AKP Closing Down Pig Farms in Turkey

Time for AKP fans who claim it is moderate and secular to wake up. The real insidious pressure to Islamicise Turkey is shown in a a report on the BBC News website. The BBC has generally gone along with the moderate liberalising reformist line on AKP, so this is important.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/from_our_own_correspondent/7368020.stm


As the story reveals, pork butchers associated with the Armenian and Greek communities are being forced out of business on the pretext of hygiene standards on pork farms. Pressures are being applied on pig farmers which are not being applied on other farms and ALL pig farms have had licenses withdrawn. The government is hiding behind the excuse of ‘European standards’ on hygiene to Islamicise society and attack an economic activity associated with Greeks and Armenians. This is an attack on secularism and on the rights of Turkish Greeks and Armeni ans. Time for all you people who claim that AKP is the most liberal reformist party in Turkey to wake up to reality, to the real danger. I’ve been willing to give AKP the benefit of the doubt, but evidence is beginning to accumulate of an insidious step by step attack on secularism. Time to stop all this ‘post-secularist’ nonsense of ‘preferring religious conservatives to laicists. Post-secularism is not exiciting and innovative, it is a cover for giving into backward looking intolerance and social repression.

Habermas and German Nationalism

A very useful collection of Habermas texts on line can be found at: http://www.helsinki.fi/~amkauppi/hablinks.html
It is no doubt rather harsh to link Jürgen Habermas with German nationalism, Habermas epitome of decent rationalist sort of Marxist sort of left-liberal German democrat.  His thought repudiates all Nationalism in favour of cosmopolitan democratic procedures based on the ethics of discourse undistorted by the interests of power.  He devotes himself to Constitutional Patriotism, which rests on loyalty to constitutional arrangements rather than loyalty to culture, ethnicity, race or religion.  
But this becomes another form of German Nationalism?  Who has supposedly provided an example of Constitutional Patriotism? The post-war Federal Republic of Germany of course.  
Which nation reacted most strong against proto-totalitarian Jacobin Terror during the French Revolution, supposedly?  Germany of course, though one might point out that Edmund Burke pointed out this aspect of the French Revolution before it had happened.  Statist elements in Fichte and Hegel are overlooked by Habermas.  What about the consequences of Marxist utopianism in politics: totalitarianism  What about Marx’s anti-semitism in On the Jewish Question?  What about the nationalist element in the thought of liberal thinker and sociologist Max Weber?  Though quite rightly, Weber would certainly think something is missing from the idea of Constitutional Patriotism,which rests on an ideal of passionless depersonalised discourse.    If we look at a great German liberal of that time, Wilhelm Von Humboldt, we find a regret for the passing of constant war in human civilisation and a strong belief in the ‘Nation’ as the source of laws, unified by the interplay of constant dialogue.
Humboldt has some leanings towards militaristic nationalism, along with the limited state.  His emphasis on dialogue provides a source for Habermas’ discourse ethics and democracy of deliberation.  No mention of how that works out in conjunction with Humboldt.  Where is Marx, who turns a Humboldtian emphasis on freedom through dialogue into a socialism/communism where individuals flourish in their freedom from the state? 
Habermas overlooks Naziism and its place in German history while defining Germany as the home land of constitutional patriotism.  Patriotism requires more than loyalty to a constitution.  I do not suppose that Habermas overlooks the complaints mentioned above, but he has no answer other than an idealised public sphere where individuals keep debating detached from anything which makes them individual.  
Of course there is much to admire in Habermas’ thought and in German constitutionalism, but we need material interests and personal perspective in an adequate theory.  We certainly do not want a universalisation to German politics, mirroring the Jacobin universalism which Habernas criticises.  

Safari Browser for Windows might be better than Firefox 3

Safari for Windows can be downloaded from here Download Now Free for Mac and Windows
I’ve been arguing for the merits of Firefox as a browser, and particularly Firefox 3, beta 5.  This reflects my experience on Windows XP on a desktop PC.  I’m switching to Mac OS X Leopard on a MacBook (leaving aside office computers)  next month.  Friends who use Mac computers also use Firefox rather than the native browser, Safari.  I’ve tried out Safari since Apple released the Windows version, it is now on release 3.1.  Earlier versions impressed me with their aesthetics, but were very unstable, crashing and freezing at slight provocation.  I also found that the chat function had disappeared from my Gmail account.  
What is the situation now?  Gmail chat has disappeared on Firefox 3 beta 5, and I’ve had many problems with slow running and crashing.  Very likely my fault for not only using a beta version, but for doing things which made the browser perform worse: add the Night Tester extension which enables existing extensions on the browser that are not compatible with 3 beta 5 to become forcibly compatible.  I suspect also that Windows XP has difficulty running several applications, especially when one is an unstable browser on the 512 mb of ram (memory) I have at present, though that is standard.  Probably best to have 1 gb of ram if running several widgets, iTunes and a beta browser at the same time as I often do, and even more so if I’m running a sweep for spyware or viruses.  I do not see this as outrageous use of the computer.
I’m amazed to see that PCs are being marketed with 1 gb of ram for Vista premium.  Unless users stick to the Vista Basic limit of 2 programs at once, I’m sure they are plagued by slowness, freezing and crashing given that  2 gb is clearly minimal for Vista, and some reviewers claim that Vista is too slow even on that amount of ram.  
Back to browsers.  I’ve downloaded all the upgrades to Safari, and the last version, 3.1 is running beautifully.  No crashes or freezing, just some slowness which probably reflects the tendency of my 512  mb of ram to fill up all too easily.   
I was excited by the flexibility of Firefox, all those themes and extensions, and by the greater sense of aesthetic unity of the page in 3.  Safari does not give much  flexibility  or choice but it has a beautifully integrated aesthetic well beyond Firefox 3.  Like everything else from Apple everything feels seamless and gives you exactly what you need.  At first I was confused by the lack of restore closed tab option, but it can be done easily after clicking on History. At first I could not see how to close tabs, but go to File and the option is there, and I memorised control+w for that operation anyway.  Click on Develop and there are options to ‘open page’ with all the browsers I have loaded on the PC (Firefox, Opera and Explorer).  I was a bit startled by so many links opening in a new window, but right clicking on a link gives a speedy was to choose opening in a new tab or a new window and other options, including ‘Inspect Element’.  It seems less happy with many tabs than Firefox, and opening new Windows causes less slowness than opening many tabs beyond those visible in the tab bar.  
Page loading is indicated by translucent blue bar spreading over url in address window, spell check comes in quickly and automatically.  A beautiful effect of curvature in three dimensions and 
I’ll wait to try it out on my MacBook, and other browsers, properly when the Mac arrives.  So far I’ve just fiddled about on friends’ Mac computers.  I’ll also try out the following: 
Firefox 3 beta 5
Camino (a version of Firefox for the Mac OS which resembles Safari)
Opera
If I’m now finding Safari best for Windows, I guess I’ll find it ever better for the Mac OS.  

Claims circulating the Web that PayPal will block Safari Browser are FALSE

The claim has gone round the web that Paypal will block Safari (Apple’s browser for Mac computers and the iPhone which can also be used in a for Windows form) because they believe it does not have enough safeguards against pishing. This claim has been corrected by a PayPal executive. The reality with regard to Safari is that a padlock symbol appears on the the top bar of the Safari browser when entering a Secure site for a recognised merchant, and the lack of this icon when entering pishing site will alert the surfer as much as any other browser safeguards.

http://blogs.wsj.com/biztech/2008/04/18/paypal-bans-browsers-mac-love-cell-phone-bans/

Personas for Firefox. Go to link for great new Firefox application

Mozilla Labs » Featured Projects

The link above is for Personas for Firefox. This allows very easy modification of appearance of horizontal bars. Once the add on is installed, you can change themes without closing the browser. May work best on Firefox 3 beta versions, but is compatible with Firefox 2. If you still use Firefox 1, or don’t use a Firefox browser and think 3 beta (beta is a test version) is too big a jump, download Firefox 2 from the side bar on this blog.

The Simpsons deemed unsuitable for children’ in Venzuala. Another victory for the Chavez Road to Socialism

An article in Times Online today refers to a decision of the National Telecommunications Commission that The Simpsons is unsuitable for children and must be taken off morning television.

‘The National Telecommunications Commission said the show pushed “messages that
go against the whole education of boys, girls and adolescents”’

The Simpsons will be replaced by Baywatch which is certainly popular with adolescents, though not for the purposes of education in the normal sense. For those who don’t know, it focuses heavily on the physique of the actors, male and female who work as life guards on the beach in swimsuits.

This story is intrinsically absurd, but is not just a bit of trivia. This must be seen in the context of Hugo Chavez’ ’21st Century Socialism’. The bizarre decision making must be understood in terms of the irrationality of Chavez belief in the state interfering everywhere, and his own creation of a Cult of Personality which is simply the personalised aspect of a process in which state officials interfere irrationally and unaccountably.

The other aspect is that The Simpsons is an American show. There is a lot of joky criticism of American society in the show mixed with an essentially affectionate attitude towards middle America. It could be said thatthe criticism ends up justifying American society since the end of the show always draws us back to the value of the family life of the main family, who are clealry typically American. In the eyes of Chavez and his followers it probably looks like Yankee Imperialist propaganda. There is some logic to this view, Chavez and his political apparatus need to control the population’s image of the US in order to mobilise them and create an enemy image. Every extreme illibreal movement needs an all threatneing enemy to justify its incursions into individual freedom, some similar comments apply to Vush’s ‘War on Terror’ and The ‘Patriot’ Act, which is a law to weakne the rights of US citizens in relation to the federal government.

Derrida, Schmitt and French Nationalism

I’ve addressed nationalist undertones in Derrida before. I’m reminded of this topic by teaching Politics of Friendship in an MA class.

Derrida deals with Carl Schmitt at length there, including Theory of the Partisan, the sequel to Concept of the Political. Derrida gets quite indignant on a few issues which touch French national pride

1. Schmitt’s emphasis on the origin of the ‘partisan’ (a soldier defending territory without regard to membership of a recognised state army) in Spanish resistance to French occupation under Napolean Bonaparte and then in Prussian resitance to Bonaparte is not well received.

2. Derrida refers to Schmitt’s failure to mention French women participating in the Resistance to Nazi occupation.

3. Schmitt’s emphasis on General Salan who opposed De Gaulle after the independence of Algeria as the example of a partisan and of Catholic thinking.

Derrida does not make nationalistic comments about Schmitt’s choice of the Bonaparatist wars as the context for defining the solider who defends territory without fıyndation in the law of war, but with justice, however, his anxiety is clear.

Derrida wishes to emphasise a feminine French Republicanism against Schmitt’s invocation of friendship and emnity both modelled on fraternity.

In bringing up Salan, Schmitt brşings up a very awkaward moment in French Republicanism. The generals who opposed de Gaulle for giving independence could claim to be defending Republican ideals with regard to the integration of Algeria into France. As Derrida was a colonial in Algeria in origin, there is a lot of unexpressed anxity and ambiguity at stake here. De Gaulle versus the anti-Gaullist generals, not the most comfortable of territory for many left wing Republicans support de Gaulle the conservative or his conservative enemies. De Gaulle himself was an oddly ambiguous figure, half defender and creator of post-colonial republican democratic France independent of the USA and half ultra-conservative aristocrat and autocratic president.