"It is easy to confuse what is with what ought to be, especially when what is has worked out in your favor."
- Tyrion Lannister

"Lannister. Baratheon. Stark. Tyrell. They're all just spokes on a wheel. This one's on top, then that's ones on top and on and on it spins, crushing those on the ground. I'm not going to stop the wheel. I'm going to break the wheel."

- Daenerys Targaryen

"The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned. The Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where's the God of Tits and Wine?"

- Tyrion Lannister

"The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends. It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace. They never are."

- Jorah Mormont

"These bad people are what I'm good at. Out talking them. Out thinking them."

- Tyrion Lannister

"What happened? I think fundamentals were trumped by mechanics and, to a lesser extent, by demographics."

- Michael Barone

"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to."
- Dorothy Parker

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Insane in the Ukraine* (or the plight of the buffer state)

KIEV, Ukraine (AP) -- Ukraine's parliament on Saturday declared invalid the disputed presidential election that triggered a week of growing street protests and legal maneuvers, raising the possibility that a new vote could be held in this former Soviet republic.
Is it not radical to pass along the thoughts of the Iranian journalist below, even though he's rebelling against of one of America's enemies and one of the world's rogue regimes? Is it silly to ask such a question?

Things are looking better for Ukraine's 48 million inhabitants, at least to some. To others on the left, the fact that Ukrainians would have a general strike in order to "globalize" and integrate further into the West and hook up with the IMF and the dreaded Washington Consensus is no cause for celebration. Anything that makes the hyperpower look good is bad. It's a truism.

Putin was against the removal of Saddam Hussein, once dictator of the Saudi's Sunni buffer state against the 73 million Shias of Iran, and now he's against the removal of his puppet regime in Ukraine. The irony is that the opposition would remove troops from Iraq.

It appears that Putin is backing down - Bush didn't do anything about his Czarist power grab a few months ago and the US is in general more conciliatory than it needs to be. We need a multilateral approach in "the war on terror" after all.

*heading stolen from Slate.
wonder if he pulped it

His remark reminds me of when I worked in a wood-pulp mill in western Iran during the early years of the Islamic revolution. In the first decade after 1979, many intellectuals, anticipating being arrested, cleared their bookshelves and left their "illegal" volumes on street corners. Piles of these books found their way to the mill, where we reduced them to pulp. One day, throwing books into the mill, I grasped a Farsi version of Marx's "Capital." Immediately, I knew it was my own copy; I recognized the book by its feel, it was so familiar to my touch.

Today's intellectuals, if they haven't turned to smoking opium or drinking homemade liquor, devote themselves to literature, primarily Farsi, European, Russian and South American.

The vast majority of people here cross their fingers for a sudden explosion, or pray for American successes in Iraq and Afghanistan to increase the price of suppression by the theocracy in Iran. But that is the limit.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

red states = magical thinking
Weber used the term Entzauberung—“dis-enchantment”—to describe the way in which science and technology had inevitably displaced magical thinking. The new rationalism had the instrumental advantage of allowing the world to be mastered. But what the new thinking couldn’t provide was, in terms of lived experience, hardly less important. Rationality could do everything but make sense of itself.
Elizabeth Kolbert writes about Max Weber, the "bourgeois Marx."
Mon Dieu!

The excellent Doug Ireland translates what the fuss is
all about at Le Monde.

(via Marc Cooper)