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Too good to miss, recent miscellanea

Thursday, August 29th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — i don’t know about you, but wondrous strange stuff passes before my eyes daily, as in a dream — here’s a sampler ]
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First off, two graphics too good to miss:

From my friend Rabbi Lobel:

and via David Metcalfe:

I should probably stop there — the two of them are so stunning. But I need someplace to park some other recent items that caught my attention..

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Then, a chyron ouroboros so brief as to be stunning:

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And here are a couple of other tweeted ouroboroi

And this one with the added distinction of coming from a Q-source:

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Best game as metaphor for politics meme:

Best folk religion image — Holy Child, Patron Saint of Gas Thieves

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BTW, does QAnon get it’s Q from Quelle, German for source and popularly abbreviated Q in New Testament studies, where it is the “hypothetical written collection of primarily Jesus’ sayings” (Wiki) on which Matthew and Luke draw for materials not found in Mark?

Or as I suggested to Ali Minai a day or two ago:

the letter Q is what you get when you try to construct a Moebius strip on a plane surface.

Don’t get me started on Borromean rings..

And is there a Q in that initial snake graphic, at the head of this post? Thus I bite my own tail..

Halting Problem, P and NP to start with.. chyrons &c 33

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2019

{ by Charles Cameron — including off and on security clearances, Biden and personal space, Trump and groping, kissing, Sovereign Citizens, a billion dollar swindle, and a cruise named Conspira-Sea — and on and on ]
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So, Fox had a chyron gaffe —

— it’s worth a chuckle — now move along..

**

Okay here’s enantiodromia:

Trump will put $100 billion into a slush fund so he doesn’t have to deal with budget cuts:

Republicans have spent a generation complaining about deficits, government spending and attacking a so-called “big government.” Yet, within just a few years the entire party has turned 180 degrees.

and a nice paradox:

If P gets things right then it lies in its tooth;
and if it speaks falsely, it’s telling the truth!

Where did I get that?

  • Geoffrey K. Pullum, an elementary proof of the undecidability of the halting problem
  • If it was Dr Seuss, I’m betting he’d have employed and enjoyed pee (male) and queue (female), which would have made youthful readers giggle and blush.

    That’s Epimenides territory btw, as in “all Cretans are liars”.

    **

    Getting back to news chyrons — I wasn’t awake to catch this when it showed up on Morning Joe, but a piece on RawStory pointed me to it:

    Joe Scarborough:

    Once again, we’re just looking through a glass darkly, and have no idea what Mueller

    Tom Nichols (professor, Naval War College):

    I would love to play poker with the president because he’s a walking bundle of tells.

    **

    CNN Situation Room 4/1/2019:

    Donald Trump: We’ll keep it closed for a long time. I’m not playing games.
    Kellyanne Conway: It is certainly not a bluff.

    **

    MTP 4/1/2019:

    Jeh Johnson:

    You don’t have to the the former Secretary of Homeland Security to know you can’t shut down a 1,900 mile border. It’s a little like decreeing that it should stop raining..

    [ cf King Knut ]

    [all of them Mexico?]

    Jeh Johnson:

    Cutting off aid is the exact wrong thing to do ..

    Note the lovely symmetry there, equivalent to projection

    **

    Ari Melber:

    Neil Katyal:

    You can’t be playing Ducks and Drakes and releasing selectively some quotes here and some quotes there..

    Is, incidentally, I’m thinking sports metaphors, whistle-blower a sports reference, referee?

    **

    Hardball:

    Rep Steve Cohen:

    This whole thing has been played out like a stall. Like when they used to play basketball without a 32 second, 30 second, 35 secondclock, a 35 second clock and they’re just holding the ball, and they’ve got the lead, they’ve got the lead and they’re holding the ball.

    Chris Matthews:

    That’s Dean Smith’s four corners offense, I know about it. Thanks for the basketball recap. .. This isn’t basketball at all, but there is a question of game-playing here ..*****

    This was re Barr timing the release of the Mueller report (after his redactions) to April 15, when Congress wld be away from town on a 3 week break..

    CM:

    A picture’s worth a thousand words everybody. Natasha, you take this: if we get a New York Times top of the fold picture >of a whole page blacked out .. There isn’t going to be much white left on that page ..

    Natasha Bertrand:

    Is Donald Trump considered a third party because he wasn’t charged?

    I just want to go back really quickly to the question of whether ethics and morals matter. If you’re a morally vacuous person, that makes you more susceptible to beinf blackmailed by a foreign country .. It’s a very big national security issue, and I think that that is the lens through which we have to view this ..

    Jay Inslee:

    Trump has been so inhumane to close the border to refugees, some of whom are climate refugees today, because of the drought..

    First mention I’ve seen of climate refugees***** as a term — cf my poem Mourning the lost Ka’aba

    **

    All In:

    Lachlan Markay:

    A state-sponsored Saudi information warfare apparatus ..

    a full spectrum of information warfare, essentially, against Jeff Bezos, the Washington Post and Amazon ..

    Chris Hayes:

    If it’s true, it’s as real and immediate a threat to free speech in the US as one can possinbbly imagine, if a foreign government that doesn’t like dissidents speaking out of turn so much that it murders themessentially attempts to blackmail and destroythe paper which covers is.

    LM:

    And not just the First Amendment, but we have to remember that Amazon right now is bidding on a ten billion dollar Pentagon cloud storage contract, here as well ..om there are tremendous national security implications

    Ah, and golf:

    There’s even a book about it —

    — a book-length sports metaphor***** for the current presidency?

    Author Rick Reilly describes the President as a “prolific cheater” ..

    **

    Andrea:

    **

    Okay.

    Two major pieces on forms of the extreme associated with the right:

    How Sovereign Citizens Helped Swindle $1 Billion From the Government They Disavow

    And from that article, an aptly named car:

    Mr. Morton’s sentencing was set for that June. But when the 11 a.m. hearing started, he didn’t show. Agents spotted him that afternoon outside a Domino’s in Hermosa Beach, a gray hood and sunglasses shrouding much of his face. He hopped in his white Ford Escape and headed south.

    and an aptly named cruise:

    Worth reading, and really worth knowing about the loosely-defined, quasi-religious Sovereign Citizens movement.

    Also:

    There are two forms of interest here — the vicious circle, a quintessential ouroboric concept, and the implied symmetry in “jihadists and the far-right not only reflect each other, but feed off each other”..

    But the CSM piece I really want to direct your attention to is one written by blog-friend Ann Scott Tyson and quoting blog-friend JM Berger– — who was also quoted in the NYT SovCit piece above:

    Christchurch brings global white supremacist threat into sharp relief

    “This is a much bigger global challenge than it is a challenge just in New Zealand or just in the U.K., with Britain First, or just in the U.S. with the [Ku Klux] Klan and a range of other neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups,” says Seth Jones, director of the Transnational Threats Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “There’s a broader collective concern here.”

    **

    This just in before I go.. another symmetry observed:

    The cruel irony of Hussle’s murder is that he was the victim of the type of urban violence he had long tried to remedy: The day after his death, he was scheduled to participate in an LAPD anti-street-violence meeting.

    The importance and impotence of language, #28 in the series

    Tuesday, March 26th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameronmetaphor, that Owen Barfield thing that undergirds Tolkien, who gives us our hero myth at highest, truest pitch — see final section ]
    .

    One for the arc archive:

    There is not a word in the American lexicon for such gatherings—the semi-spontaneous assembly of people in the wake of tragedy, who are united by both grief and by anger, and whose public mourning serves to reaffirm their civic bond to one another. But we need such a word..

    That’s an important point.

    **

    Look, large events have — what do events do, transpired? no — eventuated, actuellement, actually, which is to say, right about now..

    From MTP 3/25/2019:

    Chuck Todd:

    At this point it seems pretty clear that, while politically Democrats have been perhaps, if not check-mated, a pretty touch check on the chess board here, politically..

    Chuck Todd:

    None of us have read the Mueller report. None of us have got a single complete sentence of the Mueller report.

    Jake Sherman:

    It’s certain that Democrats run the risk of beating this drum too loud collusion on the collusion thing. The collusion angle, politically, was the singular focus of this investigation. That’s why it started.

    Is this going to be like the last scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark, buried in some warehouse in New Mexico?

    If they find something, a hundred of them jump on it — it’s the bandwagon effect ..

    The Beat, Ari Melber:

    Ari: Is Barr departing from those preedents?

    Preet:*****

    He [Mueller] punts to Congress, and then Bill Barr runs on the field, takes the ball, runa in for a touchdown for the President..\

    Holder:

    I think Preet was wrong there..

    Rossi:*****

    Using a football analogy, that’s what Preet did, I want to use a basketball analogy. We have a jump-ball, we’re giving it to Bill Barr, who’s taking the ball, he already decided the possession arrow..

    Preet, Holder, Rossi — a touch of Calvinball, one game becoming another?

    **

    Let’s take a break:

    Malcolm Gladwell, Thresholds of Violence

    Thresholds are — in Latin — limina. Here a shooter threshold, a limen — a red line which, having been crossed, now shifts towards the susceptible:

    The kid .. requires a finely elaborated script in order to carry out his attack .. : the effect of Harris and Klebold’s example was to make it possible for people with far higher thresholds — boys who would ordinarily never think of firing a weapon at their classmates — to join in the riot.

    The caption to the illustration heading Gladwell‘s piece reads:

    In the years since Columbine, school shootings changed; they became ritualized

    That’s what my piece on Tarrant as a follower of Breivik was about.

    Here too, from Gladwell, is a serpent that turns to bite its tail when SWAT arrives:

    I would detonate when people were fleeing, just like the Boston bombings, and blow them up too. Then my plans were to enter and throw Molotov cocktails and pipe bombs and destroy everyone and then when the swat comes I would destroy myself.

    **

    And serpentine sinuosity in the Mississippi at English Bend, the great river’s tail not quite bitten? Another border blurred, line receding…

    The plane took off to the north, over Lake Pontchartrain, and looped back toward New Orleans. We picked up the Mississippi at English Turn, the sharp bend that brings the river almost full circle. Then we continued to follow the water as it wound its way into Plaquemines Parish.

    Eh?

    The control of nature? Good luck with that.

    **

    Back to business — a rush of chyrons, with a couple of texts:

    Booker to Ari:

    I have had you on background in many of the rooms I’ve been in

    There must be a lot of thoughts about who the umpire should be ..
    the letter came from somebody who was already suspect and should have recused himself ..

    Booker:

    We’re seeing a lot of dots that seem to be directing us toward a real problem, a potential collusion that continues to seem tom be smoldering and that might result in a real fire..

    Let’s look at the fact pattern ..

    — that last is an interesting phrase —

    Just a couple more from Sen Cory Booker to Ari Melber, then we’ll take a break.

    Sen Booker:

    This is a sacred constitutional moment for us ..

    That’s an excellent quote***** for USian civil religion ..

    A call to creaate what King calls “a more beloved community”

    **

    Barfield on metaphor

    At a later stage in the evolution of consciousness, we find [the principle of living unity] operative in individual poets, enabling them . . . to intuit relationships which their fellows have forgotten-relationships which they must now express as metaphor. Reality, once self-evident, and therefore not conceptually experienced, but which can now only be reached by an effort of individual mind–this is what is contained in a true poetic metaphor; and every metaphor is “true” only in so far as it contains such a reality, or hints at it. The world, like Dionysus, is torn to pieces by pure intellect, but the poet is Zeus; he has swallowed the heart of the world; and he can reproduce it in a living body.

    See here the relationship with Tolkien? with poetry, with HipBone Games?

    **

    Out.

    It’s a chyron blizzard 16

    Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — kushner’s clearance, the koreas, impeachment and other topics of interest, chyrons, screen-grabs &c ]
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    Chyrons:

    Velshi:

    Meet the Press:

    Ari Melber:

    Spares:

    **

    Quotes with associated chyrons, Melber:

    Howard Fineman:

    In the campaign, I spent some time on the 26th floor of Trump Tower, in Donald Trump’s office talking to Donald and some other people. And it reminded me of nothing so much as a somewhat more upscale back room at the Bada Bing!

    It was Donald Trump sitting behind the desk, and various people milling around, nobody sitting down because Donald Trump had too many trophies and paintings and other things on the chairs and seats, there was nowhere to sit down, but everybody milling around the office and only one person who mattered and who was making everybody else argue with each other, and that was Donald Trump.

    Fineman cont’d:

    Is this basically a giant RICO case? That’s what we’re dealing with.

    Barbara McQuade:

    You know, Robert Mueller, and prosecutors in general, are scrupulously careful not to overplay their hand. And so they are correct, they are all correct that there was no direct statement by Donald Trump directing Michael Cohen to lie { .. ]

    All they said is, the statement was not accurate. They did not say that President Trump did not in some way imply or indirectly indicate and instruct Cohen [ .. ]

    [ .. ] because of statements Donald Trump had said, saying There’s no business in Russia, Michael, and in the same breath asking about the status of the negotiations with Russia [ .. ]

    He sent a message to everybody, Get on board, that’s the message.

    Barbara, cont’d:

    It can be very difficult to prove when someone is so careful and maintains that plausible deniability by talking in code, it’s something that drug dealers do with each other, and mobsters do with each other — but if you can get enough people together to say, That’s how he communicated, then I think you can show his intent.

    Ken Dilanian:

    Conspiracy theorists on both sides of the Trump Russia story need to fall back.

    This is a really complicated story, right, there’s a lot of ins and outs to the facts, and we can disagree, reasonable people can disagree on the implications of the evidence we have seen so far.

    Dilanian, cont’d: But the people who need to fall back are those on the right who insist that the whole Mueller Russia investigation is a deep state plot and a coup against the President, and the people on the left who insist that Donald Trump is the Manchurian Candidate, that he’s a puppet of Putin. Because there’s no evidence to support either side of that.

    Final chyrons from Melber:

    I told you, this was a blizzard..

    Hardball:

    Ken Dilanian:

    We have a new statement from Jared Kushner’s lawyer, Abbe Lowell, who said at the time that Kushner got his clearance by the book, there was no special interference, he’s now saying that he, Mr Lowell, was not aware that the President had intervened. Speaking for himself now, not his client.

    Mieke Eoyang:

    What we saw in the Cohen testimony earlier this week is how exactly the President gives these kinds of instructions to people. What he repeats what he wants. He gives a meaningful look, he expects his order to be followed. SO when he says, I didn’t do this, he expects everyone to fall into line — even though we know now, he did.

    Greg Brower:

    I guess his [Manafort;s] team thought they had nothing to lose and perhaps something to gain by taking a swing at the Special Counsel, but I can’t believe it’s going to work..

    Steve Kornacki:

    Kornacki:

    At the very bottom, there he is: Jimmy Carter from Plains, Georgia, the peanut farmer, the famous story. He went from worst to first, didn’t just win the Democratic nomination, but won the Presidency. That’s the most famous example, I think, of a dark horse who emerged..

    AIsha Moodie-Mills:

    Let’s remember that the point of impeachment proceedings is ultimately to open up a formal investigation, to be able to get to the heart of the heart1 of the things that Donald Trump is hiding. They also were able to pull out names, like Allen Weisselberg, and others, and also start to ask questions about Trump’s tax returns that really teed up the opportunity for them to follow up on some of the conversation that was politically feel like started at this hearing. So whether they feel like they are at a place to formally call it impeachment proceedings and to start that process, I think what we’re going to see is surely an investigation that mirrors the question-asking and the interrogation that impeachment would provide. [ .. ]

    He’s literally being shown to act like a mobster in the way that he conducts himself with the people he works with.

    Kornacki:

    A felony was committed to conceal a politically damaging extra-marital affair.

    David French:

    You will see a complete flip-flop on both sides.[ .. ]

    You’re going to see the waters being muddied with people who were a No on Clinton being a Yes, and Trump people who were a Yes on Clinton being a No on Trump, the only thing we can be sure of would be that hypocrisy would abound.

    **

    Okay, that’s Melber and Hardball, I’ll put the next programs in a separate post.

    JM Berger’s Extremism, from MIT Press. Brilliant.

    Monday, September 24th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — my third JM Berger review, following reviews of Jihad Joe and ISIS: State of Terror ]
    .

    **

    I ordered a copy of JM Berger‘s Extremism months early from Amazon, having followed many of the posts in which he was formulating the insights that led to the book, and expecting a volume full of the very detailed diagrams and network analyses they contained:

    Image sources:

  • ICCT, Countering Islamic State Messaging Through “Linkage-Based” Analysis
  • Intelwire, EXTREMIST CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY
  • **

    These diagrams, and the research that underlies them — the work of JM and his colleague, Haroro J Ingram — attest to JM’s skill at the detailed drill-down level, the equivalent of rock-face drilling in a mine. The book couldn’t be further from my expectations: it attests to an entirely different set of skills, those of simplicity, grace, and a superb command of language.

    JM has the ability to communicate directly with a lay audience at their (our) level. He neither shies away from nuance nor adds needless complications — either of which would be a form of condescension to the reader.

    JM’s writing is direct and clean:

  • Terrorism is a tactic, whereas extremism is a belief system.
  • Extremism is a spectrum of beliefs, not necessarily a simple destination.
  • Group radicalization precedes individual radicalization
  • **

    Above are three of the pull-quotes, extracted from the book’s text, that state some of JM’s basic propositions on lucid, large-print, white on black pages, scattered as needed across the book’s 167 short pages (plus glossary, notes, bibliography, further reading, index)..

  • What extremism is, how extremist ideologies are constructed, and why extremism can escalate into violence
  • That’s the core proposition of the whole work, buttressed as it is with a wealth of detailed research and analysis. And radical…

    JM’s approach is already radical in its (his) refusal to treat only one ideological or religious frame for extremism. Studying both ISIS and home grown Identity groups, those who promote violence and those who arguably foreshadow it, led JM to see extremism itself as the most fruitful category to study — not terrorism, nor Islam, not the Citizen Sovereignty movement nor alt-right, but extremism tout court.

    That broadening of the frame allows Berger a set of analytic insights that were obscured by detail in earlier, more limited studies, and his book is the elegant formulation of those insights, simply, and with a forest of scholarship in support.

    **

    JM lists Impurity, Conspiracy, Dystopia, Existential threat, and Apocalypse as central “crisis narratives” utilized by in-groups as they view out-groups — but it is the in-group-out-group distinction which is central to his thinking, its wrongness characterized by the in-group’s paranoid conspiracist suspicions of the out-group’s impurity, dystopic being the nature of the world now ruled by the out-group, and to be abhorred or saved by the in-, with existential threat and apocalypse providing the sense of time-crunch, urgency.

    All this, I say, with a simplicity and elegance which belies the originality and scholarship that undergirds it.

    Above highly recommended.


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