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2020 is winding to a close. It’s almost habit now for most people to lament about the awfulness of 2020 and wax on about it being the worst year ever. Unarguably, lots of terrible things happened this year. Close to two million people have died from COVID-19 this year. Along with new social distancing rules, Americans around the country experienced all sort of new rules limiting their movement and personal liberties, in an attempt to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We also experienced political turmoil, civil unrest, and even some shortages in grocery stores.
This year was filled with lots of worries. Perhaps it took reaching saturation point on the constant 2020 hysteria every time I turned around, but I reached a point a few months back, where I decided I was done with paying attention to journalists fomenting constant drama, done paying attention to articles or videos selling fear, drama or feeding worries and done with watching any prepper videos that blare a warning about some coming catastrophe.
Sure, I still think being prepared is important and learning preparedness skills certainly is worthwhile, but I’m done with paying attention to people urging me to rush to stock up or hunker down for some dire, but unspecified catastrophe that’s assuredly just ahead. I’ve learned a heck of a lot about food storage and other preparedness skills this year and am grateful for the knowledge, but in 2021 I want to focus on organizing and rotating the extra canned goods and supplies. I want to take more time and think about what foods I want to stock up, rather than reacting to preppers online with their endless lists of “must-have” items.
Focusing on preparedness has been a worthy undertaking (especially with the turmoil in 2020), however an even more important undertaking for me, a person who tends to accumulate clutter quickly, is to focus on becoming better organized and to gear my undertakings to being more purposeful and more carefully thought out. In other words, my energies are going to becoming more proactive in my choices rather than reacting to fear or media hype
Most of all, I want to live my life hopefully and with good cheer, not spending it borrowing trouble. Cultivating calm and finding ways each day to bolster some inner-peace will be my 2021 path.
Wishing all the best to everyone and hoping 2021 brings blessings and good things your way.
Sorry to be so late with posting Christmas greetings. I hope everyone had a safe and happy day, spent with those near and dear to them. Every little bit of normal we can preserve in our lives this year will strengthen us and our families. Wishing you peace and joy this Christmas season!
Two weeks into my husband’s home hospice care, some things don’t change. My husband, laying in a hospital-type bed here at home, still wants his TV on FOX News 24/7, even though he pays very little attention to it. Likewise, I didn’t listen to any of the impeachment speechifying, but did catch bits and pieces of President Trump’s State of the Union address.
While I haven’t followed much politics, I’m learning that caring for someone confined to a bed is a challenge and I’m acquiring new skills by watching and talking with the CNAs and the RN, who make several home visits a week. I’ve mastered changing a bed with a patient in the bed, because they don’t want my husband out of bed (not sure yet if that’s permanent or if he’ll regain enough strength to sit in a chair some) and I’m learning a lot of ins and outs of 24/7 bedside care. These home hospice CNAs and RN have become my lifeline and I am grateful beyond words for their care and kindness.
Sitting with my husband, I did watch Nancy Pelosi’s staged spin stunt of dramatically tearing up her copy of Trump’s speech at the end. Our American politics, despite the weeks of dramatic speeches about “upholding our constitution,” remains just endless, boring spin soap opera/reality TV antics. Our American political class in Washington’s, only bipartisan work seems to be destroying the dignity of our constitutional republic. It’s embarrassing watching so much of Trump’s reality TV/sideshow presidency, but it’s also embarrassing watching so much of the Dems and media staged spin show too.
When Nancy Pelosi regained the Speaker of the House position last year, the mainstream media tirelessly spun up Pelosi as this larger than life feminist Amazonian warrior/goddess persona, a woman who would beat Donald J. Trump into submission by the sheer awesomeness of her presence. Pelosi’s daughter, Christine Pelosi, the Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus Chair, has become a mainstream media fixture since 2019, fabricating and amplifying this “I am woman hear me roar” mystique about Nancy Pelosi’s toughness and political superpowers. The mainstream media hypes these insipid and disingenuous Christine Pelosi takes on her mother:
“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is from San Francisco and her daughter Christine Pelosi, the California Democratic Party’s Women’s Caucus Chair sat down today with ABC7 news anchor Kristen Sze.
She says the Speaker’s move to rip up the President’s speech was completely unplanned and came after a string of events.
Being seemingly snubbed by the President when she extended her hand to shake his before the speech and having to sit through what the House Speaker calls a series of untruths.
In fact, the Speaker was quoted today saying that the President shredded the truth, so she shredded his speech. Christine Pelosi says it’s an Italian grandmother’s move.
The House Speaker’s own mother once took away the dinner plate of a rude guest and then came back to the dinner table and carried on as normal.
Christine Pelosi also dismisses critics who say that Madame Speaker’s move was not reflective of taking the high road and that it’s standing up to the President as she has done many times before.”
Yet watching the steady stream of Chuck Schumer/Nancy Pelosi staged preemptive spin antics, as they traipsed to the White House to do battle with Donald Trump, this post SOTU Pelosi spin antic came across as weak, pathetic, beneath the dignity of her office and a new low in this destructive spin war, not as some tough “Italian grandmother’s move.” C’mon, as far as optics go, Pelosi tearing up Trump’s speech comes nowhere close to the impact of the horse’s head in the bed optic in the movie, The Godfather. Pelosi ain’t the spin warrior queen who can slay Trump and she’s looking sillier and more unhinged the further she goes trying to beat Trump at these absurd spin war antics.
Trump’s loud, lowbrow reality show presidency receives constant criticism from the mainstream media, much of it deserved, but this same media fails to hold Dems to the same standard (just like FOX News and most conservative media make excuses for Trump’s excesses). Pelosi didn’t come across as strong by tearing up Trump’s speech; she looked like an angry, vicious shrew. And it appeared to me that she had planned this spin stunt, as tossing a bone to her rabid far-left faction, who wanted to boycott the SOTU address. Her explanation that tearing up Trump’s speech was “the courteous thing to do” speaks volumes about the complete collapse of ethical standards in Washington. Her daughter trying to cast tearing up Trump’s speech as some bold “Italian grandmother’s move” made me wonder how many Dem spinmeisters worked on coming up with that spin line.
Pelosi looked petty, vindictive and frankly afraid of her far-left base, which added to the complete disarray of the Democratic Party’s 2020 primary process, bodes poorly for Dems chances in 2020. It also makes me still believe that somehow, someway, the Clintons are going to orchestrate a spin narrative and political maneuver for Hillary to swoop in as the avenging angel, who will unite Dems and lead the charge to finally defeat her 2016 nemesis, Donald J. Trump. How this might come about, I have no clue, but if anyone can finagle a political path for Hillary, Bill Clinton, one of the smartest political minds in America, would be the person to do it.
Yes, I’m still of a mind that the mainstream media’s other feminist goddess might rise from the ashes of her 2016 defeat to try save the Democratic Party… and America from a second President Donald J. Trump term.
We’re settling into a new normal here. My husband has late stage COPD and acute respiratory failure, along with normal pressure hydrocephalus. He’s had COPD for over 20 years and still was smoking 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day, the day before I took him to the ER on January 19th. Days before that our primary care doctor had put him on an antibiotic and prednisone, because his lungs sounded terrible and he had ordered a CT scan. Long story short, my husband is too weak to even sit up unassisted and needs complete care. I don’t want this to sound like I am angry at him about the smoking, just stating the reality. Every time a doctor or I tried to talk to him about smoking, my husband got belligerent. My husband is 64 years old and has smoked since he was a young teenager. His mother died of late stage COPD and acute respiratory failure. So here we are – with an expectation of less than 6 months to live.
The normal pressure hydrocephalus causes my husband to feel like his feet are stuck to the floor and in 2012 when he was first diagnosed, he had been falling frequently for about 5 or 6 years, had developed an unsteady, side-to-side gait and developed very noticeable short-term memory loss. He refused to go to a neurologist until the problem was so severe he couldn’t take even a few steps without falling and he insisted that whatever I was using to clean the carpets in our house was making his feet stick to the floor (even though he had the same problem outside and other places too). Then in 2012, I made an appointment with our primary care doctor and insisted this was it – he had to see a specialist. I had already gone through buying him a cane, several years before this, then our daughter had gotten a walker for him, to prevent falls, and he said he didn’t need those…
In 2012, he was diagnosed with normal pressure hydrocephalus, referred to a neurosurgeon and had VP shunt surgery. The shunt improved his mobility a great deal for a few years, but he did rely on a walker to get around. His short-term memory never improved. Both the mobility and short-term memory loss became worse and in 2018, he had VP shunt revision surgery, but his condition never improved and both his mobility and short-term memory loss have gotten worse. He knows he can’t remember and it frustrates him every single day. He loved to read and can no longer read even a few pages of a book, because he can’t keep track of what he read a few minutes ago. He has the same paperback James Patterson novel, Never Never, on the table next to his ashtray for a couple years now. He picks it up reads a few minutes and then sets it down. He can’t follow TV shows or movies either.
Every day life has become very challenging for my husband in the past 2 years and for me and our family. As my husband became almost completely wheelchair bound, life has become an endless daily routine of my husband trying to walk with his walker and more falls than I can count. He didn’t have the strength to move around in the wheelchair by himself. The doctor ordered a motorized chair, but my husband doesn’t have the manual dexterity to operate the joystick control or the attention span to pay attention to operating the chair, so it’s been assisting him to take a few steps to get him transferred to the wheelchair, all day long. More times than I can count, he’s tried to walk with his walker or forgot to grab his walker, where he grabs furniture or the wall to try to walk and falls.
Did I mention my husband is very hard-headed and determined to fight on (and against advice), When he falls, his usual response is a jovial, “I’m a paratrooper; the Army taught me how to fall.” Apparently, they did a good job, because it’s a miracle he hasn’t fractured a lot of bones and only needed stitches in his head, one time. And that time, blood was gushing out of his head, I was worried about that VP shunt in his brain, because the gash wasn’t that far from the shunt and my husband’s response was “it’s just a small scrape, I’m fine”… as our son and I got him loaded in the car and to the ER for 5 staples.
I’m not angry at my husband, just resigned to the reality of his condition and the other thing I feel is immense relief that he has hospice care, because I would have no clue how to care for him in this condition on my own. Last Tuesday, some hospital lady, not sure what her title was, but she came to talk to me about home health care for when my husband is discharged. She was happily telling me about the wonders of physical therapy, occupational therapy, etc. and I was seized with fear. I had no idea how on earth I could care for my husband, in the condition he’s in, on my own. There must have been some crossed wires there, because a few hours later the doctor came to talk to me about hospice care and it was a huge relief. Now, I have professionals managing his care here in our home and I have people I can call 24 hours a day, if I need advice or assistance. He is completely bedbound and keeps asking me to help him get up to go to the bathroom and it’s doubtful that’s happening. He’s too weak to even sit up on his own. He is also adjusting to this new normal, but he’s very happy to be home and out of the hospital.
The oddest thing is my husband is more lucid now with the home oxygen than he’s been in several years, so I suspect the lack of oxygen was adding to his cognitive decline. The home oxygen is another long story… that was first prescribed in 2003 after a hospital stay. My husband used it a short while, then said he didn’t need it. Several years later, he had another respiratory crisis and he was once again prescribed home oxygen – same thing. So, he was sitting here struggling to breathe, didn’t want to go to the pulmonologist the past few years, because the PA there tried to talk to him about the smoking, and we have two home oxygen machines sitting in the garage. Our primary care was trying to manage his care as best as possible – all things considered…
All four of our kids came home and helped me get set-up and organized for this new normal of hospice care and I’m much calmer, but the important thing is my husband is getting excellent medical care here in our own home. He’s not smoking, because I refuse to be the person to give him a cigarette that could end his life. He misses our back porch, where we had windows, heat and air installed years ago, so he could be comfortable out there smoking, but everyone’s got to make some concessions in this situation. He’s got nicotine patches.
My husband is sleeping a lot, so perhaps I will be able to get some blog posts written. One of our sons installed a baby monitor and gave me this monitor that’s about the size of a cell phone, so I can keep an eye on my husband anywhere in the house, hear him ask for anything and I can press the talk button to talk to him.
I keep warning my kids, after all of this 24-hour a day caregiving stuff, for years now, I am exhausted a lot of the time and who knows, I might croak first.
Each experience in life brings surprises, so my first surprise has been the enormous relief I felt with the idea of hospice care. I was to the point, for several months now, of not knowing how much longer I could manage his care at home alone. Every time I mentioned getting home health help, my husband said he didn’t want that and I feared no one would deal with my husband being combative or uncooperative to the physical therapy, occupational therapy route again (he had that twice before after hospital stays). This time, I made the decision.
These hospice workers have been a godsend.
I didn’t watch more than a few minutes, here or there, of the legal experts testifying this past week, as Congressman, Jerry Nadler, opened his first impeachment hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. I gave up on reading transcripts and government reports too. Perhaps, I’ll pay closer attention as this impeachment sideshow plods on, but for now – this whole pathetic spin circus is a national embarrassment.
Byron York wrote a piece, On Trump impeachment, Democrats pivot back to Russia, yesterday, that sums up this impeachment sideshow:
But on Thursday, Pelosi said Democrats have not acted in haste at all, because the current Ukraine investigation is actually a continuation of the two-and-a-half-year Russia investigation. In fact, it’s not about Ukraine at all. It’s still about Russia.
“This isn’t about Ukraine,” Pelosi said. “It’s about Russia. Who benefited by our withholding — withholding of that military assistance? Russia. It’s about Russia. Russia invading eastern Ukraine. Over 10,000 people, now maybe 13,000, some of them in the absence of our conveying that military assistance that was voted in a bipartisan way by the Congress of the United States. So sometimes people say, ‘Well, I don’t know about Ukraine. I don’t know that much about Ukraine.’ Well, our adversary in this is Russia. All roads lead to Putin. Understand that.”
Good citizenship should include trying to be an informed citizen, engaged in following the news and issues of the day. The media and our political class still pretend they’re working hard to provide us with “facts” and reporting on “serious events” affecting us, but trying to navigate through the daily doses of Democrat and mainstream media Red Scare hysteria selling Trump outrage spin or the Trump and FOX News punditry circular logic defending against or feigning ignorance about Trump’s latest outrage leaves me exhausted and frankly, embarrassed by our American political scorched earth spin war. That so many politicians and news media “professionals” actually seem to believe they’re working to “save our democracy” or on the side of the angels seeking only “the truth, ” scares me, because either these people are the most clueless nincompoops alive or they are shameless political hacks and media charlatans, willing to sell any spin lie to gain political advantage, score a few ratings points or garner some clicks online. Increasingly, I just glance at the spin headlines, listen to a few video takes, then throw my hands up in disgust and tune out most of the political spin.
How we ended up here boils down to 2016 presidential political corruption led to Dems and the mainstream media engaging in a massive spin dirty trick promoting Trump, by giving him billions of dollars in free media, all to derail the GOP primary. Trump gained a following. Dems then pivoted to a massive scorched earth spin effort to slay the spin monster, Trump the GOP Insurgent, whom they worked so hard to promote. Their spin monster creation ended up winning the election and the Clinton machine, high-level Obama peeps and Dems, plus their vast array of liberal friends in the media then launched their #Resist scorched earth spin effort, dedicated to derailing Trump’s presidency, by any means necessary. Here we are, almost three years later, and nothing has changed, except Trump has become more battle-hardened against Dem/media spin attacks, Trump-friendly media has become as willing as the liberal media to launch corrupt spin attacks and Republicans, who once cowered and surrendered quickly under Dem/media spin attacks, now, by and large, just double down on supporting Trump and/or ignoring the Dem/media spin attacks.
Both political parties and the news media in America hunker down in enemy camps, determined to inflict as much spin damage on the opposing side as possible.
What should have been only a few months of scorched earth political spin war, from the end of our 2016 primary season/beginning of the general election season to election day, instead has turned into an entrenched, take no prisoners, three-year long political battle to destroy Trump’s presidency by any means necessary. The Dems and mainstream media tirelessly work to report only negative-slanted news about Trump and his presidency, they’ve left no stone unturned searching for Trump dirt, and in the absence of any “new” Trump outrage to report on, well, they recycle through the same tired repertoire of Trump scorched earth spin themes… Trump the Russian asset, Trump the Sexual Abuser, Trump the Crook, Trump the Demented/Dementia case, etc. etc., etc.
Our politics and news media have devolved into competing third-rate reality TV shows, so the “plots” veer more to tired publicity stunts, absurd gimmicks, and insultingly lame spin narratives, all repetitively cycled through, as America descends into scorched earth spin hell. Each repetitive Trump outrage media spin cycle plummets us further toward a looming information void, where the American people will no longer believe anything the news media reports and the news media becomes so mired in their own convoluted spin narratives, that they meander, hopelessly lost in the maze of, dare I use the term, “fake news,” that they created. It’s not just Trump spinning fake news, it’s Democrats, liberal mainstream media, Trumpy Fox News, and yes, this scorched earth spin war provides an unguarded media environment for hostile foreign disinformation operations. Our own partisans and their respective media spin forces will believe ( and amplify) any negative story about the other side.
My big picture take can be summed up with it’s most disturbing watching retired foreign policy experts, top military leaders and former intelligence officials get caught up in various “spin narratives.” become agitated and or sound hysterical based on the latest scorched earth spin narrative blazing across the media. When I start listening to these people or read their angry op-ed screeds (mostly anti-Trump ones), what strikes me most is how quickly I can discern which spin narratives, along this scorched earth spin trail, they’ve meandered down. It’s easy to navigate from their present hysterical outraged take and backtrack to which media they “trust” and “believe” report “facts” and which bubble of “cohorts” in this spin war they’re aligned with. Yes, these former apolitical national security people sound more and more like rabid partisan spin warriors than leaders committed to America writ large. That scares me.
So, now my little picture take on this impeachment sideshow: It’s a train wreck, on both sides. Dems launched a major scorched earth spin war offensive, but can’t even seem to get their spin straight on what grave crime or high crimes and misdemeanors Trump’s committed. Dems started with dramatic allegations of Trump committed a quid pro quo in a phone call with President Zelensky of Ukraine, back in July, by demanding investigations into the Bidens and withholding military aid to Ukraine to pressure Zelensky. On this allegation, after reading through some of the released transcripts from Schiff’s private hearings, I leaned toward supporting impeachment and yes, I believe Trump was pressuring Zelensky to open investigations into a list of matters, from 2016 corruption to Burisma to the Bidens to some unfathomable allegation about Crowdstrike and some secret DNC server. I still believe Trump mainly wanted these investigations opened to inflict political damage on Joe Biden, yet Trump insists that July call was a “perfect call.”
Trump’s Republican mouthpieces have meandered far and wide, from saying his call was “inappropriate, but not impeachable” all the way to going full-Trumpian adopting the “perfect call” spin. With Trump, who on earth even knows what he believes about Ukraine and assuredly, watching Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, wildly tweet allegations, assert he has a RICO chart ready, hint at ominous revelations to come, as he gallivants around Ukraine gathering “evidence,” this seems more like a bad script for another movie about grumpy old men run amok.
There’s been so much underhanded Adam Schiff and Dem efforts to craft that one phone call into “an impeachable offense,” that in the real world would likely rise to gross prosecutorial misconduct, that I think this impeachment effort, at this point, lacks legitimacy and has been so poorly managed by Dems that it’s more a scorched earth media spin event than anything remotely about saving our republic from a corrupt president. Dems appear to have spent more time plotting their spin theatrics than on investigating the allegations. They appear to be working on a tight partisan timeline rather than trying to take the time to secure witness testimony and run a fair process, but most telling that this is all just spin sideshow is Dems went from quid pro quo as the reason Trump had to be impeached immediately, to extortion, to bribery and lo’ and behold the reason has now pivoted back to “Russia”…
Since Dems rolled out Fiona Hill, The Non-Partisan, national security expert, to testify, I became disillusioned and disgusted with the Dem/media spin sideshow masquerading as a serious impeachment effort. Their impeachment spin narrative made a dramatic pivot back to Trump=Russia spin theme. Hill set that pivot in motion hyping the Dem spin line that she wants no part in advancing Republican spin that promotes dastardly Russian disinformation, which frames Ukraine as the culprit in 2016 attacks against our election. Russia did massively interfere in our election, but there were mainstream news media reports about much smaller Ukraine interference too. Now to even mention Ukraine interfered has been spun as promoting Russian disinformation…
So, not only is Trump a Russian asset, but in this latest Dem/media scorched earth spin attack… Republicans who dare even mention Ukraine interfered in our 2016 are now Russian assets too…
Here are a few mainstream media news reports on Ukraine interference:
1/11/17, Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire, and David Stern by Kenneth Vogel at Politico
7/13,2017, Did Ukraine try to interfere in the 2016 election on Clinton’s behalf, CBS News
12/12/18, Ukraine Court Rules Manafort Disclosures Caused “meddling” in U.S. Election, NY Times by Andrew E. Kramer
12/12/16, a Daily Beast article on the Manafort ledger
As for me, I’m devoting my energy to reading more books that interest me and way less time to this idiotic scorched earth spin information war.
In my last post I mentioned my reliance on my gut instinct in formulating what is, admittedly, a conspiracy theory. Interestingly enough, Trump has stated many times he trusts his gut when making decisions too. Somehow though I suspect there’s a yuge difference between his process and mine, so I’ll explain a bit about how I make my gut decisions identifying the Clinton/Dem/mainstream media spin operations in the media and how I analyze any news pertaining to the actions or public comments and appearances of Bill and Hillary Clinton.
Studying propaganda and military information warfare operations has been an interest of mine starting in 1980, when I became interested in studying the Cold War, while in the Army. Another hobby, of sorts, has been watching people, because people fascinate me. I also developed a habit of reading a lot of government reports, starting with a hand-me-down copy of The Warren Commission report my oldest sister had sitting around the house. I read many reports after big political controversies and calamities, but I also find military after-action reports fascinating. Add these interests to my news junkie habit that developed when I was probably around 11 or 12, and these habits help guide my “gut instinct”, which fails badly sometimes, but sometimes it’s way ahead of the media reporting.
I also look for patterns of behavior (how people operate/what their personal signature of actions looks like and work on trying to put together a timeline of events or political activities connected to the situation.
Trump, from what I can glean, bases his gut instinct based on his complete faith in his superior dealmaking skills.
Back in the early 90s, I became very interested in the Clinton “war room” and their spin operations. It was something very different than normal political messaging in American presidential politics. Bill Clinton’s ability to mask his true meaning behind deceptive language fascinated me, to the point, I would often listen closely to what he said in a speech and then look at quotes from the speech that were reported in the news and marvel at how clever he was at saying one thing and meaning exactly the opposite. Bill and Hillary Clinton both are extremely mendacious people and so is Donald J. Trump but the differences between the Clinton spin operations and comparing that to Trump’s spin sideshow is like comparing fencing to a WWE wrestling match.
Often in combat, guerilla disruption operations prove very successful. In this endless scorched earth spin information war, Trump disrupts and often hijacks the carefully constructed Dem talking points messaging, that relies on a large network of political operatives, sympathetic news media conduits and Hollywood celebs. Trump is a one-man show spin guerilla fighter, who routinely, with just a single tweet or public statement, completely disrupts a carefully constructed Dem spin attack. It’s a large ponderous network vs. an unpredictable, lone spin guerilla, who attacks at random and without any warning.
Along with following the news, I’ve read many of the books that came out on the Clintons (friendly and unfriendly viewpoints), I read books by Democrat political operatives too, like Carville, Dick Morris, John Podesta, etc. I recently saw David Axelrod’s book, Believer, which I found in my local Dollar Tree store for a $1, so I bought it. I intend to read Ken Starr’s book, Contempt, too, but I have a long list of books I want to get through before I buy that. I even have a couple books on Trump too. Another habit of mine is to read bios online of people and political events, to try to understand where they came from. This brings me back to trusting “gut instinct” – some people’s quick decisions might be more reliable than others, based on how they go about analyzing situations.
The caveat to trusting “gut instinct” is no human system based on making fast judgments is ever going to be 100% accurate and it’s best to keep paying attention to new information that develops and be open to admitting some of your “gut instinct” assessments were incorrect and try to improve.
In 2005, Malcolm Gladwell wrote a book, Blink: the Power of Thinking Without Thinking, where he describes this process:
“Thin-slicing” refers to the ability of our unconscious to find patterns in situations and behavior based on very narrow slices of experience.
Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink (p. 37). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
Two situations described in this book interested me. Retired Marine Corps general, Paul Van Riper is without a doubt one of the most brilliant military strategists in America. Gladwell explains Van Riper was selected to lead the Red Team, playing a rogue military leader in the Persian Gulf, heading a terrorist group in Millenium Challenge ‘o2, a very expensive U.S. military wargaming exercise. In the exercise Blue Team was meant to test the U.S. military’s new operational system, relying on high-tech systems that provided all the super-duper complex computer assessments and analysis, which would provide vast amounts of information quickly. The Red Team rogue leader, Van Riper played, didn’t have all those high-tech systems:
“Millennium Challenge, in other words, was not just a battle between two armies. It was a battle between two perfectly opposed military philosophies. Blue Team had their databases and matrixes and methodologies for systematically understanding the intentions and capabilities of the enemy. Red Team was commanded by a man who looked at a long-haired, unkempt, seat-of-the pants commodities trader yelling and pushing and making a thousand instant decisions an hour and saw in him a soul mate.
On the opening day of the war game, Blue Team poured tens of thousands of troops into the Persian Gulf. They parked an aircraft carrier battle group just offshore of Red Team’s home country. There, with the full weight of its military power in evidence, Blue Team issued an eight-point ultimatum to Van Riper, the eighth point being the demand to surrender. They acted with utter confidence, because their Operational Net Assessment matrixes told them where Red Team’s vulnerabilities were, what Red Team’s next move was likely to be, and what Red Team’s range of options was. But Paul Van Riper did not behave as the computers predicted.
Blue Team knocked out his microwave towers and cut his fiber-optics lines on the assumption that Red Team would now have to use satellite communications and cell phones and they could monitor his communications.
“They said that Red Team would be surprised by that,” Van Riper remembers. “Surprised? Any moderately informed person would know enough not to count on those technologies. That’s a Blue Team mind-set. Who would use cell phones and satellites after what happened to Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan? We communicated with couriers on motorcycles, and messages hidden inside prayers. They said, ‘How did you get your airplanes off the airfield without the normal chatter between pilots and the tower?’ I said, ‘Does anyone remember World War Two? We’ll use lighting systems.’”
Suddenly the enemy that Blue Team thought could be read like an open book was a bit more mysterious. What was Red Team doing? Van Riper was supposed to be cowed and overwhelmed in the face of a larger foe. But he was too much of a gunslinger for that. On the second day of the war, he put a fleet of small boats in the Persian Gulf to track the ships of the invading Blue Team navy. Then, without warning, he bombarded them in an hour-long assault with a fusillade of cruise missiles. When Red Team’s surprise attack was over, sixteen American ships lay at the bottom of the Persian Gulf. Had Millennium Challenge been a real war instead of just an exercise, twenty thousand American servicemen and women would have been killed before their own army had even fired a shot. “
As the Red force commander, I’m sitting there and I realize that Blue Team had said that they were going to adopt a strategy of preemption,” Van Riper says. “So I struck first. We’d done all the calculations on how many cruise missiles their ships could handle, so we simply launched more than that, from many different directions, from offshore and onshore, from air, from sea. We probably got half of their ships. We picked the ones we wanted. The aircraft carrier. The biggest cruisers. There were six amphibious ships. We knocked out five of them.””
Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink (pp. 185-189). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
While it’s a gross insult to General Van Riper’s strategic brilliance to compare him to Donald J. Trump in any way, I think a very general “complicated system vs. a very simple, unpredictable system” analogy holds up. General Van Riper was playing a rogue military leader of terrorists with few military assets pitted against the most high-tech military in the world. Scorched earth spin information warfare, on the other hand is sleazy mass media propaganda games and smear campaigns, so it was the Clinton/Dem/mainstream media manipulative word games/smear campaigns vs. Trump, the crass, loudmouth reality TV star blazing insults across the airwaves and mean tweets on his personal Twitter account. I just don’t think it takes ‘brilliant” strategists to ruthlessly manipulate people, spread outrageous lies and wage vicious smear campaigns. It takes total amorality of thousands of slithering snakes in the grass vs. a giant hissing orange-skinned snake.
Gladwell gives numerous examples of how sometimes thin-slices of information can give you enough information to make those, almost “thinking without thinking” determinations based on a pattern, you detect very quickly. I read a book a long while ago, dealing with some of this “in a glance” concept, which Von Clausewitz, a brilliant military strategist, referred to this ability as Napoleon’s Glance, and used the term coup d’oeil. William Duggan in his book, Napoleon’s Glance writes:
“Coup d’oeil was the secret of Napoleon’s success. He made no innovations himself: Instead, he studied in detail the winning campaigns of the great generals who came before him, all the way back to Alexander the Great more than two thousand years before. Napoleon imitated their tactics but always in a new combination that fit the present situation. He put his army in motion with no particular destination, until he saw in a glance a coup d’oeil a chance to win a battle. The place and time were completely unpredictable, and he passed up more battles than he fought.”
Napoleon’s Glance, written by William Duggan, page 4
Gladwell also touched on coup d’oeil in his book, Blink, and described a WWII situation pertaining to British women recruited to listen to German radio broadcasts:
“In the Second World War, the British assembled thousands of so-called interceptors— mostly women— whose job it was to tune in every day and night to the radio broadcasts of the various divisions of the German military. The Germans were, of course, broadcasting in code, so— at least in the early part of the war— the British couldn’t understand what was being said. But that didn’t necessarily matter, because before long, just by listening to the cadence of the transmission, the interceptors began to pick up on the individual fists of the German operators, and by doing so, they knew something nearly as important, which was who was doing the sending. “If you listened to the same call signs over a certain period, you would begin to recognize that there were, say, three or four different operators in that unit, working on a shift system, each with his own characteristics,” says Nigel West, a British military historian. “And invariably, quite apart from the text, there would be the preambles, and the illicit exchanges. How are you today? How’s the girlfriend? What’s the weather like in Munich? So you fill out a little card, on which you write down all that kind of information, and pretty soon you have a kind of relationship with that person.”
The interceptors came up with descriptions of the fists and styles of the operators they were following. They assigned them names and assembled elaborate profiles of their personalities. After they identified the person who was sending the message, the interceptors would then locate their signal. So now they knew something more. They knew who was where. West goes on: “The interceptors had such a good handle on the transmitting characteristics of the German radio operators that they could literally follow them around Europe— wherever they were. That was extraordinarily valuable in constructing an order of battle, which is a diagram of what the individual military units in the field are doing and what their location is. If a particular radio operator was with a particular unit and transmitting from Florence, and then three weeks later you recognized that same operator, only this time he was in Linz, then you could assume that that particular unit had moved from northern Italy to the eastern front. Or you would know that a particular operator was with a tank repair unit and he always came up on the air every day at twelve o’clock. But now, after a big battle, he’s coming up at twelve, four in the afternoon, and seven in the evening, so you can assume that unit has a lot of work going on. And in a moment of crisis, when someone very high up asks, ‘Can you really be absolutely certain that this particular Luftwaffe Fliegerkorps [German air force squadron] is outside of Tobruk and not in Italy?’ you can answer, ‘Yes, that was Oscar, we are absolutely sure.’””
Gladwell, Malcolm. Blink (pp. 45-47). Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
I don’t know if my “gut instinct” when it comes to identifying the Clinton/Dem spin attacks and smear campaigns launching in the media and their endless corrupt political power plays has more to do with Gladwell’s “thinking without thinking” concept, coup d’oeil or is more akin to Gavin DeBecker’s, The Gift of Fear, after surviving the Clinton’s ruthlessness during impeachment in 1998…
I stitched this small patriotic teddy bear piece last week. Not sure yet, how I want to finish it, but I want to stitch a few more small patriotic pieces before the 4th of July for some small display on my coffee table.
Here’s the leaflet with this pattern – yep, another one from the 90s:
Now, on to politics…
Last Sunday, JK, shared two links to a blog, asking for my opinion. Jk and I bounced a lot of ideas back and forth in a comment section on a previous blog post of mine. He said this blog is written by a friend of his:
Both of these blog posts provide timelines and raise many questions about events from January to May when Mueller was appointed special counsel by Rod Rosenstein.
The time period that interests me the most is the few days from Trump telling advisers he definitely wanted to fire Comey until Mueller was appointed special counsel – May 5, 2017 t0 May 17, 2017.
In the first of these blog posts, this entry left me pondering and I am still pondering, the same things JK’s friend raised in the second blog post:
Rosenstein brings Robert Mueller to the White House to meet with Trump as potential FBI Director. However, by statute the FBI Director is eligible to serve only one term, for a maximum of ten years. At the end of Mueller’s earlier ten-year tenure as FBI Director it was extended for two years by a special Congressional Act and new legislation would be required if he was to be reappointed. Trump, Rosenstein, and Mueller converse in the Oval Office. It is not known whether the legal impediment to Mueller’s appointment is raised. McCabe has recently published a book in which he writes that Robert Mueller temporarily left his cell phone behind after meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office and that the phone “later had to be retrieved.””
In the second blog post, JKs friend includes this entry, expanding on this meeting:
“The day before Rosenstein announced he was appointing Special Counsel and that it would be Mueller, he brought Mueller to the White House to meet with Trump. Is it true that the President was told Mueller was a potential candidate as FBI Director? If so, was the President told that Congress would have to pass special legislation to allow the appointment? Was there any discussion of Russia or the Comey firing at the meeting? When did Rosenstein decide to appoint Special Counsel and decide it would be Mueller? Did Rosenstein and Mueller have any discussions, directly or indirectly, regarding that decision prior to the meeting with the President? Is it true that, as described in McCabe’s recent book, Mueller left his cell phone in the President’s office and had to return later to retrieve it? If so, did the device record anything while it was left in the office?
Did Rosenstein ever consider recusing himself from the investigation since he was a potential fact witness in any obstruction case involving the President?
Why did Rosenstein not consider Mueller’s long and close relationship with Comey as grounds for not appointing him as Special Counsel?”
I hadn’t heard about this quote when Andrew McCabe’s book came out in February of this year, so I googled and found it in a February Breitbart article:
“In this same meeting Rod talked about interviews with candidates for director. Then he flipped back to talking about possible candidates for the special counsel job. It was hard to track whether he was talking about candidates for one job or for the other. One minute, he said Mueller had been asked to interview for the position of FBI director; Mueller had gone in for an interview with Trump, and left his phone there, and then the phone had to be retrieved.”
Back in 2018, McCabe has stated that after Comey’s firing, Rosenstein offered to wear a wire to record President Trump. McCabe, who became acting FBI director after Comey’s firing, says he discussed Rosenstein’s offer with his general counsel. Rosenstein has stated he made the comment in jest. McCabe has been cast as the liar all-around, yet the odd thing is when I watched McCabe testifying in front of Congress, I thought he was way more truthful than Comey or Rosenstein, as far as demeanor, watching his eyes. Here’s a video of McCabe reasserting that Rosenstein offered to wear a wire, in an interview in February when his book came out, and he believes Rosenstein was completely serious and not joking.
I don’t read Breitbart and wasn’t confident the quote from McCabe’s book was accurate, so I bought McCabe’s book last week.
So, Rosenstein agreed with firing Comey, when talking to President Trump and Sessions and McGahn. Rosenstein even drafted the memo with reasoning for firing, but after Comey’s firing, Rosenstein went to McCabe and talked like he was distraught over Comey’s firing. He was a man who was looking for atonement from Comey’s colleagues and friends at the FBI, it seems to me. At the FBI, they were completely convinced Trump was involved in some nefarious connections to Russia. They believed the Steele dossier. I believe McCabe’s version of this “wearing a wire”, because the spin level created hysteria about Trump firing Comey, Trump-Russia, and the FBI had bought into the Steele dossier as being reliable intel.
Trump exacerbated the spin hysteria by talking to the Russian ambassador and foreign minister, in the Oval Office, the day after firing Comey, trashing Comey as a real nut-job. The day after that Trump did an interview with Lester Holt completely changing his story and this is the problem with anything Trump says – he lies constantly, he obfuscates, and he often says totally incongruent things in the same sentence.
Rosenstein appeared, to me, to be lying about the wire comment. I don’t believe anyone at the FBI headquarters was in a joking mood about Comey’s firing.
We know from the Strzok messages that have poured out that Strzok loathed President Trump. We know Comey treated Hillary Clinton with kid gloves and expected her to be his next boss. We know Comey believes Trump is a threat to American democracy and Comey believed Trump was conspiring with Russia. McCabe, despite the Mueller report, still believes Trump and his campaign had disturbing connections to Russia. Yet, all three seem to have taken the Steele dossier as a serious intel product, only because they trusted Steele.
From the Michael Cohen arrest, we now know Trump lied about not having any business in Russia, and that even while campaigning for president, he was still trying to work out a deal for a Trump-Moscow project.
Andrew McCarthy in his recent podcast with Rich Lowry talks about how the Mueller investigation began and he asserts the mixing of politics with law corrupted the process and that Rosenstein panicked.(around minute 25:00). I believe it was more than just politics. I believe the orchestrated Clinton/Dem spin operation amplified constantly by the mainstream media was designed to create a “crisis” atmosphere and drive the spin effort that Trump was an imminent threat (the #Resist SPIN War Campaign) that required the immediate appointment of a special counsel. (Fox News runs the Trump “Deep State” hysteria spin messaging effort).
Since McCabe and Rosenstein give two different versions on the “wearing a wire” comment, it sure would be a good idea to get Robert Mueller under oath, answering questions about what he and Rosenstein discussed before the Oval Office meeting with Trump on May 16, 2017, about his “left behind” cell phone, if anything was recorded while the phone was in the Oval Office, how long that cell phone was in the Oval Office, and who retrieved it. If anything was recorded, what was it?
I don’t for a minute believe Robert Mueller would ever have acted in bad faith, but:
“Before I step away, I want to thank the attorneys, the FBI agents, the analysts, and the professional staff who helped us conduct this investigation in a fair and independent manner. These individuals, who spent nearly two years with the Special Counsel’s Office, were of the highest integrity.”
There’s still Peter Strzok being hired, who was anything, but fair and independent and there are lawyers he hired, with close ties to the Clintons. They never investigated the Steele dossier, which fed the Trump-Russia hysteria The Clinton campaign, replete with a vast network of Dem operatives, who specialize in sophisticated smear campaigns, deliberately fed the Steele dossier and the Shearer dossier, masquerading as intel coming from reliable sources, into official government channels.
And here again we come to a word that doesn’t get talked about much in this whole mess, even though it is central to what happened in 2016. That word is TRUST. I believe trust was central to what happened to me in 1998 (see Messages of mhere link at the top of my blog). That retired general would never have participated in that “operation” against me, unless he completely trusted the information he was given. He already hated my guts, so I believe that he easily believed the worst of me. I think Mueller trusted in Comey’s integrity and he trusted in the information he was provided. Mueller’s appointment came about in a very confined timeframe and in the midst of a massive spin outrage cycle, with the media ranting about a “crisis” and “Trump is a Russian agent”.
Mueller looked nervous and uncomfortable in his press conference. I suspect he trusted Comey, who has been reported to be Mueller’s golden boy. I believe Mueller trusted in the information he was given on Trump-Russia collusion. Comey made “intent” his key tenet in his charging decision in Hillary’s email investigation and he overlooked the FBI Notes completely. The months before Hillary became Sec. of State, after Obama’s election, the Clintons had their respective IT guys, Cooper, who set up Bill Clinton’s personal Foundation server in their home and Hillary’s campaign IT guy, Pagliano, use campaign computer equipment to upgrade the family Foundation server, in anticipation of adding the State Dept, message load to their Foundation server. That upgrade process took months, so Hillary really did find it easier to use one device – she wanted to have their Foundation business and her State Dept. business on one secret server in their home… Comey does not seem to believe Hillary is a corrupt person. He does seem to believe Trump is a very corrupt person.
Getting all of the 2016 facts sorted out and on the table is important for our governmental institutions, even if the process will cause a great deal more political upheaval.
2016 should never be repeated.
Hopefully, someone involved in the FBI or DOJ, as this mess unfolded, has the INTEGRITY to sit down with Durham and just tells the truth about what all happened, rather than trying to run competing media spin efforts.