Thursday, November 08, 2018

Panic in Trump World

With major races in Florida and Georgia tightening - it appears that panic has broken out in Trump world.

Yesterday in what appeared to be an incredibly hasty move, Trump fired AG Jeff Sessions and removed DAG Rosenstein from oversight of the Mueller probe. While this should have triggered a major response from the GOP in the Senate (as described Sen. Lindsey Graham)... quite predictably Bit... err I mean Mitch McConnell stuck his tail between his legs and ran for cover. Poor Jeff Sessions was fired unceremoniously and then his plan to stand for election in AL has gone south as he's got nowhere to go to. Guess that joke about Kislyak didn't go over quite as well as he thought it would.

The new guy - Whitaker was supposed to stick up for Trump but he recused himself and that has created a lot of problems for Trump. I guess the news of the Whitaker recusal broke roughly before the time that Jim Acosta was asking Trump some questions and that is what led to the meltdown*.

The grand stupidity of all this is that attacking Mueller is the fastest way to ensure that the investigation is turned into something permanent but I guess with Don Jr. worried that he is going to jail - stupidity is the only thing that one can expect at this time.

I really don't know what Donald Trump is trying to do. If he is trying to keep himself out of jail, he can't protect Putin's interests. If he wants to protect Putin's interests - he can't keep himself out of jail. And when either Ivanka or Don Jr or Jared go to jail - that dramatically shortens the time needed to put Trump himself in jail.

I understand there is no end game - the idea is to dodge jail time for as long as possible and to dupe as many "Real Americans" for as long as possible but the above dynamic remains in place. The time to choose between Trump's own foreskin and Putin's interest is coming.

Can something be done to shake up the Mueller probe during the lame duck session ... sure but at what cost? and to whom?

If GOP is expected to martyr itself to secure Trump's rear - that is a bizarre thing to expect of it. The GOP is only interested in Trump to the extent he helps re-elect them into office by duping the "core" but beyond that GOP has no interest in Trump.

Which brings me to Mitch McConnell - now that Trump has his majority in the Senate - he doesn't need McConnell anymore than he needed Sessions. It is difficult to see how McConnell will survive as speaker unless he does exactly Trump's bidding. And if that is what he does - how long can he stay out of jail? and what is the point of being Mitch McConnell if all you really are is Trump's bitch?

I think sensible portions of the US electorate have done what they can. Now it is up to the US national security establishment to do it's part.

* And now Whitaker is trying to walk back his own recusal statement. This is going fantastically well so far from him.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

I think Trump is trying to leverage the DC Circuit court to deflect Mueller's subpeona.

Politico has an article stating that it looks like OSC Meuller has actually subpeonaed Trump.

A sealed grand jury was initiated on the day after Giuliani spoke publicly of his memo to squash a subpeona from Mueller asking Trump to testify before  grand jury.  It seem this case was contested by the unnamed witness and the entire matter ended up in front of the DC Circuit court.  The witness made a request for the entire DC Circuit court and Trump's only appointee on the court recused himself.

As of now

"On October 10, the day the case returned to the court, the parties filed a motion for expedited handling, and within two days, the judges had granted their motion and set an accelerated briefing schedule. The witness was given just 11 days to file briefs; the special counsel (presumably) just two weeks to respond; and reply papers one week later, on November 14 (for those paying attention, that’s 8 days after the midterm elections). Oral arguments are set for December 14."

Less than a week ago, we saw reports of Trump interviewing judges for the DC Circuit court.

Axios had an article on that but it was very sparse on details.

A lot of other names are floating up - most sourced from "people close to Trump" (you know like "John Barron" etc...).

Again - one can't say reliably that Trump has been subpeonaed but it sure looks that way from the manner in which he is tinkering with DC Circuit court.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

The failed bombing attempts on leading anti-Trump voices.

A quick reference for the geographical spread of these devices is available below

A few notes on the pipe-bombs used in these attempt

1) The bombs appear to be made of a plastic pipe of the kind used in residential plumbing. On some devices where an X-ray has been made available, the end-caps appear to be made of the same material as the pipe.

2) Also from the X-ray, a loosely packed powder appears to have been used in the devices. There is significant granularity in the powder, it is unclear if this is due to clumps in the powder. If it is due to clumps, then quite possibly the bomber did not mix the explosives properly due to knowledge constraints or technology limits.

3) A clock of unknown origin with a 7 Segment LCD has been used to trigger the device. It is possible that an alarm speaker was disconnected and used to run a current to a detonator.

4) In the X-ray provided it seems a heater wire has been used as a detonator. Given the size of the battery visible in the image, it is plausible there is enough current in the battery to drive the heater coil, but it would take time for the coil to heat up to a temperature where the powder reacted.

5) It is not clear why the devices did not go off. Likely causes include

  1. interception before the timer went off, 
  2. incorrectly set alarm feature,
  3. a cheap clock that didn't run as much current to the detonator as expected.
  4. a detonator that didn't get up to temperature,
  5. a powder that was inert due to improper handling.  

6) A masking film is observed on the LCD panel in the device photographed at CNN HQ in NYC.

7) The "ISIS Flag" on the device sent to the CNN office remains unconfirmed at this time. If ISIS is behind this - then I fear it will be worse for Donald Trump because he chose to let hardcore ISIS elements escape with their families in Raqqa. If any ISIS members are operating freely outside Iraq or Syria now - it is ONLY because Trump let their "caravan" go in Raqqa. [see this for details]. The ISIS flag appears to be a part of a RW joke theme.

8) The media is labeling this #MAGABomber which is appropriate given Trump's routine threats of violence at the media. He has been spouting blood libel for the better part of the last two years. And he will not stop even if people are killed.

9) Once that last threshold is crossed (i.e. people are killed on account of Trump's hate speech) - the Media should resort to treating him as they treat any other terrorist. They should stop relaying his exact words or images and ONLY editorialize on his statements in a way that degrades his standing in society. A simple way to do this is to discuss an issue in detail and say that Trump spouted his usual unproductive rhetoric on the issue. This will IMHO shut Trump up forever.

Wednesday, October 03, 2018

DJIA is being primed again as November approaches.

Looks like the 100ish-Millionaire and 1ish-Billionaire club that constitutes the GOP is getting antsy as the election approaches.

The DJIA is being primed for a big sell off.

The biggest signature of this kind of thing is the sudden jumps (so called "discontinuities") in the index price. We saw one on Oct 1 - doubtlessly there will be more as November approaches.

Another flag for this is a relatively low increase in real revenue (i.e. revenue growth v/s inflation) of these corporations whose valuations have suddenly jumped to One Trilllllllllllllion DOLLAARS!!! (LOL... yeah that'll work out real well I am sure)

But seriously - getting off this kind of cliff without breaking own neck is a tricky business.

You kind of have to know ahead of time when to sell your portfolio.

Also there is the details of the priming mechanism, which IMHO is really a kind of "wash trade". To do this right - you have to shut off the washing mechanism at the exact time that you jump out of your portfolio - otherwise you will be buying over-valued shares at a time that the prices start to plunge.

With Mick Mulvaney hogtying the CFPB  in his basement and raping it every day - there is little to no risk of actually being caught here - so the average GOPer can be rest assured that unless they do something very very stupid or have massive unfunded liabilities (like IDK - women/children you actually raped that will suddenly come forward and implicate you in criminal acts) - they should be able to ride this out to the bank.

The average GOP will have the grand satisfaction of knowing they voted in people who looted their social security and medicare and IRAs and raped god-knows how many kids and women and destroyed the lives of their own grandchildren... but that is a joy most of us will escape - thankfully. Yay GOP!!!  MAGA!!! - so much winning.

At some point the GOPer handmaidens - you know the little guys - the staff members of the GOP Congressman and Senator will realize that their employers expect them to march solidly off the cliff while the Congressman and Senator suddenly stands aside - but c'mon that should come as no surprise. There is 10x more of you feudal slaves where the GOP Congressman/Senator comes from.

So much awesomeness - soooo much winning.

Tuesday, October 02, 2018

How long can GRU special ops sustain this attrition rate?

I'm watching this Chepiga crash play out in slow motion here. The Kremlin's information control on this is shot-to-shit - but that is not surprising - the Kremlin genuinely believes it can lie in a Trumpesque fashion out of any situation.

But here is the thing.

For something like Spetznaz (or any other really special unit) - the clearance rate is ~ 2%. They take 100 or so volunteers and about 2 guys make it through to the A grade troop. The rest go off to drown themselves in a bottle of alcohol somewhere and are never heard from again.

After that - the more operations you fling them into - the more you lose to attrition. Right now Putin's got his guys in the US, Syria, UK and Ukraine - and that is just the people we know about. That attrition has got to be bad. And it's the worst kind of attrition. Since you can't really train these people, you rely on their intelligence and wits to train themselves in the field. You lose a guy like this - you lose a giant.

You can't fill this gap with a random person - they would lost immediately. This kind of asset is carefully grown over decades. The only way you survive this type of attrition is by having a pipeline that talent spots, trains etc... but that is very expensive and requires long term thinking. Precisely the sort that is missing right now in Moscow.

This is not some Mercador level disposable asset - this is a full colonel with decades of experience in this line of work.

And thanks to this bizarre Skripal adventure - this guy is burned.

Sure can Putin appoint him to the Duma? - yeah but you know what? - he is still burned. He can't operate in the field. You are basically paying him not to defect at this point.

With each passing day - the Skripal hit makes less and less sense to me.

What was the point of this hit?

Was it supposed to remind GRU top brass not to defect?

What was Skripal sharing that was so important that they had to try (and fail) to shut him up?

These are questions no one will dare to ask in Moscow.

In a lifetime of watch intelligence guys fuck up - I have to say this is very high up in terms sheer fuck up per target.

Never seen anything like this - how long can this go on?

Monday, October 01, 2018

Immigration Hypocrisy - Nunez runs a dairy in Steve King's district & it employs illegal immigrants

This is one for the history books.

Deven "FBI-Hater" Nunez has a Dairy Farm in Iowa - in Steve "Immigrant Hater" King's district - and that farm like all American dairy and Ag businesses relies heavily on poorly paid illegal immigrants for labor.

A reporter who tried to dig around to find out more was run out of town by a posse led by Deven's family. The reporter was perplexed by the hypocrisy of the local dairy farmers who opposed Trump and Steve King's immigration curbs - but still continued to vote for both. 

I think the hypocrisy is familiar. 

In India they have thing called bonded labor - where a person is kept in permanent employment but enjoys no protections or prospect of social or economic movement. It is a form of slavery which no one has quite figured out how to eradicate. If a bonded laborer attempts to break out of this slavery - s/he is immediately arrested by the police on a trumped up charge and incarcerated until s/he pledges loyalty to the employer. The employee is only released on the employers word and unless the employee pledges a lifetime of servitude at whatever price the employer deems appropriate - there is no getting out of jail. On the face of it - all the employers want to look like they are keen to do the right thing and are opposed to bonded labor but below that carefully constructed facade - they all support the maximum exploitation of such bonded labor. 

I suspect that this is the system that the Trump voting dairy types would like to impose. The dairy industry is in dire straits (also true for most Agriculture in the US) - with global trade and rising production in other parts of the world - the prices of food are down. Gone are the days when Europe and Asia were in ruin - experiencing chronic shortages due to famines and the ravages of World War II. Gone also are the days when Africa was careening from one famine to another. The result is a price that is simply too low to permit profitable production.

The only option for US Ag is to depress price of farm labor, but given the scarcity of local labor at that price point - the only option is illegals from Mexico. But the price of the product is so low that even with the illegal labor - there is no way to keep the cost low enough. 

Unless that is the illegals would work for free - and what better way to do that than to criminalize their very existence. 

That IMHO is what is going on here. The entire "I don't agree with Trump on his immigration policy, he poses a threat to my livelihood but I still vote for him" only makes sense if 

a) You are a complete idiot who enjoys shooting yourself in the head (which begs the question how could you possibly still be alive?) or

b) You are just saying that to make it look like you don't want to be a slave owner. 

I am guessing given that these people are alive - it is the latter. 

The more I think about it - the more this immigration issue in the US seems similar in form and substance to the social hierarchy  ("caste") issue in India.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Genocidal agenda masquerades as climate fatalism

Trump had the NHTSA put out a statement where they say that the temperature will rise by 7C by 2100 and there is nothing to be done about it.

The WaPo wrote an article collecting views from the academic community about it. John Sterman's views best capture what I feel is going on here.

Using the no-action scenario “is a textbook example of how to lie with statistics,” said MIT Sloan School of Management professor John Sterman. “First, the administration proposes vehicle efficiency policies that would do almost nothing [to fight climate change]. Then [the administration] makes their impact seem even smaller by comparing their proposals to what would happen if the entire world does nothing.”

For all those folks who voted for this guy - this is what your idiotic behavior has brought us.

The man is incompetent at the most basic things, and then he has toadies in the administration cook up bullshit to cover for his failure to get anything done.

He was feeling the pressure of the Russia investigation so he pulled a stunt with the Vehicle Efficiency Standards to appease and distract the idiots that voted for him. 

When the bulk of the global leadership called him out on it in the UN, he had his toadies pull out a report from their ass that makes his decision seem reasonable - but the only way they could do it given the vast amount of hard data was to project that there was an inevitable 7C temperature rise in the works. And that there was nothing we could do about it. 

Most of Trump voters are too stupid to understand that a 7C temperature rise is a Extinction Level Event. Less than 1% of humanity will survive that. 

Naturally the uber rich Trumpers will tell their god fearing idiot friends that this is "Gods Will" and that only those truly deserving will "inherit the Earth" and the Supremacists will tell their Trumper followers to stay put because only poor people of color will be killed in the Climate Holocaust. And these people will do this while they personally jet off to those underground shelters they have dug out in Montana. 

I don't know if the Trumpers that are left behind will get what's happening until its too late.

Bring this up in polite conversation with Trump supporting boomers and you get the "but I am going to die anyway" thread of logic. A suicide cult fails to understand that they might be going to die anyway but the rest of us aren't. 

I have never thought I would see a generation that celebrated killing it own offspring. 

What a fantastically stupid group of people. They will definitely kill us all.