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Monday, March 19, 2018

SS Mansfield And My Father

My Dad, Hartley Oliver Holte, Served on the USS Mansfield in the mid 50s. He told me he participated in Occupation Hardtack in 1958. There were a series of Nuclear tests during Operation Hardtack. He recounts that sailors took photos and it was his job to collect the pictures. His Ship was too close to one blast, he told me. I believe he also served in the defense of the Taiwan Strait in 1959. In 1960 he was transferred to Sandia Labs in Alburquerque. He chose to leave the service in 1962 rather than go back to sea.

More Info:
For some Reason he's not listed at this site:

Why Burn it Down?

Years ago, they ran an experiment where they turned a lab chamber into a large maze and let rats run free within. They fed the rats & cleaned, took care of basic needs but little else. Rats did what rats do and soon the place was crawling with them. It started to look like Hells Kitchen. With bully rats, gang rats & little gang wars. The rats, when autopsied, had swollen adrenal glands & other signs of great stress. To the social scientists this was disturbing. Though to the rest of us it now seems like they were playing "obvious man."

This post is a follow on to Turning "Our Revolution" into Piqueteros which refers to the authoritarian impulse in both the far left and far right. I'm trying to make sense of why people would want to burn down our system. I hope this helps.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Turning "Our Revolution" into Piqueteros

The Lost Patrol of Piqueteros/"burn it down" activists

The Far left wing in much of the world is into violent revolution, "burn it down", "destroy the establishment," and replace the current system. That is similar to the goal of the Far Right. But in the hands of corrupt leadership, compromised leaders or leaders who won't work well with each other, the people who engage in such "revolution" become one or all the following:

  • Useful Idiots, people who cancel the efforts of each other and give dictators and corrupt organizations by canceling their own efforts.
  • Controlled opposition,, who will go after a dictators enemies as proxies for them. Sometimes instigated by trolls, agent provocateurs, corrupting agents, or traitors. Sometimes good people behave badly due to blackmail or bribes.
  • Unsound followers of authoritarian ideology,; who follow sociopathic or narcissistic leaders and have a deluded ideology that cannot ever work out as dreamed of by those followers. The Far Right has morphed into such a totalitarian movement led by a nascent dictator. A similar tendancy exists in the far left. Whenever people follow leaders blindly, they fall into the authoritarian trap.

Wise people hold principles that include working for the common good, trading lesser goals for greater objectives and recognizing the importance of thresholds and mutual equity. Sometimes to achieve a threshold capability one has to be willing to trade off ideals. People who can't adjust to reality are idealists (by definition). Such people usually let "the perfect be the enemy of the good" and are easily manipulated by trolls, agent provocateurs or demagogues.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Selective Service Versus Standing Armies

We are Facing Standing Armies

This post follows:

More about what Standing Armies

A Standing army:

“....unlike a reserve army, is a permanent, often professional, army. It is composed of full-time soldiers (who may be either career soldiers or conscripts) and is not disbanded during times of peace. It differs from army reserves, who are enrolled for the long term, but activated only during wars or natural disasters, and temporary armies, which are raised from the civilian population only during a war or threat of war and disbanded once the war or threat is over. The term dates from approximately 1600, although the phenomenon it describes is much older.” [quote from Wikipedia but also in my other sources]

But here is the thing, standing armies used to also serve as police, "peace keepers", enforcers, and often lived off the land as land pirates when governments were tyrannical or occupying hostile territory.

.... which means that modern armed forces; police, security guards (private armies), and similar; also are standing armies, because they are permanent, professional and sometimes they act like occupying forces when they operate in (or as if in) occupied territory.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Select Militia, National Guard and Second Amendment

Militia and the Second Amendment

There is a lot of propaganda about the concept of Militia. But there are three definitions we should focus on when talking about guns and the second amendment. These are:

  • "Militia of the whole" refers to the drafting of the entire male population of an area into service.
  • This was a concept that repeatedly failed to be practical. But it was ideologically preferable to the alternatives among (democratic) republicans over the alternatives.
  • "Select Militia" Due to cost authorities were forced to select out smaller subsets of the citizenry. These select militia, preferably between 18-30, were younger, more trainable, and the government could afford. They also frightened Republicans
  • "Standing Army" was what the founders were most afraid of. These were soldiers drafted into service, peace and war, and who served as a job. The government is at risk from a standing army because it has a separate identity, is often loyal to the State or who pays it. And is dangerous.
  • The founders were scared of standing armies because of the risk of them gobbling up resources, engaging in corruption and tyranny and installing dictatorship or royalty.

    They were also scared of private armies, though if the army was raised, authorized by the government it could be tolerable.

As I read the current propaganda about this subject I'm finding both standing armies and "select militia" criticized heavily by pundits who work for the NRA. The NRA formally understands that the second Amendment was written in the context of the militia portions of the Constitution, but they claim that it nevertheless grants an individual unregulated right to own firearms based on it. They use cherry picked "historiography" and a kind of faulty originalism to make this point.

How To Subvert the US Government - Trumpenfuhrer Wants Chaika!

How to Get Chaika

This is a follow on to:
Given that Trump still wants a "Chaika" style Government

The Question to Ask is

How Does Trump Achieve that goal?

How to Fight Off the Investigators

This weekend we found out that Trump tried to fire Bob Mueller in June 2017. He backed off, reportedly because his deputy Donald F. McGahn II refused to carry out the order. He subsequently hired Ty Cobb (amazing name if you love Baseball) and has been claiming to go along with the investigation ever since. But we know he still wants to fire Mueller.

If you were a nascent Dictator how would you fight off an investigation?

You would do it the way Trump is doing it. Tell the press you are "cooperating with Mueller" while digging for dirt and ruthlessly attacking everyone supporting his investigation. After I started this post, Trump succeeded in driving Donald F. McGahn II into retirement. His next target is Rod Rosenstein, who has the power to (and refused to) fire Mueller shortly after he was hired. Trump is on his way to getting his Chaika. It may take a bit of time.

Enter Ty Cobb

Ty Cobb was hired in July, put a stop to the brutal strategy. I can imagine his conversation with Trump:

"Don't want sanctions? close the office that has the job of imposing them!"
"Don't want Mueller? organize a campaign to discredit him and the FBI!"
"Don't want to implement Civil Rights, close that office."
"Can't get States to go along with voter suppression? Move the work to Homeland Security where you can keep it secret!"
"Can't get Mueller fired? Go after everyone who supports his investigation, leading to Rod Rosenstein, who is his boss!"
"Can't find anything on Rod Rosenstein? Here's how you do it. Take something he did that was classified, like his approval of FISA intercepts..."

Judicious Use of Kompromat

Trump already had practiced some of these tricks as a "player" in New York crime and politics. He would spread rumors. Sometimes pretending to be someone else. He would attack his critics with allegations. Some of them even true. And he had his own private security firm for years. He boasted about using compromising materials (kompromat) to keep the police, prosecutors and politicians off of him. His casinos and Hotels, he boasted had cameras. His modeling agency, the story goes, could be used to gather material for blackmail as well as a means of bribing friends. These are all the kinds of things that have kept Vladimir Putin in office in Russia.

Reward friends, blackmail enemies, save evidence of criminal behavior in case friends turn.

Wonder what happened to Lindsey Graham?

The Russians hacked our congressmen, the republicans, as well as US Democrats and State Governments. Even without the Russians, it is a trivial thing for the corrupt to use corruption to win friends, influence people and destroy enemies. It is no surprise that the "never Trumper's" one by one turned into fawning friends. There is evidence that Russian Mob money was invested into congressional races. It is possible that Trump's organization, the Mob and/or the Russians are gathering kompromat on congressmen like Lindsey Graham and that is why they've backed off on criticizing Trump. The combination of rewards and threats are powerful in politics. I don't know if that in fact has happened or not, but my spidey sense says yes.

Subverting DoJ, HS, etc...

Homeland Security is easy to subvert. The officers in that department are eager to deport "illegal aliens."

The FBI have a mix of hard right and moderate agents and career officials. They are old style Republicans from when the Republican Party had some integrity. It will take some time to subvert them.

Turning Evidence of a Crime into A Crime

The news is making it pretty obvious what the GOP strategy is for shaking off investigations and subverting the DOJ. Yesterday's flap over the FISA Memo that Nunes wrote is illustrative of the methods. Nunes is supposed to be recused from the Russia investigation due to being a prime suspect for Mueller. So instead of recusing himself Nunes is persecuting the FBI, playing a dishonest McCarthy role in ginning up "evidence" that the investigation is evil because FBI agents have Democratic wives, or like Comey. Basically they are making it a crime to not swear an oath of fealty and abject subjugation to Donald Trump and his whims.

Use the Classification System

Apparently Carter Page has been under investigation and surveillance since 2013 when he was recruited by 3 Russians who were later caught and tried for espionage (being an unregistered agent). Intelligence people have believed he was an unregistered agent since then. Evidence has mounted over the years and FISA warrants have been reauthorized based on this accumulating evidence.

...So Nunes is offering up a "memo" that purports to claim that the FISA warrants against Carter Page were unwarranted. This despite the fact that a FISA judge gave those warrants to both DOJ Administration Criminal investigators on evidence of criminal behavior by Carter Page, evidence submitted every 3 months by both Obama and Trump. His memo makes claims that the justification for those warrants is false. Apparently he claims that it was based on the Steele Dossier, which would be nonsense since it is based on intercepted behavior...

Carter Page, evidently, was being spied on because evidence had turned up he's a Russian Agent! So why does Devin Nunes go after The Officials who submitted documents to FISA to monitor him as a spy? Incredible! So they can fire Rod Rosenstein, who is Mueller's boss.

The memo will be released without footnotes, redacted, but with salacious accusations where the underlying evidence is classified. The Democrats have already written a counter memo, also based on the underlying evidence. The Democrats on the Intelligence Community universally denounce the memo as making false claims. So of course the GOP has decided that Democrats shall have no role in such investigations. The Democrats minority report on this "memo" was shut down. They are going to release the Republican report in 4-5 days and US democrats will have to find a way around their one party rule.

Trump can act as a dictator without ruling by complete decree. One party rule accomplishes the same thing. We Dems better turn out this summer and vote. This is the end of our democracy otherwise.

Sources and Further Readings
Further Reading:
@funder’s Tweet: 

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Real Scandal at the FBI

Trumplandia Scandal

Someone has called this the Trumplandia Scandal. Apparently the NY City branch of the FBI had a significant cohort of ruthless Trump Supporters centered around a colorful assemblage of working and retired Cops and FBI Agents. This scandal is ongoing, because these same agents are attacking the FBI for a whole host of made up and real crimes. The Perps in the Trumplandia scandal are almost a whose who of scoundrels, corrupt FBI agents, and maybe even blackmailers and crooks. As a result the Inspector General investigation started by FBI Director Comey before he was fired may be as important to understanding Trumpland corruption as what they did with the Russians.