FTAC: Obama, State Secrets, Public Apprehension, and BREXIT


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Inspiration: Josh Meyer’s “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook” (Politico, circa January 2018) and the idea that using the article as mud pie material for the Obama Administration may be invalidated by the lifespan and volume of state secrets migrating across Administrations. This was the question: “Reporting how Obama shut down a Major Hizbullah investigation is ‘slinging mud’?”

Because . . . state secrets span Administrations.

” . . . requires a public that can access, understand, and use the information . . . ” https://www.nfoic.org/transparency-obama-administration

The problem is with “understand.

In the way of professional journalism, much condensed and simplified, every editor and reporter must ask about his story: “Is it clear? Is it accurate? Is it complete?”

All authoritarian / autocratic / dictatorial governments diminish the power of the press because . . . they are keeping secrets and intend not to share the reality of their political space with their subjugated populations.

How honest, for example, can Maduro be with Venezuelans when he is operating a criminal state?

He can’t share anything having to do with his circles of criminal enterprise. Instead, he has to tell the people fairy tales in a loud voice.

However, and in defense of secrets keeping and to criticize popular democratic self-determination — or perhaps point out the limits of the same — the British governing class got a strong lesson when it allowed nationalist forces, induced by Moscow-backed Islamic Terrorism and Migration — I “read” Syria as a deliberate underhanded assault on Europe — to make an issue of integration with the European Union, which has been Great Britain’s nearest and greater market and trading partner. Some part of the voting public had had no idea about where its state really was. Instead, they were focused on the degrading of British life by jihadists and needy migrants coming out of the middle east. They chose to lower the portcullis in an attempt to insulate themselves from what they believed was happening in Europe and happening to them because of a unified Europe. They’re now on the cusp of paying for their misjudgment.

Related: Graff, Garrett M. “The Government Secrets Trump Is About to Discover.” Politico, January/February 2017.

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FTAC: Three Simple Questions About Freedom in the Age of Mass Observation and Measurement

Inspiration: Ma, Alexandra. “Thousands of people in Sweden are embedding microchips under their skin to replace ID cards.” Business Insider, May 14, 2018 – and one question asked of the editor: “Are you celebrating technology or taking a peek at Big Brother?”


What is Conscience? What is Freedom? What is Moral Agency?

What’s possible may be what’s coming:

https://www.thenation.com/article/china-social-credit-system/ (January 2019)

Keywords: China, Technology, Social Credit System

“The Chinese government already knows everything about me. If I’m not committing a crime, I don’t give a shit”

@9:40 of below-posted video.
Wall Street Journal, January 18, 2018, YouTube.

While this post may be based on year-old data, it’s still cogent. Like “Socialism”, it would appear that “Technological Totalitarianism” will be a work in progress for some time to come, but perhaps not as much as most would like even if we don’t yet know it.

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“You may have chosen us, but we utterly reject and condemn you”


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What changed the course of history on “9/11” and inspired the “New Nationalism” may have come full circle with today’s coordinated attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand. Forty-nine worshipers dead, 20 injured in hails of bullets by the will of a handful of white folk defending . . . what, exactly?

Once again, someone’s medieval worldview erupts from the past to bathe the modern world in fire and blood.

A few weeks ago, BackChannels counseled turning around together for a good look at the world as it once was with the intent of leaving that world to be read about by some future generation. While that may be on the way — it would be a good thing — today’s “White-On-Green” attack in New Zealand reminds that extremism is deeply cloistered, medieval, narrow-visioned, paranoid, and suffocating.

For live updates: https://www.cnn.com/asia/live-news/new-zealand-christchurch-shooting-intl/index.html

Suspected Christchurch terrorist Bernton Tarrant apparently vowed to kill Muslims a day before the attack – and was praised after the heinous act by his followers on social media.

An anonymous user thought to be Tarrant wrote on notorious right-wing blogging website 8Chan on Thursday: ‘I will carry out an attack against the invaders, and will even live stream the attack via Facebook.’ 


To address how the world got to this ugly place in time, BackChannels suggests starting with Zawahiri’s visit to Russia. And then move on to about here with President Trump threatening democracy in the United States with intimidation.

In an interview with Breitbart News Trump said that his supporters are “tough” and that it would be “very bad” for people to cross them.

“I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don’t play it tougher. Okay?” Trump said. “I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump – I have the tough people, but they don’t play it tough — until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.”

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/03/conservative-destroys-tyrant-trump-over-threats-of-violence-from-supporters/ – 3/14/2019

The President’s few words, unfortunately timed, already have been linked to the Christchurch attacks as the kind of rhetoric attending the motivation for them.

On the other hand —

Extremist talk may be the glowering chest bumping between medieval-minded throwbacks that needs must prove each their case for the medieval prize of subscription.

There’s nothing fake about the Israeli video covering anti-Semitic speech in mosques in the United States. The synagogues, however, aren’t going to play that game, nor will the vast body of American churches whose attractions rest on their contribution to the civility of their communities rather than their encouragement of barbarous will will.


Judaism and Jewishness – A Light Response to the Pure


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Perhaps it’s time that grinds away at religious cohorts and their unity in thought, both dividing communities while also distilling and isolating what will come to consider itself the authentic, core, real, traditional, true community in spirit and behavior.

Here time might beg old questions, lawful, spiritual, practical: who is a Jew?

Who among Jews would the righteous pure evict?

What proportion — as Jews are a small community by numbers, how many Jews would the traditional, the Orthodox, consider . . . Jewish?

The secular principle may encourage religion at each his own expense: we are free to sustain belief and practices as we see fit privately and on our own dime. That’s not going to work in any neo-theocratic or theocratic environment in which the majority-something (all states have a “majority-something” – or a powerful minority) needs must defend a religiously codified image of organizing ethical and moral principles.

Are “true believers” (everywhere) medieval and reformers modern?

Are the believers (everywhere) the good and the reformers irreversibly decadent?

In the end and whatever the ramifications, all of our decisions — taking place in each separated mind — are private and privately reasoned and motivated — and time x God, Nature, and the Universe + Social Surrounds have their influence.



Nature over long time encourages diversity / experimentation; we humans, especially with philosophy and religion, have made a competition out of differentiation (and “experimentation”, God only knows).

Earth’s Living Language Inventory: fewer than 7,000.
N Religions Extant: 4,200 estimated.

Our geopolitical boundaries, which may be as small as a community around a single church, mosque, or temple, really do help us be what we consider ourselves as community tradition, experience, God, intuition, learning, practical survival, and reason have made us. In the realm of embraced and enthused believe, the social set may be as small as a band (truly, music), a band (tribal warrior subset), or cult or as large, of course, as a transnational ethnic, political, or religious enterprise.

Inspiration for the post: a defense of traditional male-privileged access to Israel’s holy Western and the intrusion — and degradation of tradition — symbolized by the modern feminist Women of the Wall who intend as Jewish women to do everything that Jewish men have done traditionally by way of the express permit of God, so believed or others given for themselves to do. The patriarchal culture than has it’s “little lady” insult built into it, so from the modern perspective looking backward through time, the closest encounter with God through prayer must be for men (who are clean: free of menstruation) — and, “little lady, don’t you worry your pretty little head about it.”


As evolutionary as the cultivation and transforming of conscience, empathy, and language may be, tribal identities worldwide and their ways have persistence through time even though time — like water — has always its carving, eroding, shaping work busy at changing the face of humanity.

The conversation progressed in the direction of the real-social-politik involved in sustaining Israel’s Jewish-majority state in atmosphere and character. Although not all Jews are perfect (or pure) anywhere — all humanity is imperfect) all in Israel understand the mission of the state as the proverbial “light unto nations”, which it has been, and as THE Jewish Homeland. Herewith a little more comment on the Western Wall; ancient tribal, medieval, and modern cultures; and the latest brought up by the impertinent behavior of the Women of the Wall movement.

Social influence and pressure move in both directions, but each place has its near starting points — the day we’re born (and surrounded in the cradle of family and community) and they day we become aware (psychologically autonomous and decision making).

Is tendency Reactionary –> Baseline Tradition?

Or Revolutionary –> Corrosive Reformation –> supersessionary liberating / tepid Secular Humanism?

I’ve give higher value to political equilibrium x place then to absolute (black-or-white) thinking and zealotry that becomes labeled “extreme” even though the “extreme” might be a right extreme. The reason is that the strong humanist umbrella would defend the faith of the faithful in place. Israel’s existence as ancient, medieval, and modern — and “hypermodern” as a progressive democratic open society — creates what is essentially a modern challenge

|Men Only —————————– | Women’s section |
|Men Only —- | All Allowed ——————————– |

I am going to demur, I hope wisely, from launching arrows for either the sustained ancient world brought forward through identity, belief, and tradition or this new modern portal to a next civilization — that’s what the future leads toward always — that finds its common base as one against harm and threat in the defense of greater equality, inclusion, and respect across a broad cloud of humanity.

The Western Wall is public and the woman want to do as men do as equals with respect, but the same may indeed degrade and diminish the ancient systems that have both informed and sustained Hebrew existence.

Do the women (of the Wall) in their zeal think about that endowment?


FNS: Nearing the End of ISIS in Syria


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Baghouz – Internally Displaced: 43,000.

Regarding the women . . . the mothers —

Many of them have fled from town to town to town under bombing. They have seen the most terrible things in war. And yet they are true believers. It’s going to take a lot to get them to change their minds.

https://www.channel4.com/news/speaking-to-the-syrian-and-iraqi-women-still-loyal-to-islamic-state-who-married-fighters (3/5/2019)

US-supported forces besieging Islamic State holdouts in the Syrian village of Baghouz cannot cope with the more than 43,000 men, women and children who fled the battlefield and are currently being held in an internment camp and prisons in the north.
Among those who fled are 500 foreign jihadi wives and children. The women, who are held in a separate compound from other escapees, say their husbands are fighting, are fugitives, are dead or are in prison.


The Pentagon rerouted millions of dollars’ worth of weapons and vehicles from Iraq to Syria in the second half of 2018, Al-Monitor has learned, as US-backed forces cornered the last remnants of the Islamic State (IS).
In a series of notifications to Congress reviewed by Al-Monitor, the Defense Department said it had determined that a bevy of supplies purchased by the Pentagon for the Iraqi military would instead go to the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). The Pentagon sent lawmakers its last reprogramming notification for 2018 on Dec. 31, 12 days after President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

Read more: https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/03/us-shifts-weapons-iraq-syria-pentagon.html#ixzz5hOnD1L2

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/03/us-shifts-weapons-iraq-syria-pentagon.html – 3/4/2019.

While much of the U.S. presence in Syria has been diminished, the transfer of war equipment and materiel to SDF forces tells Damascus (Moscow and Tehran) that nothing’s over as regards their intents to sustain medieval absolutism (and its characteristic sadism, power in that mode being the power to inflict suffering on others with impunity).

While some idiots view east-west conflict in the region as being all about oil, the cynicism conveniently overlooks the more compelling of ethical and moral arguments for the defense of some goodness still in the world.

BEIRUT — As Syria’s government consolidates control after years of civil war, President Bashar al-Assad’s army is doubling down on executions of political prisoners, with military judges accelerating the pace they issue death sentences, according to survivors of the country’s most notorious prison.
In interviews, more than two dozen Syrians recently released from the Sednaya military prison in Damascus described a government campaign to clear the decks of political detainees. The former inmates said prisoners are being transferred from jails across Syria to join death-row detainees in Sednaya’s basement and then be executed in pre-dawn hangings.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/world/syria-bodies/ — 12/23/2018

God must be in the mind and a malign narcissism in the heart that produces so painful a mission as that of doing God’s will on earth by striking terror into the souls of others. Add: beheading, burning, enslavement, mass murder, rape, and torture.

God has helped the Islamic State jihadists in Baghouz lose everything but their madness.

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Immoderate Bern and Don and Narcissistic Supply


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The Donald goes off script and holds forth like Castro, delivering two hours of rambling, crowd loving, rambunctious showmanship; and the Bern, ever more to the point, tells his lovers of his intent to turn the American enterprise system — our realpolitik mix of public functions and private incentives x specific U.S. geopolitical area — upside-down.

What compassionate, moderate, and reasoning American constituency wants to have to choose between the demagogue on the Far (Out) Left and the reactionary on the Far (Mostly White) Right?

While it may be too soon to fix the 2020 contest as “Sanders v Trump”, it’s not too soon to question the off-the-wall egotism and narcissistic motivation of leaders to whom applause from their respective mobs — the “narcissistic supply”; the love that heals all wrongs; the love that affirms their manhood or sense of personal and political efficacy and messianic self-concept and value; the love that is for each politician like no other drug on earth — may be more important than the practical adjusting of policies to create or obtain nationwide improvements in bottom-to-top American qualities of living.

After writing off the several preceding elected Administrations as “an old ruling class”, making the claims that “America is winning again; America is respected again”; moseying around the “Great Tariff Debate of 1938”; making fun of the Democrat’s “New Green Deal”; mocking the press, “Please Russia get the e-mail” he whines sarcastically while the crowd chants “Lock her up! Lock her up!”; viciously firing at “Shifty Schiff” and “The Collusion Delusion”, reliably turning his targets into cartoon caricatures and episodes; and slinging a few more arrows along the lines of, “You leave people in certain positions, and suddenly they’re all trying to take you out with bullshit” (big applause for that nasty note), Trump gets around to what it’s really all about:

We’re in the swamp of Washington, D.C., but you know what? We’re winning and they’re not . . . .

You know what I like about this?

Number one, I’m in love, and you’re in love, we’re all in love together.

We’ve done something nobody has ever done, right? It’s easy . . . .

There’s so much love in this room, it’s easy to talk. You can talk your heart out. You really can. There’s love in this room.

27:20 -> 19:48 “President Trump takes the state at CPAC”. Breitbart YouTube video displayed below.

Here’s Bernie:

. . . thank you all for being part of a political revolution that is going to transform America

(Chanting: “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!) –

No, no, no — it is not Bernie, it you. It’s us together.

We are going to transform this country and finally create an economy and a government which works for all of us, not just the one percent.

3:30 –> 4:47 – “Bernie Sanders’ FULL Brooklyn speech”, Rebel HQ YouTube video as displayed.

Bernie’s crowd loves the way he panders to them, and it’s not too bad, for who would not be for economic, social, racial, and environmental justice?

Bernie and his followers have perhaps been seeing America’s regulated capitalist system become unbridled: “We will no longer tolerate the greed of corporate America and the billionaire class . . . greed which has resulted in this country having more income and wealth inequality than any other major country on earth” (6:35 -> 6:55).

However, who is going to pay for that guaranteed health care?

What anti-social steps may Big Pharma take to reduce the cost of prescription drugs (hint: offer less tested — and cheap — generics?); how will that heightened minimum wage avoid becoming simply inflationary? The eternal “crumbling infrastructure” issue (that’s been on BC’s plate since Lester Brown’s heyday) — Trump offered it too: any progress?

Tuition free public college and university educations: whose pockets, how, and how soon?

Of the two Big Dreamers, BC believes one far more social and concerned with the general American experience, but wonders as well whether applause has been more the motivation for heightened American messianism on the campaign trail than perception of the much needed nuts-and-bolts adjustments that would treat the nation’s land base and people with the care and respect required for better-than-functional politically coherent national survival.

Related: “Castro Speech Database”, Latin American Network Information Center. One page on that site features the Department of State Foreign Service dispatch for “Speeches Made at October 26, 1959 Mass Demenstration” and carries the following remark: “Castro spoke for over three hours. When he made his appearance on the speakers platform, he received an eight minute ovation. As is no [STET] frequently the case, the speech was rambling, disjointed, and repetitive, with Castro getting quite frantic and incoherent towards the end.”

Generally related to this post: https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/02/politics/fact-checking-cpac/index.html ; https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2017/12/you-all-just-got-a-lot-richer-trump-tells-friends-at-mar-a-lago-after-signing-tax-overhaul\ ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoot%E2%80%93Hawley_Tariff_Act ; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tariff_in_United_States_history – a brief glance online turns up nothing special about American tariff police in 1938, so the President’s mention of the “Great Tariff Debate of 1938” rhymes nicely but with questionable substance).


Saturday’s Ambush – U.S. Elections 2020 – NOW . . . .


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Had I kept the Sabbath, not booted the computer, not glanced at Facebook, I’d have been spared this episode of Saturday Afternoon Gladiators:

https://www.facebook.com/BackChannels/ – March 2, 2019 at about 12:55 p.m.

Both speakers, two ears, center channel, both together — and equally surreal.


B: ” . . . comprehensive immigration reform . . . .”

D: “. . . we have people in Congress who hate our country . . . . “

1 p.m. — they’re both talking about immigration reform at the same time!

How is that happening?

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Trump: “A Racist, A Con Man, and a Cheat” Says Michael Cohen



Created by BackChannels / Commart from C-Span video:

Cohen’s hearing before the Congressional committee turned into a fine display of Republican viciousness. Cohen, convicted of earlier Trump-associated crimes, i.e., lying to Congress to protect The Boss, made a fair target for discrediting, but the barrage of indictments and innuendo launched by Representatives Jordan, Green, Comer, Hice, and Gosar, among others, either served to deflect attention from President Trump or to provide a lasting display of the kind of persons the Republican Party has seen elected to power.

Below: C-Span’s live feed of the hearing.

Live at initial posting of this blog.

Showing up on Twitter during the early portion of the hearing: