I’ve tired quite of Punch the Democrat and Judy the Republican on Facebook. I’ve been at it long enough to abandon the aisle while the mud flies overhead.
This is a short personal take on the present state of affairs in the United State but inspired by a conversation hosted in Canada, I’ve add a small plea for remembering that our seeming adversaries online are also our neighbors, and we used to talk — or we used to be able to talk — with compassion, better than superficial knowledge, and reason with the intent of grappling with difficult cultural, environmental, political, and social issues. That near past seems to me much better than this descent into hurling frequently vicious memes and slogans in every direction.
The President’s leadership in vicious demonizations and of what appears to be a supine Republican Senate has, predictably, inspired some flight into the Biden camp.
The Dems, sadly, carry the burden of the Far Out Left and the Soviet Era Communist legacy in global perception, and that’s killing them here but for one thing: the better comportment of strident moderates like Biden and Schumer (I don’t really know the camp, but I’m tired of the Republican Senate, and that’s coming from an initially conservative position in all of this).
All of this has been complicated by the COVID-19 response (please note that my liberal state’s governor is a Republican, and we have been shut down as much as any) and the creation of conditions for the peonage (slavery by way of mounting personal debt) of millions of Americans of both parties. The political reaction on both sides of the aisle: throwing money (or borrowing and spending) into the air to encourage evidently set allegiances.
We should wake up in America and Canada to regard our conversational adversaries as Americans and Canadians rather than North American extremists who (somehow) aren’t like ourselves.
We are sitting ducks for either external aggression or continued self-immolation.
More than 41 million Americans are jobless. In the coming weeks temporary eviction moratoriums are set to end in half of the states. One-fifth of Americans missed rent payments this month. Extra unemployment benefits are set to expire at the end of July.
What is Trump’s response? Like Herbert Hoover, who in 1930 said “the worst is behind us” as thousands starved, Trump says the economy will improve and does nothing about the growing hardship. The Democratic-led House passed a $3TN relief package on 15 May. Mitch McConnell has recessed the Senate without taking action and Trump calls the bill dead on arrival.
It’s an unpleasant reminder but let’s go with it: you are looking at policeman Derek Chauvin methodically, professionally even, take a knee to the life of small time criminal George Floyd. The world would interpret this image in racial terms–just like that, we’re in South Africa when power was white and slavish labor was black.
However, these two knew one another as bouncers in the same bar. Could something else have been taking place?
Also, Floyd’s wife, now divorcing him, was not white but Asian from Laos. Might we be witnessing an expression of sadistic dominance on the part of a bouncer and cop with a track record involving the applying of excessive force?
Call that 2020 hindsight and in philosophical rather than political sense, conservative (forensic) reason.
China’s Democrats, Russia’s Republicans?
Oh, the accusations — and each the reflection of the other!
Biden & the Socialist Far Out Left Democrats: everybody stay home (unless your importance and wealth justifies the hop to a good dinner somewhere else). We’ll shutter your business, put your employees out of their jobs, and worry about repairs later.
Sure they will.
Trump & the Fascist and Strident Far (White) Right: everybody back to work, but we’re not going to cover your losses (why should we? We’re wealthy and comfortable and take care of ourselves: what the hell happened to you? And sorry to hear it. Tough luck).
And the colored girls sing . . . .
So, white girls, black girls, transvestites, LGBTs in general and all other Americans who might wish to be as God made them — or they chose to make themselves — what has happened to muscular Christianity in the U.S.A. Is it running the show? Is it losing the show? Has it found the secular humanist design of American democracy overrated and in need of a good strong power fix? America’s fear of America’s Old Money and its Puritan and other of the nation’s Christian cultural pillars seems at times in the mix as well.
Has the Great Society failed?
Regarding Biden : China and Trump : Russia, there should be no question that each has both a posture and relationship opposite the other on China and Russia. For the skinny on Trump and Russian entanglement, one may pick up Craig Unger’s findings here: https://www.amazon.com/House-Trump-Putin-Untold-Russian/dp/152474350X . Both China and Russia have made perhaps superficial moves toward the west in recent decades but have also reverted to their civilizational souls in regard to governance, power, and pride plus vanity.
China’s Communist Totalitarianism may be linked by the American Right to the latest edition of the nation’s Far Out Left (those socialist, communist, weirdo rebels!).
It doesn’t make much sense but suits for demonizing the Left.
The Left’s case against the Far Right and President Trump’s temporarily phantom (off-stage) relationship with Russia has more meat to it in blood-and-soil (white) nationalism planted in Christian conservatism and flag waving militarism. The formula established in Russia by Putin that has had a resurgent Russian Orthodox Church (funded by alcohol and tobacco revenue) beside an active military (capable of bombing undefended Syrian hospitals to smithereens) hasn’t really worked for Russians in any broad and modern sense: the might of church and state power may serve for some superficial pride in earlier grandeur and spirit, but the same, on the whole, would seem to serve Putin and his preferred company and not general and national economic redevelopment.
A “New Nationalist” United States may work differently by way of the long-term managing of the nation’s development in ways that have been over time culturally and geographically comprehensive and inclusive. One might say the pork barrel distribution of defense and development funds worked, and as long as tax revenues recycled through the nation’s economy, people worked too — and in both civilian and defense industries and downstream enterprise.
In any case, the return to feudal political absolutism in the three superpowers is something BackChannels will have to tackle in the future. For now, the felt insult of an authoritarian handling of Americans seems to be producing both the impression of a magically-thinking Left and a boot-in-the-face American Right, neither of which seem very American at the moment.
American Police Shooting at Journalists
I cannot remember a day — never! — in which American police, any, took aim at the faces — or cameras — of journalists, well marked, to inflict harm in the crowd control process.
What’s that like, being shot at by your own fellow Americans?
This infamous event involved the Ohio National Guard and produced a national conscience and passion opposite intentions to quell protests. Unknown to the students, the Soviet Union had put $1 billion dollars into funding their anti-war efforts.
How all of the above looks today, a part of the plastering of culture-altering dramas — “The Pandemic!” — Remember that one from, like, you know, a week ago? and now “Race Riots!” How long before the Next Big Thing sweeps this latest news into dimming (and crowded) memory?
The police appear to be taking and following orders.
However, given the glimpse of the above violence shown an accredited reporter and photographer, however casually dressed, are they defending America’s Constitution — or making the first small violent motions in the process of killing it?
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”.
Representative Jeff Flake jumped the gunwales of the Republican Ship as it swung toward the rocky coast of Trumpian Autocracy. For his conscience and his faith in the American and western liberal project, it must have looked better to swim off alone than stay aboard to go along and get along with the New Boss so apparently fond of unsavory associates. However, it appears that some left behind have been driven to mutiny outright — and God bless ’em!
“Patriotism and the survival of our nation in the face of the crimes, corruption and corrosive nature of Donald Trump are a higher calling than mere politics,” the founders of the Lincoln Project wrote in a New York Times opinion piece published Tuesday. “As Americans, we must stem the damage he and his followers are doing to the rule of law, the Constitution and the American character.”
BackChannels strongly suggests the Lincoln Project connect with Malcolm Nance ASAP to reestablish radically moderate Democratic and Republican positions in a way that both competes the Parties while assuring Americans of desired progress, prosperity, and security in either direction and in keeping with the bedrock of American ideals, freedoms, principles, privileges, and values.
We may think that “style” doesn’t matter, but for the purposes of shepherding a nation into a new future, the civility and common interest taken in defining and resolving issues matters greatly.
I suppose we were (I was) having a discussion about Republican manners of late.
From the Awesome Conversation
For “New Rhetoric”, I’ve been using, as perhaps you have seen, “Left / Far Left” and “Right / Far (White) Right” to express displeasure with the contempt voiced by each clump, more or less, characterizing the news-creating behavior (“Sarsour” | “Charlottesville”) from beneath each “Big Tent”.
For Animal Farm qualities, “Horseshoe Theory” fits.
Obama’s relationship with Bill Ayers alienated me from his Party; Trump’s style isn’t his issue — his excessive narcissism, related lying, apparent fascination or, alternatively, moral insensitivity to absolute power — or approval of it — are real problems. Republican loyalists are wrong to brush aside those issues or minimize their portent.
Americans may differ in their appraisal of their Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian civilizational inheritance that through the Founding Fathers delivered an ingenious construction for a prudent balancing of interests and powers that would effectively guaranty the greatest experience of freedom in business, faith, and speech known to history. Democrat or Republican, the basics are all right here:
The President has borrowed ferociously (possibly against losses our farmers took on negotiations with China — and now he’s walking back on his tariff policy); while the border has been of great concern, he has perhaps been less than candid about the flow of narcotics into North America; his highness and the Party have been consistently bullying, callous, disingenuous, vicious, and vindictive with their targets, and while they might feel big about that, I’d be embarrassed having someone like (“Badgering”) Jim Jordan representing me.
We may think that “style” doesn’t matter, but for the purposes of shepherding a nation into a new future, the civility and common interest taken in defining and resolving issues matters greatly.
Also to be noted, the President’s foils (like Jim Comey) and investigators have themselves been, often enough, Republicans (e.g., Mueller, at least) — just better ones than so many with so much hubris on display.
More to be known but in the works for some time: the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and one powerful Palestinian businessman have launched highly ambitious projects in the middle east that have the future designed into them, and both are game changers — or should be and profoundly so. Neom is one; Rawabi is the other.
Thank you for the comment on photography — I am still busy with that art and technology and still setting up for business with it. Broadband Internet has taken me into what I call “People’s Diplomacy” — or what we have all been doing on Facebook for a while — and feel I’ve made some progress as an accidental tourist in Conflict Studies, International Affairs, and Political Science — but then everyone here has gotten that start, but not all with some earlier interest in Russia and the Cold War.
M. Zuhdi Jasser has long — and long before 9/11 as he reminds in the above video (8:44) — advocated for a moderate Islam, or approach to Islam, compatible with American democratic principles, broadest popular participation in governance, and authentic religion and religious freedom.
You’ll see even individuals like this man in the center, Siraj Wahaj, who when I was in a Navy uniform in 1995 held up the Qur’an at the Islamic Society of North America that it is his mission as a Muslim to make America into an Islamic state and replace the Constitution with the Qur’an. I went to the mic at a conference larger than this and said, “This is sedition. I reject your values” – and this is in ’95, just to tell you I’m not a post-9/11 activist in this issue and also to tell you that this man is still on boards of many major Islamic organizations, and yet I show pictures of that New Mexico compound where his children and grandchildren were established, terror compounds, and yet he disavowed himself of violence.
While Jasser defends and encourages American Muslim patriots, he recognizes the weird admixture of Islamist and Left/Far Left attitudes and beliefs that has produced a movement critical of conservative values and frequently associated with anti-Semitism. Those who follow BackChannels know that the blog would assign that tired pairing of neo-socialists and Islamists to Moscow and its “Active Measures” that encourage or promote Far Left / Far Right extremism in the United States, a coupling goes back to the Soviet Era and has been brought forward to contemporary domestic and foreign affairs. Essentially, the forces responsible for the abdication of the Shah of Iran (February 11, 1979) are today part of the American political landscape with no apparent shortage of under-informed followers.
BackChannels cannot but imagine that the Left and affected portions of the Ummah are becoming conscious of the role Moscow has played in the . . . encouraging of Islamic violence, other absolutism — the planting of the old medieval world in the modern one goes far beyond religion — and corruption and kleptocracy.
Of course there’s a profound difference between whispering in someone’s ear and their independently flying airplanes into buildings. Still, John Schindler’s 2014 report intrigues while lending sense to the apparent reversion to a seemingly medieval polarization in politics in the heretofore modern American democracy.
What follows: a few words From The Awesome Conversation —
Much of the Arab World and the Palestinians (who have been separated from the same even while touted as an Arab cause) are in a pickle in relation to the benefits of the modern world that are so ubiquitous within it that we take them for granted.
We all miss the good conversation with the Palestinian side because their political communities demand conformance and otherwise appear inflexible as well as deeply and viciously politically repressed.
While the puppet masters — advisers, financiers, manipulators — are elsewhere in the Arab, Persian, and Soviet / post-Soviet worlds, cognizant Israelis and hapless Palestinians are stuck on the fault line between “east” and “west”, and the hell of it is neither can do much for authentic Palestinian liberation.
One friend, Mohammed S. Dajani Daoudi, had the audacity, courage, loving motivation, and spirit to bring a class of Palestinian students to Auschwitz, a breakthrough in peace making if ever was. His reward: a torched automobile courtesy of the nefarious political mafia power n the Palestinian midst. Today, some hold a hard line even though they know what I know as regards the KGB’s meddling in the middle east (see also the last section of this post as regards a true telling of the Palestinian experience). While Daoudi searches for the middle path, he sees no going backward on the “Palestinian narrative”, which has been such an invention in language — and in academe, an intellectual infection — that none (who are of the west and disinclined toward “magical thinking”) can work with it.
That’s my explanation for the question, “Why is it so difficult to expect the same thing” — fair and forward-thinking reciprocity — from the Palestinians. Political and social methods of repression work, and the “leaders” have made a mint while managing what is just one among the world’s “frozen conflicts”.
The focus of the world really should be on the PLO / PA, Hamas, and, one big step up in the world of foreign affairs, the malicious political creativity of Moscow and Tehran. The old Arab side power nodes have not been much better, but with the Shiite v Sunni conflict in play, Washington has been trying to pull the Kingdom forward while addressing the “Islamic Revolution” with punitive measures.
Related on BackChannels
My argument for the Palestinian People: after 70+ years of comparative isolation associated with Arab Apartheid, the cohort defined by the Arab refugees of 1948 have indeed become a People, but they have been also deeply intellectually poisoned. The big lie as a thought left unaddressed to fester . . . to whip resentment into boiling anger: “The Jews stole your land and God wants to you to seize it back (and annihilate the Jews)”. Never mind the Turkish land registries, the land purchases that began long before WWII, the agricultural industry that drew Arab labor into its economy, or the continuous presence of Jews in Roman-named “Palestine” across millennia.
The myth: Israel was an invasion.
The truth: Israel has been an investment legitimately obtained.
The cruelties to which the Palestinians — in some radicalized part — remain subject: Hitler’s license for the harboring of genocidal ambitions now supported by Hamas, at least; Uncle Joe’s and Father (I guess) Andropov’s reliance on “Information Warfare” and political repression in the ordering of their own delusional worlds.
Peace for Israelis and Palestinians may turn out a thing that swells up into political space rather than something forced by arms, it being more the natural inclination of humanity to establish a natural security through heightened interaction and more normative reciprocal and trustworthy social behavior.
Charles Lane: . . . . that brings us to the present day and present President whose name, by the way it’s Donald Trump, does not appear in your book. Now that can’t be an accident.
George Will: The names of Charlemagne and Audrey Hepburn and Duke Ellington don’t appear in the book either [Lane: That’s true] because this is a book about ideas and the current president is not part of that discussion. He has nothing to do with conservatism. He really to his credit has never pretended to be a conservative. He’s an entrepreneur in politics and he’s maximizing whatever he wants to maximize. This is a book about important arguments, and he’s not part of that.