Trump was speaking out about GOP politics and his prescriptions for the nation.

Clinton aides declined to speak on the record about the call, saying the conversation was personal.

“Mr. Trump reached out to President Clinton a few times. President Clinton returned his call in late May,” a Clinton employee said. “While we don’t make it a practice to discuss the president’s private conversations, we can tell you that the presidential race was not discussed.”

One Trump adviser said Clinton called Trump, but the adviser did not provide specifics about how the call came about.

Date atop the online Trump complaint, 6/30/2015, likely a key date in things. (Online pdf versions of the complaint are image based, not text searchable, unlike the plaintext online version techdirt has linked to, here.) Readers of the text of the Trump complaint might have noticed in an early, prominent paragraph:

2. While Univision has claimed in the media that its decision to cut ties with MUO [Trump's beauty pageant business entity] came in response to certain comments by Mr. Trump during a June 16, 2015 campaign Speech announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, the decision was, in reality, a thinly veiled attempt by Univision, a privately held company principally owned by longtime Clinton Foundation donor and current Hillary Clinton fundraiser, Haim Saban, to suppress Mr. Trump's freedom of speech under the First Amendment as he begins to campaign for the nation's presidency and, in recent weeks, has dramatically risen in the polls while expressing critical views of Mrs. Clinton. Little else can explain Univision's decision to not only abandon its contractual relationship with MUO, but also, upon information and belief, pressure NBC to follow suit and cut longstanding ties with Plaintiffs nearly two weeks after the statements were made.

[emphasis added] Interested readers are encouraged to construct a timeline, and to think things over, including as part of such an exercise:

Try a websearch = univision ipo

Try a websearch = Hiam Saben

See what you get.

Of course it admittedly is speculative whether Bill and Don put their heads together by phone in advance of the Trump move against Mexicans, in anticipation of an apparent stressing of an IPO effort and possibly forcing a settlement on terms favorable to Trump whereby Univision, in effect by settlement, funds the Trump candidacy campaign. (Settlement payments, if any, likely tax deductible as a business expense to Univision, currently a private closely held venture, unlike the tax treatment likely attendant to campaign funding or outside PAC spending in an equal amount. Here, readers familiar with the tax code and regs should submit a comment because I do not have that specific expertise and am purely guessing blind about tax dimensions and consequences.)

Fortune published Gettyimage
And with IPO status pending, Univision, which previously I and likely others never heard of, gets fallout Trump-inspired publicity, which could enhance rather than detract from IPO pricing success. Publicity which so far seems to have played well within the Hispanic community which is Univision's target audience; thus enhancing goodwill value of the venture, with viewers and advertisers. And the firm's name gets bandied before hedge fund managers and other possible investors. Who knows, FOX might buy into the Univision IPO. That's an entertaining thought. As entertaining as that thought is, consider another - lawsuit settlement might include a Univision acquisition of the Trump share of the beauty pageant thing, NBC continuing to own the remainder, all done as part of settling within an adversarial status at a price the litigants (at arms-length and not in collusion), agree to as reasonable. The IPO was not halted, but has gone on, and once there is public trading and a trading price in the market, a potential Univision-Trump settlement could even involve a transfer of shares (publicly traded at such a point per the IPO) in lieu of a cash settlement of the Trump damages claim.


And for something wholly unrelated to anything else in this post, something for a total change of pace - cover art for a Grateful Dead album:

image source, here


_____________THROW-IN UPDATE____________
The Larry Klayman - Sheriff Joe clique now looks to be wanting a piece of the Trump. Or that is so if we believe Brietbart, here. Tediously long and headlined as a Brietbart "Exclusive," have a look. Then try this: Trump is not so dumb as to get in any way mixed with that clown pack. That's a speculative Crabgrass exclusive. Trump could prove it wrong but don't hold your breath waiting for a Joe and Don junket south of the border.

If you do not want a touchscreen Windows 8.1/Windows 10 laptop/notebok computer, or a powerful gaming machine, you can purchase a credible item for $200 or under.

Some users buying at that price point might want a 64 gB or larger thumbdrive and/or SD or microSD card for transfering files by sneaker net, vs doing it in the cloud. And the processor will not be blazingly fast, not a gaming machine if that is your desire. But if you want a carry-around where you would not greatly regret having it stolen or leaving it behind in a hotel room, there are low end options. And for a low cost if you are using a Windows 7 desktop, and want to see Windows 10 [but without tablet/touchscreen] with a keyboard and optionally a mouse vs the built in touchpad, look e.g., here, here or here. The pricing is such that you need not drop more on a Surface 3 Microsoft machine. Clearly the Surface offers more, but it costs more. If you worry a unit might be one you or children might drop on the hardwood floor at home or in a school hallway, those are lower cost options. And vendors will always be willing for extra cost to sell an extended warranty. Whether dual-boot Linux is an option may depend upon a number of factors, including user preference as the main one. But for the price, items are in the stores. Last, obsolescence is always going to happen, and an internal battery may die and not be worth the cost of the replacement item plus labor. But who still has a Windows 98 machine? The market marches on.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

ANOKA COUNTY - Well, it looks as if the insurgents have finalized their token snit fit, and are now ready to resume reasonableness.

This link. Give the wrong people positions of power, and it invites spiteful bad judgment, if not malice or plain stupidity of cutting off the nose to save the face.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Some readers may know already that I like the Mozilla Firefox series of browsers because of the privacy and configuration options Mozilla offers. They are making changes which ARE changes, but might not be improvements.

The look-and-feel should change less than the range of available "addons" - small offerings by Mozilla community developers of tweaks and modifications of the vanilla version of the browsers.

The move is to make addon development parallel in large measure to the development environment existing for Google's Chrome browser. Firefox has steadily been losing market share to Chrome. They must be worried, and being largely a volunteer effort, supported as to permanent employees by donor contributions and partnership subsidy [i.e., the default browser search function had been Google and there was a switch to Yahoo, accompanied, presumably by a bidding war or some other offering or chastisement from one of the larger players or the other].

Consider the dilemma if you offer a browser with configuration options to block advertisements and tracking cookies effectively, and Google's infusing cash and its business model is search and apps for free in exchange for user profiling and selling of generic info for targeted advertisements that advertisers/merchants pay, to reach what might be a more receptive audience than would be reached by a firm opting for generic vs. targeted ad buying.

The Duck-Duck-Go search engine, suggesting it is more amenable to user privacy than Google, uses examples such as you search Google for "herpes," and med insurers and big Pharma suppliers get profile information from Google in exchange for giving Google money; consider potential consequeces.

Duck-Duck-Go is a search provider alleging it does NOT track usage, so it is unclear where it gets its money.

Aside from that, as Google's Chrome browser attains greater market share at the expense of Mozilla, with Microsoft IE and its new EDGE browser being a third place option for default users, the addon/extension community follows market share, and so Mozilla believes it must accord that fact attention by making it easier for developers who have done Chrome extensions [where the market share return on effort is greatest] to port their product to Firefox.

Interested readers might consider this link. The big major Firefox addons for privacy and security are the ad-blockers, and NoScript which is a product/addon that edits out a lot of the scripting websites add on beyond what's needed in a clean design to get content to a web user, and to beyond that, via scripting, to do profiling and third party tracking via permanent cookies downloaded to a user's machine, etc., so that profiling can be done by the firm itself without having to give Google (or Microsoft, now, with its unique advertising ID baked, now, into Windows 10) money in exchange for what it might mine on its own.

Like it or love it, Microsoft is looking to eat Google's lunch from its near-monopoly stranglehold on the Operating System by moving the sort of mischief Google does into the OS, and bless you, you get a "free" upgrade.

Some readers might care about all this, most would not, but I care about it and choose what I post.

--------------------

And to my Republican friends, try sometime a "Google" = Facebook privacy tracking

It might prove informative.

Is this an unintended boost for the Scott Walker presidential candidacy? Don't ask me, ask Kurt Daudt and the Anoka County Woofer, who appear to disagree.

If the Woofer dislikes or disapproves of him, can he be all bad? Or must I admit, this time I agree with the woofings? Okay. You decide. The Woofer - dated 8/14/2015 - woofed:

SCOTT WALKER - KEYNESIAN

Almost unbelievably, Governor Scott Walker this week vaporized his chances of becoming president by signing into law a $250 million public subsidy for a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks NBA franchise.

In doing so, Walker dutifully aped all the talking points of the many politicians who screw the taxpayers by forking over millions in subsidies to billionaire owners and their millionaire employees.

Signing the bill was bad enough.

The fact that some of the investors in the team are involved in the Walker campaign is worse and presents additional issues.

Perhaps what's worst, in our view, is Walker spouting tired, old, and disproven [sic] Keynesian economic principles in defense of actions.

He stood before the microphones and claimed, as so many liberals do, that an "investment" of $1 taxpayer dollar will result in economic activity many times greater than that dollar.

Walker wants us to believe that a $250 million taxpayer "investment" will shower hundreds of millions more in economic mana from heaven for both Milwaukee and the entire state of Wisconsin.

On top of this, we have recently learned that Walker also has trouble understanding and managing personal finances. He apparently has many thousands in credit card debt he has racked up, including a Sears credit card, of all things.

A guy who believes in taxpayer-funded stadiums shouldn't be president.

[...]

Those stadium developers and their politician allies ARE Crabgrass. The Woofer nailed that one down right and tight. If you are a billionaire (or even multimillionaire) franchise owner, internalize the costs of your business, and do not socialize them to the government and, ultimately, to non-billionaire, non-millionaire taxpayers.

So go ask Kurt Daudt. He's Walker's man in Minnesota, and he must be a Bucks fan.

Or ask Kevin Garnett. With that kind of career cash trove available for the guy in the jockstrap, shouldn't Glen Taylor be paying his venue costs and not the citizens (who may prefer subsidized pro hockey in St. Paul anyway, to boot).

End of story.

_______________UPDATE_________________
Not end of story. A detail. That above Kevin Garnett link is from 2014 when he played in Brooklyn. Now he's back in Minnesota with Glen Taylor's sports franchise, on a continuing multi-million per year contract, and reportedly has hit at least the $325 million mark. Playing a game for pay. And Taylor gets public money to upgrade Target Center for him. Go figure. Do you agree or disagree with what the Woofer had to say about Scott Walker? Independent of or along with Mark Dayton doing exactly the same thing but for more public money for the New Jersey Wilfs, bringing the term "Wilfare" into our vocabulary. At one hell of a high price. Were we had?

Besides demonizing immigrants, Trump reaches beyond, and who would it be that he, as a group, demonizes next?

http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/ at this online item, gives the answer. But the inference from the reporting is we may need to await a specific policy position about how to rein in excesses of the kind being demonized. Perhaps Jeff Sessions could write something up for the Donald.

Meanwhile, other reporting here and here. Refuge seekers in Europe.

Marijuana reform - Keeping non-violent people out of privatized prisons, and in productive, comfortable situations.

Sanders recently won over cannabis advocates at a campaign rally in Nevada on Tuesday, where the Democratic nominee expressed his stance on the failed War on Drugs, as well as the private prison system.

“We want to deal with minimum sentencing,” Sanders said on Tuesday. “Too many lives have been destroyed for non-violent issues. People that are sent to jail have police records. We have got to change that. Our job is to keep people out of jail, not in jail.”

Sanders has also laid out his personal drug policy clearly on his website, which calls for treatment for drug offenders over punishment and legalization of medical marijuana. As for recreational legalization, however, Sanders would like to evaluate the laws passed in states like Colorado and Washington before moving forward.

A recent High Times poll shows that 35 percent of participants would choose Sanders as president. Rand Paul, another noted pro-pot candidate, comes in next at 23 percent, while Hillary Clinton is tied with “none” at 16 percent.

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth - an Aug. 20 item.

Rand Paul makes sense on a lot of things, and has not gotten press attention comparable to his issue positions. Also, he should be commended for his charity eye operations in Haiti. That, of course, being separate from his policy and prospects in seeking the presidency.

But how about Secretary Clinton holding her own against none of them? As a thought experiment, move the former Secetary of State's name into the listing of the seventeen [at present] Republicans, and NONE OF THEM as then a nineteenth choice, and what would you expect on a nationwide poll of registered voters who voted in at least the last two elections, 2012 and 2014? If having to guess, NONE OF THEM would top that poll or at least come in second or third. And with a poll so structured of likely November 2016 general election voters, would that be an indictment of the two party system we suffer?

And what if there were to be such a poll with either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie in a listing as a twentieth choice? Reflect on that thought experiment. What would such a poll show about the mood in our nation? Where would Trump and Jeb be in such a more-inclusive poll and what inferences would be possible were that kind of a poll to be taken? How about - if NONE OF THEM were top choice going four years with a vacant presidency? It would quell objections to law setting by executive order. Something objected to by one faction during the W occupancy of the White House; and during Obama's, with only the constituency of the objectors being different.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Donald Trump, in a triumph of will, circled his jet plane over the event stadium with the crowd below in eager anticipation, and at the sports stadium venue Trump drew his largest crowd yet. Media covered it. Jeff Sessions, suggested as helping Trump author his immigration proposals was there putting on a white cap with blue lettering briefly, while Trump spoke with his red cap on for the duration.

The Trump campaign website, under news, covered the rally via reposting mainstream media coverage; e.g., this Washington Times Aug. 21 item, stating in part -

Showstopper: Donald Trump circles Alabama stadium in his Boeing 757 before landing for massive rally

He has grand showmanship but a very clear message. Roaring overhead in his personal Boeing 757, Donald Trump circled the Alabama stadium packed with fans waiting for an evening campaign pep rally — not once but twice on Friday night.

The Republican front-runner had arrived.

Mr. Trump was there to host the biggest event so far in the 2016 presidential season. An estimated 30,000 people showed up to hear him speak at a football stadium in Mobile, where the theme was “Make America great again,” and Old Glory was the prevailing visual cue.

Loudspeakers blared with the appropriate southern anthem “Sweet Home Alabama.” Wearing his now signature red baseball cap, khaki pants and tailored blazer but no tie, Mr. Trump spoke for an hour, covering topics of acute interest to his audience.

Immigration, the economy, foreign entanglements, the 14th Amendment and his GOP rivals — particularly former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush — all came under discussion. Sen. Jeff Sessions arrived to give a brief, cordial speech, and the crowd was as enthusiastic as a hometown football audience. The seemingly indefatigable Mr. Trump reminded them that he was a player on a global scale.

“I know the game better than anyone,” he said.

“Here’s a simple question: Who would you rather have negotiating with China, Japan, Mexico, any of them? Trump or Bush?” the candidate asked the crowd.

And then what do you think happened?

They responded with chants of “Trump, Trump, Trump.”

Clearly the crowd was in search of a leader. A leader who would stand up to other powers, who talked strength and skill, and who used the stadium rally to unveil his immigration policy - how he would deal with outsiders infiltrating into his nation - and their nation; the other, the enemy; the crowd chanting, "Trump, Trump, Trump."

Sen. Sessions, Trump to the right
image from here, the site reporting -

Taking the microphone, Sessions said: “The American people, these people, want somebody in the presidency who stands up for them, defends their interests and the laws and traditions of this country.”

UPDATE: Trump was not the only GOP presidential candidate attaining favorable outcomes. Rand Paul was successful in convincing enough Kentucky Republican Party officials to go with a caucus. See, e.g., reporting here, here, here and here. The caucus proposal was important to Sen. Paul, because with Kentucky law not allowing a candidate two ballot positions [that would be retention in the Senate and a contestant for the presidency], Sen. Pual needed a presidential caucus to keep a ballot spot his to retain his seat. Sen. McConnell was Sen. Paul's ally in the effort.

What's with this "American Dream" pandering? None of them are saying fix Wall Street and subordinate it to Main Street, and then fairly tax the rich so the 90 - 99% don't have to carry their weight. Bernie is the only one acknowledging income inequality is what's deep-sixed the American Dream. Not Clinton. Not one of the mob of equivalent interchangable parts on the GOP side.

Trump sent me a red ball cap saying, "ME TOO," but, well ...

YES. Trump should send each of the sweet sixteen a "ME TOO" cap, except for Jeb. Jeb deserves one with a big "W" on the front.

The image is from a Strib/AP item, here. An excerpt from early in the item

At the other end of the spectrum was former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a newcomer to events financed by conservative industrialists Charles and David Koch. Bush was attending his first national conference of Americans for Prosperity and was greeted with respectful but restrained applause by a group that rose essentially out of Republican dissatisfaction with federal spending under his brother, former President George W. Bush.

Cruz, a tea party favorite since his 2012 election, sparked deafening cheers in the Columbus Convention Center auditorium even before he took the stage, entering to the 1980s power anthem "Eye of the Tiger." During his speech Saturday, he went on to promise to "repeal every word of Obamacare," and" rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal."

"Eye of the Tiger?" Don't know it but for a Koch Brothers' special event, at least one other tune exists. One giving due attention to who the Kochs are.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Internet advertising.

Items here and here report about advertising blocking. Not mentioned, but something readers should consider - two things - do a web search about "uBlock Origin" as a blocking tool available in some browsres; and do a second web search about advertising baked-in "features" in the "free" Windows 10 "upgrade."

There is a saying that if the product offered you has no price than you are the product.

Links possibly of interest, here, here and here, for starters.

Would you expect the NSA would be opposed to, or in favor of, each web user having a unique Advertising ID? That tracking capability being baked into your free Windows 10?

For a computer "operating system" what is within and what is outside of necessary to "operate" a desktop or tablet or phone?

Was Windows 8.1 as bad, that way? Do you have to go back to Win-7 or XP to have a more user friendly attitude; and with XP now finally and officially orphaned by Microsoft, what is in store?

Enjoy the Win-10 free solitaire game?

"Freemium" is a term sometimes used which you can Google.

UPDATE: There is the EDRi, and EDRi has looked at Windows 10.

There is also installing and signing in with a "local account" rather than having to have a Microsoft cloud OneDrive account; although that option is less than "upfront" and "transparently obvious;" see, e.g., here and here.

A thoughtful item here.

So is Donald Trump's healthcare plan any different?

This link. Substance, such as it is, within the item starts at p.7 of 15 pages. Whatever happened to brevity as wit? And how much of p.8 onward is puffery and "trust me" promising?

Friday, August 21, 2015

Too late for Ramsey's eyesore, but still better late than never.

Rejournal.com has the story.

Indianapolis’ Flaherty & Collins Properties hires director of design
August 21, 2015 -Staff Writer


Brandon Bogan is the new director of design and pre-construction for Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins Properties.

Bogan joins the company following a 13-year stint with CSO Architects, where he led design teams and managed a wide array of projects ranging from the Palladium at the Center for Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, to high-end mixed-use developments.

Bogan’s housing experience includes the successful completion of more than 6,000 beds in many private and public developments.

[link in original]. It is unclear from the blurb whether this Bogan fellow was contracted - his firm - to do the Ramsey eyesore, but presuming not, there is something besides a flat learning curve among our friends in Indiana. Too bad there was no director of design before the thing got hung onto the parking ramp.

But, so it goes.

WALMART - Voluntarily paying more than the minimum wage, competing with Amazon, competing with Costco via Sam's Club [hello, Timmy, how's the Banking Roundtable], and stocking some items SuperValue does not in Minnesota, which hence you cannot get at Cub, or at Coborns either.

Strib online here, reporting:

The world's largest retailer cut its annual earnings outlook Tuesday because its profits are being squeezed by pay raises for workers and efforts to make its stores cleaner and friendlier and speed up service. It also reported a 15.1 percent drop in second-quarter profit. Currency fluctuations are also dragging down results.

However, the retailer posted its fourth straight quarter of increases for an important sales measure, and its third straight increase in customer counts for its U.S. Wal-Mart stores.

Wal-Mart, based in Bentonville, Arkansas, is facing challenges on all fronts that have resulted in its shares falling 16 percent this year. Its low-income shoppers are still struggling in an economy that is slowly recovering, though lower gas prices are providing some lift. The company is also facing increasing competition from online king Amazon.com and dollar stores, which are pulling in shoppers seeking low prices and convenience.

"The changes we need to make require investment, and we're pleased with the steps we've taken," Wal-Mart CEO Doug McMillon said, according to a transcript of a recorded message to investors. "We made continued progress towards our plan this quarter. Even if it's not fast as we like, the fundamentals of serving our customers are consistently improving."

Wal-Mart has been doing a number of things to improve its results. It's increasing spending for its online operations to between $1.2 billion and $1.5 billion this year, up from $1 billion last year. It's opening fulfillment centers dedicated to e-commerce that should speed up delivery and put more items in one box. And it's testing an unlimited free-shipping service for $50 a year, undercutting Amazon's popular Amazon Prime, which costs $99 annually.

Wal-Mart's U.S. division, which accounts for 60 percent of the company's total sales, is undergoing a major overhaul under new U.S. CEO Greg Foran.

The company is trying to improve pricing and selection as well as beef up customer service. It raised the minimum wages for its hourly workers to $9 per hour in April. By February 2016, all hourly workers will make at least $10 per hour.

Those raises are part of a $1 billion investment in its workforce that also includes improved training. Wal-Mart is counting on happier employees to improve the experience for customers. The company is freeing more workers to be on the floor or running registers during its peak hours.

But the investments are battering the bottom line.

And Wall Street, unlike WalMart with a view beyond today's fiscal quarter, does not care as much about what's in the portfolio, and long term; as what in the portfolio performed best this quarter and damn the long term. So, screw Wall Street moods has to be a stay-in-business-prospering goal, as Warren Buffet has repeatedly indicated, in more delicate phrasing.

You even can bump into people you know, at the Elk River Walmart. Sears is now KMart and you know what that means, and Walmart has basic clothing too. Costco is based on membership and hence credit security greater than otherwise; and Target has hired its first outside CEO and is in the process of navel gazing and redefining itself; with all the low end clothing outlets stocking goods from vendors in China. Welcome to 21st Century America, and what does Trump have to say about mass merchandising, from China? More that that; what is his policy about it? His answer to what ails us? Oh, wait, sure, "Trust me." He says it so many ways, without specifically saying "Trust me," but kissing the Blarney Stone is not the same as having sensible answers. We wait. We see.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The entire item, mostly stated through the images, seems somewhat wierd.

This link. It is generally accepted that carrying too much weight can be a health risk, particularly as one reaches town elder status. Yet that China image was strangest. Anorexia is as much an eating disorder as over eating/under exercising. Or more so. People have died from anorexia.

"Trump is leading in polls of Republican voters, and is shaping Republicans’ debate. And Palin feels that is just fine, saying: 'He is the best thing to happen to the political class since the beauty of the Tea Party genuine movement rose up and shined light on crony capitalism, and pulled the rug right out from under status quo politicians who just kind of embrace that permanent political class.' "

2010 image from Politico, here.
Yes. You read that right. The Alaska politician who was thrilled beyond words [polysyllabic ones at least] to be picked as VP partner of status quo career DC politician John McCain - who is still embracing "that political class" only with more accumulated Senate seniority than during Palin's VP venture.

Do as she says, not as she did? For now, out of office since the VP debacle, Palin's pronouncements can be viewed as sour grapes. When's the last time the Republican Party bought her a new wardrobe? Yeah. Nothin' for me lately ...

The headline quote is from Politico, "Trump, Cruz, Palin: Revoke birthright citizenship for children born in America to undocumented immigrants," Posted on August 19, 2015 - By Joel Connelly (online, here). How much more genuine a Republican can you be, than bending (very, very far as the winds blow) and not breaking? Ask Norm about Palin's changed outlook, it probably would resonate; with Norm.

Back then, Palin was just like a newborn kitten, and now her eyes have opened up? Give me a break.

Candidates seeking the presidency, what about Snowden?

Will any of the current mob of contenders have the courage to suggest a full pardon?

What Snowden did was in favor of the privacy hopes of each of us, and the "national security" drape surely has been abused in the past and will be in the future as the Snowden revelations pass into history and as new events capture current attention.

What is certain; one candidate plays the family song, "Don't Worry be Happy"; and suggests Washington DC and Silicon Valley should partner to better enable the NSA. Really. This link.

UPDATE: The Ars item links to The Intercept as source of original reporting. And who was Jeb talking to about the need for stronger government power to watch citizen activity? Again, The Intercept. Those "people," who are defense contracting corporations; i.e., not real people at all.

Guardian has an August 19, 2015, item profiling Ben Carson. Then, a segue to the shoe drops on family turf.

First, Carson, this link, brief excerpting:

Throughout his campaign for president, Carson has touted his social conservative bona fides, portraying himself as an uncompromising hardliner on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, in particular, even though his record on the latter is actually somewhat mixed.

[...] even as he has attacked Planned Parenthood, Carson has stood by his support for fetal tissue research – which he has carried out himself in his own medical career.

He has also expressed support for the use of RU-486, an abortion pill opposed by the pro-life community since it is typically administered five to seven weeks into a pregnancy.

Conservatives, at least for now, do not seem to be troubled by Carson’s past record on abortion, [...]

“There appears to be a strong contingent of ‘anyone that is not of DC’ voters in the primary, people who want something new, and they keep rearranging themselves among Trump, Carly [Fiorina], and Carson, with a few landing on [Ted] Cruz or [Rand] Paul,” Rory Cooper, a Republican strategist who is not affiliated with any 2016 candidates, told the Guardian. [...]

While Carson is personally wealthy due to his success as a surgeon and service on several corporate boards, he is no Trump.

Whereas Trump does not have to rely on fundraising, Carson’s fledging political career has been plagued by a number of super PACs which use his name to raise money from of the conservative faithful.

One organization, the Draft Ben Carson Committee, raised $12.2m in the period before he announced his campaign and spent $12m of that total, mostly on fundraising. Its successor, the 2016 Committee, spends large sums of money on pro-Carson billboards and distributing copies of a book, written by one of the group’s leaders, arguing why Carson can win. These activities have siphoned money, energy and volunteer resources away from the Carson campaign and undermined efforts to directly promote his candidacy.

[...] Carson nonetheless appears unfazed and has pressed on in his bid to dethrone Trump as the official Republican frontrunner. He embarked on a tour of the US-Mexico border on Wednesday, tapping into the contentious issue of immigration that Trump has exploited to great success since launching his own campaign.

[links in original omitted] How does a black Republican candidate square with the Nixon Southern Strategy? I.e., does a black man square well with red necks? Or has the south changed, from 1954 days, when Brown v. Board of Education was fresh, and with George Wallace's candidacy between then and now? There has recently been the flag stuff. But - Besides flag-wise, do you believe there's been a change?

Next, shoe fly (yes, the children's song goes "shoo fly ..." but homophones for today rule - and as a bonus for diligent readers wanting real kitsch, this link).

SHOE FLY, put another way, is PLEASE, PLEASE, NOT MORE OF THE SAME

Wikipedia's "Bushduck.png" photo; see also their text.

One has to ask, would Jeb have been swift enough to duck. Of interest, the thrown shoe, Bushduck, happened in December 2008, mere months after W and his econ team in September of that year totally tanked the securitized mortgage derivatives market, thereby tanking the entire economy so badly that we have not yet fully recovered. A good bet is Jeb in W's place would not have ducked that one either.

Please, anyone but Jeb. Even [shudder] Ted Cruz. Jeb is that bad, the family that bad going back to Prescott's days at Brown Brothers Harriman.

____________UPDATE____________
Did any reader adventurous enough to follow that real kitsch link make it past the 30 second mark?

_________FURTHER UPDATE________
Guardian has Aug. 19 Huckabee coverage too. At least Huckabee is not Jeb, but beyond that ...

Same dateline, Planned Parenthood coverage at Guardian.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

"The number of domestic abusers and harassers convicted of felonies in Minnesota has risen dramatically over the past decade — from 229 in 2003 to nearly 1,500 in 2013. And more of the guilty are going to prison. In 2013, Minnesota judges sentenced 315 defendants to prison for domestic abuse or violation of a no-contact order, compared to 44 offenders a decade earlier. The average prison sentence was two years. Data kept by the Minnesota Sentencing Guidelines Commission document the trend."

The headline above runs together the three short opening paragraphs of an online Strib item by Shannon Prather.

Larry wants to take his case dismissed for lack of standing up the ladder, and there is only one further level, and review there is discretionary. However, Larry fears if things are not set right, via his litigation, there will be riot and mayhem.

He writes such things, online here.

I am now asking the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down abuses of power by President Barack Hussein Obama, who openly admits that he changed the immigration laws enacted by Congress.

Doing the job members of Congress won’t do, Sheriff Joe Arpaio filed a lawsuit to preserve and defend the U.S. Constitution. Freedom Watch’s lawsuit for Arpaio sought to declare that Obama’s actions are unconstitutional in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

As a lawless president, shredding the U.S. Constitution, Obama unilaterally granted amnesty to 6 million illegal aliens, plus benefits and work permits. He legislated in his 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Nov. 20, 2014, expansion of deferred action.

However, Arpaio’s case was dismissed in December by Judge Beryl Howell – appointed by President Obama – for lack of “standing.” Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia affirmed the lower court’s dismissal [...]

In Arpaio’s case in the D.C. Circuit, only the Bush-appointed appellate judge, Janice Rogers Brown, believed that binding precedents “required” a result that clearly she did not agree with. Brown agonized at length over the contrast with Massachusetts v. EPA. Brown objected to abuse of standing and suggested that precedents need to be overturned or modified by the U.S. Supreme Court. Well, Judge Brown, we are going to ask the high court to do exactly that.

These problems are part of the lawlessness corrupting our nation. Our country is dying, [...] This feeling drove thousands of ordinary Americans to tea party rallies in 2009 and beyond. Today, this is causing voters to flock to Donald Trump and other anti-establishment presidential candidates.

Tomorrow, if real, honest, non-establishment leaders fail to get elected, such as a president who can arrest the downward spiral of the nation, revolution will break out as it did in 1776. All political persuasions in this country have had it, and the judicial, legislative and executive establishment will figuratively be taken to the guillotines.

I can imagine Roberts, Scalia, Thomas and Alito in a cart hauled to a town square to experience head-in-a-basket justice of the populace; Roberts saying, "Next thing this mob will behead corporations. It sickens me, General Electric, Boeing, on the block, the ax-man ready." Thomas asking Scalia what should be done to quell the mob this time, rather than incite ...

UPDATE: Right Wing Watch notes [links in original]:

Klayman made the same prediction about a revolution in 2013, when he urged “millions” to come to his rally calling for the overthrow of Obama. The revolution didn’t exactly materialize: Only about 100 people showed up.

I wonder how Larry takes the truth. That Bernie or Trump can draw ten times the crowd size even if all they do is fart.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Veterans gaining respect from the VA? The VA OIG finds fault and you would too. Which politician will be first to denounce this, Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump, or John McCain?

Reporting of VA claims mail going straight to a VA shredder, in Los Angeles, reported online here and here; with the OIG Aug. 17, 2015 online report [pdf format] here. The items speak for themselves. What will the politicians speak for, or against, and when? What will Obama do, and when will he do it?

Should the U.Minn. sue Parker Executive Search for failure to perform competently on the search that gained the U. Norwood Teague as AD?

It seems incumbent to sue to get the money back, and possibly for consequential damages, where a complaint at VCU was lodged against Teague and the search frim failed to uncover it, as would be expected in the normal course of business.

The question, were things ratified when the U. had a gender discrimination complaint against Teague and it paid the complainant off without firing Teague at that point?

Strib online, reports:

The school paid the Atlanta-based firm Parker Executive Search $112,539 in 2012 to find an athletic director and do background checks on leading candidates. Working with Parker on behalf of the U was a four-person search committee and a 23-member search advisory committee.

Teague emerged as the only finalist for the job, and took the position in April 2012.

That search failed to discover that former Virginia Commonwealth University women’s basketball coach Beth Cunningham filed a complaint against Teague when he was the athletic director there.

The Star Tribune reported last week that VCU paid Cunningham $125,000 in July 2012 to settle the complaint, which was filed earlier that year.

The University of Minnesota said in a statement that Parker assured the school “that it had no knowledge of any illegal or inappropriate behavior concerning a candidate’s history or current employment.”

[...] The U said as part of Parker’s background check the firm asked candidates to “to disclose in writing any potential issues of controversy or concern that the University of Minnesota should be aware of” and that Teague “signed a statement indicating no such issues exist.”

[...] The U said that it didn’t learn of the VCU complaint until December 2012, a few months before former Minnesota senior athletic director Regina Sullivan filed a federal complaint against the U accusing Teague of gender discrimination and made a reference to the settlement paid at VCU.

The U said that when it learned of the VCU settlement, the university’s general counsel contacted a VCU attorney to get more information. That attorney told the University of Minnesota that no information could be disclosed due to a confidentiality agreement.

[...] The U paid Sullivan $175,000 in November 2013 to settle her complaint.

[italics added] Curiously, details on internal deliberation prior to settlement decision making - during the near full year between Dec. 2012 and the Nov. 2013 Sullivan settlement date - are details presumably consciously omitted at this point from current U. public disclosure.

It appears the U. failed to show due care once on notice. Once learning of one earlier settlement elsewhere, and then quietly non-publicly settling another one here at the U. arguably is as clear a ratification as can be.

Why in the world was this behind an Iron Curtain business done as it was, instead of firing or otherwise sanctioning Teague then? Who had final say, and what was the reasoning? What sort of gag order on parties was written into the U's Sullivan settlement, and what was the reasoning behind it, if there was a gag order?

Folks in power were okay with Norwood Teague's conduct in that instance? And quietly so? What were the details, and how did they weigh into decision making of whoever at the U. was the ultimate decision maker in the instance? Was Teague allowed to be his own judge, or was that handled by some person or board or committee aside from Teague? Was it Kaler having authority and making the call? If so, how does this reflect on Kaler's continuing status?

Transparency and accountability are long overdue at this point. Mop up the mess in a genuinely contrite but thorough and publicly responsible manner. Anything less is evasiveness, yet again.

Do any of these players look clean? The appearance of things -- It took multiple gropings of women, by Teague, with a texting trail, to finally get Kaler off the dime.

It is a very sad chapter in the history of the U. Is it worse than the basketball academic fraud situation from a few years back? The argument saying that was worse is that it went to the core of what a university is about. Academics.

Teague, whose ongoing conduct is disgusting as is its not being quelled earlier, appears as a sexual bully without excuse. That is personal weakness, beyond and apart from academics.

First Bottom Line is the U. simply looks very bad, and in contending to be a beacon of excellence, some rehab is needed to rebrighten the light.

What will the Board of Regents do? What did they actually know, and when did they know it? Ditto, for Kaler.

Second Bottom Line, what reforms will be put in place and actually honored in the future? Severing any and all relationships with the Parker search firm seems an easy, clear, first step. They failed to do their job competently. Merely asking "Any rattling skeletons in the closet," and accepting, "Nope," is short of a hundred grand's worth of effort.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Q. How do you sell people on enjoying a throbbing hemorrhoid?

A. Ten million dollars at a time. First time at least. Perhaps more later; however sales needs may dictate spending, with passage of time. This link.