An Important Message … That Nobody Heard

“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”

One of life’s unanswered philosophical questions.  Last month, a big tree fell in the forest, and nobody heard, nobody listened.  It was not widely reported in any of the major news outlets, there was no notable discussion in blogdom … it was a warning destined to go unheeded, to die of neglect.

The ‘tree’ was a white paper issued by the Department of Defense titled Russian Strategic Intentions.  It is a 150-page, 25-chapter document that outlines Russia’s aggression, which includes the use of propaganda and disinformation to sway public opinion across Europe, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America, and the U.S.  It assesses Russia’s intentions in an attempt to understand what drives its strategy, outlines a range of malign activities attributed to Russia in regions as diverse as Africa and the Arctic and lays out ways the United States could strengthen its response.

The study addresses what it refers to as Moscow’s “gray zone” activities — the emboldened attempts by Putin’s regime to undermine democratic nations, particularly on Russia’s periphery, using means short of direct military conflict.

“These activities include threatening other states militarily, or compromising their societies, economies, and governments by employing a range of means and methods to include propaganda, disinformation, and cultural, religious, and energy coercion.”

‘Compromising their societies’ and ‘propaganda, disinformation’, does any of this sound familiar?  Does anybody recall that every U.S. intelligence agency, bar none, has confirmed Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, with the intent of securing the election of Donald Trump?  Does anybody recall the Mueller report, a 2-year study that verified Russian interference in the election on behalf of Donald Trump – meddling of which Trump and his campaign were well aware?  Does anybody recall that just recently Trump said if somebody came to him with ‘dirt’ on his opponent, he would accept it?

The paper also raises alarm about what the authors view as a burgeoning anti-American alliance by Russia and communist China, who have traditionally been fierce competitors, but may now see mutual benefit in an alliance against the U.S. and its allies.

Now why was a report with such important information, such relevant conclusions largely ignored?  Why didn’t it receive headline status at The Washington Post and the New York Times?  Perhaps only because the average reader is bored with that which he doesn’t believe has a direct and immediate impact on his own life.  But, one has to wonder if reader apathy/ignorance was the only reason, or if there was a more sinister attempt to ‘bury’ the story?  Yes, I understand that I may be seeing shadows where there are none, but in the current climate, can you blame me?

The ramifications of this report are many, but two stand out:

  • The U.S. is ripe for the pickings, as they say, in our 2020 elections. The Russians will use every toy in their large toybox, pass up no opportunity to ensure that Trump stays in office for another four years.  Thus far, thanks to the ignorance of Trump supporters and the malevolence of Mitch McConnell and others in Congress, we are leaving ourselves wide open for Russian interference.
  • The U.S. was once a trusted ally, well-respected and sometimes even liked, among nations in the Western world. We are rapidly losing that reputation under the current administration, and it is disturbing that Trump & Co pander to the strongarm leaders like Putin, Kim, Duterte and Bolsonaro, while denigrating the leadership of our allies.  We once accepted responsibility for supporting and aiding our allies, but that has rapidly changed under the present administration, and we can no longer be counted on, no longer trusted.

I found it deeply troubling that last month while Trump was in Osaka for the G20 summit, he joked with Putin, saying, “Don’t meddle in the election, president”, with a wink-wink and a grin.  Putin chuckled.  This is no laughing matter, folks.  Without Putin’s interference three years ago, we would now have a wise, intelligent President Hillary Clinton.  Without Putin’s interference next year, we might once again return to a position of respect in the international community, but if we continue to ignore Russia’s influence, the world will be left open to the equivalent of Soviet dominance.

Putin has long worked toward restoring a Soviet-style empire, and if his power, his theft of democratic processes is allowed to continue unchecked, the world becomes a lot less safe.  We cannot afford to ignore this, cannot be so apathetic to it that our free press no longer even bothers to report such things.  The world is changing, and Putin is perfectly positioned to take advantage of those changes to put much of the new world order under his domination. Did you ever ask yourself why Putin went out of his way to put Trump in office?  Because, in the absence of any great intelligence or understanding of world affairs by Trump, Putin knew he could control Trump like a puppet and enlist his assistance in his grand plan.

We must wake up, we must see what’s happening and make our opinions known.  We must hold the free press accountable to tell us all the news, else they may someday cease to be the free press, just as we may someday cease to be free to voice our opinion.  Free speech is rather like many other things:  use it or lose it.

32 thoughts on “An Important Message … That Nobody Heard

  1. I recently left a comment over at Gronda’s, her excellent post, “Sen. McConnell Welcomes Russian Interference In 2020 Elections/ He Has Dem Challenger In 2020” bears repeating:

    “The republican President Donald Trump and his US Senate sidekick/ Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have managed to block any and all bipartisan crafted bills designed to safeguard the 2020 elections from the next Russian attack as predicted in the FBI’s 3/22/2019 final report regarding its 22 months long Trump-Russia probe.”

    The irony is, Russian elections already have most of the elements of the SAFE Act to prevent foreign interference, along with backup paper ballots for every registered citizen. This refusal by the Repubs to enact and pass a bipartisan bill to safeguard our election process means they want to STEAL the election at any cost…. along with much needed help from the Putin gov’t. That wink and nod by Trump at the G20 summit last month is a clear sign to Putin that they’re back on track and the 2020 election fix is in. They are taunting the American public in plain sight, knowing full well that nobody is going to do anything about it.
    Pelosi is in on it as well, she will steadfastly refuse to impeach b/c Trump’s economic policies are good for the top 1%, politically connected elite class, and that includes both Dems and Repubs. Pelosi is all for keeping the status quo, which means we the ppl lose, again.

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  3. Thanks Jill for bringing this to the forefront. I hadn’t heard a thing about it. It seems to be a very sobering assessment of where we are in the geo-political spectrum these days. There’s so much chaos..so much corruption…so much incompetence…Something like this just flies under the radar. This would be big news under any other president. Not this guy!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! Most people didn’t hear about it. I only came across it on Politico, and still didn’t pay much attention until Keith mentioned it and said somebody needed to bring this to the attention of the public. Unfortunately, my blog doesn’t reach that many. And you are right … so much chaos 24/7, so many distractions from the things we need to know. Sigh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sometimes it appears the media is more concerned with the so-called Democrats ‘lurching’ towards socialism argument…then dealing with some really scary stuff going on. You know…that ‘liberal’ media….UGHHHHH

        Liked by 1 person

        • I know! I shake my head when I hear them referred to as the ‘liberal media’, for they don’t seem at all that way to me. Granted, they give Trump & Co grief, but that is well-deserved, much-earned grief!

          Liked by 1 person

          • This is why I bring up Republicans for the Rule of Law and Congressman Justin Amash. Tossing in 1000 plus former federal prosecutors. And, I agree 100% with the UK ambassador’s assessment of the Trump White House. Two years ago, conservative columnist David Brooks described the Trump White House as equal parts chaos and incompetence. We need to emphasize this is not just Democrats.

            Liked by 2 people

            • Like you, I fully agree with Ambassador Darroch’s assessment of Trump … he is spot on. Sadly, he is almost certain to be recalled within days. Did you hear of Nigel Farage’s comment that all diplomats who don’t sympathize with Trump should be purged. Nigel & Trump … a perfect paid … of fools!

              Liked by 1 person

              • Jill, seeing comments like Farage’s get to the heart of the matter. As a leader don’t you want your diplomats to tell you the truth? The lone bad part is the leak of the confidential assessment, not the assessment itself. It is just like those people who watch news that tell them what they want to hear. Regardless of political persuasion, at the heart of the matter, don’t you want the truth?

                There is a great analogy about the famous golfer Tom Watson. He wanted his caddy to shoot straight with him regarding facts and what club to hit. But, after all that, Watson said I am the one that hits the shot. So, it is my fault if I do not succeed. If the caddy told Watson what he wanted to hear, he would not have a job very long. Same goes for the ambassador.

                Keith

                Liked by 1 person

                • Sadly, the truthful ambassador will certainly be recalled now that baby Trump has stated he refuses to work with him. And, as David was telling me tonight, no replacement is likely to be appointed, as Ms. May will be leaving soon, and her choice might well not be the choice of the incoming PM (likely Boris Johnson). What a mess Trump is making!

                  And to your point, yes, a manager or leader is infinitely better off with honest people rather than yes-men. In my entire career, I had exactly one boss who thought that way, and he always told me, “tell me what I need to hear, not what you think I want to hear”. His name was Ken Schehl, and I remember him with great fondness. I must relate a funny story about him, though (yes, it’s after 2:00 a.m. and I am rambling, because I just need to ramble). We often traveled to visit other facilities similar to ours, and to attend conferences and seminars. Usually they were day trips, but occasionally an over-nighter (no, this isn’t one of THOSE stories … perfectly clean, I promise). One time, we attended a convention in a city about 500 miles away, so obviously an over-nighter. When it was over, we started for home and both of us in business suits, we decided to stop at a convenience store/gas station to change into jeans and t-shirts. Being a woman, of course it takes me longer to change, right? I come out of the ladies room, and … the car is gone … no sign of Ken or the car! A guy was leaning against a nearby fence, so I went and asked him if he had seen a white-haired man and a burgundy-coloured car. “Yep, he left a few minutes ago.” Shortly after, he remembered and came back for me! I never let him live that one down, though! He was a smart man … very smart, but forgetful!!!

                  Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello Jill. One thing I keep thinking about is that had Clinton won the country would be less divided, the SCOTUS would be a lot different / rulings would be different, and the US would be a far greater check on Russia and its actions. Just in the arctic alone Russia has pushed an aggressive military stance. They have basically placed bases, flags, and claims on areas that are parts of other countries. They have done this knowing there will be no push back from the tRump administration. Recently Russian war planes have flow along and even into US air space in Alaska. No once or twice but repeatedly. This is getting really serious. I hope people listen to you. Hugs

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree … the threat is ever-increasing and it’s time to “dump trump” and get a real leader, somebody with foreign policy experience. Pence is NOT it, but he would likely be less damaging, at any rate. I wish the media had stepped up to the plate and made a big deal of this report, then the word would have spread faster! I can only reach a small group of people, and most of those already believe as we do. Sigh. Hugs!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hello Jill. Pence already has free range to do what ever religious crap he can so that wouldn’t change. What would change is he is not compromised by Russia. Also Pence doesn’t have what ever it is that tRump has that lets him lie and make shit up and get away with it. That “reality will be what ever I want it to be” crap that tRump pulls and his cult believes. Pence would be easier to beat I think. Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

        • True, but y’know, Pence doesn’t have the same hold over Congress that Trump does, and he isn’t likely to get it, either. He doesn’t have the same personality, in fact I would say he’s about 180° from Trump in temperament. I don’t think the Senate would blindly give him whatever he wanted. And, you’re right that he doesn’t have the ties to Putin … yet. And, Pence could not, I believe, win the 2020 election on his own, for he has no personality. I despise Trump’s personality, but at least he has one … Pence has about as much personality as a wet noodle. Hugs!

          Liked by 2 people

  5. … we would now have a wise, intelligent President Hillary Clinton — Not entirely sure I would describe her that way, but most definitely she would have been so much more intelligent, so much more politically savvy, so much more well-versed on foreign affairs, etc., etc. … there would NO comparison.

    I can visualize Putin cackling as he drifts off to sleep each night thinking about what a dunce is leading the U.S. and how Russia’s goals are being so easily accomplished.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Jill, thanks for writing about this. As we discussed, this story needs more notoriety. A question I feel needs to be asked aloud is why do we spend so much time talking about the so-called lack of patriotism of Kaepernick and Rapinoe and not enough time talking about the US president acquiescing to Putin’s story versus that of the US intelligence and DoD? As former Senator John McCain said, he felt the actions of the US president in Helsinki were shameful. Why is the president so cavalier about Russian influence? The only answers I can think of are not flattering to the White House incumbent. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • Thanks Keith! I agree that is a valid question … the answer, if one is honest, is that people like Colin Kaepernick and Megan Rapinoe have no real power to seek revenge, they represent values that are considered against the new WASP, the straight, white, Christian cult who are so insecure in their own skin that they must smite out all those who are different. I suspect where Trump & Putin are concerned, either, Putin has a hold of some sort on Trump, perhaps based on money owed, or behaviours recorded, else promises of some future reward, such as a Moscow Trump Towers. Just speculation, mind you, but I don’t for one minute doubt that there is personal benefit for Trump & fam. We need to replace him asap before he allows for the destruction of this globe.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jill, from what I have read about Putin, it would mortify Trump to know what he actually thinks of Trump. My guess is he thinks Trump is a patsy. Putin actually feared McCain because the latter would call out Putin speeches for what he was. A master manipulator and con artist. Keith

        Liked by 2 people

  7. I think the newspapers want to keep Trumplestiltskin and his ilk worms around because they sell newspapers. I don’t know it, but it feels like there has been a revial period for newspapers, and they don’t want to lose their prize newsmaker.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m thinking there is probably some truth to what you say. I was musing myself and wondering … if there had been no Trump, might my blog have taken a different direction? I think probably so, and in fact it might have simply faded into oblivion.

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      • Who knows. Without Donnie boy, we would probably never have met. But we are not without him, and we met, and a lot of other people too. But we have met, we no longer need him to keep us in touch. I know you lost some friends, but without Donnie boy you may never have discovered how different you are. Was that a good thing? Who knows?
        But if the papers want to keep him just to keep making money, that does not sound good at all.
        Who knows where it all will end up?

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are so right … my blog has brought many people into my life that I would never have known otherwise and whose friendship I cherish. No, keeping Donnie in office just to support the media would not be a good idea, but I don’t think that alone would keep him there anyway. However, the media does us no favours when it keeps him in our face 24/7, either.

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  8. Absolutely on the money, Jill. The American people had better open their eyes soon or we’re in big(ger) trouble. Hopefully, Robert Mueller’s testimony on live TV next week will wake people up.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I fully agree … we are on a ledge right at the moment … a dangerous drop if we don’t wake up and smell the coffee. I doubt that Mueller’s testimony will change many minds, but what it will do is put paid to the lie Trump & Barr are perpetuating that there was “no collusion, no obstruction”, for those who haven’t taken the time and trouble to actually read the report. I’m betting 90% of the people in this nation have not read it, but are going by what they are told by the media or by Trump.

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