U.S. Politics

14 Christopher Hitchens Quotes to Remember Him By

Christopher Hitchens ~ 1949-2011

Christopher Hitchens, journalist and author, literary critic and avowed atheist, died yesterday.

What I will miss most about Christopher Hitchens is his acerbic writing style and wit.

The Stir

Christopher Hitchens, celebrated writer for Vanity Fair and outspoken atheist, died yesterday of complications from esophageal cancer. Hitchens was known for courting controversy, from his surprising support for the war in Iraq to his biting criticism of religion. He angered both liberals and conservatives. Whether you found him infuriating or enlightening, he was a powerful writer with strong convictions. Here are some of his most provocative quotes.

[Mother Theresa] was a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud, and a church that officially protects those who violate the innocent has given us another clear sign of where it truly stands on moral and ethical questions. (Slate, 2003)

For a lot of people, their first love is what they’ll always remember. For me it’s always been the first hate, and I think that hatred, though it provides often rather junky energy, is a terrific way of getting you out of bed in the morning and keeping you going. (Booknotes, 1993)

A good liar must have a good memory. Kissinger is a stupendous liar with a remarkable memory. (The Trial of Henry Kissinger, 2002)

[George W. Bush] is lucky to be governor of Texas. He is unusually incurious, abnormally unintelligent, amazingly inarticulate, fantastically uncultured, extraordinarily uneducated, and apparently quite proud of all these things. (Hardball with Chris Matthews, 2000)

Terrorism is the tactic of demanding the impossible, and demanding it at gunpoint. (Slate, 2002)

The only real radicalism in our time will come as it always has — from people who insist on thinking for themselves and who reject party-mindedness. (History News Network, 2003)

I became a journalist because I did not want to rely on newspapers for information. (Love, Poverty, and War, 2004)

If religious instruction were not allowed until the child had attained the age of reason, we would be living in a quite different world. (from his book, God Is Not Great)

Millions of people would have mindlessly starved to death if [Gandhi’s] advice had been followed. (God Is Not Great)

Human decency is not derived from religion. It precedes it. (God Is not Great)

Atheists have always argued that this world is all that we have, and that our duty is to one another to make the very most and best of it. (The Portable Atheist)

Will an Iraq war make our Al Qaeda problem worse? Not likely. (Monthly Review, 2005)

So far, I have decided to take whatever my disease can throw at me, and to stay combative even while taking the measure of my inevitable decline. I repeat, this is no more than what a healthy person has to do in slower motion. (January 2012 Vanity Fair)

We have the same job we always had: to say that there are no final solutions; there is no absolute truth; there is no supreme leader; there is no totalitarian solution that says if you would just give up your freedom of inquiry, if you would just give up, if you would simply abandon your critical faculties, the world of idiotic bliss can be yours. (October 2011 speech at the annual Atheist Alliance of America convention in Houston, as he accepted the Freethinker of the Year Award)

Michele Bachmann

Obama’s No Gangster, Bachmann

It’s a shame that Bachmann, Huckabee, Gingrich, et al have to resort to the lowest form of verbal assault on the president, but then again, it appears that’s the nature of the current far-right fringe of the GOP these days. 

Just take a look at the comments on Fox Nation or Free Republic.   Never in my years on this planet have I seen such vitriol, disdain and disrespect to the office of The President of the United States.   Of course the reasoning is quite clear, but it doesn’t justify the actions and verbal attacks from people who hate the idea of a Black man as POTUS.

The Daily Beast – Matt Latimer

Michele Bachmann’s misfire—calling the Obama administration a “gangster government”—isn’t so much offensive as it is depressing, says Matt Latimer. When did our political leaders forget how to land a good-spirited punch?

Michele Bachmann, our future president, believes she has the apt moniker for the Obama years. It is, she says, “a gangster government.” This is, of course, an unconscionable, unprovoked insult to hardworking gangsters everywhere.

On what possible thread of logic can the good congresswoman compare the dull ditherers of D.C. to the savage efficiency of Al Capone, not to mention the real gangster governments in Tripoli, Pyongyang, and Havana? “Ma Barker” Clinton is too busy printing up Hillary 2016 bumper stickers to fit people for cement shoes. Joey “Loose Lips” Biden trips over his own tongue so often that he doesn’t have time to cut off anyone else’s. And one need only observe a single meeting between the president and the Republican leadership to conclude that we didn’t exactly send Bugsy Siegel to the White House.

Most distressingly, Bachmann’s quest for alliteration has led her off the point completely: The Obama administration is not vulnerable to public opinion as a corrupt or sinister enterprise, but as an incompetent one. “Gomer Pyle government” would be more apt. Perhaps the Minnesota congresswoman came a bit closer to the target when she labeled Team Obama as the hapless Carter administration’s second coming. A fitting comparison, because our former president is sanctimonious enough to believe he is due for one.

Bachmann’s misfire, not so much offensive as it is depressing, speaks to a perennial problem in our public discourse: Why can’t political leaders on either side of the aisle effectively wield a dagger anymore?    More…

U.S. Politics

White Fright

First, I’d like to give the author of this article, Mr. Christopher Hitchens, my sincere wish that he becomes a survivor of the cancer he is suffering from.  Secondly, I have not seen an article like this written anywhere.  It’s a must read:

Slate – By Christopher Hitchens

Glenn Beck’s rally was large, vague, moist, and undirected—the Waterworld of white self-pity.

One crucial element of the American subconscious is about to become salient and explicit and highly volatile. It is the realization that white America is within thinkable distance of a moment when it will no longer be the majority. This awareness already exists in places like New York and Texas and California, and there have even been projections of the time(s) at which it will occur and when different nonwhite populations will collectively outnumber the former white majority. But it also exerts a strong subliminal effect in states like Alaska that have an overwhelming white preponderance.

Until recently, the tendency has been to think of this rather than to speak of it—or to speak of it very delicately, lest the hard-won ideal of diversity be imperiled. But nobody with any feeling for the zeitgeist can avoid noticing the symptoms of white unease and the additionally uneasy forms that its expression is beginning to take.

For example, so strong is the moral stature of the Rev. Dr Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement that even the white right prefers to pretend to emulate it. (This smarmy tactic long predates Glenn Beck, by the way: I remember Ralph Reed trying it when he ran the Christian Coalition more than 10 years ago and announced that he wanted to remodel the organization along the lines of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.) Thus, it is really quite rare to hear slurs against President Barack Obama that are based purely on the color of his skin. Even Beck himself has tried to back away from the smears of that kind that he has spread in the past. But it is increasingly common to hear allegations that Obama is either foreign-born or a Muslim. And these insinuations are perfectly emblematic of the two main fears of the old majority: that it will be submerged by an influx from beyond the borders and that it will be challenged in its traditional ways and faiths by an alien and largely Third World religion.

This summer, then, has been the perfect register of the new anxiety, beginning with the fracas over Arizona’s immigration law, gaining in intensity with the proposal by some Republicans to amend the 14th Amendment so as to de-naturalize “anchor babies,” cresting with the continuing row over the so-called “Ground Zero” mosque, and culminating, at least symbolically, with a quasi-educated Mormon broadcaster calling for a Christian religious revival from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

At the last “Tea Party” rally I attended, earlier this year at the Washington Monument, some in the crowd made at least an attempt to look fierce and minatory. I stood behind signs that read: “We left our guns at home—this time” and “We invoke the First Amendment today—the Second Amendment tomorrow.” But Beck’s event was tepid by comparison: a call to sink to the knees rather than rise from them. It was clever of him not to overbill it as a “Million”-type march (though Rep. Michele Bachmann was tempted to claim that magic figure). The numbers were impressive enough on their own, but the overall effect was large, vague, moist, and undirected: the Waterworld of white self-pity.

Continue reading…