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...