Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Richard Nixon versus Richard Nixon

From "What Happened to America?" (1967) by Richard Nixon

Our teachers, preachers, and politicians have gone too far in advocating the idea that each individual should determine what laws are good and what laws are bad, and that he then should obey the law he likes and disobey the law he dislikes.
From the May 19, 1977 Frost/Nixon interview

FROST: So what in a sense, you’re saying is that there are certain situations, and the Huston Plan or that part of it was one of them, where the president can decide that it’s in the best interests of the nation or something, and do something illegal.

Nixon: Well, when the president does it that means that it is not illegal.


Frost: The point is: the dividing line is the president's judgment?

Nixon: Yes ...

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Baleful quote of the day

"[W]hen did we accept the idea that local police forces would always dress up in riot gear that used to be associated with storm troopers and dystopian sci-fi movies?" - James Fallows

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Update for the New American Newspeak Dictionary

Today's addition to the New American Newspeak Dictionary is:

Lawfully coerce: illegally torture

Via the Washington Post's liar torture enthusiast Marc Thiessen

The corporate response to Occupy Wall Street

From Chris Hedges

Get back into your cages, they are telling us. Return to watching the lies, absurdities, trivia and celebrity gossip we feed you in 24-hour cycles on television. Invest your emotional energy in the vast system of popular entertainment. Run up your credit card debt. Pay your loans. Be thankful for the scraps we toss. Chant back to us our phrases about democracy, greatness and freedom. Vote in our rigged political theater. Send your young men and women to fight and die in useless, unwinnable wars that provide corporations with huge profits. Stand by mutely as our bipartisan congressional super committee, either through consensus or cynical dysfunction, plunges you into a society without basic social services including unemployment benefits. Pay for the crimes of Wall Street.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Justice" in the land of Forward Looking Hope and Change

From Truthout (via Greenwald)

"We're a party to the Convention Against Torture and clearly we tortured people," Davis said, angrily. "There is an affirmative duty under the convention to investigate and prosecute. It doesn't say when it's convenient or when you get around to it or if it's not politically detrimental to your administration. It says it's a duty. And it also says, in addition to prosecuting people that were tortured the person that is the victim has to have a right to compensation and the Obama administration refuses to investigate and prosecute the allegations of torture. But when the victims go to court to try and get civil remedies they're entitled to under the Convention Against Torture the Obama administration asserts the state secrets privilege to knock them out of court."

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Quote of the day

"Philosophy teaches us to feel uncertain about the things that seem to us self-evident. Propaganda, on the other hand, teaches us to accept as self-evident matters about which it would be reasonable to suspend our judgement or to feel doubt." - Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Trivia of the day

Question: Who coined the phrase "willing suspension of disbelief?"

Answer: Samuel Coleridge in Biographia Literaria (1817)

The thought suggested itself (to which of us I do not recollect) that a series of poems might be composed of two sorts. In the one, the incidents and agents were to be, in part at least, supernatural; and the excellence aimed at was to consist in the interesting of the affections by the dramatic truth of such emotions as would naturally accompany such situations, supposing them real. And real in this sense they have been to every human being who, from whatever source of delusion, has at any time believed himself under supernatural agency. For the second class, subjects were to be chosen from ordinary life; the characters and incidents were to be such, as will be found in every village and its vicinity, where there is a meditative and feeling mind to seek after them, or to notice them, when they present themselves.

In this idea originated the plan of the 'Lyrical Ballads'; in which it was agreed, that my endeavours should be directed to persons and characters supernatural, or at least romantic, yet so as to transfer from our inward nature a human interest and a semblance of truth sufficient to procure for these shadows of imagination that willing suspension of disbelief for the moment, which constitutes poetic faith.