Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Strange or not so strange

Some think it strange so many Americans still think Saddam had something to do with 9/11. Not so strange, however, once you weigh up all the propaganda against "those people".

Personally I found it strange so few Americans criticized the announcement of Israeli punishment of the 1.5 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip as a weapon against Hamas. But I guess it's not so strange when once you weigh up all of the propaganda against "those people".

And how strange, some think, that one of the oldest forms of organized torture, is in effect okayed by the nominee for Attorney General, provided it is done by nameless US officials carrying out orders, against nameless Arab detainees so designated by other nameless US officials. But I guess that too can be explained by the animus against "those people".

Racism is an inadequate expression for what is going on in America. But it is a good first approximation. What is genuinely strange is the lengths to which people--intellectuals and non-intellectuals, leftists and "progressives," Jews and gentiles, the famous and the obscure--will go to not talk about this.
[badly written. not worth keeping]

Monday, October 29, 2007

[bad writing]

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Akbar Ganji
As a fundamentalist state, Iran is dangerous, but it is dangerous for its own people, not the United States. The Iranian people, myself included, need freedom, democracy and peace -- not war conditions and constant worries about a potential barrage of U.S. missiles.

The seeds of democracy need fertile soil to take root and grow. In Iraq, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, the soil is fertile for fostering fundamentalism. If fair elections were held in those countries, fundamentalists would win. Iran is the only country in the Middle East in which modern, democratic forces would win any free and fair elections.
An obvious statement that I've never before read in the American press.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Each one of the photographs below is a propositional argument.
Every act of description is propositional.
This should be obvious.

Monday, October 22, 2007

"Zhong Qiu Jie"
China World Trade Center, "Guomao," Beijing.
In the village.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Badger: US military plans for Lebanon
The Lebanese newspaper As-Safir reported yesterday that a US delegation led by Eric Edelman (Assistant Defence Secretary for Political Affairs) recently presented to Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora and other Lebanese officials a draft military-cooperation agreement between the US and Lebanon, something the paper said was the culmination of a whole continuous series of US delegations to Lebanon that have been going on since the Israel Hizbullah war of summer 2006.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Leaving in a few days.
I suppose it's a truism that one of the signs of adulthood is the discovery, recognition or realization of a need to be discrete; a newfound need for me but there it is. Still it's important to know when and where, and be willing to refuse that obligation if and when you judge according to your principles that refusal is appropriate.
I don't defend China as it is, but I respect it. I don't defend a lot of people, governments, or policies. I hope I make my compromises knowingly. I have no patience for Americans who worry about "the Palestinian problem" or who refer again and again to the deaths of 3500 US volunteers rather than of one million Iraqis. But it's interesting to see the shades of grey in societies that are neither as open as many would wish nor as closed as others would imagine. Fascism was an anomaly, like totalitarianism a form of modernity, and both render normalcy impossible. What we're returning to is the recognition of a world with many different kinds of normalcy. You may choose to advocate for one or another form, but it's no good -it helps no one- to declaim from absolutes. Governments with some very extreme exceptions are aspects of society. To forget that is make the same mistake the moderns made, to argue from a sense of one's own freedom, and that's where government by delusion got its start.
If the US attacks Iran, as I've said before, it will be seen in the long run as as much the responsibility of American liberals as of Bush and Cheney.

It's been good to be here. It'll be good to be back in NY, and it will be good to be back here again soon. It's all good.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I'm not blogging much about my stay in China because I'm here on business and business is personal. I have a lot of cell phone pictures and I may take some with my good camera before I leave. I may post some in the future and may use them in some sort of project, I don't know. I'm not a comfortable diarist, public or private, and I'm sick to the intellectualism of technocrats who don't know enough to understand that techocratic thought is vulgarization, necessary maybe but also necessarily lightweight. I've met no one here I particularly want to betray nor with a few of them would it be in my best interests to do so. Call it creeping professionalism just not professional intellectualism. And I'm not a fucking journalist.

something to read along with the links on the link list on the right.