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Mind-stuff.. and a thought-experiment

Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — I’m no longer captivated by chyrons, it seems — and for the next week weeks, it’ll be glass bead games at BrownPundits and my extended examination of advertising as magic here ]
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Mind-stuff.. mind-stuff that grabs my attention is what I’ll deliver here

**

Baghdadi — not meditating — contemplating, perhaps — more mayhem?

**

Another pattern to follow:

It was unclear whether the increase was the result of a shift of Taliban tactics, or just the greatly increased tempo of the war this year, as both sides pushed to improve their positions at the negotiating table.

Taliban Train Sights on Aid Groups, an Ominous Turn in Afghanistan

One thinks — I tend to think — of negotiations as leaning away from warfare and violence and towards peace and reconciliation. My pattern language now needs to encompass negotiations as warfare and violence inducing as well as peace and reconciliation leaning.

For an analytic mind, boggling; for on the ground negotiators, something to bear in mind

**

It’s like our scattered space debris, mind-stuff.

As Patanjali says: Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha — Great Silence quiets the mind-stuff..

Ah, well..

I’ll do a post on religions that offer analytic methods shortly..

**

And on that topic —

I have always wondered — I haven’t been here always, but wot the hell, Archie, as Mehitabel would say — always wondered about the parallelism between koans, ie case law precedents in Chan and Zen Buddhist tradition, and case law precedents in Western jurisprudence>

Now my wish gets new life, as I read Jason Giannetti, Koan and Case Law:

The Zen koan comes from the Chinese kung-an, meaning a “public case,” as in a legal matter brought before a judge. There are numerous ways in which these koan could be related to law cases. Very straightforwardly, these are public records, the recorded sayings of the early Chan masters that have been passed down and commented upon, just as there may be public legal cases that have authority as precedent and have been commented upon. The koan encounter could be understood as a judgement by a master upon a student based upon the student’s understanding of the “case.” A third way in which the connection could be understood is that the koan tests the student’s understanding of the Dharma. Dharma has many meanings in Buddhism, but one of those meanings is “law.”

Wheee thanks, Jason!

**

Nancy Pelosi’s “self-impeachable” is both a wonderful ouroboros and nonsense — a contradiction in terms. Trump’s “investigating the investigators” is far more (semantically) interesting. It’s a bit like that card game where you call out “War” or “Snap when you see both cards are the same..

**

I’m keeping an eye out for security implications of climate chamnge, also “climate migrants” which may well become quite a phenomenon:

  • DoD, FY 2014 Climate Change Adaptation Roadmap
  • DoD, National Security Implications of Climate-related Risks and a Changing Climate
  • World Bank, Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration
  • Climate & Security, Activities of Agencies to Address Potential Impact on Global Migration
  • DoD, Report on Effects of a Changing Climate to the Department of Defense
  • Climate & Security, U.S. GAO Issues 2 Reports in 2 Months Covering Climate and Security
  • **

    To wrap up:

    I was looking for an ilklustration to go with my weaponized thoughts post, To weaponize metaphors.. thoughts as clothes, clothes as thoughts, and I finally — too late — came across this:

    I certainly think that pic could be interpreted as illustrating the assembling and disassembling of thoughts (2nd Amendment, Don’t Tread on Me, Safety First etc) as a function of weaponizing them.

    It comes from an (is it?) anti-gun (as if one can be pro- or anti- gun rather than pro- or anti- certain kinds of access) piece titled Thought Experiment: What might the world be like if there were no guns?.

    But a thought experiment? That’s a refreshing change from arguments pro- or con!

    Next up, a most miscellaneous miscellany

    Sunday, May 5th, 2019

    [ 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 ]
    .

    Unbelievable!

    From Trump’s 2020 campaign manager:

    **

    Less bogus religion, more mundane reality:

    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:

    **

    Somewhere I saw:

    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 ..*****

    **

    I’ll not bother to load the video clips themselves, but for the record, here’s Trump inviting Russia to hack Hillary’s emails, and Hillary inviting China to hack Trump’s tax returns — a DoubleQuote, albeit an obvious one — structurally equivalent to a cinematic flashback. But here’s another DQ, just a little less obvious perhaps:

    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!”

    **

    That William Safire-Barr business, from Cover-up Attorney General Bill Barr strikes again — one of those crucial rhymes:

    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.”

    — and another Barr quote, from The Complicated Friendship of Robert Mueller and William Barr:

    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.”

    **

    Another tweet:

    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.

    Sources:

  • Dexter Filkins, John Bolton on the Warpath
  • Philip Gourevitch, What Is John Bolton’s Bully-Pulpit Attack Really About?
  • Robin Wright, John (“Bomb Iran”) Bolton, the New Warmonger in the White House
  • Some chyrons &c as my chyrons series draws towards a close..

    Wednesday, May 1st, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — this post has been lingering while I’ve been slowly adding elements, and with some Bach now firmly in place I think it’s past time to drop it into the slip-stream ]
    .

    This one’s priceless in a Matrioshka, Through the Looking Glass kind of way:

    Can the Actor Who Ruled Ukraine on TV Do It in Real Life?

    File it under life imitates art?

    **

    I’m tired of chasing chyrons. If I see stunners, I may bring them here, but I’ll be concentrating on other things.

    **

    I was surprised to overhear the words “perfect sacrifice” in a baseball commentary my room-mate was attendinmg to, but apparently the phrase fits in the context of bunts – what those are, I still don’t know – as well as they do in the context of the Eucharistic liturgy, often considered, eg by Pope John Paul II , as a perfect sacrifice of praise..

    What can I say? My ears perked up.

    **

    Three levels of beauty for your illumination:

    Lidia Ksiazkiewicz

    Lidia Ksiazkiewicz at her instrument:

    Lidia Ksiazkiewicz plays Bach’s Fantasia in G major, BWV 572, on the great organ of Laon cathedral in 2012:

    **

    This one’s an almost ouroboros — Chris Matthews on Hardball:

    The Democrats don’t know how to play hardball>>

    **

    From the poets — Walt Whitman:

    both in and out of the game, and watching

    Life, the game, yes. And Shakespeare:

    The southern wind
    Doth play the trumpet to his purposes,
    And by his hollow whistling in the leaves
    Foretells a tempest and a blustering day.

    Marvelous. Those unexpected words can break through the strands of conventional thought that spin their deadly shroud about us every day.

    **

    “IT’S GOING TO BE A GUERRILLA WAR”: THE SANDERS LEFT OPENS FIRE ON BIDEN

    Within a few hours of Joe Biden’s official presidential announcement, the Justice Democrats, the progressive group behind Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s rise to power, brought out the flamethrower.

    **

    So as you see, this is the sort of amount that would have made the first quarter of a chyrons series post a couple of weeks ago, and today it’s all I’ve collected in a week or so. I’m really cutting back on this game, and will be concentrating on other areas..

    **

    Let’s close here with this trio:

    That’s the rough number.

    That’s just this last week.

    And here’s the exact figure, if there’s no margin of error, which seems unlikely..

    I’m leaving some terrorism screen-grabs for a later post.

    Off to a good start, chyrons, headlines, phrases, metaphors, 31

    Saturday, March 30th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — Oxford the memory, Edward Said the music critic, WB Yeats and his Tom O’Roughley, Townes Van Zandt in the song of David Broza.. Barr and Aaliyah — four-page letters, kisses .. plus FaallBack, & Wiz Khalifa on my watch [!!] ]

    Minefield, yes —

    — but also two sides on one stage, so two virtues in the music of ideas:

  • polyphony — many voices, and
  • counterpoint, the juxtaposition, clash and resolution of contrary points of view
  • For war and peace as symphonic, see Edward Said:

    When you think about it, when you think about Jew and Palestinian not separately, but as part of a symphony, there is something magnificently imposing about it. A very rich, also very tragic, also in many ways desperate history of extremes – opposites in the Hegelian sense – that is yet to receive its due. So what you are faced with is a kind of sublime grandeur of a series of tragedies, of losses, of sacrifices, of pain that would take the brain of a Bach to figure out. It would require the imagination of someone like Edmund Burke to fathom.

    Just a snippet — the first paragraph from the Guardian piece:

    Lou Armour is a special needs teacher, an introspective man with a walking stick. If you passed him on the street you probably wouldn’t notice anything about him beyond his limp. But 35 years ago he yomped across the Falkland Islands and ran through a minefield under artillery fire on Mount Harriet. His section killed several Argentinians in a bloody battle and Armour found himself attending to a fatally wounded Argentinian soldier who spoke to him in English about visiting Oxford. He watched as the young man died.

    Ah, Oxford.

    That’s I’d say, is a very good start for this post.

    **

    Okay, back into the mire:

  • Defense One, The US Military Is Creating the Future of Employee Monitoring
  • Uh oh, just what we need!

    As I said to Ali Minai, my view is that of WB Yeats in his poem Tom O’Roughley:

    ‘Though logic choppers rule the town,
    And every man and maid and boy
    Has marked a distant object down,
    An aimless joy is a pure joy,’
    Or so did Tom O’Roughley say
    That saw the surges running by,
    ‘And wisdom is a butterfly
    And not a gloomy bird of prey.

    ‘If little planned is little sinned
    But little need the grave distres.
    What’s dying but a second wind?
    How but in zigzag wantonness
    Could trumpeter Michael be so brave?’
    Or something of that sort he said,
    ‘And if my dearest friend were dead
    I’d dance a measure on his grave.’

    **

    Back to the Mueller probe according to President Trump

    :Many, many people were badly hurt by this scam, but more importantly, our country was hurt. Our country was hurt. And they are on artificial respirators right now. They are getting mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

    — and back to “little pencil-neck Adam Schiff” aka “Adam Schitt”:

    He’s got the smallest, thinnest neck I’ve ever seen. He is not a long-ball hitter, but I saw him today, ‘Well we don’t really know, there still could have been some Russia collusion.’

    Sick, sick.. these are sick people and there has to be accountability because it is all lies and they know it’s lies ..

    Well then:

    That’s an unexpected and welcome follow-up ..

    **

    And so to Trump:

    Wildcard*****, a nice, slightly paradoxical example..

    **

    I’m watching Hanna (Amazon), starring the skilled and lovely Esme Creed-Miles:

    Life, she is full of variety, no?

    **

    elshi & Ruhle:

    **

    MTP 3/29/2019:

    Again, trump, trump, trump..

    Rep Jamie Raskin, his way with words:

    Attorney General Barr writes letters like Agatha Christie novels, there are more and more mysteries built into each one ..

    [Impeachment] it’s the people’s defense against a president who’s acting like a king ..

    Katy Tur:

    **

    The Beat, Ari Melber:

    First, a stream of chyrons..

    Aisha:

    I’m dropping this four-page letter and enclosing it with a kiss..

    Aside: the things we learn!!

    Howard Fineman:

    I think he’s part of the team..

    Let me use a basketball analogy if you don’t mind.. You know how, at the end of a game when one team thinks it’s ahead and they spread the floor and start tossing the ball around to keep from getting fouled to stop the clock, that’s my interpretation [of Barr’s actions] here..

    .. dozens of years of Yale Law School education, and we end at the freak-show tent ..

    A pair:

    Then there’s a quote from Obama’s Selma Bridge speech:

    We are the people Langston Hughes wrote of who “build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how.” We are the people Emerson wrote of, “who for truth and honor’s sake stand fast and suffer long;” who are “never tired, so long as we can see far enough.”

    That’s what America is. Not stock photos or airbrushed history, or feeble attempts to define some of us as more American than others.

    Fallback, which I generally don’t like too much, but here —

    — hunting and shooting a sleeping lion —

    If you’re hunting to eat, that’s one thing ..

    You want to impress me — go fight that lion with your bare hands, knuckles, teeth — and then come back and talk to me..

    [cf past Maasai hunting traditions.. ]

    — and which, further into the Fallback episode, brings us more music — Stay in ur lane:

    **

    So here I’ll take a break..

    Metaphor series 27: Irresponsible weather, untweeted tweets &c

    Monday, March 25th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — also lots from Friday March 22nd, more, and the Barr comment on Mueller Report breaks, March 24th ]
    .

    Let’s start with the weirdest tweet ever:

    That’s a crowd-sized tweet, y’see, and in the crowd-sized small print it says:

    He didn’t tweet it, he actually said it.

    Take a look at the same image full-sized — full photo-sized, here.

    **

    Unpredictable weather:

    Okay, that’s my excuse for a NASA DoubleQuote:

    Here’s what Joshua Stevens of NASA Earth Observatory says in the caption:

    Several communities west of Omaha (between the Elkhorn and Platte Rivers) either flooded or temporarily became islands as floodwaters encroached from both sides. One third of Offutt Air Force Base was inundated and 30 buildings were damaged, according to news reports. Rising flood waters forced people in dozens of communities to evacuate.

    Wha??

    Bob Dylan to the point:

    A change in the weather is known to be extreme

    You’re A Big Girl Now.

    **

    Okay, down to mores serious business..

    Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, made a fascinating and provocative suggestion to Nicolle Wallace yesterday, and I’ll offer here my transcription and some comments:

    To go back to this notion, and the clip of him {The President] saying the American people won’t accept this {Mueller results &c] because these are people who were not elected.. Let’s focus on that. Do you know what that sounds a lot like to most law enforcement officers, this notion that you can’t abide by anything by anyone who has not been elected? The Sovereign Citizen‘s movement.

    These are people who, when they get pulled over by the police, shoot the police officer. Why? The police officers were not elected. They recognize only the sheriff. They don’t pay taxes, right? We are essentially seeing the President as a Sovereign Citizen, not recognizing the authority of anyone who wan’t elected. It’s a dangerous philosophy.

    He’s going to go with that theme that only elected officials can decide his fate, and there’s going to be a substantial part of the American public that’s going to buy into that..

    The Sovereign Citizen Movement was featured in this now-archived FBI page:

    Sovereign citizens are anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or “sovereign” from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement.

    This causes all kinds of problems—and crimes. For example, many sovereign citizens don’t pay their taxes. They hold illegal courts that issue warrants for judges and police officers. They clog up the court system with frivolous lawsuits and liens against public officials to harass them. And they use fake money orders, personal checks, and the like at government agencies, banks, and businesses.

    That’s just the beginning. Not every action taken in the name of the sovereign citizen ideology is a crime, but the list of illegal actions committed by these groups, cells, and individuals is extensive (and puts them squarely on our radar). In addition to the above, sovereign citizens:

  • Commit murder and physical assault;
  • Threaten judges, law enforcement professionals, and government personnel;
  • Impersonate police officers and diplomats;
  • Use fake currency, passports, license plates, and driver’s licenses; and
  • Engineer various white-collar scams, including mortgage fraud and so-called “redemption” schemes.
  • Sovereign Citizenship, is very like a religion –n but the sort of religion where the dogma is loose, and each member pretty much defines their own version. Catholics might recognize this as cafeteria Catholicism, but Pentecostals with each one informed by individual inspiritation strikes me as a more apt comparative.

    **

    Just caught this from late 2018:

    Natasha Bertrand, The Eerie Parallels Between Trump and the Watergate ‘Road Map’
    Lawmakers thought Nixon’s gathering of inside information about the Watergate probe from DOJ was an impeachable offense:

    Nearly 45 years ago, the House Judiciary Committee concluded that President Richard Nixon’s contact with high-level Justice Department officials overseeing the Watergate investigation, detailed in a 62-page “road map” of evidence collected by prosecutors in 1972–73, amounted to an impeachable misuse of executive power.

    A half century later, the FBI’s former top lawyer, Jim Baker—a close friend and associate of fired FBI Director James Comey—is laying out parallels, albeit subtly, to President Donald Trump’s interactions with the law-enforcement officials who have been investigating him and his campaign team since July 2016.

    Parallels, subtly drawn: from a geometrical perspective, parallels are’t subtle, they’r exact — but parallels as a metaphor for similarities in patterning are all the better for subtlety.

    **

    running (in an election), off the hook (wrt prosecution), — these are among the sports metaphors for politics that are so obvious, so basic that it’s barely worth noting them — and yet they’re bassic to more detailed metaphors we’re very interested in.

    and then there are the images I catch,but not the sentences they’re embedded in, let alone the paragraphs.. %strike)Brennan saying “firestorm” at a moment when the TIVO or whatever captured the feed had a hiccup), deliberate or otherwise.. Joy of SM Joy’s “spiked the ball at the fifty yard line”*****, for instance, was a fleeting capture of an often repeated basic phrase, “spiked the ball” which would be better caught in a more detailed context..

    A quick Melber chyron before I lose it, at 22:

    **

    Hardball:

    Chris Matthews: all these dots we are now to believe don’t connect ..
    Chris Matthews: I could see the President announcing in two or three weeks, I split the double header. I got off collusion, all they’ve got me on is this argument about obstruction, by the way I’m allowed to obstruct if I’m innocent ..
    should they feel they just skipped justice?
    43 stars / constellation .. [ a nice para — transcript? ]
    Chris Matthews: it’s the politburo ..
    Chris Matthews:

    The Democrats have been riding this camel for a lot of miles through the desert, waiting for an explosive report that would decide whether the President did something impeachable or not ..

    All In, Chris Hayes:

    Julia Ainsley:

    And then this is the part I think is the most magical. At five o’clock, the congressional liaison at the Justice Department knew his job would be to go brief the committees, but they didn’t want to have any jealousy about who might get this first and how this might go down, so they dispersed a team to the Democrat and Republican side of both the House and the Senate Judiciary, to make sure that the letter .. was put down in front of those committees, all four, Republican and Democrat, Senate and House, Judiciary at the exact same time, five o’clock..

    Neil Katyal:

    And now Mueller is really like a relay racer, handing off the baton to other folks..

    Anna Galliard:

    Well, boy, it’s one of those moments where you have to walk & chew gum & juggle. & fight for the soul of democracy all at the same time ..

    Carol Lam: a Japanese Tea ceremony .. [transcript?]

    Rachel 3-22

    51-2: chuck rosenberg: I think this is far too early for Mr Corsi to be dancing in the end-zone ..*****
    @58 or 50?, katyal: lanes & batons ..
    the mueller probe is officially over, and the torch has been handed to .. cf baton

    MTP (3-22?)

    brennan: I think Bob Mueller understands the firestorm that this report was, you know, going to be out into ..
    nicolle w: andy mccabe .. [distorted] .. a tree house ..
    ari m: he’s a wild-card here, who could ..
    graphic of mueller investigation ..
    nicolle: the earth could change under our feet ..
    he had access to five-eyes intel ..
    ari: i got the football and i might be passing lots of it by this weekend ..
    katyal: we generally don’t have secret books in this country ..
    meacham: will there be a MAGA pitchfork rebellion?

    AM Joy 3-23:

    sat am: malcolm nance: koresh-style . [transcript?]

    AM Joy 3-24

    and not dropped, like a nuclear bomb, on the white house, on friday ..

    59 or 00: over on Earth II or Fox News ..

    **

    Listen up:
    Here’s the breaking news of Barr’s comments on & quotes from Mueller’s report, Sunday 3/24/2019, pm:

    **

    Two comments summing up this remarkable day:

    MSNBC, commentator unknown:

    This is a very good day for the President, and they’ll be spiking the football from here to the election, likely..

    Barr’s letter to Congress:

    The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’


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