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Showing posts from April 30, 2006

Wolfowitz for CIA Director!

LI is sad, today, about the resignation of Porter Goss. For years our opinion of the CIA has been like Cato's opinion of Carthage: Delenda est CIA. Destroy the fucking place lock stock and barrel. Birthed by a clearly illegal extension of executive authority -- the very decree by which Truman founded the CIA was secret for years - the CIA has been one of the great anti-communist machines, its purpose being to manufacture paranoia in order to keep the perpetual war ethos alive. Goss was, if anything, a product of that. But he was something more. He was a product of the Bush culture. High idealism, in the Bush culture, is yoked to that pure strain of incompetence which brings a smile to Three Stooges fans everywhere. And thus, upon an agency that has long outlived its usefulness, Bush sicced a man destined, in a mere two years, to gut the place. According to Dana Milbank's post mortem story : "In public, Goss once acknowledged being "amazed at the workload." Withi

wolf to wolf, wolf to man, man to wolf

... This post attaches to yesterday's post, where I meant to draw a dance diagram with three positions – hating – being hated – being hated for hating – in order to choreograph the romance of hatred... Bringing me to Richard Bessel’s article, Hatred after War, in the Winter History and Memory. “This essay is a brief, admittedly speculative, attempt to suggest that examining hatred after war, and viewing public and political behavior as an expression of that hatred, may offer insights into what occurred in both the public and the private spheres in post-1945 East Germany. The suggestion is that hatred, arising from the violence and brutality of war and Nazism, was a major factor motivating both the leaders and the led in East Germany after World War II. Not just their rational calculations of how to deal with the challenges they faced and the political commitment that framed their actions, but also their emotional responses to what had occurred determined how Germans behaved in the

the path of the pins or the path of the needles

“Once a little girl was told by her mother to bring some bread and milk to her grandmother As the girl was walking through the forest, a wolf came up to her and asked where she was going. "To grandmother's house," she replied. "Which path are you taking, the path of the pins or the path of the needles?" "The path of the needles." So the wolf took the path of the pins and arrived first at the house. “ He killed grandmother, poured her blood into a bottle, and sliced her flesh onto a platter. Then he got into her nightclothes and waited in bed. "Knock, knock." "Come in, my dear." "Hello, grandmother. I've brought you some bread and milk." "Have something yourself, my dear. There is meat and wine in the pantry." So the little girl ate what was offered; and as she did, a little cat said, "Slut! To eat the flesh and drink the blood of your grandmother!" The wolf said, "Undress and get into bed with

oedipus jr. and the paper tigers!

The dustup between Christopher Hitchens and Juan Cole would be worth commenting on if Hitchens were still worth commenting on. At one time, LI was fascinated with him as, at least, the most articulate of the belligerents. But now he is taking his stylistic cues from old Evans and Novak columns. Style to Hitchens is what Dorien Gray’s portrait was to Dorian Gray – it is where the damage shows up. But – there is a bit in Cole’s defense upon which I’d like to hook this post. “As for the matter at issue, Ahmadinejad is a non-entity. The Iranian "president" is mostly powerless. The commander of the armed forces is the Supreme Jurisprudent, Ali Khamenei. Worrying about Ahmadinejad's antics is like worrying that the US military will act on the orders of the secretary of the interior. Ahmadinejad cannot declare war on anyone, or mobilize a military. So it doesn't matter what speeches he gives.” I wonder whether that isn’t a huge underestimation of Ahmadinejad. I wonder beca

peak privatization

The Wall Street Journal’s David Luhnow and Jose de Cordoba turn in a good article on Bolivia’s nationalization – it puts it in the broad picture of the global trend away from privatization. The least LI can say about this is that we wrote an article for the Austin American Statesman a long time ago – in November, 2001 – predicting that the tide had turned on privatization. It is nice to be proven right. And Daniel Yergin can eat his hat. However, while it makes sense from the standpoint of a country that depends on a primary product export to make as much off that export as possible, there are various problems with doing so. The Gulf states long ago nationalized their major export, and nobody calls the Gulf states hotbeds of communism – it is, in fact, a mistake to take the ideological tenor of nationalization too seriously. Whether Bolivia’s nationalization will just be a passing affair, or whether it will take, will depend on whether Morales’ government can attract the capital to b

hurray for the swinish multitude

For who can tell but the Millennium May take its rise from my poor Cranium ?.. LI has been reading a lot about the English radicals around Tom Paine in the 1790s. Interesting lot of characters, and very a propos for May Day. One of them, Thomas Spence, was a refugee from the North of England, coming to London after being expelled from a Dissenter congregation for publishing a pamphlet proposing that land itself was common – land, like air, could not be bought. A proposition that John Stuart Mill entertained, later, and that made up the bulk of Henry George’s radicalism. In London, Spence continued to emit his radical views through a wonderfully named weekly journal: “Edmund Burke's reference to "the swinish multitude" provided Spence with a title for his greatest publishing venture. Between 1793 and 1796, he issued a weekly paper called "Pigs' Meat; or, Lessons for the Swinish Multitude ," consisting of excerpts from many writings on liberty, attacks on desp

galbraith, RIP

Loneliness. John Kenneth Galbraith is dead. In the NYT obituary, which is generous (as it should be), there are two paragraphs on the matter of Galbraith’s isolation from the economic community which cast a broad light on why Galbraith is generally right, and the mass of economists, drudges of rightwing ideology, are generally living in outer space: “Mr. Galbraith argued that technology mandated long-term contracts to diminish high-stakes uncertainty. He said companies used advertising to induce consumers to buy things they had never dreamed they needed. Other economists, like Gary S. Becker and George J. Stigler, both Nobel Prize winners, countered with proofs showing that advertising is essentially informative rather than manipulative.” Adorno and Horkheimer, in The Dialectic of the Enlightenment, said that De Sade’s vision of a world of universal prostitution is a dystopian version of capitalism. Gary S. Becker’s neo-classical analysis of the family unit as essentially a matter of e

the state is already lost...

Je suis le véritable père Duchesne, foutre ! “Not a lot of probity is required by a monarchic or despotic government in order for it to sustain and maintain itself. The force of the law in the one, the arm of the prince, forever lifted, in the other rules or contains everything. But in a popular government, we require another resource, which is virtue. What I am saying is confirmed by the entire body of history, and is very conformable to the nature of things. For it is clear that in a monarchy, where he who has the laws executed judges himself above the law, one has need less of virtue than in a popular government, where he who has the laws executed feels he himself subject to them, so that he bears their burden. It is, again, clear that the monarch who, by bad counsel or negligence, ceases to have the laws executied, can easily repair the injury: he has only to change the counsel, or correct his negligences. But when, in a popular government, the laws cease to be executed, like that