node created 2012/06/17
last changed 2013/02/04
The MO is shoot the messenger. As old as the hills.

We aren't discussing what Wikileaks leaked anymore. We are discussing Julian Assange's cats. See how they shifted our attention? That's the power of a propaganda - eventually, it will work. They just have to keep at it, and they did.

Nobody even disputed what was leaked. Officials confirmed the authenticity and so far, 0% is wrong of the leaks. Yet, we are still discussing how the condom slipped, the smell of the cat, and so on, and so on.

No consequences for anyone, almost. We should focus on whether the leaks are legitimate or fabricated and then deal with the perpetrator(s) in a court of law. We should not focus on the person that had the platform to leak them on.
A man has a right to use a saw, an axe, a plane, separately; may he not combine their uses on the same piece of wood? He has a right to use his knife to cut his meat, a fork to hold it; may a patentee take from him the right to combine their use on the same subject? Such a law, instead of enlarging our conveniences, as was intended, would most fearfully abridge them, and crowd us by monopolies out of the use of the things we have.
Letter to Oliver Evans, (16 January 1814); published in The Writings of Thomas Jefferson (1905) Vol. 13, p. 66.
The works of the ignorant are like sand. When yet sparse, they merely vex and irritate like loose grains; when abundant, they become like dunes that overwhelm all water, life, and knowledge.
If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things.
It will be a great day when the schools get all the money they need and the air force has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber.
I do not aim with my hand; he who aims with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.

I aim with my eye.

I do not shoot with my hand; he who shoots with his hand has forgotten the face of his father.

I shoot with my mind.

I do not kill with my gun; he who kills with his gun has forgotten the face of his father.

I kill with my heart.
"The Gunslinger"
Don’t collect data. If you know everything about yourself, you know everything. There is no use burdening yourself with a lot of data. Once you understand yourself, you understand human nature and then the rest follows.
I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.
Part of understanding the creative urge is understanding that it's primal. Wanting to change the world is not a noble calling, it's a primal calling.
I knew everything when I was 12, but not since. But way before I was 12, I knew that there were important things that the adults didn't know, or had forgotten, and I swore I would remember them. Now it's 60 years later and I don't remember them, but I never forgot that there were important things that nobody seemed to remember.
As long as we continue to have children, or accept people having children, we have chosen - as a species - to not give up on them, and their descendants.

Preserving a livable environment, and preferably much more than livable, is simply a duty springing from that fact.

There is no need for any deep philosophy, to care for the environment is - essentially - a consequence of choices already made.
Every production of an artist should be the expression of an adventure of his soul.
Imperialism was born when the ruling class in capitalist production came up against national limitations to its economic expansion. The bourgeoisie turned to politics out of economic necessity; for if it did not want to give up the capitalist system whose inherent law is constant economic growth, it had to impose this law upon its home governments and to proclaim expansion to be an ultimate political goal of foreign policy.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
.. it's why I don't go on Fox news. I don't go on CNN either, because the most you're ever gonna get is 4 to 6 minutes. And so you have to use the language of easily identifiable clichés in order for the audience to resonate. And if what you're thinking doesn't fit within those clichés, then you become unintelligible. And that of course has now been carried out through the wider culture.

And Thou Too

The moonlight rolls down like a river,
The silence streams out like a sea;
And far where the eastern winds quiver,
My farewell goes floating to thee.

Like night, when the sunset is fading
And starbeams troop up in the skies,
Through a cold, dark and lonely forever
Gleams the light of the poet eyes.

And sometimes when I am weary,
When the path is thorny and Wild,
I'll look back to the Eyes in the twilight,
Back to the eyes that smiled.

And pray that a wreath like a rainbow
May slip from the beautiful past,
And Crown me again with the sweet, strong love
And keep me, and hold me fast.

For the way is not strown with petal soft,
It is covered with hearts that weep,
And the wounds I tread touch a deeper source
Than you think it mine to keep.

Down the years I shall move without you,
Yet ever must feel the blow
That caused me a deeper pain to give
Than you will ever know.

For the tears that dropped on my hands that night
'Neath the mystical shining moon,
Were a sacred dew, consecrated there,
On the rose-altered heart of June.

And the heart that beat against mine like a bird
That is fluttering, wounded sore,
With it's nest all broken, deserted, torn,
Will beat there forevermore.

But the world moves on, and the piteous Earth
Still groans in the monster pain;
And the star that leads me points onward yet,
Though the red drops fall like rain!

Ah, not to a blaze of light I go,
Nor shouts of a triumph train;
I go down to kiss the dregs of woe,
And drink up the Cup of Pain.

And whether a scaffold or crucifix waits
'Neath the light of my silver star,
I know and I care not: I only know
I shall pause not though it be far.

Though a crucified life or an agonized death,
Though long, or quick and sharp,
I am firmly wrought in the endless thread
Of Destiny's woof and warp.

And I do not shrink, though a wave of pain
Sobs over me now and then,
As I think of those "saddest of all sad words,"
The pitiful "might have been."

"It might have been"— it is not to be;
And the tones of your "swan's farewell"
Ring sadly, solemnly deep to me
Like the voice of a sobbing bell.

Ay, gather your petals and take them back
To the dead heart under the dew;
And crown it again with the red love bloom,
For the dead are always true.

But go not "back to the sediment"
In the slime of the moaning sea,
For a better world belongs to you,
And a better friend to me.
[..] it is becoming increasingly obvious, that the state is not based on men of strong spirit and natural power. It is increasingly based on the ignorance and passiveness of the people.
Watergate was a matter of a bunch of guys from the Republican National Committee breaking in a Democratic Party office for essentially unknown reasons and doing no damage. Okay, that's petty burglary, it's not a big deal. Well, at the exact time that Watergate was discovered, there were exposures in the courts and through the Freedom of Information Act of massive FBI operations to undermine political freedom in the United States, running through every administration back to Roosevelt, but really picking up under Kennedy. It was called "COINTELPRO" (short for "Counterintelligence Program"), and it included a vast range of things.

It included Gestapo-style assassination of a Black Panther leader; it included organizing race riots in an effort to destroy the black movements; it included attacks on the American Indian Movement, on the women's movement, you name it. It included fifteen years of FBI disruption of the Socialist Worker's Party - that meant regular FBI burglaries, stealing membership lists and using them to threaten people, going to businesses and getting members fired from their jobs, and so on. Well, that fact alone-the fact that for fifteen years the FBI had been burglarizing and trying to undermine a legal political party - is already vastly more important than the fact that a bunch of Keystone Kops broke into the Democratic National Committee headquarters one time. The Socialist Workers Party is a legal political party, after all - the fact that they're a weak political party doesn't mean they have less rights than the Democrats. And this wasn't a bunch of gangsters, this was the national political police: that's very serious. And it didn't happen once in the Watergate office complex, is was going on for fifteen years, under every administration. And keep in mind, the Socialist Workers Party episode is just some tiny footnote to COINTELPRO. In comparison to this, Watergate is a tea party.

Well, look at the comparison in treatment - I mean, you're aware of the comparison in treatment, that's why you know about Watergate and you don't know about COINTELPRO. So what does that tell you? What it tells you is, people in power will defend themselves. The Democratic Party represents about half of corporate power, and those people are able to defend themselves; the Socialist Workers Party represents no power, the Black Panthers don't represent any power, the American Indian Movement doesn't represent any power - so you can do anything you want to them.

Or take a look at the Nixon administration's famous "Enemies List," which came out in the course of Watergate…You've heard of that, but did you hear about the assassination of Fred Hampton? No. Nothing ever happened to any of the people who were on the Enemies List, which I know perfectly well, because I was on it - and it wasn't because I was on it that it made the front pages. But the FBI and the Chicago police assassinated a Black Panther leader as he lay in his bed one night during the Nixon administration (On December 4, 1969). Well, if the press had any integrity at all, if the Washington Post had any integrity, what they would have said is, "Watergate is totally insignificant and innocuous, who cares about any of that in comparison with these other things." But that's not what happened, obviously. And that just shows again, very dramatically, how the press is lined up with power.
"Understanding Power" (2002)
Emperor G built a beautiful walled city, inviting everyone in, encouraging them to paint their houses whatever color they like. A year later, Big G banned blue houses. If you didn't like the rules, you were more than welcome to build your house outside the city and paint it whatever color you like.

Only most people don't leave - blue is just one color and they weren't very interested in it anyway. Besides, the city is so beautiful and provides for their every need. In the coming years, people who want to paint their house blue badly enough to leave paradise are heavily scrutinized and eventually considered outcasts.

Over the years, more and more colors are slowly banned, one by one. People start to notice and complain once their favorite color is outlawed. But decades have passed since Emperor G's generous invitation. Entire generations have lived, died, and raised children inside the city. No one knows how to navigate the wilderness anymore. And even if they could, why would they want to? Thorns and weeds have overgrown the wasteland; it's much safer to stay inside the city walls. Besides, it's cozy and we have everything we need in here.
If the teacher, if anyone, is to be an example of a whole person to others, he must first strive to be a whole person. Without the courage to confront one's inner as well as one's outer worlds, such wholeness is impossible to achieve. Instrumental reason alone cannot lead to it.
They're torturing millions of Muslims in Xinjiang, directly or indirectly through terrifying police state actions that entirely revoke all human liberty.

There is no greater mass atrocity going on anywhere on earth than what's happening in Xinjiang.

How many people, companies, VC firms in Silicon Valley are working with China and living off of Chinese money?

Where's the mass outrage and suspension of relations with China? Nope, you won't see that. No chance in hell.

The millions of Muslims in China being tortured don't matter, and one journalist does? Not exactly: it's because China is a big fat platter of money and many want to feast on it. It's a willingness to disregard all ethics because the check is big enough. It's so much money, the people that claim to care about a single journalist, don't care about millions of people being actively repressed and tortured.
You could admit you were wrong.

You could apologize to your children.
You could slow down.
You could fasten your seat belt.
War is essentially an evil thing. Its consequences are not confined to the belligerent states alone, but affect the whole world.

To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.
It's just sad how the school system destroys great works, just by virtue of making them assigned reading.
The concentration camps, by making death itself anonymous (making it impossible to find out whether a prisoner is dead or alive), robbed death of its meaning as the end of a fulfilled life. In a sense they took away the individual’s own death, proving that henceforth nothing belonged to him and he belonged to no one. His death merely set a seal on the fact that he had never existed.
"The Origins of Totalitarianism"
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
The most improper job of any man is bossing other men. Not one in a million is fit for it, and least of all those who seek the opportunity.
any app/tool/etc. that's "designed for the average user", will only help its user be(come) average and below average!

Now try imagining selling a product with the slogan XYZ - Helping you stay mediocre, and even drop below the average! Use us every day, keep greatness away! ...if you're doing data-driven-product-design targeting the "average user", you're building just such a product
If a man walk in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer; but if he spends his whole day as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making earth bald before her time, he is esteemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.
The ways in which most men get their living, that is, live, are mere makeshifts, and a shirking of the real business of life, - chiefly because they do not know, but partly because they do not mean, any better. The rush to California, for instance, and the attitude, not merely of merchants, but of philosophers and prophets, so called, in relation to it, reflect the greatest disgrace on mankind. That so many are ready to live by luck, and so get the means of commanding the labor of others less lucky, without contributing any value to society! And that is called enterprise! I know of no more startling development of the immorality of trade, and all the common modes of getting a living. The philosophy and poetry and religion of such a mankind are not worth the dust of a puffball. The hog that gets his living by rooting, stirring up the soil so, would be ashamed of such company. If I could command the wealth of all the worlds by lifting my finger, I would not pay such a price for it
I used to call myself a war photographer. Now I consider myself as an antiwar photographer.