Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Audacity of Hope™

Artistic Box with Locking Lid... only $49.95

Yea, the phrase is trivial and empty and meaningless, but operating under the idea that even the trivial and empty means something in the present society, let's take a quick peek. What the hell is "Hope™"? Let's crawl into the way-back machine and go way way back... before the spiritual rebirth of Hope™ in the modern era, before the early Catholic resurrection ("Faith, Hope, and Charity") and go all the way back to the Greeks, with whom almost everything starts (and not just the good "everything", either). What, dear Greeks, is Hope™?

Well, according to Greek myth, Hope™ was the greatest of the evils contained in Pandora's Box. When Pandora loosed these evils upon the world, Zeus suddenly had a change of heart. He decided, charitably, that Hope™, the most powerful of all the evils, could be kept from humanity. At his instigation, Pandora slammed shut the lid of the box when all but Hope™ had escaped.

Only Hope was left within her unbreakable house,
she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not
fly away. Before [she could], Pandora replaced the
lid of the jar. This was the will of aegis-bearing
Zeus the Cloudgatherer.

- Hesiod

Alas, without Hope™, humanity was immediately reduced to despair and rebellion in the face of the other evils. Reluctantly, Zeus bid Pandora to return to the box and release Hope™. And as this worst of plagues was loosed upon the earth, it was accompanied by universal jubilation and relief... because it made the other evils tolerable through the possibility that their reign might be ended, not by the actions of humans themselves, but by the intervention of others, or the action of the fates themselves. Hope™ was the final excuse, worthy of the Gods themselves, for failing to act in one's own behalf.

Hope. Pandora brought the jar with the evils and opened it. It was the gods' gift to man, on the outside a beautiful, enticing gift, called the "lucky jar." Then all the evils, those lively, winged beings, flew out of it. Since that time, they roam around and do harm to men by day and night. One single evil had not yet slipped out of the jar. As Zeus had wished, Pandora slammed the top down and it remained inside. So now man has the lucky jar in his house forever and thinks the world of the treasure. It is at his service; he reaches for it when he fancies it. For he does not know that that jar which Pandora brought was the jar of evils, and he takes the remaining evil for the greatest worldly good--it is hope, for Zeus did not want man to throw his life away, no matter how much the other evils might torment him, but rather to go on letting himself be tormented anew. To that end, he gives man hope. In truth, it is the most evil of evils because it prolongs man's torment.

- Friedrich Nietzsche

It's just a footnote, but interesting, no?

BTW, the Audacity of Hope™ is an oxymoron on the face of it, according to the Greeks. Ain't no "audacity" in it. It is the stuff of denial and cowardice - two other escapees from the box.

Courtesy of anaxarchos.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Best Democracy Money Can Buy

Let’s see where these candidates get their money to convince you to vote for them;

Hillary Clinton;

Goldman Sachs $413,361 Morgan Stanley $362,700 Citigroup Inc $350,895 Lehman Brothers $241,870 JP Morgan Chase & Co $214,880 EMILY's List $213,266 National Amusements Inc $210,010 Kirkland & Ellis $179,676 Greenberg Traurig Llp $177,800 Skadden, Arps et al $167,796 Merrill Lynch $165,042 Cablevision Systems $145,313 Time Warner $144,977 Microsoft Corp $143,459 Bear Stearns $141,835 Latham & Watkins $138,598 Patton Boggs $137,200 Ernst & Young $126,865 PricewaterhouseCoopers $121,939

Barack Obama:

Goldman Sachs $421,763 Ubs Ag $296,670 Lehman Brothers $250,630 National Amusements Inc $245,843 JP Morgan Chase & Co $243,848 Sidley Austin LLP $226,491 Citigroup Inc $221,578 Exelon Corp $221,517 Skadden, Arps Et Al $196,420 Jones Day $181,996 Harvard University $172,324 Citadel Investment Group $171,798 Time Warner $155,383 Morgan Stanley $155,196 Google Inc $152,802 University of California $143,029 Jenner & Block $136,565 Kirkland & Ellis $134,738 Wilmerhale Llp $119,245 Credit Suisse Group $118,250

We hear it all the time: “Republicans are the party of big business and Democrats are the party of the people.” Court rulings have even endorsed the idea that spending cash in support of candidates is “free speech.” There sure is a ton of money being spent for something that is "free."

For more than 20 years now, polls of the American people repeatedly have shown that a majority of Americans believe their government is controlled by special interests. Can anyone honestly assert that there is no connection between campaign cash and the policies of the US Government? Does anyone truly believe this?

Well, anyone, that is, besides Mrs. Clinton. “A lot of those lobbyists, whether you like it or not, represent real Americans,” the New York senator said in defense of her decision to accept campaign contributions from lobbyists. “They represent nurses, they represent social workers, yes, they represent corporations that employ a lot of people. I don’t think, based on my 35 years of fighting for what I believe in, I don’t think anybody seriously believes I’m going to be influenced by a lobbyist.”

Do Hillary supporters believe Mrs. Clinton’s statement? Do they honestly believe she won't be “influenced by a lobbyist?” Do they believe only Republicans can be influenced by campaign contributions?

In his Super Tuesday speech, Mr. Obama asserted that he isn’t taking money from PAC’s during his presidential campaign. While this is true, he nevertheless has received huge amounts of campaign cash from individuals associated with certain industries.

Take a look at the following information obtained from the website. The data below compare, by industry, campaign funds received by Clinton, Obama and McCain during their Senate campaign runs starting in 2003 through January, 2008.

Ask yourself these questions after reviewing the statistics:
1. Which party is the party of big business (hint: they both are)?
2. Do you believe campaign cash has a direct impact on legislation and policy?
3. Do you believe either Clinton or Obama is free to act on behalf of the American people instead of catering to corporate America?

Here are the four industries that contributed the most campaign cash broken down by candidate. The information was obtained from OpenSecrets.Org.

Note: All amounts in Thousands of Dollars

--- Clinton: $6,833, Obama: $5,239, McCain: $1,271

Finance/Insurance/Real Estate:
--- Clinton: $18,574, Obama: $12,567, McCain: $5,866

Lawyers and Lobbyists:
--- Clinton: $14,452, Obama: $10,633, McCain: $2,789

Miscellaneous Business:
--- Clinton: $10,828, Obama: $7,375, McCain: $2,394

How can liberal Democrats decry the infusion of corporate cash into the political process when both Clinton and Obama have received more industry campaign cash than their Republican opponent? How can the Democratic Party be the “party of the people” when they, too, are funded by corporations and their lobbyists? If you're an advocate of "lesser of the evils" voting, understand that you're endorsing a corporate-funded agenda.

Big business likes things just the way they are. They get what they want in Washington at your expense. If you're hoping for change, voting for corporate-funded candidates is not the way. The rich will get richer while the poor get poorer. Corporations will prosper while the US Treasury goes bankrupt. Solutions to real problems like addiction to oil, global warming, decaying infrastructure, affordable healthcare, declining literacy rates, and a real social safety net cannot happen when government caters to profit-seeking corporations instead of the American people.

What we’re left with is truly the best democracy money can buy. As we all know, or should know, that’s no democracy at all.

Go to link below to get further details on various financial connections to our illustrious agents of change.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

Who are these people?

If you do not know you have no right to vote nor claim your vote has meaning.

If you do know you'll understand something else, something more, is being asked of you even if you are too cowardly to act in any manner beyond the behind the curtains lever-pulling illusion of your political participation.

And to think this is the best of the 'lesser evilism' advisory board.

What now good citizen?

Top advisers to Obama

Former Amb. Jeffrey Bader, President Clinton’s National Security Council Asia specialist and now head of Brookings’s China center, national security adviser

Mark Brzezinski, President Clinton’s National Security Council Southeast Europe specialist and now a partner at law firm McGuireWoods, national security adviser

Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter’s national security adviser and now a Center for Strategic and International Studies counselor and trustee and frequent guest on PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, foreign policy adviser

Richard A. Clarke, President Clinton and President George W. Bush’s counterterrorism czar and now head of Good Harbor Consulting and an ABC News contributor, sometimes Obama adviser

Gregory B. Craig, State Department director of policy planning under President Clinton and now a partner at law firm Williams & Connolly, foreign policy adviser

Roger W. Cressey, former National Security Council counterterrorism staffer and now Good Harbor Consulting president and NBC News consultant, has advised Obama but says not exclusive

Ivo H. Daalder, National Security Council director for European affairs during President Clinton’s administration and now a Brookings senior fellow, foreign policy adviser

Richard Danzig, President Clinton’s Navy secretary and now a Center for Strategic and International Analysis fellow, national security adviser

Philip H. Gordon, President Clinton’s National Security Council staffer for Europe and now a Brookings senior fellow, national security adviser

Maj. Gen. J. (Jonathan) Scott Gration, a 32-year Air Force veteran and now CEO of Africa anti-poverty effort Millennium Villages, national security adviser and surrogate

Lawrence J. Korb, assistant secretary of defense from 1981-1985 and now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, informal foreign policy adviser

W. Anthony Lake, President Clinton’s national security adviser and now a professor at Georgetown’s school of foreign service, foreign policy adviser

James M. Ludes, former defense and foreign policy adviser to Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., and now executive director of the American Security Project, national security adviser

Robert Malley, President Clinton’s Middle East envoy and now International Crisis Group’s Middle East and North Africa program director, national security adviser

Gen. Merrill A. ("Tony") McPeak, former Air Force chief of staff and now a business consultant, national security adviser

Denis McDonough, Center for American Progress senior fellow and former policy adviser to then-Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle, foreign policy coordinator

Samantha Power, Harvard-based human rights scholar and Pulitzer Prize winning writer, foreign policy adviser

Susan E. Rice, President Clinton’s Africa specialist at the State Department and National Security Council and now a Brookings senior fellow, foreign policy adviser

Bruce O. Riedel, former CIA officer and National Security Council staffer for Near East and Asian affairs and now a Brookings senior fellow, national security adviser

Dennis B. Ross, President Clinton’s Middle East negotiator and now a Washington Institute for Near East Policy fellow, Middle East adviser

Sarah Sewall, deputy assistant secretary of defense for peacekeeping and humanitarian assistance during President Clinton’s administration and now director of Harvard’s Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, national security adviser

Daniel B. Shapiro, National Security Council director for legislative affairs during President Clinton’s administration and now a lobbyist with Timmons & Company, Middle East adviser

Mona Sutphen, former aide to President Clinton’s National Security adviser Samuel R. Berger and to United Nations ambassador Bill Richardson and now managing director of business consultancy Stonebridge, national security adviser