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A Question of Values

A Question of Values

By Morris Berman
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Chris Hedges and Lawrence Lessig: Getting Money Out of Politics

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Posted on Jan 25, 2012

One invented Creative Commons, the other occupied the commons. Together, they talk about strategies for ridding our democracy of corrosive corporate dollars.

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By sitting bull, January 29, 2012 at 9:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

OCCUPY the judiciary - Right on! 

OT: I noticed Chris Hedge’s book ‘The Death of the Liberal Class’ links to Amazon!!!  Must have been an oversight.  Is truthdig aware of the booksellers’ booksite - abe.com?  Listings are free!  Please don’t feed amazon. 

Oh, and btw, drop the ‘The’.  Call your book ‘Death of the Liberal Class’.  I think William S. would approve. smile

Cheers! smile

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By katsteevns, January 28, 2012 at 9:25 am Link to this comment

Thanks for that jewel of wisdom, greg_2. I fired my secretary this morning, doing wonders for my profit margin.
  It is true that here in New Hampshire an employer does not need a reason to fire an employee. I thank God daily for the legislators who cooked up that provision. But then there is the question of my having to pay out unemployment benefits. In solving that riddle, I have decided to hire no one save through the great invention called the temp agency. Besides the fact that they will cut even deeper into a prospects paycheck, which is a great motivator in curbing their desire to take a sick day, I will also be protected from the scourge of the full-time worker and be freed from providing health insurance which cuts more deeply into my bottom line.

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By greg_2, January 27, 2012 at 5:15 pm Link to this comment

@Dunk “Why is the Occupy movement and its allies not raising up another political ‘party’...”

Because America has created a political system that requires Millions of dollars just to ‘get your foot in the door’ of the campaign process. And this has been a deliberate goal of those in power along with the top 1% of the wealthy.

This is why ‘campaign finance reform’ is and has been dead in America.

But, there is an opening in the clouds. Just look at what SOPA and PIPA caused Wikipedia and Google to do. They, and others, mobalized millions of people to cotant Congress. This is/was a good sign.

Imagine such a thing happened with campaign finance reform. Would it work? Perhaps it very well would.

Jimmy Wales for President!

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By greg_2, January 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

I think that it would be nice, and of benefit to their readers, if posters here would learn about things like paragraphs and punctuation.

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By katsteevns, January 27, 2012 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

So, this continues to go on. Mr. Hedges keeps preaching his non-violence. Non-violence, by the way , which is not defined. Because, if he is not paying his taxes, he is committing violence against the US Treasury, and in turn, against the pocketbooks of the owning and ruling classes and to the National Security State. The Occupy movement, by the way, is not anti-war in essence. It is those who feel they and the rest of us want a bigger portion of the pie, those who have fallen throw the safety net. War with Iran, death and destruction overseas, are secondary considerations for them. By non-violence, Mr. Hedges does not only mean the violence that can be perpetrated against a person as in bodily harm, he also includes violence against people’s property, in this case, the property of the elites, stolen or otherwise. Why one needs to respect the boundaries of an others ill gotten gain is beyond me, especially when so many consistently pay the price with their very lives which supposedly possess so much value, but there you have it. Mr. Hedges’ idea of taking the power back is a long, drawn out process that may or may not succeed. It is funny how, in the country that doles out the most violence around the globe possesses a faction within it that is obsessed with non-violence to a fault. When we went into Iraq, does anyone really feel that a policy of self imposed non-violence would have benefited the Iraqis? Might as well shoot yourself in the head ahead of time and get it over with. Meanwhile, the beast continues to kill innocents and threatens more war. What will we do if another large war starts up, and people start dying by the bucket load? Will we stand by…again? Will we only get news about our boys and not about the thousands or hundreds of thousands of dead from the other team? Lives with value being snuffed out in the name of freedom, world peace. Snuffed out in your name, in my name. How often did someone die in Iraq during those years? Well, one would have to know the death toll in order to accurately gauge. But a conservative estimate based on 100,000 dead is one death every hour, every day for 8 years….even less than one hour, weekends and holidays included, day and night around the clock. So why bother with the machines of war, line them up against the wall and let them take their turn in front of a firing squad of one, an army of one. Dump some phosphorus on them and light ‘em up. Doesn’t matter who goes first, a woman, a child, an adult male, they are all suspect. Better yet, save bullets that cost money and use your boot heel. This all in the shadow of the Gulf war which snuffed out a cool million if one includes the effect of the sanctions. Lets forget about that for a minute. All of these people whose lives had value, supposedly, the ultimate value. Might we honor their memory if we even had one? We can not even do them the disrespect of forgetting them since there is no memory to forget. The real question is does America even want change? The mythology of the American Dream is unfortunately alive and well.

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By katsteevns, January 27, 2012 at 12:29 pm Link to this comment

Well, Chris Hedges now claims that if the US goes to war with Iran, he will not pay his taxes. The repercussions will be pretty immediate if his property tax is not payed, he will lose his home, as will those he resides with. In addition , he could wind up in jail, and possibly for a long time…months ...years. Not like in the past. He has been in jail before, so I am sure he knows what he is doing.
  Now, how is he going to communicate with us here on the outside? He probably won’t be able to. He will be hoping that we take up the cause and follow in his steps. We can be sure that as a middle class white man, he will be treated with kid gloves….at least initially. I am sure president Obama will treat him right. And if he is still in jail after the election, and Obama wins, yeah, he will be okay. because it seems that a returning president would continue with business as usual as opposed to a new president who usually likes to shake things up in his first days and years in office. Now, say somebody like Mitt Romney became president while Mr. Hedges is behind bars, a Republican. Now he would be a new guy in the office. He would want to shake things up. he could conceivable push Obama’s policies harder than Obama did, like Obama pushed Bushes policies harder than Bush did. So, we could end up with a Mr. Hedges who is in jail, without charges, with no sign of ever getting out, or seeing the light of day. Or even remaining in prison within the United States. They could send him off somewhere to Gitmo maybe, or somewhere else on a first class rendition flight to nowhere. We could never hear from him again.
  And this is what Mr. Hedges believes is the best thing, the best way to win back our democracy. Civil disobedience. Civil Disobedience that does not go beyond the pale. Chain yourselves together, blockade this or that institution, lie down, play dead. “Out in the streets”, he says, “is where we need to be.” We need to force these powers that be to make concessions to us,give us a little sliver of that piece of pie, a hand full of crumbs maybe, otherwise, we are not going to cooperate. Otherwise, we are just going to allow then to put us in jail. We are going to twist their arm until they finally set us free, give us our democratic freedoms! Well, this could be a long processes, and there is no telling whether it would work or not. Meanwhile, the US Security State continues to make payouts to dictators and gun slingers who lend a hand in making the planet safe for corporate hegemony, the World Bank, the IMF and the so called free trade agreements that circumvent the sovereignty of nations.
  People are dying…daily, because of greed. A greed to which the United States is a powerhouse behind the effort, making the world safe for capitalism and capital accumulation. License to go into other countries and clear cut the forests, shave off the mountain tops for their minerals, and exploit the labor. Exploit the labor just as, our friend, Steve Job did in China to make his computers working 14 year old girls for 14 hours a day at 14 cents an hour. And that was the pleasant part of the lives that those girls had , and are still having for all I know.

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By PeopleOVERgreed, January 27, 2012 at 1:11 am Link to this comment

I was hoping Mr. Hedges and Mr. Lessig would eventually get together. I’ve followed Lawrence Lessig for several years now and watched the evolution of his ideas. However, I tend to subscribe more to Chris Hedges analysis that representative democracy in America is in fact dead. That a peaceful American spring is more likely what is needed [now] to raise the average American’s conscienciousness. While also working the Constitutional aspects at the same time. Because the strength of the Occupy Movement and the American people is our intelligence and multi-tasking capability. There is a reason we are the most productive workers in the global economy. Therefore seeing these two gentlemen collaborate gives me (at least) further hope that there is more than one way to skin a corporate state. I would eventually like to see mass country-wide strikes that actually criples the system temporarily, which would get much needed attention and put the fear into the capitalists that they are NOT in control. One country-wide mass strike would send the DOW, S&P and NASDAQ plunging.

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By DonMidwest, January 26, 2012 at 5:30 pm Link to this comment

I just finished Chris Hedges 2010 book “The Death of the Liberal Class.” I have been reading his weekly posts for some time and had previously read “War is a force that gives us meaning.”

In the Death of the Liberal Class he points out that there has been a corporate coup d’etat. That book which points out the attacks on radicals and/or populist movements got into high gear after WWI and continued to the McCarthy era and to the corporate state we have today.

Now that OWS is going, and Chris has spoken at many events that are recorded on YouTube, one can see his increasing clarity of the issues and the challenges.

The first part of the interview Lessing seemed to me to be an example of a member of the Dead Liberal class. Toward the end they came more to common ground.

I think this is one of the clearest statements that Hedges has made. And it is important for OWS to hear his message. I will ensure that Occupy Columbus OH knows about this video.

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By balkas, January 26, 2012 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

ok, i admit, i’d like to waterboard also hedges. if for no other reason than to extract from him THE ELUCIDATION or THE FIRST
CAUSE for his opposition to enshrining in the bill of rights, in law, or constitution the most basic human rights; the chief one
of them being the RIGHT TO KNOW?
[and i choose to leave the label undefined; probably being undefinable, anyway or each person here totally on hisher own] 
why is he so sittingbullishly avoiding to proffer us an elucidation or at least tell us WHAT HE’S FOR and not forever tell us
WHAT HE’S AGAINST only?
as far as i know, it does not take much schooling or intelligence to see what is happening in US or what it does to many
‘undemocratic, unmeritorious, deficient, unjust, bloodthirsty, uncivilized, uncultured aliens’  and what is the FIRST CAUSE for
that.
it seems that hedges is influenced by godology/organized religion. to what degree? to a muc greater degree than i’d ever
approve of. thus, he cannot ever proffer us an elucidation not offer us a final solution.
his and onepercent’s utter silence on their respective FINAL SOLUTIONS scares me!
does it scare the OWS; especially if armed with the correct VOWS? we’ll see! thanks

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By peterwhiteforcongress, January 26, 2012 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

The movement for a Constitutional Convention can unite We the People from left to right to move our democracy forward!  I would suggest three Amendments: 1. To abolish corporate personhood and outlaw non-citizen money from our elections; 2. To abolish the Electoral College; 3. To establish a Balanced Budget requirement (tax the rich, cut military spending by 50%, end corporate subsidies, Medicare for all would do it).  When everyone from the Green Party to the local Tea Party groups (not the Koch brothers) come together, that’s what democracy looks like!

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By Kim Panos, January 26, 2012 at 12:47 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This has been an amazing discussion. Pity it can’t get into mainstream media.
OWS has to be both a force for reform and one of division. Once any opposition has been lost in politics then money and the power of the coersive state which money upholds will always win. The destruction of opposition as Hedges said has been a feature of most liberal democracies.
Someone wrote about the mindset of the corporate elite in the US. They are no different to the elite of Stalinist Russia. They have coluded with a communist state to disempower their own citizens. This is the mindset of the corporate elite and their acolytes Rommney and Obama.

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By Dunk, January 25, 2012 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

As someone who is not a US resident I need to ask the question: Why is the Occupy movement and its allies not raising up another political “party” which represents not only the common ideals of the movement but is also prepared to dismantle all the layers of unconstitutional legislative bastardization and reinstate regulation for the psychopathic robots we call corporations when it achieves office and to also provide a Presidential Candidate who will heed the voice of the people in these matters? A team for transition to a better system of more decentralized governance in effect?

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By HonestJohn, January 25, 2012 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is a MUST watch
http://vimeo.com/35369616

The last 10 minutes are the zenith.
Davis Stockman is spot on…

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By gerard, January 25, 2012 at 8:51 pm Link to this comment

We need to see some collaborative work done to find out more (as much as possible) about the “mind-set” or “sets” of corporate moguls.  How blind are they really? How stubborn?  How much do they suffer from a sense of superiority?  A sense of guilt?  A desire to wreck the system?  A desire not to wreck the system? To let the world die and be done with it? There are too many suffering people?  It’s hopeless” How do they really view the future of this country and the world? Or, how much would they like to “go down in history” as “constructive” forces in their day?
  The things we do not know, and yet have to deal with, are both numerous and vitally important. In a sense, because of their deliberate isolation, we are fighting an “enemy” (perhaps they want to be an “enemy”) about which we know too little to take wise and effective action.
  Most people I hear, brush them off as “absolutely care-less”, cynical, lacking in empathy, and essentially unreconstructable. Judged by their behavior, I can see reasons for these radical opinions, yet ... yet ... I keep seeing (wanting to see?) them as basically human at the root, and therefore changeable, wanting to “do better” or “contribute to a positive human future” or ...
“Footprints on the sands of time, etc.” I even see them as trapped in a net of their own making.
  Unrealistic?  How can you be sure unless we have more information than at present is commonly available?
  Any ideas?

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By ElkoJohn, January 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

Excellent discussion.

I think a movement for a Constitutional Convention will give the ‘‘silent majority’’
an option to civil disobedience and jail time.

Those willing to be attacked by law enforcement, arrested, jailed and fined are
obviously the most courageous. But such actions are not everybody’s cup of tea.

But, even supposing we could fix the US system, Global Predatory Capitalism may
actually be the unreachable villain.

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