( The Dailyquote list for May-August )
As usual, a line has a chance of finding its place here if it inspires others to either have a giggle, or go into deep contemplation (keep hoping, lol). A link to this list will also be displayed on the community sidebar.
The Dailyquote list for the first 4 months of 2017 begins after the cut (with links)...
( DailyQuotes - part 1 )
( The Dailyquote list for May-August follows here... )
( The Dailyquote list for the first 4 months of 2016 starts behind the cut (with links)... )
Who doesn't know Neil deGrasse Tyson! The funniest, most fascinating interlocutor in modern science. The perfect successor of the great Carl Sagan. I've watched dozens of videos with him, interviews, documentaries, the new revamped version of the Cosmos series of course, even 2-hour long lectures and even longer debates. I just can't have enough of him. It's not that he's an exceptional genius, or that he's made any ground-breaking scientific discovery or anything of the sort. That's not his function. He's a promoter and communicator of science, and he's arguably the best at this job (along with Bill Nye, I guess).
Going through this list of NdGT quotations was fun. The attitude to knowledge, curiosity and critical thinking that radiates from them, plus his laid-back and open approach to discussing issues from science and technology, to religion, to social and political issues, is one of those things that tend to enthrall kids (including mine), and win their hearts for the world of science - and that's precious, and very crucial for the future. (so here's the list)
"[Obama] grew up and nobody knew him. You know? When you interview people, if ever I got the nomination, if I ever decide to run, you may go back and interview people from my kindergarten. They'll remember me. Nobody ever comes forward. Nobody knows who he his until later in his life. It's very strange. The whole thing is very strange."
( MOAR Trump awesomeness! )
-- Clive Barker
Iceland weighing ban on Internet pornography
"Iceland could become the first Western country to censor online pornography with the introduction of radical internet filters that would block online content. Critics of the plan fear censorship, citing concerns over who will choose what to filter."
This may sound a bit strange, given that my country has indeed been trying to assume the image of the ultimate sanctuary for free-speech dissidents from around the world in recent times (think about Assange).
Of course, the issue is as controversial as it could possibly be, and both sides of the debate could well make a good case for or against it. I just cannot fathom how come some people's response to the news has been to knee-jerk equate Iceland to countries like Saudi Arabia and North Korea, simply because the majority (and I emphasise: the majority) of the Icelandic society seems rather willing to regulate a certain niche industry that it feels is culturally sensitive, in that it may contribute to certain social ills in very real ways.
( This could get tricky )
if I can write its economics textbooks.
When last I wrote, I noted that a notorious crank who published questionable economics treatises and strange but lofty philosophical works has been today largely glorified as a visionary. Even more interesting, the Alpha Dog economist with whom this crank sparred early in his career, John Maynard Keynes, has been systematically dismantled in our history and economics texts, even though quite a bit of his work stands the test of empirical scrutiny.
But Keynes' writings and theories lacked what that crank Hayek's had; simplistic clarity, for one, and most importantly, ( Step III — Profit! )
Well, not really. Actually, people used to make all sorts of funny jokes with themselves and their own country, even under the presumably suppressed communist society. Some particularly hilarious LOL-material could be drawn from the multiple slogans that were to be seen everywhere around the place. (And I do mean everywhere). Some of the more notable examples follow below:
( Prepare yourselves for a walk down memory lane! )
And no, I'm not kidding. These were real. Some of them are still kept around. :-)
Sometimes by losing a battle you find a new way to win the war. - Donald Trump
President Obama admitted heavy losses with the 2010 Congressional election:
“I’m not recommending for every future President that they take a shellacking like they – like I did last night. I’m sure there are easier ways to learn these lessons.”
This was right after the Democrats lost the House to the Republicans from that election. Although the Republicans retained the House after the 2012 election, there were gains made by the Democrats in the House and the Senate. The loss of the presidential election came as a surprise to the Republicans in the 2012 election as well.
The Republicans are now scrambling to adjust their strategy as a result. Although both sides spent heavily, and despite the Citizens United vs. the Federal Election Commission ruling it has become apparent that money is less of a factor than was expected by both sides.
The New York Times published an article about a new effort to adjust the Republican Party to a more moderate image with its conservative base in an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. Republican House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, is even becoming more moderate in his stance on immigration. This is being done by a new PAC called the Conservative Victory Project that is being spawned from Karl Rove’s most successfully funded American Crossroads PAC:
“There is a broad concern about having blown a significant number of races because the wrong candidates were selected,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads, the “super PAC” creating the new project. “We don’t view ourselves as being in the incumbent protection business, but we want to pick the most conservative candidate who can win.”
The effort would put a new twist on the Republican-vs.-Republican warfare that has consumed the party’s primary races in recent years. In effect, the establishment is taking steps to fight back against Tea Party groups and other conservative organizations that have wielded significant influence in backing candidates who ultimately lost seats to Democrats in the general election.
Conservatives and moderates have been at odds within the Republican Party for at least the last election cycle . It appears that the Tea Party movement may have been marked for deletion by Conservatives for being toxic thanks to their disproportionately reactionary views toward the government. It appears to me that this is taking the sheen off the faction and marking the beginning of the end for the Tea Party cartel.
( cut for quotation length )
Note that the first two freedoms are defined as the freedom to speak, and the freedom to worship. These are held to be positive freedoms guaranteed as a means to act, not to be acted upon. In the second cases, FDR defines freedom from in terms of abstractions. I find this to be particularly important in terms of the modern age of war on the abstract concept of terror. He does not define the freedom related to abstractions as being free to be anything, but the freedom from being affected by particular concepts or abstractions. The reason, to me, is because an abstraction is just that: abstract. Artificial. The product of the human mind, and if the mind and body are freed of them, they no longer exist.
Here FDR also lays out what is vital for the endurance of democracy:
Note that in addition to speaking of abstractions such as preservation of civil liberty and security for those who need it, he provides concrete requirements such as equality of opportunity and jobs for those who can work, and the ending of special privilege for the few. It is this linking of the abstract concept of liberty and freedom with concrete action, in a real world sense that I think is lacking in too many democratic politicians of the present. They advocate what for political democracy is the equivalent of the theological concept of cheap grace: democracy can be a matter of a few seconds' involvement without much further consequence.
It is a matter of sound-bites instead of substantive policy. The problem is that democracy, to endure, *does* need involvement. It does not need conscious attempts to deny the necessity of voting and the franchise to those who must exercise them. Democracy must also accept that people in a democracy may well democratically vote for policies its most vocal proponents disagree with. This is the nature of the beast, the only true changes in it can and will and must come from the involvement of the many to push our particular policies. It is very easy to create and to blame conspiracies on all sides, and to attribute to political leadership greater deftness and skill than they actually possess. But if people in democracy vote in great numbers for something you don't like, the answer and remedy is a very bluntly simple one: get active and organize people for the policies you want and vote the bums out that you disagree with. Not doing this and attributing it to the great cabal is ultimately a feel-good exercise that does nothing to solve the actual issue. Whether or not people want to hear this is irrelevant. The truth is seldom what anyone wishes to hear, and those who lecture others with it often tend to have our own mistakes that we seldom, if ever, like to admit. Whether or not we like to admit them, however, does not mean that those who lecture others should be unaware that they, too, would be on the receiving end and not just the giving. For the other essential part of working for democracy must be the honest, humble admission of mistakes, and not only when caught red-handed in them. The spirit of the pure crusade is incompatible in the long term with the survival of democracy.
This, moreso than the more famous I Have a Dream speech encapsulates the views of the real Reverend Dr. King, a man whose views have been subject to multiple overlapping distortions:
Let's start with the most interesting bit in this speech, especially in terms of today's uses and misuses of the term 'moderate', most particularly in terms of civil rights issues:
( cut for length of the quotation in question )
Here Dr. King raises the troubling question of whether or not moderation in the pursuit of liberty is after all a vice. The reason, however, that he raises this and the way that he raises it illustrate points of the non-violent approach in general and in his particular form that are neglected often by later generations. Dr. King does not oppose deliberate encounters with violent people. What he does oppose is seeking to respond to violence with violence. To deliberately risk dogs being sicced on children, to expose oneself to firebombings, murders, and firehoses being turned on vulnerable human flesh, to meet degradation and violence without directly responding requires a strong degree of courage. Indeed it is much more difficult not to respond to such acts than it is to retaliate to them.
Dr. King also does not oppose the concept of people advocating peacable means of securing justice. What he opposes is essentially moral cowardice, and objecting to the idea that because people deliberately seek liberty by non-violent means *and* receive violence for non-violence that the violence makes the non-violence morally flawed. Dr. King's objections in this regard involve noting that to turn the other cheek presents the violent person with the greater dilemma than simply responding to a haymaker with kicking someone in the nuts.
He further emphasizes his point of view in terms of what non-violence actually meant here:
So we see Dr. King accepts that his view is extreme. Because it is. At a fundamental level he was asking and leading old people and young people, and children to deliberately confront people who had conducted pogroms and brutal mob murders, and who did murder old and young, boys and girls, and men and women to stop this. They, after all, would ultimately murder Dr. King himself. What he ultimately advocated was the simple extremism that when one confronts the grinning skull of hatred and violence that one does not flinch from it, nor respond to tyranny with the power that comes out of the barrel of a gun, but rather that one kneels before it and bares the back of one's skull and makes the tyrant murder the innocent instead.
Was his way correct? He himself was murdered and yet he is the emblem of the Civil Rights era, while the more militant black power types tend to be all but forgotten. In truth handling injustice is not a simple element of right or wrong, and there is no handwritten golden text that offers infalliable methods to do so. I personally would agree with Dr. King that extremism is best handled by making evil act as it truly is and making it face the consequence of so acting. But that is my own personal view, and I do not think that everyone could or should be so required. What say you?
Levski has been called the Apostle of Freedom and has been idolized ever since. I guess my point in telling this story is that every nation needs its heroes to look up to and try to emulate, especially at times of strife. And what about the enlightened principles which he laid in the liberation ideology! We can see things like democracy, a "holy and pure republic", a century of liberties, end of despotism and tyranny. All things which were way ahead of their time for our society.
His almost messianic sacrifice was a guiding light for generations. Those generations who carried out the liberation struggle, those who defended the newly resurrected nation from external threats in the years to come, including BG being used as a pawn in the fancy games of the Great Powers, unfair treaties signed behind our back, threats for invasions, stabbing in the back after the Unification, etc. The burning enthusiasm inside these generations launched the newly emancipated nation among the leading countries in the region in a very short time, only to be cut early in its flight by two bad decisions of its incompetent monarchs, who ensnared BG into two world wars, always choosing the wrong side and then leaving the people to pay for their stupidity (the so-called first and second national catastrophe). It's a turbulent history indeed. But Levski's legacy remains to this very day. And it still stands high on a pedestal, like an unachievable utopia, yet unreached but still coveted. Maybe one day we'll return to Levski's principles and we'll make them a reality.
( Some of his ideological principles you'd find strikingly familiar )
There is a religion in the United States that has been allowed to get away with officially sanctioned and encouraged violence against minorities loudly damned if they so much as squeak in protest against thugs who beat them to death on a regular basis to a ho-hum and apathetic reaction from the masses. There is a religion that regularly scapegoats these same individuals for every evil that befalls the United States, they blame these individuals if someone's dog gets run over due to being let out without being watched. This same religion in the last 30 years has gained unprecedented and undesirable power and influence, trying to regress the USA into a theocracy straight out of the Middle Ages.
It regularly engages in schemes to undermine the United States, it also has been a consistent party to terrorist attacks aimed at people who are on the whole despised by the great majority of Americans, people who perform difficult tasks and who are derided for things that are integral parts of themselves, this in the view of forcing some unpopular and warped view of justice and morals on a people who are better than this. This religion from its first appearance as a major force in world history has been the most violent and dangerous religion in human history, existing without states and considering all states to be evil and run by people worth subduing. It is a religion with a lengthy history of persecution of infidels and God-Killers.
And now theocratic law has indeed arose from this religion in these United States? To what do I refer?
The Christians pursuing still a terrorist campaign against those men brave enough to offer a difficult medical procedure knowing that there will be plenty of murderous thugs who are quite content to see killing these men as divinely sanctioned acts of justice.
To what do I refer?
Everything in the following links:
( cut because long list is long )
Remind me again why the Egyptian and Syrian versions of the Ku Klux Klan are more serious threats to the United States than these totalitarians wrapped in the flag, carrying the cross?
"Are the peoples of the Middle East somehow beyond the reach of liberty? Are millions of men and women and children condemned by history or culture to live in despotism? Are they alone never to know freedom and never even to have a choice in the matter?"
"Sixty years of Western nations excusing and accommodating the lack of freedom in the Middle East did nothing to make us safe - because in the long run, stability cannot be purchased at the expense of liberty."
"As long as the Middle East remains a place where freedom does not flourish, it will remain a place of stagnation, resentment and violence ready for export."
At the time people laughed at him for being naive. The prevailing belief, this past week, was that while most of the world craved freedom, the Arabic countries were the exception. Was he correct? Obama and company have been totally caught off guard by the events that happened in Tunisia, happening in Egypt and spreading to Jordan, Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, Algeria, and others. They initially were backing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak but then were forced to change their tune.
For decades we've supported despotic rulers to benefit our interests. Realpolitiking, selling out our morality and principles. It was the Bush Doctrine that changed it, and a lot of people thought it was idiotic and naive, but I have to beg the question was he right? Are current events, the rising of the people demanding freedom against oppressive governments, vindication for George Bush?
I was curious and did a Google news search on Was George Bush Right? and apparently I'm not the only one who remembered Bush's push for democracy in the Middle East.
When Bush left office many said he was the worst president in history. I believed that this judgment came too quickly and to easily heaped upon him. I believed some time would have to past before we can truly judge him because we don't know what the true ramifications of his actions would be. I'm wondering if its possible for his stature to rise if these despotic countries fall and are replaced by free and open societies?
Only time will tell, but for now to me at least it looks like Bush was right about this.
This quote came from the end of the Golden Age of the Australian Labor Movement; which included our greatest ever PM (IMO) John Curtin. Not long after this Australia would endure 23 years of at times hopelessly incompetent conservative government that risked turning us into a banana republic. Our economy was precariously balanced on the sheep's back and our fortunes rose and fell with wool prices (much like we are now beholden to the price of the almighty dirt). It was a time of looking inward; a time of social stagnation and a halting of the advance of the progressive social democracy. In other words, for many it was a golden age. Indeed, we were wealthy, prosperous and had a high standard of living. However, we also had our own version of Apartheid, the most racist immigration policy in the world (except maybe Japan's), little support for the needy and an education system that kept the rich entrenched in positions of power (up until the late 50s to get into Medicine or Law at the best universities in the land the only entrance requirement was the ability to pay - seriously, so few people could afford these degrees that any dunce who had a letter from their high school principal could gain entry).
But if the right were so terrible, why didn't the left take power? The left at this time was involved in two internal struggles; the Catholics vs. the Communists and the ideologues vs. the pragmatists. In their desire to stay ideologically pure, the Labor party effectively ruled themselves out of office for decades. Eventually, the Catholics went to the right, and the ideologues and Communists were purged. What remains now is a left wing party that values pragmatism above all else.
Philosophically, I'm a pragmatist. I think it is a good way to run your life. However, the political pragmatist seems to not be concerned with what's best for the common weal, but what will get them re-elected. Thus, our left party upon gaining power has distanced itself from social justice as if all refugees were AIDS infected terrorist drug addicts. Progressive ideas that made this the country of the "fair go", the most egalitarian nation in the world when it was formed in 1901, have been dropped like a hot potato, in favour of the populist "fuck you Jack, I've got mine" economic ideas of the neo-liberals out of the USA.
It's just anecdata, but I know many people who feel that Australia is a meaner and more selfish place than it was just 15 years ago. I'm not going to "move to Canada", because I feel it is my duty as someone who belongs to this land to be an agent of change. To hold a mirror up to those who think that the poor and needy are just a drain on the economy to be dealt with as cheaply and brutally as possible.
The question at the end of this history lesson is this:
What place does ideology have in politics. Should politicians and political parties strive to be "The Light On The Hill" for the betterment of mankind, or should they just be concerned with keeping happy the small minority of swing voters who decide a government in a two party system through wedge politics and populism?
I think it's fair to say that a USA without Abraham Lincoln doing what he did when he did is pretty much unthinkable. The man was an accidental revolutionary and there's the USA before Lincoln, and the USA after it. Yet if we look at his immediate legacy his main influence was the ending of slavery by military force, the expansion of government as a positive force, and overseeing the largest war in US history until WWII. In the main slavery was pretty much dead and even the hardcore Ku Kluxers accepted that, the expansion of government regressed after Reconstruction, and the US never had an army of the sizes wielded by both sides in the Civil War until the 1940s. Lincoln's Louisiana Reconstruction also is hardly encouraging as an example of what the man actually said/did.
Lincoln's quotes about the "better angels of our nature" like many famous quotes is only partially and selectively culled from a broader quotation. The original one was:
"In your hands, my dissatisfied fellow-countrymen, and not in mine, is the momentous issue of civil war. The Government will not assail you. You can have no conflict without being yourselves the aggressors. You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to preserve, protect, and defend it.
I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature."
Before the "with malice toward none, with charity for all" quotation was this one:
On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it, all sought to avert it. While the inaugural address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, urgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war-seeking to dissolve the Union and divide effects by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered. That of neither has been answered fully. The Almighty has His own purposes. "Woe unto the world because of offenses; for it must needs be that offenses come, but woe to that man by whom the offense cometh." If we shall suppose that American slavery is one of those offenses which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South this terrible war as the woe due to those by whom the offense came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope, fervently do we pray, that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue until all the wealth piled by the bondsman's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said "the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether."
In my view Lincoln's legacies in the main were good, but this was immensely helped like JFK's reputation by his being assassinated as opposed to living to die of old age and have the chances to make more mistakes than he actually did. I consider Lincoln's legacy to be an ultimately positive one, and the man is inseparable from the rise of the modern philosophy shared by the Right and the Left alike that the United States is in fact a *state*, not a *federation* and that all people are entitled to equality of opportunity (though the former has a devil of a time actually making that viable and the latter has tended to be a part of a much broader political party and often marginalized by same). Lincoln pushed the United States from a collection of different states, one part becoming a 21st Century society, the other part wanting to stay forever in the 18th Century to all of it moving toward the 20th Century. I will note too that compared to Davis Lincoln was actually ridiculously moderate.
There's a reason he, like the current Illinois accidental revolutionary who is more moderate than his supporters or critics alike tend to recognize, is considered a great President. What do those here from the US and the non-Americans make of Lincoln? Do you see his legacies as a positive one?