"Man, don't you know? The law ain't made to help earthy cats like us. Here on our planet, back in the old days - back in the real old days - it was just every man for himself, scrooblin' and scrat-scroblin' for the good stuff, the greenest valleys. And the strongest, meanest men got the best stuff. They got the green valleys and were like 'The rest of you, y'all scrats get sand.' And that's when they made the laws, you see? Once the strong guys got it how they liked it, they said 'This is fair now, this is the law.' Once they were winning, they changed the rules up."
—Jake the Dog, Adventure Time, "Ocarina"
"A place like that doesn't change. Not from the inside, not from the out. You sign on there, it changes you. Puts things in your head, spins your compass needle around 'til you can't cross the street without tripping the proverbial old lady and stepping on her glasses."
—Spike, Angel ("Soul Purpose")
"Corruption? Corruption is government intrusion into market efficiencies in the form of regulations. That's Milton Friedman. He got a goddamn Nobel Prize. We have laws against it precisely so we can get away with it. Corruption is our protection. Corruption keeps us safe and warm. Corruption is why you and I are prancing around in here instead of fighting over scraps of meat out in the streets. Corruption is why we win."
—Danny Dalton, Syriana
"The first day I became mayor, they sit me down at the desk: big chair, dark wood, lots of beautiful things. Im thinking, how much better can it get? Theres a knock at the door, in the corner of the room, and Pete comes walking in, carrying this gorgeous sieve, silver bowl, hand-chasedit was this big. Its from the unions, he says. So I think its a present, something to commemorate my first day as mayor. He walks over, puts it on the desk; I look down at it. Its disgusting. I say, 'What the hell is this?' he said, 'What the hells it look like?' I said, 'It looks like shit. What do you want me to do with it?' He says, 'Eat it.' Eat it? He says, 'Yeah, youre the mayor. You gotta eat it.' So okay, it was my first day; Pete knows more than I do; So I go at it. And just when I finish, theres a knock on the door, and in walks Pete carrying another silver bowl. And this one from the blacks. This too? And he nods. I start eating, and when Im finished, theres another knock and another bowl. This ones from the Polacks. Then after that, one from the ministers. And you know what, Tommy? Thats what it is. Youre sitting eating shit all day long."
—Tony, The Wire ("Unto Others")
'"You are touched by darkness, Ambassador. I see it as a blemish that will grow with time. I could warn you, of course, but you would not listen. I could kill you, but someone would take your place. So I do the only thing I can: I go."
—Elric, Babylon 5 ("The Geometry of Shadows")
"Its just money; its made up. Pieces of paper with pictures on it so we don't have to kill each other just to get something to eat. It's not wrong. And it's certainly no different today than its ever been. 1637, 1797, 1819, 37, '57, '84, 1901, '07, '29, 1937, 1974, 1987—Jesus, didn't that fucker fuck me up good?—'92, '97, 2000 and whatever we want to call this. It's all just the same thing over and over; we can't help ourselves. And you and I can't control it, or stop it, or even slow it. Or even ever-so-slightly alter it. We just react, and we make a lot money if we get it right. And we get left by the side of the side of the road if we get it wrong. And there have always been and there always will be the same percentage of winners and losers, happy fucks and sad sacks, fat cats and starving dogs in this world. Yeah, there may be more of us today than there's ever been, but the percentages-they stay exactly the same."
—John Tuld, Margin Call after he triggers the Great Recession rather than let his company go under from the worthless stocks they'd taken on under his leadership.
"Its true I dont do it because of my code, because of what I stand for, but theres another reason too I truly believe that if I did it, that if I killed Joker, Gotham would just send me someone worse. Maybe even send him back, worse than before "
—Batman, Death of the Family
"Whats interesting about "Past Tense" is that the story doesnt feature a bad guy. As much as Sisko tries to keep things under control, he doesnt find himself pitted against one figurehead. Sure, he has to keep B.C. from killing the hostages, and Vin from getting himself killed, and negotiate with the local police, but theres a sense that Sisko is dealing with something a lot less tangible. The real enemy is the system around him. We even get a short little scene of how the police negotiator is ultimately powerless in the grand scheme of things; just a cog in a large machine...Its telling that the actual riots accomplish very little. The riots are put down rather swiftly and brutally. Given how the SWAT team remarks that they are moving on to pacify the rest of the district, one gets a sense that this is a blood bath."
"The sad paradox of liberalism is to want majority rule while realizing that the majority is instinctively illiberal."
—Gore Vidal, Playboy 1969
"So is there hope for a truly democratic Africa? Long answer: Only if continent-wide improvements in education, human rights, and public health are coupled with an aggressive and far-sighted debt-relief program that breaks the cycle of subsistence farming and urban squalor. Short answer: No."
"Like all fairytale heroes, she needs a villain to be the yin to her yang and make her feel complete."
In Paris... I achieved a freer attitude toward anti-Semitism, which I now began to understand historically and to pardon. Above all, I recognized the emptiness and futility of trying to "combat" anti-Semitism.
— Theodor Herzl
I played by the rules of politics as I found them.
— Richard Nixon, In the Arena (memoir)
Ezri Dax: You're not going to like what I have to say.
Worf: Tell me.
Ezri: I think that the situation with Gowron is a symptom of a bigger problem. The Klingon Empire is dying; and I think it deserves to die.
Worf: (beat) You are right, I do not like it.
Ezri: Dont get me wrong, Im very touched that you still consider me to be a member of the House of Martok, but, I tend to look at the Empire with a little more skepticism than Curzon or Jadzia did. I see a society that is in deep denial about itself. We're talking about a warrior culture that prides itself on maintaining centuries-old traditions of honor and integrity. But in reality, it's willing to accept corruption at the highest levels.
Worf: You are overstating your case.
Ezri: Am I? Who was the last leader of the High Council that you respected? Has there even been one? And how many times have you had to cover up the crimes of Klingon leaders because you were told that it was for the good of the Empire? I... I know this sounds harsh, but the truth is, you have been willing to accept a government that you know is corrupt. Gowron is just the latest example. Worf, you are the most honorable and decent man that I've ever met. And if you're willing to tolerate men like Gowron, then what hope is there for the Empire?
— Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, "Tacking Into the Wind"
"You might have noticed that I never complain about politicians. I leave that to others. And there's no shortage of volunteers; everyone complains about politicians. Everyone says they suck. But where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky; they don't pass through a membrane from a separate reality. They come from American homes, American families, American schools, American churches, and American businesses. And they're elected by American voters. This is what our system produces, folks. This is the best we can do. Let's face it, we have very little to work with. Garbage in, garbage out."
— George Carlin, Napalm and Silly Putty
Starve the center and you reap anarchy.
Feed the center and you reap tyranny.
The problem is obvious to every man.
A solution has been revealed to no man.
"Trump did not appear out of nowhere. He is the logical and most grotesque expression of a variety of trends we have allowed to fester: endless war, a virtually omnipotent presidency, unlimited war powers from spying to due process-free imprisonment to torture to assassinations, repeated civil liberties erosions in the name of illusory guarantees of security, and the sustained demonization of Muslims as scary, primitive, uniquely violent Others."
"At regular intervals, Americans indulge in the fantasy that, if we just install the right person in the White House, all will be well. Ambitious politicians are quick to exploit this expectation. Presidential candidates struggle to differentiate themselves from their competitors, but all of them promise in one way or another to wipe the slate clean and Make America Great Again. Ignoring the historical record of promises broken or unfulfilled, and presidents who turn out not to be deities but flawed human beings, Americans members of the media above all pretend to take all this seriously.
Campaigns become longer, more expensive, more circus-like and ever less substantial. One might think that the election of Donald Trump would prompt a downward revision in the exalted expectations of presidents putting things right. Instead, especially in the anti-Trump camp, getting rid of Trump himself (Collusion! Corruption! Obstruction! Impeachment!) has become the overriding imperative, with little attention given to restoring the balance intended by the framers of the Constitution. The irony of Trump perpetuating wars that he once roundly criticized and then handing the conduct of those wars to generals devoid of ideas for ending them almost entirely escapes notice."
— Andrew Bacevich, "How We Learned Not To Care About Americas Wars"
"People used to think 'broken' meant a system that can only respond to a crisis. But that's not broken. Broken is a system that can't even respond to a crisis."
— Jim Hilger, Requiem for an Assassin
"But I think I know why Trump thought it was okay to do what he did why he could get away with it. The reason is a culture of elite impunity, where business and political leaders face absolutely no accountability for misdeeds. And its a culture that Brennan and many political elites like him have fostered, and from which they have personally benefited.
Its much bigger than collusion. It encompasses many decades during which political officials have evaded accountability for broken laws and illicit foreign contacts, and business and corporate elites have skirted punishment for outright fraud. Its a problem that, ironically, Trump hammered home in the campaign: that theres a different set of rules for elites than for normal people. It just happens that Trump knows that because he, for decades now, has been taking advantage of elite impunity.
And unless critics are willing to target the problem of impunity, a problem in which some of them may be implicated, stuff like the Russia scandal will just keep happening, again and again."
— Dylan Matthews, "Donald Trump and the crisis of elite impunity"
"It's a series of conspiracies, conflicting agendas and petty jealousies, all building upon, feeding upon, and excreting into an unending web of drek that people wade through every day and call it Life. If there was one Dark Lord controlling everything and we could drive a magic sword through his heart to free the world, that would be grand. Such clarity! Such focus! Alas.
So what's the lesson in all of this? That I did all of it for nothing?
Just the opposite, schmuck. The lesson is this - the game is rigged. The cards are stacked. The dice are loaded. It's the same as it always was. Every cycle. People in power exert power. Little people cower in their homes, think what they're told to think, and buy whatever product will help them forget how horrible their lives are for another day.
And that's why we don't *play* their fragging game. We don't swallow their drek sandwich and politely ask for another. It's why we run the shadows."