Once Upon A Time

“If you try to convert someone, it will never be to effect his salvation but to make him suffer like yourself, to be sure he is exposed to the same ordeals and endures them with the same impatience. You keep watch, you pray, you agonize—provided he does too, sighing, groaning, beset by the same tortures that are racking you. Intolerance is the work of ravaged souls whose faith comes down to a more or less deliberate torment they would like to see generalized, instituted. The happiness of others never having been a motive or principle of action, it is invoked only to appease conscience or to parade noble excuses: whenever we determine upon an action, the impulse leading to it and forcing us to complete it is almost always inadmissible. No one saves anyone; for we save only ourselves, and do so all the better if we disguise as convictions the misery we want to share, to lavish on others. However glamorous its appearances, proselytism nonetheless derives from a suspect generosity, worse in its effects than a patent aggression. No one is willing to endure alone the discipline he may even have assented to, nor the yoke he has shouldered. Vindication reverberates beneath the missionary’s bonhomie, the apostle’s joy. We convert not to liberate but to enchain.”

-E.M. Cioran
“Civilized Man: A Portrait”
The Fall into Time
1964

 

 

How I Believe Facebook Was Censoring My Political Speech
Forget China, the Internet police are already here in U.S.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • September 15, 2017

They are well placed to shape what the public knows and what it is able to discover. Erasing old content and restricting searches is not so much different than George Orwell’s Winston Smith watching the evidence for no longer politically-acceptable events being dropped down the memory hole.

 

Saudi Arabia Detains Critics as New Crown Prince Consolidates Power
SEPT. 14, 2017

 

The Roof Korean Option

 

How History Explains the Korean Crisis
August 28, 2017

 

How Sony, Obama, Seth Rogen and the CIA Secretly Planned to Force Regime Change in North Korea
The secret backstory to the U.S.-North Korea standoff.
By Tim Shorrock / AlterNet September 5, 2017

 

The Other News:

 

Wednesday,  Sep 13, 2017

The United States Senate blocks an amendment that would have repealed the war authorizations for the use of force in Iraq and Afghanistan. (CNBC)

United States Homeland Security bans Kaspersky Lab products from government computers due to fears from alleged Russian intervention. (Gizmodo)

The Supreme Court of Israel strikes down the exemption on the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews. (The Los Angeles Times)

Former businessman Martin Shkreli has his bail revoked for threatening former politician Hillary Clinton, after a Twitter post in which Shkreli said that he would offer $5,000 to anyone who could directly obtain a lock of Clinton’s hair. Shkreli was convicted of fraud in August and is awaiting sentencing. (CNN)

Scientists hope to revive the extinct Floreana island tortoise using a ‘genetically-informed’ captive breeding program with the tortoises closest ancestors. (Phys.org)

Sanders introduces universal health-care bill with Democratic backing Backed by at least 15 Democratic senators, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced long-shot legislation Wednesday to expand Medicare into a universal health insurance program. The Medicare for All Act of 2017 would replace the current health-care system with a public system paid for by higher taxes, covering everything from prescription drugs to mental health treatment, with no co-payments. Employers would pay higher taxes, but would no longer have to cover health insurance for workers, and there would still be private insurers for people who wanted elective treatments like plastic surgery. Doctors would be reimbursed by the government. On Wednesday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) vowed to end Sanders’ single-payer “dream” with the introduction of the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson health-care bill. Source: The Washington Post

Supreme Court lifts limits on Trump’s refugee ban, blocks Texas redistricting The Supreme Court on Tuesday blocked a federal appeals court ruling issued last week that would have let refugees with support from resettlement agencies enter the U.S., despite President Trump’s travel ban. About 24,000 people could be affected by the 5-4 ruling, which was issued without comment. The Supreme Court in June lifted a block on Trump’s executive order that barred certain people from Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Libya, and Yemen from entering the country. The justices are scheduled to hear arguments over the legality of the executive order on Oct. 10. On Tuesday night, five justices also blocked a lower court’s order that Texas redraw two congressional districts due to racial disenfranchisement. Source: CNN

 

More Below The Fold

Continue reading “Once Upon A Time”

Burn Them All. God Will Know His Own.

Surplus Energy Economics
How the economy REALLY works
Tim Morgan

 

Don’t Blame Lack of Zoning Laws for Houston Floods
By MATTHEW ROBARE • September 1, 2017

According to Charlie Gardner, around 20 percent of Downtown Houston is surface parking, while another 40 percent is devoted to streets—while in a typical city built before the 19th century, only about 15 percent of land would be devoted to roadway. This huge amount of urban land given over to asphalt dwarfs the amount of space available for housing and parks. Writing at PlanetizenTodd Litman calculates that as much as 4,000 square feet of land per automobile is given over to roadway and parking—that’s a lot of land consuming taxes instead of producing them. For comparison, according to Michael Lewyn, until 1998 the minimum lot size in Houston for a new home was 5,000 square feet. This is important because standard planning practices are based around retaining storm water on site, meaning that buildings need large green space foot prints to absorb water, but if the effect of such regulation is to separate buildings, then they could lead to more driving and hence more asphalt.

 

The Militarization of the Hamptons
Why is a heavily armed counterterrorism force patrolling the parties of the rich and famous?
Joe Nocera
August 30, 2017

 

The First Time I Met Americans

 

Definition of happiness in Japan remains a mystery

Two CIA Contractors Successfully Sued for “Black Site” Torture
Hired psychologists devised “enhanced interrogation techniques” to break prisoners.
By PHILIP GIRALDI • August 23, 2017

 

After 16 Years of War, Afghanistan Still World’s Heroin Supplier
Drug epidemic here, failing counter-narcotics efforts there.
By JEFFREY JAMES HIGGINS • August 23, 2017

 

https://surplusenergyeconomics.wordpress.com/

 

 

All the other news (below the fold):

Continue reading “Burn Them All. God Will Know His Own.”

Low Budget

 

Explosions at Houston chemical plant after it was flooded by Harvey

The Arkema plant in Crosby, Texas, is about 25 miles northeast of Houston. It lost power and its backup generators amid Harvey’s deluge, leaving it without refrigeration for chemicals that become volatile as the temperature rises.

 

Russia-gate’s Fatally Flawed Logic
Robert Parry
August 12, 2017

 

Russia-gate’s Evidentiary Void
Robert Parry
August 18, 2017

 


The War That Time Forgot
Jeffrey St. Clair
August 25, 2017

 

Americans Are Strangely Oblivious to the Security Crisis in Mexico
Ted Galen Carpenter
August 29, 2017

 

America’s Darwinian Nationalism
Robert D. Kaplan
August 13, 2017

 

Lincoln or Lee? What Would Hitler Say?
Ilana Mercer • August 28, 2017 • 1,300 words

 

NASA is about to create a $3.26 billion nuclear fireball in Saturn’s clouds

 

 

“A Gallon Of Gas”

I’ve been waiting for years to buy a brand new cadillac
But now that I’ve got one I want to send it right back
I can’t afford the gas to fill my luxury limousine
But even if I had the dough no one’s got no gasoline

I went to my local dealer to see if he could set me straight
He said there’s a little gas going but I’d have to wait
But he offered some red hot speed and some really high grade hash
But a gallon of gas can’t be purchased anywhere for any amount of cash

I can score you some coke and some grade one grass
But I can’t get a gallon of gas
I’ve got some downers some speed all the drugs that you need
But I can’t get a gallon of gas
There’s no more left to buy or sell
There’s no more oil left in the well
A gallon of gas can’t be purchased anywhere
For any amount of cash

Two extra verses from long version:
I love your body-work, but you’re really no use
How can I drive you when I got no juice?
Because it’s stuck in neutral and my engine’s got no speed
And the highways are deserted
And the air smells unnaturally clean.

It’s got power-assisted overdrive and carpets on the floor,
But it’s parked out front just like a dead dinosaur.
And I’ll be paying off the bank for 45 years or more.
It should go 100 miles an hour,
But it’s never moved away from my door.

Who needs a car and a seven-forty-seven
When you can’t buy a gallon of gas
Who needs a highway, an airport or a jet
When you can’t get a gallon of gas
There’s no more left to buy or sell
There’s no more oil left in the well
A gallon of gas can’t be purchased anywhere
For any amount of cash
You can’t buy a gallon of gas

Moral Vacuum

Freedom for the Speech We Hate
ANDREW NAPOLITANO • AUGUST 17, 2017 • 1,000 WORDS

 

Hate is the New Sex
by John Michael Greer

If you have any doubts concerning this, dear reader, observe the way that the same people who were sporting LOVE TRUMPS HATE bumper stickers a year ago talk about Donald Trump and his supporters today. Back in January of 2016, when I first predicted Trump’s victory, I pointed out that if you wanted to hear really over-the-top hate speech, all you had to do was listen to a group of comfortably well-to-do Americans in the bicoastal urban bubble talk about white working class Americans in the flyover states. That’s become even more true now than it was then. Take the rhetoric currently being flung by well-off Democratic voters at Trump supporters, swap out the ethnic labels for any other set you choose, and you’ll have a hard time telling it apart from the rantings of any other group of bigots.

 

Ann Coulter: When Liberals Club People, It’s with Love in Their Hearts

And let’s recall the response of Hillary Clinton to the horrifying murder of five Dallas cops last year. The woman who ran against Trump displayed all the moral blindness currently being slanderously imputed to him.

In an interview on CNN about the slaughter that had taken place roughly 12 hours earlier, Hillary barely paused to acknowledge the five dead officers — much less condemn the shooting — before criticizing police for their “implicit bias” six times in about as many minutes.

 

If We’re Tearing Down White Supremacy, Start With Planned Parenthood
AUGUST 15, 2017
By Daniel Payne

It is also in killing black people that Planned Parenthood really shines. Around 941 black babies are aborted in this country every day. Planned Parenthood, netting more than a third of the abortion market in the country, is responsible for 329 of those daily deaths. That averages out to a little more than 120,000 black abortions at Planned Parenthood per year, or around a third of the total abortions the organization performs—this from a demographic that makes up about 13 percent of the United States population. According to the Guttmacher Institute, black women get abortions at five times the rate of white women.

If you were a white supremacist who wanted to sharply reduce the black population to make way for more whites, what would you be doing differently than Planned Parenthood?

Nothing, as it turns out. Spencer, the lily-white organizer of the infamous tiki-torch protest in Charlottesville last week, is a proponent of legalized abortion, precisely because it does very well the thing Spencer is most enthusiastic about, i.e. reducing the number of black people in the United States. “I would say that it is the unintelligent and blacks and Hispanics who use abortion as birth control,” Spencer says, favorably, while also speaking poorly of “people who think in terms of human rights,” i.e. pro-lifers.

 

Smoke and Fire
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
08.14.2017

The “Antifa” movement would be funny if it wasn’t itself prone to violence, since it espouses exactly the same kind of despotism against free thought that it pretends to fight against. It wants to shut down and stamp out debate in the public arena and trample over principles that make it uncomfortable, for instance, the First Amendment asserting the right to free speech. It makes a mockery of the battle cry for “diversity” (diversity only for Antifa-approved ideas). That so many current college students subscribe to the movement ought to make thoughtful people very uneasy about the politics of the coming generation. In their black battle garb and masks, they resemble the very fascist mobs of the 1930s that the name “Antifa” supposedly evokes as its enemy.

 

Al Gore’s Pivot to Idiocy

 

White-On-White Riots: A Theory

They need an absolution of guilt. They need there to be a moral code, so they can perform the appropriate rites and make themselves pure. Without it, there’s no metric at all that allows them to say — even to themselves — whether they’re good people. And there’s a lot of evidence against it. Like those homeless people you keep passing on the street.

The shrill protestations of commitment to the code just speak to how steep the dropoff is. Because behind it, in our society, there is nothing but a moral vacuum.

 

 

 

Corpse Left Hanging from Overpass As Cartel War Rages in Mexico

 

Sacrificing Smart Asians to Keep the Racial Peace
ROBERT WEISSBERG • AUGUST 16, 2017 • 1,500 WORDS

In effect, racial preferences in elite higher education (and beneficiaries includes students, professors and the diversity-managing administrators) separates the top 10% measured in cognitive ability from their more violent down market racial compatriots. While this manufactured caste-like arrangement hardly guarantees racial peace (as the black-on-white crime rate, demonstrates) but it pretty much dampens the possibility of more collective, well-organized related upheavals, the types of disturbances that truly terrify the white establishment. Better to have the handsomely paid Cornel West pontificating about white racism at Princeton where he is a full professor than fulminating at some Ghetto street corner. This status driven divide just reflects human nature. Why would a black Yalie on Wall Street socialize with the bro’s left behind in the Hood? This is the strategy of preventing a large-scale, organized rebellion by decapitating its potential leadership. Violence is now just Chicago or Baltimore-style gang-banger intra-racial mayhem or various lone-wolf criminal attacks on whites.

 

Nuclear-Powered Cars, Tesla, Gore, Solar Power, Elon Musk, and More
A Broad Spectrum Column
FRED REED • AUGUST 10, 2017 • 1,100 WORDS

The CIA Runs Everything for You Know Who

Yes Congress, Afghanistan is Your Vietnam
Does any member have the courage and vision to take responsibility?
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • August 11, 2017

 

Bring Me the Head of Jeff Bezos

 

Absolutely hilarious. I can’t stop reading this guy. Is he serious? Some of what he says might actually be true. Which is, well…really disturbing.
Jeff Bezos looks like another CIA Front

 

…in case you are easily amused, like me, and want more…
http://mileswmathis.com/updates.html

 

 

You can always count on The Economist to keep you up-to-date with knowledge:

Electric cars
The death of the internal combustion engine
It had a good run. But the end is in sight for the machine that changed the world

 

Saudi Arabia Is Trying to Remake the Middle East In Its Image
No country has done more to spread radical Islam than Saudi Arabia.
By MICHAEL HORTON • August 8, 2017

In 1744, Muhammad ibn Saud made a Faustian bargain with Muhammad Abd al-Wahhab: al-Wahhab would back al-Saud in his battle for supremacy if he pledged allegiance to al-Wahhab’s puritanical vision of Islam. This interpretation of Islam, which differs little from the militant Salafi beliefs that inform the Islamic State’s and al-Qaeda’s understanding of Islam (the Islamic State uses Saudi produced textbooks in its schools), became known as Wahhabism.

The Saudis, who are not descended from the Prophet and have no particular claim to rule even in their territorial heartland of Najd, relied on the clerics of the al-Wahhab family for religious legitimacy. The bargain struck in 1744 held fast. In 1926, Ibn Saud took over the Hejaz and in 1932 the country of Saudi Arabia was created. Ibn Saud’s conquest of most of the Arabian Peninsula would not have happened without the support of the fanatical warriors (the Ikhwan) who, more than anything else, fought to purge the peninsula of what they deemed to be heretical beliefs and practices.

 

 

 

Wow. This is good. I like this guy. How can you not? Everything is a conspiracy. Everything. I bet his own mother is a CIA project. Definitely makes you think. Y’all are gonna wanna read this

The BRAVE NEW WORLD of Stephen Hawking
by Miles Mathis
November 21, 2011

“Controlling majorities has never helped these fascists, although they are obsessed with controlling majorities. No, the problem is they can’t control themselves, and they always overreach. As the last example, we can look at the Nazis, who had the war won but decided they needed to attack Russia as well. The German people didn’t restrain the Nazis, the Nazis destroyed themselves. The same could be said of Stalin and the later Communists. They overreached and collapsed. Like the Nazis, they wanted world domination and couldn’t manage it. And we see the same thing happening now. The rich here in the US were already raking it in in the 1990’s under Clinton, but that wasn’t enough. They already had a bloated CIA and military, the world was already dotted with our bases, but it wasn’t enough. The banks were already stealing freely from the people, but it wasn’t enough. The CIA had already been running the media since the 1950’s, but it wasn’t enough. The success just made them hungry for more. So they repealed Glass-Steagall and all other regulations, pulled 9/11, started wars in a dozen places, dismantled the Constitution, and installed the new police state. All I can say is, IS IT WORKING? Have they created a successful system of control and theft, one that is self-perpetuating so that their children can steal as easily as they have? No. They are killing the host. You can’t tax or steal from people that are huddling in concentration camps or living off welfare. You can’t loan money to people who are in jail.

So while their subsistence base diminishes, their appetite does not. They don’t know when to stop. Like junkies, they keep going until they hit the wall. What wall is that? I don’t know. Could be Russia or China or both, could be financial meltdown, could be a military coup, could be class warfare between the rich and superrich, could be Mother Earth biting back. All we know is that “the mighty will fall.” They always do. There are no masters of the universe in this part of the galaxy.”

Groupthink at The Deep State

 

Sanctions, Smoke and Mirrors from a Kindergarten on LSD
THE SAKER • JULY 31, 2017 • 3,100 WORDS

“Israel Lobby” is, of course, a misnomer. The Israel Lobby has very little interest in Israel as a country or, for that matter, for the Israeli people. If anything, the Israel Lobby ought to be called the “Neocon Lobby”. Furthermore, we also have to keep in mind that the Neocon Lobby is unlike any other lobby in the list above. For one thing, it does not represent US interests. Neither does it represent the interests of Israel. Rather, it represents the interests of a specific subset of the US ruling elites, in reality much smaller than 1% of the population, which all share in the one common ideology of worldwide domination typical of the Neocons.

These are the folks who in spite of their 100% ironclad control of the media and Congress lost the Presidential election to Donald Trump and who are now dead set to impeach him. These are the folks who simply use “Russia” as a propagandistic fulcrum to peddle the notion that Trump and his entourage are basically Russian agents and Trump himself as a kind of “Presidential Manchurian Candidate”.

 

Trump signs bill levying new sanctions on Russia, immediately criticizes it

President Trump signed legislation Wednesday that imposes new sanctions on Russia and curbs his own ability to lighten them down the line. The House and Senate overwhelmingly passed the bill last week with veto-proof majorities, putting Trump in a tough spot if he had declined to sign. The sanctions come in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and amid several investigations of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. In a statement about signing the bill, Trump wrote that the legislation is “significantly flawed” and that Congress “included a number of clearly unconstitutional provisions.” In another statement, Trump added that “despite its problems, I am signing this bill for the sake of national unity.”

 

Groupthink at the CIA
Hating Russia and Trump is de rigueur
PHILIP GIRALDI • AUGUST 1, 2017 • 1,800 WORDS

…That unanimity of thinking is what is peculiar while academics like Stephen Cohen, Stephen Walt, Andrew Bacevich, and John Mearsheimer, who have studied Russia in some depth and understand the country and its leadership far better than a senior CIA officer, detect considerable nuance in what is taking place. They all believe that the hardline policies current in Washington are based on an eagerness to go with the flow on the comforting inside-the- beltway narrative that paints Russia as a threat to vital interests. That unanimity of viewpoint should surprise no one as this is more of less the same government with many of the same people that led the U.S. into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. They all have a vested interested in the health and well-being of a fully funded national security state.

Oil Is Donald Trump’s Foreign Policy
Pushing fossil fuels is the administration’s top priority

“Our country is blessed with extraordinary energy abundance … We have nearly 100 years’ worth of natural gas and more than 250 years’ worth of clean, beautiful coal … We have so much more than we ever thought possible. We are really in the driving seat. And you know what? We don’t want to let other countries take away our sovereignty and tell us what to do and how to do it. With these incredible resources, my administration will seek not only American energy independence that we’ve been looking for so long, but American energy dominance.”

 

Against The New Optimism

 I’m reading right now Michel Houellebecq’s first novel, The Elementary Particles. It’s an amazing book, though a difficult one to read in parts, because of the pornographic descriptions of sex acts. That’s part of the author’s point: he’s writing about a world grown cold and loveless, where sex has been separated from love, family, and meaning. The novel is about two half-brothers who were abandoned by their selfish hippie mother (Houellebecq’s mother did this to him) and socialized by the aridity of consumerism and materialism.

[…]

Michel Houellebecq’s new novel, Submission, is set in a France of the near future in which a Muslim is elected president, in a Europe which has reached such a state of “putrid decomposition” that it cannot save itself. It is a shocking vision of where we might all be heading. The book is especially disturbing for Catholics, because it implies that Catholicism, for all that its young adherents have “open, friendly faces”, is no longer vital enough to offer an alternative to Islam. The once great religion that powered 1,000 years of high civilisation during the Middle Ages is, in Houellebecq’s vision, enfeebled.

 

Mykonos

 

The Dow Jones industrial average topped 22,000 points for the first time ever, right after the opening bell Wednesday morning. The roughly 0.2 percent overall surge was spurred by big gains from Apple, which posted a 6 percent bump based on optimism about the latest iPhone, bringing the company to a record high. On Tuesday, one day before the record-setting trading day, President Trump tweeted about the impending milestone, noting the “stock market could hit [an] all-time high (again) … was 18,000 only six months ago.” The Dow is up more than 3,600 points since Election Day, CNN Money notes.

 

‘Dunkirk’ Is a Booming, Bloodless Bore
War has never been this dull

 

The Only News

 

Collateral Damage
U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies
DIANA JOHNSTONE • JULY 28, 2017 • 1,600 WORDS

Under U.S. sanctions, any EU nation doing business with Russia may find itself in deep trouble. In particular, the latest bill targets companies involved in financing Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to provide Germany with much needed natural gas from Russia.

By the way, just to help out, American companies will gladly sell their own fracked natural gas to their German friends, at much higher prices.

[…]

The United States gets away with this gangster behavior because over the years it has developed a vast, obscure legalistic maze, able to impose its will on the “free world” economy thanks to the omnipresence of the dollar, unrivaled intelligence gathering and just plain intimidation.

European leaders reacted indignantly to the latest sanctions. The German foreign ministry said it was “unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interest of U.S. industry”. The French foreign ministry denounced the “extraterritoriality” of the U.S. legislation as unlawful, and announced that “To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws”.

 

Narratives Are Not Truths
Clusterfuck Nation
by James Howard Kunstler
July 31, 2017

Let’s start with health care, so called, since the failure to do anything about the current disastrous system is so fresh. What’s the narrative there? That “providers” (doctors and hospitals) can team up with banking operations called “insurance companies” to fairly allocate “services” to the broad population with a little help from the government. No, that’s actually not how it works. The three “players” actually engage in a massive racketeering matrix — that is, they extract enormous sums of money dishonestly from the public they pretend to serve and they do it twice: once by extortionary fees and again by taxes paid to subsidize mitigating the effects of the racketeering.

 

The Demolition of U.S. Global Power
Donald Trump’s Road to Debacle in the Greater Middle East
ALFRED MCCOY • JULY 16, 2017 • 4,200 WORDS

 

Media Mourn End of CIA Killing Syrians and Strengthening Al Qaeda
BEN NORTON
JULY 27, 2017

 

Anthropology’s Obsession with African Origins
AUSTEN LAYARD • JULY 28, 2017 • 4,600 WORDS

 

 

The only stuff that happened in the last week after the fold:

Continue reading “The Only News”

Humans

Reading Philip K. Dick’s Blade Runner on the train this morning. I want to get pastries in Chinatown so I ride all the way to South Station. During the 5 minutes at about 5 miles an hour between Back Bay Station and South Station I’m considering androids obviously and my mind drifts to robot cars and what I frequently think of on this stretch of track. I think about how in 2017 ( I’ve been having these thoughts since about 2011) with all this technology – still – when one is waiting for the Commuter Rail line train at Back Bay Station at night, after say 10pm or 9pm on weekends, and there is no human in either the Commuter Rail office or the Amtrak window – when the train is late leaving South Station (the source and only 5 minutes and half a mile away) – one literally has no idea and no way of finding out if the train even exists.

This problem comes up the buses and subway, particularly the Green-line, but is more complicated and there are actually reliable apps now that give the excact locations of buses and trolleys. For years the MBTA refused to put GPS transponders on Green-line trains. One time an inspector at the front of a car thought I was a tourist and made some hokey comment like I was a 12-year-old from Idaho and I was like,”actually, I have a question…” When he gave me some canned response I let him have my theory with both barrels in like 30 seconds. No response. I must have been spot on. I don’t go to those community forum things that the MBTA has. I’ll wait and ambush you.

German Village, Dugway Proving Ground

The Commuter Rail line, MBCR (Metropolitan Boston Commuter Rail), is now run by a company called Keolis. It is generally very reliable and I am not going to go into my love for public transportation in Boston here, but the fact is that The Commuter Rail has been dealing with financial and public relations issues for some time and in the last couple years it seems like several times a week if not every weekday Keolis has between 5 and 10 staff standing in everybody’s way at Back Bay Station as we try to hustle to work between 6 and 9am. Try to find an MBTA employee at Copley or Park Street when your pass doesn’t work. The kids know this. Even the foreigners. I’ve seen 10 German college kids piggy-back fare-jump at Copley Saturday at noon in the summer. You could probably get away with murder in an MBTA station. Ostensibly these customer service types are there to answer questions and take comments and feedback on MBCR performance. But at this time and place the commuters have all arrived at their destination and know what they are doing – they don’t need help or information and talking to a customer service know-nothing is the last thing they want to do or have time for.

Yet I have stood on the platform at Back Bay Station at 12:05 am, on Sunday night/Monday morning in February, when the privately run server that tracks the train GPS transponders goes offline like it does every night at midnight, waiting for my 11:25pm train, freezing, not knowing if I was ever going to get home, and not even knowing if the train existed at South Station. No customer service people, no number to call. If I was at South Station I would hunt down the Track Master or whatever-the-hell they are called, but they don’t work for Keolis, so frequently they have no idea what is up. And also, we are not at South Station. I have observed this issue for years along with dozens of other passengers. It is mind-boggling that it still exists in 2017. When you mention these issues to the customer service people they literally have no idea what you are talking about. Because they don’t care and have no incentive to care.

This doesn’t just seem like an easy problem to fix – it is a simple problem to fix. But it won’t be fixed. Because it would involve having a person who was in possession of a brain in a management position. Wouldn’t it be smarter to have one person on duty who knew where all the trains were, in radio contact with the engineers, and the ability to communicate that information to the public – broadcast that information – when people need it – rather than employ an army of customer service rookies to not field complaints because we are trying to get to work?

I’d like to see Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos work on improving and expanding public transportation instead of pushing social media and drone-delivery in the future on Mars.

Have not heard much hype in the news cycle about robot cars recently. At least, I haven’t noticed. More and more I think the “push” for driverless cars is not coming from any particular need for them, to save us from gasoline or ourselves or something (although this is what certain entities want us to believe, I believe). I think it comes from a subtly desperate search for an avenue of economic growth for the corporations. This is an empire in decline. Smart-phones were the last big thing. So they are still the big-thing, I guess is what I’m trying to say. Smart-phones happened in 2007. 10 years. Nothing new since then. Capitalism, the Empire, needs a new toy. Something shiny to distract the slaves from their predicament.

There does not appear to be a product ready. Sure, we hear all the time about the presence of fully autonomous vehicles on the road and the thousands of miles and hours they have logged without being involved in any accidents, etc. And how the only accidents they are involved in are somehow always attributable to human error. But what has always puzzled me is why the corporations have not built a large-scale mock-up of a town/city road system complete with high-speed, highway-like stretches and every conceivable traffic and road-layout scenario incorporated into it. Somewhere out in the Nevada desert. This could be populated with hundreds of fully autonomous vehicles, maybe a couple thousand, and then everybody could observe where the bugs are and if millions of these things on the roads is a good idea right now.

I’m thinking something like the Japanese and German villages Curtis LeMay built at Dugway Proving Grounds. But way bigger. Let the car companies pay for it. Investors would be dying to get involved. Trump could sell this idea. You could make it a reality show. A competition. Anything you want. The Future.

My hunch is that a big reason this hasn’t happened yet is because the corporations know this would shine a light on the reality that the technology is not there yet. The whole Wizard of Oz thing.

***

What If Hitler Had Invaded Britain?

 

DUNKIRK: “People Should be Hung from Lampposts, They Should be Burned Alive, for What They’ve Done to Britain”

 

 

Fruit Ninja

Is the new font too small?

The Real Scandal: Americans Don’t Care About Afghanistan
Will kids who weren’t yet born when the war began have to fight it ?
By ANDREW J. BACEVICH • July 26, 2017

After all, what’s the point of getting hung up on the past when you are facing a dauntingly tough job in the here-and-now? That job requires Turner to do what a run of previous U.S. military commanders have been attempting to do without notable success for almost sixteen years: to pacify Helmand Province. Were he to reflect too deeply on the disappointments of those sixteen years— the U.S. troops killed and wounded, the billions of dollars expended, all to no evident purpose—Turner just might reach the conclusion that he and his charges are engaged in a fool’s errand conceived by idiots.

 

The Tragedy of Doctor Who

The new Doctor Who is a woman. “All the cool humans are thrilled,” cooed Mashable; “Pissboys Are Melting Down,” added Dorkly (when did nerds start talking like bitter drag queens?). The Telegraph was slightly more sober and wrote off the whole thing with “Who cares?” It doesn’t matter to the establishment left because we’ve already established that men are exactly the same as women—especially when it comes to fiction. They see nothing wrong with female superheroes and action stars. It’s 2017, after all.

Charlize Theron’s Atomic Blonde got a $30M budget and she’s been scoped to become the new James Bond. Thor thinks she’d be great and women’s magazines declare she is “the James Bond we need now.” They also like the idea of Bond girl Halle Berry from Die Another Day trading in her orange bikini for a tux and becoming 007. If Jaws from Moonraker tried to rip her head off she’d just grab him by his seven-foot frame and toss him aside like a bag of dirty laundry. We’d sit there pretending physics doesn’t exist and rejoice in the egalitarianism of it all.

 

What You Actually Spend on the National Security State
Hundreds of billions of dollars outside of the official Pentagon budget.
By WILLIAM D. HARTUNG • July 26, 2017

 

‘The best growth story in tech’: What Wall Street is saying about Facebook’s explosive earnings

 

Are Amazon’s Shareholders Suckers?
DEAN BAKER AND BRIAN DEW • JULY 20, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

 

Why Hollywood Is Trying to Turn Everything Into Movies — Even Mindless Games Like ‘Fruit Ninja’

 

CULTURAL CAVIAR
Nolan’s Finest Hour
by Steve Sailer
July 26, 2017

The three stories come together in a giant set-piece encounter in the English Channel. Nolan has lowered the cognitive demands of his film by adding huge amounts of redundancy, with the same events replayed again and again from different angles until you finally understand what happened in all its cruel magnificence.

This isn’t the usual Rashomon-style retelling of a plot from conflicting perspectives. Instead, it’s more like sports broadcasting, such as showing multiple replays of that Tom Brady–to–Julian Edelman completion in this year’s Super Bowl.

Dunkirk represents redundancy lifted to an art form.

Critics have tried to position Dunkirk as anti-Brexit or anti-Trump.

 

‘Wages and wives’ are a big reason the rich are getting richer

 

 

Are You and I So Different? (2010)

Ministry of Love

07.25.2017

Britain to ban sale of all diesel and petrol cars and vans from 2040

 

Brennan, Rice, Power – Lock Them Up!
by David Stockman
July 24, 2017

 

EU flags alarm over US sanctions on Russia

Germany has already warned of possible retaliation if the United States moves to sanction German firms involved with building a new Baltic pipeline for Russian gas.

EU diplomats are concerned that a German-US row over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline being built by Russia’s state-owned Gazprom could complicate efforts in Brussels to forge an EU consensus on negotiating with Russia over the project.

 

Sanctions Bill: An Ode to Hypocrisy, Groupthink, Smugness, and Cronyism
by Justin Raimondo
July 24, 2017

 

The material contained in these two articles alone is enough for an Oliver Stone movie script.
Todashev reports detail a confession, then chaos

Tamerlan Tsarnaev: Terrorist. Murderer. Federal Informant?

 

“Someday This Army Is Going to Leave”
Korean farmers face off against the US military’s largest overseas base.

 

Are Amazon’s Shareholders Suckers?
DEAN BAKER AND BRIAN DEW • JULY 20, 2017 • 1,300 WORDS

 

The case against human drivers

 

Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk became the first non-franchise film to top the weekend box office this summer and the first since March of this year as it delivered over $50 million this weekend.

Christopher Nolan’s Wartime Epic
“Dunkirk” is a harrowing look at a barely averted British catastrophe.

‘Dunkirk’ is a good movie and one of the better ones this year in a time when there is almost nothing worth seeing. It is a movie. It is neither a war movie nor an epic. You never see the Germans. Spoiler alert: Tom Hardy spends the rest of the war in Hogan’s Heroes.

 

 

The big news NOBODY is talking about!!!
Elon Musk says he has received federal government approval for The Boring Company to build an underground 760mph Hyperloop that will connect New York City and Washington, D.C..