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Friday, September 9, 2016

Why doesn't "What's the Triad?" trump "What is Aleppo?"

University of Aleppo 17-05-2012
In the past couple days, the media has had a lot of fun at Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson's expense, and to be fair, anyone running for president in 2016 ought to know about Aleppo. There's no question about that. Still we have to wonder why a minor candidate is being subjected to this ridicule and "disqualification" talk after a major contender was given a pass when it became clear he didn't know the first thing about the nuclear arsenal he was trying to win control of.

Donald Trump didn't ask "What is the Triad?", but he should have, because his response to Hugh Hewitt's question at the CNN Republican debate 15 December 2015 made it clear that he was clueless as to what the phrase meant. The nuclear Triad refers to the three ways the United States deploys strategic nuclear weapons, land based missiles, submarine based missiles and traditional bombers. The nuclear Triad has been central to the strategic defense of the United States for more than half a century, so understanding it is extremely important for anyone who would be Commander-in-Chief. It is more than embarrassing that Donald Trump clearly didn't know what it was. Trump didn't ask Hewitt what it was because that's not his style, to ask questions when he doesn't know everything, a Trump characteristic that is a poor fit with the president's job. Instead, he blustered along, running his mouth about the importance of the US nuclear arsenal and hoping that no one would notice that he didn't know the first thing about how it is organized.

It wasn't even a trick question because Hewitt told him what the nuclear Triad was in the question:
Mr. Trump, Dr. Carson just reference the single most important job of the president, the command and control in the care of our nuclear forces, and he mentioned the Triad, the B52s are older than I am, the missiles are old, the submarines are aging out, it's an executive order, it's a Commander-in-Chief decision. What's your priority among our nuclear Triad?
These are clear clues as to what the Triad is. If Trump ever knew what the nuclear Triad was, Hewitt's question should have been enough to refresh his memory, and even if the had never heard the phrase before in his life, if he had really listened to the question, he should have been able to fudge a much better answer than he did. This reveals another Trump characteristic that is a poor fit with the president's job, the inability to really listen and comprehend.

Instead of honestly asking Hewitt "What's a Triad?" or perhaps more cunningly, "Could you repeat that question?" he babels on about how:
We need somebody absolutely that we can trust who's totally responsible who really knows what he or she is doing. That is so powerful and so important.
We all know he thinks he's so powerful and so important, but in the first part of his answer he would seem to disqualify himself, so its very good that he allowed we might need a woman. Then he goes on to speak in awe of nuclear weapons, without referring to how they are organized in our strategic forces:
We have to be extremely vigilant and extremely careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ball game.
That's not exactly rocket science. Then he starts telling lies that are completely unresponsive to the question:
I'm frankly most proud of is that in 2003-2004 I was totally against going into Iraq.
But Trump then balances these lies about his past with a very serious and prophetic warning about his possible future:
The biggest problem we have today is nuclear, nuclear proliferation and having some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. That's, in my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces.
It will be if he is elected, except the maniac won't have to go out and get a nuclear weapon. He will have been handed the greatest nuclear arsenal on Earth by US voters in spite of the fact that a year earlier, he didn't know what the three major components of that arsenal are and how they are referred to in total. He may not know what the nuclear Triad is, but he knows what's important:
I think nuclear, the power, the devastation, is very important to me.
This sounds like a madman that is fascinated with nuclear weapons and will use them just because he can. What else could possibly be so powerful and so important?

If, as so many pundits have opined, Gary Johnson should be disqualified from being president because he didn't know what Aleppo is, Donald Trump most certainly should have been eliminated from serious consideration last December when it became clear he didn't know what the nuclear Triad is. Unfortunately for Gary Johnson, this soundbite driven culture favors a babbling crook over an honest questioner.

0:00 would you do if you were elected about Aleppo about Aleppo and what is a lap oh
0:07 you're kidding no letter was in Syria it's the it's the epicenter of the
0:19 refugee crisis okay got it got it
Most YouTube videos now come with a computer generated transcript which you can access through the ...More pull-down tab below the video. Needless to say, this can be a very useful feature for the blog writer. I used it to transcribe the words from the Trump video. Since the computer doesn't always hear too well, I had to clean it up a bit and add punctuation. I've left the Johnson transcript raw because I think it illustrates a point. The computer "hears" speech and tries to find the right words. Sometimes it can't because it doesn't understand the context.

Context is extremely important in correctly hearing speech, that is why I feel Gary Johnson was somewhat set up. Mike Barnicle's question came seemingly out of the blue, there was no context that MSNBC has chosen to reveal to us. It also doesn't help that Aleppo begins with an "a" which can be a word by itself. See above where the computer heard "a lap oh?" and "no letter?"

I know something about Aleppo but I still could probably be made to look like a fool. Imagine I'm working as a Linux SysAdm and not on "vacation" writing this [in case you're wondering why I have been so prolific this week], and I'm on a conference call with an Oracle DBA, a storage technician, a network security specialist, a customer engineer and a DCOPs guy, coordinating a chassis swap on a Dell system in a datacenter in Virginia, and in the middle of all this, someone says "Now, Clay what are we going to do about Aleppo?" I might unwittingly supply the "anti-imperialists" with all the proof they need to say that on Syria, I don't know what I'm talking about.

If Mike Barnicle had asked Gary Johnson instead what he would do about Aleppo, Syria, I don't think they would be laughing at him now. It is considered good journalistic practice to name a city together with its country or state the first time it is referenced to give the reader some context. In many cases it is absolutely necessary for clarity. I don't know if there is more than one Aleppo in the world. I know there are too many Philadelphia's.

Why are they going after Gary?

Why is this concerted take down of Gary Johnson being carried out now? I think it is for the same reason I have been directing my fire at Jill Stein. This election is about Donald Trump and the white nationalist assault he is mounting on our government. Neither third party candidate has a snowball's chance in hell of becoming president but they both may effect the outcome of the election by diverting votes away from the two candidates with a chance of winning.

One reason I direct my fire at Jill Stein, who is polling at about 4% even though Gary Johnson is polling at about 12%, is that Stein's voters come almost exclusively from the pool of voters that would otherwise favor Clinton, so as a practical matter, the Jill Stein campaign increases The Donald's chances of winning. Even though Gary Johnson has three times the number of voters as Jill Stein, most pollsters have them evenly split between would-be Trump and Clinton supporters. If this is true it means Johnson will take vote equally from Trump and Clinton and will therefore be neutral with regards to the final outcome.

As it stands now, right leaning Johnson supporters have nowhere to go except retreat back to Trump, but his left leaning supporters still have Jill Stein. It is the Jill Stein campaign that gives taking down Gary Johnson its strategic importance. Beyond the fact that they'd like to discourage third party challenges in general, this is the main reason we are seeing this concerted effort across all media to discredit Gary Johnson with one gaff while forgetting about Donald Trump's much more serious Commander-in-Chief knowledge gap. Mike Barnicle's question on MSNBC's Morning Joe was another Media promotion of Donald Trump. This take down of Gary Johnson now makes it more important than ever that Jill Stein drop her presidential bid.

My other recent posts relating to this unique election cycle:
Green Party Jill Stein's campaign in context
What should the Green Party do?
Greens could give White House to Trump as poll numbers even
Why Green Party's Jill Stein should drop her presidential bid
Amy Goodman should address this extremely important statement by her guest
How Jill Stein Tweets for Trump
HuffPost item shows how @JillStein campaign whitewashes @realDonaldTrump
Trump tells his '2nd Amendment people election will be stolen to prepare for insurrection
Trump didn't threaten Hillary, he threatened violent insurrection
Meet Green Party's Jill Stein, Putin sock-puppet & Assad apologist

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

With #WhatIsAleppo trending, Syria once again comes to the forefront of Election 2016. I've been writing extensively about Syria for the past 5 years. If you want to know more about Aleppo click here for a list of my other blogs on Syria

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