Falling in love… with American history

Since it’s Constitution Day, I’m going to meander away from our rancorous politics and go traipsing back to my childhood in the backwoods of northeast PA, plus a few other interesting locations in this blog post.

JK mentioned a book, Miracle at Philadelphia, he came across helping his mother move and decided to read.  I added it to my Amazon wish list, but I have many books on the American Revolution and how The Constitution came about, including some very nice Library of America editions of the writings of Jefferson and Washington, a two-volume set of The Debate On The Constitution, a two-volume set on The American Revolution: Writings from the Pamphlet Debate 1764-1776, and a volume of Paine’s writings. I mention these very nice editions, because they’re kind of like real gem jewelry to me, who collects mostly used books and books other people were ready to trash.  I love very nice books, but I have no problem collecting cast-offs

My book collecting habit developed early in life, when I eagerly began gathering discarded books from my family and neighbors, especially my oldest sister, who had friends with whom she shared paperbacks.  I pretty much read whatever books I could get my hands on and books I signed out of my school library.

Some passions grow slowly and some are sparked by a specific event or person, I think.  I can pinpoint exactly when and where my fascination with the history of early America and especially the Revolutionary War period started.

Growing up in a large, blue-collar family, we never went on any fancy summer vacations, but my parents did do a lot of same-day trips to see tourist sites in Philadelphia, other historical sites in PA, parks, some amusement parks and other “natural wonders” like Crystal Cave, and lest I forget a childhood favorite tourist location that had a great selection of cheap tourist trinkets… tada, Roadside America.

When my husband and I were visiting PA one time, in the early years of our marriage, I told him that you haven’t seen the greatness of PA until you see Roadside America, because it’s amazing.  Let’s just say, he was less than impressed and he kept looking at me funny as I happily did the tour again and then insisted the experience wasn’t complete without spending an equal amount of time as the tour, pouring over the wide selection of gift shop “treasures”.

I learned early on, that my husband does not have any tourist DNA in his body and he lacks any sensibility to appreciate the joy of collecting cheap tourist mementos.  He used to love amusement parks though.  Alas, fast rides scare the bejesus out of me and amusement parks attract large, loud crowds, another thing I assiduously try to avoid.  Museums, historical sites and peaceful gardens, on the other hand, assuredly are the most delightful tourist locations, right?

PA has many important and truly fascinating historical sites.  To see Gettysburg really takes a few days of sightseeing, likewise Philadelphia, plus there’s that whole western side of the state too.

My one son and I were discussing traveling and what types of places rank high on our tourist wish list over the weekend.  He mentioned that he enjoyed touring historic Philadelphia and seeing the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, but he’s not one to get all excited looking at stuff like a chair, where the tour guide reverently tells you, “George Washington sat here.”  And, therein lies the difference between us.

So, you might think the Liberty Bell or Independence Hall or perhaps even The Betsy Ross House provided that spark that grew into my lifelong passion.

You’d be wrong.

When I was 12 years old, one of my sisters and I went with our Girl Scout troop on a big trip for a few days.  Our troop raised money for the trip, which made it feel even more momentous.  Nothing prepared me for that stepping back in time feeling of Colonial Williamsburg, VA.  I still have my 1973 Official Guidebook and Map (50 cents):

Colonial Williamsburg spoke to my young heart in a special way.  Every person in colonial costume explaining something about life in pre-revolutionary America held me enthralled.  Then we toured the House of Burgesses and a female tour guide explained that Thomas Jefferson stood at the half-open door to listen to Patrick Henry’s fiery speech denouncing the Stamp Act, a wildly unpopular direct tax imposed by the crown on American colonists.  Standing in that room, I felt almost transported back in time.

When it came time to leave, I yearned to be able to stay in Colonial Williamsburg forever, but alas, I had to settle for my official guidebook and, of course, some souvenirs from the gift shop.  My prize souvenirs were a cheap, black felt tricorn hat and a large white feather quill pen.  When I got home I cut two small holes in the back of my hat and inserted the feather at a jaunty angle.  And yes, I often sat at my desk in my bedroom wearing my tricorn hat, reading about early American history and The Constitution, despite my sister, with whom I shared a bedroom, mocking me and my “stupid” hat.

The Williamsburg trip was where it began.  Then I was blessed with an amazing 7th grade U.S. history teacher, who inspired my love of studying The Constitution.  A few years later, it was 1976 in America and everywhere I turned Bicentennial books and merchandise fed my passion.

1976 was a really great year for falling totally in love… with American history.

.

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Filed under American History, General Interest

About diversity

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Happy Constitution Day, September 17, 2018

Words have always fascinated me, probably because speaking was such a long, hard struggle for me as a child.  Even now, in my late 50s, I still stutter sometimes when I am nervous or even more distressing, I begin to chatter on and on… kind of like how I write so many long rambling blog posts… only worse.

I wrote my Messages of mhere story in an annoying third person, with a snarky tone and pseudonyms, but it really is a true story, all of the characters are real people, but I have no way to prove what happened to me in 1998, so I live my life looking over my shoulder and trusting no one.  That’s the truth. I mentioned that story, not to rehash all that, but because I wrote a lot about my childhood fascination with words and how people use them there.

As a child I developed a lot of obsessive-compulsive behaviors.  One of them was a dedicated, pretty much daily habit of spending an hour or two reading the dictionary.  I loved to read books and I even developed a habit for reading from our set of World Book Encyclopedias too.  At first I used a paperback dictionary for my dictionary reading, but I guess I was around 11 or 12 years old when my parents bought a set of encyclopedias, which came with a large, lovely dictionary.

I’ve mentioned that dictionary in a previous blog post, I think.  When our parents died, I inherited that set of encyclopedias and this fantastic “encyclopedic”  dictionary, which is in need of repair:

From those childhood OCD habits, I still constantly google the definition of words and anguish over the words I choose when writing.  Words have meaning, some words have several meanings, but even the meaning of a word, with several meanings, can almost always be winnowed down to what that word means in a sentence, based on the other words and punctuation in the sentence.  We don’t need to meander to the Lynne Truss punctuation lamentations extreme to agree that how we use words matters.

The PC culture relies on Orwellian doublespeak tactics to impose their cultural dictates on all political discourse in the American public square and then throughout the other mass media avenues, like the entertainment industry.  It permeates our society from top to bottom.  The PC lingo isn’t slang or some sort of shorthand terminology, it’s specifically designed to corrupt and confuse American foundational principles, constitutional precepts and even common moral beliefs.

The other day on Twitter, several prominent journalists and political commentators, in their usual strident anti-Trump fashion, bashed Trump and waxed on that,  “diversity is what makes America great.”   Diversity isn’t what makes or made America great.  Diversity is just a bunch of people from different groups.

The fixation on “diversity” followed a progression of leftist efforts to divide Americans into seething groups, whom they could exploit with identity political efforts.  Americans embracing hyphenated identities became  a visible manifestation of this Leftist political effort, which advanced to our current PC fixation on “diversity”.

What made America great is our common belief in individual liberty, our foundational principles and The Constitution, which codified our individual rights.  The strength of America is that regardless of  your race, ethnicity, religion or sex, anyone can become an American.  It’s one nation united by these beliefs that makes America not only great, but also a unique country in the history of mankind.  Absent these common beliefs which unite us, America will devolve into a hot mess of factionaled fighting, of the type President George Washington warned about in his farewell address.

Among the right, there’s been a backlash to the PC diversity culture and President Trump plays to their xenophobic impulse, but even more disturbing to me is the belief gaining traction among some conservative intellectuals that America must dramatically decrease immigration to preserve traditional American culture.

Being a culture of people from diverse religious, racial, ethnic backgrouns isn’t the problem causing disunity or a fracturing in America society.  The disunity stems from an abandonment of our civic beliefs and a profound lack on commitment to any common values and a lack of American spirit.  It will take a concerted effort to quit the PC faux “diversity” identity politics fixated on factional alliances and work hard to rebuild a common American identity dedicated to uniting Americans to this common purpose:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

Preamble to the United States Constitution

American culture has always been a smorgasbord of ethnic communities springing up, who maintained many of their home country habits, cuisine and lifestyle, but even when the first generation struggled with assimilation, the second generation became completely Americanized.

The U.S.military can serve as a role model at rapid assimilation efforts.  Our military is a true diversity soup and very quickly, through basic training, followed by advanced individual training for a specific military job, service members swear an oath to defend The Constitution, embrace a clear, concise set of values, eat, sleep and work together 24/7 and learn to work as one team committed to a common purpose.

The “common purpose” training in civilian life in America has been deliberately ground down in our schools and civic institutions and replaced with diversity worship, which was a deliberate, leftist political effort to erode traditional American values, confuse people, and fuel factional divides.

What America really needs is a rededication to good citizenship training, especially in American schools.  Instead of investing so much time to PC issues, American children would be better served if more time was dedicated to teaching them about not only their rights as Americans citizens, but also about their responsibilities.  Freedom isn’t free and each citizen really does a have a civic duty to embrace upholding The Constitution.

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Filed under American Character, Culture Wars, General Interest, Politics

Carly Fiorina explains zoomin’

All week, I’ve been intending to get a blog post written, but so far all I’ve got are some drafts that didn’t go anywhere.  So, for now here’s a very worthwhile bit of advice from Carly Fiorina:

Carly Fiorina: Between Trump and the media, ‘Who’s Zoomin’ Who?’

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Filed under Culture Wars, General Interest, The Media

Enabling the corruption to continue

Yesterday, began with numerous top White House officials releasing public statements denying authorship of the NYT anonymous op-ed detailing the chaos and unfitness for office of President Trump.  Each denial serves as a building block of The Wall of top administration officials, who will now work harder to defend and protect this president from his detractors and from impeachment, if that comes.

These people, whether fully conscious of the long-term ramifications of these public statements,  now have placed their own credibility more firmly behind President Trump and against both the anonymous op-ed writer and the charges of gross unfitness for office laid out in this op-ed.  These people have now openly entwined their personal integrity with President Trump’s.  No one stepped forward and said any of the statements in the op-ed letter were true.  Their statements of support for the president, actually worked to disavow the veracity of the op-ed accounting.

Several pundits and politicians urged the op-ed writer to go public and testify to Congress under oath, so that the charges can be investigated.  That would be the honorable and brave thing to do, because it seems highly likely, in this political and rapidly spinning information environment, that the identity will be revealed sooner rather than later.

Honor is a rare and often lonely path to follow.

President Trump reminds me of a store manager I worked for.  Before President Trump came on the scene, I thought this store manager was the most toxic leader I had ever seen.  Along with being  a thoroughly toxic manager of people, he was also the most talented merchandiser I had ever seen.  Often I thought, “With just a tiny bit of integrity, he could be the best store manager in that retail chain.”

Likewise, with some integrity, President Trump could actually be a “great” president, but the way he operates – playing his team members against each other, lying constantly, manipulating everyone around him and his refusal to listen to anyone, all spell doom for his achieving “great” things.  He, just like that store manager, is his own worst enemy.

I worked in a subordinate managerial position and felt this store manager wanted me gone from the moment he arrived as a store manager.  The thing is, I, and many others in this store, knew this guy well, as he had worked in our store as a store co-manager a few years before, after he had been demoted from being a store manager at another store.  We got to see his corrupt way of operating many, many times.

The incident that sticks in my mind is this guy, was working the overnight shift as the co-manager, and one morning I went into the back room to throw some trash away in the baler.  He was standing there with his cellphone in hand, laughing and bragging that he had just sent pictures to the market manager of all the things that were screwed up in the store and the fault of the store manager.  He was trying to get the store manager in trouble.

The store manager asked this co-manager to be the best man at his wedding and I assume that store manager believed this guy was his friend, because this co-manager always acted like he and the store manager were old friends.

Long story short, that store manager did get fired and I never forgot how this co-manager operated, so I was uneasy when I found out he was coming back to be our store manager.  I knew he wanted me gone about a month after he became our store manager, when I was given my annual evaluation.  In more than a decade at this store, most of it in supervisory positions, I had always received exceeds expectations evals.

This eval was a “needs improvement” and I was both dismayed and confused as the assistant manager read through my eval.  I asked several questions about why I was getting such low ratings and on one metric, this assistant manager told me that I had failed to coach a department manager about the high number of out-of-stock items in her department.  Never once in the previous year had this assistant manager or any other manager suggested that I should coach this long-time department manager, who was a prima donna in the store and who salaried managers allowed to do whatever she wanted.   Even more bizarre was not long before my evaluation, I sat in, as this very assistant manager gave this department manager her glowing exceeds expectations annual evaluation and he apologized to her that he wasn’t able to give her the highest “role model” evaluation, because the store manager would not approve any of those.  He assuredly did not mention her high number of out-of-stock items.

I mentioned that and this assistant manager just stuck to, “oh well” attitude.  I used the open door policy and talked to a co-manager about my evaluation and told her I did not understand why I was being trashed in this evaluation, even though I knew that with a needs improvement eval, a few months down the road, I would be reevaluated and if deemed still below par, I would be terminated.  This co-manager changed my evaluation to a meets expectations.

A few days later she pulled me aside and told me how the store manager flew into a rage about her changing my evaluation and she told me she believed he wanted her gone too.  She resigned and left shortly thereafter, because in her words, she couldn’t deal with his  “reign of terror.”

The thing about working for an extremely toxic leader is they don’t bully, harass and intimidate just one person.  I was not the first, last or only person this store manager made a target to eliminate.  He targeted associates and managers constantly and he manipulated or intimidated other managers to participate in his unethical behavior.  He delighted in playing managers against each other.

Many times associates complained higher up and one time a department manager even called Human Resources higher than our market level.  That human resource manager came with an asset protection manager to conduct interviews with associates privately and also some group sessions to discuss the work atmosphere in the store.

Nothing happened to that store manager and he continued as before, only worse, as he targeted people he believed were snitches.  He surrounded himself with only managers who would do his bidding, unquestioned, and who would operate just like him.  He corrupted everyone who stayed working close to him, because he spewed a constant stream of  bs to rationalize the unethical conduct.  Sadly, many of the managers quickly learned to act just like him.

I put in my two-week notice when he ordered me to write-up an elderly black associate for not getting enough work done.  He made motions of hunching his shoulders and walking like an ape, telling me that is how she moves.  He was red in the face with rage as he bellowed , “I want her coached TODAY!”  I had gone in early that morning to work on a shelf reset and I was rushing to clean up, because the market manager was coming to visit our store that morning.

The rule was all the pallets in the back room had to be binned in and off the floor in the morning.  A manager informed me there were several pallets of freight belonging to my departments that the overnight stockers hadn’t even worked.

A little while later, a woman who had been a co-manager in our store, but had been out on sick leave, came back and was in limbo working in our store, came to tell me that the store manager told her to get down several old overstock pallets of back-to-school merchandise from on top of the steel bins, for me to work that day.  I looked at this woman, who did whatever the store manager told her to do, no questions asked, and told her that I already had several unworked pallets of new freight the overnight stockers hadn’t worked.  I asked her why on earth he wanted old freight pulled down to clutter up the back room floor when the market manager was coming to visit our store soon.  She shrugged her shoulders and told me that’s what the store manager wanted.

During the market manager’s visit, the store manager called me to the stationery department, so the market manager could berate me in front of the management team.  I asked the market manager if I could speak to him privately and we walked a few yards away.  I told him I had faxed a letter to him months earlier about problems with management in our store.  He told me he hadn’t read it and the HR guy handles that.

That HR guy had been a store manager in our store 2 separate times over the many years I worked there.  He signed off on all the exceeds expectations evals I received and even more than that, whenever new programs were implemented that involved department managers, this HR guy would hand the written guidance and packet of information to me, ask me to read it and he told the other department managers, “Sue, will figure it out and train everyone on how it works.”  He did this several times.  With my letter months before, he called me once and was dismissive of my complaints about the store manager.

He knew this store manager and knew he had been in store manager positions before and bumped down several times.  Other associates told me they had contacted this HR guy too and complained about the store manager’s actions.

I put in my two-week notice and left.  That elderly associate was a long-time associate, who trained me how to zone when I first started working in that store.  She was a dedicated employee and a hard worker always.  The failure to get enough work done had nothing to do with her work habits and everything to do with the chaotic management style of the store manager, who constantly changed his mind about what he wanted done, when he wanted it done and he was forever sending subordinate managers around the store yanking associates and department managers and sending them on some other tasks that he wanted done immediately, while the work in their own departments was interrupted.

I had been down this road with this store manager about a year before, when I was a zone manager over the Hardlines side of the store and we were doing a lawn and garden Spring set.  He and his co-manager failed to supervise a new assistant manager, but let her run wild on taking charge of the Spring set.  She did not know what she was doing, she refused to listen to me or the lawn and garden department manager and she created huge messes as the reset progressed – pallets of freight everywhere on the patio, chaos inside too.  Each day, the co-manager bitched out me and the department manager about the escalating chaos, as if it was our fault.

That new assistant manager called me at home one evening and ordered me to come in to work overnight that night to work the new modular freight and she told me the department manager was coming in too.  She had gotten associates to pull out over 20 pallets of new mod freight.  As the night wore on, the department manager kept telling me there was no way we could work through all of these pallets, plus many of pallets had become overstock pallets of new mod freight that we worked and it didn’t fit on the shelves.  Starting after the overnight lunch hour (2 am-3 am) I began asking this assistant manager what her plan was to clear these pallets off the floor in the morning, because pallets have to be off the sales floor by 7 am.  She ignored me and ordered me to just stock.  I asked her a couple more times as the hours went by, because two major problems worried me.  There was nowhere in the back room for that many lawn and garden pallets and it would take a good while to pull that many pallets.  She had no plan.

The co-manager responsible for lawn and garden arrived a bit before 7 am and she chewed out the department manager and me about the chaos and she berated the department manager and told her she didn’t want to hear it, because the department manager didn’t do anything about scheduling more associates to work.  The truth was that the department manager and I were hourly employees.   Salaried management was 100% responsible for scheduling.  She was fuming at me and the department manager and she angrily told us that the store manager was going to have a fit when he saw the mess.

He did and he ordered me to write-up the department manager for failing to do her job and creating such a mess.  I refused and stepped down as a zone manager on the spot, while he and that co-manager berated me for not holding the department manager accountable or helping the assistant manager.  The truth was they both failed to do their jobs as salaried managers to train and supervise that assistant manager.

Throughout the days leading up to this, the department manager and I had tried to talk to this assistant manager, but she blew us off and ignored us completely.  When you do major department resets, it’s a recipe for failure if you begin the reset with not even a floor plan drawn up and haven’t read the modular cover sheets and diagram pages assessing the fixtures and manpower you’ll need.  I went back to being a department manager.

After the scene in the store manager’s office with that co-manager present, I went back to lawn and garden and spent several hours moving all of those pallets by myself.  That assistant manager, who created the chaos, had gone home to start her vacation, before I was even called into the store manager’s office.

When it was deja vu all over again, a year later, I refused to throw that elderly associate under the bus and when I told her I had put in my two-week notice and why, she said, “Sue, I’m right behind you.”  She put in her two-week notice too.

Back to our toxic leader-in-chief.  He is that store manager writ large.  Does President Trump have star power?  Absolutely.  Is he entertaining to watch?  Depends on taste, but there’s something riveting about his sideshow antics, that make him the star of any stage.  Could he be a “great” president, well, just like that store manager:

“With just a tiny bit of integrity, he could be the best store manager in that retail chain.”

Character really is destiny.

This anonymous op-ed pits one “senior administration official” against not only President Trump, but all those who have allowed themselves to be corrupted, by either turning a blind-eye to the president’s personal corruption or they’ve found ways “to manage” this president’s chaotic, amoral directives, by running this two-track presidency to prop him up.  None of them are abiding by their oath to protect The Constitution, because there is no “two-track” decision-making power in The Constitution.

They cast their lot with President Trump long before this op-ed letter.

To work around a corrupt manipulator like President Trump requires constantly sacrificing chunks of your personal integrity, as you either turn a blind-eye to the corruption, work to keep your distance from the corruption or make flimsy rationalizations that you’re working to a higher-purpose trying to contain the corruption.

The truth is they are enabling the corruption to continue, unchecked.

 

 

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Filed under General Interest, Politics, Public Corruption

American Insurgency worries

Earlier today, an anonymous New York Times op-ed, I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration, ignited another Trump meltdown.  In the first minutes after reading this op-ed, I was angered at the smug self-righteous tone and disgusted by the dereliction of duty to actively engage in this:

“The erratic behavior would be more concerning if it weren’t for unsung heroes in and around the White House. Some of his aides have been cast as villains by the media. But in private, they have gone to great lengths to keep bad decisions contained to the West Wing, though they are clearly not always successful.

It may be cold comfort in this chaotic era, but Americans should know that there are adults in the room. We fully recognize what is happening. And we are trying to do what’s right even when Donald Trump won’t.

The result is a two-track presidency.”

Our constitutional system bestows the power to a duly elected president, not to a bunch of selected presidential staffers.

However, within a short while, after thinking about this op-ed and the bigger picture events of the President now completely surrounded by FOX News Spin Force advisors, a disturbing thought struck.

I believe this op-ed was not meant to reassure Americans that there are adults in the room, as the op-ed writer confided.  This op-ed was meant to incite President Donald J. Trump.  Coming right on the tail of the news media revelations yesterday of White House staffers unflattering comments about Trump, this was timed to push Trump over the edge and egg on more erratic firings and chaos.

Two of the main targets the news media consistently works to incite Trump against are the two remaining generals, John Kelly and Jim Mattis.  They were part of the mainstream media Woodward spin, quoting comments attributed to both generals that were very insulting of Trump.  They both issued statements refuting the Woodward quotes, but now along comes this letter, which went into detail of the foreign policy/national security efforts to thwart Trump’s impulses.

This op-ed sure smells like an orchestrated hit to prod Trump to oust the generals and stable foreign policy/national security advisers.

There are determined players behind the “GOP Insurgent” who really want way more than to see the GOP burn to the ground.  Their “drain the swamp” rhetoric brims with imagery of a coming American civil war and urgings of “burning down the entire system in Washington”.

I firmly believe this op-ed letter was meant to prod Trump into more rash and erratic behavior – especially mass firings from within his inner circle.  This op-ed assuredly was not meant to assuage concern or reassure Americans.

The most vital question, now more than ever, is for our national security experts to get a handle on the scope of our scorched earth SPIN information war and identify hostile foreign influences.

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Filed under General Interest, Information War, Politics, The Media

Jack Ryan enters the digital age

President Trump’s biggest advantages in the ongoing scorched earth  SPIN information war rest on his willingness to devote most of the energy of his presidency to waging scorched earth character assassinations and his use of his personal Twitter account to lob attacks that not only disrupt the Left/mainstream media SPIN attack, but to actually successfully win control of the SPIN cycles.  Although, everything in this information war takes on names and terminology that make it sound benign, even the shorthand name itself “spinning”,  our SPIN information war provides 24/7 media disinformation and confusion about basic facts on most news stories, foments extreme polarization and disunity, erodes America’s reputation abroad and fuels distrust of the news media and our political institutions.

Yesterday, I spent most of my day watching Amazon Prime’s new Jack Ryan series, after my youngest daughter sent me a message telling me it’s very good and she insisted I would like it.  She knew I was a Tom Clancy fan back when the Cold War provided the setting of his stories.  The writers of this series took the Jack Ryan character and wrote him into a modern-day, fighting Islamic terrorists scenario rather than the Cold War.  I was hooked on this series quickly and watched 6 episodes yesterday.

I’ve often wondered if Tom Clancy was a Sidney Sheldon fan, because the Clancy plotting, using alarming, seemingly unconnected incidents around the globe, then gradually pulling all those incidents together in a dramatic, cataclysmic clash between the good and bad guys, reminded me a great deal of Sidney Sheldon’s high-octane, recipe for plot drama.  Clancy also added an unmatched ability to parlay highly technical military info into terms laymen could easily understand.

I bring this up, because binge-watching Jack Ryan, several things stuck in my mind about how the terrorists operate compared to the doddering hierarchy in our intel agencies.  The terrorists were using a rapid-fire digital means to transfer large sums of money in $10,000 increments, that the fictional new head of  ISIS, developed while studying international banking, living in France as a refugee since the 1980s.

Another interesting operational aspect was one that has been reported in the news in recent years as a means for how terrorists can communicate via some online computer games messaging applications.  The scene in the show, where the tech savvy intel peeps explain the use of a computer game messaging by the terrorists to older government officials, realistically depicts the generational gap when it comes to modern technology.  This gap runs much deeper in real life, I believe, and has caused a grave institutional blindspot to recognizing the threats posed by social media and even recognizing our SPIN information war as actual information warfare rather than benign political public relations work.

Many people working in law enforcement, national security, top military leadership and top government positions don’t use any social media.  In recent years, advice galore permeates warning people in government and law enforcement positions of responsibility to eschew or be very cautious in their social media use.  Too many of them are totally clueless of social media’s reach, so when young people in a foreign country are waging large protests or mobilize sophisticated terrorist recruitment video campaigns, with global reach, on shoestring budgets, often our elected officials and top executive branch officials seem amazed and alarmed, while still not bothering to study online social media and messaging platforms as a serious national security concern.

This awareness gap is, in and of itself, a gaping national security vulnerability. 

Back in 1990s our modern SPIN information war in America began as a one-sided, left-wing operation run by the Clinton’s political operatives.  These people introduced SPIN info war to America, although they masked it as just modern political PR efforts.

At the same time SPIN info war gained prominence among the Left, the political Right began to gain a foothold on using talk radio to galvanize conservatives.  By the late 90s, the SPIN-dominated mainstream media (Leftists) began to hype right-wing talk radio as a national security threat and after the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995 , a massive SPIN effort by the Left worked to create, what I believe is more urban myth than reality, a huge national security threat from right-wing militias… who communicated using online forums.  In 2016, the Left reinvigorated this old 90s scare-mongering with a vast, new national security threat – the “alt-right”… who, um, da-ding, were organizing and communicating… online.  All that is old is new again, especially in the world of the Left’s SPIN messaging campaigns.  They are relentlessly repetitive, in thought and deed, rerunning the same tired old themes trying to cast their political enemies as Nazis or gun-toting extremists.

The main media battlefield for SPIN information warfare in the 1990s was the 24/7  cable news networks, which spawned whole armies of partisan spinmeisters to wage non-stop spin war.  In 1996, Fox News opened a potent, new front, giving right-wing  partisans a foot on the national cable news SPIN information war battlefield.

President Trump, reportedly, does not use the internet or use email, but he does tweet from his private cell phone.  His information appears to be gleaned from extensive TV viewing of the cable TV news spin battles.  He also uses Twitter, but follows very few people  (47 follows today).  Although, Twitter does not explain exactly what “algorithms” they use to generate each user’s Twitter feed, it is safe to assume that it is based on your followers list, which informs what your interests are.  Trump’s Twitter feed should be of keen interest to America’s national security people, because he is so prone to exploitation and manipulation, with his Twitter supposedly being his only online information source.  Trump’s media follows include: The Drudge Report, Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Eric Bolling, Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Tucker Carlson, Jesse Waters, Geraldo Rivera, Diamond and Silk, Greta Van Susteren

Trump was burned retweeting an Ann Coulter tweet by a far-right extremist in the UK, as I’ve mentioned before.  He also got burned earlier than the Coulter retweet over a of a Mussolini quote retweet.  Trump retweets stuff he sees in his Twitter feed.  Now, let that sink in as to the importance of knowing what on earth shows up in Trump’s Twitter feed and who determines what goes into his feed.  I feel sure Trump’s Twitter feed is not left to some benign algorithms to determine what he sees.

Social media political formats come and go.  The Excite message boards disappeared shortly after impeachment.  Much later I used the Yahoo politics chat rooms, always looking for a way to find an online medium to expose what happened to me in 1998.  The yahoo politics chat room crowd migrated to another chat room messaging site, same as how the National Review Disqus comment section ended and supposedly a couple of  NRO Disqus moderators migrated to Qwiket to set up a NR refugee comment section.  Very quickly that Qwiket NRO refugee site morphed into a more modern version of The Drudge Report… The America First News.

Another interesting 2016 site conversion was the site, The Conservative Treehouse, which sports Andrew Breitbart images on the main page wallpaper background.  This site was heavily invested in selling “crowdsourcing” investigations into the black grievance industry pre-Trump.  They do come up with a lot of interesting information, that “crowdsourcing” from commenters does not explain.  They also run the image of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier weekly and post Bible verses to present the image of a conservative right-wing site.  That site morphed into Trump Polling Central during 2016, with detailed, up-to-the-minute Trump rally and polling information.  I suspect both might be foreign front operations.  That the popular Disqus comment section at National Review would be dismantled in 2016, months before the election, then refugees directed to this Qwiket site (there was a piece in The Corner at National Review announcing this Qwiket location) and then that Qwiket location become a another DrudgeReport type news aggregate site with a comments section seems more than a tad odd.  It looked to me like a deliberate effort to sabotage and demolish National Review’s NeverTrump hold-outs.

I’m writing all this, because the “Fake News” hysteria was spin from the Left to use as cover to prod facebook to censor Trump-supporters on facebook and gin up the “Trump/Russian Collusion” spin hysterics.  Trump hijacked that “fake news” spin and turned it right around on the Left.  In recent months allegations of  “shadow-banning” and muting conservatives on facebook and Twitter began rumbling.  A couple weeks ago, several online social media platforms acted in unison to ban Alex Jones from their sites.

This seems to me like a precursor to setting the stage to disband Twitter politics.  The only problem is American journalists rely on the SPIN messaging advantage Twitter provides them to within minutes, using the power of rapid-fire, mass retweets of Dump on Trump “news” stories, to generate SPIN cycles to attack Trump.

Until the Left and mainstream media, who collude constantly to spread Trump dirt, find another online platform, for now Twitter looks to be their default online battlefield.  If they work to dismantle Twitter to take down Trump, they are left with an online vacuum and Trump still controls the POTUS bully pulpit.  All these media hysterics about whether to cover WH briefings, let Kellyanne speak, not cover POTUS are all part of the SPIN information war, not about seriously reporting the news.  That so many “journalists” engage in these debates publicly speaks to the total corruption of American news reporting,  They are as much invested in SPIN information warfare as President Trump.

And back to my original line of thought (until I veered off a bit).  There’s a serious problem when top national security policymakers have no real concept of the power of social media platforms, no realization of the serious threat our scorched earth SPIN information war really is, and remain totally unaware of the importance of becoming well-versed in social media operations as another potent means for information warfare to be waged both in and against America.

We have top generals who don’t have any idea about the power of social media, messaging apps or the grave threat that a SPIN war run amok can create an information void, caused by an overload of SPIN messaging being disseminated and no calm, serious means to sift through the SPIN pile-on to get quick, accurate, reliable information to the American people.  In this SPIN hysteria mode, with the media vs. Trump often running through several spin cycles a day now, it’s becoming obvious that at some point social media and/or SPIN-generated hysteria will incite mass hysteria incidents, flash mobs, or worse.

Are America’s top national security leaders aware and ready for this looming threat?

 

 

 

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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, General Interest, Information War, Military, Politics, The Media

The truth shall set you free

I’m very weary of writing about our scorched earth SPIN information war, but after another tiresome mainstream media SPIN hysterical attack over President Trump’s reactions to Senator John McCain’s death and competing choruses elevating McCain to sainthood or demon, I’m going to write a bit about my experience with scorched earth SPIN information war, again, and why I am so determined to work to defeat the SPIN in America.

I began writing about SPIN information warfare back in 1998, on the Excite message boards, during the height of the Clinton impeachment scandal.  I was very new to the internet and while my kids were in school, I began spending a lot of time surfing the internet.

When I was in my teens, I had many pen pals from foreign countries and I thought it would be nice to find pen pals around the world again, but then I stumbled upon the Excite message boards.  Being one who loves political debates, I began lurking there for quite a while, but then decided to start posting messages with the user name: mhere.

The entire story of my experience is under the Messages of mhere heading at the top of my blog.

I believe that I was tracked down from those Excite message boards and investigated by Clinton hacks, because my Excite message boards comments were being picked up and used by right-wing pundits in their messaging, during the impeachment spin war raging across cable news networks and in the media.  As a side note to my Excite message board experience, I also saw coordinated gang-up attacks meant to silence and intimidate posters supporting impeachment – sort of a precursor to the reported online Russian troll activities in Disqus comment sections online in 2016.  Not sure who the “trolls” were engaged in those coordinated gang-up attacks back in 1998.

During their investigations of me, I believe, they came across a retired U.S. Army general who hates my guts.  During Desert Storm I sent some negative letters to the desert about his wife’s family assistance efforts in his brigade in Germany.

My husband was a 1SG in a company in one of the battalions in that general’s brigade and I was a family support leader in the company.  I sent those letters to my husband’s company commander, an unmarried Captain, who was deployed to Desert Storm with my husband, to keep him informed of the chaos and problems with family support matters back in Germany.

Deploying soldiers to Desert Storm, who were stationed in a foreign country and dealing with the challenging security and family support needs of leaving family members in Germany, under heightened terrorism concerns, created unique challenges for the Army (and German officials), to keep American families safe.

I believe my letters made it to the Department of the Army, in someone’s after-action report.  And finally, I believe that general was recruited to work quietly to silence me and since he already hated me, I feel sure he would have believed anything negative about me that they fed him.

I believe at the highest levels of the Clinton administration a retired general was fed false information about me, an unarmed, law-abiding Army wife, and that he was recruited to work quietly to silence me.  My husband, a retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major, was still on active duty in 1998.  In 1998, I  was a homemaker in Hinesville, GA, taking care of our home and four children.

I believe that beyond the injustice to me, this corruption of the military chain of command, strictly for partisan political purposes, must be exposed.  We can not have the military chain of command corrupted and politicized by partisans. And assuredly feeding false information to retired generals and sending them on personal or partisan missions can not ever be tolerated in America.

Over the years, we are now at the point where retired generals grace political parties’ convention stages, take up partisan banners in public and we have a sitting president threatening to use his power to revoke security clearances as a partisan tool to fend off his political enemies.

We also have a thoroughly corrupted media, willing to engage in partisan spin attacks, colluding with partisans to spread spin messaging, willing to edit information to feed partisan agendas and way too many who sit on Twitter, working to fuel the daily spin cycles, retweeting news reports without lifting a finger to independently verify the information.  Even the so-called “fact-checkers” are highly partisan and prone to “checking facts” with partisan blinders firmly in place, blinding them to even considering facts that don’t conform to their own partisan biases.

The news media organizations and social media platforms, where spin info war rages, are totally corrupted too.  For instance, big media and the cable news networks all worked to give Trump billions of dollars in free media during the GOP primary.  FOX stayed with Trump, to become, what now disturbingly looks more like state TV than any sort of objective news reporting.  The so-called, mainstream media, colluded with Trump’s “GOP Insurgency” to advance the Clinton Pied Piper strategy, a strategy where they wanted to promote the most extreme GOP candidates, in hopes of burning the GOP primary to the ground and leaving the GOP sitting with the worst possible candidate in 2016.  Once it looked like that had succeeded with only Trump or Cruz really viable, the mainstream media switched to the Clinton’s Dump on Trump effort casting him as a fascist.

The mainstream news media, FOX  and the partisans still remain locked down tight in the scorched earth SPIN information war.

After my experience, I knew that I could never support Hillary Clinton, because I’ve always felt that due to her direct involvement in orchestrating Clinton scandal damage control, she was involved in the attack on me. This is what I believe, but lacking any connections or way to investigate and prove it, I’ve worked to write and warn about the dangers of SPIN information war on my blog, on social media and in various online comment sections over the years.

Likewise, on my blog, I’ve explained why I could never support Donald J. Trump.

I support The Constitution of the United States and believe in following the law.  I am a homemaker and full-time caregiver of my husband, who suffers from COPD and normal pressure hydrocephalus.  He is a 100% disabled vet.  And in my spare time, I still write to try to warn about the dangers to America from our never-ending scorched earth SPIN information war.

I would never support violence or breaking the law for any personal or domestic partisan cause.  I have never belonged to any militia, subversive group of any kind, or terrorist group.  The most “dangerous” organizations I have belonged to are things like being an American Red Cross volunteer and member of the local quilt guild.  I have never owned a firearm in my life and, truth be told, I’ve always been afraid of guns.

And finally, I believe that “spin” is rapidly repeated lies meant to control public opinion.

The most powerful weapon to defeat  SPIN information warfare is the TRUTH.

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Filed under Corrupt Media Collusion, General Interest, Information War, Messages of mhere, Politics, The Media