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Showing posts from January 7, 2007

chasse aux geants

The first chapter of the Chuang-Tzu consists of a comparison between the giant and the small, beginning with the famed fish, K’un: “IN THE NORTHERN DARKNESS there is a fish and his name is K'un.1 The K'un is so huge I don't know how many thousand li he measures. He changes and becomes a bird whose name is P'eng. The back of the P'eng measures I don't know how many thousand li across and, when he rises up and flies off, his wings are like clouds all over the sky. When the sea begins to move,2 this bird sets off for the southern darkness, which is the Lake of Heaven. (Burton Watson translation) Against the wonder of the P’eng is set the laughter of the dove and the cicada: The cicada and the little dove laugh at this, saying, "When we make an effort and fly up, we can get as far as the elm or the sapanwood tree, but sometimes we don't make it and just fall down on the ground. Now how is anyone going to go ninety thousand li to the south! The chapter the

The Economist supports President Backbone for another Keegan

The Economist is made of stern stuff. Not for them the cotton candy allurement of extraction from that Middle Eastern principality which we were all hopeful, two years ago, would follow General Pinochet’s path to privatization and prosperity. Instead, they are throwing their muscularity behind President Backbone: America and its allies have failed in Iraq. George Bush is right to hold out against an even bigger failure GEORGE BUSH has always been a gambler but this is his most audacious bet yet. Most Americans now believe that America has lost the war in Iraq. Only last month the Baker-Hamilton group, a bipartisan group of wise men (and one wise woman) told Congress that the situation in Iraq was “grave and deteriorating”. It recommended a managed withdrawal, dangling the prospect of the bulk of America's combat troops pulling out in early 2008. This week Mr Bush rejected that advice. He intends to defy world opinion, American opinion, congressional opinion, much military opinion a

Bush's speech: the expected and the unexpected

Everybody is a little let down by the Bush speech. Before the speech, White House aides were saying that Bush was going to speak against a background of Sister Machine Gun singing Hole in the Ground: “Cut down by the look in your eyes Never satisfied by your goddamn lies There's nowhere left for me to go Living in a river of sin Never thinking about the shit I'm swimming in Don't think I'm ever coming home There's a hole in the ground There's a hole in the sky And there's no deeper place where all the pigs can die” In the event, Bush couldn’t find Jenna’s CD. So the speech zeroed out as the dull cadences of Bush on the serious channel convinced many that he'd gotten into Laura's valium. The last couple minutes caught some off guard, though, when the Rebel in Chief put on his Barbara Bush wig and just sat there, silently, while a voiceover played. According to my notes, it went: “They're probably watching me. Well, let them. Let them see what

the expulsion of the triumphant beast

LI’s mind, this morning, keeps drifting to the title of one of Giordano Bruno’s pamphlets: The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast. There seems to be something magically coordinate between that title and the scheduled appearance of President Bush this evening. Bush is, of course, going to announce that the final result of the listening tour he conducted among his cabinet, numerous public toilets at D.C. subway stations, and in the attic of his ranch in Crawford has led him to chose to send 20,000 phantom soldiers to Iraq in the hope that this will lead to victory. Victory will come, according to the President, when the stars are covered with blood, the night is as bright as the day, and the last Islamofascist is strangled with the guts of the last polar bear. Yes, there is some coordination between Bruno’s mock apocalypse and the apocalyptic mockery of this Presidency. The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast was an expensive pamphlet. It cost Bruno his hide – officially, he was burned at s

The Basho of economics

No doubt, this is of no interest to anybody but me. So, excuses in advance. But ... guess what? The book I translated - the Basho of Economics, by Silja Graupe - has been accepted by the Ontos Press. Publication, boys and girls! So allow me to be totally gross for a second and quote from the acceptance letter. This is so gross I advise you to shield your eyes and come back to Limited Inc when I have something better to lay before you. Here it is. The quote. Our acceptance letter. Ha ha ha! I just had a look at the translation. As I expected, Roger did a truly outstanding job--the result is faithful to the 'intellectual feel' of the original yet reads as smoothly and lively as an original text (and the technical terminology is recaptured expertly, with great precision and sensitivity--congratulations to both of you, Roger and Silja, to the splendid result of your intense and dedicated collaboration on this project!) Life is good. The champagne's on me. How much is it a bott

The Nietzsche Peace Tribunal initiative

LI checked around to see how Peace was doing this weekend. You remember peace – as in, ain’t gonna study war no more and other songs popular in kindergarten. During the hoopla that preceded putting Jerry Ford in the ground, there was surprisingly little talk about peace – which would have surprised people in the seventies. Nixon couldn’t make a foreign policy move without invoking Peace. Even Reagan would genuflect to Peace. Interestingly, I don’t have an aural memory of Bush using the word. Surely he has at some point – but not as though Peace were, ultimately, a Goddess that we must assuage. Talking about this with my brother the other day, I told him that there is a phrase, hypocrisy is the tithe vice pays to virtue. He repeated the phrase a little doubtfully – my bro immediately gets suspicious when I get all epigrammatic and shit. He didn’t think it lessened Nixon’s crimes that he used the word Peace. Myself, I was just trying to look on the bright side! The first thing I noticed

America's new plan in Iraq: theocracy and mass murder

The NYT pokes through the ashes of Saddam Hussein’s execution in a long article that tells us what this occupation has wrought. In one of history’s practical jokes, the phrase that American warmongers can’t get enough of when talking about Iran – those mad mullahs, that mullah ridden country, the word mullah repeated like a charm against the evil of the evil axis – has become the term that designates the government that has been installed, step by step, in Iraq, with the Americans playing the role of sublimely unconscious instruments . This fact, somehow, never crops up when the Americans are discussing why they are in Iraq – the official version, which has been erected like the Berlin wall in the MSM, is that Americans stand for “democracy.” Here is a salient paragraph from the NYT article about Iraq’s “democracy”: “Mr. Khalilzad had suggested that the Iraqis get a written ruling approving the execution from Midhat al-Mahmoud, the chief judge of Iraq’s Supreme Judicial Council; Mr.