Category Archives: FTAC – From The Awesome Conversation
If — in my own head — I hit a universal note just about right in Facebook or other conversation, I may simply wrench it from context and publish it here in this category as a mix of observation and, I hope, a writer’s wisdom.
From the Awesome Conversation, a comment on greed in America and American domestic and foreign policy —
Greed can and will kill the credibility and promise of the USA if the constituency abandons its Constitutional, ethical, and moral obligations and principles. The state will either evolve forward toward greater achievement and enlightenment or it will simply fall backward to the repeated of lost eras more delightful, if that, in memory then tenable in reality.
Bonbons or bon mots, what do with a nice ring than put it up on the web for a few to contemplate momentarily.
Gecko’s “Greed is good!” speech from the Wall Street film provided the prompt for the response (“FTAC” on this blog) — and the response is true: the three “superpowers”, lumbering sumo that each may be, have each autocrats for chiefs. One appears to seek the renewal of dynasty and empire; another appreciates the glory and grandeur of more vicious imperial days; and the last appears to believe that money is existence and existence money, and that is all we know and all we need to know.
Compared to futurists, science fiction writers, and the advanced of 21st Century political and religious philosophers (well, maybe Thomas Berry), they’re kind of dumb and looking that way even cushioned by muscle and planted in luxury.
How much is enough? Enough to make us feel secure and happy. How much is too much? So much that the more we have of it, the less it fills our own wells made empty by the sense of our own shortcomings and related psychological and spiritual bankruptcy and exhaustion. More than enough becomes never enough.
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.
Just a note to the side: the murder of George Floyd has not been investigated. The two men knew one another as bouncers at the same club. There may have been other business between them, Whether or not, the image conveyed of Floyd’s killing involved more than white cop and black victim.
In addition, Derek Chauvin, the cop, had developed a reputation for the use of excessive force both in the club and in the police force. Whatever he did, it was enough to draw notice and reprimand but apparently not enough for taking punitive action against him.
Finally, Chauvin’s wife was Laotian or brown, so for some mere color-based racist act . . . the story just doesn’t hold up.
More likely, this guy was a bully who enjoyed dominance in his work, at least.
The court will follow through with due process in the prosecution of Derek Chauvin; however, the street and the mob have done their work like dynamite touched off by a blasting cap.
However weak the premise – a compelling image; not yet a compelling truth – the damage done cannot be recalled.
We wouldn’t be here sick — and sick about being sick — as well as dependent on our government for bailouts and tide-me-overs and driven apart, largely by drivel, were it not for the mediocrity of some of our most powerful politicians.
On Facebook, I just ran a series of Trump Authoritarian pieces from the Mainstream Media that also informs us about Trump’s popular — or not so popular — image. These were the URLs (in order of posting):
Like no other President in history, Trump has so inspired quintessential American passion in his own opposition that even when he strives to do the right thing and speak honestly (as I believe he has with COVID-19), he’s neither believed nor trusted. 😦
HE (Caps intentional) has brought this on himself, and we — all of us who are part of the American constituency and who have lived beneath the umbrella of our extraordinary humanist and secular Constitution all of our lives — deserve much, much better.
From the Awesome Conversation
Of course I scan and cherry pick these pieces for whoever may be around to glimpse history as it passes from the present.
IMHO, Americans — all of US — need a new class of earnest, high-integrity, honest local and state leaders and statesmen. This bouncing between peacocks – some criminal and shady; some living between The People and the upper stratosphere of power and wealth – where does that leave us?
Today we have a Far Out Left apparently incapable of digesting and independently analyzing CDC data, and as consequence we have the hijab of health fascism with few to zero lives saved in a pandemic that largely mirrors our own popular contempt for our common fate — death is immutable — and to some extent our own health (as we drink and eat too much and stay up too late). 🙂 COVID-19 takes advantage of our vulnerabilities and, perhaps, our passivity. (Do you want to fight back for real: pay attention to diet and go jogging, and, toward the end, accept ageing and increasing frailty as part of your humanity).
Regarding too many politicians, their narcissism and related nepotism and complete loss of personal and public ethics and principles: shame on them — and shame on us for letting them get away with what they do!
The arch note has come to mind: “Democracies elect the governments they deserve.”
Is all of this — from the “Helsinki Moment” to so riven a society it seems unable to remember its own mission in the world, its sense of itself, its better expression of the western civilizational ethos — what we — all of us — have come to deserve?
I don’t know how bad the Draconian fascist / socialist COVID-19 edicts may really be given two broad variables: the ratio of confirmed infections to morbidity. In the rural county in which I live, we have had 173 confirmed “cases” and three related deaths, or 173:3 or 0.0173 (so far).
Who am I threatening with C19 and who is threatening me that I must wear a mask?
The classical liberalism of conservative Americans suggests the nation has not only bungled the handling of an alien virus but too willingly given over and been driven from businesses and jobs to assuage fears built up by those who today knowingly convey big infection numbers while minimizing information related to death: how old was each “victim” and with what prior conditions in play, including related exhaustion and stress on the way to catching C19?
How many nursing home grandmas have to die before family and others realize that getting up there in age becomes just plain risky no matter what? Add the complication of preexisting conditions. BackChannels has now often reminded its readers that of 328 million Americans, it is perfectly normal for 2.813 of the same to die (from all causes) in the course of a year.
Add age, infirmity, or otherwise deeply compromised health, and, yes, C19 has just made those operating conditions a little more interesting.
From the Awesome Conversation (Online)
Declaring a National Emergency in haste and watching that power transfer to governors intent on saving face while accomplishing political agendas appears to have handed over to the same unchecked power. I’m calling this massive phenomenon stoked by fear and made broadly controlling “Yo-Yo Fascism and Yo-Yo Socialism”. Governor: “May we . . . ” drink in a bar, go to church, worship together in warm company (“Zoom” ain’t hackin’ it), or go out and get lost in the garden center of the hardware store without wearing the Hijab of Science Nazis?
This is not about reasonable and reasoning conservatives or liberals although some zealots would like everything evil to be identified with their blue or red flag enemies: the willingness to wear the mask may have to do with the near impossibility (for the moment) of organizing a smart opposition to such display both of power and ready acquiescence to it.
Yo-Yo Fascism & Yo-Yo Socialism
American political power has acquired the rope needed for strangling freedom.
It’s attached to COVID-19 and the impression believed about it. When it appears to be receding, the rope may be let out a little bit; when it appears to be resurgent, it may be tightened.
In natural and normal American custom, we are each responsible in reasonable measure for our own practical personal defense, financial, health, and security needs. We do the things we need to do, and we don’t expect our healthy neighbors to alter their behavior to accommodate what in general have been regarded as special needs.
If you need to live in an hermetically sealed bubble, do it, but don’t ask or expect your fellow American to play along with you or nod in social agreement while steaming silently over what today’s policies have done to his business, employment, and family.
Once an public emergency has fully emerged, it ends.
The rest is public policy and either in keeping with the nation’s Constitution or not.
Our nation really panicked and blundered on C19, a briefly alien presence for which neither our public nor private sectors were evidently ready with emergency treatment or burial facilities and services. We’re paying a high price for public (and partisan) responses to it. In defense language, “reflexive control” — I don’t want to ask whether the virus has been a blasting cap, the thing that sets off the greater explosion, but the results would seem to point that way.
Fast correspondence aids brevity.
C19 Lessons Learned Since January
Be Prepared, Be Ready. C19 may bump America’s annual rate of morbidity from 2.813 million dead souls to 2.9 million. We were not prepared to respond with emergency facilities or, sadly, or basic carnage related to holding or burying the dead.
Don’t Panic, Stay Calm. The Great “Killer Virus” has taken some older and health-imperiled lives or younger and not so well, but, by and large, it has been a bust for those yet healthy enough to fend it off.
Think (and think again) about the consequences of hasty public policy, especially episode the shutting down of the base and much of the soul of our nation’s economy and related vitality.
Time to get back to work?
In 2020 hindsight, of course, the hours, days, weeks, and months should not have been lost in the first place but voluntarily as the degrees of risk became known.
Americans have been braving the Devil a long time.
The complete clinical picture with regard to COVID-19 is not fully known. Reported illnesses have ranged from very mild (including some with no reported symptoms) to severe, including illness resulting in death. While information so far suggests that most COVID-19 illness is mild, a report out of China suggests serious illness occurs in 16% of cases. Older people and people of all ages with severe chronic medical conditions — like heart disease, lung disease and diabetes, for example — seem to be at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness.
So how much higher are COVID-19 rates of infection and morbidity compared to the full suite of respiratory illnesses involving the same set of variables, especially x patient / target’s age, preexisting conditions, and vulnerability (physical condition)?
America’s “Far White Right” Republicans, who haven’t had much to do with reality either these days, have scraped up the mud mixture to attempt to splatter the Democrats thoroughly in the old Soviet zeitgeist and call their opposition “Un-American!”
Times of Israel blogger Fred Maroun asked on his Facebook page, “Is Netanyahu racist, as Sanders claims?”
After taking care of the Netanyahu question — not racist! — Maroun went on to defame Sanders. Here’s what he said:
Sanders, on the other hand, is an antisemite. He’s using the antisemitism of many on the left to gain support, and he has no problem associating with virulent antisemites like Linda Sarsour. He’s never apologized for any of it, on the contrary, he only gets worse. His accusation against Netanyahu is part of his game to attract those people. If he wants to criticize Netanyahu on the settlements, fine, but he knows that wouldn’t distinguish him from other Democrats, so he accuses the leader of the Jewish state of being a racist, code word for Jews being racist. His antisemitic base loves it. He uses exactly the same tactics to attract antisemites that Trump uses to attract right-wing racists.
Those who support Sanders are engaging in the the exact same moral acrobatics as those who support Trump. Shame on them.
My response to the accusation: Sanders — anti-Semite!
Sanders has the frameworks of the New Old Now Old Far Out and Lost Left — a term I used to use as I arrived here a conservative, and, sigh, the Left of my youth seemed to have drifted toward Noam Chomsky and Chris Hedges on the barricades. That could have been just the way I arrived and “channeled” into Facebook.
Judaism’s Orthodox–>Conservative–>Reform Spectrum has had a last note pinned to it in the figure of Felix Adler.
— In 1876, Adler at age 26 was invited to give a lecture expanding upon his themes first presented in the sermon at Temple Emanu-El. On May 15, 1876 he reiterated the need for a religion, without the trappings of ritual or creed, that united all of humankind in moral social action. To do away with theology and to unite theists, atheists, agnostics and deists, all in the same religious cause, was a revolutionary idea at the time. A few weeks after the sermon, Adler started a series of weekly Sunday lectures. In February 1877, aided by Joseph Seligman, president of Temple Emanu-El, Adler incorporated the Society for Ethical Culture. —
One might imagine, easily, that those promoting and living a strongly behavioral view of Judaism and Jewish Law bound into Jewish Obedience to the Commandments and related codes (“613 Commandments”) were not too happy with Professor Adler.
Sanders may have that ethical-humanist strain of ultimately Jewish thought in him, but he must also know as a Jew that he is not part of Russo-Soviet complex on the left that spread the “Protocols” throughout Russia and conveyed the same through White Russian emigre into Germany. America’s “Far White Right” Republicans, who haven’t had much to do with reality either these days, have scraped up the mud mixture to attempt to splatter the Democrats thoroughly in the old Soviet zeitgeist and call their opposition “Un-American!”
Bernie’s a liberal Jew. (I’ve been part of Reform Judaism — and Ethical Society much, much earlier — but am tired now “of all that” and prefer a quiet supper in a good restaurant on the Sabbath). Regarding Sanders’ political and social views, I would bet his position similar to Adler’s and what I without study would refer to as “Jewish Humanism”.