Thursday, 19 January 2017

This New Weapon

Years ago, I worked in a vault-type job, which involved numerous hours each month with nothing much to do....so I'd sit and pick up some topic and spend an entire day reading on some topic that 99-percent of Americans never viewed or discussed much.

One day, I picked up the topic of EMP....Electro Magnetic Pulse.  It's an interesting topic.

Decades ago, scientist discovered that you could build some type of weapon and it'd generate enough electrical discharge to take out an electrical component.  For example, you make this discharge at X-number of feet and everything around that circle....from airplanes to TVs....would be destroyed in terms of operational ability.  The circuit in effect, destroyed.  A city like Seattle?  You could make everything from computers, to buses, and onto telephones....non-op.

Today, I picked up the Daily Mail out of London, and there's this nifty story.   Some scientists have convinced the US military that they can build some type of artillery shell....which you could fire from some distance (I'm guessing ten to twenty miles away)....and it'd cripple 'civilization' within that circle.  No one says how much but one might guess you could shut down a base, or some forward operating area, or some complex.  Guns would function, but your tanks would be sitting there and non-op....as would be helicopters, and radar.

In this case, you could take on a superior-type group, and just use a couple of artillery weapons to keep moving forward and knocking the opposing force 'back to the stone-age' one hour at at time.

Removing the necessity of using nuke weapons?  Yeah, more or less.  Some folks might want to argue it'll never replace any weapons, but if you just look at the way you could move a smaller force forward and easily take over a problem-country....it becomes a fairly easy task.  Without radios, communications gear, radar, and vehicle movement....your ability to fight any protracted war is virtually zero.

How long will this sit in some test phase?  Unknown.  It might be there for twenty years.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Manning Pardon

There's various topics that you can bring up around Army folks and you can predict exactly what they will say.  In the case of Chelsea Manning....the 35-year sentenced former Army guy....99-percent of Army folks are pretty negative about the guy.  Rarely does any Army member defend the guy.

President Obama set aside most of the 35 years today....down to seven.  He'll be finished with the sentence by spring of 2017.

My opinion of Manning is kinda simple.  He's a psychological question-mark. He probably was this way all throughout high-school.  The stress of the Army life?  It probably made him even more of a 'basket-case'.

The Army, because of recruitment shortfalls during the war period....went out and accepted a lot of people like Manning....never grasping that he needed guidance and authority extended to him....twenty-four hours a day....seven days a week.  Giving him a clearance?  That was a big mistake of the Army.  If they'd done a psychological profile.....he would have been pushed into some Army chow-hall and given simple work to finish out his Army career.  But they were never smart enough to figure that out.

What happens after May?  If I were Manning....I'd go quietly into some urban area and try not to draw any attention or appear on any national TV show.  The problem is that there are other people from the Army.....past or present....psychologically unfit as well, and maybe more unhinged.  They might think of some weird need to attack or go after him.

Prison being the solution for Manning?  No....I think the Army would have been better off doing the examination and recommending some federal mental institute and a long-term stay.  Once he goes out of prison, I think he's just a magnet for problems, which will continue on.  

Monday, 16 January 2017

Years From the Smoke Settling

It's been weeks since the election ended, and virtually none of the  'circus' activity has ended....which kinda amazes me, but this is the burn-the-bridges-type of mentality and no one seems to worry about 2020 or 2024.

This morning, I read that Senator Feinstein (D, Cal) commented that "the future of America is at stake".  I'm just shaking my head.  To be honest.....the future of America has been at stake for almost 88,000 days or 240-odd years.  There's not a single day that passes when the question hangs over the Constitution and nation itself.

Things are bad enough now that Pasadena’s All Saints Episcopal Church has said that they can't possibly pray for the health or future of Donald Trump, because it'd trigger mental stress and complaints among it's membership.  GOP membership in the church?  I'm guessing most have already left, and the handful that remain....will find another church operation within days.  They might as well make up some list of things or people that they won't pray for.....like Putin, the Dallas Cowboys, or anyone that seems to be unlikable under the eyes of the Lord.

Yesterday, I read that there's this plan of the new Trump administration to find a bigger press room for these press conferences.  The current room?  It'd hold a max of 50 folks.  It seems like that Trump's folks have suggested that they can find another area of the White House Compound or nearby....where you could throw 500 folks in the room.

This triggered some hot emotions with the corporate news folks (the networks, WaPo, and NY Times).  Apparently, there's this fear that the normal insider press folks....probably around twenty who occupy the two rows of the current 50-room....that international reporters, small-town newspaper journalists, and even bloggers will now occupy the room and potentially ask questions.

Yeah, by doing this.....you'd restack the deck of journalism reporting on the President, and undo the filtering process of the big networks.

The bridge-burning crowd?  At some point, you need to chill out....calm down, and think of a strategy that brings non-urbanized neutral or Democratic voters back to the old party.  You don't have decades to settle on this policy...at best, you have twelve months to form the policy and start to implement a shift on the voting public.  This Trump-warfare that everyone seems engaged upon....will not draw these neutral voters back.  Thinking that anger will shift those people back?  They were angry at your party's strategy for more than a decade, and you didn't seem to grasp that fact.

Settle back and prepare for a long, long period of Democratic Party recovery.  Some kids who are going to be part of that recovery....are just in the first-grade at present.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

The Other Side of the Dossier Story

This week, the BBC (generally reliable) did some research on the Trump dossier story and came to realize that former MI6 007-secret agent man Christopher Steele had his company hired (Orbis is the company name) to do a research project for Jeb Bush during his disastrous 2015/2016 campaign period.

What happened when this story came out noting Steele?  He disappeared.  His company only says that he's taking some time off and he'll comment later.

There are some questions here....since Jeb came out in the middle of the week and said he was not the one to sponsor this.

1.  When Steele reappears and chats on this topic.....who will be the one that contracted Steele?  Does it go straight back to Jeb and his inner circle, or some outsider-turned-Jeb sponsor?

2.  When they contracted Steele, where exactly did he get his info on Trump?  Did he actually get it from the Russians?  Did he get from internal MI6 files?  Did he get from some other 007-secret agents-turned independent contractor?  Did he get it from the Turks?  Did he get it from the CIA folks?

3. When the contract was fulfilled.....how did they pay Steele?  Did they pay on the table and was it Brit-taxed?  Or did they pay via an off-shore company, to a off-shore bank account?

My guess is that Steele is sitting there now with a ton of pressure by the folks who contracted him to avoid telling their participation in this episode.  Course, he'll take the fall for them....perhaps....if there's some more cash involved.   But the Brit tax folks might be very curious how he got paid and if this was all legit income.

The sad thing is that this might all come back to Jeb and his inner circle who crafted this idea and then realized how crazy it was....trying to just pretend it didn't exist.  Then McCain, always outside of the circle, heard about some report and got someone with some money to buy a copy of it.  Ask McCain what he or his associate had to do to acquire the dossier.....did they spend money?  My humble thinking is that some more money crossed over....again, perhaps lacking Brit taxation.

The dossier in the end....will brand a couple of GOP folks as 'problem-children' and cause the party to invent a method of kicking them out.

The Thing About Dossiers

This week, with all this chatter on Trump's dossier business, and the secret 007-agent in the middle of this business....I sat and pondered.

This Trump dossier is said to be 35 pages long.

Just so we are grasping this whole dossier business....if the Russians had this one dossier on Trump, how many other dossiers exist in their archive?  One-hundred thousand?   Three-hundred-thousand?  A million?  Twenty million?  One could sit there and speculate on this.

The Bill Clinton dossier?  It's probably well into the 100 page length....detailing his women, his choice of hotels, his bedroom antics, etc.

The Harry Reid dossier?  It probably details exactly what happened with the black eye business, his Vegas property dealings, and various women that he might have at least bumped into.

The Richard Nixon dossier?  Probably upwards to 400 pages long...discussing his booze, his conflicts, and movie selection.

The Romney dossier?  Probably 1.5 pages long....mostly talking about his investment selection, suggesting an addiction to Orange Crush, and a list of Disney movies that he's watched.

VW's former CEO Winterkorn?  He's probably in the group and got a forty page  dossier.  It mostly details private life details, explanations on the diesel engine conflict, and his preferred alcohol.

Hillary Clinton?  It might be 200 pages long, and contain mostly stuff about the Clinton Foundation, arguments with Bill, and her health information.

Oddly enough, there's probably even a dossier for CNN's Anderson Cooper (probably twenty-six pages), and NBC's Lester Holt (probably eight pages).

Chancellor Merkel?  She's probably got the old DDR dossier, and a newer German dossier....between the two of them....maybe a hundred pages of material.

Why suggest all this dossier business.  Years ago, I was reading a short news piece of a Air Force pilot who'd gotten out and turned into a commercial pilot.  He'd found this lucrative contract for a cargo transport company.....operating in Africa.  This was during the period of the Angola conflict....where Cubans and Russians were part of the landscape of this chaotic time.  The pilot one day....ended up being captured while over this region.  I forget the details of his crash or forced-to-land situation, but he ended up in Angolan hands. He was moved around and ended up in some jail-like situation. An interview-turned-interrogation started up.  He was set to only suggest he was a plain old commercial pilot with no real interest in the conflict and no military background.  Oddly, the Angola crew had all this information on him....detailing out his military period, assignments, etc.  The only way they could have gotten this?  He figured the Russians had a dossier on him.  It's crazy, but it could be millions of people have dossiers on them in some Russian archive.

So while the news people freak out over Trump's dossier, and the odds are that it's a fake dossier, created by some 007-secret agent guy.....if you accept the dossier story, then shouldn't there be a Hillary dossier and a John McCain dossier?

If I were the Russians and this whole dossier thing bothered me, then I might suggest....lets make things interesting.  Every seven days for the next year....release one of these dossiers.  I'd pick Republicans and Democrats.....maybe even some journalists....perhaps even some entertainment folks.  Let's make this whole worrisome business more interesting.

You have to admit....you might be interested in what Ted Kennedy's dossier contains....or Lady GaGa's dossier.  

Friday, 13 January 2017

A Tale of the Map

In general, you can go and write a thousand-page book on how Hillary Clinton screwed up and Donald Trump laid out his best chances.  But why make this so difficult?

I sat and started looking at county-by-county voting voting over the past couple of decades.  There's something that you start to notice since the mid-1990s (after Bill Clinton's second election)....the Democrats have lost a large chunk of non-urban counties to the Republicans.  Not just one election, but election after election.

This map to the right, 1996.  Blue - Clinton.

Bill Clinton took and crafted the theme or Democratic message to fit the general and ordinary Democratic guy, and those leaning that direction.

This 2000 election?  Gore still took a large segment of urbanized counties but look at how the blue is disapparing across non-urban areas.  Gore went to more of a special group or interest area, and began to lose the general interest of regular Democrats or those who leaned that direction.

Did Gore realize this?  I doubt it.  He hired people who probably had paper strategies laid out for a decade and had a chance to enhance to bring new people/voters into the circle.  They didn't necessary worry about the regular plain-old Democratic voter.

You could see Gore watching this slip and just say it was a one-time thing....no big worry.  Things will change and just slip to the next strategy in 2004.

Well...it didn't work that way.

As much as Kerry did come close to beating Bush, note that the blue counties actually got smaller.  It became a more urbanized vote.  Massive number of votes in Memphis, Atlanta, L.A, New York, Boston, Detroit, Chicago, etc.  In the heartland, much less so.....a lot less so.

After 2004, the DNC should have awaken and asked how the county thing is going wrong and a new message should erupt out of analysis.  Well....it didn't come.

Obama did win in 2008, but take a look at the red across the board, in non-urban communities.  Obama was able to get minority voters who rarely show up on election day....to show up.  His enthusiasm was what made the difference.  If it'd been Hillary Clinton in 2008?  I suspect a few less blue counties and McCain might have come extremely close to beating her.

Democrats realizing the county problem in 2008?  No.  No grasp....no change.

In 2012, most of the blue counties were retained but he started to lose some of the counties from the 2008 episode.  Enthusiasm was less so. Did the Democrats realize the problem?  No.

The push stayed on special groups (minority, environmental, gay-marriage crowd).

So you come to the final graphic....2016.

Lots of blue?  No.  Lesser blue than 2008 or 2012.

Red dominates the counties.

There's a theme here which doesn't require rocket-scientists or Einstein-like strategists.  The Democrats are locked into a unique position.  They need a sharp-talking black guy with great speeches to come back for 2020 or 2024....to give them a chance of winning.  Or, they need to go and reexamine the regular Democratic guy in the heartland and develop a message that brings him back into the voting apparatus.

You would think that people would be talking about this and trying to rebuild the Democratic Party to be less an urban-machine and more of a typical American-machine.  But obviously, the crowd at the top today....does not share in that dream. They've lost the core of their future, and now have few, if any, options.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Spiral of McCain

After reading through all of the Trump dossier talk....which all leads back to Senator John McCain....I've come to a moment of reflection.

McCain reminds me of some 007-secret agent guy.....always on some plane and meeting exciting people (like those ISIS folks back in May of 2013 when he just happened to be in Syria).

Course, in the real story of James Bond, he was always up against some really bad characters at SMERSH.

SMERSH seemed to always be crafting some world domination theme.  One week hitting on the world economy, then shifting to gold manipulation, then flipping over to water control, and then ramping up operations to steal nuke material.

In the case of James Bond....he worked against SMERSH, day and night.

In the case of Senator John McCain....he seems to be an integral part of SMERSH....maybe a puppet....maybe just a pawn.

If I were looking for that event that occurs about every hundred years where the GOP meets and fires one of it's members, I'd say this is likely one of those approaching moments.  McCain would be better off at this point as a Democrat or Independent.