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Metaphors, more

Thursday, June 7th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — continuing collecting.. with David Ronfeldt in mind ]
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Let’s start with soem double-barreled good news

and:

**

Okay, Game metaphors:

Ari Melber, The Beat:

Donald Trump is circling

Chris Mathews on Hardball:

You know, it has an aspect of, you know, Connections to Kevin Bacon, how many degrees of separation — how many people go to the Seychelles? Does Mueller believe it’s a coincidence?

re the Summit:

It feels more like a teenage romance, on again, off again

Ashley Parker, In the Trump administration, the truth comes out after vigorous denials:

The admission that Trump dictated his son’s statement is the latest example of where on a number of key issues — especially pegged to Mueller’s ongoing Russia probe and Trump’s legal woes — the White House and the president’s lawyers have offered contradicting stories and whipsaw about-faces, often revealing the truth only weeks later, when confronted with their inconsistencies.

Katie, The Lid: a lot of post-game analysis ..
it’s like a marathon, it’s a spring ..
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Giuliani: pardoning himself woudld be unthinkable ..Trump: I have the absolute right to pardon myself ..
Nemo iudex in causa sua ..
or in the words of James Madison often found don our masthead:

No man is allowed to be a judge in his own cause, because his interest would certainly bias his judgment, and, not improbably, corrupt his integrity.

Prettt much the definitive example of why the ouroboros form is one we should be on the alert for — everybody sees this one.
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Macron Is French for Obama — an interesting way to describe a complex equivalence..
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lawyers: we can talk out of both sides of our mouths ..
trump: i cn kill this (investigation) ant time, this is my game..
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I think they went 0 for 6

Is he playing checkers, I think he’s playing chess..

Your family (?) had a pitch- shot — something that appeals to all bases — Sen Flake

[ attorneys on opposing sides being chummy ]:

.. when the bell goes off and they return to their corners ..

Ari, meta-metaphors:

There’s a lot of metaphors in Rap and Law.

And sheer fun:

I don’t know quite what form of ouroboros this is, from WaPo’s No, Canada didn’t burn down the White House, but there’s something more troubling about Trump’s claim — but I semse one there, dom’t you?

In fact, the burning of the White House may be the worst possible example to justify a trade dispute — one of the reasons the White House burned was because of a trade dispute.

And here’s an ourosbouros, close kin to the serpent-bites-tail kind, brought to my attention by Karlie “New and Improved” Ann (many thanks):

Orient yourself: The map is an Ourosbouros

Here’s what I take to be the ouroboric part:

But what does it mean for a machine to draw and follow its own map of the world? Would the result be, eventually, a map that is impervious to inaccuracies and bias? Or is that pure “technochauvinism”? After all, the computer still has to match its map to the world, similar to the way that humans do. The artificial intelligence that “learns” the map could still be confused by minor changes, like a sparkly sticker on a stop sign. That could easily cause an accident or pedestrian injury—more easily, in that instance, than it would with a human driver.

In that case, what’s the purpose of a map that reads itself? And what potential subjectivities could still work their way in?

Here’s a military and linguisttic one. From Anger Flares Up as Group of 7 Heads to Quebec:

as he engaged in a contentious war of words over trade

Soccer and the World Cup:

From How Russian Meddling Gave Us This Year’s World Cup:

In the spring of 2010, Christopher Steele, a former British spy with a shock of graying hair and a quiet, understated manner, received some alarming news: Vladimir Putin, a lifelong ice hockey fan, had taken a sudden interest in soccer.

Putin, then serving a four-year term as prime minister, saw hosting the World Cup as a vital way to project his country’s power, and his own, around the world.

Few, if any, will wonder whether Russia can actually take home the glittering trophy when the tournament ends on July 15. The truth is that it doesn’t really matter what happens on the field.

Russia already won.

it’s really a self-goal .. [if US gets out of G7]
[Stavridis] there are no winners in a trade war ..
i’ll bet my retirement ..

Something to the effect that Trump walked into a room where people were playing poker and wanted to play ?half-and-half, tthrew all the cards up in the air ..
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Nicolle Wallace:

What do you think of that as the way to ?make a rodeo .. foreign policy?

Donald Trump, conclusion of his press conference after Singapore Summit:

Congratulations, everybody. This is, to me, an important event in world history and to be really true to myself, I have to add I want to get it completed. Mike and our team has to get to work and get it completed because otherwise we have done a good job. If you don’t get the ball over the goal line, it doesn’t mean enough.

Thank you. Congratulations to everybody in the room. Thank you very much. I appreciate it. Thank you.

oh, and btw:

We will stop the war games which will save us a tremendous amount of money. Unless and until we see the future negotiations is not going along like it should. We will be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus. It is very provocative.

Sports analogy:

The Goal That Sealed Russia’s Latest Victory on the World Stage

A goal in the forty-third minute of the match, from Russia’s Denis Cheryshev, was a real and undeniable beauty, no matter how lacklustre the opposition.Video Courtesy Fox
Watching the first game of the World Cup, an entirely lopsided affair between Russia and Saudi Arabia, burdened with the knowledge that the U.S. national team had not qualified for the tournament, I couldn’t help thinking that this was a sports-world reiteration of our country’s broader failures on the international stage.

Danve metaphor, a striking one from a striking article:

Artificial concern for people in pain won’t stop suicide. Radical empathy might.

We perform empathy like a child learning to box-step for a school dance, one-two-three, one-two-three. It’s a performance we don’t really care about.

War, metaphor?

Mr. Trump goes to war [Korea, Gogre Will]
‘Prepared for war’: As Mueller moves to finalize obstruction report, Trump’s allies ready for political battle

Bannon:

Bannon: ‘I couldn’t be prouder’ of Trump

“Donald Trump is accomplishing everything he committed to the American people on the campaign that I stepped in as CEO. I couldn’t be prouder of the guy,” Bannon said. “All he has to do is continue to hit those marks on that whiteboard and he’s going to run the tables.”

**

I am adding new materials as I find them, thus saving you from an endless stream of comment notifications.

The new bad boy in girls’ lives, & other complex natsec issues

Tuesday, May 8th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — Trump hits Iran-ball hoping to put N-Korea-ball in the pocket? ]
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Bad boy?

**

Consider this:

The drivers of various significant natsec behaviors from a natsec perspective, can be pretty hard to characterize, pin down, and model. To take just today’s example (well, yesterday’s):

  • WaPo, MS-13 is the new bad boy in girls’ lives
  • Think about it, just skim the surface, and it’s obvious. Of course, MS-13 would be the new bad boy in girls’ lives. But what does that mean? Who has mapped the way in which girl’s lives might require or enjoy bad boys, and how gang identity, and thus by entension the game itself, might fulfill that requirement, that need.

    How true was it that ISIS or AQ was in its day the bad boy in girls’ lives?

    It seems pretty obvious Mick Jagger was bad boy in girls’ lives, back when Paul McCartney was the boy those same girls could bring home to meet the parents.

    Is extremism always the bad boy in girls’ lives?

    And once we’ve wondered about a few exmples, we need to reflect on the ornery nature of individual human psychology.

    **

    God says, “But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die” — and what’s the very next thing the fledgling humans do?

    Or as Wallace Black Elk said to me, “stolen watermelon tastes best.”

    Those two are fairly straightforward, the message is simply “humans are liable to do the exact opposite of what might be intended or predicted. But then there’s this, anecdotal to be sure, but I can voich for it myself:

    In my early thirties, I made my way cross-country to Inia along the hippie trail, and in the midst of majestic mountains in Iran, I got out of the van, did a headstand, and made a vow to give up smoking. I climbed back into the van, and ten minutes later had another cigarette. Ah, but I didn’t bite my nails — up to that time a long-established habit — for almost a decade..

    Go figure. There’s a logic there, but it involves a sidestep. Or, as they say, some wires got crossed.

    And it gets worse.

    **

    Blaise Pascal‘s observation in his Pensées (1623-1662) opens the possibility that any number of undertows may suddenly erupt and sweep us off in unforeseen directions:

    Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connait point. The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing

    **

    Or to give you a vivid example of the same pattern of process torn from this day’s news — and threatening thousands of Hawaiian householdsL

    On April 30, the floor of a crater on top of the Kilauea volcano collapsed, sending its pool of lava back underground and causing small earthquakes. Scientists predicted the magma would travel elsewhere and push its way back to the surface somewhere in the East Rift Zone.

    They were correct.

    Days later, the ground split open on the east end of Leilani Estates, exposing an angry red beneath the lush landscape. From the widening gash, molten rock burbled and splashed, then shot dozens of feet in the air.

    The Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency called it “active volcanic fountaining.” Some residents said it was Pele, the Hawaiian volcano goddess, coming to reclaim her land. About 1,700 Leilani Estates residents were ordered to evacuate amid threats of fires and “extremely high levels of dangerous” sulfur dioxide gas.

    Soon, another such fissure had formed a few streets to the west. Then another, and another. For days, hot steam and noxious gases rose from the vents, before magma broke through, with some lava fountains shooting as high as 330 feet into the air — taller than the tip of the Statue of Liberty torch.

    At least 12 fissures have been reported in and around Leilani Estates, according to the county civil defense agency. Lava spouted along the vents and oozed through the neighborhood, leaving lines of smoldering trees in its wake and igniting cars and buildings.

    So far, lava has destroyed at least 35 structures, 26 of which were homes, the agency said Monday night.

    The world, like the min, is full of surprises.

    **

    King Canute, I was taught as a young boy, set his throne on the beach at low tide and forbade the waters to come in. This Hawaii resident had much the same idea..

    **

    And we would like to know how Iran will respond to Trump withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. And China. what Admiral Stavdridis calls “the knock-on effect with North Korea”. Saudi Arabia.The game is one of recriprocal Nuclear Dominoes, and exactly how they’ll fall is..

    Well, here are a few headlines to chew on:

  • Ha’aretz, From Doomsday to Delay: 5 Scenarios Ahead of Trump’s Decision on the Iran Nuclear Deal
  • Independent, Donald Trump’s decision on the Iran nuclear deal could have a disastrous ripple effect on the fight against terrorism
  • Atlantic, The Three Crises Sparked by Trump’s Withdrawal From the Iran Deal
  • Toss a coin, Roll the dice. Or maybe pray to Pele for a favorable outcome for you and yours, no guarantees..

    Wittgenstein’s language games and the public sphere

    Monday, May 7th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — suggesting a lessening of TV Trumpery and its critiques ]
    .

    In a tweet earliee today, I suggested that the close reading of a text can be highly rewarding, a point I made most forcefully in Close reading, Synoptic- and Sembl-style, for parallels, patterns.

    Key to a close reading is the “language” in which a given writer or speaker clothes their words.. “language” here being used both in the sense of their metaphors and forms (which is why I’ve been collecting sports and other metaphors, ouroboroi and other forms) and in the sense formulated by Witty Wittgenstein in his Philosophical Investigations (PI).

    The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy offers us a list of regular language games as Wittgenstein uses the term in PI:

    reporting an event, speculating about an event, forming and testing a hypothesis, making up a story, reading it, play-acting, singing catches, guessing riddles, making a joke, translating, asking, thanking

    I want to suggest that we could usefully think of language games in terms of the philosophical, ideological, partisan, religious or psychological drivers that propel them.

    Further, in the case of Trump, we might observe that the language game he is playing is not the one his critics on, say, MSNBC, are basing their own critiques on.

    And here’s the great advantage: once we’ve analyzed the differences between Trump’s language game and aims and those of his critics, we could close shop. We wouldn’t need this constant barrage of Fox and MSNBC news on the topic — any new utterance of his or Giulianis of note could simply be indexed to the sub-para describing that particular disjunction in language game, and basta! — the rest of the news “oxygen” would be available for the discussion of other topics.

    As a subset of that para — I don’t suppose Mueller xxwill want to take every piece of “off the cuff” Trumpery as intended as real “truth” — “all that is the case” –he’ll surely see it as entertainment and distraction — chuff and chaff — and zero in on the key statements of the President’s worldview, viewing them as exemplars not of “truth” but of a language game to be analyzed and evaluated as such. Having zeroed in on these relatively few key phrases, many of the many critiques offered by Trump’s accusers.

    **

    Wittgenstein asks what all that we consider to be games have in common, and decides they share a family resemblance but — in my words, here — the cousins on one side of the family have little (a polite word for “nothing”) in common with the cousins at the other end of thr spectrum.

    If the Olympic Games included language games in their list of sports, Giuliani‘s reference to FBI agents as stormtroopers wight win long jump gold.

    Here’s Jonathan Chait in Giuliani’s FBI ‘Stormtroopers’ Smear Is the Key to Trump’s Authoritarian Mind-set”>:

    In 1995, National Rifle Association president Wayne LaPierre signed his name to a fundraising letter referring to Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents as “tjack-booted government thugs.” The implicit association of American federal law enforcement with fascists provoked a furor. Former president George H. W. Bush publicly resigned his NRA membership in protest; LaPierre had to apologize.

    Last night, in the midst of a long, deeply incriminating interview, Rudy Giuliani called FBI agents “stormtroopers.” Here was the president’s lawyer, not an outside lobbyist, comparing federal law enforcement to Nazis directly, rather than indirectly.

    Stormtrooper vs jack-booted government thugs is an interesting comparison (& makes a fine DoubleQuote), and Chait’s “implicit association of American federal law enforcement with fascist” in hth cases exemplify just the kind of language extremism we should be avoiding in our policy debates.

    Chait’s continuing half-paragraph illminates the arcane workings of the media machine in processing such things:

    The Washington Post’s account of Giuliani’s interview noted the remark in a single sentence, in the 30th paragraph of its story. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Politico accounts of Giuliani’s interview did not even mention the stormtrooper remark at all.

    There are times I wish for sanity.

    **

    Okay, that was third and last in this series.. Previously:

  • On negative space in the painting..
  • On negative space, private morality in the public square
  • This:

  • Wittgenstein’s language games and the public sphere
  • A DoubleQuote with games ref, natsec, and a ratio!

    Saturday, May 5th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — President Donald Trump Legal Team Loses Ty Cobb (And His Mustache) | MTP Daily | MSNBC ]
    .

    I just have to give you this DoubleQuote (visual) with verbal accompaniment taking the form of a ratio (a : b :: a* : b*) — and it’s politics, current affairs, natsec (Bolton) and law (Cobb), and even (very Shakespearean, this) exits and entrances

    And here’s the ratio, as expressed on MSNBC by Chuck Todd on Meet the Press Daily:

    But seriously, Bolton is to Cobb as miniature golf is to the Masters — similar — but really — not really

    That’s simply delicious.

    Here’s the clip:

    ***

    If you’re me, trolling the online waves for DoubleQuotes, game metaphors and natsec, that’s a trifecta at the very least. And I just had to give it its own post.

    As Chuck Todd put sit to Ari Melber:

    Well, y’know, hey, you gotta entertain yourself somehoe, some days.

    There’s even a tiny ouroboros in thre!

    By your gracious permission..

    Games, sports, play, dream & other interesting metaphors, &c

    Monday, April 30th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — continuing my habit of collecting language, images included, which catch my attention — various forms of magical, alchemical and other evidence that life is but a dream — Calderón de la Barca, la vida es sueño ]
    .


    King’s College To Wit by Thomas Howell Jones

    Duel Day is a commemoration of the duel fought between the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Winchilsea over the founding of King’s College London. The duel itself was fought on 21 March 1829 and the anniversary is celebrated annually around this date.

    **

    Hardball, carnival barker, dueled with men over the honor of women :

    Trump: Next Old Hickory or Carnival Barker?

    He touches on the potential for letting Obamacare implode, possibly a hardball play with Congress. [ .. ]

    While Old Hickory fought the British, whom he hated bitterly, and the Indians, whom white settlers wanted out of the way, dueled with men over the honor of women and rose from being a country lawyer to the president, Trump is a real estate developer turned reality TV star who doesn’t even have the backing of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    Kanye plays 3-dumesonal chess with pop culture, Ari Melber, Fallback Friday, The Beat, 04/28/2018::

    I sometimes see Kanye as literally playing 3-dimensional pop-culture chess [ .. ]

    That’s a dangerous kind of bed of fire to walk on right now [ .. ]

    It isn’t a game to play with words like this [ .. ]

    So Kanya’s going to keep pushing forward, but he’s got an album to sell, so it’s a game thing [ .. ]

    To me, Kanye plays 3-dimensional chess with pop culture. I’ve seen him make dramatic moves that look like he was in check mate, and then he was able to turn it round relatively [ .. ]

    I’ve heard there are people behind the scenes, close to making that check mate he may not be able to recover from

    eighth-dimensional chess master sorcery

    Do Kanye West’s Politics Matter?

    That Kanye West finds his ideas intriguing does not surprise me, however. Adams thinks that he, and he alone, truly gets Trump, and comprehends the eighth-dimensional chess master sorcery that accounts for Trump’s appeal. It’s a way to join a mob but also flatter yourself for transcending it. It reminds me very much of a rapper I used to think I knew.

    Bargaining Chips, played like a fiddle:

    As Two Koreas Talk Peace, Trump’s Bargaining Chips Slip Away

    “The United States has been played beautifully, like a fiddle, because you had a different kind of a leader,” Mr. Trump said after meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany at the White House. “We’re not going to be played, O.K.? We’re going to hopefully make a deal; if we don’t, that’s fine.”

    **

    I guess language play — and natsec rhyme — falls within the play & other interesting metaphors rubric:

    “Escalate to de-escalate” is catchy, it rhymes, and it rolls off the tongue. Unfortunately, it is also wrong — but not for the reasons experts usually focus on.

    Since Russia released its 2014 National Defense Strategy, and especially after the publication of America’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review, U.S. officials, pundits, and national security wonks have used the phrase either to describe Russia’s strategy, or as a launching point to criticize that description. Buzz phrases like “escalate to de-escalate” tend to spread through officialdom where they are misunderstood and misused as quickly as they are shared. The problem with the term is not that Russia doesn’t have capacity or plans to use calculated escalation (nuclear or otherwise) to contain or terminate a conflict. It’s that such escalation is only one part of a larger strategic approach, and the focus on Moscow’s nuclear threshold risks missing the forest for the trees.

    That’s from War on the Rocks, today, Time to Terminate Escalate to De-Escalate — It’s Escalation Control

    A headline from War on the Rocks, Monday 30 April 2018:

    DROPPING THE BALL IN THE WESTERN BALKANS: CAN THE WEST PICK IT UP AGAIN?

    >>>

    That would have been a game changer —
    is hot-dogging on this thing ..

    >>>

    Continuing right here. Every ten additional examples or so, I’ll post & tweet a reminder.

    **

    Guest on Rachel Maddow, 05/01/2018:

    FThe goalposts keep changing as to what collusion means.

    **

    Mueller raised possibility of presidential subpoena in meeting with Trump’s legal teamMueller responded that he had another option if Trump declined: He could issue a subpoena for the president to appear before a grand jury, according to four people familiar with the encounter.

    Mueller’s warning — the first time he is known to have mentioned a possible subpoena to Trump’s legal team — spurred a sharp retort from John Dowd, then the president’s lead lawyer.

    “This isn’t some game,” Dowd said, according to two people with knowledge of his comments. “You are screwing with the work of the president of the United States.”

    **

    Robert Mueller and Co. are playing hardball

    **

    **

    Never underestimate your ability to shoot yourself in the head..
    non-denial denial .. non clarification clarification ..
    lapdog..
    enabled some of these dominos to start falling..
    Rudy Giuliani is a loose cannon .. rolling around the Oval Office .. another loose cannon..
    a fishing expedition .. a happy hunting ground out there..
    four dimensional chess..
    is he work horse or show horse..
    everybody takes a victory lap ..
    they are altogether so different, politics and wrestling..
    the Olympics of making things up.. (Ari)
    full court press ..
    he opens the Pandora’s box just a little bit more.. Dateline
    opening Pandora’s box: that is war ..
    Giuliano’s cleaning up for Giuliano ..
    Stormy playing herself (SNL, ourob)
    lawyering involves adversarial combat ..
    Amb Chris Hall: he might find a way to dodge the bullet that is pointing right at his head ..
    behind the eight-ball
    people in this morality play [Ari]
    gloves are of .. the stakes are getting higher and the gloves are coming off
    Gina Haspel, Iran, and Pay-to-Play with Michael Cohen
    Yanked the ball back ..
    Each show is separate show, each match is the wrestling card
    a pretty good roadmap to a smoking gun .. [slate]
    the tentacles of players..
    he’s wrong it say it’s illegal .. you need a quid pro quo..
    he’s always been a hard-charging associate
    when the fish are hidden in the shadows ..
    05/10/2018
    Clint Watts “dancing round within their terms of service” ..
    ignoring the elephant in the room to concentrate on the fleas on the fllorr.. Avenatti

    **

    Giuliani: The special counsel so far seems to think that Comey is Moses, and I happen to think Comey is Judas..

    I wouldn’t be an attorney if I did that, George — I wouldd be living in some kind of unreal fantasy world, that everybody tells the truth ..

    **

    Giuliani’s FBI ‘Stormtroopers’ Smear Is the Key to Trump’s Authoritarian Mind-set

    **

    Rachel:

    When it came to the US breaking the Iran deal .. Effectively we are grabbing the ball off the field, popping it, and telling everybody we are about to tear gas the pitch. And so it seems unlikely that this game will keep going for long.

    Amanpour:

    I would describe pulling out of this deal [nuke deal] as possibly the greatest deliberate act of self-harm and self-sabotage in geo-strategic politics in the modern era.

    George Will:

    Judging by the number of times Pence announces himself “humbled,” he might seem proud of his humility, but that is impossible because he is conspicuously devout and pride is a sin.

    Between those two Cabinet meetings, Pence and his retinue flew to Indiana for the purpose of walking out of an Indianapolis Colts football game, thereby demonstrating that football players kneeling during the national anthem are intolerable to someone of Pence’s refined sense of right and wrong.


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