Gongol.com Archives: December 2017

Brian Gongol

December 26, 2017

Threats and Hazards "They thought it was all over and that we'd won the propaganda war"

The United States radically down-scaled its public diplomacy efforts in the 1990s, and President Obama dismissed too readily the warning signs that Russia was adopting a whole slew of tactics to try to influence the West (especially the United States). Many tools having been used already, President Trump refuses to believe that it's a problem (almost certainly because he thinks any acknowledgment of the efforts would undermine the credibility of his election). It's madness, incompetence, and short-sightedness all around. Disinformation is alive and well, and without a strategic approach to countering the bad and promoting the good, we're going to face lots more trouble in the future.

Threats and Hazards Facebook's tool to test whether you follow Russian propaganda content

It's good information, but incomplete. Users ought to know how often they were exposed to "Internet Research Agency" propaganda content via their friends. That's the whole point of viral content -- that you don't have to find it; it comes to you.

Threats and Hazards Disasters in 2017 stretch FEMA to its limits

Almost 26 million Americans were affected by major hurricanes. Puerto Rico's power is still only 65% restored. Things are at least as bad in the Virgin Islands. A quarter of a million Puerto Ricans may have already moved to Florida. It's most likely time for the United States to invest in a true national emergency-response agency with the resources (in equipment, funding, and most importantly, manpower) to act decisively when natural disasters overwhelm local governments' capacities to respond. We evidently don't have that yet.

Humor and Good News 2018 goal: Be more like these people

A few ladies from Omaha who, when they find bargains on necessities (like clothing and blankets), stock up so they can give them away.

Iowa Things to say if you're a national politician showing your face in Iowa

It's inevitable that high-profile politicians bouncing around Iowa will be asked if they're running for President. A bit of advice: If you're here and someone asks if you're running, you're always free to deflect with one of the following: (1.) "I couldn't live another day without trying Tasty Tacos." (2.) "I thought the Butter Cow was on display all year." (3.) "I wanted to see the Bridges of Madison County."

Threats and Hazards Russian warships cruising close to the British shore

The Washington Post reports: "British and NATO leaders have warned of Russian naval activity at levels unseen since the Cold War."

@briangongolbot on Twitter