This is a jam packed episode. We’ll start with some quick hits and then move to the main event. Don’t forget the smattering of important links and footnotes in the text below the audio line.
Last week I posted a quick hit on Ukraine. I used a play on words to demonstrate how tribal, narrow-minded and emotional people are on the subject. And why wouldn’t they be? On one side of the argument (those who don’t see any benefit in helping Ukraine) people keep talking about “Nazis” running the show in Ukraine. Other than people SAYING it, I see absolutely no evidence of National Socialism having a foothold in that country.
On the other side there are those who have only one default position when someone questions ANYTHING in the way of assistance from the United States. You are called a Putin lover, or some other stupid thing. This is purely the result of the emotional blackmail used by our government to justify the possibly wasteful1 and rampant flow of money flying to Ukraine while our border stands agape, Maui needs to be rebuilt and criminals own our streets.
It is when you straddle the issue, as I did quite consciously on 1 Oct, that the irrational tribalism emerges.
And my buddy Tom G. fell for it. I am sure he’s not the only one, but he was the first to engage in battle leading nowhere. To wit: “Actually Matt, it is a case of who’s side you are on in the Ukrainian war. There are two sides, one is defending itself and the other is invading a foreign country.
Try this, instead of Russia insert the words Soviet Union. Are you still just as comfortable with them running roughshod?”
This is the opening salvo in what typically becomes a classic circular argument on social media. While it demonstrates my point about how this whole Ukraine mess has become hopelessly propagandized, it also points to something I have often written about here. The quality of our discourse, even among “educated” people has been obliterated by technology and social media. This was the point of my hashtag #nationof12yrolds.
We need to stop swallowing everything our favorite politician, news host or Instagram knucklehead spews at us, and start looking at the world from a more mature, analytical angle. If those passionate about Ukraine hadn’t spent the lead up to the war wringing their hands, and been aware enough to shame the present Regime into quick and early action, we might not be here right now. I proudly count myself among the pathetically few voices who did criticize the foot-dragging and telegraphing of sanction plans BEFORE THE WAR STARTED.
That’s a pretty sad and empty neener-neener, but there you have it.
Anyway, I posted a video at the bottom of the text which somewhat demonstrates how strong we left Russia, post-invasion. It also speaks to the complexity of considerations we must make. How many of the people with Ukraine flags on the bumpers would be willing to pay considerably more than we are paying now for gas to see Russia properly punished for the invasion? And even THAT wouldn’t be necessary if the Regime hadn’t gutted our own energy sector. But Europe would have been devastated by it all.
The Phillies won the wildcard series against the Marlins. Huzzah.2 SAM, RON…Where are you? We need to get another baseball show in the can!
So long, Kevin. See you in the funny papers.
I am not one who will lose a minute of sleep seeing an establishment politician sent packing. The coup in the House is exactly the caliber of action I have been calling for since 2011.
I have been calling for other things as well. While all very exciting, the timing and follow-through of Matt Gaetz’s actions were…let’s call them sub-optimal. First, you don’t lead a palace overthrow without a substitute head to wear the crown. Yay! The king is dead! Um…er…now what? Are you gonna…? Wait. No, not me…I thought…Oh, shit. Okay everybody, take a week off.
The fact is every institution in DC needs to be throttled vigorously! But you have to have your ducks in a row to do it. Gaetz did not. His stunt was on par with Biden letting the Russians invade Ukraine just to have a shiny object. Before you turn the House and your party upside down you need to have an immediate plan, a popular substitute standing by AND A SENATE MAJORITY, preferably a veto-proof majority.
Gaetz’s premature political ejaculation proves only one thing. Gaetz is a fairly immature and impetuous man. And the ones who went along with him (I am politically aligned with them, normally.) were just as dumb.
Do the smart work to take both houses. THEN take the big steps I outlined in my brilliant (if poorly edited) masterpiece, Street Politics: It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore! Available wherever brilliant masterpieces are sold.
I’ll send Gaetz a thank you note if this article sells a few books.
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The Main Event
Before I begin, I should reiterate you can find this tome of super-smartness and political coolness here. Also, you don’t want to gloss over the footnotes. For the book excerpt, you’ll find them above the video. For this podcast episode, footnotes will follow the video. Footnote (ii) is especially important. Footnote (vi) demonstrates my negative impressions of Trump back then. Not all of these impressions have changed. I have been accused of being a Never-Trumper. I have been accused of being in the Trump cult. Shades of the Ukraine segment above, right. The fact is when Trump is right, tax reduction and deregulation, I give him credit. When he’s wrong, spending and his shotgun approach to Euro and Asian trade deals, I ding him.
And so we begin.
It Ain’t Your Daddy’s GOP Anymore!
Copyright © 2015 Matt Jordan
Formerly 16 20 24: A Path to Consistent Conservative Victory
All rights reserved.
15 NATONAL SECURITY:
I’ll Take Real Security, Please, With a Side Order of Personal Liberty.
"What is it that all these wage-earners, skilled artisans, soldiers and tillers of the soil require, deserve, and may be led to demand? Is it not a fair chance to make a home, to reap the fruits of their toil, to cherish their wives, to bring up their children in a decent manner and to dwell in peace and safety, without fear or bullying or monstrous burdens or exploitation, however this may be imposed upon them? That is their heart's desire. That is what we mean to win for them. "
– Winston Churchill[i]
If You Have Nothing to Hide, You Have Nothing to Fear.
- National Security Agency[ii]
During the post-9/11 debates that gave birth to what would be the Patriot Act and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), I recall seeing a Senator, I forget who, exclaiming that Congress needed to pass something because, “we need to look like we are doing something!” This was in response to push back from the White House, not wanting to create a bureaucracy in response to a violent attack. There was not one comment on CNN or FOX. I never read anything later about it in any magazine. Not even on Drudge. This comment was made from the well of the Senate!
What a breathtakingly stupid thing to say! How much more stupid were we? We stood like idiots and watched the 535 incompetents hatch two deformities that would only be outdone by Obamacare. Because they wanted to look like they were “doing something”. In short order, Bush caved to the we-need-mommy-to-fix-everything fever on Capitol Hill.
First there was the Patriot Act, formally introduced in the House by Frank J. “Jim” Sensenbrenner in October of 2001. It was a homogenization of the Uniting and Strengthening America Act, Financial Anti-Terrorism Act and a stampede of panic-button notions and whims floating around inside the Beltway after 9/11[iii]. It was a massive decision, taken in haste by people who, as usual, didn’t read the goddamn bill. Did it really need to address the Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act? Really?
Despite Sensenbrenner’s repeated insistence to the contrary, the NSA, the Justice Department, the White House and a Department to be named later noticed that the Patriot Act mentions wiretap, tracing and the FISA court (now a rubber stamp for anyone wanting to nose around in your phone records). They decided that it was the will of Congress that the NSA should take a vacuum cleaner to the Internet and phone records. They would process warrants that included such specifics as - everybody that Verizon has on record.
Boy, These Guys Have ALL the Answers…Just Not the Right Ones.
Fast on the heels of the Patriot Act was the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Being herded like cattle through an airport, by under-qualified security guards[iv] is only the tip of the iceberg for this monstrosity. And it is emblematic DC thinking.
In the 1970s the Israelis figured out it was a good idea to nail the cockpit door shut in commercial airliners. Their hijacking rate dropped to nil.
How did we deal with hijackings? Meh.
Long before subhuman religious nut bags flew planes into the Twin Towers, Tom Clancy released a book in which a Japanese pilot flies a 747 into the Capitol Building (1994). It was quite a shocker. But I remember thinking how easy it would be to do something like that. I wondered then, what we were doing to prevent such a thing. As Tom Clancy was one of the most popular authors at the time, it is a lead-pipe cinch that people in a position to know about these things also read it.
In 1995, intelligence people in the Philippines (!!!) warned us that known or suspected Al Qaeda members were taking flying lessons in the United States. There would be several more reports of this kind of activity over the next several years. Including flying instructors mentioning how strange it was that the religious nut bags didn’t want to learn how to take off and land; just how to maneuver in flight.
Still, no alarm bells.
By mid-2001 the FBI was just getting around to checking out some of the reports. They would later say that they knew that the subhumans were taking flight lessons but figured they were just planning for conventional hijackings, not a suicide mission.[v] (WTF?!?!)
Following the 9/11 attacks and the revelations above, did the government get serious and drill down into the existing intelligence and law-enforcement communities to route out the points of failure? Did they arrest, fire or even demote those who allowed the attack to take place through incompetence or indifference? Did they kick ass and make basic philosophical changes to the way these communities did business?
Noooo! That would have made sense. No, what the Beltway stooges did was create a whole new, cumbersome and equally incompetent bureaucracy to heap on top of the existing dog pile. Not only did they not correct the basic problems within the communities, they made their management and cooperation infinitely more complex. Even the very top of the chain of command for intelligence is now a Byzantine balloon knot of overlapping responsibility.
So, why the History Lesson?
So far, the only serious candidate to speak plainly about the mind-blowing incompetence on all levels of the government is Carly Fiorina.[vi] She is also one of a handful of hopefuls who has the background to take on a large, philosophically malfunctioning loony bin that is our government and turn it into something to be proud of. Sadly, she is a big fan of mass data sweeping. Rand Paul has no equal in taking on the derelict DHS system and I believe he has the intelligence to be a superior President, but he needs to get real specific about his views and intentions if he is going to overcome his lack of executive experience as an image issue.
I go on a lot about how we need to shit can programs that are the darlings of the left cheek of the governing class. But the next POTUS must be willing to kill stupid wherever it rears its head.
Cleaning up the Patriot Act and fixing (eliminating?) DHS will be a tough fight. It is popular with both the military hawks and left wing statists. That alone proves me right on its overall worthlessness. But you will need the support of the public to deal with these pigs. Right now, all a commentator has to say is, “Well, what if we get attacked again? Then where will we be?” The public is presently convinced that DHS has been effective.
Please note that all or nearly all the terrorism busts have come from tips. These tips were from foreign countries or regular civilians who saw or heard something. The data sweeps have not produced one bust. The shoe bomber, the underwear bomber, the printer cartridge bombs all made it onto airplanes.
A fat, religious, nut bag on staff at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, communicating with known terrorists, was transferred to Ft. Hood where he killed 31 people shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
In fact, Nidal Hassan was a major in the U. S. Army. He was responsible for the psychological well-being of American soldiers. And no one twigged to the fact that he was in communications with known terrorists. (They watched him doing it.) This, even after he would inject stupid, religious, anti-American rants into what were supposed to be meetings about military medicine.
Good job, NSA! Good job all you guys who worked with Hassan! Our special thanks go to his superiors for their timely action! You guys really know what to do. Like the national security posters say: If you see something, keep your mouth shut or you might offend a fat, religious nut bag.
Since 9/11 people have confused the terms security and safety. One of the few legitimate functions of the central government is to provide for the national security. They cannot provide for your safety. There isn’t enough government for that. So if you are walking through a mall or boarding a plane thinking that the DHS is on the job and has your back, think again.
In the first paragraph, under the heading quoted at the beginning of this chapter, the NSA says: “Our value is founded on a unique and deep understanding of risks, vulnerabilities, mitigations, and threats. Domestic Surveillance plays a vital role in our national security by using advanced data mining systems to ‘connect the dots’ to identify suspicious patterns.” Well, the NSA, the CIA and the FBI had pretty good stuff before 9/11. The NSA is always decades ahead of the rest of us in terms of technology. But they couldn’t connect the dots between a very realistic and popular story line and years of low-tech tips about terrorists right here in the US. They blew it then and they aren’t much better at it now.
Don’t get me wrong. If something were to happen, say a bomber using what looks like a box of Cap’n Crunch and a FitBit as a triggering device, blew up a comic book convention and you got whacked, you can rest assured the NSA would then collect all the data ATT had available on the guy. DHS would then make new policies to look for shooters or bombers that fit your killer’s profile. We’d never see another box of cereal or an electronic wristband on an airliner or in a mall again! So there!
But since we’ll not likely get a match on that again, the NSA and DHS will be left to react to the next killing – after the fact. But hey, be thankful there is a whole cabinet level department devoted to following up on one killing after another.
It is possible that, some day, a weird phone conversation will be picked up at precisely the right moment and a major, professional terrorist plot will be foiled. But you can’t build a strategy on that. And such odds are not a valid reason to dig into the personal lives of every citizen.
Whether you are a private citizen or an aspirant to higher office, you have to look this stuff hard in the face. The DHS was an elaborate and expensive piece of theater designed to make you think the politicians were at the switch after 9/11, even though they weren’t there one second before. Its creation has also added deleterious red tape to the already over-bloated law enforcement and intelligence communities.
One of the keys to good intelligence collection and analysis is knowing what you don’t need as well as what you do need. Too much information muddies the process. Massive NSA data sweeps have one, and only one, purpose. To collect and store as much information as is humanly possible on everyone for future use. It will be used to either find interesting facts about killers after they have killed, or for powerful politicians to destroy you and/or your character if you make life inconvenient for them. There is no other use for it all. In order for collected data to be timely and actionable it would have to be much more discreet and come in much smaller, focused packages.
So my challenge to candidates and handlers is to talk to experts in the field. Avoid government lackeys. Honest experts can verify what I am saying. Continue your elementary school civics lesson, teaching people the value privacy holds for them. Teach them the potential costs of losing that privacy.
DHS as a Totalitarian Tool
We can go a step further. Why does the DHS have urban assault vehicles and billions of round of ammunition? All types of ammunition? In the event of war, agents from the DHS are not going to be loaded onto C-17s and sent to the front.
How might history answer this question for us?
Well, in the early 1930s, FDR was busy prolonging the Great Depression by making lots of busy work programs along with other statist policies to grow the size of the federal government. One of the programs was the Civil Conservation Corps (CCC). This was a national organization of (mostly) men, formed into military-style organizations and shipped hither and yon to build dining halls and walking paths through our national parks. It oozed national pride and propaganda. If you visit the Gulf Islands National Seashore (National Park) in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, you can walk on the remnants of one of these paths. At the turn-around, you’ll see a faded photograph of the CCC on display. It is a picture of morning muster. The men are formed up, in uniform, in platoon-sized groups.
For Ma and Pa Kettle, the explanation for having a CCC was that men needed work and the national parks needed roads and paths, so we created the CCC. But that was not the main reason for its inception.
After the Treaty of Versailles was signed in 1919, French general, Marshall Ferdinand Foch echoed the misgivings of many when he said the treaty didn’t bring peace but “an armistice of 20 years…no more than a 20 year truce. ”
Everyone, with the possible exception of Woodrow Wilson, knew that another major clash of nations was an absolute. And most countries went about preparing for it. By Roosevelt’s lights, as it was with German thinkers, the upcoming war was going to be a war of mobility and supply. How the hell does one train for that? Simple. Do it. The CCC did create some lovely fixtures for us to gawk at to this day. But they were the training ground of future strategists and logisticians. That was the primary mission; to learn how to organize, feed, house and move hundreds of thousands of men and their equipment for large-scale endeavors. The CCC was an experiment in wartime logistics, and a very good one.
But again, the DHS is not going to fight a foreign war. What are they training and equipping for? I’ll ask again; why does the DHS have urban assault vehicles and billions of rounds of ammunition? Why is the NSA collecting EVERYONE’S communications data? What battles, er uh, contingencies are they modeling? And, cui bono (who benefits)? What can the governing class do with such instruments? Render itself invulnerable? To whom?
If you are going to shrink the size and reach of government and yet you allow this kind of intrusion into our personal lives and this kind of contempt for citizens, you are full of shi’ite.
[i] Winston Churchill knew the value of our liberty by Trevor Phillips, the Telegraph, 9 December 2008
[ii] These are the first words concerning our data at https://nsa.gov1.info/data/. They were also words attributed to the National Socialists and Communists in the last century when they would ”interrogate” citizens. I am sure Putin’s goons still say it. What honest people should fear is that their government would actually put that on a website without a blush of irony!
[iii] What a nasty rope of sausage this was! It amended the Electronic Communications Privacy Act - Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act Privacy Act – Money Laundering Control Act – Bank Secrecy Act – Right to Financial Privacy Act – Immigration and Nationality Act – Fair Credit Reporting Act – Victims of Crime Act of 1984 – Telemarketing and Consumer Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act. It included some 118 other amendments.
[iv] Red Team agents use disguises, ingenuity to expose TSA vulnerabilities, by Brian Bennett, LA Times, 2 June 2015. Note the insert in the article explaining that the people who got weapons past the goons at the gate were not “Red Team experts” but office weenies. But the original story and more importantly the big headline stands. See? We can kind of tell the truth and protect Jeh Johnson and the emperor at the same time.
[v] FBI Knew al-Qaeda Pilots Training in U. S.
Washington Post Staff Writers, Tuesday, March 7, 2006
[vi] Trump has made half-baked comments along these lines, but he is not a serious candidate, as of 20 July. He’s a real estate mogul and TV clown who believes some of the press accounts about himself. It remains to be seen if he will get serious.
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Here’s the promised video addressing the complexities BIDEN should have addressed before the war even started. Footnotes from the episode are below that.
I really hate that word. It’s most often employed by Revolutionary War re-enactors. [eye roll]