Thursday, July 3, 2014

If you read Boing Boing, the NSA considers you a target for deep surveillance - Boing Boing

The Technostasi (or, Technostazi) is sniffing your packets and consider you a target for "deep surveillance" if you read BoingBoing (and probably everything else).

The flavor of party official is the NSA.

If you read Boing Boing, the NSA considers you a target for deep surveillance
America's National Security Agency gathers unfathomable mountains of Internet communications from fiber optic taps and other means, but it says it only retains and searches the communications of "targeted" individuals who've done something suspicious. Guess what? If you read Boing Boing, you've been targeted.Cory Doctorow digs into Xkeyscore and the NSA's deep packet inspection rules.

In a shocking story on the German site Tagesschau (Google translate), Lena Kampf, Jacob Appelbaum and John Goetz report on the rules used by the NSA to decide who is a "target" for surveillance.
(Read the rest here: )

I've assumed it for a long time.
U.S.A. U.S.A. U.S.A.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

$15 pretty soon

The finger pointing and name calling, and then there is politics.

David Meinert is upset about Seattle's minimum wage that is about to go up.

He didn't get the tip credit he wanted.

David Meinert

I was asked to serve on the Mayor's Income Inequality Committee, and committed to work with a broad array of voices in finding a way to address income inequality locally by raising the minimum wage in Seattle. As representatives of business I entered into this in good faith, agreeing we needed to act. 

Recently Mayor Murray announced a deal from the committee, said to be a compromise, claiming it would meet his goal of avoiding a costly battle at the ballot box. Much credit was given for a collaborative process that brought business together with non-profits and labor unions to craft a near consensus compromise. All nice, except none of this is true. 

In fact, the process was a charade. And in the end, business isn't supporting it, and $15Now is running their initiative. So if success was broad support and no initiative, this is a failure.

At the end of the process many on the committee did agree to tentatively support the 'deal' IF the actual ordinance reflected what we agreed to. Unfortunately, the final ordinance does not reflect what the IIAC agreed to, and many important details were changed between agreements at the meetings and drafting of the final document. This sort of bad faith negotiating took place throughout the process, as the Mayor's staff, out of either incompetence or intentional dishonesty, continued to change what was agreed upon to something in draft form that reflected only what Labor leaders wanted. The final ordinance draft changed important elements of what was agreed on. 

It should also be pointed out that the final tally of IIAC members supporting the framework of a deal wasn't based on compromise as much as political blackmail. In the final negotiations the Mayor's staff told the business side that we could agree to what they had put on the table (which again, wasn't what had been agreed to), or the Mayor would draft something "worse" to send to council. That's not creating a compromise or consensus. It's bullying. 

Had this process been run better and more honestly, Seattle could have drafted a $15 minimum wage ordinance that both business leaders and labor leaders supported. It could have been historic. Unfortunately it's more of a mess than historic. During the process, over and over again Labor stormed out of the room, cried, yelled, and took "religious" positions - in that they made no sense but could not be compromised on. The final ordinance reflects goals of Labor leaders that go far beyond raising the minimum wage. They include breaking the franchise model to open up franchise agreements to allow for collective bargaining, getting rid of tipping, moving away from part time work, and moving people out of employee paid health plans into the State exchange. None of these are necessarily bad things, but they shouldn't have been legislated in this ordinance. Labor manipulated this process and I have lost all respect for the labor leaders involved. 

So we have a messy ordinance with 4 different minimum wages, different phase in times for different businesses, a move away from standard definitions of what a business is and what an employee is, and confusing elements like "phasing out" of tips and health care benefits. 

As a result of there being no tip credit for "large" businesses and the tip credit for small business phasing out, expect to see the restaurant industry in Seattle move to service charges instead of tips. Few in the full service restaurant industry will make any more money, but many servers and bartenders will make significantly less. Lay the blame for that squarely at the feet of everyone who supports this deal, Labor leaders, and the electeds who vote for it. Ironically, restaurant owners will make the same, some even more. 

In the end, I am so disgusted with this process, and with the inner workings of local politics, the callous disregard for negative impacts on small business and small non profits, that I am feeling pretty done with local politics. And I hate to say it, but I'm not sure I can support candidates who also take money from SEIU, UFCW and the King County Labor Council. I'd rather give my money to the many small progressive non-profits they are willing to crush because they aren't part of their unions so none of their concern. Be skeptical and cynical as you can be about politicians, and never doubt that they are more than willing to trade good policy, policy they believe in, for donations, votes, appearances over substance, and press. And in the end, the only people who will be celebrating this ordinance are those that want these things. It's a shit ordinance. Don't even begin to think otherwise. When you read who takes credit for it in the national media, you will know who wins, and why.

It would be a good time for the Mayor and Council to read Hans Christian Anderson. This ordinance is naked.

(PS - a real compromise would have been big and small businesses all going to $15 in 3 years, with a permanent, enforceable tip credit, a health care credit, exempting micro businesses and non-profits. This would have been better for workers and for business. Could have. Should have. That was traded away.)
Like13 hours ago
Keith Wright
I'd much rather see the "bright side" DM I am used to witnessing on this charade venue. 
It seems that partitioning this effort into groups based upon source funding might've been a mistake. 
Like3 hours ago
Jesse Fowl
Politics are a joke. You have to be a sociopathic narcissist to even want to be one. Good thing they're so easily purchased.
Like13 hours ago
Robert Eickhof
very extensive diatribe; i have to hand it to you -
Like13 hours ago
John Saban
This doesn't shock me at all, this mayor is a lop of shit and I regret voting for him.
Like3 hours ago
Jason Grimes
Thanks for being transparent. Between this and the ride sharing bullshit is becoming too much.
Like13 hours ago
Hayley Tapp
I am dismayed to hear this, although not at all surprised.
Like3 hours ago
Alex Mayer
People who work in restaurants and bars should not expect to make as much money as people who come out of Stanford and Harvard to work at Amazon and Microsoft. People who are David Meinert need editors and PR people to whittle their long-form "progressive" labor-bash pieces down into a readable paragraph or two.
Like43 hours ago
David Meinert
Alex - you need a job?
Like73 hours ago
Andrew Says
: WOW. 

Welcome back to the fold, my friend.
Like3 hours ago
Rollin Fatland
Houston - we have a problem.
Like3 hours ago
Sarah Culpepper Stroup
David—I've dealt with similar sorts of things in university politics per the years. I have to say, having watched it, and they way you were asked to have a roll in it, from a distance, that I am not at all surprised. I've been subject to some similar things, but have learned how to subvert them. 

Anyway, I'm sorry.
Like3 hours ago
Richard Thurston
Sounds like someone didn't get their way.
Like33 hours ago
Sarah Culpepper Stroup
Oh. And you have options: say "fuck it" (which is tempting), or become even more influential (which is more effective, if you decide it's worth it).
Like13 hours ago
David Meinert
Richard Thurston - honestly, my businesses will be fine. If you believe we should get to $15 soon, then this is a failed policy. If you believe tipped workers should make the same or more than they do now, this is a failed policy. If you believe there should be an entry level wage this is a failed policy. And if you believe this policy was a compromise coming out of an honest process, you are naive.
EditedLike93 hours ago
Anne Dederer
I'd like to be on that committee seeing as how I've worked with homeless individuals for 20 years
Like2 hours ago
Tod Steward
David coming from not only your friend but from a PR perspective, well written and couldn't agree with you more!!! About tips, there was a story in the Times about a waitress who works at Von Trapp's. She makes great tips, Rich the owner takes care of his employees just like you do, and she took a two week trip to Spain. Why? She made great money on tips during the weekends. She's against $15Now and wants to ensure she receives the same tips etc. because of what the opportunities provides. It's exactly the PBS video I'm working on to show how the hospitality industry is one of the few or if not only the one that provides the opportunity to move up even if you don't have a degree. There's a huge misperception of the industry. Try to work at a bank and become the CEO. Hello!! Rich is the perfect example of a person who worked every position in the restaurant and bar establishments and now owns two successful restaurants very similar to you. Knowing if a bartender or server is making $15 an hour will I leave a big tip. Probably not knowing how much they make. And you said, more thought should have been put in this and to be frankly honest, why is Sawant leading the agenda on this. I'd sure like to know what her successful Microsoft husband thinks about all this. Despite that, I believe the minimum wage should be increased but not like it's set up now. Joe from Tutta Bellla and others all said it will destroy small businesses. You personally like Dick's burgers provide your employees a lot. Why isn't that considered by Sawant and others. My true apologies but if you have read and heard Sawant's quotes, I'd think she's in another world. Turn Boeing into a bus production maker before the deal Boesing did with the union vote which I personally believe they are destroying the employees and their retirements compared to the corporate headquarters folks, disgusting but why doesn't anyone challenge her ideas or comments as being out of touch. A KIRO-TV reporter actually waited for an hour to get her reaction. I don't know why she has all this political and media power. Good news, thank god she and alll the council members have to run again next year!! Let's clean the slate and get new blood in the districts and the two at-large positions. I don't believe Swantism will have the backing in district 3 unless she runs at-large. Ok dome with my dissertation buddy!!!
Like22 hours ago
Andrew Bray
Big props to you David for eloquently detailing your opinion and being in there fighting this battle at its inception (and unfortunately perhaps its end) If there is anything I can do to help do not hesitate to contact me. I myself am very serious about contributing to this debate. I am a huge believer in honest days pay for an honest days work and have never paid a single employee of mine minimum wage but this proposal is poorly conceived and is going to hurt everyone.
EditedLike12 hours ago
Elaine Simons
I am wondering which non profits were at the table? Grassroots are very much different then the larger ones with over $1million dollar budgets where ED are making a salary that equals some grassroots entire budget. j/s I am not an economics major by far however as a person who ran a small grassroots homeless non profit in Seattle for over 17 years and paying top salary where my lowest paying staff made $12 an hour with full benefits I believe that people deserve a living wage however even $15 an hour will not match what it cost to rent an studio apartment in the city. This wage would push people in section 8, on health care subsidies and food stamps into market rate- not sure if that has even been considered or factored in. Not sure what the answer is? Perhaps top down rent control? Perhaps based in on gross income from the business end and how many employees they have i.e. more then 25-50 and over a million dollars and not exempt franshises or corporations that are in Seattle proper. Will continue this train of thought later. Need to formulate it more.
EditedLike2 hours ago
Carter Rodriquez
Did you send this to the mayor?
Like12 hours ago
David Watkins
I agree with the comments made by David being part of the process I have learned that bargaining in good faith may not be the best approach. Watkins.
Like22 hours ago
Michele Scoleri
Cheshire Cat
Like41 hour ago
Harry Pierce
thanks for the info Dave. I look forward to another musical brunch at the Comet,.
Like1 hour ago
Larry Reid
Every single time any gains are made by workers on wages, working conditions, work week, and benefits, reactionary business owners hysterically predict the end of days. Funny thing: it never happens. Small economic adjustments are made and low income households are slightly better off. We're not engaged in class warfare. In a war, both sides need to be armed. This is class genocide. Time to pick sides.
Like61 hour ago
Ian Jacobson
In a good compromise, all sides are cranky.

Tip credits are bs. Honestly. Why do you think you deserve credit for money that isn't intended for you? Tips are a result of shitty pay. If customers feel $15 is sufficient then they won't tip; but if they think a server deserves more...then you want credit? That's where you lose me.
Like11 hour ago
David Meinert
Larry Reid - except I'm not predicting my business will be doomed. I think I'll be fine. That doesn't mean this is good policy from a good process. It's crap policy from a charade.
Like21 hour ago
Kerri Harrop
Quit saying "the Mayor's staff" when the buck stops with the Mayor himself. You know, the guy you told everyone to vote for.
Like71 hour ago
Ramona Grotte
You are now officially a politician.
Like57 minutes ago
Jim Brunner
Well this s**t just got real.