I Believe

Thank you to Karen Kleis for sharing this with me.

I Believe….

I believe that Donald Trump, his Cabinet and administration, and his Republican enablers in Congress are a real and active threat to the people I love and to me.

Trump says he won the election and wants us to “work together” to “Make America Great Again”.

This is my response:

•I will not forget how badly he and so many others treated former President Barack Obama for 8 years.

•I will not “work together” to privatize Medicare, cut Social Security and Medicaid.

•I will not “work together” to build a wall.

•I will not “work together” to persecute Muslims.

•I will not “work together” to shut out refugees from other countries.

•I will not “work together” to lower taxes on the 1% and increase taxes on the middle class and poor.

•I will not “work together” to help Trump use the Presidency to enrich himself.

•I will not “work together” to weaken and demolish environmental protection.

•I will not “work together” to sell American lands, especially National Parks, to companies which then despoil those lands.

•I will not “work together” to enable the extinction of other species.

•I will not “work together” to remove the civil rights of other citizens.

•I will not “work together” to subvert our allies and the NATO Alliance.

•I will not “work together” to slash funds for public education.

•I will not “work together” to take essential public service from people
who are poor.

•I will not “work together” to remove sensible gun control.

•I will not “work together” to drop the minimum wage.

•I will not “work together” to destroy the Unions.

•I will not “work together” to suppress and deny scientific fact.

•I will not “work together” to criminalize abortion or restrict health care for women.

•I will not “work together” to increase the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

•I will not “work together” to put even more “big money” into politics.

•I will not “work together” to violate the Geneva Convention.

•I will not “work together” to normalize the vile and uninformed
views of the Ku Klux Klan, the Nazi Party, and white supremacists.

•I will not “work together” to deny health care to people who need it.

•I will not “work together” to weaken food and drug safety.

•I will not “work together” to increase voter suppression.

•I will not “work together” to normalize tyranny.

• I will not “work together” to cut ethical oversight at any level of government.

•I will not “work together”  impose a pipeline for the transport oil on
Sacred Ground for Native Americans.

•I will not “work together” together to promote the lie that American
Democracy is as corrupt as a Russian Oligarchy.

This is our line and we draw it because words like “winning,” “being great again,” “rich” or even “beautiful” are meaningless when we scapegoat our fellow citizens and degrade our most cherished Democratic values and Institutions.

Signed,

The Majority

Author unknown.

 

Photograph of “Torn Constitution” (c) Rob Goldstein 2017-2020
First published May 16. 2017

 

 

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This relationship is killing us

When we elect a President, we expect him to treat his power with humility and respect.

We expect him to be an American President.

What we have is a selfish gaslighting narcissist whose only obsession is staying in power.

Perhaps Trump saw the demographic of who was dying and decided to use Covid19 to purge voter rolls.

April 7, 2020, According to new data about the scope of the Coronavirus pandemic in the U.S., COVID-19 is hitting Americans of color especially hard. The CDC has not published racial breakdowns of deaths, but some states are — and they show that patients dying of the disease are disproportionately Blacks and Latinos.

We know Trump got a heads up about a spreading pandemic in November 2019.

 

April 8, 2020, ABC reports the National Center for Medical Intelligence warned the military and White House about the spread of the virus in China in November 2019.

 

 

The dire warning about an out-of-control disease sweeping through China was detailed in November in a report by the National Center for Medical Intelligence.

 

The oddest sight of the Trump Pandemic was that of an American President inciting an armed rebellion against doctors and nurses and Governors who were doing their jobs.

April 17, 2020, U.S. President Donald Trump tells protestors to ‘liberate’ three Democratic-run states with stay-at-home orders.

The Death toll from Trump’s neglect was 34,614 on the day of this tweet:

Liberate Minnesota
Liberate Minnesota

The President had not only declined to use his power and resources to stop the spread of a lethal virus; he sabotaged the efforts of State and Local governments by politicizing a matter of science.

So here we are, Monday, June 22, 2020, day 90 or more of quarantine.

June 22, 2020, day 90 or more of quarantine.
On June 22, 2020, day 90 or more of quarantine.

Our President just told us he’s killing us on purpose.


“In a shocking admission during his Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally on Saturday night, President Donald Trump said he had told officials in his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because of the rising number of cases in America.” CNN

It’s not a joke.

The President of the United States intentionally slowed down testing to reduce the numbers to create a false argument to reopen the economy.

We still don’t know who or where the sick are or how many people have died.

The idea that the strong protect the weak is the defining moral premise of who we are as Americans.

If you have a gift, a power, and you can use it to save just one life, you have a moral obligation to use it.

It is a code of honor at the core of our identity as a people.

Photograph of a sign at the 2019 Women's March in San Francisco
The American Mission Statement

Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Emma Lazarus.

Or

“When you can do the things that I can, but you don’t, and then the bad things happen, they happen because of you.” Peter Parker

What does it mean to have an American President who has no sense of common decency?

If I were married to the guy, I’d leave and get a restraining order, but it’s worse: the guy is the President. So I’m more like a hostage of a sadistically abusive Father I didn’t choose and can’t leave. There is nowhere to go to; he’s here, every day, with his racist lies and his threats to incite violence, every day, day, after day, after day.

May 31, 2020

June 22, 2020

Update: from The Lincoln Project

 

Photo of “The American Mission Statement” (c) Rob Goldstein 2020
Photo of ‘You’re on my toe” by Eclaire Banderstatch (c) Rob Goldstein 2020

 

 

The Value of Life in a Pandemic

The Value of Life in a Pandemic

As of the morning of April 23, 2020, 47,992 Americans have died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus sweeping across the earth.  The first known US death from COVID-19 was on February 6, 2020, so all of the 47,992 died in slightly less than 2 ½ months.  In comparison, the 15-year US military death toll in the Vietnam War, from 1961-1975, was 58,220.  On April 22nd, my 86-year-old aunt became one of those COVID-19 death statistics.

Over the past several days, we’ve been hearing calls for reopening the government.

Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said, “There are more important things than living.” when asked about the dangers of reopening the state too early.  Indiana Representative Trey Hollingsworth said about the potential loss of life that “it is the lesser of these two evils” in calling for reopening the economy.

In a 25-minute interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman called for opening the casinos on the Las Vegas Strip, without offering any plan for social distancing or other safety measures.  Instead, she said she offered to use the crowded casinos as a “control group” to test what going back to normal conditions would do to the local coronavirus infection and death rates.  When Cooper asked her if she would be on the casino floors each night, showing the world that it was safe, she deflected the question. Once again, as has happened over and over again in history, the rich and powerful are ready to sacrifice other people’s children, parents, siblings, relatives, and friends to protect their fortunes and power.

The Value of Life in a Pandemic

Mindy Schwartz is a blogger, life-long political activist, pet nutritionist, wife, daughter, DogMom, DemCast California Content Captain, and Jew. She is equally proud of all of those roles.

 

Disclaimer: I am not paid to promote #DemCast, and Demcast does not pay me to write.

One Nation, Under Attack

Over 100,000 Americans died in a pandemic our President chose to ignore.

Yet, large numbers of Americans believe the Coronavirus Pandemic is a hoax, and they are aggressively breaking the rules designed to protect us from the spread of the virus.

Why is this happening?

Information warfare became a hot topic in the United States shortly after Trump took office, but as a concept, it is hard to understand.

How can people in Moscow or Vietnam use bots to convince people in the United States to make decisions that destroy their lives?

It seems outlandish.

But it’s not new.

Everything I know about espionage I learned from Mission Impossible, which means I know almost nothing.

But the premise of a team of covert operatives who use disinformation, deception, and staged scenarios to achieve military goals suggests a general public awareness of ‘Perception Management’ or ‘Reflexive Control’ in Cold War America.

Most of the public information regarding Information Warfare uses the dense academic language of specialists.

In writing this, I simplified the language and paraphrased quotes, I strive for accuracy, but translations are rarely perfect; the reference material is available for download at the end of the post.

Mass Media as an Arm of the Armed Forces
Russia Views Mass Media as an Arm of the Armed Forces

What is Information Warfare, as defined by Russia?

To paraphrase the Russian Ministry of Defense: “Information War is the confrontation between two or more states to damage institutions and resources by undermining political, economic and social systems with a psychological attack so massive it destabilizes a nation and its government.Russia’s Information Warfare, Exploring the Cognitive Dimension.

A massive psychological attack.

A collage of Russian Facebook ads found online
A grouping of Russian Facebook ads

Americans who think the Russian attack on the 2016 election was mere ‘meddling’  to sow chaos are wrong.

Putin spent years preparing to ‘meddle,’ and the Russian attack continues into 2020,  with co-ordinated attempts to sabotage our Coronavirus Pandemic response.

These are explicit acts of ongoing aggression.

What is Reflexive Control?

The concept of ‘Reflexive Control’ emerged in the 1950s when Soviet Scientists searched for ways to optimize the use of computer technology and cybernetics for the military.

In 1956, Nikita Khrushchev reportedly said the Soviet Union would destroy the United States from ‘within’. He had ‘reflexive control’ in mind.

Russia studied the United States and continued to analyze our strengths, weaknesses, and divisions after the end of the Cold War.

As an observer, Russia can potentially know Americans better than we know ourselves.

According to the New York Times, “… “Reflexive Control” is a military tactic to control the enemy’s perceptions, to convince him to ‘reflexively’ act against his interests.

To achieve Reflexive Control, you must study the enemy, know how the enemy thinks.

Russia uses ‘insight’ into our intellectual and regional differences to model our decision-making process to target specific groups with the half-truths and lies most likely to provoke a ‘reflexive’ decision that benefits Russia at our expense.

Screenshot of a 1983 disinformation campaugn that falsely claims the U.S. Invented the Aids virus
How Do Russia’s Lies Distort Your Perceptions of Reality

A Personal Experience:

In 1986 Right-wing  activist Lyndon LaRouche Jr. successfully launched Proposition 64:

Prop 64 “Declares that AIDS is an infectious, contagious and communicable disease and that the condition of being a carrier of the HTLV-III virus is an infectious, contagious and communicable condition. Requires both be placed on the list of reportable diseases and conditions maintained by the director of the Department of Health Services. Provides that both are subject to quarantine and isolation statutes and regulations. Provides that the Department of Health Services personnel and all health officers shall fulfill the duties and obligations set forth in specified statutory provisions to preserve the public health from AIDS.”

The men of the Castro thought the State of California was ready to round us up and send us to camps.

That year I heard a rumor, later confirmed by Dan Rather: the U.S. government – specifically the Pentagon – created the AIDS virus to kill blacks and gays.

I believed the story and hated my government for the suffering it caused.

But the story was a Soviet fabrication, a lie, disinformation designed to incite paranoia and mistrust among Americans who had reason to believe the worst.

As a youth, I became a gay activist because I had faith in my government’s commitment to reason and justice and was courageous enough to one day admit the mistake of discriminating against me.

As a ‘reflexive’ reaction to Russia’s lie, I lost faith in my government and viewed everything it did with suspicion, and for a short time, stopped voting.

The government restored myfaith on June 26, 2015, when the U.S. Supreme Court approved same-sex marriage.”

Read the story of how Russia made this and other lies go viral before social media.

Prop 64 lost, btw.

During the Cold War, hundreds of salacious and bogus headlines around the world appeared, part of a covert playbook of Russian disinformation used to undermine America.- NBC News

Insight is called ‘reflex.’

A Russian Facebook page called 'Woke Blacks"
A Russian Facebook Page for ‘Woke Blacks’
A Russian Facebook ad for Southern Heritage
A Russian Facebook ad for Southern Heritage

The side with the most ‘reflex’ wins.

The Russian Federation

Most of the journals I read describe the Russian Federation as a corrupt capitalist country controlled by oligarchs, the Russian Mob, and remnants of the Soviet Union’s KGB.

President Vladimir Putin, a former KGB agent, trained in Psychological Warfare beleives, “Russia’s approaches to conflict between nations “are to be based on intellectual superiority. They will be asymmetrical and less costly.”

Intellectual superiority = ‘reflex’.

‘Setting the stage.’

Russia used several methods to profile Americans. This 2018 video published by the Wall Street Journal describes the profiling of African Americans in 2014.

“Intelligence services are interested in personal information because they’re trying to find a weak point, and trying to find ways of making this person do what they need done. If you can insert false or misleading information into a government agency’s decision-making process, or into a policy maker’s decision-making process or even a voter’s decision-making process, you can have an impact on how the United States reacts to Russia or to other powers around the world.” Former Special Agent Leo Taddeo

Cambridge Analytica spent $1m, harvesting millions of Facebook profiles in early 2014 to build a system to profile individual U.S. voters to target them with personalized political advertisements.

Screenshot of antisemitic propaganda produced by the Russian Internet Research Agenc
Antisemitic propaganda produced by Russia’s Internet Research Agency
A Russian Facebook ad that blames Black Lives Matter for Policeman's death
Anti Black Lives Matter propaganda produced by Russia’s Internet Research Agency.

In this 2018 video, Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie describes how Cambridge Analytica turned Facebook likes into a political tool.

Screenshot of a russian facebook ad blaiming immigrants for American poverty
LIKE if you agree

Reflexive Control is most effective when targets are unaware of it. Even when lies are exposed, the effects linger, fueling division, and conspiracy theories.  If a nation’s people are extremely divided, Russia’s lies are used by the opposing sides to intensify political conflicts.

Example: 49% of voters polled by Gallup approve of Trump’s performance as President despite his mishandling of a pandemic that has killed over a hundred thousand Americans.


The simplest way to understand reflexive control is to think of it as non -stop marketing campaign on speed designed to convince people to self destruct.

Russia views civilians as legitimate targets, so we are suffering the effects of an ongoing psychological attack, all of us.

The most effective way to protect yourself is to be aware that you are a target.

Take a close look at the tweet that pisses you off?  Is it divisive? Does it use loaded language?

When you read a story,  notice the language, verify the source,  mistrust ‘breaking stories’ without links to credible sources.

The New York Times and MSNBC are credible sources. Art by Rob Goldstein isn’t, at least, for verifying a news story.

Again, know you are a target, Information Warfare exploits your vulnerabilities.

A russian facebook ad that depicts Bernie Sanders as a gay superhero
A Pro-Bernie appeal to the LGBTQ community from Russia’s Internet Research Agency

Russian operatives are working to subvert Joe Biden. They will post smears and racially charged content designed to go viral.

Question content about Biden that causes a ‘reflexive’ or intensely negative emotional reaction.

Update: May 28, 2020

EuroMaidan Press is an online English-language independent newspaper launched in 2014 by Ukrainian volunteers.

Part of Russia’s hybrid war, which is based on a Soviet secret technique of reflexive control. The virtual reality Russia creates has the aim of altering its victims’ vision of reality. Wearing Russian-made glasses, they make the political decisions Russia wants without suspecting a thing.


You can also find ‘One Nation, Under Attack‘ on #DemCast

Vote D for Democracy
#DemCast Graphic

(c) Rob Goldstein 2020

All images used in this post found and twitter and Google. I use them for educational purposes.

‘One Nation, Under Attack” by Rob Goldstein (c) 2020

Below is the downloadable source material for this post.

Reflexive Control Thomas_2004

Cognitive Bias and Reflexive Control

The NATO Handbook of Information Warfare