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Across a divided nation, skepticism about impeachment
« Reply #3930 on: September 28, 2019, 06:24:57 AM »
Across a divided nation, skepticism about impeachment





Clouds are seen over the White House after President Trump returned on the South Lawn on Sept 26. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
September 27, 2019 at 12:11 p.m. EDT

They don’t ordinarily agree with each other. They watch different channels, hear different versions of the news and view neighbors across a gaping, painful politicaldivide. But in swing districts across the country, the idea of impeaching the president has brought some Americans together: They’re wary of deploying the Constitution’s ultimate weapon — one that takes the decision about who is president out of voters’ hands.

Derek Tsao is a Republican in California who has grown tired of President Trump’s behavior. Curtis Johnson is a Democrat in Florida who could never quite fathom why his fellow Americans chose a man like Trump. Lisa Foulds is a lifelong Republican in suburban Virginia whose kids have pushed her toward the center, so much so that she voted for a Democrat for Congress last year.

They all say the president may have crossed a line when he pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate one of Trump’s main political rivals. And despite their political differences, they say the Democrats’ move this week to start impeachment proceedings against Trump is the wrong tactic at the wrong time.

Polls have shown that public opinion has shifted slightly in favor of impeachment, but many still see it as “an exercise in futility,” as Johnson put it.

The retired steelworker from Indiana, now living in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., said he’s eager for Democrats to find a candidate who can beat Trump next year, but he fears that impeaching the president will make Trump’s reelection more likely. “There’s not enough time before the election and nothing will come of it,” said Johnson, 71. “This is going to hurt the Democrats because everyone’s going to say, ‘You’re putting all your energy into this?’ ”

Tsao, 27, who is studying to be a physical therapist, has followed this week’s news only glancingly, but he’s all for investigating any credible accusations.

“If a crime has been alleged, you should find out more about it,” he said. “I fear, though, that it’s just another anti-Trump move.”

Launching an investigation and potentially putting Trump on trial in the Senate strikes Foulds, a 50-year-old who still considers herself a Republican after voting for independent Gary Johnson in 2016, as “a waste of the taxpayers’ money.”

“For something as trivial as gaining dirt on somebody? It just seems petty,” she said. “I just think it has to be much more egregious.”

As events in Washington unfolded at a breakneck pace this week, many Democrats and Republicans interviewed in swing districts across seven states were united in their exhaustion — with politics, with polarization and, even among some of his supporters, with the president. Many said they chose not to follow every twist and turn in the Ukraine story because their views about Trump had long ago solidified, pro or con.

Voters across the partisan spectrum argued that next year’s election — not impeachment — is the best way to resolve the country’s struggle with a divisive, unpopular president who now stands accused of betraying the nation’s interests.

An NPR-“PBS NewsHour”-Marist poll conducted Wednesday found that 49 percent of Americans supported opening an impeachment inquiry while 46 percent were opposed. And in a Huffington Post-YouGov poll completed Thursday, 47 percent said that “Trump should be impeached and removed from office,” up slightly from 43 percent earlier this month. The increase was driven more by increased support among Democrats than among independents.

Polls taken earlier in the week, before details of the Ukraine call were known, showed somewhat less support for impeachment. In a Quinnipiac University survey completed on Monday, 37 percent of registered voters supported impeaching and removing the president; 57 percent were opposed, including nearly all Republicans, 58 percent of independents, and 21 percent of Democrats.

Protesters call to impeach President Trump in front of the White House on Sept. 24. House Speaker Nancy Pelos (D-Calif.)i announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)
Protesters call to impeach President Trump in front of the White House on Sept. 24. House Speaker Nancy Pelos (D-Calif.)i announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

A lose-lose

Rosa Kee can’t stand Trump, but for a long time, she thought impeachment was the wrong idea: “I really wanted us to vote him out, because otherwise he’d say, ‘This isn’t what the people wanted.’ ”

But this week, Kee, a former telecom employee from Stone Mountain, Ga., changed her mind. Kee is now, grudgingly, okay with the Democrats pressing toward impeachment.

“This feels different to me,” said Kee, 73. “Back when he said to Putin, ‘Russia, if you’re listening, go after Hillary,’ I thought, ‘Okay, that’s just his ego talking.’ But what he did to this Ukrainian guy, now he’s using his position for his own interests.”

Kee still doesn’t like the idea of Congress removing Trump — a decision she thinks voters should make on their own — but she believes House Democrats are making a principled decision, even if she’s certain it won’t succeed.

“It will help the Democrats because they finally did something about him,” she said. “But I fear it will help Trump, too, because he’s always making himself out to be the victim, and that always works for him.”

Impeachment — Congress’s power to remove a president without a vote by the people — has never been popular. In the 1970s with Republican Richard Nixon and in the 1990s with Democrat Bill Clinton, a majority of Americans concluded that the president had behaved badly. But the country remained largely opposed to impeachment until shortly before Nixon resigned, and in Clinton’s case, all the way through his acquittal by the Senate.

In Washington, the Ukraine story sucked the air out of every other issue. In Iowa and other early primary states, Democratic presidential candidates watched as news coverage pivoted from the campaign to impeachment. Political consultants and pundits shifted into hyper-speculation mode, urgently searching for clues about how the impeachment probe might alter the country’s political path.

In swing districts, the Ukraine call and impeachment inquiry didn’t seem quite the watershed events they were in the capital, but some voters welcomed the move.

A woman views newspaper headlines announcing the acquittal of President Bill Clinton in February 1999 in Sacramento. Only three of President Trump’s predecessors underwent impeachment proceedings: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, who were acquitted after trials in the Senate, and Richard Nixon, who resigned to avoid being impeached in connection with the Watergate scandal. (Bob Galbraith/AP)
A woman views newspaper headlines announcing the acquittal of President Bill Clinton in February 1999 in Sacramento. Only three of President Trump’s predecessors underwent impeachment proceedings: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, who were acquitted after trials in the Senate, and Richard Nixon, who resigned to avoid being impeached in connection with the Watergate scandal. (Bob Galbraith/AP)

In the Yorba Linda, Calif., townhouse development where Frank Bryant lives, some neighbors no longer speak to each other because of their opposing views on Trump. “It’s way too personal,” so nobody talks politics anymore around the community pool, said Bryant, a professor of marketing at nearby Cal Poly Pomona.

He generally votes for Democrats, but he admires how Trump has managed the economy. Now, Bryant’s ready to go along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to switch gears and embrace impeachment.

“I think we have to go with the speaker right now,” Bryant said. “She’s been very careful, and so, if she sees something there now, I believe her.”

Voters on both sides echoed Pelosi’s concerns earlier this year that an impeachment drive could hurt Democrats. Trump supporters and opponents alike predicted that the move might strengthen Trump’s reelection bid.

The modern history of impeachment demonstrates that a sitting president can indeed turn the tables on his accusers, said Frank O. Bowman III, a professor at the University of Missouri School of Law and author of “High Crimes and Misdemeanors,” a history of impeachment. Bowman said that Clinton effectively pressed his case in the news media, portraying his Republican opponents as bad guys who wanted to use his extramarital sexual affair to remove him from office.

“Clinton managed to flip the public narrative from his own bad behavior to the behavior of those who attacked him,” the historian said. “Trump doesn’t need Clinton to teach him anything about fighting dirty. Any attempt to impeach Trump is going to invite the nastiest kinds of backlash, first of all against Joe Biden.”

In St. Clair Shores, a sharply split district in Detroit’s northern suburbs, Diana Rascano, 69, said she often votes for Democrats in local elections, where government “touches your life more than the feds.” But in presidential votes, she’s a consistent Republican because of her conservative views on abortion, immigration and taxes.

The transcript of the president’s call with his Ukrainian counterpart sounded like standard business talk to her, not unlike what she recalls from her days as an executive at the Detroit Edison utility company.

Rascano said Democrats, some Republicans and the news media are acting as “one big angry mob in . . . a constant barrage of trying to find a crime” committed by Trump. As a result, she said, she’s more supportive of the president in 2020 than she was in 2016.

Small-business owner Jason Scaggs, 36, touches up one of the many painted sentiments on his “Flag Barn” in Owings, Md., on Nov. 2, 2016. The barn, which dates to 1912, has signs that read: “Trump — Make America Great Again,” “Blue Lives Matter” and “Dedicated to Our Troops.” (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)
Small-business owner Jason Scaggs, 36, touches up one of the many painted sentiments on his “Flag Barn” in Owings, Md., on Nov. 2, 2016. The barn, which dates to 1912, has signs that read: “Trump — Make America Great Again,” “Blue Lives Matter” and “Dedicated to Our Troops.” (Linda Davidson/The Washington Post)

Switching sides

In northwestern Pennsylvania, Trump in 2016 became the first Republican presidential candidate to carry Erie County in more than three decades. White working-class voters abandoned their historical ties to the Democratic Party after manufacturing plants downsized or closed along Lake Erie’s southern shore.

But last year, county voters shifted their loyalties back to Democrats as Gov. Tom Wolf and Sen. Robert P. Casey Jr. both carried the county by about 20 points.

In Harborcreek, a working-class town just east of Erie city, many residents said they weren’t paying much attention to the unfolding impeachment controversy in Washington.

Jim Cass, a 77-year-old retired bar owner who has been a Republican all his life, has never liked Trump and said the Ukraine matter has only validated his view.

“I think he is a liar and a cheat and I never trusted him with our foreign affairs,” Cass said, “and I don’t like anything about him. Period.”

He’s all for impeaching the president, but he isn’t sure Congress will be able to amass sufficient evidence to get the job done, and he worries that the debate will deepen the nation’s divisions.

He’s certain the debate will exacerbate divisions within his own family. He has a son and a son-in-law “who loves Trump,” but another son and a daughter-in-law who “don’t have any use for him, either.”

But Cass said the risk of more family fights is worth it if the result is removing from office the man he considers “mentally ill.”

To another Republican in Harborcreek, though, the move toward impeachment seems a recipe for a Trump victory in 2020. Randy Wienke, a 64-year-old truck driver, has been stuck in the house for several days recovering from back surgery — plenty of time to absorb details of the Ukraine story on Fox News.

He’s concluded that Democrats are just out to remove Trump over a phone call that he said most voters don’t care about. “They just don’t like him, and they don’t like him because he doesn’t play into their little clique politics game there,” Wienke said.

He’s convinced that the “real criminals” are Joe Biden and his son Hunter, who have been the target of Trump’s counterattack this week.

Even if Trump did do something wrong, Wienke said, he doesn’t understand why Democrats would rush to push him from office: “Who would take his place? Mike Pence? They still would not be getting rid of any of his conservative, Republican political views.”

The impeachment initiative has changed some minds — if not about Trump, then about the Democrats lining up against him.

Tom Shaw, 56, a fraud investigator in Henrico, Va., voted for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008, Republican Mitt Romney in 2012 and then Trump in the last election, in good part because he liked the idea of a businessperson managing the country.

“Business is tough and running this country is like a big business,” Shaw said. He’s been pleased to see Trump cut red tape, lower unemployment, reduce corporate tax rates and sign a criminal justice reform bill.

But Shaw switched gears last year to vote against his Republican congressman, Dave Brat, and choose Democrat Abigail Spanberger because she’d served as a CIA officer and promised to work with Republicans.

He won’t vote for her again, though, because of her strong advocacy for gun control — and because she announced her support for impeachment this week.

“I’d love to see her sit down and lay out the specific facts that are illegal involving Trump,” he said. “But we’ll see. Maybe something comes out in the hearings. If there’s evidence that Trump violated some law or did something unethical, I would vote to impeach him in a second.”

Portnoy reported from Chesterfield, Va.; Wilson from Yorba Linda, Calif.; Craig from Erie, Pa.; and Fisher from Washington. Anna Clark in Detroit; Jared Leone in Dunedin, Fla.; Eva Ruth Moravec in Georgetown, Tex.; and Scott Clement contributed to this report

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline Surly1

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Russian Secret Weapon Against U.S. 2020 Election Revealed
« Reply #3931 on: September 28, 2019, 07:43:24 AM »
Russian Secret Weapon Against U.S. 2020 Election Revealed In New Cyberwarfare Report

Group of hooded hackers shining through a digital russian flag

GETTY

The FBI has warned that “the threat” to U.S. election security “from nation-state actors remains a persistent concern,” that it is “working aggressively” to uncover and stop, and the U.S. Director of National Intelligence has appointed an election threats executive, explaining that election security is now “a top priority for the intelligence community—which must bring the strongest level of support to this critical issue.”

With this in mind, a new report from cybersecurity powerhouse Check Point makes for sobering reading. “It is unequivocally clear to us,” the firm warns, “that the Russians invested a significant amount of money and effort in the first half of this year to build large-scale espionage capabilities. Given the timing, the unique operational security design, and sheer volume of resource investment seen, Check Point believes we may see such an attack carried out near the 2020 U.S. Elections.”

None of which is new—it would be more surprising if there wasn’t an attack of some sort, to some level. What is new, though, is Check Point’s unveiling of the sheer scale of Russia’s cyberattack machine, the way it is organised, the staggering investment required. And the most chilling finding is that Russia has built its ecosystem to ensure resilience, with cost no object. It has formed a fire-walled structure designed to attack in waves. Check Point believes this has been a decade or more in the making and now makes concerted Russian attacks on the U.S. “almost impossible” to defend against.

The new research was conducted by Check Point in conjunction with Intezer—a specialist in Genetic Malware Analysis. It was led by Itay Cohen and Omri Ben Bassat, and has taken a deep dive to get “a broader perspective” of Russia’s threat ecosystem. “The fog behind these complicated operations made us realize that while we know a lot about single actors,” the team explains, “we are short of seeing a whole ecosystem.”

And the answer, Check Point concluded, was to analyse all the known data on threat actors, attacks and malware to mine for patterns and draw out all the connections. “This research is the first and the most comprehensive of its kind—thousands of samples were gathered, classified and analyzed in order to map connections between different cyber espionage organizations of a superpower country.”

The team expected to find deep seated linkages, connections between groups working into different Russia agencies—FSO, SVR, FSB, GRU. After all, one can reasonably expect all of the various threat groups sponsored by the Russian state to be on the same side, peddling broadly the same agenda.

But that isn’t what they found. And the results from the research actually carry far more terrifying implications for Russia’s capacity to attack the U.S. and its allies on a wide range of fronts than the team expected. It transpires that Russia’s secret weapon is an organisational structure which has taken years to build and makes detection and interception as difficult as possible.

“The results of the research was surprising,” Cohen explains as we talk through the research. “We expected to see some knowledge, some libraries of code shared between the different organizations inside the Russian ecosystem. But we did not. We found clusters of groups sharing code with each other, but no evidence of code sharing between different clusters.” And while such findings could be politics and inter-agency competition, the Check Point team have concluded that it’s more likely to have an operational security motive. “Sharing code is risky—if a security researcher finds one malware family, if it has code shared with different organizations, the security vendor can take down another organisation.”

The approach points to extraordinary levels of investment. “From my perspective,” Yaniv Balmas, Check Point’s head of cyber research tells me. “We were surprised and unhappy—we wanted to find new relationships and we couldn't. This amount of effort and resources across six huge clusters means huge investment by Russia in offensive cyberspace. I have never seen evidence of that before.”

And the approach has been some time in the making. “It’s is an ongoing operation,” Cohen says, “it’s been there for at least a decade. This magnitude could only be done by China, Russia, the U.S. But I haven't seen anything like it before.”

The research has been captured in “a very nice map,” as Balmas described it. This maphas been built by Check Point and Israeli analytics company Intezer, a complex interactive tool that enables researchers to drill down into malware samples and attack incidents, viewing the relationships within clusters and the isolated firewalls operating at a higher level.

APT Map

CHECK POINT

The research has been angled as an advisory ahead of the 2020 U.S. elections. Russia has the capability to mount waves of concerted attacks. It’s known and accepted within the U.S. security community that the elections will almost certainly come under some level of attack. But the findings actually point to something much more sinister. A cyber warfare platform that does carry implications for the election—but also for power grids, transportation networks, financial services.

APT Map

CHECK POINT

“That’s the alarming part,” Check Point’s Ekram Ahmed tells me. “The absence of relationships. The sheer volume and resource requirements leads us to speculate that it’s leading up to something big. We’re researchers— if it’s alarming to us, it should definitely be alarming to the rest of the world.”

So what’s the issue? Simply put, it’s Russia’s ability to attack from different angles in a concerted fashion. Wave upon wave of attack, different methodologies with a common objective. And finding and pulling one thread doesn’t lead to any other cluster. No efficiencies have been sought between families of threat actors. “Offense always has an advantage over defense,” Balmas says, “but here it’s even worse. Given the resources Russia is putting in, it’s practically impossible to defend against.”

“It’s alarming,” Check Point explains in its report, “because the segregated architecture uniquely enables the Russians to separate responsibilities and large-scale attack campaigns, ultimately building multi-tiered offensive capabilities that are specifically required to handle a large-scale election hack. And we know that these capabilities cost billions of dollars to build-out.”

I spend lot of time talking to cybersecurity researchers—it’s a noisy space. And given current geopolitics, the Gulf, the trade war, the “splinternet,” there is plenty to write about. But I get the sense here that there’s genuine surprise and alarm at just what has been seen, the extent and strategic foresight that has gone into it, the implications.

And one of those implications is that new threats, new threat actors if following the same approach will be harder to detect. The Check Point team certainly think so. “This is the first time at such a scale we have mapped a whole ecosystem,” the team says, “the most comprehensive depiction yet of Russian cyber espionage.”

And attacks from Russia, whichever cluster might be responsible, tend to bear different hallmarks to the Chinese—or the Iranians or the North Koreans.

“Russian attacks tend to be very aggressive,” Balmas explains. “Usually in offensive cyber and intelligence, the idea is to do things that no-one knows you're doing. But the Russians do the opposite. They’re very noisy. Encrypting or shutting down entire systems they attack. Formatting hard drives. They seem to like it—so an election attack would likely be very aggressive.”

With 2020 in mind, Ahmed explains, “given what we can see, the organization and sheer magnitude of investment, an offensive would be difficult to stop—very difficult.”

Cohen reiterates the staggering investment implications of what they’ve found. “This separation shows Russia is not afraid to invest enormous amount of money in this operation. There’s no effort to save money. Different organisations with different teams working on the same kind of malware but not sharing code. So expensive.”

All the research and the interactive map is available and open source, Cohen explains, “researchers can see the connections between families, better understanding of evolution of families and malware from 1996 to 2019.”

The perceived threat to the 2020 election is “speculation,” Check Point acknowledges. “But it’s based on how the Russians are organizing, the way they're building the foundation of their cyber espionage ecosystem.”

So, stepping back from the detail what’s the learning here? There have been continual disclosures in recent months on state-sponsored threat actors and their tactics, techniques and procedures. The last Check Point research I reported on disclosed China’s trapping of NSA malware on “honeypot” machines. Taken in the round, all of this increased visibility on Russian and Chinese approaches, in particular, provides a better sense of the threats as the global cyber warfare landscape becomes more complex and integrated with the physical threats we also face.

On Monday [September 23], 27 nation-states signed a “Joint Statement on Advancing Responsible State Behavior in Cyberspace,” citing the use of cyberspace “to target critical infrastructure and our citizens, undermine democracies and international institutions and organizations, and undercut fair competition in our global economy by stealing ideas when they cannot create them.”

The statement was made with Russia and China in mind, and a good working example of how such attack campaigns are supported in practice can be viewed by exploring Check Point’s Russian cyber espionage map, which is now available online.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

Offline K-Dog

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3932 on: September 28, 2019, 01:11:07 PM »
I like the pics but don't believe a word of it.
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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3933 on: September 28, 2019, 05:48:36 PM »
I like the pics but don't believe a word of it.

And why not?

Trump Told Russian Officials He Didn’t Care About 2016 Election Meddling: Report

The Evertrump Deadenders are about to join a chorus of Deep State Coup, and deny the shit trump has already admitted.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Fox News in a State of ‘Bedlam’ As Trump Faces Impeachment: Report
« Reply #3934 on: September 29, 2019, 03:57:33 AM »
Photo: JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

In private, many Republicans are in crisis mode over Trump’s scandal in Ukraine, reportedly claiming that an impeachment inquiry could permanently derail his presidency. One Senate Republican told the Washington Post that releasing the limited transcript of Trump’s call to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy was a “huge mistake.” One former administration staffer told Politico that, due to the scandal, the remainder of Trump’s legislative agenda “probably doesn’t get done.” Another prominent Republican told Vanity Fair that “this could unwind very fast, and I mean in days.”

Though there’s turmoil under the surface, in public the GOP amidst Trump’s impeachment inquiry is having a much quieter crisis, as Republicans weigh in with responses ranging from it “raises a number of important questions”but we’re not going to do anything, to “Biden is the one who threatened Ukraine’s aid, not Trump.” And as the party goes, so does its organ. According to a new report from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman, Fox News is grappling with how to deal with Trump’s worsening Ukraine scandal and the developing impeachment inquiry. On Thursday morning, Sean Hannity reportedly told friends that the whistle-blower’s report is “really bad,” and that Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch is considering how to set up the network for its inevitable post-Trump future. But unlike the party at-large, the turbulence is being felt a little more publicly. As Sherman reports:

Fox has often taken a nothing-to-see-here approach to Trump scandals, but impeachment is a different animal. “It’s management bedlam,” a Fox staffer told me. “This massive thing happened, and no one knows how to cover it.” The schism was evident this week as a feud erupted between afternoon anchor Shepard Smith and prime-time host Tucker Carlson. It started Tuesday when Fox legal analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano told Smith on-air that Trump committed a “crime” by pressuring Ukraine’s president to get dirt on Biden. That night, Carlson brought on former Trump lawyer Joe diGenova, who called Napolitano a “fool” for claiming Trump broke the law. Yesterday, Smith lashed back, calling Carlson “repugnant” for not defending Napolitano on air. (Trump himself is said to turn off Fox at 3 p.m., when Shep Smith airs.) Seeking to quell the internecine strife before it carried into a third day, Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace communicated to Smith this morning to stop attacking Carlson, a person briefed on the conversation said. “They said if he does it again, he’s off the air,” the source said. (Fox News spokesperson Irena Briganti denied that management had any direct conversation with Smith).

Another gem from the report: Paul Ryan, who joined the Fox board a few months after his retirement, is among those at the network pushing for hosts to break with the president. “Paul is embarrassed about Trump and now he has the power to do something about it,” an executive close to Ryan said — as if he has more power to check Trump’s authoritarian tendencies as a TV board member than he did as Speaker of the House.

But having an adverse relationship with holding the president accountable appears to be a theme among Republican lawmakers:

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: Fox News in a State of ‘Bedlam’ As Trump Faces Impeachment: Report
« Reply #3935 on: September 29, 2019, 10:13:56 AM »
“Paul is embarrassed about Trump and now he has the power to do something about it,” an executive close to Ryan said — as if he has more power to check Trump’s authoritarian tendencies as a TV board member than he did as Speaker of the House.

In the court of public opinion, Faux Newz has way more power than SotH.

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We Americans Enable Unspeakable Atrocities Every Day
« Reply #3936 on: October 01, 2019, 05:52:05 PM »
We Americans Enable Unspeakable Atrocities Every Day


By Maj. Danny Sjursen



US soldiers pose with Filipino Moro dead after the First Battle of Bud Dajo, March 7, 1906, Jolo, Philippines

October 01, 2019 "Information Clearing House" -  Not so long ago, in November 2010, I took command of B Troop, 4th Squadron, 4th US Cavalry in a ceremony at Fort Riley, Kansas. It was, for me, a proud day. Army officers are taught to revel in their unit’s history, and the 4th Cavalry Regiment had a long, storied past indeed. On that cool, late fall day, the squadron’s colors – a flag with battle streamers – fluttered. One read: Bud Dajo, Philippine Islands – a reference to one of the regiment’s past battles. The unit crest pictured on the flag and pinned on our uniforms included a volcano and a kris – the traditional wavy-edged sword of the regiment’s Moro opponents in the Philippines – but hardly a trooper in the formation knew a thing about that war, battle, or the 4th Cavalry’s sordid past in the islands.

Bud Dajo was hardly a battle at all. It was a massacre. Some 1,000 Moro separatists, including their families, who opposed the US military occupation of Jolo Island, had fled to the crest of a volcano to avoid American conquest and retribution. Then, from 5-8 March 1906, the 4th Cavalry, along with other army formations, bombarded the overmatched Moros – few had firearms at all – then rushed the summit. The Moro men fought desperately and managed to inflict some 20 deaths on the charging American troopers, but they’d never stood a chance. Reaching the volcanic top, the cavalrymen fired down into the crater until all but six defenders and occupants were dead, a 99% casualty rate. The victorious troopers then proudly posed for a photograph, standing above the dead – which included hundreds of women and children – as though they were naught but big game trophies on a safari hunt.

Few Americans remember the US invasion, occupation, and pacification – a neat euphemism, that – of the Philippine Islands, but Filipinos will never forget. Perhaps half a million locals died (one-sixth of the total population) at the hands of superior US military technology, induced disease and starvation. The war also reflected and affected the US Army culture of the day. Most of the generals were veterans of the vicious Indian Wars of extermination in the previous decades. Racially pejorative terms for the Filipinos entered the military vernacular. Some, such as “nigger,” were reappropriated; others, like gugu – thought to be the etymological precursor to the Vietnam-era epithet gook – were new. The war also informed the army’s leadership for many years. The first twelve of the US Army’s chiefs of staff, including General John Pershing of World War I fame, had all served in the Philippines. The legacy was quite long. Even General George Marshall, architect of World War II victory and a future Secretary of State, had served in the islands as a fresh lieutenant.

The war bloodied and frustrated the US Army, too. Some 4,000 soldiers died, many more were wounded, and the conventional conflict and counterinsurgency raged from 1898-1913, making the Philippine War the second longest in American history, after Afghanistan, that is. The war did, in a peculiar moment during the 2016 presidential campaign, briefly earn a shout out from Donald Trump. In order to bolster his own calls for war crimes against terrorists and their families, he told an apocryphal – and debunked – story about how Pershing had once ordered bullets dipped in pig’s blood (considered unclean in Muslim culture), had 49 prisoners executed with them, and then set the one survivor free to inform his comrades of what awaited them should they continue to resist. The result, said Trump, “for 25 years there wasn’t a problem, okay?”

It made for great rhetoric, but awful history. Not only had the incident never occurred but the war had dragged on for years after even the army’s worst atrocities, including the 1906 Bud Dajo massacre. A cool seven further years, in fact. Besides, Pershing – though himself flawed and later architect of his own volcanic Moro massacre of 200-300 souls in 1913 – had been largely sympathetic to the locals. He learned their language, ate their food, traveled unarmed to meet their leaders, and became the honorary father to a local sultan’s wife. When his superior, General Leonard Wood – who today has a prominent active fort named after him in Missouri – ordered the assault on Bud Dajo, Pershing had surveyed the results and declared “I would not want to have that on my conscience for the fame of Napoleon.”

Back home in the states, many prominent consciences were indeed shocked by the massacre, and, in particular, the trophy photo taken by the victorious troopers. The image flooded the papers, the 1906 version of going viral. At that time, unlike today, there was a substantial (if not majority) anti-imperialist movement brewing. It’s lead literary spokesman, Mark Twain, said of the Bud Dajo “battle,” “We abolished them utterly, leaving not even a baby alive to cry for it’s dead mother.” These words were hardly trifling, and the rhetoric and activism of anti-imperialists succeeding in getting opposition to empire and the Philippine occupation into the platform of even the highly racist, Jim Crow-era, Democratic Party.

The photograph also galvanized African-American civil rights activists. W.E.B. Du Bois declared the crater image to be “the most illuminating I’ve ever seen,” and considered displaying it on his classroom wall “to impress upon the students what wars and especially wars of conquest really means.”

Nothing even approaching that level of intellectual outrage exists now, as the American Empire spreads its tentacles the world over. Few public intellectuals – to the extent that endangered species even exists these days – even notice the extent of their nation’s ongoing war crimes in the Greater Middle East. Take Afghanistan, for example, the only war longer than the American debacle in the Philippines. After 18 indecisive and bloody years of combat, the US military and its Afghan allies now kill more civilians annually than the vicious Taliban. That ought to be cause for pause, reflection, concern. Only it isn’t, not in Washington, not even in most universities. We’re a long way from Du Bois posting the Bud Dajo picture on his classroom wall.

Men carry the coffin of one of the victims after a drone strike that killed 30 pine nut farmers in Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 19 September 2019

Not that there haven’t been plenty of shocking photos of the civilian victims of US bombing these past weeks. Over the course of just several days in late September, the military (“accidentally,” it claimed) struck two weddings, and a group of thirty innocent pine nut farmers. Total civilian deaths approached 100, with many of the victims (in the weddings) women and children. Their crimes, apparently: gathering while Afghan! That’s right, in militarized Afghanistan, merely forming sizable groups – for ceremonies, funerals, farming – appears, to drone operators and bomber pilots, apparently criminal and threatening.

Far too often, way more routinely than Americans are apt to remember, US aircraft have subsequently slaughtered civilians – thereby bolstering Taliban narratives and recruitment, and sowing distrust of the U.S.-backed Kabul regime. Nevertheless, you’d never know it back here in the safety of the homeland. These war crimes hardly crack mainstream media and the macabre photo evidence barely raises an American eyebrow. That’s apathy manifested as tragedy.

So consider this modest piece of mine, this brief history lesson and connection to contemporary US empire, a plea of sorts to the teachers of America. Want to be a true patriot, a forceful educator, and decent human being? Well, do your students a favor: post the photos of recent US military airstrikes upon civilians in Afghanistan – the war crimes of the 21st century – on your classroom walls. Du Bois, and Twain, would be proud…and that’s hardly bad intellectual company to keep…

Maj. Danny Sjursen is a retired U.S. Army officer and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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This Is How Big Oil Will Die
« Reply #3937 on: October 02, 2019, 04:31:12 AM »
This Is How Big Oil Will Die



Seth Miller
Seth Miller
May 25, 2017 · 13 min read
From WHMP / clipart.com

It’s 2025, and 800,000 tons of used high strength steel is coming up for auction.

The steel made up the Keystone XL pipeline, finally completed in 2019, two years after the project launched with great fanfare after approval by the Trump administration. The pipeline was built at a cost of about $7 billion, bringing oil from the Canadian tar sands to the US, with a pit stop in the town of Baker, Montana, to pick up US crude from the Bakken formation. At its peak, it carried over 500,000 barrels a day for processing at refineries in Texas and Louisiana.

But in 2025, no one wants the oil.

The Keystone XL will go down as the world’s last great fossil fuels infrastructure project. TransCanada, the pipeline’s operator, charged about $10 per barrel for the transportation services, which means the pipeline extension earned about $5 million per day, or $1.8 billion per year. But after shutting down less than four years into its expected 40 year operational life, it never paid back its costs.

The Keystone XL closed thanks to a confluence of technologies that came together faster than anyone in the oil and gas industry had ever seen. It’s hard to blame them — the transformation of the transportation sector over the last several years has been the biggest, fastest change in the history of human civilization, causing the bankruptcy of blue chip companies like Exxon Mobil and General Motors, and directly impacting over $10 trillion in economic output.

And blame for it can be traced to a beguilingly simple, yet fatal problem: the internal combustion engine has too many moving parts.

The Cummins Diesel Engine, US Patent #2,408,298, filed April 1943, awarded Sept 24, 1946

Let’s bring this back to today: Big Oil is perhaps the most feared and respected industry in history. Oil is warming the planet — cars and trucks contribute about 15% of global fossil fuels emissions — yet this fact barely dents its use. Oil fuels the most politically volatile regions in the world, yet we’ve decided to send military aid to unstable and untrustworthy dictators, because their oil is critical to our own security. For the last century, oil has dominated our economics and our politics. Oil is power.

Yet I argue here that technology is about to undo a century of political and economic dominance by oil. Big Oil will be cut down in the next decade by a combination of smartphone apps, long-life batteries, and simpler gearing. And as is always the case with new technology, the undoing will occur far faster than anyone thought possible.

To understand why Big Oil is in far weaker a position than anyone realizes, let’s take a closer look at the lynchpin of oil’s grip on our lives: the internal combustion engine, and the modern vehicle drivetrain.

BMW 8 speed automatic transmission, showing lots of fine German engineered gearing. From Euro Car News.

Cars are complicated.

Behind the hum of a running engine lies a carefully balanced dance between sheathed steel pistons, intermeshed gears, and spinning rods — a choreography that lasts for millions of revolutions. But millions is not enough, and as we all have experienced, these parts eventually wear, and fail. Oil caps leak. Belts fray. Transmissions seize.

To get a sense of what problems may occur, here is a list of the most common vehicle repairs from 2015:

  1. Replacing an oxygen sensor — $249
  2. Replacing a catalytic converter — $1,153
  3. Replacing ignition coil(s) and spark plug(s) — $390
  4. Tightening or replacing a fuel cap — $15
  5. Thermostat replacement — $210
  6. Replacing ignition coil(s) — $236
  7. Mass air flow sensor replacement — $382
  8. Replacing spark plug wire(s) and spark plug(s) — $331
  9. Replacing evaporative emissions (EVAP) purge control valve — $168
  10. Replacing evaporative emissions (EVAP) purging solenoid — $184

And this list raises an interesting observation: None of these failures exist in an electric vehicle.

The point has been most often driven home by Tony Seba, a Stanford professor and guru of “disruption”, who revels in pointing out that an internal combustion engine drivetrain contains about 2,000 parts, while an electric vehicle drivetrain contains about 20. All other things being equal, a system with fewer moving parts will be more reliable than a system with more moving parts.

And that rule of thumb appears to hold for cars. In 2006, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimated that the average vehicle, built solely on internal combustion engines, lasted 150,000 miles.

Current estimates for the lifetime today’s electric vehicles are over 500,000 miles.

The ramifications of this are huge, and bear repeating. Ten years ago, when I bought my Prius, it was common for friends to ask how long the battery would last — a battery replacement at 100,000 miles would easily negate the value of improved fuel efficiency. But today there are anecdotal stories of Prius’s logging over 600,000 miles on a single battery.

The story for Teslas is unfolding similarly. Tesloop, a Tesla-centric ride-hailing company has already driven its first Model S for more 200,000 miles, and seen only an 6% loss in battery life. A battery lifetime of 1,000,000 miles may even be in reach.

This increased lifetime translates directly to a lower cost of ownership: extending an EVs life by 3–4 X means an EVs capital cost, per mile, is 1/3 or 1/4 that of a gasoline-powered vehicle. Better still, the cost of switching from gasoline to electricity delivers another savings of about 1/3 to 1/4 per mile. And electric vehicles do not need oil changes, air filters, or timing belt replacements; the 200,000 mile Tesloop never even had its brakes replaced. The most significant repair cost on an electric vehicle is from worn tires.

For emphasis: The total cost of owning an electric vehicle is, over its entire life, roughly 1/4 to 1/3 the cost of a gasoline-powered vehicle.

Of course, with a 500,000 mile life a car will last 40–50 years. And it seems absurd to expect a single person to own just one car in her life.

But of course a person won’t own just one car. The most likely scenario is that, thanks to software, a person won’t own any.


Here is the problem with electric vehicle economics: A dollar today, invested into the stock market at a 7% average annual rate of return, will be worth $15 in 40 years. Another way of saying this is the value, today, of that 40th year of vehicle use is approximately 1/15th that of the first.

The consumer simply has little incentive to care whether or not a vehicle lasts 40 years. By that point the car will have outmoded technology, inefficient operation, and probably a layer of rust. No one wants their car to outlive their marriage.

But that investment logic looks very different if you are driving a vehicle for a living.

A New York City cab driver puts in, on average, 180 miles per shift (well within the range of a modern EV battery), or perhaps 50,000 miles per work year. At that usage rate, the same vehicle will last roughly 10 years. The economics, and the social acceptance, get better.

And if the vehicle was owned by a cab company, and shared by drivers, the miles per year can perhaps double again. Now the capital is depreciated in 5 years, not 10. This is, from a company’s perspective, a perfectly normal investment horizon.

A fleet can profit from an electric vehicle in a way that an individual owner cannot.

Here is a quick, top-down analysis on what it’s worth to switch to EVs: The IRS allows charges of 53.5¢ per mile in 2017, a number clearly derived for gasoline vehicles. At 1/4 the price, a fleet electric vehicle should cost only 13¢ per mile, a savings of 40¢ per mile.

40¢ per mile is not chump change — if you are a NYC cab driver putting 50,000 miles a year onto a vehicle, that’s $20,000 in savings each year. But a taxi ride in NYC today costs $2/mile; that same ride, priced at $1.60 per mile, will still cost significantly more than the 53.5¢ for driving the vehicle you already own. The most significant cost of driving is still the driver.

But that, too, is about to change. Self-driving taxis are being tested this year in Pittsburgh, Phoenix, and Boston, as well as Singapore, Dubai, and Wuzhen, China.

And here is what is disruptive for Big Oil: Self-driving vehicles get to combine the capital savings from the improved lifetime of EVs, with the savings from eliminating the driver.

The costs of electric self-driving cars will be so low, it will be cheaper to hail a ride than to drive the car you already own.


Today we view automobiles not merely as transportation, but as potent symbols of money, sex, and power. Yet cars are also fundamentally a technology. And history has told us that technologies can be disrupted in the blink of an eye.

Take as an example my own 1999 job interview with the Eastman Kodak company. It did not go well.

At the end of 1998, my father had gotten me a digital camera as a present to celebrate completion of my PhD. The camera took VGA resolution pictures — about 0.3 megapixels — and saved them to floppy disks. By comparison, a conventional film camera had a nominal resolution of about 6 megapixels. When printed, my photos looked more like impressionist art than reality.

However, that awful, awful camera was really easy to use. I never had to go to the store to buy film. I never had to get pictures printed. I never had to sort through a shoebox full of crappy photos. Looking at pictures became fun.

Wife, with mildly uncooperative cat, January 1999. Photo is at the camera’s original resolution.

I asked my interviewer what Kodak thought of the rise of digital; she replied it was not a concern, that film would be around for decades. I looked at her like she was nuts. But she wasn’t nuts, she was just deep in the Kodak culture, a world where film had always been dominant, and always would be.

This graph plots the total units sold of film cameras (grey) versus digital (blue, bars cut off). In 1998, when I got my camera, the market share of digital wasn’t even measured. It was a rounding error.

By 2005, the market share of film cameras were a rounding error.

A plot of the rise of digital cameras (blue) and the fall of analog (grey). Original from Mayflower via mirrorlessrumors, slightly modified for use here.

In seven years, the camera industry had flipped. The film cameras went from residing on our desks, to a sale on Craigslist, to a landfill. Kodak, a company who reached a peak market value of $30 billion in 1997, declared bankruptcy in 2012. An insurmountable giant was gone.

That was fast. But industries can turn even faster: In 2007, Nokia had 50% of the mobile phone market, and its market cap reached $150 billion. But that was also the year Apple introduced the first smartphone. By the summer of 2012, Nokia’s market share had dipped below 5%, and its market cap fell to just $6 billion.

In less than five years, another company went from dominance to afterthought.

A quarter-by-quarter summary of Nokia’s market share in cell phones. From Statista.

Big Oil believes it is different. I am less optimistic for them.

An autonomous vehicle will cost about $0.13 per mile to operate, and even less as battery life improves. By comparison, your 20 miles per gallon automobile costs $0.10 per mile to refuel if gasoline is $2/gallon, and that is before paying for insurance, repairs, or parking. Add those, and the price of operating a vehicle you have already paid off shoots to $0.20 per mile, or more.

And this is what will kill oil: It will cost less to hail an autonomous electric vehicle than to drive the car that you already own.

If you think this reasoning is too coarse, consider the recent analysis from the consulting company RethinkX (run by the aforementioned Tony Seba), which built a much more detailed, sophisticated model to explicitly analyze the future costs of autonomous vehicles. Here is a sampling of what they predict:

  • Self-driving cars will launch around 2021
  • A private ride will be priced at 16¢ per mile, falling to 10¢ over time.
  • A shared ride will be priced at 5¢ per mile, falling to 3¢ over time.
  • By 2022, oil use will have peaked
  • By 2023, used car prices will crash as people give up their vehicles. New car sales for individuals will drop to nearly zero.
  • By 2030, gasoline use for cars will have dropped to near zero, and total crude oil use will have dropped by 30% compared to today.

The driver behind all this is simple: Given a choice, people will select the cheaper option.

Your initial reaction may be to believe that cars are somehow different — they are built into the fabric of our culture. But consider how people have proven more than happy to sell seemingly unyielding parts of their culture for far less money. Think about how long a beloved mom and pop store lasts after Walmart moves into town, or how hard we try to “Buy American” when a cheaper option from China emerges.

And autonomous vehicles will not only be cheaper, but more convenient as well — there is no need to focus on driving, there will be fewer accidents, and no need to circle the lot for parking. And your garage suddenly becomes a sunroom.

For the moment, let’s make the assumption that the RethinkX team has their analysis right (and I broadly agree[1]): Self-driving EVs will be approved worldwide starting around 2021, and adoption will occur in less than a decade.

How screwed is Big Oil?


Perhaps the metaphors with film camera or cell phones are stretched. Perhaps the better way to analyze oil is to consider the fate of another fossil fuel: coal.

The coal market is experiencing a shock today similar to what oil will experience in the 2020s. Below is a plot of total coal production and consumption in the US, from 2001 to today. As inexpensive natural gas has pushed coal out of the market, coal consumption has dropped roughly 25%, similar to the 30% drop that RethinkX anticipates for oil. And it happened in just a decade.

Coal consumption has dropped 25% from its peak. From the Kleinman Center for Energy Policy.

The result is not pretty. The major coal companies, who all borrowed to finance capital improvements while times were good, were caught unaware. As coal prices crashed, their loan payments became a larger and larger part of their balance sheets; while the coal companies could continue to pay for operations, they could not pay their creditors.

The four largest coal producers lost 99.9% of their market value over the last 6 years. Today, over half of coal is being mined by companies in some form of bankruptcy.

The four largest coal companies had a combined market value of approximately zero in 2016. This image is one element of a larger graphic on the collapse of coal from Visual Capitalist.

When self-driving cars are released, consumption of oil will similarly collapse.

Oil drilling will cease, as existing fields become sufficient to meet demand. Refiners, whose huge capital investments are dedicated to producing gasoline for automobiles, will write off their loans, and many will go under entirely. Even some pipeline operators, historically the most profitable portion of the oil business, will be challenged as high cost supply such as the Canadian tar sands stop producing.

A decade from now, many investors in oil may be wiped out. Oil will still be in widespread use, even under this scenario — applications such as road tarring are not as amenable to disruption by software. But much of today’s oil drilling, transport, and refining infrastructure will be redundant, or ill-fit to handle the heavier oils needed for powering ships, heating buildings, or making asphalt. And like today’s coal companies, oil companies like TransCanada may have no money left to clean up the mess they’ve left.


Of course, it would be better for the environment, investors, and society if oil companies curtailed their investing today, in preparation for the long winter ahead. Belief in global warming or the risks of oil spills is no longer needed to oppose oil projects — oil infrastructure like the Keystone XL will become a stranded asset before it can ever return its investment.

Unless we have the wisdom not to build it.

The battle over oil has historically been a personal battle — a skirmish between tribes over politics and morality, over how we define ourselves and our future. But the battle over self-driving cars will be fought on a different front. It will be about reliability, efficiency, and cost. And for the first time, Big Oil will be on the weaker side.

Within just a few years, Big Oil will stagger and start to fall. For anyone who feels uneasy about this, I want to emphasize that this prediction isn’t driven by environmental righteousness or some left-leaning fantasy. It’s nothing personal. It’s just business.


[1] Thinking about how fast a technology will flip is worth another post on its own. Suffice it to say that the key issues are (1) how big is the improvement?, and (2) is there a channel to market already established? The improvement in this case is a drop in cost of >2X — that’s pretty large. And the channel to market — smartphones — is already deployed. As of a year ago, 15% of Americans had hailed a ride using an app, so there is a small barrier to entry as people learn this new behavior, but certainly no larger than the barrier to smartphone adoption was in 2007. So as I said, I broadly believe that the roll-out will occur in about a decade. But any more detail would require an entirely new post.

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: This Is How Big Oil Will Die
« Reply #3938 on: October 02, 2019, 04:41:48 AM »
This Is How Big Oil Will Die

Another Futurologist dream of skittle shitting unicorns.

There is no way the current fleet of ICE vehicles will be replaced by EVs by 2025.  That is as ludicrous as saying Homo Saps will be Extinct by 2025.

Where's all the Juice gonna come from to charge up these imagined EVs?  The aging electrical grid?  Get real.  Who's going to be buying these EVs, and with what money?

Big Oil will die, perhaps as soon as 2025, but it won't be because of EVs, any more than the death of retail is occuring because of Amazon.

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Re: This Is How Big Oil Will Die
« Reply #3939 on: October 02, 2019, 04:51:29 AM »
This Is How Big Oil Will Die

Another Futurologist dream of skittle shitting unicorns.

There is no way the current fleet of ICE vehicles will be replaced by EVs by 2025.  That is as ludicrous as saying Homo Saps will be Extinct by 2025.

Where's all the Juice gonna come from to charge up these imagined EVs?  The aging electrical grid?  Get real.  Who's going to be buying these EVs, and with what money?

Big Coal is coming back, baybee.  Dump said so. Burn, baby, burn...

Big Oil will die, perhaps as soon as 2025, but it won't be because of EVs, any more than the death of retail is occuring because of Amazon.

RE

So if Amazon isn 't killing retail, who is, Einstein? Even brick and mortar retailers haver had to adjust their selling strategies to accommodate on line shopping. retail salespeople have to accommodate pulling and preparing online ordered merch as part of their daily duties, a list which continues to grow as more and more associates are laid off. I have this firsthand.

People shop online because they don't have to leave the house and risk getting shot by drug dealers win the mall parking lot anymore. And if that ain't "Amazon," you're smoking crack.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Re: This Is How Big Oil Will Die
« Reply #3940 on: October 02, 2019, 05:00:17 AM »

So if Amazon isn 't killing retail, who is, Einstein? Even brick and mortar retailers haver had to adjust their selling strategies to accommodate on line shopping. retail salespeople have to accommodate pulling and preparing online ordered merch as part of their daily duties, a list which continues to grow as more and more associates are laid off. I have this firsthand.

People shop online because they don't have to leave the house and risk getting shot by drug dealers win the mall parking lot anymore. And if that ain't "Amazon," you're smoking crack.

Who, or more precisely what is killing retail?  Debt and Demographics mainly.

Consumers are overloaded with debt, and wages are at best stagnant.  Brick & Mortar retailers are overloaded with debt as well, and the financial investment of MOAR debt moved from them to folks like Amazon.  Bozos' entire empire is one big pile of debt.

People shop online not because they're afraid of getting shot at the local Mall, but because it's CHEAPER.  The reason it's cheaper is because that's where the big credit providers are directing their investment.  They too will go Tits Up, of course, in due time.

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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3941 on: October 02, 2019, 06:23:52 AM »
Interesting. What I don't get is why do people seem to think that all self driving cars will be electric. Your internal combustion engine is controlled by computer already so you are driving by wire with any feedback provided to you simply as a driving experience not a necessity. There is no reason that ICEs go away just because of a shift to Self driving vehicles. The energy used per mile is about half for electric cars then ICE's I get that and they are making inroads. The advantage is not overwhelming though especially when they would require a whole new round of purchasing by tapped out consumers. Much easier to patch up old bessy and maybe downsize to one vehicle then to invest heavily in electrics and slowly recoup expenses.
my two cents
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Re: The Surlynewz Channel
« Reply #3942 on: October 02, 2019, 08:57:25 AM »
Interesting. What I don't get is why do people seem to think that all self driving cars will be electric. Your internal combustion engine is controlled by computer already so you are driving by wire with any feedback provided to you simply as a driving experience not a necessity. There is no reason that ICEs go away just because of a shift to Self driving vehicles. The energy used per mile is about half for electric cars then ICE's I get that and they are making inroads. The advantage is not overwhelming though especially when they would require a whole new round of purchasing by tapped out consumers. Much easier to patch up old bessy and maybe downsize to one vehicle then to invest heavily in electrics and slowly recoup expenses.
my two cents

I tend to agree that self driving cars won't necessarily be electric. There is no need. My own personal opinion is that self driving cards are a solution in search of a problem.

the author seems to think the complexity of ICE vehicles will account for their extinction. As to that, it's only been 100 years, so I don't fully understand that.

I also agree with the logic that "fixing up ol' Bessy" is superior to buying new. I also know that most new vehicle purchase decisions are rarely fully logical. J6P still has some cash left, and the automakers will race the medical wealth care transfer conduit for what he has left.
"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape
« Reply #3943 on: October 04, 2019, 06:29:14 PM »
Melting permafrost in the Arctic is unlocking diseases and warping the landscape
The consequences of climate change can be weird and apocalyptic.[/b]


The summer sun over Svalbard, Norway, an arctic archipelago that’s rapidly changing due to climate change. Johnny Harris / Vox

You can find evidence of a changing climate everywhere on Earth. But nowhere are the changes more dramatic than in the Arctic.

Our world’s northern polar region is warming twice as fast as the global average. And the consequences are easy to spot. On average, Arctic sea ice extent is shrinking every summer. The Greenland ice sheet is becoming unstable, and melting into the ocean at an accelerating rate.

Many changes in the Arctic are ominous, and some of the most troubling are occurring beneath the surface, in the permafrost. Permafrost is a layer of frozen soil that covers 25 percent of the Northern Hemisphere. It acts like a giant freezer, keeping microbes, carbon, poisonous mercury, and soil locked in place.

Now it’s melting. And things are getting weird and creepy: The ground warps, folds, and caves. Roadways built on top of permafrost have becoming wavy roller coasters through the tundra. Long-dormant microbes — some trapped in the ice for tens of thousands of years — are beginning to wake up, releasing equally ancient C02, and could potentially come to infect humans with deadly diseases. And the retreating ice is exposing frozen plants that haven’t seen the sun in 45,000 years, as radiocarbon dating research suggests.

Thawing permafrost is also a time bomb: There’s more carbon stored in the permafrost than in the atmosphere. Melting it risks accelerating global warming even further.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Wednesday released a 1,000-plus page report amassing all the best evidence on how the icy regions of the world and the oceans are threatened by climate change.

Permafrost temperatures keep rising, and the report paints a grim future. Even if the world manages to hit the IPCC target of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius by 2100, around 25 percent of the permafrost near the surface could be lost, the report finds. Changes to the permafrost (among other changes in the ocean and cryosphere) “are expected to be irreversible,” the report states.

In a more severe scenario where the world continues to increase emissions and we hit 5 degrees of warming, around 69 percent could be lost. That would drastically change the landscape of the Arctic and potentially set off a further acceleration of global warming.

To better understand the strange changes in the permafrost, in 2017, I spoke with Robert Max Holmes, an earth systems scientist with the Woods Hole Research Center. When I reached him by phone, he was in Bethel, Alaska, a small outpost town 400 miles west of Anchorage, and had just come back from an eight-day research and teaching expedition in the wilderness.

A week earlier, Holmes and his students had set up temperature sensors in the soil near their encampment. Their first reading was 0.3°C. “It's barely frozen. And we just sort of sat there stunned. You don't know whether to cry or what. Because you're just like: My God, this whole thing is just going to change in a big way.”

Here’s how.

1) Permafrost has been frozen for millennia. Thawing it is a huge disruption.

The icy mountains near Svalbard, Norway, an arctic archipelago that’s rapidly changing due to climate change.
Johnny Harris / Vox

The simplest definition of permafrost is ground that has been frozen for at least two years.

But it’s so much more than that. In much of the Arctic, that ground has been frozen for tens of thousands of years. And a huge amount of it is frozen — permafrost rests in 25 percent of all the land area in the Northern Hemisphere.

National Snow and Ice Data Center

The top few inches (up to a few feet) of the permafrost is what’s known as the “active layer.” This topsoil does thaw with yearly seasonal changes, and is home to a thriving ecosystem. So how do scientists know there’s permafrost underneath it?

“We have these things called thaw depth probes, which is basically just a T-bar, a steel rod that's a centimeter in diameter and 1.5 meters or so long,” Holmes says. They poke the ground with it. “It's like pushing a knife through warm butter or something, and then you hit the bottom of the tray, and boom” — there’s your permafrost.

Eventually, if you dig deep enough, the permafrost again thaws due to heat from the Earth’s core.

Permafrost is like the bedrock of the Arctic (you literally need jackhammers to break it apart). But rising air temperatures in the region are chipping away at this bedrock.

“Half the volume of permafrost may be frozen water,” Holmes says. “When that thaws, the water just runs off. The water may head downhill or the water has a lower volume than is ice, so the ground just slumps and kind of falls apart.”

(The New York Times has a great new interactive showing how much permafrost in the Alaska may inevitably melt.)

Every year, more permafrost grows closer to thawing, and the depth of the “active layer” — the top layer of permafrost that thaws in the summertime — is growing deeper in the Arctic regions north of Europe, a sign of instability.

2) The biggest threat is carbon

Longyearbyen, a settlement in Svalbard, Norway, is home to a seed vault intended to protect plant genetic diversity amid a changing climate. Its Arctic location may not be as secure as once thought due to rising temperatures and melting permafrost.
Johnny Harris / Vox

You can think of the Arctic permafrost as a giant kitchen freezer.

If you put organic (carbon-based) matter in your freezer, the food will stay intact. But if the freezer compressor breaks, it will slowly heat up. As it heats up, bacteria begin to eat your food. The bacteria make the food go rotten. And as the bacteria consume the food, they produce carbon dioxide, methane, and other gases and chemicals that smell terrible.

For tens of thousands of years, permafrost has acted like a freezer, keeping 1,400- to 1,6000 gigatons (billion tons) of plant matter carbon trapped in the soil. (That’s more than double the amount of carbon currently in the atmosphere.) Some of the plant matter is more recent, and some is from glacial ice ages that radically transformed a lush landscape into a tundra.

“Plants are growing in permafrost regions, and when those plants die, because of the cold temperature, they don't fully decompose, so some of that organic carbon is left behind,” Holmes says. When the permafrost thaws, “it starts to rot, it starts to decompose, and that's what's releasing carbon dioxide and methane,” he says.

This is one reason scientists are so worried about a melting Arctic: When the bacteria turn the carbon in the Arctic into C02 and methane, it accelerates a feedback loop. The more methane and carbon released, the more warming. The more warming ... you get it.

A 2014 study in Environmental Research Letters estimates that thawing permafrost could release around 120 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere by 2100, resulting in 0.29°C of additional warming (give or take 0.21°C). By 2300, another study in Nature Geoscience concludes, the melting permafrost and its resulting carbon feedback loops could contribute to 1.69°C of warming. (That’s on the high end. It could be as low as 0.13°C of warming.)

But these are just estimates, and they come with a good deal of uncertainty. (There’s debate over how much greenhouse gases can be released out of the Arctic, and how long it would take.) It all depends on how quickly the Arctic warms. Some of this freed carbon might be taken up by new plant growth, the IPCC report finds. But even so, the report states, carbon released from permafrost will become a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

But the logic here is simple: The more warming, the greater the risk of kick-starting this feedback loop. A study published in Nature Climate Change in 2017 predicted that 1.5 million square miles of permafrost would disappear with every additional 1°C of warming.

And carbon isn’t the only pollutant trapped in the ice. A new study in Geophysical Research Letters finds that the Arctic permafrost is the largest repository of mercury on Earth. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin. And scientists now think there is around 15 million gallons frozen in permafrost soils — nearly twice the amount of mercury found in all other soil, the ocean, and atmosphere combined.

“The release of heavy metals, particularly mercury, and other legacy contaminants currently stored in glaciers and permafrost, is projected to reduce water quality for freshwater biota, household use and irrigation,” the IPCC reports.

Scientists don’t know how much of this mercury could be released, or when, the Washington Post explains. But they do know this: Continued melting will make it more likely for the mercury to be released, pollute the ocean, and accumulate in the food chain.

3) Ancient microbes are waking up

From the air, the arctic still looks pristine and barren. The situation on the ground tells a different story.
Johnny Harris / Vox

In August 2016, an outbreak of anthrax in Siberia sickened 72 people and took the life of a 12-year-old boy. Health officials pinpointed the outbreak to an unusual source.

Abnormally high temperatures had thawed the corpses of long-dead reindeer and other animals. Some of these bodies may have been infected with anthrax, and as Wired explained, the soil in Siberia is normally much too cold to dig deep graves. “The disease from thawing human and animal remains can get into groundwater that people then drink,” Wired reported.

Scientists are worried that as more permafrost thaws, especially in Siberia, there may be more outbreaks of long-dormant anthrax as burial grounds thaw.

That’s because the deep freeze of the permafrost doesn’t just keep carbon from escaping — it keeps microbes intact as well.

Permafrost is the place to preserve bacteria and viruses for hundreds of thousands — if not a million — years, explains Jean-Michel Claverie, a genomics researcher who studies ancient viruses and bacteria. “It is dark, it is cold, and it is also without oxygen. … There is no [ultraviolet] light.” All the bacteria need is a thaw to wake back up. “If you take a yogurt and put it in permafrost [that remains frozen], I’m sure in 10,000 years from now it still will be good to eat,” he said in a 2017 interview.

Claverie is part of a scientific team that determined it’s possible to revive 30,000-year-old viruses trapped in the permafrost. His work is centered on viruses that infect amoebas, not humans. But there’s no reason why a flu virus, smallpox, or some long-lost human infection couldn’t be revived the same way. These microbes are like time travelers — and they could thrive waking up in an age when humans have lost an immune defense against them.

I asked Claverie if there’s an upper limit to how long viruses and (certain types of) bacteria could survive in the permafrost.

“The limit is the limit given by the permafrost,” he explained, meaning he sees no limit. Permafrost is 1,000 meters deep in places, “which make it about a million, 1.5 million year old,” he said.

The danger here, he emphasized, is not from the slow thawing of the permafrost itself. That is, if the permafrost melts, and we leave the land alone, we’re unlikely to come into contact with ancient deadly diseases. The fear is that the thawing will encourage greater excavation in the Arctic. Mining and other excavation projects will become more appealing as the region grows warmer. And these projects can put workers into contact with some very, very old bugs.

The threat is tiny. But it exists. The big lesson is that even viruses thought to be eradicated from Earth — like smallpox — may still lurk frozen, somewhere.

“We could actually catch a disease from a Neanderthal’s remains,” Claverie says. “Which is amazing.”

4) Roadways are warping, foundations are shifting

When the permafrost melts, it literally changes the landscape.

“Oftentimes, permafrost has a great deal of ice in it, so you can get half the volume of that permafrost [that] may be frozen water,” Holmes says. “And so when that thaws, the water just runs off, you know? The water may head downhill or the water has a lower volume than is ice, so the ground just slumps and kind of falls apart.”

In Bethel, Alaska, roadways are literally rippling and warping as the ground beneath them becomes less solid. In other places, the melting permafrost is creating craters and sinkholes. “You see buildings that are kind of slumping into the ground; you see that a lot in the Russian Arctic,” Holmes says. Civil engineers are experimenting with new types of pilings and foundations to help keep Arctic buildings on strong footing.

There is one crater in Siberia so large it’s gotten the nickname "doorway to the underworld.” It’s a kilometer long and up to 100 meters deep. And it’s growing larger every year.

The IPCC report underscores this as well: Melting permafrost will transform the landscape. Lakes will increase by 50 percent by 2100 under a high-emissions scenario. Meanwhile, after the soils melt, they may start to dry out, and increase the likelihood of wildfire in polar regions.

5) When we lose the permafrost, we lose a record of natural history

Johnny Harris / Vox

There are dangers buried in the permafrost. But there are also natural treasures yet to be discovered. The ice preserves all: ancient animal remains and human history in the region. Think of Ötzi, the remarkably preserved 5,000-year-corpse found in the Alps. If he had thawed, what was left of his body would have decomposed, and a window into the world he lived in would have been lost forever.

There may be other Ötzis in the Arctic. Or preserved bits of mammoth DNA yet to be discovered. The melting may make some of these treasures briefly accessible — freed from the ice — but also threatens to quickly destroy them. According to Scientific American, once a specimen is uncovered and thawed, researchers have a year at most to recover it before it completely breaks down.

Are there any benefits to melting permafrost?

“One story I heard of in Bethel is that there are people who are happy that now they can dig a basement,” Holmes says.

There are some benefits of thawing permafrost. For one, farming is now possible in parts of Alaska, as NPR reports. And “So it's not that it's all a bad news story,” Holmes says, “but I'd say the silver lining is pretty thin and pretty small in relationship to the larger-scale negatives.”

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

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If Trump Rage Brings ‘Civil War,’ Where Will Soldiers Stand?
« Reply #3944 on: October 06, 2019, 05:11:49 AM »
If Trump Rage Brings ‘Civil War,’ Where Will Soldiers Stand?
The moment may come when soldiers have to choose between the Constitution and Donald Trump. No doubt most will embrace the Constitution. But some will see that as a tough call.




Earlier this week Donald Trump, the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces, tweeted that his impeachment “will cause a Civil War” from which the country might never recover. Trump, picking up on remarks made by an evangelical pastor on Fox News, did not just say his removal would lead to a huge electoral defeat for the Democrats, or even mass demonstrations. He said, “civil war.” Americans taking up arms against other Americans in his name. 

“Civil War 2” started trending on Twitter. So, for a time, did #CivilWarSignup.

In the modern era, real civil wars have been the great affliction of Third World countries—conflicts that split nations and societies along political, ethnic or religious fault lines. They are very often accompanied by martial law and resolved by military intervention. Is this what Trump has in mind? Where would the U.S. military stand in such a situation? A view from the inside indicates the armed forces are as divided as the rest of the country—and divided is a dangerous place for the U.S. military to find itself.

US AND THEM

The Soil From Which Trump’s ‘Civil War’ Tweet Grew

Eleanor Clift

After spending 19 years in Washington with intelligence jobs in Congress, at the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (focusing on counterterrorism and counterintelligence), I had the opportunity to join the Commander’s Red Team at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida.

Within a few years, however, CENTCOM’s senior leadership told us Red Team’s “alternative analysis” was “confusing” the commander. (Truth was, they really didn’t want any competing analysis contradicting what the traditional intelligence analysts were selling.) I was told I would now be an Intelligence Planner. Intelligence Planners provide critical intelligence support to military operations. (CENTCOM has responsibility for most of the Middle East, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the fight against ISIS.) I remained at CENTCOM for 12 years.

Our republic rests on the important constitutional principle of civilian control of a non-politicized military. But the constant drumbeat of right-wing conspiracy theories and hateful political rhetoric has found its way into a sizable portion of the U.S. military’s rank and file. Not too long ago, the majority of those serving in the military would have identified themselves as Reagan Republicans. But just as that brand of Republicanism has been replaced by Trumpism among civilian Republicans, so too has it seeped into the armed forces, and by these standards, even Ronald Reagan would be viewed as a socialist. 

“Donald Trump is everything the U.S. military should despise: a draft dodger, adulterer, flabby, lazy, unread, a tabloid joke for decades, and TV reality show star.”

Recent polling shows that among military veterans, approval ratings for Trump are higher than among the civilian population. In my experience, the support for Donald Trump among a large segment of the U.S. military is downright cult-like.

None of this makes sense. Donald Trump is everything the U.S. military should despise: a draft dodger, adulterer, flabby, lazy, unread, a tabloid joke for decades, and TV reality show star. During the 2016 campaign, Trump sought to brandish his non-existent national security chops by insulting Obama’s generals. “I know more about ISIS than the generals do. The generals have been reduced to rubble. They have been reduced to a point where it’s embarrassing for our country.” He hinted that as president, he would fire them. “They’d probably be different generals,” he said at NBC’s pre-election Commander-in-Chief Forum. 

The man with a decades-long public record of immoral and unethical behavior, who had never served in uniform or undertook any public service to his country, tweeted juvenile insults about retired 4-star generals like Colin Powell, John Allen, Stanley McCrystal, Michael Hayden and Martin Dempsey. Several of these decorated, battle-hardened generals, were life-long Republicans who had devoted their lives to serving their country. Yet they believed so strongly that Trump was a national security danger they took the extraordinary step of breaking with military tradition to criticize him publicly.

In normal times, this would have dealt a severe blow to any campaign and made a serious dent in support among the military. But the attacks by the generals, and Trump’s willingness to return fire, only endeared him to the rank and file more. 

These generals knew Hillary Clinton personally for years. They had worked with Hillary Clinton as both a Senator and as Secretary of State and had admired her seriousness and intellect. Once Trump had secured the Republican nomination, their panic led to a less-then-transparent attempt to help her candidacy by criticizing Trump’s sophomoric approach to national security. It backfired supremely, and only strengthened Trump’s support among the troops.

And then there was the case of Michael Flynn. After a long military career, Flynn’s anger and bitterness led him to hitch his star to Donald Trump. It would be his undoing. A retired 3-star general, Flynn was found guilty of lying to the FBI and is awaiting sentencing. His leading the chant of “Lock her up” at the Republican National Convention should have evoked disgust by anyone who ever served in uniform. It did not. 

This reputational carnage of highly decorated American generals associated with Trump continued as H.R. McMaster, John Kelly, and James Mattis all tried to bring coherence to Trump’s policies. Instead they were subjected to his tantrums and humiliation, and ultimately left the administration. Never had access to decades of military and national security experience been so squandered and abused by an American president. 

“From Michael Flynn, the rogue retired general closest to him, Trump learned just how deep the military’s disdain was for Democrats.”

Despite all this, the devotion to Trump by a large segment of the military was unwavering. Hearing military personnel, including Vietnam veterans, parrot Trump’s attacks against John McCain, who spent five agonizing years as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton, was shocking and unsettling. It was the rank and file, not the generals, Trump was courting with his calls for military parades.

From Michael Flynn, the rogue retired general closest to him, Trump learned just how deep the military’s disdain was for Democrats—and for Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama specifically. Trump learned from Flynn that there were grievances and resentments within the military establishment to be exploited. Highly intelligent active duty and retired military officers with outstanding service records (not “deplorables”) could be heard at CENTCOM repeating far right wing conspiracy theories like: “Hillary murdered a lot of people” and “Obama is a Kenyan Black Muslim,” “The FBI and the CIA are corrupt,” “The media is fake news.” Trump’s attacks and abuse of their former bosses, and even a Gold Star family, didn’t seem to impact their opinion of him.

Once Trump was elected, they wholeheartedly bought into his claims that the “deep state” and the “fake news media” were now plotting a coup against him. Some would call themselves “nationalists,” not having the basic understanding of the difference between “nationalism” and “patriotism.” (The political divide also cut across racial lines. African-Americans serving in the military had a deep admiration and affection for the first black Commander-in-Chief not shared by their white counterparts.) One Army major, an Iraq War veteran, gave voice to many others in the military, telling me, “The military hates Obama.”

“It was the doggedness with which Trump went after Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that made him their hero.”

CENTCOM’s environment, and especially that of the Joint Intelligence Center (JIC) which houses all the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) analysts, felt political the moment you walked through its doors. Televisions in the lobby, the reception areas, in private office spaces, and even in the employee and visitor’s cafe—were tuned to FOX News. It was Orwellian in its pervasiveness. People at their desks were streaming FOX News while reading Drudge and Breitbart. (By 2018, more of the common areas began showing sports or weather channels to get away from the politics, which had made some uncomfortable.)

It was the doggedness with which Trump went after Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama that made him their hero. The FBI couldn’t be trusted any longer after letting “Crooked Hillary” off the hook, so anything the FBI and CIA revealed about Russian interference in the 2016 election automatically lacked any credibility. None of it was believed.

This was especially alarming coming from intelligence analysts who were parroting Trump’s insults of the former Intelligence Community chiefs who had sounded the alarms regarding the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russians. A very senior NSA liaison intelligence officer said he had proof the hacking of Hillary Clinton’s emails was “an inside job” and not really Wikileaks and the Russians. It was hard to understand why these military intelligence experts felt compelled to denigrate so vigorously the assessments of the rest of the intelligence community, specifically when it came to Trump—nor the ferocity with which they personally defended him. 

In their private time many watched internet trolls. “Did you see this! Hillary has Parkinsons’ disease!” Were our military intelligence analysts a victim of the same Russian influence campaign that affected so much of the civilian population? Like a scene from the Manchurian Candidate, if you criticized Trump, they answered with “Hillary” did this, or “Obama” did that. It was almost as if programmed. 

“Nothing stuck in the craw of the analysts and planners at CENTCOM more than the Iranian nuclear deal.”

The parroting of Trump took other disturbing turns. One also began to hear in casual conversation analysts at CENTCOM making disparaging remarks against the western coalition partners—the Canadians, Brits, French, Germans—and against NATO in general, as “deadbeats.” Officers back from visits to Gulf States boasted how mutual the relief was in the region that Obama was gone, Hillary had lost, and there was “a new sheriff in town.” 

The Arab Gulf states couldn’t believe their luck—especially the Saudis. No one would bother them anymore about human rights. They would get the military assistance they wanted unconditionally, and, if they played their cards right, they could even get Trump to attack Iran.

The Israelis were downright joyful over Trump’s election. Even during the media outrage over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi hands, one analyst argued, “He wasn’t even an American citizen,” parroting what he had just heard Trump say over FOX News—as if that should have made a difference when chopping up a journalist.

On an operational level, the (not totally without merit) criticism of Obama was that he had been the appeaser whose pullout from Iraq created ISIS, as did his last-minute refusal to go after Bashar Assad in Syria. But nothing stuck in the craw of the analysts and planners at CENTCOM more than the Iranian nuclear deal—The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). It was this deal they believed prevented the U.S. from giving Iran the long-overdue bloody nose it deserved. 

While the civilian national security establishment believed the JCPOA had pulled Iran back from the brink of nuclear weapons breakout capability that would lead to a regional nuclear arms race, the military saw it as inexcusable capitulation to the primary supporter of militancy and terrorism in the region. Most of the active duty and retired military officers at CENTCOM had served in Iraq at some point where, according to the Pentagon, Iranian backed Shi’a militia had killed 600 American soldiers. They had not forgotten or forgiven. 

“The gulf between the civilian world and the military has been growing since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—wars that have touched more American families than at any time since Vietnam.”

During the Cold War, intelligence analysts had spent their entire careers planning for a war with the Soviet Union that, fortunately, never came. Many at CENTCOM had spent their careers doing the same regarding Iran. Military Planners understood there weren’t any good military options when it came to war with Iran. But the nuclear deal had given Iran over $100 billion in hard cash. This amounted to a windfall that the Iranian regime would use not to improve the lives of its people, but to increase funding to Shi’a militias and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) who were now operating in close proximity to American soldiers in the fight against ISIS. (Time has proven this argument to be mostly accurate. But it is also true that the JCPOA provided protection to American troops from Shi’a militia and IRGC forces fighting in proximity to U.S. troops in the fight against ISIS.) CENTCOM viewed Trump’s willingness to pull the U.S. out of the deal unilaterally as nothing short of heroic. 

The gulf between the civilian world and the military has been growing since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—wars that have touched more American families than at any time since Vietnam. Vietnam created a huge cultural divide in the U.S. that Richard Nixon successfully exploited earning him one of the largest electoral victories in American history. But something more sinister may be afoot as we approach the 2020 election. Trump has done what Nixon ultimately could not do. He has, so far, avoided real accountability to Congress. He has successfully blurred the lines between lies and truth in the minds of the American public. He has undermined the institutions that have kept the U.S. safe since World War ll. 

The extent of the visceral hatred much of the military feels for Democrats, the “deep state” and the “fake news media” is a new phenomenon. The belief that there is indeed a coup being orchestrated against President Trump is a weapon Trump has in his arsenal, depending how far down the road to authoritarianism he decides to go. But Trump would need to deeply fracture the military first, and that is something to watch for. Most members of the armed forces are honorable, patriotic Americans who would never take part in such a scheme, despite their support for Trump. But a significant portion just might. 

"It is difficult to write a paradiso when all the superficial indications are that you ought to write an apocalypse." -Ezra Pound

 

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