Russian Active Measures, Donald Trump, and Either Evil or Gullible Americans (Or Both)

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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.

https://conflict-backchannels.com/2020/02/13/active-measures/

Kaplan, Alex. “Trump has repeatedly amplified QAnon Twitter accounts. The FBI has linked the conspiracy theory to domestic terror.” Media Matters, August 1, 2019.

Iyengar, Rishi. “Twitter takes down 7,000 accounts linked to QAnon.” CNN Business, July 22, 2020.

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.


Among the more stunning of this morning’s headlines: The White House is pushing a conspiracy theorist fired from the NSC for a top Pentagon position” (CNN Politics, July 20, 2020).

Related: Winter, Jana and Elias Groll. “Here’s the Memo That Blew Up the NSC.Foreign Policy, August 10, 2017. Here’s a key excerpt —

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.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2017/08/10/heres-the-memo-that-blew-up-the-nsc/

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).

Well, here in an NYT lead (by Julie Hirschfeld Davis, August 11, 2017) is evidence of what Higgins thought was necessary for pleasing President Trump —

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.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/11/us/politics/rich-higgins-memo-national-security-council.html

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.

Related Online

Alba, Davey. “Debunking 4 Viral Rumors About the Bidens and Ukraine.” The New York Times, October 29, 2019.

Oppenheim, James S. “FBI, ANTIFA, and Swamp Gas.” BackChannels, July 1, 2020.

Oppenheim, James S. “The Confidence Man — He’ll Tell You Anything.” BackChannels, November 23, 2019.

Stanton, Zack. “You’re Living in the Golden Age of Conspiracy Theories.” Politico, June 17, 2020.

Venook Jeremy. “20 Conspiracy Theories Trump Has Pushed Before and During His Presidency.” Center for American Progress Action Fund, May 19, 2020.


Regarding President Trumps big dumb “Crowdstrike” attempt at misdirecting the attention of the American public —

Gramer, Robbie and Amy Mackinnon. “Impeachment Trials and Conspiracy Theories: A Match Made in Hell.” Foreign Policy, January 24, 2020.

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False Flag? The Hour The Blue Stood By and Watched

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Malkin was understandably distraught at this unanticipated violent turn of events and expressed frustration that Denver police, who were visibly present in the area, did nothing to stop the attacks or to allow the peaceful pro-police rally to continue.


Source of the above quotation: Chowka, Peter Barry. “Michelle Malkin beaten by BLM thugs and prevented from speaking at Denver pro-police rally, American Thinker, July 20, 2020.

I would question the motives of police — witnessing an apparent BLM attack on anyone — for failing to intervene and arrest.

Anyone can put on a t-shirt.

Anyone doing violence to another can be stopped by superior force if present.

The police were present during Malkin’s beating.

How could the police have not responded?


Posted to YouTube by Judge Britt, July 20, 2020 with reference to the Gateway Pundit piece cited in the Related Online section of this post.

Thank Putin for setting a bad example.

All available evidence points to Putin’s complicity in the 1999 apartment-building bombings in Russia. Those who have tried to investigate have been killed off, one by one.

Satter, David. “The Unsolved Mystery Behind the Act of Terror That Brought Putin to Power.” National Review, August 17, 2016.

The method referred to as False Flag Operation involves a particularly vicious form of gaslighting that spy novelists might include in the term “Theater of the Real” (an act of deception — a piece of theater — inserted into a very real situation) — they are acts designed by the power of the state to cast aspersions on and discredit the made-up enemies of the state.


BackChannels does not believe that Michelle Malkin was acting, but what about the alleged “ANTIFA”?

BackChannels recently took a look at the FBI page for “Most Wanted, Domestic Terrorism, ANTIFA” (“FBI, ANTIFA, and Swamp Gas”, July 1, 2020). For a now designated domestic terrorist organization, there were no associated “most Wanted” alleged felons listed.

“Antifa is a movement; antifa is an idea,” said Jim Derrane, a retired FBI special agent. “And certain people that profess to be involved with antifa … but there is no real organization; there is no structure.”

Kolko, Rich and Jack Lowenstein. “Antifa doesn’t have clear organization, but FBI closely monitors activity.” WINK News, June 8, 2020.

Photograph presented in PRNTLY, January 13, 2020 with the headline, “Antifa mugshots go viral online after Portland arrests.”

&

The above screen capture taken July 12, 2020 presents a last search page result for the alleged “ANTIFA” arrests. NOTE the date of the “YouTube – Ceron” results: February 20, 2012.

The pro-Trump publication PRNTLY has been in the news about “fake news” a time or two. Here is an appearance found in The Washington Post back in 2016.

Prntly popped up again last week as the source of a rumor about the Ted Cruz campaign. The site cut and pasted an old story about Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe. The headline suggested that perhaps Roe had approved the ad attacking Melania Trump run by an anti-Trump super PAC, but it offered no evidence to that effect.

It was, in other words, a very typical Prntly article: Mostly content from somewhere else with an unabashedly pro-Trump frame overlaid, and then shared by one of the site’s two apparent authors, Connor Balough or Shelby Carella.

Bump, Philip. “The pro-Trump fake news website that’s finding an audience — with Trump’s help.” The Washington Post, April 2, 2016.

Does “ANTIFA” even exist?

As an idea — and it’s not a bad idea: who is for fascism? — floating around the web, it certainly has a presence. Is the message pulling or pushing related “radical activists” into the streets? That’s more easily suggested than proved.

In 2017, Mother Jones interviewed a convicted then “ANTIFA” leader whose politics had to to do with street violence below the police radar. Punk stuff.

Enzinna, Wes. “Alt-Right Ain’t Right – ‘This is a War and we Intend to Win’: The rise and fall of a violent anti-racist group provides a glimpse into an underground movement that’s poised to explode in the Trump era.” Mother Jones, May/June 2017.

The MJ article provides background and sets the stage for today’s apparent drama.

BackChannels has noticed, however, that state-oriented Facebook ANTIFA pages appear to have been abandoned, nonexistent, or pulled (I saw two this month, one for Maryland, the other for Virginia, but neither seem online now). Rose City Antifa (Portland – where else? – Oregon) appears to exist.

Where are all the others?


The attack on Michelle Malkin looked pretty real — and it certainly was real to her — but the police failed to act. A separate event security detail (or help — welcome to the fog of another “different kind of war” — has been mentioned in spiriting her out of harm’s way.

At this point and for all of the Trumpian Parrots now calling (“Antifa, BLM Antifa, BLM”), the suggestion of pure political false flag manipulation (for perceptual control of the nation) may nonetheless develop legs.

Related Online

Devereaux, Ryan. “He tweeted that he was the leader of ANTIFA. Then the FBI asked him to be an informant.” The Intercept, June 9, 2020.

Eckel, Mike. “Two Decades On, Smoldering Questions About the Russian President’s Vault to Power.” RFE/RL, August 7, 2019.

Kingdon, Ashton. “False flags, paperclips, and super spies: the secret Nazi origins of the CIA.” Open Democracy, June 9, 2020.

Lucas, Ryan. “No Sign of Antifa So Far in Justice Department Cases Brought Over Unrest.” NPR, June 9, 2020.

Oppenheim, James S. “Putin’s Mirror?” BackChannels, July 15, 2020.

Oppenheim, James S. “The Confidence Man — He’ll Tell You Anything.” BackChannels, November 23, 2019.

Perry, Mark. “False Flag.” Foreign Policy, January 13, 2012. Log line: “A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.”

Perlman, Merrill. “How the term ‘false flag’ migrated to the right.” Columbia Journalism Review, October 29, 2018.

Sheth, Sonam. “FBI ‘has no intelligence’ indicating antifa was linked to weekend violence in the George Floyd protests, despite Trump and Republicans’ claims.” Business Insider, June 2, 2020.

Taylor, Kristinn. “Michelle Malkin Attacked by Antifa and Black Lives Matter Thugs at Denver Back the Blue Rally; Sends Law and Order SOS to President Trump.” Gateway Pundit, July 19, 2020.

Wikipedia. “Reichstag Fire”.

Wikipedia. “Russian Apartment Bombings”.

–33–

Good Morning – Watch that Bubonic Squirrel!

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Get a firm grip on the Original Operating Instructions, chart a new course, and aspire to greatness as Americans – ambitious, colorful, curious, democratic, educated, enlightened, high minded, humanist, inclusive, independent, just, reasoning, and tolerant – sailing together (for better, not worse) through time and the universe.


Now that the United States has put itself into full reverse gear with the generational updating of the last generation (Old Left -> New Left ->New Old Lost Left; Republican Conservatives -> Conservative Right -> Far (White?) Right), it’s time to cope with a “cluster”, as one old friend may have put it, of “challenges”, among them the report of a squirrel in Colorado testing positive for Bubonic Plague.

A spokesperson for Jefferson County Public Health told CBS News on Tuesday that someone in Morrison reported seeing at least 15 dead squirrels around the town. Officials tested one, and since it was positive for bubonic plague, they expect others are also infected.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/bubonic-plague-colorado-squirrels-test-positive/
7/16/2020

It’s Snopes True but Slate says not to worry: “We have a cure” and “Worldwide, there were only 243 cases of plague and 41 deaths in 2018.”

BackChannels would suggest thinking cautiously because America’s Report Card suggests those 15 squirrel dead in Colorado may have arrived right on time given a national homeless population of about 554,000 and some millions of doped out, hopped up, and missing or unsettled persons floating about the place.

Add squirrels with plague-infected fleas.

Add urban rats.

And hold on to your breakfast: https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2017/08/climatedesk-warmer-weather-ratpocalypse/ (8/25/2017).

A “good time” may be had by all.


Right On Time?

As predominant head-up-butt (always warm and dark in there) COVID-19 policies continue to scour the economy of basic entertainment, service, and special occasion jobs (crippling bars and restaurants foremost) and tax base nationwide turns anemic with lost jobs – USA Today yesterday: “A closely watched gauge of layoffs across the U.S. held steady at a historically high level last week, pushing the total during the coronavirus-induced economic crisis to a mind-boggling 51.3 million” – the squirrels, the fleas, and the homeless would be joined by the soon-to-be-displaced were it not for an opening salvo by a few governors (and a few helpful laws already in place) to forestall evictions during the COVID-19 Pandemic [Refs.: https://kvoa.com/news/2020/07/16/gov-ducey-extends-executive-order-protects-renters-from-evictions-amid-covid-19-pandemic/ (7/16/2020) | https://www.masslegalhelp.org/health-mental-health/covid-19-illegal-eviction (updated 6/15/2020) | https://www.sdhc.org/evictionban/ – effective through 9/30/2020]. Nonetheless, along with the Bubonic Squirrel narrative, let us all keep a lookout on behalf of idled Americans coming related coming emotional and financial desperation.

BakcChannels wager: lives saved in communal-medical responses to COVID-19 may be made up in rising crime, murder, and suicide rates associated with idleness, social separation, and stress.

BackChannels would strongly suggest the development of a nationwide moratorium on the notion of returning to anything resembling the old “normal” — the Ship of State has lost its moorings and “Safe Harbor” appears to be receding into the past.

America appears to be up for political grabs.

What to do?

Get a firm grip on the Original Operating Instructions, chart a new course, and aspire to greatness as Americans – ambitious, colorful, curious, democratic, educated, enlightened, high minded, humanist, inclusive, independent, just, reasoning, and tolerant – sailing together (for better, not worse) through time and the universe.

Related Online

Wikipedia: “Kurt Blome” – Nazi scientist who experimented with plague: “Blome worked on methods of storage and dispersal of biological agents like plague, cholera, anthrax, and typhoid, and also infected prisoners with plague in order to test the efficacy of vaccines.”


–33–

Barr: China’s Abuses of Power and Privilege Against Client States and the West

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Attorney General Barr’s Address on China’s Abuses and Global Ambitions, July 16, 2020 at 11 a.m. Posted to YouTube by PBS NewsHour.

BackChannels folders related to China’s theft of America’s defense, industrial, scientific, and state secrets. Screen capture July 16, 2020 at 11:31 a.m.


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.

Related Online

Amnesty International. “China 2019”.

Drexel, Bill. “A totalitarian surveillance city in China should be a warning to us all.” The Washington Post, June 22, 2020.

Fassihi, Farnaz and Steven Lee Myers. “Defying U.S., China and Iran Near Trade and Military Partnership.” The New York Times, July 11, 2020.

Fraley, Joseph R. “The PRC Medium and Long-Term National Science and Technology Development Plan: A Manifesto to Steal.” PDF. Thesis, Air War College, Air University, Maxwell AFB, Alabama, February 17, 2015. Read about “re-innovation”.

Green, Mark. “China’s Debt Diplomacy”. Foreign Policy, April 25, 2019.


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.

Mitchell, Anna and Larry Diamond. “China’s Surveillance State Should Scare Everyone.” The Atlantic, February 2, 2018.

Zhao M (2019). “The illicit distribution of precursor chemicals in China: A qualitative and quantitative analysis.” PDF. International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy 8(2): 106-120. DOI: 10.5204/ijcjsd.v8i2.1025.


–33–

Trump’s Right!

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On COVID-19 and Getting Americans Back to Work!

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.

BackChannels has regularly referenced these two CDC publications in support of the above claims: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm | https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/covid-data/covidview/index.html

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.

In international finance sector, China has engaged in politically predatory lending without restraint: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/04/25/chinas-debt-diplomacy/ .

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.

Related and recent online: https://washdiplomat.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=22831:rock-and-a-hard-place-europe-grapples-with-sino-american-rivalry&catid=1620:july-2020&Itemid=428 | https://www.economist.com/china/2020/07/11/a-sino-american-bond-forged-by-chinese-students-is-in-peril

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.


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Putin’s Mirror?

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Authoritarian

Hobbesian

Narcissistic

Nationalist

Reactionary

Shady

Shielded

Thuggish

Wealthy

White


Which of the two or both?

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.



Posted to YouTube by Republican Voters Against Trump, July 15, 2020.

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.


Regarding the psychology of dictatorship, BackChannels offers a page with a few interesting, even novel, concepts (like the “Paranoid Narcissistic Reflection of Motivation“) on it: https://conflict-backchannels.com/coins-and-other-terms/anthropolitical-psychology/ .

Facsimile Bipolar Political Sociopathy” might be worth a look as well.


At the end of his congressional testimony in February, Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former fixer, floated a nightmarish possibility.

“Given my experience working for Mr. Trump,” Cohen said, “I fear that if he loses in 2020, that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”

Block, Daniel. “How Trump Could Lose the Election and Remain President.” Washington Monthly, April/May/June 2019.

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.

Levine, Sam. “‘It’s all rigged’: Trump foreshadows how he could undermine presidential election.” The Guardian, May 12, 2020.

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.

Miller, Chris. “Lukashenko Is Putin’s Future.” Foreign Policy, July 9, 2020.

Charter, David. “Trump wants meeting with Putin before US presidential election.” The Times, July 15, 2020.

Hodge, Nathan and Mary Ilyushina. “Russian voters overwhelmingly back a ploy by President Vladimir Putin to rule until 2036.” CNN, July 2, 2020.

Lutz, Eric. “Is Trump Setting the Stage to Dismiss the 2020 Election Results?” Vanity Fair, May 20, 2020.



Web search and screen capture, July 15, 2020 at 1 p.m.

Posted to YouTube by Republican Voters Against Trump, May 29, 2020.

Posted to YouTube by Republican Voters Against Trump, July 15, 2020.

Related: Kelly, Mike. “Some in South Jersey have a message for Trump: Pay your old Atlantic City casino bills.” Northjersey.com, January 26, 2020.

–33–

Beware the New (Old) American Nobility

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Posted to YouTube yesterday by Republican Voters Against Trump.

Posted to YouTube by Guardian News, July 16, 2018.

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.


Posted to YouTube by The Independent, June 1, 2020.

For Russia, the term, “A New Nobility” has come to refer to Soldatov and Borogan’s eponymous book.

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?


Posted to YouTube by Guardian News, July 27, 2019.

Authoritarianism x White Christian Nationalism x Association with Criminals (for many onlookers, Russia remains the premier “Mafia State“); America’s Donald Trump, however, appears himself no stranger to less than noble personalities given the several felonious and jailed associates attached to his name. From Bayrock and Felix Sater to the Trump Towers “Laundromat” to impeachment in the House all the way to today’s surreal “Keep America Great” campaign theme, America’s enthusiasm and optimism for the “Drain the Swamp!” President may be waning.


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.

Stewart, Matthew. “The 9.9 Percent Is the New American Aristocracy.” The Atlantic, June 2018.

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.

Posted to YouTube by Republican Voters Against Trump, July 7, 2020.

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, Evan. “Why Democracy Is On the Decline in the United States.” The New Yorker, March 10, 2020.

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.


Related Online

Lexico. “Nobility”.

Lexico. “Noble”.


–33–

FTAC: Rah Rah! The Better American Way

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Some of my Right Wing Nut friends hate Black Lives Matters, Democrats, George Soros, any compassionate souls qualifying as “Libtards”, and probably just plain puzzled (and suffering) human faces on general terms. While the United States of America heads now into rougher waters — here’s a schematic –>

COVID-19 –> National Stand-Down of Basic Economic Activities (Bars & Restaurants and Events) –> Peonage (Americans in Unsustainable Debt) –> Foreseeable Loss of Hope, Independence, Opportunity, Property, and Stability –> De Facto Enslavement (and more about that on this blog later) –>

–> these same complain about “appeasement” before “radicals” (misguided youth generally among them) when governments stay their forces a moment to give peace a chance and clarify essential battlespace as the opponent has cared to define it. Those old levels of contempt, determination, and penchant for violence may remind us of how differently America works — when it’s working.

From the Awesome Conversation

Internally, Americans accommodate, compromise, and repair conditions through argument, reason, and talk.

None of that compares to “appeasement”.

Where are there foreign actors, however, fitting the label “agent provocateur”, then our tolerance of their presence, or disinterest in it, would amount to appeasement.

Islam has a concept for what interlopers may do in geopolitical space: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasad

In its feudal and narcissistic way, it’s self-centered with the Ummah in mind, but universalized, most statesmen would recognize the problem of having foreign agents in one’s domestic business.

BLM is domestic, somewhat poisoned by old rhetoric, and it may be infected by interlopers, but having become a visible element in OUR politics, it has to have its conversation with other Americans in public.

America’s two “rivals” in international influence and powers, Beijing and Moscow, believe in force and totalitarian control.

We don’t.

We don’t muzzle our critics: we defend protest; we investigate issues and try to bring their components into public view; we face political and social challenges and address them with peaceful but vigorous means. The day we stop listening, arguing, reasoning, accommodating, and compromising, and agreeing is the one on which we have failed as a democracy.

Those we refer to as “extremists” and “violent radicals” believe they have cause and permit to abandon those tenets and achieve their ends “by any means necessary”. Well, it’s at that point that the state must stand firm and take apart what has defined itself as a martial adversary. Generally speaking as regards that kind of “revolution”, the state wins.

If the state has been compromised, corrupted, and weakened from within, well then it may lose.

Even if a politically repressive regime “wins” against an enemy representing the better part of human values, as I believe democracies represent, it loses for being and displaying its ultimately closed, controlling, and destructive character.


Porch Talk at Magic Hour, Annapolis, Maryland, September 4, 2005. (c) 2005, J. S. Oppenheim.

Related on BackChannels: “Basic Training”.

Addendum, July 4, 2020

On FB, one reader posed the question, “What’s to like?”

Here’s the BackChannels answer –>

Our system of governance remains strong, i.e., embraceable and not yet hollowed out. I am certain most Americans are counting on America to work some political magic and return the ship to firm and steady sailing. Our present turmoil devolves to our hosting so many authoritarians, extremists, sophists, and zealots that supporting an authentic _and reasoning_ conversation has become nearly impossible. While throwing mud at one another, we seem to be ignoring “America the Beautiful” while melting down in fits of jealousy, greed, and resentment.
When idiots have tired themselves out with fighting or raiding — down on the street or up in the boardrooms — then more real people, so one may hope, will come out to sweep up the glass, turn over indictments, produce new law, and so on, and cobble the place back together and refresh it as it should be.

–33–