Friday, October 28, 2016

Baldwin brothers in family feud over Donald Trump

There's no brotherly love between these two Baldwins.

Thanksgiving dinner at the Baldwins should be a doozy!
Alec Baldwin and Billy Baldwin are at odds with brother Stephen Baldwin over Stephen’s decision to support Donald Trump in the upcoming election.
Newly surfaced tweets from earlier this month show Billy went after Stephen over his younger brother’s take on the election. Alec, 58 -- who parodies Trump on "Saturday Night Live" -- and Stephen, 50, have also clashed about the upcoming election.
Stephen tweeted, "If my father were alive today (a veteran) He would be ashamed & disgusted of media biased & manipulation by people like @andersoncooper."
Billy, 53, fired back at his brother saying, "@StephenBaldwin7 @andersoncooper If our father were alive today… he'd smack you in the side of the head for supporting Donald Trump."
But Billy didn't stop there. He followed up with several additional tweets about his brother's politics.
Stephen responded by saying Thanksgiving dinner this year might be a tad awkward.
Last week, Stephen criticized his older brother Alec's Donald Trump impressions on "Saturday Night Live."
“Well [Alec's] got the voice down very well. I think it’s getting a little too nasty right now,” Stephen told CBS News. "I don’t want to be a party pooper here, but I don’t think it’s very funny. I don’t think there’s anything funny about this election."
During the most recent "SNL" debate parody, Alec poked fun at Stephen, sarcastically calling him the "best Baldwin brother."

Army to Test Soldier-Worn, Energy-Harvesting Device

Posted By: Matthew Cox October 27, 2016
Army scientists will soon be testing an energy-harvesting device that straps to the legs and generates power from walking.
The PowerWalk is designed to extract the energy expended when the knee is flexed and negative work is being performed. The system adjusts to a person’s gait, so soldiers don’t feel like they are wearing a device and can even forget that they have it on, according to a recent Army press release.
“Just by walking, soldiers could generate power,” said Noel Soto, a project engineer at the Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC. “We are converting the movement of the knees when you walk into useful power.”
Soldiers now carry multiple electronic devices that aid in strategy, communication and navigation, including computers, radios, mobile phones, battlefield situational displays and navigation tools. Lacking the power to run these devices could impact soldier safety, performance and efficiency, Army officials maintain.
“The power generated by the device charges the main battery,” Soto said. “The goal is to reduce the amount of batteries used by soldiers, or to be able to extend the mission with the same load.
“We have found out through studies that soldiers are carrying a heavy load and a lot of that weight, 16 to 20 pounds for a 72-hour mission, is due to batteries.”
The goal is to have the energy-harvesting device weigh one pound and be capable of generating 3.5 watts and to have another device weighing two pounds able to generate 10 watts, Soto said.
NSRDEC is working with Bionic Power Inc. of Canada on the joint-service project, which will benefit the Army and the Marine Corps infantry. Project Manager Soldier Warrior, with the addition of the Office of the Secretary of Defense and USMC, leads the contract.
The project comes under the Joint Infantry Company Prototype Program, which came out of the Soldier Power Generation program.
Field trials are scheduled to begin in 2017.
The knee energy-harvesting device also reduces muscle fatigue during downhill walking.
“As a generator, it creates power,” said Soto. “As a motor, it could enhance movement. It could potentially be used in the future for human augmentation. It acts as a brake when you are walking downhill. It actually helps soldiers by preventing sudden movement on the slope.”
For Soto, the project has personal meaning as well.
“I am a disabled veteran,” Soto said. “I know what it’s like to carry a lot of weight on my back. I served with the 82nd Airborne. Everywhere we went was uphill, both ways. Now, I’m in the driver’s seat and able to help. I know it’s worthwhile because I’ve been there. I know I’m doing something valuable for the soldier.”

Watch the Persuasion Battle


If you want to watch the persuasion game-within-the-game, follow me on Twitter @ScottAdamsSays. Here’s the situation so you know what to look for.
1. Yesterday I announced my endorsement of Trump, primarily as a protest to the bullying culture of Clinton supporters. I don’t like bullies. And I don’t like that Clinton is turning citizens against each other. (My political preferences don’t align with any of the candidates.)
Yes, Trump is a bully, but he’s offering to provide that service on behalf of the country. When leaders do it, we call it leadership. (Think LBJ or Steve Jobs.) Trump isn’t encouraging his supporters to bully Clinton supporters. But Clinton has painted Trump and his supporters as Nazi-like deplorables, and that creates moral cover for the bullying you see all over the country against Trump supporters. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to bully a Nazi, would it? That’s the dangerous situation Clinton has created.
2. My anti-bullying message must have raised a flag somewhere in the Clinton campaign machinery. That means it hit a nerve and is seen as a persuasion reframing they don’t want to risk.
3. Huffington Post, Salon, Daily Kos and other liberal outlets “coincidentally” ran hit pieces on me on the same day. That’s a sign of media coordination with the Clinton campaign. (Or a big coincidence.)
4. Hordes of either paid or volunteer Twitter trolls descended on me with two specific types of attacks. The similarity of the attacks suggests central coordination. One attack involves insults about the Dilbert comic (an attack on my income) and the other is a coordinated attack to suggest I am literally insane or off my meds (to decrease my credibility).
You’re also supposed to think I’m crazy for seeing these “coincidences” as coordinated attacks. You’ll probably see this blog post retweeted as evidence of my further spiral into madness. The same happened when I noted that Twitter was shadowbanning me for talking about Trump. Shadowbanning is real, and well-documented in my case and others, but it sounds preposterous, so it is easy to frame me as crazy. Expect more of that.
The takeaway here is that my message about Clinton supporters being bullies is effective persuasion. Otherwise I would be ignored. This reframing is a kill shot because the bullies themselves are philosophically opposed to bullies. Once they realize they have been persuaded by Clinton’s campaign to become the thing they hate, the spell will be broken. And they won’t show up to vote.
I’ve never had this much fun in one year. I’ll be sad after election day, no matter who wins. Unless I am literally insane. In that case I’ll probably keep enjoying myself.

You might enjoy my book because it is entirely possible that I am insane.

Trump Surging - Lunch Alert! -

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Hillary’s Security Hates Her

Hillary Clinton’s security detail hated her so much that they privately snickered after she accidentally fell and broke her arm when she was secretary of state in 2009, one of her former guards told the Post…
“We sort of got the last laugh. It was kind of like payback: You’re treating us like s–t. Hey karma is a bitch! We were smiling to ourselves,” the agent told The Post on Wednesday
“She blamed us for breaking her elbow, saying it was our fault and we could have prevented that. She’s bad news,” the agent said…
“When I first met her, we were given specific instructions: don’t look at her, don’t look at her general direction and if you need to talk to her, keep it short and stay out of her way,” the agent told The Post.
Notice, you can’t look at her. Looking at her is amygdala-stimulating, and her amygdala can’t even handle that. Sensitive amygdalae, that cannot tolerate stress, are the worst thing to have in your life. Every moment is spent irritated and on guard, waiting for the next explosion.
It is also the worst thing to have in a leader. This was the exact same thing that had her asking why they hadn’t droned Assange.
You do not want such a crazy bitch with her finger on the button. The very fact that she is even plausibly able to win an election for President means the Apocalypse is closer than you would think.

A Lesson in Cognitive Dissonance

A Lesson in Cognitive Dissonance

A few days ago I tweeted a message that induced cognitive dissonance in a lot of Twitter users and some of the bottom-feeding media (Salon, HuffPo). This is a good case study for understanding the phenomenon. Here’s the tweet:
Cognitive dissonance happens when you are confronted with a truth that conflicts with your self-image. To reconcile the conflict, your brain automatically triggers an hallucination to rationalize-away the discrepancy. 
To be clear, that is the way normal brains work. Cognitive dissonance is happening to all of us on a regular basis. It’s just easier to spot when it happens to someone else.
I engineered the offending tweet to make the point that ISIS appears to prefer a Clinton presidency. That puts Clinton’s supporters on the same side as ISIS, at least in the narrow sense that they might prefer the same candidate. That creates a conflict between Clinton supporters’ self-image as good people and the uncomfortable reality that they might prefer the same candidate as ISIS. If my point is credible, the predicted result is that it would induce cognitive dissonance and a literal hallucination.
And it did.
But first, some background. The reasoning behind the tweet is as follows:
1. Trump gains popularity when people are thinking about terrorism because the public perceives Trump to have the stronger anti-terror position. ISIS would have learned that by watching the reaction to earlier terror attacks this year.
2. It only takes one terrorist with some guns and ammo to capture American headlines.
3. It is highly likely that ISIS could inspire at least one suicide terrorist in the United States or Europe between now and Election Day if that was their intention. 
4. If Homeland Security thwarts a big terrorist attempt before election day, we would hear about it. So even if an attempt is unsuccessful, we would still get a feel for ISIS’ intentions.
5. ISIS probably follows American presidential politics because it matters to them. Clinton and Trump are sufficiently different that it makes sense ISIS would have a preference. For example, Trump is likely to better partner with Russia, restrict immigration more, and focus more on the persuasion game against ISIS. (That last one is what they might fear the most. They too are Master Persuaders.)
6. ISIS has used Trump’s rhetoric as a recruiting tool, and that makes sense for them while he is a candidate. But a President Trump would actually have power to implement his war preferences, and that’s a different calculation for ISIS. Recruiting is a lower priority than war strategy, so it makes sense that ISIS would prefer the candidate that gives them the best odds – in their opinion – of defending their Caliphate and winning in the long run.
7. Given the assumptions above, it follows that if ISIS preferred Trump to be leading the war against them, they could greatly increase the odds of that happening by activating a headline-grabbing attack between now and election day in Europe or the United States. (Here I assume I am not telling ISIS anything they don’t already know.)
Obviously there are no absolutes in this world. Maybe our immigration vetting and security services are already so good that no bad people have slipped in. But that would mean those services suddenly got a lot better than they were earlier this same year. That’s possible, but unlikely.
It is also possible that ISIS isn’t thinking about American elections because they are busy defending the Caliphate. But that means the lull in attacks for the past few months is happening for some reason other than influencing our politics. What other reason can you imagine for them to take a pause? Assuming they have the capability (one guy with a gun and ammo) and the motive, why else would they take a break? From the terrorist’s perspective, more is always better.
You can see how this line of reasoning would make Clinton supporters uncomfortable. Terror is high on everyone’s list of national priorities, and no one wants to be backing the same candidate as ISIS. So if my point in the tweet seemed rational to Clinton supporters, it should – in theory – trigger them to hallucinate in order to rationalize-away their discomfort in being on the same team as ISIS (in this limited sense).
And sure enough, hallucinate they did.
The most popular hallucination is that some folks see my tweet as “praying for a terror attack” so Trump can get elected. No rational person would believe I expressed a public preference for more terrorism. But that’s what many Clinton supporters saw. They literally imagined (hallucinated) that I would be delighted with a new terror attack. That’s a big hallucination. (Just to be clear, I don’t want any terror attacks for any reason whatsoever.)
Watch the ongoing Twitter battle at @ScottAdamsSays as I trigger the #Hillbullies to annihilate their moral authority by acting on their cognitive dissonance and coming after me in full-bully force. It is good entertainment. 

You might enjoy reading my book because #Hillbullies is a funny hashtag.
Dilbert ©2016, Universal Uclick

The Young Are Going Increasingly K

Donald Trump would win by a landslide if American teenagers got to choose the next president, according to a new poll.
A solid 47.1 percent of high school students backed Trump while only 32.6 percent voted for Hillary Clinton in a recent online mock election, according to After School, the country’s largest teen-focused social network. Trump also trounced Clinton in 42 of 50 states, according to the poll, in which 106,608 teens voted from Oct. 14-21 by using an app.
After School organizers told The Post they were surprised by the results but believe it shows the Selfie Generation loves The Donald because he’s a “political outsider” who shares teens’ “anti-establishment” values.
Other reasons students gave for why they support Trump included: “He is going to lower taxes” and “He’s not Hillary.”
Overall, Trump won all 11 swing states that he is banking on to win the presidency, as well as New York, which is a stronghold with registered Democratic voters.
There will be a rebound now. My own theory is a big r-ifier has been the technology boom. In 20 years, we have seen the introduction of the internet, smart phones, touch-screen tablets, video games that are nothing short of mind-blowing, 3D movies, and media that has been striving to be as dopamine producing as possible in every realm. The endless bubble-and-debt-fueled-economy has also facilitated these amygdala-dulling dopamine rushes. To those of us for whom this is all new, it is one big dopamine rush.
But to r-ifiy, those things need to be new to you, so they trigger that unnatural dopamine rush. If you are raised with them from childhood, all of those things are ho-hum. Today’s kids can grow up with those technologies, and their amygdalae may look similar to those of kids who grew up in the fifties by the time they are in their teens.
Now, let today’s kids grow up with them, and suddenly see them pulled because mom and dad can’t find work, the economy has tanked, and there is no money, and then you will see real K-selection kick in. Deprive the family of copious food, so they are often hungry, and you will see them slip even farther K. Add in the mix of teenage rebellion and oppressive SJWs, and freedom’s return is assured.
K-selection is coming, the only question is how fast.

Wikileaks Is Important Because It Captures Leftists Being Honest

And as I’ve mentioned, we’ve all been quite content to demean government, drop civics and in general conspire to produce an unaware and compliant citizenry. The unawareness remains strong but compliance is obviously fading rapidly. This problem demands some serious, serious thinking – and not just poll driven, demographically-inspired messaging.
These people really are a comedic mix of nerdy-geek pathetic mixed with aspirations of super-villain evil. By increasing compliance, you can imagine what he means. He means ways to use the government to, ahem, encourage compliance by the populace. And he is not talking about using more creative messaging. He is talking about beating down those who stand up, even if only by irritation of a thousands cuts.
This is the strength of Trump. Most of the Republican Party is so wedded to the idea that they are moral, that they will destroy the entire nation, to prove to everyone how moral they are. Rubio even says nobody should quote any hacked emails on principle, even where they expose Democrat treason against our nation. Better the United States should be destroyed, than he feel somehow less than perfectly moral about himself.
Trump has morals, but they are external, and based on moral goals. He wants the United States saved, and he will do anything to achieve that. He will even use the enemy’s tools and techniques against them, and play dirty if he has to. That the left has never seen this before is a stunning indictment of the Republican establishment’s incompetence.
As I have written, the initial K-shift will use the environmental stimulation of the amygdala to grab onto the broader facets of K – the aggression, the competitiveness, and the in-grouping. But the subtler facets – family values, morals, drive to rear the next generation, will all require amygdala-development. That will require a long period of amygdala-stimulation, as the amygdala structurally adapts. They are for later.
For now, if you love K and hate r, embrace the reality. There will be no morals in the short term, there will be no honor, there will only be victory, and the tools you must use to achieve it. Don’t die on the alter of perfection, when good enough will ultimately bring perfection. See the reality, and do whatever you must to destroy the left.

Vox Popoli: Missing: US air supremacy

Actually this is merely the first time in a long time that US air supremacy is being seriously contested. Usually US aircraft are the only things flying over the war zone and go wherever they want to with impunity (which is the definition of air supremacy). Nobody else had an air force or one that could challenge the US military air forces. The intervention of the Russians in Syria has changed this. An air war with Russia presents the possibility that the US will suffer serious casualties. Nevertheless if turned loose the USAF and USN could probably quickly achieve “air superiority” and defeat enemy air forces whenever and wherever they chose too in Syria. Even against the Russians. At least for now.
With the addition of their small naval force, Russians are creating a you-can-fly-but-you-probably-shouldn't zone over Syria.
The combined capabilities of the Russian naval task force and the S-300/S-400 missiles deployed in Syria give the Russians a world-class air-defense capability. If needed the Russians could even throw in A-50 AWACs from Russia protected by MiG-31BMs. What most observers do not realize that is that SA-N-6 “Grumble” which forms the core of the air defenses of the Peter the Great is a S-300FM, the modernized naval variant of the S-300. It is also capable of the amazing Mach 6 speed, has 150km range, an added infrared terminal capability, a track-via-missile guidance system which allows it to engage ballistic missiles and an altitude envelope of 27,000m. And, guess what – the Peter the Great has 48 such missiles (in 20 launchers), roughly the equivalent of 12 S-300 batteries (assuming 4 launchers per battery).

One of the major weaknesses of the Russian deployment in Syria has been the relative low number of missiles the Russians could fire at any one time. The US/NATO could simply saturate Russian defenses with large numbers of missiles. Frankly, they can still do it, but this has now become much, much harder.

Can the Russians now stop a US attack on Syria?

Probably not.

But they can make it much harder and dramatically less effective.

First, as soon as the Americans fire, the Russians will see it and they will warn the Syrian and Russian armed forces. Since the Russians will be able to track every US missile, they will be able to pass on the data to all the air defense crews who will be ready by the time the missiles arrive. Furthermore, once the missiles get close, the Russians will be able to shoot down a lot of them, making it necessary for the Americans to conduct battle damage assessment from space and then re-strike the same targets many times over.

Second, stealth or no stealth, I don’t believe that the USN or the USAF will risk flying into Russian controlled airspace or, if it does, this will be a short-lived experiment. I believe that the Russian presence in Syria will make any attack on Syria a “missile only” attack. Unless the Americans take down the Russian air defenses, which they could only if they want to start WWIII, US aircraft will have to stay outside the Syrian skies. And that means that the Russians have basically created their own no-fly zone over Syria and a US no-fly zone is now impossible to achieve.
This marks the first time that the USA has lost air supremacy in an active conflict in decades. It is yet another sign of a crumbling empire with declining military power. The danger of a Hillary presidency is that she is likely to make the mistake of past crumbling empires in military decline, which is to fail to recognize the significance of that decline, and, through overconfidence, order military action that will lead to defeat.

Neither the US military nor the USA itself is what it was in the 1980s. It is no longer the nation nor the country that won the Cold War. Donald Trump recognizes this, hence his call to Make America Great Again, which is another way of saying Make the USA American Again.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Minnesota Somali groups join to speak with one voice at Capitol

Eight nonprofits plan to ask state legislators for about $11 million for community initiatives.

Mohamud Noor, left, helped Daud Abshir apply for a job at Amazon, in Minneapolis. “Why not combine our separate efforts and do a better collaborative effort?” said Noor, head of the Confederation of Somali Community, a coalition member.


Minnesota’s largest Somali nonprofits are teaming up to present a unified lobbying front to the state this winter.
In recent months, the leaders of eight Somali community groups joined forces on several projects, hired a lobbyist and scored face time with the state’s lieutenant governor. Now, the new coalition is gearing up to ask state legislators for about $11 million for Somali community initiatives, building on $2 million Gov. Mark Dayton earmarked for such projects in this year’s budget.
“Why not combine our separate efforts and do a better collaborative effort?” said Mohamud Noor, head of the Confederation of Somali Community, a coalition member.
Spearheaded by the Minneapolis Foundation, the initiative is also a bid to nudge Somali-American nonprofits to better track and report results.
A University of Southern California study last year found Somali-Americans celebrate the work of some leaders of 35 registered nonprofits and a host of more informal groups. But they distrust others. Study participants perceived some self-styled community leaders — dubbed “the Pretenders” — as adept at applying for grants but with little to show for it.
The new Coalition of Somali American Leaders will host its first public event Thursday at a Minneapolis Event Centers fundraiser.
Mohamud Noor, left, helped Daud Abshir apply for a job at Noor leads the Confederation of Somali Community, part of a coalition that plans to lobby the Legislature for about $11 million to help fund Somali community initiatives.
Coming together
Last year, the Minneapolis Foundation convened a meeting of local philanthropists to discuss making smarter investments in the Somali community. Of roughly two dozen participants, Hamse Warfa, a program manager at the Cargill Foundation at the time, was the only Somali-American.
Warfa argued for tuning into the community to gauge its needs and entrusting community-based groups to do more of the work. That resonated with Catherine Gray, a leader at the Minneapolis Foundation, which supports several Somali nonprofits. When she learned Warfa was leaving Cargill a year ago, she enlisted him to launch the coalition and pitched in $44,000 for the effort.
East African nonprofits had weighed such a coalition before, but a sense of rivalry for limited grant dollars got in the way. Warfa says the fragmentation was undermining efforts to secure state funding for Somali projects.
“Legislators are very concerned about working with the right partners because there are so many groups, and there’s no vetting process,” said Warfa, a Bush Foundation fellow who has worked in philanthropy for almost two decades.
Warfa approached nonprofits with budgets of at least $100,000, offices and active programs, rather than what he calls one-person “suitcase organizations.” He also invited female-led groups with smaller budgets, such as the women’s health group Isuroon. Of the groups that fit the bill, Warfa says, just one opted out of joining the coalition.
The group gelled quickly, participants say.
“We looked at each other and said, ‘OMG, the possibilities!’ ” said Isuroon’s Fartun Weli.
The group rallied around broad “points of pain”: poverty, gang activity, extremist recruitment and religious discrimination. But the leaders also wanted to highlight Somali entrepreneurship, a growing professional class and other positive developments.
The coalition is already yielding better teamwork, participants said. This past summer, 70 high school students in the confederation’s Newcomer Academy landed summer jobs, thanks to a relationship another participant, Ka Joog, has with some local employers. Meanwhile, the parents of teens in the program got training in navigating the U.S. education system from fellow coalition members African Immigrants Community Services and Somali American Parent Association.
“When we duplicate services, it doesn’t help anyone,” Noor said. “It just creates unhealthy competition.”
A pitch to the Capitol
This year’s state budget includes $2 million for investments in the Somali community — part of Dayton’s package of $35 million for addressing racial disparities in Minnesota. The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, and the nonprofit Youthprise each received roughly half of the money, which they will distribute in grants. The department is now weighing 30 proposals worth a total of $6.7 million for its half.
“The $2 million wasn’t even close to being sufficient,” Warfa said. “We are asking for more money.”
Weli says the group also wants to push the state to entrust Somali-led nonprofits with funds directly, rather than steering resources to state agencies.
“The system is not structured so that people of color serve themselves,” she said. “They are always the recipients of services.”
For now, the idea is that the Minneapolis Foundation could serve as a clearinghouse for the $11 million in state money the coalition is seeking. The proposal comes during a session when the Legislature is poised to welcome its first Somali-American member, Ilhan Omar, a DFLer running in a staunchly Democratic Minneapolis district.
The group is calling for investments to encourage entrepreneurship and homeownership, expand mental health services, provide culturally sensitive prenatal care and spur youth leadership.
A more specific proposal is still a work in progress, leaders acknowledge.
“I don’t think they are there yet,” said Gray, “but they have been engaging the community about their ask, and they are getting there.”
The coalition brought in Shep Harris of the law firm Fredrikson & Byron, a lobbyist who helped Ka Joog secure $200,000 from the state in 2015 for youth engagement programs. They met with Lt. Gov. Tina Smith.
Mohamed Ahmed, a creator of cartoons lampooning extremists, who is not part of the coalition, says many in the community feel acute mistrust of local nonprofits and community leaders.
“You can literally throw a stone and hit a nonprofit in the community; there are so many of them, God help us,” said Ahmed, whose Average Mohamed initiative recently became a nonprofit as well. “Accountability and monitoring effectiveness are big issues.”
Ahmed says Warfa is well-respected, and a group of nonprofits that will hold each other accountable is a promising step.
Warfa says he is aware of the issue: He says members of the coalition must become better at tracking their spending and results, including the number of people they served.
As word about the new coalition has started getting out, Warfa said, other nonprofits have questioned why they were not invited. He says he hopes the coalition will expand down the road, even beyond Minnesota.
© 2016 StarTribune. All rights reserved.

Obama: I Have Nothing to Do With Obamacare Rate Increases
The Obamacare nightmare.

Earlier this week the White House announced Obamacare premiums across the country will increase yet again this year, despite President Obama promising the law would save families $2500 per year back in 2010. In Arizona, rate increases of 116 percent are expected, while other states brace for hikes of at least 25 percent.
But despite making a laundry list of promises about decreased costs thanks to the "Affordable" Care Act, all of which have been broken, President Obama isn't taking responsibility for the healthcare takeover he once bragged about. In fact, he's saying he has nothing to do with the current rate crisis. 
"A lot of the times, they [media] just report 'premium increases' and everybody thinks 'wow, my insurance rates are going up, it must be Obama's fault,'" Obama said late last week during a speech in Miami. "I had nothing to do with that."
Just last week, Obama compared the collapsing Obamacare system to exploding Samsung 7 phones. 
I'll leave you with this, a montage of Obama making it clear why people might believe rate increases are his responsibility. 

Information Warfare: Old Lies In New Bottles

October 24, 2016: When the Cold War ended in 1991 and the Soviet Union disappeared many Western intelligence agencies thought they had seen the last of Soviet maskirovka (“masking”) and dezinformatsiya (disinformation). That was an unrealistic expectation as the Russians are reviving these deception practices and, as has been noted since the 1990s, several surviving communist government (like China and North Korea) never stopped using the maskirovka and dezinformatsiya techniques they had learned from their Soviet patrons.
One rather obvious example of how Russia has revived its classic dezinformatsiya was recently seen when Russia accused the United States of committing atrocities in Syria by using American warplanes disguised as Russian ones while bombing civilians, hospitals and the like. To carry out this dezinformatsiya the Russians used of photos from an American pilot training exercise in which some F-18s, which are somewhat similar in appearance to Russian Su-30s, were given a Russian Air Force paint job and flown by American pilots who knew Russian fighter tactics and techniques. This was part of the “dissimilar training” the U.S. Navy revived (from a World War II practice) in the late 1960s to better prepare American pilots to deal with North Vietnamese fighter aircraft encountered over North Vietnam. This led to regular Red Flag and Top Gun training programs that evolved as potential enemy air forces did. The Russians claimed these photos showed American aircraft operating over Syria and bombing forbidden (by international law) targets, in order to blame Russia.
This was classic Soviet era dezinformatsiya and it still works. Most people were not fooled but enough were to make it worth the effort. As Russia itself began using these techniques again most Western intel analysts were somewhat mystified because they had not seen this sort of thing at all (if they were young) and the older intel experts had not seen it done to this degree since the 1980s, when the Soviet Union was still around and using these techniques heavily right up until the end.
The Soviets pioneered the use of specialized organizations dezinformatsiya. A similar but even larger one was created for maskirovka. This agency planned and carried out large scale deceptions of photo satellites. In addition to concealing weapons, their performance, and movements the Soviets also used satellite deception to mislead the West on how their troops would operate in the field. Several times a year the Soviets would hold large scale maneuvers. Each of these exercises would involve many divisions, plus hundreds of aircraft and helicopters. Satellite photos of these maneuvers were thought to reveal tactics the Soviets were going to use in future wars. But the Soviets knew when American satellites were coming over and sometimes arranged displays of tactics they had no intention of using. Naturally, this made it more difficult for the Western intelligence analysts to figure out exactly what the Soviets were planning. That, of course, was the sort of confusion the Soviets wanted to create with these little deceptions. The current Russian government is reviving a lot of Soviet era organizations and practices because they have discovered maskirovka and dezinformatsiya still work on the West.
After 1991 this inherent fondness for maskirovka and dezinformatsiya was great news for a lot of former KGB (Russian CIA/FBI/secret police) employees who eventually found new jobs doing what they had done before the Soviet Union imploded. In part that’s because of new technology. The 1990s were when the Internet blossomed into the World Wide Web. At the same time a lot of the deception and information manipulation the KGB long monopolized was now legal for civilian firms as well in Russia and China. Since then many KGB media specialists have gone commercial and trained a new generation of Internet savvy manipulators and often ended up working for the government again, as contractors rather than uniformed employees.
Spreading lies and rumors is a long standing practice in wartime. But in pre-Internet days it was developed into a fine art by the Soviets during the Cold War. This conflict, which raged (or simmered) from 1948 to 1989 (or 1991, take your pick) never saw the main antagonists (America and the U.S.S.R) fighting each other directly, but rather it was a war of proxies. Other nations provided the battlefields while other peoples provided most of the fighters. The Soviets were calling most of the shots during this conflict even if they were not firing them. While both sides used the media and propaganda the Soviets were enthusiastic users of a particular form of media deception called disinformation. This is the old "repeat a lie often enough and it becomes truth" routine, distributed via press release and planted media stories. On the Internet we call people who do this “trolls” (or worse).
Disinformation is an ancient deception technique, but never has it been used so widely and for such a long time to keep numerous small wars going and generate such levels of hostility towards ones opponent. These fighters were not risking their lives for the Soviet Union but for a myriad of local causes. The Soviet disinformation program was intended to keep everyone in a combative mood and pursuing goals that meshed with the Soviet Union’s foreign policy.
Some of the disinformation was pretty outrageous, such as the planted story that AIDS was invented by U.S. military researchers (or the CIA or whatever). Most of the disinformation was more minor, and locally relevant, in nature. The Soviets had a large bureaucracy, and equally vast budget, to buy the services of local journalists worldwide. The stories supplied would generally cast aspersions on the actions or motives of the U.S. government and Americans in general. While the Soviets were generally inclined to shovel out lies and half-truths pell-mell, they also had specific programs to bring down governments friendly to the West or, more importantly, to prop up the morale of rebels, revolutionaries, and terrorists fighting for a Soviet approved objective. ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant), Al Qaeda and other Islamic radical groups have tried to use the same tactics but have not been nearly as deft and successful at it as the Soviets were.
What made the Soviet program unique was its global nature. The Soviets were quick to realize that the media in most countries was not as independent as in the United States. In fact, the U.S. media was something of an exception. In most nations the media are, like the first newspapers in the 18th century the creatures of one special interest group or another. It was in America that the "independent" media was invented, and even the U.S. media was not completely free of biases and favoritism towards special interests. In most countries, the bias and special interest control is much stronger. That eventually happened in the United States, about a decade or so after the Cold War ended.
Yet in all countries the local media was, like it (or agree with it) or not, the primary source of information for the population. Compared to America, the rest of the world's journalists are not well paid (even by local standards). Thus it is common for journalists to accept "gifts" (or outright bribes) in return for writing certain stories or slanting their reporting a certain way. The Soviets took advantage of this and their local agents (who were often not Russians) were liberally supplied with cash in order to buy the media attention they needed. The American CIA engaged in the same practice but the Soviets were much more aggressive, generous and successful in this area. That has changed as traditional print and TV news media were supplanted by Internet based sources but disinformation is still available as a tool.
While many journalists worldwide admire the American model for media independence, the Soviets realized that they didn't have to buy a lot of journalists in order to give their agenda sufficient exposure. Most of the Soviet disinformation was purposely developed as sensational stuff. The Soviets knew what kind of stories played best in the media and this is what they provided. This was the importance of the large disinformation staff back in Moscow. Stories that played on local fears were favored. For example, over the years, the CIA was played up as the cause behind just about everything that people feared, up to and including the weather and earthquakes. In typical Russian fashion, the Soviets would plant dozens of stories in different countries all hitting the same invented idea from a different angle. That way, the press in one country could cite a Soviet story planted in another country to back up their local "reporting." The Soviets also made the most of some outrageous story appearing in the Western press (whether it was a Soviet plant or not), by planting more outrageous versions and elaborations via the more pliable journalists of other nations. The Soviets realized that the media had become a global system and that there was a great deal of "follow the leader" (or "steal from another newspaper," depending on how you look at it) going on. The Soviets also knew that correcting an inaccurate story was nearly impossible. Once the lie gets loose, you can never correct the misinformation that then forms in so many people’s minds. Once the Internet came along, these techniques became easier and cheaper to use.
The "Big Lie" was something that was created in this century as media grew in importance. The Nazis get a lot of credit for starting it, but it was actually the Bolsheviks (the earliest incarnation of the Communists) in Russia that first used it so effectively at the end of World War I. Indeed, the term "Bolshevik" is Russian for "majority," a title the Communist minority among the Russian socialists gave themselves as they set out to seize control of Russia during World War I. The Communists kept repeating the term Bolshevik (even when it was obvious they were a small minority of the Russian socialist party) and eventually more and more people just took it for granted that the Communists were the majority, the Bolsheviks. And soon they were in control of the nation. And at that point they were still a minority, which is why they kept on killing off Russians (into the early 1950s) who actually or potentially thought differently.
Western countries only slowly became aware of what the Soviets were doing. The Voice of America and the BBC World Service radio broadcasts were intended to counter the Soviet disinformation. But these efforts met with limited success. Imaginative lies travel faster and more widely than does the more mundane truth. Politicians in all nations know and take advantage of this fact. "Negative campaigning" is often little more than a disinformation campaign.
The only positive side of disinformation is that, eventually, most people catch on and no longer believe the lies. But this takes time, often decades. And the turnaround has to take place separately in each media area. That is, while people may begin to see through the local disinformation campaign in one area, people in a neighboring nation could still be under the spell of the clever forgeries. The Soviet Union and its East European satellite nations saw their web of disinformation come apart during the 1980s. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 will long be seen as the moment when the tower of deceit came undone. But in actuality, the process of disintegration took place over several years. And for many years to come there will still be people in those formerly Communist countries who will continue to believe the lies, even if the majority does not. Now, however, the large scale deception organizations are being revived.
The deception technique of disinformation had a palpable effect on dozens of battlefields during the Cold War and after. Thousands of pro-Communist fighters believed, to the death, in the tangle of disinformation the Soviets had created. Without such motivation, many of these wars, rebellions, and uprisings would not have happened. Information is power, even false information. And this translated into firepower for decade after decade. It has happened again and this time the true-believers are Islamic radicals. Russia, China and many Western nations have disinformation operations that exploit the Internet to get their version of reality to as many people as possible. The long term impact of all this is as yet unknown.

State Department Uses Power To Shut WikiLeaks Down - Lunch Alert!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Victoria Stroup - What Hillary Learned from Gangsters

How the Democrats learned to be extortionists.
Hillary Clinton has often tried to portray herself as the hard-working, long-suffering wife simply trying to make the world a better place for whatever minority is convenient at the time. However, she didn’t just magically pick up her manipulative skills during her years at Wellesley or Yale. As Dinesh D’Souza points out in Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democrat Party, Clinton also got her education from gangsters.
The former First Lady’s life as a mafiosa began upon meeting political gangster Saul Alinsky in high school. She recognized Alinsky’s skill, wrote her college thesis on him, and she even invited him to speak at Wellesley College during her time there. In the meantime, she veered sharply left, leaving her days as a “Goldwater girl” behind her. She would later become the embodiment of Alinsky’s tactics.
D’Souza writes that in addition to scamming the University of Chicago, Alinsky fell in with smaller gangs like the Sholto and the 42 Mob. The real prize for him, though, was to get in with the Al Capone crew-- and he did after months of trying with no success.
He had no problem calling Frank Nitti, Capone’s number two man, “Professor.” He had no problem with the mob’s little habit of murdering people. In fact, he even shocked Nitti by his idea of using a local hitman to save money. A hardened gangster believed the young Alinsky was callous.
Alinsky soon recognized his problem: the shakedown men tend to get knocked off. According to Hillary’s America, this was the point when Alinsky decided to enter politics. It was a legal way to extract money without risking your head. Alinsky said during one interview, “I learned a hell of a lot about the uses and abuses of power from the mob, lessons that stood me in good stead later on.”
Alinsky’s greatest challenge became to get the target of his schemes to the point of submission. In his words, “To f*ck your enemies, you’ve first got to seduce your allies.”
Still, Alinsky wanted to remain an “outside agitator.” In a shocking display of self-awareness, he realized that an activist in the government may not be the best idea. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, took a different route. She even admitted they disagreed over the matter, with her saying she wanted to change from within while he wanted to remain on the outside, or as Michael Tomasky summarized: Why fight the power when you can be the power?
As Hillary’s America shows, Hillary got her education by way of Alinsky. Why else would a Goldwater girl suddenly swing to the far left? Even though Alinsky died long befor he could see some of his prized students ascend to power, Hillary Clinton, along with Barack Obama, has seemingly done her best to make Alinsky proud. From helping silence Bill’s accusers, using the government to go after other enemies, or abusing power to accomplish her goals while Americans suffer and die, it’s clear that Alinsky is her Godfather. She remains a loyal associate.