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Showing posts with label Putin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Putin. Show all posts

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving, the Via Negativa


Today is Thanksgiving. It is a secular holiday; nevertheless Thanksgiving is sacred to most Americans.

Many of us write reflections on this day, posting memes that express to the world the things we are thankful for.

That is nice, conscientious, appropriate. We have much to be thankful for as Americans, and we should never forget it.

A heartfelt expression of gratitude is always welcome, even the gratitude that is expressed in general for the many things we receive from those we love, by whom we are loved, for the things we are given that make our lives more comfortable, more challenging and more meaningful.

It is never inappropriate to thankful.

To express gratitude is to make one’s self humble; it is to acknowledge our reliance on others for making us into the people we have become.

Be humble.

Therefore, be gracious.

Be thankful…insofar as you are able, you will be following the way of the wise.

In theology there is something known as the apophatic tradition. In this tradition it is understood that God, by whatever name you call the creator the universe (of all that is and all we are), that God dwells in a mode beyond human understanding.

This tradition tell us that God is shrouded in mystery, described as the cloud of un-knowing.

According to the apophatic tradition, we are not able speak in the affirmative about what or who God is, because God, the eternal and infinite, God will not be circumscribed by finite constructs of human thought and language.

We are not able to offer positive assertions about the nature of the Divine, there is only the via negative, the way of understanding who God is by stating what God is not.

In keeping with the via negativa, I am in the custom of forgoing the traditional giving-of-thanks, even though I am truly grateful for my friends and compatriots, I am grateful for everyone in my life, grateful for all of those who inspire me, who love me, and are patient with me everyday.

I am grateful for you.

For this annual reflection I follow the via negative, the negative way, and express what I am not thankful for.

I am not thankful that there is no peace in the world,

In Yemen where the Saudia Arabia and Iran are fighting a proxy war, and hundreds of thousands of Children are on the brink of starvation. I am not thankful for this.

In Palestine, where the occupied territories continue to suffer under apartheid, where millions of people live in cities and towns that are in reality, nothing more than prisons, and the walls of their homes are the walls of a jail.

I am not thankful for the Turkish invasion of Northern Syria, I am not thankful that the President of the United States opted to abandon our allies the Syrian Kurds.

I am not thankful that in America we are divided by class, culture, color, by a pretender to the office of President.

I am not thankful for the dismal failures of our elected representatives who cannot discern their obligation to oppose Donald Trump or hold him accountable for the crimes he committed to become president, and the crimes he is committing to keep alive his hope of retaining it.

I am not thankful for their collective failure of Congress to protect the constitution, or for the individual members who have forgotten their oath of office.

I am not thankful that we have sold out our national interests to the likes of Vladimir Putin, or that our president dances on a string like a puppet for him.

I am not thankful for the failures of civilization to address our deepest problems such as the existential crises of climate change, destroying communities around the world, including the recent fires in California that have destroyed thousands of homes, killing dozens of people.

I am not thankful for our failures of leadership.

I am not thankful for white supremacy, and domestic terrorism.

I am not thankful for terrorism anywhere. I am not thankful for the religious fundamentalism that drives it. I am thankful neither for the fear that spawns it, nor for the fear it generates

I am not thankful that there is hunger in our bountiful world. I am not thankful for the greed and the sloth and the bad public policy that fosters it.

I am not thankful that my friends have to beg on the internet to be financially supported when in the natural course of their oives they come down with cancer, and other debilitating illnesses. I am not thankful for the gaping holes in the social safety net.

I am not thankful for willful ignorance, for anti-rational, anti-intellectual, demagoguery. I am not thankful for the cultural relativism that has promoted it, for anti-objectivism, for liars.

I am not thankful for Donald Trump. I am not thankful for my fellow Americans who voted for him, his allies in congress or anywhere who continue to support.

I am not thankful for the media outlets, the reporters, the editorialists who failed to take him seriously. I am not thankful that they abdicated their responsibilities as the gatekeepers of our society, as the so called 4th Estate, and allowed his criminal regime to hold the seat of power.

I am not thankful that they have not collectively figured out a way to redress their failures.

I am not thankful and I am ashamed everyday because of his antics as the President of the United States, for his capitulation to murderous regimes, and strong-men anywhere who Donald Trump thinks he can profit from at some future point beyond his presidency, I am not thankful he has sold out our interests to them.

I am not thankful for his corruption of the rule of law.

I am not thankful for the on-going and continuous assault on the working class, the threats that are levied against the average citizen in the spheres of public policy like health care, and taxes.

I am not thankful for our government’s continuous assault on our population of immigrants and refugees, for the way we have abdicated our responsibility to care for the asylum seeker.

I am not thankful for these things.

I am not thankful that there is so much more to add to this list.

I am not thankful for the shortsightedness of liberals and progressives who cannot stand united in the face of the social forces that threaten us all.

Did I say that I am not thankful for white supremacists? I did, but let me say it again…I am not thankful for them or their apologists, both their soft supporters and their ardent advocates. I am not thankful that they have a seat at the table in the administration of Donald J. Trump.

I am not thankful for them.


Saturday, August 3, 2019

Stand Up - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
08.03.2019

Stand Up

Under Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell the United States Senate is broken.

Party over country has become the political reality for republicans. The Grand Old Party is no more.

America is looking for four members of the senate to stand-up, to be heroes, to exercise their conscience in a spirit of independence and reject the influence of Donald Trump, of Vladimir Putin, of the House of Saud, of Qanon and white supremacy.

It will only take four of you; Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, Mitt Romney, it will only take for you to reject the corrupt politics of Trumps fascism, to reject this criminal regime, to put a real check in place on this administration, to unseat the Senate Majority leader and restore sanity to United States government.

It is time for four of you, Joni Ernst, Lamar Alexander, Richard Burr, Tim Scott to stand-up and fulfill your oath of office, declare your independence and caucus with the democrats. The American people will think of you as heroes, history will reward you.

The future of our democracy is at stake.   

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Trump, Putin and the Ayatollah - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.18.2019

Trump, Putin and the Ayatollah

Difficult, the future is to see.

National Security Advisor, John Bolton has a long history of advocating for robust military intervention in Iran. He has a strong hand in shaping our military policy, if we are not careful a man like him can get us involved in a conflict that the majority of us do not want.

John Bolton believes that the United States should have an unfettered hand in exercising its military power; Iran, Syria, Venezuela, North Korea, Yemen, the Taiwan Straits, he advocates for an aggressive pursuit of what he perceives our interest to be.

When it comes to our military stance against Iran he echoes the interests of allies like the Netanyahu government of Israel, or the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These are relationships that Donald Trump is keenly interested in protecting, in advancing because of this you might think that the National Security Advisor would have a free hand in his efforts to get us engaged in conflict with Iran.

But for some reason he has been rebuked by Trump.

T-Rump has softened our approach with North Korea, against the recommendation of his National Security team. T-Rump has pulled us back from John Bolton’s more aggressive posture against the Maduro regime in Venezuela, and he has pulled us back from John Bolton’s adventurism in Iran.

I am not suggesting that the interference T-rump has been running against the National Security Advisor is based on any kind of firm policy position.

I am just noting that it has happened, and I am offering an explanation as to why.

The explanation is Vladimir Putin.

Putin supports the Maduro regime, and though the United States does not, T-Rump will not go head-on against Putin’s wishes.

Putin wanted us out of Syria, and so we left, leaving the Russians, who support the murderous Assad regime, and the Iranians, Assad’s long term allies, to fill the Vacuum.

In the same way T-Rump has bent over backwards to treat another ally of the Russian’s, North Korea, as if they were not the most wicked, most dangerous, most evil-totalitarian regime on the planet. T-Rump tell us that he and Kim Jong Un are in love.

Because of Putin’s long standing relationship with the Iranians you can be sure that T-Rump will not actually allow an invasion of that country to occur. The Russian’s don’t want that to happen, and so neither does he.

Now, I am not sure if I have this right. I think T-Rump would break any alliances, violate any treaty, subvert any pact, commit any crime to stay in power; as long as he sees something to be in his political interests he would even go against Putin, but right now that is a long way off.

Right now, Putin has no desire to see us invade Iran, and that explains why T-Rump rebuked John Bolton this week. Putin said no dice, let the ayatollah be.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Persuadable - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
03.30.2019

Persuadable

T-Rump held a rally in Michigan this week.

I guess he thought he had something to celebrate. He is probably out over his skis.

I won’t bother you with commentary on all the blather he spewed; foul-mouthed and delusional he articulated his litany of grievances, blamed other people for his problems, lied and dissembled, took credit for other people’s successes, or just made things up so that he could have something to brag about.

What was new was this: he made a change in one of his routines, in the call and response he engages his crowd in, and they were utterly persuadable, willing and ready to believe in his call.

“Lock them up!” They chanted, when he turned his ire on the press. “Lock them up!”

They have moved away from endorsing police action against Trump’s political foes, and moved into an endorsement of locking up T-Rump’s critics, anywhere, in any place, whoever they might be.

Those week minded fool’s.

They, the feckless collective they, T-Rump’s mob, they may as well be wearing brown-shirts. They are clearing the way for the wrecking ball. They will be cheering triumphantly as it crashes into our republic and tears our democracy down.

T-Rump appears to be fond of dictators, auto-crats, strong men and junta’s; he seeks Putin’s favor (he murders his critics in the press); he says he in love with North Korea’s Kim, they have no free press and T-Rump fawns over the coverage he receives; he likes Erdogan of Turkey who locks up journalists, and El-Sisi of Egypt who does the same.

Look out America, here he comes, the orange tyrant, descending on us like a plague.


Saturday, November 24, 2018

Blame it On the World - Editorial, The Week in Review


Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
11.24.2018

Blame it the World


“Blame it on the world,” the fake President said, in reference to the murder of a journalist, a man who wrote for the Washington Post, a newspaper the fake president has decried as a purveyor of fake news, which according to the fake president’s rhetoric makes them the enemy of the people.

“Blame it on the world, the world is a nasty vicious place,” the fake President said, about the murder of this man who lived in Virginia, who was a permanent resident of the United States, who was lured to Turkey, by the government of Saudi Arabia on the grounds that he needed to visit the consulate there to acquire the paperwork that would allow him to marry.

Mr. Khashoggi was a citizen of Saudi Arabia, and a vocal critic of the House of Saud, the Crown Prince, his government and their horrible record of human rights abuse.

The Crown Price is on record for stating that he wanted this journalist silenced. The Crown Prince ordered that they lay a trap for Khashoggi in Turkey. The Crown Prince sent fifteen members of his personal security detail to Turkey to murder him, including a doctor equipped with a bones saw to oversee the dismembering of his corpse, and a man who played as a body-double posing as Khashoggi, wandering around Istanbul in the murdered man’s clothes, after the killing had been done.

“Blame it on the world,” the fake President said, “the world is a nasty vicious place.”

I know that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is nasty and vicious. T-Rump is nasty and timid, he is a coward, but he delights in the viciousness of others, that much is clear.

The CIA, and numerous other intelligence agencies around the world, among our allies have reviewed the evidence of this murder provided to them by the Government of Turkey, they have authenticated it and concluded the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia is responsible for ordering Mr. Khashoggi’s murder.

T-Rump has opted to take the word of the murderer instead, accepting his denials, even though they were preceded by numerous other lies, which the Crown Prince walked back, he accepted those denials for some murky reason we have yet to discern.

It is reminiscent of his acceptance of Vladimir Putin’s lies and denials about interfering with the 2016 election.

The fake President cannot help himself when he thinks there is a dollar to be made, and he is hungry for those dollars.

“Nature is red in tooth and claw,” Saint Augustine said.

Thomas Hobbes wrote his seminal work Leviathan, as a reflection on this premise. “We live in a Hobbesian World,” Thomas Jefferson wrote, and that is why the founders took such pains to draft our constitutions with its extensive system of checks and balances in place..

The recognition of this reality is not a cause to excuse it. Rather, the recognition of this reality is what requires us to adhere to the dictates of our social compact. It is why we need a government derived from the consent of the governed, and this is the principle motivation behind the American experiment in self-government.

Without this social compact the strong will always tyrannize the weak, in keeping with the nature of the world, as a nasty vicious place. We cannot allow this to be the way of our world. We cannot look away from the face of brutality. We cannot excuse the tyrant.

It is the duty of the American President, of whoever holds that office, their legitimacy notwithstanding, to represent the American ideals to the world. We cannot abandon American principles for cheaper oil, for an arms contract, for a fistful of dollars, or a pocketful of lies.


Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Fake President - Part X

Editorial, The Week in Review – Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
05.20.2017

I was listening to the news on my drive home last night. The news of the day was that former FBI Director James Comey would testify in open hearings at the Senate, sometime after Memorial Day holiday.
The New York Times Reported that T-Rump slandered Comey in his Oval Office conversations with the Russian Foreign Minister, and the Ambassador, the day after he fired him. T-Rump called him “crazy,” and a “nut job.” He told the Russian’s that he was relieved after firing the FBI director, because it took the pressure off of them in regard to the ongoing investigations into Russian interference in our elections, and the possible collusion of the T-Rump campaign, his family, or even T-Rump himself in those treasonous activities.
T-Rump said it, admitting to the Russians, that the Russia investigation was at the root of his firing the FBI Director, making any other assertion about his rational a demonstrable lie.
It was also revealed on Friday that a senior white house aide, someone close to T-Rump, was the target of a criminal investigation in the FBI probe. No one has confirmed this, but the story is that the senior aide is his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and now I remember the photographs from the summer of 2016 of Ivanka on vacation with Putin’s mistress.
These people are criminals.
I was listening to these reports and I was saddened by the fact that America rejected a person for the office on Commander in Chief, who was possibly the most well prepared candidate for the office that we have ever had.
Granted, she was a flawed candidate, she had conflicts of interest, she would not have lived up to my own liberal and progressive ideals.
I was an ardent supporter of hers, from beginning to end.
She would have been the first woman to hold the office, she would have been an effective administrator, she would not have been at the center of the type of drama you see unfolding now.
It made me sad.
Russian interference, criminal collusion, treason, voter suppression, bogus investigations about her e-mail server, her role in the tragedy at Benghazi, and on and on, they stole from us, the American people, the opportunity to have an immanently qualified public servant managing the most complicated bureaucracy in the world.
If this had not been stolen from us, we would not be facing a disastrous change in our health insurance policy, we would be looking at reforms that strengthen the system.
We would not have a President who did not sit down for the Presidential Daily Briefing, who would have a Commander in Chief who was genuinely interested in National Security.
We would not be entertaining a budget that pushes American wealth away from lower and middle income families, into the hands of the 1%, we would not have a secretary of education, threatening to cut the promises made to college graduates to forgive their loans if they went to work in non-profits and the public sector.
We would not have an Attorney General promising to reinstate mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent crimes, and promising to breathe new life into the “for-profit” prison system.
We would not have these things
The woman who won the popular vote was denied the office she aspired to because of treason, collusion, corruption, and suppression. It is not right, and there is nothing we can do to change it.

Even if the Republican party comes to its sense and gets rid of T-Rump, we will only replace him with people who are likely more sane, but just as bad for public policy as the orange monster.