Updates from Jack Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Jack 8:54 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: flying car   

    Flying Car 

    Flying car coming in Spring 2018 has 200mph top speed and 450 miles of range.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2B08Xlc

  • Jack 4:08 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , ,   

    Islamic Extremism 

    Who is Purest of Them All?

    Link: http://bit.ly/2ksi71R

  • Jack 4:04 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , trey gowdy, ,   

    Reps Jim Jordan & Trey Gowdy Question Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein 

  • Jack 4:00 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: dick morris, ,   

    Proof: The Deep State & Bruce Ohr Orchestrated The Dossier! 

  • Jack 3:57 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: Alabama special election, ,   

    Voter Fraud? 

    Election security experts question Alabama’s decision to destroy ballot copies.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2ksPT6X

  • Jack 3:52 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |  

    Dirty Voter Registration Rolls 

    Judicial Watch Sues California and Los Angeles.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2yrvh4h

  • Jack 3:49 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |  

    Republican Defeats: Republican Rethinking 

    Newt Gingrich writes that the GOP are doing a lot of losing lately and need to wake up.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2jUhHSi

  • Jack 3:45 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: anti-semitism,   

    Anti-Semitism Scandal Hits McMaster University 

    Anti-Israel students at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada have published multiple social media posts praising Adolf Hitler, demonizing Jews and glorifying terrorist organizations.

    Link: http://bit.ly/2AqeMHa

  • Jack 3:41 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: ,   

    “What The Hell Is Going On?” 

    Trey Gowdy Absolutely Destroys Farcical Mueller Probe In Epic Monologue

    Link: http://bit.ly/2BnWdXU

  • Jack 3:11 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: f-35, kris osborn, , , warrior maven   

    F-35 Upgrades 

    The Pentagon is upgrading mission systems avionics as part of a tech refresh effort for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter that improves memory, weapons delivery, storage, processing speed, display video and aircraft parametric data, industry developers said.

    Faster processors improve F-35 delivery of weapons enabled by the latest 3F software drop, such as the AIM-9X air-to-air missile. Also, improved radar warning receiver technology will more quickly identify enemy aircraft and integrate with the aircraft’s mission data files, or threat library.

    The new avionics are intended to enhance the F-35’s sensor fusion so that information from disparate sensor systems can be combined on a single screen for pilots to lower the cognitive burden and quicken the decision-making process. New modules for mission systems will integrate into the F-35s Distributed Aperture System sensors and Electro-optical Targeting System.

    — To Read Warrior’s Report on How the F-35 DAS Can Perform Ballistic Missile Defense CLICK HERE —

    Earlier this year, F-35 maker Lockheed Martin awarded a contract to Harris Corporation to provide the computing infrastructure for new panoramic cockpit displays, advanced memory systems and navigation technology, Brad Truesdell, senior director of aviation systems at Harris, told Warrior.

    The new hardware and software technology, to be operational on the F-35 by 2021, includes seven racks per aircraft consisting of 1,500 module components, including new antennas and weapons release systems.

    — To Read Warrior’s Blockbuster F-35 Weapons and Operations Special – CLICK HERE —

    Some of the components include an Advanced Memory System (AMS) engineered to improve data storage and generate higher resolution imagery to help pilots with navigational and targeting information.

    “Instead of having to measure something in megabits or megabytes, we are now talking about terabytes,” Truesdell said.

    The upgrades include a portable memory device which can quickly be transferred from a ground station to the F-35 cockpit.

    3F Software Operational

    The Air Force is now in the process of operationalizing the F-35’s latest “3F” software iteration, a development which integrates additional technology and equips the stealth aircraft with a wider range of weapons such as the Small Diameter Bomb and AIM-9X, service leaders said.

    After experiencing some challenges during developmental testing, the 3F software drop is now improved and sharpened up for delivery, senior Air Force officials said.

    Many of the JSF’s combat capabilities are woven into the F-35s combat capabilities are woven into developmental software increments or “drops,” each designed to advance the platform’s technical abilities. There are more than 10 million individual lines of code in the JSF system.

    — For Scout Warrior’s Special F-35 Pilot Intv. Report “Flying the F-35” – CLICK HERE —

    Block 3F increases the weapons delivery capacity of the JSF as well, giving it the ability to drop a Small Diameter Bomb, 500-pound JDAM (Joint Direct Attack Munition) and AIM-9X short-range air-to-air missile, service officials explained.

    4th Software Drop

    The 3F software drop is preceded by earlier increments, each one bringing new technical integration to the aircraft.

    Block 2B built upon the enhanced simulated weapons, datalink capabilities and early fused sensor integration of the earlier Block 2A software drop. Block 2B enables the JSF to provide basic close-air support and fire an AMRAAM (Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile), JDAM or GBU-12 (laser-guided aerial bomb), JSF program officials said.

    Following Block 2B, Block 3i increases the combat capability even further, and Block 3F brings a vastly increased ability to suppress enemy air defenses.

    Called 3F, the service is already working on a 4th drop to be ready by 2020 or 2021. Following the drop of 3F, the aircraft will incorporate new software drops in two-year increments in order to stay ahead of the threat.

    The first portion of Block 4 software funding, roughly $12 million, arrived in the 2014 budget, Air Force officials said.

    Block 4 will include some unique partner weapons including British weapons, Turkish weapons and some of the other European country’s weapons that they want to get on their own plane, service officials explained.

    Block 4 will also increase the weapons envelope for the US variant of the fighter jet.  A big part of the developmental calculus for Block 4 is to work on the kinds of enemy air defense systems and weaponry the aircraft may face from the 2020’s through the 2040’s and beyond.

    In terms of weapons, Block 4 will eventually enable the F-35 to fire cutting edge weapons systems such as the Small Diameter Bomb II and GBU-54 – both air-dropped bombs able to destroy targets on-the-move.

    The Small Diameter Bomb II uses a technology called a tri-mode seeker, drawing from infrared, millimeter wave and laser-guidance. The combination of these sensors allows the weapon to track and eliminate moving targets in all kinds of weather conditions.

    — To Read Warrior’s Report on Upcoming F-35 Tests Firing the Small Diameter Bomb II CLICK HERE —



    SNEAK PEAK LOOK HERE   https://www.themaven.net/warriormaven/         CLICK HERE


    WARRIOR Readers – Glad to have you!  – Send input, story ideas and feedback anytime


    — WARRIOR MAVEN MANAGING EDITOR – KRIS OSBORN — — krisosborn.ko@gmail.com — 

    Warrior Maven
  • Jack 3:11 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Fake Truth 

    The most effective way for the media to have refuted Donald Trump’s 24/7 accusations of “fake news” would have been to publish disinterested, factually based accounts of his presidency. The Trump record should have been set straight through logic and evidence.

    So one would think after a year of disseminating fake news aimed at Donald Trump (Melania Trump was leaving the White House; Donald Trump had removed the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. from the West Wing; Trump planned to send troops into Mexico, etc.) that Washington and New York journalists would be especially scrupulous in their reporting to avoid substantiating one of Trump’s favorite refrains.

    Instead, either blinded by real hatred or hyper-partisanship or both, much of the media has redoubled their reporting of rumor and fictions as facts—at least if they empower preconceived and useful bias against Trump. But after the year-long tit-for-tat with the president, the media has earned less public support in polls than has the president. It is the age-old nature of politicians of every stripe to exaggerate and mislead, but the duty of journalists to keep them honest—not to trump their yarns.

    A Dangerous Tic

    Last week, ABC News erroneously reported that Michael Flynn, in a supposed new role of cooperation with the prosecution, was prepared to testify that Trump, while still a candidate, ordered him improperly to contact (and, by inference, to collude with) Russian government officials.

    For a while, the startling news sent the stock market into a fall of over 300 points. Was the purported pro-business Trump agenda shortly to be derailed by “proof” of a possible impeachable offense? A little while later, however, ABC was forced to retract that story, to suspend Brian Ross (the reporter involved), and to offer a correction that Trump actually had been president-elect at the time of the contact and completely within his elected purview to reach out to foreign governments.

    Reuters, likewise eager to fuel the narrative of a colluding Trump, asserted that the Mueller investigators had subpoenaed Deutsche Bank records of Trump and his family. Again, the leaked inference was that the inquiry suddenly was coming near to hard evidence of Trump wrongdoing and was thus entering its penultimate stage. In truth, Mueller has more routinely subpoenaed the records of Trump associates, not Trump himself or his family.

    In the most egregious example of peddling fake news, CNN reported that candidate Trump had once received an email entrée to unreleased Wikileaks documents—again suggesting some sort of collusion with Russian or pro-Russian interests. But that narrative was soon discredited, too. CNN failed to note that the email was sent 10 days later than it had originally reported, and instead referred to information already released into the public domain by Wikileaks.

    In this same brief period, Washington Post reporter David Weigel, perhaps eager to suggest that Trump’s popularity among his base was at last waning, tweeted a sardonic captioned photo of half-empty seats at a Trump rally in Pensacola, Florida. He soon offered a retraction and noted his tweeted image wrongly showed the venue well before the actual start of the event—a fact he surely must have known.

    The mainstream media has developed a dangerous tic: the more it warns about the dangers of Donald Trump deprecating the press for its fake news accounts, the more it cannot help itself in rushing out another news story about Trump that is poorly sourced and not fact-checked—and thereby substantiating his original accusation. The more it accuses Trump of exaggeration and prevarication, the more it fails to double- and triple-check its very accusations.

    Lies Live On

    Other unfortunate symptoms of the current epidemic of false assertions are the now familiar rounds of accusations of prejudice and bias in reporting of “events” that are soon revealed to be manufactured or staged. Next come the sometimes strange reactions to such retractions and corrections. In September, five cadets at the Air Force Academy alleged that racist threats were posted on their doors. That prompted Superintendent Lt. General Jay Silveria to lecture the student body with the stirring admonition, “If you can’t treat someone with dignity and respect, then get out.” Silveria became a virtue-signaling rock star when his YouTube sermon went viral—only later to learn that the cadets themselves had staged the supposed hate threats.

    Not much later, Marquie Little, a seaman on a U.S. aircraft carrier, posted photos that seemed to show his bed on the George H.W. Bush covered in trash and racial slurs. “I proudly serve the Navy and this is what I’m receiving in return,” Little lamented in a post. Later, Navy officials revealed Little himself had likely concocted the harassment.

    The late Michael Brown likely never uttered the refrain “Hands up, don’t shoot”—a veritable rallying cry that persists for a variety of social justice movements. The Duke lacrosse players were not, as alleged, racist rapists. A University of Virginia fraternity was not a den of jock sexual predators, as Rolling Stone reported. Nor was Lena Dunham, as she wrote, sexually traumatized by a right-wing assaulter while a student at Oberlin.

    What accounts for the latest epidemic of fake news and false allegations of prejudicial behavior? Examples above have preceded Trump’s presidency, but recently the trend has been reenergized by it.

    The singular media hatred of Trump’s style and agenda have galvanized wider elite resistance, in which a willingness to achieve perceived noble ends of removing Trump should justify almost any means necessary. In such a larger climate of “the Resistance,” we have witnessed a new assassination chic of threatening the president, coupled with sometimes vulgar attacks on the Trump family. A spate of supposed racial harassment fosters a narrative of renewed intolerance in the age of Trump.

    Fake news also channels the resistance of universities, Hollywood, and political operatives. And just as we have witnessed efforts to sue to overturn the tally of voting machines, and to nullify the Electoral College, or witness a House vote on impeachment, talk of invoking the 25th Amendment, and calls to sue under the emoluments clause, so, too, the media has substituted its original mission of disinterested reporting to keep everyone honest for one of trying to nullify the 2016 presidential election. Journalists such as Jim Rutenberg of the New York Times and Christiane Amanpour of CNN have at least confessed that, in such trying Trump times, journalists of character can no longer easily remain merely disinterested reporters.

    Second, for over a generation, postmodernism in the universities has seeped into the larger culture. The new relativism has postulated absolute facts and uncontested “truths.” do not exist as anything other than “social constructs.” Assertions of truth instead reflect the efforts of a race/class/gender-based hegemony to construct self-serving narratives. (Never mind that asserting there is no truth is, itself, an assertion of truth.) Today, the elites believe that a cadre of mostly white, male, and rich sanctions its narratives with uncontested and unearned authority, through which it further oppresses in insidious fashion the relatively powerless “Other.”

    “Truths” Bigger Than Facts

    Instead, “truth” consists of endless “my truth” claims versus “your truth” claims. Competing stories are then adjudicated by respective accesses to power—the ultimate arbiter of whether one particular narrative wins authority over another.

    In this context, if a sailor or cadet concocts a racist attack, what great difference do rather insignificant details of narrative make in the wider scheme of social justice and equality, given the larger and historical “true” canvass of racism?

    Upon the revelation that the cadets at the Air Force Academy faked their stories, Gen. Silveria seemed not especially bothered by it. Instead, he renewed his calls for increased awareness of racism at the academy—as if the fake news account could (or even should) have been true and thus an occasion for remediation: “Regardless of the circumstances under which those words were written, they were written, and that deserved to be addressed . . . You can never over-emphasize the need for a culture of dignity and respect—and those who don’t understand those concepts aren’t welcome here.” A noble sentiment to be sure, but are words written in falsity just as valid as those written in truth?

    When Brian Ross constructed a falsehood, or David Weigel concocted a fantasy about poor attendance at a Trump rally, the details apparently did not matter so much as the attention to the larger “Truth”: Trump surely must have collided with the Russians, or Trump by this point certainly must have been losing crowd appeal, so it does not matter all that much how reality is conveyed.

    On the one hand, larger “truths” exist of cosmic social justice; on the other, bothersome so-called “facts” are largely predicated on the prejudices and resistance of the powerful who unduly give them authenticity. In such a postmodern environment, the “truth” that Donald Trump is purportedly a reactionary sexist and bigot is what mostly matters, not the bothersome details of counter-progressive narratives or stories that in one-dimensional fashion claim to follow rules of evidence, but instead serve an illiberal reality over a liberal one. What do a few dates on the calendar matter, concerning when Michael Flynn consulted with the Russians—given the larger truth that they surely once sought to deny Hillary Clinton the presidency?

    In our brave new world, fake news is the truest news. Staged oppressions serve to remind us of the real ones. The higher “good,” not the lower facts, is all that matters.


    See Also:

    (1) Fake News Firehose: Science Proves Media Are Not Making ‘Honest Mistakes’ About Trump

  • Jack 3:11 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , lee berthiaume, , , ,   


    OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is kicking off its latest bid to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets — and adding a new requirement to the procurement process by assessing a company’s overall impact on the Canadian economy.

    The government is launching a full competition to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s with 88 new fighters by as early as 2025, a move that comes in the midst of an ongoing trade dispute with U.S. aerospace giant Boeing.

    “Applications will be rigorously assessed on cost, technical requirements and economic benefit,” Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough told a news conference Tuesday.

    “Our government feels it is important to maximize economic impacts; as such, the evaluation of bids will also include an assessment of bidders on Canada’s economic interests. This new assessment is an incentive for bidders to contribute positively to Canada’s economy.

    “Bidders responsible for harming Canada’s economic interests will be at a distinct disadvantage compared to bidders who aren’t engaged in detrimental behaviour.”

    Boeing has been eager to submit its Super Hornet to compete for the contract, which is valued at up to $19 billion and expected to start delivering jets in 2025. But the new stipulation could well have an impact on Boeing if its trade dispute with Canadian rival Bombardier is still alive and ends up being deemed harmful to Canada’s economic interests.

    Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the government settled on the number of 88 fighters even though the previous Conservative government had only planned to buy 65 new planes, an effort that never got off the ground.

    “After extensive consultations and careful analysis as part of the defence policy review, it was clear that a full fleet of 88 planes are required to fully meet our Norad and NATO obligations simultaneously,” he said.

    “Our government will not risk-manage our national defence commitments.”

    The Liberals are also officially abandoning a plan to buy 18 Super Hornets to temporarily boost Canada’s CF-18 fleet, saying they plan instead to buy 18 second-hand fighter jets from Australia.

    “We have received an offer for sale of F-18 aircraft from the government of Australia, which we intend to pursue, and we have received an offer of Super Hornets from the U.S. government, which we intend to let expire,” Qualtrough said.

    Officials briefing reporters on background say that while details are still being worked out, the used Australian jets will cost significantly less than Super Hornets and can be put into action two years faster.

    Since Canada already flies a version of the same fighter jet, “the supply chain and maintenance lines required to support these aircraft are already in place,” Sajjan said.


  • Jack 3:11 am on December 14, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: edmonton sun, , , , ,   

    Bad Judgement 

    It’s as if even the Wynne Liberals know it’s time to stick a fork in them, cause they’re done.

    That after 14 years in power, they’ve lost touch with ordinary Ontarians, most of whom work in the private sector.

    Take last week’s bizarre defence of Premier Kathleen Wynne’s minimum wage hikes by Barrie Liberal MPP Ann Hoggarth, who served up this gem:

    “If you’re going to go out of business on the backs of your employees because you can’t afford to pay them this, then perhaps you should reassess your business plan and reassess whether you should be an employer at all.”

    Hoggarth was no doubt drawing on her vast experience running a small business as a career elementary school teacher and past president of the Simcoe County Elementary Teachers Federation, before entering politics.

    Since my late father did run a small business — Al’s Men’s Wear on Yonge St. — and I was a teenager before I realized not all fathers worked six days a week, for at least 60 hours and often more, let me suggest what Hoggarth doesn’t understand.

    First, it’s not that Wynne hiked the minimum wage that has the Ontario Legislature’s Financial Accountability Office predicting it will put at least 50,000 jobs at risk, while the TD Bank says 90,000 and the Keep Ontario Working Coalition, an employers’ group, 185,000.

    It’s that Wynne announced a 31.6% hike to the minimum wage out of the blue in May, increasing it from $11.40 an hour to $15 in 15 months, from Oct. 1, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2019.

    Hoggarth apparently doesn’t understand hiking the minimum wage doesn’t just increase the payroll costs to small businesses for minimum wage workers, but for those earning more than the minimum wage as well.

    For example, when government raises the minimum wage from $11.40 to $15 over 15 months, small businesses also have to increase the salaries of employees who were earning $12 to about $17 an hour before the minimum wage hike was announced, in a similar time frame, if they want to keep good staff.

    A government that understood the vital importance to small businesses of cost predictability would have increased the minimum wage gradually over the Liberals’ 14 years in power, not hit them with massive hikes — particularly the increase from $11.60 on Oct. 1, 2017 to $14 on Jan. 1, 2018 — less than six months before the June, 2018 election.

    Does Hoggarth know anyone who has seen their salaries increase 31.6% over 15 months?

    If not, how does she expect small businesses to increase their revenues enough to cover a 31.6% hike to the minimum wage over that period?

    Because if you can’t increase revenues that quickly, then the only option is to reduce expenses by cutting back on labour costs.

    Finally, in addition to the minimum wage, Wynne is increasing the costs faced by small businesses for employee vacations, emergency leave, part-time and temporary work and shift cancellations.

    That’s to say nothing of the escalating costs small businesses have faced under Liberal policies to pay for such things as skyrocketing electricity bills and increasing natural gas costs, the latter caused by Wynne’s cap-and-trade carbon pricing scheme.

    On Monday, Wynne rejected calls from the Progressive Conservatives for Hoggarth to apologize for her arrogant and ignorant remarks.

    More proof the Liberals shouldn’t be in the business of government at all.



  • Jack 4:33 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , ,   

    This is fun. Elect a progressive birdbrain and become instantly poorer.


  • Jack 4:09 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: New site   

    Obviously the template needs a bit of work but I accomplished this change in about five minutes. I’ll come back at it tomorrow. For now nothing has been lost.

    This is what I’ll be going to when I go live at A2 hosting. I’ve always liked Instapundit (which is a microblog) and in time I’ll be looking for helpers who will also be able to link stories at that site. This one will be gone as of June 2018 and I’ll be working with one site again.

    Just FYI for now.

  • Jack 4:00 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    A video…

  • Jack 3:58 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    Second link…


  • Jack 3:57 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |  

    First link…


  • Jack 3:55 pm on December 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: New template   

    Something new. This template is called a microblog and I’m going to give it a try to see if it improves my hits.

  • Jack 3:40 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Investigative Disaster 

    Special prosecutors, investigators, and counsels are usually a bad idea. They are admissions that constitutionally mandated institutions don’t work — and can be rescued only by supposed superhuman moralists, who are without the innate biases inherent in human nature.

    The record from Lawrence Walsh to Ken Starr to Patrick Fitzgerald suggests otherwise. Originally narrow mandates inevitably expand — on the cynical theory that everyone has something embarrassing to hide. Promised “short” timelines and limited budgets are quickly forgotten. Prosecutors search for ever new crimes to justify the expense and public expectations of the special-counsel appointment.

    Soon the investigators need to be investigated for their own conflicts of interest, as if we need special-special or really, really special prosecutors. Special investigations often quickly turn Soviet, in the sense of “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller has led what seems to be an exemplary life of public service. No doubt he believes that as a disinterested investigator he can get to the bottom of the once contentious charge of “Russian collusion” in the 2016 election. But can he?

    A Mandate Gone Wild

    Something has gone terribly wrong with the Mueller investigation.

    The investigation is venturing well beyond the original mandate of rooting out evidence of Russian collusion. Indeed, the word “collusion” is now rarely invoked at all. It has given way to its successor, “obstruction.” The latter likely will soon beget yet another catchphrase to justify the next iteration of the investigations.

    There seems far less special investigatory concern with the far more likely Russian collusion in the matters of the origins and dissemination of the Fusion GPS/Steele dossier, and its possible role in the Obama-administration gambit of improper or illegal surveilling, unmasking, and leaking of the names of American citizens.

    Leaks from the Mueller investigation so far abound. They have seemed calibrated to create a public consensus that particular individuals are currently under investigation, likely to be indicted — or indeed likely guilty.

    These public worries are not groundless. They are deeply rooted in the nature and liberal composition of the Mueller investigative team — whose left-leaning appointments just months ago had understandably made the liberal media giddy with anticipation from the outset. Wired, for instance, published this headline on June 14: “Robert Mueller Chooses His Investigatory Dream Team.” Vox, on August 22, wrote: “Meet the all-star legal team who may take down Trump.” The Daily Beast, two day later, chimed in: “Inside Robert Mueller’s Army.”

    Whose ‘Army,’ Whose ‘Dream Team,’ and Whose ‘All-Stars’?

    Special Counsel Mueller was himself appointed in rather strange circumstances. Former FBI director James Comey (now reduced to ankle-biting the president on Twitter with Wikipedia-like quotes) stated under oath that he had deliberately leaked his own confidential notes about conversations with President Trump, hoping to prompt appointment of a special investigator to investigate a president — whom he said, also under oath, that he was not investigating.

    Comey’s ploy worked all too well. Department of Justice officials, now in the Trump Justice Department but who once served in Barack Obama’s administration, selected Comey’s close friend and long associate Robert Mueller as investigator. From that germination, an innate conflict of interest was born — given that Mueller’s appointment assumed that Comey himself would not come under his own investigation, a supposition that may be increasingly untenable.

    Okay — but one such conflict of interest swallow does not make a discredited spring.

    But then there was the weird position of Comey subordinate and deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe. He ran the Washington, D.C., office that was involved in the Clinton email investigations. For some strange reason, McCabe did not recuse himself from the email investigation until one week before the presidential election, even though just months earlier his wife, Jill McCabe, had announced her Democratic campaign for a state senate seat in Virginia — and had received a huge donation of more than $675,000 from the political organizations of Governor Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton supporter and intimate. Like it or not, the behavior of the FBI during the Clinton email investigations also extends to the Russian-collusion probe, especially as it pertains to the Clinton-funded Fusion GPS/Steele dossier.

    Okay — Washington is an incestuous place, and such conflicts of interest may be unavoidable. Perhaps McCabe himself was not really so directly involved in the FBI investigations of Clinton, and perhaps he had not even talked about the current Mueller investigations.

    But then it was announced that at least six of Mueller’s staff of 15 lawyers, who previously had donated (in some cases quite generously) to Hillary Clinton’s campaigns, were now investigating her arch foe Donald Trump.

    Okay — no doubt, such apparent conflicts of interests are not what they seem (given the overwhelming preponderance of liberal lawyers in general and in particular in Washington). After all, no one should be disqualified from government service for his or her political beliefs.

    But then we came to the inexplicable case of Peter Strzok, an FBI investigator assigned to the Mueller investigation of Russian collusion. Strzok and Lisa Page, a consulting FBI lawyer (part of Mueller’s once-ballyhooed “dream team”), were for some reason relieved from the investigation of Trump in late summer 2016. Mueller’s office refused to explain the departure of either, other than to let the media assume that the departures were both unrelated and due to normal revolving or transient appointments.

    Okay — even dream-teamers and all-stars occasionally move on, and the less said, the better.

    But then we learn that the two, while part of Mueller’s investigation of Trump, were having an extramarital affair, and exchanging some 10,000 texts, of which at least some were adamantly anti-Trump and pro-Clinton. One wonders, Why did that information, now confirmed, come out through leaks rather than through official Mueller communiqués? In other words, if there is nothing now deemed improper about the two Trump investigators’ amorous political expressions or in the anti-Trump nature of their exchanges, why was there apparently such a reluctance in August and September to avoid full disclosure concerning their abrupt departures?

    Okay — perhaps indiscreet electronic communications and affairs in the workplace are no big deal in Washington.

    But then Strzok apparently was also responsible for changing the wording of the official FBI report on the Clinton email affair. He crossed out the original finding of “grossly negligent,” which is legalese that under the statute constitutes a crime, and replaced it with “extremely careless,” which does not warrant prosecution.

    Okay — perhaps we can shrug and suggest that Strzok surely did not have the final say in such verbal gymnastics. Or perhaps his anti-Trump, pro-Clinton sentiments were not germane to his mere copy editing or his reliance on a thesaurus.

    But then we learned that Andrew Weissmann, who is another veteran prosecutor assigned to Mueller’s legal team, praised Sally Yates, an Obama-administration holdover at the Trump Department of Justice, for breaking her oath of office and refusing to carry out President Trump’s immigration order (Yates was summarily fired). “I am so proud,” he emailed Yates, on the day she publicly defied the president. “And in awe. Thank you so much. All my deepest respects.”

    Okay — it certainly does not look good that a disinterested government attorney investigating the president was so indiscreet as to write his admiration to a fellow Obama holdover who was fighting with Trump. But to give the anti-Trump attorneys the benefit of the doubt, perhaps Weissmann was merely reacting to Yates’s panache rather than to her shared political views?

    But then again, we learned that another attorney on the Mueller staff, Jeannie Rhee, was at one time the personal attorney of Ben Rhodes, the Obama deputy national-security adviser who is often mentioned as instrumental in making last-minute Obama-administrative-state appointments to thwart the incoming Trump administration. Rhee also provided legal counsel to the Clinton Foundation and was a generous donor to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

    Rhee seemingly could not be a disinterested investigator of Trump, given that she has had financial interests with those, past and present, who are fiercely opposed to the current likely target of her investigations.

    Okay — but perhaps in Washington’s upside-down world, lawyers are mere hired guns who have no real political loyalties and they investigate, without bias, those whose politics they detest. Why should they feel a need to be shy about their political agendas?

    But then again, most recently, it was disclosed that a senior Justice Department official, Bruce G. Ohr, connected with various ongoing investigations under the aegis of the Justice Department, was partially reassigned for his contact with the opposition-research firm responsible for the Clinton-funded, anti-Trump “dossier” — which in theory could be one catalyst for the original FBI investigation of “collusion” and thus additionally might be the reason cited to request FISA orders to surveil Trump associates during the 2016 campaign. And note that it was also never disclosed that Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, whose expertise was Russian politics and history, actually worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign, when the opposition research firm’s discredited anti-Trump dossier alleging Russian collusion was leaked shortly before Election Day 2016.

    Okay — perhaps Ohr, as part of his job, was merely learning about aspects of the dossier from one of its owners, for future reference.

    But then again, we learned of the strange career odyssey of yet another person on Mueller’s legal team, Aaron Zebley (supposedly known in the past as Mueller’s “right-hand hand”). He once served as Mueller’s chief of staff while employed at the FBI and was also assigned to both the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division and the National Security Division at the Department of Justice. In addition, Zebley served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the National Security and Terrorism Unit in Virginia. Yet Zebley, as late as 2015, represented one Justin Cooper. The latter was the IT staffer who set up Hillary Clinton’s likely illegal and unsecure server at her home, and who purportedly smashed Clinton’s various BlackBerries with a hammer in fear they would be subpoenaed. Zebley had come into contact once earlier with congressional investigators, when he was legal counsel for Cooper — and yet Zebley now is on Mueller’s team investigating Donald Trump.

    What’s Next?

    By now there are simply too many coincidental conflicts of interest and too much improper investigatory behavior to continue to give the Mueller investigation the benefit of doubt. Each is a light straw; together, they now have broken the back of the probe’s reputation.

    In inexplicable fashion, Mueller seems to have made almost no effort to select attorneys from outside Washington, from diverse private law firms across the country, who were without personal involvement with the Clinton machine, and who were politically astute or disinterested enough to keep their politics to themselves.

    Indeed, the special-counsel investigation has developed an eerie resemblance to the spate of sexual-harassment cases, in which the accused sluff off initial charges as irrelevant, unproven, or politically motivated, only to be confronted with more fresh allegations that insidiously point to a pattern of repeated behavior.

    What then is going on here?

    No one knows. We should assume that there will be almost daily new disclosures of the Mueller investigation’s conflicts of interest that were heretofore deliberately suppressed.

    Yet Donald Trump at this point would be unhinged if he were to fire Special Counsel Mueller — given that the investigators seem intent on digging their own graves through conflicts of interest, partisan politicking, leaking, improper amorous liaisons, indiscreet communications, and stonewalling the release of congressionally requested information.

    Indeed, the only remaining trajectory by which Mueller and his investigators can escape with their reputations intact is to dismiss those staff attorneys who have exhibited clear anti-Trump political sympathies, reboot the investigation, and then focus on what now seems the most likely criminal conduct: Russian and Clinton-campaign collusion in the creation of the anti-Trump Fusion GPS dossier and later possible U.S. government participation in the dissemination of it. If such a fraudulent document was used to gain court approval to surveil Trump associates, and under such cover to unmask and leak names of private U.S. citizens — at first to warp a U.S. election, and then later to thwart the work of an incoming elected administration — then Mueller will be tasked with getting to the bottom of one of the greatest political scandals in recent U.S. history. Indeed, his legacy may not be that he welcomed in known pro-Clinton, anti-Trump attorneys to investigate the Trump 2016 campaign where there was little likelihood of criminality, but that he ignored the most egregious case of government wrongdoing in the last half-century.


    See Also:

    (1) Trump lawyer wants separate special prosecutor to probe DOJ-Fusion conflicts

    (2) FBI’s McCabe ‘has an Ohr problem,’ will not testify on Tuesday, source says

    (3) Inside the Trump dossier handoff: McCain’s ‘go-between’ speaks out

  • Jack 3:39 am on December 13, 2017 Permalink |
    Tags: james owen weatherall, nautilus, quantum theory, undersstanding quantum states   

    Quantum Questions 

    Physicists know how to use quantum theory—your phone and computer give plenty of evidence of that. But knowing how to use it is a far cry from fully understanding the world the theory describes—or even what the various mathematical devices scientists use in the theory are supposed to mean. One such mathematical object, whose status physicists have long debated, is known as the quantum state.

    One of the most striking features of quantum theory is that its predictions are, under virtually all circumstances, probabilistic. If you set up an experiment in a laboratory, and then you use quantum theory to predict the outcomes of various measurements you might perform, the best the theory can offer is probabilities—say, a 50 percent chance that you’ll get one outcome, and a 50 percent chance that you’ll get a different one. The role the quantum state plays in the theory is to determine, or at least encode, these probabilities. If you know the quantum state, then you can compute the probability of getting any possible outcome to any possible experiment.

    But does the quantum state ultimately represent some objective aspect of reality, or is it a way of characterizing something about us, namely, something about what some person knows about reality? This question stretches back to the earliest history of quantum theory, but has recently become an active topic again, inspiring a slew of new theoretical results and even some experimental tests.

    To see why the quantum state might represent what someone knows, consider another case where we use probabilities. Before your friend rolls a die, you guess what side will face up. If your friend rolls a standard six-sided die, you’d usually say there is about a 17 percent (or one in six) chance that you’ll be right, whatever you guess. Here the probability represents something about you: your state of knowledge about the die. Let’s say your back is turned while she rolls it, so that she sees the result—a six, say—but not you. As far as you are concerned, the outcome remains uncertain, even though she knows it. Probabilities that represent a person’s uncertainty, even though there is some fact of the matter, are called epistemic, from one of the Greek words for knowledge.

    This means that you and your friend could assign very different probabilities, without either of you being wrong. You say the probability of the die showing a six is 17 percent, whereas your friend, who has seen the outcome already, says that it is 100 percent. That is because each of you knows different things, and the probabilities are representations of your respective states of knowledge. The only incorrect assignments, in fact, would be ones that said there was no chance at all that the die showed a six.

    Over the last 15 years or so, physicists have asked whether the quantum state could be epistemic in a similar way. Suppose there is some fact of the matter about the configuration of the world—something like an arrangement of particles in space, or even an actual result in the die game—but you do not know what it is. A quantum state, according to these approaches, is just a way of characterizing your incomplete knowledge about the configuration of the world. Given some physical situation, there might be more than one correct way of assigning a quantum state, depending on what information you have.

    It’s appealing to think of the quantum state this way because of how quantum states change when you measure something about a physical system. Measuring a system will generally change its state from one in which each possible outcome has some non-zero probability to one in which only one outcome occurs. That’s a lot like what happens when, in the die game, you learn that the die does, in fact, show a six. It seems strange to think that the world would change simply because you measured something. But if it is just your knowledge that changes, things don’t seem so strange.

    Another reason to think the quantum state is epistemic is that, in most cases, there is no way of telling, with a single experiment, what the quantum state actually was before the experiment. This also resembles probabilities in the die game. Suppose that another friend came along to play the game, and insisted that the probability of the die showing a six was only 10 percent, while you still say it is 17 percent. Could a single experiment show who is right? No. The reason is that the actual outcome—of six, say—is compatible with both of your probability assignments (though one may be more accurate in the sense of getting the frequencies right over many rolls). There’s no way of telling if you or your friend is right in any particular case. According to epistemic approaches to quantum theory, the reason you cannot experimentally distinguish most quantum states is just like the die game: There are some possibilities for the actual physical situation that are compatible with multiple quantum states.

    Rob Spekkens, a physicist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, in Waterloo, Ontario, published in 2007 what turned out to be an influential paper, presenting a “toy theory” designed to mimic quantum theory. The toy theory wasn’t the same as quantum theory, because it was limited to extremely simple systems—namely, systems with at most two possible values for any of their properties, such as “red” or “blue” for their color or “up” or “down” for their orientation. But like quantum theory, it included states that could be used to calculate probabilities. And it made many of the same predictions as quantum theory, at least for these simple systems.

    Spekkens’s toy theory was exciting because just like in quantum theory, its states were generally “indistinguishable”—and that indistinguishability was fully explained by their mutual compatibility with the same underlying physical situations. In other words, the toy theory was very like quantum theory, and its states were unambiguously epistemic. Since the indistinguishability of quantum states has, for those inclined to an epistemic approach, no accepted explanation—the question is whether they can come up with one at all—Spekkens and others took this as strong evidence that quantum states might be epistemic, too, if only the toy theory could extend to more complicated systems. It has since inspired a flurry of research, with some physicists trying to extend his work to cover all quantum phenomena, and others trying to show how that’s mistaken.

    Thus far, it seems the naysayers have the upper hand. For instance, one widely discussed result from a 2012 paper in Nature Physics, by theoretical physicists Matthew Pusey, Jonathan Barrett, and Terry Rudolph, established that if physical experiments can always be set up independently of one another then there cannot be any ambiguity about the “correct” quantum state describing those experiments. Other quantum states would be wrong, in the same way that it would be wrong to think there’s a 0 percent chance of rolling a six on a die that has, in fact, landed on six.

    Another paper, published in Physical Review Letters in 2014 by Jonathan Barrett, Eric Cavalcanti, Raymond Lal, and Owen Maroney, showed that there was no way to extend Spekkens’ toy theory to systems whose properties can take on three or more values—such as “red,” “blue,” and “green” for color, rather than just “red” and “blue”—without violating the predictions of quantum theory. The authors even proposed experiments that could tell the difference between the predictions of quantum theory and the predictions that any epistemic approach would have to make—and so far, the experiments that have been performed all agree with the standard quantum theory. In other words, it seems you can’t interpret the quantum state as epistemic because any theory in which the state is epistemic makes predictions different from quantum theory.

    So do these results rule out the idea that the quantum state is a feature of our mind? Well, yes and no. The arguments weighing against epistemic approaches are mathematical theorems proved in a particular framework for thinking about physical theories. First developed by Spekkens and collaborators as a way of explaining epistemic approaches, this framework includes several fundamental assumptions. One is that the world is always in some ontic state, a determinate physical state independent of what we happen to know, which may or may not coincide with the quantum state; another is that a physical theory makes predictions that can be represented using methods from standard probability theory. These assumptions are not controversial—but that doesn’t mean they’re right. What the Nature Physics and Physics Review Letters results show is that there can be no theory in this framework that is epistemic in the same way that Spekkens’s toy model is, while agreeing with quantum theory.

    Whether this is the last word depends on your view of the framework. And on this subject, opinions can vary.

    For instance, Owen Maroney, a physicist and philosopher at Oxford University and one of the authors of the 2014 Physical Review Letters paper, said in an email, “The most plausible psi-epistemic models”—epistemic models that can be accommodated by Spekkens’ framework—“are getting ruled out.” Likewise, Matt Leifer, a physicist at Chapman University who has written extensively on epistemic approaches to the quantum state, says that even the 2012 Nature Physics result closes the case—as long as you are willing to accept their independence assumption (which, Leifer says, he is “often inclined to do”).

    Spekkens himself is more circumspect. He agrees that these results have placed important constraints on epistemic approaches to the quantum state. But he emphasizes that these results are all proved within his framework—and as the originator of that framework, he is quick to point out that it has limitations, such as its assumptions about probability. And so, he thinks, epistemic approaches to the quantum state remain well-motivated, but if they are to succeed, we need to revisit basic assumptions about physical theories that most physicists have been willing to accept without question.

    What seems clear, however, is that real progress has been made on foundational issues in quantum theory. Many physicists are tempted to dismiss questions about the meaning of the quantum state as merely interpretational or, worse, “philosophical,” since they are not relevant to the problems most quantum physicists worry about, like designing new particle accelerators or building better lasers. Saying a problem is “philosophical” makes it seem as if it falls outside the scope of mathematical and experimental physics.

    But work on epistemic approaches show how wrong this is. Spekkens and his collaborators managed to take an interpretation of the quantum state and turn it into a precise hypothesis—a hypothesis that was then refuted with mathematical and experimental results. That does not mean epistemic approaches are dead, but it does force their advocates to come up with a new hypothesis. And that is unambiguous progress—both scientific and philosophical.

    James Owen Weatherall is Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science at U.C. Irvine. His most recent book is Void: The Strange Physics of Nothing (Yale University Press, 2016), which explores the structure of empty space in physics, from the 17th century to today. 


Compose new post
Next post/Next comment
Previous post/Previous comment
Show/Hide comments
Go to top
Go to login
Show/Hide help
shift + esc