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May 22, 2024


Ogham is highly unusual among world writing systems, consisting solely of parallel lines in groups of 1-5. The stones provide insight into the Irish language before the use of the Latin insular script.

So, barcodes?

Not just barcodes; all manner of codes. They had word-oghams based on the names of birds, trees, colors, fortresses, sacred wells, etc. The druids were also said to have ways of situating the fingers on their hands to recreate the beith-luis-nin alphabet and communicate with each other surreptitiously when present in councils between warring kings.

Fascinating stuff, but if you are interested in historical accuracy, stay away from the version of things given by Robert Graves in The White Goddess.

That mention of druidic hand signs reminded me of both the Buddhist hand gestures that you need to know to understand buddhist statues and icons, they are called mudras

And Kuji-kiri, a set of hand signs that ninja were supposed to have used

so I hit google and this popped up


It runs ogham hand signs thru the Phaistos Disc and on to Buddhist thought.

A lot of wild speculation, but fun as all get out.

Fun indeed. Very early 90s new age bookstore meets Paladin Press vibe to that bit of wishful syncretism.

I expect it to be the focus of the next Assassins Creed video game.

I'd play it.

Meanwhile, in case anyone cares about a non-sensationalized report from a police crackdown on a Gaza Solidarity Encampment:


Take every report of violence at an encampment with a grain of salt. So much CYA political theater aimed at mollifying McCarthyite attention whores like Rep. Stefanik.

Results from the study, which were published under the title, “Contextual and Combinatorial Structure in Sperm Whale Vocalizations,” point to key breakthroughs in our understanding of cetacean communication.

I haven't got time just now to browse the report. But I will be fascinated to see their take on what all those sperm whales have been saying.

Also wondering when someone will brave trying to talk back to them. Assuming they have made correct assumptions of appropriate frequencies....

@nous -- thank you for the irvine article. It's depressing, but sadly not surprising. Cops....administrators.... Grrrr.

I hope that people of good faith see that picture of officers from 22 different police forces from around the area descending the steps to round up peaceful protesters and their supporters and realize that this is precisely what is coming for anyone who goes out in public to speak out were Trump to win another term.

This is California. If that sort of response can happen in California - land of queer woke SJW communists run by a radical leftist government (according to Fox News and the GOP imaginary) - then you can bet that more of that is on tap to be served up by law enforcement all across the country.

At UCLA the police stood still while right wing active clubs attacked the solidarity encampment there, then came in themselves the next night and did the same with official sanction from the administration.

I fully expect that even in California the majority of law enforcement will be ready and willing to cooperate with a victorious Trump administration to enforce the Insurrection Act should the president invoke it.

I hope that we can prevent that. I hope that enough young people, even those who were in the solidarity encampments and mad as hell at Biden, can see the blood in the eyes of the right and vote to keep that from happening.

I really do believe we are on the knife edge.


Bided and Blinken should be prosecuted by the ICC for complicity in war crimes. As it is, they both agree with Graham and others in the Senate that the ICC should be sanctioned. I suspect the judges are in for sone unpleasant threats.

But yes Trump is worse. What a stupid country this is.

I think that if Trump were not the Republican candidate and a clear and present danger to democracy, that the Democrats would have had more opportunity to challenge Biden and explore options. I'm just trying to keep my politically aware students engaged with supporting the candidates that they admire (like AOC,) and convince them to start building support for the changes they want.

I think that if Trump were not the Republican candidate and a clear and present danger to democracy, that the Democrats would have had more opportunity to challenge Biden and explore options.

Do you really see an alternative to Trump, anywhere in sight, who would have been sufficiently less bad to risk that? Because I'm sure not seeing one.

Less bad, no. Less telegenic, yes.

Assuming from the heading that this is at least an Open Thready thing, I wanted to post a link to this, about an extraordinary phenomenon called Maga Communism. Is there no limit to the strangeness and madness possible?


CharlesWT: any comment on the shenanigans at the Libertarian Convention this weekend?

Shenanigans is about right. The people currently in charge of the LP at the national level think inviting Trump and the other would-be kings to speak and debate at the convention will draw a level of attention to the LP that it couldn't get any other way. But many of us uppercase and lowercase libertarians think it's the kind of attention and relationships we can do without.

I was talking with my brother last month about what happens when Trump is gone. He thought it would be like a zombie movie, where everyone would kind of wake up and wonder what had been going on.

I think too many people will have developed a taste for brains.

CharleyCarp, long time no read.

I cut and pasted some Twitter comments from Megan Stack. I think she is right. Decades of impunity have led to this, though truthfully Gaza is no worse than some other things we have supported. But millions of people can now see things on social media

starting here——-

Reading materials from The Hague, hearing US indignation, thinking about how crimes of the “war on terror” were never properly addressed, people who advocated for invading Iraq were still taken seriously & how the resulting sense of impunity contributed to getting us here.
10:13 AM · May 24, 2024

Megan K. Stack
May 24
Gaza is not only connected to Is/Pal conflict but also to US political/military culture. Iraq, Afghanistan, torture, rendition, drones. Killing people far away as a low-stakes activity that one can gamble on or dabble in without consequence. Some lives worth more than others.

Megan K. Stack
May 24
I’m not bringing out the pitchforks (tho some international justice would be nice) — but it seems to me those who couldn’t grasp why the Iraq invasion was on its face a disastrous idea now can’t see how else Israel could’ve responded to Oct 7. We should stop listening.

Gaza is not only connected to Is/Pal conflict but also to US political/military culture.

political/military/police culture...

Gotta have someone on the home front. So to speak.

(Remembering nous's article about the 22 jurisdictions' worth of cops who came to stomp on a hundred or so protestors....)

But meanwhile, for anybody thinking of not voting for Biden because of Gaza/Israel, this (gift link) is what Trump told donors behind closed doors:


Headlined Trump told donors he will crush pro-Palestinian protests, deport demonstrators
Trump has waffled on whether the Israel-Gaza war should end. But speaking to wealthy donors behind closed doors, he said that he supports Israel’s right to continue “its war on terror.”

Just had another piece about the situation at UCLA forwarded to me by a colleague. I know two people who were arrested there as well - both faculty who were there primarily in the hope that having a faculty presence there might help to de-escalate any police move against the solidarity encampment. I heard a version of this account directly from them as well.


The right and the police both are escalating their responses to mass protest, and accelerationist active clubs are at work providing false-flag justifications for the crackdowns. This is all part of the radicalization of the right.

Like CharlieCarp (good to see you here again), I don't think that Trump going away would prove a sudden antidote to this new era of right-wing authoritarianism. I know too many people on the right who are disdainful of Trump-the-man, but who are committed to all that he has said and done to bring culture war militancy into the open and put the "shitlibs" on notice of what is to come.

The movement will weaken and lose some focus for a time, and it remains to be seen who might become their new cult leader, but I don't see the core of violence going away any time soon, or even moving into the shadows again like what happened with Aryan Nation in the 90s. All the upheaval from the War on Terror and Climate Change is going to keep fueling that flame for a long time - here and in Europe.

If the Biden administration won't act on the ICJ ruling and the latest strikes in Rafah, all their remaining credibility in the conflict will have gone. If you ignore international law and set red lines but don't follow up on them, who will listen to you in the future? I wonder if they are really aware of the long-term political cost.

Trump told donors he will crush pro-Palestinian protests, deport demonstrators

Where he would deport those whose families have been Americans for generations was not made clear. Probably because that would count as nuance, which he is incapable of.

With him, who can tell the unfathomable depths of his combined malevolence and ignorance. I wouldn't be surprised if he assumes that "opinions I dislike or want to diss at the moment" = non-citizens. Or that he can just dump people anywhere on earth that he chooses.

I have in fact been wondering what would happen if he tried to start putting people on airplanes and dropping them off ... somewhere. He probably thinks the destination countries don't have any say.

Or that he can just dump people anywhere on earth that he chooses.

It's pretty depressing to talk about, but I've been pretty amazed at the ability of the Tories and what seems to be a large proportion of British to accept with equanimity the whole Rwanda scheme (though scheme may be suggesting a level of organization that doesn't exist) I'm pretty sure that Trump hears the UK is doing what he proposes and thinks it must be hunky-dory.


The red lines are largely for domestic consumption. Biden is trying to walk a tightrope between 100 percent support for everything Israel is doing and 95 percent support for everything Israel is doing. It is a delicate balancing act. What if he looked like he was only 94 percent supportive? He would lose votes to Trump, but what if he showed no (largely fake) concern for Palestinians? He might lose a few lesser evil voters.

As I assume most people expected, Israel hasn’t crossed Biden’s mobile red line. There is no mathematical formula— Jake Sullivan said that last week and Satterfield repeated it on the PBS Newshour tonight. If there were some clear formulation of what a red line is, we would know when it was crossed and that defeats the political purpose of that particular DC cliche, which is to sound concerned without ever having to act on it.

Biden’s idiotic pier broke apart. That seems symbolic somehow.

Israel and the ICC


The Guardian article which I am too lazy to link also said that some think veiled threats were made towards the previous ICC prosecutor.

I wonder what the US might be doing? 14 Republican senators recently wrote a letter to the ICC that sounded like something you’d expect from a gangster in a Hollywood movie.

And Trump, of course, is a fascist. I recognize his victory would be a disaster. Our political culture is so deeply depressing.

14 Republican senators recently wrote a letter to the ICC that sounded like something you’d expect from a gangster in a Hollywood movie.

What else would you expect, from a party whose leader prefers to select people for critical positions based on whether they look like someone sent from central casting?

Typecasting starts from having a distinct type. And "gangster" appears to be said leader's preferred type.

Gift article from today's NYT about how Thomas and Alito can be compelled to recuse:


And this is the Guardian article Donald was referring to upthread, about an Israeli intelligence head threatening the then ICC head:


and more on that today:


Grasping at flags to find something that will stick.

"Above the Virginia home of Justice Alito and his wife, Martha-Ann Alito, flew an upside-down American flag — a strong political statement among the people who stormed the Capitol. Above the Alitos’ beach home in New Jersey flew another flag that has been adopted by groups opposed to President Biden."

An effort to create guilt by association. People fly different flags for different reasons or no reason at all.

An effort to create guilt by association. People fly different flags for different reasons or no reason at all.

Oh come on. This arrogant, whiny, sanctimonious Leonard-Leo-funded religious fanatic who lusts for a world where women bleed to death for his beliefs is not any ordinary citizen flying any old flag for any old reason. Let him fly any flag he wants as soon as he vacates the role that gives him life and death power over the rest of us, a role that constitutes the highest public trust we have in this country given how nearly impossible it is to budge him from his seat. He has betrayed that trust abysmally.


The upside-down flag appears to be part of a conflict between Mrs. Alito and her neighbors, not a political statement or show of support for a political fraction.

"There was a spat between Mrs. Alito and her neighbors, in which she flew the flag upside down as a symbol of distress. I still see nothing to connect Mrs. Alito's decision with some sort of stop-the-steal imagery."
The Alito Flag Flap, Snyder v. Phelps, and Chaplinsky v. New Hampshire

Two different flags with anti-Biden pro-Trump associations? Crikey, Charles, I never thought you that credulous! But in any case, that NYT piece includes the constitutional language: it only has to be something which gives the appearance or impression of bias (don't have time to get the exact language, this is a drive-by).

Two different flags with anti-Biden pro-Trump associations? Crikey, Charles, I never thought you that credulous!

And some people may be allowing their confirmation bias to get the best of them.

Quite right!

Alito on the flag flap.

"My wife's reasons for flying the flag are not relevant for present purposes, but I note that she was greatly distressed at the time due, in large part, to a very nasty neighborhood dispute in which I had no involvement.

I was not familiar with the "Appeal to Heaven" flag when my wife flew it. She may have mentioned that it dates back to the American Revolution, and I assumed she was flying it to express a religious and patriotic message. I was not aware of any connection between this historic flag and the "Stop the Steal Movement," and neither was my wife. She did not fly it to associate herself with that or any other group, and the use of an old historic flag by a new group does not necessarily drain that flag of all other meanings."

Justice Alito's Letter About The Flag Flap

Good to know what hill you want to die on, Charles


That's the gift link from Cheryl Rofer's lgm post and is what Blackman in Charles' link is responding to.


It's interesting that Blackman doesn't note that the dates and times on the texts that were shared don't line up with the Alito version.

A text message and the police call — corroborated by Fairfax County authorities — indicate, however, that the name-calling took place on Feb. 15, weeks after the inverted flag was taken down.

Yep, Alito and his wife are just a couple of innocent followers of Lord Baltimore, here in the Colonies to practice their faith without the constant threat of discrimination from those damned Anglicans and their Act of Uniformity. They have a hard enough time keeping up with all the body of English Common Law and modern witchfinding practices. Mistress Alito was merely upset to find that there was a bellringer in the neighborhood and to spy a set of playing cards on his mantle. With the scent of witchcraft on the air, she had no choice but to make an Appeal to Heaven and to signal her distress to the Witchfinder General.

Between that and a full schedule of praying the rosary she has no time to keep up with all these obscure modern notions like Stop the Steal.

I would put this in a post of its own, but I just posted


How useful has Elon Musk been to their movement? “Fantastic,” Malcolm replies. “I mean – the most powerful, most wealthy person in the world advocating for your cause helps a lot. Within this time period, he’s our version of being the king, or something. He’s to an extent disconnected from –”

Torsten has knocked the table with his foot and caused it to teeter, to almost topple, before it rights itself. Immediately – like a reflex – Malcolm hits him in the face.

It is not a heavy blow, but it is a slap with the palm of his hand direct to his two-year-old son’s face that’s firm enough for me to hear on my voice recorder when I play it back later. And Malcolm has done it in the middle of a public place, in front of a journalist, who he knows is recording everything.

Torsten whimpers. “In a restaurant, you gotta be nice,” Malcolm says. “I love you but you gotta be nice in restaurants. No, Toastie. You’re going to get bopped if you do that.”

“Hey. Can you help me with the iPad?” Octavian says, handing it to his father. None of this is remarkable to any of them. Torsten soon stops whimpering.

Smacking is not illegal in Pennsylvania. But the way Malcolm has done it – so casually, so openly, and to such a young child – leaves me speechless.

Malcolm picks up where he left off. “What Elon stands for, largely, I wholly support,” he continues. “Our politics are very aligned.” Grimes, the mother of three of Musk’s children, follows Simone on X.

The meal passes in a bit of a blur. Malcolm tells me about how pronatalism and space travel are intricately linked (“we don’t just want to create a sustainable civilisation here, we want it to expand outwards to the stars”); how his branch of effective altruism considers the suffering of humans today to be “pretty irrelevant” because the suffering of billions of future humans could be eliminated if they succeed in creating a “technophilic, interplanetary” species. Torsten and Octavian climb down from the banquette and run around the restaurant, and every so often, Malcolm threatens them – “If you go to the door again, Torsten, you’re getting bopped” – before loading new cartoons.

For someone dedicated to helping people have as many babies as possible, Malcolm doesn’t seem to like children very much.

wtf are these people?

I don't have much fondness for Alito. But I would like to see more in the way of proof than contrived associations and muddled timelines.

For all the things my parents did wrong, they never smacked me in the face. I see it as a particularly demeaning and humiliating form of punishment.

And some people may be allowing their confirmation bias to get the best of them.

For instance, a guy who believes the story about the flag incident (shortly after Jan 6) was due to a neighborhood quarrel (which occurred a month or more later). Unless you believe in time machines....

Unless you believe in time machines....

Assuming that Alito is an ex post facto guy while denying it that seems a natural explanation. If the rules of cause and effect are meaningless (and his philosophy is clearly based on that), it all makes sense. And I can see nothing in the Constitution anyway that explicitly bans preemptive retaliation.
On the other hand, as an outspoken religious reactionary, blaming his wife should be a no-no since as she is a female under his god-ordained guardianship he is responsible for all that she does.

as an outspoken religious reactionary, blaming his wife should be a no-no since as she is a female under his god-ordained guardianship he is responsible for all that she does.

Perhaps, as with his "original intent" approach to interpretating the Constitution, applying his (loudly) proclaimed principles is strictly a matter of convenience.

More on Israeli intelligence attempts to kill the ICC story (Bensouda being threatened when she was head of ICC)


lj, that was a pretty horrible story about the pro-natalists. And not even on the religious basis of "spare the rod" etc. The "tiger basis" huh? Very freaky. I foresee many damaged people growing up. (Like Stalin's mother reputedly said "It didn't do him any harm".)

Plato – who was known as a disciple of Socrates and a mentor to Aristotle, and who died in Athens around 348BC – retained enough lucidity to critique the musician for her lack of rhythm, the account suggests.

Everybody's a critic. :)

Biden is apparently trying to pressure Bibi by attributing a peace proposal to the Israelis when something very similar was proposed by Hamas back in February.


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