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Metaphors 21, some more like micro-essays with graphics toppings

Tuesday, March 12th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — chyrons, headlines and quotes as before — including that damn elite schools admissions fraud — some moving in the direction of micro-essays with graphics toppings — in other words, don’t miss them! ]
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MUELLER APPEARS AFTER SOMETHING REALLY BIG

What I’m after here is understanding how reading between the lines corresponds with knowing the known unknowns, and how those two mutually compatible metaphors triangulate with a more distant pair, following trails of breadcumbs and connecting dots.

Somehow our writer found all four necessary to outline — there’s another one — her insight.

So: what can we learn?

Perhaps the most curious detail comes elsewhere in the G.R.U. indictment, when Mueller notes how one particular spear-phishing attempt aimed at the Hillary Clinton campaign was both a “first time” effort, and conducted “after hours.” These may seem like bread crumbs to a popular audience, but they’re more significant Morse-code tappings to jurisprudential scholars, suggesting that the hackers’ strategy could have shifted at a crucial moment.

This investigation is a classic Gambino-style roll-up,” a source close to the White House observed in November 2017, as the probe was heating up. This approach has also created immense political uncertainty surrounding the outcome of his final report. In the G.R.U. indictment, for instance, prosecutors for the special counsel’s office wrote that Russian intelligence officers “knowingly and intentionally conspired with each other, and with persons known and unknown to the Grand Jury” in order to interfere with the 2016 election. Does the fact that Mueller hasn’t charged those “known and unknown” people mean that he can’t make his case, or that he’s just been working his way up the food chain?

With the two-year anniversary of Mueller’s appointment this spring, some of the juiciest—and arguably most consequential—questions about Russian election interference and the Trump campaign remain unanswered. But every bizarre detail or curious omission from Mueller to date could be a bread crumb leading to what the special counsel is preparing next. The investigation’s known unknowns are an investigative road map.

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Just for the tone / phrasing of the chyron:

**

Okay, let’s back off politics for a moment, and track just a few instances of Life Imitates Art from the New Yorker archive:

Dana Goodyear, Bad Character

Hollywood has had character problems for years: a Shrek maced a group of female tourists, a Chewbacca head-butted a tour operator, a Batman kicked out the windows of a police car. “We’ve arrested Captain America, we’ve arrested Sponge Bob,” Captain Bea Girmala, the commanding officer of L.A.P.D.’s Hollywood Division, said. “Over the years, many of the costumed people we have arrested have had felony convictions, sex-crime-related convictions.” She went on, “We’ve seen characters walk off the boulevard, and hit the coke pipe or shoot up.” Intense competition for tips can turn the street into a crossover comic come to life. Batman vs. Kato: Chest kick—boom! Cartwheeling arms—pow! tight on: A puddle of blood congealing on the Walk of Fame.

In the snow-globe-like tourist zones of America’s cities, character crime is on the rise.

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Also from the New Yorker, a different Life imitates Art angle, which also adds to our Sanctity of the unsavory collection:

David Grann, The Old Man and the Gun
Forrest Tucker had a long career robbing banks, and he wasn’t willing to retire.

The outlaw, in the American imagination, is a subject of romance—a “good” bad man, he is typically a master of escape, a crack shot, a ladies’ man. In 1915, when the police asked the train robber Frank Ryan why he did it, he replied, “Bad companions and dime novels. Jesse James was my favorite hero.”

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Headliners:Mueller MSNBC docu:

He led that charge, and it was like turning the Titanic .. [turning FBI to CT]
He has the ability to just raise everybody’s game ..

And a couple of spares:

Meacham, 11th Hour, date uncertain but close: Even Dante might be flummoxed by the number of [criminals] 23 have here [ie in the cabinet, around DJT]
I think he [Beto] runs and he kicks it out of the stadium in his first three weeks .[fundraising?]

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MTP 3/11/2019:

Eric Swalwell:

He’s a different President than he was in the last two years, in that he’s not completely restricted but we’ve put an ankle-monitor on him; now when he does this outrageous conduct we can actually check and put balances against him ..

[??]

It depends a lot as to what the President’s game theory of what Mueller has and wants to do already is. I don’t know what that is ..

[??]

And if Mueller comes out and doesn’t have a smoking gun, or if he has a smoking gun and is not getting impeached, doesn’t he feel bullet-prooff?

Ari Melber, the Beat 3/11/2019:

We begin with Mueller grinding down two former Trump aides..

There’s other developments, though, that are also knocking up in the Mueller probe this week. This is part of why people, some people, say it’s like the ninth inning ..

I wonder if you would handicap both of these ruling this week ..
I think the hammer is going to fall, and it’s going to fall very severely ..
Do you expect Judge Jackson will hit Manafrt for what happened elsewhere, or is she going to stay laser-focused on these charges? ..
She’s going to call this one a foul tip ..
What jumps to you about the foul tip analogy is interesting? ..

How much of this could be the fault line of the Democratic primary? ..
It’s a warning shot ..

Hardball — Chris Matthews:

And they say you gotta play to win, unless you’re Donald Trump and you own the golf course..

Trophies for everyone ..

Anyway, how he won the gloves championship without even competing ..

And let’s close with..

**

Operation Varsity Blues:

This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud. There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy, and I’ll add there will not be a separate criminal justice system either.

Every year, hundreds of thousands of hard-working, talented students strive for admission to elite schools. As every parent knows, these students work harder and harder every year, in a system that appears to grow more and more competitive every year.

And that system is a zero-sum game. For every student admitted through fraud, one honest, genuinely talented student was rejected.

Rabbi Yisrael Ariel ‘s vision of Jewish world dominion, plus respect

Monday, March 11th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — in Judaism, J’lem, Sanhedrin, Temple, Noahide Commandments — in Christianity C Peter Wagner, Dominion eschatology — in Islam, Maududi — hatred springs from love far too narrowly constrained? ]
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As someone who has noted the visions of world domination of Islamist extremists and those of their Christian counterparts, it seems only fair for me to note that some scripture-listeralist extremists within Judaism also foresee world domination for their faith — taking the form of Israel converting all nations to the seven Noahide commandments, if not to Judaism itself, by the sword if need be.

Thus Rabbi Yisrael Ariel, founder of the Temple Institute and head of the reconstituted Sanhedrin, said:

This is what the Torah commanded us: ‘When thou drawest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto it’ [Deuteronomy 20:10].

What is meant by ‘peace’? Maimonides says that they must agree to follow the seven Noahide laws … Meaning, you ask them, ‘Do you follow the seven laws? If so, we will allow you to live.’ If not, you kill all of their males, by sword. You only leave the women.

How do you leave them? They must all agree to follow the seven laws. And that is how you impose the Seven Laws on that city. We will conquer Iraq, Turkey. We will get to Iran, too. We will impose the seven Noahide laws on all of these places.

You say, ‘I call upon you in peace.’ If they raise the flag [of surrender] and say, ‘From now on there is no more Christianity, no more Islam,’ the mosques and the Christian spires and their crosses come down, ‘from now on we follow the seven Noahide laws.’

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**

I recently posted a piece titled Laughing at, and respecting, Sebastian Gorka in which I, yes, laughed at Seb Gorka, whose views on many topics I strongly disagree with, and whose speech at CPAC last week seemed frankly over the top, but also expressed respect for the narrative of his boyhood which was part of that speech — and which struck me as explaining something of the intensity of his feelings — at the age of seven or eight, he saw something that changed his life for ever: he saw deep white lines on his father’s wrists, and when he asked what had caused them, his father told him — without emotion —

Son, that’s where the secret police bound my wrists together with wire behind my back so they could hang me from their ceiling of the torture chamber.

Coming to the present day, and with that memory seared into him, he told the CPAC audience:

Russia, we have to remember, is run by a former KGB colonel. That’s the sort of person who would be torturing freedom-fighters like my father in the basement of the Headquarters of the KGB. That’s the reality.

That I respect.

And in that spirit, too, I respect Rabbi Ariel‘s memories of the Six Day War and the retaking of the Temple Mount — sacred to both Islam and Judaism —

We saw fire and smoke from all directions. Gunfire was heard. Suddenly the bad news began ton arrive: friends.. this one was killed, that one was killed.. I saw with my ownb eyes, to my great sorrow, some of the artillery struck fellow soldiers. I had to gather up legs, arms, to bring them to a proper burial. Then the shelling began on the Old City. Planes were streaking overhead, lots of fire and smoke.

and then, this:

From the place where I was standing, I could see the entire Temple Mount. After 2000 years this is happening before my very eyes. Within minutes I saw suddenly atop the Dome of the Rock the flag of Israel waving — truly the messianic age..

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I said above that I had noted “the visions of world domination of Islamist extremists and those of their Christian counterparts”. I’d like to quickly document those two claims to world dominion:

C Peter Wagner, convener of the New Apostolic Reformation declared:

My favorite term is “dominion eschatology.” Why? Because Jesus did not give His Great Commission in vain.

The battle will be ferocious, and we will suffer some casualties along the way.However, we will continue to push Satan back and disciple whole nations.

We are aggressively retaking dominion, and the rate at which this is happening will soon become exponential. The day will come when “‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever’” (Rev. 11:15, NKJV)!

while Syed Abul A’la Maududi wrote:

Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam.Islam is not a normal religion like the other religions in the world, and Muslim nations are not like normal nations. Muslim nations are very special because they have a command from Allah to rule the entire world and to be over every nation in the world. Islam is a revolutionary faith that comes to destroy any government made by man. Islam doesn’t look for a nation to be in better condition than another nation. Islam doesn’t care about land or who owns the land. The goal of Islam is to rule the entire world and submit all of mankind to the faith of Islam. Any nation or power in this world that tries to get in the way of that goal Islam will fight and destroy. In order for Islam to fulfil that goal, Islam can use every power available every way it can be used to bring worldwide revolution. This is jihad.

Okay?

**

And it was the prophet Isaiah, I think, who offered a more peaceable version or vision of the same global imagery:

for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.

The chyron blizzard continues, 17

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — Netanyahu parallel’s Trump on witch-hunt defense and many other things ]
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All In, Chris Hayes:

Michael Cohen clip:

There’s just so many dots that all seem to lead to the same direction

Elijah Cummings

When we’re dancing wth the angels, the question will be asked, in 2019 what did we do to make sure we kept our democracy intact.

Chris Hayes to Ro Khanna:

What is your response when they try to sort of gaslight us all that way?

Ro Khanna:

You don’t have to believe a word Cohen says, he has smoking gun evidence

The barrage of lies is so constant, creates a kind of noise, a sort of noise, it sort of can hollowv out peoples memories ..

Michelle Goldberg:

..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..

Michael Steele:

Even hustlers have strategy.Even hustlers have strategy [ .. ]

Again, if you wantto deconstruct the administrative state, it starts with deconstruct the way you think and the way that you perceive reality [ .. ]

You throw a little more miasma in the miasma, and you’re ready to go [ .. ]

You don’t want to be the Democrat out there swinging from that limb, to have it sawed off, not by Republicans but by other Democrats

Michelle:

You might go out on a limb to say, Let’s indict him for being a Russian asset, but you’re not going out on a limb to say he was part of a criminal conspiracy involving campaign finance reform and that he probably wouldn’t have been elected President absent this crime

**

Returning you to your usual programming:

Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu is about to be indicted for fraud and bribery — a man whose father was the great historian Benzion Netanyahu, author of the monumental Origins of the Inquisition in Fifteenth Century Spain, while his elder brother was the IDF officer who commanded the Sayeret Matkal commandos in the 1976 Entebbe raid, and its only casualty.

Impeachment discussion:

Dan Froomkin:


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I’m really disappointed in the coverage of the tpic of impeachment in the mainstream media. They tend to cover it as a sort of horse race, as a political story about optics

A few other random items:

Ari Melber to Hardball:

You’ve got the baton

Unsure, but good:

You don’t punish rich people. They just go on longer vacations and buy Picassos.

Metastatic zing

AM Joy:

Gabriel Sherman:

The problem is, the Republican party has been taken over by this cult of personality of a reality TV show.

Joy:

It’s incredible and extraordinary this is not like hair on fire, the top story all day every day everywhere.

Language! Shocking!

Alexi McCammond:

You can say a lot without saying a lot of words

Virginia Heffernan:

They’re intoxicated by the idea of his presence, they’re intoxicated by the possibioity that you’re doing something larger than yourself, that you might change the world if you hang out with Trump.

I think Michael Cohen supplied us, if nothing else, a way out of that kind of slavery to Trump’s vision.

Most of us who haven’t gotten close to him think, I wouldn’t touch him with a ten-foot pole. He looks line, Michael Bloomberg said, he looks like a con man when he’s just on the dais, but then there’s people who get nearer him and suddenly turn into smithers..

Backing up this quasi-cultic analysis, here’s a quick quote from “I’m Sorry for the Tweet That I Sent”: Inside the Bonkers Michael Cohen-Matt Gaetz Apology

Sam Nunberg, a former Trump campaign aide, relayed to me a piece of advice that Roger Stone offered him when he entered Trump’s circle. “Roger warned me, ‘you need to be careful. I’ve seen it many times. When people start hanging around Trump, they start thinking they are Trump,’” he recalled. “You start thinking you can do the things he does — try to intimidate people, do outlandish things against them — and you won’t face consequences. He might not face consequences, but you’re going to. Everyone could become a kamikaze for him. Just look at Michael [Cohen].

Kamikaze reference too, btw>

**

Okay, one chyron from Rachek Maddow:

and a quote from Trump’s CPAC speech, indeed maybe the heart of his Presidency:

You know, I don’t know, maybe you know. You know, I’m totally off script, right … You know, I’m totally off script right now. And this is how I got elected, by being off script. True. And if we don’t go off script, our country is in big trouble, folks. ’Cause we have to get it back.

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 ]
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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.

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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:
  • O Mary, don’t you weep — Aretha Franklin, RIP

    Friday, August 17th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — an evening respite from Trump and co, to remember and celebrate a great voice ]
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    If you have or can make the time to listen to one Aretha Franklin song this deay in which she died, let it be this — O Mary, Mary Don’t You Weep — you can follow along with the lyrics here:

    The song tells the Gospel story of Mary, Martha, and their deceased brother Lazarus, whom Jesus calls by name back from the dead, first telling Mary “Don’t you weep” as though resurrection were the most natural thing in the world — Lazarus, returned from the dead, walked “like a natural man”. From the Torah, we find the sub-story — Pharaoh‘s army drowning in the Red Sea after it tried to pursue the fleeing Israelites. Aretha wants to stand on the rock where Moses stood, and witness the drowning.

    Now the thing is, when the Israelites saw Pharaoh’s army drowning, they sing — as Aretha also sings.

    Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake, saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

    The Israaelite’s song can be summed up by this line:

    The Lord is a man of war: the Lord is his name.

    Blam! Splat!

    **

    The angels, who have been watching the whole scene from a higher perspective than the Israelites, are also about to sing — they are renowned for their choirs, and in the contest between Israel and Egypt, they’re distinctly pro-Israel — when the LORD intervenes:

    How dare you sing for joy when My creatures are dying?

    May I suggest that the angels are (not unlike music) like rivers passing through us, watering the souls of men, they are within us, and to the extent that we can partake of their refreshment we will be the better for it. Hopefully this metaphorical interpretation will avoid such vexed issues as mortal-like shoulder-blades supporting immortal shimmering wings and so forth —

    — now the stuff of such commonplaces as greetings cards, to be reclaimed perhaps for their beauty, but not as definitions of “how angels look” — more as referring us to a higher octave of reality to which we may aspire, gracing us as grace responds..

    Angels, not unlike music — hence the frequent references to angelic choirs.

    **


    The weeping Madonna of Akita, Japan

    As Wiki tells us:

    A weeping statue is a statue which has been claimed to have shed tears or to be weeping by supernatural means. Statues weeping tears which appear to be blood, oil, and scented liquids have all been reported. … These events are generally reported by some Christians, and initially attract some pilgrims, but are in most cases disallowed by the Church as proven hoaxes.

    O Mary, don’t you weep?

    **

    O Mary, don’t you weep!

    May Aretha flood our banks with her song.


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