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Current Topic: Society

Republican Strategists, Sex, MySpace, and Pride: A Heartwarming DC Tale - Wonkette
Topic: Society 4:51 pm EDT, Jun 16, 2006

Jack, if you’re going to pick up girls from out of town, you could pick a better venue than the Pride parade. That’s all we’re saying.

I was thinking this might be better in humor but it's really both, so...

Republican Strategists, Sex, MySpace, and Pride: A Heartwarming DC Tale - Wonkette

RE: The Two Fukuyamas | The National Interest
Topic: Society 8:59 am EDT, Jun 12, 2006

Jello wrote:

In defense against the charge that he himself helped initiate the Bush Administration's revolutionary attitude to spreading democracy, Fukuyama stresses in his latest book that The End of History described a democratic capitalist version of an anti-Leninist Marxian approach--stressing slow cultural, social and economic change, not sudden revolution. He maintains that he is a Gramscian, emphasizing the intellectual and cultural hegemony of capitalist democracy, not claiming that it would inevitably work well everywhere or solve all problems. By contrast, he describes the Bush Administration as having become "Leninist" in its belief that history can be subjected to violent pushes.

Fukuyama Tukutama Fukyama Honeymama

i do like the idea that the Bush admin is "Leninist"
question though is being a Leninist automatically wrong?
u live in a country born out of revolution (the first successful one against the British Empire)
1917 was a disaster
1789 went wrong in 1792
the English Civil War and Cromwell's Protectorate led to the velvet revolution of 1688, the beginning of constitutional/parliamentary government and produced John Locke
does history sometimes needs to be pushed?
certainly the american revolution was a great leap forward for liberalism
i think the division between Leninism bad and incrementalism good is rigid and dogmatic
"history" like evolution lurches "forward" sometimes through sudden sifts. There are sudden changes in the fossil record: sudden explosions of diversity: all is not a steady incremental march forward: sometimes there are siasmic sifts which are not down to disaster but rather innovation genetically (or memetically in the case of "history")
feminism is both a revolutionary break with the past and an intellectual tradition with a long history so the changes wrought in the 60s may be regarded as evolutionary. Or even if it was a revolution it might be argued that it was the overturning of a moribound hegemony (and so we're back with Gramsci).

RE: The Two Fukuyamas | The National Interest

Its not about the surveillance...
Topic: Society 8:15 am EDT, May 12, 2006

The tin foil hat crowd has always assumed that the NSA was either directly monitoring domestic communications in the US, or at least that a foreign ally was doing it and sharing the results with them. This never really bothered me, because I assumed that the NSA wouldn't care about anything I would ever do. The NSA is mostly concerned with warfare, in which the rules of civil society don't really apply, and the only rules that matter are the ones prohibiting genocide and sadistic treatment of people. If I was ever interested in commiting espionage on behalf of a nation state, I would assume that all the rules were off and I would act accordingly.

The problem is that terrorism breaks down the barriers between what was once the domain of war and the domain of law enforcement. In the wake of 9/11 we have vigorously engaged in information sharing between domestic law enforcement and intelligence. So, wereas we might not have a problem with the NSA spying domestically in the context where they are really only looking for Soviet Spies, our feeling might be different if they are really looking for anything illegal, and sharing that information with local authorities. What we have now is somewhere in the middle, and its likely to erode further.

The minute someone says that we could have caught such and such a child abuser or murderer if the NSA had only shared the information with the police, its over. They'll start sharing it, and they'll share more and more, and you'll have the surveillance state.

Some people embrace this. They figure it is inevitable. It probably is. And they figure they aren't going to break the law, so why should they worry. I think our system often produces the wrong laws, and too many of them, and whats more, the aura of omnipresent suspicion and fear that accompanies the knowledge of the panopticon of the police state sucks the life right out of a culture. Its no longer reasonable to conceive of such a place as a "free country."

Whats worse, it is inevitable as these loopholes widen and the information sharing spreads that these systems will be used for political and economic manipulation, criminally.

This is the challenge our generation faces. How can you avoid creating a police state in an environment litered with terrorists and murderers and child abusers when omnipotent technology is at hand and it can help fight them? Is it even possible?

Its not about the surveillance...

United Press International - Security & Terrorism - US recalls ambassador to Azerbaijan
Topic: Society 5:07 pm EDT, Apr 23, 2006

As the investigation proceeded, Zarifa Dzhabieva, a former translator for the American embassy was found knifed to death in her own home. Whoever killed Dzhabieva ransacked her dwelling looking for something, even though none of the victim's valuables had been touched. Dzhabieva was under investigation for aiding and abetting the issuing of visas and forged documents to girls destined for the U.S. sex trade.

Wow, this qualifies as completely weird, but after the Homeland Security pedophillia mess, why not a little slavery?

not weird at all it is just that certain dark realities such as the global trade in women for sex rarely breaks the surface and into the light

of course some people will commit murder to protect a lucrative business its a trade old as the hills and far older than the drugs trade

United Press International - Security & Terrorism - US recalls ambassador to Azerbaijan

NYT Review of 'America at the Crossroads,' by Francis Fukuyama
Topic: Society 4:35 pm EST, Mar 14, 2006

Michiko Kakutani calls Fukuyama's new book "tough-minded and edifying."

In "America at the Crossroads," Mr. Fukuyama questions the assertion made by the prominent neoconservatives Mr. Kristol and Robert Kagan in their 2000 book "Present Dangers: Crisis and Opportunity in American Foreign and Defense Policy" that other nations "find they have less to fear" from the daunting power of the United States because "American foreign policy is infused with an unusually high degree of morality." The problem with this doctrine of "benevolent hegemony," Mr. Fukuyama points out, is that "it is not sufficient that Americans believe in their own good intentions; non-Americans must be convinced of them as well."

That's where the General Memetics Corporation comes into the picture.

Fukuyama writes:

"Bureaucratic tribalism exists in all administrations, but it rose to poisonous levels in Bush's first term. Team loyalty trumped open-minded discussion, and was directly responsible for the administration's failure to plan adequately for the period after the end of active combat."

NYT Review of 'America at the Crossroads,' by Francis Fukuyama

Life After Roe
Topic: Society 11:20 am EST, Mar  5, 2006

The impending legal battles put us on the verge of repeating the last two decades of the abortion war: anti-abortion victory, abortion rights backlash. At the end of the cycle 20 years from now, we'll be right back where we are today. Unless, that is, we find a way out.

Gold star.

Life After Roe

Modern Love: Truly, Madly, Guiltily
Topic: Society 2:49 pm EST, Feb 12, 2006

If a good mother is one who loves her child more than anyone else in the world, I am not a good mother. I am in fact a bad mother. I love my husband more than I love my children.

The author of this essay has a new book out. Review is available in today's NYT. From the First Chapter:

Don't they see that I am busy? Don't they realize that obsessive self-pity is an all-consuming activity that leaves no room for conversation? Don't they know that the entrance to the park lies right next to the Eighty-first Street playground and that if I am not completely prepared, if I do not clear my mind, stop my ears to all sounds other than my own breathing, it is entirely possible -- likely even -- that instead of striding boldly past the playground with my eyes on the bare gray branches of the trees, I will collapse outside the playground gate, the shrill voices of the children keening in my skull? Don't they understand, these ladies with their petitions and their dead banker husbands and bulky Tod's purses, that if I let them distract me with talk of Republicans stealing elections or whether Mrs. Katz from 2B saw Anthony the new doorman asleep behind the desk last Tuesday night, I will not make it past the playground to the refuge of the park beyond? Don't they get that the barbaric assault of their voices, the impatient thumping of their Lucite canes as they wait insistently for my mumbled replies, will prevent me from getting to the only place in the entire city where I am able to approximate serenity? They will force me instead to trudge along the Seventy-ninth Street Transverse, pressed against the grimy stone walls, inhaling exhaust fumes from crosstown buses all the way to the East Side. Or worse, they will force me to take a cab.

Today, thank God, the elevator is empty all the way to the lobby.

You may also wish to check out the review by former Poet-Laureate Robert Pinsky of Joan Didion's "The Year of Magical Thinking":

The geological imagery conveys the disparity of scale between any mortal intelligence and those immense, lethal gulfs and mountains. It is a terrain often lied about, and routinely blurred by euphemism. Didion's book is thrilling and engaging -- sometimes quite funny -- because it ventures to tell the truth: a traveler's faithful account of those harsh but fascinating cliffs.

Modern Love: Truly, Madly, Guiltily

BBC NEWS | China editor 'died after beating'
Topic: Society 9:53 pm EST, Feb  7, 2006

A Chinese editor has died as a result of a police beating he received for his paper's reporting on corruption, journalists and rights groups say.

Wu was reportedly attacked by some 50 policemen after his paper accused them of charging illegal bicycle fees.

These are dark days for the global media estate...

BBC NEWS | China editor 'died after beating'

Legislating from the bench
Topic: Society 1:37 pm EST, Feb  2, 2006

The ironies abound. If this is how defenders of the NSA program must proceed in order to argue for its legality, they well fit the caricature of judicial activism that generations of conservatives have tarred liberals with when liberals argue for extensions of civil rights and civil liberties protections. That is, instead of being constrained by law in the first instance, defenders argue that a program would be good policy and therefore strain to find that it is not illegal or unconstitutional.

The conservative infighting begins.

[the law] offers us a place to stand when we object to the aggrandizement of power by those who are utterly convinced that they come to us as saviors. For many years conservatives warned us about would-be saviors of the left, who would sweep away legal restraints to pursue their vision of a just society. It is time to stand up to the would-be saviors of the right, who seek to concentrate unaccountable power in order to pursue their vision of national security.

nicely put

Legislating from the bench

RE: Cindy Sheehan arrested for... wearing a shirt!
Topic: Society 1:24 pm EST, Feb  2, 2006

Vile wrote:

adam wrote:

Vile wrote:

adam wrote:

Iraq..A wisely chosen war, in terms of gaining a strategic vantage point.

and the moon is made of green cheese
Iraq was the wrong war for the wrong reasons

Not gonna argue with you. Your side lost. Deal with it.

my side lost? Well yes in the sense that Bush got his pointless war but that still doesn't mean there was originally any connection between al Qaeda and Iraq. Deal with the facts not Bush's propaganda especially when using that connection to make spurious points about the war dead and support the troops.

It's a great strategic location on many levels. With Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, sections of Africa and Indonesia stabilized and brought to the world's diplomatic table, then we can move closer to a peaceful world. Sometimes, you have to band together and beat the shit out of the bully to acheive peace in the schoolyard.

you mean because of East Timor?
local trouble and no part of global geo-politics
but invading countries because you don't like the regime is acting like a bully
plus the current US position in Iraq is borderline and could go either way
yes lets hope the position stabilizes and civil war is averted
plus do you think invading Iran is a viable option
and do you think China would stand on the sidelines if the US militarily threatened N Korea
it might be argued that by demonstrating a willingness to tear up international treaties like the Geneva Convention and arguably break international law by starting a war of aggression the US is demonstrating its will. It could be argued that it is demonstrating that it is not a weak willed liberal power with more bluff than bollocks, not a decadent violet. In the same way that Hitler regarded all the western powers.
a/ Hitler was wrong then and the west and the US now never needed to prove anything and should be grown up enough to know it.
b/ International law and treaties are part of the social global infrastructure we should be nurturing and upholding (by force if necessary as was the case with the first Gulf war). These institutions and laws are an essential element in banding together to "beat the shit out of the bully to acheive peace in the schoolyard."
c/ as far as needing to prove to the likes of Bin Laden that we have the will the invasion of Afganistan demonstrated that and I supported it. I believe we should act when the law allows it and circumstances demand it and I don't think that is true of Iraq. We don't need to beat people up to demonstrate to the schoolyard that we're big and strong. Bin Laden's hiding in a hole in Afganistan (hahaha it's only a matter of time Ossama) because we have the balls but we also need to show to the Muslim world that we act with justice in mind and can show restraint. The difference between a bully and a leader is that the leader rules by consent not force, knows when to listen and knows that while u may have the power to impose your will u don't always have the right; a leader knows when to demonstrate restrain.

RE: Cindy Sheehan arrested for... wearing a shirt!

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