Category Archives: Military

Quest for common American values

“In the military, and in a military family, you learn to do something very hard and not of your own choosing, for a cause bigger than yourself. You’re working for a cause determined by the mechanisms of democracy, standing side by side with others who are fully committed. Current U.S. civilian life has a striking absence of “common causes”—tasks that remind us that there is more that unites us than divide us.”

– Kathy Roth-Douquet

America’s Elite Needs to Get Back in Uniform

I’ve had this link saved for over a week, intending to use it in a blog post, but really there’s not much I can add to this excellent piece written by Kathy Roth-Douquet.

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Filed under American Character, Food for Thought, General Interest, Military

A few Cyber & Defense Links

Here are a few links I found interesting:

DEFENDING FORWARD: THE 2018 CYBER STRATEGY IS HERE   – An article at War On The Rocks

National Will to Fight: Why Some States Keep Fighting and Others Don’t  – This is a Rand Study

Why Understanding Is Key to Thwarting Social Media Threats – An article at Stratfor

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Jack Ryan enters the digital age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

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

Interesting list of strategic assumptions

Here’s a War On The Rocks article worth reading:

THE U.S. MILITARY’S DANGEROUS EMBEDDED ASSUMPTIONS

by David Barno and Nora Bensahel

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Filed under Foreign Policy, General Interest, Military, Uncategorized

My favorite Army cookbook

 

This is a really fun Army cookbook, if you ever want to attempt cooking Army recipes from America’s front line troops, throughout American military history.  There’s even a recipe for Colonel George Washington’s small beer.  The recipes come with ingredient lists for feeding 10 or feeding 100.  I really liked that.  And as an added bonus, this book is brimming with tidbits of military history and lore.

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Filed under American History, General Interest, Military

A few links on Ulysses S. Grant

After mentioning Ulysses S. Grant in my latest blog posts, I decided I should read his autobiography, The Personal Memoirs of U. S. Grant.   His autobiography is easily available free online.  Amazon has several formats, and in digital format they have a  6-part free version:

Part 1 

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

The Gutenberg Library has a free online version here.

Bartleby has free version online too – here.

Often many interesting facets to the character and lives of important political figures get buried under the smears used by their political rivals and detractors.  Grant is probably more widely known for his reputation as a drunk than as the general who led the Union to victory.

Just a bit of casual googling in the past few days and I learned that besides being a former U.S president and general, Grant was also an accomplished watercolor artist.

Recently, I learned that Karen Pence, wife of vice president, Mike Pence, is also an accomplished watercolor artist and has made promoting art therapy programs to help trauma victims a cause she’ll use her position as second lady to promote.  The liberal media has painted her as a far-right, Christian zealot so often that I found it interesting to find out she’s an artist, but even more interesting, she’s a trained pilot:

“Karen comes from a family of pilots. “I was born on an Air Force base,” Karen said on Afternoons With Amos, a radio show. “My dad worked for United Airlines. I kind of grew up around planes. My godfather had his own plane, and when I was a teenager, I got to fly with him and it just kind of got in my blood.”

Although her license is not current, her son Michael has the flying gene. “My son, though, has taken me out because he’s a pilot now, he’s actually an instructor,” she said in the interview.”

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/news/a62233/karen-pence-facts/

The more facets we take the time to see in people, especially people who have been tarred by the media, the easier it is to see them more as sparkling diamonds than as cheap paste jewelry.  Most people defy cookie-cutter descriptions.  Most are complex, with many experiences and interesting tidbits to share.  You can enrich your own life greatly by taking the time to get to know them.

Hope everyone has a nice day and let’s be thankful that yesterday’s missile alarm warning in Hawaii was a false alarm.

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Filed under General Interest, History, Military

Trump’s OODA loop

The Clinton/Obama/Dems/mainstream media coalition vs. Trump information war drags on and Trump continues to confound his enemies, who still react in dismay that he is still in office.

Both sides remain very committed to continuing the fight.  Trump often seems to act on gut instinct, instantaneously reading his enemies’ motives way more clearly than his enemies read him.  Trump learned his enemies’ information warfare strategy, but his enemies have no real understanding of how Trump won the election or how to counter his strategy.

Yesterday, I read an editorial piece by Josh Marshall, Thoughts on the Greatness of Ulysses S. Grant, at TPM, which made me think about how Trump is still standing, despite the relentless information war being unleashed against him.  The piece is very interesting, so put aside your partisan blinders and read Marshall’s thoughtful views on Grant’s leadership and writing.  He offered some insights into Grant’s leadership, that I had never thought about before. Marshall writes about Grant’s transformational military leadership and the ways in which Grant threw the traditional military playbook out the window and experimented with maneuver warfare, but even more interesting than that insight, Marshall explains a theory of military operations, which Grant intuitively utilized to great advantage, even though the theory was not developed until a century later.  Marshall writes:

“A century later, a military intellectual and US Air Force Colonel named John Boyd developed a theory of military operations known by the shorthand “OODA loops.” OODA stands for the process of Observe – Orient – Decide – Act, a framework to think about the constant interaction between our observation of our environment and the decisions we make in how to respond to it. Boyd’s insight was that if a combatant can move through this cycle sufficiently faster than an adversary he can get inside his opponent’s ‘OODA loops’. Specifically, if you can move rapidly enough from observation to decision and action, you can change the environment your opponent has observed while they are still deciding how to react to it.That causes a cycle of missteps and confusion leading to defeat. Boyd, a fighter pilot, developed his theory around aviation dogfights. But without the acronyms, game theory and mathematics, it was a similar insight that was allowing Grant to see the impact of mobility in defeating his opponents. Speed is not simply the pace at which actions occur. Sufficient speed changes the nature of those actions or, more specifically, changes the reactions to them and in so doing changes them as well.”

https://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/thoughts-on-the-greatness-of-ulysses-s-grant

Marshall devotes a good portion of his piece to explaining the importance of writing reflecting clarity of vision and thought.  He asserts Grant’s writing reflects an amazing clarity and ability to express himself concisely, which is assuredly more important than style and fancy phrasing in a military leader.

While President Trump is in no way a military genius and it’s a safe bet he has never read either Grant’s autobiography or about Boyd’s OODA loops, Trump has an intuitive genius (yes, I hesitated using that word in relation to Trump) for throwing his political enemies off-balance and for controlling the information battlefield, which the Left learned to dominate and control using the sycophantic, liberal mainstream media to disseminate and saturate the media reporting with talking points, narratives, memes, all designed to manipulate and control public opinion.

For decades the SPIN form of information warfare  has allowed the Left to easily and successfully manipulate public opinion and reinforce it, by relentless repetition of the short talking points messaging filled with buzz words, which was then used to manufacture public opinion polling.  The polling, which was really the result of what amounted to mass media brainwashing, with the repetitive spin, was sold as the definitive marker on what Americans believe and it was used to marginalize conservatives and political opinions that deviated from the Left’s spin.

Trump’s opponents keep recycling through their tired spin attacks (his taxes, his lying, Russian collusion, his mental instability, the sexual predation allegations), but they keep failing to take him down.  Although most of Trump’s attacks are petty, filled with lies, often sound unhinged,  and more often than not, are rather sloppily written tweets, what Trump has done is completely break through the Left’s lock on controlling the SPIN cycle.

Observing Trump’s use of Twitter and his public speaking, it’s easy to dismiss Trump as a loudmouth, know nothing, corrupt, lying, reprehensible excuse of a leader.  His leadership, especially his penchant for playing even his own team members against each other, is assuredly toxic leadership, but when it comes to using his vastly smaller media platforms to fight the Left’s massively larger and powerful forces, Trump has learned to use his own charismatic showmanship to demolish their carefully constructed spin attacks and completely control the 24/7 news cycle, mostly using just his personal Twitter account and a handful of tweets a day.  He doesn’t rely on drafting cumbersome, focus group-tested wording or emailing talking points, then disseminating to thousands of operatives and friendly media Leftists.

Trump does watch a lot of TV news, which the Left is using to discredit Trump, but what they don’t understand is he watches and then, without giving away his next move, he tweets or makes a few public statements, which invariably throw the Left’s carefully orchestrated spin attacks into disarray.  Trump has an innate sense for how to manipulate the media, but he has a genius for getting inside his opponents’ OODA loops, leaving them scrambling and stuck recycling through their old spin attacks, while he has completely moved ahead of them and owned their information platforms.

Winning an information war is not about having the best “spin” or vast information platforms that far outmatch your opponents, it’s about understanding people and understanding the things that they care about.  Trump understands people and he has a canny knack for manipulating people.

Trump spins faster and more effectively than his enemies and he has demolished the Left’s control of America’s media information platforms… using mostly a free, personal Twitter account.  He doesn’t rely on expensive focus groups or fancy data experts; he trusts his own instincts.

Trump has broken through the Left’s information warfare OODA loops.

He broke through and demolished their SPIN cycle.

Whether he can win the information war remains to be seen, but he has the Left off-balance and in a constant state of panic, regrouping and recycling failed talking points messaging.

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Filed under General Interest, Information War, Military, Politics, The Media, Twitter Tales