Month: November 2017

Russia Slams Breaks on SU-57

The Kremlin’s new state armament plan, which will run from 2018-2027, will continue modernization of the Russian Aerospace Forces. However, while Russia will continue to buy modern combat aircraft such as the Sukhoi Su-35S Flanker-E air superiority fighter and the Su-34 Fullback bomber, Moscow is not likely to make large purchases of the fifth-generation Su-57 PAK-FA stealth fighter until after 2027.

“The Su-57 is not expected to enter into serial production until upgraded engines are ready, which is unlikely to happen until 2027,” Center for Naval Analyses senior research scientist Dmitry Gorenburg wrote in a new PONARS Policy Memo. “Over the next eight years, Russia will continue to purchase small numbers of these planes for testing.”


During the coming years, the Russian air force is likely to focus on addressing support aircraft such strategic airlifters and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance planes. Moreover, the Russians will also have to address persistent problem with their aerial refueling capabilities.

“Transport and refueling aircraft, long an area of weakness for the Russian air force, will be one area of focus,” Gorenburg wrote. “Serial production of the long-troubled Ilyushin Il-76-MD90A is expected to start in 2019, and the Russian military is expecting to receive 10-12 such aircraft per year thereafter. A light transport aircraft is under development, with prototypes expected to be completed in 2024.”

Obviously, this is not an official announcement by Russia, but it makes sense.

Refueling, transport, and AEW are significant weaknesses in the current Russian aviation forces, and their fighter force is largely recapitalized, so it’s a case of focusing resources on the most obvious weaknesses.

Today in Wicked Stupid Ideas

Preempting state private carry laws with an NRA wet dream:

The National Rifle Association has called the concealed carry bill, which would make it easier for gun owners to keep their firearms hidden when crossing state lines, its “highest legislative priority in Congress.” Despite concerns raised by Democrats about states’ rights and domestic violence, the Republican-controlled Congress has pushed the proposal one step closer to becoming law.

The House Judiciary Committee late Wednesday voted 19-11 for the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017, which would amend the federal criminal code to allow the concealed transport of handguns across state lines, so long as both states allow it. States will not be able to impose their individual requirements for a concealed carry license on armed travelers from other states

Republicans rejected Democratic amendments that would ban violent offenders from qualifying under the law, as well as a change that would have prevented forum shopping, which means a New York resident barred from obtaining a concealed carry permit could instead send away for one from somewhere else. The bill, which has more than 200 co-sponsors, almost all Republicans, now heads for the floor of the 435-member House. A similar bill, with 38 Republican co-sponsors, is pending before the Senate Judiciary Committee.


Moms Demand Action, a gun control group that attended Wednesday’s hearing, has also attacked the bill, arguing it “is a chaotic and dangerous policy that would gut every state’s gun laws and make our communities less safe.”

The group argues that the bill “would effectively turn the weakest state’s laws into nationwide laws” because conceal carry laws vary state by state. For example, convicted stalkers are banned from concealed carry in some states, but not all, and the age for concealed carry also varies. In the event the bill passes, a Georgia permit, a state that allows abusive partners to carry hidden firearms, would become effective in New York, a state that currently doesn’t recognize any other state’s conceal carry permits.

 We live in an insane world.

They want to turn the whole country into Texas.

It’s Called Control Fraud. It Can Also Be Called Looting.

The LA Times guild, who is trying to unionize the newspaper, details how much senior executives at TRONC (formerly Tribune Publishing) are overpaying themselves while starving the business:

It’s a question we hear often: How would Tronc pay for the raises and improved benefits we’ll pursue through our union?

Well, the answer is that a great deal of money continues to flow into The Times, because of the high-quality journalism our newsroom produces every day. At a recent all-hands meeting, Ross Levinsohn said Tronc still earns $1.5 billion in annual revenue and remains profitable.

The problem is that a disproportionate amount of those profits are lavished on the salaries and perks for Levinsohn and a handful of other richly compensated Tronc executives.

The Columbia Journalism Review noted Monday that executive compensation at Tronc shot up 80% last year — a nearly $9 million jump over 2015. That squares with the findings below from a NewsGuild analysis of Tronc’s SEC filings.


Michael Ferro’s private jet alone costs the company millions. From February 2016 through September of this year, Tronc spent $4.6 million to sublease and operate the sleek Bombardier aircraft, which costs $8,500 an hour to fly. The kicker? Tronc subleases the jet from Merrick Ventures, one of Ferro’s companies.


Last year, Tronc CEO Justin Dearborn made an eye-popping $8.1 million in total compensation. He made substantially more than his counterparts at The New York Times Co., Gannett Corp., Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal and McClatchy, among others. In fact, Dearborn’s compensation was $3 million more than that of New York Times CEO Mark Thompson, whose company has revenues similar to ours but a market value many multiples of Tronc’s. Plus, Thompson took a pay cut in 2016 because he did not meet his performance goals.


If executives were paid more in line with their industry peers, the savings alone would finance thousands of dollars in annual raises, lower out-of pocket healthcare costs, accrued vacation (that was taken away unilaterally), and perhaps even lower parking fees. In fact, if Dearborn last year had made the same as his New York Times counterpart – a “mere” $5 million – the $3 million in savings could provide a raise of about $8,000 to everyone in our Guild bargaining unit.

Given the performance of the company, these guys may be the most overpaid senior executives in media, including Harvey Weinstein.

Why We Loathe Them

Guess what?

The Day that the FCC announced that it was going to eliminate net neutrality, Comcast wiped its pledge to abide by net neutrality from its web pages.

Why am I not surprised?

We wrote earlier this week about how Comcast has changed its promises to uphold net neutrality by pulling back from previous statements that it won’t charge websites or other online applications for fast lanes.

Comcast spokesperson Sena Fitzmaurice has been claiming that we got the story wrong. But a further examination of how Comcast’s net neutrality promises have changed over time reveals another interesting tidbit—Comcast deleted a “no paid prioritization” pledge from its net neutrality webpage on the very same day that the Federal Communications Commission announced its initial plan to repeal net neutrality rules.

Starting in 2014, the webpage,, contained this statement: “Comcast doesn’t prioritize Internet traffic or create paid fast lanes.”

That statement remained on the page until April 26 of this year, according to page captures from the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine.

But on April 27, the paid prioritization pledge was nowhere to be found on that page and remains absent now.

What changed? It was on April 26 that FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced the first version of his plan to eliminate net neutrality rules. Since then, Pai has finalized his repeal plan, and the FCC will vote to drop the rules on December 14.

I think that if Uber moved to Philadelphia, where Comcast’s HQ is located, or if Comcast moved to next door to Uber in San Francisco, the concentration of pure evil would be such that a singularity of evil would be formed that would distort space and time for hundreds of miles.

Hell, it might cause in space and time.

Worst Job in the World

Another day, another cache of toxic waste from the Kalanick era of Uber.

Now, they have pissed off the judge in the trade secret theft lawsuit against them because they have been discovered to be lying in court:

A letter that detailed a secretive effort at Uber to gather intelligence on competitors and cover its tracks has the ride-hailing company on the defensive in a legal fight that has gripped Silicon Valley since February.

On Tuesday, the discovery of the letter caused a federal judge to delay a trade secrets trial — a day before jury selection was set to begin — between Uber and Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Judge William Alsup of Federal District Court in San Francisco was alerted to the letter’s existence by the United States attorney’s office in Northern California. The judge accused Uber’s lawyers of withholding evidence, forcing him to delay the trial until Waymo’s lawyers could gather more information.

“I can no longer trust the words of the lawyers for Uber in this case,” Judge Alsup said. “If even half of what is in that letter is true, it would be an injustice for Waymo to go to trial.”

Waymo sued Uber in February, claiming that a former engineer, Anthony Levandowski, conspired with Uber to steal trade secrets from Waymo. On Tuesday, Judge Alsup repeatedly rebuked Uber’s lawyers for not sharing the document with the court. “You should have come clean with this long ago,” he said.

The letter was written in May or June by a lawyer for Richard Jacobs, a former Uber employee, to Angela Padilla, deputy general counsel at Uber. Uber hired Mr. Jacobs in March 2016 as its manager of global intelligence and fired him in April of this year, Mr. Jacobs testified in court on Tuesday. He is now a paid security consultant for Uber, after receiving a $4.5 million settlement following his dismissal.

In discussions with other Uber employees, Mr. Jacobs testified, he learned of an internal organization that gathered trade secrets, code and other information about its competitors. It was called the “marketplace analytics team,” according to the letter, which had been redacted by Uber. The group frequented the code-sharing site GitHub, searching for private material that may have been accidentally revealed by competitors.

This Uber team also led efforts “to evade, impede, obstruct, influence several ongoing lawsuits against Uber,” according to the letter. The team also tried to find out what other companies were doing. And in 2016, Uber hired a man named Ed Russo to help recruit employees of competitors to steal trade secrets, according to the letter.

This group relied on “anonymous” servers separate from the rest of the Uber network, and some employees were expected to rely on devices that encrypted or automatically deleted messages after a certain amount of time, Mr. Jacobs testified. Email was a last resort.


“The evidence brought to light over the weekend by the U.S. attorney’s office and revealed, in part, today in court is significant and troubling,” said Johnny Luu, a Waymo spokesman. “The continuance we were granted gives us the opportunity to fully investigate this new, highly relevant information.”

(emphasis mine)

This is the first time I have ever heard of prosecutors doing this in a related civil trial.

Also, the judge has probably cause to instruct the jury that Uber have lied to the court, and that the absence of evidence can be assumed to be interpreted in the most negative way.

This is rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Thanks, Hillary*

8000 Miles from Pyonyang

It was inevitable once Qaddafi was overthrown in Libya.

His dismantling of his WMD program, followed shortly by an overthrow led by the US, made it clear to anyone on the world stage that the US cannot be trusted to keep its international agreements

“We came, we saw, he died,” and now the DPRK has successfully flown a missile with sufficient range to strike all of the United States:

North Korea claimed the entire United States mainland was within reach after “successfully” testing a new kind of intercontinental ballistic missile, which it called the Hwasong-15, and said could carry a “super large heavy warhead.”

While Pyongyang is prone to exaggeration, its boast of having all of the United States in range is in line with experts’ calculations that the missile launched Wednesday, which flew 10 times higher than the International Space Station, could theoretically reach Washington, D.C.

“With this system, we can load the heaviest warhead and strike anywhere in the mainland United States,” North Korea’s most famous newsreader, Ri Chun Hee, said in a special live broadcast on state television. “This missile is far more technologically advanced than July’s Hwasong-14. This signifies that our rocket development process has been completed.”


The missile logged a longer flight time than any of its predecessors and went farther into the atmosphere than ever before, reaching a height of 2,800 miles. The International Space Station, by comparison, is 240 miles above the Earth.


If the missile had flown on a standard trajectory designed to maximize its reach, it would have a range of more than 8,100 miles, said David Wright, co-director of the global security program at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

The leadership of the DPRK believes that we intend the same for them that we did for Libya.

Given our record, it’s not a completely crazy opinion to hold, and nuclear deterrence of the US is a sensible and sane strategy given this world view.

I would note that if they have 50 kg or so to spare in the warhead, it’s likely that they could put decoys and other penetration aides (penaids) in the missile, which would greatly complicate mid-course interception.

We’re in a fine mess.

*Hillary Clinton was the strongest advocate of the overthrow of Libya, which Obama, at least, had the self awareness to describe as his worst mistake.
Yes, I am quoting an article from a web site called American Conservative, whose author works for the Cato Institute. What can I say? A stopped clock is right wtice a day.

Lame Major Political Party of the Day

The Democratic Party, of course, because the Republicans are not lame, they are f%$#ing terrifying and insane.

There are lamer parties out there among the small fry **cough** Prohibition Party  **cough**, but they really don’t count, because ……… Well, because.

the democrats sent out a cyber monday email trying to get people to buy a t-shirt of the word “democrat” fading into nothing

— 𝕒𝕕𝕒𝕞 🌹☭ (@adamkshuck) November 27, 2017

Brought to you by the guys who gave us the most expensive House of Representatives race ever, to the tune of more than $30 million for which they had a candidate who was determined to stand for nothing.

Seriously. Why to these folks have jobs, and who the hell is wasting their money on their salaries?

A Feature, Not a Bug

The Senate Republican tax plan gives substantial tax cuts and benefits to Americans earning more than $100,000 a year, while the nation’s poorest would be worse off, according to a report released Sunday by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

Republicans are aiming to have the full Senate vote on the tax plan as early as this week, but the new CBO analysis showing large, harmful effects on the poor may complicate those plans. The CBO also said the bill would add $1.4 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, a potential problem for Republican lawmakers worried about America’s growing debt.

Democrats have repeatedly slammed the bill as a giveaway to the rich at the expense of the poor. In addition to lowering taxes for businesses and many individuals, the Senate bill also makes a major change to health insurance that the CBO projects would have a harsh impact on lower-income families.

By 2019, Americans earning less than $30,000 a year would be worse off under the Senate bill, CBO found. By 2021, Americans earning $40,000 or less would be net losers, and by 2027, most people earning less than $75,000 a year would be worse off. On the flip side, millionaires and those earning $100,000 to $500,000 would be big beneficiaries, according to the CBO’s calculations. (In the CBO table below, negative signs mean people in those income brackets pay less in taxes).

Silly rabbit.  Republicans think that people are poor because they are evil, and that people are rich because they are virtuous.

Just ask the Kochs.

The Evil James O’Keeve Is at It Again

This is Not Star Trek. In Startrek, the Evil Spock has a goatee. In our world the evil James O’Keefe is clean shaven, and the good one, a cat-herder for the Massachusetts Pirate Party, has a goatee.

Please note that there are two James O’Keefes, 

This time, he unsuccessfully tried to plant a false story with the Washington Post:

A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets.

In a series of interviews over two weeks, the woman shared a dramatic story about an alleged sexual relationship with Moore in 1992 that led to an abortion when she was 15. During the interviews, she repeatedly pressed Post reporters to give their opinions on the effects that her claims could have on Moore’s candidacy if she went public.

The Post did not publish an article based on her unsubstantiated account. When Post reporters confronted her with inconsistencies in her story and an Internet posting that raised doubts about her motivations, she insisted that she was not working with any organization that targets journalists.

But on Monday morning, Post reporters saw her walking into the New York offices of Project Veritas, an organization that targets the mainstream news media and left-leaning groups. The organization sets up undercover “stings” that involve using false cover stories and covert video recordings meant to expose what the group says is media bias.

James O’Keefe, the Project Veritas founder who was convicted of a misdemeanor in 2010 for using a fake identity to enter a federal building during a previous sting, declined to answer questions about the woman outside the organization’s offices on Monday morning shortly after the woman walked inside.

“I am not doing an interview right now, so I’m not going to say a word,” O’Keefe said.

In a follow-up interview, O’Keefe declined to answer repeated questions about whether the woman was employed at Project Veritas. He also did not respond when asked if he was working with Moore, former White House adviser and Moore supporter Stephen K. Bannon, or Republican strategists.

The group’s efforts illustrate the lengths to which activists have gone to try to discredit media outlets for reporting on allegations from multiple women that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was in his early 30s. Moore has denied that he did anything improper.

A spokesman for Moore’s campaign did not respond to a message seeking comment.

The woman who approached Post reporters, Jaime T. Phillips, did not respond to calls to her cellphone later Monday. Her car remained in the Project Veritas parking lot for more than an hour.

The Post positioned videographers outside the group’s office in Mamaroneck, N.Y, after determining that Phillips lives in Stamford, Conn., and realizing that the two locations were just 16 miles apart. Two reporters followed her from her home as she drove to the office.

After Phillips was observed entering the Project Veritas office, The Post made the unusual decision to report her previous off-the-record comments.

“We always honor ‘off-the-record’ agreements when they’re entered into in good faith,” said Martin Baron, The Post’s executive editor. “But this so-called off-the-record conversation was the essence of a scheme to deceive and embarrass us. The intent by Project Veritas clearly was to publicize the conversation if we fell for the trap. Because of our customary journalistic rigor, we weren’t fooled, and we can’t honor an ‘off-the-record’ agreement that was solicited in maliciously bad faith.”

Your Kung Fu is weak, old man.

Get a real job Mr. O’Keefe. 

I would suggest a night watchman, a lighthouse keeper, or the Taliban.

You really need to separate yourself from civilized society.

What a Pathetic Whiny Loser

I am referring, of course, to Anthony Scaramucci, who has threatened a college student with a defamation suit for a nasty editorial.

Oh, you poor delicate snowflake:

Tufts University postponed a Monday event featuring Anthony Scaramucci, a former Trump White House spokesman, after he threatened to sue a student and the school newspaper for defamation following the publication of an op-ed column criticizing him.

Scaramucci, a Tufts graduate, has served on an advisory board at Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy since 2016.

An attorney representing Scaramucci demanded in a letter that graduate student Camilo A. Caballero and The Tufts Daily newspaper retract “false and defamatory allegations of fact” about his client and issue an apology.

In an e-mail to Caballero, Scaramucci said the student had “suggested publicly” that Scaramucci had engaged in unethical behavior.

“So either back it up or you will hear from my lawyer,” Scaramucci wrote on Nov. 16. “You may have a difference of opinion from me politically which I respect but you can’t make spurious claims about my reputation and integrity.”

The ACLU has already offered to represent Caballero, and your alma mater has told you to get the f%$# out.

Cut ……… Your ……… Losses.


A dystopian view of autonomous weapons:

H/t JR at the Stellar Parthenon BBS.

Well, Good Luck with That

It turns out that refusing to do a postmortem of last year’s electoral catastrophe, remaining arm in arm with the incompetent political consultant class, and stacking the process to favor the failed establishment has resulted in the people not wanting to donate to the Democratic National Committee (DNC):

The Democratic National Committee’s fundraising woes continued last month, when the party posted its lowest total for the month of October in at least 15 years.

The DNC raised $3.9 million in October — far short of the $9.2 million raised during the month by the Republican National Committee. 

The RNC has now raised $113.2 million over the 2017 calendar year and has $42.5 million in the bank and no debt. The DNC, meanwhile, has raised $55 million this year. It has $5 million cash on hand and owes $3.2 million in debts.

t was the worst October for Democrats dating back to 2003 — the first year the national parties were required to file monthly finance reports. The low totals reflect the difficulty the DNC has had raising money since former President Barack Obama left office.

This is not a surprise.

While many donors, particularly the big money donors, don’t have a problem with the corporate tool DNC, they do object to a process which preserves the jobs, authority, and privilege of a cadre of party officials who are venal, self-serving, and incompetent.

Worst Bit of Journalism of the Year

The New York Times commissioned a profile of a Neo-Nazi white supremacist leader in Ohio, and it made Jimmy Fallon’s softball interview of Trump on the Tonite Show, look like hard hitting journalism.

We discover that he worried about his wedding, that he goes shopping, that they eat at Applebee’s, that he loves the TV shows Twin Peaks and Seinfeld, etc.

Any number of people have excoriated the Times over this, and the author wrote a rather self-serving response to the criticism where he basically threw up his hands and said, “Sometimes a soul, and its shape, remain obscure to both writer and reader.”

Basically, he said that there was no story there.

If there was no story, then he should have told his editor, and his editor should seen that there was no story, and should have spiked the story, because the alternative was a story that presented no insight, no information, and no news.

Absolute crap journalism.

Journalists and editors need to know when to cut their losses and walk away from a story.


On November 15, Baltimore City police detective Sean Suiter was shot, the next day, he died.

We now know that the day after he was shot, he was scheduled to testify against fellow officers in a racketeering trial:

Last Wednesday, Detective Sean Suiter, along with an as-yet-unnamed partner, were in the West Baltimore neighborhood of Harlem Park. Suiter’s usual partner in the homicide unit, Detective Jonathan Jones, was off that day.

The police version of what happened, as relayed to the Baltimore Sun, goes like this: The detectives were looking for a witness to an unsolved triple homicide case that is nearly a year old when they spotted “suspicious activity” nearby. Suiter and his backup partner split up to cover different exits of the block. Suiter then confronted a man, who shot him in the head after the detective tried to speak. Suiter, an 18-year veteran of Baltimore’s police force, and a 43-year-old married father of five, was pronounced dead a day later, becoming the city’s 309th murder victim of 2017.


The neighborhood was promptly put on lockdown. Over the course of the week, the reward fund to find Suiter’s killer climbed to $215,000 – a figure experts think might be a state record. The Harlem Park neighborhood lockdown was justified as a way for cops to preserve the crime scene and collect evidence.


Six days after the murder, The Baltimore Sun reported that the city was entering “uncharted territory” for the police department, which usually apprehends police killers shortly after the fact. The longest it’s taken Baltimore police to do so over the last five decades was five days, in 1985. In that instance, the suspect had fled to Oklahoma.


The rumor that had been circulating through the neighborhood was that Suiter was preparing to testify against some of the seven officers indicted for racketeering charges in March. An eighth was indicted in August and a ninth last week. (The charges were filed by former U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein, a month before he was named Deputy Attorney General in Trump’s Department of Justice. It was there he would have his moment in the historic sun. After Trump blamed him for firing FBI Director James Comey, he appointed special counsel Robert Mueller.)

A spokesperson for the current U.S. Attorney for Maryland told The Intercept on Monday that they could not comment on whether or not Suiter was planning on testifying in their case. But on Wednesday evening, Commissioner Davis confirmed that Suiter was in fact set to testify before a grand jury that Thursday, a day after he was shot. He also said that Suiter appeared to have been killed by his own weapon after a struggle.

(emphasis mine)

Despite the ubiquitous radio reports, I hadn’t been following this case particularly closely, but it has suddenly become much more interesting.