The “Dear Leader” Phenom

Closing Thought–26Jul18

For those of us with a full functioning brain have always tried to make sense of the voting habits of our fellow citizens……sometimes it is forefront another times it is more covert.

These days covert that needs explaining.

It amazes me….I said amazes…..for nothing about the Rights fascination with Our Dear Leader surprises me.  You see the GOP in Congress have been a spineless pack for decades…just their true colors finally came through.

Then his supporters…..they can see nothing about the man that irks them…..even when he screws Veterans…..or the farmers with his tariffs….or when he is caught with a hooker and then a tape of his conversation about covering it up with his lawyer….they say it is alleged.  Trump was right when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue on TV and get away with it….at least with the slugs that support his brand of authoritarianism.

Can there be anyway to explain why these people are so enamored with a slug of a person?

Some say neuroscience could explain it……

In the past, some prominent psychologists have explained President Donald Trump’s unwavering support by alluding to a well-established psychological phenomenon known as the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” The effect is a type of cognitive bias, where people with little expertise or ability assume they have superior expertise or ability. This overestimation occurs as a result of the fact that they don’t have enough knowledge to know they don’t have enough knowledge. Or, stated more harshly, they are “too dumb to know they are dumb.” This simple but loopy concept has been demonstrated dozens of times in well-controlled psychology studies and in a variety of contexts. However, until now, the effect had not been studied in one of the most obvious and important realms—political knowledge.

new study published in the journal Political Psychology, carried out by the political scientist Ian Anson at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, not only found that the Dunning-Kruger effect applies to politics, it also appears to be exacerbated when partisan identities are made more salient. In other words, those who score low on political knowledge tend to overestimate their expertise even more when greater emphasis is placed on political affiliation.

WAIT!  That is science and we know what those mental midgets on the Right think of science……don’t we?

Further Reading:

Is Donald Trump suffering from Pick’s Disease (frontotemporal dementia)?

This is the one that I would read if I were you:

After Note:  According to all these experts Dear Leader’s brain should be melted and running out his ears…..let Congress pass a bill that states that all presidents to be tested for mental disorders before they are sworn in….HAhahahaha!  Sorry I just realized the anything like that would take courage and the Congress has shown that courage is in short supply among the spineless we elect.


The POW Experience

AS a wonk on history and foreign policy especially on conflicts around the world….my granddaughter came to me and ask if there were any WW2 POWs in the US….if not where were they held.

She had watched the Hitler Channel with her father and saw all the German troops that had surrendered at Tunisia in 1943….her brain wanted to know where all these people were held since the war was still raging around Europe and other locations.

I told her that many were sent to the US and that there were even some held here in Mississippi…..okay she wanted to know where….so I did what I always do…I dropped some history on her….

Just about 60 miles up Highway 49 is Camp Shelby, today it is a training site for the Reserves and the Seabees but during WW2 it was a POW camp… held prisoners from the Africa Corps…….

World War II was truly a world war. All of the major countries and a large number of small nations were drawn into the fight. Even countries that tried to remain neutral found themselves in the conflict either by conquest or by being in the path of the campaigns of the major powers. For example, in 1940, more than a year before the United States entered the war, the major powers — Britain, Italy, and Germany — fought important battles in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya in North Africa.

Not until November 1942, almost a year after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, did American forces enter the fight in North Africa. U.S. forces made amphibious landings at the North African cities of Casablanca, Oran, and Algiers. German and Italian forces in Libya were then caught in a vise — Americans advanced from the west along the North African coast to Tunisia while British troops advanced from the east out of Egypt. The Germans and Italians had to defend on two fronts — the British front on the east and the American front on the west. (See the maps on the left.)

After we talked about this situation I got to thinking…where else in the US were German POWs held?

So I went into full research mode and came up with a simple answer….

Internment camps themselves were a new concept for the U.S. government. Sure, there had been forcible relocations of Native Americans for centuries prior to World War II, but none of those horrific crimes involved strategically removing American citizens and their families from one area of the country to another until a war ended (when the removed citizens would then – in theory – be allowed to return home). The Roosevelt administration eventually created three types of camps for prisoners: temporary camps, internment camps, and detention centers. The detention centers, run by the Department of Justice, housed the most suspicious prisoners, and it is the detention centers that deserve the most focus. So, without further ado, here are the ten harshest WWII prison camps in the U.S.:

The old professor hopes that this answered any question that my reader has about this subject……

I love it when my granddaughter visits!

That Byzantine Strategy

There are many strategies for fighting wars….reason they begin and how they end…..and I try to use IST to help my readers understand war in all its incarnations.

Many of us have been scratching our heads and writing about the wars that the US is fighting and the endless skirmishes that we know very little about.  We have been looking for what is the strategy of the Pentagon in all these wars.

I found an interesting article written from the US War College… seems that the US is using a similar strategy that the old Byzantine Empire used in its hay day…..

To face its enemies effectively, the Byzantine Empire employed a strategy that used diplomacy as the primary instrument of power for engaging its enemies, while using intelligence and its strong, innovative, military element of power only when necessary. Luttwak, in his conclusion of The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire, argues that the Byzantines’ strategy was based on the following principles:

  1. Avoid war by every possible means, in all possible circumstances, but always act as if it might start at any time.
  2. Gather intelligence on the enemy and his mentality, and monitor his movements continuously.
  3. Campaign vigorously, both offensively and defensively, but attack mostly with small units. Emphasize patrolling, raiding, and skirmishing rather than all-out attacks.
  4. Replace battles of attrition with evasive maneuver.
  5. Strive to end wars successfully by recruiting allies to change the overall balance of power.
  6. Use subversion as the best path to victory.
  7. Fight smart: when diplomacy and subversion fall short, employ ‘relational’ operational methods and tactics which circumvent enemies’ strengths, but exploit their weaknesses.

I do not see that the US is using any of the characteristics above….#3 is about the only one that the US is actively using….at least as far as us mere mortals can see.  #6 is how you win elections especially in 2016….but that is a domestic thing….and can be used internationally.

History can teach us a lot about war…..for war is no different than when the combatants used stones……the only thing that changed is the weapons of choice.  Peace is just a word to describe the period between all out combat.

Sounds like they may have indeed hit upon the strategy the US is employing…..who knew?

What is needed is a strategy to cease all these wars of adventurism….and use our military power more wisely….PERIOD!

Knee jerk policies formulated on Twitter are not the way to handle international relations.

Will Secularism Return?

When I was working in the Middle East, 1979-1984, I found that many of the countries that I visited were secular…..that is the people were not bound by any religious beliefs or attitudes…..countries like Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, etc…..since I left the Middle East Sectarianism has taken control of the people’s lives……countries that now a days we would consider as governed by religion.

I guess that war will make a lot of people turn to religion for help understanding many things and government would be no exception.

I recently read an article that covers this thinking and what is happening in the Middle East…..

When one thinks of conflict in the Middle East, religious factors are probably among the first that come to mind. But, nowadays, competing strategic interests and imperial ambitions play a much larger role than religious or sectarian cleavages in defining regional politics. This is potentially a positive development.

Consider the struggle for regional influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Despite having long been viewed as a result of the Sunni-Shia divide, the competition is really between two opposing political systems: Iran’s revolutionary regime, bent on changing the regional balance of power, versus Saudi Arabia’s conservative monarchy, which seeks to uphold the old regional order.

In this context, Iran’s support of the Arab Spring uprisings makes sense. In an Arab-dominated Middle East, non-Arab Iran is the natural enemy; but in a Muslim Middle East, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a potential hegemon. So Iran was quick to back free elections, predicting that voters would bring Islamists to power.

I have noticed that social media is help in the spread of more non-religious considerations especially in what may become the new Iraq……

Rayyan Hadidi was 18 years old when he lost his faith. It was July 2006, and he was on his way to school when he stumbled upon a cheering crowd that had gathered near a local mosque. The group, made up mostly of mosque leaders and worshippers, had encircled two men accused of volunteering with the Iraqi police force, which many saw as a puppet of the American occupiers. Al-Qaeda gunmen brandished their arms, preparing to execute the men, as the crowd shouted, “Allahu akbar.” Hadidi stared at the two men, flinching when he made eye contact with one of them just before they were both shot.

For me that is good news…for like I said before I remember a secular Middle East of my youth….I realize that this will not make a difference to those hateful individuals that wants to blame all problems on a religion.

Part of the rise of extremist Islam came from the sands of Arabia for these Arabs follow an extreme form of Islam known as Wahhabism…..since the King decided to put his son in charge there has been some movement to marginalize the religion……

To cement his power, Prince Mohammed has in the past year marginalized establishment religious scholars, detained critics and neutralized members of the elite by arresting relatives, prominent businessmen, and officials and stripping them of much of their assets.

In doing so, Prince Mohammed has subjugated the kingdom’s ultra-conservative religious leaders through a combination of intimidation, coercion and exploitation of religious dogma particular to a Saudi strain of ultra-conservatism that stipulates that Muslims should obey their ruler even if he is unjust. Islam “dictates that we should obey and hear the ruler,” Prince Mohammed said.

Are the Saudis leading the way?  Not in my book…they are just given the illusion of change……some minor reforms but the religion thing will remain.

And why is the MSM ignoring all the protests in Iraq since the election?

Although popular unrest is nothing unusual in Iraq, one key factor that has emerged is that all Iraqis have the same concerns, irrespective of their ethno-sectarian background. This fact could be a reason why the mainstream media have attempted to sidestep the protests and failed to give the demonstrations the attention they deserve because they prove that Iraqis are sick and tired of the sectarian nightmare that Iran exported to their country.

Why Is Russia The Foe?

Since I have been writing about the Russian thing I have come across many people that want to know why I am such a downer about these situations with Russia.

First, as a soldier I was in the military intelligence branch of the Army and after I walked away from that I was employed by another agency doing the same thing….so as a soldier during the height of the Cold War I have an in grown distrust of Russia….is it irrational?

I do not think so but thinking Russia is an ally is wrong and I want people to realize it before it bites us in the ass.

But I am not alone….I read a thing that talks about the two prties are still stuck in the Cold War……

President Obama’s snotty swipe at Mitt Romney was his way of saying that he did not think that Russia was our enemy. What he did not consider was that his Russia policy was simply the flip side of the same coin as Romney’s. Both over-assessed Russian relevance. And now President Trump is doing the same.

Of course, the Trump administration insists their Russia reset is not a reset because Trump called for raising NATO defense spending targets to 4%.

It is a distinction without a difference. Both lend undue relevance to what in reality is a third world dump. Both policies are predicated upon Cold War assumptions of Russian strength.

Is it good that Russia and the US are talking to each other….under normal circumstances I would say yes it is…the problem is that 2 hour meeting without any advisers worries me.

After reading like I do ….I ran across something that made me reconsider what Dear Leader and Russia are doing on the international stage….if you watch world affairs and know that China has been screwing the US on trade for many years… it possible that Dear Leader is setting China up?

While the progressive left sees a Russian spy around every corner, there is a very real possibility that Washington and Moscow will collude for a very big reason—and soon.

Both nations have a reason to fear a coming change in the international order that will impact them both. And as history shows us time and again, a rising power that seeks to overturn the international system can make the most dedicated enemies join forces—and fast.

I can only be talking about one thing: a growing and more powerful China.

Our Dear Leader has set up China as the enemy…and messaging that Russia as the new “ally”……

Any thoughts?