A blog note

This is going to be a personal blog post and for anyone who has followed my blog, yes, I’ve written about all of this before. The reason I’m delving into this again is because I’m done following Twitter. I left my account active, but I don’t want to write more about the next big spin war battle, as the political right rushes to get behind Elon Musk and the political left regroups for another epic scorched earth spin effort to destroy Musk..

When your rights have been violated and a situation impacts you directly, I think it’s normal to feel compelled to do something about it. I’ve written about the events that happened to me in 1998 during the height of the Clinton impeachment (the Messages of mhere story, is a true story about the events that happened to me, although I can’t prove it). I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe in quitting, but I realized years ago that I am powerless to prove any of these things happened and even if I had proof, some powerful people in America are above the law and even more importantly, no one would even care about something that happened decades ago.

In 1998 I jumped into posting political comments on the Excite message boards and that’s where the Dem/liberal media spin crowd were hanging out online back then. All of the repetitive spin messaging operations happened on the Excite message boards, just like they do now on Twitter, even though the formats are different. There was no blue checkmark crowd on Excite, but it was pretty obvious, even with people posting anonymously there, which posters were likely professional journos and Dem operatives and which were just ordinary people. On Excite there were people who used multiple user names, but often, by the way they wrote and interacted, they often stuck out. There were also people who changed to a new user name and often those people exposed themselves too, because most people use certain word and phrases often and respond in certain ways.

I began writing about the corrupt Dem spin war word games and countering Dem spin attacks on Excite. New boards under various topics would emerge rapidly on those Excite message boards and during the Clinton impeachment there were a lot of new dedicated Dem spin operatives who showed up on those message boards and they tried to dominate every new Clinton impeachment topic. It seemed like an orchestrated effort to silence right-wing posters, many who had been posting on the Excite politics boards before the impeachment scandal. The writing by many of the new Dem posters seemed more professional and the messaging seemed orchestrated to me. I don’t like bullies and these new Dem posters seemed like bullies to me, so I began aggressively countering their spin messaging. Then I noticed that many of my exact “counter-spin” arguments began being used by actual right-wing pundits.

Without getting into all the events that transpired again, after that impeachment mess was over, I made a vow to myself to expose the corrupt Dem spin information war and defeat it – no matter how hard that would be or how long it would take. I’ve spent way more time reading crap about strategy, especially military strategy, because military strategy is the supreme form of strategy in my view, I’ve read more books on political crap and other topics related to understanding this spin war than I even care to think about. I’ve read more political news than I even want to think about and I’ve spent untold hours following stupid social media spin battles and trying to understand how the spin war works.

At first I was driven by a quest for justice, because the abuse of power with what happened to me was so egregious – I believe, false information about me was deliberately relayed to a retired general, who hated my guts. My husband was still on active duty, so this was a retired general recruited to silence an Army wife. They corrupted the military chain of command with false information for partisan political purposes. My outrage went way beyond what happened to me, because I believe this false information was used to convince other people to participate in this effort. I also still believe that the attack on me emanated from the highest levels of our government, otherwise I don’t believe that retired general would have believed it. So, all this hoopla now about branding right-wing people as white nationalists, domestic terrorists, etc. is old school Dem spin sleaze operations – they’ve been doing this for decades and that’s why I expect the same Dem spin crap with Elon Musk buying Twitter.

Along this journey, I’ve also faced many personal challenges and worries, like spending years worrying about how to keep my late husband and family safe, then how to defeat this crap spin information war and I realized years ago that no one person can defeat the spin information war. While many people on the right cheered Trump “fighting back,” what they missed was he was adopting the same corrupt spin war ways as Dems and the liberal media. Sure, the liberal news media exposed themselves as little more than Dem operatives, but the downside was a sizable chunk of the right in America became true-believers in behaving as badly as the left and saying and doing anything, as long as it “owned the libs.”

I don’t care if you’re a Trump-supporter nor do I want to change your beliefs. I have friends and family, whom I love dearly, who are big Trump-supporters and I realized it’s best to just agree to disagree with them. The harder hurdle is how so many younger people live in Meme Land online and don’t care if something is true or not. As long as it’s a clever or funny meme, they pass it on. That’s the world we live in – very little fact-checking, lots of vitriol and rage, and very little tolerance for dissenting opinions.

The bigger lesson about Trump entering the arena to battle the corrupt Dem-spin machine is that although he hasn’t been in office since January 2021 he’s still relentlessly under attack, with non-stop efforts by Dems wielding government power and their liberal media cohorts still lobbing endless spin attacks against him. They are determined to completely destroy him. They don’t quit – ever. Trump managed to effectively counter some of their spin war operations and for that they’re going to use any means necessary to try to permanently muzzle him. and neutralize him as a political threat. It’s pretty obvious they’ll work to destroy Elon Musk too.

I’m going to be moving away from writing politics blog posts for a bit and definitely away from posts about spin war, because what I write doesn’t matter at all and won’t change a thing. It would take a sea change in American culture to defeat the spin information war and that would require millions of Americans to demand it. With the politically-engaged on both sides totally invested in and believing in this spin war crap, plus avid consumers of it, that doesn’t seem likely to happen. I’m trying to work on some things around my home and in my own life.

I’ve written more than enough about politics and spin information war.

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Filed under Blog Notes, General Interest

The right embraces another man on a white horse “savior”

Well, here goes with my contrarian view about Elon Musk walking into Twitter Headquarters yesterday, as he nears closing the deal on buying Twitter. A lot of conservatives and people on the right have jumped into action becoming Elon Musk cheerleaders and buying into a belief that Musk is going to “save” free speech in America. It reminded me of all the people on the right who bought into Trump was going to “save” America and although Trump was a NY liberal/Hollywood gadfly, who hung out with the likes of Howard Stern and Bill Clinton, no worries, Trump was now a conservative and his “GOP Insurgency” was the ticket to Make America Great Again.

Trump was a mixed bag and while I give him huge credit for making America energy independent and not reliant on foreign oil, for the first time in my lifetime, he also brought a lot of bad things too. He sold right-wing America on moral relativism and “the end justify the means,” belief systems. We were lectured by his mouthpieces to ignore the so-called “mean tweets,” and just look at how Trump was owning the libs and hitting back at the liberal media. We were told it was a good thing that Trump doesn’t play by the rules, because that throws his enemies off-balance and that making America great again requires tossing out the old playbook. We were told embracing this new political world, where anything goes, as long as it scores points in the endless media spin war is “winning.”

The automatic response from people on the right who embraced Trump is to get defensive and start ranting about how awful Democrats are and how the country is on the fast-track to economic collapse and ruin with Biden’s policies. It’s true, the Biden presidency has been an unmitigated disaster and I feared the Obama crowd running a Biden WH, while keeping Biden “in the basement” as much as possible (like the campaign,) that I caved on my Never Trump position and voted for Trump in 2020.

However awful this Biden presidency is doesn’t negate all the very bad things Trump’s brand of politics brought into the GOP – like a complete abandonment of any principles or even a party platform, in lieu of waging non-stop spin war attacks on Dems and the liberal media. So many people on the right believe that destroying the liberal media is critical to defeating Dems and the left’s culture war. They’re as invested in winning the spin information war as Democrats have been for decades.

All the way back to the Clinton impeachment, where the Dem spin war went scorched earth on Ken Starr and using any means necessary to keep Bill Clinton in office, I’ve believed this spin war would grow into a malignant force in American politics by corrupting American culture and turning America into seething factions.

Trump learning how to become adept at using the same corrupt spin war tactics, always on the hunt for Trump-friendly media on the right, who would carry his spin crap without question, led to the American right now embracing any crazy conspiracy theories, from any right-wing sites, that get floated, as long as they’re floated by Trump-friendly sources. Trump can say just about anything, no matter how outrageous or crude and most of his supporters will believe it and not care how crude or dishonest the attack.

Here’s the thing – my point isn’t even about Trump, it’s a larger point about the spin information war, which evolved in the early 1990s. The spin information war was a shift in the larger left-wing culture war in America, which blossomed in the 1960s and 1970s. We’ve been on a road to cultural decline and erosion of our American system of government for decades now.

Trump was just a loud inflection point in the spin war, despite how desperately Democrats and the liberal media want to cast Trump as being the greatest threat to America. He’s not the greatest threat. Americans continuing to buy into this media-driven spin information war and buying into the Us vs. Them mind-set, this spin war feeds constantly is the greatest threat. A country, where the people split into raging factions is an ungovernable country and no republic can function or survive in that state. The other major threat to our country is the complete collapse of principles, rules or standards, that has permeated almost every institution in America, as more and more Americans embrace moral relativism. Trump sold the American right on moral relativism, even as he spouted fractured Bible verses and blabbed about Christians, in between petty name-calling…

Our Declaration of Independence and constitutional framework are based on concrete principles. If both sides of partisans in America abandon those concrete principles, where they buy into two separate sets of rules – one for their side and one for their political enemies, well, we will no longer have a constitutional republic.

We’re pretty much there, as the insane spin war drives partisans to redefine reality to feed their own side’s narratives.

So, what does any of this have to do with Elon Musk, you’re probably wondering. Elon Musk isn’t a conservative in any way, shape or form. He’s a very wealthy man, who had a falling out with his liberal friends and he now hangs out on Twitter. Sound familiar? He’s being cheered and praised by the Trump right. As soon as he started tweeting about free speech and floating the idea of buying Twitter, he became the new “savior” of the right-wing. Everywhere you turn, right-wing people are cheering Elon Musk and believing he’s singlehandedly going to save free speech in America by buying Twitter.

As someone who has written a lot about how Twitter is the main battlefield in the spin information war and where the spin cycle battles are fought, despite most Americans not even following Twitter politics, you’re probably wondering how I can think Musk buying Twitter isn’t a big win for free speech in America. After all, Twitter is where the politicos, pundits and journalists in America hang-out and engage in spin war 24/7 and the narratives that win there then get amplified across media in America.

It’s very likely that liberal media and pols, along with their powerful tech friends are already plotting to pick up their spin game and move it to another social media platform. I’ve watched the Dem online spin game move several times since the late 1990s. Trump has tried to do this very thing too, by creating a new social media platform to compete with Twitter and he’s failed so far. If Dems and liberal media, working with their liberal tech friends make a move like that, well, they still dominate most of the media in America and still wield a lot of power to influence American culture and politics. Elon Musk could own Twitter, but if the liberal spin war machine moves to another platform, the right-wing political crowd would end up just talking among themselves, Twitter would lose influence (and money) and here’s the thing that happens in online forums if there’s little or no moderation – the porn ads and other scammers, radicals fringe nuts, and crazies quickly dominate the space.

I just don’t see the powerful leftist crowd sitting idly by and allowing an Elon Musk-owned Twitter to succeed. And if the Dem spin war moves, does the right-wing political crowd stay on Twitter, where they’re unable to engage in their daily Twitter battles with their “enemies” and get their dopamine hits from owning the libs or do they go to where the liberal media spin action is? Dems and liberal media would be running their spin war machine with little direct challenge from the right – like the old days and the right would be sitting there fuming amongst themselves.

The Dems and liberal media have been at this spin information war operation for decades, while the right just caught on to how it really operates during the Trump years. Elon Musk isn’t going to save free speech in America. Americans completely rejecting spin information war is the only hope, but unfortunately Americans who consume news the most are also completely hooked on the daily spin war drama too. They ‘re invested completely in their side’s narratives and buy into participating in this corrupt spin war as the path to “saving” America.

There are no quick fixes or a man on a white horse coming to save America – it’s going to be a long, hard road to turn our country around and it will require millions of Americans to have a change of heart, not just some quirky, wealthy guy taking control of a powerful social media platform.

Only a people who care enough to learn about our constitutional republic and embrace those principles can save free speech… and all of our other liberties. That would take a dramatic change to sweep across America and for millions of Americans to care enough to put in the time and effort to start truly believing in some common American principles again. We’re a far way from the American people De Tocqueville wrote about in his 1835, Democracy in America.

Update: I made a lot of edits in this post this afternoon, mostly fixing typos and grammatical nightmares. While Trump supporters will likely assume this blog post is an attack on the right, it was intended to be a step back to look at the bigger spin war strategic picture.

The Dems and liberal media have been at this form of spin information war since the 1990s and even long before that, going back decades, they’ve been selling America on left-wing culture and politics. To believe the political left is just going to sit there and do nothing if Elon Musk takes ownership of Twitter and makes dramatic changes, seems rather near-sighted, I think. Besides picking up their toys and moving to another social media platform, the Dem/liberal media Twitter crowd could also wage a stealth effort to sabotage a Musk-owned Twitter, by various nefarious means – from flooding it with bots, creating hordes of fake accounts, creating fake right-wing extremist accounts to cause havoc and the list goes on and on. The havoc they create could then be used to demand action be taken by government to impose new rules to stop the “dangerous extremists” (this is a favorite Dem approach).

Dem/liberal media spin warriors aren’t going to just sit there and do nothing and they’re not going to quit their corrupt spin info war.

They’ll employ any means necessary to disrupt and destroy a Musk-owned Twitter. Of course, they’ll also whine about the “dangerous” right-wing extremists, even if they create fake ones, because dirty tricks and false flag operations are now par for the course with Dem spin war operations. These are people who have been using an any means necessary political operational approach for decades, while most of the the right only began catching onto all of this Dem/liberal media spin war corruption since Trump came onto the political scene. Whatever Musk does or doesn’t do with Twitter, is an unknown, but the Dem/liberal media playbook is pretty established. They will do whatever it takes to destroy Twitter, if liberals lose control of it.

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Filed under General Interest, Information War

Tipping points can happen suddenly

In my blog post yesterday I pondered how long Democrats and the leftist elites will stick to their accelerated green- energy transformation plan (the “Great Reset”.) While there’s likely no easy turning back course of action after a certain point in their transformation efforts, the thing is once there’s a massive public opinion shift, often major political shifts follow more rapidly than may have seemed possible even months before. I used the examples of growing public backlash against COVID mitigation efforts and the public backlash against the escalation in crime following Dems embracing the BLM “defund the police” policies.

There has been a growing right-wing populist movement in some countries in Europe and the US too, which bodes poorly for America’s future as a pluralistic society.

And yes, America has always been composed of people of diverse ethnic, racial and religious groups, but we’ve always managed to pull our country together by embracing some common values. Presently, it seems the more extreme views on both sides of our political spectrum scream the loudest and dominate the public spaces, where cultural and political battles keep erupting daily. Moderate voices don’t stand a chance in a spin war. Outrage theater dominates public “discourse.”

I also expect public backlash to accelerate against the transgender movement, against the media-run spin information war, and against social media word police antics that promote the leftist political agenda.

In democratic countries, where people are accustomed to and expect to be able to speak and interact freely, it seems highly unlikely that the left’s embrace of using media as a tool to herd people toward leftist ideological beliefs and coral them from other views will succeed for the long term. People accustomed to speaking freely aren’t likely to passively accept being prodded into submission by massive public-shaming/virtue-signaling political messaging efforts for long. Having social media honchos become de facto Democrat/liberal word police is already facing growing backlash, which will likely escalate.

The economic turmoil and green-energy transformation policies already in motion can’t be easily fixed, but a major derailment of this green dream plan seems very likely to me.

Tipping points often seem to happen much more rapidly than people think possible or expect. In the beginning of this year, I suspect, most Democrats believed they could still continue with their COVID hysteria and push more COVID mitigation policies (power grabs.) They were unprepared for the swift and dramatic shift (the tipping point) in public opinion on COVID policy, to the point that you aren’t hearing Dem political candidates running on COVID policy.

79% of people in an October 2022 Pew Research report said the economy is the top issue. I think most of the culture war that generates so much left vs. right drama in America are really boutique political issues, that while they generate a lot of buzz and fad followers, when push comes to shove and economic hard times hit, no one can afford to buy into these issues. Keeping food on the kitchen table, bills paid and gas in the car become the priority. As the economic situation worsens, fewer and fewer people will want to be lectured about transgender issues or hear about green-energy/climate change. That’s why I believe a tipping point is likely long before this green-energy transformation gets very far. It’s being run on hot air, without even having the necessary infrastructure in existence.

Things may get very messy. Famine, wars, some countries collapsing, civil unrest/civil wars and other awful events are possible around the world or even here, but I remain a believer that principled leadership can make the difference between getting people in a crisis to work together and total mayhem breaking loose. There are still people in America, who will put the political/cultural war drama aside and work together in a crisis.

Unfortunately, those kind of people are extremely rare in either political party these days, where spin kings and queens, people like AOC and Marjorie Taylor Greene, who can lob social media attacks and create non-stop political outrage theater drama daily are the type of people who seem to be getting the most media attention. They’re also attracting large followings, who cheer them on. On the left, if you don’t march in lock-step to the latest culture war cause, you’re toast and on the right, if you don’t foam and froth at the Left, you’re labeled a “RINO” and put out to pasture. That’s why I’m so ambivalent about this upcoming election. I don’t believe politics is going to “save our country” or even get us on a better path.

Interestingly, this same phenomenon happens on social media, where the most sensational headlines and flame-throwing personalities generate massive followings.

However, in a crisis, all these flame-throwers and “spin warriors” are completely useless, because a crisis requires real leadership, not just angry words and catchy sound bites. I’ve met loads of outstanding leaders around the military and even in everyday life. So, I don’t despair. History has shown that sometimes when we least expect it, the most unlikely people step up to the plate and lead.

This is especially true in America. There are all sorts of civic-minded people, who see a problem in America and start a fund-raiser or form a group to work on that problem or just set out and work to fix it themselves. America was built on a spirit of volunteerism.

With that I’m going to end with encouraging you to consider donating time, money or food this holiday season, to help feed people in need.

Feeding America is always looking for help to feed Americans in need. If you don’t want to donate to large organizations, just look around your own community and you can surely find churches, civic organizations, schools, local officials, who can point you toward ways to volunteer to help others.

If you’re worried about the state of America, just try to spread a little hope and encouragement or lend a helping hand to someone else.

Even the smallest flicker of light can defeat the darkness.

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Filed under American Character, Culture Wars, General Interest

Politics, large and small

I’ll be glad when this election cycle is over. I haven’t voted yet, although early voting is open in my state and I plan to vote sometime this week. The political ads in this hotly contested GA senate race, between Warnock and Walker, haunt me on TV and online. Everywhere I turn there are ads for both. This is a politics post of sorts.

I am sick of being bombarded by political ads.

There’s always this argument people on both sides make about how this election is the most important election in our lifetime. Republicans are blabbing about how only Republicans in charge of Congress can save our country, while Democrats are blabbing about how only Democrats in charge of Congress can save our democracy. Whatever… I’ve been listening to this partisan claptrap for decades now and neither side has done much except spend, spend, spend. The US national debt is over 30 TRILLION dollars.

America is entering into a serious economic crisis, largely self-created, and all our politicians talk about is more programs for this and more programs for that. They also rant about how “the other side” is destroying America. The thing neither side in Washington does is slash wasteful spending or programs.

Rather than write about the inside baseball Washington politics though, I’ve been thinking about how the overall “global” Great Reset launch is going. Facets of that Great Reset are starting to impact hard in Europe and here in the US. Russia and China are dealing with a severe economic downturn too and although they aren’t embracing the WEF Great Reset plan, their own efforts to establish themselves as the alternative to the US dollar are not going smoothly. It seems like economic upheaval will be worldwide for the foreseeable future.

I’ve also been thinking about how this green-energy transformation might get derailed faster than anyone imagines. Honestly, I expect major corporations and banks to bail on this endeavor, if they start facing stiff resistance from consumers and start losing a lot of money. I expect them to be trying to regroup quickly, just like they’ve been doing since the COVID mitigation policies imploded. Public confidence in the COVID policies, which large corporations pushed as hard as Dem politicians, has crashed. Both Dem politicians and corporate America appear to be backpedaling and trying to distance themselves from the Dem COVID messaging. Far left corporate zealots like Bill Gates will likely cling to the Dem policies, but if it drives their consumers away and/or they start losing a lot of money, many others corporate boards won’t.

It’s one thing for small businesses to flounder and fail, but major corporations and big banks aren’t going to let social-engineering destroy their bottom line. While we’re likely in for a lot of upheavals and chaotic times, I just don’t think this unholy marriage of political and corporate power, that now works together to force political and social change in America, is between two equal entities. Corporations create jobs and wealth, while politicians create nothing – they’re parasites on the public and especially on big political donors. I can’t see major banks and corporate boards being the passengers on the Titanic who passively went down with the ship.

Just as Democrats have pretty much run from COVID this campaign cycle and even the most ardent BLM “defend the police” politicians are pretending they’ve always supported the police, I expect, in the not too distant future, they’ll be pretending this forced green-energy transformation wasn’t their policy. I expect many big banks and big corporations to jump from the green-energy/ESG ship in the not too distant future, as public outrage over the economy tanking grows and runaway inflation begins to seriously impact their own bottom lines.

Will Republicans in charge or Democrats in charge be better? Well, being a conservative, I would automatically answer: Republicans. However, at this point, I’m sick to death of all the politicians in Washington and more concerned about who is my state’s governor, which is a bulwark against federal overreach. I am thankful our founding fathers embraced federalism. Brian Kemp is an easy vote for me here in GA. Warnock v. Walker, well, I hate the binary choice arguments, so I won’t know for sure if I will just leave it blank on my ballot or swallow my conscience and vote for Walker… all so Republicans might gain control of Congress and not do all the things they promise… as usual. The devil’s advocate argument is Schumer and the Democrats have demonstrated they are more than willing to ram through all of the far-left policies without batting an eye. Choices, choices…

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Filed under COVID-19, General Interest, The Great Reset

Some gardening and jigsaw puzzles

On my back porch we put windows in years ago (and AC/heat). I’ve finally started using the back porch again. My husband spent most of his days for years sitting out there watching TV, so as his health declined, keeping him comfortable became a high priority. He was a smoker and smoked out there. It’s taken me over a year and half to begin to feel comfortable sitting out there. I recently began using the little table out there to work on jigsaw puzzles.

Last fall I took in two stray kittens, who have the need to examine everything. I even put birthday flowers one of my kids sent out there too. These cats found that balloon mesmerizing That porch is also where I sit to sew now, because of these cats. It’s taken me a year to adjust to having cats in the house and although I am still very much a dog person, I’ve gotten attached to Roscoe (the gray-striped one) and Percy (the black one.) They took over the old dog bed. I still have one dog – my husband’s rescue terrier mutt, Marius, who is 15 years old and in poor health.

After writing several Ukraine blog posts, I decided I’ve said all I’ve wanted to say about Ukraine at the moment. I’m still following the news and I check the Twitter spin war situation each day and look at YouTube a bit, but I’ve stopped watching a lot of prepper channels, because the fearmongering and alarmism on many of them I believe are mostly clickbait and people who know fear sells.

Lately, I’ve been trying to get back to working on some old hobbies again, although I’m still working on prepping on a regular basis too. I was always buying extra and trying to be prepared for emergencies, even before I discovered the online prepping community. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of good prepping information online too, but as the economic and political situation in America has worsened more and more YouTube preppers and homesteaders have started stoking fear and spreading every right-wing rumor blazing by. Most of it is garbage. My focus has shifted to learning more skills and working on a few small projects at a time. I’m also trying to spend more time reading and less online.

I live in a residential area, where having chickens is allowed. A neighbor a few houses down recently got guineas, who make loud screechy sounds all day long. The first day, I was like what on earth is that racket. I don’t mind chickens, but I must say these guinea hens are really annoying. Here’s a video of the sound guineas make:

I love working on jigsaw puzzles. When my kids were young a friend had told me she used a flannel-backed vinyl tablecloth on her kitchen table, so she could keep her jigsaw puzzle under it. When she wanted to work on her puzzle she just rolled the tablecloth back. I began doing that too and it worked great, but these two cats have to get into everything that I’m doing, so I opted for the table on the back porch. I like working my puzzles on a piece of foam core board, so I can turn the puzzle any way I want it while I’m working on it, although one of my kids gave me a very nice wooden puzzle board with drawers for Christmas last year. Here are two other puzzles I finished recently:

I’ve still got some things growing in my container garden and plan to continue this through the winter. I’m in growing zone 8b and I’ve kept my hanging ferns, a hibiscus and some other plants going for years, by just putting them together in a corner of my front porch and throwing an old bed sheet over them on nights where it’s supposed to get below freezing here. January is usually our coldest month, but even in January the average low temperature is in the 40s and by late February most years there are some flowers and things beginning to grow again. My hibiscus on my front porch often blooms throughout the winter, as do the roses.

Putting the black weed block fabric down and woodchips for my container garden area looked nice, but grass and weeds are now growing on top of the wood chips. I’ve even had zinnias and cosmos start growing in the wood chips. I stuck some of those in flower pots on the patio:

The most interesting new herbs I’ve grown this year were lemon basil, which I’ve dried a lot and saved seeds, and lemon balm. I planted lemon balm seeds, with no real idea how I’d use it, so did a little research online and came across some videos. Here’s my lemon balm:

I’m going to recommend a YouTube channel, Rain Country, where I’ve learned a lot about herbal remedies and uses. The lady, Heidi, sews a lot, which appeals to me, but I also enjoy her calm demeanor and common sense approach to life. This video on growing where you’re at really struck a chord with me:

The dramatic titles and clickbait drama may get the most traffic online, but there’s a lot more value with many of the YouTubers who skip all the drama.

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Signals, noise and mixed messages

This post is going to be about our modern news media ecosystem and the Ukraine war. First point I’d like to make is it’s very hard to discern the signals from the noise. The signals are the meaningful information, while the noise just makes it harder to detect the signals. Our partisan spin information war now fills the American news media space with so much noise that important signals often get drowned out or buried completely, regardless what news media format you’re consuming. Even print media often doesn’t provide the most basic information about images or events in their copy and lots of times the important details are buried way down in the story.

It’s become commonplace to see photos and videos circulate on the internet that don’t include any information about when and where it was shot, who took the photo or video, who the people are in the images and a clear explanation of what the image shows. Often images are selectively edited or altered, which leads to further confusion. Many people, without any hesitation, share images and videos they `they know nothing about and they buy into them completely.

Both Russia and Ukraine have waged massive propaganda efforts, since Russia invaded Ukraine. Unfortunately, so many American political leaders, former government officials, to include former intel and defense officials, and many, many “experts” on foreign policy from academia now live online. Our news media people live online too. They also leap to share information they have no idea where it came from or if it’s true. The human race wasn’t ready for social media, I think.

I know I’m beating a dead horse here, but again Twitter is the main online social media space where they congregate and unfortunately that’s where most of them get their “information.” The problem with this rapid tweeting and retweeting behavior is the signals usually get missed, while the tweet noise floods the zone. The rest of America, who isn’t following the Twitter politics crowd ends up with the “news” that’s spun out from the partisan spin battles on Twitter to other news media in America.

Most Americans aren’t on Twitter and even if they went on Twitter it’s doubtful they’d see what I’m talking about. I didn’t understand Twitter’s role in the American spin information war at first either, but then I decided to follow hundreds of politicians, journalists and news organizations to see what would show up in my feed. Then I spent a lot of hours watching the Twitter interactions and learning how the partisan talking points generated and that opened my eyes to how the corrupt Dem spin information war, that I’d been trying to understand since the 90s, was operating in the Twitter age.

Trump learned how to fight spin battles on Twitter too and there’s now a dedicated Trumpian right-wing spin effort too, plus some assorted other right-wing media spin efforts. I can go on Twitter and sit for about 15 minutes scrolling my feed filled with journos and politicians and see spin cycles form in real time. It happened by accident, not by design, because I was just wondering why the cable news had begun mentioning Twitter and tweets so much.

One important point about the American spin information war is we don’t live in a vacuum, so foreign operatives are involved in trying to influence the American news too and the Russians have always been aggressive about those efforts, going back through most of the last century.

Russia was struggling to counter the Ukrainian propaganda war and the one place in America where Russian propaganda gains traction these days, bizarrely is within the right-wing media space, where due to the binary-thinking, many Americans will be for or against something based on if the “other side” is for it, they are automatically against it. Dems and Hollywood rushed to wrap themselves in Ukrainian flags and worship Zelensky, so many on the right automatically took the opposing view.

Anyway, back to the signals and noise in regards to the Ukraine war, both Ukraine and Russia are running massive propaganda wars, so getting accurate information about the facts on the ground is difficult. Added onto this is Hollywood and Democrats rushed to aid Zelensky’s propaganda war and Zelensky reminds me of Donald Trump in some ways. He’s a former actor and knows how to stage himself effectively, just like Trump’s a master of owning the stage. Trump could upstage any world event. Zelensky has been packaged and sold by Democrats and the vast liberal media space as the infallible hero and too many Americans are invested in Ukraine without any serious thought to American national interests.

There are important reasons for America and Europe to thwart Putin’s naked aggression, but at the same time it’s important to carefully keep sight of American national interests in how we do that.

The worst thing Biden and many European leaders have done is talk big, then drag their feet on aiding Ukraine, while mewling to Putin, trying to coax him to keep the oil and gas flowing. They imposed punishing sanctions on Russia, to include on buying Russian oil. Then they continued to buy Russian oil. What kind of message did that send Putin? If you want to be taken seriously, you need to put your money where your mouth is. Biden and many of the European leaders have talked out of both sides of their mouth.

And worst of all, if you truly feel stopping Putin’s aggression is a grave threat to stability in Europe and that weakness at this critical juncture would embolden, not just Putin, but China too, then it makes no sense to try to embark on some cockamamie green-energy transformation. The Ukraine-Russia conflict has led to a full-blown economic war, but the US and Europeans weren’t as serious as Putin has been. If you were serious about stopping Putin, you’d be ramping up American fossil fuel production and the Europeans would be postponing their Great Reset to fight the Ukraine War, which they blabber on is the greatest threat since WWII. They would not be buying a drop of Russian oil, and they’d be working overtime trying to carefully assess what arms to send to Ukraine, while trying to speed up resupply of their own military stockpiles. Instead, they were just trying to kick the can down the road, hoping Putin would back down, so they could focus on their Great Reset and green-energy transformation. Their priority wasn’t stopping Putin – it was the Great Reset.

The Biden administration is most concerned about all its liberal pet projects – green-energy, racial politics, gender politics and most of all defeating and crushing Republicans. I haven’t seen any real seriousness in how the Biden administration has gone about helping Ukraine or really wanting to stop Putin’s aggression. Now that things have spiraled into a huge mess, Biden isn’t out there giving any calm. clear articulation of what the goals are, what’s at stake, or why the US should care about the war in Ukraine. Instead, he was rambling on at a Dem fundraiser about Armageddon and Putin – just like he tried to blame his own war on American fossil fuel as being Putin’s fault. He was concerned about defeating Republicans – not about convincing Putin to withdraw from Ukraine.

The Biden administration has offered no clear and consistent statements on Ukraine, that it followed with actions that bolstered those words. It was all big talk, then still buying Russian oil, while the Germans and French kept going on bended knee to the Russians, begging them not to turn off the Russian oil and gas spigots. The US/European effort to aid Ukraine has been a hodgepodge, convoluted mess with a lot of foot-dragging and lack of coordination between Western leaders and a lack of coordination with Ukrainian leaders. I believe the Obama foreign policy people are running this sideshow, because it has all the earmarks of their incompetent and clueless stumbling and bumbling, followed by overreactions that were the Obama foreign adventures.

I have no idea how things will turn out, but I feel certain that if the US and West cave on Ukraine, China will be on the move very quickly. A lot of Americans, especially on the right, have become isolationist after all the military adventurism in the past two decades and they don’t want to hear about sending US troops anywhere. I understand that, but the reality is Reagan was right: “We’ll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we’ll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.”

America is still a force for good. If we decide to pick up our toys and go home, saying it’s not our problem or we don’t want to be the world’s policeman, that won’t keep us safe. Russia, China and other malignant actors in the world would quickly move to fill the void left by a US retreat from the world.

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Apologies for my rant

I’m going to apologize for the tone of my last blog post. What got me annoyed was I heard “poking the bear” several times in the past few days online and a family member, who I thought would not have forgotten how the Russians operate, used the “poking the bear” rationale too. I was a bit stunned actually, but she trusts Tucker Carlson and kept saying he brings up lots of good points and he’s right most of the time. She’s mentioned things he’s said numerous times. I happened to see Tucker Carlson mocking the people in the media who criticized him and doubling down on his talking point, “Why would Russia blow up its own pipeline?” spiel, just like he keeps bringing back that retired COL who urged the US and Europe not to help Ukraine and that guy made excuses for Putin’s full-scale invasion too.

I’ve been a tad perplexed and a tad dismayed at how much our domestic spin info war, waged by our own crazy partisans, has polarized Americans not only about hot button culture war topics, but it’s led to many Americans now viewing American foreign policy strictly through that extreme partisan filter too.

Everyone has a right to believe whatever they want, of course, but I keep wondering how bizarre America has become. On the left we’ve got the liberal media working to silence views and information to bolster Democrat narratives and such an evil and demented gender activism that preys on children. There’s also a relentless effort to spread fear of right-wing Americans. In the right-wing media it’s filled with a lot of hysteria, paranoia and often selling Kremlin propaganda and there’s a pervasive stream of selling fear of liberals.

We live in strange and troubling times. My blog post was the Cold War warrior that’s still inside me venting. I still love that family member and she’s entitled to her opinions.

For the record, the Russians have staged numerous events and then blamed NATO. They loved to forge documents about Western European officials, then leak those forged documents into western media. The West German government was a target numerous times. So, the idea of Russia damaging a pipeline that they had already shut down and that’s half-owned by Western companies, didn’t sound implausible to me. Russia has aggressively been expanding its oil and gas markets world-wide to survive the sanctions and it’s exerted pressure on OPEC and Venezuela to freeze the US and Europeans out of acquiring more oil. Putin is willing to play hardball, probably harder than the Europeans, who had still been sniveling to Moscow and trying to get Putin to relent on shutting down Nord Stream. Plus Biden and the Europeans were still buying Russian oil, despite the ban they placed on Russian oil.

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Putin isn’t a victim in Ukraine

Well, the situation in the Ukraine war is still volatile and a lot of right-wing media in America keep selling the idea that NATO is somehow responsible for “poking the bear” and absolving Putin of blame for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Other former Soviet countries that sit on Russia’s border became NATO members and Russia didn’t invade them or launch a full-scale invasion into them and somehow the same Americans who spout this “poking the bear” idea that Russia sells, don’t mention that.

Of course, the Obama administration meddled in Ukraine extensively and clumsily interfered in internal Ukrainian politics. I disagreed, in principle with most, and in execution of all of the Obama foreign policy efforts in Ukraine. However, it wasn’t only the West that was on the move in Ukraine. Russia was aggressively on the move and all of Russia’s actions weren’t just because the US was “poking the bear.” Russia has continually interfered in internal Ukraine politics too. Several former Eastern bloc countries wanted to become members of NATO, fearing Russian aggression, and many of them have a history of Soviet Russia rolling over their countries and forcing them under Soviet control. Russia doesn’t have any inherent right to rebuild the Soviet Union or to seize parts of neighboring countries.

Why so many Americans buy into this overly simplistic Russian apologist “poking the bear” point of view in regards to Ukraine, I think is mainly because it became a right-wing media talking point to criticize the Obama administration’s foreign policy. How right-wing America became Putin apologists due to the American spin war still amazes me at times.

Putin has had aspirations of rebuilding some of the former Soviet Union and returning Russia to being a world superpower. Ukraine is economically and strategically vital to Russia, with a massive gas pipeline system, but Russia also depends on the naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea for its only warm water port, with access to the Black Sea. Russia and Ukraine both depend on those economic ties and Russia won’t willingly give up access to that strategically vital port. Things in Ukraine-Russia relations are a bit more complicated than just trying to blame the US for Putin deciding to launch a full-scale invasion.

It’s a bit disconcerting to watch the American right become Putin apologists and to act like Russia is a victim all the time. A full-scale invasion of a country, that was intended to quickly decapitate the Ukrainian government in Kiev, before the West could organize and muster a response, wasn’t a “poor Russia was defending its interests” move – it was a bold, act of aggression intended to take over Ukraine.

Buying into these simplistic talking points like “the US was poking the bear,” to excuse Putin’s naked aggression, completely ignores Putin’s repeated opining about the collapse of the Soviet Union being the greatest geopolitical catastrophe and his desire to regain both Soviet glory and territory and to reestablish Russia’s world superpower position in the world.

One other point, I’d like to make is that if the US and Western European countries had not been exerting western influence in Ukraine, just like other parts of the former Soviet bloc, that doesn’t mean Putin wouldn’t have acted aggressively and it’s a ludicrous position based on Russian history and Putin’s stated objectives. If the US and West hadn’t been “poking the bear,” Putin would have acted more aggressively sooner in Ukraine. Russia was interfering in internal Ukrainian affairs too and wanted a puppet government in Kiev, willing to take direction from the Kremlin. Appeasement of Russia for fear of “poking the bear would have led Russia to feel more emboldened. Putin saw the Biden Afghanistan withdrawal debacle and American civil divides and didn’t expect America and Europe to unite quickly and respond in Ukraine.

If the US and West had failed to unify and aid Ukraine the world situation would likely be even worse, not all rainbows and unicorns. Russia and China were plotting an aggressive economic war against the US and West before Russia invaded Ukraine. I feel certain that if Russia had met little resistance in Ukraine, China would have read that as a green light to make bold military moves already.

We might be heading into a larger, serious global conflict, but to assume it’s all the US’s fault for “poking the bear” is ludicrous. Russia and China want to dominate the world economy and diminish (demolish) the US’s predominant role in the world. If America just retreats, that won’t leave us or the world safer and it certainly won’t stop Russian and Chinese aggression, let alone impede other bad actors in the world.

Weakness is provocative.

Update: For all the Americans who want to buy into the US is the aggressor against poor Putin by meddling in Ukraine, I want to point out both Russia and China are aggressively at work trying to foment chaos in our hemisphere too and would that not be “poking the US?”. Russia and China have been expanding their economic and military reach in our backyard since post-WWII. They’re very active militarily and economically in South America, Central America, in the Caribbean and even exerting influence in Mexico. I am sick to death with how idiotic and historically clueless the right-wing pundit class has become and sadly millions of right-wing Americans buy into all of this crapola every single day. They hate Biden so much, that they’ll make excuses for Putin and buy into acting like Putin is a victim.

What on earth happened to the party of Ronald Reagan?

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Let’s make an easy travel sewing kit

Okay, my title is deceptive – I put together three quick travel sewing kits using containers and supplies I already had, except I did purchase a pair of folding scissors. I used to have a pair of folding scissors that my mother had given me when I was young, but I couldn’t locate them in my sewing/craft room. Two old Altoid boxes and an old plastic box that straight pins came in were my choices. The folding scissors fit inside the Altoid boxes and the smaller plastic box.

Before we get into the items, here are some other potential containers I considered:

The three round containers have sewing supplies in them already that some unknown German sewer put into them. I bought an old dilapidated wooden sewing basket at a German flea market, when we lived in Germany, but I gave away that sewing basket. I kept most of the old sewing supplies inside, because that’s why I bought that sewing basket.

Here are two small sewing kits – one’s from the 70s or 80s that my mother gave me. The tiny ceramic lid box came with needles, thread and a thimble inside. I don’t remember where I found that:

So, let’s look at the sewing kits:

Here are the items from one of the Altoid kits:

Lens wipe, because I wear glasses, folding scissors, thimble, two needle threaders, thread card, seam ripper, band-aids, masking tape wrapped on a plastic card, piece of fleece with fabric clips, straight pins and needles.

The thimble I pulled from an old Tupperware container that holds a lot of cheap metal thimbles. My grandmother had an old glass coffee jar filled with these thimbles and I wanted that jar when my grandmother died, despite my mother and aunt shaking their heads and lamenting about my grandmother keeping junk like that. Moving around the Army, that coffee jar got broken at some point, so I put those thimbles in a Tupperware bowl. I can imagine after I’m gone my daughters will be shaking their heads about me having a bowl of old thimbles, just like my mother and aunt did. All I can say is I have several types of better thimbles, but I’ve often grabbed a cheap thimble that fits my finger from my grandmother’s jar of thimbles, and they work just fine. My grandmother raised her family during the Great Depression and she kept her home functioning in an orderly fashion. Despite being dirt poor, they still thrived.

There are two types of needle threaders – the metal one works for a needle with a larger eye and threading yarn, ribbon or cording.

The thread card I cut from an old manila folder and it has black and white all-purpose thread and gray dual-duty button and craft thread.

Here are the three spools of thread:

The seam ripper I kept from a military sewing kit.

In my previous post on sewing kits, I mentioned how much I liked the thread in the sewing kit the US Army issued me. Well, I also kept the thread from that kit. It came braided in a hank and it’s so easy to pull one piece of thread out at a time. I’ve used thread from this hank many times, even though I have whole spools of these threads colors:

In that previous post I also mentioned sewing with dental floss would be better than trying to sew with cheap polyester thread. My running stitches aren’t perfect, but I stitched two rows with dental floss and it’s easy to sew with:

It’s not hard to put together a sewing kit or to learn a few basic stitches. I taught my kids how to stitch using plastic canvas when they were in elementary school, but I had started them off before they were in school with sewing cards. I made some cute sewing cards for my granddaughters when they were little and I gave some to friends with small children too. Even 4-5 year-olds can learn basic sewing stitches, so assuredly adults can too.

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A few Nord Stream facts

I keep hearing this Nord Stream talking point, “Why would Russia blow up their own pipeline?” This generated in the American right-wing media ecosystem very quickly, so let’s get some facts straight – Nord Stream 1 & 2 aren’t only “Russian” pipelines – they’re JOINT ventures with Russian Gazprom paying half the cost of construction and a group of western companies paying half:

“Gazprom paid half the cost of building Nord Stream 2, with the remainder of the $11 billion pipeline project financed by British oil and gas major Shell (SHEL.L), Austria’s OMV (OMVV.VI), France’s Engie and Germany’s Uniper (UN01.DE) and Wintershall DEA (WINT.UL).” Source: Reuters article from March 2022.

The Europeans have been trying to keep Russia pumping gas, because especially the Germans are very dependent on that Russian gas. First there were reports that Nord Stream 1 was shut down due to needing repairs back in July and Canada sent the repaired turbine to Germany for that repair.

By August Russia said they couldn’t do the repairs on Nord Stream 1

By September: Russia cuts off gas exports to Europe via Nord Stream indefinitely

Nord Stream 2 wasn’t even operational yet.

“The construction of the pipeline started in 2011, to expand the Nord Stream line and double annual capacity to 110 billion cubic metres (3.9 trillion cubic feet). It was completed in September 2021, but has not yet entered service.” Source: Wikipedia

Russia has a massive gas pipeline project with China, that when completed will reach all the way to Shanghai.

Russia has other lucrative gas and oil deals with numerous countries and is the largest oil exporter in the world and will surely find new markets, while the Europeans are scrambling to find oil and gas to get through this winter. Even the US was importing Russian oil.

So, let’s look at this idea of “Why would Russia blow up their own pipeline?” Well, Russia was putting the screws to the Europeans, especially the Germans, trying to pressure them to back down on supporting Ukraine. The Europeans and US and Canada held their alliance together with supporting Ukraine and escalated the sanctions against Russia. Russia refused to get Nord Stream 1 operational and stopped pumping gas, then issued more threats and even threatened nuclear war, while the Germans were still trying to get Russia to resume shipping gas and scrambling to try to find other sources around the world. Russia exerted its influence with OPEC, so when Biden went to Saudi Arabia, begging for more oil, he was rebuffed.

Russia expanded their market in India by offering huge discounts. Here’s a September 2022 article: Russia is now offering even more discounts to India on oil

Why would the US or Europeans blow up Nord Stream 1, which will devastate western companies, while Gazprom has expanding markets?

Russia had already cut its losses on Nord Stream and can survive without Nord Stream, while the Europeans and US are scrounging around for oil and gas. Of course, in the US the oil and gas shortages are completely due to the Biden administration’s decision to kill the American oil and gas industry with their crazy green energy plan, but still what would the US gain by blowing up the Nord Stream pipelines, which Russia had already written off and was using to try to blackmail the Germans to abandon Ukraine? Russia would gain a lot by giving the Germans and Europeans the middle finger by blowing that up and threatening nuclear war. It would show the Western alliance that Russia won’t hesitate to use more force. At the same time the Nord Stream explosions occurred, Putin announced Russia was annexing parts of Ukraine.

I can’t say 100% who sabotaged the Nord Stream pipelines, but I can say there’s a lot of evidence that Russia had plenty of motivations to give a big middle finger to European leaders and to let them know that if they continue aiding Ukraine, Russia will retaliate forcefully.

So many right-wing Americans blame the US for Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, while absolving Putin of any blame. I disagreed with US policy decisions in Ukraine during the Obama administration and I disagree with a lot of decisions the Biden administration has made before and since Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year. However, Russia also has escalated this war and Russia is the one threatening nuclear war. Putin is not some victim in this war and Russia had no legitimate right to launch a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Part of why so many Americans rushed to buy into blaming the US for the Nord Stream explosions I blame on the Democrats and their corrupt “Trump/Russia Collusion” smear campaign, which was total bs. That years-long Democrat smear effort led many Americans on the right to just discount Russian disinformation as being a real thing. I blame Trump too, because at times he talked like Putin was a great guy.

And here’s the beauty of the useful idiots in the US carrying water for Russian propaganda- they hate Biden so much that they will make excuses for Putin these days. Tucker Carlson rushed to carry that water a few days ago. Carlson also frequently casts Putin as a good guy. Lots of other ordinary people on social media have too. I watched a prepper video recently by a hard-working, decent American guy, who hates Biden and the left’s radical agenda a lot, which I understand completely. He was quoting RT – Russia Today as his source and I was wondering how Americans could be so willing to buy into Russian propaganda.

Here’s the thing about Putin – he hates America and the West (that includes right-wing Americans too) and he’s still very much the KGB agent. Despite the Democrats calling everything on the right in America “Russian disinformation,” the reality is actual Russian disinformation still exists and unfortunately now right-wingers in America, who used to understand the Russian threat, are walking around citing RT and talking about how Putin isn’t such a bad guy. Our own domestic spin war has led so many Americans to distrust our own government and each other more than they distrust Putin, who wants to destroy the West and rebuild the former Soviet Union. And, I suppose many Americans no longer remember the Cold War or understand that history.

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