stimulus: I’m just waiting for the man

As he shuffled through life, Charleston artist William Aiken Walker must have been inspired by card games, for he is known for his Poker Game Aboard a Mississippi Riverboat as well as making a Confederate deck of cards during the Civil War as a contribution to the war effort. Of course with war, why let the truth get in the way of a good lie, and America is still engaged in war….

The final revelation is that lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of art. Oscar Wilde – The Decay of Lying

Nicolas Poussin. ---Poussin shows a somewhat hefty calf and people gaily dancing in front of it. The man in the middle is Aaron. In the background, Moses and Joshua are descending the mountain; Moses is holding the stone tablets with the Ten Commandments. Moses is about to smash them, in a rage over their idolatry.---Read More:

The aesthetic, the rhetorical flourish, artistic liberty,poetic license, has  historically endured an uneasy relationship with institutions of power and authority. For Plato , the dangerous possibilities  he perceived in the practice of art, and the subsequent aesthetic it would propagate and spread, was enough for him to assert that poets and performers be excluded from his ideal Republic, given their natural inclination to  corrupt the guardians and potential philosopher kings. There would be no Diana and the Golden Bough in the grove of Alba. KISS- keep it simple and stupid. And make sure the exercise of reason and judgement are not clouded by the wily arts which tend to defy roles of subservience. In the modern era, post-modern, aesthetic practice has become a central tenet of political and cultural radicalism establishing its domain among the highly privileged and powerful as something to be collected and enjoyed. Certainly, President Obama is a product of the aesthetic explosion whose sense of enlightenment is constantly contradicted by the aesthetic rhetoric of style…


---The dialect writing of George Washington Cable, Lafcadio Hearn, and even Mark Twain is echoed in Walker's images, which also parallel the kind of drama (or, more accurately, melodrama) being written about the South in the same period. Like the consumers of consciously "regional" literature, the consumers of Walker's paintings were not those who had passed their lives in the rural South, but rather were the Yankees and the urban businessman of the New South, admirers of a mythic, unhurried and untroubled Southland that existed mainly in their imaginations. --- Read More:


Mark Blyth, professor of politics at Brown University, who specialises in economics, was pessimistic about its chances of working, especially at a time when the global economy is weakening. “Both parties know they are in the hole over this but want the dirt to stick to the other guy. What he proposes is sound but will not significantly dent unemployment,” Blyth said.”To keep it at its current level, it needs to keep up with the trend rate of population growth, minus those folks leaving the labour market due to giving up on searches. It’s doubtful that these measures will significantly affect this push/pull phenomenon more than one percentage point.” Read More:

Paul Krugman:So how’s it going? The dollar value of that cybercurrency has fluctuated sharply, but overall it has soared. So buying into Bitcoin has, at least so far, been a good investment. But does that make the experiment a success? Um, no. ... the Bitcoin economy has in effect experienced massive deflation. And because of that, there has been an incentive to hoard the virtual currency rather than spending it. The actual value of transactions in Bitcoins has fallen rather than rising. In effect, real gross Bitcoin product has fallen sharply. So to the extent that the experiment tells us anything about monetary regimes, it reinforces the case against anything like a new gold standard – because it shows just how vulnerable such a standard would be to money-hoarding, deflation, and depression. Read More: image: William Aiken Walker. wiki-

As in Ricky Gervais’s movie, The Invention of Lying, the unadultered truth, is kind of R.D. Laing meets Dr. Janov after a calming massage. The undiluted truth being cumbersome and perhaps even violent in its aggressiveness. At the extreme, nihilistic in which goodness is a fraud. In a world in which there is no lying, imagination is nothing more than a status word for prevarication. Ultimately, Gervais without realizing it, stumbles onto “the in-between” where neither the truth or lie is visible, but it affects our behavior. He affirms by denial, by not lying he is lying, yet escapes by absence of dialogue. One wonders if Obama is not plying the same waters, kind of making it up as he goes along….

---Holland Cotter:The play, “Man Equals Man,” originally set in colonial India, opens with four drunken British soldiers breaking into a temple. When one of them is injured, his companions need to hustle up a substitute to replace him. Their arbitrary choice is a mild-mannered local civilian named Galy Gay, whom they recruit and train in the role of a soldier. In the process, he loses his own identity and turns into a mechanized ve

n of a fighting man. In her take on Brecht’s play, about the dehumanizing effects of both militarism and capitalism, Ms. Laser filmed her cast performing short passages from it in the A.T.M. nooks of different banks — Chase, Citibank, Amalgamated and so on — then spliced the segments together. Read More: image:

a hidden god remains eternally hidden in the infinity of his alterity. and yet we believe we can still pray to it. but the god of the between requires a human deed for its very existence. dialogue, the act of god-creation, is a fundamentally arduous task of the whole-being. it requires the mind, the body and the social engagement with all three realms of existence. it is perhaps for that reason that maimonides begins his mishne torah (his definitive work of torah exegesis) with the remark that one needs to overcome with the determination of a lion to wake up every morning to begin the service of the creator. Read More:


…Jeff Madrick:

The other thing that was disappointing to me that was he mentioned that if we didn’t reform social security, it wouldn’t be here—that is totally not true. I don’t know a Democratic president that would say that, I don’t know if many Republican presidents would say that.

So that danger is what is behind Curtain Number 3, which he hasn’t pulled back yet. That is, he says he will offset all this $450 billion somehow….

Krugman:But the Fed’s hair is manifestly not on fire, nor do most politicians seem to see any urgency about the situation. These days, the best — or at any rate the alleged wise men and women who are supposed to be looking after the nation’s welfare — lack all conviction, while the worst, as represented by much of the G.O.P., are filled with a passionate intensity. So the unemployed are being abandoned. O.K., about the Obama plan: It calls for about $200 billion in new spending — much of it on things we need in any case, like school repair, transportation networks, and avoiding teacher layoffs — and $240 billion in tax cuts. That may sound like a lot, but it actually isn’t. The lingering effects of the housing bust and the overhang of household debt from the bubble years are creating a roughly $1 trillion per year hole in the U.S. economy,... And it’s unclear, in particular, how effective the tax cuts would be at boosting spending. Still, the plan would be a lot better than nothing, and some of its measures, which are specifically aimed at providing incentives for hiring, might produce relatively a large employment bang for the buck. As I said, it’s much bolder and better than I expected. President Obama’s hair may not be on fire, but it’s definitely smoking; clearly and gratifyingly, he does grasp how desperate the jobs situation is. ...Read More: image:

…Number three, he didn’t talk about two other big areas. One was mortgage relief, and the other was trade policies.

Finally there was one last issue he didn’t mention. There was something behind curtain three so to speak. He said he has a plan to pay for all these tax cuts and spending increases, and he didn’t talk about this plan or the timing of the plan. And that’s where the Republicans are going to make him make pay. Will that now involve cuts in Social Security and Medicare? You can be the Republicans will demand something like that to sign on.  Read More:

Chomsky:Obama is a man of absolutely no principles. He has two constituencies. One of them is the popular constituency, the people who voted for him. For them he is doing essentially nothing. He has another constituency: the people who financed his campaign, the financial institutions. And they are getting rewarded. Obama came in the middle of the financial crisis so the first issue was what to do with the economic crisis? Well, he put together an economic team to deal with it but take a look at them. The business press went through the appointments and pointed out that these people should be getting subpoenas and should not be fixing the economy. They are the people who wrecked it. Nevertheless, they were picked by Obama to put bandages on it. I can go through the individuals if you like, for example Robert Rubin crew. They basically rescued the financial institutions, something that had to be done, but in fact they are now richer and more powerful than they were before. ...Read More:

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