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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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The European Union has now destroyed free speech. Not an exaggeration, if this bill passed by a committee of the European Parliament passes the entire body.

No parody, no memes, no remixing, no link to news stories without (paid?) permission. This is how an informed, creative, civil society dies.
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We are, for now, still staying open and welcoming new members. However, you do have to request membership. As Community creator/owner and lead moderator, I've approved a bunch. Thank you for joining! Please do "talk amongst yourselves."

I personally am not doing much in the way of either posting or moderating anymore. Co-owner/mod +Lisa Mercer is no longer active here, and instead is a moderator on the Facebook-based "gentle group", "Uruguay Expat Community". (Not sponsored by us nor any official part of our own Uruguay Expat Life site network, but is where we both are somewhat active.)

However I've also banned several for life from joining, because I do look at everybody's Google+ profile before approving. Given G+ is a little-used platform, a blank profile is not a problem, you'll get it. But if I see a post history of slamming marketing posts, or your YouTube channel links, in many groups, you'll be banned from here and reported to Google as a spam account, so don't try to join. It'll just make it more likely that you will lose your entire Google Account. Zero-tolerance for spammers here. Almost as little for people who only post off-topic, post their unrelated YouTube channel, and of course none for "adult content" in this group.

In that Facebook "gentle group", the owners and moderators now even require people who want to join to answer a 3-question quiz about why they want to join, what is their interest in Uruguay, and provide some background about themselves. I'm hesitant to do that, and if the proportion of spammer-requests to real-people requests stays as bad as it's been, I'm going to revisit the "shut it all down" decision that we reversed a few months ago.

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AT&T buying Time Warner approved. <=> I don't like it, not at all. The Administration was right to fight, but lost.

The Trump admin may have been right for the wrong reasons, in part (but I sincely don't think only) because of Trump's disdain for Time Warner's CNN. There are plenty of good reasons for opposing this type of merger. Even though it's supposedly not a competition-removing merger, as Time Warner (a media content company only) and AT&T (a telephone, data, internet, and DirecTV communications provider) do not directly complete, it's still media concentration. It was bad enough when Disney was allowed to buy ABC, when Comcast was allowed to buy NBC Universal (where then-GE's NBC had already swallowed Universal Studios), when Verizon was allowed to buy AOL and Yahoo. Now it's far worse. (By the way, plenty of pols with "D" after their names, not just "R", allowed those abominations to happen.)

With the AT&T/Time Warner merger, one of the largest means of distribution of content now will be in the same hands, funded by and feeding profits back into the same pockets, as one of the largest creators of content. One of the most-historic names of each industry - even if not really the original companies of those names, the inheritors/usurpers of those great companies.

By the way, before I go any further into why this is a Very Bad Thing, make sure you understand what these companies are, and are not. (Unless you're not a reader, and think that a few hundred words or so is some kind of a slog, rather than back in the day, being a SHORT read for an important topic. In that case, go watch Time Warner's CNN on your DirecTV or watch Comcast's MSNBC or Disney's ABC blissfully unaware.)

AT&T is not the original AT&T / Bell System that provided telephone service as a monopoly nearly all over the USA until the mid-1980s - it is instead the largest of the "Baby Bells" that was broken up by the antitrust courts back then. It's really Southwestern Bell. Which then purchased several other "Baby Bells" ending in buying the Southeast's BellSouth. It already had branded its wireless as Cingular, then bought the wireless business of the remaining original AT&T. Later it bought the remanants of its shrunken "mother", the original AT&T, after that old AT&T had also sold off all its technology prowess such as Bell Labs (which became Lucent, then Alcatel bought parts of it, and now it's in fragments all over other companies.)

Similarly, Time Warner has absolutely nothing to do with the cable-tv and cable-broadband company Time Warner Cable, and hasn't for nearly a decade. It also has not had anything to do with Time Magazine or the Time-Life family of magazines/websites, not for several years. And it's been well over a decade since it had nothing to do with AOL, despite your possible memories of "AOL Time Warner" - AOL was spun back out of Time Warner ages ago. Then, AOL bought Huffington Post and similar sites, and then Verizon (the other major remnant of the serveral of the old "Baby Bells) bought AOL. A year or two ago, Verizon also bought Yahoo.

Thus both companies already are the result of mega mergers, spinoffs, restructuring, and corporate shenannigans. Little of which benefited the general public, and for at least some of the disastrous mergers like AOL buying Time Warner back in the day, screwed shareholders too. (Remember, most working Americans ARE shareholders of major companies. You ARE "in Wall Street" if your job or you personally have any kind of a retirement plan, IRA, 401k - what do you think "index funds" have in them?) It's not like I'm fighting against a couple of little companies trying to get big enough. They already are giants, having at one point or another being gigantic and already pervasive in what you read, watch, see on your phones, tablets, TVs, in movies, on streaming services.

AT&T (the modern day one) already has a "cable tv" distribution service in its fiber uVerse offering, and yet was allowed during the prior administration to buy another pay TV distribution service, DirectTV. It has what is, depending on the most recent month's sales rivalry with Verizon, either the largest or 2nd largest mobile broadband network (cell phones / data). It has more of that than you think, because many other-brand prepaid and MVNO (virtual cell providers) use AT&T for some or all of their cellphone plans. (Much of Walmart / America Movil's Straight Talk service, same for America Movil's Net10 and Tracfone, independent H2O wireless and much more.) It already has control of a HUGE "pipe" into your home, car, handheld device.

Time Warner nowadays can best be thought of as "Warner Brothers Studios plus Turner Broadcasting System plus a bunch of other stuff". Even without its now spun-off publishing arm of the Time/Life family, and its long-ago spitting out of unwanted onetime hostile-acquirer AOL, it's also HUGE. Warner Brothers is its own famous TV and film studio and its many other brands. It's the "W" in "the CW" network (National Amusesments-controlled CBS Corp is the "C" in CW as a joint venture.) It's the owner of DC Comics, and the studio that produces both all the big (lousy) DC Comics movies, and all the DC Comics TV shows (Arrow, Flash, Supergirl, Legends of Tomorrow, Black Lightning, iZombie (all those on Warner's own CW), Gotham and Lucifer for 21st Century Fox's Fox TV, Krypton for Comcast's NBC Universal's SyFy network, Titans and Young Justice for DC's own announced streaming network. Not to mention all the NON-comicbook shows and movies. Meanwhile Turner Broadcasting System, which Warner bought from Ted Turner decades ago, has "Trump's 'favorite news'" CNN and its sister network HLN Headline News, TBS Superstation, Turner Classic Movies, and so many other cable TV channels.

Then there's HBO, and all the HBO shows. AT&T now owns Game of Thrones. Westworld. All the back catalog of The Sopranos, Rome, so much more.

The "W" part of the CW of the Warner networks part of Time Warner, in a few days part of AT&T, even is a part-owner, a small one, of the TV networks, films, and original series streaming platform Hulu. Which is increasingly an originals-oriented, and now a pay-only, competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Think about that for a minute. AT&T, already owning major distribution services DirecTV, uVerse, various types of home internet, and the largest mobile broadband pipe, now owns so many production studios, broadcast networks, news networks, old film libraries, etc. Do you really think that AT&T is going to be "fair" in the pricing to show that content that it will demand from rival distribution providers Verizon Wireless / Fios fiber, Dish Network, Charter Communications Cable (which ended up buying Time Warner Cable/internet from NOT-Time-Warner Time Warner Cable), Cox Cable? How about licensing fees for TV on Google Fiber? Or to the relatively few remaining independent or municipal cable systems like Tacoma's? Do you think that Netflix and Amazon are going to get good deals for licenisng streaming rights for any Warner/CW/Turner movies, series, back-catalog?

It doesn't matter what they put in the deal. It matters that nobody, in a Democratic or Republican administration, whether a "traditional one" like Bush/Obama or a non-traditional "deliberate chaos" one like Trump's, has ever done a damn thing to crack down on any corporate abuse. Not seriously. Press-conference feel-good BS wrist-slapping, sure. But if you allow the mega-merger, then the "hijinks" will happen.

Don't blame Trump for this one, folks. He was on the side of the angels here, even if for the devil's own reasons. Blame our system, and ultimately thus blame ourselves, We The People, if we don't get more informed (which means reading things longer than tweets and blipvert-length soundbites) and then getting Mad As Hell so that we Don't Take It Anymore.

Here endeth the lesson. This time.
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Boston's innovative and attractive approach to mitigating inevitable floods from climate change. <=>

With so much of Boston right on the water and much of the rest literally only a few feet above sea level, floods will come. They're looking at using attractive landscaping of newly created or modified public spaces on and near the water, to control where the flow goes when the flood comes. While those same public works serve as public access recreation places and attractive landscapes all the other times.

Brilliant and relatively inexpensive idea that fits with my hometown's history of creating beautiful open spaces.

(Hey, even Gov Center eventually grows on you, and the spaces, Greenwald, and parks with grass, trees, flowers, and random acts of painted pianos even more so!)
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"Have you driven a Ford, lately?" <=> Well, if it's a Ford **car** you won't be able to buy one soon. Except Mustang and one Focus.

Ford, and likely GM, as the "Big Two" of the US car business, and Italian-American Fiat Chyrsler (given to Italy by Obama's bailout where he gave GM to its unions and cronies), are getting out of the traditional automobile business almost entirely.

So the costly and government-micromanaged "car bailout" was really a "truck and SUV bailout" 10 years on, with the seeds set by the Car Czar concept of picking winners and losers rather than letting the market speak. Ford wasn't officially bailed out, but it seems to have screwed itself over worse than GM's US Obama Admin ownership did to that company and Chrysler's Italian Job giveaway did to them.

The market still buys plenty of traditional cars, even if SUVs and pickups are more popular at present. Funny how Toyota, Honda, Hyundai/Kia, Subaru, Nissan, can make money on small cars, compacts, midsize cars, some still like traditional sedans, hatchbacks, station wagons (even Subaru has an Impreza sedan and the Forester and Legacy/Outback are closer to traditional station wagon car bodystyles than to SUVs, despite being very capable AWD vehicles.) They even can make many, if not most, of their US-sold vehicles, in the USA.

But the bailed-out, over-pampered US auto industry can't make automobiles, only trucks and truck-like vehicles and huge crossovers. Even while making most of their "US cars" in Mexico and of the ones not made there, most of the rest in Canada. I don't have the numbers in front of me but I'm pretty sure that most of the "US made" actual automobiles by "the Big 3 US manufacturers" are made in the other two major countries of North America, not made in USA.

By the way, Ford isn't making it in South America where I live about 10-11 months of the year, either. They are a tiny brand here, especially for autos, compared to GM's Cheverolet; Suzuki, Volkswagen; China's Chery, BYD, Jac, Great Wall, Geely; Hyundai/Kia; Nissan; France's Citroën, Renault, Peugeot; and then maybe Ford. On trucks, maybe a bit more popular than their cars, but certainly more small trucks from VW, Fiat, Great Wall, and Chevrolet, than Ford. And on the US-style pickups, more Cheverolet, FiatChrysler's Dodge Ram, and VW (not available in US but they make big pickups for here) than Ford.

Final note: You haven't heard of any of those Chinese auto brands back up in the USA? You will.
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100% agree. <=> Love 16:9 widescreen for TV. Absolutely detest it for laptops. Especially cheap 1366x768 ones.
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Speaking of politics, yet another top information security expert says our voting security is horrible. <=> Need paper!
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I agree with journalist Stanley Cloud, who reported during the Watergate events. <=> Now is very similar to then.

I was about 21 back during the Watergate crimes and coverup that ultimately forced Nixon to resign. My first vote for President had been against his re-election, voting for the visionary George McGovern.

I remember those times very well, and then just like now, I was a bit of a "political junkie". Following the news back then meant getting the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, watching network news on one of the only 3 commercial channels, especially CBS which was not taking any guff from Nixon - especially brash young correspondent Dan Rather. Also listening to some far-left broadcasts, for a perspective way to the left than what I shared, but still part of not being caught up in what we nowadays call a "filter bubble".

In today's times, I haven't at first gone with the "Trump worse than Nixon" or "Russiagate" filter bubble. If you've read my posts since 2016, you know I believe that Hillary Clinton deserved to lose, never stood for anything meaningful in the campaign, was and is corrupt, was and is a pro-war, anti-human-rights (as in right for innocents in foreign lands not to be bombed to death, not to have their countries destabilized), and cheated Democrats and the rest of America out of a fairly-run level-playing-ground Democratic Primary. Maybe Bernie Sanders could't have won - but Hillary Clinton and her power base rigged the primary election process to ensure that nobody except her could win.

In other words, the worst possible candidate for the job. She would likely have lost the general election against any Republican. And she would have deserved to do so. No Russians required, no fake news required. And by the way, running an email server in your bathroom, and later out at some obviously non-qualified for government, web hosting company, with national security mail on it, is not "but her emails", it is "She risked US National Security" and "She feels she is above the law." As I said at the time and will say again, that sort of email operation putting secure and/or internal information at risk, would be a FIRING OFFENSE at any corporation.

That doesn't mean I like Trump. I don't. Don't be simple-minded. It means, I don't think it took "Russian Collusion" to beat a horrible candidate like Clinton. Unless it was "Russians" who stopped her from campaigning in the "Rust Belt", "Russians" who made her say proudly to coal miners that their jobs would disappear, "Russians" who made her say that 1/4 of the US electorate were "deplorables". (She referred to half of Trump supporters, and roughly half of the voting public voted for Trump,and roughly half of the eligible voters actually voted, so yes, about 1/4 of the US electorate got insulted by her. If you think 1/4 of our sister and brother Americans are deplorable, shame on you.)

But now, something seems different. Nixon wasn't almost impeached (he quit first) for the Watergate break-in or other electoral season crimes. He was about to be impeached, for the cover-up. Bill Clinton wasn't successfully impeached (yes, he was - but he was not convicted in the Senate) for Whitewater real estate, which is where the investigation started. Nor was he impeached "for a blowjob" - he was impeached for lying under oath. (The topic of said lies, the aforementioned blowjob, was irrelevant.)

Lies under oath, and obstruction of justice. That's what gets US Presidents impeached, or charged with impeachment, or threatened enough by the possibility of impeachment that they resign first.

So posit that Trump didn't need "Russians" to get elected. It still seems damn weird that so many in his business and personal circle had so many business ties to Russia. Though not so weird when you realize that after all his business bankruptcies (be fair, he personally never went bankrupt, and Trump opponents weaken their case when they get sloppy with that) and his credit reputation of not paying his bills, regular commercial banks and bond markets would not lend to him. The various Russian, loosely-regulated (man, is that putting it nicely!) businesses / Bratva would.

And Trump is pretty obviously now lying about his and his people's Russian connections. Making Twitter and backchannel threats about firing special counsel, members of the Justice Department. Already having fired FBI heads.

If Trump read (if Trump could read?), if Trump had any sense of history (he was a mid-30s adult when Watergate went down), he'd remember the saying, "It's not the crime, it's the cover-up."

And he'd resign. Bigly fast. Saving what little bit of face he and his family might have left. Not destroying the tiny bit of brand value his mostly-destroyed brand has after his campaign and terrible Presidency.

I do think that is how it will play out. But not fast enough. He's not smart enough to understand yet that there is no other end to his Presidency. If he quits soon, he has some minor reputation left he can salvage. Minor.

(As always, I never wish for any illness, injury, premature death, or any violence against anyone, even if their policies and/or personality are abhorrent. And if you choose to comment on my post, you are hereby on notice that such things are forbidden in my parts of the online world as well. There is no "free speech" here - there is the intersection of the social network's policies, and mine, with the stricter of the two applying in this public-view but private-sector post.)
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Politico senior media writer & their data reporter explain why newsmedia got 2016 so wrong. <=> It wasn't Fake News.
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