Tag Archives: the New Yorker

Creating denial as an option

All nations change, there is no way avoiding it. Sometimes we all wish that the setting is set in stone. Some would want to be philosophers in ancient Greece, some prefer the scandalous lives of ancient Rome, some see the comfort being a non-poor person in Victorian England and others seek the renaissance of Roma, Venice and Florence. We all have wants, needs and desires. We all wish it was another time. Yet some seek denial, some seek a change that requires events of the past to be deniable. If they succeed they can push for larger changes that are optionally profitable form them. That is how I see the news (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/apr/12/academics-launch-petition-against-racist-mural-in-french-parliament), where we are treated to ‘Academics launch petition against ‘racist’ mural in French parliament‘. The news gives us: “Two French academics have launched a petition to remove a parliament mural commemorating the abolition of slavery, which they said was a racist, humiliating and dehumanising depiction of black people“, I am not sure if these two appreciate the impact and history of art. One is a French writer (Julien Suaudeau), the other a film director (Mame-Fatou Niang), so when it comes to art, their view of art is likely to be better than mine, let’s put that up front. When I see the art, I see no negativity, I see the happiness and joy of the end of slavery, chains broken, so when I see “Its presence – in complete indifference – at the heart of one the highest sites of the Republic adds insult to injury”, I honestly don’t get it. The work is 28 years old, if it was truly racist, papers all over the world would have written about it for the longest of times. I personally believe that those who want to make a new move to the new iconographic of denial through art believe that this work of art is in the way. Perhaps it is just my shallow look, I will not deny that it might be me and that I am totally wrong, but I feel that after 28 years with non reported complaints I actually might have a case here.

The New Yorker (at https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-campaign-to-remove-a-shocking-painting-from-the-french-national-assembly) gives us only hours ago: “The painting, by the French artist Hervé Di Rosa, comprises nine panels, each depicting a key moment in the annals of French lawmaking: the institution of paid holidays, the recuperation of Alsace-Lorraine. Since 1991, it has hung in a hallway outside of the Assembly’s auditorium. Each year, thousands of tourists and schoolchildren pass by the work, as do their elected representatives. One panel is meant to commemorate the abolition of slavery in France, in 1794, but, to Niang and other observers, it perpetuates grotesque racial stereotypes.

And when we see “It features “two huge black faces, with bulging eyes, oversized bright red lips, carnivorous teeth, in an imagery borrowing to [sic] Sambo, the Banania commercials and Tintin in the Congo” we might initially think that there is a case, yet the painting is about iconography and when we consider Tin Tin, from the world famous Belgium artist Hergé, we need to take a step back and it is then that we should realise (those who have seen the murals), that the mural ‘1948 Le suffrage universel‘ shows similar iconography and that is not about black people.

The fact that the New Yorker went with ““I was just shocked,” Niang recalled. “I’m a French black person. The piece tells me that this is how my country sees me”” making the issue (from my personal point if view) a strange turn. They also give us: “Di Rosa says that his style is influenced by pop culture: comic books, science fiction, and punk. He often paints white people with similarly exaggerated features and considers “big red lips” a signature of his mythological world.” OK, that makes sense, and it is in the end not a photograph, it is art.

Yet, when we learn more on the two individuals (or better stated as the New Yorker hands it to us, we see: “Niang and Suaudeau’s ultimate goal, they say, “is to raise French people’s awareness of the colonial wound.” Both of them live in the United States. She is an associate professor of French studies at Carnegie Mellon; he is an instructor in the French and Francophone studies program at Bryn Mawr. Their insistence that a black woman’s experience of a work of art is as important as a white man’s aims in making it—their insistence on acknowledging context, subjectivity, and identity—has been taken by some French commentators as an attempt to inflict American notions of political correctness upon French culture.” I am faced with two parts. The first is ‘awareness of the colonial wound‘, which is fair enough. Yet that requires new art, new (read: different) views and view that creates a ripe stage of creating awareness, this assault on one of nine murals will not achieve that, it merely shows some level of subterfuge to remove 9 murals for whatever reason and not willing to come out loud stating that they want these walls for their needs or the needs of their friends. This is merely my personal view on the matter, the fact that they have gotten 2,500 votes so far seems to support my view, set that number against 70,000,000 voices on some view regarding Jamal Khashoggi whilst none of them had any view on actual evidence supports the numbers game. The second one is ‘inflict American notions of political correctness‘ is a much larger issue. It almost sets the stage where Walt Disney put Donald Trump in the White House telling the world that Technicolor productions are a thing of the past, how is that for analogy? I believe that there is a shift and in that shift the directness of some works of art are too much of a reminder that some shifts are actually a bad thing. The New Yorker also gives us: “On social media, the two have been inundated with vitriolic comments (more often targeting her than him, as is the custom). In the French press, they’ve been depicted as, at best, “fervent promoters of the black identity,” and, at worst, “fanatics in need of publicity.”” I refuse to target them, it is not my thing, as for ‘fanatics in need of publicity‘, I would need to know both a lot more than I currently do, yet one of my first thoughts was that: “They are probably in need of attention“, which is not a given, and ranks on the same page as people thinking ‘that person probably asked for a raise‘ when a cast member of a TV series is written out of the show.

And then we get the gem that matters, the part the New Yorker is getting right. With: ‘the history of slavery and racism in America is not the same as that of slavery and racism in France‘. It is an important distinction as it is a much larger issue. The Dutch had the colonies in Indonesia, that is, until 17 August 1945 when Sukarno read a statement on the radio and became the first president of Indonesia. Belgium had issues with the Congo and the list of events goes on. What some see in one light, other see different? Yes the US has slavery for the longest times, and the Dutch were not innocent as they traded New York for Suriname merely for the profit of slaves. The Dutch abolished slavery in 1863, 2 years before the US, 69 years after the French, and 30 years after the British, in that light the French were the most enlightened of the 4, a small fact we do not get to see here either.

Making denial an option is the most dangerous of all settings, even if this might not have been the case here, the event make me consider the dangers of creating denial. We see it around us all the time, the filtering through the media and the adjustment of perception, the outside intervention of awareness and social adjustments, the second part that we saw with ‘inflict American notions of political correctness‘ is the first indication of social adjustment, social adjustment “is an effort made by an individual to cope with standards, values and needs of a society in order to be accepted. It can be defined as a psychological process“, yet that’s not all and there lies the danger. You see from my personal point of view we should also consider “social adjustment is an attempt to shift standards to introduce adjusted standards, values and needs to make a new society acceptable, which facilitates for the needed psychological process“. It makes me wonder whether this was really about the mural or about the need to see other standards in a stage where the world economy is in a stage to push for changes on behalf of the largest corporations to make legalised slave labour a future option, in that stage the mural of Hervé Di Rosa becomes the largest eye sore in sight for those needing certain essential changes.


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It’s a bulletpoint

We all have these days. We have moments where we are confronted with superiors (or bosses) who seem to be able to do anything based on a one page memo that is drenched in bullet-points. It was an almost Neanderthal moment in management when those (getting tertiary education) were all brought up with the belief system that a memo is one page (which I can partially agree with), yet that memo should merely consist bullet-points that bring the goods.

I always thought of that part as an absolute load of bollocks. I can agree that sometimes luck works in our favour and that is exactly what happens, they are however rare. You see, the bullet-point might be correct to some extent, but you can only see part of the view with bullet-points. An actual tactical or strategic business setting is properly set in a SWOT analyses. If it is a serious action, that is what you need, because the boss requires the opportunity, yet he must also know the threat and the weakness. Some decisions are merely based on the balance of merits; do the strengths and opportunity outweigh the weakness and threat? That is the game we face in most business ventures and as they move forward. The Netflix balance, the ‘Nine+Fairfax=NEC’ setting, the setting that we saw in Natixis, Ubisoft and Verizon. The last one is apparently not focussing on big Mergers, that is, until we get the allegedly implied news in upcoming October, when in the black out period of Verizon Hans Vestberg will make an interesting announcement. This is not merely about the ‘fast-growing global market‘, this will be about the upper hand and those with the data will have the upper hand, plain and simple.

So when we go back to 2018, where the state of the union treated us to ‘President Trump claiming the military defeat of ISIS‘, yes, also I have a bridge to sell you, nice view of the Tower of London, going cheap! In that same setting we see the New Yorker giving us: “Trump was holding a press conference, a few blocks away, with the Presidents of the three Baltic states. He was visibly angry when asked about Syria. “I want to get out,” he said, his voice rising. “I want to bring our troops back home. I want to start rebuilding our nation. We will have, as of three months ago, spent seven trillion dollars in the Middle East over the last seventeen years. We get nothing—nothing out of it, nothing.” He called it “a horrible thing.”“, here I have to say that he was not entirely incorrect. There is no return on investment. In a war against terrorists, unless you are willing to become, or unleash the monsters, any fight against monsters is a cost, and will remain a cost; there will be no return on investment.

Unless you are willing to properly strike back, this fight will go on and on. The events in the New Yorker were in April 2018, three months after the so proclaimed not really existing victory. The New Yorker brought the news one day after Haaretz gave us: ‘Trump’s White House Says Military Mission to Eradicate ISIS in Syria ‘Coming to Rapid End’‘, a rapid end and not in a good way. Haaretz also emphasises on “Trump said Tuesday that he expects to decide “very quickly” whether to remove U.S. troops from war-torn Syria, saying their primary mission was to defeat the Islamic State group and “we’ve almost completed that task.” Trump’s national security team is advising against a hasty withdrawal even as he makes his preference clear: “I want to get out.”“. that was the setting in April, now a mere 84 days later we are treated (at https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/25/dozens-dead-suicide-attack-syria-sweida-isis) to ‘Surprise Isis attacks leave more than 200 dead in south-west Syria‘, several credit cards will not charge interest the first 90 days, not ISIS, the interest was served quick, to the point and basically deadly precise. The by-line giving us ‘Suicide bombers strike targets in Sweida city and launch simultaneous raids on nearby villages‘. That is the setting less than 24 hours ago and the directness of the attacks imply that we will see more over the next 4 days. This is not a quick hit and run, this is a message to President Trump that his Trumpet is false and full of lies.

As we are confronted with “The militants are also believed to have kidnapped dozens of people and taken them back to their hideouts. Local sources said the attacks began almost simultaneously in the early hours of Wednesday, between 3.50am and 4.30am“, we see a setting of coordination, creativity and direct action. Not merely proving that the State of the Union setting was wrong, it is a setting that implies that a lot more resources are required. In addition, it also proves that we need to shift gears and reactivate the monsters that can take care of business. This is not the theater of Chicago windy city makers; this is the battleground of people like Academi and the Wagner group. Yes, there is a case where it might be better that the actual governmental military organisations do the work, but it seems that America did not have the stomach for it, the Europeans and NATO are locked in everlasting debates and Israel is eager to stop it all, but that means a direct was with Syria, which it prefers not to be in. So there are not too many options at present. Even as the media at large is setting the stage on a Putin-Trump option, we see in equal measure on how Assad won and Trump is fine with that. We get loads of writing, but none of it reflects a solution and with all the papers all printing the same photo, all claiming a death count that is somewhere between 200-220 we are told that the count is high, yet they do not give us that this happened 35 Km from Jordan, 90 Km from Damascus and 90 Km from Israel. I think that the message from ISIS is clear. There is an issue; ISIS is still a player in the region and yes, from all we can tell ISIS with this one act melvined President Trump pretty much on the spot.

Yet everyone’s question will be how to counter this and deal with ISIS. From my point of view we see a setting that cannot be resolved the way it has been, it requires a different scope of activities and a very different level of investigation and intelligence analyses. That evidence is seen in the way the surprise attack went through and pretty much every part of it was a success (form the ISIS point of view), giving is to wonder how incomplete the current level of intelligence data is to begin with. We were aware that there is too much intelligence ego in Syria (or Iraq for that matter). Even now, in the last few months as sources go out and admit (or proclaim) intelligence failures in Israel, the US, NATO et al. Even as the Syrian nuclear reactor is the most visible one, the quality of the workers gathering the data, often in am allegedly precarious double agent setting tend to be not the greatest sources of intelligence. A less reliable source is seen in open source intelligence where we can get a taste of some things happening, but for the most the reliability is too low to be of operational use, even after the facts deeper digging tends to show issues that after the fact seemingly it could only have contributed towards failure, not towards success.

Iran is the second setting where some go from the balance of probability in a algorithm setting that dictates the tactical push forward, yet the people involved tend to forget the oldest IT setting in any data analytical collective where the protocols of GIGO are in effect, a given law that dates back to 1982 when I was in the Middle East for my own adventure. I always see (or better stated I have seen too often) that the officer’s response of GIGO would be: ‘some of it can be used‘, yet the setting Garbage In Garbage Out is merely the setting that as Garbage was accepted, all data involved becomes tainted, or is tainted. Those who bring you ‘some of it can be used‘, tend to rely on the creation of truths by aggregating false flags. So the setting where: ‘he never relies on computers’, we get ‘must create notes on their intelligence’. The one setting where he does not use computers because the person was dyslexic was overlooked. Aggregated data can be useful against the singular observation in a timeline, it gives the unit against the volume, but if one false flag was false, the others lose value and the column setting is no longer reliable. GIGO is devastatingly simple and pretty much always a given truth (or is that a confirmed non-false?), yes, I am at times that funny.

this now takes us to a setting almost three weeks ago in the Washington Post (at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/made-by-history/wp/2018/07/09/russia-and-the-u-s-have-common-interests-in-syria-but-it-may-not-matter), where we see: “Last week, national security adviser John Bolton said that the meeting could offer a “larger negotiation on helping to get Iranian forces out of Syria” and that an agreement could be “a significant step forward” for U.S. interests in the Middle East“, it is a statement that I cannot agree with. You see, even as Iran in Syria is an issue for Russia, it is not the same where Iran is an American problem, pure and simple. Russia has a setting where it wants to waste as much of the resources that NATO and America have, plain and simple. There is plenty of data proving that. I have nothing against John Bolton, I do not know the man, but I know he has been out of ‘circulation’ for almost 12 years. He is however not that devious. He sails a straight course (a commendable setting), in this he was always against the Iranian deal, he has been advocating regime change for both Iran and North Korea. It does not matter whether he is neoconservative, pro-American, or a nationalist. The settings that are clearly out and visible is that he has placed his country before his personal interests again and again and that is always a good thing (a lesson Democrats should learn at some point), yet when we look at Politico (at https://www.politico.com/story/2018/07/25/bolton-cabinet-meetings-mattis-pompeo-trump-740429), he is also doing something dangerous. It is seen in part with: ‘Cabinet chiefs feel shut out of Bolton’s ‘efficient’ policy process‘, followed by “Defense Secretary James Mattis has gone so far as to draft a letter requesting the national security adviser hold more gatherings of agency and department chiefs“, this is followed by ““He doesn’t want to ‘meeting’ an issue to death,” said one White House official. “He wants to make the bureaucratic process more efficient so that decisions can be made at the principals level.” But across the U.S. national security establishment, there’s a growing sense of a breakdown in the policy process since Bolton took over the National Security Council on April 9“. From where I am sitting, it creates a different friction. The different stations always had their own way of registering intelligence and it is in the misinterpretation of each of the used Thesaurus, that is where the data gap is starting to form, an international data point is not seen the same by the NSA, DIA and CIA. This gets me to my party favourite, what is another word for ‘Thesaurus‘? It is funny when you think of it, because as there is no synchronicity between Defense Secretary James Mattis, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA Gina Cheri Haspel and National Security Advisor John Bolton, they only think there is synchronised thinking (they nearly always do). So now we have the hats of the big cheeses in a similar direction, but not in the same direction, it gives us the issue that there are losses, losses in intelligence, losses in data and losses in translations, and lets not forget an overall loss of quality. That tends to be a much larger problem, and that problem will hit the desk of Director of the FBI Christopher Wray a little sooner than he bargained for. It also sets a very dangerous precedent. You see, it is mishaps like this that caused the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. I see it as a setting where people that need to act are getting more than one version because of the lacking intelligence cohesion, which was never great to begin with is now in a setting of decay. I get where John Bolton is at, but the red tape has one setting which is intelligence quality, that is now too in a stage where the Dodo went. You see, the politico quote ‘cutting unnecessary bureaucratic red tape, pushing the nitty-gritty discussions to lower levels‘ shows the foundation of a good thing, but pushing certain issues to a lower level also means that the accountability and responsibility is brought down, whilst at the same stage, the essential lack of security clearance at that level also stops optional security leaks and as such some information will not be available at lower levels. So if ISIS decides to become surprisingly creative again and we see in a future news setting that they decided to visit Al-Umawyeen St, Amman, Jordan, We will see an entirely new escalation, one that President Trump cannot walk away from, in equal measure, if the changes by John Bolton enabled that scenario, we will see another setting where a National Security Advisor will immediately go into retirement and focus on his family life (the present assigned young-ling is 69 after all, so that excuse will be readily accepted).

So the shorting of the memo’s relying on bullet points, whilst setting the strategic placement of people to be placed at the point of a bullet is not so far-fetched, is it? Even as we will soon see that this gets paraded as a once off event, a rare option where ISIS got lucky. Remember that this was not merely an explosion. It was that, in addition the abduction of people and activities in other places as well that it all went down at the SAME TIME. It was not merely coordination; it required funds, facilitation of events and goods that were available at the right time. Should you consider my folly (never a bad thing to do), consider the one setting that we did not get to see in the news. The distance from the Zaatari Refugee camp to Al-Umawyeen St, Amman, Jordan is a mere 60,224 metres; I have actually walked that distance, so when we consider the dangers in place and we accept that there are ISIS sympathisers in Zaatari (we do not know how many), the one issue that the US cannot allow for is any more miscommunication between intelligence operations. On the plus side, if it does happen, Hollywood can do another movie, John Krasinsky was awesome in the Benghazi story, and he could prepare his Jordanian language skills if he reprises his role at: The Markaz, Arts Center for the Greater Middle East 1626 N. Wilcox Ave, Suite 702 Los Angeles, CA 90028.

You see there is something in this setting for everyone, whilst me successfully avoiding bullet points until the very end, how crazy was that?


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