Weekend update

The CIA has finally figured it out: China’s waging a subtle war with US
— China is waging a “quiet kind of cold war” against the United States, using all its resources to try to replace America as the leading power in the world, a top CIA expert on Asia said Friday.
— Beijing doesn’t want to go to war, he said, but the current communist government, under President Xi Jinping, is subtly working on multiple fronts to undermine the U.S.

US launches campaign to screw over Iran’s leaders
√ Hmm. That would be interfering in the politics of another … oh never mind.

US “southern nationalists” seek common cause with the Russkies
— “As fellow Whites of northern European extraction, we come from the same general gene pool. As inheritors of the European cultural tradition, we share similar values, customs, and ways of life. And as Christians, we worship the same Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and our common faith binds us as brothers and sisters.”
√ Somebody tell these idiots that their hometown is probably on the Russians’ nuclear target list.

Russia: Let our spy go
NY Times
butina gun— Moscow has mounted a vigorous effort on behalf of Ms. Butina. On Thursday, the Foreign Ministry began a social media campaign on its Twitter account, declaring that it was mobilizing a digital “flash mob” to demand her release.
√ Vlad the Impaler may be worried about whether she can keep her yap shut.

FROM GQ: The NRA got played by Russia
A hostile foreign government scrutinized every aspect of American life and concluded that guns were the perfect access point for them to slip in undetected.

White House aides insisted Trump deny his hellish performance in Helsinki
LA Times
— Vice President Mike Pence, national security advisor John Bolton and Chief of Staff John F. Kelly stood united in the West Wing on Tuesday in their contention that Trump had some cleanup to do. They brought with them words of alarm from Defense Secretary James N. Mattis and Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, as well as from a host of congressional leaders and supporters of the president for whom Trump’s public praise of Putin proved to be a bridge too far.

Seattle’s iconic fish-throwing market sold…
… to its four fish-heavers

Seattle Times
“He could have sold it to just about anyone, but he went out of his way to sell it to us.”

… The market, along with the Space Needle, has become one of Seattle’s most well-known landmarks, drawing thousands of visitors a day during peak summer months and serving as the backdrop to countless selfies. Although the technique Jaison Scott and his fellow fishmongers use to fling the fish hasn’t changed, he’s doing the tossing now not as an employee, but as an owner.
— Earlier this month, he and three other longtime employees — Samuel Samson, 52; Ryan Reese, 40; and Anders Miller, 42 — bought the store from John Yokoyama, becoming equal partners in the nearly 90-year-old business.


Whistleblower exposes doctor
who treated hundreds with chemo
— although they didn’t have cancer
dr-farid-fata… “He says, ‘I’ve seen both biopsies. There’s nothin’ that says that you had cancer anywhere in there,'” said Sobieray. “I was shocked. It was worse than hearin’ that you have cancer.”
“I was determined to have this doctor stop harming people.”

 Putin planted in Trump’s addled brain
the idea for a “referendum” in Ukraine.

√ (And we all know about Russia and fair elections)
The Hill
— Russian President Vladimir Putin has told diplomats that he discussed with Trump this week the possibility of holding a referendum in separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, according to a Bloomberg report.
— The proposal reportedly calls for a vote in separatist regions of the country that would allow the areas to decide their own status as a way to resolve the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Michael Cohen, America’s dumbest lawyer, outsmarted Trump
NY Post
… fixer Michael Cohen secretly recorded a chat with the Trump two months before the election in which they discussed payments to a former Playboy model who said she had the bad taste to conduct an affair with the demented narcissist with fake orange hair.

Some colleges seek share of students’ future earnings
— As more students balk at the debt loads they face after graduation, some colleges are offering an alternative: We’ll pay your tuition if you offer us a percentage of your future salary.
— Norwich University announced Tuesday that it will become the latest school to offer this type of contract, known as an income share agreement. Norwich’s program is starting out on a small scale, mainly for students who do not have access to other types of loans or those who are taking longer than the traditional eight semesters to finish their degree.

Fake social media posts exploding, Oxford study finds
— Russia’s social media blitz to influence the 2016 U.S. election was part of a global “phenomenon” in which a broad spectrum of governments and political parties used Internet platforms to spread junk news and disinformation in at least 48 countries last year, an Oxford University study has found.
— Including U.S. government programs aimed at countering extremists such as Islamic fundamentalists, about $500 million has been spent worldwide on research, development or implementation of social media “psychological operations” since 2010, the authors estimated.
— “The manipulation of public opinion over social media platforms has emerged as a critical threat to public life,” the researchers wrote. They warned that, at a time when news consumption is increasingly occurring over the Internet, this trend threatens “to undermine trust in the media, public institutions and science.”
>>> DeepFake videos are coming, and they’re dangerous
The Weekly Standard

Seattle’s bohemian culture endangered by tech takeover
The Guardian
— Seattle’s grunge scene helped draw the first rush of tech entrepreneurs inside the city limits in the 1990s. But a 2017 city analysis found Seattle’s explosive, tech-driven growth threatening to displace the “communities that have added cultural richness to the city.”
seattle bohemian

What’s that floating in my soup, Mom?
That’s just a little coal ash, honey.
NBC News
— The so-called Trump administration announced Wednesday that it is relaxing rules for the disposal of spent coal used to fuel hundreds of power plants nationwide.
— But environmental groups say the rollback of coal ash storage regulations established by the Obama administration in 2015 could affect drinking water near dozens of sites.
>>> Corrupt gov’t looks to reshape law
that saved bald eagle and other species

NY Times
— The Interior Department on Thursday proposed the most sweeping set of changes in decades to the Endangered Species Act, the law that brought the bald eagle and the Yellowstone grizzly bear back from the edge of extinction but which Republicans say is cumbersome and restricts economic development.
— The proposed revisions have far-reaching implications, potentially making it easier for roads, pipelines and other construction projects to gain approvals than under current rules. One change, for instance, would eliminate longstanding language that prohibits considering economic factors when deciding whether or not a species should be protected.
>>> For non-paywall story on Endangered Species Act, see Courthouse News Service

His kids survived school shooting, now he’s dead by gunshot
CBS Miami
— The father of two survivors of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this year has been shot to death in his convenience store, CBS Miami reports. Broward County authorities say 61-year-old Ayub Ali was slain when a man who had just robbed him returned to the store and opened fire Tuesday.
— Two of Ali’s four children, a son and a daughter, survived the Valentine’s Day high school massacre that left 17 people dead.

Fukushima’s nuclear signature found in California wine
MIT Technology Review
— The Japanese nuclear disaster bathed north America in a radioactive cloud. Now pharmacologists have found the telltale signature in California wine made at the time.

NY Health docs
find a lot
of reasons to back
legal pot


What are your symptoms? Quick, you’ve got 11 seconds
— The research team specifically analyzed the first few minutes of the 112 consultations, looking to find out how frequently doctors let the patients dictate the conversation through inquiries such as “Tell me what brings you in today,” or “What can I do for you today?” If patients were given the opportunity to set the agenda, the researchers then timed the responses to see how long they could speak before the doctor interrupted them.

Immigrant shelters prisons drug traumatized teens
— Whether they came to the U.S. alone, or were forcibly separated from their families at the border, despondent minors are often pressured into taking psychotropic drugs without approval from a parent or guardian.

Emancipation Proclamation didn’t free
these 400,000 in modern US slavery

The Guardian
— The Global Slavery Index, published on Thursday by Walk Free Foundation, describes modern slavery as a complex and often hidden crime that crosses borders, sectors and jurisdictions. The US number, the study estimates, is almost one hundredth of the estimated 40.3 million global total number of people it defines as being enslaved.

Owners of “starry night house” win right to be gaudy

A yearlong battle over a house that was painted to look like Vincent Van Gogh’s The Starry Night, ended on Tuesday with an apology and an agreement to drop thousands in fees against the homeowners.

Parsing the trade war or…
… why China is not afraid
If you are China, playing the long game with 2025 and 2050 strategies for world dominance, why not sucker Trump into a massive trade war now?
>≈  It would hurt both nations badly. But a state-run government can do more to artificially prop up its economy than a capitalistic one.
>≈  A true, full-blown trade war could cripple U.S. markets, sow more internal division in America, and throw the Trump presidency into chaos you can’t cure with tweets or bravado.
>≈  If you are deeply calculating and cynical, the chances of Trump losing Congress rise if the economy tanks — virtually assuring highly divisive impeachment proceedings.

Trump blasts Fed Reserve, threatens to slap tariff on everything Chinese
— Wall Street shrugs it off, knowing that Trump is a demented gasbag.

Speaking of demented gasbags…
Kim having screaming fits over sanctions
North Korea’s economy is suffering its worst decline in 20 years, according to figures released Friday — a result of the biting sanctions slapped on the regime in recent years for its nuclear and ballistic weapons tests.
— In response, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been visiting factories, berating officials, and cozying up to China in the hope that Beijing can help ease sanctions.

SURPRISE! States with strong history of race bias purge voters more aggressively
The Hill
— Nine southern states previously had to get approval from the Department of Justice to change voting policies under a provision in the 1965 Voting Rights Act, but the Supreme Court struck down that measure in 2013.
— “Across the board, formerly covered jurisdictions increased their purge rates after 2012 more than noncovered jurisdictions.”




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