January 24, 2005

There's a black tinted sunset with the prettiest of skies

* A Fantasy of Freedom. excerpt:

"You would think that if the Americans are truly interested in expanding freedom and ending tyranny in Cuba, let alone the rest of the world, Guantánamo Bay would be as good a place to start as any. But the captives in Guantánamo should not ask for the keys to their leg irons any time soon. Ms Rice was not referring to the outpost of tyranny that her boss created in Cuba, but the rest of the Caribbean island, which lives in a stable mixture of the imperfect and the impressive.

"In short, while the US could liberate a place where there are flagrant human rights abuses and over which they have total control, it would rather topple a sovereign state, which poses no threat, through diplomatic and economic - and possibly military - warfare that is already causing chaos and hardship.

"Welcome to Bush's foreign policy strategy for the second term. His aim is not to realign the values at Guantánamo so that they are more in line with those championed by the rest of the world. It is to try and realign the rest of the world so that it is more in keeping with the values that govern Guantánamo, where human rights and legal norms are subordinated to America's perceived interests.

"Under this philosophy, the Bush administration understands the words 'tyranny' and 'freedom' in much the same way as it understands international law. They mean whatever the White House wants them to mean. Bush is happy to support democracy when democracy supports America, just as he is happy to dispense with it when it does not. Likewise, when tyranny is inconvenient, he will excoriate it; when it is expedient, he will excuse it."
"The agenda for a second Bush term represents not a change in direction but an acceleration of the colossal and murderous folly that he, and most of his predecessors, have pursued."
"What is less clear is whether most Americans understand that this isolation leaves them more vulnerable to attack. Ms Rice last week promised 'a conversation, not a monologue' with the rest of the world. But as the situation in Iraq shows, conversations that start with "D'you want a piece of this?" rarely end well for anybody."

* Momus asks Bush not to invade Iran. excerpt:

"You will not invade Iran. Is that clear? You will not turn the square above into a 'green zone' for stooge politicians of your choosing and a restricted, embedded international press corps. You will not impose by force your conception of 'freedom'. You will not occupy Teheran and Ispahan, after a brief but terrible aerial bombing campaign, with your fucking jeeps, your mercenary 'contractors', your torture squads. You will not kill hundreds of thousands of Iranians now alive. You have no right even to be thinking about such a thing, let alone threatening it. Who the fuck do you think you are to go round the world invading countries one by one?"
"For the sake not just of Iran, but of the far east, we can only hope that the Iraq debacle keeps you tied up for years to come. Of course that's the second-best solution. The best solution is that you simply mind your own business for the next four years. Why not bring 'freedom and democracy' to your own nation first? Why not fight tyranny there? You could start by resigning."

* Psychologist calls January 24 the most depressing day of the year. [via freakgirl] excerpt:

"Dr. Cliff Arnall's calculations show that misery peaks Monday.

"Arnall, who specializes in seasonal disorders at the University of Cardiff, Wales, created a formula that takes into account numerous feelings to devise peoples' lowest point."
"Arnall found that, while days technically get longer after Dec. 21, cyclonic weather systems take hold in January, bringing low, dark clouds to Britain. Meanwhile, the majority of people break their healthy resolutions six to seven days into the new year, and even the hangers-on have fallen off the wagon, torn off the nicotine patches and eaten the fridge empty by the third week. Any residual dregs of holiday cheer and family fun have kicked the bucket by Jan. 24."


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