(UPDATED: Uh oh -- Lee's wife, Nita Chaudary, behind the "Betray Us" Ad?) Googling Jesse Lee
UPDATE: Lee is married to Nita Chaudary. Here is a CSPAN transcript from Sep. 10, 2007, wherein Chaudary represents -- and ardently defends -- MoveOn.org for publishing the Petraeus smear ad prior to Petraeus speaking a word before Congress.
We want to make sure the truth gets out there in advance of this testimony.
I found the following bio for Chaudary from 2008:
Nita Chaudhary, Campaign Director at MoveOn.org Political Action: Nita leads MoveOn’s campaigns on the Iraq War, Constitutional Liberties as well as running the fundraising program for MoveOn’s 2008 electoral effort. In the past she was the Director of Online organizing for the DNC. She’s also held several positions at People for the American Way, including Media Research Analyst, Web Editor, and Online Organizer.
I think it fairly safe to hypothesize that Chaudary may own that ad: as the leader of MoveOn's campaigns regarding the Iraq war, the ad as conceived may be her work.
As Bryan reported yesterday, the Obama White House has hired a man named Jesse Lee to be its new Director of Progressive Media & Online Response or something. This is believed to imply that when people such as, say, Christian Adams say negative things about the administration that are provably true, Lee will "Respond" somehow on Twitter. And Facebook. And there will be links.
Anyway, I just performed a 30-second background check on Lee. And while I feel that most people shouldn't be held accountable for anything political they say before the age of 25, a couple of wacky things authored by him shortly after college do turn up, probably best considered, if at all, as an example of the narcissism cultured by our developing higher education bubble.
From the SUNY Oneonta 2001 Undergraduate Philosophy Conference:
Jesse Lee, Trinity College
Morality and the Relationship
Imagine that there are 6 billion individuals on this planet, all walking around thinking that they are right. There is absurdity here. And what is the crutch on which each of us rely? It is pride. There is no reason to say that pride is in itself contemptible or evil, but it is fragile and unstable because it is in an important sense self-contradictory, and this contradiction is the root of the absurdity. For if we all believe that we are right, as to some degree we must in order to trod through life as individuals, it immediately implies that to some degree others are wrong and just further implies the simply false statement, "If I were he, I would think that I were wrong".
This sample is a more typical of radical leftist youthful anger: Lots of contentions and accusations of hate. No evidence of such, amidst an arrogant pretense that none is necessary.
A Vision For America, Year 2020
Jesse Lee OpEdNews.Com This administration has gone to great pains to polarize, and thereby paralyze the citizens of this great nation. While we cling to the hate, ideology, and combativeness that the administration and their regurgitators have concocted for us, the administration robs the treasury blind, sacrifices untold numbers of American and foreign lives in wars to support their corporate empire, and works inch by inch to undermine our most essential rights and liberties. Fanatical Bushism has been used to subdue all checks on the power of the executive, namely the free press, the Congress, and even the Judiciary. The danger of a tyranny of a majority, in which 49% of the nation can be excluded from all policy decisions by a majority united not by common interest, but by hate, has become all too real.
My vision for America depends on the end of such polarization. Ideological civil war negates our ability to be the citizens that the founders of this country envisioned. We must work to reestablish the most important norms of a nation governed for and by the people, values which are the true essence of patriotism. The United States was not devised to be a nationalistic country, but rather a humanistic one. We must pledge to remember that the government is granted their authority on a very tenuous basis, and that lying to the public which they are supposed to serve, or attempting to breed hate amongst the populace is not to be tolerated. The press must once again serve the purpose of watchdog for the public, and not forego the pursuit of truth for the pursuit of a narrowly defined centrism which politicians can work to move towards their own agenda. We must regain the pride of free citizens, and free human beings, who stand tall and turn viciously on their servants in government when they are betrayed. We must jettison the pride that is built on the insistence that we are infallible and superior. We must all once again seek to gauge the political landscape for ourselves, and to decide who will serve us best.
When the country learns to resist hate-mongering, I believe most will see that things such as gay rights and affirmative action are important, and furthermore that upholding such legal values will have virtually no negative effect on their lives whatsoever. I believe that the "slippery slope" argument, which also relies on hate and fear, will lose its power in the many political debates it is utilized in, such as gun control.
An independent-minded citizenry will also have an ear for questions that have thus far been kept out of view. The fact that international financial institutions are currently benefiting absolutely nobody except large corporations seeking cheap labor and global market dominance is long overdue for public exposure, and I believe that when the issue can no longer be marginalized by institutional ideologues, it will become evident and indefensible to all of America. And it is well within our power to change it.
And in general, a reconnection with our patriotic roots will remind us that the invisible hand of the free market was never the kindest hand to American labor. We will remember that unions and other laborers had to fight tooth and nail to get where we are today. That fight is yet to be fought in much of the world, but it is coming, and due to the size of the global labor pool and the agility of multinational corporations, the fight will be much more difficult and complex than our own. As historical champions of labor, we must stand ready to use our tremendous influence on the right side of this battle.
A strong UN, a potentially great and transparent organization, will have to be the centerpiece of a new international order. The US has demonstrated its immense power over the past two years, and if that power can be thrown behind the UN, instead of against it, it will be a force for justice and democracy unimagined by any former generation. Within 20 years a program should be developed to impose democracy on the remaining exceptions, with a well-defined series of steps including rich rewards for democratic reform, and eventually, after exhaustive sptes and a time period of years, harsh consequences for non-compliance. There is enough consensus in the world now about the virtues of democracy that it would be abhorrent if we went through the next century without doing what we could to halt the suffering of our brothers and sisters living under tyranny. America must become a superpower of generosity, not dominance, and once Americans realize that this is in fact much less expensive, in both dollars and lives, I believe they will learn to embrace it.
Back on the domestic level, by 2020 education should be almost completely funded at the federal level. The current system leaves it in the best interest of every individual to live in as rich a community as possible, and to leave behind those who cannot contribute the same tax revenue. This creates a separate and decidedly unequal education system which is at the root of ongoing disparities between rich and poor, and white and black. Unless schools can be funded equally by a centralized, federal source, this inequality will be inevitable. Equal education and opportunity are absolutely necessary and in the interest of all Americans, as doing nothing will continue to gradually tear this nation apart.
I envision a return to the American ideals of Thomas Paine. We must engage in our democracy as an example to all mankind, lest we allow a few greedy men to wield our immense power against all mankind, at home and abroad. We cannot allow such men to breed blinding hatred amongst us; we must put our swords down.
I think Jesse might need to reread some of that Thomas Paine. I don't think it took the first time.