Links 12/5/17

Replicating peregrine falcon attack strategies could help down rogue drones PhysOrg (Chuck L)

Which animals are smartest: Dogs, cats, or … raccoons? Chicago Tribune (David L)

Ocean plastic a ‘planetary crisis’ – UN BBC. Every day, I cannot get over how much plastic is used in packaging, both food and deliveries.

If no one owns the moon, can anyone make money up there? Independent (Kevin W)

Neutron-Star Collision Shakes Space-Time and Lights Up the Sky Quanta (Chuck L)

The Winklevoss twins are now Bitcoin billionaires Verge (resilc)

How to keep students in science PhysOrg (Chuck L)

The human brain can ‘predict’ the future, new scientific study shows International Business Times (David L)

Association of air particulate pollution with bone loss over time and bone fracture risk: analysis of data from two independent studies Lancet (guurst)

Air pollution alters Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae biofilms, antibiotic tolerance and colonisation Wiley Online (guurst)

The sell-by dates you shouldn’t swallow… because they’re a myth peddled by supermarkets to make us buy more. Now, as Co-op sells food after its ‘Best Before’ date, your guide to how long food REALLY lasts Daily Mail

North Korea

Cathay crew spot North Korean missile explode, fall into sea Asia Times (J-LS)

North Korea Won’t Be Denuclearized American Conservative (resilc)


Northern Ireland’s DUP derails Theresa May’s trip to Brussels Politico

Ten days to save Brexit: Theresa May will spend today desperately trying to persuade DUP and her own Cabinet to resurrect EU deal after Unionists killed plan to sacrifice Northern Ireland with one phone call Daily Mail

11th Hour Upset to Brexit Deal Complicates Life for Theresa May Bloomberg

Theresa May’s smoke and mirrors Brexit gambit didn’t even last an afternoon – it’s not difficult to see why Telegraph

May to chair cabinet meeting over Brexit deadlock RTÉ (Carolyn F)

Why the Republic and Northern Ireland need shared regulatory frameworks New Statesman

Brexit: no deal means no deal Richard North

How ‘Hard Border’ Propaganda Shifted The Brexit Debate The Broken Elbow

Bolivia’s TIPNIS Dispute: Example of How Liberal-Left Alternative Media Becomes a Conveyor Belt for US Regime Change Propaganda Counterpunch (Chuck L)

WaPo’s One-Sided Cheerleading for Coup and Intervention in Venezuela | FAIR (UserFriendly)


Yemen Without Saleh Moon of Alabama (PlutoniumKun)

New warnings over US shift on Jerusalem BBC

Imperial Collapse Watch

Special Operations Are the New American Way of War Time (JTM)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

China’s Airbnb to introduce check-ins using facial recognition South China Morning Post (J-LS)

Trump Transition

Supreme Court Says Trump Travel Ban Can Go Into Effect for Now Wall Street Journal

It Is Now an Obstruction Investigation National Review (s.n.). Important. The spin that the MSM has been putting on the Flynn guilty plea is wrong in significant respects.

Deutsche Bank Received Subpoena on Client Trump Bloomberg

Trump rips FBI over treatment of Flynn, Clinton The Hill

Jared Kushner Failed to Disclose He Led a Foundation Funding Illegal Israeli Settlements Before U.N. Vote Newsweek (furzy)

Trump slashes Utah land protections The Hill

Trump Sued Over ‘Unlawful’ Shrinking of Utah National Monuments Bloomberg

Tax “Reform”

Why is Defense Waste Taboo in the Tax Debate? American Conservative (resilc)

Senate’s ‘Unpleasant Surprise’ Hurts Tax Breaks for Tech, Others Bloomberg (JTM)

The Senate GOP Accidentally Killed Some of Its Donors’ Favorite Tax Breaks New York Magazine (JTM)

Protesters arrested for staging sit-in at Sen. Collins’ Bangor office Bangor Daily News (MM). That was fast.

Grassley Says Non-Wealthy People Would Waste Tax Cuts New York Magazine

Foreign Lobbyists Funneling Millions To Lawmakers, Circumventing Campaign Finance Laws International Business Times. Quelle surprise!

NRA bill requiring all states to recognise conceal carry permits set to pass through Congress Independent

RNC reverses, will support Moore in Alabama The Hill. Just in time to fund last minute ad buys.

The major parties just aren’t cutting it for California voters Los Angeles Times

California wildfire: Thousands evacuated in Ventura County BBC

Court Orders Monitoring Of Dakota Access Pipeline After Keystone XL Spill Shadowproof (UserFriendly)

Kill Me Now

Barack Obama-Joe Biden Animated “Bromantic Comedy” In Works With Conan O’Brien Among EPs Deadline (Roger B)

Minnesotans rip MPR over decision to drop Keillor Minnesota Public Radio News (UserFriendly)

The Real Reason Why We Can’t Just Believe All Women Medium

How to avoid outliving your retirement savings Los Angeles Times. JTM: “Or you could just die.”

Class Warfare

Federal overtime pay bill would boost paychecks by $1.2 billion dollars annually Economic Policy Institute

Anti-Populism, Smug Centrism and the Defense of Elitism FAIR (UserFriendly)

Antidote du jour (Kittie Wilson via Lawrence R):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. UserFriendly

      How ‘Hard Border’ Propaganda Shifted The Brexit Debate The Broken Elbow

      You didn’t open the block quote and I don’t think you meant to.

    2. Patrick Donnelly

      The Moon, aka Eve, came out of Adam in the spot we now call Tibet… that largest volcno ever on this planet, as it left the plasma pinch some called Eden. Others call it Sol. So the rocks are well known.

      These show the main problem facing “Outer Space. Not the Treaty. Protons are used in therapy. They are very ummm cutting. The robots at Fukushima, (see how this all ties in?) had problems with neutron, gamma and x radiation. They were not travelling quite so fast….

      I suspect no authorizations will be forthcoming and accidents may happen at operations that try to circumvent.

      Economics is not the only thing that Governments lie about!

  1. Marco

    The SALT Deduction: CA, NY, NJ, IL, TX, PA take half of all state and local tax deductions and I had no clue it existed since the Civil War. Analysis elsewhere suggested that eliminating the deduction (albeit with $10K cap) could signal the beginning of the end of Prop 13 in CA. Hard to argue this is NOT a good thing.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      I believe the 10K cap is for property taxes, not state and local income taxes, which both the House and Senate versions make completely non-deductible.

      1. Procopius

        A key feature of the House and Senate tax bills is ending the deduction for local and state taxes, which has been a feature of the U.S. tax code dating back to the Civil War.

        Absurd. There was no income tax until 1913 because the Supreme Court always ruled it unconstitutional until the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913. The rest of the story is gobbledygook.

        1. Vatch

          Surprisingly, there was a temporary income tax during the Civil War, and again in the 1890s. The tax in the 1890s was promptly declared unconstitutional. But I share your skepticism about tax deductions during the Civil War. I suspect that the tax code at that time was quite simple, and did not have deductions, but we could be wrong.

          The US federal government imposed the first personal income tax, on August 5, 1861, to help pay for its war effort in the American Civil War – (3% of all incomes over US$800) (equivalent to $21,324 in 2016).[11][verification needed] This tax was repealed and replaced by another income tax in 1862.[12][verification needed] It was only in 1894 that the first peacetime income tax was passed through the Wilson-Gorman tariff. The rate was 2% on income over $4000 (equivalent to $110,723.08 in 2016), which meant fewer than 10% of households would pay any. The purpose of the income tax was to make up for revenue that would be lost by tariff reductions.[13] The US Supreme Court ruled the income tax unconstitutional, the 10th amendment forbidding any powers not expressed in the US Constitution, and there being no power to impose any other than a direct tax by apportionment.

          In 1913, the Sixteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution made the income tax a permanent fixture in the U.S. tax system. In fiscal year 1918, annual internal revenue collections for the first time passed the billion-dollar mark, rising to $5.4 billion by 1920.[14]

    1. Wukchumni

      When oil rich Ecuador abandoned it’s currency-the Sucre, around the turn of the century, in favor the the greenback, it was a win for the United States in that every drop of black gold brought up from down under there, is now dollar denominated.

      I suspect we are entertaining a similar strategy in Venezuela…

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        Ecuador is also the only country in the world where the publicly-owned central bank issues the country’s money directly.

        (In case you’re wondering, everywhere else it is privately-held commercial banks that create money. In the U.S. that happens to be forbidden by law in that quaint historical document known as the U.S. Constitution).

  2. justsayknow

    “NRA bill requiring all states to recognise conceal carry permits set to pass through Congress”
    Because state rights and all.

    1. Tom Stone

      Just like driver’s licenses.
      Nice for the 16MM who have permits, a bit awkward for residents of Constitutional carry states.

        1. JTMcPhee

          And like a good neighbor, the NRA and several competitors are there:

          As one keeps and bears arms, one might also remember to review one’s homeowners and umbrella policies. As pointed out in the linked article, these provide coverage “to policy limits” for “gun accidents” though maybe not for “stand your ground’ incidents and such.

          My wife somehow got on the NRA-gun owner mailing lists, so now we get lots of solicitations for various insurance products… Can not get off that list.

          1. John Zelnicker

            @JTMcPhee – To stop the NRA mail, try sending them a change of address that goes to an abandoned house or an empty lot. Once the Post Office starts piling up undeliverable mail they will notify the NRA to stop.

            1. Eclair

              If the solicitations contain a pre-paid postage return envelope, tuck all the literature inside that envelope, not filled out or signed of course, seal and mail back to the company. Not sure if it stops the solicitations, but it feels good to be sticking the corporation with postage fees.

    2. Wukchumni

      There’s just 50-60 concealed carry permits in the hands of regular joes in Los Angeles County @ present out of a total of 220.

      Conversely here in Tulare County, the sheriff is a big fan of concealed carry, and $191 and a 4 hour training class later, and you’re good to go.

      1. divadab

        Yup – I’m no lawyer but concealed carry permits are issued by County Sheriffs, not the State – despite whatever the Feds do about intrastate concealed carry laws, they can’t affect that, it seems to me.

        Anyone know better?

    3. jrs

      yea states rights, just make sure that states that want and where the voters CHOOSE to pay for a few social services for their citizens have no money to pay for them either (the R tax bill). States rights = OBEY.

  3. Wukchumni

    Was at our town hall meeting yesterday, and the hot topic was ambulances, and I learned something really interesting…

    Apparently it’s very common across the country for there to be a 1-2 hour wait once you get delivered via ambulance to the emergency room of a hospital if it isn’t a serious-do it now situation. The coordinator for ambulance service told us he thought it was on account of ACA and perhaps people that previously didn’t have insurance, not going to clinics or other healthcare possibilities instead, clogging the system.

    One of the knock-on effects being that sometimes the ambulance has to stay with the patient @ the hospital, rendering the vehicle out of service.

  4. Katsue

    Anyone who’s ever worked in a warehouse is probably aware of the colossal amount of packaging that packaging is transported in, and how much of it is wasted.

    1. Enquiring Mind

      Much cardboard packaging is recycled, seen in giant bales secured by wire ties. (In my formative years, I loaded and ran one of those bale compactors. Many warehouse jobs like truck unloading and storage can be quite a workout!) Still shocking how much packaging there is, though, and how much plastic that is not readily recyclable.

      1. Jean

        Now the Chinese have announced that they are no longer going to allow the importation of hard plastics and some cardboard. Great, there goes the one market for the recycling we carefully separate.

        We used to dump bags of styrofoam litter we picked up on beach cleanup day in the lobby of our local cup making Dart Industries office. “Here, you recycle this!”

        “She saw a juvenile turtle named Kai” What is with this anthropomorphism of animals?
        I can see naming a dog or even a cat that responds to its name, but does the world really care about a turtle’s name?

        1. Wukchumni

          Here, we never had to separate recyclables, as we’ve had a 1 size fits all blue bin that we throw it in, and used to presumably create jobs for those that had to sort it all out on the other end, but now that most recycling places have closed, who’s doing the sorting?

    2. campbeln

      We just moved back from 14 years in Australia. There we had a 140 litre garbage can (37 gallon) picked up weekly and a 240 litre recycling can (63 gallon) picked up fortnightly. In Northern California we have a 90 gallon garbage/recycling can picked up weekly.

      In Australia, we’d regularly go 2-3 weeks before we filled up the garbage can while our 2-weekly recycling can was full most of the time. So rough numbers we’d go through approx 45 gallons of refuse a week. Stateside we nearly fill that 90 gallon “one big bin” with garbage and recycling every week! Granted, it’s not the full 90 gallons every week, but probably 80+ on average.

      So, based purely on trash can volumes and our family of 4, America has nearly twice as much packaging as we experienced in Australia! And this seems about right based on our own observations. I mean, do you REALLY need a plastic bag inside of another plastic bag for bread? Or a box inside of a box wrapped in plastic for random crap bought at Walmart? Or fruit wrapped in plastic on a Styrofoam tray?

      As for landfill (arguably the most harmful stuff, we recycle/compost all we can)… In Oz, we’d have one 10 gallon-ish sized bag on non-recyclable non-compost-able landfill trash a week. In America we have 2-3 times this at least.

      1. Chris

        In Australia, a lot of local councils have a fortnightly ‘green waste’ collection. Takes all green garden waste (small branches, not logs) fruit and veg, and for some, pet waste, meat scraps and small bones. This all gets ‘hot composted’, and sold to gardeners.
        Our weekly landfill trash is typically a 2 litre bag (sometimes less).

        1. campbeln

          I didn’t include green waste because that’s not apples-to-apples for us (rental with small yard in Oz versus owner occupier with a yard that I actually pay to improve in CA).

          But yes, we had a 140 litre green waste can (37 gallon) versus a 90 gallon can here in NorCal, both emptied every 2 weeks. But I don’t believe our was hot composted in ACT (but could be wrong).

      2. tongorad

        Thailand is the worst place for packaging waste. You go to a 7-11, walk up to the counter with 5 items & walk out with each item in a separate plastic bag. But perhaps worst of all are the ubiquitous night markets, which generate enough plastic/Styrofoam to sink a battleship – every night!

        1. campbeln

          Because even in Northern California in the 32nd best place to raise a family in the state, we paid 1/3rd for a home of what we would have paid for something roughly equivalent in Australia. We’d have paid 1/6th had we moved to Texas.

          1. MichaelSF

            How does the Australian price compare to here in San Francisco where you will pay roughly $1000/sq ft for a small 60 year old 1100 sq ft 3br/1ba house on a 25×120′ lot?

            1. campbeln

              Sydney and Melbourne are even worse than Canberra, but here’s a recycled Reddit comment I made to Aussies (so forgive the non-freedom units):

              We purchased a more than 240m^3 5 bedroom, 3 full bath home with a 3 car garage for just over the Zillow median price (560k AUD / 425k USD). Separate formal living and dining room, family room, large kitchen with granite counters and meals area, dual staircase, dual pane windows, remote downstairs master not to mention vaulted ceilings and a modern, open floorplan (so not a govie that’s been renoed).

              While not quite Forrest, Red Hill or O’Malley, where we are at is roughly equivalent to Reid or Campbell. A recent sale for $1,630,000 AUD ( ) seems roughly equivalent; sans 3 car garage (double carport), master walk-in closet (built in), and missing 39m^3 and the 5th bedroom ***but*** plus kitchenette, solar and a pond.

              — In short, Canberra’s not quite as bad as SF, but Sydney and Melbourne would compare and may best at times.

              1. Meher Baba Fan

                ‘non freedom units’ is that a joke? ( genuine question)
                Byron Bay Australia region is not apples for apples because its so exclusive and disproportionate. But per square metre its more expensive to rent ( rent!) than the most expensive areas in the heart of Paris

  5. ANON48

    Re: The senate accidentally killed favorite tax breaks

    I doubt the AMT miss was accidental…it’s too big a deal…lobbyists were probably on top of this from the start…Congressional scorekeepers probably also had this clearly in their sights…GOP leaders had to know. So my sense is it was just a conscious choice, made with full knowledge, as a temporary stepping stone. It’s all pretense

    They(leadership) needed to get this bill passed, which include strong boundaries as a backstop from which GOP leadership can go back and extract additional concessions from members, while at the same time providing cover for them when they are forced into conceding on key components (state & local tax deductions, small business pass-through issues, medical deductions, etc.)…three months from now the constituents will be hearing the “…we fought as hard as we could, we didn’t know THAT was included in the bill, had I known I would never had agreed…, etc.”

    The whole process reeks

    1. ANON48

      addendum- should have also made clear that speed is of the essence…not having enough time is the probably the sole fig leaf that some members will have for cover when they concede on the reduction/ elimination of some of the remaining middle class benefits.

    2. oliverks

      I love how Murray claims he is being “driven” out of business by having to pay taxes on profits. I hear this so often, and it never gets challenged by reporters.

      Someone should come up with a good question for reporters to shutdown these arguments.

  6. funemployed

    This whole notion of accidental groping is really bothering me. I have accidentally touched others and been touched many times by accident in uncomfortable and awkward ways – subways, crowded elevators, ques, etc. That’s NOT the same as groping. Decent people reflexively and sheepishly pull back, and usually instantly apologize when appropriate. Gropers don’t. It’s not that complicated, and EVERYONE can tell the difference.

    If you touch people inappropriately without consent, and feel pleasure instead of guilt and embarrassment, you are a groper, and I don’t care to hear your arguments about “intent.”

    1. funemployed

      Also, if you are in a position of authority, it’s just never ok. I once coached a HS girls basketball team. I had been conditioned for years (in men’s bball), to pat players on the backside in certain situations (it’s an odd ritual, I know, but nearly universal). I never once did this to a female player, in spite of the fact it took conscious effort on my part to resist my ingrained backside slapping habit, and that it was clear that many players found me attractive and would have welcomed a response to their flirtations. Even with them, STILL NOT OK, as it would have been abusing a position of power and authority and the fact that I was more mature and experienced than them and could have easily taken advantage of that fact.

      Why is this so difficult for so many men to understand? I don’t even remember anyone ever even teaching it to me.

      1. Wukchumni

        A friend is a high school PE teacher, and he told me that in particular with so many girls coming from broken homes where the father figure is absent, every year he’s confronted with a few 16 or 17 year olds that attempt to take him on as the missing link, and he told me it’s like beating them off with a stick @ times, but he knows what would happen were he to follow through, a giant no go.

  7. LaRuse

    Sorry to knitpick, but the Shadowproof article on the court ordered monitoring on the Dakota Access pipeline after the last month’s spill has a real flaw.
    The pipeline that actually leaked was the Keystone Pipeline. Calling it repeatedly Keystone XL pipeline is either wrong out of ignorance or an intentional desire to mislead (I try to never assume malice where ignorance is more likely, but god, these days it it so hard to tell). I know the distinction seems like a small one, but it smacks of sloppy journalism to me.
    Sorry if I am a little extra cranky this morning.

  8. The Rev Kev

    Re Special Operations Are the New American Way of War

    Special Operations forces may make up less than 5% of the total US armed forces but you are still talking about some 70,000 people which is bigger than a lot of countries armies. Apart from being over stretched and overused, I think that there is increasing danger with the vulnerability of these forces. Too many are scattered here and there in penny packet formations around the world and what happened in Niger may be a preview of what will become all too frequent an occurrence.
    My own understanding about is that about 50 militants using moderate weaponry took down a force of some 42 Niger and US troops which led to the death of three US soldiers and the capture, death and mutilation of a fourth US soldier. This sounds like a well planed and executed ambush and I am wondering where the militants may have gotten the training and experience to conduct such an ambush.
    More to the point, a helluva lot of ISIS terrorists were allowed to escape Syria and Iraq and I think that it is only a matter of time before they relocate to trouble spots around the world and start to attack these small US (as well as French, etc) forces. I think that the Philippines siege shows you what a relatively small terrorist force is capable of in an urban setting so I think that we will also see more of these sorts of attacks as well.

    1. visitor

      I am wondering where the militants may have gotten the training and experience to conduct such an ambush.

      The region has been in turmoil with jihadists waging war in Algeria since the 1992 military coup, various warring tribes fighting and replacing each other in power in Chad since the 1980s, the various Tuareg insurrections in Mali, and the multitude of sects, tribes and factions fighting each other in Libya since 2011. All those countries are neigbours of Niger.

      There is therefore a significant number of battle-hardened guerrilla / jihad / coup veterans with enough experience to pull off such operations. History has also shown that they are quite internationally mobile.

      1. Wukchumni

        “The World’s Most Dangerous Places” by Robert Young Pelton-from 2003, is a bit dated now, but made for most excellent easy-chair visits to mostly African countries, which make up a good percentage of basketcases then, and now.

        An entertaining journey…

  9. voteforno6

    Day 2 of the I-66 toll-pocalypse continues:

    I-66 toll in Virginia reaches new high of $40 on Day 2

    To sum it up, Virginia decided to implement dynamic tolling for I-66 inside the Beltway (with exemptions for HOV-2 and motorcycles) during rush hour. It used to by HOV-2 only during rush hour, with exemptions for hybrid vehicles and motorcycles. Now, they’ve opened it up to solo drivers, but only if they only have enough money to afford those tolls. The cherry on top, though, was expanding the scope of rush hour – as if this wasn’t enough of a hassle. So, there’s been an understandable spillover onto other roads in the region. The article does mention that when the state of Virginia was pushing this plan, it claimed that tolls would be in the $7 to $9 range (for a nine mile stretch of road). Of course, now that that has already been blown away (not surprising, since there is no cap on how high tolls can go), the state is now dissembling by claiming that those lower numbers are average tolls, not peak.

    Once again, thank you, Terry McAuliffe. Somehow, I doubt that he will be bragging about this, when he runs for President in two years.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Wasn’t this a ppp signed by Timmy? The old slugging websites (I havent lived in that pit in years), but they and my old boss predicted this.

      I believe the state owes the foreign company guaranteed profits, but timmy was desperate to get a project up and running to prove his worth in 2008 he signed anything. Im no fan of TMac but this is at the feet of Kaine. Everone else has to deal with it or break a contract.

      1. voteforno6

        I don’t think the I-66 tolls were finalized until the past couple years. I know that Terry “Former Bagman for the Clintons” has been very public in pushing this plan.

    2. Wukchumni

      I wonder if they got peak pricing info from Uber or Zinke?

      Talked to the park superintendent a couple weeks ago about the proposed massive increase in NPS entrance fees for Sequoia & 16 other NP’s @ peak times, and he isn’t allowed to have a position officially, but handed me a business card with info on how to make your voice be heard on the matter. Take 15 minutes from goofing off on the internet, and leave feedback on this travesty.

    3. Bill Smith

      What is the problem? Before solo drivers could not use it? Now they can but only if they pay the toll? Is the toll set at a level that keeps traffic moving?

  10. Wukchumni

    Our 5 year drought was beginning to get interesting in terms of ramifications when a big winter put paid to the notion, and it was really a nothingburger historically in the scheme of things, we’ve had droughts lasting 2 centuries only a millennia ago.

    If our latest drought had lasted a decade, you would have seen an odd exodus of Californians that previously were largely real estate rich, but now were paupers descending upon other states…

    It’s worth noting that most indians tribes in California chose to live near proven sources of freshwater, very few called SD/LA/SF home, as they were iffy places to exist from an aqua standpoint.

    California could be hit with significantly more dangerous and more frequent droughts in the near future as changes in weather patterns triggered by global warming block rainfall from reaching the state, according to new research led by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

    Using complex new modeling, the scientists have found that rapidly melting Arctic sea ice now threatens to diminish precipitation over California by as much as 15% within 20 to 30 years. Such a change would have profound economic impacts in a state where the most recent drought drained several billion dollars out of the economy, severely stressed infrastructure and highlighted how even the state most proactively confronting global warming is not prepared for its fallout.

    Rainfall in California would drop, on average, 10% to 15% in the coming decades under Cvijanovic’s model, but the decline would present itself sporadically, exacerbating the potential for drought. Some years the decline in rainfall because of diminished Arctic ice would be much steeper than 15%. Other years would be wetter than they otherwise would be.

  11. Linda

    For those who like hypothesizing. Preet Bharara on his podcast talked about Flynn’s guilty plea. Offers 3 options for what this plea means:

    1. Flynn has such valuable info to catch higher ups, Mueller is giving him a sweetheart deal and not charging him for other offenses in return for his flipping.

    Not likely says Preet.

    2. The one count of lying is all they feel confident they can prosecute. Other charges are just not tight enough. This is the one clear crime they can prove.

    3. There are other charges, but if they charge him now, the charges spelled out in the documents could suggest what’s up with other people, send ripples out on who else is in the crosshairs and what for. Not good, too premature to send those signals. Have not locked things down yet on other people, and may not be able to prove charges on others. Hope to prove it, but not finished yet.

    Usually in cases like this, the prosecutor will have the other charges sealed. May not have wanted to take a chance sealing in this case, – potential leaks. So, new charges could still come. This is just the beginning.

    Preet said “smart people in the business” think #3 is possible.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Possible, but probably or not?

      4. The other people = the POTUS, and it might trigger a crisis (global, constitutional or whatnot) and they are negotiating, or prefer so.

      I give this one a possible, but not likely.

      1. Linda

        Possible, but probably or not? Thank you, MLTPB.

        To say it better, the way I recall it is that those “in the business” think #3 is the most likely option of the 3. Don’t know if that means “probably” or not. Maybe just more probable than the others, in their opinion.

    2. Anonymous

      Flynn made the call(s) on an unsecured line. Flynn had to know, as a career official, that everything he was saying was open to the intelligence world to hear and could be heard. That meant he would know not to say anything that would be a problem if reviewed. The FBI had the transcripts. When they questioned him they had access to the transcripts and he didn’t. He didn’t know he was going to be questioned under oath when they came to him and did not have his lawyer present.

      All the FBI had to do to entrap him was to catch him failing to remember something from the call correctly. He could have done it on purpose to protect Trump from what he assumed to be a hostile FBI, or it could have been an accident. Could have been both.

      1. WJ

        This gets at the Catch-22 Flynn and Trump were put in. On the one hand, the FISA authorization and the recorded calls in the midst of the early days of “Russian meddling” raised the specter of the however ludicrous Logan Act gaining political purchase. To stay as far away as possible from this ridiculous trap, Flynn lied about his perfectly legal but at the time politically suspect conversations with the Russian embassy. Once Flynn was caught in this lie, Trump decided to cut his losses, firing Flynn but also suggesting to Comey that, the political embarrassment of Flynn being achieved, perhaps the FBI did not have to continue its pretense of a legal investigation into the lie itself. This suggestion is with enough interpretation transformed into Trump’s obstruction of the FBI’s and Obama DOJ’s purely political vendetta against Flynn.

        So the farcical accusation of collusion was perhaps meant all along to trick Trump into defense maneuvers that could be glossed somehow as obstructionist, leading to his possible impeachment. The benefit to this reading is that it does not assume that the highest levels of the FBI really believe in the Russian collusion theory at all; from the beginning, that theory was used only to support an investigation they hoped Trump would try in some sense to “obstruct.” This has now been achieved (in their minds) which is why you have people like Yoo and Feinstein and others now explicitly pushing the obstructionist-impeachment line, as opposed to the Russian collusion line that was initially used to get there. The problem with this reading is that it assumes a fairly high level of competency at the FBI.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          It’s a meta-meta-meta farce, it swung into the “funny” category, then into the “very unfunny” category, and now back to the “America from top to bottom is a complete and utter joke” category.

          The FBI secretly recorded a conversation, then months later got the hapless citizen to attempt to recall the precise details (dates, times), and when he slipped up they charged him with perjury. If anything it is “perjury by entrapment”.

          I think Trump is the worst sort of corporo-fascist monster but if he does not win this skirmish with the spooks then our national despair and disgrace will be complete.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The human brain can ‘predict’ the future, new scientific study shows International Business Times (David L)

    Can…but with difficulty.

    You see, predicting the future is hard (I believe someone famously said that).

    I think I missed predicting this particular scientific study, and also missed that it will be in the news.

    Though, in hindsight, I should have known better how smart researchers are and that they would eventually discover humans could predict the future, without the researchers themselves resorting to predicting (over research) to know we humans could predict the future.

    I now predict I will have a cup of coffee.

    1. nathan

      yes, terrible title, though “predict” was put in quotes.
      the brain has a process, learned over time, it seems, to stabilize incoming visual information. so 4 blinks a minute, which in a film, would be visually jerky, isn’t.
      it would be interesting to see – and this imaging device can probably do so quickly – at what age this process itself stabilizes. how do infants see? toddlers? etc.

  13. JohnnySacks

    From the LA Times article:

    We both work, with a combined income of $125,000, of which we spend almost all. We have $550,000 in IRAs and $1 million in other investments, plus home equity of about $500,000. We’ll get $3,800 from Social Security if we start next year but plan to work until age 67

    The dire woes faced by the average American. Wow, just wow.There’s an orchestra of about 100 million or so ready to play a sad song on the world’s smallest violins for your so called ‘problem’.

      1. FluffytheObeseCat

        Two people working flat out making $125,000 a year is too good for the little people in many minds. And assets! My god, how dare they aspire to such magnificence!

      2. jrs

        The issue isn’t the 125,000 a year and anyone who thinks it is doesn’t live in L.A.

        I don’t know how you accumulate that many assets earning that frankly, and in L.A. and paying a mortgage? The numbers DO NOT ADD UP for that salary, period (it maybe means they each pull in 62500, yes of course it’s livable even for a single person renting (but maybe not on the westside), even in L.A., but anyone who thinks that is a super high salary to live in L.A. is beyond deluded).

        And you don’t save a million on that salary, I mean I get frugality and it’s all well and good to live below one’s means, but there is an inheritance or something in this picture period. Otherwise the numbers do not add up. And I don’t’ think you max out social security contributions in order to get $3,800 a month from it on that salary either.

  14. Wukchumni

    WASHINGTON— Federal authorities sought to take back guns from thousands of people the background check system should have blocked from buying weapons because they had criminal records, mental health issues or other problems that would disqualify them.

    A USA TODAY review found that the FBI issued more than 4,000 requests last year for agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives to retrieve guns from prohibited buyers.

    It’s the largest number of such retrieval requests in 10 years, according to FBI records – an especially striking statistic after revelations that a breakdown in the background check system allowed a troubled Air Force veteran to buy a rifle later used to kill 26 worshipers at a Texas church last month.

    Wow, actual pushback against hand cannons by the Feds, whodathunk?

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Trump rips FBI over treatment of Flynn, Clinton The Hill

    The question is whether it’s usual or legal or the FBI to be given an intercepted (by the NSA) transcript.

    1. allan

      The answer is that it’s usual and arguably legal (based on public laws, secret case law
      and executive branch orders and opinions from the Bush and Obama administrations).
      See the collected writings of Marcy Wheeler,
      who helpfully just posted a compendium of her greatest hits.

      Big Brother is Watching You Watch is not just a snarky subject classification.

      1. Sid Finster

        Wait, since when did trifles like legality start to matter? All you gotta do is say the magic words “national security” and presto! The Bill of Rights turns into an antiquated relic to be ignored, or at best quoted by commies, Paultards and similar fringe nutters.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Politics as a journey, and elections stops along the way.

    Foreign Lobbyists Funneling Millions To Lawmakers, Circumventing Campaign Finance Laws International Business Times. Quelle surprise!

    So, you get foreign interference at the stops.

    And you have foreign influence all along the journey.

  17. Matthew G. Saroff

    “How to keep students in science?”

    Pay scientists more and improve their working conditions.

    My son wants to be an engineer, like his old man, I have told him that he wants to be a quant, work on Wall Street, do his two years in club fed, and then retire a millionaire.

    1. epynonymous

      The Forever GI Bill. All post 2013 active duty will no longer have a 15 year time limit on their GI bill. Also, better care will be taken of reservists (who only get the GI bill if activated. Now 90 days active gets half-credit, retroactively.) And for people who fall in the gap before 2013, extensions are available for STEM fields.

      Oh, and all post 9-11 Purple Heart and “Fry Scholarship recipients” (Read as: KIA) will now be covered. Somehow they missed that one before.

    2. diptherio

      Good advice…if you think being a millionaire will make him happy, and what he has to do to make those millions won’t make him ashamed…

        1. Wukchumni

          Money has long been a silent eyewitness to incessant cravings for ever more, by those that have too much already.

          1. Wukchumni

            Almost always when a man meets another man for the first time, the question of “what do you do for a living?” will come up immediately, as that’s how we value things. You’ll not know the exact amount earned for their labors, but can easily differentiate from a garbage truck driver, doctor or interior decorator.

            I always tell em’ I walk. Throws them for a loop.

            …then they’ll say, “no really, what do you do?”

            1. Bill

              IMO, it’s not just about money–it’s about class.
              The person asking the question wants to know how to treat you and relate to you as a blue, white collar, the relative status of the job within the collar color and on and on and on.

              In my experience, people also cite their ancestors’ accomplishments in order to clue me in that they are important and I need to treat them accordingly.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Do kids do that, when they first meet?

              “What do you do for a living?”

              “What does your mother do for a living?”

              “What does your grandfather do for a living?”

              1. Enquiring Mind

                Sadly, that grandfather question will be asked more frequently. “Oh, Gramps, he’s a greeter at the local Ho-Mart where he earns enough to buy soft foods and generic meds he can cut in half.”

            3. Left in Wisconsin

              I have heard that this is not true once one gets outside the U.S. Also, in Wisconsin it is normally the second question one asks of a new acquaintance, after one asks the person’s views of the likelihood of upcoming Packers’ success.

            4. jrs

              there can be innocent reasons for it. Say you hate your job (but don’t we all?) you might want to hear what others do for a living imagining there is some wonderful job out there (some end to hating what you have to do to pay the bills) IF ONLY you studied to be a ___ (this may be largely delusional, but hope springs eternal among the unhappy wage slaves).

              Or well sometimes it can just make interesting conversation to hear what someone who does something very different from you does everyday.

              Then there is networking to advance a career, which is not for everyone, but no doubt some make use of it. “Oh so you do ____, do you happen to have any openings at your company?”

              1. JTFaraday

                Yeah, maybe sometimes it’s networking, but most of the time it is cold assessment so deeply ingrained they don’t even realize they’re doing it. And it’s not just the accomplished and well off who do this, nor merely the politically unconscious.

      1. Matthew G. Saroff

        I was told in E-school that I was a professional.

        After 30(!) years in the biz, I realize that I am a skilled tradesman, not a professional.

        People are sold a bill of goods in STEM in today’s society when they are told that they are professionals and that they are valued.

        If either would be true, pay, benefits, and job security would be better.

        You know the joke:

        Q: Why don’t engineers get secretaries?
        A: Because it wouldn’t be right to lay off secretaries when the time comes.

        1. Socal Rhino

          I was told that too, by a teacher, with the addition of “and you know what the world’s oldest profession is, don’t you?” Also advised to get a law degree or an MBA (coming from the same place as your joke about secretaries)

        2. JTFaraday

          The hallmark of professionalism isn’t “pay, benefits, and job security” but control over the conduct of the profession. Being put in the position of practicing in an unethical manner, for example, would end the professional’s pay, benefits, and job security.

          Most people don’t want to be professional.

  18. epynonymous

    The holding company of Teavana attempted to close all of it’s locations in Simon Malls. The judge ordered 77 of the about 350 kept open just to soften the blow for Simon Malls, which he decided to be the needier party. Simon is USA’s largest REIT.

    No mention of a contract in the article. The headline lions the 77 not closing, and ignores the 250+ that are.

    noted: the Simon wikipedia page is trying to look upbeat but hasn’t been really updated since 2014.

    The stock price peaked in 2016, and Christmas hasn’t seemed to help.

    1. ewmayer

      I’ve been to the Teavana in the upscale Stanford Shopping Center a few miles up the peninsula from where I live – according to Wikipedia SSC is owned by Simon.

  19. Brucie A.

    The Intercept, December 4: Trump White House Weighing Plans for Private Spies to Counter “Deep State” Enemies

    The Trump administration is considering a set of proposals developed by Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a retired CIA officer — with assistance from Oliver North, a key figure in the Iran-Contra scandal — to provide CIA Director Mike Pompeo and the White House with a global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies, according to several current and former U.S. intelligence officials and others familiar with the proposals. The sources say the plans have been pitched to the White House as a means of countering “deep state” enemies in the intelligence community seeking to undermine Donald Trump’s presidency.

    The creation of such a program raises the possibility that the effort would be used to create an intelligence apparatus to justify the Trump administration’s political agenda.

    “Pompeo can’t trust the CIA bureaucracy, so we need to create this thing that reports just directly to him,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official with firsthand knowledge of the proposals, in describing White House discussions. “It is a direct-action arm, totally off the books,” this person said, meaning the intelligence collected would not be shared with the rest of the CIA or the larger intelligence community. “The whole point is this is supposed to report to the president and Pompeo directly.”

    Also: Raw Story: Oliver North urging White House to build private spy army overseen by Betsy DeVos’ brother: reports

    1. Bill

      Think Trump wants to conduct a coup before too much comes out? He’s starting to remind me of SMERSH, KAOS and T.H.R.U.S.H.

      Special prosecutor Robert Mueller zeroed in on President Donald Trump’s business dealings with Deutsche Bank AG as his investigation into alleged Russian meddling in U.S. elections widens.

      Mueller issued a subpoena to Germany’s largest lender several weeks ago, forcing the bank to submit documents on its relationship with Trump and his family, according to a person briefed on the matter, who asked not to be identified because the action has not been announced.

  20. Wukchumni

    I’m proud to announce the launch of bitchcoin, the value of which varies based upon your argument of how stupid the whole sordid love affair of cybercurrencies has become.

  21. Synoia

    Climate Change hits Profits:

    FedEx Express experienced substantial flight and sort disruptions at the Memphis hub last night due to severe thunderstorms. Potential delays are possible for package deliveries across the U.S. with a delivery commitment of December 5, 2017. FedEx is committed to provide service to the best of our ability. Please continue to check for updates.

    Consistent with the provisions of the FedEx Service Guide, FedEx Express money-back guarantee is suspended for U.S. packages and shipments inbound into the U.S. from international locations with a delivery commitment of December 5, 2017.

    Thin edge of the wedge?

  22. allan

    FEMA Tells Staffers They Might Get Billed for Working Too Much [Bloomberg]

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency has informed employees who’ve worked extra hours battling a record wave of natural disasters in 2017 that they may have to pay back some of their overtime.

    Federal law caps some federal employees’ premium pay and permits agencies to recover money paid in excess of the maximum from future paychecks. FEMA says the extraordinary year of hurricanes, wildfires and other disasters means it may have to take that step. …

    [On the other hand,]

    The House is slated Tuesday to consider a bill that would raise the cap on overtime for Secret Service agents, a third of whom had already hit the limit as of August. …

    Those golf carts don’t drive themselves, you know.

  23. Wukchumni

    California wildfire: Thousands evacuated in Ventura County BBC

    This conflagration has the same winds as the Diablo in the details of the wine country fire, and generally Santa Ana will be long winded through the week, is the claim.

    One thing the long drought did here, was not just kill plants, bushes, trees, etc. but also dry them out so as to be perfect tinder.

    I used to have quite a few manzanita trees, and the wood when living is sinewy and tough as nails, but after it’d breathed it’s last, I could snap 2 inch wide branches like they were twigs.

  24. Jean

    About Garrison Keillor and his “crimes.”

    This sexual harassment hoopla is looking like our version of the Chinese Cultural Revolution in its overarching broad reach and sudden appearance on the scene.

    The way to protest this is to never give NPR another cent.

    What’s really going on that they want to distract us from?

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      During the Cultural Revolution people would warily venture outdoors each day to read the posters that had gone up overnight. These would then guide them as to how they had to dress and act that day, and what slogans they needed to spout to keep from being “struggled”. So yes, a very apt comparison.

      1. JTFaraday

        No, it really isn’t, unless you’re telling me that we as a culture have failed that dramatically to define sexual consent, in which case, then yes, a revolution is warranted.

        In other words, I’m pretty sure you can leave the house and know what to do and not do today.

  25. D

    Mind bogglingly horrid, particularly given ZuckerPh_ck’s Presidential aspiration, I discovered yesterday morning that while all were busy – discussing Facebook and Trump’s election, the highly intimate & other User Photos that Facebook wants to database and personally review/share, or Facebook for the children – Facebook announced its Upgrade™ of its suicide prevention AI on 11/27/17. I’ve spent hours of info searching since then and I still can’t find one piece about it in the New York Times, nor The Guardian’s Facebook Files, the vast majority of coverage I did find was insanely applauding of it . Users can’t opt out and the police may come banging if anyone has too much of a Sad (and who of a sane mind doesn’t in these times?), or mentions Ibuprofen too many times, etcetera.

    Facebook announced that prior to that public notice, they successfully tested their Upgrade on 100 victims; yet in the more than 10 articles I’ve read so far they weren’t even questioned as to the details of those successes, nor whom it was actually a success for (in many, if not all states, there’s a mandatory Psych ward detention for those considered suicidal which can utterly destroy one’s employment or employment prospects).

    EU users are currently exempt due to what sounds like far more sane laws regarding AI and Privacy Violations.

    This piece is way to ultimately supportive of AI Suicide Prevention, but none the less it does point out a few of the profound issues and the opacity that Facebook has gotten away with:

    11/28/17 By Rebecca Ruiz Facebook’s AI suicide prevention tool can save lives, but the company won’t say how it works

    The above piece also links to this totally unsurprising May piece:

    05/01/17 By Sam Levin Facebook told advertisers it can identify teens feeling ‘insecure’ and ‘worthless’ Leaked documents said to describe how the social network shares psychological insights on young people with advertisers
    The internal report produced by Facebook executives, and obtained by the Australian, states that the company can monitor posts and photos in real time to determine when young people feel “stressed”, “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “anxious”, “nervous”, “stupid”, “silly”, “useless” and a “failure”.

    The Australian reported that the document was prepared by two top Australian executives, David Fernandez and Andy Sinn. It was said to describe how the social network gathers psychological insights on high schoolers, college students and young working Australians and New Zealanders. Sinn is an agency relationship manager for the company.


    Yeah, Australia, the same small country the horrid: send Facebook your previously NOT ONLINE intimate photos nightmare was Rolled Out™.

    Lastly, who believes: that the police will come banging when the Facebook Sad™ person is a Politician, Thoughtleader™ or 1%er; that there won’t be deaths, as there many times are when police respond to mental health issues; and who knows whether even non users might be snagged up via some idiot discussing them on Facebook without informed consent?

  26. meeps

    The links today about air pollution, bone health and antibiotic resistance are quite interesting. After all, we’re basically walking bags of water with assorted minerals tossed into the mix. It’s been known for some time that atmospheric carbon is absorbed into oceans. It seems strange it’s taken this long for the scientific community to start investigating what said pollution does to our bodies.

    Thanks, Yves et al, for watching these developments. I was able to follow information you posted here to an FDA approved human trial for my sister, should it need to come to that. I hope you know that the ripples your site makes in the world don’t go unnoticed or under appreciated.

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