Cover up or coup—whatever Trump is doing at the Pentagon can’t be good

first_imgDonald Trump has now purged several top-tier civilian officials at the Pentagon and replaced them with a handful of bootlicking loyalists. None of Trump’s new minions are up to the jobs they now hold and these abrupt personnel changes are as destabilizing to the Pentagon as they should be deeply concerning to the country. Here are the Cliff’s Notes on the personnel changes. Newly installedActing Defense Secretary: Christopher Miller, a combat veteran turned right-wing talkerChief of Staff: Kash Patel, a former Devin Nunes staffer who was part of the White House National Security Counsel (NSC) and worked to discredit the Russia investigationActing Undersecretary of Policy: Retired Brig. Gen. Anthony Tata, whose appointment to DOD was yanked earlier this year after he was exposed as a racist Obama-hating conspiracy theoristUndersecretary of Defense for Intelligence: Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a Michael Flynn ally and former NSC staffer who allegedly supplied Rep. Nunes with information that Trump’s communications were incidentally swept up by U.S. intelligence agencies conducting foreign surveillanceGeneral Counsel, National Security Agency: Michael Ellis, also a former Nunes and NSC staffer (he allegedly joined Cohen-Watnick in supplying intel to Nunes and later moved Trump’s Ukraine call to the super secret server) who will now hold one of the most powerful legal positions in the U.S. Intelligence Community- Advertisement – Resigned/Forced outDefense Secretary: Mark EsperUndersecretary of Defense for Intelligence: Joseph KernanActing Undersecretary of Policy: James AndersonIt’s unclear what Trump intends to do with his newly installed team of reality-adjacent loyalists and disinformation specialists, but nothing good can come of it. One theory—and again, it’s a theory—is that some sort of cover up is underway. Nunes coupled with abuse/mishandling of intelligence and intimate knowledge of what happened at the NSC throughout Trump’s tenure are central to so many of these players. And whatever happened with Trump, Russia, Flynn, and Nunes, the other chief intelligence agencies (CIA/FBI) likely know far more than what has been publicly disclosed. Something simply doesn’t feel right about all of those Nunes/NSC insiders being deployed to powerful positions at the last second.Another possibility that seems equally as far-fetched and yet not out of the realm for the era is that Trump is trying to orchestrate a coup of some sort. Retired four-star Gen. Barry McCaffrey told MSNBC Wednesday he had every confidence that the military leadership would never go along with any unconstitutional orders they were given, but he also said that Trump’s intentions are very worrisome.  – Advertisement – “If I was a CIA officer trying to understand what was going on in a third-world country, and I saw this pattern of behavior, I would say, the strongman is trying to take over the government and defy an election,” McCaffrey said. “And I think they’re playing with that idea inside the White House.”This is all pure conjecture, but Trump’s erratic moves at these uncertain times warrant the type of conjecture that under usual circumstances would serve no purpose. In this case, we all need to keep a watchful eye on Trump’s next moves, as we may have only seen the tip of the iceberg.As McCaffrey said, “I have been shot at a lot and nearly killed a bunch of times. I’m not an alarmist. I stay cool under pressure. Mark me down as alarmed.”- Advertisement – – Advertisement – TOPSHOT - US President Donald Trump sits before holding a roundtable discussion with several Administration officials and Hispanic American business, community, and education leaders in the cabinet room at the White House on July 9, 2020 in Washington,DC. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)last_img read more

Cadbury Partners NFF, Super Eagles

first_imgCadbury Nigeria Plc, manufacturers of TomTom, has expressed delight to partner the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) as the ‘Official Candy of the Super Eagles.’In a statement, the Company’s Corporate and Government Affairs Director for West Africa, Mr. Bala Yesufu said now is the time to give the Super Eagles the maximum support they require to excel in football, Nigeria’s favourite sport.Yesufu said: “Tom Tom, the leading candy brand from Cadbury Nigeria is proud to be associated as ‘Official Candy of the Super Eagles.’ We appreciate the leadership of the NFF for their moderation in arriving at this partnership initiative and we hope to live up to our part of the deal.”According to the President of the NFF, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, the partnership with Tom Tom was too good to be turned down as the brand has demonstrated a champion’s spirit over the years.Pinnick added: “The Nigerian Football Federation is pleased to enter into this worthwhile contract as Tom Tom has done so much for Nigerian football over the years.“Candies are for champions. The Super Eagles remain a champion team and Tom Tom is also a champion candy. I strongly believe the company will enjoy the new experience even better than its previous romance with Nigerian Football Federation.”The press statement said further that Mr. Mike Itemuagbor, Chairman of Pamodzi Sports Marketing, the sponsorship agency, noted that Tom Tom from Cadbury and his company have the responsibility to ensure that both organisations derive fulfillment from the relationship.He opined further: “The agreement is for a period of three years in the initial period, and renewable. It makes Tom Tom the ‘Official Candy of the Super Eagles.’ All other details will be made known at the official contract signing ceremony soon.”Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

How the Venus flytrap got its taste for meat

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Countrycenter_img The consequences of the alarm, however, are quite different. In noncarnivorous plants, jasmonic acid triggers the synthesis of self-defense toxins and molecules that inhibit hydrolases, enzymes that herbivores secrete to break down the plant’s proteins. As part of their counterattack, plants also produce their own hydrolases, which can destroy chitin and other components of insects or microbes. In the flytrap, in contrast, jasmonic acid triggers a voracious response: Tens of thousands of tiny glands make and secrete hydrolases. The trapped invertebrate is drenched in the same digestive enzymes that another plant might use in smaller quantities to ward off an enemy. “It’s just a change in emphasis,” says Edward Farmer, a plant physiologist at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.After a few hours, the glands inside the trap turn on another set of genes that helps the plant absorb nutrients from its meal. Experiments showed that many of these genes are the same ones expressed in the roots of other plants. “We looked at each other and said, ‘Yes, it’s a root,’” Hedrich says. “It made immediate sense,” because the flytrap draws its nutrition not from soil, but from its prey.“This is the way evolution works,” says Andrej Pavlovic, a plant physiologist at Palacký University, Olomouc, in the Czech Republic, who compares the flytrap’s innovations to the modification of a bat wing or whale fin from the limb of their terrestrial ancestors. The molecular repurposing that allows carnivorous plants to harvest their nutrients from the air is no less inspiring. Since the dawn of invertebrates, plants have had to defend themselves against hordes of nibblers. On at least a half-dozen occasions, however, plants turned the tables and became predators: the sundew with its sticky tentacles, pitcher plants with their beckoning pools of enzymes, and the flytrap with its swift clamp of death. These plants’ aggressive feeding habits help them survive in poor soil by giving them a new source of nitrogen and other nutrients. Many biologists suspect this predatory behavior evolved when ancestors of today’s carnivorous plants turned mechanisms that normally detect and defend against insect pests into offensive weapons.Now, this hypothesis has gained support from a detailed genetic study of Venus flytraps (Dionaea muscipula) as they snared crickets and began to digest them alive. Led by biophysicist Rainer Hedrich and bioinformaticist Jörg Schultz of the Julius Maximilian University of Würzburg in Germany, a team tracked the genes expressed as the plants sensed and then digested their prey. The research, published online before print in Genome Research, provides the most detailed view so far of the molecular action during prey capture. “This is a great study,” says plant geneticist Victor Albert of the University at Buffalo. “It’s much richer” than previous studies of the process.To catch an invertebrate that has blundered into its snare, the flytrap relies on an ancient alarm system. It starts ringing when the victim jostles trigger hairs. The hairs in turn generate electrical impulses that somehow stimulate glands in the trap to produce jasmonic acid—the same signal that noncarnivorous plants use to initiate defensive action against herbivores. Patterns of gene expression in the two kinds of plants confirm the similarity, Hedrich says.last_img read more