Inside The Bunker

I’ve played video games like this.

They never end especially well.

Survival of the Richest
by Douglas Rushkoff, Medium
Jul 5, 2018

Last year, I got invited to a super-deluxe private resort to deliver a keynote speech to what I assumed would be a hundred or so investment bankers. It was by far the largest fee I had ever been offered for a talk — about half my annual professor’s salary — all to deliver some insight on the subject of “the future of technology.”

I’ve never liked talking about the future. The Q&A sessions always end up more like parlor games, where I’m asked to opine on the latest technology buzzwords as if they were ticker symbols for potential investments: blockchain, 3D printing, CRISPR. The audiences are rarely interested in learning about these technologies or their potential impacts beyond the binary choice of whether or not to invest in them. But money talks, so I took the gig.

After I arrived, I was ushered into what I thought was the green room. But instead of being wired with a microphone or taken to a stage, I just sat there at a plain round table as my audience was brought to me: five super-wealthy guys — yes, all men — from the upper echelon of the hedge fund world. After a bit of small talk, I realized they had no interest in the information I had prepared about the future of technology. They had come with questions of their own.

They started out innocuously enough. Ethereum or bitcoin? Is quantum computing a real thing? Slowly but surely, however, they edged into their real topics of concern.

Which region will be less impacted by the coming climate crisis: New Zealand or Alaska? Is Google really building Ray Kurzweil a home for his brain, and will his consciousness live through the transition, or will it die and be reborn as a whole new one? Finally, the CEO of a brokerage house explained that he had nearly completed building his own underground bunker system and asked, “How do I maintain authority over my security force after the event?”

The Event. That was their euphemism for the environmental collapse, social unrest, nuclear explosion, unstoppable virus, or Mr. Robot hack that takes everything down.

This single question occupied us for the rest of the hour. They knew armed guards would be required to protect their compounds from the angry mobs. But how would they pay the guards once money was worthless? What would stop the guards from choosing their own leader? The billionaires considered using special combination locks on the food supply that only they knew. Or making guards wear disciplinary collars of some kind in return for their survival. Or maybe building robots to serve as guards and workers — if that technology could be developed in time.

That’s when it hit me: At least as far as these gentlemen were concerned, this was a talk about the future of technology. Taking their cue from Elon Musk colonizing Mars, Peter Thiel reversing the aging process, or Sam Altman and Ray Kurzweil uploading their minds into supercomputers, they were preparing for a digital future that had a whole lot less to do with making the world a better place than it did with transcending the human condition altogether and insulating themselves from a very real and present danger of climate change, rising sea levels, mass migrations, global pandemics, nativist panic, and resource depletion. For them, the future of technology is really about just one thing: escape.

Our movies and television shows play out these fantasies for us. Zombie shows depict a post-apocalypse where people are no better than the undead — and seem to know it. Worse, these shows invite viewers to imagine the future as a zero-sum battle between the remaining humans, where one group’s survival is dependent on another one’s demise. Even Westworld — based on a science-fiction novel where robots run amok — ended its second season with the ultimate reveal: Human beings are simpler and more predictable than the artificial intelligences we create. The robots learn that each of us can be reduced to just a few lines of code, and that we’re incapable of making any willful choices. Heck, even the robots in that show want to escape the confines of their bodies and spend their rest of their lives in a computer simulation.

The mental gymnastics required for such a profound role reversal between humans and machines all depend on the underlying assumption that humans suck. Let’s either change them or get away from them, forever.

Thus, we get tech billionaires launching electric cars into space — as if this symbolizes something more than one billionaire’s capacity for corporate promotion. And if a few people do reach escape velocity and somehow survive in a bubble on Mars — despite our inability to maintain such a bubble even here on Earth in either of two multibillion-dollar Biosphere trials — the result will be less a continuation of the human diaspora than a lifeboat for the elite.

When the hedge funders asked me the best way to maintain authority over their security forces after “the event,” I suggested that their best bet would be to treat those people really well, right now. They should be engaging with their security staffs as if they were members of their own family. And the more they can expand this ethos of inclusivity to the rest of their business practices, supply chain management, sustainability efforts, and wealth distribution, the less chance there will be of an “event” in the first place. All this technological wizardry could be applied toward less romantic but entirely more collective interests right now.

They were amused by my optimism, but they didn’t really buy it. They were not interested in how to avoid a calamity; they’re convinced we are too far gone. For all their wealth and power, they don’t believe they can affect the future. They are simply accepting the darkest of all scenarios and then bringing whatever money and technology they can employ to insulate themselves — especially if they can’t get a seat on the rocket to Mars.

Luckily, those of us without the funding to consider disowning our own humanity have much better options available to us. We don’t have to use technology in such antisocial, atomizing ways. We can become the individual consumers and profiles that our devices and platforms want us to be, or we can remember that the truly evolved human doesn’t go it alone.

Being human is not about individual survival or escape. It’s a team sport. Whatever future humans have, it will be together.

Straight Randian selfish narcissistic individualism. The ‘Libertarian’ Creed. I’m a civil libertarian but I believe in privacy and freedom for everybody, not just those who can afford it.

I’d quote the Salon article by Nicole Karlis that I picked up the link from but it kind of detours into speculation from ‘Life Counselors’ and forgive me, but I could put out a shingle, call myself one, and coin a mite more money than I make from writing about Politics and stuff.

People would think I was good too.

Cartnoon

After the Rachelpocaypse

I can swear like a 20 year old. Back in the day it was “like a sailor”, Sailor Mercury the magical Buzzfeed quiz machine tells me. Yes, I had to look it up. It’s like Peanuts or Crisps, you keep going until the bowl is empty.

The Breakfast Club (Nailed It)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for October 22nd

A Cold War crisis over Cuba leads to brink of nuclear war; Shah of Iran allowed into U.S. for treatment; ‘Pretty Boy’ Floyd killed; Last victim slain in D.C. sniper shootings; Cellist Pablo Casals dies.

Breakfast Tune CHRIS FARNABY – J. S. BACH CELLO SUITE no. 1 on banjo

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

Khashoggi murder exposes Trump administration’s dependency on Saudis
It’s not just arms sales and business contacts, Trump needs Saudi Arabia to boost oil production when Iran sanctions kick in and to fund US plans for Syria
Julian Borger in Washington and Jon Swaine in New York, The Guardian

The murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi has come at time when the Trump administration is at its most dependent on Riyadh for the success of both its foreign and domestic policies.

Donald Trump has spoken repeatedly about US arms sales to Saudi Arabia, hugely overstating the actual figures. The president also benefits personally by Saudi royals and officials spending freely at his luxury hotel.

But he is reliant on Riyadh for more urgent and consequential reasons.

In three weeks’ time, sweeping US sanctions go into effect on Iran, as the administration seeks to cut off the country’s oil exports. Since walking out of an international nuclear deal with Iran in May, Trump has made crippling the Iranian economy a foreign policy priority, though his officials deny the aim is regime change.

Without a compensating increase in oil supply from other oil suppliers, Saudi Arabia foremost, the sanctions that go into effect on 4 November will produce a spike in oil prices just ahead of the finely balanced midterm elections.

Saudi support in critical to other planks of Trump’s Middle East policy. Saudi Arabia is the main financier of a Syrian stabilisation fund. Trump has been persuaded by allies and his own officials to keep US troops in Syria to combat Isis and provide a bulwark against Iranian influence. But he insisted other nations pay more of the bill. Riyadh pledged $100m in August, but the money only landed in US accounts on Tuesday – the day the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, arrived in Riyadh to talk to the Saudi king and crown prince about Khashoggi’s fate.

Hassan Hassan, a senior research fellow at the programme on extremism at George Washington University and an expert on Syria, said: “The whole administration’s policy hinges on how much Saudi is willing to contribute in eastern Syria. All these elements of administration policy are interconnected and Saudi Arabia is the centrepiece.”

Throughout the Trump presidency so far it has been hard to determine where his interpretation of the US national interest ends and where his own personal interests begin. The president’s claim following the death of Jamal Khashoggi that he had “no financial interests in Saudi Arabia” obscured deals worth tens of millions of dollars that he has done with wealthy Saudis in business relationships dating back decades.

Three years ago, he was far keener to boast of this record. “Saudi Arabia – I get along great with all of them,” he told supporters at a campaign rally in Mobile, Alabama. “They buy apartments from me, they spend 40 million, 50 million. Am I supposed to dislike them? I like them very much.”

Something to think about over coffee prozac

$1,000 reward to nail thieves of California hammer sculpture

EALDSBURG, Calif. (AP) — The artist who created an 800-pound (363 kilograms) sculpture of a hammer that was stolen from a Northern California community center is offering a $1,000 reward to nail the thieves.

The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Tuesday that Healdsburg artist Doug Unkrey made the offer. He made the 800-pound ball-peen hammer out of mixed metals. It has a long redwood handle and measures 21 feet (6 meters) long and the head is 6 feet (2 meters) tall.

Unkrey says it would have required about eight people or a flatbed trailer with a winch to carry off his work.

Short Term Memory Loss

Remember that attack in Kandahar? The one I highlighted ONLY TWO DAYS AGO?

Remember how General Austin Miller, commander of all U.S. forces in Afganistan emerged miraculously unscathed despite the death of Afghan Police General Abdul Raziq, and the Provincial Intelligence Chief, General Abdul Momin?

It seems Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley was not quite as lucky.

U.S. general wounded in attack in Afghanistan
By Dan Lamothe, Washington Post
October 21, 2018

A U.S. general was wounded in an attack last week in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province that killed two senior Afghan provincial officials and targeted a group that included the senior U.S. commander in the country, four people with knowledge of the assault said.

Army Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Smiley is recovering after suffering at least one gunshot wound inside the Kandahar governor’s compound, three of the people said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. U.S. military officials in Afghanistan and at the Pentagon have declined to comment on the attack or identify the wounded, describing them only as an American service member, an American civilian and a contractor who is part of the military coalition.

The attack caught the U.S. military by surprise. General officers are rarely in situations where they face attack, and even more rarely wounded.

Among those present during the attack was Army Gen. Austin “Scott” Miller, the top U.S. officer in Afghanistan. Butler has said that the U.S. officials present were caught in the crossfire after a gunman started shooting. The Taliban asserted responsibility for the attack and said Miller was among the main targets.

Smiley has served in the Army for just over 30 years and became a general in May 2017, according to an official biography. He deployed in Afghanistan this summer, taking command of a unit with headquarters in Kandahar known as Train, Advise, Assist and Command-South. The headquarters is largely composed of members of the 40th Infantry Division, a unit of the California Army National Guard. Smiley has commanded Guard units in California for years.

The Afghan officials killed include Kandahar’s top police general, Abdul Raziq, a powerful but controversial security official who had survived numerous assassination attempts. He had risen to power while clearing the Taliban from Kandahar but was accused of extrajudicial killings, torture and other human rights abuses. He denied the allegations.

Also killed was Kandahar’s intelligence chief, Abdul Momin. The governor, Zalmai Wessa, was shot but survived.

The attack prompted the Afghan government to postpone voting in Kandahar for parliamentary elections by a week. The elections were held Saturday across most of the country, with some Afghans waiting hours to vote.

Afghanistan is a disaster. The United States is losing. D.C. collectively (yes Democrats included, Obama’s ‘Good War’ you know) is more than willing to send more soldiers there to die in pursuit of a policy that has already failed. Do you want to be the last one as we evacuate from the roof of the Embassy in Kabul?

U.S. Out. Now.

Fist Fighting

Unlike some people I associate with I am not combat trained, I don’t know 16 ways to kill you with my little finger though I’m pretty sure I could bash you enough times with a rock to do the job (I am after all elderly and non-threatening). I’d ambush you, you’d never see me coming and I would not disguise my murderous intent.

I’ve struck someone with purpose exactly twice, once in third grade and once in fifth. Same guy, same reason (he was attempting to bully me), same place (between the eyes, breaking his glasses), same result- he backed off (fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice? Won’t get fooled again. Did I mention he was dumb?) and we were both suspended for a week which was fine with me and I had to pay for a new pair of glasses which was not exactly fine with Emily and Richard. Vacation!

So I’m a violent homicidal maniac, a great huge green rage machine (that is actually true), a psychopathic serial killer who you can’t have dinner with unless you like brains acidulated in white wine vinegar, dredged in flour, sautéed in butter, and served with a white wine and garlic pan sauce.

With Fava Beans and a nice Chianti.

And/or Liver which is often over cooked and best served with Bacon (mmm… Bacon), Onions, and Ketchup. I’ve never actually cooked brains- ick.

I’ve also been on the receiving end and it’s almost exactly like this-

Tough guy Donald Trump
by Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon
October 20, 2018

Musing on Gianforte’s skills as a body-slammer Trump recalled that Vice President Joe Biden had “challenged me to a fight, and that was fine. And when I said he wouldn’t last long, he’d be down faster than Greg would take him down. He’d be down so fast. Remember? Faster than Greg. I’d have to go very fast. I’d have to immediately connect.”

Let’s take a moment and consider these fine words from the President of the United States. First, what Trump is praising Gianforte for is the wrestling equivalent of a sucker punch. Ben Jacobs, the reporter for the British newspaper The Guardian, was asking him a question about the Republican healthcare plan when Gianforte suddenly “grabbed Jacobs by the neck with both hands and slammed him into the ground behind him,” according to Alicia Acuna, a Fox News reporter who witnessed the assault. “Gianforte then began punching the man, as he moved on top the reporter and began yelling something to the effect of ‘I’m sick and tired of this!’” (You can listen to a tape of the incident here)

“At no point did any of us who witnessed this assault see Jacobs show any form of physical aggression toward Gianforte, who left the area after giving statements to local sheriff’s deputies,” the Fox News reporter recalled.

So what captured Trump’s attention wasn’t a story of a man defending himself, but rather a man violently attacking an unsuspecting victim who had a legitimate reason to be asking the candidate questions about issues in the campaign for the office he was aspiring to. An attack that got him arrested and convicted of assault.

With that, Trump was off into dream world. Everything he said there after was all in his imagination. He wasn’t telling his Montana audience what he did to Joe Biden. He was telling them his imaginary fight with Biden “wouldn’t last long” because “I’d have to go very fast. I’d have to immediately connect.”

What? Who talks like that? Who says “go very fast?” What does “immediately connect” even mean? Huh? What the hell is he talking about?

Trump has never seen a punch thrown in anger in his life. He’s never thrown a punch himself. He has certainly never been hit by one. He’s never had anyone on top of him, punching him in the face; or been on top of someone else, punching another person in the face. He’s never been knocked out. He’s never come back to consciousness, unable to see, both of his eyes swollen shut, nose and ribs broken, blood from facial cuts and mouth pooling in the dirt next to a gravel road.

I have. That was a beating I took one night in Columbus, Georgia, when I was jumped by four guys who were out cruising the back streets of the town, looking for someone to beat up. I was in a phone booth making a call across the street from my rented trailer when the accordion door slammed open, I was spun around, and the next thing I saw was a gigantic fist wearing a big ring about three inches from my eyes. The fist hit my face, snapping my head back, breaking the glass wall of the phone booth. They dragged me out, and I managed to flail a couple of punches before I was thrown to the ground. They took turns pounding my head while the others kicked me.

Only the headlights of a passing car saved me. The guys who beat me fled the scene, but they weren’t finished. The same four were arrested a few hours later in the process of beating a guy they had picked up and driven to a secluded parking lot behind a junior high school. Their second victim that night died in the emergency room at the Fort Benning hospital in a bed on the other side of a cotton curtain from me as doctors worked feverishly to save him (emphasis mine).

Violence isn’t some lame-ass political candidate “body slamming” a reporter. People get beaten up badly enough to be hospitalized. Their bones are broken. They need to be stitched up. Sometimes they die.

This is the real problem with Donald Trump. He doesn’t just live in a world free of facts and morals and consequences, where he can idolize dictators like Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prince Mohammed bin Salman. He lives in a world where because nothing bad has ever happened to him, it doesn’t happen to anyone else, either. Violence isn’t real for him. It’s just words, and as he shows us with his disrespect for facts and the people who report them, words don’t matter to him. The 59 Tomahawk missiles he sent into Syria were just a “strike” against a “regime” which, that week, he chose not to be fond of. That $110 billion “deal” with Saudi Arabia he talked about every other time he opened his mouth this week? It’s completely phony, but we do have a deal to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia that was made by the Obama administration, and what are those weapons? Well, a good many of them are the so-called “smart bombs” they have been dropping on innocent civilians in Yemen in that slaughterhouse of a war that’s been raging for the last three years.

Last August, a Saudi airstrike hit a school bus in Yemen, killing 51 and injuring 79. Forty of the dead and 56 of the injured were school children. A 2016 report to the U.N. Security Council held that 2,682 civilian deaths were caused by air-launched weapons. Those were air-launched smart bombs sold to Saudi Arabia by the United States.

That’s violence, deadly violence that was caused by American made bombs being sold in a so-called “weapons deal” to Saudi Arabia.

And now what’s Trump doing? Now that Mohammed bin Salman is being exposed for having ordered the death and dismemberment of Jamal Khashoggi, he’s looking wildly around trying to find a way to wiggle his way around the support he’s given the sinister prince and the murdering regime in Saudi Arabia.

Trump loves guys like Congressman Greg Gianforte and Vladimir Putin and Recep Erdoğan and Mohammed bin Salam. He loves them because he thinks they’re “tough.” The problem is, Trump doesn’t know what the fuck tough is.

That’s what it means to stomp someone in the face with Golf cleats. That’s what it means to crush a protester with a car. That’s what it means to offer to pay the legal fees of your Brownshirt rally attendees if they ‘rough people up a little’. Fascism? You’re swimming in it. Are you going to back the Communist Antifa or the Sturmabteilung? Perhaps you believe in Direct Action like Martin Luther King Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi. Good luck with that, it is a very hard path with uncertain outcomes.

Truscott attended the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1969. In 1968, Truscott and other cadets challenged the required attendance at chapel services. Later a court case filed by another cadet along with midshipmen at the United States Naval Academy resulted in a 1972 US Court of Appeals decision (and upheld by the Supreme Court) that ended mandatory chapel attendance at all of the service academies. He was then assigned to Fort Carson, Colorado. There, he wrote an article about heroin addiction among enlisted soldiers and another about what he felt was an illegal court martial. He was threatened with being sent to Vietnam, so he resigned his commission about thirteen months after graduating, receiving a “general discharge under other than honorable conditions.”

What are you fighting for?

Phil Ochs

Country Joe McDonald- Feel Like I’m Fixing to Die Rag

The Breakfast Club (Imperial March)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for October 21st

 

Thomas Edison perfects workable electric light; Anthrax scare claims first of two U.S. postal workers in Washington, DC; Britain wins Battle of Trafalgar; Actress and author Carrie Fisher born.

 

Breakfast Tune Darth Vader plays Banjo

 

 

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 
Trump says US will withdraw from nuclear arms treaty with Russia
Julian Borger in Washington, Martin Pengelly in New York and agencies

Donald Trump has confirmed the US will leave an arms control treaty with Russia dating from the cold war that has kept nuclear missiles out of Europe for three decades.

“We’ll have to develop those weapons,” the president told reporters in Nevada after a rally. “We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.”

Trump was referring to the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty (INF), which banned ground-launch nuclear missiles with ranges from 500km to 5,500km. Signed by Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev, it led to nearly 2,700 short- and medium-range missiles being eliminated, and an end to a dangerous standoff between US Pershing and cruise missiles and Soviet SS-20 missiles in Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something to think about over coffee prozac

 
In Jair Bolsonaro’s New Brazil, Far-Right Evangelical Billionaire Edir Macedo’s Media Empire Is Being Exploited to Investigate Journalists — Including The Intercept
Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

THE HIGHLY LIKELY ASCENSION to power of far-right extremist Jair Bolsonaro is already unleashing a climate in which journalists who are critical of him and his movement – including several writing for the Intercept – are being subjected to an aggressive campaign of personal investigation, attempted intimidation, and thuggish scrutiny of family members.

These attacks are being orchestrated by the media outlets owned by a far-right, scandal-plagued, evangelical pastor-billionaire, Edir Macedo (universally known as The Bishop and founder of the sprawling Universal Church of the Kingdom of God), who is now an explicit supporter of Bolsonaro. Macedo’s vast media empire – one that includes the nation’s second-largest TV outlet (Record), online portals (R7) and various other news agencies – is now being flagrantly abused to impose punishment and retaliation against journalists for the crime of reporting critically on Bolsonaro, his movement, and Macedo’s companies.

On Saturday (Oct. 13), The Intercept published, in Portuguese, an exposé on how journalists inside R7, a huge online portal owned by Macedo, are “hostages” to their owner’s agenda, barred from publishing negative stories about Bolsonaro and generally forced to sacrifice their journalistic integrity to serve Macedo’s extremist political agenda. Written for the Intercept by the Brazilian journalist Leandro Demori, the article was based on reports from distraught R7 journalists who spoke anonymously. The article went viral in Brazil, quickly becoming one of the most widely read Intercept articles of the year. On Thursday, in the wake of that reporting, the long-time chief of Record TV’s flagship news program, Luciana Barcelos, resigned.

2018 Senior League Championship Game 7: Dodgers @ Brewers

I must say the Dodgers looked shabby last night. I’m talking 1986 Sox shabby with the caveat that they were never really in the game and the Sox were one strike away, so in fact much worse. Ryu was chased (and is now useless) in 3, 5 Runs down. They used 6 Relievers, none for more than an Inning and including a Starter, Rich Hill, to close it out. Miley lasted for 4.1 Innings and allowed 2 Runs on 5 Hits, a Home Run, and 2 Walks. Hader rode the pine, didn’t need him at all.

I think this is over, the Brewers have done it. In any event I no longer think the Dodgers have the stuff to beat the Sox. Their pitchers are ineffectual and their bats silent.

Brewers will start Jhoulys Chacín (R, 15 – 6, 3.50 ERA). In his last outing in the League Championship he went for 5.1 scoreless Innings surrendering not a Hit, not a Walk… nothing. He throws Fastballs and Sliders about equally.

The Dodgers will trot out Walker Buehler (R, 8 – 5, 2.62 ERA) for what I feel is their final appearance this year. Previously in the League Championship he has lost a game, lasting 7 Innings where he allowed 4 Runs on 6 Hits with 1 Home Run and a Walk for an ERA of 5.14. He throws Fastballs and a few Curves and Cutters.

See you in Yawkey Way (it used to be just Jersey Street).

Seven Minutes Of Screaming

Even a minute is a very long time. Try holding your breath. See? I used to be able to swim a 50 meter pool in one breath, but not so much anymore and my Breast Stroke splits for the distance ran in the high 40s.

Not that it excused me from IM because I had ok times in Fly (100 and 200) and Backstroke and Freestyle.

We weren’t a terribly thick team and so I got 3rd string calls in IM at all distances including the Relays as a ‘Fly’ specialist (what can I say, my Coach hated me and made my life miserable in every way that he could), Freestyle likewise and the ‘B’ team in the 4×50 and 4×100, Backstroke if everyone else was sick or having fun. Oh, and Fly all the time at whatever (what can I say, my Coach hated me and made my life miserable in every way that he could). 4×400 pyramids (100, 200, 400, 400, 200, 100- that’s 3 Miles right there folks and it was only the warmup, a light one at that) with a minute between.

That minute didn’t seem very long at all.

Khashoggi screamed for 7 minutes as they dismembered him alive. I think those were longer but yet too short.

Saudis confirm Khashoggi’s death, claim he died in ‘fist fight’
By NAHAL TOOSI and BRENT D. GRIFFITHS, Politico
10/19/2018

Saudi Arabia confirmed on Saturday for the first time that Jamal Khashoggi died in the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul earlier this month, claiming that The Washington Post columnist‘s death came after an argument and a “fist fight” with men in the facility.

The Arab state, which originally insisted Khashoggi had left its consulate alive, also has arrested 18 Saudi nationals suspected of involvement in Khashoggi’s death, according to its Foreign Ministry. Media reports, meanwhile, said a top Saudi intelligence official and a top royal adviser had been fired, apparently for their alleged connection to the episode.

Khashoggi’s death has badly strained relations between Washington and Riyadh, both of whom view each other as key strategic allies. But the new Saudi announcements — which seemed to cast Khashoggi’s death as accidental — may not be enough to repair the damage, especially amid strong suspicions that the country’s powerful crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, had a role in Khashoggi’s death.

The crown prince appears to remain in the good graces of his father, King Salman. According to the announcements from Riyadh, the king has placed the crown prince in charge of a new ministerial committee designed to overhaul the rules, regulations and structure of the country’s primary intelligence apparatus.

To say that I am skeptical of the new Saudi narrative about Mr. Khashoggi is an understatement,” tweeted Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. “First we were told Mr. Khashoggi supposedly left the consulate and there was blanket denial of any Saudi involvement. Now, a fight breaks out and he’s killed in the consulate, all without knowledge of Crown Prince. It’s hard to find this latest ‘explanation‘ as credible.”

President Donald Trump said Friday evening the Saudi announcement was “a great first step,” adding that he thought the statement was credible and he hadn’t been lied to by Saudi leaders, according to pool reports.

Trump had said earlier Friday that he believed Khashoggi was dead, despite the earlier Saudi denials. The Saudi government said the king had ordered a fuller report into what happened, due within a month.

In a statement, the White House said it “will continue to closely follow the international investigations into this tragic incident and advocate for justice that is timely, transparent, and in accordance with all due process.”

The State Department deferred comment to the White House.

Some Saudi sources had earlier floated the possibility that the monarch and his aides would lay the blame at the feet of the country’s deputy intelligence chief, Ahmed Assiri. Some media reports out of the region Saturday indicated that Assiri had been fired. A highly influential adviser to the crown prince, Saud Al-Qahtani, was also reported to have been fired.

Khashoggi’s remains have yet to be found.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to Saudi Arabia and Turkey earlier this week amid intensifying outrage. Afterward, he said the Saudis needed a few more days to do an investigation and figure out what happened.

Trump himself has hesitated to be too critical of the Saudi government. Riyadh is a key partner in Trump’s desire to crack down on the Iranian regime. Trump also ruled out the possibility of stopping U.S. arms sales to the oil-rich Arab country, saying that would hurt American jobs. Trump was scheduled to speak at a rally later Friday.

U.S. lawmakers have floated the possibility that if the Trump administration does not act, Congress can mete out its own punishment to the Saudi government, including imposing sanctions. The congressional anger over the Khashoggi case follows years of increasing unhappiness with the Saudis among U.S. lawmakers, many of whom are critics of the Saudi role in the war in Yemen.

Califorina Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the new Saudi explanation is “not credible.”

“If Khashoggi was fighting inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, he was fighting for his life with people sent to capture or kill him,” Schiff said. “The kingdom and all involved in this brutal murder must be held accountable, and if the Trump administration will not take the lead, Congress must.”

Why, yes.

But don’t hold your breath.

The Great White North

Cooo oo cooo ook coo coo. Cooo oo cooo ook coo coo. How about a beer and some Back Bacon eh? Or at least some totally legal bud. Now look a little left. Strange Days.

Alaska governor Walker suspends campaign, endorses Democrat Begich
By DANIEL STRAUSS, Politico
10/19/2018

Alaska Gov. Bill Walker, an independent, suspended his campaign for reelection on Friday and endorsed former Democratic Sen. Mark Begich — scrambling the state’s three-way gubernatorial race with just over two weeks until Election Day.

The move, first reported by the Alaska Dispatch News, comes just days after Walker’s lieutenant governor, Byron Mallott, resigned, citing “inappropriate comments” he had made to an unidentified woman. Walker appointed state Department of Health and Social Services Commissioner Valerie Davidson to the post and vowed to press on with his reelection campaign.

But, on Friday afternoon, Walker announced at the Alaska Federation of Natives Convention that he was ending his bid for a second term and posted a statement to his campaign’s website. He said the decision to abandon his campaign was “not the first difficult decision I have made this week, but it is one I know I must make.”

Walker’s decision could boost Begich against Republican Mike Dunleavy, a former state senator. Recent poling showed Walker and Begich hovering at around a quarter of the vote, with Dunleavy well ahead, with support over 40 percent. Walker will remain on the ballot, with Mallott as his running mate, though neither is an active candidate.

In his statement, Walker said, “I believe we cannot win a three way race.”

“This week I have talked to many Alaskans to determine whether I or Mark Begich had a better chance of running a competitive race against Mike Dunleavy,” Walker added. “The determination was made that, at this point, Begich has the better odds. Alaskans deserve a competitive race.”

National Democrats celebrated Walker’s decision. In a statement, Elisabeth Pearson, the executive director of the Democratic Governors Association, called it a “game-changer” that puts Begich “in a strong position” to win next month’s election.

Frankly I don’t know what this means in terms of outcomes but it sure is interesting.

The Breakfast Club (Saturday Massacre)

Welcome to The Breakfast Club! We’re a disorganized group of rebel lefties who hang out and chat if and when we’re not too hungover we’ve been bailed out we’re not too exhausted from last night’s (CENSORED) the caffeine kicks in. Join us every weekday morning at 9am (ET) and weekend morning at 10:30am (ET) to talk about current news and our boring lives and to make fun of LaEscapee! If we are ever running late, it’s PhilJD’s fault.

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AP’s Today in History for October 20th

‘Saturday Night Massacre’ takes place during Watergate scandal; Gen. Douglas MacArthur returns to Philippines; Jacqueline Kennedy weds Aristotle Onassis; Three Lynyrd Skynyrd members die in plane crash.

 

Breakfast Tune Freebird Banjo-Todd Taylor Top-40 Hit.wmv

Skip ahead to about 2:50 for the speedy part.

 

Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below

 
‘We Call BS’: As Saudi Arabia Claims Khashoggi Killed in ‘Fistfight,’ Trump White House Issues ‘Laughably Weak’ Response
Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams

“We call BS,” declared CODEPINK co-founder Medea Benjamin on Friday after the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia finally confirmed that Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul—but also claimed he died in “fistfight” gone wrong rather than the widely suspected grisly torture and assassination by a hit team acting on orders from the highest levels of Saudi leadership.

The Kingdom later updated its explanation, according to a CNN reporter, to say that Khashoggi was killed in a chokehold during a fight. Turkish officials, meanwhile, have alleged to the press that a team of Saudi agents—including a doctor specializing in autopsies—brought a bone saw into the consulate, where they tortured, killed, and dismembered Khashoggi.

Breaking down the past nearly three weeks since Khashoggi, who was a U.S. resident, entered the Saudi consulate in Turkey but never reemerged—despite Saudi Arabia’s initial claims to the contrary—activist and writer Shaun King also called “bullshit” on the official Saudi explanation.

Saudi Arabia’s “explanation for the arbitrary execution of Jamal Khashoggi is just not plausible. No government should accept it or the pretense at investigation,” warned U.N. Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Agnes Callamard. “We need a trustworthy, impartial, and transparent investigation. To identify the killers and the mastermind.”

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Senior League Championship Game 6: Dodgers @ Brewers

It’s Miller Time.

“He Missed The Tag!!!”

Ok, I couldn’t resist. Video quality still sucks though.

Things look kind of bleak for the Brewers who confront the Dodgers tonight facing elimination. On the other hand they’re at home.

Everyone is on short rest (with a travel day) but with the Brewers’ alternative being Golf (the opposite of fun) they will all be available, including Hader. Suck it up, plenty of time to rest in the off season.

Wade Miley (L, 5 – 2, 2.57 ERA) will open yet again. This is his third appearance in the League Championship where he has so far allowed only 2 hits and) 1 Walk. That’s it. He throws junk starting with Cutters but including a fair portion of Fastballs, Curves, and Changeups.

The Dodgers will start Hyun-Jin Ryu (L, 7 – 3, 1.97 ERA) for the second time. In his initial outing he allowed 2 Runs on 6 Hits with 1 Home Run. He was chased after only 4.1 for an ERA of 4.15. He’s a true 4 pitch Pitcher with Fastballs, Cutters, Curves and Changeups about evenly distributed.

On paper the Brewers should win this easily.

Welcome To The Reich

Zeigen mir ihr Papiere. Jetzt!

TSA Announces Plans To Subject Domestic Travelers To Biometric Screening
by Tim Cushing, Tech Dirt
Fri, Oct 19th 2018

As promised/threatened, the DHS is moving forward with expanded use of biometric scanning at airports, including facial recognition and fingerprint matches. What was touted as a way to combat international terrorism and illegal immigration will now include those on the home front, as the tech spreads to include US citizens on domestic flights. But the TSA doesn’t see this as an unwanted incursion into the lives of innocent citizens. Instead, it pitches it as a useful tool to speed up security screening at TSA checkpoints.

Yes, the paying members of the TSA’s Pre✓ program will be the first to “enhance” their “travel experience” by feeding their faces into a database the TSA controls, using tech prone to erroneous conclusions. Other travelers won’t be able to opt out of biometric screening, however. They’ll just be subject to the non-enhanced travel experience where TSA and CBP officers ask a long series of invasive questions and infer suspicious behavior on the part of travelers who bypass the biometric kiosks.

It’s true that traveling in the US has always been a “papers, please” experience. But prior to the 9/11 attacks, this simply meant presenting a ticket before boarding. Now, it’s everything about everybody, no matter how useless this information is 99.9% of the time. Rather than move towards smarter screening methods, the TSA has decided to subject everyone to the same level of screening with the same arbitrary rules stemming from airborne attacks the TSA failed to prevent.

The TSA pitches this as a paperless airport, but it’s really just another way for the government to compile a massive database of identifying info and of citizens’ movements. The DHS likes to talk about its 96% accuracy target, but has released no information about actual accuracy in test runs, so concerns about false positives/negatives aren’t going away anytime soon.

The government has responded in the worst way to terrorist attacks in the US. It has made freedom of movement a hassle — one that diminishes Constitutional protections and turns every traveler into a potential suspect.

As I’ve been warning, they’re coming for you too. I hate flying not because of my acrophobia (which is very real but not disabling), instead because of the mind numbing inconvenience of arriving 2 Hours before my flight, then being trapped in a tin can for who knows? and spending another 2 Hours getting from the airport to where you want to be.

Oh, and you don’t have a car when you get there unless you rent one (which is kind of a good thing to do for longer trips anyway if you can afford it).

Instead I drive. 9 and a half Hours to Michigan, you can do it in a day if you start early and drive non-stop. Miami is 21 Hours, you’ll want a relief driver. These are both places I’d normally drive doing an overnight at some skeezy fleabag.

Were I headed for LA LA Land or various places in Fly Over Country normally I’d take a plane (the formula is, take your trip time driving, subtract 4 Hours, and if the result is 24 or less hop in the car- no baggage charges and you eat real food, road food but real food).

No more.

Los Angeles is only 3 and a half days away if you drive (12 hours a day which is a lot but I could do more if the urgency was great), everything else is some fraction of that and you have the anonymity of the road (better if you don’t use Highways), a Car, and all the crap you can squeeze into it. C’mon. It will be fun. Like Budapest.

You and I remember Budapest very differently.

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