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America in the Time of Empire

Posted on Nov 26, 2007
flags at the capital
AP photo / Gerald Herbert

By Chris Hedges

This column was originally published by the Philadelphia Inquirer.

All great empires and nations decay from within. By the time they hobble off the world stage, overrun by the hordes at the gates or vanishing quietly into the pages of history books, what made them successful and powerful no longer has relevance. This rot takes place over decades, as with the Soviet Union, or, even longer, as with the Roman, Ottoman or Austro-Hungarian empires. It is often imperceptible.

Dying empires cling until the very end to the outward trappings of power. They mask their weakness behind a costly and technologically advanced military. They pursue increasingly unrealistic imperial ambitions. They stifle dissent with efficient and often ruthless mechanisms of control. They lose the capacity for empathy, which allows them to see themselves through the eyes of others, to create a world of accommodation rather than strife. The creeds and noble ideals of the nation become empty cliches, used to justify acts of greater plunder, corruption and violence. By the end, there is only a raw lust for power and few willing to confront it.

The most damning indicators of national decline are upon us. We have watched an oligarchy rise to take economic and political power. The top 1 percent of the population has amassed more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined, creating economic disparities unseen since the Depression. If Hillary Rodham Clinton becomes president, we will see the presidency controlled by two families for the last 24 years.

Massive debt, much of it in the hands of the Chinese, keeps piling up as we fund absurd imperial projects and useless foreign wars. Democratic freedoms are diminished in the name of national security. And the erosion of basic services, from education to health care to public housing, has left tens of millions of citizens in despair. The displacement of genuine debate and civil and political discourse with the noise and glitter of public spectacle and entertainment has left us ignorant of the outside world, and blind to how it perceives us. We are fed trivia and celebrity gossip in place of news.

An increasing number of voices, especially within the military, are speaking to this stark deterioration. They describe a political class that no longer knows how to separate personal gain from the common good, a class driving the nation into the ground.

“There has been a glaring and unfortunate display of incompetent strategic leadership within our national leaders,” retired Lt. Gen. Ricardo S. Sanchez, the former commander of forces in Iraq, recently told the New York Times, adding that civilian officials have been “derelict in their duties” and guilty of a “lust for power.”

The American working class, once the most prosperous on Earth, has been politically disempowered, impoverished and abandoned. Manufacturing jobs have been shipped overseas. State and federal assistance programs have been slashed. The corporations, those that orchestrated the flight of jobs and the abolishment of workers’ rights, control every federal agency in Washington, including the Department of Labor. They have dismantled the regulations that had made the country’s managed capitalism a success for ordinary men and women. The Democratic and Republican Parties now take corporate money and do the bidding of corporate interests.

Philadelphia is a textbook example. The city has seen a precipitous decline in manufacturing jobs, jobs that allowed households to live comfortably on one salary. The city had 35 percent of its workforce employed in the manufacturing sector in 1950, perhaps the zenith of the American empire. Thirty years later, this had fallen to 20 percent. Today it is 8.8 percent. Commensurate jobs, jobs that offer benefits, health care and most important enough money to provide hope for the future, no longer exist. The former manufacturing centers from Flint, Mich., to Youngstown, Ohio, are open sores, testaments to a growing internal collapse.

The United States has gone from being the world’s largest creditor to its largest debtor. As of September 2006, the country was, for the first time in a century, paying out more than it received in investments. Trillions of dollars go into defense while the nation’s infrastructure, from levees in New Orleans to highway bridges in Minnesota, collapses. We spend almost as much on military power as the rest of the world combined, while Social Security and Medicare entitlements are jeopardized because of huge deficits. Money is available for war, but not for the simple necessities of daily life.

Nothing makes these diseased priorities more starkly clear than what the White House did last week. On the same day, Tuesday, President Bush vetoed a domestic spending bill for education, job training and health programs, yet signed another bill giving the Pentagon about $471 billion for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1. All this in the shadow of a Joint Economic Committee report suggesting that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been twice as expensive than previously imagined, almost $1.5 trillion.

The decision to measure the strength of the state in military terms is fatal. It leads to a growing cynicism among a disenchanted citizenry and a Hobbesian ethic of individual gain at the expense of everyone else. Few want to fight and die for a Halliburton or an Exxon. This is why we do not have a draft. It is why taxes have not been raised and we borrow to fund the war. It is why the state has organized, and spends billions to maintain, a mercenary army in Iraq. We leave the fighting and dying mostly to our poor and hired killers. No nationwide sacrifices are required. We will worry about it later.

It all amounts to a tacit complicity on the part of a passive population. This permits the oligarchy to squander capital and lives. It creates a world where we speak exclusively in the language of violence. It has plunged us into an endless cycle of war and conflict that is draining away the vitality, resources and promise of the nation.

It signals the twilight of our empire.


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By lastdaywatchers, July 17, 2008 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

For all of you active people on Truthdig I hope you see what I been telling you from the start, because I know when I first started posting in this forum many of you thought “oh just another religious fanatic”

But wise among you begrudgingly knew deep inside the truth of the May 15th Prophecy which has been the ONLY source the been 100% Accurate, even though you don’t want it to been.

For more example of the 100% Accuracy of the May 15th Prophecy go to and you will see what the prophesy says with 100% accuracy about John McCain Presidential Bid

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By David, July 17, 2008 at 1:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hate to be the one to point this out but no Democracy or Republic can ever last because people are generally stupid, lazy, and easy to distract. The only way a government for the people, by the people and of the people can work is with a well informed populace. I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but we don’t have one of those. It’s not all bad, I’m sure our new owners will let us watch football, sitcoms, and reality tv. Hell, most Americans won’t even know that power has changed hands. Only people that will care are the ones that get in the way of our new leadership and they will just go quietly into the night. Might as well just stop watching the news and start dreaming of that shiny new whatever that you’re going to buy and hope that the new sherrif in town doesn’t notice you.

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By Morgaine, February 21, 2008 at 9:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

GW Bush made one statement that has never left me. On the eve of invading Iraq, he stated that we were going to “give the Iraqi people sovereignty.” Stranger still, no one commented on the impossibility of that statement. No one can ‘give’ you freedom, and certainly it cannot be given by force; freedom is something we must each give to ourselves—or never have it at all.

We had freedom once, but we took it for granted. It was easier to believe that our government would keep it safe for us than to do the work of keeping it safe ourselves. Now I read the notes on this thread and I feel that everyone is missing the point. We’ve lost our freedoms because we were not willing to fight for them ourselves—and we will never be free people until we regain the courage to do just that.

Talking about how the American dream failed is like an opiate; it dulls the need to do anything effectual, the need to put oneself at risk (or perhaps only mildly inconvenience ourselves) in order to regain something vital and precious. It is an obscene kind of decadence, the kind the Romans had at the end of the Empire—and the tragedy is, it is completely avoidable. It is not too late to be free. We are just too flabby and comfortable to do anything about it.

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By Nabih Ammari, December 1, 2007 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Chris Hedges Writes:“Dying empires cling until the very
end to the outward trappings of power.”

How True!!!    How True!!!    How True!!!

He goes further in describing how and to what the dying empires
cling;in such a beautifully arranged system of consecutive
series of thoughts,one after another, written in such talented
ways;leaving only full-stops(dots) to separate them for easier

(1)“They mask their weakness behind a costly and technically advanced military.”

(2)“They pursue increasingly unrealistic imperial ambitions.”

(3)“They stifle dissent with efficient and often ruthless
mechanisms of control.”

(4)“They lose the capacity for empathy,which allows them to
see themselves through the eyes of others,to create a world
of accommodation rather strife.”

(5)“The creed and noble ideas of the nation become empty
cliches,used to justify acts of greater blunder,corruption
and violence.”

(6)“By the end,there is only a raw lust for power and a few
willing to confront it.”


I have recited the above saddening reality,beautifully and
eloquently expressed,just to tell you that I,for one,adore
the power of the mind which produces such thoughts and, indeed,the human talent that has inscribed them,with an
obvious touch of honesty,to reflect the reality of our time.

May the future be with you and with those who “defend and
protect” the Constitution of the U.S.A. since only by adhering firmly to the articles of constitution can this
country be saved from its own destructive elements of
arrogance which will lead to gradual decadence and eventual

Yours very truly,indeed,
Nabih Ammari
An Idependent in Ohio.

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By cann4ing, December 1, 2007 at 8:20 am Link to this comment

Thank you for the inquiry, Village Elder.  I did read John Dean’s “Conservatives Without Conscience,” and for the most part found it to be an enlightening academic work, but there were several areas in which I felt Dean’s analysis fell short, starting with the cumbersome phrase “conservative without conscience” to describe a “fascist.”  Dean notes that in “The Authoritarian Specter” social psychologist Bob Altemeyer posed what Dean regarded as a “very troubling question,” “Can there really be fascist people in a democracy?”  Where Dean found the question “troubling,” I found it rather trite, even silly.  Anyone with even a vague knowledge of Hitler’s rise to power would immediately answer the question in the affirmative.  There were Nazi and Communist deputies occupying seats in the Reichstag throughout much of the ill-fated Weimar Republic, followed up by Hitler’s ascension to Reich Chancellor.  Germany held elections even after the death of President Paul von Hindenburg.  A better question would be to ask how long a democracy can survive when those committed to its destruction have secured positions of power throughout the executive, legislative and judicial branches.

The problem we face was aptly described by Paul Krugman in “The Great Unraveling” when he cited Henry Kissinger’s 1957 doctoral thesis “A World Restored,” which dealt with the problems a previously stable democracy faces when confronted by “a ‘revolutionary power’—a power that does not accept the legitimacy.”  Writing in 2004, Krugman used “revolutionary power” to describe America’s hard-right movement which at that point had control of the executive and legislative branches as well as a major slice of the judiciary.

Krugman quotes Kissinger:  “The defenders of the status quo…begin by treating the revolutionary power as if its protestations were merely tactical; as if it really accepted the existing legitimacy but overstated its case for bargaining purposes; as if it were motivated by specific grievances to be assuaged by limited concessions.  Those who warn against the danger in time are considered alarmists; those who counsel adaptation to circumstance are considered balanced and sane….But it is the essence of a revolutionary power that it possesses the courage of its convictions, that it is willing, indeed eager, to push its principles to their ultimate conclusion.”

Krugman said “this passage sent chills down [his] spine, because it explains so well the otherwise baffling process by which administration has been able to push radical policies through, with remarkably little scrutiny or effective opposition.”

If we apply this, we see Dennis Kucinich marginalized by corporate media as an alarmist in calling for Cheney’s impeachment even as the regime moves toward invading Iran and executive orders are in place that would permit Bush to declare a national emergency in the event of a new terrorist incident on U.S. soil, while the so-called Democratic “leadership” time and again gives the administration what it wants.

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By WorkingMan, November 30, 2007 at 11:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

writeon said:
“Compare the British Empire in 1900 to the British Empire in 1960, the contrast is striking. I put my money on the United States following the same tragic and almost inexorable route towards disaster.”

So true, except for the time frame. Half a Century? Who has that kind of time? Decades? Doubtfully. Years? Maybe. Sometimes it seems like weeks. (However, if you consider around 1950 as the Peak of the American Empire, then the timeline matches perfectly.)

I recently began to wonder if this housing debacle was actually engineered to wreak further havoc on the middle and working classes. How could they not know what was going to happen in the wake of “unlimited” credit? And given the post-Reagan undeclared War on the Middle Class, it makes perfect sense. Your HOME, the only remaining vestige of the American Dream. Now being dealt a bold Coup de Gras in full tragic splendor.

Twilight indeed.

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By cyrena, November 30, 2007 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

Part 1 of 2

There are so many excellent comments here on this thread, as well as the one that misses the point entirely, and is in part the reason why we have reached this decline. But, I won’t go there at this point, since most of us seem to ‘get’ that things are to the point where they are NOT reversible, and in short, we will cease to be an Empire, (because we already have)

My own thought is that this could be a good thing, if we –as a country- utilize it properly. I say that in the same vein as what both France and Britain have acknowledged at points in their own histories, (Rome too). They recognized that they had been forced to ‘choices’, and that if they were to put themselves back together, after their great falls, it would need to be NOT as an Empire, but rather as republics of democracy.

The same comes to mind (ironically enough) when I think of an address delivered back in the late 80’s by the then CEO of the company where I was employed at the time. Being an ultra capitalist himself, he noted that there were two choices for the company’s continued ‘survival’ He claimed that ‘we’ (I use the term very reluctantly – he meant the corporation of course but it was manufactured to present as one big happy family of slave working employees) could either grow LARGER – much LARGER, in the corporate operational scheme, or we could SHRINK the size of the company, and it’s operational reach. The one thing we could NOT do, (according to the capitalist agenda) was to STAY THE SAME. (many of us non-imperialists of course saw no reason why the company couldn’t stay the same, since it seemed to be working just fine, for the consumers as well as the stock holders, and the workers that made it all happen).

At the time of his address, he had of course already decided that the company was to grow larger, to become an empire, and so the part about shrinking the company was probably more rhetoric (and maybe a threat thrown in as well, since he was addressing only employees, and the attendance at this address was mandatory). And indeed, it has since become an empire, though in the end, it too has failed, at least in the quality of services that it provides to the consumer, and to the employees that ultimately can make or break any venture, regardless of whether or not the language somehow changes to define ‘success’ as failure, or up as down, or black as white. In other words, we can ‘CALL’ anything a ‘success’ in the new rewording of the day. We can slap a label or number on anything, -“we’re #1” - but it’s still all relevant to the rest, and it doesn’t change anything more than putting lipstick on a pig changes it from being a pig. The pig does in fact have value, but passing it off with lipstick doesn’t change anything. It’s still a pig. If it is to produce any value, it has to be in recognizing that it is in fact a pig.


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By cyrena, November 30, 2007 at 9:56 pm Link to this comment

Part 2 of 2

And so it is. The America we’ve known as an empire has already been in decline for a long time, but we’re now at the final collapse. And, as far as the future goes, we can never reclaim this Empire status. My opinion is that it’s a GOOD thing, since it’s what brought about this fall to begin with, taking not only the “Empire” down, but all that was good about our republic with it.

That said, if there really is anything left to salvage, or if there really is a point at which it’s ‘not too late’, that too becomes relative to what we want to salvage, or what we choose to be. Since the empire is already doomed, and cannot be ‘resurrected’ (and good riddance to it) the only thing left to decide is whether or not we’re willing to forego the consumerism, the escapes into the unreality of fantasy and non-stop entertainment, and the deviations of escape religiosity, and maybe…just maybe, consider returning to the rule of law. We can’t keep up the façade of re-wording and reinterpreting everything (language, concepts, etc) as we go along, and we can’t exist on phony currencies. We’ve also learned that we can’t exist by the use of force either. Killing everything we think we don’t like, or killing off all of the ‘competition’ doesn’t help, because at some point, it throws the whole thing totally off balance. We can’t selectively kill off what we’ve decided is a threat, without killing off ourselves as well, in the same venture. It’s already happened.

So, when we talk about saving what might be left, or when we hope that it’s ‘not too late’ to save some of it, or when we talk about wanting our country back, we have to understand that it can never be the same as what we’ve had before, so we should probably first define what we want, before we can go about rescuing it, or salvaging it.

Some of the fallen Empires of the West made the decision to be republics rather than Empires. It was their only ‘salvation’. Maybe this is worth a consideration here as well.

Meantime, for those of you familiar with William Rivers Pitt, the piece below is in the same flavor that Chris Hedges brings us. A different style, basically the same message.

Bad, Worse, Worst and Beyond
  By William Rivers Pitt
  t r u t h o u t | Columnist

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By TheAmericanEmpire, November 30, 2007 at 7:21 pm Link to this comment

Empire Now, Empire Forever! What is so wrong with having an Empire?! It is relative to the fact that, guns don’t kill people, people with guns kill people. It is how the weapon is used that determines if it is good or evil. Unfortunately, some would say the American Empire is currently being used for evil. If you look closely at the issue you would understand that the American Empire was inevitable and the first American to the last benefited from its rise to preeminence. Ex. Cheap gas, Abundance of material goods,the Internet, electricity, absence of constant fear of being attacked by rogue nations, and having the industrial and military might to win WWII so that you would not have the sad opportunity to learn German or Japanese by force. So just stop the BULLSH$%!!

Yes, we are in decline and that decline is the result of every last American. You and only You are to blame for our fate, every last one of you. From the neocons , to the ultra liberals. My wish that we can reverse our decline before it is too late!

Empire Now!!, Empire Forever!! <-Doing my part! ‘Cause it is the capitalistic thing to do!>
p.s. Our products are not Made In China!, the New Superpower/Hegemon/Empire.

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By 1drees, November 30, 2007 at 9:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Speaking of End of America or the Empire of America, I tihnk if that is waht you call it them most probably it ENDED when one of its presidents called John F KEnnedy got murdered and a lot of research later a story similar to the 9/11 story was given officially, so this is just a rerun of of an old lying habit.
Another big Lie was the justification for the Vietnam war and that too was a lie to go & atack another innocent nation.
America threoughout the years has been delcaring itself innocent just like israel and all the time itsbeen attacking others, I would say that is the effect of the ZIONIST influence.

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By Verne Arnold, November 29, 2007 at 2:33 am Link to this comment

I am certain I was on the watch list during Nam and I guess “we” are on the list as this is typed.  We live in “interesting times”, unfortunately, that is a Chinese curse.

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By Verne Arnold, November 29, 2007 at 2:30 am Link to this comment

#116743 by Logician on 11/28 at 10:51 pm
(81 comments total)

Yes, you are correct, but it is easier to project our apathy onto something else, so we don’t have to own it.  Excellent post!

#116747 by Ernest Canning on 11/28 at 11:04 pm
(1224 comments total)

Yes, I watch her (Amy Goodman) every day.  What Wolf has written (and said)is really nothing new…but the sleeper sleeps and must awaken.  I just hope that this message, spoken often enough (like the neo-con propaganda), will finally strike home.  My real fear is we will once again repreat history as we may be doomed to do.  How does one awaken the one who sleeps wide awake?

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By cyrena, November 29, 2007 at 12:51 am Link to this comment

#116747 by Ernest Canning

Ernest, Thanks ever so much for sharing the with Amy and Naomi Wolf, as well as your own excellent summary of it. I’m going to pass this along, hopefully to include in a curriculum. (Maybe her book would be good to use. I think I’ll suggest it).

It’s VERY helpful.

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By cann4ing, November 28, 2007 at 11:04 pm Link to this comment

Under Naomi Wolf’s analysis in “The End of America” we lose our democracy long before the Empire can come to an end.  Her 11/28/07 remarkable interview by Amy Goodman can be seen at:

Wolf, based on studies of other totalitarian states, came up with a ten step outline of how democratic societies are shut down.

First, “all would-be dictators invoke a terrifying internal and external threat.  And often it’s a real threat which they will hype or manipulate….Stalin spoke about sleeper cells, which is one of those phrases that are being recirculated…by the Bush White House.  And this was an invention….Pinochet talked about a real threat: armed insurgents…but he hyped it using fake documents.  We saw fake documents used by the White House…to claim that Iraq was trying to secure yellowcake uranium.”

Second we see a change in language.  “‘Homeland Security’...became popularized by the National Socialists.  Goebbels developed the practice of embedding journalists.”

Third is the establishment of secret prisons where torture can take place.  It was Lenin who pioneered the military tribunal system.  The “state starts to torture people on the margins…brown people on…Guantanamo with Muslim names…in Germany in ‘31, ‘32: anarchists, communists, Gypsies, Jews, whatever….And once the state legalizes torture of people at the margins, inevitably it will begin to direct state abuse at people at the heart of civil society…journalists…opposition leaders, outspoke clergy and labor leaders.  And when that starts to happen, society can close down in a heart beat.”

Four and Five entail the development of a paramilitary force (e.g., Blackwater) and surveillance of ordinary citizens.

Other steps include restricting the press, treating dissent as treason and subverting the rule of law.

Wolf says the first task of a patriot is to “wake up.”  “You don’t make it easier for the President to declare martial law, as we just did with the 2007 Defense Authorization Act.  You don’t make it easier for the President to lock up political opponents in a cell or strip people of habeas corpus.”

Through Wolf is advocating a new movement which calls for “lawyers and citizens to call for hearings, special prosecutors, identify the crimes, impeach and prosecute, and save the country.

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By Logician, November 28, 2007 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

What is the cause of all this? 
“It all amounts to a tacit complicity on the part of a passive population.”
It is not Bush, it is not Cheney, it is not Ashcroft, it is NONE of them.

It is us.

It is the mouth breather who really CARES about what illiterate, drugged-out gangsters dressed up in football uniforms do.  It is the moron who bitches without end over TAXES and then cries like a bitch when the bridge collapses due to LACK OF FUNDING.  It is the new ager rubbing her crystal while she IMAGINES (cue Lennon) a new age of peace while REFUSING to participate in the ‘so passe’ act of voting.

Yes, when America drops into the shit bucket, it will NOT be Bush’s fault, citizens, it is OUR fault, and ours ALONE.  We had a democracy and we pissed it away.  I cannot and will not blame those cunning enough to take what they can from sheeple too fricking lazy and stupid to hang onto their privileges. 

Freedom is NOT a right, it is a PRIVILEGE that must be fought for CONSTANTLY, not during half-times, commercials on Survivor, or after worshipping the little cult-objects formally known as children.

Too bad, so sad, sucks to be us, eh?

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By VillageElder, November 28, 2007 at 4:02 pm Link to this comment

Phillips’ “ American Theocracy” and Dean’s “Conservatives Without a Conscience” provide well reasoned and written insights into the crew currently commanding this ship of fools.  Their belief is that they as individuals and as a class are entitled to privileges and a life different than the rest of us.  That they should have power and money is a “natural” right to their way of thinking. 

  These folks have gone to the same schools, or type of school, belonged to the same clubs and socialized with the same groups of people.  There is no conspiracy.  This enculturation occurs because of the mileau in which they live.  That which is right for their class surrounds them throughout their lives.  These beliefs are deeply ingrained and a part of their habitual thinking. 

  There is no need for secret meetings, messages or societies.  The image of conspirators meeting in secret chambers is laughable.  These are the people who own ....  Since they own it they think they have the right to run it.  The owners have bought into the neo/theocon nonsense to cover their actions.  The attempt to create a North America unified free trade zone (SPP).

  These people are vastly different from us.

  Corporate money is going into the dems at a far greater rate than the repugs.  In backing the present motley crew they have damaged the home of their empire.  Changing brands will give the illusion that there has been a change in policy.  Watch health care, the corporate state is beginning to see what the rest of the world has seen for years regarding corporate profits.

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By cyrena, November 28, 2007 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

#116534 by VillageElder


I did read Dean’s book, “Conservatives Without a Conscience”. It was a year or so ago, when I was still desperately trying to get some sort of a handle on what the hell was going on. Because anyone who’s been around for a while knows that what we’ve been seeing from this gang of thugs in DC, has NO connection to the Conservative Republican party of old.

Now that’s me speaking as a life long democrat, so we’re not talking about any drastic stuff from that party. No, my curiosity was in trying to figure out the thinking of this new group of thugs, because they are nothing like the old repubs, (even though I’ve never particularly liked them either, they still were never representative of the criminals that we’ve been watching and suffering under for the past 7 years).

That said, you’re right. Dean’s book is very helpful and insightful in trying to break down the radical changes that have come to the ideology of that party.

And, it has been their undoing. That is one of the biggest of the ironies. For such a ‘party loyal’ group, they’ve managed to destroy not only the rest of us, but their own party as well.

Ernest, I was able to get the paperback. Every penny of savings helps, though I don’t know for how much longer, since they have less and less value now anyway.

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By ocjim, November 28, 2007 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

NABNYC makes some good points about the Democrats being as corrupt as the Democrats, but I believe that the jury is still out. We have had almost a decade of a Republican majority in Congress and for most part their corrupt ways, their sellout to rich is complete. The Democrats have the tradition of an ideology more friendly to the people but big money seems to be orienting them toward corporate America. The Democrats are much more likely to be receptive to the people than the Republicans, for there is a modicum of attention to the people. Before with the neocons, our needs were totally ignored.

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By Bill Blackolive, November 28, 2007 at 10:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Surely the quickest route toward waking the US of A ants is getting the 9/11 coverup into mainstream TV.  Should Rosie or someone bring it up the others jerk and flap, and I saw the History Channel (caught this one 3 times, stupendous) do a biased take, first doing the “conspiracists” and then the “experts,” for Schizoid Nation Forever or else they were sneakily showing how the experts have poor argument, can not tell us how first time in history steel in the open air goes down from flame…eh?  Whichever, by now we have half the population do not think Oswald did it and herein this time we have so many more witnesses and actual experts, we could easily get the thinking half to look at this mad shit.  Allen Miller has this site, patriotsquestion9/11, which he started 2 Septembers back and currently has some 800 prominent people speaking out, a few politicians carefully saying we have not had all the information, and a good few shocked witnesses, but many such as engineers and military types who have known from the date of 9/11 there is untold evil.  Well, good grief, so what God does not like the US best, we have to shake the ants from their silly jar and let them find ways to get home.

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By cognitorex, November 28, 2007 at 10:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Iraq Peace Accords..Its a Chalibian World
By Craig Johnson

A cunning, brilliant, spectacularly amoral solution.

(Opening thoughts on the US Executive Branch signing an agreement for a major long term military presence in Iraq.)

As Malaki accepts the Honorary post of Shah of Iraq once promised to Chalabi, the Iraqi nationalists and the Iraqi fundamentalists are sold down the river.

Who said that two wrongs could not make a right or that a continuous pattern of incompetence as in BushCo arming proscribed elements…“other terrorist groups, as well as all other outlaw groups, such as criminal remnants of the former regime;”....(the Sunnis) could not make the Shia holler Uncle (“Sam”).

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, you just gotta love it.

Wait until the coming Democrat executive cum majority tells our Iraqi co-signors that they have to inaugurate women’s rights to keep our support.

Have I just been transmigrated to Doonesbury World? Hello! Hello!

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By NABNYC, November 28, 2007 at 9:57 am Link to this comment

The Democrats are just as corrupt as the Republicans.  Not each and every one, but most of them.  The recent articles celebrating the fact that the corporations are giving more money to Democrats and less to Republicans only show that both parties are corporate lackeys, and they live only for the purpose of soliciting bribes.

We have the two Democratic candidates unfortunately being DLC-affiliated, both closely aligned with Rahm Emanuel who is a DLC/pro-Israel poster boy.  Witness our people being out of work, losing their homes, injured and sick veterans becoming part of the permanent homeless underclass lacking food and shelter, too many Americans with no medical care.  Our Democrats refusing to do anything to stop this war in Iraq. And at the same time, Congress is busy doing what?  Voting to give another $2.6 billion to Israel, with an additional $40 million for “refugees.”  Excuse me?  What refugees?  I guess they mean the messianic cult-followers from Brooklyn who decide to move to Israel.  Exactly why are working people in the U.S., who are already broke, being forced to give thousands of dollars to every person who moves to Israel? 

The two parties do not represent us.  We can protest, write letters, have meetings, organize groups around single issues, but this is not an issues problem.  It is an everything problem.  Everything in our government is corrupt.  How do we change that?

I think the only way is to write up our own platform, circulate it in the public, get enough people to sign on, give it to Congress and tell them to do it.  Anyone who doesn’t do it, we throw them out of office.  The first demand would be a law prohibiting anyone from giving or offering anything of value to any candidate or politician.  If we do not cut off the money, we do not have a chance.  The second demand would be to order immediate divestment of media control—Murdoch needs to be stopped.

Anyway, Chris Hedges, as always, provides a scary but honest view of our country and its depressing future.

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By Alan MacDonald, November 28, 2007 at 7:54 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Hannah Arendt presciently warned, “Empire abroad (always) entails tyranny at home”.

We can all see the Empire abroad in its oil-war(s) with Iraq and soon Iran.

We have avoided any ‘shared sacrifice’ or ‘shared pain’  as shown in the weak anti-war movement against these wars “abroad” part.

Now prepare for the “tyranny at home” part.

The first real shared pain for complacent Americans will be the complete crash of this Empire’s domestic Ponzi economy—- which has already started—- and the economic pain right here “at home”, which will be
harder to ignore than Iraqi women and children being killed by the Empire operating in your name.

The next “tyranny at home” will be the police-state ‘culling’ of any dissident relatives and friends you may have had, as they are ‘disappeared’ to the detention centers now being built.

The the ‘tyranny at home” will come for YOU.

Maybe we should all wake-up to the seriousness of Arendt’s warning about this global corporatist Empire hiding behind the facade of ‘Vichy America’ before they come for YOU.

I’m awake and moving to the streets now in the expanding anti-Empire movement—- should you be?

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By GrammaConcept, November 28, 2007 at 7:44 am Link to this comment

Ernest…..The inspired and challenging “Universal Soldier” was written in the early ‘60s by Buffy St.Marie, and was brought to prominence for a while by the wonderful Donovan…Thought you’d like to know….
BTW..Try singing Dylan’s “With God On Our Side”, OR, Buffy’s “Universal Soldier” a capella by yourself somewhere y’all…by the time you’re done, you will probably be crying…that’s the good part…a little Soul-washing is a powerful refresher…...

This essay is So very valuable and articulate….add on, as many have, the “Unholy War” elements, and there you have it…..The decline and fall of…

Feed the hungry, comfort the suffering…..Practice the Golden Rule, please…on All levels…..Practice Practice Practice…...

......Strive On, Friends, Strive On Earnestly And Warmly….....

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By Bob G., November 28, 2007 at 6:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Yes this is excellent..
Reading through it a second time this morning, it’s quite frightening in its clarity of the situation..
and Bush is the perfect symbol for these times..
The intellectually stunted little clueless king of a dying empire..
running around the school yard globe..
beating up the other kids in order to secure their lunch monies..
to bring home and hand over to corporate daddy..
(who’s SO proud of little Georgie!)..
nice pat on the head..
and its off for another day at school..
An emperor with no clothes..
(or as someone (can’t recall who) once said of Dan Quayle back in the 80’s, “The Clothes Have No Emperor.”..
which totally describes Bush and Co. perfect)..

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By VillageElder, November 28, 2007 at 6:24 am Link to this comment

#116428 by cyrena on 11/27 at 6:58 pm
#116474 by Ernest Canning on 11/27 at 10:41 pm

Cyrena and Ernest, if you haven’t read Conservatives Without Conscience , by John Dean try it.  Dean’s analysis of the neocon movement is dead on.  Truth is a shape shifting willow wisp for these folks.

David Michael Green has a humorous take on conservative truthfulness.

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By Expat, November 28, 2007 at 3:11 am Link to this comment

Empires…what makes these arrogant fools think they can build a lasting empire based on greed, corruption, skewed religious morality, and fascist ideology?  History is strewn with rot such as this.  Even the world’s most powerful military can not stand against a willful society demanding change and justice.  Never has and never will! 

Yikes! I see there is another expat here, small e.

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By CorkExaminer, November 28, 2007 at 3:00 am Link to this comment

It is triking how almost everyone here ‘gets it’.

None of this has to be.  It might sound nuts but I think one way of stopping the rot right there would be a coalition between Gore and Paul.  What they have in common is way more important (humanity and integrity) than what divides them.  A coalition is needed anyhow.  If something like this were to come about then the nightmare would end and America would be loved again surprisingly quickly—I mean all those horrid Pew poles would bounce.

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By PL, November 28, 2007 at 2:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I tend to agree with Hedges theme, but he seems to make an error in stating that, “The top 1 percent of the population has amassed more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined”.  My search reveals the top 1 percent has a tick under 40% of the wealth, and the top 10% almost 80% of the wealth. Does anyone know where he might have gotten his figure?

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By cann4ing, November 27, 2007 at 10:41 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena, “American Theocracy” is Phillips latest.  It was published in 2006.  “Wealth & Democracy” was published in 2002.  In between, there was “American Dynasty” which deals with four generations of the family Bush.  That was published in 2004.  All three are solid academic works.

Hope you at least saved a few bucks by getting the paperback.

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By cyrena, November 27, 2007 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

#116395 by VillageElder

•  One of the items which this article did not explore is: at the end of the empire there is always a great rise in the professed religiosity of the people.  The notion that “we are god’s chosen” for some mission or the other becomes a political truism.  This is a sure sign the empire has decayed from within and the fall is near.

Village Elder,

Thanks for bringing this up. It is crucial. It speaks to yet another piece of the whole package of decline and decay. I routinely receive formatted and packaged email that conveys EXACTLY this message. It reinforces a certain brand of brainwashing cultism, that is intended to convince it’s members that they are indeed ‘chosen’ and special receivers of god’s special favors, THAT NOT ALL OTHERS WILL BE ENTITLED TO RECEIVE. In short, the message is that as long as they adhere to and abide by this faux spiritual connection to God Almighty, and place their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as their ‘savior’ and redemptor, all will be well, and the blessings will flow. The message is that though times may be difficult, THEY will flourish, as long as they ‘keep the faith’, and adhere to the rules of the club.

It would also appear that there are special and extra ‘points’ for spreading these words and promises as ‘blessings’ to all others, so that they TOO, can join the special crowd of those who will receive these extra blessings.

So, I’ve noticed this, for so very long now. However, I had not made the connection (as you have) to this decay and decline from within. It’s yet another stark element to consider in respect to this piece from Chris Hedges.

#116407 by Ernest Canning

Ernest, Thanks for the tip on Kevin Phillips’ lastest. (I presume it is) I’ve read his “American Theocracy: The Peril and Politics of Radical Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money in the 21st Century” and found it quite enlightening. (scary as hell, but “need to know stuff”)

So, I’ve just ordered the Wealth & Democracy at your suggestion. (… I almost feel guilty, but how else am I gonna get it?)

Meantime, the other that I mentioned, ‘American Theocracy’ speaks to the earlier question that Village Elder noted on the increased religiosity of the general population. I don’t believe that most of these ‘increasingly religious” folks are even the slightest bit aware of the roots of it, or how it’s even managed to take over their individual mentalities, but…it has.

#116397 by Non Credo
•  I don’t care if our “empire” is twilit. I just hope or democracy, or republic, can be salvaged. Fuck the “empire”.

Non Credo,
I’m with you. Never did give a flip about an ‘empire’. It has been our undoing for far too long, and the outcome was inevitable. I don’t know if the republic (as we’ve known it) can be saved in a form of democracy. If so, I would suggest that it must first undergo a drastic reconfiguration, with the ‘empire’ part (the infection) cut away and discarded forever. Not as easy as reformatting ones hard drive, but it can be done.

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By Margaret from Portland Oregon, November 27, 2007 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The cost of everything is rising and the powers that be say the economy is doing great, that is only from the standpoint of Wall Street, of course when you don’t have to tax people who don’t earn money only invest the money that was handed to them do you think that these are the people that care?  Of course not it seems that the people that are in a position to steal is Congress and Congress has got to change, the earmarks have to be known about, the Senators should have time to read what they are voting on, Bush and his thief Carl Rove work on these matters.  It is really unconceivable that the person who got you into office should be in Washington D.C.

The matter of knowing how government operates would be helpful but this president and his shotgun sidekick Chaney don’t want people to know what is going on, as far as they are concerned Congress is there to do their bidding.  This started with Ragan, you know the president who was not there during his closing days, the president who fell asleep the president who was the oldest we ever had.

And to think that he is praised by his fellow Republicians, I think this country is ready to have a third party, because what we have now is two parties that are almost the same.

People should start listining to Dennis Kuchnich as soon as they can.

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By cann4ing, November 27, 2007 at 5:59 pm Link to this comment

Those interested in a more extended analysis of this topic should read Kevin Phillips, “Wealth & Democracy.”  Phillips notes that between 1979 and 1989 the portion of the nation’s wealth held by the top 1% nearly doubled from 22% to 39%.  Yet, over the past half century corporate contributions to res publica have dropped off dramatically.  “Whereas…in 1950…corporations had paid 26.5%...of the total U.S. federal tax burden, that dropped to 9.1% in 1990.  In virtually any year, a considerable number of corporations weren’t paying any federal income tax….The Cato Foundation…estimated that at the turn of the century the federal government provided business with some $75 billion a year in subsidies.”

“As wealth concentration grows…so has upper-bracket control of politics….The cost to ordinary Americans has been substantial—in reduced median family income, in stagnant wages, in a diminished sense of community and commonweal, in fewer private and government services, and sometimes in poorer physical and mental health”

As noted by Samuel Huntington, “money becomes evil not when it is used to buy goods but when it is used to buy power….[E]conomic inequalities become evil with they are translated into political inequalities…” which in turn lead to greater levels of economic inequality.

Focusing on empires past—Spanish, Dutch & British—Phillips sees in the internationalist stage, an Achilles heel in an increasing dependency on finance capitalism at the expense of the more mundane production, a tendency to acquire a build-up of debt and increasing transnational loyalties.  This is followed by by an aging of the nation’s early-stage technology and susceptibility to technology transfer, foreign innovation and migration of key industries.  Phillips states the “US embrace of a controversial model—a commitment to globalization, especially in services, that accepts corollaries of diminished manufacturing, accelerating wealth stratification, higher than acknowledged levels of joblessness, contained wages, and high levels of imports” track the end stages of earlier empires, Britain (1910) and Holland (1748) when “national elites preoccupied themselves with success in finance and services, generally unconcerned with the old fabric of well-paid skilled workers.”

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By VillageElder, November 27, 2007 at 5:16 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Hedges has put forward a concise and compelling analysis of the fate of the US Empire.  He is not the first to bring these facts to light, nor is he the first to discern the direction our republic has taken.

Throughout the comments I saw references to stone age mythology attempting to “prove” that Bush is the foreseen invader.  Other commentators liken him to the great beast -  666 and all that.  One of the items which this article did not explore is: at the end of the empire there is always a great rise in the professed religiosity of the people.  The notion that “we are god’s chosen” for some mission or the other becomes a political truism.  This is a sure sign the empire has decayed from within and the fall is near.

The idea that this is “American Communism” indicates a great lack of understanding of the tenets put forth by Marx and Engels.  This charge is straight out of faux noise.  The oligarchs who run things are interested in their own survival and wealth.  The plight of the working class doesn’t enter their consciousness.  Remember Mother (Barbara) Bush’s comments during the Katrina episode.

Those in power be they be repugs or dems belong to the same club(s).  They represent the same people – not us – attend the same retreats and vote to confirm nominees from the same master list which includes both house brands.

The empire is broken!  It’s decline is underway. Die ejecta est.  The faces of the disaster are Bush and Cheney.  These are but fools playing on the stage distracting us from undercurrents which began decades ago and have now risen to the surface as a raging torrent.  Once the social contract which held us together was abandoned for the politics of greed (see Ayn Rand and Mr. Greenspan) the course was set.  Welded with authoritarianism and religious fundamentalism the new dogma has reduced debate to bumper sticker slogans and name calling.  If you don’t agree with them you are probably under satanic influence.

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By cyrena, November 27, 2007 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment

#116266 by jackpine savage
•  We do still have a choice, not in what happens but how it happens.  No empire lasts forever, nor even a nation-state.  When this empire crumbles we Americans will be forced to decentralize our way of life.  The only way to mitigate the horrors of extreme socio-political upheaval is to proactively implement the solutions that will be forced upon us, before they are forced upon us.

Jackpine savage,
Thanks for this excellent post. I’ve only taken the above portion to reference, but the concept is one that has come across this board before. TAO Walker (among others) has provided such insight for us, and I’ve pretty much alluded to the same thing myself, while trying to ‘prepare’ others the best way that I can. In some cases I think the message is finally getting across, and so the necessary changes are being slowly embraced. (though still not be enough people). So, every reminder helps, and it needs to be conveyed in various forms, for enough folks to actually understand it.

So, to repeat what you’ve said, if we don’t start adapting ourselves NOW, these changes will be forced upon us in ways that will not allow for the adaptations that we need to make. Since they will happen one way or the other, it’s crucial for us to be in a position to call as many of the shots ourselves, while we still can. (I’m not speaking of ‘shots’ in reference to armed resurrection, because I don’t see that as a practical way of surviving this.)

Thanks again. I will share this.

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By cann4ing, November 27, 2007 at 3:51 pm Link to this comment

Not a bad piece, Hammered, but I still think the lyrics of anti-war songs in the 60s and early 70s were the best, be it Bob Dylan’s “Universal Soldier” & “With God on Our Side,” Credence’s “Fortunate Son” or Country Joe McDonald’s little piece:

And it’s one, two, three
What are we fightin’ for
Don’t ask me I don’t give a damn
Next stop is Viet Nam

And it’s five, six seven
Open up the Pearly Gates
Ain’t no time to wonder why,
Whoopie!  We’re all gonna die.

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By yours truly, November 27, 2007 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Troops out now will empedite the collapse of empire, whereupon, empowered by our having ended the Iraq war, what sort of world?  It’ll be up to us.

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By Charles, November 27, 2007 at 2:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges’ insightful conclusions can be summed up in one phrase: ‘Public Policy’ is an oxymoron!

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By CorkExaminer, November 27, 2007 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

This catches it exactly.  Has anyone noticed how dark the writings of our greatest investigative reporters have been getting, especially those that know the M. E. well and are no strangers to the hell of war, the likes of Hedges, Fisk, Ritter and Hersh.

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By GW=MCHammered, November 27, 2007 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

john fogerty rocks the truth

I Can’t Take It No More
I Can’t Take It No More
I’m sick and tired of your dirty little war
I Can’t Take It No More

I bet you never saw the old school yard
I bet you never saw the national guard
Your daddy wrote a check and there you are
Another fortunate son

(be a long dark night before this thing is done - run georgie run)

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By felicity, November 27, 2007 at 10:52 am Link to this comment

One great article, Chris.  Thank you.  Born in ‘32, I’ve ‘lived’ in and through many different Americas. We’ve had our ups and downs, good times and bad, but what family doesn’t. Not so the for the last seven years. It may have taken four hundred years for Rome to finally die whereas it’s only taken us seven.

Some have suggested that we Americans have had it too easy for too long.  When comfort becomes a way of life, giving that comfort up may become equated with literally giving up one’s life.  Risk averse, we are holding on to what is fast becoming nothing but a mere chimera.

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By heiderose1, November 27, 2007 at 10:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

to: expat
you wrote: ... it seems to be inevitable, for every empire. Well, it was nice while it lasted, anyhow.”

For the millions upon millions of people outside of the US (and many inside as well) who paid for our ‘nice’ empire experience with their sweat, blood, and tears, not so much!

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By Richard, November 27, 2007 at 10:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Our recent history mirrors that of the British empire more and more everyday. We see ourselves in the beginning as the bringers of democracy and civilization to the lesser nations but greed takes hold and a game of power comes into play. The British tried and failed miserably in the middle east already and after two world wars they still tried to prop up thier decaying empire until it finally came down and left volitile situations in their former territories.

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By jackpine savage, November 27, 2007 at 9:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Here here.  For something more than the last ten years, i’ve been saying that my lifetime will see the decline—if not the fall—of the American Empire.  It was one of those thoughts i always hoped to be wrong about, not that i am for Empire but because the fall will almost certainly be uglier than anyone wants to contemplate.

American exceptionalism is not exceptional.  And historically speaking, exceptionalism seems to reach its peak just before the fall.  Hmm, something comes to mind about pride coming before the fall.

We are all complicit in the actions of our nation.  While i agree that the whole thing has been raped and looted by corporate-political power, not enough of us did enough to nip that rise in the bud.

I was surprised to read so much here about armed insurrection, but that only goes to show just how fed up a lot of us are. Srelf makes a good point about military power and who controls it, but as the Soviet coup demonstrated, enlisted soldiers (and even officers) are not wholly reliable when their orders include shooting their own family members.  It was babushkas that stopped the tanks rolling towards the White House when the USSR crumbled.

We do still have a choice, not in what happens but how it happens.  No empire lasts forever, nor even a nation-state.  When this empire crumbles we Americans will be forced to decentralize our way of life.  The only way to mitigate the horrors of extreme socio-political upheaval is to proactively implement the solutions that will be forced upon us, before they are forced upon us.

Some commentators put the survival of the Russian people in the 90’s squarely on the shoulders of the dacha gardens.  The centralized state had long ago stopped being able to support its population, the people became more individualistic in that they looked out for their own future.  After ‘91, things got even worse, but enough people were prepared for taking care of themselves.  Imagine serious upheaval in this country…masses of people would starve because their idea of feeding themselves goes no deeper than handing over the plastic at the checkout of the grocery store.

We cannot stop history, but we can learn from it and we can prepare for it.  And if the goal is to take back America for the people, then the best place to start is feeding ourselves and doing whatever we can to provide for own basic needs.  Those needs can be met by communities working together.  If we aren’t working together before being faced with trouble, we will be prone to the harangues and easy, scapegoating answers of dictators and demagogues.

In short, if we want our country back, we had better be prepared to take it because our leaders (corporate and political) are certainly not going to give it to us.  And i do believe that it can be done without resorting to large scale, armed revolution.

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By Ryan, November 27, 2007 at 8:17 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“In the time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act”  Orwell.

Great article.  Thank you for expressing the frustrations of an Iraq Combat Vet.

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By lastdaywatchers, November 27, 2007 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

“At least I know I’m not the only one feeling the outrage.  Let’s hope enough of us can still force our reps back on the road towards restoring our Democracy.  I am so ashamed we allowed so much destruction”

Mary I love your spirit of outrage but it is nothing as long as the outrage is political

When it need to be spiritual because the time is at hand

Do a Google search of the May 15th Prophecy
and you will see for yourself

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By Revere, November 27, 2007 at 7:32 am Link to this comment

What an eloquent summary of the situation.

From my little microcosm its Yuppies Gone Wild:  Their spiritual essence evaporating while visions of 3500 sq-ft houses and all toys good dance in their heads.  Americans let their consciousness become a series of appetites.  The people are now morally rancid, oblivious to their Constitutional Bill of Rights having been legislated out from underneath them.  With original thinking blunted to an ignoble level, the masses unknowingly wait in the chute for the culling process to begin.  They never fathomed that strip malls couldn’t cover the Earth.

The International New World Order Elite see exponentially expanding consumption and population growth as futile.  They also loathe coexisting with multitudes of spoiled semi-rich brats scurrying about in self-congratulation.  They have embarked upon dismantling the middle class en route to melding the United States into a centrally controlled syndicate, a necessary prerequisite to world serfdom.  They’ve nurtured the technology needed to organize an Orwell-like control grid.  Will the New World Order Elite ultimately delight in the subjugation and torment of the grab-ass-tic Pavlovian worm-like masses?  Will there ever be another charter proclaiming human dignity, as did the US Constitution?  We’re on the threshold of a brave new world – a hellish one.

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By mary, November 27, 2007 at 7:07 am Link to this comment

Boy it’s hard to see the truth in bold black and white.  The following comments give me hope.  It’s clear a lot of Americans are indeed paying attention.  I hear how this preidential election is possibly the most important ever in our history.  Actually, the 2000 election was that, eventhough this mess gained speed of destruction with Ronnie and his act, destroy the Unions and make sure the wealthy grow their power.  How dare the middle class live with comfort and security!  And of course the Democratic Party has been part of this mess too.  When GWB refused to concede the election to Gore when Florida was declared to first be a Gore win, Americans should have asked hard questions.  The media did not get it wrong, thousands of voters thought their votes would count, GWB knew they would not.  And where were the journalists and the outrage. The next eight years would continue to see this moron get away with the unthinkable.  Now here we are, probably at the brink of losing our Democracy, our way of life. I still don’t see many journalists fight for the truth.  It’s good to read these comments.  At least I know I’m not the only one feeling the outrage.  Let’s hope enough of us can still force our reps back on the road towards restoring our Democracy.  I am so ashamed we allowed so much destruction…....

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By Alan MacDonald, November 27, 2007 at 6:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

TAO Walker, the spirituality of your hopeful remarks regarding the end of this inhuman Empire remind me of “Multitude” by Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri—- which you might enjoy.

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By Verne Arnold, November 27, 2007 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

Remember; Rome burned and collapsed…but at that time, Rome was an empire, not yet Italy.  Rome (the city) and Italy (the country) survive today.  This means it is possible for us to survive, but, not in the image as we are now cast!
This juncture (nexus if you will) we find ourselves in at this time need not define us.  This is the exact time for defining our goals, but not divisively…we must recognize our differences and honor these things (differences), but at the same time recognize our differences do not separate us from our common goals and we must work to those ends for the common good.  We can have our individuality but, we must know that without unity in the important things, we humans need, we are doomed to strife, division, and enmity.  We can never be truly “human” if we cannot agree on these things.  If we cannot be a community, all inclusive, we are doomed to tyranny by those that would divide us by all means foul!

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By expat, November 27, 2007 at 5:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It´s all been there to read, ever since the 1950´s - a historian and philosopher named Arnold Toynbee wrote “A Study of History”. The decline and fall of the USA - as it is today at any rate, is described in certain detail. I´ve actually been expecting it (not hoping!) for some while now, it seems to be inevitable, for every empire. Well, it was nice while it lasted, anyhow.

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By Marjorie L. Swanson, November 27, 2007 at 5:10 am Link to this comment

Comment #115912 by Corporate Jesus

Nice of you to slice up the country and give away parts that you seem to dismiss. Thanks especially for giving MY DAMN state of Wisconsin home of Senator Russ Feingold, to Dick Cheney. Who the hell died and left you God?

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By cyrena, November 27, 2007 at 3:09 am Link to this comment

#116097 by TAO Walker
•  This old Indian encourages our domesticated Sisters and Brothers to stay calm, let go of the chains of fear binding them to the foundering pyramid-scheme, take care of one another, and start travelling Light.  There is a wonderful Story unfolding in these “interesting times,” and they are all in it. 
Remember, as far as our tormentors have always been concerned, besides their own sorry selves there ain’t never been anybody else here but us Indians.

I was hoping to find you here. Thank you. I can get some rest now. It IS a powerful eulogy. There’s no denying that. It even took my own breath away, and I’ve been gradually preparing all along. Still…you for sure know what I mean.

Anyway…thanks, the encouragement is appreciated.

Nothing but us Indians here all along.

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By thomas billis, November 27, 2007 at 12:42 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

No one did this to us we did it to ourselves.We allowed ourselves to be drawn into petty squabbles while the treasury was being looted and we were sold down the river.When John Edwards says the system is rigged and corrupt it gains no traction.It is not that I support John Edwards but why is he the only one saying it.One previous commenter mentioned Kevin Phillips.If you want to get a really scary history of all this read American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips.It expands on the themes Mr Hedges makes and makes a great case for the war of resources. The ones we are involved in now aptly termed petro wars.

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By lastdaywatchers, November 26, 2007 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

“The 9th verse make clear that this can only be President George w. Bush who Habakkuk already describe in the 5th verse as the “Iraq Invader”

The 9th verse tell why “the proud and arrogant Iraqi Invader” invades!, quoted from President Bush himself when he said “To fight them over there so that we don’t have to fight them here”
(note to the wise think 9-11 when you read this verse)

Habakkuk chapter 2 verse 9

“Woe to him that coveteth an evil covetousness to his house, that he may set his nest on high, THAT HE MAY BE DELIVERED FROM THE POWER OF EVIL.”

The New Berkeley Version in Modern English translate the 9th verse

“Woe to him who acquires an evil gain for his house, in order to set his seat on high, TO BE OUT OF THE REACH OF CALAMITY”

The Original Hebrew in Modern English (Helen Spurell) translate the 9th verse

“That he may erect his house in grandeur, IN ORDER TO BE DELIVERED FROM CALMITY”

The English Standard verse translate the 9th verse

“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, TO BE SAFE FROM HARM!”

And this translation of the 9th verse say it all from The Bible: An American translation (J.M. Powis Smith and Edgar Goodspeed)

“Woe to him who acquire unjust gain for his household, setting his nest on high, THAT HE MAY BE DELIVERED FROM THE POWER OF DISASTER”

As you see Last Day Watchers and every single translation agree; that the lying pawn of Satan not only invaded to “fight them over there so we don’t have the fight them here”

But also a personal power grab for “unjust gains for his household”

Remember the video I showed you of the decision to invade Iraq was made before 9-11? (See:The Stomping Beast and The Prospering Lie)

That is a excerpt from the May 15th Prophecy

You should do a Google search of the May 15th Prophecy

And You will see that it has been the only source that has been 100% accurate on what happening in the Middle East, Or go to

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By G.Anderson, November 26, 2007 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

Thank you so much for posting this Article.

I wish that everyone in this country could read this.

Judging by the comments Mr. Hedges words have not fallen on deaf ears.

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By cann4ing, November 26, 2007 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment

Excellent analysis, but Mr. Hedges is not the first to reach this conclusion.  Historians like Kevin Phillips and Chalmers Johnson have forcefully presented the same observations over the past decade.  I only hope that the “free-spirited” people Tao refers to survive what could be mankind’s incineration if someone does not put a stop old dead-eye Dick’s plans to launch a nuclear strike against Iran.  Better impeach, and right soon!

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By TAO Walker, November 26, 2007 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

It is likely that as continuing their diminishing half-lives as “civilized individuals” becomes increasingly untenable, good-hearted, clear-headed, strong-stomached, free-spirited persons like so many of those who’ve commented on this “eulogy” by Chris Hedges (for the dying allamericanempire) will find theirselves happily shedding that artificial “identity.”  Once rid of it they will begin re-coalescing into the organic form known to our Lakota cousins as Tiyoshpaye….as free wild natural Human Beings.  They will remember that this is all the Song ‘n’ Dance of LifeHerownself here.

One thing’s for sure, though.  Dick Cheney’s “ticker” isn’t the only thing on its last legs here in these latter days.  The privateering plutoligarchs’ entire gangbanging “global” criminal enterprise is inches from the end of its rope.

This old Indian encourages our domesticated Sisters and Brothers to stay calm, let go of the chains of fear binding them to the foundering pyramid-scheme, take care of one another, and start travelling Light.  There is a wonderful Story unfolding in these “interesting times,” and they are all in it. 

Remember, as far as our tormentors have always been concerned, besides their own sorry selves there ain’t never been anybody else here but us Indians.


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By Chris, November 26, 2007 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Most of us are familiar with what is the believed ancient Chinese proverb and curse: “May you live in interesting times.”

Chris Hedges article explains why these are interesting times. History repeats itself. Our military weight is dragging us down. You can’t bomb countries into seeing the light, anymore than parents can beat their children into loving them.

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By Alan MacDonald, November 26, 2007 at 7:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Chris Hedges concludes with, “It signals the twilight of our empire.”

Wrong!  It’s not ‘our’ empire.

We don’t want an empire, but a democratic republic.

Yes, there is an empire, but it’s a global corporatist Empire, which has taken over our ‘country’, our ‘democracy’, our ‘republic’, and our peoples’ sovereignty.

And this corporatist Empire is hiding behind the facade of a phony ‘Vichy American’ government that they control, just as the Nazi Empire occupied and set up a phony ‘Vichy French’ government against the people and for the Empire.

The seminal difference is that this facade of ‘Vichy America’ is orders of magnitude more sophisticated propaganda than ‘Vichy France’ in that it was constructed with two supposedly opposition parties and a supposedly objective press, which the Nazi Empire never dreamed of.

The global corporatist Empire would love us all to think of ‘their’ Empire as being an ‘American Empire’ because that implies that average Americans will somehow benefit by being falsely proud citizens of an Empire (like the British Empire or the Roman Empire) and will benefit financially from the strength and economic power of the top-dog empire——but only the corporatist class clearly does and will continue to be the beneficiaries, and we will pay the cost in blood, freedom and treasure.

Chris, it’s not an American Empire—- it’s their empire, although they are glad to pose as patriotic Americans while they screw us and kill our kids.

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By Macz, November 26, 2007 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This will be an unpleasant historical observation, but Dictatorship was an innovation which allowed the Roman state to continue to exist for almost 400 years after the collapse of the Republic.

Perhaps it will be the same for ours.

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By troublesum, November 26, 2007 at 6:48 pm Link to this comment

In the 60’s so many of us thought is was the “dawning of the age of aquarius.”  Love and peace would rule the world.  No more war. No more wage slavery.  No more armies or nuclear weapons.
It isn’t possible to predict the future.  None of us knows what it will be like.

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By srelf, November 26, 2007 at 5:53 pm Link to this comment

A lot of talk about taking up arms to fight the powers that be. When did the militias start reading TruthDig?
Last time I looked the US Armed Forces stood at about 3 million including reserves. Under martial law (instituted pronto when state is threatened) there would be no chance of successful revolt. Just a bloody mess like Iraq. The power of the people is in organized legal action and nonviolent civil disobedience, or is Dr. King’s message a “quaint” relic? The social fabric is torn but not yet destroyed.

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By troublesum, November 26, 2007 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

Knowitall:  I was referring to the truth not The Truth.  Diogenes in America.  Sounds like the title of a play.

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By Iaukea, November 26, 2007 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

Keep your “Internet” eye on the news coming out of Hawaii, this Saturday, December 1, 2007. Island of MAUI to be exact.

The People vs. Government (Hawaii Super Ferry), a David & Goliath drama unfolding.

The Governor, through the State Legislature, “created” a new to circumvent a “Court order” that prohibited the Ferry from Operating in Hawaiian Waters until an EIS was completed.

The people have vowed to protest the return of the Ferry; threats from the State and Coast Gaurd of arrest have been made, and like the August protest on Kauai, the people will literally jump into the water to prevent the Ferry’s return.

Stay tuned…December 1, 2007

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, November 26, 2007 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

#116024 Troublesum wrote,“Several people here have mentioned the internet as a source for finding out the truth.  That’s not a small thing.  As soon as events happen you can go to sites like this one and find out the trurh behind the headlines.  That wasn’t possible ten years ago.
We have to keep the corporate media from getting complete control of the web.  An informed and knowledgable public is harder to control.  Several years ago it came to light from sources close to Bush and Cheney that these sites drive them both nuts.  Keep it up.”
I just saw an old looking guy walking down the street carrying a lantern.
I seriously doubt that the web will make any real, lasting contribution to finding the truth.  Too many variables.

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By Scott, November 26, 2007 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps after the Age of Empires we’ll finally be able to get serious about the business of civilization.

No, I’m not an Aquarian, I’m just a humble Earthling.

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By jbart, November 26, 2007 at 4:30 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To ALL of you “regular” bloggers to this site…
I’ve had the ability, through needing to be close to home, as my kid has some serious problems that takes precedence in my life.
But,this unaccustomed time alone, away from the “wonders of existance” (sic)that is “clearly” the goal and the bain of really being (yeah, I’m somewhat bitter and pissed off), has given me time to “surf” around the WEB and look into the things that they like to label as “conspiracy theorists”.
Well, after a weekend of “surfing” and attempting to “come to grips” with all that has happened, and continues to happen, I’m left to decide what my opinion is regarding a halt to the momentum. Here’s what I’ve think might be an effective approach.
If you guys haven’t noticed, our “SUPREMES” are now going to hear about “gun control”. Wild as it may seem, these guys weren’t willing to bring forth a case regarding the “right to bear” last “decided” in 1939 !!
NOW, they decide to “re-think” and “re-look” their previous rulings? Why?? Maybe an “unarmed” American citizenry works better to an effective takeover than an “armed one”? FYI- I have been a lifelong “anti-gun” advocate (big time). I know, even though I dislike the concept, now to advocate the “owning” and ability to bear those same “arms” for the sake of our survival and, I believe that this is imperative if we are to remain a viable democratic society. We, as a people (not sheeple, as the pessimistic “herd” seems to find glee in labeling, as such) have to unite in our struggle to remain the most envied of all the people in the world. We deserve it, have earned it, and it’s our right to claim it as so. But,we can only preserve what we are if we are willing to fight for all of our guys !!
A plan/strategy needs to be adopted. My thoughts are to “go for the jugular”. We need to, somehow unite in our goals, seek the “heads of the snake” wherever it/they resides (Europe, America, Asia, Australia, South America, etc.) and through “careful” planning, eliminate the sources.  That means, we need to destroy the powerful (monetarily so) people and cause them the “pains” of life. Hint, hint . -:)
Once again, this is JUST AN OPINION !!

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By troublesum, November 26, 2007 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

Several people here have mentioned the internet as a source for finding out the truth.  That’s not a small thing.  As soon as events happen you can go to sites like this one and find out the trurh behind the headlines.  That wasn’t possible ten years ago.
We have to keep the corporate media from getting complete control of the web.  An informed and knowledgable public is harder to control.  Several years ago it came to light from sources close to Bush and Cheney that these sites drive them both nuts.  Keep it up.

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By troublesum, November 26, 2007 at 3:41 pm Link to this comment

I see an end to international corporations ruling the world.  People all over the world are beginning to wake up and they are demanding more control over their lives.  If the humanoids who run the most powerful governments don’t blow up the world in the mean time, there is every reason for hope.

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By jc, November 26, 2007 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

When it comes right down to it, I plan to take up arms for the sake of the republic not the empire.  Almost all our other rights have been taken away.  If weapons are ever outlawed then you might as well roll-over game over.

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By 1drees, November 26, 2007 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually what happenned was that the Average American was fooled into believing a lot of FALSE things that was actually responsible for this fall. A lot of people had started to repeat propaganda like parrots ( & many still do)so when you talk one thing and do another surely you are not going to wind up where you were talk ing about coz you only wind up where your actions lead you.
Besides it was never that great an empire as it was claimed to be, Its just that the US govt seems to have a humungous EGO so it threw its weight around like a real BIG BIG something

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By Deborah, November 26, 2007 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The solution to our problem with our government is Armed Revolution. Bush/ Cheney et. al must be tried for and convicted of treason, war crimes and all underlying misdemeanors including lying.

Of course, you have to be armed, be willing to die, tortured and give up our comfortable Western lifestyle to accomplish this.

Who’s ready to be disappeared with me to Gitmo?

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By maximus, November 26, 2007 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

I don’t believe the empire can be saved. You would need unanimous public agreement on a course of action and that will never come to pass.Everybody wants to live in their own little deluded world and believe the sun will come out tomorrow.

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By srelf, November 26, 2007 at 11:02 am Link to this comment

BossKitty: “...distracted and negligent public,”
Randall Wallace: “we are ...perhaps too afraid,”
Verne Arnold: “we are ...lost,”
ocjim: “...narcissism ...and apathy”
SamSnedegar: “It’s a lot easier to contemplate when you know you won’t have to face the music.”

The historian Thomas Cahill told Bill Moyers the other day on “Bill Moyers Journal” (at that Americans (and I’m paraphrasing) have an Achilles’ Heel consisting of their fantasy that they are exceptional, and with that exceptionalist mentality comes an assumption of innocence that allows them to feel OK about participating in horrible stuff like Native American and African genocidal practices, among others. Abraham Lincoln, in his second inaugural address, refers to the civil war in almost karmic terms as cosmic retribution for the sin of slavery. Like they say, “What you so is what you reap.” Makes me want to find a deep cave and hole up for a while. But we can’t. Like so many before us that had that choice to make and stayed to be “of service” to their fellow man and woman, Chris Hedges writes these things with at least some hope, I’m sure, that we treat each other with dignity and respect whatever may come.

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By Iaukea, November 26, 2007 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

Coming from hawaii, the first (Iraq being the last)foreign government (1893) to be overthrown by US Corporate Interest, through a proxy entity (Hawaii Sugar Plabters, 1836-present). I can appreciate Mr. Hedges Article and the subsequent comments thusfar.

There is no better place within the USA to get a adequate diagnosis of the country’s illness than here in Hawaii.

The prognosis is hopeful….its taking the effective medicine, no matter how bitter and distasteful it will be that shall be the defining act that determines our faith.

Hawaii’s (Indeginous) History and the present-state of affairs is a microcosism of your Nation.

What happens here in Hawaii, for better or worse…will happen to the USA as Mr. Hedges Article so eloquently expressed.

Ua mau ke ea o ka aina ika pono
(The life of our land is perpetuated in rightousness)

...rightousness for ALL, not just the few.

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By Hammo, November 26, 2007 at 10:19 am Link to this comment

Some people say that the “dumbing down” of Americans has proceeded so far that we are now nothing but ignorant “sheep.”

There may be some truth to this.

However, there also may be intelligence and awareness about current national and world developments that is slowly bubbling up to the surface of our American consciousness.

Food for thought in the article ...

‘Dumbing down’ of Americans may not be working: More intelligence emerges

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By GW=MCHammered, November 26, 2007 at 9:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

National News announced that Russia sports the earth’s most millionaires and that China is growing its military at a rabid rate. Bu$hCo believes these historic rivals of democracy are as addicted to dollars of materialism as he and we. Sure they are.

In a true global economy, the American people would be free from K-Street and Capitol Hill; we’d get our share of global bounty minus Big Pharma, Big Oil and even Wal-Mart influence… I see UPS and FedX in Asia and around the globe. I don’t need these middlemen telling me what to pay. And government repeatedly proves it isn’t there to protect my pet or even my children.

If we connect the dots, K-Street owns Capitol Hill and each owns a big piece of our pocketbook. We all work for one machine: <u>American</u> <u>Communism</u> by any other name.

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By MS, November 26, 2007 at 9:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

In response to #115897.  Do the masses know what’s happening to them?  Yes, we know we’re losing financial ground with each passing year, but the masses around me seem to still blame their personal decline on “liberal” politicians.  They still vote based on their belief of biblical mythology.  They still consume way out of porportion to their earnings.  They still believe the party of elitism when they’re told that “socialized medicine” is communism and labor unions take away their “right to work”.  If we, the masses, understand where this downward spiral is taking us, why do we still claim this is the “best country in the world” to live in as we are blithely led to the slaughter?

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By ocjim, November 26, 2007 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

The clear vision of Hedges’ piece and the intelligent responses we see are indicative of an awareness out there that perhaps can be communicated to the soured populace (75% believing wrong direction of BushCo). Many in that 75% have a vague recognition of the corruption of our leadership but are given no direction by an opposition leadership that is also corrupt.

It is left to those with vision to communicate Hedges’ message. What is the best forum for such communication that is not shackled by the corporate media or infected by marketing agendas?

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By ranchobob, November 26, 2007 at 8:55 am Link to this comment

If we pulled all our military bases back, and invested that money in our well-being, we could reverse the decline.
That would involve corporatons not being the primary focus of goovernment largesse by those who decry big government.

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By Corporate Jesus, November 26, 2007 at 8:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Secession is the answer.

It’ll be Blackwater troops fighting for the Union then. 
This is a large country. 
Let those Christian fascists have South Carolina.
Rename North Carolina Princeland.
Cheney can have Wisconsin.
Connecticut can keep Joe Lieberman.
The Red States can proclaim W King and make Evangelical Christianity the state religion.

Secession - the entire world will be better off for it.

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By SamSnedegar, November 26, 2007 at 7:36 am Link to this comment

by the time of the denouement most of today’s so called leaders will be dead and gone; I certainly will be the same.

It’s a lot easier to contemplate when you know you won’t have to face the music and fight snarling over a few morsels of rancid food.

Alas, it is the way of the world: get a good thing going, and some assholes come along to interfere and foul things up for all.

Dylan asked, “when will they ever learn?”

And the answer, my friend, is never.

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By hollywood, November 26, 2007 at 7:12 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Throw the goddam motherfucking wankers out NOW!

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By Verne Arnold, November 26, 2007 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

#115897 by lodipete on 11/26 at 6:49 am
(44 comments total)

“Sea of Blood”....nice touch!

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By ocjim, November 26, 2007 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

The leadership of empires in decline rarely see its prospect. They are so enmeshed in and drunk with power that decline is not in their narrow perspective. Privilege and power allow the inability to see the suffering of others, a symptom Mr. Hedges identifies as lack of compassion.

Our decline doesn’t just relate to the ruthless, tyrannical, and at the same time incompetent leadership of the neocons, it also relates to the narcissism of the general population and an apathy toward the corruption of our leadership.

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By lodipete, November 26, 2007 at 6:49 am Link to this comment

As a member in good standing of “the masses” and “the lumpen proletariat” I can assure you intellectuals that we are very much aware of what’s been happening to us. After all, it is we who are reduced to seeking employment as security guards with NO benefits. It is we who endure cuts in our health care if we are lucky enough to have it. It is we who have to send our kids to public schools where teachers are excorciated for making a decent salary while we pay a baseball player a quarter of a billion dollars for ???? Not only do we endure watching good jobs go overseas, we bear the brunt of the importation of cheap labor to displace us even in our own country. The country we thought we were defending while the Bushes & Clintons took a pass. When this empire passes, it will be on a sea of blood.

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By DaveF, November 26, 2007 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

How right you are. The evidence of decline is all around us. However, with the MSM generally in the hands of the wealthy corporate elite, getting the message out to the general public is a Herculean task. Without the internet it would be impossible.

Greed and arrogance in the upper classes of every bygone empire has been at the core collapse. 

We in the United States are not immune to the destructive forces of greed and arrogance.

We are so addicted to consuming the vast majority of the world’s wealth that we are currently engaged in a great game of RISK to assure our continued access to the world’s resources for our own greedy pleasure.

The idea of empire is archaic. We humans have reached a population density in relation to the world’s finite resources that demands greater cooperation between nations for a better husbandry of the resources of planet earth. The only alternative is ever increasing conflict with the very possibility of the destruction of the planet itself.

We will either have a win-win solution to our human problems or we will have a loose-loose ending.

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By Barbara, November 26, 2007 at 5:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Nothing to do but wait till we hit complete bottom and hope the masses have the will to start over.

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By writeon, November 26, 2007 at 5:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

But somehow I doubt the American Empire will go quietly from the stage. That just doesn’t seem to be the Anglo-Saxon way. Look at Britain, it fought two devastating wars with it’s great European rival Germany, and virtually destroyed itself economically in the process, sacrificing its position for what?

I’m considering the two world wars as one big war, with a kind of “truce” in the middle, and world war two functioning as a form of blowback for the first one!

Compare the British Empire in 1900 to the British Empire in 1960, the contrast is striking. I put my money on the United States following the same tragic and almost inexorable route towards disaster. Unless the people rise up and take back the Republic, before it’s too late. But after having more or less ruled the non-communist world for the around fifty years, I doubt this will be an easy task.

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By Verne Arnold, November 26, 2007 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

Gosh!  It seems pretty clear to me; but unfortunately, not to the majority of my fellow Americans. 
Gestalt…remember that term.  When you had a Gestalt it was an unmistakable call to action, because you could see the whole picture (connection) and there was no doubt about what to do!
We are, sorry to say, lost and just don’t quite know what to do.
Empire in decline…sure, but it’s not yet too late…I hope.
We are, in this world, such a young country…how is it we have allowed our leaders to destroy us so quickly?  This is a question that needs an immediate answer.

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By Randall Wallace, November 26, 2007 at 5:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)


Beautifully written and very incitful.  But the question of the century is what can be done about it.  We are to afraid to confront the head Nazis and try them in a world court.  Perhaps to afraid to gather in mass in front of the halls of congress and throw all of them out into the gutters.

Is there anyway to get the article on Fox News or some other lumpen tabloid?  Would the masses even understand what stands in the way of having a free country again?

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By BossKitty, November 26, 2007 at 5:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Mr. Hedges
Thank you for putting into concise terms what I have been trying to express for months.  My attempts to express this have been clumsy until now. I have been trying to express the historical parallels to our present condition, and your insight is on target.
My focus on a distracted and negligent public, allowing America’s original ideal slip away, has been my angle.  I sadly feel the public does not understand the ‘bigger’ picture. I admire your insight.  Naively, I still look for options.

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