This story posted today on YouTube turns out as much about OSINT detective work from within Russia as about the internal brutality of the politically criminal and thoroughly kleptocratic regime of Tsar Vladimir the Small.
Tweeted earlier this morning —
While the United States has its own Russian infection with Trump’s own anti-democratic and demagogic and delusional fascist nationalist base, he has yet to turn American national and state military defense and police security services into his own personal goons, Americans on the way to mid-term elections are not waiting for him or his cult to amass that kind of power. Trump represents a diminishing base of corrupt or diminished or greedy Americans who crave his “power” — his appearance of it, in any case — in relation to their own damaged psyches and penchants for absolute and sadistic personal and political control — under cover of Christian zealotry, no less — of all that surrounds themselves.
Having approached this topic quite a few times over the years, I’m loath to either repeat myself after this or in the way of academics elaborate and make a career on top of a kernel of bullet points or terms of art. Here is how I believe a malign narcissism develops and then extends into the feudal-medieval aspects of power and greater political life and, ultimately, cultural and civilizational tragedy–and let’s be done with that.
Narcissistic Mortification: experiences of humiliation or shame to the extent that the identity and self feel damaged, impotent, and small. The discomfort–for what it is to do to the person–may be considered remarkable.
Covering/Splitting: “Covering” refers to the hiding of the damaged self and the packing away of an awful experience; “splitting” refers to the creation of an heroic undamaged self to be both asserted and defended at all costs. With “MaligNarcs”–expressed through authoritarian, dictating, and sociopathic manipulation–the appreciation or recognition and respect for normal boundaries and limits fade before the objectives of the self in hiding damage and asserting extraordinary power.
Control of the Experiences and Perceptions of Others: most well known: “gaslighting”. However, add deceptions and lies without ends or limits. Whatever works . . . works.
Messianic Delusions of Grandeur: Although the “MaligNarc” creates the chaos–no different from the fireman who sets the fire, so he may show up and put it out as a hero–the vision is to stand astride the same heroically saving his class, creed, gender, race, and religion from all who would diminish any part.
Unlimited Narcissistic Supply: adoration and love unlimited.
Whether you recognize all or part of the above from personal or political life, take the experience into account and put it to use. In effect–bully in the family; the butcher of his own state–the monster has been found out and has no place to hide.
I don’t know if the groups and leaderships attending what the SPLC might refer to as “Neo-Confederate” and “Neo-Nazi” are authentically homegrown perennials or stylish annuals that keep seeding themselves from year to year, but it has occurred to me that world always moves on around its hotheads, especially the archaic and romantic who may wish to hold on to what they believe they once had. So from the awesome conversation with the world at my desktop, here’s a note on all of that.
From the Awesome Conversation
I would think the Southern Far White Right in part the great-great grandchildren of settlers and the last of the pioneers, invariably white and looking for their place in the developing New World and who bore with them from one generation to the next the legends of the settling of the west. Farms, ranches, railroads, trading posts, towns, cities, dirt tracks, and highways. Where are they now? Ill-educated, some; overrun, for sure, and no longer the law and the outlaw with a few Mexicans around for decoration. They’re working for their hires; the children of slaves are bosses (some, I’m sure); John Wayne’s a foggy memory; Denzel’s more the memory for America’s middle aged; Bond’s partner is a black woman . . . .
The cities may be cool or mildly restive with all while the rural lanes, whether real or just winding through the heart, may be still what they were and now surrounded by an alien colorful all-inclusive all-tolerated multi-gendered multicultural powerful hypermodern New American political and lifestyle culture.
Bureaucracy, law, and technology may support American domestic security, but it sure can’t solve cultural issues involving birthrights and expectations about how the world should work. It’s understandable that we would have some disappointed-struggling sons of old white sons for whom official favor might seem (by themselves) deserved.
Who would stop history?
The processes attending conquest and the establishment of sovereignty across geopolitical space and time give way, inevitably, to periods of Administration either, Genghis style, for sustained plunder or, alas, for The Good, i.e., for renewed husbandry, shepherding, and stewardship of all that may be valued in peace. These days, bloody expansions needs must give way to community care, development, and trade, mere avarice proving insufficient for the defense of sustained new wealth.
My correspondent accused me of holding hackneyed views in relation to what I’ve labeled the “Far White Right”, a term invented for Donald John Trump’s not-so-colorful base. Members of the FWR, I was told, were also highly educated and wealthy and enamored of the American Dream, so I was told. My response –>
If “They both believe in and live the American dream”, wherefore the racial angst and want of (renewed) privilege?
Wherefore the want of racially-based political ascendance and dominance?
I’m inclined to publish my own words, but, as always would be interested in seeing what a true political topology looks like for those now deeply resenting the darker hues along with Jews.
Here’s the thing about race and white boys and black boys and girls and all the shades and stances between –>
As a species . . . .
Hitchhikers thumbs, cars, old shoes, planes, ships, and trains and legions of defenders, traders, and raiders — we sure do “get around” and have gotten around, and there’s nothing to undo it.
The mentalities of criminals and extremists seems always archaic, self-adoring, and self-aggrandizing as if humiliation and mortification somewhere near has compelled repair and some former perceived noble state of affairs may be found forward with an heroic defiance of the future.
The world is neither hopeless nor helpless in light of its collective issues and future. It may be crime ridden, fractious, and violent, but the measurable qualities of evil may be diminished with time. We have not, thank God, had our World War III but while living perpetually in a state of competition or conflict with China and Russia — those may be considered the Orwellian two other powers — we have developed sustained lower-intensity conflicts and the transnational crime organizations that fuel their fires. Well, if we can develop greater conscience in some, temper greed, and deal with practical pressures, we might be able to draw those down.
If the Devil’s winning, Mark, it’s our own fault (for not understanding how the Damned Thing works).
For corrupt Palestinian leaders, the real primary incentive appears to be relationships with elites yielding money and personal security. Some at the top of that heap should try purchasing a less self-centered and parochial conscience.
From whence comes the broader consideration of others in the world by those who by way of their own wealthy and powerful circumstance have the wherewithal to lead it?
In casual talk, I’ve suggested evolution.
Nature grows our minds.
In more serious psychology, altruism, caring, conscience, love, and the related apprehension of duties, obligations, and responsibilities toward others seem altogether healthier characteristics than fearful and compensating tendencies toward the meanest and smallest minded expressions of the will to survive as a will determined to destroy or dominate others.
For those with seriously Up There — Plutocratic — Clout, which is the better direction and why grind against it?
Why not formulate ideas and programs better fit for both a challenging global and personal future by simply enjoying what has characterized the past in dogma and politics — there’s no need to dishonor the past for anyone — while moving on to “well, we are all here on just this one marble of an island in space and time — and our first priority should be keeping our own conditions — environmental and broadly social — better than survivable”?
There are those with the power to drive forward of their own circumstances and life experiences, the present is always the place in time (and there is no better) where some cultural rivers and their ideas (and associated behaviors) needs must dissolve in their own delta while others — more fit for future time and space — flow from new wellsprings.
Wherever we are in time — this moment! — we’re not going to be in the same place tomorrow. It may look that way on the outside — same writer here, same desktop: differently informed and perpetually gathering, recombining, reformulating ideas, information, plans.
One theme is change and has to do with outgrowing old ways and adopting new ones . . . but on a civilizational level rather than personal; and the other may involved Moscow’s perfidy, if that, in efforts to encourage and sustain the feudal and tribal political and social arrangements and identities that account for the brutality and corruption of dictatorships attached to cultures left behind in geopolitical time. The 9/11 crews, for example, were still fighting the “crusader west”.
Related Online: Anachronisms, Rivers in Time, and Time Bubbles
If Time were a Surface, one where cultures and religions, among other things, have their wellsprings — and boisterous young years — and their deltas — with years fading into abandonment, one could map multiple lines, start to finish, for the gods, tribes, kingdoms, and states — and the attitudes, beliefs, and prayers and rituals once embraced.
The three pieces cited below may at first seem disconnected, but each has to do with recovering or sustaining something installed — conflicts, ideas, relationships — in the past and no longer quite so necessary to the stewardship of Earth and the survival of our species (with the exception of diminishing our numbers with fire).
Above and in the order presented: a contemporary Constantine despoils the syncretic pablum that would diminish a long-standing rivalry with Muhammad’s troops; an explorer on the East-West Sea (a place in Time) suggests Zawahiri’s strings have been pulled by Moscow; and, yes, there was collusion but to be found in relationships and activities beneath them, not in deals.
So, for the future, how may Christian zealots and Islamist fanatics reach their deltas?
Well, they might wear themselves out while having made careers of their conversation — why stop today or tomorrow or in the next 35 years? The quests of each have become institutions — for as long as each may open wallets — and there’s money to be made defending and passing along dogma irregardless of its relevance to other than itself.
“Anachronisms” would seem things no longer fit to contemporary circumstance and concern.
“Rivers in Time”, as suggested, would be the channels carved by something young at one time — energetic, full, and moving heaven and earth — and later no longer strong but diminished and dispersed.
In such Regions in Time we collectively but separately sustain and replay old battles, stubbornly stick to our guns, and confidently believe we’re getting somewhere while going nowhere until one party or the other — or both — find ruin and leave their children or others to find them in history a page or a footnote or not vanquished but vanished.
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.
What are China’s authorities hiding or trying to hide?
It’s remarkable watching the hiding of shame (or guilt) play out on the global stage.
There are people who believe — and when they’re leaders, they may be the worst of people — that any show of damage, fear, or sentiment weakens them in relation to public perception when, in fact, it is their own “inner eye” (the way the may be forced to view themselves) that cannot stand being seen as weak. In that may be the soul of “malignant narcissism” and related “civilizational narcissism”.
Such types embarrass and shame themselves, for what seems right to them looks wrong to everyone else.
Dogma may no longer serve to cover or excuse less savory designs.
Our species evolves not only physically but psychologically, and we have reached an age with sufficient global and open communications in which authoritarians, criminals, and dictators may no longer brush aside or suppress essentially truthful criticism and data. The same may not stop “black programs” and conversations “behind the curtains” — that kind of feudal and medieval egotism and power may be always with us — but by and large BackChannels believes the world evolves toward greater complexity, interdependence, and freedom. The global public may still be misled, but not for long provided the journalists have integrity and do their work.
Perspective: Related Online and With the Truth About COVID-19 in the United States
This first preliminary description of outcomes among patients with COVID-19 in the United States indicates that fatality was highest in persons aged =85, ranging from 10% to 27%, followed by 3% to 11% among persons aged 65–84 years, 1% to 3% among persons aged 55-64 years, <1% among persons aged 20–54 years, and no fatalities among persons aged =19 years.
Between the people of the United States and the nation’s most prominent authority on infectious disease and pandemic, the Centers of Disease Control, hide nothing, sugarcoat nothing but report accurately, plainly, clearly, empirically, completely–and that may be the best cure this editor might know for panic and state-driven perceptual control of “the masses”.
In America, at least, democracy has just become more directly responsive and responsible to the People.
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.
According to rough Central Intelligence Agency estimates presented in US congressional hearings in 1980 and 1982, Moscow spends some $4 billion a year on overt and covert propaganda, with some $3 billion of this going to Pravda, Tass, and other overt activities and the residual $1 billion presumably going into covert disinformation. Georgetown University Prof. Roy Godson, coauthor with Richard H. Shultz of the book “Dezinformatsia” says the Soviets employ 15,000 in “active measures.”
“Active measures” — the term came into use in the Soviet Union in the 1950s — include international front organizations, agent-of-influence operations, and forgeries. Front organizations straddle overt and covert measures, Godson and Shultz explain. The International Department of the Soviet Communist Party “coordinates the activities of these organizations,” but “the fronts actively attempt to maintain an image of independence.”
The flagship of these fronts is the World Peace Council.
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.
Addendum – Miscellaneous Quotations and Reference Having to Do with Disinformation
The deceit being dispensed by Trump & Company is hardly universal, but it is extensive, which is why defeating Trump was essential if we’re going to move away from perspectivism as the interpretive theory in our politics. But objective reality as a concept—truth as something that exists independent of affect, independent of subjective narratives, independent of whatever a partisan information silo claims is true—has been badly damaged. Among the most urgent tasks facing America, then, is to strengthen our regard for what Plato called episteme over doxa, true knowledge over opinion, reality over fantasy.
In the Cold War, the Communist Party defined the USSR’s information strategy from the top down. Today, Russian information warfare is waged by a variety of groups that have different interests, domestically and internationally, and different connections to the outside world. Modern Russia is a loose, networked state with multiple actors allowed to conduct domestic and foreign policy, usually to benefit corrupt political groups around (and including) Putin. These different groups influence state strategy both directly and indirectly;some have their own areas of interest, such the oil company Rosneft’s interests in Africa and Latin America.
As a result, Russian information warfare is not consistent and strategic; its fundamental quality is tactical opportunism, which of course leads to inconsistency. This inconsistency makes attribution difficult or even misleading. We still cannot be certain, for example, which particular vested interest was behind the hack of the Democratic National Committee in the US. It is possible that business groups under sanction in the US organized the hack because they believed that a President Trump would lift the sanctions; it is equally possible that the FSB organized the hack with the idea of undermining Hillary Clinton, for geopolitical reasons. Either way, it is likely that the actual hackers were criminals, hired for this particular purpose, and not state employees.The Kremlin, in other words,is just one of myriad actors pumping out disinformation, alongside domestic media as well as the teenagers in Macedonia who produced anti-Clinton fake news for personal profit.