Archive for June 30th, 2009

The Meaning of National Sovereignty

RebelReports – Iraq’s “National Sovereignty Day” is U.S.-Style Hallmark Hype

In a grotesquely symbolic move, the Iraqi government marked “National Sovereignty Day” by “open[ing] up some of its massive oil and gas fields to foreign firms,” according to the Wall Street Journal: “In a televised ceremony, international oil companies were invited to submit bids for six oil and two gas fields, a process that marked their return to the country over 30 years after Mr. Hussein nationalized the oil sector and expelled the foreign firms. The fields on offer hold about 43 billion of Iraq’s 115 billion barrels of crude reserves — among the largest in the world.” Among the companies bidding were the Western oil giants ExxonMobil and BP (which reportedly won a contract on Tuesday). As The New York Times reported, “A total of 8 of the world’s 10 top non-state oil companies are competing for licenses to help develop six oil fields and two natural gas fields.”

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In Which The Guardian Is Very Concerned For The Moral Welfare Of The Ruling Classes

Michael Tomasky: The Honduran coup | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

At any rate I don’t think this means we’re entering a new era of instability in Central America. If anything, the larger story here seems to be Chavezismo and how ruling classes should respond to it — like, by trying to do something through normal political means for these countries’ legions of poor people for a change.

Chavismo.

Why should one hope for the ruling classes to do anything at all -through normal political means or not- for poor people? The point about the ruling classes is that they rule. If they do something for poor people, they do it only to the extent that it conserves or entrenches their position as rulers. To act in any other way would be to relinquish their position of privilege.

The larger story here, contra The Guardian, is how the legions of poor people should overthrow the ruling classes and take control of their own destiny.

Soundalikes

The names of shame | Stephen Bayley | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk

Right now, in Andalucia, they are selling a local whisky called “Dyck”. Anglophone larrikins enjoy entering bars and asking very loudly for “a big dick”.

In fact, the whiskey is called DYC, short for Destilerías y Crianza, and it’s not local to Andalucia. It’s very popular among people to whom the English word ‘dick’ means nothing. Personally I find it headshrinkingly disgusting, but it was never intended to be targeted at ‘anglophone larrikins’. I’m sure I’m guilty of the same sort of sniggering myself on other occasions, but as a general principle the fact that a word in one language sounds a lot like a rude word in another should never give cause for amusement (cf Aon Focal Eile by Richie Kavanagh). Still, it was funny the time a whole load of French kids started laughing at a guy I know called Shane because his name sounded a lot like ‘chien’.


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