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I’m trying to figure it out

Saturday, August 26th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — oh, i mean, the whole ball of wax, kit & kaboodle ]
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I’m trying to figure it out by catching glimpses in other people’s work, finding somethat are part of their pretty obvious ideas that are assumptions for tuthem and indicative of the state of affairs for me. I suppose I’m always on the lookout for such things, but today I’m going to shoot for the big picture.

Item #1 comes from David Ronfeldt, friend of this blog, who posted at TIMN:

It is no longer possible to think of corruption as just the iniquitous doings of individuals, be they street-level bribe payers, government officials, or business executives. In the five dozen or so countries of which Honduras is emblematic, corruption is the operating system of sophisticated networks that link together public and private sectors and out-and-out criminals — including killers — and whose main objective is maximizing returns for network members.

Boom! The main objective is to maximize returns, returns. Nobody says what retiurns are, everybody knows: returns are cash, money, moolah is what everyone is after, “follow the money” is equalled in popularity only by “cherchez la femme” — although “follow the dead Russians” has a temporary place in the sun if you follow John Schindler. Money, sex, that’s about it.

Sex. I’ll need an item for sex, eh?

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Item #2 is prestige. I ound it at Tom Whipple‘s post, Starman, whichb describes a Norwegian jazz player’s rooftop searches for items of stardust.

So began the journey that would end with an autodidact gypsy-jazz musician publishing a scientific paper in a prestigious American geology journal,

The item here is prestige, yes, in the words “prestigious journal” — and the thing here is that anm autodidact made it into some prestigious pages, a jazz musician, imagine that!

Oh, and BTW, we are stardust:

I suppose you could call Joni Mitchell a jazz musician too, but she’s not — as far as I know — Norwegian,

**

Money, prestige, stardust.

Those are my findings so far, that’s what it’s all about. And I’m guessing, sex too, once I find an appopriate reference — oh, totally inappropriate, I’m afraid, not suited to office viewing. .

Sorry about that, I should have used a title-srolling clip from Sex and the City. I mean, good-looking means do it, plain and simple. Those guys who make films know what they’re doing.

I know, I know, I wemt from fishing phrases out of articles into fishing songs out of YouTube — but I’m still after “it” — and now we have money, prestige, stardust, sex..

I am beginning to see a glimmer of the human condition, la condition humaine. I mean, wars — civil and uncivil, compromise, film makers knowing who to film in filmy nightgowns, tight short skirts, and so on, and frankly, Trump, who epitomizes Sex and the City, has moola and no tax returns, and is made of greater stardust than the rest of us, I mean, he Trumps!

**

What else? I ask you, what else are we?

Frankly, there’s transcendence. We are golden. We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. This one’s from my memory trove — it’s from Thomas Traherne‘s little book, Centuries of Meditations:

You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you. Till you can sing and rejoice and delight in God, as misers do in gold, and Kings in sceptres, you never enjoy the world.

Trump bites the hand that investigates him

Wednesday, May 10th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — as i tweeted, if you fire the guy who’s investigating you, that’s ouroboric – it creates & instantly breaks the circle, too ]
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Okay, the Comey firing.

Shortly after President Trump‘s firing of FBI Director Comey today, Jim Hanson of Frank Gaffney‘s Center for Security Policy commented on Fox:

You know, this may be the first bipartisan thing Trump has done that both sides can get behind.

It was an extraordinary comment. That’s not how the Wall Street Journal saw things. Their headline and sub-head read:

Comey Dismissal Upends Probes of Trump Campaign Ties to Russia
Move adds impetus to calls for a special counsel to handle the case

Quite the opposite: I’ll show you nonpartisan:

Nonpartisan, right now, means disturbed by the firing, by its timing, by its implication for ongoing investigation into Team Trump’s ties with Russia..

And as John Schindler notes:

The optics of firing the FBI director investigating your Russia ties then meeting the Russian FM on THE VERY NEXT DAY defy easy description.

Or Blogs of War:

When you fire the guy who is investigating you on Tuesday and meet with your case officer on Wednesday..

Ahem: case officer..

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From my analytic point of view, alert for pattern and archetype, what leaps out here is another damned ouroboros — this whole place is getting to be quite a snake-pit.

Trump has in fact bitten off the hand that was investigating him. Or to put that into Politico’s prose:

The extraordinary dismissal of the FBI director by a president whose own campaign is the focus of an ongoing FBI investigation is sure to produce a torrent of criticism that Trump is interfering with the independence of law enforcement.

There’s even a sub-ouroboros, given that Trump cited a letter from AG Sessions as contributing to his decision — as Sen. Schumer noted in his press conference:

Attorney General Sessions, who had recused himself from the Russian investigation, played a role in firing the man leading it.

Maybe we could call that “recusal of the recusal”?

Meltdown, No Mouth Must Scream

Friday, August 12th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — two powerful graphic images, one simple truth ]
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Tablet DQ Meltdown Scream

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From a purely graphic angle, the two images mirror one another quite nicely, and arguably the meltdown is the cause for the need to scream.

I generally try to avoid politics, but when it leaks over into the same religious issues I’ve been studying and writing about here for a few years now, I’m liable to voice my opinions.

I’m a loser in Trunp‘s terms by vocation, whether I follow the dictum “go and sit down in the lowest room” (Luke 14.19) or am “content with the low places that people disdain” (Lao Tzu 8), so it won’t bother him when I point out that contrary to his recent statement that President Obama was the founder of ISIS, which he’s doubled down on —

I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.

— he’s just plain wrong, as John Schindler — far from an admirer of Hillary Clinton — reminds us in today’s detailed and thorough Observer piece mildly titled No, Obama Is Not the Founder of ISIS. Some choice paras:

It’s not every day the presidential nominee of the Republican Party calls our commander-in-chief a “founder”—that is a terrorist, a traitor, and “MVP”—of the global Salafist caliphate, an organization that commits mass murder and even genocide. Not to mention that ISIS seeks to kill Americans with gusto at home and abroad.

Trump’s claim is so absurd as to render terror experts speechless. In the first place, ISIS was born in a practical sense in 2006, when elements of Al-Qa’ida in Iraq fused with bitter-enders from the Saddam Hussein regime that the United States overthrew in its invasion of Iraq three years before. Back then George W. Bush was president and Barack Obama was a junior U.S. Senator from Illinois.

None of this is to defend Obama’s track record against ISIS, which in column after column here I’ve lambasted as incompetent and lackadaisical. His pseudo-war on that murder gang and its imaginary caliphate has been a train-wreck of quarter-measures, muddled strategy, and outright lies. Obama ought to never live down his dismissal of ISIS as the “JV team,” but that’s a far cry from “founding” the Islamic State.

There’s no doubt that Obama’s withdrawal of American forces from Iraq in 2011, hailed as a great victory at the time, was strategically harmful and enabled ISIS’s meteoric growth in the Middle East. However, the president had little choice there, since the democratically elected Iraqi government in Baghdad demanded that the U.S. military leave their country. Not to mention that withdrawing our troops from Iraq was supported by Donald Trump.

Saying Obama and Hillary “founded” ISIS therefore is a ridiculous claim that deserves to be taken no more seriously than related tinfoilisms like “Jews did 9/11” or “My cat is the Illuminati.” It’s therefore deeply alarming to see the GOP nominee say it—repeatedly.

It’s not difficult to see where Trump gets such wacky ideas. Mike Flynn, his national security guru, has repeatedly come close to saying the same, hinting that Obama wanted ISIS to succeed. Flynn is a retired Army three-star general whom Obama fired as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency with ample cause.

Since then, Flynn’s gotten cuddly with the Russians, regularly appearing on their propaganda network RT, even admitting he’s taken Kremlin money for a photo op with Vladimir Putin. This is where things get really interesting. “Obama created ISIS” has been a Kremlin trope for a couple years now and it’s frequently trotted out by Putin’s mouthpieces and online trolls. When your campaign is riddled with people on the Kremlin payroll, with deep ties to Moscow, it’s not surprising that the candidate starts mouthing their disinformation.

**

Or, to make it very simple, in the words and images of ABC News:

these guys

Istigkeit, approximately

Saturday, April 16th, 2016

[ by Charles Cameron — classification, impropriety, and a concept pretty much unique to Meister Eckhart ]
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First, here’s what I call a DoubleTweet, juxtaposing two tweets for the resonance between them — and juxtaposing two thoughts for the resonance between them is about as simple a way of demonstrating the whole being greater than the sum of its parts as I can think of.

Take 1, Obama is slippery with words:

Take 2, the Europeans outbid and finesse him:

I don’t actually know if you can outbid and finesse while playing Bridge, but you can in metaphor.

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There was also a DoubleQuote that sprang to mind, but Patti Brown got to it first, so I’ll just copy her tweet here:

Lawyers — the Clintons & POTUS.

Compare philosophers, poets, native speakers, natural language processors.

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Also worth taking into consideration here:

  • Mark Stout, War on the Rocks, Were Hillary Clinton’s emails classified? Where you stand depends on where you sit:

    the uproar about the Clinton email server ignores the reality that, for very good reasons, the CIA and the State Department have different approaches to classification and classified information. These different approaches result from the different functions of the agencies.

  • Cory Bennett, The Hill, Clinton emails reveal murky world of ‘top secret’ documents:

    The watchdog [IG] said it found a number of Clinton’s emails that currently contained “classified intelligence community information.” But the State Department has said it did not consider that language classified at the time those emails were sent.

    Both sides can be correct, said several former officials.

  • And that’s enough hipbonish excitement for one post.

    Saint Stalin, pro and con

    Thursday, October 1st, 2015

    [ by Charles Cameron — Washington Post, meet Pravmir ]
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    Putin and the Patriarch: a Christian Jihad in al-Sham!

    I was prepping this for yesterday’s post, saving relevant articles in their own little folder, but got sleepy before actually writing this business up, and today’s Washingtomn Post does the job better than I could have, so you can go read The Christian zeal behind Russia’s war in Syria to get the basics.

    Most striking feature of that story, ICYMI, is this tweet:

    I’m not sure whether that’s a Russian base “facing” Syria or Ukraine — the WaPo seems to have illustrations of both, which is a tad confusing — but an icon of Stalin?

    **

    Aside from the base and its purposes, however, it’s worth noting that Pravmir in late June discussed How the Church to respond to the attempts to make the image similar to the icons of Stalin? (lacking Russian, I have to go with Google Translate’s translation), and that Archpriest Alexander Saltykova explained:

    The Church has responded to the recent actions A. Prokhanov, as well as before it meets a number of similar cases involving attempts to write psevdoikony of Stalin and Lenin, Hitler and such historical figures.

    So Saratov archdiocese called the action A. Prokhanov “blatant provocation”. His attempts to organize a “religious worship” “psevdoikony depicting IV Stalin’s “cause” regret and resentment. ”

    It is also recalled that the hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church “has repeatedly emphasized,” that “canonization persecutor of the Church and the organizer of the bloody mass repression impossible” and “The very idea is absurd.”

    See also:

    Saratov archdiocese apologized to the believers of the ceremony with the icon of Stalin

    Saratov archdiocese called a provocation action of the writer, the founder of the “Izborsk club” Alexander Prokhanov. Thus, members of the clergy have commented on the incident at the air base in Engels, where the priest was consecrated by order made izbortsev icon of “Our Lady Sovereign”, which is surrounded by Soviet marshals depicted Generalissimo Joseph Stalin.

    **

    Seems there’s a little more to this story than meets the Washington Post eye.

    I’ll be interested to see what John Schindler makes of this, and also welcome comments from any others interested in Russia and or Orthodoxy reading here..


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