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.
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.
From the above references, one might suggest that in or with President Donald J. Trump, Washington, like Moscow, has had some kind of energized disinformation factory. It may not be the President’s factory, but he has encouraged and endorsed baseless conspiracy theories and the most disingenuous innuendo involving his political enemies.
Trump is being attacked, the memo says, because he represents “an existential threat to cultural Marxist memes that dominate the prevailing cultural narrative.” Those threatened by Trump include “‘deep state’ actors, globalists, bankers, Islamists, and establishment Republicans.”
The memo is part of a broader political struggle inside the White House between current National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and alt-right operatives with a nationalist worldview who believe the Army general and his crew are subverting the president’s agenda.
Foreign Policy has the full memo embedded in its account.
Said Rich Higgins back in February: “Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman wasn’t the first staffer to be fired from President Trump’s National Security Council and escorted from the premises by security. I went through the same ritual on July 21, 2017. But in contrast to Col. Vindman, I lost my job because I was loyal to the president” (by Rich Higgins for WSJ Opinion, February 12, 2020).
WASHINGTON — A cabal of leftist “deep state” government workers, “globalists,” bankers, adherents to Islamic fundamentalism and establishment Republicans are conspiring to remove President Trump and impose cultural Marxism in the United States, according to a former White House aide whose darkly worded memo detailing the alleged conspiracy got him removed last month from the National Security Council.
Who has placed themselves behind the QAnon distribution?
Who has been reading and ingesting the garbage?
Who among Americans believes everything an American president might care to tell them (especially this American president)?
Bigoted, fake, weak, willful and enamored, apparently, of the kind of powerful others known to the west as dictators, who, aware of the pain he has caused others through multiple bankruptcies and countless and apparently limitless lies can respect him out of love rather than fear?
Have some Americans been so duped and convinced of “HIS” nobility in character that they cannot admit to themselves that they may have been fooled?
Americans will now have to educate themselves in relation to the collected legacies of the nation without regard for immediate resources and public or private channeling. To have become this ignorant, this vulnerable, to such an ignoramus: politically and socially obscene and tragic.
China has indeed produced an astounding track record in the regions of human rights abuses, growth through the theft of proprietary processes and technologies developed elsewhere, biological and space weapons development (to knock out western satellites), etc. China’s quiet assault on the west and against dependent states (state predatory lending) has been as broad and complete as can be.
Doing business with Beijing — from anywhere in the world — has turned into bad business worldwide.
Imagine a society in which you are rated by the government on your trustworthiness. Your “citizen score” follows you wherever you go. A high score allows you access to faster internet service or a fast-tracked visa to Europe. If you make political posts online without a permit, or question or contradict the government’s official narrative on current events, however, your score decreases. To calculate the score, private companies working with your government constantly trawl through vast amounts of your social media and online shopping data.
When you step outside your door, your actions in the physical world are also swept into the dragnet: The government gathers an enormous collection of information through the video cameras placed on your street and all over your city. If you commit a crime—or simply jaywalk—facial recognition algorithms will match video footage of your face to your photo in a national ID database. It won’t be long before the police show up at your door.
Most generally speaking, about 99.5 percent of C19 cases do not result in death. Those that do remain associated with age-related vitality and latent and preexisting conditions. Life’s not fair, especially around 55/65-85. The oldest of America’s “Baby Boom” generation has reached a healthy but nervous 75 years. The average age of death in the United States is 78.5 according to the CDC.
On China as an Aggressive, Criminal, and Totalitarian Threat to Liberal Democracy
The United States, at least, loses billions annually in relation to China’s industrial and scientific espionage and the adaptation of proprietary processes and technologies (and not infrequently knock-offs) to grow its markets. It has been also a key and major supplier of precursor chemicals for the manufacturing of narcotics throughout the western hemisphere. Debacles involving computer, radio, and telephony technologies, much underscored by the Huawei’s global issues (e.g., https://www.cnn.com/2020/07/15/tech/huawei-fallout-5g-hnk-intl/index.html – 7/15/2020) involving consumer and defense issues (spying and incursions involving defense-related wavelengths) are real and now part of the western challenge involving the nominally “communist” regime (another issue for another post).
Biological weapons and space weapons (intended to kill western satellites, if and when necessary) appear no longer on the far horizon in defense matters.
Altogether, Sino-American cooperation in place of war would seem to require both a steadfast defense and law enforcement effort as well as some new discussion about political absolutism and totalitarian philosophy. At the moment, as China may be seeking revenge for the humiliations of the Opium Wars — so it doesn’t apply too much manpower to policing the narcotics precursor trade — and for what it may perceive as the intimidation of civilizational ambitions. “Sino-American Relations” are not looking very good.
On Sanctions Involving Select Moscow and Tehran Elites
Let’s not forget how Ali Khamenei made his first big bucks: https://www.reuters.com/investigates/iran/#article/part1 (“Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures,” Reuters, November 11, 2013. These days, the post-Communist and post-Soviet alliances support Big Rocket Man (trying to reach Israel) and Little Rocket Man (the one making Japan nervous) and Trump has been on it but with perhaps amateur enthusiasm (reference John Bolton’s book, The Room Where It Happened. For post-Soviet Moscow and Tehran, both apparently longing for more barbaric days, sanctions and “maximum pressure” campaigns may not work in a decisive manner, but that doesn’t mean we should drop them (and if Trump should move to ease Putin’s pain, then this blog shift away from any such a fawning, pandering, and placating a move.
Trumps character and character in diplomacy may undermine America’s efforts to defend its own liberal democracy and promote the same worldwide. As much has been America’s mission from its earliest days, days in which the Founding Fathers wrote far out ahead of their own age and its circumstances, and remains its mission in this day when it finds itself sorely tested by dogma, Far Out Left and (predominantly) Far White Right. To have in the President a personality that tends to go its own way — or have its own way — regardless of the advice of the experienced as well as the memory of national lessons learned — seems to represent an unwitting self-sabotage.
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.
If HE hadn’t stepped off blasting away at America’s mainstream media and stable Federal agencies involved with all matters from environment to national security, HE and we might be fine, for BC believes he’s telling some truth these days. However, he has also had his indelible “Helsinki Moment” (above) and his regime (is that too strong a word?) may mirror known authoritarian governments integrated with their own state financial and political elites. The spectacle made by black clad troops herding nonviolent protesters from Lafayette Park (adjacent to the White House) may become a part of the memory of a liberal American generation for whom that kind of White House implemented thuggery — and show and tell with the Bible and Church photo-op — would seem to have been out of step with modern American political norms and values.
For the United States with an Administration somewhat mirroring the authoritarianism and white nationalism associated with Moscow, one may wonder if collusion may not be found in aspects of convergence: how different does Trump’s Washington look from Putin’s Moscow?
By any sociological or financial measure, it’s good to be us. It’s even better to be our kids. In our health, family life, friendship networks, and level of education, not to mention money, we are crushing the competition below. But we do have a blind spot, and it is located right in the center of the mirror: We seem to be the last to notice just how rapidly we’ve morphed, or what we’ve morphed into. Related Story
The meritocratic class has mastered the old trick of consolidating wealth and passing privilege along at the expense of other people’s children. We are not innocent bystanders to the growing concentration of wealth in our time. We are the principal accomplices in a process that is slowly strangling the economy, destabilizing American politics, and eroding democracy. Our delusions of merit now prevent us from recognizing the nature of the problem that our emergence as a class represents. We tend to think that the victims of our success are just the people excluded from the club. But history shows quite clearly that, in the kind of game we’re playing, everybody loses badly in the end.
Has the bottom layer of the upper crust, which may be quite Up There in fluff and light, the need for institutionalized nobility even if without title?
For the purposes of cultural and political stability, such a need may be functional, good, and open to entry across America’s colorful quilt, but one may question whether it needs chicanery in the process.
Several EU/NATO states have slid into anti-democratic authoritarian political management, albeit in different ways for different reasons. Hungary, Italy, Poland, and the United States have created cause for doubting the authenticity of democratic processes in their respective domains. While I’ve cherry picked the above links, one may evaluate each independently. With regard to the United States, Evan Osnos, writing for The New Yorker, notes the following:
The latest edition was published last week, and, as you might expect, it recorded the fourteenth straight year of deteriorating freedom around the world; sixty-four countries have lost liberties in the past year, while only thirty-seven registered improvements. (India, the world’s largest democracy, has seen some of the most alarming declines.) Its assessment of the United States is also disturbing. In 2009, the U.S. had a score of ninety-four, out of a hundred, which ranked it near the top, just behind Germany, Switzerland, and Estonia. In the decade since, it has slipped eight points; it now ranks behind Greece, Slovakia, and Mauritius. Looking at the United States, Freedom House analysts note the types of trends that they more customarily assign to fragile corners of the globe: “pressure on electoral integrity, judicial independence, and safeguards against corruption. Fierce rhetorical attacks on the press, the rule of law, and other pillars of democracy coming from American leaders, including the president himself.”
Osnos goes on to more broadly explain the decline of democracy in select states worldwide. For the United States, the broader view takes in Administrations prior to Trump’s.
Nonetheless, the political picture looks grim for Americans facing up to what increasingly looks like the necessity of casting a negative vote in the coming 2020 elections, i.e., voting for a so-so candidate in order to deny the incumbent a longer stay.
Threats posed by Beijing and Moscow to America’s governing principles and way of life should not be dismissed as somehow attached to Mr. Trump who has taken appropriate measures to deal with each, even if ineffectually. The sanctioning of some of Putin’s inner circle, for example, may not have the leveraging effects wanted given the ability to move money and persons around despite the reach of American power, but the status is visible worldwide and unflattering. With Beijing and jousting over trade, there may come the reminder that in a mutually pugnacious negotiation, one’s own side might lose — but that doesn’t make the other side’s position (in this context, Beijing’s) right. In addition to the large maneuvers the public cannot avoid, there are equally large issues involving communication signals and satellites that are more known to specialists than to the public at large.
Such issues will not go away with a Biden win in the coming election and may be exacerbated by it. What may recede are the authoritarian and malign narcissistic bullying, chaos, flailing, and lying — now imagined or real — associated with the incumbent President’s previous actions and current presence, reputation, and style.
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?
— On Thursday, Gov Abbott said in a news release: “Throwing Texans in jail who have had their businesses shut down through no fault of their own is nonsensical, and I will not allow it to happen.”
“That is why I am modifying my executive orders to ensure confinement is not a punishment for violating an order. This order is retroactive to April 2nd, supersedes local orders and if correctly applied should free Shelley Luther.” —
In a letter to state District Judge Eric Moyé, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called Shelley Luther’s sentencing outrageous.
“The trial judge did not need to lock up Shelley Luther,” Paxton wrote. “His order is a shameful abuse of judicial discretion, which seems like another political stunt in Dallas. He should release Ms. Luther immediately.”
“As a current Member of the Bar, you certainly should be aware of the impropriety of this contact, as prohibited by Canon 3(b)(8) of the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct,” the letter to Paxton stated. “In this context, for you to “Urge” a Judge towards a particular substantive outcome in this matter is most inappropriate and equally unwelcome. Please do not communicate with the Court in this manner further.”
The cover of a national medical emergency — and so the emergence of COVID-19 was that for a brief period — made way for the absolute power of governors (whose states have rightly had jurisdiction over emergencies within their boundaries) who then got their constituents to shutter their businesses and leave their jobs, willingly or not, in the name of containing the (uncontainable) contagion. Now has come the time to reverse tracks, assess and address the damage done, and get America fully back to work — and then some.
Some rote —
More than 7,700 Americans die every day from all causes, for America’s annual rate of morbidity has been about 2.813 million souls annually (may all rest in peace).
COVID-19 continues to associate with preexisting conditions in the vast majority of deaths (may we please all stop ageing and remain healthy forever!).
From the Awesome Conversation
And the unfortunate story of money: exchange –> tax base –> public spending –> private earnings via contracts and investments; interagency exchange; $$$ in support of basically every system of defense and survival we collectively depend on for what we have called “The American Way of Life”.
Given our spending on defense and security, we really should have been ready to roll out treatment and morbidity facilities and services much, much more quickly than we have. Generally speaking, how we choose to assess and meet risk — whatever the source may be — has been up to us privately rather than collectively.
From global pandemic to the barber shop, there’s the whole story unless we “Earthlings” choose to do away with money altogether.
. . . .
I’m not seeing it.
Rx. Avoid exhaustion and stress; find love; stay healthy and well; and for how it ends, inevitably, try to develop a good and noble philosophy with which both to fight a fair battle and, sigh, return to God, nature, and the universe in the way that all living must (with partial exception made for the elders among cedars and redwoods).