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.
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”.
The energies and numbers of Israelis and Palestinians engaged in cross-cultural activities (like this one with Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi), in trade, even in commiseration, have been stable and strong for years.
Do the extremists the west calls “terrorists” authentically represent Islam?
Do yesterday’s rockets from Gaza represent today’s Palestinians?
The PLO/PA and Hamas have ways of making the news look bad.
Other Palestinians, however, have ways of getting things done despite the efforts of the Phantoms of the Soviet to repeat their declarations — year after year for 72 years — while handily lifting some money from Palestinian pockets and skimming more from UNCHR revenues intended for Palestinian development. While the war that exists in the minds of Palestinian “Leaders” — and ticks off the IDF most of all — goes on and on and on and on, Palestinians have long been working.
Here are a few references that BackChannels regards as positive indicators for the region. The URL titles provide the story headers:
Inspiration: the posting of the URL to a story about Idlib, Syria and the deflection of the same back to HIM (whose presence looms so large it no longer needs HIS name).
From the Awesome Conversation
Defenders of the Nation might be especially interested in its abuses or darker spaces. Even with 300 million souls, it’s hard to account for 490,000 missing between the ages of 12 and 21 (FBI statistics, 2017). Perhaps I’m missing the meaning of those numbers and need a briefing on their potential meaning, but even so, it’s a hefty number.
The number of homeless, about 554,000 American (or other) souls, at one point included about 60,000 American Veterans. That niche has been getting attention (along with post-service suicides at this time), which is fine, but how did these numbers develop? Behind each data entry, there is someone’s personal story.
I know you’re a good egg, but our national character, once the world’s hope for democracy as a defender and leader in relation to the human treatment of human beings — has appeared a bit challenged of late. WE don’t bomb hospitals into rubble; WE don’t even think of destroying World Heritage Sites; WE do not believe we are here to fully despoil Earth; WE don’t groom nor keep slaves; WE consistently endorse responsible and responsive governance; etc.
Active Measures — The collection of Russian Agitation, Disinformation, and Propaganda Methods made evident through covert or subtle Influence Campaigns applied to wrecking the political coherence and cohesion of EU/NATO for the purpose of reestablishing Political Absolutism in the same and then using the most thuggish of feudal and medieval methods to leverage loyalty and wealth from them for contribution to the Greater Imperial Glory of Moscow, the Russian “mafia state” it has come to represent, and the immense enrichment of its oligarchy.
Indeed the west, the melange of classically liberal democratic open societies built and structured around fair dealing, freedom, and integrity and related humanist and liberal ethics, principles, and values has been unprepared for covert agent provocateur, e.g., covert agitators Far Right and Far Left, disingenuous publications, false front organizations, trolls, etc.
I’ve chosen to demur from producing “long copy” and a lengthy reference section for this post. Awareness of “Active Measures” — the kernel of Russia’s covert campaign to degrade and ruin the democracies of the west — should suffice for both the interested and the unwittingly vulnerable.
Through the Cold War Era and now with Putin leading the Russian Federation, the purpose of Soviet / post-Soviet “Active Measures” has been to fragment EU/NATO for the purpose of Russian expansion and its feudal practices. A video like this one — the same as above on this page — will help a little bit with understanding the greater east-west politics and the tension between the worlds of “Absolute Power” and the open democracies of the west.
Active Measures” represents an international (RF v EU/NATO) dispute over the future, not only an American one.
If we are at one the other’s throat, Moscow will have succeeded in exploiting our natural political arguments and issues by heightening them and undermining our national political cohesion and coherence, thereby weakening our state and degrading our democracy.
Regarding “Far Out Left” and equally distant Far Right tendencies, the related foreign and disingenuous domestic manipulations of political perception targets us all.
Who in support of our Democracy can afford to be neutral about a President who appears to be operating on an authoritarian basis using rules of his own? It has been one thing to “let the horse run”, see how he works, and watch what he does. It’s another to turn our back on a hard-won — fought for, died for, paid for — nation devoted to fair play and integrity right beside the principles and spirit that produced our foundational documents.
Admiral McRaven knew his business and his country and what he represented every day as a four-star admiral. That’s not an Obama thing or, particularly a Democratic or Republican thing. It’s an American thing unless the Nation has forgotten why it exists as a unique and now long-lived democracy.
This President shrugs off resignations by the most competitive and experienced professionals in their fields: diplomats, investigators, intelligence executives, military executives, prosecutors. He believes everything we do happens by way of political chicanery and force — or “clevers” — and not much has to do with anything worth believing in, much less dying for.
These pieces by Harbough and McRaven tell of a different America, one more admirable, more noble, more deserving of extraordinary leadership and sacrifice.
It hasn’t been a white man’s world for a while either.
It hasn’t actually been a neatly demarcated world either (sorry, Putin, but Russia is immensely multicultural), and while some believe nature favors cultural and racial “purity”, both the history of war and the biological domain in natural history would argue the opposite: our cultural and natural biological worlds prefer immense experimentation — and woe to the crops that have no genetic alternatives in their own defense when a blight or pest co-develops with their own most ideal but perhaps restricted and unprepared features.
It has been a world representing about 4,300 religions and fewer than 7,000 living languages — and by way of modern communications, trade, and transportation, it is all irrevocably interconnected in one place: Earth.
The New England set, once “WASP”, much less western Europe, may no longer define history quite as it did through the ages of exploration and feudal — and colonial — wars and every sort of migration.
What we once called “history” (Greco-Roman, Judeo-Christian AKA Northern Mediterranean and later “European” (western) but north of the equator, west of Asia, apart from India, not including the views of . . . . well, point made —
We are, for better or worse, all “In It” — boy, are we ever! — together.
Now here’s a problem with boundary adjustments in space and time: how do We — the global — preserve one the other’s unique cultural and ethnic attributes and heritage while trading — and possibly over-producing — like crazy?
That’s a “Q” for an “A”: respect thy neighbor; refrain from expansion; seek improvement in “Qualities of Living” in one’s inherited cultural, ethnic, and historic space, and, with some defenses for sovereignty, see what can be done with that.
Reject fascism, Hobbes, and nationalism.
Embrace Humanism but know where ye come from — and appreciate it.
I don’t think the answer for nations is to retreat to the 19th Century – or early mid-20th — and their parochialism and wars but rather to grow together into the 21st Century, and, as soon as the collective American and global “We” clear out the idiots with the bad habits of the past convincing themselves that they are the future — they’re not — then we’ll take a great step forward but not without some issues as we do.
I’ve come across two development projects from seemingly unlikely spaces that may have more to say about the future than any present popularized political condition or stance.
Taking place in the Palestinian Territories today: Rawabi, a $1.4 billion Planned City in the West Bank.
Today, most of the businesses operating in Rawabi are owned by or invested in by Masri. The main company is Asal Technologies, a software development company that outsources developers. It includes Microsoft, Intel, and Israeli tech giant Mellanox among its clients.
There may be lip service involved as regards The Preoccupation With The Jews — I hope that’s all it will be for now — but you are welcome to suggest to BackChannels what the development of Rawabi will do to the so-called (once Soviet-propelled) “Middle East Conflict”. Intel, Mellanox, and Microsoft, as modern corporations and as Asal Technologies clients, have probably little patience for either the promoting or sustaining of anti-Semitic animus.
NEOM is a bold and audacious dream. It is a vision of what a New Future might look like (in fact, NEOM means, “new future”). It’s an attempt to do something that’s never been done before and it comes at a time when the world needs fresh thinking and new solutions. NEOM is being built on the Red Sea in northwest Saudi Arabia as a living laboratory – a place where entrepreneurship and innovation will chart the course for this New Future. NEOM will be a destination, a home for people who dream big and want to be part of building a new model for sustainable living, working and prospering.
NEOM will include towns and cities, ports and enterprise zones, research centers, sports and entertainment venues, and tourist destinations. It will be the home and workplace for more than a million citizens from around the world.
Complexity in all endeavors — and practically by definition — requires greater cooperation, coordination, integration, and stability between all of the elements involved, and with these ginormous projects, whether Rawabi in a future Palestine or Neom in The Kingdom, investors will not want to lose their money or see their projects ruined by essentially emotional and narcissistic outbursts certain to lead to their destruction.
What we often call “news” and read for the flash and the fire belies this other reality quietly developing behind the rancor and smoke. Have a look at it because what we have been calling “reality” — the whole miserable stew of injuries, jealousies, and resentments — will fade as this other reality becomes more and more apparent.
From Dubai With Ambition
So it’s not a White Man’s World.
It’s a White (Aussie) Woman’s World!
It has just been illustrated that way – and for some (with perhaps that Aussie-German-Nordic-UAE thing goin’ on — and that’s for those who might wish to think that way), that bit of pride may count for everything, but blood is 99 percent the same the world over (and intermarriage in a small pool invites illnesses).
The world’s wealthiest person of African descent (according to Wikipedia): Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, Chairman and CEO, Dangote Group. Have a look (Wikipedia also has a list of “Black Billionaires“). Now, for the sake of argument — i.e., supporting Yale’s overhaul of an art history survey course — let’s have a glance at the smallest nibble of Nigerian art history and contemporary art —
Yale’s Art Deparment would seem to have its work cut out for it, for there’s a whole world of art due for another look and appreciation.
Whose art should be left out of an art history survey?
The people of which color, culture, ethnic background, language community, or income level should be denied both access and presence in relation to all of the regions of information considered of public value?
In the development of new dreams, solutions to challenges confronting our species (and our planet), and technologies, which portions of the world should not be included in the fashioning of the good things to come in the Next World being born out of the present?
There are many evil answers to such questions, but there is only one good one to be applied to all of them: leave out no one.
The proverbial “boat” is Earth herself.
Best advice: stay.
WE are already living together, and if we pull together, we can and will do better.
In Myanmar, so I have read, there’s today a booming market in little blue meth/meth-caffeine pills much enabled by China’s determination to maintain stability along the route of the Belt and Road Initiative. It seems (to BackChannels, at least) these days that everyone with a cause and a Kalashnikov (whatever) comes up with cash in exchange for ‘wokefulness’ of the cartoonish kind — and the fighting and funding and the building and the struggle for better and more and more and more of the same rages on . . . .
Governments may strengthen their resolve, take the profit out of the business, “medicalize” the results, suffer the loss of some portion of the income of their secondary economies (narcotics represent primary import-export $$$), and move on, or they may play “ostrich” on limited time while their cultures plus political and spiritual missions hollow out and destroy their sense of purpose.
Was Great Britain shutting down its opium trade when the Chinese were paying for its existence?
I’ve grown old(er) having a look into this region in the vicinity of how things work — and with the comparative roles of what gets us high, low, or back to in-between — far inside the human condition and experience, and it’s all a little bit ugly and sad.
More on Myanmar’s ‘Dependence’ Issue
SULLIVAN: But there are a number of factors working against an end to Myanmar’s long-running civil war, understanding is just one of them. The government’s refusal to budge on the ethnic groups’ demands for greater autonomy is another. And then there’s money.
JEREMY DOUGLAS: The biggest source of finance for conflict is clearly drugs.
SULLIVAN: Jeremy Douglas is regional director for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in Bangkok. He says the trade is much bigger now than it was decades ago, when the area was better known for its opium and heroin production. Now it’s mostly synthetics like crystal methamphetamine, or ice, destined for markets in Australia, Japan, South Korea and beyond, a business the UNODC reckons is worth a staggering $60 billion a year.
This story reveals more than just the failure of Canadian controls against money laundering. It highlights the current global problem of money laundering, in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Based on recent accounts, the criminals are winning.
The breadth and depth of crime fighting agencies and institutions would seem greater as a global community than the global scourge, but it equally clear that criminal operating capacities in manufacturing and distribution have been an “overmatch” for that effort. The money and violence involved in addressing this aspect of our humanity would seem also to have proven more than equal to the task. Here, nonetheless, may be two starting points for those far on the outside looking into how someone else’s condition — nations included — has become the condition into which the whole world appears to be growing.