Link Roundup for Memorial Day, 2018

Arlington National Cemetery

From Stars & Stripes: A retired SEAL received the Medal of Honor for action in the early days of the Afghan War.

From Army Times: Four soldiers killed in Niger added to memorial at Ft. Bragg.

From Popular Mechanics: A guide to ten of America’s forgotten battlefields.

From The New York Times: What Ivanka Trump got from the family’s China trade bribes.

50 Comments

  1. Here’s a powerful audio narrative by a 103 year-old lady that supports the case for reparations for Blacks. We can’t brush this one aside by saying all the parties involved are dead. This lady is still alive at age 103! Please click on the Listen arrow to hear it in her own words:

    1. I’m having trouble posting the link. It was on NPR’s All Things Considered just a few minutes ago. The lady’s name is Olivia Hooker, and she talks about Tulsa in 1921, and how a Black neighborhood and commercial district was destroyed by Whites. Maybe you guys can Google it. Sorry.

  2. As long as this topic is exploring various links, I’d like to post this one from the Seattle Times.
    https://www.seattletimes.com/business/economy/guaranteed-jobs-may-not-solve-the-democrats-bigger-problem-with-many-voters/

    Jon Talton is largely a local writer and to a large extent reflects the center left philosophy of much of the Seattle populace. I think he hit the nail on the head with the statement, “But tribalism and fear mean a guaranteed job won’t change this primal calculus across most of the country.” I believe that is exactly the attitude that resulted in Trump’s victory in the key Great Lakes’ states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Trump and the Republican Party are expert in exploiting this fear and tribalism.

    Yet, the areas with the least tribalism and fear, are the areas where the most jobs are being created, and are performing the best economically. For example, CA now has the 5th largest economy in the World, and is creating the most jobs in the US. Even in Western Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh is doing very well and that is spreading. But that is an urban area where tribalism is limited. There must be a connection.

    1. Well, I’d also add that the head tax to solve Seattle’s homeless problem, (of essentially the city council’s own creation), isn’t playing so well either. And let’s just say that their $15 minimum wage isn’t stoking the fires of low-wage households, either. (Earned income in that segment has fallen.)

      And whilst Pennsylvania goofed in their vote for Trump, Pittsburgh’s success is a result of a vision whose implementation began decades ago, and is now bearing substantial fruit. It was about economic diversification, and becoming a center of education and medicine, among others.

      California’s days are numbered. https://www.forbes.com/sites/chuckdevore/2018/05/22/texas-laps-california-in-job-and-population-growth/#5ec21e4673f3 The writing is on the wall. (No – not *that* wall!)

      1. Chuck Devore is full of shit, just generally speaking. He’s a nutjob.

        More specifically, it would be a terrible mistake to bet against California. Texas is to California what WalMart is to Amazon, its low rent joke of a competitor. Texas is a low-quality price competitor, a place where the runner-ups of the US economy go to feel better about themselves. Texas has enormous potential, but it also has Texans, so that potential is constantly thwarted by short-term thinking, an almost religious reverence for personal greed, hostility toward thought, intellect and education, and their rejection of all of the pillars of a 21st century economy. Texas remains relatively vibrant economically because of a largely doomed energy industry, and because the consequences of state-level Republicans’ 15 year war on public education haven’t ripened yet.

      2. From my observation, practically every progressive idea and effort has been coming from CA, and not at the expense of the poor. I’m a fan. If I were at a different point in my life, I would move there. Living among the religious right and Tea Party majorities in TX has been a real disappointment. Try having a rational discussion on global warming in TX, or diversity, or women’s access. TX (along with 13 other mainly southern states, have not ratified the Equal Rights Amendment introduced in 1972.

        CA, however, has given us Devin Nunes, Darrell Issa, and Dana Rohrabacher, so it ain’t perfect (-:

      3. Hmmm… Move to California, huh? And exactly where would you, could you live? In the end, total costs of living, including taxes will kill growth. The hostile business climate is screaming for ‘climate change’ that isn’t gonna happen. The Cali Piper will be paid – just as surely regressive policies in Texas will demand their due. But remember that Houston is “full of Texans” too. Would Chicago for example, trade their status by pretty much any metric with Houston? Ah yup. California owes 2.5x more than Texas on a per capita basis. Other than the weather, and a supply of technical talent, (which is mobile), there is pretty much no reason to start or move a business there, and plenty of reasons not to.

        And Texas is showing signs of change. Just as LA and the Bay Area urban centers gradually came to dominate Sacramento, so will the likes of Houston influence Austin. And when they do, it won’t be in the toxic Moonbeam Medfly sort of way.

        Now if we could just do something about the summer weather…

      4. What appeals most to me about CA is the willingness of its people and leadership to go their own way, their appreciation for rather than rejection of, diversity, the weather, respect for the environment, separation of church and state, and values which more closely mirror my own. It would be a great experiment. Change is coming in TX, women are driving it, and my involvement in that effort has been rewarding. TX will be a better state if it becomes more progressive, just as the nation will be – IMO.

      5. >] Hmmm… Move to California, huh? And exactly where would you, could you live? In the end, total costs of living, including taxes will kill growth. The hostile business climate is screaming for ‘climate change’ that isn’t gonna happen. The Cali Piper will be paid – just as surely regressive policies in Texas will demand their due. But remember that Houston is “full of Texans” too. Would Chicago for example, trade their status by pretty much any metric with Houston? Ah yup. California owes 2.5x more than Texas on a per capita basis. Other than the weather, and a supply of technical talent, (which is mobile), there is pretty much no reason to start or move a business there, and plenty of reasons not to.

        The reasoning behind one moving to California to start a business is as straightforward as it is simple – it’s because Cali is the strongest economy in the entire country, and it’s not a close call. Of course they have problems (their housing issues being among the most prominent), but they’re talking about them, exchanging ideas, and working to solve those problems just like any sane, rational government would do.

        Whether it’s high taxes, the cost of living or whatever else that might have you gnash your teeth at California, come up with a plan and work to get yourself ready to handle those issues. Millions of Californians handle them each and every day, and so can we.

      6. Hey Ryan – Could you tell me exactly what having “the strongest economy” means as far as starting or operating a business is concerned?

        Beyond the availability of skilled labor, which I also mentioned and said is increasingly mobile, I don’t know what that means. Having state and local government “talking about problems ,”and “exchanging ideas-about them” means exactly squat in the real world. All of the issues I mentioned are getting worse, not better, despite this yakking.

      7. I may be a little late in making a follow up comment. I appreciate all of the comments, particularly Chris’ and Mary’s. I basically concur with their statements.

        I have lived in Washington State since 1955 and in Seattle proper since 1967. I graduated from the University of Washington in 1974 and CA was the place to go at that time. I however opted to stay in Seattle. During my entire adult life I have observed CA simply because Seattle is heavily influenced by CA. During that entire period the only time that CA slipped was when they turned their back on progressivism, quit investing in infrastructure, quit investing in education, became negative towards immigration, adopted a low tax and small government regimen, and generally adopted a conservative approach to government. That happened to coincide with the tax rebellion in CA and with Reagan being elected governor. The CA economy started a continual downward slide. CA government was in a state of gridlock until finally Schwarzenegger quit governing as an arch conservative, after he lost big time with his initiatives and the voters modified the CA constitution to implement an independent redistricting commission. In the last several years CA has been on the move again.

        To be sure CA has high taxes and housing is ultra expensive. Their is emigration, but CA attracts high quality, highly educated immigrants too. Also CA does take care of their people and attempts to solve their problems.

        To a large extent a similar dynamic is at work in the Seattle area. Seattle does have very expensive housing, heavy traffic, and we do have a very left wing City Council. However, it was also the fastest growing major city by percentage in the nation during the last decade. Not too long ago Seattle was stagnant and slowly losing population. It was below 500K at on point. Now our population is approx 740K allowing for 15K growth from the last estimate as of July 1, 2017. Yes Seattle does have high taxes and other problems. But we are trying to solve them. The head tax might well be repealed in November.

        There is some reason why Bill Gates and Paul Allen moved Microsoft from NM to WA in the 70’s. One of those could be because the Univ of Washington was a highly respected research institution then and the State of Washington generally supports education and tends towards progressivism.

        I stand by my original statement that the places with the least tribalism and fear are the places with the most dynamic economies. That even applies to TX. Austin is a very rapidly growing metropolis and it happens to be a progressive island in TX and the home of the U of TX.

      8. Nah – never too late, TM.

        I’d offer that of the top five fastest growing cities, Texas has 3 of them. (Or four, depending on the specifics.) Seattle is, I think, 6th.

        I spent a fair bit of time there in the 70’s when my major professor moved to UW. I thought it was fantastic. And beautiful. Hell, I even like the weather. Please make no mistake here – I have great fondness for that city. But:

        The stuff you and Ryan are talking about aren’t going to encourage continued growth and prosperity. In fact, they will, (and are), working against those in the long term. There is a balance to be struck between rampant progressivism, (a la San Francisco), and say Dallas.

        Time will tell this tale, and I hope it ends well for Seattle, but I’m not buying their munis.

  3. Now this may sound trivial. Or sarcastic. Or subjective. But I just learned how the Orange One eats steak. Yes – the same failed clown who tried his hand in the mail order meat business.

    If this offends anyone, well it shouldn’t. You just have no clue about food.

    Can anyone guess, considering the other “high-brow” tastes of this putz?

    That’s right, sports fans – *well done*. The thing is I find myself both surprised and disgusted at the same time, while I really should not be either. (Well, maybe disgusted.)

      1. No no no no! Anyone, anyone, who eats steak well done should have the steak taken away from them. And adding ketchup? Automatic grounds for execution.

        “Your honor, I had to do it. It was a mercy killing. The chef who had cooked the steak, when told of the ketchup, was planning on serving him his own liver with fava beans, with a nice chianti, and ketchup.”

      2. Dins – I agree. Summary execution wouldn’t increase our already bloated prison population, either.

        But the fact is that eating well-done steak, (with ketchup no less), is a sure sign of a decided lack of any sort of cultural or culinary sophistication. Now perhaps we can exempt earlier generations who grew up with extremely poor food; those for whom eating was pretty much for simple survival. But for anyone else, such behavior that of a rube. I have never met anyone so inclined that wasn’t a simpleton.

        But once again, our moron-in-chief has shown himself to be unique. Born with a silver spoon in his pie hole, he chooses this abomination. How in the world can a person grow up in such an environment and emerge as such a clod? Of course it’s a trait not in the slightest inconsistent with many of his other behaviors.

        It is also interesting to note that nary a single voice has risen from our cadre here in defense of over-cooked steak. This is *not* surprising to me.

      3. EJ

        As the token vegetarian here, I would like to say that even I am horrified by the thought of eating steak well-done with ketchup. Have you no decency, Mr Trump? Have you, at last, no decency?

      4. EJ – I suspect you’re a veg for ethical reasons. For that I have complete respect. And even you are appalled by Trump’s predilection!

        For god’s sake, if an animal is to die for food, at least let it not be so utterly defiled post-mortem.

      5. EJ

        There are jokes about the hazards of asking vegetarians about their reasons for being vegetarian, so I’ll just leave it tactfully unsaid.

        I will, though, note that if we’re going to tie up the enormous land area and water required to grow the soy and alfalfa required to nurture a cow to adulthood, and the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by that cow, then the least we can do is to ensure that humanity extracts the maximum possible benefit from it when we slaughter it. Cooking the meat until all the flavour is gone, then coating it with a chemical-tasting substance that has as little to do with actual tomatoes as 7Up has to do with lemons, is nothing but a waste.

        One might almost call it a deliberate waste, a type of conspicuous consumption, to show that one is powerful enough to throw away land and water and CO2. The Medici princes did such things. I somehow doubt that Trump is aware enough to do so.

      6. Trump may not be “aware” of all of the consequences of his actions, but he is willfully ignorant and selfishly uncaring enough to sacrifice the environment and every living creature within it if it will gain one smidgen of benefit for him.

        BTW, I have the greatest respect for vegetarians…the personal discipline and sacrifice to commit to this lifestyle choice is enviable. Sadly, I like rare beef too much!

    1. As much as that racist bitch got was coming to her, the extent to which streaming sites and others have gone and even removed the old Roseanne series strikes me as concerning. If it was just her, it’d be fine, but there are a lot of otherwise innocent people (including those who just lost their jobs) who are getting screwed over now.

      And while I fully support the show being cancelled (though it never should’ve been approved in the first place), this seems to be a small-scale example in how social capital can run amuk.

      1. “If it was just her, it’d be fine, but there are a lot of otherwise innocent people (including those who just lost their jobs) who are getting screwed over now.”

        Complete canard. It’s television, shit gets cancelled all the time.

        I work in media production, jobs are never permanent and never guaranteed to last as long as you may like. Everyone on that show that was worth a damn has already reached out to friends and been like, “Hey so this happened, got any shows you know are crewing up?” It’s part of the business.

      2. Bullshit. Shows don’t get cancelled all the time because one of their stars went on a racist rant on social media and the entire flippin’ country started freaking out. Don’t compare apples and oranges and treat them as if they’re both apples.

      3. The apples are apples. I know what I’m talking about because I’ve seen it. I’ve been laid off of shows for varieties of reasons, and everyone I know that has worked on those shows moved on to other shows.

        Have you ever heard the euphemism “creative differences?” When a head of a show leaves or a network cancels a show or a movie ceases to go into production or stays in production hell because of “creative differences”? That’s when someone’s personality and actions at the top make it difficult for the production to continue. The difference here is that Roseann Barr’s actions were too public to be euphemistically called “creative differences” because everyone knows what she did.

        This Tweet follows a pattern of behavior people were already having to deal with:

        ““We didn’t know what was going to happen,” Mr. Rasmussen said of her Twitter account. “She would tweet stuff, then apologize and get off Twitter, and then it would get better. And then it would blow up again. I followed her to just see what was coming. Some of the other writers couldn’t do it, just because they couldn’t handle the stress of it.””

        “By season’s end, Whitney Cummings, a liberal comedian and the sitcom’s show runner, had left the series. Other writers left, some of them saying that their social media accounts had been overwhelmed by negative comments, Mr. Rasmussen said, adding that there was a 50 percent staff turnover after the first season.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/30/business/media/working-on-roseanne-show.html

        ““You can’t control Roseanne Barr,” Mr. Sherwood said in an interview with The New York Times in March, when asked about her Twitter account. “Many who have tried have failed.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/business/media/roseanne-barr-offensive-tweets.html

        And these issues with her behavior stretch back to the 90s.

        Of more valid area concern for media production workers and the issue of stigma in the era of digital turnover is the speed in which it happened. But much of the industry runs on luck and timing, and according to that last article, she decided a particularly bad time to ‘Ambien tweet’:

        “The timing of Ms. Barr’s outburst was terrible for ABC. She wrote the message just two weeks after it and the other broadcast networks made their pitches to advertisers about their coming fall lineups, with the hope of attracting up to $9 billion in advertising commitments by summer’s end.”

        And yes, the same article end with

        ““We were gut-punched,” Mr. Rasmussen said. “It was really depressing that that one stupid sentence that she sent out destroyed a whole bunch of peoples’ jobs.””

        but ABC will now need to fill a half-hour block with new content, which means creating a new show. This isn’t like a factory closing down in a small town where there aren’t other options; the people being laid off got hired because they worked on other shows, and they will get hired again to other shows, both within ABC where they have a working relationship and outside ABC. Getting laid off always sucks, but as I said before and as I know from personal experience: there’s always more work in the media industry, as long as you aren’t an asshole.

        Roseanne is an asshole. Her show crew weren’t. She doesn’t have a job; they will get ones.

      1. No EJ, no sarcasm involved. You are correct, and my statement above is what I mean. Bottom line, if people are happy to quite literally live with their heads down, living on their phones, and ignore the realities around them, and are content with that, nothing will change.

        I am no historian, but I assume that most Germans in 1936 were reasonably content with the economy, and just went about their daily lives.

      2. EJ

        Thanks! I’m sorry, I was being very awkward there.

        It is my understanding that most Germans in 1936 were unhappy with our government and were just waiting for it to be over, not imagining how bad it would get.

        This is usually a sound strategy when you’re under a bad government. Historically it has worked in nearly every case. The word “nearly” is, however, a large one.

  4. That NY Times article is just another example of how far the country has fallen. Under “normal” times, the family kleptocracy would be under massive investigation and this would be front page, or most clicked, article all over the Western first world. But no, the puppet tyrant has brilliantly played the whole media into such a circus that this crime does not even register with most consumers of news, anywhere.

    And yet, there are so many that keep saying “this shall pass”…until something worse comes along.

    1. EJ

      I’d argue that that NYT story shows that the media is doing exactly what they should be doing: reporting on misdeeds and shining a light into the hidden parts of our civilisation. It’s up to the rest of society to act on that information, whether that action be carried out by the electorate or the court system. The NYT isn’t failing us; we’re failing them.

      Do we, as the West (in which I include myself) deserve the New York Times?

      1. I agree with you, EJ, on the importance of media’s investigative reporting. In fact, if it weren’t for their work, I fear the consequences would be much worse. I do wish, however, that there wasn’t such non-stop coverage across television for Trump’s every utterance. Surely there is justification to not cover anything but what is of national importance vs national interest. I am weary of this man’s words, visage, every thought and action being pasted over every source of media.

      2. EJ, I don’t blame media as much I blame the consumers of media. Seriously, I would bet any amount of money more people outside of the U.S. know about this bribery than inside the U.S. And no, clearly, the moral majority (yes, I realize the irony), do not deserve the NY Times, or any number of organizations fighting the good fight.

        And to Mary, you are also correct, to a certain extent. Every day, there is a new scandal, a new outrage, that in bygone days would have brought down ANY politician. But no more. The media can’t keep up. The media is doing their job, but the constant crimes covered by the media become a white noise as they all blend together.

        What we need is for the heads of every media location to get together ( I am talking about the ones that believe in democracy and the rule of law), and work out a co-ordinated strategy and message, along the lines of “Wake up, there is a dictator and his handlers running the show, and all options should be on the table for regime change.”

        But that is way too hardcore, for the media sites’ investors, or for even Chris’ site here.

      3. EJ

        But Dinsdale, large corporations shouldn’t be doing our activism for us.

        They’ve done well. They’ve documented every single Rubicon that’s been crossed. They’ve documented the farce of a “blind trust”, they’ve documented the Emoluments Clause breach, the extensive foreign government ties, and the constant lying. It is not the task of the media to give orders to the people of the American Republic, but they’ve done everything short of that.

        If you believe that the current president needs to be toppled, your next steps are pretty much laid out for you. Grassroots organisation. Consciousness raising. Radicalisation of activists. Civil disobedience. Mass demonstrations. Tax strikes. Tearing down ICE centres and Trump hotels. Highway roadblocks. Seizure of infrastructure hubs. Incarceration of torturers and other purveyors of unacceptable regime activity. Marching to Washington with a hundred thousand of your friends and summarily declaring someone else to be President. If you really want to topple a government without starting a shooting war, the lessons of Tahrir Square and Maidan Square are out there for everyone to see.

        I’ve read your comments here before. I’ve seen that you’re a passionate man and that you believe strongly in your cause. I know you know better than to think that someone else will do your activism for you – especially not someone who, as you point out, is a large corporation.

    2. “Under “normal” times, the family kleptocracy would be under massive investigation and this would be front page, or most clicked, article all over the Western first world.”

      Sort of. I tried finding the article, but couldn’t, but there was an article that came out a few years ago regarding Lava Jato and the sudden anti-corruption drives across South America that asked the question “Why now? When does corruption finally get turned on by the public in such numbers?”

      It turned out to have nothing to do with scale, obviousness, amount of corruption versus social norms (except in countries where there is no stable rule of law, in which case the issue isn’t that the people don’t care about corruption, it’s that they have no pathway to deal with any of it), and so forth.

      Ultimately the answer seems to be “corruption is tolerated by the public when they feel they are still getting benefits from the system.” As long as things seem to be generally working in your favor, someone gaining an advantage within that system is just doing it right.

      Now it’s unclear to me how to really predict how ‘the public’ feels about that, because I don’t understand ‘the public.’ I, personally, have a hard time understanding how any single individual could vote for anyone as obviously shitstorm trashfire as Donald J. Trump, who oozes “I’m a dangerous con artist” with every flick of his eyelids, but apparently millions upon millions of people did not get that sense from him, so I have to simply admit I don’t understand how they think at all.

      But the prevailing narrative is that the American people saw rich people, largely urbanites, mostly in prestige industries, benefiting from The Recovery (r)(tm)(c Corporate America, Inc) while they were not, and so “corruption” mattered because they weren’t seeing the improvement in quality of living that they felt they should. A person outside the corrupt system ran on clearing the corruption, and they voted for him. I don’t know why they thought that the corrupter would stop the corruption but as already insisted, I don’t understand their thinking anyway.

      Now 45 has been supremely lucky in a bewildering amount of ways, and one of them is that he got to inherit the economy at precisely the point The Recovery started paying off dividends for down-stream classes. Additionally, the tax reform bill is mostly paying off short term: https://www.economist.com/briefing/2018/05/24/business-in-the-republicans-america-is-flourishing-but-also-changing . People on the left were feeling more optimistic about the economy before the election: the election swinging the nation right helped people on the right feel more optimistic about the economy after the election. So now more people feel optimistic about the economy, so now people are less upset about corruption.

      In the meantime, the Democrats haven’t had a very good job arguing against the Republicans’ policies after the tax bill was passed and public anxiety about it fizzled out. I know the Republicans are now setting up their midterm argument to be about “We have a majority and are making progress on ending abortion, so please keep us going so we can keep making it illegal” on a broad view and “I know you’re upset about our decision to rip children away from their families at the border, but it’s actually the Democrats’ fault” and similar passing the blame. From the Democrats, I’m mostly getting a sense that they’re running on “Trump is a trashheap,” which, while true, never stopped millions of people from voting for him and probably won’t in the midterms.

      So that’s that. We essentially have to wait for the economy to crash for people to blame the Republicans on their obvious and clear corruption. Whether that happens in the next few years is unclear.

      In the meantime, the next article the Economist had immediately following their briefing on the state of the economy is that the Dems have a 2 in 3 chance of retaking the House. This is close to what current 538 averages suggest, and is the same chances Hillary had of winning the Presidency going into Nov. 6th, 2016.

      So what I’m saying here is, pointing out 45’s obvious corruption isn’t going to help for the same reason the idiots that voted him in weren’t turned off by his obvious corruption before. The Democrats still, as has been mentioned millions of times by various speakers, have to offer voters something tangible that they want.

      1. EJ

        In my opinion, the Democrats are inherently going to have to fight with at least two hands tied behind their back:

        One, because at this point they’re a large-tent coalition who embrace figures as different as Chris Ladd and Ta-Nehesi Coates, and so need to expend considerable effort avoiding fratricide;

        Two, because they’re the party that embraces a messy reality over a pure ideology, and that’s always less easy to sell people.

        The good news is that, by the look of the special elections we’ve seen, they may be succeeding despite both of these handicaps.

      2. Eh, the perception that we’re a unified group is probably more harmful than the large tent coalition, at least for the legislature. The national cheering for figures like Conor Lamb makes it look like he’s in the pocket of “coastal elites” (though the Atlantic’s 9.9% cover story is solidifying my view that there is some truth to that moniker). The Constitution, for better or for worse, gives politicians in each district the ability to buck their parties. We might as well use that.

        Only 2/3 chance… I’ll rethink my optimism there. That said, don’t the Tea Party obstructionists give us some wiggle room with how many seats we need? If they won’t govern perhaps leadership will work with people who will.

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