Saturday assorted links

1. Summary of Charles Taylor.

2. Did China just win?

3. Slowdown in Singapore.

4. Is the House really on the line?

5. Wallonia blocks EU-Canada trade deal.

6. Sky Ladder is a splendid documentary, Netflix.  It’s the story of Cai Guo-qiang, probably the world’s greatest active artist, and his quest to produce a truly amazing artistic display for his 100-year-old grandmother before she passes away.  it is also one of the best movies about contemporary China, or for that matter art and politics.



#5: Surely this is a blow to the liberal Brexit Remainers, then, akin to your previous posts?

OTOH, it will also be taken as being a blow to Leavers. The EU is both unworkable, and difficult to make a deal with, but Remainers can argue that it's better to be on the inside.

I'd say the more remarkable thing is that this region in Belgium with about the population of Connecticut has veto power over the EU.

#6 lol at "probably the world''s greatest active artist". How would you even begin substantiating that claim?

It was easier when Leonardo was alive, it was clearly Leonardo. Although it wasn't - we now know that there were five or six painters (none of them working on the Italian peninsula, at least not during Leonardo's prime) who could paint a portrait in a way that made Leonardo look, if not amateurish, at least like someone with much to learn (compare the sprezzatura of Paul's letter to the Phillippians - in this example, the better portrait painters than Leonardo - with the no less impressive letter to the slightly less completely inspired Ephesians - in this example, Leonardo fell short, as did the Ephesians, of the best harmony with their inspired correspondent. ) ............ Or, why substantiate - just say, I have looked at a lot of art and this is as good as it gets, for now, as far as I can tell.

Geertgen tot Sint Jans, Memling, Durer, Bosch, Grunewald (the portraits in question are generally not portrait paintings, but paintings of the human visage in situations of great emotion).
Secondly (skip, skip the words in parentheses): First time I heard about the distinct nature of the letter to the Philippians (the only one of Paul's letters where he does not remonstrate even once, but only discusses topics of common interest, in a tone of voice I once heard , lying on a hospital bed, from the other side of the curtain in an emergency medical unit where a fairly old man was vigorously but quietly discussing indiscernible subjects with his wife - he obviously trying to calm her down after a cardiac episode, she trying to reassure him by the vigor in her voice that, despite evidence to the contrary, much life on this earth lay before them - I have heard only once or twice in my life two people who sounded more in love with each other - they are both likely long gone and the random cardiac reason I was there is maybe the reason I will probably soon be long gone too, but I hope one or two people have overheard me, at least once or twice in this world, using that tone of voice with someone I cared about and who cared about me) was about four years into (I did not start at the beginning) J. Vernon McGee's Five Year Radio Broadcasts explaining the Bible. Common knowledge among those who know the Bible well, but a tip of my hat to J Vernon McGee.

sorry if that was a little much but "LOL" comments just seem so unfair sometimes; but then again, among friends, what is a stray acronym here or there? "And we said unto him, We are true men, we are no spies:"

Genesis 42:31. Yes, one understands that all the "Bible" seems to be to many people is is an arrangement of 40 to 50 K words: some say the arrangement is a random assortment of historically determined propositions, and others say it just an artefact produced long ago by unimpressive people who do not deserve our respect because they knew no more of God than they knew of linear algebra or analytical grammatical philosophy. Well: "God loves us the way we are but loves us too much to let us stay that way."

Thems fightin' words. I'd say Michelangelo and Raphael are as good at painting as Leonardo, and M was clearly a better sculptor. And M could have beaten either of them up in a bar.

You are free to enjoy Leonardo more, but there is no consensus and never will be.

I hope you are right.

The national media's power is lessened in more regional elections, but they are putting on a strong push to get their allies elected.

#1) Best link ever!!!!!!!!!! Sorely have need for a meaty, all encompassing philosophy essay to serve as a balm to the sea of vapid, pointless pettiness and superficiality on the internet. Saved hours of time needed to search for such awesomeness. Consumer surplus, for me, indeed, with this essay about what I initially thought was going to be the Liberian thug, but turned out to be this marvelous second coming of Kant, Heidegger, et. al., via this brilliant Canadian philosopher, Charles Taylor.

Yeah, I too thought the article was on this thug:

As for the Canadian Taylor, his 'all humans want recognition of self' reminds me of the Francis Fukuyama book "End of History and the Last Man" (good book), Part III, "The Struggle for Recognition", and the chapter "In the beginning, a battle to the death for pure prestige". Excellent.

1...A very useful book for economists is The Explanation of Behavior. It is a potent argument for the necessity of Human Agency in the social sciences. Recently, Taylor and my mentor Hubert Dreyfus have published a nice exposition of the anti-Cartesian viewpoint in Retrieving Realism. All Taylor's books are worthwhile. I hesitate to recommend this because the sound is so bad, but there is a video on Youtube of Taylor and Roger Scruton discussing the sacred and secular that is interesting.

What is the strategic significance of fighter jets when you're talking about shipping lanes and naval stuff?

A single submarine, which does not rely on land claims to position, is probably more of a threat with regard to the "strategic significance" regarding range of fighter jets.

Anyways, it appears that extra-judicial killing of those who are believed to trade in bio-effective non-food substances other than those formally sanctioned by the state is more important to the current president of the Philippines than the territorial integrity of the country. Y'know ... the kind of stuff presidents should maybe kinda sorta be deposed for?

@#2 - the word in the street, in the Philippines, is that Duterte (pronounced "Do-Dirty", no kidding) got a bribe for conceding the Scarborough Shoals in the disputed South China Sea to China. And nobody cares. The Filipinos are like that, it's weird but they're pretty apathetic. There is very little 'nationalism' in PH, politics are more local than national, hence the folks down south in Mindanao that want to cede and set up their own little country. About the only 'national' issue that holds together the three main regions of the Philippines is the common language, Tagalog, one of three main dialects.

Lots of folks down south in Mindanao don't want anything to do with autonomy or secession. Heavily Catholic places such as Northern Mindanao or Duterte's hometown of Davao don't have much interest in secession. Even the Muslim-majority city of Cotabato has refused to join the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, putting it in the peculiar position of being the capital city of an autonomous region it is not actually part of.

"What is the strategic significance of fighter jets when you’re talking about shipping lanes and naval stuff?"

Re shipping lanes: read about the Tanker War
Re "naval stuff": read about the Falklands War.
In terms of bases from which to operate, there's no difference between strike aircraft and what you might call a fighter jet.

Anti-submarine warfare is most effective from the air, and requires long loiter time, so the lower the transit time, the better. Meanwhile, controlling shipping is easiest with large numbers of smaller, short range patrol boats.

#2 is the most significant, and under-reported story of the decade, and possibly longer. In strategic significance, far more important than ISIS.

I agree that it is significantly more important than ISIS. The main issue with ISIS is not to overkill and to ensure domestic/local ownership over the pathway towards something more reasonable, so as to promote the legitimacy of the eventual solution.

I get that the issue here is much more strategically important in the longer run, but on the specific matter presented with regard to the strategic importance, I dunno, it could be ignorance speaking, but were the outlook in this piece to be trumpeted far and wide, I believe it would represent an overstatement of the strategic relevance.

Honestly, I'd be more concerned about the appearance of a Philippine shift towards China (maybe?) which in any case where any such considerations have any immediate relevance, the real question is "what access does the US have to Philippine territory for the entire diversity of potential military applications in the instance of conflict?".

In the case that US destroyers are threatened in a war scenario with China, it just doesn't strike me that the extra circle on the map makes that much difference compared to what could be deployed under the surface. But does this represent a few percent change in the expected probability that the destroyer could show up at a Phillipine port for resupply or repairs in 20 years time? That, I think, has far greater overall strategic relevance than whether a few more fighter jets might pile onto a destroyer that's already been hit one or more times by submarine deployments.

"A single submarine, which does not rely on land claims to position, is probably more of a threat with regard to the “strategic significance” regarding range of fighter jets."

Any number of subs will be more of a threat if there are friendly land-based aircraft near where they're operating.

In peacetime, those subs will have some amount of ocean around the islands within which foreign ships and planes will be hampered in tracking them.

One doesn't need to be a genius to realize that the best outcome for both PH and China is setting aside territorial conflicts and refocusing on promoting trade and investment between the two countries. The people of PH and China are the real winners here. The only beneficiary for conflicts between China and SE Asian countries would be..., you know it.

The President of PH is simply doing what he is supposed to do, which is taking care of his people, rather than provoking conflicts with China for no obvious benefit to PH. He is not, and need not give up territorial claims for more trade and investment with China. All he needs to do is to set conflicts aside, which is not what the "big outsider" likes to see.

Jesus christ you are naive.

#2 Duterte just want to be pragmatic. The US gave Phillipine three 'rust buckets' and expected her to face China,

"""Before the handover of the other two ships of her class, the U.S. Navy removed their Phalanx miniguns, designed to shoot down aircraft and incoming missiles. ... The frigates have no anti-ship missiles, rendering them defenseless against the far more numerous Chinese warships that do have them. """

The gift from South Korea is more like it,

The said South Korean corvette is expected to arrive with intact armaments, weapons and sensor system. ...

2 x MM-38 Exocet

4 x Harpoon missiles

2 x Mark 32 triple torpedo tubes (with 6× Mark 46 torpedoes)

What has Phillipine gained from her past positions? Brazil has employed large post-panamax bulk carriers and redistributed the cargos into smaller carriers at Phillipine to other smaller Chinese or Asian ports. If the SCS situations heat up Japan shipping will have to use the sea lanes on the other side of Phillipine and will need a midway port for supplies and maintainance there. Yet Japan has gone out of its normal shipping routes to finance and build a deep sea port in Bangladesh. Phillipine might be seeking a chance to be part of the new Silk Routes to South America.

#6 I found Sky Ladder was pretty lame, pop cliche faux intellectual documentary. The usual cliches about driven artists who gain fame and money through working with business and government but still love their family. And how the iPad enables us to pretend grandma could still be at the show so she must have died happy. Spoiler alert.

I did enjoy the fireworks. I could easily have watched a movie of them for 90 minutes. Instead we are just given teasers and no reliable sense of the totality of the show.

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