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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:

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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?]

**

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.

It’s snowing metaphoric chyrons, ignore unless interested 7

Wednesday, February 20th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — chyrons, yes — but also a mini-essay on what happens when loose fingertips sink ops — and including a multi-math game physicists play ]
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IMO, defang is a great word — so I was delighted to hear the phrase, Mr. Trump’s attempts to defang the investigations

Let’s get to work, there’s lots to cover:

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Chyrons:

We’ve had bombshells before — meet new bombshells.

A regular fight metaphor:

An extraordinary one – jumping on a grenade!

And this one’s good, from the Georgia voter suppression story:

Running? D’oh, must be a sports metaphor:

and two from the 11th hour with Bryan Williams:

sustained and secretive assault is quite fine!

**

Words heard:

The Secretary of State in Georgia not only administered the election, he falsely accused the Democratic party of hacking to cover up his incompetence the weekend before the election, and he systematically harmed voters over a decade — he was not only the contestant, he was the score-keeper the referee. And there is no equitable system that allows that to be so. It’s not fair.

Rachel Maddow on Manafort, 2/19/2019:

And that fairly dire circumstance, the fact that sixty-nine and a half year old Paul Manafort is now looking down the twin barrels of a sentence from this Federal judge in Virginia and then another sentence from this Federal judge in DC, at’s, honestly is a crisis of his own making ..

And this — Neal Katyal called Trump Grandmaster Pinocchio. Now that’s certainly a Disney reference, but is it also a ref to hip hop — Grandmaster Flash — or chess — Kasparov?

**

Headers:

Catfishing was a new one on me, but certainly striking! Apparently it goes with sextortion:

Members of the military happen to be particularly high-profile targets for scams like catfishing and sextortion. Recently, a group of inmates in South Carolina were busted for allegedly blackmailing 442 service members using fake personas on online dating services. Not only can these tactics hit service members’ wallets, they may also represent a security risk if the victims have access to sensitive information.

Okay, it has natsec implications, and is clearly a word I need to learn.

The catfishing, here, was by a NATO research org, red teaming to see what NATO soldiers, with a little prompting, might reveal on social media:

The phony Facebook pages looked just like the real thing. They were designed to mimic pages that service members use to connect. One appeared to be geared toward a large-scale, military exercise in Europe and was populated by a handful of accounts that appeared to be real service members.

In reality, both the pages and the accounts were created and operated by researchers at NATO’s Strategic Communications Center of Excellence, a research group that’s affiliated with NATO. They were acting as a “red team” on behalf of the military to test just how much they could influence soldiers’ real-world actions through social media manipulation.

The results indicated that soldiers did indeed tend to leak information that “bad actors” might appreciate and use against them, or against NATO forces more generally:

By the end of the exercise, the researchers identified 150 soldiers, found the locations of several battalions, tracked troop movements, and compelled service members to engage in “undesirable behavior,” including leaving their positions against orders.

And guess what? The Russians are aware of the same possibility, and have banned the use of smartphones and similar devices by their troops as a consequence:

That combo of articles comes to us via Michael Robinson, to whom I must once again offer my grateful thanks.

And one thing more: the NATO group issued a report, and its title intrigued me:

Cognitive security was another term that’s new to me — IBM / Watson defines it thus:

Cognitive security combines the strengths of artificial intelligence and human intelligence. Cognitive AI learns with each interaction to proactively detect and analyze threats, providing actionable insights to security analysts for making informed decisions – with speed and accuracy.

That’s as much a sales pitch as a definition, but still gives us a sense of where these terms are trending.. and there’s reading to be done:

  • Wired, NATO Group Catfished Soldiers to Prove a Point About Privacy
  • Guardian, Russia moves to mask its soldiers’ digital trail with smartphone ban
  • NATO Stratcom, Responding to Cognitive Security Challenges
  • IBM, Artificial intelligence for a smarter kind of cybersecurity
  • That’s our mini-essay for the day, and maybe the week!

    **

    Now think on this:

    **

    Game on!

    Let’s end today’s snow-sweep with a game metaphor applied to physics, or maybe I should say the philosophy and practice of physics: it’s a game in which the rules — in this case, mathematical languages — change from move to move — from Natalie Wolchover‘s A Different Kind of Theory of Everything:

    It happens again and again that, when there are many possible descriptions of a physical situation—all making equivalent predictions, yet all wildly different in premise—one will turn out to be preferable, because it extends to an underlying reality, seeming to account for more of the universe at once. And yet this new description might, in turn, have multiple formulations—and one of those alternatives may apply even more broadly. It’s as though physicists are playing a modified telephone game in which, with each whisper, the message is translated into a different language. The languages describe different scales or domains of the same reality but aren’t always related etymologically. In this modified game, the objective isn’t—or isn’t only—to seek a bedrock equation governing reality’s smallest bits. The existence of this branching, interconnected web of mathematical languages, each with its own associated picture of the world, is what needs to be understood.

    That’s it!

    Sanctity of the unsavory 2

    Wednesday, January 9th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — art meets theft, the theft of art meets the art of theft ]
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    That Modigliani, Woman with a Fan (Lunia Czechowska) — detail:

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    Foreground:

    Today I was reading The French Burglar Who Pulled Off His Generation’s Biggest Art Heist. The burglar is named Vjeran Tomic, and known to le tout Paris as Spider Man.. It’s a fascinating piece, and inter alia illustrates once again the loose array of phenomena I’ve been noting under the rubric of unsavory sanctities..

    At the =age of sixteen, magic hit Tomic:

    Tomic was enraptured by Renoir’s glowing renderings of happy childhoods: kids playing with figurines, practicing the piano, snuggling with mothers. As Tomic saw it, Renoir had used his paintbrush to create a “parallel universe”—an enchanted version of the grim Parisian life he had known. “Renoir has a way of seeing life from a magical realm,” Tomic wrote to me. “It’s as if he even came from this place.”

    Add a youthful, “devious” tendency to scaling walls, running roofs and theft, and you have the makings of a spectacular, special thief:

    One night, he had a vivid dream in which he stole five paintings from a museum. He took it as a portent. As he wrote to me, “I knew that someday I would do something great.”

    Even those he robbed could admire him:

    I’ve always had respect for his style — an admiration for his temerity — and a sort of intimate affection for him … It was very much a Gentleman Burglar situation, Arsène Lupin style.” (Lupin, the quintessential debonair thief, was invented by the French novelist Maurice Leblanc, in 1905.)

    And his friends:

    A friend of Tomic’s described him as “brutal and a little wild.” At the same time, she said, he had a charming range of passions: “He is into aesthetics, classical music, nature, animals, epicurean pleasures—wine, cheese. He is very out there in his style, even his clothing.” (Tomic favors G-Star pants, New Balance sneakers, cashmere ski hats, and Lacoste underwear.) She said that Tomic was “like a poet,” noting that “he talks about the moon.”

    It’s that last quote, of course, that perks me up, “poet” as applied to a master of theft strikes me as analogous to “saint” — and “he talks about the moon.” clinches the deal. More prosaically, “The Impressionist art feeds the poetry that is in him.”

    By way of confirmation:

    A friend of his compared him to a “shaman,” and added, “A work of art emits a vibration, a palpable energy, and Vjeran is able to connect to it.” When I asked Tomic about this assessment, he agreed, observing, “I love to touch antique objects, and I sense a great past—of generations and generations—that I think are a part of the works.”

    A court-appointed psychologist came to a similar conclusion, noting that Tomic had described himself as a “visionary.”

    **

    Read the rest yourself, and you’ll discover, if you’d never known, or like myself you’d forgotten, this intriguing and peripherally related fact:

    In 1911, a relatively uncelebrated painting by Leonardo da Vinci, the “Mona Lisa,” was stolen from the Louvre. It took twenty-eight hours before anyone even noticed that it was gone. The painting was missing for two years and, during that time, a great many people went looking for it, and the media attention helped turn the “Mona Lisa” into the most famous painting in the world.

    And much more — including the present uncertain fate of that Modigliani.

    Here.

    **

    Background:

    We’d established (in Sermo I: Sanctity of the unsavory) that popular disposition extends the realm of sanctity to encompass some less than savory personalities:

  • Anthony Bourdain, for his charming habits with disgusting foods, televised..
  • Jesus Malverde and other folk saints in the Mexican tradition, including Santa Muerte
  • Master P, by implication in Heaven for a Gangsta?
  • I want to add, from British tradition:

  • Robin Hood, who is effectively a folk-saint who robs from the rich tom give to the poor
  • **

    Now let’s add art theft by colorful second story men to our categories and examples.

    Having God buy you Stuff — Very Nice Stuff, Nice God

    Sunday, January 6th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — Janis, obviously, & Sovereign Citizens, a curious and dangerous wrinkle on anti-governmental thinking worth your attention, with some Janis facts that may surprise you in the tail ]
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    Here’s a DoubleQuote for you — this from JJ MacNab in a thread about a Sovereign Citizen:

    Writing fake checks for $1,680,000 isn’t a political or religious statement even if you hold deep-seated beliefs that owning a new Camaro ZL1, Corvette, and Sierra will bring you closer to God.

    And this from Janis Joplin — another JJ, eh?

    **

    I bring you this DoubleQuote in fun, and to have some Janis Joplin near to hand.. but the JJ MacNab thread is serious business:

    Attempting to defraud the government is what sov cits do. They believe that if they can just get their magical incantation correct, the gov will throw huge bundles of free money at them. Attempting to claim this free money isn’t a political statement for crap’s sake.

    From my POV, it can be religious in an anthro-sociological sense, and I’m glad I don’t have to decide between MacNab and Noah Feldman on the First Amendment issue — I think as a Brit I can safely recuse myself from that one…

    **

    Sources:

  • MacNab, Attempting to defraud the government is what sov cits do
  • Feldman, This Man’s Protest Is Free Speech. Courts Called It a Felony.
  • MacNab, A snapshot of the Anti-Government Extremist movement in the US
  • That last link, the snapshot, is a decent intro to its subject matter — a movement that cops know all too well as a source of dangerously violence at traffic stops, and the courts know equally well as a source of copious legally mumbo-jumbo’d paperwork — as is regularly the case with MacNab, recommended.

    **

    Did you know?

  • Janis recorded that song two days before her death
  • She snagged the first line from a McClure song / poem
  • Song info:

  • Performing Songwriter, Janis Joplin’s Mercedes Benz
  • Sports metaphor & politics, and much else besides, 2, post-Flake

    Sunday, September 30th, 2018

    [ by Charles Cameron — after Sen Jeff Flake’s elevator epiphany and meet-up with his friend Chris Coons ]
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    Jeff Flake’s Deal With Democrats Puts Kavanaugh’s Nomination in Limbo

    A deeply divided Senate Judiciary Committee advanced President Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court, but final confirmation will depend on a reopened FBI inquiry.

    Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court was all set to move unimpeded through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday morning.

    Then Jeff Flake had a sudden change of heart.

    Hours after declaring his support for Kavanaugh, the Arizona Republican simultaneously voted to advance the nomination in committee while warning party leadership that he would oppose President Trump’s nominee in a crucial floor vote unless and until the FBI conducts a further investigation into Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her at a high-school party in 1982.

    **

    MTP Daily, 9/28/2018:

    This is a Republican who’s retiring, this is a Republican who’s more free of the political calculus ..

    In the political calculus of the moment ..

    “We respect her” is the new “thoughts and prayers” ..

    **

    The Beat, with Ari Melber:

    Within hours of that confrontation, Senator Flake did something we rarely see in this choreographed, partisanship era ..

    Barbara Boxer:

    Time is a friend of Justice ..

    Margaret Judson:

    How Do You Play a Porn Star in the #MeToo Era? With Help from an ‘Intimacy Director’

    In this moment, we are watching Hollywood take the high ground over the United States government. That’s a huge red flag. That’s not how this should work.The government should be holding the higher moral standard, and Hollywood it.

    This guy shouldn’t be allowed to drive a car.

    Ari:

    That was the Twilight Zone A Few Good Men. It’s like, he thought he had the closing speech in A Few Good Men, but for a lot of the country he was in a different movie ..

    Hardball:

    Tell me how the sequence worked that led to this overtime in the game, so to speak ..
    It does seem they’ve got the fire power, the candle power ..
    what kind of pandora’s box ..
    You get two supreme court nominees in the ideology of your liking, that’s sort of like a pitcher in the major leagues winning over 20 games, i mean that’as a hell of a season, and now that season’s in real jeopardy ..
    the tip box is big, and it’s open ..
    next up, a hairline fracture in the partisanship that has come to define American politics ..
    he’s not intimidated by the 9 out of 10 republicans who back trump in every single thing; the others are hog-tied ..
    i was struck by a profile in democracy — here was a guy who held an elevator door. senators have their own elevators in order to keep those people out..
    battle of the genders looks like a draw ..
    sen klobuchar: the constitution does not say, We the ruling party, she constitution says, We the people..

    All In with Chris Hayes 9/28/2018:

    Sen Hirono: the FBI investigation has to be complete. It can’t be some cursory kind of investigation that gives cover to some wavering senators. It’s got to be real ..
    a lot of people felt like something was wrong and breaking, i mean, wrong in that it felt like there was a kind of torture being imposed on dr blasey ford .. profound legitimacy crisis that we’re watching happen in slow motion ..
    it does feel as though something is fundamentally breaking, and I almost appreciate the fact that in the end the republicans took the mask off, and stopped allowing their prosecutor to ask questions, they decided to turn it into a big political show you saw what their endgame was, not really getting to the truth, but doing whatever was necessary to try to jam him through ..

    **

    Maya Wiley:

    like inside baseball with no fans ..

    A bit obvious, but the title is worth noting:

    The Hidden Moral Lessons in Your Favorite Childhood Games

    They should have started with hide & seek, which is the topic of the Krishna Lila, love in separation & union..

    Elon Musk vs. the SEC: The Tesla billionaire gears up for the fight of his career

    He has fought back viciously by calling his opponents names like “saboteur,” “idiot” and “pedophile.” Now, Tesla chief Elon Musk is embracing the same kind of combative approach to wage the fight of his career against the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Musk is as close to sainthood as one can get in Silicon Valley, a sci-fi virtuoso who has captured imaginations with gambles on soaring rockets, electric supercars and brain-computer links. A critical element of his cult of personality: He rarely backs down from a fight.

    That last paragraph has an interesting four-part evaluation of Musk: close to sainthood .. sci-f- virtuoso .. cult of personality — fight. If I was setting that para to music, it would definitely be on a descending arpeggio..

    hit man .. sabotage

    History doesn’t rhyme, it DoubleQuotes?

    Shady Watergate Reporters Target Trump

    Imagine a replay of Watergate –only worse.

    In both the original and the replay, the same Washington D.C. reporter, whose parents were Communist Party members connected to Soviet atomic spies and who were under FBI surveillance for decades, teamed up with the same second D.C. reporter, who was outed as an “FBI asset,” to take down a sitting Republican President of the United States.

    In both instances the “unnamed source” leaking information to these two reporters turned out to be the Deputy Director of the FBI.

    This is a remake.

    Some of the players have even reprised their old roles.

    [ .. ]

    This is stunning – decades apart in time two separate FBI Deputy Directors leaked information about the then-sitting President of the United States to a pair of reporters, one of whom hails from a family intertwined with the Soviet spy ring that handed America’s nuclear secrets to Joseph Stalin and the other of whom was an “FBI asset.”

    Both of these FBI Deputy Directors had to know with whom they were dealing.

    **

    A brace of interesting articles, both by John Seabrook:

  • New Yorker, Don’t Shoot: A radical approach to the problem of gang violence [2009]
  • New Yorker, Operation Ceasefire and the Unlikely Advent of Precision Policing [2018]
  • Some high spots from the former:

    Captain Daniel Gerard, who took over Vortex in the fall of 2007, didn’t put much stock in their ideas. As he said, “Academia and law enforcement are at opposite ends of the spectrum. They like theories, we like results.”

    Kennedy was tall and slim, and in the dark clothes he favored there was something about him of the High Plains Drifter -— the mysterious stranger who blows into town one day and makes the bad guys go away. He wore a grizzled beard and had thick, unbound hair that cascaded halfway down his back. “What’s some guy who looks like Jesus got to tell us about crime in Cincinnati?” was the line around police headquarters.

    Kennedy had been approached by Dr. Victor Garcia, the head of the trauma unit at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, who was seeing almost daily the effects of the city’s violent gangs: the stabbings, shootings, and beatings, and the injuries to innocent children caught in the crossfire. “Children with their eyes shot out, children paralyzed,” Garcia told me. “I started to wonder, instead of treating injuries, how can we prevent them from happening in the first place?”

    Often, much of the violence is caused by gang dynamics: score settling, vendettas, and turf issues, all played out according to the law of the streets.

    Whalen explained to me the C.P.D.’s distinction between social workers and cops: “Social people hug thugs. We kick their butts.”

    I particularly appreciate the echo of ““Academia and law enforcement are at opposite ends of the spectrum. They like theories, we like results” in “Whalen explained to me the C.P.D.’s distinction between social workers and cops: “Social people hug thugs. We kick their butts.””

    **

    Movie correlates:

    High Plains Drifter – A Shave and a Shootout:

    You Can’t Handle the Truth! – A Few Good Men:


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