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.
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.
Erdoğan says his demand for a safe zone in Syria is rooted in Turkey’s war against terrorism. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Erdoğan says, is as much a threat as the Islamic State. That is of course nonsense . . . .
While those both enamored and fearful of power have always played “both sides of the street”, Turkey’s drift from a freely speaking, open, and vibrant democracy to one far from NATO ethics, interests, and values should be clear to the free world. Through the power of President Erdogan’s feudal imagination and thuggery, Turkey has been transformed into a politically absolute polity driven by the narcissism of its leader
Worse for the Turks and even his fans: President Erdogan’s toadying before Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Erdogan may appear strong standing up to the west, which today cannot levy enough sanctions on his project (probably hurting the Turks more than the Turkish President), but how may he appear doing Putin’s bidding while his equally enamored — or captive to Moscow — neighbor, Bashar al-Assad AKA “Bashar the Butcher”, continues destroying and strangling Syria — in Turkey’s direction too — under cover of destroying Sunni Islamists?
When Turkish air power rightly downed two Russian MIGs overflying Turkey’s airspace while refusing communications with Turkish air defense, Erdogan refused apology. And what for? He and his military had done everything right for the purposes of Turkish Defense.
The Su-24 shootdown took place on November 24, 2015.
Eight months later, widely reported on June 27, 2016, Erdogan apologized to Putin.
That has turned out a fair demonstration of Russian “realpolitik” and maddening absolute power.
For those watching — and those who knew the facts — “Sultan Erdogan” may just as well have knelt before “Emperor Putin”.
Perhaps President Erdogan has had some household bills yet to pay, and, beside, has needed a certain supply of energy to heat the house.
I hope the excerpts and videos that follow prove helpful as windows into the love fest developed between Ankara and Moscow.
The first direct gas pipeline between Russia and Turkey was the Blue Stream, commissioned in 2005. In 2009, Putin proposed a Blue Stream II line parallel to Blue Stream under the Black Sea. The Blue Stream II project did not carry through and the South Stream project took the lead, until it was abandoned in 2014. The TurkStream (then named Turkish Stream) project was announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on 1 December 2014, during his state visit to Turkey.
The Russia Defence Ministry denied the aircraft ever left Syrian airspace, counter-claiming that their satellite data showed that the Sukhoi was about 1,000 metres (1,100 yd) inside Syrian airspace when it was shot down. The U.S. State Department said that the U.S. independently confirmed that the aircraft’s flight path violated Turkish territory, and that the Turks gave multiple warnings to the pilot, to which they received no response and released audio recordings of the warnings they had broadcast.
MOSCOW — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan apologized Monday for the downing of a Russian warplane in November and called for Russia and Turkey to mend a bilateral relationship that has become openly hostile over the incident.
Gazprom has started to fill the first branch of the offshore section of the Turkish Stream pipeline with natural gas. This is the final stage of testing the pipeline before putting it into operation later this year . . . .
. . . The first line is intended for the supply of Russian gas to Turkish consumers, the second – for gas supply to the countries of southern and southeast Europe.
Erdoğan says his demand for a safe zone in Syria is rooted in Turkey’s war against terrorism. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), Erdoğan says, is as much a threat as the Islamic State. That is of course nonsense: The SDF formed to fight Al Qaeda affiliates and the Islamic State at a time when Turkey was passively if not actively supporting them. Nor can Turkish officials credibly point to terrorist attacks from Kurdish-governed portions of Syria. Groups that evolved from the PKK are not monoliths: The SDF is progressive and moderate; any visit to the region makes clear that the group does not embrace the PKK’s Cold War-era Marxism. The PKK itself has long sought peace and does not attack civilians. The Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK) splinter group continues to engage in terrorism, but they are based nowhere near Syria nor do they have any links to the SDF.
In a recent article in Foreign Policy, my colleague Steven A. Cook argued that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was playing Washington like a fiddle. With a combination of bluffs, threats, and bluster, Erdogan managed to convince the United States to come up with an arrangement in northeastern Syria to prevent a Turkish invasion—an arrangement that comes at the expense of the Kurds, who have carried the brunt of the fighting against the Islamic State. Whatever one thinks of the Kurds, their determination and sacrifice should be treated as an international public good; they have stopped and destroyed one of the most dangerous and homicidal groups the modern world has known. The Turks by contrast have contributed nothing to this endeavor.
If Erdogan has succeeded in manipulating Washington, however, Russian President Vladimir Putin, in turn, has played him to the hilt.
As BackChannels may use the term “Covering / Splitting”, the reference is to masking over the defective, humiliated, or impotent self — it’s not uncommon for children to suffer — and suffer deeply — at the hands of a powerful and sadistic other in such a way as to demand a coping and defensive route in behavior in response. The “splitting” then may refer to the development of the heroic or heroic-appearing self and the daring exploration and development of congruent behaviors. Not all who would experience “narcissistic mortification” become malign in their response — some may be reparative in response — but some do wish to get the better of their tormentor in one-up mirror fashion.
“Narcissistic Manipulation” –> “Gaslighting” and “Perceptual Control” — in the linguistic or Orwellian sense, control of the target’s information, imagination, organizing (Gestalt functions) and perception plus predictions or prognostics.
Had history not had “grandiose and messianic” personalities, there would perhaps be very little of human history at all.
Be that as it may, many ages — feudal, medieval, Renaissance, Elizabethan, lol (whatever works) — have passed into a modernity in which knowledge and reason prevail in the fashioning and support of modern democratic, humanist, and secular law and policy. Reflecting that sea change in humanity, Europe has come up with a dozen “constitutional monarchies” bound up in a reasonably coordinated, cooperative, and peaceful “European Union” that should be, so BC opines, quite sensitive about states marching themselves backward into the bloody illusions of the past.
Putin’s way has brought out the dictator in some EU / NATO politicians (Erdogan, Orban, Le Pen, Trump), not all completely successful in their quest to be as if feudal lords in command of their tribes x (criminality), language, race, religion, perhaps wealth, but in someways successful enough. Ironically, and while working opposite the direction of the Russian collusion “witch hunt”, the Trump Administration has taken many measures along the crime- and dictatorship-fighting axis to dull the expansion of nefarious post-Soviet enterprise (on BackChannels, have a look at Venezuela).
BackChannels’ trope regarding dictatorships: “Different Talks — Same Walk!”
So back to Omar al-Bashir who cannot tolerate that Sudanese should get the world’s news coming out about his regime worldwide.
The news, however, does get out, making the dictator’s image increasingly indelible and negative in global conscience and memory.
Since coming into power in 1989, al-Bashir worked to systemically consolidate power by banning political parties, dissolving parliament and actively muzzling political dissent, through arrests, torture and executions, as recent events demonstrate. His government also worked to systematically ban trade unions, which played a key role in two successful popular uprisings in Sudan — one in 1964 and another in 1985.
Africa News. “Sudan protest hub: Student rallies ramp up pressure on govt”. February 19, 2019.
Journalists – local and international, have been caught in the middle of the protests. Foreign reporters have been deported or ordered out over their coverage whiles local journalists have been arrested and allegedly tortured. Rolls of daily and weekly newspapers have also been confiscated. A number of varsity professors in the capital Khartoum were recently arrested for attempting to stage a protest.
These systematic arrests have targeted not only reporters covering protests in almost all parts of the country but also journalists who themselves dared to protest against the regime’s policy of censorship and arrests of journalists with the aim of restricting coverage of the protests.
Different talks — same walk! When it comes to dictators, all are malignant narcissists.
Many want to keep repeating old arguments, especially, yawn, “communism v capitalism” but the truth is more like “sweet words — foul deeds”.
Add incitement, the role played by anti-Semitic cant and libel by despots through the ages.
In the eastern tradition too — I have in mind the Golden Horde — there appears to have been no difference in treatment between persons and property, and, in fact, for some (reference Richard Pipes books on Russian history) proof of sovereignty might be made to lie in the senseless destruction of either with impunity. And I would cite as another characteristic of the “authoritarian” breed the ability to visit suffering on others at will and with impunity.
On the street, they’re bullies; in office, presidents for life.
We think of refugees and displaced people in a spatial context.
Somebody has lost their home, their security, their purchase on the control of their own life, and so they wander in-country or beyond, and depending on their personal characteristics – the movies always say “character”, but social reality is much different – they’ll grow again where they plant themselves or suffer the indignity of loss and rootlesness.
The segment you’re interested in is wandering through time with an unhelpful toolkit, and the obedient base can’t figure out why it’s not working. They’re mired in conflicts wrought by mutual greed and jealousy, and, perhaps like Imam ______, the more clever of tongue thrive on the turmoil by offering the unreachable untrue.
I recall a Star Trek episode in which a “holodeck” (synthetic surround theater) Dr. Moriarty achieved sufficient mastery of his own artifice and cyber environment to threaten the ship. Spoiler Alert! The solution at the end, which had to be negotiated because Moriarty really had interfaced with ship’s control, was to provide him and his woman (it’s complicated) with a cyber universe of their own. The world that would seem infinite to the evil couple was in the greater reality contained (and possibly ejected into space).
One might say of Catholic and otherwise conservative or orthodox observance in religion that all of it sustains something that took place a long time ago.
The figures have been frozen in time. The particular above have been especially well preserved by Keats’s poem.
Most of the religious in the modern world who attend a service also leave it with something taken away, and that adds its part to their lives and their search for a place for themselves. The monastery exists too. Add pope and papacy, the “Christ Process” – got that one from a Jesuit supplying blankets to the Four Corners region – and the existence of a timeless space maintained in the mind with the volition of the thinker.
Muhammad and his Islam may have had issues with boundaries – related on BackChannels: “Facsimile Bipolar Political Sociopathy” – just an opinion, of course, and that got into the patronizing and permits and orders produced within the Qur’an, not so complete for this world but ever so demanding in its build around injunction. The Muslims — the Islamists — that interest you may believe they are carrying out still relevant orders when they are raiding their targets – murder, theft, rape, and rapine – but in reality they are doing so much only for the aggrandizement of their chosen authority beneath the Eye of Heaven.
What is the escape plan from the medieval worldview and its imposition – and impoliteness – today?
Universally, nature figures out how to destroy or mutate monocultures, whether in agriculture or in human existence. While we may be in a divine sense of “One cloud, one earth, one sky”, we are nonetheless highly differentiated humans x person x family x clan x tribe x nation.
For agriculture, the related science industry strives to maintain comprehensive seed banks as part of the arsenal at hand to address natural mutations adverse to production — of the simple enjoyment of something gardened — in the growing environment.
For the discussion of culture, BackChannels promotes the view that our planet’s cultural inventory” links to fewer than 7,000 living languages, each of which represents how a group of people in comparative isolation — population-in-place — used human sound and sign to aid in perceiving and addressing from their perspective their own particular environmental and social challenges and opportunities.
Often, instead of typing “The Jews (live in Israel)”, the note may be similarly but more tellingly expressed as “The Hebrews are back in the Land of the Hebrews”.
Arab, Baloch, Kurds, Pashtun — same treatment.
As “The English” — and English — have gone everywhere in some fashion, the language today provides a modern medium for communication without the demand for the erasure of other language cultures. And with the age of English colonial expansion now past, one may expect the resurgent greater being of other language cultures in their cores (x ethnolinguistic cultural density) and at their margins and finally in the mixing bowls of heterogeneous (multi-cultural) political spaces.
The American slogan, well linked to the European invasion of or presence in — interpretation is moot — North America, well reflected the necessity of tolerance and varying degrees of separation and mixing in the New World beneath the benevolent and idealist umbrella of a secular and humanist vision of governance. The delivery thereby of great personal freedom — to be Christian, Jewish, Muslim or of any other faith community — and to speak the new language, English, while retaining the power to speak also every other language on earth, to be multilingual by choice, has been also part of the bargain. Arabic, Hebrew, Latin, Pashto, Urdu, “Jamaican” — no problem, mon.
The American way has worked in America.
Other of the authentic open democracies of the world have found similar equilibrium and a key to prosperity and survival in related law and rule of law.
Other systems, much less liberal, some totalitarian, appear still invested in the feudal / medieval worldview and they “express” in nefarious methods (e.g., “Active Measures“, deception, disinformation, disingenuous speech, etc.) and vanguards their desire to impose their singular will — criminal, despotic, intolerant — far beyond their own context, and not only in space but in time as well.
For the most part for those preferring to live “back there” somewhere, the world goes on around them and evolves a both more inclusive but also widely varied cargo packed into the myriad cultures of humanity.
This election will determine whether we are a free nation or whether we have only the illusion of democracy, but are in fact controlled by a small handful of global special interests rigging the system, and our system is rigged. This is reality, you know it, they know it, I know it, and pretty much the whole world knows it. The establishment and their media enablers will control over this nation through means that are very well known. Anyone who challenges their control is deemed a sexist, a racist, a xenophobe, and morally deformed.
For context and for the record: BackChannels has been supported by curiosity, editorial and entrepreneurial zeal (it hasn’t raised a dime but it’s been rewarding nonetheless), and semi-retired time (its ageing editor is not done with striving in his arts). America’s “Fourth Estate” — The Media — represents a still broad and independent multitude of national and international voices. Some, as noted in these virtual pages, may be partisan and inclined toward steep slants propped up by disingenuous observations and worse, but most observe from the same world and comment on its various facets.
Today: is there a global intelligentsia? Yes — and I’m certain BackChannels is not unique receiving viewers from more than 140 nations, including North Korea and Vatican City (once). 🙂
Note that for those PhDs employed in their fields, they are paid to contest one another in the advancement of knowledge. As regards influence, attach each to academic and research institutions or to consultancies to known figures in power.
Add the titular but still present kings and queens of Europe, the still formidable same elsewhere in the world, then presidents and prime ministers and, perhaps, their “inner circles” and closest advisors.
Some, like Paul Manafort, may be shadowy figures, but none are themselves shadows.