War and Heritage

It’s been a while since I’ve used this site to work out my thoughts on something. Some of that has been because I’ve been busier than usual, but mostly I think it’s because I’ve lost my debate opponents on social media, and these debates often served as the spark for my deeper thoughts that I brought here. I don’t know where the debate opponents went, I think they grew tired of debating me, and maybe they felt like it didn’t mean as much after Trump lost. Either way, I have a void over there, that’s clearly leading to a void over here. But the war in Ukraine got me thinking about something and this seems to be the perfect place to put those thoughts into writing. It all starts with me being very upset about what Russia is doing, but also being Russian, at least in part.

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Trump and Russia: my best guess

There are conflicting narratives in the political world. This has likely always been true, but the separation of the narratives feels more palpable than any other time in my life. Sure, we’ve had conflicting narratives before: Reagan painted a picture of a world where the poor were living large on the handouts of the rich, and the counter-narrative was that nobody is “living large” and that people need help. There has been the belief that deregulation is good for us because regulations provide a costly burden, and this is countered by the cost is worth the protection that regulations provide. But these were issues of perspective, not issues of mutually exclusive views of the world. That feels quite different from what we have now, especially when it comes to Trump and Russia.

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Grab Bag

I haven’t written in a while, which isn’t because there isn’t much going on, but is mostly because I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to contribute here, and because I’ve had bits to say here and there, but not really complete thoughts on much. Just to keep the juices flowing, and be sure this exercise of mine doesn’t dry up, I figured I’d get some of these partial thoughts written out in this grab bag of topics.

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Timelines and subthreads (part 4: Who is Felix Sater?)

This is the fourth of a series dissecting the timeline of Trump-Russia connections that’s kept at Bill Moyers’s website. For a bit of intro, and the first subthread click here. This one is all cut and pasted, with the links included. None of the text is my own, not even paraphrased.

This is all about a man named Felix Sater, who I think we should get to know a bit. Follow past the jump for this one.

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Timelines and subthreads (part 3: All about Manafort)

This is the third of a series dissecting the timeline of Trump-Russia connections that’s kept at Bill Moyers’s website. For a bit of intro, and the first subthread , click here. This one is all cut and pasted, with the links included. None of the text is my own, not even paraphrased.

Paul Manafort seems to be a pretty central figure here, so I thought it was worth a search for his name in the timeline. Follow past the jump for this one.

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Timelines and subthreads (part 2: GOP platform on Russia and Ukraine)

This is the second of a series dissecting the timeline of Trump-Russia connections that’s kept at Bill Moyers’s website. For a bit of intro, and the first subthread, click here. Some text is copied and pasted directly from the timeline, other text is paraphrased.

I found this one interesting, even though I can’t say that I was paying too much attention to it at the time. One thing to keep in mind is that these exchanges were all happening after the June 9 meeting between Trump Jr and Veselnitskaya, and after the April 2016 DNC hack. There’s a fair amount of mingling with this thread and Paul Manafort, but I’ll take on the Manafort stuff in another thread. Follow past the jump for the timeline.

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Timelines and subthreads (part 1: Trump Jr emails and meetings)

Steven Harper has assembled a very useful and impressive timeline of all the connections between Trump and Russia. It’s posted here, and updated regularly. As impressive as I find it, the problem with it is that it’s a series of overlapping timelines, rather than one single timeline. A way to sort it by a specific topic would be helpful, and certainly possible electronically. I hope they will do this in the future. For now, there are a couple of subthreads that I found particularly interesting to follow, and worth putting together here. I’m sure more will be added to these in the future. If I’m moved to update, I’ll do it in a separate post to preserve the sense of what we know now. I’m also going to keep the subthreads in separate posts so they don’t get buried under each other. Some text is copied and pasted directly from the timeline, other text is paraphrased.

The Trump Jr email/meeting timeline is below, and others will follow:

Subthread 2: Trump campaign and the GOP platform position on Russia and Ukraine.

Subthread 3: all about Manafort

Subthread 4: who is Felix Sater?

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More distractions and straw men

I’ve been posting a lot on FaceBook (as me, not as Hitting Bregma) about the lousy journalism and logical fallacies I’m seeing on FoxNews. I don’t watch a ton of FoxNews, but I flip over somewhat regularly, just to see what’s going on. Many of these times, I’m struck by how different the coverage is. For instance, while all the other networks (regular networks and cable news) are focused on one story, like a new leak about something from the Trump administration, FoxNews will run a story about a person killed by an immigrant in a hit and run, or something equally unrelated to what everybody else is covering. I’ve also spent a lot of time harping on the classic straw man fallacies that they are so good at. They construct this ludicrous picture of a “liberal” or something that liberals are mad about, and then justifiably call them silly or hypocritical. The problem is that the whole premise gets it wrong. It’s not just FoxNews, but it’s also clearly a tactic of the Trump administration. Let’s look at a couple of key examples, including one from today.

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How to know when things are upside down

I wish this was an instructional manual to help achieve the title. It isn’t. In fact, I have a hard time knowing when things are all messed up, or when my fears are irrational. That’s the thing with irrational fear, it doesn’t subside with reason. That said, I wouldn’t call myself afraid right now, but I am certainly concerned, and really disappointed. The Trump presidency continues to take a toll, with the primary victim being my faith in the decision-making and analytical abilities of my fellow citizens.

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When two things aren’t simultaneously possible…in Trump’s America

I’ve been relatively quiet lately. I’ve had some pretty horrifying things going on in my life that have captured my attention (an old friend with a daughter who has been missing for more than three weeks). Between that and some actual work I’ve needed to do at work, it’s been hard to find time for this. I also started this to write about the things I think are important, and my comfortable place was always defending things that Obama, Clinton, or some other democrat was fighting for. Now we’re in a bit of  different world, and I’m on a less solid foundation. On the one hand, almost everything I’m hearing terrifies me, but I’m also aware of how silly folks on the right looked when they talked about the radical changes that Obama was making to the country. So, just to keep from getting too stale, here’s something that caught my eye today. A perfect case of illogical thinking, that is supposed to be the antithesis of this project. And it all comes from a tweet from President Donald Trump.

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