Category Archives: American Character

Tall order there

Until this 2016 Russian collusion hysteria, I believe our government was not as attuned to the Russian information warfare tactics, as they should have been.    Over the past couple decades, I believe the Russians have been actively involved in regaining their active measures level as before the collapse of the Soviet Union.  The West has now taken notice of the Russian information warfare threat, but in typical American partisan fashion, the mainstream media and Left only want to hype the activities, by framing in terms of “Russian collusion stole the election from Hillary”.  Trump and FOX are attempting to discount almost all of the information about the Russian active measures, except to try to cast it as Hillary was colluding with the Russians with the Trump dossier.

Both sides are missing the point.  The Russians have been actively fomenting partisan rancor, fueling fears and conspiracy theories within many American political groups and especially trying to incite extreme fringe political factions for many years – not just during the 2016 presidential election.

A story in the Texas Tribune yesterday reported:

“Last year, two Russian Facebook pages organized dueling rallies in front of the Islamic Da’wah Center of Houston, according to information released by U.S. Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican.”

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/11/01/russian-facebook-page-organized-protest-texas-different-russian-page-l/?utm_campaign=trib-social&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_content=9091521508

The Russians, using facebook pages, incited two opposing groups of partisans to protest in front of a mosque in Texas.  Since the American government is just now realizing the scope of the Russians online information warfare activities, it will be interesting to see how large the Russians operations are and how long they have been running some of these operations.

Here’s a 65 page preliminary list the House intel released on Russian bot handles on Twitter: https://democrats-intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/exhibit_b.pdf

The Democrats are gleefully talking about the Russian- funded facebook ads meant to disparage Hillary, as ammunition against Trump, but I suspect the Congressional investigations into the Russians info war against America are just scratching the surface.  I suspect the Russians ran active measures to agitate BLM, the Tea Party activism, the Jade Helm hysteria, the Sandy Hook conspiracies, the President Obama birther crap and many more.   Much of the messaging is recycled.  I remember in the past year seeing a map meant to incite a different conspiracy theory being retweeted and it was the same Jade Helm map that had circulated during the Jade Helm hysteria in 2015.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

“The ads released Wednesday cover only a small part of how the Russians targeted Americans on Facebook and other American-owned social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The biggest impact, several independent researchers have said, was through ordinary free posts by Russian-backed Facebook groups. Those posts reached up to 126 million Americans, Facebook said, far more than the 11.4 million who saw the ads.

These Facebook ads, like several others that had emerged in news reports over the past several weeks, had the apparent goal of needling Americans’ cultural sore spots.

“The strategy is to take a crack in our society and turn it into a chasm,” Sen. Angus King, I-Maine, said during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/bluesky/technology/ct-russian-facebook-ads-20171102-story.html

The mainstream media is hyping the Russians social media footprint and alluding to the FOX News bizarre Trumpathon propaganda being connected to the Russians, but they are blind to the fact that the Russians infiltrated the American “mainstream” media, Hollywood and American academia over the past 100 years.  They don’t have to work hard to spread their messaging in the mainstream media, with so many dupes and fellow travelers at the ready.

The American government is just now getting “woke” to the scope of the Russian information war being clandestinely waged against all of America’s valued institutions and the American people. Even the US military and veterans are being targeted by the Russians using social media:

“Russian trolls and others aligned with the Kremlin are injecting disinformation into streams of online content flowing to American military personnel and veterans on Twitter and Facebook, according to an Oxford University study released Monday.

The researchers found fake or slanted news from Russian-controlled accounts are mixing with a wide range of legitimate content consumed by veterans and active-duty personnel in their Facebook and Twitter news feeds. These groups were found to be reading and sharing articles on conservative political thought, articles on right-wing politics in Europe and writing touting various conspiracy theories.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/09/russian-operatives-used-twitter-and-facebook-to-target-veterans-and-military-personnel-study-says/?utm_term=.07785202b04chttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/09/russian-operatives-used-twitter-and-facebook-to-target-veterans-and-military-personnel-study-says/?utm_term=.07785202b04c

Kind of hard to play offense in an information war, when you are years behind in even realizing you’ve been under attack and the enemy has successfully set-up shop spreading disinformation using media front operations that millions of Americans trust.

The grease that keeps the Russian active measures churning is corruption.  They feed and exploit the corruption in the countries they target.  The Clinton and Trump wholesale public corruption enabled the Russians  to exploit our political system.   It’s a sure bet the Russians have enough dirt on the Clintons and Trump to play both of them or strategically leak to keep the partisan rancor in America churning.  Dealing with the widespread corruption in both political parties is a national security imperative.

Trying to shut down Russian messaging is like trying to patch a dam that has already collapsed.  Educating Americans about the Russian disinformation will serve better than hysterically trying to stop all their disinformation.  Sure, it’s important to identify the Russian bots and troll farms and shut them down, but “influence operations” work because they are finding messages that Americans are buying into.

Winning the hearts and minds of as many Americans as possible, to becoming good citizens committed to protecting and defending The Constitution, is the offensive strategy we need to defeat the Russian information war.  The only way for America to win is to find a way to unite more Americans around American values, American institutions and most of all around The Constitution.  Tall order there.

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

Enough is enough

My husband served in the U.S. Army, always an infantryman, from 1975 to 1999.  He is a Grenada and Desert Storm veteran.  When he decided to retire in 1999, his decision surprised me, because I believed he would serve 30 years, which was the limit for his rank.

When he talked to me about his decision to retire, his reasons were a combination of two factors.  The first factor was some of our kids were in high school and didn’t want to move again.  However, the larger factor was my husband had become very disillusioned with how political the Army had become among Army leadership.  A frequent complaint he voiced was that too many officers are politicians more than soldiers these days.

That was 1999.  Last summer, as America’s political parties were holding their presidential conventions,  the politicization of America’s generals moved on-stage at both the Republican and Democrat conventions, with generals literally on-stage spouting partisan rhetoric.

It alarmed me.

Everything in America now can become a political football, a cause for protest, a “national conversation”.

Words mean things.

Definition of conversation

1obsolete :conductbehavior

2(1) :oral exchange of sentiments, observations, opinions, or ideas

  • … we had talk enough but no conversation; there was nothing discussed.
  •  —Samuel Johnson

(2) :an instance of such exchange :talk 

  • a quiet conversation

b :an informal discussion of an issue by representatives of governments, institutions, or groups 

  • conversations among the senators

c :an exchange similar to conversation 

  • We had a conversation by e-mail.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/conversation

A conversation requires, not only talking, it requires listening, a willingness to open our hearts and minds to other people’s ideas, viewpoints, experiences and feelings.   It requires a degree of mutual respect between people.

In America, where scorched earth information warfare rages, like I wrote in my last blog post, even the most trivial issue can become a national political battle.  There are only skirmishes, thrusts and hit and run attacks, where each side attacks, tries to draw as much blood as possible, then retreats to reload for the next ambush.

There assuredly are few real “national conversations” about anything.

I’ve been guilty of putting on partisan blinders too, but I am working to remove them and refocus on looking at people as individuals, rather than pigeonhole them into an us or them tribe.   President George W. Bush gave a very powerful speech on that topic this past week:

“We have seen our discourse degraded by casual cruelty. At times, it can seem like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates into dehumanization. Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions – forgetting the image of God we should see in each other.”

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/10/19/full-text-george-w-bush-speech-trump-243947

General John Kelly gave a powerful speech too and one comment struck me:

“It stuns me that a member of Congress would have listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me. And I thought at least that was sacred. You know, when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor. That’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases. Life — the dignity of life — is sacred. That’s gone. Religion, that seems to be gone as well.

Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer. But I just thought — the selfless devotion that brings a man or woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought that that might be sacred.”

A few things need to be clarified about this past week’s scorched earth information skirmish.  Some on the Left are using SGT La David Johnson’s death to create a narrative for “Trump’s Benghazi” and to attack General Kelly.  On the right, vile Trump mouthpieces, like Sheriff David Clarke, have used this skirmish to sink to the level of attacking  Congresswoman Frederica Wilson’s looks:

. calling Frederica Wilson “whacky” is putting it mildly. The woman is a buffoon. Look at her.

The Trump spin masters are trying to divert attention away from the Gold Star family controversy and onto a Clinton/Uranium One storyline.

This morning Kurt Schlichter, one of the most dedicated Trump Twitter troopers, tweeted:

Put aside all the gold star stuff and George Bush’s catiness and understand that the Hillary uranium story is the only story.

Schlichter is a retired Army officer.  SGT La David Johnson hadn’t even been buried yet.  His funeral was this afternoon.

So many, on both sides of this scorched earth information war, are so entrenched at scoring cheap political points and “winning”, that all sense of decency has been lost.

Frederica Wilson might be a rabid partisan hack or she might be a friend of SGT Johnson’s family or she could be both, but her comments don’t have grave national consequences.

President Trump is the Commander-In-Chief.  He has a sacred DUTY to all serving in the United States Armed Forces.

How he handles this situation can have lasting impact on the morale and welfare of all of America’s brave men and women serving in uniform.

Trump mouthpieces and friendly pundits are working to do damage control, writing stories about how much President Trump cares about the military and penning pieces quoting other Gold Star families who received calls from President Trump and feel his words were comforting.  All that misses the point.

Military families need to have trust in our military chain of command and that starts with the President setting the right example.

President Trump has a duty to reassure the family of SGT La David Johnson that he did not mean to disrespect them and that he honors SGT Johnson’s sacrifice.

That is the right thing to do.

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Filed under American Character, General Interest, Military, Politics, Things That Matter

Mutually Assured Destruction

“In the nuclear age, the revised maxim might well be amplified — but not, as might be expected, by inserting the word ‘nuclear’. For if the nuclear power now available were unleashed and not merely maintained as a deterrent, its use would mean ‘chaos’ not ‘war’, since war is organised action, which could not be continued in a state of chaos. The nuclear deterrent, however, does not apply and cannot be applied to the deterrence of subtler forms of aggression. Through its unsuitability for the purpose it tends to stimulate and encourage them. The necessary maxim is now ‘If you wish for peace, understand war — particularly the guerrilla and subversive forms of war.”

page 361, Chapter on Guerrilla Warfare of Strategy, written by B.H. Liddell Hart, Copyright Faber & Faber, Ltd. London, England 1954, 1967

President Trump loves the military…

He wants his followers to know he is a fighter.

His political operatives touted him as the GOP Insurgent.

He won the 2016 scorched earth information war and defeated not only Hillary Clinton, but many in the mainstream media, who were colluding with her to try to destroy Trump with damaging stories. The Russians actively participated in America’s 2016 information war too.

This week is a typical “squirmish” in America’s endless scorched earth  information war.  These skirmishes consist of the media and Trump engaged in short-lived, emotionally intense battles for control of the 24/7 news cycle.  Both sides go “nuclear”, without any concerns about collateral damage or fallout, because after all, this is a war of words and no one is literally dying, right?

This week’s Trump sideshow is a typical Trump diversion.  He wasn’t man enough to just admit he hadn’t called the families of these recently fallen soldiers, so he turned the question into an attack on President Obama and other recent presidents.  He is the ultimate Mr. Whataboutism.  He will never admit to any weakness or mistake.

President Trump lies, as often and as outrageously as necessary, until he provokes his opponents to overreact.  His lies are “attacks” – they are his weapons and he uses them ruthlessly.  Once his opponents overreact, he will pick apart their statements looking for untruths or bits and pieces he can manipulate to discredit them.  He will lob his “alternative facts”, wrap himself in the American flag and borrow the honor of  “the generals” to sway his followers to remain loyal.

This week’s “squirmish” is just a slight plot change from Trump’s 2016 vet fundraiser.

Trump’s vet fundraiser, January 28. 2016 was a Trumper tantrum retaliation against FOX News and Megyn Kelly.  Trump claimed his fundraiser raised over 6 million dollars and he personally pledged a million dollar donation.

In February 2016, a Weekly Standard reporter contacted the Trump Foundation for information on the fundraiser:

“On Thursday, I contacted the Donald J. Trump Foundation by email with a few questions about how the $6 million had been or was being disbursed. Five minutes later, I received a phone call from Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s presidential campaign manager. Lewandowski said a list of the recipients had been made public and that more recipients were being added all the time. How much had those recipients received? Lewandowski couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say. As a non-profit organization, he said, the Trump Foundation would release all the required details of its disbursements at the end of the fiscal year. To find out before then, he said, I’d have to contact the recipients themselves.

“The list is publicly available,” he said. “You can do your homework and ask the veterans’ organizations.”

Why wouldn’t the Trump Foundation want to publicize how much it had donated? (Especially given the fact that in recent years, Trump’s charity organization had given more money to the Clinton Foundation than to veterans.) And why, when asking about the Foundation’s disbursements, had a representative of the campaign called? With no other options, however, I took Lewandowki’s advice.”

http://www.weeklystandard.com/some-vet-groups-still-waiting-for-trump-foundation-checks/article/2001154

Months later reporters began asking more questions about which vet charities received that money and if Trump had made good on his million dollar pledge.  On May 28, 2016,Trump staged a big show where he attacked the media and had his million dollar check for a vet charity:

  “As recently as last week, Trump’s campaign manager had insisted that the mogul had already given that money away. But that was false: Trump had not.

In recent days, The Washington Post and other media outlets had pressed Trump and his campaign for details about how much the fundraiser had actually raised and whether Trump had given his portion.

The candidate refused to provide details. On Monday, a Post reporter used Twitter — Trump’s preferred social-media platform — to search publicly for any veterans groups that had received Trump’s money.”

Later Monday evening, Trump called the home of James K. Kallstrom, a former FBI official who is chairman of the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation. The charity aids families of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/05/24/four-months-later-donald-trump-says-he-gave-1-million-to-veterans-group/?utm_term=.471cc9ad77be

Trump was the one who politicized his vet fundraiser, in fact, the entire fundraiser was a political stunt.  Just like in previous “skirmishes” Trump goes nuclear with his war of words, but the media and Left go nuclear too.

On Monday, a reporter asked President Trump why he hadn’t commented on the recent deaths of American soldiers in Niger.

President Trump hadn’t called the families of those fallen soldiers, but instead of saying that, he attacked President Obama and other presidents:

“If you look at President Obama and other presidents, most of them didn’t make calls — a lot of them didn’t make calls — I like to make calls when it’s appropriate,” Trump said at a news conference in the Rose Garden when asked about why he had not addressed the recent deaths of American troops in Niger.

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-s-false-claim-about-obama-fallen-soldiers-n811206

The media and former Obama officials immediately countered Trump’s assertion and General Dempsey, who has tried to remain apolitical, also countered Trump’s assertion.

President Trump then inserted General Kelly and “generals” into the controversy, telling reporters to ask them if President Obama had called the families of fallen soldiers.  General Kelly’s son was killed in action.

At this point, the “facts” seem to indicate that President Obama did not call General Kelly when his son was killed in action.  However, at an event honoring Gold Star families, the Kellys sat at the table with First Lady, Michelle Obama, six months after the death of Kelly’s son.

President Trump then called the families of the recently fallen soldiers.  A Democratic congresswoman, who is a Trump hater heard the call.  She claims President Trump disrespected the grieving family.  There are also reports of a previous Gold Star family, whom Trump had called in June and promised them that he would personally send a check of $25,000 to them.  He never sent the check, until yesterday, after the media started asking about it.

This week’s squirmish follows the same script as his million dollar vet fundraiser boast.

The battle lines are now drawn and it is President Trump who politicized the deaths of fallen soldiers.  He is the one who refused to answer a simple question honestly on Monday.  He had not called the families of those 4 fallen soldiers, who died on October 4th, but rather than admit that, he lashed out about President Obama and other presidents not calling grieving Gold Star families.  He is also the one who interjected General Kelly into this issue and now he and the White House are borrowing on General Kelly’s honor to try and do damage control.

That is the truth.

The media and Left, smelling blood, went nuclear, digging up “facts” to not only counter Trump, but to try and turn this issue into an “impeachable offense” and destroy him.

The truth is President Trump uses the military as stage props, beginning with his “squirmish” with FOX News over Megyn Kelly’s “unfair” debate question in August of 2015, which he whined about for 8 long months.  That question was not “unfair”.  It was a question about how Trump treats women.  Trump and his media friends waged an all out attack on Megyn Kelly and Trump called Roger Ailes, trying to get Kelly removed as debate moderator.

He was trying to use his influence to damage the career of a news analyst.

Ailes refused to remove Megyn Kelly, so Trump boycotted that debate and orchestrated a “vet fundraiser”  to try and draw viewers away from watching that GOP primary debate.  He was USING the U.S. military as stage props to make himself look patriotic.

It looks like President Trump used information, that General Kelly confided in him, as a nuclear blast against President Obama, to score some cheap points in this latest squirmish. He betrayed the trust of one of his generals. It appears that President Obama had not called General Kelly when Kelly’s son died and I hope that President Obama can be a bigger man than President Trump and call General Kelly .  Apologize for the oversight, because it does appear that General Kelly was hurt by not receiving a call from his commander-in-chief.

In a few days this latest controversy will be eclipsed by another info war “skirmish”.  In fact, the Trump operatives are already launching another nuclear info war attack to discredit Robert Mueller.  President Trump was tweeting this morning, lashing out at the FBI, accusing them of colluding with the Russians.  Another diversionary tactic, but he is always “winning” the 24/7 news cycle with these nuclear blasts.  He totally eclipses everything, even the sun…

The collateral damage from scorched earth information warfare isn’t dead bodies, it’s America’s heart and soul.  The very fibers of our national character get stretched and torn a little more with each, almost daily, “squirmish” and the indiscriminate flame-throwing leaves America a toxic nuclear wasteland of angry, seething people, who hate and distrust each other.

President Trump possesses a unique gift for dividing people and playing people against each other. He is now using “the generals” in his vicious scorched earth information war.

Scorched earth information warfare’s only outcome can be the destruction of America’s national character.

And Chaos.

There are no winners.

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Filed under American Character, Culture Wars, General Interest, Information War, Military, Politics, The Media

Our Thoth,  God of 140-characters

My first two altered book junk journals.  The one on the left is for my oldest daughter, who loves primitive country type stuff.  For her book, Ann Coulter’s Godless, was transformed into a lovely autumn journal.  The book on the right was an “alterable book” I purchased at a craft store long ago.  The covers are very simple – more old calendar pictures cut-up and glued on with Mod Podge.  The spines are covered with old Walmart clearance ribbon.  The little metal word pieces have been in my scrapbooking supplies for many years.

The sampler image, on the left, is from The Lang Country Sampler 2009 calendar, artwork by Ellen  Stouffer.  The image on right is from my 2006 Holly Hobbie calendar.

In the early 2000s, I purchased several books on how to make altered books, but the altered book projects looked more like art journals, way beyond my very basic crafting skill  level, and although well-written, with clear step-by-step instructions, I didn’t have the confidence to attempt making one.

In 2017, after watching many hours of YouTube “junk journal” videos, I decided to try making some myself. Thinking about “altered books” as making “junk journals” from old “junk” removed a mental block for me.

The words we use can completely change how we, not only perceive the world, but they can also “alter” reality.  In many previous posts, I’ve written about America’s raging war of words (here, here, here, here).

Politicians have always used words to influence people.  Andrew Robinson, in the introduction of his 1995 book, The Story of Writing, wrote:

Writing and literacy are generally seen as forces for good.  It hardly needs saying that a person who can read and write has greater opportunities for fulfillment than one who is illiterate.  But there is also a dark side to the spread of writing that is present throughout its history, if somewhat less obvious.  Writing has been used to tell lies as well as truth, to bamboozle and exploit as well as to educate, to make minds lazy as well as to stretch them.

Socrates pinpointed our ambivalence towards writing in his story of the Egyptian god Thoth, the inventor of writing, who came to see the king seeking royal blessing on his enlightening invention.  The king told Thoth: ‘You, who are the father of letters, have been led by your affection to ascribe to them a power the opposite of that which they really possess… You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding; and you offer your pupils the appearance of wisdom, not true wisdom, for they will read many things without instruction and will therefore seem to know many things, when they are for the most part ignorant.’  In a late 20th century world drenched with written information and surrounded by information technologies of astonishing speed, convenience and power, these words spoken in antiquity have a distinctly contemporary ring”

page 8, The Story of Writing, by Andrew Robinson, Copyright  1995 Thomas & Hudson Ltd, London

Back in 1992, when he ran for president, Bill Clinton became a household name, as did his nickname, Slick Willie, which he had acquired back in Arkansas, due to his remarkable way of using words to deceive people.  Pulitzer prize winning journalist, Paul Greenberg, coined the Slick Willie nickname in 1980 and it stuck with Bill Clinton ever since:

“Greenberg saw Slick Willie as a waffler, a zigzagger, a master of obfuscation — the unworthy alter-ego of Clinton, the compassionate idealist. Greenberg concluded that, like Faubus, Clinton had presented a facade of making great progress during his first term when he had retreated on his basic promises. He talked about preserving the environment, for instance, but appeased the chicken industry. Slick Willie became a recurring character for Greenberg. All other Clinton monikers — “Kid Clinton,” “Boy Governor,” “Young Smoothie” — were retired.

In Slick Willie, Greenberg felt, he had found the perfect coinage. “It doesn’t mean liar. It means dissembler,” he explains now. “This is a particular subspecies of lying. It’s a very lawyerly, sophisticated, elastic lie. In my opinion, the old-fashioned lie would be a step up.””

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/special/clinton/stories/slick122098.htm

Bill Clinton is a brilliant politician, who masterfully uses words and has a rare gift for sophisticated obfuscation.

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…

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Filed under American Character, Corrupt Media Collusion, Culture Wars, General Interest, Information War, Military, Politics, The Media, Uncategorized

The death of gentlemen

cad:

dated, informal 

Watching Hollywood actresses denounce Harvey Weinstein, coupled with the photos and videos of many of these same actresses smiling and sharing warm embraces with Weinstein, when it benefitted their acting careers, showcases the hypocrisy of the elite Left perfectly.  To see the hypocrisy of the Right, listen to blowhards like Sean Hannity rail about Weinstein and the Hollywood cover-up of his behavior, while pretending that President Trump was a victim of the media, when the Access Hollywood tape, where Trump bragged about grabbing women by their lady parts, was released.

The truth is there is not a hairsbreadth of difference between the behavior of Weinstein, Trump, Bill Clinton, Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly.  They used their power and position to prey on women.

The most entertaining explanation of Weinstein’s behavior is Emma Thompson, with her lovely English accent:

Thompson, like many feminists, is using this example of men behaving badly as a rallying cry to attack the “male patriarchy” again.  They hit the airwaves to rally women, and men, to stop this form of “extreme masculinity” and demand that women stand up against behavior like Weinstein’s.

It’s time for a historical reality check.

The so-called “male patriarchy” is not what enabled Harvey Weinstein to behave as he did.  Power and money did.  A whole lot of people around Weinstein, to include many women, knew about his behavior and helped cover it up.  However, the larger cultural reasons behind this growing list of powerful men engaging in behavior Thompson dubbed “extreme masculinity” stems from over a century of loosening of sexual  behavior, largely fueled by modern feminism.

Along with women burning their bras in the 60s, they burned down all those traditional boundaries, that guided sexual behavior.  Men who clung to gentlemanly behavior were derided by feminists in the early days of the feminist movement in 1960s. Modern feminism killed off chivalry and gentlemanly behavior, as the cultural norm for male behavior.

In the 1800s  American women had a great deal more independence and freedom than women in the rest of the world.  DeTocqueville noted this in his travels across America in 1831 and accounts of women traveling alone around America, throughout the 1800s, are not hard to find.  Women felt safe to travel alone, without fear of being accosted, because the culture defined a strict code of male behavior, which demanded gentlemanly behavior toward women.  Women did not have to fight “extreme masculinity”, because the so-called “male patriarchy” instilled in boys how to treat a lady.  Men policed other men’s behavior around women, without ladies having to march, protest or even lift a finger.   Men who broke the code were ostracized from polite society.

Feminists send off a mixed message when it comes to relations between men and women.  Let me correct that, the current push for “transgender rights” has now muddied the distinctions about gender to the point where some of the most extreme social justice warriors want the very terms male and female to become obsolete.  In this sort of jumbled, often contradictory, moral vacuum, where right and wrong exist only in doing whatever one feels like doing, feminists flounder about looking for where to point the finger of blame.

The blame goes to a modern culture that has no agreed upon social boundaries when it comes to, not only sexual conduct, but to civil conduct, in general.  Good manners is a term as antiquated as the simple English word that describes Weinstein’s behavior: cad.

We live in a society where people make excuses for every sort of bad human behavior, often categorizing the most extreme deviancies as “addictions”, absolving the perpetrators of all personal responsibility.  News that Weinstein was entering treatment for his “sex addiction” followed the typical pattern for badly behaving celebrities trying to redeem their public reputation.  Just shameless media and legal posturing for sympathy rather than any admittance of wrongdoing and hey, it’s an “addiction’, which he has no control over, right?

In the absence of boundaries on individual conduct, a code of conduct, based on values we all agree are worth living up to, there’s no common ground upon which social norms can take root and grow.

Even the simple word cad, to describe someone like Weinstein, is, as Oxford lists it, “dated”.  Oxford’s list of synonyms for cad sound equally old-fashioned: scoundrel, rascal, good-for-nothing, reprobate, unprincipled person.

So, we are left with euphemisms tossed about by angry feminists, blaming remnants of the “male patriarchy” for “extreme masculinity” to explain the problem.

The truth is the sexual revolution, which modern feminists helped fight, killed gentlemen as the social norm for acceptable male conduct and the world is much worse off without them.

We need gentlemen, and ladies, to restore civility to our culture.  That requires agreeing on boundaries on individual conduct.  It requires agreeing on some common values.

Don’t hold your breath waiting for Americans to find common ground on… anything.

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A glimmer of hope

Here’s a thoughtful USA Today opinion piece about our divided America,  I moved from a blue state to a red state and it changed my life, written by Leah Singer.

Singer writes:

“I was raised in California, where we like to believe diversity is applauded and opportunities abound. In many ways, California’s blue state bubble can be a very safe place to live if you subscribe to the popular liberal politics.

Over and over, I was questioned about why I would ever leave the Golden State for a “flyover” red state. This phrase alone troubled me, and the implied perception that one flies over the Midwest just to get to their East or West coast home.”

Living in a bubble cuts both left and right and Singer’s thoughtful piece offers a glimmer of hope for finding common ground again in America.

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How To Defeat Scorched Earth Information Warfare

Every American has the power to help defeat scorched earth information warfare.  It doesn’t take military might, new laws to restrict the media or trying to shut down free speech.

Stop being a participant in the scorched earth information warfare.

Don’t be a participant in engaging in scorched earth information warfare and learn to recognize it and not fall for it.

Here’s my battle plan to defeat scorched earth information warfare:

The best thing leaders can do is pull our politics back from the extremes, condemn violence by fringe kooks on the extreme ends and work to find ways to build a few bridges between the virulent partisan factions, that are our two major political parties.

The drumbeat that we are approaching a civil war or that our political system is on the verge of collapse may feed the scorched earth partisans, but it does nothing to fix anything that is wrong in America.

I think what everyone should be doing is work to bolster The Constitution and that means respecting the results at the ballot box. I think people should be working to try to get Trump to rein in the scorched earth, quit the crazy reality TV presidency show, and buckle down and do the job.

Trump’s “war against the media” isn’t happening in a vacuum. Much of the media, the Clinton political machine and many factions on the Left are working tirelessly waging a scorched earth information warfare campaign to #Resist, which is a euphemism for overturn the results of a legal election, by any means necessary.

The best thing the news media could do is take a long, hard look at their news reporting operations & strive to get back to “who, what, when, where, why and how” reporting rather than rushing to retweet the latest “hot take” or editorializing in hard news reporting.  Trust is earned and every time reporters leap into retweeting or running news stories that aren’t true, they erode the trust Americans have in their reporting.

Those entrusted with safeguarding our nation’s most sensitive information should quit with the endless leaking of intel, to try and destroy Trump.

This endless scorched earth information warfare is a serious national security threat, in my opinion.  Many of America’s foreign adversaries are working to foment chaos in this ongoing scorched earth information war, because a divided, chaotic, dysfunctional American political system and the constant visuals of America in chaos feed their political objective of taking down America.

Our elected officials in Washington should spend more time buckling down and finding bi-partisan solutions, to fix many of our nation’s problems, rather than regurgitating partisan talking points and rushing for photo-ops to get attention.

It would be very bad for our republic, if President Trump was impeached over frivolous charges and I am very dubious about that “unfit” gambit under the 25th. Trying to contain the damage he does as a loose cannon, while trying to teach him some restraint (tall order there) would be better for our constitutional order than to have a president ousted, basically by a massive media campaign and unpopular polls numbers.  Poll numbers should never substitute for the ballot box in America, especially in light of the massive information warfare used to generate manufactured public opinion (creating opinion cascades).

If Mueller finds things that warrant impeachment; he should send that information to Congress.

If there aren’t any grounds to impeach him, America will survive a bad president. We’ve survived others.

And most of all, more Americans need to read more and think more, before falling for media-generated outrage and hysteria or leaping onto the bandwagon of these media-driven hot button issues. Quit falling for these media-generated contentious topics that the media punditry and social media spread under the guise of “national conversations”.

What America really needs is more citizens talking to their neighbors and within their own communities, to find solutions for most of the problems within their own communities.  They also need to work to get to know each other.   The putrid punditry fueling anger, distrust and hate, from the partisan fringes poisons our politics.

Everyone should work to promote respect and civility in the public square.

To quote Maya Angelou, a poet, whose poetry I don’t care for at all, but who sure had some memorable quotes that speak the truth:

“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but it has not solved one yet.”

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Filed under American Character, Civility, Corrupt Media Collusion, Culture Wars, General Interest, Politics, The Constitution, The Media