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Tyranny on Display at the Republican Convention

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Posted on Sep 8, 2008
AP photo / Matt Rourke

Police use pepper spray on a woman as she approaches them with a flower during a rally at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.

By Chris Hedges

St. Paul is a window into our future. It is a future where, as one protester told me by phone, “people have been pepper-gassed, thrown on the ground by police who had drawn their weapons, had their documents seized and their tattoos photographed before being taken away to jail.” It is a future where illegal house raids are carried out. It is a future where vans containing heavily armed paramilitary units circle and film protesters. It is a future where, as the protester said, “people have been pulled from cars because their license plates were on a database and handcuffed, thrown in the back of a squad car and then watched as their vehicles were ransacked and their personal possessions from computers to literature seized.” It is a future where constitutional rights mean nothing and where lawful dissent is branded a form of terrorism. 

The rise of the corporate state means the rise of the surveillance state. The Janus-like face of America swings from packaged and canned spectacles, from nationalist slogans, from seas of flags and Christian crosses, from professions of faith and patriotism, to widespread surveillance, illegal mass detentions, informants, provocateurs and crude acts of repression and violence. We barrel toward a world filled with stupendous lies and blood. 

What difference is there between the crowds of flag-waving Republicans and the apparatchiks I covered as a reporter in the old East German Communist Party? These Republican delegates, like the fat and compromised party functionaries in East Berlin, all fawned on cue over an inept and corrupt party hierarchy. They all purported to champion workers’ rights and freedom while they systematically fleeced, disempowered and impoverished the workers they lauded. They all celebrated the virtue of a state that was morally bankrupt. And while they played this con game, one that gave them special privileges, power and wealth, they unleashed their goons and thugs on all who dared to challenge them. We are not East Germany, but we are well on our way. An economic meltdown, another catastrophic terrorist attack on American soil, a war with Iran, and we could easily swing into an authoritarian model that would look very familiar to anyone who lived in the former communist East Bloc.

A few of those arrested in St. Paul, including eight leaders of the RNC Welcoming Committee—one of the groups organizing protests at the GOP convention in St. Paul—now face terrorism-related charges. Monica Bicking, Eryn Trimmer, Luce Guillen Givins, Erik Oseland, Nathanael Secor, Robert Czernik, Garrett Fitzgerald and Max Spector could get up to seven and a half years in prison under the terrorism enhancement charge, which allows for a 50 percent increase in the maximum penalty. This is the first time criminal charges have been filed under the 2002 Minnesota version of the federal Patriot Act. 

The Patriot Act, which was put in place as much to silence domestic opposition as to ferret out real terrorists, has largely lain dormant. It has authorized the government to monitor our phone conversations, e-mails, meetings and political opinions. It has authorized the government to shut down anti-war groups and lock up innocents as terrorists. It has abolished habeas corpus. But until now we have not grasped its full implications for our open society. We catch glimpses, as in St. Paul or in our offshore penal colonies where we torture detainees, of its awful destructive power. 

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The commercial media told us that what was important in St. Paul was happening inside the convention hall. The vapid interviews, the ridiculous soap opera sagas about Sarah Palin’s daughter and the debate about whether John McCain or Barack Obama has proprietary rights to “Change” divert us from the truth of who we have become. You had to search out “Democracy Now!,” TheUptake.org, Twin Cities Indymedia, I-Witness, along with a few other independent outlets, to see, hear or read real journalism from St. Paul.   

It does not matter that the RNC Welcoming Committee describes itself as an “anarchist/anti-authoritarian” organization. We don’t have to embrace a political agenda to protect the right to be heard. Shut down free speech and radicals only burrow deeper underground, splitting ossified political systems into fractured extremes. We may well end up with the Christian right on one side, with politicians like Sarah Palin providing an ideological veneer to a Christian fascism, and embittered leftist radicals who turn to violence on the other. 

St. Paul was not ultimately about selecting a presidential candidate. It was about the power of the corporate state to carry out pre-emptive searches, seizures and arrests. It was about squads of police in high-tech riot gear, many with drawn semiautomatic weapons, bursting into houses. It was about seized computers, journals and political literature. It was about shutting down independent journalism, even at gunpoint. It was about charging protesters with “conspiracy to commit riot,” a rarely used statute that criminalizes legal dissent. It was about 500 people held in open-air detention centers. It was about the rising Orwellian state that has hollowed out the insides of America, cast away all that was good and vital, and donned its skin to shackle us all.


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By Jana, September 22, 2008 at 5:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was there and this is all true. I was an innocent bystandard walking back to our car from the theatre and dinner, and my husband was pushed by a bike policeman two different times and told to get moving while I was pointed at with pepper spray! I kid you not, COMPLETELY unprovoked. It was a very frightening police state where I felt I could no longer trust our public service people whom I was told are there to protect us. Warning to all- you must now walk in the opposite direction, even if just returning to your car.

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By Shenonymous, September 11, 2008 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

Since I have a little time at the moment, if I may Outraged, I will offer some thoughts about the criticism leveled by OzarkMichael.  I assure you I think you are quite capable of a meaningful reply and I expect you will give one.

An easy trap we too often set for ourselves is to offer opinions instead of demonstrable facts.  It is a common error and is more often than not offered on forums such as this one.  Dogmatic statements without explicit references becomes opinion.  Opinions are subjective and therefore have no basis for belief by anyone other than the one who made them and those beliefs may be held completely without any proof.  It is apparent that you need to tighten and sharpen up your argument.  I am not implying at all that your bold argument is false.  I sense an illumination of truth, albeit shining dimly, through your statements.  However, it does not give evidence to its truth.  To make any insight effective, it is crucial that every statement made has logical validity and truthful support.  Or one must admit to offering only one’s opinion.  There is no argument against an opinion.  But there is big reason to doubt what is unsupported presentation of truth, in comparisons or any other kinds of statements.

The famous scientist and atheist Richard Dawkins recently argued that Islam is importing creationist theories into this country (USA).  See August 5, 2008 Fiona Macrae article at MailOnline
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1041089/Atheist-Richard-Dawkins-blames-Muslims-importing-creationism-classrooms.html

While I highly appreciate Professor Dawkins, and while his thesis most likely is correct, the article does not give explicit evidential support for that statement.

Interestingly enough in this article, he also compares this effort of the Islamists to Christian creationists that actually has had a great deal of publicity given to this religious group’s efforts to force religion-based creationism as a viable explanation of the creation of the world.  The implication of truth is given but no specific reference offered that supports the implication.  This, for critical thinkers, undermines Dawkins’ entire argument.

Mrs. Palin’s statements about her intention to force creationism into schools also shall have to be cited as to where and when.  That is not to say she did not say that.  It is just that to make the comparison argument worthy of attention, information that can be verified must be offered.

This is just one small illustration of what is at stake.  If he is to be believed, the other points where Outraged compared Palin’s and Islamist fundamentalism about reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God’s will and climate change would also have to be provided with provable examples.  That is not to say those examples do not exist.

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By Paul_GA, September 11, 2008 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

Begging your pardon, Jezekah, but we HAD an honest candidate in Ron Paul—- but his following was few and far between. I do believe, though, that in the coming years, the people will rue the day they didn’t vote for him.

Paolo, we must agree to disagree. I plan to vote for Cynthis McKinney, as I feel she’s the most determinedly antiwar of the third-party candidates. I haven’t voted for either of the wings of the War Party since 1996; had Ron Paul been the Repub candidate this year, I’d have voted for him.

Back in 1956, Murray Rothbard wrote, “I am getting more and more convinced that the war-peace question is the key to the whole libertarian business.” As Bob Barr is not antiwar enough to suit me, therefore I’m not voting LP this November, as I did the last couple of elections.

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By KDelphi, September 11, 2008 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther—I wouldnt disagree with most of that. I’d write a longer answer, but, personal stuff. Thanks for answering without jumpping.

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By OzarkMichael, September 11, 2008 at 3:43 pm Link to this comment

from outraged’s post: “But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God’s will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick.”

my comment: outraged, I know it seems to buttress your belief system but the above quote brings up some comparisons and issues that are not helpful to your argument. Do you really endorse the statements in that paragraph above?  Your independent rational mind… does it really give its assent to the notion that the conclusion in the paragraph was well proven?

Or is the conclusion actually a ‘faith’ statement which you need to be ‘true’? (I know you dont like that word faith. OK, lets not say ‘faith’. Lets say its a prejudice instead. Because the conclusion was not proven… but you believe it anyway. I dont know what other word to use for it.

Outraged, be more critical of those who seem to agree with you. Read the quote again. Are facts present? Does the conclusion follow from them? Is it a good argument?

An atheist ought to reason at the highest level they can. You can do better than the logic in that paragraph. Am I being hard on you? Well, I would not accept such weak reasoning from myself or a fellow Christian either.

Or maybe the whole thing is just a joke, a sort of intellectual hit and run?

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By Jezekah, September 11, 2008 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Democracy is a joke.  I’m sorry, but it’s the sad, sad truth.  Unless we had an honest leader, oh say Obama!

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By Shenonymous, September 10, 2008 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, you have completely exonerated yourself on media and propaganda.  References are worthy of belief if they are reliable.  Reliability of references depends on their facticity, that is, how much or how often they cohere or correspond to the truth.  What the truth is again, has more to do with the odds of their being true since absolute truth is not possible to acquire.  But you do have a point that sometimes it just doesn’t matter because there is a trading of even that reliable truth for what one wants to believe.  Bertrand Russell said once “Man is a credulous animal, and must believe something; in the absence of good grounds for belief, he will be satisfied with bad ones.”

Paolo, using assbackwards logic is interesting.  A negativa is what it can be called in Latin, or an infitialis argument, or argumentation adversus.  Do you really think your really obtuse argument of not voting gives the right to complain is rational and that voting extinguishes that right?  And as for truth, wazzat?  What kind of fools do you think you are dealing with?  Are you some adolescent wanna be philosopher?  There really is not a tacit agreement to abide by majority rules without complaint. The right to do so is never surrendered regardless of what Paul_GA thinks.  One can vote or not vote and still complain, or not unless you think you live in a completely suppresive country and to say that it is would be the height of hyperbole. Even if the press is owned by corporations and protesters get thrown in jail and beaten to a bloody pulp.  Complaining can be done in the privacy of an outhouse, or even a confessional.  BTW:  Why do you think the system offers no ‘real’ choices?  What exactly is unjust about our system?  And what does it really matter if winners can crow about a ‘mandate?”  As Leonard Cohen sings, “Everybody knows” it is a crock of sh*t.  But we do our best with the cards that are dealt.

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By Folktruther, September 10, 2008 at 9:06 pm Link to this comment

If I can interupt to answer your post, KDelphi, yeah, you’re right, China is a form of capitalism, workers are being exploited, peasants being dipossessed by land developers, ninorities like the Uigars and Tibetans discriminated against, etc.

And China is a poor country per capita which will not be as wealthy as the present US for decades. 

However.

The income of the Chinese population is increasing from a very low base by about an incredible 10% a year, and China is industrializing not only itself but the entire third world to the extent it can.  Especially Asia where 60% of earthpeople live.  One of the reason that the US went into a military mode is that it can’t compete with this new form of centralized capitalism.

A lot of the people of the world are starving and the children grow up stunted, diseased and ignorant until they are industrialized.  This industrailization of the third world has been PREVENTED by Western imperialism, and the Chinese are fostering third world growth, for their own self interest.  It’s a horrible process but it has to be done and the Chinese are leading it.  This is what the American learned and mass media conceal, that China,with all its faults, is a progressive force in the world.

Earthperson socialism would then be on the agenda after a few decades when this world industrialization is advanced.  Unless you can think of way to help initiate it in the developed countries.

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By Leefeller, September 10, 2008 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment

She,

Last post was response to your previous post on msm and propaganda.

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By Leefeller, September 10, 2008 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

Okay, instead of saying the news is propaganda, not wanting to deal with an absolutism,  some of the news is propaganda, especially if it does not support my premise or opinion.  It is far safer to say very little of the msm is objective, so how about, most of the news is not unbiased news.  Example: Fox news seems to support the right neo-con agenda, at least from the little I have watched without gagging.  Problem compounded, is maybe the news is not really the news at all, but commentary agendas or back to propagandized programing.  So news may not really be news?

Large parts of the msm are manipulated to support segments of the population, maybe very much like religion.

Many people are busy from day to day survival, so digging, even Truth Digging may not be in the scope of the majority of the populace. Some of us here may be a small exceptional minority.

Political campaigns are a prime example of distortions, depending on who you want to believe.  References become of little value to the common person trying to decide between which political spewing is true, the sad thing is, sometimes it does not matter whether alleged facts one is lead to hear, may be true or not, for wanting to believe in a lie may override integrity of truth.

References are worthy of belief, depending on what one want’s to believe.

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By Paolo, September 10, 2008 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

Hi Paul_GA,

You commented that you vote, because you feel if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain.

Actually, the opposite is true: if you VOTE, then you have NO RIGHT TO COMPLAIN. After all, in voting, you sanctioned the system. In the act of voting, you tacitly agree that you will abide by the result: “majority rules.” If you take part in the vote, and cast your ballot for (let us say) Obama, but McCain actually wins, you have no right to complain. You agreed to live with the concept of mob rule.

Only those who DON’T VOTE have a right to complain. They choose not to sanction the sham “two party” system.

Taking part in a system that offers no real choice only sanctions and strengthens that unjust system. The more people vote, the more the winners can crow about their “mandate.”

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By Shenonymous, September 10, 2008 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

oops, I closed the italics wrong somewhere!  Damn. so here I will try.  Let’s hope it works.

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By Shenonymous, September 10, 2008 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Of course the good George is dead, Leefeller!  Unless you are a great standup comic, personal opinions are only good for Pew Institute polls.  Actually I never mind if anybody has a personal opinion unless there is a claim that the world is a certain way.  Then belief is implied as truth!  That is the only reason to ask for references!  There is no argument against your ‘common’ sense.  Knowing the truth is one thing but making claims to truth is another.  For instance, when you say “the media” is propaganda, it is not clear what you mean, exactly.  Do you mean every avenue of news are all the same?  If so, what are you doing here at all since nothing is exempt from propaganda?  Based on your comment, why are you bothering to vote?  Did George Carlin have a good argument or not?  If not, why bother citing his advice?  If he did, then we ought to all give up and drink ourselves into oblivion and wait for doom to happen.  Is that what you are suggesting?

How do any of us know what is true and what is not?  That is a question for epistemologists.  But we can go with likelihood.  What is most likely the truth based on the facts we can gather and it can change as new facts are learned.  It is a tradeoff with the worst that can happen.

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By Leefeller, September 10, 2008 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment

She,

References, references, I don’t need no stinking references!

Accepting and assimilating information over time from radicals if yo like Tom Haydan, with comments from others, people I am more inclined to believe than the Russ Limpjaws of the world.  For some reason I am duped in to accepting the premise neo-con think tanks have successfully manipulated the government, the media and right wing religion as a tool, their lacky foot solders. This blind insistence of getting into a war every 5 years seems to support common sense and amiss in logic land.  Economics be damned, especially domestic improvements, things which could help the people.

To me the media is propaganda, used to manipulate the masses into voting aginst their own best interests. After all, ignorance is not absent from society as a whole.

Even Obama seems to have climbed aboard the attack Afghanistan and Pakistan mentality.

References are not specific but the assimilation of many different ideas, assimilated over time. Factoids, not me. How do any of us know what is true and what is not? 

Sure I will vote, George Carlin will not because he is not with us nor did he when he was. RIP George!

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By Shenonymous, September 10, 2008 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

BlueBerry Pick’n – yes I did miss your long quote.  Sorry, must have had one grain of buckshot too less.  You say wake up! Stop being a baby.  Great!  I agree with you!  You say participate with your local Police Services Board, committees, meetings, public fora, etc.  The best advice!  It definitely would be more fruitful if city hall put more money into police training taught police to be more non-violent/non-confrontational, civil rights training, and to understand the protestors’ civil rights, to be tolerant, how to make distinctions.  Any suggestions on how to make city hall responsive to the involved public?  From my experience with watching city board meetings, the public gets the shaft no matter what.  The city managers, board members do exactly what they want.  The modus operandi at the city level is congruent with what happens in Washington.  It was an excellent post anyway and I still like all of your quotes.  Especially AyaanHirsi Ali’s.  Thank you!

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By BlueBerry Pick'n, September 10, 2008 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

its a long page, I guess you missed my point, Sheronymous

oh well.

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By Shenonymous, September 10, 2008 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

Seduced into checking out this forum by the best of the best, I now have to make other comments just so you know somebody is reading them.  I read them all!  And went to all the links provided.  Hey thanks.  This is my shotgun approach for arriving late.

Why do you think, Farenheit451, that activism is dead?  Seems like there is plenty of evidence to the contrary already given links to on this forum.  You have an interesting evolution of how it goes, probably right!

Leefeller, you are absolutely right about the nonaction over impeachment!  Why do you think the DumDumDems are holding back?  Do you really think the Democrats are corporate shackled too?  Evidence please!  I’m not saying I don’t believe you.  Do you really think there is no difference between the GOP and the Dems and that we are completely duped? At least you are a bit more optimistic if Obama wins. But Lee, yes, let’s all not vote! Right?  Gotta love that George,... Carlin that is.  But bet that other George wishes all the Democrats don’t vote.  Surely that was a tongue in cheek comment. Your view of corporations insidious influence eating at the rights of the people is a good start but needs more references for solid point.

jake2877 – do you think it’s 1984 already?  There are 305,115,858 Americans and counting 6 more every second as of 3:10pm CDST.  Do you think all of them will submit to the alleged “growing fascism” in this country?  I don’t think the farmers will. 

Folktruther said the truth, silence implies consent!  Mobilize to resist!  But it won’t happen with third party candidates, never even if hell freezes over! 
libertarian – What freedoms are you talking about?  speech, religion, press, assembly, fair trial, right to vote, anything else?  Listen, just because some disparate parties agree on resistance to intrusive government doesn’t mean they are holding hands!  But I see you are pumping for a third party campaign again, but it will take you down a dead end.

Virginia777 – needs to spell ochlocracy correctly which means mob rule and she continues to whine about the media.  yeah yeah we all know it’s the media and the liberals that have commandeered the Internet!.  But wait, she thinks the left has awakened!  What could that mean?

troublesum – what was the reporter’s name who was sprayed by the policeman?  AG – gives good advice to keep struggling but doesn’t say whether violently or peacefully.

diamond - excellent post – worth repeating the BBC that showed WTC building number 7 being demolished and aired a lot of the facts about what happened on September 11. Of course, it didn’t tell the truth in the end and had plenty of rightwing stooges there to spin the facts but this program could never have been on the ABC even a year ago.  But the conspiracy theory about Cheney and anthrax letters over the edge but there is incredible insight on the following also worth repeating: Cheney’s essentially in hiding at the moment and has aged incredibly. The main thing is to vote in such numbers that they can’t rig the vote. It’s the economy that will do them in. Americans don’t forgive bad economic managers and this brand of Republican ideologues have turned America into a banana republic.  If I may make a little modification:  keeps America a mindlessly cold republic for their own salt mines.

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By Shenonymous, September 10, 2008 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

Here goes… The second of 2
BruSays - Excellent posts!  Thank you.  I’m saving them on my hard drive. – Also good word that Leefeller will love! doomed! It is so evangelical!

youraveragejoe– interesting that there are no comments made at article site you gave reported September 2.  It is now eight days later.  What do you make of that?

SlimTim- How about for the love of freedom, christ’s love isn’t going to help you! You can bank on it.  But maybe loving freedom more enough to galvanize one into action will?

Yes, troublesum, why isn’t RFK Jr. running?  Now somebody is talking turkey!
I agree that the Obama strategy is paltry and is ineffective.  They had better get some smarts or de be in biiiiggg trouble!

Gmonst- an excellent and optimistic post.  Yes, American humans are progressing if an overview of history is made.  Have to keep it going and not let it stagnate as the Republican ticket promises.

DemocracyDog – that depends on the flavor of the Supreme Court!  What war? What laws?

tres – absolutely great photos!  What exaaaactly were those fascista-looking police expecting? These photos need to be posted everywhere!  The people look pretty benign, just like average folks, more average than Palin even.

rself is right! on McNutjob and Obama!

Well shelle smythe, Ohioians for Obama needs to get some computer hacks to make sure the voting machines work properly instead of wringing hands.

A war, Paul GA or Kath Cantarella or enough ordinary people who will vote?!  And let the Republican moan much as they want, we can certainly handle that.

lifewriter shows some excellent critical thinking.  I checked out Army Regulation 210-35, regarding media coverage of Civilian Inmate Labor Program camps, see Chapter 4 section 4-2.  Interesting google site about Army Detention Camps for civilian dissenters:  Description: Dissenters to the bird flu quarantine and so-called terrorists arrested under the USA Patriot Act will be taken to detention camps; there are four types of facilities.  See lifewriter’s links.  But exactly who is being sent to these camps?

rowman-is a scholar indeed!

new sbuoy – great clip from Brazil!  Best movie along with Seven Beauties, 1984, Farenheit 451 (the Bradbury book/movie not the TD commenter!).  Yes we need reminded at every turn.  Fascism abounds and permeates the mind almost unknown to the conservatives themselves.  I say almost because at some level I think they do know they want that kind of power and control.

Frank Cajon – it has been a lot longer than seven years!  Try Hoover and Joe McCarthy and Huey Long and the KKK and the 5th Column.

Ona – yes it is the imperative to get reports about travesty to humans by humans, but it is how the reporting is done that is equally important.  Truth comes when all of the facts are given not just the biased ones.

BlueBerry Pick’n – nice quotes from a Canadian.

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By BlueBerry Pick'n, September 10, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who has proclaimed Violence his method inexorably must choose Lying as his principle ~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Give me the liberty to know, to utter, & to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties ~ John Milton

There have been periods of history in which episodes of terrible violence occurred but for which the word violence was never used…. Violence is shrouded in justifying myths that lend it moral legitimacy, & these myths for the most part kept people from recognizing the violence for what it was. The people who burned witches at the stake never for one moment thought of their act as violence; rather they thought of it as an act of divinely mandated righteousness. The same can be said of most of the violence we humans have ever committed” ~ Gil Bailie

Each of the Iraqi children killed by the United States was our child. Each of the prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib was our comrade. Each of their screams was ours. When they were humiliated, we were humiliated. The U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq - mostly volunteers in a poverty draft from small towns & poor urban neighborhoods - are victims just as much as the Iraqis of the same horrendous process, which asks them to die for a victory that will never be theirs. ~ Arundhati Roy, “Tide? Or Ivory Snow? Public Power in the Age of Empire”

If we pursue this way, if we are decent, industrious, and honest, if we so loyally and truly fulfill our duty, then it is my conviction that in the future as in the past the Lord God will always help us” ~ Adolf Hitler, at the Harvest Thanksgiving Festival on the Buckeburg held on 3 Oct. 1937

How many does it take to metamorphose wickedness into righteousness? One man must not kill. If he does, it is murder…. But a state or nation may kill as many as they please, & it is not murder. It is just, necessary, commendable, & right. Only get people enough to agree to it, & the butchery of myriads of human beings is perfectly innocent. But how many does it take?” ~ Adin Ballou, The Non-Resistant, 5 February 1845

A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses & their army of managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude.” ~ Aldous Huxley, Brave New World

Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little” ~ Edmund Burke

┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄
BlueBerry Pick’n
can be found @
ThisCanadian
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... tolerance of intolerance is cowardice…” ~ Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
We, two, form a Multitude” ~ Ovid.
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Silent Freedom is Freedom Silenced
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By Max Shields, September 10, 2008 at 2:21 pm Link to this comment

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” — John F. Kennedy

Was Kennedy talking about USA? Some how I can’t imagine the uber-cold warrior thinking his comment had anything to do with “America”.

Though I think it apt, perhaps if stated by Malcolm X or someone with real creds.

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By Shenonymous, September 10, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

OzarkMichael – Leftists spontaneous combustion?  A bit over the edge Ozark even for you with the Muslim thing and blaming the Christians who, it appears, you would like to make the scapegoat so you may have public permission to defend them.  You speak of convenience?  I have no feelings of warmth for Hedges, as is well known from my many posts elsewhere, but prostituting anybody for one’s own agenda is a bit un…Christian.  Hedges is no more or less sincere here than he attempts to be in anything he writes.  He is a Christian himself, an ex-divinity student who has not declared to be atheist or agnostic.  So your diatribe against him is misplaced.  Perhaps you are focusing on his en passant melodramatic inclusion of Christian crosses and professions of faith in his comparison to the face of Janus (two-faced). But of course, his reference to Palin’s militant evangelicalism did it!  There must be a hands off on anything or anyone that smacks of Christian fascism since the truth hurts.  Who is really combusting here?

You are absolutely correct, however, the election will hinge on whether it is about real issues, or a perpetrated culture war.  That part is about as insightful as anybody has made on this entire thread!  It is truly clever of the Republicans to have inserted that stinking aroma, put into a skirt, into the election, but it is not entirely unexpected.  It is the sleight of hand of the slick sorcerer and the red herring effect so typical of Republican politics when they want to keep the mind of the hoi polloi off the real issues, which thank you, you have clearly pointed out.  Your clarity is much more helpful than Hedges ever is.  All that being said, it is not a non-issue however, but it must be relegated to its proportionally proper place.

Fundamentalism in Christianity and Islam do have similarities that you want to deny and deflect for obvious proprietary reasons.  The atheist doesn’t have to point them out, but they do because no body else is, or can.  Fanaticism needs to be exposed wherever it raises its ugly head even if it does within fundamentalist-based religions.  You describe a certain kind of atheist but there are different flavors of atheism just as you claim there are fundamentalist Christians.  And there are non-militant atheists.  First of all, an atheist, any atheist, has no faith.  Faith is not descriptive of their beliefs.  It is precisely the lack of faith in the sense that Christians and Islamists have that drives their thinking.  If they have beliefs, and I admit belief by its very nature cannot be based on provable and absolutely known evidence, these beliefs are founded in the well-researched rationale that there is a strong component of delusion to all religious belief.  While specific fundamentalism within a religion, i.e., Christianity and Islam, have unique characteristics arising from their distinct origins, the ensuing motives become so similar that the differences are negligible on that score.  It is the unbridled passion and mental agitation of fundamentalism that at first unites them, then other common elements, some of these already correctly spelled out by outrage.

Funny but I see the media, particularly MSM as completely conservative.  DO notice the obvious placement of who goes first on their reportage and who goes last and exactly how long each candidate is shown, how the media coverages are cleverly edited.  Particularly PBS The News Hour that claims to be objective is positively revolting how they nuance towards a more gentle or cutesy McCain and shrill Obama!  But you may be quite right about Hedges wanting Obama to lose.  Personally I think he always has his head up that dark dark place.

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By KDelphi, September 10, 2008 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

I could have the stats wrong, but dont 80% if China’s people stil live in abject poverty? That is not to say the US is better—I just dont think that all the rosy data coming out about China is al real—at least not for most of the population. If you type “freedom” into a pc—they wont open it and spy on you. Sounds like the USA Patriot Act to me-Chinese style- and google turned over to the Chinese govt all the people that it requested,in the name of capitalism. It is hard to imagine that Chinese multi-natls. are doing any different than US-original multi-nationals.  I coudl be mis-informed—it is not unusual in the uS.

Some people at SP-USA bring up China as an example for the US future. I dont think its communist or socialist—its just capitalist. We would not be able to muster the cooperatin in the “individualsitic” society—but do we really want that?

Everytime I see the McDonald’s and Starbuck’s in China, I wonder what has happend to the ancient culture there. To me, it just looks like the US.

It seems that many subsistence level agricultural peasants were asked to give up land in the spirit of “cooperation”. From the show I saw on PBS, they get absolutely nothing return.That doesnt seem to be a good human rights goal.

PBS can be full of it. Refer me somewhere.

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By Outraged, September 10, 2008 at 12:43 pm Link to this comment

Re: OzarkMichael

Your comment: “Lets be precise. Its a fundamental tenet of your faith that Christianity and Islam are the same, and that the fundamentalisms are the same, and produce the same blight upon the world. It is a pillar of the liberal atheist creed.”

I do not have “a faith” OzarkMichael.  This is something you are erroneously claiming, however where you may have gathered this idea is telling.  Other than the rhetoric produced by many fundamentalists, atheism is NOT “a faith”. As in a religious faith, such as you are suggesting.  I do not adhere to tenets of any kind.  I look for truths and facts.  Truth and fact are exactly the OPPOSITE of faith.

Fundamentalists of ANY religion do share some basic beliefs.  One, such as I averred with this comment:

“Fundamentalists seek to create dictatorial theocracies and are against democracy.  It is a basic tenet of their faith.  They NEVER seek to merely blend within society and do not believe in any laws or rules other than those that they consider are from God.”

This is a fact, and in this way, they are the same.  Yes, they are.  This is not meant to say that there are no differences, of course there are, otherwise they would be the same religion, would they not…?

However, ALL fundamentalists take their version of supposedly “God’s word” and interpret it to mean that GOD’S RULES super-cede ANY AND ALL rules of man.  And as I said, this is A BASIC TENET of fundamentalism.  Now whether you are a Christian fundamentalist or a Muslim fundamentalist this IS a basic tenet of your FAITH.

While there are differences between the religions, I do not see ANY reason to assume that Christian fundamentalism as opposed to Muslim fundamentalism to be any less dangerous to democracy.  Both are dangerous.  Both seek to eradicate democracy for the reasons I’ve stated.  Look at the Medievel inquisitions (Christians) or the current state of Afghanistan (Muslim) where it concerns fundamentalism, a literal interpretation of their “holy book”, and it is easy to ascertain that BOTH are against democracy and dangerous for humanity.

For your reference, atheism according to Wikipedia.

“Atheism, as an explicit position, can be either the affirmation of the nonexistence of gods,[1] or the rejection of theism.[2] It is also[3] defined more broadly as synonymous with any form of nontheism, including the simple absence of belief in deities.[4][5][6][7]

Many self-described atheists are skeptical of all supernatural beings and cite a lack of empirical evidence for the existence of deities. Others argue for atheism on philosophical, social or historical grounds. Although many self-described atheists tend toward secular philosophies such as humanism[8] and naturalism,[9] there is no one ideology or set of behaviors to which all atheists adhere;[10] and some religions, such as Jainism and Buddhism, do not require belief in a personal god.”

Atheism can be many things, however as the excerpt states, “THERE IS NO ONE IDEOLOGY OR SET OF BEHAVIORS TO WHICH ALL ATHEISTS ADHERE”, therefore OzarkMichael, to claim that I have ANY “fundamental tenets” is a absolute falsehood.

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By BlueBerry Pick'n, September 10, 2008 at 12:31 pm Link to this comment

I’m always dismayed by posts like HeavyRunner

they are OUR Community Peace Officers.

so go take them back.

Show UP at City Hall.  Be respectful.  Participate.

Ensure they understand that you want redirection from MILITARIZATION to budgets set aside for non-violent/non-confrontational conflict management skills training.  You want your cops to have ACTUAL CIVIL RIGHTS training & training to understand PROTESTERS’ civil rights.

Wake up.

Bitching & moaning & insulting the police doesn’t encourage or win their hearts & minds, now does it?

quit bitching:  participate.

create our communities:  DEMOCRACY IS NEITHER AN ARMCHAIR SPORT, NOR IS IT SOMETHING YOU CAN DELEGATE - create your reality!
participate with your local Police Services Board, committees, meetings, public fora, letters to editors, articles for local papers… BE INVOLVED.

be pacifist, be determined… BE part of the COMMUNITY that reminds OUR police they are NOT ‘law enforcement’ but facilitators to OUR communities.

I’ve no respect for those who shriek about ‘the pigs’ when they could much more easily become **recognized** as a reputable community peace activist & NEIGHBOUR at the local copshack.

wake up.  & stop being a baby. you gotta GIVE to GET.

┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄
Spread love, not hate, fear & corporate dependence,


BlueBerry Pick’n
can be found @
ThisCanadian
┄┄
... tolerance of intolerance is cowardice… ” ~  Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
We, two, form a Multitude” ~ Ovid.
┄┄
Silent Freedom is Freedom Silenced
┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄

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By Folktruther, September 10, 2008 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

No, China isn’t fascist, KDelphi, the equating of the left and right with Totalitarianism is American capitalist bullshit. China’s historical task is one the US and Europt accompished last century, getting the people off the farns and into towns.  A very painful and difficult historical experience, which the Chinese are accomplishing faster and better than classical capitalism.

Marxism theory posits that before socialism is possible, capitalism has to develop the tehnical resources that are necessary to free people from primitive poverty.  This capitlism occurred first historically in the West. 

It is now occurring in Asia, where sixty percent of earthpeople live.  China has developed a centralized capitalism that is leading Asia, and the third world, into modern life, as opposed to starvation and disease and the brutality and delusion necessary for ruling power structures to sustain it.

China is growing four times faster than the economies of the West, regaining its historical place in the world that it has lost the past two centuries.  It is an old and successful cultural system with the experience to govern largely without violence and intimidation, insofar as this is possible in a violent and anti-people age.

In a few decades, when it has finished urbaninzing its population, we can go on to the next stage of socialism, whatever form that turns out to be.  But for now China is a progressive force in the world even as it caters to despotic polities.  It needs to avoid the thermonuclear war that usually accompanies transformations of power arrangements such as this one.  And the US is ruled by homicidal megalomaniacs.

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By KDelphi, September 10, 2008 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

RealMedia had a guy from ACLU on today—he reports that, because of the (un)Patriot Act, these people could get 7 yrs in prison! It is now a felony! This stupid ass act needs to be overturned.Its’ been so politicized,—the GOP kept it from passing under Clinton, but, after 9/11, wrote it right up for Bush! Politicians need to stop playing politics with our civil liberties.
Unless you are rich enough to hire a lobbyist, it is your only means (voting is fixed) of redress of grievance. I dont think that there should be lobbyists at all. But, that is not going to happen in a duopoly.

Think the Amendment to FEMA Laws has no connection? Think again. It allowed them to spy on people and set them up.

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By chris, September 10, 2008 at 11:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If only you had access to a deeper model of “Christian” political and state theory, you might be more careful in your pejoratives. The maps is not the territory, and the word is not the thing. You have made the classic mistake of missing this essential distinction.

In a truly Christian model, the state would remain as a limited sphere of influence and power, only a co-equal with the family, the church, business institutions, and all other spheres of sovereignty. It would have very limited powers, mainly of defense, and NOT of itself!! McCain and his like have no understanding of this, neither does Palin or any other Rep I know of. They are all Statist worshippers.

Please, do not make the mistake of really researching what actually entails a Christian, ie Biblical, perspective of the state and freedom. It is much more broad and humane than you have made it here. Straw-men are easy to knock down.

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By KDelphi, September 10, 2008 at 11:35 am Link to this comment

geneman—That is certainly not what the journalists who tried to report from the Olympics said. The US government if fascist. So is China’s as far as I can see. Maybe your book would change my mind, but, unless its out in paperback, I probably cant affored it. Our elections are futile—they simply dont have any. If they are just as bad as the uS, as far as Imperislism, well, we might just as well all give it up.

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By geneman, September 10, 2008 at 10:55 am Link to this comment

Having lived and taught and written in and from China, and have a forthcoming book on this subject (A Billion to One: An American Insider in China) I must observe that we are heading in opposite directions in every way (except a parallel course towards environmental and economic mutual destruction). China had its Tienanmen Square. We had Kent State. And while no one we know of was shot, St. Paul is a grave harbinger of the shape of things to come on this side of the Pacific. During my 30 months in China the only weapons I ever saw were at a flag ceremony (two carbines and a cannon) and at banks (Kalashnikovs), where Chinese Brinks-style armored cars transport cash. China is still a cash economy and so there’s a lot of cash. I never heard of anyone being shot in China, during my stay (including my province, Heilongjiang, which has upwards of 50 million people). Do the Chinese still oppress and harass and arrest dissidents protestors? Yes. Same as us. But there the person on the street is a whole lot safer, including from government harassment. The Chinese now emulate us in every way, economically and culturally (although their former political adulation from the Clinton era has vanished since the Iraq war and Bush re-election) and we are certainly aping them in the worst ways. One party Communist or Republican rule backed by the military? Orwellian big lies and Machiavellian manipulation of truth? Rasputin to Gang of Four to Bush, Karl Marx to Karl Rove, it’s around the corner and already here. Long as all their multinational corporate crony pals get nice payoffs, as they do. There’s little difference any more except China is still on its way up, and we on our way down, slouching towards Bethlehem.

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By OzarkMichael, September 10, 2008 at 10:43 am Link to this comment

per Outraged: Fundamentalists seek to create dictatorial theocracies and are against democracy.  It is a basic tenet of their faith.

Lets be precise. Its a fundamental tenet of your faith that Christianity and Islam are the same, and that the fundamentalisms are the same, and produce the same blight upon the world. It is a pillar of the liberal atheist creed.

How dangerous it might be for the atheist to use his reason instead of his faith to evaluate the proposition!  I didnt think the atheist worldview was so fragile, but apparently if we take that pillar out, the atheist worldview would… collapse?

Surely not. Hopefully not. I respect the atheist worldview enough to think it can be strengthened by truth and not wrecked by it.

Then it shouldnt be so hard to look at the facts. One needs only a little courage and honesty.


@ Paul-GA: thank you for the response to my question. It was a rational answer but it makes me sad for the Left. I do think this election will make a difference, but it seems that many people (like yourself) are dispirited. Many of the posts here express the same sentiment. I get the drift of what you all are saying.

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By Paul_GA, September 10, 2008 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

Paolo, I don’t think the country can vote itself into freedom; as you say, it may take a new civil war to do that. But I vote anyway, because I feel that if one does not vote, one has no right to complain about the government.

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By AS, September 10, 2008 at 9:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As “pessimistic,” as Mr. Hedges writing may seem, unfortunately, it is an accurate reflection of the realty!

Instead of repeating what many have already written, I would like to ask those readers who would like to gain a better understanding of what seems like a self-destructive behavior of our civilized Nation, to read an extraordinarily educational, well researched-documented BOOK,
authored by Craig Unger, “The Fall of the House of Bush” (Simon&Schuster;, 2007).

On page-13 of the book, Mr. Unger states: “Astonishingly enough, the story of how neoconservative ideologues banded together with the Christian Right to forge these radical policies under Bush has never been told. In part that may be because religious sensitivities of both Evangelical Christians and Jews make deep criticism of America’s Middle East (ME) policies the third rail of American politics. Indeed, the entire topic is at odds with the way the discourse about the ME conflict has been framed in the US, and so taboo that it rarely appears in the American press in any context whatsoever.”

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By Folktruther, September 10, 2008 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

You got carried away, Paul Easton.  It IS necessary to oppose the power system.  It isn’t done for unless some force is opposing it.  And the opposition serves as a ideology point for the next step forward.

There is an amusing truther called Dmitry Orlov, who has a blog called ClubOrlov.  He was an eyewitness to the collapse of the soviet union.  He maintains that Americans are deficient in collapse preparedness, and that we will have a harder time recovering than Russia did, mostly because of our selfish individualism.

It is necessary to mobilize the population NOW for the American collapse which is predicted even by mainstream bourgeois thinkers, like Chalmers Johnson. To do so, I maintain, it is necessary to generalize marxism to include ethnicities such as races as well as classes.  It is this theory lack that has concealed the hijacking of the American power system by Zionist neocons and neolibs.  Although events mobilize the masses, the direction is determined by the theory available at the time.

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By BlueBerry Pick'n, September 10, 2008 at 9:15 am Link to this comment

enjoy!

Battle in Seattle opens this month.  Go watch it.

If you aren’t familiar with this history-making episode in World History:

- http://www.thisisdemocracy.org/
- http://www.realbattleinseattle.org/
- http://www.battleinseattlemovie.com/

“This Is What Democracy Looks Like”:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2007206186362541122

┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄┄
Spread Love, not hate, fear & corporate dependence…


BlueBerry Pick’n
can be found @
ThisCanadian
┄┄
... tolerance of intolerance is cowardice…” ~ Ayaan Hirsi Ali.
We, two, form a Multitude” ~ Ovid.
True Pacifism is not unrealistic submission to an Evil power…it is rather a courageous confrontation with Evil by the Power of Love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflicter of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence & bitterness in the Universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, & thereby bring about a transformation & change of Heart.” - MLK
┄┄
Silent Freedom is Freedom Silenced
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By outrider61, September 10, 2008 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

The office of president is an illusion. The corporations run it all…get used to it. Democrat or Republican makes no difference…just like Mets or Yankees.

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By paul easton, September 10, 2008 at 7:05 am Link to this comment

In the good old days of the Vietnam War there was one DC demo called ‘Shut It Down’ or something like that. The DC cops did mass preemptive arrests of anyone they could catch. Later everyone who was arrested was awarded $10,000 by the court. In those days the Constitution still meant something to the judges.

Today the Constitution is a dead letter. The Ruling Class has expropriated all of the political space. Dissent will get you no where, and as for Revolution dont make me laugh.

And you know what? It doesnt matter. Because the Capitalist System is being destroyed by its own dynamics. The economy is crashing and like Humpty Dumpty it cant be fixed. The rest of the world is behind us here but I think it will follow soon.

So its not necessary to oppose the System. The System is done for. The big question is what will happen next. Will we revert to Feudalism or go forward to something else? Forward to what? Which way is up? Thats all we need to think about now.

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By Ona, September 10, 2008 at 6:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Thank you Chris Hedges and Truthdig for continuing to report on the arrests in MN. This is a BIG story that is being buried and it has to be reported.
A majority of people in this country have no clue what happened to not only reporters but regular folks not to mention protesters.
Please keep talking about it and tell us how the folks that are still in detention are managing.

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By Leefeller, September 10, 2008 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

Ye old bumper sticker says “Who Gives A Damn About Apathy”

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By Paolo, September 10, 2008 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

Amerika has a long history of suppressing and oppressing those who oppose war. For evidence, study Lincoln’s treatment of dissident newspapers, Wilson’s arresting of antiwar protesters, Vietnam protests, and so forth. Only now, we’re right at the cusp of crossing over fully into a fascist, blackshirt state. All that is needed is one more big terrorist attack, either real or manufactured.

Observe that both Republican and Democratic politicians are equally comfortable with this modern fascism. Lincoln, Wilson, FDR, Johnson, and Nixon all drank from the same cup.

If you still think we can vote ourselves into freedom, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s going to take a revolution, folks—probably a violent one—to throw off the beast.

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By Catman Joe, September 10, 2008 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

“Someone needs to wake up the cops! If they continue simply “following orders.” we’re damned! “

But Jamie, it is sooo cool to dress up like Darth Vader. Always the chance you might get to shoot someone, maybe even kill them.

The juice is running down my leg just thinking about it. It would make my girlfriend so hot!

Jose

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By Paul_GA, September 10, 2008 at 4:36 am Link to this comment

If it were up to me, OzarkMichael, neither of the major parties would win. The Repubs are the full-strength War Party, while the Demos are the War Party Lite. Since the Demos are not as antiwar as they ought to be, I for one will take my vote elsewhere this November. I voted Libertarian the last two elections; this time, I’m leaning to the Greens, simply because I’m dissatisfied with Bob Barr and I think Cynthia McKinney is the most antiwar of the third-party candidates.

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By Outraged, September 9, 2008 at 10:42 pm Link to this comment

To choose Sarah Palin was an outrageous example of the TRUE perspective of the radical right.  I thought this article by Juan Cole @ Commondreams entitled, “What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick.”  says it well.

“John McCain announced that he was running for president to confront the “transcendent challenge” of the 21st century, “radical Islamic extremism,” contrasting it with “stability, tolerance and democracy.” But the values of his handpicked running mate, Sarah Palin, more resemble those of Muslim fundamentalists than they do those of the Founding Fathers. On censorship, the teaching of creationism in schools, reproductive rights, attributing government policy to God’s will and climate change, Palin agrees with Hamas and Saudi Arabia rather than supporting tolerance and democratic precepts. What is the difference between Palin and a Muslim fundamentalist? Lipstick…..”

“.....Palin has a right to her religious beliefs, as do fundamentalist Muslims who agree with her on so many issues of social policy. None of them has a right, however, to impose their beliefs on others by capturing and deploying the executive power of the state. The most noxious belief that Palin shares with Muslim fundamentalists is her conviction that faith is not a private affair of individuals but rather a moral imperative that believers should import into statecraft wherever they have the opportunity to do so. That is the point of her pledge to shape the judiciary. Such a theocratic impulse is incompatible with the Founding Fathers’ commitment to tolerance and democracy, which is why they forbade the government to “establish” or officially support any particular religion or denomination.

McCain once excoriated the Rev. Jerry Falwell and his ilk as “agents of intolerance.” That he took such a position gave his opposition to similar intolerance in Islam credibility. In light of his more recent disgraceful kowtowing to the Christian right, McCain’s animus against fundamentalist Muslims no longer looks consistent. It looks bigoted and invidious. You can’t say you are waging a war on religious extremism if you are trying to put a religious extremist a heartbeat away from the presidency.”

I agree.  Fundamentalists seek to create dictatorial theocracies and are against democracy.  It is a basic tenet of their faith.  They NEVER seek to merely blend within society and do not believe in any laws or rules other than those that they consider are from God.  While there are some differences between sects, the premise is the same.

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By PGAJAMIE411, September 9, 2008 at 9:27 pm Link to this comment

Someone needs to wake up the cops! If they continue simply “following orders.” we’re damned!

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By OzarkMichael, September 9, 2008 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

We may well end up with the Christian right on one side, with politicians like Sarah Palin providing an ideological veneer to a Christian fascism, and embittered leftist radicals who turn to violence on the other.

  Hedges at his ‘best’. Poor embittered Leftists. They dont want to hurt anybody. But they really have to try so hard to control themselves! Its amazing they havent spontaneously combusted out of sheer frustration.

Hedges can blame any future violence from his leftist buddies on the Christian ‘Fascists’? I’m sure he blames embittered Muslim radicals who turn to violence(ie terrorists) on Christians too.

How convenient. Not well thought out, but convenient.

Oh, and what iteration of his ‘Christian-conservative-leader-who-is-secretly-a-fascist’ is Hedges working on now? 3rd? 4th? (Those first few tries didnt work out I guess) Oh, but this time he really means it! This time Hedges’  Great Fascist Pumpkin will surely arrive because Hedges is so sincere. Or is this a sort of cottage industry for Chris to keep stoking up the far left’s fear of Christianity? You guys must get a buzz from that sort of thing. 

Do you understand how helpful to McCain/Palin that is?

The Democrats should win the election on issues, but instead Hedges wants to fight a culture war which just so happens to be the only ‘issue’ on which the Republicans can win. Think about it.

I will spell it out for you: 

Issues = Democrats win this time

Culture War = Republicans win this time


But read all the happy comments here which agree with Hedges. Think. Watch all the You Tube records of Olberman’s biased anchor/moderator work for MSNBC coverage of the conventions. Nothing like a heavy liberal media bias to get the moderates to side with Palin and the Republicans. And make the lukewarm-to-McCain-Evangelicals become fired up. Obama was going to pry some of them away. Well, that wont happen now. Think about it.

The race is TIED today. For no reason at all except the media jumped on Palin which reignited the culture war mentality before she even opened her mouth. It gave her a huge opportunity to attack the media and tie Obama to that media. Now he looks like he is part of the establishment. It is unfair but thats what happened. 

But Hedges can’t get enough. He wanted even MORE liberal media bias to cover the protesters instead of the Republican convention. Sort of like Keith Olberman, who wished the newspeople didnt show parts of the convention and actually said so on live TV. Pronouncing out loud a wish to censor a convention which you are supposed to be covering objectively….VERY DUMB!

I think Hedges wants Obama to lose.

Is that what you guys want too?

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By Frank Cajon, September 9, 2008 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

While the points about the fact that we are an authoritarian state (have been for seven years) in this article are well taken, I look to two other scenes for points of reference. One was last September 11, when, despite my disablility I went to the Federal building and demonstrated, as part of what I hoped would be a general strike by concerned Americans against the Iraq war. In the sleepy military town of San Diego (population 2 million), in my wheelchair, I had the company of about 75 total people most of the time. There were almost that many counter demonstrators.
The other scene was Chicago in 1968. That time I wasn’t there, I was only 19, but I was a volunteer worker for Gene McCarthy and had been in peace marches for three years already. The carnage in that convention and the betrayal of America by the Democrats drove me to the SWP and other splinter parties for two decades. Sure, this kind of crap is unacceptable, but I don’t think the Democrats have ever in 40 years made me feel like that massacre was truly regretted. The blood of over 25,000 troops was spilled by Nixon, and it was the doing of Humphrey, Daley, and the Democratic party heirarchy. As fascist as Chancellor Bush and Cheney are, they got their primer in the art from watching that convention, and not enough Americans really care. If they did, we would have a general strike in two days, with thousands marching on Washington. But we won’t.

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By new sbuoy, September 9, 2008 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

or beginners luck.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=291QciJA2Wo

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By Folktruther, September 9, 2008 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

St Paul, as Hedges says, is a window into our future.  The pre-emptive strikes abroad are now being carried out at home.  Poice provocateurs infiltrate progressive organizations and threaten to create attacks which give a pretext to the police to manhandle the dissidents.

The objections on this thread simply ignore that these pre-emptive attacks by the police were carried out BEFORE any demonstrations to place, and targeted journalists.  I strongly suspect that the informers and provocateurs of the same kind are being placed in these rank and file threads, and influence the naive and confused. 

This kind of thing has been a standard police tactic historically of oppressive regimes.  It occurred in the US during the War on Communism.  When this War on Communism of the 20th century segued into the War on Terrorism of the 21st, it was developed and implemented by Zionists who support the Likud strategy of apartheid Israel, who have hijacked US foreign and domestic policy.

Israel policy is entirely based on political-military oppression, and routinely encompasses murder, torture, spying on the population, and repressing dissent.  Israeli policy is now being implemented in the US by both the Gop neocons and Dem neolibs, who both supported the attacks on dissidents, the Dems primarily by complicit silence. 

It is necessary to develop organs, tactics and strategies to meet these attacks of the American power system against the American population.

We are all Palestinians now.

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By diamond, September 9, 2008 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

Remind me again: they hate us for our freedoms? Wasn’t that the line? I suppose in that case it’s wise to take all those freedoms away. Who exactly are the terrorists in this scenario? Those big men in black with sticks and tear gas prowling American streets or the man who is supposed to live in a cave in Afghanistan but is probably dead? It’s a black comedy, one the world has seen before, in 1968.

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By Leefeller, September 9, 2008 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

War, Liberty denied and the promotion of penal colonies.

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By mill, September 9, 2008 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

Hi, Ender

I didn’t deliberately lie - i’m not known as a liar.

On our local news (I live in Mpls/StPaul area) they showed weapons confiscated at places where RNC Welcoming Committee members were alleged to have been staying.

They also showed smashed windows in police vehicles that somebody busted (RNC W.C.?) 

so there was violence, there were attempt to disrupt traffic further (the f-cking place was already gridlock, and some protestor is going to convince me of his/her cause by making me late to my kid’s appointments?)    .... 

i believe STRONGLY in 1st Amendment freedoms .... some protestors went beyond their legitimate 1st Amendment rights, and i resent that.

I also resent the heavy-handed harassment of peaceful protestors and on-lookers by authorities.

If a few nutcases would avoid blocking traffic, damaging property,  it would be much easier to hold fascist authorities to account - when authorities respond to actual violence - and there was some, it requires too much nuance to sort out ... extremists on either side point to only part of the story - the one that makes their point - and fail to see the others’ point of view

I think you have fallen into that unfortunate spot, Ender.

Liked that book, Ender’s Game

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By troublesum, September 9, 2008 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment

Today on NPR Obama’s campaign manager was asked why Obama was not hitting back.  He answered, “This campaign is not about hitting back, it’s about telling theAmericanpeople where we stand on the important issues blah blah blah…
Apparently they missed the Kerry ‘04 campaign.

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By rowman, September 9, 2008 at 2:00 pm Link to this comment

You do realize that the stated goal of the RNC Welcoming committee was to shut down the convention and impede on the free speech rights of the convention attendees. Yes, you are a hypocrite indeed.

Christian Fascism.. What right do you have to slander a group of people for their free thoughts? Yes, you are a hypocrite indeed. And how does your candidates Christianity differ from the others Christianity? Yes, you are a hypocrite indeed.

Your ignorance leads you to speak this hate and discrimination. Have you never read Socrates Defense? You claim to be so wise but you are Meletus indeed.

These are the words spoken to you a long time ago:
http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Apology_(Plato)

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By Leefeller, September 9, 2008 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

FYI

This from True Majoity.org

“In the first six months of 2008, 205 American soldiers and over 6,000 Iraqi civilians were reported killed in Iraq.1 Only, you wouldn’t know that from watching the three major newscasts which devoted a total of only 181 weekday minutes to covering the Iraq War.2”

What war?

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By Folktruther, September 9, 2008 at 1:06 pm Link to this comment

The best small weeklies, Virgina, like the VILLAGE VOICE and LA WEEKLY, were bought up by media chains.
Freedom of Expression has been bought out by Big Money, which is largely why the American population is in a political stupor.

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By Catman Joe, September 9, 2008 at 12:24 pm Link to this comment

The Boomer’s will soon be back (retired) with time on our hands.

Missed the teargas last time. Maybe in my old age.

Good laws protect the rich from the poor and govt regs protect the poor from the rich so they are bad laws?

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By Virginia777, September 9, 2008 at 12:07 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, Truthdig IS media! isn’t that fantastic? and more and more people are disgusted with mainstream media everyday. I believe (perhaps stupidly) they can change, but only under massive pressure.

and Folktruther, I remember decent alternative weeklies in the 1980’s into the (very) early 1990’s. Not as good as the 1960’s, but ok. Now however, they are for the most part weak, and even sometimes have become right-wing propaganda tools themselves.

What happened?

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By Folktruther, September 9, 2008 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Liberties are not given, Leefeller, they’re taken.  It is necessary to mobilize the populatin against BOTH political parties, both the neocona and neolib leaders.  The US electoral system is so obsolete and corrupt that voting is largely, but not enirely, irrelevant.  Other peaceful tactics and strategies must be emphasized to ruuse the American people from their political stupor.  This will require a long term strategy and a raising of poolitical consciousness.

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By yellowbird2525, September 9, 2008 at 8:58 am Link to this comment

according to an email this AM from the ACLJ the UC is refusing collage admittance to anyone graduating from Christian schools: the “poor policy” they are stating (fed law) is a deliberate one: it is NO ACCIDENT that our lawmakers are lawless breakers of the law in every aspect & avenue while claiming “we are a nation of law”; it is the typical confusion factor; pretending to be something that they are not; like claiming “we are free”; when almost every other country has freedoms, & lots of benefits for the people; they DO operate inside laws: OURS take $ from Corps & let them do whatever they want as long as it is AGAINST the people of the nation; whom are regarded as subhumans or cattle & beneath them; we are regarded with sneering disdain & contempt; most emails are shredded without even been read; now, it is being done this way: what you have to say is interesting & noted; but they are going to do what THEY want as they always have “pretending” YOU have a “choice” in the matter; the rest of the world KNOWS the truth; it’s time YOU did!

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By Leefeller, September 9, 2008 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

Dave24,

We will be like Iran, instead with selected Christian gospel, demanding that we believe as told or else. Then we will have the Iranians flushing the bible down their toilets, for effect. 

Impeachment is not an option and peace is not an option, selected Christian gospel as we are told.

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By lifewriter, September 9, 2008 at 8:42 am Link to this comment

Of all the issues and concerns voiced here under Hedges’ article, there is one that I keep returning to: it’s the thought that everything we’ve seen so far is little more than a dress rehearsal for what’s to come.  Unlike the film Children of Men, where dissenters / illegals (same difference, really) are pinned up publicly – today’s prisoners are rounded up like live stock, herded out onto a bridge where they’re picked up and thrown into the cattle car, then to the converted factory for processing - all of it so very simple to predict, yet no one on that bridge saw it coming. 

So, I’m left wondering what mechanism could be employed to justify such a forward and obvious breech in civil liberties?  And although layered and multifaceted as this protest was, I feel the big reason behind all this is the eminent need to justify the funding for the next go-around.  If nobody got arrested, and no “serious” riot-like charges were levied against civilians, the security firms and cops that were hired this time around would have a hard time justifying next year’s budgets.  So cops are directed to corral folks on their march and just arrest anybody.  Be it a well meaning citizen, just following the President’s orders to continue shopping, or a teenaged kid wielding a bandanna and a scribbled slogan on a piece of cardboard he ripped off from Wallgreens…but perhaps we’re looking at a marching band just beginning finding it’s tempo.  Instead of base drums, we’ll hear concussion grenades, and instead of Jolly Ranchers, it’s a nightstick to the back of your scull.

Further, it would appear that the Man does not want this kind of information about how easily and readily civilians can be rounded up getting out into the world - though footage will surely not air on CNN or via the other media elite outlets.  The fact that no real attention to Amy Goodman’s arrest has lingered in the news is a testament to complicity with big security firms in our news sources.  Instead, any discussion of the pre-emptive raid of the I-Wittness group is always predisposed with the pre-fabricated allegation of “hostages being held against their will” or of “suspicion of incendiary devices” on the premises.  But at the end of the day, video evidence and the power of the digital media known as the common camcorder are emerging as a new Enemy of the State.  Any irrefutable content that can identify peace officers, vindicate allegations of Probable Cause Riot charges, or reveal police tactics on rounding and herding civilians are now strictly forbidden, and those that exercise the use of such weaponry will be greeted with a shower of pepper spray, and a kneepad to the chin, and a charge that will require a lawyer to mediate. 

Perhaps we might be wise to understand this new force when confronting our politicians, and always be sure that cameras are rolling, that people will see the facts about what transpires at peaceful rallies where our Civil Liberties are exercised and inevitably trampled.  But possibly most noteworthy, above everything else that has occurred this past week, we should look squarely at the fact that we’re not to count on our tax funded police to protect us, rather we can rest assured that these funds will be exploited to incarcerate us.

http://www.army.mil/usapa/epubs/pdf/r210_35.pdf

http://base.google.com/base/a/1027933/6360591448321547686

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By Dave24, September 9, 2008 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Keep mixing religion and politics, and it’s only a matter of time.  It will be worse than a Police State.  It will become a Theocratic Police State.

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By Leefeller, September 9, 2008 at 8:02 am Link to this comment

Folktruther,

Your crystal ball may be reading wrong and being interfered with by sunspots, so you may deciphering through static.  Hope you are wrong anyway. Yes it does look bleak. Does it say anything about getting our Liberties back?

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By Folktruther, September 9, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

The neocon Gops, with Dem neoliberal support, want to DESTROY the social and regulatory aspect of government, dismantling the New Deal reforms, and INCREASE the repressive astpects both in foreign policy and domestic policy.

The destruction often talkes place under the Dems.  Clinton by triangulating with Gop support, destroyed the unions with Nafta, welfare, and,after an initial failure, refrained from trying to increase health insurance.  Obama-Biden will continue this truend while increasing the military and expanding the Afghan war to Pakistan.

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By WilliamJohnCox, September 9, 2008 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Last week, hundreds of protesters in St. Paul were arrested outside the Republican National Convention by helmeted police officers wearing black uniforms and full body armor reminiscent of scenes from the 1987 movie, RoboCop featuring:  “Part man.  Part machine.  All Cop.  The future of law enforcement.”

  In an operation supervised by federal agents, informants were recruited and paid to infiltrate media and protest groups.  Preemptive search warrants were served on their gathering places by masked officers in riot gear armed with assault rifles, and video cameras, computers, journals and political pamphlets were seized.

  Officers marching in formations and shouting military chants used pepper spray, rubber bullets, concussion grenades, smoke bombs and excessive force against predominately peaceful demonstrators.  Specifically targeted, independent and credentialed journalists covering the protests were arrested, violently detained and charged with felony rioting.

  The present encroachment by the federal government into matters of local law enforcement results in part from powers seized by President Bush following 9-11.  He recently reaffirmed: “Consistent with ... the National Emergencies Act ..., I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, ... with respect to ... the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.  Because the terrorist threat continues, the national emergency ... and the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond September 14, 2008.”

  President Bush has appointed himself to ensure our “continuity of government”; however, the actual limits on his “powers and authorities” remain secret, even from Congress.  Any “Enduring Constitutional Government” will be run by the president alone, and any “cooperative” role played by Congress or the Supreme Court will be at his pleasure as a “matter of comity.”

  Watching these events unfold, and reflecting back upon the experiences and observations of a 45-year career in America’s justice system, I have concluded that while law enforcement may have improved as a profession, police officers have become less conscious of who it is they are sworn to protect and to serve.

More: http://www.thevoters.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=43

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By Paul_GA, September 9, 2008 at 6:18 am Link to this comment

Thank you, Jackpine.

Actually, the Repubs lie when they talk and write about “small government”. They really want it to be as big as possible—to accomplish THEIR ends.

Naturally, Obama may win in November, whereupon you can be sure the Repub propaganda machine will moan and groan about how the “big-government Democrats” are ruining the country! (In fact, BOTH of the two wings of the War Party are ruining the country.)

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By jackpine savage, September 9, 2008 at 4:18 am Link to this comment

Paul,

Excellent point.  I’ve often wondered why “small government” Republicans never look at downsizing the Department of War.  It certainly seems as if it is our most bloated, over spending governmental institution.

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By Paul_GA, September 9, 2008 at 2:28 am Link to this comment

The problem, ultimately, is WAR. War is what makes a country’s government grow big, coercive, and cruel. “War is the health of the State”, as proto-libertarian Randolph Bourne said in the title of his unfinished 1918 essay. To rescue the Republic will require total repudiation of foreign interventionism, dismantling of the military-industrial complex, severe reductions in the size of all of the US armed forces, a revival of the old state militia system (and concomitant disbandment of the National Guard, which is intended to augment the regular military in time of foreign war), and major overhaul of the US governmental system (including repeal of the 12th, 16th, and 17th Amendments to the Constitution, in order to revive state’s rights).

It will be difficult and dangerous; it most likely will require, as Kath Cantarella said, a civil war to accomplish. Heaven knows, I wish it were not so.

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By shelle smythe, September 8, 2008 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

thanks, felicity.

here in ohio we are using the (formerly diebold) premier solution voting machines, so what do you want to bet that cuyhoga county votes for mcccain/palin??  and this will be the second time these machines have helped throw an election.  electronic voting should be outlawed!  we have had too many shakey ones.  and if elections are “thrown”, then it is a sad day for democracy. well it is already sad. but with mccain/palin it would be much, much sadder.  they would both be puppets of rove, “wolfenstein” et. al.

OBAMA 08

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By srelf, September 8, 2008 at 10:53 pm Link to this comment

Like Howard Zinn said in an interview that can be seen on english.aljazeera.net, the US needs a rebellion of the type that occurred in the civil rights movement of the labor movement. But Americans will have to get used to the fact that heads will be cracked, people may be killed, and much repression will occur. It’s the only way change has come in the past. If McNutjob gets in it’s all over (I mean ALL all over) as far as i can tell, but Obama will still need to be forced to do the right thing, just like FDR.

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By DemocracyDog, September 8, 2008 at 9:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If Activist organizations want to stop Police, FBI and other Infiltrators from spying on and sabotaging their organizations they can use the power of contract law against the Government.

Require every person who wants to join the organization to sign a contract [in exchange for $1 dollar]. The contract would contain a stipulation that the signer was not a member of any Police, Intelligence or Government agency or agent of any corporation or political party with a penalty clause that is invoked if the signer is lying. The penalty clause should be $10,000 per day for just spying and $50,000 per day for a person acting as an agent provocateur. In addition an agent provocateur should be held liable and responsible for indemnifying ALL other members of the group for ALL legal costs and an additional penalty of $1,000,000 for any person who is prosecuted as a result of the agent provocateurs words or actions.

Contract Law can be enforced even against the Federal Government while Civil Rights law and the constitution cannot.

If they want to spy, MAKE THEM PAY!!!!

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By 911truthdotorg, September 8, 2008 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

And what is the foundation for all of these atrocities perpetrated by the bush crime family and enabled by the cowardly, pathetic (or complicit) democrats?

9/11.

Only by some miracle that the TRUTH about 9/11 ever comes out to the sheep who still believe the fairy tale, does this even have a chance of ending.

9/11 TRUTH is our only hope!

http://www.ae911truth.org
http://www.911truth.org
http://www.loosechange.com
http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=loose+change&hl=en&sitesearch;=#q=press for truth&hl=en&emb=0
http://video.google.com/videosearch?q=loose+change&hl=en&sitesearch;=#

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By kath cantarella, September 8, 2008 at 8:31 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If what they want is an authoritarian state, what they will get is a civil war.

So much rides on this election. There are so many lives in the balance, in the US and abroad. I truly believe that.

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By Gmonst, September 8, 2008 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

So much pessimism on this thread.  I still think that if you look at things against the arc of history we are still progressing.  Slowly but surely.  These last 8 years have been a bad downturn, a depression of progressive human rights if you will, but its still going to be part of a larger arc of improving human rights.  Look at how much we more know about the dirty tricks of the corporate elite than we used to.  Think of how much more brutally they used to put down troubling behavior.  How much was life worth on the frontier?  Who was even thinking of government health care in the 1890’s?  We will get there.  There is still hope for this country, all is not lost.  We have to struggle and keep moving forward, but its not over yet.  This particular incident wasn’t even the worst of its kind.  Remember the WTO thing in Seattle, in my memory that was more intense than this.  It can and will get better people.  There are far too many of us that see things clearly and understand much of how it works, we are able to access information beyond the MSM and communicate on sites like this.  They can’t stop that.  Its just part of the struggle for human rights that has been going on for a long time.  It will continue, and it will get better.

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By Leefeller, September 8, 2008 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

Fahrenheit 451,

The slow moving cancer is the Corporations, who have been feasting and eating away from the rights of the people for a long time now, using the msm propaganda machine.  What better way to manipulate people into voting against their own best interests.

Labor history had some manipulation during the steel strikes around WWI, the media bought and paid adds against the strikers, steel industry and other corporate interests,  made the steel strikers out to be communists, socialists and Bosciviks (spelling, not sure what that is) anyway they got public sentiment against the strikers, it has been mostly down hill since then for the common people, with a few blips during WWII and after, but you are correct the slow moving cancer is eating away,  money is on their side.

My point, this has been ongoing for a long time, which you seem to be saying. So this election may be just another nail in the peoples coffin. Issues, what war?

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By Folktruther, September 8, 2008 at 8:04 pm Link to this comment

Virgina, the alternative media of the 1960’s was deliberately destroyed by J. Hoover’s FBI.  Ginsberg, the poet, in his prose writings published, if I rememember rightly in 1984, reprints a memo from Hoover to his agents with a list of things to do to destroy the small papers.

This was part of OPERATION COINTELPRO.  It included the infiltration of peace and other progressive groups, the manipulation of them and the murder of black and other minority activists.  None of this is pat of the offical history ofthe US, but it is what happened then, and I have no doubt, is happening now.

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By Fahrenheit 451, September 8, 2008 at 7:43 pm Link to this comment

“They” encroach, like a slow moving cancer, little by little.  Every so often “they” shock us and we react with outrage; which soon dies a slow death, because we have our comfortable lives and responsibilities.  Things return to “normal”, but what is normal; the definition keeps changing, but it’s little by little so we don’t notice too much and go once again back to our mundane lives to survive for another week, month, year?  And on and on and on it goes.  We could’ve stopped it; but we didn’t and now we can’t.

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By BruSays, September 8, 2008 at 7:09 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller,

Whether we choose to vote for a presidential candidate or not is entirely every thinking person’s perogative. Believing “they” (presidents) do what they want is problably the reality. But let’s not forget that there are LOCAL and REGIONAL issues which are sometimes enacted or busted on the basis of just a handful of votes. So we vote.

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By BruSays, September 8, 2008 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

Troublesum,

You gotta get a dig in everywhere you can, don’t you? Please, be reasonable. I’m not quoting from the U.S. Constitution when I say “voting gives me the right to bitch.” Give it a break.

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 6:58 pm Link to this comment

RFK, Jr on democracynow today.  http://www.democracynow.org
Why isn’t he running for president?

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By SlimTim, September 8, 2008 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I don’t quite understand why some people are leaving indications of who they’re going to vote for. These are meant to be “comments” on the article. Thats all fine, get it off your chest and stand proud as a number.

Let me tell you what I do understand: of the thousand-some arrest at the 2004 convention in New York, More than 70 percent of the arrestees did not affiliate themselves with either one of the major parties. If I may speak for them, Its their belief that the three wonderful branches of government (all checky and balancy) represent the borderless country of “Money.” You’d come to this conclusion too if you were to frequent the websites Mr. Hedges lists above.

Every tactic he mentions above was utilized. I know, because yes, I was there. People on bicycles were being pulled over in groups DAYS before the kick-off to the convention, whereby quesioning ensued, belongings were searched, tatoos were photographed. This was happening arbitrarily all over St.Paul/Minneapolis, and then came the raids of intimidation. You learned from mainstream media that the convergence center contained containers of urine and feces. Some where charged with intent to use “urine weaponry.” Here’s what you didn’t learn: The center didn’t have a toilet! These were mostly people from out-of-state with little or no money. They really NEEDED to demonstrate.

Over the past several days, I’ve noticed much chatter on sites where some commenters generally thought these “dirty hippies” deserved it. I’d like to think I’m not a dirty hippie, what with my daily showers and all. To tell you the truth, If I didn’t shut off the TV, start reading, and pursue the truth to what the state of affairs actually is, I wouldn’t be at the convention if it was held a year ago.

This is FASCISM people! Please, for the love of christ stop telling us which person you’d like to see inaugurated as cheif executive to the country of “Money.” Start formulating a view that establishes you as a person who refuses to be a spectator to democracy’s take over. TAKE ACTION! We can’t do it alone.

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 6:52 pm Link to this comment

BruSays
The right to bitch doesn’t depend on voting.  The first amendment says nothing about voting.

We have always been doomed but we’re still here.

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By Leefeller, September 8, 2008 at 5:38 pm Link to this comment

Virginia777,

The media is not the news, it does not cover the real world unless they are directed to.  Msm is propaganda controlled by special interests and powers that be, how much have you seen about the war lately, what war. 

We are fed what they want us to be fed, the majority buy it, while some of us know better.

As George Carlin who did not vote said, why vote, “they do what they want anyway”.

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By BruSays, September 8, 2008 at 5:29 pm Link to this comment

Troublesum,

I am not in denial of anything. I am voting for Obama. There IS a difference between him and McSame. And because I’m voting, I have the right to bitch, thank you very much.

But I’m not so naive to think we’re not in BIG trouble. Here we are with the world’s mightiest weaponry and (at least among the major First World nations) the most clueless, ignorant and arrogant electorate. This adds up to a serious danger. We’ve allowed a Corporatocracy to take over our nation. We’re doomed, brother. Doomed.

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By Virginia777, September 8, 2008 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

“most Americans remain clueless or ignorant of all that has been taking place these past 8 years.”

The Media is to blame for this but the Liberals are to blame for not addressing the Media issue as the Crisis it has been for years. For instance, the demise of the Alternative Weeklies (as true alternative voices) in many cities, was met with indifference, or worse, with acceptance. The rise of the Internet was also met with an unbelievable naivete with many Liberals believing it would self-regulate. Instead it has become a lawless ocholcracy, with hate-bloggers bullying their way into mainstream consciousness, with very little opposition.  Liberals have also allowed sand to be thrown in their eyes, by media-distracting topics that took their focus away from where it was urgently needed.

I still believe the answer lies with the Media. We must take back our media and this is possible once serious effort is applied. But first, the Left needs to wake up, which I think it finally has.

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By jackpine savage, September 8, 2008 at 4:49 pm Link to this comment

Interesting thread, though i’m still unsure why the police who are tasked with containing/controlling crowds of protesters need to be so militarized.

All through the 60’s (aside from when the Nat Guard was present) it was regular cops.  Today they’re all in black with their BDU pants bloused out of the tops of their boots.  And the shielded helmets…they most certainly look dystopian.

I’ve seen some protests. (And let me tell you that you haven’t seen a good protest until you’ve seen one in Seoul…when i was there, the farmers were making fish/fertilizer grenades…they didn’t hurt the police, just smelled bad enough to make you puke.) But i can’t help but wonder if the militarized facet of the situation just provokes everything.

Unfortunately, i don’t see an alienated, domesticated (thanks TAO) people having the strength to behave as the Indians of the Salt March or the Civil Rights marchers. 

A society out of control is unlikely to produce people with enough self-control to practice non-violence.

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By Leefeller, September 8, 2008 at 4:48 pm Link to this comment

Muscleboy,

Christian and other religions provide a breeding ground for lunatics to roam.  They are used as a tool to guide and control the masses. In the USA religion has been a tool for the elite to guide the directions of our nation.  It seems the guide may become the tail, when we get a real loony like Palin in.  Rights be damned and burn those books, it will get worse before it becomes better, if at all.

Your hopes may be achieved in your lifetime, but I may be older than you and will not see them, hope you make it.

If Obama, makes it through this ugly non issue campaign, we may have things lighten up see more truth in the White House, but that remains to be seen.

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 4:44 pm Link to this comment

BruSays
You’re in denial about how truly awful the republican agenda is.  McCain has an athoritarian personality.  These two things together spell disaster.

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By Muscleboy, September 8, 2008 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

Calling we cannot call Bush trolls or John Bush McCain bots patriots just as we cannot call people that cheer for illegal war and mass murder Christians.  Bush supporters and their like are the antithesis of everything the USA stands for and Jesus will have no part of the evil vile criminals that wave flags in favor of torture.  STOP CALLING THEM CHRISTIANS!  They are antichrists as foretold in the bible.

We must realize, in the end, it is not these evil freaks that have real power it is us.  We will win at the end of the day.  Our Truth remains brilliant and will flood the world with light to dispel their lies.

Why are so many falling victim to the deceptions of these demons?? Why does John McCain have any chance whatsoever of winning office?  Obama is our greatest hope but he is the first step, albeit I believe a very big step, in the process of recovering from this reign of terror Bush and his neocon terrorists have put upon the world.  The war on terror is a big lie, a smoke screen, designed to hide vicious idiot power hungry psychopaths who desire to steal vast sums of money from the American peoples treasury and whatever wealth they can steal from others; To make the terroristic practices of Israel seem justified. All lies.

Our biggest job now is to sort through the black fog of lies the Bush neocons and friends have pumped into the air of our world and flood it with the light of Truth.

I dare everyone to research more on the physical realities of 9/11.  It too is one big lie.  The fact is the buildings couldn’t have come down the way they did without having been preloaded with super-thermate an explosive that cuts through structural steel like butter.  It melts steal and pulverizes concrete to fine dust.  Jet fuel can’t go above 1500 degrees whereas steel requires 2,740 degrees to weaken at all and 2750 to melt.  There were acer sized pools of molten steel below the trade centers for months after 9/11.  Super thermate reaches temperatures of up to 5000 degrees thus super heating steel and causing the pools of molten steal.  The buildings video cameras and security systems were shut down for several weeks prior to 9/11.  It has been calculated by physicists and engineers that it would take a team of 10 men to populate the buildings after hours with super thermate.  About 1000 pounds of superthermate per building is all it would take.

9/11 is the ground they stand upon.  It is not a minor issue. 9/11 was a deception of horrific proportions. If you allow yourself to fall for this great deception you effectively support them.

The USA is a great nation hijacked by a band of ruthless criminals.  Let’s take our country back and look forward not to a police state nightmare but rather a great life with boundless pollution free energy and love and respect of our brothers and sisters where ever they may be.  The future is looking bright indeed but we must not fear these powerless amoral fascists and must not fall for any of their deceptions.

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By SERE GUY, September 8, 2008 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

Get out and get some sun. Those a-holes were given the chance to protest on a certain route, and chose to deviate, and start destroying things. They do not have the right to do whatever they want, and deserved what they got!!  Why did they have masks on, because they planned on committing crimes. Give me a break, these freaks, are the out of work, college dropout, still living in mom and dads basement morons. Not some type of freedom seeking patriot.

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By youraveragejoe, September 8, 2008 at 4:17 pm Link to this comment

Ender-
Here you are, nutso.  You don’t have to believe me, believe your lyin’ eyes.
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1051704/250-arrested-Republican-Convention-protest-descends-violence.html

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By Folktruther, September 8, 2008 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment

The question is Leefeller, how do you break through the fear, denial and delusion of the American people.

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By troublesum, September 8, 2008 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

If republicans win this time around the photo at the top of the page is what we’ll see when democrats try to vote in 2012.

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By Leefeller, September 8, 2008 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

Denial is not only a river that flows through Egypt, it is the American voter.  Republican vs Democrat, the differences are less then we are lead to believe, for they are actually the same.  The alleged differences are fed to us so we think we are choosing in our minds from two different teams.  Now, looking at it they make it like rooting for your home team.  Pick and choose through the smoke and mirrors, enjoy the horse and pony show. In the end we will have lost some of liberties and the new world order march’s on.

In the scheme of things we will have more in common with rest of the worlds masses.

Why should we have it better than anyone else anyway? How about that war? What war?

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By BruSays, September 8, 2008 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

People…we are witnessing the dying days of our democracy. We have passed the tipping point. Consider:
1. Despite a 27% approval rating for President Bush, his party’s nominee - the man who has over the past 8 years voted with him over 90% of the time - is now leading in the polls.
2. Despite the Republicans’ cries about Obama’s perceived lack of experience, they turn around and nominate a pathetically inexperienced, uneducated, anti-choice, creationist for our country’s Number Two spot.
3. Despite a $9.5 trillion debt, a failed war initiated under false and manipulated “intelligence,” a crumbling infrastructure, a failing healthcare system, a suffering environment, a weaker dollar, increasing unemployment, a totally screwed up home mortgage crisis, a tanking in world respect, an energy crisis - despite all this, the party that was in control of the executive and legislative branches for 6 of the last years is about to be handed four more years of power.
4. Despite all the above, our Corporate Media headlines are focusing on the Important Issues like “maverick” tickets, flag lapel pins, Reverend Wright, gay marriage, and pregnancies.

In my view, the few of us can talk and write till the cows come home about the minutiae (peaceful vs. combative protests, Nazi/Bush analogies, etc.) but most Americans remain clueless or ignorant of all that has been taking place these past 8 years. This, more than anything else, spells our defeat, not just as a group of caring progressives, but as a nation.

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By thebeerdoctor, September 8, 2008 at 3:22 pm Link to this comment

Despite all the outrage, I ask you, where is the satyagraha in all of this?
On March 7, 1965, on the Selma to Montgomery march, peaceful civil rights protesters were beaten and gassed by local and state cops, to prevent them from crossing the Edmund Pettus Bridge.
On April 13, 1919, in Amritsar India, Punjabis assembled peacefully to protest their mistreatment at the hands of British authorities, were fired upon. using 1,650 bullets in less than fifteen minutes, killing 379 and wounding 1500.
Both of these violent acts of injustice had far reaching consequences. The first mentioned, lead up to the Civil Rights Act passed into law five months later. The second helped galvanize a people to seek national liberation, which was achieved slightly more than a quarter of a century later.
I wish those who sincerely take to the streets would stop and consider the historical gravitas of the struggle for human freedom.

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By Folktruther, September 8, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

I was at that peacemarch too and Loki’s account is bullshit.  The crowd was huge and so peaceful that the police had trouble keeping awake.  If “someone” threw a smoke grenade into the crowd, it was obviously done to foment trouble. And of the hundreds of accounts I have read of demos in the US, I have never seen one that was a hundred percent against the police.

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By Maria, September 8, 2008 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Rick, you are right. The USA is ready to live through a mature phase of fascism.
Italy, Germany, and Russia had this tragedy in the 20th century. Now the USA displays all the ominous signs. The American cynicism, hypocrisy, greed, cowardice, and gov’t sponsored lawlessness are bursting as a poisonous puss and exposing the weakened state of the Republic.
With Palin-McCain the world will sure enter an era of nuclear conflicts.
As for Obama-Biden, Bush and his puppeteers might
1. impose a marshal law on some convenient pretext,
2. strengthen the manipulation of the mass media and temper with elections to give advantage to Palin-McCain. GOP already hides Palin from holding press-conferences and obstructs two investigations of the “mom”
3. even if Obama-Biden prevail, this could result in an establishing the marshal law to protect the current administration from accountability

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By Loki1967, September 8, 2008 at 2:33 pm Link to this comment

You can say whatever you want but because a small group of people were violent it reinforces why cities takes these actions. I was in San Francisco when they had the Peace March in 2003. A small riot erupted in front of the Macy’s. There was a splinter group from the march who were punk/anarchists. As the crowd got larger I saw the Police get nervous. I was there on a day off up from LA so I was just shopping. And I am Anti-War and a Peacenik.

Someone threw a smoke bomb into the crowd and everything erupted. I wound up inside Macy’s locked in by security. The police started manhandling people. A few of us were in a display window watching. I was worried someone was going to break the windows.

The next day on the news it was 100% slanted against the cops and made the people who were arrested and involved sound innocent. That was so wrong. They started it. They didn’t protest peacefully. They got what they deserved. Sorry.

So when reports from Minn showed some cars were destroyed and burnt by anarchists. That gives the green light to the police and city to be harsh and take away our rights. You should be pissed at the violent perps more than anyone else.

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By diamond, September 8, 2008 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

Yes, these are dark days and the photo says it all: a perfect scene out of ‘1984’ or of Berlin in the thirties when Hitler sent his thugs out into the streets to wreak havoc. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though. Last night on mainstream TV in Australia I saw a program made by the BBC that showed WTC building number 7 being demolished and aired a lot of the facts about what happened on September 11. Of course, it didn’t tell the truth in the end and had plenty of rightwing stooges there to spin the facts but this program could never have been on the ABC even a year ago. It would have been completely impossible. Your mainstream media,on the other hand, is losing all credibility-witness what happened to Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews- and people will just drift away as it becomes more and more irrelevant. No one watching that building go down last night could doubt that it was demolished. To do so would mean not believing your own commonsense. Cheney and co sent the anthrax letters to get the very laws passed that allow them to do these things to ordinary people who dare to dissent from their ridiculous beliefs. What they forget is that every person they gas, arrest, beat up and humiliate has a family and friends and come election day they’ll remember. The Republicans are afraid of their own citizens and I believe they should be afraid because in the American context, once the citizenry lose their fear of the government all bets are off. Cheney’s essentially in hiding at the moment and has aged incredibly. The main thing is to vote in such numbers that they can’t rig the vote. It’s the economy that will do them in. Americans don’t forgive bad economic managers and this brand of Republican ideologues have turned America into a banana republic.

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