July 30, 2008 § Leave a comment
What if the issue for the founding fathers was to specify rules of how we organized the county, and the issue now is how we integrate the country with nature (and the world)? GardenWorld Politics is an attempt to make that image and task real and vital – and essential.
The core problem is that the economy since WW 2 has done more to isolate the group that runs or participates in the central economic dynamic, and marginalizes the rest. First it was college education, then it was portfolio, and spending habit, from private schools to special vacation places. And the financial advisors.
Can the tight grip of that dynamic be opened up?
July 26, 2008 § Leave a comment
I find this. at
addis’s first novel published when he was 32 and more than 40 years on it is at the very heart of his enviable literary reputation. It has now come to be seen as a Janus-faced text that looks back in its complexity to the great Modernists of the inter-war years such as Joyce and Faulkner and forward to the post-war American writers such as Barth, Coover, Pynchon, De Lillo and Gass in its taste for black humor, literary play and absurdity. It has established itself as a unique and influential novel, a pivotal work that makes connections between Modernism and what has come to be called Postmodernism, both as a literary style and as a philosophical position.
Gaddis’s first novel takes the form of a quest. In a carefully wrought and densely-woven series of plots involving upwards of fifty characters across three continents, we follow the adventures of Wyatt Gwyon, son of a clergyman who rejects the ministry in favor of the call of the artist. His quest is to make sense of contemporary reality, to find significance and some form of order in the world. Through the pursuit of art he hopes to find truth. His initial “failure” as an artist leads him not to copy but to paint in the style of the past masters, those who had found in their own time and in their own style the kind of order and beauty for which Wyatt is looking. His talent for forgery is exploited by a group of unscrupulous art critics and businessmen who hope to profit by passing his works off as original old masters. As the novel develops, these art forgeries become a profound metaphor for all kinds of other frauds, counterfeits and fakery: the aesthetic, scientific, religious, sexual and personal. Towards the end, Wyatt wrenches something authentic from what Eliot called “the immense panorama of futility and anarchy which is contemporary history.” The nature of his revelation, however is highly ambiguous and is hedged about by images of madness and hallucination, which disturbs simple distinctions between real and authentic, between faiths and fakes.
A strikingly original novel, it gains a number of its effects from the dense web of literary allusions it employs, drawing upon the religious texts of American Calvinism and European Catholicism and to a wide range of literary and philosophical writings in the western tradition from Aristotle to Goethe and TS Eliot. Ostensibly, the novel charts Wyatt’s career as he negotiates the snares of the fallen modern world, but on a further level we see how he is identified with a whole series of literary figures, from Orpheus to Faust. While the novel is an immensely rewarding read at the level of realism, it gains in depth and resonance when the reader can see the allusions at work and the parallels being drawn.
from William Gaddis: Life & Work by Peter Dempsey
(to complete essay)
led to by reading Mark Taylor’s Confidence Games: money and markets in a world without redemption.
The shift from industrial capital, through the Nixon getting off the gold standard, Volker’s focus on interest rates, and the Reagan de-regulation – and defeat of the airline controllers union, set up a new situation which plays out under Clinton, and decays under Bush. I remember in ’99 it was clear to some of us that the economy was going to come undone and sting the next president. the economic failure was hidden by the trade tower collapse and the resulting re-nationalization of politics, a shift that is again fading fast, and a street smart Obama may be able to ride this wave of disintegration in a fruitful way.
GardenWorld is implicated here.
how do we get from The Great Chainof being to current complexity, the shif from structure to intersicies?
July 25, 2008 § Leave a comment
Obama can set a field of force of reason without specifics. Thisis important.
From CNN: 2.2 million vacant homes for sale
The percentage of vacant homes available for sale remained relatively flat in the second quarter, but still hovered in record territory.
Some 2.8% of homes, excluding rental properties, were empty and on the market from April through June, according to Census Bureau figures released Thursday. The vacancy rate hit a record high of 2.9% in the first quarter of 2008. It was 2.6% a year ago.
That so many are empty and so many are homeless. What is hard in this society is it costs so much just to have a place to be. You are forced into the money economy. We should handle the basics differently. It is not a question of cash. A guaranteed income without very high housing costs still leaves people out in the cold. What if we had a guaranteed living space. you could trade but you cannot sell…
and from huffington
it’s with a similar perspective that Brzezinski now doubts the that the answer to what ails Afghanistan is more troops. “I think we’re literally running the risk of unintentionally doing what the Russians did. And that, if it happens, would be a tragedy,” Brzezinski told the Huffington Post on Friday. “When we first went into Afghanistan to overthrow the Taliban, we were actually welcomed by an overwhelming majority of Afghans. They did not see us as invaders, as they saw the Soviets.”
However, Brzezinski noted that just as the Soviets were able to delude themselves that they had a loyal army of communist-sympathizers who would transform the country, the U.S.-led forces may now be making similar mistakes. He said that the conduct of military operations “with little regard for civilian casualties” may accelerate the negative trend in local public opinion regarding the West’s role. “It’s just beginning, but it’s significant,” Brzezinski said.
His own program for improving the state of affairs in Afghanistan — where U.S. casualties have surpassed those in Iraq for two months now — revolves around pragmatism. He believes Europe should bribe Afghan farmers not to produce poppies used for heroin since “it all ends up in Europe.” Moreover, he thinks the tribal warlords can be bought off with bribes, with the endgame being the isolation of Al-Qaeda from a Taliban that is “not a united force, not a world-oriented terrorist movement, but a real Afghan phenomenon.”
and the new New Yorker two articles, young chinese nationalist and looking at the site of insight inthe brain.
July 24, 2008 § Leave a comment
From Asia Times
A Turkish theater for World War III*
By Chan Akya
Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf is on record stating his ambitions to make his country a modern and secular state modeled on the Turkish republic under Kemal Ataturk. Ironically, even as that goal appears mind bogglingly unachievable for Pakistan, recent events will conspire to push Turkey in the direction of Pakistan; into becoming a breeding ground for a new class of Islamic militants. The transition of Turkey into a new front for Saudi interests will follow typical ideological, strategic and political trends.
The age-old rivalry of the House of Saud with Turkey, which saw the overthrown of the Ottoman Empire from the lands of what is now Saudi territory, helps create enough energy and urgency for the latest Saudi enterprise. It is no mere coincidence that the Saudis need a functioning Sunni army to counter the likely expansionism of Iran, a matter that they simply cannot risk leaving to the putative next president of the United States, Democratic Senator Barrack Obama.
The House of Saud, in its bargain with the Wahhabi establishment, needs to use its fabulous oil wealth to further Islamic – and more pointedly Wahhabi – causes. That is why it bankrolled Pakistan’s military and intelligence services in fighting their war in Afghanistan against the Russians, and it is precisely why it needs to create a large fighting force to contain Iran.
Neither the timing nor the direction of these events can be considered fortuitous. America has in effect sold Turkey’s Kemalist generals down the river, in favor of keeping the avowedly-Islamic Justice and Development Party in power. The fact that Turkey’s modern military represents the exact opposite vision of Islamic rule, compared with the feudal Saudi clan, represents the key flash point here, a particular grievance given the largely Sunni nature of Turkey’s Muslim population.
Evaluating the possible – in my view likely – descent of Turkey towards the Pakistani morass can only be done by first looking briefly at the major factors that led to the latter’s maladroit evolution. From there, we can look at the social and demographic factors that will compel Turkey into the Islamist fold, in turn creating a new front for the coming civilizational war.
and (continuing from the same source)
The problem in life is, when something progressive happens, the non-progressive things tend to want to align with that direction in order to gain ascendency. The clearest example is
big money claims
democracy is good
free markets are part of democracy
corporations are just market players.
the reality is that democracy is a cover for corpoate dominance of markets and politics.
the problem is not the corporations but he laws that determine how they can operate. we need corporations (as smaller than state units of production and organization of work and income), but the laws governing their incorporation have been set by financial interests.
In the case of Pakistan
Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the first leader of Pakistan when it was founded as a secular republic with a Muslim majority in 1947, envisaged Pakistan as a rapidly modernizing, Western-friendly country that would value education and engineering over feudalism and farming. In the first few years, this was indeed the direction that the country took. With the death of Jinnah in 1948 and the assumption of military power at the behest of the Americans, always chary of potential communist infiltration, Pakistan soon emerged as a two-tier state, with an elite that disdained the machinations of democracy, instead viewing itself as capable of setting the country on an elevated path.
So the appeal of the west suckered them in, and financial interests determined what happened, not the ideal they had reached for, a real ideal, but carrying the Trojan horse of self serving commercial interests.
July 23, 2008 § Leave a comment
Culture is a deeper current and a stronger tide Technology and economics do have their own dynamics, but the ride the tide of culture, while also nuancing its direction and impact.
Reading more Mark Taylor’s Confidence Games. He incorporates Melville’s Confidence Man, which i read about a year ago, knowing it would be useful…
July 23, 2008 § Leave a comment
Structural sociology suggests that the future is a modest movement of “parliaments” toward complexity and openness. Is that enough?
July 21, 2008 § Leave a comment
All from the Asian Times
DISPATCHES FROM AMERICA
“Citizen soldiers” of past American wars have been replaced by the “warfighters” of “Generation Kill” in what is routinely called the “the world’s best military”. But is this such a good thing? Just ask a German military veteran in a warrior-state that went berserk in a febrile quest for full spectrum dominance. – William J Astore, retired US lieutenant colonel.
Pasted from <http://atimes.com/>
The expectations were high of progress being made at the weekend’s talks between Iran and the six nations handling its nuclear file, especially as the US State Department had sent its third-ranking official. All that happened was “small talk” – which was exactly what some in the George W Bush administration had wanted. – Gareth Porter
Pasted from <http://atimes.com/>
A perfect storm of enmity has come down on beleaguered Turkish secularists, leading to speculation that an Islamic putsch is possible, after the fashion of the 1979 revolution in Iran. The United States views this Islamic drift favorably, seeing Turkey as a leader of a regional bloc with the short-term aim of calming Iraq and a longer-term objective of fostering a Sunni alliance against Iran. This is a big mistake. (Jul 21, ’08)
Pasted from <http://atimes.com/>