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Metaphors and catchy phrases, cont’d

[ by Charles Cameron — following on from Metaphors, more iv, featuring Oliver Roeder & Chris Cillizza ]

Trump’s War on the Justice System Threatens to Erode Trust in the Law:

It is a once-unimaginable scenario: Sometime soon in an American courtroom, a criminal defense lawyer may argue that the prosecution of an MS-13 gang member is a politically motivated “witch hunt” built around a witness who has “flipped” and taken what the lawyer calls a plea deal of dubious legality.

He will be quoting the president of the United States.

That is potentially the gravest danger of President Trump’s sustained verbal assault on the country’s justice system, legal experts say. In his attempt at self-defense amid the swirl of legal cases and investigations involving himself, his aides and his associates, Mr. Trump is directly undermining the people and processes that are the foundation of the nation’s administration of justice.

The result is a president at war with the law.

at the end of a week that featured criminal conviction for Paul Manafort and a guilty plea by Michael Cohen, President Trump over the weekend took aim at the FBI. The president tweeting out new accusations against Hillary ..

pick up the ball ..
this is really a base play..

Winners and losers from the Arizona and Florida primaries

The story of the 2018 primaries usually centers on President Trump. And there’s plenty of that narrative in Tuesday’s gubernatorial, Senate and House primaries in Arizona, Florida and Oklahoma: For another week, Trump is in our winner’s column. But liberal Democrats are an even bigger winner, for reasons we’ll get into. Here are the winners and losers from some of the most consequential primaries of the year.

Trump spars with Andrew Gillum, the surprise Democratic nominee in Florida’s governor’s race

President Trump and Andrew Gillum, the surprise Democratic winner of Florida’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, exchanged barbs on Wednesday morning, underscoring the role the president is expected to play in a marquee race this fall.

The life and character of John McCain in his own wordsBy Steve Almasy and Nicole Chavez, CNN

After he was awarded the National Constitution Center’s annual Liberty Medal in 2017 for his lifetime of sacrifice and service to the nation, he delivered a pointed speech.

“I’ve had the good fortune to spend 60 years in service to this wondrous land. It has not been perfect service, to be sure, and there were probably times when the country might have benefited from a little less of my help. But I’ve tried to deserve the privilege as best I can, and I’ve been repaid a thousand times over with adventures, with good company, and with the satisfaction of serving something more important than myself, of being a bit player in the extraordinary story of America. And I am so very grateful.”

whether sen shumer is playing a 3-dimensional chess here ..
unscrupulous golfing ..
there may be a lot of balls in the air ..

The greatest sports achievement in my lifetime?

Football players seem even more like gladiators when they play in short sleeves in a winter storm, and baseball players who don’t wear batting gloves feel like throwbacks to a more rough and tumble era. What category of admiration should we reserve, then, for someone who ascends a sheer rock face of 3,000 feet using only a pair of climbing shoes and a bag of chalk?

“He is under an attack like no president has faced,” DeSantis said. “The last thing I want to do is go up there and lob hand grenades at the president.” ..

Maxine Waters (D-CA) is at again, this time saying she has “taken off the gloves” to fight President Donald Trump ..
whatever he does himself, he assumes others are.. [katy tur]
it’s like reading every fortieth page of moby dick .. [check when transcripts are available
Ohr says Steele told him Russian intel believed they had Trump ‘over a barrel’
every thread has three other avenues we want to go down ..
so far they’re batting 1,000, and that’s pretty good ..
where do you think .. if you had to put it on a hundred yard field .. ?

12 Responses to “Metaphors and catchy phrases, cont’d”

  1. Charles Cameron Says:

    Will Al Qaeda Spoil A Peace Deal In Afghanistan?

    Since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Al Qaeda has played the long game, and it has thrown its weight behind its relationship with the Taliban.

    The Third Thing, BY DONALD HALL

    What we did: we got up early in the morning. I brought Jane coffee in bed. She walked the dog as I started writing, then climbed the stairs to work at her own desk on her own poems. We had lunch. We lay down together. We rose and worked at secondary things. I read aloud to Jane; we played scoreless ping-pong; we read the mail; we worked again.

    Donald Hall, The Art of Poetry No. 43

    We played softball. This was in 1945, and Frost was born in 1874, so he was seventy-one years old. He played a vigorous game of softball but he was also something of a spoiled brat. His team had to win and it was well known that the pitcher should serve Frost a fat pitch. I remember him hitting a double. He fought hard for his team to win and he was willing to change the rules. He had to win at everything. Including poetry.

  2. Charles Cameron Says:

    Well, today of all days the sports metaphor of the day must be the “umpire” metaphor, which Judge John Roberts used in his opening statement at his own confirmation hearing.
    Here are the two gobbits containing the sorting references:

    Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around. Judges are like umpires. Umpires don’t make the rules; they apply them.

    The role of an umpire and a judge is critical. They make sure everybody plays by the rules.

    But it is a limited role. Nobody ever went to a ball game to see the umpire.


    I have no agenda, but I do have a commitment. If I am confirmed, I will confront every case with an open mind. I will fully and fairly analyze the legal arguments that are presented. I will be open to the considered views of my colleagues on the bench. And I will decide every case based on the record, according to the rule of law, without fear or favor, to the best of my ability. And I will remember that it’s my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat.

    i had that on my bingo card ..
    .. who knows what a semi-colon is for ..
    the american dream has become the american game .. and that game is fixed ..
    Judge Kavanaugh’s opening statement:

    A good judge must be an umpire—a neutral and impartial arbiter who favors no litigant or policy. As Justice Kennedy explained in Texas versus Johnson, one of his greatest opinions, judges do not make decisions to reach a preferred result. Judges make decisions because “the law and the Constitution, as we see them, compel the result.”


    The Supreme Court must never be viewed as a partisan institution. The Justices on the Supreme Court do not sit on opposite sides of an aisle. They do not caucus in separate rooms. If confirmed to the Court, I would be part of a Team of Nine, committed to deciding cases according to the Constitution and laws of the United States. I would always strive to be a team player on the Team of Nine.

  3. Charles Cameron Says:

    Google mail NYT:

    A Supreme scrum:
    It’s slam-bam in first round of Kavanaugh hearings
    The first day of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing on President Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court featured name-calling, protesters escorted out of the room by the Capitol Police and a world-class display of bickering across party lines.

    Now Twitter Edits The New Yorker:

    Even conservatives who do the right thing can be criticized for insufficient courage. After Jeff Flake denounced Trump from the floor of the Senate and announced his retirement, The New Yorker’s Amy Davidson Sorkin faulted him for having “raised a call to arms — and then sounded the retreat.”

  4. Charles Cameron Says:

    Ari’s the Beat:
    Michael Steele “bobbing and weaving” ..
    As has been stated by numerous legal scholars, I have the absolute right to PARDON myself, but why would I do that when I have done nothing wrong?
    Roe vs. Wade: What Kavanaugh may have meant by ‘precedent on precedent’
    re who wrote Op Ed:
    that’s the game of the moment .. that’s the question of the moment ..
    PJ O’Rourke: the democrats are throwing the game [re kavanaugh]
    All IN,
    Sen Chris Murphy: this is the latest act in what is a continuing 3-ring circus
    I think we could be so rich if we weren’t so stupid. We’re being played [as] suckers, especially NATO.
    11th hr brian williams:
    a washington parlor game (ashley parker on guessing who wrote the op ed)

    senators spar over release of confidential documents .. chyron, msnbc
    A wounded lion is a very dangerous liom. And trump is wounded ..

  5. Charles Cameron Says:

    politicall football ..
    the game inside the game.. matrioshka .. Draft Kings fantasy football ad ..
    every anecdote only confirms another anecdote ..
    when we’re looking at the same playing field ..
    MTP 9/7/2018, I’m obsessed..

    i’m obsessed with the similarities between sports and politics .. no, not the udual, they’re both about competation and numbers and who wins and who loses, no, this is about two leaders, their teams both wear red, white and blue, they’ve done a lot of winning recently, and these guys manage to communicate a lot by saying very little..


    President Trump tonght shadow boxing againt an invisible enemny (opponent?) ..
    All In, Jerome Corsi:

    I’m fed up with this. I want to say to Mueller, ‘Let’s go out in the backyard of the Justice Department. You’ve got to have some—let’s duke it out. I mean, you want to behave like a thug? You want to behave like that? Well, this is what you deserve. Let’s duke it out. You’re finished. You’re a hack. The whole investigation is a criminal set-up,

    hunter? ..
    i am not saying theformer president has a glass jaw ..
    here’s yyour chance to punch back at trump ..
    go to the ramparts ..
    the trump administration is a snake-pit; trump is a snake, he has hired snakes, and now the snakes are biting each other .. some kind of diffuse ouroboros?

  6. Charles Cameron Says:

    Ben Sasse:

    it’s pretty clear that this White House is a reality-show, soap-opera presidency

    this is one of those dream or theater is reality / reality is dream or theater ones, first stage to an endless recursion in a hall of mirrors.. remembering which, someone said of the current white house, it’s a:

    hall of mirrors ..

    and i thought to myself, Angleton’s phrase was:

    wilderness of wirrors ..

    eh? NB, XXCommittee’s distinction between puzzles and mysteries at that link is priceless ..

    Vanity Fair:

    For Giuliani, the flip-flop was typical. Since he joined Trump’s legal team earlier this year, the longtime ally of the president has repeatedly moved the goalposts for an interview before hurriedly recalibrating. As is often the case with Giuliani, it was unclear whether his reversal was part of a grand strategy or another example of the septuagenarian putting his foot in his mouth.

    — maybe the best example of moving the goalposts we have, unless one that mentions Overton windows in parallel can be found — which I doubt — two very different modes of discourse ..

    the notion that Giuliani and the rest of Trump’s legal team will ever allow the president to go toe-to-toe with Mueller ..
    Mueller’s position could also be political theater ..
    Mueller’s investigation enters its final stretch ..

    president trump is coming out swinging …
    the president wants to forge forward with this mano-a-mano diplomacy ..
    who.s going to win that battle — the man who exposed watergate and ultimately brought down a president, or the president who the Washington Post says has more than four thousand lies .. ?’Hardball:
    Donald Trump now faces someone his own size, Bob Woodward, who has taken down one president, now confronts this one
    he believes he can create hos own weather .. with the truth, a weapon he, Donald Trump, cannot even grasp ..
    you have to think about the ground game ..
    they are the romanovs .. a family held together by blood ..
    a sort of viceroy of the middle east ..
    the first dughter ..

  7. Charles Cameron Says:

    Zuckerberg on games, fwiw, from Can Mark Zuckerberg Fix Facebook Before It Breaks Democracy?

    He and his wife prefer board games to television, and, within reach of the couch, I noticed a game called Ricochet Robots. “It gets extremely competitive,” Zuckerberg said. “We play with these friends, and one of them is a genius at this. Playing with him is just infuriating.” Dave Morin, a former Facebook employee who is the founder and C.E.O. of Sunrise Bio, a startup seeking cures for depression, used to play Risk with Zuckerberg at the office. “He’s not playing you in a game of Risk. He’s playing you in a game of games,” Morin told me. “The first game, he might amass all his armies on one property, and the next game he might spread them all over the place. He’s trying to figure out the psychological way to beat you in all the games.”

    MTP re FEMA: we have to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt (make sure I got that right) ..
    the senate has been in play a long time ..
    i think wisconsin is the closest to the playing fiend ..
    The Beat:
    Donald Trump’s witchhunt is Mueller’ss treausre trove ..
    kavanaugh — casey is precedent on precedent ..
    another way to duck and cover ..
    McConnell — like a knife fight in an alley, just a brawl ..
    the republicans have signed up to be e dallas cowboy cheerleaders of the trump administration ..
    it’s like a comic opera ..

  8. Charles Cameron Says:

    A boxing analogy, tho not to politics..
    As the Winds Come, Towns in Hurricane Florence’s Path Fear the Floods

    At the same time, residents and emergency personnel throughout inland North and South Carolina were working under the grim assumption that the Category 1 storm’s pounding of the coastline would be only the first powerful punch in a fight that could go many rounds and last for many days. It will play out not only among stilted beach cottages and seaside resorts, but also in workaday towns and cities much farther west.
    “This may be the first time we’ve experienced such a two-punch from these kind of conditions,” said South Carolina’s governor, Henry McMaster, at a news conference on Thursday, speaking about evacuations along the coast as well as the possibility of rain-triggered landslides in the mountains.

    Dept of Unintended Consequences? — same article, a glimpse

    Mr. Letchworth, the city spokesman, said the possibility of immediate flash flooding seemed to be getting worse in recent years, the result of a building boom spurred in part by the expansion of the 29,000-student East Carolina University. That has meant more pavement and other impermeable surfaces, he said, and more places that flood that have not flooded before.

    Pure sports, no metaphor, gorgeous writing and paragraph after paragraph of it, what I look to the New Yorker for — Wm Finnegan, Off Diamond Head:

    Leslie Wong caught and pulled into the wave of the day, his back slightly arched, his arms relaxed, making the extremely difficult—no, come on, the ecstatic—look easy. If I ever grew up, I wanted to be Leslie Wong.

    Donald Trump has more convicted felons around him than many Mafia dons — Toobin ..
    Basically Manafort raised the white flag today, he basically gave up everything — Nick Ackerman
    De Niro / Pacino, Righteous Kill:

    You know what I think about before I pull the trigger? I think about the infield fly rule. I love that fucking rule. It assumes the worst of everybody. It says sorry batter you’re a smuck for poppin’ up with runners on and you stupid ass infielder you don’t get to cheat and drop the ball just because you caught a break. My favorite part, the batter’s out but the runners advance at their own risk. That’s the way life should be, you can be a motherfucker at your own risk… or not.

    This is just me learning sports language.
    this is a grudge match ..
    ‘Robert Mueller’s real quest here is for the truth’: How Paul Manafort’s plea brings the special counsel probe closer to its endgame
    Finally, to logic a paradox, to psychology a simple truth:
    John Kerry’s memoir shows his weakness. That’s what makes it so strong:

    Whatever you may think about Kerry, he emerges in these pages as a man who’s strong enough not to worry that in telling the truth about himself, he might look weak.
    “[I had] been knocked on my a–,” Kerry writes of his defeat in the 2004 presidential campaign. “I felt a galloping sense of frustration, disappointment, anger and sadness, often all at once.” After this intense letdown, the careful, ambitious-to-a-fault Kerry began to take more risks. The worst thing that could happen to him had happened. He began to breathe.

    There’s a Leonard Cohen level of self-awareness right there.

  9. Charles Cameron Says:

    Ari Melber 9/17,2018

    to put it bluntly, i don’t think that a man accused of sexual assault should be nominating another man accused of sexual assault to the Supreme Court of the United States of Americs ..

    Anita Hill’s claims echo in allegation against Kavanaugh. Three decades later, will anything be different?
    we’re getting into the procedural baseball ..
    ari: the playbook of denial back in play — but will it work ..
    it really takes courage to have courage ..
    b boxer:

    this is eerily, eerily just like what happened to ANita Hill.. even you have chuck grassley, who was on the committee, really being terrible to anita hill, and, orrin hatch and others, and they’re still there ..

    hatch is talking the same way he was back then ..

    chris matthews: does this force the story to the end game — where trump to protect himself is going to have to pardon his kids?
    joyce vance: it looks like we’re rapidly heading towards an end game, chris — manafort is sort of like the pot of old at the end of the rainbow for prosecutors..

    All In:

    he believes there’s a conspiracy that is out to smear Brett Kavanaugh ..
    and this is a playbook that he and his team played with Roy Moore, and it’s a playbook he played with himself during the campaign, it’s a playbook you can see cropping up any time someone that team trump endorses, and wants nominated or supported comes under fire ..

    he knows where all the ostriches are buried ..
    nick ackerman m 31/3: the white flag opens up..
    manafort was really the endgame ..
    just because it’s history doesn’t mean it can’t rhyme ..

  10. Charles Cameron Says:

    More sports metaphor:

    China Once Looked Tough on Trade. Now Its Options Are Dwindling.
    BEIJING — President Trump imposed tariffs in July on $34 billion in Chinese goods. China matched them dollar for dollar with its own.
    “They don’t know what to do,” he added. “They worry that the tit-for-tat model is playing into Trump’s hands.”
    China’s leaders “don’t really want to engage in a dollar-for-dollar retaliation,” said Yu Yongding, a prominent economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. “Their purpose is to stop this trade war.”
    But more drastic moves, like closing factories or encouraging consumer boycotts of American goods, could eliminate Chinese jobs.
    The battle began when the United States imposed tariffs on solar panels and washing machines. It has led to a global tit-for-tat targeting billions of dollars of goods.

    Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Trump’s Battering Ram
    they are playing the hardest of hardball, in an attempt to pack the court ..
    he’s playing checkers and Putin is playing three-dimensional chess ..
    One way I’m thinking of expanding my “metaphor collecting” is to note mathematical and perhaps scientific metaphors.

    Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court Nomination Is in Big Trouble.

    By John Cassidy, September 17, 2018
    It was clear from the comments made by Christie and other Republicans that Ford’s decision to go public had irrevocably altered the political calculus. Charles Grassley, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had scheduled a vote on the nomination for Thursday, which now seems likely to be delayed or abandoned. Grassley hasn’t confirmed this yet. On Monday afternoon, he was “working on a way to hear [Ford] out in an appropriate, precedented & respectful manner.” He didn’t mention any public hearings, though, and he seemed to be referring to the possibility of phone calls between the committee and Ford. Grassley is no longer fully in control of events, however.

    It may be that “calculus” is a pretty widely used metaphor for all sorts of cost/benefit analysis, and that there are few other math metaphors, although I’ve seen one “geometry” metaphor recently, I think. But here’s a “physics” example:

    Jian Ghomeshi, John Hockenberry, and the Laws of Patriarchal Physics
    he sexual-assault allegations against the movie producer Harvey Weinstein were first reported in October, 2017, which means that we have now spent eleven months listening to the victims of such violence, most of them women. This is a deeply unusual situation in the context of human history, and, lately, a set of compensatory forces has appeared to be working to bring the universe back into balance. Women have had their “moment,” their unprecedented time in the spotlight of cultural favor. The gravitational pull of male power is exerting itself, turning our attention back to the place where it has been trained to linger: the hero’s journey of men.

    That gives us compensatory forces, balance and gravitational pull as subsets of physics.
    It may be worth noting that the writer of this piece is conscious of, and refers to, metaphor:

    When C.K. showed up at the Comedy Cellar a few weeks ago, he reportedly received a standing ovation before he began speaking. (He then made a joke about rape whistles.) Many who read about the performance were appalled; others suggested that C.K. had “served his time.” (In this metaphor, the phenomenon of people finding out and responding to the truth about your behavior is akin to carceral punishment.)

    Did I say geometry might be a broad-use metaphor like its big brother calculus?

    Money can’t buy happiness – or can it?
    By Paul Benson
    18 September 2018
    In his thought provoking book The Geometry of Wealth, author Brian Portnoy observes: “Does money buy happiness? The answer to that question can be summarised as Yes, Not really, It depends.”

    There we go..

  11. Charles Cameron Says:

    Physics, did I say? Here’s another instance, from a from a WaPo piece, Freddie Oversteegen, Dutch resistance fighter who killed Nazis through seduction, dies at 92:

    In interviews, Ms. Oversteegen often spoke of the physics of killing — not the feel of the trigger or kick of the gun, but the inevitable collapse that followed, her victims’ fall to the ground.

    “Yes,” she told one interviewer, according to the Dutch newspaper IJmuider Courant , “I’ve shot a gun myself and I’ve seen them fall. And what is inside us at such a moment? You want to help them get up.”

    And there are a few that are so obvous. they’ve passed right by me a hundred times. Nicolle Wallace just used one at ~10m mark on her, will check back later if I can.
    MTP The Lid: m 49/51
    Katy Tur: one of my favorite phrae=ses =- “does not take place in a vacuum”
    cliches Katy T wld like to get rid of: “proven fighter” “double down”
    Katy: does this change the calculus for anybody, knowing this guy has been in office, and he’s who the voters elected?
    Katy: if that’s the way society feels, and that’s a political dagger for the Republicans, why are the Republicans not pushing back on Kavanaugh, and saying, Hey, we need an FBI investigation?
    Daily News:The profound asymmetry of the Kavanaugh-Ford clash: He’s got the presidency behind him, and she’s basically in hiding

    But what nerve of her to ask that one of the most asymmetric conflicts in political memory be tempered by a brief FBI inquiry of, at least, Kavanaugh classmate and purported witness, Mark Judge.

    The Devil’s Triangle [ sexual 3-some]
    chris m: this is going to happen,, it’s a terrible game, it’s a stalemate.
    ashley parker: this is a president who says out loud the stage directions.

    NYT: For Red-State Democrats, Accusation Against Kavanaugh Scrambles Midterm Calculus:

    Senator Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, a progressive who has been an outspoken supporter of Dr. Blasey, said there was any number of reasons her red-state colleagues could oppose Mr. Kavanaugh. And she sought to assure them that, because of the allegation, they could safely adjust their calculus on Mr. Kavanaugh.
    “We’re in a different kind of environment now,” said Ms. Hirono, pointing to the fury of many women in the #MeToo and Trump era.

    he’s supposed to say, We’re still going to make the Superbowl ..
    prediction: they’d be on each other’s dance cards well before the election ..
    All In, Chris Hayes:
    Zoe, you’ve done some reporting about the timeline here, which has become something of a rhetorical cudgel wielded by republicans and the president himself..
    senator graham gave (game) up the game this morning..

  12. Charles Cameron Says:

    And I suppose optics is a physics metaphor — lots of examples, but here’s one:

    When 11 men interrogate: GOP tries to head off Kavanaugh debacle
    To head off the potentially bad optics of older white men questioning a woman about alleged sexual assault, Republicans are considering having an independent outside lawyer question Ford alongside senators. They’re also carefully controlling the hearing, allowing testimony from no witnesses other than Kavanaugh and Ford, and declining Democratic calls for the FBI to investigate Ford’s claim further.

    Fiction — Victoria, season 2:

    I don’t want her to be a pawn in some dynastic game. I want my daughter to be free to marry, as I did, for love.

    She’s just wanting to be heard for the first time, and taking an enormous gamble to do so.

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