Links 7/7/16

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Bandar Mahshahr known for record temps. late June 2016. Heat index put temp at 74 Celcius, 165F. therm at 115 F @ WMALHittle (guurst)

Tesla and the glass cockpit problem Rough Type. Important.

Beware the car that can nearly drive itself Financial Times

Robotic hamburger stand from 1964 Boing Boing (resilc)

Stop Giving Chickens Away, Bill Gates AntiWar (1 SK)

Group drops $2,000 on Senate floor to protest GMO bill The Hill (furzy). Great. You have to have a smartphone to scan for GMO labeling? What about those of us who refuse to be part of the surveillance state?

Zika Virus May Be Spread Through Sex More Than Mosquitos Esquire

Belt Clip? How the U.S. Tests Cellphones for Safety Wall Street Journal


Finance insiders: The UK won’t really go Politico

May urges backers not to vote tactically in Tory ballot Financial Times

Defeated Labour rebels admit ‘it’s finished’ as Jeremy Corbyn refuses to resign as leader Telegraph. No surprise here, but the Blairites are playing fast and loose with the facts: “‘He is losing support of the membership by the day, there is no doubt about that, but they just sign up new members to replace them. He is Teflon in that sense.'”

John McDonnell on the leadership battle Left Futures (Sid S)

Can the EU Survive as a Prison? Who Has the Keys? Michael Shedlock

The turf war behind the EU-NATO peace agreement Politico

Mood of defiance tests authority of EU’s executive Financial Times

Desperately Trying to Salvage Canada-EU Trade Pact after Brexit, EU Escalates Assault on Democracy Don Quijones

Chilcot Report

Tony Blair unrepentant as Chilcot gives crushing Iraq war verdict Guardian

Monster of delusion’ Blair defends Iraq war Middle East Online (resilc)

George W. Bush Defends Iraq Invasion Following Chilcot Report TIME

American and British Leaders Were Warned that Iraq War Would INCREASE Terrorism George Washington


Face-off looms over South China Sea Bangkok Post (furzy)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Are Face Recognition Systems Accurate? Depends on Your Race. MIT Technology Review

Clinton E-mail Tar Baby

Comey to testify on Clinton email probe Thursday Politico. 10:00 AM

Hillary Clinton’s email scandal is far from over Financial Times. Is it me, or is there suddenly much more use of Clinton pix with little/no airbrushing (as in wrinkles on full display)? I am on the watchout for editorializing via choice of image. The skin quality is another factor besides the more obvious smiling/frowning. But note the dismissive tone of the article.

“Only Facts Matter:” Jim Comey Is Not the Master Bureaucrat of Integrity His PR Sells Him Has Marcy Wheeler (Chuck L)

The Strange Gaps in Hillary Clinton’s Email Traffic Politico (Sevla)

Justice Dept. closes Clinton email probe with no charges Associated Press (furzy)

Ex-special ops group blasts Clinton email decision The Hill (furzy)

Hillary Clinton, Vindicated? American Conservative

Why Hillary Clinton Should be Prosecuted for Reckless Abuses of National Security Counterpunch (resilc)

Republican Response to Comey Recommendation on Hillary Clinton Email Charges Is Too Predictable Charles Pierce, Esquire (resilc)

FBI’s Clinton decision proves rules don’t apply to rich and powerful The Hill

Why Democrats Don’t Get Sanders’ Endgame (and Why It Will Hurt Them in the End) Common Dreams (Sid S). As in “Democratic party hacks.”

Progressive Democrats of America Executive Director: We Will Not Endorse Clinton Real News (Sid S)

Trump to Capitol for frank talk with anxious GOP The Hill (furzy)

If You Like Obama, You’ll Love Trump! Counterpunch (resilc)

White House Countdown – Trump’s shortlist gets shorter (and longer) Financial Times. FWIW, I didn’t see these names on the short shortlists of the recent past.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz Prepares for 2020 Presidential Run Atlantic

Former Fox News Host Gretchen Carlson Accuses Roger Ailes of Crude, Relentless Sexual Harassment Daily Beast (furzy)

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Black man dies in new US police shooting BBC

Alton Sterling shooting: Second video of deadly encounter emerges CNN

Bill Gates And Other Billionaires Backing A Nuclear Renaissance OilPrice

Foreign Interest in U.S. Homes Cools WSJ Economics

Class Warfare

Why Clinton’s New Tuition-Free Plan Matters Corey Robin. Lambert: “Complex eligibility requirements with credentialed beneficiaries managing them.” Moi: “Does nothing to address real problem, which is skyrocketing costs with absolutely no improvement in the product.”

Twin Threats: How Disappearing Public Pensions Hurt Black Workers Demos (Judy B)

The 1% are recovering from 2008 recession while 99% are still waiting Guardian (resilc)

Antidote du jour. Mary L: “Took many photos of so many plump, colorful seastars at Humpy Creek, Kachemak Bay, Alaska at very low tide on 4th July w/e. It was nice to see them looking so healthy, as they have been having some illness up here the past few years and haven’t looked so nice.”

starfish 2 links

starfish 1

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. EndOfTheWorld

    Re: “FACE-OFF LOOMS OVER SOUTH CHINA SEA—I can’t open the link, but, yeah, this has been building up for a long time. It would not surprise me if it goes beyond words and into weapon usage soon.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Thanks, Bob. Yes, the writer notes that China will ignore the decision from the Hague, and speculates that China might be ready for war for the same reason nations always go into war—-because things are not so rosy on the home front, economically.

    1. TX trader

      The link is bad; it has ahttp://………. vs the correct http://……
      Works fine if extra leading “a” is removed

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Chinese revanchism for Greater China.

      Ironic that it is being decided in the Hague, the country of pirates roaming the South China Sea in the 16th and 17th centuries.

      The same country that occupied the first Chinese republic, the Lanfang Republic.

      From Wiki:

      The Lanfang Republic (Chinese: 蘭芳共和國; pinyin: Lánfāng Gònghéguó, Pha̍k-fa-sṳ: Làn-fông Khiung-fò-koet) was a Chinese state and kongsi federation in Western Borneo. It was established by a Hakka Chinese named Luo Fangbo (羅芳伯) in 1777, until it was ended by Dutch occupation in 1884. It was one of many tributary states of Qing China. Lanfang Republic is one of the early modern republics in the world.

      So, South China Sea Chinese remember the Dutch.

      And the Spaniards.

      From Wiki on Sangley Rebellion:

      The Sangley Rebellion was a Sangley rebellion which took place in Manila, Captaincy General of the Philippines, in October 1603.[1]
      The reasons for the rebellion are unclear,[2] but they seemed to have originated in the suspicions of the Archbishop of Manila Miguel de Benavides, O. P., that the Chinese had ambitions to control the Philippines.[1]

      1. Vatch

        Currently, there aren’t any Dutch or Spanish judges in the International Court of Justice:

        (sorry about the awkward formatting)

        Name Nationality Position Term began Term ends

        Ronny Abraham France Presidenta 2005 2018
        Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf Somalia Vice-Presidenta 2009 2018
        Hisashi Owada Japan Member 2003 2021
        Peter Tomka Slovakia Member 2003 2021
        Mohamed Bennouna Morocco Member 2006 2024
        Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade Brazil Member 2009 2018
        Sir Christopher Greenwood United Kingdom Member 2009 2018
        Xue Hanqin China Member 2010 2021
        Joan E. Donoghue United States Member 2010 2024
        Giorgio Gaja Italy Member 2012 2021
        Julia Sebutinde Uganda Member 2012 2021
        Dalveer Bhandari India Member 2012 2018
        James Crawford Australia Member 2015 2024
        Kirill Gevorgian Russia Member 2015 2024
        Patrick Lipton Robinson Jamaica Member 2015 2024

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Their glory, colonizing days are over, I guess.

          And the Lanfang Republic is all but forgotten.

          “No U.N. membership for you.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you hate broccoli, but still kill it by eating it, that’s a hate crime, actually a professed hate crime (sort of an in-your-face hate crime… “I hate you, broccoli”).

    1. Pirmann

      Time to rename it from Clinton Email Tar Baby to Clinton Email Bowl of Milk.

      There’s nothing left for Her to choke on.

      1. Antifa

        Au contraire, she is choking on it now, and will be gagging on it for the remainder of her lifetime. She’s a crook who was obviously guilty, but was let off the hook by political interference.

        What has ended is the likelihood of being imprisoned for her email violations. She can still be prosecuted and imprisoned for public corruption surrounding the Clinton Foundation, be rejected by the public and lose the election, be impeached if she wins the Oval Office, or so widely despised and ignored by Congress and the alphabet of agencies in DC that she is unable to accomplish anything.

        I betcha the Pentagon will refuse to follow her order to nuke Iran.

        1. Indrid Cold

          Notice how these scandals are always stage managed to create a ‘he said/she said’ dynamic that the corporate media turns into a discourse that’s all about the Democrats and Republicans whipping up their troops to defend or attack Clinton, Bush or whomever. Meanwhile, the actual facts and legal ramifications are lost on the cutting room floor. Literally in this case, since anything incriminating was, as Lambert has pointed out, excised from the record.

          Also apparantly the father of the oily hedgie who fathered the newest Clinton-spawn spent time in prison .

  2. msmolly

    One more try….FT is behind a paywall, so those of us who don’t pay can’t see Clinton’s wrinkles. (Sorry if this posts twice – it isn’t showing up.)

    1. Marco

      As stated here many a time. For most paywalled content goto Google and search article heading. That usually bypasses subscription check.

      1. msmolly

        That did work this time. It doesn’t always. Sometimes no work around does. But thanks.

    2. FriarTuck

      The standout from the FT article for me is this:

      That pivot also did not pan out. The offence proved unworthy of prosecution, as nearly everyone expected. The reason is simple: practically every government official with a security clearance has committed it.

      This is the exact same argument used for not prosecuting bank employees and executives for their malfeasance. “Everyone does it.” And what’s more there are plenty of examples of individuals committing the same offense and getting more than a slap on the wrist. I can’t believe the gall of the FT to trot out that argument.

      1. voteforno6

        Let’s be clear – not everyone with a clearance has done this. By government official, they mean the senior officials. The people in the trenches take security a lot more seriously, because they have to. If they don’t, they know that they are the ones that will face consequences. That’s not a concern of those in the senior ranks.

      2. JacobiteInTraining

        I still vividly recall my elementary school counselor reading our class a story. This was in first or second grade (I’m almost 50) and the story was basically a riff on “Its OK, Everybody Does It”.

        She went through various little sub stories, and although the protagonist of the story always said, at the start: “Its OK, Everybody Does It!” …it was made clear through the various consequences that no…its NOT OK if everyone does it! Two wrongs don’t make a right, even if only YOU know its wrong, well…you’ll know and thats enough to do the right thing.

        It had an impression, and I try to live with honesty and honor to this day.

        I guess precious few in the ruling elite had such a cool counselor at *their* elementary school. :(

      3. Kokuanani

        So wouldn’t “everyone does it” have proved an adequate defense for mobsters re murder, extortion, etc.?

        Too bad for the mobsters that Clinton, Holder, Lynch & Obama weren’t in charge of determining whether they should be prosecuted.

        1. Procopius

          Can you name any mobsters Clinton, Holder, Lynch, and Obama have prosecuted? Can you name any that have been prosecuted in the last ten years (by any federal States Attorney, including Preet Bharara)?

      4. ahimsa

        I think the FT article offers a good insight of how many rationalise Clinton’s behaviour (nothing burger):
        C’mon! There are so many rules – everybody breaks the rules sometimes; full enforcement would result in every second person being prosecuted.

        The two glaring omissions:
        1. Leaders are supposed to lead by example – Clinton is running for “leader of the free world”.
        2. There are only illegitimate reasons for a senior government employee to set up a secret private server to send/receive/archive/delete official (+ private) correspondence.

      5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They have just handed the Little People a magic wand.

        Public that list of almost everyone.

        “Prosecutors, prosecute.”

        Of course, this will reduce the number of public officials. That’d be good.

        We have too many public officials.

        “In chess, when the other player gives you an opening, the wise thing is to complete and finish out the play for him/her.”

      6. John k

        It’s an absurd argument. Nobody ever before had their own server so they could permanently avoid Foia requests. And doing this only makes sense if you have a continuous stream of stuff to hide.
        That is the point, hope trump reminds voters often.

      7. Propertius

        If I’d done it when I had an active clearance, I have no doubt that I’d have been prosecuted. I would certainly have lost my clearance and my job on the spot.

      8. Pookah Harvey

        The FT article certainly had the “Nothing to see here” attitude.
        An article on Real Clear Politics with a similar name came up with a very different verdict:

        “Clinton Email Scandal: It’s Far From Over”

        “Are there verbatim leaks from secret documents, especially late in the campaign?

        If you see those, they won’t say, “Courtesy of the Kremlin,” but that’s who will be leaking them. Right now, we simply don’t know if the Russians, Chinese, Iranians, or others managed to hack Hillary’s servers. Comey only said the servers “might” have been breached. We won’t know until late September and early October, when the campaign is in the final stretch.

        Why would Moscow want to damage Hillary and help Trump?

        The answer, in a word, is NATO. Under President Bill Clinton, NATO expanded into Central and Eastern Europe, right up to Russia’s door, thanks to American support. Putin has made clear that expanding NATO even further, to Ukraine and Georgia, is completely unacceptable”

        ” It (Russia) has formidable cyber-espionage capabilities, and it surely knew, from the beginning, that Hillary Clinton had posted a giant “Hack My Server” sign on her back. That’s why cybersecurity experts fear the Russians had access to everything that passed through her system”. .

        1. Procopius

          “That’s why cybersecurity experts fear the Russians had access to everything that passed through her system” This seems to me to be evidence that the neocons are having success ginning up support for their war with Russia. If the Russians knew about the private server, so did the Chinese, the British, the Iranians, the Israelis, and Anonymous. To me the lack of exposure is just more evidence that there was nothing that seriously deserved classification on the server. Probably lots that would embarrass certain officials, but usually it’s not in the interests of foreign governments to leak that kind of stuff.

  3. Butch In Waukegan

    The Wolves of Silicon Valley: how megalomaniacs in hoodies became tech’s answer to Wall Street – The Telegraph

    The spirit of Silicon Valley, he says, is changing. What sprang from a 1960s counterculture is morphing into just another industry where Ivy League kids go to try to make a name for themselves. ‘So many people in tech have no sense of right or wrong’, [Martínez] says describing one guy he saw close up behaving abusively in the form of a gangster rather than a company exec. “He’d probably be in jail if he had a bit more violence to him,” he says. “These companies are temples to the founders’ egos. You don’t even have that level of self worship on Wall Street.”

  4. Ignim Brites

    Will we ever get a Chilcot report on the illusions promoted to support the decision to invade Afghanistan? Both Clinton and Trump will doubtlessly continue that misbegotten effort. And why in the world are we engaged in a war against ISIS? Trump promises to intensify that war and Clinton probably will too. Certainly no one is calling for diplomatic recognition of the caliphate and negotiations to end hostilities.

    1. Procopius

      We don’t need a Chilcot report. We (at least I) remember. There were no valid reasons. There was only a spasm of unreasoning rage. Oh, they came along after and talked about preventing terrorists from establishing bases there, but that’s BS. Terrorist organizations don’t need bases. They don’t need training camps. Yes, a more or less permanent physical location is useful, but not necessary. We could allow the Taliban to resume their governance or the rest of Afghanistan tomorrow and Al Qaeda would not be strengthened thereby. They now have all the camps they need in Lebanon and Syria. Presumably in Iraq, too.

  5. RabidGandhi

    Anyway we can get some of Bandar Mahshahr’s excess heat shipped down here to MacriLand? We got our June gas bill yesterday: $2300 pesos to heat a small 3BR house! That’s a 350% increase over last year, and our bill amounts to 45% of the minimum wage! and this is all in spite of the fact that we have been sleeping all 4 of us in the same bedroom to avoid heating costs, with my kids a so bundled up they look like little Argentine Michelin men.

    Once again, left out in the cold by neoliberalism.

      1. RabidGandhi

        $1927.13 USD (in US, not to mention the cost of schlepping it down here). That’s equivalent to 6 months’ minimum wage. Looks like the plan is to liberate us from even more of our dwindling savings.

        1. JohnnyGL

          You’re in Argentina? Things like “unaffordable heat” seem like a great way to get yourself thrown out of office pretty quickly. Especially with record low fuel prices around the world.

          Is Macri’s popularity holding up? He looked like overstepped his mandate right out of the gates, going for full-on shock doctrine as quickly as he could. I haven’t read much on what he’s up to lately. Are the unions still opposing him vigorously, or have they submitted? I can’t see much prospect for an export boom like the one that helped finance the recovery after 2001, with commodity prices so low.

          I keep looking at Temer’s coup government in Brazil and wondering how long he’s going to hang on for, also. He’s so unpopular and has no mandate. I was happy to see those prosecutors in Sao Paulo going after some key figures in his cabinet.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Last poll on Macri (UCA) had his approval rating at 44%– not too bad, but that was before the utility increases began to hit. You are right about the whole shock doctrine thing, but it seems to have been an effective policy for them. In most of the legislation they have pushed (privatising the state pension fund, paying the vulture funds, money laundering amnesty…) their strategy has been to go for broke, putting in just batshit crazy neoliberal measures, then the Peronist opposition gets them to make a few cosmetic changes so they look like they’re fighting, and we end up with the typical Washington Consensus package after all.

            There were protests in several cities last night, and 4 local courts have put restraining orders on the gas and electricity increases. The first one put a limit of 400% on any increases, but the Govt said that was too low! So they are hoping the Supreme Court will rule on it, because they think they have the votes to keep the price increases in place.

            As for the unions, there was never the “vigourous” opposition you mentioned. Most of the major union leadership is in bed with Macri, so the protests have been touch-and-go as they try to keep the rank and file in line.

            Meanwhile, people are really suffering. The basic foodbasket has gone up over 25% just in 6 months and is projected to be up over 40% on the year. Compare this to the cost of living raises negotiated by the Ministry of Labour, which were around 20%, based on the govt’s claim that inflation would be “20% or 25% tops”. Meanwhile, since Macri took office over 225,000 jobs have been lost and nearly 10 million people have dropped below the poverty line.

        2. Steve H.

          Aya. If you have dry conditions, perhaps a thermal mass rocket stove might be appropriate. I can’t do one here, as the humid conditions cause spalling, and meant I had to look at a metal stove. If you can have the thermal mass type, you can use local materials for nearly free to build it.

          If the exchange rate is running true, your energy costs are about the same scale in wage hours. We insulated to the point it was worth it, and then went to figuring out a heat source that wasn’t electric-dependent. It can be worse than broken water pipes if the power goes out in the winter.

          1. subgenius

            Could you explain that further (rocket mass stove / spalling)?

            I don’t see how humid conditions would be an issue, but interested to find out more – I have a moderate degree of experience (I learnt the concept directly from Ianto Evans 10-15 years ago)

    1. Jim Haygood

      At the midpoint of the dólar official quote from Ambito (14,6 compra / 15,0 venta) = 14.8 pesos per USD, your gas bill would convert to US$ 155.40.

      Yeah, that’s a shocker compared to ten years ago, when someone showed me their gas bill for a private house in Buenos Aires — it was running US$ 6 per month, at deeply subsidized prices.

      Take off the subsidies and yes, prices do rise to market levels. But, maybe, utility companies that no longer operate at chronic losses finally will make the capital investment to end rotating electric power blackouts, for lack of installed capacity.

      Argentine houses usually have plenty of thermal mass, a good strategy in a mild, sunny climate. But there’s little concept of insulation. Double-pane windows (imported from Germany at astronomical prices) used to be marketed for noise reduction, not energy savings, back when no one cared about their trivially low, subsidized utility bills.

      If Germany’s fanatically air-sealed, thermal-barriered Passivhaus represents one extreme, Argentina’s casually leaky, uninsulated houses represent about as far as you can go in the opposite direction, without actually living outdoors.

      1. RabidGandhi

        No one has yet been able to explain to me why public utilities need to turn a profit, or even not incur losses. You are welcome to try.

        Are you saying it’s a good thing we are now subject to “The Market” because Mr Market will now in his ever subtle way nudge my nieghbours (who are at this very moment burning garbage to stay warm) to install double panes on their shanty houses?

        And 155.48 USD may seem a normal gas bill for you with your USD wages, but the average wage here is 1/3 of what it is in the US. Do you really expect the average worker to pay 40% of her income in utilities? Not to mention the effect this has on inflation as companies raise prices to pay their own power bills. And all this grows the economy how?

        1. Jim Haygood

          Did not mean to sound harsh. But decades of near-free utilities have left Argentina a half century behind the rest of world when it comes to energy conservation. Green it is not.

          This can’t be fixed overnight. Social benefits are the bridge to help those who can’t afford market priced utilities. Venezuela’s plight illustrates what happens when ALL necessities are sold at far below market — severe shortages, plus giving benefits to people who don’t need them.

          That’s why, during the latter days of the Kirchner admin, utility rates were increased first in rich BsAs neighborhoods such as Palermo and Recoleta. They didn’t need cheap utilities.

          1. RabidGandhi

            Worse: when I used to live in BA, I would walk down major avenues and the large department stores would have their huge 5 meter long sliding doors permanently open– with the freakin AC cranked on full.

            Is there really no happy medium between that and having prices so high that we need to sleep all in one room? Corporations do not need subsidised cheap utilities, but yes people do; especially when you’ve decided to increase poverty by 20%. I just asked a coworker if the corporations have cut down their energy use in BA– he LOLd. So that is the strategy: Socialism for the rich and Mr Market for the poor.

            Aggregate demand, comrades: it’s so passée.

            And PS: in case you were wondering, why yes our new Energy Minister Aranguren does have huge stock holdings in his ex-company Shell, which has been the main beneficiary of this whole nightmare. But James Comey just announced that that is not a prosecutable conflict of interest, so nothing to see here.

            1. Jim Haygood

              We at least agree on the energy conservation aspect. Walk down Avenida Santa Fe in Buenos Aires in high summer, and cool yourself with the torrents of chilled air pouring out the open front doors of high-end retail shops.

              This does not offend Argentine sensibilities at all. That’s a deformation of culture produced by deformed prices.

              1. I Have Strange Dreams

                You just argued that magical Mr. Market only applies to those who have to worry about money. The culture of the rich everywhere is the same – deformed, as you like to term it. I imagine many Argentines are offended at the crassness on display on Avenida Santa Fe.

              2. Skippy

                Jim I wonder if you head is sore from expectations of others due to a fundamentalist econnomics perspective….

                Do you understand basic micro?

                Take scenario (b). Now go and look at your micro book on revealed preferences. It will tell you that we gain insight into preferences in the manner that people consume. We then assume preferences are fixed and we can then see how people respond to price signals. Then we can calculate demand elasticities etc.

                However, if preferences fluctuate then how can we see how people respond to price fluctuations? Any time we saw a change in demand when the price rises/falls this may just be due to preferences changing and have nothing to do with demand elasticities.

                I really think that people should consider that maybe — just MAYBE — Samuelson and Marshall knew what they were saying when they explicitly stated that the theory required fixed preferences… But the amount of times I’ve had to explain this leads me to believe that very few people actually understand the theory. – PP

                You might also question the neoclassical green thingy… price mechanics is popular science ‘green revolution’ methodology wrt any sort of environmentalism. Most of the information has to be ignored to make it work and hence can’t even begin to process the necessary information to let alone observe the entire problem set let alone solutions… EMH strikes again…

                Disheveled Marsupial…. FFS stop confusing identities as fixed… at some point one has to wonder if its willful…

                  1. Skippy

                    Your confusing fixed identity in a model by the authors intent with secondary or real world outcomes as elasticity…

                    Disheveled Marsupial… Jim can argue for himself or conversely the paper he is beholden too… massive chip on the shoulder due to old paper outcomes… not very intellectual imo…

              3. Skippy

                Here did you go Jim – ?????

                “That’s a deformation of culture produced by deformed prices.”

                Disheveled Marsupial… you mean deviant Jim… in your vernacular deformation is deviant from the rational agent model…

  6. rich

    Hillary Clinton Could Get Away With Murder – Defining Deviance Down

    The FBI’s announcement that it won’t recommend criminal charges against Hillary Clinton is not only a stunning repudiation of the rule of law, it’s a coronation of American royalty. The FBI told us that Hillary broke the law, but that it’s of no consequence because she, like a queen (or king), is above the law.

    You don’t need to look beyond the four corners of the very FBI announcement that exonerates Clinton to see that she committed a crime carrying up to a 10-years sentence in prison. The FBI’s internal inconsistency—concluding that Clinton is above the very law that the FBI just finished showing that Clinton violated—is a glaring rejection of the rule of law, and a formal adoption of a legal system premised on royalty.

    What’s so noteworthy is how far the FBI went out of its way to make it clear that while Hillary Clinton is above the law, the rest of us remain very much at its mercy (like serfs in a kingdom).

    Before showing as much, let’s be clear about what the rule of law is, and about its mortal enemy, the rule of kings. When it comes to governance, there are two and only two systems. They are mutually exclusive. Either the law is reigns supreme over the land, or men do. It’s one or the other.

    Since its inception, the U.S. has self-identified as a nation of laws, not of men. The U.S., of course, has never lived up to this impossibly perfect ideal, but there is no dispute whatsoever that the rule of law is the reigning ideal against which justice is measured. The negation of the rule of law is the reign of a king (or queen).

    The American implementation of the rule of law has several corollaries, including:

    James Comey: “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.”

    Well, there you have it. We’ve known for some time that the rule of law is dead in the U.S. What we didn’t know is who the new king or queen would be. The FBI just told us in three different ways.

    All Hail, Queen Hillary—and keep your own noses clean, serfs.

    Now let’s see how many peons, having been apprised by the highest authorities in the land that there is in fact a Queen ruling over them, actually line up to vote for Her Highness so as to advance their own subjugation. This massive public display of abject and willing servility, just 4 months away now, promises to be breathtaking.

    Wonder what Elizabeth Warren thinks about the “new” rules of law? She represents us peons, right?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Has anyone else noticed that Elizabeth has suddenly become very quiet? Wonder if she doesn’t want to have her name near the email tarball.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        The issue is Clinton Inc. You simply can’t polish a turd, and no one has that kind of credibility, not Sanders, not Warren, not Obama.

        It’s possible she’s been told her email list has seen a mass unsubscribe or probably the Clinton campaign people have noticed Liz didn’t bring in support.

        1. Rhondda

          I have unsubscribed from everything democrat or democrat-associated. Orgs, campaigns, pubs, you name it. Liz Warren’s email list was the very first one I unsubbed from. I’ve told every single organization or campaign that the reason I am unsubscribing is their support for and association with the corrupt and criminal Hillary Clinton. I hope there are millions like me who are sending the ‘screw you’ message. Basta!

          1. DarkMatters

            I’m seething like you are, but I find continuous relief more helpful.

            To the tune of unsuppressable memories of H gleefuly cackling “We came, we saw, he died.”, I’ve heard Wasserman-Schulz promoting H over the last year before the primaries; I’ve read read about Saudi largesse to H; and I’ve watched MoveOn organize idiotic anti-Trump rallies when they should have been going pro-Bernie and anti-H (which would’ve guaranteed a Bernie shoo-in), and, most recently, watched the Dems adopt a party platform that would do the Republicans proud.

            So for the last year, I’ve been returning every contribution request with a note saying that they’ll get no funding from me until the Dems start showing support for actual democratic values, and until then, or when hell freezes over, I’ll be sending any contributions to candidates I actually support. This gives me a chance to vent my feelings about the scandal of the week, and the catharsis improves my disposition greatly. Right now, for example, I’m anticipating their next request so I can purge my anger, like yours, built up over this issue.

            And I always ask them to provide us with a candidate who isn’t worse than Trump.

          2. Dave

            We got one of those “Wish Barack a Happy Birthday” cards from Michelle, with a solicitation for donating to the DNC. Thanks to the postage paid envelope, we got to send them a nasty GFY note. If you get one of your own, make sure and mail it back to them with an explanation of why you’ll never donate one cent to them. Or, maybe send them one cent taped to the note?

            Question: If you tape their postage paid envelope to the face of a 15 pound cement brick and mail it, will the post office send it and charge them first class postage?

    2. Sam Adams

      You wrote that thought well. We’ve just past the Battle of Actium, we are now moving from the republic to empire. Let’s hope we have a similar period of the ‘good’ emperors. The founders knew thier history.

      1. hunkerdown

        All the better to recreate it in their own image, wasn’t it?

        Yet, for some reason we seem constrained to reenact history in order, rather than skipping straight to holding the gate open for the Visigoths, with the hope that the Ivies will be burned to the ground with its knowledge of the care and feeding of hierarchical authoritarian societies. We’d be better off never to know that.

    3. Waldenpond

      [James Comey: “To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.”]

      and likely…. Rs will put on a show but steer clear of any impactful questions.

      1. Antifa

        Right then. After Mr. Comey’s almost-real-indictment of Hillary, the three words no one must never say in public are:



        and of course, semprini.”

  7. Anne

    I don’t know what these politicians expect Comey and Lynch to tell them that they haven’t already told the world, but apparently, they are convinced that the pomp and circumstance of testifying before some Congressional committee will bring out the truth, the real story. Because, of course, Loretta Lynch will reveal that her meeting with Bill on the tarmac was as nefarious as we all think it was. And Jim Comey will confirm that he was the only thing standing between Hillary and her having to join Edward Snowden in Russian exile to avoid being the next victim of Obama’s war on people who don’t know how to keep secrets.

    The questions that should be being asked are about the nexus between Hillary’s work as Secretary of State and the deals being made with Clinton Foundation donors. The Clintons weren’t trading arms for hostages, but it seems like they were using her office – and the government’s money – to facilitate deals that triangulated a lot of cash into their own pockets.

    Slick Hillary: looking at compilations of her many carefully-parsed statements about the e-mails over the last year, you realize that she gave us all a version of “it depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

    No thanks – can’t do that. I can’t even hold my nose and do it.

    1. sd

      Bryan Pagliano took the fifth something like 125 times. So what does Pagliano know that Comey does not? Because clearly, there’s something there that does indeed look like intent and not just a case of being “extremely careless”

      1. Archie

        Yes he did, and it was in answer to the FBI investigation. But he conveniently was given limited immunity from prosecution as part of a DOJ investigation which presumably necessitated all of those pleas. Presto! Both agencies have political cover.

        1. NYPaul

          In business, young trainees are taught a simple program called, “Management by Objectives.” Very basically, it instructs a manager to utilize a technique whereby he/she begins a project by mentally visualizing the ultimate end result. By incorporating something similar to reverse engineering, he/she, then, simply, takes the necessary steps in reverse, and, voila, we have a successful conclusion.

          And, so it was with Comey’s address. Knowing what the “punchline,” or conclusion, would be,”….we are expressing to Justice our view that no charges are appropriate in this case,” prior to even sitting down to write the full statement, the only chore left for him was finding enough filler bullet points giving the impression (rightfully, IMO) that the investigation was conducted diligently & thoroughly.

          At this point in time we can only speculate as to Director Comey’s true, personal feelings. Hopefully, it won’t be long before the complete story regarding the address, and, conclusion is leaked to the public.

    2. Carla

      “The questions that should be being asked are about the nexus between Hillary’s work as Secretary of State and the deals being made with Clinton Foundation donors.” — Ding, Ding, Ding!

        1. rich

          Lynch and Comey both played a role at HSBC.

          Loretta Lynch was HSBC’s “prosecutor.” When Holder punted on the HSBC case, Lynch did something highly unusual: she kept the case open on Judge John Gleeson’s docket. Gleeson was openly puzzled by the move, but saw no reason not to go along with the procedure, however odd, since Lynch and HSBC had both agreed to it.

          What Judge Gleeson didn’t know was that the HSBC case, having been held open like it was, would be used as a pretext for the DOJ to claim that it couldn’t identify regulators on active cases (like HSBC). That’s exactly what Mythili Raman claimed when asked by Congress in May of 2013. It was a way for her to duck the fact that Breuer had been lying through his teeth, and that all of the DOJ’s financial destabilization experts were, in fact, the banks themselves. Less than a year after that hearing, Raman ended her 17-year DOJ career and went to…. Breuer and Holder’s law firm. See how this works?

          This brings us to James Comey. In early 2013, Comey joined HSBC’s board of directors. Only then was Comey’s name floated as a replacement for FBI Director Robert Mueller. By accepting blood money from HSBC, Comey signaled the financial criminals that he’d play ball and ignore the law, as he did today when he focused on intent rather than gross negligence, which is sufficient by itself for indictment and conviction.

          Lynch sent the same signal to the financial criminals in charge by entering into a screwy settlement agreement that flummoxed a long-standing judge but that provided cover for Lanny Breuer’s preposterous lies about government regulators assessing the financial impact of criminal prosecutions.

          Whenever you want to know how a high-profile case like Clinton’s will turn out, just turn off the TV and throw the New York Times and other mainstream piles of misinformation into the trash can. Just spend 10 minutes or so on google looking at the bios of the key decision makers, and the clues will hit you in the face harder than Earnie Shavers, I promise.

          These hearings are a joke b/c they will never ask questions in the CONTEXT of previous relationships and conflicts….all for show.

          1. Enquiring Mind

            Because National Security, today’s refrain to the ever-popular Because Markets.
            We simple plebes just wouldn’t understand what our betters, and bettors, know and act upon.

            1. RWood

              “In addition, in the service of that faith [a faith-based system of secrecy], NSS [National Security State] officials may–and their religion permits this–lie to and manipulate the public, Congress, allies, or anyone else, and do so without compunction. They may publicly deny realities they know to exist, or offer, as Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic has written, statements ‘exquisitely crafted to mislead.’ They do this based on the belief that the deepest secrets of their world and its operations can only truly be understood by those already inducted into their orders.”
              (Shadow Government, Tom Englehart)
              So, QED. Hill’s in NSS and not just SoS!

          2. barrisj

            Well said, as I have followed much of HBSC’s activities in the US and abroad for several years, and it is extremely difficult indeed to view this “bank” as anything other than an out-and-out criminal organisation, almost priding themselves as being banksters to gangster cartels round the world…of all the major banks whose executives should have been arraigned for blatant criminal acts, HBSC stands out in a crowded field.

    3. MsExPat

      The Counterpunch piece by Jill Stein (more a less a reprint of her press release from yesterday) nails Anne’s point cogently and succinctly. It reinforces my feeling that the next important thing to do, now that Sanders is receding (and may, god forbid, do a Clinton endorsement) is get Stein into the presidential debates. And if that is not possible, to work to raise her profile so that more people have access what she’s saying.

      Love that Stein caught the issue that more than half of Clinton’s emails were personal, not work-related. Could it be that the woman who is constantly claiming she “works so hard” for US (cough) is a slacker?:

      Hillary Clinton deleted 30,000 emails claiming they were ‘personal’. This is equal to the volume of her emails designated as department business. If half of an employee’s email volume is for their personal business, they are not using their time for their job.

      If Secretary Clinton was conducting personal business for her family Foundation through the Secretary of State’s Office, this is a matter the American public deserves to know about. As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton routinely granted lucrative special contracts, weapons deals and government partnerships to Clinton Foundation donors. The Secretary of State’s office should not be a place to conduct private back room business deals.

      The blurring of the lines between Clinton family private business and national security matters in the Secretary of State Office underscores evidence on many other fronts that Hillary Clinton is serving the 1%, not we the people.

      1. fresno dan

        July 7, 2016 at 10:22 am
        I made that very point also – it is just part of the obnoxious self promotion of the Clintoon brand.
        Of course, I think she was working hard – arranging The Grift…

      2. Anne

        Don’t know if this article has been linked to, but it describes a number of “issues,” among them:

        Before becoming Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills worked for Clinton on an unpaid basis for four month while also working for New York University, in which capacity she negotiated on the school’s behalf with the government of Abu Dhabi, where it was building a campus. In June 2012, Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin’s status at State changed to “special government employee,” allowing her to also work for Teneo, a consulting firm run by Bill Clinton’s former right-hand man. She also earned money from the Clinton Foundation and was paid directly by Hillary Clinton. In a separate case, ABC News reports that a top Clinton Foundation donor named Rajiv Fernando was placed on State’s International Security Advisory Board. Fernando appeared significantly less qualified than many of his colleagues, and was appointed at the behest of the secretary’s office. Internal emails show that State staff first sought to cover for Clinton, and then Fernando resigned two days after ABC’s inquiries.


        Overall, however, the essential questions about the Clinton Foundation come down to two, related issues. The first is the seemingly unavoidable conflicts of interest: How did the Clintons’ charitable work intersect with their for-profit speeches? How did their speeches intersect with Hillary Clinton’s work at the State Department? Were there quid-pro-quos involving U.S. policy? Did the foundation steer money improperly to for-profit companies owned by friends? The second, connected question is about disclosure. When Clinton became secretary, she agreed that the foundation would make certain disclosures, which it’s now clear it didn’t always do. And the looming questions about Clinton’s State Department emails make it harder to answer those questions.

        It’s just a festering boil of corruption and greed; I’d really rather it not explode all over us for the next 4 years.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          At some point we all have a Wily E. Coyote moment and recognize that the entire fabric of Western institutions is utterly and completely corrupt. Railing about each new outrage and violation is pointless, the “rule of law” will never, not ever, catch up with this crowd.
          So save it. May I suggest you do what Blair war crimes demonstrators in the UK are doing today, and that is getting mad, getting out in the streets, and getting heard. Force: it’s the only thing these fascists understand.

          1. Alex morfesis

            Nyet, 9, nicht…noise only shows weakness…if one wanted to make clowns that bee pee in their adult diapers on que…short, quiet, disciplined, ten minute flash mobs…prearranged preprocessing with giant barcodes tags via an attorney going to the chief judge of whatever jurisdiction is appropriate…better yet…do these in front of the major tv stations where they can just walk outside and take pictures…and video…

            Play to win…noise is so pedestrian…

            1. hunkerdown

              Bzzt. Flashmobs and such things are organized on their turf, that is, the digital corporate world, and can be turned off at a whim by one anonymous professional-class gatekeeper’s order.

              Noise and strength aren’t just for the adversary’s benefit. There are relationships to build here.

    4. fresno dan

      My view is that the repubs, in their reflexive stand on opposing the dems, by any means necessary, ONLY for the purpose of getting power to get The Grift, simply lack any moral or principled standing to challenge dems – on anything.

      Was there something wrong with Benghazi? Sure, but the repubs would have to acknowledge that it was overthrowing a mideast dictator and more military action (something most repubs reflexively believe in) with no particular will and no history that we can rebuild society there (unless of course, the REAL plan is never ending turmoil there). But the repubs are the ONLY beings on earth that could hold a hearing on Benghazi and make Clintoon look good – by a stubborn refusal to deal with the issue at hand.

      Theoretically, repubs are supposedly in favor of limited, constitution government (but it is only branding used for advertising). When they supported Bush and the Patriot Act, and all the expansions of the police and war state under Obama, any such argument about limiting the power of government went right out the window. The twisting of existing law and the word games to justify Torture means the repubs just lack any stature to argue that the state is constrained – that there are simply things the government CANNOT do – inalienable rights and all that stuff. Or even a respect for law that would demand prosecution of bankers.

      The contradiction of ‘Equal justice under law’ and ‘A nation of laws, not men’ is that humans must enforce these principals – that these sentiments, to be more than sentiment, must entail something that demands something of one self other than getting re-elected, or conducting yourself so that if by some miracle one is not re-elected, one than can’t come back and work as a Washington lobbyist – because the most important part of a government career is cashing in. That government is more than expanding tax cuts or extending copyright to the biggest political donors, or ensuring that the power of the government is not used against your friends. The repubs have pandered and genuflected to their base, trivializing reality, logic, and honor in the process and enforcing a party discipline that puts party loyalty above thinking.

      The repubs can’t ask ANY sacrifice of team blue with regard to Hillary or anything else, because they never demanded ANYTHING of team red.

      1. Jim Haygood

        “repubs are supposedly in favor of limited, constitutional government (but it is only branding used for advertising)”

        Exactly and precisely correct, Doctor Dan.

        On that note, see my post below — Newt is back!

  8. MED

    I cannot believe no one was recommended criminal charges. Those classified documents just did not magically get into the emails and chains by their selves. Need to go up the chain to find out who sent it. Also cannot believe anyone in the chain didn’t call out a problem.
    If I was a government employee or contractor and have a clearance would think they would receive the same deal should (not) go to work on Friday, find a reason.

    1. cwaltz

      One of my questions is, “Did Hillary Clinton ever tell anyone that Sidney Blumenthal had access to information that he wasn’t supposed to have?”

      If someone who doesn’t have a “need to know” tells me information that is not supposed to be common knowledge, I’m pretty sure I’m supposed to inform folks that our intelligence has been breeched. The only way Obama wouldn’t have had to be informed that our intelligence was common knowledge when it wasn’t supposed to be is if Clinton was sharing when she wasn’t supposed to, a big no no.

  9. Steve H.

    – ‘He is losing support of the membership by the day, there is no doubt about that, but they just sign up new members to replace them. He is Teflon in that sense.’

    Some problems are also solutions.

  10. Carolinian

    Re Tesla and the glass cockpit problem: can anyone deny that the Tesla accident was the fault of the driver? Tesla made it abundantly clear that drivers should keep both hands on the wheel and not cede all control to the automation. That some people choose to ignore this is in the same category as people who choose to drive 90 on the freeway. And while a few recent airline accidents can be blamed on the pilot/automation problem it’s undeniably true that flying is vastly safer than it once was and computers and automation have much to do with that.`So here’s hoping for better drivers/pilots, less technophobia.

    1. RabidGandhi

      The article argues the opposite, saying yes automation is good in planes but it does have a downside of making pilots more lax. This downside is far more serious in cars because they have a much shorter reaction time. And google acknowledged this and switched courses, but Tesla being the innovative little snowflake that it is, refuses to see this.

      It’s hardly a luddite argument.

      1. Carolinian

        So should cars do away with cruise control which can also plow you into somebody if you aren’t paying attention? It’s up to drivers to understand their own technology including, of course, knowing how to properly drive a car in the first place.

        But the responsibility question aside, it’s clear in the case of the airlines that advanced technology has saved more lives than it has cost and someday that may also be true of cars. My comment was in response to knee jerk assumptions made during this transition phase, not an attack on the article in question.

        And btw it’s not all proven that automation “made” those pilots more lax or prone to mistakes. Airlines are lowering their standards for pilot training and paying them less money. So let’s instead blame it on neoliberalism. Now there’s something that’s broken.

        1. diptherio

          I’m no expert, but I did read that article and they made it pretty clear that a pilot’s manual ability was highly correlated to how often and how recently they had engaged in manual flying. The less a pilot has to do that, the worse they are at it in an emergency when they have to do it.

          As for this horrible idea of “auto-piloted” cars, I think they’ve gone one or two steps beyond where the tech is helpful. The collision avoidance tech that has been being advertised on some luxury cars for a few years now seems like the right amount of automated control — i.e. the computer over-ride should be the exception, not the rule. And living in a state with a lot of drunk driving deaths, this kind of thing worries me since it will make it all the easier for people to get behind the wheel schnockered. “Don’t worry, the auto-pilot will get us home safe.”

          1. barrisj

            Several auto manufactures offer now what is called “adaptive cruise control” (ACC), wherein – when engaged – one’s car keeps a preset distance from the vehicle immediately in front of one, and the feature includes fully automated braking that prevents a rear-ender, all the way to a full stop. We travel constantly using this feature, as it adds a supplemental pair of “eyes” and a quick foot on the brakes if one’s attention is only momentarily diverted and the car one is following suddenly slows down. Again, driver responsibility is not relieved by this feature, it simply adds another layer of safety when used correctly.

          2. Jake

            Diptherio you have a point but I think your consideration is limited. There is a growing population demographic that is in dire need of transportation and that is the elderly. Having watched carefully but somewhat helplessly as my parents and others have gone from fully mobile to housebound and then dependent on th limited facilities provided by “retirement homes” I can attest to their need for more transportation options. When your senses are unreliable and your reflexes nonexistent, not to mention limited strength etc, driverless vehicles seem to offer a great service.

            Yes, this brings new danger, but this may be in conjunction with much reduced dangers from human factors currently in play.

            1. hunkerdown

              That’s an argument for public transit more than another private jobs program for the professional class.

        2. tegnost

          cruise control, easily engaged with ones dextrous fingers, takes away temporarily one of the few tasks required of drivers and disengages as one taps the brakes and restores modulation to the driver. Your fine brain is a better driver than a computer, your eyes take in the data, your mind assesses the risk, you adjust or don’t, and there are at times consequences when you don’t, but remember the other cars on the road are guided by other human brain computers who are also assessing the risk that you are a lousy driver and at times those other deftly adjust the attitude and pace of their particular automobile in order to avoid crashing into you when you do something daft. Computers don’t assess risk they keep track of data and apply the expectation that no other vehicle will be erratic. This is why when the techies gather and wax eloquent on self driving cars they admit that there can only be self driving cars. Everyone has to give up driving. It’s ridiculous, but will make an income stream similar to the amazon river for silly con valley (you know, that place where they basically never finish anything, there’s bugs, loose ends, and other unfinished business in every tech release that will presumably be fixed by the next update) Since we’re unlikely to replace every vehicle with self drivers expect more of the vaunted computer failing to properly assess the driving environment leading to more bad PR (oops, i mean fatal crashes) Funny anecdote my friend who is self driving obsessed either can’t or won’t use cruise control, which I have found baffling for many years, but is more than happy to cede control to an as yet unfinished computer program….I still wonder what the tech world thinks we’re all going to do with our lives, what I tend to hear is virtual reality and sex bots. Doesn’t sound that great to me.

          1. Carolinian

            Yes, if only all cars were driven by people with fine brains. Hey I used to live in Atlanta. I know crazy.

            This new technology is still being worked out. I’m not as much of a techno-optimist as Mish but don’t assume it’s not going to happen.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You can’t mix automobiles and horses on the freeway.

            Neither can you mix self-driving cars with non-self-driving cars. Honking at a self-driving car will be the most frustrating experience ever, I imagine.

            “I am late for my saving-the-world-meeting with the president, you stupid self-driving car!!!”

            How is it going to tell that from

            “I am late for hot date, you stupid self-driving car!!!”

            In one case, it should yield, like it (and we all) should with an ambulance; while in the other case, it should try to calm our young Lothario down.

        3. Optimader

          Ultimatly the issue is the nut behind the wheel not tbe technology. Inappropriate and overconfident dependence has always been the darkside of new technology.
          That said Its one the provider to not oversell
          The future is plastics…

    2. dianwer

      To me the problem is tech-CEOs that do not understand their own technology. Sure Tesla claims the driver should not cede control, and then at the same time you have their CEO Elon Musk tweeting videos of people ceding full control to the car, or him making statements like (and I am paraphrasing) 50% of traffic fatalities can be eliminated if humans stop driving and use our technology.

      The flying issue you bring up is a red-herring. Flying is much easier than driving from an automation standpoint, because you do not have to worry about anything that cannot be easily detected with existing sensors like radar. And even then automation can lead to problems with airlines, and there are several well-known examples of accidents (like an Asiana Airlines bad landing in SFO that caused some fatalities and many injuries). Sensing is very difficult in cars, and the physics is not well understood either.

      My expectation is we will not have full autonomy in cars within my lifetime. The majority of the auto industry is focusing on smart driver-assistance systems that will provide automation only in bad scenarios. (Think smart ABS or collision-avoidance systems.)

        1. Steve Gunderson

          Lotta hate for the Musk, but all the other car manufacturers are also working on electric and self-driving cars.

          Will there be so much hate for Mercedes and BMW in a few years?

        2. subgenius

          +all the points…his sister is the same, I hate life when either are implicated.

    3. cnchal

      . . . can anyone deny that the Tesla accident was the fault of the driver?

      Familiarity with the way the self driving mode worked brings confidence to the driver to let the car do it’s own thing. This accident could have been avoided even without two hands on the wheel, if there had been just one eye on the road. Everything was fine until a particular condition which the programmers didn’t conceive happened, a truck with a white trailer turning left on a bright day, something that happens at least a few million times a day.

      As for driving 90 MPH on the freeway, it is perfectly safe depending on conditions and only dangerous to one’s drivers license.

    4. diptherio

      People are already, by and large, poor drivers…even without distractions from cell-phones, radios, passengers, food, etc. This will only make things worse.

      It’s not technophobia to realize that not everything is improved by adding computers to it. Diminishing marginal returns (followed by negative marginal returns) applies to technology just as it does to everything else. The archdruid report this week addresses precisely this point, though in narrative form.

    5. roadrider

      can anyone deny that the Tesla accident was the fault of the driver?

      No, but that’s exactly the point. The semi-autonomous character of the Tesla autopilot lulled the driver into a false sense of security that his input would not be needed to avoid a crash. And it wasn’t – until it was and he was unable to react in time or at all.

      Consider this quote from the following link that refers to Google’s tests with self-driving cars:

      Once behind the wheel of the modified Lexus SUVs, the drivers quickly started rummaging through their bags, fiddling with their phones and taking their hands off the wheel — all while traveling on a freeway at 60 mph.

      “Within about five minutes, everybody thought the car worked well, and after that, they just trusted it to work,” Chris Urmson, the head of Google’s self-driving car program, said on a panel this year. “It got to the point where people were doing ridiculous things in the car.”

      This is not much different from people getting a false sense of security that they can successfully “multi-task” – make phone calls, send text messages, etc. while driving. Most of the time works – until it doesn’t.

      From those experiences, Google concluded that self-driving cars need to be fully autonomous, taking the human driver out of the equation entirely. Of course, that raises the stakes and complicates the problem by orders of magnitude. And I think the media hype is causing people to gloss over the fact that what we’re talking about is software – a product created by humans that has its own limitations and imperfections (yes, even software produced by Google). Software is something that you can trust – until you can’t – and you will have little or no warning when that is about to occur.

      Technology like the Tesla autopliot that is too easy to misuse, in part due to the hype factor by manufacturers and proponents, is badly designed and not ready for prime time.

      You should also see:

    6. JerryDenim

      “…flying is vastly safer than it once was and computers and automation have much to do with that…”

      Not so fast. Yes and no. There are two main factors that have improved airline safety, and automation isn’t really one of them in my opinion, nor would it rank in the top three aviation safety advances of the last 40 years from what I know. I’m not a true “expert” as I do not earn a living as a human factors or aviation safety professional but I am a professional airline pilot with more than 10,000 hours of flight time and more than 8,000 hours of flight time in modern, highly automated jetliners. Airline flying is much safer now than 50 years ago because 1.) airplanes are far more reliable than they used to be- less mechanical failures and more system redundancy and (2.) Airlines have become very good at understanding, training and indoctrinating pilots with this human factors stuff. Its not talent or experience that seperates a safe and professional US airline crew from a lousy Korean one, it’s an understanding of human factors and having a standardized methodology for thinking, communicating and flying. The buzzwords keep changing, CRM (crew resource management) TEM (threat and error management) but the concept is basically the same; be standard, communicate clearly and often, and above all accept that all humans make mistakes- then have a rigourous system to catch and mitigate those mistakes before they become problematic. I sometimes call it out smarting your future dummy.

      As for automation there’s very little I can say the very long book excerpt did not. It’s a double-edged sword. First of all there’s absolutely nothing a auto-pilot can do that a well-trained, well-rested, experienced human pilot can’t do better, but on long flights it’s nice if pilots can pass the mundane task of straight and level cruise flight to a machine as to remain mentally fresh for the more challenging climb, descent and approach phases of flight. The problem comes with airplanes that can do nearly everything and pilots that are happy to let them. Skill fade sets in and the pilot’s ability to hand fly degrades. Most pilots on the flight deck today have a deep resevoir of handflying skill to deplete but what of younger, less experienced pilots who have much less flight time before they land their first glass cockpit automated jet job? Many young aspiring airline pilots today do all of their formative primary training in automated glass cockpit airplanes so they have no reservoir of “stick & rudder” visual hand flying or hard instrument condition hand flying to rely on in a pinch. As this generational shift occurs and these pilots who have always relied on automation become the norm instead of the exception on the flight deck the “skill fade” problem which has been haunting the edges of NTSB reports for years will take center stage when automated systems fail and the pilots have nothing to fall back on. I think a good analogy might be spelling and autocorrect. Most of us over twenty-five probably had to learn how to spell in order to matriculate through school, so while our spelling is much worse than it used to be because of smartphones and auto correct, it’s still a thousand times better than a teen growing up today who can’t remember a time before autocorrect, who has never been forced to spell without the aid of a machine.

      Now the Tesla, but one more bit about planes- I fly the A320. It’s the world’s most popular airplane. It’s been in production for over thirty years, constantly being upgraded, debugged and improved. I can tell you it is quirky and does things frequently that confound me and the other pilots I fly with who have been flying that airplane for twenty years or more. Sometimes the autopilot disengages for no discernable reason at very inopportune times. If the world’s most popular and best selling aircraft that has been constantly updated and improved still fails regularly what hope does Tesla have? I hate to be elitist, but I seriously doubt your average Tesla driver is on par with your average airline pilot who must pass rigourous training and medical certification to sit behind the controls.

      Most importantly when you blame human drivers who trust the Tesla autopilot mode you miss the most important point about human factors research. Humans make mistakes, always and consistently across all professions at very similar rates. This cannot be fixed. This simple realization is responsible for a very large portion of the modern gains in aviation safety. In the old days people (airline management, instructors) thought with sufficent drilling, fear, motivation, etc well trained professionals could avoid making mistakes, but they can’t, because to err is to be human. Google is right. A less than perfect autopilot system which requires oversight from a human driver is far more dangerous than a car with zero automation. A disclaimer cannot stop humans from placing too much trust in a machine nor can it ensure supervisory vigilance. Autopilot mode in cars should be banned by the government until they are safely capable of 100% autonomous operation. Airline pilots that use automation have the benefit of a two person crew and a rigourous methodology for trapping and mitigating human errors. The same cannot be expected of the driving public.

  11. fresno dan

    George W. Bush Defends Iraq Invasion Following Chilcot Report TIME

    Former President George W. Bush says the world is a better place without Saddam Hussein in power following the release of a lengthy inquiry into the Iraq war.

    “Despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

    Bush is said not to have read the report in full as of yet, according to the statement.
    By what criteria????
    I am actually capable of accepting that Bush merely made a poor decision, and didn’t have the understanding to fully comprehend the implications of what he set in motion.

    But to make such a statement, “…the world is a better place” is just what I think drives people insane about Bush (including me) – it is just an obstinate refusal to see reality, and to accept that one made a mistake – that one was wrong. And frankly, it is Clintonesque to make the rather passive statement that the world is better off without Hussein, which while true enough, doesn’t acknowledge that a fair and objective evaluation would conclude that the war has put the region, if not the world, in a worse place, and harmed the interests of America.

    1. Roger Smith

      When in doubt, when called into question, double down. In politics, the play is a god send… apparently, as everyone does it… and no one else seems to care.

      There are no measures or criteria. It is an empty reply.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Bush is a Calvinist lunatic. He prayed on his decision. If 43 was wrong, what does it say about his faith? His place in heaven? Did Shrub cut himself off from God when he pretended to be an instrument of God’s will? Both Shrub and Jeb are converts. This matters to them.

      How does Rove’s “creating reality” fit in with humility before God?

        1. DarkMatters

          Er, are you sure the celestial agency you’re referring to is the benign one?

      1. neo-realist

        Rove’s “creating reality” fits mostly into turning Americans into lemmings before the elites thru “manufactured consent” from repeated corporate media spin and framing.

    3. diptherio

      There are lots of places in this world that were not effected at all by Saddam’s being in power. They were, therefore, not improved by his killing. Also, a family member of a close friend is Iraqi, now living in Cali, having left Iraq after Gulf War I. I would imagine that his take on the situation is shared by many current and former citizens of that country: Saddam wasn’t great, but bombing the sh*t out of the country did not improve anything for anybody…but it did make things a lot worse for a lot of people…go figure, huh?

      I guess GWB must be of the opinion that ISIS is better than Saddam…interesting opinion, to say the least.

    4. human

      The world would likely have been better off without W also, but, this is outside the box.

    5. coboarts

      I doubt that the US intelligence community was really unaware of Saddam’s weapons capabilities. They are being scapegoated here. There seem to be a long list of intelligence failures, but I’m not so sure about that.

    6. a different chris

      >Bush is said not to have read the report in full as of

      Seriously. I doubt they were able to type that with a straight face.

  12. Christopher Fay

    On the upside we are having the war that makes it safe for war profiteering

  13. DJG

    Yves: An important point, given that social media play a big role in the campaign. “I am on the watchout for editorializing via choice of image. The skin quality is another factor besides the more obvious smiling/frowning.”

    I have been surprised of late to see some distinctingly unattractive photos of Obama at sites that I didn’t expect, given that he has spent much time cultivating a certain kind of visual style. Lots of pictures in suit and tie, stress on his height and slim figure, lots of smiling. (Although I am also reminded of a comment in a New Yorker profile that referrred to him as a Javanese prince: Hence, ceremonial, handsome, ritual, and symbolic.)

    Several summer events have made for a small crisis among the media: Brexit (and the stress on the corruption among the Tories), the new Chilcot Report (catch the photos of Tony Blair on-line), the e-mail problem as a dispensation for those who truly matter, Obama’s attempt to foist Afghanistan (and Iraq) on the next administration, and the indigestibility of Trump (more photos).

    When I work with authors now, I tell them that one word is worth a thousand images. The old saying has been turned on its head. The WWW is stuffed full of crappy images. And, yet, as Yves hypothesizes, portrayal of the important in a certain way has effects. Obvious ones (no such thing as the subliminal here.)

  14. ChiGal

    Re Clinton Foundation education proposal: Means testing is a way of stigmatizing those who receive the benefit and usu results in degradation of the product. Look at Medicaid vs Medicare. The PayPal angle makes it apparent privatization is to be a part of the package from the get go. Also I think I know one state that is unlikely to opt in given its budgetary shambles.

    But forcing some students to work is the system we already have going. This could be a first good step in the right direction, but much vigilance and continued advocacy would be required to make it so.

    1. Efrwell

      The new education proposal is terrible — full of unneeded complications. And can you imagine the resentment for a hypothetical student whose parents early 155k/year (above the 150k/year threshold) but are unwilling to pay towards college, and is now on the hook for 100-150k (depending on cost of living in the state). Such resentment is a recipe for the future gutting of a future program that is unclear will even become law.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Maybe Sanders will issue a new statement on this, after looking at it more closely.

    2. Gareth

      Working class students who qualify for Queen Clinton’s tuition proposal would be working anyway to pay for such things as rent and food, so yeah, add another ten hours a week of class-status punishment work to their lives.

      1. ChiGal

        Which would be unacceptable, hence the need for vigilance and advocacy. I admit I am skeptical, esp with the privatization angle built in. Public education is one of the deepest troughs at which the managerialists feed.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think the college administrators can make their money back by way over-charging the tuition-free students for room and board at their fancy dorms.

    3. Massachusetts BC

      Massachusetts had merit-based tuition-free programs for in-state students during the Deval Patrick administration. The problem? “Tuition” is a pretty small part of the total cost of attending UMass.

      For example, in-state, full-times undergraduates this past year paid $26,445. $14,596 of that was “Tuition & Fees;” but tuition itself accounted for only $1,714. Less than 10% – but even 10% of $26,000 (x 4) isn’t going to make college possible for most kids.

      Maybe in Clinton’s proposal “Tuition” means “Tuition & Fees” – but she does choose her words carefully.

  15. Code Name D

    I am noticing something else. Before, the media simply didn’t talk about the e-mail scandal, the blackout was almost total.

    But now that Comey has put out his report, it’s like the press has suddenly discovered, “oh, there is a scandal here?” So suddenly there is a lot of talk about how what they never bothered to cover before, is suddenly not over.

    Anyone else noticing this trend? Or am I just seeing things.

    1. ChiGal

      It is all for show, like the display of Andrea Mitchell and Mika Brzinski’s (sp?) shocked dismay on the subject a couple months ago.

      There needs to be at least the appearance of outrage to satisfy the proles…

      Same with today’s hearing. Although it is true historically the Rs despise Clinton Foundation, the reality is the one big corporate party would much prefer her to His Hairness.

      1. ewmayer

        Today’s hearing is just the latest installment of Capitol Hill Kabuki theater, as was the Benghazi hearing before it. And just as the Benghazi show trial ‘curiously’ omitted the *real* questions (wisdom of decision to blow the sh*t out of Libya to begin with and the Iran/Contra-esque CIA weapons-smuggling-to-the-‘moderate’-Syrian-rebels program via the B. consulate), the current one will omit mention of the glaring issue of the SoS pay-to-play grift program and its laundering of money through the Clinton-Foundation. The hallowed principle of Elite Impunity must remain sacrosanct in order not to threaten the irredeemably corrupt status quo. Because bipartisanship!

  16. ocop

    The Politico “Strange Gaps” article is going to hurt in the long run. If the Internet doesn’t put together a full timeline linking Clinton Foundation activities to email patterns then the Republicans certainly will in support of impeachment proceedings.

    1. voteforno6

      The tribalists on the Democratic side will ignore that if they can, deny it if they have to. The author of that article is not exactly unimpeachable, but it doesn’t make him wrong. Still, after reading the OIG report, I came away with the impression that Clinton was hiding something. There’s enough smoke out there about this, that hopefully some enterprising journalists out there go looking for a fire.

    2. Light a Candle

      Yes the article “Gaps in Hillary’s Email Traffic” in today’s links is a must read. It really is the smoking gun.

      And it is beautifully written: clear, concise, great graphs; an easy read.

      Lol, its from Politico! Which has been so relentlessly pro Hillary and anti Bernie. Hard to believe they actually published this excellent investigative article.

    3. Waldenpond

      I can’t see the Rs doing a reality based impeachment process. Clinton’s move was to privatize the State Dept, Rs support the privatization of all govt functions. Clinton is running a scam foundation to avoid taxes, Rs support that. and launder money, Rs support that.

      They will come up with some conspiracy, fail, whine and entrench the particular corruption.

      1. cwaltz

        We’ll see. It appears they will have a perjury charge to hold over her head since they intend on making her testimony available to the FBI and Justice Dept.

        It should be interesting to see what excuses they can make up for her within the Party and in the administration to excuse that too.

        Hillary didn’t intend to lie to Congress, she just didn’t understand the difference between classified and unclassified data(despite heading a department that deals with national security on a day to day basis.) Ugh. Have I mentioned recently that the Democrat Party leadership is filled with corrupt morons who think we’re all idiots?

  17. roadrider

    Re: Gated/nuclear renaissance

    Uggghhh! Regurgitates mythology about nukes being “green”, “zero carbon” and economically viable (all false). Promotes the unicorn of new, safer reactors, all of which are based on decades-old ideas that never proved to be safe or even workable and there’s little evidence that anything about them has changed other than the earlier failures have been conveniently forgotten.

    I would say “stick to the chickens” Bill but your earlier link pretty much demolishes that idea.

    1. ChiGal

      Sorry, this is frivolous but I got a kick out if it, esp cuz my son kept ferrets in high school (not a fan but no dogs allowed in my condo so I held my nose – man, are they stinky!):

      From a commenter on the Gates chicken article:
      next we are going to solve inner city poverty with ferrets.

      i know this will work because while i was growing up in a rich suburb i always thought to myself that if i was poor and living in the city i would raise ferrets.

      also they help empower women, because btchs love ferrets.

    2. Bubba_Gump

      Sigh. The mythology about nukes being inherently unsafe is also false, despite the sorry state of efforts made to date. There is one primary reason we are still dealing with “decade-old ideas” and that is because the anti-nuke crowd will not allow new research to be supported. Academia knows nuclear is a dead end because a) they can’t get research funding, and b) the public will have their heads. That’s why it’s up to people like Bill Gates to self-fund.

      Screaming chicken little with nuclear energy only serves to shut down R&D before it can resolve the (yes, serious) issues. Otherwise we’re just stuck bombing the Middle East, drinking the milkshake til it runs out.

      1. hunkerdown

        You’re both wrong. The reason we still have the reactors and fuel cycles we do is because the military wants uranium and has no use for thorium.

        1. roadrider

          The reason we still have the reactors and fuel cycles we do is because the military wants uranium and has no use for thorium.

          I think you mean plutonium – and that’s true. But they don’t get that from the civilian nuclear industry. They have their own reactors for that.

          1. jonboinAR

            I hear you, man. You only have to keep the waste completely sequestered for like, 2000 or 10,000 years or something. Even a caveman could do it!

      2. roadrider

        Yawn. If those ideas had any merit they would have been developed long ago. Your silly straw man about the anti-nuke crowd preventing funding of these ideas is pure bullshit. The uneconomic nature of the existing plants caused Wall St to nuke (pun intended) investment in nuclear technology for decades and after Fukushima there’s little chance of a wide-spread revival.

        The unsafe nature of nuclear power is not mythology. Ever heard of Fukushima, Chernobyl, Three-Mile Island? The duplicity of the government and the industry in covering up the abysmally poor practices with respect to safety during the design, construction and operation of nuclear plants is astonishing. Even if the technology could, in theory, be made safe, the documented record of regulatory capture and industry cheer leading by government on behalf of the industry which will always put safety well behind profits and public relations tells us that the plants will not actually be safe.

  18. aletheia33

    comey is testifying now. interesting to see no live blogs of this on the media. first impression, he’s been talking less than a minute and what strikes me is how political his language is. he sounds like someone who’s contemplating running for office, not like the “serious nonpartisan bureaucrat” he’s said to be. trying to sound folksy.

    from his initial prepared statement: “no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case… not with a criminal prosecution… folks can disagree about that … i will stay as long as i need to stay … because i believe in transparency…”

    rep. jason chaffetz (r-ut) first question:where was the server? 2nd was it an authorized or unauthorized location?…
    did she lie to the public?
    “i’m not qualified to answer that”
    did she lie under oath?
    “no referral from congress to investigate that… ”
    did you need such a referral?
    “sure do. ”
    you will be getting one.

    1. ChiGal

      How does the scope widen to include those “personal” emails that likely reveal the Clinton Foundation fraud?

    2. Roger Smith

      Comey just said that it is likely that emails she and her staff deleted were classified.

    3. aletheia33

      11:25 a.m.
      the phrasing of comey’s answers, his avoidance of answering with a direct yes or no, makes him clearly appear to be protecting her, avoiding any admission of her bad behavior. why does he feel the need to do that? he does not sound impartial. this defensiveness on his part is not helping her. having said the fbi’s investigation was completely nonpolitical and nonpartisan, he is totally undermining that assertion by equivocating at every opportunity. he sounds like a witness for the defense in a criminal trial.

      1. fresno dan

        From the transcripts I have been able to get of the interrogation up to this point, it just makes obvious that the United States government operates under Humpty Dumpt rules:

        When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean—neither more nor less.” “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.” “The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master—that’s all.”

        Repubs will not be able to do anything substantive about this – even though they are right on this matter. The endless yammering will actually serve Hillary – lawerly spinning will fill the airwaves, and society’s acceptance of logic and reality will be further diminished.

        Orwell talked about how politics debases language. We have now reached the point that any person of discernment understands that our courts and laws serve the same purpose as the medieval church – to prop up and justify the whims of those in power.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Will it actually serve Hillary?

          I think it depends on if you have someone there at the hearing who can say it loudly (like Trump) and say it to catch attention (like Trump does all the time) that is negative on Hillary (Trump can do that).

          Then, the media will replay that 24/7.

    4. fresno dan

      July 7, 2016 at 10:32 am

      did she lie under oath?
      “no referral from congress to investigate that… ”

      !!!! So why was Martha Stewart prosecuted for lying to the FBI???? And it was not under oath as I recall, it was under the statue that any statement while being investigated by the FBI has to be the truth.
      Seriously, that is so specious as to be equivalent to saying to the committee chair “F*CK YOU” (not that the committee chair doesn’t actually deserve it as well)

      Comey is SUCH a weasel – why doesn’t he just save everybody the aggravation and say, “ask me no questions, and I’ll tell you no lies…..which by the way, is the exact same way we handled Hillary!”

      What is particularly amusing to me is how the repubs prior to the announcement that the FBI would not recommend indictment went on and on about how Comey was such a “straight shooter” and now that it turns out that he is concerned about his career…..

      From the Red State article:
      ((“I have no doubt in my mind after watching this press conference that he was specifically ordered not to recommend charges. “))

      OK, Red State – so your man Comey really is more concerned about getting a white shoe law firm job after he leaves the FBI, rather than the fate of the republic or the faithful execution of the laws of the republic??? Hmmmm…maybe that is why the repubs are having such a hard time – because if there is NOTHING you won’t do to cash in, than there is ALWAYS someone with the funds and desire to buy you.

      You know, I am such an old geezer, I can remember when people RESIGNED (AND they were REPUBLICANS!!!!!!! BELIEVE IT OR NOT) at the justice department instead of fire special prosecutors (Archibald Cox) or do what their boss told them to do if they though it was illegal or immoral…..

      The Repubs – the worst group in history as to judging character (out of compassion, we won’t bring up all the repubs banging everybody but their wives….) maybe because their foundation principal is ANYTHING FOR MONEY!

    5. optimader

      first question:where was the server? 2nd was it an authorized or unauthorized location?…
      did she lie to the public?
      “i’m not qualified to answer that”

      Good first questions. The Socratic Method.
      If answers to those questions were not well established at the very beginning of the FBIer investigation. Comey’s reply should truncate to I’m not qualified for my job.

  19. roadrider

    Re: Tesla/glass cockpit problem

    This is why I think self-driving vehicles are more hype and tech utopianism than practical solutions like improved public transit, telecommuting, better community planning, etc. Oh wait – none of those produce out sized squillionaire tech moguls that can be idolized by the media and pols so I guess we can’t have them.

  20. tegnost

    Re: the antidote, sadly it appears the majority of the starfish in the second photo have the wasting disease, as probably the single does as well…they should be bright orange or bright purple, any beige color and they’re not likely to survive. I’m in the san juan islands and for many years regularly kayak around and once in a while I’ll see a starfish but in almost every case you can see they aren’t healthy, can’t cling to the rocks, have less vibrant color. This contrasts with say 4 years ago when there were too many to count.

    1. ChiGal

      I always heard that only sick starfish wash up on shore so it is pointless to toss them back in the water. Not true?

      1. tegnost

        the tide swings here from -3′ to +10′ or so and the starfish I see live on and among the rocks in this intertidal area, with the wasting disease they seem to weaken and disappear, not a marine scientist so all I have to offer are my own observations in and around lopez sound. Reportedly they’re recovering in california, and I suppose seeing more numbers although still possibly sick is better than the none at all there were 2 or 3 years ago.

        1. tegnost

          Here’s a more reliable source than myself for those who are interested.

          Briefly, the march 2016 update indicated larger numbers of juveniles than historically, but continued low numbers of adults, although more than in 2014, the worst year. Interestingly they found unaffected groups on floating docks, also cited a study if you really want to get in the weeds…

          from the ucsc update the lowdown…
          “In February 2016, a scientific paper entitled Ochre star mortality during the 2014 wasting disease epizootic: role of population size structure and temperature was published by Eisenlord, et al. Their study reported that temperature plays a role in the prevalence of Sea Star Wasting Syndrome (SSWS). Analyses showed that risk of disease-associated death was correlated with sea star size as well as water temperature. In adults, time between emergence of disease symptoms and death was influenced by temperature. Experiments also showed that adult mortality was higher in the warmer water treatments. Although adults showed disease symptoms more quickly than juveniles, diseased juveniles perished more quickly. This study was conducted in Washington State, where high mortality rates were experienced during 2014 in many areas, which coincided with warm temperature anomalies. While this study explained some factors that lead to SSWS, their models indicate that other unknown factors are likely playing a role as well.”
          the ucsc site allows volunteer observations so I’ll have start sending in some counts…

    2. Light a Candle

      And the starfish wasting disease has been happening for five years on the Westcoast too. :-(

    3. Enquiring Mind

      My initial impression of that starfish was that it was sucking its thumb, as if to say leave me alone I don’t like the water quality today.

    4. Chauncey Gardiner

      Thanks for your comment, tegnost. Causes remain a puzzle: Increased water temperatures, densovirus (SSaDV), ocean acidification?… all very troubling.

  21. petal

    Big surprise here.

    “New York auditors say Empire State Development Corp., which provides millions of dollars in tax credits to companies that promise to expand and add jobs, has been unable to verify that many companies met their obligations.

    The state comptroller’s office reports finding problems like lowered job-creation goals after companies failed to meet expectations and not verifying if jobs were full-time or part-time.

    Auditors examined 25 companies, concluding the agency could not produce evidence that several created positions and didn’t simply shift jobs under the Excelsior Jobs Program established in 2010.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      How many charitable foundations does Jason Brezler have? /sarc

      Seriously, his problem is that a decision not to prosecute someone else does not set any judicial precedent that can be cited in other cases.

      1. cwaltz

        HIS bigger problem is he’s in the military. There is a way lower threshold when facing a court martial or a administrative hearing then there is in the civilian sector. Essentially the military can and does hold kangaroo courts.

        I knew a first class from Jamaica who had family that sent him a rum cake laced with marijuana. He popped positive on a pee test. He was found guilty at court martial despite proof that he ingested it rather than inhaled it and no proof of intent. It essentially ended his career.

        My spouse faced an administrative hearing. I had to email Adm. Brewer to have a new group appointed after my husband was told by an officer that the CO who appointed him and others had basically told them to administratively separate him(My spouse had filed a 138 against him.) The hearing went well for my husband(as did the 138) but I cringe to think what would have happened had I not been able to run interference thanks to my knowledge of military infrastructure and my civilian status that did not require me to play by the same rules as a military member(I did not have to follow chain of command rules.)

  22. Jim Haygood

    Newt … HE’S BACK!!

    SHARONVILLE, Ohio — Donald Trump wasn’t scheduled to take the stage here until 7 p.m. Wednesday. But by 6:30 p.m., the crowd on this sweaty summer night was growing noisy and restless, and launching into sudden sporadic chants about “crooked Hillary” as they packed together tightly.

    Then someone spotted it: a fluff of salt-colored hair stage right. And a sudden and grumbling chant broke out, stretching the name of the night’s guest speaker with knowing affection.

    “Neeeeeewt!” They bellowed. “Neeeeeewt! Neeeeeewt!”

    Newt it was.

    Newt Gingrich, former House speaker and now a finalist in the search for Donald Trump’s running mate, quickly stepped up to the lectern.

    What a delicious irony: when it comes to polarizing people with sharp-tongued, abrasive remarks, Newt is probably the only one who can out-Hillary Hillary herself.

    Seeing these two snakes, Newt and Hillary, simultaneously devouring each other’s tails as their mutually-destructive hoop rolls obliviously down the Highway to Hell would be high entertainment in the black humor genre.

    By the way, the entire WaPo article by Robert Costa is colorful and dramatic — the sort of reporting that stodgy old Rolling Stone used to do forty years ago, before it sold its shriveled soul to the ‘beest.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Trump likely has been informed of Nate Silver’s analysis, showing that Trump does not poll as well as Mitt Romney did in reliably Republican states.

        Evidently, plenty of old-school Bush/Romney/Cruz Repubs are not that impressed by an orange-haired NYC real estate mogul who disses their heroes.

        Newt can fix that. Newt sliming Hillary, and Hillary sliming Newt right back, is a spectacle that we could all feel good about.

        1. Carolinian

          No crystal ball on offer here but find it hard to believe that having Newt on the ticket would get him more votes. Plus the notion of Newt one heartbeat away is horrifying.

          If he needs advice on DC then let him make Gingrich an adviser.

          1. cwaltz

            Heh, yeah because it was brilliant move to impeach Clinton for his inappropriate relationship with an intern(while simultaneously having your own inappropriate relationship with an intern.)

            If Trump can’t find someone inside the beltway than he should probably go OUTSIDE the beltway.

            Gingrich will be a train wreck.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I let Newt play man-on-man, or more anatomically correct, man-on-woman defense against Hillary.

            He can be a shut-down defender.

    1. fresno dan

      If there is God, or Karma, or transcendent justice, what will happen:
      Newt and Hillary are both called to testify before a super secret congressional subcommittee in the super secure and impenetrable underground bunker – encased in 30 yards of plutonium strengthen steel and booby trapped to prevent breaching. On the way down, the advanced vacuum tube transporter built by Tesla malfunctions, and both are entombed together for months (there is a mechanism for air and food, but as both are actually lizard people, they could of necessity live off rats…). Oh, and both had chili for lunch…

  23. Jim Haygood

    Inspired by the Return of Newt, in Europe, DIESELBOOM IS BACK!

    Spain and Portugal were hit by a European Union move to fine them for breaching budget deficit limits in an unprecedented step to enforce rules designed to avert another debt crisis.

    European finance ministers must now decide whether to back the proposal by the European Commission. Should the recommendation be approved, it would have 20 days to propose fines that could reach as high as 0.2 percent of gross domestic product, and a suspension of some regional funds.

    “These rules contain some flexibility, but in this case the flexibility has been used up,” Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch finance minister who leads the group of his euro-area counterparts, said in The Hague earlier Thursday. “When I look at the numbers I really have to conclude that Spain and Portugal did too little.”

    “Spain and Portugal did too little” — this is your EU on bath salts, acting out its death wish.

    1. fresno dan

      There must be something that is so simple it has not been written, cause this seems beyond comprehension.
      Brexit occurs. That is supposedly bad, bad, bad….
      Brexit means the United Kingdom wishes to get out of the European Union – Correct????

      People are serious in saying that Britain would be better off being in such a Confederacy of Dunces???
      Pundits are seriously putting forward the proposition that the European Union manages economic affairs competently???

      I fail to see the advantage of being associated with such people…

      1. Jim Haygood

        “I fail to see the advantage of being associated with such people…”

        Your dry understatement sounds good in Spanish too:

        No veo la ventaja de estar asociado con este tipo de personas …

        r-r-r-rock on …

      2. Take the Fork

        Are you suggesting that the “theology and geometry” of the EU is lacking, perhaps wrong… ?

    2. Jim Haygood

      Dieselboom’s indictment of the feckless Iberians:

      Spain’s deficit was equivalent to 5.1 percent of its gross domestic product last year, compared with a target of 4.2 percent. Portugal’s shortfall ended 2015 at 4.4 percent, higher than the 3 percent threshold for countries to fall under corrective oversight known as Excessive Deficit Procedure.

      When Spain entered the EU’s Excessive Deficit Procedure in 2009 it was given until the end of 2012 to bring its shortfall below the 3 percent limit. The bloc already gave extensions to that deadline in December 2009, 2012 and 2013. Portugal entered the process to adjust excessive deficits in 2009.

      When your economy crashes, and monetary policy can’t deliver any credit expansion, something has to give. That’s fiscal policy.

      Now Dieselboom has locked the exit doors and set the curtains on fire.

      Maastricht [3 percent deficit limit] may yet be the pulled pin that explodes the volatile EU grenade.

      Meanwhile, expect rage from the Iberians, and likely from our esteemed host as well.

      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Mahvelous!!… “DIESELBOOM IS BACK!” Fascinating Wiki page; i.e., …”How did I get here?… then manage to stay?” Wonder if he wrote it himself?… says that “From the start, Dijsselbloem emphasized his commitment to fiscal discipline.”…

        Setting aside his roles in the Cyprus bail-in, the economic and social damage that has been visited on the people of Greece, and placing under “How I Became President of the Eurogroup,” I was reminded of a fun story:

        I told my son, “You will marry the girl I choose.”
        He said, “No!”
        I told him, “She is Bill Gates’ daughter.”
        He said, “OK.”
        I called Bill Gates and said, “I want your daughter to marry my son.”
        Bill Gates said, “No.”
        I told Bill Gates, “My son is CEO of the World Bank.”
        Bill Gates said, “OK.”
        I called the Chairman of the Board of the World Bank and asked him to make my son the CEO.
        He said, “No.”
        I told him, “My son is Bill Gates’ son-in-law.”
        He said, “OK.”
        … and this is how politics works.”  —Hakan Akbas (hat tip Pedro da Costa)

        Also seem to recall that Spain was the only country that voted against Dijsselbloem’s appointment. Still, I suspect it would be fun to have a Heineken with the guy.

        1. fresno dan

          Chauncey Gardiner
          July 7, 2016 at 2:07 pm

          thanks for that!!! I always wondered how “leverage” worked…

          Now, can you write a scenario for how an old, poor guy gets a super model???

  24. allan

    Our employees are our most important asset, Big Oil edition:

    Shell Takes Sacked UK Workers Overseas Service Tax Breaks

    Royal Dutch Shell has changed its redundancy terms so it can claim tax refunds that some UK workers would otherwise have been able to claim on redundancy payments, internal documents seen by Reuters show.

    The move comes as the Hague-based oil giant is slashing 5,000 jobs this year following the collapse in oil prices and its merger with smaller UK rival BG Group.

    The UK government allows employees who have worked part of their career overseas to reclaim some, or in some cases all, of the tax due on severance payments.

    On April 1 this year, however, Shell introduced “targeted tax equalization of severance payments”, whereby “Shell will claim any tax reliefs or tax refunds on the severance payment that are available,” according to a presentation to staff.


    1. allan

      Our vendors are our most important asset, Big Aerospace edition:

      Boeing slows payments to suppliers as it accelerates cost cutting

      Boeing Co (BA.N) is stepping up efforts to conserve cash, cut costs in its supply chain and trim inventory of parts in its factories, telling vendors it will take longer to pay bills, Boeing and aerospace industry executives said.

      Under the new terms, Boeing is taking up to 120 days to pay, rather than 30 days as in the past, these people said. The new payment schedules are being rolled out this year.

      Boeing also is reducing its factory inventory and is relying on suppliers to hold parts instead, these people said.

      An offer they can’t refuse.

  25. Adam Eran

    Re: College costs: “….skyrocketing costs with absolutely no improvement in the product.” Let’s remember that Federal funding for higher education has declined 55% since 1972. Those student protests did have an effect…

    So high tuition is a feature, not a bug. Agnotology to go with your student loans!

    1. Jess

      Got a link or a citation for that 55% stat? Not doubting that it’s true, just need to follow up for a book I’m attempting to write.


  26. That Which Sees

    Nuclear is a highly desirable source of energy if the world can move away from the current style of high pressure water reactors (designed with the cold war aim of making plutonium) to more resilient proven technologies such as the Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor [LFTR] (pronounced lifter). LFTR technology ran at Oak Ridge National Laboratories for over 20,000 hours of service.

    — Run as a liquid (no melt down risk)
    — Fail Safe (truly *safe* as an over temperature condition drops the working fluid into a freeze tank where it becomes effectively a rock)
    — Produces no plutonium (cannot be used to make nuclear weapons)
    — Can be used to consume existing spent fuel (a security risk at every current technology nuclear plant site)
    — Can be used to replace coal power (similar availability maintains electrical grid stability)

    China, India, and other countries are fully committed to the LFTR concept and will build this type of reactor. US failure to participate in this venture will not stop (or even impede) a mass roll out of new nuclear facilities. The only thing that will result from the US holding back is damage to the US economy as we use last century technology to generate electricity.

    1. Dave

      Gee, that’s white of you to offer such a wonderful alternative to the American people.
      What’s the actual cost per kilowatt generated? Would you let your children play around the LFTR reactor? Would you move your family next to a working commercial reactor? How much money are you making off this technology, as a researcher, or supplier?

      Why do you want to centralize power production, hoard profits and take power away from people? Are you an antidemocratic facist?, or, just a control room freak?

      1. jrs

        The argument is usually that current nuclear reactors could be made more safe. Yea but there is still no way to safely get rid of the nuclear waste. But let’s say we grant that newer nuclear reactors can be made more safe, that whole idea pretends it’s an engineering problem, when in fact I suspect it’s a human problem, wherever corners can be cut they will be, so that the theoretically safer nuclear power isn’t.

        1. That Which Sees

          Not the argument that I am making. Current nuclear reactors design stems from a decision that plutonium was a Cold War necessity.

          The option I, and many others, are suggesting is that the Cold War is over. We now have the opportunity to step back and pick a much better choice for the future nuclear fleet. One that creates vastly less high level nuclear waste, and in fact can be used to destroy the existing back-up of spent fuel.

          Check out . It hasn’t been updated in an age, but it brings together much of the best information on the topic.

      2. hunkerdown

        Nice Gish Gallop there.

        Cost per kilowatt doesn’t matter. If society determines that some quantity and form of energy is required, they’ll generate it, at whatever other costs are necessary. Especially if paid by the least among them. (See also: peak oil)

        Given the known, quantified and inescapable industrial hazards all around us, the marginal increase in risk of living next to a 10MWe micro reactor under 100′ of earth seems comparatively minor vs. living next to any other industry, let alone alternative electricity sources such as a coal plant. If you let your children play around ANY dense energy store or source — from a can of barbecue accelerant on up — your fitness to parent is already in question. Even using “the children” as an argument paints you as a dishonest, cynical commentator unfit to raise them.

        Do you understand what a temperature coefficient is, in relation to some quantitative property of matter? It’s the rate at which the property increases as temperature increases. Unlike the water-moderated reactions of today, these safe(r) reactions have negative tempcos; i.e. they are self-limiting; i.e. the conditions for meltdown aren’t there, by design. I can’t think of a major reactor breach owed to something other than thermal runaway (positive temperature coefficients of exothermic processes).

        Concentrated energy sources are evil. So, too, is cutting off parts of one’s population to leave to the elements. It’s a rough dilemma. But the liberal tendency to conservatism and to virtue signalling by Protestant ritual abstinence from unclean cooties only ever makes more problems and never solves anything.

  27. fresno dan

    A 32-year-old black man whose girlfriend said was pulled over by a Minnesota police officer for a broken tail light was shot and killed by the officer late Wednesday night.

    His girlfriend said that before he was shot, he allegedly told the officer that he had a concealed weapon in his glove compartment and a license to carry it.

    The earliest details emerging from the shooting have led to questions about its implications for a central belief people have about the US policing system, as well as an assertion frequently posited in the wake of police shootings to justify the officers’ actions: If you comply with the police, you won’t be harmed.

    “I’ve always told my son: The key thing in order to try to survive being stopped by the police is to comply. Whatever they ask you to do — do it,” Valerie Castile, Philando Castile’s mother, said in an interview with CNN on Thursday morning.

    “Don’t say nothing. Just do whatever they want you to do. So what’s the difference in complying and you get killed anyway?” she said.

    Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, who was in the vehicle with her 4-year-old daughter at the time and captured the aftermath of the shooting in a Facebook live stream, asserted in the video that her boyfriend informed the officer — who has not been identified — that he had a concealed weapon and a license to carry.

    “He let the officer know that he had a firearm, and he was reaching for his wallet and the officer just shot him in his arm,” she said.

    The officer, employed by the St. Anthony’s Police Department in the Minnesota suburb of Falcon Heights, near St. Paul, could be heard shouting expletives and screaming, “I told him not to reach for it!”

    Reynolds responded: “You told him to get his ID, sir — his driver’s license.”

    In order to light a candle instead of curse the darkness, I propose that we separate our police into two groups:
    A – those so terrified of black people that they are not allowed to stop or approach black people
    B – the rest

    Or, perhaps we could do the Mayberry thing, and let the cops carry one bullet, but not in their guns….

    Seriously, if you are so afraid that you fire BEFORE someone has fired at you, BEFORE someone has a gun in their hand, BEFORE they are reaching for a weapon, than maybe…just maybe, you don’t have the temperament to carry a loaded weapon in society.

    To me, this is all of a kind with the Hillary goings on – laws not to protect or benefit the people, but to exploit and control the people…

  28. Dave

    “You have to have a smartphone to scan for GMO labeling?”

    This is no big deal really. If the corporate whores in congress go for the proGMO lobbyists, and it’s nearly impossible to determine if food has GMOs and their attendant pesticide residues, my family will simply assume that all non-organic food has GMOs and will buy only 100% certified organic food.

    If the bad bill passes, it’s time to boycott all major food producers products that are non-organic. Most importantly, all young mothers that we come in contact with in our business will get nice literature on why they should only feed high quality organic food to their children, and create a lifetime demand from those children, and the parents for organic food.

    1. jrs

      some companies are voluntarily putting anti-GMO labels on their food anyway (GMO project certified). Sometimes the GMO project certified label is on organic food so it’s redundant. But I will take redundant over unlabeled. Yea this does tend to be somewhat more expensive food.

      1. Dave

        “Somewhat more expensive”.

        Not if you add the cost of pesticide and GMO induced medical care to the “savings” from your inexpensive factory-food.

        The best overall site for articles on organics, farming and farming economics.

    2. cwaltz

      Certified organic food is also allowed to have some ingredients that aren’t organic.

      Federal legislation defines three levels of organic foods.[17] Products made entirely with certified organic ingredients, methods, and processing aids can be labeled “100% organic” (including raw agricultural commodities that have been certified), while only products with at least 95% organic ingredients may be labeled “organic” (any non-organic ingredients used must fall under the exemptions of the National List). Under these two categories, no nonorganic agricultural ingredients are allowed when organic ingredients are available. Both of these categories may also display the “USDA Organic” seal, and must state the name of the certifying agent on the information panel.[18]

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not sure why non-means-tested free organic food isn’t before free college education.

      Healthy living >>> certified to slave away one’s life for corporations.

      “With my free B.S. degree in Franken Food Science, I am ready to contribute to your great, no-profit (for workers) organization.”

    4. Antifa

      People with smartphones will scan labels and put their findings up on public websites that list GMO ingredients for every product on the nation’s shelves. You can refer to that website when making out your grocery list.

      When such non-GMO websites are made illegal (think of the children!), those lists will still be available on billions of hard drives.

      This non-labeling of GMO foods is a fight they can’t win. You can’t force people to eat something they do not wish to eat. Makes no difference if 100 Nobel Laureates say GMO is exactly the same as natural. We don’t wish to eat it.

      1. Jake

        So, I don’t have a smartphone but I have a PC (costs more than a smartphone) so I can go to and download a list of all the organic non-GMO products I might find, print that and take the list to the store with me? Right.

        Put it on the label in English, Spanish and French dammit!

  29. Plenue

    So Fox isn’t actually a fun place to work at as a woman? I’m SHOCKED. You would think from their requirement for all on-camera females to look straight out of 1957 that it would be a friendly, sexual harassment-free environment.

    1. jrs

      As opposed to somewhere like Disney which is an equal opportunity bad employer :) (You are not treated badly because of your sex but because you work there).

    2. FluffytheObeseCat

      Close, but slightly off. Fox requires its on camera women to look like straight out of 1964: stiffly coifed “blonde” hair, skirts above-the-knee, but very establishment looking in overall style. No psychedelic patterns, no loosely flowing cuts. And toe-pinching pumps that would tempt the mandarins of prerevolutionary China to write lascivious poetry. Visually, Fox News is all about the time just before Hell broke loose.

      1. fresno dan

        July 7, 2016 at 2:03 pm

        No, Fox has brunettes now!!! I remember well how incredibly blonde Fox was for a good long time, and than they “integrated”
        I remember well the speech Roger Ailes passionately gave on the news room steps:
        In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say blondes now, blondes tomorrow, blondes forever.–Why-Are-All-the-Females-at-Fox-News-Blonde

        Hmmmm…Well, this one’s not blonde:–Kimberly-Guilfoyles-modelling-past-revealed.html

        Pay no attention to her decolletage, you shallow news watcher – Kimberly is an outstanding newsreader of fair and balanced unreality….Speaking only for myself, at least 9% of the newscast I’m gazing at her eyes (well, the portion when the camera is not showing her decolletage), and I spend no more than 50% imaging her in a Victoria Secrets lingerie…

        1. fresno dan

          Oh, and look at all these brunettes

          So diverse***, practically Sesame Street….

          ***from the standpoint of hot, gorgeous, busty blonde AND brunette young women…I understand they expect to hire a redhead by 2020…

          Oh, and I take no responsibility for the term in the link “news girls” – those are WOMEN…

  30. Dave

    “A wheeled robot made by Starship Technologies will soon start delivering food in London”

    There’s the solution to the hungry homeless.

    Asimov’s law says that “a robot may do no harm to a human being”.
    I’m going to update that to say “A robot may do no harm to a human being’s ability to earn a salary to feed their family–If it does, then it is perfectly acceptable to vandalize, steal from or destroy that robot.”

    You may call that Dave’s Law if you wish.

    1. low integer

      There is already a few ‘Dave’s Laws’. I like this one the best: Anyone who can be blamed, will be blamed, and for the least logical reason.

  31. Oregoncharles

    “Can the EU Survive as a Prison? Who Has the Keys? ”
    I’d call this a must-read, because Mish has put his finger on the royal road to war in Europe. It’s been much mentioned that the EU, and especially the Eurozone, looks more and more like the 5th Reich, with the Germans showing signs of irrationality. Mish says “the voters have the keys” – but what if it turns out they don’t?

    That would come to blows very quickly.

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