Posts Tagged ‘humanitarianism’
* A Solution from Hell: n+1 on humanitarian interventionism (from 2011).
* The oceans are acidifying at the fastest rate in 300 million years. Can we cruise-missile climate change?
* In light of increased pressure on President Obama to order a military strike on Syria, leading historians and military experts on Tuesday simply pointed to the United States’ longstanding and absolutely impeccable record of successful bombing campaigns over the past 60 years.
“Statute Forbidding Any One to Annoy or Unduly Injure the Freshmen. Each and every one attached to this university is forbidden to offend with insult, torment, harass, drench with water or urine, throw on or defile with dust or any filth, mock by whistling, cry at them with a terrifying voice, or dare to molest in any way whatsoever physically or severely, any, who are called freshmen, in the market, streets, courts, colleges and living houses, or any place whatsoever, and particularly in the present college, when they have entered in order to matriculate or are leaving after matriculation.”
Leipzig University Statute (1495)
* Slavery should be seen not as a sure sign of economic backwardness, but as a technically refined system for coordinating abstract knowledge and bodily violence: intelligence and torture, free trade and imperial war, financial data and brutal physical toil—all adding up to booming world trade, accumulating wealth, and ecological degradation. In this picture, the Cotton Kingdom looks like nothing less than the homeland of neoliberalism, and master and slave, the origin story of contemporary America.
* What rape culture: teacher gets 30 days in jail for raping a 14-year-old student who later killed herself, on grounds that the girl (“older than her chronological age”) was ”as much in control of the situation” as him.
* And Dean Norris spoils the end of Breaking Bad. Shocking.
* The rich are different: Fremont police to offer pay-to-stay jail program.
“It’s still a jail; there’s no special treatment,” Devine said. “They get the same cot, blanket and food as anybody in the county jail, except that our jail is smaller, quieter and away from the county jail population.”
* America as world-historical blip. Not nearly enough attention to energy here.
And with more business-minded folks getting into the act, business principles are trumpeted as an important element to add to the philanthropic sector. I now hear people ask, “what’s the R.O.I.?” when it comes to alleviating human suffering, as if return on investment were the only measure of success. Microlending and financial literacy (now I’m going to upset people who are wonderful folks and a few dear friends) — what is this really about? People will certainly learn how to integrate into our system of debt and repayment with interest. People will rise above making $2 a day to enter our world of goods and services so they can buy more. But doesn’t all this just feed the beast?
* The fact is that Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft are all integral components of the US cyber-surveillance system. Nothing, but nothing, that is stored in their “cloud” services can be guaranteed to be safe from surveillance or from illicit downloading by employees of the consultancies employed by the NSA.
* New $444 million hockey arena is still a go in Detroit. Detroit’s budget deficit is only $380 million.
* So why has Detroit suffered unlike any other major city? Planning, or the lack thereof for more than a century, is why Detroit stands out. While cities like Chicago, Philadelphia and Los Angeles (don’t laugh – Detroit and LA essentially boomed at the same time) put a premium on creating pleasant built environments for their residents, Detroit was unique in putting all its eggs in the corporate caretaker basket. Once the auto industry became established in Detroit, political and business leaders abdicated their responsibility on sound urban planning and design, and elected to let the booming economy do the work for them.
* So, to sum it all up: we have the Lords of MOOC creation, afloat for now on some misguided venture captial (and lots of sunshine blown up the skirts of university presidents), who are giving away a product that no one seems to want to pay even $89 for, probably because only 10% of users come away with much of anything. And yet, we’re assured that this is completely”disruptive” “for good or ill” and, more importantly, “inevitable.”
* To minimize the risk of collision between spacecraft and space junk, the U.S. Space Surveillance Network tracks all debris larger than 10 centimeters. These images represent all man-made objects, both functioning and useful objects and debris, currently being tracked.
* Loyalty oaths at the ACLU. I mean really.
The order of authorship was determined by a twenty-five-game croquet series held at Imperial College Field Station during summer 1973.
* And Maria Bamford has a new web series. You’re welcome.
“In the latest freedom-of-information blow, agencies ignore a transparency order from the president himself.” Meanwhile, the New York Times enters stage four: bargaining.
Imagine if we could watch in high definition with a bird’s-eye view. A drone would let us count demonstrators, gun barrels and pools of blood. And the evidence could be broadcast for a global audience, including diplomats at the United Nations and prosecutors at the International Criminal Court.
…If human rights organizations can spy on evil, they should.
The innocence of the liberal hawk is one of the few truly renewable resources America seems to have in abundance. Liberal hawks treasure their innocence but are also very careless with it, for they keep on losing it. And each time they misplace it, they manage to find it again just in time for the next bad idea.
Far from being a knee-jerk response to Western military action, opposition to the bombing marks a considered reflection on the West’s knee-jerk impulse to mistake war for foreign policy. This impulse follows a well-worn circular logic in three parts: (1) Something must be done now. (2) This is something. (3) So we must do it. And that something invariably involves bombing.
Calling these oil field protection operations “humanitarian” is Orwellian and it prevents the American people from facing the real questions before them about their own futures and how to genuinely work toward a more peaceful, equitable and decent world.
* Stanley Fish unexpectedly discovers academics are workers too.
“The difficulty in addressing New Jersey’s fiscal crisis and its constitutionally mandated obligation to educate our children requires an exquisite balance not easily attained,” Doyne wrote. “Something need be done to equitably address these competing imperatives. That answer, though, is beyond the purview of this report. For the limited question posed to the Master, it is clear the State has failed to carry its burden.”
* But this, too, from Dylan Matthews:
…This is why Leon Wieseltier’s defense of the intervention is so infuriating. He mocks Ezra’s point on the relative benefits of spending money fighting Libya versus spending money fighting malaria, asking, “Did our inaction in Rwanda reduce the frequency of malaria in Africa?” The point seems to be that malaria eradication may be a better goal, but it’s not politically tenable, and in light of that, intervening in Libya is a good second-best option in humanitarian terms.
But one reason that humanitarian intervention is so much more politically tenable than anti-malaria spending is that Leon Wieseltier, most everyone else at The New Republic, and a whole lot of other liberal hawks in DC have made it their mission for the past 20+ years to make it politically tenable. If he and his comrades thought anti-malaria spending was a better idea, then they should have spent time arguing that instead. But they didn’t. And turning around when called on it and saying, “Well yes, this is a second best option” is really bizarre.
* And Mother Jones has your list of Communists Muslims in the State department. Remain vigilant, citizens! Traitors are everywhere.
When the FBI again took an interest in Zinn in the 1960s, documents show the bureau evidently tried to have the historian fired from his job as professor at Boston University.In a document from the Boston FBI office (see PDF file here), an FBI “source,” whose name was redacted from the publicly released documents, was quoted as being outraged over Zinn’s comment at a protest that the US had become a “police state” and that prosecutions of Black Panther Party members were creating “political prisoners.”
The bureau’s Boston office then indicated it wanted to help the source in his or her campaign to unseat Zinn. “[The] Boston proposes under captioned program with Bureau permission to furnish [name redacted] with public source data regarding Zinn’s numerous anti-war activities … in an effort to back [redacted] efforts for his removal.”
* Surprising no one, North Korea is doing the World Cup wrong.
* In the wake of strong U.S. government statements condemning WikiLeaks’ recent publishing of 77,000 Afghan War documents, the secret-spilling site has posted a mysterious encrypted file labeled “insurance.” The MetaFilter thread is rife with speculation about what might be in the file; about whether the government has been given the key, or indeed if Assange knows there really is an NSA-backdoor in AES256 after all; about who is and isn’t incentivized to murder Assange as a result of this upload; and about which classic cyberpunk writer this whole storyline was stolen from.
* The latest in the $45/$200,000,000 Ansel Adams negatives saga: the interesting copyright issues involved have been short-circuited by the revelation that the negatives are probably the work of someone’s Uncle Earl.
* Science—well, Nature—says we wouldn’t miss mosquitoes.
* And RSA Animate animates Slavoj Žižek on charity and consumerism. Charity degrades and demoralizes. It is immoral to use private property in order to alleviate the horrible evils that result from the institution of private property… Via MeFi.
‘The history of disaster relief is replete with examples of outside experts going into a stricken city, region or country and attempting to show the locals how best to reorganize their society’
Duke Ph.D. candidate Jacob Remes has an op-ed in the News & Observer on aid that will work in Haiti.