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Welcome to 2018! This is Joe Katzman standing in for Jack Wheeler, who is guiding TTPers in Portugal right now on the TTP New Year’s Celebration week.

The storm is not yet upon us, though the Inspector General’s release date approaches.

Meanwhile we have Iran blowing up, Yemen blowing up, Steve Bannon blowing up, Rocket Man hit by a tactical nuke of mockery, your computer’s security blown up, Miko recovering from a medical procedure (send him some good wishes in the Forum) and my stomach blowing up with some form of food poisoning.

It may not be the Earth-Shattering KA-BOOM we’re all waiting for, but for now, it’ll have to do.

Because I’m writing this with ongoing food poisoning, I’m going to narrow my focus and cover the most important topics as I see them.

Here’s the list:

  • Bannon Blowed Up Real Good
  • The Storm
  • Shhh, Iran is Having Massive Protests
  • Messin’ With Fatty III
  • Ye Men in Yemen
  • Computer Security: Intel and the 21st Century Horse Stirrup
  • Smack Down


Bannon Blowed Up Real Good

Steve Bannon may have told an obviously-hostile reporter that the actions of Trump’s family, the very thing the President holds most dear, were treasonous and unpatriotic. This will soon be quoted in a book, just as the Mueller investigation is going off the rails. From The Guardian ( link used, to avoid giving them clicks):

“The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor – with no lawyers. They didn’t have any lawyers.  Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic… and I happen to think it’s all of that, you should have called the FBI immediately.”

Bannon went on, Wolff writes, to say that if any such meeting had to take place, it should have been set up “in a Holiday Inn in Manchester, New Hampshire, with your lawyers who meet with these people.”

Trump gave the item due consideration, then responded:

trump-on-bannonBannon also received a legal warning letter from the Trump team, lost the Mercers’ financial backing, and has Breitbart debating his ouster. President Trump dropped a “make the rubble bounce” tweet this morning, said the book author had zero White House access, and stuck Bannon with the nickname “Sloppy Steve.” The guy really has a gift.

Put another silhouette on the side of Trump’s desk.

One of the best takes on all this comes from a former Breitbart writer. Katie McHugh describes her own experience of Bannon, and notes that the energy he runs on and fosters is a useful servant but a dangerous master.

Good lesson. It’s also true that the kinds of people who can lead populist resistance are often poorly suited to playing in more conventional political arenas… and vice-versa. As the Poles could tell you.

Bannon is a smart man, but one of the things smart, high-energy people need to learn is when to curb-stomp the urge to demonstrate their next brilliant trick/ insight. Especially when responsibility for other people is entrusted to them. Once that happens, it’s not about you anymore.

Now, should Don. Jr. have sent a lawyer to a no-name Holiday Inn for the meeting with the Russian plant sent by the Deep State? Yes. Was anything about it remotely treasonous? No.

Should Bannon have avoided commenting in ways that would enhance the Deep State’s attempt at a coup? Of course. In fact, maybe a real strategist should have talked to the reporter in question, who has a history of making up quotes… through a lawyer, at a Holiday Inn in Manchester.


The Storm

Conservative Treehouse believes there will really be consequences on Comey FBI and Obama DOJ corruption, and there are a LOT of sealed indictments piling up. I have no idea.

It’s blindingly obvious that there have been serious illegalities. Even if one imagines the best possible motives, the peaceful transition of power is America is now in question. We have senior Law Enforcement/ Intel officials talking openly about “insurance policies” in case a non-favored candidate wins. While those agencies lie repeatedly to Congress, and face no consequences.

It’s tempting to want to just sharpen the long stakes, emplace them on the mall, and fill them will all the right traitors. The thing to remember is, this is an inflection point for America.

Accept the medium-term Latin Americanization of our politics via high-level Leftist Impunity as S.O.P., in exchange for the ability to address the rest of the agenda?

Or risk having the entire Presidency devoured by the consequences of something as serious and heavy-hitting as a counter-coup that’s going to target the other major political party’s senior people, and major national agencies?

The fact that the Democrat Party had become a de facto criminal organization is beside the point here. You cannot do something like this without preparing the public. Bigly. But as we see re: Iran, the media is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Left, and will happily lie or refuse to talk about anything remotely inconvenient.

So, with that in mind, how would you prepare the public, in an age of social media and the Internet?

I’d probably string the whole thing out as a drip-drip-drip of consequential information, identify sites and people who would get that information out to various receptive factions: the Right, younger people, etc., and then encourage influencers to begin putting the pieces together themselves. Coupled with ongoing media sniping wars from people who know how to use social media (yeah, I think I know a guy…). If I did want to break something that big, I’d want hundreds of thousands of people ready to explain it to people they knew, able to refer those family and friends to explanations that non-government groups had pieced together, and already in the process of de-legitimizing the other side.

That does look a lot like the current landscape. So… I have no idea. Grab some popcorn and get comfy.


Shh, Iran is Having Massive Protests

Lots of demonstrators on the streets of Iran, and there are some interesting parallels this time with the deplorables that swept Trump in.

Military sci-fi author John Ringo, who lived in Iran for a little while, has a great take:

“Mashad is an interesting place for the protests to break out to the point of being Bizarre.

How to describe Mashhad? Basically, it’s the Pittsburgh (or what Pittsburgh once was) of Iran. Something of a trade nexus, (it was part of the Silk Road but so were most of the cities in the region) it is the bluest of blue collar Iranian cities.

Which gets to why it’s so bizarre….”

Of course, this week we also have Michael Ledeen (Who Will Prevail In Iran?),  Roger Simon (Trump Humiliates Obama on Iran) and Jack Wheeler (Make The World Great Again).

But there’s a news blackout in America, because talking about it would inconveniently hurt Obama and reveal them to be the shills Ben Rhodes knew they were. Al-Arabiya is a good source, albeit one that isn’t going to like the Iranian government much. Or Persians, really. Here’s their coverage re: why the protests started, and deployment of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps.

My take is that any regime willing to be ruthless enough can crush protests of this kind. But I did pay attention to the idea of “reconnaissance by protest.” And I paid very close attention to what David P. Goldman said:

“Before we wax too eloquent about the democratic aspirations of the great Iranian people, we should keep in the mind that the most probable scenario for Iran under any likely regime is a sickening spiral into poverty and depopulation.

Iran has the fastest-aging population of any country in the world, indeed, the fastest-aging population of any country in history. It has the highest rate of venereal disease infection and the highest rate of infertility of any country in the world. It has a youth unemployment rate of 35% (adjusted for warehousing young people in state-run diploma mills).

And worst of all, it has run out of water.”

That last sentence is the stone-cold killer. Though I hear the Israelis have some pretty good de-salination tech…

I’ll close by saying that this kind of Pravda media blackout isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s a stable pattern. There will be situations where trapping the media in forced silence and then discrediting them with it will be an excellent move. Don’t whine about it, just be ready to use it.


Messin’ With Fatty III

Warning: bad language alert at the start – but excruciatingly funny takedown of Kim Fatty III’s daddy afterwards…

The Trump administration’s Endless Entertainment program made good progress last week, as the Chad-In-Chief brutally taunted “Kim Fatty III” with an Atomic Twitter Wedgie (™, patent pending):

“North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the ‘Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.’ Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2018

…And everybody except the Media and Leftists (but I repeat myself) laughed. I’m slightly disappointed that the words “Mr. Ronery Jr.” and “Rocket Man” were nowhere to be found.  It’s obvious what Trump is doing, but the M&L are so brain-damaged with TDS they can’t get it.

For decades, Kim Fatty II, and now III have played the crazy act to scare the world into submitting to them with the aid necessary to keep their 1984 tyranny alive.  Trump refuses to submit and says, “Hey, I can play the crazy game too!  There’s a lot of mileage to be gained by having your opponents think you’re dangerously unpredictable.”

So now it’s Kim’s cage being rattled instead of an American president’s.  Same with the M&L, who’ll never have the emotional intelligence to admit this President is a strategic genius, and keep getting played by his act.


Ye Men in Yemen

Yemen Offensive 2018-01

(Green arrow is the real offensive)

The Saudis have earned a poor military reputation over the last few decades, unlike their neighbors Israel and the UAE. Some of their units are good, but no-one was shocked when a Saudi push against Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi tribes began looking like it would be a disastrous episode in the Islamic 30 Years War.

Lately, however, things have turned around [and see map].

A twitter user named Thomas Wictor has been following Saudi military developments for some time. For various reasons, I think he badly overstates the tech being produced by the Saudi-UAE-Israeli cooperation. That’s a very American thing to do.

But recent developments show impressive operational achievements, and it seems clear that the Sunni+ coalition has done a very good job figuring out how to make maximum tactical use of some existing technologies. Both of those outcomes are what one would expect when the UAE (aka “Little Sparta”) and Israel decide to help with operations and put their military industries to work.

Note my use of the plural, “industries.” The United Arab Emirates was one of the countries I cited in my ‘Defense Hyundaization’ article for the Wall Street Journal.

So, why does all this matter, beyond being part of the Islamic 30 Years War?

It matters because the Yemenis were backed by Iranian forces like the Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah. They used many of the same tactics and equipment one would expect to see used in, say, Lebanon: fortified mine belts, mobile artillery, and anti-tank weapon teams to choke mountain access roads. Plus ballistic missiles that they keep firing into their opponent’s country.

If the Saudi/UAE forces can walk right through those kinds of setups with a little help from their friends, their friends have seen and participated in the same combat-tested bag of tech + tricks. With Assad finding his footing in Syria, this may be a very timely development for the Israelis.


Computer Security: Intel and the 21st Century Horse Stirrup

If your computer runs an Intel chip made since 1995, it’s vulnerable to exploits that could give access to any data on it. Yup, Mac OS X too, unless you’re running OS X 10.13.2 High Sierra.

If you want solid background and to-dos about “Meltdown” and “Spectre,” all broken down for a layman with some tech understanding, I recommend ZDNet Zero Day: “Critical flaws revealed to affect most Intel chips since 1995.”

PCWorld’s “Meltdown and Spectre FAQ: Fix for Intel CPU flaws could slow down PCs and Macs” is in even plainer language.

Short version: wait for and apply fixes from your hardware and software vendors, be patient because they’ll be a bit overloaded, and expect some level of computer slowdown after the fix is applied. Or just laugh, if your machine uses AMD chips.

On a more serious note, this discovered flaw is going to change future microchip design, and possibly the design of systems that use microchips. It really is a big deal.

The NSA et. al. have almost certainly known about this flaw for a little while already, which can expose literally anything on your computer; draw your own conclusions.

This whole episode speaks to a personal belief of mine that our current computing + Internet core technical structure is the horse stirrup of 21st Century neo-feudalism. TTPer Paul Rosenberg doesn’t call the Surveillance-Industrial Complex “The Castle” just because.

If we want a future of freedom, priority #1 is to invent a core computing + networking approach that can perform at required speeds, but serve as the Colt .45 of 21st Century networked society. While making Surveillance Capitalism* [and see full paper in PDF] unprofitable. That’s an extremely difficult task. Yet it’s as necessary as it is difficult.

*Side note: It’s actually “Surveillance Corporatism.” But Zuboff is from Harvard, so we need to make allowances for her level of understanding.


Smack Down

This last item comes from TTPer Mike Ryan:

“The death rate from heroin in my town peaked in January, 2017 and has dropped by half since. This is a remarkable reversal and much is attributable to President Trump’s actions. These actions have received only slight to no attention in the media yet represent an enormous win for the president.”

Anyone who has ever dealt with a family member gripped by substance abuse problems knows how massively, deeply true this is. Great, great news.

Right, all, that’s a wrap.  Jack will be back next week. I’ll see you around in the Forum for your comments.  Again, welcome to 2018.  It’s going to be quite a memorable year.

— Joe