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 Est. 1998



     

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Current Events Quotations:
Donald Trump Administration
January 2017


Related Quotes      Government      Media      Environment      Integrity      Feminism


Welcome to my page of quotations about topics surrounding the first few weeks of the new White House administration, policies, Donald Trump's style of governing, and a divided America. Experts and lay citizens alike are saying that in this recent election and new administration are things that have never been seen before. And while that is true in several ways, it brings to my mind many quotations from history showing that much of it is nowhere near new. So please enjoy these older quotes that apply so well to current events. There are some very recent quotes mixed in too. I've added the year to each quote for historical context. Compiled and posted January 25th with a few new additions through March 8th, 2017. A few of these are [as noted] borrowed from Leonard Roy Frank (1932–2015), Quotationary, and William Patrick Martin's What Liberals Believe — both highly recommended books! Thank you so much, gentlemen, for your fantastic work. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g


George Washington is the only president who didn't blame the previous administration for his troubles. ~Joke from the 1960s  #Obama's fault


THE PRESS MUST BE FREE. It has always been so, and much evil has been corrected by it.— If Government finds itself annoyed by it, let it examine its own conduct, and it will find the cause,— let it amend it, and it will find the remedy. ~Thomas Erskine, Thomas Paine libel trial, England, 1792


Accept no leaders who would lead you with fear or anger — who are forever dividing and punishing the people instead of uniting, encouraging and empowering them.... Great leaders — and you must include yourself in this — lead themselves, their families, friends, communities, nations and their world from the great, golden idea that people should be free and should in every way be encouraged to fulfill their highest potentials and live life responsibly as they choose. ~Doris Haddock, speech, Hampshire College, 2005 May 21st


May the growth of the American union never be prevented by party spirit. ~Every Body's Toast Book and Convivial Companion, by An Adept, 1851


[I]t is to be hoped that the Efforts of wise men will be able to prevent a scism, which would be injurious in different degrees to different portions of the Union; but would seriously wound the prosperity of all. ~Alexander Hamilton, letter to George Washington, 1792 August 18th


Dialogue is impossible without some shared sense of reality.... There are all these voices on the right that can say almost anything without consequence.... almost nothing they say discredits them. ~Michelle Goldberg, Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, 2006, and interview with Onnesha Roychoudhuri of AlterNet, 2006 (mash-up quote)


A Galileo could no more be elected president of the United States than he could be elected Pope of Rome. Both high posts are reserved for men favored by God with an extraordinary genius for swathing the bitter facts of life in bandages of self-illusion. ~H.L. Mencken, 1918


To be effective, a President must find a style of media use which is consistent with his personal capacity. ~Dorothy Buckton James, 1969 [Frank]  #Twitter


That our system is failing to solve the bedrock problems we face is beyond dispute. One reason is that our public discourse has become the verbal equivalent of mud wrestling. The anthropologist Marvin Harris says the attack against reason and objectivity in America today "is fast reaching the proportion of a crusade." America, he says, "urgently needs to reaffirm the principle that it is possible to carry out an analysis of social life that rational human beings will recognize as being true, regardless of whether they happen to be women or men, whites or blacks, straights or gays, Jews or born again Christians." Lacking such an understanding, of social life, "we will tear the United States apart in the name of our separate realities." Taken together, these assumptions and developments foreshadow the catastrophe of social and political paralysis. ~Bill Moyers, Foreword, At Century's End (New Perspectives Quarterly), 1996


A President should not go around telling the world he is in charge of his administration. Doing so will only reinforce doubts on that score. ~Laurence I. Barrett, "The Triumvirate," in Esquire, 1983


America is a passionate idea or it is nothing. America is a human brotherhood or it is chaos. ~Max Lerner, 1949


Don't do anything you're not prepared to see in the papers the next morning. ~Anonymous staff member, "the first law of life in the White House," quoted in Newsweek, 1978


Domestic policy can only lose elections. Foreign policy can kill us all. ~John F. Kennedy, 1973 [Frank]


Barbarism is needed every four or five hundred years in order to bring the world back to life. Otherwise it would die of civilization. ~Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, Journal des Goncourt, 1855 September 3rd, translated from French


Some so speak in exaggerations and superlatives, that we need to make a large discount from their statements, before we can come at their real meaning. ~Tryon Edwards, The World's Laconics, 1853


Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without government, I should not hesitate for a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them. ~Thomas Jefferson, 1787  [After becoming president, his view of the press soured but he still believed in a free press. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


When quasi-hysterical fear-mongering replaces reasonable debate, dark forces can be set in motion that outrun anyone's intentions. ~James Carroll, 2004 [Martin]


As long as Americans remain susceptible to easily provoked fears — of losing their jobs to immigrants, their kids to perverts, their lives to terrorists — and as long as there are wealthy corporations and religious control freaks eager to exploit them — the Republican Party and its allies have a bright future. ~Ted Rall, "The Right Stuff: Conservatism is dead. Long live fictional conservatism!", 2007


I think the environment should be put in the category of our national security. Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad. Otherwise what is there to defend? ~Robert Redford, 1985


[T]he people who still say that global warming isn't real are actually in the same boat with the flat earth society. They get together and party on Saturday nights with the folks that believe the moon landing was in a movie lot in Arizona. ~Al Gore, Countdown with Keith Olbermann (NBC), 2006 June 19th


You can only judge a president by the consequences of his decisions. ~Bill Moyers, 1982 [Frank]


Because he is so dependent upon his principal assistants, the President in effect makes policy when he selects them. Indeed, he probably exerts his greatest influence over future policy when he recruits his leading advisers. ~Richard J. Barnet, 1971 [Frank]


Personnel is policy. ~Becky Norton Dunlop, "The Role of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel," in Steering the Elephant: How Washington Works (Rector & Sanera, ed.), 1987


Presidents tend to equate loyalty to integrity. ~Joseph A. Califano, Jr., 1975 [Frank]


The Eisenhower way could be compared to a football team — elaborate planning, great attention to coordinating everybody, and interminable time spent in the huddles. The Kennedy team was more along the lines of basketball: everybody was on the move all the time. Nobody had a very clearly defined position. The President had a habit of throwing the ball in any direction and he expected it to be kept bouncing. ~Douglass Cater, Power in Washington, 1964


[W]e must be ever-vigilant against those who would strongarm the judiciary... ~Sandra Day O'Connor, 2005 September 9th, speech, University of Florida


Economic advance is not the same thing as human progress. ~J.H. Clapham, 1920s


We live in an age when a single political party — one that openly labors to dominate the entire political system — controls the big three: the executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judiciary. Checks and balances never looked so thoroughly unchecked and unbalanced. The number-one qualification for public service jobs... is enthusiastic personal loyalty to the president. ~J.R. Norton, Saving General Washington: The Right-Wing Assault on America's Founding Principles, 2006


America without immigration is an oxymoron.... The constant revitalizing of our culture through the addition of foreign immigrants has kept the United States at the forefront of innovation. Restricting immigration threatens us with cultural sclerosis — an evolutionary dead-end.... The radical right is trying to... create a static, rigid America, frozen forever in the simplistic culture of the 1950s. ~Philip Slater, "The Heart is at the Periphery," HuffingtonPost.com, 2006 April 19th


America is strongest in the world when we use our superpower status to join with other nations to achieve great goals. Instead of bullying them to salute us, more than ever our strength today depends on pursuing our purposes in cooperation with others, not in ways that anger them or ignore them or condescend to them. ~Edward Kennedy, speech at the National Press Club on the future of the Democratic party, 2005


You have to be sure that the Americans will commit all the stupidities they can think of, plus some that are beyond imagination. ~Charles de Gaulle, 1967


I think sometimes we can disagree with the facts. ~Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary and Communications Director, 2017 January 23rd, press briefing


Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts. ~Bernard Baruch, 1946


Alternative facts are not facts, they're falsehoods. ~Chuck Todd, 2017 January 22nd, to Kellyanne Conway, Meet the Press (NBC)


You can't fact-check crazy. ~David Corn, on Hardball with Chris Matthews, 2017 March 8th  [When I looked this up to see if Corn was the first to say it, the earliest instance I could find was a July 2015 blog post and not quite shockingly, guess what it was about: "My thoughts after watching an interview with Donald Trump." It's at emmawolf.wordpress.com and reads in part, "you can't fact check crazy" and later, "Donald Trump's logic makes my head explode." —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories.... we control the past.... Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. ~George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949


In our post-factual world... for too many, the only facts that are valid are those that confirm what they already "know" to be true. ~Jay Bookman, 2005 [Martin]


He who does not bellow the truth when he knows the truth makes himself the accomplice of liars and forgers. ~Charles Péguy, 1899


I never accept anything about the Government until it has been officially denied; then I know it is true. ~The Tri-Weekly Gleaner, 1897  [Garson O'Toole, The Quote Investigator, has found several variations of this quotation but this is the earliest thus far. Another: "It is an axiom of practical politics never to believe anything until it has been officially denied." ~The Times (London), 1900. For more history on this quote, click here. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


The unique facet of our political system is that the character of a President colors his entire administration. ~Clark Clifford, "The Presidency As I Have Seen It," 1972


[T]he Right has created such a powerful media apparatus that it can virtually create its own reality. ~Robert Parry, "America's Slide to Totalitarianism," 2006 November 6th


 
 
It will be much easier to commence the administration, upon a well adjusted system built on tenable grounds, than to correct errors or alter inconveniences after they shall have been confirmed by habit. The President in all matters of business & etiquette, can have no object but to conduct himself in his public character, in such a manner as to maintain the dignity of Office, without subjecting himself to the imputation of superciliousness or unnecessary reserve. ~George Washington, 1789


The free market should not include the right to pollute our environment. ~George S. McGovern, 1989 [Frank]


Exaggeration is a blood relation to falsehood, and nearly as blamable. ~Hosea Ballou (1771–1852), quoted in Day's Collacon, 1884


There are people so addicted to exaggeration that they actually can't tell the truth without lying. ~Henry Wheeler Shaw (1818–1885), quoted in H. Montague, Wit and Wisdom of Josh Billings, 1913


Mr. Haldane's Daedalus has set forth an attractive picture of the future as it may become through the use of scientific discoveries to promote human happiness. Much as I should like to agree with his forecast, a long experience of statesmen and government has made me somewhat sceptical. I am compelled to fear that science will be used to promote the power of dominant groups, rather than to make men happy. ~Bertrand Russell, "Icarus: or, The Future of Science," 1924


When presidents fail to recognize that an enemy on one issue can be an ally on another, they serve the people badly. ~Joseph A. Califano, Jr., 1975 [Frank]


Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind. ~Albert Einstein, 1929


When the President does it, that means that it's not illegal. ~Richard Nixon, 1977 May 20th, television interview


An honest, fearless press is the public's first protection against gangsterism, local or international. ~Richard Brooks, 1952


When a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper, possessed of considerable talents, having the advantage of military habits—despotic in his ordinary demeanour—known to have scoffed in private at the principles of liberty—when such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity—to join in the cry of danger to liberty—to take every opportunity of embarrassing the General Government & bringing it under suspicion—to flatter and fall in with all the non sense of the zealots of the day—It may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may "ride the storm and direct the whirlwind." ~Alexander Hamilton, letter to George Washington, 1792 August 18th (Objections and Answers Respecting the Administration), courtesy Syrett / Columbia University Press


To wish the greatness of our own country is often to wish evil to our neighbors. ~Voltaire, 1764


You think you can fix everything, change everything. But there will come a day when things cannot be fixed. And, you know what, it will be a day just like today. ~American Indian elder, quoted by Kent Nerburn, "Thoughts on the Dakota Access Pipeline," 2016


...beware those who are quick to censor
they are afraid of what they do not know
beware those who seek constant crowds for
they are nothing alone...
but there is genius in their hatred
there is enough genius in their hatred to kill you...
they will attempt to destroy anything
that differs from their own
not being able to create art
they will not understand art...
~Charles Bukowski, "The Genius of the Crowd," as reprinted in The Roominghouse Madrigals: Early Selected Poems 1946–1966


No one should approach the temple of science with the soul of a money changer. ~Thomas Browne, 17th century, attributed


When I was a boy I was told that anybody could become President. I'm beginning to believe it. ~Clarence Darrow, quoted by Irving Stone in 1941


Let America realize that self-scrutiny is not treason, self-examination is not disloyalty. ~Richard Cushing, 1965


There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." ~Isaac Asimov, in Newsweek, 1980 January 21st


You can't talk sense to people who oppose it on principle. ~Robert Brault, 2016


The truth unquestionably is, that the only path to a subversion of the republican system of the Country is, by flattering the prejudices of the people, and exciting their jealousies and apprehensions, to throw affairs into confusion, and bring on civil commotion. ~Alexander Hamilton, letter to George Washington, 1792 August 18th (Objections and Answers Respecting the Administration), courtesy Syrett / Columbia University Press


[S]ometimes a scream is better than a thesis. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, protest against Cherokee expulsion, 1838


There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. ~Elie Wiesel, Nobel Lecture, 1986 December 11th


A time comes when silence is betrayal. ~Clergy and Laymen Concerned About Vietnam, 1967  #protests #Sally Yates


I'm sick of all this illegal immigration into this country. I think we ought to send every illegal back. But instead of starting with the newest arrivals, I think we should start with the ones that have been here illegally the longest. After all, they've been breaking the law longer. So, it's about time we threw those English bastards out. Send them back to where they came from! They crossed over into this land uninvited, with their guns and diseased blankets and slave trade, and settled in like they own the place. ~Cenk Uygur, "Nativists for Native Americans," HuffingtonPost.com, 2006 April 12th


In America today you can murder land for private profit. You can leave the corpse for all to see, and nobody calls the cops. ~Paul Brooks, 1971


When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned. ~Herbert Hoover, 1964


Today intimidation of the press is a standard item on the agenda of the organized political right. There are self-appointed monitors who circulate denunciations of articles and television programs that depart from their ideology. ~Anthony Lewis, "Have we reverted to a 'reverential' relationship with the presidency?", 1989


The first duty of a newspaper is to be accurate. If it be accurate, it follows that it is fair. ~Herbert Bayard Swope, 1958


"How many fingers am I holding up, Winston?"
"Four."
"And if the Party says that it is not four but five — then how many?"
"Four.... Two and two are four."
"Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane." ⁂ O'Brien smiled slightly. "You are a flaw in the pattern, Winston. You are a stain that must be wiped out." ~George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, 1949


My dream is that as the years go on... that America will come into the full light of the day when all shall know that she puts human rights above all other rights and that her flag is the flag not only of America but of humanity. What other great people has devoted itself to this exalted ideal? ~Woodrow Wilson, Presidential Address at Independence Hall, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1914 July 4th


The relationship between television and the politician should be at arm's length; the eye of the camera should pursue the politician to the very limits of privacy and decency. When the politicians complain, as they have in several countries, that television turns their proceedings into a circus, it should be made clear that the circus was already there, and that television has merely demonstrated that not all the performers are well trained. ~Edward R. Murrow, 1959  [I found this quotation on the website of Garson O'Toole, QuoteInvestigator.com. Click here for more details. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Perhaps the most central characteristic of authentic leadership is the relinquishing of the impulse to dominate others. ~David Cooper, "The Anti-Hospital: An Experiment in Psychiatry" (Murdering Personality), in New Society, January 1965


When it comes to voting rights, Democrats push voter protection while Republicans shout voter fraud in a crowded polling place. Democrats think anyone who can vote should vote; Republicans think everyone who should vote can vote. ~Christine Pelosi, October 2010


Possible controversy for the Obama campaign: Republicans are now accusing Barack Obama's campaign of voter fraud because some of the people they've registered sound like they have fake names. Apparently, the fakest-sounding name is Barack Obama. ~Conan O'Brien, 2009


Gunplay in our nation is almost as much a national pastime as baseball. And, with the never-ending, inadequately controlled abundant supply of firearms, we're killing ourselves more effectively than any terrorist organization could. ~Monroe Anderson, "We're killing ourselves more effectively than terrorists," Chicago Sun-Times, 2006 July 30th


The more I observe the main effects of a free press, the more convinced am I that, in the modern world, freedom of the press is the principal and, so to say, the constitutive element in freedom. ~Alexis de Tocqueville, 19th century


The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen. ~Tom Smothers, 1960s


Censorship reflects society's lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime. ~Potter Stewart, United States v. Ginzburg, 1965


Nationalism is a silly cock crowing on his own dunghill. ~Richard Aldington  [latter half of the phrase goes back to the Heywood proverbs days of the 1500s —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism. ~George Washington, farewell address, 1796


If you don't understand the cause of the problem — your solution will become part of it. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer, 2000s


Holding government accountable... is difficult without essential information, without the ability to assess official conduct. That is a key reason why government actions, in so far as is possible, should be transparent. ~Editors of Issues of Democracy: Accountability in Government, August 2000


No government, no matter how democratic or efficient, can long be effective if it is corrupt — if institutions or individuals lack integrity and are motivated by self-interest and private gain rather than public good. Jane S. Ley, deputy director for government relations and special projects at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, explores the vital issue of ethics in government. She discusses the legal framework that has evolved over the years to foster ethical conduct — dealing with such issues as codes of conduct, conflict of interest and financial disclosure. She concludes that the system in place, as elaborate as it now is, "will need to continue to adapt to new challenges." ~Editors of Issues of Democracy: Accountability in Government, August 2000


If they want peace, nations should avoid the pin-pricks that precede cannon shots. ~Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821), attributed  #Mexico #"Travel Ban"


Am I the only guy in our country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind.... I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution.... That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for.... You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. ~Lee Iacocca, "Had Enough?", Where Have All the Leaders Gone?, 2007


      Trump's brazen, repeated, and unapologetic lying on the campaign trail has already caused journalists to complain that fact checkers cannot keep up with the stream of lies. They saw the danger that fact checking his statements would become futile because the falsehoods would have become so common that they would soon be normalized. Beyond that, each and every preposterous statement is an explicit fight that Trump picks with the media in order to further polarize his supporters and render their cognitive bubble even more hermetic....
      Aside from reinforcing the Trump base, the next four years of non-stop gaslighting could erode the basic standards of discourse in a healthy civil society. The truly horrible thing about propaganda in authoritarian regimes is not that it convinces the true believers, but that it demoralizes opponents by saying in effect: "Yes, we know that you know we are lying, but we don't care! We do it because we can and you can't stop us!" As for the majority of apolitical citizens, it infects them with a corrosive cynicism and dissuades them from all forms of public engagement. Apathy may be a more powerful silencer of dissent than overt physical coercion. ~Mike Lofgren, "Is Sean Spicer Gaslighting the Press?," WashingtonMonthly.com, 2017 January 22nd


The crux is not the publisher's freedom to print; it is rather, the citizen's right to know. ~Arthur Hays Sulzberger, 1956


With most people unbelief in one thing is founded upon blind belief in another. ~Georg Christoph Lichtenberg, 18th century


There are natures so dogmatically stubborn that, if worlds were smashing together, and could be saved by their yielding a point, they would let them smash. ~James Lendall Basford (1845–1915), Seven Seventy Seven Sensations, 1897


This is the true spirit of insolent dogmatism: We have proved to the satisfaction of every honest man, that we are right, and that you are wrong; and therefore, if you are not convinced, it must be owing to your own perversity. When a man's shot is exhausted, he will try to terrify his adversary by firing off powder. ~Julius Charles Hare, The Mission of the Comforter and Other Sermons, With Notes, 1846


Trump, Wall Street, Strive to Make Securities Fraud Great Again  ~Susan Antilla, article headline, TheStreet.com, 2017 February 10th


How did corporations gain so much power with so little social accountability? ~Chuck Collins, "Ten Blockbuster Hearings," TheNation.com, 2007 January 4th


Corporations cause harm every day. Why do their harms go unchecked? How can they dictate what we produce, how we work, what we eat, drink, and breathe? How did a self-governing people let this come to pass? Corporations were not supposed to reign in the United States. ~Richard L. Grossman & Frank T. Adams, "Taking Care of Business: Citizenship and the Charter of Incorporation," 1993


I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength, and to bid defiance to the laws of their country. ~Thomas Jefferson, letter to George Logan, 1816 November 12th, Virginia


Radical conservatives — Radcons, I call them — are taking over the public agenda, and they are meeting with woefully little resistance.... The Radcon agenda, undiluted and unopposed, is dramatically out of sync with the needs of America and the world. As such, it endangers our future.... They would rather police bedrooms than board rooms. ~Robert B. Reich, Introduction, Reason: Why Liberals Will Win the Battle for America, 2004


The world, Donald Trump wants you to know, is "a horrible mess." Fear has always been an effective form of political rhetoric, and one deployed to great effect by countless presidents.... And no President has weaponized fear quite like Trump. He is an expert at playing to the public's phobias. The America rendered in his speeches and tweets is a dystopian hellscape. He shapes public opinion by emphasizing dangers—both real and imaginary—that his policies purport to fix.... Even Presidents who sometimes wielded fear as a weapon tended to encourage the public to face threats with resolve. Trump is different. His approach is to seed fear, not assuage it.... When he pumps alarm into the system, it lingers. ~Alex Altman, "No President Has Spread Fear Like Donald Trump," Time.com, 2017 February 9th


She was warned.... Nevertheless, she persisted.... The Senator will take her seat. ~Mitch McConnell and Steve Daines, 2017 February 7th, when Elizabeth Warren supposedly broke Senate Rule XIX  #shepersisted  [current events quote turned instantaneous hashtag and movement —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


Liberty is fragile and little things matter because they lead to big things. ~Evan McMullin, 2017 February 5th tweet


It is horrifying that we have to fight our own Government to save our environment. ~Ansel Adams, interview with David Sheff, March 1983


For two hundred years we've been conquering Nature. Now we're beating it to death. ~Tom McMillan, 1989


Oh Beautiful for smoggy skies, insecticided grain,
For strip-mined mountain's majesty above the asphalt plain.
America, America, man sheds his waste on thee,
And hides the pines with billboard signs, from sea to oily sea.
~George Carlin (1937–2008)


On some issues, I'm a staunch Conservative — like curtailing greenhouse gas emissions so that we can Conserve the environment. ~Neil deGrasse Tyson, 2014 December 11th tweet


Throw a few chairmen of the board in jail and you'll see pollution disappear quite rapidly. You'd also probably see some pretty drastic prison reforms. ~Fortney Stark Jr., speech, quoted in Time, 1971 May 3rd


Somebody has to teach Americans that we don't always have to have something newer, better every year. Or in the case of our upside-down economic system, every quarter.... Somewhere along the way we bought into this insane idea that everything always has to get bigger, especially sales. Having a really good year and then just repeating it — not good enough. In corporate America, the stock market is the tail that wags the dog. Growth, growth, holy growth, is the only thing that ever matters. Better than last quarter, beat expectations, eat more hamburgers... ~Bill Maher, "New Rule: Growth At Any Cost," Real Time (HBO), 2016 September 23rd


The trump of reform is sounding throughout the world for a revolution of all human affairs. This issue we cannot doubt; yet the cries are not without alarm. Already is the axe laid at the root of that spreading tree, whose trunk is idolatry, whose branches are covetousness, war, and slavery, whose blossom is concupiscence, whose fruit is hate. Planted by Beelzebub, it shall be rooted up. ~A. Bronson Alcott, "Orphic Sayings," in The Dial, January 1841


Burn, burn all the books which teach hatred! Exalt labor and love! Let us create rational human beings, capable of crushing under foot the futile magnificence of barbaric glories, and of resisting those blood ambitions of nationalism and imperialism which have crushed their brothers. ~Anatole France, 1919


Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first. ~Charles de Gaulle, 1969


A nation like a tree does not thrive till it is engraffed with foreign stock. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1823  #immigrants


Our democracy needs a robust press to hold our leaders accountable and cover the important issues facing our communities. The First Amendment belongs to all of us. ~Freepress.net, 2000s


[M]en in power... courted some strong Party to carry them into office and they find they must court it still.... So that most nominal kings and presidents and governors are merely clerks of some real power which stands erect at their side and does its will by them. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson, sermon, 1831


I am the fellow citizen of every being that thinks; my country is Truth. ~Alphonse de Lamartine, 1841


This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in. ~Theodore Roosevelt, 1912 June 17th speech


Evolution trumps revolution. Great changes are achieved incrementally, each step building naturally on the last. It is the folly of government to believe in the efficacy of great leaps — and its hubris the attempt to implement them. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer, 2000s


      President Donald Trump's team made little effort to consult with federal agency lawyers or lawmakers as they churned out executive actions this week, stoking fears the White House is creating the appearance of real momentum with flawed orders that might be unworkable, unenforceable or even illegal....
      The only other administration that began with such swift executive actions was Ronald Reagan's, said David Vladeck, a law professor at Georgetown University and a former official at the Federal Trade Commission. Those directives were more heavily vetted. "If you don't run these kinds of initiatives through the affected agencies, you're going to get something wrong," Vladeck said. "A government by edict is not a sustainable idea."
      By contrast, the Obama White House ran executive orders through a painstaking weeks-long process of soliciting feedback from agencies and briefing lawmakers, according to a former official. Sometimes it even asked expert lawyers in the private sector to check its work. ~Isaac Arnsdorf, Josh Dawsey, and Seung Min Kim, "Trump's flashy executive actions could run aground," POLITICO, 2017 January 25th  [Of the most recent twelve presidents – since 1945 – executive order activity has varied widely. The most active was Harry Truman with an average of 117 orders issued per year in office, and the lowest has been Barack Obama with an average 35. Source: American Presidency Project by Woolley & Peters —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


We believe love trumps hate. ~Randi Rhodes, "What Liberals Believe," in Air America: The Playbook, 2006


I have come here today not to talk about the past but to focus on the future. That future will be shaped more by what happens on November 8th in voting booths across our nation than by any other event in the world. ~Bernie Sanders, July 2016  [Your words seem to hit even harder now, Senator. A motivation and warning then, prophecy in hindsight. —tεᖇᖇ¡·g]


The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.... I want you to quote this. The media here is the opposition party. They don't understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.... The media has zero integrity, zero intelligence, and no hard work. ~Stephen K. Bannon, chief strategist and senior counselor to Donald Trump, 2017 January 25th interview with The New York Times


Energy crisis? America could power itself entirely if it could harness the energy of all those dead presidents spinning in their graves. ~A joke of unknown origin that's been around for years, even before Dresden Codak (authors spinning converting "posthumous indignity into clean energy," 2010) and Zach Weinersmith (founding fathers spinning and powering the country "every time a right is violated or an illegal war is started or an unfair tax is levied," 2011); this particular wording is a 2016 November 13th tweet by Colm Tobin


A decision... may depend on its being accepted, or its not being reversed, by the Congress — for the President under our system is not empowered to remake the nation in his own image.... a President's authority is not as great as his responsibility... ~Theodore C. Sorensen, "The Outer Limits of Decision," Decision-Making in the White House: The Olive Branch or the Arrows, 1963


Before we engage ourselves, we must know what we are doing; and once we have engaged ourselves, we must prevail, or the impact will be catastrophic. ~Henry Kissinger, 1980


Without a central administrative focus, foreign policy turns into a series of unrelated decisions — crisis-oriented, ad hoc, and after-the-fact in nature. We become prisoners of events. ~Nelson Rockefeller, 1968 June 21st


      [W]e must stop letting Republicans name themselves "pro-life" and Democrats as "pro-choice." It is a huge distortion.
      In my world, you don't get to call yourself "pro-life" and be against common-sense gun control — like banning public access to the kind of semiautomatic assault rifle, designed for warfare.... You don't get to call yourself "pro-life" and want to shut down the Environmental Protection Agency, which ensures clean air and clean water, prevents childhood asthma, preserves biodiversity and combats climate change that could disrupt every life on the planet.... You can call yourself a "pro-conception-to-birth, indifferent-to-life conservative."
      The term "pro-life" should be a shorthand for respect for the sanctity of life. But I will not let that label apply to people for whom sanctity for life begins at conception and ends at birth. What about the rest of life? Respect for the sanctity of life, if you believe that it begins at conception, cannot end at birth. ~Thomas L. Friedman, "Why I Am Pro-Life," October 2012, in The New York Times


Abolition of a woman's right to abortion, when and if she wants it, amounts to compulsory maternity: a form of rape by the State. ~Edward Abbey, 1988


      But the preservation of life seems to be rather a slogan than a genuine goal of the anti-abortion forces; what they want is control. Control over behavior: power over women. Women in the anti-choice movement want to share in male power over women, and do so by denying their own womanhood, their own rights and responsibilities.
      We are not going back to the Dark Ages. We are not going to let anybody in this country have that kind of power over any girl or woman. There are great powers, outside the government and in it, trying to legislate the return of darkness. We are not great powers. But we are the light. Nobody can put us out. ~Ursula K. Le Guin, "The Princess," January 1982


      Birth control reduces unwanted pregnancies. Fewer unwanted pregnancies reduces abortion. So if you really want to cut down on abortion, you should be making birth control more available, not less.
      But of course, the Repressives know this. They're just doing what they always do in an election year: playing to their hard-core constituents by threatening to hurt a population that's already hurting and can't fight back, hoping the rest of us won't notice or won't care....
      It still takes two to do the pregnancy tango, so instead of going after the women year after year, why not try, in alternating election cycles, going after the men?
      Maybe some brave lawmaker could propose forced sterilization for any man who impregnates a woman while he's earning less than the federal poverty income guidelines, married or single....
      How about this: They could threaten low-income women in years that end with 2 and 6, and men in years that end in 4 and 8. In years that end in 0, they could take a hard-earned rest.
      So now it falls to the state Senate to stop this wrongheaded measure. Once again, I remind them that a woman's reproductive organs are not big enough to accommodate both ideology and gynecology. They're going to have to pick one, and it better not be health care. ~Sally Kalson, "Legislators insult our intelligence again," 2002 May 1st, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette


A free press was born when America was born. It was not handed down or inherited. The concept of press freedom was deliberately constructed by the framers of our Constitution to instill the spirit of independence as an absolute, crucial ingredient in the creation, existence and survival of a free society.... [A] strong, free country and a strong, free press are inseparable. ~Jerry W. Friedheim, 1986, Foreword, Speaking of a Free Press: 200 Years of Notable Quotations About Press Freedoms


America today is in danger. It faces the threat by a radical, authoritarian right wing that refers to itself as "conservative," as if it were preserving and promoting American values. In fact, it has been trampling on them. ~George Lakoff, Preface, Thinking Points: Communicating Our American Values and Vision, 2006


Judge Bork is a fan of the framers, those increasingly popular guys who actually made up the Constitution, and whose intent has become a matter of great moment to some jurists. We have judges who talk about the framers as though they played squash with them regularly. It reminds you of the proprietary, slightly arrogant way in which born-again Christians talk about God. They know Him; you don't. ~Anna Quindlen, "Public & Private: Justice and Mercy," The New York Times, 1990 July 29th  #aswritten


It is often easier to buy a gun than to vote. ~Lyndon B. Johnson, 1960


      If we were really looking for a new direction, we'd not just change Congress, we'd have another Constitutional Convention, as Jefferson suggested we do. Jefferson said: "Let us provide in our Constitution for its revision... every 19 or 20 years... so that it may be handed on, with periodical repairs, from generation to generation." He himself was saying, "I'm a bright guy, but even I can't foresee the iPod." Or the assault rifle.
      But that's Jefferson's phrase: periodical repairs. This thing needs periodical repairs, but it hasn't been in the shop for 219 years. Of course it's belching oil. Literally. And that's because one of the glaring flaws a Constitutional Convention might correct is something called corporate personhood, which means somewhere along the way, stupid or corrupted courts gave corporations all the rights of individuals, with none of the liability. If some person defecates on your lawn, we throw him in jail, but if a corporation does it, they get a tax break. Somehow "we the people" got to be defined as Halliburton. This thing needs to go in the shop!...
      Listen to Jefferson — he was saying, "We're smart guys, we're not Nostradamus." We deal with things today no founding father could have imagined — the Internet, global warming. Toilet paper, instead of bark....
      How about this: You can own any gun you want, as long as it works on technology developed before 1787. This is what conservatives call "original intent," you can look it up. By candlelight. ~Bill Maher, "A Re-Look-See at the Constitution," Boston Globe, 2006 November 17th


I am aware, that many object to the severity of my language; but is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and as uncompromising as justice. On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher... but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD. ~William Lloyd Garrison, on the issue of slavery, 1831  #protests


I love America more than any other country in the world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually. ~James Baldwin, 1952


Interested in politics, current events, *and* literature? Robin R. Bates writes wonderful short essays linking literature with modern life, on his blog Better Living Through Beowulf: How Great Literature Can Change Your Life. Here is a link to his posts about politics: betterlivingthroughbeowulf.com/tag/politics  —tεᖇᖇ¡·g


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