Tuesday, May 31, 2016


"Among the several cloudy appellatives
which have been commonly employed as cloaks for misgovernment,
there is none more conspicuous in this atmosphere of illusion
than the word 'Order'."
--Jeremy Bentham
(1748-1832) English jurist, philosopher, and legal and social reformer
Source: The Book of Fallacies, 1824

Monday, May 30, 2016


"And the city was lovely, highly ornamented, like Paris, and untouched by war. It was supposedly an 'open' city, not to be attacked since there were no troop concentrations or war industries there. But high explosives were dropped on Dresden by American and British planes on the night of February 13, 1945, just about twenty-one years ago, as I now write. There were no particular targets for the bombs. The hope was that they would create a lot of kindling and drive firemen underground. And then tens of thousands of tiny incendiaries were scattered over the kindling, like seeds on freshly turned loam. More bombs were dropped to keep firemen in their holes, and all the little fires grew, joined one another, became one apocalyptic flame. Hey presto: fire storm. It was the largest massacre in European history, by the way. ...Everything was gone but the cellars where 135,000 Hansels and Gretels had been baked like gingerbread men."
--Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
"Mother Night", Introduction (1966)

Sunday, May 29, 2016


"In the treaty were provisions for the hundred thousand veterans left maimed and irrevocably mute throughout the city. As is the way of things, their sacred places and comforts have dwindled to a lonely strip of shoreline and a polite nod whenever they are passed in the street."
--Catherynne M. Valente, "Palimpsest"

Saturday, May 28, 2016


"Many veterans feel guilty because they lived while others died. Some feel ashamed because they didn’t bring all their men home and wonder what they could have done differently to save them. When they get home they wonder if there’s something wrong with them because they find war repugnant but also thrilling. They hate it and miss it.Many of their self-judgments go to extremes. A comrade died because he stepped on an improvised explosive device and his commander feels unrelenting guilt because he didn’t go down a different street. Insurgents used women and children as shields, and soldiers and Marines feel a totalistic black stain on themselves because of an innocent child’s face, killed in the firefight. The self-condemnation can be crippling."
--David Brooks,
The Moral Injury, New York Times. Feb 17, 2015

Friday, May 27, 2016


"Nobody remembers them, you know? Nobody. Nobody remembers why they died, why they didn't have a wife and children and a sun lit room either, nobody, least of all people for whom they fought. There is no and there never will be some pathetic street in one pathetic village of a shitty country that is named after any of them." Miralles stopped talking, he took out his handkerchief, wiped the tears, blew his nose, he did so without shame, as if he was not ashamed of crying in public, as Homers warriors of old did it, as any soldier of Salamis would do.
--Javier Cercas, Soldados de Salamina

Thursday, May 26, 2016


"Whenever and wherever men have engaged in the mindless slaughter of animals (including other men), they have often attempted to justify their acts by attributing the most vicious or revolting qualities to those they would destroy; and the less reason there is for the slaughter, the greater the campaign for vilification."
--Farley Mowat

Wednesday, May 25, 2016


"A hand from Washington will be stretched out and placed upon every man's business; the eye of the federal inspector will be in every man's counting house.... The law will of necessity have inquisical features, it will provide penalties, it will create complicated machinery. Under it, men will be hauled into courts distant from their homes. Heavy fines imposed by distant and unfamiliar tribunals will constantly menace the taxpayer. An army of federal inspectors, spies, and detectives will descend upon the state."
--Richard E. Byrd
(1888-1947) Polar explorer, Virginia House Speaker
Source: 1910, predicting the consequences of a federal income tax

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Normal VII

"Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit upon his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats."
--H.L. Mencken,
"The New Poetry Movement"

Monday, May 23, 2016


"In this world of lies, Truth is forced to fly like a scared white doe in the woodlands; and only by cunning glimpses will she reveal herself, as in Shakespeare and other masters of the great Art of Telling the Truth--even though it be covertly, and by snatches."
--Herman Melville

Sunday, May 22, 2016


"The day may come when the rest of animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been withholden from them but by the hand of tyranny. The French have already discovered that the blackness of the skin is no reason why a human being should be abandoned without redress to the caprice of a tormentor. It may one day come to be recognized that the number of legs, the villosity of the skin, or the termination of the os sacrum are reasons equally insufficient for abandoning a sensitive being to the same fate. What else is it that should trace the insuperable line? Is it the faculty of reason, or perhaps the faculty of discourse? But a full-grown horse or dog is beyond comparison a more rational, as well as a more conversable animal, than an infant of a day or a week or even a month old. But suppose they were otherwise, what would it avail? The question is not, Can they reason? nor Can they talk? but, Can they suffer?"
--Jeremy Bentham,
The Principles of Morals and Legislation

Saturday, May 21, 2016


"Forced to choose, the poor, like the rich,
love money more than political liberty;
and the only political freedom capable of enduring
is one that is so pruned as to keep the rich
from denuding the poor by ability or subtlety
and the poor from robbing the rich by violence or votes."
--Will Durant
(1885-1981) American psychologist, philosopher

Friday, May 20, 2016

Success VI

"There is only one success:
to be able to spend your life in your own way,
and not to give others absurd maddening claims upon it."
--Christopher Darlington Morley

Thursday, May 19, 2016


"My dad once told me that his biggest challenge after returning from Vietnam had been coming to terms with his own callousness. He’d made a deal with the war and traded his humanity for a ticket home."
--Tucker Elliot, The Rainy Season

Wednesday, May 18, 2016


"It is a bit embarrassing to have been concerned with the human problem all one's life and find at the end that one has no more to offer by way of advice than 'Try to be a little kinder.'"
--Aldous Huxley
As quoted in What About the Big Stuff?: Finding Strength and Moving Forward When the Stakes Are High (2002) by Richard Carlson, p. 293.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


"One of the most insidious consequences of the present burden of personal income tax is that it strips many middle class families of financial reserves & seems to lend support to campaigns for socialized medicine, socialized housing, socialized food, socialized every thing. The personal income tax has made the individual vastly more dependent on the State & more avid for state hand-outs. It has shifted the balance in America from an individual-centered to a State-centered economic & social system."
--W. H. Chamberlin
(1897-1969) American historian, journalist, author

Monday, May 16, 2016

Choice IV

"I for one don't even believe that he's president. In order to have a president you need to have an election, in order to have an election you have to have a choice, and if you remember back to the primaries there were people running against the war, Kennedy and McCarthy. They often got 85 to 90% of the votes, but when it came time for the parties, that was totally ignored, so in point of fact, there really was no election. For a man who's always wanted to be president, and now that he's president, he's not even president."
--Phil Ochs
Speech about Richard Nixon before playing "Ten Cents A Coup" on the Greatest Hits album (February 1970)

Sunday, May 15, 2016


"A State which dwarfs its men, in order that they may be more docile instruments in its hands -- even for beneficial purposes -- will find that with small men no great thing can really be accomplished."
--John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873) English philosopher and economist

Saturday, May 14, 2016


"There is no subjugation so perfect
as that which keeps the appearance of freedom
for in that way one captures volition itself."
--Jean-Jacques Rousseau
(1712-1778) Political philosopher, educationist and essayist
Source: Emile, 1762

Friday, May 13, 2016


"You've got to rattle your cage door.
You've got to let them know that you're in there,
and that you want out.
Make noise. Cause trouble.
You may not win right away,
but you'll sure have a lot more fun."
-- Florynce Kennedy
(1916-2000) American lawyer, activist, civil rights advocate, feminist

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Language II

Happy Birthday George!

May 12, 1937 - June 22, 2008

Smug, greedy, well-fed white people have invented a language to conceal their sins. It's as simple as that. The CIA doesn't kill anybody anymore, they neutralize people, or they depopulate the area. The government doesn't lie, it engages in disinformation. The Pentagon actually measures nuclear radiation in something they call sunshine units. Israeli murderers are called commandos, Arab commandos are called terrorists. Contra killers are called freedom fighters. Well, if crime fighters fight crime, and firefighters fight fires, what do freedom fighters fight?
--George Carlin

Majority III

"If our fathers, in 1776, had acknowledged the principle that a majority had the right to rule the minority, we should never have become a nation; for they were in a small minority, as compared with those who claimed the right to rule over them."
--Lysander Spooner

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ability III

"The home-schooling movement has quietly grown to a size where one and half million young people are being educated entirely by their own parents; last month the education press reported the amazing news that, in their ability to think, children schooled at home seem to be five or even ten years ahead of their formally trained peers."
--John Taylor Gatto,
Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

Monday, May 09, 2016


"Let us pick up again these lost strands and weave them again into the fabric of America, sort out the music from the sounds and again respond to the trumpet and the steady drum."
--Eugene McCarthy

Sunday, May 08, 2016


The Low Road

What can they do to you?
Whatever they want..

They can set you up, bust you,
they can break your fingers,
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can’t walk, can’t remember.
they can take away your children,
wall up your lover;
they can do anything you can’t stop them doing.

How can you stop them?
Alone you can fight, you can refuse.
You can take whatever revenge you can
But they roll right over you.
But two people fighting back to back
can cut through a mob
a snake-dancing fire
can break a cordon,
termites can bring down a mansion

Two people can keep each other sane
can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.

Three people are a delegation
a cell, a wedge.
With four you can play games
and start a collective.
With six you can rent a whole house
have pie for dinner with no seconds
and make your own music.

Thirteen makes a circle,
a hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity
and your own newsletter;
ten thousand community
and your own papers;
a hundred thousand,
a network of communities;
a million our own world.

It goes one at a time.
It starts when you care to act.
It starts when you do it again
after they say no.
It starts when you say we
and know who you mean;
and each day you mean
one more.

- Marge Piercy

Saturday, May 07, 2016


"One repays a teacher poorly if one remains a disciple."
--Friedrich Nietzsche

Friday, May 06, 2016


People just have no criterion left to evaluate the importance of things. I think the only thing that would really affect people would be the announcement that the world was going to be blown up by the hydrogen bomb. I think that would really affect people. I think they would react to that. But outside of that, I don't think they would react to anything. "Peking has been wiped out by an earthquake, and the RTD--the bus strike is still on." And some guy says, "Damnit! I'll have to walk to work!"
--Philip K. Dick,
Quoted in Daniel DePerez, "An Interview with Philip K. Dick," Science Fiction Review, No. 19, Vol. 5, no. 3 (August 1976)

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Act II

"People care about animals. I believe that. They just don’t want to know or to pay. A fourth of all chickens have stress fractures. It’s wrong. They’re packed body to body, and can’t escape their waste, and never see the sun. Their nails grow around the bars of their cages. It’s wrong. They feel their slaughters. It’s wrong, and people know it’s wrong. They don’t have to be convinced. They just have to act differently. I’m not better than anyone, and I’m not trying to convince people to live by my standards of what’s right. I’m trying to convince them to live by their own."
--Jonathan Safran Foer

Wednesday, May 04, 2016


Human beings are a part of the animal kingdom, not apart from it. The separation of "us" and "them" creates a false picture and is responsible for much suffering. It is part of the in-group/out-group mentality that leads to human oppression of the weak by the strong as in ethic, religious, political, and social conflicts.
--Marc Bekoff, Animals Matter: A Biologist Explains Why We Should Treat Animals with Compassion and Respect

Tuesday, May 03, 2016


"Our natural dispositions may be good; but we have been badly brought up, and are full of anti-social personal ambitions and prejudices and snobberies. Had we not better teach our children to be better citizens than ourselves? We are not doing that at present. The Russians are. That is my last word. Think over it."
--George Bernard Shaw,
The Apple Cart (1928) Preface

Monday, May 02, 2016

Cat Eating Chow

There are so many chows on death row, often because they hate cats.  The Mighty Quinn had a different view...

Lost II

"More people die every year as a result of the war against drugs than die from what we call, generically, overdosing. These fatalities include, perhaps most prominently, drug merchants who compete for commercial territory, but include also people who are robbed and killed by those desperate for money to buy the drug to which they have become addicted.
This is perhaps the moment to note that the pharmaceutical cost of cocaine and heroin is approximately 2 per cent of the street price of those drugs. Since a cocaine addict can spend as much as $1,000 per week to sustain his habit, he would need to come up with that $1,000. The approximate fencing cost of stolen goods is 80 per cent, so that to come up with $1,000 can require stealing $5,000 worth of jewels, cars, whatever. We can see that at free-market rates, $20 per week would provide the addict with the cocaine which, in this wartime drug situation, requires of him $1,000."

--William F. Buckley
Address to the New York Bar Association (Summer 1995); published in "The War On Drugs Is Lost" in National Review Vol. 48, No. 2 (February 12, 1996)

Sunday, May 01, 2016


"Now what I contend is that my body is my own, at least I have always so regarded it. If I do harm through my experimenting with it, it is I who suffer, not the state."
--Mark Twain