zenpundit.com » europe

Archive for the ‘europe’ Category

Umpires, Brexit, and the State of the Union

Thursday, January 31st, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — the UK looks to be teetering over the White Cliffs of Dover, with 22 miles of channel separating them from the rest of Europe — and a hard border with Éire ]
.

There are few more tumultuous games on earth than the British House of Commons, with its two sides lobbying and lobbing insults at one another, while the no-side-works-for-me cross-benchers face the no-side-I’ve-retired-from-the-fray Speaker across the length of the chamber, no doubt relishing the spectacle but, in the Speaker‘s case, regulating it with roars of “Order, order!!!”

And fray it is, glorious in its freedom, so wild as to demand frequent pruning — the Speaker, in the New Yorker‘s words, “presides over whatever fare — technical, listless, boorish, crazed — is unfolding in the chamber at a given moment. The House may be full with paper-waving cries of “Foul!” “Fiend!” Recant!” or even these days, I suppose, “Repent” — we do live, after all, in a remorselessly secular age..

**

But then..

Pattern recognition: there seems to be a pattern of Speakers disinviting Donald Trump.

**

Sources:

  • NYorker, Is the Speaker of the House of Commons Trying to Stop Brexit?
  • WaPo, Sorry, judges, we umpires do more than call balls
  • WHOtv, Speaker Pelosi Tells President Trump State of the Union Won’t Happen
  • Dates and Times:

  • te [re-invited] State of the Union is scheduled for 6.00pm Pacific, Tuesday, February 5
  • the Superbowl is 3.30pm Eastern, Sunday, February 3rd
  • Brexit will occur in un-negotiated form if nothing stops it, at 11pm GMT, Friday, March 29.

  • One way or another, fun times ahead..
  • Prophecy revisited — any good?

    Monday, June 18th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — prophecy, prediction, and the news cycle ]
    .

    Prophecies can be news — in this case, the almost-prediction is in a piece by religion-savvy reporter Sarah Pulliam Bailey in WaPo:

    **

    Nope.

    Okay, we guess wrong — and sometimes when we guess wrong, we do CYA maneuvers to avoid admitting it. Hal Lindsey has been updating his 1970 bestseller The Late, Great Planet Earth, with its nudge in the direction of a 1980s rapture for some time — with royalties increasing every time the likely (but no man knoweth) date of Armageddon is delayed, ca-ching!

    Lindsey also predicted that the European Economic Community, which preceded the European Union, was destined (according to Biblical prophecy) to become a “United States of Europe”, which in turn he says is destined to become a “Revived Roman Empire” ruled by the Antichrist. Lindsey wrote that he had concluded, since there was no apparent mention of America in the books of Daniel or Revelation, that America would not be a major geopolitical power by the time the tribulations of the end times arrived..

    so this is just a brief reminder that prophecies, predictions &c can easily make news when they are made, but fail to make the news when things don’t work out as expected (see our unintended consequences pages for related materials).

    Well, is Kim Jong-Un still among the living? Has Trump exercised restraint with all those hellfire missiles at his disposal — and a notoriously fractious temperament?

    Thank God, I suppose.

    **

    I’ll collect further examples of failed prophecies and predictiosn here.

    More than 26,500

    Friday, March 30th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — despair at the human condition, and rejoicing ]
    .

    On the one hand:

    On the other:

    What impresses me enormously:

    Dr. van Hulst was among more than 26,500 gentiles — 5,595 from the Netherlands — recognized by Yad Vashem for risking their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust.

    The Barcelona Response

    Monday, August 28th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — from a half-million-strong march to the hug of a victim’s father and an imam, Barcelona and Spain repond to terror with nobility and grace ]
    .

    Telesur‘s headline read Nearly 500,000 March for Peace in Barcelona, and their subhead:

    Marchers, on Saturday, displayed signs and banners with various slogans. Some read, “No to Islamophobia,” “The best response: Peace,” and “I’m not afraid.”

    The march:

    A makeshift shrine to those killed in the attack:

    A monarch visits the survivors of terror:

    NPR reports on the celebration of Mass in La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona:

    Mass Held In Barcelona To Honor Victims Of Terror Attacks

    Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia and other dignitaries attend a solemn Mass at Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia Basilica on Sunday for the victims of the terror attacks that killed 14 people and wounded over 120 in Barcelona, Spain.

    **

    We remember the sacred magnificence of the ritual setting, Antonio Gaudi‘s Basilica of the Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, in which this Mass was offered:

    And Spain’s considerable Moorish history, exemplified by the Mezquita of Cordoba:

    **

    We witness the profound gesture of the father of the youngest victim, as reported by Daily Sabah, Europe:

    Father of youngest victim of Spain attacks hugs imam in defiance of terror, Islamophobia

    The father of the youngest victim of last week’s tragic terror attacks in Cambrils and Barcelona hugged a local imam in an emotional protest against terror and Islamophobia.

    Xavier Martinez, who lost his three-year-old son Xavi in the attack on Las Ramblas avenue, embraced Spanish imam Driss Salym in the town of Rubi, near Barcelona on Friday. The video of the two hugging, defiantly showing unity and compassion, was widely shared on social media.

    Here is the BBC’s video:

    **

    Oof, the imam’s tears at the end of that clip.

    Many cities have shown their resilience when attacked, and we are proud of them: Barcelona best of all.

    Trump blowback — not boustrophedon but enantiodroma?

    Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — with a stinger from Bucky Fuller in the tail ]
    .

    Here’s boustrophedon

    — since it’s harder to find a decent illustrations for enantiodromia.

    **

    Boustrophedon is the motion of an ox ploughing a field, up to the top and then back down: it’s a motif of reversal, but the farmer’s volition is the same both going up and coming back down. Enantiodromia, o the other hand, is just straight reversal as I understand it, a sudden switch of direction not caused by continuing intent, but by balance restoring itself after excess.

    Hence, Trump blowback as described in WaPo’s Behold the Trump boomerang effect would fall in the latter category of form.

    **

    Fred Hiatt opens his piece under that title:

    Did your head spin when Utah’s Orrin Hatch, a true conservative and the Senate’s longest-serving Republican, emerged last week as the most eloquent spokesman for transgender rights? Credit the Trump boomerang effect.

    He carries on:

    Much has been said about White House dysfunction and how little President Trump has accomplished in his first six months. But that’s not the whole story: In Washington and around the world, in some surprising ways, things are happening — but they are precisely the opposite of what Trump wanted and predicted when he was sworn in.

    The boomerang struck first in Europe. Following his election last November, and the British vote last June to leave the European Union, anti-immigrant nationalists were poised to sweep to power across the continent. “In the wake of the electoral victories of the Brexit campaign and Donald Trump, right-wing populism in the rich world has appeared unstoppable,” the Economist wrote. Russian President Vladimir Putin would gain allies, the European Union would fracture.

    But European voters, sobered by the spectacle on view in Washington, moved the other way. In March, the Netherlands rejected an anti-immigrant party in favor of a mainstream, conservative coalition. In May, French voters spurned the Putin-loving, immigrant-bashing Marine Le Pen in favor of centrist Emmanuel Macron, who went on to win an overwhelming majority in Parliament and began trying to strengthen, not weaken, the E.U.

    Meanwhile, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whom Trump belittled for having allowed so many refugees into her country, has grown steadily more popular in advance of a September election.

    There’s more, of course, but you get the picture.

    Unintended consequences.

    There’s a huge industry that advises us to shoot for the goal — but yachtsmen know that sometimes to get places, you need to tack with the wind. And Buckminster Fuller said [Critical Path, chapter titled “Self-Disciplines of Buckminster Fuller”] the most interesting effects occur in a manner that’s orthogonal to force applied:

    **

    What a fascinating world we live in!


    Switch to our mobile site