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The binary advantage

Monday, September 30th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — there’s this word, multi-tasking, but multi-listening would be more useful and to the point — counterpoint, that is ]
.

We know that in general, binocular vision allows us to see an additional depth dimension not available to a single eye — but that’s when both eyes are looking at the same object. Now — after a quick F Scott Fitzgerald refresher — this:

Sources:

  • F Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up
  • Anna Antinori et al, Seeing it both ways: Openness to experience and binocular rivalry
  • **

    The F Scott Fitzgerald quote you’ll probably recognize, but the one about more “open” personalities being better able to “see” two opposing images — red shown to one eye, green to the other — merging into one more complex image is intriguing, to say the least..

    We already know instinctively how to listen to several voices when we listen to music — but when two speaking voices are in conflict, or talking right past each other, or one’s going big picture and the other deviles in the details.. let alone when there are three opinions to be heard, or four, or seventeen..

    Below, you’ll find Joni Mitchell singing Don Juan’s Reckless Daughter with lyrics that keep bridging gaps “between yes and no .. altitude and flesh .. some duality .. fire and rain” and summed up in the lines “the eagle and the serpent are at war in me, the serpent fighting for blind desire, the eagle for clarity”. Listening to Joni sing, we can hear her powerful voice and the poetry of her lyrics, her guitar, and at the very least underneath both the driving bass of Jaco Pastorius — three “voices” simultaneously.

    Below, too, I’ve posted Bach‘s A minor Fugue, BWV 904 — with the brilliant graphical scoring of Stephen Malinowski — and again, it’s possible to follow two or even three voices, particularly with the assistance of the graphical score.

    Now, at a geopolitical conference, or a discussion of Presidency and impeachment, or a board meeting — or on the inside of your skull — how many voices can you hold in tension, in counterpoint, or bring into harmony and concord?

    **

    The Joni:

    The JSB:

    **

    Enjoy!!

    The Wearing Thin of the Nation State

    Monday, September 16th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — following on from Climate change & its impacts, rippling out across all our futures, 2 on national sovereignty and climate migration — with Hakim Bey’s TAZ and more ]
    .


    Three books by Peter Lamborn Wilson

    **

    Two instances of our theme — The Wearing Thin of the Nation State — crossed my bows in utterly unrelated posts via Academia today, and they make a fine DoubleQuote:

    From John Sullivan‘s Criminal Enclaves: When Gangs, Cartels or Kingpins Try to Take Control:

    Criminal enclaves are areas where lawbreakers (gangs, cartels, criminal warlords) exert political and social control. Essentially these areas are “other governed spaces.” The state may or may not be absent — although its hold is certainly challenged — but other informal governance structures, such as gangs, wield substantial political influence or control. These other governed spaces can range in size from neighborhoods, barrios or favelas (i.e., failed communities) to failed or feral cities — such as Brazil’s notorious City of God favela or Ciudad Juárez during the height of cartel control or Veracruz and Acapulco — to failed states or regions, such as an entire nation — extremely rare — or a substate region such as Mexico’s Tamaulipas. These enclaves are essentially incubators of state change or transition as described by Charles Tilly in his essay “War Making and State Making as Organized Crime.” This process of criminal challenges to states can be described as criminal insurgency, where bands of outlaws erode sovereignty while potentially altering the nature of states. In addition to geographic scope, criminal enclaves can vary in their degree of control over governance. They can exist as parallel states, exerting control over some functions (i.e., taxation, monopoly of violence and justice, and the provision of social goods), while the state still retains control over others.These enclaves could also fully supplant the state when it is absent or lacks solvency, which I define as the sum of legitimacy and capacity. They could also form a hybrid where criminal networks and corrupt politicians cooperate to extract wealth and wield power (as is the case in narco-cities or mafia states).

    I’d like to offer, by way of comparative, this excerpt from Abbe Mowshowitz as quoted in Bill Benzon‘s and his
    Virtual Feudalism in the Twenty-First Century:

    Absent a sense of loyalty to persons or places, virtual organizations distance themselves—both geographically and psychologically—from the regions and countries in which they operate. This process is undermining the nation-state, which cannot continue indefinitely to control virtual organizations. A new feudal system is in the making, in which power and authority are vested in private hands but which is based on globally distributed resources rather than on possession of land. The evolution of this new political economy will determine how we do business in the future.

    That’s my DoubleQuote.

    **

    That’s interesting, I think — but what’s even more so is the quote that initially caught my eye in Bill B‘s paper:

    In 2017, Denmark became the first nation to formally create a diplomatic post to represent its interests beforecompanies such as Facebook and Google. After Denmark determined that tech behemoths now have as much power as many governments — if not more — Mr. Klynge was sent to Silicon Valley.“What has the biggest impact on daily society? A country in southern Europe, or in Southeast Asia, or Latin America, or would it be the big technology platforms?” Mr. Klynge said in an interview last month at a cafe in central Copenhagen during an annual meeting of Denmark’s diplomatic corps. “Our values, our institutions, democracy, human rights, in my view, are being challenged right now because of the emergence of new technologies.” He added, “These companies have moved from being companies with commercial interests to actually becoming de facto foreign policy actors.”

    That’s quoted from Adam Satariano, The World’s First Ambassador to the Tech Industry.

    Ambassador to the Tech Industry? Ambassador to the Tech Industry, okay. The ground is shifting under our feet.

    **


    Detail from Ceasefire’s account of the Temporary Autonomous Zone

    Peter Lamborn Wilson aka Hakim Bey, with his interest in the Barbary Corsairs, must have been one of the earlier writers to discuss what he termed Temporary Autonomous ZonesTAZ for short — and its no surprise he’s an eccentric scholar of Islamic Heresy and the Margins of Islam! And what a life he’s led — studying tantra with Ganesh Baba in India, in Pakistan “mixing with princes, Sufis, and gutter dwellers”, an associate in Iran of Henry Corbin, editor of the journal Sophia Perennis under the guidance of Seyyed Hossein Nasr, house-mate in NYC with William Burroughs — though let’s not forget some far darker stuff [cf “Bey’s endorsement of adults having sex with children”, Wikipedia].

    **

    Narcos in Mexico to Bill Burroughs in Tangiers and NYC isn’t too great a hop: life on the margins is liminal by definition, disruptive — and disruption is what all of our examples above have in common.

    Bey on the TAZ:

    Getting the TAZ started may involve tactics of violence and defense, but its greatest strength lies in its invisibility–the State cannot recognize it because History has no definition of it. As soon as the TAZ is named (represented, mediated), it must vanish, it will vanish, leaving behind it an empty husk, only to spring up again somewhere else, once again invisible because undefinable in terms of the Spectacle. The TAZ is thus a perfect tactic for an era in which the State is omnipresent and all-powerful and yet simultaneously riddled with cracks and vacancies.

    How will the nation state respond, adapt?

    Potent possible parallelisms?

    Friday, September 13th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — you know I’m fascinated by parallelisms and analogies — here are some I’ve noticed recently — enough for three fine posts, and you get three in one ! ]
    .

    Parallelisms of interest that have surfaced in my reading recently include:

  • between Trump speeches and the Crusius El Paso manifesto
  • between Trump’s and Hitler’s uses of language
  • between AQ’s Sami al-Uraydi and French revolutionary Saint-Just
  • between ISIS strategy and use of social media and western Neo-Nazi terrorism
  • between Christchurch and El Paso
  • between the Gildead of Margaret Atwood and the Family of Jeff Sharlet
  • between the Family of Jeff Sharlet and the Muslim Brotherhood
  • between 11 Sept 2001, NYT, and 11 Sept 1683, Vienna
  • oh, and on a different note altogether, there’s:

  • between the arts of architecture and cartooning
  • **

    El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language:

    At campaign rallies before last year’s midterm elections, President Trump repeatedly warned that America was under attack by immigrants heading for the border. “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”

    Nine months later, a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

    Sources:

  • NY Times, El Paso Shooting Suspect’s Manifesto Echoes Trump’s Language<
  • Intercept, After El Paso, We Can No Longer Ignore Trump’s Role
  • **

    A professor of German history explains the true horror of Trump’s response to Charlottesville

    We haven’t had a Reichstag blaze, nor a Kristallnachtnot even close!!! — still, if we consider rhetoric alone, there’s food for thought:

    “You look at what is marching up, that is an invasion!” he declared at one rally. “That is an invasion!”

    Nine months later, a 21-year-old white man is accused of opening fire in a Walmart in El Paso, killing 20 people and injuring dozens more after writing a manifesto railing against immigration and announcing that “this attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

    Source:

  • RawStory, A professor .. explains the true horror of Trump’s response to Charlottesville
  • **

    Here’s a nice one observed by jihad-scholar Cole Bunzel:

    Looks good, though one wonders whether the parallelism comes from the translator’s memory-store rather than al-Uraydi‘s?

    Wikipedia quotes St-Just thus:

    Those who make revolutions by halves do nothing but dig their own tombs.

    and gives the date as January 1793 and the source as Oeuvres Complètes de Saint-Just, vol. 1 (2 vols., Paris, 1908), p. 414.

    **

    Here’s the Stratfor analysis:

  • Stratfor, What White Supremacism and Jihadism Have in Common
    .
    Like jihadism, the various ideologies driving white supremacism are not going away any time soon, and comparing the two can provide valuable lessons for understanding the ongoing threat. [ more.. ]

  • I’ll have a separate post on whether white supremacists as well as jihadists should be classified as terrorists — a matter on which opinions are divided..

    The other piece referenced in the DoubleQuote above:

  • Rantt, White Supremacist Terrorists Operate Like ISIS, Trump Shrugs
  • And here’s an impressive, alternative contrast by Tim Furnish:

  • Stream, White Terrorists vs. the Sultans of Slaughter
  • **

    There’s something akin to a waterfall of manifestos on the supremacist, arguably starting with Breivik, and thence to Christchurch and El Paso:

  • WaPo, Christchurch endures as extremist touchstone
    .
    In the days after a gunman killed 51 people in March at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, analysts warned the attack could become a rallying point for extremists.

    It was a high-casualty attack, intended to be imitated by others, live-streamed on social media, accompanied by the release of a white supremacist manifesto decrying immigration and immigrants.

    On Saturday, a similar manifesto appeared online, with similar grievances. The author opened by expressing “support” for “the Christchurch shooter.” Within minutes, a gunman opened fire at a shopping center in El Paso, killing 20..

  • The second quote in this above DoubleQuote says what it needs to say in the subtitle: “the more oxygen these manifestos get…”.

    Onwards. Here’s a rather more disturbing aspect of the El Paso > Christchurch parallelism:

  • WaPo. Two mass killings a world apart share a common theme: ‘ecofascism’
    .
    Before the slaughter of dozens of people in Christchurch, New Zealand, and El Paso this year, the accused gunmen took pains to explain their fury, including their hatred of immigrants. The statements that authorities think the men posted online share another obsession: overpopulation and environmental degradation.

    The alleged Christchurch shooter, who is charged with targeting Muslims and killing 51 people in March, declared himself an “eco-fascist” and railed about immigrants’ birthrates. The statement linked to the El Paso shooter, who is charged with killing 22 people in a shopping area this month, bemoans water pollution, plastic waste and an American consumer culture that is “creating a massive burden for future generations.”

    The two mass shootings appear to be extreme examples of ecofascism — what Hampshire College professor emerita Betsy Hartmann calls “the greening of hate.”

  • **

    On the existence of “so much similarities between the family and Muslim Brotherhood: praying groups“<:

    OK dear friend I have done a full thread to that in Arabic. I’ll try to make it in English:

    First major similarity is the refusal to be organised with official presence. The founder and up tell now calling it “Al-gama’a”… And they call each other “Brother”..

    [ thread ]

    **

    The Family: More Gilead than Godly:

    In both Gilead and Virginia, men in inner circles have been anointed by God to lead. Conversely, those women chosen to be of service remain in the background where they respond to these godly guys’ commands with a heavenly “blessed be.”

    **

    A stunner:

    Here’s from the London Review of Books review of Lawrence Wright‘s The Looming Tower:

    Wright offers the sense among the jihadis that America was the centre of Christianity, and that the Christian world had been winning the battle of faiths since the Islamic host began to be beaten back from the gates of Vienna on 11 September 1683.

    I’d be interested if anyone has evidence connecting 2001 to 1683 in the mind of UBL

    Timothy McVeigh, after all, timed the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City to coincide with the date set for the execution of Richard Snell, who had earlier plotted to blow up the same building, also the date of the final holocaust of the Branch Davidians in Waco two years earlier, the 220th anniversary of the Battle of Lexington and Concord — the “shot heard ’round the world” –and the start of the FBI’s siege of the Covenant, Sword and Arm of the Lord compound in 1985. Quite an impressive concatenation of anniversaries!

    Anniversary dating, indeed, is not solely a white nationalist phenomenon. According to Hussain S. Zaidi‘s Black Friday: The True Story of the Bombay Bomb Blasts, the principal suspect in the 1993 bombings, Tiger Memon says:

    Friday, 12 March, is the seventeenth day of Ramazan. It will be the day when the Holy Prophet fought the first battle of Junge-Badr against the heathens of Mecca and forced them to retreat. The auspicious date will help us achieve success.

    Or as Anuraga Kashyap‘s film Black Friday has it:

    Tiger‘s memory reaches back to 624 CE.

    **

    And for a sunnier thought..

    Here’s a parallelism between architecture and cartooning, courtesy of Bill Benzon:

    On the literary transmission of terror: 2: cascading texts

    Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — from 1500 pp via ~80 to 4, the amount of writing irate people can manage has been diminishing — next up, silence! ]
    .

    In 1999 — the year in which Ahmed Ressam on behalf of al-Qaida attempted to cross the northern border of the United States with a truck-load of explosives, hoping to detonate them at Los Angeles airport’s International terminal on the evening of the roll-over to a new millennium, but was mercifully stopped by a suspicious US Customs official and detained, currently serving 37 years in a Colorado supermax for his terrorist offence — another quasi-religious organization with terror on its mind published a manifesto.

    **

    The group was Wotan’s Volk, and their publication the “Exclusive Millennial Wotansvolk Edition” of Ragnar Redbeard‘s 1890 novel, Might Is Right, or The Survival of the Fittest.

    A Social Darwinist manifesto? plea for eugenics? Racial purity? — or is the book a satire on all of the above?

    It wasn’t satire when Wotan’svolk republished it, it was a manifesto for race war:

    Look at that sword — the phrase 14 Words inscribed on its blade refers to a popular white supremacist slogan coined by a member of the 1980s terrorist group, The Order:

    We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.

    Redbeard‘s book, like William Pierce‘s 1978 novel, The Turner Diaries, is more political pamphlet than literature — except in the widest sense of that term covering all textual materials including invite posters announcing the times and locations of church bingo sessions. Peirce‘s book inspired Timothy McVeigh to commit the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that killed 168 of us: published or posted words have the potential to infect thought, and the fever at times spills over into violence. And Redbeard‘s 1890s novel inspired the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, killing three plus the gunman just a week ago.

    **

    But fiction is not alone in infecting thought that spills into violence: non-fiction “manifestos” — now also known as “screeds” — serve the same purpose, though with muted imagination.

    Anders Breivik‘s “manifesto” 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence runs to just over 1,500 pages, and draws on other sources, though many of them, like “Pamela Geller, Paul Belien, Diana West, the Baron [Bodissey] and Dymphna from the Gates of Vienna blog”, have disclaimed any association with Breivik, the use he made of their texts, or his actions, extremely, fatally ugly as they were.

    Breivik‘s sources, in fact, were many and various, as this para, one of thousands, illustrates:

    Since the publication in 1970 of his book The Poverty of Critical Theory, Rohrmoser has promulgated, in constantly varying forms, the view that Marcuse, Adorno, and Horkheimer were the terrorists’ intellectual foster-parents, who were using Cultural Revolution to destroy the traditions of the Christian West. Academics such as Ernst Topitsch and Kurt Sontheimer, who saw themselves as educators and liberal democrats, followed in Rohrmoser’s footsteps. In 1972 Topitsch, a critical rationalist who was Professor of Philosophy in Graz, had stated that behind the slogans of “rational discussion” and “dialogue free of domination” there was being established at the universities “a distinct terrorism of political convictions such as never existed before, even under Nazi tyranny.”

    **

    And Breivik‘s work was itself a call to arms, inviting followers of his Oslo and Utøya “Knights Templar” killings to follow suit — albeit in a manner presented as fiction:

    It [his “Manifesto”] also describes specifically how this hypothetical fictional group, “PCCTS, Knights Templar”, would choose to respond towards the so called ”enablers” or the so called “cultural Marxist/multiculturalist” elites that are allegedly allowing millions of Muslims to enter Europe. The book contains detailed strategies (guerrilla tactics, instructions to execute, political campaigns etc.) which normally would be partly incriminatory to anyone who published or distributed the book (had it not been fiction).

    Indeed, Breivik himself later argued that “his main motive for the attacks was to publicize his manifesto” [Bloomberg, via Wikipedia].

    Breivik claimed himself to be a “Justiciar Knight Commander for Knights Templar Europe and one of several leaders of the National and pan-European Patriotic Resistance Movement” and invited others to become “Knights Justiciar” thus:

    The European military order and tribunal; Commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici – PCCTS is represented by self appointed European judges known as ”Justiciar Knights” or “Knight Judges” (Latin: justiciarius=man of justice, judge — Knight=Eques or Cavaliere in Old Italian, Chevalier in French, Ritter in German)”. Any self appointed Justiciar Knight has been given the authority, by PCCTS on behalf of;

    1. The free indigenous peoples of Europe
    2. Those Europeans not yet born
    3. The legacy of our forefathers and fallen martyrs

    – to act as a judge, jury and executioner until the free, indigenous peoples of Europe are no longer threatened by cultural genocide, subject to cultural Marxist/Islamic tyranny or territorial or existential threats through Islamic demographic warfare. It is therefore within any- and every-ones right to act in accordance with the given guidelines.

    and:

    All free Europeans have a right and a duty to become “Justiciar Knights” for the order/tribunal

    **

    Breivik‘s call for more “Knights Justiciar” and more actions congruent with his killings in Oslo and Utøya, and in some cases the killings themselves, have infected other minds, albeit minds few and far between. JM Berger, author of Extremism and a friend of mine and this blog, describes the cascading waterfall effect:

    The Newtown shooter Adam Lanza reportedly collected news clippings on Breivik’s attack and other incidents of mass violence before he killed 20 children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School. Other young men, such as the British college student Liam Lyburd, have been inspired to plan or carry out mass shootings based on their admiration for Breivik’s lethality, rather than his beliefs.

    Then, JM tells us, the Coast Guard Lieutenant Christopher Hasson attempted to follow in Breivik’s footsteps:

    planning a mass-casualty attack modeled in significant part on Breivik’s strategy, and bearing the marks of his belief system

    **

    Fast forward to this March, and the Christchurch, NZ mosque attacks. The shooter here, Brenton Tarrant, wrote at 87 pages a far shorter “manifesto” than Breivik‘s — The Great Replacement — albeit in it he linked his attack explicitly to Breivik‘s, writing that he “took true inspiration from Knight Justiciar Breivik” and claiming:

    I have only had brief contact with Knight Justiciar Breivik, receiving a blessing for my mission after contacting his brother knights

    Manifesto to manifesto, rant to rant, action to action, the infection cascades, spreads and, thankfully, dilutes.

    **

    A week ago, there was the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting, and this weekend we have witnessed the shootings in El Paso, TX and Dayton, OH .

    The Dayton shooter I dealt with in the previous post, contrasting his leftist online presence with the El Paso shooter‘s online presence from the right.

    In the El Paso shooting, the motive seems clear. Crusius begins his 4-page screed thus:

    In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto.

    There’s the cascade. His immediate follow up gives his motive:

    This attack is a response to the Hispanic invasion of Texas. They are the instigators, not me. I am simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.

    Further on he says, again referencing the Christchurch shooter’s rant:

    Actually the Hispanic community was not my target before I read The Great Replacement.

    He continues:

    This manifesto will cover the political and economic reasons behind the attack, my gear, my expectations of what response this will generate and my personal motivations and thoughts.

    And that’s pretty much what he delivers: lock, stock, you might say, and barrel.

    But enough: all this delving into killers’ minds is disgusting.

    **

    Documentation:

  • The Unabomber, Industrial Society and Its Future”

  • Ragnar Redbeard, Might Is Right, or The Survival of the Fittest
  • Anders Breivik, 2083 – A European Declaration of Independence
  • Brenton Tarrant, The Great Replacement
  • Patrick Cursius, The Inconvenient Truth
  • Added:

  • Dylann Roof, manifesto
  • On the literary transmission of terror: 1: mirroring Twitter-feeds

    Monday, August 5th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — IMO, these paired mass casualty shootings call for mass humility on both sides of the divide — let’s build a corpus callosum for the nation ]
    .

    Let’s just do this with headlines, the El Paso shooter above, the Dayton shooter below:

    The moral would appear to be: no matter what “side” you’re on, there may be some folk who take it to an extremist extreme. They may kill for ideas on “your side” — at least in contemporary American politics. I tend to the left, so Crusius is no surprise, but Connor Betts, WTF?

    ANd you’ll tell me it’s the opposite way around for some of you — WTF are Crusius and others like him doing?

    And BTW, DoubleQuote!

    **

    Okay — Connor Betts:

    The Dayton shooting was the 250th mass shooting “event” in the US this year, but its exact motivation is unclear at the time of this writing — the shooter, Connor Betts, who was wearing a bullet-proof vest, killed his sister among others, and had written a “hit list” of girls while at High School at one point — so school issues and family feud are among the possible explanations for his violence, which killed 9 in 26 seconds before he was taken down by police. He was far from a Breivik follower, however. His Twitter page revealed, as reported by Heavy:

    Or quoting Heavy again —

    [H]e described himself as “he/him / anime fan / metalhead / leftist / i’m going to hell and i’m not coming back.” He wrote on Twitter that he would happily vote for Democrat Elizabeth Warren, praised Satan, was upset about the 2016 presidential election results, and added, “I want socialism, and i’ll not wait for the idiots to finally come round to understanding.”

    That’s pretty aggressively [is that the word?] left and male, eh?

    **

    Sources:

  • Heavy, Patrick Crusius: Suspect’s Twitter Page Shows Trump Support
  • Heavy, Connor Betts: Twitter Posts on Being a Leftist, Guns
  • Readings:

  • Politico, What Both Sides Don’t Get About American Gun Culture
  • The Hill, Graham to offer bipartisan ‘red flag’ bill with Trump’s support [added]

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