Friday 25th of May 2018

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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2018-05-24 22:09

This week, a group of families of the victims wrote an open letter to the Russian people, ahead of the World Cup which Russia hosts next month.

“We are painfully aware of the dark irony that the Russian leaders who will profess to welcome the world with open arms, are those who are chiefly to blame for shattering our world,” the letter concluded. “And that it is these same leaders who have persistently sought to hide the truth, and who have evaded responsibility ever since that dreadful day in July 2014.”


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This is bullshittic beyond belief. NO-ONE HAS SEEN ANY PROOF OF RUSSIA'S INVOLVEMENT IN THE DOWNING OF MH17 which was flying in a "WAR ZONE". NO PROOFS SHOWN SINCE 2014. NONE. And now they have "proofs" but still NONE to be shown... Bullshit, bullshit, all bullshit.

In the weeks before MH17 was shot down, the separatists had shot down a number of Ukrainian military planes over east Ukraine.

So? What was this plane doing flying over an area where "the separatists had shot down a number of Ukrainian military planes over east Ukraine" and how many planes "had been shot down" and "how"?

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Obviously the "investigators" have found "willing witnesses" for cash like those who told us that "Saddam has weapons of mass destruction"... You know the routine. This is why the "investigators" are disclosing their "interest" while fishing to catch a Russian military officer as the fall guy... It's more than pathetic. It's odious smelly western bullshit...


And by the way, someone less cynical than Gus could still suggest the timing of this "release" is coincidentally done to sabotage the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum...

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2018-05-24 21:06

Dutch investigators have claimed they've uncovered hard evidence that the missile system that had shot down MH17 over East Ukraine in 2014 was part of the Rusian military.

The missile, which downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern Ukraine in 2014, was launched by the Buk TELAR belonging to the Russian Armed Forces, head of the Dutch National Police’s Central Crime Investigation department Wilbert Paulissen said Thursday.

"The JIT has come to the conclusion that the Buk TELAR by which the MH17 was downed originated from the 53rd Anti-Aircraft Missile Bridage [sic], or the 53rd Bridage [sic], from Kursk in the Russian Federation," Paulissen told a press conference organized by the Dutch-led JIT.

According to JIT, the missile system was allegedly delivered to territories in eastern Ukraine that were beyond Kiev's control at the time of the incident and subsequently returned to Russia after the crash.

Dutch Chief Prosecutor Fred Westerbeke stated however that the investigation team will not disclose the evidence allegedly uncovered.

"We have more evidence and more information to back the conclusions made today, but we will not make them public at this time," he announced.

Malaysian Airlines' Boeing 777 crashed in eastern Ukraine on July 17, 2014, killing all 298 passengers and crew members on board.


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Read from top. Once again, there is no point making "announcement of the sort with no proofs whatsover", except some "evidence that cannot be revealed"... Another bullshit exercise in demonising Russia without a single proof, before the soccer world cup. All this of course, like the Skripal poisoning and other anti-Russian stuff like the victory of Trump over Clinton, has no substance in it whatsoever, but it maintains the "Ruskies are bad" mantra in the western press... When will our scribes wake up from this official bad dream?

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2018-05-24 19:01
Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk appears to have declared war on the media, tweeting that he was launching a site that would let the public rate the credibility of journalists, editors and publications - which he will call “Pravda.”

Annoyed by the recent media coverage of him and his companies, Musk fired off a series of tweets on Wednesday, culminating with the proposal for the new site. The public would be able to rate the “core truth of any article” and track the “credibility score over time” for each reporter, editor and publication, he said.

Pravda, the word for “truth” in most Slavic languages, was also the name of the official newspaper of the Russian (later Soviet) Communist Party for much of the 20th century.

In a follow-up tweet, Musk explained the reasoning behind creating such a site. Even if the public doesn’t care, he said, “the journalists, editors & publications will. It is how they define themselves.”

To the warnings that bots and trolls could game the system, and that the public doesn’t care about the truth, the Tesla and SpaceX mogul replied, “I have faith in the people.”

He also had a testy exchange with a reporter from the Verge, who accused him of acting like US President Donald Trump.

“Anytime anyone criticizes the media, the media shrieks ‘You’re just like Trump!’” Musk replied. “Why do you think he got elected in the first place? Because no ones believes you any more.”

The tech mogul is hardly the first to propose fact-checking and rating journalists for credibility. A cottage industry of “fact-checkers” has mushroomed following the 2016 US presidential election. Social network giant Facebook recently announced it would rank news sites based on “community trust” and partnered up with a controversial think-tank to “protect elections” from misinformation.

Last year, an attempt by Hillary Clinton supporters to create a fact-checking media platform was met with ridicule. That project, called Verrit, has only consisted of a logo on the homepage since February.

The replies to Musk’s proposals have ranged from calling him a “Typical white rich a**hole” and accusing him of “swerving into Kanye territory to asking if he’s taking applications and suggestions that he just buy out Twitter or PornHub (“Trust me. Everyone already goes there.”)

A poll that Musk posted on Twitter suggests a lot of the users on the platform agree with him. So far, 87 percent of nearly 200,000 voters favor the new project, with only 13 percent choosing “No, media are awesome” as their preferred option.


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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2018-05-24 17:43

A crucial crossbench senator repeatedly voted in support of Adani in Parliament while owning a corporate bond issued by the group's Abbot Point coal terminal.

And there are no laws or rules governing how ordinary MPs should behave when faced with a potential conflict of interest.

A campaign for a code of conduct that could spell out whether MPs should abstain on voting where they have a personal interest has stretched into its fifth decade.

Movement towards a national integrity commission is also sluggish.

Attorney-General Christian Porter has flagged more work is required before the Government follows Labor's lead and pursues such a body.

"Labor's approach has been to announce a body, but provide absolutely no detail about how it would work," he said on Wednesday.

In September 2016, Senator David Leyonhjelm sought to disclose he was an investor in a corporate bond issued by the Adani Abbot Point coal terminal company through "investment vehicle" Amavid Pty Ltd.

The port company is a corporate entity within the Adani Group that, through a trust, has a 99-year lease of the terminal from the Queensland Government. It is located near coal reserves.


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Senator David Leyonhjelm should sack himself... Read from top...

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2018-05-24 08:46

In an October 2, 1910, interview in the New York Times Magazine, Edison stated:

Nature is what we know. We do not know the gods of religions. And nature is not kind, or merciful, or loving. If God made me — the fabled God of the three qualities of which I spoke: mercy, kindness, love — He also made the fish I catch and eat. And where do His mercy, kindness, and love for that fish come in? No; nature made us — nature did it all — not the gods of the religions.[109]

Edison was accused of being an atheist for those remarks, and although he did not allow himself to be drawn into the controversy publicly, he clarified himself in a private letter:

You have misunderstood the whole article, because you jumped to the conclusion that it denies the existence of God. There is no such denial, what you call God I call Nature, the Supreme intelligence that rules matter. All the article states is that it is doubtful in my opinion if our intelligence or soul or whatever one may call it lives hereafter as an entity or disperses back again from whence it came, scattered amongst the cells of which we are made.[54]

He also stated, "I do not believe in the God of the theologians; but that there is a Supreme Intelligence I do not doubt."[110]

Nonviolence was key to Edison's moral views, and when asked to serve as a naval consultant for World War I, he specified he would work only on defensive weapons and later noted, "I am proud of the fact that I never invented weapons to kill." Edison's philosophy of nonviolence extended to animals as well, about which he stated: "Nonviolence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages."[111][112] He was a vegetarian[113] but not a vegan in actual practice, at least near the end of his life.[54]


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This is where Gus and Edison differ: In Gus views there is no "Supreme intelligence". That we could be more intelligent or that we can invent a better intelligence through "artificial means" is not out of the question. Our consciousness at the origin of our intelligence is coming from specific precise assemblage of matter that are from chaos (organising disorder). Nothing more. Is it possible that Edison did not want to antagonise his financial backers (religious) by not being drawn on his possible "atheism" further.

by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2018-05-24 08:06

Two interesting items about the use and abuse of big data appeared on the same day, May 16. And while on the surface they were completely disconnected, underneath, well, they seem anything but. 

First, the use: an article in CFO magazine described big data in almost physical terms. In the words of Henna A. Karna, chief data officer for the XL Group, data is a “feedstock.” As she put it, “Data, in the right hands, is often as valuable as land, buildings, and equipment.” Most evocatively, she referred to using data as “mining the gold.” 

Second, the abuse: in testimony on Capitol Hill, Christopher Wylie, the Cambridge Analytica whistleblower, described how data could be weaponized. As Wylie told lawmakers, “In the wrong hands, it becomes a weapon.” He zeroed in on Facebook and Twitter, declaring that they “are not just social networking sites. They’re opportunities for information warfare.” 

At first blush, there’s no obvious linkage between a data maven extolling the “golden” potential of big data in the right hands, and a data critic warning against its “warfare” potential in the wrong hands.

Yet we see that both points can be true. That is, data can be a weapon while also being gold. We’ve known for the last few decades about the wealth gained by cyber-tycoons, and we’ve learned over the last couple of years about the danger from cyber-warriors—hacking, for example, U.S. politics at the highest level. 

Thus we see the two key words: “warfare” and “gold.” And if we think of them together, it’s hard not to think of, yes, the Spanish conquistadors of ages past. When it comes to war-for-gold, nobody did it better.


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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2018-05-24 07:55

US President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, received a secret payment of at least $US400,000 ($531,000) to arrange talks between Mr Trump and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko last year, the BBC reports.

Key points:

  • Donald Trump met with Petro Poroshenko at the White House on June 2017
  • Mr Poroshenko came away pleased with what he called a "full, detailed meeting"
  • Michael Cohen and Mr Poroshenko have both denied the story


The payment was arranged by intermediaries acting for Mr Poroshenko who wanted to open a back channel to the US President, the BBC said, citing unnamed sources in Kiev.

Mr Cohen, who was not registered as a representative of Ukraine, was brought in because Ukraine's registered lobbyists and its embassy in Washington could get Mr Poroshenko little more than a photo op with Mr Trump while the Ukrainian leader, "needed something that could be portrayed as 'talks'," the broadcaster reported.

"This story is completely false," Mr Cohen said in a text message to Reuters.

The White House did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

In a statement to Reuters, Mr Poroshenko's office also said the story was false.


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by Gus Leonisky on Thu, 2018-05-24 07:18

Anyone familiar with the hit sitcom Seinfeld knows that Cosmo Kramer, the rambunctious, eccentric neighbor of Jerry Seinfeld, had a lot of big ideas. From make-your-own-pizza parlors to tie dispensers to the infamous “mansierre,” Kramer was—in his own mind—a world-changing revolutionary.   

Of course, aside from one notable exception (the Regis Philbin-approved pop-out coffee table book), none of his ideas ever panned out. But lack of achievement is exactly what viewers expected every week. The whole fun of Kramer was his dream-big mentality and the impracticality that came with it.    

No one on the show was senseless enough to support Kramer in his work. In fact, in one episode, Leland fired him even though he did not hold any standing position. Kramer couldn’t even keep a job at a bagel store for longer than a few days. It was his friends’ open refrigerators that provided him with the life support he needed to continue dreaming and inventing. 

This comedy sitcom case study is ironically much more sensible than what occurs in real life. There are plenty of Cosmo Kramers out in the world today with ideas that are even more ambitious than anything Kramerica Industries could have formulated. The only difference is that these individuals have armies of lobbyists that can convince our spendthrift government to finance their ideas, even though they have yet to pass any free-market smell tests.   

Perhaps the most recent example of such a politically astute, Kramer-like figure is Elon Musk. This larger-than-life media personality plans to do everything from sending men to the moon and Mars, to creating a 700-miles-per-hour tunnel transportation system, to turbocharging human brains by implanting computers.   

All of these are excellent ideas, to be sure, but ones that bear significant amounts of risk. Unfortunately, Mr. Musk does not seem willing to bear all the risk himself. His business model revolves around hiring experts to navigate the waters of the Washington swamp to discover ways to make the American people pick up the tab.  

Take Tesla, for example. The car company was created to bring electric vehicles to the general public en masse—a mission that oddly requires over $1 million in lobbying expenditures annually. As a result, the cars are financed by over $280 million in federal tax incentives, including a $7,500 federal tax break, and tens of millions more in state rebates and development fees.   

Despite receiving all this government money, Musk’s company has not shown demonstrable results. Yesterday, Bloomberg released a story under the headline “Tesla Doesn’t Burn Fuel, It Burns Cash,” detailing how the company spends $6,500 a minute and may run out of money by the end of the year. Just weeks ago, Moody’s downgraded Tesla’s credit rating due to its seeming inability to meet deadlines. Mr. Musk’s estimate of producing 20,000 vehicles in December, for instance, turned into just over 2,400 in the entire fourth quarter.  

It is no wonder that when these government subsidies die, electric vehicle sales plummet. Three years ago, sales sunk by more than 80 percent in the state of Georgia when the $5,000 state tax credit phased out. Last year, sales declined by 60 percent when its EV tax breaks sharply fell. These empirical case studies do not paint a positive picture of Tesla’s future, especially given that its federal tax break is expected to phase out sometime this year. Perhaps funding Kramer’s big ball of oil in the name of alleviating the world’s spillage problems would have been just as, if not more, fruitful.  

SpaceX is no better. Roughly 85 percent of its contracts come directly from the federal government. The aerospace manufacturer hit a then-personal record of $2 million in annual lobbying spending not long ago as it continued its quest to conquer the stars. New York magazine once asked “Are Elon Musk’s Aggressive Lobbyists Bad for Silicon Valley?” but without them the government-dependent company might not even exist.   

SpaceX has already received roughly $15 billion in subsidy guarantees from Texas, and despite meeting just one sixth of the hiring goals it promised, it is requesting $5 million more. Similarly, even though SpaceX has already received over $70 million from the federal government to develop its BFR, the company would like more on that front as well. 

Meanwhile, just last week, NASA’s Office of Inspector General found that SpaceX has raised the cost of some launches by over 50 percent due to having “a better understanding of the costs involved after several years of experience with cargo resupply missions.” This new development means that the government’s deal—already diluted by costly rocket failures—continues to get worse and worse.   

And don’t even get me started on SolarCity, Mr. Musk’s solar panel company, which has still not turned an annual profit despite receiving over $490 million in grants from the Treasury Department over the years and the government covering 30 percent of its installation costs.   

As a free market capitalist, I am rooting for Mr. Musk to pull it together and succeed. But I don’t want the federal government to waste any more of Americans’ hard-earned cash to make it happen.   

We will never know what the well-intentioned Cosmo Kramer could have accomplished had Jerry and the rest of the gang cut him off from their refrigerators, homes, and other welfare as a means of forcing him to follow through with his goals. However, we can still explore how taking away such measures of comfort will affect Elon Musk’s motivation and decision-making. Ironically, it just may be the recipe for success that the ambitious CEO needs.

Norm Singleton is the chairman of Campaign for Liberty.


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The Elon Musk venture that is working well and was a one off price is the South Australian lithium battery power  storage — the biggest in the the word.

These days, most big enterprises are "government sponsored", including Mercedes Benz. Making rockets and sending them into space has long been government business. "Privateers" are only used by governments to push the boundaries of "commercial" enterprises. No matter what, the cost of launching satellites is subsidised in whatever fashion — often underwritten by insurance companies, themselves reliant on government cash should they be too big to fail. The time of Edison's cash solution has long gone:

Thomas Edison was an advocate for monetary reform in the United States. He was ardently opposed to the gold standard and debt-based money. Famously, he was quoted in the New York Times stating "Gold is a relic of Julius Caesar, and interest is an invention of Satan."[116]

In the same article, he expounded upon the absurdity of a monetary system in which the taxpayer of the United States, in need of a loan, can be compelled to pay in return perhaps double the principal, or even greater sums, due to interest. His basic point was that, if the Government can produce debt-based money, it could equally as well produce money that was a credit to the taxpayer.[116]

He thought at length about the subject of money in 1921 and 1922. In May 1922, he published a proposal, entitled "A Proposed Amendment to the Federal Reserve Banking System".[117] In it, he detailed an explanation of a commodity-backed currency, in which the Federal Reserve would issue interest-free currency to farmers, based on the value of commodities they produced. During a publicity tour that he took with friend and fellow inventor, Henry Ford, he spoke publicly about his desire for monetary reform. For insight, he corresponded with prominent academic and banking professionals. In the end, however, Edison's proposals failed to find support and were eventually abandoned.


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by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2018-05-23 23:43

American political satire died on January 24, 2016.

It had sickened a little during the previous decade, but still looked as though it might be on the mend. Jon Stewart’s “Daily Show” may have gotten complacent during the Bush years, but during the Obama administration it was able to mock the Nobel Peace Prize recipient for going full “America f*ck yeah” on ISIS, while newcomer John Oliver mostly avoided national politics, opting instead to poke fun at legislative and regulatory oddities.

Then came Donald Trump and, more specifically, Sarah Palin’s endorsement of him on January 19, 2016. That Saturday, Tina Fey made her celebrated return to “Saturday Night Live” to parody the former Alaska governor by…um… repeating her speech almost word for word. The comedienne who bore much of the responsibility for turning Palin into the albatross of the McCain campaign seemed to have run out of material. Reality had outrun satire, and satire was left with nothing to do but look on in bemused disbelief.


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by Gus Leonisky on Wed, 2018-05-23 17:40

A parody of Netta Barzilai's "Toy" song, the Israeli winner of Eurovision, by a Dutch comedian sparked the ire of Israel, which denounced it for its "anti-Semitic" clichés. The text refers in particular to the recent violence in Gaza.

"Look how beautifully I throw bombs,

Israel wins again,

it's been 70 years since the party started"


The political parody by Sanne Wallis de Vries, broadcast on May 20 on the Dutch public channel BNNVARA, did not make everyone laugh. This diversion of the "Toy" song by the Israeli winner of the Eurovision Netta Barzilai angered the Israeli authorities especially a few days after the deadly violence that occurred in the Gaza Strip.

In background images scrolling on a screen behind the Dutch humorist, dressed in an outfit reminiscent of Netta Barzilai, scenes of Palestinians protesting against the transfer of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem. At least 60 people were killed during the demonstration and more than 2,000 were injured by Israeli gunfire.

"If the holiday falls, make sure to bet on the embassies

With your ka-ching, ka-ching and ping-a-ping,

With your dollars and your money

With your ka-ching, ka-ching, ka-ching"

              sings the Dutch artist.


Translation by Jules Letambour