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Where’s Leon Trotsky when you need him?

An interesting threat assessment from DHS, published on wikileaks. It notes economy etc. leading to growth of radical right wing organizations:

DHS/I&A assesses that a number of economic and political factors are
driving a resurgence in rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization activity.
Despite similarities to the climate of the 1990s, the threat posed by lone wolves and small
terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years. In addition, the historical election of
an African American president and the prospect of policy changes are proving to be a
driving force for rightwing extremist recruitment and radicalization.

Questions! First, why is it only radical right wing organizations? Have all the radical left wing organizations just disappeared? I mean, where’s Leon Trotsky when you need him?

And then something very real, and rather scary. Just think of all those veterans who know what a well-conceived campaign using IED’s can do:

DHS/I&A assesses that rightwing extremists will attempt to recruit and
radicalize returning veterans in order to exploit their skills and knowledge derived from
military training and combat. These skills and knowledge have the potential to boost the
capabilities of extremists—including lone wolves or small terrorist cells—to carry out
violence. The willingness of a small percentage of military personnel to join extremist
groups during the 1990s because they were disgruntled, disillusioned, or suffering from
the psychological effects of war is being replicated today.

Where’s Leon Trotsky when you need him?

Sites I liked on Feb 15, 2009

I really like this site: what a refreshing break from overly slick sites. Especially like the icons developed for each project: http://www.big.dk/

Here’s an artist projecting future high water on buildings in Bristol, England. The high water mark is based on the melting of the Polar ice sheets: http://watermarksproject.org/locations/

Meaning encased in a reference object, used to subvert, or amplify: http://nohaycomolodeuno.blogspot.com/2009/02/detournement-7.html

THE monument to Soviet central planning was supposed to have been a heap of surplus left boots without any right ones to match them. The great bull market of the past quarter century is commemorated by millions of empty houses without anyone to buy them. Gosplan drafted workers into grim factories even if their talents would have been better suited elsewhere. Finance beguiled the bright and ambitious and put them to work in the trading rooms of Wall Street and the City of London. Much of their effort was wasted. You can only guess at what else they might have achieved.(Or maybe the writers at the Economist finally caught up with the artists…Do you think??) The full article over at the Economist: http://www.economist.com/surveys/displaystory.cfm?story_id=12957709

With Google Earth’s bird’s eye view, you can quickly and easily explore the world’s power sector and compare CO2 emissions from different countries. Visit CARMA.org/earth to learn more.

Sites I liked on Feb 15, 2009

why not 24?

How to find eee_eff (search engine terms used to find eee_eff)[my comments in brackets]:

can’t play cd/dvd opensuse 11.1
torvalds marijuana [quite a few times–this keeps on turning up weird!]
mad cow disease ngo
no bbc dvd opensuse 11.1
the importance of being patience
“amy kazmin”
multimedia codecs in suse 11.1
the economist magazine cover
“self-regulating market”
linus torvalds airplane crash [well, I guess if he smokes he could crash! I hope he doesn’t smoke and fly though…]
architectural employment [good luck!]
23 enigma [why not 24?]
peter raven beer [it’s probably organic]
economics what is patent forever
patents “brunell”
life without chemistry
where is wikileaks [always try:]

why not 24?


Dani Rodrik’s usually excellent blog falls down just a bit with this post:

Some things are very hard to understand
For instance, how Naomi Klein was able to feel good about Argentina in 2002:

The only time she has ever felt a whiff of utopia was in Buenos Aires, in 2002, when the political system had virtually disintegrated—during the time that she and Lewis were filming “The Take.” “That moment in Argentina was an incredible time because a vacuum opened up,” she says. “They had thrown out four Presidents in two weeks, and they had no idea what to do. Every institution was in crisis. The politicians were hiding in their homes. When they came out, housewives attacked them with brooms. And, walking around Buenos Aires at night, there were meetings on every other street corner. Every plaza where there was a streetlight, people were meeting under it and talking about what to do about the external debt, I swear to God. Groups of one hundred or five hundred people. And organizing buying groceries together because they could get cheaper prices, setting up barters because the currency was worthless. It was the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen.”

This is the same Argentina which had just collapsed into a severe economic crisis, with a more than doubling of the share of population in extreme poverty and a 10 percent decline in GDP.  I wonder how many Argentines were feeling equally euphoric.

And my response:


I recall this last summer a weed started to grow in my backyard. The previous owner of the house, an older man who obviously believed in zero maintenance, had installed concrete pavers over almost the entire backyard. This weed started to grow in between the pavers anyway, and my son, being just nine, insisted we allow it to grow. Not seeing any harm in this, I allowed it to grow and it actually was a quite interesting plant–it developed flowers as well as rather bizarre set of leaves.  All and all it made a rather desolate place a little nicer.

I think Naomi Klein sees the plant and you see the pavement.

Who is more deluded? I would think a balanced view would take both into account.

I see nothing wrong with observing, and rejoicing in, the strength of the human spirit to overcome an unjust system.


By the way, I should thank Dani for mentioning Karl Polanyi’s book The Great Transformation. It’s not read or taught as often as it should be.