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 1 
 on: Today at 06:49:16 am 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey



 2 
 on: Yesterday at 07:33:27 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The New York Times…

U.S. to Tell Russia It Is Leaving Landmark I.N.F. Treaty

President Trump has been moving toward leaving the treaty because Russia has been violating
it and because it is constraining American efforts to counter China in the Western Pacific.


By DAVID E. SANGER and WILLIAM J. BROAD | Friday, October 19, 2018

The expected decision to leave the I.N.F. treaty would mark the first time President Trump has scrapped an arms control treaty. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
The expected decision to leave the I.N.F. treaty would mark the first time President Trump has scrapped an arms control treaty.
 — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


THE Trump administration is preparing to tell Russian leaders next week that it is planning to exit the landmark Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, in part to enable the United States to counter a Chinese arms buildup in the Pacific, according to American officials and foreign diplomats.

President Trump has been moving toward scrapping the three-decade-old treaty, which grew out of President Ronald Reagan's historic meeting with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1986. While the treaty was seen as effective for years, Russia has been violating it at least since 2014 in an effort to menace other nations.

But the pact has also constrained the United States from deploying new weapons to respond to China's efforts to cement a dominant position in the Western Pacific and to keep American naval forces at bay. Because China was not a signatory to the treaty, it has faced no limits on developing intermediate-range nuclear missiles, which can travel thousands of miles.

The White House said that no official decision had been made to leave the treaty, known as I.N.F., which at the time of its signing was considered a critical step in defusing Cold War tensions. But in the coming weeks, Mr. Trump is expected to sign off on the decision, which would mark the first time he has scrapped an arms control treaty, the American officials said.

Now that the treaty is largely in tatters, the question is whether the decision to leave it will accelerate the increasingly Cold War-like behavior among the three superpowers: the United States, Russia and China.

As Russia has flown bombers over Europe and has conducted troop exercises on its borders with former Soviet states, the United States and its NATO allies have been rotating forces through countries under threat. Ukraine has become a low-level battleground, with ground skirmishes and a daily cyberconflict. China and the United States are jostling for position around reefs in the South China Sea that Beijing has turned into military bases, and they are both preparing for any possibility of war in space.

For the past four years, the United States has argued that Russia is in violation of the treaty because it has deployed prohibited tactical nuclear weapons to intimidate European nations and former Soviet states that have aligned with the West. But President Barack Obama chose not to leave the agreement because of objections from the Europeans — particularly Germany — and out of concern that it would rekindle an arms race.

Mr. Trump appears not to share such hesitation. His national security adviser, John R. Bolton, will warn the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, on a trip to Moscow early next week that the United States plans to leave the treaty, the American officials said.

Mr. Bolton declined to comment on his forthcoming trip. But a senior administration official issued a statement saying that “Russia continues to produce and field prohibited cruise missiles and has ignored calls for transparency.”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has publicly brought the subject up several times in recent weeks, saying that Russia's violations were “untenable” and signaling that the administration was reviewing its options. The preparations to leave the treaty were described by foreign diplomats who have been briefed on the matter and by American officials with knowledge of the plans.

In a lengthy nuclear strategy document published early this year, the administration detailed the Russian violations and concluded that the country's “decision to violate the I.N.F. treaty and other commitments all clearly indicate that Russia has rebuffed repeated U.S. efforts to reduce the salience, role and number of nuclear weapons.”

The Pentagon has already been developing nuclear weapons to match, and counter, what the Chinese have deployed. But that effort would take years, so, in the interim, the United States is preparing to modify existing weapons, including its non-nuclear Tomahawk missiles, and is likely to deploy them first in Asia, according to officials who have been briefed on the issue. Those may be based in Japan, or perhaps in Guam, where the United States maintains a large base and would face little political opposition.

The last time the United States withdrew from a major nuclear arms control treaty was in 2002, when President George W. Bush fulfilled a campaign promise and scrapped the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. While Mr. Trump withdrew from the Obama-era deal with Iran this year, that agreement was not a treaty, and it governed only Iran's production of nuclear materials. Tehran has no nuclear weapons.

Mr. Bush's pullout from the ballistic missile treaty led to a buildup of anti-missile defenses — still an irritant in relations with Russia. But it also led to a modest arms control agreement with Russia, reducing the overall number of weapons possessed by each country.

But such an agreement seems unlikely to emerge from the demise of the I.N.F. treaty. For cash-constrained Russia, tactical nuclear weapons, along with cyber-weapons, are cheap offensive options. Just last week, Mr. Putin, in an annual speech, reported that Russia was preparing to deploy a new hypersonic missile, reinforcing the sense that the long hiatus in the nuclear arms race is over. Such missiles step around current arms control limits.

Mr. Trump himself has not publicly criticized the Russian arms buildup, in line with his generally deferential approach toward Mr. Putin. But he is surrounded in the administration by hawks on the nuclear issue, none more outspoken than Mr. Bolton, and the administration's decision to brief allies this week on the issue was viewed by key NATO partners as a sign that the decision had been made, even if it had not been formally acknowledged.

“The collapse of the treaty would likely open up a missile race in Europe and elsewhere,” said Hans M. Kristensen, the director of the Nuclear Information Project at the Federation of American Scientists, a private group in Washington. “It would signal a new phase where countries would compete to deploy and counterdeploy weapons.”

Jon Wolfsthal, a nuclear expert on the National Security Council during the Obama administration, said a withdrawal would roil Europe.

“Things are just now calming down,” he said. “This would be another hand grenade in the middle of NATO to split the allies.”

The 1987 treaty between Washington and Moscow bans all land-based missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers, or 310 to 3,420 miles. Missiles that go that far are known as short- and intermediate-range. The treaty covers land-based missiles carrying both nuclear and conventional warheads. It does not cover air-launched or sea-launched weapons.

The main impetus for the pact was Moscow's deployments of the SS-20 — a mobile, concealable missile that could loft up to three nuclear warheads. When lifted into a vertical position atop its mobile launcher, the missile stood more than five stories high.

It terrified the Europeans, and the treaty emerged as a compromise proposal at the historic 1986 summit meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, where Mr. Gorbachev favored a ban on all ballistic missiles. Reagan demurred, intent on continuing work on the Strategic Defense Initiative, which he viewed as a shield against all attacks.

The weapons ban — signed in Washington in December 1987 by both men — resulted in the destruction of 2,692 missiles. Washington demolished 846, and Moscow 1,846.

The American side destroyed missiles it had sent to Western Europe in response to the SS-20, including Pershing II ballistic missiles and ground-launched cruise missiles. The low-flying weapons hug the ground to avoid enemy radars and air defenses.

The Obama administration was the first to charge publicly that Moscow was violating the treaty. The offending weapon was identified as a land-based cruise missile, the SSC-8. Russia has consistently denied any violation.

“The I.N.F. treaty was rightly viewed as a remarkable achievement by President Reagan when it was ratified over 30 years ago,” said Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, who has urged exiting the treaty, and is sometimes named as a possible replacement for Mr. Mattis. “But today the Russians are openly cheating, and the Chinese are stockpiling missiles because they're not bound by it at all.”

If the Trump administration leaves the treaty, it is likely to deploy a version of the Tomahawk cruise missile that is redesigned to be launched from land. Ships and submarines now carry Tomahawks armed with conventional warheads; experts say that eventually a nuclear warhead could be designed to fit the Tomahawk.


__________________________________________________________________________

David E. Sanger is a national security correspondent and a senior writer. In a 36-year reporting career for The New York Times, he has been on three teams that have won Pulitzer Prizes, most recently in 2017 for international reporting. His newest book, The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age,’ examines the emergence of cyberconflict as the primary way large and small states are competing and undercutting each other, changing the nature of global power. He is also the author of two New York Times best sellers on foreign policy and national security: The Inheritance: The World Obama Confronts and the Challenges to American Power, published in 2009, and Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, published in 2012. For The N.Y. Times, Mr. Sanger has served as Tokyo bureau chief, Washington economic correspondent, White House correspondent during the Clinton and Bush administrations, and chief Washington correspondent. Mr. Sanger spent six years in Tokyo, writing about the emergence of Japan as a major American competitor, and then the country's humbling recession. He wrote many of the first articles about North Korea's emerging nuclear weapons program. Returning to Washington, Mr. Sanger turned to a wide range of diplomatic and national security issues, especially issues of nuclear proliferation and the rise of cyberconflict among nations. In reporting for The Times and Confront and Conceal, he revealed the story of Olympic Games, the code name for the most sophisticated cyberattack in history, the American-Israeli effort to sabotage Iran's nuclear program with the Stuxnet worm. His journalistic pursuit of the origins of Stuxnet became the subject of the documentary “Zero Days” which made the short list of Academy Award documentaries in 2016. With his Times colleague Bill Broad, he also described, in early 2017, a parallel cybereffort against North Korea. Mr. Sanger was a leading member of the team that investigated the causes of the Challenger disaster in 1986, which was awarded a Pulitzer in national reporting the following year. A second Pulitzer, in 1999, was awarded to a team that investigated the struggles within the Clinton administration over controlling technology exports to China. He has also won the Weintal Prize for diplomatic reporting for his coverage of the Iraq and Korea crises, the Aldo Beckman prize for coverage of the presidency, and, in two separate years, the Merriman Smith Memorial Award, for coverage of national security issues. “Nuclear Jihad” the documentary that Mr. Sanger reported for Discovery/Times Television, won the duPont-Columbia Award for its explanation of the workings of the A. Q. Khan nuclear proliferation network. That coverage was also a finalist for a Pulitzer. A 1982 graduate of Harvard College, Mr. Sanger was the first senior fellow in The Press and National Security at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. With Graham T. Allison Jr., he co-teaches Central Challenges in American National Security, Strategy and the Press at the Kennedy School of Government.

William J. Broad is a science journalist and senior writer at The New York Times. He shared two Pulitzer Prizes with his colleagues, as well as an Emmy Award and a DuPont Award. He joined The Times in 1983 and writes about everything from exploding stars and the secret life of marine mammals to the spread of nuclear arms and the inside story on why the Titanic sank so rapidly. He is the author of The Science of Yoga: The Risks and the Rewards, which was excerpted in The N.Y. Times Magazine. In 1986, Mr. Broad was a member of the team that won a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the feasibility of the “Star Wars” anti-missile program. And in 1987, he and N.Y. Times colleagues won a Pulitzer for reporting on the Challenger space shuttle disaster. He was a Pulitzer finalist in 2005 for articles written with David E. Sanger on nuclear proliferation. In 2007, he and Mr. Sanger shared a DuPont Award from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism for the television documentary “Nuclear Jihad: Can Terrorists Get the Bomb?”. Mr. Broad's reporting has taken him to Paris, Vienna, Brazil, Ecuador, Kiev and Kazakhstan. In December 1991, while reporting on nuclear arms, he was among the last Westerners to see the Soviet hammer and sickle flying over the Kremlin. Before joining The New York Times, Mr. Broad worked as a reporter in Washington for Science, the weekly magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He earned a master's degree in the history of science from the University of Wisconsin, and in 1995 won the university's Distinguished Service to Journalism Award.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Saturday, October 20, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York print edition with the headline: “U.S. Departure From Arms Pact Is Said to Loom”.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • ‘Take Out’ Russian Missiles? U.S. Envoy's Remark Spurs Anger, and Pullback.

 • To Counter Russia, U.S. Signals Nuclear Arms Are Back in a Big Way


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/19/us/politics/russia-nuclear-arms-treaty-trump-administration.html

 3 
 on: October 19, 2018, 10:41:14 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey



 4 
 on: October 19, 2018, 03:37:34 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Seattle Times....

Trump's alliance with Saudi Arabia

Trump shows appalling willingness to believe the word of a Saudi despot.

By DAVID HORSEY | 1:22PM PDT — Thursday, October 18, 2018



GRUESOME evidence is mounting that implicates agents of the Saudi Arabian regime in the savage murder of Arab journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Yet, as more and more governments around the world are expressing alarm about the killing, President Donald is leaning over backwards to make excuses for Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. Trump appears to care far more about U.S. arms deals with the Saudis than about human rights and a free press.

__________________________________________________________________________

• See more of David Horsey's cartoons at The Seattle Times HERE.

https://www.seattletimes.com/opinion/trumps-alliance-with-saudi-arabia

 5 
 on: October 18, 2018, 10:44:18 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey



 6 
 on: October 18, 2018, 01:45:58 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Im2Sexy4MyPants
so if they nuke china and russia no more problems and new ice age

 7 
 on: October 17, 2018, 11:02:50 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey



 8 
 on: October 17, 2018, 10:50:48 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post…

Trump says it's not his fault if Republicans lose the House

In a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press, the president
also said his former attorney Michael Cohen was “lying” under oath.


By FELICIA SONMEZ | 7:21PM EDT — Tuesday, October 16, 2018

President Donald J. Trump listens to a question during an interview with the Associated Press in the Oval Office on Tuesday. — Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated Press.
President Donald J. Trump listens to a question during an interview with the Associated Press in the Oval Office on Tuesday.
 — Photograph: Evan Vucci/Associated Press.


PRESIDENT TRUMP said on Tuesday that it's not his fault if Republicans lose control of the House in this year's mid-terms, weeks after he told supporters to “pretend I'm on the ballot” in November.

Trump made the comments in a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press.

“I don't believe anybody has ever had this kind of impact,” Trump told the Associated Press, defending his efforts to rally support for candidates across the country. He has headlined four “Make America Great Again” rallies in each of the past two weeks, and he's holding three more this week.

Earlier this month, at a rally in Southaven, Mississippi, Trump urged supporters to go to the polls, telling the crowd, “Pretend I'm on the ballot.”

Trump's remarks come as Republicans' prospects of maintaining control of the House appear increasingly dim.

In the Associated Press interview, Trump also accused Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney, of lying when he testified that Trump directed him to pay off two women who had alleged affairs with the then-candidate.

Cohen pleaded guilty in August to eight violations of banking, tax and campaign finance law. As he has done previously, Trump played down his relationship with Cohen in the Associated Press interview, calling his former long-time attorney “a PR person who did small legal work” and saying it was “very sad” that Cohen had struck a plea deal with prosecutors.

Cohen, who recently switched his party affiliation from Republican to Democrat, said in a Sunday tweet that the November 6 mid-terms “might be the most important vote in our lifetime.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Felicia Sonmez is a national political reporter at The Washington Post covering breaking news from the White House, Congress and the campaign trail. Previously, she spent more than four years in Beijing, where she worked first as a correspondent for Agence France Presse and later as the editor of The Wall Street Journal's China Real Time Report. She also spent a year in advanced Chinese language study as a Blakemore Freeman Fellow at Tsinghua University. From 2010 to 2013, she reported on national politics for TheWashington Post, starting as a writer for The Fix and going on to cover Congress, the 2012 presidential campaign and the early days of President Barack Obama's second term. She began her career teaching English in Beijing and has also covered U.S. politics for the Asahi Shimbun and National Journal's The Hotline. She speaks fluent Chinese, Japanese and Spanish.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-says-its-not-his-fault-if-republicans-lose-the-house/2018/10/16/6cbd4e06-d193-11e8-83d6-291fcead2ab1_story.html

 9 
 on: October 17, 2018, 10:27:55 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Seattle Times…

Corps of Engineers moving forward with review of
Longview coal terminal despite state objections


The move is opposed by state Ecology Director Maia Bellon, who
wrote a September 10 letter of protest to Colonel Mark Geraldi,
the Corp's Seattle district commander.


By HAL BERNTON | 6:00AM PDT — Tuesday, October 16, 2018

This May 12, 2005, file photo, shows the port of Longview on the Columbia River at Longview, Washington. A judge says Washington state's Department of Natural Resources acted arbitrarily when it blocked a sublease sought by developers of a proposed coal-export terminal near Longview. — Photograph: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press.
This May 12, 2005, file photo, shows the port of Longview on the Columbia River at Longview, Washington.
A judge says Washington state's Department of Natural Resources acted arbitrarily when it blocked
a sublease sought by developers of a proposed coal-export terminal near Longview.
 — Photograph: Elaine Thompson/Associated Press.


THE U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will move forward with an environmental review of a proposed Longview coal-export terminal that already has been rejected by the state Department of Ecology for failing to meet water-quality standards.

The Corps' continued involvement has been sought by developers who want the Trump administration to help keep alive the Millennium Bulk Terminals project, which would offer a new outlet to export up to 48½ million tons of western coal to Asian markets.

The Corps plans to oversee the preparation of a final environmental-impact statement by a yet-to-be-selected independent contractor, according to a statement released Monday by the Corps' Seattle district office.

The move is opposed by state Ecology Director Maia Bellon, who wrote a September 10 letter of protest to Colonel Mark Geraldi, the Corps' Seattle district commander.

“We do not understand the Corps' decision to restart work on this proposal. … Our decision to deny the certification is final,”  Bellon wrote. “… I urge you to follow long-standing Corps procedure and precedent by respecting Washington’s decision under the Clean Water Act.”

A Millennium official, Wendy Hutchinson, said that the Corps' “ongoing permit and design work demonstrates the project is still moving forward … We are committed to building our coal-export terminal in accordance with all state and federal standards.”

The Corps' review comes amid a broader push by the Trump administration to bolster the U.S. coal industry, which has been buffeted by long-term declines in demand as power-generation shifts to greater use of natural gas and renewable energy.

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke proposed that U.S. military installations or other federal sites could possibly serve as export sites for sending coal to Asia.

International markets have improved during the past two years after a sharp slump that wiped out the profitability of shipping western coal to Asia for use in power plants, according to Clark Williams-Derry, of the Seattle-based Sightline Institute.

The Longview coal-export terminal, proposed by Millennium Bulk Terminals, has sparked a years-long battle that has pitted the coal industry against opponents, many of them environmentalists seeking to prevent the Northwest from becoming an export hub for coal and other fossil fuels that release  greenhouse gases spurring climate change.

In September 2017, the state Ecology Department ruled against the project, citing impacts that included destruction of 24 acres of wetlands, an  increase of 1,680 vessel trips a year on the Columbia and harm to aquatic habitat.  The Department of Natural Resources also has rejected a sublease sought by project developers.

Millennium is challenging adverse decisions in state court, and also in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tacoma that accuses Bellon, Governor Jay Inslee and Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz of having “unreasonably delayed and denied a number of permits and approvals” because they oppose the project on policy grounds.

The Corps issued a draft environmental-impact statement about the project in 2016. Work then slowed as the project ran into roadblocks in the state and local permitting process.

With the agency short on staff, there were higher priority projects to pursue, according to Patricia Graesser, a Seattle District office spokeswoman for the Corps.

The  agency has filled some vacant staff positions, and now decided to move forward with finishing the project review.

A  federal permit could not actually be issued so long as the state certification continues to be denied.

But the developer wants the Corps to declare the state has waived its rights under the Clean Water Act because it took too long to make a decision and the denial was not based on  factors outlined in federal law, according to an August 17 letter sent to the Corps' Seattle district commander by Beth Ginsberg, an attorney representing Millennium.

“We look forward to discussing these issues more fully and will contact you to arrange a time to do in the immediate future,” Ginsberg wrote to the Corps' Geraldi.

The Corps has not provided a response to that letter, according to Graesser, the Corps' spokeswoman.


https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/corps-of-engineers-moving-forward-with-review-of-longview-coal-terminal-despite-state-objections

 10 
 on: October 17, 2018, 09:51:06 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

Sunset colours at Matarawa earlier this evening…




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