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Romney now represents Utah in the Senate, and the majority of Utahans have made no secret of their dislike for Donald Trump. Romney has little to loose in opposing Trump, and potentially much to gain, not only in his state, but positioning himself as a leader of Republican opposition to Trump. I rather doubt he's looking at another Presidential run, but at least he could upgrade his historical legacy.

 

OTOH Mitt has displayed an exceptionally flexible spine, bending where the winds of advantage lead him. So we'll have to see if he stays consistent.

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11 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

Romney now represents Utah in the Senate, and the majority of Utahans have made no secret of their dislike for Donald Trump. Romney has little to loose in opposing Trump, and potentially much to gain, not only in his state, but positioning himself as a leader of Republican opposition to Trump. I rather doubt he's looking at another Presidential run, but at least he could upgrade his historical legacy.

 

OTOH Mitt has displayed an exceptionally flexible spine, bending where the winds of advantage lead him. So we'll have to see if he stays consistent.

 

That statement can be applied to almost every senior Republican Party office holder.  Evidence suggests he won't, but I can see another reason why he will be the goad...because that's how the winds are blowing.  Not for the majority of Republicans yet, but there's gonna be a growing necessity to lead the counter-revolution to curb Trump while still pushing a conservative agenda.  He can be the centerpiece of an Enough is Enough movement that won't pass what the Dems want all that much, but won't cave to His Orangeness.

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And so it begins...

 

 

Lovely line, albeit perhaps not true.  Apple says they'll miss their sales forecasts badly because of the trade tensions with China and slowing growth.  

 

Stock market tanks.  2.8% loss...and this after all the losses during December.  Apple actually slips to the 4th largest company in the world.

 

Wonder who Trump's gonna scream at for this one?  

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2 hours ago, Hermit said:

So, Elizabeth Warren is running. 

I am excited, and a bit worried that her window closed but I do hope she can push financial reforms and consumer protections into the limelight

 

I'm glad she's running whether or not she wins, or even whether or not I would vote for her (if I was an American citizen). The more quality candidates the Democrats field, the more the debate over ideas and directions is likely to stimulate interest in the electorate. They need a clear positive vision to vote for, not just an incumbent to vote against.

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2 hours ago, unclevlad said:

And so it begins...

 

 

Lovely line, albeit perhaps not true.  Apple says they'll miss their sales forecasts badly because of the trade tensions with China and slowing growth.  

 

Stock market tanks.  2.8% loss...and this after all the losses during December.  Apple actually slips to the 4th largest company in the world.

 

Wonder who Trump's gonna scream at for this one?  

 

It could be true. China has become an enormous market for American electronics, so it's logical that disruptions in trade between them could hit manufacturers hard.

 

Trump's target changes with his mood, but I expect the Democrats to come up even more frequently, now that he's dealing with a hostile House of Representatives. Really, a guy with no tolerance for criticism should have known better than to take the most-criticized job in the world.

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It may not be true because the trade tension may well have been a factor behind the December drop...ergo, it'd already begun.  But hey, any time I can use that Babylon 5 line, I'm gonna. :)

 

It's a given he'll attack the Dems, but probably not about the market drop...at least directly.  Yes, the shutdown is increasing uncertainty and that's always a factor.  Yes, using that to beat on the Dems would be perfect.  BUT...he's owned the shutdown lock, stock, and barrel.  He can't exactly blame the Dems for the consequences.

 

Oh, wait, he's The Donald.  Infinite Irrationality Incarnate.

(trademark application for that is forthcoming)

 

 

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58 minutes ago, Lord Liaden said:

Trump's "ownership" of the shutdown lasted until it actually happened. He's already Tweeted that it's the Democrats' fault for "playing politics," because they "don't want strong borders."

 

This surprises me not even a little bit. Heaven forbid he should actually take responsibility for something (something that makes him look unfavorable, that is). 

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Several days ago, All Things Considered interviewed a real live expert on border security, who'd been in the biz. She explained how border security actually works, and why a coast-to-coast wall would be counterproductive.

 

There are sections of all -- in border pairs of cities, such as San Diego/Tijuana. Hundreds of thousands of Americans and Mexicans cross between such cities daily for work, school, shopping, etc, and so it is highly desirable that such transits happen through a small number of checkpoints where peole can be checked. It's harder for drug mules and other criminals to hide in the crowd.

 

So instead, people who cross the border with criminal intent head out of town. Look at all those wide open spaces! --Where they stand out. No crowd to hide in. That vast open border is a lure and a trap. At least if there are enough cameras and agents to spot them and catch them. And so that's how to increase border security.

 

Building a wall disrupts that schema. It incentivizes criminals to find ways over the wall, or under it, or get better at smuggling, etc.

 

So yeah, the wall is a great big metaphor in concrete to please Trump's base, a physical scream of rage telling those scary brown people from the south that America doesn't want them. But it will do nothing to stop cross-border crime.

 

Dean Shomshak

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Just to be clear, the last paragraph is my opinion, not that of the border security expert. But what I've seen about the psychology and sociology of Trump's base convinces me the demand for the wall has no practical basis. Even talk of drugs and crime are psychological proxies for status anxiety and demographic change. And you can't pour enough concrete to wall out those fears.

 

Dean Shomshak

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5 hours ago, Pattern Ghost said:

China's definitely a factor in Apple's woes, but their new iPhones have been underperforming from the start. It's more like the straw that broke the camel's back, albeit a very large straw.

 

Edit: Here's a Motley Fool article.

 

 

Yeah, Apple has raised prices yet removed the headphone jack and that's just one example of paying more for no gain. They've done a lot of damage to themselves and I'm shedding few tears.

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Spectrum News ticker said Apple had saturated the market. People who want phones have them. Upgrades with no difference means people are not going to spend the money.

 

It's like having a car. If all you can afford is something to get you from A to B, investing a large sum in something that looks prettier but doesn't fly is not worth it.

CES

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18 hours ago, DShomshak said:

Just to be clear, the last paragraph is my opinion, not that of the border security expert. But what I've seen about the psychology and sociology of Trump's base convinces me the demand for the wall has no practical basis. Even talk of drugs and crime are psychological proxies for status anxiety and demographic change. And you can't pour enough concrete to wall out those fears.

 

Dean Shomshak

 

I think they simply don't understand the scope and the complexity.  A wall keeps all the prisoners in.  A wall kept Berlin divided rather well.  So we need a wall!  Except we're not talking a few hundred yards' worth, or even 20-30 miles.  We're talking thousands of miles.

 

Personally, I don't think it's a coincidence that the same groups tend to support the wall and disbelieve the threat of global warming.

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2 hours ago, unclevlad said:

  A wall kept Berlin divided rather well.

 

Two walls with a kill zone between them. The Berlin wall wasn't even particularly high. I can't even count the number of tourists who asked me where the Wall was when I was an MP working Checkpoint Charlie . . . when they were standing right next to it.

 

It was the kill zone and the willingness to kill the things that shouldn't be in the kill zone that did the trick. (And the willingness was starkly there: The day I arrived in Berlin, a man was shot trying to swim the Elbe to escape.)

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1 minute ago, unclevlad said:

I sit corrected. BUT...the supporters of the wall don't think that far.  All they think is, wall...stopped people.  Need wall.  

 

I was agreeing with you, actually. Everyone in favor of the wall is putting forth some idea that a single wall (or artistically-designed slats) would be effective, while reality suggest otherwise.

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Regarding Trump's Wall, I did not write this but I'd like to share it.

 

Let's say we build this wall.

Let's say we give Trump the money and we build a wall 30 feet tall, 2000 miles long. Doesn't matter how, doesn't matter what it costs, don't worry about the details.

Just go ahead and build the wall, right?

No. No. Don't roll your eyes. It's not a trap. This isn't me doing that thing where I seem to ask a provocatively obnoxious question, but I'm REALLY fishing for something else entirely. Nope. Not that.

I'm saying: we build Trump's wall. 30 feet high, 2000 miles long.

Now, bear with me here:

The US/Mexico border is 1954 miles long. Currently, about 700 miles is fenced in some fashion.

Meaning a bit more than 1200 miles isn't.

Why?

Well, because most of the border is remote, away from urban development, in rugged territory, deserts, etc.

So, if you build this wall, 30 feet high, 2000 miles long, 1200+ miles of it would STILL traverse remote territory. Follow?

Now, people being people, it won't matter how high the wall is, or how thick, or whatever passive systems (such as spikes or concertina wire, etc) you include. Given enough time and resources, human ingenuity will find a way over, under, or through your wall in short order.

Particularly in remote areas, outside of full time observation. In our case, that's about 1200 miles worth of remote territory.

You don't need to take my word for this, you can research the effectiveness of such barriers from the Great Wall of China to the Berlin Wall, from Hadrian's Wall to the West Bank Barrier...

What?

What's that?

Oh, right. The West Bank Barrier, the wall which divides Israel from Palestine.

Yes?

It WORKS, you say.

It does. BUT it's not just a wall, it's a multi-layered defense system. Barbed wire, anti-sniper concrete wall over part of its length, vehicle ditches, electronic systems, patrols. It's monitored over its full length 24 hours a day, every day. It is patrolled over its full length 24 hours a day, every day. The cost to Israel (and Palestine) is high. It works. Yes it does. It keeps people penned up, keeps them apart, keeps people out, maybe keeps them from killing each other. Just as it was designed to do and a number of American conservatives look to that Israeli model as an example.

The American version would have to be 3 times as long and vastly more expensive.

That barrier was designed, rightly or wrongly, to separate nations and people at WAR.

And the ONLY way a such a barrier works is with constant monitoring, constant patrolling. Because otherwise, as I mentioned up above, all you need to defeat it is a ladder and some quiet time. This is true of the West Bank Barrier. And it was true of Hadrian's Wall. And the Great Wall of China. The Maginot Line, the Berlin Wall, Saddam's line. Etc. They ALL had to be monitored and patrolled. Or they were no more an impediment to movement than any natural barrier, any river, or hill.

Up above, I mentioned the Maginot Line.

The French spent enormous resources to fortify their border. But once in place, those resources were fixed. They could not move or be used elsewhere.

When the Nazis did a rapid end run around the fortifications through the Ardennes Forest, all the enormous resources of the Line were immediately rendered moot, left behind in their fixed, immobile positions. It's still there today, rotting, rusting, useless.

By its very nature, a wall is fixed in position. Meaning, the defenses and resources of a wall are only useful AT THE WALL.

At the wall.

Walls are good for small, limited, controlled areas where the wall is part of a larger system, and continuously monitored, protected, and maintained. Where those manning the wall have a SIGNIFICANT advantage over those the wall is designed to control.

Like a prison. Or a fort in hostile territory.

For Trump's wall, 2000 miles long, to work, you will HAVE to monitor it in real-time along every inch. You will have to install cameras and sensors, fly drones and aircraft, and put out daily patrols. The wall will be constantly probed. Constantly tested. Constantly watched by those we're trying to keep out. There isn't any way to hide it. 2000 miles long, 30 feet high, and visible in orbit. We become anchored to our wall, constantly trying to find any weakness before the adversary does. Any moment of inattention, any blind spot, any weakness, will be found -- and exploited. The odds are with the attacker, not the defender, especially over that distance.

Because that is human nature, ask any prison guard.

Of course, the people of the US and Central America are not at war.

Those seeking refuge in the US are unlikely to storm the border with a Blitzkrieg of tanks and dive bombers -- and if they were, WE WOULDN'T BUILD A WALL ANYWAY because the US military doesn't fight from fixed positions.

Those who build walls in the desert often die on them. As Saddam's army learned -- or didn't actually, given how the second war with the US went.

Again, walls are useful for certain limited applications. But they are utterly impractical over thousands of miles. Your assets become fixed, inflexible, unable to adapt, and if bypassed they're useless.

You will NEVER get a return on your investment.

If you have to have eyes on the border ANYWAY

if you have to patrol the entire length in real time ANYWAY

if you have to monitor the cameras and sensors and drones ANYWAY

if you have to counter any breach anywhere anytime ANYWAY

THEN YOU DON'T NEED A PHYSICAL WALL.

For a wall to work, to DO what Trump promises, it CAN'T be a simple barrier, no matter how long, no matter how high.

Like the West Bank Barrier, or the Great Wall of China, it would have to be a complex system of technology and human beings where the physical wall itself is the LEAST part, its defenses fixed and inflexible, unable to adapt to changing circumstance.

And here's the thing: Once you implement the supporting systems and personnel you need to secure the wall, YOU NO LONGER NEED THE WALL outside of a few small areas.

And without a wall, those security systems become much more flexible, mobile, unpredictable, and adaptable. They then have the advantage.

And it is cheaper. Vastly cheaper.

History, our own military strategy, and our national security policies learned over two painful centuries, demonstrate just how useless and ill advised a fixed defense is.

A simple wall is a simple solution for simple minds and worthless for anything else.

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It takes 3 brain cells to realize the monitoring required.  Maybe 5 to start asking...how long will it be before the cartels start laying down bribes successfully?  The coyotes will follow.  

 

Ever drive I-10 from El Paso to Yuma?  EMPTY.  Bloody freaking EMPTY from the time you climb out of the Mesilla Valley just west of Cruces, all the way to Tucson.  Isolated towns along the way but no more.  Loved driving Texas Canyon in daylight;  sandstone formations in rugged, undulating country.  Hellish to walk tho;  also gotta believe it's A-1 prime rattler country.  Border's actually a good bit south, too, and there's almost literally no towns between I-10 and the Mexican border, anywhere between Cruces and Yuma...which is, what, 600, 700 miles.

 

Of course we're all preaching to the choir here.  We have a few more than 3 brain cells...well, maybe not Iuz any more.  But we all know Trumpland has about 10...and they have to share them among all the occupants.

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