In the age of “Active Measures”, widespread trolling, government-funded disinformation campaigns, a sad bump in east-west rivalry with Beijing and Moscow pitted against democracy, and extraordinary agitation and propaganda, the business of shamelessly lying to the American People should be treated no differently than speech associated with conspiracy to commit crimes, libel and slander, and incitement.
As Facebook responses — this one appeared on the Bukovsky Center page — and blog presentations differ, I have opted to let the blogging system work by adding URLs to the original text and allowing importation as commercial interests (Amazon’s) have made possible.
While Lloyd Billingsley has got right the description of Communist Totalitarianism, it just does not follow that the American Left and main portion of the Liberal Community has some Stalinist bent. Even the fashionable “far left” — short of the armed-up separatists who do fit Billingsley’s description from the “Far Out Left” and “Far White Right” (my terms) — places some premium on frank discussion and reporting with integrity. Some, unfortunately, have made alliance with the Soviet / post-Soviet remains of Communist Group Think and will swallow old Kool-Aid like the Boycott Divestitures and Sanctions (BDS) malarkey, but on the whole will report with integrity.
I have found enough in Patrice Cullors (“Marxist Trained” is part of her self-promotion) to both validate a number of race-related and systemic American issues.
The truths may be uncomfortable, but raising points in an open society undermines efforts to install a more deeply pernicious totalitarianism in America’s own open society — and by extension the still open (or remaining) democratic societies of EU/NATO. IF we in the West should wish to live in authentic (as opposed to Potemkin) democracies, we bear the burden of listening to earnest complaint and testimony and finding appropriate and best ways of responding to it and associated public and private realpolitik.
“Accusation in a Mirror”, a term derived from Kenneth L. Marcus’s eponymous essay (PDF) befits the hothouse atmospheres of both strident conservatives and edgy liberals as each accuses the other of attempting to established a communist or fascism totalitarian state in their areas of influence and operations.
Aside: I have long ago picked up on the idea that both communism and capitalism over-emphasize material well-being in their otherwise opposite philosophies, and if it’s true that such bipolar conflicts comes down to “owning the pie v sharing the pie”, the nation has other spiritual challenges. Personally, I would endorse the development of carefully constructed public-private compact with basic environmental and human interests and related principles and values foremost.
I would suggest to Lloyd Billingsley that he take in a less divisive and more magnanimous and realistic approach to an adjusted 21st Century politics; to Patrisse Cullors and others, black or white or other: let’s hear stories told with integrity while querying systemic shortcomings. Color — brown eyes or blue? — may be a “discriminator”, but what is one to do with hazel or flecked or green — or with skin cafe au lait, caramel, ochre, bronzed, freckled, eggplant, milky, peachy or with body types and facial features innumerable?
In my experience, nature more appreciates or favors variety than it does mono-cultures too isolated and too rigid to respond to the natural proliferation of antagonists (for the political portal associated with related science, see the Convention on Biological Diversity and its List of Parties).
For the time being, we’re having issues with perceived political power and empowerment and related injuries, injustices, jealousies, and resentments. While not everything may be repaired, we might choose to look ahead toward what needs may be diminished (starting with our own rancor) and what may be improved, better integrated, more loved, more appreciated.
Inspiration for this relay: I had said, “We were doing just fine with North-South peace and firecracker sales and southern rock” when the meaning of the Confederate flag was revived as a symbol of southern bigotry and secession (and slavery). My conversational partner said, “That works if you’re a privileged WHITE MALE! If you’re a Black Male it’s FUCKED!”
From the Awesome Conversation
That’s only if the Black Male thinks he’s Fucked.
Let me show you something about North and South —
Black and White?
History walks slowly, and while slavery may have been done after Lincoln’s handling of the matter and segregation finished by the Great Society and LBJ, it’s understood that some evil currents and ruthless bigots hold out a long time even while time grinds them down.
With black and white bigots still at play in OUR country and some foreign agent provocateur interested in watching the United States of America come apart — and possibly just some dumb people, political simpletons, really, swallowing intellectual poison, the Confederate Flag laid to rest for war — it was created to clarify who was who in General Lee’s engagements — and made into a generalized American symbol of a rebellious spirit — has been re-contextualized BACKWARD as a living symbol of hate.
What the hell are we doing back with the mentalities of the 1930s and the 1950s?
A little more that might be associated with the now thankfully passed “Trumpian Detour”:
The base nods its collective head, raises its fists, and shouts its opinion — always someone else’s ideas and words — on the social network.
From the Awesome Conversation
We appear to use our military superiority — and we have it in many areas — judiciously to alter geopolitical space in well defined ways, to hem in ambitious enemies (such as Russia where it has bogged down in Ukraine), and to dampen the spirit for aggression in places like the South China Sea. We don’t just pack our kits and go off to obliterate cultures, governments, and societies. Life just ain’t that simple. I have primer on the subject: https://conflict-backchannels.com/2020/11/27/a-short-note-on-chinas-contemporary-political-sins/ — anywhere one waltzes in, from Wal-Mart to the Thousand Talents program (our research departments have taken a lot of Chinese grant money, but the same has been also a setup for Chinese espionage) — the realpolitik gets quite tough (for affordable everything — add in the borrowing on the U.S. national debt).
Fair for web search: “China, Wal-Mart”; “Thousand Talents Program”; “U.S., China, Debt”, “Ukraine, American Anti-Tank Weapons”; “China, USA, South China Sea”.
Are Far Right / Far Left Americans just plain lazy when it comes to looking into issues independently?
You tell me.
Too often online, one may come across the “Two Minutes Hate” entirely without legitimacy, sophistication, or substance.
This is not asking 320 million Americans to come up to speed in International Affairs in the way of, say, Belfer Center, but at least take in the best of available, valid, and reliable / clear, accurate, complete reportage. Citizens think; mobs mouth slogans.
In the tags section of this post, I’ve thought of a few dimensions that may need to be approached in some fresh way. I believe I have seen an ugly coarsening of competitive norms between China and the United States in the course of President Trump’s tenure. “Beat the other guy!” Well, we approach deals and games with that competitive zeal, but whether our partner in tennis or in trade, we’re generally not inclined to destroy the same without some related punitive motive. China’s “debt trap diplomacy” and the guile associated with the Thousand Talents Program indicates ambition to dominate more than facilitate healthy development and financial exchange.
In the days before Trump supporters’ insurrection, the Department of Defense placed major limitations on the tactics, equipment, and resources the DC National Guard could make use of in dealing with rioters, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Pentagon officials sent memos on January 4 and 5 barring DC guardsmen from receiving ammo and riot gear, engaging with protesters (except for self-defense), sharing equipment with local police, and using surveillance or air assets without explicit approval from President Donald Trump’s acting Defense Secretary, Christopher Miller, according to The Post.
The CISA page for the 2020 elections features guidance helpful to the nation’s election managers and has been designed to counter domestic false claims and rumors as well as foreign created or influenced disinformation.
I don’t really want to introduce this lift of my own words 🙂 because it’s telegraphed well as is. Let’s try this that way.
From the Awesome Conversation
The World Wide Web is in civilizational terms still a new communications technology, and about 14 years ago, broadband and the advent of powerful search engines and networks made it an ideal tool for political friends and enemies alike. Here is the program of one of our enemies — https://conflict-backchannels.com/2020/02/13/active-measures/ Another term (on which I haven’t worked): “Hybrid Warfare”.
I try to sustain our broadest American Freedom of Speech character across partisan lines, but we must be aware — or become aware — of sophisticated agitprop, disinformation, disingenuous information, etc. across partisan lines. The vast majority here are Americans whether Democratic or Republicans. We work things out. We don’t choke down political language or presentations without critical facility of our own and an immense treasure in research capability.
The BackChannels blog is mine and represents probably the most consistently semi-productive thing I’ve been doing for about a decade.
I would view the former politically correct fascists on campus and the emerged Far White Right in Charlottesville as projects that have simmered beneath the former political surface and simply amplified and coalesced their national political presence by way of both surface and “dark web” social channels. They’re the “violent radicals” of our day and most of us should want to repopulate the positions around the aisle.
We have had enough bullying from extremists Far Out Left and Far White Right.
Unlike our Russian counterparts who cannot today choose between lives in a modern and vibrant authentic democracy, Americans may choose at this time to live with modern demand for integrity and responsibility in their speech and thereby inhabit an authentically modern and revolutionary ever new world.
The finger pointing between Democrats and Republicans and sundry others is, sadly, part of the nearly medieval chaos into which America has sunk throughout President Trump’s divisive tenure. Nonetheless, as Americans take notes from mainstream media, specialized press, and partisan presses of all kinds, the data simply compiles to suggest the deepest manipulation of public events by this one president.
Here are the first two bullets of four summarizing reporting in Business Insider —
The Pentagon placed major restrictions on the DC National Guard leading up to Wednesday’s insurrection, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Officials curtailed the ability of DC guardsmen to deploy troops, receive ammo and riot gear, engage with protesters, share equipment with local police, and use surveillance without explicit approval from President Trump’s acting defense secretary, Christopher Miller, according to The Post.
Do Americans, no less than their Russian counterparts, really want to live in the medieval world?
Putin’s Russian pseudo-democracy is, for all intents, an authoritarian state devoted to the absolute will of its leader. By comparison, the United States of America has been an authentic democracy with political power distributed and checked and balanced down to the citizen / voter.
From the closely observed and possibly most secured election in American history to the courts rejection of multiple lawsuits without discoverable / reviewable basis in reality to the latest event, it’s hard seeing how patriotic and reasoning Americans can by the mythology of a go-it-alone President against the majority of the People of the United States. Add the character issues associated with the impeached President — and that from the longest list of high-integrity sources — and it just doesn’t wash. (Not surprisingly, Republicans in other races have lost seats: say whatever one may to further the demonizing of the Dems, if more ordinary Americans keep voting, it looks like more Republicans will keep losing until DJT is back in the wings and the Party recovers its integrity. The 2020 election (and so many RVAT testimonies) showed the Republicans were willing to vote for a Democratic President.
Ours has not been a medieval society from its founding forward. We want some integrity in public officials of either party and lots of information that can be corroborated and found valid and reliable with all of the modern critical facility and research tools at hand.
Only two words really matter with information — empiricism and integrity. Where we dismiss the former, people will entertain anything; where the latter goes missing, people will tell others anything — and they’ll do it for greed and lust expressed as money and power.
We know the characteristics of good information.
There is the reporter’s standard, “clear, accurate, and complete”.
The empiricist may want to know what is cogent, valid, and reliable — and in what precise measure against chance (probability).
Most of the time we want to know “how things work”, and we want answers we may rely on for making decisions, but in difficult times — or just with troubled machinery — we may want to know as well why things don’t work.
Agitation, disinformation, and propaganda fail always the two-part test: is it true? Is it honest?