Friday, December 19, 2008

e for an i

my dear american fellows, or my dear fellows in america.

now that barrack hussein is priming for the top job, he declared setting as priority extricating the troops from ıraq and concentrating on settling afghanistan first.

this requires, more than any military measure, some kind of political solution that inevitably has to be based on some cultural interaction, communication and understanding with the iraqi - even if the so-logical-that-seems-to-be-inevitable-tripartition-of-iraq becomes actual.

unfortunately, my dear fellows are long in the armaments division but two decades after the initial clash and after a half decade of invasion, still seem alarmingly and pathetically short in understanding and accomodating the iraqi mind and culture.

eventual conciliation can come less from (attempted) subjugation than reaching out and establishing a conjunction of interests.

my dear fellows in america, including those in the media industries and holywood, could do something very simple and easy, in respect to getting accross to iraq (which, incidentally, means far and hard to reach) and the iraqi.

they can stop pronouncing iraq as eye-rock, which in some dialects at least, can associate with not-so-nice words, from what i hear.

the local and correct anglicized pronounciation of iraq would be "e-rock". and with far little emphasis on the "e" - closer to something like 'rock than e-mail for instance.

believe me fellows, you do not have to delve or dive, it pays even if you merely try to peek into the culture of a country you are foreign to, much less one whose soil you have occupied.

believe me fellows, i learnt that from watching the hatred garnered by the "ugly american" fat cat tourists of the 60's, who demanded shopkeepers this side of the atlantic "how much is that in real money?"

not hard is it? an i for an e for sympathy? might also even get you some sweet mint tea on the side...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

crisis? but whose crisis? not harley davidson's, surely...

the american economic system is geared to suck even the smallest savings back into its mill through its articulate and complex arrangements of the banking and finance sector. it relies on obtaining cheap money from the populce by way of bankers, which then is invested in supposedly lucrative enterprises.

unlike europe, where a tradition of landlording is historical and historic heritage, there are few opportunitiies for the american moneyed and rich classes to roll in luxury on a rentiér model of what financiers term "pure profit". you cannot buy a flat on park avenue for instance, let it to someone and laze around in malibu squandering the rent away. taxes, costs, overheads, over- burdens etc. will leave you poorer than a pauper.

if you are a beach bum type like me, the only way you can beat the system is invest enough capital in the securities and exchanges market to get you by and to cross your fingers hoping it will not come down crashing with all your debauchery and dreams too - in the 1987 "crisis", which indeed was an earthquake in the american finance system that served to funnel capital toward the cheaper labor markets of asia, an ex-executive on an easy circumnavigation with his wife had to return stateside to get a well paying job for a couple years, so he would not have to sell their yacht (then moored in bodrum) because all their savings had gone gown the drain. well, the quirks and snags of "impure" profit. a french rentiér would be much less shaken.

since americans could not rationally buy houses or other real estate in order to draw an easy income from, realty turned into a field of speculation in the heydays of finacier-ism of the 90's and early 21st century - as opposed to the monetarism of the 80s and early 90s. houses, etc. construction is usually profitable, it launders money well and real estate is truly the rarest good available, so there is always a profit margin that cyclically becomes exaggerated.

thus, buying and selling real estate made money, even with mortgages, i.e., money that is only on paper. the loose finances anchored to america's inbound economy with limited profit margins grabbed the milkier mortgage system like a bonanza, instead of seeking outlets within the universal global market.

real estate and mortgage practically operated on the same level of "money that was not there, virtual money" (1). money that produced some inverted form of pure profit that was denied to the much more honest and controllable endeavor of landlordship.

now that the whole mortgage dream-system is dead, papers report, the demand for skilled labor has already increased - since the last year of bill clinton or thereabouts, unskilled, cheap workers were in demand, signifying the plight of real, unproductive, uncompetitive, un-global american economy.

production economy is back, or waiting to make a come-back, even in america.

since the current "crisis" was a composite result of a failing and unyieldy inbound, introvert "national" economy, talking for the future of production in america should mean a more competitive american presence in the world, as opposed to a more domineering and bullying old fashioned hegemon in military fatigues.

look where harley davidson have come in the last five years or so... from a slumberous style and technology belonging in mid-20th century that caused the legendary machines to be called "hardly-ableson", to once more a world wide magnet for motorcycle freaks (2).

so this is not really a crisis for harley. it is still "crisis? what crisis?" for enterprises and sectors and businesses and what not that can behave as universally as harley did.

and now that the "crisis" blew up the money on paper, we're talking real money. american savings will now most likely go to banks and finance markets that have the world as their playing field. as a very large, indeed, the largest part of that world, american economy will ingest a good deal of such savings made at home and elsewhere, perhaps even in turkey. international, trans-border mergers and a de-nationalization of the most volatile, versatile and fluent element of economics, "capital" will have to dictate a new world order, too, where the nation state, if it wants a say in things will also somehow de-nationalize.

in question is a new world order that dubya and his cohorts could not and will not understand. luckily for america and the entire globe, with mccain on an apparent slide -thanks a lot to sarah palin - the republican anachronism seems to be fading in both its present and promised forms. a couple more weeks and hussein barack obama, it seems, will ascend the world's political throne.

he is lucky... he comes forward at a turn where things, unless clipped by some sick and parochial mentality typified in the dubya regime, have only up as a way to go

(1) if what we were taught in macro economics is true, there can be no "money that is noot there" (money used here to signify general resources that may be converted into capital). economy does not tolerate any hiatus and simply fills it in. as it turns out, the states, the bane and brunt of the capitalist system, had the funds and were sleeping on them! however, since they need it to finance wars, armies and a huge bureaucratic apparatus ever ready to cook even further ills, the seeming hiatus may still be filled also by elements even worse than governments, like those headquartered in medellin or the afghan-pakistan border.
(2) present company begs to be excluded... i still favor italian élan and styling and bmw engineering, although my previous "wouldn't be caught dead riding a hardly-ableson" attitude is now of the past... i appreciate and welcome the transformation of harley and hope it is a harbinger of other american industries and services - which will have to turn global in ownership, too.
(3) that's why i supported hillary and would love to see a clinton in the coming democratic administration. once this stage is passed, any flaws in the foundations-in-the-laying of the renovated world-system can only lead to more devastating tremors in its structure. a world-weary, street-savvy u.s. administration would become a blessinng for the world. joe biden is simply not up to standard and hussein is too green behind the ears. i only hope his passing over hillary was not the sum of a petty grudge left over from the campaigns.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

crisis? what crisis?

the world is in a dire financial crisis that, according to some experts at least, threatens to turn economic. well, thanks to that crisis, we, the general public and a not-so-few number of specialists now at last have remembered, if not realized that "financial" and "economic" may be mutually inclusive but not identical.

crisis? big deal! it is a fact established since karl marx that capitalism thrives on crises. immanuel wallerstein, the late andre gunder frank, their crony giovanni arrighi and many others have been harping on how crises alter economic events and structures for no less than 40 years. each crisis, which they summarily define as a (set of) condition(s) that disrupt(s) the balance of capitalist socio-economic structures, forcing them to transform in order to adapt and self-sustain.

the crash of 1929 ended with state-wide economies integrated more or less on national levels, only to serve the inter-nationalization of capitalism as a worldwide system in the post war era. in 1970, the system came of age, as the dollar-gold parity was abandoned. meantime, the accumulated wealth was more generously spread to the consumer classes. the effects of the 1973 oil embargo and subsequent waves of inflation necessitated and hastened an end to keynesian economics. in the 1980s, monetarism operated more or less to unite a world economy about a financial orbit, calling to favor two hitherto secret gods of capitalism, productivity and competitivity. hence, the crisis of the late 80s, with which (if i were an economist, i would claim because of which) the soviet, or rather the state-as-economy system collapsed irrecoverably.
the world economy became more consolidated and associated around capitalist mechanisms than ever.

smaller scale crises continued on a course toward globalization as capitalist production on the trail of profit through productivity and competitivity, discovered the new slave labor throves of the pacific rim and eventually, chindia. the market crashes of 1987 and 1997 ended up with the supremacy and preponderance of a finance-economy that triggered world scale production and consumption.

money was freed! regardless of what nation-state printed it, money became a world citizen. the most fluid element of economics, money, was now globalized as nothing previous.

capitalism, which had ever had to suffer from state apparati since its emergence, was now clearing itself of national bounds, too although that could cause significant suffering for "national" economies. finance determined the fate of the world economy and economies in general.

money made money. and when money made money,it also made money not in evidence. so, everyone got rich. at least, on paper.

when capitalism was more dependent on goods production rather than financing its (re?)productive system, it nevertheless needed to be territorially based, locally established, supported, sometimes protected, even defended against physical outside attacks. the states provided that "service" for a "fee"; i.e., prospering national economies or political élites, depending on how a specific country was run. always, however, a politicallly conducive balance was always struck between the power wielded by the bureaucratic-apparatus and captains of economy.

how public welfare extended to lower classes developing into consumers was also a function of that balance. whereas increased welfare returned almost automatically to the system by way of consumer spending, the state meddling with or in the economy in any form could often become a bothersome, profligate burden; frittering away good resources in a bottomless pit of counter-productive political priorities.

it was this margin of license and power of the state/bureaucracy that enjoyed some influence on political-economy that prompted the structuralist marxists of the 1980s, louis althusser, nikos poulantzas, étienne balibar etc. to propose a "relative autonomy of the state from the ruling (capitalist) classes".

actually, that autonomy was always there. all states in the world are at best, relics from eras where the power vested in them was exclusive to only a few. by definition, if a state exists at all, it has a form of power in reserve that is exclusive only to those who run it. just look what the federal government of dubya's u.s.a. came up with from its deeper recesses to reppress the citizen with, in the name of fighting "terrorism".

neither do nation states belong as powers in global capitalist economy. america is the largest single source of global economical activity, with its huge armory of floating capital, technology, enterpreneurship, knowledge and expertize, etc... its global presence outweighs any rivals. still, in the words of investment analyst and entrepreneur dr. marc faber, "the rebate the federal government issues to beat the crisis can only be kept at home if it is spent on prostitutes and beer, since these are the only products still produced in u.s.".

despite the innegligible accuracy of this economic gallows humor, still, in this age of globalization, even globality, two thirds of american economy is basically national: its processes and methods are introverted, inbound. it is comparatively unproductive and uncompetitive in the markets the world over.

it is true that the said two third almost equals to the total output of the rest of the world and represents extreme power - however, it is powerful only stateside and compared to its true "global" potential, parochial in nature and mentality.

when money started making money, naturally, the largest economy in the world offering the highest profit potential attracted the biggest share of the real and "virtual" profits. naturally, the wealth not only spread around, through consumption and savings, it returned to the money market and boosted its profits.
few other fields of investment in the "real" economy were as inviting, since speculation always pays high dividends if it pays at all, and the finance market was swollen to twice its actual capacity with speculative money that was not there...

real estate emerged as a favorite area of speculation for the virtual economy of the virtual money market. to the small consumer with little money, buying realty with mortgages felt good, both as a means of economic security and because he thought he could finally realize his dreams. real estate was also a quick money maker for the virtual "investor". however, profitable as it may be, real estate is hardly "real" productive enterprise. in the old days, money allotted to realty and land development was dubbed "placement" rather than investment; because it returned little to the economy except some speculative "swollen" money.

then again, a house in malibu or palm beach is hardly a globally competitive item on the market, beyond a certain limit. and however exproportionately its price may be blown, the baloon bursts when the global forces of a world economy summon limited resources to hard core, economic activity on a global scale, where the key to survival is competitiveness.

so this crisis is likely to end up mainly as a potential disaster for two categories of players in the worldwide theater of economy: all non-global, un-competitive, backward, inbound, introverted economies, including the local or transnational finance sectors that vested fortunes in them; and states that count on such economies in order to retain their nationally-defined political interest structures and boundaries may be expected to bear the vrunt and maybe fold - iceland provides a fine example.

this is a crisis that, in order to end without the world bursting somehow in flames, has to establish the few but essential rules of capitalism universally: free flow of resources, rationalization of capital and production activity, no or very limited government regulation coupled with relentless control of compliance with principles, unhampered competition, supported by a universally valid democracy - not only in the home grounds of capitalism but anywhere that is part of the world market. after all, freedom and democracy have costs of their own, which bids unfair competition, should "countries" in chindia not also pay them as most have so far eluded.

a lot depends on how the huge dinosaurs in america will or can respond to the challenge of globalization, as far as global welfare and prosperity are concerned. if all the resources the government allocates for them are spent to restructure the existing system; that is money down the drain. if even half of the colossal home-oriented american economy can turn globally efficient with that infusion, the world cannot help but become collectively richer.

possible? yes but difficult. expect plenty of mergers and acquisitions. plan on the concentration of capital to be invested in production-efficient high technology in goods and services to be marketed worldwide. could you imagine chrysler and gm becoming one firm in the 80s? expect to hear more american brands putting their stamps on universally available products as also euro-american collaboration spirals upward. expect chindia (especially the number one slave labor economy of the cosmos, china) to slow down and watch them get immersed in their "aggravating" internal political problems - then, not so soon but in due time, see how their "citizens" arise as a new middle class of consumers with liberal demands.

also see states losing their "national" billions and sinking their authority in their effort to save "national" savings in the internationally owned, terribly globalized greedy banking sector.

wait for new supra-national forms of organization within which "the nation state" hopes to prolong its current mode of existence. bow to the sarkkozys and merkels and berlusconis of this world -thank god dubya is outbound- and especially gordons, whose incompetence and intransigence simply caused recent crises to deepen.

oh, and oil... watch as russia pretends to bare its teeth and gnarl as its petrol revenues surge and slump beyond its control. check how it has to spend petrodollars for political adventures that turn out to be minor repetitioons of the afghan disaster. wonder why those adventures unfailingly end up dealing the "west" the better hand. laugh as chavez makes more of a clown of himself as the best example of his kind, the nationalist charlatan, getting certainly not himself but his nation poorer.

then say your prayer for the poor, because poverty is not one globally viable commodity and in the global economics, as jesus of nazareth said "shall be taken from he who hath not and be given to he who hath".

put on the 'tramp album and listen to "crsis? what crisis?". there is still fun in life.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

not necessarily so sweet somethings

wait, and time is what is not coming.

sense and you are what is there.

if there is nothing at all,

what are you waiting for?

for, what is there to come to?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

a counter-comment on irishness

just a short counter comment to nilus below:

naturally, we don't know each other. so, let me make my position clear - i am definitely an irish lover!.. especially where the the english (as opposing pole) are concerned. an enigma of history and geograpphy for me is, what in the sake of a full pint of guiness, a thoroughly mediterranean people are doing in a cold northern sea - albeit, in one of its hotter spots... to boot, with (alas!) the english as neighbors? must be a big sin they are atoning for from another cosmos!

anyway, nilus rightly points out to the fact that relinquishing sovereignty needs to be voted for by those who supposedly hold it in their hands.

do i recall any referenda when € 40 billion were channeled into ireland in the last decade - which amounts to an influx of over € 10 thousand per capita, including infants and toddlers as well as our lads and lasses?

i read a very wise observation somewhere once long ago; i think it was ross mcdonald, the detective thrilller writer who said "money is never free... like every commodity, it has to be paid for".

ireland simply refused to pay for the money it got.

you don't call that brutus, you can call it only freeloading. freeloading something that is never free. often, the biller comes back to chip off its dues from what you call your sovereignty.

believe me, i knoow from experience...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

irish crap

the irish are known for their ability to create a problem to every solution. probably, that is why, for years, they kept killing each other over a silly (seemingly) sectarian difference.

now they managed to screw up the by-pass to france's egoistical and egotisitical and ethnocentric rejection of the eu constitution a few years back and clipped the lisbon deal, sealing the unity of the continent...

in other words, they have gone and defacated into the tank where the drinking water accumulates. crapulent with what equals as cause to malt whiskey and warm beer in cases of collective national mass dementia, they took a mephitic crap into europe's surge as the world's sole civilized power, armed with logic and wisdom, instead of various armories to be used either to kill and maim or to threaten.

look who championed ireland's great victory over the union of europe: a businessman that has made a fortune over trade with the u.s., whose competitive advantages might not stand an opening up of the european market.

sound familiar? look at the french farmers, italian fanientes, greek freeloaders, turkish football hooligans, danish and other trade unionists - everyone who thrives, and usuallly thrives for free, as long as the "national" economies are defended by "national boundaries" takes a political crap oon the union. in other words, economies where various sectors of the society suck like leeches on the rest, and productive units that have achieved some global level of competitivity are the defenders of strong(er)national entities against the eu (*). of course, ever leading them, is great britain, her majesty's governments' usual all-time global blooodsucking, imperial opportunism.

now, the political off-shoot, ireland that owes no less to the union than greece for becoming a country to reckon with, stabs it in the back like brutus.

add to that the political parasites who suck on the national state, that long-obsolete instrument of power and usurpation, elevated and propagated as semi-sacred, solely because it is the parochial classes' means of distributing as well as obtaining kudos off the backs of the productive and efficient classes.

is it a coincidence that all hard-line, hard-core nationalists all over the world are also the most dedicated to erect and protect walls around their borders agains the onslaught of globality? for instance, are not the anti-abortion irish catholics among the most militant anti-europeans? or turkey's semi edentulated and de-clawed grey wolves?

notice also the tone of the american journals openly or secretly gloating over the blow the european project was dealt by ireland's rejection of lisbon treaty? especially those publications that promote and watch over american economic interests like hawks?

i always believed that britain and ireland should be kept out of the european union; their "isolationist" island mentality will never ever let them integrate properly with the actually and historically boundariless continent. problem: in practice, they cannot be kicked out and unless the lisbon deal passes through, they cannot really opt out either.

(*) the eurocrats, the not-reallly-or-probably-so-necessary-evil in the european machinery is also probably to blame for the aversion it causes, turning into the bigger brother of the continent. ironically though, the rejection(s) of lisbon will empower them more for they are the onnes who eventually will work out a functioning constitution encompassing all.

Friday, June 06, 2008

oil prices down

i wrote the following post on may 28 and published it in the wrong blog. i noticed my mistake today, after i read that suv owners in america are now hard pressed to sell their dear vehicles...

you see? oil is a commodity, whose fate has to be decided by the economy, as all other commodities. other silly measures -except finding alternative, renewable energy sources-, like war or political intervention, for instance, only help make its prices more un-economical!

here is the post:

weeelll... mesdames et monsieurs, i ain't no economist and i sure ain't no finance genius, if any genius at all. i only got eyes to see and a mind to think... i've been busting my chops yelling "oil is a commodity, its price can't keep going only up and up. anytyhing, including war, that causes its price to over-boost is a waste because unless you can drink it, prices go down again when nobody buys it" (*)...

just after america's first major holiday weekend, memorial day, per barrel oil prices fell below $127, furthering a decline borne on a growing sense that record-high costs have cut demand for gasoline and other fuels. ap says americans are driving less because of "bloated prices", while a report informs that compared to last year, vehicle miles on u.s. roads fell by 4.3 percent (11 billion miles). the dollar's gain against the yen and euro also helped reduce oil prices because investments undertaken as a hedge against inflation did not favor oil, although conjonctural opportunities such as a temporary drop in world production could have been tempting.

the best (also the worst) thing about capitalism is that, its virtues and vices tend to balance each other at the expense of those with no power to decide, rather than the virtuous or the vile, who mostly are the same anyway.

so please, think again before you claim that the u.s. is in iraq for any reason but political stupidity, and certainly not for oil. blood in petroleum makes it too expensive to be competitive.

competitiveness? in case you forgot, it is as much a genuine key to capitalism as free enterprise, private property and functioning civil liberties.

(*) permit me a little gloating please. i am one of the few that have harped on the intellectual hazards of oil fetishism in global political-economy analyses.

democracy without democrats? balooooooney!..

tayyib efendi, rosy-rosary and co. are in deep, murky waters now, emitting a sewery smell.

they had it coming, they knew they had it coming, at least, they should know it would be coming and therefore they deserve to drown.

look at the old posts by garfucius - the short mental and intellectual capacity, the ethnocentricism and almost autistic assumptions of self righteousness, the revanchist looting of the state bureaucracy and the misuse of the power embedded there, half-bottom faith in democracy, and the obstinate - because repeatedly proven disastrous - conviction that a majority of the popular vote is licence for near-tyrannical arbitrariness.

on the day the turkish court of constitution banned the turban, women's head gear that has become a symbol of religiously tinted or tainted political sympathies, some papers carried the story of two teenagers in love, who were harassed, attacked, mauled by the citizens of sakarya; and arrested, no less, by the police for nothing else than embracing each other in public.

good thing they were not stoned to death!

let's face it. in 2002, tayyib efendi, rosy-rosary and co. won because there was no alternative that offered a promise. in 2007, they came back with a handsome majority mainly because they still had no alternative, except the archaic policitical dementia the republicans and the nationalists spewed forth. so, in one aspect at least, the popularity of the akp is less due to its own preferability than the comparative repulsiveness of the others.

add to that the success stories and elegies sung about tayyib efendi, rosy-rosary and co...

their accomplishments in politics (passing more liberal laws, the eu packages etc.), economics (lower inflation, more world-oriented approaches etc.) or elsewhere (taking steps to reduce bureaucracy, etc.) were invariably guided, if not chart plotted, by the european union, u.s. advisors and the imf. where success is concerned, tayyib efendi, rosy-rosary and co. were only as successful as the airline pilot who flew the aircraft perfectly as long as it was on auto, and headed to a deadly crash as soon as he began flying manually.

as of 2005, tayyib efendi, rosy-rosary and co. did scant few, if anything, to be put down in their favor. especiallly since last year's elections, the bearing turned further downward, while an intolerant, partisan view of all affairs in all walks of society, pervaded every niche of life - as witnessed by the incident of the almost-lynched-teenagers.

so much for a democracy championed by non-democrats. and so much for a democracy without democrats.

regarding the future of turkey, it is not an issue of whether the constitutional court's decision is legal, fair and right or whether the turban decision is the harbinger of akp's eventual closure. the problem is that the court has had to try a political party, is likely to come up with a ruling closing it down that just might not feel right; and that the party in the judges' sights is not really innocent either, at least for an equal population to that which has invested its faith in it.

the problem is that, nothing seems right and everything seems wrong.

and for the same reason: still, as in 2002, there is not an inkling of a political resistance to tayyib efendi, rosy-rosary and co., to lead them in a direction where at least some semblance of right can be extracted for the two divided masses currently hiding behind their particular wrongs.

effective resistance to the political authority is exclusively limited to the military and the judiciary whose exclusive domain of power, it should be doubted, may be growing smaller.

the people of turkey voted the 1982 constitution in by 92 percent, and have been wearing it like a noose around their necks since.

the question is, offered the same draft, how many today would not vote for it again? a few generations after 1982, turkey's democracy is hostage to a political system that can only survive as long as it raises as few democrats as possible.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

big, blasphemous words with philosopher's testimony

philogeny and ontogeny cross evolutionary paths at the point of ennui – it is boredom with all status quo that gives rise to all bon-cultural ventures and exciting mutations. as friedrich nietzche said: "only the most acute and active animals are capable of boredom. a theme for a great poet would be god’s boredom on the seventh day of creation."

blasphemic breezes

enigma is the best inspiration to souls in search of a faith. because they believe themselves to have found, most faithful are boring.

more blasphemy

the greatest prophet on earth can give men no more than a watchword. and the comedy is that, the vaguer the watchword, the greater is the prophet!

garfucius's blasphemous ideas

the homily “one picture is worth a thousand words”, denotes, at best, a gross inability to abstract from the eidetic.

Monday, May 26, 2008

exiles at home

how many times did you wake up to find someone beside you, whom you wanted to awaken, too?

it is easy to live solitude, hard to know it. and when silence becomes a shout, it is because it could not whisper to you, or because you could not hear it when it did!

i and my generation are the losers in a war we were never old enough to fight. most of our lives was spent in preparation for it; yet, just when we were about ready, we had to explain to ourselves, why we ought to fight it, why war should be the way to the ends we were taught were universally ours.

we either religiously took to the old teachings; or as religiously rejected them and more religiously sought new ones. the most confused amongst us, we made disbelief our cause. we diebelieved so piously, we evaporated existentially; so that it may not be fair to speak of us with the pronoun we or they.

we lost.

ours was a generation audacious enough to question all values taken for granted - and sometimes, even to re-define them, which needed far more courage. we turned love into an experience instead of an utopia or lust. "democracy" finds a meaning now, because young women were burning their bras in the late 60s. freedom became a palpable word because it was a title in jimi hendrix's first posthumous album. even when our motives were not always honest and pure, we honestly chased the truth. we wanted to know. we re-wrote the rules of knowledge.

why, then, though we seemed to be so right, did we lose? maybe, because we questioned, also, the meaning(s) and the value of winning? how many success stories between 50 and 60 today are really proud of whom they have turned out to be, in comparison to whom they hoped to become? how many of this generation recognize anything in today's world, of the world they once thought possible?

we lost, not because we went wrong, took the wrong turn, twist, road, fall, whatever into the world we denied. we lost because at that point, our loss felt certain. it was the only certainty that hit us and facing certainty, we stopped doubting denying. we stopped asking questions and the wind dropped out of our kites. one by one, we started to accept; so that gradually, each of us caved in (*).

that makes us the only generation in modern history, left with nothing to truly believe in. that is why too many fanatics, in every walk from politics, to business, to religion emerged from "our" ranks: because action is the fool's way of convincing himself what he is doing is right!

exiles at home! wherever we are, we are home... but home is nowhere!

if one believes in fighting, one need not believe in what he fights for. we fought without that belief. we were probably the only generation that saw the futility in fighting for fighting's sake.

we believed in peace... but without the ability to find a novel way to learn and teach it. in our ignorance, we made the fatal mistake. we took to the ways we had already diagnosed as wrong at the beginning: fighting and preaching, thus shoving truths down ours and everyone's throats.

the victors always take something of the vanquished. i do not know who the victors were in our case. our war was, at least we believed, for everyone. so, when we lost, our opponents did, too. i think, instead of taking something from us, whomever vanquished us left something with us: their fight, against which we had waged our war.

(*) i still remember the day i first heard pink floyd's dark side of the moon (1973), their greatest chart success and the feeling of betrayal that pervaded all my senses. every note and nuance was full of answers instead of questions. it was as if one moon i sailed by had really turned all and forever dark.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

reading a global coffee cup

i keep writing (and preaching in classes) that in modern capitalism, oil is but another commodity; but an input in the production process. production without consumption is not only no profit, it is simply loss, so prices of products/commodities have to be regulated by the market, not on a government table.

oil wars are (and can be) waged only and only if the cost of war, blended with the cost of oil that is procured by means of that war is not prohibitive for the functioning of the cycle of production-consumption -profit-reproduction. in proper capitalism, the only indispensability is profit that preferably occurs in the far more controllable and predictable ambiance of freedoms and competition. therefore, no component of the whole production-consumption-profit-reproduction cycle, financing, raw materials etc., even oil can be allowed to take hostage the whole process. according to many authors, though, oil, especially when used as a political leverage by otherwise politically ineffectual world players, tends to upset economic balances.
a) oil needs to be replaced by other forms of energy. major oil companies and energy giants are already investing billions of dollars on alternative sources that are replenishable and also environmentally sound. a breakthrough is imminent (*).
b) the bulk of oil revenues from petroleum exporting countries are either politically squandered (mostly, if the government is anti-western and anti-u.s.) or invested in western businesses by oil sheikhs etc. this means that a drop in the popular consumption of oil is far more of an economical risk for producers than its prices falling. you cannot fetch a price for something that is virtually worthless.
c) by the same token, too expensive oil also means too expensive everything. it means people will simply consume less of everything and the whole global economic scheme will simply shrink, along with profits. in that case, those with only oil to sell, will suffer far more losses than the rest as they will have more need and less money for things that make their world go round.
c) in the shorter run (j. maynard keynes said "in the long run, we're all dead", anyway), panic boosts in per barrel prices of oil, are not impossible. many industries and economies are going to be affected and perhaps sink as a result. however, just like in practice, the recent mortgage crisis mainly helped weed out the uncompetitive, unyieldy volume of credits in the global (especially american) market, possible per-barrel-crises too, will eventually strengthen the structure of capitalist world economy; and subjugate the technologically less advanced and backward raw-material-vendors. countries and societies that tend to act like badly managed business enterprises and those who fail to manage the transition to competitiveness, will end up poorer or bankrupt. if they are oil exporters only, they will have even less of a control over their global fate.
d) those fallen powers will produce the rogue states of tomorrow.
this is a short read from the globe's coffee cup. for now though, stains do not waft the sweet smell of fresh coffee but the rank odor of crude.
(*) i find no reason to succumb to the conspiracy theory that feasible alternatives are already developed but kept secret because economies are too geared to fossil fuel consumption. the world's primary energy is electric and it can be produced from many alternative sources without disrupting the petrol based industries though cutting oil prices down to logical levels.

china miracle and capitalism's levels of survival

i never got to write much here about china, except hint occasionally that i do not succumb to the view that we are witnessing a chinese miracle. as a matter of fact, the official slave industry that is china, has already begun suffering from monkey wrenches breaking its basically foreign installed and managed economic machinery: labor intense production is not efficient and costs are rising as bankruptcies mount. manifacture is escaping town, to even more backward alleys as vietnam, maybe now after the deluge, to myanmar which the brits still call bhurma! (*)

that is capitalism for you... dickensian labor exploitiation of the 19th century turned slant-eye in the 21st... only to the limit it cannot be permitted any more to disrupt the overall (global, if you like) balance of the entire market by sapping free enterprise and competition. yes, capitalism thrives also on all the freedoms that make it function, all of which china lacks.

it is those freedoms that regulate the end-profit margins in the market. no jobless european or american is interested in buying cheap asian goods, not because of any philosophical or national or racil cause but simply because economics dictates that a jobless man cannot afford to buy too many things. therefore, like water in different elevations, capitalism seeks its own levels of survival.

(*) hurray for the brits! i hate this postmodernist pseudo-anticolonialist, quasi- postcolonialist maneouver of changing country names to pretend "identity" and independence. all ex-colonies today are even more dependent on former conquerors, plus, almost all have also to kowtow to the u.s. on top of former sahibs. change of name is too facile for a change of fate, as minds and technics of ex-colonies are still dominated by rules of slavery. ditto, i also hate the campaign to change turkey's official international name to türkiye, for the reason that it reflects a colony mentality. it is also rude and impolite: the excuse for the proposed switch is that turkey is the english name of a bird and therefore, insulting to turks. the same bird, is called hindi in turkish, which means "indian"! yet, i fail to come accross any campaign in turkey to change its name to anything from hindi, which indians may equally percieve as debasing. typical to the colony mentality, neither such eymological knowledge, nor such sensitivity is expressed by the extremely touchy türkiye campaigners.

about comments

i mostly publish any "sensible" comments that arrive to the blog. since deciding what is sensible inevitably involves some sort of censorship, i try to be as "tolerant" as possible. however, many of the recent ones i rejected were either pure gibberish, promising salvation when marduk hits the world, or had more expletives in them than explanation, or were simply "commercially" motivated.

i hesitated over whether i should publish or reject the comment from modern sanat ortamı declaring hillary as a horny mad dog and obama as a puppet with a cat's paw. i let it run...

i let it run because the comment reflects the parochial, introverted, potentially xenophobic and negationist philosophy typical of a) ex-leftists in underdeveloped societies; b) ex-misfits who now misfit their role as misfits.

there is a world out there that we once wanted to change and if at all, we could only do so fractionally. maybe we were wrong, maybe the people in the world we wanted to change who did not want the change were right.

whatever, people did not want change. people do not want change now either.

it simply means that whomever set off to change (at least some part of) the world have failed to offer a realistic possibility that a) they could or can; and b) the resultant world would or will be better.

therefore, cursing hillary or hussein will not make a difference.


metin commented that both democrat and republican candidates were from the legislative, with little executive accomplishment to their names. he is right...

he is right and that is why i supported hillary, because unofficially, she has been part of the executive in both arkansas and the white house as first lady. you do not even have to be (or have been) married to understand how a clever and ambitious woman can grasp and influence her man's occupation. and hillary is both clever and ambitious enough to garner some know how from bill's terms in office, which hussein lacks.

it may still be a close call but unless america is going mad, this will be a democrats' election - although senator mccain is certainly an improvement over dubya (no big deal, almost anybody would be).

we have an airborne spaceship that has run amok called the world, all we need is a minimally talented captain to land her back down on a tolerable course. i, personally at least, have no miraces left to expect.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

there is a time to give up

there is a time to give up... not to quit but to realize and admit enough is enough. it is now time for hillary to concede that she has lost the primaries to barack hussein and negotiate the possibilities of hitting the ballot box together, this time, she as candidate vice president.

the race went on as i expected, with almost every state that is linked to the world booting for hillary, while those americans who think detroit is still the center of the universe, supported hussein. it still remains a fact that, despite all his charm and persuasive campaigning at home, generally speaking, hussein is no less ignorant than dubya in conceptualizing, diagnozing and visualizing solutions to global affairs.

if it were at all possible to revert america to the yesteryears of isolationism, barrack hussein obama might have become a really good president. in today's world, obama is only as competitive as gaz guzzling chevrolet of the 50s, weighing three tons!

that is why hillary has to back down before all bridges between the rivals are cast off. from this point on, she has a responsibility to the entire world in cleaning as best the mess the u.s. has created under dubya, as it is a huge gamble to bet on hussein's capacity to manage such a gargantuan task. since hillary cannot become president, she has to play second fiddle to a president who may win the hearts of grass roots americans to all his liking while has few tricks to stimulate the minds of a weary world awaiting and hoping for at least what bill clinton once had to offer. the world is hardly concerned with what he did in the oral office, it has been suffering from clumsier versions thanks to bush's political performance in the last eight years.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

more pippas will come to be slain

pippa bacca, the peace artist or the "peace bride" as the turkish press dubbed her because she traveled in a wedding dress to promote peace, was killed as the resultant of the same introverted, anti-introspective, paranoid schizoid mentality that plagues droves of turkish fans after almost every international football meet.

i am not underscoring the drama but the poor woman was slaughtered for the same reason many persons, including children, were end-targets of desultory bullets from illegal guns fired indiscriminately by reveling supporters of victorious teams; or, she is the victim of the same dementia that caused two british hooligans to be stabbed and slugged to death by hoodlums that worshipped galatasaray.

poor bride pippa was murdered by a totally witless, idiot crazed with lust who believed in the heart of his hearts that because pippa was a foreigner and an infidel, and therefore by nature light and promiscuous, she was fair game to a turk, whose masculine prowess and virility is universally beyond question. all those tales and myths of military and manly conquests entitled him automatically to any and especially a non-believer woman because he is muslim-turk and has a birthright to gratify his wishes on anything that is the bounty of historic superiority that genetic heritage endows him with.

any corner of any turkish city is replete with similar would-be-monsters awaiting their chance with some pippa. and since turkish women, too, are getting looser and looser as ways change, that pippa may well be named ayşe.

poor pippa the artist was thus also the victim of a cultural abominality. then, she was the combined victim of the turkish police, judicial and penal system that simply fails or refrains to punish any infraction against whatever social value that holds the society together, except perhaps fear. this indifference extends from traffic violations to incense or rape; even murder; turnsing to ferocious duty bound acuity only if political authority is threatened, say by a march of the teachers...

the tacit "official" (*) reaction to pippa's atrocious slaying emphasized its inconvenience, the blemish it caused to turkey's image in europe...

the beast that killed pippa alos knew, at least unconsciously that the punishment meted out to him would not be measure for the wrong he did. he was aware, or at least believed, at worst, he may spend a few years in prison - that, most probably, will only boost his street image and prestige.

this is not the end poor dear pippa; very sorry for you and those that will follow!.. for, there will be more victims like you, as long as this country's population is getting more and more unevenly divided across a schism of civility, losing their ability to exist together.

(*) official here does not necessarily refer to government or other formal personnel but to all who deems in his person an authority to speak in the name of others, sometimes the entire society.

Friday, April 11, 2008

tolerance? what tolerance?

one more note about izmir's loss of the expo, or rather, a reference to the general mentality that underlies turks' promotion of their image in the world:

although turkey is and presents itself as a muslim country (1), it also is usually keen on not being associated with hardline muslim countries that are presumed to be disliked in the west, as iran or saudia. the preferred image is one of modernized, moderate, cooperative and compatible islam. tolerance is an "item" often used to prove compatibility with western life habits, in the propaganda messages. tolerance, in historic practice, translates as believers from different religions living in the same geography politically dominated by members and the ideology of a single faith. the turkish thesis is that "muslim" turkey has been the home of christians and jews as well, through the ages. the izmir texts presented to the bie assembly in paris also carried a high dose of alleged religious tolerance.


first of all, "tolerance", especially in that particular context, reeks badly of religiousity, shadowing the modern - secular and laique signals in the message. in any case, it implies severity, a division, a rent that cannot be spanned in essence. therefore, it negates its own meaning and claim that harmony exists or insinuates the high probability that the harmony that may momentarily prevail is not permanent.

secondly, there seems to be little need in today's modern world to emphasize such tolerance. all civilized (western) countries protect all their citizens and guests from other countries by universally applied laws and many include special provisions against discrimination and persecution (2). each and every individual is free to practice any faith and also, to propagate it. yet, just to state a dire example from tolerant turkey, about a year ago, three protestant missionaries were brutally murdered and a catholic priest stabbed to death.

or a comic example: in istanbul, the city's official bordello is next door neighbors with an ancient greek orthodox church in tophane. had there been a greek brothel next to an abandoned mosque in salonika or belgrade, the ruckus raised here would be heard in hades.

third, the propaganda based on tolerance can hardly stand factual historical testing: the religious coexistence that turks seemingly confuse with tolerance was a social necessity. ethnic turks were not masters in most trades that were the métiers of the christians. also, excluding trades out of reach of muslims and channeling them to a military occupation allowed the state/palace to maintain its absolute political hegemony over the population. non-muslims could get rich but they could not gain political potency.

furthermore, keeping the orthodox archbishop under the sultan's thumb was calculated to afford good influence over conquered peoples of the balkans. still, that they were allowed to practice their religion was subject ever to political compliance. as a matter of fact, the greek orthodox archbishop was hanged at the gate of the patriarchate when he was deemed supportive of the revolution in the morea, for instance.

tolerance in everyday life is also a latter day myth: for most of the time, settlements and quarters of cities were separated among muslim, christian and jewish subjects. often, different christian sects, too, like the armenians or the assyrians, cıatholics and protestants lived more or less physically apart.

until the tanzimat reforms of 1839, churches were permitted only to ring bells carved of wood. perhaps banning brass church bells was one reason an armaments industry based on founding skills never developed properly in turkey (3)

no non-muslim ever rose to high bureaucratic office in the turkish republic. especially, no non-muslim ever was allowed to become a soldier, a diplomat, a general manager etc... indeed, pitifully few of the very few turkish citizens who are not muslim are even employed by the government. the last armenian member of parliament was elected in the 1950s and ever since, only one jew entered the assembly as a deputy.

yet tolerance was still prominently used as a propaganda item in izmir's promotion campaign for the expo. tolerance is hardly an asset or a matter for pride. it is an obligation of civility that should not be used for propaganda (actually, cannot be used either, because it means nothing to a civilized mind).

then again, the word tolerance itself is repugnant. it is synonymous "enduring" or "bearing" someone or something that in its nature is "not as good as i happen to be".

(*) turkey used to project itself as a country "with a predominantly muslim population". in the recent past, i.e., since the akp dominated the political scene, it began to be emphasized more as a muslim country.
(2) like the u.s. hate crime laws.
(3) some huge founderie did exist and cannon and balls could be molded. however, they were too purpose specific to create the metallurgical industries.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

rpp is worse than a rotting political carcass

just a short note for anybody anywhere who had hopes about the repuıblican peoples party of ever serving some use in turkey's future:

the supposedly left wing party that did absolutely nothing to liberate any sector of the society, including labor, from the restraints of the military constitution of the 1982 coup d'etat, now reached the point where it prides itself on stopping the debates on the article 301 of the penal code that is universally recognized as a stumbling block before freedom of expression in the country.

rpp' s acting speaker güldal mumcu, who is the widow of the famed left wing journalist - author uğur mumcu, assassinated in 1993, refused to send the akp's motion for amendments to 301 to the parliamentary committee to review it.

by rule, the speaker or acting speaker has no right to deny the trtansfer of any motion to related committees.

the party's whip, kemal anadol publicly voiced official approval of güldal mumcu' s action.

thus, the rpp blocked a move toward more freedom and liberties just and only because it was brought forth by the akp.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


it has been more than a week since izmir lost to milano in a contest over where the expo 2015 mega trade fair will be hosted.

like a football meet, the loss was accepted, logged and forgotten. not one line appeared, not one word was uttered; -as if something shameful had happened-, about why it was milano that won and how come izmir was beaten... except, of course, the regular confusion of technics and tactics with long term, meaningful strategy and policy: we missed the chance because the foreign ministry did not work well, propaganda was aimed at the wrong agents, african delegates that constituted the majority were neglected and so on...

let's do a necropsy on the dead horse we got at our doorstep, then:

first and foremost, milano is a real city; izmir is an inflated third-and-a-half-world settlement, splattered by hazard on a fine geography like fresh cow manure. she is an overgrown village dressed like a town. she is confusing and confused, unplanned, abused, unwieldy and ugly. she is the perfect concrete canyon, ripped off from the sea, arteries congested, life spaces choked, condemned to the car, dirty, unkempt and exhausting. izmir is a place that holds, without even putting it on, an urban garb agaisnt her deformed peasant's body. a front without depth.

the aerial propaganda photos of izmir for the expo showed hectares of buildings heaped upon each other. no greenery, no parks, no recreational breathing spaces, no tribute at all to nature - with the sole exception of graveyards and the "culture park" that houses the annual izmir fair since the 1930s. slab after slab after slab of ugly concrete marks the landscape otherwise.

izmir's cultural contribution to turkey - leave alone the globalizing world - is scant. alarmingly few poets, lettrists, artists have originated from izmir in the latter days at least - and that, through istanbul. the country's third largest settlement of no less than three million is hardly even mentioned in the news unless because of some atrocious crime or accident, or events that are projections of ankara or istanbul.

izmir is a seven millenia old city. except for its badly spoilated citadel and few-and-far-between small stone houses of yesteryear, one would think it was built yesterday.

on the day the balloting was to be held in paris, the republic square in the rather posh part of town, was filled to the brim with people, merry making, listening to the pop stars and other showpersons that were "sending izmir's message to the delegates". that was not all, a lot of "ambassadors", from the president himself to brazilian football stars playing in turkish teams were involved in the parade to make izmir the location of choice. some delegates in paris, too, had to undergo or endure -what, to me, is an ordeal- plenty of folk dancing as well as a staging of "anatolian fire", a so called modern dance recital that somehow turks came to love - although, considering the nation's affinity with suıch occupations as the ballet, little comment seems to be necessary. oh, and not to forget, some two thousand or so paid persons officially joined the campaign to lure the expo to izmir.

staging multi million dollar shows, although more for home consumption that persuasive propaganda apparently did not wash over being a real city with permanent physical and cultural attractions that appeal to real people. but it certainly was easier.

the expo failure is now forgotten for good. nobody of any might or effect will ever probe into it again. and should a similar opportunity, say the olympics, should befall the way of any turkish city (?), the powers that be will only try to bring in more singers, louder drummers, more colored folk dancers and maybe, a few african footballers this time - just in case.

third-and-a-half-world means always running tangent to rationality.

oops, by the way, the highway that circles milano, with its astral geographical layout, its constellated combination of the arondissement and grid city plan, the road that gets you near anywhere in the urban area is called the "tangentziale". some things are never same, are they?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

are cheneys of this world ever welcome?

the choice of dick cheney once again as vice president to yet another bush administration, was proof enough of dubya's intention to devour the world's resources relentlessly for unilateral benefits; and follow policies favoring nothing except increasing the economic wealth of selected american businesses -remember halliburton?-, with little regard for values that we assume that make man a respect-worthy creature.

dubya and cheney are representatives par excellence of the ugly american of the 50's and 60's; that greedy, avaricious, nefarious, grabbing, irreverent model of imperialism. they have blood on their hands from the financial profits that were reaped from the many wars they have championed, from viet nam to iraq, twice.

now, dick cheney, is going to step down u.s. air force 2, with his blood stained boots, on turkish soil. he is going to ask ankara to support his career-long-wet-dream, (any) military action against iran- from which, he must hope, companies like halliburton or bechtel that he symbolizes as a most hated specimen of a businessman-politician from the most hated ally, can reap extra kudos, as they do in iraq.

cheney will ask turkey for some blood acre, probably, because washington maintained a relative condoning silence while turkish forces operated in northern iraq.

these are men who, because they can manage a large company (*), think they can rule the world. they could, too... on the morning of the coup d'etat on september 12, 1980, the one that turned so bloody that nearly 70 persons were hanged in addition to hundreds shot, tortured and otherwise harassed, one official that later became a big shot in the dubya regime phoned washington and relayed the good news: "our boys did it..."

dick cheney & associates inc., have licked turkish blood off their fingers, too.

wonder if they realize that truly global companies, not imperialistic relics are more and more swarming the upper levels of fortune 100 lists.

(*) "manage" may be an euphemism... many of halliburton's deals have received criticism, if only for immensely lacking transparency.

the world needs both hillary and hussein

one good sign about america's upcoming polls is that the republican plague will probably end. even the most die hard urban middle class voters seem to have had enough, after eight years of dubya.

however, this makes the democratic caucuses still more crucial, for a definitive win by barrack hussein obama may mean that the same mental disease that globalized the bush havoc, namely an ignorance of world affairs is going to persevere. in seven years of the dubya regime, america paid scant heed to the outer world. not just reaping but raping the opportunities of overseas profit was the sole goal of u.s. world politics. a win by obama may continue the situation not at all because that is hussein's policy -actualy, hillary may be more prone to that- but because those universal rapists are far savvier than the guy from hawaii. i never take campaign speeches seriously but nevertheless, obama's stance seems to over-favor (so called) isolationist policies for my taste.

americans should keep in mind, just because dubya is already a sitting duck does not mean that the colossal wave of anti-american sentiment he amassed in seven years is going to flatten away, before hitting some sad shore.

why hillary then? obviously, she is a seasoned first lady, rather than a good world class politician. yet, she is probably more sympathetic toward the universal public. she probably is more popular among europeans and africans than for many folks in the midlands and meadowlands of rural america. she is not only cognitively disposed to but also has a political crop to harvest from the development of an efficient and effective global capitalist network, i.e., one that also benefits, even on a wee small scale, the society it invests in (exploits, if you are marxist oriented) as well as the financial center it originates from. that is why she has carried all the globally active states and almost none of the rural-local ones. that is why the texas draw is tilting toward hussein already. ohio, her last win, for instance, thrives on high tech exports!

hillary's supporting corps are also experienced, knowledgeable experts who are aware that war is costly and there are cheaper and mutually beneficial alleys leading to solutions in peaceful methods. after all, capitalism is about profit rather than conquest.

whom would you have paying an official visit to your country in the name of america's president in today's world? dick cheney, condi rice or madeline allbright?

and imagine that instead of that blood stained ambulatory $ sign, dick cheney, it is the cute, sympathetic, ernest new generation, outgoing next president of the u.s., barrack hussein, who climbs down the stairs of u.s. air force 2...

obama is a man who only stands to gain from playing second fiddle for one or two terms to hillary; while learning to become an even better president, not from her but her husband, who happens to be brightest light in recent american political history, possibly, even brighter than jack kennedy.

that is why the world needs both hillary and hussein.

Monday, February 25, 2008

oscar and obama and john wayne

the funny little golden statuettes of that fellow, some long gone starlet's "uncle oscar", were passed around last night.

"... and the oscar (in more cases than we're accustomed to) goes to: britons, french and spaniards!.."

there is no surprise here. it is the end-result of that process called globality. america is, after all, the capital city of the world. whether they realize or not, or worse, whether they like it or not, that "vast piece of land between manhattan and california" also is a suburb of that global urb.

no, they mostly like it not - that is why they root for husein obama, who, they probably hope, will restore them to the good old insular years of ingrown power and prosperity, signified by ten ton, gas guzzling v-8 automobiles from detroit and john wayne movies from hollywood.

sorry, detroit is near dead and hollywood is california's windows on the world.

unfortunately therefore, though the guy is reallly nice, charming and even quaint, choosing obama for president, is the same as yelling:

"... and the oscar goes to: joooohn waaayne!.."

Friday, February 22, 2008


turkey's invasion of northern iraq has begun four days ago whether this is a mere incursion, or a lasting mission in cohorts with u.s. policies to partly relieve and aid the american forces in the territory still remains to be seen.

what is certain however, is that, america would never sanction the turkish operation for free - it also remains what the bill is going to be: certainly some support against iran and/or a more active and combative involvement designed for turkish troops in iraq; not to mention afghanistan. and also, whatever economic quid pro quo dick cheney may put on the table in his coming visit that will certainly bring more kudos to some american conglomerate(s).

my first reservation: any military move by dubya's lame duck administration against iran will only serve to consolidate the badly shaken political ground under the feet of ahmadinajad, and his extremist clique, nip off the budding urban opposition to the mollah-cracy.

the rest concern turkey mainly:

above all, the pkk is not a terrorist organization; it is an ordinary gang of ordinary crime that happens to operate accross borders, along a geographic stretch that has been one of the world's primary routes of contraband trade for at least four millennia. calling the pkk terrorist affords it a potential and implied legitimacy as an organization with licit political claims. turkey's diplomatic pressure, aided by the gang's atrocities have resulted in its classification as a terrorist organization by the e.u. and the u.s.a. but in the unofficial media, it is often mentioned as a rebel or "guerilla" movement, not a long step from demanding some legal status on international scale (*).

next, over-concentration on northern iraq as the pkk's military base, seems to shadow the fact that the the kurdish population in turkey is the human resource of the gang. the possibility that the operation may root out the "militants" accross the border raises my level of anxiety that the band will be driven underground in turkey, staging attacks on urban civilian targets - 63 such attempts were reportedly foiled last year, while two bombs did explode with signifiant fatalities in ankara and diyarbakır.

furthermore, since by national identity, the pkk is a turkish organization, the casualties on both side of the war are turkish citizens. this, "read backwards", spells civil war. crushing the pkk or other criminal bands is turkey's prerogative and duty, as well as its very legitimate and legal right naturally. however, decimating what amounts to an ethnically distinguishable portion of its own population, albeit legally, requires from a state that takes such measures, an unnatural effort in order to win back the hearts and minds of not only the remainder of the insurgent minority, but all the rest of its demographic denominations. there is not the slightest indication that the mental and especially inntellectual make up of turkey's current political élite is capable of that. on the other hand, the general public presentation of the war against the pkk is replete with messages that can potentiallly alienate the entire kurdish "minority", instead of welding their non-irredentist majority back to the state's claim of legitimacy and its rôle as the pillar of that collective legitimacy.
(*) not neccessarily being given it, of course...

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


it seems my favorite candidate for american/world presidency is losing bad to that new kid from illinois, who might just become the first black tenant of the white house.

no need to be a bad loser and there's little anyone can do but the american voters - however, one malady that made dubya a terrible politician, an ignorance and consequent disregard of the whole world in the face of the great american parish, might well be plaguing hussein, too. of course, it is not fair to compare obama to the (thankfully) sitting duck any other wise, but parochialism and a careless ethnocentrism seems to be common shortcomings.

i do not believe that the world or america itself can brook another term, much less another eight years burying its head in utah salt deserts or midwest corn fields.

let's hope at least that hillary and obama will run together in any case and win the elections.

senator mccain, the "new reagan", might just prove to be that...

Monday, February 18, 2008

kosovo, "pope" rowan, islam, tolerance and coexistence

cut me a little slack for resorting to postmodernist terminology but kosovo's (rather belated) independence should be "read" (1) not as a discreet political happening but in complementary contrast with two other recent incidents that give clues to the new formations within the modern universe: archbishop rowan williams's call to explore the possibilities of plural jurisdiction in british society and the resurgence of islamist hooliganism in denmark over the rehashed cartoon crisis.

although it is a step in an obviously opposite direction, kosovo independence could as well be pointing out to another step in the gradual bankruptcy of the exclusive centrality and power afforded to the nation state in preserving and sustaining social cohesion. kosovo is, after all, another mini (2) state of peasantly origin. its integrity with serbia is less a significant material loss to beograd than its loss of delusions of imperial grandeur, highly inflated by using russian gas.

kosovo's independence is, effectively, less the establishment of a new "centrality" that states signify than the disintegration of serbia's yugoslavian inheritance. kosovo cannot hope to stand on its own without the physical and moral support of global social forces that endorse a loosening of centralized political power into local autonomies and more freedoms for the individual - a modern revival of the greek polis, united within a worldwide network of communication would be the ideal global political system to replace the westfalia born organization of nation states.

dr. rowan' s rather far-fetched call for the recognition of islamic "requirements" in the workings of the british-cum-western juridicial/social system is another indicator that the political cohesion personified in the nation-state system has begun to fail in fulfilling its historical functions of a forced and pretended "national" homogeny within a given geography.

capitalism, the social and economic motivator of modernity, has evolved to a stage where functions of productivity (3) have become definable more in reference to merit, capability and efficiency, rather than the imperatives of belonging to any politically identified geography. even within the same city block, it matters less whether your neighbor is a sikh, a muslim, a protestant, a turk, a tutu or a finn etc., than how well (s)he can drive a truck, design a building, cook hamburgers or street brawl. more and more, groups that are formed of individuals who feel threatened by those "new" references:
i) hide into such false categories called "identity", in search of various ex-machina centralities that supposedly privilege them against those assumed to be more advantageous in terms of merit, capability and efficiency;
ii) cling to previously established such imaginary "identities", nation, class, parish etc., in an effort to safeguard vested interests, real or assumed - the french farmers, german neo-nazis, trade unions that eventually drive industries out to the third world from europe are among examples.

the archbishop of canterbury's suggestion that some sort of legally propped up pluralism based on religious variagation might merit consideration, comes as another sign that previous criteria of collective cohesion, highly regarded for the maintenance of the nation state system, such as the universality of the "law of the land" are slowly sliding into non-functionality, if not downtright dis-functionality (4). archbishop dr. rowan is in practice, the pope of (the church of) england. by historic definition, he is the headman of the queen's religion. in other words, he is the chief priest of a state religion.

however, the archbishop's call sounds far fetched because the "sharia" law he claims the muslims of britain desire and covet, represents just the opposite of what kosovo's independence signifies: just as kosovo's emergence as a state is a step away from the system of states supposedly begun in westfalia, dr. rowan's kind of "religious" multiculturalism instates a new centrality inherently incompatible with the globality of capitalist modernity. it institutes not the individualized plurality of merit, capability and efficiency but the constricting, collectiv-izing centrality of sharia that purports to bind 1.5 billion people as a quasi-nation dispersed everywhere in the modern world. it underwrites islam's essential claim to ecumenic, monolithic legitimacy by reducing myriad cultural differences of 1.5 billion people to an all-subsuming religion; thus subjecting it gto ultimate political abuse, too.

in a world where geography has become more relevant in reference to a variety of experiences of social/global temoporality, rather than mere cartographic coordinates, such miscegenation of (multi)culturally defined temporal geographies is possible only if tolerance is mutual, so that co-existence is organically possible. any unilaterally extended liberty to a minority, purporting to be an "identity", such as muslims in the west contend, has to be reciprocated in full with a similarly effective contribution to coexistence.

where islam is concerned though, events in denmark point out that such a level of mutual tolerance is still way off . even less extreme examples of islamic politics fail to inspire a confidence that muslim communities are ready to offer any support to efficient coexistence in identical or contiguous zones of time-space. the rift between the seculars and political islam in turkey is additional corrob oration that even in more homogenous populations, such tolerance may not come easy.

i find the mohammed cartoons published by the danish paper jyllands-posten abhorrent because of terribly bad taste and depressing lack of humor. neither can i approve the use of mohammed to censure uncouth hordes of uncivilized persons who claim to be his followers. in my opinion, the very just criticism of islamist violence in the cartoons has lost its impact because the reverred prophet of muslims who is totally innocent in the contemporary massacres fanatics enact in his name, was selected to denounce the act of hooliganism committed by muslims.

however, as far as the invioolable freedom of opinion and expression is concerned, neither the lack of taste, nor my (or anybody's) approval, nor the essential wrongfulness of the carricatures can justify their censorship or worse, their censorship through death threats, lethal assaults and the very ruffianism of the islamists that the cartoons mock. in itself, this is an indication that too many muslims are probably incapable of the kind of tolerance that can breed efficient multicultural coexistence and neither are ready to stand corrected.

oh, the catch here is quite ironic: if that level of critical, pluralist, democratic tolerance is ever attained by the muslims, there will remain scant need for switching to multiple juridicialism.

(1) to "read" instead of interpret, view, place etc, is a verb usurped by postmodernist literature but it was used by (mainly) marxian and liberal writers, too, in the pre-postmodernist era. let us note here however that many posties are continuances of the disgruntled marxian tradition.
(2) less by measure of population or area than the "exiguous" historic contribution its society has made to the economic and cultural collective acquis of humanity.
(3) this should be "read" as "reproduction of all functions of human existence", from economics to emotions; or all its actions, from baking bread to committing murder.
(4) i refer to robert k. merton' s terminology here: non-functional is just that; dis-functional plays a negative role in maintaining a functionally integrated social whole.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

hussein's ingrown toenail

it's like a sociological fault line: hussein obama is winning in every state that counts as ingrown america!

i guess the "race" is not defined yet, hillary can still garner enough delegates to enter the convention ahead and catch a safe margin with the super delegates as well; but the point is that hussein's drive is carrying a geography that commands two thirds of the largest economy in the world, or if you like, the biggest economy in the world itself, however ingrown...

problem: if, in this age of fast globalization, that introverted social force which worst bears the brunt of globalization, with the parochial idea of politics it endorses gets to determine what happens to the u.s. of a., the next elections may find america, "the vast expanse of land between new york and the pacific" drifting farther apart from manhattan and seattle; and hurting even worse, as the world's socio-economic gravity pushes its ingrown practices deeper.

like a tight shoe pressing an ingrown toenail!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

bare tits & les têtes

just a short note on the ongoing battle of the turks over the turban, first however, alllow me to congratulate murat altınbaşak, the amerikan türk, who commented on the contrast between the turks' battle for their freedom to give up freedom, wrapping their selves up like a constant potential sexual obsession and the emancipationist bra burning protests of 30 years ago. let me take this occasion to repeat my protest of turkey's intellligentsia and the political community, for consciously ignoring that head (or body) covering can only be considered a freedom to the extent breast baring bra burning also is!

then again, although the western concept of freedoms mostly (quite rightly) is much at ease with head covering or other means of islamic feminine concealment, i have yet to see or hear a covered muslim woman climbing to a prestigious, secular high office in either the private or the public sector anywhere in europe. in america, it is still difficult even for un-covered christian, even wasp women to attain top job spots.

i guess the european situation is less due to hypocritical practices than the probability that covering up really leads muslim women to a mental adjustment that denies them such success.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

with global glee, i, president hillary, wed thee hussein

see how super tuesday has turned out? it is all-out war between manhattan & california versus america, "that great expense of land that lies between them".

see how california and the northern east coast have carried hillary to a precarious advantage of about a 100 delegates?

now, with mainly the tramontana states remaining, obama does seem to have a slight advantage until the democratic convention, where -esppeciallly after dubya and the kerry disaster- the independent delegates should be expected to consider world awareness as a factor that makes or breaks a nation, as well as president.

besides, just because i paint hillary as the global queen here, it does not make her a total sissy at home either, the gal does come from arkansas, no less pious a grass roots belt state (indeed, it's probably the grass she walks on that saps her popularity with all manners of hillbillyism)!

the best idea roused however, is hillary for president and obama as vp. though barack hussein seems to be a bit too ambitious to accept such propositions at the moment, a good politico is also a good opportunist and he surely knowss at his age, a successful term in office is almost certain to carry him over to the presidency.

for a change,too, barack hussein would be a vp the world could hear from, since gerald ford - who alllegedly could not chew gum and walk simultaneously and made a name only by climbing after the dethroned r.m. "tricky dick" nixon to a decidious presidency. did anyone really notice al gore living in the white house?

if democrats, who so far proved themselves incompetent enough to lose against dubya the first time and face him with no less a political genious than the reverred senator john kerry, can manage this right and pair barack hussein with hillary, they can look at a 16 year stretch in the oval office. and better for all concerned, including us here in the lepers' valley, a u.s. presidency that harmonizes the worries and concerns of the global political-economy with those of the largest economy on the globe, the tramontana america, they might build the century's dream.

hey, the man's called hussein, that should give him an in even with the islamic opponents of america (*).
(*) this is not a below the belt joke, most backwards warm up to familiar signs and symbols instead of complicated ideas to grasp.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

afghani execution of the western idea

i am flabbergasted!

to the best of my knowledge, some six years ago, a western coalition under american leadership invaded afghanistan, ousted the taliban and their infamous sharia regime, won the hearts and minds of the afghani, established some semblance of democracy and enhanced modernization at great cost and considerable loss of troops.

the taliban were bad because they ran the country arbitrarily by islamic canon, sharia. they hanged people, they harangued and oppressed women, there was no freedom of expression, etc.

the coalition's intervention gave an end to all that, held democratic elections and hamid karzai's so-elected rule/regime made sure that there was no turning back, in the name of the allies' interests.

all right so far...

but who can explain how, in the de-talibanized, democratized, modernized, hamidized new afghanistan under the auspices of the allies, a kid who studies journalism happens to be on death row currently, sentenced by a sharia court and awaiting execution by hanging, for downloading and spreading some text on how women are ill-treated in islamic countries?

is there a difference between us (*), as represented by karzai, who, no matter who denies it how vehemently, is the pawn of us western interventionists and the taliban if that kid is hanged? can anyone really believe that western powers are powerless to pressure karzai to free the boy?

won't it be the idea of western virtue that swings at the end of that rope?

(*) turkey,too, is part of the coalition - our presidential protége, hikmet çetin held high office in afghanistan, so i can rightfully say "we".

hillary vs. obama? no, global new york vs. local chicago

wow! it's super tuesday already!

before bedtime in bodrum, early returns have arrived: huckleberry finn is the first victor in g.o.p.! the exciting race, though, is still between barack obama and hillary clinton...

i wrote in the previous post how the gigantic political-economic force of the u.s.a. is "divided" between an extroverted, global sector and an inbound, home-oriented economy that is rather indifferent to world-wide dynamics. extroverted america represents only about one fourth of the union's total economic acitivity but not only is it far more productive and efficient per capital dollar, it also is the largest element in global transactions by far.

two thirds of american productive activity is directed for the home, however. i speculated that the recent crisis and the intervention of the federal reserve are bound to reflect on that introverted sector, drive and motivate it toward competitivity and integration with global economy.

in classes, i usually identify extrovert, global america with new york, which indeed, is the world's true capital city; and introvert america with chicago, which is the center of america, "that vast expanse of land between mannhattan and california" (1).

is it a coincidence that the very local, almost parochial obama is from illinois; and the outgoing, world-smart ex-first lady, the globalized former governess of arkansas, hillary clinton represents new york?

[p.s. - the financial markets, struck by the crisis, did not take long to regain their balance. this may be read as an indication that the so called recession or stagnation will be overcome by a ruthless and fatal conversion of local, introverted, unproductive industries/services to global competitivity all over the world; slightly at the expense of chindia and other slave/corvée economies. such recovery and/or restructuration will naturally have to be financed through the world's capital markets which have to work at a healthy rythm.]

(1) quoting homer simpson...

Thursday, January 24, 2008

is that crisis echoing in my bowels?

the great andre gunder frank once defined crisis (roughly) as a situation where the current balance is so disrupted that it can never be regained in the same place as it was lost.

the recent crisis that shook the stock markets, started davos-going captains of economy arguing whether we're dealing with a slowdown or a recession, appeared to be more or less taken under control in 48 hours by the world's exchanges, thanks a goodn deal to the fed's somewhat belated intervention.

since the balance was regained, then we can't speak of a crisis, right?



this one, is not a crisis that can or will greatly jar the stock markets, which are likely to function as shock absorbers to this quake. the actual impact spreads deeper into the core of world economies, kicking their behindsto up and catch with the tidal waves of globality.

the fed naturally took the world economy as a whole in consideration whille making its move but its actual target was the rejuvenation of america's economy; more precisely, opening up to the world the in-bound economy of introverted america that i recently mentioned in a post.

america's economy, on the whole, is probably vital enough to survive at least a decade of what is conveniently (but mistakenly) referred to as isolationism. however, strong is hardly synonymous with competitive. in america, as well as all over the western world, many jobs and subsequent incomes were forfeited to rising new economies as chindia and adjacent countries. many businesses that fed americans in the 1970s have now moved to asia - and africa is in wait for asia's leftovers. in the last two decades, the global wealth from hi-tech goods and innovative services kept unqualified job markets in the west as full as cotton mills once did, but slowly, a saturation point was achieved.

following the logical course of globalization, the only way is to rev up homely economies; the traditional businesses that have made fortunes and have built america into the largest world-economy by far, to levels of competitivity where they can do the same for (theoretically, at least) the entire world. in practical words, it is a question of making a cadillac as rational an option for a hungarian family as a honda borrowing the capital from turkey.

obviously, such an undertaking can achieve success only through a major reconstruction that has to follow a calamitious crisis and recovers some new balance at far higher average levels of technoology and innovation. for instance, like developing a hybrid engine that runs on laughter, to keep the cadilllac moving at no cost...

as a rational means of setting a huge economic potential that corresponds to three thirds of the country's total might in motion, whipping consumption is the obvious best option. low interest rates are imperative both to boost people's spending and to encourage businnesses to more productive ventures.

hence, the crisis is one of inadequately productive economies, rather than a financial shake up. sure, the financial system will have to adjust and adapt to the new impetus but will have to keep it going unless it, too, risks a majestic corollary collapse.

and hence, a brake is going to apply on the rolling train of globalization - a trend already in motion since the eu enlargement and the recognition of the recent polish plumber syndrome by the european public. this, in essence is a period, favoring home-grown economies over the "foreign" (*); a respite for local, regional and national businesses strained under the unfair competition from chindian goods, so that they can have a chance of getting back in the game.

not a return to mercantilist protectionism of course... the new term is more comparable to a referee interfering with a boxing game in order to give a fighter slugged below the belt time to regain his breath and composure.

what about the working class? after all, marx's proleteriat is the essential body of consumers that keeps the wheels of economy turning. the western working man, now faces the challenge of becoming a productive force in itself, so that his labor becomes the indispensable element to keep the economic world going on - the only such labor is that of the mind, so heretofore beginneth the real knowledge society.

now, let's take a look at chindia - the so called emerging economies that, in reality, are exiled or exported enterprises from the west.

despite the protests, it seems mathematically solid that globalized business has contributed to the welfare and wealth of those remote places, in many instances at the expense of the western proleteriat. if capitalism is not suddenly going to metamorphose into a charity system, that mutual advantage is going to be preserved.

however, where chindia are concerned, it needs to be reitirated that we are talking about an economy, where the capital, the technology, the know-how and decision processes and even the markets are dominantly western controlled. and although an impressive number of scientists, technicians, managers etc. are increasingly assuming responsible roles and some prosperity does transfer to the states and administrators of host countries, without the western input, the whole chindia adventure is, kindly, kaput.

consequently, the time has also come to call chindia and its upsetting influence to line; i.e., toward a more systemic organization where unfair advantages will not hamper core western establishments inordinately where the essential principples of capitalist competition are concerned. as a matter of fact, china, for instance is a slave market with an unending supply of dirt cheap labor - which is also summarily dispensable, too, as work accident stats testify. the situation does not change much elsewhere around, either. chindian goods emit more than their fair share of effluents and carbon gases, consume too much energy, are known to be produced with harmful materials (as toys that children have bought in turkey) etc., etc...

in other words, chindia productions are susceptible to regulatory censorship from western markets and consumers, due to a plethora of shortcomings in their philosophy of state (or raja or sheikh or bwana or sultan) managed capitalism.

thus, a ball has started rolling that will not come to rest in its point of origin, although it is likely to cross a "turbulent" and tumultous path. that, in the words of the great andre gunder frank, is a crisis.

what i attempted here is a conjecture about how the path of the crisis must travel for optimal overall results. crises, though, are not famous for following rational, globally optimal courses. stupidity is one virtue humanity has insistently maintained, since adam gulped down eve's apple. after all, politicians are going to be instrumental in the way this crisis is to be managed. and history bellows loud enough for even the stone statues of yesteryear's politicians to hear that wherever politicians and states are involved, the effluence is weirdly attracted to the fan.

one last word: there is also an irrationally rational possible (though less probable) and impeccably humane course, the whole crsisis shindig may veer to: a revival of the 1968 "hippie" revolution (**) - but that is to come later... the flower-power golden dawn of the polis as the abode and asylum of freedom, peace and wisdom once again!

(*) foreign, as in chindia... since this is really an era of globality, however, there can be no backbreaking of such developing remote economies. another likely method of bringing the "foreign" home, is to increase home's share in the productivity of the foreign... imagine the istanbul stock exchange quoting vietnamese rice packing company shares!
(**) for those, especiallly ex-commies, who do not accept 1968 as a revolution, i recommend (again) the great immanuel wallerstein's "1968, revolution in the world-system: theses and queries", in theory and society, vol. 18, no. 4, july 1989.