Are You Informed?

images.jpgThe moment we no longer have a free press, anything can happen. What makes it possible for a totalitarian or any other dictatorship to rule is that people are not informed; how can you have an opinion if you are not informed? If everybody always lies to you, the consequence is not that you believe the lies, but rather that nobody believes anything any longer. This is because lies, by their very nature, have to be changed, and a lying government has constantly to rewrite its own history. On the receiving end you get not only one lie—a lie which you could go on for the rest of your days—but you get a great number of lies, depending on how the political wind blows. And a people that no longer can believe anything cannot make up its mind. It is deprived not only of its capacity to act but also of its capacity to think and judge. And with such a people you can then do what you please.

— Hannah Arendt

Budget Swindle

Trump’s epic budget swindle

By Joe Conason at Nation of Change

images.jpgElect a fraudster to the presidency – remember Trump University and the Trump Foundation? – and he will soon deliver a fraudulent budget. What makes this presidential fraudster’s first budget so special is the simultaneous perpetration of multiple levels of fraud.

Aside from defense spending, the Trump budget violates nearly every programmatic promise he made to voters last year. And he pretends to fulfill his promise of balancing the budget with fake numbers.

Not only are the numbers phony but also they represent the most audacious mathematical con game in a federal budget in recent memory. It is phonier than the phony budgets cooked up during the Reagan era, when the president’s own budget director eventually confessed, “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers.” …

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Casuistry: From Ayesha to Ted Cruz

imagesWe all run across words when we’re reading that are familiar enough to accept unconsciously whatever vague idea we have of what they actually mean … and keep on reading without hardly a pause. Now we have digital books and if a word pops up that we are curious about, a couple of quick taps and the dictionary definition is in an adjunct window. If we are still curious (or befuddled), another tap takes us to the internet withe the word in question already discovered in many many websites.

The other day I ran into this passage while reading H. Rider Haggard’s She:

I felt it was hopeless to argue against casuistry of this nature, which, if it were carried to its logical conclusion, would absolutely destroy all morality, as we understand it.

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