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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Edward Snowden wasted his life

Sorry to say but the NBC interview with Snowden shows a technically savvy guy but an historically idealistic and naïve one. He sacrificed his life for an America that no longer exists.

No one cares about privacy anymore! Has he not heard of Facebook and Twitter? You might counter that we intentionally share in such forums while the NSA scoops up our secrets or even incidents from our seemingly banal, everyday life. But so does Google and all the rest. And so too would any observant person you meet downtown or in Home Depot.(However, neither Google nor Home Depot can slap handcuffs on you and throw you into a dungeon, unlike a government apparatus). 

Baudrillard says we are in a world of obscenity....if so, we would like to flaunt ourselves more if we could. As the age of Metanarratives fades, including Snowden's beloved ideal, it becomes more and more necessary to prove that we are real or that we exist.

It is about time to think about enjoying life without privacy. For example, we should consider legal immunity from prosecutions or being fired for our cyber profiles. Otherwise the potential of cyberspace will be stifled.

Monday, May 19, 2014

National interests

The fight over  the future of Ukraine between Russia and America is most interesting as a test of the value of national interests. Policies which enhance the power of a State in the World should be pursued and those which do not should not be pursued. It is the simple and cold logic of the realists. But that was for a modern, Westphalian globe. Now the interests of the State are only one of many policy considerations, not the main one. On Ukraine, Russia has major interests at stake while the US has relatively little, other than denying it to Russia. But ,as S. Walt noted the costs for the US to support  Ukraine far outweigh the benefits. It is one thing to put on the requisite show of disapproval for the sake of NATO allies but another to risk damage on an array of pressing political and economic issues. Finding asymmetric sanctions is not the question. Knowing what and who you need is. But in a postmodern age, pushpin is a good as poetry. Thus, a bit of self-interest, some sanctions, some posturing can all happen together. If so, the response should be muddled too. No retreat from Russia but no invasion either; no breakup of Ukraine but no national solidarity either....a frustrating, exciting, incremental political world

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Eric Holder, US Attorney General, on Too Big to Jail

Let's get a bit deep again and consider the future meaning of Holder's statement. In a recent video he stated that Too Big to Jail is a wrongheaded theory that banks and other financial firms that are highly interconnected will never be criminally prosecuted due to their size. 

Cynics might chuckle at Holder's view as either lie or doublespeak. Certainly the facts would seem to confirm their view since none have been charged with a crime. Also it is late in the game. Not only has the crime festered since 2007-8 but Holder is about ready to exit.

But what if the statement is genuine? How? Assume no difference between theory and practice, i.e. that it is always possible to read politics, speech or acts, as text. Then Holder's statement is the accusation and it has melded into the blogosphere and been disseminated to others listening (less cynical listeners) will assume the guilt of Wall Street. That is bound to constrain their future actions.

Why? The post-Mandeville days when commerce could be deemed good, clean, and virtuous become then more difficult to sustain. Slightly more anyway. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Ukraine and the May 2014 Clash of Democracies

May will see two momentous elections for two decisions. One election on the 11th will be for the liberation of E. Ukraine. The other, two weeks later, will decide upon a new leadership for the State of Ukraine. Is this what Kant envisioned regarding perpetual peace when he claimed that democracies do not clash? But Kant was a modern. In a postmodern field, where everything possible can happen simultaneously, (quantum-ness) tensions are ever-present not only between the old democracy and dictatorship binary.

Ukraine's present history may point the way to a new form of democracy as electionism.