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Potent possible parallelisms?

Friday, September 13th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — you know I’m fascinated by parallelisms and analogies — here are some I’ve noticed recently — enough for three fine posts, and you get three in one ! ]
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Parallelisms of interest that have surfaced in my reading recently include:

  • between Trump speeches and the Crusius El Paso manifesto
  • between Trump’s and Hitler’s uses of language
  • between AQ’s Sami al-Uraydi and French revolutionary Saint-Just
  • between ISIS strategy and use of social media and western Neo-Nazi terrorism
  • between Christchurch and El Paso
  • between the Gildead of Margaret Atwood and the Family of Jeff Sharlet
  • between the Family of Jeff Sharlet and the Muslim Brotherhood
  • between 11 Sept 2001, NYT, and 11 Sept 1683, Vienna
  • oh, and on a different note altogether, there’s:

  • between the arts of architecture and cartooning
  • **

    El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language:

    At campaign rallies before last year’s midterm elections, President Trump repeatedly warned that America was under attack by immigrants heading for the border. “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”

    Nine months later, a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

    Sources:

  • NY Times, El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language<
  • Intercept, After El Paso, We Can No Longer Ignore Trump’s Role
  • **

    A professor of German history explains the true horror of Trump’s response to Charlottesville

    We haven’t had a Reichstag blaze, nor a Kristallnachtnot even close!!! — still, if we consider rhetoric alone, there’s food for thought:

    “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”

    Nine months later, a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

    Source:

  • RawStory, A professor .. explains the true horror of Trump’s response to Charlottesville
  • **

    Here’s a nice one observed by jihad-scholar Cole Bunzel:

    Looks good, though one wonders whether the parallelism comes from the translator’s memory-store rather than al-Uraydi‘s?

    Wikipedia quotes St-Just thus:

    Those who make revolutions by halves do nothing but dig their own tombs.

    and gives the date as January 1793 and the source as Oeuvres Complètes de Saint-Just, vol. 1 (2 vols., Paris, 1908), p. 414.

    **

    Here’s the Stratfor analysis:

  • Stratfor, What White Supremacism and Jihadism Have in Common
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    Like jihadism, the various ideologies driving white supremacism are not going away any time soon, and comparing the two can provide valuable lessons for understanding the ongoing threat. [ more.. ]

  • I’ll have a separate post on whether white supremacists as well as jihadists should be classified as terrorists — a matter on which opinions are divided..

    The other piece referenced in the DoubleQuote above:

  • Rantt, White Supremacist Terrorists Operate Like ISIS, Trump Shrugs
  • And here’s an impressive, alternative contrast by Tim Furnish:

  • Stream, White Terrorists vs. the Sultans of Slaughter
  • **

    There’s something akin to a waterfall of manifestos on the supremacist, arguably starting with Breivik, and thence to Christchurch and El Paso:

  • WaPo, Christchurch endures as extremist touchstone
    .
    In the days after a gunman killed 51 people in March at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, analysts warned the attack could become a rallying point for extremists.

    It was a high-casualty attack, intended to be imitated by others, live-streamed on social media, accompanied by the release of a white supremacist manifesto decrying immigration and immigrants.

    On Saturday, a similar manifesto appeared online, with similar grievances. The author opened by expressing “support” for “the Christchurch shooter.” Within minutes, a gunman opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso, killing 20..

  • The second quote in this above DoubleQuote says what it needs to say in the subtitle: “the more oxygen these manifestos get…”.

    Onwards. Here’s a rather more disturbing aspect of the El Paso > Christchurch parallelism:

  • WaPo. Two mass killings a world apart share a common theme: ‘ecofascism’
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    Before the slaughter of dozens of people in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso this year, the accused gunmen took pains to explain their fury, including their hatred of immigrants. The statements that authorities think the men posted online share another obsession: overpopulation and environmental degradation.

    The alleged Christchurch shooter, who is charged with targeting Muslims and killing 51 people in March, declared himself an “eco-fascist” and railed about immigrants’ birthrates. The statement linked to the El Paso shooter, who is charged with killing 22 people in a shopping area this month, bemoans water pollution, plastic waste and an American consumer culture that is “creating a massive burden for future generations.”

    The two mass shootings appear to be extreme examples of ecofascism — what Hampshire College professor emerita Betsy Hartmann calls “the greening of hate.”

  • **

    On the existence of “so much similarities between the family and Muslim Brotherhood: praying groups“<:

    OK dear friend I have done a full thread to that in Arabic. I’ll try to make it in English:

    First major similarity is the refusal to be organised with official presence. The founder and up tell now calling it “Al-gama’a”… And they call each other “Brother”..

    [ thread ]

    **

    The Family: More Gilead than Godly:

    In both Gilead and Virginia, men in inner circles have been anointed by God to lead. Conversely, those women chosen to be of service remain in the background where they respond to these godly guys’ commands with a heavenly “blessed be.”

    **

    A stunner:

    Here’s from the London Review of Books review of Lawrence Wright‘s The Looming Tower:

    Wright offers the sense among the jihadis that America was the centre of Christianity, and that the Christian world had been winning the battle of faiths since the Islamic host began to be beaten back from the gates of Vienna on 11 September 1683.

    I’d be interested if anyone has evidence connecting 2001 to 1683 in the mind of UBL

    Timothy McVeigh, after all, timed the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City to coincide with the date set for the execution of Richard Snell, who had earlier plotted to blow up the same building, also the date of the final holocaust of the Branch Davidians in Waco two years earlier, the 220th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord — the “shot heard ’round the world” –and the start of the FBI’s siege of the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord compound in 1985. Quite an impressive concatenation of anniversaries!

    Anniversary dating, indeed, is not solely a white nationalist phenomenon. According to Hussain S. Zaidi‘s Black Friday: The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts, the principal suspect in the 1993 bombings, Tiger Memon says:

    Friday, 12 March, is the seventeenth day of Ramazan. It will be the day when the Holy Prophet fought the first battle of Junge-Badr against the heathens of Mecca and forced them to retreat. The auspicious date will help us achieve success.

    Or as Anuraga Kashyap‘s film Black Friday has it:

    Tiger‘s memory reaches back to 624 CE.

    **

    And for a sunnier thought..

    Here’s a parallelism between architecture and cartooning, courtesy of Bill Benzon:

    Trump — King or Queen? A Biblical DoubleQuote

    Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — a gender-bender for our times, and a caution against messianic projections on all too fallible humans }
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    Either way, Donald Trump:

    **

    To be frank, I don’t think Trump is either one — but Biblical excuses made by or on behalf of those Evangelicals who favor Trump‘s policies, and particularly his choices for the bench, are worth considering on their own merits.

    King David notoriously slept with Bathsheba after sending his friend, her husband, off to die on the front lines, and yet G*d seems to have favored and used him. Similarly, Cyrus wasn’t even one of the Chosen People, yet he seems to have been one of the people chosen.

    An aside — while I’m not sure if he originated the idea, it’s interesting that David Koresh, the leader of the Branch Davidians, named himself “Koresh” — “Cyrus” in Hebrew — and gave himself the title “sinful Messiah” because he felt both convinced / convicted of his sinfulness and called to a salvific, nay messianic, purpose. Esther? She was Jewish herself and beautiful, and protected the Jews from a holocaust back in the day.

    David exemplifies the leader with a shady, nay adulterous and murderous, past.

    Cyrus is the unbeliever in a G*d who uses him for his own purposes. And Esther is a ruler who preserves the Jewish people in a time of trouble.

    Each analogy in turn has its merits — yet as regular readers here know, while I’m an enthusiast for thinking via analogies, I’m also concerned to bring critical appraisal to them. I have to admit I don’t see a Cyrus, David, or Esther here, and tend to think the long history of messianic projections by enthusiastic crowds, and messianic pretenders who came and went, should be a caution for us.

    Trump looks to me like a man, is all. I wouldn’t trust him, and I don’t even trust myself.

    **

    Sources:

  • CBN (2016), Chaos Candidate: Is Trump a Modern-Day King Cyrus?
  • WaPo (2019), Holy Moses. Mike Pompeo thinks Trump is Queen Esther
  • Climate change & its impacts, rippling out across all our futures, 2

    Friday, August 30th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — part 1 was Climate change & its impacts, rippling out across all our futures, 1, and dealt with the impact of climate change on the Hajj and other pilgrimage sites ]
    .

    Climate change, of course, has ripples in many other areas of geo-political, national security and intelligence interest besides Islam, Mecca, and the Hajj.

    I’m by no means the first person to foresee what’s now called climate migration — nor that it will involve massive migrations across national borders as well as within sovereign nations.

    So that’s another version of the issue variously addressed in a recent NYT op-ed, a New York Intelligencer piece, and a Franklin Foer piece in The Atlantic — the impact of climate change on the nation-state system:

    **

  • Quinta Jurecic, Who Owns the Amazon?
  • Quinta Jurecic is the managing editor of the highly regarded Lawfare blog, and the subtitle of his piece reads:

    The raging fires are straining the usefulness of the concept of sovereignty.

    That’s quite a whammy, coming from an impeccable — ha, unimpeachable — source: sovereignty, the self-determination of the nation state, comes into question, and thus the nation state itself. Because fires in the Amazon rain-forest aka the lungs of our planet are too dangerous to be left to the actions of autonomous nations — and the same goes for climate change more generally:

    The Amazon fires are a test case of sorts for how the climate crisis will strain the usefulness of seemingly simple concepts — like national sovereignty. Before calling up the military, Mr. Bolsonaro accused countries donating money to preserve the rain-forest of wanting to “interfere with our sovereignty.” He also declared that the international condemnation he faced spoke to a “colonialist mentality,” criticizing what he saw as Mr. Macron’s encouragement for the G7, which does not include Brazil, to grapple with the problem on its own.

    Question: what happens to national sovereignty when global interest supervenes?

  • David Wallace-Wells, The Glimmer of a Climate New World Order
  • Wallace-Wells is the author of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. That may be a book I shall have to review. In this article, however, he makes a point about our academic and technical readiness for climate change, which I’d see as expanding on Jurecic‘s point about sovereignty:

    If climate change does transform life on this planet at anything like the scale and speed scientists promise it will, our politics will change with it — and probably quite dramatically. One question this raises is: In what ways? Another is: Will we like what warming does to us? The answers to both are very much open, and we’ve barely begun to develop a political science around climate change that might help us think through the possibilities.

    we’ve barely begun to develop a political science around climate change. Not as political science theory, but as diplomatic reality, required to avoid politics turning into warfare — in a nuclear-tipped age.

    Question: What might a planetary political science adequate to climate change look like?

  • Franklin Foer, The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs
  • Franklin Foer‘s piece in the Atlantic is subtitled:

    One person shouldn’t have the power to set policies that doom the rest of humanity’s shot at mitigating rising

    Man, nation, planet — Planet, nation, man?

    Arguably, a nation has the right to impose its rule or rules on a man, and analogously, a planet has the right to impose its rule or rules on a nation — but note that the planet’s rules are none other than the laws of nature, so we’ve shifted register from what is humanly imposed tpo what is imposed on humans. And if humans try to emulate those laws, via the UN, or the International Criminal Court in The Hague, some nations may not be exactly happy..

    Question: when planetary needs collide with national interfests, rich or poor, who wins, and who needs to win?

    **

    Okay, those are the three main pieces I wanted to draw your attention to. These are also of possible interest:

  • Laura Parker, 143 Million People May Soon Become Climate Migrants

    Climate change will transform more than 143 million people into “climate migrants” escaping crop failure, water scarcity, and sea-level rise, a new World Bank report concludes. Most of this population shift will take place in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America—three “hot spots” that represent 55 percent of the developing world’s populations.

    This worst-case scenario is part of a ground-breaking study focused on the impacts of slow-onset climate, as opposed to more visibly dramatic events such as extreme storms and flooding.

  • Sujatha Byravan & Sudhir Chella Rajan, Before the Flood

    Conservative climate and hydrological models suggest that the average sea level will rise by about a foot by 2050, regardless of what new actions we take to reduce greenhouse gases. In some cases, entire nations will disappear; a harbinger of this is Tuvalu in the Pacific, whose government has asked Australia and New Zealand to accept its citizens as the sea swallows their island.

  • Brian Kahn, How Climate Change Is Becoming a Deadly Part of White Nationalism

    Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old suspect police took into custody after the shooting, is believed to have uploaded a four-page white nationalist document to the message board 8chan … outlining his motives for killing at least 22 people at Walmart on Saturday. Included among its racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric are ideas central to the mainstream environmental movement. “[O]ur lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country. The decimation of the environment is creating a massive burden for future generations. Corporations are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly overharvesting resources,” it reads.

  • **

    Is that last quote surprising?

    It is if, and only if, one’s basic assumption is of the left / right divide, with the left being ecologically conscious and the right (see Trump) being blind to, and thus potentially blindsided by, climate change. If your significant divisor, on the other hand, is extremist / moderate, then it’s not so surprising after all.

    Trump tries what Harry Potter got wrong

    Thursday, August 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — Catching up, a completist post — “I am the chosen one” got Harry Potter a well-deserved smack-down — A DoubleQuote in videos, plus ]
    .

    Donald Trump makes a clear dog-god-whistle to Evangelicals in his base, claiming to be “the chosen one”:

    That’s a quasi-Messianic claim, and goes along with the “Cyrus” references which allow Evangelicals to overlook his”sinful” behavior and view him as a sort of undercover agent for God..

    **

    Harry Potter, meanwhile, get’s righteously swatted by Hermione Granger for making the same claim, albeit in a different context:

    Lesson learned?
    .
    **

    But then there was this:

    **

    Snopes: emphasizes the least messianic view of things

    Claim:

    On Aug. 21, 2019, U.S. President Donald Trump articulated a belief that he is “the chosen one,” the “King of Israel,” or the “second coming of God.”

    Rating:

    Mostly false

    What’s True

    In a brief aside during remarks about the ongoing U.S.-China trade war, Trump said “I am the chosen one.”

    What’s False

    Trump’s “chosen one” aside was likely tongue-in-cheek, not a sincere profession of any belief in his own messianic status. Separately, in a series of tweets, Trump quoted a radio host who claimed Jewish people in Israel admired the U.S. president so greatly that it was as though Trump were the King of Israel or the second coming of Christ. Trump never himself articulated any such belief.

    **

    On the other hand, on BBC News, Pompeo says God may have sent Trump to save Israel from Iran — this is from a few months back, 22 March 2019:

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said it is “possible” that President Donald Trump was sent by God to save Israel from Iran.

    In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network during a high-profile trip to Israel, he said it was his faith that made him believe that.

    **

    For context, it’s worth watching the Netflix’ series based on Jeff Sharlet‘s books, The Family and C Street, with an eye in particular on the way the story of King David and his affair with Bathsheba — including sending her husband to the front line to be killed in battle — proves that God uses unexpected ways to accomplish his plans..

    Southern Baptists and Presidents, an open question

    Monday, July 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — all views & comments welcome ]
    .

    **

    Readings:

  • Time, Evangelicals Are Supporting Trump Out of Fear, Not Faith
  • SBC, Resolution On Moral Character Of Public Officials
  • **

    I’m leaving this DoubleQuote as an open question> I have my own preferences, of course, but in the spirit of free discourse, comments are welcome from believers and non-believers, saints and sinners, Trumpeteers, Clintonians, and a-politicals alike..


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