284 Articles


2 years Ago

American Foreign-Policy, in a Nutshell

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“America: You can’t get mad at us for what we do because we haven’t thought about the consequences.”

James Tobin on the ‘paper economy’

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I found this quote in the tooltip of XKCD #2101[1].

“I [suspect] that we are throwing more and more of our resources, including the cream of our youth, into financial activities remote from the production of goods and services, into activities that generate high private rewards disproportionate to their social productivity. I suspect that the immense power of the computer is being harnessed to this ‘paper economy’, not to do the same transactions more economically but to balloon the quantity and... [More]”
James Tobin in July 1984

Why so angry?

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“Rage is by no means an automatic reaction to misery and suffering as such. Only where there is reason to suspect that conditions could be changed, and are not does, rage arise.”
Hannah Arendt

The True Self

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“At sea, a fellow comes out,”
Herman Melville

True Nobility

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“There’s nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.[1]
W.L. Sheldon

[1] The citation is often mis-credited to Ernest Hemingway, but the article at Quote Investigatoroffers quite a bit of clarification.

Hate vs. Envy

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“Unlike the Europeans, Americans have never hated the rich, only envied them.”
Gore Vidal

Stewart Lee on Racism

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“Like all reasonable people, I hate all Muslims. Except the ones I’ve met. They seem fine.”
Comedy Vehicle SO4E02 by Stewart Lee

Debt is a weapon in the class war

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“The criminalization of debt, then, was the criminalization of the very basis of human society. It cannot be overemphasized that in a small community, everyone normally was both a lender and borrower. One can only imagine the tensions and temptations that must have existed in a community—and communities, much though they are based on love, in fact because they are based on love, will always also be full of hatred, rivalry and passion—when it became clear that with sufficiently clever scheming,... [More]

3 years Ago

In Denial

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“And they would not believe me precisely because they would know that what I said was true.”
James Baldwin (cited in Ministry of Utmost Happiness, Page 314)

Keep fighting

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“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Martin Luther King, Jr.


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From somewhere in The Expanse, season 2:

“When I was a kid, I thought the stars were magic. I made up all sorts of ways they might work. Children are stupid, though. My father disabused me of the notion and explained what they really were. I was even more fascinated. What’s the moral of the story?Just because you can’t figure something out doesn’t mean it’s magic.”

We Want You

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“There’s been a class war going on for decades and it’s time the bottom 80% of us got fucking pissed off, with or without a permit.”

~ 174 ~ Tax Bill Fraud, Secret US Spy Base, Genetic Warfare, Suppressing Dissent by Redacted Tonight (YouTube)

I’ll be mellow when I’m dead

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When asked about being “driven by this fear of inertia”,

“I’m almost 60. I’m 56, so I’ve got a few more years. It’s not old, it’s not young, it’s not anything, but it’s not 20.

“Unless you keep some amount of intensity and anger with it, whatever that is, where you’re like, I’m getting up today, I’m going for it, what are you angry at? Whatever it is, bring it on. I gotta be a little mad at it … to get through it. I have never been able to lose that. What I have done to displace some of that... [More]”

Mission Civilatrice

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“Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest... [More]”
Edward Said

Down the Ladder

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“If you find yourself angry at someone lower on the economic ladder than you, then there’s a pretty good chance that you’re being manipulated by someone higher on the economic ladder than you.”
Sentenced to Live by Jimmy Dore (YouTube)

Comedy is Tragedy …

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“There’s an idea I myself have helped spread, that a vegan is someone who doesn’t like food. That’s wrong. But it is accurate enough, and often enough, to be mildly funny to some people. And, what with new dietary restrictions cropping up every day for any number of reasons, it’s tempting to mock the gluten-intolerant, the diverticular and the Celiac sufferer. Suffering is funny! Comedy is tragedy happening to people you don’t care about. (Emphasis added.)”

4 years Ago

Kill the Messenger

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“The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”
Oscar Wilde (Seen on a wall in a library in Brooklyn Nine-Nine S04E18)

Nothing has changed in 125 years

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“The whole process of production as well as trade in every kind of goods has been brought almost entirely under the power of a few, so that a very few rich and exceedingly rich men have laid a yoke almost of slavery on the unnumbered masses of non-owning workers.”
From an encyclical letter, Rerum Novarum, on the 'The Condition of the Working Classes' by Pope Leo XIII in 1891

You can’t win a rigged game

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“I have no mercy or compassion in me for a society that will crush people, and then penalize them for not being able to stand up under the weight.”
Malcolm X

How many more lives do we have?

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“We live in one global environment with a huge number of ecological, economic, social, and political pressures tearing at its only dimly perceived, basically uninterpreted and uncomprehended fabric. Anyone with even a vague consciousness of this whole is alarmed at how such remorselessly selfish and narrow interests – patriotism, chauvinism, ethnic, religious, and racial hatreds – can in fact lead to mass destructiveness. The world simply cannot afford this many more times.”

The more you know, the more you know you don’t know

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“Doubt is not a pleasant condition, but certainty is absurd.”
Voltaire in 1770

Herding Sheep

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“The moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen.

“What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed?

“If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history.

“On... [More]”

Costs nothing? Worth nothing.

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“That which can be presented without evidence, can be dismissed without consideration.[1]

[1] Known informally as Hitchens’s razor (Wikipedia), it is actually an English translation of the Latin proverb “Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur” (“what is freely asserted is freely dismissed”), which was commonly used in the 19th century.

Fakes of fakes

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“All of the news is fake when corporate media connive with the powerful to produce their desired ends.”

A realization

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“It was miraculous. It was almost no trick at all, he saw, to turn vice into virtue and slander into truth, impotence into abstinence, arrogance into humility, plunder into philanthropy, thievery into honor, blasphemy into wisdom, brutality into patriotism, and sadism into justice. Anybody could do it; it required no brains at all. It merely required no character.”
The Chaplain in Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

A technocratic solution

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“Were I asked to fix the world, I would approach the problem as a software engineer. I would take my best guess at the likely cause of most of the problems, comment out the “USA” module…and see if it runs just fine without it.”

Letting go

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“I used to be snow white, but I drifted.”
Mae West

Untrained Pilots

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“We have a new type of rule now. Not one-man rule, or rule of aristocracy or plutocracy, but of small groups elevated to positions of absolute power by random pressures, and subject to political and economic factors that leave little room for decision. They are representatives of abstract forces who have reached power through surrender of self. The iron-willed dictator is a thing of the past. There will be no more Stalins, no more Hitlers. The rulers of this most insecure of all worlds are... [More]”

Less well-known Adam Smith

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“Civil government, so far as it is instituted for the security of property, is in reality instituted for the defense of the rich against the poor or of those who have some property against those who have none at all.”
Adam Smith
“No society can surely be flourishing and happy, of which the far greater part of the members are poor and miserable.”
Adam Smith

Rage Against the Machine

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“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part; you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all!”