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AvatarComments by Dark Matter in reply to DavidTC*

On “Biden Picks Kamala Harris

I think they would run ads calling the Democrat’s socialist if they ran a ticket of Joe Lieberman and the disembodied corpse of Scoop

I would say that would be unfair except Bernie and Warren were the number #2 and #3 picks of Team Blue so it showcases where their head is at.


"Secret President in waiting" is the job of the VP.

Basically it's Lincoln's greatest failure in terms of showcasing what not to do. I think that it's great that Biden picked a moderate.

I'm not convinced she has the experience to be President on day one (which is a stronger possibility than normal but whatever) but she may be as good as he could pick given the constraints he's working under.


But what we do know is that Harris was entirely qualified for the positions.

If memory serves most of the people on the board have a background in medical oversight and many decades of experience (she was 30, next youngest member was 60). I think there's a stronger argument that these were patronage jobs after retirement so everyone is "qualified".

Harris was guilty of nothing more than being ambitious and taking advantage of the system of favor brokering and patronage. Not a good thing, but small potatoes.


I think we can agree its not on a scale of lets say, appointing your completely unqualified daughter and son in law as de facto chief of staff and allow them to grift around the world.

I thought the Middle-East peace plan the son in law came up with was pretty sane in that it matched the facts on the ground (in the ME this is a new approach). If they ever get serious about peace they'll use something pretty close to it.

I'm good with the daughter being an advisor for the same reason I'm good with HRC (or Nancy Reagan) being "advisors" to their husbands. Trump is arguably closer to his daughter than to his wife. There was serious talk about making her first lady and I can't think of anything the actual first lady has even attempted.

Where we run into problems is with something like Hunter Biden's $600k/yr job which seems to have been a raw pay off... and The Trump Foundation is this massive FU to the rules and all sorts of good standards. Unfortunately, TTF has an economic reality that is independent of political power so it needs to be grandfathered in.


But, as the lawyers would say, now that we have opened the door to THAT issue, lets talk about nepotism and cronyism a bit more, shall we?

This would be a long overdue conversation but I doubt it will happen this election cycle. The foreign corrupt practices law should be extended to the children of American politicians as well as foreign politicians and it should also work internally.

We've had far too many children of politicians end up with mid-6-digit "jobs" that are clearly motivated by access to their relatives and not their own skills. Presumably Hunter Biden will be brought up in this cycle but whatever. Neither Trump nor Biden have any interest in reforming this problem.

On “Always at the Abyss

If free stuff was the prime motivator, we’d see this every day.

Without the police around, we would. The expectation of punishment for wrongdoing is needed to keep the wheels from coming off. We saw this in CHOP.

We've seen this in other countries too; After the fourth time a rich man was kidnaped and held for ransom by a group of communist bandits, he funded/created a death squad to deal with the situation because clearly the government wasn't going to.

On “Biden Picks Kamala Harris

OK, so this is corruption?

This is an attack on her competence. Pointing out that she slept her way to multiple promotions is a way to imply she doesn't have the skill or merit to advance without that.

The counter for it is to look at her resume after her relationship with Brown ended, i.e. how good a job did she do as a Senator and AG? You're looking for things which imply merit.

Or you could point to the other reasons she was picked. Of course here that's because she's female and black.


Brown was a fading has-been, and Harris the smart ambitious rising star.

That was 10 years later (and yes, she dumped him when he wasn't useful).

When she was 29 and dating Brown who was 60, he was the most politically powerful man in CA and her star was rising only because she was his girlfriend.

To be fair, my strong inclination is to ignore the sex lives of politicians unless it obviously is affecting their jobs. She has a resume greater than the fluff not-really-jobs she got because of her relationship with him. So she's moved on and so should we.


Way to go full Limbaugh.

He's not wrong.

On “Always at the Abyss

Supposedly the police have shells fired from his piece which are different from what the police used. However this is Chicago and if the fix is in for a screw-up then we've got the problem of one source of information.

If social media counts then he likes posting pictures of himself posing with guns, which is an interesting fashion statement as a felon on probation.


We better work on understanding what the motivation is, or we’re in for a world of hurt.

"Free stuff" works fine as "motivation" for some people. There are beaches I go where if you leave anything alone it disappears.

For others you need "free stuff" plus "everyone else is doing it". Obviously this is a range, some people will loot if they see a few people do it and others only if the entire crowd is. The larger the herd movement, the more convincing herd mentality is.

This is one of the reasons the police have a problem dealing with protests. Protests are basically small controlled fires... but it doesn't take much for them to become large uncontrolled fires.


There isn’t really any way to make a summary judgement of it without distortion.

If we're looking at policing problems per millions of encounters and claiming that's unacceptable, then that's the yardstick we use to measure CHOP.

Afaict it was absurdly worse, multiple orders of magnitude. That store owner obviously has money (i.e. a store) so he's an obvious target. He was dealing with problems every day.

Criminal acts from broken windows to murder were seriously scaled up. Multiple normal city services halted. Economic activity was seriously affected because of the lack of security. It was so bad that eventually their own political allies had to step in and shut the experiment down.


Like you example of news stories of the CHOP people as peaceful. So far as I can tell those stories were entirely accurate at the time they were written.

The guys suing the city claim otherwise. That there were serious issues with a lack of order and with repression from the start. That the first problem wasn't people being killed.


Great link.

The 15 year old is actually 20. He's not dead. He's been arrested for violating his probation. He has a record that includes violence. And the community activist's solution for the miscommunication is that community activists should be contacted by the police whenever something happens.

The cops didn't have body-cams. Supposedly they'd been summoned to deal with someone with a gun. The guy's mother claims he told her he was unarmed.

Some traffic(?) camera supposedly caught part of the chase but idk if the video is useful or available.

I do wonder if there are first AM implications in all of this. You have people on social media claiming there's blood in the streets apparently for the purpose of creating blood in the streets.


It's temping to preserve violence as an option, especially if you think you can blame someone else.

It's not my fault your business burned down but if you're been with us then it wouldn't have happened.

It's impossible or trivially easy to tell apart the violent types from the protesters... so it's totally the responsibility of the police to do that, we can't do it ourselves.

It's the mirror image of the police knowing who is violent in the dept but not doing anything.


SO how you can expect BLM to do anything beyond that is lost on me.

I have seen protests where all the for-real protestors wear a specially colored shirt to make it clear who the players were.

They could also record exactly who the bad actors are and make it very clear they're supplying that footage to the police for the purpose of having them arrested.

This is the total opposite of everyone wearing masks so no one can tell who is who and beating up people who dare to video tape the "protestors".


True all that... except the part about "cynical", I'd call it "realistic".


What you said didn't disagree with what I said. You asked why people aren't spun up on this enough to protest, I gave my explanation.

You can and probably are, be 100% right and it could still not be a problem worth my involvement much less letting the anarchists out of their cage.

I would prefer to deal with the protests by getting more accountability and so forth, but I'm not convinced the protestors will be satisfied with that and we may end up needing to pick the lesser of evils.


“WTF is wrong with you then, why aren’t you incredibly pissed off that the police kill innocent people and walk?”

In my lifetime I think I'll never need to deal with winning the lottery.

My one second search on google suggests there are more lottery winners than there are police killings of any type. Subtract suicide-by-cop, mental illness, and criminal shootouts and you get innocent people being killed. I expect that event is an order of magnitude (10x) or more less common than the lottery.

Add to that we already don't put away all non-cop murders and that the areas which mostly need to deal with police killings also need to deal with normal killings at MUCH higher rates (multiple orders of magnitude) and this doesn't seem like a high priority issue.

In addition, I'm not opposed to sane police reform but some of the protestors seem to believe CHOP was an improvement.


No – what you are seeing is the police being unwilling to do their jobs because it requires them to 1) acknowledge the legitimacy of the protests and 2) requires them to actually critically reason about who needs arresting and who doesn’t.

I work for a Fortune 500. We have an HR department and an IT department. There have been lots of times when I've wanted to tell them that they're able to do X, that X is easy.

I've decided that trying to convince someone that they're a lot better at their job than they think and have shown probably doesn't go well.

The police we have, as opposed to the police we want to have, have problems telling the difference between the cop-hating protestors and the cop-hating anarchists. To be fair the media seems to have the same problem.

IMHO it's in BLM's interests that the anarchists don't do their thing whenever BLM does theirs.


And yet a great many people will condemn BLM and the actual Protesters of Mr. Floyd’s death for not identifying and controlling these despicable tourists.

What we're seeing is the moment the police lose the ability to step in, that power vacuum is filled by "anarchy tourism".

If BLM can't prevent this then they need to not take away from the police the ability to step in.


What you're looking at is just how much power "The Narrative" has in twisting what the media reports.

On “On Not Wanting to Rest Content

it was a poorly designed system that was intended to fail in just this way.

You're putting down to malice what could be explained by incompetence. The procedures which allowed this predated WF's crew of officers. Every hole in a pot isn't "intended" to let water through, but somehow water finds its way there anyway.

You find what you're looking for. They had a bunch of people in charge who knew that increasing pressure on the sales staff could only lead to good things. It is expected in a sales organization that you'll need to fire people who don't perform and/or cheat... so I'm not sure that even counts as interesting to a CEO in a normal context.

And hey, don’t threaten me with Trump using that kind of power to take down the DNC...

This was an extremely rare situation and we already have lots of tools to deal with it. If we currently lack the political will to hold WF's feet to the fire with what we could (should) do to it, i.e. levy a Trillion dollar fine, why are we supposed to think this tool will change that?

When I think about new laws I ask myself how this could (will) be abused. We'd be EXTREMELY empowering the gov in name of dealing with a corner case that we could already deal with if we wanted to. Large organizations always have some criminal minions just because of math. So now the gov could use criminal law against corporate officers and there would be NO defense.

This idea is moral outrage looking for a way to make it "never happen again" rather than sound public policy.


The whole point of RICO statues is to address this very thing, where an entire organization is corrupt.

RICO is for joining together various criminal acts.

Unfortunately, here the high level executives weren't corrupt. They did no crimes, they knew about no crimes, crimes which were committed were done against their orders and in spite of their efforts (yes, really).

As far as I can tell, every action they did was legal and in other situations is pretty standard.

When you simplify their actions to things which are obviously crimes and say we should outlaw them, you're not describing the reality, nor the complexity, of the situation.

This sort of situation is why the idea of “corporations as people” exist. What we should do here is give a reasonable fine, say $50k per criminal act. That’s probably something like a Trillion dollars which destroys the company but that’s just because they level of economic harm they did was so vast.


The problem is that management actually has a responsibility to understand what the employees are doing, and how they are making quota. Willful ignorance of what your employees are doing is not an excuse.

"Willful ignorance" is when the numbers your direct report is reporting don't match what you think are his abilities or opportunities. Here we're talking about a dozen levels of management separating the problem from the person we'd like to hold responsible. WF had processes in place to prevent this sort of thing. WF had reporting structures which in theory told the higher ups what was going on. These systems failed.

the likelihood that WF lower level management was ignorant of what the employees were doing is pretty close to zero.

"Lower level management" isn't who we'd like to hold responsible and is multiple rungs of management below higher level management.

But I still think if it can be shown that employees violate the law en mass in order to satisfy the demands of executives, then the executives are criminally liable.

Giving the police the ability to say "everything you did and knew was legal but you're still guilty" will instantly become a problem. Trump could use something like this to shut down the DNC. All he'd need to do is find a few criminal acts at a lower level (say, registering people to vote who don't exist).

This sort of situation is why the idea of "corporations as people" exist. What we should do here is give a reasonable fine, say $50k per criminal act. That's probably something like a Trillion dollars which destroys the company but that's just because they level of economic harm they did was so vast. This sidesteps issues like ignorance.


When Fat Tony shakes down the local deli, we don’t just ask him to pay a fine.

Here Fat Tony would be a low level bank minion. 12 layers of management up we're probably looking at the President of the United States who had no clue Tony even exists much less that he's committing crimes.

And I believe a good case could be made for prosecuting and imprisoning a good portion of WF management on RICO statutes.

As far as I can tell, senior management at WF seriously believed they didn't have a problem and everything was going well. Things were that messed up.

Management set goals, lower management implemented those goals, line management had quotes to meet, minions were expected to meet their numbers or they'd be fired. This sort of thing is common for sales driven large companies. It's the job of people managing a sales force to crack the whip and motivate the team, and yes, fire the slow ones. Where it got messy was harsh and unrealistic goals merged with "everyone is in sales" and applied to a bank.

So we have low level minions presented with numbers that translated into "break the law or be fired". Their line managers looked the other way at people who made quota and fired people who didn't... and reported the plan was working to their managers. Good news meant promotions. Bad news meant "you're fired". Not meeting sales quotas with excuses that it was hard or impossible wasn't to be believed since there were other groups who did met quota, apparently without breaking the law.

Everyone up and down the chain of command was expected to obey the law, they were just also expected to meet quota.

Focusing on law enforcement would mean arresting law breakers who were almost entirely low-level minions and mostly skipping senior management. I don't want to do that. This is why I want to punish the company as an entity rather than individual minions.

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