Wendy’s recent announcement that it’s installing 1,000 self-service kiosks in its restaurants is a huge counter-salvo against the Fight for $15 and its effort to push through an unreasonable national minimum wage.

Most mainstream economists believe paying America’s youngest and least-skilled workers at least $15 an hour will kill countless jobs, especially for those least able to lose them. But the progressives behind the push, seemingly ignorant about how the economy actually works, claim the wage hike would have few ill effects.

But the Wendy’s plan, plus similar automation ideas being considered by other fast-food chains, puts the lie to that contention. When you force employers to pay workers more than they’re worth, the result is fewer people have jobs.

The battle over the minimum began at the turn of the 20th Century, the dawn of the original Progressive Era . There is, however, a huge difference with how the leftists of yesteryear approached the issue. The original Progressives backed a minimum wage precisely because it would throw people out of work.

As economic historian Thomas C. Leonard explains in Illiberal Reformers (Princeton University Press, 2016), the Progs were a new breed on the national landscape at the end of the 19th Century. Devout believers in science as a cure for every ill, Progressives were convinced the only way America could survive and thrive was if all aspects of society were run by experts — namely themselves.

One of the Progressives’ main concerns was racial purity. They feared that Americans of Anglo-Saxon stock were threatened by hordes of inferior creatures, primarily racial minorities and immigrants from Eastern and Southern Europe. They concluded that an efficient way to protect the native-born was to drive the undesirables — whom they called “unemployables” — out of the workforce.

The “experts” believed the government had to intervene to prevent white workers’ pay from plummeting to unsustainable levels. They thought blacks and immigrants would accept lower living standards than white men, so they would accept lower wages. The ensuing “race to the bottom” would cut white men out of the job market and leave them unable to raise families.

To that end, the Progressives sought a national minimum wage — or, as they called it even back then, a “living wage” — to make labor so expensive that employers would hire only highly competent workers (i.e., white men).

(The Progressives also wanted women out of the workplace. Not only did they hold jobs that men could do, but the Progs also wanted females at home, breeding and caring for their families for the betterment of the race.)

So what would the “unemployables” do if they were prevented from working? Under the Progs’ plan, some — imbeciles, drunkards, criminals and the disabled — would be institutionalized, while others would be placed in “labor colonies,” a euphemism for work camps. It’s not a stretch to imagine that such places could eventually become concentration camps.

By 1919, fifteen states had minimum wage laws, but the Progressives never got the federal law they wanted. Acts were passed, but the Supreme Court struck them down as unconstitutional because they interfered with employers and workers’ right to enter into free and willing contracts.

Not until Franklin Roosevelt’s administration did Congress approve a law, the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, that survived judicial review.

When it comes to the Progressive Era, historians are unfailingly generous in telling how it improved American life by creating better working conditions, establishing food and drug regulations, and reforming the political system. Many also credit the movement for women gaining the right to vote even though most Progressives opposed the idea.

But the dark side of Progressivism is buried and rarely comes to light in the history books. Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism is an excellent antidote that is both enlightening and entertaining. Now we can add Thomas C. Leonard’s Illiberal Reformers to the must-read list for exposing the anti-humanity ideals that formed the core of the Progressive machine.

 

By John Ruberry

Last week via Twitter President Donald Trump issued a warning: “If Chicago doesn’t fix the horrible ‘carnage’ going on, 228 shootings in 2017 with 42 killings (up 24% from 2016), I will send in the Feds!”

Local media was puzzled and irked as to what Trump meant by “the feds.” Does that mean the US Army? Short of widespread rioting breaking out in Chicago, that’s not likely to happen. Perhaps Trump means to dispatch FBI and DEA agents, or officers from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms. But the federal government already has staff from those crime fighting agencies assisting the Chicago Police in fighting its murder epidemic.

Unless there is an ongoing investigation, I don’t believe the feds are looking for the evil pony at the bottom of the manure pile–Chicago politicians and their connections to street gangs.

Street gang temple,
Chicago’s South Side

Elected officials in Chicago constantly decry gun violence. But while firearms are the symptom, the disease is gang warfare. By all accounts the great majority of murders in Chicago are gang-related. Members of the Progressive Caucus on Chicago’s City Council regularly condemn “gun violence,” as do the other aldermen on the council. As for the former, like all leftists, they conspire like a chess player to advance their causes, in this instance, this means a ban on all handguns in Chicago, if not all firearms. As for the rest of the aldermen, perhaps they are cautious in condemning gang violence because some of them have ties to these criminal enterprises that are hollowing out Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods.

Six years ago Chicago Magazine, in a story about those street gang-pol connections, interviewed Hal Baskin, a former gang member who was defeated in his effort to join the City Council, about a meeting between aldermanic candidates and gang-bangers, or perhaps, according to the magazine, ex-gang bangers.

The gang representatives were interested in electing aldermen sympathetic to their interests and those of their impoverished wards. As for the politicians, says Baskin, their interests essentially boiled down to getting elected or reelected. “All of [the political hopefuls] were aware of who they were meeting with,” he says. “They didn’t care. All they wanted to do was get the support.”

Baskin declined to name names, but Chicago has learned, through other sources at the meetings, the identities of some of the participants. They include: Aldermen Howard Brookins Jr. (21st Ward), Walter Burnett Jr. (27th), Willie Cochran (20th), and Freddrenna Lyle (6th). Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd) attended a meeting; upon realizing that the participants had close gang ties, she objected but stayed. Also attending were candidates who would go on to win their races, including Michael Chandler (24th) and Roderick Sawyer (6th). Darcel Beavers, the former 7th Ward alderman who would wind up losing her race, and Patricia Horton, a commissioner with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District who lost her bid for city clerk, also met with the group.

Cochran campaign sign in Englewood

Late last year one of those underhanded aldermen, Willie Cochran, was indicted for a series of alleged financial crimes, including stealing from his ward’s charity. Part of Cochran’s ward covers the notorious Englewood neighborhood on the South Side, one of the most violent parts of “Chiraq.” And by violence of course I mean street gang violence.

Okay, I’m not an attorney, but Chicago Magazine provided us a list of names that at the very least makes them, in my opinion, persons of interest.

Jesse Jackson in Chicago in 2012

Roughly once every 18 months a member of Chicago’s City Council is sentenced to prison, the most recent of which was Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th). Her father-in-law is the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whose half-brother, Noah Robinson, enjoyed long time connections to the El Rukn gang, which, under a different name, remains one of Chicago’s largest and most vicious street gangs. Robinson is serving a life sentence for narcotics crimes, racketeering, and murder-for-hire.

As for Jesse Jackson, in 1984, during his first campaign for the presidency, he publicly lauded the El Rukns for their efforts in voter registration. The year prior the Cook County Regular Democratic Organization paid the gang over $10,000 to work as poll watchers for the failed campaign of incumbent Chicago mayor Jane Bryne. At that time the party was led by Edward “Fast Eddie” Vrdolyak, then the 10th Ward alderman, who–this will sound familiar–was indicted late last year. Now a Republican, Vrdolyak is already an ex-con.

Shameful.

What can the Chicago Police do about gangs and their politician pals?

According to that Chicago Magazine article, not a heck of a lot.

Two police sources—a former gang investigator and a veteran detective—bluntly acknowledge that even if the police know of dubious dealings between an alderman and a gang leader or drug dealer, there is little, if anything, they can do, thanks to what they say is the department’s unofficial rule: Stay away from public officials. “We can’t arrest aldermen,” says the gang investigator, “unless they’re doing something obvious to endanger someone. We’re told to stand down.” The detective concurs: “It’s the unwritten rule. There’s a two-tier justice system here.”

That paragraph alone explains why Trump’s “feds,” or perhaps different feds, are needed in America’s third-largest city.

And the criminality apparently goes past shootings, as Chicago Magazine again tells us.

Beyond providing protection from police—the gangs’ number one request—public officials can help in other ways. Gang leaders, particularly the most powerful, are usually looking to build on the riches they already have. Knowing an alderman or a state legislator—or even a congressman—can help. Traditionally, aldermen have almost total say over what gets built and what sorts of businesses open in their wards. They also have considerable sway over city contracts, which can mean tens of thousands to millions of dollars for gang-owned businesses.

Chicago needs Trump’s feds.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Or maybe the president only needs to send an accountant. It was a member of that profession, Frank J. Wilson of the US Treasury Department, who put together the evidence to convict Al Capone of tax evasion.

John Ruberry, a fifth-generation Chicago area resident, regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

Last night Feld Entertainment, the owner of Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus since 1967, announced that it is pulling up stakes and shutting down the circus for good.

For a very brief period I was one of its center ring performers. More on that later.

Steeped in history more than any other American entertainment offering, the Greatest Show on Earth can be traced to the 1860s with a circus run by James Anthony Bailey. In 1881 he teamed up with P.T Barnum, a circus latecomer who made his name as an oddity museum and freak show operator, creating Barnum & Bailey Circus. Its first big attraction was Jumbo, purportedly the world’s largest elephant–and an unintended result was the adding of “jumbo” to the English language.

Three years after Barnum & Bailey was founded, the five Ringling brothers, entertainers from Baraboo, Wisconsin, started their circus.

Technology was at first kind to these circuses, trains allowed the shows to travel quickly from city to city, abandoning wagons except for the parades with wild animals that served as priceless publicity for drumming up ticket sales. Trains gave Barnum & Bailey the opportunity to travel outside of its base in the Northeast–and the Ringlings weren’t confined to the Midwest anymore.

The Ringling family purchased Barnum & Bailey in 1907 and the shows were consolidated in 1919.

An elephant helped establish Barnum & Bailey and the combined circus was partly brought down by elephants.

Sometime around 2000 animal rights organizations, notably PETA, began protesting circuses and the Greatest Show on Earth was of course its biggest target. The mud and dung started flying with animal cruelty accusations from these groups, particularly regarding elephants. But Feld Entertainment collected $25,2 million in a settlement from animal rights activist groups over their charges of cruelty to pachyderms.

The battle was over but the war was lost. Two years ago Ringling Brothers announced that its elephants would be retired from the circus in 2018, but that date was moved that up to May of last year, largely because of what Ringling CEO Kenneth Feld called “anti-circus” and “anti-elephant” local ordinances.

When he announced the shutdown of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Feld didn’t cite one item but offered, “The competitor in many ways is time.” People, particularly children, are less patient than ever in the age of smartphones, tablets, and YouTube–and the length of its shows has dropped by nearly an hour since Feld Entertainment purchased Ringling Brothers. Technology now worked against the circus.

But Feld’s daughter, Juliette, went in a different direction, stating “We know now that one of the major reasons people came to Ringling Brothers was getting to see elephants.” Ticket sales, which have been declining for a decade, dropped noticeably when the shows became elephant-free.

Of course it’s the goal of the animal rights activists to have all circuses to be strictly human affairs. They’ll never deny that. So the camels, alpacas, lions, and tigers that are part of the Ringling menagerie will be retired, likely ending up in reserves.

Mission accomplished.

Meanwhile, 500 Ringling employees will be out of work, and it’s my fear that it will be tough going for them, as circus life tends to be a multi-generational endeavor.

Interviewer: “So, what makes you think you can be a good fit at our big box store?”

Job seeker: “Well, I’ve worked at Ringling Brothers for thirty years and I’ve lived on circus trains all of that time. I was educated at circus schools because my parents worked for Ringling Brothers too.”

Thanks for hanging in there, I’m getting to my center ring moment now.

Twice I attended Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey shows. My dad took my brothers and I to a performance at Chicago’s International Amphitheater in 1967. It was a dazzling experience–and the hall was packed. Nearly forty years later I brought Little Marathon Pundit to the Ringling circus, this time at the Allstate Arena in suburban Rosemont. Yes, the show was shorter, there was a motorcycle daredevil act in addition to the animal performers, but there was no big band this time–a rock combo offered music and there were a lot of empty seats. Outside the auditorium there were protesters even though it was snowing.

John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

Back inside, as David Larible, a clown, descended the stairs of the arena I snapped a photo of him with my then-exotic smartphone. He motioned me to follow him, brought me to the center ring, where I, along with a few other lucky attendees, participated in a musical instrument comedy skit, as my daughter heartily laughed. It was one of those unforgettable father-daughter moments.

Yes, I’m a former Ringling performer.

You can argue that Ringling Brothers was dying then–but certainly the animal rights radicals hastened its death. And when this venerable circus is dead–a part of America will have died with it.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

By John Ruberry

“So listen, there’s still a little bit of it to go,” the host of NPR’s witty Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!, Peter Sagal said as he opened his New Year’s Eve show, “but all the pundits and the pollsters have already called it: 2016 will go down as the worst year ever.” Which led moderator Bill Kurtis, the longtime journalist and Chicago news anchor to reply, “Sure, 1346 had the plague, but at least Black Death was a cool name.”

I’m here to explain, at least for me and people who visit Da Tech Guy and my own blog, Marathon Pundit, that 2016 was a darn good year, and absolutely a better one than 1346.

Defying the “pundits and pollsters,” but perhaps not the same ones Sagal was talking about yesterday, Donald J. Trump was elected president–he’ll be sworn into office in nineteen days. Although not as historic as being the first African-American elected to America’s highest office, Trump will be the first president who was not a prior public office holder or a general. That’s yuge.

Like Bob Dylan in 1964 keeping his love for the Beatles to himself and not, initially, telling his folk-music pals, I secretly hopped on the Trump Train in the autumn of 2015, but I was a vocal passenger well before the Iowa Caucuses. Like Sean Hannity, I saw Trump’s, yes, historic candidacy as the last chance to save America from collectivism and socialism, mediocrity, malaise, globalism, cronyism; and in what would have sealed the unpleasant deal, a runaway leftist Supreme Court. I am not an aberration, there are tens-of-millions of Americans who look at the rise of Trump in a similar manner.

A Hillary Clinton victory could have possibly hobbled America as much as the 19th century Opium Wars did to China. A large and populous nation does not necessarily mean that it will be a prosperous and powerful one, as India and Indonesia show us. And Russia is not prosperous.

I look at Trump’s win as the best news of the decade. But even as blogs and new media continue to prosper–my blog’s readership soared last year–the old guard media, which is dominated by leftists, for the most part despises Trump. Their bad news needs to be your bad news.

My daughter at the old
M*A*S*H set

The old year of course will forever be remembered as the year of so many celebrity deaths, which included Leonard Nimoy, B.B. King, Ben E. King, Dick Van Patten, Omar Sharif, Yogi Berra, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, Wayne Rogers, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

Wait…wait…don’t tell me! Yes, those are deaths from 2015. Celebrities die every year. Trust me, they really do.

Okay, second verse almost as same as the first: In 2016 the celebrity departures included David Bowie, Prince, Florence Henderson, George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and in one last cruel harvest by the Grim Reaper, a beloved actor from the television show MASH, William Christopher, passed away on New Year’s Eve.

[Editorial note: The WordPress blogging platform does not like words with asterisks within them.]

Admittedly, some of these celebs are a bit different from the Class of 2015. Although enigmatic, Bowie, Prince and Michael meticulously cultivated their public images, they became familiar presences on MTV; so people, even if they weren’t fans, believed they “knew” these performers, and their 1980s videos enjoy eternal life on VH1 and on YouTube.

Fisher played Princess Leia in Star Wars, which was arguably the most influential movie, both artistically and in the business-sense, since The Jazz Singer. If you haven’t seen Star Wars, then you probably haven’t seen many films. Florence Henderson’s TV show, The Brady Bunch, was not a first-run success, but it achieved legendary status on the re-run circuit. Like Bowie’s “Modern Love” video on MTV, sometimes you need to watch something every day instead of once-a-week for it to be properly digested.

Oh, I mentioned earlier that Dick Van Patten of Eight Is Enough died in 2015. And few cared because I’m pretty sure you have to buy DVDs of his show to watch it.

As members of the Greatest Generation and the Silent Generation pass on, there are proportionately more self-absorbed people remaining, those of course being the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and the Snowflake Generation, many of whom view every event, whether it is a natural disaster, a terrorist attack, an election, and of course, a celebrity death, as being about themselves. When Ish Kabibble, a kind of proto-Jerry Lewis, died in 1994, my parents didn’t take it as a personal loss.

John “Lee” Ruberry of
the Magnificent Seven

Here is some more good news from 2016: Third quarter growth in the United States was a robust 3.5 percent, perhaps because the end of the Obama era was in sight. And since Trump’s win, the stock market has been soaring, clearly many people, smart ones, are confident that 2017 will be a year of strong economic growth.

Now if we can only convince the self-absorbed ones to stop thinking about themselves so much, then 2017 will certainly be a great year.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

From Trump’s Twitter feed

By John Ruberry

For as long as I can remember the words “Merry Christmas” have been pushed away from public life, in the both the political and business world. I get it. No one wants to offend people who aren’t Christian, or those few Christians, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, who shun Christmas.

However, 83 percent of Americans are Christian, and for many of them Christmas is their favorite time of the year. And I know some secular progressives who set up Christmas trees in their home.

When  President-elect Donald Trump on the later stops of his ‘thank you’ tour replaced his ‘USA’ lectern logo with a ‘Merry Christmas’ one, it got my attention.

And Trump’s Christmas spirit didn’t end there

“We’re gonna start saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again,” Trump said at a Michigan ‘thank you’ rally. “How about all those department stores, they have the bells and they have the red walls and they have the snow, but they don’t have ‘Merry Christmas. I think they’re gonna start putting up ‘Merry Christmas.'”

About ten years ago the ‘War on Christmas’ compelled Christians who wished to say ‘Merry Christmas’ at their workplace to bite their tongues, including those working extended Christmas shifts at retail stores to accommodate Christmas shoppers. Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, one of the defenders in the ‘War on Christmas,’ declares the conflict all but over, as increasingly more retail outlets use the word ‘Christmas” in their holiday advertisements. On Christmas Eve I was greeted with a hearty “Merry Christmas” when I walked into the local Walmart–and when I left.

Meanwhile, the outgoing president’s final Christmas card, oops, I mean holiday card, oh wait, make that a seasonal card, features the first family and a sprig of holly. Nothing else.

I’ll be shocked if Donald Trump’s first presidential Christmas card isn’t much different, even though his oldest daughter is a convert to Judaism.

Howard Kurtz ended today’s always excellent Fox News’ Media Watch program with “Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah.” Yes, like a rare planetary alignment, Christmas Eve and the first day of Hanukkah share the came spot on the calendar.

And from me to you, have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Hanukkah.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

usa-china

By John Ruberry

Building upon Peter Ingemi’s RH’s spectacular Trump’s China Call is a Deliberate Overreach from yesterday, it’s my turn to add my two yuan into the discusssion.

The media loves to dismiss Donald Trump as a showman–as if there was no showmanship with Barack Obama–but those under 45 first encountered our next president as a real estate developer, albeit a flashy one. Developers are many things, including, yes, deal makers, as well as a negotiators. In regards to that last one, when you are sitting across someone you are negotiating with, or as it usually turns out, haggling with, a strategy that has worked since the Babylonian era is to get the person sitting on the other side of the table from you off of his script and on to yours. One tactic is known as “getting-yourself-inside-their-heads.”

And that’s something that Trump may have accomplished by accepting a telephone call last week from the president of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-wen, which has caused a kerfuffle. Because the United States recognizes communist China as the legitimate government off all of China, including Taiwan, a president hasn’t spoken to a Taiwanese leader since 1979. Of course we still have extensive trade relations with the island nation–oops, breakaway province–and we still sell Taiwan weapons. If they are ever fired in defense it would very likely be against the Chicomms.

Oh, Taiwan and China are major trading partners.

Trying to understand international relations is a descent into madness.

Trump made the re-negotiation of what he calls bad trade deals a central campaign promise. Of course those bad deals with China, if they really are awful, are good ones for the Chinese. If Hillary Clinton won last month’s presidential election China could look forward to at least four more years of crony socialism from the former secretary of state. Since then China has been bracing itself for a return to the bargaining table, preparing for difficult deal making with this New York capitalist.

John "Lee" Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

But Trump, who was a very good baseball player when he was young, threw a curve ball at the Chinese.

He accepted a phone call.

He got inside their heads.

Trump knows what he’s doing.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

Update (DTG): I’d like to take credit for the piece that John is referring to but that one was written by RH (NG36B) one of the newest additions to our magnificent 7 writers. I’m delighted to have both John & RH on the team

CxCW_xtUoAAv4wI

Hot Dog Vender:Got no opinions Sir, they’re bad for business

Inherit the Wind 1960

One of the values of a being either company operating in a niche market, or serving primarily a niche market is that if you have strong political opinions consistent with said niche market you can release them in public secure in the knowledge that such a move will not hurt the bottom line.

Another type of company with this advantage is one that sells a unique product that can not be easily obtained elsewhere.  When that is the case the customer base, no matter how offended by a particular public opinion, particularly a business, will have no choice but to swallow it’s pride and continue to use said company.

Neither of these would be considered accurate description of the Kellogg’s’ corporation.

Kellogg, citing ‘values,’ joins growing list of companies that pledged to stop advertising in Breitbart News

From the story

The company cited concerns that Breitbart News, which has been described by many as portraying alt-right ideals, does not align with its values.Kellogg’s has announced that it will pull all advertising from the site. The company cited concerns that Breitbart News, which has been described by many as portraying alt-right ideals, does not align with its values.

Breitbart is not amused

Kellogg’s offered no examples of how Breitbart’s 45 million monthly readers fail to align with the breakfast maker’s values. Indeed, the move appears to be one more example of an out-of-touch corporation embracing false left-wing narratives used to cynically smear the hard working Americans that populate this nation’s heartland.

Breitbart News Editor-in-Chief Alexander Marlow encouraged the boycott of Kellogg’s products, describing their war against Breitbart News as bigoted and anti-American: “Breitbart News is the largest platform for pro-family content anywhere on the Internet. We are fearless advocates for traditional American values, perhaps most important among them is freedom of speech, or our motto ‘more voices, not less.’ For Kellogg’s, an American brand, to blacklist Breitbart News in order to placate left-wing totalitarians is a disgraceful act of cowardice. They insult our incredibly diverse staff and spit in the face of our 45,000,000 highly engaged, highly perceptive, highly loyal readers, many of whom are Kellogg’s customers. Boycotting Breitbart News for presenting mainstream American ideas is an act of discrimination and intense prejudice. If you serve Kellogg’s products to your family, you are serving up bigotry at your breakfast table.”

In response, Breitbart launched its #DumpKelloggs petition to encourage its vast readership and the followers of its #1 in the world political Facebook and Twitter pages to ban bigotry from the breakfast table by boycotting Kellogg’s products. 

Given the results of the election, the fact that the former Chair of Breitbart is now the strategic advisor for the Trump administration and that alternatives to the products offered by Kellogg’s made by other companies abound, this public statement, as opposed to something more generic like claiming they are simply decreasing advertising on political news sites post election, would seem to have been an ill advised PR move.   The trending #dumpkelloggs hashtag on twitter, the eruptions on facebook with the loss of 2% of the stock’s value would suggest this,  so I decided to try & find out what Kellogg’s had to say about it directly.

I called Kellogg’s Consumer affairs line at 1-800-962-1413. I had a very long wait before I spoke to a very busy young lady who informed me that the line was for product related inquiries and that she didn’t have a media contact number but she did have both a number for corporate 269-961-2000 and HR 1-877-694-7554 that she was kind enough to give me.

From there I called the Corporate number. The switchboard operator transferred me to the media relations department but before she did commented that while she had only fielded 2 calls on the subject her co-worker next to here was inundated with them with all but one call objecting to the move.

I reached the voice mail of the media contact leaving a message with both my phone number and email address seeking comment before this piece went live. As of this writing I have not been contacted by either method which means I didn’t get a chance to ask any questions concerning Kellogg’s statement on values. Here are some obvious ones they raise first about how the decision came to be:

Given that this was a very public move by a major corporation whose product is sold in practically every single town in every single state blue and red, what was the procedure that led to this decision?

Who made the initial suggestion for this move?

Was the company approached by an outside entity concerning Breitbart or was this raised internally?

How Much discussion went into making this decision?

How many people were involved in making this decision and when the decision was made was it reached unanimously?

Who drafted the initial statement and at how many levels was said statement approved before it was released to the media?

Those are all statements concerning “cause”, I also have a few on “effect”

as Kellogg’s considers the breitbart sites to be inconsistent with their values, or as Hillary Clinton would say “Deplorable”, do they consider the 46 million readers of Breitbart site equally “deplorable” or inconsistent with the values of Kellogg’s?

Given that the former CEO of Breitbart now has a high position, some would say the most trusted position in the incoming Trump administration does their statement also mean that Kellogg’s considers the values of the incoming Trump administration and the voters who elected them, including in the state of Michigan inconsistent with the values espoused by Kelloggs?

Given that Breitbart.com is inconsistent with the values of Kelloggs will Kelloggs decide that readers and supporters of the Breitbart site need not apply for the positions offered at the site & promoted on Twitter under the Kellogg’s jobs site and that current readers of the Breitbart site employed by Kelloggs should consider finding other work?

And finally one on the aftermath of all of this

Given the rise of the #dumpkelloggs hashtag, the apparent large volume of calls complain and the apparent conclusion by conservatives on social media that their business is no longer desired by Kellogg’s and the implications that has for both the stock price and the bottom line for the company, what affirmative steps, if any, is the company planning to assure these very upset customers that they are valued members of the Kellogg’s customer community or do they plan to wait it out?

If I get a response before I leave for my overnight job I’ll include it here or in an update if any shows up after the post goes up.

Exit Question:  Isn’t this either a class action or a “hostile work environment” case just waiting to erupt on Kellogg’s?

Update:  edited initial paragraph for clarity


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We all know several people whose Twitter accounts were suspended, no explanation given. They were sent to Twitter gulag.

Well, what goes around comes around, and Twitter suspended @Jack.

Jack who?

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s own CEO,

That provoked angry responses from some people who asked how many regular users’ accounts might also have been accidentally frozen by the company in the past

Some were angry, but reactions varied, from the skeptical,

to the humorous,

As a publicly listed business, Twitter’s share price reflects its problems, namely slow growth and losing money,

Twitter has had a rough time in 2016.

Its share price is down 20% since the start of the year. The stock briefly surged in early fall on feverish speculation that a big company like Disney (DIS), Google (GOOGL, Tech30) or Salesforce(CRM, Tech30) might make a bid for it. But no potential acquirer came forward.Twitter has had a rough time in 2016. Its share price is down 20% since the start of the year. The stock briefly surged in early fall on feverish speculation that a big company like Disney (DIS), Google (GOOGL, Tech30) or Salesforce (CRM, Tech30) might make a bid for it. But no potential acquirer came forward.

As of the writing of this post, the share price is down to $18.21. Aside from laying off 9% of its staff, Twitter has been highly reliant on stock as a form of employee pay, so declining stock value makes it more difficult to retain valuable employees.

The company debuted on the New York Stock Exchange at $26 in 2013. As for Jack, he was forced out in 2008 and became CEO again last year.

Good luck with that.

UPDATE

Linked  to by The Other McCain. Thank you!

faustaFausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

By John Ruberry

Last night the New York Times, using an illegally obtained copy of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax return, speculated that because of a $916 million loss listed on that return, the Republican nominee may have, yes, may have, avoided paying federal income taxes for 18 years.

With help from his wealthy father, not the government, Trump, a real estate developer, built an international business empire. And because of his Apprentice television franchise, even before his presidential run Trump was likely the most recognized business person in the United States.

Hillary Clinton is also rich. Her business–make that racket–is influence peddling. While her husband was attorney general, and then governor of Arkansas, Clinton was an attorney at the Rose Law Firm in that state’s capital city. The Clintons, aided by the Rose Law Firm, used its clout to protect themselves and Jim and Susan McDougal, their investment partners. While they didn’t make money in Whitewater, Arkansas’ first couple did their best to cover up the Whitewater scandal, which led to the convictions the McDougals, Bill’s successor as governor, and Webster Hubbell, a partner at the Rose Law Firm and a close friend of the Clintons.arkansas-sign

The McDougals ran Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan in Little Rock, which failed in the 1980s. They chose, of course, the Rose Law Firm to defend their thrift.

After emerging from the White House “dead broke,” the Clintons were still able to purchase a mansion in Westchester County, New York, one of the most expensive real estate markets in the nation. In 2001 the Clinton Foundation was formed, by this time of course Hillary was a US Senator from New York. The foundation traded off of Bill’s status as an ex-president–six-figure public speaking fees to him went to this “charity,” which offered high-priced salaries to Clinton family cronies and served as a lucrative waiting room for those Clintonistas between government jobs.

The former first couple learned that influence peddling, not property investments, was their pathway to wealth.

While Hillary was serving as Barack Obama’s secretary of state, foreign donors poured money into the “charity,” probably using their cash as down payments for favors from Madame Secretary. It worked. A majority of the non-governmental meetings Hillary had at State were with Clinton Foundation donors, which is why the foundation is commonly referred to as a slush fund.

In Illinois, where Hillary grew up, that’s called pay-to-play.

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

There’s nothing like this type of sordidness in Trump’s background.

After leaving State, it was Hillary’s turn to collect the big-money speeches, with Wall Street firms being some of her most lucrative clients. Without having been a major government figure–or the spouse of one–Clinton’s speech income just might have matched that of a Times Square busker, such as the Naked Cowboy.

In 2014 just 5.7 percent of the Clinton Foundation budget was spent on charitable grants.

Where is that story, New York Times?

Oh, do you know anyone who doesn’t try to pay as little income tax as possible?

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

 

 

There has been a lot of justified shock at the tax the Uber to pay the Taxi’s law in Massachusetts:

This is … words fail. No, literally. I have just spent 20 minutes staring at my screen, trying to come up with something to say other than the blindingly obvious: This is a shamelessly unjustifiable giveaway to a special interest, paid for by taxing a competitor that’s eating their lunch. If our 19th-century forbears had tried to run the economy this way, I would be writing out this column longhand, by the light of a whale-oil lamp.

Reason was not happy, not happy at all

The state’s “MassDevelopment” agency—a crony-corporatist sinkhole of misappropriated funds, if ever there was one—will be responsible for figuring out how to spend the money to best help the taxi industry. One idea is to help taxis “adopt new technologies,” which probably means using an app to hail a cab. So Massachusetts is robbing Peter to pay Paul so that Paul can learn how to do the thing Peter already does.

Ride-sharing services have little choice but to accept the fee: indeed, they practically have to thank the government for going easy on them. The new law is apparently some sort of compromise—taxi lobbyists wanted Uber banned outright.

We can all speculate why GOP governor Baker signed this into law (I presume that as Democrats could override any veto easily he went along to get along) but amidst all the online outrage was a paragraph from Megan McArdle’s piece worth a 2nd look

Now, to be sure, a fee of 20 cents is probably not going to put Uber and Lyft out of business. On the other hand, such fees have a way of metastasizing over time. They start out as a tiny fee that no one could possibly object to, and then, when no one’s looking, they’re raised a little bit. And then a little bit more. And then you eventually find they’re hefty enough to make the new service expensive and inefficient — as expensive and inefficient as the old service that it replaced.

In other words it’s designed to slowly kill Uber by bleeding their profits.

It’s a cunning plan except it’s based on a fallacy that can be expressed in two words:

What profits?

The ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies Inc. is not a public company, but every three months, dozens of shareholders get on a conference call to hear the latest details on its business performance from its head of finance, Gautam Gupta.
On Friday, Gupta told investors that Uber’s losses mounted in the second quarter. Even in the U.S., where Uber had turned a profit during its first quarter, the company was once again losing money.

In the first quarter of this year, Uber lost about $520 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, according to people familiar with the matter. In the second quarter the losses significantly exceeded $750 million, including a roughly $100 million shortfall in the U.S., those people said. That means Uber’s losses in the first half of 2016 totaled at least $1.27 billion.

$100 million in US losses? over $750 million worldwide on a service designed to have basically administrative & labor costs? Cripes who’s in charge of this company Tina Brown?

Subsidies for Uber’s drivers are responsible for the majority of the company’s losses globally, Gupta told investors, according to people familiar with the matter. An Uber spokesman declined to comment.

Or to put it another way, at the price point Uber charges for rides apparently it is not possible to attract drivers willing to drive therefore it’s necessary to “subsidize” said drivers to keep the service going.

Moreover these losses aren’t all that new:

Uber’s losses and revenue have generally grown in lockstep as the company’s global ambitions have expanded. Uber has lost money quarter after quarter. In 2015, Uber lost at least $2 billion before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Uber, which is seven years old, has lost at least $4 billion in the history of the company.
It’s hard to find much of a precedent for Uber’s losses. Webvan and Kozmo.com—two now-defunct phantoms of the original dot-com boom—lost just over $1 billion combined in their short lifetimes. Amazon.com Inc. is famous for losing money while increasing its market value, but its biggest loss ever totaled $1.4 billion in 2000. Uber exceeded that number in 2015 and is on pace to do it again this year.

Maybe it’s just me but If you’re competing with a company that’s losing this much money on a service designed to have minimal overhead that runs off an app then you aren’t going to need taxes and regulation to make it go away.

But I guess the Taxi Lobby figured they might as well get their share while there’s still a share to get.