Via Matt Drudge, Glenn Greenwald eviscerates our gullible left-leaning media which is only too eager to run Russian scare stories. He includes a link to another unlikely source, a May 19 Vox-splainer on the same theme.
Did the FBI retaliate against Michael Flynn by launching Russia probe?
By John Solomon and Sara Carter
The FBI launched a criminal probe against former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn two years after the retired Army general roiled the bureau’s leadership by intervening on behalf of a decorated counterterrorism agent who accused now-Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe and other top officials of sexual discrimination, according to documents and interviews.
Flynn’s intervention on behalf of Supervisory Special Agent Robyn Gritz was highly unusual, and included a letter in 2014 on his official Pentagon stationary, a public interview in 2015 supporting Gritz’s case and an offer to testify on her behalf. His offer put him as a hostile witness in a case against McCabe, who was soaring through the bureau’s leadership ranks.
If true this one for the "WTF is it now?" files. The publisher is Circa News, which isn't exactly the NY Times or the Washington Post. Then again, neither the Old Red-Fearing Lady nor the WaPo are likely outlets for a story undermining the Reds Under Every Trump Bed narrative favored by their readership.
Anti-Trump Leak Campaign Damaging U.S. and Allied Operations
U.S. official: Leaks of classified info by former Obama officials endanger American security operations
By Adam Kredo
A new wave of leaks targeting the Trump administration has actively endangered ongoing intelligence and military operations being conducted by the United States and its allies, sparking anger and concern inside and outside the White House, according to multiple conversations with senior U.S. officials intimately familiar with the situation.
The classified leaks, which are being handed to sympathetic journalists by former Obama administration officials who left the government and by holdovers still serving in the Trump administration, have damaged a number of ongoing operations, ranging from American efforts to prevent Russian infiltration of the United States to Israeli efforts against ISIS, sources said.
Well. First of all, Trump administration officials, like the officials of any administration before them, would say that. And they would be unlikely to minimize the potential hazards of these leaks.
OTOH, neither the anti-Trump media nor the Obama dead-enders are looking for nuance and balance here.
Apparently there has been a green fantasy of the United States powering itself exclusively with renewable energy, with hydroelectric power providing a baseload capability when the sun isn't shining, the wind isn't blowing, and other storage tricks are insufficient. Eduardo Porter of the NY Times provides an unexpected platform for a vigorous wake-up call and return to reality:
Fisticuffs Over the Route to a Clean-Energy Future
Could the entire American economy run on renewable energy alone?
This may seem like an irrelevant question, given that both the White House and Congress are controlled by a party that rejects the scientific consensus about human-driven climate change. But the proposition that it could, long a dream of an environmental movement as wary of nuclear energy as it is of fossil fuels, has been gaining ground among policy makers committed to reducing the nation’s carbon footprint. Democrats in both the United States Senate and in the California Assembly have proposed legislation this year calling for a full transition to renewable energy sources.
They are relying on what looks like a watertight scholarly analysis to support their call: the work of a prominent energy systems engineer from Stanford University, Mark Z. Jacobson. With three co-authors, he published a widely heralded article two years ago asserting that it would be eminently feasible to power the American economy by midcentury almost entirely with energy from the wind, the sun and water. What’s more, it would be cheaper than running it on fossil fuels.
And yet the proposition is hardly as solid as Professor Jacobson asserts.
In a long-awaited article published this week in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — the same journal in which Professor Jacobson’s manifesto appeared — a group of 21 prominent scholars, including physicists and engineers, climate scientists and sociologists, took a fine comb to the Jacobson paper and dismantled its conclusions bit by bit.
“I had largely ignored the papers arguing that doing all with renewables was possible at negative costs because they struck me as obviously incorrect,” said David Victor of the University of California, San Diego, a co-author of the new critique of Professor Jacobson’s work. “But when policy makers started using this paper for scientific support, I thought, ‘this paper is dangerous.’”
The conclusion of the critique is damning: Professor Jacobson relied on “invalid modeling tools,” committed “modeling errors” and made “implausible and inadequately supported assumptions,” the scholars wrote. “Our paper is pretty devastating,” said Varun Sivaram from the Council on Foreign Relations, a co-author of the new critique.
The science was not settled. An example:
“To repower the world, we need to expand a lot of things to a large scale,” Professor Jacobson told me. “But there is no reason we can’t scale up.”
Actually, there are reasons. The main energy storage technologies he proposes — hydrogen and heat stored in rocks buried underground — have never been put in place at anywhere near the scale required to power a nation, or even a large city.
His system requires storing seven weeks’ worth of energy consumption. Today, the 10 biggest storage systems in the United States combined store some 43 minutes. Hydrogen production would have to be scaled up by a factor of 100,000 or more to meet the requirements in Professor Jacobson’s analysis, according to his critics.
Professor Jacobson notes that Denmark has deployed a heating system similar to the one he proposes. But Denmark adapted an existing underground pipe infrastructure to transport the heat, whereas a system would have to be built from scratch in American cities.
A common thread to the Jacobson approach is how little regard it shows for the political, social and technical plausibility of what would undoubtedly be wrenching transformations across the economy.
The NY Times covers the deaths of seven US Navy sailors in a collision with a Japanese freighters and seizes an opportunity to advance their favored diversity narrative. Sadly, that means the two white male sailors who died are left to share one paragraph of a thirty four paragraph eulogy. No tearful interviews or fond remembrances from friends and family for these two. White privilege must always and everywhere be resisted.
7 Sailors Emerged From Diverse Backgrounds to Pursue a Common Cause
By DAVE PHILLIPS June 19, 2017
The seven sailors who died when the destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a container ship last weekend were a snapshot of the nation they served: an immigrant from the Philippines whose father served in the Navy before him; a poor teenager whose Guatemalan family came north eager for opportunity; a native of Vietnam hoping to help his family; a firefighter’s son from a rural crossroads in the rolling green fields of Virginia.
To be fair, the firefighter's son is one of the white guys so his existence is acknowledged in the lede. Their only other mention is near the end:
Also killed were Gary Rehm Jr., 37, of Elyria, Ohio, who followed in the footsteps of his World War II veteran grandfather by joining the Navy, and was just months from retirement, and Dakota Rigsby, 19, of Palmyra, Va., who before joining the Navy volunteered for his local fire department alongside his mother.
A comical blend of common sense and BS from yesterday's failing NY Times. The author's gist - don't get shot, and especially, don't get shot by an assault bullet. (That's a bullet fired from an assault rifle, don'cha know?):
What Bullets Do to Bodies
By LEANA WEN JUNE 15, 2017
Early in my medical training, I learned that it is not the bullet that kills you, but the path the bullet takes. A non-expanding (or full-metal-jacket) bullet often enters the body in a straight line. Like a knife, it damages the organs and tissues directly in its path, and then it either exits the body or, if it is traveling at a slower velocity, is stopped by bone, tissue or skin.
This is in contrast to expanding bullets, especially if shot from an assault rifle, which can discharge bullets much faster than a handgun. Once they enter the body, they fragment and explode, pulverizing bones, tearing blood vessels and liquefying organs.
On Wednesday, four people were shot in Northern Virginia, including Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who remains in critical condition from a gunshot wound to the hip. A bullet to the hip is less likely to be deadly than a shot to the head. Unfortunately, the shooter in Virginia reportedly used a semiautomatic assault rifle. I once treated a patient shot in the pelvis with a similar weapon. The bullet shattered the hipbone into hundreds of pieces. It shredded the femoral artery, causing life-threatening bleeding and destroyed whole portions of the bowel and bladder.
This was the kind of damage inflicted upon victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando and other mass shootings including Newtown, San Bernardino and Aurora. Trauma doctors and nurses who treated patients in these tragedies, and medical examiners who investigated the aftermath, all commented on the unbelievable devastation resulting from the bullet wounds. Indeed, this is the intended consequence of assault rifles. When they discharge expanding bullets, the bullets don’t follow a straight line through the body; they fragment and explode, destroying as much living tissue as possible.
A certain "Why bother?" feeling settles over me when the Times runs howlers like this. Yes, rifles can deliver a higher speed, more powerful bullet and yes, deerhunters and the like will be encouraged to use fragmenting bullets to have a better chance of a quick kill. In fact, the Hague Declaration of 1899 bans the use of easily fragmenting bullets. From a military perspective this is not absurd since a wounded enemy consumes more opposition resources than a corpse. In any case, one might conclude it is better to be shot by a soldier than a hunter.
But as to whether the rifle is a semi-automatic or bolt-operated? Please.
So just what does this passage mean?
Indeed, this is the intended consequence of assault rifles. When they discharge expanding bullets, the bullets don’t follow a straight line through the body; they fragment and explode, destroying as much living tissue as possible.
First, "assault rifles" used in actual war ought not to be using banned fragmenting bullets on human targets. Secondly, what, one wonders, is the intended consequence of hunting rifles?
The NY Times editorial board weighs in on the ballfield shooting of Republican congressman and staffers:
Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl. At the time, we and others were sharply critical of the heated political rhetoric on the right. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs. But in that case no connection to the shooting was ever established.
Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Liberals should of course be held to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.
Well, OK. It may not be obvious why we are talking about Jared Loughner since, as the Times admits, his politics had nothing to do with his actions, but sure, since they demanded more temperate speech from the right they should make a similar demand now of the left.
But wait! Diligent readers will eventually make it to this correction at the bottom:
Correction: June 15, 2017
An earlier version of this editorial incorrectly stated that a link existed between political incitement and the 2011 shooting of Representative Gabby Giffords. In fact, no such link was established.
Say what?!? Geez, what other leftist fantasies are rattling around uncorrected inside their dear little liberal noggins? A bit of sleuthing turns up a copy-paste of the original editorial:
Was this attack evidence of how vicious American politics has become? Probably. In 2011, when Jared Lee Loughner opened fire in a supermarket parking lot, grievously wounding Representative Gabby Giffords and killing six people, including a 9-year-old girl, the link to political incitement was clear. Before the shooting, Sarah Palin’s political action committee circulated a map of targeted electoral districts that put Ms. Giffords and 19 other Democrats under stylized cross hairs.
Conservatives and right-wing media were quick on Wednesday to demand forceful condemnation of hate speech and crimes by anti-Trump liberals. They’re right. Though there’s no sign of incitement as direct as in the Giffords attack, liberals should of course hold themselves to the same standard of decency that they ask of the right.
Tragedy in Tucson. Six Dead. Democratic congresswoman shot in the head at rally.
Immediately after the news broke, the air became thick with conjecture, speculation and innuendo. There was a giddy, almost punch-drunk excitement on the left. The prophecy had been fulfilled: “words have consequences.” And now, the right’s rhetorical chickens had finally come home to roost.
The dots were too close and the temptation to connect them too strong. The target was a Democratic congresswoman. There was the map of her district in the cross hairs. There were her own prescient worries about overheated rhetoric.
Within hours of the shooting, there was a full-fledged witch hunt to link the shooter to the right.
“I saw Goody Proctor with the devil! Oh, I mean Jared Lee Loughner! Yes him. With the devil!”
The only problem is that there was no evidence then, and even now, that overheated rhetoric from the right had anything to do with the shooting. (In fact, a couple of people who said they knew him have described him as either apolitical or “quite liberal.”) The picture emerging is of a sad and lonely soul slowly, and publicly, slipping into insanity.
Well, yes. Yet clearly that understanding of Loughner has not quite settled in as conventional wisdom within the liberal media, or at least their editors. I wonder what other fake news they have internalized over the years?
DO BRACE YOURSELF: You won't see this in the Times again any time soon, if ever. My (redundant) emphasis:
President Trump said just the right thing after the attack on Wednesday: “We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country. We can all agree that we are blessed to be Americans, that our children deserve to grow up in a nation of safety and peace.”
But that bi-partisan moment passes:
Yet he will not help create that nation if he continues to advocate easy access to lethal weapons.
David Brooks explains that the punishment is the process and the process is Washington Establishment self-protection.
The upshot is the Trump administration will probably not be brought down by outside forces. It will be incapacitated from within, by the bile, rage and back-stabbing that are already at record levels in the White House staff, by the dueling betrayals of the intimates Trump abuses so wretchedly.
Although there may be no serious collusion with the Russians, there is now certain to be a wide-ranging independent investigation into all things Trump.
These investigations will take a White House that is already acidic and turn it sulfuric. James Hohmann and Joanie Greve had a superb piece in the Daily 202 section of The Washington Post. They compiled the lessons people in the Clinton administration learned from the Whitewater scandal, and applied them to the Trump White House.
If past is prologue, this investigation will drag on for a while. The Clinton people thought the Whitewater investigation might last six months, but the inquiries lasted over seven years. The Trump investigation will lead in directions nobody can now anticipate. When the Whitewater investigation started, Monica Lewinsky was an unknown college student and nobody had any clue that an investigation into an Arkansas land deal would turn into an investigation about sex.
If Trumps many foes, from both sides of the aisle, can't manage to sustain an investigation that rivals Iran-Contra or Whitewater, ell, what kind of establishment are we being ruled by?
And yet now it has been revealed that the primary leaker was not Rove at all, but Richard Armitage, a former deputy secretary of state. And this news produces no outrage at all. Nothing. A piffle. Perhaps you are wondering how this could happen.
Well, dear reader, there are four things you must remember about your political class. First, there is a big difference between politically useful wrongdoing and politically useless wrongdoing, the core of which is that politically useless wrongdoing is not really wrongdoing at all.
Well, yes. The Plame debacle was, IMHO, part of a larger bi-partisan attempt to rein in Dick Cheney. I should add that back in late 2003 and early 2004 when Libby gave his unlikely tale to FBI investigators and a grand jury Cheney's spot on the Bush 2004 ticket may have appeared to be up in the air. Protecting Cheney from live political foes within his own party may well have been on Libby's mid.
Bygones. Today, the Washington Establishment will be happy to keep Trump in the tumbler as long as possible.
Ronald Bailey of Reason is fascinating on the substitution of capital for labor, this time by way of robots. My fave factoid:
Where Did the Jobs Go? Look Around!
In a 2011 television interview, President Barack Obama worried that "a lot of businesses have learned to become much more efficient with a lot fewer workers." To illustrate his point, Obama noted, "You see it when you go to a bank and you use an ATM, you don't go to a bank teller." But the number of bank tellers working in the U.S. has not gone down. Since 1990, their ranks have increased from around 400,000 to 500,000, even as the number of ATMs rose from 100,000 to 425,000. In his 2016 study, Bessen explains that the ATMs "allowed banks to operate branch offices at lower cost; this prompted them to open many more branches, offsetting the erstwhile loss in teller jobs." Similarly, the deployment of computerized document search and analysis technologies hasn't prevented the number of paralegals from rising from around 85,000 in 1990 to 280,000 today. Bar code scanning is now ubiquitous in retail stores and groceries, yet the number of cashiers has increased to 3.2 million today, up from just over 2 million in 1990, outpacing U.S. population growth over the same period.
Yeah, yeah, its always fun to hear common sense from our genius former President. I can quit anytime, but one more glimpse in the (distant) rear-view mirror:
This Time Is Always Different
In 1589, Queen Elizabeth I refused to grant a patent to William Lee for his invention of the stocking frame knitting machine, which sped up the production of wool hosiery. "Thou aimest high, Master Lee," she declared. "Consider thou what the invention could do to my poor subjects. It would assuredly bring to them ruin by depriving them of employment, thus making them beggars." In the early 19th century, English textile workers calling themselves Luddites famously sought to protect their livelihoods by smashing industrial weaving machines.
The economist John Maynard Keynes warned in 1930 that the "means of economising the use of labour [is] outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses for labour," resulting in the "new disease" of "technological unemployment." In 1961, Time warned: "Today's new industries have comparatively few jobs for the unskilled or semiskilled, just the class of workers whose jobs are being eliminated by automation." A 1989 study by the International Metalworkers Federation forecasted that within 30 years, as little as 2 percent of the world's current labor force "will be needed to produce all the goods necessary for total demand." That prediction has just two years left to come true.
Yeah, well, this time feels different, not to say that I have a great feel for the vibe of 1589.
News you can use, if you want to ease your stroll down the downhill side of the mountain, as it were:
Chondroitin Eases the Pain of Knee Arthritis
By Roni Caryn Rabin June 1, 2017
Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee who were treated with high-quality, prescription-grade chondroitin got as much pain relief after six months as those treated with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, a new clinical trial has found. They also showed similar improvements in function, such as the ability to walk distances and perform daily activities.
As part of the trial, 604 patients with knee arthritis received either the NSAID drug celecoxib (brand name Celebrex, 200 milligrams a day), a dummy pill, or chondroitin (800 milligrams a day), a component of cartilage that cushions the joints and is sold as a dietary supplement in the United States. Those on chondroitin or the NSAID fared better than those treated with a placebo, though it took longer for chondroitin to work.
This is not news to the many who have had good results with chondroitin. However, it IS news to those who thought the science was settled:
Previous studies of chondroitin have shown mixed results. The author of the study, Jean-Yves Reginster, a professor of public health, epidemiology and health economics at Liege State University in Belgium, said the difference may be the formulation, since pharmaceutical-grade chondroitin is not available in the United States. The results obtained with one particular formulation “cannot be extrapolated to over-the-counter or generic products,” Dr. Reginster said.
First Rule of Far-Right Fight Clubs: Be White and Proud
And the first rule of far-left fight clubs, known popularly as the 'antifa', or anti-fascists? Sorry, the Times hasn't written that storyyet, although their current article acknowledges their significance:
As the founder of a group of right-wing vigilantes called the Fraternal Order of Alt-Knights, Mr. Chapman, a 6-foot-2, 240-pound commercial diver, is part of a growing movement that experts on political extremism say has injected a new element of violence into street demonstrations across the country.
Part fight club, part Western-pride fraternity, the Alt-Knights and similar groups recruit battalions of mainly young white men for one-off confrontations with their ideological enemies — the black-clad left-wing militants who disrupted President Trump’s inauguration and have protested against the appearances of conservative speakers on college campuses.
Along with like-minded groups like the Proud Boys, a clan of young conservative nationalists, and the Oath Keepers, an organization of current and former law-enforcement officers and military veterans, they mobilized on social media to fight in New Orleans over the removal of Confederate monuments; on the streets of Berkeley, Calif., where clashes between the left and right have increasingly become a threat for law enforcement; and at a raucous May Day rally in Los Angeles.
As to the notion that we would spend four (or eight!) years watching left-wing violence against Trump supporters with no right-wing response, well, really? The police in Berkeleycouldn't, or wouldn't, protect right wingers and here we are.
It's revenge of the nerds time! What do Paul Krugman and Elon Musk have in common? Over to the Earnest Prof from 2012:
There are certain novels that can shape a teenage boy's life. For some, it's Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged; for others it's Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. As a widely quoted internet meme says, the unrealistic fantasy world portrayed in one of those books can warp a young man's character forever; the other book is about orcs. But for me, of course, it was neither. My Book – the one that has stayed with me for four-and-a-half decades – is Isaac Asimov's Foundation Trilogy, written when Asimov was barely out of his teens himself. I didn't grow up wanting to be a square-jawed individualist or join a heroic quest; I grew up wanting to be Hari Seldon, using my understanding of the mathematics of human behaviour to save civilisation.