Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Idiocy of Hope & Too Old and Brain-dead

Atlantic Free Press

Written by
Thursday, 24 July 2008

On Probable-President Nobama's campaign website is a slick icon that says "Powered by Hope". I have to admit, that's right on the money (semi-pun intended). For many ersatz and about-to-be-erstwhile Nobama supporters, the power certainly has not been reality. Not without substantial encouragement, progressives slid happily into the glittering swamp of vagueness with nothing to propel them but hope, and conjured up, variously, a Gandhi, a JFK, a Blessed Savior, a Renaissance Black Man, Jack Johnson with a halo.

The past couple of days must have been trying for many of these so-called "progressive" types. It must be difficult to be enraged at a hilariously satiric and irreverent magazine cover at the same time you're enraged at the subject of that cover for betraying you and dashing your hope to smithereens. Go figure. The only thing intelligent I can say is, "D'Oh!"

There was, of course, enough of the hope stuff to spread around on the Clinton side, too. Hope that there'd be a woman president, hope for another Clinton presidency, hope for the fading pantsuit industry. These are, after all, the Clintons from Hope - they just don't live there anymore. When they finally train-wrecked, many of their now-hopeless passengers said they were gonna vote for McShame. Now that's "progressive". Someone aimed for the wrong target on the "whiners" thing.

A couple of quick points here: (1) it has already been more than adequately documented that Nobama has not moved one inch from the positions he's held for years and has betrayed no one; (2) if there really is an election in November (another train-wreck of thought, entirely), it looks like we're gonna get both of them. Shouldn't the latter be the best that both "sides" could have hoped for?
They who do not understand that a man may be brought to hope that which of all things is the most grievous to him, have not observed with sufficient closeness the perversity of the human mind. -- Anthony Trollope
What is hope? In itself, it is but Desire. Fantasy. Delusion. Hope is, in fact, nothing. If you have nothing but hope, you have nothing. Hope is not reality. It is only itself. Try eating it.

In the context of our evolving ecological miasma, hope has now become dangerous. Reality is so horrid that we hide out in a fortress of hope to the extent that hope and denial are indistinguishable. We are, indeed, "hoping beyond hope".

When we hope for the impossible, what are we? Stupid, of course. Pure and simple. Dumb as a bag of cinder blocks.

When we hope again and again that the same road we followed into the smelly swamp in the past will this time open into a glittery glade by a shady brook, what are we? Insane.

When we hope that the truth is not the truth, in spite of overwhelming evidence that it is, what are we? Dead.

A few years ago, the "left" accused neoconservatives of not facing reality. The neoconservatives replied, "we make reality". The "left" replied by calling their chunk of the blogoswamp "reality-based". It was a hoot. Both sides yelling, "You don't get it!" at each other.

This time, the Right was right. Sucks, doesn't it? Reality, as we know, tends to do that.
We should not moor a ship with one anchor, or our life with one hope. -- Epictetus
Since the term "progressive" has progressively smarmy connotations for me, I find myself wondering what "progressives" are hoping for. An FDR resurrection? A JFK resurrection? A Jesus Christ resurrection? Well, maybe. But what I think they really hope is that they can continue to be "self-reliant", selfish, self-righteous, and totally isolated from the real world without suffering the pain of the common human spirit. They hope to have it both ways: stand on the railroad tracks, but not get run down. The more they join in Nobama's "Change!" shoutback, the more they really hope things won't change; the more they deny that the terrible changes that have already occurred are now permanent. They think they have hope. They have none.
Lord save us all from a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms. -- Mark Twain
What did old Sam mean by that? I think he simply meant that hope, if at all useful, is such only if it is realistic. A snake is a snake. If you're a mouse, please stop hoping that you'll get across the river on its back without getting fanged, no matter how glib or pretty the sucker is. And by all means, please stop hoping that this time it's not a snake.

You can hope all you want, but here's what's likely:
  • there will be a serious, perhaps nuclear attack on Iran in the near future

  • the middle-east/asian situation will dangerously deteriorate

  • the national and global financial and economic system will continue its move into meltdown

  • global ecology will continue to disintegrate exponentially

  • true power will further concentrate into fewer hands

  • technology's developmental pace will lessen the value of the human spirit and be used more to control humans than enhance our lives

  • standard of living and quality of life will noticeably deteriorate

  • the US government will deepen fascism and concentrate further on social control

So, you hope I'm wrong. Fine. Have at it. But the question is, "Is your hope the thing that will make it different?". I think not.

Of necessity, I have abandoned hope that these events will not take place and these currents will weaken or reverse. I prefer sanity to hope. If for you, hope is all that is keeping you sane, you're standing on very shaky ground. I have not "lost" hope, by the way . . . I have voluntarily shunned it. I. Am. Free.

Free? Yes, free. The logic is simple: if (a) "freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose" and (b) I have nothing because all I had was hope and now I don't have that, (c) I'm free.

Here's the catch, however: freedom depends on personal responsibility. If I give up hope, all that's left is you and me. My choice is to be responsible for myself. But I am not being responsible for myself if I am being irresponsible where you are concerned. In spite of what Thatcher and Reagan said, we are a society, we humans. I think in the coming months and years, we must reject hope, embrace reality, and simply help each other survive with as much gentility, dignity, and care as we can muster.



Too Old and Brain-dead

Written by Joel S. Hirschhorn
Thursday, 24 July 2008

In the over half a century that I have been politically engaged I have never seen such an unqualified presidential candidate as John McCain. There are tens of millions of Americans in their seventies and beyond that have been smart enough to become technology literate, but not McCain, who is unable to even use the Internet. The man has a medical history that makes Dick Cheney look like the picture of great health.

How anyone can still see McCain as a legitimate maverick is insane. The man has switched positions on so many key issues as to make him unbelievable on anything. He routinely says things in public that are totally false. McCain has sold his soul to get the Republican nomination and while Republicans deserve no better, Americans would be beyond stupid to vote for McCain. Yet if polls are to be believed history could repeat itself and nearly half of voters could vote for him. For me this is entirely understandable, because I find Barack Obama a clever charlatan and nothing more than another conventional, dishonest politician with exceptional eloquence and a winning smile. Is he the lesser evil compared to McCain? Sure. But that just depresses me, not motivate me to vote for him.
The contrast between the youthful Obama and the elderly McCain simply on the basis of visible physical and mental sharpness and vigor is remarkable.

Every time I see McCain he looks and sounds pathetic. Anyone who keeps repeating an insipid phrase demonstrates a complete lack of mental competence. With McCain it is constant reference to “my friends” along with his cartoon grin.

It is time to stop thanking McCain for his military service and honoring his stint as a war prisoner by giving him credit for being qualified physically and mentally to be president. We have all seen how being president ages all the men in that office. The before and after photographs of presidents convince you that the office inflicts incredible stress, even on someone as brain-dead as George W. Bush. But Bush was a relatively young man in good health. He may have escaped the price of impeachment that he richly deserves, but he has not escaped the physical deterioration produced by the presidency.

Now imagine McCain aging as all other presidents have in office. It is a frightening prospect. Something akin to some horror movie that shows a transformation from a normal human being to some frightening alien life form.

There must be some way out of this.

There is.

It is time for more Americans to face the truth about the two-party plutocracy that has robbed our political system and weakened our democracy. The one important thing that McCain and Obama have in common is that they are both products of and servants to the corrupt, dysfunctional two-party system.

Clearly, the corrupt political system has accommodated itself to only about half of eligible voters actually voting, a disgrace that hardly anyone even bothers to talk about anymore, as if a first class democracy has such a disgusted population. But this is consistent with the fact that some 84 percent of Americans see the country on the wrong track.

Obama is no political messiah. And to simplistically see him mainly as so much more preferable than the decrepit McCain misses the core problem. Obama will do nothing to change the corrupt, unworthy political system. He is a talker, not an agent of change, certainly not systemic political change that requires bucking the elite status quo political powers that pull the strings of the two-party plutocracy.

Make you vote count. Make it a vote against all Democratic and Republican candidates and against the two-party plutocracy that makes a mockery of our democracy, which is as fake and delusional as any in the world. The time is right for Americans to vote for third party or independent presidential and congressional candidates, not because any of them can be elected, but as an action to demonstrate through voting that they reject the two-party duopoly. Nonvoters are ignored, but we need to get on the electoral scoreboard with votes against the two-party status quo.

Joel S. Hirschhorn can be contacted through


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