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Thinkage

1/02/2016

“A gun doesn’t make you a citizen. 

“A citizen is one who is part of civilization, not outside it. A citizen is one who works to hold society together instead of working to burn it down, who learns from the past in order to build a better future for all. And in hard-won, hard-learned American tradition, a citizen is one who believes that the benefits of civilization are the birthright of all – not just a select few. Not just those brutal enough, ruthless enough, to take it at the muzzle of gun.   

“Citizenship is an ideal, an obligation, a duty. 

“Citizenship is not an excuse to act like a lout or a thug. 

“Citizenship is an acknowledgement that we are stronger together, despite our differences or maybe because of them, than we ever were alone. 

“And if civilization does not protect the weak from the ruthless, then what damned good is it?

“Those squatting in Malheur are not patriots. They are not soldiers. They are not citizens. They are an armed rabble of selfish malcontents. 

“They are nothing but bums with guns.” — the always insightful Jim Wright of Stonekettle Station, “Refuge Of Scoundrels”

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Thinkage

23/01/2016

“The culture of war banishes the capacity for pity. It glorifies self-sacrifice and death. It sees pain, ritual humiliation and violence as part of an initiation into manhood. Brutal hazing, as Kyle noted in his book, was an integral part of becoming a Navy SEAL. New SEALs would be held down and choked by senior members of the platoon until they passed out. The culture of war idealizes only the warrior. It belittles those who do not exhibit the warrior’s ‘manly’ virtues. It places a premium on obedience and loyalty. It punishes those who engage in independent thought and demands total conformity. It elevates cruelty and killing to a virtue. This culture, once it infects wider society, destroys all that makes the heights of human civilization and democracy possible. The capacity for empathy, the cultivation of wisdom and understanding, the tolerance and respect for difference and even love are ruthlessly crushed. The innate barbarity that war and violence breed is justified by a saccharine sentimentality about the nation, the flag and a perverted Christianity that blesses its armed crusaders. This sentimentality, as Baldwin wrote, masks a terrifying numbness. It fosters an unchecked narcissism. Facts and historical truths, when they do not fit into the mythic vision of the nation and the tribe, are discarded. Dissent becomes treason. All opponents are godless and subhuman.” — Chris Hedges, “Killing Ragheads For Jesus

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Thinkage

15/01/2016

“If you fear using certain words because you might be labeled a ‘racist, a homophobe, of a bigot’ – think about it. If the words you desire to use, insult another, harm another, or cause anyone to laugh at (not with) another why would you want to use those word anyway?” — John Casimir O’Keefe

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Thinkage

5/01/2016

“It’s getting so that I can’t tell extremist Christians from extremist Muslims. Honestly, from where I sit, all you crazy religious people look pretty much the same. Guns and religion. I wonder what Jesus would have to say about that? How in the hell do you get to guns and religion in the same sentence? Guns and religion, throw in a pickup truck, a keg of shitty beer, and an underage pregnant governor’s daughter and you’ve pretty much described the modern GOP, haven’t you? Can you people actually hear the words coming out of your mouths, did you read the banners you’re waving or did somebody else write them for you? Guns and religion? In that order, no less.

“I’m not a Christian but I was raised in the church and I strongly suspect that Jesus would have bitch slapped the stupid right out of these people.

“You know, and I’m just saying here, maybe there’s reason why you haven’t seen him in two thousand years.” — Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

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Thinkage

10/11/2015

“We set aside today in order to acknowledge those who did their duty to the best of their ability. Raise a glass and honor those who served their country in peace and in conflict, those who came when called – both those who came against their will and those who came of their own volition – all of those who came to stand between home and war’s desolation. 

“This is their day. 

“Honor them and then, and then, go on about your lives. 

“Live.

“Be free, revel in it – because that, ultimately, is why they do what they do.”
– Jim Wright, Stonekettle Station

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Thinkage

19/10/2015

“I don’t think Grover’s saying that you should start putting cartoons of black guys or Jews on baseball caps..That would be as bad as what they’re doing to us. Those folks have had plenty of suffering. We understand that. Hell, we understand suffering better than anybody. Indian people aren’t about dragging other people down.

“But here’s what you’ve got to understand. When you look at black people, you see ghosts of all the slavery and the rapes and the hangings and the chains. When you look at Jews, you see ghosts of all those bodies piled up in the death camps. And those ghosts keep you trying to do the right thing.

“But when you look at us you don’t see the ghosts of the little babies with their heads smashed in by rifle butts at the Big Hole, or the old folks dying by the side of the trail on the way to Oklahoma while their families cried and tried to make them comfortable, or the dead mothers at Wounded Knee or the little kids at Sand Creek who were shot for target practice. You don’t see any ghosts at all.

“Instead you see casinos and drunks and junk cars and shacks.

“Well, we see those ghosts. And they make our hearts sad and they hurt our little children. And when we try to say something, you tell us, ‘Get over it. This is America. Look at the American dream.’ But as long as you’re calling us Redskins and doing tomahawk chops, we can’t look at the American dream, because those things remind us that we’re not real human beings to you. And when people aren’t humans, you can turn them into slaves or kill six million of them or shoot them down with Hotchkiss guns and throw them into mass graves at Wounded Knee.

“No, we’re not looking at the American dream, Nerburn. And why should we? We still haven’t woken up from the American nightmare.”

– Kent Nerburn, The Wolf At Twilight

The Wolf At Twilight

Go read this chapter,
then go read his book.
Read all of his books.

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Thinkage

8/10/2015

“Businesses just want to increase their profits; it’s up to the government to make sure they distribute enough of those profits so workers have the money to buy the goods they produce.  It’s no mystery — the less poverty, the more commerce. The most important investment we can make is in human resources.” – President José Mujica of Uruguay

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Thinkage

17/09/2015

Bronner’s basic point is simple: Bigotry has always existed, and though its techniques may change, its goal is always largely the same. The bigot, Bronner writes, “directs his hatred against those who threaten (or might threaten) his privileges, his existential self-worth” by challenging the prevailing prejudices of the day. His beliefs are unquestionably the right ones; he “hears the Lord’s voice and he condemns those who don’t, or interpret it otherwise.” But if you criticize the bigot for his antediluvian views, he’ll scurry behind the shield of “traditions” and “established habits.” – Mark Joseph Stern’s review of Stephen Eric Bronner’s book The Bigot: Why Prejudice Persists

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Thinkage

10/09/2015

“Fourteen years later, thanks a heap, Osama bin Laden. With a small number of supporters, $400,000-$500,000, and 19 suicidal hijackers, most of them Saudis, you pulled off a geopolitical magic trick of the first order. Think of it as wizardry from the theater of darkness. In the process, you did ‘change everything’ or at least enough of everything to matter. Or rather, you goaded us into doing what you had neither the resources nor the ability to do. So let’s give credit where it’s due. Psychologically speaking, the 9/11 attacks represented precision targeting of a kind American leaders would only dream of in the years to follow. I have no idea how, but you clearly understood us so much better than we understood you or, for that matter, ourselves. You knew just which buttons of ours to push so that we would essentially carry out the rest of your plan for you. While you sat back and waited in Abbottabad, we followed the blueprints for your dreams and desires as if you had planned it and, in the process, made the world a significantly different (and significantly grimmer) place.

“Fourteen years later, we don’t even grasp what we did.” — Tom Englehardt, Mantra For 9/11

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Thinkage

20/08/2015

“Billion dollar corporations paying to organize people so they’ll complain about taxes also isn’t a revolution.  It’s what billion dollar corporations do.  They only pray they’ll find customers gullible enough to not realize they’re being used as pawns.  But then, that’s why God created marketing departments…” — Robert J. Elisberg, The “Tea Party” Is Not Revolting

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