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32, let’s begin with Her Majesty’s hat

Sunday, March 31st, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — hat and flag, insecurity clearances, quantum physics and what it tells us about truth and spin, paris, city of lovers, sex, scandal naturellement, and would you believe it, treason? ]
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Brexit. Her Majesty’s hat draws a clear parallel, but is it a metaphor?

That was the hat HM wore for the 2017 Queen’s Speech to the joint Houses of Parliament — and we have no reason to suppose her opinion has changed since then. Visual DoubleQuote courtesy of Federica Cocco

And then…

I mean, what a nightmare…

**

But then, you can’t always trust the facts:

I mean, news these daze:

Spin corresponds to fact, like the hands of a stopped clock, twice a day.. (thanks, Wolfram)

Here’s some detail from the Ars Technical piece:

You, however, are in a box and cannot report your measurements to me. Instead, I have to measure your state to discover the result of your measurement.

So what we have here, if I might say so, is a case of Matryoshka measurements..

That means you are in a superposition state of having measured a vertical or horizontal photon, even after you have made the measurement. I can measure your state, and we end up with two sensible outcomes: you measure horizontal, and I measure you to have measured horizontal; you measure vertical and I measure you to have measured vertical.

But there are two more possibilities: you measure horizontal, but I measure you to have measured vertical, and you measure vertical, but I measure you to have measured horizontal. If the second measurement is governed by quantum mechanics, those two are just as likely to occur as the sensible outcomes. So half the time, the measurement result you obtain contradicts my measurement of your measurement.

Got it?

If not read, the whole article, then read it again. Frown. You’ll get it.

There is nothing wrong with either measurement, and there is no calculation that we can perform to resolve the contradiction.**

**

Reading an account of the Al Franken affair, focused on the questions of piling on (scapegoating?)nand equal justice for accuser and accused — two sports metaphors:

Fellow Democratic senators quickly entered the scrum as they fought to be next in line to proclaim outrage and demand he should go.

One of the most disturbing aspects of #MeToo is that watching someone get destroyed in real time has become something of a sport.

In the course of reading in and around that article, I ran across this brilliant visual DoubleQuoting of the Christine Blasey Ford / Brett Kavanaugh matter:

On such balance we may project each our suppositions: but to have achieved such balance!

**
And so to my dialysis viewing:

Hardball, 3/29/2019:

Julia Ainsley:

He [Barr] doesn’t have blinders on, he knows the public criticism here..

David Corn:

It doesn’t look like he’s playing Even Stephen here..

Zerlina Maxwell [on Barr making decisions ahead of release of Mueller report]: I look at this situation almost like the track and field runner that’s running down the hoe stretch, and they put their arms over their head, and then they’re crossed at the finish line..

.. this feels like a premature victory lap

Chris M:Well, David, Zerlina caught me .. with that visual of the President of the United States, this particular one, running a hundred yard dash. I don’t think that would be his event. I think riding a golf cart would be his event.

.. that must be the sound of a bus going over you ..


Chris M [ourob]:

How can a white person [ie Hillary Clinton] bea racist agfainst white people?

[ but cf “self-hating Jews”]

With anyb luck, I’ll get access to a complete Hardball video for 3/29/2019 and be able to find the chyrons “DeVos grilled’ (42); Trump “overriding” (43); and “Trump questioned” (50)

I have a note, “that’s the inverse of what’s true” which is a superb example of reverse (pos-neg) symmetry, cf the spy vs spy image in a recent post).. There was also a ref to David Ignatius, How the mysteries of Khashoggi’s murder have rocked the U.S.-Saudi partnership

**

Then there was the Green New Deal, with Chris Hayes:

Seb Gorka: They want to take away your hamburgers. This is what Stalin dreamed of and never achieved.

AOC: I expected a little more nuance..

It’s surreal ..

No more disposable people, no more disposable places ..

Ref:

A Green New Deal Is Technologically Possible. Its Political Prospects Are Another Question.

**

Rachel Maddow 3/29/3019:

Rachel re Barr:

It was kind of him free-styling, this was him showing off his dance moves ..

Now, tonight, it appears there’s a little bit of panic in the disco, because now William Barr has released yet another unexpected, taken it upon himself, ad lib, figuring it out as he goes along letter ..

**

Let’s close with this stunning image by Stephane De Sakutin / AFP / Getty:

A mold of the Genie de la Patrie damaged during a “yellow vest” protest at the Arc de Triomphe in December is seen during its renovation by the French restorer Agnes Le Boudec in Paris on March 25, 2019.

King Canute, Imperial Beach, CA, and rising tides

Monday, October 22nd, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — a coastal California town has learned the lesson King Canute either taught his nobles or learned the hard way himself — but what can anyone do about it? ]
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**

Okay, here’s the first para of Can a California town move back from the sea? Imperial Beach considers the unthinkable: a retreat from nature:

At the start of each year, Southern California gets a glimpse into a future of rising seas, through an annual event called the king tide. On that day, the sun, moon and Earth align to create a heavy gravitational pull, leading to the highest tides of the year. If “king tide” sounds ominous, that’s because it is, particularly for a city like Imperial Beach, a small coastal town near the Mexican border surrounded by water on three sides: San Diego Bay to the north, the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Tijuana River Delta to the south.

It doesn’t hurt that there’s a king reference there either, from my POV — because?

**

Because King Canute.

As a Brit, I was introduced to King Canute at an early age, along with every last one of the other Kings and Queens of England — and their dates — memorize them! Americans, however, have shaken off the dust of kings and queens, and may not know the tale of King Canute and the waves. Was he, as my gold-embossed, colour-plated richly patriotic children’s book had it, an imperious royal who set his chair in the sand before the incoming tide, and not about to lose one inch of English sovereign soil to the waves, dared the Atlantic to encroach on his royal prerogative?

Or was he, as Henry of Huntingdon, the original chronicler of the tale has it, a humble and wise, one might say ecologically sound king, who set his chair in the sand to demonstrate to his fawning and flattering courtiers that look, not even my royal command can overrule the laws of God — or Nature?

**

So, back to the humbling question — rising tides?

Currently an anomaly, the king tide is a portent of things to come. Researchers warn that, due to myriad factors including the Earth’s rotation, California will deal with even higher sea-level rise than other locations, as the atmosphere and oceans warm. The oceans are now rising at a faster rate than any time since the last Ice Age, about half an inch or more per decade. While much of this is understood by researchers and informed readers, very little has been done by coastal cities to confront this slow-moving catastrophe.

And Imperial Beach in particular?

That is what makes Imperial Beach so interesting. Here, at the southernmost beach town in California, in an obscure corner of the United States, one small city is asking: What if we just got out of nature’s way?

**

Sources and readings:

  • High Country News, Can a California town move back from the sea?
  • The Sun, You Canute be Serious

  • Wikipedia, King Canute and the tide
  • New York Times, Major Climate Report Describes a Strong Risk of Crisis as Early as 2040
  • ipcc, Global Warming of 1.5°C
  • Decapitation — Variations on a theme by Vollmann

    Monday, September 24th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — preliminary to a rave review, i suspect, with Helena Bonham Carter as Red Queen thrown in ]
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    **

    There’s an old English saying, presumably about the martyred King Charles I:

    The King walked and talked half an hour after his head was cut off..

    Young boys, getting acquainted with rules and grammar, and somewhat literal minded as a result, find this statement a paradox, which, however, can easily be resolved by the addition of a comma or perhaps better, a semicolon:

    The King walked and talked; half an hour after his head was cut off..

    Older boys quickly learn the (semicolon) reason of the riddle, and eagerly apply the first version to younger boys, the better to perplex and torment them. And thus both versions, the beauty of the paradox, the ease of its resolution, and the cruelty thus made available are transmitted across the generations..

    **

    I have written this because the beheading of a king clearly marked my young soul, as I was yesterday reminded by three passages from an Atlantic review of Vollmann‘s latest Opus — Magnum III at least [I, II, and let us not forget, gods I would love to read this, Kissing the Mask: Beauty, Understatement and Femininity in Japanese Noh Theater]..

    Summits chopped off:

  • In West Virginia, mountains do not have their summits chopped off but are granted “removal of overburden.”
  • Decapitation:

  • His insatiable appetite for detail yields both irrelevant trivia (“Embarking on the Super Limited Hitachi Express, which was also known as the Super Hitachi 23 Limited Express”) and magisterial portraits of landscapes befouled by poking and prodding and, in the case of West Virginia’s mountains, decapitating.
  • Headless:

  • Vollmann breathes a cool wind “whose degree of particulate contamination was of course unknown,” hears on a silent street at night the grunting of a radioactive wild boar, and walks on broken glass through an abandoned clothing store advertising a 50 percent–off sale and peopled by headless mannequins.
  • Headless mannequins and radioactive wild boars — vivid metaphors, no? — we the humans have been brain-dead, and in all likelihood will continue so.

    **

    We’re all too familiar with images of ISIS executioners with their orange jump-suited prisoners, just prior to and after solo and group beheadings — as a corrective to the “it’s all Islam” narrative, here’s a para from an article titled Inside the Minds of Cartel Hitmen: Hannibal Lecters for Hire (which includes an interview with Robert Bunker that I will be taking a more extended look at now my review of JM Berger‘s new book. Extremism, is in):

    And the tactics employed in all that killing have become more and more gruesome over time. Maybe the rush felt by some murderers is like a drug itself, and they are junkies needing ever greater doses to get the same high. But how is it that ordinary people get hooked on activities like beheading, acid baths, and cannibalism?

    **

    Quoth the Red Queen: Off with their heads!

    Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?

    Wednesday, February 21st, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — Thomas à Becket, Jim Comey, Vladimir Putin, Stormy Daniels ]
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    Okay, let’s start with the movie version of “Who will rid me..?” Here’s the set up, the breaking of the long and deep friendship between King Henry II, his will driven by the power of the State, and his Archbishop, Thomas à Becket, driven to opposition by the honor of Mother Church

    When the King determines at last to have his Archbishop removed, he utters those words which ring down the centuries — “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” — shown here in Anouilh‘s version of Becket at 3.32 in this clip or thereabouts:

    Sigh.

    Becket meanwhile offers his resignation unto death in surrender to the will of his God:

    In Eliot‘s Murder in the Cathedral, a passage with which one must wrestle lays out the conflict and its resolution:

    They know and do not know, what it is to act or suffer.
    They know and do not know, that acting is suffering
    And suffering is action. Neither does the actor suffer
    Nor the patient act. But both are fixed
    In an eternal action, an eternal patience
    To which all must consent that it may be willed
    And which all must suffer that they may will it,
    That the pattern may subsist, for the pattern is the action
    And the suffering, that the wheel may turn and still
    Be forever still.

    Becket was killed in his cathedral on 29 December 1170, by four knights acting on the spur of the moment utterance of their king, and their own certainty as to the wish their king intended to express.

    Becket was canonized — named a saint and martyr — in 1173. And the King? Wiki summarizes:

    The king performed a public act of penance on 12 July 1174 at Canterbury, when he publicly confessed his sins, and then allowed each bishop present, including Foliot, to give him five blows from a rod, then each of the 80 monks of Canterbury Cathedral gave the king three blows. The king then offered gifts to Becket’s shrine and spent a vigil at Becket’s tomb.

    **

    So much for Becket.

    President Trump, who had somewhat reluctantly fired Flynn, suggests to Jim Comey, head of the FBI, that he might want to close down the further investigation of the Russia business:

    I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.

    Comey was later questioned by Sen. Angus King in an intelligence committee hearing:

    KING: In terms of his comments to you — I think in response to Mr. Risch — to Senator Risch, you said he said, “I hope you will hold back on that.” But when you get a — when a president of the United States in the Oval Office says something like “I hope” or “I suggest” or — or “would you,” do you take that as a — as a — as a directive?

    COMEY: Yes. Yes, it rings in my ear as kind of, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”

    KING: I was just going to quote that. In 1170, December 29, Henry II said, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” and then, the next day, he was killed — Thomas Becket. That’s exactly the same situation. You’re — we’re thinking along the same lines.
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    **

    That’s the direct use of the Becket theme turned to a contemporary purpose. But there’s more..

    Julia Ioffe on All In with Chris Hayes, speaking of Putin‘s plausible deniability using the oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin as a cut-out:

    IOFFE:It`s a very, very close relationship. In Russia, he`s known as Putin`s chef. And this is very much in keeping with how the Russians do things, right? There`s never going to be or probably not going to be any finger – any of Putin`s fingerprints on this, right? Probably what it looked like was Putin essentially saying, you know, who will rid me of this you know troublesome Hillary and everybody else kind of gets what that means and swings into action.

    **

    You might think the Becket story was enough. You might take delight in its contemporary echo by Comey and King. Julia Ioffe using the same example of Vladimir Putin was an unexpected bonus — but there’s (sadly) more..

    Consider this:

    Who Will Rid Me of This Meddlesome Stormy? The Michael Cohen Story:

    Doing conspicuous favors and fixing things is in the nature of this bizarrely public toady-chieftain relationship. Read through Cohen’s interviews. You’ll find it’s replete with mixes of mafia tough guy talk and zany levels of conspicuous self-abnegation. It’s all theater at some level. But I think to a great degree it’s genuine. It’s the guy’s identity, like the way a top captain thinks about the mob boss he serves. Who will rid me of this meddlesome Stormy? Did I mention that Cohen and Trump’s mafia business partner Felix Sater were childhood friends long before they both ended up as top Trump business partners right around the same time? Well, that’s true too. In the scale of money both Trump and Cohen operate at, covering the $130,000 payment himself seems entirely plausible as something Cohen would do as part of the larger relationship. He probably did get paid back some way or another. But I think it’s totally plausible he didn’t. He’d love to be that guy who made the problem go away. Doing Trump a solid like that would be something he’d happily do. It’s the basis of their relationship. He’d get paid back in other ways.”

    When Donald Trump, in one of his furies, makes an offhand comment about Mueller, does that then become an order in the ears of one of his loyal subordinates?

    The Becket story has much to teach us.

    King Cnut rebukes N Carolina legislators, & Trump by extension

    Saturday, August 12th, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — a meditation on sea-level rise ]
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    A thousand years later, the lesson King Cnut sought to teach his nobles still hasn’t altogether sunk in.

    The North Carolina story is from 2012, and I haven’t been tracking to see if there have been any changes since then — but the attitude behind the gutting of the EPA under President Trump is simply “more of the same”..

    Humility is the key word in the article on King Cnut.

    **

    Sources:

  • ABC News, New Law in North Carolina Bans Latest Scientific Predictions of Sea-Level Rise
  • Wikipedia, King Canute and the waves

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