Monday, January 29, 2018

Warner on Russia.

Senator Mark Warner talked with Politico about the Russia investigation. There is no doubt Russia interfered with our election. And the trump campaign was at least complicit, though it seems likely it was more than that. So the questions the senate intelligence committee are trying to answer are: how far did it go? And how involved was the trump campaign?

It's a good article, link below. 

But here was a quote that struck me:

"If you add up all of the money Russia spent interfering in our election; if you add on what they spent in the French elections, where Facebook took down 50,000 sites that were connected to Russia because they'd seen the Russian intervention, if you add up what they spent on the Dutch elections, where the Dutch hand-counted all of their ballots because they were so afraid of Russian intervention. You add all that up and you're still talking about less money than the cost of one new F-35 airplane."

It's either an indictment on just how vast (and expensive) our military is, in sort of a ridiculous context, or its shows how sophisticated the hacking effort was. 

Or perhaps it was a little of both.

Without dropping a single bomb, Russia was able to move the United States and parts of Europe off of the national stage, and now can focus on shaping global policy the way it sees fit.  In effect, they waged war - and won the opening skirmish - for under $100 million. And no one was killed on the battlefield; though surely some did (and will) as a result of the action, and the resulting decisions of the man in power.

And, unfortunately, some of the people who are key to balancing the US's power are involved, complicit, or just want to shape America in their own way...and are simply letting all this happen or providing cover.

You could probably rightly argue that Russia managed to win that battle, too.  And now has total victory within its reach....

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Star Trek discovery: followup

Oh. My. GAWD. This show is freaking incredible. I am mesmerized, fascinated, and totally hooked.

It's damn good!

I love the characters. I love the storyline. I love the sci fi aspects....


Spoilers ho!

So it turns out the fan theory was correct and the writers took the easy way out and made Tyler be Voq. I'm disappointed. But it works in the storyline and they handled it really well. He's a mix of Klingon and human and needs l'Rell's help to control it.

The doctor is dead. Staments is in the matrix more or less. And he meets himself and gets manipulated.

In the alternate universe, tilly is called Killy and she's the captain of discovery.

Phillipa is the supreme leader/empress. And she's got some clever insights.

Our Burnham winds up commanding the shenzhou and she and lorica are working to find a way home.

Except actually from the alternate universe! So he is deeper and has a crazy back story. And he's manipulating Burnham. There was a fan theory about this, and it sure seemed like that was likely...but it played out really well and the revelation was really slick.

It's so wild. I can't wait to see where they take us next! Lots of great twists and turns.

I'm glad to have a show like this to watch.

He wants to testify under oath?

Humility is not a strong suit. The truth is whatever he believes it to be. Tangents are expected. And he believes he seems to think he's above the law.

By all means, go for it.

Monday, January 22, 2018

I so want this to be true...

I went to a $100k soirée to laud trump. He didn't come, and that's okay, but those boorish sevants put plastic spoons in the pate. Oh the humanity.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

There’s a sucker born every minute

That quote is attributed to PT Barnum, and though there is some debate about whether he actually said that, the sentiment is generally considered accurate.  He was talking about the things people would pay to see.

In this case, I'm referring to people who paid between $100,000 - $250,000 to attend the inauguration celebration with the self-aggrandizing clown in the White House.  

Emoluments clause be damned, he was getting rich off people who wanted an audience with him and who would celebrate him as being great. It was scheduled at mar-a-lago last night.

Except he couldn't leave Washington because of the shutdown.  Sure he *could have* left, but the gop insisted he not to because then it would be clear it was a trump shutdown, and they'd have to own.  

But as Barnum aLeo said "the show must go on," and they held the celebration anyway.  So those suckers paid money for a cheesy night of celebration, mediocre food, and probably a T-shirt.  


To me, that's hilarious.  

And of course, trump was said to be brooding.

And about mar-a-lago....

Sent from my iPad

Saturday, January 20, 2018

We have entered the upside down.

A republican controlled house. A republican controlled senate. A de facto republican in the Oval Office. And of course when you can't reach consensus on a budget bill you blame the dems for not playing nice. Sure. Sounds about right.

It's amusing to me that when I read (something most of us should do) about this, there are many thoughtful articles and op-eds about what transpired. They discuss facts and what should ideally happen to fix it. Heck even Chuck Schumer (currently the gop whipping boy) had said they were entertaining offers to build a wall just to get a deal done; and it was reasoned and considerate. 

As you might imagine, many of these appear from dem-leaning sources. 

Meanwhile the gop led commentary is mostly short, non insightful (and even mind numbing!) nonsense that are all the talking points the republican "leadership" has issued. There's no fact, no detail, it's misleading. And as I said makes no sense. 

And much of it is fraught with misspellings. Two key things I want to remind folks about are: this does not simply open borders and let the terrorists walk in. And this does not defund the military. Those are both stupid talking points. 

Educate yourself. For example you might read an article like this one:

Surely where we are is in the upside down. Things don't make sense. It's dull and grey. And there's a demagorgon. But he has crazier hair. Stranger trump things?

Short. Sweet. To the point. That's the beauty Dave's iPhone. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

The countdown is on

On one channel it's the Cartoon Network, and there's a countdown to the new gumball cartoon series. A couple of channels away, on msnbc, there's a countdown to the government shutdown.

So is it safe to assume that the government shutdown has become a cartoon? Certainly all the character involved are cartoonish, so there's that...

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Sometimes ya just gotta wonder...

Are trump and his peeps ignorant? Or are they playing semantics games?

Years ago, I attended a hearing for professional engineer license infractions. There was an older gentleman who was accused of "rubber stamping" documents that a junior person had reviewed and sent to him.

A little context: engineers assume some liability when working for the public trust. They create plans and designs for things, and are legally and ethically bound to review them themselves before affixing their stamp to them.

It's okay to have someone help do prep work and create some of the documents, but it's incumbent on the person whose seal appears on those documents to review everything.

So the guy is accused of not reviewing the junior persons work, and simply affixing his seal on that work. As he is questioned, it becomes less clear whether he understands what he has done. And whether he is essentially incompetent, or whether he is playing a bit of a semantics game.

He trusts the younger guy to do the work, and only marginally reviews the documents. But he doesn't own a physical rubber stamp, so it's impossible for him to rubber stamp them. And so it goes for a while.

The infraction committee has several lawyers on it, and it's clear that no matter how it came to pass, they have him cornered. He is in violation of the rules and will surely face a suspension of his license - or perhaps worse.

At one point he stops and says "I think I will say no more until I consult with my attorney," to which the chair says to him "that's the first reasonable thing you've said, and we will accept that."

The proceeding stops, and they set a new date to continue.

I later heard that his license was revoked (I think it was voluntary meaning he agreed to give it up) due to his negligence.

It's a smaller scale lesson that ignorance to the law is no excuse; whether you play semantics or whether you don't understand, you're guilty just the same of the crime.

So we look at the jackass in the Oval Office. He tells us there was no collusion with Russia. Could be that he doesn't own a literal stamp - or it could be that he doesn't know what collusion means.

We'll see where this leads.

But there's also a piece about money laundering that's been largely overlooked for 18 months or so. Until now. Money, property, and services were exchanged in violation of the law. It's messy, and is still being untangled. There's always the chance that trump will pardon himself and those he's closest to, in order to avoid punishment....

...and enter the state of New York. Apparently, they are running a similar parallel investigation that's at least loosely coordinated with the federal investigation. Because trump was living and working in New York while committing these (alleged) crimes, they have jurisdiction. And he can not pardon himself or others for state crimes.

He (and his idiot cronies) haven't commented on the money laundering, probably because they are using the old magicians trick of showing you the collusion thing in one hand while scrambling like mad to hide the laundering in the other hand behind the back.

But at some point, they will surely tell us they don't own a rubber stamp here either.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Just a couple of zeros between a million and a billion

People really don't understand money. I mean really don't understand it. You've got these inane discussions where people try to talk about "millionaires vs billionaires" as though they are kind of the same thing.

They talk about athletes needing to make a living, and getting a "fair" or "reasonable" contract that is in the millions; of course at $50,000 it would take 20 years to make just one million....there is no understanding of the value.

People can't balance a checkbook, or understand interest (much less compound vs simple), or manage to actually save for retirement.

And yet, along the way, they accepted comments from the Donald about his being wealthy and using debt service to finance his business, and blah, blah, blah. As though they understood it.

It just irritates me when people just accept large numbers and oversimplified explanations for financials. Please, learn and understand such concepts before you speak...

That's my pet peeve for today.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

That fusion gps testimony

There's some wisdom that suggests when you're on an airplane and you experience turbulence, look to the flight attendants. If they are still smiling and serving drinks, there's nothing to worry about. If they return to their seats and look worried, then you should too. 

And so it goes with our government. When things go awry, look to them for clam stewardship. We absolutely had interference in our election from a foreign power. And the petulant child took office. 

The gop didn't bat an eye and doesn't care. The resistance was formed by everyday individuals, who shout from rooftops. That is, mostly activists, and not necessarily government officials. 

And in the meantime most of the dems - the people you might look to for that smile and service of drinks - do sound the alarm; but with the caveat that they do so when asking for a donation. So it's hard to know if they are serious. 

So you look for Obama or Biden to say something...and they rarely do. Those are the two people who might know best, and they are silent. Still smiling to the seated passengers. 

So have to cut through the crap a bit. A lot of noise from both sides. But mostly bluster - and pleas for money. 

Sens Warren and Harris have been a little more vocal and they have put away the drink cart. But they haven't taken their seat yet. 

So we watch.

And then Sen Feinstein releases the transcript of the fusion gps testimony. It's page turning stuff, though it's long. 

A couple of my takeaways: it corroborates what we know about Russian influence. It undermines trumps authority and credibility. It shows how deceitful and perhaps treasonous he likely is. It underscores that he is factually incorrect on many topics, and has lied under oath at times. 

And larger than that, it suggests that many in the gop are complicit in all of this because they accepted money from
Foreign powers as well. 

It's is worth a read. And now that we see the proverbial warning shot, we need (all of us!) to stand up. 

The flight attendants have taken their seats, but for now don't look worried. But that will change once we hit turbulence.