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The most interesting..

Friday, October 18th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron –a quick round ’em up, rawhide of news and views — read the first one, even if you skip the rest — some of which are frankly hilarious, and darkly sad too — and towards the end, there’s one mind-blower with gospel reference! ]
.

Millennial mils debate Syria:

This, from WaPo‘s summary of the Democratic debate of 15 October 2019:

There was a point in the middle of the debate when South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) had an impassioned debate about whether the United States should be in Syria. Gabbard was the most noninterventionist candidate on the stage, while Buttigieg said Syria was perhaps the one place in the Middle East where we continue to need a presence. That disagreement aside, this was two millennial veterans of Middle East wars — the only two combat veterans among the leading candidates — having that debate on a presidential stage. That’s quite the moment.

That’s a debate within the debate, and the criterion for being on that stage is a lot stiffer than for the stage-of-twelve.

BTW, hey matryoshka! —

**

Serpents I:

And then this, for a serpent-bites-tail moment, with the middle slytherin’ of the snake passing through time:

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R) offers a lesser time-inflected serpent on Twitter:

Wow. We bombed our own base on purpose, because of the impulsive decision by @realDonaldTrump didn’t leave time to evacuate the right way. Is this the America you grew up believing in?

**

Word choices I:

Inside that Giuliani serpent piece, there’s this exquisite word choice by a company pertinent to the investigation:

**

Word choices II:

But it gets better, once you look at the Giuliani associate twins, Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas:

Snap!!

**

Serpents II:

Here’s a serpent formerly biting its tail attempting to unbite it:

It’s a microcosm of the same Trumpworld shamelessness that has suddenly converted Donald Trump Jr. into an outspoken opponent of nepotism.

**

Here’s a report of Bolton‘s grenade attack on Giuliani:

Giuliani’s growing headaches are political as well as legal. Yesterday Trump’s former top adviser on Russia and Europe, Fiona Hill, reportedly told congressional investigators that her boss, former national security adviser John Bolton, labeled Giuliani “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up” by meddling in Ukraine…

That’s six, just from my first scan — seven would be enough for me to close this and post!

**

Seventh:

Oh well, as you may know, my degree is in Theology from Christ Church, Oxford, and I’ve continued my interest in New Testament scholarship while broadening it to include Gnostic, Buddhist, shamanic and other sources..

Today’s haul [well, a day or two ago, but today at the time of writing!] contains a second matryoshka instance, this one from a piece about “Secret Mark” — the gospel fragment preserved by Clement of Alexandria and disclosed to the world by Morton Smith in 1973:

Since the Swine do not actually appear to have any overlap with the adjacent story of the possessed man, the story of the Swine appears to be another intercalation or at least addition. It seems like “Mark” had a collection of unconnected stories that he pasted together to create a single narrative. His literary techniques with intercalations and framing stories (i.e. putting some of his stores inside other stories instead of pasting them one after another) give us an idea of how freely he worked with his material.

What’s really interesting about the fragment of a letter from Saint Clement containing a previously unknown section of Mark’s gospel is that it suggests that Jesus taught some form of initiation into :

And they came into Bethany, and a certain woman, whose brother had died, was there. And coming, she prostrated herself before Jesus and said to him, ?Son of David, have mercy on me.‘ But the disciples rebuked her. And Jesus, being angered, went off with her into the garden where the tomb was, and straightaway a great cry was heard from the tomb. And going near, Jesus rolled away the stone from the door of the tomb. And straightaway, going in where the youth was, he stretched forth his hand and raised him, seizing his hand. But the youth, looking upon him, loved him and began to beseech him that he might be with him. And going out of the tomb they came into the house of the youth, for he was rich. And after six days Jesus told him what to do and in the evening the youth came to him, wearing a linen cloth over [his] naked [body.] And he remained with him that night, for Jesus taught him the mystery of the kingdom of God. And thence, arising, he returned to the other side of the Jordan.

The mystery of the kingdom of God?

Some second form of baptism? In the spirit? With an entheogen, as (arguably) in other “mysteries” such as that of Eleusis? A sexual, tantric mystery (the young man is instructed to be naked)? Or an initiation into meditation techniques? Who knows. All we can say is that according to this fragment, Jesus seems to have had some deeper teaching that he revealed after seven days to the young man..

More:

  • Shawn Eyer, The Strange Case of the Secret Gospel According to Mark
  • Richard Hooper, The Naked Man in the Garden and The Secret Gospel of Mark
  • There, number seven, and it’s a humdinger! — and every one of them featuring some sort of formal interest!

    **

    Boom! Bonus:

    Hobby Lobby and a Bible fragment controversy

    I ran across this while searching for a link to Morton Smith‘s book — or was it the other way around? Anyway, this is about a different Mark gospel fragment, indeed possibly the earliest New Testament manuscript of all:

    From today’s Guardian:

    An Oxford University professor has been accused of selling ancient Bible fragments to a controversial US company that has been involved in several high-profile scandals related to its aggressive purchases of biblical artefacts.

    Dirk Obbink, one of the world’s most celebrated classics professors, has been named after an investigation by staff associated with Oxford’s Oxyrhynchus Papyri project.

    He is accused of selling without permission a number of ancient fragments to the US arts and crafts chain Hobby Lobby. Its owners, the Green family, are prominent Christian evangelicals and, under the guidance of the Hobby Lobby president, Steve Green, were behind the founding of Washington’s $400m Museum of the Bible in 2017. [ .. ]

    The lecturer in papyrology and Greek literature has previously denied some of the allegations, telling the Daily Beast in 2018 that the claim he sold a fragment of the first chapter of the gospel of Mark to Hobby Lobby was not true.

    Previous reports:

  • Gospel Coalition, 2015, How Should We Respond to Reports that a Fragment of Mark Dates to c1 ?

    It was reported yesterday that a three-dozen member team of scientists and scholars—apparently including the well-respected New Testament historian Craig Evans—is working on a papyrus fragment of the Gospel of Mark, discovered as part of an ancient Egyptian funeral mask.

    Due to the expense of securing clean papyri sheets in the ancient world, the papier-mâché of these masks was made from recycled papyri that already contained writing. Evans explains, “We’re recovering ancient documents from the first, second and third centuries. Not just Christian documents, not just biblical documents, but classical Greek texts, business papers, various mundane papers, personal letters.”

    Amazing, eh? Metacognitive reading: think about it, what’s hidden in our masks?

  • Christianity Today 2018, Despite Disappointing Some, New Mark Manuscript Is Earliest Yet

    The Egypt Exploration Society has recently published a Greek papyrus that is likely the earliest fragment of the Gospel of Mark, dating it from between A.D. 150–250. One might expect happiness at such a publication, but this important fragment actually disappointed many observers. The reason stems from the unusual way that this manuscript became famous before it became available.

    I’m afraid that’s the story of its questionable sale..

    Oh dammit, Professor Obbink is a tutor at Christ Church — my own college.

  • If you were reading the New Yorker after the Dem debate..

    Friday, June 28th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — on excellence in writing with insight — Katy Waldman ]
    .

    If you were reading the New Yorker after the Dem debate, you might have read [a], with [b] as a chaser, then worried that [c] —

  • John Cassidy, Joe Biden’s Faltering Debate Performance Raises Big Doubts
  • Jelani Cobb, Democratic Debate 2019: Kamala Harris Exposed the Biden Weaknesses
  • Susan Glasser, Kamala Harris Won in Miami, but Vladimir Putin Won in Osaka
  • But I hope you’ll conclude with [d], because I think it gets to the heart of the matter:

  • Katy Waldman, Democratic Debate 2019: Kamala Harris Is the Best Storyteller
  • It’s a much smaller piece, but right on the money. Consider:

    Onstage, Harris, the former prosecutor, distinguishes herself as a storyteller, who conjures up images as well as arguments in ways the other contenders do not. Answering a question about health care, she spoke of parents looking through the glass door of the hospital as they calculated the costs of treating their sick child. Answering a question about detainment camps for undocumented immigrants, she hypothesized about a mother enlisting the services of a coyote, desperate to secure a better chance for her kid. “We need to think about this situation in terms of real people,” Harris insisted. She certainly demonstrated her ability to do so—to imagine policy as embodied in actual American lives. That narrative instinct framed the most powerful moment of the debate. Criticizing Biden for his past lack of support for busing, Harris began telling another story. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”

    The New Yorker is celebrated for excellent writing with insight: Katy Waldman has insight — nicely done!

    29th in the series — more on Mueller Barr’d, but first —

    Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — including being mind blind, a flourish or two of Shakespearean trumpets, spawn and other hardball terms, the new Democratic reality.. a spin on the roulette wheel.. more ..]
    .

    Quick, from Rachel tonight 26 March:

    Barbara McQuade: The analogy I have made is, it’s as if you are the New England Patriots, and Tom Brady has been your quarterback all season and throughout the Super Bowl, and for the very last drive of the game, coach Bill Belichick puts himself in as quarterback instead. What on earth is that — I thought we had a game plan here. And to change it up into something so significant at the last minute like that, is not only strange, I think it is contrary to the purpose of the Special Counsel rule, which is to bring in someone who is independent, outside the chain of command in the executive branch, so that the public can have confidence in the decision, that it was free from political considerations. By stepping in, I think Bar has defeated that purpose here.

    Rachel: You now have me imagining William Barr in an oversize sweatshirt with the sleeves cut like cap sleeves and a big frown on his face – he does actually kind of look like Bill Belichick, which might be why you came up with that analogy, which would attest further to your brilliance.

    We do love our sports analogies, don’t we?

    Barbara McQuade: I don’t know whether he anticipated that William Barr would take the ball and run with it this way, or that Barr snatched it from him, so that he could, to continue our football analogy, even if Congress does want to look at this later for possible impeachment, he has now prejudged the evidence and put it out there in the public domain, that this is the decision, and so as football, for instant replay, to change the call on the field requires clear and convincing evidence, a much higher standard — because now the presumption is, that he’s been cleared, and so for Congress to come up with a contrary opinion, would appear to be a very politically motivated, unfair overturning of the original call.,

    **

    Well, there’s a start.

    Let’s go back, and pick up where we left off, with Chris Matthews and Hardball, 3/25/2019:

    vs:

    Okay. That’s the basic ping-pong, if I may use a sports metaphor myself..

    Onwards:

    Spawns is a great word..

    Chris Matthews:

    Why did Robert Mueller not decide? Why did he play Pontius Pilate here? Why did he pass the buck?

    Mimi Rocah:

    To quote my former boss, Preet Bharara, I think Mueller was punting the ball to Congress, and Barr swooped in and intercepted it and took it out to the bleachers.

    I don’t really have much in the way of mental imaging, I’m what’s technically (and recently) termed aphantasic — but those words brought a flash of football to me, utterly momentary, then gone..

    Mind blind.

    Chris Matthews:

    Spy vs Spy — let me picture it for me!

    Ah, yes, treasonous — a wonder word that exaggerates furiously, but doesn’t actually assert treason, the noun, the death-penalty offence.

    These six lied about their Russian contacts.

    Shannon Pettypiece:

    It [his spasm of fifty-odd tweets] has kept him in the spotlight, it has kept him out there, able to counter-punch, being able to stir up his base. If he doesn’t have that microphone..

    Co-equal. That sounds so Trinitarian, I wonder how the Constitution would have handled the executive, legislative and judicial “branches” of government if the conceot of tghe Trinity hadn’t been hard-wired into the mainstream mind by centuries of credal recitation..

    Rep Hakeem Jeffries:

    That’s not the House Democratic Caucus playbook, that’s the James Madison playbook, and so we’re well within our rights ..

    and

    Okay:

    Hardball’s the name Chris Matthews chose, meaning (implying) that he intends to play hardball with his guests, so this is a nice one where the implication is made explicit, and the ball is on the other foot — can I say that? — and it’s his guest who’s playing hardball with him.

    And Woodward’s a neat choice of guest, with an implied Nixon / Trump parallelism, as so often around the Mueller probe.

    Woodward, describing what DJT’s attorneys told him:

    You make things up. You lie. You’ll end up in a jump-suit if you testify

    >>>>>

    All of which leads to, sennet or tucket, ta-rah!!

    Chris Hayes, All In:

    Ah, yes, McConnell bars, Barrs, the release of the Mueller report:

    and Mueller punts:

  • Neil Katyal, The Many Problems With the Barr Letter
  • Ahem, Katyal authored the Special Counsel formulation.

    A too obvious pun, or excellent?

    A nice Russian Roulette instance:

    David Corn:

    We havbe this tossed ball on obstruction ..

    It’s very unusual for Robert Mueller, or a Special Counsel, to end upm in a tie..

    **

    Vaarious oddments:

    There’s a chyron somewhere:

    Trump allies celebrate end of Mueller probe, slam opponent5s

    Have I used that? Can I find it? It’s a good one..

    Okay..

    This one’s a useful quote on the prosecutorial process, the source maybe Hardball, with Barb perhaps speaking and Chris responding —

    We direct them at bigger targets. It takes a minnow to catch a barracuda, a barracuda to catch a shark. It’s a metaphor.

    I don’t fish..

    Not sure where this one came from, either — AMJoy 3/26/2019?

    While the President should be relieved, he’s still not ..

    I think it’s a bit early for a victory lap ..

    And now…

    Rachel, 3/26/2019, which is where we started:

    Rachel:

    If Trump now gets his way.. 21 million AMericans will lose all health insurance just like that..

    another 133 million, that’s half the country under the age of 65 wiloll get to take a spin on the roulette wheel ..

    Rachel

    :We got rid of that roulette wheel nine yers ago in this country with the Affordable Care Act..

    If Trump gets his way..

    **

    One final quote from Chuck Rosenberg, again, source unknown, but a treasure:

    These statutes, sometimes in their interpretation, are more art than science ..

    /

    Lethal Mass Partisanship, and more

    Monday, March 18th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — from propensity to act, and from individual act to outbreak ]
    .

    The NYT the other day had a stunning, terrifying and or terrific piece by Thomas B. Edsall titled No Hate Left Behind. That’s almost pure slick-bait. The sub-title gives us the sense that we’re talking now and soon, that the article is both a current assessment and a warning: Lethal partisanship is taking us into dangerous territory.>

    This article will likely interest Zenpundit readers.

    **

    Let me offer a quick personal side-note before addressing the substantive issues Edsall‘s piece raises.

    Edsall quotes Steven Pinker as saying:

    Certainly there is a tribal flavor to political polarization. Men’s testosterone rises or falls on election night, depending on whether their side wins, just as it does on Super Bowl Sunday.

    American politics, in other words, is like American football — like enough, IMO, to richly justify the use of football metaphors to describe political outcomes — and vice versa. I’ll return to this theme in the tail-end of this post.

    **

    Okay, No Hate Left Behind.

    Edsall‘s article is a grim one — grim not because the writer is grim by nature, although that may or may not be the case, I’m no psychiatrist — but because it contains statistical evidence, measurable scientific evidence, of our propensity towards a violent response to the 2020 elections — a propensity which is:

  • stronger in well informed voters than in those less so
  • currently stronger in the Democratic electorate than the Republican
  • and which on election night will be

  • stronger in the supporters of the victorious candidate than those of the other party
  • Oy.

    **

    Edsall‘s piece in turn draws on the paper Lethal Mass Partisanship: Prevalence, Correlates, & Electoral Contingencies by professors Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason.

    Their abstract notes that historical accounts of partisanship “recognize its contentiousness and its inherent, latent threat of violence,” but that “social scientific conceptions of partisan identity developed in quiescent times” and “have largely missed that dangerous dimension” in their researches. Nathan P. Kalmoe and Lilliana Mason aim to “rebalance” that tendency. Their findings can be found in detail and with appropriate nuance in the body of their paper, but it is their Conclusions that I will note here>

    **

    The authors open their conclusions with a deft touch of historical background:

    Two and a half centuries ago, American founders worried about the lethal consequences of partisanship and hoped to avoid the pernicious development of parties. After ultimately founding parties themselves, their worst fears were realized in the extraordinary partisan violence of the American Civil War and the lesser violence before and after, carrying body counts in the hundreds rather than the rebellion’s hundred-thousands.

    They continue by describing how their own work explores the propensity for political violence in our own times::

    We conceptualized and measured three aspects of lethal partisanship: 1) partisan moral disengagement that rationalizes harm against opponents, 2) partisan schadenfreude in response to deaths and injuries of political opponents, and 3) explicit support for partisan violence.

    Them’s fighting measures to put to scientific test.

    **

    Selected quotes:

    The challenge for democracy, as always, continues to be how to procure the political goods that parties provide while staving off partisanship’s most sanguinary pitfalls — the ones identified by Madison but seemingly forgotten in modern behavioral scholarship.

    Madison seems to be the name that keeps popping up as the father of essential American wisdom..

    Here are three paragraphs worth considering, each in turn bringing us closer to en understanding of how the propensity to tolerate violence “comes to the boil” in action, either on the individual scale — incidents of mass shooting — or in an uprising somewhere between civil unrest and war:

    In two nationally representative surveys, we found that large portions of partisans embrace partisan moral disengagement (40-60%) but only small minorities report feeling partisan schadenfreude or endorse partisan violence (5-15%). Even so, their views represent a level of extreme hostility among millions of American partisans today that has not been documented in modern American politics.

    Ultimately, these results find a minority of partisans view violence as acceptable acts against their political opponents. Many times more embrace partisan moral disengagement, which makes the turn to violence easier if they have not made it already. As more Americans embrace strong partisanship, the prevalence of lethal partisanship is likely to grow

    Finally, experimental evidence showed that inducing expectations of electoral victory led strong partisans to endorse violence against their partisan opponents more than expectations of electoral loss.

    **

    Let’s end on a lighter note.

    I said above that American politics is sufficiently like American football to justify metaphorical use of one to describe the other — and just as the Republican and Democratic parties holds primaries and National Conventions to determine each party’s candidate in the Presidential election, so the respective American and National Football Conferences hold games culminating in championships to determine each conference’s contenders in the Super Bowl.

    Perhaps, indeed, the President-elect should face off against the Super Bowl MVP in a grand culminating match to establish the testosteronic Super-Person. Heaven alone knows where such a match would be held, but the opportunity to discover whether football is a more passionate and partisan sport than politics should not be missed..

    2019: Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman vs sitting President Donald Trump?

    Twenty of, plenty of chyrons, metaphors, etc

    Monday, March 11th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — we’re talking Beto and sharp knives, Dem contenders and their clown car, Amazon and knee-capping, the Founders and game shows — loyalty above brains — & ending with the Brexit endgame ]
    .

    Peggy Noonan said on MSNBC Friday morning, quite unexpectedly, to work is to pray — known to me in Latin as laborare est orare, a graceful phrasing indeed.

    **

    “HE’S NEVER REALLY BEEN HIT FROM THE LEFT BEFORE”
    Progressives are ready to paint O’Rourke as a lightweight elitist, a poseur who is out of touch with the crucial Democratic-primary electorates.

    Hitting is one thing, running, sharpened knives and Achilles heels are quite another. And then there’s lightweight.

    And there’s an extraordinarily rich mix of metaphors in this para — and article:

    It’s been a decorous war so far. Sure, some criminal-justice reform advocates have dinged Senator Kamala Harris for her years as a tough district attorney and state attorney general. And Senator Amy Klobuchar continues to absorb shots from anonymous former staffers about her abusive management style. But the 12 declared candidates themselves are still gushing respect for one another. That’s partly because it’s early in the game, and they are focused on building their own name recognition; partly it’s because President Donald Trump is such a massive target and villain. “In 2016, Hillary versus Bernie was a wrestling match,” a senior adviser for one of the leading 2020 contenders says. “And in a wrestling match, you have to size up your opponent and think about your strengths in relation to their weaknesses and vice versa. This one is truly a race. But in a race with, like, 35 cars coming up to the starting line, it is about staying in your lane and going faster than everybody else.”

    **

    Also:

    “WHY THE HECK NOT?”: DEMOCRATS AREN’T DONE PACKING THE 2020 CLOWN CAR
    Brown is out, but Swalwell and Moulton still want in. Can they break out of the pack or will they be lost in the shuffle?

    Virality, that magic elixir that made Beto O’Rourke into a household name, is unpredictable. Democratic voters, who are caught in a tug-of-war between the party’s left and centrist wings, are still undecided.

    Clown car is a spectacular Shriner ref, eh? And there’s a pack and a shuffle in the subtitle, but I’m thinking the pack is a pack of hounds, not the kind of pack you shuffled.

    **

    I’m thinking nepotism is a variant on the ouroborosserpent-dad bites nephew-serpent‘s tail, or vice versa — only in this case, it’s son-in-law..

    **

    **

    I have only the briefest of notes from my dialysis session 3/8/2019:

    Meet the Press :

    MTP had a chyron regarding Cohen & credibility @ m38.
    there’s a good segment @ m47.
    two quotes:
    President Trump, the Projector-in-Chief ..
    m51: the longer he’s not in the line of fire {Biden] ..

    There was mention of this Axios header with its ouroboros overkill:

    **

    Melber:

    Amazon .. is not going to be knee-capping everyone ..
    They bully towns, cities, states, all around tthe counrty ..
    The problem is the hunger games ..
    The problem we’ve got right now is a revolving door between Wall Street and Washington ..
    the kill zone

    Hardball

    Chris M:

    You know, when you’re winning a game of eight-ball in pool, don’t scratch ..

    A bit obvious, but for the record, race:

    Chris M:

    You’re not winning if you’re playing defense ..

    **

    All In Chris Hayes:

    Carol Lam:

    On the one side people dangling the possibility of a pardon and on the other side people angling for the possibility of a pardon ..

    Chris:

    You can’t help but feel that we’re watching in public these flags being sent back and forth..

    Ian Bassin:

    And the Presiudent is essentially treating pardons like some sort of reality show prize, right? But this is not The Apprentice, and the Founders did not intend the Presidency to be a game show

    game show *****

    Jamie Raskin:

    .. public tweets and statements he [DJT] was making, which were like little valentines sent to Paul Manafort ..

    There’s a fox for every hen-house in Washington ..

    Jane Mayer:

    There’s such an open kind of a feedback loop there, I don’t actually think that that’s going to change because Bill Shine is leaving ..

    Alex Witt 3/9/2019:

    I’m actually borrowing chyrons from two versions of Witt’s program here:

    Anon: I am of the opinion that only Jesus should be signing Bibles ..

    The authorship of the Bible — ta biblia, the books, in Greek — is a vexed question: was it written by God, or men — or maybe angels? Was the Torah / Pentateuch written by Moses, or by the so-called Yahwist, Elohist, Deuteronomist, and Priestly writers? Were the Gospels written by the authors to whom they are attributed? John certainly differs notably from the “Synoptics” — Matthew, Mark and Luke.. and each appears to have different audiences and emphases..

    To cut a long story short, the authorship of the Bible can be attributed either to a cluster of dead men or to an ever-living God — but in neither case is Donald Trump the author: not even close.

    The pardon playbook might have come into play with Cohen, or perhaps Manafort? And this next one’s for Rep. Ilhan Omar:

    Anon: There’s no question but this [anti-Semitism, anti-Israel, anti-Netanyahu &c] is a political minefield ..

    John Harwood:

    Donald Trump is the White House Communications Director, and the revolving cast of characters is just the people he brings in to do some of the ministerial duties below him ..

    I didn’t capture it, but there was a “Simmering frustration” chyron towards the end ..

    **

    Misc oddment: war of words .. — there’d be plenty of examples.

    **

    MSNBC LIVE Up with David Gura 3/9/19:

    A devastating sequence:

    **

    Let this be our endgame for the day — personally, I’d like to end Brexit now:


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