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Showing posts from April 1, 2007

news from the peckerwood apocalypse

As carrion attracts the buzzard, so any story demonstrating the venality, the stupidity, and the general worthlessness of Paul Wolfowitz is a magnet to LI. So we have been in buzzard heaven for the past few days, as John Cassidy’s New Yorker profile of the man has circulated through the media world. Wolfowitz earned his position as head of the World Bank due to the logic of Bozo Bush World, in which the obviously incompetent are raised to positions where they can do the utmost damage by our president, - who, as usual in such cases, displays the acumen of an aging golf pro at a second rate country club. Cassidy’s article is pretty good, although he could have said something more about the intellectual roots of Wolfowitz’s comic fight against ‘government corruption.” This has been standard boilerplate in conservative development economics since rent seeking was dreamt up in the 70s at the University of Chicago. In neoclass speak, rentseeking has turned into a handy little tool to kno

subversive insiders

Qu'importent les victimes si le geste est beau ! – Laurent Tailhade, commenting on an anarchist bombing of a restaurant in Paris. In the 1890s, when anarchism and art were joined at the hip in Montmartre, a anarchist writer named Zo D’axa, who published a paper, Endehors, for which Felix Feneon and Octave Mirabeau wrote, ran an ass named Nul for the senate. He published his position paper in another journal, called simple pages (Feuilles). It is a pretty good position paper: “Of an old French family, I dare to say that I am an ass of the race, an ass in the beautiful sense of the word – four hooves and hair overall. My name is Nul, as is that of my competitor candidates. I am white, as are the number of ballots that they will obstinently not count and which, now, count for me. My election is assured.” D’axa went on to point out that the chamber was composed of thieves, imbeciles, and non-entities – in other words, a perfect sample of the French public. D’axa claimed that

song culture

Ces jours plus longs qu’un siècle, ou tout rire dètonne, où l’on est poursuivi par un air d’Offenbach… -Lambert Thiboust Looking over our archives, LI is struck with how often, how obsessively, how dog going back to its vomit-ly, LI writes about the second empire. Napoleon III and all that. During the brief era of analogies (remember? Iraq as Germany? Japan? El Salvador? Malaysia? Vietnam? Andorra?), we inveighed against the practice of picking out some broadly historical event broadly similar to one unfolding now and using it for nickel prophecies – but in fact we have a weakness for that very thing, seeing starcrossed likenesses between the Second Empire and the Bush era - the coup d’etat, the second rate political operatives elevated to the status of demi-gods, the controlled flow of outrages to amuse and occupy the cognitive space of the sugar tranced populace, the use of military aggression as domestic political pablum, and, as the empire retracted, the visible attempt to creti

Chiquita bananas: now with plenty of colombian blood sprinkled on them

Colombia journal is one of those resources on the web one takes for granted, even though the people writing it are actually putting their lives at risk. Today’s article about Chiquita Banana company – you know, the banana company that pays paramilitary drug dealers to torture and murder union leaders so that it can pay its workers shit – is pretty good. Notice that the war on terrorism, for the Bush administration, certainly shouldn’t be interpreted to mean, like, war on terrorizing the working class. As always, wars are double pronged thing for the U.S. governing class – on the one hand, there is the positive of the military industry, that economic generator which has kept a generation of American engineers fat and happy on oceans of Pentagon welfare money; and on the other hand, there is the negative (which turns out to be a win-win) of targeting the working class. This is why the war on drugs is a model war, so appropriately given birth to during the cold war era. Find the small d

Batboy on Iran

LI has been a little flabbergasted, flummoxed, depressed, ironed out, shaken up, titrated and itchified by the publicity surrounding the bribes raised by the current crop of presidential candidates. It seems to us, oh, slightly demented that our politically savvy writers are comparing the swag, like some ancient folly Gibbon would record, with marmoreal poise, about the screwier Cesaers in an imperial trough period. Except it is Hilary to Romney to Obama – whose price is right? Famously, the silver age of arty cinema in the U.S. – the seventies – was swept away by the packaged blockbuster, one of the symptoms of which was the sudden popular interest in grosses. The grosses are now part of the roll out package. And LI, crowlike, can only dirge and caw at these signs of the hypno-apocalypse. Since the landsmarks separating the mad from the sane have been so swept away, LI turns, desperately, to those who can truly be considered barking mad for some extreme onto which we can throw an an

Aux armes citoyens! Formez vos bataillons!

Peter Watkins made his film, La Commune, which was a sort of recreation of the Paris Commune of 1870, with a cast of amateur actors. These were regular people, mostly unemployed, who had responded to his casting call, and they were supposed to not only play their parts in the film, but think about the action and, in a sense, re-animate the spirit of the Commune. The film shuttles back and forth between the reality of making the film, including interviews with the actors, and scenarios plucked from actual history. At the end of the movie, as at the end of the Commune, the forces of order – the French army of the Third Republic – move into Paris, sweeping past barricades and massacring Communards, while the Communards massacre prisoners in turn. A contemporary reporter noted that the “last red flag that floated for the Commune was at a barricade at the Rue Fontaine au Roi, where, after a feeble defense it was surrendered at 11 a.m.” May 28, 1871. In a similar scene at the end of the

Did Noah know about simple suspended animation techniques?

The Werepoet has posted the conservopedia entry on kangaroos, which brought a tear to my eye – for in the end, if I am for anything, I am for surrealistic science. Apparently, the conservopedia operates like a huge vacuum, scouring the web for the most ridiculous information that it can find and putting it in presentable form, suitable for LGF commentors and the like. I am so into this! So this post is dedicated to the latest scientific investigation of Noah’s ark. Science has always found Noah’s ark a puzzle. On the one hand, God’s word says Noah built an ark and assembled all the animals, two by two – so we have some firm facts to go on. But how did Noah feed the animals, and keep them from eating each other? The answer may come from “S.A., crypto-suspended animation in inverterbrates by Dr. Axel Kroeger and Dr. Nicalaus Swiboda in the Acta Oto-Biblica Vol. 10, issue 4 (2006), the premier journal of Bible based natural science out of Uppsala, Poland. Kroeger and Swiboda reproduce

a killer style

In Wooden Eyes, Carlo Ginzberg begins his essay on Style with an exemplary story, a little trouvaille. In 1605, the Venetian Republic jailed two priests, thus setting off a long dispute with the Holy See. On the Venetian side, the main polemicist was a monk, Paolo Sarpi. In 1607, Sarpi was ambushed near his monastery by a number of men with knives, who stabled him repeatedly. ‘Sarpi, gravely wounded, whispered to the doctor who was tending him that, as everyone knew, the wounds have been caused ‘stylo Romanae cuiaa’ – that is, by the knife of the Roman curia, but also by the legal procedures [literally, by the stylus or pen] of the Roman Curia.” Style kills. And what kills, in human affairs, usually falls under the category of the political, insofar as politics is war pursued by other means. LI has been thinking about this in relation to the topic we pursued in a couple of posts last week – subversion in art. To reprise: Sociologically, it is funny that art’s subversiveness has bec

Ezekial on the mortgage crisis

Because the Fed cleverly found a way to bypass accounting for the inflation in the housing market, we’ve been in a strange situation, econometrically speaking, in the last ten years: both dependent on that inflation (the Fed assiduously fed that bubble) and pretending, for official purposes, that it doesn’t exist. Now LI doesn’t necessarily think feeding a bubble is wrong. Cheney, that monster of depravity out of a theater of cruelty production, was right about one thing when he said, to some conservative bemoaning the fact that the Bush budget was awash in red ink, that deficits don’t matter. By which he meant that nobody has ever gotten voted out of office in these here states cause of a stinkin’ deficit. We were founded by bankrupts and we aren’t fooled by suits – we know the wild west lurks under the surface of Wall Street. Deficits are good things in times of recession. If there is one lesson in affluence we all learned in the 30s, it was to borrow to keep demand up when you have

a might have been

I think LI will be the first to point out the perhaps saddest part of the whole prosecutor scandal is a might-have-been. Just imagine: it is August, 2001. CIA operators have flown down to Crawford, Texas. They present the evidence they have that Al qaeda has representatives in the U.S. who are preparing to attack. Now, imagine that they had added – these al qaeda terrorists are so evil that they are prepared to help - listen to this part, please, no, don't start testing your power saw yet, Mr. President - they might - please, can you hear me over the noise of that thing? Please. Okay. They might be trying to help disenfranchised black males register to vote! We know what would happen. We know how President Backbone leaps into action when the Republic is threatened. Like Superman emerging from Clark Kent, or Venus from the foam of the sea. Instead of writing in his diary, for that day, "Nuthin happned. Shure is ez being presnident. Bush Rulez! In the House” – there would, ins