Links 5/17/17

Posted on by

Vancouver bans whales and dolphins at aquarium BBC

Not Going Online Is the New Going Online Vice

All fossil-fuel vehicles will vanish in 8 years in twin ‘death spiral’ for big oil and big autos, says study that’s shocking the industries Financial Post

From reader Vatch in Water Cooler yesterday:

I just learned that Ajit Pai, the primary opponent of net neutrality on the FCC, is up for reappointment for another term. I guess I should have been aware of this, but there’s too much to know, and some of it slips through the cracks in my mind.

People who care about net neutrality ought to contact their Senators, and ask them to vote against the reappointment of Ajit Pai to the FCC. Senators’ contact information is here:

Global Hack

Focus Turns to North Korea Sleeper Cells as Possible Culprits in Cyberattack New York Times. Bill B: “‘Similarities exist between the ransomware used to extort computer users into paying the hackers and previously deployed North Korean malware codes.’ And now we know why the NSA recycles malware created abroad.”

Is Microsoft to blame for the largest ransomware attacks in internet history? The Verge (resilc)

Tales From the Crypto Community Foreign Affairs. Resilc: “Moldy oldy. USA USA is the leader in exporting chaos around the world.”


Xi’s wild geese chase the Silk Road gold Asia Times (resilc)

China builds a new world in which *it* is the great power Fabius Maximus (resilc)

French auto parts workers at GM&S threaten to blow up plant to block closure Defend Democracy. Sabotage!

Labour Party Promises to End UK Funding of US-Backed, Saudi-Led War Crimes in Yemen TeleSur


Court ruling makes Brexit harder. Or easier. Politico

UK Brexit boost as ECJ rules trade deals do not require extra ratification Guardian

An easier path for EU trade agreements Financial Times. But notice the subhead: “The European Court of Justice ruling has little impact on Brexit”

Tom Crewe · What will be left?: Labour’s Prospects London Review of Books (resilc)


When it comes to Syria, our press is full of moralizing and propaganda, and short on analysis Mondoweiss (resilc)

Israel-Palestine: the real reason there’s still no peace Guardian

Trump to reassure Saudi allies, promote business, talk tough on radicalism Reuters (resilc)

Saudis to Boost U.S. Ties With $40 Billion Investment Bloomberg

Imperial Collapse Watch

Jigsaw, Beyond the CIA and Soros Near Eastern Outlook (Micael). Warning: this piece makes some very strong claims which it does not prove. So I would take it as a hypothesis worth considering, as opposed to something to be relied upon.

Was Israel behind US laptop ban on Mideast airlines? Al Jazeera (resilc)

David Vine, Trumping Democracy in America’s Empire of Bases TomDispatch. Resilc: “What we do best, instead of promoting a Silk Road 2.”

Navy Chief Says U.S. Needs More Ships Quickly to Stay Credible Bloomberg (resilc)

Trump Transition

Trump Asked Comey to Shut Down Flynn Investigation: NYT Report Bloomberg

Trump told Comey to consider jailing reporters publishing leaks The Hill (UserFriendly). Let us not forget: If Donald Trump Targets Journalists, Thank Obama James Risen, New York Times

There’s a Logic to Trump’s War On the Media American Prospect (resilc). Oddly omits that media declared war on Trump first, in no small measure because it was good for ratings.

Justice Department: We Are Ready to Find and Prosecute Leakers Daily Beast (furzy). Emphasis here is on gov’t leakers.

Donald Trump ‘asked James Comey to shut FBI investigation into Michael Flynn’ Telegraph. Live blog

Trump burned by his devotion to Flynn Politico

White House scrambles to limit damage after latest bombshell The Hill


Voters Favor Impeaching Trump by 7-Point Margin New York Magazine (resilc)

Chaffetz demands Comey-Trump memos in letter to FBI Politico. Chaffetz is one of the few who in the GOP who is not voicing some to much unhappiness with Trump. He’s also not running for re-election and was one of the leaders on the Benghazi investigation, which makes him a hero to Republicans and a goat to Dems. Will be very interesting to see how this plays out.

‘Seriously? This is Not News’: Readers React to Trump’s Disclosure of Classified Intelligence New York Times (furzy)

How Did Russiagate Start? Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. Important.

A Soft Coup in the Offing? American Conservative (resilc). Lambert recognized this was the play as of November last year.

John Cornyn Withdraws as Candidate for FBI Post, Calls for ‘Independent’ Director Wall Street Journal

Following advice, potential FBI chiefs steer clear of job under Trump Reuters. Resilc: “Would rather be waterboarded.”

The pathetic story behind Donald Trump’s one-page tax plan. Slate (resilc)

Steve Mnuchin’s Old Company Just Settled for $89 Million for Ripping Off the Government on Dodgy Loans Intercept

‘Patriot’ Dimon dodges calls to disavow Trump policies Financial Times

Does Donald Trump Have a Fully Developed Theory of Mind? Science of Us

Was the Election Rigged Against Bernie Sanders? DNC Lawsuit Demands Repayment for Campaign Donors Newsweek. MSM finally takes notice.


N.Y. Single-Payer Health-Care Bill Passes State Assembly Wall Street Journal (Abigail)

Fake News

One Day, Three Serious News Stories That Turn Out To Be False Moon of Alabama (Huey Long)

New fake news dilemma: sites publish real scoops amid mess of false reports Guardian

About that Strong April Recovery: Housing Starts and Permits Flop, March Revised Lower Michael Shedlock

Jainism and Ethical Finance Tax Justice Network

Study: Journalists’ Fear of Appearing Biased Benefits Special Interests Pro-Market (resilc). Important.

Guillotine Watch

Hedge Fund Managers Don’t Always Beat the Market, but They Still Make Billions New York Times (resilc)

Class Warfare

Apple’s new $5 billion Apple Park campus has a 100,000-square-foot gym and no daycare (AAPL) Quartz

Tesla Rebuffed Uber Partnership on Self-Driving Cars in 2016 Bloomberg

The Scathing Federal Ruling Against Harris County’s Bail System Is One for the Ages Houston Press (martha r). Late to this but still germane….

How Republicans Are Blocking Cities From Raising the Minimum Wage New Republic (Dan K)

My Family’s Slave Atlantic (Romancing the Loan). Today’s must read.

Antidote du jour (Kittie Wilson via Lawrence R, a red-breasted grouse):

And a bonus video antidote (Will C):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. Ruben

    Market-based incentive systems are not the best for accurate forecasting

    Optimal incentives for collective intelligence
    Richard P. Manna, and Dirk Helbing
    Collective intelligence is the ability of a group to perform more effectively than any individual alone. Diversity among group members is a key condition for the emergence of collective intelligence, but maintaining diversity is challenging in the face of social pressure to imitate one’s peers. Through an evolutionary game-theoretic model of collective prediction, we investigate the role that incentives may play in maintaining useful diversity. We show that market-based incentive systems produce herding effects, reduce information available to the group, and restrain collective intelligence. Therefore, we propose an incentive scheme that rewards accurate minority predictions and show that this produces optimal diversity and collective predictive accuracy. We conclude that real world systems should reward those who have shown accuracy when the majority opinion has been in error.

    1. HopeLB

      Thank You!
      Further confirmation that exposing yourself to only the MSM and/or orthodox economists makes you stupid. Too bad Brooksley Born, Ellen Brown, Steve Keen, Reinhardt (from Yahoo forum) etc., can’t trumpet this study on the MSM.

    2. MoiAussie

      Anyone got a link to the actual paper? I’ve followed “Collective Intelligence” through it’s hype cycle over the years, and this sounds like it’s worth a read, at least to uncover the resolution of an apparent paradox in the abstract.

      The authors suggest that “market-based incentive systems … restrain collective intelligence”, i.e. reduce the accuracy of CI predictions. They go on to show that “an incentive scheme that rewards accurate minority predictions … produces optimal diversity and collective predictive accuracy.”

      Sounds intuitive and reasonable, but here’s the apparent paradox. Real-world markets generously reward players who predict accurately while going against the majority. That’s surely the best position for an informed player to be in, correctly betting against the herd. So in what sense are “market-based incentive systems” failing to reward accurate minority predictors in the real world? (Here I’m not focusing on any other market failings such as causing inequality, encouraging intermediation and parasitism, or any of the other reasonable criticisms that can be made of unregulated markets.)

      The answer probably lies in the technical details of the “market-based incentive systems” used in the paper. Or there may be an alternative conclusion: collective intelligence systems place too much weight on majority opinion when making predictions.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      Cassandra and “a prophet is not recognized in his own land” spring to mind.

      I can’t find it, but there was an article about “the safest bet” in gambling which was to bet on Auburn to beat the spread because the casual and degenerate (people who simply have to bet) overlooked Auburn in favor of Alabama skewing the spread because the degenerates and casual gamblers in other states would still bet on Auburn’s opponent. They found similar situations wherever a “red headed step child” dynamic existed.

    4. MoiAussie

      Ok, I’ve read enough of it to resolve the apparent paradox. What the authors have shown is that very simple and rather dumb incentive systems (which they label market-based incentive systems), like giving every accurate predictor $1, or giving every accurate predictor an equal fractional share of $1, can be outperformed by a slightly smarter incentive function, like giving them a $1 only if they are in an accurate minority. And this is all evaluated in an evolutionary context where agents change their behaviour to imitate those around them who are getting better rewards, based on essentially free and complete knowledge of how those others make predictive decisions. Relative performance of these incentive schemes is evaluated only after the system reaches equilibrium.

      The model is thus a very long way from being realistic in many respects, but that’s par for the course in these studies. I’d be prepared to bet that their incentive function can be outperformed by a more realistic one that rewards accurate predictors more when they’re in a smaller minority. As for more realistic assumptions about knowledge sharing and evaluation in non-equilibrium states, if you can model that effectively you’ll make a big name for yourself in this field.

  2. Geoff

    “There’s a Logic to Trump’s War On the Media American Prospect (resilc). Oddly omits that media declared war on Trump first, in no small measure because it was good for ratings.”

    Media didn’t start the “war” first. He’s been playing them for decades and they seem to have slowly been catching on over the last year. They never took him seriously until they realized he was winning a war they didn’t know they were in.

    1. Arby

      If this was more than a phony war, Trump would be using antitrust to break the media companies into pieces and inundate them with agents from regulatory agencies going through their operations with a constant, costly fine tooth comb.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That would be impeachable, no?

        “Trump asked agencies to go after X!!!”

      2. Mike Mc

        That was Nixon’s goal (and LBJ’s too, sorta kinda) but they never got down to it.

        Now, of course, Mr. Market has solved this by consolidation and crapification.

    2. MoiAussie

      Media … have slowly been catching on over the last year

      You are kidding, ne? What utter hogwash. The vast majority of the MSM hasn’t said anything fair or balanced about Trompe since he nominated. And since his election it’s been in orchestrated, take-no-prisoners attack mode. (NB. Not a Trompe supporter by any stretch of the imagination, except to the extent he succeeds in reigning in the blob [hi katharine] and getting the MIC to stand down from its pre-emptive attack posture.)

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The Art of War.

      Deception. You don’t have to say nasty things first. You can pretend to be neutral or nice. Get nasty later.

      Or you can be nasty from the start.

      A master propagandist knows when to do what. We amateurs just can’t adequately comprehend.

      There is little doubt that after being called to the Trump Tower in NY prior to inauguration, they have doubled down on giving debate questions beforehand.

    4. Scott

      I was in an airport for the first time since Trump’s inauguration and CNN was on. It was like watch Fox News during the Obama administration, except the people criticizing the president are “moderate” and “respectable.”

      1. Anonymous

        I was, also. In AA terminal at JFK. Still need to write to AA to tell them to shut it off.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are there still classified JFK files around for Trump to leak to the Russians?

        The man is reckless.

  3. Bill Smith

    “All fossil-fuel vehicles will vanish in 8 years in twin ‘death spiral’ for big oil and big autos, says study that’s shocking the industries”

    And everyone will be using flying cars in 11 years… remember the Jetsons?

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Yeah, sadly that article has to be taken with a gigantic pinch of salt. It ignores the capacity contraint issue with electric vehicles – in order to replace the current car manufacturing capacity there would have to be a gigantic ramping up of battery and magnet production, and there probably isn’t enough lithium and rare earths available in that time frame. It also of course buys into the whole ‘self-driving car, innovation, etc., etc.,’ thing. As Apple found out to its cost, building cars isn’t easy.

      That said, I think we are reaching an inflection point whereby electric cars can compete on a level playing field, especially for city cars. The VW diesel scandal can be seen as a blessing in disguise, nearly all the majors in Europe are dumping their diesel engine lines and investing heavily in EV’s and hybrids (Volvo announced that they are ceasing diesel engine development this week). I do think that the next recession will be very difficult for car makers as they are so dependent on cheap financing that the downward slump will be exacerbated by a flood of people handing back cars, especially those on leases. This could result in rapid structural changes if a few go bust. But I doubt it will look like the Jetson vision in that article.

      1. MoiAussie

        Anyone stupid enough to predict that “The cost per mile for EVs will be 6.8 cents” in 2030, claiming accuracy to fractions of a penny, doesn’t have a lot of credibility.

          1. Dr. Excel, Ph.D.

            That is Dr. Excel, Ph.D. if you please. We are not on a first name basis yet and you are not showing the appropriate degree of reverence.

    2. Jim Haygood

      When self-drive electric vehicles take over, they will have to pry my vintage gas turbine flying car (which I’ve owned ever since they were introduced in 1985) out of my cold, dead hands.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Is that the flying car that can take you back to the future?

        A time-machine flying electric car is what I want for Christmas.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Then I got one that loops me back to the day before Christmas constantly (the junk is waiting for factory recall the day it was manufactured).

          And I am stuck forever waiting for my Christmas present.

    3. oho

      Price going from a gas car to electric.

      It ain’t affordable for a majority of Americans once you factor in things like (a) garage space; (b) installing a home charger (and potentially new wiring if you live in an older home).

      Wake me up when electric = 100% of Range Rover sales. Then maybe the costs will have come down enough for the bottom 80%.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I monitor electric vs. Flying Pigeon bicycle numbers.

        When the former exceeds the latter, we will know a new age has arrived.

    4. diptherio

      “This is the futuristic forecast by Stanford University economist Tony Seba.”

      We all know how good economists are at predicting the future, so this is pretty much a sure thing.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        When do economists predict wealth equality will occur by?

        “We predict ‘free health care for all’ by 3017!!!”

    5. IHateBanks

      bwahahahaha!!! I just about spit coffee out of my nose just reading the headline. I will go on the record as stating that I believe I will still be fueling my V-8’s and V-6’s with no more than $5 a gallon gas 10-15 years from now.

    6. Jef

      A rapid build out of EVs will increase electricity demand exponentially guaranteeing that coal remains the #1 fuel source for generating electricity.

      Advocates of “renewable energy” (there is no such thing, ask any physicist) would have us believe that they can replace existing demand PLUS all of new demand and do it fast, cheap, and environmentally. Ha!!!

      1. MoiAussie

        “renewable energy” is a perfectly reasonable commonplace label for solar energy captured from sustainable sources, so it kinda spoils your overall point to attack it. Sure, we all know the sun will eventually go out, but so what? And you seem to misunderstand what “exponentially” actually means, “significantly” would be more credible.

        1. Jef

          Moi – Solar is 100% reliant on a very resource intensive, highly complex infrastructure to qualify as an energy source, even “so called passive solar” does not come free or renewably. This infrastructure will increase in price, complexity, and in pollution emissions unless it STOPS! Unless maybe you are just talking about “the sun rises in the morning”, DUH!!! But even that is not 100% renewable…it will end! There is no energy source that

          Exponential…for your info…is a constant increase…even if it is just a fraction of a percent…if it is increasing it is growing exponentially. Are you saying that the number of cars will eventually stop growing? If so, the sooner the better, how about NOW.

          1. different clue

            The sun will end in 3 billion years from now. That is not relevant to our time scales.

            Meanwhile, plants themselves hoist self-assembling arrays of solar bio-collectors into the sky every moment of the day. Renewably.

            1. jonboinAR

              Right, but they don’t try to build or drive automobiles with the energy they’ve collected.

          2. MoiAussie

            Exponential…for your info…is a constant increase
            …if it is increasing it is growing exponentially

            You are showing your ignorance of mathematics rather blatantly now.
            A constant increase is “arithmetic growth”, for your info. Look it up.
            Exponential growth is non-constant increase according to an… exponential,
            like something that doubles every time period, f(t) = 2^t.

        2. Gaianne


          If you want your energy to be renewable you pretty much have to cut your consumption by 90%.

          Yes, you personally might do that–I recommend it, too!–but our society will not.

          All the extra energy we consume has to come from one fossil source or another–and it does.

          For example, suppose you wanted to heat your house using firewood. Wood is renewable, if you have a woodlot that will grow a year’s worth of firewood each year. Depending on the size and efficiency of your house, the size of the woodlot you will need varies, but the ballpark is three acres.

          This does not fuel your car, of course. You can distill methanol from wood and run your car on that, but now you need a bigger woodlot.

          You can begin to see the problem. With some five new and productive Earths we could run our current civilization on our single Earth renewably, provided we decided to no longer grow. We don’t have five Earths and we haven’t decided to quit growing either. So our fate is pretty well laid at this point.

          A side note: Photovoltaic panels are a lot of fun and a great convenience because they collect energy in the form of electricity, but they don’t store it. On the whole, except for running low-wattage electronic devices and LED lamps, you are probably better off growing trees.

          1. MoiAussie

            If you want your energy to be renewable you pretty much have to cut your consumption by 90%.

            We’re almost off-grid here, and don’t drive much, so I guess we’ve come close to a cut of that size. May reach that target next year. I do understand a bit about photovoltaics, storage, and embodied energy. For Australia, average resource consumption is so high that I think we need 6 or 7earths.

            Elephant in the room: population – that’s what really needs to be cut.

            1. Gaianne

              “We’re almost off-grid here, and don’t drive much, so I guess we’ve come close”

              That is good to hear!

              And I may have misread you comment. Where I live (Northeastern US) I am surrounded by greenwash and greenscams everyday, and most people seem to like it that way. I have come to think that what matters (not what will save us–nothing will “save” us) are not the big schemes we talk about, but the small things that people actually do.


    7. loblolly

      I’m sure there are a bunch of innovative, dynamic, game changing, new players in the EV space that Wall street would love institutional investors to buy, buy, buy!

      You gotta plant seeds if you expect a crop ya know?

  4. Nax

    I’m deeply skeptical of the fossil fuel death spiral article. I wonder how much Tesla donated to the ‘research’?

    For example if oil drops to $25/barrel then the price of gasoline is going to be, what, $1.60/gallon? If you drive a 40mpg gas powered car then that’s $0.04/mile or 2/3rds of the $0.068 he claims electric cars will cost.

    Electric/hybrid cars (at least the current ones) also need their batteries replaced every half dozen years or so. This all but destroys the second hand market as the batteries cost more to replace than the value of the car.

    Socially having mini electric ‘taxis’ may work great for young professionals. But once you have an elderly relative with mobility problems and a touch on incontinence that needs to go to the hospital often then having your own car starts to be important. Who wants to haul their child seats out of the EV taxi and carry them around all day until it’s time to go home? Are they going to have a dog compartment? What happens to all the junk a lot of people keep in their cars? What if I need to drop everything and take my infirm relative to urgent care, am I going to wait 20 minutes for an EV taxi or call 911 and bankrupt the family? How do I get a wheelchair into the EV tiny taxi? Oh, wait extra long for the special handicapped version?

    It’s like the author has never met anyone that leads even a slightly complicated real (family blog) life.

    And 200 mile range is pretty shit, especially when it takes a long time to charge and charging stations are hardly ubiquitous. Good luck if you end up hitting a no services for 100miles stretch of road in Texas or Utah.

    (I say all of this as an early adopter of hybrid cars (because family blog George Bush and his hydrogen cars), so I have no venom towards the concept.)

    1. MoiAussie

      Have to agree, at least on the time frames. Seems like an example of wishful thinking: Bring about something undoubtedly good by asserting that it’s inevitable and just around the corner, while largely ignoring the magnitude of the changes that would be needed for that to happen.

    2. CD

      Never fear — EV’s will be introduced as “new,” “improved,” “better.” EVs will be made better by loading on electronics, especially self-piloting software, that will hike the price of cheap-to-make cars by increasing the price by 10,000 or so.

      Yup, EV manufacturers will find a way to make you pay for the better, improved EVs.

    3. fresno dan

      May 17, 2017 at 8:10 am

      One other very minor addition to range discussion – hills and mountains. Here in Fresno, the national parks in the Sierra are just a hop, skip, and a jump away….in a gas car. I presume all the mileage abilities for electrics are on flat level ground – can a Tesla actually make it from Fresno to Sequoia national park and back???

      And just coming back from a southern CA trip, there are enough hills and traffic is such that one has to be prepared to accelerate as fast as one can when going up hill.

      1. Mel

        Dynamic braking. In principle, if you can get there in the first place, the drive back will pay for a lot of the drive up.

        1. JeffC

          We are driving in a hybrid in the Blue Ridge mountains in North Carolina as I type, and when we go down hills, we can watch the battery charge go up.

          1. subgenius

            But not anything like the amount of charge that is used going up…entropy for the loss…

            Because fizziks!

    4. Vatch

      Electric/hybrid cars (at least the current ones) also need their batteries replaced every half dozen years or so.

      It’s not quite that bad. Most have an 8 year / 100,000 mile warranty on the battery. I think some might have a 10 year / 150,000 mile battery warranty.

      I agree with other things that you say. Some Electric Vehicles will, in effect, be powered by burning coal, which is worse for air quality than being powered by gasoline.

      I bought a hybrid two years ago, and I like it. But I never use it to transport a large number of people.

    5. mpalomar

      “Electric/hybrid cars (at least the current ones) also need their batteries replaced every half dozen years or so”
      – I believe that is a myth that has been largely discredited. I’m driving a 2004 prius and have never replaced the battery and still getting the same mileage.

      Things are changing, the 2018 prius is going to be a new generation that first runs on an electric motor with a range of 50 miles or so and then relies on the internal combustion hybrid system.

      The article is probably correct about the move away from internal combustion to electric, the description of the timing and the economics are fanciful. The tremendous resistance from the existing technologies that control the political landscape is not mentioned as an impediment.

      There is apparently a new and better battery, something to do with glass and not lithium. That may well help with the promulgation of electric automobiles and home solar arrays. Where the article goes off the tracks is projecting the model of an uber and zip car world instead of a more conventional mass transit system.

      If the impending cataclysm engendered by the continued and expanding consumption of natural resources, water and air included, by ever larger numbers of 7 billion people is to be avoided (holding up iphones and magical thinking discounted) a reality check on this sort of tech panacea is needed.

      “Cities will ban human drivers once the data confirms how dangerous they can be behind a wheel. This will spread to suburbs, and then beyond. There will be a ‘mass stranding of existing vehicles’”.

      Sure, get rid of diesel and internal combustion and switch to electric but how about mass transit and halting new road construction. The panel discussion posted on NC awhile back among a group of futurists (archdruid et. al.) made the interesting point about the colossal infrastructure repair coming due on existing roads and bridges.

  5. martin horzempa

    Please, please, please. Will someone please help me out and tell me what the meaning of the term “resilc” is. It has befuddled for years and I have given up on my feeble efforts to find out by googleing the term. Thanks in advance.

    1. katiebird

      That is the name of the commenter who sent the link to NC. You will see the name of other commenters following links also in parentheses .

      1. martin horzempa

        Thank you so much katiebird, you have made my day. I can finally stop obsessing about this and return to my usual obsessions. take care.

      2. robnume

        Been trying to figure that one out, too. I believe resilc may stand for: reader endorsed solicitation inside links comment. But I may be wrong. I always enjoy trying to figure out acronyms.

      1. MoiAussie

        Where did you spot that? Maybe the Spoonerized version of “The Powers That Be”.

        1. divadab

          Too Big to Pee.

          Try Being the Prick.

          Take Bums the Pudding.

          These Bastards Tried Polyamory.

          Teddy Burned the Parasites.

  6. MoiAussie

    One Day, Three Serious News Stories That Turn Out To Be False

    It’s hard to keep up with all the fake news flying around, and there’s more analysis and debunking at MoA today, James Comey Ups His Game With Another Non-News Leak, the second part of which is particularly interesting.

    The State Department claim that Syria built a crematorium inside a prison to burn executed prisoners saw no follow up. But it had consequences. The presented “evidence” was too thin to make it believable. Even the staunchly anti-Syrian SPIEGEL doubted it: USA bleiben Beweise für Assads Leichenöfen schuldig. Translated: “U.S. fails to give evidence for Assad crematorium claims.”

    The State Department claim was presented in a special news conference by Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs. A day later Jones announced that he would retire:

    Jones, 57, told colleagues the decision was his own and that he had not been pushed out or asked to leave the department.

    Ahem. Sure. Maybe. Or Secretary of State Rex Tillerson disliked the lame propaganda shows Jones presented under the official State Department seal.

    The crematorium claim was yet another made up horror story to attempt to justify more US strikes against and intervention in Syria, and to demonize Russia by association.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The relentless waves of fake news are basic to a denial of service attack, so that real news users can’t get to the service.

      They are denied.

      1. MoiAussie

        That may be part of it, but seeing the services don’t offer real news anyway, the DoS metaphor is not quite right. It’s more like beating people’s brains into submission.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      When I went to the link you posted for Bucket Head it started off with a long video preview for the movie “Meagan Leavey” … and ended with the movie preview. The next links in the chain were Bucket Head though. He seems like quite a guitarist and also seems very craazy.

      I watched the entire “Meagan Leavey” clip. Wow. If only some of the passion for dogs could be shifted to compassion and empathy for other humans.

      1. craazyboy

        oops. This link may work better.

        Yeah! I like his KFC chicken bucket, tho I hope they gave him a fresh one and royalties too.

        When he dresses up, he wears all white and his dress white bucket. Goes great with the porcelain mask and shiny white guitar! He also has a spare guitar on a guitar stand behind him. Exact duplicate – it’s his guitars!

        Bit eccentric, I’d say. I figure he must have grown up in New Yawk, and rode da Subway. [Italian sub? Everyone sits in back at the bar?]

    2. robnume

      When we lived in Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, my family and I went to see Buckethead every time we got the chance. He is amazing and no one can touch this guy. And, yes, Craazyboy, Buckethead is God. He is most certainly the God of Guitars.
      I heard from a credible source up in No. Cal. that Buckethead has been ill for a time, but he is back and I miss living up there and being readily available to go to a Buckethead performance at the drop of a…bucket.

      1. craazyboy

        He played for a band called Bucket of Bernie Brains! Wowzers!

        Methinks that puts him firmly in the anti-Clinton and anti-Neocon camp.

        Even in The Guitar Universe where the Clintons run a Terrorist cell and small safe space [but 5 Dimensions – the interior is larger than the exterior, and the place sleeps eight comfortably – which is unusual up in the Bay Area.]

        He coulda got tips from Peter Thiel all year ! Not To say everyone in the Bay Area is gay. But 98% are mostly gay.

  7. Huey Long

    RE: All fossil-fuel vehicles will vanish in 8 years

    This article almost made me shoot coffee out of my nose. Total. Bezzle. Overload.

    1. justanotherprogressive

      It is good news! Now if they would lay off Snowden and Assange, too, I’d appreciate it. This “revenge” thing the powers that be have is way out of control…..

        1. MoiAussie

          Seems a pretty legitimate beef however, especially her breaking agreements and showing Assange for approval a misleading cut quite unlike the one released in the US.

          We find it hard to comprehend why Poitras, who played an important role in national security journalism, has chosen to allow a dubious quest for self-discovery to undermine people working courageously to protect press freedoms.

          Trusting journalists to keep their promises has always been a risky bet.

      1. ewmayer

        Rather the opposite, I fear – from the Reuters piece on Manning’s release:

        WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, a target of criminal investigations in Sweden and the United States, had promised to accept extradition if Manning was freed. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said Assange’s arrest was a priority.

  8. Abate Magic Thinking but NOT Money

    FBI post filling:

    In the form of legitimacy that the US leader has, the ability to delegate is foremost. One way another the President is going to need people to rely on, and to do their job those people are going to rely on their boss for constancy. Without constancy, it is not just reputations that are at stake – mental health is an issue.

    If the boss flip-flops and flirts with any passing whim, the only tactics left (aside from quitting) are:

    1. To ignore him or her.

    2. make his/her life so uncomfortable that resignation is the only option.

    3. re-educate and temper so as to achieve tolerable constancy.

    4. Plot & execute removal by outside actor(s).

    So what’s it gonna be? its is difficult to ignore without loss of position, and if the boss is immune to re-education, it looks as if its going to be number 2 or 4. Given past behavior, number 4. gets my money.

    Whoever takes the FBI gig will either be a very, very smart operator, or a doormat with masochistic tendencies.

    Pip pip

    1. DH

      Congress went with No. 1 on the budget bill. They simply ignored Trump’s missives regarding budget priorities.

      I think Congress is finally waking up to the realization that Trump will sign any bill put in front of him as long as he gets to tweet that it was his idea and it is the most tremendous, beautiful bill on the subject ever developed. If McConnell and Ryan can figure out how to ignore the Freedom Caucus as well, they can work with moderate Democrats to develop legislation with veto-proof majorities and actually govern the country for a change.

      1. Abate Magic Thinking but NOT Money

        Re DH: Congress went with No. 1….

        Yes, but members of Congress do not rely on the President for their spot at the trough. They can afford to ignore POTUS for the moment, but if the GOP franchise starts to fall apart because of diverging trajectories – maybe you could see three “rightist” parties in the US for a while. I hesitate to write “conservative” because, firstly I see the Dems as right-wing in world political terms (eg no single payer) , and secondly because the GOP has not conserved American jobs, small businesses, and growth in the manner expected of them.

        The “old” GOP seems to be sleepwalking towards schism or revolution despite the Trumpist wake up call. How long can the hollowing out – the crapification continue?

        I suppose a key indicator will be the pot-hole count.

        If you want to be diverted from the US political kerfuffle for the moment, check out Australian politics. Conservative politics here has been broken for a long time and is endlessly entertaining because of the personalities of the factions-within-factions of a coalition. There is effectively a permanent coalition on the right, which is so pervasive that often Australians conveniently regard Australia as having a two-party political system! It could be the model for the GOP; there would be the Republicans and then the FlyOver Republicans. Which one would have the whip hand after a few electoral cycles?

        Pip pip!

  9. Huey Long

    RE: Navy Chief Says U.S. Needs More Ships Quickly to Stay Credible

    This is an MIC congressional panhandling piece if I ever heard one!

    If anything, the navy has too many ships of the wrong types should it have to fight a peer or near peer navy.

    Those surface ships aren’t going to last very long in an environment chock full of modern anti-shipping missiles. For those of you in doubt, google “Falklands War,” “Operation Praying Mantis,” or “USS Stark.”

    If anything, the Navy needs more submarines, cheap ASW frigates, and mine countermeasures vessels. Our Navy only has 11 active mine sweepers at the moment, and for years minesweeping has been neglected within the Navy.

    Why am I so focused on mines? Because mines are the cheapest, easiest, and lowest tech way for opponents to inflict casualties upon our Navy and restrict its movement. 11 minesweepers are hardly enough to counter the minelaying potential of a power like China who could potentially lay hundreds of thousands of mines over a vast area using both submarine and aerial assets.

    As for the littoral combat ship mentioned in the article, it is an absolute engineering debacle, and apparently the Navy no longer builds their ships to be “sailor proof” like they did back when I was in. Pa-rumph!

    1. PlutoniumKun

      The Littoral Combat Ship is as big a catastrophe as the F-35, for the same contractual reason (the Navy is committed to buying several dozen, and now has to find a use for a vessel which has never achieved its original design aims). They are trying to convert it to frigate use, but it doesn’t have the range or robustness for this, so the Navy will be spending billions on a frigate that can’t do what a WWII frigate could do – follow other ships on long distance voyages for protection.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        The Army wasted multiple billions on the FCS program. Now the Navy and Air Force get their turns. There are only so many billions to go around forcing our services to share the teats. Clearly we need a larger defense budget.

        1. Vatch

          You made me look up “FCS”. It’s Future Combat Systems, and there’s even a Wikipedia entry about it! Future Combat Systems is now in the past.

      2. Mark P.

        The Littoral Combat Ship is as big a catastrophe as the F-35, for the same contractual reason (the Navy is committed to buying several dozen, and now has to find a use for a vessel which has never achieved its original design aims.

        The LCS is far worse than the F-35, unimaginable as that may seem.

        When the historians write the post-game analysis on the fall of the American Empire, the Littoral Combat Ship will be a prime example of how bad the corruption and stupidity was.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Re Navy ships and “air superiority multi mission super fighters:” And maybe, since “we” seem to be failing on all fronts as an Empire, for all the reasons that have so clearly been laid out and discussed here at NC, one might ask whether it’s time for a re-think of “missions” and to explore how to stop letting the manifold corruption and idiocy that drives “procurement” of NEW! IMPROVED! weapons systems and neocon “full spectrum dominance” idiocracy ideology drive the bus?

      On the other hand, BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That’s like telling an aggressive cancer to stop growing and metastasizing. Like remonstrating with the scorpion that stung the frog that was gullible enough to give the scorpion a ride across the stream. Like telling a pedophile priest to “knock it off.” Not going to happen, until the affected organism dies…

      I’d say the failures called the LCS and F-35 are of course successes in wealth transfer technology and political economy. As to “operational” problems with both, seems pretty obvious that the kind of honest Sun Tzu style fundamental analysis was and is missing in action.

      Of course the Navy Brass knows from long patterns that you don’t get anything unless you ask for it, in a flurry of FUDness…

    3. tony

      Since no peer or near-peer navy to the US Navy exists, that is hardly an issue. They can safely keep extracting taxpayer dollar for new toys and MIC careers.

      1. DH

        Are you kidding me? Countries like Iran have developed speedboat navies. That clearly requires a massive expansion of the number of biggest US ships.

  10. MoiAussie


    It’s a bit hard to judge the credibility of a central claim of this piece, revealed in the first par.

    A Washington Post reporter has revealed that the Islamic State (IS) laptop plot story, which President Donald Trump mentioned to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov at the White House last week came from IS itself, through the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The reason for the leaking against Trump, which followed in the Post and in the Anglo-American media, has also been disclosed by the Post. The CIA and at least one senior staff official of the National Security Council, who briefed the CIA on what Trump had said, are angry at the President for revealing collaboration between IS operatives and their US Government handlers in attacks on Russian targets, including Russian airline travellers. (emphasis mine)

    The claim I mean is not that IS was the intelligence source, but that the current frenzy of leaks against Trompe is driven by CIA anger at his revealing a present danger and effectively confirming to Lavrov that the CIA is running IS against Russia. Now it’s been obvious for a long time that the CIA was supporting IS, and perhaps even quite deliberately created it, as a weapon to be applied to targets such as Syria, but a claim that IS is an active asset of the CIA being used against Russia today and tomorrow would take this to another level. It would add some support to the claim made some months ago that one motive behind the US push to take Tabqa airport (near Raqqa) was to be in a position to easily evacuate key IS fighters and their families to places of safety, i.e. preserve useful CIA assets.

    Can anyone suggest the identity of “the senior staff official of the National Security Council who briefed the CIA on what Trump had said”?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      Between Minute 0:55 and 1:02 of the videoclip Miller says “the problem [sic] is that the United States knows much of this information because of intelligence that came from a partner, another country.” There is nothing in the published text of the story that says the “partner” was “another country”; that is, another country’s government or intelligence service. In Miller’s videoclip, he doesn’t mention the word “country” again.

      Last night, abc news identified the “country”–israel.

      Not sure why this should be such a secret from or a surprise to Russia. As for israel’s “unwillingness” to “work” with us in the future, fat chance–they own us.

    2. Carolinian

      He mentions Fiona Hill but makes no direct claims about who is doing the leaking (and how could he?).

      A fairly obvious pattern has emerged. Whenever Trump makes any conciliatory moves toward Russia the press goes bananas. If he fires some missiles at Russia’s ally they proclaim him mature and presidential.

      As Hearst said, you supply the pictures, I’ll supply the war. Probably the only diff between then and now is the current media’s disgusting sanctimony. What happened to the good old Front Page days when all reporters were supposed to be cynical?

      1. Katniss Everdeen

        Heard anything about the fbi leak of tens of thousands of dnc emails and attachments found on Seth Rich’s laptop and sent to Wikileaks?

        Yeah. Me neither.

  11. JTMcPhee

    RE “Microsoft to blame” for global hack risks — interesting read, the comments more so. All those Libertarian Galts out there, happy to lay the “blame” at the feet of all the “consumers” who have been hooked into buying the addictive drugs that we call computers and their software “suites.” “Users should have upgraded, they were given plenty of warning,” as if upgrading is such a snap, or “It’s the NHS’s fault for not putting the resources into replacing old tech,” or “These corporations just rolled the dice, it’s on them,” and as for individual “users” like me, with limited funds and very limited tech skills, “tough sh!t! It’s a rough world out there.” Though we are told that MSFT and Google/Android and even Apple products and engineering are “the best of the best,” and each (forced) upgrade is “for the best,” and we should know not to put scarce resources into wasting assets. Or maybe “just die,” as the ‘systems” we have been told we can’t live without fail under Visigoth assaults.

    And the smugness of so many commenters — “I can swim in these deepening waters — you can’t? Then drown. It’s your own fault for being weak, and not being able to afford or failing to obtain a personal flotation device (PFD).”

    One is reminded of the myth of the Tower of Babel…

    1. MoiAussie

      The thing that’s often missed about “Users should have upgraded” is that while it”s not so painful for Joe homeuser and Jane business user to switch to MicroSnot’s latest panopticon OS offering, perhaps a weekend wasted in getting the configuration acceptable and apps installed, anyone using the OS for a more serious purpose than web browsing, spreadsheeting, printing, emailing, social mediation and the like, for example as part of a lift control system, or running records systems in a doctor’s office, will find that they are facing months or years of work to migrate. The computer in that lift that was sold 10 years ago probably can’t even run Win7 let alone 10, and the lift maintenance contract doesn’t cover hardware and software upgrades. So what should the building owner do? Buy a new lift every 10 years?

      1. Charger01

        Planned obsolescence by MSFT. They were shocked at the massive resistance of people switching from XP to Vista (awful) and then 7 (less awful). Plus, software is the cash cow that’s been slowly butchered by iOS/Linux/piracy that’s out there.

      2. JTMcPhee

        That is how the GDP “grows,” so what’s the problem? It’s all a matter of identifying goals…

      3. nowhere

        I agree that upgrading control system components are a challenge (truth be told, this is what I do), but isn’t also a problem of the bean counters that don’t account for required maintenance? I’ve had to run Windows NT in a virtual machine because a control system’s engineering package won’t even run in XP!

        1. Abate Magic Thinking but NOT Money

          Fresh with Foul – The Microflabby Ransom-ware debacle
          (If internet traffic were water, you wouldn’t drink it)

          The way I look at is that any function that is connected to to the internet is at risk. It is like drinking water from wells that are connected to the sewage system. It is as simple as that. Back in the 19th century Dr. Edwin Lankester’s Evaluation* led to the separation of fresh and foul. I regard that as phase three of civilization.

          It is evident that Microflabby’s products which enable electronic communication are not fit for purpose, but despite this they have been allowed to continue by the powers that be. I don’t have the expertise to know about the other systems on offer.

          What worries me is that known-to-be-faulty products are allowed into the control systems of the organizations responsible for of the separation of fresh and foul water (along with other critical systems).

          There is a risk that the current Information Technology business model will take the phase three civilizations of the world back to phase two.

          The Victorians were conservative and revolutionary at the same time!

          I am aware that keeping the pipes apart is going to take a lot of re-engineering, but some things just have to be done even if it puts a lot of after-the-fact sewage filtration companies out of business.

          Pip pip


  12. PlutoniumKun

    My Family’s Slave Atlantic (Romancing the Loan). Today’s must read.

    An amazing read, thanks to the person who linked to it yesterday. Sadly, this sort of domestic situation is all too common in large parts of the Middle East and some parts of Asia (and its regularly imported to the US and Europe). Slavery never disappeared, it just morphed into other more subtle forms.

    1. Romancing The Loan

      It’s an agonizing read in many ways – I can see why it wasn’t published until his death. He does not come off well at all.

      Apart from the obvious (that he never freed her despite how bad he supposedly felt), the parts where I really squirmed were the bit where he praises her for the deferential behavior she developed over years of abuse and calls it her personality, and the part where he says he knows she would have wanted to have had love in her life because he saw her humping a pillow once. One last breathtakingly cruel and totally needless invasion of privacy for the woman they’d already taken everything else from, huh?

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      Stockholm Syndrome.

      For some reason, I was reminded of conversations I’ve had with a young, proudly safety pin-wearing female friend regarding the mistreatment of migrant farm workers. “How would she provide her children with healthy, wholesome, vegetable-laden, affordable meals without those migrants remaining in their unfortunate ‘situation’, ” she innocently and unconflictedly wonders.

    3. Colonel Smithers

      Thank you, PK.

      Dad, a former Royal Air Force doctor, was based in Riyadh, but worked across MENA, from 1992 – 2013 and often came across such servitude. He was employed as a doctor and public health adviser by various branches of the KSA government and security apparatus, so came across the family who own the kingdom and their hangers on. I have also witnessed.

      Dad was told by friends / colleagues that slavery as we understand it existed until a generation ago, but has evolved. In most cases, the descendants have stuck with the family who owned their ancestors. The owners of the kingdom often rely on such descendants for security as rival families and tribes are restless. Bandar, the son of a union between one of the owners and his slave, became ambassador to the US when W was president. Another is a general, the one who had to hot foot it from London recently, and heads the KSA war effort in Yemen.

      On a few occasions, dad was chucked off or had to switch flights as one of the owners and his / her entourage / retinue commandeered an entire Saudia flight. At the other end from Riyadh, such parties, often army platoon / company size, get through immigration control without a hitch. The UK and Mauritius don’t bother checking the owners and their chattels. One luxury hotel group in Mauritius, controlled by the Franco-Mauritian aristos who chucked out my great granddad for marrying out a century ago, has villa complexes designed for such visitors. Al Waleed bin Talal has invested in this venture.

      There have been cases of chattels escaping in the UK and / or being brutalised.

      If any of you are in London’s royal parks during the summer evenings, you will probably come across these owners and chattels as they like to shop late and picnic in the parks until midnight. You can also see them at Bicester Village, a shopping outlet north of Oxford, and Marylebone station, the London terminal for Bicester.

      I call these potentates owners as Menachem Begin said that KSA was not a country, but a family business. He was right.

  13. RenoDino

    A Soft Coup in the Offing? One Day, Three Serious News Stories That Turn Out To Be False

    Every day that goes by in the political war between the intelligence community who wants Trump removed and the military who wants to keep him around, real war on the Korean peninsula grows more likely. All the criticism and all the threats to remove Trump from office will cease on the day he launches a first strike on N. Korea based on the threat assessment backed by his Pentagon supporters. Trump will be granted extraordinary powers to keep the country safe and not a peep of protest will come from anyone lest they be seen as enemy sympathizers.

    The neocons and their deep state supporters are having a field day right now, thinking that impeachment is right around the corner. What they will get is the exact opposite. Trump’s power and prestige and his ability to get things done will be more entrenched and enhanced than they could ever imagine.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump better not inform the North Koreans beforehand, like he did tipping off Russia the last time.

      Otherwise, what he sees today will pale in comparison.

  14. allan

    Qualcomm sues four Apple contract manufacturers [Reuters]

    Qualcomm Inc said on Wednesday it filed a complaint against Foxconn Technology Group and three other contract manufacturers of Apple Inc for not paying royalties.

    The other manufacturers listed by Qualcomm were Pegatron Corp, Wistron Corp and Compal Electronics Inc.

    The iPhone maker sued Qualcomm in January, accusing it of overcharging for chips and refusing to pay some $1 billion in promised rebates.

    Qualcomm said last month that Apple had decided to withhold royalty payments to its contract manufacturers that are owed to the chipmaker, for sales made in the first quarter of 2017, until the dispute is resolved in court.

    “While not disputing their contractual obligations to pay for the use of Qualcomm’s inventions, the manufacturers say they must follow Apple’s instructions not to pay,” the chipmaker said in a statement. …

    Such ingratitude. Qualcomm should feel privileged to be helping pay for the $5 billion spaceship.

  15. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    The Lola article is profound…….I am now undergoing recovery.

  16. Jim Haygood

    Rep Al Green (D-HousTex … and presumably no relation to the Reverend Al Green):

    Today on the floor of the Congress of the United States of America, I will call for the Impeachment of the President between 9am & 10am CST.

    Remember what happened when ol’ Bill Clinton got impeached in 1998, and acquitted by the Senate in 1999? It was the final blowoff of Bubble I, the great Internet bubble.

    Functionally, partisan bloodletting in the form of an impeachment debate means that almost nothing else gets done in Congress. Since most of what they do is destructive, impeachment is a kind of climatic optimum for the flourishing of a benignly neglected economy.

    Impeachment … f*ck yeah! :-)

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq on track for worst daily tumble in 8 weeks,” screeches MarketWatch.

      All of 0.8 (zero point eight) percent. Me so scared!

      As the seasoned old pros say … Keep calm and BTFD.

      1. fresno dan

        Jim Haygood
        May 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

        These institutions he is referring to – that were once thought of as non-partisan and trusted equally by men and women, Democrats and Republicans, young and old – are becoming more politicized and mistrusted by the day. The FBI, the Senate, the House of Representatives, the Electoral College, the mainstream news media, Congressional Budget Office, the Federal Reserve, the intelligence community, the Judicial branch, the office of the President, the White House Press Corps, the Department of Defense, the US Constitution.
        These Older Gods, once venerated, are now fading in influence, in confidence and in the public trust. We no longer take a single word any of these organizations say at face value; we’re questioning their motives and communiqués before they’re even finished speaking. Fingers pointing from every direction.
        The comical thing about the whole “Trump Rally” conceit is that while people have the effect right, they have the cause precisely backwards. Stocks are rallying because of how little faith we have in the government. The Mega Blue Chip Corporation is the new Sovereign. This applies in Europe and Japan just as neatly as it applies here at home – go ahead and look at their indices, this belief transference I describe is going global. Shareholders around the world are waking up to the idea that, despite the many and prominent failings of their respective governments, the universal “profit motive” has not let them down.
        Our new gods – our American Gods – are the only thing left worthy of our love and attention in the current moment. And the Saints who guide us – Dimon, Zuckerberg, Cook, Fink, Page, Bezos, Musk, Bogle – have shown themselves to be far more worthy of investor adulation than Congress or the White House. For the 20% of Americans who own 80% of America’s wealth, these companies are the objects of worship.

        What happens when the market goes down….and this time, the worshipers no longer believe the FED priests prayers can rise the dead?

    2. Eureka Springs

      Can this reasoning possibly do anything but leave an extra thick teflon coating on Trump in the long run?

      The Houston Democrat claimed that Trump may have committed illegal obstruction of justice by firing FBI director James Comey during the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and then seeking to intimidate him in a tweet warning that there may be “tapes” of their conversation.

      “President Trump is not above the law,” Green said in a written statement. “He has committed an impeachable act and must be charged. To do otherwise would cause some Americans to lose respect for, and obedience to, our societal norms.”

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The jackboot mentality is alive and well.

          Hillary’s “bring them to heel” line simply wasn’t embarrassing for many U.S. elites. With the long term and widespread economic declines, the elites are having difficulty grasping societal norms won’t play with the electorate.

      1. nippersdad

        Any pol who sat out the last two Administrations waiting for a Trump to tout the importance of adhering to “societal norms” has already lost all credibility.

  17. Otis B Driftwood

    Chaffetz is one of the few who in the GOP who is not voicing some to much unhappiness with Trump.

    Huh? Can someone provide the english translation for this?

    1. MoiAussie

      It’s easier if you notice that your quoted text is a link and click through to a Hill piece entitled GOP nears total exasperation with Trump. “some to much” is a measure, like “little if any”. And the first “who” is redundant, can be safely ignored.

      Personally I’m amazed at how fast Yves can crank out paragraph after paragraph of carefully reasoned high quality commentary with minimal errors. I suspect she doesn’t sleep as much as is desirable.

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        Yep, it was a cheap remark. Happens to me sometimes and I know everyone hates the guy/gal in the room who points out spelling mistakes. Maybe next time my comment might actually add value. Cheers.

    2. ewmayer

      It seems pretty obvious to me that the first ‘who’ in the snip is extraneous – exactly the sort of thing that happens when one is quickly drafting something, uses word X at some location in a sentence, then decides at a later spot in the evolving sentence that X fits better there, and forgets to go back and remove the first occurrence. You are welcome to volunteer your services as an unpaid copy editor if such glitches offend you so.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Comey memo.

    I wonder if it goes like this:

    Comey: Can you drop me off at the next corner?

    Trump: Only if you drop Flynn.

    (Ha ha ha).

    The leaked version:

    Comey: You drop off?

    Trump: If you drop Flynn.

    And the (Ha ha ha) is edited out, which is critical, as craazyman and craazyboy can tell you.

    Anyone who has ever commented on the internet knows without emoticons, a transcript can be very misleading.

    1. cocomaan

      Nobody has seen the damn transcript. No primary sources. Sorry, NYT, got burned on Ahmed Chalabi!

    2. Abate Magic Thinking but NOT Money

      MyLessThanPrimeBeef and Comey memo

      This reminds me that in current Australian slang “in like Flynn” refers to easy success*.
      Maybe American slang in the future will refer to quick and painful failure as “Out like Flynn”.

      Pip Pip

      * Is it still current in the US?

  19. katiebird

    I loved reading the post about The Bail System!!! Thank you for the link.

    On Friday, Rosenthal granted the plaintiffs a preliminary injunction and ordered sweeping changes to the misdemeanor bail system, ensuring that no low-level poor person will be stuck in jail just because he or she can’t pay to get out. Under the preliminary injunction — which temporarily blocks Harris County’s current system — Rosenthal has ordered that all misdemeanor defendants be released on a personal bond within 24 hours after their arrest, if they haven’t already bailed out, and if they aren’t subject to other holds.

    Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg, who has long supported bail reform, called the ruling a “watershed moment in Harris County criminal-justice history.”

    “[Poor people] have faced detention, sometimes for months, in maximum-security facilities such as the Harris County Jail, when in some instances, their offenses don’t even warrant jail time upon conviction,” Ogg said. “We welcome this ruling and will comply fully with it.”

    1. DH

      The thing that has baffled me the most about the US criminal “justice” system is how wasteful it is.

      1. A significant percentage of the population are now felons, which impacts their ability to get jobs and be productive citizens. That impacts productivity, GDP, and tax collections.
      2. Jail and prison are expensive places to store people. Yet the people most focused on cutting government spending are adamant that we need to store more people in jail at great expense.
      3. Capital punishment is more expensive than just incarcerating somebody in prison for the rest of their life.
      4. Despite having one of the highest incarceration rates in the world, we lead the developed world in homicides. Clearly something isn’t working.

      1. Abate Magic Thinking but NOT Money

        re DH and “Clearly Something isn’t working”

        What it amounts to is democracy of the wrong type, in which some local Tinpot McCrackpot can overturn everything. No wonder there are so many lawyers!

        The ‘where to live in the U.S.’ maps must be hard to keep up to date with ever-changing areas marked with ‘here be dragons’ for the unwary.

        Taking it maybe too far as usual, I imagine there are special instructions in the GPS software for American cars. The bitch-in-the-box should have such strident messages as: “Make a U-turn when possible; civil forfeiture ahead!”

        The ‘State’s rights’ experiment has all the flavour of experimenting with drugs.

        Pip pip

  20. Optimader

    “All fossil-fuel vehicles will vanish in 8 years in twin ‘death spiral’ for big oil and big autos, says study that’s shocking the industries”

    A prediction from a university economics prof with no skin in the game other than his reputation which apparently has no value.

    I wish there was a way to place a bet with him and anyone that subscribes to this nonsense

    1. human

      Yes, more pie-in-the-sky predictions with not a single mention of where all this electricity comes from!

      “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” ~ Yogi Berra

    2. sleepy

      The author of the study’s webpage states this in reference to his connection to Stanford:

      Just like Google and Cisco Systems have done, your company can take the same courses that Tony Seba has taught at Stanford’s Continuing Studies as 1-day and 2-day workshops. Seba’s mastercourses are practical, insightful, and high impact. You can learn the same powerful, value-driven frameworks, strategies, tactics, methodologies, and skills toolbox that have allowed Silicon Valley entrepreneurs to start companies, improve business planning and decision-making, and generate hundreds of millions in new revenues

      He describes himself as a “Thought Leader and Silicon Valley Entrepreneur”. Enough said.

  21. fresno dan

    How Did Russiagate Start? Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone. Important.

    I’m not seeing any comments on the Taibbi article, so I will just rerun a previous comment and save my old decrepit fingers some wear and tear. If you haven’t seen it, its new to you!
    fresno dan
    May 15, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Todd for instance asked Clapper if he would know if the FBI had a FISA court order for surveillance. Clapper answered unequivocally: “Yes.”
    Clapper made it clear that he would have known if there were any kind of surveillance authority against “the president elect at the time, or as a candidate, or against his campaign.”
    Todd realized this was an important question and re-asked it, to make sure Clapper heard it right.
    “You would be told this?” he asked.
    “I would know that,” Clapper answered.

    Todd asked again: Are you sure? Can you confirm or deny that a FISA warrant exists?
    “I can deny it,” Clapper said flatly.
    It wasn’t until the fourth time Todd asked the question that Clapper finally added the caveat, “Not to my knowledge.”

    Even so, there was no way to listen to the March 5th interview and not come away feeling like Clapper believed he would have known of the existence of a FISA warrant, or of any indications of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, had they existed up until the time he left office on January 20th of this year.
    Clapper’s statements seem even stranger in light of James Comey’s own testimony in the House on March 20th.
    Comey was saying that he hadn’t briefed the DNI because between January 20th, when Clapper left office, and March 16th, when former Indiana senator and now Trump appointee Dan Coats took office, the DNI position was unfilled.
    But Comey had said the counterintelligence investigation dated back to July, when he was FBI director under a Democratic president. So what happened between July and January?

    If Comey felt the existence of his investigation was so important that he he had to disclose it to DNI Coats on Coats’ first day in office, why didn’t he feel the same need to disclose the existence of an investigation to Clapper at any time between July and January?

    Furthermore, how could the FBI participate in a joint assessment about Russian efforts to meddle in American elections and not tell Clapper and the other intelligence chiefs about what would seemingly be a highly germane counterintelligence investigation in that direction?

    Again, prior to last week, Clapper had said he would know if there was a FISA warrant issued on this matter. But then on April 11th, law enforcement and government officials leaked – anonymously, as has been the case throughout most of this story – that the FBI had obtained a FISA warrant for surveillance of Trump associate Carter Page.
    Is it a FARA (Foreign Agent Registration Act) case involving former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn or a lower-level knucklehead like Carter Page?

    Since FARA is violated more or less daily in Washington and largely ignored by authorities unless it involves someone without political connections (an awful lot of important people in Washington who appear to be making fortunes lobbying for foreign countries are merely engaged in “litigation support,” if you ask them), it would be somewhat anticlimactic to find out that this was the alleged crime underlying our current white-hot constitutional crisis.

    Is it something more serious than a FARA case, like money-laundering for instance, involving someone higher up in the Trump campaign? That would indeed be disturbing, and it would surely be improper – possibly even impeachable, depending upon what exactly happened behind the scenes – for Trump to get in the way of such a case playing itself out.

    But even a case like that would be very different from espionage and treason. Gutting a money-laundering case involving a campaign staffer would be more like garden-variety corruption than the cloak-and-dagger nightmares currently consuming the popular imagination.
    But when it comes to the collusion investigation, there are serious questions. A lot of our civil liberties protections and rules of press ethics are designed to prevent exactly this situation, in which a person lingers for extended periods of time under public suspicion without being aware of the exact nature, or origin, of the accusations.

    It’s why liberal thinkers have traditionally abhorred secret courts, secret surveillance and secret evidence, and in the past would have reflexively discouraged the news media from printing the unverified or unverifiable charges emanating from such secret sources. But because it’s Donald Trump, no one seems to care.

    We should care. The uncertainty has led to widespread public terror, mass media hysteria and excess, and possibly even panic in the White House itself, where, who knows, Trump may even have risked military confrontation with Russia in an effort to shake the collusion accusations.

    Curiouser and curiouser
    Although unless evidence is provided, it seems to be (forgive me – I can’t resist) Trumping up traffic tickets into murder charges….

    “It’s why liberal thinkers have traditionally abhorred secret courts, secret surveillance and secret evidence,…”
    Of course, is Trump merely collateral damage and the real intended “victim” is Putin?

    1. Alex Morfesis

      We are forgetting sally yates committed either perjury in congressional testimony or committed stupidity in the justice department…how exactly would the russains have known what flynn “actually” told pence ???

      What information does she have about a russian mole in the justice department that the obama administration allowed to operate and which she obviously allowed to operate…??

      Why would she claim the
      Russians would actually


      flynn was lying ??

      The russians openly dancing with the former head of dia is an odd way of having someone in your pocket…

      Maybe sally yates is the russian mole…

      Who is the russian mole that she obviously believes is passing internal Whitehouse information to the Russians…if she does not know of any russian mole or does not think there is one…then she is guilty of sedition and needs to be charged as under schenck v us (1919) and also the espionage act for making false statements about the govt during a time of war(daesh et al)…

      This all begins with either her perjury, stupidity or very vivid “ranger rick” and “captain video” imagination…

      1. Huey Long

        Looks like we need to bring George Smiley back from retirement to flush all of these moles from the circus.

        1. Mel

          Ooooh. Sitting there under the big top … watching the sawdust in the center ring lump up into little trails … priceless.

          1. witters

            I think Tragedy an appropriate genre for present times. So I remind you of Sophocles, and a little known fragment from a play that clearly resembled Ajax.

            [Wikipedia edit] In Sophocles’ play Hillary, a famous retelling of Hilllary’s demise, after the Presidency is awarded to Donald Hillary feels so insulted she wants to kill the American Voting Public and the Constitution that enabled it. Ada intervenes and clouds her mind and vision, and she goes to a flock of sheep and slaughters them, imagining they are the Donald, the American Voting Public and the Constitution that enabled them. [Here is where we have to make a leap] When she comes to her senses, covered in blood, she realizes that what she has done has diminished her honor, and decides that she prefers to kill herself rather than live in shame.

  22. Carla

    Re: How Republicans Are Blocking Cities” — Ohio Gov. Kasich signed Ohio Senate Bill 331 in Dec. ’16 adding my state to the long list of those that have passed this type of ALEC-crafted legislation:

    It’s important to know a couple of things:
    1. Early in his career, Kasich was a young architect of ALEC

    2. Ohio only passed its pre-emption law AFTER the entirely Democrat Cleveland City Council ran crying to the state legislature begging them to do so. Clevelanders had signed enough petitions to put a $15 minimum wage on the city ballot, and Council and Democrat Mayor Frank Jackson pulled every trick in the book to keep that from happening, including this one. Bi-partisan action at its very finest.

  23. Lee

    Watched Sanders and Kasich last night on CNN for what was billed to be a debate on issues such as healthcare and economic inequality. CNN was having none of that. The first hour was preempted by coverage of about Trump, laptops on planes, and Russia. In the remaining hour S and K were forced to continue talking about Trump, laptops on planes, and Russia. The questions from the audience had been obviously curated to keep S and K from veering off CNN’s preferred topic by addressing issues most people outside the Beltway bubble actually care about.

    The first time I’ve watched CNN years and all I get is a reminder of why I stopped watching them in the first place.

    1. jrs

      It’s like the whole thing is designed to teach us that the government will never care about or be about anything the 99% care about. I’ve heard in other countries politicians occasionally talk about policy. How strange.

  24. JimTan

    “All fossil-fuel vehicles will vanish in 8 years in twin ‘death spiral’ for big oil and big autos, says study that’s shocking the industries”

    Interestingly many electric power producers are moving towards natural gas plants because of its higher energy density, and lower greenhouse emissions (compared to other fossil fuels). In this case, where big oil is a major player in natural gas extraction, they may have some protection from crude oil losses if electric cars substantially replace combustion engine automobiles. I personally hope we can find economically competitive renewables to end our dependence on polluting and politically corrupting fossil fuels one and for all.

  25. Alex Morfesis

    Comey as the new hoover & the rehooverization of the fbi…”you can’t fire me…I got stuff on you”

    Conflating himself and his cohorts as “being the law”, comey (whose grandfather didn’t seem to ever notice all those bootleggers in yonkers) has allowed himself to imagine the american political system can be forced to devolve to a parliamentary system where public pressure can force the removal of office of a duly elected official…

    If trump is sacrificed on the alter of the god “acela”, the temples will shake and the tracks will fail…

  26. Alex

    Re “Israel-Palestine: the real reason there’s still no peace”, the article does a very good job of explaining why Israel has many reasons to be satisfied by the current impasse. It doesn’t ask an obvious question though – do the Palestinians (or rather their leadership in both West Band and Gaza) prefer the status quo to the potential settlement. I think to a large degree they do, as now they can count on foreign aid, they can explain away any internal problems by blaming the occupation, and, in case of Fatah, not have to risk their lives as well.

    1. curlydan

      that’s my reaction as well, especially with respect to Fatah. I’d always read that the closest the negotiations ever got to a half decent compromise was in 2000 when Arafat did not push forward, possibly due to what would be less power for him.

    1. witters

      Great. An infallible criterion for “respectable news organizations”! Isn’t epistemology grand!

    2. polecat

      OK Heather , you got me! .. Pull the other ones .. all 9 of em, or better yet 19, including the toes …. one for each three-letter agency !

      just leave the nails intact.

  27. jfleni

    RE: All fossil-fuel vehicles will vanish in 8 years in twin ‘death spiral’ for big oil and big autos.

    Long past time; enjoy the plutocrat screams! Laugh like mad at antique Vin Diesel flicks!

    1. robnume

      Collective insanity. When the Supremes made Bush the Younger president back in 2000, I was extremely angry. But, like the rest of America, I sat it out for 4 years, which turned into 8 years, and while I squirmed for those 8 years I never even entertained the thought of a coup d’etat against Dubya.
      Well, okay I thought about it, we all did, let’s be honest, but most of us know that a move such as that takes your nation into territory it best not enter.
      I’ve been around nearly 60 years and have never seen media behave this shamefully before, during and after a presidential election. The guy was elected. Ride it out for the next 4 years, crybabies, like we did with Dubya.
      Frankly, we should throw all of the bums out of CONgress. Every. Single. One.

  28. Kris

    John Helmer has made a claim that the CIA was running the “partner” from whom the ISIS intelligence was sourced – someone who has direct access to ISIS’ inner workings, including the fact that it has developed laptop bombs for use against U.S. and Russian airliners. He states that the reason for the IC’s anger at Trump stems from the US not wanting to share that information with its “greatest adversary”, Russia. If this can be verified, it will (or ought to be, in normal times) extremely damaging to the CIA/NSC’s public reputation: that official U.S. policy has been to protect, rather than fight against, ISIS. He does not offer sources to back up these statements, and repeated attempts to post a message asking for this information result in a message saying a database connection cannot be made. Can anyone else comment on this? I am not naive about what our CIA/NSC/State Dept foreign policies are, but this really seems a venal aggression against an “adversary”, condemning innocent travelers to death. Especially given that this has already happened (the 2015 bombing of a Russian commercial aircraft, killing all onboard).

    1. MoiAussie

      There’s some commentary here that you may have missed, but few readers here are interested in talking about that kind of stuff. I agree it would be venal aggression. Like if it were to be discovered that the CIA was behind the deaths of the Red Army Choir members last xmas.

  29. robnume

    Tony Seba = Nelson Baghetti,? aka “Big Head,” the nicest and most stupid character on Mike Judge’s HBO series, “Silicon Valley.” This season, the thoroughly unqualified Big Head is teaching a tech course at Stanford University. For the record, Nelson Baghetti, nice though he is, can barely tie his own shoes.

  30. Fool

    Respectfully, for a number of reasons it’s probably not the best idea to link to New Eastern Outlook.

  31. p7b

    re: fossil fuels vanishing

    The electric service requirements are non-trivial.

    A single EV “filling pump”, to equal fill times of petrol, would have peak power transfer equivalent to electric service to a 1000 person office building. A large highway petrol station with 16-20 ordinary pumps would have peak power comparable to the empire state building. A large truckstop capable of filling a dozen semi’s at once . . .

Comments are closed.