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Metaphor series 27: Irresponsible weather, untweeted tweets &c

Monday, March 25th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — also lots from Friday March 22nd, more, and the Barr comment on Mueller Report breaks, March 24th ]
.

Let’s start with the weirdest tweet ever:

That’s a crowd-sized tweet, y’see, and in the crowd-sized small print it says:

He didn’t tweet it, he actually said it.

Take a look at the same image full-sized — full photo-sized, here.

**

Unpredictable weather:

Okay, that’s my excuse for a NASA DoubleQuote:

Here’s what Joshua Stevens of NASA Earth Observatory says in the caption:

Several communities west of Omaha (between the Elkhorn and Platte Rivers) either flooded or temporarily became islands as floodwaters encroached from both sides. One third of Offutt Air Force Base was inundated and 30 buildings were damaged, according to news reports. Rising flood waters forced people in dozens of communities to evacuate.

Wha??

Bob Dylan to the point:

A change in the weather is known to be extreme

You’re A Big Girl Now.

**

Okay, down to mores serious business..

Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, made a fascinating and provocative suggestion to Nicolle Wallace yesterday, and I’ll offer here my transcription and some comments:

To go back to this notion, and the clip of him {The President] saying the American people won’t accept this {Mueller results &c] because these are people who were not elected.. Let’s focus on that. Do you know what that sounds a lot like to most law enforcement officers, this notion that you can’t abide by anything by anyone who has not been elected? The Sovereign Citizen‘s movement.

These are people who, when they get pulled over by the police, shoot the police officer. Why? The police officers were not elected. They recognize only the sheriff. They don’t pay taxes, right? We are essentially seeing the President as a Sovereign Citizen, not recognizing the authority of anyone who wan’t elected. It’s a dangerous philosophy.

He’s going to go with that theme that only elected officials can decide his fate, and there’s going to be a substantial part of the American public that’s going to buy into that..

The Sovereign Citizen Movement was featured in this now-archived FBI page:

Sovereign citizens are anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or “sovereign” from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement.

This causes all kinds of problems—and crimes. For example, many sovereign citizens don’t pay their taxes. They hold illegal courts that issue warrants for judges and police officers. They clog up the court system with frivolous lawsuits and liens against public officials to harass them. And they use fake money orders, personal checks, and the like at government agencies, banks, and businesses.

That’s just the beginning. Not every action taken in the name of the sovereign citizen ideology is a crime, but the list of illegal actions committed by these groups, cells, and individuals is extensive (and puts them squarely on our radar). In addition to the above, sovereign citizens:

  • Commit murder and physical assault;
  • Threaten judges, law enforcement professionals, and government personnel;
  • Impersonate police officers and diplomats;
  • Use fake currency, passports, license plates, and driver’s licenses; and
  • Engineer various white-collar scams, including mortgage fraud and so-called “redemption” schemes.
  • Sovereign Citizenship, is very like a religion –n but the sort of religion where the dogma is loose, and each member pretty much defines their own version. Catholics might recognize this as cafeteria Catholicism, but Pentecostals with each one informed by individual inspiritation strikes me as a more apt comparative.

    **

    Just caught this from late 2018:

    Natasha Bertrand, The Eerie Parallels Between Trump and the Watergate ‘Road Map’
    Lawmakers thought Nixon’s gathering of inside information about the Watergate probe from DOJ was an impeachable offense:

    Nearly 45 years ago, the House Judiciary Committee concluded that President Richard Nixon’s contact with high-level Justice Department officials overseeing the Watergate investigation, detailed in a 62-page “road map” of evidence collected by prosecutors in 1972–73, amounted to an impeachable misuse of executive power.

    A half century later, the FBI’s former top lawyer, Jim Baker—a close friend and associate of fired FBI Director James Comey—is laying out parallels, albeit subtly, to President Donald Trump’s interactions with the law-enforcement officials who have been investigating him and his campaign team since July 2016.

    Parallels, subtly drawn: from a geometrical perspective, parallels are’t subtle, they’r exact — but parallels as a metaphor for similarities in patterning are all the better for subtlety.

    **

    running (in an election), off the hook (wrt prosecution), — these are among the sports metaphors for politics that are so obvious, so basic that it’s barely worth noting them — and yet they’re bassic to more detailed metaphors we’re very interested in.

    and then there are the images I catch,but not the sentences they’re embedded in, let alone the paragraphs.. %strike)Brennan saying “firestorm” at a moment when the TIVO or whatever captured the feed had a hiccup), deliberate or otherwise.. Joy of SM Joy’s “spiked the ball at the fifty yard line”*****, for instance, was a fleeting capture of an often repeated basic phrase, “spiked the ball” which would be better caught in a more detailed context..

    A quick Melber chyron before I lose it, at 22:

    **

    Hardball:

    Chris Matthews: all these dots we are now to believe don’t connect ..
    Chris Matthews: I could see the President announcing in two or three weeks, I split the double header. I got off collusion, all they’ve got me on is this argument about obstruction, by the way I’m allowed to obstruct if I’m innocent ..
    should they feel they just skipped justice?
    43 stars / constellation .. [ a nice para — transcript? ]
    Chris Matthews: it’s the politburo ..
    Chris Matthews:

    The Democrats have been riding this camel for a lot of miles through the desert, waiting for an explosive report that would decide whether the President did something impeachable or not ..

    All In, Chris Hayes:

    Julia Ainsley:

    And then this is the part I think is the most magical. At five o’clock, the congressional liaison at the Justice Department knew his job would be to go brief the committees, but they didn’t want to have any jealousy about who might get this first and how this might go down, so they dispersed a team to the Democrat and Republican side of both the House and the Senate Judiciary, to make sure that the letter .. was put down in front of those committees, all four, Republican and Democrat, Senate and House, Judiciary at the exact same time, five o’clock..

    Neil Katyal:

    And now Mueller is really like a relay racer, handing off the baton to other folks..

    Anna Galliard:

    Well, boy, it’s one of those moments where you have to walk & chew gum & juggle. & fight for the soul of democracy all at the same time ..

    Carol Lam: a Japanese Tea ceremony .. [transcript?]

    Rachel 3-22

    51-2: chuck rosenberg: I think this is far too early for Mr Corsi to be dancing in the end-zone ..*****
    @58 or 50?, katyal: lanes & batons ..
    the mueller probe is officially over, and the torch has been handed to .. cf baton

    MTP (3-22?)

    brennan: I think Bob Mueller understands the firestorm that this report was, you know, going to be out into ..
    nicolle w: andy mccabe .. [distorted] .. a tree house ..
    ari m: he’s a wild-card here, who could ..
    graphic of mueller investigation ..
    nicolle: the earth could change under our feet ..
    he had access to five-eyes intel ..
    ari: i got the football and i might be passing lots of it by this weekend ..
    katyal: we generally don’t have secret books in this country ..
    meacham: will there be a MAGA pitchfork rebellion?

    AM Joy 3-23:

    sat am: malcolm nance: koresh-style . [transcript?]

    AM Joy 3-24

    and not dropped, like a nuclear bomb, on the white house, on friday ..

    59 or 00: over on Earth II or Fox News ..

    **

    Listen up:
    Here’s the breaking news of Barr’s comments on & quotes from Mueller’s report, Sunday 3/24/2019, pm:

    **

    Two comments summing up this remarkable day:

    MSNBC, commentator unknown:

    This is a very good day for the President, and they’ll be spiking the football from here to the election, likely..

    Barr’s letter to Congress:

    The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’

    One of England’s Freedoms

    Tuesday, January 15th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — an amused defense of sacred measures such as the foot, yard, and acre — against the atheistic and idolatrous metric system ]
    .

    **

    You can trudge uphill, you can run up hill and down dale as the saying goes, you may march from pillar to post, church spire to spire, you may follow ancient foot- or bridle-paths or ley lines — all these, if pursued on foot, are covered by the word rambling, and in England, if you follow well-trodden or half forgotten paths, it’s your right. It is one of England’s freedoms.

    **

    Sam Knight, in the New Yorker a couple of days ago, The Search for England’s Forgotten Footpaths:

    Nineteen years ago, the British government passed one of its periodic laws to manage how people move through the countryside. The Countryside and Rights of Way Act created a new “right to roam” on common land, opening up three million acres of mountains and moor, heath and down, to cyclists, climbers, and dog walkers. It also set an ambitious goal: to record every public path crisscrossing England and Wales… [ .. ]

    Between them, England and Wales have around a hundred and forty thousand miles of footpaths, of which around ten per cent are impassable at any time, with another ten thousand miles that are thought to have dropped off maps or otherwise misplaced. Finding them all again is like reconstructing the roots of a tree.

    Now that’s all numbers, and numbers are, d’oh, quantitative. The thing is, walks in the English countryside are primarily qualitative affairs, with mud, styles to clamber across, flash thunderstorms and after-storm greenery, oaks with mistletoe or a thousand rooks high in their branches, willows, snails, birdsong, conversation with a friend or two.. Plato, Brahms, Ann Patchett, Feynmann, Hitchcock, .. with picnics and sandwiches along the way..

    Freedom!

    Qualitative beats quantitative all to smithereens.

    **

    If you look at the photo that accompanies Sam Knight‘s New Yorker piece [above], it belies the “unremarkable walk in the English countryside” mentioned in its caption — clear on the horizon is Glastonbury Tor, hardly an unremarkable location for English walkers.

    Ever since my friend the late British hedgerow philosopher John Michell [above] — hedgerow and British Museum Reading Room philosopher, that is — wrote his startling best-seller The View Over Atlantis [below] —

    — ever since that book appeared, new-agers and ramblers have rambled along ley lines and in search of standing stones — I was one such rambler, along with Michell himself and our mutual friend, the photographer Gabi Nasemann, though I fear I was the slowest and most complaining in our small party — where was I? — Glastonbury Tor has been a sort of seekers’ central for those whose imaginations project ley lines — equivalent to Chinese dragon-paths — across the actual lay of the land.

    Another friend, Lex Neale, penned this piece, Glastonbury: King Arthur’s Field, giving an overview of Glastonbury and the supposed zodiac spread out around it —

    for my then guru’s in-house magazine, lo these many years ago. By then I was in America. And we were young.

    **

    Why do I so love my memories of John Michell?

    He was a William Blake returned, wrong by the mechanical standards of the age, right in imaginative reach.

    It was in the Spring 1978 issue of CoEvolution Quarterly that I first read the text of John‘s A Defence of Sacred Measures. He’d published it as a pamphlet — the first in a series of “Radical Traditionalist Papers” to which our mutual friend the recently deceased Heathcote Willians also contributed — Heathcote {below] —

    do watch this clip, it’ll only take three minutes of your lifetime, and they’ll be three minutes well-spent! —

    — and Stewart Brand must have snagged it for CoEQ. Anyway, you can get the gist from the full title, in the format the pamphlet gave it, as you may have seen at the head of this post:

    I’m deeply grateful to Zenpundit friend Grurray for pointing me to that cover and the full text of John‘s essay, which my own web searching hadn’t turned up. Grurray took particular pleasure in this excerpt:

    the use of the foot locates the centre of the world within each individual, and encourages him to arrange his kingdom after the best possible model, the cosmic order. The ancient method of acquiring this model was not astronomy but initiation

    For myself, it’s John‘s description of the cubit and sundry other measures — and their rationale — that gets me:

    Cloth is sold by the cubit, the distance from elbow to finger tip, and other such units as the span and handbreadth were formerly used which have now generally become obsolete. Of course no two people have the same bodily dimensions, and the canonical man has never existed save as an idea or archetype. These traditional units are not, however, imprecise or inaccurate. Ancient societies regarded their standards of measure as their most sacred possessions and they have been preserved with extreme accuracy from the earliest times. A craftsman soon learns to what extent the parts of his own body deviate from the conventional standard and adjusts accordingly.

    **

    Oh, you may think this all a pretentious, anachronistic attempt to revive a moribund system. But consider this, from the LA Times in 1999:

    NASA lost its $125-million Mars Climate Orbiter because spacecraft engineers failed to convert from English to metric measurements when exchanging vital data before the craft was launched, space agency officials said Thursday.

    A navigation team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory used the metric system of millimeters and meters in its calculations, while Lockheed Martin Astronautics in Denver, which designed and built the spacecraft, provided crucial acceleration data in the English system of inches, feet and pounds.

    As a result, JPL engineers mistook acceleration readings measured in English units of pound-seconds for a metric measure of force called newton-seconds.

    In a sense, the spacecraft was lost in translation.

    The Times assumes the correct procedure would have been “to convert from English to metric measurements” — but who says? One might equally argue the translation should have gone from metric to English.. the mother tongue, so to speak.

    John Michell would lead us along that path..

    Sunday surprise — mourning, a global view

    Sunday, September 23rd, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — starts with an anthro DoubleQuote inspired by this morning’s readings & a Steve Martin tweet — though in sensitive times it might be best not to chuckle, let alone guffaw, at strangers’ strange ways ]
    .

    One: The tearless eye of a NASA camera on the occasion of the Challenger blow-up:

    One of our reporters, who happened to be at a distant nasa base at the time, tells us that afterward a television monitor for nasa’s own internal satellite service kept on its screen a view from a camera on the beach at Cape Canaveral which had been following the spacecraft’s ascent. Now that camera simply stared searchingly out over the blue-gray sea to where it met the blue-gray sky, like a sailor’s widow gazing endlessly at the horizon. Twenty-eight years into the space age, the sea is as much a symbol of eternity as the sky. Both have swallowed up the Challenger and its crew, leaving behind a double emptiness of sea and space.

    Two: The professional Ghanaian substitute for tearless eyes:

    Here’s an account in the news:

    Ami Dokli is the leader of one of the several groups of professional mourners in Ghana. In a recent interview with BBC Africa, she said that some people cannot cry at their relatives’ funerals, so they rely on her and her team to do the wailing. Dokli and the other women in her team are all widows who, after their husbands died, decided to come together to help others give their loved-ones a proper send-off to the afterlife. But crying for strangers is not the easiest thing in the world, so professional mourners charge a fee for their services, the size of which is in direct relation to the size of the funeral. If it’s a big funeral, their tears cost more.

    And here’s an American FB version of the ad Steve Martin’s tweet captured:

    Do you want to boost your funeral? Hire me….the professional mourner to come and cry at the funeral. Below are the “Summer Special” prices:
    .
    1. Normal crying $50,
    2. Bahamian hollering $100,
    3. Crying and rolling on the ground $150,
    4. Crying and threatening to jump into the grave $200,
    5. Crying and actually jumping in the grave $1000

    That’s my DoubleQuote for the day.

    **

    A clutch of videos:

    Ghanaian Professional Wailing mourners:

    Promotional — funerala with a white lady mourner, extra:

    Ghanaian troupe of Dancing Pallbarers:

    Chinese professional mourning performer:

    N’Orleans Second Line:

    My scope, first draft

    Monday, July 2nd, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — footprints on earth and moon — introducing callum flack — mapping the mississippi ]
    .

    Here’s a neat illustration of the extent of my interests, at least along one of my continua —

    The upper footprint above is that of Buddha. I have tweaked the image a bit, rotating, flipping it and resizing it to fit my DoubleQuotes format, and you can take thgat as analogous to the way we tweak the Buddha’s teachings to fit our expectations — and the lower footprint, a bootprint actually, is man’s mark on the moon, courtesy of NASA, whose comment is:

    These footprints on the moon will last forever, but the nature of who can be an astronaut is changing

    So, the oppositions:

  • ancient and modern
  • spiritual and technical
  • earth and moon
  • barefoot and booted
  • eternal and eternal
  • What have I missed?

    **

    So: why do I title this post My scope, first draft?

    Scope, to honor Callum Flack, friend of Cath Styles and Sembl, whose blog-post today, THE BRIEF, THE SCOPE AND THE DANCE I read, as I now read anytbing Callum writes.

    Callum and I have strongly overlapping interests, and The Brief, the Scope and the Dance is, amongst other things, a paean to flexibility in the context of planning a business website — flexibility and mutuality in planning. And in pursuit of that flexibility in both brief and scope, Callum uses one of my own favorite illustrations

    :

    — along with these comments:

    Objectives defined in the brief are quantifiable. But constraints, which are defined in the scope, are not. Constraints change, and opportunities are created when that happens.

    and:

    We logically understand that the least surprising thing about scope is that what is documented as The Scope is not what will actually happen. Like a map, scope is a proxy for reality. The scope is like a river, and as the map of the Mississippi above shows, rivers change.. Anytime a project doesn’t expect the scope to change, it is unrealistic.

    And first draft, to honor that flexibikity in the riverine nature of things.

    **

    My idea and use of scope naturally differs from Callum’s, if for no other reason then because he’s thinking of the scope of a projected commercially effective web-page, while I’m taking the same word (Witty Wittgenstein, I’m saving this space for your chuckle here) to refer to the height, depth, breadth and other parameters of my life as it is currently taking its shape..

    No matter, Callum’s post prodded me, and I wanted to give Zenpundit readers a brief into to Callum’s work anyway — and his blog-post today as both an excellent introduction to and example of that work.

    And when Callum writes,”Objectives defined in the brief are quantifiable. But constraints, which are defined in the scope, are not” he’s showing his own scope (in my sense of the term) to reach across that (to me) all-important divide between quantity and quality, a divide that has at its heart a koan — the imponderable way in which a world can contain both qualit and quant, leaving us to ponder (!!) how to “value” one (quality) in terms of the other, and how to maximize that more elusive of the pair in a world seemingly dedicated to the more obvious and blatant (quantity) of the two.

    **

    Sources

  • Wikipedia, Buddha footprint
  • Washington Post, The unsung astronauts
  • **

    That Mississippi map, also, is a footprint.

    Hunger, in the closing lines of a poem

    Saturday, September 2nd, 2017

    [ by Charles Cameron — of the space race and children unborn, hungry ]
    .

    Here are the closing lines of the poem, The Earth is a Satellite of the Moon, by Leonel Rugama:

    The children of the people of Acahaulinca, because of hunger,
    are not born
    they hunger to be born, only to die of hunger.
    Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the moon.

    I find these lines quite striking.

    Rugama’s moon is a bleak moon, but that’s a function of Rugama’s comparison of the cost of moon shots with the fate of generations hungry in Acahaulinca, wherever that is. I can point you to the moon, though — with the mandatory zen caution.

    Ouroboros, btw.


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