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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! ]
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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.

  • 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.’

    From the Bunker

    Sunday, February 17th, 2019

    [Mark Safranski / “zen“]
    1

    Friend of ZP,  Dr. Robert Bunker had a few new publications lately with other Friend of ZP co-authors and I thought I would begin my return to semi-regular (or at least occasional) blogging by giving them a nod here. The first was run a few weeks ago at Small Wars Journal: 

    Third Generation Gangs Strategic Note No. 13: Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) Command and Control (C2) Geographic Variations

    by Robert Bunker and John Sullivan

    Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) is a well-known and extremely violent street, and in Central America, prison gang with an estimated transnational membership of 50,000 to 70,000 individuals.[1] Essentially a transnational gang network, MS-13 maintains a relatively robust media presence due to its ongoing criminal activities within the United States, many of which have resulted in homicides and even torture killings, as the gang continues to expand into new communities in Texas and the East Coast of the United States. The gang is organized on a networked, i.e. biological (and/or software program) based model with open architecture ‘plug ins’ that utilize a cellular synapse/and open coding-like strategy that facilitates network linkages and alliances, i.e., interfaces with violent non-state actors (VNSAs). Such network interfaces and organizational schemes go by a number of terms including netwar (John Arquilla and David Ronfeldt) and open-source warfare (John Robb).[2] This note specifically looks at the C2 geographic variations of the Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13) network in the United States, Mexico, and Central America (primarily El Salvador) and MS-13s interface with more powerful violent non-state actors (VNSAs) which result in localized hierarchical organizational expressions.

    Read the rest here.

    The second is a monograph at The Strategic Studies Institute:

    Contemporary Chemical Weapons ... Cover Image

    Contemporary Chemical Weapons Use in Syria and Iraq by the Assad Regime and the Islamic State 

    This monograph focuses on an understudied, but yet a critically important and timely component of land warfare, related to the battlefield use of chemical weapons by contemporary threat forces. It will do so by focusing on two case studies related to chemical weapons use in Syria and Iraq by the Assad regime and the Islamic State. Initially, the monograph provides an overview of the chemical warfare capabilities of these two entities; discusses selected incidents of chemical weapons use each has perpetrated; provides analysis and lessons learned concerning these chemical weapons incidents, their programs, and the capabilities of the Assad regime and the Islamic State; and then presents U.S. Army policy and planning considerations on this topical areas of focus. Ultimately, such considerations must be considered vis-à-vis U.S. Army support of Joint Force implementation of National Command Authority guidance.

    And finally, heading back to SWJ, a book – with Dave Dilegge, John Sullivan and Alma Keshavarz  :

    1

    Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities

    Blood and Concrete: 21st Century Conflict in Urban Centers and Megacities provides a foundation for understanding urban operations and sustaining urban warfare research. This Small Wars Journal (SWJ) Anthology documents over a decade of writings on urban conflict. In addition to essays originally published at SWJ it adds new content including an introduction by the editors, a preface on “Blood and Concrete” by David Kilcullen, a foreword “Urban Warfare Studies” by John Spencer, a postscript “Cities in the Crossfire: The Rise of Urban Violence” by Margarita Konaev, and an afterword “Urban Operations: Meeting Challenges, Seizing Opportunities, Improving the Approach” by Russell W. Glenn. These essays frame the discussion found in the collection’s remaining 49 chapters. Blood and Concrete continues the legacy of Small Was Journal’s coverage of urban operations, conflict and combat.

    Probably not this kind of megacity…..

    See the source image

     

    PCMatic: at war, the people’s militia, resistance .. and metaphors?

    Friday, January 18th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — an ad that blew my mind, mil metaphor piled on mil metaphor, and various ways to name theenemy, eh? — troika, wolf pack.. ]
    .

    Here we go.

    I was staggered to see the number of military / militant references inj this commercial —

  • our country is at war,
  • a cyber war
  • the enemy, ransomeware, is rapidly growing in sophistication
  • the enemy is exploiting a hole in our defenses
  • we are pcmatic, the people’s militia to defeat the ransomware empire
  • patriots of the resistance
  • we believe we can build an army
  • we will defeat this enemy and win the war
  • join the ransomware resistance.
  • This is the largest cluster of related metaphors I’ve seen in an ad, and I’m curious as to its rhetorical intent..

    **

    Tina Nguyen has written a fascinating piece for Vanity Fair’s Hive on the metaphors we use for The Enemy, better known perhaps as Them:

  • Axis of evil
  • Network of death
  • Troika of tyranny
  • Triangle of terror
  • Sordid cradle of Communism in the Western Hemisphere
  • Wolf pack of rogue states

  • Cabal of Crazies
  • Circle of Scoundrels
  • League of Extraordinary Villains
  • Oh so much more potent than calling them Hostile statesWolf pack of rogue states is superb!

    The first set above presents ye actual efforts by various pols to provide metaphorical aid to the othering of our enemies — propaganda at its most succinct — whereas the second set consists of jokers’ parodies & the like — second order propaganda at the expense of the first.

    **

    I’ll be using the comments section of this post for further “collections” (metaphors of war, sports, etc, headlines, chyrons, misc items of interest), and may add some stellar examples — if they “fit” — here in this post.

    Their own private Farnboroughs

    Sunday, July 1st, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — one vivid memory, two breathtaking photos, one for war-watchers, one for poets ]
    .

    There are very few days in my life where I know where I was, but on 6 September 1952, I was at the Farnborough Air Show, when John Derry‘s De Havilland 110 fell apart at Mach 1, the body of the aircraft falling safely away from the crowd, but one jet ploughing into the hillside I was perched on — literally, on my dad’s shoulders — a few dozen yards behind us.

    **

    I was reminded of John Derry and his memorable death by this photo, captioned:

    Military aircraft enthusiasts watch as a United States Air Force F-15 fighter jet travels at low altitude through the “Mach Loop” series of valleys near Dolgellau, Wales, on June 26, 2018. The Mach Loop valleys are regularly used by the military for operational low-flying training, which can take place as low as 250 feet (76 meters) from the nearest terrain. Oli Scarff / AFP / Getty

    The aircraft, as shown above, is certainly striking — but no lesss striking at the tiny observers on the crest of the hillock, who no doubtt had an exhausting hike to get there, to see that remarkable aerial display. “Ooh, look!” These guys have their own private Farnboroughs — and thank God, nobody dies on this occasion.

    I’m posting this here because I think the urge to see, I suppose one might call it the voyeuristic urge, is close cousin ttom the urge to game play. And game play, in military affairs, is a significant matter , from kriegspiel to the rcecently aborted exercises in S Korea.

    Thoughts?

    **

    OMG —

    and I just can’t resist adding one more image from the same page where I found the one above — for its sheer drama:

    https://cdn.theatlantic.com/assets/media/img/photo/2018/06/photos-of-the-week-3/w02_984690316/main_900.jpg?1530296833

    The full moon rises behind burning moorland as a large wildfire sweeps across the moors between Dovestones and Buckton Vale in Stalybridge, Greater Manchester, on June 26, 2018, in Stalybridge, England. Anthony Devlin / Getty

    Er, Wow!


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