[ by Charles Camerom — no longer spending much time scanning for chyrons, but there’s still plenty of interest in my feed — note the great quote from A Man for All Seasons ]
From Trump’s 2020 campaign manager:
Loved watching the crowd fill up for the 547th Rally in Green Bay. There has never been and probably never will be a movement like this again. Only God could deliver such a savior to our nation and only God could allow me to help. God bless America! pic.twitter.com/PBata3mB14
Stunning: Clint Watts offers an “life imitating art imitating life” (and I quote) instance on Meet the Press — a short, sharp overview of how Putin trolls the US electorate with malicious intent:
That interview was shot a while back, but is worth revisiting today. Omn May 1st, Watts spoke of a “war game” and it was in searching (unsuccessfully) for that clip that I stumbled on this one.
Let’s follow that up with a tweet-repeated ouroboros chaser:
It's time to investigate the investigators in this miscarriage of justice: "Ohr’s revelation about his wife adds yet another example of people connected to the Clinton machine flooding the FBI with anti-Trump Russia research during the 2016 election."https://t.co/uevwv43rRV
The flase narrative got out of the gate long before the truth did ..A tic-tac-toe pin for all of the games played by Mnuchin, Barr and Trump ..
impeachment is an explosive undertaking and can ricochet in all sorts of complicated directions ..
Mehdi Hasan: The Democrats bring a knife tom a gun-fight, the Republicans bring a rocket-launcher ..
Charlotte Alter: Buttegeig speaks Democratic with a Republican accent..
Mike Barnickle (re Biden): It’s hideously early in the campaign. I mean, it’s not even spring training, forget the exhibition games that have yet toi be played. It’s very early, so he’s got a big bounce from name recogmnition ..
Rick Wilson: It’s an interesting play (for Dems). I think if they camn draw the arc from nationalism to populism to statism to authoritarianism to Trumpism, they’ve got something there ..
Flannery: We have a crime syndicate in the west wing ..
I think they could have hammered him and sickled him to death ..*****
Chris Matthews, incidentally, is on a roll comparing William Barr‘s situation to that of Roper in A Man for All Seasons by Robert Bolt. Thomas More reproves Roper for his infidelity with the words:
For Wales? Why Richard, it profit a man nothing to give his soul for the whole world. . . but for Wales!
That’s the same Will Roper to whom More addresses his celebrated speech:
nd when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!”
Back in 1992, the last time Bill Barr was U.S. attorney general, iconic New York Times writer William Safire referred to him as “Coverup-General Barr” because of his role in burying evidence of then-President George H.W. Bush’s involvement in “Iraqgate” and “Iron-Contra.”
Figliuzzi described the dynamic between Mueller and Barr as one of “a boy scout” (Mueller) versus “a street fighter” (Barr). … “Mueller is a guy who plays by the rules, and he was playing by the rules in this report,” Figliuzzi told me. “He kind of trusts that the system will take care of itself, and he kicks his report over across the street to DOJ. That’s where things go south.”
One of the many things I heard Booker say tonight was "Love," in public, is "Justice." He spoke about the 2020 election being a "moral moment."#CoryBooker has risen enormously in my estimation, tonight.
Certainly a striking formulation, that — “Love, in public, is justice..” I heard that too, and had to chew on it, which is why I googled and found this tweet: the one thing this isn’t is conflict-avoidant.
Okay, here’s a John Bolton triple:
Dexter Filkin‘s a must-read — but his current NYorker piece leads us back to two other striking Bolton headers:
Bolton is hardly my favorite, but drawing the attention of Filkins, Gourevitch and Robin wright is surely a mark of honor of some kind.
[ 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 ]
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.
History has time and again highlighted the importance of islands in establishing naval dominance.
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.
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”..
If you want to be freaked out, read accounts of the arc of fascist and right-wing illiberal movements from the 1920s to 1930s. For a quick overview that feels uncomfortably familiar, see https://t.co/dBHiDKezGw
JM Berger has been interviewed by Terry Gross — to be aired on Monday:
All In, Chris Hayes:
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
I can’t find the Jon Meacham quote on ceremonial trolling, so here’s one from India:
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.
Schwarze Sonne (Black Sun), sometimes called the sonnerad: symbol has become synonymous with myriad far-right groups who traffic in neo-Nazi and/or neo-Volkisch ideologies. The symbol is based on the ancient sun wheel artifacts that were made and used by Norse and Germanic tribes as symbol of their pagan beliefs. Those sun wheels, made centuries upon centuries ago, do not usually resemble the complexity of this particular version. The version above is inlayed into the marble floor of the Castle Wewelsburg, the castle that Himmler made the spiritual and literal home of the SS during the reign of the Third Reich, and has significance within the occult practices of the SS.
The great replacement (French: le grand remplacement) is a right-wing conspiracy theory, which states that the white Catholic French population, and white Christian European population at large, is being systematically replaced with non-European people, specifically Middle Eastern, North and Sub-Saharan African populations, through mass migration and demographic growth. It associates the presence of Muslims in France with potential danger and destruction of French culture and civilization. [ .. ]
News sources will have more details on the shootings, the shooter or shooters, the trial of Brenton Tarrant and so forth. My interest, posting here, will be in this act of cruel terrorism, in Tarrant‘s manifesto and its close relationship to Anders Breivik‘s manifesto, 2083, and whatever else emerges.
Is Islamophobia the issue here? The ideology of Branton Tarrant‘s manifesto is white supremacist, but the attacks themselves, the massacres, take place not on immigration centers, hut on two mosques — clearly identifying the spear-tip of Tarrant‘s rage.
Consider: Hatred, hatred, hatred, and prayer, prayer, prayer:
The Gurdwara (Sikh temple), Oak Creek, WI, 2012
Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, NC, 2015
The Tree of Life and New Light synagogues in Pittsburgh, PA, 2018
The Al Noor and Linwood Mosques in Christchurch, NZ, 2019
There’s context there.
On this most recent occasion I feel a mix of emotions:
The terrorist massacre of women, men and children in two places of Muslim worship on Friday, the Muslim day of prayer, is heartbreaking: my tears and prayers go out to the victims, their families and friends, and all in New Zealand, a small and notably peaceful country — my friend Walter Logeman, therapist and man of peace, lives in Christchurch, and my heart goes out to him this day, as it does to Marianne Elliott, known on Twitter as @zenpeacekeeper, and Leah Farrall, @allthingsct — see below.
In this moment of rage and hate, it is good to remember and praise the lives of those who untiringly promote peace and love.
So I feel sad, very sad, and grateful for my friends.
Australian Senator Fraser Anning released a statement blaming “the immigration program which allowed Muslim fanatics to migrate to New Zealand in the first place” as “the real cause of bloodshed” following Friday’s shootings.
Tarrant’s manifesto :
The first thing to know about Tarrant‘s manifesto is that it is propaganda:
JM: The manifesto is — We treat these often as confessional documents, which are supposed to educate us about the person — but what it really is is a work of propaganda. And this one more than most.
We can tell from the manifesto that he’s a white supremacist, he’s anti-immigrant, he’s anti-Muslim, but when you try to drill down into the details,there’s not a lot of utility in the document. [ ..
One court appearance is probably going to be more illuminating nthan the document itself.
On the mix of immigration, racist and religionist issues:
Immigration and race are closely linked issues. Anti-immigration views allow white supremacists and people who have general right-wing views to incorporate a lot of different forms of hatred under one umbrella. It’s anti-Muslim, obviously, he targeted Muslims. It’s also racist as he describes it. Immigration is a convenient umbrella or fig-leaf for underlying bigotries that are more complex.
Having said that, let’s dig into the weeds, and take a look at one particular item in Tarrant‘s agenda, and that of Breivik. I’ll use the example of Constantinople, but Jerusalem and Vienna would have been other candidates..
Tarrant‘s manifesto includes a Q&A in which the imagined questioner asks:
Did/do you have ties to any other partisans/freedom fighters/ethno soldiers?
to which Tarrant responds:
I support many of those that take a stand against ethnic and cultural genocide. Luca Traini, Anders Breivik, Dylan Roof, Anton Lundin Pettersson, Darren Osbourne etc.
But I have only had brief contact with Knight Justiciar Breivik, receiving a blessing for my mission after contacting his brother knights.
That’s of particular since it mentions actual contact of some sort with Breivik , and also suggests there are in fact, as Breivik suggested, more Knights Justiciar besides (the self-proclaimed) Breivik himself.
We’ll return to that. The next question and response also mentions Breivik, and emphasizes his importance to Tarrant, whose 74-page manifesto was no boubt inspired by Breivik’s own manifesto of 1,515 pages:
Were your beliefs influenced by any other attackers?
I have read the writings of Dylan Roof and many others, but only really took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik.
Anders Breivik scans geopolitics and notes such things as Hindu nationalism in India as well as crusades and jihad, and one of his focuses within the latter pair of concerns is Anatolia, now known as Turkey — and within Turkey, Constantinople, now known, with the inclusion of largely residential areas on the Asian side of the Bosphorus, as Istanbul.
Breivik quotes a hadith of the Prophet:
Verily you shall conquer Constantinople. What a wonderful leader will he be, and what a wonderful army will that army be!
He refers to Constantinople as a gem of the Christian world:
Constantinople, the jewel of Eastern Christendom, finally fell in 1453 to the armies of Sultan Mahomet II.
He also terms it “the greatest Christian city in the world” and nites that the First Crusade was called by Pope Urban II “in response to an urgent plea for help from the Byzantine emperor in Constantinople”
Tarrant‘s manifesto is much shrter, though 77 pages is long enough to cram in a fair amount of detail, vitriol, and propaganda, including this section, in which he too writes of the Christian city of Constantinople:
You can live in peace in your own lands, and may no harm come to you.
On the east side of the Bosphorus.
But if you attempt to live in European lands, anywhere west of the Bosphorus. We will kill you and drive you roaches from our lands.
We are coming for Constantinople and we will destroy every mosque and minaret in the city.
The Hagia Sophia will be free of minarets and Constantinople will be rightfully christian owned once more.
As we have seen, Tarrant suggests there is in fact a community of Templar Knights of the sort that Breivik also claimed:
I have only had brief contact with Knight Justiciar Breivik, receiving a blessing for my mission after contacting his brother knights.
Breivik himself in his manifesto offers an open invitation to all those Europeamns who self-identify as Knights Justiciar:
Normally, any individual who decides he want to choose the road of the PCCTS (ie Knights Templar), a road of strength and honour, courage and martyrdom, should leave any other organisation for practical reasons (first and foremost in order to protect them). He will then spend a predefined time preparing himself mentally (this cannot be emphasised enough) as well as for planning the actual operation (planning, financing and eventually execution of the plan). This may take longer than 36 months depending on the nature of the assault.
Breivik also stated that the Knights Templar had been reconstituted as an order in 2002, with founding members of the following nationalities and observances:
English Protestant, English Christian atheist, French Catholic, German Christian atheist, Dutch Christian agnostic, Greek Orthodox, Russian Christian atheist, Norwegian Protestant, Serbian Orthodox, Swedish, Belgian, and European-American
That white supremacism may be, as Breivik either knew or fantasized and hoped, an international movement is suggested by the breadth of Tarrant‘s travels, financed by his “profits from investing in the cryptocurrency Bitconnect, in such places as North Korea, Poland, Ukraine, Iceland, and Argentina [details].
Breivik‘s own sense of Temoplar membership as he understands it is reported in his manifesto:
varies from 15-80 Justiciar Knights in Western Europe (2008 estimate)
And to the extent that he wishes his manifesto to foment other actions beyond his own assaults on Oslo and Utoya, Breivik has clearly been successful.
The Newtown shooter Adam Lanza reportedly collected news clippings on Breivik’s attack and other incidents of mass violence before he killed 20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Other young men, such as the British college student Liam Lyburd, have been inspired to plan or carry out mass shootings based on their admiration for Breivik’s lethality, rather than his beliefs.
U.S. Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hasson was charged with planning a mass-casualty attack modeled in significant part on Breivik’s strategy, and bearing the marks of his belief system.
And now, courtesy of an Australian, New Zealand.
Clint Watts and cascading terrorism:
Clint: If you look at Al-Qaida or ISIS, it starts as this central body, this network, and then it expands out and then they inspire their followers.
In the West, it happens in reverse. Inspired followers start to network online, which build into this infrastructure.
We know this is getting more serious because the frequency and pace are picking up. When the pace picks up, that means that the network is tighter [ .. ] They’re citing each other ideologically, they’re playing to reach others’ attacks — and so this often does what I call cascading terrorism. It inspires others to begin acting.
Like a deeper layer of Hell, 8chan is an image board for anyone who is too much of an edgelord for 4chan. Created during the Gamergate fiasco when even the brass of 4chan decided that situation was getting out of hand and became a base of operations of sorts for the GG crowd.
You know, the left plays a tougher game, it?s very funny. I actually think that the people on the right are tougher, but they don?t play it tougher. OK? I can tell you I have the support of the police, the support of the military, the support of the Bikers for Trump ? I have the tough people, but they don?t play it tough ? until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad. But the left plays it cuter and tougher. Like with all the nonsense that they do in Congress ? with all this invest[igations]?that?s all they want to do is ?you know, they do things that are nasty. Republicans never played this.
For myself as a poet, one of the great but largely unremarked horros of Brenton Tarrant‘s manifesto is its epigrap=h, spelled out in full immediately after the title, Dylan Thomas‘ great poem Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night — with emphasis on the final line:
Rage, rage against the dying of the light..
Listen to Dylan Thomas himself voice this, his final, trembling plea to his dying father:
God, that’s a breth of fresh air amidst all this hatred.
The poem is one of the finest in the English language: to see it thus dragged through the mire is shocking and saddening in the extreme.
Trump and Putin are on their respective ways to a meet in Helsinki. This post offers a chess angle on the importance of symmetry as a technique Putin happily uses on Trump and others. Symmetry is already a keen interest of mine in the arts, where it is a prime key to beauty. In chess, too, and it would seem in diplomacy and strategy, symmetry matters.
Here’s the game in which Bobby Fischer kills Robert Byrne in an astounding 21 moves:
What’s of interest to us here is the symmetry at move 11, shown here in two diagrams:
where the blue lines annotate the symmetries in files a, b, c, d, g, and h —
where the red center-line serves as a mirror for those symmetrical files, their positions highlighted in green.
And here’s the site’s comment on symmetry:
It’s quite often the case that in very symmetrical positions such as this one, things go about very slowly, it’s often a bit of a maneuvering game, not a lot of, let’s say, great tactics, or fireworks, things of course can change, but there’s a great amount of symmetry here..
Well, chess is the game of strategy par eminence, isn’t it? Here’s a quote I just used in my metaphors collection:
Brian Williams: Putin does the most rudimentary things, like mirroring, which communications experts will tell you is a way to kind of endearing yourself to your guest.
Clint Watts: [agreeing] Ingratiate and mirror.
President Trump openly says If you say to me that you like me, then I like you. He’s just opening the door for this. Putin has done this with other world leaders. .. You want to build rapport with President Bush, talk about religion and the Christian Orthodox church. you do these things to build and ingratiate and build a mirror relationship with the target.
I’m not saying there’s a direct parallel between the chess comment and the Brian Williams / Clint Watts conversation, which just scratches the surface of the communications stragegy of mirroring and similar techniques, and their relevance to the immadiate situation with Trump on his way to Helsinki to meet Putin —
— just that the emphasis on symmetry in the celebrated Fischer chess match gives us a clue to the possible importance of symmetry in crucial strategic situations in general — and thus to the coming week’s Trump / Putin situation.
the problem of defense in the modern world is the paradoxical one of finding ways for the strong to defeat the weak.
Okay — Alice, in Wonderland, asks:
And what is the use of a book without pictures or conversation?
By dint of sickness, I haven’t been able to purue my efforts to see Caitlin Fitx Gerald‘s fabulous Clausewitz for Kids make its brilliantly-deserving way into print:
That image is from Caitlin’s work, as praised by Benjamin Wittes of Lawfare blog — whom I know not because he’s become a go-to source on many things Trump / Comey —
Suddenly, he was D.C. famous; the very next day, Collins and Wittes bumped into each other in the Morning Joe greenroom. “It used to be that what was going to be written on my tombstone was ‘Benjamin Wittes, former Washington Post editorial writer,’ or ‘Benjamin Wittes, who wasn’t even a lawyer,’?” he says. “Now it’s just, like, ‘Benjamin Wittes, who’s a friend of Jim Comey’s.’?”
The other day, Wells drew my attention to what could be the single most excellently eccentric national security-oriented project currently ongoing on the web: It is called Clausewitz for Kids. I am apparently not the first to discover it. Spencer Ackerman had this story about it last year. But I had missed it until the other day, and I suspect most Lawfare readers are unto this very day unaware that a woman named Caitlin Fitz Gerald is currently writing a comic book edition of Clausewitz’s On War–entitled The Children’s Illustrated Clausewitz–featuring lectures in a Prussian forest by a hare in a military uniform. To make matters all the more fun, she is blogging the process to boot.
Hey, “single most excellently eccentric national security-oriented project” is pretty damn high praise, eh?
You can see the time stamp there right beneath the tick, tick, tick, tick. He sent it at 3:18 p.m. on May 16th. Hey, Ben Wittes, what`s that about?
Well, then later, boom – literally the word boom. Two hours and eight minutes after that initial tweet, we now know in retrospect what that tick, tick, ticking was about. Ben Wittes tweeted “boom” and a link to that huge story that had just been posted at “The New York Times”.
Quote: Comey memo says Trump asked him to end Flynn investigation.
That was a huge story when it broke and apparently somehow Ben Wittes knew it was coming out because he tweeted, tick, tick, tick, tick, tick, two hours before it came, and then boom once it landed. That was May 16th.
And then two days after that, Ben Wittes started ticking again.
Zenpundit is a blog dedicated to exploring the intersections of foreign policy, history, military theory, national security,strategic thinking, futurism, cognition and a number of other esoteric pursuits.