Nov 192010
 

David Cole. Enemy Aliens: Double Standards and Constitutional Freedoms in the War on Terrorism.

Ivo H. Daalder and James M. Lindsay. America Unbound: The Bush Revolution in Foreign Policy.

“An attention to the judgment of other nations is important to every government for two reasons. The one is, that, independently of the merits of any particular plan or measure, it is desirable, on various accounts, that it should appear to other nations as the offspring of a wise and honorable policy; the second is, that in doubtful cases, particularly where the national councils may be warped by some strong passion or momentary interest, the presumed or known opinion of the impartial world may be the best guide that can be followed.” -63rd Federalist Paper

“Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will [America’s] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Once embroiled in foreign wars of interest and intrigue “the fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force… She might become the dictatress of the world: she would no longer be the ruler of her own spirit.” -John Quincy Adams (July 4, 1821)

Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation whenever he shall deem it necessary to repeal an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose, and you allow him to make war at pleasure… If today he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, “I see no probability of the British invading us”; but he will say to you, “Be silent: I see it, if you don’t.” -Abraham Lincoln

 Comments Off on Books : TLS & NYRB 2003.10.23
Nov 192010
 

The story of modern America begins With the discovery of the white man by The Indians.

Only puny secrets need protection. Big discoveries are protected by public incredulity.

Whereas convictions depend on speed-ups, justice requires delay.

The nature of people demands that most of them be engaged in the most frivolous possible activities—like making money.

With telephone and TV it is not so much the message as the sender that is “sent.”

Money is the poor man’s credit card.

We look at the present through a rear-view mirror. We march backwards into the future.

Spaceship earth is still operated by railway conductors, just as NASA is managed by men with Newtonian goals.

Invention is the mother of necessities.

You mean my whole fallacy’s wrong ?

Mud sometimes gives the illusion of depth.

The car has become the carapace, the protective and aggressive shell, of urban and suburban man.

Why is it so easy to acquire the solutions of past problems and so difficult to solve current ones?

The trouble with a cheap, specialized education is that you never stop paying for it.

People don’t actually read newspapers. They step into them every morning like a hot bath.

The road is our major architectural form.

Today each of us lives several hundred years in a decade.

Today the business of business is becoming the constant invention of new business.

The price of eternal vigilance is indifference.

News , far more than art, is artifact.

When you are on the phone or on the air, you have no body.

Tomorrow is our permanent address.

All advertising advertises advertising.

The answers are always inside the problem, not outside.

“Camp” is popular because it gives people a sense of reality to see a replay of their lives.

This information is top security. When you have read it, destroy yourself.

The specialist is one who never makes small mistakes while moving toward the grand fallacy.

One of the nicest things about being big is the luxury of thinking little.

Politics offers yesterday’s answers to today’s questions.

The missing link created far more interest than all the chains and explanations of being.

In big industry new ideas are invited to rear their heads so they can be clobbered at once. The idea department of a big firm is a sort of lab for isolating dangerous viruses.

When a thing is current, it creates currency.

Food for the mind is like food for the body: the inputs are never the same as the outputs.

Men on frontiers , whether of time or space, abandon their previous identities. Neighborhood gives identity. Frontiers snatch it away.

The future of the book is the blurb.

The ignorance of how to use new knowledge stockpiles exponentially.

A road is a flattened-out wheel , rolled up in the belly of an airplane.

At the speed of light , policies and political parties yield place to charismatic images.

I may be wrong , but I’m never in doubt.

 Comments Off on McLuhanisms
Nov 192010
 

George Washington, 1st President (1789-1797)
“… the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion…”
The “Treaty of Tripoli,” negotiated and signed by the First President of the United States, on November 4, 1796.

John Adams, 2nd President (1797-1801)
“This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religions in it.”
A letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 15, 1817

“The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this event as an era in their history. Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses.”
John Adams, “A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America” (1787-88)

Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President (1801-1809)
“Christianity … (has become) the most perverted system that ever shone on man. … Rogueries, absurdities and untruths were perpetrated upon the teachings of Jesus by a large band of dupes and importers …”
Six Historic Americans, by John E. Remsberg

“In every country and in every age, the priest has been hostile to liberty. He is always in alliance with the despot…”
Thomas Jefferson letter to Horatio G. Spafford, 1814. ME 14:119

“Where the preamble declares, that coercion is a departure from the plan of the holy author of our religion, an amendment was proposed by inserting “Jesus Christ,” so that it would read “A departure from the plan of Jesus Christ, the holy author of our religion;” the insertion was rejected by the great majority, in proof that they meant to comprehend, within the mantle of its protection, the Jew and the Gentile, the Christian and Mohammedan, the Hindoo and Infidel of every denomination.”
Thomas Jefferson, Autobiography, re Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom

James Madison, 4th President (1809-1817) “Father of the Constitution”
“Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise.”
Letter to William Bradford, April 1, 1774

Benjamin Franklin
“I have found Christian dogma unintelligible. Early in life I absented myself from Christian assemblies.”
“Toward the Mystery”

Thomas Paine (1737-1809)
“I would not dare to so dishonor my Creator God by attaching His name to that book (the Bible).”
The Age of Reason, Part 1, Section 5

“The study of theology, as it stands in the Christian churches, is the study of nothing; it is founded on nothing; it rests on no principles; it proceeds by no authority; it has no data; it can demonstrate nothing; and it admits of no conclusion.”
From The Age of Reason

Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865)
“The Bible is not my book, and Christianity is not my religion. I could never give assent to the long, complicated statements of Christian dogma.”
Salvation for Sale, Gerard Thomas Straub; also quoted by Joseph Lewis

Robert E. Lee
“…Is it not strange that the descendants of those Pilgrim Fathers who crossed the Atlantic to preserve their own freedom have always proved the most intolerant of the spiritual liberty of others?”
a Letter to President Pierce

Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and the Bey
“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
Article 11, Treaty of Peace and Friendship between the United States and the Bey and Subjects of the Bey of Tripoli of Barbary, Authored by American diplomat Joel Barlow in 1796, the following treaty was sent to the floor of the Senate, June 7, 1797, where it was read aloud in its entirety and unanimously approved.

And to note: Of the activities that the Bible’s Ten Commandments prohibit, throughout the history of the USA, its secular laws enacted by those founders and all of their successors, prohibit only two as crimes. (VI and VII)

[Quotes compiled by Dave Farber’s Interesting People]

 Comments Off on On US Constiution and Religion
Nov 192010
 

Notes from the book by Alexander Kendrick.

On problems with Congress understanding the role of the USIA:

“Our concern is with the idea. We cannot judge our success by sales. No profit-and-loss statements sums up our operations at the end of each year. No cash register rings when a man changes his mind. No totals are rung up on people impressed with an idea. There is no market history of the rise or fall in the going rate of belief in an ideal.

Often one’s best work may be merely to introduce doubt into a mind already firmly committed. There are no tallies to total, or sums to surmise, when you’ve finished a day of explaining disarmament, or discussing with the disenchanted the hope of an Alliance for Progress.”

“Communications systems are neutral. They have neither conscience nor morality, only a history. They will broadcast truth or falsehood with equal facility. Man communicating with man poses not the problem of how to say it, but more fundamentally, what is he to say?”

“Anything tagged education in this country [the United States] is handicapped at the outset. The American people don’t really believe in education. We had to pass laws to force parents to send their children to school.”

“When television is good, nothing is better. But when television is bad, nothing is worse. I invite you to sit down in front of your TV set and keep your eyes glued to that set until the station signs off. I can assure you that you will observe a vast wasteland.”

“To be persuasive, we must be believable. To be believable, we must be credible. To be credible, we must be truthful. It is as simple as that.”

“It is very easy to say we are going to speak the truth, but I predict you will have a very difficult time finding out what the truth is.”

[Kendrick: The supreme test arrives when lying is deemed vital to the national security, or prestige, or facesaving.]

“For if the premise on which our pluralistic society rests – which as I understand it is that if the people are given sufficient undiluted information, they will then somehow, even after long, sober second thoughts, reach the right decision – if that premise is wrong, then not only the corporate image, but the corporations are done for.”

“There is no suggestion here that networks or individual stations should operate as philanthropies. But I can find nothing in the Bill of Rights, or the Communications Act, which says they must increase their profits each year, lest the Republic collapse.”

On receiving the Einstein Award: “if television and radio are to be used for the entertainment of all of the people all of the time, we have come perilously close to discovering the real opiate of the people.”

The mass media… were being turned to “less for opinion, still less for radical or liberal opinion, and almost not at all for many-sided discussion.”…”One cannot slake one”s thirst at a dry well.”

“They say future political candidates must be personable on television. Why? Are we reaching the ridiculous stage where we will be invited to taste a candidate, like toothpaste? I find it ominous, this reliance on advertising technique and catchphrases, instead of statesmanship and leadership.”

“There is a false formula for personal security being peddled in our marketplace. It is this, although not so labeled: Don’t join anything. Don’t associate. Don’t write. Don’t take a chance on being wrong. Don’t espouse unpopular causes. Button your lip and drift with the tide. Seek the ease and luxury of complete equanimity, by refusing to make up your minds on issues that wiser heads will one day decide. This product, if it be bought by enough people, leads to paralysis.”

“Our major obligation is not to mistake slogans for solutions.”

Robert Oppenheimer: “The trouble with secrecy isn’t that it inhibits science or that it doesn’t give the public a sense of participation. The trouble with secrecy is that it denies to the Government itself the wisdom and the resources of the whole community, of the whole country. And the only way that you can do this is to let almost anyone say what he thinks – to try to give the best synopses, the best popularizations, the best mediations of technical things that you can, and to let men deny what they think is false, argue what they think is false. You have a to have a free and uncorrupted communication. And this is so the heart of living in a complicated technological world, it is so the heart of freedom, that that is why we are all the time saying, ‘Does this really have to be secret?’ ‘Couldn’t you say more about that?”Are we really acting in a wise way?’ Not because we enjoy chattering, not because we are not aware of the dangers of the world we live in, but because these dangers cannot be met in any other way.”

 Comments Off on Prime Time: The Life of Edward R. Murrow
Nov 192010
 

There are seven sins in the world: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Knowledge without character, Commerce without morality, Science without humanity, Worship without sacrifice and politics without principle.

The future depends on what we do in the present.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.

The only tyrant I accept in this world is the still voice within.

Affection cannot be manufactored or regulated by law. If one has no affection for a person or a system, one should be free to give the fullest expression to his disaffection, so long as he does not contemplate, promote, or incite to violence.

The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.

Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it.

In the attitude of silence the soul finds the path in a clearer light, and what is elusive and deceptive resolves itself into crystal clearness. Our life is a long and arduous quest after Truth.

You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds.

As long as you derive inner help and comfort from anything, keep it.

To run away from danger, instead of facing it, is to deny one’s faith in man and God, even one’s own self. It were better for one to drown oneself than live to declare such bankruptcy of faith.

I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.

A ‘No’ uttered from deepest conviction is better and greater than a ‘Yes’ merely uttered to please, or what is worse, to avoid trouble.

Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes.

Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the Act depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.
N.B.: The British disarmed the Indian Army: Gandhi never advocated the individual right to bear arms.

You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty.

Live as if your were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.

The good man is the friend of all living things.

Where there is love there is life.

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.

My non-violence bids me dedicate myself to the service of the minorities.

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.

Whenever you take a step forward, you are bound to disturb something. You disturb the air as you go forward, you disturb the dust, the ground. You trample upon things. When a whole society moves forward, this trampling is on a much bigger scale; and each thing that you disturb, each vested interest which you want to remove, stands as an obstacle.

Hate the sin, love the sinner.

I do believe that, where there is only a choice between cowardice and violence, I would advise violence….I would rather have India resort to arms in order to defend her honour than that she should, in a cowardly manner, become or remain a helpless witness to her own dishonour. But I believe that nonviolence is infinitely superior to violence, forgiveness is more manly than punishment. Forgiveness adorns a soldier…But abstinence is forgiveness only when there is the power to punish; it is meaningless when it pretends to proceed from a helpless creature…. But I do not believe India to be helpless….I do not believe myself to be a helpless creature….Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.

It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.

A man is but the product of his thoughts. What he thinks, he becomes.

I believe in equality for everyone, except reporters and photographers.

Indolence is a delightful but distressing state; we must be doing something to be happy.

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy?

Victory attained by violence is tantamount to a defeat, for it is momentary.

I am prepared to die, but there is no cause for which I am prepared to kill.

When asked what he thought of Western civilization: “I think it would be a good idea.”

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

There is no path to peace. Peace is the path.

Live simply that others may simply live.

Adaptability is not imitation. It means power of resistance and assimilation.

It is the quality of our work which will please God and not the quantity.

If you don’t find God in the next person you meet, it is a waste of time looking for him further.

The only devils in this world are those running around in our own hearts, and that is where all our battles should be fought.

There is more to life than increasing its speed.

Your beliefs become your thoughts. Your thoughts become your words. Your words become your actions. Your actions become your habits. Your habits become your values. Your values become your destiny.

To conceal ignorance is to increase it. An honest confession of it, however, gives ground for the hope that it will diminish some day or the other.

 Comments Off on Mahatma Gandhi