On Suffering

Thomas Merton

Indeed, the truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering, the more you suffer, because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you, in proportion to your fear of being hurt. The one who does most to avoid suffering is, in the end, the one who suffers the most: and his suffering comes to him from things so little and so trivial that one can say that it is no longer objective at all. It is his own existence, his own being, that is at once the subject and the source of his pain, and his very existence and consciousness is his greatest torture.—Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

The Biggest Losers

Sheldon Adelson of Las Vegas Sands Corporation

Millions of dollars were all but thrown away by many of America’s most wealthy right-wingers. Heading up the list is Sheldon Adelson of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. Out of $53 million he injected into the 2012 election, his only winner was a minor Michigan ballot initiative. If his political investments were race horses, they were mostly glue factory material.

Remember Karl Rove, whom George W. Bush nicknamed “Turd Blossom”? He came a cropper with his American Crossroads Super PAC, which spent $103 million in attack ads with a paltry 1% success rate. And here we thought the man was invincible, instead of being just another reputation on the rocks.

It is possible that the Citizens United decision which opened the political contribution floodgates did more of a disservice to American millionaires than it did to the electoral process. You may recall from several of my recent posts that I thought all this political advertising would ultimately be regarded as mere noise in the system which voters would just tune out. That is a typical American failing: If something works once, say the Willy Horton ads that sank Michael Dukakis’s campaign for President in 1988, that doesn’t mean that a thousand-fold increase in negative advertising will bear a thousand times as much in the way of results.

No, there are limits. You know that I don’t listen to political advertising at all. I even throw out all the political bulk mail I get without reading it. For me, information is not something I am force-fed, but something I go out and actively seek, carefully judging the accuracy of the source.

So now there are quite a few millionaires out a lot of money. I’m sure they’re on the horn with their accountants right now trying to figure out how to expense their contributions so that they won’t have to pay so much in taxes. I frankly hope they get audited and convicted. The jerks!