Month: July 2016

I Did Not Expect This

The Republicans have called for reinstating the Glass Steagall law separating commercial and investment banking:

Both major political parties are now calling for an overhaul of the financial industry through the return of Glass-Steagall, a Depression-era banking law.

Paul Manafort, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign manager, told reporters gathered in Cleveland Monday that the GOP platform would include language advocating for a return of that law, which was repealed under President Bill Clinton.

“We also call for a reintroduction of Glass-Steagall, which created barriers between what big banks can do,” he said.

Including that language in the GOP platform comes shortly after Democrats agreed to similar language in their own, calling for an “updated and modernized version” of the law.

A party platform is not binding but is thought to reflect the values of the party. And the GOP platform has not yet been officially released, although the convention is expected to approve it later Monday.

Nonetheless, the embrace of Glass-Steagall by both parties is a telling indication of how unpopular Wall Street remains with the public, years after the financial crisis.

The devil, of course, is in the details, and on both sides of the aisle, any “updated and modernized” version of the law will almost certainly be riddled with loopholes and hence meaningless, but it is surprising that this ended up a part of the Republican platform.

Wikileaks Releases 300K Emails from Turkish AKP

There have not been any bombshells discovered (yet), but the release of a year’s worth of emails from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s AKP party should prove to be rather interesting:

Over the weekend, the Internet may have saved the regime of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, as protestors organized online to fight a military coup, and Erdogan himself addressed the nation via Apple’s Facetime video-calling app. Today, however, Erdogan may remember that he doesn’t particularly like the Internet, after all—as hundreds of thousands of his ruling party’s alleged private correspondences spills onto the web.

On Tuesday, WikiLeaks published what it’s calling the Erdoğan Emails, a searchable collection of 294,548 emails it says are leaked from the AKP, Turkey’s ruling political party, and the organization president Erdoğan led before he was elected president. Turkish citizens and the world community are still struggling to understand the context of Turkey’s coup and the crackdown that’s followed, all of which could make this alleged Erdoğan leak more significant than the secret-spilling group’s average data dump. However, at the time of writing, it’s not at all clear yet what exactly the Turkish-language megaleak contains, or if the emails are what Wikileaks claims they are.

“The material was obtained a week before the attempted coup. However, WikiLeaks has moved forward its publication schedule in response to the government’s post-coup purges,” reads a note posted with the release on WikiLeaks’ site. “We have verified the material and the source, who is not connected, in any way, to the elements behind the attempted coup, or to a rival political party or state.”

I did a quick search of the data (for Bilal, Erdoğan’s remarkably corrupt son), so the search works, but given my complete lack of understanding of the Turkish language, it proved of little use to me.

Hopefully someone in the expat community (Turkey is blocking access to the site) will do a deep dive.

I So Hope that DWS Loses the Primary

We now have reports that Bernie Sanders will cmapaign against Debbie Wasserman-Schultz in the upcoming Congressional primary:

In an interview with USA Today, Bernie Sanders announced plans for the Sanders Institute and other educational and political organizations to continue the revolution his campaign spawned.

Sanders will also be campaigning for at least 100 progressives around the country—including democrat Tim Canova, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s primary congressional challenger.


With Sanders’ endorsement for Clinton behind him, his next steps leading up to the Democratic National Convention are to maintain a progressive presence within the party. As Wasserman Schultz was spared in negotiations for Sanders’ endorsement, the next best way to maintain a progressive presence is by ensuring she loses her reelection bid to a more progressive alternative like Tim Canova.

Canova has already raised over $2 million in his congressional race against Wasserman Schultz, in large part thanks to contributions from disenfranchised Sanders supporters. His momentum has received backlash from Democrats keen on keeping Wasserman Schultz in Congress.


Even though Wasserman Schultz’s Democratic primary is just around the corner—on August 30—she has consistently refused to debate Canova, and has limited her exposure as DNC chair. While Wasserman Schultz has avoided the public eye, Canova has exposed a litany of her policy shortfalls among progressives. The Miami Herald reported that Wasserman Schultz broke down in tears after the Florida AFL-CIO declined to endorse her, due to her support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement—which Canova staunchly opposes.

Gee. She has a sad, because a labor union declined to endorse her because she has proved herself implacably hostile to the needs and desires of that union.

This is how politics is supposed to work.

Canova’s support for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau guidelines pushed Wasserman Schultz to flip-flop in her support for payday lenders. He also recently challenged Wasserman Schultz’s vote in favor of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act, which allows pension and benefit cuts to 400,000 American workers—many of them teamsters and union members.

Gee, supporting loan sharks, the TPP, and gutting union pensions?  I can’t imagine why, “the Florida AFL-CIO declined to endorse her.”

I so hope she is sent packing in the primary.

I Did Not Expect This from This Circuit

The full court of appeals for the 5th circuit just suspended most of Texas’ voter suppression law:

A federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that Texas’s strict voter-ID law discriminates against minority voters, and it ordered a lower court to come up with a fix for the law in time for the November elections.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, one of the most conservative in the country, declined to strike down the law completely but said provisions must be made to allow those who lack the specific ID the law requires to be able to cast a vote.

Nine of the 15 appellate judges who heard the case generally upheld a district court’s finding that 600,000 people, disproportionately minorities, lack the specific kind of identification required — a driver’s license, military ID, passport or weapons permit, among them — and that it would be difficult for many to secure it.

African American, Hispanic and poor voters were most likely to be affected, the court found.


“It would be untenable to permit a law with a discriminatory effect to remain in operation” for the coming election, wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Catharina Haynes for the majority, made of up five judges nominated by Democratic presidents and four nominated by Republicans.

This is good news and responsible Jurisprudence.

You don’t generally get that from the 5th circuit, which can give the late Antonin Scalia a run for his money on bile inspired craziness.

Truth be told, the dissent took it to a level that would have made “Fat Tony” feel inadequate:

“By keeping this latter claim alive, the majority fans the flames of perniciously irresponsible racial name-calling,” wrote Judge Edith J. Jones. She compared the majority with “Area 51 alien enthusiasts who, lacking any real evidence, espied a vast but clandestine government conspiracy to conceal the ‘truth.’”

I could make a statement about her choking on her own bile, but ……… Hell, she is showing signs of spiritual bile toxicity.  It’s undeniable.

Speaking of Paranoid Megalomaniacs in Turkey

TURKEY: List of the massive numbers involved in the #TurkeyPurge following failed coup. –

— Conflict News (@Conflicts) July 19, 2016

It’s been three days since the coup attempt, and Erdogon is using it as an excuse to destroy the civil service and make it another one of his private fiefdoms:

Turkey’s post-coup crackdown took a more sinister turn on Tuesday after tens of thousands of teachers were fired and all the country’s university deans were told they faced suspension.

The licences of 21,000 staff working in private schools were revoked, more than 15,000 employees at the education ministry were sacked, and the state-run higher education council demanded the resignation of 1,577 university deans.

The purge is part of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s heavy-handed attempt to root out supporters of Fethullah Gülen, the US-based cleric accused of orchestrating the failed revolt, whose movement is accused of infiltrating state institutions.


The suspensions followed Monday’s purge targeting other ministries and state institutions.
The employees include 9,000 police, 2,745 judges, 8,777 from the interior ministry 1,500 from the finance ministry, 257 staff working at the prime minister’s office, at least 100 from the National Intelligence Agency MIT, 399 from the family and social affairs ministry and 492 from the religious affairs ministry.


There was speculation that Mr Erdogan might try to put in place a state of emergency so as to take full control of all state institutions.

It’s pretty clear that they had a list of people to purge long before the attempted coup was set in motion.

This is not going to end well.

Well, this is Reassuring

Did you know that there is a bunker at Incirlik air base that contains dozens of nuclear weapons?

With the attempted coup and other recent developments in Turkey, this fills me with a sense of dread:

The U.S. and NATO face serious questions about the wisdom of stationing nuclear weapons in Turkey after commanders at Incirlik air base, which houses potentially as many as 50 B61 thermonuclear weapons, were implicated in the attempted overthrow of President Recep Erdogan.


Incirlik is located outside of Adana in southern Turkey, just 100 nm from the so-called Islamic State terrorist group’s headquarters in Aleppo, Syria. Since Turkey agreed to allow counter-Islamic State air operations from the base one year ago, it has become an epicenter for attacking ground targets within Syria.

Now, as Erdogan “purges” his military and police ranks of opposition elements, and as the commander of Incirlik is arrested and replaced, how does America reconcile the fact that a longstanding NATO ally lost control of its military with U.S.-owned nuclear weapons in the mix?

“I can’t remember another time when a base where the U.S. has nuclear weapons was directly involved in a coup, and also where the host government cut off the ability to operate in and out of the base,” says Hans Kristensen of the Federation of American Scientists. “The physical protection of the weapons is not the issue because they have their own security unit and backup power, but it’s a precarious situation that requires the U.S. to rethink why it has nuclear weapons in Turkey. The situation is so unique, and it’s evolving so rapidly that this is just not a place you want to have nuclear weapons deployed.”

As an FYI, the B-61 is a “dial bomb”, and it’s yield can vary from 0.3 to 360 kilotons.

And it’s in a country that just had a violent attempted coup which is run by a paranoid megalomaniac who has been given carte blanch by the attempted coup.

Pleasant dreams.

Stephen Colbert Revives His ‘The Word’ Segment With ‘Trumpiness’ | Crooks and Liars

The Republican National Convention has proven such a clusterf%$# that Stephen Colbert revived his conservative pundit parody character for a new episode of The Word:

Stephen Colbert brought back his famous ‘The Word’ segment from his Comedy Central days for his first night of coverage of the Republican National Convention, and he did not disappoint. From ‘Truthiness’ to ‘Trumpiness’, Colbert explained that’s how far we’ve devolved in just a decade.

It was not his best “The Word”, but it was pretty good.

Comedy writers must be in paroxysms of bliss over recent developments.

Mostly, I’m Posting this to Screw with My Son


I just had to share the spectacle of the communications director for the Repuclican National Committee invoking Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony to excuse apparrent plagiarism by Melania Trump last night:

A Republican National Committee spokesman used a popular children’s toy franchise on Tuesday to defend Donald Trump’s speechwriters against allegations that they plagiarized portions of Melania Trump’s speech at the GOP convention.

“When it comes to the speech, let’s actually put this in perspective,” RNC communications director Sean Spicer told CNN Tuesday afternoon. “In a 2,000-word statement, we’re talking about 70 words [and] three passages. Melania Trump said, ‘you work hard for what you get in life.’ John Legend said, ‘work hard to be anything you want in life.’ Kid Rock said, ‘work hard to be anything you want in life.'”

Spicer continued, “Melania Trump said, ‘the strength of your dreams and your willingness to work for them.’ Twilight Sparkle from My Little Pony said, ‘this is your dream. Anything you can do in your dreams, you can do now.‘”

My son is a a proud Brony, and when I told him, he smacked his head ……… Hard.

I told him that it just shows how universal the My Little Pony franchise is.

His response was to tell me to go Cheney myself.

Trumpster Fire*

Spotted at the #RNCinCLE. I’m told it’s being replaced for obvious reasons.

— Byron Tau (@ByronTau) July 16, 2016


And his new logo.

As re-imagined by Samantha Bee

And a new slant on the image

At the RNC, which I am not watching because I value my sanity, they had color coded elevators to help convention goers find their way around, with rather unfortunate results:

This year’s RNC may be a grand old segregated party.

Republican National Convention organizers are scrambling to replace signs labeling a bank of elevators the “white elevators.”


Byron Tau, a Wall Street Journal reporter who first spotted the signs, said RNC staffers were replacing them “for obvious reasons.”

It’s unclear who vetted the signs or why they were hung in the first place. Neither RNC organizers nor Trump’s campaign immediately responded to the Daily News’ request for further comment.

And then there is his new logo, and the various permutations therein.

This really is a complete clusterf%$#..

*Not my bon mot.  It comes from BS at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.

Schadenfreude, New Labour Edition

As if the Labour coup could not get any more pear shaped, his opponents are now at Each Other’s throats:

The Labour party has been engulfed by a fresh bout of infighting as the camps of the two potential “unity candidates” set to fight Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership embarked on their own war of words.

On the eve of a pivotal week for the future of the party, one MP supporting Angela Eagle accused rival Owen Smith of using “sneaky tactics” to manoeuvre himself into being the sole challenger.

Meanwhile, a senior MP supporting Smith claimed there was an overwhelming consensus that only one candidate should emerge, and warned that currently supportive MPs would not give Eagle their nomination if she did not swiftly recognise the situation.

“Angela needs to be very careful,” said the source. “It is not a question of who deserves to be leader; it is about the best possible candidate to beat Jeremy.”

The row blew up following Smith’s public declaration in a BBC interview on Friday that Corbyn should be presented with just one challenger. The formal window for MPs to declare their support for a leadership candidate starts on Monday and finishes on Wednesday.

Smith suggested in his interview that either the deputy leader, Labour’s national executive committee or the parliamentary party could devise a process to whittle the two challengers down if they both had the required 51 nominations to go on the ballot paper.

However, sources close to Eagle immediately dismissed that suggestion, pointed out that the candidate who won the fewest nominations became leader last year and that she was “in it to win it”.

One angry MP backing Eagle described Smith’s suggestion as an attempt to “bully Angela into some sort of corner”.

The circular firing squad metaphor app is even more apropos for Labour than it is for the Democratic party.

The Coup Fizzles, and Things in Turkey got Worse

Now the coup has been put down, the crackdown on innocent members of the opposition begins:

Turkey widened a crackdown on suspected supporters of a failed military coup on Sunday, taking the number of people rounded up in the armed forces and judiciary to 6,000, and the government said it was in control of the country and economy.

President Tayyip Erdogan and the government accused the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, a former ally whom Erdogan accuses of trying to create a “parallel structure” within the courts, police, armed forces and media, of orchestrating the coup.

Erdogan’s supporters of gathered in front of his Istanbul home to call for the plotters to face the death penalty, which Turkey outlawed in 2004 as part of its efforts to join the European Union.


With expectations growing of a heavy clampdown on dissent, European politicians warned Erdogan the coup attempt did not give him a blank cheque to disregard the rule of law, and that he risked isolating himself internationally as he strengthens his position at home.

Broadcaster NTV cited Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag as saying more arrests were expected.

By Sunday evening, authorities had rounded up nearly 3,000 suspected military plotters, ranging from top commanders to foot soldiers, and the same number of judges and prosecutors after forces loyal to Erdogan crushed the attempted coup on Saturday.

Arresting 3000 judges and prosecutors?

Tell me that Erdogan is not using this an excuse to further buttress his his grip on power.

It also looks like he’s going to use the events of this past weekend in an attempt to blackmail the US into extraditing a political opponent of his living in exile in Pennsylvania:

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, newly emboldened after crushing a coup attempt, is testing his country’s key defense relationship by demanding the U.S. turn over a cleric he accuses of inspiring the uprising.

Erdogan on Sunday repeated his challenge to the U.S. to extradite Fethullah Gulen, an Islamic preacher who lives in exile in rural Pennsylvania, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry balanced comments about considering such a request with criticizing the Turks for implying the U.S. had involvement in the coup attempt.

“If we’re strategic partners, I’m saying, carry through on your strategic partner’s request,” Erdogan said in Istanbul. “When you wanted a terrorist, we delivered him to you. Now we’re saying deliver this guy who’s on our terrorist list to us.”


An immediate point of tension in the partnership was resolved Sunday when the U.S. resumed flights out of Incirlik Air Base, a staging point for the fight against Islamic State in both Syria and Iraq, according to Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook. Operations at Incirlik were halted Saturday after the Turkish government closed its airspace to military aircraft and cut off commercial power to the base, which hosts about 1,500 American military personnel and aircraft.


“You have to begin to be concerned that if the U.S. continues to resist the extradition request and other requirements, would the Turkish government restrict use of Incirlik, would they start impacting our operations against ISIS,” said Heather Conley, director of the Europe Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “They are a crucial ally — the location is very, very important, but they have been an extremely challenging ally to work with.”

Kerry said Turkey would have to submit a formal request for extradition and prove its accusations. “Give us the evidence, show us the evidence,” he said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” program.


The chances of the U.S. extraditing Gulen, who has lived in the country for nearly 20 years, are slim, said Brett Bruen, a former official in Obama’s National Security Council and now president of the Global Situation Room consulting firm.

“I don’t see a scenario at the moment at least in which he is extradited to Turkey,” Bruen said. “The evidence that has been presented that he was somehow behind this coup is still not there. And obviously there would be very real concerns about what would befall him if he were turned over to Turkish authorities.”

This has turned into a complete clusterf%$#.

Not Again

We just had an another cop shooting, this one in Baton Rouge, where police recently shot Alton Sterling and then went postal on protestors:

Three police officers were killed after a gunfight in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Sunday and three injured, one critically. The gunman was also killed, and police said they do not believe any other suspects currently threaten the city.

President Obama condemned the shooting and said attacks on police were “attacks against all of us and the rule of law that makes society possible”.
At about 8.40am officers responded to a report of a man with a rifle and wearing black by a convenience store, state police colonel Mike Edmonson told reporters late on Sunday. Two minutes later, shots were reported over police radio, a recording of which was posted online.

You just have to love American gun culture and American Law enforcement culture.

Enough is f%$#ing enough.

Peter Parker, Eat Your Heart Out

The US army is looking at using spider silk generated from genetically modified silkworms:

Spider silk is one of nature’s toughest substances, similar in strength to the Kevlar plastic found in bulletproof vests but much more flexible. Kraig Biocraft, a company out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, genetically altered silkworms to produce a fiber that’s similar to pure spider silk. Today, they announced an Army contract to test this so-called Dragon Silk for possible use in body armor.

There’s a reason that silk from worms is cheap but you can’t buy pajamas made from spider fabric: spiders are territorial and cannibalistic, which makes farming them for fabric production almost exorbitant.


The technology behind Dragon Silk is based in part on the work of Malcolm J. Fraser, Donald L. Jarvis, and their colleagues. As they explain in this paper, they introduce specific pieces of spider DNA into silkworm eggs, creating an entirely new type of silkworm that can spin spider silk.


Rice doesn’t anticipate that Dragon Silk will be a direct replacement for Kevlar, which has a strength of 3 gigapascals. [425,000 psi] Spider silk has a strength of 2 gigapascals, [290,000 psi] only about two-thirds as strong.

“But Kevlar has an elasticity of 3 percent,” says Rice. “If you have a Kevlar fiber, it’s not going to move at all. Our fibers have a 30 to 40 percent elasticity before they break.”

FWIW, the additional deformation that spider silk can take means that it is absorbing a lot more energy than the Kevlar.  (The very crude sketch depicts energy as the area under the various curves)

I am not sure of how spider silk could be used in a structural context, but given my experience with the material, it’s relatively low modulus would indicate that any design would be driven by stiffness issues rather than strength issues, which would make it rather similar to handle to fiberglass.

Your Daily Schadenfreude

Almost two years ago, I mocked hedge fund manager Bill Ackman’s jihad against Herbalife.

The nickel tour was that he went heavily short on Herbalife, and then he aggressively lobbied regulators to shut the company’s business model down.

Ackman’s actions were a primer on how Wall Street types used the political and regulatory processes in an attempt to enrich themselves.

He asserted that Herbalife’s business model was essentially a pyramid scheme, and now the FTC has ruled against some of the supplement manufacturer’s business practices, but the ruling was limited, and Ackman’s short bets will not pay off:

For nearly four years, Herbalife has been locked in a fierce Wall Street battle with billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman. But on Friday the dietary supplements seller scored an enormous victory in this fight.

The Federal Trade Commission said on Friday that it had charged Herbalife with deceiving consumers into believing they could earn substantial money selling diet nutritional supplements, but it did not determine that Herbalife is a pyramid scheme or fraud like Ackman had alleged for years. Herbalife said on Friday it will pay $200 million in a settlement with the FTC. The settlement will force Herbalife to change some of its key business practices, but the regulatory investigation of Herbalife will not end with the type of knock-out blow that Ackman clearly had hoped.

The FTC did make strong accusations against Herbalife, claiming that Herbalife’s compensation structure was unfair because it “rewards distributors for recruiting others to join and purchase products in order to advance in the marketing program, rather than in response to actual retail demand for the product, causing substantial economic injury to many of its distributors.”


Still, the FTC settlement looks to be another big setback for Ackman, whose Pershing Square hedge fund is under pressure after suffering large losses over the last 12 months, mostly from a disastrous big bet on Valeant Pharmaceuticals, a company with a stock that has crashed. Pershing Square has a long-running and very large short position in Herbalife.


Ackman’s Pershing Square Holdings has already plunged by 19.1% this year after falling by 20.5% in 2015, and Ackman’s assets under management have fallen sharply. Ackman has suggested that he would continue to pursue his crusade against Herbalife even if his effort to get U.S. regulators to shut the company down was unsuccessful. He once said he would go “to the end of the earth” in his battle against the company and became teary eyed on a stage when describing the damage he believed it had done.


Michael Johnson, Herbalife’s longtime CEO who has been at the forefront of the company’s battle against Ackman, argued the settlement was a big win. The company also announced that it had reached a $3 million settlement of an investigation conducted by the Attorney General of Illinois that had also hung over the company. “The settlements are an acknowledgment that our business model is sound and underscore our confidence in our ability to move forward successfully, otherwise we would not have agreed to the terms,” Johnson said in a statement.

It’s nice to see a self styled hedgie “geniuses” taken down a few notches.

What a Surprise, The 911 Report on the House of Saud is Dumped on a Friday Evening

The 28 pages on the potential connections between the House of Saud and the 911 hijackers has finally been released.

There are what appear to be connections between Saudi Officials and the 911 hijackers, though they are indirect:

Saudi nationals connected to the government in Riyadh may have aided some of the Sept. 11 hijackers in the U.S. before they carried out their attacks, according to a long-classified portion of a congressional inquiry.

“While in the United States, some of the September 11 hijackers were in contact with, and received support or assistance from, individuals who may be connected to the Saudi government,” according to the section released Friday by the House Intelligence Committee with some portions blacked out.

But top U.S. intelligence officials who approved releasing the report, as families of some of the 3,000 victims of the attacks have long demanded, emphasized that they didn’t consider it accurate or reliable. Saudi officials have long said the 28 pages from the report written in 2002 provide no evidence that the U.S. ally was involved in the attacks, and that conclusion was echoed by the lawmakers who released the document.

The 28 pages do “not put forward vetted conclusions, but rather unverified leads that were later fully investigated by the intelligence committee,” Representative Devin Nunes of California, the committee’s Republican chairman, said in a statement.


The release also was praised by former Democratic Senator Bob Graham of Florida, who has long differed with most fellow lawmakers about the significance of the 28 pages and the likelihood of Saudi involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks.

“We’re now at a point where the American people can read the 28 pages and form their own opinion,” Graham, a former Senate Intelligence Committee chairman, said in a telephone interview. “This makes a very compelling case that the Saudis were the source of assistance to the 9/11 hijackers.”

Rather unsurprisingly, there appear to be ties between the hijackers and Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan:

One of the individuals cited in the previously classified material is Osama Bassnan, who the FBI and CIA suspected may have been in contact in San Diego with two of the 19 hijackers — 15 of whom were Saudi nationals. The document states that the FBI “confirmed” that Bassnan’s wife received money directly from the wife of Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, then the ambassador to the United States.

Like a bad penny, we find Prince Bandar yet again.

I won’t go as far as the folks at New York Post, who flat out declare Saudi culpability, but the history of the Saudi regime, particularly when juxtaposed by efforts to suppress this information by the Saudis, does create the impression that the House of Saud is not the stalwart ally that the conventional wisdom in Washington, DC portrays them to be.

Admittedly, Just One Report, But If True, Nice Was Not Terrorism

There is a report that  Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the alleged perpetrator of an attack in Nice that has killed over 80 people,  may have been depressed because his wife left him.

If this is true, it means that this guy was not ISIS or al Qaeda, but a spree killer driven over the edge by family problems,

That would make him culturally American:

A terrorist who used a hired lorry to kill at least 84 people in a rampage during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice has been named as a convicted criminal well known to the police for armed attacks.

Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel – described as a “weird loner” who “became depressed” when his wife left him – was a French passport holder who lived in the Riviera city and was regularly in trouble with the law.

The 31-year-old delivery driver’s wife is this afternoon in police custody as officers question her about his alleged Islamist links. Bouhlel was reportedly not on a terrorist watch list and investigators are seeking to establish his motives – and are also looking for possible accomplices.


Neighbours described him as a “very weird loner” and father of three who had recently become estranged from his wife and had become depressed following the breakdown of his marriage.

Seriously, if these reports are accurate, he sounds a lot like the majority of the white mass shooters in the United States.

There is an Ongoing Coup Attempt in Turkey

There is Civilian Resistance

As is frequently the case, the picture of what is going on is unclear:

A military coup attempt plunged Turkey into a long night of violence and intrigue on Friday, threatening its embattled president and injecting new instability into a crucial NATO member and American ally in the chaotic Middle East.

The coup attempt was followed hours later by an equally dramatic public appearance by the president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose whereabouts was unknown for hours after the plotters claimed to have taken control. Flying into Istanbul Ataturk Airport from an undisclosed location early Saturday, Mr. Erdogan signaled the coup was failing.

“A minority within the armed forces has unfortunately been unable to stomach Turkey’s unity,” Mr. Erdogan said, after the private NTV television channel showed him greeting supporters. Blaming political enemies, Mr. Erdogan said: “What is being perpetrated is a rebellion and a treason. They will pay a heavy price for their treason to Turkey.”

There were indications that the coup’s leaders, at a minimum, did not have a tight grip on many parts of the country. Supporters of Mr. Erdogan took to the streets of Istanbul to oppose the coup’s plotters. More than 130 people have been arrested in connection with the coup attempt, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said in comments to CNN Turk.

Nonetheless, the abrupt turn of events in Turkey left Mr. Erdogan’s grip on power uncertain. The country has been reeling from a wave of deadly extremism by the Islamic State militant group, struggling to accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war in neighboring Syria and fighting a resurgent Kurdish rebellion in the Turkish southeast.

Martial law was declared in the country, which has been convulsed by military takeovers at least three times in the past half-century. Mr. Erdogan, an Islamist who has dominated politics for more than a decade and sought to exert greater control over the armed forces, was forced to use his iPhone’s FaceTime app from a secret location to broadcast messages beseeching the public to resist the coup attempt.

Erdogan has been a disaster for Turkey and the Middle East:  He has systematically dismantled the already meager protections of civil rights in Turkey, and has (at least until recently) been a supporter, along with the House of Saud of the Islamic State terrorist group.

Additionally, he has taken to stoking ethnic tensions with the Kurds, and re-initiated operations in Kurdish regions that is brutal even by the standards of the Turkish-Kurdish convlict.

If he were to leave the political stage it would be a good thing for pretty much everyone who has to deal with him.

On the other hand, a coup d’etat by the military is not a good thing.

There is no upside to this.

And the Former Walmart Board Member Goes Back to F%$#ing the American Worker

Hillary just promised to preserve the H1B Visa in all its corrupt wage depressing glory:

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton vowed on Thursday to uphold the high-skill visas prized by the tech industry as part of comprehensive immigration reform, clarifying media reports that suggested her position on immigration policy would make it harder for Silicon Valley companies to hire talented workers.

“Part of what we have to be strong in standing for is a credible path forward for reform that is truly comprehensive, addressing all aspects of the system. Including immigrants living here today, those who wish to come in the days ahead. From highly skilled workers to family members. To those seeking refuge from violence wherever that might occur,” Clinton said, speaking to a room full of Latino activists during a speech at the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) conference luncheon.

“To families this is an issue that matters more than we can measure. There’s nothing I take more seriously.”

The tech industry has been a major supporter of immigration reform in general, but particularly favors the high-skill or H-1B visa program, which allows companies to hire immigrants to fill technical positions.

The H-1B system is supposed to allow companies to employ foreigners who have unique skills not available in the us.

In truth, it allows the importation of cheap slave labor.

H/t ECop at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.

It’s Official, Yes Minister is a Documentary

This is almost as prescient as The Onion declaring that “Our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is over,” in January 2001

This is the only explanation for the appointment of Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson as the new British Foreign Minister by Prime Minister Theresa May:

For the second time in a month, Britain has given the Washington foreign policy establishment a surprise, and not a wholly pleasant one. First there was the startling news of Brexit. Now there is Boris Johnson as foreign secretary.

“In the same way Brexit undermined the British relationship with the EU, Boris Johnson will undermine the British relationship with the rest of the world,” said Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group, a political consulting firm headquartered in New York. “So you’ve got the map covered at this point.”

Johnson arrives in his new post under new British prime minister Theresa May with unusually heavy baggage. On Thursday the Washington Post, ever influential among US policymakers, published a digest of his past gaffes under a headline that drew attention to a 2007 Daily Telegraph column in which he backed Hillary Clinton for president and wrote of her: “She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital.”

 He was similarly colo(u)rful about Vladimir Putin:

Johnson compared the Russian president to a character straight out of the Harry Potter books, in a 2015 column for The Telegraph newspaper about working with Russia to remove Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

“Despite looking a bit like Dobby the House Elf, he is a ruthless and manipulative tyrant”

And he also rote a rather rude contest winning limerick about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and he described George W. Bush as, “A cross-eyed Texan warmonger, unelected, inarticulate, who epitomizes the arrogance of American foreign policy,” as well as the bon mot that, “For 10 years we in the Tory Party have become used to Papua New Guinea-style orgies of cannibalism and chief-killing,” which left that island nation’s attache in London unamused.

(FWIW, I think that all of this is a hoot, but making him FM is a complete mind f%$#.)

Still, it is not surprising that the rest of the world is wondering if London is just f%$#ing with them.

Like I said, the BritCom Yes Minister is a documentary.