The sun won’t rise at the North Pole until March 20, and it’s normally close to the coldest time of year, but an extraordinary and possibly historic thaw swelled over the tip of the planet this weekend. Analyses show that the temperature warmed to the melting point as an enormous storm pumped an intense pulse of heat through the Greenland Sea.
Although a rosy future beckons to those of us who believe this “intense pulse of heat” is but the precursor to the Mediterranean arctic I’m imaginatively vacationing in, twenty years hence, a more sober assessment might be grim, as is the graphic accompanying this tweet from Jack Labe quoted in the WaPo piece —
The grimness, of course, is simply the result of a graphical choice of colors — it could be quite cheery on a white background, in reds and oranges with cerulean blue as the highlight in the center.
And there’s the question of “global warming” implicit in all this — but for my purposes here on Zenpundit, that “invincible summer” in the midst of winter which Camus found within himself is what I’m working on. Summer in the interior life, which can indeed be found anywhere, even amidst winter.
The Facebook group United Muslims of America was neither united, Muslim, nor American.
Instead, sources familiar with the group tell The Daily Beast, it was an imposter account on the world’s largest social network that’s been traced back to the Russian government.
Using the account as a front to reach American Muslims and their allies, the Russians pushed memes that claimed Hillary Clinton admitted the U.S. “created, funded and armed” al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State; claimed that John McCain was ISIS’ true founder; whitewashed blood-drenched dictator Moammar Gadhafi and praised him for not having a “Rothschild-owned central bank”; and falsely alleged Osama bin Laden was a “CIA agent.”
Defendants and their co-conspirators also created thematic group pages on social media sites, particularly on the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram. ORGANIZATIONcontrolled pages addressed a range of issues, including: immigration (with group names including “Secured Borders”); the Black Lives Matter movement (with group names including “Blacktivist”); religion (with group names including “United Muslims of America” and “Army of Jesus”); and certain geographic regions within the United States (with group names including “South United” and “Heart of Texas”). By 2016, the size of many ORGANIZATION-controlled groups had grown to hundreds of thousands of online followers.
Musloms and Christians?
I could no doubt go into much greater detail, but there’s satisfaction in leaving you hanging with that image of the habit-hijab!
I’ve been collecting gams and game metaphors applied to politics in Playing politics and other games, &c, but with additional examples surnning to 20 plus comments, and that particular post vanishing below a sea of more recent posts, it’s time to start afresh — hence this post.
That’s hard to beat, but there are a couple of phrrases I’ve caught in passing..
MTP: “folks have been playing games with their words on this.” ie their attitudes to Trump firing Muellerl
John McLaughlin: “To assure the public there have been no games being played here..”
Special Counsel Robert Mueller has filed another indictment against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, listing multiple charges of tax and bank fraud. The editors of The Masthead, The Atlantic’s premium membership program, dove deep into the workings of Manafort’s impact on U.S. politics in their special corruption issue.
[ by Charles Cameron — Thomas à Becket, Jim Comey, Vladimir Putin, Stormy Daniels ]
Okay, let’s start with the movie version of “Who will rid me..?” Here’s the set up, the breaking of the long and deep friendship between King Henry II, his will driven by the power of the State, and his Archbishop, Thomas à Becket, driven to opposition by the honor of Mother Church
When the King determines at last to have his Archbishop removed, he utters those words which ring down the centuries — “will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?” — shown here in Anouilh‘s version of Becket at 3.32 in this clip or thereabouts:
Becket meanwhile offers his resignation unto death in surrender to the will of his God:
In Eliot‘s Murder in the Cathedral, a passage with which one must wrestle lays out the conflict and its resolution:
They know and do not know, what it is to act or suffer.
They know and do not know, that acting is suffering
And suffering is action. Neither does the actor suffer
Nor the patient act. But both are fixed
In an eternal action, an eternal patience
To which all must consent that it may be willed
And which all must suffer that they may will it,
That the pattern may subsist, for the pattern is the action
And the suffering, that the wheel may turn and still
Be forever still.
Becket was killed in his cathedral on 29 December 1170, by four knights acting on the spur of the moment utterance of their king, and their own certainty as to the wish their king intended to express.
Becket was canonized — named a saint and martyr — in 1173. And the King? Wiki summarizes:
The king performed a public act of penance on 12 July 1174 at Canterbury, when he publicly confessed his sins, and then allowed each bishop present, including Foliot, to give him five blows from a rod, then each of the 80 monks of Canterbury Cathedral gave the king three blows. The king then offered gifts to Becket’s shrine and spent a vigil at Becket’s tomb.
So much for Becket.
President Trump, who had somewhat reluctantly fired Flynn, suggests to Jim Comey, head of the FBI, that he might want to close down the further investigation of the Russia business:
I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go.
Comey was later questioned by Sen. Angus King in an intelligence committee hearing:
KING: In terms of his comments to you — I think in response to Mr. Risch — to Senator Risch, you said he said, “I hope you will hold back on that.” But when you get a — when a president of the United States in the Oval Office says something like “I hope” or “I suggest” or — or “would you,” do you take that as a — as a — as a directive?
COMEY: Yes. Yes, it rings in my ear as kind of, “Will no one rid me of this meddlesome priest?”
KING: I was just going to quote that. In 1170, December 29, Henry II said, “Who will rid me of this meddlesome priest?” and then, the next day, he was killed — Thomas Becket. That’s exactly the same situation. You’re — we’re thinking along the same lines.
That’s the direct use of the Becket theme turned to a contemporary purpose. But there’s more..
Julia Ioffe on All In with Chris Hayes, speaking of Putin‘s plausible deniability using the oligarch Yevgeny Prigozhin as a cut-out:
IOFFE:It`s a very, very close relationship. In Russia, he`s known as Putin`s chef. And this is very much in keeping with how the Russians do things, right? There`s never going to be or probably not going to be any finger – any of Putin`s fingerprints on this, right? Probably what it looked like was Putin essentially saying, you know, who will rid me of this you know troublesome Hillary and everybody else kind of gets what that means and swings into action.
You might think the Becket story was enough. You might take delight in its contemporary echo by Comey and King. Julia Ioffe using the same example of Vladimir Putin was an unexpected bonus — but there’s (sadly) more..
Doing conspicuous favors and fixing things is in the nature of this bizarrely public toady-chieftain relationship. Read through Cohen’s interviews. You’ll find it’s replete with mixes of mafia tough guy talk and zany levels of conspicuous self-abnegation. It’s all theater at some level. But I think to a great degree it’s genuine. It’s the guy’s identity, like the way a top captain thinks about the mob boss he serves. Who will rid me of this meddlesome Stormy? Did I mention that Cohen and Trump’s mafia business partner Felix Sater were childhood friends long before they both ended up as top Trump business partners right around the same time? Well, that’s true too. In the scale of money both Trump and Cohen operate at, covering the $130,000 payment himself seems entirely plausible as something Cohen would do as part of the larger relationship. He probably did get paid back some way or another. But I think it’s totally plausible he didn’t. He’d love to be that guy who made the problem go away. Doing Trump a solid like that would be something he’d happily do. It’s the basis of their relationship. He’d get paid back in other ways.”
When Donald Trump, in one of his furies, makes an offhand comment about Mueller, does that then become an order in the ears of one of his loyal subordinates?
A day set apart for love, a day for mourning. And each in turn could provide a potential shooter with an added impulse to act on this particular day.
Control is the issue:
But where? Should we be figuring out how to control youthful impulses, somewhere in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex, the anterior cingulate cortex and the amygdala (upper panel, below) —
— or how to control the access to semi-automatic weapons of people who are slipping dangerously into forms of mental distress, while respecting both the right to privacy and the right to bear arms (lower panel, above).
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School is too much of a mouthful: Parkland will be the name etched in memory, alongside Columbine, Virginia Tech, and Sandy Hook. Such names are invoked, not spoken.
Is there perhaps a connection between the school shooter issue and the national conversation on sexual harassment, such that a major shift in attitudes towards sexual harassment would naturally translate to, or facilitate, a similar shift regarding gun control?
Are these in fact two conversations — waves on the same wave-front — “whose time (for change) has come”?
Would each benefit from their being discussed together?
Zenpundit is a blog dedicated to exploring the intersections of foreign policy, history, military theory, national security,strategic thinking, futurism, cognition and a number of other esoteric pursuits.