Monday, November 7, 2016

campaigning is illegal on election day

Voting has started.  Can we get off politics and get back to this blogs original purpose: the military?  The good parts, the bad parts, and the ugly parts of  military, operational art, equipment, logistics, administration, generalship, history, etc.

But I would guess not.  There will be to many whiny losers out there no matter who wins.  So perhaps we are going to be stuck in a time warp, reliving the past horrific year for the next four or worse for  the next eight.   I for one am sick of it.  Have been for a year.

 We should, I agree, put up political posts regarding the new president's decisions that affect war and peace,  choices of cabinet members, military equipment acquisition, veteran issues, and both trade & diplomatic & economic initiatives.  But can we wait for that until he or she takes office on 21 January, or at least until there are announcements of who will be who in the next administration, instead of immediately predicting doom based on todays vote count? 

Or am I dreaming?  The answer to that is probably yes.


  1. mike,

    I hope none of us have been campaigning.

    Speaking for myself, I stand behind the issues I have raised. Who will be Commander in Chief matters very much to the state of our military, so it is quite relevant to the purpose of this blog, and we need not stick our heads in the sand on the matter.

    My last piece -- before your plea -- deserves serious consideration, IMO.

    Why are two 70-year-old candidates at such odds? This will carry forth, and if we don't understand it now, we will have to at some point.

    I don't believe you've done us a service by asking for silence.

  2. PS:

    It's not good form, mike, to knock a post down in the queue until it has had a day to run (IMHO).

    I put thought and effort into last night's "The Gig's Up", and thought it might stimulate some convo.

    I'm getting the feeling that the pub is an insular enclave of Democratic "yes men", and possibly, even, not very female user-friendly :(.

    1. Lisa -

      I agree it is not good from to overwrite a post that has only had a short time to run. But I did not squelch anything as your post "The Gigs Up" was cross-posted from 'Ranger Against War' where it was first posted and already has several comments. I am sure you will get mucho convo here as well as there.

      The election is over. I, and You and Chief, are not going to change any votes today. Maybe four years from now. Actions over the next four years will speak a lot louder than election rhetoric.

      I gave you last piece and the many before that serious consideration. IMHO Lisa, you are an able and fierce champion of the issues you care about. I see a lot of Hillary in you. That is meant as a compliment, I hope you take it as one.

  3. Lisa -

    You yourself have implied on a previous post that we should ignore the pageant that he media and the internet has made of our political meatgrinder:

    "If we were better than we are, we would turn away from the spectacle, eyes firmly affixed to real life."

    Wise words I think!

  4. I wanted to discuss this; Lisa, I think these posts need to migrate back to RAW and stay there until you can wrestle your Clinton Derangement Syndrome down and keep it down. Yes, we know you hate Hitlery worse than a zillion devils. No, this is not the place to take that out for a walk.

    If you want to have a reasoned discussion of "the issues", fine. IF you just want to rant about The Evil Corrupt Hildebeast...well, you have RAW for that.

  5. As for the general point of your post, mike, I agree that we've been drifting away from what is intended to be the central mission of this place.

    I think a bit part of that is that I'm not sure that we have any real sense of where our country is headed militarily. There just doesn't seem to be any sort of real strategic focus, and not so much because of political infighting but because there seems to be a real question about "what?"

    I think (hopefully) that Dubya's Most Excellent Middle Eastern Adventure has knocked the stuffing out of the notion that "war works" for these damn failed-state-internal-brawls and little regional wars. Pace Lisa, I don't think that President Clinton is going to order the tanks to roll across the Polish border to crush the newly fascist-curious government there or parachute the 82nd into Homs. Trump's people...I dunno, but I'm hoping that even THEY're not that nuts.

    But outside of intervening in the usual sort of Great Power finagling in cabinet wars, what is there? There's no more than minor indications of a new Cold War, and the shape of a potential US-China confrontation in the South China Sea is still too nebulous to do more than speculate and bloviate. I threw up a post about that and got a whole bunch of snarling derision.

    So I think a big part of the problem is that there's no really pressing topics to hash over...

  6. I also am sick of the election campaign. However, politics and War are deeply intertwined and MilPub is a low volume site. If you don't want to go down a particular rabbit hole it is easy to skip over an article or two. I oppose limiting content on the blog. I do support someone adding more (and different) content. Be additive, not subtractive.

  7. mike,

    The thing is, we CAN'T turn away from the spectacle. We are part and parcel of it, and THAT is what we need to look at.

    WHY do we parrot the anger fed us by the press? WHY are we "sick" of this election? It should not be that we are sick of understanding the two legitimate candidates. We should never be sick of learning and understanding.

    What we ARE sick of is the smut and slander and innuendo ginned up by the press, as Chief might say. Chief says it is as it has ever been, but I say "No" -- there is more than a fillip of difference in the hatred we are seeing today from what went before.

    So why that? From whence? Why are we not sickened by it, but fall in line at our particular party queue, and digest the anger as our own?

    Are we become that nasty as a society? That stupid, to believe the schlock?


    "a reasoned discussion of 'the issues'" is what I'd love. However, I see it is not possible with partisans who suffer cognitive dissonance.


    Thank you for your voice supporting alterities.

    Like Jefferson said (of differences in religious belief), " It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.

  8. Mike,

    I read this earlier and agree. Blog conversation is not the way to have these discussions.

  9. There was a poll in Germany. Even among AfD voters (a new party, kinda comparable to your Tea Party movement relative to the other parties, but politically more aligned with leftmost Republicans) there's only 12% preference pro Trump, 71% pro HRC. Even our (print media) equivalents of the Murdoch press was 100% anti-Trump.

    This election is going to drive a wedge between Europe and the U.S. as nothing else before did. A blue senate or popular majority for HRC would have cushioned the blow, but this is an all-out (R) victory. The GWB administration was already kinda forgiven after 8 years of Obama, but now there's little escape from the conclusion that the U.S. isn't in the same culture group as Europe, and likely a greater security issue for most European than Russia.

    I recently wrote about how the option of a NATO exit looks for Germany. Maybe I was too sure that NATO wouldn't split in that article.
    NATO may be history soon if the European unification ideologists give up on it and push for the EU to become a military bloc.

    I personally say "Ami go home" now, fuck the Baltics and their concerns. I don't want troops in my country that are under command of a fascist, and I think trump is a full blown nutjob with an obvious narcissistic personality disorder and in policy affairs straight fascist attitudes. The Italian fascist party has no-one who meets more Mussolini clone criteria than Trump.

    For U.S. business in Europe it's goodnight time.

  10. Holy fucking hell.

    Well, Lisa, you got your wish; Evil Hillary is done for.

    I am sickened; it's like a plurality of my fellow citizens decided it was too boring sitting through another four years of being told to stop polluting and eat their vegetables, drove the Hummer up to Suicide Point, handed me a half-empty Bud, and belched "Now watch THIS shit!"

    We're in for a helluva wild ride. Deregulation, privatization, taxcuttery...and don't forget the torture and carpet-bombing...

    I welcome our new tangerine-hued Overlord with the horrified fascination of a gibbon juggling live grenades. The only question at this point is whether our new Trumpmeister can be as peak-wingnut as the Freedom Caucus, or whether Joni Ernst ends up looking like the sane one by comparison.

  11. So in light of today's upset...I'm thinking the next post is "Whither a Trump Administration geopolitics?"

    I think it's fair to Assume that a Clinton 45 would have been very similar to Obama's foreign and military policies. Trump...well, definitely not so much. But...HOW not so much, and why?

    I think we can dismiss fantasies of a peacenik Trump ending the Phony War on Terror out of hand, if for no other reason than 1) the man's own words - torture, bombing, killing "terrorists" families - and 2) the huge degree to which Muslim- and immigrant bashing played in his success.

    Add in the Congressional GOP's record of enjoying foreign bloodsport I find it entirely unlikely that a Trump Administration will be any more free of farkling about militarily in the global hustings than Reagan's or either Bush's was.

    The big question to me is - where, and how?

    What does a President Trump consider dangerous enough to throw force at? Syria? Will he go back and take that Iraqi oil he's said we should have taken? Does he reneg the agreement and try and force Iran into war? Or does he join Putin in opposing China over Sakhalin?

    He's a blank slate. We have no idea which way this cat will let's discuss.

    1. Lisa asked above "Are we become that nasty as a society? That stupid, to believe the schlock?" Apparently the answer is yes. The media has elected a monster.

      However, unlike the Republicans who wished for Obama's failure, I wish this monster well. But I will oppose any and all of his many whacky notions. Torture, murdering families, trashing social safety nets, tearing up the Iran deal, bankrupting the couhtry.

      My neighbor is ecstatic - saying how close we had come to nuclear war if Hillary had won. WTF??????

      Chief, you say: "let's discuss"

      Let's discuss his actions come January. Or let's discuss his cabinet picks. But let's not speculate. Trump so far has proven himself to be a wildcard - insusceptible to guessing which way he will jump, immune to conjecture and exempt from the odds.

    2. I'm going to throw this out simply because it's down in black-and-white. Trump has always had three key arguments, things he's returned to again and again even as his mouth-blargle went this way and that:

      1. He is deeply unhappy with America’s military alliances and feels the United States is overcommitted around the world.
      2. He feels that America is disadvantaged by the global economy.
      3. He is sympathetic to authoritarian strongmen.

      Hell, back in '87 even spent something like 100 grand on a full-page ad in the New York Times that pretty much said all that.

      So I think he'll push hard to pull out of NATO and international treaties such as the Iran deal and many of the East Asian commitments.

      I think it's VERY likely that he will push hard for a confrontation with China (I know it's counterintuitive that he'd want to disengage from Asian alliances but then butt heads with China; I think that here his State and DoD chiefs will work to moderate his isolationist-interventionist position)

      And I think he will cozy up to Russia in places where Russia has a compelling interest such as the Near Abroad. It wouldn't surprise me to see Putin emboldened to take back the Baltics, the rest of Ukraine, and much of the islamic south...

      But my problem is that I'm utterly Trump-averse; I suspect the worst. I'm curious to hear from those, like Lisa, who are more comfortable with the man to hear what the opinions and prognostications re: a Trump foreign and military policy might be.

    3. I am not against limiting NATO. I was never in favor of Bush's push to incorporate all those former Warsaw Pact countries into NATO. But as Sven says above, Trump may not have to pull out if what Sven says above about the feeling in Germany is Europe wide. Many countries may resign before Trump has a chance to put it forward. Turkey leaving NATO, with their current Salafist president, would be a plus in my book, but then that might start a larger war in the mideast.

      As far as China goes, I myself believe we should even out our trade imbalance especially with them. But I believe that was all rhetoric on his part. He saw how well Bernie did with it and pounced. On the other hand if he follows through I worry he could start a kinetic war with China over trade. Our trade relations with Imperial Japan were a factor in Pearl Harbor I believe.

      His flirtation with authoritarian strongmen is what worries me most.

    4. mike: How will Trump's flirtation with authoritarian strongmen be any different from the past? America has a fine and continuing tradition of coddling kings, dictators and Presidents for Life. Or is it simply that the names will change?

    5. The change is that he coddles with authoritarian strongmen who opposed the West. This is not about being cozy with Saudis like Clinton, it's about being cozy with Putin. He verbally kicked the jenga tower of the international system like no one before (save for maybe Wilhelm II) did.

    6. "Opposed the west" where the "West" is short for the collection of nations that re-invented the great power alliance system after WWII and created the cold war.

      Great power alliance systems don't have a great track record. Realignments tend to come about via catastrophic global wars.

      Maybe for the health of the planet we need to de-invent these alliance systems where you get teams of nations armed with nuclear tipped ICBMs pointing at each other.

  12. Thomas Frank has some analysis on why Mr. Trump is now President-Elect. He claims that the Democrats are the ones responsible for the current situation.

    1. Ael,

      What unusual self-awareness from the press; and still, what tremendous hubris.

      They did nothing aside from behaving abominably, losing my faith, and denying us actionable data.

    2. Lisa -

      I share your opinions on the press. But for opposite reasons than yours. IMO they are the ones responsible for electing this a$$.

  13. Well, that's what THEY think, mike.

    I give The People a little more credit than that. I'd like to count more than a few other thinkers besides myself who grew tired of their drill.

  14. And whatever happened to the bonhomie of Carter's old "IntelDump"?

    I know Frank Drackman got picked on, but basically it was an exchange of ideas, not agitprop. Nothing was off the table.

    1. Lisa: I reluctantly wade into this. You are being unfair calling the contributions of others on this blog: "agitprop". It is a very hurtful thing to say and distracts from the exchange of ideas.

  15. Lisa -

    That bonhomie is still here IMHO. I have always thought well of you despite your political choices. I hope you feel the same.

  16. Ael,

    Actually, I was being defensive when I used the term. I felt like "I" was being accused of agitprop! How imprecise a medium is the written word, esp. in a forum like this :)

    Thank you for expressing how you read it. Now that you've said it, I can see where either side might feel the other was delivering agitprop ;)


    I've always thought very well of you, and everyone here. I am so surprised that things have gotten so personal. This was never my intention.

    I feel like I write with precision, passion, a bit of quirkiness and humor (sometimes in shocking or unexpected places), but never with a mean spirit.

    It is shocking to me to hear how angry people have become over this election. Such intensity that it threatens to rend long-standing relationships. This is sad to me, because I read several of the media talking head saying that would happen and it made no sense to me.

    The people seem to have gobbled up that idea -- that they must cave up and hate anyone who will not toe the party line.

    I take a long view: we have had Republicans and we have had Democrats, some good some bad. We have survived for 250 years. It's been a good run, and it will continue, for better or for worse, for some time yet.

    What is this crazy madness about?

  17. Lisa -

    I'll give you your passion, quirkiness, humor, and even perhaps precision except in the case of Mrs Clinton. Mean spiritedness??? Towards me, never. And I hope the reverse is true. Towards Mrs Clinton, very much so. I confess to the same feelings or worse about Mr Trump.

  18. Thanks, mike.

    It just seemed so obvious that HRC was a criminal, and her largest hope was to inhabit the WH, but with not much reason to be there. I do not think she offered any hope for us.

    Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama DID offer hope. Both ran platforms looking to a better day. For HRC, it was all mean, all gotcha, nothing good. She totally caved on who she ever was, by constantly stepping on herself. As one NYT mag profile of the candidate ended, "I don't think she's known who she was for a long time."

    That is sad.

    I saw no integrity there. What a terribly flawed politician for the DNC to run. So, I was sad, but not angry.

    How can one be angry at a scorpion because he stings? That's what he is.

    Further, to call a scorpion a nasty stinging pest, one is not being mean, eh? Just telling the truth, from a non-scorpion p.o.v.


    1. "It just seemed so obvious that HRC was a criminal"

      On what basis is that obvious? Has any of the countless investigations of her resulted in bringing charges before a grand jury? You know, those bodies of citizens that are famous for indicting a ham sandwich? Even more significantly, why did her political opponents, who ran the investigations never refer their findings to a grand jury?

      I mean, it's not like she is in the same category as Oliver North, who was convicted by a jury of his peers, only to have his conviction overturned because factual, incontrovertible evidence, from his very own mouth, was deemed inadmissible. The evidence did not change. Hillary hasn't "gotten off on a technicality". Hillary hasn't even been legally charged of anything. She's been accused and investigated, neither of which has resulted in evidence offering probable cause of a crime.

      So, exactly what law(s) has she allegedly violated? As far as her email controversy is concerned, she appears, indeed, to have violated State Department policies and rules, but none of them are laws, either in the statutory or administrative sense. All that could have been done to "punish" her is administrative discipline in nature, such as a letter of reprimand demotion, termination or revocation of her security clearance. Since she is no longer a federal employee, the first three are not possible. There is not such civilian crime as "failure to obey a lawful order" as there is in the military.

      And before we get into the matter, there is no legal requirement for a President to have a security clearance. In fact neither do members of Congress require security clearances. Having had a bit of experience in the subject, I would bet that If he applied for a Top Secret as a government contractor, Mr Trump would have had a difficult time getting approval. Things like divorce, bankruptcies, adultery, law suits are all investigated. I seriously doubt that he could have gotten clearance in the time the campaign ran.

      Now, is Hillary a scorpion? Well since that analogy is a matter of opinion, not law, feel free to say so.

    2. Lisa -

      Trump, your champion of hope, was the true scorpion and snake during this last election - How you could have voted for a swindler of tradesmen and small businesses, a deadbeat, a failed businessman, a racist, a tax cheat, and an importer of illegal labor and Chinese steel and wives is beyond me.

      But I am gladdened that the majority of the American voters saw through this slick cheating b@st@rd and voted instead for Mrs Clinton by over half a million votes despite the archaic electoral college.

  19. mike,

    You don't know who I voted for, or even IF I voted :)

    These are niceties we enjoy in polite society -- we neither ask ladies their age, nor do we ask for whom one votes. Discretion being the better part of valor (as all Marines know.)

    But your reply emphasizes what I had been saying repeatedly: we were not allowing a true contest, not listening to both sides.

    We have become so inured to partisan politics, that if anyone questioned the approach towards one -- calling it "biased" -- well then, that one had to be on the other side.

    It's preposterous. What a sad show the press gave us. I could see the "Dewey Defeats Truman Moment", but all they could do is stick their heads in the sand and peddle innuendo and hatred.

    Like I wrote, if I were an alien newly-arrived, I'd figure this was a show election, with the mighty HRC winning handily.

    Paddy Chayevsky's film "Network" had nothing on our current reality.

    PS: the lingering hatred toward the President-elect is saddening and pathetic, IMHO. So just as the Republicans once blocked the aisle for compromise, now the Democrats want to do the same.

    I thought they were better than that.

    1. "PS: the lingering hatred toward the President-elect is saddening and pathetic, IMHO."

      You described behaviors some 5 days following the election as "lingering"? We still see derogatory and hateful remarks, mostly racial, about the Obama family openly posted on the internet. And that has been longer than five days after his election, if I read my calendar correctly.

    2. Innuendo???? They broadcast Trump's own words, there is nothing suggestive or insinuating there. It came straight from the horse's a$$ himself.