Category Archives: General Interest

Trump gives “conventional wisdom” the boot

In the wake of the news that President Trump had authorized a military strike to kill Qassem Suleimani, the commander of the Iranian Quds Force, I had high hopes that a new American strategy would emerge and perhaps it might, but… President Trump’s thin-skinned outbursts will assure the every step of the way for U.S. diplomats, military commanders and political supporters ends up mired in endless, Trump-inflicted controversies, that were completely avoidable.

I spent the weekend tweeting support for President Trump’s decision to authorize the military strike, but just like with his digging in insisting his call with President Zelensky of Ukraine was a “perfect call,” Trump on Saturday tweeted:

The media leaped on attacking Trump’s mention of Iranian cultural targets as threatening to commit war crimes and it descended into an all-out spin attack against Trump from Dems, mainstream media, and even Iranian officials, playing for international sympathy and support.

All of this could have been avoided if Trump had been more careful about the words he speaks… and tweets.

Instead, on Sunday Trump went on a diatribe – doubling down on his threat to target cultural sites in Iran.  He even went a step further and threatened to impose heavy sanctions on Iraq, if they kick the U.S military out of Iraq.

It sometimes seems like Trump believes his only adversary is the mainstream media in America.  I believe it stems from his anger over the media turning on him in 2016, after months of giving him endless free media to wreak havoc on the GOP primary.  The media turning on him seems to have enraged him to the point that getting even with them is the thing that drives him more than any of his presidential duties and responsibilities.

Trump could have just walked back that Iranian culture comment and selected a less inflammatory choice of words.  Or really he could have just said, “We will follow the law.”

Instead, he chose to lash out.

The mainstream media and Dem hypocrisy will aid Trump, of course, and most Republicans will stick with him too, but his fragile ego over criticism and unwillingness to ever admit to a mistake will assure every step of the way will be much harder, because of his doubling down on a poor choice of words.

For America’s sake, a new approach to dealing with Iranian terror is welcome and long overdue.  Stepping away from the carved in stone “conventional wisdom” also seemed like a breath of fresh air, because for decades, “fear of all-out war with Iran” or “igniting a larger regional war” held American foreign policy thinkers trapped into accepting a self-imposed helplessness.  Trump’s saying no more to taking Iranian aggression as our only option, has created an opportunity to finally check Iran’s reign of terror.  Whether Trump can curb his most self-destructive impulses to follow through and capitalize on this opportunity remains to be seen.   Even if he fails, at least, he threw a wrench into buying into decades of fear-mongering masquerading as sacred “conventional wisdom.”

Too often foreign policy and military strategists become trapped by fear-induced “catastrophic thinking,” that they begin to believe adversaries are omnipotent or any forceful action might precipitate a crisis that propels us into a nightmare scenario that we can’t control.  Of course, catastrophic outcomes aren’t impossible, but neither are they inevitable.  The death toll and carnage from decades of unchecked Iranian terrorist activities has been a very heavy price to pay, all because “conventional wisdom” fearfully warned us we are powerless to do anything forceful to stop it.

We should not let fear control our destiny.

 

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New horizons for 2020… reading more books

Well, it’s after 11 pm on New Year’s Eve and here I am writing, because I don’t want to end 2019 without getting a blog post finished.

After writing so much about politics, this blog post will be about books and reading, plus whatever else flits into mind that’s generally related to books and reading.  On various sites, including Twitter, there seem to be a lot of year’s end type stories about “best books of 2019” or “I read 127 books this year.”

While I peruse other people’s book lists and jot down books from their lists that interest me, my own reading tastes veer from historical romance novels to serious books on foreign policy, military affairs, U.S. history, spy novels, general fiction, and even the classics, so it’s doubtful anyone would find my reading list very useful.

Numerous articles have been written about General James Mattis’ voracious reading habit and I always find it interesting what books generals recommend, although most of them stick to military-themed novels, which is what makes Mattis so interesting to me.  He has mentioned The Far Pavilions by M.M. Kaye.  I knew I had that novel somewhere and I finally located it among some of my old historical romance paperback novels.  I bought this somewhere around 1979/1980, I think.  The copyright of this paperback is 1979 and hard to believe it cost only $2.95.  I read some of it, but never finished (it’s 1189 pages), so perhaps in 2020, I’ll give it another go.   Mattis also recommended Scipio Africanus: Greater Than Napoleon by B.H. Liddell Hart and I actually have that book too… along with Marcus Aurelius, another of Mattis’ faves.

The one stand out novel I read this year was the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr, a WWII story with characters who stay with you long after you’ve finished reading.  The writing alone soars, but then there’s the captivating cast of characters, and a plot that was way larger than “just another WWII novel.”  It’s the type of story that can touch just about every human heart, even those who have no interest in WWII, I think.

Reading matters a great deal and while harping on reading sounds like a tired old public service message, being able to read truly does open doors of opportunity.  Even more importantly, it allows even the poorest people the chance to explore and learn about the world.  With books anyone can travel to new and fascinating places, travel through time, and even travel to imaginary worlds.  The ability to read is one of the great equalizers around the world, but especially in a republic like the United States of America.

Frederick Douglass was born a slave in 1818, but he died a world-renowned abolitionist, orator, writer and most of all a free man in 1895.  Teaching slaves to read was against the law, but after his mistress began teaching him to read, the fire was lit in Douglass to acquire an education despite the risks.  His master caught his wife teaching Douglass and forbade her to continue the lessons, propelling Douglass on a lifelong journey to acquire an education:

“Seized with a determination to learn to read, at any cost, I hit upon many expedients to accomplish the desired end. The plea which I mainly adopted, and the one by which I was most successful, was that of using my young white playmates, with whom I met in the streets as teachers. I used to carry, almost constantly, a copy of Webster’s spelling book in my pocket; and, when sent of errands, or when play time was allowed me, I would step, with my young friends, aside, and take a lesson in spelling. I generally paid my tuition fee to the boys, with bread, which I also carried in my pocket. For a single biscuit, any of my hungry little comrades would give me a lesson more valuable to me than bread. Not every one, however, demanded this consideration, for there were those who took pleasure in teaching me, whenever I had a chance to be taught by them.”

Douglass, Frederick (2009-10-04). My Bondage and My Freedom (p. 85). Public Domain Books Kindle Edition.

My Bondage and My Freedom is in the public domain and available free online at gutenberg.org and in kindle format at amazon.com.

The love of books and reading is one of the best gifts you can pass on to your children and grandchildren. My four granddaughters are all teenagers now and all of them love to read.  My daughter made going to the library a part of their ordinary routine, which is what my husband and I did with her and her siblings.  When my granddaughters were younger, I bought them kindle fires, so imagine my surprise a few years ago when they told me they prefer reading actual books, because it’s more enjoyable holding an actual book.  My kids bought me a kindle many years ago, in hopes that I would buy fewer actual books, since my bookshelves are crammed full.  I still read kindle books, but I also still buy some actual books (some habits never die).

While it’s easy to get caught up in the constant doom and gloom prognostications about how everything in America is going to hell in a hand basket… because of evil Trump or the evil Dems, perhaps the truth is there’s still plenty for us to remain hopeful about.

Despite concerns about the demise of reading in America, Pew Research Center found that roughly 72% of Americans said they had read a book in the past year, across several formats and that statistic has remained unchanged since 2012.  Audiobook usage is up, but print books still remain the most popular book format.

In April 2019, I moseyed to my local public library and got a new library card, since I hadn’t been to the public library in several years.  My public library resides in a lovely, brand new building and a lot had changed besides the building.  I learned about free digital services, Hoopla and RB Digital, that I can access from my phone, tablet or desktop PC and sign out audiobooks and ebooks,  all with just my library card number.  I can renew library books and pay fines just by signing into my library account online.  Using Hoopla and RB Digital, I joined the audiobook listener ranks in 2019 and while I still prefer reading an actual book best, the production quality of some of these audiobooks completely exceeded my expectations and kept me captivated from beginning to end.  Of course, there were a couple audiobooks where the performer’s voice grated on my nerves and I just couldn’t finish the book.

We’re now into 2020, so let me wish everyone a very Happy New Year and if our crazy political sideshows get too tiring, just pick up a book, find an ebook or listen to an audiobook to escape the politics and media madness.

Goodnight.

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Merry Christmas!

https://thegraphicsfairy.com/retro-image-adorable-foxes-christmas/

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Are we headed toward a civil war?

If anyone asked me if I think President Trump should be removed from office today, well, the truth is I don’t care one way or the other.  I do care about, to use the constantly hyped phrases, “preserving our Constitution” and “saving our democracy,” but frankly these yahoos in Washington and the media hysterically spinning 24/7 about the yahoos in Washington have zero capacity to preserve or save anything.  Ditto that for the political Twitterati crowd/political punditry puff dragons.

When both sides in a political battle are thoroughly corrupt, the Dems orchestrating this impeachment inquiry and President Trump, who lies about almost everything and cares nothing about The Constitution or rules of any sort, so long as they benefit him, how does carrying out an extremely divisive political process like impeachment remedy any wrongdoing?  Will removing Trump end the political corruption or bring American politics back to some sane standards?

Would removing Trump “save our democracy” or “preserve our Constitution” or would it just lead to more political chaos and a weakening of our ordered liberty?

With a Republican-controlled Senate, at best this impeachment effort seems like a poorly orchestrated spin effort.  At worst it’s another effort of powerful Dems to appease the radical #Resist fringe of their party, to quell an internal revolt after Dem leaders have failed to deliver on removing Trump from office, after 3 years of promising, “Trump’s going down” and “this is the beginning of the end.”

Hypothetically speaking, if Trump was removed from office before the 2020 election, Dems would not graciously accept a President Pence – they would begin spinning up impeaching Pence too and doing everything they could to wreak havoc on the GOP… just like they did in 2016.  In fact, Dems and their media cohorts would be energized (emboldened) to engage in even more extreme scorched earth spin info war tactics.

Trump would not go quietly and just more chaos would ensue.

It seems to me that changing our media culture, where extreme spin information warfare is the norm, to more objective, less overwrought political reporting and punditry appears the only path leading to actually “saving our democracy” and “preserving our Constitution,” but don’t hold your breath waiting on our political class and the media, who provide the platforms and fuel that enable spin war to even operate, to ever willingly forswear their vicious and corrupt spin information warfare.  They gain power and make a fortune off of spin war and the American people literally are virtual prisoners whenever they tune in to watch or read American news reporting and commentary.

If you wonder where the epicenter of the American scorched earth spin war is, it’s currently Twitter.  That could change if the American media and political class decide to relocate to some other online social media hub, but for now it’s Twitter.  President Trump understood the blue check-mark crowd politicians, journalists and pundits generate spin cycles on Twitter.

Twitter is a modern public square where many voices discuss, debate and share their views. Media personalities, politicians and the public turn to social networks for real-time information and reactions to the day’s events. But compared with the U.S. public overall, which voices are represented on Twitter?”

https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2019/04/24/sizing-up-twitter-users/

Pew Research Center came up with some interesting statistics about Twitter usage in America, like only 22% of Americans actually use Twitter.  Out of that 22%, the actual number of Twitter users generating and keeping America’s spin war blowing is even smaller:

“In addition to teasing out these differences between Twitter users and the population as a whole, this analysis also highlights the sizable diversity among Twitter users themselves. The median user tweets just twice each month, but a small cohort of extremely active Twitter users posts with much greater regularity. As a result, much of the content posted by Americans on Twitter reflects a small number of authors. The 10% of users who are most active in terms of tweeting are responsible for 80% of all tweets created by U.S. users.”

Most of the social media spin attacks generate from Twitter amplification, even if the original video or photos originated on a different social media platform.  For instance, the Covington Catholic video started on Instagram, was picked up and amplifed on Twitter:

“Late on Friday, the account posted a minute-long video showing the now-iconic confrontation between a Native American elder and the high school students, with the caption, “This MAGA loser gleefully bothering a Native American protester at the Indigenous Peoples March.”
That version of the video was viewed at least 2.5 million times and was retweeted at least 14,400 times, according to a cached version of the tweet seen by CNN Business.
The video shared by @2020fight did not show what preceded the confrontation between the Native American elder and the high school students.
The video had been posted earlier on Instagram by someone who was at the event, but it was @2020fight’s caption that helped frame the news cycle.”

Of course, the biggest Twitter “influencer” in the world is President Donald J. Trump and he knows it.  Twitter gives him a direct path, bypassing the mainstream media gatekeepers, to tweet instantly.  He uses his Twitter account to generate his own spin attacks and incite his followers, but he also disrupts or blows-up Dem/mainstream media spin attacks, often with a single tweet.

The main thing working against America actually having another “civil war” in the sense of actual combatants engaging in real war is this 10% of the American population on Twitter running 24/7 agitation propaganda (our domestic spin war) would have to put down their cell phones and get off their butts to make that happen…

I just don’t see that happening, although it seems prudent to expect more random loons getting incited and acting out and more of the silly mob street protest antics, where loudmouth political agitators spew from their soapboxes , while their “followers,” and especially their media enablers, rush to tweet out video highlights and hype the “crowd size”…

I suspect more blood would be spilled, as heads exploded from the mind-crushing stupidity, than from actual “war,” as America’s scorched earth spin war spewed into more virulent partisan divides.  Spin war has real impacts for the American people being ruthlessly manipulated by agitation propaganda 24/7, but for the participants, well, many of them get noticed and gain a following to whom they can hawk books, elicit campaign donations, and become a blue check-mark worthy “influencer” on Twitter…

So much “winning.”

 

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Filed under General Interest, Information War, Twitter Tales

A different kind of Christmas arrangement

Who says you can’t find some interesting stuff on Twitter:

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Woke Twitter Spin Mob Attacks Again

Last night on Twitter, I observed what appeared to me, another orchestrated Dem spin mob smear operation, very similar to the Covington Catholic kids and that Native American protester/Vet, Nathan Phillips viral video attack smearing the Covington Catholic boys as racists.  This time the video and photos circulating on Twitter were of a white cadet at the Army-Navy football game, making a hand sign of what used to be the “Okay” hand sign, but is now hyped as being a “white power symbol.”

The hand sign was captured on a news report, as the cadet was right behind the reporter.  The interesting part of this is how this liberal social media mob attack progressed in a matter of hours from some anonymous Twitter accounts launching the photos and video narrative, to a full-blown news event, with major news organizations putting out stories about this cadet and West Point and Annapolis announcing they are investigating “the incident.”

All of this stemmed from some leftist activists spinning up a video and still photos of that cadet and framing it as a racist incident.

One of the big “amplifiers” (the term the info war expert crowd uses) BrooklynDad_Defiant, who has some big name followers among his 353,000+ following, like Cory Booker, Donna Brazile, Carolyn Maloney,  Van Jones, and Ari Melber, racked up  12,500 retweets of his version of this cadet incident:

By late last night a DCExaminer reporter, Jerry Dunleavy tweeted:

And today several MSNBC mouthpieces were hyping this cadet story.

It only took a few hours for a liberal social media outrage spin effort to generate a media “scandal” and get officials at two service academies to bow down and launch investigations, all before anyone even talked to this poor cadet, who has now been publicly labeled a racist.

Why aren’t journalists investigating these partisan, orchestrated Twitter spin smear attacks?

 

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Gloomy Spin Forecast

I haven’t read through the Horowitz IG report yet, only skimmed a small bit of it, so I don’t feel confident to write much about the report yet.  I do feel confident enough to say Horowitz found the Steele dossier to be totally unreliable, uncorroborated and due to the reliance on second and third sources, who were relaying rumors (not events they had any actual firsthand knowledge of), that “dossier”  is just malicious gossip.  That so many Obama officials, especially in the intelligence agencies and FBI bought into that dossier so completely should shock every American.  That the mainstream media sold the Steele dossier without any independent verification or corroboration, speaks volumes about what the mainstream media is… and what it is not.

As I’ve been harping on for years now, the mainstream media, by and large, serves as a massive spin conduit of the Democratic Party and Democrat spin operatives.  I really have been studying the Dem/media  spin information warfare since the 1990s and since 1999, determined to work to defeat spin war in America.  I’m not interested in defeating  Dems, Trump, specific partisans, or people in the media, I believe the larger battle is to get enough Americans committed to rejecting  spin information warfare as an acceptable way for American partisans and media to operate political messaging operations and media smear campaigns.  Yes, yes, I know, talk about a Forlorn hope, lol.

With the public exposure of the Steele dossier, as just part of a massive Clinton campaign/DNC scorched earth spin operation to smear Trump as a “Russian asset,” you might think many mainstream media journalists would be apologizing for their reporting bogus partisan spin smears for 3 years, but you’d be wrong.  The response is silence.  The mainstream media is one long wall of silence, as they ignore Trump-friendly media pointing out all the bogus Trump-Russia reporting over the past three years.  Many Trump-friendly reporters and pundits have spent two days on Twitter retweeting mainstream media Steele dossier reporting and demanding apologies, but it’s highly doubtful that will ever happen.

My best guess, if past is prologue, is the Dem spin operatives (many who are prominent mainstream media personalities) will start rewriting a new Trump-Russia spin script and once this Horowitz report furor dies down, slowly they will begin reseeding discredited parts of Steele’s dossier garbage and recasting it as now being partially corroborated or not completely false, due to some new “evidence” they conjure up with their new spin script.  They can not afford to admit this entire Trump-Russia Collusion story was all one huge partisan smear campaign, but that’s what it was.

During the Dems’ Brett Kavanaugh smear campaign, not a single one of the witnesses, whom Christine Blasey Ford named as being at the party where she claimed she was assaulted, remembers any such party or event ever happening.  Even Ford’s girlfriend, Leland Keyser, stated she never attended any party like that and that she has never even met Brett Kavanaugh.  A year after that Dem Kavanaugh smear campaign, two NYT reporters wrote a book on the Kavanaugh story.  In their media appearances, they were trying to resurrect Ford’s story as “credible” and yet, they failed to highlight the most important piece of new information they uncovered.  Keyser told them that Ford friends had contacted her and pressured her to change her story and back Ford’s account or she would have embarrassing personal information leaked to the media.  Too bad these ace reporters didn’t try to investigate who these Ford friends were and if anyone else was behind that blackmail effort.

The mainstream media in America now serves as just a spin front for the Democratic Party and political Left.  So, while they report on the FOX News Trump spin propaganda constantly (and yes, FOX is without question a Trump spin megaphone), they see themselves as the “real journalists” tirelessly chasing down “facts”.  And oddly all of these media spin warriors, seem to see themselves as noble, ethical… truth-tellers.

Our domestic scorched earth spin information war shows no signs of either side “winning” and in fact, what on earth is “winning” in an info war dedicated to spreading more and more spin garbage (LIES) faster and faster, in hopes of drowning out the other’s side’s spin (LIES)?  Not just our media suffers from the degradation of this spin war, all of America suffers too.  America will continue to lose credibility, continue to lose prestige, continue the escalating factionalization of our republic.  Our institutions will continue to decline and be corrupted by this “by any means necessary” political ethos, while the threads of civil society that hold our society together will further fray.

Yes, quite a gloomy forecast, but again – Trump didn’t win with the Horowtiz IG report, because in a world where #Resist mentality dominates, Dems no longer accept outcomes (or facts) they don’t like.  Alarmingly, neither does Trump.

Enough with the dire warnings, here’s a link to an Andrew McCarthy podcast with Rich Lowry, where they discuss the Horowitz report: https://www.nationalreview.com/podcasts/the-mccarthy-report/episode-67-examining-the-ig-report/

I wanted to mention that despite my best intentions to write more blog posts, it’s very hard to work on my blog in the past year.  My husband requires a lot more care and many days it’s hard to stay focused on organizing my thoughts, let alone trying to write something coherent.  I still hope to continue writing blog posts, as I can.

Many thanks to the readers, who stop by, and especially to JK, a loyal poster of comments, who provides me many great links and ideas.

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