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Metaphor series 27: Irresponsible weather, untweeted tweets &c

Monday, March 25th, 2019

[ by Charles Cameron — also lots from Friday March 22nd, more, and the Barr comment on Mueller Report breaks, March 24th ]
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Let’s start with the weirdest tweet ever:

That’s a crowd-sized tweet, y’see, and in the crowd-sized small print it says:

He didn’t tweet it, he actually said it.

Take a look at the same image full-sized — full photo-sized, here.

**

Unpredictable weather:

Okay, that’s my excuse for a NASA DoubleQuote:

Here’s what Joshua Stevens of NASA Earth Observatory says in the caption:

Several communities west of Omaha (between the Elkhorn and Platte Rivers) either flooded or temporarily became islands as floodwaters encroached from both sides. One third of Offutt Air Force Base was inundated and 30 buildings were damaged, according to news reports. Rising flood waters forced people in dozens of communities to evacuate.

Wha??

Bob Dylan to the point:

A change in the weather is known to be extreme

You’re A Big Girl Now.

**

Okay, down to mores serious business..

Frank Figliuzzi, former FBI Assistant Director for Counterintelligence, made a fascinating and provocative suggestion to Nicolle Wallace yesterday, and I’ll offer here my transcription and some comments:

To go back to this notion, and the clip of him {The President] saying the American people won’t accept this {Mueller results &c] because these are people who were not elected.. Let’s focus on that. Do you know what that sounds a lot like to most law enforcement officers, this notion that you can’t abide by anything by anyone who has not been elected? The Sovereign Citizen‘s movement.

These are people who, when they get pulled over by the police, shoot the police officer. Why? The police officers were not elected. They recognize only the sheriff. They don’t pay taxes, right? We are essentially seeing the President as a Sovereign Citizen, not recognizing the authority of anyone who wan’t elected. It’s a dangerous philosophy.

He’s going to go with that theme that only elected officials can decide his fate, and there’s going to be a substantial part of the American public that’s going to buy into that..

The Sovereign Citizen Movement was featured in this now-archived FBI page:

Sovereign citizens are anti-government extremists who believe that even though they physically reside in this country, they are separate or “sovereign” from the United States. As a result, they believe they don’t have to answer to any government authority, including courts, taxing entities, motor vehicle departments, or law enforcement.

This causes all kinds of problems—and crimes. For example, many sovereign citizens don’t pay their taxes. They hold illegal courts that issue warrants for judges and police officers. They clog up the court system with frivolous lawsuits and liens against public officials to harass them. And they use fake money orders, personal checks, and the like at government agencies, banks, and businesses.

That’s just the beginning. Not every action taken in the name of the sovereign citizen ideology is a crime, but the list of illegal actions committed by these groups, cells, and individuals is extensive (and puts them squarely on our radar). In addition to the above, sovereign citizens:

  • Commit murder and physical assault;
  • Threaten judges, law enforcement professionals, and government personnel;
  • Impersonate police officers and diplomats;
  • Use fake currency, passports, license plates, and driver’s licenses; and
  • Engineer various white-collar scams, including mortgage fraud and so-called “redemption” schemes.
  • Sovereign Citizenship, is very like a religion –n but the sort of religion where the dogma is loose, and each member pretty much defines their own version. Catholics might recognize this as cafeteria Catholicism, but Pentecostals with each one informed by individual inspiritation strikes me as a more apt comparative.

    **

    Just caught this from late 2018:

    Natasha Bertrand, The Eerie Parallels Between Trump and the Watergate ‘Road Map’
    Lawmakers thought Nixon’s gathering of inside information about the Watergate probe from DOJ was an impeachable offense:

    Nearly 45 years ago, the House Judiciary Committee concluded that President Richard Nixon’s contact with high-level Justice Department officials overseeing the Watergate investigation, detailed in a 62-page “road map” of evidence collected by prosecutors in 1972–73, amounted to an impeachable misuse of executive power.

    A half century later, the FBI’s former top lawyer, Jim Baker—a close friend and associate of fired FBI Director James Comey—is laying out parallels, albeit subtly, to President Donald Trump’s interactions with the law-enforcement officials who have been investigating him and his campaign team since July 2016.

    Parallels, subtly drawn: from a geometrical perspective, parallels are’t subtle, they’r exact — but parallels as a metaphor for similarities in patterning are all the better for subtlety.

    **

    running (in an election), off the hook (wrt prosecution), — these are among the sports metaphors for politics that are so obvious, so basic that it’s barely worth noting them — and yet they’re bassic to more detailed metaphors we’re very interested in.

    and then there are the images I catch,but not the sentences they’re embedded in, let alone the paragraphs.. %strike)Brennan saying “firestorm” at a moment when the TIVO or whatever captured the feed had a hiccup), deliberate or otherwise.. Joy of SM Joy’s “spiked the ball at the fifty yard line”*****, for instance, was a fleeting capture of an often repeated basic phrase, “spiked the ball” which would be better caught in a more detailed context..

    A quick Melber chyron before I lose it, at 22:

    **

    Hardball:

    Chris Matthews: all these dots we are now to believe don’t connect ..
    Chris Matthews: I could see the President announcing in two or three weeks, I split the double header. I got off collusion, all they’ve got me on is this argument about obstruction, by the way I’m allowed to obstruct if I’m innocent ..
    should they feel they just skipped justice?
    43 stars / constellation .. [ a nice para — transcript? ]
    Chris Matthews: it’s the politburo ..
    Chris Matthews:

    The Democrats have been riding this camel for a lot of miles through the desert, waiting for an explosive report that would decide whether the President did something impeachable or not ..

    All In, Chris Hayes:

    Julia Ainsley:

    And then this is the part I think is the most magical. At five o’clock, the congressional liaison at the Justice Department knew his job would be to go brief the committees, but they didn’t want to have any jealousy about who might get this first and how this might go down, so they dispersed a team to the Democrat and Republican side of both the House and the Senate Judiciary, to make sure that the letter .. was put down in front of those committees, all four, Republican and Democrat, Senate and House, Judiciary at the exact same time, five o’clock..

    Neil Katyal:

    And now Mueller is really like a relay racer, handing off the baton to other folks..

    Anna Galliard:

    Well, boy, it’s one of those moments where you have to walk & chew gum & juggle. & fight for the soul of democracy all at the same time ..

    Carol Lam: a Japanese Tea ceremony .. [transcript?]

    Rachel 3-22

    51-2: chuck rosenberg: I think this is far too early for Mr Corsi to be dancing in the end-zone ..*****
    @58 or 50?, katyal: lanes & batons ..
    the mueller probe is officially over, and the torch has been handed to .. cf baton

    MTP (3-22?)

    brennan: I think Bob Mueller understands the firestorm that this report was, you know, going to be out into ..
    nicolle w: andy mccabe .. [distorted] .. a tree house ..
    ari m: he’s a wild-card here, who could ..
    graphic of mueller investigation ..
    nicolle: the earth could change under our feet ..
    he had access to five-eyes intel ..
    ari: i got the football and i might be passing lots of it by this weekend ..
    katyal: we generally don’t have secret books in this country ..
    meacham: will there be a MAGA pitchfork rebellion?

    AM Joy 3-23:

    sat am: malcolm nance: koresh-style . [transcript?]

    AM Joy 3-24

    and not dropped, like a nuclear bomb, on the white house, on friday ..

    59 or 00: over on Earth II or Fox News ..

    **

    Listen up:
    Here’s the breaking news of Barr’s comments on & quotes from Mueller’s report, Sunday 3/24/2019, pm:

    **

    Two comments summing up this remarkable day:

    MSNBC, commentator unknown:

    This is a very good day for the President, and they’ll be spiking the football from here to the election, likely..

    Barr’s letter to Congress:

    The Special Counsel states that ‘while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.’

    And another next, 26, mixed

    Friday, March 22nd, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — running the gamut from Mike Pompeo a flailing, failing theologian, to ISIS, not that their theology is so great, ahem, but still around, with cat-herding visible unto the days of the grandkids ]
    .

    Credo quia absurdum? Or, getting the original quote right, credibile est, quia ineptum est? That’s no inept as to be believable?

    There’s actually a passage in Cicero’s Rhetoric for Herrennius that describes how to make objects of contemplation more memorable by choosing the most beautiful or ugly images as analogs / analogies to represent them:

    We ought, then, to set up images of a kind that can adhere longest in memory. And we shall do so if we establish similitudes as striking as possible; if we set up images that are not many or vague but active; if we assign to them exceptional beauty or singular ugliness; if we ornament some of them, as with crowns or purple cloaks, so that the similitude may be more distinct to us; or if we somehow disfigure them, as by introducing one stained with blood or soiled with mud and smeared with red paint, so that its form is more striking, or by assigning certain comic effects to our images, for that, too, will ensure our remembering them more readily.

    It may be that Tertullian — the Church Father who authored that phrase about believing something because it’s so incredible — was not so far in his thinking from Cicero — was accustomed to at least the concept of using the strangest, most strained analogies, and applied it to his contemplation of the unspeakable, unimaginable Godhead, since such disfigured analogies are both the most memorable and the least likely to be taken literally, and thus mistaken for the Reality to which they are intended to point.. but that’s pure speculation on my part.

    But I’m sorry, No. Mike Pompeo may have been first in his class at Annapolis, and I may have been far from first in my class at Oxford, but at least my studies were in Theology — and No.

    **

    Here’s one for the liminal collection:

    An island, you know, is something else. In a continent, the watersheds are important natural divisions, as are linguistic groupings and cultures. There’s arguably a cultural component of Brit-oriented Northern Irish, and they’re not enemy — but the naturalness of a united island Ireland seems pretty clear.

    Islands:

    History has time and again highlighted the importance of islands in establishing naval dominance.

    That’s from Darshana Baruah, SISTER ISLANDS IN THE INDIAN OCEAN REGION: LINKING THE ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS TO LA RÉUNION

    Through a ring of bases and naval presence on islands, the British essentially controlled the entry points into this crucial area. In the east it had Singapore and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, while Socotra and the port city of Aden provided access to the Red Sea and Bab-el Mandeb. With control of Sri Lanka, Maldives, Mauritius, the Seychelles and, briefly, Madagascar, the empire turned the Indian Ocean into a “British Lake.” To consolidate its presence along the coast of Africa, the British Empire fought bloody wars to take control of Kenya, Uganda, and the island of Zanzibar. With these islands and coastal territories, the empire projected its power across the region and dominated the key chokepoints and shipping lines between Asia, Africa, and Europe.

    Bloody, note the bloody. And dominance, note the British dominance. I’m not sure that bloody dominance is quite so well-supported any more, but a little less Biriths dominance and Ireland might be a little less bloody.

    **

    Dan Nexon recommends a paper featuring an arc — yes, we’re collecting arcs — but not the MLK moral arc that may be long, but in the end “bends toward justice”..

    **

    JM Berger has been interviewed by Terry Gross — to be aired on Monday:

    Stay tuned!

    **

    All In, Chris Hayes:

    Unh.

    They’re [WH] basically blowing off a co-equal branch of government which gives a strong indication of how they plan to back-rush their way through anything damning from the Mueller report, when it comes.

    In fact, there is such a swarm of criminality, prosecutions and pleas around the President and his ever-moving dynamic vortex..

    A trial run, a warm-up inning..

    Y’know, Mueller report ridiculous, but I want to see it is vaguely reminiscent of credo quia absurdum, or th more accurate quote in my own translation, see above:

    That’s no inept as to be believable

    **

    I can’t find the Jon Meacham quote on ceremonial trolling, so here’s one from India:

    Rohit is to this series what trial ball is to gully cricket

    Twitter went ahead with its ceremonial trolling of Rohit soon after he was dismissed. It’s become a routine of late for the right-hander to perish cheaply and be the butt of jokes on social media.

    At least it’s a fun replacement, though for seriosity I’d have preferred the Meacham.

    **

    and btw:

    **

    D’oh.

    **

    Clint Watts @selectedwisdom:

    I really would like everyone to read that story ..

    The whole idea is, everybody around the world knows that you can hire companies to crack into any one of these endpoints —

    — and go through any of these communications ..

    If you want to feel your communications are safe, don’t worry about government surveillance, worry about corporate guys-for-hire that are hired by all these companies ..

    Here’s the article:

    A New Age of Warfare: How Internet Mercenaries Do Battle for Authoritarian Governments

    BTW another Clint quote from my day’s scan:

    If we were to go after Wikileaks, it could lead to massive information dumps of US secrets around the world ..

    In have the feeling I quoted an abbreviated version a while back, without that crucial “of US secrets” — good to have thee full version, in any case.

    **

    Sigh:

    Charles Lister, Trump Says ISIS Is Defeated. Reality Says Otherwise.

    The ISIS of the future could be just as bad if not bigger and worse than the one we watched dramatically expand in 2014. In Iraq, nearly 20,000 ISIS detainees currently lie in prison and tens of thousands more who are accused of having maintained ties to ISIS lie in squalid camps surrounded by hostile security forces. A further 20,000 Iraqi ISIS prisoners and family members currently in Syria look set to be transferred back to Iraq in the coming weeks, all of whom will surely meet a similar fate: prison or secured camps. If that were not bad enough news, tens of thousands of Iraqi children born under ISIS rule look set to remain stateless due to Baghdad’s continued refusal to recognize their ISIS-produced birth certificates or to produce Iraqi replacements. All told, that may amount to at least 100,000 people in Iraq with ties to ISIS whose bleak futures will undoubtedly fuel long-term radicalization.

    Enough.

    Next, 25

    Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — a quarter century of chyron and metaphor posts — Booker, 81 at Stanford, is now a legit sports metaphor for politics — finishing up with Beto and the Cult of the Dead Cow !! ]
    .

    Ari Melber, the Beat 3/18/2019:

    My notes on what happened which day are seriously confused at this point. I hope I can go back and rescue a chyron “Trumped” from the very start of this show, ami I right?

    Quotes:

    he sits at the center of a crime syndicate ..
    John Flannery: to pin the tail on the donkey, the [ .. ] in the West Wing ..

    Hardball 3/18/2019:

    Cory Booker:

    just another example of his moral vandalism ..

    Ron Reagan:

    What is it about John McCan that sets him off? John McCain was everything Donald Trump isn’t. John McCain wasa man ofn integrity and a man of great courage.

    Meghan McCain:

    My father waas his kryptonite in life, and is his kryptonite in death..

    We now need, more than ever after this President, more than ever we need a revival of grace in our country, a revival of civic grace in our civic spaces..

    I suppose this image is now a sports metaphor for politics

    I got into Stanford because of a 4.0, 1600 — 4.0 yards per carry, 1,600 receiving yards..

    at 27, not on my download to verify: I see this as whiffle-ball ..
    at 38/9, sonny liston vs muhammad ali
    40, we want to see some white smoke, some hope
    40, the goose-eggs add up
    59 steve king?

    **

    Uncertain sources &c:

    The house is just going to be a bear-pit ..
    kasie:it’s a home game for him, not an away game
    does he have what it takes to go the distance ..
    i wasn’t born to run, but i am running ..
    we are not trying to hide the ball here at all ..

    **

    Three that I may have posted before, forgive me:

    **

    And saving the best [??!!] for last:

    As “PsychedelicWarlord,” O’Rourke spent most of his time posting thought-provoking essays, song lyrics from punk albums, and the occasional poem. At one point, he and another member interviewed a neo-Nazi. And in one post, he gave “The True Story of Cult of the Dead Cow,” in which he claimed authorship of the name..

    Header for a Beto poem:

    ____________________________________

    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 ]
    .

    Hey!

    **

    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?

    **

    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.

    **

    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:

    Slaughter of Christian & indigenous Nigerians, varied drivers

    Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

    [ by Charles Cameron — switching between my comparative religion and cultural anthropology hats, while reading of Christian and indigenous mass graves in Nigeria — and the fear of a Rwanda-scale genocide ]
    .

    The Christian Post reports:


    .
    ‘Pure Genocide’: Over 6,000 Nigerian Christians Slaughtered, Mostly Women and Children

    Villagers stood at a mass grave in Dogon Na Hauwa, Nigeria, in 2010. | (Photo: Reuters/Credit Akintunde Akinleye)

    The church leaders said that “over 6,000 persons, mostly children, women and the aged have been maimed and killed in night raids by armed Fulani herdsmen,” which is prompting their cry to the government of Nigeria “to stop this senseless and blood shedding in the land and avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves.”

    That last phrase, to “avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves”, is a telling one with an implication of considerable restraint on the part of Christians thus far..

    **

    Reading the piece carefully, the question arises as to the interwoven influences of tribal, religious, and cultural differences..

    Consider the Catholic bishop’s comment as reported:

    “Please don’t make the same mistake as was made with the genocide in Rwanda,” he pleaded, referring to the massacre of Tutsi people in Rwanda, where close to 1 million were killed in 1994.

    To what extent can this conflict and slaughter be characterized as tribal?

    Consider also the clash of religions — indigenous / ancestral tribal religions included — implied by the reference to Boko Haram, and the Intersociety comment:

    Nigeria is drifting to [a path of] genocide through killing, maiming, burning and destruction of churches and other sacred places of worship, and forceful seizure and occupation of ancestral, worship, farming and dwelling lands of the indigenous Christians and other indigenous religionists in Northern Nigeria

    Or — and this one’s of terrific importance, as implied by the comment:

    raids carried out by the herdsmen on local area farmers

    To what extent is the conflict one of (mobile) herdsmen vs (settled) farmers?

  • Fulani vs one or more other tribes
  • Islam vs Christianity & indigenous religions
  • herdsmen vs agriculturalists
  • **

    Please note that there are two feared outcomes here, the first of which touches my heart in its implication of Christian non-violence in the face of terrible violence, while the second addresses a significant increase in the scale of that violence:<

  • to avoid a state of complete anarchy where the people are forced to defend themselves
  • the same mistake as was made with the genocide in Rwanda
  • Tragedy is seldom simple. If we are to avoid the worst, we need both to understand the drivers in all their subtle diversity, and to avoid the paralysis that comes from overthinking — not an east task, but a necessary one.

    **

    With thanks to J Scott Shipman.


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