Notes On Attention Paid

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What i read today…

Letters from an American, December 8, 2021, Heather Cox Richardson… HCR is a daily read for me… her gathering of the important stories of the day into the beginnings of a historical record and then, often, placing them in historical context is very well done and tells me much of what i need to know… since she believes fervently in democracy, i would say she has a liberal bias, since conservatives, by and large, seem prepared to toss democracy out… today, HCR discusses Biden’s call with Putin and the considerable financial leverageu the US can organize if Russia invades Ukraine… she also updates us on the January 6th commissions efforts to compel testimony from former high level officials of 45’s administration and those officials efforts to resist… She notes that Fox News Channel personalities are:

echoing Russian talking points, saying that Putin is building up troops near Ukraine simply because he “wants to keep his western border secure.”

… she notes the $650K contributions made by Julie Fancelli, Publix grocery store chain heiress, to various organizations involved in staging the “Stop the Steal” event in Washington that led to the insurrection…

Fred Hiatt, the Washington Post, and America’s Moral and Political Seriousness, Benjamin Wittes, The Bulwark

… a tribute to Fred Hiatt and the editorial page of the Washington Post… i never read the post, but this piece makes me want to… FH has recently passed away and the author doesn’t know if the spirit of Meg Greenfield and Fred Hiatt will continue to dominate the production of the editorial page… if this tribute is even halfway accurate, and i have no reason to believe it isn’t, i hope Jeffrey Bezos and his management staff continue a proud tradition… this paragraph in particular struck me:

Sarah Longwell recently told a story about meeting me (Benjamin Wittes) and having no ability to identify my politics. This is an ethos I learned from Fred: discuss issues, discuss values, discuss policy, discuss facts, embrace complexity and don’t argue when others characterize your politics.

… this struck me because i, like the author, don’t play for a team… i remember in the run up to the last election that i was doing my best to share articles that i thought were good reads about important issues… i have made it a point to read publications from both ends of the political spectrum… a couple of times i was called out by team playing friends as participating in the circular firing squad of the Democratic party… i am liberal, i believe in democracy, but i am not a my party right or wrong person and never will be… in fact, listing myself as a democrat is so i can vote in primaries… the above paragraph also strikes me because it tells me how i must deal with the politics of M, which i view as derived solely from Fox News and Fox News personalities… so, i will need to do the hard work of discussing issues, values, policy and facts while embracing complexity and i will not argue when anyone tries to characterize my politics…

As Grifters Squabble, QAnon’s Bloodlust Gets More Open, Thomas Lecaque, The Bulwark… after reading this article it is not hard to imagine epic tragedy unfolding sometime over the next three or four years… QAnon may be the most crazy conspiracy theory going, but it has no corner on the market in murderous thinking and incitement… it appears the conspiracy situation is every bit as bad in Canada as it is here… which i have heard from people living there or with relatives there…

The New Puritans, Anne Applebaum, The Atlantic… i have for some years been wondering if we are heading into a period of illiberalness that could last for centuries… i look up Dark Ages and on Wikipedia, i discover that current scholarship eschews this descriptive title for the time following the collapse of the Roman Empire… so, illiberalism it is… this article is a harrowing read… i take it as another indication of where we are heading, and to someone with my liberal enlightenment view of the world, where we are heading is disturbing… more and more i feel there are mega trends that i, we, have no control over, that are shaping what we are heading into… i view what is described in this article as symptomatic of these mega trends… does it need to run its course?… is it reversible?… can we manage a transition to what it augers without intense suffering?… my answers would be probably, probably not and also, probably not… but i am hopeful that i am wrong on this last point…