July 29, 2014
"For all the avant-gardism, all the high-powered analytic techniques and “thinking outside the box,” Kahn’s work was fundamentally in the service of preserving the system, and without cynicism. In this, he was like most of the Cold War defense intellectuals. The attitude was: We are trained scientists. We’ve studied the situation with detachment and disinterestedness; we have taken nothing for granted, given no hostages to sentiment. And we conclude that the world as it is—in this case, a global rivalry between two nuclear powers in an escalating arms race—is acceptable (provided that the policy changes we recommend are adopted)."

Louis Menand at The New Yorker. Fat Man

Herman Kahn and the nuclear age.

It seems strange to knock down a paywall before putting one up, but The New Yorker is doing that for a few months. I suppose I will miss being able to link to the magazine. So it goes.

July 29, 2014
"Despite the conventional wisdom, who any of us is, is not simply a sui generis identity, not really a solipsism, not an unconnected unique individual but rather a conglomerate specific of various and diverse social influences, connections, and intersections."

Kalamu ya Salaam at Neo Griot

July 29, 2014
"Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder. In the Middle Ages when the feudal lords who inhabited the castles whose towers may still be seen along the Rhine concluded to enlarge their domains, to increase their power, their prestige and their wealth they declared war upon one another. But they themselves did not go to war any more than the modern feudal lords, the barons of Wall Street go to war. The feudal barons of the Middle Ages, the economic predecessors of the capitalists of our day, declared all wars. And their miserable serfs fought all the battles. The poor, ignorant serfs had been taught to revere their masters; to believe that when their masters declared war upon one another, it was their patriotic duty to fall upon one another and to cut one another’s throats for the profit and glory of the lords and barons who held them in contempt. And that is war in a nutshell. The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose, especially their lives."

Eugene V. Debbs via Jack SaturdayEugene V. Debs, Canton (Ohio) Anti-War Speech (June 16, 1918)

July 28, 2014
"But even accounting for that, I’ve generally found the coverage of this story particularly irritating, with a handful of honorable exceptions. There’s an extra element here, which is making the reporting on this case much, much worse — and that’s the markets. In short, they’re doing the wrong thing."

Felix Salmon at Medium. The #Griefault trade

Why Argentina’s bonds may be worth even more in default

July 28, 2014
"The more the border is militarized, the more the undocumented population grows. Instead of coming and going, people come and stay because it’s too dangerous to keep gambling with the repeated border crossings."

Aviva Chomsky quoted in an article by Bethania Palma Markus at TruthOut. Borderland Deaths of Migrants Quietly Reach Crisis Numbers

July 28, 2014
"In its response to the suffering of the people in Gaza and in Syria, the West has once again shown its impotence and moral bankruptcy."

Paul Woodward at War in Context. Bibi = Bashar

July 28, 2014
"It is one of the wonders of history how the Jews, without a home or a refuge, harassed and persecuted beyond measure, and often done to death, have preserved their identity and held together for over 2000 years."

Jawaharlal Nehru quoted in an article by Benny Morris in The Guardian.

Einstein’s other theory

In 1947 Zionist leaders asked Albert Einstein to work a miracle and persuade a sceptical India to support the birth of a Jewish state. His fascinating correspondence with Jawaharlal Nehru has recently surfaced in Israeli archives. Benny Morris analyses their exchange

July 27, 2014
"During the height of the Victorian era, Britain liked to compare itself to Rome. London’s mayor still does. But the American empire more closely resembles the Roman one for two pertinent reasons. Firstly, it’s an empire of military bases which are used to control local politics rather than a full-on colonial expansion. Secondly, it keeps playing from the same playbook even as everyone has learnt its moves, even as those moves get more expensive and less effective, and shows no intention of deviating from it. (Third place is Rome and America’s main export is war, Britain’s main export was Britain: currency, queen, religion, cuisine, railroads, etc.)"

Gordon White at Rune Soup. Fate of Empires: Archonology (Part 8)

July 27, 2014
"In my youth, I didn’t think she was ugly. Nor did I didn’t think she was beautiful. She just looked like a dark Black woman. With a bunch of make-up on in the early days. Later, I realized what she really looked like was an African mask. Something to shock you into a realization that no matter how hard you tried, you would never ever master white beauty because that is not what you were. Fundamental Blackness. Severe lines. Severe, you hear me. I mean, you hear Nina. Dogonic, chiseled features. Bold eyes. Ancient eyes. Done seen and survived slavery eyes. A countenance so serious that only hand carved mahogany or ebony could convey the features."

Kalamu ya Salaam at Neo Griot

July 27, 2014
"There are many ways to understand Fela’s art, including the psychocentric approach that shapes so much Western scholarship. But Fela’s insistence that his music, in the writer Ralph Ellison’s words, “demands action,” invites us to look for another key more attuned to the African traditions that shaped him. By throwing himself into the politics of his day, Fela became a living example of the artist’s role as defined by a figure from Yoruba myth. I call this the “Atunda theory” of performance."

 Esiaba Irobi from Black Renaissance/Renaissance NoireNovember-December 2004 in Utne Reader.Singing Truth To Power

Remembering Fela, Nigeria’s rebel troubadour of political dissent


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