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9 years Ago

Evil is in the Eye of the Beholder

Published by marco on

“To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good . . . Ideology—that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination. That is the social theory which helps to make his acts seem good instead of bad in his own and others’ eyes, so that he won’t hear reproaches and curses but will receive praise and honors.”
from The Gulag Archipelago by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

The Poor are Honest

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“What happened about twenty years ago is that bankers said they made an anthropological discovery, a breakthrough. They found out that the poor are honest. Almost the only people who believed that they should repay their debts are the poor people. And in fact, the less money you have, the more you believe that the debts should be paid. …Even though the poorer you are the higher the interest rate you pay, the poorer you are the greater the likelihood the bank has that you’re going to repay the... [More]”

“Market”, “Progress”, “Development” and “Reforms” Redefined

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“Today, words like ‘Progress’ and ‘Development’ have become interchangeable with economic ‘Reforms’, Deregulation and Privatisation. ‘Freedom’ has come to mean ‘choice’. It has less to do with the human spirit than with different brands of deodorant. ‘Market’ no longer means a place where you go to buy provisions. The ‘Market’ is a de-territorialised space where faceless corporations do business, including buying and selling ‘futures’. […] This theft of language, this technique of usurping... [More]”

It Never Happened

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“Why is the systematic brutality, the widespread atrocities, the ruthless suppression of independent thought of Stalinist Russia well known in the West while American criminal actions never happened. Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it never happened. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest.”
Acceptance Speech for the 2005 Nobel Prize for Literature by Harold Pinter (Antiwar.com)


Cited from the article Breaking the Australian Silence by John Pilger (Antiwar.com)

Cynicism

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“’Cynicism’ is invading a country for the sorts of reasons that have guided the United States in most of their interventionist actions since World War II. There is a American kid in Afghanistan who is going to die tomorrow because Rahm Emmanuel doesn’t want his boss to have to answer toughness questions from somebody like Brian Williams in a 2012 electoral debate. And I’m the cynic here?”

Revenge-Taking Through Murder

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“But what this scene, and much else that I saw in Germany, brought home to me was that the whole idea of revenge and punishment is a childish daydream. Properly speaking, there is no such thing as revenge. Revenge is an act which you want to commit when you are powerless and because you are powerless: as soon as the sense of impotence is removed, the desire evaporates also.”


The citation above was linked into a discussion on Reddit about the death penalty. At a guess, 90% of the participants... [More]

The Road Not Traveled

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“Now in a different world, at a different time, and with a different president, we face the prospect of enlarging a different war. But once again we’re fighting in remote provinces against an enemy who can bleed us slowly and wait us out, because he will still be there when we are gone.

“Once again, we are caught between warring factions in a country where other foreign powers fail before us. Once again, every setback brings a call for more troops, although no one can say how long they will be... [More]”

November 20, 2009 by Bill Moyers (PBS)

Misplaced Pride

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“Son, no one gives a shit about all the things your cell phone does. You didn’t invent it, you just bought it. Anybody can do that.”


This user streams comments that come, purportedly, from his father. Some are quite pithy.

When immoral is made legal

Published by marco on

“And that’s the terrible myth of organized society, that everything that’s done through the established system is legal, and that word has a powerful psychological impact. It makes people believe that there is an order to life and an order to a system and that a person that goes through this order and is convicted has gotten all that is due him, and therefore society can turn its conscience off and look to other things and other times. And that’s the terrible thing about these past trials, is... [More]”
William Kunstler (Democracy Now)

10 years Ago

Hard Problems

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“There are only two hard problems in computer science: cache invalidation and naming things.”
Phil Karlton

Christianity

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“When I was a kid I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. Then I realized God doesn’t work that way, so I stole one and prayed for forgiveness.”

Laws, not Confidence

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“It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights; that confidence is every where [sic] the parent of despotism; […] our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no farther, our confidence may go; […] In questions of power, then, let no more be said of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.”

Confusion

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“Men are apt to mistake the strength of their feeling for the strength of their argument.”
William E. Gladstone

Reasons Trump Conclusions

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“There’s nothing I like less than bad arguments for a view that I hold dear.”
Daniel Dennet

Power

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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”
Abraham Lincoln

Definition of Reality

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“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

Revolution is Inevitable

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“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
In a speech at the White House on 1962 (John F. Kennedy)

Keep the Mystery Alive

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“’Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.”
Abraham Lincoln

Choosing Sides

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“The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who in times of great moral crises maintain their neutrality.”
Why I Am Opposed to the War in Vietnam by Martin Luther King, citing Dante Alighieri (YouTube)

Enemy of Knowledge

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“The greatest enemy of knowledge is not ignorance…it is the illusion of knowledge.”
Stephen Hawking

Corruption

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“It’s like you have a job interview and you discover every shirt in your closet is dirty. What do you do? You wear the least dirty one. That’s Karzai.”
Our Man in Kabul by Anonymous Afghanistani (Harper's)

When Last We Were Out of Ideas

Published by marco on

“A host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment.

“Yet our distress comes from no failure of substance. We are stricken by no plague of locusts….Nature still offers her bounty and human efforts have multiplied it. Plenty is at our doorstep, but a generous use of it languishes in the very sight of the supply. Primarily this is because the rules of the exchange... [More]”

Role Reversal

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“I don’t think it’s America’s role to go into other countries and say ‘this is how we do things…so should you.’”
George W. Bush on September 2000

Faith in That Which You Don’t Understand

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“Anyone who is critical of organized religion and, at the same time, invests in the stockmarket, is a hypocrite.”
Naseem Taleb

Justifying Your Bigoted Position

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“Dude, don’t try to cover your hate with numbers.”
Chuck Mertz on December 19th, 2008 (This is Hell Radio Show)


The factoid on the table was that 0.7% of the world population at any given time is drunk. Krys Bigosinski (who is Polish), immediately blurted that “most of them were in Russia” and, when called on it, started using pseudo-math to justify his position.

The practice of “covering hate with numbers” is an extremely common one and not nearly often enough called out for what it is.

Coming to Terms with Google Hive-Mind

Published by marco on

“Of course you’re instantly a unit in Great Google’s Adword databank of commercial trickery and avarice – but if you’re cool with that, as I lazily am, the advantages are legion. I use Gmail as a hub for all my email accounts and I am hopelessly devoted to Google Calendars. The G1 had all my Google data installed and syncing within moments of connection.”

It Beats Thinkin’

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“Propaganda has but one brush—a broad one—and only two colors—black and white; despite this—or, most likely, because of it, people prefer it to a plethora of brush sizes and myriad grays.”

Control

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“What better way to control a man than by giving him the vote and telling him he’s free?”
Albert Camus

The Gold Standard

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“[Gold] gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head.”

How to Lose an Argument

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“Never argue with idiots; they’ll only drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.”
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