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Atwood DoubleQuoted

Friday, September 6th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — just alerting you to the sequel ]
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Since my life these days is largely spent in bed or in my wheelchair, and since I don’t have access to my books,I’ve been working on a slew of book reviews. This is just to forewarn you that Margaret Atwood has a sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale coming out very soon:

Amazon:

  • Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale
  • Margaret Atwood, The Testaments
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    While we’re at it, compare and contrast:

    The theoretical Calvinist theological underpinning of Atwood‘s tale would be:

  • RJ Rushdoony, The Institutes of Biblical Law
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    And thanks, Gregory:

    !! Yes !!

    Climate change & its impacts, rippling out across all our futures, 2

    Friday, August 30th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — part 1 was Climate change & its impacts, rippling out across all our futures, 1, and dealt with the impact of climate change on the Hajj and other pilgrimage sites ]
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    Climate change, of course, has ripples in many other areas of geo-political, national security and intelligence interest besides Islam, Mecca, and the Hajj.

    I’m by no means the first person to foresee what’s now called climate migration — nor that it will involve massive migrations across national borders as well as within sovereign nations.

    So that’s another version of the issue variously addressed in a recent NYT op-ed, a New York Intelligencer piece, and a Franklin Foer piece in The Atlantic — the impact of climate change on the nation-state system:

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  • Quinta Jurecic, Who Owns the Amazon?
  • Quinta Jurecic is the managing editor of the highly regarded Lawfare blog, and the subtitle of his piece reads:

    The raging fires are straining the usefulness of the concept of sovereignty.

    That’s quite a whammy, coming from an impeccable — ha, unimpeachable — source: sovereignty, the self-determination of the nation state, comes into question, and thus the nation state itself. Because fires in the Amazon rain-forest aka the lungs of our planet are too dangerous to be left to the actions of autonomous nations — and the same goes for climate change more generally:

    The Amazon fires are a test case of sorts for how the climate crisis will strain the usefulness of seemingly simple concepts — like national sovereignty. Before calling up the military, Mr. Bolsonaro accused countries donating money to preserve the rain-forest of wanting to “interfere with our sovereignty.” He also declared that the international condemnation he faced spoke to a “colonialist mentality,” criticizing what he saw as Mr. Macron’s encouragement for the G7, which does not include Brazil, to grapple with the problem on its own.

    Question: what happens to national sovereignty when global interest supervenes?

  • David Wallace-Wells, The Glimmer of a Climate New World Order
  • Wallace-Wells is the author of The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. That may be a book I shall have to review. In this article, however, he makes a point about our academic and technical readiness for climate change, which I’d see as expanding on Jurecic‘s point about sovereignty:

    If climate change does transform life on this planet at anything like the scale and speed scientists promise it will, our politics will change with it — and probably quite dramatically. One question this raises is: In what ways? Another is: Will we like what warming does to us? The answers to both are very much open, and we’ve barely begun to develop a political science around climate change that might help us think through the possibilities.

    we’ve barely begun to develop a political science around climate change. Not as political science theory, but as diplomatic reality, required to avoid politics turning into warfare — in a nuclear-tipped age.

    Question: What might a planetary political science adequate to climate change look like?

  • Franklin Foer, The Amazon Fires Are More Dangerous Than WMDs
  • Franklin Foer‘s piece in the Atlantic is subtitled:

    One person shouldn’t have the power to set policies that doom the rest of humanity’s shot at mitigating rising

    Man, nation, planet — Planet, nation, man?

    Arguably, a nation has the right to impose its rule or rules on a man, and analogously, a planet has the right to impose its rule or rules on a nation — but note that the planet’s rules are none other than the laws of nature, so we’ve shifted register from what is humanly imposed tpo what is imposed on humans. And if humans try to emulate those laws, via the UN, or the International Criminal Court in The Hague, some nations may not be exactly happy..

    Question: when planetary needs collide with national interfests, rich or poor, who wins, and who needs to win?

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    Okay, those are the three main pieces I wanted to draw your attention to. These are also of possible interest:

  • Laura Parker, 143 Million People May Soon Become Climate Migrants

    Climate change will transform more than 143 million people into “climate migrants” escaping crop failure, water scarcity, and sea-level rise, a new World Bank report concludes. Most of this population shift will take place in Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and Latin America—three “hot spots” that represent 55 percent of the developing world’s populations.

    This worst-case scenario is part of a ground-breaking study focused on the impacts of slow-onset climate, as opposed to more visibly dramatic events such as extreme storms and flooding.

  • Sujatha Byravan & Sudhir Chella Rajan, Before the Flood

    Conservative climate and hydrological models suggest that the average sea level will rise by about a foot by 2050, regardless of what new actions we take to reduce greenhouse gases. In some cases, entire nations will disappear; a harbinger of this is Tuvalu in the Pacific, whose government has asked Australia and New Zealand to accept its citizens as the sea swallows their island.

  • Brian Kahn, How Climate Change Is Becoming a Deadly Part of White Nationalism

    Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old suspect police took into custody after the shooting, is believed to have uploaded a four-page white nationalist document to the message board 8chan … outlining his motives for killing at least 22 people at Walmart on Saturday. Included among its racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric are ideas central to the mainstream environmental movement. “[O]ur lifestyle is destroying the environment of our country. The decimation of the environment is creating a massive burden for future generations. Corporations are heading the destruction of our environment by shamelessly overharvesting resources,” it reads.

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    Is that last quote surprising?

    It is if, and only if, one’s basic assumption is of the left / right divide, with the left being ecologically conscious and the right (see Trump) being blind to, and thus potentially blindsided by, climate change. If your significant divisor, on the other hand, is extremist / moderate, then it’s not so surprising after all.

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 9

    Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

    { by Charles Cameron — dishes, grills, tightens gag, silences, burns, pretends, plays — a mixed bag — wait for the next post to drop! ]
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    I’m hurrying through this post to get to the next, which will be a special chyron issue on the concept of a Second Civil War

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    Gagging Stone chyrons:

    Misc chyrons:

    Mueller end-game chyrons:

    And a couple of headers:

    **

    Quotes:

    Nicolle Wallace:

    In Vietnam time he’s going to have his first day of meetings scheduled so far with Kim Jong Unon Wednesday. Wednesday night in Vietnam 9s going to be the morning here in Washington when Cohen is testifying, so if Trump is going to be paying attention to that Cohen testimony, he’s not going to be getting much sleep between his first night and meeting with Kim Jong Un and his second day of meetings with Kim Joh Un on Tuesday.

    It could be quite a split screen moment for the President [in Vietnam when Cohen testifies

    The New York Attorney is expected to charge Paul Manafort, seemingly check-mating him ..

    Heidi Przybyla: Islamic terrorism is more promoted in oress releases by the Department of Justice than these incidence of home grown white nationalist domestic terrorists ..

    Eugene Robinson: When the reality is exactly the opposite; the reality is exactly the opposite, the real threat is from white nationalist hoke grown terrorists..

    It’s a cult of personality ..

    Ari Melber, The Beat:

    We’ve talked about staying in lanes ..

    Hardball, Chris Matthews:

    04 I think once Paul Manafort left the Trump campaign, there were all these questions about him specifically, so I think he was a little bit radioactive ..
    08 Kristof: I don’t know if the sentencing memo is going to connect those dots for us ..
    NK: the dots are all over ..
    Manafort has been double-dealing*** with the prosecutor ..
    Noah Rothstein: The President will be just one dot in those many dots ..
    He might just be a bit-player*** ..
    [57: chyron or clip: kamikaze: ]

    All In, Chris Hayes:

    Was there any talk about this [??] during the Nixon days? I wonder whether this is a strategy that has been worked out before, or war-gamed before..
    Elie Mystal: Southern District of New York is coming at Trump like syphilis. It’s going to make him crazy, and it’s never going away ..
    Rutger Bregman at Davos: It feels like I’m in a fire-fighters’ conference, and no-one’s allowed to talk about water ..

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

    Monday, September 24th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — my third JM Berger review, following reviews of Jihad Joe and ISIS: State of Terror ]
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    I ordered a copy of JM Berger‘s Extremism months early from Amazon, having followed many of the posts in which he was formulating the insights that led to the book, and expecting a volume full of the very detailed diagrams and network analyses they contained:

    Image sources:

  • ICCT, Countering Islamic State Messaging Through “Linkage-Based” Analysis
  • Intelwire, EXTREMIST CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY
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    These diagrams, and the research that underlies them — the work of JM and his colleague, Haroro J Ingram — attest to JM’s skill at the detailed drill-down level, the equivalent of rock-face drilling in a mine. The book couldn’t be further from my expectations: it attests to an entirely different set of skills, those of simplicity, grace, and a superb command of language.

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

    JM’s writing is direct and clean:

  • Terrorism is a tactic, whereas extremism is a belief system.
  • Extremism is a spectrum of beliefs, not necessarily a simple destination.
  • Group radicalization precedes individual radicalization
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    Above are three of the pull-quotes, extracted from the book’s text, that state some of JM’s basic propositions on lucid, large-print, white on black pages, scattered as needed across the book’s 167 short pages (plus glossary, notes, bibliography, further reading, index)..

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

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

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

    **

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

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

    Above highly recommended.

    Reciprocal: a term for form, symmetry, balance — and beyond

    Monday, August 13th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — weaving a web of mirrors, echos, neurons and mimetics ]
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    Magic: the Gathering — the game designers know this pattern well!

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    The Far Right And Reciprocal Radicalisation

    Could fragmentation within the Far-Right contribute to increasingly extreme responses to Islamist terrorism? There is increasing evidence of instrumental responses from some of the most extreme groups, which seek to encourage the strategic use of violence.

    Reciprocal radicalisation, or cumulative extremism, is a concept that suggests extremist groups become more extreme in response to each other’s activity. This means a group may frame violence as justified or necessary because they perceive an opposing group as extreme. Identifying how to respond to such a dynamic has become increasingly important, as terrorist threats from both Far-Right and Islamist groups increase, alongside increased hate crime and group membership.

    The nature of siloing would encourage a focus on ISIS violence alone, a terrorism subset of natsec foreign policy, or on alt-right violence alone, a terrorism subset of natsec interior policy, thus remaining blind to the possibility that the two comprise a whole system, with systemic interactions between the two. The UK Centre for Research and Evidence on Security Threats report whose header and intro paragraph I’m quoting here is dealing with a pattern in that system, huzzah.

    Such patterns — true reciprocity, which is a form of mirroring, and the kind of escalating reciprocity described here, which is more like an echo chamber with built-in feedback loop, are significant both because they cross-pollinate silos, in a system-friendly way, but also because they offer hints of a pattern language of forms that can be watched for and cataloged.

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    Wilder speculation:

    Speaking of mirroring — other readings of mine recently have brought to my attention the intersection of two “hot” fields of study — mirror neurons as a biological substrate for much in human behavior, including our propensity of violence, and Rene Girard’s mimetics as a psychological substrate for much in human nature, including our propensity of violence..

    The conjunction of the two, which I intuited, is explored in Vittorio Gallese, The Two Sides of Mimesis: Girards Mimetic Theory, Embodied Simulation and Social Identification.

    Again, we have a creative leap, again we have silo-crossing, and again mirroring is the form that lies behind the analogical possibility that creates the possibility of the leap.


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