Perhaps all that separates Presidents Putin and Trump are America’s still-intact Constitutional checks and balances and related authentic cultural precepts, tenets, and values having to do with equality, freedom, and justice bound to a modern and spacious appreciation of universal human character and potential.
The tapped popular perception of both of these heavy handed and extraordinarily wealthy politicians is that each exists to protect his image, his power, and his cronies and may be otherwise concerned with the needs of their respective nations overall to only a minimal extent.
The democracy of the United States of America requires — as do others — a soundly educated population on one hand and (it is this one on the other that’s tough) highly experienced and well educated statesmen on the other. The Republican vote coming for Biden, an “old school” politician with a manner familiar from far better days, will represent a mass of voting against the incumbent Donald Trump, but that will not hack it for American democracy except to forestall its dissolving into another shitty pseudo-democratic dictatorship.
Whoever wins 2020, it will be America’s 2024 election that will spell whether Americans will be governed by a fully responsive and responsible leadership or one bent by measures of dogma, excessive narcissism, and greed.
Donald Trump falsely accused Democrats of trying to “steal” Tuesday’s special election in California amid the Covid-19 pandemic by adding a polling place in one of the most diverse sections of a district.
But the county actually added the polling location at the request of the area’s Republican mayor.
The announcement that Russian President Vladimir Putin won last week’s national vote to rewrite the country’s constitution and allow himself to run twice more for president was not exactly a surprise. Putin has a long track record of winning elections through a mix of genuine popularity, electoral skullduggery, and—most important of all—ensuring that no real alternatives are allowed on the ballot. This most recent plebiscite took Putin-era elections to new depths of meaningless.
If HE hadn’t stepped off blasting away at America’s mainstream media and stable Federal agencies involved with all matters from environment to national security, HE and we might be fine, for BC believes he’s telling some truth these days. However, he has also had his indelible “Helsinki Moment” (above) and his regime (is that too strong a word?) may mirror known authoritarian governments integrated with their own state financial and political elites. The spectacle made by black clad troops herding nonviolent protesters from Lafayette Park (adjacent to the White House) may become a part of the memory of a liberal American generation for whom that kind of White House implemented thuggery — and show and tell with the Bible and Church photo-op — would seem to have been out of step with modern American political norms and values.
For the United States with an Administration somewhat mirroring the authoritarianism and white nationalism associated with Moscow, one may wonder if collusion may not be found in aspects of convergence: how different does Trump’s Washington look from Putin’s Moscow?
By any sociological or financial measure, it’s good to be us. It’s even better to be our kids. In our health, family life, friendship networks, and level of education, not to mention money, we are crushing the competition below. But we do have a blind spot, and it is located right in the center of the mirror: We seem to be the last to notice just how rapidly we’ve morphed, or what we’ve morphed into. Related Story
The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people’s children. We are not innocent bystanders to the growing concentration of wealth in our time. We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy. Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents. We tend to think that the victims of our success are just the people excluded from the club. But history shows quite clearly that, in the kind of game we’re playing, everybody loses badly in the end.
Has the bottom layer of the upper crust, which may be quite Up There in fluff and light, the need for institutionalized nobility even if without title?
For the purposes of cultural and political stability, such a need may be functional, good, and open to entry across America’s colorful quilt, but one may question whether it needs chicanery in the process.
Several EU/NATO states have slid into anti-democratic authoritarian political management, albeit in different ways for different reasons. Hungary, Italy, Poland, and the United States have created cause for doubting the authenticity of democratic processes in their respective domains. While I’ve cherry picked the above links, one may evaluate each independently. With regard to the United States, Evan Osnos, writing for The New Yorker, notes the following:
The latest edition was published last week, and, as you might expect, it recorded the fourteenth straight year of deteriorating freedom around the world; sixty-four countries have lost liberties in the past year, while only thirty-seven registered improvements. (India, the world’s largest democracy, has seen some of the most alarming declines.) Its assessment of the United States is also disturbing. In 2009, the U.S. had a score of ninety-four, out of a hundred, which ranked it near the top, just behind Germany, Switzerland, and Estonia. In the decade since, it has slipped eight points; it now ranks behind Greece, Slovakia, and Mauritius. Looking at the United States, Freedom House analysts note the types of trends that they more customarily assign to fragile corners of the globe: “pressure on electoral integrity, judicial independence, and safeguards against corruption. Fierce rhetorical attacks on the press, the rule of law, and other pillars of democracy coming from American leaders, including the president himself.”
Osnos goes on to more broadly explain the decline of democracy in select states worldwide. For the United States, the broader view takes in Administrations prior to Trump’s.
Nonetheless, the political picture looks grim for Americans facing up to what increasingly looks like the necessity of casting a negative vote in the coming 2020 elections, i.e., voting for a so-so candidate in order to deny the incumbent a longer stay.
Threats posed by Beijing and Moscow to America’s governing principles and way of life should not be dismissed as somehow attached to Mr. Trump who has taken appropriate measures to deal with each, even if ineffectually. The sanctioning of some of Putin’s inner circle, for example, may not have the leveraging effects wanted given the ability to move money and persons around despite the reach of American power, but the status is visible worldwide and unflattering. With Beijing and jousting over trade, there may come the reminder that in a mutually pugnacious negotiation, one’s own side might lose — but that doesn’t make the other side’s position (in this context, Beijing’s) right. In addition to the large maneuvers the public cannot avoid, there are equally large issues involving communication signals and satellites that are more known to specialists than to the public at large.
Such issues will not go away with a Biden win in the coming election and may be exacerbated by it. What may recede are the authoritarian and malign narcissistic bullying, chaos, flailing, and lying — now imagined or real — associated with the incumbent President’s previous actions and current presence, reputation, and style.
Some of my Right Wing Nut friends hate Black Lives Matters, Democrats, George Soros, any compassionate souls qualifying as “Libtards”, and probably just plain puzzled (and suffering) human faces on general terms. While the United States of America heads now into rougher waters — here’s a schematic –>
COVID-19 –> National Stand-Down of Basic Economic Activities (Bars & Restaurants and Events) –> Peonage (Americans in Unsustainable Debt) –> Foreseeable Loss of Hope, Independence, Opportunity, Property, and Stability –> De Facto Enslavement (and more about that on this blog later) –>
–> these same complain about “appeasement” before “radicals” (misguided youth generally among them) when governments stay their forces a moment to give peace a chance and clarify essential battlespace as the opponent has cared to define it. Those old levels of contempt, determination, and penchant for violence may remind us of how differently America works — when it’s working.
From the Awesome Conversation
Internally, Americans accommodate, compromise, and repair conditions through argument, reason, and talk.
None of that compares to “appeasement”.
Where are there foreign actors, however, fitting the label “agent provocateur”, then our tolerance of their presence, or disinterest in it, would amount to appeasement.
In its feudal and narcissistic way, it’s self-centered with the Ummah in mind, but universalized, most statesmen would recognize the problem of having foreign agents in one’s domestic business.
BLM is domestic, somewhat poisoned by old rhetoric, and it may be infected by interlopers, but having become a visible element in OUR politics, it has to have its conversation with other Americans in public.
America’s two “rivals” in international influence and powers, Beijing and Moscow, believe in force and totalitarian control.
We don’t muzzle our critics: we defend protest; we investigate issues and try to bring their components into public view; we face political and social challenges and address them with peaceful but vigorous means. The day we stop listening, arguing, reasoning, accommodating, and compromising, and agreeing is the one on which we have failed as a democracy.
Those we refer to as “extremists” and “violent radicals” believe they have cause and permit to abandon those tenets and achieve their ends “by any means necessary”. Well, it’s at that point that the state must stand firm and take apart what has defined itself as a martial adversary. Generally speaking as regards that kind of “revolution”, the state wins.
If the state has been compromised, corrupted, and weakened from within, well then it may lose.
Even if a politically repressive regime “wins” against an enemy representing the better part of human values, as I believe democracies represent, it loses for being and displaying its ultimately closed, controlling, and destructive character.
On FB, one reader posed the question, “What’s to like?”
Here’s the BackChannels answer –>
Our system of governance remains strong, i.e., embraceable and not yet hollowed out. I am certain most Americans are counting on America to work some political magic and return the ship to firm and steady sailing. Our present turmoil devolves to our hosting so many authoritarians, extremists, sophists, and zealots that supporting an authentic _and reasoning_ conversation has become nearly impossible. While throwing mud at one another, we seem to be ignoring “America the Beautiful” while melting down in fits of jealousy, greed, and resentment. When idiots have tired themselves out with fighting or raiding — down on the street or up in the boardrooms — then more real people, so one may hope, will come out to sweep up the glass, turn over indictments, produce new law, and so on, and cobble the place back together and refresh it as it should be.
Someone, beyond the little that exists, may step into the ANTIFA mystique and become the riot-inciting ANTIFA framed by the Trump Administration, but until the FBI reports out organizational data, the use of the term should seem to the concerned public dangerous and subversive in relation to America’s democratic mission.
In recent days, the violence, threat to life, and destruction of property that we’ve seen in some parts of the country jeopardizes the rights and safety of all citizens, including peaceful demonstrators. It has to stop. We’re seeing people who are exploiting this situation to pursue violent, extremist agendas—anarchists like Antifa and other agitators. These individuals have set out to sow discord and upheaval, rather than join in the righteous pursuit of equality and justice.
Demonizing an apparently nonviolent adversary — a conclusion to be drawn by way of the FBI’s own findings in relation to recent unrest — would seem other than a part of above-board democratic behavior and process.
Is there a civil war brewing in the United States between a White Christian Nationalist Front and a morbidly post-Soviet Communist-Socialist Distributed Enterprise?
That’s what it looks like, but where are the “ringleaders” not already well known on the fringes of American politics?
Who are the agent provocateur?
On the Putin-loving Far White Right, who’s now driving the machinery that led to Charlottesville and might lead to the next one?
And who are the counterparts in the post-Soviet Far Out and Lost Left?
Addressing himself to the FBI’s main Twitter account and the bureau’s Charlotte office, Wirostek wrote: “Hi, I am the leader of Charlotte, NC Antifa. DM me for my address, or I can turn myself in. I’d be happy to let you test your bullshit terrorism statute in a U.S. court. Anyone who thinks antifascists are the bad guys are fascists.” Wirostek signed the tweet, “#IAMAntifa.”“What makes you email the FBI saying you’re the leader of antifa in Charlotte?”
Two days later, the bureau came calling. “First, they called my mom,” Wirostek told The Intercept.
U.S. Attorney General William Barr has repeatedly blamed anti-fascist activists for the violence that has erupted during demonstrations over George Floyd’s death, but federal court records show no sign of so-called antifa links so far in cases brought by the Justice Department.
NPR has reviewed court documents of 51 individuals facing federal charges in connection with the unrest. As of Tuesday morning, none is alleged to have links to the antifa movement.
I’ve had enough and not only of the posting-with-an-agenda crowd on Facebook — everybody’s making a point! — but with the Far Right demonizing of billionaire philanthropist George Soros. Having now been summoned to his defense often (for having done a little bit of earnest homework on Soros as a global notable), I thought here to file and pull some of the barbs launched and planted around the Internet to aid the Putin-manipulated “Newest Nationalists” (I shall call them) for the purpose of leading EU/NATO (America First!) back to archaic, bloody, tried, and finished feudalism.
MUNICH – Neither the European public nor European political and business leaders fully understand the threat presented by Xi Jinping’s China. Although Xi is a dictator who is using cutting-edge technology in an effort to impose total control on Chinese society, Europeans regard China primarily as an important business partner. They fail to appreciate that since Xi became president and General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC), he has established a regime whose guiding principles are diametrically opposed to the values on which the European Union was founded.
However, Soros himself was not an advocate of closer relations with Beijing.
“There are a lot of people who say we should be working very closely with China (on tackling the crisis) — but I am not in favor of doing that,” he said. “We must protect our democratic open society. At the same time, we must find a way to cooperate on fighting climate change and the novel coronavirus. That won’t be easy.”
With the concept of “Malignant Narcissism” readily at hand for all engaged in political psychology, we may know more about authoritarian leaders than we do about their followers who appear simply ill-informed about the world and vulnerable to its framing by persons with other than democratic and noble intentions.
George Soros: Anti-Semite and Coward? No.
As the Nazi program uncloaked for the destruction of Jewry in its entirety, father Tivadar and son George found themselves in Hungary with few options for survival. While Anne Frank and family had found Dutch help for hiding in a sufficient compartment at the rear of a complicated house, the Hungarian father chose social camouflage, i.e., blending into invisibility. Our George was fourteen years old and listened to his father. The barbs launched at the pair today: “cowards”. I’ve heard that it would have been more laudable for them to have died in the camps or joined the resistance — although there was no resistance — no units to join — in Hungary.
Today, real and thinking Jews know that against the unbridled horror of the Nazi Jew-killing machinery, merely to survive it would be to triumph over it!
(There’s a quotation to the left on this blog attributed to Simon Wiesenthal on the occasion of his 90th Birthday celebration held in the ballroom of the Imperial Hotel, Vienna, Austria, formerly Hitler’s favorite destination: “The Nazis are no more, but we are still here, singing and dancing”).
Soros father and son, as had painfully too few other Jews, survived the Holocaust, and in relation to the anti-Semitism mixed into so much Soros-related disinformation and invective, this is the way to appreciate them: both were Jews by birth — in the traditional matrilineal way — and both became Holocaust Survivors.
George Soros, Communist, Globalist, Totalitarian — Not Quite
We “Earthlings” really do live on just one planet that in our modern world has been fully connected for international material and social exchange via communication technologies, global shipping, and every form of human travel so far invented. While we may be slowed down by COVID-19 and related restrictions on commerce and travel, we should not be pushed backward by it politically or socially into the shortcomings of earlier political eras or stages.
We have the Internet.
We have our better and wiser selves.
While we of little to modest means work on making the world a better place — and also keeping its 7,000 living language cultures (fewer) and about 4,200 religions (and a disputed and much smaller number of “Major Religions”) intact, George Soros, who chose some time ago to channel off investment revenue into global philanthropy through his Open Society Foundations, has been planting money and cultivating improvements in Qualities of Living worldwide.
In answer to latest Far Whacked Out Right flap doodle on Black Lives Matter, which in parts of its radical agenda can never work but will now be visible and discussable in the public discourse, one may have a look into Borealis Philanthropy, the organization that handles the money and monitors its performance downstream. Where that money goes astray, as it were and as it may — BLM is a “big tent” with fractious cliques, some of them perhaps Left of the Far Out Left — we may let the FBI figure it out as it will where crimes have been committed or incited.
Who Hates George Soros? Authoritarians, Dictators, Political Absolutists, Would-Be Fascists
Authoritarians and Far (White?) Right immoral nationalist entrepreneurs hate George Soros. Here are two practically unavoidable notes on the Soros-Orban relationship involving just one of the philanthropist’s notable enemies –>
VIENNA — Forced out of Hungary, Central European University marked its relocation to Vienna on Friday with a bittersweet ceremony that amounted to a victory for Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orban, in his campaign against liberal values.
Founded and endowed after the fall of the Iron Curtain by George Soros, the billionaire financier and philanthropist, the university promoted democracy and liberal thought in a region where they had been suppressed for a century under fascism and communism.
Should the Jews of Hungary pack their bags? Those with an eye to history might wonder. Last March, in a formal speech commemorating the 170th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, President Viktor Orban said the following:
“They do not fight directly, but by stealth; they are not honourable, but unprincipled; they are not national, but international; they do not believe in work, but speculate with money; they have no homeland, but feel that the whole world is theirs. They are not generous, but vengeful, and always attack the heart – especially if it is red, white and green [the colours of the Hungarian flag].”
With these words, Mr. Orban pursued his marginalization of Hungary’s Jews. He didn’t name them. He didn’t have to. His familiar anti-Semitic tropes, which might have been lifted from any number of German sources between the late 18th-century and the defeat of Adolf Hitler in 1945, would have resonated clearly in the minds of his audience.
And this is the point: anybody who has ever lived under another form of government—that is, under a dictatorship which cannot be removed without bloodshed—will know that a democracy, imperfect though it is, is worth fighting for and, I believe, worth dying for. This, however, is only my personal conviction. I should regard it as wrong to try to persuade others of it.
We could base our whole theory on this, that there are only two alternatives known to us: either a dictatorship or some form of democracy. And we do not base our choice on the goodness of democracy, which may be doubtful, but solely on the evilness of a dictatorship, which is certain. Not only because the dictator is bound to make bad use of his power, but because a dictator, even if he were benevolent, would rob all others of their responsibility, and thus of their human rights and duties. This is a sufficient basis for deciding in favour of democracy—that is, a rule of law that enables us to get rid of the government. No majority, however large, ought to be qualified to abandon this rule of law.
I started developing my philosophy as a student at the London School of Economics in the late 1950s. I took my final exams one year early and I had a year to fill before I was qualified to receive my degree. I could choose my tutor and I chose Karl Popper, the Viennese-born philosopher whose book The Open Society and Its Enemies had made a profound impression on me.
In his books Popper argued that the empirical truth cannot be known with absolute certainty. Even scientific laws can’t be verified beyond a shadow of a doubt: they can only be falsified by testing. One failed test is enough to falsify, but no amount of conforming instances is sufficient to verify. Scientific laws are hypothetical in character and their truth remains subject to testing. Ideologies which claim to be in possession of the ultimate truth are making a false claim; therefore, they can be imposed on society only by force. This applies to Communism, Fascism and National Socialism alike. All these ideologies lead to repression. Popper proposed a more attractive form of social organization: an open society in which people are free to hold divergent opinions and the rule of law allows people with different views and interests to live together in peace. Having lived through both Nazi and Communist occupation here in Hungary I found the idea of an open society immensely attractive.
For some years, I have kept a “quick list” of articles about George Soros. I had compiled the list of URL’s to haul into intellectual battle involving those more loaded with attitudes and beliefs than facts and histories. Not all items so stashed were favorable the the Soros image, but as evidenced here the best work fits the mosaic of a son and father who both well knew the horrors of dictatorship and tyranny, survived both, and were to set themselves against both for the rest of their lives.
Here is the “Quick List” of Soros URL’s (and preceding note) relayed here verbatim in the plain text in which it has been maintained –>
George Soros, Hon FBA is a Hungarian-American billionaire investor and philanthropist. As of February 2018, he had a net worth of $8 billion, having donated more than $32 billion to his philanthropic agency, the Open Society Foundations. Wikipedia Born: August 12, 1930 (age 89 years), Budapest, Hungary Net worth: 8.3 billion USD (2020) Spouse: Tamiko Bolton (m. 2013), Susan Weber (m. 1983–2005), Annaliese Witschak (m. 1960–1983) Children: Alexander Soros, Jonathan Soros, Andrea Soros, Robert Soros, Gregory Soros Nationality: Hungarian, American, British
—> Google brief results, “Hungarian surname Soros”
Trump’s hysteria-creating message begins, “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups are running through our streets and causing absolute mayhem,” and it ends with this appeal: “We’re calling on YOU to make a public statements and add your name to stand with President Trump against ANTIFA.”
No problem for it seems that with the exception of brief coverage in Mother Jones of street gang bullying and payback (August 29, 2017), “ANTIFA” may be more of a computer-distributed idea taken up chaotically by actors inclined to “play” into their roles for a moment of political action without creating an organization. The “enemy” Trump points to — and wants you to join him in fighting — may have at best a (so far) chimeric existence. On the anti-organization organization concept that isn’t an organization 🙂 but has the Administration’s attention as at least a figment of its imagination substantial enough to promote into a quick two-minutes hate — or a sign-up with the Trump team –>
Trump’s opposition hasn’t hesitated to transform the Trump Team’s action symbol into an object for editorial comment –>
When Trump’s Presidency stepped off with broadsides against the “Fake News!” and proceeded to tear down key missions and personalities in every quietly accepted or admired national institution, he laid the groundwork for his Administration’s own discredit as well as the inspiration for a new spectrum of resistance to authoritarian behaviors and claims. The earlier spectacle of impeachment and the sight of Trump associates being marched off to jail as felons could not have helped in that regard. This latest brouhaha may well cement the impression of an Administration trying mightily to create its own reality to sell to a perhaps confused faithful who believe they have been fighting “globalists”, “libtards”, and “socialists” that actually exist in the manner described to them.
Disciplined observation with integrity accompanied by empathy, logic, and reason may be more difficult than casually imagined, but those are the best tools we have for defining issues and answering with appropriate and progressive policy.
The Stanford philosophizing referenced above may not lead to the most cogent or helpful of references for approaching legal or policy issues, but for those two regions, any may start with the idea that mere perception is not reality, and it is generally good to investigate how things really work when on the way to making decisions or plans pertaining to them.
Peel the onion; turn over the rock; have another look; put it to a test — language has many cliches and tropes related to investigation and the methods of arriving at conclusions — “truths” one might call them — in which one might have confidence on the basis of other than ambitions, agendas, pleasant delusions, and personal interests.
The Far Out Left Mob has drummed into existence the idea of the Far White Right in response to the now incendiary Presidency of Donald Trump, he who referred to white supremacists on the march in Charlottesville as “very fine people”.
As one thing leads to another, the once amateur politician who by much advice and fast seasoning has become Presidential, finds his forces and streets — ours as well — in the hands of hotheaded police and politicos.
As so many feckless and ignorant Americans have chosen to ban or bring down the symbols of the nation’s extraordinary heritage in blood and suffering on behalf of its prevailing values (” . . . that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights . . . .”), even if on the “wrong side” of history, I’ve given in to launching a short response — a reminder, actually — of what America, to this point, has meant to be — and we may be certain we were not meant to be a post-Soviet Russian “State Capitalist” white nationalist enterprise nor a storage bin for post-Soviet Communist and Socialist agitation, propaganda, and unrest.
President Lincoln had directed General Grant to leave the Southern leadership its freedom and pride at surrender. The war was not one of conquest but of reintegration with the Union — and the United States of America — and the end would lead to reconstruction of the south and later reconciliation between once mortal enemies.
With surrender, the Confederate Flag that had stood for “State’s Rights” and, yes, the institution that was agrarian slavery, had become transformed through time into a symbol of Southern courage, memorial, and rebelliousness. For the greater nation it became a decorative regional symbol generalized for the “American rebel” of any age, color, or state. The once seriously “Rebel Flat” became also a benign decorative element fit for beach towels and everything else that would become part of our common multicultural, multiracial American heritage.
We Americans together embrace compassion, dignity, equality, freedom, individualism, justice.
We should not need to erase or suppress our history or its symbols but take note of them and together move forward.
Now the mob seems to have taken aim at that regional and integrated southern pride in heritage while giving publicity to the KKK and other marginalized forces remaining not from the Confederacy but coursing through the Viking heritage of white northern Europe and flowing through history into portions of northern British culture (which would be influenced today by Russia’s white nationalist push against EU/NATO and modern progressive — and color and heritage integrating — multicultural values).
For Americans who abhor the idea of “race war”, the so-called progressive forces may be setting the stage for one.
How special we are!
We should be true with our national heritage, our collective past, and come together for our future.
I don’t see much difference between ISIS tearing down Palmyra and America’s present Far Out Left getting governors (and event producers) to remove the presence of American Civil War symbols — flags or statues — from public view.
FTAC: From the Post-Publication Follow-Up
For addressing politics, it’s better to have whatever is behind the woodwork come out and make itself known.
Now we’re going to have cadre on dark or obscure web platforms being chased by a limited law enforcement community. They will be brewing up evil in their own virtual corners and spilling out into reality when they’re ready for “action”.
Police here have lost at least one precinct to “CHAZ” and that to me would be unfathomable but for having grown up near the “Nuclear Free Zone” of Takoma Park, Maryland, a location I have referred to as the “Berkeley of the East” (not far from the University of Maryland).
I understand the liberal outlook and America’s instinct for pursuing ideals and producing practical improvements in governance. I don’t understand the growing divide between a multicultural progressive culture, which I believe in, and a reactionary Christian White Nationalist putsch. I view the latter development as backward, bullying, brutal, and feudal.