[ by Charles Cameron — my laptop keyboard is malfunctioning — my fault — but thanks to MS on-screen keyboard, I’m able to post here ]
How’s this for a DoubleQuote?
I thought I was getting a wee bit tired of screen-grabs from items in my FB, Twitter and newsfeeds, but this one caught me by surprise — too good to miss!
And then there were others:
Alex Jones admitting to psychosis as the explanation for his — extremely profitable, until Twitter banned him this week — conspiracy theories, when his earlier excuse was that he was an entertainer, just kidding.. that too was striking and worth capture.
Firing squad was one of those five-star ***** instances that I’d want to include in any definitive collection of best war metaphors..
And a few more:
That last screen-grab, as you’d have learned from the sound-track, features three inset images for three black churches burned..
This one’s important:
Designating a state actor a terrorist organization goes against most definitions of terrorism, which apply the term to non-state actions only, thereby making the compilation of stats for all sorts of comparative purposes, an already difficult task, even more troublesome — for an excellent overview by the leading authority on terrorism definition, see Alex Schmid, The Revised Academic Consensus Definition of Terrorism
Neal Katyal, who wrote the Special Counsel rules:
Get rid of judges ..
Say.. say, Judge, I an’t do it ..
He comes off as a football owner who keeps changing managers .. or coaches
Eating their own..
You start shooting at your allies because one of them is straying..
One big part of the reason that Donald Trump is our President is because a good number of people believe that the TV character Donald Trump was a real thing, thanks to the years he spent on national TV on our parent network of course, building up a reputation as a successful, self-made tough tycoon, not afraid to make the tough calls when the tough calls needed calling..
Most of us now know that the reality show Trump is not quite the reality we got. And as we saw yet again today, when it came time to deploy that famous tag-line, there seems to be some stage-fright ..
There has been so much turnover in just over two years of the Trump administration that the Washington Post was compelled to produce this graphic, which looks like a game of chutes, ladders, and people who will never get their reputations back:
[ by Charles Cameron — and don’t miss the latest message from the Archangel Michael at the end of this post ]
Alita‘s embodiment or incarnation:
How Alita is, so very human:
And Alitas‘s backstory — her previous lives:
Coming to the big screen February 14th, Saint Valentine‘s Day.
Or you might prefer Michael Archangel, also a battle-angel, albeit a being of peace and light:
The concept of battle angel seems irresistible — even when this particular sword-waving archangel emphasizes that many in his human audience have been confused “when we have used such terms as warriors of peace or warriors of light, or what might be construed as militant terminology”. Battles can be metaphorical — angels too?
[ by Charles Cameron — after Sen Jeff Flake’s elevator epiphany and meet-up with his friend Chris Coons ]
What the nation got in the Flake-Coons accord is, at long last, a rare example of principle, empathy, bipartisan comity, seriousness, and leadership that holds at least a chance of preserving fairness and a shred of the Senate’s reputation. Pray that it’s not just a moment. https://t.co/fgA6ue89EQ
A deeply divided Senate Judiciary Committee advanced President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, but final confirmation will depend on a reopened FBI inquiry.
Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court was all set to move unimpeded through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday morning.
Then Jeff Flake had a sudden change of heart.
Hours after declaring his support for Kavanaugh, the Arizona Republican simultaneously voted to advance the nomination in committee while warning party leadership that he would oppose President Trump’s nominee in a crucial floor vote unless and until the FBI conducts a further investigation into Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high-school party in 1982.
MTP Daily, 9/28/2018:
This is a Republican who’s retiring, this is a Republican who’s more free of the political calculus ..
In the political calculus of the moment ..
“We respect her” is the new “thoughts and prayers” ..
The Beat, with Ari Melber:
Within hours of that confrontation, Senator Flake did something we rarely see in this choreographed, partisanship era ..
In this moment, we are watching Hollywood take the high ground over the United States government. That’s a huge red flag. That’s not how this should work.The government should be holding the higher moral standard, and Hollywood it.
This guy shouldn’t be allowed to drive a car.
That was the Twilight Zone A Few Good Men. It’s like, he thought he had the closing speech in A Few Good Men, but for a lot of the country he was in a different movie ..
Tell me how the sequence worked that led to this overtime in the game, so to speak ..
It does seem they’ve got the fire power, the candle power ..
what kind of pandora’s box ..
You get two supreme court nominees in the ideology of your liking, that’s sort of like a pitcher in the major leagues winning over 20 games, i mean that’as a hell of a season, and now that season’s in real jeopardy ..
the tip box is big, and it’s open ..
next up, a hairline fracture in the partisanship that has come to define American politics ..
he’s not intimidated by the 9 out of 10 republicans who back trump in every single thing; the others are hog-tied ..
i was struck by a profile in democracy — here was a guy who held an elevator door. senators have their own elevators in order to keep those people out..
battle of the genders looks like a draw ..
sen klobuchar: the constitution does not say, We the ruling party, she constitution says, We the people..
All In with Chris Hayes 9/28/2018:
Sen Hirono: the FBI investigation has to be complete. It can’t be some cursory kind of investigation that gives cover to some wavering senators. It’s got to be real ..
a lot of people felt like something was wrong and breaking, i mean, wrong in that it felt like there was a kind of torture being imposed on dr blasey ford .. profound legitimacy crisis that we’re watching happen in slow motion ..
it does feel as though something is fundamentally breaking, and I almost appreciate the fact that in the end the republicans took the mask off, and stopped allowing their prosecutor to ask questions, they decided to turn it into a big political show you saw what their endgame was, not really getting to the truth, but doing whatever was necessary to try to jam him through ..
He has fought back viciously by calling his opponents names like “saboteur,” “idiot” and “pedophile.” Now, Tesla chief Elon Musk is embracing the same kind of combative approach to wage the fight of his career against the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Musk is as close to sainthood as one can get in Silicon Valley, a sci-fi virtuoso who has captured imaginations with gambles on soaring rockets, electric supercars and brain-computer links. A critical element of his cult of personality: He rarely backs down from a fight.
That last paragraph has an interesting four-part evaluation of Musk: close to sainthood .. sci-f- virtuoso .. cult of personality — fight. If I was setting that para to music, it would definitely be on a descending arpeggio..
In both the original and the replay, the same Washington D.C. reporter, whose parents were Communist Party members connected to Soviet atomic spies and who were under FBI surveillance for decades, teamed up with the same second D.C. reporter, who was outed as an “FBI asset,” to take down a sitting Republican President of the United States.
In both instances the “unnamed source” leaking information to these two reporters turned out to be the Deputy Director of the FBI.
This is a remake.
Some of the players have even reprised their old roles.
[ .. ]
This is stunning – decades apart in time two separate FBI Deputy Directors leaked information about the then-sitting President of the United States to a pair of reporters, one of whom hails from a family intertwined with the Soviet spy ring that handed America’s nuclear secrets to Joseph Stalin and the other of whom was an “FBI asset.”
Both of these FBI Deputy Directors had to know with whom they were dealing.
A brace of interesting articles, both by John Seabrook:
Captain Daniel Gerard, who took over Vortex in the fall of 2007, didn’t put much stock in their ideas. As he said, “Academia and law enforcement are at opposite ends of the spectrum. They like theories, we like results.”
Kennedy was tall and slim, and in the dark clothes he favored there was something about him of the High Plains Drifter -— the mysterious stranger who blows into town one day and makes the bad guys go away. He wore a grizzled beard and had thick, unbound hair that cascaded halfway down his back. “What’s some guy who looks like Jesus got to tell us about crime in Cincinnati?” was the line around police headquarters.
Kennedy had been approached by Dr. Victor Garcia, the head of the trauma unit at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, who was seeing almost daily the effects of the city’s violent gangs: the stabbings, shootings, and beatings, and the injuries to innocent children caught in the crossfire. “Children with their eyes shot out, children paralyzed,” Garcia told me. “I started to wonder, instead of treating injuries, how can we prevent them from happening in the first place?”
Often, much of the violence is caused by gang dynamics: score settling, vendettas, and turf issues, all played out according to the law of the streets.
Whalen explained to me the C.P.D.’s distinction between social workers and cops: “Social people hug thugs. We kick their butts.”
I particularly appreciate the echo of ““Academia and law enforcement are at opposite ends of the spectrum. They like theories, we like results” in “Whalen explained to me the C.P.D.’s distinction between social workers and cops: “Social people hug thugs. We kick their butts.””
[ by Charles Cameron — an end to war & truce might bring peace ]
The leaders of the two Koreas did a little ritual dance whereby each invited the other to cross the border into his own territory.
You can look at Kim Jung-un and Moon Jae-in doing their border-skipping dance at minute 43 on this video:
If the camera people had been sharper, they’d have been following the leaders in full view, not cutting them off at the knees or waist, so we could see the whole event, of huge symbolic significance.
One MSNBC commentator aptly described the border as:
dividing a nation — or two nations — depending how you look at it.
That’s not only succinct, it’s profound, if you think about it.
I’ve discussed the issue of liminality — the symbolic importance of borders — in a major post, Liminality II: the serious part, which I recommend as a follow-up to this one.
It will fill you in with examples — from boot camp to monastic induction, and from the worship of Vishnu to the USS Topeka — of the importance of humility at border crossings.. recommended!
But let me give you a a souvenir, a reminder — just a taste —
Limen is the Latin for border, line drawn in the sand, threshold — and the liminal is therefore what happens at thresholds.
Something pretty remarkable happened as 1999 turned into 2000 — something liminal. And it happened aboard the USS Topeka, SSN-754 (below):
SAN DIEGO, Calif. (June 23, 2009) The attack submarine USS Topeka (SSN 754) departs San Diego harbor for a scheduled deployment to the western Pacific Ocean. Topeka, commanded by Cmdr. Marc Stern, was commissioned on Oct. 21, 1989 and is one of seven Los Angeles-class fast-attack submarines assigned to Submarine Squadron 11. Topeka was showcased in the recently released movie, “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen.” (U.S. Navy photo by Command Master Chief Charles Grandin/Released)
Its bow in one year, its stern in another, the USS Topeka marked the new millennium 400 feet beneath the International Dateline in the Pacific ocean. The Pearl Harbor-based navy submarine straddled the line, meaning that at midnight, one end was in 2000 while the other was still in 1999… The 360-foot-long sub, which was 2,100 miles from Honolulu, Hawaii, straddled the Equator at the same time, meaning it was in both the northern and southern hemispheres. Some of the 130 crewmembers were in Winter in the North, while others were in Summer in the South…
Sitting pretty on the threshold between two millennia, two centuries, two decades, years, seasons, months, days and hemispheres in the recent life of the one earth was an extraordinarily liminal idea — as the two-faced January is a liminal month — and I think illustrates effectively the terrific power of the liminal to sway human thinking
Navy commanders in charge of billion dollar ships seldom get up to such “fanciful” behaviors!
[ by Charles Cameron — jazzing on WotR plus Hesse’s GBG ]
Towards the end of her fine War on the Rocks piece, Blue Hair in the Gray Zone, Dr. Jacquelyn Schneider, Assistant Professor at the U.S. Naval War College (and lucky they are to have her) wrote:
The U.S. military has devoted immense resources to technology, but the future forces will fail without humans designing, adapting, operating, and maintaining the technology.
That’s pretty much the thrust of her whole piece — towards the beginning she’s already said it:
With the pace of current technological change, future force architects should care just as much about the people that man the forces as they do the machines.
I applaud Dr. Schneider’s article, obviously — but to my mind’s eye it sums to a tiny, concentrated, powerful relationship:
technology : humans
We have the technology, the relation says, we need the humans.
I’m with that, but as always when I see writings that sum to that relation, I think of my own, repeated, obsessive equivalent:
humans : ideas
That’s my obstinate Plus One.
It began, I suppose, with Hermann Hesse, who described his Glass Bead Game in a poem as a game played in a garden:
In the title poem of his book, Hours in the Garden .. is the Game as he played it himself, while raking leaves in his garden and burning them. In this simpler form, the great Game consists in imagining the great minds and hearts of the past — “wise men and poets and scholars and artists” — meeting across the centuries and talking…
That’s the game as an interaction between humans. In his great, Nobel-winning novel The Glass Bead Game, however, he has abstracted the game, and it is now played with ideas, rather than people:
The Glass Bead Game is thus a mode of playing with the total contents and values of our culture; it plays with them as, say, in the great age of the arts a painter might have played with the colors on his palette. All the insights, noble thoughts, and works of art that the human race has produced in its creative eras, all that subsequent periods of scholarly study have reduced to concepts and converted into intellectual values the Glass Bead Game player plays like the organist on an organ. And this organ has attained an almost unimaginable perfection; its manuals and pedals range over the entire intellectual cosmos; its stops are almost beyond number. Theoretically this instrument is capable of reproducing in the Game the entire intellectual content of the universe.
Hence for myself, once and always:
humans : ideas
But that’s my background motif, the ostinato of my passacaglia, always running in the background of my mind, even when I’m reading War on the Rocks.
And then I’m reading Dr. Schneider, and in the overlap of concepts —
technology : humans meets humans : ideas
or more simply:
technology : humans : ideas
That’s what I’m impelled to say: just as we need the people to give algorithms to meaning and extract meaning from them, so we need the algorithms, and their contexts on a range of scales from tactical issues to the great questions of war and peace, conflict and resolution, pacifist’s and warrior’s codes…
Zenpundit is a blog dedicated to exploring the intersections of foreign policy, history, military theory, national security,strategic thinking, futurism, cognition and a number of other esoteric pursuits.