4) An interesting piece on Francisco Franco’s cult of personality: “To be sure, Franco, unlike Cosimo, made lots of public speeches during his life and said many well-documented things to ambassadors, ministers, and other political leaders. But one point that Preston’s biography brings out well is that it is very difficult to construct a coherent position for Franco from his public statements (though Preston tries valiantly). For one thing, he seems to have had no problems disregarding the truth when it was convenient for him to deny it, and he was alarmingly willing to change his position as circumstances or audiences changed. He could say anything with apparently complete conviction: he could be a monarchist one minute, a Falangista the next, and then assert his claim to being a true Spanish democrat. Yet Preston never quite succeeds in establishing that there was one thing Franco “really believed” underneath all the bullshitting and incoherence, some ideological commitment or fundamental interest beyond his maintenance in power that could account for the many different things he said. His key political talent, Preston notes more than once, was for “shroud[ing] his intentions in a cloud of nebulous vagueness” (Kindle Location 14849-14850). Since no one could be quite sure about his real commitments, these could be “read” in a variety of different ways at the time – as fundamentally sympathetic to the Falange, or fundamentally conservative and Catholic, or as those of an anti-communist warrior.”
6) House member renew call for Snowden to be tried as traitor: “Armed Services Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) read a statement that “Ed Snowden isn’t a whistleblower; he’s a traitor.” McKeon demanded that Snowden be “brought to justice.” Of course, the ultimate punishment for the crimes described by Thornberry and McKeon would be death.”
7) The Rise of Libertarians: This is an important piece from Max Borders, and it, true to form for Borders, is highly optimistic. There are parts of it that I would challenge, of course, but the thrust of the argument is true: libertarians are here, they are spontaneous and unpredictable within politics, even when their political identity is properly and sturdily defined. They transcend party; which, Borders thinks, will dismiss party in the future (at least that seems to be his argument – and I’m skeptical of this), and that the coupling of highly decentralized (and democratic) form of technology with libertarianism (or something like it) is sparking political drifts and trends that the two clunky, major parties and their entrenched worldviews, are not agile enough to adapt to. Thus – libertarians are here and they are here to stay.
Enjoy the weekend, boys and girls.