The Traitors Among Us ~ RollingStone

Donald Trump likes to call his opponents traitors — but if he’s looking for treasonous behavior, he should look within his own party

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 03: US President Donald Trump leaves number 10 Downing Street after a reception on December 3, 2019 in London, England. France and the UK signed the Treaty of Dunkirk in 1947 in the aftermath of WW2 cementing a mutual alliance in the event of an attack by Germany or the Soviet Union. The Benelux countries joined the Treaty and in April 1949 expanded further to include North America and Canada followed by Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. This new military alliance became the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The organisation grew with Greece and Turkey becoming members and a re-armed West Germany was permitted in 1955. This encouraged the creation of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact delineating the two sides of the Cold War. This year marks the 70th anniversary of NATO. (Photo by Leon Neal/Getty Images)

More than a few people in Donald Trump’s immediate orbit — and Trump himself — richly and actually deserve the title of traitor.

Leon Neal/Getty Images


America once used the words “treason” and “traitors” only in cases of actual betrayal of our nation’s most vital secrets or interests. They were profound words, deep with meaning, grim in import, carrying with them the knowledge that the penalty for treason was death.

Be honest: The words “traitor” and “treason” don’t have the sting they once had; they’ve been devalued from mis- and over-use by this president. For Donald Trump, any opposition, either personal, ideological, or political is treason. Anyone who stands in his path betrays the Great Leader. Anyone who fails to take the knee is a traitor.

Like hearing an insult too many times drains it of its potency, Trump has diluted the power of that approbation. He has labeled loyal, dedicated Americans who served this country in the military and law enforcement as traitors, so much so that we could almost give in to the temptation to excuse it as “Trump being Trump” and let it slide like any of the other insults he vomits forth on the daily.

Which is a shame, because America is in the midst of a treason boom right now, and more than a few people in Trump’s immediate orbit — and Trump himself — richly and actually deserve the title of traitor, and the treason inherent in their acts and words is apparent.

Traitors from Benedict Arnold to Klaus Fuchs to Aldrich Ames to Robert Hanssen sold out this country for a host of reasons, all explicable and unforgivable. The intelligence community even has a handy acronym for the motivations of traitors, and one that applies readily to known cases. The acronym is MICE: Money, Ideology, Compromise, and Ego. Pick a traitor and one of those reasons will underpin their betrayal.

Add a new one to the acronym. Call it, MICE-T, with the “T” naturally standing for Trump.

Their treason isn’t executed in the old ways of secret meetings, furtive brush passes, or encrypted messages. No, the traitors of today show us their cards on cable TV, laughing and giggling over their betrayal of the oath they swore, and the security of this country, all for the political service of Donald Trump.

As the impeachment hearings have worn on and as evidence of the complete moral collapse of the Republican Party has become more and more evident, it has become quite obvious there really are traitors among us. There are elected officials who have made the decision to protect a corrupt president by embracing conspiracy theories, refusing to acknowledge sworn testimony of career foreign-service officials, and piling on to Trump’s attack of democratic institutions.

The traitors deliberately ignore the reporting, counsel, and warnings of the intelligence community when it comes to Russia’s attacks and Vladimir Putin’s vast, continuing intelligence and propaganda warfare against the United States.

The traitors — be they United States senators like John Kennedy and Lindsey Graham or columnists from the Federalist, Breitbart, and a slurry of other formally conservative media outlets — repeat the Kremlin-approved propaganda messages and tropes of that warfare, word for word.

It’s not simply treason by making common cause with a murderous autocrat in Russia, or merrily wrecking the alliances around the world that kept America relatively secure for seven decades.

Their betrayal is also to our system of government, which as imperfect — and often downright fucked up — as it is, has been remarkably capable of surviving.

The traitors talk a good game, hands over their withered hearts, about supporting the Constitution, but they’re happy to ignore it when it suits their purposes.

The traitors believe the executive branch is superior to all others and unaccountable under the law. Traitors believe the “fuck you, pay me” ethos of this president and this White House isn’t an open door to a pay-to-play political culture in Washington where everyone and everything in our government is for sale.

They defend the White House’s indefensible position of stonewalling, silencing witnesses, and refusing to testify before Congress.

Traitors keep racial arsonists like Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon in their orbit and employment. They pretend these men are selling populism and nationalism when in fact it’s just the same weaponized racism that worked so well for them in 2016.

The traitors will sit in Congressional hearings on impeachment knowing the truth about Trump’s extortion racket and of the grubby, sleazy plan Trump sent Gordon Sondland, Rudy Giuliani, et al to carry out, and tell lie after lie, the bigger the better.

The traitors cheer when Trump rides roughshod over the military chain of command and the Universal Code of Military Justice, freeing men who killed civilians, abused and violated the warrior ethos, and broke the very laws of war they swore to uphold. They’ve gone from respecting hard men carrying out tough missions to fetishizing the outliers, edge cases, and the war criminals.

You can spot the traitors simply by watching their television shows, as they look you in the eye and tell you to your face they side with Russia. Tucker Carlson wasn’t winking and nodding to the camera; it was where he’s landed politically — a pro-Putin schill on a network that looks away from their pet president’s grotesque subservience to the Russian leader who helped elect him.

The traitors are ass-deep in oligarchs, eagerly selling access to the president, the secretary of state, the attorney general, and of course, the president’s venal pack of lucky-sperm-club spawn.

And if you can’t spot the treason yet, you will soon enough. That’s the thing about spies, traitors, and those who betray their country — they rarely stay hidden forever.

Rick Wilson is a GOP political strategist and author of the forthcoming book “Running Against the Devil: The Plot to Save America From Trump — and Democrats From Themselves.”

Atmospheric rivers caused 85 percent of recent flood damage in Western U.S. ~ The Washington Post

Risks are slated to increase with global warming

A car sits underwater in a flooded neighborhood on Feb. 27 in Forestville, Calif. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

December 4 at 2:52 PM

Considering atmospheric rivers didn’t even have a rating system until earlier this year, science is making up for lost time in studying this meteorological phenomenon.

The latest research puts a price tag on the havoc wreaked in the Western United States by atmospheric rivers (ARs): a yearly average exceeding $1 billion. Atmospheric rivers are akin to airborne veins that connect the midlatitudes with the moisture-rich heart of the tropics. These channels, which can stretch for thousands of miles, contain large quantities of water vapor and deliver it in highly concentrated doses.

Atmospheric rivers are capable of carrying more than twice the volume of the Amazon. And for parts of the West, ARs bring up to half of their annual precipitation totals.

But what really caught the attention of researchers who cross-referenced four decades of insurance losses against weather records is the degree to which ARs are responsible for flooding.

“Maybe the most important policy response this research suggests would be providing post-disaster assistance to people not to rebuild, but to move to a safer community,” said study co-author Tom Corringham of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), part of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego.

The study, which also involved the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, was published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.

Map of atmospheric water vapor, showing an atmospheric river aimed at California on Wednesday. (University of Wisconsin)

That’s exactly what happened in the San Francisco Bay area and eastward a few days ago, when a midlatitude cyclone, brought along an AR, stalled out over the northeast Pacific Ocean. The event’s water transport wasn’t much, but its long duration (66 hours) boosted the Ralph scale rating to a 3, which is classified as strong. On the ground, more than 5 inches of precipitation fell in the Coast Ranges and Sierra Nevada, with higher elevations receiving more than two feet of snow.

Damage was limited to closed highways and roads, sporadic power outages and downed trees.

The AR, following days of little movement to the north or south, has finally slid down the coast, setting up for a wet Wednesday in the Southland. Los Angeles was expecting 0.75 to 1.5 inches of rain, perhaps double that in the mountains; San Diego’s forecast called for a spritz — less than 1 inch.

And once this clears, the Golden State anticipates yet another AR — perhaps also rated as strong — arriving Thursday.

According to the study, over the past 40 years, flooding from all causes across the West has led to nearly $51 billion in damage. This was tallied by combining National Flood Insurance Program loss data from 11 states with measures of total damage from an NWS data set and a catalogue of more than 600 West Coast ARs.

Of the $42.6 billion in damage that can be pinned on ARs, nearly half that total, $23 billion, was due to just 10 such events.

Corringham also was surprised to learn the power of the relationship between an AR’s strength and how much harm it does.

Instead, historical averages show the difference to be exponential. For example, the difference between the median flood damage of an AR2 (Moderate) and an AR4 (Extreme) isn’t a doubling, but a 50-fold increase, from $400,000 to $20 million.

There’s reason to be concerned about the future of ARs, too, given studies showing that they are likely to carry more moisture as the world’s oceans and atmosphere continue to warm.

“We know from other research that the intensity of these storms is increasing due to climate change and is projected to keep increasing over the coming century,” Corringham said. “So even if it were a linear relationship, it would be quite significant.”

Weather is turning into big business. And that could be trouble for the public

Infrared satellite image from the time of Hurricane Michael's landfall on Oct. 10, 2018. (CIRA/RAMMB)
Infrared satellite image from the time of Hurricane Michael’s landfall on Oct. 10, 2018. (CIRA/RAMMB)

How Life on Our Planet Made It Through Snowball Earth ~ NYT

Rusty rocks left over from some of our planet’s most extreme ice ages hint at oases for survival beneath the freeze.

Credit…Chris Butler/Science Source


Today, the world is warming. But from about 720 to 635 million years ago, temperatures swerved the other way as the planet became encased in ice during the two ice ages known as Snowball Earth.

It happened fast, and within just a few thousand years or so, ice stretched over both land and sea, from the poles to the tropics. Life lived in the oceans at the time, and the encroaching ice entombed that life, cutting it off from both the sun and the atmosphere.

“This is the one time when Earth’s natural thermostat broke,” said Noah Planavsky, a biogeochemist at Yale University. “The question on everyone’s minds was: How did life actually make it through this?”

Glaciations can drive mass extinctions of life. Yet life, including perhaps our distant animal ancestors, somehow survived these deep freezes. In research published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Planavsky and his colleagues report the discovery of oases just beneath the ancient ice sheets that likely helped life persevere.

Libertarian killed while protesting socialist snowplow ~ StubhillNews


A libertarian activist was killed this week while protesting against a government funded snowplow.

Ronaldo Paul, the deceased activist, died as he had lived: obnoxiously and on the internet.

Paul was livestreaming while he was run over by the very snowplow he had come to protest.

“If the market truly wanted this snow plowed, then it,” were Paul’s final words before he was run over, abruptly ending the livestream.

Earlier in the day, Paul had tweeted that he was “willing to die to end #snowcialism.

When reached for comment, family and friends of the deceased asked if they were being detained.