Re: Keynes: Marx and the Koran September 21st, 2007

On Sep 21, 2007, at 1:49 PM, Chris Doss wrote:

Yoshie can speak for herself, but I think her opinion is the that best that contemporary Iran can realistically do is its current government. Which may or may not be true, I don’t know.

That’s a pretty gloomy POV. We’ll see what happens come 2009.

Why are there no credible opinion polls in Iran?


Financial Times - September 21, 2007

Khatami plots comeback By Najmeh Bozorgmehr in Tehran

Iran’s reform-minded former president, Mohammad Khatami, is
considering running for the 2009 elections in the apparent hope that
he will be seen as a saviour who can extricate Iran from domestic and
international troubles.

While cautioning that it is still early days, close allies of Mr
Khatami say he remains one of the rare personalities in Iran who has
enough appeal to wrest the presidency from fundamentalists. “He is
willing to run and we think he’ll win in a landslide if elections
were held today. But we still have to wait and test the waters in due
time,” said one ally.

Another ally said Mr Khatami had become increasingly pessimistic
about Iran’s prospects, with the escalation of the nuclear dispute
with the west and the deterioration of relations with Europe under
the radical President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad.

Diplomats from the five permanent members of the United Nations
Security Council will meet in Washington today to discuss further
action against Iran over its refusal to suspend its uranium
enrichment activities.

“He thinks both domestic and international developments will go in
such a wrong direction that the regime [leaders] will askhim to run
to help the survival of the system,” said the ally.

Whether this proves to be more than wishful thinking remains to be
seen. Mr Khatami, who governed in 1997-2005 with a reformist agenda
that advocated “religious democracy” at home and detente with the
west, ended his second term disillusioned and facing accusations that
he had disappointed his support base.

While hardliners blocked some of his key reforms, including attempts
to expand the powers of the presidency, his followers became
disenchanted with his inclination to compromise rather than confront
his opponents.

His government’s emphasis on political reform - overshadowing
attention on social and economic problems - also proved costly,
facilitating the rise of a populist Mr Ahmadi-Nejad.

In the absence of credible opinion polls, it is difficult to gauge
the popularity of either man.

But Mr Khatami has joined forces with the so-called conservative
pragmatists - the moderate conservatives close to Akbar Hashemi
Rafsanjani, also a former president - to undermine Mr Ahmadi-Nejad.

They are hoping that within two years, the president’s populist
economicpolicies - to reduce inflation and tackle unemployment -
would have sufficiently backfired and provokedan erosion of popular

The first test of their political weight will be in the parliamentary
elections in March. Radical forces in the regime, however, are
already mobilising against Mr Khatami.

The conservative media posted a video in June showing him shaking
hands with Italian women during a visit, something considered taboo
by the clergy.

His denial of the incident did not stop young radical clerics in the
holy city of Qom from taking his case to the Special Court for Clergy
and calling for him to be defrocked.

Analysts said the case showed that radicals might be looking to
disqualify Mr Khatami from the presidential poll.

According to the constitution, the Guardian Council has to vet
presidential candidates for their belief in Islam and the principles
of the regime.

even more money for war September 21st, 2007

Bush may boost spending request for Iraq war 25 minutes ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration may increase the
amount of money it is seeking for the Iraq war for the 2008 fiscal
year that begins October 1, the White House said on Friday.

The White House outlined a request for around $147 billion for fiscal
2008 for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. But the administration is
reviewing those figures and is considering giving Congress an updated

“I would expect it to be higher, I can’t tell you what the number
will be,” White House spokesman Tony Fratto said.

The Washington Post has reported the administration may increase its
request by up to $50 billion, which would bring the total request to
nearly $200 billion.

Re: Michael Lerner tattles: the state of the antiwarmovement September 21st, 2007

On Sep 21, 2007, at 9:12 AM, Carrol Cox wrote:

I have never, in my 77+ years, met anyone, in person, in print, or in cyberspace, so obsessed as is Doug

I’m so proud to occupy a superlative place in such a long, rich life.


Re: Keynes: Marx and the Koran September 20th, 2007

On Sep 20, 2007, at 2:23 PM, andie nachgeborenen wrote:

To be fair, Doug, Yoshie did specify the sort of liberalism she had in mind, the sort who invoke “Liberty, Equality, Property, and Bentham” (to justify capitalism?)

But that’s not really relevant to critics of capitalism, who aren’t
that kind of liberal. She’s using “liberal” as an epithet, not as a
category of analysis, and it’s very tedious.


Re: Federal prosecutor caught in child sex sting September 20th, 2007

On Sep 20, 2007, at 2:00 PM, Dennis Claxton wrote:

A sheriff’s deputy posed as a mother who was interested in finding someone to have sex with her children

What kind of idiot would actually fall for that?


Re: Party turns on Ahmadinejad over attitude to inflation September 20th, 2007

On Sep 20, 2007, at 1:32 PM, wrote:

Robert Tait in Tehran Thursday September 20, 2007 The Guardian

Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has suffered an embarrassing
blow to his prestige after his own party attacked him for adopting a
jocular tone towards inflation at a time of rampant price rises.,,2172852,00.html

The rest of the piece is quite excellent:

The Islamic Revolution Devotees Society - a fundamentalist grouping
of revolutionary veterans co-founded by Mr Ahmadinejad - has added
its voice to a rising chorus of economic discontent by warning the
president that spiralling living costs are hurting the poor and
undermining his stated goal of social justice.

The society says the government is to blame because it embarked on
extravagant projects while failing to control the money supply.
“Unrestrained inflation increases the pressure on the weak and
leads to the poor becoming poorer as owners of non-monetary assets
get richer,” it says in an economic report. “The result is counter
to the goals, plans and slogans of Dr Ahmadinejad’s government.” The report also accuses Mr Ahmadinejad and other officials of
refusing to acknowledge the problem and of making light of it with
inappropriate jokes. It says: “Sometimes some high-ranking
government officials deny the growth of prices and deal with them
through making jokes. To deny the current inflation or ignoring it
through jokes is totally unacceptable.”

Mr Ahmadinejad has frequently dismissed complaints of rising prices
as the invention of a hostile media and blamed “secret networks”
for rising house prices. This year he responded to MPs’ protests
over the rising price of tomatoes by urging them to visit his local
greengrocer in Narmak in east Tehran. He also answered recent
criticism of his policies by saying he took advice from his local
butcher. “There is an honourable butcher in our neighbourhood who
knows all the economic problems of the people. I get my economic
information from him,” he said.

The latest report implicitly criticises his contemptuous view of
economics by describing it as a “specialised science” and says
Iran’s inflationary problems cannot be solved by “ad hoc
decisions”. That may partly refer to one of Mr Ahmadinejad’s most
controversial recent moves in which he ordered banks to cut
interest rates to 12% - below inflation, which is estimated at
between 20% and 30%.

Mr Ahmadinejad is on record as saying, “I pray to God I never know
about economics”. That echoes a comment attributed to the late
Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of Iran’s 1979 Islamic
revolution, who is alleged to have said that “economics is for

Secret networks indeed. No wonder Ervand Abrahamian has a book
chapter on the paranoid style in Iranian politics.


was 9/11 Britney’s fault? September 20th, 2007

[via Popbitch]

 Poor Britney. Enough is enough. Taking pot-
 shots at this troubled ex-Mousketeer has gone
 too far. This week she was attacked in the
 US media for not being able to close her
 pram properly. And now she's almost being
 blamed for 9/11. Leader of the Palestinian
 Popular Resistance, Muhammad Abdel-Al said,
 "If I meet these whores I will have the honour
 to be the first one to cut the heads off Madonna
 and Britney Spears if they will keep spreading
 their Satanic culture against Islam."

Re: Keynes: Marx and the Koran September 20th, 2007

On Sep 20, 2007, at 10:03 AM, Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:

What’s wrong with judging the capitalist mode of production by standards, whether they are moral or political, religious or aesthetic, that are other than the standard of liberalism

Yawn. You’ve made your point, though you’re very slippery on
describing just who these “liberals” are and what their “liberalism”
is. Could you move on to some other obsession?


Re: Sorry September 20th, 2007

On Sep 20, 2007, at 10:53 AM, Dennis Perrin wrote:

I’ve been re-reading some of my belligerent, pro-war posts from
late ‘02 this morning, while working on a new blog entry. Jesus, it’s
painful and embarrassing to read now. My sincere, retroactive apologies to
everyone I slimed back then. What a dick I was (still am?).

Nah, you’re not a dick. One piece of evidence: you apologized. Dicks
don’t do that. They either ignore their mistakes, or insist they were
right all along.


CBO on costs of an Iraq occupation September 20th, 2007


The following has been added to CBO’s Web site (

The Possible Costs to the United States of Maintaining a Long-Term
Military Presence in Iraq

Gallup poll of fSU: not better off than they were 15 years ago September 20th, 2007

September 19, 2007 Hardships Still Common in Former Soviet Nations

Many citizens say aspects of life are worse now than under the Soviet

by Patricia Guadalupe GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991,
residents of the emerging countries likely hoped that independence
would bring greater economic prosperity and personal well-being.
However, when the Gallup World Poll interviewed citizens of 14 former
Soviet Republics throughout 2006, respondents often reported being
worse off now than they were under the USSR.

In the transition from communism to capitalism, one might expect to
see a trade-off between affordability and quality, especially for
aspects of life that were previously subsidized or free. But while
59% of respondents across the countries surveyed say they face a
higher cost of living now than they did under the Soviet system, they
commonly report deterioration rather than improvement in key
indicators of well-being, including housing, healthcare, and education.

In the case of the once heavily subsidized housing system of the
former Soviet states, it is not surprising that 61% of respondents in
these countries say housing is now less affordable. But when asked to
rate the quality of housing now versus in the Soviet Union days, 42%
say it is worse now than it was then. Twenty-eight percent of those
living in the former Soviet republics say the quality of housing has
improved and 20% say it remains the same. Residents of Lithuania
(64%), Georgia (60%), Tajikistan (54%), Russia (50%), and Armenia
(50%) are most likely to say the quality of housing has deteriorated.
In no nation is there a majority that says the quality of housing has
improved, though residents of Belarus and Estonia are the most likely
to say so, at 49% and 47%, respectively.

A similar pattern emerges when examining ratings of healthcare and
education. More than half of respondents (55%) say healthcare, which
was provided free by state health institutions in the Soviet era, is
now less affordable. When respondents were asked instead about the
current quality of healthcare versus the quality of care available
under the Soviet Union, they were more divided. Thirty-four percent
of people across all nations surveyed say the quality of healthcare
is better, 38% say it is worse, and 19% say it is the same.
Uzbekistanis (49%), Armenians (48%) and Belarusians (47%) are the
most likely to say the quality of healthcare is better today, while
those in Kyrgyzstan (60%) and Tajikistan (55%) are the most likely to
say it is worse.

Similarly, about half of respondents (49%) tell Gallup that
education, which was free, universal, and multilingual under the
Soviet Union, is currently less affordable. When asked to rate the
quality of education available to them, respondents are again
divided, with 36% saying it is better, 27% saying it is worse, and
23% saying it is the same. People in Lithuania (61%) and Uzbekistan
(50%) are the most likely to report improvement in the quality of
education, while those in Azerbaijan (43%) and Tajikistan (41%) are
most likely to report deterioration.


Re: A Short Rant: Forgive me September 20th, 2007

On Sep 21, 2007, at 3:30 PM, Ismail Lagardien wrote:

sometimes I want to say something intelligent, but sometimes the
words fucking stupid, diseased dick, cunt, vomit, poison, filith i
want to suck his eye out and fuck his skull, inbred-white-trash- with-money are the best to describe this guy

one man, one man, one fucking man cause this war…. now this idiocy

Hey, I have no problem with that, though you may have to face a
lecture from Carrol Cox on personalizing things.

“I heard somebody say, Where’s Mandela?’ Well, Mandela’s dead because Saddam Hussein killed all the Mandelas,” Bush, who has a reputation for verbal faux pas, said in a press conference in Washington on Thursday.

What did he think he was saying?

Newt running for pres, sez Radar September 20th, 2007

Newt’s In! NEWT ADDITION Gingrich

Expect former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich to end his hemming
and hawing and joking about needing $30 million in unmarked twenties
by November 1. He’s running for president. Sources tell Radar it’s
all but a done deal: Newt’s in.

Radar has learned from one insider familiar with the former speaker’s
schedule that Gingrich is canceling corporate gigs left and right to
get in line with campaign finance rules. Another Gingrich insider
echoes this sentiment, and sources hint that after Halloween, Newt
will go into full-time campaign mode. When people call to book
Gingrich for events, says an insider, “We’re telling them ‘We can
only confidently book Newt until November 1st.’”

By Ray Gustini 09/21/07 10:30 AM

Re: Webster G. Tarpley’s Toxic Waste is Polluting the Antiwar Movement September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 4:00 PM, Chip Berlet wrote:

Webster G. Tarpley’s Toxic Waste is Polluting the Antiwar Movement

Popular around WBAI, you might not be surprised to learn.

Re: Human Freedom Index September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 4:02 PM, Ismail Lagardien wrote:

The UNDP have made the claim that inequality has increased in NZ,
USA and UK following the end of the Cold War - can’t look for teh
reference now.

According to the Luxembourg Income Study’s key figures spreadsheet:

inequality increased in the UK after 1979 (gee, what happened that
year?). In the U.S., it started about 5-10 years earlier. They don’t
have NZ in their database. Inequality also increased in Australia -
but little or no increase in Canada, France, or Germany. In Sweden,
ineq fell from 1967 to 1981, and rose after 1981 - but it’s still
below the 1967 level.

Re: Keynes: Marx and the Koran September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 3:46 PM, Miles Jackson wrote:

I’d read that as a sign of socialization into a commodity culture.
Kids that age are sociolinguistic sponges.

It happened so quickly & forcefully. He almost never watches TV, and
doesn’t hear a lot of it from us.

And if you’re a “sociolinguistic sponge,” you must be pretty
receptive to new stuff. Yes, Ian’s right about the old and familiar -
repetition is the bane of a toddler parent’s existence - but novelty
is pretty powerful too. Which must have something to do with why
we’re easy marks for the “New!” and why Sut Jhally is fighting a
majorly uphill battle.


Re: Panopticon Apotheosis September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 3:05 PM, Dwayne Monroe quoted:

Two little known companies in the Homeland Security Complex announced they have landed a contract with an unnamed major Asian country

That would be China, no doubt.




It’s hard to believe these names are real, but they seem to be. Life
is a dystopic novel?


Re: Keynes: Marx and the Koran September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 2:33 PM, Carl Remick wrote:

things that are New!

Lately I’ve been struck by how young Ivan, age 20.5 months, has taken
up the word “New!” as a desirable attribute of commodities. I
recently got him a new toothbrush and a new sippy cup, and both were
identified with that word (and you could even hear the exclamation
point!) for several days after. The capitalists are tapping into
something fundamental and primitive with that appellation, that’s for


Re: Keynes, Marx Koran September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 2:01 PM, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

But putting aside grave political uncertainty or war Doug there needs to be an explanation of what annoys the nerves and creates hysteria and why they can’t always be turned back again by a wave of the hand, a little regressive tax relief here or big government program there. Investment is not just a collective action problem or a matter of nerves and digestion. As an explanation of the investment deficit in the Great Depression it is as absurd explanation as the idea that workers all of sudden preferred leisure to work. But one is led to subjectivize and psychologize investment–and it is quite a few economists actually do believe deep down, see Partha Dasgupta’s new intro to economics–once the labor theory of value is abandoned.

Sometimes it is psychological, sometimes it isn’t. In Marxian and
neoclassical models, it all seems very mechanical - a rational
valuation of expected profits. But there’s a lot of play in the
formation of expectations. Keynes overpsychologized, since he
approached the matter of capital expenditures with a sensibility
formed in the financial markets. But the others underpsychologize.


Re: Marx, Keynes and the Koran September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 1:38 PM, Shane Mage wrote:

If any interpretation is a misinterpretation, it is so only
insofar as it misses the correct interpretation. And if correct interpretation is per se nonexistent, than all criticism, especially hers, is
mere blather.

Of course, that’s just your interpretation.

Re: Keynes, Marx Koran September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 1:27 PM, Rakesh Bhandari wrote:

In estimating the prospects of investment, we must have regard, therefore, to the nerves and hysteria and even the digestions and reactions to the weather of those upon whose spontaneous activity it largely depends.’ [Keynes 1936]

Not untrue, really.

loony press release of the day: Ahmadinejad to visit Ground Zero & he must be stopped! September 19th, 2007


“What a mockery! A public, bold sponsor of terror should never be
allowed permission to visit this sacred site.” Says Syndicated columnist, Terrorism expert, and Middle East analyst
Micah Halpern

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, has reportedly asked for
permission to visit Ground Zero during his visit to New York City
(September 25-29) when he is here speak at the U.N. General Assembly
(Sept. 25). This story appeared last night (22:35pm) on the Website
of Haaretz, the prestigious Israeli newspaper.

But Micah Halpern, syndicated columnist, Terrorism expert, Middle
East analyst, and author of the new book, Thugs: How History’s Most
Notorious Despots Transformed The World through Terror, Tyranny, and
Mass Murder, says that Ahmadinejad must never be allowed to visit the
sacred site.

“Since the Islamic revolution, Iran has sponsored more terror than
any other country in the world. And here is the president of the
world’s biggest terrorism-sponsoring country requesting a visit to
Ground Zero, the ultimate symbol of terrorism? What a mockery!”

Adds Halpern, “The PR people who advise Ahmadinejad are brilliant to
come up with this idea. But a sponsor of terror - a public, bold sponsor of terror - should
never be allowed permission to visit this sacred site!”

Not only does Halpern reject the visit to Ground Zero, but also
Ahmadinejad’s entire trip to the USA to speak at the U.N. General
Assembly on September 25, with other “thug” leaders from around the
world including Hugo Chavez.

“Some of the most evil world leaders alive today will be arriving in
New York in the next two weeks. Why are these despots even allowed
entry into the United States? By allowing these thugs to be a part of
a public, international, renowned forum, we are legitimizing their
actions and deeds. The USA should never have given them entry Visas”

The UN General Assembly has maintained a prominent forum for pressing
issues on the international political agenda for the past six
decades, bringing together world leaders for discussion and debates
that greatly shape global policies. Meetings have taken place at the
United Nations headquarters in New York, though as Halpern points
out, at one time the UN moved the General Assembly meetings to Europe
in a gesture of solidarity when Yasser Arafat was denied entry into
the US.

Adds Halpern: “The US and the UN have a problematic relationship. One
of the very tense aspects of that relationship is that all world
leaders are supposed to be permitted entry to the US in order to
address the United Nations. The UN believes that all voices including
evil voices need be represented. They think that by casting the
widest net, more good can evolve, that negotiations and improvements
can occur. But the US has never accepted that principle. As a freedom- loving country, by attending and allowing despotic leaders into our
borders, we give credibility to these despots.”

Micah D. Halpern is a frequent analyst on network television and
radio in the areas of terror, the Middle East and Muslim
Fundamentalism. Halpern, a syndicated columnist, is also a well known
social and political commentator, educator, and historian. He
lectures frequently on issues relating to terror, foreign affairs,
Israel and the Middle East, as well as wine history, and popular
culture. He is also author of several books, including What You Need
To Know About: Terror, and his latest Thugs: How History’s Most
Notorious Despots Transformed The World through Terror, Tyranny, and
Mass Murder, a “who’s who” of the most horrific despotic leaders that
examines the motives and operational styles of the most vile and
heinous movers and shakers of Europe, the Middle East and Asia
throughout history. He also maintains The Micah Report http://

FOR INTERVIEWS, CONTACT: Chris Roslan (212) 966-4600

Re: Marx, Keynes and the Koran September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 12:22 PM, James Heartfield wrote:

Ted: “I think this misinterprets “My Early Beliefs.”"

Sontag: ‘All interpretation is misinterpretation

Bloom: “What is being freshly repressed?”

Human Freedom Index September 19th, 2007

The 1991 Human Development Report came up with a Human Freedom Index,
based on countries’ performance on some 40 measures of personal
freedom. The rankings of those in the top group, “high freedom”:

1 Sweden 2 Denmark 3 Netherlands 4 Finland 5 New Zealand 6 Austria 7 Norway 8 France 9 Germany 10 Belgium 11 Canada 12 Switzerland 13 USA 14 Australia 15 Japan 16 UK 17 Greece 18 Costa Rica

With the exception of NZ, the Anglo-Saxon “liberal” countries are not
at the top of this list.

Re: Marx, Keynes and the Koran September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 11:45 AM, Michael Perelman wrote:

This is a long tradition in economics that stretched back from Adam
Smith to Alfred Marshall: express noble sentiments about the future of the working
class along with contempt when ordinary people fail to behave appropriately.

On Wed, Sep 19, 2007 at 11:39:31AM -0400, Doug Henwood wrote: >

On Sep 19, 2007, at 10:55 AM, Ted Winslow wrote:

In fact, this appropriation of Moore and of the tradition to which the particular idea of the “Good” belongs makes Keynes’s conception of the “ideal commonwealth” very like Marx’s, a fact that explains his claim that “the republic of my imagination lies on the extreme left of celestial space.”

Except Keynes was a total snob and racist. Need I quote the classics?

Oh yes, I forgot this bit, which is in Bret Benjamin’s interesting
new book on the World Bank and the “cultural turn” - Invested
Interests. I’m running my interview with him on the radio tomorrow.

Keynes was very annoyed that there were so many countries outside the
imperial core that were invited to the Bretton Woods conference. He
listed the 21 which “have nothing to contribute and will merely
encumber the ground” - among them Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Venezuela,
Haiti, Iran, Iraq, the Philippines, and Luxembourg (!) - “the most
monstrous monkey-house assembled for years.”


health insurance employment growing twice as fast as caregivers September 19th, 2007

Health insurance industry employment outpacing providers and all- industry growth rates

by Ross Eisenbrey

Economist Paul Krugman and many others have suggested that the health
insurance industry has a lot to do with the excessive cost of U.S.
health care. As Krugman describes the industry, an important part of
its business model is collecting premiums while denying deserving
claims and seeking out reasons to exclude patients from coverage they
need. It takes a lot of extra employees to do this socially
questionable work, and the industry’s employment has grown like a
weed over the past 10 years.

From August 1997 to August 2007, employment in the health insurance
industry grew an astounding 52%, from 293,000 to 444,000.1 During the
same period, employment among physicians, nurses, and others who
provide health services or work to support them grew half as fast, by
26%, from 10,387,000 to 13,042,000. Employment in the economy as a
whole grew even more slowly, by only 12% over the same 10-year period
(see figure). The ratio of health insurance industry employees to
health service providers grew from 28 insurance employees per 1,000
provider employers, to 34 per 1,000.


Re: Marx, Keynes and the Koran September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 10:55 AM, Ted Winslow wrote:

In fact, this appropriation of Moore and of the tradition to which the particular idea of the “Good” belongs makes Keynes’s conception of the “ideal commonwealth” very like Marx’s, a fact that explains his claim that “the republic of my imagination lies on the extreme left of celestial space.”

Except Keynes was a total snob and racist. Need I quote the classics?

Marx wanted to “organize the myriad Lilliputians and arm them with
poisoned arrows.”

“We were not aware that civilisation was a thin and precarious crust
erected by the personality and will of a very few, and only
maintained by rules and conventions skilfully put across and
guilefully preserved.”

“How can I adopt a creed which, preferring the mud to the fish,
exalts the boorish proletariat above the bourgeois and the
intelligentsia who, with whatever faults, are the quality in life and
surely carry the seeds of all human advancement?”

“I do not mean that Russian Communism alters, or even seeks to alter,
human nature, that it makes Jews less avaricious or Russians less
extravagant than they were before.”

“[T]he class war will find me on the side of the educated bourgeoisie.”


Re: “Skull, Bones and Electricity” September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 10:02 AM, Carl Remick wrote:

The online site where I found a text of Bartleby has a footnote that (needlessly) describes the estimable John Jacob Astor in these terms: “A poor German immigrant to the United States, Astor (1763-1848) was immensely successful in fur trading and real estate, becoming the richest man of his time. However, his name was synonymous with the worst abuses of big business: monopoly, worker exploitation, and political corruption.”

Ah, but now it’s just synonymous with a stop on the 6 train.


Re: Liberalism (was Molding the Ideal Islamic Citizen) September 19th, 2007

On Sep 19, 2007, at 9:25 AM, Yoshie Furuhashi wrote:

In short, political liberalism tends to privatize, expanding the space for freedom (of the negative sort, freedom from government regulation, the only kind of freedom that Americans recognize as freedom) – sexual and religious, as well as political and economic, freedoms – in the private sector and contracting the scope of the public sector that provides citizens with goods and services as a matter of their rights. The American citizen has few social duties but also few social rights, the opposite of the Cuban or Iranian citizen who has many social duties but also many social rights.

This model does not have room for Scandinavian social democracy,
which allows a lot of scope for private freedoms and civil liberties.
It’s like you’ve taken Esping-Andersen’s famous three-part model -
liberal, corporatist, and social democratic - and lopped off the
social democratic taxon.

And “secular”? The U.S.? Is there any country in the Northern
hemisphere where religion is such a part of public life? We have a
president who takes direction from God, a porn strike force in the
Justice Department, and a populace that claims it’s more likely to
vote for a queer than an atheist. Look at the current absurd
controversy over John McCain’s religion. Where else could that happen?


verification, perception September 19th, 2007

A delicious paragraph from the NYT’s account of the Blackwater affair:

The Iraqis’ accounts have not been verified, but the anger in their
telling served to reinforce the feeling among Iraqis here that
private security companies care little for Iraqi lives. In a war
where perceptions are paramount, the effect is poisonous.

A professor could turn this little paragraph into an entire seminar
on ideology.