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Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

War is Not a Contest (and Has No Heroes)

NATO

The war in Ukraine needs to end; neither side is going to “win”. Worse yet, the conflict would spill over to other countries.

It’s nice to “pick sides” and cheer, especially when you’re far away, but the perpetuation of current tensions (and rising death toll) will elevate risk.

Choose the side of peace. The aim should be to end this as soon as possible, by diplomatic means if possible. Concessions are likely still possible.

When dealing with nuclear-armed nations there’s no prospect of “defeating” the enemy, only destroying the world.

Media in Ukraine

Governments Typically Lie (Because That’s Just What Governments Tend to Do)

Angry Russian Guy: I hate that other country so much!

There’s this stigma or stereotype associated with people who allege that the government, through politicians and state media for the most part, misleads its people. Sure, they typically lie to populations outside the country too. The stigmas or stereotypes are intended to discourage such view being held or publicly expressed. Of course the government does not always lie (absolutism), but oftentimes there’s more incentive to tell supposedly ‘white’ lies.

Over the past few months I’ve covered many examples where both our government and the BBC lied to us, mostly for business reasons.

Governments aren’t in the business of science, mere facts, truth, evidence…

Governments in modern history — even in supposedly civilised nations — act more like front groups of wealthy businesspeople. The politicians are beholden to them.

This does mean we should expect lies; this is especially true at times of war. I’ve decided to archive this old and rusty page, seeing it’s likely to be offline altogether some time in the future and it’s likely Fair Use given the diversity of voices and of course key quotes going centuries back. The underlying HTML looks like something from the 1990s.

Who coined the phrase, “The first casualty of War is Truth”?

Mike Owen, Hebden Bridge UK
  • In 1918 US Senator Hiram Warren Johnson is purported to have said: The first casualty when war comes is truth. However, this was not recorded.

    In 1928 Arthur Ponsonby’s wrote: The ‘When war is declared, truth is the first casualty’. (Falsehood in Wartime)

    Samuel Johnson seems to have had the first word: ‘Among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.’ (from The Idler, 1758)

    Peter Brooke, Mewmachar Scotland

  • The original quote is “The first casualty when war comes is truth”. Hiram W Johnson, staunchly isolationist senator for California, to the US Senate in 1917 (the year of his election to the Senate, where he remained until his death in 1945).
    Philip Draycott, Leicester UK

  • …”The first casualty when war comes is truth,” was coined by Hiram Johnson a Republican politician from California who served in the United States Senate for nearly 30 years, beginning in the midst of World War I and concluding with his death in 1945–as it happens, on the same day the U.S. dropped its first atomic bomb on Hiroshima…
    Gareth, Leeds UK

  • Rudyard Kipling.
    Paul Hardy, Croydon England

  • It has been attributed to both Athur Ponsonby in “Falsehood in Wartime” (1928) and US Senator Hiram Johnson in a 1918 speech. However, the true origin may be in the edition of “The Idler” magazine from 11/11/1758 which says “…among the calamities of war may be jointly numbered the diminution of the love of truth, by the falsehoods which interest dictates and credulity encourages.”
    Andy Ward, LONDON UK

  • Hiram Johnson (USA). The full qoute is “The first casualty when war comes is truth”.

    Coincidentally Johnson died on August 6th 1945 (of old age!)

    Kevin Wooldridge, Lowestoft UK

  • Boake Carter, an American Radio Reporter. Not sure when though. I seem to remember hearing the original broadcast in a TV origram some time ago.
    Ken Blair, Stirling Scotland

  • Hiram Johnson (1866-1945) – a Progressive Republican senator in California. His actual quote, ‘The first casualty, when war comes, is truth’, was said during World War 1. He died on Aug. 6, 1945, the day the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima.
    Gilbert Sharp, Bury St Edmunds UK

  • Michael Herr in his book “despatches” based on his experience as a journalist in the Vietnam War.
    Martin Togher, London England

  • Aeschylus.
    Joy, Doha Qatar

  • In war, truth is the first casualty.
    Aeschylus
    Greek tragic dramatist (525 BC – 456 BC)
    B Smith, Chicago Il USA

  • The most fundamental of the Chinese fifth century general Sun Tzu’s principles for the conduct of war is that “All warfare is based on deception”.
    Ed Richardson, Deer Lake, Canada

  • Alfred E. Neumann
    David Page, Gatineau, Canada

  • Aeschylus

    Frank Olsen, Ringoes United States

  • Although frequently attributed to Sun Tzu (544?496 BC), “All warfare is based on deception”; the Sun Tzu quote actually refers to methods of subterfuge in war and goes further to explain, “Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.”

    The first corroborated quote reflecting the true essence, almost verbatim is “In war, truth is the first casualty,” attributed to Greek writer/poet Aeschylus (525BC – 456BC).

    Reese, Jeffersonville, IN United States

  • “In war, truth is the first casualty”, this quote is from Aeschylus

    Ensar, Dusseldorf, Germany

  • Read “the First Casualty” by Philip Knightley – a history of deception in war – it’s all in there.
    John, London

  • Aeschylus

    “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

    Susanna Richards, Somerset West, South Africa

  • Aeschylus greek tragic dramatist
    525-546 BC
    In war, truth is the first casualty
    Andy, South Boston, Ma USA

  • There are now two books that give authoritative answers to these kinds of questions, namely the Yale Book of Quotations and the Dictionary of Modern Proverbs. The latter records that Mrs. Philip Snowden wrote in the Journal of Proceedings and Addresses of the National Education Association: “Someone has finely said that ‘truth is the first casualty in war’.” A similar quotation appears in E. D. Morel, Truth and the War (1916). The Dictionary of Modern Proverbs further notes that “Currently the proverb is often attributed to Aeschylus, but the attribution seems to be no older than the 1980s.”
    Fred Shapiro, Bethany, Connecticut USA

  • Soooooo many answers…. yet sooooo many of them are wrong, ignorant, and ethnocentrically shortsighted!

    The first to coin such a phrase (and then be PLAGIARIZED by all these other people that you all tout and argue over) was a Greek writer (Dramatist – theatrical arts) named Aeschylus.

    Good job proving the ignorance of the masses (especially since you can learn the etymology of this particular phrase with a little researching online these days… or by GOING TO COLLEGE and taking a dramatic literature course or two!)

    “Ignorance is a disease that can never truly be cured”

    James T., San Diego USA

  • Perhaps “James T., San Diego USA” would likely to cite precisely where Aeschylus wrote it. As presently he’s is looking the most ignorant poster here.
    Davey F=Dave, Ickenham England

  • This quote was stolen from Aeschylus “In war, the first casualty is truth.” Aeschylus lived from 456 B.C. to 524 B.C
    Jayme Ariss, Shelburne, Canada

  • Let’s cut the sniping. Would anyone like to support their arguments by accurately citing the primary source?

    Many thanks,
    Ian.

    Ian Buckingham, Norwich, UK

My Stance on Our Government’s Response to Coronavirus in 2020 and in 2021

Video download link | md5sum 3aa87421e50fc6cd129ba5afdebb12fd

LAST year the world changed. Here in the UK nothing was the same anymore, even if the government likes to pretend otherwise and move on (pretending COVID-19 is “old news” is just about as bad as calling it “fake news”; people who believe either should be treated as “COVIDiots”). The government’s mortality report for the past week [PDF] has just been released and I’ve made a local copy of it [PDF]. This is the sort of data which is harder for the government to manipulate because while it’s not to hard to misattribute causes of deaths (e.g. in order to make COVID-19 response seem fit and proportional) it’s really hard to just hide the deaths themselves. Each death has a name and a person associated with it. The mortality rates can tell us something about the effect of the pandemic, taking into account even factors such as vaccine side effects. In the video above, which is spontaneous, I express my thoughts and interpretation of the situation. It ought not be taken out of context; my stance is very clear and it’s hardly even controversial.

Update: While uploading the video the NHS announced 88,376 more positive tests (new cases) for today. Tories aiming for 100k a day. They just don’t care.

Flying as an Impractical Status Symbol is Really Bad and Needs to End

We may need ‘flight shame’ (not ‘air miles’ pride)

Departure gate

AS someone who works from home (for many years already) I may be biased, but here we go anyway.

I’ve long regarded long-distance flying (across nations, oceans, continents) as largely unnecessary or considered that to be a luxury that’s rarely essential except for visiting close relatives. Some people have taken advantage of the lowered cost of flying (not taking account/measure of environmental costs) to take a plane journey to some distant beach for only a few days.

Well, the pandemic makes such travel even less convenient than it was before (adding to the security theatre in all major airports around the world). For the sake of this planet, among other things such as biodiversity, one can hope not for travel bans but for travel deflation. Humans do need to travel, but rarely is it imperative to travel very far for very short timespans. There are other ways to get things done. Working from home, where the nature job is doable/applicable, is another.

If something good does come out of this whole pandemic/health crisis, perhaps it will be a much-needed decrease in travel. It has long been a major contributing factor not just to pollution (a silent killer) but to global warming.

The Tories Are Lying and You Should Consider Going Into Lock-down Again (Irrespective of What the Government Says)

Manchester and the northwest badly hit

Manchester COVID-19

Just over 3 weeks ago we went into lock-down again (personal decision), seeing the non-linear growth in the number of COVID-19 cases, not to mention how the government had (re)opened lots of non-essential things — all this while denying access to very critical services. They forced us to take a phone of a friend to bypass their oppressive restrictions [1, 2].

Apparently you can meet ‘mates’ down the pub but cannot see a public official to get important work done! Worse yet, those public officials don’t even respond to you. They don’t speak to you and there’s nobody to talk to. Not even in E-mail or over the phone.

While vaccination does lower death rates, it comes at a hidden cost. And morever we cannot entirely rely on it as if it makes people invulnerable and thus we can just go back to “normal”.

If you value your safety and well-being, and if it’s possible for you to work from home, consider doing that for months to come. Don’t trust what our ‘Orange One’ says. We have a psychopathic and insane Pry Minister who keeps spreading false optimism about coronavirus (this misplaced optimism is bound to make things even worse!). Patients admitted with coronavirus are up 40% this past week alone, yet the lying psychopath pretends it’s all going to be “business as usual” next month. Deja vu (last summer).

We shall stay home. Our leaders are nihilistic (what sane person says “bodies [can] pile up high”?), far worse than incompetent and more sinister than merely misinformed.

Busy-ness as a Form of Happiness

Business? No. Just keeping busy, not necessarily making money but keeping oneself occupied.

Got mail

Boredom or inactivity will not bring about happiness. Just ask retired or very rich people who do not work; they can sink into depression quite easily as they lack a sense of accomplishment (even making one’s meal can be a sort of accomplishment). They’re not distracted from ordinary issues and they drift into a world of “entertainment”, sometimes other people’s lives (strangers or fictional characters). They’re overthinking things and having regrets because they’re busy recalling the past instead of focusing on the present.

Feeling down? Keep busy and it might go away, as new thoughts and feelings obscure the prior ones.

When Those Who Expose Crimes Are Treated by the State Like the Criminals

Leonie Brinkema trial

Leonie Brinkema, appointed by Bill Clinton, works in a kangaroo court; it’s widely notorious for a rubberstamping-like behaviour in a variety of deeply political cases. “No one should have to face criminal charges for publishing truthful information,” said a letter to the editor yesterday, highlighting the nature of what some whistleblowers had done and got punished for. In exchange for them exposing crimes they got treated like criminals and this is more or less the job of Leonie Brinkema, protecting criminals by putting in prison those who spoke about these crimes. I don’t know Leonie Brinkema personally and it’s not even simply to find a simple photo of her face (drawings are out there and she looks a lot more furious in them).

It is expected that if (or when) Julian Assange gets ‘kidnapped’ and ‘shipped’ to the US Leonie Brinkema will be the sociopath who sentences him to death (or prison until death) for merely exposing the crimes of people like those who appointed her. What a crazy world we live in. They call it “justice”, but to those who set this court up it’s “just us”.

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