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Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — a quarter century of chyron and metaphor posts — Booker, 81 at Stanford, is now a legit sports metaphor for politics — finishing up with Beto and the Cult of the Dead Cow !! ]
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Ari Melber, the Beat 3/18/2019:

My notes on what happened which day are seriously confused at this point. I hope I can go back and rescue a chyron “Trumped” from the very start of this show, ami I right?

Quotes:

he sits at the center of a crime syndicate ..
John Flannery: to pin the tail on the donkey, the [ .. ] in the West Wing ..

Hardball 3/18/2019:

Cory Booker:

just another example of his moral vandalism ..

Ron Reagan:

What is it about John McCan that sets him off? John McCain was everything Donald Trump isn’t. John McCain wasa man ofn integrity and a man of great courage.

Meghan McCain:

My father waas his kryptonite in life, and is his kryptonite in death..

We now need, more than ever after this President, more than ever we need a revival of grace in our country, a revival of civic grace in our civic spaces..

I suppose this image is now a sports metaphor for politics

I got into Stanford because of a 4.0, 1600 — 4.0 yards per carry, 1,600 receiving yards..

at 27, not on my download to verify: I see this as whiffle-ball ..
at 38/9, sonny liston vs muhammad ali
40, we want to see some white smoke, some hope
40, the goose-eggs add up
59 steve king?

**

Uncertain sources &c:

The house is just going to be a bear-pit ..
kasie:it’s a home game for him, not an away game
does he have what it takes to go the distance ..
i wasn’t born to run, but i am running ..
we are not trying to hide the ball here at all ..

**

Three that I may have posted before, forgive me:

**

And saving the best [??!!] for last:

As “PsychedelicWarlord,” O’Rourke spent most of his time posting thought-provoking essays, song lyrics from punk albums, and the occasional poem. At one point, he and another member interviewed a neo-Nazi. And in one post, he gave “The True Story of Cult of the Dead Cow,” in which he claimed authorship of the name..

Header for a Beto poem:

____________________________________

Lethal Mass Partisanship, and more

Monday, March 18th, 2019

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

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 4

    Saturday, February 16th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — manufactured, seized, slammed, gagged, shot down, bled, died — more marvelous & terrible metaphors &c ]
    .

    Here we go again..

    **

    Melber, The Beat:

    0 This is going to be a metaphysical, legal, rhetorical debate we’re going to be having for a while..
    7 You have the hammer being dropped on Paul Manafort ..
    11 You are saying we can do the over under with anyone who wants to play ..
    13 Look, I think the judge’s instruction has shown she is quite serious about not turning her court into a circus.
    You can’t go onto the steps of the courthouse, where witnbesses might be coming in, or prospective jurors, and turn it into a circus by holding big press conferences ..
    And we’re not going to turn it into some kind of reality show set ..
    19 More people in the mosaic are coming together
    32 Ralph Peters: So many people have died and bled for that Constitution, the least the Republicans can do in the Senate would be to risk a Primary challenge. It’s not exactly Omaha Beach..
    Ari: How can I say it fairly? Making the case against this being an emergency at his announcement of the emergency .. [paradox, ourob]
    41-2 Malcolm Nance: I think he {Sen Menendez] was signaling what people have been asking for about three years now. Listen, you know, that it’s finally filtered its way up to the halls of Congress, ton where questions like this, which we have been talking about every night for two and a half years non-stop, to where it can be put into the Congressional Record the query, What does a foreign power have over our President? now will lead out into the investigations which must happen. Clearly Donald Trump is in debt to Russia for something.
    Well, you mentioned the way information and politics, and I’m sure to some degree in the work you focus on, Where do people’s ideas about things come from..
    This is very serious pool ..

    Hardball:

    00-1 Trump: Everyone knows that walls work .. Everyone knows — that, Nancy knows it, Chuck knows it — it’s all a big lie, it’s a con game — if we have a wall we won’t need the military, because we’d have a wall ..
    Noah Rothman: The Maadisonian scheme is falling apart. No longer is Congress a jealous guardian of its own authority ..
    I don’t want a ‘two can play at this’ game type of political maneuvering that’s happening right now ..
    The wall is a McGuffin ..
    Power is a one-way ratchet ..
    Ann Coulter re AOC: She’s off the reservation, but everyone understands that ..
    Jeremy Bash: That meeting was a Russian government delegation meeting with the high command of the Trump campaign to talk about sanctions relief ..
    Their histories {Stone, Manafort] sort of follow around each other.. [dbl helix?]

    All In, Chris Hyes:
    California is prepared to call this what it is, which is Theater of the Absurd. California is prepared to continue to remind the American people this is a manufactured crisis ..
    We don’t want to participate in this show any more ..
    We don’t want to play. We don’t want to be part of this. We don’t want to be part of this theater. We don’t want to be part of this political misdirection ..
    maxine waters: He’s up against the wall ..
    coulter: forget the fact that he’s digging his own grave ..

    **

    Oddments:

    Tecovas western boots ad: Value is one of our values .. [ourob]

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested

    Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — thug, pit bull, face-off, head-to-head, hardball, hard-charging, trolling, dueling, jabbing, ripping, hammering, gutting, hit job.. ]
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    **

    Those are the screen-grabs — here are some of my fallible transcriptions of spoken snippets with metaphoric or other interest:

    From the Whitaker hearinn:

    Congressman, I’m not a puppet to repeat what you’re saying ..

    2/11/2019, Chris Matthews, Hardball:

    00 We’ve got an explosive show for you tonight ..
    We’re also following the face-off in El Paso, TX, where President Trump and Bedo O’Rourke are holding dueling real-time rallies over the border wall .. ***
    11 Mimi Rocah, More, more dominoes, more chips to fall ..
    39 This is getting to be quite a cage match between a lot of people and his guy, Trump ..
    53 Klobachar: You have to pick your battles with him ..

    **

    The dismissive / offensive Trump tweet reference to the Trail of Tears:

    **

    2/11/2019, Ari Melber, The Beat:

    Building a case like this .. it’;s sort of like Impressionism.

    When you get up close, not sure what you’re seeing, when you step back, aha!

    It also raises the question of whether Rudy Giuliani’s style is more Cubist ..

    Or Jackson Pollock, just throwing stuff at the wall ..

    It’s surreal, it’s surreal. And by the wayu that’s the painting school, I think, Giuliani is in. It’s surrealism, surrealism, pure Dali ..

    And so you say, melting clocks all around — that makes good sense to me ..

    Great conversation!

    Donald Trump ploughing all kinds of time watching television and tweeting at critics, who say he spends too much time watching television and tweetierng at critics. —
    Andrew Weissmann is a very, very powerful weapon in the government’s arsenal ..
    Trump and Beto O’Rourke holding dueling rallies near the border ..

    Hallie Jackson 2/12/2019

    27 We never thought we we were going to find a contract between Trump and Vlad saying, Hey, let’s collude ..
    President Trump and Beto O’Rourke do their owb kind of Texas Two-step there, split-screen style, in El Paso, Texas .. *****

    Nicolle to Brennan:I feel like you just exploded what I call a truth bomb ..

    **

    I’m closing this post here and taking the remainder of my chyrons &c into a new post, making this look very much like the beginning of a series. We’ll continue with posts on other topics from strategy to imagination, and those not interested in my collection of metaphors, chyrons and headlines can safely ignore this series.

    Two eminently watchable TV series by Hugo Blick

    Tuesday, January 29th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — I suspect Mike Sellers & Ali Minai might find them of interest as subtle narrative avenues into complexity ]
    .

    I’ve been watching Black Earth Rising , British writer-director Hugo Blick‘s latest series, starring Michaela Coel:

    As with his earlier series, The Honourable Woman featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal, I’m transfixed. Here is complexity delivered — in both cases, brilliantly — on TV:

    Once Blick puts down his first card, as a viewer you think, “Oh, that’s good. That will be interesting.” Then he essentially flips the other 51 into the air and lets them fall all over the script. That’s the ambitious beauty of The Honorable Woman, which explodes across each episode with elaborate twists involving the Israelis, the Palestinians, the British and the Americans.

    **

    Sources:

  • Hollywood Reporter, The Complicated, Ambitious Brilliance of ‘The Honorable Woman’
  • Hollywood Reporter, ‘Black Earth Rising’: TV Review
  • IndieWire, Netflix Thriller Shows the Danger of Treating Global Politics Like a Game
  • **

    I have been discussing systems dynamics and complexity with my game designer friend Mike Sellers recently — see his brilliant book, Advanced Game Design: A Systems Approach — and complexity, glass bead games and AI with a new friend, Ali Minai — hear our podcast at BrownPundits. Let’s make it clear: I’m the student here.

    In the course of our discussion, I’d written:

    I think of novels and plays as offering approaches to an intuitive grasp of complex situations

    and

    I think polyphony and counterpoint are what we meet with in the social world, and indeed in our conflicted minds and hearts, and that Bach will prove to be the great master of our age, once we’ve matured enough to learn from him. But listening must come first, and that seems a skill that’s wildly at variance with our times..

    Mike responded:

    Novels and plays give us, I think, something of an implicit systemic view, in that we understand how a greater whole (a love story, a tragedy, etc.) emerges from the mutual interactions between actors. Same with counterpoint and polyphony — the notes mutually interact at the same time, and set up call-and-response interaction within our minds across time, to create a larger experienced whole from the entire musical piece.

    I’m trying to make those relationships more explicit and more generalized, seeing the commonalities in books, music, biology, and games

    so — for both Mike and Ali — I’d recommend these two Hugo Blick series as contemporary works of Shakespearean subtlety, to consider as avenues into coomplexity. And although I lack the linguistic skills to appreciate him I’m sure Ali would like to add the Urdu poet Ghalib to the list..

    So that’s my interest.

    Complexity, what is it? Which avenue takes us deepest into the heart of the matter?

    **

    Hugo Blick?

    Hugo Blick, who likes to teach the ambiguities to which a probing sense of morality will necessarily find itself subject, might like to examine “Combat charities” in the West and their jihadi twin:

    A NEW PHENOMENON OF THE 21ST CENTURY BATTLEFIELD

    “Combat charities”—entities that seek to provide non-profit military and political assistance to weaker armed groups or minorities resisting the military onslaught of others (like ISIS)—are one mechanism for foreign anti-ISIS volunteers to join the fight. “Combat charities” are a new rising phenomenon of the 21st century battlefield and political dispensation. They can significantly affect both local orders and international politics. [ … ]

    Thousands of Western foreign fighters have traveled to the Middle East in recent years to join the fighting that has engulfed the region. They have overwhelmingly participated on the side of jihadi organizations like the Islamic State (ISIS) or the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly the Nusra Front).

    However, a smaller and often unnoticed segment of these volunteers has embedded with groups that resist the jihadis, such as Kurdish, Assyrian, and Yazidi militias. These fighters vary in their motivations for joining the fight: Some are driven by moral outrage and seek to prevent the atrocities minority groups have suffered at the hands of the jihadis, while others are motivated by co-religionist solidarity. Some seek a sense of adventure and the adrenaline highs of military tourism, while others wish to escape problems at home, finding in the fight a form of self-medicating for post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems. [ … ]

    THE WESTERN PATHBREAKERS

    SOLI is the oldest and most established combat charity in the world. Founded and led by American citizen Matthew VanDyke, it operates in Iraq, and is building abilities to operate in Syria and North Africa. Since its creation in 2014, SOLI has helped form, train, and to certain extent equip the two largest Assyrian militias in northern Iraq fighting against ISIS. [ … ]

    …AND THEIR JIHADI TWIN

    Founded in May 2016, Malhama Tactical is the first sunni jihadi private military company. As Rao Komar, Christian Borys, and Eric Woods reported in Foreign Policy magazine in February, during its short existence Malhama Tactical has provided training and battlefield consulting for Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front, affiliated with al-Qaida) and the Turkistan Islamic Party, an Uighur extremist group from China’s restive Xinjiang province.

    Get that? Rival combat charities to throw a heavy dose of ambiguity into the already three-cornered Syrian situation..

    IMO, these combat charities on both sides of an already fraught situation might make excellent fodder for Hugo Blick‘s subtle story-telling mind..

    **

    Viewing:

  • Netflix, Black Earth Rising
  • Amazon, The Honorable Woman
  • Further reading — the full combat charities report:

  • Brookings, Combat charities or when humanitarians go to war:

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