“President Obama waived a ban on arming terrorists in order to allow weapons to go to the Syrian opposition. Your listeners, US taxpayers, are now paying to give arms to terrorists including Al Qaeda. … This happened and as of today the United States is willingly, knowingly, intentionally sending arms to terrorists, now what this says to me, I’m a believer in Jesus Christ, as I look at the End Times scripture, this says to me that the leaf is on the fig tree and we are to understand the signs of the times, which is your ministry, we are to understand where we are in God’s end times history. … Rather than seeing this as a negative, we need to rejoice, Maranatha Come Lord Jesus, His day is at hand.”
…an active member of Congress.
Photo: Fibonacci Blue
“You follow this pro-corporate trend to its logical conclusion, and sooner or later you’ll end up with a Supreme Court that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of big business.”
Elizabeth Warren, criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court as being too right-wing and pro-corporate. Full article can be read at Politico.
Can we just clone her already?
(Photo: flickr user Stephen Masker)
“If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don’t bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don’t bullshit yourself that you’re not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard’s vote.”
David Foster Wallace, Up, Simba!
(Photo: Theresa Thompson)
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”
- Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
(Photo: Alyssa L. Miller)
“First your Honor. I want to start off with an apology. I am sorry. I am sorry that my actions hurt people. I am sorry that it hurt the United States. At the time of my decisions, as you know, I was dealing with a lot of issues— issues that are ongoing and they are continuing to affect me.
Although they have caused me considerable difficulty in my life, these issues are not an excuse for my actions. I understood what I was doing and the decisions I made. However, I did not truly appreciate the broader effects of my actions. Those effects are clearer to me now through both self-reflection during my confinement in its various forms and through the merits and sentencing testimony that I have seen here.
I am sorry for the unintended consequences of my actions. When I made these decisions I believed I was gonna help people, not hurt people. The last few years have been a learning experience. I look back at my decisions and wonder, ‘How on earth could I, a junior analyst, possibly believe I could change the world for the better over the decisions of those with the proper authority?’”
Pfc. Bradley Manning, in a statement to the court during his sentencing trial. The army private was convicted of espionage last month for leaking intelligence documents to Wikileaks. He faces up to 90 years in prison.
(Photo: via wikicommons)
“Today, a vicious cycle of poverty, criminality, and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities. And many aspects of our criminal justice system may actually exacerbate these problems, rather than alleviate them.
It’s clear – as we come together today – that too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no truly good law enforcement reason. It’s clear, at a basic level, that 20th-century criminal justice solutions are not adequate to overcome our 21st-century challenges. And it is well past time to implement common sense changes that will foster safer communities from coast to coast.”
Attorney General Eric Holder – in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Fransisco, Calif, signaling the Obama Administration’s intent to undo the damaging war on drugs.
(Photo: flickr user Bart Everson)
I am gay. I am a Jew. My mother lost over a dozen of her family to Hitler’s anti-Semitism. Every time in Russia (and it is constantly) a gay teenager is forced into suicide, a lesbian “correctively” raped, gay men and women beaten to death by neo-Nazi thugs while the Russian police stand idly by, the world is diminished and I for one, weep anew at seeing history repeat itself.
“All that is needed for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing,” so wrote Edmund Burke. Are you, the men and women of the IOC going to be those “good” who allow evil to triumph? [...]
For there to be a Russian Winter Olympics would stain the movement forever and wipe away any of that glory. The Five Rings would finally be forever smeared, besmirched and ruined in the eyes of the civilised world.
Stephen Fry, An open letter to David Cameron and the IOC
(photo: via wikicommons)
From the Associated Press:
“In the last few years we’ve experienced a few differences,” Kerry said, politely understating the testy, roller-coaster relationship with Pakistan. “We cannot allow events that might divide us in a small way distract from the common values and the common interests that unite us in big ways.”
Pakistani officials have been angry about U.S. drone strikes against suspected militants in Pakistan, claiming they violate their sovereignty. They used Kerry’s visit to press the U.S. to stop the drone attacks.
“I think the program will end as we have eliminated most of the threat and continue to eliminate it,” Kerry told the Pakistan TV interviewer. “I think the president has a very real timeline and we hope it’s going to be very, very soon. I think it depends really on a number of factors, and we’re working with your government with respect to that.”
(photo by Cliff)
“The Republican postelection ideological repositioning project has chugged along fitfully and without satisfaction until just recently, when a solution struck with the blinding force of revelation. The concept is to define the Republican Party as the populist opposition to the Obama administration. Obama, goes this line of reasoning, is not the advocate of the people he puts himself forward as but the defender of bien-pensant elites. Republicans are — or should be — the party of stripping the elites of their government favors.”
“If you define privilege as “privilege meted out by government,” then, ergo, the Democratic Party is the party of privilege — the court party, the elites. There is certainly room to flay the GOP for its deviations — its farm bills, its business tax breaks — while ignoring both the main sources of economic and social privilege in America and disposition of the two parties toward it. But the right-wing populist analysis is still a magic trick, a way of transmuting the party that taxes the rich to provide health insurance to the sick and poor into the party of the rich and powerful. Far from the basis for a realistic program for the Republican Party, it’s merely a form of self-deception.”
Jonathan Chait, Can Republicans Be Economic Populists?
(photo by Wayne Wilkinson)
“If someone is gay and he searches for the Lord and has good will, who am I to judge?”
Pope Francis, while openly answering questions posed to him by journalists on Monday, during a flight back to the Vatican from his first foreign trip to Brazil as Pontiff. The above quote is Francis’ answer to a question regarding his view of homosexual priests in the church.
(photo by Semilla Luiz)
“Moreover, if you look at what the modern Republican Party actually stands for in practice, it’s clearly inimical to the interests of those downscale whites the party can supposedly win back. Neither a flat tax nor a return to the gold standard are actually on the table; but cuts in unemployment benefits, food stamps and Medicaid are. (To the extent that there was any substance to the Ryan plan, it mainly involved savage cuts in aid to the poor.) And while many nonwhite Americans depend on these safety-net programs, so do many less-well-off whites — the very voters libertarian populism is supposed to reach.
Specifically, more than 60 percent of those benefiting from unemployment insurance are white. Slightly less than half of food stamp beneficiaries are white, but in swing states the proportion is much higher. For example, in Ohio, 65 percent of households receiving food stamps are white. Nationally, 42 percent of Medicaid recipients are non-Hispanic whites, but, in Ohio, the number is 61 percent.
So when Republicans engineer sharp cuts in unemployment benefits, block the expansion of Medicaid and seek deep cuts in food stamp funding — all of which they have, in fact, done — they may be disproportionately hurting Those People; but they are also inflicting a lot of harm on the struggling Northern white families they are supposedly going to mobilize.”
Paul Krugman, Delusions of Populism
(photo by Commonwealth Club)
Maria Popova finds a couple of really excellent excerpts from the great Hunter S. Thompson:
Flat-out lying, in fact, is something Thompson attributes to politicians whose profession he likens to a deadly addiction. In Better Than Sex: Confessions of a Political Junkie, the very title of which speaks to the analogy, he writes:
“Not everybody is comfortable with the idea that politics is a guilty addiction. But it is. They are addicts, and they are guilty and they do lie and cheat and steal — like all junkies. And when they get in a frenzy, they will sacrifice anything and anybody to feed their cruel and stupid habit, and there is no cure for it. That is addictive thinking. That is politics — especially in presidential campaigns. That is when the addicts seize the high ground. They care about nothing else. They are salmon, and they must spawn. They are addicts.”
Later, he resurrects the junkie analogy in Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail ’72 and ties it back to journalism:
“Anything that gets the adrenalin moving like a 440 volt blast in a copper bathtub is good for the reflexes and keeps the veins free of cholesterol… but too many adrenaline rushes in any given time span has the same effect on the nervous system as too many electro-shock treatments are said to have on the brain: after a while you start burning out the circuits. When a jackrabbit gets addicted to road-running, its only a matter of time before he gets smashed — and when a journalist turns into a politics junkie he will sooner or later start raving and babbling in print about things that only a person who has Been There can possibly understand.”
(photo by flickr user Misserion)
“You know, when Trayvon Martin was first shot, I said that this could have been my son. Another way of saying that is Trayvon Martin could have been me, 35 years ago.”
President Obama, during an interview with reporters at the White House today.
(photo by Debra Sweet)