What a way to run a country

Tweet of the week

I know when I am planning on leaving a job, I tell my boss well before announcing the decision publicly but hey maybe that is not how the best people do it.

164 replies
  1. 1
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    Republicans are the party of family values and national security!

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    Maybe he was promoted.

  3. 3
    Martin says:

    We think we’ve invaded Norway. Next question please.

  4. 4
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    I think Mike Pence is brain dead.

    Someone better open up his head and take a look.

  5. 5
    Chyron HR says:

    “All of the secretaries of the armed forces are accounted for. I don’t have an exact number for you.”

  6. 6
    Leto says:

    @Martin: I don’t know where Norway is located, but our “president” just sent us to Normay. I’ll let you know what we find.

    This might also be an attempt to force Sec Wilson out, in the same way Trumpov “fires” people via proxy. Also I’m retiring again from the USAF in June so I just can’t work up the potential anger needed for this. I’m kinda tapped out when it comes to my beloved AF.

  7. 7
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Martin: We will smash the Axis of Evil formed by Fredonia, Agrabah and the Grand Duchy Of Fenwick

  8. 8
    Martin says:

    I wonder if the resignation had anything to do with this report on emergency funding for the wall:

    Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., told The Associated Press, “It’s coming out of military pay and pensions. $1 billion. That’s the plan.”

    If my boss told me he was looting my salary savings to build a kick-ass barbecue, I’d probably quit without telling anyone too.

  9. 9
    The Midnight Lurker says:

    This is hilarious! How many times have we seen the following scene:

    Private SNAFU: Sorry, Sarge. I think–

    Drill Sergeant: Think?!! No one is paying you to think!!!

    I guess it’s different for Air Force Generals.

  10. 10
    West of the Rockies says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Well, they are the party of ideas, after all, the adults in the room.//

  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Martin: If that’s the reason, I hope she holds a press conference and says so. But I read somewhere that she’s been approved to become president of UTEP. Maybe that’s why she’s quitting.

  12. 12
    donnah says:

    Any other administration and this would be a gaffe, a head-scratcher, a wtf? moment.

    In this administration, it’s wev.

  13. 13
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    ETA: Never mind

    David M. Drucker @DavidMDrucker
    David M. Drucker Retweeted Saagar Enjeti
    SHINE moves to Trump/Pence 2020. =>

    they’re all so gross and corrupt in so many different ways, this could be huge or a fart in a hurricane

    Vivian Salama @ vmsalama
    BREAKING NEWS from the White House: Assistant to the President and Communications Director, Bill Shine offered his resignation to the President yesterday evening, and the President accepted

  14. 14
    Mike J says:

    Is this the four star that said Trump was full of shit last week?

  15. 15
    Keith P. says:

    Bill Shine is out, too.

  16. 16

    Glad that’s sorted out then.

  17. 17
    Wapiti says:

    @Mike J: She’s the AF Secretary – top civilian. Prior USAF officer, then politician in NM.

  18. 18
    Bruce K says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Point of order: it’s the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, and I’m concerned that the next time the Duchy gets into a war with the United States, their intentions might not be to lose the war…

  19. 19
    germy says:

    Bill Shine will reportedly serve as a senior adviser for Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign.

  20. 20
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    on topic

    Sandra Erwin @ Sandra_I_Erwin
    UPDATE: Air Force officials confirm that Secretary Heather Wilson has submitted resignation and will be accepting a position as president of UT-El Paso. She informed her staff earlier today. According to one member of her staff, nobody knew about this until this morning.

    also, we don’t have a Defense Secretary
    also, too, wasn’t Heather Wilson touted as proof that Democrats were going to lose women a few years or decades or centuries ago?

  21. 21
    dexwood says:

    Yup, fucking Heather “What about the children” Wilson. My former republican congressperson.

  22. 22
    PJ says:

    @germy: I have no doubt his paycheck will be much bigger there than at the White House. Also, he may be better able to coordinate the campaign with Fox programming from there.

  23. 23
    MattF says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: @Keith P.: @germy: Shine is former FOX News CEO and co-founder (with Roger Ailes)… so, it’s a promotion, I guess.

  24. 24
    Yutsano says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: One would have thought when Heather Wilson lost her Senate race to Bill Richardson that was a sign things were changing in the Land of Enchantment. Because she was a popular Republican at the time. She hung on in other state offices although I admit I lost track of her. Hell it took me a moment to recognise the name.

  25. 25

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: UTEP is a nice enough school, but this seems like an odd landing spot for a Republican with any ambition?

  26. 26
    dexwood says:

    @David Anderson:
    She can spend her free moments helping to build a wall.

  27. 27
    MattF says:

    Wilson didn’t tweet about her, um, job change… so… how would anyone know?

  28. 28
    Jamey says:

    @Baud: To Secretary of Space Force? It is an upward move, after all…

  29. 29
    hilts says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Nice load of shit hitting the fan today, hopefully some of it will hit Trump bigly.

  30. 30
    joel hanes says:


    I have no doubt his paycheck will be much bigger there than at the White House.

    IIRC, Fox was still paying him while he worked at the White House.

  31. 31
    randy khan says:

    Was she afraid that if she told anyone in advance she’d get fired?

    This is just odd.

  32. 32
    germy says:

    Finland’s government collapsed Friday, just weeks before the country heads to the polls for a general election, after the prime minister failed to win approval for key health-care reforms. https://t.co/eFEgvGPgpw— Paul Vieira (@paulvieira) March 8, 2019

  33. 33
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @David Anderson: if she sees her state trending blue and her party off the rails, it’s probably not a bad place for final act before a cushy retirement. If she had any hope of accomplishing anything, the post-Mattis Pentagon is I imagine a giant clusterfuck

    @randy khan: I first typed that this is unprofessional on her part, but we don’t know she didn’t give some kind of notice, a standard resignation, just that he acting SoD and his people don’t have a whole lot on the ball. Shocking, I know.

  34. 34
    germy says:

    Former Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum is set to make a “major announcement” on March 20, he announced Friday morning.


  35. 35

    this seems like an odd landing spot for a Republican with any ambition

    Maybe her ambition is to get the hell out before everything blows up. Some people in the Trump administration are going to get jobs in future Republican administrations, but it’s a better bet if they get out without being personally tarred with Trump’s criminality.

  36. 36
    MattF says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Yeah. I imagine there are a lot of khaki-clad asses hiding under desks right now.

  37. 37
    Baud says:

    OT. I can’t believe Maryland didn’t elect her to the Senate.

    Former Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning is back in U.S. federal custody, jailed over her refusal to testify before a grand jury in a case involving WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

  38. 38
    Baud says:

    @germy: ??? There are no Senate seats due up and no way he’s running for president. Maybe a House run?

  39. 39
    piratedan says:

    @David Anderson: see Ships:sinking and a university sinecure is safely out of the limelight for the amount of shoes that will be dropping….

  40. 40
    Aleta says:

    Heather Wilson’s resignation letter
    “sole finalist to be Pres of UT El Paso” (waiting on the Regents vote).

    Her name has to be public for 3 weeks before the vote.

  41. 41
    germy says:

    Gillum’s video:

    3.20.19 | Miami, Florida | https://t.co/WjeSoEEkjr pic.twitter.com/INXSsbMGMx— Andrew Gillum (@AndrewGillum) March 8, 2019

    “If we are not at the table, then we are likely on the menu”

  42. 42
  43. 43
    SRW1 says:

    @David Anderson:

    Any foxhole in a storm. Or something like that.

  44. 44
    Gin & Tonic says:

    As good a place as any to point out that we are now three months, a quarter of a year, without a Secretary of Defense.

  45. 45
    MattF says:

    Also, note that Sen. McSally was in the Air Force when she was raped by a superior officer. I can imagine that a female Secretary of the Air Force would want to get the hell out of the way.

  46. 46
    VeniceRiley says:

    And Bill Shine just resigned to take a job on Trump’s re-election campaign. Ugh.

  47. 47
    NotMax says:


    Not sure that counts as a resignation so much as lateral movement within the same company. //

  48. 48
    trollhattan says:

    “Sole finalist” Wow, track and field better not mimic this scheme if they want audience retention. “Aaaaand, Usain Bolt saunters to another gold medal in these games, his fourth. I think going backwards for this event was a brilliant strategy on his part, don’t you, Carl?”

    Heather who?

  49. 49
    Sloane Ranger says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Well, the Grand Dutchy did successfully invade the good ol’ USA!

  50. 50
    NotMax says:


    “In a stunning announcement that rocked the Florida political landscape, he declared Janeway the best captain.”


  51. 51
    Aleta says:

    “It is totally out of control, but we are winning!”

    (from a T-tweet today)

  52. 52
    The Midnight Lurker says:


    …and a university sinecure is safely out of the limelight for the amount of shoes that will be dropping….

    It’s what Kenny Star did and that worked out great for him!

    Oh, wait.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    The Midnight Lurker says:


    “It is totally out of control, but we are winning!”

    So. Much. Winning.

  55. 55
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @NotMax: Right on – Voyager is too underrated

  56. 56
    Aleta says:

    @The Midnight Lurker:
    So much winning in the BJ comments, every day.

  57. 57
    Baud says:


    “If we are not at the table, then we are likely on the menu”

    It’s a cook book!

  58. 58
    SRW1 says:


    Like the US is currently running another experiment (after Bush II) centering around the enormous leadership capabilities of a bizz whizz, Finland was conducting its maiden trial with the bidnessman-gone-politician concept.

    Shockingly, results over the last four years were somewhat underwhelming and with his main political project, a reform of the health care delivery system, having gone caboom last week on constitutional grounds, the great Northern hope of Suomi resigned in a huff five weeks before the next national election was due anyway and he would have been voted out.

    Just to let the plebs know that they can do their shit alone, given that they didn’t seem to appreciate his ingenuity. Apparently, he didn’t even inform the two other parties in his governing coalition, so that they had to learn about their ministerial resignations from a news service. That’ll show ’em!

  59. 59
    zhena gogolia says:


    I thought that was a great line! He has a way with a bon mot.

  60. 60
    NotMax says:

    @Sloane Ranger

    Followed by being first on the Moon!

  61. 61
    piratedan says:

    @The Midnight Lurker: hey now, he didn’t rape those females…. the athletes he was supposed to oversee in a supervisory capacity did! and he also let those women down by ignoring their plight in the traditional Republican fashion. Ummm… please tell me again why CNN felt he had any fucking thing to lend to the discussion on the Mueller investigation?

  62. 62
    Baud says:

    @zhena gogolia: It’s a good line. I was just having fun.

    On another topic:

    From Warren’s fundraising email on her plan to break up tech.

    Here’s how our plan works — there are two big pieces to it.

    #1: Pass a new law for “Platform Neutrality.”

    If you’re a ginormous tech company that’s created a platform for other businesses to compete on — like the Amazon marketplace, or the Google ad exchange — you shouldn’t also own a company that sells on it. Put simply: You shouldn’t be able to tilt the playing field in your own direction.

    #2 Appoint regulators who’ll use existing legal tools to unwind tech mergers that illegally undermine competition.

    With the antitrust laws that are already on the books, we can undo big mergers that never should have been approved in the first place — and give smaller and medium-sized companies a fighting chance to compete with the big guys. That means we break Facebook away from Instagram and WhatsApp, Amazon away from Whole Foods, Google away from Nest, and more. We could be doing this right now — but we need a president (ahem) who’ll appoint regulators to make it happen.

    I’ll be honest, I’m deeply skeptical of this plan.

    ETA: I note she doesn’t propose to separate Apple from iTunes.

  63. 63
    jimmiraybob says:

    “…also, we don’t have a Defense Secretary”

    Duh! We have Jared. Or Uday. Or Cusay.

  64. 64
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki:
    “I unsnapped his skullcap, and between his ears I saw a gap
    But I figured he’d be all right — he was just blinded by the light …”

  65. 65
    Cliosfanboy says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: put out the call for a stone mason!

  66. 66
    Aleta says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: He always looks like they just brought him out from his corner in the cellar for an appearance.

  67. 67
    debit says:

    @jimmiraybob: Say, what’s Tiffany up to these days?

  68. 68
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    She informed her staff earlier today. According to one member of her staff, nobody knew about this until this morning.

    What the hell? Secretary of the Air Force is not a job like flipping burgers at Wendy’s. You don’t just toss your apron at the hook on the wall and leave.

  69. 69
    SRW1 says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    Her resignation is supposed to be effective end of May. Unless Trump gets in a huff, like in the case of Mattis, she’ll still be around for a few months.

  70. 70
    MomSense says:

    Hey now Trump was cheering on Robert Kraft with the owner of the “spa” where kraft was busted.

    Miami Herald

  71. 71
    dmsilev says:

    @Amir Khalid: University President jobs tend to have a long lead time between announcement and inauguration, largely because the people who are candidates tend to be already in high-level positions. I actually know someone who is a President of a univ, and he had if memory serves something like a nine month public lead time, preceded by a month or two where the decision was essentially made but was confidential while he negotiated contract terms with the trustees. I never asked, but I assume that he had given his boss a heads-up sometime during that confidential period.

    (I found out shortly after the public announcement)

  72. 72
    MattF says:

    @Amir Khalid: Not false– i imagine that Wendy’s burger-flippers generally have to give some notice before quitting. You wouldn’t want to anger Wendy.

  73. 73
    Bill Arnold says:


    …Andrew Gillum is set to make a “major announcement” on March 20..

    Have to admit my first instant reaction was that maybe the announcement would be that his covert team of investigators has found diamond-clad evidence of election fraud by Republicans (perhaps using technical means). That election (and the Scott/Nelson one) and the behavior of R. Scott and the other Republicans, especially their accusations of election fraud, were quite suspicious, by Rule of Republican Projection and in general. (The wordings and timings triggered all kinds of intuitions in me, and I think in a few else here.) [1]
    On a first viewing, the video is pretty good.

    [1] e.g. (and lots more elsewhere): The Florida voter fraud allegations, explained – Republicans claim voter fraud in Florida. There’s no evidence for that, but there is evidence of human error and incompetence. (German Lopez, Nov 12, 2018)

  74. 74
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud: I’m not sure what to make of the plan, but Warren put a post up on Medium with more details. Though she didn’t mention them by name, if I understand it correctly, Apple and iTunes would be subject to the rules due to company value and dual role in selling on the platform provided.

  75. 75
    Mike in NC says:

    Does the Secretary of the Air Force have to be an American citizen? Likewise the White House Communications Director? Because Putin has drawn up a nice list of nominees for Fat Bastard to consider for those positions.

  76. 76
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker: Thanks. I couldn’t find the medium article, but I’ll keep looking for it. Her fundraising email certainly didn’t mention Apple, although, as you said, they would be covered based on her “platform independence” theory.

    ETA: Just found it. Reading now. I gotta run out this afternoon, but it would be an interesting post for discussion.

  77. 77
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Bill Arnold: I’m hoping he’s going to announce an initiative similar to what Stacey Abrams started in GA to counter voter suppression and get more people registered.

  78. 78


    Okay, in this crazy world, I dunno if you are serious or joking.

  79. 79
    chopper says:

    @Chyron HR:

    the air force secretary is still there. we know where he is. he’s in the area around the pentagon and east, west, south, and north somewhat.

    ETA: she, actually.

  80. 80
    trollhattan says:


    I’ll be honest, I’m deeply skeptical of this plan.

    Well duh, she’s an opponent and we’re paying* you to be skeptical!

    *In campaign beers.

  81. 81
    catclub says:

    @germy: And Theresa may is now saying, “if you don’t pass my Brexit bill, there might not be any Brexit at all!” which is what she thinks is necessary to pass it, but encourages many to vote the other way.
    quote quotes are ‘notional’ not factual.

  82. 82
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Bill Arnold: I’m more skeptical. I’m really, REALLY hoping it’s not a presidential campaign announcement but I suspect that it is. :(

  83. 83
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Baud: Here’s a link. I don’t know if it’s a good idea or not, but the objections in the comments under the article are depressingly dumb.

  84. 84
    catclub says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Does the Secretary of the Air Force have to be an American citizen?

    I think for a while there was a very high ranking admiral(?) who lost his security clearance. I bet that in order to get his position, one requires
    that security clearance, but not in order to just keep the job. Can those Russian get a security clearance if Trump tells the investigators to grant it in spite of any objections?

  85. 85
    trollhattan says:

    @Mike in NC:
    That would be great!

    AF Secretary Vlad Jr. holds joint air exercises over Russia with twelve AF Wings vs. the Military Air Forces of Russia. Leaves planes behind when finished, as a token of our appreciation.

  86. 86
    Baud says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    Thanks. I just read it. It’s odd that the lengthy article seems goes out of its way to not mention Apple or Microsoft. I never read the comments, and I’m sure they are dumb. But I remain deeply skeptical of this (not just that I disagree with it, but that I think it’s not well thought out at all). But I’ll try to reserve judgment until I read a defense for it, because I really don’t see it right now.

  87. 87
    Fleeting Expletive says:

    Agree with Adam that Manafort will die in prison when other jurisdictions bring their cases. Judge Jackson definitely deserves a whack. The “no collusion” comments were a naked beg for a pardon, however Ellis might have been cagey enough to bet T won’t fade the heat for [ exercising his pardon power for a relatively de minimus sentence. Also, “otherwise exemplary life” /snark/ = “obvious lifetime lowlife?”
    Patience, grasshoppers.

  88. 88

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist:

    Grand Fenwick beat us last time.

  89. 89
    Martin says:

    The CYA quickening is upon us.

    WH Source Leaks Ivanka And Kushner Security Clearance Docs To House Oversight

    The die-hards see the walls are now closing in. Time to salvage whats left of their reputations before Trump further implicates them. Bill Shine leaving at least limits the damage to him going forward, and he gets to collect a sweet paycheck on Trump 2020, probably knowing full well that he won’t have to do jack shit to earn it. I’m guessing we’ll be getting more dirt dumped out of the Trump Org. and elsewhere. It’ll be too many people doing too high profile things for Trump to sue them all, giving them liberty to open up.

    I do have to say I don’t understand why Chelsea Manning has chosen to go back to jail.

    “Yesterday, I appeared before a secret grand jury after being given immunity for my testimony,” she wrote, arguing that “All of the substantive questions pertained to my disclosures of information to the public in 2010—answers I provided in extensive testimony, during my court-martial in 2013.”

    Manning said that during the Wednesday hearing, she told lawyers that their questions violated her First, Fourth, and Sixth Amendment rights, among others.

    She was given immunity. She has lost those rights under those terms. She has to testify.

  90. 90
    Mandalay says:


    From Warren’s fundraising email on her plan to break up tech

    Well that proposal will certainly attract massive donations, but they won’t be going to Warren.

  91. 91
    germy says:

    I am honored & excited to be introducing my very 1st amendment on the House floor, an amendment to #HR1, the #ForthePeopleAct. My amendment will lower the voting age from 18 to 16, allowing our youth to have a seat at the table of democracy. #16toVote pic.twitter.com/67IzCtUh8k— Rep Ayanna Pressley (@RepPressley) March 6, 2019

  92. 92
    prostratedragon says:

    @Aleta: Some pitcher was once described as “wild enough to be effective.” I recall his catcher having practically to jump to catch one of his pitches.

  93. 93
    Dave says:

    @Martin: She has poor judgment. Which does not justify the treatment she was subject to while in custody but neither does that change her crappy judgment.

  94. 94
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Sounds like another round of Trump revenge purges like after the election last year.

  95. 95
    Mandalay says:


    She was given immunity. She has lost those rights under those terms. She has to testify.

    Right. The worst that can happen to her for refusing is another 18 months in the slammer, so maybe she has decided that she can handle that. But even so, I’m not understanding why this is a hill worth dying for.

    I suspect there is more to this story than we know right now.

  96. 96
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: “They x-rayed my head and found nothing”

  97. 97
    tom says:

    – Unvaccinated kid gets tetanus
    – symptoms so severe he is airlifted to hospital
    – Spends 47 days in ICU, 54 days on a vent, more than a month on neuromuscular-blocking drugs
    – Spends 2.5 weeks in rehab
    – Total bill $812K (not including airlift or rehab)

    The kicker: after all that his parents refuse a follow-up tetanus shot.

    The hell is the matter with these people.

  98. 98
    Ohio Mom says:

    Reading news like this, being reminded that the huge apparatus of federal government is basically running on fumes with little relief in near sight, I hold fast to the thought that on a local level, things continue to progress normally: the garbage gets picked up, the school bus arrives on time, the streets are cleared of snow.

    Hooray for having many levels of government I guess.

  99. 99

    @Martin: She’s not the sharpest tool in the shed.

  100. 100
    Martin says:

    @Baud: The plan isn’t necessarily terrible.

    The underlying problem is that current economic theory never contended with the concept of a zero marginal cost good. And the internet has made that a regular thing, though it isn’t always easy to identify. In Apple’s case it’s mainly music and apps. Once you produce it, the cost to distribute one more copy is effectively zero. It’s the cost of bandwidth and the cost of the currency transaction. If you run your own data center and your own payment platform, than those are nearly zero as well – or at least they are easily subsidized by other business interests. In the case of Amazon it’s shelf space. It basically costs Amazon zero dollars to add another product to their store, where a traditional store would need to either build or remove some other product from the store. Amazon is a Costco of infinite size, but where all products are equally easy to find. For Google it’s performing a search, or delivering an email, etc. By and large the cost for scaling is more fixed than it is linear to the number of customers.

    So, this environment not only makes it possible to effectively consolidate an entire market in one place, economically it’s the most efficient model. That is, the rules of competition don’t work as well here. Yes, they are commodity goods, but the competition that causes commodities to their lowest price in other markets don’t work here, because you can’t improve the efficiency of ‘free’. Rules of supply and demand that work in other markets don’t work here because supply is infinite, because the marginal cost to produce the next good is zero.

    That breakdown of fundamental economic rules that all existing regulation relies on makes these market very difficult to regulate. Her proposal isn’t to break these industries apart in the conventional sense, as we split Standard Oil up into regional businesses, but to dismantle the vertical integration which allows for one layer to subsidize another. In theory that sounds like a good idea, but the technological challenges in doing that are really damn non-trivial. Let’s take Apple’s App Store as an example and apply this goal to that:

    If you’re a ginormous tech company that’s created a platform for other businesses to compete on — like the Amazon marketplace, or the Google ad exchange — you shouldn’t also own a company that sells on it. Put simply: You shouldn’t be able to tilt the playing field in your own direction.

    So the App Store is the company that sells on iPhone. But the App Store doesn’t exist in that form because it’s a form of rent-seeking from Apple. It exists in that form because we have not figured out how to have an open marketplace for software that doesn’t massively undermine the security of the platform. The key feature of the App Store isn’t Apple’s 30% cut, it’s the code review and code signing that allows Apple to hopefully keep malware off the platform as well as revoke apps that slip through. Android has a more open marketplace, and despite the immense talent at Google, security on Android is a disaster because the problem is so difficult to solve unless you pull the authority inside of that tent.

    Now, maybe that means Apple issues keys to stores to allow apps on after they’ve done that review, but Apple is going to charge for that, and they’re going to charge up-front. They don’t do that now. Now they review everything for free, and pay for that from the 30%. Under Warren’s approach you or your retailer will almost certainly have to pay Apple up-front for that, and that’s going to keep a LOT of small developers out of the market. It’s going to either considerably limit the scope of the App Store, or undermine the security of iOS. Neither is a desirable result. The same is true in other venues. Even in the early iPod days, there were independent digital music stores (Microsoft ran one) that were all flops. The market didn’t open up until someone integrated the store in to hardware and software in a tight enough fashion that the marginal costs (both in dollars for credit card transactions and user time) lowered enough for them to be seen as convenient. That didn’t happen until the iTunes Music Store. The integration that Warren proposes unwinding was key to the market even functioning in the first place.

    It’s a really thorny problem and it really requires a complete rethinking of how markets work and how incentives and regulations need to be implemented. Almost none of our previous experience helps us here.

  101. 101
    Aleta says:

    @prostratedragon: I like that phrase

  102. 102
    Baud says:


    That’s more analysis than I’ve seen from her, so thank you. I think you identify real problems, but I don’t see how Warren’s plan solves much of anything. At least as I understand it, if the iPhone is a platform, then Apple has to completely divest the App Store, iTunes, and iMessage. I have no idea what that does to the market, but Warren’s article assures us that nothing will change for the consumer. Like I said, I’m skeptical.

  103. 103
    trollhattan says:

    What’s wrong with them? They’re selfish boors and it will take some splashy, expen$ive losses in civil court to stanch the idiocy because gummint pressure feeds their narrative as freedom fighters. Fly Measles Air.

  104. 104
    sukabi says:

    @Betty Cracker: if that’s the case she’s been actively looking to leave for a while…and doing a good job of keeping it quiet.

  105. 105
    prostratedragon says:

    ;<) He really did have batters confused, and a little apprehensive, for a while. Yankee pitcher around 40 [gasp!] years ago. But iirc they did catch on finally.

  106. 106
    sukabi says:

    @germy: senior advisor to the drumpf campaign is the “title” everyone leaving the WH gets until the media looks away. Any scandal or revelation involving Shine will be met with the following statement “Bill Shine? Never met him, only worked for us briefly. I think he was a coffee boy at some point.”

  107. 107
    SRW1 says:

    In a related development: Bill Shine is leaving the White House to work in the Trump campaign. Headline on TPM for that information: “Shine resignes”. I woud have welcomed some more creativity along the line of “White House – Shine comes off”

  108. 108
    Martin says:

    @Baud: I think she’s poking in the right places, let me put it that way. I think she knows conventional approaches won’t work, so I give her a lot of credit for that. She recognizes there’s a real problem here to solve.

    But I also think she’s enough of a conventional economist to struggle with how to solve them. Part of the solution to the App Store problem is that the software engineering profession needs to get their shit together and provide governments with specific actions to regulate that industry. Civil engineers can tell state and local governments why railings should be 36″ off the ground to prevent people from falling off of balconies, but software engineers can’t explain how to keep cryptomining malware off of your phone. And Warren can’t regulate that until the professionals in that discipline start to take this shit seriously and figure out how to put real rules and constraints around their work.

    In the case of other areas, it’s a bit easier. The porousness of the ad market for Google and Facebook can be a matter of information privacy laws. You can’t harvest information from layer A of your business and hand it over to layer B of your business for distribution to ad buyers. Yes, ads will be shittier and lose value, but I think that’s an acceptable loss to the world. It doesn’t prevent other forms of marketing, it just makes it harder to identify your customers. You attack that problem at the same layer. So, I don’t think it’s all bad, but I can see places where it will and won’t work. Divorcing AWS from Amazon? Maybe? I don’t really see how that helps or hurts matters. Divesting Amazon Basics – yeah, okay, but I’d also argue that should apply to regular retailers that sell home label goods such as Costco losing the Kirkland brand.

  109. 109
    Gravenstone says:

    @Martin: re. Manning: possibly afraid she can’t recall her stories as told during her court martial? Just spitblling.

  110. 110
    Aleta says:

    @Martin: Re Ivanka and Jared documents

    I hope there’s no chance that those leaked security clearance docs have been doctored.

    I wonder: in general, how would we (or investigators) know if WH documents were filled out accurately to begin with? Wouldn’t it all bog down if they have to subpoena testimony from each person who signed any questionable document?

  111. 111
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    I’m hoping he’s going to announce an initiative similar to what Stacey Abrams started in GA to counter voter suppression and get more people registered.

    That would be really good but would be hard to spin as a “major announcement”.
    Like @MisterForkbeard: I’m hoping it’s not a Presidential announcement, mostly because he doesn’t have enough large-scale (state gov or congress) political experience. IMO. (Could be wrong.)

  112. 112
    Aleta says:

    @prostratedragon: From your quote I saw a book that looks cool :
    The Pastime in Turbulence: Interviews with Baseball Players of the 1940s

  113. 113
    Mike in DC says:

    @Mandalay: First, I think this may be the “secret” case against Wikileaks and Assange. Second, this case may be looking at contacts between Russian operatives and WL and/or/even Manning, and that might tend to tarnish her heroic image.

  114. 114
    Bill Arnold says:


    At least as I understand it, if the iPhone is a platform, then Apple has to completely divest the App Store, iTunes, and iMessage.

    In particular, a significant part of the Apple brand is their reputation for taking security seriously. (To the point where some governments get irritated.)
    And the App Store is a big part of that, as Martin describes in detail.

  115. 115
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @Martin: Some frontpager should copypasta this into an article. This is a REALLY good explanation of the subject and I love it. M^4, get on it. :)

  116. 116
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @prostratedragon: Ryne Duren comes to mind,

    known for the combination of his blazing fastball and his very poor vision. With his thick Coke bottle glasses, few batters dared to dig in against Duren. Casey Stengel said, “I would not admire hitting against Ryne Duren, because if he ever hit you in the head you might be in the past tense.”

    …When he finally took the ball and began his warmups, the first pitch was sometimes a hard fastball 20 feet over the catcher’s head. The succeeding warmup pitches would be thrown lower and lower (but not slower) until Duren would finally “find” the plate.

    Apparently there is no truth to the legend that once attaining the mound Duren would get down on his hands & knees feeling around for the rubber – but it says something that the rumor was considered credible…

  117. 117
    Bill Arnold says:


    I hope there’s no chance that those leaked security clearance docs have been doctored.

    Sad that we have to genuinely worry about this.
    There is also the possibility that slightly different versions were distributed internally (canary trap) to trap leakers but I haven’t seen an adequate level of willful competence in the DJ Trump administration.

  118. 118


    The worst that can happen to her for refusing is another 18 months in the slammer, so maybe she has decided that she can handle that. But even so, I’m not understanding why this is a hill worth dying for.

    As far as I can tell, she’s being asked to roll on Julian Assange. If she still believes she was right to give the documents she stole to Wikileaks, she may be willing to go to jail to protect him.

    My understanding is that the prosecutors are interested in proving that Assange assisted Manning in retrieving some of the documents she turned over the Wikileaks. That’s critical, because there are established protections for journalists revealing information that was obtained illegally, but only if they were not active participants in the illegal activity themselves. If the prosecutors can prove that Assange assisted in stealing the information, he loses those protections and can be prosecuted for participating in stealing the documents.

  119. 119
    Ruckus says:

    Markets and companies will find solutions to sell stuff. The lower the cost of the item and the easier it is to deliver it will win the cost structure. Breaking up the companies will not reduce the cost or up the availability but will end up hurting both of them, at a cost to consumers.
    To me the idea of breaking up large companies to gain control is a stupid way to do this. It’s not the size of the company or the cost of it’s products that is the issue, it’s how the cost is controlled and how society as a whole benefits or not and pays for the goods and ideas.
    Take cigarettes. We didn’t break up the companies that make them, we made the safety of the product the controlling issue and taxed them. The companies took care of themselves.
    How many US auto companies are there? They are big, in their business, what would breaking up the companies do for the economy, the safety, the environment, the consumer?
    Banks? It’s not the size of the company it’s the way the companies are run, the way they try to grow, the way they treat the economy and their customers. Breaking them up won’t change that.

  120. 120
    Betty Cracker says:


    senior advisor to the drumpf campaign is the “title” everyone leaving the WH gets until the media looks away.

    Noticed that, did you? Me too. I think Trump’s corporate security goon who briefly served as a WH aide is still pulling down $15K a month from the RNC for “consulting fees.” He must know where all the bodies are buried.

  121. 121
    snoey says:

    @Uncle Cosmo: Duren himself found it frightening enough that he rarely did it sober.

  122. 122
    Martin says:

    @Aleta: I have considerable faith in House Democrats that any doctored documents would be revealed as doctored and just create more problems for the WH. I don’t see anyone in the House taking any of these people at their word. Every bit of information becomes something to be confirmed through other sources. They know better than to trust anything they get. They’ll just keep making this box smaller and smaller for the WH.

  123. 123
    chris says:

    Gah. At least he’s not throwing the Bibles at people. Yet.

    President Trump is signing bibles for volunteers and survivors at a Baptist church in Alabama. pic.twitter.com/9b8VfyZiKF— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) 8 March 2019

  124. 124
    J R in WV says:


    “She’s [Chelsea Manning] not the sharpest tool in the shed.”

    Ms Manning is smart enough, in at least some ways. But no one few of us are smart about everything, and this is true of Chelsea Manning, who lacks one or more flavors of common sense, and may be unwilling to listen to advice from lawyers about her legal issues.

  125. 125
    Baud says:


    I think part of the problem I have with the roll out is that it gives examples of what parts of some companies will be broken up but without much explanation of why those parts of those companies and not others. It seems arbitrary. Maybe a better explanation is in the works.

  126. 126
    Martin says:

    @MisterForkbeard: I’d be happy to write up more on it. I’ve spent a LOT of time studying this, particularly how education is inevitably going to change due to these same dynamics.

    It’s a legitimately hard social problem. That doesn’t mean it’s unsolvable, but it’s going to require some new schools of thought to break through – and it’s going to require some established regulatory thinking to go away. For instance, social media platforms should not be allowed to acquire other social media platforms. Facebook should never have been allowed to allowed to acquire either WhatsApp or Instagram. But our regulators don’t understand why that’s so problematic, because it’s pretty complicated and a little weird and has a lot to do with how we build proxies for identity outside of government and the economic power that confers to those who build them. We also need to think of privacy as a good that is deserving of having a cost attached. Right now that cost is being externalized in much the same way that pollution is for polluting industries. If Warren solved no other problem than bringing the cost of security back into these businesses, it would help a lot. I think people would be surprised who it does and doesn’t impact.

  127. 127
    Kay says:

    from Giuliani on Manafort sentence:
    “I feel terrible about the way Manafort has been treated. I think it’s not American to keep a man in solitary confinement to try to crack him.”
    “He’s not a terrorist. He’s not an organized criminal. He’s a white collar criminal.”

    So sad and bewildered. “But…he’s a white collar criminal. Like me and my friends

    Oh, God. How the mighty have fallen.

  128. 128
    Baud says:

    Congrats to House Dems for passing H.R. 1.

  129. 129
    Martin says:

    @chris: Jealous. Having a book signed by the author always increases its value considerably.

  130. 130
    Kay says:

    Giuliani’s right about one thing. He and his friends are not organized criminals. They’re disorganized criminals.

  131. 131
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Ohio Mom: I was at the UPS store next to Slatts yesterday and it made me wonder if anyone heard whether Marigold wanted to brave local jackals in person. Also, I know someone who can competently cut NOT a Midwestern old white lady haircut. She’s been cutting my hair since before it was chemically dependent, and she’s great. Ping me off site if you want her contact info.

    @tom #97

    what the hell is the matter with these people?

    Imma go with everything.

  132. 132

    If the goal is to break up vertical monopolies, then the problem isn’t necessarily tying a device to a single app store. There is a real logic to having the app store vet apps to make sure they don’t break stuff, and that means it probably ought to be tied to the phone manufacturer. The problem comes when the app store owner is also creating their own apps, since they can use their vetting power to shut out competitors. So it makes more sense to limit the phones to having only the most basic functionality built in, with all the other stuff being added through apps sold on a genuinely competitive app store. So Apple would have to spin off iTunes, Google would have to spin off Maps, etc.

  133. 133
    MisterForkbeard says:

    @chris: I’m not religious but I feel like having a political figure *sign your Bible* is questionable at best and actual heresy at worst. What the hell are these people thinking?

    If you ever wanted a clue that evangelical christianity is a cult and a tribal group and not a ‘real’ religion, it’s right there.

  134. 134

    @chris: Has lightning struck?

  135. 135
    Wakeshift says:

    I really appreciate your comments and summary of the challenge here. These two posts of yours were a clear and succinct digest of the challenge and opportunity presented in the proposal.

    It also creates an opportunity to test a small theory, which I’ll come back to later.

    I work in the residential solar business, and I’m wondering if it’s a direct application or a stretch to apply Warren’s proposal to Tesla. Would the same criteria or standards apply, to “de-integrate” the EV unit from the battery manufacture unit from the PV (Solarcity) unit from the PV cell factory unit from the PV mounting hardware unit from the “we build gigafactories for other business units” unit. And so on…

    Anyway, I’m sure there are plenty of other examples, but at first glance it seems to me there’s lots of possibility and implications for regulation spilling back over to not-purely-digital businesses. And that could be a pro or a con, intentional or collateral.

  136. 136
    J R in WV says:


    The porousness of the ad market for Google and Facebook can be a matter of information privacy laws. You can’t harvest information from layer A of your business and hand it over to layer B of your business for distribution to ad buyers. Yes, ads will be shittier and lose value, but I think that’s an acceptable loss to the world.

    The big thing about Facebook, which I have never signed up for, have no relationship with, and rarely click on a link into the platform, is my ad-blocker toolset finds that a Facebook tracker attempts to load onto my machine every time I click on a link or refresh a page, including here at Balloon-Juice. Some pages Facebook is the only thing the tools block, others it’s the last of 9 or 10 or 11 trackers to get blocked.

    I don’t have a relationship with Facebook, and as far as I’m concerned, they have no more business loading anything to my laptop than the NSA or Putin does. But to convince a judge and jury about that… I’m a software developer, and I don’t think I could do it.

    Also regarding the comparison between civil engineers, mechanical engineers, and software “engineers” is that the early development of civil and mechanical engineering happened a long time ago, and bridges fell down, and steamships exploded, because it was still an art at first. Software engineering is an infant, and the skill set is developing so rapidly it may stay an infant for a long time to come.

    There are no engineering standards handbooks for software yet. Not because really smart people haven’t tried. Knuth is working of Vol 4 (I think) of a set of books on software development. He is brilliant, and retired from teaching to spend more time on his book(s) for which he invented his own set of language tools to discuss standard algorithims and the use of the other standards he is developing. But this is still a long long way from a standards handbook for software engineering. Probably once there are standards there will be a dozen or more separate, long and complex standard handbooks for a wide variety of kinds of software. Or it may never come to pass that we have standards for software, it may always be a dark art.

  137. 137
    Aleta says:

    @Roger Moore: This may not be accurate or fair, since I’m not going to read back. But I remember at the time feeling like Assange/Wikileaks used her, was careless about it and then protected himself first. And that they did it again with Reality Winner.

    Btw, from Sept 2018:

    Reality Winner has officially moved from the jail in Lincoln County to a federal facility in Texas.

    Jail records show Winner has been booked into Carswell Federal Medical Center, in Ft. Worth. She has said thet’s where she wanted to be originally.

    Her scheduled release date is currently listed as December 29, 2021.

    (August 23, 2018) Reality Winner has been sentenced to more than five years in prison.

    A federal judge sentenced Winner to 63 months in court Thursday morning. This comes after Winner and her attorney made a plea deal in June.

    Titus Nichols, Reality Winner’s attorney said, “There were other issues going on with her life, and you have to look at it in its totality. To have a full context about what happened.” Her attorneys say she acted on impulse.

    Mr. Nichols continued saying, “This was not some nefarious plot that she enacted in order to harm the country.”

    The prosecution says she knew exactly what she was doing.

    “Make no mistake, this is not a victimless crime.”

    “Winner’s purposeful violation put our nation’s security at risk,” [US Attorney Bobby Christine] Christine stated.

    Judge Randy Hall is urging the Bureau of Prisons to send her to a medical prison in Texas so she can get treatment. … Both sides agree she needs more than just punishment but help, too.

    So if rumors about Jared and Ivanka and accusations of DJT are proved true, I expect significant sentences they’ll change the counter weight on the scale.

  138. 138
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Martin: How’s your daughter doing? It’s actually none of my business, of course, but your family is in my thoughts.

  139. 139
    eemom says:

    President Trump is signing bibles for volunteers and survivors at a Baptist church in Alabama.

    Now that right there is some fucked up shit.

  140. 140
    Gravenstone says:

    Interesting take on the Bill Shine departure to “join” Trump 2020. I used the scare quotes because Josh Marshal is suggesting the organization is as much a slush fund to keep various former Trump hires off the streets and out of the public eye. Why the incentive to squirrel them away to keep them quiet?

  141. 141
    Ruckus says:

    As martin says, these are complex issues and simple answers – break up the large corps – are not necessarily the correct answers or even a desirable answer. Sure there are probably some large corps that could stand breaking up. But it’s not the size that is the problem it’s how they are being run and how do we control those issues. Take Amazon. Makes billions, lots of billions and pays no tax? You and I and most everyone else make far, far less and pay something in taxes. This is not correct and is how size can be considered to be an issue. Amazon is a major issue in most of our lives these days, good or bad. I dislike them but I still use them because finding some products that I want is otherwise much more expensive or not available. So Amazon has a market domination that benefits consumers somewhat and benefits Jeff B a lot. And I don’t care that he’s rich or even richest, someone has to be. I dislike that he doesn’t pay his fair share of the cost of our lives all the while greatly benefitting from that. Will breaking up his company change that and in a positive way?

  142. 142
    Baud says:


    I think she’s poking in the right places, let me put it that way. I think she knows conventional approaches won’t work, so I give her a lot of credit for that. She recognizes there’s a real problem here to solve.

    As much as I dislike mere sloganeering, this might be a case where the candidate moved too quickly to propose a solution.

  143. 143
    chris says:

    @Martin: LOL. Cleaning tea of desk now.

  144. 144
    trollhattan says:

    Did Rudy just call Manafort “disorganized”? What a meanie!

  145. 145
    Formerly disgruntled in Oregon says:

    @MisterForkbeard: Bingo

    “I got the anti-Christ to sign my bible!”

  146. 146
    chris says:

    @Dorothy A. Winsor: Nope. Old Testament god must have stepped out for a few minutes.

    @MisterForkbeard: Yep.

  147. 147
    hueyplong says:

    @Gravenstone: There is probably more than one potential reason to send someone off to the campaign/slush fund. For me, use of the term “senior adviser” instead of a specific position means he’s not there to work hard. Trump draws grotesque people with little in common other than than a lack of humanity. They’re all threats to talk if there’s a nickel in it for them, so they all must be given paid positions.

    But in this modern version of Dante taking the brown acid, Shine could be named Chief of Staff next week. Who knows?

  148. 148
    Martin says:


    To me the idea of breaking up large companies to gain control is a stupid way to do this. It’s not the size of the company or the cost of it’s products that is the issue, it’s how the cost is controlled and how society as a whole benefits or not and pays for the goods and ideas.

    Yeah. That’s probably the right way to think of this. The problem as I see it is that the concept of a zero marginal good (along with others, like identity proxies) tends to naturally drive companies to dominate markets. Take Facebook. In order for anyone to derive value from Facebook, the people you want to interact with also need to be on Facebook. In order for that to happen, Facebook has to be free to use, because the cost friction would destroy the platform (attractive, I know) and when you start building out social graphs – all the people you want to interact with, and who they want to interact with, etc. – you pretty quickly get to ‘everyone alive’. Now, in the past that was handled differently. The ‘platform’ was the USPS, and your handle was your home address. Everyone got an address from the government, and anyone could send a letter to any adddress without having to belong to one platform or another. But for a letter, the content and the means to consume the content were self-contained. You didn’t need Josiah’s Letter Reading machine to read certain letters – you just opened and read them. Now, the government could force these platforms to open up in some key ways – force iMessage and WhatApp to cross address. They both can use phone numbers as that identity proxy, so just as Verizon customers can text AT&T ones (wasn’t always the case), the same could happen here. And frankly, that would open up the market to new entrants and likely not destroy existing markets. The selling point wouldn’t be ‘this is where your friends are’, it would be ‘we have a better client, etc.’. In the old days, the government would provide that identity proxy and regulate its use. But that’s almost certainly a lost cause to ‘big government’ or ‘mark of the beast’ or whatever political bullshit would be raised, but ultimately really means that people couldn’t continue to anonymously do their nazi online cosplay.

    These aren’t the kinds of problems that economists have a lot of experience with. It’s not that any of these companies have changed the rules of the game, they simply are taking advantage of a change in economic reality that others (including regulators) are missing. But part of my concern here is that some of this has gone unaddressed for years. Take cell carriers. By allowing them to dominate subsets of the spectrum, they can then rent seek on top of of this publicly owned good. You may have an AT&T tower near your house, but because you’re a Verizon customer your phone won’t talk to it because it’s operating on the wrong spectrum. That dynamic means that your choice of provider is determined more by spectrum squatting than by customer service or price, etc. If the FCC took that spectrum and allowed anyone to bid on it, but they would need to meter usage to any and all comers, then you’d get innovative business models for deploying that infrastructure (a farming co-op in Iowa that builds transmitters on grain silos they already own rather than having to lease right-of-way from some other landowner) as well as more competition at the carrier level because you wouldn’t need billions of dollars to win a spectrum auction just to enter the market. Anyone could lease that capacity. The larger carriers might negotiate cheaper national contracts, but people that mostly stay in one place might choose a local carrier that has cheap local rates, etc.

    That’s been a problem for 2 decades and doesn’t really intersect with the tech giants here, yet we’ve never had the political will to make that simple regulatory change. Why should that problem persist while we figure out how to divest white label products from Amazon? That really irks me.

  149. 149
    FlyingToaster says:

    @Baud: Right now, you can buy MacOS apps from the app store, or direct from the publisher. With the second, you take your chances that they’re okay since they haven’t been vetted by Apple.

    On iOS and MacOS, you can buy your music from iTunes, or buy a CD and digitize it yourself (as we do here at ChezToaster). However, I know of no way of buying online music from a 3rd party, either the publisher, artist, or distribution house, except for iTunes. If it’s possible to buy it from someone else (a la Amazon), then there simply isn’t an antitrust case.

    On both platforms you can buy your iBooks (.epub) from the iTunes store, or you can get them direct from the publisher, or from sellers such as Kobo or Smashwords. So again, no antitrust.

    For Amazon, they only sell music in mp3 (I think) and books in Kindle (.mobi). The Kindle format gets Amazon into antitrust territory. Not WholeFoods, which for my local stores has actually improved the stocking situation (if they carry the item, they are actually keeping it in stock).

    I can’t speak to Facebook, since I don’t use it, nor instagram.

    Senator Professor Warren has a nice idea, but out in the weeds, it pretty much falls completely apart.

  150. 150
    WaterGirl says:

    @chris: I’m kind of surprised that the bibles don’t immediately burst into flames.

  151. 151
    WaterGirl says:

    @Baud: I was thinking about this last night, wondering how important it really is given that the bill won’t even be given a vote in the Senate. Is this any different than the Rs passing a bill to repeal Obamacare about a zillion times? Asking seriously; maybe I’m just too discouraged to see the benefits of passing a bill in the House that will never become law.

  152. 152
    Millard Filmore says:

    @J R in WV:

    regarding the comparison between civil engineers, mechanical engineers, and software “engineers”

    I see you have scare quotes for software engineers. As an almost retired computer programmer, I whole heartedly agree with you. Where I went to college, true engineers had to pass classes in physics, math, chemistry, thermodynamics, and on and on. I only had to pass some of those.

    Software is an art. Hardware types sneer at programmers: “Look out, he has a screwdriver!” And conversely I have seen crap Write-Only code produced by hardware types. No comments, no structure, indentation is a semi-random number between -5 and 20. It works but good luck trying to add features to it.

  153. 153
    Aleta says:

    @MisterForkbeard: I wonder what brand of bible it is. My sister’s (charismatic, not evangelical) church has its own version, and she once filled out a printed area inside the front cover, designated to transmit its teachings from her to me.

    So the question arises, who made money selling these particular bibles for his use, who paid for them, how much, and whose branded bible is he tossing to them. And are there tags attached to mark particular sections, maybe about unfair persecution of a strong prayerful man who needs support in his battle against satan’s flagsteppers? Some will be on ebay by tomorrow because they are holy.

  154. 154
    Aleta says:

    interesting discussion, thanks. (to everyone)

  155. 155
    Martin says:

    @Roger Moore: Yeah, I think there’s a stronger argument to be made there, but again it’s tough. IE was seen as an add-on product to the OS, but now a web browser is so foundational to computing that its impossible to imagine shipping a product without one. The problem with Microsoft wasn’t the bundling, it was the deliberate decisions to deviate from standards in a way that fragmented would could have been an otherwise well functioning market even if IE was a standard part of it. But the regulators didn’t understand that and went after entirely the wrong thing, mostly because they don’t understand how the dynamics around software differ considerably from physical goods.

    But even in that case it’s hard. Apple introduced iTunes (the story from a competitor that could have been iTunes is really insightful as to how all of this works). That was competing with existing products. But without iTunes, the iTunes Music Store would never have worked. The product segment, at least at introduction required that integration from hardware (iPod/Mac/PC) to software (iTunes) to service (iTMS). Problems at the time being worked out was copy protection and piracy, as well as how do you charge people for $0.99 purchases on a credit card without going bankrupt from the transaction costs, not to mention basically introducing the concept of buying individual songs rather than albums.

    Sorting out those problems without the benefit of the integration would probably have been near impossible. I think the regulators really need to understand the industry really well – and most of the people who know this stuff well enough make too much doing it to get hired by regulatory agencies.

  156. 156
    Miss Bianca says:

    @Gravenstone: Also, too, does anyone but me wonder if the timing on this announcement about Bill Shine has anything to do with the New Yorker article about Fox Propaganda Network appearing last week? Bill doesn’t exactly…err…shine in that account, let’s just say.

    @Ruckus: The other thing about Amazon to keep in mind is that not only are they an e-commerce platform, but they are directly competing with the merchants that are selling on their platform by looking at hot-selling products and then selling them themselves. I keep wondering how that can possibly be sustainable as a business model.

  157. 157
    Martin says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: She’s doing well, thanks for asking. We’re off to another set of appts this aft. Most of the horrors the last week have been the bureaucratic failings of the nations behavioral health system. Lots of well-meaning and good people producing shitty outcomes because they’re overworked and lack the variety of tools needed to treat people with a very wide variety of challenges. Hopefully I can nudge my corner into a slightly more functional state.

    On my side, I need to find a way to work less. That will be interesting to figure out.

  158. 158


    And that they did it again with Reality Winner.

    Actually, it was The Intercept who burned Winner, not Wikileaks. It’s one more reason I refuse to trust Glenn Greenwald. His publication failed to do even the most basic work to protect on of their sources, and they’ve used her imprisonment as an excuse to talk up how bad the government is rather than talking about the information she leaked to them. It should serve as a warning to any other whistleblower who’s thinking about taking their information to The Intercept.

  159. 159
    sukabi says:

    @Betty Cracker: yes, and not just Schiller. There have been many folks “moved” to the drumpf re-election effort…Omarosa was offered the same “accommodation” when she was fired, but opted to make her $$ via tell all book and media appearances.

  160. 160
    Aleta says:

    @Martin: I agree about the House Dems; I don’t expect them to trust the information w/o cross-checking everything.

    But my question is not limited to J-Ivank clearances: it’s whether the amount of work required to reveal doctoring/lies on documents from this WH will be feasible. Are there reasonable ways this is done, or will it be taxpayer-funded and costly outsourcing to legal firms? Or, for ex, if a subpoena process is needed for each person who signed something questionable: would it be so time consuming that years could go by before all the fraud could be confirmed through other sources.

    It is as though the punishment we can most depend on, is making Repub criminals and enablers go through years of court battles and expense. As long as we can finance and tolerate our side of the same. I even wonder whether these clowns are truly tormented by court battles, since they are accustomed to treating much of it as ‘the cost of doing business.’

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    Aleta says:

    @Roger Moore: Thanks for that. You’re right. For some reason my mind had started to mistakenly lump them together.

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    I agree about the House Dems; I don’t expect them to trust the information w/o cross-checking everything.

    I think the risks are different for documents they receive officially and for ones they receive as leaks. With official documents, the big risk is that the White House will leave incriminating stuff out and hope the Democrats in the House miss it. If the Democrats notice they left something out, they can attribute it to an oversight and probably avoid the worst fallout. Actually doctoring documents is too big a risk; if they do that and get caught it’s proof of intent to deceive, which will result in them being nailed for obstruction.

    With leaked documents, though, anything goes. As long as they are minimally careful, they can deny responsibility- or blame it on a disgruntled staff member- and claim the documents are complete forgeries.

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    Ruckus says:

    Another problem with the idea of breaking up big companies. Sometimes big companies actually provide a cheaper product. Say Amazon selling you something. They may not have it in their warehouse, may not actually ship it to you but they get paid by the sales end of the company providing the service/product. That is a fairly new business model and it obviously works. Do we want to end that because they are big?
    A second issue is that you cover is someone like FB, which while “free” of a monetary payment is anything but free in it’s use. FB sells the users for a profit. Among other fun stuff. I’ve had an account for a number of years, for the same reason that a lot of people do, to keep track of others. But a couple of years ago I stopped my several times a day habit and check once every couple of months. This has changed my value to FB because they can’t really track me as well if I’m not there. At least that’s the theory. So FB being broken up because they are selling access, something that one may not want to give up, doesn’t sound all that bad to me. Your post office concept is valid as long as you remember that you do have to pay for the service, those stamps aren’t free. And theoretically only the recipient sees what’s inside the envelop.
    Like all complex issues there are many sides to this one and there are no easy answers, which was my point that breaking up some big companies may work, but what sort of regulation would work better. In my mind taxing works best of all and the money can be used for the common good, not just for inflating some douchebag’s bank account.

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    Xman says:

    After Wilson left Congress, she ran a consulting business that did a few shady things. She then became President of my school, the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology. She was not the sole finalist, nor the best candidate here. The Board of Regents loved her though. They really thought her contacts would lead to big money for the school. She was a mediocre President at best. She could never quite understand why faculty with research grants would take the salary from the grant in the summer, when they made no salary, rather than buy out their time during the school year.

    She also had a bad tendency to talk to someone, like their idea to do something then implement it without getting any feedback from the people that would be implementing the idea .. so she tried to run the school as if it were her business.

    Basically a mediocre President that was liked by some, and reviled by some. UTEP is a step up, but I’m guessing they think she will get them many military contracts from her contacts … that’s what many here thought when she went to the Trump administration. That didn’t pan out either.

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