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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:

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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.”

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

Korea: thy goalpost shall be my goalpost

Saturday, May 26th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — sorry, medical events slowed this one down a bit, hope it’s still of interest ]
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The revised pitch

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Navigating spaces where the two become one / the one blossoms into two, we run into the basic problem of nouns or pronouns matching verbs, singular or plural. This is the Korean conundrum in a nutshell (or koan). Let’s take a flier at another version, then zero in on ground zero, the DMZ.

My mind had turned to goalposts, which plenty of people have said are moving, or have been moved, and I thought I discerned a pattern in which two sets of goalposts were one and the same — yet opposite.

Thy goalposts shall be my goalposts

From which I slipped gears and came to “thy goalposts shall be my goalposts” as a formula for success in our negotiations with Kim Jong Un — and that came from a very similar rhythm or cadence — a blueprint, almost — in the Old Testament / Tanakh book of Ruth.

But Ruth replied:

Entreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God: Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.

It doesn’t much matter if you know the context, or care or don’t care for religious writings, or just older forms of the lanuagee. In this paragraph, the two are inseparables — one, by will and love.

Will and love matter, as in their lsser ways do rhythms, cadences, and blueprints.

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The goal is / the goalposts are: denuclearization.

At opposite ends of the field — or are they back to back, in the very heart of the DMZ? — the Koreans would no doubt like the shadow of American nukes off the peninsular. And playing the exact same game, going after the exact same goalposts, the US would clearly like Pyongyang to cease and desist all efforts towards maintaining or strengthening North Korea’s nuclear weapons capability.

Hey, both sides want denuclearization, right? Denuclearization equals denuclearization, right? Easy?

Let’s just pray denuclearization and denuclearization don’t cancel out in a mutual holocaust, eh?

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C’mon, there’s only twone goalpost, aren’t there?

Shorts 01: Holi festivities, omertà, and so forth

Friday, March 2nd, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — an olla podrida or highly spiced Spanish-style stew ]
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Holi Festival:

Today is Holi Festival for those who celebrate it, the day on which we color each other in dyes in honor of Prahlad, a child devotee of the Supreme Beloved:

Accordingly, I wish that all may be drenched in the colors of devotion this Holi, most joyful of festivals!

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Omertà:

For a taste of something very different — there has been considerable discussion recently of Paul Manafort‘s seemingly obstinate refusal to plead to Mueller’s charges and save (salvage) at least some of his skin by becoming a cooperating witness rather than an overwhelmingly indicted criminal in the Russian influence affair.

What I haven’t seen suggested is that the man may be following a code: specifically omerta:

a code of silence about criminal activity and a refusal to give evidence to authorities.

Particularly if his Mafia bosses happen to be rough and Russian.

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Hope Hicks:

There’s an intense Vox piece on the sexism to be found in a plethora of press reports on Hope Hicks. The provocative title: When does Hope Hicks get to be a “wunderkind” instead of a “former model”? And the provocative fact:

None of this coverage mentioned the salient fact that Hicks’s modeling career spanned ages 10 to 16. She landed the Ralph Lauren deal at age 11. By 16 she had quit her part-time modeling job to focus on her true passion, lacrosse.

I nwon’t get into the sexism issue, but that “salient fact” does seem to put much of the “former model” language in its place.

Hick is, however, still model-style gorgeous at 29 — as seen in this photo in which she’s on her way to testify to the House Intelligence Committee:

Given Donald Trump‘s known eye for beautiful women, isn’t Hope Hicks‘ beauty too a “salient fact”?

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Language lesson

Under the title McMaster Gives a Belated Russian Lesson, Foreign Policy introduces us to the words maskirovka — military arts by deception — and vranyo. The latter is best explained by the verbal spiral I commented on yesterday:

A Russian friend explained vranyo this way: ‘You know I’m lying, and I know that you know, and you know that I know that you know, but I go ahead with a straight face, and you nod seriously and take notes.’

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Bluff or threat?

That’s the question Putin’s recent claims sets before us, and an item in Australian BC’s Is Vladimir Putin bluffing or should we be worried about his new ‘miracle weapons’? caught my eye — a quote from our own Nuclear Posture Review:

its [Russia’s] “escalate to de-escalate” doctrine implies it might respond with nuclear weapons in any conventional war.

You know my preoccupation with pattern? Okay, “escalate to de-escalate” has ann exact opposite in French:

Now almost as familiar in English as in French, “reculer pour mieux sauter” — which I imagine is originally an equestrian show-jumping expression — means to step backwards, the better to leap (forwards).

A Pattern Language for Strategy, check!

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Trump, Guns, and Golf

The entire text of Kevin Drum‘s Mother Jones article under that title reads:

Hey, did Donald Trump ever sign that executive order allowing guns at all his golf resorts, like he promised to do? Just wondering.

Well, did he?

Games, politics, and game metaphors

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — continued from Playing politics and other games, &c ]
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I’ve been collecting gams and game metaphors applied to politics in Playing politics and other games, &c, but with additional examples surnning to 20 plus comments, and that particular post vanishing below a sea of more recent posts, it’s time to start afresh — hence this post.

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That’s hard to beat, but there are a couple of phrrases I’ve caught in passing..

MTP: “folks have been playing games with their words on this.” ie their attitudes to Trump firing Muellerl

John McLaughlin: “To assure the public there have been no games being played here..”

Chyron on MSNBC: “Blame game?”

New White House security clearance policy could put ‘bull’s eye’ on Kushner

“Alex van der Zwaan wasn’t on anyone’s Bingo card” — Rachel Maddow, 20 Feb 2018

Ari Melber m.06, ouroboros:

“If your bodyguard needs a bodyguard, things are getting heavy; if your lawyer needs a lawyer, things are going down.”

“Starting with that cat-and-mouse game.”

“A rapid set of dominos falling” Chris Hayes, All in, m.16 “A sort of domino effect, Gates tips onto Manafort, Manafor tips onto Trump.”

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It’s almost like a chess board, Mueller has a knight, Flynn .. they’re getting very close to check mate.” m.22

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‘Mueller is playing chess — Trump is playing Donkey Kong’:

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Special Counsel Robert Mueller has filed another indictment against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, listing multiple charges of tax and bank fraud. The editors of The Masthead, The Atlantic’s premium membership program, dove deep into the workings of Manafort’s impact on U.S. politics in their special corruption issue.

Kayfabe is an analog for war and love maybe, not a model

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

[ by Charles Cameron — hat-tip to Ferdinando Buscema, magician and therefore cognitive science specialist extraordinaire ]
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Occasionally one reads a truly stunning article — stunning, I mean stunnng.

Eric R. Weinstein‘s 2011 Edge answer, WHAT SCIENTIFIC CONCEPT WOULD IMPROVE EVERYBODY’S COGNITIVE TOOLKIT? is one such article, and as such I have retained the full caps in its title.

The theoretical background is :

Evolutionary biologists Richard Alexander and Robert Trivers have recently emphasized that it is deception rather than information that often plays the decisive role in systems of selective pressures. Yet most of our thinking continues to treat deception as something of a perturbation on the exchange of pure information, leaving us unprepared to contemplate a world in which fakery may reliably crowd out the genuine. In particular, humanity’s future selective pressures appear likely to remain tied to economic theory which currently uses as its central construct a market model based on assumptions of perfect information.

If we are to take selection more seriously within humans, we may fairly ask what rigorous system would be capable of tying together an altered reality of layered falsehoods in which absolutely nothing can be assumed to be as it appears. Such a system, in continuous development for more than a century, is known to exist and now supports an intricate multi-billion dollar business empire of pure hokum. It is known to wrestling’s insiders as “Kayfabe”.

Evolutionary biology, okay — I have other preferences for go-to model theory, but this one seems popular among non-magical realists on the cutting edge.. and the analog proposed in this article is kayfabe.

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Which is?

What can be seen as “tying together an altered reality of layered falsehoods in which absolutely nothing can be assumed to be as it appears”? What, in other words, can model all these altered realities? And kayfabe cannot be the answer, since it is one of those altered realities itself. No — for sure, it may provide a superb analog for professional wrestling and those others — “war, finance, love, politics and science” — mentioned later in the piece:

Kayfabrication (the process of transition from reality towards Kayfabe) arises out of attempts to deliver a dependably engaging product for a mass audience while removing the unpredictable upheavals that imperil participants. As such Kayfabrication is a dependable feature of many of our most important systems which share the above two characteristics such as war, finance, love, politics and science.

— but it cannot model them.

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Let’s take a closer look at the analogy, though:

What makes Kayfabe remarkable is that it gives us potentially the most complete example of the general process by which a wide class of important endeavors transition from failed reality to successful fakery.

That’s skirting the “model” concept again, but:

While most modern sports enthusiasts are aware of wrestling’s status as a pseudo sport, what few alive today remember is that it evolved out of a failed real sport (known as “catch” wrestling) which held its last honest title match early in the 20th century. Typical matches could last hours with no satisfying action, or end suddenly with crippling injuries to a promising athlete in whom much had been invested.

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The idea was to avoid two “paradoxical risks”:

  • Occasional but Extreme Peril for the participants
  • General: Monotony for both audience and participants
  • Think about that in the context of war — extensive boredom punctuated by episodes of extreme risk? Try these descriptions from WWI:

    Since then we have been doing infantry work in the trenches. We have been out of work on our trenches; only shrapnel and snipers. Some one described this war as “Months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror.” It is sad that it is such a bad country for cavalry.

    and:

    “Months of boredom punctuated by moments of terror” : such is a description of life in the Navy which a naval lieutenant quotes as exactly fitting the facts.

    That covers army and navy, both from Where does the phrase of “boredom punctuated by moments of terror” come from? — but what about the air? It’s not from WWI, but anyway:

    In Barry Lopez’s essay “Flight” (published in About This Life and originally in Harper’s October 1995) he quotes pilots describing flying as “hours of boredom punctuated by minutes of terror.

    And what of love — after, as they say, the honeymoon is over?

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    For that matter, and at an entirely different scale, what about the heartbeat?

    That’s “boredome punctuated by excitement” in a nutshell, iterated, and becoming a (mostly) relable rhythm..

    Iterated. Rhythm.

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    I’m unconvinced that the heartbeat is an example of “the general process by which a wide class of important endeavors transition from failed reality to successful fakery”.. And that’s a crucial element of the general process, eh? It has to do with the way in which “important endeavors transition from failed reality to successful fakery.”

    I’d read that as potentially covering the transition from failed Mueller to successful Fox, if things go that way. YMMV:

    But “general process” — again, what’s the mnodel? And more preciseluy, what would the model look like in “stocks and flows” system dynamic form, say in STELLA? See Donella Meadows, Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System?

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    Or HipBone?

    I’m not convinced Mueller / Fox is a “boredom then excitement” example, much less that Mueller and Fox are allied in producing their result, whatever this may turn out to be — but Democrat and Republican, perhaps..

    And my search for the abstraction, the underlying model of the general process proposed continues..

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    KAYFABE in Professional Wrestling tells us more:

    To lift the veil on the world of professional wrestling, we need to take a look at the term ‘kayfabe‘. Kayfabe is a wrestling word coming from the early carnival days of wrestling for the word “keep”, originally used as “keep quiet”, or “keep secret”. Kayfabe is often seen as the suspension of disbelief that is used to create the non-wrestling aspects of the business, such as feuds, angles and wrestling gimmicks (or in layman terms, a wrestler’s on-screen persona from their personality down to their attire). In relative terms, a wrestler breaking kayfabe during a show would be likened to an actor breaking character on camera.

    In the past, it was common for wrestlers to adhere to maintaining kayfabe in public, even when outside the ring and off-camera, in order to preserve the illusion that the competition in pro wrestling was not staged.

    Kayfabe breaking as analogous to “an actor breaking character on camera”? And kayfabe transitioning from “virtual” to “real” — another of our favorite themes? Here we are again, from our first source:

    Importantly, Kayfabe also seems to have discovered the limits of how much disbelief the human mind is capable of successfully suspending before fantasy and reality become fully conflated. Wrestling’s system of lies has recently become so intricate that wrestlers have occasionally found themselves engaging in real life adultery following exactly behind the introduction of a fictitious adulterous plot twist in a Kayfabe back-story.

    So “wrestlers have occasionally found themselves” — wrestlers, plural, found themselves engaging, plural — in adultery? Our model needs to accomodatee this plurality along with all the rest.

    Adultery?


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