Wednesday, October 17, 2012
BOOK REVIEW of Blood Sacrifice and the Nation: Totem Rituals and the American Flag -- by Marvin, C. & Ingle, D.
Review below by Richard A. Koenigsberg. I think this is a fair account of "progressive" and Fascist thinking up to WWII and there may be some survival of such thinking into the present era. It is certainly an unusual perspective today -- JR
Carolyn Marvin and David Ingle build upon several interrelated theorems:
* Blood sacrifice preserves the nation.
* The nation is the shared memory of blood sacrifice.
* Body sacrifice lies at the core of nationalism.
* To die for one's country is the ultimate expression of faith in social existence.
* Warfare is the most powerful enactment of the ritual of blood sacrifice.
The creation of sentiments strong enough to hold the group together periodically requires the death of a significant portion of its members. In short, society depends upon the death of sacrificial victims at the hands of the group. Warfare is a ritual that creates sacrificial victims. Nations come into being by virtue of their capacity to produce death.
Thomas Jefferson said, "Occasionally the tree of Liberty must be watered with the blood of Patriots and Tyrants." Rudolph Hess declared, "The stream of blood which flows for Germany is eternal-the sacrifice of German men for their Volk is eternal-therefore Germany will also be eternal." This is the most succinct summation of Nazi ideology I've come across.
Nazism meant perpetual, never-ending death-bloodshed-for Germany. According to Hess, Germany lived insofar as it consumed the blood of sacrificial victims. What's more, if Germans had to shed blood for their nation-so would everyone else. Hitler initiated and enacted the most massive sacrificial ritual in human history-the "Second World War"-that claimed an estimated 60 million victims.
Blood sacrifice is undertaken for nations, but also in the name of valorizing any sacred ideology. Ali Benhadj-a revolutionary Islamist leader from Algeria-declared:
"If a faith, a belief, is not watered and irrigated by blood, it does not grow. It does not live. Principles are reinforced by sacrifices, suicide operations and martyrdom for Allah. Faith is propagated by counting up deaths every day."
Whereas the soldier dies for his country, suicide bombers die for Allah.
The First World War also generated a massive number of casualties: 9 million dead and over 21 million wounded. Some observers were gratified by the slaughter. Writing in 1916, P. H. Pearse, founder of the Irish Revolutionary movement, was thrilled to observe the carnage:
"The last sixteen months have been the most glorious in the history of Europe. Heroism has come back to the earth. It is good for the world to be warmed with the red wine of the battlefield. Such august homage was never before offered to God as this-the homage of millions of lives given gladly for love of country."
From Pearse's perspective, it didn't matter what country the soldier died for-whether France, Great Britain, Germany or Russia-as long as the world was warmed with the red wine of the battlefield. The First World War enacted a ritual of "august homage": millions of lives sacrificed for countries. As soldiers died, so nations came alive.
The war of 1914-1918 was called a world war, and also "the great war": No one wanted to be left out (it's a family affair). Based on this war, Australia was born as a nation, as was Canada. These nations claimed their space on the world stage by virtue of the fact that they delivered "heroes" who had the courage to die for their country. The soldier, Marvin points out, is the fundamental sacrificial victim: giving his life so his nation might live.
According to Rene Girard:
"Sacrifice accords the god all that he needs to assure his continued growth and vigor. If we neglect to feed the god, he will waste away; or else, maddened by hunger, he will descend among men and lay claim to his nourishment with unexampled cruelty and ferocity."
Nations are hungry gods whom we feed to keep alive. The dynamic of sacrificial death is structured as a blood transfusion: the life-sustaining substance of human bodies passes into the body politic. Warfare is "eternal" because we cannot resist feeding the hungry god, which requires a perpetual stream of blood to maintain its life. Thus does blood sacrifice create nations.
Received via email from Library of Social Science.
An hilarious video
Does emptyhead mean anything he says?
H/T Dennis Sevakis. Amazing that it needs Danes to skewer Obama like that. Where have the American media been?
Damned if you do and damned if you don't
The ACLU sued Morgan Stanley Monday, charging it engaged in racial discrimination by funding subprime mortgages. But it was government legislation that forced those loans to blacks -- by saying that the number of loans made to blacks had to be "proportionate"
The American Civil Liberties Union sued Morgan Stanley on Monday, charging the Wall Street firm discriminated against minority homeowners and violated federal civil rights laws by providing funding for risky mortgages.
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in New York, is the first lending discrimination case to go after the investment banks that funded the subprime mortgages. Previous suits of this kind targeted the lenders that made the loans.
Wall Street funded the subprime lending boom by bundling the risky loans into mortgage-backed securities. Those securities were then sold to institutional investors and pension funds.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of five Detroit residents, and asks the court to certify the case as a class action.
"With this lawsuit, real victims of the subprime lending scandal are stepping forward to hold investment banks like Morgan Stanley accountable for the devastation the banks wrought in their lives and in our economy," said Anthony Romero, ACLU executive director, in a statement.
Mother Nature And Good Luck, Not Big Government, Saved General Motors. For Now
There are lots of claims that the federal government saved the American auto industry by bailing it out. (Never mind Ford didn't get a bailout, and "foreign" companies such as Honda and Toyota make many of their cars in America.)
Critics of the bailout make the valid point "any company can be kept afloat indefinitely with taxpayer subsidies." They also say the bailouts have resulted in GM becoming politicized and "spending lots of money" on a politically correct car that consumers and car-buyers don't want "because of pressure from Washington rather than demand from consumers" (as even the liberal Washington Post has noted, discussing the GM Volt). But although these criticisms may be persuasive to newspaper editorialists and economists, they will be unpersuasive to an ordinary person in Ohio or Michigan who desperately wants a job, now, and does not care about how that happens or whether it costs taxpayers money. Such people are likely to be grateful for the bailout if no one explains to them that Mother Nature and good luck, not big government, saved the U.S. automakers.
General Motors never would have recovered as it did if not for the massive Japanese earthquake and Tsunami that devastated its rivals, such as Toyota. The tsunami so crippled Toyota that GM could regain market share despite the Obama administration leaving GM's uncompetitive, inefficient work rules and high labor costs largely intact.
General Motors also benefited from another factor that has often been overlooked: the massive Thai floods in 2011, which inundated and shut down Japanese car-parts factories in Thailand for many months, crippling Japanese automakers' global supply chains. On Dec. 8, Toyota "cut its profit forecast by more than half after Thailand's worst floods in almost 70 years disrupted output of Camry and Prius vehicles." The World Bank estimates the floods did $45 billion in damage to the Thai economy and left half its factories under water for substantial periods. By harming Japanese automakers, the Thai floods gave a huge boost to their competitor, General Motors, enabling it to survive despite the Obama administration's costly coddling of the UAW union in the bailout, which threatens the automaker with future losses in the billions.
GM also benefited from good luck - primarily the huge safety issues and recalls that befell Toyota in 2010. This helped GM and Ford move forward at a time when overall auto sales were rising rapidly. As The New York Times noted in March 2010 "Toyota Motor, estimating that it lost 18,000 sales in the United States last month while its chief competitors enjoyed big gains, introduced incentives Tuesday as it tried to restore consumers' confidence in its vehicles after three big recalls," as the company "acknowledged that the recalls had hurt Toyota's ability to attract new buyers." Toyota rebounded after it turned out its vehicles were safe, and that crashes of Toyota vehicles were the result of driver error, except for one crash that resulted from a dealer improperly installing a floor mat.
For a brief time, natural disasters so damaged the Japanese automakers that GM once again became the world's number one automaker. But when the Japanese companies recovered, Toyota once again surpassed GM as the world's biggest automaker.
The bailouts resulted in new, more inept and politicized management at GM (which replaced a pre-bailout CEO, Rick Wagoner, who had put in place changes that belatedly resulted in improved product lines coming out shortly after his ouster). Auto industry experts are horrified by GM's recent mismanagement of its European operations:
General Motors' plan to displace the venerable and respected Opel brand in Europe with a new Chevrolet "global" brand really is as insane as it seems, according to Keith Crain of Automotive News. "It will take decades for Chevrolet to establish anywhere near the recognition that Opel has," Crain argues.
GM now is concealing the depth of its problems by financing auto sales with risky loans that may never be paid back, resulting in GM's increasing reliance on selling cars to people who can't pay for them: "GM Ramps Up Risky Subprime Auto Loans To Drive Sales," noted Investor's Business Daily. "The automaker is relying increasingly on subprime loans, 10-Q financial reports shows. Potential borrowers of car loans are rated on FICO scores . . . Anything less than 660 is generally deemed subprime. GM Financial auto loans to customers with FICO scores below 660 rose from 87 percent of total loans in Q4 2010 to 93 percent in Q1 2012." GM's CEO has fired or driven away valuable employees and executives at its European branch in what looks like scapegoating for his own bad decisions - and a GM spokesman needlessly trashed departing employees.
Pension funds and non-union retirees were ripped off in the bailouts. (Veteran political commentator Michael Barone called the Obama administration's treatment of Chrysler and GM bondholders "gangster government." In The Wall Street Journal, law professor Todd Zywicki called it an attack on "the rule of law.")
That mistreatment may haunt the auto industry in the future, reducing employment in the auto industry, as companies find it more difficult to raise money through bonds and loans. In response to Obama's ripping off bondholders and lenders in the bailout, hedge funds said they would be less likely to lend to automakers or other unionized companies in the future. Even The Washington Post, which endorsed Obama in 2008, had unsuccessfully pleaded with the Obama administration to "stop bullying the company's bondholders" to avoid economic harm down the road.
The Obama administration has harmed U.S. automakers and endangered their long-run survival by radically ratcheting up federal CAFE fuel-economy standards, which affect U.S. automakers more than their foreign competitors. An estimated 50,000 jobs were predicted to disappear under earlier, less radical proposals, so the ultimate job losses will probably be well over 100,000. And Obama's climate-change regulations will destroy countless jobs and cut "household purchasing power," reducing auto sales and Chrysler's chances of survival. (In a January 17, 2008 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, then-Senator Obama said that consumers' "electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket" under his planned regulations.)
Israel gets a big one
Egyptian security forces were on high alert in the Sinai Peninsula on Monday, following an Israeli strike on the Gaza Strip that killed the commander of a Jihadi-Salafi terror group on Saturday, Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported.
Egyptian security officials told Ma'an Sunday night that authorities in Cairo warned troops in northern Sinai of a possible retaliatory attack on Egyptian bases or attempted attacks on Israeli targets.
The commander killed in the air strike has been identified as Hisham Al-Saedni, also known as Abu Al-Waleed Al-Maqdissi, believed to head the Jihadist Salafi group Tawhid and Jihad (One God and Holy War). Al-Saedni and his accomplice, who had been firing rockets into southern Israel, also took part in previous terror attacks on Israel from the Sinai Peninsula, and was in the final stages of plotting a new attack, an IDF source said.
We Are On The Road To Serfdom
A free society requires hard and apolitical money. But the reality today is that money is merely a political tool. Central banks around the world are getting ever bolder in using it to rig markets and manipulate asset prices. The results are evident: equities are trading not far from historic highs, the bonds of reckless and clueless governments are trading at record low interest rates, and corporate debt is priced for perfection. While in the real economy the risks remain palpable and the financial sector on life support from the central banks, my friends in money management tell me that the biggest risk they have faced of late was the risk of not being bullish enough and missing the rallies. Welcome to Planet QE.
I wish my friends luck but I am concerned about the consequences. With free and unlimited fiat money at the core of the financial industry, mis-allocations of capital will not diminish but increase. The damage done to the economy will be spectacular in the final assessment. There is no natural end to QE. Once it has propped up markets it has to be continued ad infinitum to keep ‘prices’ where the authorities want them. None of this is a one-off or temporary. It is a new form of finance socialism. It will not end through the political process but via complete currency collapse.
Not the buying and selling by the public on free and uninhibited markets, but monetary authorities – central bank bureaucrats – now determine where asset prices should be, which banks survive, how fast they grow and who they lend to, and what the shape of the yield curve should be. We are witnessing the destruction of financial markets and indeed of capitalism itself.
While in the monetary sphere the role of the state is increasing rapidly it is certainly not diminishing in the sphere of fiscal policy. Under the misleading banner of ‘austerity’ states are not rolling back government but simply changing the sources of state funding. Seeing what has happened in Ireland and Portugal, and what is now happening in Spain and in particular Greece, many governments want to reduce their dependence on the bond market. They realize that once the bond market loses confidence in the solvency of any state the game is up and insolvency quickly becomes a reality. But the states that attempt to reduce deficits do not usually reduce spending but raise revenues through higher taxes.
Sources of state funding
When states fund high degrees of spending by borrowing they tap into the pool of society’s savings, crowd out private competitors, and thus deprive the private sector of resources. In the private sector, savings would have to be employed as productive capital to be able repay the savers who provided these resources in the first place at some point in the future. By contrast, governments mainly consume the resources they obtain through borrowing in the present period. They do not invest them in productive activities that generate new income streams for society. Via deficit-spending, governments channel savings mainly back into consumption.
Government bonds are not backed by productive capital but simply by the state’s future expropriation of wealth-holders and income-earners. Government deficits and government debt are always highly destructive for a society. They are truly anti-social. Those who invest in government debt are not funding future-oriented investment but present-day state consumption. They expect to get repaid from future taxes on productive enterprise without ever having invested in productive enterprise themselves. They do not support capitalist production but simply acquire shares in the state’s privilege of taxation.
Much more HERE
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)
Posted by JR at 1:33 AM