Open Thread 14 August 2016


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67 Responses to Open Thread 14 August 2016

  1. Degringolade says:

    “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about the answers.” – Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow.

  2. apol says:

    Some here might appreciate this common sense with humour from Fred Reed.
    << A martial principle of great wisdom says that military stupidity comes in three grades: Ordinarily stupid; really, really, really stupid; and fighting Russia. Think Charles XII at Poltava, Napoleon after Borodino, Adolf and Kursk. Letting dilettantes, grifters, con men, pasty Neocons, bottle-blonde ruins, and corporations decide on war is insane. We have pseudo-masculine dwarves playing with things they do not understand. So far as I am aware, none of these fern-bar Clausewitzes has worn boots, been in a war, seen a war, or faces any chance of being in a war started by themselves. They brought us Iraq, Afghanistan, and Isis, and can’t win wars against goatherds with AKs. They are going to fight…Russia? A point that the tofu ferocities of New York might bear in mind is that wars seldom turn out as expected, usually with godawful results. We do not know what would happen in a war with Russia. Permit me a tedious catalog to make this point. It is very worth making.The standard American approach to war is to underestimate the enemy, overestimate American capacities, and misunderstand the kind of war it enters. This is particularly true when the war is a manhood ritual for masculine inadequates–think Kristol, Podhoretz, Sanders, the whole Neocon milk bar, and that mendacious wreck, Hillary, who has the military grasp of a Shetland pony. If you don’t think weak egos and perpetual adolescence have a part in deciding policy, read up on Kaiser Wilhelm.<<

  3. mike says:

    al-Bab is in the news. Looks like the YPG may be pushing to go west instead of south to Raqqa:

  4. Tyler says:

    Media dropping the story about two Muslims being shot outside a Queens mosque after it’s looking more and more like the shooter was another member of the religion of peace. Give em credit, they tried to hang it around Trump’s neck though.
    However now we have a BLM riot in Milwaukee where blacks are upset that police shot a black armed with a handgun who refused to drop the gun when he was ordered to after running from police.
    Hope those cucks get their diversity up there good and hard.

  5. oofda says:

    A piece in the Telegraph this morning on the importance of the liberation of Manbij- which was liberated by forces of the SDF.

  6. Haralambos says:

    Any thoughts on this very long piece would be appreciated: It follows “six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan” over the past 16 months. The subtitle is “How the Arab World Came Apart.”

  7. Haralambos says:

    My apologies to all for my impatience in posting this new version of my request for viewpoints.

  8. SteveG says:

    It looks the temperature of our low intensity
    civil war has taken a slight uptick of late.
    Milwaukee BLM went on rampage including
    “whitey beat downs” cop and media assaults.
    Mpls had seven overnight shootings and I’m
    sure Chicago has upped the ante and doesn’t
    even rate a comment anymore. Got that
    conceal and carry workin as have about six
    acquaintances of late. What’s next? Toyota
    pickups with gun mounts.

  9. Valissa says:

    Problems in Afghanistan…
    From MK Bhadrakumar… Taliban at the gates of ‘Little America’
    With the battle for Aleppo raging in Syria, another crucial battle in the east of the Greater Middle East, in Afghanistan, is being joined, the outcome of which is going to be no less fateful. The Associated Press flashed the news today that the key southern Afghan city of Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, has been “completely surrounded” by the Taliban and the government forces are regrouping for a last-ditch defence.
    … In “operational” terms, Taliban have made a slow, steady pincer movement lasting months, closing in from the north and south toward Lashkar Gah, exposing the poor leadership of the Afghan army and police. On their part, Taliban demonstrated tenacity, organizational skill and access to resources.
    Helmand is the biggest single centre of opium production in Afghanistan. Taliban are set to get a sizeable share of the drug business, which has always been a major source of funding for the insurgency. Beyond its opium economy, Helmand is strategically located – bordering Pakistan’s Baluchistan province and close to the Iranian border, which provide good exit routes to escape in an emergency – or, alternatively, to bring in reinforcements – as well as supply lines to other regions of Afghanistan.
    Suffice it to say, Helmand has the potential to become Taliban’s core territory where the ‘Quetta Shura’ could be ‘headquartered’, which could become a ‘provisional government’ on Afghan soil at some point.
    The Afghan army faces an uphill task to retrieve control of Helmand, which is dominated by the Ishaqzai tribe. The Ishqzais have been virulently ‘anti-American’ all along. Besides, Taliban can also cash in now on their sympathy, since Mullah Akhtar Mansour whom the Americans killed in a drone strike in April also happened to be an Ishaqzai. There is a blood feud the Ishaqzais have to settle with Obama.
    Afghan Forces Struggle to Hold Firm Against Taliban in South
    Why are the the Afghan forces, who local security officials say outnumber the insurgents at least five to one and receive air support, struggling so badly in a strategic province? Helmand was a center of President Obama’s surge, in which tens of thousands of American and coalition troops were sent in to try to secure the area, with hundreds of NATO military advisers still aiding the Afghans in the province.
    … The army itself has struggled to recover after suffering a record number of casualties in Helmand last year. Gen. Murad Ali Murad, the deputy chief of the army staff, said senior officers tried to use the winter months to rebuild the 2015 Corps. But the relentless pace of the fighting, in Helmand and in other parts of the country, derailed their efforts. New recruits with little experience were thrown into battle.
    … Conversely, the Taliban seem to be growing in their actual fighting capability, or in their psychological hold over a struggling foe. Afghan commanders, security officials and front-line fighters say the insurgents are physically tough and use night-vision goggles, snipers and sophisticated weapons.
    This phase of the war pits motorcycle-riding insurgents who plant mines and then swiftly disappear against an armed force that is lured into traps while chasing the insurgents even while the soldiers are supported by aircraft that can rain down the kind of fire that makes the holding of any area for long costly for the Taliban.
    But more than anything, it is an uneven fight between insurgents prepared to attack and die, against soldiers who would flee to live.
    Taliban ‘special forces’ lead Helmand assault – Afghan officials

  10. Fred says:

    We’re a ways from civil war, yet. The fine folks of the Milwaukee have had a couple of generation of learned helplessness courtesy of the dole. They are now learning their rioting doesn’t matter, except when it is done on cue and at election time. There will be zero political repercussion in the city and the Democrats will demand, and probably get, state and federal rebuilding funds.

  11. RE says:

    Someone earlier noted the IT techs from China, in the DC area used by the federal government. Looks like they were right about the inherent security weakness.

  12. S Wood says:

    The New York Times this Sunday had a Maureen Dowd Op Ed article titled “The Perfect G.O.P. Nominee”. It is one of her better Op-Eds and is worth the read. It boils down to how she is much more attuned to the GOP definition of a Presidential candidate than the Trumpster. Dowd can be a little loose with the facts but I think she is on to something. However you view Clinton the candidate, she is not Trump which should make a lot of Republicans vote for her.

  13. different clue says:

    The only quibble I would have with Fred Reed’s list of masculine inadequates-for-war is why he included Sanders in that list. Sanders may be as masculinely inadequate as all the others listed, but he is different from the rest of the list in that he would seek to avoid war, and even the bad relations which lead to war, with Russia. ( If other readers have seen quoted evidence of Sanders also seeking war with Russia, I will quietly accept correction on that point.)

  14. Chris Chuba says:

    There was an armed infiltration attempt by Ukraine designed to destroy infrastructure in Crimea
    An FSB agent and soldier were killed and at least one Ukrainian captured. To the extent that it was covered at all in western MSM, it was dismissed as a possible false flag. I don’t see a motive for a false flag. The Russians haven’t used it to justify an invasion and they know that the west will cover up anything the Ukrainians do on a regular basis.
    Well, Hillary and the Neocons must be drooling like Pavlov’s dogs after hearing that bell. They must see plenty of opportunity to have a proxy war with Russia using Ukraine but I don’t think those evil fools would be clever enough to keep the U.S. far enough away from it. If we do get into a hot war with Russia it will be in Syria or Ukraine, not the Baltics. I think those odds are actually pretty high if HRC gets elected.

  15. BabelFish says:

    Blog note for amateur Navalists: my favorite, Information Dissemination, went cold in March. An excellent source of well written, in-depth articles on things such as force structure, the ongoing LCS debate, and the pivot to the Pacific by the US Navy. Sad to see it go.
    On the SCS, the nations have a stake are muscling up to counter China. Vietnam is putting anti-ship missiles and radars on its islands. The Japanese are developing ‘missiles to defend the Senkaku islands’.
    IMO,the name of the game for China and the US is A2/AD (Anti-Access/Area Denial. IMO, the Chinese brilliantly developed carrier killer missiles rather than compete with the US in building Nimitz level carriers. The Chinese subs are getting better but not yet competitive with the Virginia fast attack class of the US. Those are evolving rapidly. The Chinese are probably not strong enough on a kill chain to properly use those missiles and the US Navy is not sitting still waiting for them to catch up.
    It’s beyond my ken to fathom what would happen if people started squirting missiles around the SCS, taking out ships and facilities. I stated in an early post that given the economic entanglement between China and the US, I can not imagine how to repair things if that happened.
    On Korea, are our troops not there to keep to keep the South Koreans from going North, after some idiotic provocation, and beating the fertilizer out of them? Again, if that happens, what does China do? Beyond me but hard to see how this does not end up in some kind of apocalypse, even if it is the North starving to death. Also, call my insane but the THAAD system in the South is perfectly capable of taking down the few nukes the North could launch, IMO. Japan is probably going to acquire it as well. Maybe that threat isn’t being taken that serious by the governments.

  16. Tyler says:

    First the DOJ will be there with a “consent agreement” and yet another major metro gets placed under federal jurisdiction.

  17. Fifth Columnist says:

    Do people here agree with Trump, PBUH, that the election is being stolen from him? The polls have shown a significant shift over the last few weeks. If this trend persists he’s looking at a landslide loss. What will this mean for people who want to make America great again? Will they go Galt?
    Will Trump recover by dominating the debates against an over-matched and obviously “unhealthy” Hillary?
    Has the media damaged his chances with the silent majority? Why would they even bother to come out and vote for him if he’s correct that the election is rigged. Seems like a big waste of time. Sad!

  18. VietnamVet says:

    Globalization is dead.
    Too many people on the periphery from Greece to Flint, Michigan have been hurt at the expense of the wealthy few. A revolt by the disenfranchised is inevitable. Donald Trump and Brexit are the first shots across the bow. Financial deregulation by Bill Clinton created the current lawlessness and corruption. Add in the stresses of endless war, refugees and a failed ideology based on greed, the American Empire is collapsing despite all the desperate schemes of the ruling elite to stop it. If Iran, China and Russia create a financial union and end the petro-dollars reign as the global reserve currency; the world war that is being fought from Nigeria through Afghanistan to Ukraine will engulf all of Europe and will inevitably end in a nuclear holocaust.

  19. “We’re a ways from civil war, yet.”
    I’m with you on that thought, Fred. I seriously doubt there’s a critical mass of people willing to lay it all on the line to start a civil. Be it rioting in the streets or occupying a wildlife reserve, so far this stuff amounts to little more than hissy fits. Even those willing to kill others and/or die themselves bring little more than local tragedy and a week’s worth of national outrage.

  20. Les says:

    Have been reading manpads intro Northern theatre: Josh Landis says Stingers, US origin, to US supported Sunni rebels, through Turkey. This strikes me as a big escalation.

  21. Herb says:

    Fascinating interview. Erdogan is out of his element without a mob having his back.

  22. johnf says:

    I can’t get your link to work.

  23. jld says:

    If there were actual plans for a strike on Russia, as probably happened in the sixties, how would we know?

  24. turcopolier says:

    You are confusing two different things 1. Having a plan. The military makes plans for every contingency they can think of and 2. Intending to execute a plan. pl

  25. bks says:

    “Secret Ledger in Ukraine Lists Cash for Donald Trump’s Campaign Chief”
    A direct payment to Manafort of more than $12,000,000.

  26. elkern says:

    Space Daily reported last week that USAF is facing looming shortage of Fighter pilots:
    Two main reasons cited: competition from private sector, and stress of extended deployments. Both sound weird to me.
    One – I’d have thought that airlines would want Transport & Bomber pilots much more than Fighter pilots. But fighter pilots may be more appropriate for the private & Corp jet market, which is booming (because of the concentration of wealth).
    Two – extended deployments for “fighter” pilots? We’ve been “at war” for almost 15 years, but we haven’t faced an enemy with airplanes since, maybe, the 2nd or 3rd day of Shock & Awe, so what are all those Top Guns doing out there?
    Maybe they’re counting the A-10; those guys have certainly gotten plenty of action.
    But I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s another effect here: guys (and gals?) who are happy behind the stick on existing planes might not want to deal with the F-35, with its Virtual Reality control system. Or even worse – the plane might not be a good air-to-air fighter, since it’s designed to be so many different things.
    I heard people recently complaining about the new Aircraft Carrier costing $13B. What bothers me more is that it will cost at least that to fill the ship with F35’s (last I hear, they’ll cost $130M each, at best).
    The specs for the JSF were insane to start with. Like telling someone to design a vehicle to compete in Formula One, Tractor pull, AND the Demolition Derby.
    I say give up on it now & go with the drones (and keep making A-10s for the demolition derby).

  27. steve g says:

    TTG and Fred
    To clarifiy, I was not referring to a
    civil war as a WBS conflict. Depending
    on your location, the coarseness of
    interactions between the general
    population is eroding IMO. Road rage,
    physical assaults for no apparent reason
    have escalted in my neck of the woods.
    Random shootings have increased dramatically
    since the BLM phenomenon. Downtown
    MPLS at bar cloosing is now a near free
    for all. The city council has chosen to
    limit police response to at times out of
    control group gatherings primarily by recinding
    the loitering ordinance. Ferguson effect?

  28. The Beaver says:

    @ Balint
    I don’t know whether you are “Je suis Corse” ou “Je suis un corsicain” but those Corsican militants are playing a double game – on the one hand they claim they would hit back at radical Islamists (good thing AFAIK) but they are also sending the msg to Paris that this is part of their demand for autonomy ( electing nationalists to head the regional government for the first time and a push by local lawmakers to give Corsu equal status with the French language especially in schools).
    Before “plastique’ was “de rigueur” to settle accounts, whether against authorities or drug dealers taking over some markets or early on against the pieds noirs. Just have to see how some villas are well guarded in some areas in Ajaccio (as if we are in some parts of Sicily). The island has changed a lot in the past 20 years and the s*it disturbers are not only the Italian cousins from Sardaigna or Sicily or the migrants from the Maghreb whose progeniture may turn out to be a Salafist but those “bling bling” crowd coming the continent.

  29. rjj says:

    I really don’t think those jeans make your ass look fat.

  30. James Loughton says:

    The fighter jocks have been dropping bombs all this time. F-16s, F-18s, and the F-15I are being used heavily for that purpose. A number of pilots have been assigned to fly drones, which must be a real downer for them.

  31. Fred says:

    Nice dog in the photo.

  32. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Trump has not described in precise detail how this election will be rigged; this being different than describing how historic elections may have been rigged.
    He has implied that minority persons vote repeatedly because there are precincts in minority areas that didn’t show even a single vote for a GOP candidate. Then he figuratively winks, while ignoring what are the measures which prevent repeat voting.
    Of course, arguing by vague implication, even if the mechanical argument is illogical, can be aimed to suppose vote suppression of legal minority votes is a workable tactic in urban voting precincts in rust belt swing states.
    It seems we have moved from “hard times require harder men” to “desperate candidates ask for desperate measures.”
    It is obviously incorrect that the election is/will be rigged.

  33. Stephen Calhoun says:

    This seems to suggest that the economically disenfranchised, if in fact those are Trump supporters, are training the cannons of their revolution at their own feet.
    Mr. Trump not only is one of those wealthy few, but he has proposed a supply-side tax policy that will pour extra dollars into the pockets of the wealthy few. He has on offer the strange concept that he can fix the rigged economic system run by plutocrats by giving them a lot more money to throw around either the tangible goods or FIRE economies. Trump also is pounding further deregulation hard.
    Short of a holocaust, if one is super cynical and super rich, it seems currency arbitrage and other schemes would look very attractive. What I need are cash flows from opaque oligarchies.
    Hmmm, I’d like to see those tax returns!

  34. BabelFish says:

    The F-35C is actually going to replace the ‘legacy’ Hornets, F-18 C/D, not the SuperHornet, F-18 E/F. The legacy birds are used primarily for strike missions. The E/F models are much bigger and, while fully capable of strike work, are the air superiority birds on a carrier deck. The upshot is that there will be fewer F-35Cs that one might assume. On the other hand, that means the E/F models will be replaced, in turn, with a new bird in the 2020s.
    Coda: The E/F was sold to congress as a mod of the earlier Hornets. In fact it was an almost new aircraft, much bigger, with few exchangeable parts.

  35. Fifth Columnist says:

    Haha, I’m just having some fun with the alt-right loons that were so certain of Trump’s impending landslide. That’s all. We’re screwed either way.

  36. Poul says:

    US industrial future. – Jobs for robots. Not people.
    Worth thinking about in election times.

  37. Fred says:

    “vote suppression of legal minority votes” Unlike public articles discussing purging of voter rolls.
    Tell me, was Bernie “figuratively winking” or really complaining about a rigged system?

  38. Fred says:

    ” currency arbitrage ” Soros made his money doing this. Trump made his in real estate.

  39. Fred says:

    The left doesn’t seem to understand that at some point in the cost equation labor can be automated, even for flipping burgers.

  40. bks says:

    Oh, right, the robot menace. They can’t even make a robot that can open a real door in a real house without falling over:
    You think the manager at McDonald’s is going to shell out $1,000,000 for a robot hamburger flipper which can’t clean up the knocked-over garbage can in the parking lot? Do you think a robot can bus tables at a busy restaurant? I’ll believe in the robot menace when I get my flying car.

  41. BabelFish says:

    “Maybe not in 20 years but not very after, between additive/3D printing and net molding, the cost of manufacture will be low enough to make avoiding shipping costs of any kind the main driver.” Heard that from a French industrialist when I worked for Alcan. I thought then and still do that it was more like 50 years (this was 2009) but it is inevitable. The ultimate Home Depot is where everything is made for you, cars, fridges, clothes, furniture, you name it. Hardly any finished goods inventory, almost no shipping of the same. Sounds a little futuristic but so many other things we use were seen that way.
    Labor will be minuscule. What better way to evaporate another country’s labor advantages than to not need it at all?

  42. fjdixon says:

    Very interesting on Robert Levinson Case. I would suspect many here are familiar with Joe Trento, but this was my first read.

  43. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    An op-ed by “Admiral Stavridis” who was “the 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and is Dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University”. Certainly very lawful and diplomatic.
    A very interesting bunch of “truths”.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  44. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Actually, we don’t know how Trump made his money, do we? We have two narratives, one told by investigative journalists and, the other told by public relations people.
    Trump could let us in on the picture told in his tax returns, but he won’t ever do this.
    The gloss is Trump made some money in real estate, blew almost of his liquid assets, but then made much more in debt arbitrage, selling brand rights, and then becoming a TV star with mega points.
    His businesses went bankrupt because. . .???
    Business-wise Trump strikes me to be a kind of gangster. His track record is well documented in the records of lots of litigation.
    Soros? Sure. Why change the subject?

  45. Poul says:

    The ultimate dream is the Star Trek replicator. One can only hope it will be possible.
    bks: The burger restaurants are experimenting with robots. There will no doubt be a lot of bugs to work out but the future in business appears to be reduced use of labour and more capital invested in robots.

  46. Sam Peralta says:

    The advances in Autonomous Systems technology is pretty amazing. Sensors, GPUs & neural network capabilities are increasing at staggering rates. What is probable in 10 years let alone 20 years in autonomous systems is quite mind blowing. The pressure on semi-skilled and even skilled labor will be enormous. Truck drivers, pilots, even many medical procedures will be automated to provide better quality and lower costs. The auto, transportation, freight & package delivery industry is going to be revolutionized in the next 2 decades.

  47. different clue says:

    Stephen Calhoun,
    I have read a speculative reason suggested as to why Trump won’t release his tax returns. The speculative reason is that he is a whole lot less rich than he claims he is, and the tax returns would show just how much less money he has than what he claims. And part of the “value” of the Trump “brand” is its burnished patina of “sucCESS!” as measured in money owned. And he is afraid that revealing the truth of “less money” would create the image of “less sucCESS!” which would lower his “brand value” which would make it even harder in the future for him to process lots of money through big brand-burnishing projects.

  48. different clue says:

    Does the right understand this either? People who identify as being on the right have long believed that people should “work” at a “job” to “earn” the money “needed” to support themselves.
    If the March of Automation continues to evaporate millions of jobs, what are the de-jobbed supposed to do to survive? If we continue to believe that people should “work” to “earn” their “keep”, will we invent millions of “make work” jobs for people to “work” at so we can all feel they are “earning” their “keep”?
    It may not be a burning personal survival issue for me yet because I like to think that the kinds of things I do as a pharmacy technician are hard to all-the-way automate and robotize. But there are millions of people for whom the automation being predicted is a looming threat. What do millions of people do if they come to work and meet a robot sitting in their chair or standing at their workbench and the robot says: ” The Industrial Revolution is over. We won.”

  49. Fred says:

    You might want to look up the cost of automation. “They can’t” I’ve heard that one before. Will your flying car be self flying or is that option restricted for the self driving type?

  50. Fred says:

    A variation was done before. It’s not labor free just minimizes the staff:

  51. Fred says:

    I mention Soros because he’s been backing Bill & Hilary for a long time. But if you insist just how did those two become multi-millionaires? Pay to play via a series of charities run by friends and family. Some of those payments coming while Hilary was Secretary of State. No conlficts of interest there.

  52. Fifth Columnist says:

    It’s terrible. I’ve bought all these firearms and hoarded all this ammo and just keep waiting for the shit to hit the fan. All I need to do is pick a side.
    But nope.. instead the shit stirrers and racial agitators just add another event to their long list of grievances and proceed to snipe at each other over social media with memes and statistics. What happened to us?

  53. bks says:

    3D printing is another over-hyped technology. How many badly done plastic models of Yoda do we need? Numerically controlled machines have been around for decades. They have their uses, but you cannot 3D print, e.g., a small electric motor (the killer technology of the early 20th century). You can’t even 3D print a tea trolley.

  54. bks says:

    BTW, the McDonalds robot restaurant story is a hoax.

  55. Mark Kolmar says:

    Regarding the civil unrest in Milwaukee (WI, U.S.), destructive actions of a few overwhelm the goodwill and best intentions of whole neighborhoods.
    Sherman Park, the public park, has been a magnet for unruly crowds and so-called protest this summer. City of Milwaukee features quick, sharp contrasts in home size, build quality, age, and maintenance. Sherman Blvd. borders the west end of the enclave of black poverty on the city’s north side. East and slightly north of the Sherman Park neighborhood is the worst of urban blight. There, a rusted-out industrial corridor runs north-south, where streets do not pass east-west for a mile.
    The bulk of migrants to Milwaukee arrived later than they did into Chicago. You hear a different black dialect here than in Chicago, about 90 minutes south. Speech carries a pattern from the deep south primarily, in contrast with a quicker, urbanized tempo that is typical in Chicago.
    Crime patterns in Milwaukee demonstrate less organized, less sophisticated activity than in Chicago. Gunshot wounds here, as in Chicago, connect webs of attackers and victims through personal grievances.
    Rents really are not very much lower in Milwaukee’s northwest, mid-town core than they are elsewhere, nearby. It’s not clear to me how much of present-day racial segregation in local housing is a consequence of personal preferences within the broader landscape – in which African-Americans find refuge among other African-Americans, or seek a particular milieu in a population center – and how much is established outside and reinforced by old-style redline.
    The actions of those who set fires Saturday night cannot be excused, even by the grotesque inequities and racist, anti-urban biases that feature heavily in southeast Wisconsin. I only mean to describe the immediate location and surroundings, to give context about where these incidents and destruction happened.

  56. Poul says:

    Ha, good one. Fooled me.
    But the automation is real. It’s just a question of time. Agriculture was the big employer 200 years ago. Now-a-days only countries lacking the money for modern farming methods have a sizeable part of the work force employed in that sector.

  57. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Yesterday at Target I noticed things in this large store that has been open for over a decade.
    (1) Aggressive pricing–with one of Wal-Mart’s biggest US stores a half mile away
    (2) the displays were mostly a mess
    (3) Guestimate the floor staff, the people there to help you buy stuff, has been cut over the past five years from 25-50 per floor to not more than 5-10 floor
    (4) Target has installed telephones in each department so you can call for help, but the phone I picked up to use to ask a question didn’t work
    (5) It is very likely that Target’s sales per employee looks good everywhere else except on the floor
    Target came into the discount market originally aiming to compete with better customer service and crisp presentation. Both have been sacrificed, along with lots of jobs per store.

  58. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Yes: Soros, conflicts of interest, an opaque foundation; and yes, I’d like to see the speech transcripts.
    There’s high end grift and low end grift. The concrete particulars are better formed in Trump’s low end case because he’s been to court so many times and he’s stiffed so many people over the decades.

  59. Stephen Calhoun says:

    Several reveals accrue to any release of Trump’s tax returns from my layperson’s POV.
    (1) Tax shelters and tax avoidance tactics
    (2) charges, deductions, sourcing, having to do with current entity financing and leverage
    (3) charitable donations
    (4) business deductions for expenses
    (5) shells, partnerships, LLC’s
    (6) bottom line gross/net income
    (7) all the others!
    These elements are possible in any complex tax situation, including that of the Clintons.

  60. different clue says:

    Stephen Calhoun,
    We still have a Sears store here in College Townville. I keep telling myself that I need to go to our Sears and buy something to keep Sears from being too lonely. I can’t imagine Sears ever going out of existence, but the Canadians could never imagine Eaton’s going out of business either, and then one day it wound down and stopped. ( I realize that is non-sequitorial, but it is the first thing that occurred to me).
    If I go there and buy something, I will look to see if staffing and service is still better at Sears than what you describe at Target. I wonder why Target would be decaying in these terms. Did its customer base get poorer and leave Target feeling it had to institute Walmart Reforms?
    What you saw at your Target seems like a crude and clunky version of this automation. Did the de-jobbed get other jobs? If so, were they Walmart Jobs at Walmart Wages? “The Lowest Price” isn’t low any more if you make “The Lowest Wage” to go along with it. And so . . . less money circulates at and around the earner-customer base of society, leaving fewer earners with less money to spend, thereby mediating less and less economic production and exchange activity, leading to more economic shrinkdown at the customer-earner base-levels of society. How long can this go on before my boss calls me in and says: ” We like your work, Mr. Clue. But we had to fire your job. There just isn’t the bussiness to support it any more.” I hope the Mighty Fortress of Academic Medicine where I work is several long stops down the attrition-decay-cannibalization-shrinkdown pipeline.

  61. Fred says:

    “The bulk of migrants to Milwaukee…” The people who rioted are not migrants.
    ” present-day racial segregation in local housing is a consequence of personal preferences …”
    It may be news to you but there are no laws preventing any of these people from moving. There are many, many laws at the local, state and federal level preventing racial discrimination in housing and employment.
    ” I only mean to describe the immediate location and surroundings, to give context about where these incidents and destruction happened.”
    Your description is “racist, biased, anti-urban”. Those are opinions. So you think the black residents are racists? The white, Asian or Hispanic residents? You provide no details. Would those biased, anti-urban racist(s) include the black Sheriff of Milwaukee County or just the people who voted for him (he won the general election with over 70% of the votes)? He’s been re-elected many times. I’m curious as to just how those demographics worked out since more than 60% of the county is white.
    Does “grotesque inequity” mean that single parent families are grotesque or just the “traditional” two parent families? Does conduct matter? Did these people learn their standards of conduct from mom, dad or just the local public school system? If millions of people can figure out how to leave a foreign country to get to the US surely somebody who has graduated from the Wisconsin public school system can figure out how to get out of such a den of inequity (as you describe it) as the City of Milwaukee; or maybe they can just vote for someone other than a Democrat of Socialist. (The Republicans haven’t won the mayor’s race in a hundred years.)

  62. Fred says:

    “The Industrial Revolution is over.”
    No, it is still going on. I suggest that for many spending four additional years in an academic environment while going into debt is doing little more than providing four more years of employment to those who work in academia.

  63. Keith Harbaugh says:

    Colonel, I agree with most of your policy positions,
    but feel you are making a grave error in your reluctance to put the blame where it belongs for why your “Borg” does and says what it does.
    There is a reason for that.
    George W. Bush didn’t shun his father’s most excellent advisors Baker and Scowcroft and the policy positions towards Israel, Iraq, and the extent of American meddling with other nation’s affairs without a reason.
    And I think the reason is clear:
    He saw how much good GHWB’s fine policies had dome him
    when re-election time came around.
    If you want some evidence for who is really calling the shots,
    take a look at this article:
    “Mr. [Mikey] Weinstein makes a very comfortable living by bullying the military into eradicating public displays of the Christian faith within the Armed Forces.”
    And he and his allies are evidently is quite successful in those efforts.
    Colonel, you really shouldn’t pretend that there is no connection between
    the anti-Christianism that has become rampant in our society
    (c.f. WaPo’s articles on the after-school “Satan Club”
    and the failure of their editorial board to condemn it)
    and the pro-Israel policies and the ignoring of the American national interest.
    There is a common cause.

  64. Stephen Calhoun says:

    The Sears here on the east side of Cleveland remains open, has enough staff, but isn’t very busy most of the time. However, in noting this, I understand all retail “units” are working a business model.
    Our local Target is located in a failed vertical shopping mall. Yet, Target seems to do a lot of business.
    The real estate and derivatives and rentier recession devastated the stand-alone and strip retail here. It has only come back a bit.
    Meanwhile, Wal-mart is looking at Amazon’s online pie.

  65. different clue says:

    Stephen Calhoun,
    Did the Sears on Cleveland’s east side used to be busier? If so, I find myself wondering whether some of that Sears’s former customers have started going to Walmart or wherever in search of “Always the Lowest Price. Always.” If enough former Sears customers keep soft-boycotting Sears long enough to keep it not very busy for long enough, they may eventually get it closed. Then where will the former staff go? And what level of pay will they get somewhere else, if any pay at all?
    Too few people are thinking about how paying a higher price allows the higher priced bussiness to pay a higher wage or salary, which allows the higher waged-or-salaried staff to buy more from yet other places at a “higher price” which keeps yet other staffers employed at higher wages and/or salaries. Too few people regard part of the “higher price” as being a “privatax” to support higher wages and higher employment elsewhere in the production-for-consumption economy.

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