Category Archives: Military

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

Kneeling or Standing: A fake diversion

Kneeling or standing seems to be another one of these “national conversations” America is having.  Here’s another junk journal I made last weekend, using a 2010 military-themed calendar. It was a free calendar, handed out at the military commissary I use on Fort Stewart.  The clothespins are just to hold the pages open. The songbook came in a fundraising letter from the Disabled American Veterans and on the back it has 2014 on it.  The post card is one of several American bicentennial ones, I bought in 1976:

I put my “I love America” junk journal together, using only stuff I had already.  I still have a lot of work to do with embellishing the inside and finding charms or beads or something to add to the strings hanging out the bottom, which are the strings from sewing the page signatures into the book:

I made the cover out of a cereal box and covered it with patriotic fabric I’ve had for many years.  I decided to put several coats of Mod Podge matte sealer on top, because it makes the cover easy to wipe clean (good for messy me) and it also made it feel sturdier.

This old calendar had lots of nice photos, worth saving, so I added them, some patriotic scrapbook paper, old map pages, and some assorted other paper.  It felt better to be working on this journal last weekend, almost like therapy in the age of Trump: The Potemkin American President, which is a bizarre reality show and sequel to Trump: The Potemkin 2016 Campaign.   His MAGA 2.0 is totally fake.  He plays a constant, vile “us vs. them” strategy. It’s the same old Clinton strategy, where they were always the victim of some nefarious, “vast, right-wing conspiracy”.

This kneeling controversy follows his constant borrowing on the American people’s respect for the generals surrounding him, stealing their honor whenever he can.  He uses those generals to bolster his image as “Trump loves the military” and he uses the military as stage props and flags, flags and more flags, to wrap himself in.

Last weekend’s controversy was a classic Trump diversion. He once again changed the subject, latched onto the topic, showing respect for the flag and national anthem, that he knew his base and millions of Americans would rally behind, all to create a controversy, where the Left would screech.  He has played the innocent, standard-bearer victim for MAGA, again. The real issue was not about kneeling or standing. It was an abuse of power by the President of the United States, trying to exert influence on NFL owners to prod them to fire players over players’ political expressions. Most people buy into either Trump’s spin or the liberal media’s spin and do not think for themselves. With Americans trained to take sides on every hot bed issue, few will stop and say, “that’s not really what the issue is.”

As someone who cringed, when President Clinton waxed about feeling people’s pain, watching Clinton’s old golfing buddy, pretend to be a Republican, sickens me, but it also makes me wonder why so many Republicans rolled over and got on the Trump train, even though Trump’s vacillating policies, pronouncements and even his character were things that many of these Republicans railed against.

These days, I wonder who are these Trump loyalists, people who spent decades preaching conservative values?

Who are these people, who still cheer President Trump’s divisive, phony chants at rallies?  Even more worrisome is who are these mouthpieces, who are willing to repeat any Trump talking point, no matter how untruthful, disingenuous, or fake it is?

The Left and the mainstream (liberal) media are running a phony information war too and besides their endless #Resist campaign to delegitimize Trump, there are many bizarre, dishonest headlines and stories from ostensibly hard news reporters.

Their news reporting often makes me cringe, but their opinion pieces often make me feel like revisionist history is being written from the pages of American journalism’s top newspapers. The New York Times ran an opinion piece a couple of days ago, continuing their Duranty heritage of willingly spreading communist propaganda.  When you examine the #Resist, with their Women’s March, then their Immigration and Workers’ Rights March in May, with far-left organizers, communist propaganda seems to be in vogue again. Lately, the target audience for communist indoctrination is women:

“The Communists did many terrible things,” my grandmother always says at the end of her reminiscences. “But they made women’s lives much better.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/25/opinion/women-china-communist-revolution.html

In August, the New York Times ran an opinion piece titled, Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism

While President Trump captures media attention daily with his information war, there’s plenty to be disturbed about with the liberal media too.   I’m doing less blogging and more crafting and needlework,  because the raging information war in America worries me a “great” deal.

Junk journal made with a 2009 local bank calendar.  I turned this into my Hurricane Irma evacuation journal and have it almost completely filled up with collages, receipts, lists, and journaling.

Junk journal made with 2004 Country Bouquet calendar.

I used a dollar store 2018 calendar with lovely vintage collage pictures as pages to add to my Monet journal, which had too much empty space along the spine.  I made two more signatures of assorted pages and sewed them into that journal.  I didn’t have enough of the brown cord that I used to sew in the other 3 signatures, so I used a green beading cord.   I didn’t want to throw away the scrap pieces, that I cut off of those vintage collage pages, so I’ve been cutting and tearing them up, making my own collages on index cards, using  paint, rubber stamping and images from an old wildlife book. I coated them with Mod Podge to seal them.

I made the bird ones, cutting out pieces of paper and using a little bit of ink around the edges, but they looked pretty blah and lifeless.  So, then I tried the butterfly using acrylic paint, inking and gel pen highlights, after, of course, watching more YouTube videos on mixed media collage art.  I cut the words, Timeless Beauty, out of an old magazine.  I opted for tearing out my pieces of paper, like the real collage artists do and I experimented with the paint.   On the bobcat card, I  added paint and some rubber-stamping on the background.  The purrsonality script is from an old sticker sheet.  As a person with zero artistic talent, I am thankful for Pinterest and YouTube videos.

The never-ending information warfare is reforming this die-hard news junkie into a crafting/sewing fanatic.

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Pauline Revere warns the Russians are coming

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

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Left’s hysteria over “Russian influence”, to “Russian collusion” and now “Russian interference” resonates like a McCarthyite Red Scare.  The Left’s hysteria amounts to, “Oh my goodness, there are diabolical Russians around every corner trying to control our minds, our elections, even our very democracy.”  And of course, their remedies to stop the Russian influence operations, in order to ostensibly preserve our constitutional republic, always come back to trying to undo the 2016 election, which of course, there is absolutely no constitutional means to do.  That would mean discounting the results of a legal election, where millions of Americans voted Donald J. Trump and he won the electoral college vote.

To save us from these diabolical Russians, we’ve got Pauline Revere, aka the smartest woman in the world, riding the TV talk circuit, combining her sore loser book tour of 1,001 reasons why she lost the election, combined with her new spin effort to sell Americans the lie that the 2016 election was not legitimate.   She is colluding with her supporters in the  liberal media and Hollywood, using the same mass media information warfare that she is asserting Trump and the Russians used.

These massive media SPIN efforts work only with massive collusion with mass media, who ruthlessly repeat the same talking points and phrases.  This creates an opinion cascade, as Americans start repeating those same talking points (it’s a form of mass media brainwashing).  The political operatives and their friends in the media then begin to repeat the poll numbers, to reinforce those spun messages and create the illusion they reflect the “will of the people”.  Since the 90s, this phrase equating polls as some form of legitimate expression of the “will of the people” has been repeated and reinforced by politicians and the media, especially by those on the Left, who mastered this form of mass media information warfare to brainwash those, the Left’s sleaziest political operatives dubbed “low information voters”

The key point about the 2016 election is Jeh Johnson, the Obama Homeland Security Director, stated that there was no tampering detected on election day.  That makes the election LEGITIMATE.

The Russians’ escalated information warfare activities during the election should be investigated, but in our effort to “protect” Americans from “influence”, more laws or crackdowns on speech will do nothing to protect Americans, but will assuredly do more to destroy our constitutionally protected liberties than anything the Russians can do with their info war against American democracy.

As someone who pointed out the information warfare being waged using “SPIN cycles” since 1998, to include the vicious gang-up attacks on the Excite message boards during the Clinton impeachment, this hysteria about Russian information warfare now seems laughable.  All of a sudden, the people who were the most vicious combatants using this vile form of information warfare are hysterically warning that it’s a dire threat to American democracy…

Again, Donald Trump was only able to knock off 17 other Republican candidates during the GOP primary with the knowing and willing COLLUSION of CNN, MSNBC, and FOX news, along with many print journalists and pundits SPINNING his talking points and memes 24/7, running his rallies live and in their entirety and touting his “GOP Insurgency”.  This was Bill Clinton’s triangulation strategy.  A leaked Podesta email referred to this as their Pied Piper strategy.  They wanted the most extreme Republican candidate to win the GOP primary and they were colluding with the media to sell Trump.  Trump received billions of dollars worth of free media in the primary.

The Bill Clinton triangulation strategy was simple: paint Trump as the far-right fascist kook, paint Bernie as the far-left commie kook, clearing the middle for Queen Hillary to prance back into the White House.

It backfired.

Mueller may find criminal actions relating to Trump and/or some of his campaign associates.  If so, impeachment could very well be a legitimate remedy.  The Clinton resistance efforts will make it harder for Congress to act, because their constant information warfare is as counterproductive to American democracy as what the Russians are doing.  And then to compound the mess, President Trump is waging the same kind of no holds barred information war too.  They all want to control the hearts and minds of the American people using SPIN, relentlessly repeating and assaulting the American people with gross distortions of the truth and outright lies.

Pauline Revere is several decades late warning about Russian information warfare in America.

Yesterday CNN reported on a fake Tea Party Twitter account and Facebook is working to stop Russian political ad buys. but this hysteria about Russians infiltrating right-wing political sites is so myopic, that it’s stunning.  The Russians infiltrated the American Left, from their political institutions to academia to Hollywood, thoroughly since inception of the Comintern in 1919.  The Russians have a century’s worth of experience building an information warfare capability within the bastions of the American political Left.

I strongly suspect they never left when the Soviet Union collapsed.  I believe SPIN information warfare had some strong foreign information warfare influences in it since the 1990s, although I don’t have proof of that.  All I have is my personal experience during the Clinton impeachment drama, stemming from writing comments on the Excite message boards.  I don’t have proof of what happened there either.

However, if I’m right, then the problem of Russian influence, using mass media information warfare, is larger than just 2016, President Trump, FOX news and Russian run “American right-wing” twitter accounts and sites.  The Soviets had a very captive audience among American academia, Leftist politicians, the press and Hollywood, to spread their messaging.   The Russians didn’t have to work hard to find plenty of useful idiots among the Left to carry their messaging .

That the Russians now have FOX News and many other information avenues working 24/7 to pervert conservative Republican messaging and replace it with a mishmash of Trumpian messaging, strikes me as they now have the means to undermine both political parties, Hollywood, academia, and the media.  That “GOP Insurgency” was meant to destroy the Republican Party.  The Clintons have left the Democratic Party in total disarray.  Congress is dysfunctional.  The courts still function thankfully.

The last bastion where The Constitution is revered, protected and defended is in the U.S. military and President Trump is working to undermine the integrity of that institution with his PR blitz to bolster his support among the military.  Messaging targeting the U.S. military, to undermine morale and military values, will escalate, I believe.  I expect much of that undermining messaging to be at the hands of President Trump, with his endless stream of  “don’t take him literally” strong-man word salads and using military backdrops to bolster his “popular” image.

The messaging war is going to get crazier, of that you can be sure.

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All leadership boils down to trust.

Last week, President Trump retweeted a meme about General Pershing, which according to military historians is not true:

Study what General Pershing of the United States did to terrorists when caught. There was no more Radical Islamic Terror for 35 years!

Alex Horton, a reporter at the Washington Post, writes:

“Brian M. Linn, a history professor at Texas A&M University, did just that nearly two decades ago when he published “Guardians of Empire,” a book on the U.S. military presence in Asia from 1902 to 1940.

His verdict on Trump’s claim?

“There is absolutely no evidence this occurred,” he told The Washington Post.

“It’s a made-up story. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times people say this isn’t true. No one can say where or when this occurred.”

But Trump’s claims, and the wider belief in a routinely debunked story, have far-reaching effects. Not only is the story untrue, but the convenient twist — of an insurgency defeated only with the use of brutal war tactics — points to precisely the opposite lessons Pershing and his troops learned in the Philippines campaign from 1899 to 1913, Linn said.

“The U.S. military learned escalating counterterrorism was not effective, and they took great steps, including Pershing, to de-escalate,” Linn said.”

Trump said to study General Pershing. Here’s what the president got wrong.

President Trump loves to sound “tough”, so it’s no surprise he’d latch onto this “committing war crimes to defeat terrorists” myth.   This myth is the distillation of his conviction that the US military should murder ISIS family members to scare ISIS terrorists into submission, his “become terrorists to defeat terrorists strategy”.

Atrocities do happen in most wars, I believe, and often when one side employs a brutal tactic or a newer weapon, the other side often decides to do the same.   In World War I, weapons of mass destruction entered the battlefield, first with tear gas, but escalated, as all major belligerents worked to develop more lethal and effective gases, despite being signatories to the agreements that use of these weapons was a war crime:

“The use of poison gas performed by all major belligerents throughout World War I constituted war crimes as its use violated the 1899 Hague Declaration Concerning Asphyxiating Gases and the 1907 Hague Convention on Land Warfare, which prohibited the use of “poison or poisoned weapons” in warfare.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_weapons_in_World_War_I

General Pershing deserves to be remembered as one of America’s finest generals, not as a war criminal.  He revolutionized the American military during WWI, when he commanded the American Expeditionary Forces.   He went to war without an army, because the American peacetime army had been reduced to a few scattered regiments.  His innovations and relentless pursuit of solutions to complex logistical and tactical problems should be required reading for American military officers.  He defied bureaucracy at every turn, always striving to tackle every obstacle. He dedicated his life to not only leading soldiers, but taking care of his soldiers.  And above all else, General Pershing believed in a stringent code of conduct for all soldiers to follow.  He was not a ruthless killer; he was an American soldier dedicated to serving and protecting America.

General John J. “Blackjack” Pershing is an American hero worth remembering.

I intend to write more about General Pershing in future posts, because we could all learn a great deal about what selfless service means, by studying his leadership example.

President Trump is not the only American to fall for internet myths, fake news, garbled history, fabrications, hoaxes and scams.  Almost everyone who consumes news and information online has fallen for information, that was not true.  For instance, I read news at the Conservative Treehouse, seeing it mentioned in a list of conservative blogs.  The site uses Breitbart wallpaper, imagery of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and Biblical quotes to lure people into believing it’s just a conservative site. I now believe it’s a Russian front operation.  I read some information there a few years ago and was fascinated trying to understand their crowdsourcing method for acquiring information.   Their two big topics were exposing the lies about black violence and Islamist terrorism.  I was banned from their site for trying to post a comment about the Islamic Golden Age, and countering some woman, who claimed I was aiding the enemy and touting Islamists. The historical fact is there really was an Islamic Golden Age and Islamic culture was far more advanced in the sciences than Europe, during that time.  My comment was blocked and I was banned, but they allowed and encouraged racist comments.  That site became Trump Polling Central during the 2016 campaign.

I mentioned my concerns about Drudge in previous posts.   Like millions of other political junkies, I started following Drudge during the Clinton impeachment scandal.  In recent years, Drudge started mainstreaming loon, Alex Jones, by featuring Jones’ stories.  Drudge also sensationalized conspiracy stories, like linking Ted Cruz’ father to JFK’s assassination, to destroy Ted Cruz.   Numerous times he headlined unflattering photos of Trump’s opponents.  On one occasion he headlined photos of Hillary, casting her as decrepit or another occasion, he ran photos of her casting her as a drunk.  The oddest thing I noticed on Drudge during the 2016 election was he removed his link to RedState, which went NeverTrump, from his list of links, and replaced it with Zero Hedge.  I’ve seen numerous articles alleging Zero Hedge is a Russian front operation, that recycles Russia Today propaganda.

The scope of Russian front operations online, their troll armies in comment sections to attack and silence anyone not on the Trump train, melded with Trump’s American sleaze operators, like Roger Stone, Peck at the National Enquirer, Richard Mercer’s Trump data operation, and Trump’s largest agitation propaganda front, Rupert Murdoch’s FOX News.

I know I have fallen for things online that turned out to be untrue, believed sites were reliable news and weren’t, but I am not making critical national security decisions, like President Trump.  I’m a homemaker, who writes a blog.

To improve the quality of the information that the president sees, General Kelly is working to institute policies that assure the president sees only vetted information:

“Confronted with a West Wing that treated policymaking as a free-for-all, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly is instituting a system used by previous administrations to limit internal competition —and to make himself the last word on the material that crosses the president’s desk.

It’s a quiet effort to make Trump conform to White House decision-making norms he’s flouted without making him feel shackled or out of the loop. In a conference call last week, Kelly initiated a new policymaking process in which just he and one other aide — White House staff secretary Rob Porter, a little-known but highly regarded Rhodes Scholar who overlapped with Jared Kushner as an undergraduate at Harvard — will review all documents that cross the Resolute Desk.”
Kelly moves to control the information Trump sees

President Trump has shown a preference for relying on word-of-mouth information from his friends and sycophants. General Kelly is trying to provide President Trump with fully vetted information, to aid in the president’s decision-making.  Whether he succeeds at weaning Trump off his penchant for trusting in unvetted internet stories remains to be seen. President Trump believes the American intelligence community, who vets that intelligence information, can’t be trusted, .  It’s worth remembering that several months ago President Trump cited Russian reports as factual to back up his assertions about Russian collusion.  He relied on Russian reports, but believes the American intelligence community is the nefarious “Deep State” out to get him.

Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent, whose identity was leaked several years ago, has initiated a crowdsourcing effort to raise money to buy Twitter and kick President Trump off of Twitter.  This is a ridiculous and pointless effort.  He has the bully pulpit  of the presidency and has endless ways to get his message across.  Beyond that, although I believe it would be better for the country if President Trump got off of Twitter, he is free to make that decision himself.  He obviously believes that his tweet war against the media is helping him “win”.  He deliberately tweets to incite the media and his political enemies, who without fail, rush into a spinning frenzy of moral outrage and retweeting rushed stories, many which fall apart quickly.  This aids him in convincing his followers that he is a victim of a vast conspiracy.

Every time he gets the media and his political enemies to overreact, he feels that is a win. Contrary to President Trump’s assertion that he likes to get the facts, he goes on instinct rather than a careful study of facts and he is very sloppy at presenting detailed information.  None of that matters, because Roger Stone and the other sleazy political strategists behind President Trump came up with his strategy to win in 2016 and they are behind this MAGA 2.0 strategy.  Trump doesn’t understand the details, but he is masterful at the stagecraft and acting the part of a populist flamethrower.

There will be plenty more scorched earth attacks on Trump’s enemies – the media, Republicans, Democrats, or anyone who gets in the way of the Trump train agitation propaganda blitzkrieg.  Roger Stone is back to issuing veiled threats of violence and blood in the streets, to intimidate Republicans into submission again:

“But if the president is impeached, Stone says, there could be disastrous repercussions.

“You will have a spasm of violence in this country, an insurrection like you’ve never seen!” Stone warned. “Both sides are heavily armed.”

“This is not 1974,” Stone explained. “The people will not stand for impeachment.” This, of course, refers to Richard Nixon‘s resignation after the Watergate scandal. Stone worked in the Nixon administration in the Office of Economic Opportunity.

Stone didn’t just predict violence among the public. He said that those in Washington who would support impeachment would be placing themselves at risk.

“A politician who votes for it would be endangering their own life,” he said.

“I’m not advocating violence,” he clarified, “but I’m predicting it.””

https://lawnewz.com/video/roger-stone-anyone-who-votes-for-impeachment-would-be-endangering-their-own-life/

These Trump train thugs, like Stone, want more violence, they especially want the crazies on the left  and right to get more violent.  Most of all they want to intimidate, by using fear.  President Trump will be out there stirring up his base, along with his FOX News army of propagandists, telling Americans that Trump will not put up with violence and he will be tough on crime.

The best defense against Trump train intimidation and fear mongering is to not be afraid.  Don’t back down from threats of violence.  Unite in encouraging civil debate, calm, respect for all Americans and most of all respect for the rule of law.

We should all work tirelessly to pull all Americans away from the partisan extremes.

In the end America’s future does not rest on General Kelly’s ability to rein in Trump, or the media reporting, or getting Trump off of Twitter; it will rest on who the American people choose to trust and follow.

All leadership boils down to trust.

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