FTAC: An American of Jewish Descent


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Around the world, resurgent nationalism in defense of indigenous culture has refocused too many on the authenticity of their character: “The Real Americans”, “The Real Jews”, “The Real ____________”. 

Whatever the McCoy sought, one might discover a few overlaps.

What answer may there be to so shallow a perception– more than that: a defense! — of legacy in identity?

I spent forty years in the American Wildness before venturing into the synagogue where I live and joining it.

I recall one afternoon lazing on the mall of the Maryland campus when a “Succoth Mobile” stopped not far from where I was enjoying my hour in the sun and a representative came up to me and asked, “Are you Jewish?”


I wasn’t middle eastern.

My American eastern woodlands were nothing like, what, the hills of Judea?

Here for harvest, we celebrate Thanksgiving.

However, I also recall spending hours one afternoon in some lonely part of an upper floor of McKeldin Library (UMCP) looking over the photography of the Holocaust.

I don’t recall the motive, only the moment.

I took my Bar Mitzvah in 1968 reading off a plastic card. The morning may have been a ceremony for two, and, on my side, certainly for the adults. I really hadn’t much to do with it at all.

Forty years later, after walking out of that mill, I walked into a real synagogue where American children spoke Hebrew with fluency at their ceremonies. The “Conservative-to-Reform” Friday night greeting of the Sabbath took place in both English and Hebrew, and the building remains regal and old. There were other European and Hebrew and Israeli features as well as the unmistakable imprint of generations going back 125 years.

In hyperactive America, that’s an old synagogue.

So, one might say, I got to reconnect with family, my spiritual family (although I have spent time with the Unitarians and the Ethical Society as well over the years). I have been also ten years with my synagogue.  I am one of those who, perhaps, visit for a time, but I am Jewish, and that knowledge is as fundamental to my sense of identity as my name, Schmuel. You may call me “an American of Jewish descent” but that in no way would make me less Jewish than thou.


FTAC: Who Is to Educate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez?


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While the now Honorable Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appears on the American scene as a “democratic socialist”, one may hope that the nation  indeed produces grassroots politicians, the kind that like Lyndon B. Johnson got mud on their boots and knocked on doors.  Times have changed, and a Go-Fund-Me account seems to work, but the politician has still to knock on doors, something the Congressional freshman has apparently mastered.

The complaints may be guessed from the comment: socialist; knows nothing, and who would educate her — Bernie?


Why not you? Us? Moderates (if there are any left)? She has to listen to her district and seek reelection like any other representative; she has also to know how Washington works; and she is going to have to revisit or visit anew the basics tenets of our democracy. In the meantime, she has seen a lot of misery on her streets.  Ours is a modern Judeo-Christian Greco-Roman democracy. We address our issues. Always have. And we try to find what works in the best ways. She has a right to her voice (and her voice will change with time); her district has a right to its voice, and one should hope that it will do better with time and with better public policy.

Back in the 1960s, which formed our impressions, the Soviet Union put money behind Angela Davis and the Communist Party here in the United States. We know how that worked out. It’s better by far having a grassroots and young politician representing her part of our nation.

I don’t endorse those she admires, but if a bigot like Farrakhan is popular where she lives, that may tell about the failure of America to bring those people closer to our Revolutionary and Constitutional ideals, laws, values, and principles. Our democracy has been designed to make course corrections and, very early in that writing, with interest in domestic tranquility.

As this blog frequently references “Soviet / post-Soviet” politics, one may recall the suite of dictatorships from Cuba to Venezuela and all over the middle east that were within or close to the Soviet sphere of influence.  Most were awful in relation to greater internal economic development in their heyday and most have failed. 


Socialism as known has been the premier sales pitch of dictatorship.

The social political element in modern democracies more effectively produces basic systems supporting common business interests that then through revenue and expansion feed back into working economies. They allow people in freedom to invent new ideas and produce wonderful things, essentially heightening domestic and foreign exchange. All good things. Where there are abuses, only the democracies prove responsive to needed adjustments and amelioration.

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FTAC: Overcoming the Once Communist Feudal Legacy Associated with Soviet-Aligned Dictatorships


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On the Middle East Conflict

BackChannels believes that at the end of WWII, Stalin acquired some part of the middle east that Hitler and the Ottoman Empire had lost.  There must have been Nazi agents waiting for arrest or work or both.  There had been certainly Arab families or powers who had been aligned with Hitler through Amin al-Husseini, and with the big war over and a two-state offer for the Palestinians and Israel on the table, the same were presented with a choice: peace (and responsible governance) or war focused on the destruction of Israel.

Whether the Soviet Union believed its own rants about the Jews or just wanted to sell and increase its influence through the promotion of anti-Semitic invective pleasing to some Arab ears, BackChannels doesn’t know.

What BackChannels does know is that Soviet arms and diplomacy helped maneuver the Arab states into a disastrous war, after which it had to keep its hooks in the region.  Pan-Arab Nationalism got its strong bump up (1950s) , and the dictatorships served to block the spread of democratic western liberalism into the region (as much advanced by Israel’s establishment).  The KGB’s grooming of Arafat, the establishing of the PLO, and Arafat’s rise from within would follow in the 1960s as would the wholesale development of “state-sponsored terrorism” through the Andropov years.   

Fly over all that history, and we’re here today with the same “gift” from Russia, the Soviet Era and once Soviet-engineered “Middle East Conflict” that has for remnant the wreckage of old middle east dictatorships — Iraq and Libya at least — and the horror of what has been left — Syria in flames and ruins, ALL of it at the hands of its own leader; Iran environmentally damaged (it did that itself) and economically crippled by way of its own aggression and medieval barbarism.

So this morning started with a comment about moderate and peace-seeking Israelis and Palestinians approaching these issues but with the politically repressive elements born in the Soviet Era or conveyed by it through time armed, entrenched, and powerfully intimidating.  The conversational partner noted that for the many participating in the talk, ” . . . place and time are all wrong . . . .”

The morning’s first response:

One may recognize “too soon” but those with casualties may be more sensitive to “too late”.

So, forward in this conversation.

Given the so many Jews involved in middle east peace activities, the onlooking Palestinian Diaspora of the west, the truth about the Moscow business plainly spreading across the web (the story of Russian Influence through Disinformation is just moving across the web these days), you would think someone would figure out that “the west” was not quite the enemy as promoted in the imagination).

Three things make us feel better — basic income; close family — and if not the one in which we’re born, then the friends we make; and general and personal security. Perhaps the Israelis and Palestinians who understand that have mutual regard and a few old problems in common.

On Medieval Divisions and Modern Multicultural Democracies

Next: a rhetoric assertion to the effect that multiculturalism has died (in South Africa) and with the implication that the medieval divisions having to do with race and religion — and by extension clans, tribes, and states — were resurgent and, by inference, all that the world has to look forward to is the greater chaos and misery of war already too well known.


The “Rainbow Dream” that Mandela had has NOT died in South Africa!


White South Africa left a legacy of now archaic land ownership arrangements, and some are upset about the state’s update or reforms to allow the state to implement policies beneficial to all South Africans.

The state’s related economics — there are too many poor! — and extended state security resources have produced conditions for brigandage — theft and murder — at least, and the aggrieved cast that in racial terms.

To better manage its issues, the people of South Africa recently ejected another corrupt communist aristocrat — the kind that take money from their people and immensely aggrandize themselves in the manners known to dictators.

From The Guardian, here’s a glimpse into how Jacob Zuma “managed” South Africa:


Cheer up: South Africa may avoid the Zimbabwean meltdown at the hands of a nominally communist narcissist (Robert Mugabe, who has been deposed in the past year or so by his own military) and continue its independent development as a modern multi-racial, multi-tribal democracy.

Humankind may never see an end to war, but it may see it diminished.  The drawing down would be a real gift to Israelis and Palestinians alike.

This coming December 25 will mark the 26th year out from the dissolving of the Soviet Union (1991) toward a feudal and perhaps Orwellian politics (i.e., continuous war between three nuclear-armed giants and proxies within their spheres of influence all the way down — or, alternatively, the day may be closer to the end of the end of a long argument between the medieval world habituated to “absolute power” — power unquestionable with its brutality — especially toward the innocent — exercised with impunity — and the modern one in which democratic power is so for being checked, subject to criticism, distributed and balanced structurally (Administrations; Courts, Legislatures) and popularly (via free and fair elections). 


Ukraine: ‘Glasnost Gone’ on ‘Russian Firehosing’


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Posted to YouTube November 11, 2018

“Glasnost Gone” on Twitter


Liveuamap, Ukraine, Luhansk and Azov Sea regions, November 20, 2018 @ 5:35 a.m.

Russian “Active Measures” and “dezinformatsiya” frame Moscow’s targets with multiple libels, the most infamous its depiction of Ukraine as a hotbed of neo-Nazi hotheads.  In the false flag fashion of the “Moscow Apartment Bombings“, Russia has produced an image of Ukraine suited to its ambitions as an invader.

From The Guardian, March 20, 2014 (Luke Harding, “Ukraine nationalist attacks on Russia supporters – fact or Kremlin fairy tale?”):

According to civil rights groups, however, the Kremlin’s account of anti-Russian persecution is a dark fairytale – “entirely fictional”, as one put it. It is, they say, a made-up scenario scripted in Moscow for state TV, and now played out on the ground by pro-Russian activists and bussed-in professionals. Russian propaganda has been extremely effective, they add. Many trust Russian state TV rather than what they see on the streets, which are strikingly bereft of fascists.

“There’s no discrimination against Russian-speakers actually,” Yevgeny Zakharov, from Kharkiv’s human rights protection group, said earlier this week. Zakharov said support for the idea of Kharkiv following Crimea and joining Russia was low – 15% according to the latest survey. He believes last week’s bloody shoot-out was deliberately provoked. “This [Kremlin] campaign is being conducted very aggressively. The idea is to give the false impression that Russians are being humiliated and Kharkiv wants union with Russia,” he said.

Related Resources on the Web

“A Guide to Russian Propaganda”.

“Daily and spot reports from the Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine”.

Euromaidan Press

Inform Napalm


Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe

Stop Fake

UAPosition: Focus on Ukraine

UATV English

Ukrop News 24

Posted by Glasnost Gone to YouTube November 2, 2018

Posted to YouTube by The New York Times, November 19 (above) and 20 (below), 2018.

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For Russia Absurd, EU Magnitsky and a Challenge to Interpol


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— In President Vladimir Putin’s Soviet / post-Soviet way, that which best serves the dictator’s political ambitions and ends becomes “pravda” — “truth”. —

It appears Moscow would dispute even the existence — even the possibility — of integrity in information.

In the world’s “Totalitarian Information Spaces (TIS)”, 🙂 , all expression — all thought — is political, malleable, and manipulative. 

All of a sudden, RT inverts Browder’s claims regarding his friend and motivation for the Magnitsky Act, and assigns the murder to Browder himself. 

Russian accountant Sergey Magnitsky may have been poisoned and his former employer, financier Bill Browder, was possibly behind the murder, prosecutors have found. Now, Moscow will place Browder on the international wanted list.

UK businessman Browder had much interest in the death of Sergey Magnitsky after receiving what he wanted from the accountant, an adviser to the Russian prosecutor general told the briefing.

“Based on the documents that were shown, an obvious conclusion can be made that, having received a false statement from Magnitsky that was used for provocation, Browder was interested in Sergey Magnitsky’s death more than anyone else in order to avoid exposure,” Nikolai Atmonyev said.


Given enough time and manpower, Moscow may turn night into day — and day and light into night and darkness.

Mission accomplished.

In President Vladimir Putin’s Soviet / post-Soviet way, that which best serves the dictator’s political ambitions and ends becomes “pravda” — “truth”.

British officials expect Alexander Prokopchuk, a former major-general at the Russian Interior Ministry, to be elected as Interpol president as soon as Wednesday, The Times reported, without saying where it got the information.


Earlier this morning, BackChannels updated a compilation of references associated with Romanian KGB defector Ion Mihai Pacepa, which activity recalled in part how difficult the battle for empiricism, integrity (most of all), and reason may be before a veritable disinformation army devoted to the preservation of despotism and tyranny on behalf of the limitless needs (for “narcissistic supply”) of a single damaged, ruthless, sadistic, and vacant soul.

After his murder, the Russian authorities covered up the crime, exonerated and promoted the people involved, and put Magnitsky on trial three years after he died, in the first trial of a dead man in Russian history.

Browder, Bill.  “EU ‘Magnitsky Act’ must bear its proper name.”  EU Observer, November 12, 2018.

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Update – Related on the Web

Kara-Murza, Vladimir.  “Putin is about to gain control of the world’s main law enforcement organization.”  The Washington Post, November 19, 2018.


Listening, Reading, Waking: Sunday, November 18, 2018


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“The barbaric and feudal politics of the world’s civilizational past would seem to be getting its claws into the world’s future and dragging it backward.”


One of the two candidates in the upcoming vote by Interpol’s 192 member states, is from Russia despite allegations that Moscow has used Interpol’s procedures to pursue political enemies.


Peel, Michael.  “Interpol chief urges China to reveal more on corruption case.”  Financial Times, November 16, 2018.


Banks, as founder of Leave.EU, wanted Bannon’s data firm Cambridge Analytica to devise a plan in late 2015 for raising funds in the US that would support the unofficial Brexit campaign, according to the correspondence.

The emails are likely to be scrutinised in the US where Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, has interviewed Bannon a number of times.


It would seem all paths back toward the renewal of feudal political absolutism in the authentically democratic free world lead back to Moscow (and now perhaps Beijing as well). 

Without Putin’s permit, Assad’s Sadnaya Prison would not exist.  The memory of that obscenity will burn in history long after the “eye doctor” has succeeded in more fully destroying his own estate.

The Interpol stories involving Russia and China: which despot would wish himself to be policed?

Which despotic elite should be entrusted with the coordination policy of the world’s basic global policing element?

And how well will the west stand when it has itself been riven by the renewal of feudal governance?


The EU may impose sanctions on Hungary for adopting laws against the development of civic society, that’s according to MP Volodymyr Ariev, who is also vice-president of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, chairman of the PACE Committee on Culture, Education, Science and Media.”In Hungary there are very serious problems with the European Union, with Brussels. They stem from those very anti-democratic laws that were passed by the Hungarian authorities, in particular against civic society, against the Soros University, public organizations, and not only that. Now the EU is on the path toward imposing sanctions on Hungary,” Ariev told Pryamiy TV channel.


EU / NATO has effectively lost Turkey as a partner for democracy, and it has seen democracy seriously degraded in Hungary as well.  While BackChannels has thought it politic to lay off the United States in similar regard, the “Fake News!” President has made that tack similarly difficult.  He has degraded the media (for many, America’s “Fourth Estate”); taken a hard run at the Department of Justice (Comey firing; effort to degrade or derail the Mueller Investigation; the out-of-order appointment of Matthew Whittaker as Acting Attorney General); and packed the court with the appointment of an at best marginally acceptable (Senate confirmation vote: 50 to 48) “old boy” of a lawyer.

Politics Medieval v Politics Modern and Democratic?

The barbaric and feudal politics of the world’s civilizational past would seem to be getting its claws into the world’s future and dragging it backward.

Steve Bannon, former political strategist for Donald Trump, said he plans to work closely with the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban in the run-up to next year’s European Parliament elections.
Mr Bannon revealed that he had visited Budapest to speak to the far-right leader and his aides in meetings not previously made public.

The political operative also suggested Hungary would make an ideal home for “The Movement” – his new campaign group aimed at electing right-wing nationalists in Europe.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/steve-bannon-viktor-orban-hungary-budapest-european-parliament-elections-a8638591.html. (11/17/2018)


FTAC: Palestinian Rebirth


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After 70+ years of Arab apartheid — separation in camps; separate diminished treatment — deep political control and suppression (from Human Rights Watch: https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/10/23/palestine-authorities-crush-dissent), this may be the beginning for the Palestinian People. No longer Jordanian; no longer Egyptian; no longer Ottoman; no longer anything that has been before but a part of everything that has crossed through the middle east, there’s definitely a population that has been in modern times isolated in time and space, i.e., A People!

Flip the baby over and let it be born and breath refreshed and new.

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Related Online


Addendum – November 13, 2018

Posted this morning —

The Palestinian People may be so only as consequence of more than 70 years of Arab Apartheid, i.e., separation in the camps of Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt. They will learn that they have been duped as well by the PLO and, later, Hamas — and ultimately by Moscow.



How is it that today you hate Israel?


The real revolution in the Middle East may be normalization — peaceful Palestinian democracy in Gaza and the West Bank; citizenship and inclusion with full return of state rights in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egypt, albeit slowly to fade the Soviet Era’s poison from the system.


The Palestinians may be many people — they may be even a little bit of all of the people whose cultures and languages and lives have cross-crossed that small patch of earth for millennia.


Shameless Promotion –> Radical Acts of Love


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Muslim-Jewish Advisory Council
National Action Network
National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity (NAPE)
National Association of Human Rights Workers
National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Educational Fund
National Association of Social Workers
National Center for Learning Disabilities
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Council of Jewish Women
National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh
National Council of Teachers of English
National Disability Rights Network
National Down Syndrome Congress
National Employment Law Project
National Employment Lawyers Association
National Immigration Law Center
National Legal Aid and Defender Association
National LGBTQ Task Force
National Organization for Women
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Urban League
National Women’s Law Center
New York City Anti-Violence Project
OCA – Asian Pacific American Advocates
People For the American Way
PFLAG National
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund (SALDEF)
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT)
Southern Poverty Law Center
The Campaign to TAKE ON HATE
The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law
The Sikh Coalition
The United Methodist Church-General Board of Church & Society
Union for Reform Judaism