One for A. Sullivan

Ron Paul is winning (won?) the Integral-Holons Presidential Poll.  Results here.

By a wide margin–wider than his next two closest opponents combined HRC and Barack.

Have no idea what that means, other than seems to go with his popularity through YouTube, anti-war stance, and internet fund raising.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Northrop Frye: Forerunner of AQAL Integral?

From his famous text, Anatomy of Criticism (1957!!!):

We have tried to show where the archetypal or mythic critic, the aesthetic form critic, the historical critic, belong in a comprehensive view of criticism.  Whether the comprehensive view is right or not, I hope some sense has been communicated of what folly it would be to try to exclude any of these groups from criticism.  As was said in the beginning, the present book is not designed to suggest a new program for critics, but a new perspective on their existing programs, which in themselves are valid enough.  The book attacks no methods of criticism, once that subject has been defined: what it attacks are the barriers between the methods.

I’ll have more to say on this book later.  I’m reading three of his books right now (Anatomy and his two largest works on Literature and the Bible/Religion).  He still has too much of the paternalism for my tastes (notice the WE not I in the above quotation).  On the other hand, I find his work more socially aware, communitarian, and realistic than say Bloom’s.  Frye was an ordained minister in the United Church of Canada.  I attend theological school with a number of Canadian United Church students.  So that probably explains my simpatico-ness with Frye.   Frye was Harold Bloom’s mentor.  Bloom then in turn Paglia’s.  Fascinating lineage.

Nonexclusion, enactment, and communal verification.  All are there.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 11:11 am  Comments (1)  

Sudan

NyTimes piece on calls for the execution (you read that correctly) of the British teacher who let the class name the teddy bear Muhammad.  Currently she is to serve 2 weeks with no lashes.

Sudan is one of the poorest countries on the planet–minus the elite making some fast cash off recent oil explorations.  It’s government

The other thing left unmentioned in the press is that Islam has always been connected in Sudan with anti-British imperialism.  This act, stupid and horrific as it is, is tapping back into that mindset.  Recall the siege of Khartoum where Col. Gordon (played by Charlton Heston) was overrun by the forces of the self-styled Mahdi.   Then as now the conquering Arab-influenced Sudanese Muslims kill Muslims (Darfur) who are seen to be a threat.

The Arabs were slave traders in Sudan.  The Islamic rule of the Northern Arab Sudanese has inflicted a 20 year civil war against Black (sub-Saharan) Christians and animists and now Black Muslims in the Darfur region.  For a time in the 90s, Sudan hosted AQSL (al-Qaeda Senior Leadership): bin Laden and Zawahiri.

It is a mythic aristocratic form (blue meme) of governance–a brutal one–that is using tribal militas (red meme) to kill opposition.  It is hardline Sunni medievalist in format.  Islam in Africa, by and large, particularly in Sudan (and Nigeria) is aligned with tribal rule.  A British teacher letting the children think for themselves is a threat to that order.  Though I’m sure she didn’t see it that way or intend it as such.  The rule of the chief is absolute.  Islam will have to detach itself from the tribal order in order to evolve in Africa.  Survive even perhaps at least in the sub-Saharan parts of the continent.

While praying for the woman and her family for a safe release (and the children who may receive anonymous beatings at home, anonymous to the outside world), this is a good thing to be exposed because it continues to undermine the foundations of the current form of Islam (not Islam en toto) practiced in the country.  Cultures and religions do self-inflict wounds.  It’s not all simply a passive, determined response, due to the history of colonialism or poverty as left-wing elements will argue.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 10:47 am  Leave a Comment  

Daniel Levy vs. David Frum

Only on Bloggingheads.tv.

This one on the recent Annapolis Conference and the larger question of the Israeli-Arab world. And watch the sparks fly.

Levy was a negotiator for the Israelis at the Taba Conference under then Prime Minister Ehud Barak (current Minister of Defense); David Frum was a speechwriter for President Bush, author of the famous “Axis of Evil” phrase. Levy’s blog Prospects for Peace is here. Frum writes a column in the National Review.

I’m skeptical about the process (Levy=more optimistic, Frum=totally pessimistic), particularly given that Hamas and Iran are not involved.

Nevertheless it is amazing that Frum (Canadian by birth, American by immigration) has absorbed the central fallacy of the American right on the issue: there is no occupation. (more…)

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 10:25 am  Leave a Comment  

Juan Williams on Obama

Interesting analysis.  Pragmatic and yet idealistic.  Much like Obama himself.  Hopeful but not naive about the hurdles.  Obama represents, for Williams, the possibility of moving beyond racial politics to what he calls “shared values” politics.  By racial politics, he means I think, victim politics (which afflicts much more than certain elements of the Black Community).

[Ed note:  I hate to have to say this, but in our culture it seems I sadly must–Juan Williams is an African American man whose written a profound meditation on the Civil Rights movement.]

At first glance, the black-white response to Mr. Obama appears to represent breathtaking progress toward the day when candidates and voters are able to get beyond race. But to say the least, it is very odd that black voters are split over Mr. Obama’s strong and realistic effort to reach where no black candidate has gone before. Their reaction looks less like post-racial political idealism than the latest in self-defeating black politics.

Mr. Obama’s success is creating anxiety, uncertainty and more than a little jealousy among older black politicians. Black political and community activists still rooted in the politics of the 1960s civil rights movement are suspicious about why so many white people find this black man so acceptable.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 10:06 am  Leave a Comment  

Jason Whitlock: Fight Back Against the Black KKK

This one is explosive.

[Ed note:  As Whitlock notes, the details of Sean Taylor’s death are not known.  Whitlock, a black man, assumes that the murderer was likely black. If it turns out Taylor was not gunned down by a black man, does this invalidate his thesis?]

Well, when shots are fired and a black man hits the pavement, there’s every statistical reason to believe another black man pulled the trigger. That’s not some negative, unfair stereotype. It’s a reality we’ve been living with, tolerating and rationalizing for far too long. When the traditional, white KKK lynched, terrorized and intimidated black folks at a slower rate than its modern-day dark-skinned replacement, at least we had the good sense to be outraged and in no mood to contemplate rationalizations or be fooled by distractions…

Let’s cut through the bull(manure) and deal with reality. Black men are targets of black men. Period. Go check the coroner’s office and talk with a police detective. These bullets aren’t checking W-2s. Rather than whine about white folks’ insensitivity or reserve a special place of sorrow for rich athletes, we’d be better served mustering the kind of outrage and courage it took in the 1950s and 1960s to stop the white KKK from hanging black men from trees.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 9:58 am  Leave a Comment  

Two Views on Recent Stem Cell Technique

Charles Krauthammer: Bush vindicated, the debate is over.
Michael Kinsley in Time: Not so much.

[Relevant sidenote: Krauthammer is a paraplegic. Kinsley suffers from Parkinson’s disease. Krauthammer was on President Bush II’s Council on Bioethics.]

A few points about the new technique.

1)It required embryonic stem cells to be done. So this whole line about how “the debate is over” is not intellectually honest.
2)The scientists themselves believe that embryonic stem cell research should continue. Doesn’t mean it should just ‘cuz they say so, that’s their opinion (informed but not absolute), but it does mean this easy line about “Bush was right, let’s all cheer” is again less than totally accurate. The reasoning of the scientists?
3)This new technique (which would be a profound breakthrough) might not work. In which case, a horror story would be to find out 5 years down the road, after having launched only on this line of research, to find that it’s a dead end. I pray to God that doesn’t happen. I would love for this technique (non-embryonic) to be the one “that works.” But a one-track only approach could seriously backfire.

I actually agree with Krauthammer that the best position for the president to have taken would have been to use the already created, frozen, and to be “discarded” (ugly word) embryos from in-vitro clinics. And not, repeat not, use embryonic tissue from aborted material.  I agreed with the President that the government should not be funding more lines specifically created for this purpose. Though its arguable, I suppose, that the reverse should have been the case. The President should have been for government regulation because embryos were created and destroyed for this purpose, but outside regulatory functioning–i.e. in the private sector.

Kinsley, with whom I don’t often agree but find his viewpoint always enlightening, adds this point on why the debate is not in fact over:

Third, although the political dilemma that stem cells pose for politicians is real enough, the moral dilemma is not and never was. The embryos used in stem-cell research come from fertility clinics, which otherwise would discard them. This has been a powerful argument in favor of such research. Why let these embryos go to waste? But a more important point is, What about fertility clinics themselves? In vitro fertilization (“test-tube babies”) involves the purposeful creation of multiple embryos, knowing and intending that most of them either will die after implantation in the womb or, if not implanted, will be discarded or frozen indefinitely. Even if all embryonic-stem-cell research stopped tomorrow, this far larger mass slaughter of embryos would continue. There is no political effort to stop it. Bush even praised in vitro fertilization in his 2001 speech about the horrors of stem-cell research. In vitro has become too popular for politicians to take on. But their failure to do so makes a mockery of their alleged agony over embryonic stem cells.

That’s a provocative last line. One reply would be that they were simply practical men and women who realized they could only win certain fights and drew their sand line where they thought they had some chance of succeeding. Rather than the hypocrisy/mockery line of Kinsley. I certainly agree that the debate, as in US political discourse, will never discuss the white elephants sitting in the room. Does it make sense to have allowed so many embryos to be destroyed in one arena and then prevent some others (that were destroyed anyway) from being used for possible life-giving/life-saving ways?

Mockery I think is too strong for me. I prefer ignorant and morally shallow.

Published in: on November 30, 2007 at 9:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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Great News

clipped from www.washingtonpost.com

Worldwide deaths from measles have fallen by two-thirds since 2000, the result of stepped-up immunization efforts and the distribution of vitamin A capsules in developing countries, a partnership of five health organizations said yesterday.Africa, which has long had the most measles deaths, has seen the biggest drop, 91 percent. In many villages, measles shots, polio vaccines, deworming pills and insecticide-treated mosquito nets for malaria prevention are all being given out together.

  blog it
Published in: on November 29, 2007 at 10:22 pm  Leave a Comment  

Spencer Ackerman: Anbar not so good for Pakistan

Smart piece here.  Why trying to export the so-called Anbar Model to the FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) of Northwestern Pakistan is a non-starter.

The Anbar model worked in Iraq by exploiting the divide between by the non-Iraqi and radical Salafi al-Qaeda in Iraq and the tribal, (non Salafi) Sunni Iraqi leadership.

Essentially,

In Pakistan, nothing like this exists. The FATA tribes show no sign of tensions with AQSL. The Times reported that many of the same tribes that would form the basis of a FATA Awakening still actively fight alongside the Taliban — as do elements within the Interior Ministry that would be responsible for nurturing the Awakening. Within SOCOM, which has developed the proposal, analysts have no idea whether the tribes would accept or reject American support. In short, the basic strategic condition that allowed the Anbar Awakening to exist — a split between Iraqis and al-Qaeda — isn’t in evidence here. All sorts of other potential problems arise: for one, this potential paramilitary tribal force, with its minimal control by Islamabad, wouldn’t augur well for the internal stability of a nuclear-armed country. But without the basic FATA/AQSL split, it makes no sense to consider such second-order questions. And in that case, flooding the FATA with money and guns is about as wise as making a blank check out to Osama bin Laden.

John Robb echoes similar sentiments here.

Published in: on November 29, 2007 at 5:57 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Informational State

Listen to Jack Balkin’s profound talk on the national surveillance state (video here–halfway down page).  As close to required watching as I have seen.

For Balkin, the national surveillance state, the next iteration in government, from and building on the welfare state and the national security state, is itself only one facet of a much greater tectonic paradigm shift (in the true sense of that word): the informational state.

JB argues that government has previously been built around the concept of adjudicating the law and punishing criminals after a crime has been committed. The information society (Minority Report?) will be built around the collection and vetting of information in order to prevent crime before it occurs.

Controlling information flows.

A key point Balkin argues is that how a state deals with outside players (foreign policy) is directly related to its internal dealings (domestic) and vice versa. The national security appartus comes on the scene roughly at the same time as the Welfare State.

The National Surveillance State arises during the GWOT. Or the post Cold War American unilateral moment.

1.Increased data analysis/surveiling to identify problems of governance
2.Increse’d investment in those technologies
3.New bureaucracies of surveilling,
4.new private-public interface in surveillance

And holonically, Balkin says that the surveillance state will be layered (enveloping) on the welfare and nat’l security state.

It builds on the technology that arose out of those government paradigms.  (e.g. the Internet comes from Darpa, from the Defense Department).

Once the technology arrives on the scene, the technology while not all-determinative, does set the pace and context for the discussion of rights/laws.  RFID tags originally were designed to be implanted on clothing to prevent shop lifting.  But now are used to track people outside of the store.  Or to get a sense of consumer patterns, etc.

This accords with Wilber’s argument in vol.2 that the lower right quadrant (technology) is the greatest single factor in the average mode of consciousness.  The right-hand quadrants, based more out of cognition (fastest moving line of development) evolves much more quickly than the governmental policies and cultural norms (left hand) that set the ethical standards for the use and misuse of such technology.

And make no mistake, the National Surveillance State is already here.  It is not an evil creation of Dick Cheney and George W. Bush however much I think it is right to say they have abused these technologies (technologies without rule sets=abuse of power).   The features of the NSS pre-exist 9/11 (including some laws under Bill Clinton).  Just like Welfare State and National Security State–both designed/implemented by both political parties.  Nixon created the EPA.  Truman the National Security State.

The question is a democratic-transparent informational state or a authoritarian, oppressive one.  The analogy Balkin uses is that the totalitarian informational state is a simultaneous glutton and hoarder of info.  Glutton in that it gobbles up any data it can.  Hoarder in that it keeps everything, disposing of nothing.  Therefore it gets tons and tons of bad information and therefore is paranoid and consequently makes innumerable self-destructive choices based on “faulty intelligence.”  It is miserly in preventing knowledge of its processes, reach, methods of collection, and informational storage locations.

The obverse is an informational gourmet and philanthropist (lean healthy eater and largess dispenser):  eating the proper amounts of information, jettisoning no longer useful or extraneous information as soon as possible.

Balkin theorizes as to whether this shift to a “preventive” model requires or will (darkly) create a parallel legal system–as we see in the current military detainees/torture issue.  Either the parallel system will route around, as Balkin says, the current one (i.e. Abu Ghraib) or it will modify the current system to fit the needs of the new system (new FISA Amendment?).

All of us give off information. All the time.  There is nothing that we will be able to do to prevent giving off information–DNA, bodily information, etc.

The National Surveillance State is a more or less permanent status of American governance, he says.

Published in: on November 28, 2007 at 10:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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