Iraq’s future Guardian Unlimited

October 26, 2006 § Leave a comment

 

And so it turns 

The tribal chiefs, in traditional robes and chequered headdresses, emerged from the dust stirred up by their convoy of pick-up trucks and walked towards the big white tent, gesturing welcomes to each other as they sat.

Accompanied by about 500 clansmen and a gaggle of local journalists, the 35 Sunni sheikhs – from Mosul, Tikrit, Samarra and Hawija – converged last week on Hindiya, on the scrappy western edges of Kirkuk, to swear their undying opposition to “conspiracies” to partition Iraq and to pledge allegiance to their president, Saddam Hussein.

Under banners exalting the man now standing trial in Baghdad for war crimes and genocide, the gathering heard speeches from prominent northern Iraqi sheikhs, Sunni Arab politicians and self-declared leaders of the Ba’ath party calling for the former dictator’s release.

“If the Iraqi government wants national reconciliation to succeed and for the violence to end, they have to quickly release the president and end the occupation,” said Sheikh Abdul Rahman Munshid, of the Obeidi tribe.

Source: As violence grows, oil-rich Kirkuk could hold key to Iraq’s future | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

today’s oct 25

October 25, 2006 § Leave a comment

To start,

The reason that we cannot pull out of Iraq is because of oil,  and bases, as a foil against China and Russia. WMD and democracy are cover stories.  

I think the next move is a coup and a new government in Iraq, soon. Maliki’s “rejection” today sets the overt conditions.  

75% of all campaign funds come from industry/business groups. Big pharma is going to enter this campaign with lots of cash.  

The drama is almost as good as the corruption of the republic is disastrous.  

and

Bush at his morning press conference avoided the serious question abut bases.

Bush also notably would not renounce his ambitions for permanent military bases in Iraq, a source of tremendous ire with the Iraqi public.

The Post’s Baker gracefully thanked Bush for taking questions today — even though reporters were given less than an hour’s notice to show up at the White House.

Bush responded with obvious sarcasm: “I can’t tell you how joyful it is.”

Pasted from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100879.html>

Dc: I am re-reading Rybczynski’s book on Fredrick Law Olmstead for Garden World. Very encouraging.

And ah.. To write

A Sampling of Williams’s Principles:

Joseph Williams (1990), Style: Toward Clarity and Grace

  • Readers are likely to feel that they are reading prose that is clear and direct when the subjects of the sentences name the cast of characters.
  • Readers are likely to feel that they are reading prose that is clear and direct when the verbs that go with those subjects name the crucial actions those characters are part of.
  • Put at the beginning of a sentence those ideas that you have already mentioned, referred to, or implied, or concepts that you can reasonably assume your reader is already familiar with, and will readily recognize.
  • Put at the end of your sentence the newest, the most surprising, the most significant information: information that you want to stress–perhaps the information that you will expand on in your next sentence.
  • When you introduce a technical term, design the sentence it appears in so that you can locate that term at the end, in its stress, never at the beginning, in its topic.
  • The topic of a sentence is its psychological subject–the idea we announce in the first frew words. A cohesive paragraph has consistent topic strings.
  • A cohesive paragraph has consistent thematic strings.
  • A cohesive paragraph introduces new topic and thematic strings in a predictable position: at the end of the sentence or sentences that introduce the paragraph.
  • A coherent paragraph will usually have a single sentence that clearly articulates its point.
  • A coherent paragraph will typically locate that point sentence in one of two places: as the last of the sentences that introduce the paragraph, or at the end of the paragraph.

Pasted from <http://delong.typepad.com/>

and

The United States Supreme Court is hearing arguments in the case next week, and the broader business community has joined Philip Morris in asking the court to sharply reduce the damages. They are relying on a controversial line of recent cases in which the court struck down punitive damages awards that it deemed “excessive.”

The Philip Morris case will tell us a lot about the John Roberts court, which may be the most pro-business court in decades. It is a test of whether the court will abandon its conservative principles to be activist and “rights-making” when the party that needs help is a large corporation. It will also reveal whether the court will continue on its current disturbing path of giving corporations more protection from excessive punishment than it gives to people.

The contrast with the court’s decisions on punishment of human wrongdoers is stark. In 2003, the court considered the sad case of Leandro Andrade, a father of three who was given a minimum of 50 years in prison under California’s tough “three strikes” sentencing law, for shoplifting $153.53 worth of videotapes from Kmart. He argued that his prison term violated the Eighth Amendment. The Supreme Court — in a majority joined by Justices O’Connor and Kennedy and Chief Justice Rehnquist — could find nothing excessive in the punishment.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/26/opinion/26thu4.html

Today’s oct 24

October 24, 2006 § Leave a comment

    The psychoanalytic process is so complex and stirs up such radical feelings of discontent – and appreciation – that it is good to see it discussed. In good psychoanalysis nothing is unworthy of discussion.

    The analyst’s countertransference to the psychoanalytic process

    MICHAEL PARSONS A1

    A1 1 Offerton Road, London, SW4 0DH, UK

    Abstract:

    There is countertransference, not just to individual patients, but to the process of psychoanalysis itself. The analytic process is a contentious topic. Disagreements about its nature can arise from taking it as a unitary concept that should have a single defi nition whereas, in fact, there are several strands to its meaning. The need for the analyst’s free associative listening, as a counterpart to the patient’s free associations, implies resistance to the analytic process in the analyst as well as the patient. The author gives examples of the self-analysis that this necessitates. The most important happenings in both the analyst’s and the patient’s internal worlds lie at the boundary between conscious and unconscious, and the nature of an analyst’s interventions depends on how fully what happens at that boundary is articulated in the analyst’s consciousness. The therapeutic quality of an analyst’s engagement with a patient depends on the freeing and enlivening quality, for the analyst, of the analyst’s engagement with his or her countertransference to the analytic process.

    Pasted from <http://ijpa.metapress.com/(xadxyl55mi3ptn55xpbnjris)/app/home/contribution.asp?referrer=parent&backto=issue,2,13;journal,1,35;linkingpublicationresults,1:101926,1>

    And

    Nick Wadhams writes for the Associated Press: “Several governments around the world have tried to rebut criticism of how they handle detainees by claiming they are only following the U.S. example in fighting terrorism, the U.N. special rapporteur on torture said Monday.

    “Manfred Nowak said that when he criticizes governments for their questionable treatment of detainees, they respond by telling him that if the United States does something, it must be all right.”

    Pasted from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100879.html>

    And, on the very rich and what it tells us abut the economy..

    A nine-figure fortune won’t get you much mention these days, at least not on these pages. This year, for the first time, everyone in The Forbes 400 has at least $1 billion. The collective net worth of the nation’s wealthiest climbed $120 billion, to $1.25 trillion.

    Surging real estate, oil and other asset prices paved the way for 28 new members. Developer John P. Manning used political savvy to build a $1.1 billion fortune in part by brokering low-income housing projects. Chesapeake Energy (nyse: CHKnews people ) founders Aubrey McClendon and Tom L. Ward are two of the oil fortunes added to the list.

    Pouring 40 million caffeinated drinks a week landed Starbucks (nasdaq: SBUXnews people ) honcho Howard Schultz on our list of America’s 400 richest. Manny Mashouf placed his skimpy women’s wear on TV shows like Party of Five and Ally McBeal; today he has a $1.5 billion fortune in Bebe clothing stores.

    Also gracing our list for the first time are Lehman Brothers (nyse: LEHnews people ) Chief Richard Fuld ($1 billion), hedge fund manager David E. Shaw ($1 billion), mutual fund guru Jonathan Lovelace Jr. ($1.1 billion), Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander ($1.2 billion), leveraged buyout tycoon Leon Black ($2 billion), Google (nasdaq: GOOGnews people ) veteran Omid Kordestani ($1.9 billion), Colony Capital’s Thomas Barrack ($1 billion), New York City real estate moguls Stephen Ross ($2.5 billion) and Tamir Sapir ($2 billion), and the husband-and-wife computer chip team of Weili Dai ($1 billion) and Sehat Sutardja ($1 billion).

    Pasted from <http://www.forbes.com/2006/09/21/americas-400-richest-biz_cx_mm_06rich400_0921richintro.html>

    And, re cheney

    In today’s Washington Post, Chris Suellentrop reviews “VICE: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency,” by Lou Dubose and Jake Bernstein.

    “The book’s thesis can’t be overstated: Dubose and Bernstein think Cheney is a threat to the republic on a scale unseen since the Civil War. (No, really.) They don’t quite make the sale for that, partly because to build the case for Cheney’s world-historical menace they embrace two contradictory propositions. The first is that his entire political career, dating back to the Ford administration, has involved the single-minded pursuit of one ambition: expanding the institutional power of the executive branch, which Cheney believes was unduly weakened by post-Watergate reforms. . . .

    “But Dubose and Bernstein suggest at the same time that 9/11 radicalized Cheney, who was transformed from a sober and moderate conservative into a ‘strategic hysteric.’ Or perhaps it wasn’t 9/11: In one of the book’s more distasteful passages, the authors speculate that Cheney’s health problems have caused a physiological change in personality. ‘It is unknown if Cheney suffered any brain damage from his numerous heart attacks,’ they write. They provide no evidence for the supposition.”

    Pasted from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100879.html>

    Dc: what strikes me is no mention of simple business motives. Run he country for his friends.

    One of whom just got 24 years in jail.

    And, On Korea.

    The United States government is reportedly intensifying pressure on the South Korean government to stop its economic cooperation projects with North Korea, namely the Geumgang tourist resort and Gaeseong industrial project, in connection with the Oct. 14 U.N. Security Council resolution on Pyongyang’s nuclear test.

    We know that the Bush administration, which has abandoned its predecessor’s engagement policy toward Pyongyang, has been critical of these two main inter-Korean cooperation projects from the beginning. But, these two projects are the symbols and lifelines of South-North reconciliation and cooperation. They should not be affected by the U.N. Security Council resolution because they are basically commercial undertakings.

    In fact, Seoul’s government has done much to sanction Pyongyang for its missile launches and a recent nuclear test; it has stopped its official aids of rice and fertilizer since Pyongyang test-launched missiles in last July.

    It has stopped the projected expansion of the Gaeseong complex and some subsidies to the Geumgang tours taken by students. It is also reportedly considering changing the operational modes of the projects to prevent any diversion of their proceeds to Pyongyang’s nuclear program. Also, Inter-Korean private exchanges and aids to the North have been drastically reduced since the nuclear test. If the Bush Administration really considers the interests of South Korea as an ally, it should stop pressuring Seoul’s government for further sanctions against the North that might endanger inter-Korean relations.

    We are also greatly concerned about Washington’s stepped-up pressure on Seoul to expand its participation in the U.S.-led Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI).

    Seoul’s direct joining in the interception and inspection of North Korean vessels on the open seas will risk a military conflict with Pyongyang. In fact, the current U.N. resolution on North Korea doesn’t cover such forceful actions under the PSI.

    We believe that the North Korean nuclear test is very regrettable and should have been avoided. But many people believe that the hard-line policy the Bush administration has pursued toward Pyongyang since its inauguration is mainly responsible for the North Korean nuclear problem.

    Given the nature of the Pyongyang regime, sanctions and pressure are unlikely to solve the North Korean nuclear problem and may even force further nuclear escalations. We are especially concerned that the continued sanctions will cause millions of innocent North Koreans to starve. As the only superpower in the world, the U.S. should show magnanimity and solve the North Korean nuclear problem peacefully through direct talks with Pyongyang. This will be the best way to gain confidence and friendship of the Korean people.

    Pasted from <http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?article_class=2&no=324779&rel_no=1>

    Dc: the US continues to do things that just upset others. Why? Economic sanctions are of no apparent use.

    And

    The Washington Post’s E.J. Dionne thinks President Bush’s six-year effort to create an enduring Republican majority on a right-leaning coalition “could have the unintended consequence of opening the way for an alternative majority” of the “radical center.” LINK

    Pasted from <http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/TheNote/story?id=156238&page=2>

    dc: From where does the center look radical? From an extreme right only. The US spectrum I only from right to center. Center means progressive taxation and nothing else. And hides corporate power. The right means nothing else at all, and hides corporate power – and supports it with war. Te left of center means some attention to the environment and energy, and some new regulatory stuff on corporations. The real winning position is the center with a strong environmental regulation and strong support of entrepreneurial activity that is local and regional, not multinational. see my Eighty percent solution..

    And

     From Foreign Policy, here’s the 6th annual Globalization Index.

    Ask investment bankers about globalization’s newest frontier, and they might respond with one cryptic syllable: BRIC. The acronym, coined by the investment bank Goldman Sachs, stands for Brazil-Russia-India-China. “If things go right,” says one Goldman report, “in less than 40 years, the BRIC economies together could be larger than the G6 [Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the United States] in US dollar terms.” But for all their prominence in predictions about globalization’s future, the BRICs have generally scored poorly on the Globalization Index, in large part because they have massive populations that are still rural and isolated from the global economy.

    The wealth of billionaires accounts for nearly 20 percent of Russia’s GDP.

    The United States is still home to the world’s greatest wealth. According to Forbes, the United States boasts nearly half of the world’s billionaires (371 of 793). But the collective net worth of billionaires in less globalized countries—such as Brazil, India, and Turkey—makes up about 10 percent of each country’s GDP. And the figures appear to be rising as the developing world quickly adds new faces to the ranks of the ultrarich. India’s list of billionaires grew from 9 to 19 in the last year, mainland China now claims 8, and Turkey comes in with an impressive 21 billionaires, seven more than France. Political elites in these countries better take notice: The nouveau riche may soon be after their political capital as well.

    Dc: the smug evening news tone is depressing for its lack of reality.

    Pasted from <http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=3603&page=3>

    and

    Matthew Parris on why it’s time for the neocons to admit that the Iraq war was wrong from the start. 

    The former hawks of press and politics now scramble for the status of visionaries let down by functionaries. This is a lifeboat that will not float. Let these visionaries understand that occupation is always brutal and usually resisted; that occupying armies are always tactless, sometimes abusive and usually boneheaded; that in the argument between hands-on and hands-off you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t; and that the first, original and central cause of the Iraq fiasco was not the bad manners of this or that poor, half-educated squaddie from Missouri, nor the finer points of this or that State Department doctrine of neocolonial administration.

    The reason for failure was not the post-invasion strategy. It was the strategy of invasion. Blame the vision, not the execution.

    Pasted from <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2414249,00.html>

    Dc: crucial point that should not be forgotten, that while the war was a very bad idea, yet it is also true that implementation was terrible Because whoever is at the top, however good they are, those at the bottom Our young, provincial, orthotics. This is true for government and corporations. The consequence is that large scale organizations are likely to fail. Both for corruption and violence which generate a powerful reaction among those hurt.

    There is a response to the article that requires real thought.

    Tempting as it may seem, there is little reason to gloat over the neocon shipwreck. There is even less reason to scapegoat them. Which is essentially what is being done when the Iraq affair is described as a cock-up or a disaster. To be sure, plenty of cock-ups have happened along the way – mostly, it seems, because vital tasks were given to vital allies of the politicians instead of competent people – and the cock-ups have caused a historical disaster for the iraqi people. But the essential nature of the iraqi war is still left out, for reasons that are probably more psychological than political : the iraq war is a historical crisis of democracy, not in Iraq but in the West. As it is said in the above article, we had no invitation, no mandate, no legitimacy. It was a war of unprovoked aggression, based on propaganda served up by the political establishment and lapped up with a smile by that majority of voters that supported and eventually re-elected said establishment. It was, in short, a democratically supported war crime and (given the casualty figures) a crime against humanity. Placing all the blame on career politicians, scheming lobbyists or oil-profit-greedy business is scapegoating. They could have been stopped by a democratic majority that simply said “no!”. The democratic majority whooped in jingoism, then cowered in fear, and said “yes” – twice. THAT is the ship that’s going down, and there should be no lifeboating off that; it ought to be repaired and put back on course. Sadly, neither the politicians nor the democratic majority seem interested in doing so. The “mission creep” from Iraq is becoming “Orwell creep” in the soon-to-be formerly democratic West.

    Thomas Hauge, Aarhus, Denmark

    Pasted from <http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,6-2414249,00.html>

    and

    Niall Ferguson on how the US doesn’t have the military manpower and fiscal solvency of its imperial predecessors in Iraq.

    Three years ago, as the United States swept into Iraq, I wrote a book titled “Colossus,” which offered a somber prediction, summed up in its subtitle, “The Rise and Fall of the American Empire.” My argument was that the United States was unlikely to be as successful or as enduring an imperial power as its British predecessor for three reasons: its financial deficit, its attention deficit and, perhaps most surprisingly, its manpower deficit. Rather cruelly, I compared the American empire to a “strategic couch-potato … consuming on credit, reluctant to go to the front line [and] inclined to lose interest in protracted undertakings.”

    In 2004, the number of Department of Defense personnel on active duty was 1,427,000, substantially fewer than the country’s 2-million-strong prison population. Of those on active duty, barely a fifth were overseas, of whom 171,000 were in Iraq. That works out to 0.06% of the total U.S. population.

    The number of troops currently in Iraq is less than 140,000. That’s roughly as many soldiers as Britain sent to the same country to defeat an insurgency in 1920 — at a time when the population of Iraq was a 10th of what it is today.

    just as Vice President Dick Cheney’s was to satisfy the appetites of the GOP base for big tax cuts and cheap victories.

    I have come to see that U.S. foreign policy suffers from a similar pathology. The primacy of domestic politics — in the form of bureaucratic infighting and electoral manipulation — explains why the Iraq enterprise has, from the outset, been so chronically short-staffed.

    In short, we seem doomed by domestic politics and demography to re-enact Vietnam in Iraq. The only question is what age the 300-millionth American will be when the last American is airlifted out.

    Pasted from <http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oe-ferguson24oct24,0,2375550.column?coll=la-opinion-center>

    and

    Sebastian Mallaby on a nadir of US power.

    When historians analyze the decline of empires, they tend to point to economic frailties that undercut military vigor. Well, the United States has several economic frailties and can’t seem to address any of them.

    Every honest politician knows that entitlement spending on retirees is going to bust the budget. But since the failure of Bush’s proposed Social Security overhaul last year, nobody is doing anything about it.

    Pasted from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/22/AR2006102200716.html>

    Dc; just wrong, if the tax cuts for the rich had not gone into effect, enough money. Additional costs for a stupid war far outweigh social seecurity costs ( I need to check this). He then says

    Every honest politician knows that we need to quit gobbling carbon. But higher gas taxes are seen as a political non-starter on both sides of the political spectrum.

    Dc: which is not the solution. Increasing gasoline taxes alone is shifting social costs onto the poorer of commute longer distances in older cars. But then he basically says it,

    Every honest politician knows that support for globalization is fraying because of rising inequality at home. But how many of them stand up for policies that could reduce inequality without harming growth — most obviously, tax reform? You don’t hear anybody on the left or right denouncing the absurdity that more than half the tax breaks for homeownership flow to the richest 12 percent of households.

    In fact, it’s hard to name a single creative policy that has political legs in Washington. Is anyone serious about tackling the crazy tort system, which consumes more than a dollar in administrative and legal costs for every dollar it transfers to the victims of malpractice? Nope. Is there any prospect of allowing the millions of immigrants who come here to do so legally? To be honest, not much.

    Instead, the right and left are pushing policies that are marginal to the country’s problems. The right wants to make its tax cuts “permanent,” even though the boomers’ retirement ensures that taxes will have to go up. The left wants to raise the minimum wage, even though this can only help a minority of workers.

    I’m not predicting the end of the American era, not by a long shot. The U.S. business culture is as pragmatic and effective as its political culture is dysfunctional. But has there been a worse moment for American power since Ronald Reagan celebrated morning in America almost a quarter of a century ago? I can’t think of one.

    Dc: such a peculiar mixture of incomplete thinking and good thinking.

    Pasted from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/10/22/AR2006102200716.html>

    And

    Peter Beinart on choosing the least bad option in Iraq. He is one who wants the democratic party to return to the strengths of the Cold War, a party of strategy and military strength. That strategy seems to miss a great change in the world mood to corporatism and the prerogatives of capital on one side and humanism and a respect for human rights and individual development on the other. Failure in Iraq should be opening up the basic questions, but look at how he is collapsing them

    It looks like a debate about foreign policy, but it’s not. It’s a debate about national identity–about the kind of country we want to be: a country that retreats and loses or a country that fights and wins. The Democrats stand accused of defeatism; the Republicans demand victory. The question, as a recent Weekly Standard cover story put it, is “will we choose to win in iraq?”…

    Pasted from <http://www.tnr.com/user/nregi.mhtml?i=20061030&s=trb103006>

    Dc: I can’t go further the cause it is subscription only. I hate to think that winning is even an issue. Why should we win? At the best we entered in order to get a rid of a bad situation and let the Iraqis take over. And they should win and we should slink out of town and let them have the party. But Iraq was just the football field where we took our team to capture territory on the cheap.

    and

    From PS: Political Science and Politics, a symposium on Political Corruption in Theory, Practice and in the Public Mind:

    Dc: the following article is very good at providing are richer cultural context for understanding corruption.

     from Thucydides to Mayor Daley: Bad politics, and a culture of corruption? pdf.

    III. An Older View of Corruption

    Whether or not public perceptions are accurate—and in important respects they are not—if a solid majority of citizens in a representative democracy holds such views, then that democracy has a significant corruption problem. Understanding that problem requires a look back to a time before the rise of the liberal state, when most thinkers understood corruption differently. We are accustomed to viewing corruption as a property of a specific action, process, person, or group, but there was a time when it was seen as a collective state of being. Whole societies could and did become corrupt: recall Thucydides’ critique of the Athenians’ invasion of Melos, a decision that cast all Athens, and not just its leaders, into a state of lost virtue and moral disrepute.10

    In the process leaders’ claims to rule, citizens’ reasons or obligations to follow, and indeed the morality of an entire political order were called into question. Much more recently, in an excellent discussion of those issues, Dobel summed up the corruption of a state as the loss of a capacity for loyalty ~Dobel 1978, 960; see also Euben 1978!—a problem far transcending specific actions that might or might not violate a law.

    Tempting as it is, on both theoretical and practical grounds, to avoid such sweeping judgments of today’s immensely complex governments and political systems, that sort of classical ~for want of a better term! outlook on corruption is not dead by any means. Elements of it are on view, to varying degrees, in the opinion results discussed above, and even more convincingly ~if more diffusely! in the public’s discontent about politics and ethics generally. For many citizens, as we have seen, illegality is in many respects beside the point: current laws either fail to prevent, or permit, what they regard as bribery, influence trading, and a whole style of government by leaders who “don’t care about people like me” and have become “out of touch” ~both phrases being hardy perennials in opinion research, and both continuing to draw substantial amounts of agreement!.

    With respect to loyalty, low voter turnout, dissatisfaction with current parties and electoral choices, and the widespread if diffuse conviction that wealth now dominates democratic institutions in unprecedented ways are not promising indications.

    And

    Frank Rich on why Barack Obama is not a miracle elixir. The interminable Iraq fiasco has branded the Democrats as the party of fecklessness. The failure of its leaders to challenge the administration’s blatant propaganda to gin up the war is a failure of historic proportions (as it was for much of the press and liberal punditry). When Tom Daschle, then the Senate leader, presided over the rushed passing of the war resolution before the 2002 midterms, he explained that the “bottom line” was for Democrats “to move on”; they couldn’t wait to campaign on the economy. The party’s subsequent loss of the Senate did not prevent it two years later from nominating a candidate who voted for the war’s funding before he voted against it.

     That’s why it’s important to remember that on one true test for his party, Iraq, he was consistent from the start. On the long trail to a hotly competitive senatorial primary in Illinois, he repeatedly questioned the rationale for the war before it began, finally to protest it at a large rally in Chicago on the eve of the invasion. He judged Saddam to pose no immediate threat to America and argued for containment over a war he would soon label “dumb” and “political-driven.” He hasn’t changed. In his new book, he gives a specific date (the end of this year) for beginning “a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops” and doesn’t seem to care who calls it “cut and run.”

        Contrast this with Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate, who last week said that failed American policy in Iraq should be revisited if there’s no improvement in “maybe 60 to 90 days.” This might qualify as leadership, even at this late date, if only John Warner, the Republican chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, hadn’t proposed exactly the same time frame for a re-evaluation of the war almost a week before she did.

        The Democrats may well win on Election Day this year. But one of their best hopes for long-term viability in the post-Bush era is that Barack Obama steps up and changes the party before the party of terminal timidity and equivocation changes him.

    Pasted from <http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/102206E.shtml>

    and

    Pasted from <http://www.truthout.org/index.htm>

    And

    Doug Patton thinks Obama is the most dangerous man in America.

    Dc: in arresting to see what some on the right think of as radical.

    Clearly, Obama is beginning to think he is ready. But let’s take a look at just where he stands on a few of the key issues.

    Abortion: Barack Obama is a radical, pro-abortion liberal. He believes that American women should have an unfettered right to destroy the babies in their wombs at any stage and for any reason.

    Gun control: Again, Obama is among the more extreme members of the U.S. Senate. In the last year, he has voted against shielding firearms manufacturers from lawsuits due to gun violence and in favor of legislation that would ban the sale or transfer of any and all semi-automatic firearms.

    Health care: Obama has said he believes that health care is a basic human right. (Funny, I must have missed that one in the Bill of Rights.)

    Immigration: As an Illinois state senator in 1998, Obama voted to give welfare and Medicaid to immigrants.

    Judges: Obama voted against the nominations of both John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court, and participated in the filibuster of Alito.

    National security: The junior senator from Illinois voted against reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act.

    Obama is smart enough to dance around these votes should he decide to run for president, cloaking his liberal positions in reasonable sounding rhetoric about a new generation with new ideas, etc., but he is also liberal enough to be the most dangerous man in America if he is elected.

    Pasted from <http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=17666>

    And

    From The New Yorker, the CIA’s travel agent: Jane Mayer on the Boeing subsidiary that helps with extraordinary renditions.

    Dc: just and weep.

    and

    From The Economist, a sharp slowdown in the American economy could be offset by the growing and largely unrecognised power of Asia’s consumers.

    Yet the importance of America’s role in global growth is often exaggerated. During the past five years America has accounted for only 13% of global real GDP growth, using purchasing-power parity (PPP) weights.

    Real consumer spending has been growing at an average annual pace of 10% over the past decade—the fastest in the world and much faster than in America

    Dc: article does not mention that for chinese consumds to spend, their savings in US teasurey notes must be sold.-for dollars.

    Pasted from <http://www.economist.com/business/PrinterFriendly.cfm?story_id=8049652>

    and

    From Business Week, karma capitalism: Times have changed since Gordon Gekko The quoted Sun Tzu in the 1987 movie ” Wall Street”. Has the Bhagavad Gita replaced The Art of War as the hip new ancient Eastern management text?

    More important, Indian-born strategists also are helping transform corporations. Academics and consultants such as C. K. Prahalad, Ram Charan, and Vijay Govindrajan are among the world’s hottest business gurus. About 10% of the professors at places such as Harvard Business School, Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Business, and the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business are of Indian descent–a far higher percentage than other ethnic groups. “When senior executives come to Kellogg, Wharton, Harvard, or [Dartmouth’s] Tuck, they are exposed to Indian values that are reflected in the way we think and articulate,” says Dipak C. Jain, dean of the Kellogg School.

    Indian theorists, of course, have a wide range of backgrounds and philosophies. But many of the most influential acknowledge that common themes pervade their work. One is the conviction that executives should be motivated by a broader purpose than money. Another is the belief that companies should take a more holistic approach to business–one that takes into account the needs of shareholders, employees, customers, society, and the environment. Some can even foresee the development of a management theory that replaces the shareholder-driven agenda with a more stakeholder-focused approach. “The best way to describe it is inclusive capitalism,” says Prahalad, a consultant and University of Michigan professor who ranked third in a recent Times of London poll about the world’s most influential business thinkers. “It’s the idea that corporations can simultaneously create value and social justice.”

    And while it used to be hip in management circles to quote from the sixth century B.C. Chinese classic The Art of War, the trendy ancient Eastern text today is the more introspective Bhagavad Gita. Earlier this year, a manager at Sprint Nextel Corp. (S ) penned the inevitable how-to guide: Bhagavad Gita on Effective Leadership.

    THE ANCIENT SPIRITUAL wisdom of the Bhagavad Gita seems at first like an odd choice for guiding today’s numbers-driven managers. Also known as Song of the Divine One, the work relates a conversation between the supreme deity Krishna and Arjuna, a warrior prince struggling with a moral crisis before a crucial battle. One key message is that enlightened leaders should master any impulses or emotions that cloud sound judgment. Good leaders are selfless, take initiative, and focus on their duty rather than obsessing over outcomes or financial gain. “The key point,” says Ram Charan, a coach to CEOs such as General Electric Co.’s (GE ) Jeffrey R. Immelt, “is to put purpose before self. This is absolutely applicable to corporate leadership today.”

    Dc: intriguing, but remember that the corporate world is looking for an ideology that justifies owning and managing the world.

    Govindarajan says his work is inspired by the concept of karma, which holds that future lives are partly determined by current actions. “Karma is a principle of action. Innovation is about creating change, not reacting to change,” he says.

    Dc; by putting change in the foreground he is already biasing the philosophy. Yesterday I posted a quote from Chuang Tzu ” those who escaped change are wise

    They may be on to quite a lot. Some Indian theorists have said their ultimate goal is to promote an entirely different theory of management–one that would replace shareholder capitalism with stakeholder capitalism. The late Sumantra Ghoshal was attempting to do just that. At the time he died, the prolific London Business School professor was working on a book to be called A Good Theory of Management.

    In their own ways, other Indian thinkers are picking up the mantle. Khurana’s forthcoming book, From Higher Aims to Hired Hands, looks at the professional responsibility to society that managers and the business schools who train them were initially designed to have.

    The quest, says Prahalad, is to develop a capitalism that “puts the individual at the center of the universe,” placing employees and customers first so that they can benefit shareholders. This is a lofty if improbable goal. But if it is attained, business leaders may find that India’s biggest impact on the global economy may be on the way executives think

    To which I posted a comment:

    The danger is that the momentum of the dominance of corporations in society needs a governing ideology so that corporations can feel justified in owning the world and managing it. Choice is between owning the whole and doing good for it . Corporations are likely to use one for the other .

    Pasted from <http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/06_44/b4007091.htm?chan=top+news_top+news+index_businessweek+exclusives>

    and

    Millions for Millions: High-tech entrepreneurs compete with a Nobel Prize winner to provide credit to the world’s poor.

    Omidyar was searching for a way to change things on a grand scale, and, like many other highly successful young West Coast entrepreneurs, he became interested in a field called microfinance, or microcredit. In November, 2004, he and Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the co-founders of Google, and other leaders of the high-tech community gathered at the San Francisco home of the venture capitalist John Doerr for a weekend session with Muhammad Yunus, who is considered the godfather of microcredit.

    To cover the high cost of servicing these small loans, borrowers pay interest rates of up to twenty per cent, and Grameen claims that it recovers ninety-eight per cent of the loans. Some of Grameen’s numbers have been challenged, but no one disputes Yunus’s assertion that, contrary to traditional banking doctrine, the poor can be reliable borrowers, even at high rates of interest.

    Pasted from <http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/061030fa_fact1>

    Dc: isn’t there a way to help for people without getting them into debt and creating profits from lenders? There may not be. I just want to raise the question. An alternative would be to create a project Where people can show up to play a part in creating value some percentage of which they own. In this model they are never in debt.

    Perhaps we could call it the micro Construction project.

    (To have graduated from poverty, a family must have, among other things, a house with a tin roof; clean drinking water; a sanitary latrine; warm clothes for winter and mosquito netting for summer; about seventy-five dollars in a savings account; and schooling for the children.)

    Vietnam Women’s Union, and saw how a loan of twenty dollars could change a woman’s life. Her companion, George Miller (now her husband), gave the union a five-year grant of a million dollars, enabling it to expand from five hundred women to ten thousand, so that the more successful participants could get bigger loans and hire other women. McKinley and Miller returned each year. “There was a woman who started out with a mud hut,” McKinley recalled. “When we came back, she had a three-room house with a cement floor, and the pigs were in the hut she had stayed in before.”

    Dc; ah, but what about the women they  hire? This was a World Bank track. Give money to one Farmer who hires nine others. The average income goes up while the income of the nine has actually gone down and they no longer are landowners. The micro logic has to be examined.

    Omidyar, however, wasn’t among them. As much as he admired Yunus’s belief that anyone, provided the means, can become self-sufficient—even successful—he has a different idea about the future of microfinance. Yunus is now seen by Omidyar and many others as the archetypal founder, too wedded to his original vision. In recent years, younger and nimbler players have been taking microfinance—their preferred term—toward the idea of building a fully commercial, profit-making sector. This conflict, between pure do-gooders and profit-minded do-gooders, has come to define the current debate in the microfinance world.

    Yunus, too, believes in sustainability, and he certainly wants to reach all the world’s poor, but he is convinced that the traditional goal of business—maximization of profit—is inappropriate when dealing with the poor. “I had a long debate with Pierre,” Yunus told me, referring to Omidyar. “He says people should make money. I said, Let them make money—but why do you want to make money off the poor people? You make money somewhere else. Here, you come to help them. When they have enough flesh and blood in their bodies, go and suck them, no problem. But, until then, don’t do that. Whatever money you are taking away, keep it with them instead, so they can come out more quickly from poverty.”

    dc: the whole article is very good.

    Pasted from <http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/061030fa_fact1>

Lao tzu 48 a

October 24, 2006 § Leave a comment

make learning daily increase

make tao daily decrease

decrease and more decrease

the character for tao is a foot going, and head, that is, looking ahead while going: the path the way, pay attention, normal vigilance. Head is the face, reduced to an eye with a topknot, old Chinese style hair. The eye is tuned sideways for easier writing. Note the reading is from right down and I am using one English word for each Chinese word (character).

today’s oct 23

October 23, 2006 § Leave a comment

John F. Kennedy’s vision of the future when honoring the poet Robert Frost.

“Genius can speak at any time, and the entire world will hear it and will listen. Behind the storm of daily conflict and crisis, the dramatic confrontations, the tumult of political struggle, the poet, the artist, the musician, continue the quiet work of centuries, building bridges of experience between peoples, reminding man of the universality of his feelings and desires and despairs, and reminding him that the forces that unite are deeper than those that divide…”

And

Israelis dropped phosphorous bombs in war

The Herald – 54 minutes ago

The Israeli army dropped phosphorous bombs against Hizbollah guerrilla targets in Lebanon during the war in August, an Israeli minister said yesterday, confirming Lebanese allegations for the first time.

More than 1200 civilians were killed on both sides during the conflict, which started with Hizbollah’s kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in July.

Israel has been accused of firing up to four million cluster bombs into Lebanon during the war, especially in the hours before the ceasefire. UN experts say up to one million cluster bombs failed to explode immediately and continue to threaten civilians.

The UN Mine Action Centre says at least 21 people have been killed and more than 100 wounded by cluster bombs since the end of the war. A cluster bomb killed a 12-year-old boy and injured his brother in southern Lebanon yesterday.

Hizbollah has been criticised for failing to distinguish between Israeli civilian and military targets.

Pasted from <http://www.theherald.co.uk/news/72729-print.shtml>

Dc: why does the military do things that will cause so much harm – and hatred later? How are these decisions made? And note that “it began with the kidnapping.” This is pure Israeli side. What about…well, so many immediately preceeding Israeli actions.

And

Be that as it may, the declaration is historic. According to al-Sharq al-Awsat [Ar.], it maintains that the differences between Sunnis and Shiites are a matter of personal interpretation (ta’wil), not a difference over basic principles (usul). To have such a declaration sponsored by Saudi Arabia, which adheres to the Wahhabi branch of Islam that was historically negative toward Shiites is a conceptual revolution. The statement has implications for Sunni-Shiite relations in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc.– not just in Iraq.

Events in Iraq demonstrated that Western Powers could use the Sunni-Shiite divide to help overthrow governments, dominate major countries in the region, and even break up whole countries. The regional elites are increasingly deciding that Sunni-Shiite ecumenism is necessary to avoid more of these disasters.

Pasted from <http://www.juancole.com/>

And, cars, and the effect of reguations.

I also asked whether they thought about using in-wheel motors, since putting a small motor in every wheel instead of having one big motor with a drivetrain connecting it to the four wheels can greatly reduce mechanical complexity and weight, as well as improving reliability. (This is one thing EV’s make possible which simply can’t be done feasibly with combustion engines.) Interestingly, they did consider it, but JB said it would have made safety certification extremely difficult. It’s perfectly safe, but the certification regulations are written assuming you have one motor and a drivetrain, so there are some certifications (such as the one for Anti-Lock Braking) you can’t pass in a car with no drivetrain. These rules would need to be re-written to allow vehicles with in-wheel motors to be certified, which is obviously not going to happen without significant money and time spent lobbying–not a fight a small startup company should take on if it can avoid it.

Pasted from <http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/005118.html>

And

The Israel lobby debate

In March this year the London Review of Books published John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s essay ‘The Israel Lobby‘. The response to the article prompted the LRB to hold a debate under the heading ‘The Israel lobby: does it have too much influence on American foreign policy?’. The debate took place in New York on 28 September in the Great Hall of the Cooper Union. The panellists were Shlomo Ben-Ami, Martin Indyk, Tony Judt, Rashid Khalidi, John Mearsheimer and Dennis Ross, and the moderator was Anne-Marie Slaughter. The event was greatly oversubscribed, so we are delighted to announce that a video of the event, produced by ScribeMedia, is now available to view online. Click here to view the debate.

Pasted from <http://www.lrb.co.uk/index.php>

And

The counter-attack by Republican “realists” has been led by close confidants of George Bush Sr, injecting the generational tensions of a powerful dynasty into an already heated debate. “A future Shakespeare will have a lot to write about,” a former official from the first Bush administration now working with the Baker commission, noted this week.

Pasted from <http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,,1928058,00.html>

And, just a quote.

“it is much easier to move down in a market than move up in one.”

Pasted from <http://www.worldchanging.com/archives/005118.html>

and

“We don’t investigate [in political discussins] what people are trying to say.” bbc Plunkett interview

And, re unlawful enemy combatants.

When the Senate version originally passed, the version published in Thomas as “Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by Senate” ( http://thomas.loc.gov/) included that language. That has lead to most of the media stating, as you did, that the Military Commissions Act does not apply to American citizens.

In the past two weeks since the Senate passed S 3930, the published version has been changed to align with the House.

I can only speculate that the language in the published version of S 3930 was not changed immediately after passage in order to mislead the media. The other possibility is that the Senate passed the bill as originally written, and persons unknown changed the published version in order to avoid the need for a reconciliation vote where the import of the bill could be revisited. In any case, the various efforts of the ACLU and others to correct the public perception are lost in the general furor, and the media keep repeating that the bill only applies to them. We have met the enemy and he is us.

Pasted from <http://www.juancole.com/>

And, another important article

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/opinion/03stiglitz.html?ei=5088&en=00a191887a637f12&ex=1317528000&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

How to Fix the Global Economy

By JOSEPH E. STIGLITZ

Excerpted

For how long can the global economy endure America’s enormous trade deficits — the United States borrows close to $3 billion a day — or China’s growing trade surplus of almost $500 million a day?

Treating the symptoms could actually make matters worse, at least in the short run. Take, for instance, the question of China’s undervalued exchange rate and the country’s resulting surplus, which the United States Treasury suggests is at the core of the problem. Even if China strengthened its yuan relative to the dollar and eliminated its $114 billion a year trade surplus with the United States, and even if that immediately translated into a reduction in the American multilateral trade deficit, the United States would still be borrowing more than $2 billion a day: an improvement, but hardly a solution.

Imagine that the Bush administration suddenly got religion (at least, the religion of fiscal responsibility) and cut expenditures. Assume that raising taxes is unlikely for an administration that has been arguing for further tax cuts. The expenditure cuts by themselves would lead to a weakening of the American and global economy. The Federal Reserve might try to offset this by lowering interest rates, and this might protect the American economy — by encouraging debt-ridden American households to try to take even more money out of their home-equity loans to pay for spending. But that would make America’s future even more precarious.

There is one way out of this seeming impasse: expenditure cuts combined with an increase in taxes on upper-income Americans and a reduction in taxes on lower-income Americans. The expenditure cuts would, of course, by themselves reduce spending, but because poor individuals consume a larger fraction of their income than the rich, the “switch” in taxes would, by itself, increase spending. If appropriately designed, such a combination could simultaneously sustain the American economy and reduce the deficit.

Dc: how culd one disagree? Except to push the problem off on to thse coming later.

Pasted from <http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/03/opinion/03stiglitz.html?ei=5088&en=00a191887a637f12&ex=1317528000&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&pagewanted=print>

and

My own personal theory — and it’s just that — is that we have entered (or rather, are deep into) an era of limbic politics, most likely as a result of the rise and electoral dominance of television. The most effective messages now are those aimed not at the frontal lobes, the seat of reasoning and advanced cognitive function, but at the limbic system — the area sandwiched between the cerebrum (senient being) and the brain stem (lizard). Call it the mammalian center of the brain. And like most mammals, it has a rather deep, abiding interest in the mechanics of reproductive process.

Pasted from <http://www.billmon.org/>

lao tzu 47 c

October 23, 2006 § Leave a comment

is thus wise person not go but knows

not see but names

not makes but achieves

Chuag Tzu coments “he who escapes change is wise”

today Oct 20-21

October 22, 2006 § Leave a comment

 

 

And, architecture, american attitudes towards peace, Iraq, the meaning f a 12,000 DOW.

Starting

International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism http://www.intbau.org/

When it comes to the worlds of architecture and urban planning, the word “traditional” seems to be on everyone’s lips. In a move that would have seemed completely foreign in the period of high Modernism, there is a renewed interest in those more traditional building forms. One organization that is intimately concerned with such developments is the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism (INTBAU). With a patron of no less a stature than the Prince of Wales, the group is committed to bringing architects (and students) together with artisans and urban planners in an attempt to “…maintain and restore traditional buildings.” On this site, visitors can learn more about the organization’s day-to-day activities and also learn about some of their upcoming conferences and sponsored lectures. For some truly meaty discussions, visitors should move on to the “Opinions” section which feature essays such as “The Loss of Identity in Mediterranean Architecture” and “Twentieth Century Architecture as a Cult”. [KMG]

And billmon

Just to prove I’m not always the voice of despair:

Going into the November midterm elections, seven in ten Americans say they prefer Congressional candidates who will pursue a new approach to U.S. foreign policy. A new nationwide survey finds a large and growing majority of Americans is dissatisfied with the position of the United States in the world. Most Americans believe that U.S. policies are increasing the threat of terrorist attack and decreasing goodwill toward the United States.

The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA)/Knowledge Networks poll also finds that large majorities of Americans feel that the United States puts too much emphasis on military force and unilateral action. Most say they want their member of Congress to work to shift the emphasis of U.S. foreign policy in favor of diplomacy, multilateral cooperation and homeland security. (emphasis added)

Of course, homeland “security” can be a political euphemism for unleashing the national security Leviathan on its own citizens. Still, the PIPA poll suggests that five years after 9/11, many, and maybe even most, Americans are starting to figure it out.

The problem, though, is that while the American people may want a fundamental change of direction in foreign policy, the elites in both political parties, the corporations and the corporate media want anything but.

So who’s going to give it to them?

Pasted from <http://www.billmon.org/>

And, Iraq srategy

“Senior figures in both parties are coming to the conclusion that the Bush administration will be unable to achieve its goal of a stable, democratic Iraq within a politically feasible time frame. Agitation is growing in Congress for alternatives to the administration’s strategy of keeping Iraq in one piece and getting its security forces up and running while 140,000 U.S. troops try to keep a lid on rapidly spreading sectarian violence.”

Dc: the problem is that this is the cover story. The deeper motive: oil and bases cannot be spoken, and is harder to give up on without an alternative. That’s why I fear a US led Coup against the current government and the installation of a saddham look alike.

Pasted from <http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/linkset/2005/04/11/LI2005041100879.html>

From Newsweek, Jonathan Alter

We Answer to the Name of Liberals

From the November print issue: A response to Tony Judt, and a manifesto for liberals in the waning Bush era.

By Bruce Ackerman and Todd Gitlin

As right-wing politicians and pundits call us stooges for Osama bin Laden, Tony Judt charges, in a widely discussed and heatedly debated essay in the London Review of Books, that American liberals — without distinction — have “acquiesced in President Bush’s catastrophic foreign policy.” Both claims are nonsense on stilts.

We believe that the state of Israel has the fundamental right to exist, free of military assault, within secure borders close to those of 1967, and that the U.S. government has a special responsibility toward achieving a lasting Middle East peace. But the Bush administration has defaulted. It has failed to pursue a steady and constructive course. It has discouraged the prospects for an honorable Israeli-Palestinian settlement. It has encouraged Israel’s disproportionate attacks in Lebanon after the Hezbollah incursions, resulting in vast destruction of civilian life and property.

Dc: this is an interesting way to handle the problem of Israel/Palestine. Guaratntee sexcurity and two sate solution Is there any oher possibility? Only that the situation gets mch worse.

DC: the following diserves close scrutiny.

We reaffirm the great principle of liberalism: that every citizen is entitled by right to the elementary means to a good life. We believe passionately that societies should afford their citizens equal treatment under the law — regardless of accidents of birth, race, sex, property, religion, ethnic identification, or sexual disposition. We want to redirect debate to the central questions of concern to ordinary Americans — their rights to housing, affordable health care, equal opportunity for employment, and fair wages, as well as physical security and a sustainable environment for ourselves and future generations.

DC: by making mention of the side isues (important but lcal) it dilutes the ower of the central idea of the right to a good life.

This self-evident truth was a fundamental commitment of our Founding Fathers, who believed it was entirely compatible with every American’s First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. When debating policy in the public square, our government should base its laws on grounds that can be accepted by people regardless of their religious beliefs.

Pasted from <http://www.prospect.org/web/page.ww?section=root&name=ViewWeb&articleId=12124>

And

Very important to read this article on the stock market. First

See graph at Pasted from <http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/21/business/21charts.html?ex=1319083200&en=82a2cb95493bbb8b&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss>

But when adjusted for inflation, the American stock market lags behind those of many other countries, and appears to be going nowhere fast.

During that period, the Dow rose 3 percent a year on average after adjusting for inflation, outperforming only Britain, where the gain was just 1.2 percent.

But in India, where inflation-adjusted share prices in 2001 were lower than they had been 10 years earlier, the five-year period saw share prices rise at an amazing rate of almost 30 percent a year.

In Japan, which endured a long period of poor economic and stock market performance after the stock market bubble burst in 1991, the annual inflation-adjusted gain for the market the last five years came to 10.6 percent a year. That figure is greater than the combined growth rates over the period for the United States, British and German stock markets.

All the figures reflect adjustment based on local consumer price indexes. Because currency movements do not move in lockstep with inflation rates, and because the charts do not include dividend payments, they do not reflect actual returns in each market for international investors.

And David plunkettBBC interview

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/mainframe.shtml?http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/aod/radio3_aod.shtml?radio3/nightwaves_thu

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