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Con fuego — mini-essays, chyrons, metaphors, 24

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — decapitation, in this case of the british iceberg, and the Hiwatari festival fire-walking of the Japanese mountain monks ]
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Hey!

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Athletes & Elites:

ONLY THE SUCKERS GO THROUGH THE ADMISSIONS OFFICE

Outright fraud, lying, faking test results is horrible and should be severely prosecuted — that appears to be at the heart of the scandal. No tolerance for that — period. Using contacts, donating money, hiring tutors, putting your kids in the best college feeder schools, taking advantage of legacy status, arranging résumé-building internships — those are the consequences of inequality compounding and amplifying over time, from one generation to another. Does it dilute the pure concept of meritocracy, the level playing field where everyone has an equal shot? Of course.

So why go via the bribery route?

**

“LIKE DECAPITATING AN ICEBERG”: BRITAIN IS SCREWED

There is no perfect analogy for Brexit, the surreal, game-theoretical political divorce that was slated to conclude on March 29 at 11 P.M. London time.

Well if “there is no perfect analogy for Brexit”, perhaps “decapitating an iceberg” doesn’t really work either?

Then there’s The Magical Thinking Around Brexit:

The lexicon of Brexit, the United Kingdom’s buffoonishly mismanaged effort to leave the European Union, includes technical terms such as “backstop” and “customs union,” as well as a fanciful but revealing one: “unicorn.” It has come to be a scornful shorthand for all that the Brexiteers promised voters in the June, 2016, referendum and cannot, now or ever, deliver.

Magical Thinking ? Unicorn?

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Numbers count:

the whole of New Zealand, a remote island nation of about 4.9 million people that had only thirty-five murders in all of 2017, was in a state of deep shock

That’s from It’s Time to Confront the Threat of Right-Wing Terrorism

The Christchurch mosque shooter killed 50, more than the New Zealand murder total for 2017, and wounded 50.

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Significant interests of mine:

  • Poetry: The Final Prophecy of W. S. Merwin
  • Games: The Division 2 and the Severing of Politics from Video Games
  • **

    Just look at this:

    Religious supporters walk across the embers of a large fire at the Mount Takao Hiwatari fire-walking festival. Mount Takao is close to Tokyo, and this well-known festival attracts a large crowd of worshippers and tourists. A large pyre is built on the grounds of Yuki-ji Temple, and after it has been burned, Yamabushi (mountain monks) and practitioners of the Shugendo sect of the Buddhist religion walk over the still-smoldering embers in a purifying ritual

    The caption reads:

    Religious supporters walk across the embers of a large fire at the Mount Takao Hiwatari fire-walking festival. Mount Takao is close to Tokyo, and this well-known festival attracts a large crowd of worshippers and tourists. A large pyre is built on the grounds of Yuki-ji Temple, and after it has been burned, Yamabushi (mountain monks) and practitioners of the Shugendo sect of the Buddhist religion walk over the still-smoldering embers in a purifying ritual

    I was here myself in 1972, and the most impressive part of the ritual was the distribution to all comers of little slips of wood — the kind on which you write the name of the plants in a garden row or a pot — on which we were invited to write our sins of the past year, and which were then tossed by monks into the fire path —

    — so that the monks can tread the embers of our sins beneath their feet —

    — in robes comparable to the ceremonial robes of Catholic or Tibetan Buddhist monks:

    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 ]
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    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..

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    **

    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:

    Chyrons, quotes, etc, 18

    Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — CPAC and Fox, Kushner and the Judiciary Committee, India and Pakistan, even a mention of epistemology, still plenty going on ]
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    Misc:

    BrownPundits:

    It puts India and Pakistan on the same moral plane, right?
    You talk about India and Pakistan being rivals. It’s just both sideisms of the most mendacious kind.

    ??:

    No doubt Trump‘s dealing with Cohen and Kim are leading stories about now, so this headline deserves to lead this post, but — wait for it —

    — it’s the bit about muscling reality into submission that caught my attention. Just muscling into submission would be metaphor enough for me to take notice — but when it’s reality itself that’s being wrestled down, we’re clearly in epistemological territory, perhaps of the variety Michelle Goldberg: talked about the other day:

    ..The epistemological terrorism that the Trump administration practices on us every day to keep us in this state of kind of derangement and feeling slightly off-center and not being able to get your bearings in this moment.

    Terrorism? Not in the usual natsec sense — but hang on, terror itself is a framing of reality, located in the mind-heart-brain complex, and that’s the stage par excellence on which epistemological experience plays…

    **

    If I could access it, there’s a dueling breaking news chyron at the end of Bryan Williams’ 11th hour for February 26th.

    **

    Dom Donilon:

    North Korea of course is the combination of a cult and kind of a mob operation

    **

    A Day of Reckoning for Michael Jackson with “Leaving Neverland”

    It is admittedly difficult, while watching “Leaving Neverland,” to hold in mind two contradictory but equally imperative ideas: that victims should be believed, and that the accused are innocent until proved guilty. The first is wildly crucial if we wish to protect the disenfranchised from egregious abuses of power. The second remains the crux of the American criminal-justice system. Can these two ideas coexist? Right now it feels as if they have to, which means that we are sometimes required to make personal choices about how we accept or dismiss the information made available to us.

    The ability to hold in mind two contradictory but equally imperative ideas is a strong version of F Scott Fitzgerald‘s definition of genius — strong because Fitzgerald didn’t insist on the ideas in question being imperative.

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    **

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    There’s a lot of balancing, even mirroring, going on here:

    Postpone Brexit? Maybe Get a Do-Over? The Negotiations Enter a High-Stakes Game-Theory Stage
    By Amy Davidson SorkinF

    Brexit, at the moment, is an exercise in game theory. This week, both Prime Minister Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party, grudgingly agreed to open the way for options that could help to break the current deadlock over the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union. In May’s case, the option was a possible vote in Parliament to delay Brexit, which is now scheduled, ready or not, for March 29th; in Corbyn’s, it was a new referendum that might overturn Brexit altogether. Both May and Corbyn were acting because of rebellions within their own ranks, which escalated last week—when both Labour and Conservative M.P.s resigned from their parties—and threatened to spread. May reportedly made her offer because three members of her cabinet were about to quit, taking a dozen junior ministers with them.

    Z
    **

    3-4-2019 MSNBC, a few items

    MTP:

    Pres Trump:

    Russia, if you’re listening ..

    Katy Tur:

    It suredoesn’t seem as though the Russians thought it was a joke ..

    43: RT is starting their propaganda campaign that mirrors WikiLeaks which then mirrors what Donald TYrump is saying..

    Melber, The Beat:

    Paul H:

    We’re not at Impeach yet, but we’re definitely on the road, the car is on the road. And this is the gas for that car, this investigation.

    Paul, if this is a car a lot of people thought Bob Mueller was driving it. Thelasttime people remember an Impeac hment proceeding,we had prosecutor Ken Starr now driving it. ARe you suggesting that Jerry Nadler is now really in that

    [more — Clift, Hommer, Prius]

    Eleanor Clift:

    He knew the game was over ..

    The document demand:

    Ari:

    That’s just Kushner..

    Richard Painter:

    We don’t haveconclusive proof that the President is a Russian mole, but it sure seems like it .

    .

    Hardball:

    Sen Klobuchar: Rail, class one rail, down to four companies, the same number we’re seeing on the Monopoly board. And this consolidation that we’re seein in our country cries out for tougher action on anti-trust.

    Hemmer argues that Fox—which, as the most watched cable news network, generates about $2.7 billion a year for its parent company, 21st Century Fox—acts as a force multiplier for Trump, solidifying his hold over the Republican Party and intensifying his support. “Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature,” she says. “It’s a radicalization model.” For both Trump and Fox, “fear is a business strategy—it keeps people watching.” As the President has been beset by scandals, congressional hearings, and even talk of impeachment, Fox has been both his shield and his sword. The White House and Fox interact so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead.

    Chris Matthews:

    Chris M:

    Who’s the toy here, the Presidentt? or Fox?

    Chris M:

    Why is the President of the United States working for Fox?

    Jane M:

    Despite the discouragement, Falzone kept investigating, and discovered that the National Enquirer, in partnership with Trump, had made a “catch and kill” deal with Daniels—buying the exclusive rights to her story in order to bury it. Falzone pitched this story to Fox, too, but it went nowhere. News of Trump’s payoffs to silence Daniels, and Cohen’s criminal attempts to conceal them as legal fees, remained unknown to the public until the Wall Street Journal broke the story, a year after Trump became President.

    All In

    Ken Liu:

    We want to connect the dots and really put out a narrative of what happened, why it happened, and how we prevent this from happening again

    Wajahat Ali:

    That’s my slight concern about Biden and Bernie Sanders and Trump, that 2020 is like going to be the ticket of Bengay vs Vick’s Vapor Rub vs Metamucil .

    Last Word, O’Donnll:

    Frank Rich:

    Well, look, everything that Trump is guilty of, he’s accused somebody else of doing — so he’s accused Hillary of having all the questions when he had them, he accused Barack Obama of playing golf all the time when he plays golf all the time, and many worse sins than that

    Anita Kumar:

    They don’t like her policies, but they say she (AOC) has political game

    Katy Tur:

    Is she going to be the white whale?

    Seb Gorka:

    That’s why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has introduced the New Green Deal: it’s a watermelon, green on the outside, deep, deep, Communist red on the inbside.

    Brian Williams:

    One of his legal ppl:

    I think she’s showing rmarkable patience. One day, Brian, Roger Stone will be a convicted felon, and this judge will be the one who decides how long he goes to jail. He’s playing a short game, she’s playing a long game.

    3/5/2019 Brian Wms:

    Gen McCaffrey:It’s amazing what’s available through unclassified commercial satellite photography [***** ourob][ .. ]

    We’re being played by the North Koreans, and President Trump is negotiating with himself [ .. ]

    Let’s .. talk about those exercises. The President now openly referring to them as war games –

    — [Brian contd] It is possible he did not know that that phrase existed until now

    It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 15

    Sunday, March 3rd, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — a bit of a hodge-podge, also known as an olla podrida — i hope you’ll find it tasty! ]
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    Headlines, no chyrons:

    You know, I think this is the first bazooka metaphor I’ve seen since I started looking:

    **

    Game, war-game and game theoretical references, as you know, are always of interest to me, but the addition of a nuclear component makes such references irresistible:

    Sample paragraph:

    As Trump sought to persuade Kim to give up his nuclear weapons, enticing his young “friend” with visions of a disarmed North Korea as an “Economic Powerhouse,” India and Pakistan were trading blows in a case study of what conflict looks like when countries successfully obtain nuclear weapons despite international opposition.

    Latest on that:

  • BBC, Abhinandan: Crowds gather for Indian pilot’s release
  • Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan said the pilot would be released as a “peace gesture” on Friday. India’s military welcomed the move.

    Ali Minai comments on FB:

    Not only the right and mature thing to do, but also a great tactical move. The Pakistan government- the PM, the opposition, and the military – have handled the situation with great skill – a benefit of “unified command and control”. Even the media in Pakistan has not gone completely nuts – though the same can’t be said for some of the Indian media. Both sides seem to have de-escalated, but it is too early to breathe a sigh of relief given Pakistan’s fragile economic state and the temptation of the electoral benefits of belligerence on the Indian side.

    **

    And then there’s this:

  • Small Wars Journal, US offers $1 million reward for information on Hamza bin Laden
  • There’s an obvious DQ there with his father’s wanted listing with a bounty on his head.

    **

    I thought this was an eye-catching description of doctrine, used as an epigraph to the UK Doctrine of War:

    I cam by it via a War on the Rocks piece, Mal Craghill‘s Thinking about thinking in the Royal Air Force, which pointed me to the UK Doctrine document. I syuspect that document may be worth a post exploring the conceptual and moral components of war (the physical component is not in my bailiwick), and in particular how the moral component and morale are related. TBD.

    **

    Back to politics, US:

  • WaPo, House Democrats exploded in recriminations

  • Fighting words, if that ain’t a contradiction in terms:

    House Democrats exploded in recriminations Thursday over moderates bucking the party, with liberal Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez threatening to put those voting with Republicans “on a list” for a primary challenge.

    In a closed-door session, a frustrated Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) lashed out at about two dozen moderates and pressured them to get on board. “We are either a team or we’re not, and we have to make that decision,” Pelosi said, according to two people present but not authorized to discuss the remarks publicly.

    But Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), the unquestioned media superstar of the freshman class, upped the ante, admonishing the moderates and indicating she would help liberal activists unseat them in the 2020 election.

    **

    That’s enough for now. I’ve a blizzard coming..

    Metaphoric matter 14 — and Elijah Cummings, to remind us

    Friday, March 1st, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — I share with Michael Cohen the problem of papers in boxes in storage — &c ]
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    Background text:

    Quote:

    Dom Donilon: North Korea of course is the combination of a cult and kind of a mob operation ..
    Rachel 2/28/2019: Would it be an act of bravery, or an act of high-wire walking, to prosecute Trump?

    This post is a catchall for the stray bits of chyron, header, quote, metaphor etc left over from previous, more focused posts.

    **

    Rachel Maddow:

    Header:

    Quote:

    Rachel: When you are talking about allegations of criminal behavior by a sitting president, allegations are sort of on parallel paths — not exactly parallel, I think they might intersect somewhere down the road ..

    **

    strong>Headers:

    Two Atlantic headers with gambling metaphors for current affairs, North Korea version:

    **

    And a Vanity Fair Hive header:

    As someone whose life library and papers are currently in a couple of hundred boxes in storage, I could hardly fail to offer you this paragraph from Emily Jane Fox‘s reporting on Cohen‘s testimony under the title above:

    About nine boxes were there waiting for him. The first contained a bunch of junk. The second did, too. “Oh my god,” he said when he opened the third. He’d hit the mother lode. In the third box were three years of Trump’s financial statements, from 2011 through 2013, which Cohen pointed to on Wednesday as evidence that the president had purposefully inflated and deflated his personal assets when it suited him—to secure bank loans or land a higher spot on the Forbes 400 list, for instance, or to lower his tax liability. There were also countless personal notes from Trump, scrawled across newspaper clippings, printed articles, and torn-out pages from glossy magazines. One note, written in Sharpie across an unflattering article, urged Cohen to call a reporter and threaten him with a lawsuit; another, on a story prominently featuring Cohen, read simply, “Michael, enjoy this while it lasts.”

    **

    This has been a bit of a rag-tag collection, so let me close with a moment of extraordinary strength: Elijah Cummings’ closing remarks at the conclusion of Michael Cohen’s testimony yesterday:


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