Putin: Negative Reflection in Western Eyes


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Putin: leader of nationalist Russia, master of “realpolitik” — leverage, punishment, reward — the Boss of bosses, capricious and absolute.

Whatever the game, why play one side or the other when you can own the whole board?

Medieval Political Absolutism v Modern Democratic Societies

KGB Colonel, President, Emperor Putin has taken Russia back the one giant step to an authoritarian system reinforced by secret police — today’s FSB supports more staff per capita than ever did the KGB — capable of presenting events for public political perceptual control as with the Moscow Apartment Bombings and the Russian Army’s after-hours (deeply unofficial) brutalizing of Chechen villages in such a way as to drive the men into the waiting camps of Chechen rebels.  He has succeeded in abetting greater chaos and conflict in the world, especially in Syria, while balancing the tension between adversaries that may stall change but keep all of the businesses, licit and perhaps illicit, running.

BackChannels credits Putin with turning Erdogan’s pretty little head back toward the feudal glory of the sultanate — or something like it — with the help of Turkish Stream, encouraging the family business in Hungary, and aiding with the election of the formerly more autocratic President (“Fake News”!) Trump in the United States (the French, better knowing what they’re about, didn’t quite go for his Marine Le Pen; Trump, BC presumes, has been tempered by having gotten himself into a job involving personalities as large as himself and powers greater than known in his organization — America’s democracy has not been overwhelmingly wowed or easily walked over).   The popular perception of Putin may respond opposite the viewer’s interests: for old lefties, he’s the world’s greatest reactionary and using revived militarism and the Russian Orthodox Church to assuage bad feelings attending the insult of expanding financial hardship associated with related ambitions in Syria and Ukraine and, ultimately, the way the guy at the top gets his hooks into the best performing businesses.

Why not?

In Russia, there’s protest and resistance to Putin, but there is no competition for the power he has amassed and his ability to . . . rearrange the world along feudal lines.

And for “righties”, he’s still the go-to for “socialist” dictatorships like Assad’s.

Never mind that Assad via the KGB-style political theatrical “Assad v The Terrorists” has been building Syria down, enough so, and so desperately so, for Putin to permanently expand Russia’s military footprint in Hafez’s old sandbox.

After the one step backward into 19th Century and earlier Russian paternal authoritarianism, aristocracy, imperialism, and resurgent nationalism, one may wonder what may be the “two steps forward” if any are ever taken as needs must be: whether Putin likes it or not, the Russian Federation is, alas, multicultural and perhaps yearning — as Navalny might have it — for the liberal devilishness that are “rule of law” and “responsive and responsible governance”.



“Hey, Martha!” — BackChannels Reading Page on Facebook


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FTAC: Palestinian History (To This Point) Compressed


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The Palestinian liberation movement descends directly from the Soviet Era and Moscow’s interest in leveraging grievance into the political power familiar to the world’s most piratical dictatorships. This is not to excuse western perfidy on parts of the global far right in the 20th Century, but to note where the phoniness in Palestinian politics originated.

At the end of WWII, what Adolph could not hold, Uncle Joe picked up and although representing a very different system from that of the German fascists, the feudal authoritarianism was there to encourage similar drift associated with absolute power — or “political absolutism” — in the middle east. (Note regarding Moscow: two major revolutions, three governments, one-hundred years — and The Bear remains absolutely authoritarian, criminal, and totalitarian).

We know today the KGB’s relationship with Arafat and the PLO (also the pride Yuri Andropov took in the airline hijackings of the 1970s) and we have learned within the past couple years of Mahmoud Abbas’s own KGB record.

Keep loving Moscow — and you will love even more Palestinian suffering by way of its designs.

Note well that ALL Palestinian top leaders have become multi-millionaires while Khaled Mashaal and Ismail Haniyeh long ago developed reputations as billionaires.

The seduction, captivity, and suffering of the Palestinian main base has turned out a long-lived and powerful business for thieving elites and their systems of patronage.

Related on BackChannels









Hamas Urges Palestinians Toward Injury and Death


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This morning, BackChannels copied and pasted to its Facebook “reading page” the following quotation:

— At a gathering point east of Gaza City, organizers urged demonstrators to burst through the fence, telling them Israeli soldiers were fleeing their positions, even as they were reinforcing them. —

“Israelis kill more than 50 Palestinians in Gaza protests, health officials say” (May 14 at 12:14 p.m. by Loveday Morris and Hazem Balousha).

The Guardian posted about the  the same thing: “Israeli troops kill dozens of Palestinians in protests as US embassy opens in Jerusalem – live updates” (May 14, 2018).

Such statements are not untrue — who?  did what?  to whom? — but incomplete and superficial.

Hamas chose to play the joyful occasion of the inauguration of the American Embassy in Jerusalem as just right for drama — and it chose to lie in a most functional or practical way to fairly order ever hopeful, ever strung along, ever disinformed, misled, and infuriated Palestinians toward the world’s best defended border and the troops that have made that so.

Related on BackChannels:


Addendum: FTAC: May 15, 2018: How Palestinians Will “Defy the Odds”

Palestinians will truly “defy the odds” when they find the courage and wherewithal to stand up to those who keep them most captive, channeled, and ill-informed: Fatah and Hamas. Until that day, they will repeat what they have been told about themselves, go around in circles somewhere between a frustrated complacency and a volcanic violence, and find themselves where they began, duped by Moscow, led by thugs, and subject to a part of the world’s most corrupt and piratical leadership.

Some should be asking Abbas about his new airplane.

Some should be asking Hamas how the Israelis could have been running away when they were firing to clear their fence line.


Books: Arkady Polishchuk’s _Dancing on Thin Ice_ Due Out July 3, 2018


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6 x 9


From the publisher’s promotion:

In this memoir, replete with Jewish humor and sardonic Russian irony, exiled Russian journalist and human rights advocate Arkady Polishchuk colorfully narrates his evolution as a dissenter and his work on behalf of persecuted Christians in 1970s Soviet Russia. Told primarily through dialog, this thrilling account puts the reader in the middle of a critical time in history, when thousands of people who had been denied emigration drew international attention while suffering human rights abuses, staged show trials, forced labor, and constant surveillance.

From 1950–1973, Polishchuk worked as a journalist for Russian state-run media and as an editor at Asia and Africa Today, where all foreign correspondents were KGB operatives using their cover jobs to meddle in international affairs. His close understanding of Russian propaganda makes this memoir especially eye-opening for American readers in today’s political climate.



From October 2017: Emir of Kano Lamido Sanusi II, Nigeria, on Economic Disparity


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Conversation welcomed.


FTAC: A Comment on Memory, The Holocaust, and Passover


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Memory — personal, cultural, national, international (that about covers it ) — plays a huge role in conflicts at every level. We bear grudges; we want justice for something that happened last week or hundreds of years ago; we want revenge; we want sympathy; we want acknowledgment; etc. In the end, however, we want to be free of the past as well. Carry the lessons forward through time; leave the story alone; leave it also ineffable — beyond comprehension, explanation, and words.

I’ll go out on a limb here and suggest that one memory in Jewish life may be much, much more important than The Holocaust.


We leave. We move on. We are joined by the mixed multitude that shares — down deep enough to gamble on moving with us — our political perceptions — our ethical and moral dimensions — and with God’s help, we leave behind the horrors and are strengthened in meeting the next challenges.

May we all look forward more than we do backward.

Someone had been upset over the overuse of the term “holocaust” — it seems everyone of late has come from some cultural background that has suffered one.

Not quite.

My other attempt at peacemaking over the matter:

While “THE Holocaust” may be regarded as a singular event in history, displacements and genocides have been a fair part of the history of warfare, the other part being conquest accompanied by longer-term plundering by way of subjection. The Jewish cultural and tribal history may be unique to the Hebrews but the same has developed an empathetic universalism accessible far beyond its own boundaries. So be it — and expect language to evolve accordingly.

May God (Nature, and the Universe) help us save ourselves from the “MaligNarcs” — “Malignant Narcissists” — that would subordinate our lives to theirs, have the chaos of the universe whipped up around themselves while embarking on the most heartbreaking and inhuman — and ungodly — of methods and practices known or imaginable in the course of their political arcs and inevitable failures.