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Showing posts from September 20, 2015

the fascist heart of Narcos

I’m watching Narcos, first season. Excellent show, but like Homeland, it has a fascist heart. The latter’s heart was all in the war of civilization, aka Muslims equal terrorists. It was never, the West equals massive war dealers and makers killing Muslims and erecting totalitarian states, aka the Saudis and company.There was not even a hint that this was part of the argument. In Narcos, the first show begins with the DEA agent embracing the idea that a criminal investigation is a “war” and gives an approving nod to Pinochet’s death squad action against those terrible ‘dealers’. Then of course there’s the quick flick to America, where the fact that cocaine was increasingly being used in the eighties is taken not as an indication that the particular form of suppression chosen by the state, in particular the formation of the DEA and the extraordinary powers granted it, were a huge mistake, but instead, that the dealers are more evil than we ever thought they were. The DEA, operating as a

the room and the wave in Woolf - a beginning

The black spot – the pirate’s anticurrency - of the utilitarian mindset, as was seen early on by critics like Hazlitt and Macaulay, was that it led to no larger purpose. Macaulay, attacking James Mill, made some great shots at the utilitarians – “whose attainments just suffice to elevate them from the insignificance of dunces to the dignity of bores” – but attained his larger purpose by arguing with Mill’s narrow definition of the purpose of human action on the grand scale: “But what are the objects of human desire? Physical pleasure, no doubt, in part. But the mere appetites which we have in common with the animals would be gratified almost as cheaply and easily as those of the animals are gratified, if nothing were given to taste, to ostentation, or to the affections. How small a portion of the income of a gentleman in easy circumstances is laid out merely in giving pleasurable sensations to the body of the possessor! The greater part even of what is spent on his kitchen and his

facts or factoid, it doesn't make any difference to Frank Bruni

I find the whole GOP presidential frosh tryouts great fun. One of the things they bring out is how bad, how completely and hopelessly bad, our political reporters and commenters are. Case in point: Frank Bruni's column intoday's NYT .   Bruni, and the NYT, have been doing their best to blow on the flames, dim as they are, of Fiorina's popularity - thinking that this will certainly countercheck that Trump! So this is the kind of thing you get:  But here comes Carly Fiorina, and her brand is aced-it-already and know-it-all. I’ve seen this firsthand. For  a magazine story  in 2010, I followed her around and interviewed her over several days. Someone would mention a flower; she’d rattle off a factoid about it. I’d ask her about a foreign language that she’d studied; she’d make clear that she’d dabbled in two others as well. Her husband would tell a story; she’d rush to correct him and fill in the details. Now, as a reporter, it was Bruni’s job, apparently, to accept a

on the incredible luck of the Bushes

I expect as few surprises from the GOP as from a plugged in digital clock. So last week, I was as miffed at the evident sinking of Jeb Bush as the standard bearer as I would be if my alarm clock suddenly switched from telling time to throwing the I ching. This article, by Adam Nagourney and Jonathan Martin, has convinced me that I underestimated how deeply, deeply incompetent the GOP is .  The mechanics of the race are such that if Trump wins both NH and SC, which I think he has every likelihood of doing, it will be hard, maybe impossible, to stop him. Not that I care outside of my position as amateur handicapper about it at all. Trump is no more racist or sexist than the lot of the others. And as a man who uses bankruptcy the way another person would shower after a hard game of touch football - washing off the dirt - I have no doubt that, in the slim case he was elected, he'd soon forget his fascist - or should I call it Jacksonian? - promise to deport 11 million immigrants. Right