Many of you have asked over the last few years what I am writing... or whether I have been writing at all. I have answered, honestly, that I didn't feel like my words were important... that I needed to spend some time listening and learning. The full truth is that five years ago I was shocked to see that our democracy seemed to be crumbling in front of us. I couldn't understand how this could happen... or even what was happening. So I have spent the last four years studying this and trying to understand how we got here. What I have learned is that none of this happened suddenly five years ago or by accident. I hope that by sharing what I have learned you might start your own study into where we are and how best to protect our democracy.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
These words form the foundation for all of the laws stemming from our constitution. Our founding fathers debated and struggled through the implications of what these words meant and codified them in the constitution. Generations after continued to realize that the interpretation was based in all PEOPLE being created equal and codified this agreement through the amendments to the constitution.
So how then, did we reach a point where some people are provided such extreme opportunities for wealth and freedom and happiness, while others are powerless to apply their constitutional rights in an equal fashion? How did our politics become so partisan that the very people we voted into office corrupted the constitution for their own benefits and for the benefit of those who had influence over them? (more on the importance of this influence later.)
Today the system seems so broken, so distorted that many, or maybe most, of us feel hopeless to change it. We can't disagree without hate being thrown at us. We can't speak truth because half the time we don't even know what the truth is. We can't call the politicians out because by doing so we endanger our own rights, and really, they are so corrupt, we think, what good would it do anyway? We, as a country are hopeless, helpless and divided.
These things we feel are legitimate and true! But they are not the whole truth; Because we did not get here alone or by happenstance. This was a carefully directed war against us as a nation by one of the main enemies of democracy, The Russian State. This war did not start five years ago. In fact, I would suggest that the cold war never really ended. This war was given a specific direction and manifesto in 2013, though, which if you read the attached article, will resonate with all you are feeling. It is called the Gerasimov Doctrine.
"The approach is guerrilla, and waged on all fronts with a range of actors and tools—for example, hackers, media, businessmen, leaks and, yes, fake news, as well as conventional and asymmetric military means. Thanks to the internet and social media, the kinds of operations Soviet psy-ops teams once could only fantasize about—upending the domestic affairs of nations with information alone—are now plausible. The Gerasimov Doctrine builds a framework for these new tools, and declares that non-military tactics are not auxiliary to the use of force but the preferred way to win. That they are, in fact, the actual war. Chaos is the strategy the Kremlin pursues: Gerasimov specifies that the objective is to achieve an environment of permanent unrest and conflict within an enemy state." https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/09/05/gerasimov-doctrine-russia-foreign-policy-215538
Unrest and conflict... both sound all too familiar right now. The fact is, that Trump has been correct on one thing... the news is messed up. At best it is always skewed through a lens of the producer (and marketing people who go for what is most sensational) at worst is it purposely inaccurate... propaganda. Social media then leverages this misinformation to create the chaos, division, and conflict that the Gerasimov Doctrine called for.
In short... you have been and are being manipulated and played. Why would they, the Russians (and now the Chinese and Saudis) do this? What do they have to gain by creating this conflict and chaos? We can go back to our Declaration of Independence for the answer. If we are all created equal, what happens to those who would abuse the system at the cost of others? People like drug and arms smugglers? Like children and people traffickers? Like money and financial market manipulators? In a just and equal society they are stopped... in a democracy that stands for the rule of law. Instead they want you helpless and hopeless so that they can destroy the foundation of our democracy.
But why would our politicians go along with this? This is a much bigger and more difficult question to answer than the above. But suffice to say that it goes back to what I said earlier about influence. There are many ways to influence power... through money, but also through, what the Russians call Kompromat (compromising information about someone.) Here is a really good, detailed article from Cornell about the Russian use of Kompromat - https://www.cornellpress.cornell.edu/understanding-the-use-of-kompromat-in-russian-politics-an-excerpt-from-alena-v-ledenevas-how-russia-really-works/
Although few examples here in the US have been proven (mostly because the whole point of Kompromat is to exploit the threat of release rather than actually use the material,) one recent example, that of Jeff Bezos and his cell phone being hacked by the Saudis comes to mind (it also points back to the triangulation I suggested earlier between Russia, China and Saudi Arabia.) Many of the counter-intelligence experts whose work and views I study, believe firmly that this strategy has been successfully implemented on many of our politicians here in the US (on both sides of the aisle.) Look no further than Jeffrey Epstein and his background if you want to understand more about this and who may be caught up in it.
This all begs the questions... what can we do?
1) Start with our Declaration of Independence. Ask yourself if you truly believe in the tenets listed there. And, if you do, acknowledge that each of us has unconscious biases that frame how we react to other people. That in order to live up to the ideals of the Declaration of Independence, and thus our democracy, we must come at every situation knowing that those biases could be leading us further from our values and undermining our democratic goals. Realize that fighting against these biases is really difficult because it often asks us to give up some freedom that we want for ourselves.
2) Media - when you feel any emotional tug from what you are reading or viewing on the news or social media, recognize you are probably being played. Decide how you want to handle the situation... not how those around you say you should handle it. Do NOT engage if the sources aren't credible or (as in most cases) aren't even present. Do your own research into the reality of what is being suggested. Believe me... after four yours of this I know how hard this is... how much work it takes... and how easy it is to let my own emotions guide my reactions. When I feel this way I re-read the Gerasimov article and am reminded that I am purposefully being used to destroy my own country.
3) You are NOT helpless and it is NOT hopeless. When you study information warfare you will find there are many different techniques for making you believe the above. "Whataboutism" making two things seem the same when they are not. "Gaslighting" covertly sowing seeds of doubt so you don't believe your own mind. And so many more. But the facts are still there. Again, check your biases, leave them at the door, and then look as honestly as possible at whatever situation you are confused about. One example... the recent protests. Ask yourself, are your values being redirected toward someone else's goals? If so, for example, co-opting peaceful protests by disruptive forces who want to sow the missive of chaos and fear, ask yourself, is there another way to reach your goal. Can protests take a new form that is not so easily co-opted, for example?
4) Finally. I will be blunt.... no politician is perfect. But not all politicians are compromised. Look to see what they value. In particular, look to see what their relationship is with Russian, China and Saudi Arabia. We are at war with these nations... if you didn't know before, now you do. We are at WAR. Treat it as such. The only way to save our Democracy, in fact our very republic, and in some cases our own lives and those of our children, is to vote for truth. One party controls what is being used as truth and this has to end. I want nothing more than to get back to a two party system where civil debate is for the good of the country and democracy... for the good of our values as stated in the Declaration of Independence. But the only way to move forward with this is to clearly show that abuse of power will NOT be tolerated. There are many good Republicans that are saying the same thing... in order for the party to survive they must all be voted out of office. It must be purged. For more on this please look to the Lincoln Project and the work they are doing to bring truth to light. https://lincolnproject.us/news/ Bottom line... VOTE and help all those around you vote. You are not helpless and it is only hopeless if you retreat. We must fight through our vote.
For those of you who have made it the whole way through this... thank you for giving me a voice, for allowing me to share what I have learned. I hope and look forward to your thoughtful comments about the links I included... and/or questions about the people and places I have learned this all from. Please feel free to share with any and all who might appreciate it.
With all my best, and fervent wishes that our Journey to November is filled with knowledge, freedom and peace.
Do you remember getting “Chain Letters” when you were a kid? I was never really a fan…. It seemed like such an obvious attempt at a Pyramid Scheme (Hint: it was! And admission: I learned what Pyramid Schemes were at a young age from an ‘entrepreneurial’ dad who thought chain letters were a great idea.:>)
So here I am, 40 years later, and my recent inbox is filled with friends who have included me on a chain letter type email for Isolation Recipes. I ignored the email the first time I received it (bad me) and then when I got it a second and third time I decided to write this post instead. Not exactly what they were looking for, but at least it got me writing, right? The recipe is below... but just in case this topic has inspired you, here are some other ideas for chain letters that I have thought of:
Anyway…. For those of you who got here via the chain letter…. here’s the recipe I owe you:
Grandma Joan’s Pasta Salad
(A special shout out to my old neighbors who would get this every Easter during our Easter Egg hunt.)
1 box Macaroni salad pasta noodles
2 Celery stalks chopped
3 large Carrots shredded or chopped
4 or more green onions sliced
1 cup (plus more as needed to make creamy) mayonnaise
1 TBLS (or more to taste) Dijon mustard
1 small can sliced olives, drained
2 eggs, hard boiled and then chopped
Boil pasta in a large pot until al dente (do NOT overcook.) Take off heat and rinse under cold water and put aside til ready to mix all ingredients.
Mix celery, carrots, olives and onions (please note that celery and carrots can be chopped as large or as fine as you like. The chunkier they are the more crunch your salad will have.) Add mayo and mustard and then stir into cooled pasta. Stir to mix and add more Mayo until creamy. Add olives and eggs and stir again. Add salt and pepper to taste. Salad is best made the day ahead or at least a couple of hours in the fridge. It will need more salt (probably) just before serving. ENJOY!
Here's to all of our journey, even the small ones at home.
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