Posted by Brad @ 2:58 pm on January 29th 2010

Obama v. The Republican Party

Here is the event today the reactions to which is currently blazing around the blogosphere (check below the fold for some). There is a lot of, frankly, gushing praise coming out right now about Obama’s address to the House Republican retreat in Baltimore that was just featured on CSPAN. The Republican Party invited him there, and he spoke extemporaneously and then took questions from sitting Republican members of Congress. At the last minute, it was apparently President Obama’s people that requested CSPAN coverage (so says MSNBC).

More please.


Posted by Brad @ 1:44 pm on January 29th 2010

Meanwhile, Across the Pond…

Tony Blair got grilled in an investigation over how the UK got so wound up in the Iraq War.

Round up. Glenn Greenwald’s take.

Posted by Brad @ 1:07 pm on January 29th 2010

Anti-American CIA Stomping on English-As-Our-National-Language Tradition of American Intelligence Gathering

Leon Panetta announced today that foreign language proficiency is now required for promotion to seniority in the agency.

Posted by Brad @ 12:27 pm on January 29th 2010

Pay-As-You-Go Reinstated

To my surprise, following Obama throwing his support behind it in the State of the Union, the Senate just passed a bill reimposing Pay-As-You-Go (already passed by the House). The vote was 60-40. With every Democrat voting aye, and every single Republican voting no.

Statement from Nancy Pelosi:

“Today the Senate joined the House in taking a critical step toward ensuring fiscal discipline for the long term by passing pay-as-you-go budget rules into law.

“Strict pay-as-you-go budget rules created record surpluses in the late 1990s. And when this standard was abandoned under President Bush, it created record deficits. One of the first actions Democrats took when we assumed the majority in 2007 was to make pay-as-you-go fiscal discipline the rule of the House. Now it will be the law of the land, and our future generations will benefit. Like every American family, Congress cannot make spending commitments it cannot afford.

“As the President made clear last night, we must make tough decisions to get our fiscal house in order after a decade of failing to do so. We can strengthen our nation without undermining our future; with pay-as-you-go spending rules, we will.”

I have been trying to figure out why this was a party line vote, despite Republicans having made noise in support of it in the past. Nearest I can get (from a Hill blog mention):

Republicans have said that by installing the rule, pay-go would become an excuse for tax hikes, since spending cuts are frequently unpopular.


Any fiscal conservatives around here want to defend that?

Posted by Brad @ 11:45 am on January 29th 2010

Outsourcing NASA

Obama takes a middle path with NASA. Adam has long advocated nixing manned space missions, and a lot of libertarians have been arguing that the private sector is where it’s at for that anyway. Nobody has been quite sure what to do with NASA. In the 2011 budget, the administration seems be signaling a new hybrid approach. NASA will finish out their current schedule of flights, but will move more towards being a research partner and investor in private sector innovation.

President Barack Obama will ask Congress to extend International Space Station operations through at least 2020 but abandon NASA’s current plans to return U.S. astronauts to the moon … The president’s 2011 budget request, due to be delivered to Congress on Monday, will direct NASA to invest in the development of U.S. commercial space taxi services … The move is meant to reduce reliance on Russian crew transportation services after the retirement of America’s aging shuttle fleet.

The administration will provide for a safe fly-out of five remaining shuttle missions – even if the final flights slip into 2011. But an option to extend shuttle operations through 2015 is being cast aside, officials said. Obama’s aim is to turn NASA once again into “an engine for innovation,” one that will spur the development of commercial industry in low Earth orbit.

And despite the draw down of NASA-centric flights, their budget will actually increase, and Kennedy Space Center, which is on life support, will become instead a kind of government-leased launching pad and research space for private industry. Space Shuttle missions will now be conducted, as mentioned, by commercial space taxi service.

It’s an interesting approach. Having been around the robotics and engineering world a bit, I know NASA is a very valued partner already, and has a significant presence in silicon valley. The idea is to shift the weight from “Mission to the Moon” kind of stuff, and more towards having it be a research and investment engine. Which is an inspired idea, I think.

Posted by Brad @ 8:21 pm on January 28th 2010

The Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

It’s been promised so much that I barely notice it anymore, but apparently this time Obama is for real, with a big caveat—if Congress can pass it.


Before President Obama announced last night that he would work with Congress and the Pentagon to end the military’s ban on service by gays and lesbians, the White House consulted Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to sign off on the language he planned to use, administration officials said. They did. “The Pentagon is with us,” the official said. And Geoff Morell, Gates’s spokesman, e-mails me to say that “The Department leadership is actively working on an implementation plan and will have more to say about it next week.” So — Obama’s pledge to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was more than words — he’s instructed the military to get it done as soon as Congress repeals the law. A Senate hearing is set for February 2, featuring testimony from Mullens and Gates. An outside hearing is set for February 11. Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) doesn’t know if he has the votes to cross the 60-person threshold in the Senate, but the expected endorsement by Mullen will make it difficult for opponents to argue that the military brass isn’t ready.

To say the least. If the head of the Joint Chiefs and the (very popular with Republicans) Secretary of Defense are enthusiastically behind it, I’m sure that the GOP can drum up one of those “signed by 50 generals” letters, but the argument becomes a lot more difficult, especially for the fence-sitters and moderates. If you’re a Republican Senator, being forced to choose between bigotry and uncomplicated military idolotry might be one of your least favorite places to be.

Posted by Brad @ 4:26 pm on January 28th 2010

Happening Right Now

The Senate is voting on cloture for Ben Bernanke’s reappointment, and J.D. Salinger is dead.

Posted by Brad @ 11:48 am on January 28th 2010

The Path to 50

For the Republicans in the Senate has to lead through Barbara Boxer (CA) and Russ Feingold (WI). A tall order if you ask me.

But, two new polls indicate that they at least have a shot.

PPIC puts Tom Campbell, a conservative populist, within 4 of Boxer (presuming he beats Carly Fiorina in the primary (he is ahead by 11), but in fact the primary may well help him by getting national attention, grassroots backing, and out-of-state money as the Tea Party crowd are focused on this race.

And in Wisconsin, Rasmussen has Tommy Thompson actually beating Russ Feingold, outside the margin of error (47 to 43). But, as Ambinder notes, that strikes most people as more than a little optimistic, noting Feingold’s historic strength, Rasmussen’s heavily GOP favored LV models, and the fact that most people don’t expect Thompson to run (and, of course, it’s hard to forget his dismal Presidential run, where he was one of the least effective candidates at that level I think I’ve ever seen). Currently the two declared Republicans are multi-millionare Terrance Wall, and Tea Party candidate, David Westlake, both of whom would at least make for a competitive primary for Thompson for different reasons (one’s rich, one’s a Tea Party candidate). I haven’t seen any primary polls for Wisconsin.

In both cases, it’s a long shot. But it is a shot.

Posted by Liz @ 9:51 pm on January 27th 2010

State of the Union

An attempt at a liveblog.   Or a drinking game.  Or a combination thereof.  Have at it.

Posted by Brad @ 5:52 pm on January 27th 2010

Is Fox the Most Trusted Name in News?

That’s the headline, as a lot of people are touting or uncritically passing on the PPP poll that shows, of all media outlets, Fox News being the only one which more people trust than not. 49% say they trust it to 37% who do not. CNN follows a 39/41 spread, followed by NBC at 35/44, CBS at 32/46, and ABC at 31/46.

But, as Steve Singiser quite rightly and cogently explains, that’s more than a little misleading, one of those statistical tricks wherein the words you put to the numbers give a different impression than the numbers themselves. In fact, of the three classes of respondents—liberals, conservatives, and moderates—the conservative vote screws it up.


Moderates and liberals all rate most of the news agencies roughly the same—in the mid-range. Conservatives, however, OVERWHELMINGLY rate all news agencies except Fox at damn near 0, and Fox closer to a 100 (on an out-of-my-ass scale of trustworthiness). In fact, the second-most trusted news agency for conservatives, CNN, is rated at 22%, which is 4% less than liberals rate Fox News. Ironically, moderates agree with liberals that Fox is their least trusted name in news, but because the range among conservative responses is so staggering, it skews the polls. So, when it says that 49% of people trust Fox and 39% do not, what it really means is conservatives really trust Fox News and absolutely despise everything else, while moderates and liberals trust Fox the least but tend to have a more, well, moderate view of everybody else.

So the real headline of the story is that conservative opinion is way, way more homogeneous when it comes to Fox News than any other demographics are about any other news agency. Which I’m not sure is a selling point for either the trustworthiness of Fox or the trustiness ratings of conservatives.

Posted by Brad @ 5:11 pm on January 27th 2010

Music Video of the Week

As Obama prepares to try and break a Mexican stand-off he’s having with Congress and the American public…

Jose Feliciano – Malaguena


Posted by Brad @ 2:54 pm on January 27th 2010

The Sanctity of Defense Spending

Most have probably already read Glenn Greenwald’s upbraiding of the idea for always leaving defense spending out of the fiscal responsibility equation. But for my money Spencer Ackerman gets at it more cleanly.

The point, in other words, is that the problem’s even worse than Glenn Greenwald portrays it. Everyone in Washington who studies the Pentagon budget quickly finds gobs and gobs of wasteful spending. Not some people. Not dirty hippies. Every. Single. Defense. Analyst. If I was so inclined, I could spend my days doing nothing but attending conferences on the latest defense jeremiad or policy paper about how to cut it. I already spend too much of my time reading this stuff on defense-community email listservs.

For the Obama administration to exempt defense spending from its kinda-sorta-spending-freeze is a position that makes no sense from a policy perspective. None at all. From a political perspective, it only begins to make sense because a brain-dead media would amplify the braying ignorance blasted from a GOP congressional megaphone about Defense Spending Cuts OMG. And even then it doesn’t make sense. A holdover Republican Defense Secretary is now the biggest advocate of an even slightly sensible defense budget in the Obama administration.

A lot of people were upset at the Swift Boat Veterans For Truth, but I think for pure get-under-my-skin red-in-the-face outrage, the thing in the 2004 campaign that bothered me most were Zell Miller, Dick Cheney, and a host of conservative commentators jubilantly trying to nail John Kerry to the wall for being, I guess, not pro-national defense enough. The ammunition? A bunch of weapons systems and the like that he had voted to cut. So you got a whole bunch of crap piled six feet high about how John Kerry wanted to shaft the Pentagon, John Kerry doesn’t support the troops, John Kerry is against giving America the weapons it needs, imagine the world without all those things John Kerry voted to cut funding for, John Kerry will not let the military defend America, etc. etc. etc.

The context, of course, is that John Kerry did not, in fact, sit there reading a “Defund the F22 Phantoms” bill and chose to vote “aye”. Rather, he voted for defense budgets in the early 90s that dramatically slashed spending on a number of weapons systems the Pentagon and military didn’t want. Those budgets were drawn up following the collapse of the Soviet Union, as very reasonable attempts to cut a bunch of totally unnecessary spending. And they were, of course, drawn up by President George H.W. Bush and his Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney. Cut to Zell Miller giving the keynote at the Republican national convention in 2004 going, line by line, down the weapons systems that those budgets cut, blaming what has been an entirely correct spending drawndown as if it were John Kerry out to screw the military.

We’ve reached a point where Republicans have gotten so fetishistic about the United States military that they DEMAND we overspend by something in the arena of 10 to 1 on defense and military, and where any attempts to even broach the topic will result in a major kick in the pants for the poor schlub who brings it up or, indeed, even agrees with the military.

Roughly 55% of the federal budget is legally-mandatory entitlement spending. Another 10% is debt interest. 20% is defense. And 15% or so is discretionary. The Democrats won’t let us touch that 55% (that’s a broad stroke—actually a lot of the health care reform package might have actually made a dent), the Republicans won’t let us touch another 30% (another broad stroke, in that they have no interest in raising more revenue to touch the debt, and will scream bloody murder for anybody who tries to touch military spending), which leaves…well, that discretionary money. But cordoning off 85% of the federal budget from any fiscal reform is pretty stupid, and it is worth noting that the Republicans have much to owe up to on that as well.

Posted by Rojas @ 2:14 pm on January 27th 2010


The essence of government is the prevention of force and fraud. When a portion of the financial industry engages in fraud, it becomes incumbent upon government to act. This is beyond dispute.

It can also be reasonably argued that an industry which relies on government bailouts takes upon itself certain regulatory burdens that make subsequent bailouts unnecessary. I think it is more rational to argue that we ought to permit the banks in question to fail and avoid the bailouts altogether, but there is a reasonable case to be made to the contrary.

Consider, alternatively, this statement:

We need to make banking not just boring but as profitable as any other sector in the economy: no more and no less.

Here we have a case for financial regulation based upon the belief that it is a reasonable exercise of governmental force to micromanage private profit–not to tax it, mind you, but to deliberately set conditions whereby the amount of profit earned by a non-criminal enterprise will be kept within boundaries, to prevent the management class in that particular industry from becoming too full of themselves.

I cannot think, offhand, of a more essentially totalitarian statement that I’ve seen in print recently…a statement which simultaneously affirms the omnipotence of government regulations to achieve precise results, and which affirms the desirability of doing so in order to engineer private virtue among a class which is deemed to have lost its way.

Perhaps you have already guessed the author.

Posted by Brad @ 1:27 pm on January 27th 2010

The Candidate

Politics is weird. It attracts a lot of weird people. It creates a weird bubble in which the weird things engaged in by weird people occurs.

The Candidate by Andrew Young is finally leaking out, about John Edwards. And man, it’s weird.

Posted by Brad @ 1:14 pm on January 27th 2010

State of the Union Bingo

Courtesy of Frank Hagan.

Posted by Brad @ 10:30 am on January 27th 2010

Nobody Reads Retractions

But it’s worth noting. A high profile CIA guy who was interviewed in 2007 claimed that Abu Zubaydah cracked under mere seconds of waterboarding, and that “from that day on, he answered every question. The threat information he provided disrupted a number of attacks, maybe dozens of attacks.” This of course made the rounds, particularly in places like NRO, as evidence that torture works. We of course did find out that that wasn’t entirely true—Zubaydah was waterboarding 80 some odd times per month.

Anyway, John Kiriakou now admits he more or less had no better idea about it than the rest of us. It was just “something he heard”, that he’s now pretty sure is probably wrong. He in fact hints that it was just something the CIA nudged him into saying (although the CIA, in responding to that claim, gives the perhaps more likely read of “maybe he was just talking out of his ass”). Anyway, yeah, John Kiriakou, waterboarding works, by his own admission has no idea what he’s talking about.


Posted by Cameron @ 7:50 am on January 27th 2010

Movie Review!

This is a review of a movie that I had never heard of two hours ago. I watched it because it popped up as a suggestion on Netflix and was available to watch instantly. The movie is the 2002 direct to DVD release, Interstate 60, and it is one of the more unique movies that I’ve run across in recent memory. It reminds me most greatly of a book near to my childhood heart, The Phantom Tollbooth. The plot is pretty straight forward with well worn motivations but there is a moderately surprising philosophical component to the film which adds depth to the story. The moments of philosophy are wrapped in the more fun moments of the movie, occurring during the exhilarating Twilight-Zone-esque side journeys along the way.

I suspect fans of The Truman Show or Joe Versus the Volcano will find Interstate 60 quite enjoyable. I recommend that anyone who currently subscribes to Netflix give it a shot one night; it’s available to stream or rent.

On a side note, the end of the movie had a rather peculiar disclaimer in the area where they usually assure us that all characters are fictitious and that no puppies were tortured: “No computers or miniatures were used to create or enhance the destruction of any vehicles in this motion picture.”


Posted by Brad @ 5:25 pm on January 26th 2010

Meanwhile, at Olathe Northwest

Dear Kansas high school kids:

Don’t f#*k with your teachers.

Posted by Brad @ 5:20 pm on January 26th 2010

James O’Keefe Arrested

Remember him? The guy that plotted the whole ACORN sting operation and played the pimp and Rojas put him on the blogroll for like a week and then Congress passed an unconstitutional law about it?

Anyway, he just got arrested for allegedly trying to bug Senator Mary Landrieu’s office.

The FBI, alleging a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in downtown New Orleans, arrested four people Monday, including James O’Keefe, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the advocacy group’s credibility.

FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O’Keefe aided and abetted two others, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office’s telephone system.

A fourth person, Stan Dai, was accused of aiding and abetting Basel and Flanagan. All four were charged with entering fedral property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.


Posted by Adam @ 10:58 am on January 26th 2010

Cruel and Unusual

It turns out that it is Constitutional to deny a prisoner the right to play Dungeons and Dragons in prison.

As this dates back to 2004, the prison authorities may have been wiser than they realised; edition war* executed with sharpened toothbrushes might have been bit scary.

Anyhow, Pathfinder is just a better game (although now sadly also outlawed in that prison as the authorities expanded their rules to ban all fantasy games of this sort).

*Given that the announcement in 2007 and the release in 2008 of 4th edition D&D was controversial within the nerding community.

Posted by Brad @ 10:30 pm on January 25th 2010

President Obama: “Spending Freeze!”

Taking a page out of McCain’s playbook, Obama is going to announce in his State of the Union that for the next three years, all discretionary spending will be frozen. That doesn’t count any military or entitlement spending, that latter of which is legally mandatory, the former of which is political mandatory. Additionally, he’s pledged his support for the Conrad-Gregg bipartisan “Debt Commission”, which would have the power to force an up-or-down vote on systemic changes.

Posted by Brad @ 7:52 pm on January 25th 2010

Music Video of the Economic Cycle Debate

Reason #5634 why George Mason University is the coolest higher education institution around.

A music video sponsored by their economics department in which John Maynard Keynes and F. A. Hayek have a rap battle.

That is exactly as awesome as it sounds.

“If you’re living high on that cheap rented hog,
don’t look for a cure from the hair of the dog.
Real savings come first if you want to invest;
The market coordinates time and inter-est.
Your focus on spending is pushing off red;
In the long run my friend it’s your theory that’s dead.

So sorry there buddy if that sounds like invective;
Prepare to get schooled in my Austrian perspective.”

Posted by Brad @ 7:21 pm on January 25th 2010

Music Video of the I Don’t Know What

So, Scarlett Johansson. She put out this album, what, last year?, and I’ve had it on my playlist since then, and it’s maybe the only time I can recall where I play something a lot with not a damn idea whether I like it. Like, I really have no idea what I think. She’s not got much of a voice (she sings ok, for the style she’s going for, but her voice is just…not very good), the production values fall somewhere between “Mostly Passable” and “1988 Casiotone Keyboard Demo Setting”, and the song choices are uninspired. But I keep listening to it. It’s got some sort of weird hypnoticness to it. I can’t tell if it’s hypnotic like a car crash or hypnotic like, say, some kind of animal you’ve never seen before and can’t for the life of you identify. And like I said, on the scale of 1 to 10, I think I have to give it an R.

Scarlett Johansson – Anywhere I Lay My Head

Posted by Brad @ 3:10 pm on January 25th 2010

Senate Picture, 2010: Beau Biden Out

There’s a certain critical mass with political momentum such that, when things are going good, you start getting the breaks, and when they’re bad, everything seems to go the other way. People on the fence about retiring decide to go ahead and pull the trigger, top tier candidates decide to wait for another spot and a better climate, etc, and that just gets the old snowball rolling.

we have now reached the bad kind of critical mass for the Dems.

I understand why people care so deeply about this election. The challenges we’re facing as a country are extraordinarily difficult. The economy. Jobs. Health care. Energy. Education. Climate change. Financial regulation. Foreign policy. These are not only the issues of the moment – they’re the issues that will determine our children’s future. And as someone who has had the privilege of serving with the bravest men and women on this planet, I care deeply about how we treat our returning veterans and how we resolve our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I feel strongly about these issues. However, my first responsibilities are here in Delaware. I have a duty to fulfill as Attorney General – and the immediate need to focus on a case of great consequence. And that is what I must do. Therefore I cannot and will not run for the United States Senate in 2010. I will run for reelection as Attorney General.

Joe Biden also doesn’t think his aide who is keeping his seat warm, Ted Kaufman, is going to run either.

That makes what would have been a relatively easy hold for the Dems into a lean Republican race, as Mike Castle is maybe the most popular political figure in the state short of Beau Biden, and there isn’t much of a bench left to speak of. It also joins a few Congressional retirements from Dems in red districts also being announced in the last week, as well as new polls in Nevada and Indiana showing Reid basically being toast, and Evan Bayh in real danger of following him out.

Of the Top Ten Seats Most Likely To Switch Hands, 8 belong to Democrats, and there is roughly the same level of probability that the Dems actually lose their majority as retain 60 seats (although the path to Republicans regaining the majority goes through Boxer and Feingold). Regardless, I’d say -6 is a good guess, and that’s a pretty brutal midterm swing.

Posted by Rojas @ 1:17 am on January 25th 2010

Obama’s Stalking Horses

I think it’s readily apparent that President Obama’s post-Massachusetts agenda has been constructed around the need to rebuild his political capital.

The Wall Street reforms he’s proposing, while reasonable in themselves, do nothing whatsoever to create moral hazard or to eliminate the mortgage lending practices that led to the recession in the first place; they are rather transparently designed to position him as The Enemy of Corporate Greed. And if the Republicans are foolish enough to position themselves in opposition–well, so much the better for Congressional Dems in November.

SCOTUS appears to have killed campaign finance reform as we know it; the President’s complaints over the weekend amount to a lament for a set of policy changes that are now clearly beyond the authority of the legislature to enact. He simply has no solution to propose. That doesn’t mean, though, that the lamentation doesn’t serve his you-and-I-against-the-powerful narrative.

And in that same vein, back to health care:

We are going to keep on working to get this done — with Democrats, I hope with Republicans — anybody who’s willing to step up. Because I’m not going to watch more people get crushed by costs or denied care they need by insurance company bureaucrats. I’m not going to have insurance companies click their heels and watch their stocks skyrocket because once again there’s no control on what they do.

The decidedly unsubtle message: President Obama is on our side against the greedy insurance companies.

This, of course, is particularly shameless given that the reform proposal the President signed off on was developed in partnership with the insurance companies and was designed in large part to further enrich them. Lest we somehow forget: the proposal currently on the table constitutes a mandate that Americans, as a condition of citizenship, purchase health insurance from private providers. It is the first such mandate in American history. THAT is the nature of President Obama’s bold fight against the insurance industry–the same insurance industry that financed his own Presidential campaign so lavishly.

What is this? It is smart politics; an attempt to press the reset button and reposition the President in the mold of John Edwards circa 2006. One can see the political wisdom of it. The President is posturing as the enemy of corporate greed.

But even the most cursory review of his stances proves that it’s all posturing.

Posted by Brad @ 7:18 pm on January 23rd 2010

Dismissal of NSA Spying Challenge Court Ruling of the Week

“A citizen may not gain standing by claiming a right to have the government follow the law,”

Got that?

Posted by Brad @ 7:15 pm on January 23rd 2010

President Obama: “Campaign Finance Reform!”

Hey man, maybe you should just let this one go.

Posted by Brad @ 7:12 pm on January 23rd 2010

McCain Draws a Challenge

Former 12-year Congressman and radio host J.D. Hayworth will indeed challenge John McCain for his Senate seat. At one point Hayworth was polling dead even with McCain, and the McCain campaign are clearly worried, already running negative ads no less. Could be interesting.

Posted by Adam @ 7:04 pm on January 23rd 2010

McLaughlin Group speculation about Emanuel

All of the McLaughlin Group panel, including McLaughlin himself, agreed on this evening’s show that Rahm Emanuel won’t be Obama’s Chief of Staff by the end of the year. I found the unanimity interesting, if nothing else.

I have clearly been out of the loop on this; I know that the base hate him for his dealmaking and apparently he’s not that keen on staying forever anyhow, but one would have thought that less than two years for the Chief of Staff — 2006’s golden boy, no less — is a bit of a public admission that things are screwed.

Posted by Adam @ 12:01 pm on January 23rd 2010

Maker of fake bomb detectors gets collar felt

Jim McCormick, the maker of faith-based bomb detectors has been nicked based on allegations of being a cheating, lying bastard who’s endangering the lives of people who depend on the pieces of crap he calls “bomb detectors”. Or as the fuddy-duddies in the Crown Prosecution Service call it, he has been arrested “on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation”

The interesting question, I guess, is whether he thought these things are going to work or is just a seedy fraudster. Given that he was charging 40 grand a time for something that’s basically just an RFID chip, one would suspect there’s a big element of the latter.

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