Links 1/10/2020

African grey parrots spontaneously ‘lend a wing’ Science Daily (Kevin W)

Scientists Give Cuttlefish 3D Glasses To Prove They Perceive Depth PopSci

Mathematicians put famous Battle of Britain ‘what if’ scenarios to the test PhysOrg (Robert M)

Mysterious radio signal is coming from a nearby galaxy, scientists announce Independent (Chuck L)

Australia bushfires: Mega blaze likely on Friday evening BBC :-(. My mothermakes sure to watch nightly news for updates on Australia.

As huge tides bear down on Oregon coast, researchers warn this is the future OregonLive (David L)

Worst Drought in 40 Years Looms Over the Struggling Thai Economy Bloomberg. Furzy; “Check out the photos of the Mekong River.”

Researchers Develop Universal Flu Vaccine With Nanoparticles That Protect Against Six Different Viruses Georgia State University

China?

Guangzhou, Shenzhen consolidate GDP lead over HK Asia Times

Hong Kong PTSD level ‘comparable to conflict zones’, study finds BBC

India

India’s Supreme Court finds Kashmir internet ban ‘unlawful’ Financial Times

Brexit

UK Parliament approves Brexit bill for departure from European Union on January 31 abc.net.au (Chuck L)

Meghan flees to Canada where she left baby Archie with nanny and leaves Harry to deal with fallout from ‘abdication’ crisis after spending just three days in the UK following holiday Daily Mail. A regular reader, who reads tabloids for mental health breaks and zeitgeist watch the way some of us turn to YouTube cat videos, predicted months ago that Meghan would divorce Harry in no more than five years. One of the elements of that forecast was that Meghan apparently hadn’t understood that Harry was not notably rich (among other things, not able to afford private jet travel) but was in fact on an allowance. The fact that Meghan seems keen to leverage the royal name for Clinton Foundation-level grifting income enhancement bears out that take.

Millions march in France as strikes against Macron pension cut spread WSWS

Syraqistan

Video appears to show moment Ukraine plane was shot down over Iran NBC News (furzy). I happened to hear the NBC broadcast and was shocked to hear them include MH17 in a long list of accidental commercial aircraft downings in contested areas.

Canada, US believe Iran missile downed Ukrainian airliner DW

Iran will allow Boeing to inspect aircraft’s black box Financial Times

A New Middle East “made in Iran” is about to be born Elijah Magnier. Important.

Trump floats expanding NATO to add Middle East Reuters. Kevin W: “:Great idea this. Countries like Saudi Arabia – and maybe Israel. That way, whenever there is a firefight between Hamas and the Israelis, you could have NATO troops occupying the West Bank.”

Iran Is Not a Threat to Our Security. Trump’s Saber-Rattling Is. New York Magazine. Lambert: “Naturally the editor wrote the headline to make the article all about Trump. It’s not.”

The Evangelicals Who Pray for War With Iran New Republic

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

UK accused of ‘behaving like cowboys’ over EU database copying Guardian (Kjetil)

Facebook Is Forcing Its Moderators To Log Every Second of Their Days Motherboard

Unremovable Malware Found Preinstalled on Low-End Smartphone Sold in the US ZDNet

Vermont Bill Would Ban Cellphone Use For Anyone Under 21 New York Post

Secretive Surveillance Company Is Selling Cops Cameras Hidden In Gravestones Motherboard

Trump Transition

House votes to bar Trump from attacking Iran without congressional authorization Business Insider (Kevin W)

White House aims to roll back bedrock environmental law to speed development The Hill

Impeachment

What Will Happen to Trump’s Republican Collaborators? Frank Rich, New York Magazine (furzy). Hoo boy.

2020

The Trailer: Their candidates lost. Here’s what they say about the race now. Washington Post (Dan K)

L’affaire Epstein

Surveillance video from Jeffrey Epstein’s first apparent suicide attempt ‘no longer exists’ NBC. I suspect that our tech oriented readers will confirm that deleting a file permanently is not a trivial operation.

Our Famously Free Press

PayPal blocks donations to The Grayzone that mention Iran The Grayzone (Paul R)

Boeing training pilots ask to decertify union Seattle Times (Mike C)

World’s largest asset manager BlackRock joins $41 trillion climate-change investing pact MarketWatch (David L)

Boeing Employees Mocked FAA In Internal Messages Before 737 Max Disasters NPR and Internal Boeing Documents Show Cavalier Attitude to Safety Wall Street Journal

SoftBank-backed Zume is laying off half its staff and shuttering its pizza delivery business CNBC. Robert H: “It seems like they pulled the plug faster than usual this time.”

Amazon Warned Holiday Shopper That Honey, a Popular Browser Extension, Was a ‘Security Risk’ Wired. Amazon being not nice.

Reality Check Northan Trader (RR)

More “Modernizing” of Auditor Independence, Part 3 Francine McKenna. Important. Lambert featured an earlier piece in this series yesterday.

Guillotine Watch

Life on the Run Is Proving Expensive for Carlos Ghosn Bloomberg

Class Warfare

Lawmakers Refused to Increase an Infamous Prison’s Funding. Then, Chaos Erupted. ProPublica (UserFriendly)

Welcome To Walmart. The Robot Will Grab Your Groceries. Wall Street Journal

Installing Air Filters in Classrooms Has Surprisingly Large Educational Benefits Vox

Antidote du jour (CV):

And a bonus from Dan K. See the entire thread. Related video here:

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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188 comments

  1. Wukchumni

    The events of this week greatly reminded me of Breaking Bad, a 737 collides with another plane on account of Walter White allowing Jesse’s girlfriend to die of a heroin overdose-as he kind of wanted her out of the way (and is really the turning point in Walter becoming Heisenberg), which so overcomes her air traffic controller father with grief, that he inadvertently allows the accident to happen.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABQ_(Breaking_Bad)

    Reply
  2. toshiro_mifune

    I suspect that our tech oriented readers will confirm that deleting a file permanently is not a trivial operation.

    Its not. Depending on how they stored the video (NAS/SAN/Local) and what sort of backup schema was in place (assuming one was) there’s a very good chance the video is still there and people just aren’t looking hard enough.

    My practice for destroying HDDs Im done with is to 1: Wipe the drive
    2:Get out the allen wrenches and physically open them
    3: Take a mallet and chisel to the physical platters.
    4: Preferable dispose of the remnants at different times so they cant be reassembled.
    While that may sound like a lot, its about the only way I feel secure that data cant be pulled from them. I spent 3 years doing data forensics, I have a very good idea of how much info you can pull from ‘deleted’ files.

    Reply
    1. hemeantwell

      Wow. I may need to revise my “hit it with a sledgehammer until it breaks apart” technique. Is it really possible to reconstruct a file from a bent up and gouged platter?

      Reply
      1. toshiro_mifune

        Physically damaging the platters is good enough to thwart most of the readily available recovery techniques. I’ve seen a demonstration though of HDDs that had been burned, soaked in acid (dont remember the type) and physically damaged that still had some data recovered with a very time consuming low level magnetic/optical scan that made me want to go one step further. Not that I think someone is going to go that far for getting stuff off my old HDDs, but smashy smashy into pieces and get rid of the pieces separately made me feel better.

        Reply
      2. hunkerdown

        The specification you should be worried about is megabytes per square millimeter. On a 3.5″ drive’s platter (37mm platter radius, 10mm hub radius), there is about 4000mm^2 of recordable area per side. For a 1 terabyte drive with two double-sided platters, that works out to nearly 60MB/mm^2. Production densities are greater still. If you have national security-level data, it could be worth it, if there really are no cheaper ways of getting the data back.

        An old CIA data destruction manual found on the old Gfiles sites recommends the use of mineral acids or sanding to get the magnetic oxide and its data off the platters.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You will be amused to learn a buddy bought some NeXT computers from the NSA in the mid-1990s. He said they were the cleanest machines he ever touched.

          Reply
      3. BobW

        I have been using DBAN for years.It randomly overwrites multiple times, supposedly to Dept. of Defense level. It’s an old program, is it outdated now? Am not really looking to fox the law as much as removing data from an old drive that is going to another user. No need for them to have the previous owner’s banking passwords. It’s good enough for that, I suppose.

        Reply
    2. Watt4Bob

      Do we know that the system in the jail was digital, and not tape based, with coax connected cameras?

      Seems to me that there’s a lot of old fashioned VHS based systems still in place, and it’s much easier to ‘lose’ a VHS cassette, than to be sure a digital file is really gone.

      Reply
      1. Stephen V.

        That’s a question for Shaun Atwood, former AZ prisoner now with YouTube channel.
        But perhaps there’s an ex-con in the NC commentariat? Could have easily been me with one boss sent up the river for money laundering and another for foreign trust finagling back in the day.

        Reply
        1. Angie Neer

          Close, but the difference is a degausser removes magnetization. Either method obliterates the data, but degaussing leaves the magnetic medium ready to be used again.

          Reply
          1. TimmyB

            There are computer “shredder” programs that record a series of 1s and zeros over data one wishes to permanently destroy on a disk. When I last looked in 2014, DOD standards required seven passes of laying down random 1s and zeros to successfully destroy data. Up to 30 passes could be programmed with these shredder programs.

            Of course, the use of such a program is easily detectable and, if used to cover up evidence of a crime, could result in “obstruction of justice” charges.

            Reply
        1. Plenue

          I one heard a tale of a guy who worked at a radio station. The station fired him, but didn’t tell him at the very end of the work day, so he still had access to the building for a few hours. So before he left, he did one final thing: took the giant magnet they used to wipe tapes and erased their entire audio database. Songs, commercials, stings, everything: gone.

          Reply
          1. WestcoastDeplorable

            I was in the Radio business (when it was still a “business”) for 20 years or so and also heard the same story. In the version I heard, after he was done wiping all the cartridges, he fired up the station van, placed a concrete block on the accelerator, and pointed it at the station’s broadcast tower. Didn’t knock it down but the damage was sufficient to take the station off-air for several days.

            Reply
              1. Angie Neer

                “I heard a tale…”; “In the version I heard…”. These sound like typical revenge fantasies that we humans make up for amusement and comfort, not actual events.

                Reply
    3. Frobisher

      Over 10 years ago a tekkit a local shop reformatted are hard drive against our specific instructions. We feared loss of photographs and demanded recovery efforts. The shop sent the hard drive to a place in California that recovered a good portion of the images after the hard drive had been reformatted. No, they are not trying very hard.

      Reply
    4. TimmyB

      The original video wasn’t deleted. I assume that the jail video from dozens of cameras is originally recorded onto a digital disk and recorded over at a predetermined interval depending upon the storage capacity of the disk. It is unrealistic to assume that, instead of the disk being being recorded over at a certain interval, say 14-days, there is a warehouse full of disks with hundreds of thousands of hours of video from multiple cameras.

      Snippets of video that the authorities wish to save for future use is most likely copied from the original disk containing all video recordings made every day from the multiple cameras at the jail.

      What I believe the authorities are telling us is that when the IT or video department was told to copy the relevant video, they mistakenly copied video from a different floor.

      When that mistake was discovered, the original video of Epstein’s cell on the night of his first “suicide” attempt had been re-recorded over multiple times with new video, making it impossible to recover. It wasn’t deleted, which means only the storage address is erased, but the original data exists on the storage medium until it is recorded over. Instead, the original data has been recorded over multiple times, making recovery close to impossible.

      Reply
      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Um, tech readers can correct me, but “re recording” is unlikely to have occurred.

        When you delete a file, you have really deleted only your record of where the file sits on the disk.

        The system will keep write new data to that disk, but the odds that it will immediately or quickly store new data on the section you freed up is low unless the disk is close to full.

        Reply
        1. mookie

          I work with camera surveillance systems and believe that TimmyB is correct. In a normal workflow when footage is requested, it is exported from the server/NVR (Network Video Recorder) to a local hard disk. At that point Yves is correct, it would be difficult to delete or erase the file. What they are saying is that they pulled the wrong footage in the first place.
          NVRs record from all the cameras on the system, usually on motion detection. NVRs retain footage from all their cameras until they start to run out of space, at which point they overwrite the oldest data. I would imagine the jail surveillance system is mandated to retain 30-60 days of footage, and adjust the amount of storage on their NVR accordingly.
          None of this is to say that they’re not completely full of familyblog, just that the excuse that they gave is not BS on its face.

          Reply
          1. TimmyB

            The first supposed “suicide” attempt was in July. It’s now January. If an area of the disk being overwritten every 60-days, July video would be overwritten at least twice and maybe 3x. If overwritten every 30-days, that’s at least 5x. Good luck trying to recover video files overwritten multiple times. Highly unlikely.

            Reply
      2. Briny

        Close to impossible. The technique to restore data that has been overwritten does exist, heck I’ve got the paper here somewhere, just that it requires some seriously expensive custom gear, tons of time, and dedication. I’ll give you one guess who happens to have it on hand.

        Forensics has been part of my toolkit since the ’80’s.

        Reply
    5. inode_buddha

      I always dig the magnets out first, and hit the rest with an acetylene torch. Result is a lump of molten aluminum in a few seconds.

      Reply
      1. Jokerstein

        A lot of platters are now glass.

        At Amazon data center old disks are shredded physically. The security approach is that disks are either (1) waiting to be installed; (2) in use; or (3) dust.

        Reply
  3. Winston Smith

    Air Ukraine flight PS-572 crash.
    I was surprised to see headlines yesterday afternoon with the prime minister of Canada declaring that evidence provided by allies and Canada’s own intelligence (remember that Canada is part of Five Eyes) suggested that the plane had been shot down by an Iranian missile. That declaration seemed a little premature coming from a head of state despite the tragic death of 63 Canadians. It was also reported that Iran had invited Canadian investigators but the the crash site had been bulldozed(!).

    Hopefully the next 24hrs will (did?) bring clarity to this situation.

    Reply
    1. Bill Smith

      Canada, being part of NORAD likely has good access to the SBIRS data. A Canadian general is sometimes the deputy of that command?

      Reply
    2. YY

      What is particularly strange is the uniform (CND UK US) emphasis of accidental/non-intentional blame to the shoot down including speculation of automated launches. Attribution of AA missile is to Iran but no one is brazen enough to formulate theory based upon motive or in this case a situation of mistaken identity. Why spend all this energy to prematurely blame Russian missiles launched by Iran to shoot down this plane when giving it a few more days (or weeks) will clarify (or should) how the plane went down? Why create a story that absolves Iranians of criminal blame and in doing so obscure any other reasons for the plane going down. Why does this feel like MH17 all over again (but less successful) and why does it smell like rogue (or not) intelligence operation now being covered up? I would think that there would have been many parts of US military and Western intelligence playing their respective roles in advancing what the “executive” decision to apparently provoke a war started, some of the activities could not be reversed as they were already in works. Then Trump changed his mind.

      Reply
      1. D. Fuller

        Possible – IF a missile brought the plane down – that an act of terrorism was committed on Iranian soil. The usual suspect would be MEK using a MANPADS or a sympathizer in the case of a SAM system.

        Reportedly the plane was at 8,000 feet when it experienced catastrophic failure. Well within reach of sophisticated MANPADS.

        Or it could be over zealous Iranian military personnel who mistakenly brought down the plane.

        Again, not enough is known at this time to make any determination.

        Interesting concerning TWA Flight 800 where witnesses thought they saw a missile approaching the plane. The FBI even investigated a possible launch site. However, such a possibility was ruled out justifiably as extremely unlikely and not consistent with evidence. Most likely a Fuel-Air Explosive (FAE) mix that had been observed in other 747-100s resulting in catastrophic loss occurring in the center wing fuel tank.

        Reply
      2. David

        I think someone in Washington had an outbreak of common sense. They realized that in the delicate situation just after the Iranian strike, with a mutual desire for de-escalation, yesterday was not the best time to start making incendiary allegations. There are clearly factions in the US government that will use any pretext to start a war, and it was important not to encourage them. The real message was not about Iran, or Russian missiles, but “nothing to see here, calm down” and the reason for the statement that it was an accident was political. In any event, the US presumably concluded that (1) the idea that it was a deliberate act by the Iranians was ridiculous and (2) there would be collateral both from satellites with IR sensors for detecting missile launches and from other sources (RT analysis for example) before and after the attack. Lots of chatter in the hours after the incident would be a pretty good indicator that something had gone wrong. I don’t know (and neither does the vast majority of the human race) but I suspect the US were pretty sure by yesterday that they could rule out a deliberate attempt to shoot the aircraft down.

        Reply
        1. PlutoniumKun

          They may have suddenly discovered common sense, but I also think they may simply have gotten cold feet when they realised exactly what they’d done. There was something in the US (and Israeli) reaction that reminded me of noisy arrogant kids playing around who suddenly go silent when they actually break something.

          Obviously, the background dynamics are unknown now, but I’d suspect that some of the saner people in the background pointed out to Trump the implications of a war for his re-election chances (among other things), and he made various incoherent noises which were interpreted (probably with relief) by his people as a signal to cool things down.

          Reply
    3. s.n.

      but the the crash site had been bulldozed(!).

      according to a posting nr. 338 yesterday on the PPRuNe [Professional Pilots’ Rumour Network] thread on the Ukraine PS-572 crash, commenting on the BusinssInsider story alleging bulldozing:
      https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/628650-ukrainian-aircraft-down-iran-17.html
      Quote:
      Oh my God…if this notice is true this sounds plain stupid and abnormal…!!!???
      Iran authorities are bulldozing the crash site…Really!?

      That piece of equipment is not a bulldozer, it is a loader, and will likely be being used to lift heavy pieces of aircraft for recovery. In that picture there is no evidence of the site being bulldozed. There is a significant amount of imagery coming from the site and there is no imagery of the site being bulldozed.

      In fact the article reads: “Iran has used bulldozers to move around pieces of debris from a crashed Ukrainian passenger jet, potentially destroying evidence which could help determine exactly what happened to it. Images and reports from the crash site, just outside Tehran, show at least one bulldozer working in the debris at the site”

      The article doesn’t say they are bulldozing the site, and the article wrongly refers to a picture of “at least one” loader as a bulldozer (in typical journalistic hyperbole).

      To be honest I don’t even think the site needs to be preserved, there is already enough evidence including video and reported radar tracking of missile attacks….

      ps, a lot of informed comment to be had on the PPRuNe site, which NC commenter David linked to here yesterday

      Reply
        1. bob

          That whole thread is awful. It’s like the proverbial monkeys at typewriters at a bellingcat.

          “Someone drew some red lines on this low resolution out of focus video frame and it proves…..whatever they want it to.”

          Bellingcat, FYI-

          https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/10/mark-ames-shamiwitness-bellingcat-neocons-collaborated-influential-isis-propagandist-twitter.html

          And the thread I am talking about with the monkeys and pictures-

          https://www.pprune.org/rumours-news/628650-ukrainian-aircraft-down-iran-17.html

          Reply
          1. Winston Smith

            Fair enough, then let’s patiently wait to see how things unfold. There is obviously great potential for disinformation in this situation.

            Reply
            1. bob

              There’s obviously great potential for disinformation, which give you a chance to jump in and demonstrate your reasonableness by telling everyone to wait patiently.

              I’m really glad you were able to do that, for all of us.

              Reply
          2. BillC

            “That whole thread is awful.” I disagree.

            I follow pprune.org regularly after air disasters and while the signal-to-noise ratio is low on controversial issues (here, missile vs. equipment failure), a careful reader with some technical but non-aviator knowledge can easily filter out most of the noise. What remains is generally well-reasoned discussion (in a case like this, read “disagreement”) that eventually leads to either a short list of reasonable alternative explanations or pretty close to consensus on one explanation (nearly always involving multiple necessary but singly insufficient causes).

            In any case, it’s always good schooling in recognizing the intrinsic hazards of complex systems that fail in unexpected ways in response to a series of improbable but superimposed failures (or in pprune-speak “the holes in the Swiss cheese line up”). It’s especially interesting if you want to be reminded of the importance of the human interface and user behavior as system design criteria (e.g., like me, an old software engineer — 737 MAX is an excellent, if tragic, case study).

            Interestingly enough, when pilots sometimes suggest blocking comments from non-pilots, the consensus always comes down on allowing others to contribute because they often provide useful insights into otherwise-ignored factors.

            Reply
            1. bob

              I saw 2 posts that weren’t awful, and no one talking about them. Most of the posts and discussion were bellingcat dorks trying to use their protractors and ipads to explain geopolitical issues. The protractors won, obviously.

              Reply
          3. skippy

            Thanks for that, submitted it without further comment just to see the outcome.

            Concur that the source material used to apply maths and physics too is on par with orthodox economics – we know how that works …

            Reply
    4. voteforno6

      In this case, I don’t think any government can be trusted to tell the truth. It doesn’t take much effort to think of reasons why they would all lie about this…the same goes with Boeing for that matter.

      Reply
      1. Trent

        i think that’s the world in general anymore. If you think about it, 2008 was a crisis in trust and its never been restored.

        ‘When it becomes serious, you have to lie’

        Reply
    5. Bill Smith

      Assuming the pictures of a bulldozer clearing the aircraft debris up are real, it doesn’t make it sound there is going to be much of an investigation.

      In addition scavengers evidently hauled off a bunch of stuff as there wasn’t much in the way of security to protect the crash site. Though given the crash site, it would would have taken a lot of security to protect it.

      Reply
        1. Bill Smith

          https://twitter.com/ christogrozev/ status/ 1215633920961785862

          Supposed statement from Ukraine personal who went to the site.

          “The details of the aircraft continue to be bulldozed and delivered to the assembly pile. There is a crowd of different people in uniform and without uniforms at the crash site, hundreds of people are collecting and taking away fragments of the plane, this cannot be controlled.”

          Reply
      1. xkeyscored

        Are they jealously trying to catch up with Democratic Kampuchea, or the Khmer Rouge, known in Khmer at the time as Angkar? One of their slogans was “Angkar has [the many] eyes of the pineapple.” “As the first layer of a pineapple’s rind is cut away, the spines inside the fruit are revealed in small, round recesses, and the Khmer refer to these as “eyes.” Angkar’s eyes were everywhere, seeing everything, in all directions. The destruction of enemies was paramount, and if innocent people died in the pursuit of those enemies, no matter.”
        https://www.mekong.net/cambodia/redbook.htm

        Reply
  4. PlutoniumKun

    Facebook Is Forcing Its Moderators To Log Every Second of Their Days Motherboard

    While I hate to defend FB, I should say that a good friend of mine works as a moderator for an FB contractor and she describes it as the easiest job she’s ever done, and most of her colleagues spend their days playing on their phones and eating snacks. I doubt she’d recognise much of what in this article. But I’d qualify that by saying she is in a section that deals with non-mainstream languages, so it may be that the auditors/managers simply don’t know how to oversee staff when they have no idea about the language. Although having said that, she described her immediate supervisor as a psycho bitch, so presumably the FB influence is in there somewhere.

    Reply
  5. Amfortas the hippie

    i guess frank rich’s portion of the Bubble has become somewhat hypoxic.
    totally ignored are the betrayals and perfidy of the Vichy Dems over the last 3 decades that enabled the ascension of trump…and also glaringly ignored is the current perfidy of the current crop of Vichy Dems, who rant and rave about the “most dangerous president evah”, while handing that same “New Hitler” more surveillance powers, more military funding and more executive authority over all.
    and this to say nothing(Rich doesn’t) of the Pied Piper Strategy, or the gop-esque rigging of the Dem Primary, nor the allied corporate media that continues to ignore and/or scoff at bernie, gabbard, aoc, et alia.
    the gop/american right has been a known entity for decades…all the “reaching across the aisle”—and actually adopting the gop socioeconomic agenda!– not withstanding.
    the worst threat to the american people is the ostensible “Opposition” Party…the one that pretends to be for the People, while completing the gop’s corporate takeover of the nation, and the withering away of the New Deal/Great Society.
    Fie! Fie! Fie!
    may the mob find them quickly.

    Reply
    1. zagonostra

      What is needed is “unoffical history” to be broadcast to the “mob”, i.e., majority.

      Official history is buttressed by political and economic power, and in modern societies it is institutionalized in bureaucracies. In contrast, unofficial history finds its domain at the interstices of social life, in the little places, corners, crevices, and private arenas where official history either fears to thread or has no right of entry. Unofficial history is a part of the idiosyncratic domain of private life, sustained by personal as opposed to public relations, emotional as opposed to affectively neutral sustenance and private and folkish rather than literate and correct language. thus despite the power that official history may lend to its own version of the past, on official history retains a compelling and potentially subversive potency.

      https://archive.org/details/structureconscio0000brow/page/92

      Reply
    2. Carolinian

      You’d think Rich would have more perspective on politicians given his involvement with the HBO show Veep. But perhaps a show about people in a bubble was an appropriate landing spot for him.

      Reply
    3. pjay

      Yes. I find Robert Mackey’s concern for Truth about Soleimani and Iraq to be quite touching as well — given his contributions to the mainstream demonization of Assad and Putin. But I guess the latter were the *right* (i.e. Democrat-designated) enemies.

      Reply
    4. tegnost

      the betrayals and perfidy of the Vichy Dems over the last 3 decades that enabled the ascension of trump…and also glaringly ignored is the current perfidy of the current crop of Vichy Dems, who rant and rave about the “most dangerous president evah”, while handing that same “New Hitler” more surveillance powers, more military funding and more executive authority over all.

      Fans of Dahmer saying that Gacy was worse because he wore a clown suit, FTW

      Reply
  6. PlutoniumKun

    A New Middle East “made in Iran” is about to be born Elijah Magnier. Important.

    Possibly overstated, but I think its broadly true that Iran is likely to be a big winner from this. Its pretty clear from the satellite photos of the Iranian attack that those missiles were precision aimed, and struck within a few metres of a key target – almost all hit specific buildings. That will make the Israeli’s and Saudi’s very nervous indeed, not to mention US commanders in bases along the Gulf and in Iraq. The days when Iranian missiles were only terror weapons are long gone, they are now capable of doing serious military damage. It should be noted that it should be technically quite easy to retrofit well designed guidance packages (presumably GPS based) onto older rockets, which would vastly increase the potential strike rate.

    Whatever the truth that the Iranian government was in domestic trouble, that’s all gone now. The country seems entirely united. Well played, the Donald.

    In a broader sense, it’s been noted that in Europe Merkel’s first response to the attacks was to fly to have talks with Putin. Europe and China may be muted in public, but there is no question that they know that a line has been crossed. Europe is unable to save the nuclear deal (not because of the politicians but because the US has far too much power to damage major European companies), but will no doubt be doing everything possible to minimise any blowback from further idiot moves by Trump.

    Reply
    1. xkeyscored

      Not only Iran, but Russia and China. Russia has air defence systems that appear to work; I’ve read they’ve offered the S-400 system to Iran, and that Iraq is interested in acquiring the S-300. And China’s Belt and Road Initiative wants Iran as a hub, which seems only more likely with the USA providing this latest proof of its perfidy.
      Every time Iran needs help, President Trump rushes headlong to boost its image in the world, particularly among the “Axis of the Resistance” and above all in relation to China and Russia. These two countries will now only strengthen their relationship with Iran, the country that has effectively and publicly challenged the strongest country in the world.

      Reply
    2. Jeotsu

      I think we may have seen the first demonstration of conventional MAD (mutually assured destruction).

      Historically MAS was limited to “launch all nukes, burn all cities”, but no more.

      The USA demonstrated 30 years ago that with precision weapons you can “destroy” a country – take out the power plants, water plants, bridges, command centers, ammo dumps, etc and leave it economically crippled and severely militarily degraded. The USA always relied on the fact that this was always a one-sided affair — they could inflict destruction with no fear of equivalent retaliation.

      That has all changed. Some of the oldest/cruddiest missiles (SCUD variants) demonstrated accuracies on the order of 3 meters, as good (or near enough) as any US precision weapon.

      Furthermore, US missile defense (Patriot, THAAD) is dubious-to-unproven. And even those systems were as effective as advertised, they lack the tracking/engagement/ammunition to stop a sustained SRBM/IRBM assault (especially since those assaulting missiles could in fact target the defensive systems themselves as a first target, and there are very replacement THAADS, and they are slow to build).

      As a corollary of this event – how does this change the military calculus with North Korea? Do their SCUD variants have similar guidance packages? Will they soon? If your “hardened” F-22/F-35 shelter does not have a very good front door, they can expect to lose lots of aircraft (especially if there are enough on-the-ground agents a few km away to text back to base whenever the aircraft are vulnerable).

      This in turn could push US air operations back hundreds (thousands?) of kilometers from active theaters of war, making for slow sortie rates and a high dependance on tankers.

      This may be a military/geopolitical game changer in more than just SW Asia.

      Reply
      1. Lorenzo Raymond

        But speaking of SCUDs, Saddam Hussein had those in 1991. They don’t seem to have helped him at all. How is this different?

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          The original SCUD was a direct copy of the WW2 German V-2 missile so by the time of the Gulf War, it was simply a ramped up design of a 50 year-old missile. Accuracy was debatable at best. With the ones that the Iranians are using, they can hit a target to within a few meters which means that they can target individual, designated targets. Massive difference.

          Reply
          1. Procopius

            I speculate that even after the attack of 14 September at Abqaiq and Khurais the Five Eyes did not grasp the implication of the precision damage done. This latest demonstration may have awakened them, and may be why Trump was forced to declare victory.

            Reply
      2. Briny

        Iran certainly has quite a lot more ballistic missiles than we have reloads for our missile defense systems, of all types. Even the US Navy is coming to realize that our destroyers and cruisers are going to run out of interceptors well before any of our potential adversaries run out, which is part of the interest in unmanned vessels to act as arsenal ships. [Although Congress has put the kibosh on that but restricting drone ships from carrying vertical launch cells.]

        Unknown here which global navigation system the Iranians are using but if it is GPS, then theoretically we can scramble the signal in time of conflict, at severe cost to the economy.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          They are probably using GLONASS, the Russian equivalent of GPS. Makes sense as it would be easier to integrate what Russian weaponry they have purchased and would make them immune from being switched off the GPS that has happened to several countries in the past.

          Reply
    3. kimyo

      satellite photos of the Iranian attack

      there are now dozens of photos of the ukrainian plane crash site online, yet still only the two satellite photos of the u.s. base aftermath.

      that’s super weird. one could hardly be blamed for suspecting that there’s something there which tptb don’t want us to see.

      Reply
    4. xkeyscored

      almost all hit specific buildings. That will make the Israeli’s and Saudi’s very nervous indeed
      From Debka:
      Iran therefore brought off the first missile attack on US military targets since the Korean War. The implications for America’s military deterrence are plain, but no less grave are the implications for Israel. … And if the US military is short of answers for defense against Iran’s ballistic missiles, Israel whose early warning and anti-missile systems are based on American models is in the same boat.
      The Iranian strike on US bases in Iraq on Jan. 8 must serve as an immediate red alert for Israel on what to expect. Instead of telling the Israeli public fairy stories about their country’s non-involvement in the spiraling armed contest between the US and Iran, it would be better for the government to tell the people frankly that Israel is more exposed than ever to Iranian missile aggression.

      Iran’s attack on US airbase in Iraq finds Israel vulnerable to same kind of ballistic missile strike

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        It’s all fun and games blowing up other people with advance aircraft and missiles and daring them to do anything about it until they learn how to do the same themselves.

        Reply
      1. kimyo

        iran’s demonstration of its capabilities does have at least one benefit – u.s. ‘leadership’ cannot pretend that ‘no one could have known’ that u.s. troops would be massacred should things escalate.

        Reply
    5. ewmayer

      Technical note: posted URL is one of those shortened-for-Twitter “take our word for it that this lands you where you want to go” ones, and further is Google crap-, erm I mean amp-ified. Quick websearch turns up this original one:

      ejmagnier.com/2020/01/09/a-new-middle-east-made-in-iran-is-about-to-be-born

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        thanks.
        It strikes me as prematurely triumphal, but extremely interesting.

        Indeed, I don’t see how the small US force in Iraq can remain there, despite the defiant posturing. In the focus on Iran, it’s easy to forget that Iraq, and the militias in particular, are also aggrieved parties – and they have NOT retaliated yet.

        Reply
    6. VietnamVet

      This is correct. The Middle East has been turned upside down. With airplane delivered precision conventional weapons, the USA seized Afghanistan, Iraq, and destroyed the Caliphate supporting American and proxy forces. Iran has turned the tables, it has demonstrated that it can destroy Middle East oil facilities and military bases at will. The Gulf States only choice is making peace with Iran if they want to keep pumping oil. The US positions in Syria and Iraq are untenable. It has no allies, no purpose, other than stealing their oil. This has the potential to be an insane SNAFU if an agreement is not made with the Baghdad government for an orderly withdraw NATO forces immediately.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        Not going to happen. Not only is the US refusing to budge but they say that the only talks that they will have with Iraq’s government will be instead to talk about how to “recommit” to their partnership. And they also said by the way, we want to bring in NATO as well. If you don’t, we will trash your economy and give you the Iran treatment. Welcome to Iraq Occupation 2.0.

        Reply
        1. VietnamVet

          Occupation 2.0 will be hell.

          Iraqi Shiite militias have ballistic missiles, drones and Hezbollah aid. They have experience having helped fight Syrian rebels and retaken Mosul. The Iraqi militias haven’t extracted revenge for the murder of their deputy leader. IEDs, mortar attacks and harassing fire will resume. Nothing will be safe in the bases; not even command centers

          A leadership so stupid that it decides to fight to stay in Iraq and Syria will make more mistakes that will trigger WWIII.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            What’s the bet that ISIS will have a “magical” resurgence and start pressing Iraqi troops again? The same way that they hit Syrian troops after crossing over the river from the US/Kurd controlled side? I’m not sure what would happen if the Iraqis asked Russia to do a few airstrikes on ISIS formations in Iraq rather than the Coalition air squadrons. They would have the legal right to do so as they are the government of Iraq.

            Reply
  7. The Rev Kev

    “What Will Happen to Trump’s Republican Collaborators?”

    Yeah, this is a really long article and rambles on through all the nooks and crannies of history. So as a service to readers here, I put it through my customized semantic analyzer and this was what came out-

    Orange Man bad!
    Orange Man’s supporters worse!

    Donations for this service will be gratefully received on behalf of the Frank Rich Trump Derangement Syndrome Fund.

    Reply
    1. flora

      Maybe Frank thinks all the world’s a stage… he should go back to writing theater reviews, much more entertaining, imo.

      Reply
  8. PlutoniumKun

    Mathematicians put famous Battle of Britain ‘what if’ scenarios to the test PhysOrg (Robert M)

    I don’t know enough about the mathematical techniques used, but wargamers have been refighting those battles for years using all sorts of different techniques. Famously, its claimed (I’ve no idea if its true), that the two battles wargamers have never been able to replicate the result were the Battle of France and the Battle of Midway.

    I do wonder if they took account in the model of decoys. In a previous work life, I used old bomb maps for research on possible UXB’s in the Midlands in England. There was a huge cluster of Luftwaffe bombs in an area about 10 miles directly north of Birmingham. It turns out it was a fake Spitfire base that successfully drew in a lot of bombers to create a lot of holes in the farmland up there (one wonders what the local farmers thought about being used as decoys).

    Oddly enough, there were comparatively few bombs in the place everyone said had been massively bombed out – the old Bull Ring area of Birmingham City. A bit more research revealed that immediate post-war road engineers did far more damage to the old parts of the city than the Luftwaffe.

    Reply
      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thanks for the link, I haven’t – its interesting – I’d no idea that the two addresses I’d lived in London were within 200 metres or so of bombs.

        Reply
      2. ObjectiveFunction

        A screaming comes across the sky?

        OK, 2 witty Pynchon refs in a row have now vanished without trace. After this, I give up….

        Reply
    1. David

      As you say, wargamers have been refighting these battles for years: decades really, I remember them from my youth. I think the reproducibility point needs to be properly understood, though . If one player does what the British did, and the other does what the Germans did, and the result comes out broadly the same, then you can say the game is accurate. If it doesn’t, there’s usually some error in the game design or the parameters. Here, though, mathematicians are playing at history, not mathematics. It’s strategy, not tactics. Historians have always recognized that if the Germans had stuck to attacking airfields (and the Chain Home radar system) they would have done better than they did. But in that case, the RAF had plans to move their forces to airfields further North, beyond the (limited) range of the German escort fighters. Because of equipment weaknesses, and the results of the attrition in the Battle of France, the Germans were never likely to win. The Ju88 and the Me110 were failures as aircraft, and they were what the Germans were relying on. In any event, even if the Germans had been able to achieve temporary command of the air, the British had complete command of the sea (the Germans had virtually no operational warships after Norway) and they would have sacrificed as much of the Royal Navy as was needed to stop the invasion. Many historians now believe that the whole thing was really a bluff: remember that untill late 1941 Hitler was still hoping to persuade the British to join his side.

      Reply
      1. voteforno6

        I don’t think that Hitler necessarily wanted to invade Great Britain – he just needed them out of the way, so he didn’t have to worry about Germany’s rear, while it went about the business of invading the USSR.

        Reply
      2. PlutoniumKun

        That is indeed true, although I think the problem with all such analyses is that they tend to overemphasise the level of knowledge of the participants at the time, and they tend to assume that any action will lead to a logical counter-action. War doesn’t act like that. Especially when one side is as good at spreading misinformation as Britain was.

        As one obvious example, it was widely assumed on all sides before WWII that bombing urban areas would rapidly cause a civilian population to panic and collapse industry. This simply didn’t happen. So the German actions had a certain level of logic. I was reading recently an account of US firebombing of Japanese cities – something I hadn’t been aware of was that strategic planners tried to stop it from June 1945 onwards as the data from Germany indicated that aerial urban bombing was either useless or counterproductive – but it kept going primarily because operational commanders had simply devoted too much resources and training to it and simply couldn’t work out what else they could do with 3,000 B-29’s and a few hundred thousand tons of incendiary bombs.

        Reply
        1. David

          Yes, that’s a huge and largely forgotten part of the history of the 1930s as well as WW2. It was expected that the manned bomber would cause devastation of what we would now think of as nuclear proportions. The maned bombing rationale was reflected in Harris’s suggestion that a bomb dropped anywhere in Germany was better than no bomb dropped in Germany. By the end of the war, when the policy obviously wasn’t working, Air Force commanders were like a man with a hammer desperately looking for nails because there was no time to buy a screwdriver. If you see what I mean.

          Reply
          1. Ignacio

            One just thinks of how much destruction for how little military achievement and also leaving such a long lasting print and requiring epic rebuilding. This also made me remember that the destruction of historical/artistic sites is nothing original but a constant in human history beginning with the age of empires.

            Reply
          2. Eustache de Saint Pierre

            The scientist Freeman Dyson worked as a boffin for Bomber Command, who when interviewed revealed that he & some of his colleagues considered protesting about the destruction. After realising that they could end up in the Tower & were likely not to make any difference anyway, they decided that the best thing they could do was to carry on trying to develop methods to ease the high mortality rate among pilots.

            Dyson described Bomber Command as a machine that had it’s own momentum which only the end of the war could halt.

            Reply
            1. carycat

              I enjoyed Freeman Dyson’s autobiography Disturbing The Universe when it came out in the early 80’s. it is just as fun a read as his colleague Richard Feynman’s semi-autobiographic books.

              Reply
              1. Eustache de Saint Pierre

                Both of them were from what I could tell were very decent human beings & great thinkers.

                I was reminded of Feynman in relation to the Boeing fiasco, not because of O- Rings but due to his opinion of the management.

                Reply
                1. Wukchumni

                  Looking back at the worst times, it always seems that they were times in which there were people who believed with absolute faith and absolute dogmatism in something. And they were so serious in this matter that they insisted that the rest of the world agree with them. And then they would do things that were directly inconsistent with their own beliefs in order to maintain that what they said was true.

                  Feynman

                  Reply
            2. PlutoniumKun

              It’s certainly not true that they would have ended up in the Tower. A.C. Graylings book on the bombing – ‘All the Dead Cities’ goes into quite a lot of detail on the public arguments at the time. It’s been more or less written out of history but there was far more public and private opposition to strategic bombing than is often assumed – even in the heat of war it was a very controversial policy.

              There were certainly heated arguments within the USAF about the morality of the bombing and Churchill and others were open that if the war had been lost, they would have been tried as war criminals for it. For the most part, the prioritisation of the operational end of the military meant that the proponents of heavy bombing got their way – by the end of the war primarily for the very facile reason that they simply wanted to keep all their expensive bombers in the air and they weren’t sure what else to do with them.

              Reply
          3. Procopius

            The manned bombing rationale has been demonstrated over and over again to be false. Doesn’t matter, they still get promoted and awarded medals and seats on corporate boards. The thing that surprises me is the politicians who still buy the snake oil. Our military budget could be cut by two thirds and we would probably have a better and more effective military for it.

            Reply
      3. Paid Minion

        “JU 88 and ME 110 were failures……”

        Really? I’m betting any bomber crew in Bomber Command circa 1942-45 would differ

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          Both airframes were repurposed into formidable radar equipped night fighters later in the war.
          The JU88R series and the Bf110G series. That’s what I suspect you meant by your Bomber Command reference.

          Reply
            1. PlutoniumKun

              The continued production of ‘failed’ aircraft is a case in point about why sometimes apparently misguided decisions are made. Often operational decisions are driven by industrial production decisions made years before. If you’ve set up a production line to make X number of Bf110’s, it often makes more sense to keep building them and find an alternative use, than to shut it down and devote the time and resources to build something else.

              Once the decision had been made to mass produce B-29’s, they were always going to be used to bomb Japanese cities, no matter whether it made military (or moral) sense or not. These things just have momentum. All least one historian has argued that this is the prime reason the atom bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki – pure operational momentum. But thats an argument for another day.

              Reply
              1. The Rev Kev

                Sometimes you can get lucky in aircraft manufacture. The P-51 of WW2 was originally a British commissioned fighter that had an Allison engine. Due to poor high-altitude performance, the British used them for tactical reconnaissance and ground-attack duties instead. But then they were given Rolls Royce Merlin engines as used by Spitfires and the Mustang never looked back.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_P-51_Mustang

                I don’t expect anything like that to happen with the F-35 however.

                Reply
        1. Buckeye

          Yep, Western Approaches Tactical Unit, the heroines of the Battle of the Atlantic.

          I’ve been wargaming for 40 years now, and it’s great fun and mental exercise. I never try to produce the same historical outcome, although it sometimes happens. I love the challenge of taking historical military forces and trying new strategies, deployments, postures etc.

          Wargaming is great for learning solvent critical analysis, creative thinking, and imagination. I think ALL of us, from private citizen up to political activists and leaders
          need a serious dose of analysis, creativity, and imagination to deal with the current
          political power mess our countries are in right now.

          Everyone needs to be their own Western Approaches Tactical Unit!

          Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    Just weeks after San Diego City Council banned e-scooters from popular beach spots, one of the biggest players in the industry is withdrawing from the market altogether.

    Lime, which was the first e-scooter operator to launch in San Diego in early 2018, is pulling all 4,500 of its scooters from the city, which started Thursday. They will join Uber’s Jump and San Francisco-based Skip, which both recently exited San Diego complaining about city regulations.

    Lime is citing too much red tape, declining ridership and a need to cut costs.

    https://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/business/technology/story/2020-01-09/lime-is-leaving-san-diego-and-11-other-cities-citing-too-much-red-tap-declining-ridership

    Reply
  10. John Beech

    Boeing training pilots ask to decertify union Seattle Times

    So when MAX aircraft deliveries begin once again, these will be a big enough number to materially affect GDP, yes?

    Everything about ongoing delay becomes clear. Politics and 2020.

    Reply
  11. bassmule

    A different take on Meghan’s motives:

    From the very first headline about her being “(almost) straight outta Compton” and having “exotic” DNA, the racist treatment of Meghan has been impossible to ignore. Princess Michael of Kent wore an overtly racist brooch in the duchess’s company. A BBC host compared the couple’s newborn baby to a chimpanzee. Then there was the sublimely ludicrous suggestion that Meghan’s avocado consumption is responsible for mass murder, while her charity cookbook was portrayed as somehow helping terrorists…..Her treatment has proved what many of us have always known: No matter how beautiful you are, whom you marry, what palaces you occupy, charities you support, how faithful you are, how much money you accumulate or what good deeds you perform, in this society racism will still follow you.”

    Black Britons Know Why Meghan Markle Wants Out (NY Times)

    Reply
      1. jrs

        Yea but like with Meleania … ok so your beautiful and want to marry rich, but there are plenty of rich men about, why not some boring rich guy not so much in the public eye? I mean do they ever think about what kind of mess they are getting themselves into?

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          I’m willing to bet that ambition will make even the clearest eyed of us make bad decisions. I don’t know about Markle, but Mz ‘O’ was an Ivy League lawyer to start, so, had an elite point of view from the beginning.

          Reply
    1. Massinissa

      Maybe its a factor, but I sort of doubt its the main one. I don’t see how this stunt will make the media any less rabid. If she thinks this is a way out of the spotlight, I assume she is mistaken.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Meghan flees to Canada”

    It must have come as a shock to Meghan that Harry was not personally rich. That must have been a great disappointment that. With the Queen being 93 she could have just waited until Harry could inherit something in a few years time but she obviously did not want to wait.

    It could have been worse. She only had to ask other people who had been the same route. Sarah Ferguson thought her luck was in when she drew a Prince but it turned out to be a Knave.

    Reply
    1. John A

      Yes, he doesn’t even own his own clothes, all he wears is military uniforms from the Buckingham Palace dressing up box.

      Reply
      1. Harvey

        Yes, I think that the elephant in the room here is racism, pure and simple. With a good dash of “if you don’t obey the Royals, ve haff vays of making your life miserable”.
        Perhaps they need to invite Ricky Gervais to host a Royal Command Performance for a good dose of speaking truth to power.

        Reply
    2. petal

      I’ve been following it since it started-just as a dumb, zero thinking, not heavy outlet for my brain. She’s been modeling her plan on the Clinton Foundation, what the Obamas have done with Netflix, etc, along with a dash of Kardashian to majorly cash in. Her staff is even made up of some former Clinton staffers. Lifelong social climber that makes Wallis Simpson look like a piker. It’s been interesting-“grifting narcissist with a murky past targets dimwitted younger brother of future king in order to make mega bucks”. There’s been a lot of talk that a surrogate was used, and that meal ticket baby might not actually be Harry’s because she thought she could fool everyone. It’s better than cable tv!

      Reply
    3. H. John Relton

      I’m trying to understand how one defines “personally rich”. Harry is worth US$ 40 million. Money from his mother’s and grandmother’s estates.

      His office expenses and staff are paid from the Sovereign Grant and The Duchy of Cornwall.

      He also receives an “allowance” from Prince Charles who receives annually the net income from the Duchy (last year that amounted to over 21 million pounds (before tax).

      Reply
      1. Trent

        It could be in trusts that he’s not allowed access to until someone dies or he reaches a certain age. If you can’t access the money you ain’t rich.

        Reply
      2. Pasithea

        If Harry is “worth” only $40 million, he better stay in Canada. Should they move to the USA, that’s barely enough to cover the premiums on his family’s Healthcare policy for the year

        Reply
      3. Pat

        There is rich and there is RICH. His income is in two allowances, one from his father and one from the Queen. Both come with major strings attached in the form of protocol, appearances, and approved activities – especially the one from the Queen. And not just office expenses, their home, personal staff and most of their living expenses are covered. Trying to live on his $40 million inheritance with the lifestyle they are used to would run through it in a couple of years.

        This is why the “Duchess” is frantically trying to leverage their “brand” into something that matches that and in time surpasses the allowances and expenses from being a senior Royal without the restrictions and real service they required and which Meghan had so many problems with. (Excuse my using senior inaccurately like they did.)

        I would lay the same bet as The one mentioned in Lambert’s post. She is not going to succeed, unfortunately this route is going to make it harder on Harry returning to the Firm after the divorce.

        For the record, I’m not saying they haven’t encountered racism. But seriously anyone who thinks no one has had it as bad as she has didn’t live through the fallout of the Charles/Diana marriage. Charles has always been ridiculed, but reviled only begins to describe the press and public opinion from the separation until years after Diana’s death. It has taken decades for that to fade so It isn’t the majority of what is out there.

        Reply
        1. H. John Relton

          Sorry, Pat, but the press does an awful job of explaining royal finances.
          The two grants you mention, from the Sovereign Grant and The Duchy of Cornwall, do not cover personal living expenses. The expenses for offices, staff, and travel, like any business expenses are audited and published annually by the Queen and Prince Charles.
          The personal allowance Harry receives from Charles is from Charles’ personal funds and is not disclosed.

          Reply
      4. Redlife2017

        The problem is that young Harry wanted to continue to get the expenses, allowance, and grace & favour residences without having to do the work of a royal. Prince Charles balked at giving him all that. And honestly, fair enough.

        She wants to live in Canada and actually back in LA. She obviously doesn’t like living in the UK and doesn’t care about what being in the family of a sovereign means. I actually found it distasteful that at Wimbledon she cheered for her American mates but then didn’t stay for Andy Murray who was playing right after. I mean, the hell? She is British. This isn’t a game. You show patriotism for THIS country. Ugh. And I’m not a huge believer in having royal families but if you marry in, them be the lumps. You are owned by the country. And in this case, with a vicious media. I suspect it would have been easier to manage the racism if she had given a crap about towing the line, but since she didn’t it was a [family-blog]show.

        Reply
        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I agree she was not at all prepared to buy into the royal/Brit aristo lifestyle, such as hanging around in the countryside and doing horse-y stuff. She sees herself a jet-settter.

          I don’t think it is just that. I’m not joking about private class travel. That’s a big status differentiator in the US. Even if Harry is worth $40 million, no way is that enough to afford private class travel, particularly since he might reasonably be required to pay the upcharges to carry the security detail.

          Reply
    4. Winston Smith

      As long as Canadian taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill for their security, no objection to their settling in Canada.

      Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        King Edward VIII had a large ranch in Alberta, and my mom told me their high school class was visited by he & Mrs. Wallis during WW2.

        Reply
      2. H. John Relton

        When in Canada, members of the Canadian Royal Family are guarded by the Protective Policing Service of the RCMP. The family will not drop that protection, or allow a switch to private guards. They made that mistake with Diana, Princess of Wales

        Reply
      3. Roland

        If that pair try to drag Canada into this, they should be told to get stuffed. Unfortunately our Younger Trudeau is prone towards celebrity politics.

        Reply
  13. Amfortas the hippie

    regarding the New Middle East, made in Iran bit:

    that’s been rattling around in my brain since at least the tanker attacks and the yemeni assault on the saudi refinery.
    my early morning book, “inheritance of rome”(chris wickham), has a bit of the concurrent history of the Caliphate, for context.
    Remember that Osama and a bunch of other Islamicists cite as part of their end goal, a rebuilding of the Caliphate, from Khorusan to Morrocco/Iberian Peninsula….and just about all of the american righty hyperventilators cite this as well, in their recitals of the fever dreams of why we must “fight them over there”,and why Islam, writ large, is our great fascist(sic) enemy.
    and here we are, actually making that happen,lol.
    and of course, usually forgotten in both RW Nutjobland AND MSM, is that the “Intelligence” agencies actually created the forces responsible for this great unification in the first place…from erecting the House of Saud, boosting Salafist/Wahabism (over the numerous, more peaceful factions), to creating Al Queda, and the Daesh….along with all the meddling and regime changes and color revolutions….
    All of it, created on purpose by the very same cohort who now wrings their hands and rends their garments over the “Bad Mooslims” coming to get us.
    it would be hilarious if it weren’t so destructive and hateful.

    getting rid of the “intelligence” agencies would be a major step towards a better world….as would converting the pentagram into public housing.

    Reply
    1. ilpalazzo

      It is worth remembering that we used to have an united Arab secular state once, governed by Nasser. You can easily find a video on youtube of him ridiculing Muslim Brotherhood members in the Egyptian parliament for insisting on women wearing burkas, to a great applause.

      Having an independent secular Arab state was bad for business though.

      Reply
    1. lordkoos

      Color me skeptical. This is probably a re-election stunt that will involve lots of private contractors who will make a bundle, while doing little for most of CA’s homeless.

      Reply
  14. The Rev Kev

    “Secretive Surveillance Company Is Selling Cops Cameras Hidden In Gravestones”

    I understand that this same company next wants to sell to cops cameras hidden in suppositories and toilet door handles.

    Reply
  15. Craig H.

    > African grey parrots spontaneously ‘lend a wing’

    Nice. African grey parrots sure do get good press. I wonder if they might be exceptionally tolerant among the species towards nerds. If some guy in a white lab coat had clipped my wings I think I would be pretty angry for a long time.

    Reply
  16. The Rev Kev

    “Life on the Run Is Proving Expensive for Carlos Ghosn”

    Apparently Carlos had a one hour press conference the other day where he was in full flight and said that he would clear his name-

    https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/01/article/back-at-the-wheel-ghosn-seeks-reset-in-beirut/

    But it looks like the Lebanese have realized what a pain he is and how much trouble he could cause Lebanon if he started going to other countries so that slapped a travel ban on him-

    https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/lebanon-bans-fugitive-carlos-ghosn-from-travelling-20200110-p53qgj.html

    Reply
  17. Amit Chokshi

    why does your friend think Meghan will leave Harry and how is she grifting? She was already an established actress, not movie star but on a solid tv show. I would think she’d have had opportunities to date rich men if that was her thing so I’m trying to understand why she’d have gotten with Harry under that pretense. I think if anyone dated a Royal you’d be asking questions about income and stuff like that out of basic curiosity before it ever got serious.

    Reply
    1. Yves Smith Post author

      First, pointed questions about finances are a turn-off and reveal a grifter to be a grifter.

      Second, the life of an at best B-list actress is perilous. There are tons of pretty girls who can fill most roles. Very few have any range (think Judi Densch or Cate Blanchette as the contrast) and very few are charismatic enough to be actual stars (like Julia Roberts).

      Reply
      1. Tom Bradford

        An amusing anecdote but unlikely to be true, in that,

        1. The Luftwaffe would hardly have risked a very real aircraft and aircrew on what would have been a very hazardous sortie just to make a point or for a joke, and

        2. It would not have been in Germany’s interest to make the Brits aware that they – the Germans – were onto the scam, especially as such a demonstration would have drawn attention to any intelligence assets in the area.

        Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            It was in reply to a comment that I made at 9:37 and he must have put it in the wrong place. Tom, all sorts of stuff like that happens in war. In North Africa, the British were using the P-40s against the Luftwaffe. With that plane, if you got into trouble, you dove down hard as nothing could keep pace with a P-40 in a dive.

            But then the Luftwaffe got upgraded Me-109s that could dive hard. One day in a dogfight, a British pilot dove his P-40 down to get away from some Me-109s but was surprised to see a Me-109 follow him and then pull aside of him. The Luftwaffe pilot opened his cockpit, saluted the British pilot and then broke away as he had given the Brit the news.

            All sorts of funny things happen in war that you would not expect. And I have a heap of others like that that would make no ‘military ‘ sense. Want to know something funny. When you hear war stories it turns out that they are really people stories.

            Reply
  18. Carolinian

    New Republic:

    So WWJD about Hagee, Pence and Mike “we lie, we cheat, we steal” Pompeo? Most likely he’d overturn their tables full of MIC payoffs and throw them out of the Temple. Given how little this has to do with Jesus’ Bible reported teachings it was curious enough when evangelicals embraced the “prosperity gospel.” But this new prosperity plus assassination and aggressive war gospel has nothing to do with the Southern Baptist fundamentalism of my parents–people who, whatever their flaws, never to my knowledge told a lie. Perhaps the Protestantism of people like Pompeo needs to bring back the confessional so they can gain some contact with the concept of guilt. They are false prophets indeed.

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      The dove sellers might be classified as those interested in peace, who were sacrificed by merchants of the MIC temple, no?

      Reply
  19. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: SoftBank-backed Zume is laying off half its staff and shuttering its pizza delivery business CNBC

    It never ceases to amaze, how much of the “economy” of the mightiest nation the planet has ever known is dependent on……pizza……Or how successive generations of the savviest of “investors” manage to convince themselves that there’s always another billion or two waiting to be squeezed out of it.

    Reply
  20. chuck roast

    As Huge Tides Bear Down on Oregon Coast…

    Thanks for that. High is at 7:30 tonight. I’ll walk down to the harbor to check it out. We used to call them “moon tides” when I was a kid. One of the few times all the kids in the neighborhood would get together. We would go down the tracks to a nearby railroad bridge and jump off into a skanky estuary. The moon tide was required so we wouldn’t kill ourselves.

    Reply
    1. chuck roast

      Thankfully, the moon tide was not as high as thought it might be…and with an on-shore breeze. It was well below the harbor bulkheads. Maybe it means that we are not doomed quite yet. Who knew!?

      Reply
  21. Mikel

    Re: “Reality Check” Northan Trader

    Continuing the program thru April? I guess by then the FIRE sector will know which way the wind is blowing in the Presidential primaries.
    They will then decide what to do with the hostage assets.

    Reply
    1. Monty

      For what it’s worth, Sven at Northman Trader is a famous (notorious) permabear. It would have cost you a fortune if you had followed his market calls and predictions over the years. He is often mocked on Twitter for his Gartman-like contra-indicator status.

      As far as I can tell, you’d be better off just ignoring everything he says, and instead, watch what the Fed is doing. As long as they are not tightening, in general, $ assets will rise.

      Reply
  22. Robert Gray

    Re: PayPal blocks donations to The Grayzone that mention Iran

    Quite a few readers here have mentioned that they donate money to their favorite political candidates. Do any of you use PayPal? What you should do, next time, is include a reference to Iran in your message to your candidate. It would be interesting if PayPal tries to block your donation and, if so, what your candidate would have to say about that.

    Reply
  23. xkeyscored

    Mintpress has an interesting article:
    Study Finds Bots and MAGA Supporters Pushing #IraniansDetestSoleimani Hashtag
    A social media disinformation expert studied 60,000 tweets from nearly 10,000 accounts using the hashtag #IraniansDetestSoleimani and found that the most common phrases in those users’ biographies were “Make America Great Again” and “Trump.”
    https://www.mintpressnews.com/study-bots-maga-supporters-iraniansdetestsoleimani-hashtag/264024/
    (“Respondents were asked to identify Iran on the map” is even more alarming than I’d imagined.)

    Reply
    1. Procopius

      The Democratic Centrists rehabilitated Bush when they decided he was better than Trump. I shouldn’t need to say I disagree with them.

      Reply
  24. lyman alpha blob

    RE: Millions march in France as strikes against Macron pension cut spread

    This seems like a good time to remind people who endorsed Macron when he was on the campaign trail, but it definitely was NOT interference by a foreign government in someone else’s election because Barry was out of office at that time and only Russians do such dastardly things anyway –

    https://www.cnn.com/2017/05/04/politics/french-election-obama-endorse-macron/index.html

    “I have admired the campaign that Emmanuel Macron has run,” Obama says in a video, which Macron shared Thursday. “He has stood up for liberal values, he put forward a vision for the important role that France plays in Europe and around the world. And he is committed to a better future for the French people. He appeals to people’s hopes and not their fears.”

    Quite the legacy you’re leaving behind there, Barry!

    Reply
  25. FriarTuck

    Re: Epstein Video

    To totally remove all traces of the footage from digital systems is not that hard, though you’d just need to be thorough.

    Essentially you’d need to sanitize any trace of the video; not just deleting it from any system that had potential access to the video (including backup systems, RAID arrays, network archiving systems, indexing systems, etc), but also running a secure erase command that would turn all bits on the computer’s hard drive to either zeroes or randomized data (0s and 1s). Some modern systems even allow partial secure erase commands to be executed (IE only sanitizing non-used bits, though it would be not as reliable as a full wipe.)

    This is fairly common in Enterprise systems (if the IT dept has any trace of competence) where retired equipment is sanitized before being recycled such that sensitive data cannot be recovered.

    Then again, to recover the video on an unsanitized system would require a specialist data recovery tool set and specialist knowledge with unfettered access to equipment where the potential materials once lived. I doubt the Feds would allow that, especially if it is against their interest to do so.

    Reply
    1. Briny

      Assuming that we are talking about digital storage, as pointed out before, forensically recovering digital video is actually the easiest type to deal with as time-stamps are included in the data itself. Otherwise, it’s very straightforward and several preset packages exist to do the work for even the most obtuse operator.

      Reply
  26. Oregoncharles

    “As huge tides bear down on Oregon coast, researchers warn this is the future ”

    Boy, are those pictures familiar. I lived near Cannon Beach (the video) for ten years, met my wife there. We have friends in Nehalem, my stepson in Astoria. In the Cannon Beach video, did you notice the seal-like object on the right? That’s a log; some are much larger, and they make excellent battering rams when the sea is that high. Amazing amounts of wood on that coast.

    As it happens, the Oregon coast is mostly quite elevated and less vulnerable than some, except at the mouth of the Columbia. Of course, ports, beaches, and beach resorts are necessarily down at sea level, so the damage from rising seas will be extensive, but most places are able to move uphill – most of Newport, also mentioned, sits 50 to 100 feet above the sea. Just not the docks. Cannon Beach and Nehalem are beach towns and more vulnerable; Seaside is the worst, built on a sand spit. And that’s just the north coast, where I lived.

    Of course, sea level rise will also make the tsunamis worse. And a subduction quake will lower the coast, plunging some towns into the sea. An overly exciting place to live.

    Reply
    1. tegnost

      I once foolishly stood on a huge log as a wave came in on the central washington coast and it floated, and I was lucky not to get crushed. Also had a friend get almost dragged out by a sneaker wave… Be careful out there! The northwest coast is a beast…pretty though…

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, big logs moving when a wave comes in are a major hazard – someone I knew slightly had her pelvis broken that way. Terrible injury. The water was mostly too cold for me, but I have gotten caught in sneaker waves. Scary.

        While we’re at it, the other major hazard is getting trapped by the tide. People try to climb out, but the rocks are loose above wave height, and some fall every year. I saw Coast Guard helicopter rescues twice, just in my cove. It’s beautiful and exhilarating, but it really is wild and can be dangerous.

        Reply
  27. The Rev Kev

    “Australia bushfires: Mega blaze likely on Friday evening”

    Fires are getting bad again, especially on Kangaroo where our feckless Prime Minister suggest people go for a holiday. Even the Mayor describes Kangaroo Island fire as ‘hell on earth’-

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-10/kangaroo-island-residents-tell-of-survival-amid-bushfire-crisis/11857574

    Footage has emerged of one firefighter defending his home with two brothers and it is freaky. You can see the flames and embers sweep by their house-

    https://www.news.com.au/national/south-australia/insane-video-shows-family-caught-in-firestorm-as-outofcontrol-blaze-rips-through-kangaroo-island/news-story/99c835e8f24731fca3dec67bb356bfdd

    Meanwhile, more American, Canadian and New Zealand firefighters have been arriving while others have been going home-

    https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/news/us-fireys-given-a-heros-welcome-at-sydney-airport/news-story/b0211ce0987a1286dc9a407bd3c7135f

    Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        It is not so much that it is bad but that it is so relentless. Every day more bad fires, more people being given five minutes to evacuate their homes, more deaths – it just keeps on keeping on if you know what I mean.

        Reply
        1. norm de plume

          There have been some good stories coming out of this. The 4 Muslim builders who have made 10 hour round trips to cook meals for Williwarin in NSW:

          https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-12-18/muslim-mates-drive-from-sydney-to-cook-bbq-for-bushfire-victims/11802674?pfmredir=sm

          The Sikhs who did the same for Bairnsdale in Victoria:

          https://www.sbs.com.au/news/sikh-group-giving-free-hot-meals-to-bushfire-victims-hailed-as-legends

          The sports stars and celebs who have dug deep for victims:

          https://www.smh.com.au/sport/stars-giving-to-bushfire-relief-shows-the-best-of-sporting-endeavour-20200110-p53qdm.html

          The potential for class actions against denier governments:

          https://www.smh.com.au/national/class-actions-against-negligent-governments-it-s-a-burning-issue-20200109-p53q1h.html

          Growing recognition of how the denier ascendancy (basically, the govt, the Merde-Och-led MSM, the wingnut eejits generally) is now utilising bots and trollery to shore up the desperate ‘arsonists are the main cause’ talking point:

          https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/08/twitter-bots-trolls-australian-bushfires-social-media-disinformation-campaign-false-claims:

          even though experts attribute only about 1% of the fires to arson:

          https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-11/australias-fires-reveal-arson-not-a-major-cause/11855022

          And respect to Emily Townsend, a News Corp employee who was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it any more:

          https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/dangerous-misinformation-news-corp-employee-s-fire-coverage-email-20200110-p53qel.html

          So some silver linings on the cloud of dust and ashes. This especially:

          https://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/an-absolutely-seminal-moment-climate-change-opinion-shifting-in-face-of-fires-20200110-p53qd0.html

          ‘Veteran pollster John Utting believes the fires have been an “absolutely seminal moment. The conversation in the past has been kind of abstract, with [the case for stronger action] very much in in the hands of the virtue signallers; people felt they were being lectured. But now, everyone is breathing the proof. There is an incredible amount of evidence that the issue is beginning to bite … people are worried about a huge loss of lifestyle, and the impact on how they want to live and what they like about this country’

          This morning still managed to bring some bad news. Two fires in NSW have joined up to form a 600,000 hectare monster. And Untersturmfuhrer Dutton has instructed the AFP (our marvellously apolitical and independent Fed police who raided the ABC and News for leaking to whistleblowers last year and which has lately suffered a rash of officer suicides) to investigate the Aboriginal bona fides of best-selling author Bruce Pascoe, whose book Dark Emu threatens the settler ‘terra nullius’ alibi for taking (and destroying) Aboriginal land, by documenting their sophisticated agricultural techniques, large settlements, and long term, organised care of the land.

          Why anyone could give a rats whether indigenous blood runs in Pascoe’s veins or not is beyond me but this is the level of pettiness our leaders cannot rise above. Priorities, eh? No need to change climate policy, but we must discredit Pascoe… if we can convince punters that he is not the Abo he says he is, they will follow our instructions to ignore his trenchant criticisms and his warnings, and perhaps most dangerous of all, his prescriptions for change.

          Reminds me of the furore about who leaked Hillary’s emails, which exposed genuine corruption of process. The corruption was forgotten in the car chase for perps. Coincidence? No, the right, always in the wrong, must play the man so that no one pay any attention to the ball, and the right wing media make the necessary arrangements.

          https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/11/peter-duttons-office-referred-complaint-accusing-bruce-pascoe-of-falsely-claiming-to-be-indigenous-to-afp

          Pascoe has been fighting fires in the eye of the storm near his home in East Gippsland. Dutton has been sitting in his taxpayer-funded air-conditioned office in Canberra scheming to discredit Pascoe.

          I suppose you could say that both Pascoe and Dutton are notable Australians. It will be interesting to compare their relative places in history 50 odd years from now. Who will we remember with more fondness and respect?

          Murdoch will only be 138 by then, so it’s not cut and dried.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            @norm de plume
            Thanks for those news links. There are lots of heroes to be found these days. Saw one cartoon reflecting this that I copied. You have Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Thor, Iron Man, Spiderman and the Green Lantern standing in front of a dirty, smoke-grimed Volunteer fireman and they are saying “Welcome to the club”.
            Lots of d***heads to be found too like Scotty from Marketing. No matter what the Murdoch press says, people are now aware of just what climate change can mean and that is for just fires alone. This is something that will not go away nor can the pollies take the credit for the recovery no matter how much of our money they throw at the problem.

            The best news is that Australia dodged a very large bullet when that Peter Dutton never got the Prime Ministership. I have no idea why he is chasing this bloke for. I know for a fact that you do not have to be of Aboriginal blood to be part of the Aboriginal community. That Josephine Cashman must have been smoking the wacky tobacky or something to make this a case for the Federal Police. No matter how political they have become, I do not think that the Fed Police want a bar of this one.

            Reply

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