Wargaming to Save Democracy

“We wanted to know: what’s the worst thing that could happen to our country during the presidential election?  President Trump has broken countless norms and ignored countless laws during his time in office, and while my colleagues and I at the Transition Integrity Project didn’t want to lie awake at night contemplating the ways the American experiment could fail, we realized that identifying the most serious risks to our democracy might be the best way to avert to November disaster.  So we built a series of war games, sought out some of the most accomplished Republicans, Democrats, civil servants, media experts, pollsters and strategies around, and asked them to imagine what they’d do in a range of election and transition scenarios.”       -Rosa Brooks, co-founder of the Transition Integrity Project

And this is indeed what an elite, progressive team brought to life; a series of “war-games” playing forward four potential election outcomes which they conclude with a high degree of certainty will lead to legal and political chaos as well as violence.  Their document cleverly repositions traditional American concepts and posits strategies for reforming the American democracy.

I. Who’s Playing?

While the TIP (Transition Integrity Project) convenes what it claims is a “bipartisan” group of over 100 senior government officials, campaign leaders and other experts, a closer look at the publicly disclosed participants suggests the teams were primarily, if not entirely, Democrat and Republican progressives.  Each simulation exercise involved seven teams composed of 2 to 3 players. “Team Biden” included John Podesta, chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Donna Brazile and former governor of Michigan,  Jennifer Granholm.  “Team Trump” was represented by former RNC chairman, Michael Steele, “conservative” commentator Bill Kristol and former Kentucky Secretary of State, Trey Grayson.  The primary objective of the games was to determine how to handle the situation with the citizens and the incoming administration if Trump refuses to leave office.  The group was also interested in finding strategic counters to potential actions taken by President Trump such as:

    • use of emergency power to cancel the election
    • calls for the military to “oversee” the election
    • challenge to election results in swing states
    • claims of massive voter fraud
    • refusal to vacate the White House
    • calls for a second civil war

II. The Games

Game One:  Ambiguous Result

The election outcome hinges on results in three states: North Carolina, Michigan and Florida.  Different combinations lead to close or tied Electoral College (269-269) and although initial returns show a Trump win, a “blue shift” occurs in favor of Biden.  The Trump Campaign attempts to federalize the National Guard to end vote counting, both parties seek to block or overturn results in key states.  Neither campaign is willing to accept results calling supporters to take to the streets.  President Trump invokes the Insurrection Act.  Neither party concedes and there is no clear claim to Commander-in-Chief power at noon on January 20.

Game Two:  Clear Biden Victory

In this scenario Biden is victor in …
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Assumptions About Whiteness: Analysis of the Smithsonian White Culture Pamphlet

America’s iconic, world-renowned research museum complex, the Smithsonian, recently posted as part of the National Museum of African American History a digital pamphlet titled “Aspects and Assumptions of Whiteness and White Culture in the United States.”  The objective of the piece was to characterize American traditions, attitudes, protocols and lifestyle options as preferences of “white” culture.  Allegedly the predominance of these “white” characteristics is so potent that even Americans of color have unknowingly adopted them despite not being white.  This essay asserts that not only are these characteristics and protocols accepted in American culture because they are considered, time-tested “best practices” for human living but they stem predominately from Christian, biblical teaching. The pamphlet is more a critique of western civilization and Christianity than a contemplation on “whiteness.” 

White or Biblical?

In actuality, the pamphlet is a postmodern attack on all things western to include Christianity, advances of science and reason from the Enlightenment, secularism and free market capitalism.  Given that the state of “whiteness” is simply a biological, immutable characteristic of having lower levels of melanin in the skin, this critique can have little to do with white people over and beyond the fact that the majority of the western world was inhabited by white people who chose to adopt these doctrines to undergird their culture.  However, this essay will show that an overwhelming majority of these principles and virtues which have contributed to western society originated from the teachings of Christianity thus an attack on “whiteness,” as defined by postmodern followers, is actually an attack on Christianity.

  1. Rugged Individualism is characterized by a sovereign individual exhibiting self-control while exercising his freedom in and over the environment.  This concept is consistent with the biblical account of God of the universe creating two sovereign individuals in His image, man and woman, and commanding them to proliferate of the species and have dominion over the planet He created for them. 

“Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all wild animals and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Ge 1:26)

“Be fruitful, and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it.” (Ge 1:28)

Self-control (discipline) and self-reliance (work) are behavioral choices that exhibit faith and enhance living by resulting in positive consequences.

“You should mind your own business and work with your hands…, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” (1 Th 4: 11-12)

or

“we gave you this rule: ‘the one who is unwilling to work shall not eat’” (2 Th 3:10)

Self discipline to focus on that which is most important and strong work ethic and embrace of independence have long been part of the American ethos and have been essential characteristics in preserving freedom in the American culture.

2)   …
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The CDC and Halloween

           Everyone knows our country is stretching, moaning and groaning as our foundations are undergoing some sort of metamorphosis.  The unrelenting tension of change in leaving everyone in an air of disillusion.  Uncertainty and chaos nourish most unsavory sentiments but few more hazardous than mistrust.  Mistrust amongst ourselves frays the cords that bind us in fellowship but mistrust of our institutions leaves the people without law and leadership.  To be clear, erosion of trust in our government is not yet so profound that there is truly a leadership vacuum, however, enough mistrust has been sewn from the obvious politicization of many leading institutions that skeptics must decidedly dedicate more of their time and mental energy on critical analysis of the content being disseminated to them. 

          Twenty-first century life has introduced a conundrum with experts.  We live in a data-rich world where those who can provide expert analysis are revered for their mastery of content  and granted superior credibility.  We like the idea of expert analysis because it contributes to our sense of progress.  The conundrum is that our experts are people too.  Experts do possess expert knowledge but they, like everyone, are subject to a worldview.  So when experts make recommendations that impact our lives, we must fully consider how their suggestions should fit into our calculus.  Steve Deace (September 23, 2020) offers a clever analogy illustrating where expertise ends and worldview begins: 

          If we accompany a renowned, expert geologist to the Grand Canyon and he begins explaining the intricacies of sediment formations, there aren’t going to be many disagreements  because he will likely have forgotten more about geology than we have ever known and that fact is understood.  He has mastered this area of knowledge and we aren’t realistically prepared to debate too much on that topic.  However, once he changes focus and begins to expound on the grandeur and majesty of the environmental landscape, explaining how many millions of years ago this all began with two amino acids colliding in the cosmos creating a single-celled protein that survived a big bang and voilà the Grand Canyon…. well, now his expertise has become an expression of his worldview and we are qualified to participate in that conversation. 

        So how is this relevant?  Well, our experts at the Center for Disease Control are weighing in on Halloween.  The CDC has released its most recent fatality rate projection  for the Covid virus.  Their projections suggest the following:

      Your chances of dying from Covid if you are of age:   0 to 19 yrs is  .00003%, 20 to 49 yrs is .0002%,  50 to 69 yrs. is .005% and              70+ yrs is  .054%.

              Contemplating death is a horror for everyone but given these statistics, should traditional Halloween activities be cancelled for our children?  With these statistics (even the most …
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Pompeo’s Crusade for Human Rights: Commission on Unalienable Rights

Given the spirit of the age it might be prudent to refine the American conception of “freedom” and “rights.”  Regarding …
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Justice in Policing Act of 2020: Centralization of the Police Force?

Are we a people who have grown ever closer to manifesting the ideals of freedom,  opportunity and equality between all …
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