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Showing posts from November 28, 2004
The Bush era is a strange amalgam of conservative beliefs that have their roots in Latin American juntas rather than British toryism. One of the beliefs that is sadly lacking is the belief in a free market. If the Bush people actually believed that currencies are subject to market pressure, they would be trembling in their beds. Why? Reading the NYT story, today, about the Japanese and Chinese position in American dollars explains why. Intro grafs: “As Americans embark on another season of debt-supported holiday spending, they might want to give thanks that Masatsugu Asakawa is still buying in America, too. Mr. Asakawa, 46, is the top official at the Finance Ministry here responsible for managing the largest portfolio of United States government securities in the world, worth a staggering $720 billion. As the dollar has slumped this fall, many investors have started to worry that Mr. Asakawa and his counterparts elsewhere in Asia will be tempted to pare their holdings, perhap
Our friend Paul has been on LI’s back for some time about upgrading this site. Putting in, for instance, the standard roll of links. We resisted. LI has been around for three years and some fraction. During this time, we have done an admirable amount of linking from our posts. We admire it, at least. Most of that linking, the diligent reader will discover, is not to other blogs. This doesn’t reflect the fact that we don’t go to other blogs – we do. But, in LI’s view, the blogocentric viewpoint of the Web taken by all too many bloggers actually impoverishes the ‘surfin’ experience’. Blogs, journals, pix, stories, texts – there is an incredible diversity out there. The flora and fauna are as outlandish as were the plants and animals of the New World to the first European travelers. However, it is time to surrender to the debile Zeitgeist. LI is going to be making some changes and trying to become more popular. There is one reason for this: November 2. LI originally wanted this
While idling through the blogs, yesterday, I came upon a rightwing blog that referred (disapprovingly) to a news story from Alabama. The story goes like this: “A bill by Rep. Gerald Allen, R-Cottondale, would prohibit the use of public funds for "the purchase of textbooks or library materials that recognize or promote homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle." Allen said he filed the bill to protect children from the "homosexual agenda." There were further entertaining touches in the story, including Allen’s suggestion that Tennessee Williams plays be banned and his idea that, since “novels with gay protagonists and college textbooks that suggest homosexuality is natural would have to be removed from library shelves and destroyed,” the thing to do would be to “dig a big hole and dump them in and bury them.” So, I copied the article and pasted it into an email and made a few sarcastic comments and was about to send it off to a friend when I thought – what
Perhaps I do not go too far when I say that, next to the introduction of Christianity among mankind, the American revolution may prove the most important step in the progressive course of improvement. It is an event which may produce a general diffusion of the principles of humanity, and become the means of setting free mankind from the shackles of superstition and tyranny, by leading them to see and know 'that nothing is fundamental but impartial enquiry, an honest mind, and virtuous practice, that state policy ought not to be applied to the support of speculative opinions and formularies of faith'. 'That the members of a civil community are confederates not subjects, and their rulers, servants not masters. And that all legitimate government consists in the dominion of equal laws made with common consent, that is, in the dominion of men over themselves, and not in the dominion of communities over communities, or of any men over other men.' – Richard Price, Observations
LI question of the day: what country harbors terrorists who openly threaten, on tv broadcasts, to kill the leader of a democratic country? What country was involved in a failed coup attempt against that country? And finally, what country benefited from the assassination of the prosecutor looking into how that coup attempt was put together? No – this isn’t Russia and the Ukraine. This is the U.S. and Venezuela. Christopher Hitchens, who has to keep a shred of lefty credibility in order to be included in the dreary lists of “liberal” hawks – and to get those juicy tv appearances – recently wrote, once again, about Kissinger and Chile. Apparently, Hitchens still thinks it is a bad thing for the U.S. to sponsor military coups in Latin America. Hitchens also wrote a laughable column for the Mirror about the smart guys – his buddies – around Bush. The intent of the latter column was to scoff at the famous Mirror post-election headline, “how could 53 million Americans be so dumb?” Hitc
LI apologizes in advance for today’s post. Usually we stick to the non-fiction side of our oeuvre in these parts. However, we’ve been having fun writing the following story. Usually, when we write a story, we shop around for some small journal to send it to. Or, if we throw in a lot of sex, some adult mag to send it to. But this story seems appropriate for a weblog. Don’t worry. We aren’t publishing the whole thing in one post. We will publish bits of it, though. For readers who come here looking for LI to whack something, we will be back to that in our next post. Working title of this thing is: Dostoevsky translates Henry James …here were time and reverse-time, co-existing, cancelling one another exactly out. Were there many such reference points, scattered through the world, perhaps only at nodes like this room which housed a transient population of the imperfect, the dissatisfied; did real time plus virtual or mirror-time equal zero and thus serve some half-understood mora
During the last fifty years, the U.S. has hunted four related but distinct devils in the Middle East. In an issue of Journal of Small Wars and Insurgencies from last year, Ghada Hashem Talhami, in Muslims Islamists and the Cold War, gives us a small, corrective counter-history to the usual American myth-making in this area. LI recommends reading the whole article. Talhami nowhere employs the language of demonology – but to LI, with our little faith in the ultimate rationality of American policymakers, the whole thing exudes a whiff of sulphur and brimstone. Primo devil was communism. In the post war period, this devil was best fought by alliances with the regions various militaries. This was distinctive: while the U.S. had trained militaries in Central and Latin America before World War II, the spread of American influence through global militaries is still obscured by the by the historian’s preference for seeing the state as one unified entity, with military organizations ident