Thursday, May 31, 2012

Baleful quote of the day

From Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Obama administration considers any military-age male in the vicinity of a bombing to be a combatant. That is an amazing standard that shares an ugly synergy with the sort of broad-swath logic that we see employed in Stop and Frisk, with NYPD national spy network, with the killer of Trayvon Martin.

Policy is informed by the morality of a country. I think the repercussions of this unending era of death by silver bird will be profound.
For more background on this truly vile, reprehensible and heinous policy of defining "militant" to include any of-age males killed by a drone strike, see Glenn Greenwald (here and here).

I can't help but recall something Noam Chomsky wrote in response to Israel's attacks in Gaza a few years back

The claim that "our side" never targets civilians is familiar doctrine among those who monopolize the means of violence. And there is some truth to it. We do not generally try to kill particular civilians. Rather, we carry out murderous actions that we know will slaughter many civilians, but without specific intent to kill particular ones. In law, the routine practices might fall under the category of depraved indifference, but that is not an adequate designation for standard imperial practice and doctrine. It is more similar to walking down a street knowing that we might kill ants, but without intent to do so, because they rank so low that it just doesn't matter.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Quote of the day

"One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting." - George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia

Via Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Quote of the day

"Was the United States founded as a Christian nation, meaning that the framers of the Constitution established a government whose laws would not only reflect but also enforce the rules of a particular brand of Christianity? No, period." - Susan Jacoby, "The Christian Nation Fiction, Then and Now"

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Quote of the day

"I do not hold the liberties I enjoy as an American in so little esteem that I am prepared to run from them like a rabbit." - I.F. Stone

Via All Governments Lie: The Life and Times of Rebel Journalist I.F. Stone by Myra MacPherson

Monday, May 21, 2012

Quote of the day

"One has to wonder at the size of the egos of ... people who would readily put their own ideological opinions above the constitutional guarantees of an entire nation." - Massimo Pigliucci, Nonsense on Stilts

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Today's discount book buy

Foundation and Earth (hc) by Isaac Asimov for one dollar.

I've already read this, but am happy to have a copy by making a contribution to a library; something I believe would have pleased Asimov.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Quote of the day

"I suspect that the world would not benefit from more cruelty and less kindness." - Alonzo Fyfe, commenting on the pro-torture argument of Sam Harris

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quote of the day

"To me, bombastic odes to traditional maternity have a sinister ring, especially when they come from people who want to curtail women’s rights." - Michelle Goldberg

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Quote of the day

"[Lenin], your concrete actions are completely unworthy of the ideas you pretend to hold ... you have no right to soil the ideas you defend by shameful methods." - Kropotkin, letter (1920)

Via "All Governments Lie" by Myra MacPherson

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Quote of the day

"[E]verything we know of Hitler suggests that, once finished with the Jews, he would have targeted for elimination, one way or another, those whose loyalty to Jesus competed with loyalty to the Third Reich. But the absolute priority given to Jews in Hitler's scheme; their place as the extreme negative in volk mythology, standing against everything the Third Reich was meant to be; their place, therefore, as the embodiment of an evil to be elimatinated at all costs - all of this built upon the Jew hatred ... that has been an unbroken thread of Christian history, not just since the Crusades, but beyond Constantine, almost back to the time of the crucifixion itself." - James Carroll, Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews -- A History