in conjunction with a book proposal, i've been typing out some selections from "equitable commerce" (1846), by josiah warren, the first american anarchist: an amazing and neglected figure. there is a "selected works" in our future.
quote: To contend against this diversity [in human preferences and understandings], is to contend against our nature's constant production. Such is the subtle and inherent nature of this individuality, that it accompanies every one in every thing he does, and any attempt to conquer it is like undertaking to walk away from his mode of walking, or to run away from his breath - the very effort calls it more decidedly into play. Out of the indestructibility or inalienability of this individuality grows the absolute right of its exercise, or the absolute sovereignty of every individual. We now come to an important and serious application of the facts evolved. Words are the principal means of our intellectual intercourse, and they form the basis of all our institutions; but here again the subtle individuality sets at nought the profoundest thoughts and the most careful phraseology. There is no certainty of any written laws, or rules, or institutions, or verbal precepts being understood in the same manner by any number of persons. This individuality is unconquerable, and therefore rises above all institutions. To require conformity in the appreciation of sentiments, or in the interpretation of language, or uniformity of thought, feeling, or action where there is no natural coincidence, is a fundamental error of human legislation - a madness that would only equaled by requiring all to possess the same countenance or the same stature. . . . When two persons are talking at once, there is not sufficient individuality in either voice to separate it from the other. Both uniting together, they make nothing but confusion. The efforts of both them and their auditors are thrown away. The remedy is obviously to disconnect, to individualize them. The more the letters of an alphabet differ from each other, i.e. the more individuality each possesses, the more efficient and perfect they are for the purposes intended. The same is true of arithmetical figures, and every thing of this kind. . . . The commencement of constitutional governments was the first step of progress in politics, and it was disconnecting, dividing, disuniting, the subjects of legislative action from those which were reserved to the people. The disconnection of church and state was a master-stroke for freedom and harmony. The great moving power - the very soul of the Protestant Reformation - was, that it left every one free to interpret scriptures according to his own individual views. Responsibility must be individual, or there is no responsibility. . . . Lamartine, in his admirable history of the first French Revolution, says: "Among the posthumous notes of Robespierre, were found the following: 'There must be one will; and this will be either Republican or Royalist . . . all diplomacy is impossible as long as we have not unity of power.'" We here see the very root of his policy and the explanation of his sanguinary career. It was precisely the same root from which have sprung all the ancient as well as modern social and political fallacies. It was a demand for "unity," "oneness of mind," oneness of action," where coincidence was impossible. The demand disregarded all nature's individualities, demanded the annihilation of all diversity, and made dissent a crime. Therefore, all were criminal, for no two had the power to be alike. . . . Having the liberty to differ does not make us differ, but, on the contrary, it is a common ground upon which all can meet, a particular in which the feelings of all coincide, and is the first step in social harmony.
i am a sceptic when it comes to bob dylan. i don't quite believe anything he ever did, much less the ecstatic claptrap that has greeted his every gesture. i just feel an atmosphere of fraudulence, accompanied by an assertion of absolute naturalness and honesty. i doubt the persona(e). i doubt the music. i doubt the "poetry." and i sure as hell doubt the harmonica playing.
Link: Newsday.com: Water on their brains. Ellis Hennican, a Newsday columnist and a New Orleans native, I believe, on the response to Rita...I find this guy down to earth and exceptionally readable, in the tradition of columnists like Mike Royko and Jimmy Breslin.
At the risk of seeming snarky -- hell, I am snarky! -- it appears from this column by Frank Rich, that the Bob Herbert-Paul Krugman-Maureen Dowd wing of the NYTIMES has increased by one. I could do without the bit at the end -- I voted against all these assholes! I am not responsible for any of their crap! -- which has a bit of shared guilt, Don't Cry for Me Argentina lilt to it, but still, it's right on. I wonder what history will think of this administration -- will they view it as inept but popular, corrupt and hypocritical, or why we should limit dynasties to one.
By the way, I'm happy to share my subscription this way with the Times premium package. Hopefully, cable will be next... Crusader Mike
In 1970, I was a sophomore at Holy Cross. Teddy Kennedy was running for re-election, and there had been that recent unpleasantness on the Cape, at Chappaquidick. So, to distract attention from that problem, his campaign paid the expenses of a frothing at the mouth, Socialist Workers Party candidate to dog his footsteps and act crazy at rallies and meetings. Teddy would graciously allow the madman to rant insanely...and he did so, quite well. If the radical nutbags were after Teddy as opposed to the Republican, well, obviously they saw the biggest threat to their future (such as it was) not to be the reactionaries, but the liberals. Teddy, of course, as always, won in a landslide.
Reason for the history is this piece. A courageous journalist, a weatherman no less -- as opposed to those of us who wonder wither man? but I digress -- has been thrown off the air for advancing the perfectly reasonable theory that the Japanese Mafia has used a Russian Electromagnetic Generator to cause the increase in hurricanes. He is now investigating this theory full time. Hooray for him.
But, one wonders, whither the Carlsyle Group, the Trialteral Commission, and Karl Rove. If they aren't behind this guy, they should be. Nothing like a conspiracy theory to divert the mouth-breathing yahoo hordes. Mencken would have a field day...
these people are filthy. eventually, one hopes, scandals will take rove from all sideds and drag him to the appropriate pit of hell.
Tyco -- whose executive L. Dennis Kozlowski had just departed
under an ethics cloud -- was worried that the Bush administration might
embrace legislation promoted by Democrats that would impose higher
taxes on domestic-centered companies that had moved offshore to cut
their tax bills. The legislation was motivated by popular anger over
such offshore moves, and carried the additional penalty of barring such
firms from receiving federal contracts.
disclosure statements filed by Abramoff listing his work for Tyco cite
the "Executive Office of the President" as one of his lobbying targets
on the tax and contracts issues. Others were the Department of
Commerce, the General Services Administration and Congress. Greenberg
Traurig records submitted to Tyco describe specific contacts with the
White House legislative office, a source familiar with the matter said
Rove's personal assistant at the time,
Susan Ralston, formerly worked as Abramoff's secretary. It could not be
learned yesterday whether she was among those contacted by any of the
14-person Greenberg team recorded as working on the Tyco account.
i'm sort of checking out available academic positions at the moment. here's a discipline that we should all commit ourselves to with all the joy of our hearts and all the resources of our mighty intellects: Rhetoric & Philosophy of Integrated Marketing Communication. duquesne would be getting my application, only i specialize in the philosophy of disintegrated marketing communication.
i actually think that "yes" was the responsible vote. there is no substantive objection (well, hamdan gave me pause). feingold asked all the right questions. if he votes yes...
The committee vote was 13 in favor of confirmation and five
opposed. All the opponents were Democrats, including Sen. Edward M.
Kennedy (Mass.), Joseph Biden (Del.), Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) ,
Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.)
Democrats who voted in the affirmative were Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) , Herb Kohl (Wis.) and Russ Feingold (Wis.)
Democrats who voted in the affirmative were Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) , Herb Kohl (Wis.) and Russ Feingold (Wis.)
Paul Krugman describes The Center on Budget and Policy as a progressive think tank that really makes certain it runs the numbers with integrity...something missing in the Bush administration. When Dick Cheney said that "Reagan proved that deficits don't matter," he was talking politically, not about the long term impact on the economy. Even today, with our economic stabilty and future threatened by regressive taxation and runaway spending to benefit the Industrial Complex, Americans aren't paying attention.
However, I remember interest rates above 10% on homes; credit card rates were astronomical. I think this piece says a lot.
I find nothing about Tom DeLay worthy of office, notice or continued service. The thought of him doing 8 to 20 in Huntsville with some guy named Booger is really exciting to me. That would be real Texas justice!
wouldn't it be "interesting" if the police and soldiers we are training and equipping ended up fighting against coalition forces? the thing then begins to take on the dimensions of a greek tragedy, complete with its origin in hubris.
so the nytimes is going to start charging for, among other things, opinion columns. i may have to pony up eventually as i'm actually like an opinion columnist. meanwhile i will particularly miss nicholas kristof and david brooks. (i'm kind of tired of maureen dowd's schtick, though i still read her sometimes and sometimes laugh. john tierney is just boring. bob herbert is good and outraged, but the prose is kind of dull and hectoring. friedman is beating a dozen dead horses and is very, very dull these days. frank rich is always worth reading.) but i predict they will eventually have to back off when they lose 3/4 or so of their online readers. i am ambivalent about the move because i would like newspapers to survive and in particular if the op-ed biz were economically viable i might still hope to make a living at it one day (and all of us, secretly, hope to make it onto the times page one day: christ they don't even have one anarchist). on the other hand, free content is surely the wonder of the web, a daily pleasure.
But in a larger sense, the administration's lethally inept response to Hurricane Katrina had a lot to do with race. For race is the biggest reason the United States, uniquely among advanced countries, is ruled by a political movement that is hostile to the idea of helping citizens in need.
Race, after all, was central to the emergence of a Republican majority: essentially, the South switched sides after the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Today, states that had slavery in 1860 are much more likely to vote Republican than states that didn't.
And who can honestly deny that race is a major reason America treats its poor more harshly than any other advanced country? To put it crudely: a middle-class European, thinking about the poor, says to himself, "There but for the grace of God go I." A middle-class American is all too likely to think, perhaps without admitting it to himself, "Why should I be taxed to support those people?"
Above all, race-based hostility to the idea of helping the poor created an environment in which a political movement hostile to government aid in general could flourish.
i don't vouch for the authenticity of this interview with a russian soldier who served in chechnya, but it is consistent with what is known. he describes horrific events: drawing and quartering a woman, for example, necklaces of human ears. it has the flat ring of truth, in particular because it also describes horrors perpetrated by the resistance.
if you want to see how much ass a philosopher can kick, check this out. one sample: Having heard once that Didymon the adulterer, had been
caught in the act, he said, "He deserves to be hung by his name."
If I get this right, our war and disaster leader, Bush the 2nd, figures its too hard for the military to react to crisises in this country, but it's ok to have them screw around trying to win hearts and minds of people who actively hate us and each other. It really helps to stay awake. Maybe instead of naps, he ought to read or something.
The administration doesn't really get the context of anything. The Posse Comitatus Act became law largely as the result of the end of reconstruction. The use of troops to control the South really irked the Southerners, which is understandable. The presence of the SS really irked the French. The presence of American forces really irks the Iraqis. So, when the South promised to be good and enforce the 14th Amendment and all that good stuff, the Army was sent off to kill Indians...err, pacify and assist the west. Of course, then Nathan Bedford Forrest and the KKK did their thing to show how well they hadn't needed posse comitatus.
However, the military is the only branch of government with lots of tough decision makers who can get stuff done in a short period of time; with lots of helicopters, to move people and crap around, and with lots of dedicated people who have sworn to uphold the constitution and protect the people of the United States. They are excellent at a lot of things that needed to be done.
The Army Times, a civilian publication, recommends that a four-star admiral or general be the head of FEMA. The idea being that only a Flag Officer has the organizational savvy and leadership ability to get this stuff done. A Corporal from the Marine Corps or Army or a Petty Officer Third Class could have done about as well and probably better than these yahoos, but the thought is definitely worth considering.
From the story that raised my blood pressure:
The delay this time in tapping the troops, helicopters, trucks,
generators, communications and other resources of the 1st Cavalry and
the 82nd Airborne is the latest example of how the federal response to
Katrina lacked organization and leadership. And it raises further
questions about the government's ability to mobilize the active-duty
military rapidly now that FEMA has been absorbed into the massive,
terrorism-focused Department of Homeland Security.
Addressing the nation Thursday night from New Orleans, Bush said the
storm overwhelmed the disaster-relief system. "It is now clear that a
challenge on this scale requires greater federal authority and a
broader role for the armed forces, the institution of our government
most capable of massive logistical operations on a moment's notice," he
Several emergency-response experts, however, questioned whether Bush
and Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff understood how much
authority they had to tap all the resources of the federal government —
including those of the Defense Department.
To say I've suddenly discovered the military needs to be involved is like saying wheels should be round instead of square," said Michael Greenberger, law professor and the director of the University of Maryland's Center for Health and Homeland Security."
I remain totally and entirely a yearning knight, tortured by so far unrequited courtly love for Maureen Dowd. She attractive, witty and very, very vicious. I started reading her stuff about Bush 1, enjoyed her issues with Bubba Clinton and friends, and have enjoyed her snarky disbelief about GW and friends. She did herself proud with her column on the Levee-burg address the other night.
"On Thursday night, Mr. Bush wanted to appear casually in charge as he waged his own Battle of New Orleans in Jackson Square. Instead, he looked as if he'd been dropped off by his folks in front of a eerie, blue-hued castle at Disney World. (Must be Sleeping Beauty's Castle, given the somnambulant pace of W.'s response to Katrina.)"
When it turns out that the White House put up generators to light the square, one has to wonder -- who pays for that shit? If it's the Republican National Committee, then that's one thing. If it's the taxpayers, that's something else entirely -- fraud, waste and abuse of power. Impeach the bastards!
Granted, impeaching this guy and jailing his lackies for spending money to make him look good is definitely like sending Capone to Alcatraz for lying on his taxes, but whatever works.