Forlorn Hope?

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Speech is power, speech is to persuade, to convert, to compel. – Emerson

Hopefully I can get this blog post together tonight and posted.   Yesterday, besides my real life chores, I spent more time watching Twitter than I really wanted to, but that’s a main battlefield in America’s ongoing scorched earth information war.  I find it mind-numbingly boring, but I try to analyze the spin battles, watch how the main spin commandos on both sides operate and most importantly keep my attention focused on the messaging.  The words are the main weapon in all spin information warfare.  My words here aren’t as organized as I had hoped, but I am very tired these days taking care of my husband, trying to keep up with my housework and chores, while still following this spin info war.  Haven’t decided yet which is more draining, lol.

Many news organizations & individual journalists have been aligned with spreading the Dems and Left talking points messaging since the 1990s, while still proclaiming “journalistic ethics” and “unbiased reporting”.  Along with the news operations, the Left widely disseminates their spin messaging among the vast entertainment industry, where their spin messaging often gets spouted by celebrities, on TV talk shows and even written into scripts in TV shows and movies.  The Dems and Left developed a vast network to disseminate their spin messaging.

Over the years, the Left has amassed a wide array of well-funded political groups working to increase the reach of their messaging, but they also have loads of professional political operatives, academics, data analysts, tech experts, polling groups, social psychologists, etc. working to improve their spin messaging operations.    As I stated in previous posts, the Left had a lock on spin information warfare since the 1990s, when it made its debut in America by the Clinton war room political operatives.

The Left’s strategy has been to rely on “professionals” to hone their messaging using all sorts of testing messaging with focus groups and the modern tech savvy that retailers and advertisers use to lure Americans in with very deceptive language and sophisticated manipulation to play on people’s emotions.  It’s a messaging operation that relies on long-established messaging collusion with the big media venues in America, except for talk radio, which the Right dominated since the 90s.  The Left’s messaging is used to advance both Democrat politicians and political causes.

Despite the Left’s spin messaging being long-established, highly organized, run by professionals, the Clinton political machine wields a heavy hand on the Democratic Party and since the spin operations began with Clinton loyalists, the most extreme scorched earth spin messaging efforts have gone into propping up the Clintons.

Trump borrowed his scorched earth spin from the Clinton model.  Trump’s spin messaging operation begins and ends with bolstering Trump’s erratic tweeting and impromptu outbursts.  Trump brags about his strategic thinking, but he’s a very impulsive reactionary.  He’s more reactionary than the Left, taking to the streets and fainting couch hysterics constantly and that’s pretty darned reactionary.  His spin operators end up rushing to react and to prop up Trump’s loose cannon guerilla attack spin messaging, which is more like a three-year old throwing a tantrum, determined to be the center of attention.

Trump’s erratic, impulsive way of operating requires his “Spin Force” to spend more time on damage control than on any sort of sophisticated political messaging like the Left operates. More often than not, even his own communications people in the White House can’t keep their messaging on track with Trump’s ever-changing opinions and outbursts. It’s constant discordant messaging. Hence, the FOX News Trumpathons evoke an amateurish third-world dictator’s media operations aura, where the media exists only to prop up the dictator and odd fits and starts are common, but when the TV switches to folk dancing or goes dark, beware there’s likely a coup attempt in progress.  For instance after a damaging Trump outburst a few weeks back, Tucker Carlson was caught in limbo and went with UFOs, while Hannity went with more Hillary corruption hysteria, as they awaited some clue as to how to do damage control for Trump.

Beyond messaging glorifying Trump’s “greatness,” the ideological messaging all stems from simplistic, jingoistic sloganeering, which Trump and his Spin Force use to incite his followers.  And while Trump’s larger spin messaging is a hobbled together effort with FOX News being his largest news spin platform, he’s also amassed an array of pundits, political operatives and friends.  As Trump has become more erratic in his tweeting and outbursts lately and the mainstream media goes into hysterics recycling through old 2016 Dump on Trump spin themes (his finances, the Russians, his women, his authoritarianism), his FOX News spinners revert to running endless whataboutism spin about Hillary & Obama corruption or nefarious “deep state” fear mongering, hysterically opining about Trump’s victimhood.

I expect Trump to escalate his spin efforts and to become more erratic in his outbursts, as the pressure builds with the Mueller investigation findings looming, pressure from Putin over Trump failing to deliver with “the ball in his court” and threats like Omarosa to Cohen all around him closing in.

Another dimension to this scorched earth spin info war is both sides gaslight and engage in projection constantly, not just Trump.  For instance the Left and mainstream media ran a coordinated effort yesterday denouncing Trump’s attacks on the free press.  Along with their hysteria about Trump’s attacks on the media, they project constantly about the grave threat Trump is to free speech in America.

While Trump’s “fake news” and “enemy of the people” spin assuredly deserve condemnation, it needs to be noted that the Left loves only the “free press” that backs their causes.  The “fake news” spin is messaging Trump hijacked from the Left and turned it back on them.  The Left has been working to silence political speech they find undesirable for many years with “hate speech” codes, PC  efforts to dictate words that can and cannot be used, and constantly trying to find ways to limit speech on the right, casting those views as a threat to America.  The initial “fake news” hysteria effort was meant to force social media to remove “fake news”, which really meant news leftist “fact-checkers” deemed fake.  That quickly turned into a farce.  Trump hijacked the term and mocks the mainstream media constantly.  Trump however lies constantly too, so his “fake news” is as much of a farce as the initial “fake news” effort by the Left.

Another aspect to the Left’s hysteria, is it always is intended to manufacture a crisis, which they can use as cover to propel political action.  Amidst the free speech sanctimony from the mainstream media there’s some ominous undertones, because they endlessly debated whether to not give air time to Trump (the POTUS) and to his WH spokespeople on the grounds they are liars, yet they reported on Obama “narratives”, which were assuredly bold-faced lies too.  Yet there was never any hysteria about silencing Obama “narratives”.  A couple of weeks ago the WH banned a pool reporter from a WH event, ostensibly because she was rude.  The media went into full hysterics, then Trump baited them with more “enemy of the people”  taunts.  The media was back to:

libertybelle Retweeted Andrea Mitchell

Trump’s antics are disgusting, but so are the media’s. Lord, the media can never make up their minds about Trump outrage. Now you’re debating relying on one reporter’s reporting on Trump rallies and a week or so ago you were outraged a reporter was barred from a WH event🙄

libertybelle added,

In a likely future scenario, where Trump’s chaotic outbursts escalate, the media that yesterday was pontificating about free speech and the Left would likely start touting ways to silence Trump, FOX news or Trump-supporting pundits.  This movement from the Left is already happening with Alex Jones, shadow-banning of conservatives on social media and bans of “undesirables”, as determined by liberals moderating social media platforms.  The solution in America is never to silence unpopular voices, it’s more free speech.

The attacks in this spin info war can digress to a level of pettiness and childishness that boggles my mind.  From Trump’s petty name-calling to attacks about Melania wearing high heels on the plane to Houston flooding to recently some Trump Spin Force commandos started mocking some Never Trump conservatives, like Bill Kristol,who organize annual cruises for their group, by retweeting Kristol’s tweets and commenting with an emoticon of a ship.  This is the level of childishness back and forth. Here’s an example of the depths of Trump sycophants:

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

Blog note

After writing my previous blog post, I began thinking about writing more about military strategy and tactics juxtaposed to an information battlefield, which is how SPIN information warfare is being waged in America.  I want to expand on a few points pertaining to Trump’s guerilla warfare tactics in how he wages his information warfare, but unfortunately I’ve got some errands to run, so that post will be up tonight or tomorrow morning hopefully.

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American nightmare: Trump the American Insurgent

Trump is using guerilla warfare tactics in an information war.

A recurring theme in America’s presidential reality TV show features the power of the possibility of tapes evoking wild outbursts from Donald J. Trump.  Yesterday, the president unleashed a string of slurs against Omarosa, his wicked witch reality TV creation from his previous career as a reality TV star.

I wrote the above paragraph last night before I went to bed and I think that the probability of tapes existing can be gauged by the extremity of Trump’s denials.  Based on this, I think it’s very likely that a Trump using the n-word tape and a Trump with hookers in Moscow tape might exist, because Trump’s reactions indicate (to me at least) that he acts guilty as hell and is worried he was caught on tape.

Yesterday Trump tweeted:

When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!

This morning I read a piece by Jonathan V. Last at The Weekly Standard, echoing some of my own thoughts about the Trump tape sagas that “dog” Trump’s presidency.  Last explains the Trump spin force:

“The other factor in why you need documentary materials is that the president, his advisers, and his supporters in the media use gaslighting as their primary means of defense. They make frictionless transitions from “no one ever met with Russians,” to “the meeting with Russians was about adoption,” to “of course they met with Russians about getting oppo on the Clintons and why do you have have a problem with that?”

Without tapes, or emails, or hard evidence, Trump World simply denies everything as a matter of course.”

https://www.weeklystandard.com/jonathan-v-last/what-happens-if-a-tape-surfaces-of-trump-using-the-n-word-nothing-good

Many of Trump’s opponents refer to the Trump spin effort as “gaslighting” and that term is accurate, but it misses the scope of what spin really is.  Gaslighting using mass media deception, manipulation, deliberately falsified news is information warfare waged on the American people, as I’ve written many times.  Our domestic scorched earth information war is a bigger threat to America than any hostile foreign information warfare operations will ever be.  Our own news media operators engaging in scorched earth spin information warfare foments constant disunity, partisan rage and hysteria.  America’s news media live in crisis mode and it’s destabilizing our American political system.

Getting back to Trump’s present unwinding tape problem, Last lays out what he thinks will happen if a n-word tape surfaces.  He believes it will hollow out one of the few remaining norms in American public life and alienate Trump politically, but it will not lead to Trump’s impeachment.  He also lays out in pretty grim terms how he believes Trump will react:

“So now we must imagine what a weakened Trump would be like for the next two years. Do you think he’d knuckle down, start acting like a statesman, and try to unite the country? Or do you think he’d push for more chaos and division in the hopes of somehow drawing to an inside straight (again)? Assuming he does, the only possible downside of such a strategy, from Trump’s perspective, would be salting the ground of American political life for any potential successor. And he would view this not as a bug, but as a feature.

If you look at the Trump administration and think it can’t get worse, then you haven’t contemplated what a scorched-earth Trump might be like.”

https://www.weeklystandard.com/jonathan-v-last/what-happens-if-a-tape-surfaces-of-trump-using-the-n-word-nothing-good

What happens if a tape surfaces and Trump faces White House and cabinet defections or goes on a firing rampage and decides to choose staff who prod him to more extreme behavior rather than like many of the current ones who keep trying to talk him down from the ledge?  What happens if instead of Trump just waging an “insurgency” to burn down the GOP, he decides he’s going to take down all of his perceived political enemies?  What happens if he starts turning to only advisers prodding him to “burn it all down in Washington”?  What happens if Putin starts putting the screws to Trump, because Trump made all sorts of agreements in his private meeting with Putin in Helsinki and isn’t delivering on them?

All those campaign spin efforts to sell Trump the “GOP Insurgent” may come back to haunt us.  The one that comes to mind is one I first heard from Charles Hurt, a FOX News contributor and strident Trump propagandist, happily chirping on about how great it is that “Trump doesn’t play by the rules.”   All of the LIES used in spin are used to confuse and manipulate people, but most of all to erode their moral grounding by deliberately altering the meaning of words.  In America, a keystone to our republic’s stability is “Everyone must play by the rules.”  Selling a politician who “doesn’t play by the rules” is unabashedly selling public corruption as a good thing.

Last’s questions, as Omarosa’s tell-all book, Unhinged, sets Trump’s hair on fire, got me thinking about what Trump “unhinged” will look like.  I believe he will abuse the powers of the presidency to the fullest extent, to not only remain in office, but to work to burn as much of the political system in Washington to the ground as possible.  He is very much what Sun Tzu termed a “mad bandit”.  A year ago, I wrote a blog post, Our Thoth, God of 140-characters, about Trump’s propaganda efforts:

“Donald J. Trump is the king of conflating issues  His use of words is the polar opposite of Bill Clinton’s brand of “slick”.  Trump uses simplistic “branding” phrases, often divorced from the rest of the sentences he utters.  The sentences don’t matter in Trump’s dumbed-down, branding type of information warfare.

Trump transformed the Clinton spin information warfare, that relied on carefully worded, focus-group tested talking points, repeated by a vast army of colluding journalists and political operatives, into rapid-fire, Army of One, Trump-driven 140-character, daily information warfare guerilla attacks.

He’s using guerilla warfare tactics in an information war.

Trump word salad attacks break all the rules.  He strikes with bold-faced lies and never looks back. Trump doesn’t even bother to obfuscate.  He boldly lies, then insists all those around him repeat and back his lies, no matter how outrageous the lie.

He has perfected the art of conflating issues into being all about “Make America Great Again”. Trump seized on the issue of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem in protest over racial injustice and conflated it into disrespecting the U.S. military.  He creates endless reality TV conflicts, casting himself as the champion of American patriotism, who is the constantly maligned victim of the dastardly “fake news”. He wants to keep his supporters agitated and angry, while he wraps himself in the American flag and MAGA sound bites.

Yesterday, in his effort to deflect from a reporter questioning why he hasn’t called the families of recently fallen soldiers, Trump bold-faced lied about President Obama and other presidents, claiming they didn’t call fallen soldiers’ families.

General Dempsey, who has tried to stay out of the 2016 information war, took to Twitter last night to counter Trump’s LIE.

Our Thoth, God of 140-characters, manages to manipulate millions, mostly poor white people, by playing to their insecurities, their prejudices and most of all their anger.

The smarter Trump followers aren’t blind to his many flaws, but they’ve bought into a Faustian bargain, all prefaced on the belief that America is at the Flight 93 crisis point:

“2016 is the Flight 93 election: charge the cockpit or you die. You may die anyway. You—or the leader of your party—may make it into the cockpit and not know how to fly or land the plane. There are no guarantees.

Except one: if you don’t try, death is certain. To compound the metaphor: a Hillary Clinton presidency is Russian Roulette with a semi-auto. With Trump, at least you can spin the cylinder and take your chances.”

http://www.claremont.org/crb/basicpage/the-flight-93-election/

At every Trump outrage they cringe, but then they fortify themselves by talking amongst themselves about how the Left is worse, but Gorsuch, and turn up the volume of FOX News blaring about how Trump is “making America great again”.  And of course, the Left leads only to American demise… Trump is the last best hope in their view.

Trump is a “fighter”…

Flight 93 had some real heroes on board; the Trump propaganda train jumped the tracks into tin pot dictator level, Dear Leader, bowing and scraping.

Over the weekend, I walked into the room where my husband was watching FOX News, like always.  Jerry Falwell, Jr. was blathering on about how President Trump will likely go down in history as a great president, as great as President Lincoln.  The FOX  sycophantic hosts are as dutiful as the Pink Lady in North Korea.

They smiled, heads nodding, and agreed with Falwell.

Make America Great Again…”

https://libertybellediaries.com/2017/10/17/our-thoth-god-of-140-characters/

If you want to understand Trump’s spin effort, the bold-faced sentence at the beginning needs to be your starting point, not touchy-feely “public relations” dissertations on political media relations.  Trump assuredly is not a politician, in fact he sees himself as a “fighter who doesn’t play by the rules”.

The Trump presidency won’t end soon… or quietly.

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

Looking Westward

“Wherever one found informality, unconventionality, a firm handshake, an open door, a breezy rhetoric, an unrestrained manner, there was the West.”

– Carey McWilliams

With our endless silly, shallow, venal political circus in America, I’ve wandered back to America’s pioneer days this summer.  Of course, I am still keeping an eye on politics, because being an unrepentant news-junkie, going cold turkey away from news just ain’t happening.  Since traveling isn’t possible with my husband still recuperating from VP shunt surgery in June, I’m hitting the trail back to the Old West with my reading.

A while back JK left a comment recommending a David McCullough book, Brave Companions: Portraits in History, so I went ahead and ordered the paperback edition.  Some of the portraits are of people whose names did not even ring a bell, like Alexander von Humboldt, the subject of Chapter One: Journey to the Top of the World and the men behind the Panama Railroad, linking the Atlantic to the Pacific in Chapter Six: Steam Road to El Dorado.  Some were familiar names of famous people, but whom McCullough introduced a whole other dimension to their biography, like Charles Lindbergh, his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and Beryl Markham of Kenya, the first woman to fly the Atlantic from east to west, in Chapter Nine: Long Distance Vision.  McCullough explains these 20th century aviation pioneers:

“But most remarkable is how many of them proved to be writers of exceptional grace and vision, authors of more than a score of books.  Lindbergh wrote seven, beginning with We, a hugely popular account of his early life and the Paris flight, which was rushed into print that same year.  Anne Morrow Lindbergh, her husband’s copilot and radio operator on later expeditions, was a diarist and poet, who hardly ever stopped writing.  Her first published book, North to the Orient, described the unprecedented survey flight the couple made in 1931 in a small seaplane from New york to China by the great circle route over Canada and Alaska, touching down in Siberia and Japan.”

p. 126, Brave Companions: Portraits in History, by David McCullough.

This short David McCullough book served as my summer reading jumping off point, as I sat here wondering why I had never read any Conrad Richter novels.  Richter is the subject in Chapter Ten: Cross the Blue Mountain.  I love American pioneer novels, so I have no idea how I missed Conrad Richter.  My love of stories about Americans pioneers settling in a new land began during the 1970s when American bicentennial mania hit.  I read every novel in the John Jakes’ Bicentennial series about the Kent family.   Around that same time I read Owen Wister’s novel, The Virginian: A Horseman of the Plains, for the first time and fell in love with the main character, the strong, quiet cowboy, the Virginian. This remains my all-time favorite Western novel.

This McCullough book is how many of my reading adventures begin.  I debated buying Conrad Richter’s 3-novel series, The Awakening Land, but even the kindle versions are $11.99 each and I already have piles upon piles of books and many kindle books that I have not read yet, so a bit of book hoarding guilt set-in.

Near the end of McCullough’s portraits, in Chapter Sixteen: Recommended Itinerary, McCullough offers suggestions of places to visit in America, but he also writes, “Look at people when you travel. Talk to people. Listen to what they have to say.”  That’s advice worth heeding always.  He also advises:

“Or go to a tiny graveyard on the Nebraska prairie north of the little town of Red Cloud and look about until you find a small headstone. It reads “Anna Pavelka, 1869-1955.”

By every fashionable index used to measure success and importance, Anna Pavelka was nobody.  Three weeks ago my wife Rosalee and I were among several hundred visitors who arrived in a caravan of Red Cloud school buses to pay her homage.  Who was she and why did we bother?”

She was born Anna Sadilek in Mizzovic, Bohemia, present-day Czechoslovakia, in 1869, at age fourteen she sailed with her family to America to settle on the treeless Nebraska prairie in a sod hut.  Some time later, in despair over the struggle and isolation of his alien new life, her father killed himself.”

p. 223, Brave Companion: Portraits in History, by David McCullough

As soon as I read that I thought, “she’s My Antonia” and sure enough that’s exactly who Anna Sadilek was.  My Antonia is a pioneer novel written by Willa Cather.  In one of my early blog posts, Survival: The Mind-set, back in 2012, I mentioned  this Cather novel:

 “This novel exemplifies the “put one’s hand to the plough” mentality that separates those who persevere and thrive and those who prefer to wallow in misery.  The young male main character, Jim Burden, narrates the story of moving to early 20th century Nebraska to live with his grandparents, who were early homesteaders.  Jim becomes fascinated with neighboring homesteaders, the Shimerdas,  a family of Bohemian immigrants.  Throughout the story, Jack’s grandmother exemplifies the indomitable American spirit and she’s a testament to planning not just to survive, but to live as comfortably as possible in an unforgiving environment.  The Shimerdas, city-dwellers in their home country, fail to take responsibility for their own survival, necessitating good neighbors to prevent their demise.  In one scene the grandmother packs a hamper to take to the Shimerdas, she offers this line:

‘Now, Jake,’ grandmother was saying, ‘if you can find that old rooster that got his comb froze, just give his neck a twist, and we’ll take him along. There’s no good reason why Mrs. Shimerda couldn’t have got hens from her neighbours last fall and had a hen-house going by now. I reckon she was confused and didn’t know where to begin. I’ve come strange to a new country myself, but I never forgot hens are a good thing to have, no matter what you don’t have.”

Despite the Shimerdas family’s hardships and suffering caused by their parents lack of survival skills, Antonia Shimerda and her siblings (thanks to neighbors and others in their rural Nebraska community), get on the path toward successfully homesteading and thriving in America.”

 Survival: The Mind-set

I picked up my tablet and read Cather’s O’Pioneers, which I already had in my kindle library.  Cather’s pioneer novels,  give life and voice to the unforgiving land, taking it from being just the setting of her stories, to being as alive and vibrant as her human characters.  Then I waffled and ordered the kindle version of Conrad Richter’s short-stories, Rawhide Knots & Other Stories, thinking that I could get a taste for his writing and decide if I want to order some of his novels.  My local library doesn’t have any of Richter’s novels, which made me wonder if he was one of those Pulitzer Prize winners whose work appealed to literary critics more than the general public.  By the fourth short story  I’m already a Richter fan. He captures the harshness of that land too and like Cather,  his female main characters aren’t delicate flowers.  These women, just like the men, are gritty survivors in a new land.

I pulled out my old copy of Lonesome Dove, a truly epic Western by Larry McMurtry, which I read decades ago and might reread that and I also pulled out this old hardback book, A Treasury of Western Folklore, that I picked up in an antique/junk store in Clovis, NM in 2006.  My husband and I had driven to Clovis to visit our son serving in the Air Force, before he deployed to Iraq.  I’ve started skimming through this collection and reading some fascinating bits of trivia and tall tales.  The story about how the Stetson became the most recognizable piece of western attire ranks as an amazing merchandising strategy of a hat-maker, who began sending samples out west to merchants and the orders poured East to John B. Stetson’s hat-making factory in Philadelphia.

Once I tire of the Westerns, it will be time to start hunting down the Lindbergh and Beryl Markham writings.  One slim David McCullough book looks like it will keep me exploring new vistas for quite some time.

… and of course I read close to a dozen historical romance novels this summer too… but even several of those were set in the Old West… Some things never change. Have a nice day!

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Plastic straws and such

For many years I’ve had a love/hate relationship with recycling dogma.  It’s not that I hate the earth or believe in being wasteful, but more that it’s hard for me to get all worked up about being shamed or pressured into recycling efforts that I doubt will make any discernible difference in improving our environment.  The even bigger turn-off for me is how so many of the preachers of recycling and environmentalist dogma get on my last nerve with their hysterics and moral superiority.

Sorry, I find it hard to get all worked up about plastic straws destroying the planet and jumping onto the bandwagon to ban them.  Plastic straw hysteria gets a big yawn from me.

Despite my ambivalence toward so much of the recycling dogma, oddly I just love all sorts of crafty type repurposing ideas.  Last year, I jumped into making junk journals, using old books, cards, calendars, fabric, paper, etc. and turning them into journals to write in, use as art journals, photo books, or scrapbooks.  I also love all sorts of decorating and home organizing repurposing projects.  I was raised to embrace not being wasteful and growing up in rural PA.   With plenty of farmers and home gardeners all around me, I’m a committed conservationist… as most farmers and country folks are and have been forever.  The conservationist gene in humans likely began developing when humans moved from hunter/gatherers to agrarian societies.  Having to save and store seeds for the next planting season kind of breeds conservationist thinking.

Anyway, this is just a crafting blog post, so let me recommend YouTube as the place to go to find more crafting and needlework ideas than you will ever have time to try.

This month I made about 7 or 8 quick and easy paper bag books, using small paper bags, old scrapbook paper and calendar pictures.  Here are a couple photos:

I also got another altered book finished.  The piece of lace behind the cat applique is actually a piece of an old lace curtain that had a tear in it, so I decided to use bits of it in craft projects:

A few months ago, I learned how to make Amish knot rag rugs watching YouTube videos.  I completed two more round rugs, about 36″ across and one oval rag, that’s around 45″ long, using all fabric I already had:

The way there’s a stair step look when you switch colors in these Amish knot rugs bugs me, so for the next one I want to try a different way of doing the color transitions (that I saw on a YouTube video, of course).

My other new “repurposing” crafting effort is making paper beads from old scrapbook paper, magazine pages and using security envelopes that come in junk mail.  Security envelopes have a wide variety of interesting patterns on the inside of the envelopes, that lend themselves to many craft uses.

My paper beads are very simple and I’m definitely not an expert at rolling these beads yet, but I still will be able to use these (and the dozens of others I’ve made) when making  junk journal embellishments.  I’ve been using a pair of chopsticks that came in Chinese takeout as my bead rolling tools.  Here are a few beads from a security envelope:

Oh, one last thought, although I haven’t used plastic straws making my paper beads, there are YouTube crafters who use plastic straws inside their paper beads to give the beads more stability, so plastic straws can be “repurposed” too…

If you’re really industrious all those plastic shopping bags can be cut into strips (called plarn – plastic yarn) and crocheted or braided into sleeping mats, bags, and rugs.  Amazingly, I learned watching videos that many church lady types work to create these plastic bag sleeping mats to give to the homeless, because the mats are lightweight, easily washed off, and provide good insulation when laying on the ground.  Who knew, lol…

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The enemy within

This long, rambling blog post is just my opinion about “spin” messaging.  Although, I am sick to death warning about the dangers of our endless 2016 spin information war, I wanted to write one more post about this and then I am taking a break from writing about politics for a while.

I became interested in spin messaging during the 1990s, when I first noticed this new form of political messaging taking hold in America.  Sure, politicians have always relied on a soapbox and sloganeering, but spin messaging went way beyond that.  I’ve written plenty on this blog about our spin information war.

Despite decades of complaints from Republicans and conservatives about “media bias” and the mainstream media favoring the political Left in America, I have never read anything about spin being mass media information warfare, despite those engaged in it, infusing their spin efforts in militaristic terminology from its first appearance in America.

Over the years, I’ve pondered if there were hostile foreign intelligence operatives behind the birth of our American spin war and while I’m open to that possibility, it is clear the original spin messaging efforts began among politicos on the American Left.  During the Clinton years, starting with the Clinton’s “war room” is when I first saw mass media “spin messaging” efforts emerge in American politics.

Among the American Left, communism, Marxism and socialism hold great sway, so it’s very possible that our spin information war is a completely homegrown political effort, but it’s wise to be open to the possibility of foreign hostile hands in the opening salvos in our mass media spin information war back in the 1990s.   It’s also obvious that even if there weren’t hostile foreign hands in the beginning, after decades of our constant spin information war, hostile foreign intelligence operators assuredly are working for ways to ruthlessly fuel, interfere in, and escalate our spin war.

The American media and politicians talk and write about “spin” in terms of it being just some benign form of political media operations.  Encyclopedia Britannica offers this explanation:

“Political spin, in politics, the attempt to control or influence communication in order to deliver one’s preferred message.

Spin is a pejorative term often used in the context of public relations practitioners and political communicators. It is used to refer to the sophisticated selling of a specific message that is heavily biased in favour of one’s own position and that employs maximum management of the media with the intention of maintaining or exerting control over the situation, often implying deception or manipulation.”

https://www.britannica.com/topic/political-spin

For another explanation, Wikipedia offers this:

 “In public relations and politicsspin is a form of propaganda, achieved through providing a biased interpretation of an event or campaigning to persuade public opinion in favor or against some organization or public figure. While traditional public relations and advertising may also rely on altering the presentation of the facts, “spin” often implies the use of disingenuousdeceptive, and highly manipulative tactics.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spin_(propaganda)

I don’t know exactly who developed American SPIN information warfare. I’ve never come across any literature that pinpoints in terms like, “Dizzy Spin developed mass media spin information warfare in 1990.”

Back in the 1990s, I became fascinated with watching the Clinton spin efforts, which then infected the entire Democratic Party and the Left’s political operatives. Their media efforts combined social psychology and aggressive repetitive mass media messaging to dominate the mass media battlefield.

Spin messaging weaponizes lies by packaging them in very deceptive language, but it also includes vicious, orchestrated mass media character assassination attacks, to bombard and bury political enemies under a mountain of dirt.  Vicious character assassinations are a feature of spin messaging information warfare, not just a bug.  However, spin information warfare is about more than partisan politics and winning elections.

The larger objective has always been to control public opinion in America. 

The Left wants to win a larger cultural war, by manipulating public opinion, waging spin messaging information warfare attacks against the American people.

Throughout the 90s, I kept trying to understand how spin messaging works and why it works.  Every strategy can be broken down into parts (the ways and means employed to achieve the ends).  As the political Right in America kept losing ground in the cultural battles, which were advanced through aggressive mass media spin messaging efforts, the political Right constantly railed about “unfair media bias” to explain why the Left’s spin efforts always succeeded.  This “unfair media bias” explanation is way too simplistic and benign to explain why the Left’s spin messaging always won.

Spin messaging in our free society can only work with constant, massive mass media collusion.

Spin often uses language that inverts the meaning of words and terms, to not only confuse people, but also to slowly erode people’s ability to communicate, think clearly and have the ability to counter the spin.  This is an old communist tactic to control people. The Left in America has relied on this tactic too and our culture is awash in PC-dictated terms, we are pressured to use.

Those actively engaged in SPIN information warfare efforts, both the combatants and their willing colluders in the media, always cast spin efforts in terms of benign, ho-hum, political media operations, never the sinister mass media brainwashing that it is, nor the fact that it is, in fact, information warfare.

Spin information warfare is waged against not only political opponents, it’s ruthlessly being waged against the American people.

The American people are the primary target of all spin information warfare.

It’s important to understand all of the components of this type of information warfare.

The most obvious component of spin messaging is the short, talking points messaging used.  This messaging must be relentlessly repeated by both the politicos and a large portion of the mainstream media.  This messaging builds messaging walls, which block out competing messaging and control the terms in which issues are framed.  A good example of the Left building a messaging wall was Hillary appearing before the Benghazi Committee in 2015.  For 11 hours the Dems on that committee resorted to shamelessly repeating two talking points messages to build a messaging wall:

“This hearing is a right-wing witch hunt” and

“This is costing the American taxpayers $4.7 million.”

The mainstream media carried and amplified those two spin messages and worked to present Hillary as a victim of a “right-wing witch hunt”.  The mainstream media then declared Hillary the winner and worked to discredit the Republicans on that committee.

Many media people and political people wrote about spin, but none of them ever explained that the secret sauce to spin messaging is not the ruthless repetition of spin messaging (lies) to build messaging walls, but the ruthless repetition of opinion polling to create the illusion that the spin messaging represents the majority public opinion. It’s a sinister mass media brainwashing operation to herd people to believe spin (lies) and quell dissenting opinion.

Spin messaging manufactures opinion cascades (often called information cascades).  Spin messaging from the Left, repeated by a wide swath of the mainstream media successfully monopolizes both the terms used in public policy discussions and constantly reinforces these manufactured public opinion cascades, by bombarding the public with polling data resulting from spin messaging campaigns.

Polling data has taken on an omnipotent power in American politics and all public debate.  Polling is used by politicos and the media to convince the American people that opinion polls reflect “the will of the people”.  Spin efforts manipulate public opinion and then that manufactured public opinion is used to convince the American people these polls represent the mainstream, majority opinion.  Opinion polls are just a sampling of opinions of a very small fraction of people.  They mean nothing in terms of the merits of any issue.

Americans love being “popular” and this drive to be “popular” above all else, feeds every social media platform, so it’s no surprise many Americans are very vulnerable to being manipulated by polling data.

A favorite media tactic to reinforce the spin-driven, manufactured public opinion is public shaming efforts, where manufactured opinion polling is used to marginalize dissenting opinions in the public square.  Through constant repetition of polling, the American people have been conditioned to being herded into falling into the spin-generated “mainstream public opinion”.  How many times have you seen a person on cable news being interviewed, expressing a view, then having the interviewer inform that person something along the lines of , “Polls X. Y, & Z show the American people don’t agree with you.” or  “Your view is way out of the mainstream according to all of the polls.”?  This tactic effectively marginalizes dissenting opinions, but it also works to create the illusion that the dissenting view is extreme, no matter how thoughtful the dissenting view is presented.

Trump and his media spinners, especially on Fox News, now effectively use this same herding public opinion by citing polls tactic against Democrats and non-Trump supporting guests.  For instance, yesterday, Harris Faulkner, a skilled polling data Trump-supporting spin herder, used this tactic against Jeanne Shaheen, a skilled Dem spinner.

Another good example of media spin herding was during the GOP primary when media spin herders constantly cornered Republicans with, “Trump is winning in all of the polls, so don’t you have to support the winner?”  Trump was winning in all the polls with the aid of billions of dollars in free media spinning him as the “GOP insurgent”, “great businessman”, and “the winner in all of the polls”.

Without this constant polling kabuki manipulation by politicos and the media, spin messaging would lose a great deal of its power.

Until Donald Trump, the American Right never made any inroads into successfully using spin messaging.  The Right successfully used talk radio, some online platforms and FOX News, but the mainstream media still is controlled by the political Left.  The 2016 election changed that dynamic, when Donald Trump began campaigning using the Left’s spin messaging tactics.

During the GOP primary, the mainstream media and FOX News gave Trump billions of dollars in free media to aid his “GOP Insurgency”.  The mainstream media was working to advance the Clinton Pied Piper strategy to promote the most extreme GOP candidate.  This effort was part of Bill Clinton’s old triangulation strategy, where Bernie served as the far-left kook, Trump was supposed to be the far-right kook and this cleared a path for Hillary to claim the middle ground, where American presidential elections are won.

Trump weaponized his personal Twitter account as a means to constantly lob spin attacks at the mainstream media, to influence his supporters and constantly bait both his political enemies and many of  the mainstream media (especially those who are dedicated colluders spreading the Left’s spin messaging).  He built a grassroots following using rally road shows around the country, to build on his reality TV fame.  He created a brilliant branding campaign around a few key slogans, with Make America Great America, being the most popular one.  Most importantly, when the mainstream media pivoted to running the Clinton’s dump on Trump spin attacks in late 2015/early 2016, Trump still managed to hobble together a mass media platform using FOX News and some conservative venues to combat the mass media spin onslaught from the mainstream media and Left (the Trump the fascist smear campaign).

The Left’s spin experts love to brag about their spin efforts and months before the 2016 primary season was over, I recall hearing Simon Rosenberg on TV during an interview bragging about how they were compiling massive amounts of dirt to unload on Trump later.  It’s important to realize that their “they” included large numbers of mainstream media journalists and news outfits, who sat on their mountains of dirt, until the Clinton campaign and Dems gave them the signal to release their Trump dirt.

Trump proved to be a brilliant self-promoter, but he’s a genius at spin messaging.  The word salad, used car salesman, rapid-fire way Trump speaks, both repeating and emphasizing his buzz words, makes him a world-class spinmeister.  Added to that he revels in outrageously and shamelessly lying.  He was the first Republican to break through the Left’s lock on spin messaging information warfare.  He even borrowed most of his damage control “witch hunt” spin messaging verbatim from the Clintons.

While the American Left and mainstream media see Trump’s overt, often sloppy media collusion with FOX News, they still don’t acknowledge their own media collusion spreading the Left’s spin messaging.

The Left and mainstream media constantly work to foment Trump hysteria and hype Russian interference “to steal our democracy” (that is a lame Dem spin message btw).  The truth is the Russians don’t have the power to “steal our democracy”.  Another truth is the deliberate hysterical Russian spin from the Left and mainstream media is damaging our democracy more than the Russian info war efforts ever will.

Here’s another truth, President Trump’s relentless spin messaging attacks on “fake news”, his petty character assassinations, and his constant shameless lying also are damaging our democracy more than the Russian efforts to interfere in our elections ever will.

The biggest threat to our democracy is our own escalating domestic spin information war, that has been blowing hot since 2016. 

Our spin info war continues to destabilize America, deepen partisan divides, leaves us very vulnerable to hostile foreign information warfare efforts and is rapidly destroying America’s credibility around the world.

Mass media spin information warfare is antithetical to our American free speech principles and should be discouraged and shunned by all Americans, especially those running for high elected office and those claiming to be journalists.  Ending our domestic spin war should be a top national security priority and a top priority for both political parties.  The news media should work to quell spin messaging, stop colluding with political factions to spread spin and quit selling polls as reflections of anything other than the opinions of a small sampling of Americans.

Our endless scorched earth mass media spin information war is our most potent enemy within.

Finding our way back to some common ground on valuing honesty and civic virtue offers the real hope to restore our American spirit and defeat spin information warfare.  In our degraded political climate and culture, often I wonder if I am clinging to a pipedream, but I will continue to hope.

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

A few foreign policy links

It’s back to reading more novels and crafting for me today, so here are a few links worth reading (and links I wish President Trump would read):

CHAOS THEORY: CONFUSING DIPLOMATIC MEANS AND ENDS IN HELSINKI, by Matthew Blood at the Small Wars Journal. A clearly written foreign policy piece that should be put on the President’s desk as a foreign policy 101 primer.

Agents of the Russian World: Proxy Groups in the Contested Neighbourhood by Orysia Lutsevych from Chatham House, the Royal Institute of International Affairs in London. A PDF report on how the Russians meddle in other countries internal affairs.

HOW THE BIG LEBOWSKI EXPLAINS THE HELSINKI SUMMIT AND THE INTERNATIONAL ORDER by Kori Schake and Jeremy Shapiro at War On The Rocks.  An entertaining read and interesting analysis of the Helsinki summit.



Update:  Here’s another fascinating link by Steven L. Hall, retired CIA chief of Russian Operations, tweeted:

34 years ago, a KGB defector chillingly predicted modern America by Paul Ratner at the Big Think.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Politics