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One serpent, one equivalence, for Trump

Friday, September 1st, 2017

{ by Charles Cameron — the pardon ouroboros, the antifa / neo-Nazi equivalence ]
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A couple of issues of form cropped up for me this morning in WaPo — one from today, one from yesterday, carried over.

Let’s start with Jennifer Rubin. Her headline, Trump may get bitten by his own abuse of the pardon power, comes close to calling Trump a serpent, if like me you think of “self-biting” in terms of the ourobotos. Of course, Ms Rubin may not think like me..

I don’t see any further serpent references in Rubin’s piece, though, but I did find a Pharaoh reference:

To the contrary, as far as I understand, most of Arpaio’s most egregious conduct will go unpunished. Combined with his frequent attacks on the judiciary, this latest episode will no doubt harden Pharaoh’s proverbial heart.

There are serpents in the Old Testament too, Jennifer.

Oh God, there’s an impeachment reference if the Dems take over the House.And reverends are already all but calling for civil war in that eventuality…

Argh.

**

And then — back to issues of form — there’s Marc Thiessen, Yes, antifa is the moral equivalent of neo-Nazis. Moral equivalences are frequently contested. and often “read into” statements of comparisons that aren’t necessarily intended to imply equivalence. Here, the claim of moral equivalence is specific — it’s right there in the title.

It’s interesting that the article itself bases the equivalence on terming Antifa communist:

Mark Bray, a Dartmouth lecturer who has defended antifa’s violent tactics, recently explained in The Post, “Its adherents are predominantly communists, socialists and anarchists” who believe that physical violence “is both ethically justifiable and strategically effective.” In other words, they are no different from neo-Nazis.

Well okay — communist equals Nazi, right? — from that oerspective, case closed.

But are there other perspectives?

Antifa equals Neo-Nazis, right? Could be — but my question is whether Antifa would exist if Neo-Nazis hadn’t already shown up. Does that make a difference? WHo struck th first blow, so to speak? Or is it a simple matter pof two forms of extreme violence, mirroring eachg other.

Mirroring: another formal property to watch for,

China as the balance between DPNK and the US

Saturday, August 12th, 2017

[ by Charles Cameron — once again, it’s the formal properties that interest me here ]
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You may agree or disagreee, but in two-party negotiation I’d say, speaking as a moderator, bridge-builder, peace-maker, there’s a natural parity between the two parties

— this parity will be there, somehow, even if not immediately apparent, or something is seriously amiss.

**

Here, then, are two of countless ways in which China must handle disparities between the parties, if she is to maintain a balance between the US and Korth Korea:

The population balance — or imbalance — is pretty extreme, and the nuclear arenal imbalance even moreso:

**

I’ve included the moderator (China) along with the two parties in my weightings above, pondering whether it makes a difference when the moderator is “heavier” than either party, or when one party “heavily” outweighs the moderator.

I don’t know, I’m feeling my way towards an intuitive grasp of something here, not presenting a certainty of some kind.

The WaPo article that brought me to these considerations is full of “balance” and “imbalance” imagery..

At issue is “a series of threats and counterthreats by the U.S. and North Korean governments.”

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said there had been an “overwhelming amount” of “belligerent rhetoric” from Washington and Pyongyang.

Even-handedly:

China has repeatedly warned both Washington and Pyongyang not to do anything that raises tensions or causes instability on the Korean Peninsula, and it strongly reiterated that message Friday.

In an editorial, the Global Times said China should make it clear to both sides that “when their actions jeopardize China’s interests, China will respond with a firm hand.”

And considering how things can get worse:

China hopes that all relevant parties will be cautious in their words and actions, and do things that help to alleviate tensions and enhance mutual trust, rather than walk on the old pathway of taking turns in shows of strength, and upgrading the tensions.

And better:

“The side that is stronger and cleverer” will take the first step to defuse tensions..

**

All this is, on the one hand, obvious, and barely needs saying — and on the other hand, fascinating and instructive in its abstract formalism. Of course, there are details that I’m omitting to bring that formalism front and center, but you have the WPo article to give you those.

Most interesting, perhaps, is that final observation:

“The side that is stronger and cleverer” will take the first step to defuse tensions..

It reminds me of another quote I included in a post here on ZP recently:

the problem of defense in the modern world is the paradoxical one of finding ways for the strong to defeat the weak.

Paradox, too, is a matter of form, and thus of particular interest when it occurs in an analytic context.

Metaphors, analogies, parallelisms, paradoxes — my stock in trade — are delicate matters, and should be treated with care.

**

Okay, now how do you diagram the balance mentioned in the WaPo article, In dealing with North Korea, Trump needs allies — not bombast?

Tillerson’s impossible job: Balancing North Korea, China and Trump

**

Sources:

  • Business Insider, Where the World’s 14,995 Nuclear Weapons Are
  • Worldometers, Countries in the world by population (2017)

  • Washington Post, Beijing warns Pyongyang: You’re on your own if you go after the US
  • Hat-tip, btw, to xkcd for painstakingly providing the number graphics via the xkcd Radiation page.

    Eagle deaths: an interesting contrast — a DoubleQuote

    Thursday, July 20th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — on imbalances in public interest, reporting, just one example ]
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    David Hardy at Of Guns and the Law posted Eagle deaths: an interesting contrast today, Jonathan at ChicagoBoyz picked up on it, and when I looked at it myself, I saw the first two of Hardy’s three paragraphs as a DoubleQuote — making two points in counterpoint, as a musician might say, Hardy’s phrase “interesting contrast” meaning much the same thing. I like to use my DoubleQuote graphic formulations for such juxtapositions, as I’ve done here with Hardy’s “DoubleQuote in the wild”:

    Hardy’s third and final paragraph reads thus:

    When worked at Interior, a quarter century ago, I was told that bird deaths due to wind farms were massive, but orders were to do and say nothing, because wind power was fashionable. Hmmmm..

    Ouch.

    **

    If you took all the world’s potential “compare and contrast” pairs, and tried to balance them all equably, so that no comparisons ever had the kind of imbalance Hardy exposes here, there would be too many subjective factors for everyone to agree on, and worse thasn that, all too frequently balancing one pair of issues would almost certainly imbalance others..

    So we’d always have room to complain that something or other wasn’t fair.. Sort of like a Gödel’s incompleteness theorem for idealists?

    Sigh.

    **

    Sources:

  • Associated Press, Bald eagle threat: Lead ammo left behind by hunters
  • Politifact, Trump inflates wind turbine eagle deaths
  • More to the somewhat right, Zenpundit

    Friday, June 9th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — second of two posts ]
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    And here’s the second of two posts, one from myself and one from Zen, both about today’s Comey testimony — in an initial attempt at balance in response to our friend Scott observing:

    This blog has been getting a little partisan since November…can we go back to being a little more objective?

    I don’t suppose Zen will mind my making a post of it here, since he posted it en plein air / en clair on FaceBook himself:

    **

    The Comey testimony is amazing on a number of levels.

    My initial read is that the President didn’t obstruct justice in a legal sense but his actions in attempting to influence the investigation of General Flynn provide more than a theoretical ground for an article of impeachment.

    Historically that is not going to get you a conviction in the Senate by itself. Not even in a Democratic Senate, without other articles and clear evidence supporting them. Which is why Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton finished their terms after being impeached and Richard Nixon resigned even before articles could be voted upon.

    The GOP has a POTUS who is out of control in the sense that he won’t accept normal staff assistance and advice to avoid transgressing obvious red lines in the daily conduct of his office.

    The last administration inappropriately tried to influence Comey in an investigation too – but note that the President personally didn’t wheedle him. There’s good reasons he didn’t. While the type of convo between Comey and Trump was common with J. Edgar Hoover and US Presidents, ever since Watergate this has been understood to be suspect behavior at best and a red line to be avoided.

    If Trump continues as he has done he will soon be in dire straits and all the complaints about hyper partisan media and Never Trump/Obama mole leakers will not matter, no matter how accurate

    More to the somewhat left, Cameron

    Friday, June 9th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — first of two posts ]
    .

    Our friend Scott just observed:

    This blog has been getting a little partisan since November…can we go back to being a little more objective?

    Here’s the first of two posts in an initial attempt at balance, one from myself and one from Zen, both about today’s Comey testimony.

    **

    Was this the day a boil burst?

    Was this the day a boil burst on the neck of universe?
    Universe is too large,
    even solar system exaggerates,
    Jove Pater may be keeping a paternal eye on us,
    there may even be villages in New Guinea
    where John Frum is the news topic of the day,
    but as Dan Rather just said of Comey’s testimony,
    This scene is going to be written about fifty, a hundred,
    two hundred years from now; there’s something
    Shakespearean about it, in more current terms,
    House of Cards..

    My mind drifted from the Comey hearings,
    and came back, I wondered where it had gone, given
    the intensity of the moment,
    volcanic maybe, though all moments
    have seemingly a sort of priority in their own times
    like a balcony in Escher bulging because,
    well, because he’s seeing it, making it his focus..
    My mind must have wandered,
    that’s the metaphor, down to the banks of Lethe,
    dipped in, gotten ah somehow baptized,
    deep baptized,
    so that Lethe, the banks of Lethe,
    the steps leading down to the banks of Lethe
    all vanished, all submerged,
    gone down into oblivion, known
    only because once there was mind on Comey
    and I woke to mind gone.

    Pure Buddhism, pure any meditative practice..
    Mind here, gone,
    and meanwhile the volcano,
    Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, boil,
    has burst,
    spewed forth evidence Mueller
    like a small planetary Jove Pater can work with
    in his own moments volcanic —
    just an American,
    or not quite only an American Jove Pater —
    manwhile, Trump ever Mercurial,
    Comey stellar..

    Speaking of stars, whoah!
    Catastrophe,
    meaning literally: a downward-turning of the stars.


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