blogorrhoea
Saturday, July 19, 2003
 
THOUGHTS AT BED-TIME

* Serious unravelling proceeds apace in Washington, where Congressman Henry Waxman has just posted this open letter to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Mr Waxman tears strips of that awful State of the Union spray, accuses administration heavies of telling diabolical porkies, and suspects Chief Spook Tenet took rather more heat than was his due (if not quite as much as poor Professor Kelly and his loved ones). A must-read.

* I've just been watching messrs Mitchum, Young and Ryan strut and scheme through 'Crossfire'. Beautifully scripted film noire with the sort of anti-bigotry theme that occasioned the reconvening of the HUAC and concomitant instigation of decades of cinematic shite.

* What happened to Kez?

* Here's a nice little (!) quote: "The recognition of trade unions, the right to workmen's compensation, the limitation of the hours of labour, regulations seeking safety and sanitation in mine and factory, systems of social insurance and national education, these, to take examples only, were the price paid by capitalists to the working class for their co-operation in the overthrow of a social control exercised by a landed aristocracy. Broadly speaking, the price was paid with relative cheerfulness so long as the new society was in process of expansion. From its abounding profits, it was able then, without detriment to its security, to satisfy the wants of the masses for an increasing standard of life. The problems of the new society became more complex when the continuance of expansion, by each national state, became increasingly difficult. At that stage, every new popular demand became a threat to privilege. The contradiction between the economic and the political configurations of society became ever more glaring. Capitalism, increasingly found itself in a situation where every advance in social well-being endangered the power of its owners to compete in the markets of the world. It had either to give way before the power of numbers, seeking the democratic ownership and control of the means of production, or it had to move to the suppression of democracy as a principle of life incompatible with its own essence."

It's from a little book that warns how easily freedom may be incrementally undone in the complacent modern democratic state, and how likely war is in the modern world, . The book is called *Liberty In The Modern State* by Harold Laski. I have quoted from the 1937 introduction to the Pelican edition of a book originally written in 1930.

Prescient then.

Prescient now.


 
 
NOURISHING LONG FAMISHED PARTS: THE FALCONIC PEREGRINATION

I've been away from the confuser for a few days, and only once did I miss the square-eyed tyrant. It was on Monday afternoon, in the middle of the Warrumbungle Range, atop Split Rock and amidst a reverie I might have tried to force into words had I not been interrupted by the splendid sight of a young male koala patiently and purposefully scaling the cliff face to get to a young eucalypt I dare say he'd visited before. Once swaying in the top-most branchlets, li'l bear casually threw his weight about to clutch at other branches, happily hanging by a claw over a derisory thousand-foot drop.

Silence, space, solitude, deep time, a big sky and an oblivious koala. Thusly circumstanced, the hardened atheist begins to sympathise with talk of the soul. Certainly, long famished parts deep within sigh their contentment.

Looks like the drought has had its effects amongst the roo population, too. Red Kangaroos generally dwell in sparse shrublands and semi-desert, which the currently lush Warrumbungles really ain't. They also like to hang about in large mobs and do their eating throughout the night. But on Tuesday Number One Son and I saw a solitary couple busily chomping away at 3.00 in the afternoon. Lotsa Greys and divers wallabies, too. And if it's flocks emus hang around in, we saw those, too.

Australia is, by and extremely large, a lump of land so ancient that it's been worn down to plains and gentle undulations. Even the colours seem to have been washed out of its leaves, reptiles and mammals (but most notably not its birds). The Warrumbungles aren't at all like that. A thick forest of lush eucalypt bedecking what I imagine Americans would call mesas and buttes. I'm guessing the unusual jagged shapes are a function of the relative youth of the place. The Garrawilla Volcano dumped on the place a few times, affording the elements a mere 45-200 million years' scouring. In some spots, you can find exposed sandstone sporting fossilised Glossopteris leaves that go back 255 million years. Much of the rest is the sort of brecchia and compound rock Garawilla forged 100 million years later.

And all of it is bloody marvellous.
 
Friday, July 18, 2003
 
WTF?

Sprach The Leader Of The Free World, "We gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in."

Was he speaking without notes or do his minders really think The Most Lied To Electorate In The World is sufficiently befuddled to swallow this? Bloody scary either way, really.

And then there's Blair. Even if it does turn out that every word of the rhetoric he, Bushbaby and Honest Johnny used to blight our history with a war of aggression was untrue, he reckons the invasion was okay. 'Coz the boy Washington had supported and armed for eleven years and a million deaths was a bastard.

This is apparently why we've just killed about 30000 Iraqis not a single one of whom was Saddam Hussein. Or his ghastly sons. Or, it seems, Chemical Ali ...

To add to the half million or more Iraqis who weren't Saddam we killed in the twelve years before that.

And then there's those thousands of people in Afghanistan who weren't bin Laden ... or Zawahiri ... or Mullah Omar ...


 
political economic and cultural observations in the register of dismal dilettantism

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