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Archive for March, 2017

The Winds of War Are Growing Restless

War is fast approaching our national doorstep

     One threat begs for action right now without delay. It is by a country bent on starting a war with the United States and our Asian allies. Who is it? You guessed right—it’s North Korea.

Background

The threat from North Korea has been hovering over the United States like the Sword of Damocles for decades. Not one, but four American generals, now believe North Korea already has the ability to fire an intercontinental ballistic missile that can hit the mainland of the United States. As most people know, there is an early warning system that provides some guidance as to our level of preparedness to deal with a nuclear threat. It is called Def con.

Def Con is “Defense Condition” and it indicates the level of preparedness of United States Military Forces.

Definitions of Def Con

Def Con 5 – Normal peacetime operations.

 

Def Con 4 – Still considered “peacetime”, but intelligence gathering is increased and national security measures are tightened. The U.S. was at Def Con 4 for most of the Cold War.

Def Con 3 – Military assets are readied. “Call signs” for deployed assets change from publicly-known signals to classified ones. The U.S. has been at this level 3 times, most recently after the events of September 11th.

Def Con 2 – Further increase of military readiness. All forces not already in position are placed on “stand by” alert. Def Con 2 was used once, during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Def Con 1 – Maximum military readiness. All forces are active. Def Con 1 is considered to be the “total war” level and may only refer to a nuclear attack scenario since it has never been used to date.

From my perspective the United States needs to raise the Def con level immediately to Def con 3. Determination as to when to initiate Def Con 2 will come later as conditions warrant.

Understanding Imminent Threats

In reality, immigration as an issue is only tangentially related to national security. Too much attention is being paid to immigration as a potential risk while the real, more tangible imminent dangers to national security seem to be flying under the radar of public awareness.

We really do need to be vigilant at this time. The United States must be ready to counter the build-up of North Korea’s nuclear program. In addition, there is the American involvement in fighting ISIS worldwide as well as currently retaking of cities earlier lost to ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. To the credit of Barack Obama, nearly 40%-50% of ISIS troops were killed between 2014 and 2016 due to his strategic efforts. Nevertheless, the bulk of American military power at this point in time must be put together strategically. Our main focus must be on North Korea and the possibility that war between our countries is just a few North Korean aggressive acts away.

These threats are real folks! It’s time to get our head out of the sand. While I have confidence in the preparedness of the American military, I have absolutely no confidence in Trump Administration’s ability to handle dangers to our national  security. A Russian spy ship has been conducting operations to collect information on our submarine bases on the east coast and basically he has ignored this threat. If security wasn’t bad enough, just consider the incredibly misguided Trump budget proposal to cut huge amounts of money in the 2017-18 budget for the U.S. Coast Guard. “President Donald Trump’s proposed budget guidance is asking for $1.3 billion in funding cuts to the U.S. Coast Guard at a time when the service is doing more than ever, and is already severely under-resourced.”

North Korea: Confronting the Threat

The generals may be right, or may be over-estimating North Korea’s readiness for nuclear war involving long-range missiles. Either way, we must be prepared.     People may be blind to this, but the greatest threat from North Korea may not come necessarily from long-range missiles in pursuit of an American target.  Why you ask? Here is why: the best way for any country to have the element of surprise is to expand greatly their submarine service. Submarines can run silently and undetected, with stealth, and can stay close off shorelines. They can fire a nuclear warhead that will reach its target in less than 3-5 minutes.

What do we currently know about North Korea’s navy and submarine service?

The annual report of North Korea’s military capabilities by the U.S. Department of Defense, released in early 2014, identified the North Korean Navy’s strength at 60,000 personnel, 70 submarines, 420 gun boats, 260 amphibious landing craft, 30 mine warfare vessels, and 30 support ships.

Given the highly belligerent and threatening nature of North Korea to its Asian neighbors, the United States needs to expand its own Navy and especially our submarine service.

I’d rather see federal taxpayer money spent on 20 new nuclear submarines and several technologically-advanced reconnaissance planes that can detect submarines below the surface, than some mindlessly-conceived wall that won’t achieve its goal- preventing people from entering our southern border.

One Scenario Approach to Neutralizing North Korea

First off, we do not need to incinerate North Korea with nuclear bombs. The radiation alone will drift toward China and South Korea causing extreme chaos, misery, and mass exodus of refugees heading toward the borders of China and South Korea from North Korea.

The United States is in possession of missiles that can carry and bomb the equivalent of 11,000 pounds of TNT. When this MOAB (Mother of all bombs) is detonated, it will flatten and destroy an area one mile in every direction. These kinds of non-nuclear bombs would take out a city like Pyongyang in an instant. North Korean army, air force, and naval bases would suffer a similar fate.

I am not an expert on military strategies nor do I advocate one approach over any other. However, it is my belief that from now on war should be prosecuted based on the newest elements in a war. That is, the newest concept involves launching a “Hybrid War.”

Final Comments

During the House Intelligence meeting on March, 20, 2017 I heard the term Hybrid War for the first time. I credit Jackie Speiers of California for explaining it to the American public via those hearings. So what is Hybrid Warfare?

“Hybrid warfare is a military strategy that blends conventional warfare, irregular warfare and cyberwarfare. In addition, hybrid warfare is used to describe attacks by nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, improvised explosive devices and information warfare. This approach to conflicts is a potent, complex variation of warfare.”

It has long been the policy of the United States not to initiate hostilities but to let other countries make the first move. That policy was okay in prior generations where the U.S. was dealing with countries that predominantly possessed only conventional weapons. But times have changed.

Consequently, whoever the next president is, or the one thereafter (2020), an ultimatum needs to be given to North Korea. Either they dismantle their nuclear facilities or we will. If they violate the ultimatum both their nuclear facilities and their entire military must be obliterated, if not completely incinerated.    

 

 

 

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Psycho in the White House

Donald Trump is a lot like P.T. Barnum, a politician, showman and businessmen of the 19th Century. With Trump supporters genuflecting and fawning all over him, and Trump Administration lackeys acting like “Bagdad Bob,” is it any wonder that Donald Trump, the Prevaricator-in Chief, would strongly believe in the quote often attributed to P.T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute?”

Background

It has been almost 50 years since Barry McGuire’s song, Eve of Destruction played on every radio station and television network nationwide. His song signaled to the young of that era a new awakening about social injustice, racism, and the scourge of the Vietnam War.

The world seemed like it was falling apart in the 1960s, yet it affirmed a new determination to stand up for one’s rights and to challenge society and change its many antiquated cultural values and socially conservative attitudes.

Barry McGuire captured and articulated the essence of that feeling of determination. Nevertheless, make no mistake about it. The non-progressive cultural backwardness is still with us in the 21st Century. After all, how do you think Donald Trump got elected? Part of the answer is sociological/ psychological in nature. Beneath the surface of misdirected, fact-free assumptions and the banality of platitudes among Trump supporters, it was an underlying, deeply felt—“White Fright/White Flight.”

Nothing reflects this socially-driven backwardness more in 2017 than the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. Since January 20, 2017, Donald Trump has been leading the United States toward implosion and compromising our international reputation worldwide. His travel ban on Muslims underscores his prejudice of immigrants from other countries as well as other various racial, ethnic and religious minorities. Singling out Muslims for a ban showed his true colors as a white nationalist. His kind of behavior was not a recent phenomenon. Remember, Trump was sued in court for racial discrimination by the federal government for violation of the Fair Housing Act. In an episode early in Donald Trump’s career, his New York real estate company was sued by the federal government for discriminating against potential black renters. After a lengthy legal battle, his company ultimately agreed to wide-ranging steps to offer rentals to nonwhites. The history and details of this case are very revealing.

Fred Trump, Donald’s father, was, unlike his son, a self-made man. He made his fortune by building thousands of units of middle-class housing in Brooklyn and Queens. But in the early 1970s, Donald was made president of the family company.  One of Donald’s first challenges came in October 1973, when the Justice Department hit the Trump Organization with a major discrimination suit for violating the Fair Housing Act.

The Times reported at the time that the Government contended that Trump Management had refused to rent or negotiate rentals “because of race and color.” It also charged that the company had required different rental terms and conditions because of race and that it had misrepresented to blacks that apartments were not available.

In more recent years Trump accused President Barack Obama of not being born in America. The accusation was totally false. He now accuses him of committing a felony crime by bugging Trump Tower. He made both these charges by lying. Donald Trump has never backed up his accusations with any evidence at all.

Predicting the Future

 

No one can foretell the future, but I am willing to venture an educated guess that Donald Trump will be impeached in his first year of the presidency. It will likely be for committing treason (high crimes and misdemeanors) by trying to alter the election by conspiring with the Russians to rig and compromise the election in his favor. If he gives or has already given American top secrets to the Russians, he will be the first U.S. President in history to ever be sentenced to prison as a traitor.

There is also the possibility he may violate the emolument clause of the U.S. Constitution (prohibits the federal government from granting titles of nobility and restricts members of the government from receiving gifts), commit a sexual offense, or violate the Logan Act (United States federal law that details the fine and/or imprisonment of unauthorized citizens who negotiate with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States).

 

Eve of Destruction: Evidence is piling up every day

 

Just watch the major networks every day. As we all say—“The Plot Thickens.”

 

“WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.”

The journalistic investigative reporting work of Woodward and Bernstein during the 1970s Watergate Nixon Scandal asked two critical questions, “What did the President know and when did he know it?” What happened to Donald Trump and his advisors interacting with Russian operatives to conspire to rig the election? If evidence eventually reveals complicity with the Russians, I would choose to call this “Russia-Gate.”

     I just want to say that Donald Trump is not fit to be president of the United States. The people who voted him in, reluctantly or not, should take responsibility for their error in judgment and start a campaign for Donald Trump to be removed from office. This will help his prior supporters earn vindication and extricate themselves from the shame and dishonor they have bestowed upon themselves and this great nation of ours.

What the Trump supporters thought was that a plain-talking guy with business experience, and no prior office or governmental experience (including no military experience either), was all that was required to be President of the United States. These collective opinions about qualifications trivialized the Office of the President. It was incredibly short-sighted and naive to have thought that way.

Consequently, the nation now has to undo allowing a mentally ill conman to remain in office. If Trump supporters wanted change, they should have changed parties and voted for Bernie Sanders during the primaries. That would have been the smart move.

     I support helping the mentally ill in this country. However, decisions affecting our nation are just too important to leave it to someone without their mental faculties intact.

Psychological Profile of Donald Trump

Confidence in Donald Trump to meet the needs of the nation is at a historically low point compared to all previous presidents in the post 1900 era. Donald Trump has many deficits in his personality. Two of the most important deficits observed are his lack of integrity and honesty.

As I said earlier, before Trump ran for president, he was promoting the idea that president Obama was not born in the United States. He maintained this lie for 5 years or more.

During the campaign he said Ted Cruz’s father was involved in the John F. Kennedy assassination, which was untrue. Upon Trump’s November election he claimed that millions voted illegally, all because his inadequate personality couldn’t handle the fact that almost 3 million more popular votes were cast for Hilary Clinton rather than him.

Following his inauguration, he claimed he had more supporters on the malls surrounding the Capital Building than Obama. The photographic evidence showed otherwise. Trump lives in a “Fact-free Bubble,” especially when he claimed that 2016 showed the highest murder rate, more so than in the previous 40 years.

As a prior criminologist and administrator in charge of a large agency statistical data center I can tell you his statistics on the highs and lows in the national murder rate are blatantly untrue.

A week ago Donald Trump accused former President Barack Obama of placing a wiretap in Trump Tower. Lying is a central core to Donald Trump’s personality; he is our Prevaricator-in-Chief.

Donald’s crush on Vladimir Putin is very troubling. I think the government’s investigation into Russia’s hacking and interference with the 2016 presidential election, in all its ramifications, will soon bear evidentiary fruit.

Other nations think Trump is a paper tiger. We need a president who is willing to preemptively strike North Korea’s nuclear facilities and military installations before they become an imminent threat to the United States. Most con men like Trump don’t have a backbone. He’s most likely a coward at heart. For the first time in our history we really do look weak and are an embarrassment before the world.

With his constant use of his twitter account to bully foreign leaders as well as anyone he sees fit to do so in the United States, he has proven that before, and since he has taken office that he is indeed, like a few of his supporters, unhinged, mentally disturbed and unstable. Time and time again he has shown himself to be a misogynist, racist, degenerate, thuggish, iconoclast.

     He has the mentality of a five year old; he is such a loose cannon—he has even bad-mouthed those who put him in office.      

As the late Howard Cosell used to say on Monday Night Football, “tell it….like…. it is!” People soon forget factual details, and people who voted for Trump made only value judgments rather than let facts guide them. And, to no one’s surprise Trump supporters are now beginning to experience “buyer’s remorse.” 

One of the underlying mistakes Trump voters made was to naively believe Trump represented change that would benefit them. Trump is not in favor of increasing the minimum wage that would’ve helped low income families; he is mute on helping college debt problems for many students and their families, and wants to spend unbelievably vast amounts of money for a useless wall rather than spend money to improve the lives of his supporters, or those who are elderly, or those considered below the poverty line or the working-poor.

Nowhere do you find Trump issuing executive orders to promote educational programs for youth and adults in the inner cities, as well as those troubled people found in the rust belt who desperately sought any kind of help to improve their lives. He does this keeping a straight-face while he lines his cabinet with the well-heeled and, in many cases, with people who are millionaires and billionaires. Having Trump as president is like “placing the fox in charge of the hen house.”

But thinking Donald Trump is clever as a fox gives him too much credit. The other day I heard a very insightful medical theory that might better explain all of a 70-year old Donald Trump’s very erratic behavior. I suggest that Donald Trump may be experiencing the early signs of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. What is the evidence: his paranoia, inability to remember things, not being able to remember what he has said (by making extremely contradicting statements) and his chronic self-serving tantrum-oriented 5 year old emotional out-bursts.

For Trump, in addition to forgetting he also shows an inability to recognize certain people; it has wider ramifications as well. He has not been able to recognize the true bigots in our country. They were mixed in with other Trump voters and were not troubled economically in quite the same way.

These were the white nationalists with white party affiliations whose core racist values repulsed everyone else including liberal progressives, moderate conservatives and well-meaning independents everywhere.

Conservative Legacy in America    

The legacy of the conservative movement in this country including the far right has never historically been anything to be proud of. It was progressive values, not conservative values that led the way to civil rights, human rights, women’s rights, LBGT rights, health care as a universal right, and the honest recognition today that 90% of the wealth in this country is held by the top 1-2 % of the population.

Conservatism has never been anything but an obstacle to forward-looking people everywhere. Conservatism is a moral and political stance that is anything but moral. It is a movement, much like a bowel movement, that craps all over the poor and disenfranchised with every breath they take. They are selfish, self-serving, self-aggrandizing, arrogant buffoons from every age group.

There are many reasons some people wish to live in the past. But the main reason is a fear of change, despite the fact that many who hold this view want government to change, but they ultimately cower and lack the courage to change them.

In other words, they blame everyone else for their lot in life, but never take responsibility for their own lives. They would have benefitted early in life had they read Paul Tillich’s famous work, The Courage to be.” Although these observations apply to a lot of people across the entire political spectrum, fear of change seems to have a more paralyzing and crippling effect on those citizens who consider themselves conservative.

Not everyone can become Horatio Alger but everyone can improve their own situation if they have the willingness (and courage) to do so. This is neither a liberal nor conservative idea. It is an American idea. We are in America after all— “the land of opportunity.”

Final Thoughts

It must be remembered that Donald Trump, like many of his close advisors who are his apologists in the White House, share much in common: (1) they tend to have a mind like a steel trap—nothing gets in and nothing gets out, and (2) they prove every day the alleged saying of the late P.T. Barnum, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

     P.T. Barnum was successful in life; Donald Trump, by comparison, is simply a flim-flam man who conned a very naïve voting public into thinking he had their interests at heart.  

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