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Mark Mercer
Fuzzy Wanderer, Corporatism Critic, Former Corporate Tool. Uruguay Immigrant rather than US Expat.
Fuzzy Wanderer, Corporatism Critic, Former Corporate Tool. Uruguay Immigrant rather than US Expat.


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I'm from dirt-poor mining, farming and factory working Mercers. And British/Scottish working-class stock. <=> Not rich Trump-Big Data Mercers. Sick of being smeared as somehow aligned with or part of the ultra-wealthy Trump- and conservatives-supporting Robert and Rebekah Mercer.

And sick of the delusions of such that thing that it took some "big data" or "foreign interference" to bring about Brexit or Trump.

No, it took neoliberal elitist arrogance. It took ignoring or dismissing the "salt of the earth" people like those I came from only a generation or so back. That's all.

One more unthinking "liberal" internet commenter who writes something like "Oh, where else have I heard the name 'Mercer'?" as a way to undercut my political commentary is getting a virtual shoe thrown at them, and I wouldn't rule out a defamation action. Just because I don't buy the BS that Clinton lost because of "evil Big Data from the Mercers" or "Russians did it" does not mean I am part of your so-called "conspiracy".

Clinton lost, Brexit won, because your "hero" politicians ignored the solid working-class people like those from where my father grew up in the Appalachians. Where my grandfather grew up in the UK. The people from the places where your supposed "good" politicians didn't give a flying flaming fart about in their own smug and out-of-touch "big data" predictions.

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Trump says will allow Oct 26th #JFKFiles release. <=> He does have legal role to block; he's not claiming false credit.

Low-information and kneejerk-type subset of anti-Trump resistance is going mad on social media ranting that Trump is claiming credit for something the law requires. That is not the case, not this time, folks. Even though yes, he indeed does that kind of thing, all the time.

The George HW Bush-era law of 1992 does indeed require the records be released no later than 25 years from its implementation as a law, which is next Thursday Oct 26, 2017. However, that law specifically states that the President, who is Trump whether any of us like it or not, can block any or all of the document release for national security reasons. And the national security establishment, which many of us including many of us who lean left, have long suspected were involved with killing Kennedy, has been pushing Trump "bigly" not to allow the release.

So put your reflexive anti-Trumpism aside for a moment, and also put aside your disgust at how he Tweeted this as if it's a big deal on the next "episode". Because it IS a big deal. The JFK assassination, which happened when I was in 6th grade, is perhaps the defining event in modern US political and cultural history. And there is damn good evidence that the FBI and CIA did not do enough to stop Oswald. As well as all the suspicion of whether or not Oswald really worked alone, and how the hell he got shot by Jack Ruby before he could be tried.

It's been proven and on the record that the CIA and FBI did withhold information from the Warren Commission that set down "what really happened." It's reasonable to assume that the FBI and CIA and other parts of the US national security infrastructure, really do not want the truth to come out.

Whatever your private theories, it's been 54 years as of tomorrow since JFK was assassinated, ripping apart the fabric of our nation. Knowing the truth, or as much of the truth as hasn't yet been destroyed, is important. If Trump in fact goes ahead with releasing (as in, not using the law's power given him as the sole official who can block the release) the JFK files, I thank him for it. And if he DOES block some or all of it, then his tweet that he would do it unless new information about security made him not do so, is in essence the equivalent of a "warrant canary" - a statement that, when it disappears or is no longer operative, implies that "somebody got to them."

I'm pretty sure that Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Mitt Romney, or other people who might have been President at this point if elections in 2012 or 2016 went a bit differently, would not be allowing the release. So even if Trump is, among his many other flaws, a "crazy conspiracy theorist", let's let him indulge and get the truth out there.

Then we each can go back to whatever type of backward-looking or forward-planning Resistance is your thing. But right now, Trump is the good guy on this particular thing, even if he's a jerkish type of "good guy". Even if he's the bad guy on most else.

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If you're a NV 4th District voter, support @Amy4ThePeople Amy Vilela. <=> Primarying anti-single-pay Dem Ruben Kihuen.

A @JusticeDems member, of that movement looking to replace every Establishment Congressperson in the House. Vilela is an experienced businessperson (EVP of Finance at Foresee Consulting among other experience), who only went into politics because her 23 year old daughter died from being improperly treated in an Emergency Room 3 years ago.

Her daughter Shaylene was uninsured, so the Emergency doctor refused to do tests that would have been done with an insured patient. "Stabilized" under the callous "everybody gets ER care" law and sent home, without the medically-obvious testing and treatment for her presenting symptoms of deep-vein thrombosis. Which killed Shaylene a few weeks later.

After the grief, this drove Amy Vilela to challenge the system. From the Rolling Stone article "Meet the Democrats Running on Single-Payer Health Care" (

"She used her daughter's story to lobby hard against the Republican effort to kill Obamacare, but after a heated exchange with freshman Rep. Ruben Kihuen she decided that she – and the Democratic Party – needed to do more and demand Medicare for All."

And this exchange with Kihuen where he gave excuses why he refused to sign onto the Medicare-for-All bill introducd in the House, HR676: "But when she asked why he hadn't put his name on HR 676, the Medicare for All bill, Kihuen countered that his priority is defending the Affordable Care Act against Republican attacks. Amy pointed out that the ACA didn't save her daughter."

That article continues, including quoting her, with:
"It was a tough decision, she says, but she decided to primary Kihuen because she believes universal health care is a more realistic goal than many elected officials seem to realize. "We have more power than we assume. We can come together as a people and help create the transformation needed to achieve Medicare for All. We don't have time to waste," she says."

She sounds worthy. Nevada is the other side of the country from where I vote; my US domicile and voting-from-abroad residence is in Florida's 3rd, where I am saddled with far-right Republican Ted Yoho even in liberal Gainesville, due to gerrymandering even after the court mandated redistricting to limit it. So I can't vote for her. But if you are in this Nevada District and are registered Democrat (check, and re-check; there was a lot of "hijinks" / dirty-tricks screwing with registration during the Sanders-Clinton battle in Nevada), please support the real voice for progress, not incrementalist centrist corporatocracy, in the Nevada 4th Congressional District.

Here's the district map and info. Central-southern Nevada, down through North Las Vegas but not into Las Vegas itself.

This isn't a "Democrat picking off a Republican" this time, so it won't help the balance of power in the house if Viela gets nominated and then elected. But it will replace a almost-Republican anti-single-payer "Democrat" with somebody who is in line with what the Democratic Party supposedly stands for.

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Online tech shop Newegg, well known to us geeks, in alleged Ponzi scheme. <=> Crazy Eddie-level scam if true.

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Ok, what's the real deal with the "Impossible Burger" vegetarian "meat"? <=> Any DC or NYC folks tried it yet? It's at Momofuko Nishi in New York as well as at 2 or 3 restaurants in Washington.

Supposedly this is the one that finally tastes like real meat, rather than like some crunchy granola hippy-stuff, or agro-industrial complex soylent. Of course, that's been the claim for every new meat-alternative since the Boca Burger.

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As part of "Let's lose again in 2020" activism, they managed to get Bernie out. <=> But I'm a guy, I have no say.

I'm just going to make popcorn and watch while progressives, liberals, and Democrats manage to turn on each other to ensure another big loss where they should get a win.

Oh, and don't forget to lose in 2018 mid-terms too, Democrats. Then you can go sign a Change-dot-org petition to impeach Trump, instead of having the votes in Congress actually to do it. But you will feel so very virtuous.

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"There are approximately 1,000 U.S. troops providing training and other support..." <=> Why the hell are there any?

Excuse me for asking, but when did we vote for this? Specifically, when did our democratically-elected House Representatives and Senators vote this war-power use? According to the Constitution of our federal democratic republic, the war power is entirely under the control of the Congress. Unless an imminent threat (as in, really imminent, like Japanese bombers attacking Pearl Harbor), the Executive Branch is not supposed to be executing any military action. The last authorization for use of military force that even remotely stretches to now, and has been abused over and over again by Bush, Obama, and then Trump, is the post-9/11 authorization to go after those who were behind those attacks.

Bin Laden is dead. (Unless you are a crazy non-factual conspiracy theorist enjoying ignoring the real conspiracies to create a scenario of EndlessWar™ and Neoliberal economics FeudalismForAll™). ISIS is officially destroyed, at least the "Islamic State" is, because US-allied and Russian-allied forces managed to destroy their so-called capital. Most recently, taking Raqqa this week.

So what the hell were/are US troops doing in Niger, or in other African counties, and under what constitutional grounds? Also, under what common-sense "why we fight" grounds? (Hint: There aren't any.)

Defense Secretary Mattis' quote in full: "There are approximately 1,000 U.S. troops providing training and other support to local allies fighting militant Islamic groups in the Sahara region of Africa," as quoted in the Politico story. Mattis told them it includes Special Forces, and other forces providing intelligence and logistics.

Other than Republican Rand Paul in the Senate, and Democrat Tulsi Gabbard in the House, there are very few lawmakers making any noise about the violations of law these "adventures" (these examples of US empire-building) are. And both of them routinely get slandered with all kinds of fake crap, often from their own parties. Can't interrupt the military-industrial complex empire-building war-making gravy train of defense industry jobs and campaign contributions that both D's and R's love.

This is unconstitutional, and also stupidly wrong. I'm not sure which is worse. But the fact that we the USA are still doing this kind of thing is even more important than how bumbling President Trump did or did not contact the families of the US troops killed in the unconstitutional action.

Before you "blame Trump and the RepThuglicans" or whatever your kneejerk is for this, realize or go and learn how much of this crap got built up under President Obama. He did boatloads (droneloads and copterloads?) of unconstitutional warmaking stuff, but so many of you blindly loved him because he was on "our team".

Nope. Same team, just different intramural squads, when it comes to violating the war powers and common sense.

(Guess who put US troops in Niger? Obama, in 2013. See for a report by the then-independent Washington Post before-Bezos.)

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Remember "Black Monday" exactly 30 years ago today? <=> No, not you Millennials, of course. You were busy getting born or conceived or the oldest of you off to kindergarten; most not even around.

But it was huge. And it was the first stock market crash in generations (2 or 3; the Great Depression) that had much impact on "everyday people". Some companies folded or laid off more than planned; pension plans started getting hurt; construction projects got cut back; lots of small cuts to the everyday-people economy.

This was after I started working professionally as a programmer, but 4 years before I started working as a programmer on Wall Street. (Never in the money management or trading algorithms stuff; just mostly the boring important keep-track-of-accounts stuff.) Was in my mid-30s. I think I still had a couple of small investments in Fidelity mutual funds, and a tiny bit of IBM stock I'd bought. I'd sold my Crazy Eddie Inc. stock from employee options before the owner's fraud became clear. Quit them before they went bankrupt; in fact on the day they did. I'd gotten a job in Manhattan with the NYC division of a big (then big; bankrupt 4 years later; gone now) movie studio and needed an apartment nearby. The daily commute from deep in New Jersey was wiping me out.

That's where Black Monday got me.

No, I didn't need the money from my tiny IRA investment for the apartment in Hell's Kitchen. But the building owner, who was doing a gut-rehab of a piece-of-junk "landlocked" building that you had to enter through a different building, clearly got wiped out mid-renovation (but post lease-signing and move-in). I and the other suckers in that building got six months of no mail delivery because they never put in USPS-approved city-type mailboxes, 3 months of no cooking because they hadn't gotten the gas hooked up, but we got track lighting and butcher block counters in our 250 square-foot expanded closet-as-apartments!

1987 USA was a different world. Some of us were online already, but the web didn't exist yet. Nobody was trading online except financial professionals on special terminals. "Regular people" still mostly didn't own stocks, unlike today where if you have a job with any benefits, you almost certainly do, at least indirectly. (If you're from the USA or a few other Global North countries. A Uruguayan friend tells me that here, it's still "All Hollywood", the idea the people other than the fabulously wealthy are "in the market.")

I don't know if the next crash is coming. I'm a programmer, not a money guy. Now a mostly-retired in South America one. But it's getting darn frothy out there in people's IRAs, college investment funds, and other things that "regular people" of the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, NZ, etc. use for trying to get ahead. We should at least remember (or read about) what happened not so long ago.

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Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin finally live-fire tested its giant rocker engine. <=> Aimed for US military use.

This BE-4 engine is more powerful than anything Elon Musk's SpaceX has, even though SpaceX has entire rockets, not just engines, already flying for civilian, government non-military NASA, and government military missions. Bezos' engine would allow United Launch Alliance, the major space launch provider to the military, to use a US made engine in their successor to the Russian-powered Atlas. The U.S. Air Force wants this engine to work.

(How the US-made Atlas, an early all-Anerican version of which launched John Glenn into orbit at the height of the US-Russia Cold War, became Russian-powered is a weird story, but not for here.)

Amazon-enriched Bezos is already a huge part of the Military-Industrial Complex, with Amazon Web Services (AWS) powering the GovCloud and separate CIAcloud computing infrastructure and providing some services to the NSA (NSA literally part of the military.) It's not just Amazon Prime and of course his personally-owned (from.Amazon wealth) Washington Post, the paper of the American Establishment.

I'm glad to see space technology moving forward, including the private sector which is proving faster, cheaper, more innovative. But I'm not thrilled with Jeff Bezos increasingly being so tied to the MI-Complex.

Note that publishing conglomerate Conde Nast's Ars Technica makes no mention of Bezos whatsoever except for a photo credit of the engine from his personal Twitter. Yet it's a private company which he directly founded and owns. He's admitted that Amazon stock sales are a big part of how he funds owning things like Blue Origin and WaPo. I think we need to keep aware of his increasing influence with the military-industrial complex. That's rarely part of the story.

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Boo-hoo-hoo Russia. <=> You don't run Bulgaria anymore. Haha they included Booster Gold* (in back.)

But since when are Santa Claus and Ronald McDonald "American superheroes"?

* Might be a badly-done Wolverine.
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