Censorship and Other Stupidity

Welcome back to the Scuttlebutt. 

Pull up a seat and pour a drink, let’s talk.

So, first off, let me apologize for saying that my last post would be the last one before the election… I don’t know what I was thinking, (yeah I do, I wasn’t looking at a freaking calendar.)  That’s OK though, it gives me one more shot at the shenanigans the government has been pulling before you go to the polls. (Unless you’re from a state like WA where early voting is allowed, and you have already cast your ballot.)

Censorship will be the primary discussion point today, though, of course, I have other things to talk about as well.  (Yes, you from the back of the room, I heard that. “So when DON’T you have other things to talk about?”  Well, ok, you got me there.  I swear I would try to be more succinct if people would just try to be less stupid.)

Before the main event, I have to say something about the war in Ukraine, because, well, this is, among other things, a Navy blog, and Ukraine just pulled off another classical Navy victory. (Not bad for a nation without a Navy.) 

CDR Salamander, as usual, has the hot take on this. But to summarize: While this attack really wasn’t anything “new and earth-shattering” in spite of what the various less knowledgeable military reporters would have you think, it was:

Classic– Using small ships, usually unmanned and relying on a fixed rudder, and the prevailing currents or winds to ram them into the enemy fleet is as old as naval warfare.  The Song Dynasty from the same approximate age as the Vikings was doing this.  It’s been upgraded over the centuries, it was used during the Spanish war with England by England against the Armada, it was used in the Napoleonic wars extensively, and with advances in technology, it was used during both world wars, and thereafter.  Really this is just a surfaced radio guided (instead of wire-guided) torpedo.   NO NEW TECH HERE.

An intelligence failure of the first order– Ukraine hasn’t yet admitted to being the author of the attack, but that follows their MO for such attacks.  The thing is, the Russians found one of these “Suicide drones” as they called them, washed up on a beach in Omega Bay, by the port of Sevastopol in September.  So, they had over a month of warning that something like this was coming, and yet they dropped the ball big time.

Completely avoidable– There’s a video of the attack on youtube, as provided by The Guardian.  It’s literally the recording of the video taken by whoever was operating the drone, with some extra stuff thrown in.  The video makes clear that the Russians saw a group of these incoming, tried to take them out with a helicopter, and didn’t get enough of them.  They lost or had damaged three of the biggest ships they have left in the Black Sea, as a result.  It’s obvious from the video that they did NOT have sailors with small arms, light to medium Machine guns, or remotely operated CWIS operational to take these things out, in spite of the warnings they had.  A half dozen sailors with Durkas (my war’s nickname for the DShK or “Russian Ma Deuce”) would have saved those ships.  (Provided that they were at least half trained in how to shoot at a moving target.)  Torpedo and suicide boat net barriers at the mouth of the harbor, and net tenders would have saved those ships.

A lesson for other navies that simply MUST be learned– These “suicide drones” were, as Sal put it: “a butched-up sea-kayak filled with RC boat tech, commercial satellite data, Sea-Doo propulsion, duct taped explosives and contact detonators.” Whether it’s just that, or the same vessel with a crazed Mujahideen screaming “aloha snack bar” as he rams into the side of your ship, some Chinese or NorKo version of the same… If you are not prepared for it, and your crew is not equipped to battle it, you’re going to lose billion-dollar ships to a five-hundred-dollar jumped-up toy.  

From the second your ship leaves the shelter of an anti-suicide boat fence until it gets far enough out in the open ocean to outrun the damn things, you better have a small boat escort, and you better have sailors on the rails with machine guns.  I can think of a number of places near any naval base I’ve ever pulled into where a half dozen or more of these crafts could sit and wait, undetected, until they launch.  They don’t have to be “State actors” just a madman with a grudge would do. 

The time to figure out your ROEs for when you’re operating in your own harbor, or the Straits of Juan De Fuca, or… and something is coming at you FAST, is NOW. Not when it’s happening.  What are you gonna do Captain? Admiral? If you guess wrong one way, you sink a boat of tourists or some Green Peace type.  If you guess wrong the other way, you get to write a bunch of “deeply regret” letters, and the Navy is out a very valuable asset for a long time, maybe forever.  (Oh, and either one of those will also result in you kissing your career goodbye, but that is comparably small beans.)  Better to have the rules of engagement down in writing before the event.  It may not save you, but it’s at least something to fall back on. 

Now let’s get to the Censorship piece.  An independent Investigative Journalist by the name of Lee Fang has gotten ahold of some very damning documents, as the result of some FOIA and Elon Musk’s opening of data from before he owned Twitter.

Right now, it’s just Twitter and Facebook that have been identified, but the writings imply that the rest of “social media” was in on this as well.  It seems that Homeland (DHS) (and let me make clear that I was never a fan of that whole organization, smacks of something Russia or Nazi Germany would have cooked up.) had a special weekly joint phone call. They also had a particular insider phone number to identify things that were “misinformation, or disinformation” to get “the federal government out in front of it and allow us to prebunk/debunk” anything that the federal government didn’t like. 

Among the topics that DHS wanted to have censorship rights on were: “the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic and the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines, racial justice, U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the nature of U.S. support to Ukraine.”  Gee, ironically, these are the very topics that President Biden is getting beat up on for fucking up…

Now first off, we have to look at what “misinformation and disinformation” IS.  It seems that in this case, it’s anything the government SAYS it is.  Sort of like the old definition of “Porn” (I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.)  The trouble with this is that so much of what was “disinformation” six months ago, is now “Facts on the ground” and vice versa.  
-Remember that the Wu Flu being a lab leak was disinformation, until last week when Congress came out and said that this is the most likely cause of the outbreak.  
-Remember that “masks are worthless, and the jab won’t protect you from getting or passing on COVID” was disinformation, until the CDC recently admitted it.
-Remember that the “Steele Dossier” was FACT until it turned into blatant fiction drummed up by a fired spy in the pay of the DNC.  

DHS seems to believe that they have the right and authority to “protect the homeland against ‘toxic narratives’” and Lee has the documents to prove it.  The same documents state that the agency should use “third-party nonprofits as a clearing house, to avoid the appearance of government propaganda.” “Appearance” my Red White and Blue ASS.  

The government has even got the ACLU on their case, and on this subject, Nadine Strossen, the former president of the American Civil Liberties Union noted, “If a foreign authoritarian government sent these messages, there is no doubt we would call it censorship.”

This is a direct violation of the First Amendment, and if heads don’t roll it’s grounds for impeachment.  If Homeland is doing the president’s bidding, even indirectly in a “Will no one rid me of this troublesome priest?” way, then the President has to go.  To save himself, he needs only do what Henry VIII did, and hang the people that took his musings for orders.  Of course, neither of these is going to happen, unless the numbers in the house and senate change.

More shenanigans with Twitter, seems what I said a while back about “who benefits” was proven true, according to that known right-wing (tongue firmly in cheek) rag the Washington Post. They just ran an article on the first about how China, and Iran among other nations, were running false accounts on Twitter, Facebook, etc on BOTH sides of the issues, pushing people out to the edges.  MAGA accounts about how Trump’s election was stolen and we need to rise up and shoot the bastards, AND Trump hater accounts about how we need to shoot all the MAGA bastards.  China of course denies it all, and Iran won’t even talk to anyone.

While we’re on the subject of Dis and Mis information, you know you’ve fucked up as a leftist when you lose the Seattle Times and the Washington Post. Patty Murray, the perennial Senator from WA, is in the fight of her life, to keep her seat, and Tiffany Smiley actually has a shot at taking Murray’s seat.  This has driven Murray further off the truth, to such whoppers as “Republicans plan to end Social Security and Medicare if they take back the Senate.” A statement that drove both those papers to give her “four Pinocchios.” Now I understand where she’s getting this shit from, her dear friend and Alli, Obama is saying the same thing… To the same award of “you’re a lying shit” from even leftist rags.

So where is this coming from? Something I can actually get behind; Senator Rick Scott (r) FL Chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee suggested a law that “all federal legislation sunsets every 5 years. If a law is worth keeping, Congress can pass it again.”  Since this sounds an AWFUL LOT like something I have been advocating for, for decades, I’m a fan.  In interviews, he specifically exempted funding bills that people have paid into like SSI and Medicare.  Speaking as someone who is about to draw those, yeah, I would be pissed if, after all the money I’ve put into them over forty-five years or so, they just take the money and run… But that is NOT their plan, and frankly, they have to do something, because the systems are in trouble financially.  (what to do is a topic for another day.)  For the rest of it, making congress reconsider its actions after five years to evaluate, seems just good management… But hey, the Democrats are willing to say anything at this point to try and stanch the flow of blood.  They’re hemorrhaging voters and they know it. 

One of the reasons they’re hemorrhaging, of course, is their standard bearer, our liar-in-chief.  Some of his latest blunders are so noteworthy I’ve gotta requote them, for posterity’s sake:

“[Insulin] was invented by a man who did not patent it because he wanted it available for everyone. I spoke to him, okay?” (dude died two years before you were born, ace.)

“Inflation is a worldwide problem right now because of a war in Iraq… excuse me, the war in Ukraine. I’m thinking about Iraq because that’s where my son died.”  This is the second time in two weeks he’s made the claim that his kid died in Iraq.  (Dude, he served in Iraq, but he died of cancer six years later.  Man, when you can’t even remember how your kid died…)

“Republicans have made it clear — and they’ve said it out loud on the floor — if they win control of the Congress, they’re going to shut down the government, refuse to pay America’s bills — and really put us in a serious recession; put us in default — unless we yield to their demands to cut Social Security and Medicare. They’re so determined to cut Social Security and Medicare, they’re willing to take down the American economy over it.” And here we are again with this talking point…  Dr. Goebbels, Black courtesy phone please, they’re taking your “big lie” away from you.

All this in one week.  I can’t wait to see what bullshit comes out of his mouth next week… We probably won’t have the results on a lot of the elections yet by the next time this little garden spot on the internet shows up, so I am sure he’ll make some claims that won’t age well.  I’m not sure if he’s so senile that he doesn’t remember the truth, such a pathological liar that he doesn’t know the truth or such a cynic that he doesn’t care about the truth, because he thinks we’re too stupid to notice.

Speaking of “Not Aging Well” Liz Cheney, the gift that keeps on giving… Wow, I never thought much of her old man, but right now, he must be feeling like Henry Fonda… wondering why he didn’t drown the little shit when he had the chance.

Liz is so deranged from losing her primary, she’s now out stumping for democrats.  Especially democrats in AZ, and OH, but that wasn’t enough scorn to heap on her old party (which she still claims membership in, Gods know why.) She has gone so far as to endorse Nancy Pelosi for another term as House Speaker!  

“There are many, many issues, maybe most issues, on which we disagree. But I think that she is a tremendous leader. I’ve watched her up close. She is a leader of historic consequence.”

“People just need to understand what it will mean to have a Republican majority in the House of Representatives,” Cheney said. “The people who will be running the House of Representatives in a Republican majority will give authority and power to some of the most radical members of Congress and I don’t think that that’s good for the country.”

The Republican party needs to formally remove her from the party… I’m thinking of some sort of ceremony where you’re stripped of your “flag pin,” the buttons cut off your Brooks Brothers Suit, your horn rim glasses taken off your face, and stomped on the ground, your fancy fountain pen broken in half and then put back in your pocket, and a “D” tattooed on your forehead.

Well, the Republican party ain’t much, in fact, there’s a lot of things they’re clueless as hell on, but unless there’s a decent independent running, I fear they’re the best you got.  Go forth and help save the nation please, we have nowhere to run to from here.

Take care, watch your six, 
Until next time I remain,
Yours in service.
William Lehman.

1 Comment

  1. Regarding the DHS and social media. The thing is this has morphed from a good idea. The good idea is to stop scammers and other crooks. You have no idea how many hundreds (thousands?) of scammers are blocked everyday by law enforcement and the large tech companies (and large financial institutions in some cases) collaborating to take down their phishing posts/domains etc. etc. The collaboration to take down as much of this crud as possible as quickly as possible is an unalloyed good that stops thousands (millions?) of Americans and others from being scammed every day. Obviously it doesn’t work 100% because the criminals adapt and try to evade but the collaborative process for this – coordinated by the DHS CISA – is one of the ways that your tax money is well spent.

    The problem is it then moved on to foreign state actors – which again is a good thing in that foreign state actors do use social media to hook and infect dissidents, domestic government employees and so on. Again this is a good thing. Having defense secrets, industrial secrets etc. stolen by the Chicoms, the Norks, the Mullahs etc. is something we all want to stop and since the foreign state actors use social media to set their lures just like the criminals* using the same collaboration system to stop them is entirely logical. Again it doesn’t always work but anything that stop some of the attacks on the gaping holes in much of the US government/military IT is a good thing.

    But then we’re on the slippery slope to stopping foreign state actors spreading disinformation (which they do – here is a very recent example https://twitter.com/christogrozev/status/1587372892286763009 ). While it’s clearly a gray area with a lot of blowhards making flat out incorrect claims about what may be foreign sponsored disinformation, there is however plenty of actual foreign disinformation put out by the Chicoms and the Russians (and so on). So putting labels on stuff that says “this comes from Russia Today so likely not 100% accurate” is not a bad thing. Nor is blocking posts by such parties that deliberately seek to inflame domestic civil discord and cause riots etc.

    All of that is reasonable. Indeed the first 2 are absolutely praiseworthy and the third is just a common sense recognition that foreign countries have strong motivations to cause dissension in the US. But the step beyond where they go from foreign state entities spreading disinformation to anyone spreading “disinformation” is flat out bad and leads to justified outrage. When the next congress holds inquiries I do hope they don’t cause the baby to be thrown out with the bathwater

    * Often the difference between state actor and criminal is whether it is 9-5, M-F in Beijing or Moscow or after hours

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