Saturday, August 31, 2013

1963 and 1948,  50 years and 65


As always I repeat: it's nothing to do with moralizing or Chomskian arguments about the media or 'Them', whoever they are, as opposed to 'Us'.  It's change in language. I reserve my anger for the self-styled enlightened ones among us. The ideal of technocracy is a world without irony.

The old graph above relates to individuals and group membership.  Graphs of communities as a series of concentric circles are standard, but most ignore time, and the past is another country.

Friday, August 30, 2013

"Cameron’s voice cracked with emotion as he spoke of the videos of victims after the attack."

link from AA, who caught the quote.

repeat. (and I've always thought AA and Leiter had a lot in common.)
notetaking. posted elsewhere.
Arguing with Oxbridge: "In defense of the double standard for chemical weapons"
The subject of the post isn't chemical weapons or their use as fact but as idea.
The silliness of this post begins in the use of rationalism without context, meaning without empiricism: data. I won't waste much time on the lack of a "slam dunk" on responsibility for the attack. I won't add links but you can google the source [links included here, but all repeats]
AP:
The intelligence linking Syrian President Bashar Assad or his inner circle to an alleged chemical weapons attack is no "slam dunk," with questions remaining about who actually controls some of Syria's chemical weapons stores and doubts about whether Assad himself ordered the strike, U.S. intelligence officials say.
President Barack Obama declared unequivocally Wednesday that the Syrian government was responsible, while laying the groundwork for an expected U.S. military strike.
"We have concluded that the Syrian government in fact carried these out," Obama said in an interview with "NewsHour" on PBS. "And if that's so, then there need to be international consequences."
The Independent
Toxic legacy of US assault on Fallujah 'worse than Hiroshima'
The shocking rates of infant mortality and cancer in Iraqi city raise new questions about battle.
Dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukaemia in the Iraqi city of Fallujah, which was bombarded by US Marines in 2004, exceed those reported by survivors of the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945, according to a new study.
Iraqi doctors in Fallujah have complained since 2005 of being overwhelmed by the number of babies with serious birth defects, ranging from a girl born with two heads to paralysis of the lower limbs. They said they were also seeing far more cancers than they did before the battle for Fallujah between US troops and insurgents.
Their claims have been supported by a survey showing a four-fold increase in all cancers and a 12-fold increase in childhood cancer in under-14s. Infant mortality in the city is more than four times higher than in neighbouring Jordan and eight times higher than in Kuwait.
Foreign Policy
Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran
The U.S. knew Hussein was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in history -- and still gave him a hand.
The U.S. government may be considering military action in response to chemical strikes near Damascus. But a generation ago, America's military and intelligence communities knew about and did nothing to stop a series of nerve gas attacks far more devastating than anything Syria has seen, Foreign Policy has learned.
In 1988, during the waning days of Iraq's war with Iran, the United States learned through satellite imagery that Iran was about to gain a major strategic advantage by exploiting a hole in Iraqi defenses. U.S. intelligence officials conveyed the location of the Iranian troops to Iraq, fully aware that Hussein's military would attack with chemical weapons, including sarin, a lethal nerve agent.
Philosophy has become abstraction without representation.
Politics is not a formal game.

The author.  I'm curious about the car













The link is from Eric Schliesser
repeats, and again

in re Schliesser: of course Israel is not a signatory of either the Chemical Weapons Convention or the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Monday, August 26, 2013


War as "cinema", a film by the victims of a crime: the final destruction of a MB protest camp by the military.  Graphic.

Without music or post-production (color)

Democracy and divided government, the adversarial system of justice, are designed around an understanding and acceptance of implicit bias.  Attempts to solve it, -the search for a cure- gives an academic gloss to moralizing authoritarianism.  Technocratic academic institutionalism.

note taking
comment at Leiter's.  In moderation. We'll see if it show up.

It didn't.
In her piece for Salon, Jennifer Saul writes: "Philosophy’s seamy underside has been a big part of my life for some time now." But if philosophy is what professors of philosophy claim for it, it can't possibly have a "seamy underside". If it did, their philosophy would have to account for its existence, and it doesn't.  All of them pathologically unable to separate the field from the institution. "Philosophy's seamy underside" or the academy's? "Christianity's seamy underside" or the Church's?  Does biology have a "seamy underside"?  Physics?
So ridiculously unphilosophical. My comment, sloppy and on the fly.
Saul: "Moreover, reflecting approvingly on one’s own objectivity (as philosophers are wont to do)"

Another victory for perspectivism.

How can philosophy be claimed to be "technical" or to parallel the sciences when self-awareness (and that's what's called for here), cannot be taught? And the liberal PC reeducation programs that result from these fiascos are just creepy.

There will always in the future be another fiasco about another set of assumptions: heterosexual feminists were once horrified of lesbians; most leftists were sexist, or still are; racism was ubiquitous; anti-semitism was common, and the Palestinian experience is still discounted, for obvious, predictable, reasons but now, slowly, less and less.

How can you model this inevitable semi-awareness?

The point of technical knowledge is that it's text without subtext, and technicians have no need for second-order curiosity and the sense of irony that results. First-order curiosity is to be curious about a subject. Second-order curiosity is to be curious about why you're so interested in that subject.

"I love formal logic."
"Why do I love formal logic [and not something else]?

And desire is not logical.

McGinn's self-blindness is well documented, going back a long way. The categories he employs still follow the categories of his Catholic upbringing, though he calls himself an atheist; he thinks he's a good novelist, and people have given up trying to explain why he isn't.

We don't need a reeducation system to correct our thoughtcrimes, we need an education system that focuses on what we are more than on the tools we use. The sciences are tools nothing more, and tools by definition are amoral. But they don't remove our obligation to face moral or ethical questions. McGinn replaced God and the Church with technocracy and instrumental reason, but the same logic held: "To the pure all things are pure." He kept the authoritarianism too. Faith in gods or reason renders irony unnecessary, and the result always tragic, or comic, depending on your point of view.

Bigotry is not "technical" and is not just an "error" to be "fixed". Thinking otherwise limits not only your understanding of others but of yourselves.

A test for your sense of logic and political philosophy: "Liberal Zionism is an oxymoron."
Logically it can't be anything else (Likudniks are right about that). But would you ever try make the case in polite conversation among philosophers? If not, why not?
The logic of the now technical post-humanist academy says that only others live in glass houses. In fact we all do. 

FP
Exclusive: CIA Files Prove America Helped Saddam as He Gassed Iran
The U.S. knew Hussein was launching some of the worst chemical attacks in history -- and still gave him a hand.

Kerry on Syria
The indiscriminate slaughter of civilians, the killing of women and children and innocent bystanders, by chemical weapons is a moral obscenity. By any standard it is inexcusable, and despite the excuses and equivocations that some have manufactured, it is undeniable.
Exporting the Ivory Tower
"Is it possible to export the liberal arts to places that restrict civil liberties?"

The title, the subheading, presumes too much. Europe and the english language give us the term "liberal arts" but not the arts themselves. The problem is the cordial relations of institutions with supposedly opposed philosophies.  But all institutions, as institutions, have interests in common.
Last summer, Yale-NUS president Pericles Lewis revealed that, in accordance with Singaporean law, students would not be allowed to hold political protests or form campus organizations affiliated with current political parties in Singapore. In response, Human Rights Watch chided Yale for “betraying the spirit of the university as a center of open debate and protest by giving away the rights of its students.” Faculty expressed vehement disapproval as well. Seyla Benhabib and Christopher Miller, Yale professors who have been vocal in their opposition to Yale-NUS, penned an op-ed in the Yale Daily News pointing out that “an institution bearing Yale’s name is [now officially] in the business of restricting the rights of students.”
see previous,
and repeats

The issue is less the dynamics politic and culture and the countries themselves, than the hypocrisy of foreign players

Saturday, August 24, 2013

"After all, I have to look out for the interests of the Institute —our old Institute, Herbert— and these interests would be directly endangered by such a circus, believe me: the prevailing tendency to block any subsidies coming to us would grow acutely. 
...You object to Jürgen’s expression ‘left fascism’, calling it a contradictio in adjecto. But you are a dialectician, aren’t you? As if such contradictions did not exist—might not a movement, by the force of its immanent antinomies, transform itself into its opposite? I do not doubt for a moment that the student movement in its current form is heading towards that technocratization of the university that it claims it wants to prevent, indeed quite directly." 
"Your letter does not give the slightest indication of the reasons for the students’ hostility towards the Institute. You wrote of the ‘interests of the Institute’, adding the emphatic reminder: ‘our old Institute, Herbert’. No Teddy, it is not our old Institute, into which the students have infiltrated. You know as well as I how essential the difference is between the work of the Institute in the thirties and its work in present-day Germany. The qualitative difference is not one that stems from the development of theory itself: the ‘subsidies’ that you mention so incidentally—are they really so incidental? You know that we are united in the rejection of any unmediated politicization of theory." 
"I no longer regard the total complex of what has confronted me permanently over the past two months as an agglomeration of a few incidents. To re-use a word that made us both smile in days gone by, the whole forms a syndrome. Dialectics means, amongst other things, that ends are not indifferent to means; what is going on here drastically demonstrates, right down to the smallest details, such as the bureaucratic clinging to agendas, ‘binding decisions’, countless committees and suchlike, the features of just such a technocratization that they claim they want to oppose, and which we actually oppose."

Institute a society or organization having a particular object or common factor, esp. a scientific, educational, or social one: the Institute for Advanced Studies | a research institute.
Institutionsociety or organization founded for a religious, educational, social, or similar purpose: acertificate from a professional institution.• an organization providing residential care for people with special needs: an institution for thementally ill.• an established official organization having an important role in the life of a country, such as a bank, church, or legislature: the institutions of democratic government.• a large company or other organization involved in financial trading: the interest rate financial institutions charge one another.
Adorno was right about the students, but all of them were wrong about themselves.
His bureaucratic irrationalism was as symptomatic as the institute that fostered it.

see next

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Atrios
I think there's a pretty big club consisting of people like me who weren't big Clinton fans in the 90s,…
repeats"Big Dog"

John Quiggin
Paul Krugman’s recent columns, responding in various ways to JM Keynes, Michal Kalecki and Mike Konczal have made interesting reading, signalling a marked shift to the left both on economic theory and on issues of political economy. ...

[T]his marks a striking shift in macroeconomics, where only five years ago, the leading figures were congratulating themselves on the convergence between saltwater and freshwater schools, under the banner of dynamic stochastic general equilibrium. As I argued in Zombie Economics, it’s precisely the centre ground of convergence that has been rendered most thoroughly untenable by the crisis. Yet that is still where the majority of academic work being published in journals is grounded.
A commenter on the post responds with a reference to "Cultural Cognition"
What Krugman is uncovering is NOT related to specific intellectual arguments or points. The reactions and recommendations within the economics profession over the economic crisis has revealed a profound split in “cultural cognition” among the economists themselves. It is the same type of split in cultural cognition that is to be found in the public acceptance/denial of climate change, as is being revealed in current studies by social psychologists of climate science communication.
repeats:
"Cultural Cognition"
"Drift"

My (sloppy) comment on a recent post by Dan Kahan [my mistake. It's from last year and was linked in a recent post, where I found it]
This post mixes common sense with absurdity. You want to develop a science of communication when over and over again you demonstrate a need for an art. You argue for the fact/value distinction except when you deny it. You struggle to defend a notion of exceptionalism, but applied to whom? You're stuck making an anti-humanist argument for humanism (humanism in the older common meaning, through the Renaissance, not that of the Enlightenment, which has the relation to the original of contemporary Federalism to the Federalism of 18th century Virginia.

Your mistake begins in modeling of experts as engineers and not architects, in their relation to the public. Mathematicians are formalists. When the rubber meets the road, when physicists argue amongst themselves not about numbers but about the world, communication becomes storytelling. Arguments among experts are political, always. Architects like lawyers are orators first. We're all storytellers. You want a science of storytelling.

I'm not arguing against technical expertise, but all the same I'm not going to ask a designer of expressways his opinion of interstate railroads, any more than I'm going to ask Nobel winning Physicist Steven Weinberg about Palestine, about which he also claims expertise, while in that case knowing next to nothing.

Power corrupts. Experts talking only amongst themselves reduce their social world to a ghetto culture, where forms used to represent the world are no more than self-supporting formal systems. Mathematics is formalism; language is not. Language is intersubjective, mathematics is not. Language is politics, and is in flux because culture is in flux, and laws follow both. Formalism in language is scholasticism, whether in the 13th Century Catholic Church or contemporary Anglo-American philosophy, economics, et al. and Modernism itself, which has devolved into kitsch. Your arguments, again: for a science of storytelling, are modernist.

If you want to learn about law see Joe Jamail. 

That's legal realism, as legal theater. Its important to remember he's a lawyer not a judge. Google him.

Lawyers are the center of our legal system. Philosophers and scientists see themselves as judges because they imagine themselves at the top of an intellectual and moral pyramid. They're not.

The vast majority of climate scientists, experts in the specific and limited field of climate science, see anthropogenic climate change as real and a danger. The opinions of experts in other technical fields are secondary. If you want to understand why a large portion of the US population are skeptical of climate scientists look to the fixation on expertise in all things among the elite. Powerful conservatives show contempt for the majority, while elitist liberals manifest pity and earnest condescension, magnified by their own self-love. Social democrats in every other country on earth are left to cringe.
repeats: "Jamail"

I did no more than skim Kahan's post before I wrote my comment. His arguments are even weirder than I thought. He makes parallels between communication of legal decisions and of science, but according to his references, law is a form of culture and science itself is not. His paper on the "legal neutrality problem" is just odd.

repeats: "Jay Rosen"

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Belle Waring  (continuing here) is an idiot, though she's smarter than her husband.

I posted a comment to be read in the spam filter, but after showing up in moderation someone let it go. The comment was sloppy and the response was predictably shallow, so I posted another, more polite, acknowledging the fact that sex and sympathy are not synonymous: my mother the anti-semite, etc.
The comment doesn't make it, but Waring responded to the first by saying she's fucked a black man.

Between Waring's two posts there's another on the Holocaust.

Waring and a commenter discuss "proles"
another repeat.

repeats, race and class at CT,  here and here.

Monday, August 05, 2013

Shorter Chris Bertram:  Give us your poor, your hungry, your desperate, your adventurous, and your toughest and we'll prop our poor, our desperate, our depressed and our weakest with extra cash and services.

repeats. here and here.
[I]n 1867 Congress passed a law providing relief for “freedmen or destitute colored people in the District of Columbia,” to be distributed under the auspices of the Freedmen’s Bureau. Of particular importance in the late 1860s was the Bureau’s operation of schools for blacks, to the point that black children in the South were often better educated than their white counterparts. Opponents, including Johnson, raised the same arguments that would be marshaled against affirmative action programs a century later, but well more than the necessary two-thirds of Congress concluded that the 13th and 14th Amendments authorized race-conscious legislation to ameliorate the social condition of blacks.
"to the point that black children in the South were often better educated than their white counterparts."

The road to hell.

Comments on Bertram's post link to Rawlsian bullshit: liberal idealism founded in idealist formalism, and the authoritarianism of schoolteachers.