The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Michael Hastings

died in a car accident.  He was most famous for reporting on General McChrystal’s attitude towards civilian authority, and ending his career.

Buzzfeed has a good reminiscence.

There is only one rule of writing which matters: tell your readers the truth as you know it.  Michael understood that rule.

It is interesting to me that the best reporting today is found in magazines like Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, not in publications which are ostensibly actually about the news.


The Syrian Civil War


The comment thread you should read


  1. LorenzoStDuBois


    Aside from the horribleness of this development, is anyone analyzing whether what actually happened was definitely an accident?

    I know it’s a bit melodramatic, and crazy accidents in which you go straight into a tree and the entire car explodes do actually happen from time to time, but it sure as hell seems to me worth looking into, given the fact that this is America in 2013.

  2. katiebird

    This Local News Story about the crash is shocking:

  3. AbyNormal

    “[That creative drive was challenged during his subsequent two years at Rice.] In my first three months there, I was banned from the school paper for a controversial editorial that they never published about permission to chew gum, … I described the principal in an unflattering way.” Micheal Hastings

    farewell dear man

  4. jcapan

    I’m sadly reminded of this:

  5. Jessica

    One of the better of us is gone. It is some comfort to know that we have such on our side.

  6. jcapan

    Best part of the Buzzfeed piece:

    “You will look,” I pointed out to him, “like an asshole.”

    “Everyone knows I’m an asshole,” he said. “The point is that they’re assholes.”

  7. alyosha

    “That stretch of Highland Avenue is notorious for its late-night crashes involving DUI drivers, though Tuesday at 4:25 a.m. would probably stick out as an unusual time for such a case.”

    in Michael Hastings Probed the CIA Before Fatal Hollywood Crash.

    That part of Highland is one of the routes out of Hollywood. It’s not hard to imagine someone partying in Hollywood, then finally heading home along that route.

  8. Celsius 233

    Ian = It is interesting to me that the best reporting today is found in magazines like Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, not in publications which are ostensibly actually about the news.
    Yeah, ain’t it the truth. So much garbage out there; but it’s not even garbage (which has value); it’s grabbage; worthless and a total waste of electrons.

  9. someofparts

    I guess by now the only people who can speak truth to power without having their heads wind up on virtual spikes are jesters and relative outsiders.

  10. Also from Buzzfeed:

    Besides Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, most Democrats abandoned their civil liberty positions during the age of Obama. With a new leak investigation looming, the Democrat leadership are now being forced to confront all the secrets they’ve tried to hide.

    For most bigwig Democrats in Washington, D.C., the last 48 hours has delivered news of the worst kind — a flood of new information that has washed away any lingering doubts about where President Obama and his party stand on civil liberties, full stop.


    The very topic of Democratic two-facedness on civil liberties is one of the most important issues that Greenwald has covered. Many of those Dems — including the sitting President Barack Obama, Senator Carl Levin, and Sec. State John Kerry — have now become the stewards and enhancers of programs that appear to dwarf any of the spying scandals that broke during the Bush years, the very same scandals they used as wedge issues to win elections in the Congressional elections 2006 and the presidential primary of 2007-2008.

    Read in full: Why Democrats Love To Spy On Americans

    this was apparently Michael Hastings’ Last Article.

    I’ve long argued that ‘democrats’ and the self-styled American ‘progressives’ are the most insidious enemies of freedom outside of the USA. I’ve also long argued that a political class that behaves as the American political class does abroad will very quickly repatriate that behaviour as it turns against its own populace.

    Telling the truth as Hastings did is an essential first step in opposing this. But it’s a first step only.


  11. S Brennan

    I think the fact that the engine was torn off it’s mounts and thrown 60 some yards shows that the “professionals” in charge of this affair need to pull their horns in little…way too obvious bros…tone it down, the media can be kept in line with a dog whistle, no need to shout for all to hear.

  12. Celsius 233

    @ mfi;

    While Wyden’s and Udall’s positions look good at first glance, I question why they kowtowed and refused to give us information. Classified? How could it (the spying) be classified when it violated the constitution? 1st and 4th amendments at the very least. IMO that makes them a part of the problem.
    It’s rather moot at this point; I hold us, the collective us, 100% responsible! We dropped the ball 30+ years ago. Actually that would imply action; apathy is wot done us in…

  13. @ Celsius 233 June 20, 2013

    Oh that’s alright I collectively blame you too – and so do lots of other people. Yes about a generation ago at the same time as the American ruling class started to remove your economic security (and thus the basis of your freedoms) they started to remove or invalidate the legal framework of those freedoms. Both processes are well underway America still has the form of a liberal republic but it’s only in form.

    What I find alarming is how far and how fast this cancer in the American body politic has spread.

    There was a fine example of it here recently – with no less than three putative progressives arguing recently for the removal of one of the last (and most effective) defenses of civil liberty which is that somebody can only be convicted on the basis of evidence in a court of law or to put it simply a jury may NOT convict on the basis of any other information and that any attempt to introduce and consider information from outside the criminal proceedings is both a contempt of court and a miscarriage.

    Given how far the social, intellectual, and ethical decay has advanced I wonder how long it will be before the modern day equivalents of Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus make their appearance and form a triumvirate.


  14. Celsius 233

    @ mfi;
    “What I find alarming is how far and how fast this cancer in the American body politic has spread.”
    Yes, myself as well. It looks like the coup de grace, after a protracted illness (mental), is finally being delivered.
    American’s are walking dead, IMO. And they don’t yet know it because they don’t recognize death in this form.

  15. Formerly T-Bear

    @ markfromireland June 21, 2013

    “… wonder how long it will be before the modern day equivalents of Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus make their appearance and form a triumvirate.”

    Lets look. David Rockefeller, Koch Bros. Pete Peterson, Sheldon Adelson, Rupert Murdock, Richard Mellon Scaife, just off the top of the head, must be several others as well – Walton Fam. Oh! wait! … how many are needed to make one of those triumvirates? Are we there yet?

  16. Formerly T-Bear

    Addendum: (For the implication impaired)

    Koch Bros. – Neutralizing political effectiveness.
    Pete Peterson – Sustained attack on social safety structures.
    Rupert Murdock – Subversion of public information.
    Richard Mellon Scaife – Usurping Judicial function.
    Sheldon Adelson – Funneling massive funds to political ideologues.
    David Rockefeller – Funder, co-ordinator, director, exalted High Priest of Social Darwinists.

    and the Walton Family – because they can.

  17. hvdub

    I see MFI is raising this canard once again without ever having answered my discussion of the realities of any legal system. Legal fictions are swell so long as reality does not give the absolute lie to the fiction raised.

    MFI also insists on mischaracterizing my position. I would not dismantle the purely aspirational goal of deciding a case based on only the facts presented in the court room. I believe that all of the in court proceedings should support that endeavor. The reality, however, is that neither jurists or jurors arrive in court as a blank slate. Gag orders on public discussions of cases do little or nothing to assure that participants enter the court room in MFI’s blissful state of purity. What they do is assure that the only viewpoint on a case that enters the public consciousness is that which the State allows. I will not trade an uninformed public for the remote possibility of MFI’s blank slate court room. We provide for voir dire plus a number of other procedures to eliminate jurors whose prejudices (no matter how arrived at) make it impossible for them to actually hear and decide based on the evidence presented. That should be enough to protect the court room.

    Having said that, I will now send tremors of discomfort through MFI by noting that the dismantling of the American legal structure has taken place largely through the insidious insistence on glorifying legal fictions narrowly conceived, narrowly argued and utterly divorced from the realities surrounding them and the acquiescence of the “progressive” legal community (and community at large) to this Talmudic debate over form totally removed from the underlying social and economic realities. The recent SCOTUS opinion, American Express Company v. Italian Colors Restaurant, is a good example although it does contain a rare, principled, dissent.

  18. I’ve long argued that ‘democrats’ and the self-styled American ‘progressives’ are the most insidious enemies of freedom outside of the USA. I’ve also long argued that a political class that behaves as the American political class does abroad will very quickly repatriate that behaviour as it turns against its own populace.

    Yes, several of us have been arguing this for years. And yes, it usually falls on deaf ears.

  19. alyosha

    ..I think the fact that the engine was torn off its mounts and thrown 60 some yards shows that the “professionals” in charge of this affair need to pull their horns in little…

    According to eyewitnesses, his car was flying down Highland before he crashed.

    … wonder how long it will be before the modern day equivalents of Caesar, Pompey, and Crassus make their appearance and form a triumvirate.

    IMO, it will become more formally recognized, and institutionalized by the end of this decade. Whoever wins in 2016 or 2020 is going to ask for, and get, what amount to dictatorial powers. Of course, they’ll say it’s only temporary. There’s a significant portion of the public that really, really wants fascism, and longs for a leader who will get this country out of its mess. They’re going to get one.

  20. Bruce Wilder


    The conservative dictator, who, in his ruthlessly reactionary attempts to restore the Roman Republic, destroyed it, was named, Sulla. Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix.

    The triumvirate came later.

  21. S Brennan

    The engine weighs approximately 350 lbs, the attaching steel is about 5 inches^2 [not counting the transmission and other metal attachments] and has a tensile strength of approximately 120,000 psi. The force required to break this link is 600,000 lbs, or 1,714 g’s, now the engine is free but not moving.

    Now to move the engine 60 yards, will assume an initial trajectory of 45 degrees to get max distance for minimum energy input which simplifies the formula to R=V^2/32, R= 180ft so Vo = the square root of 180*32…or 51mph after de-accelerating at 1714 g’s…only a fool would believe such a thing plausible. Only an explosion would produce that kind of energy to break, then throw an engine 60 yards.

  22. Formerly T-Bear

    @ S Brennan

    Since the car was diesel (presumption) what would it take to ignite diesel fuel? Gasoline fuel is easy to ignite in auto wrecks, it’s why you often see fire trucks along with FD rescue at such calls. The bit seen, the fire was fiercely burning but how long it had been could not be determined but the passenger compartment was being consumed when water was being garden hosed on the fire. The front part of the motor also looked burnt, the transmission (aluminum) was unscorched . My initial reaction of the video linked above was that of disbelief of any simple explanation.

  23. alyosha

    @S Brennan – interesting physics, I’m just not qualified enough to evaluate it. It just seems plausible to this unschooled mind, that crashing into a tree at such high speed would be enough to catapult the engine. I’m a lot more interested in why he was so recklessly racing out of Hollywood.

  24. @ Bruce Wilder June 21, 2013

    You’re absolutely right about Sulla and what he did. But do you think it more likely that what’s just around the corner for the US is a Sulla-like figure or some form of triumvirate? My guess is that a Sulla would be too blatant for the American ruling class to be comfortable with and that they’ll go for some form of commission/triumvir.


  25. @ alyosha
    June 21, 2013

    There’s a significant portion of the public that really, really wants fascism, and longs for a leader who will get this country out of its mess.

    And There always has been – what people crave is security and the sense that there are others lower down in the pecking order than them. It’s even money which of those they crave more.


  26. @ hvdub June 21, 2013

    without ever having answered my discussion

    That’s because I do not engage in debate with people who in my opinion are deliberately resorting to mendacity. Every word you wrote screamed that it was written by somebody who does not in fact have the qualifications or experience you purported to have. A fact you repeatedly evaded when I pointed it out to you in great detail.


    I will now send tremors of discomfort through MFI by noting that the dismantling of the American legal structure has taken place largely through the insidious insistence on glorifying legal fictions narrowly conceived

    I couldn’t care less about your opinion or what happens within your legal system, to you personally, or to your fellow Americans. I’m a great believer in letting people reap what they have chosen to sow.

    I do care deeply about trying to prevent the rest of us from sinking to the level to which your country its institutions and above all its people have descended. When I write as I wrote during our interaction I am writing for people outside of the USA not for people within it who are AFAIC a lost cause.

    It is a waste of time and of effort to try to rescue the irredeemable far better to try to do something for those for whom there is still a chance.


  27. @ S Brennan June 21, 2013

    will assume an initial trajectory of 45 degrees

    A quibble (and it is no more than a quibble) is that 30° based on what I’ve seen of car bombs in Lebanon and Irak might be a more reasonable assumption.


  28. @ Celsius 233 June 21, 2013

    From my standpoint it’s more like they’re an alcoholic who has not yet hit rock bottom. There’s no point in even trying to help until they do so, in fact if you even try before that point you’re merely acting as an enabler.


  29. Sbrennan, you clearly know nothing about engine and transmission mounts. These mounts rely on gravity to keep the engine in the car (i.e., rely on the fact that they’re cupped into pockets on the frame), they’re not designed to provide the hundreds of thousands of pounds of tensile strength you attribute to them. Typically they utilize low-grade grade 5 bolts of approximately 1/4″ to 1/2″ diameter to attach them to the frame, which have significantly lower tensile strength than you mention, as in on the order of 15,000 lb — and note that most of the force in this case would have been shear strength, which is about 60% of tensile strength. I have had broken engine mount bolts based on nothing more than the torque provided by a 225 ft/lb 4.0L Jeep engine operating through a transmission and transfer case. Compressed oatmeal, bah. At least the engine didn’t fall out (gravity, remember?), it just started clunking back and forth as I accelerated and decelerated.

    In the car in question, the engine/transmission assembly weighs about 500 pounds, so yes, being thrown a significant distance away from the car is quite possible if the car slams into a tree at 60mph and the engine mount and transmission bolts would not have stopped them. Even the CV joints on the driveshafts would not stop the drivetrain from going AWOL, since ball-and-race CV joints are notoriously weak on extension.

    Finally, regarding diesel burning, diesel fuel is similar to kerosene in consistency and in fact I’ve burned diesel fuel in kerosene lanterns during hurricanes and their aftermath back when I lived in hurricane country. So yes, it burns. What it doesn’t do is explode like gasoline, but if something happens to make it catch fire (such as, say, a white-hot catalytic converter touching a pool of diesel fuel), it will decidedly burn.

    In short, nothing about the accident scene seems unusual given the time of day and the location (a notorious spot for that kind of thing happening). If the car had exploded during the day just after he had gotten in, I’d be thinking conspiracy. But at 4AM? At a spot *known* for this kind of thing happening? Nope. Sh*t happens, that’s all.

    As for the fact that the best reporting is happening at places like Rolling Stone and Vanity Fair, that’s one reason why I continue my subscription to Rolling Stone Magazine, helping pay Matt Taibbi’s salary. I think the deal is that these magazines don’t consider themselves news magazines, they consider themselves truth magazines. Thus they don’t abide by the unwritten rules of “news”, such as “never say which point of view is true.” If interviewing members of the Flat Earth Society, the New York Times headline would read “Opinions of Shape of the Earth Differ” without ever, like, actually letting you know that the world is *round*. But what if you *want* to know whether the world is round or flat? With the NYT, you’d be SOL. With Vanity Fair, they’d laugh and say “the world is, of course, round” and tell you why we know that’s true. Because they’re not “news”, so don’t live by the rule of “never tell the reader who’s telling the truth” like “news” does. But truth is something that most people *want* to know, at least if it agrees with their preconceived prejudices (heh!). Hmm, a blog post in that last sentence all in itself…


  30. S Brennan

    Formerly T-Bear,

    It could not have burned like that if it was diesel fuel,…in fact, diesel will only burn at atmospheric pressure with a wick to aid combustion. Diesel poured on solid surface will not burn…even with an active ignition source…that is why it is preferred fuel for marine vessels.

  31. Bruce Wilder

    markfromireland “a Sulla would be too blatant for the American ruling class to be comfortable with and that they’ll go for some form of commission/triumvir”

    I’m skeptical, generally, of the “analytic power” of analogies to particular narrative sequences. The triumvirate wasn’t the preferred path of the Roman oligarchy, either; it was the invention of the politically and economically weak, but young, supremely clever and ambitious Caesar: a political kludge that created the misimpression that civil war was safely past, and the Senate was working, again, as a forum for a broadly-distributed oligarchy and a working governing body, while Caesar pursued his self-designed cursus honorum to supreme power.

    It was the politics of assassination, practiced by the Optimates, culminating with Sulla and his bloodbath (that barely spared Caesar), which destroyed the Republic. That kind of political violence has not happened in the U.S., Al Gore notwithstanding, though it is hard to look at Michael Hastings going up in a Hollywood-scripted ball-of-fire and not feel profoundly squeamish. That guy in Britain, who blew the whistle on Murdoch phone-tapping, was murdered by the police, and no one said a thing; still less do I expect any investigation of Hasting’s death.

    The present American “ruling class” appears to be aiming at corporate neo-feudalism — not that they have an actual, deliberately chosen design or plan; I am writing “as if” to economize on narrative complexity, not to deny that there’s a large element of evolutionary chaos at work. The “fief” in this neo-feudalism is corporate privilege and rent-seeking, pursued in globalization and “free trade” agreements, the next steps of which Obama will try to push thru as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and a similar agreement with Europe.

    It seems to me that the established pattern to date in desired political leadership has not been government-in-commission, as Walpole delivered it for the 18th century English Whig magnates, but, instead, the spokes-model politician and crowd of useful idiots, who are willing to abandon public power for personal celebrity status, and to take dictation from lobbyists and P.R. messaging experts, combined with the corrupt technocracy of central banks and supra-national institutions, able to impose a neoliberal order of options and ideas, to further handicap the legacy institutions of liberal democracy, just in case one of the spokesmodels tries to pull a vestigial lever of power.

    Caesar rose to power at a time, when centralization of political power, conquest and expanding the scope of peaceful trade could yield an increasing surplus to a growing urban civilization. Being highly organized politically, as the Romans were, paid big dividends in war, and in post-conquest peace, in building cities and trade. The Pax Romana and the Augustan and silver ages of Rome followed Caesar’s establishment of a well-functioning imperial administration. The U.S. appears to be in the quite different position of being on the lee side of our civilization’s crest — it’s all downhill from here, with hegemony fading rapidly and the prospect of peak oil and ecological collapse depressing economic output and disposable surplus at an accelerating pace.

    Just based on the established patterns, I expect U.S. Power to stumble on for most of this decade, aided perversely by increasing chaos over the next few years, in China and possibly other BRICs as well as crisis in the EU. Power is relative, and just when you think U.S. hegemony would be gone forever, it may enjoy an Indian Summer, especially in Western Europe, where failing leadership may go looking for their good American daddy. [Good luck with that!] In domestic American politics, political violence will increase over the next seven or eight years, as the scope of despair envelopes a broader swath of young people, who have the energy and motivation to revolt, and the huge prison complex cannot keep up. I think Obama will manage to destroy the Democratic Party, along with the remnants of the New Deal. When voter faith, interest and participation are very low, political strategies that mobilize large numbers of the disaffected, paradoxically, begin to look more appealing to the innovative outsider, and more plausible in comparison to grooming one’s self as a despised spokesmodel for WalMart heirs, Kochs and the like. GenY upper and middle-class youngsters grew up in remarkably regimented, programmed childhoods, compared to the latchkey boomers; they will organize. I’d expect some big generational turnover, and some very young politicians to emerge at the end of the decade.

    Economically, an economy of paper (economic) rents is just too tempting an opportunity for even spokesmodel politicians. A President can “jawbone” as they used to say, and deliver radical changes in living standards within the course of an hour or two, when vast swathes of income distribution depend on intellectual property and bad financial debt. A populist could become very popular just cutting the price of songs in the iMusic store from $1.29 to $0.10, and there’s no practical obstacle to such gestures, and even more substantive ones, affecting health care or student debt. In the same circumstances, a well-armed fascist could turn on his erstwhile plutocratic masters and extort vast sums, or could try to mobilize mass support with, say, subsidies for gasoline for personal vehicles or even internet connections.

    By the same token, American hegemony will be over for good by 2020, and domestic political violence endemic. The consequences of way too much private debt, and the years of delay on peak oil and climate change, will combine with the loss of hegemonic “tribute” to create real problems and real cause for desperation. Overpopulation worldwide and the acceleration of economic change means crises can mushroom to continent-shaking levels in a half-decade, easily. Eeking out a surplus of resources to apply to adapting or responding will seem to put a premium on effective political authority; how that squares with any newly emergent sense of political solidarity, I cannot guess. The plutocrats dominate American politics, because there’s no competition from mass-membership organization — that could change, but I do not now see how or when.

    Political dynamics without some foundation for mass solidarity require, as Ian politely reminds us from time to time, a certain almost murderous enmity toward the ruling class. I think the 1/10th of 1% are acutely aware of the pending crises of peak oil, climate change, etc., even if their selfish stupidity is leading them to favor policies, which are self-destructive to the societies on which they depend, whether they remember that dependence or not, while the masses are in denial of various forms, about the predatory hostility of the upper class much more than any details of developments vis a vis the natural world. Along with the loss of mass solidarity, we have lost a lot of political consciousness in the developed world, especially in the U.S. History suggests that when it comes back, it may carry a lot of irrational id. When Public Opinion first began to emerge in France in the 18th century, it was as mercurial and irrational and superficial as it is today, in its dotage, and beneath the veneer of rhetorical sophistication applied by the salons of Paris, was the Great Fear of aristocratic conspiracy, which tore down the Bastille in a day, and ended a 900 year dynasty. Someone quite unexpected may bypass the powers-that-be and take a chance on becoming leader by getting in front of the stampede.

    I’m deeply pessimistic about the long run, but I’m old and don’t expect to live to see much of it.

    I have no idea what mental fart prompted that long rant. I plead temporary mental illness, and if our gracious host thinks it too long and off-topic, and wants to delete it, I offer no objection.

  32. S Brennan

    1] Fasteners are not normally subjected to torsion stress, getting something to fail that it’s not designed is easy, any idiot can do it and many do, there is no information to be gleaned from a fasteners failure in torsion, in fact, higher tensile strength fasteners have more issues seating torque and have specific guidelines as result.

    2] Windows shook throughout the neighborhood, find me ONE EXAMPLE of an air/fuel explosion creating a CV wave with Diesel…you are wrong. But on that subject, the catalytic converter is seen on the ground away from the crash and fire…good luck with that red herring.

    3] An ASME 1/2″ steel fastener should fails at around 30,000 lbs, but since your an expert on Mercedes motor mounts, let’s assume it took 120,000lbs in a combination of shear and torque, you are still at 343 g’s.

    4] The tree is still standing, the car’s cabin looks to be intact. Having seen a car [Ford Taurus] almost sheered completely through from a 60 mph impact [FYI, the engine stayed with the vehicle] with a concrete pillar I would be dubious about this car striking at more than 40mph…and I am being generous. Also it would be useful to understand how the drivers side door was totaled in a head on collision.

    5] Physics is physics, those who saw the impact said the engine was ejected and flew 50-60 yards and the engine lying at greater than that distance bears this out. Fasteners or not, it left the engine compartment at the speed I calculated. How in the effing hell did it do that, magic?

    So…since your post posits much hand flailing in an attempt to obscure, what’s your angle? Why the frantic defense?

  33. Jessica

    @Bruce Wilder
    I read it all with interest. I was impressed that you went that long without saying anything that struck me as stupid. I may disagree with parts and the parts we agree on, we may both be wrong, but well done.

  34. S Brennan, from personal experience I know diesel fuel burns quite well, but it doesn’t matter. Michael Hasting’s car was a Mercedes C250. Which is powered by a 2.5L *gasoline* engine.

  35. Jessica

    @ Bruce Wilder

    Such a well-thought out piece deserves some discussion. It is what I would want at least.

    “not that they have an actual, deliberately chosen design or plan”
    I agree. I actually shy away from the neo-feudal analogy because I think it vastly overestimates the degree of elite coherence. 1st world elites now have some ability to come together to protect their elite status, but little more vision or historical perspective than that. (China is still somewhat different.)
    On the other hand, I think you over-estimate the amount of autonomy remaining to the “spokesmodels”. Precisely because the elites have no vision or purpose and function solely to increase and maintain their own power, they no longer have the will or the capacity for reformist concessions. They also no longer have the internal discipline required for a majority of the elites to force concessions on other parts of the elites (as was done in the New Deal). The effect is that each shard of the elites has effective veto power over any changes that would harm what it considers its interests.
    There is also what Jesse at Jesse’s Cafe Americain calls the credibility trap: The elites can not allow any reform because reform would expose the complicity of the elites in the problems that would be reformed.

    I agree that if the current social system continues, then global warming and peak oil are causes. But I think something important only comes into view if we see them as effects. What ties together the decay of the elites and the absence of solutions to energy needs and global warming is that we have basically monopoly (late stage) industrial elites presiding over an economy whose core has shifted to a large degree to knowledge production. This evolutionary mismatch of future and past works about as well as having feudal lords in charge of industrial development.
    Basically, the emergent knowledge worker class has been turned on its head. Its primary task, the one that absolutely must be fulfilled under the current system, is the creation of the artificial unknowing required to maintain current hierarchies even in the presence of powerful communication technologies.
    It is important to understand that our sense of our own individual capacities and our sense of our collective capacities, both technical and moral, are vastly diminished by the sea of unknowing currently produced by the self-throttling knowledge worker class on behalf of those they serve. We are capable of much more than is apparent now.
    I think you know this. It is part of why you have made the effort of learning and thinking that shows up in what you wrote.

  36. Bruce Wilder

    At a spot *known* for this kind of thing happening?

    There’s a model of scientific reasoning for you.

  37. Bruce Wilder

    Jessica, thank you for your insightful comments.

    ” the sea of unknowing ” — a provocative phrase

  38. An engineer or scientist could easily figure out how fast the car was moving for the motor to rip out and fly that far. Since the engine wasnt located very high above the ground the trajectory would be dropping immediately after leaving the car. Knowing the weight of the engine and the distance it traveled it would be easy to figure for someone smarter than me. My opinion is that if the motor was propelled by nothing other than momentum, then the car would have had to be traveling at a very high rate of speed. Another point that needs to be considered is, did the motor end up in a straight line with the direction of travel? Was it a head on collision? If so, why didnt the motor hit the tree? One more thing, would an explosion from the fuel be able to throw the motor that far?

  39. S Brennan

    Rhett o rick,

    I did the calculation above early in the thread, the obscurist [badtux] that plague this site quickly jumped in to bury it behind their quacky conjecture.

    “Now to move the engine 60 yards, will assume an initial trajectory of 45 degrees to get max distance for minimum energy input which simplifies the formula to R=V^2/32, R= 180ft so Vo = the square root of 180*32…or 51mph after de-accelerating at 1714 g’s…only a fool would believe such a thing plausible. Only an explosion would produce that kind of energy to break, then throw an engine 60 yards.”

    Since idiocy of a few ruins it for all, this is all I’ll say on the matter. I tire of fools raising falsehoods and then when you call them on it pretending they didn’t say it. Go above and read on how Badtux states he knows for a fact that Diesel burns with great vigor when coming contact with a catalytic converter…which, ironically the picture show away from the fire…tired of the idiocy.

  40. Formerly T-Bear

    @ Bruce Wilder

    The thoughtfulness of your contribution is a splendid tribute to the work of Michael Hastings; excellence replying to excellence.

    @ S Brennan

    Thank you for your earlier reply. Another stated that the vehicle used petrol (gas) which would explain the intensity of the fire. I would say that usually Badtux provides quite sound opinions, in this case maybe some latitude could be arranged. I admit to looking at the early link only once and rely on an old and sometimes unreliable memory myself (combined with memoric dyslexia results in sometimes amusing output; sometimes mortal chagrin).

    In general:

    Where are we? Yanks speaking of Sully and Cæsar, kings and sealing wax? What will the neighbours think?

  41. What will the neighbours think?


  42. S Brennan
    I still have questions. Why did you assume a 45 degrees trajectory? What would make it go up? I think the trajectory would be almost level. That would make the necessary speed much greater than your 51 mph to get that distance. As far as an explosion, I dont believe a gasoline explosion would throw the motor. It is mostly a fireball. And I dont believe a ruptured diesel tank would explode at all. Further regarding an explosion, Newton would tell you that if the motor went one way with that much energy then the same amount of energy should have been expended in all directions. In other words parts would have been blown farther than the heavy motor in all directions. I believe it was momentum. If a car is traveling at 100 mph and stops suddenly, the motor wants to continue traveling at 100 mph and the mounts wont slow it down much.
    I am no expert, just free speculation and certainly worth every cent.

  43. I don’t think this has been posted here yet:

    Exclusive: Hastings Sent Colleagues Email Hours Before Crash

    . . . Staff Sgt. Joseph Biggs told KTLA that he received an email from Hastings on Monday.
    Biggs had known Hastings since 2008, when the journalist was embedded in his unit in Afghanistan.
    “On Monday morning, I woke up and I got an email, and it’s very panicked,” Biggs said.
    He was blind-copied on the email, which was sent to Hastings’ colleagues.
    In part, it said that the feds were interviewing his close friends and associates, and that he was onto a big story and needed to get off the radar.

  44. Carol Newquist

    Yes, several of us have been arguing this for years. And yes, it usually falls on deaf ears.

    Then why do you continue to beat a dead horse? Does this useless flagellation make you feel good; is it a catharsis of some sort? Because it sure as hell isn’t having any effect whatsoever. The sad truth of all of this, Hastings plus Snowden plus Assange….the entire milieu, is that now it will be entirely out in the open and still the public at large will do nothing. Maybe that’s the point of it. “Look here you douchebags, you’re not free! See! We’re not even hiding it any longer, and still you idiots don’t care. You know why? Because we trained you not to care. And even if some of you do, you don’t have the capacity or ability to do anything about it except carry a sign. Now, continue to not care. Let us do the caring for you.”

    SBrennan, thank you for being one of the few here to state the obvious. This is why I can’t hang with so-called “Liberals” and “Progressives” any longer, if I ever could; they are such weak-kneed hypocrites. One of their heroes is executed in front of their faces and they pretend it’s an accident so they can continue to have their dinner parties and activate as though that activation makes some kind of difference even though it all falls on deaf ears. Glenn Greenwald is a coward for not calling Hastings death what it is. All your glorified so-called “Progressive” journalists, to include Hedges, are imposters if they don’t step up and out on this one. This is the one, and none are passing the sniff test. For that, they are complicit and I will no longer read any of their half-measured garbage again. Truthdig, Rawstory, Counterpunch, CommonDreams, Truthout…..and all the rest of the alternative “Left” media can stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. They are opportunistic charlatans that are incapable of getting their own comrade’s back when the stakes are high. Pathetic. Ian’s right about one thing, he and all the rest of you will get what you deserve. They came for one of your prized journalists, and you did nothing. Tomorrow they will come for you, and I will do nothing, because none of you would ever do anything for me. When it comes right down to it, you’re cowards of the worst sort. By all means, though, continue to feel smug and superior as you discuss your disdain with a group of so-called “friends” whilst enjoying some over-rated wine and the latest Martha recipe.

  45. Carol Newquist

    Hello Dave,

    I like the panache of the person who left this sign at the site of Hastings fiery accident. I’m sure they’ll take it down in a hurry. Salon, the publication who hosted Glenn Greenwald, has asked its readers and commentary to quit speculating about his death. I never read that trash entity anyway, I just happened to catch it elsewhere. Yet another nothing to see here, move along. Shit, there’s so much to see these days, the only way not to see it is to have a lobotomy, and I’m having difficulty getting up the nerve to schedule mine. I bet it’s covered under the Affordable Care Act though.


    Carol Newquist

    PS: This is what Hastings old pal, Stanley “Death Squad” McChrystal, is up to these days. If you have children as I do, he wants them to be forced into compulsory public service described as follows:

    Of course, they call it “voluntary” in the initial discussion phases, but you and I both know what it will become. What an interesting name too, when you think back about the Franklin Scandal (Conspiracy of Silence). Such hubris and in-your-face taunting with that title. Normally, I’d say that if and when that day comes I will get the fuck out of here, but then I think, “yeah right, where to?” They’re setting the whole world on fire. No where to run to, no where to hide, and really no way to fucking fight in the conventional sense of that word.

    One final note. I don’t want to come off as a Hastings fanboy, because I’m not. In fact, I never heard of him prior to this. What’s interesting is his wife’s background. The first wife, or maybe it was fiance, was killed in an alleged roadside bombing in Iraq during the occupation. The second wife, Elise Jordan, get this, was Condoleeza Rice’s speech writer. These rabbit holes go so deep. I don’t think we’ll ever find Alice …if she exists at all. I know one thing; I’m beginning to feel ten feet tall and the men on the chess board are telling me where to go in a metaphorical sense, and I haven’t dropped acid in 25 years.

  46. Kathleen Fisher, DARPA Program Manager, on how to take over a car by changing/controlling its software:

    (And no, neither I nor anyone else here knows for sure what happened to Michael Hastings.)

  47. S Brennan

    Good addition Lisa, the thought had crossed my mind, as this methodology has been a prime suspect aviation “accidents”. If instruments tell the pilot the wrong thing at critical juncture, a “pilot error” will ensue…and that can be a tidy end to a “trouble maker” rival “presidential candidate” et al.

  48. amspirnational

    If the Political Class attempts to impose a draft, there will be widespread civil disobedience.
    I’m guessing it realizes this and will not do so, unless there is an emergency geopolitical
    mega-disaster (by its own definition and resulting from its own actions) looming. The same resistance would result.

    Carol is tad more pessimist than need be. But only a tad.

  49. Been inclined to not get too paranoid about Mr. Hastings’ demise, but you’ve posted some provocative stuff, Simeone.

  50. And now Richard Clarke weighs in:

    Was Michael Hastings’ Car Hacked? Richard Clarke Says It’s Possible

  51. Carol Newquist

    Yes, of course, if Richard Clarke says so, then it must be true. My opinion on the matter in no way will rely on anyone connected to the Panopticon. Appeals to Authority and so-called “expertise” are yet another Achilles heel of the good-intentioned on the so-called “Left.” I don’t need Clarke telling me what my instincts already know, because if you do this enough, and most “Liberals/Progressives” do it more than enough, you have no instinct. Clarke is one of them. His opinion means nothing to me. He is nothing to me. It’s a disgrace that taxpayers are FORCED to pay his pension and the salaries and pensions of all those inside the Beltway who imprison this world.

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