Trump Shows the World He’s Putin’s Lackey

Maybe the president is exactly as compromised as he looks.

.. No matter how low your expectations for the summit between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin on Monday, it was hard not to be staggered by the American president’s slavish and toadying performance.
.. Dan Coats, gave a speech about America’s vulnerability to cyberattacks, particularly from Russia. “I’m here to say, the warning lights are blinking red again,” he said, comparing the threat to the one that preceded Sept. 11.
.. Trump sided with the Russian president against American intelligence agencies while spewing lies and conspiracy theories. “He just said it’s not Russia,” he said of Putin’s denials. “I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be.” Continuing in a free-associative fugue, he asked, “What happened to the servers of the Pakistani gentleman that worked on the D.N.C.?” referring to a debunked right-wing claim about a former Democratic I.T. staffer.
.. Perhaps the most sinister part of the news conference was Trump’s seeming openness to a deal in which F.B.I. investigators could question people in Russia in exchange for letting Russians question Putin critics in America.
.. Putin referred specifically to associates of his arch-nemesis Bill Browder, a businessman (and British citizen) who has succeeded in getting seven countries, including the United States, to pass laws punishing Russian oligarchs suspected of corruption. (The Russians who met with members of the Trump campaign at Trump Tower in June 2016 wanted to discuss this law, the Magnitsky Act.)
.. “I’ve known for a long time that Putin has been trying to use every trick in the book to get me arrested in a foreign country and extradited back to Russia,” Browder told me after the news conference. It’s chilling that Trump appeared willing to help Putin with his vendetta.
.. John McCain, Republican of Arizona, described it as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory.” Even some Trump partisans were aghast. Newt Gingrich decried it as the “most serious mistake” of Trump’s presidency.
.. Trump’s behavior on Monday recalled his outburst at Trump Tower after the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, when he insisted there were “very fine people” among the racist demonstrators.
.. everything Trump said was in keeping with things he’d said before. The shocking part was his frankness.
.. it forced, if just for a moment, a collective apprehension of just what a repulsive abomination this presidency is.
.. It’s always been obvious that Trump does not hold Russia’s hacking of the 2016 election, which he publicly encouraged and gleefully benefited from, against Putin.
.. None of us yet know the exact contours of Trump’s relationship with Russia, whether Putin is
  • his handler,
  • his co-conspirator
  • or just his hero.

But it’s clear that Trump is willing to sell out American democracy for personal gain.

.. on July 27, 2016, he publicly called for Russia to find Clinton’s emails, and, thanks to Friday’s indictments, we now know Russia started trying to hack the domain used by her personal office that very day.

.. Trump’s collusion with Russia has always been out in the open, daring us to recognize what’s in front of our faces.

.. Some doubt that Trump is a Russian puppet precisely because his fealty to Putin is so blatant and undisguised.

.. Mariia Butina

.. who worked for the Russian politician and alleged organized crime figure Alexander Torshin, presented herself as a Russian gun rights activist, and spent years cultivating links to the National Rifle Association.

.. She became a fixture in some pro-Trump circles and was reportedly especially close to a conservative operative named Paul Erickson.

.. hosting a birthday costume party that was attended by Trump aides.

“She dressed as Russian Empress Alexandra while Erickson was dressed as Rasputin,”

.. At the party, Butina reportedly boasted that she’d helped the Trump campaign communicate with Russia. If there was a reason to doubt that she was a Russian spy, it was only that one would expect a Russian spy to be subtler.

.. This weekend, Butina was arrested in Washington, and on Monday a criminal complaint against her for acting as a Russian agent was unsealed. She was accused of conspiracy to “exploit personal connections with U.S. persons having influence in American politics in an effort to advance the interests of the Russian Federation.”

.. Sometimes things are exactly as bad as they appear.

Treating Patients with Respect Lowers Doctors’ Malpractics Lawsuits

I see an interesting parallel to malpractice liability for physicians. The well known and understood best way to avoid malpractice is not expertise or avoiding mistakes, it’s having good beside manners and treating patients with respect. (Expertise and attention to detail are very, very important of course but have less impact on chances to get sued than these other soft factors, according to this advice.)

I’ve seen doctors miss cancers before and escape unscathed after frank discussions with the patient, while others that do everything technically correct are sued over a hangnail. Not saying missing cancer is “ok as long as your nice”, I’m saying that people don’t really sue over money, they sue over hurt feelings and seek retribution in monetary form. (There’s a big exception to all this in the patients who are opportunistically seeking an opening to sue. They are simply dangerous to have as patients, but are usually quick to move on.)
Finally, the physician who has good bedside manners is also a better witness and more sympathetic to juries.

What Are the Chances the War of Words with North Korea Escalates?

Wars often begin through miscalculation, and it’s easier to imagine a direct North Korean show of force — another shelling, for example — escalating more quickly in the current environment. It’s also easier to imagine a North Korean overreaction to a perceived American threat.In other words, it’s quite possible that we could essentially stumble into war. That’s the context in whichTrump’s rhetoric is most troubling. It’s not clear what he stands to gain with his aggressive words, and to the extent they have an effect, they seem to be backfiring. There’s no indication that his words are deterring the DPRK from pursuing an active ICBM force. To the contrary, they are incentivizing North Korea’s rush to create deliverable intercontinental weapons. They aren’t “scaring” North Korea into any sort of compliance with American wishes. Kim Jong-un is countering Trump rhetoric not just with rhetoric of his own but also with actions that frighten every American ally in the region — the kind of actions that raise tensions and increase the chance of miscalculation. Nor is there much evidence that Trump’s rhetoric is triggering a Chinese response decisive enough to force the DPRK into compliance. At least not yet.

Serverless: A lesson learned. The hard way.

The actual cost is now $206 and over $1000 forecasted, it makes me think twice about using pay-per-use services in the future. One little mistake can cost a lot of money, the budget notifications were very late so there was very little I could do against it.

Right now I’m continuously refreshing the billing page on Amazon, hoping it wont go any higher – I probably wont be sleeping much tonight.

I’m not saying serverless is bad, but you should be very careful with it. Keep an eye on your logs, test everything again and again. Set up a budget alarm, even though I still ended up with $206 costs, it could have been much much worse without one.

 

.. This is probably the most stupid thing I ever did. One missing return; ended up costing me $206.