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Archive for the ‘borders’ Category

And another next, 26, mixed

Friday, March 22nd, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — running the gamut from Mike Pompeo a flailing, failing theologian, to ISIS, not that their theology is so great, ahem, but still around, with cat-herding visible unto the days of the grandkids ]
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Credo quia absurdum? Or, getting the original quote right, credibile est, quia ineptum est? That’s no inept as to be believable?

There’s actually a passage in Cicero’s Rhetoric for Herrennius that describes how to make objects of contemplation more memorable by choosing the most beautiful or ugly images as analogs / analogies to represent them:

We ought, then, to set up images of a kind that can adhere longest in memory. And we shall do so if we establish similitudes as striking as possible; if we set up images that are not many or vague but active; if we assign to them exceptional beauty or singular ugliness; if we ornament some of them, as with crowns or purple cloaks, so that the similitude may be more distinct to us; or if we somehow disfigure them, as by introducing one stained with blood or soiled with mud and smeared with red paint, so that its form is more striking, or by assigning certain comic effects to our images, for that, too, will ensure our remembering them more readily.

It may be that Tertullian — the Church Father who authored that phrase about believing something because it’s so incredible — was not so far in his thinking from Cicero — was accustomed to at least the concept of using the strangest, most strained analogies, and applied it to his contemplation of the unspeakable, unimaginable Godhead, since such disfigured analogies are both the most memorable and the least likely to be taken literally, and thus mistaken for the Reality to which they are intended to point.. but that’s pure speculation on my part.

But I’m sorry, No. Mike Pompeo may have been first in his class at Annapolis, and I may have been far from first in my class at Oxford, but at least my studies were in Theology — and No.

**

Here’s one for the liminal collection:

An island, you know, is something else. In a continent, the watersheds are important natural divisions, as are linguistic groupings and cultures. There’s arguably a cultural component of Brit-oriented Northern Irish, and they’re not enemy — but the naturalness of a united island Ireland seems pretty clear.

Islands:

History has time and again highlighted the importance of islands in establishing naval dominance.

That’s from Darshana Baruah, SISTER ISLANDS IN THE INDIAN OCEAN REGION: LINKING THE ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS TO LA RÉUNION

Through a ring of bases and naval presence on islands, the British essentially controlled the entry points into this crucial area. In the east it had Singapore and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, while Socotra and the port city of Aden provided access to the Red Sea and Bab-el Mandeb. With control of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, the Seychelles and, briefly, Madagascar, the empire turned the Indian Ocean into a “British Lake.” To consolidate its presence along the coast of Africa, the British Empire fought bloody wars to take control of Kenya, Uganda, and the island of Zanzibar. With these islands and coastal territories, the empire projected its power across the region and dominated the key chokepoints and shipping lines between Asia, Africa, and Europe.

Bloody, note the bloody. And dominance, note the British dominance. I’m not sure that bloody dominance is quite so well-supported any more, but a little less Biriths dominance and Ireland might be a little less bloody.

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Dan Nexon recommends a paper featuring an arc — yes, we’re collecting arcs — but not the MLK moral arc that may be long, but in the end “bends toward justice”..

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JM Berger has been interviewed by Terry Gross — to be aired on Monday:

Stay tuned!

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All In, Chris Hayes:

Unh.

They’re [WH] basically blowing off a co-equal branch of government which gives a strong indication of how they plan to back-rush their way through anything damning from the Mueller report, when it comes.

In fact, there is such a swarm of criminality, prosecutions and pleas around the President and his ever-moving dynamic vortex..

A trial run, a warm-up inning..

Y’know, Mueller report ridiculous, but I want to see it is vaguely reminiscent of credo quia absurdum, or th more accurate quote in my own translation, see above:

That’s no inept as to be believable

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I can’t find the Jon Meacham quote on ceremonial trolling, so here’s one from India:

Rohit is to this series what trial ball is to gully cricket

Twitter went ahead with its ceremonial trolling of Rohit soon after he was dismissed. It’s become a routine of late for the right-hander to perish cheaply and be the butt of jokes on social media.

At least it’s a fun replacement, though for seriosity I’d have preferred the Meacham.

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and btw:

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D’oh.

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Clint Watts @selectedwisdom:

I really would like everyone to read that story ..

The whole idea is, everybody around the world knows that you can hire companies to crack into any one of these endpoints —

— and go through any of these communications ..

If you want to feel your communications are safe, don’t worry about government surveillance, worry about corporate guys-for-hire that are hired by all these companies ..

Here’s the article:

A New Age of Warfare: How Internet Mercenaries Do Battle for Authoritarian Governments

BTW another Clint quote from my day’s scan:

If we were to go after Wikileaks, it could lead to massive information dumps of US secrets around the world ..

In have the feeling I quoted an abbreviated version a while back, without that crucial “of US secrets” — good to have thee full version, in any case.

**

Sigh:

Charles Lister, Trump Says ISIS Is Defeated. Reality Says Otherwise.

The ISIS of the future could be just as bad if not bigger and worse than the one we watched dramatically expand in 2014. In Iraq, nearly 20,000 ISIS detainees currently lie in prison and tens of thousands more who are accused of having maintained ties to ISIS lie in squalid camps surrounded by hostile security forces. A further 20,000 Iraqi ISIS prisoners and family members currently in Syria look set to be transferred back to Iraq in the coming weeks, all of whom will surely meet a similar fate: prison or secured camps. If that were not bad enough news, tens of thousands of Iraqi children born under ISIS rule look set to remain stateless due to Baghdad’s continued refusal to recognize their ISIS-produced birth certificates or to produce Iraqi replacements. All told, that may amount to at least 100,000 people in Iraq with ties to ISIS whose bleak futures will undoubtedly fuel long-term radicalization.

Enough.

Walls. Christianity & poetry. And nations, identities & borders

Monday, February 25th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — continuing our probing of borders, and liminality, with hints of mirroring and parallelism ]
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Let’s start with a “borders” video for your consideration:

That’s worth viewing, though it’s no more the final word on the subject than Robert Frost‘s poem, Mending Wall:

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.

Walls here, I’d, suggest, are liminal as forming borders between one part of the neighborhood and another — but those gaps are likewise liminal, separating if you will one section of all from another. As this (minor) reading suggests, the situation is more complex than a simple statement that walls are bad / good.

Indeed, as here, poetry is often deployed in the service of nuance..

**

We’ve had earlier Zenpundit posts on liminality and borders, among them:

  • Of border crossings, and the pilgrimage to Arbaeen in Karbala
  • Violence at three borders, naturally it’s a pattern
  • Borders, limina and unity
  • Borders as metaphors and membranes
  • McCabe and Melber, bright lines and fuzzy borders
  • **

    My interest here is first drawn in by succinctly stated patterns of mirroring and parallelism found in an Atlantic article, What Does It Mean to Be a Canadian Citizen? The first comes from JFK, and may indeed be his most frequently quoted utterance:

    Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country

    That’s the mirroring example.

    The parallel universes example suggested here is no less succinct:

    The time-honored saying “No taxation without representation” does seem to imply, as a corollary, “No representation without taxation.”

    **

    Okay, those are the two quotes that caught my eye for reasons of formal symmetry. The rest of the article, I’d suggest, is extremely interesting for what it says about borders, nationalities and Canada in particular. Here’s one of the writer’s crucial observations:

    About 24 percent of immigrants from Hong Kong return to the territory after acquiring Canadian citizenship, as do 30 percent of immigrants from Taiwan.

    You can see the appeal. Hong Kong’s economy is growing much faster than Canada’s. Its income-tax rates top out at 17 percent. Canada does not tax the foreign-source income of nonresident citizens, in effect creating a geopolitical arbitrage opportunity too attractive to miss: the protections of Canadian nationality at low Hong Kong prices.

    And this, from the concluding para, will give you an idea of the questions the article leaves us with:

    Is citizenship a kind of subscription service, to be suspended and resumed as our needs change? Are countries competing service providers, their terms and conditions subject to the ebbs and flows of consumer preference? Edmund Burke long ago articulated an ambitious vision of society as a “partnership not only between those who are living, but between those who are living, those who are dead, and those who are to be born.” Does any of that still resonate? Or is it a bygone idea of a vanished age, dissolved in a globalized world?

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons 6

    Tuesday, February 19th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — brewing, churning, fighting, lashing out, crush, slam, push back, skewer, walk away, road warrior, hit job, full court press, cage match, power grab, bombshell, wow ]
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    It’s almost a chyron blizzard today, after the calm weekend!

    A Mad Max film ref, perhaps?

    — and the ideal Full Court Press example — I’ve had quotes before, but never a chyron. Excellent!@

    Fast tracking — is that a spooorts term? Not sure:

    A shutdown fight? Okay:

    Best mano a mano.. definitely a trove!

    IO think I had an explosive interview chyron recently — here’s another, just in case:

    And I’ve been tracking arcs, moral and otherwise — trajectories belong in that collection:


    **

    New batch:

    pushback — nothing much:

    power grab — better:

    skewers — excellent

    sparring:

    hmm: — move along:

    lashes out:

    slams as treasonous — that’s quite a hit ~

    **

    Time for a break:

    Judge Jackson and those cross-hairs

    **

    Okay, how about some quotes — not many, this has been chyron season with a vengeance — but a few:

    Robert Costa: Through the churning political waters of the Robert Mueller investigation and everything else that could come ..
    Hardball, we Biden: walk up to the starting gate, and then walk away .. ?
    One thought that comes to mind, Ben, is the bullet that was dodged in Sessions having to recuse himself early on, given the account McCabe gives of Sessions behind the scenes ..
    it was actually the general counsel of the FBI who said That’s a bridge too far, we’re not there yet ..

    **

    Back for some headers and a tweet:

    hm, hit job:

    cage-match is a pretty good one..

    and this one goes to our continuing liminal / borders collection:

    McCabe and Melber, bright lines and fuzzy borders

    Friday, February 15th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — exploring the notion that liminality is the strangeness of borders ]
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    Gadi Schwartz follows the border wall in the dunes where Trump’s prototypes have already failed the test

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    The topic area this post will explorenis that of liminality — one of the more helpful concepts anthropology provides us with — and borders — of considerable interest in terms of our southern border at this time, and closely related to the concept of liminality.

    In case you’re not familiar with liminality, my post Liminality II: the serious part, offers our best introduction to the concept. Trying to put it in brief: liminality is the strangeness of borders.

    **

    McCabe’s lines:

    Let’s start with Andrew McCabe and his forthcoming book The Threat, as excerpted in The Atlantic under the title Every Day Is a New Low in Trump’s White House.

    I’m starting here because McCabe mentions various types of lines — :

    McCabe writes that the President calls him — “It’s Don Trump calling” — on a phone line, unclassified, insecure as it turns out — but although that’s a line connecting two places and two people, it’s not the kind of line I’m interested in.

    He writes of a finish line, which he felt he’d crossed as he left the Capitol after briefing the Gang of Eight with Rod Rosenstein — in a secure SCIF — and that’s closer to my interest, with a quasi-geographical border-line, between the Capitol itself and the Capitol steps — as well as its mental component, a temporal border if you will, the completion of a significant task.

    He writes about “drawing an indelible line around the cases we had opened” during that brief, and the phrase “indelible line” has a definite, even definitive quality to it that’s significantly closer to my interest.

    And then he writes about the moral lines, the ones that really interest me because they’re so clear they’re called bright:

    The president has stepped over bright ethical and moral lines wherever he has encountered them. Every day brings a new low, with the president exposing himself as a deliberate liar who will say whatever he pleases to get whatever he wants.

    There’s no mistaking lines of that sort, they are real moral borders: light is on one side, wrong on the other

    **

    Bright lines and grey areas:

    There are, of course, what are known as grey areas, where the moral lines are not so bright.. and here’s where we can turn to Ari Melber and his special, Live at the Border, on MSNBC yesterday, which deals with a physical, geographical border-line that’s bright and definite — cannot be crossed — in some places, and far less distinct — an irritant in daily life, no more — in others.

    Melber’s Border:

    Some comments made by journos and interviewees in Melber‘s documentary stood out for me because they touched on this liminal nature of borders. It’s one thing to see lines on a map, and quite another to visit the varied landscapes and sociologies across two thousand miles of river, mountains, cities, desert..

    We keep talking about this border like it’s one thing, like its one place, like it’s a national crisis..

    The US southern border with Mexico is two thousand miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico: desert, mountains, farmland, cities, concrete, scrub grass, farmland, and a whole lot of sand, and one long river ..

    Texas:

  • The debate over the border and a wall may seem loike politics in Washington DC, but here it’s a way of life ..

  • Here the landscape takes over ..

  • The natural barrier here makes it almost impossible to cross ..
  • New Mexico:

  • The southern border of New Mexico is one of the most [unintelligible] parts of the country ..

  • t stretches across roughly two hundred miles of rugged terrain and barren desert, making it hard to know where the US ends and Mexico begins ..

  • e city of Sunland Park is actually at the point where both the state of New Mexico and the state of Texas meet, but also with the state of Chihuahua which is in Mexico.

  • It’s one region with one culture here, because, you know, I have families that live here in Sunland Park during the week, and on the weekend they go back home to visit their mom, their parents, their aunts, in Mexico ..
  • Arizona:

  • .. the interconnectedness of both sides ..

  • he reality is, the people who live in El Paso are the people who live in Juarez, they’re the same people, a hundred thousand people commute back and forth every day to go to work, to go to school..

  • In the State of Arizona it has 353 miles of border .. so long and varied the stories there are as varied as the terrain

  • This administration is using the desert to kill people and they’re dying from lack of water ..

  • This is Nogales, Arizona, but that’s Nogales, Mexico ..

  • .. it’s the rhetoric behind the border ..
  • California:

  • A massive sea of sand dunes spans the desert ..

  • It would be really hard to build a full-blown wall here, because the sands are constantly shifting throughout the year, but a floating fence, that is a different story ..
  • The issue:

    The wall is not the issue. And the border, this very real stretch of land with people, and families, and businesses, and churches, on both sides of the line, is not the issue. The issue is what this country as a whole looks like, and who gets to call it theirs — which is why the wall will never be built, and always be needed, why the border will never actually be secured but always need to be secured.

    The border is not what we need to secure; what we want is for people to be secure; we want people to feel secure. And that, that’s heart [hard?], and getting there and all that it would mean is something that no amount fencing is ever going to provide..

    **

    Further readings:

    Here are some of the other Zenpundit posts on liminality and borders:

  • Of border crossings, and the pilgrimage to Arbaeen in Karbala
  • Violence at three borders, naturally it’s a pattern
  • Borders, limina and unity
  • Borders as metaphors and membranes
  • Umpires, Brexit, and the State of the Union

    Thursday, January 31st, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — the UK looks to be teetering over the White Cliffs of Dover, with 22 miles of channel separating them from the rest of Europe — and a hard border with Éire ]
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    There are few more tumultuous games on earth than the British House of Commons, with its two sides lobbying and lobbing insults at one another, while the no-side-works-for-me cross-benchers face the no-side-I’ve-retired-from-the-fray Speaker across the length of the chamber, no doubt relishing the spectacle but, in the Speaker‘s case, regulating it with roars of “Order, order!!!”

    And fray it is, glorious in its freedom, so wild as to demand frequent pruning — the Speaker, in the New Yorker‘s words, “presides over whatever fare — technical, listless, boorish, crazed — is unfolding in the chamber at a given moment. The House may be full with paper-waving cries of “Foul!” “Fiend!” Recant!” or even these days, I suppose, “Repent” — we do live, after all, in a remorselessly secular age..

    **

    But then..

    Pattern recognition: there seems to be a pattern of Speakers disinviting Donald Trump.

    **

    Sources:

  • NYorker, Is the Speaker of the House of Commons Trying to Stop Brexit?
  • WaPo, Sorry, judges, we umpires do more than call balls
  • WHOtv, Speaker Pelosi Tells President Trump State of the Union Won’t Happen
  • Dates and Times:

  • te [re-invited] State of the Union is scheduled for 6.00pm Pacific, Tuesday, February 5
  • the Superbowl is 3.30pm Eastern, Sunday, February 3rd
  • Brexit will occur in un-negotiated form if nothing stops it, at 11pm GMT, Friday, March 29.

  • One way or another, fun times ahead..

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