Month: January 2019

Clearly, The FBI Will Save Us From Putin

A domestic terrorism briefing the FBI gave to law enforcement agencies in 2017 warned them about the threat of “pro-abortion extremists.” That would be fine, except—as the FBI’s own briefing materials subsequently admit—violent pro-abortion extremists barely exist, and in no universe do they constitute an organized domestic terror movement. The existence of this briefing was uncovered by Property of the People, a government transparency group that uses Freedom of Information Act requests to shed light on the workings of the government.

To make the extent of the non-problem clear: Only one person could be fairly described as a “pro-choice terrorist” (he indeed described himself that way), and that is Theodore Shulman, who went to prison in 2012 for harrassing and threatening to kill two leading figures in the anti-abortion movement. (Shulman served 41 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release.) The only known death of an anti-abortion protester is Jim Pouillon, who was shot and killed in September 2009 while holding a gory sign and protesting outside a Michigan clinic. Harlan James Drake, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, was severely mentally ill, according to his lawyers. He also killed a gravel pit owner the same day, reportedly believing both men had wronged his mother. According to evidence presented at trial, Drake shot Pouillon not because he was a radical pro-choice activist, but because he was offended that Pouillon was holding a disturbing sign in view of school children.

Anti-abortion groups, meanwhile, have harassed doctors and clinics who provide abortions for decades, leading to arson, constant death threats, a wave of bombings throughout the 1990s, and the murders of some 12 people between 1993 and 2012, all either clinic staffers or physicians. The nature of these constant threats, combined with consistent state and federal-level legislative efforts to curtail abortion or ban it outright, has changed the nature of abortion access in America.

And yet the FBI’s briefing to law enforcement agencies appears to be based on the idea that there are threats, particularly dangerous lone wolf-type extremists, on both sides.

Gunita Singh, the staff attorney at Property of the People, told us, “It should strike any reasonable person as astounding, irrational, and even offensive to see the words ‘pro-choice extremist’ strung together. Yet, in this FBI document we see this configuration appear in an Abortion Extremism Reference Guide, juxtaposed alongside ‘pro-life extremists,’ as if they’re somehow two sides of the same coin.”

The FBI is still the misbegotten child of J. Edgar Hoover, and if you view them with anything other than suspicion, you are a fool.


I want to see someone selling beer in a Klein Bottle:

Taibbi Reads the Coffee Man’s Book, So I Don’t Have To

Matt Taibbi’s review of Howard Schultz’s autobiography From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America, and it’s up there with his epic take-downs of Tom Friedman’s drivel:

Scientists may someday find the edge of the universe, but there is no end to the delusional self-regard of America’s one-percenters, as former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz proved this week.

Sunday night on 60 Minutes, Schultz announced he was considering a run for president as an independent. The Twitter reaction was like something out of 28 Days Later: mobs of Trump-exhausted Americans sprinting to bite his face off. At a bookstore appearance for his new memoir, a heckler shouted “Go back to Davos!”

Why the severe reaction? Schultz openly declared his decision to run as an Independent was based on the idea that he’d have to “lean left” to win the Democratic nomination. This is rich-speak for “I obviously couldn’t win the nomination if I had to compete honestly.”


Schultz timed his announcement to coincide with his ghostwriter Joanne Gordon’s new work, the aforementioned memoir entitled, From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America, released Tuesday.

From the Ground Up belongs to the F%$# You: How I Became a Billionaire and You Didn’t genre that has an oddly persistent market in America.

Because it’s also designed to double as an extended stump speech, it’s a particularly difficult read — the boring and insincere autobiography of a pretentious oligarch who probably hasn’t been told to his face he’s full of shit since the first Bush administration.

He finishes by asking, “Is anything in the world more dangerous than a bored billionaire?

This is Taibbi at the top of his form, and you should read the rest.

Your Daily Schadenfreude

Citing “conduct that violates civil rights,” lawyers for Gov. Matt Bevin say former Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis should be held responsible for nearly $225,000 in legal fees and court costs incurred by couples who sued her in 2015 when she refused to issue marriage licenses because of her religious opposition to same-sex marriage.

Although Bevin, a Republican, publicly has praised Davis as “an inspiration … to the children of America,” his attorneys are taking a more critical tone in court briefs, blaming the ex-clerk for failing to do her job following the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2015 decision legalizing gay marriage.

A three-judge panel will hear arguments about who should bear the case’s expenses Thursday at the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. A district judge ruled in 2017 that the couples suing for marriage licenses clearly prevailed and that the state of Kentucky must pay their fees and costs.

Bevin appealed that ruling, hoping to hand the bill instead to the Rowan County clerk’s office. Davis acted alone, without any state support, the governor’s lawyers told the 6th Circuit in briefs ahead of the oral arguments.

“Her local policy stood in direct conflict with her statutory obligation to issue marriage licenses to qualified Kentucky couples. The local policy also undermined the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s interest in upholding the rule of law,” Bevin attorney Palmer G. Vance II wrote in one brief.


Davis’ statutory authority to issue Kentucky marriage licenses came from the state government, Bunning said. And had the state chosen to, he said, it could have pursued criminal penalties against Davis for official misconduct for refusing to do her duty, or the legislature could have impeached her and removed her from office.

Instead, the state legislature “modified the marriage license form to appease Davis,” he said. Bunning rejected holding Davis personally responsible for the money because the couples prevailed against her in her “official capacity” as a public official, not as an individual, he said.

The hypocrisy is palpable, and fabulous.

Why Scott Walker Lost His Bit for Reelection

Because he offered over $4 billion in subsidies to the electronics manufacturer Foxconn to build a factory, an amount that could never be recouped.

It gets even better, because now Foxconn has announced that it won’t be building the factory after all.

It appears that there wasn’t a, “No backsies,” provision in the contract:

It was heralded a year and a half ago as the start of a Midwestern manufacturing renaissance: Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics behemoth, would build a $10 billion Wisconsin plant to make flat-screen televisions, creating 13,000 jobs. President Trump later called the project “the eighth wonder of the world.”

Now that prospect looks less certain.

Pointing to “new realities” in the market, the company said Wednesday that it was reassessing the plans, underscoring the difficult economics of manufacturing in the United States. “The global market environment that existed when the project was first announced has changed,” Foxconn said in a statement.

Company officials had signaled for months that their emphasis was increasingly on research and development rather than large-scale production, dampening the potential for blue-collar job creation.


The Foxconn statement followed a Reuters report that Louis Woo, a special assistant to the company’s chairman, Terry Gou, had said the costs of manufacturing screens for televisions and other consumer products were too high in the United States.

“In terms of TV, we have no place in the U.S.,” Mr. Woo told Reuters. “We can’t compete.”


Mr. Walker and state lawmakers had agreed to more than $4 billion in tax credits and other inducements over a 15-year period, an unusually high figure, for a plant in Mount Pleasant, near Racine.

That sound you hear is the final nail being hammered into the coffin of Scott Walker’s political career.

Why Bankruptcy Laws Need to be Reformed

On Tuesday morning, California utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (PDF), citing billions of dollars in potential damages and fines stemming from liability in several 2017 and 2018 wildfires.

The utility noted in its Tuesday filing that it has secured $5.5 billion in debtor-in-possession financing to continue operating while it restructures. PG&E serves 16 million customers, primarily in northern California.

PG&E announced that it would file for bankruptcy earlier this month, as investigations into some of California’s deadliest wildfires pointed to sparks from PG&E’s transmission equipment as the causes of more than a dozen fires over the last two years. Investigators have implicated PG&E in 18 wildfires that occurred during October 2017, according to The Wall Street Journal. The fires “burned nearly 200,000 acres, destroyed 3,256 structures, and killed 22 people,” the WSJ noted.

Investigators are still looking into whether PG&E’s equipment sparked the deadly Camp Fire that ripped through northern California last fall, killing 86 people. Late last week, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection announced (PDF) that PG&E was not responsible for the deadly October 2017 Tubbs Fire, which killed 23 people. That fire, the department said, was caused by a “private electrical system adjacent to a residential structure.”

Still, despite not being held responsible for the Tubbs Fire, PG&E says it could be on the hook for more than $30 billion in damages and fines related to California’s wildfires. Climate change has exacerbated wildfires in California, and the state allows fire victims to bring lawsuits against utilities whose equipment sparks a wildfire, even if that utility hasn’t been found negligent.

They need to be “Arthur Andersoned”, and their senior executives need to be jailed.

Oh, Snap!

The Illinois Supreme Court just reversed a state appeals court decision, and said that 6-Flags amusement park is liable for collecting biometric data, specifically fingerprints.

This may not sound like a big deal, but it also means that companies like Facebook and Google are liable as well:

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday upheld consumers’ right to sue companies for collecting data like fingerprint or iris scans without telling them how it will be used — a ruling that could have widespread implications for tech giants like Facebook and Google.

The unanimous ruling came in a lawsuit filed against Six Flags Entertainment Corp. by the family of a teenager whose fingerprint data was collected in 2014 when he bought a season pass to Great America, the company’s Gurnee amusement park. The lawsuit alleged violation of the 2008 Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which has gained attention as biometric data are increasingly used for tasks such as tagging photos on social media and clocking in at work.

The law requires companies collecting information such as facial, fingerprint and iris scans to obtain prior consent from consumers or employees, detailing how they’ll use the data and how long the records will be kept. It also allows private citizens to sue, while other states let only the attorney general bring a lawsuit.

Here’s why Facebook and Google care.

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday ruled unanimously against Six Flags Entertainment Corp. in a lawsuit filed by the family of a teenager whose fingerprint data was collected in 2014 when he bought a season pass. (Mark Kodiak Ukena/Lake County News-Sun)
Ally MarottiContact ReporterChicago Tribune
Privacy Policy

The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday upheld consumers’ right to sue companies for collecting data like fingerprint or iris scans without telling them how it will be used — a ruling that could have widespread implications for tech giants like Facebook and Google.

The unanimous ruling came in a lawsuit filed against Six Flags Entertainment Corp. by the family of a teenager whose fingerprint data was collected in 2014 when he bought a season pass to Great America, the company’s Gurnee amusement park. The lawsuit alleged violation of the 2008 Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act, which has gained attention as biometric data are increasingly used for tasks such as tagging photos on social media and clocking in at work.

The law requires companies collecting information such as facial, fingerprint and iris scans to obtain prior consent from consumers or employees, detailing how they’ll use the data and how long the records will be kept. It also allows private citizens to sue, while other states let only the attorney general bring a lawsuit.

The opinion, which overturns an appeals court ruling in favor of Six Flags, has the potential to effect biometrics lawsuits playing out in courtrooms across the country. Defendants in those cases, including Facebook, have argued that individuals shouldn’t have the right to sue if no real damage occurred after they handed over their biometric information. But the state Supreme Court ruled that violation of the law is damage enough.

“This is no mere ‘technicality,’ ” as the appellate court suggested, Chief Justice Lloyd Karmeier wrote in the opinion. “The injury is real and significant.”


The Illinois law is one of the strictest in the nation and has turned the state into a hotbed of lawsuits over alleged misuses of biometric data. Privacy experts say protecting that type of information is critical because, unlike a credit card or bank account number, it’s permanent.

Besides Facebook, companies across a wide range of industries — from other tech giants such as Google, Snapchat and Shutterfly to Chicago-based United Airlines, grocery company Roundy’s and InterContinental Hotels’ Kimpton chain — have faced allegations in Illinois involving improper use of biometrics.


There was already one bill being mooted to emasculate the Illinois law, and I expect to see more of that, along with federal court challenges, because, after all, there is money to be made and campaign donations to be made.

There are Stupid Business Plans, Moronic Business Plans, and Then There is ………

Only $500 a Cup

Setting up a company with a business plan to, “Use reentry heating to roast coffee beans.”

This is f%$#ed up and sh%$.

This is the most transparent scam since ………  I don’t know ……… Maybe Juicero?

A company called Space Roasters says it plans to use the considerable heat of reentry from space through Earth’s atmosphere to roast coffee beans. It will then sell them for the perfect cup of joe.

In an interview with Room magazine, the founders of the company, Hatem Alkhafaji and Anders Cavallini, say space is the place to look for a next-level brew. “Coffee has been roasted the same way for centuries now, and as space science has improved many technologies, we believe it is time to revolutionize coffee roasting using space technology,” the pair told the magazine.

How does it work? The company says it has patented a “space roasting capsule” in which heat from re-entry will be distributed around four cylinders each containing 75kg of coffee beans. Floating in microgravity, the beans will be evenly heated and roasted during the process. The capsule will then be recovered after landing with parachutes. “The entire process will last only 20 minutes but will end with a marvelous aroma as the hatch is opened,” the founders told the magazine.

Although the company says it will offer a “pre-sale” about a month from now, it has not set a price for these coffee beans.

We really need to start prosecuting these “move fast and break things” idiots.

This is a Feature, Not a Bug

Private equity guys are parasites, stripping the assets from the companies that they take over, and leaving someone else to hold the bag.

It is no surprise therefor, that Eddie Lampert, who destroyed Sears by applying the management principles of Ayn Rant, is making looting the pension fund central to “saving” Sears & Roebuck:

Eddie Lampert’s last-ditch moves to save Sears have been lambasted by workers’ rights groups, the company’s unsecured creditors and bankruptcy experts alike.

The latest stakeholder to come out swinging: the pension insurer for the U.S. government.

The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. during the weekend came out against Lampert’s proposed $5.2 billion bid for the struggling retailer. In papers filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Saturday, the PBGC specifically pointed to a $1.7 billion funding gap that, the corporation says, Lampert’s bid doesn’t account for.

Plus, bankruptcy experts say Sears could become the latest example among retailers and other companies that, once thrown into bankruptcy, have their pension plans wiped cleaned.

This is how these rat-f%$#s pay for their 3rd and 4th yachts.

We desperately need to reform the corporate bankruptcy laws to eliminate this, “Heads I win, tails you lose,” bullsh%$.

My Heart Bleeds for These MotherF%$#ers

Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) stated in a filing Wednesday that full compliance with a wildfire prevention court order would cost between $75 billion and $150 billion.

The US District Court for the Northern District of California proposed on January 9 to require PG&E to re-inspect all of its electrical grid and remove or trim any trees that could fall on the lines and fix all conductors that may push together. These changes were required to be completed before the 2019 wildfire season, which starts June 21, 2019.

The court declared in a preliminary finding last week that based on evidence presented, that uninsulated power conductors are often pushed together due to fallen trees or limbs. This then caused sparks to fall on the vegetation below which pose an “extreme danger” of starting a wildfire. The equipment was called a common cause of California wildfires in 2017 and 2018 that have been attributed to PG&E.


PG&E is accused of starting wildfires through reckless operation or maintenance of its power lines. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection has not concluded investigations into the 2018 Camp Fire or other 2018 wildfires, but the law suit states that the organization found evidence of state law violations in eleven 2017 wildfires. 

Screw them.

They have been doing this for years, and have never got anything more than bailouts from the California legislature.

They need to be “Arthur Andersoned” with extreme prejudice.

The corporation should be executed in the public square as a warning to others.

Old School, Seriously Old School

Over at War on the Rocks, Frank Blazich suggest that, in situations where you have aggressive electronic jamming, the military should reconsider carrier pigeons:

On April 16, 1919, the troop transport Ohioan docked at Hoboken, New Jersey. Among the various disembarking members of the American Expeditionary Forces was a small detachment of 21 men of the U.S. Army Signal Corp’s Pigeon Service Company No. 1. Pier-side newspaper reporters flocked around the officer in charge, Capt. John L. Carney, to ask about the exploits of the distinguished hero pigeons the Army chose to bring home. Foremost among the latter was an English-bred black check hen named Cher Ami. As Carney told the story, it was Cher Ami who on October 4, 1918 braved shot and shell to deliver a message from the besieged men of a composite force surrounded in the Charlevaux Ravine of the Argonne Forest, forever known as  “The Lost Battalion.” Cher Ami arrived at her loft with the intact message from the force’s commander, Maj. Charles W. Whittlesey, albeit minus a right leg and with a wound clear across the chest cutting through the breast bone. Cher Ami survived her injuries and Whittlesey’s message provided the exact position of his force back to the regimental and divisional headquarters, information which contributed to the eventual relief of the men.

Cher Ami’s story remains legendary to this day, a testament to the bravery of animals in war. The story, although the records are uncertain if Cher Ami or another pigeon delivered Whittlesey’s message, often obscures the purposes underlying the use of homing pigeons by the U.S. Army. From 1917 to 1957, the Signal Corps maintained pigeon breeding and training facilities, and birds saw service in World War II and Korea. When the pigeon service disbanded in 1957, the Army contended that advances in electronic communications rendered the peacetime maintenance of pigeon breeding and training facilities unnecessary. The remaining pigeons were sold at auction, with a select few being donated to zoos around the nation. Today the use of homing pigeons is viewed as novelty, a quirky vignette of the early 20th century battlefield.

Over 60 years later, the military homing pigeon warrants reexamination. The electromagnetic spectrum’s influence extends throughout the systems and operations of the battlespace into the fabric of civil society. Offensive and defensive operations in the cyber space realm, combined with kinetic strikes on air, land, sea, or space-based infrastructure, could potentially disable or severely damage entire communication or power grids. Adversaries with electronic warfare dominance would then be positioned to control the battlespace and restrict the options presented to American or allied commanders. Reflecting on electronic warfare’s potential, some communications between the front lines of the battlefield and rear echelon command and control elements may need to rest on the legs or back of a feathered messenger when a human runner or more visible vehicle or aircraft may prove too vulnerable to interception or destruction.

A quick back of the envelope calculation shows that if the pigeon is carrying a 256 gigabyte SD card, and takes 24 hours to reach its destination, it translates to a throughput of about 3 megabytes per second.

Honestly, I don’t think that the military will go back to pigeons, alternatives such as line of site communication links, or similar satellite uplinks, (lasers and other tech) provide a more immediate communications solution, but I CAN see this as being a good alternative for insurgencies and unconventional combatants.

Of course, some people may say that it’s silly to reactivate what is a Jurassic mode of communications, but birds, or as my meme-savvy son says, “Birbs,” are actually dinosaurs, so, to quote Zathras, “At least there is symmetry.:

Politico Needs to Hire New Copy Editors

Tiger Beat on the Potomac has an article describing how Wall Street is completely losing its sh%$ over the prospect of the Democrats nominating a Presidential candidate who isn’t completely owned by the finance industry:

Top Wall Street executives would love to be rid of President Donald Trump. But they are getting panicked about the prospect of an ultraliberal Democratic nominee bent on raising taxes and slapping regulations on their firms.

Because it is somehow unseemly for you folks to pay for nearly blowing up the world in 2008.

Early support from deep-pocketed financial executives could give Democrats seeking to break out of the pack an important fundraising boost. But any association with bankers also opens presidential hopefuls to sharp attacks from an ascendant left.

And it’s left senior executives on Wall Street flailing over what to do.

Just do what you always do: Follow the crowd, and lose money for your clients.

After mentioning Bloomberg, Wall Street executives who want Trump out list a consistent roster of appealing nominees that includes former Vice President Joe Biden and Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Kamala Harris of California. Others meriting mention: former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Maryland Rep. John Delaney and former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, though fewally know his positions.

(emphasis mine)

That should read APPALLING, not APPEALING.

Seriously, fire your copy editors.

Because They Are a Corrupt Criminal Enterprise, and They Buy Politicians Accordingly

The good folks at Pro Publica are asking, “Why Aren’t Hedge Funds Required to Fight Money Laundering?

They do a good job of looking at what is going on, but they miss the underlying why.

According to their own description, hedge funds work by recognizing, and exploiting, “Market inefficiencies.”

Translated into normal English, this means that they win by cheating.

What’s more, they know that they win by cheating, and so they know that reductions in corruption, or increases in transparency are a direct threat to their core business model.

The hedge funds are corrupt, and corrupting, to their core, and because of this, they spend a lot of money on campaign contributions, as well as on hiring former regulators, so that people there know, if they play the game, they can cash out when they retire:

For many years, the federal government has required banks, brokerages and even casinos to take steps to stop customers from using them to clean dirty money.

Yet one major part of the financial system has remained stubbornly exempt, despite experts’ repeated warnings that it is vulnerable to criminal manipulation. Investment companies such as hedge funds and private equity firms have escaped multiple efforts to subject them to rules meant to combat money laundering.


The Financial Action Task Force, an intergovernmental organization that seeks to combat money laundering around the world, characterized the lack of anti-money laundering rules for investment advisers, such as those who manage hedge funds and private equity funds, as one of the United States’ most significant lapses in a report two years ago.


Hedge funds and private equity funds can be attractive to big-dollar launderers who prize the funds’ anonymity, the variety of investments they offer and, in some cases, their use of off-shore tax and secrecy havens, experts say. After 2001, the number of annual hedge fund launches surged more than threefold, according to one report, and investments by high net worth individuals exceeded those of institutional investors.

“They’re a black box to everyone involved,” Kirschenbaum said. “They’re sophisticated and can justify moving hundreds of billions.”

Money launderers seek to hide illicit proceeds by making it appear they come from legal sources. Laundering hides crimes as diverse as drug dealing, tax evasion and political corruption. Experts say the massive, untracked streams of cash it creates can fuel more illegal activity, including terrorism.

About F%$#ing Time

For many years, potential Democratic candidates for President have made pilgrimages to Wall Street, and the Hamptons, to beg for money in exchange for letting the big casino to continue to parisitize the real economy.

In years past, no one noticed.

Not any more:

Ties to Wall Street and corporate interests are raising concerns about a number of high-profile Democratic candidates considering White House bids as the party moves to reduce the influence of big money in campaigns.

Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) are likely to face questions about money they’ve received from financial institutions in Wall Street, according to strategists.

Meanwhile, former Vice President Joe Biden has his own ties to banks and credit card companies, dating back to his years in the Senate, while Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) could face scrutiny over her reluctance in 2013 to prosecute Steven Mnuchin’s OneWest Bank when she was attorney general of California.

The pushback could come as progressives such as Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) turn to small donations to fuel campaigns, avoiding corporate donations that they, and many in the Democratic base, believe taint the electoral process.

“Here would be my warning to any candidate who’s thinking about running in this environment today: This is not 2008. This is not 2012,” said Chris Kofinis, a Democratic strategist.

Sherrod Brown should be mentioned along with Sanders and Warren, but the big point is that even 2 years ago, kowtowing to the finance industry was considered ordinary, and questioning that behavior was considered unseemly.

I’m pretty sure what the response will be from corporate Democrats, they will accuse the real Dems of being Russian stooges.

Cox Didn’t, Jaworski Didn’t

But Mueller finally got an indictment of Roger Stone, Richard Nixon’s most zealous rat-f%$#er:

The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, revealed on Friday the most direct link yet between parallel efforts by the Trump campaign and WikiLeaks to damage Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election using Democratic Party material stolen by Russians.

A top Trump campaign official dispatched Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime adviser to President Trump, to get information from WikiLeaks about the thousands of hacked Democratic emails, according to an indictment. The effort began weeks after Democratic officials publicly accused Russian intelligence operatives of the theft, which was part of Moscow’s broad campaign to sabotage the 2016 presidential race.

The indictment made no mention of whether Mr. Trump played a role in the coordination, though Mr. Mueller did leave a curious clue about how high in the campaign the effort reached: A senior campaign official “was directed” by an unnamed person to contact Mr. Stone about additional WikiLeaks releases that might damage the Clinton campaign, according to the court document.

In an indictment filled with colorful details about clandestine meetings, angry texts — even a reference to “The Godfather: Part II” — Mr. Stone was charged with seven counts, including obstruction, making false statements and witness tampering. Mr. Mueller did not say that Mr. Stone’s interactions with WikiLeaks were illegal, nor that the Trump campaign engaged in a criminal conspiracy with the organization.

This guy literally has a Nixon tattoo on his back, which would tend to put off any would-be jail suitors, so he’ll be OK.

Once again, it ain’t the crime, it’s the coverup.

OK, I Did Not See This Coming

There are a number of things that I thought would never happen.

One of them was that the US Air Force would never order another F-15.

They have been trying to kill them for some time, but now it looks like they might be asking for some new Eagles in the 2020 budget:

Indecision has plagued the U.S. Air Force’s approach to managing a fleet of about 230 Boeing F-15C/Ds. Only two years ago, top Air National Guard officials floated a proposal to retire the U.S.-based portion of the air superiority fleet. After that idea withered under the heat of a Congressional backlash, the Air Force last year opted to deprive its F-15C/D units of a critical electronic warfare upgrade, making the entire fleet vulnerable to a near-term retirement decision. Again, Congress intervened and voted to partially restore the program in the enacted fiscal 2019 budget.

But Air Force leaders now seem poised to perform the budgetary equivalent of the F-15’s about-face Immelmann turn. Instead of launching another attempt to retire the F-15 fleet, the Air Force is likely to ask Congress for money to order new F-15s for the first time in 19 years. The anticipated policy reversal has prompted calls for the Air Force to justify such a sweeping, strange request in fleet strategy.

“We’re in a bit of a pickle, and the pickle is we don’t have the capacity we need,” Matt Donovan, Air Force undersecretary, explained on Jan. 18.

Donovan was careful to clarify that he was neither confirming nor denying reports that the F-15X would be included in the Trump administration’s upcoming fiscal 2020 budget, but he still offered a preview of the Air Force’s newly formed argument that the time has come to reverse its nearly two-decade-old position. Instead of insisting that acquiring more non-stealthy, manned fighters in the modern era is futile, Air Force officials are now pleading for more air superiority aircraft overall, regardless of whether they are less observable to radar.

There are a number of issues, the USAF is maintaining that they are not getting F-35s fast enough, but I am inclined to believe that in addition to their sky-high acquisition costs, that the operating costs of the Lightning II are much higher than anticipated.

The hourly direct operating cost of the F-15 is lower than either the F-22 or F-35, while the Eagle’s unrefueled range is greater than either of the newer aircraft, and its air to air and air to ground loadouts are superior.

For about 95% of any conflicts, the F-15 is cheaper and more capable, so this decision would make sense, which is why I never expected the US Air Force to consider such a decision.